By Dennis Loo
The Town Hall brawls are the latest, and some of the most dramatic, evidence of the fascist remaking of the U.S.
Previously sacrosanct arenas have been invaded and bright lines crossed: an assassin shoots Dr. George Tiller in the head in church, mainstream media give airtime to Christian Fascist leaders celebrating the assassin’s actions and calling for more of the kind; town halls, which used to be polite exchanges between constituents and public officials, have become more reminiscent of brown shirt behavior than of small town virtues; fascists posing as journalists like Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly call for blood and get their wishes, yet continue to enjoy a national platform; lie after lie is paraded as truth; torture and rendition continue after becoming enshrined as explicit policy by the U.S. government under Bush; sadists such as Cheney, John Yoo and Jay Bybee continue to roam the land freely, given national interviews and Op-Eds in “respectable” papers such as the Philadelphia Inquirer; Obama judges these leaders to be well-intentioned and respectable, refuses to release the incriminating torture photographs and to prosecute the admitted torturers; peaceful demonstrators at the 2008 RNC are infiltrated by police agents and rounded up before they can even begin their protests and are charged as domestic terrorists; the rule of law and habeas corpus in particular, which Bush and Cheney dramatically and repeatedly overrode, Obama rhetorically upholds but has done nothing to concretely restore, thereby rendering the rule of law dead; Obama continues to spy upon all of us in warrantless surveillance, blocks detainees’ lawsuits on the grounds of “state secrets” and threatens the British government if they do not do likewise; wars are being escalated in two theatres; “preventive detention” under Bush becomes “prolonged detention” under Obama who declares that even if you are acquitted by a military commissions tribunal or by a criminal court, you may still be detained indefinitely if the government deems that you might do something in the future.
The list is long and growing. Each new revelation and action is more unbelievable and more alarming than the previous one.
What nightmare have we been living in for these last many years?
It’s time to wake up and smell the sulfur.
Comes now the latest news that in response to the right-wing initiated health care fracas, Obama is signaling that he is willing to withdraw the government option within his already weak-as-a-third-time-tea-bag health care plan.
Obama seeks common ground, but not with everyone. He doesn’t seek common ground with the dispossessed or with the Left. To the dispossessed and the Left he throws flowery phrases and implicitly says, at least I’m not McCain, Palin or Bush, aren’t you glad?
The people Obama pursues common ground with are fascists. The compromises and collusion that Obama as a Senator and the Democratic Party leadership implemented during the Bush White House years, no matter how outrageous, immoral, or illegal, have led us directly to this precise point in time.
Obama’s campaign for president was a gambit designed to restore the public’s faith in the system and to repackage and rebrand the Bush Regime’s policies under a more appealing cover. We are seeing the ongoing fascist refashioning of the country, this time under the auspices of a black, Democratic President.
Recoiling in the face of the fascists’ reactionary, anti-rationalist statements and actions, many people in this country are being driven more deeply into the arms of the Democrats as a haven from the brown shirts. The Democrats look so reasonable by comparison.
This is a grave mistake.
The Democrats and Obama in particular are like the friend you flee to in the night in order to escape from a spouse who tied you up, beat you and threatened to kill you. This friend rubs your shoulders and soothes you, telling you that it is going to be all right and then goes into the other room and “helps” you by quietly calling up your spouse and having him come and get you.
The GOP has apparently given up Karl Rove’s goal of a permanent GOP majority. They have, after all, lost the last several election cycles (Bush and Cheney actually lost the 2000 and 2004 elections). Their policies have been both deeply unpopular and disastrous. Their ranks are shrinking. And yet they continue to dominate the public policy arena.
How is that possible?
First, the GOP owns and controls a right-wing media empire led by Fox News and by Clear Channel. Through those organs they largely shape the national discourse and set the parameters of “legitimate” discussion.
Second, the Democrats operate within those same parameters and bend over backwards to accommodate the GOP’s fascist norms.
The GOP knows that their real agenda is diametrically opposed to the interests of the vast majority. They are pursuing a strategy of winning through intimidation and rule by fear. Bullies can dominate if they can succeed in scaring the rest of the people into submission. That is how the Nazis took over. They used the Big Lie and they used knives, beatings and murder. That is what we are facing. That is the direction we have been and are headed in.
As I wrote in 2006 in my book, Impeach the President:
“We stand at a crossroads. Will we obey and be ‘good Germans?’ In the years preceding Hitler’s naming to the German Chancellorship many German Jews and others kept telling themselves that it can’t possibly get any worse and it can’t possibly go any further. Except that it did. The 1933 Reichstag Fire, set by Herman Göring and the Nazis but blamed on the communists, was the Nazis’ excuse to suspend civil liberties and freedom of the press entirely. It was the German equivalent of our 9/11.” (p. 18)
The only way that we can meet this threat is through a mobilization of the people fighting for our collective interests separate from and against the wishes of the Democratic Party leadership.
Stand up for the rights of women in the face of the Christian fascists. Stand up for the rights of immigrants. Stand up for the rights of the gay, lesbian and transgendered community. Stand up for civil rights and civil liberties. Stand up for single payer health insurance. Stand up against the bailouts and multi-billion dollar bonuses of the plutocracy. Stand up for those our government has murdered and tortured, here and abroad, citizen and non-citizen alike.
Stand up or be ready to be put down. In the face of tyranny, some must be brave in order to help others who are afraid to step forward.
The storms that are coming and that we see on the horizon, gathering menacingly in large, increasingly black clouds, will uproot life as we have known it. We can feel the growing wind on our faces and see it in the undulating tree branches.
As Chinese revolutionaries put it so aptly in the 1960s: "Cast Away Illusions. Prepare for Struggle."
 The Reichstag was the German Parliament’s assembly building. “The Reichstag Fire, according to the Nuremberg testimony of General Franz Halder, was the handiwork of Göring, not of ‘Communist instigators.’ ‘At a luncheon on the birthday of Hitler in 1942. . .’ Halder testifies, ‘[Göring said]. . .The only one who really knows about the Reichstag is I, because I set it on fire!’ ‘With that,’ said Halder, ‘he slapped his thigh with the flat of his hand.’” Wikipedia.
In light of the town hall brawls, the following points regarding the Dominionist movement – Sarah Palin is a Dominionist – are worth a close look. I conclude this article with an extended excerpt from Katherine Yurica:
How the Dominionists Are Succeeding in Their Quest for National Control and World Power
By Katherine Yurica
September 14, 2004
Paul Weyrich’s Secret Manual on How to Win Politically
Since the writing and posting of my essay, The Despoiling of Americain February 2004, there is more and more evidence that not only has a cultural war been launched, but that the plotters are winning it. “Dominionism” now looks more like a term that is applicable to both right-wing-religious believers and to the neo-cons who were created and born in an astonishing resurgence of an immoral Machiavellianism: both groups believe in domination and control. While religious adherents adopted a decidedly heretical Christian doctrine, the neo-cons continue to use the American churches to help execute their cabal. It was expressed this way by a Yurica Report talk board participant:
“One of the more sinister aspects of the current crisis is the influence of Leo Strauss on the pro-war, “neo-cons” who are determining so much of our foreign policy. While the Christian right thinks it is running the show, Leo Strauss’ irreligious philosophy is actually in control. Strauss believed that the rulers should not be religious, but should use religion to manage the people — which he evidently regarded as a stupid herd. He also believed that a state of war was great for controlling and directing the masses. So it’s all come together: the weirdest book of the bible [Revelations], with its mysterious disasters; the scheming behind the scenes warmongers and an incident of terrorism that has served admirably as the Project for a New American Century’s hoped-for ‘new Pearl Harbor.’” Adrien Rain
Americans and the main-stream media have been very slow in catching on to the fact that we are in a war—a war that is cultural, religious and political. One document not mentioned in The Despoiling of America is the closeted manual that reveals how the right wing in American politics can get and keep power. It was created under the tutelage of Paul Weyrich, the man who founded the Free Congress Foundation. Conservative leaders consider Weyrich to be the “most powerful man in American politics today.” There is no question of his immense influence in conservative circles. He is also considered the founder of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank made possible with funding from Joseph Coors and Richard Mellon-Scaife. Weyrich served as the Founding President from 1973-1974.
To get a sense of how revolutionary the political fight for power in the U.S. is, we need to look at a few quotes from what has been dubbed, “Paul Weyrich’s Teaching Manual,” the Free Congress Foundation’s strategic plan on how to gain control of the government of the U.S. Written by Eric Heubeck, and titled, “The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement,” the document is no longer available at the Free Congress Foundation’s website for obvious reasons. But excerpts are published at the Yurica Report. The excerpts explain why the Dominionists are winning; the tactics they endorse are sheer Machiavellian:
I have paraphrased the four immoral principles of the Dominionist movement as the following:
1) Falsehoods are not only acceptable, they are a necessity. The corollary is: The masses will accept any lie if it is spoken with vigor, energy and dedication.
2) It is necessary to be cast under the cloak of “goodness” whereas all opponents and their ideas must be cast as “evil.”
3) Complete destruction of every opponent must be accomplished through unrelenting personal attacks.
4) The creation of the appearance of overwhelming power and brutality is necessary in order to destroy the will of opponents to launch opposition of any kind.
According to Jeffry Sharlet, Hitler’s Mein Kampf and William L. Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich are studied as textbooks in a particular leadership training group he wrote about in Harper’s magazine.
Eric Heubeck, the author of Mr. Weyrich’s manual, does not mince words. Here is a sample of the most immoral political program ever adopted by a political movement in this country. Notice that the manual begins with the adoption of the fundamental fact of Machiavellianism:
“This essay is based on the belief that the truth of an idea is not the primary reason for its acceptance. Far more important is the energy and dedication of the idea’s promoters—in other words, the individuals composing a social or political movement…
“We must, as Mr. Weyrich has suggested, develop a network of parallel cultural institutions existing side-by-side with the dominant leftist cultural institutions. The building and promotion of these institutions will require the development of a movement that will not merely reform the existing post-war conservative movement, but will in fact be forced to supersede it—if it is to succeed at all—because it will pursue a very different strategy and be premised on a very different view of its role in society….
“There will be three main stages in the unfolding of this movement. The first stage will be devoted to the development of a highly motivated elite able to coordinate future activities. The second stage will be devoted to the development of institutions designed to make an impact on the wider elite and a relatively small minority of the masses. The third stage will involve changing the overall character of American popular culture….
“Our movement will be entirely destructive, and entirely constructive. We will not try to reform the existing institutions. We only intend to weaken them, and eventually destroy them. We will endeavor to knock our opponents off-balance and unsettle them at every opportunity. All of our constructive energies will be dedicated to the creation of our own institutions….
“We will maintain a constant barrage of criticism against the Left. We will attack the very legitimacy of the Left. We will not give them a moment’s rest. We will endeavor to prove that the Left does not deserve to hold sway over the heart and mind of a single American. We will offer constant reminders that there is an alternative, there is a better way. When people have had enough of the sickness and decay of today’s American culture, they will be embraced by and welcomed into the New Traditionalist movement. The rejection of the existing society by the people will thus be accomplished by pushing them and pulling them simultaneously.
“We will use guerrilla tactics to undermine the legitimacy of the dominant regime…
“We must create a countervailing force that is just as adept as the Left at intimidating people and institutions that are used as tools of left-wing activism but are not ideologically committed, such as Hollywood celebrities, multinational corporations, and university administrators. We must be feared, so that they will think twice before opening their mouths…
“We will be results-oriented rather than good intentions-oriented. Making a good-faith effort and being ideologically sound will be less important than advancing the goals of the movement…
“We need more people with fire in the belly, and we need a message that attracts those kinds of people….We must reframe this struggle as a moral struggle, as a transcendent struggle, as a struggle between good and evil. And we must be prepared to explain why this is so. We must provide the evidence needed to prove this using images and simple terms….”
(I urge people to read the rest of Yurica’s report.)