Tag Archives: United States of America

Palinism – Folksy Fascism for the 21st Century

9 Jan
This is an alternate crop of an image already ...

The face of 21st Century American Fascism

Chris does a wonderful job outlining the violent rhetoric that’s emanated from the angry right over the past couple of years, featuring such stars as Sharron Angle, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, and other bright lights among the tea party vanguard.

He titles his post “Inciting a Revolution”.  I disagree with the “Revolution” part, mostly because there’s no coherent or cohesive vision of a new America that these people represent.  They don’t seek a revolution that would somehow change the fundamentals of American representative democracy.  To the contrary, they claim to be the proudest and strongest adherents to its constitutional constructs.  Right down to the reading.

What they’re doing with their nihilist, eliminationist, violent rhetoric is inciting a riot, nothing more.  When Sarah Palin posts Gabrielle Giffords’ name with a gunsight over a map of her congressional district, that’s the same as yelling “fire!” in a crowded theater.  When Palin urges her minions to not “retreat” but “reload”, she’s deliberately and knowingly inciting violence.  Not just any violence – but the kind that murders people.  When you take all of the rhetoric together, from all relevant sources, it’s become evident that the American right wing has become infested with the same dirty bloodlust that led a Niagara County militia follower to blow up the Murrah Federal Building, and the men, women, and children within.

Yesterday, not only did the shooter injure a Congresswoman, but he murdered six people, among them a federal Judge and a nine year-old little girl.  Maybe the 2nd Amendment ought not apply to idiot paranoid schizophrenics.

I watched the alleged shooter’s YouTube videos and he’s not much different from any other semi-literate, uninformed, dumb, mentally ill mass murderers you’d come across in any given day.  We knew anyone who would commit mass murder would be a psychotic.

But that’s the point.  The greater issue is how a certain brand of domestic fascism has made it socially acceptable within that circle to joke about or incite violence against political opponents, and how that might play in an unhinged mind.

Palinism, which is what I’ve come to call the Tea Party movement, is food for the weak-minded.  Her brand of facile exclusionary bully politics, mixed in with clumsy jingoism, virulent hatred, calls to arms, and  deliberate ignorance is little more than a 21st century fascism.  After all, fascism is a hypernationalistic, ignorant, violent, eliminationist, political philosophy that relies on hatred.

When congresspeople can’t hold supermarket meet ‘n greets with constituents without tight security, the very foundation of our representative democracy has been rocked.  That this threat is a domestic one makes it all the more curious.

After all, the Palinists would have you believe that endless war is so totally necessary to protect our motherland fatherland homeland.  Yet the biggest risk the homeland faces is from the Palinist fascists themselves.

For fascism to grow, it needs a mortal enemy.  In Italy, it was the foreigners, democrats, and socialists who helped bring about perceived post-WWI slights preventing it from becoming a great power.  In Germany, it was the Versailles “Diktat”, which the Nazis blamed on foreign democracies and “international Jewry”.  For the Palinist fascists, it’s Obama and American Democrats for plunging America into Soviet-style communism by passing health care reform and suggesting cap & trade.

Here, the spark that lit the fire of Palinist fascism was the election of Barack Obama.  Although he’s as corporate-friendly a centrist Democrat as you’re likely ever to find, because of his name, his family history, his past employment, and his race, the Palinists have beat a drum for quite literally two + years that Obama is some sort of Muslim, foreign, Kenyan, unAmerican, Marxist, Communist usurper.  Although he legitimately won a fair and free election in 2008, they seek to delegitimize him through lies that play to people’s fears and rank prejudices.

You know, when liberals complained about George W. Bush’s legitimacy, people forget that there was a Supreme Court case fought over that very issue.  The claim, as they say, was colorable.  Here, no such factual basis exists.

Even though a solid majority of Americans voted for Barack Obama and, in turn, the policies he proposed, the Palinists claimed – shouted – that his perfectly reasonable policy proposals were tantamount to an abolition of the American experiment altogether.  We’d be subsumed by the United Nations or  the New World Order or whatever the bogeyman-du-jour might be, and America would become some sort of big, huge Cuba.

The rhetoric turned especially ugly when the Democrats passed a health care reform program that gave consumers more rights and failed to fundamentally change the status quo.  Note the date of the Palin tweet above.  Then note the date of this story.  Those Palinist fascist calls for a blood orgy were made the day after the heath care reform bill was passed.

When fascists complain falsely, but loudly enough about the legitimacy, policies, and danger to the republic the President and his party represent – bad things are bound to happen.

And then, when those bad things happen, they whine and cry about how both sides need to tamp down the rhetoric.

Well, no

Both sides don’t need to tamp down the rhetoric.  One side is guilty of maintaining or giving express or implied support and approval of eliminationist, hateful, violent, dehumanization of its opponents. The American right wing has become radicalized beyond recognition – its rhetoric and lies, and its calls to violence go far beyond what is acceptable in a western pluralist democratic republic.  Its behavior is ignorant fascism, and it’s time we called it that.  It’s also time that the opponents of that Palinist virus become more effective at rhetorically politically defeating it.

Luckily, America is better than Palinist fascism – a militant, violent, uninformed, ignorant, hateful and un-Democratic bucket of incitement.

Judge Sotomayor for SCOTUS

26 May

It’s been most interesting reading the breathless reaction from the right on teh Twitters, replete as it is with #TCOT hashtags. While Drudge’s red text and Kristol’s consistently-wrong-about-everything column highlight the fact that Judge Sonia Sotomayor is to the left of people like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, it’s interesting to see how little traction all of that gets nowadays. Granted, I don’t listen to Limbaugh anymore and the remainder of my exposure to right-wing talk radio has likewise been diminished, but in speaking with people anecdotally today – people who pay attention to this stuff – Sotomayor’s selection is met with shrugs and mouth-noises hoping she does a great job.

The hissy fit of the day™ seems to be that Sotomayor once said that judges make policy. Well, they sort of do. They have since the days of Marbury v. Madison.

I also heard that she’s a liberal activist judge. That she’s been overturned more than other judges. I even saw at least once Tweet accusing her of being stupid. Or mean to lawyers.

The information is generally either linking to a New Republic article by Jeffrey Rosen about Sotomayor, (which the author later expanded upon), or there’s no supporting factual information whatsoever.

I don’t know how the right wing will be able to say with a straight face that Judge Sotomayor, who grew up in a housing project and graduated from Princeton and Yale, who has been on the federal bench since 1992, is stupid, but something tells me there are at least a few constituencies that will be downright pissed off by this direction of supposed “inquiry”.

Sotomayor is liberal, but not overly so. She is the very embodiment of the American dream. She is not easily pigeonholed, and one wonders why the reaction on the right is so instantaneously, breathlessly false.

Judge Sotomayor will be confirmed, and she will ably serve. This is why we win elections, folks.

(Cartoon courtesy Marquil @ EmpireWire.com)

Obama Halts Gitmo Prosecutions & Pending Bush Regulations

21 Jan

Among his first official acts as President, Barack Obama has suspended all prosecutions of Guantanamo Bay detainees for 120 days. He has also put a halt to any and all last-minute Bush Administration regulatory changes, pending review.

Because of the legally uncertain and morally dubious status of the Guantanamo Bay detention center, any prosecution concluded there will have a stain of illegality on it. Frankly, if crimes they have committed, then crimes ought be prosecuted in a domestic military judicial proceeding. The only reason they’re being held in Guantanamo is so that things deemed illegal on domestic soil can be done to them. That’s not justice. That’s bullshit. The idea that the Qaeda fighters do not fall under the protection of the Geneva Convention was, first and foremost, declared incorrect by the Supreme Court, but why treat these prisoners poorly? Why torture them? Because we can? Anyone subjected to torture cannot be prosecuted. What do we do with them? Hold them indefinitely without charge?

As for the regulations, you can find out more about them here and here. Most of them, of course, weaken environmental and endangered species rules, laws, and regulations.

Hopefully Torture’s Epilogue

15 Jan

Torture is not just illegal. It’s not just immoral. It’s not just wrong. It’s not just something that ostensibly civilized democracies don’t engage in.

It produces unreliable information (the detainee just says whatever it takes to make it stop), and takes away the government’s right to prosecute. That means the detainee must either be released or held indefinitely without criminal charge.

The use of torture by the United States government in connection with the war(s) on terror is a national disgrace. The government bent over backwards to find some legal justification(s) for the use of torture, and they got it. That doesn’t make it right, and it doesn’t make it effective. It also doesn’t make it legal.

Bush is unapologetic. Cheney couldn’t care less.

9/11 killed our people and destroyed our property. It was a tragedy of epic proportions, and one that we had to respond to strongly. But it didn’t destroy America. If anything, it made us stronger as a country and an ideal.

The use of torture actually harmed America; its laws and its ideals. A stupid thing to do by a group of stupid ideologues.

Some will argue, “but al Qaeda tortures people”. Yes, al Qaeda does torture people. That’s because they are barbaric terrorists. America ought not torture people. We are not barbaric terrorists. I will never understand why the atrocities of our enemies act as a moral justification for our own atrocities. We are better than that. We are a nation of laws – we are not stateless guerrilla theoterrorists.