September 21, 2008 Leave a comment
It’s been coming since the dawn of this century and accelerated with the events of 911. America’s response, defined by its political leaders, promulgated by members of the media, and accepted by a large segment of the population has steered the country towards fascism. The political definition of fascism fits to a “t” what is happening in 21st century America. Our increased militarism, which has given rise to a new military state which responds even to natural disasters with a military presence, the nationalism spurred by the ‘either you are with us or against us’ mentality, the tackling of a new and equally imaginary jihadist Islam, to replace an old one, communism and now the nationalization of the banking system all are signs of the encroachment of fascism into the collective. The last example has raised more than a few eyebrows, mine included, in a piece written for the Huffington Post.
Now, if you do not yet understand that the Wall Street crisis is a man-made disaster done through intentional deregulation and corruption, I have a bridge in Alaska to sell to you….. This manufactured crisis is now to be remedied, if the fiscal fascists get their way, with the total transfer of Congressional powers (the few that still remain) to the Executive Branch and the total transfer of public funds into corporate (via government as intermediary) hands.
From the very beginning Bush’s administration has always tried to remove any and all opposition to its policies, including Congress’ oversight function, and the unfortunate aspect of that is Congress has allowed it to happen. The reinterpretation of FISA statutes, the Military Commissions Act and now the bail out of financial institutions have been structured in such a way as to bypass the other two main bodies of government, the legislative and judicial, and leave power solely in the hands of the executive. The concept of the unitary executive, has been expanded under this Administration far more than previous ones and under Bush he deems fit to categorically dismiss laws passed by Congress and signed by him via signing statements which say in some cases he is not bound by the very law he is signing.
What struck me about this latest offense to come from Bush’s government is the way bailouts of Wall Street are designed to give power solely to the Secretary of the Treasury in a manner which leaves out the other branches of government in the decision making process.
The Treasury Secretary can buy broadly defined assets, on any terms he wants, he can hire anyone he wants to do it and can appoint private sector companies as financial deputies of the US government. And he can write whatever regulation he thinks are needed.
Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.
Such language sounds so much like that employed in the Military Commissions Act, where only the President and or the Secretary of Defense can define someone as an unlawful enemy combatant and outside the reach of one of the most cherished rights of American statehood, habeas corpus and the judicial system.
But even in the waning days of the Bush Administration it appears this descent is in free fall. The Republican Party feels confident nominating a ticket that includes one who claims it’s perfectly ok to look into the personnel records of state employees, while protesting the invasion of her own privacy and emails. We’ve already talked about the hypocrisy of Sarah Palin’s position vis-a-vis her own party, but her idea that she can invade others’ privacy so early in the election campaign is chutzpah beyond measure and a sure sign that things will continue as they have been for the last 8 years.
I have an endearing hope in the goodness of the American society to overcome these shortcomings in our political leaders. This is not to say the choices we are presented with at this time are solutions to where we are heading, but before the Brown shirts fully take over, I hope we can reverse this process which has wreaked havoc on societies similarly placed in the not too distant past.