It's easier and quieter than you think. Bush has gone pretty far towards this goal, if it is his goal, by simply asserting he has total power: to imprison without charges or trial, to spy on Americans without showing cause, to make secrets, reveal secrets and prosecute others who reveal secrets according to how he wants to; to say which laws he will follow and which he will not. He's defending torture, trying to expand his power, and threatening the press with prosecutions for reporting his secret excesses. His popularity may have tanked, close to 3/4 of Independents now disapprove of his administration, but nobody is even trying to stop him, and the idea that he is paralyzed by bad poll numbers is disingenuous.
Now he wants to appoint an Air Force General to head the CIA. He's getting some opposition, but word is he's announcing the appointment anyway. For awhile it seemed to some that the military would be the countervailing force against Bush's imperial excesses abroad, like nuking Iran. But the military is also a potent tool which the Bushites may want to use. Bush has announced military takeover as his solution for emergencies like Katrina and a bird flu epidemic. Control of the military, and control by the military, is essential to a dictatorship.
Plus his apparent choice to head the previously civilian intelligence agency is a General of the Air Force. The Air Force is the service that will get to drop their favorite bombs if he orders action against Iran. In Seymour Hersh's article revealing the Iran plans, several high ranking military leaders were said to be appalled, but he could quote some in support--from the Air Force. And those dissident retired Generals who made so much noise? How many were Air Force? I don't recall one. The Army and Marines are bearing the brunt of Iraq, the Navy will take the brunt of an Iran counterattack, but the Air Force gets to shock and awe.
But fascism doesn't depend entirely on dramatic action in Washington. It can be promoted with budgets and expectations. Why do you think FBI and other government agents spy on meetings of Quakers in Florida--because they really believe they are dangerous terrorists? Probably some do, but probably some local directors needs to generate reports and paperwork to justify salaries and operations.
Besides the NSA wiretapping and FBI spying revealed months ago, we are also seeing an increase in local police monitoring and strong-arm tactics against lawful groups and individuals, including bands of dangerous vegans. The atmosphere for this is created in Washington, but it is also financed and promoted there actively. If you know anything about how people operate when they are dependent on grants and allocations from government, you know that they do what they can get the money to do. If that's survelliance and riot equipment, they get and use survelliance and riot equipment; if money comes to support people doing those things, then those are the things that get done. And when there's a benign demonstration in your precinct, you still have to get out the helicopters and the riot gear, just so you can say you did. But you may need a few arrests as well.
As DarkSyde at Dkos points out, we're spending a trillion dollars on an unnecessary and largely immoral war in Iraq. If we had spent a trillion dollars on alternative clean energy, do you think we'd be up against it because of gasoline prices, and faceing global disasters and the distinct possibility of future wars and devastation because of the Climate Crisis? We'd have enough left over to install a decent health care system, so many of us wouldn't face the distinct possibility of dying because we can't pay for medical care, and a public health system so we wouldn't be talking about turning over the country to martial law and a military dictatorship in event of a serious epidemic.
Fascism may be coming in on little cat's feet, but by the time soldiers are in charge of American streets, it will be too late to rescue freedom. It will just be a sign that the rest of the pieces are in place--electronic survelliance, economic control, a subjugated internet, the already corrupted press, a powerless Congress and compliant judiciary. And some emergency to clean house of the remaining dissidents. It can't happen here? I'm telling you my dear, that it can.
sporting views - Survived the first of the Pirates-Giants series, which the home team (Pittsburgh) won two of three. Both teams go on, wounded but always entertaining. I'm ...
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