Sunday, November 30, 2008

Beyond the Bailout: Agenda for a New Economy

by David Korten

The financial crisis has put to rest the myths that our economic institutions are sound and markets work best when deregulated. Our economic institutions have failed, not only financially, but also socially and environmentally. This, combined with the election of a new president with a mandate for change, creates an opportune moment to rethink and redesign.

President-elect Obama has promised to grow the economy from the bottom up. That would be a substantial improvement over growing the top at the expense of the bottom. The real need, however, is a bottom-up transformation of our economic values and institutions to align with the imperatives and opportunities of the 21st century. It involves a five part agenda: clean up Wall Street, play by market rules, self-finance the real economy, measure what we really want, and convert to debt-free money.

The recent market meltdown and the resulting bailout commitments of more than a trillion dollars have focused the nation’s attention on the devastating consequences of Wall Street deregulation. This is but the tip of the iceberg of a failed economy in serious need of basic redesign.

Our economy is wildly out of balance with human needs and the natural environment. The result is disaster for both. Wages are falling in the face of soaring food and energy prices. Consumer debt and housing foreclosures are setting historic records. The middle class is shrinking. The unconscionable and growing worldwide gap between rich and poor with its related social alienation is producing social collapse, which in turn produces crime, terrorism, and genocide.

At the same time, excessive consumption is pushing Earth’s ecosystem into collapse. Scientists are in almost universal agreement that human activity bears substantial responsibility for climate change and the related increase in droughts, floods, and wildfires.

We face a monumental economic challenge that goes far beyond anything being discussed in the U.S. Congress. The hardships imposed by temporarily frozen credit markets pale by comparison.

This would be a good time to start evaluating economic performance against indicators of what we really want—healthy children, families, communities, and natural systems.


* * *

"It is hard to admit that we have been living a lie, as to do so seems to call into question our intelligence and integrity. Yet we are in good company, for living a lie has been a chronic affliction of most members of our species for thousands of years. Let us celebrate the awakening that is key to breaking free from Empire's play-or-die dynamic." - David Korten

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Alice Walker Writes President-Elect Obama

An Open Letter to Barack Obama
By Alice Walker -

Alice Walker on expectations, responsibilities and a new reality that is
almost more than the heart can bear.

Dear Brother Obama,

You have no idea, really, of how profound this moment is for us. Us being the black people of the Southern United States. You think you know, because you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history. But seeing you deliver the torch so many others before you carried, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, only to be struck down before igniting the flame of justice and of law, is almost more than the heart can bear. And yet, this observation is not intended to burden you, for you are of a different time, and, indeed, because of all the relay runners before you, North America is a different place. It is really only to say: Well done. We knew, through all the generations, that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and of the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was part of our strength. Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely on your wisdom, stamina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors of hope, previously only sung about.

I would advise you to remember that you did not create the disaster that the world is experiencing, and you alone are not responsible for bringing the world back to balance. A primary responsibility that you do have, however, is to cultivate happiness in your own life. To make a schedule that permits sufficient time of rest and play with your gorgeous wife and lovely daughters. And so on. One gathers that your family is large. We are used to seeing men in the White House soon become juiceless and as white-haired as the building; we notice their wives and children looking strained and stressed. They soon have smiles so lacking in joy that they remind us of scissors. This is no way to lead. Nor does your family deserve this fate. One way of thinking about all this is: It is so bad now that there is no excuse not to relax. From your happy, relaxed state, you can model real success, which is all that so many people in the world really want. They may buy endless cars and houses and furs and gobble up all the attention and space they can manage, or barely manage, but this is because it is not yet clear to them that success is truly an inside job. That it is within the reach of almost everyone.

I would further advise you not to take on other people's enemies. Most damage that others do to us is out of fear, humiliation and pain. Those feelings occur in all of us, not just in those of us who profess a certain religious or racial devotion. We must learn actually not to have enemies, but only confused adversaries who are ourselves in disguise. It is understood by all that you are commander in chief of the United States and are sworn to protect our beloved country; this we understand, completely. However, as my mother used to say, quoting a Bible with which I often fought, "hate the sin, but love the sinner." There must be no more crushing of whole communities, no more torture, no more dehumanizing as a means of ruling a people's spirit. This has already happened to people of color, poor people, women, children. We see where this leads, where it has led.

A good model of how to "work with the enemy" internally is presented by the Dalai Lama, in his endless caretaking of his soul as he confronts the Chinese government that invaded Tibet. Because, finally, it is the soul that must be preserved, if one is to remain a credible leader. All else might be lost; but when the soul dies, the connection to earth, to peoples, to animals, to rivers, to mountain ranges, purple and majestic, also dies. And your smile, with which we watch you do gracious battle with unjust characterizations, distortions and lies, is that expression of healthy self-worth, spirit and soul, that, kept happy and free and relaxed, can find an answering smile in all of us, lighting our way, and brightening the world.

We are the ones we have been waiting for.

In Peace and Joy,

Alice Walker

© 2008, Alice Walker

* * *
It just seems clear to me that as long as we are all here, it's pretty clear that the struggle is to share the planet, rather than divide it.
I think we have to own the fears that we have of each other, and then, in some practical way, some daily way, figure out how to see people differently than the way we were brought up to.
- Alice Walker

The Link Between The Media, Bill Ayers, Barack Obama, and Terrorism and What That Says About Violence In America

Since the election, I have heard about different interviews with and articles on Bill Ayers, all of which have prompted me to sit down at my keyboard to write something today. This would not be an important story to me at all to post about if it weren't for it being yet one more clear and powerful example of how the corporate owned media uses propaganda to divide, distract, mislead, and corrupt the ability of the American people to know the issues of real impact and to discern fact from fiction. Because I am deeply aware that having an informed citizenry is so critical to any democracy, it feels important to speak with a repeatedly strong voice against the American corporate media as long as it persists in intentionally and chronically standing as a roadblock to - rather than a facilitator of - facts and knowledge. Media reform is more than crucial to our country.

It is also criminal, dark, and dangerous for any political candidate of any party - Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton, anyone - to point a finger at another candidate and accuse him or her of "palling around with terrorists" or anything comparable. Where have our morals gone, where are our values to respect and care for one another as Americans and as human beings when we allow such violent propaganda to be normalized and acceptable in this country? What does that say about our own propensity to collude in or commit passive or active acts of violence? Where are our strong individual and collective voices demanding again and again that this must STOP NOW?! For me, it is important to repeatedly speak to this not being a partisan issue, but rather a human issue - one which reflects either our grounding in or our lack of values rooted in integrity, inclusivity, connectedness, respect, truth, and caring for all .

This form of violent propaganda has gone on way too long. I refuse to listen to anyone on TV, the radio, or anywhere else who fires off hateful attacks on another human being. Yet, as one writer states "from Lee Atwater and the Willie Horton ads during the Bush I campaigns, to Rush Limbaugh's endless ad homonym hateful rantings, to Ann Coulter's uncouth bomb throwing rhetoric, to Michael Savage's on air incitements to violence, to Karl Rove's campaigns taken from the play book of Joseph Goebbels," the American tolerance and acceptance of violence is and has remained high to this very day.

And, of course, it is a myth that "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." In truth, the cost of such expressed violence toward other humans beings, and the impact on us all, is profound and needs to become unacceptable and something we Americans will no longer tolerate. Just in this past election, the violent rhetoric and resulting threats against Barack Obama and his family are something we all, in my opinion, need to be aware of and need to collectively stand in strong opposition to. These stories make me cry. And they also increase my resolve to each and every day do my best to walk the path of the peacemaker and, as the Buddhists say, a path of no harm.

I am deeply humbled with the knowledge that so many countries around the planet know more of what our government and our country is up to than millions of Americans. Among my many hopes for change under an Obama administration is that rather than polarize, numb out, and dumb down the American people with chronic and inflammatory lies and violence, media reform will set in which holds the American newsmakers to a higher standard, one in which true journalists - as opposed to infotainers and propagandists - report the actual facts with integrity, courage, and a fierce commitment to truthtelling.

Below are several links which reflect just a tiny glimpse into both the cost of normalizing violence in our culture and the shocking gap that is found in the American media between fiction and fact. I say "tiny glimpse" because this distorted focus also very purposefully directs us away from looking at our own government's actions today or in the past - and it strongly steers our vision away from what we may find by looking in our own mirrors. May we use this information to fuel our passion for healing, truth, nonviolence, and respect and caring among ourselves as Americans and among all peoples and all life.

Blessed be the truthtellers - and may more and more of them shine their light in America and across the planet. And may we individually and collectively have the courage and conviction in our values and actions to be among them in increasingly strong and powerful ways.

Peace ~ Molly

* * *

- William Ayers and John McCain: by Jane Smiley at the Huffington Post, October 4, 2008 -- McCain once said of Ayers, "How can you countenance someone who was engaged in bombings that could have or did kill innocent people?"

- Obama Hatred At McCain-Palin Rallies: "Terrorist!" "Kill Him!" (VIDEO): October 6, 2008 by Rachel Weiner, The Huffington Post -- The Secret Service is following up on media reports today that someone in the crowd at a McCain/Palin event suggested killing Barack Obama, according to Secret Service spokesman Malcolm Wiley. The shout of "kill him" followed a Sarah Palin rant on Obama's relationship with radical Chicagoan Bill Ayers. (This post has three videos, with the third automatically playing first when this link is accessed.)

- Sarah Palin Blamed by the US Secret Service Over Death Threats Against Barack Obama: Saturday 08 November 2008 by Tim Shipman, The Telegraph UK -- Sarah Palin's attacks on Barack Obama's patriotism provoked a spike in death threats against the future president, Secret Service agents revealed during the final weeks of the campaign... Michelle Obama, the future First Lady, was so upset that she turned to her friend and campaign adviser Valerie Jarrett and said: "Why would they try to make people hate us?"

- Democracy Now! Democracy Now! Exclusive (Part 1): Bill Ayers and ... November 14, 2008 -- Democracy Now! Exclusive (Part 1): Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn on the Weather Underground, the McCain Campaign Attacks, President-Elect Obama and the Antiwar Movement Today. In the late stages of the presidential race, no other name was used more by the McCain-Palin campaign against Barack Obama than Bill Ayers. Ayers is a respected Chicago professor who was a member of the 1960s militant antiwar group the Weather Underground. In their first joint television interview, Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn discuss the McCain campaign attacks, President-elect Obama, the Weather Underground, the legacy of 1960s social justice movements, and more.
Real Video Stream
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- Democracy Now! Democracy Now! Exclusive (Part 2): Bill Ayers and ...
Real Video Stream
Real Audio Stream
MP3 Download

- University of Nebraska-Lincoln Disinvites William Ayers after Death Threats, Financial Pressure
By Matthew Rothschild, October 23, 2008:

- Bill Ayers and the Demons to Come: Tuesday 18 November 2008 by: Steve Weissman, Tr u t h o u t Perspective -- Limbaugh went on to call Obama "a Chicago thug," and suggested that the incoming president would take advice, or even direction, from the 1960s radical Bill Ayers, a founder of the Weather Underground and the "terrorist" bogeyman that John McCain and Sarah Palin accused Obama of "palling around" with. "Bill Ayers is a silent adviser," warned Limbaugh. "Don't think he's not."

- What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been - Looking back on a surreal campaign season: November 7, 2008 by Bill Ayers for In These Times: -- On the campaign trail, McCain immediately got on message. I became a prop, a cartoon character created to be pummeled.

* * *

"The media is absolutely essential to the functioning of a democracy. It's not our job to cozy up to power. We're supposed to be the check and balance on government." - Amy Goodman

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." - Thomas Jefferson

Battlefield Without Borders

"Battlefield Without Borders"
Iraq Poems by David Smith-Ferri

Haley's Publishing produced a volume of poetry by David Smith-Ferri in February, 2007. David wrote two thirds of the poems while in Iraq after encounters with Iraqi people, in a wide-range of settings – from hospitals to homes to bomb sites. The book sold out in four months, and in November, 2007, Haley’s published a second edition of the book, with twelve new poems and a new foreword by Kathy Kelly. This book is being sold to raise funds for Direct Aid Iraq, which provides urgent medical assistance to some of the 2.25 million Iraqis who’ve fled their country and now live in Amman, Jordan or Damascus, Syria.

In July, 1999, David visited Iraq for the first time, as part of an eight-member fact-finding delegation organized by the Chicago-based group, Voices in the Wilderness. Learn about his experiences and inspirations by visiting the About pages of this website. Read some of his poems on the Poetry pages, and consider purchasing the book for $14, all of which goes to Direct Aid Iraq.

A poem:

Standing There

After the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
June, 2006

Carried on radio waves,news of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s death reached mewith unexpected force and in an unlikely place:a Buddhist monastery.It is a place where violence, in any form, is forbidden entrance,and where vast internal spaces are mirroredby the boundless natural landscape.Nuns and monks, in simple robes, walk and work.Radiant peacocks and peahens strut.Students, aged six to eighteen, study in a schoolthat emphasizes characterand asks How can you be of service to the world?Above it all, like guardians, massive oaks and sycamoresspread their arms.

The news arrived as I fastened my safety beltand suddenly I felt anything but safer.Two five hundred pound bombs, a radio voice said,enough explosive bite in their jaws to swallow a houseand leave a house-sized crater in a date palm orchard.Like a meteor, I thought. Sudden, suicidal, alien.

Al-Zarqawi, the disembodied voice of terrorist threats,his actual body, broken and bloody, now a war trophy.
Who doesn’t want to see an end to terror in Iraq,an end to exploding cars and baby carriages,to looking for missing relatives in morgues?

I stepped out of my car.Standing there,I more than half expected those great trees to swoon,the ground to turn momentarily fluid.

Days before, Rachael had told a story.
It seemed simple then.
bug flew into my eye while I played soccer.
For a full minute,
I stumbled across the field, half-blind, frantically blinking,
trying to free the bug,
holding my big, clumsy fingers at my side.
It was hilarious.
Teammates told me ‘Just kill it,’
but I laughed and blinked
and the bug broke free.

Standing there alongside the sycamores,I could not reconcile the two images:on the one hand, the Fighter Falcon and its ferocious bombsfinding their targetand on the other the foolish fourteen-year old, fumbling,finding another way.

Standing there outside the Buddhist elementaryand secondary schools,I couldn’t help wonder which image would flower,which image would seed our future:the grown men in the F-16 following orders to killor the girl-woman, following a voice only she can hear.

An Excerpt from Love in Action: Writings on Nonviolent Social Change by Thich Nhat Hanh

In this collection of essays written, Buddhist monk and teacher Thich Nhat Hanh challenges us to keep peace alive in all that we do. Here is an excerpt on that spiritual practice.

”The most important practice for preventing war is to stay in touch with what is refreshing, healing, and joyful inside us and all around us. If we practice walking mindfully, being in touch with the earth, the air, the trees, and ourselves, we can heal ourselves, and our entire society will also be healed. If the whole nation would practice watering seeds of joy and peace and not just seeds of anger and violence, the elements of war in all of us will be transformed.

We must prepare ourselves, whether we have one minute, ten years, or one thousand years. If we don’t have time, there is no use in discussing peace, because you cannot practice peace without time. If you have one minute, please use that minute to breath in and out calmly and plant the seeds of peace and understanding in yourself. If you have ten years, please use the ten years to prevent the next war. If you have a thousand years, please use the time to prevent the destruction of the planet.

Transformation is possible, but it takes time. There are already seeds of peace in those we call “hawks,” but they need us to water their seeds of peace and understanding or else their seeds of anger and aggression will continue to dominate them. Do not feel discouraged. Just by your way of looking at things and doing things, you influence others. Approach everyone with love and patience, and try to water the positive seeds in them. We have to help each other, being skillful, kind, and understanding. Blaming and arguing never help.”

* * *

Several autumns ago, I walked up to the pine tree in my backyard and asked it one question: "What is institutional violence?" The tree did not answer right away. So I sat at its roots and waited. The backyard was covered with brilliantly colored leaves, the air was fresh, and suddenly I forgot that I was waiting for an answer. The tree and I were just there, enjoying ourselves and each other. After sitting for a long time, I turned to the tree, smiled, and said, "I no longer need an answer." Then I thanked it and awarded it the Grand Transnational Peace Prize. — Thich Nhat Hanh in Love in Action

Promoting Understanding, Connection, Respect and Caring Between People of All Faiths Or Of None At All

Warmest Greetings

In holding the vision of an increasingly inclusive, connected, kind, caring, compassionate, and peaceful world, I share these websites:

Religious Tolerance @ who welcomes "religious conservatives, liberals, mainliners, pagans, progressives, secularists, etc."

The website states that it is unlike almost all other religious sites:
- We acknowledge religious
freedom, tolerance, and diversity as positive cultural values.
- We do not promote our own religious beliefs. We can't because we are a
multi-faith group. We try to explain the full diversity of religious belief in North America, from Asatru to Zoroastrianism, including Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, Wicca, other religious groups, and spiritual/ethical/secular groups.
- We try to describe all viewpoints on controversial religious topics objectively and fairly. We cover a broad range of topics, from whether women should have access to
abortion to whether homosexuals and bisexuals should be given equal rights, including same-sex marriage, and dozens of other "hot" topics.

The site mandate is to:
- "Promote religious tolerance and freedom;
- Objectively describe religious faiths in all their diversity; and
- Objectively describe controversial topics from all viewpoints."

I love their motto:
- "A study of the world's religions will lead to an understanding of religious diversity.
- This understanding can lead to inter-religious dialogue.
- Dialogue may lead to peace among religions.
- Peace among religions would lead to peace among nations."


Among many others which promote understanding and respect for diverse beliefs is Meaning of Life.TV @ which brings together "Cosmic Thinkers on Camera". A diversity of people from a variety of traditions were interviewed on these key questions:

Being good without God
Daniel Dennett Francis Fukuyama Ursula Goodenough Steven Pinker Robert Pollack Huston Smith Edward O. Wilson
Daniel Dennett Freeman Dyson Francis Fukuyama Ursula Goodenough John Maynard Smith Steven Pinker Edward O. Wilson
Lorenzo Albacete Daniel Dennett John Maynard Smith Brian Swimme Edward O. Wilson
Direction in evolution
Daniel Dennett Ursula Goodenough John Haught John Maynard Smith Arthur Peacocke
Direction in history
Lorenzo Albacete Freeman Dyson Francis Fukuyama John Maynard Smith Steven Pinker
Evolution of religion
Lorenzo Albacete Owen Gingerich Keith Ward
Faith and reason
Freeman Dyson Owen Gingerich Joseph Goldstein Arthur Peacocke Robert Pollack Sharon Salzberg Huston Smith
Free will
Daniel Dennett Joseph Goldstein John Maynard Smith Arthur Peacocke John Polkinghorne Omid Safi Edward O. Wilson
Limits of science
Freeman Dyson Francis Fukuyama Owen Gingerich John Haught Steven Pinker Huston Smith Keith Ward
Mystical experiences
Karen Armstrong Andrew Newberg Omid Safi Huston Smith
Owen Gingerich John Haught Arthur Peacocke
Quantum weirdness
Daniel Dennett John Polkinghorne Sharon Salzberg Huston Smith Brian Swimme Keith Ward
Religion in a global age
Lorenzo Albacete Karen Armstrong Francis Fukuyama Owen Gingerich Ursula Goodenough John Haught Arthur Peacocke John Polkinghorne Omid Safi Huston Smith Brian Swimme Keith Ward
Science and religion
Karen Armstrong Freeman Dyson John Maynard Smith Steven Pinker Brian Swimme Edward O. Wilson
Karen Armstrong Sharon Salzberg Keith Ward
The anthropic principle
Freeman Dyson Owen Gingerich John Polkinghorne Brian Swimme
The Godhead
Andrew Newberg Huston Smith Keith Ward
The problem of evil
Joseph Goldstein Ursula Goodenough Arthur Peacocke John Polkinghorne Robert Pollack Omid Safi Sharon Salzberg Huston Smith Keith Ward
What is God?
Lorenzo Albacete Karen Armstrong Owen Gingerich Joseph Goldstein John Haught Arthur Peacocke John Polkinghorne Omid Safi Brian Swimme
Why meditate?
Joseph Goldstein Andrew Newberg Sharon Salzberg
Complete interview
Lorenzo Albacete Karen Armstrong Daniel Dennett Freeman Dyson Francis Fukuyama Owen Gingerich Joseph Goldstein Ursula Goodenough John Haught John Maynard Smith Andrew Newberg Arthur Peacocke Steven Pinker John Polkinghorne Robert Pollack Omid Safi Sharon Salzberg Huston Smith Brian Swimme Keith Ward Edward O. Wilson

I personally especially loved the interview with Huston Smith:

Of course, I fell in love with this beautiful human being and his radiant smile and spirit when I first heard and saw him interviewed over a decade ago by Bill Moyers. Huston Smith's website also states that he "is Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion and Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, Syracuse University. For fifteen years he was Professor of Philosophy at M.I.T. and for a decade before that he taught at Washington University in St. Louis. Most recently he has served as Visiting Professor of Religious Studies, University of California, Berkeley. Holder of twelve honorary degrees, Smith’s fourteen books include The World’s Religions which has sold over 2 ½ million copies, and Why Religion Matters which won the Wilbur Award for the best book on religion published in 2001. In 1996 Bill Moyers devoted a 5-part PBS Special, The Wisdom of Faith with Huston Smith, to his life and work. His film documentaries on Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism, and Sufism have all won International. awards, and The Journal of Ethnomusicology lauded his discovery of Tibetan multiphonic chanting, Music of Tibet, as “an important landmark in the study of music." (

May we all emulate the wisdom of respect, compassion, seeking, and understanding which Huston Smith so profoundly models for us all. May we all open our hearts more and more deeply to ourselves and to all others.

Namaste ~ Molly

* * *
Smith has devoted his life to the study of Christianity,
Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Hinduism.
He believes in them all.

We're All Complicit in Bush's War Crimes and Other Crimes Against Humanity and the Planet If We Ignore Them

As we near the end of the most dangerous administration this nation has known, may we all remember what has happened over these past eight years to ensure that it will not happen again. Below is just a small glimpse into what is available which documents some of what has occurred during the Bush administration. I say "small glimpse" because there is no way to document in a post the true impact on Iraqi and Afghanistani civilians, on polar bears and other creatures of the Earth, on veterans and children, on the Constitution and the rule of law, on those who have been tortured and held in what has become American concentration camps, on Americans who find themselves more polarized than we have been in decades,... and the list goes on and on. It is my opinion that it is critical to push for the prosecution of Bush and all those officials who actively or passively allowed our nation to slip to such unbelievable dark depths. May we also have the courage to see whatever part we each may have played in this and actively choose to do the right thing, as best as we can and one day at a time, with eyes and hearts wide open. As I listen to lessons never fully embraced - from Vietnam, from the genocide of Native Americans, from the burning times, and the list goes on - I am so aware of how important it is to learn the lessons of these times, which mirror those lessons unlearned out of our collective past, so they don't land some day once more in the laps of generations yet unborn. May we all hold ourselves and our government to the highest of standards. And, through embracing the need for accountability and truthtelling and transformation and creating New Stories to live by, may there be great healing in this process in our nation and across this amazingly beautiful planet we all call home... Peace ~ Molly

* * *

YouTube - Prosecuting Bush Officials for Torture - Philippe Sands

If Obama Doesn't Prosecute Bush's Torture Team, We'll Pay a Big ...

YouTube - Matt Lauer Corners Bush on Torture

Bush confesses to war crimes

Andrew Sullivan: Bush Administration Officials Will Be 'Indicted ...

Vincent Bugliosi: The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder

Bush's Crimes Against Nature Environment AlterNet

NRDC: The Bush Record (on the environment) Bush's seven deadly environmental sins - How Bush made a mockery of the nation's environmental laws and values -- and what Obama must do to get us back on track.


The Bush Republican Record on Military and Veterans Issues ...

On wiretapping, Bush isn't listening to the Constitution - The ...

t r u t h o u t Bush Versus the Constitution

Bush v. Constitution

Bush Attacks the Constitution:

Bush Seeks Immunity for Violating War Crimes Act

Bush pardons himself against potential war crimes - Democratic ...

George W Bush Pardons Himself From War Crimes

Impeach Bush To Stop Pardons

Friday, November 28, 2008

14 Points Of Fascism: The Warning Signs

Warm Greetings

Even as we look to the future with renewed action, passion, and hope that another world is indeed possible - a world that will increasingly work for all - may we also not forget the lessons of the past that we are, I believe, asked to learn now, today, in the present. In doing so, may we especially recognize and remember with courage, humility, commitment, and deep caring for all life to never loose sight of the impact on our nation and the planet of these past eight years. One of these lessons, in my opinion, is the shocking realization of how America was moving closer and closer to embracing and aligning with the steps that move nations into fascism. May we all learn these steps. And may we as a people and as a nation never again repeat them. Instead, may we each participate in creating a nation which increasingly walks the talk of its highest ideals, principles, values, and vision. Peace ~ Molly

* * *

In his original article, "Fascism Anyone?", Laurence Britt (interview) compared the regimes of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Suharto, and Pinochet and identified 14 characteristics common to those fascist regimes...

1.) Powerful and Continuing Nationalism: Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2.) Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights: Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3.) Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause: The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4.) Supremacy of the Military: Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5.) Rampant Sexism: The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.

6.) Controlled Mass Media: Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7.) Obsession with National Security: Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8.) Religion and Government are Intertwined: Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9.) Corporate Power is Protected: The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

11.) Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts: Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

12.) Obsession with Crime and Punishment: Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13.) Rampant Cronyism and Corruption: Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections: Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

* * *
In Germany they first came for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me — and by that time no one was left to speak up.

Pastor Martin Niemöller

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"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob in a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked,and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." - Hermann Goering (1893-1946) Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe, President of the Reichstag, Prime Minister of Prussia and, as Hitler's designated successor, the second man in the Third Reich. [Göring]