That quaking sound

A BuzzFlash Guest Contribution
January 29, 2006
The F-Word: A Letter the New York Times Refused to Print

by Stephen J. Ducat, author of The Wimp Factor
New York Representative Jerold Nadler, as quoted in the January 21, 2006 issue of the New York Times, appropriately and articulately drew comparisons between President Bush’s unrelenting accretion of unaccountable executive power, and some of the early strategies employed by the Nazi party to consolidate its authority. Regrettably, shortly after this bold statement, Mr. Nadler’s spokesman, Reid Cherlin, sought to retreat from this frank assessment, saying the Representative had “picked an example that he shouldn’t have.” Due in part to its careless over usage by partisans of all stripes, the Hitler analogy has become a kind of rhetorical third rail in American political discourse. But that does not mean there are not real and profoundly disturbing parallels between the prehistory and certain features of the Nazi epoch and emerging developments in our own era.

A partial list would have to include: a massive, warrantless domestic surveillance program implemented at the whim of the Chief Executive and his inner circle, and unimpeded by any oversight; the use of federal law enforcement agencies to spy on political opponents of the administration; an elaborate network of clandestine detention facilities designed to hold people indefinitely without charge or legal representation, and where suspects may be tortured and then, at the discretion of secret tribunals, executed; an executive branch of government that views the notion of checks and balances as a fusty anachronism, if not subversive; the fusion of federal and corporate power; and the monitoring of the reading habits of private citizens — all of this done under the rationalizing rubric of national security.

It is time to call America’s incipient dictatorship by its proper name: fascism.

Stephen J. Ducat
San Francisco, CA


Stephen J. Ducat is a professor of political psychology at New College of California, and the author of The Wimp Factor: Gender Gaps, Holy Wars, and the Politics of Anxious Masculinity (Beacon, 2005)

4 thoughts on “That quaking sound”

  1. From my Canadian point of view, Bush is not even trying to cover the lies anymore. He is simply lying. During an election campaign, you expect the lies, but during a state of the union, you expect exaggeration at worst.

    Most of America seems happy with decreasing civil liberties, an awful economy, increasing unemployment rates, botched foreign relations, record dept, fear of everything etc. etc. To lie so bluntly with such clear acceptance from the populace comes across as very desperate situation for an outsider looking in.

    I hope you (americans in general) will start to consider the following… Organize… Somebody write a accessible book on how to fix this rather then simply exposing what is going on… Otherwise, begin to face a very real fear… This may be the generation that will witness the decline of the American empire.

  2. Ha…man, decline?…any “decline” will involve WW3 wiping our species from the globe, my fine, Canadian friend. Been debating moving the family up your way though.

    …or, by decline, do you mean a deterioration of a once more ‘morally exalted’ form of empire? …lol

    You’re right though, the Bushco and their media lap dogs entire are barely concerned with covering all of the lies, hell, there’s too damn many. It’s not that most people are happy about this…it all hinges on three things:
    1) Our “free” press; people can’t react within a normal moral perspective if they don’t know what’s going on. This is only an excuse to a certain point however…
    2) The “system,” meaning, the pervasive, widely accepted and condoned [on a thousand different levels] way of living/thinking/expressing within the daily round of American life, leaves most completely in the dark as to the true nature of power and empire.
    The “dumbing down” of America didn’t occur randomly within a vacuum, it happens through a concentrated effort that begins in Kindergarden–think of our educational system as an elaborate filtration system that plays a substantial role in determining rewards and punishments by ensuring that those who are too independent minded will not have a career, but instead, “work,” or a “job.”

    Most, not all, but most, of those who aspire toward any degree of “professionalism” usually have internalized corporate values and ethics quite successfully, hence, the more dishonest, or at least, unwilling/unable to clearly define that which is front of them because the corporate mentality requires one to impose a “lessening” toward many problems which would otherwise trouble their moral compass: “Oh, it’s not THAT bad,” such a person will flippantly say, even though it may well be a social ill or political policy that results in injustice, misery and death for scores of people.

    And 3) People are in shock…er, or they were. More so. Not enough have awoken, but many, many are. Thing is, at that point, they’re hopeful that they can continue to simply lead the life they’re used to, and that Bush’s fascist empire will be dealt with by someone else, thereby letting themselves off the hook from any responsibility.

    Trouble is, jeepers, sorta looks like that’s NOT going to happen as there are no checks and balances.

    The ones who have figured that much out are scared shitless because no one ever taught them how to confront a fascist coup in their government…so, it’s all up in the air. Personally, I think all the birds have come to roost, and the “decline” of which you speak is long underway.

    What awaits? Depends on whether you believe the upcoming world war will be by “Illuminati” design to bring about the global shift for a one world government, or, and equally insane, American power is now the rogue, lone, power-crazed bully on the block, and eventually, the rest of world will be forced to say “no, fuck you,” and then we’ll all be fucked, cause it won’t matter where you live.

    You make excellent points on organizing though. A big part of what to do at this point is to INFORM & EDUCATE. Read, watch, converse, ask questions, believe NOTHING you hear from MSN, and learn how to talk with others about what’s happening: many want to, they’re very concerned, every species can sense its own impending doom, but many simply don’t know how to go about expressing anything outside of the usually, daily, don’t-offend-anyone-with-reality type of dialogue. Encourage people to inform themselves and speak out. If it comes to real fighting down the road, and frankly I don’t see that as avoidable, then cross that bridge by instinct at that point. For now though, talk with your neighbors, families, friends, co-workers. Give up on local representatives; this silly notion you have that they give two shits about what you think has to end, okay? THEY DO NOT ANSWER TO THE PUBLIC.

    It would also be wonderful if someone with oodles of money could begin investing it in to assembling a propaganda free, patriotic news source that could reach people daily via the boob tube with – sorry Jon and Al – NO JOKES. And do it really, really quickly. Like yesterday. And did I mention quickly?

  3. Hey Collin, here’s spot on analysis by former Reagan admin member Paul Craig Roberts:

    Polls Show Many Americans are Simply Dumber Than Bush

    “ICH” | January 29, 2006
    By Paul Craig Roberts

    Two recent polls, a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll and a New York Times/CBS News poll, indicate why Bush is getting away with impeachable offenses. Half of the US population is incapable of acquiring, processing and understanding information.

    Much of the problem is the media itself, which serves as a disinformation agency for the Bush administration. Fox “News” and right-wing talk radio are the worst, but with propagandistic outlets setting the standard for truth and patriotism, all of the media is affected to some degree.

    Despite the media’s failure, about half the population has managed to discern that the US invasion of Iraq has not made them safer and that the Bush administration’s assault on civil liberties is not a necessary component of the war on terror. The problem, thus, lies with the absence of due diligence on the part of the other half of the population.

    Consider the New York Times/CBS poll. Sixty-four percent of the respondents have concerns about losing civil liberties as a result of anti-terrorism measures put in place by President Bush. Yet, 53
    percent approve of spying without obtaining court warrants “in order to reduce the threat of terrorism.”

    Why does any American think that spying without a warrant has any more effect in reducing the threat of terrorism than spying with a warrant? The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which Bush is disobeying, requires the executive to obtain from a secret panel of federal judges a warrant for spying on Americans. The purpose of the law is to prevent a president from spying for partisan political reasons. The law permits the president to spy first (for 72 hours) and then come to the court for permission. As the court meets in secret, spying without a warrant is no more effective in reducing the threat of terrorism than spying with a warrant.

    Instead of explaining this basic truth, the media has played along with the Bush administration and formulated the question as a trade-off between civil liberties and protection from terrorists. This formulation is false and nonsensical. Why does the media enable the Bush administration to escape accountability for illegal behavior by putting false and misleading choices before the people?

    The LA Times/Bloomberg poll has equally striking anomalies. Only 43 percent said they approved of Bush’s performance as president. But a majority believe Bush’s policies have made the US more secure.

    It is extraordinary that anyone would think Americans are safer as a result of Bush invading two Muslim countries and constantly threatening two more with military attack. The invasions and threats have caused a dramatic swing in Muslim sentiment away from the US.
    Prior to Bush’s invasion of Iraq, a large majority of Muslims had a favorable opinion of America. Now only about 5 percent do.

    A number of US commanders in Iraq and many Middle East experts have told the American public that the three year-old war in Iraq is serving both to recruit and to train terrorists for al Qaeda, which has grown many times its former size. Moreover, the US military has concluded that al Qaeda has succeeded in having its members elected to the new Iraqi government.

    We have seen similar developments both in Egypt and in Pakistan. In the recent Egyptian elections, the radical Muslim Brotherhood, despite being suppressed by the Egyptian government, won a large number of seats. In Pakistan elements friendly or neutral toward al Qaeda control about half of the government. In Iraq, Bush’s invasion has replaced secular Sunnis with Islamist Shia allied with Iran.

    And now with the triumph of Hamas in the Palestinian election, we see the total failure of Bush’s Middle Eastern policy. Bush has succeeded in displacing secular moderates from Middle Eastern governments and replacing them with Islamic extremists. It boggles the mind that this disastrous result makes Americans feel safer!

    What does it say for democracy that half of the American population is unable to draw a rational conclusion from unambiguous facts?

    Americans share this disability with the Bush administration.
    According to news reports, the Bush administration is stunned by the election victory of the radical Islamist Hamas Party, which swept the US-financed Fatah Party from office. Why is the Bush administration astonished?

    The Bush administration is astonished because it stupidly believes that hundreds of millions of Muslims should be grateful that the US has interfered in their internal affairs for 60 years, setting up colonies and puppet rulers to suppress their aspirations and to achieve, instead, purposes of the US government.

    Americans need desperately to understand that 95 percent of all Muslim terrorists in the world were created in the past three years by Bush’s invasion of Iraq.

    Americans need desperately to comprehend that if Bush attacks Iran and Syria, as he intends, terrorism will explode, and American civil liberties will disappear into a thirty year war that will bankrupt the United States.

    The total lack of rationality and competence in the White House and the inability of half of the US population to acquire and understand information are far larger threats to Americans than terrorism.

    America has become a rogue nation, flying blind, guided only by ignorance and hubris. A terrible catastrophe awaits.


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