Fascist America, in 10 easy steps.

John A. Quayle blueoval57 at VERIZON.NET
Fri Nov 30 16:09:23 MST 2007

At 12:22 PM 11/30/2007, William White wrote:

>Armed with an left-wing agenda, this former 
>operative for Al Gore is grinding away with the 
>all-too familiar whine: America is going fascist.

         Looked up her bio on Wikipedia, Bill and 
you are most definitely correct. She IS 
unquestionably leftist. In fact, she was involved 
in the Clinton/Gore re-election bid in 1996.

>Her analogies are all shady distortions of what 
>is so. The Libertarians have joined with the 
>socialists in this fascist anxiety chant, and 
>they share the same sources and the same mental fog.

         This is the main problem I have with Ron 
Paul..................the "Paulists" won't hear 
of any criticism of the doctor, either - no 
matter what. Dr. Paul has been touting the 
virtues of Dennis "Cuckoo" Kucinich (as Jim Nantz 
can verify this being reported on the Jim Quinn 
morning show) as a possible running mate - can you imagine?!?

>I saw her on O'Reilly recently. The voice, the 
>manner, the message all contrived to produce a 
>sense of quiet, insistent urgency - a stylistic 
>trip wire for those who border on Rosie's brand of hysteria.

         Thanks for the clarification, Bill.............

John Q.

>"John A. Quayle" <blueoval57 at VERIZON.NET> wrote:
>Please Read
>The following are the ten steps that were 
>outlined by Ms Naomi Wolf in her video,
>"Fascist America, in 10 easy steps."
>I hope everyone will take the time to read 
>this.  For those who say that time is on our 
>side, remember that there will be no one to save 
>us as we saved the Germans, and then only after 
>the deaths of over 6,000,000,000 people!
>As you look at this, realize that this was NOT 
>published in the continental United States; it 
>was published in the UK.  Naomi Wolf is right on 
>in her assessment of what’s happening in America.
>Lynn M Stuter
>Fascist America, in 10 easy steps
> From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history 
> shows there are certain steps that any would-be 
> dictator must take to destroy constitutional 
> freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush 
> and his administration seem to be taking them all.
>Naomi Wolf
>Tuesday April 24, 2007 | Guardian
>Last autumn, there was a military coup in 
>Thailand. The leaders of the coup took a number 
>of steps, rather systematically, as if they had 
>a shopping list. In a sense, they did. Within a 
>matter of days, democracy had been closed down: 
>the coup leaders declared martial law, sent 
>armed soldiers into residential areas, took over 
>radio and TV stations, issued restrictions on 
>the press, tightened some limits on travel, and 
>took certain activists into custody.
>They were not figuring these things out as they 
>went along. If you look at history, you can see 
>that there is essentially a blueprint for 
>turning an open society into a dictatorship. 
>That blueprint has been used again and again in 
>more and less bloody, more and less terrifying 
>ways. But it is always effective. It is very 
>difficult and arduous to create and sustain a 
>democracy - but history shows that closing one 
>down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps.
>As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is 
>clear, if you are willing to look, that each of 
>these 10 steps has already been initiated today 
>in the United States by the Bush administration.
>Because Americans like me were born in freedom, 
>we have a hard time even considering that it is 
>possible for us to become as unfree - 
>domestically - as many other nations. Because we 
>no longer learn much about our rights or our 
>system of government - the task of being aware 
>of the constitution has been outsourced from 
>citizens' ownership to being the domain of 
>professionals such as lawyers and professors - 
>we scarcely recognise the checks and balances 
>that the founders put in place, even as they are 
>being systematically dismantled. Because we 
>don't learn much about European history, the 
>setting up of a department of "homeland" 
>security - remember who else was keen on the 
>word "homeland" - didn't raise the alarm bells it might have.
>It is my argument that, beneath our very noses, 
>George Bush and his administration are using 
>time-tested tactics to close down an open 
>society. It is time for us to be willing to 
>think the unthinkable - as the author and 
>political journalist Joe Conason, has put it, 
>that it can happen here. And that we are further along than we realise.
>Conason eloquently warned of the danger of 
>American authoritarianism. I am arguing that we 
>need also to look at the lessons of European and 
>other kinds of fascism to understand the 
>potential seriousness of the events we see unfolding in the US.
>1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
>After we were hit on September 11 2001, we were 
>in a state of national shock. Less than six 
>weeks later, on October 26 2001, the USA Patriot 
>Act was passed by a Congress that had little 
>chance to debate it; many said that they 
>scarcely had time to read it. We were told we 
>were now on a "war footing"; we were in a 
>"global war" against a "global caliphate" 
>intending to "wipe out civilisation". There have 
>been other times of crisis in which the US 
>accepted limits on civil liberties, such as 
>during the civil war, when Lincoln declared 
>martial law, and the second world war, when 
>thousands of Japanese-American citizens were 
>interned. But this situation, as Bruce Fein of 
>the American Freedom Agenda notes, is 
>unprecedented: all our other wars had an 
>endpoint, so the pendulum was able to swing back 
>toward freedom; this war is defined as 
>open-ended in time and without national 
>boundaries in space - the globe itself is the 
>battlefield. "This time," Fein says, "there will be no defined end."
>Creating a terrifying threat - hydra-like, 
>secretive, evil - is an old trick. It can, like 
>Hitler's invocation of a communist threat to the 
>nation's security, be based on actual events 
>(one Wisconsin academic has faced calls for his 
>dismissal because he noted, among other things, 
>that the alleged communist arson, the Reichstag 
>fire of February 1933, was swiftly followed in 
>Nazi Germany by passage of the Enabling Act, 
>which replaced constitutional law with an 
>open-ended state of emergency). Or the 
>terrifying threat can be based, like the 
>National Socialist evocation of the "global 
>conspiracy of world Jewry", on myth.
>It is not that global Islamist terrorism is not 
>a severe danger; of course it is. I am arguing 
>rather that the language used to convey the 
>nature of the threat is different in a country 
>such as Spain - which has also suffered violent 
>terrorist attacks - than it is in America. 
>Spanish citizens know that they face a grave 
>security threat; what we as American citizens 
>believe is that we are potentially threatened 
>with the end of civilisation as we know it. Of 
>course, this makes us more willing to accept restrictions on our freedoms.
>2. Create a gulag
>Once you have got everyone scared, the next step 
>is to create a prison system outside the rule of 
>law (as Bush put it, he wanted the American 
>detention centre at Guantánamo Bay to be 
>situated in legal "outer space") - where torture takes place.
>At first, the people who are sent there are seen 
>by citizens as outsiders: troublemakers, spies, 
>"enemies of the people" or "criminals". 
>Initially, citizens tend to support the secret 
>prison system; it makes them feel safer and they 
>do not identify with the prisoners. But soon 
>enough, civil society leaders - opposition 
>members, labour activists, clergy and 
>journalists - are arrested and sent there as well.
>This process took place in fascist shifts or 
>anti-democracy crackdowns ranging from Italy and 
>Germany in the 1920s and 1930s to the Latin 
>American coups of the 1970s and beyond. It is 
>standard practice for closing down an open 
>society or crushing a pro-democracy uprising.
>With its jails in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, of 
>course, Guantánamo in Cuba, where detainees are 
>abused, and kept indefinitely without trial and 
>without access to the due process of the law, 
>America certainly has its gulag now. Bush and 
>his allies in Congress recently announced they 
>would issue no information about the secret CIA 
>"black site" prisons throughout the world, which 
>are used to incarcerate people who have been seized off the street.
>Gulags in history tend to metastasise, becoming 
>ever larger and more secretive, ever more deadly 
>and formalised. We know from first-hand 
>accounts, photographs, videos and government 
>documents that people, innocent and guilty, have 
>been tortured in the US-run prisons we are aware 
>of and those we can't investigate adequately.
>But Americans still assume this system and 
>detainee abuses involve only scary brown people 
>with whom they don't generally identify. It was 
>brave of the conservative pundit William Safire 
>to quote the anti-Nazi pastor Martin Niemöller, 
>who had been seized as a political prisoner: 
>"First they came for the Jews." Most Americans 
>don't understand yet that the destruction of the 
>rule of law at Guantánamo set a dangerous precedent for them, too.
>By the way, the establishment of military 
>tribunals that deny prisoners due process tends 
>to come early on in a fascist shift. Mussolini 
>and Stalin set up such tribunals. On April 24 
>1934, the Nazis, too, set up the People's Court, 
>which also bypassed the judicial system: 
>prisoners were held indefinitely, often in 
>isolation, and tortured, without being charged 
>with offences, and were subjected to show 
>trials. Eventually, the Special Courts became a 
>parallel system that put pressure on the regular 
>courts to abandon the rule of law in favour of 
>Nazi ideology when making decisions.
>3. Develop a thug caste
>When leaders who seek what I call a "fascist 
>shift" want to close down an open society, they 
>send paramilitary groups of scary young men out 
>to terrorise citizens. The Blackshirts roamed 
>the Italian countryside beating up communists; 
>the Brownshirts staged violent rallies 
>throughout Germany. This paramilitary force is 
>especially important in a democracy: you need 
>citizens to fear thug violence and so you need 
>thugs who are free from prosecution.
>The years following 9/11 have proved a bonanza 
>for America's security contractors, with the 
>Bush administration outsourcing areas of work 
>that traditionally fell to the US military. In 
>the process, contracts worth hundreds of 
>millions of dollars have been issued for 
>security work by mercenaries at home and abroad. 
>In Iraq, some of these contract operatives have 
>been accused of involvement in torturing 
>prisoners, harassing journalists and firing on 
>Iraqi civilians. Under Order 17, issued to 
>regulate contractors in Iraq by the one-time US 
>administrator in Baghdad, Paul Bremer, these 
>contractors are immune from prosecution.
>Yes, but that is in Iraq, you could argue; 
>however, after Hurricane Katrina, the Department 
>of Homeland Security hired and deployed hundreds 
>of armed private security guards in New Orleans. 
>The investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill 
>interviewed one unnamed guard who reported 
>having fired on unarmed civilians in the city. 
>It was a natural disaster that underlay that 
>episode - but the administration's endless war 
>on terror means ongoing scope for what are in 
>effect privately contracted armies to take on 
>crisis and emergency management at home in US cities.
>Thugs in America? Groups of angry young 
>Republican men, dressed in identical shirts and 
>trousers, menaced poll workers counting the 
>votes in Florida in 2000. If you are reading 
>history, you can imagine that there can be a 
>need for "public order" on the next election 
>day. Say there are protests, or a threat, on the 
>day of an election; history would not rule out 
>the presence of a private security firm at a 
>polling station "to restore public order".
>4. Set up an internal surveillance system
>In Mussolini's Italy, in Nazi Germany, in 
>communist East Germany, in communist China - in 
>every closed society - secret police spy on 
>ordinary people and encourage neighbours to spy 
>on neighbours. The Stasi needed to keep only a 
>minority of East Germans under surveillance to 
>convince a majority that they themselves were being watched.
>In 2005 and 2006, when James Risen and Eric 
>Lichtblau wrote in the New York Times about a 
>secret state programme to wiretap citizens' 
>phones, read their emails and follow 
>international financial transactions, it became 
>clear to ordinary Americans that they, too, could be under state scrutiny.
>In closed societies, this surveillance is cast 
>as being about "national security"; the true 
>function is to keep citizens docile and inhibit their activism and dissent.
>5. Harass citizens' groups
>The fifth thing you do is related to step four - 
>you infiltrate and harass citizens' groups. It 
>can be trivial: a church in Pasadena, whose 
>minister preached that Jesus was in favour of 
>peace, found itself being investigated by the 
>Internal Revenue Service, while churches that 
>got Republicans out to vote, which is equally 
>illegal under US tax law, have been left alone.
>Other harassment is more serious: the American 
>Civil Liberties Union reports that thousands of 
>ordinary American anti-war, environmental and 
>other groups have been infiltrated by agents: a 
>secret Pentagon database includes more than four 
>dozen peaceful anti-war meetings, rallies or 
>marches by American citizens in its category of 
>1,500 "suspicious incidents". The equally secret 
>Counterintelligence Field Activity (Cifa) agency 
>of the Department of Defense has been gathering 
>information about domestic organisations engaged 
>in peaceful political activities: Cifa is 
>supposed to track "potential terrorist threats" 
>as it watches ordinary US citizen activists. A 
>little-noticed new law has redefined activism 
>such as animal rights protests as "terrorism". 
>So the definition of "terrorist" slowly expands to include the opposition.
>6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
>This scares people. It is a kind of 
>cat-and-mouse game. Nicholas D Kristof and 
>Sheryl WuDunn, the investigative reporters who 
>wrote China Wakes: the Struggle for the Soul of 
>a Rising Power, describe pro-democracy activists 
>in China, such as Wei Jingsheng, being arrested 
>and released many times. In a closing or closed 
>society there is a "list" of dissidents and 
>opposition leaders: you are targeted in this way 
>once you are on the list, and it is hard to get off the list.
>In 2004, America's Transportation Security 
>Administration confirmed that it had a list of 
>passengers who were targeted for security 
>searches or worse if they tried to fly. People 
>who have found themselves on the list? Two 
>middle-aged women peace activists in San 
>Francisco; liberal Senator Edward Kennedy; a 
>member of Venezuela's government - after 
>Venezuela's president had criticised Bush; and 
>thousands of ordinary US citizens.
>Professor Walter F Murphy is emeritus of 
>Princeton University; he is one of the foremost 
>constitutional scholars in the nation and author 
>of the classic Constitutional Democracy. Murphy 
>is also a decorated former marine, and he is not 
>even especially politically liberal. But on 
>March 1 this year, he was denied a boarding pass 
>at Newark, "because I was on the Terrorist Watch list".
>"Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a 
>lot of people from flying because of that," asked the airline employee.
>"I explained," said Murphy, "that I had not so 
>marched but had, in September 2006, given a 
>lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the 
>web, highly critical of George Bush for his many 
>violations of the constitution."
>"That'll do it," the man said.
>Anti-war marcher? Potential terrorist. Support 
>the constitution? Potential terrorist. History 
>shows that the categories of "enemy of the 
>people" tend to expand ever deeper into civil life.
>James Yee, a US citizen, was the Muslim chaplain 
>at Guantánamo who was accused of mishandling 
>classified documents. He was harassed by the US 
>military before the charges against him were 
>dropped. Yee has been detained and released 
>several times. He is still of interest.
>Brandon Mayfield, a US citizen and lawyer in 
>Oregon, was mistakenly identified as a possible 
>terrorist. His house was secretly broken into 
>and his computer seized. Though he is innocent 
>of the accusation against him, he is still on the list.
>It is a standard practice of fascist societies 
>that once you are on the list, you can't get off
>7. Target key individuals
>Threaten civil servants, artists and academics 
>with job loss if they don't toe the line. 
>Mussolini went after the rectors of state 
>universities who did not conform to the fascist 
>line; so did Joseph Goebbels, who purged 
>academics who were not pro-Nazi; so did Chile's 
>Augusto Pinochet; so does the Chinese communist 
>Politburo in punishing pro-democracy students and professors.
>Academe is a tinderbox of activism, so those 
>seeking a fascist shift punish academics and 
>students with professional loss if they do not 
>"coordinate", in Goebbels' term, ideologically. 
>Since civil servants are the sector of society 
>most vulnerable to being fired by a given 
>regime, they are also a group that fascists 
>typically "coordinate" early on: the Reich Law 
>for the Re-establishment of a Professional Civil 
>Service was passed on April 7 1933.
>Bush supporters in state legislatures in several 
>states put pressure on regents at state 
>universities to penalise or fire academics who 
>have been critical of the administration. As for 
>civil servants, the Bush administration has 
>derailed the career of one military lawyer who 
>spoke up for fair trials for detainees, while an 
>administration official publicly intimidated the 
>law firms that represent detainees pro bono by 
>threatening to call for their major corporate clients to boycott them.
>Elsewhere, a CIA contract worker who said in a 
>closed blog that "waterboarding is torture" was 
>stripped of the security clearance she needed in order to do her job.
>Most recently, the administration purged eight 
>US attorneys for what looks like insufficient 
>political loyalty. When Goebbels purged the 
>civil service in April 1933, attorneys were 
>"coordinated" too, a step that eased the way of 
>the increasingly brutal laws to follow.
>8. Control the press
>Italy in the 1920s, Germany in the 30s, East 
>Germany in the 50s, Czechoslovakia in the 60s, 
>the Latin American dictatorships in the 70s, 
>China in the 80s and 90s - all dictatorships and 
>would-be dictators target newspapers and 
>journalists. They threaten and harass them in 
>more open societies that they are seeking to 
>close, and they arrest them and worse in 
>societies that have been closed already.
>The Committee to Protect Journalists says 
>arrests of US journalists are at an all-time 
>high: Josh Wolf (no relation), a blogger in San 
>Francisco, has been put in jail for a year for 
>refusing to turn over video of an anti-war 
>demonstration; Homeland Security brought a 
>criminal complaint against reporter Greg Palast, 
>claiming he threatened "critical infrastructure" 
>when he and a TV producer were filming victims 
>of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. Palast had 
>written a bestseller critical of the Bush administration.
>Other reporters and writers have been punished 
>in other ways. Joseph C Wilson accused Bush, in 
>a New York Times op-ed, of leading the country 
>to war on the basis of a false charge that 
>Saddam Hussein had acquired yellowcake uranium 
>in Niger. His wife, Valerie Plame, was outed as 
>a CIA spy - a form of retaliation that ended her career.
>Prosecution and job loss are nothing, though, 
>compared with how the US is treating journalists 
>seeking to cover the conflict in Iraq in an 
>unbiased way. The Committee to Protect 
>Journalists has documented multiple accounts of 
>the US military in Iraq firing upon or 
>threatening to fire upon unembedded (meaning 
>independent) reporters and camera operators from 
>organisations ranging from al-Jazeera to the 
>BBC. While westerners may question the accounts 
>by al-Jazeera, they should pay attention to the 
>accounts of reporters such as the BBC's Kate 
>Adie. In some cases reporters have been wounded 
>or killed, including ITN's Terry Lloyd in 2003. 
>Both CBS and the Associated Press in Iraq had 
>staff members seized by the US military and 
>taken to violent prisons; the news organisations 
>were unable to see the evidence against their staffers.
>Over time in closing societies, real news is 
>supplanted by fake news and false documents. 
>Pinochet showed Chilean citizens falsified 
>documents to back up his claim that terrorists 
>had been about to attack the nation. The 
>yellowcake charge, too, was based on forged papers.
>You won't have a shutdown of news in modern 
>America - it is not possible. But you can have, 
>as Frank Rich and Sidney Blumenthal have pointed 
>out, a steady stream of lies polluting the news 
>well. What you already have is a White House 
>directing a stream of false information that is 
>so relentless that it is increasingly hard to 
>sort out truth from untruth. In a fascist 
>system, it's not the lies that count but the 
>muddying. When citizens can't tell real news 
>from fake, they give up their demands for accountability bit by bit.
>9. Dissent equals treason
>Cast dissent as "treason" and criticism as 
>"espionage'. Every closing society does this, 
>just as it elaborates laws that increasingly 
>criminalise certain kinds of speech and expand 
>the definition of "spy" and "traitor". When Bill 
>Keller, the publisher of the New York Times, ran 
>the Lichtblau/Risen stories, Bush called the 
>Times' leaking of classified information 
>"disgraceful", while Republicans in Congress 
>called for Keller to be charged with treason, 
>and rightwing commentators and news outlets kept 
>up the "treason" drumbeat. Some commentators, as 
>Conason noted, reminded readers smugly that one 
>penalty for violating the Espionage Act is execution.
>Conason is right to note how serious a threat 
>that attack represented. It is also important to 
>recall that the 1938 Moscow show trial accused 
>the editor of Izvestia, Nikolai Bukharin, of 
>treason; Bukharin was, in fact, executed. And it 
>is important to remind Americans that when the 
>1917 Espionage Act was last widely invoked, 
>during the infamous 1919 Palmer Raids, leftist 
>activists were arrested without warrants in 
>sweeping roundups, kept in jail for up to five 
>months, and "beaten, starved, suffocated, 
>tortured and threatened with death", according 
>to the historian Myra MacPherson. After that, 
>dissent was muted in America for a decade.
>In Stalin's Soviet Union, dissidents were 
>"enemies of the people". National Socialists 
>called those who supported Weimar democracy "November traitors".
>And here is where the circle closes: most 
>Americans do not realise that since September of 
>last year - when Congress wrongly, foolishly, 
>passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 - 
>the president has the power to call any US 
>citizen an "enemy combatant". He has the power 
>to define what "enemy combatant" means. The 
>president can also delegate to anyone he chooses 
>in the executive branch the right to define 
>"enemy combatant" any way he or she wants and then seize Americans accordingly.
>Even if you or I are American citizens, even if 
>we turn out to be completely innocent of what he 
>has accused us of doing, he has the power to 
>have us seized as we are changing planes at 
>Newark tomorrow, or have us taken with a knock 
>on the door; ship you or me to a navy brig; and 
>keep you or me in isolation, possibly for 
>months, while awaiting trial. (Prolonged 
>isolation, as psychiatrists know, triggers 
>psychosis in otherwise mentally healthy 
>prisoners. That is why Stalin's gulag had an 
>isolation cell, like Guantánamo's, in every 
>satellite prison. Camp 6, the newest, most 
>brutal facility at Guantánamo, is all isolation cells.)
>We US citizens will get a trial eventually - for 
>now. But legal rights activists at the Center 
>for Constitutional Rights say that the Bush 
>administration is trying increasingly 
>aggressively to find ways to get around giving 
>even US citizens fair trials. "Enemy combatant" 
>is a status offence - it is not even something 
>you have to have done. "We have absolutely moved 
>over into a preventive detention model - you 
>look like you could do something bad, you might 
>do something bad, so we're going to hold you," says a spokeswoman of the CCR.
>Most Americans surely do not get this yet. No 
>wonder: it is hard to believe, even though it is 
>true. In every closing society, at a certain 
>point there are some high-profile arrests - 
>usually of opposition leaders, clergy and 
>journalists. Then everything goes quiet. After 
>those arrests, there are still newspapers, 
>courts, TV and radio, and the facades of a civil 
>society. There just isn't real dissent. There 
>just isn't freedom. If you look at history, just 
>before those arrests is where we are now.
>10. Suspend the rule of law
>The John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 
>2007 gave the president new powers over the 
>national guard. This means that in a national 
>emergency - which the president now has enhanced 
>powers to declare - he can send Michigan's 
>militia to enforce a state of emergency that he 
>has declared in Oregon, over the objections of 
>the state's governor and its citizens.
>Even as Americans were focused on Britney 
>Spears's meltdown and the question of who 
>fathered Anna Nicole's baby, the New York Times 
>editorialised about this shift: "A disturbing 
>recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws 
>that strike to the heart of American democracy 
>have been passed in the dead of night ... Beyond 
>actual insurrection, the president may now use 
>military troops as a domestic police force in 
>response to a natural disaster, a disease 
>outbreak, terrorist attack or any 'other condition'."
>Critics see this as a clear violation of the 
>Posse Comitatus Act - which was meant to 
>restrain the federal government from using the 
>military for domestic law enforcement. The 
>Democratic senator Patrick Leahy says the bill 
>encourages a president to declare federal 
>martial law. It also violates the very reason 
>the founders set up our system of government as 
>they did: having seen citizens bullied by a 
>monarch's soldiers, the founders were terrified 
>of exactly this kind of concentration of 
>militias' power over American people in the 
>hands of an oppressive executive or faction.
>Of course, the United States is not vulnerable 
>to the violent, total closing-down of the system 
>that followed Mussolini's march on Rome or 
>Hitler's roundup of political prisoners. Our 
>democratic habits are too resilient, and our 
>military and judiciary too independent, for any kind of scenario like that.
>Rather, as other critics are noting, our 
>experiment in democracy could be closed down by a process of erosion.
>It is a mistake to think that early in a fascist 
>shift you see the profile of barbed wire against 
>the sky. In the early days, things look normal 
>on the surface; peasants were celebrating 
>harvest festivals in Calabria in 1922; people 
>were shopping and going to the movies in Berlin 
>in 1931. Early on, as WH Auden put it, the 
>horror is always elsewhere - while someone is 
>being tortured, children are skating, ships are 
>sailing: "dogs go on with their doggy life ... 
>How everything turns away/ Quite leisurely from the disaster."
>As Americans turn away quite leisurely, keeping 
>tuned to internet shopping and American Idol, 
>the foundations of democracy are being fatally 
>corroded. Something has changed profoundly that 
>weakens us unprecedentedly: our democratic 
>traditions, independent judiciary and free press 
>do their work today in a context in which we are 
>"at war" in a "long war" - a war without end, on 
>a battlefield described as the globe, in a 
>context that gives the president - without US 
>citizens realising it yet - the power over US 
>citizens of freedom or long solitary incarceration, on his say-so alone.
>That means a hollowness has been expanding under 
>the foundation of all these still- free-looking 
>institutions - and this foundation can give way 
>under certain kinds of pressure. To prevent such 
>an outcome, we have to think about the "what ifs".
>What if, in a year and a half, there is another 
>attack - say, God forbid, a dirty bomb? The 
>executive can declare a state of emergency. 
>History shows that any leader, of any party, 
>will be tempted to maintain emergency powers 
>after the crisis has passed. With the gutting of 
>traditional checks and balances, we are no less 
>endangered by a President Hillary than by a 
>President Giuliani - because any executive will 
>be tempted to enforce his or her will through 
>edict rather than the arduous, uncertain process 
>of democratic negotiation and compromise.
>What if the publisher of a major US newspaper 
>were charged with treason or espionage, as a 
>rightwing effort seemed to threaten Keller with 
>last year? What if he or she got 10 years in 
>jail? What would the newspapers look like the 
>next day? Judging from history, they would not 
>cease publishing; but they would suddenly be very polite.
>Right now, only a handful of patriots are trying 
>to hold back the tide of tyranny for the rest of 
>us - staff at the Center for Constitutional 
>Rights, who faced death threats for representing 
>the detainees yet persisted all the way to the 
>Supreme Court; activists at the American Civil 
>Liberties Union; and prominent conservatives 
>trying to roll back the corrosive new laws, 
>under the banner of a new group called the 
>American Freedom Agenda. This small, disparate 
>collection of people needs everybody's help, 
>including that of Europeans and others 
>internationally who are willing to put pressure 
>on the administration because they can see what 
>a US unrestrained by real democracy at home can mean for the rest of the world.
>We need to look at history and face the "what 
>ifs". For if we keep going down this road, the 
>"end of America" could come for each of us in a 
>different way, at a different moment; each of us 
>might have a different moment when we feel 
>forced to look back and think: that is how it 
>was before - and this is the way it is now.
>"The accumulation of all powers, legislative, 
>executive, and judiciary, in the same hands ... 
>is the definition of tyranny," wrote James 
>Madison. We still have the choice to stop going 
>down this road; we can stand our ground and 
>fight for our nation, and take up the banner the founders asked us to carry.
>It's time to assume the Patriots Task
>No virus found in this outgoing message.
>Checked by AVG Free Edition.
>Version: 7.5.503 / Virus Database: 
>269.16.10/1160 - Release Date: 11/29/2007 8:32 PM
>Be a better pen pal. Text or chat with friends 
>inside Yahoo! Mail. 
><http://us.rd.yahoo.com/evt=51732/*http://overview.mail.yahoo.com/>See how.
>No virus found in this incoming message.
>Checked by AVG Free Edition.
>Version: 7.5.503 / Virus Database: 
>269.16.10/1160 - Release Date: 11/29/2007 8:32 PM
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