The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Let's decrease the fascism

Creeping Fascism Watch

I came across a list of the hallmarks of fascism the other day, and it sounded awfully familiar. Now, I am not going to compare Bush to Hitler or any of the other kinds of hyperbole that seems to get people into trouble these days. But considering these 10 components, we are clearly, as a nation, or at least as a government, moving towards fascism, rather than away from it.

Here is the list:

  • the alliance between big government and big business
  • the investment of power in the executive, with weak to nonexistent checks on that power
  • the hypernationalism and its identification with the ruling party, so that opponents of the ruling party are branded as traitors
  • the development of propaganda wings
  • the manipulation of the press into supporting the ruling party line
  • the belief that God is on the side of the ruling party, and the party's religion is the only true one
  • the obsession with secrecy
  • the use of mobs to advance the ruling party's aims
  • the use of war and war propaganda to frighten the people into supporting the ruling party
  • the scapegoating of ethnic and sexual minorities

These trends are definitely increasing (see "OutFoxed" for example, on the rise of propaganda, and remember the "mobs" of Republican congressional staffers during the 2000 recount in Florida). The excellent David Neiwert keeps a close watch on creeping American fascism at the website Orcinus. Here is an excerpt from an entry entitled "proto-fascist thuggery" which is a bit chiling, discussing threats of violence to peace activists, an art dealer, and movie theaters:

Only a few days before the Haight incident, there was a similar problem with threats against an antiwar group in rural Nevada County, California.

A group of concerned parents planned to hold a meeting at the county schools office to talk about the presence of military recruiters in their schools. But when a cadre of local conservatives began calling in threats, the district simply cancelled the meeting, saying it feared "violence between Weiss' group and conservative activists."

Funny that, considering that conservatives were the folks making the threats.

Alternate Universe Watch

Here's one that will blow your mind. Did you hear that George Bush actually opposed a tax cut? Amazing. The reason? The bill was too popular. Everybody thought it was a good idea, apparently, and not enough Democrats would have opposed it.

[The Bush White House was] fearful of a bill that could draw Democratic votes and dilute a Republican campaign theme, Republican negotiators said.

Twilight Zone stuff.

The Way Lies Spread Watch

David Bossie is one of the most dishonest, and dangerous, men in the country today. He has a habit of just making up wild claims about Democrats, and newspaper reporters, though he has made fools of nearly everyone of them by getting them to print his fabrications, continue to pander to him. He was one of the prime movers behind the Whitewater non-scandals. However, Bossie now has a new book, full of lies no doubt, about John Kerry, and reporters, probably because there were no consequences to them for having printed lie after lie about the Clintons, are rushing to give this man airtime and print. Digby examines his role in our current political climate and also points to this article by Eric Boehlert in Salon (be sure to click through the daypass ad to get the full article) entitled "You can't teach an old attack dog new tricks".

Bossie's style during the investigation was to lob scattershot allegations toward an appreciative press corps that rarely seemed upset when the charges he gave them to amplify -- that Whitewater was a criminal enterprise, for instance -- failed to pan out as factual. As Democratic strategist James Carville once put it, "He made collective fools out of about 80 percent of the national press corps." But none of this appears to have marred Bossie's reputation with reporters, even when then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich -- no stranger to hardball partisan politics -- reportedly ordered Bossie fired from his congressional staff position in May 1998. Bossie had overseen the bungled release of supposedly incriminating recordings of Whitewater figure Webster Hubbell's jailhouse phone conversations about Hillary Rodham Clinton -- recordings that had been edited, deleting obvious exculpatory remarks.

More good background on Bossie is provided by Joe Conason:

If the names of Brown and Bossie sound more familiar, they attained notoriety together during the Clinton era as indefatigable promoters of the bogus "Whitewater" scandal. They served as publicity agents for David Hale, the crooked and discredited former Little Rock municipal judge whose allegations against the Clintons forced the appointment of an independent counsel. Among mainstream journalists panting for a career-making Watergate-style scandal, Brown and Bossie found many a gullible mark. For nearly a decade they churned out junk night and day. For a while, Bossie went on the payroll of the Senate Whitewater Committee; later he worked for Rep. Dan Burton's House Committee on Government Operations investigating Clinton and Al Gore -- until he was caught distributing doctored tapes to the media.

If you are interested in how lies and character assassination become part of our national discourse, read these articles.

Slogans Watch

Here is a site with a lot of different subversive gear: magnets, bumperstickers, etc. Some of them are good for a laugh, but there is a definite secular/atheistic slant to most of them. Example: "I gave myself to Jesus, and now he never calls." But there are some good political ones too, like "If You Don't Vote, People Like Bush Get Elected". Enjoy.

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