Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Fascism of Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi continues to show herself as one of the most condescending and hypocritical members of Congress to date. The current Speaker of the House and the first woman to hold this position has continued to show time after time, her belief that the American taxpayer is incapable of independent thought. Any disagreement by a group of Americans against the policies of Nancy Pelosi has been met with allegations that the unwashed masses don't know what's good for them and as Bill Maher once said about Single Payer Health Care; “You can't get Americans to agree on anything. Sixty-percent? Sixty-percent of people don't believe in evolution in this country. He just needs to drag them to it. Like I just said, they're stupid. Just drag them to this." When confronted with mounting resistance to ObamaCare, she referred to the protests at the Town Hall Meetings as Astroturf, meaning;

"those not interested in health insurance reform are disrupting public meetings and not allowing concerned constituents to ask questions and express their views. Many of these opponents who are shutting down civil discussion are organized by out-of-district, extremist political groups, and industry-supported lobbying firms." However in the same breath she says, “Successful, informative constituent meetings are being headlined by Democrats across the country.”

One is left with two possibilities; either she simply can not believe that anyone can see significant flaws in the workings of the Democrats in Congress, or she believes that any disagreements by her constituency is beneath her; the later would seem more likely. This of course is nothing new. Whenever Speaker Pelosi's rhetoric runs contrary to fact or reality, she simply states the absurd and presents it as fact. Such was her seemingly incompatible views on abortion rights and her professed Catholicism. Speaker Pelosi, in an interview with Tom Brokaw was asked “when” her faith believes life begins; her response was “I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition.” When Brokaw brought to her attention that it is common knowledge that the Catholic church believes life starts at conception, she compounded her hypocrisy in the area, by saying, “I understand. And this is like maybe 50 years or something like that. So again, over the history of the Church, this is an issue of controversy.” The responses from Catholics reached Pope Benedict himself, who stated after a hearing with Ms Pelosi, that all Catholics—especially legislators, jurists and political leaders—should work to create "a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development." Pope Benedict has written at length that the greatest threat to Catholicism in the United States is “Relativism”, meaning Catholics who choose only that part of their faith that is convenient or fits their world view; apparently he was thinking of Speaker Pelosi at the time.

In her acceptance speech as speaker, Ms Pelosi stated, "In order to achieve a new America, we must return this House to the American people. So our first order of business is passing the toughest ethics reform in history. This new Congress doesn't have two years or 100 days to renew itself”. It is interesting to note after almost two years, and numerous ethics violation, not one member of the house has been disciplined. The glaring example is Rep Charles Rangel. Rep Rangel is Chairman of the House Ways and Means committee; the committee that writes the tax code. The New York Post reported that he had bought a Caribbean Villa with an interest free loan given to him by one of his political donors. He then failed to report the loan and income from renting the Villa ($75,000), not only on his congressional disclosure forms, but also on his state or federal income taxes. Interestingly enough, Rep Rangel called for his own investigation on this and other violations, but Speaker Pelosi has refused to have him step down from his post, nor has Rep Rangel been disciplined in any way.

Speaker Pelosi was also become a critic of the coercive interrogation techniques used on terrorists. Speaker Pelosi gives a Clintonize ( I did not have sexual relations with that woman) explanation on what when she wasn't briefed:

When my assistant told me that the committee had been briefed -- now, I'm not on that committee any more. I'm now out of it. We have a new -- that ranking member wrote the appropriate letter to protest that, but the committees can look into and see the timing of who knew what and when and what the nature of the briefing was. I have not been briefed as to what they were briefed on in February. I was just briefed that they were informed that some of the enhanced situations were used”.

So for political reasons, Speaker Pelosi is throwing the CIA members who protected us after 911 under the bus. Did they go too far? Probably. Should we have invaded Iraq? Probably not. Was Speaker (then Rep) Pelosi, as a high ranking member of the House Intelligent Committee September 2002), briefed in coercive interrogation techniques? Of course. Is Speaker Pelosi misleading Americans and then recklessly charging the CIA with deliberate misconduct to cover her tracks (as asks)? What do you think?

Speaker Pelosi was represented the Cap and Trade Bill as a jobs bill. Cap and Trade is a tax based on the belief the human produced carbon dioxide causes Global Warming (aka the Green House Effect). While there is no doubt of the existence of Green House Effect, the last decade has thrown a monkey wrench in the computer models that were meant to predict an expedited increase in the Green House Effect caused by rising C02 levels, refereed to as Global Warming. Twenty years ago, earth temperatures were indeed warming and there was increased pressure on Climatologist to prove the connection between C02 levels Global Warming. Unfortunately for the scientist, temperatures have actually decreased on the last 10 years, causing the political pundits to change the name, Global Warming to Climate Change. The current computer models have been able to show that any and all climate conditions are the negative results of rising C02 levels; this is the definition of dogma, not science.

Well what about the jobs? Ed Histrodt; from;

You may have seen Nancy Pelosi jumping up and down like a junior high-school cheerleader and shouting “Jobs, jobs, jobs!” when she promoted Cap and Trade on the House floor. Wasn’t the bill about saving the planet, not a jobs bill?

It’s more likely that “green jobs” refers to new jobs in the massive bureaucracies necessary to issue emission allocations and police the energy used by all American businesses, and, doubtlessly soon, American households. (The equipment is already in limited use in the U.K. to monitor household electrical usage.) The Energy Police would not only have to monitor use, but also ascertain that the credits being sold were from bona fide “renewable” sources or determine that the originator wasn’t really cheating on that end of the transaction — a daunting task even for a massive bureaucracy".

From an article by Speaker Pelosi, "I believe we have to [pass a cap-and-trade bill] because we see that as a source of revenue," she said, noting that “proposed cap-and-trade bills would raise billions of dollars by forcing major emitters to buy credits to release greenhouse gases”.

President Obama has said that Cap and Trade will necessarily make gasoline prices “skyrocket”. What Cap and Trade does is allow the government to tax anything that produces carbon dioxide, such a breathing. None of the green jobs promised exist or are even on the drawing board. The point of Cap and Trade, is to make our current use of resources so expensive, that it is expected that innovation will supply the option. No matter the endgame, is the government that will tax and control the means of production.

Dr Steve Runnings, is a co-author of the Nobel Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and founder of the Climate Change Studies program at the University of Montana. Dr Runnings has stated, “If the US passed a cap and trade and other countries did not, it wouldn’t work. It would ruin the US economy and it wouldn’t save the climate either. So this is a global issue, the global climate statistics are global in nature, global carbon emissions are global in nature, and we really have to have an international consensus of what to do. That is going to stretch our international diplomacy to its limit, there’s no doubt about that.” That's right Speaker Pelosi, it's all about, “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs”

If there is a final chapter in the emergence of fascism in American it would be the Democratic health care reform debate. The President was attacked every aspect of the current healthcare industry to try and convince the American people that the only solution is a government controlled Single Payer Plan; being presented now as a Public Option or ObamaCare. The President has said that doctors would rather cut off patients feet than treat Diabetes, that private health care 's mission is to take your money and deny services, and charged the big drug companies have successfully lobbied to eliminate drug price bargaining (Pres Obama has since made a deal with big pharmaceutical; they help fund OmabaCare with $80 billion and he will end Medicare (and Obamacare) drug bargaining. The plan on it's face makes no sense; it will still leave 30 million uninsured, with no contingent plan for 20 million illegal aliens; the first five years will be paid for by money saved over the previous 10 years; and 50% of the program will be funded by cutting $500 billion from Medicare, without cutting Medicare coverage (we already know drug prices are going to go up).

Speaker Pelosi has been front and center with her support for a public health plan and believes that if any American Tax payer does not share her support for the public option, they are weak minded and have been led astray by talk radio and FOX News. Speaker Pelois is so condescending that she believes all that is necessary is to change the name of the “Pubic Option” to the “Consumer Option”, than all the resistance to the Public Option would disappear. In the same speech, she said she wanted people to think about it as "their consumer option, because public is being misrepresented as being something that's paid for by taxpayer dollars, which it is not'' and that health reform would “actually improve Medicare coverage for seniors.” Apparently the Speaker has been on the public dole for so long, that she has forgotten that every cent that the government uses is paid for by taxpayers. Of course, a month ½ earlier she said, “Half the bill will be paid for by squeezing excesses out of the [Medicare and Medicaid] system, and there is $500 billion dollars to do that and we’re looking for more.” Only a politician with lifetime private health insurance paid by the government could make such claims. This of course comes after plans of taxing existing private health care plans and a value added tax (a federal income tax).

What is known is that most of the Public Health care promises are smoke and mirrors. From an article by Robert Samuelson; “Public Plan: Delusion in Health Care Debate”:

The public plan's low costs would be artificial. Its main advantage would be the congressionally mandated requirement that hospitals and doctors be reimbursed at rates at or near Medicare's. These are as much as 30 percent lower than rates paid by private insurers, says the health care consulting firm Lewin Group. With such savings, the public plan could charge much lower premiums and attract lots of customers. But health costs wouldn't subside; hospitals and doctors would offset the public plan's artificially low reimbursements by raising fees to private insurers, as already occurs with Medicare. Premiums would increase because private insurers must cover costs to survive.

As for administrative expenses, any advantage for the public plan is exaggerated, say critics. Part of the gap between private insurers and Medicare is statistical illusion: Because Medicare recipients have higher average health expenses ($10,003 in 2007) than the under-65 population ($3,946), its administrative costs are a smaller share of total spending. The public plan, with younger members, wouldn't enjoy this advantage.”

In other words the Medicare overhead advantage (3%) over private insurers (13%) is obtained by comparing apples to oranges; the public plan will likely have a similar overhead as the private insures of today. Finally:

The promise of the public plan is a mirage. Its political brilliance is to use free-market rhetoric (more "choice" and "competition") to expand government power. But why would a plan tied to Medicare control health spending, when Medicare hasn't? From 1970 to 2007, Medicare spending per beneficiary rose 9.2 percent annually compared to the 10.4 percent of private insurers - and the small difference partly reflects cost shifting. Congress periodically improves Medicare benefits, and there's a limit to how much squeezing reimbursement rates can check costs. Doctors and hospitals already complain that low payments limit services or discourage physicians from taking Medicare patients.

The only way we have to estimate the future cost of health care in the past; and the past shows the so called skyrocketing health care costs rose similarly with Medicare. Samuelson went on to say the reason Medicare can keep it's cost down, is they can mandate low reimbursement rates; without which, “the public plan would founder”. And an advantage not given to private insurers.

Perhaps the greatest indicator of fascism is the size of the lie. Speaker Pelosi and Pres Obama seem to have no respect for the American citizen. In their world view, individual freedom and liberty must make way for collectivism; that the needs of the many now supersede the needs of the individual. When faced with the moral values of her religion, she defers to as a need of the state. When faced with the needs of the free market, she points to nationalizing the means of production as a need of the state. When faced with capitalism and the free market, they point to re-distribution of wealth as a need of the state. This has all been tried before; it is the fascism playbook, word for word, and it has never been successful and always resulted in tyranny. But their unending narcissism makes them believe that this time they'll get it right. They praise the ideas of Marx, and Mao, and now Chavez and Castro. Hopefully the American people will not forget what it is that makes America great. It's not hard, because it is written in the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. Our founding fathers battled tyranny and created the greatest country that has ever been. Let's not return the country to tyranny, because, the day will come when we'll want liberty again, and history has shown that only through the loss of life and limb can liberty be gained. It would be tragedy of unimaginable sacrifice, the sacrifices of our forefathers, that will be needed again.

Monday, October 26, 2009

On the Road to Fascism

Capitalism is recognized as the most robust economic plan known to mankind. The concept of “supply and demand” tied to consumerism, has shown the greatest opportunity for economic growth the world has ever seen. But like all things, it's greatest strength is also it's greatest weakness. The driving force behind free market capitalism is supply and demand, but what keeps it healthy is competition. Competition creates innovation, keeps costs in check and greases the skids of capitalism. Unfortunately the history of capitalism is fraught with those who would continually manipulate the free market by trying to eliminate competition. John D Rockefeller is famous for saying, "Competition is a sin". Eliminate competition and you inhibit innovation, but you vastly increase profits. The counter to this are anti-trust laws, but they have often proven to be too little and too late. By the time the anti-trust laws have kicked in, the damage has usually been done.

The other weakness is a complete lack of accountability in the financial markets. As mentioned before, the stock market was meant to be a place were companies could fund themselves by selling a proportion of themselves and their profits. The weakness here is what is referred to as a bubble. A bubble is formed when there is too big a gap between what a stock is worth and the amount a company had previously sold it's stock; this is refereed to as the primary and secondary market. This occurred in the 90s with dot com or NASDAQ bubble. Here the perceived value of start-up Internet companies was so high, that when a correction occurred (the secondary market fell and the bubble burst), most investors lost most or all the money they invested.

Additionally, there is the futures market, which was designed as an insurance policy. If the truth be known, farmers rarely know what the value of their crops or livestock will be when they finally come to market. The idea of futures, was for the farmer to find a buyer for their product at a reasonable profit. Say you buy corn or pork bellies, at an agreed upon price; this is the price the farmer will sell their product. If by the time the corn or pork bellies are sold, and the value is greater than the agreed to price, then you make a profit; if it is lower you loose money, but more important the farmers always have enough money to stay in business.

Mix Investment Banking and Futures and you have derivatives. A derivative is a formula to determine the value of a stock or better what is referred to as a Financial Instrument. The most common derivative is an interest swap. An interest swap occurs when you, Startup Company “A” needs a loan to expand. Currently the interest rate is 5%. Since you are a Startup company, the bank will not give you a long term loan and you know if the interest rate rises over 10% you will not be able to make the payments. Enter Corp B. Corporation B has been around a long time and it looking to invest some profits. Here an investment bank will set up a swap guaranteeing Startup A a year long 8% loan. Startup A will negotiated it's 5% short term loan, and as long as the loan percentage is at 8% or less, Startup A will pay Corp B, the difference between 8% and the current interest. If the interest rate goes above 8% then Corp B will have to pay Startup A the difference. While this kind of derivative can be beneficial to both sides.

Unfortunately these unregulated derivatives can have drastic consequences for the country if they are abused; I am referring to what was known as the sub-prime mortgage meltdown. The idea was all someone had to do was buy or “get into a home”, and the increasing value would allow the owner, regardless of their current ability to pay, an investment that they could re-finance until they could afford the house. Congress pressured the banks to make these home loans and agreed to buy most of the mortgages, so the banks would continue to have money to make more loans. The government then sold these mortgages to Investment Bankers and they in turn created Mortgage Backed Derivatives as high yield investments. Unfortunately, the derivative formulas would not work if the housing market dipped or started to lose money. Once that happened, Mortgage Backed Derivatives could not be valued, the Investment banks could no longer buy mortgages from Fannie and Freddie and the Banks ran out of money; that popping sound was another bubble bursting.

The problem was no accountability. The driving force that started this economic catastrophe was congress and the American Dream Commitment Act. Even though there were many warnings and attempts to rein in the problem, neither the Republicans or the Democrats wanted to turn off the money spigot and tell poor people they could not buy a house. To make matters worse, the Investment Banks sold unregulated Insurances policies on the Mortgage Backed Derivatives, called Credit Default Swaps (yes they are also a form of derivative). Because the Mortgage Backed Derivatives lost value, Credit Default Swaps kicked in and most of largest Investment Banks would have gone bankrupt (and some did) had congress not bailed them out with hundreds of billions of dollars. Interestingly enough, the regulations and accountability to stop this from happening (The Glass Stegal Act) had been in place for over 90 years. Glass Stegal was repealed in 1999 and it took congress and Wall Street only 10 years to repeat most the mistakes that led up to the panic of 1907 and the crash of 1929. Now this is not to say these same mistakes absolutely would not have occurred under fascism. A fascist dictator would most likely encourage inward economic growth tied to home ownership. However, fascism has also showed itself to be highly suspicious of banking and there would be no allowance in fascism for individuals to profit more than the state. The amount of paranoia and accountability, along with a lack of a free market, would have made the sub-prime meltdown almost impossible in a fascist state. Further fascism would almost eliminate the secondary market, as it is not easily controlled, which would put an end to the investment bubbles that have been like a wrecking ball to your average investor.

Of course, all this assumes that the fascist leaders have the state's best interest at heart. As mentioned earlier fascism usually rears it's head during economic down times. However, there is very little evidence that fascism can sustained. Fascism relies much on nationalism. Alexander Tyler wrote that democracy goes through 8 stages;

From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.

If this is to be believed, fascism usually intervenes in the “bondage to spiritual faith” stage and sticks around through the turbulent “spiritual faith to great courage” nationalistic stage. However once liberty raises it's head, fascism begins to loose it allure; power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Those who are in power are not likely to relinquish their power, just because the people now want more freedom. Usually what you will see are manufactured crisis. As White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." Manufactured crisis are designed to keep the citizenry off balance and in need of the government to protect them. Emanuel continued his crisis statement with, "what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you didn't think you could do before". Lets hope that one of these "things", do not have the unintended consequence of fascism.

Friday, October 23, 2009

You Fight Your War and I'll Fight Mine

Hidden away in Charles Krauthammer's recent commentary, “Fox Wars” (10.23.09) were two gems. This first was a glint of hope, that the Obama's attempt to control the media by silencing dissenting views and it's attempted boycott of Fox news may fail. Remember that the tyranny of fascism does not need to forcibly take over the news media. The same objective is accomplished when the press voluntarily censures itself. By the very nature of the Obama's Administration complaints that Fox news is not towing the line, when compared to the other TV and Cable media, we see the White House has a need to control and manipulate the press. As of now, the media (with the exception of Fox news) has voluntarily presented the Obama Administration in an uncritical light. However, when the Administration actually tried to exclude Fox news from a pool interview with Executive Pay Czar, the other networks suddenly recognized they were being asked to be complicit with censuring themselves. From Krauthammer's commentary;

At first there was little reaction from other media. Then on Thursday, the administration tried to make them complicit in an actual boycott of Fox. The Treasury Department made available Ken Feinberg, the executive pay czar, for the interviews with the White House “pool” news organizations- except Fox. The other networks admirably refused, saying they would not interview Feinberg unless Fox was permitted to as well. The Administration backed down".

The second gem discussed Anita Dunn and her now infamous speech in which she quoted Mao Tse- tung, “You fight your war and I'll fight mine”. The first shocker was her statement that Mao was, “one of two persons I turns to most”; the other was Mother Teresa??. In viewing this video, I thought to myself that it is not unusual to quote the major players in the history of the world, I myself like to quote Hitler and his concept of the “Big Lie”, but I would not say that Hitler is one of the persons I turn to most. But in a more succinct point, Krauthammer pointed out that the quote was presented as a challenge to the high schoolers to, not just follow the status quo, and make their own decisions. Again from Krauthammer's commentary:

She's (Anita Dunn) been attacked for extolling Mao's political philosophy in a speech at a high school graduation. But the critics miss the surpassing stupidity of her larger point: She was invoking Mao as support and authority for her impassioned plea for individuality and trusting one's own choices. Mao as champion of individuality? Mao, the greatest imposer of mass uniformity in modern history, creator of a slave society of a near-billion worker bees wearing Mao suits and waving the Little Red Book?”

The point is not that Anita Dunn quoted Mao. The point is the White House Communications Director is presenting a view, that those in power have the right to force tyranny on its people. She was telling the High Schoolers, not they they should hold true to their value system, but they should trust and hold true to the revolutionary point of view. Communism was originally presented as an evolutionary process. That at some point the workers of the world would revolt against their repressive masters. What Marx did not take into account was the emergence of the middle class and labor unions. Regardless, after the workers revolution, there was to be a temporary period where a dictator will take over and re-educate the masses, in the ways of a society, where everyone's contribution will be equal; each according to their ability, each according to their need. Unfortunately, communism has never emerged from this temporary dictatorship without collapsing under it's own weight; it may have something to do with the apparent need to annihilate large portions of the population who don't get it or are worthless eaters. This is the point of Anita Dunn's speech, that when the revolution comes, don't be left in the dust, or the grave to be more accurate.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Part 2; Obama's America Becomes a Corporation

There is lot in the American free market system that has recently failed. In the first part of this series, I talked about the possible advantages of fascism, why some might except the trade offs of personal liberty for economic security, and how such a change might happen. Before we go any farther I want reiterate that I am no fan of fascism, but it is my fear that if one does not understand how benevolent fascism appears on the surface, it will not be recognized as it creeps into the American society. Under Presidents Bush (43) and Obama, we are already seeing the seeds of fascism being planted. After the sub-prime mortgage meltdown. Washington feared that credit that is the life blood of today's industry would dry up. There original plan for the $700 billion TARP fund (Troubled Asset Relief Program) was to buy up all the toxic assets that resulted from the sub-prime mortgage meltdown (hence the name), giving the banks back assets of known value and allowing them sufficient reserves to continue lending money. This was the same solution used during the Savings and Loan scandal of the 1980s. Interestingly enough, Washington actually made money when they later sold the these assets when a more favorable market returned. This plan however was shelved, apparently because Washington believed it did not give them enough control of the banking industry. As a result the banks were simply loaned the money, but the strings attached that has resulted in the Nationalization of the banks, and as the Banks started paying off the loans, Washington has refused to release their control. The Obama Administration followed this up by Nationalizing GM and Chrysler after their bankruptcy. In a twist right out of the fascism playbook, the Auto Worker Union, UAW was given majority ownership in Chrysler and 17.5% ownership in GM, therefore guaranteeing the UAW would not interfere with production. The next fight will be for Nationalized Health Care.

America as a corporation does not compete against itself. GM and Chrysler are no longer competitors, they are now different products made by the same company. As with most corporations, America will be highly compartmentalized. In Italian fascism these were referred to as Syndicates. One thing I have yet mention is Isolationism. A corporation can not control all facets of production if it has to constantly contend with outside influences. For that sake, America as a Corporation will close down it's borders and become less of an international player. On the other hand, the US would extend it's hegemony in a more direct fashion over those areas that contain the resources it needs. In these areas, the governments that control these resources will understand they control these resources in name only and if necessary, America as a Corporation will have no compunction to extend it's borders if necessary for it's security. Right now, illegal immigration is used as a form of slave labor for US industry and agriculture; that will have to stop. In it's place will be a change in the Criminal Justice system where prisons and jails will become Rehabilitation Institutions. It is estimated there are 11 million illegal aliens in the US; half are unemployed; this includes mothers, children and criminals. Of the 5.5 working illegal aliens, only about a third work in agriculture, the balance work in construction jobs such as roofing and insulation. There are also about 2.5 million incarcerated Americans with an additional 3.5 million on probation and parole. It would not take that much to assign parole and probationers one years of paid service in agriculture as a condition of their release. Further, low level prisoners could also be used as labor. In regards to the hard core criminals that remain, one could imagine a more Draconian solution in the vain of a hydraulic system. The state would determine it could incarcerate so many dangerous criminal. Once that number had been achieved, the criminals that have been in the system the longest, would be executed. With this system rehabilitation would take on a new sense of urgency.

The life of the average citizen would not change much with America as a corporation. As a matter of fact, the average Joe will see a steady paycheck, very affordable health care, 3 weeks paid vacations a week and 12 paid sick days a year. It will be management's job to keep production humming along; to reward hard work and give the slackers a kick in the pants when needed. Private ownership and even the control of small business is allowed under fascism. This of course will be in the good times. In fascism, the government is an objective determinate between workers and industry. However, since the governments decisions are always looking toward increased production, wages and benefits tend to be tied to the preceived health of industry. The free market as we know it would disappear. A small amount of competition is allowed to encourage innovation, but not to the point that it would effect the health and growth of the controlled economy. Unlike Communism, fascism usually does not take direct control of a company; Nationalization is accomplished by oversight and regulations. What this accomplishes is accountability to the state. What has come to the attention to the American people is a total lack of accountability by the corporations; especially in the Investment Bankers. The cause of the sub prime meltdown was not so much as a lack of regulations, but a total lack of accountability. CEO's of companies that have lost millions of it's investors money are still getting bonuses in the tens of millions of dollars. Now that the Obama Administration has bailed out these investment banks, they have started to pull the strings to cap salaries in these institutions. This is another page from the fascist playbook. You have a compartmentalized government pay Czar, that now has the power to determine how much the employee of a private company can make.

While there will be a stock market with America as a Corporation, it will look nothing like what it looks like today. It will a slimmed down version designed to invest in companies to help then grow. There will be no derivatives, commodities or unregulated markets, since these markets are impossible to control with little or no accountability. The Federal reserve will be abolished and the Dept of the treasury will have unfettered control of the money supply. Oh, and the trillions of dollars invested in America by countries like China and Saudi Arabia; sorry, in the name of National Security, there will be no foreign ownership of any US Property.

Fascism is also known as being non-intellectual. While this might sound counter to the Obama Administration, there is many areas where sudo-science is presented as fact. Nothing could be truer than climate change and the current Cap and Trade Bill. Without arguing the merits of want is now being called Climate Change, lets just look at what happened to the original studies done in the phenomena called “The Greenhouse Effect”. The term was actually coined in the late 1800's. It is the study of why the climate of earth is stable enough to sustain life. Without the Greenhouse Effect, our planet could not sustain life. Atmospheric scientist have studied the Greenhouse effect to explore what forces cause changes in climates on our planet. At the time forest fires and volcanoes were believed to have the greatest affect. In the 1960s , with the aid of increasingly more powerful computers, Meterologists began experimenting with computer models, in attempt to predict the weather. The result was a rift in scientific thought, that shook the world of Newtonian Physics. From "Chaos, Making A New Science" by James Gleck.

“Scientists marching under Newton's banner actually waved another flag that said something like this: Given an approximate knowledge of a system's initial conditions and an understanding of natural law, one can calculate approximate behaviour of the system.” In other words, when figuring the nature of systems, “Very small influences can be neglected”. Newton believed that if you you had enough information about the past, that information could be reduced to a mathematical equation and reproduced; and if you can reproduce the past you can forecast the future. Edward Lorenz was a weather scientist working with computers at MIT in the 1960's. “One day in the winter of 1961”, Lorenz was running a simple weather model through his computer; ”wanting to examine one sequence at greater length, Lorenz took a shortcut. Instead of starting the whole thing over, he started midway through. To give the machine it's initial conditions, he typed the numbers straight from the earlier printout. Then he walked down the hall to get away from the noise and get a cup of coffee. When he returned an hour later, he saw something unexpected, something that planted a seed for a new science.”

The new science Gleck was eluding to was Chaos Theory. What had happened was the computer model returned with a completely different forecast as before. It turns out the reason was Gleck had rounded off his numbers from six decimal places to three; .506127 had been typed in as .506; according to the current Newtonian thought, this small difference should have been inconsequential. Lorenz had discovered that small changes in initial conditions produced large changes in the long-term outcome. Gleck explained this by comparing predicting tides to predicting the weather. “The average person, seeing that we can predict tides pretty well a few months ahead would say, why can't we do the same thing with the atmosphere, it's just a fluid system , the laws are about as complicated. But I realized that any physical system that behave non-periodically would be unpredictable”. In other words the reason we can predict tides is because they are periodical; like a newspaper being delivered to your house every day. Even though we no nothing about the complicated life of the human being that delivers the paper, the fact that it shows up every morning between 5-6 AM, allows us to predict the same will happen tomorrow. However, if you subscribe to a “zine”, or internet blog that shows up only when the writer has something to say, there is no way to predict when you will see the next issue. This may sound like common sense, but before Chaos Theory scientist believed there was some inherent pattern to the world that would allow you to make such a prediction.

Okay, why have I spent all this time on Chaos Theory. The reason is simple. The study of understanding and predicting the weather is very difficult; so difficult in fact that it gave us a new understanding of the true complexity of the universe we live in. When Lorenz went searching for a way to predict the weather, he was as if in a boat made by Newton; much like Rory Shiver looking for the shark in Jaws. What he discovered, when he saw the scope of the problem, was he was going to need a bigger boat. Science is a process, it is not supposed to be a tool to control the citizenry of a country; but it is another page from the fascist playbook.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What Would Fascism Look Like in America?

What would fascism look like in the America? First, as an American citizen, you have to divorce yourself from the concept that American is defined by our Democratic Republic. Unlike most countries, the United States has always been defined by our form of Government. Ask an American what it means to be an American, and the most common answer is it means we are free. Ask someone from another country and they would say, it means they were born there. Also, must European countries have seen many different forms of government, represented by their associated political party; example are Socialists, Communists, Fascists, Social Democrats and Greens are typical parties that often reform a European government. Our founding fathers believed in and created a very restrained democracy in favor of personal liberty. Benjamin Franklin defined a democracy as, “Two lions and a goat discussing what's for dinner”. The Constitution set up the nuts and bolts of our form of government. Included and attached as a “Bill of Rights”, are enumerated individual rights, that take president over the majority rule of a Democracy. For fascism to work in America, we would have to give up on the idea of Individual liberty and embrace “Collectivism”. Stephen Grabill and Gregory M. A. Gronbacher define Collectivism as “ the theory and practice that makes some sort of group rather than the individual the fundamental unit of political, social, and economic concern. In theory, collectivists insist that the claims of groups, associations, or the state must normally supersede the claims of individuals”. In other words, you will no longer define yourself as an individual, but part of large collective. Your value will be defined by your contribution to the state.

Now I hear you thinking, “that doesn't sound like a good idea”. Well lets continue on and look at the positive side of fascism. In the Broadway musical 1776, John Dickinson from Pennsylvania remarks, “most men without property would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich, than face the reality of being poor”. What Dickinson was talking about is the middle class protecting the rights of the rich. But what would happen if the middle class finally figured out that they were never going to get rich. Fascism does not prohibit people from becoming rich, but it does control the level of wealth and weighs it against the health of the state. Fascism does not strictly control the means of production as communism does, as it realizes industry is usually run by people who know what they're doing. So rather than replace all the CEO's and mangers with fascist party members after a company is nationalized, quite often the same managers will be put back in control with fascist overseers. Also, fascism is not “each according to his ability, each according to his needs”. Fascism recognizes and rewards innovation and hard work. Would you be willing to give up personal liberty and free market capitalism for a state controlled job that offerers excellent benefits and rewards hard work? Fascism will not give you the same opportunities to become rich, but it will guarantee, that as long as you benefit the state, you will be taken care of. How would that sound with an unemployment rate of 15-25%.

With fascism you will no longer be a autonomous voting citizen, you will be part od a collective; there will no longer be a Congress, there would be a Board of Directors; there would no longer be a President, there is a CEO, and the CEO will be a very popular guy. He will be charismatic and appeal to your sense of responsibility and national pride.

In 1997 William Strauss and Neil Howe wrote a prophetic book on America called “The Fourth Turning”. The premise of the book is history is cyclical and repeats itself through 4 repeated “Turnings”, every 20-25 years. According to the writers, we are leaving a period of Unraveling and entering a period of Crisis where the rotting foundation of the American society will collapse and a new robust America will emerge. He likens this Crisis period to the America Revolution, the Civil War, and the Great Depression/WWII.

The writers say that sometime in the early 2000’s we will enter the “Millenial Crisis”. This period will be ushered in by what the writers referred to as “Crisis Catalyst”. This crisis, ala 911, will not worsen into a full-fledged catastrophe, “since the nation will find a way to avert the initial danger and stabilize the situation for a while.”…But as the Crisis mood congeals, people will come to the jarring realization, that they have grown helplessly dependent on a teetering edifice of anonymous transactions and paper guarantees. Many Americans won’t know where their savings are, who their employer is, what their pension is, or how their government works. The era will have left the financial world arbitraged and tenticaled: Debtors won’t know who holds their notes, homeowners who owns their mortgages, and shareholders who runs their equities-and visa versa.

At some point, Americas short-term Crisis psychology will catch up to the long-term post-Unraveling fundamentals. This might result in a Great Devaluation, a severe drop in the market price of the most fundamental and real assets. This devaluation could be a short but horrific panic, a free-falling price in the market with no buyers.”…”As assets devalue further, trust will further degenerate, which will cause assets to devalue further, and so on.”

Within 10 years of the catalyst, “a national election will produce a sweeping political realignment, as one faction or coalition capitalizes on a new demand for decisive action.”…”The winners will now have the power to pursue the potent, less incrementalist agenda about which they have long dreamed and against which their adversaries had darkly warned”….”Regardless of it’s ideology, that new leadership will assert public authority and demand public sacrifice. Where leaders had once been inclined to alleviate societal pressures, they will now aggravate them to command the nation’s attention. The regeneracy will be solidly under way.”

In the end the crisis will end in a climax; “Decisive events will occur- events so vast, powerful and unique that they lay beyond today’s wildest hypotheses. These events will inspire great documents and speeches, visions of a new political order being framed. People will discover a hitherto unimagined capacity to fight and die, and to let their children fight and die, for a communal cause. The Spirit of America will return, because there will be no other choice.

I will leave you with another quote from Benjamin Franklin: Those who would trade in their freedom for their protection deserve neither'

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

College Protests in the New Millennium

In a recent letter to the Santa Cruz Weekly (Oct 14-20 2009), Kathy Cheer bemoaned the fact that the recent take over of the commons building at UCSC was non-eventful. Her hope was for a greater “show of force” and that the “UC agitators (would) seriously put forth demands and boycott with vigor.” She likened the serious money problems facing the UC system as a class war similar to the “civil war”. She ended her letter suggesting a “Up against the wall,” mentality toward the college and to “stare down the administration daily; make them queasy”.

My reaction to this letter is probably the same as most whom read it; Ms Cheer, UCSC is not a jail. The UC system is a gift from the citizens of California by the already over taxed payers; primarily the rich tax payers. The purpose of the UC system is to provide the citizenry of California with the opportunity to receive a high quality subsidized college education, for which it is the envy of most states. However, as I stated before, the tax base of California is reliant by the taxes paid by the rich. In a recession, the rich make less money and therefore pay less taxes. The state has reduced the UC system budget , resulting in cuts based on priorities. While there might be vigorous debate on these priorities, one can not blame the lack of funding on the Regents. The current UC agitators may well be protesting money diverted from the UC system to pay for programs that subsidize medical care for indigent families; or pay for the housing of convicts in state prison. Either way, encouraging a hostile environment on UC campuses, is not going to increase the money in the state coffers, but it will most certainly result in adversarial relationships between the students, teachers and administration.

During the Vietnam era violent protests and demonstrations resulted in a US President not running for re-election and an expedited end to an unpopular war. Theses protests got their start on college campuses, and were quickly joined by Marxist revolutionaries, who not only wanted an end to the war, but used the anti-war sentiments to try and forward their agenda of a violent overthrow of the United States. However it was the anti-war, minus the revolutionary agenda, that won out. It would seem however, that the some of the students who are now college professors, have never gotten over their ten minutes of fame and try and fall back on protests and demonstrations to right all the perceived wrongs they see in today's society. This of course is a right rooted in our country's history and guaranteed in our Constitution. The problem is, when viewed through Vietnam era glasses, you end up with radical idealism, espousing escalated intimidation and violence.

Right or wrong, UCSC students are often looked upon as adults by statued only, with limited life experience and only a summer or two older then their high school graduation. Most students will not stay long enough in our college town, to appreciate the incremental improvements that result in real positive change. In essence, knee jerk protests with escalating violence is the functional equivalent to a child throwing a tantrum, when they don't get their way. And since most college students feel fairly impotent, having lived their entire life dependent on their parents, the tantrum response would seem quite normal. What's missing here of course is having a dialogue; trying to see opposing view through the other side's eyes. A radical sees no other view but their own and attempts to silence any dissenting view. In this case there seems to be less money available to subsidize education. This may come as a shock but there are no shortages of students. I'm thinking while boycotts and escalating violence, has had some limited success in a jail setting, that hopefully success in higher education can be achieved through dialogue and intelligence; it is, after all, a place of higher learning.

Is President Obama's America Becoming a Socialist Corporate State?

The term “fascism” has been bandied around recently, and before you dismiss the term as an extreme overstatement, it may be worth exploring what fascism actually means. First, if you call a person or political organization fascist, you are not necessarily calling them National Socialists (Nazis). While the two dovetailed together very well, the Nazi party was a political party, the same a Republican or Democrat. Fascism is a form of government; the du jour during the 1920s and 30s and embraced by European nations such as Spain, Italy, Romania, Germany and in South America, Brazil. Post WWII fascist countries include Argentina, Chile, Apartheid South Africa, Iraq and Iran. First, all fascist states are dictatorial and totalitarian states led by a charismatic leader. While created in many guises, fascism is best described as “Corporate Government”. Fascism usually lays it's foundation with the promise of a classless social welfare state. However, unlike true socialism, the “social welfare state” is not egalitarian; it is a promise to the middle class that hard work and allegiance to the state will be rewarded with prosperity. Fascism is anti-Capitalism, which it blames for it's class creation and anti-Communism for it's exploitation of class warfare and overbearing control. Fascism tends to emerge from a capitalistic state with a struggling economy. In a fascist state all major industry is nationalized, however unlike communism, the Capitalistic concepts of hard work and innovation are encouraged and rewarded. Labor unions, the bain of Capitalism, are simply incorporated into the state. This is achieved by being highly compartmentalized, and controlling every aspect of business and labor; hence the term “totalitarianism”; the compartmentalized (or departmentalized) of the Italian fascists regime was divided into numerous "syndicates", that had unilateral control over their particular aspect of the economy. "In Italy there are organizations of employees and employers called syndicates, corresponding to the unions and trade associations of other countries...Through a hierarchy of organizations, all syndicates are united in a national confederations...standing for the main branches of economic activity; industry, agriculture, commerce, banking, transportation and Navigation." Do We Want Facism?   A fascist government is authoritarian and reactionary; any impediment to production or the health of the state is dealt with swiftly and ruthlessly. In most fascist states there is some form of indoctrination through education and the media. "The Fascist conception of the State is all-embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value. Thus understood, Fascism is totalitarian, and the Fascist State—a synthesis and a unit inclusive of all values—interprets, develops, and potentiates the whole life of a people."1
Fascism embraces the the worst from both the left and right. From the right you get a Nationalistic, chauvinistic, male centered society, where multiculturalism is believed to weaken the state and homosexuality a crime. On the left, individualism is an anathema, as all are beholding to the state. Further Eugenics has found a high water mark in Fascist states, as it emphasizes the belief that the strong and healthy must assert themselves and eliminate the weak and sickly. This also extended to the aged, as euthanasia has been encouraged so one does not burden family or the state.
So how does Obama stack up to a suspicious citizenry. Well we do have a charismatic leader who has promised fundamental change. We have a weakening economy that needs to be pulled up by it's boot straps. Obama has concentrated on the middle class, made comments saying he is in favor of single payer government run healthcare. He was made comments that end of life counselings is needed so the aged and sick will not be a burden on their family and the healthcare system. We have also seen the Nationalism of the auto industry and “loans” with Nationalized type strings, given to our nations banks and Investment Institutions. Obama has made a cornerstone of his administration, what he calls a Civilian National Security Force. This force is designed as a state run organization to promote state service. What has become worrisome however, is Obama's use of the NEA (National Endowment of the Arts) to promote his agenda and now the EIF (Entertainment Industry Foundation) to convince Hollywood to include “state service propaganda “ in your favorite TV show. While state service sounds fairly benign, it makes one wonder; Now that Obama has his foot in the door, what other kind of propaganda will we see? There are also the 31 Czars in the Obama Administration, which seems to show a high level of compartmentalization. Finally we are seeing the Presidents attack on talk radio and attempt to silence Fox News. What's down right scary about this, it follows that pattern of almost every dictatorship, fascists or not, to silence dissenting opinions.This is a small portion from a book about the rise of fascism from the prospective of the German citizenry; book is called "They Thought They Were Free"; but it is as true today as it was then.
"What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if he people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it."

"This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter."

"To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it - please try to believe me - unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, "regretted," that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these "little measures" that no "patriotic German" could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head."

1 Benito Mussolini, Fascism: Doctrine and Institutions
2 They Though They Were Free; The Germans 1933-45
3 Do We Want Fascism?