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“What Christians have got to do is take back this country, one precinct at a time, one neighborhood at a time and one state at a time. I honestly believe that in my lifetime, we will see a country once again governed by Christians...and Christian values.” “I want to be invisible. I do guerilla warfare. I paint my face and travel at night. You don’t know it’s over until you’re in a body bag. You don’t know until election night.” -- Ralph Reed (R- Christian Coalition executive director 1987-1989)
There are two important national elections coming up in the next two years and the corporate-owned and controlled mainstream media (MSM) is again orchestrating another series of lucrative “too-close-to-call”, “cliff-hanger” elections designed to sell the maximum number of political commercials (“projected non-competitive” landslide elections don’t make as much money for the press).
In the heat of the campaigns, we misinformed, dis-informed and oft-deceived voters must be careful lest we blindly allow our future oppressors – and that includes our politician’s paymasters - to win at the polls. Unfortunately, history tells us that it happens all the time. But this year an informed electorate (that makes possible a true democracy) is more important than it has been in many past elections.
There are many dangerous candidates who are beholden to hidden and very powerful anti-democracy interest groups, right-wing think tanks (estimated to number between 400 and 800), conservative multinational corporations and assorted millionaires and billionaires, all of whom want to strengthen their already behind-the-scenes control of government. The members of the wealthy ruling class are called plutocrats. These entities currently have total control of the national and state Republican Parties, and are showing increasing control within the national Democratic Party as well.
As mentioned in some of my past columns, the only plutocrat-free political party seems to be the Green Party, which is struggling to become a recognized third party in Minnesota. The Minnesota Greens have an extremely viable candidate (Andy Dawkins) for the state-wide office of Attorney General this year (see http://www.dawkinsforag.com/ for the reasons to cast a ballot for a political party that has highly ethical values and that fights for the little guy). For a list of US Green Party values, go to http://www.gp.org/tenkey.php. For folks who might be staying away from the polls this November 4 but who might want to say “a pox on both your parties”, here is a reason to cast a vote for ethical values in politics.
Money Doesn’t Talk, it Screams – Bob Dylan
Since the Republican Party has purged virtually every moderate Republican member of Congress since Karl Rove (“Bush’s Evil Brain”) and the so-called Tea Party (NRA and -Koch Brothers-funded) gained national prominence and influence, all Republican members of Congress, all Republican candidates for public office and 5 out of 9 Supreme Court justices have been doing the bidding of Rove’s anonymous billionaire plutocrats and the corporations they control. Money doesn’t just talk, it screams, as Bob Dylan once sang.
The many legislative lapdogs in the Senate and US Congress (as well as many state governments) who do the bidding of the 1% and their corporate paymasters do not share the interests of middle or lower class citizens, racial, ethnic or religious minorities or for those who are sensitive to the needs of a sustainable planet and our progeny. To be fair, there are also many congressional members of the national and state Democratic Parties who have succumbed to the influence (or felt that they had to compromise their ethics) of amoral corporate entities (whose allegiance is to their shareholders and not to the people). Corporations - whose mode of operation resembles dictatorships more than democracies - always want less democracy, lower taxes and cheaper labor (historically preferring slavery or at least the prohibition of a legally enforced minimum wage). Extractive mining corporations that pollute the environment want politicians in power that vote to weaken regulations, even if environmental catastrophes and the health of the inhabitants downstream or downwind are risked.
Every election cycle, the corporate-controlled mainstream media profits mightily from the huge multimillion dollar advertising fees that are charged to candidates, (often bogus) political action committees, corporations and anonymous billionaires (including foreign entities!) their propaganda devices cunningly framed in order to influence voters to vote against their best interests.
The ubiquitous fear-mongering, breathless talking heads treat every major political party candidate with unwarranted respect (even PBS and NPR now give total access to those very Republicans who, just a few years ago, were attempting to emasculate those tax-supported media entities by defunding them (in order to suppress their history of occasionally doing aggressive investigative journalism). Most media outlets welcome election campaign season because elections tend to increase listener interest, market share and advertising revenues, all of which is most likely to succeed when the races can be made to appear “too close to call”.
If All We Have to Vote for are Corporate-controlled Candidates,
What Should Freedom-loving, Democracy-loving American Patriots Do This November 4th?
By freedom I don’t mean freedom to own weapons of mass destruction like assault rifles or grenade launchers or freedom from paying legitimate taxes. By freedom I mean freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, freedom from unwarranted search and seizure, freedom from police brutality and freedom from being forced to kill fellow humans.
I mean freedom from the oppression of tyrants and their tyrannical institutions; freedom from war-mongers, war-profiteers and their wars. I mean freedom from bigotry, homophobia, xenophobia, racism, sexism, persecution and freedom from the possibility of living under the jackboot heels of a theocratic state, whether it is instituted by the extremist Islamist Sharia Law (aka, “Islamofascism” which promotes punitive laws including capital punishment) or an extremist Christian Fundamentalist state (aka, “Christofascism” which promotes punitive Old Testament laws including capital punishment. A Christofascist agenda has, incidentally, been popularized in the Bible Belt/Red State realm by the right-wing Christian Reconstructionist movement). For more on this sobering reality, see http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2005/12/nation-under-god.
How Fascist-Leaning are Your Political Candidates?
Two weeks ago I wrote a Duty to Warn voter’s guide column that was subtitled “How Fascist-Leaning are Your Political Candidates?” I printed the original definition of fascism, from Italian philosopher Giovanni Gentile, at the beginning of the column. It read “Fascism is a system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism.”
That column referenced a sobering 2003 article by Laurence Britt entitled “Fascism Anyone?” which listed 14 common characteristics of fascism and the abuse of political power by the influence of corporations whose agendas are enforced by police state tactics. (Read the column at: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1410/S00038/a-voting-guide-for-antifascist-green-voters.htm.)
In that column I suggested that voters carefully scrutinize the political parties and candidates by learning about the corporations, business affiliations, religious institutions and individuals that support them and to which they are therefore beholden.
How Fascist-leaning is Your Candidate’s Religion?
I failed to emphasize in that column that voters also need to also scrutinize how right-wing are the theological beliefs that their candidates espouse. (For understanding a candidate’s religious and theological beliefs [and thus their position on war, heresy, dissent, justice-seeking, truth-telling, crime and punishment, etc.], one will have to know about the teachings and theological interpretations of the various scriptures held to be sacred by the particular religion that might have indoctrinated the candidate.) These are obviously important factors that are rarely discussed in the media, but which will likely influence the law-making decisions the candidate will make after the election. Good Germans regret not fully understanding, before they voted for the very last time in 1933, how much Adolf Hitler and his followers had adopted the virulent anti-Semitism of German religionists like Martin Luther.
Many religions are hierarchical, male-dominated, sexist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, violence- and war-compatible and therefore tend to be not only anti-democratic but also comfortable with fascist values. One only has to look at how readily the vast majority of Christian leaders accommodated to Hitler’s holocaust agenda before and during WWII. These often hidden realities will help to reveal how fascist-leaning a candidate’s cult leaders are and how likely they are to turn into future religious and secular oppressors that are just doing the will of those that paid for their campaigns.
The Republican NeoCon Agenda
For several decades there has been in existence a class of unusually powerful right-wing political operatives known as “NeoConservatives”. The NeoCon movement was a Republican Party group that is best personified by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) that helped dictate the political agendas of the Constitution-shredding Cheney/Bush/Rumsfeld/Rove administration, their disastrous, illegal and bankrupting wars for oil and the Bush stock market crash of 2008.
One of America’s early NeoCons, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, in her 1979 essay “Dictatorships and Double Standards”, articulated the case for supporting pro-American, anti-democratic, fascist dictatorships around the world. Republican administrations and, to a lesser extent, Democratic administrations, have been adopting that agenda even before Ronald Reagan heartily endorsed it.
Despite losing political power to the Obama administration in 2008, the NeoConservatives have been patiently trying to regain total governmental control by their stated intent to cause President Obama and his administration to fail via GOP-inflicted congressional gridlock, media propaganda, dirty tricks, fake impeachment chatter, falsification of data and endless half-truths, all gladly reported by the fear-mongering media.
With the GOP and the corporate-controlled press ignoring or obscuring the fact that Obama had inherited two unaffordable wars, the catastrophic Stock Market crash and the subsequent recession (plus virulent racism and multiple death threats) Obama has been mercilessly beaten up in the media for his (hindered) inability to quickly and magically resolve the disasters that Rove, the Bushites and their NeoCon paymasters had created in the first place. Tragically for democracy and a well-informed electorate, those realities will have been forgotten by this November 4, when the “failed presidency” will be a major GOP propaganda tactic.
What if Progressive Anti-Fascists – the Real American Patriots - Fail in Upcoming Elections?
The US has a highly censored press - owned and operated by multinational corporations and their subsidiaries - that is profit-motivated and not devoted to truth-telling or to building an informed electorate. There is a police state reality in America that has been imprisoning – for the benefit of a privatized, profit-driven, prison-industrial complex - its minorities, its nonviolent offenders, its impoverished, its peaceful dissenters and street demonstrators; and the mainstream press never even makes an attempt to generate outrage among its readers, listeners and viewers.
America has a permanent war economy that President Eisenhower, in a flash of wisdom that only a few statesmen have expressed because so few of them have actually experienced the horrors of war up close, wisely warned against in his farewell address – obviously to no avail America also has a punitive, privatized, law enforcement culture and a punitive judicial system similar to the fascist system that George Orwell wrote about in “1984”.
Likewise, Sinclair Lewis, in his 1935 novel “It Can’t Happen Here”, pointed out the risks of a fascist America. The book was published the year after there had been an actual coup plot against FDR that had been planned by America’s captains of industry (including two Bush family ancestors), who had been impressed by Hitler’s “economic miracle” (that turned around Germany’s economy after those same economic elites on Wall Street had caused the world-wide stock market crash in 1929). (For background, see: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/11/08/18628134.php.) Here is a revealing quote from the Indybay.org article that mentions one of the motivations for the FDR-hating Big Business Republicans that were behind the plot:
“…businessmen like Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller, John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, Prescott Bush and George Herbert Walker admired Hitler and Mussolini.”
Advice for Those Who Still Have Hope for America
America is now lying ethically, if not economically, prostrate in the rubble of the two Bush wars for oil (in 2001 and 2003) and the Bush economic crash (in 2008). We find ourselves meeting essentially all of Britt’s 14 point criteria for fascism (albeit lacking the presence of a fanatical, belligerent, right-wing, shrieking pro-war dictator). Therefore it behooves us true patriots, well before we vote, to learn the historical lessons of fascism, especially that of Nazi Germany in which the extremist right-wing plutocrats and their Gestapo hit-men legally, through the brutal abolition of all leftist movements in Germany, gained control of the government and ended the liberal democratic experiment of the Weimar Republic.
We need to study the history of right-wing authoritarianism (fascism) by reading Britt’s article (and other anti-fascism essays at www.gotfascism.org/essays.html); and then, be suspicious of any right-wing political movement that is trying to complete the Project for the New American Century’s coup plans that started with the dramatic (orchestrated?) events of 9/11/01 that rapidly prompted the passage of the Cheney/Bush Patriot Acts and Homeland Security Act that shredded the US Constitution. (To see who were the members of this nefarious group, go to: http://911review.com/motive/pnac.html. To read a summary of the PNAC imperialist, militarist agenda, go to: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article3249.htm. Among the planks of that NeoCon coup platform are the various GOP-sponsored voter suppression actions (already implemented in states that are led by GOP governors and GOP legislators). They include voter ID card requirements, registration list purges, civil rights suppression, the democracy-killing Citizens United ruling and the orchestration of long voter lines in gerrymandered, liberal and minority precincts.
The perpetrators of this rolling coup attempt include multibillionaires like the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, Stanley Hubbard (NeoCon owner of KSTP-TV in the Twin Cities and WDIO-TV here in the Duluth area) and their already elected puppets like Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker, his henchmen and women in both houses of government and his congressional compatriot Paul Ryan plus any a number of corrupting corporate-controlled American Legislative Exchange Council members who have been writing, for decades, sample pro-corporate, right-wing legislation for state legislatures, many of which have already been passed into law!! To fully appreciate how corrupting and sinister is ALEC, study http://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed, where it has been revealed, among other sobering facts, that 14 of the 16 Wisconsin GOP state senators are known members of ALEC (see: http://www.prwatch.org/node/12382.).
So before you vote, no matter what political party your preferred candidate represents, withhold your vote (or vote Green) until you have been convinced that he or she or it will not become your future oppressor.
Tyrannical regimes could be totally preventable by proper action at the ballot box and/or by nonviolent mass actions in the streets, but they may necessitate overthrowing (if or when they are installed) by a long and painful series of violent revolutionary acts where the pro-corporate police and the pro-corporate military will most likely be on the side of the oppressors.
Dr Kohls is a retired physician who practiced holistic, non-drug mental health care for the last decade of his career. He is involved in peace, nonviolence and justice issues and therefore writes about mental ill health, fascism, corporatism, militarism, racism, imperialism, totalitarianism, economic oppression, anti-environmentalism and other violent, unsustainable, anti-democratic movements.