Saturday, March 01, 2014

War, democracy and fascism

My personal schedule has not allowed much time for blogging. More than that: My heart isn't in it.

This country may be gearing up to make an Iraq-sized historic mistake, vis-a-vis Russia and Ukraine. What to do, what to do?

Whenever we face an "historical error" moment, a flight-or-fight response takes over: Either I spend every spare second trying to help right the course, or I retreat off into a corner to watch old Humphrey Bogart movies.

At this time, what sane person wouldn't rather be watching Bogie than watching the news? Obama has never been quite so infuriating:
“We are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine,” Obama said, speaking at the White House. “Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing.”
We just engineered a coup against a democratically elected government! We backed neo-Nazi thugs! By what right does Obama speak of sovereignty?

If Russia had paid Mexican rebels billions of dollars to overthrow the Mexican government, you bet your ass DC would send troops down south.

Meanwhile, John Kerry says the elections don't insure democracy. At first, I thought his statement was exasperating, but on deeper reflection, I can't really disagree. After all, we have elections in this country -- but do we have true democracy?

If we had a true democracy, whistleblower organizations would not be reporting mysterious break-ins.

The majority of the American people don't want the NSA and the CIA to be doing the kinds of things we now know they are doing, such as practicing psy-war on the American people (as detailed a few posts down). Democracy and psy-war are incompatible.

Do you honestly think that the majority of the American people want the government to eavesdrop on our Yahoo webcam conversations? True, the afore-linked article references eavesdropping by the UK's GCHQ, but everyone knows that GCHQ and NSA work closely together.

In 2009, polls indicated that a bare majority of the American people backed a Canada-style single-payer health system, yet that idea was not even considered in the health care discussions. Isn't democracy supposed to have something to do with the will of the majority?

Those are just four examples which indicate that John Kerry may well be right in ways that he did not intend. He wasn't talking about our own country, but he might as well have. In America, we have elections, but elections don't guarantee democracy.

Come to think of it: If we had a true democracy (instead of a "Diebold democracy"), then John Kerry probably would have been elected president in 2004.

Perhaps this writer has it right: Our compromised democracy may be sliding toward fascism without totalitarianism.
As my title implies, I do not regard fascism and totalitarianism as synonyms. The proper way to view matters is that a very pernicious form of fascism (and of course, the word fascism implies it's pernicious) can exist without totalitarian control; if totalitarianism implies near-total government control over people's lives, it strikes me that government can do a particular sort of grievous harm to its subject population--harm that fully merits the term fascism-- while still falling short of totalitarian dominance. Perhaps the best way of viewing this is that fascism inevitably tends in a totalitarian direction (because excessive power, by a well-documented psychological dynamic, always strives to tighten its grip, often to the point of overreach), but it can often achieve its toxic purposes--and arguably, achieve them more effectively--without any need for total control.

Before giving needed historical justification for my applying the F-word to current circumstances, I wish to pinpoint two practical implications of the fascism-totalitarianism distinction: one alarming and the other quite hopeful. The alarming part is that fascism can fool a nation's people and have them deeply in its grip before they've even noticed--largely because they've confused fascism with totalitarianism, and falsely conclude they're fascism-free because daily life isn't (yet) totally under their government's thumb. The hopeful part is that because fascism can exist for some time without totalitarianism, people can (if sufficiently awakened) still retain enough freedom to fight back and reverse their nation's fascist course. I think ALL these characteristics--except, scarily, the sufficient awakening--exist in today's United States.
So fascism is essentially a cancer on democracy, and would not exist without its modern democratic host. Which brings us to the quintessentially modern means by which the fascist spreads: mass propaganda, as enabled by modern communications media.

It's in its absolutely central reliance on mass propaganda that fascism proves its incestuously close relationship with democracy, for a weakened democratic body is the only kind fascism's cancer can grow in. (Not that there aren't truly awful regimes that were never in any sense democratic; my point is that they're simply not fascist.) So far from true is Americans' smug assurance "It can't happen here" that one with far greater justice identifies ours as exactly the sort of society where, if democracy fatally weakens, the cancer of fascism can thrive. Our long brainwashing by electronic media advertising has in many ways been our grade school for graduation to fascism, and it's especially sobering to realize that Goebbels learned much of his satanic bag of tricks from American advertisers.

Quite simply, it's too potentially dangerous--and too disreputably messy--to control large modern populations (especially ones that believe in democracy) by force, so mind control through mass propaganda (and its Siamese twin, censorship) has become the preferred modern means of tyranny. Since fascism is the modern version of tyranny, mind control through mass propaganda, transmitted by modern electronic media, is an essential defining characteristic of fascism. Not that sheer force is outmoded; quite the contrary, it's essential to fascism. But force against the domestic population, when not applied to official scapegoats (see below) is reserved almost exclusively for dissidents uncontrollable by propaganda.
I've already quoted too much; the entire piece is thought-provoking and definitely will reward study. The point is made: If John Kerry and Barack Obama want to argue that elections do not guarantee democracy, then why are they interfering with Ukrainian politics? In our own country, elections may soon become nothing more than the attractive package that fascism comes in. 
In centuries past the wealthy could always go out and find a "terra nullius" -- a country empty except for a small population of savages, and therefore worthy of the moral improvement that comes with foreign conquest and pillage -- the Spanish in South America, Belgians in the Congo, the English in India and China, the US in the Phillipines. Of course, those lands are no longer far away and they are are no longer "terra nullius" (they never were). The lies that sustained those exploitations are unsaleable in a modern, connected world. So there has to be a new way for the rich to exploit established nations. The methods are twofold:

(1) Denounce a country as a rogue state and either invade it or install your own leadership group (Ukraine, Syria, Iran, Venezuela).

(2) Where such denunciations are impossible (eg developed Western nations and the EU) then sell the lie that a good economy and national well being can only happen when the State has been removed from every aspect of social and economic life. The national assets, the environment, and the citizens themselves will then be open for "development" and "free markets". Only when the State as a buffer against the worst forms of predatory capitalism has been removed can the philosophy of "terra nullius" be established in a modern form and the nation looted.

This is where we are at with these Libertarians and Beltway courtiers and their cheap definitions of the individual and the State -- we are untidy and disposable obstructions to the last great rush of colonial looting by the rich of this world.

The method is simple and unremitting: deny the legitimacy of the State to act on behalf of its citizens. Where it does operate effectively for all citizens then destroy it. Leave the forms of democracy as public theater while the key mechanisms such as the army and the courts are used to serve an economic and political elite. At all times keep up the appearance of a functioning democracy. Public displays of the right sentiments are they key.
There was never any idea of India as a terra nullius. When Clive took over Bengal it had a larger population than the UK does now.
Part 1:
I have been of the belief that the neo-cons that have burrowed into the State Department are working against Obama, to undermine him and continue on their global destabilization plans. This is the textbook realization of "The Shock Doctorine".
One journalist that supports this view is Robert Parry, who points out that the Reagan-inspired and mis-named National Endowment for Democracy is behind the Ukraine operation.

I also believe that this is Obama's "Bay of Pigs" moment. His embedded neo-cons have sandbagged the U.S. into a dangerous gambit that is perhaps destined to fail, luring the U.S. into a wider conflict.
I sure hope not.
But if I am right, Obama, like Kennedy, could pull back and seek diplomacy. Of course, we all know what that got Kennedy.

Cheney, Rumsfeld and Richard Perle must all be having a collective orgasm right now.

The Russians will never give up their naval port in Crimea. Best case scenario is that it becomes an independent country supported by Russia.
Additionally, Germany has won Ukraine, as with much of their WW2-era goals. Neo-Nazis are flooding into Ukraine to save the white race:

Very unnerving.

Part 2: A uniquely American Fascism
Understand this, Joe. The American-Israeli Empire fears most a Eurasian Union creating a friendly axis arching Deutschland and Mother Russia. It will use moronic "neo-Nazis" and any other force available to prevent such.
Some of the "neo-Nazis" now are objectively "pro-Jewish" in that they tell Israelis they approve of and will support on coming to power Israel's racist policies and ask only that Israel allows its fifth column in the West "white Europeans and European-Americans" the right to formulate their own solidarity campaigns without being called racist.
Of course a Eurasian/National Bolshevist coalition supports Freeing Palestine.
Get the picture?
Apply that geopolitical reality to the ruling classes running the government here. Bingo!
Oh, and Preident Obama? You say the "international community" demands Russia stay out of Ukraine.
Beg your pardon-China makes no such demand and China is the largest member of the real international community. You speak for a decaying empire, Barack, not the international community. And you have betrayed your Palestinian friends in Chicago, just as Rahm knew you would.
Ken, I see no immediately apparent Israeli interest in Ukraine, and I oppose a knee-jerk response that everything one does not like must somehow be Israel's fault.

Syria? Now THAT I could see. Assad backs Hezbollah; Israel naturally wants rid of Assad and will make various deals with various devils to get the job done. There we have a story that makes sense.

But Ukraine...? It's a little more difficult to make a case.

That said, we know from the strange case of Anders Breivik that the neo-Nazis of Europe have s strange new attitude toward Israel.
Ok, Joe, if you don't want to believe Nuland or Doug Feith cares about Israel much, you go right on your way.

Russia backs Assad. Does an anti-Russian Ukraine?
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