A Blog Around The Clock

Many of my friends and neighbors don’t want to talk about politics because it is boring and “same-old-same-old”.

Connect this and this.

Many of my friends and neighbors don’t follow the news or care to vote because “all of them are the same”.

Connect this and this.

Many of my friends and neighbors enjoy life every day, as if it will always be peace and prosperity.

Connect this and this.

Many of my friends and neighbors have no clue that today USA ceased to be a democracy. They do not realize that Congress and Courts do not have any power to stop Bush from doing whatever he wants. He never cared what they said before and did it anyway. But starting today, it became legal.

Connect this and this.

Many of my friends and neighbors believe that “it cannot happen here”. They do not understand that evangelical-chosen candidates will, by whatever means neccessary, win all the primaries and elections in the future. They have no intention of losing ever. If, by some fluke, they lose an election, they have no intention of conceding. They have tasted the power and they are not letting go. Elections are just kabuki now.

Connect this and this.

Many of my friends and neighbors are beautifully naive about the “innate goodness of the American people”.

Connect this and this.

Many of my friends and neighbors don’t believe that even they may end up in prison with no recourse to justice.

Who decides?

Many of my friends and neighbors have not experienced, like I did in Yugoslavia of the late 1980s and early 1990s, the gradual transformation from a nice, sweet, proseprous, freedom-loving country into a bunch of thugs duking it out over land and religion. Tito was dead for ten years. Prime Minister was Ante Markovic. Thousands of small businesses were starting up every week. Small people were getting rich. There was ebullience in the air.

Then, in a manner eerily reminiscent of BuchCo, thugs like Milosevic, Tudjman and Izetbegovic hijacked the government and started a civil war, ending with a break up of one big strong country into six small, economically weak and dependent units.

But that was a small country. Who is going to stop the USA? If you leave for Australia, Europe or Canada, you will just feel the effects a litle later than if you stay.

Glenn is optimistic.

He may be right, if we act right now. If not, within three years, I predict that Americans will be fighting Americans on American soil. Just a hunch. An eerie feeling of deja vu from someone who has seen the same signs fifteen years ago.

Update:

- There are more good links here and here.

- Somebody (not me) put this post on Digg, with more than 100 comments there already. This post is not correctly clasified as ‘news’. Of course, it was imediately tagged as “possibly innacurate”.

- This is not a kind of article that can be accurate or not, it is not a news release – it is a higly personal blog post. Of course I am biased and highly opinionated – it is my blog! I am quite known for making catchy titles. And of course, many Digg readers tend to have ADHD so it is not surprising that some comments reveal that the person has not even read my post let alone the MAIN point of the post which are the links. This post is a vehicle for those links. Read every word in every link before commenting, please. This is a blog for serious readers, not skimmers. And AOL is my public e-mail for the blog – I am not giving you my real addresses, of course.

- This post is not defeatist. If it was not clear from the sentence that mentions Canada etc., I am not going anywhere. I did not go through all the trouble of coming here and becoming a citizen just to leave again. I am staying and fighting to the end.

Update: Also, if you always wanted to do so, but kept forgetting, right now would be a great time to hit my paypal (or amazon) button – thanks…

Comments

  1. #1 K8
    September 29, 2006

    Thank you for putting your thinking out there. I’m glad someone is paying attention, and getting us to pay attention too.

  2. #2 speedwell
    September 29, 2006

    From a non-liberal, thank you.

  3. #3 Nanette
    September 29, 2006

    I have a Serbian friend who was part of one of the anti-Milosevic youth groups there, and he’s come to the same conclusion as you have. Actually, he came to it a while ago, as each successive thing… ignoring of the laws, or changing them to make the illegal legal and so on, came to light. He was especially horrified to find out that the National Guard was under the control of the state governments.

    If you leave for Australia, Europe or Canada, you will just feel the effects a litle later than if you stay.

    Yes, there is work going on in many places at once to eliminate civil liberties, recourse to the courts, privacy rights and other things, all in the name of fighting terra.

    We are far too complacent.

  4. #4 bigTom
    September 29, 2006

    I think (hope) we still have a window of opportunity to end this before it gets unstoppable. The amount of pushback seems to be growing daily. Bob Woodwards new book coming out Monday, (he brought down one
    president, hopefully he can do it again!), sounds pretty damming, although its probably not anything we shouldn’t know already.
    Yipes! I was just going to send a link to a Candian Broadcast storey, claims we have paid Pak millions to illegally arrest people
    $5K/person. Now the link has been “vanished” …..

  5. #5 coturnix
    September 29, 2006

    I have made that comparison back in 2003

  6. #6 John McKay
    September 29, 2006

    I think you and I are on the same page on this. We haven’t reached the point of no return yet, but we are within sight of the point of no return.

  7. #7 James
    September 29, 2006

    Dictator: A ruler who is not restricted by a constitution, laws or any opposition.

    The fact that this legislation had to be passed through Congress pretty much negates your assertion that we live in dictatorship. There is opposition and he is bound by the Constitution.
    (Your comparison to German legislation is wrong in that the german piece of work specifically gives the chancellor power to circumvent their constitution). If President Bush dissolved the Senate and House or stayed in office one day beyond his term, you would have a point.

    As for this legislation, it at numerous times refers to “alien unlawful combatants,” and helps define what is legal for the military. The power of the President to declare American citizens as unlawful combatants and turn them over to military tribunal was established in 1942 by “Ex parte Quirin 317 US 1”, in which German agents (some of which were American citizens) were caught and underwent military justice as unlawful combatants.

    By your definition or perception of “dictator”, both Lincoln and Roosevelt would have been considered dictators.

    On the issue of torture, the word itself has a connotation that we, as Americans, consider barbaric. But that connotaion is one of cutting off limbs, water torture, cuts, beatings, etc. that simply is not going on in Cuba. We hear “torture” and think of Pol Pot or Stalin, when most of what is going on there is little more than sustained annoyance by comparison to some countries (many of whom have done far worse and yet condemn us). Most of the detainees have gained weight due to the quality of food, get 5 required breaks a day for prayer, mandatory exercise, and access by the red cross. What they endure is loud music, long interrogation sessions and uncomfortable sitting positions. (most fraternities practice torture by some liberal definitions) None of this, even if it does get physical is illegal under the Geneva conventions as they are terrorists…unlawful combatants. No uniform, no insignia, they wage war on civilians. There is a reason terrorists were not given protection under the geneva conventions, you seem to be smart, figure it out.

    Think less about their rights and more about the rights of the innocents they kill in God’s name.

    If they were men they would put on a uniform and march into battle, then they would have rights, even if we found their cause repugnant.

  8. #8 James Allen
    September 29, 2006

    In what world do you live in that waterboarding is not water torture?

  9. #9 coturnix
    September 29, 2006

    James – Essential: click on the links and read every word. Those articles, by people smarter and more educated in law than I am, answer your questions. The bill leliminates Congress and Courts from any control of the Executive Congress just gave away its power to do so. This act of Congress install Bush officially as a dictator.

  10. #10 thebigerns
    September 29, 2006

    I feel like I’m Charlton Heston in the scene on the beach, where he discovers that the crazy f’d-up planet he was on was actually his own.

    We are headed for a war that no one will win. God damn them all.

  11. #11 Joshua
    September 29, 2006

    I wish theist myths were true, James, because I’d rest easier knowing that people like you would end up rotting in Hell for all eternity. You deserve it for not only defending but [i]advocating[/i] profoundly repugnant positions like torture and the arbitrary suspension of habeas corpus.

  12. #12 SkookumPlanet
    September 29, 2006

    Courtnix is…shudder…correct. At least psychologically. [Thanks]

    Let’s see a show of hands, alright?

    How many are freaked by this freedom of dissent issue, or the wars in progress and the one about to be added, or global warming or the evangelicals and the cultural war or……much else, under Bush?

    How many think the left has demonstrated a successful strategy for removing these, now and long-term, as serious threats to our democracy? In other words, how many of you think it’s getting better rather than worse?

    How many of you think you know exactly what’s gone wrong? How many have thought through implementing a solution?

    How many of you are spending eight plus hours a month actively searching for answers to the last two questions?

    How many of you know someone, or know of someone, you believe understands what’s gone wrong and what to do about it?

    In the last few years, how many of you have done something about this other than vote or complain.

    OK, thank you.

    And here are the results of our informal, unscientific poll.

    Sh*t ! WTF? Huh? Your kidding, right? Riiiight. Yeah, I….uh….

    Now to the analysis of the polling data, just let me put my raingear on first. Ahem… I blame the left. Something really serious has happened. No, REALLY serious. Courtnix-really serious. And there’s no appropriate response. The current situation is at the growing tip of a 30-to-40-year-long chain that produced it. Common knowledge.

    Repeat, 30-to-40-year-long chain. Where was the left? What were they doing?

    Repeat, 30-to-40-year-long chain. Where is the left? What are they doing?

    One example. The Democrates can’t gain control of Congress or the Presidency on their own initiative any longer, only by the Republicans screwing up. Evidence suggests this sea change has failed to register with more than a few in the left.

    What will it take for the left to decide the way it conceptualizes electoral politics no longer applies, that things have permanently changed? Hell, what will it take for them just to start a process that will lead them there?

    As some of you know, I have a coherent take on this. It’s at Mad Mike’s since yesterday in a link and a later comment. An abstract of it: 1 + 1 = 2.

  13. #13 SkookumPlanet
    September 29, 2006

    re: My previous comment.

    Ignore James. He’s stuck in a 18th through 20th centuries’ European concept of war while he ignores the other, uh……ah, several millennia. The Pentagon, and large-state militaries around the world have long been planning for, closely studying, training for, and realigning their force structures for the next century plus of asymmetrical, networked conflict.

    He either has no idea what he’s talking about, or, more likely, is intuitively performing one of the far right’s psychomarketing scripts that filter down to the footsoldiers. NONE OF THAT IS IMPORTANT TO DISCUSS. There will be more millions of words, gazillions of words, wasted….wasted because such discussion is intended as a distraction.

    This is a commonly used psychomarketing campaign technique. Construct, disseminate, and use elaborated debate structures as an attention magnet to your opposition and so distract them from whatever you don’t want them to see. This almost always means what they are putting out as important, isn’t.

    The far right’s stranglehold on federal power will allow them to do this. The obvious response should be to remove them from power. If we let them lead us around by the nose, they will never allow us to get anywhere close even to starting to think about the real work.

    Ignore James, energy leech.

    Detailed explanation at the Mad Mike link.

  14. #14 Ed
    September 29, 2006

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I always suspected we were sinking into totalitarianism, but getting confirmation from someone who’s seen it before really accents the point.

  15. #15 Madison Guy
    September 29, 2006

    Great post. We’re entering a time that seems like the truly sulfurous, dark time when it started to seem that democracy in America would die with Richard Nixon. Then Congress and the Supreme Court stood up and stopped him.

    Now there’s no countervailing force. And at least Nixon wasn’t totally delusional. Now — talk about the blind leading the blind: We’re ruled by delusional ideologues, and their followers are even worse. If you’re that far out of touch with reality, you need extraordinary powers just to keep one step ahead of the law. Their congressional enablers — a Roll Call Hall of Shame — were quick to oblige.

    Still, Woodward’s book may mark a turning point. You know things are bad when the court stenographer starts to bite the hand that has been feeding him.

  16. #16 Ed
    September 29, 2006

    By the way, in response to previous commenters: this isn’t a Left vs. Right issue. This is a Power vs Liberty issue. There are dissidents on both the left and right who oppose this monstrous administration. And similarly, there are plenty of warmongers within the supposedly “opposition” party.

    So the real litmus test is, do you worship the power of the state, or do you stand for human rights and respect for the individual?

  17. #17 Henry Culver
    September 29, 2006

    James – You seem to be operating under the mistaken impression that because someone ended up in CIA custody that they are of course a terrorist. As of yesterday, these detainees no longer have the right to question their detainment and perhaps say that “I’m not the person you think I am”. Think about it for a second! Any tourist, or legal alien (not to mention illegal aliens), someone with a work or school visa can be disappeared with absolutely no judicial review and no right to know what they are charged with or see evidence against them. Its just a little bit harder to do that to any American citizen, but not much. Not only that, but they can undergo an entire trial and conviction including potential death sentence without their lawyers being allowed to see the evidence. Many of the detainees in US custody were turned over to the CIA by bounty hunters. Mistakes have already been made (Canadian Maher Arar).

    If the argument that “its not about who they are, its about who we are” doesn’t resonate, than how about the next time some foreign government takes a US citizen, soldier or otherwise, prisoner. There are several cases in recent history where this has happened. Beating those foreign governments over the head with the Geneva Conventions succeeded in getting the prisoners visits from the Red Cross and better treatment. After yesterday, I doubt that that tactic will ever work again.

    This legislation is based entirely on the precept that “the US executive branch would never use this law for anything but protecting US citizens from terrorists”.

    That detainees get prayer breaks and adequate food and shelter is not the point. If you were picked up tomorrow and put in a cell for 5 years and denied access to any legal system whatsoever, I think you might see things a little differently. There may well be dozens or even hundreds of actual terrorists in US custody. We may never know, and that’s the point. You seem to be ok with casting a wide net to ensure that most of the terrorists are caught, and those who are swept up accidentally, well, that’s the price you pay for being the wrong nationality/skin color/religion and in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Democrats tried to ammend the legislation to ensure that the program had oversite or could be adjusted (with a sunset provision). These efforts were voted down. There is no requirement that detainees see any trial, there is no requirement that a record of names and faces and charges be provided for any review.

    If every person currently being held as an enemy-combatant is in fact a terrorist, what prevents this law from being abused by a (god help me) less scrupulous administration? You seem to be smart, figure it out.

  18. #18 to the doubters
    September 29, 2006

    Germany had a constitution and a parliament – they were just ‘suspended’ during the ‘troubles’ (the false flag communist dupe terrorist who burned of the reichstag for the Nazis).

    Many Americans are so egotistical that they believe it can’t happen to them because America is so great.

    Well I got news for you: in times of ‘war’ the USA is a dictatorship under the Commander-in-Chief. How come the Nazi’s got their asses kicked by an American Commander in Chief without all these extra super powers.

    And how about the Irish, eh ? Britain battled ‘the troubles’ for years with Habeaus Corpus and the proper rule of Law and subject to the Geneva convention.

    Waterboarding is to extract CONFESSIONS rather than EVIDENCE .

    And to those who blithely say but this terror legislation will only be used against foriegn enemies and not Americans just check the actual statistics and you’ll see a different picture.

    Notice the large detention centres springing up outside every city?

    Interesting Times; Heavy Weather.

    America could be a self sufficient carbon neutral nation if it switched to a biodiesel based economy.

  19. #19 coturnix
    September 29, 2006

    Ed is right – this is (or should not be) Left vs. Right. It is democratic vs. anti-democratic, American vs. anti-American, authoritarian vs. authoritative.

    Go and read SkookumPlanet’s comment via that link – it is very much worth your time and effort.

  20. #20 Andrew
    September 29, 2006

    Does this mean I don’t need my voter registration card anymore?

  21. #21 h3
    September 29, 2006

    The sad thing about this is that anyone who would dare stand this governement can now mysteriously disapear without anyone getting accountable.. because he was a threat to the “freedom” of the nation.

  22. #22 coturnix
    September 29, 2006

    Use it in November. We’ll see what we can do after that. I am hoping that the GOP will split over time – there are many principled conservatives speaking out against this – except those who are in Congress right now and are too worried about their own re-election.

  23. #23 Samantha
    September 29, 2006

    James, I’m appauled that you would compare fraternity hazing with even the lightest sort of emprisonment. These are prisoners who have been kept for years, most without being charged; none without getting a trial!

    You join a fraternity knowing full well you’re going to be teased. As one of these prisoners you are taken AGAINST YOUR WILL.

    IF you’re released, you don’t get a degree and a group of friends for life. Instead, your name is ruined, your family is disconnected from you and God knows what else.

  24. #24 Brook
    September 29, 2006

    Thank you.

  25. #25 Bill
    September 29, 2006

    I read through all the articles and I agree, things aren’t as good as they could be. However, a lot of what I read was fear mongering… just like Bush & Co are doing for the war. In many of the articles there were questionable ‘facts’, shaky comparisons, and arguments used that have been thoroughly discounted. Alongside that stuff there was intelligent and well-considered discussion and good information. The overarching impression I get from all the articles is the same impression I get from Bush and his justification for the war. You really, really want to believe we’re headed for the fourth Reich and you’re putting together everything you can find to support it.

    These are all opinions formed from some facts, some lies, some hearsay, some fear, and mixed in with a need to polarize people to one side or the other.

    I’m not saying there’s not a problem. I’m not saying that I support Bush. We should be ever vigilant when it comes to the leadership of our country. Come election time, Americans will decide with their votes how they feel about what’s going on. Yeah, I know, I’ll get a hundred responses that say all the elections are rigged. America is not that far gone, people. During every war the US has ever been in there’s been discussions like this. You probably never heard about it because they don’t teach details like this in history class. Rest assured, our country will survive. You give the American people too little credit. We will stand up for ourselves.

    Don’t relax, just take it easy. Don’t forget to vote.

  26. #26 TheYellowElephantBrigade
    September 29, 2006

    Bill,

    There is definitely room for discussion of how far along we are, and I applaud your willingness to admit there may be a problem.

    Something to ask oneself is at what point is the problem irrevokable?

  27. #27 monkeyhawk
    September 29, 2006

    Years and years of listening to conservatives state that the Constitution doesn’t *grant* rights, but *guarantees* them; that the Bill of Rights merely enumerates specific rights the government cannot infringe upon; that the freedom of religion, speech, assembly, habeus corpus, double-jeopardy, trial by jury, face-your-accuser, freedom from unlawful search and siezure, yes (even though I think it has something to do within the context of a well-regulated militia) the right to keep and bear arms… are not *bestowed* by the government, but are in the Constitution to prevent the government from getting too powerful.

    When Frist said on the Senate floor that “…we can’t be giving ‘these people’ ordinary rights…,” I heard a quantum shift of so-called “conservatism.” Now the Fuhrer decides who is worthy of “rights.”

    Frankly, it worries me that there’s a Machiavelian streak in me that looks forward to the downfall of the current Republican junta, and the prospect of packing Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and Randall Terry and their steeple-sheeple up in cattle cars and shipping them off to “Jesus Camps” in South Dakota… but it wouldn’t be America anymore. And what George WMD Bush is doing to the Constitution these days assures it.

    If they don’t come after me first.

  28. #28 Coin
    September 29, 2006

    The fact that this legislation had to be passed through Congress pretty much negates your assertion that we live in dictatorship.

    The authority had to be made absolute by congress, therefore the authority is not actually absolute?

    There is opposition and he is bound by the Constitution.

    I see little evidence to support either assertion.

    Come election time, Americans will decide with their votes how they feel about what’s going on.

    Come election time, Americans will decide between democrats and republicans.

    If Americans are not informed enough to truly realize “what’s going on”, or if Americans care less about “what’s going on” than some other concern or emotion (for example taxes, or fear), or if Americans care little enough about their nations principles that they decide they want “what’s going on”, or if the Democratic party fails to communicate they will change “what’s going on”, or if the Democratic party fails to change “what’s going on” after being elected, then this will not make much of a difference this election.

    During every war the US has ever been in there’s been discussions like this.

    Those were traditional wars, “real” wars, wars against a specific enemy, declared by congress and with a specific way to tell when the war is over and an expectation that things would return to “normal” when that happened.

    This is an undeclared, open-ended “war” with no specific enemy or goal, a war which even the Bush administration openly says will never end.

    So concerns have been raised in past conflicts, and things have turned out all right in the end. Do you think they would have turned out in the end every time before if the concerns had not been raised, if everyone had just shrugged and assumed things will turn out all right?

    America was not created by magic. America does not maintain itself by magic.

  29. #29 metree
    September 29, 2006

    i agree entirely, i’ve been saying this to friends and family for the past year. they dont think it will happen… i worry

  30. #30 wolfwalker
    September 29, 2006

    Tell me, Coturnix, does it bother you that six years ago I was reading almost identical sentiments being expressed by rightwing moonbats? No foolin’, in fall 2000 there were swarms of righty-nuts who believed that the then-president was going to create an October crisis and use it as an excuse to suspend the elections and the Constitution, so he wouldn’t have to leave office. And he’d use UN troops in baby blue helmets to enforce his newborn dictatorship. All in all, it sounded uncannily like what the left is saying now. Moonbattery is still moonbattery, whether it comes from the left or the right, and anyone who cares about politics needs to learn how to recognize and avoid it. And I regret to tell you that much of what’s in this post of yours is just plain moonbattery.

    IIRC, the detainees bill passed yesterday a) doesn’t apply to US citizens, and b) had a sunset provision — possibly the only good legislative act ever to come from Robert Byrd. In any case, any law passed by Congress can be revoked by Congress. If enough congressthings agree, the revocation will even survive a presidential veto.

    Am I concerned about what’s going on with civil rights under Bush? Damn straight I am. But I’m far more concerned about things like no-knock warrants and rampaging SWAT teams and systematic denial of basic rights and other abuses of power by state and local authorities — which come from both political parties. Those abuses are far harder to stop, because they affect fewer people and therefore don’t mobilize the kind of anger that federal abuses usually do.

  31. #31 Dan R.
    September 29, 2006

    Wolfmaker,

    How is a no-knock warrent worse than locking up a US citizen on US soil indefinately, with no charges, no bail, no trial, and no attorney?

    Hell, your worried about whether or not the police will knock? Congress just allowed you to be imprisoned for life with no trial.

  32. #32 Coin
    September 29, 2006

    As far as I know the habeas corpus provision of the bill doesn’t apply to U.S. citizens.

  33. #33 Andres
    September 29, 2006

    It’s all so depressing, and unfortunately true. Though I’m not sure that the process you lived through in Yugoslavia can be compared with what is happening in the US, I do agree with most of the diagnostic. However:

    If not, within three years, I predict that Americans will be fighting Americans on American soil.

    Do you really imagine that as a possibility? I’m not American — in the usual sense, despite the location of my country on the similarly called continent :-) — but I fancy myself as well informed about the US. I did predict, after the 2004 election, that the US was heading to a crash against the only power that can match its own, i.e., itself… I can imagine a huge institutional crisis. I can even imagine some degree of partition of the country. But actual fighting? As in “with guns”?

    I don’t know. I can’t imagine that happening, but on the other hand, I don’t know, if things continue the way they are going, when and how the resistance of US freedom lovers will express itself. Lots of smoke in the crystal ball.

  34. #34 coturnix
    September 29, 2006

    I could not imagine in 1990 that Yugoslavs would take up guns. In 1991, they did.

  35. #35 coturnix
    September 29, 2006

    As far as I know the habeas corpus provision of the bill doesn’t apply to U.S. citizens.

    It does. Click on the links for information about the details of the law.

  36. #36 wolfwalker
    September 29, 2006

    Dan,

    How is a no-knock warrent worse than locking up a US citizen on US soil indefinately, with no charges, no bail, no trial, and no attorney?

    When your door is busted down in the middle of the night by armed cops executing a no-knock warrant and expecting resistance, you have a substantial chance of winding up dead. Whether you resist or not. Whether you’re the guy they were after or not. Whether you actually did anything illegal or not. And the cops won’t face any kind of punishment for your death. Radley Balko over at The Agitator has made a hobby of reporting on such cases. I’d say “dead” is worse than “in prison.”

    Hell, your worried about whether or not the police will knock? Congress just allowed you to be imprisoned for life with no trial.

    And this adds exactly what in the way of danger to my or your life? It’s always been possible for you to be falsely accused, tried, and convicted for a crime you didn’t commit. And it’s easier for a state or local jurisdiction to do it than it is for the feds to do it. Always has been. Is today. Always will be, I expect. But nobody really cares. It only makes the news when the feds do it.

    Just like the bloody Patriot Act. Made lots of headlines, that did. Huge amounts of yelling over its infringements on civil rights. But did you know that in many cases the Patriot Act and related laws did no more than give the feds powers that state and local police already have? Do you care? If so, why aren’t you protesting that too? If not, why not?

  37. #37 Ikey Benney Political Pundit
    September 29, 2006

    Hello:

    Bravo for a well written article. Hopefully many Americans will read it and wake up before it is too late.

    Ikey Benney Political Pundit Extraordinaire
    American Politics

  38. #38 Yugo
    September 29, 2006

    Put guns in our hands.

  39. #39 Jean-Pierre
    September 29, 2006

    Dictator in the Roman Republic was given full power for —6 months—and would give it all back once danger was over.

    But here in the USA 8 years of Imperial family Bush, building up powers and not respecting any law. The Marius of the American Republic is coming … ex-soldier, loved by his troops.

  40. #40 Jean-Pierre
    September 29, 2006

    Pity the country where the only common sense proffered on manipulation of ideas, and mediocrity of communicators, all stricken by severe cases of Hollywooditis, where content is all powerful and substance is absent, comes from comedians, like Jon Stewart at the highest level, and Oprah Winfrey at the lowest.

  41. #41 llewelly
    September 29, 2006

    Where was the left? What were they doing?

    Skookum. In nearly every children’s school in America, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot are described as Communists, and Leftists.
    Stalin and Mao are described as leaders of overwhelming power.
    The implication is almost inescapable: Stalin and Mao are the defining examples of a Powerful Left.
    The lesson driven home is that if the Left becomes powerful, it becomes Stalinist or Maoist.
    This is a message repeated over and over again. People grow older, and learn better intellectually. But the habits embedded years of training do not fade.

    Imagine you, as a child, had been forced to write down, 100 times, each and every school year, ’6 times 9 is 42′ ?
    Suppose you went to college, and learned 6 times 9 was not 42, but 54. How long would it take to overcome the old habit?
    But my example is of an intellectual habit, relatively easily unlearned, whereas the belief that Stalin and Mao are the defining examples of leftist power is an emotional habit.
    Far more difficult to unlearn.

    The American Left recalls all too well the famines, purges, rights violations, and the mass deceptions instigated by Stalin and Mao.
    The American Left is hamstrung, by a horror and a self-hate that is built into them throughout their lives.
    They are not able to allow themselves success, for they secretly believe success would transform them into monsters.

    In more detail – What enabling force made Stalin and Mao so powerful? We are taught this force was Propaganda. The ability to change people’s minds, to make them support a new kind of politics.

    How long, Skookum, have you been running from forum to forum, asking: ‘Why can’t the left use effective marketing strategies?’
    Sometimes, it seems like forever. I guess it has really only been 1 or 2 years. I don’t know. Here’s an attempt to answer that question:

    The Left fears effective marketing, because they believe it will transform them into Maoists or Stalinists.

    (Disclaimer: I am not a historian, or a political scientist. I expressed the above with few qualifiers for the sake of clarity. I have only enough confidence in the speculations above, to be able to suggest them. They seem (to me) to explain much of the behavior of the American left. And perhaps more importantly … I have my doubts that the opposition is best described as ‘the left’. The madmen in power control the preconceptions attached to any term or phrase containing ‘left’. In these times, to call oneself a leftist, is to accept the very opprobrium which I believe has successfully crippled those who might have otherwise opposed the madmen now in power.)

  42. #42 John S.
    September 29, 2006

    Vote to save this country this November. Vote Republican.

  43. #43 Andy
    September 29, 2006

    Vote to save this country this November. Vote Libertarian.

  44. #44 Shaun
    September 30, 2006

    Great article.

    I can see the world population gathering online to stop out of control governments. There will be websites that watch regimes like groklaw.com keeps an eye on dodgy software companies.

    The hard part is going to be starting and promoting them without disapearing or wishing you had. Imagine millions of eyes looking at constitutions and political agendas. Researchers, lawyers and everyone else just working together to fix this planet.

  45. #45 Chuck
    September 30, 2006

    If you think this law is bad as we consider it in here in the abstract, just wait until it’s provisions are put into concrete practice, should the attack that’s likely to occur finally does. This may not be as far down the road as one might think. Find the latest article from Hamid Amir.

  46. #46 Andy Dabydeen
    September 30, 2006

    Depressing.

  47. #47 Angus
    September 30, 2006

    Interesting thoughts, but keep in mind, America was never meant to be a democracy. In fact, we are barely a republic. Our government was specifically built by the fathers of the constitution to slow the process down and keep any fast changes from occuring. This is actually a good thing because, not only does it prevent any one person from taking too much power, but it also prevents immediate, spur-of-the-moment concerns from permanently changing government.

    What I guess I’m saying is that, while it is not impossible, it would be extremely difficult to take over the USA. Through the existing government, it would just be slow and take so long that people would have plenty of time to catch and stop you, and as far as a military coup goes, the USA is huge (physically) and has a wonderful military. It’s not even worth trying.

    But it is very important that many of the things you pointed out are brought to the attention of the common man. I applaud your efforts to wake people up politically, though I don’t totally agree with your views.

  48. #48 Xaos
    September 30, 2006

    First let me start by stating that I consider myself quite the conservative ans a Christian. Let me also state that I agree with most of what you are saying in your blog entry (and related articles).

    Most people would find these statements as being contradictory, but they are not. There are two places that I would recommend each of you go to if you are truly concerned about where our Constitutional Republic is headed.

    One is an awesome documentary that premiered earlier this summer and is about to hit wider release. America: From Freedom to Fascism ( http://www.freedomtofascism.com/ ).

    The other is to a Third Party that is gathering great momentum towards returning our country to its Constitutional roots. The Constitution Party ( http://www.constitutionparty.com/ ) does have a strong Christian basis to their beliefs and it is foundational to their desire to return this nation back to a rule of Law based on the Constitution. Here is their mission statement:

    Constitution Party Mission Statement

    The mission of the Constitution Party is to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity through the election, at all levels of government, of Constitution Party candidates who will uphold the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. It is our goal to limit the federal government to its delegated, enumerated, Constitutional functions and to restore American jurisprudence to its original Biblical common-law foundations.

    Now don’t let that last part scare you that they want to turn this country into some bigoted Christian-only Country Club. Look around the site and read some of the articles and you will see that it is exactly the Biblical foundation of much of our founding documents that protect the rights of the individuals (and the States) from a large central government. To quote a long lost (sigh) document:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    OK, I’ll stop my rant now… enjoy!

  49. #49 James Hudnall
    September 30, 2006

    Not to be insulting or anything, but as so called intellectuals you should read the law instead of making yourselves look like fools. It has all sorts of built in limits. That’s why lawyers, who aren’t rabid Bush haters, are not up in arms about it.

    And linking to a lot of left wing sites only proves that you get all your information from one-sided sources. Not very scientific, professor.

    I hate to break it to you but we’re in a war. During WWII we did a lot worse. In fact, most countries do a lot worse. Somehow you people have this paradoxical position that we’re living in a dictatorship yet are shooting your mouths off about it publically. Brilliant.

    But of course, you know that we’re not living in a dictatorship because in two years someone else will be president and you will have moved on to some other hysterical position.

  50. #50 serb
    September 30, 2006

    Hey man, I read your other blog/s, Your intellectual prowess makes me a very proud serb

  51. #51 Don Lee
    September 30, 2006

    I’m a US Navy vet, Top Secret clearance from the Cold War era, and this man is absolutely correct. I’ve been putting aside a nagging worry about the mishandling of “Elections” in America for a number of years now. I’ve been increasingly reminded of the words of my Auschwitz-survivor nieghbor in California: “When they start making choices for you, it’s time to go.” She proudly wore dresses that revealed her camp tattoos.

    I personally have lived and worked among the Admiralty of the US Navy and spoken with the Secretary of the Navy [in 1984]. My personal opinion of all these men is that they are fundamentalist fruitcakes with no math or science background.

    The only man with a science degree was forcibly removed from the Navy by the joint chiefs of staff for suggesting that the US military needed to “get with the science.” That man was Admiral Richover, and one thing that the US military neither likes nor understands is science. It is a faith-based institution with no tolerance for facts.

  52. #52 d.k
    September 30, 2006

    greets from bosnia. funny that i just thought about this the other day. comparisons between ex-yugoslavia are very good.
    @ James Hudnall: for people who are hoping that the next elections will change something i would like to point to similarities to present day bosnia where there’s no matter what party wins the elections because the whole state system is wrong and there’s no power to change it effectively. i think that the same thing happens to america. democrats are considered leftist party in there whereas they would be on far right anywhere in the europe (considering their politics) and they will not change these laws that are pushing america towards dictatorship. when system becomes self-sufficient and yields too much power it becomes resistant to elections especially in the countries that have no real oposition in politics. the state that america is now in, screams for radical change but i doubt that it will occur.

    english is not my native so sorry for eventual mistakes.

  53. #53 Alon Levy
    September 30, 2006

    Coturnix, James Hudnall may be a shrill hack, but it doesn’t mean fascism will come in the guise of a trumped-up war. That’s exactly what American fascism isn’t. What it is is a particularly totalitarian form of Christian fundamentalism, which doesn’t need any foreign war to triumph.

    When it comes, it won’t be Bush, but a conservative who has the same opinion of him that Moore does of Clinton. It won’t be about terrorism, but about atheism and homosexuality and women’s rights. And it won’t be a single President passing a law that codified behavior the US has been engaging in for decades, but an entire mass movement ready to put civil liberties to sleep.

  54. #54 SkookumPlanet
    September 30, 2006

    llewelly
    I agree, basically, with your analysis. I don’t really mean to dump on the left. I missed the alternate, obvious, meaning to those lines you responded to. I wasn’t criticizing the struggle, only that they haven’t observed that the playing field and rules have morphed. No one has. This technology is designed not to be noticed. It’s not just the left that doesn’t get it, almost nobody, including most Republicans, don’t. The Uber Right bombards Republicans with it, has them on strings like puppets. And nobody should get it. We’re immersed in the economic version of it constantly. If we were conscious of it we’ve go nuts. As a guess, we fail to notice 90–95%.

    The spectacular rise of the far right is due to their technical approach to politics, one that has never been used anywhere. Before this, everyone, everywhere, through time, have all competed on the same stage with the same assumptions. Uber Right has stepped off that stage, outside of it. Then, imagine a set of invisible remote linkages or controls back onto the stage and into the actors, through which the right is manipulating all sorts of things. Politics proceeds as before and everything seems the same. It ain’t.

    It’s not just marketing. Brand development would be closer, but as the best corporation with the best product would do it, not as in politics. Really, it’s a hybrid. Nobody has ever analyzed, specked out multi-year campaigns, chosen media [here communication channels, local institutions, content producers and types, etc.], even constructed media, then produced ongoing campaign content designed to operate continuously over 5 and 10 years periods and longer, intended to build brand image, increase brand market share, and manipulate competing brand image, subconsciously in the minds of Americans, for a political product/movement, ever before. Still nobody has except them.

    Some commenters here are being too literal. These people are so sophisticated there’s no need for a physical take-over. The constitution need not be abrogated, just amended [An upcoming South Dakota ballot initiative strips judges of judicial immunity. Street name is "Jail for Judges".] The models are in the economy. The place to study them is in the literature analyzing contemporary marketing and brand campaigning. It’s being done by slowly changing the way American’s perceive reality, exactly the way, but on a grander scale, a corporation might design a 10-year plan to relatively reposition it’s 2nd place brand against it’s 1st place competitor on the way to surpassing it. Take conservative talk radio. That didn’t spontaneously happen, it was planned and executed. Like the Japanese auto industry sold light-trucks to America. It’s a class that didn’t exist until the Japanese invented it from scratch in order to circumvent the 70s[?] import restrictions.

    You saw “Led to War by Proximity Soundbites” at Chris Mooney’s — this approach created a huge change, intentionally created a mistake,in Americans’ minds about a factual situation, done right in front of everyone’s eyes, with virtually no rational thought involved. I’d love to analyze some speech text. They got a disguised, essentially subliminal, message to Americans through news broadcasts continuously for six months by using speech structure. And only a small group even realizes it happened.

    The global warming skeptics campaign is another excellent example — carefully planned out at every level imaginable but highly artificial. A visual way to compare it with a politically-important, genuine scientific disagreement would show obvious differences.

    My motivation isn’t just ideology, it’s democratic and American. I’m extremely concerned because this technology positions the Uber Right so no opposition, external or internal, will succeed without it. The “left” is the only opposition around. The Uber Right clearly want’s only selected American institutions to survive. That’s being somewhat revealed in the events in this topic, but analyzing the means [campaign] they used to get here makes it obvious too.

    This promises to worsen. Cognitive science has begun a, say 50 year, process of dismantling how our brains think, perceive, generally function. Highly specific, module by module, pathway by pathway. Almost certainly, we’ll learn that much of it we have zero access to. Our experience of consciousness and thinking is a selected facade. For example, already known are physical pathways that allow visual signals to avoid consciouness by bypassing the visual processing center in the occipital lobe — our eyes perceive and our brains operate on the signal but those processes never reach our awareness. The persuasion industry will suck up this new knowledge and convert it to technology as fast as possible.

    ___________________________________
    I discovered Scienceblogs end of last February and blogs 6 weeks prior. Except for an election year discussion board that’s the beginning of my online writing. It never occurred to me it would be so much fun. It seems like 2 years because I’ve subjected readers to 2 years volume in that time

    I regularly read only a few blogs, and write mostly on them as well. Courtnix has had a few sort of odd, short topics recently that connected with me enough that I wrote something. So I’ve been paying attention to him more than usual.

    Someone at PZs, in advocating my message, called me a broken record. I agreed. One message. I’m trying, as best I can, to use what I know about psychomarketing. Repetitive, simple message kept interesting. It’s tough because this is a strange medium and hyperperishable — blog comments. [Actually, I do a bit of other material, some humor, reviews, nature on Courtnix in the last week or two.]

    It’s very consciously a project I’m doing but just sporadically for a few months now. There are some details of how I stumbled into it at Daily Transcript, a stem cell topic July 21 weeks ago if you’re interested. Everything about this, including the content, is the result of how Google sorted a list it returned on a search of mine last fall. Life.

  55. #55 Caledonian
    September 30, 2006

    You can’t get people to become resistant to psychomarketing by persuading them to do so witih psychomarketing, Skookum. Ultimately you’re only feeding the mechanism.

  56. #56 None of Your Damned Business
    September 30, 2006

    Dude, you’re delusional. The United States has a 400 year history of republican government, free elections, freedom of the press and divided sovereignty. Yugoslavia, by contrast, had a 50 year history of totalitarianism and a cult of personality that masqueraded as a government. Before that 500 years of autocracy, courtesy of the Ottomans and Habsburgs. If you think the political situation bears any resemblance to Serbia in the 1990s, it’s because you have no clue as to what you’re looking at.

    I tell you what, why don’t you go down to you local city council meeting and the local court house and see how self-government really works, instead of steeping yourself in the paranoid fantasies of Academia?

  57. #57 SkookumPlanet
    September 30, 2006

    Caledonian
    You are correct. Unfortunately, and it’s taken me decades to accept this, resistance can only be minimal at best for most of the population. The techniques are increasingly preconscious. I can’t resist it and I only recognize tiny amounts of it.

    My message is that the opposition must start Using It. That’s a hard thing to sell. But counter-campaigning is the only tool available. I’ve come across no other option that can possibly be effective. They don’t even make it out of evaluation starting gate.

  58. #58 Caledonian
    September 30, 2006

    That’s funny, because I see those techniques almost everywhere, and as far as I can tell, they’ve been there for centuries if not millennia. I don’t seem to be particularly affected by them.

    If the situation is really as you describe it, then democracy simply isn’t a workable solution.

  59. #59 SkookumPlanet
    September 30, 2006

    Caledonian
    We are talking about two different animals. There has never been something like this done before. And, outside persuasion industry professionals who actually watched enough over six months, I bet the number of people who noticed this are in the few thousands. Possibly in the few hundreds. Millions watched it. I only recognized it through circumstances that prepared me to be specifically alert and decades of analysis that trained me. My subconscious noticed it very early so I had lots of material. Watching a few of those soundbites, or ones scattered over months, is unlikely to provide enough data to grasp it.

    Go to Mad Mike’s and read my Reagan convention red, white, and blue hue story. The old ways, overt ways, of doing this still are in use. But, now it’s science. There’s been great progress. It’s being used to activate subconscious modalities none of us can be aware of.

    And also, it’s not really us, here, that are the focus. It’s voters. Is democracy a workable solution? That’s something I dealt with years ago coming to this understanding. Here’s how I answered it. I’m not smart enough, nor knowledgable enough, no prescient enough to really know. That’s an issue for masses and societies over centuries to answer. I’m here now in this place, and I can learn and understand what’s occurring, seek knowledge. [Like science does, but I didn't conceptualize that at the time.] Then, last Feb I unexpectedly added, I can act to have an effect — I must act. So, being here doing this is a complete surprise to me.

    In other words, whether Democracy is workable or not isn’t important. What’s important is my response to my understanding/knowledge. I guess this then falls under ethics, responsibility, authenticity, etc.

  60. #60 SkookumPlanet
    September 30, 2006

    Addendum
    If you read “proximity soundbites” also consider this, beyond the voting public. The architects got this through a very sophisticated, complex editorial hierarchy of professionals, repeatedly. More than that, the architects remotely caused this hierarchy, scattered across myriad institutions, to repeatedly make selections of material, less than one percent of total, as the architects had planned it!

    If this isn’t profound, newly-minted activation of subconscious mechanisms, then nothing qualifies as such.

  61. #61 Caledonian
    September 30, 2006

    There has never been something like this done before.

    The sinking of the Lusitania? Remember the Alamo? Forty-four forty or fight? Carthaginians burn their children in brassy idols?

    This has been done countless times before.

  62. #62 Baratos
    September 30, 2006

    Regardless of whether or not America loses its democratic standing, I am moving to Iceland as soon as possible. Bush has made this country too close to a police state. Yeah, we might stop him, but the next president just has to make a few edits and BOOM.

  63. #63 nighthawk808
    September 30, 2006

    @Andrew: No, you don’t need your voter registration card anymore. Diebold knows that you intended to vote Republican and will automatically register that vote for you.

    @Caledonian:

    The sinking of the Lusitania? Remember the Alamo? Forty-four forty or fight? Carthaginians burn their children in brassy idols?

    You left out “Saddam has WMD’s.”

  64. #64 tom
    September 30, 2006

    I wanted to ask you about that Jugoslavia thing. Since you were there. Was this a fight of non-muslims against muslims ? The statistics on the CIA world factbook would seem to suggest this is indeed the case.

  65. #65 coturnix
    September 30, 2006

    I wanted to ask you about that Jugoslavia thing. Since you were there. Was this a fight of non-muslims against muslims ? The statistics on the CIA world factbook would seem to suggest this is indeed the case.

    Short answer: No.

    A little longer answer: it was a fight between city and country, between urban European-style progressives and rural authoritarian nationalists who picked other ethnicities as targets and as scapegoats needed to instill fear.

    Breaking up the country did not do much about it – each of the six parts still has its own fight betwen city and country going on.

    The enmities between Serbs and Croats (both nominally Christian and Slavic), both in the war in Croatia and in the war in Bosnia, were much stronger and bloodier than the fights between Christians and Moslems. Croast (Catholic) and Bosnian Moslems were, throughout the war, allies.

    The Kosovo Albanians are a mix – some are Moslem, some are Catholic and some are Eastern Orthodox.

    Religion, after 50 years of communism, is a weak force there. It is much more a symbolism – what religious symbol you carry identifies you as Moslem, Serb, Croat or whatever. Thus, religious signs were used as flags and coats-of-arms in a war in which the combatants could not otherwise distinguish each other by looks or language.

  66. #66 Carpus
    September 30, 2006

    None of Your Damned Business – since no one else has gotten around to pointing out the obvious I’ll be happy to.

    The Constitution, and hence our republican government, is 217 years old. Before that we were a groups of colonies with various forms of government. “Free elections, freedom of the press and divided sovereignty” were anything but universal. The Massachusetts Bay colony for instance (I assume that’s where you’re getting the 400 year number from) was basically a religious theocracy where all you had to do was express a little doubt and you’d be out on your ear in the wilderness; hence Rhode Island.

    So, “I tell you what, why don’t you go down to you [sic] local” library and hit the history books a little bit “and see how” totalitarian governments really arise “instead of steeping yourself in” rank ignorance and insult.

  67. #67 DougL
    September 30, 2006

    For those of you naive enough to think this “doesn’t apply to US Citizens”, you’re deluding yourself.

    Hypothetical question: if you are BOTH a US Citizen AND a suspected terrorist, which one trumps?

    Can you say Jose Padilla?

    OK… maybe not such a hypothetical question after all.

  68. #68 Wee Gordie
    October 1, 2006

    Sorry, I can’t comment. I only skimmed the post and didn’t go read any of the links.

    It is happening here and there is hope. We have to work together as Americans in order to prevent a repeat of history. There are too many examples of citizenry becoming apathetic and lethargic. We cannot argue hysterics, we must remain calm and resolve our differences through conversation and compromise.

    I was speaking with a neighbor the other day – she is Republican and religious. I made the point that nearly the same number of people have died in the occupation of Iraq as did on that fateful September day in 2001. She took the position that Saddam was a bad guy – I didn’t argue that. I simply said they are both bad guys. She got this funny look on her face and it was only a few minutes of me explaining that killing is against the highest law – they are both bad guys – she got it.

    So, how have you been brother Bora? Sorry we couldn’t make it south for the 3rd annual BBQ ;)

    P.S. Since you said this was a serious blog, I spell checked my comment – lol

  69. #69 coturnix
    October 1, 2006

    Wee, you can always comment! I hope you can make it next year!

  70. #70 Kelly
    October 1, 2006

    A dictatorship? Really? Geez, you guys are such drama queens! If the next presidential election is cancelled and the Bush administration stays in power and declares the bill of rights suspended and the FBI begins arresting people like you for posting anti-government propaganda, THEN we will be living in a dictatorship. But until then calling it a dictatorship just makes you sound like a whiny moron.

    By the way, I know many of you (you know who you are) have been predicting for years that the Bush administration will do exactly what I describe. The really interesting question is: When your prediction doesn’t come true will you admit that you were wrong? Or will you just pretetnd you never said it?

  71. #71 SkookumPlanet
    October 1, 2006

    Caledonian
    We are still talking about two different things.

    “There has never been something like this done before,” refers to the technological details discussed in the link. Not the results but the how. There’s no propaganda-like material involved here. The semantic content of the speeches were immaterial to this effect. Do you understand? Although they functioned on many levels, conceptualize the speeches as devices to get these specific 10 second soundbites into news broadcasts. Neither the speeches nor the tiny soundbites derived from them ever said, implied, suggested, in any way connected Saddam and Al Queda. It was not rationality or meaning or logic or language. This technique could have worked if Dub and Vee Dub were giving geography lessons.

    Let me give a fictitious example based on what they did. Excerpted from soundbite. “…dictatorships around the world are a threat to our freedom, dictators like Saddam Hussein. And there are others, those that hate our freedom, the terrorists…..”

    That’s it. The only mention of Saddam and [implied Al Queda] terrorists in the entire soundbite. Or they could be five sentences apart in separate paragraphs. That was enough! Put that into the media environment background, voila, convince one-third of Americans Saddam was involved in 9-11.

    This type of approach is highly resistant to logical refutation because citizens arrived at their erroneous conclusion through a non-logical means. The problem isn’t that they’ve reasoned their way into a mistake. It’s that their minds intuitively processed their environment exactly as our brains have evolved to process our environment. A process that kept us alive, and the species on the planet for a long time.

    It’s highly difficult and resource consumptive to reason someone out of instinctual behavior, say having a sex drive, or at least not acting on it. This isn’t impossible to do, but it’s often more efficient to find other means to ones goal, sublimation, or fiddling with hormones or lots of possibilities.

    I’m focused on process, not the political goals. You’re right, those are the same old same old. But these people are succeeding as the first to use this state-of-the-art knowledge in politics. Just as reason has advanced over time and been applied to social issues, just as science has done the same — take social marketing and the dissemination of public health information — it has now happened in politics on a grandiose scale. And a bunch of really smart, amoral, nasty people are the ones how have done it. It’s just fact, reality.

    The radical right started a sociopolitical corporation 30-odd years ago, with a widely published and acknowledged goal of changing, then controlling, the the way Americans perceive and think about reality.[see Justice Powell's Memo]. Their goal isn’t, per se, political control. They’re smarter than that. They have been applying the tools of modern corporate governance, and these include the complete and ever-more powerful tool kit of the persuasion industry.

    The rise of the right is not due to the politics and worldview of Americans grossly shifting over a 15-20 year period naturally, in reaction to events. That’s the BS that’s promulgated. There’s absolutely zero social antecendant for that. It’s been done with an unfortunately brilliantly conceived and executed 100% artificial campaign.

    What force is to prevent that from continuing. Not reality, that’s certain. The right could [and may] drive America right off an economic cliff. Afterwards, in the emergency room they’ll convince enough voters the left put the cliff there “because they hate America”, and so be more firmly installed.

    Americans only have access to the world beyond the families and jobs through media. Again, that’s just reality. Media is increasingly being used in a way that cannot be observed, nor discussed. It’s manipulation has become counterintuitive, analogous to how quantum mechanics is counterintuitive. So neither the effects, tools, nor delivery systems being used can be effectively countered with rational argument. It’s all pre-conscious. One can’t debate the autonomic nervous system into behaving a certain way.

    There will reach a point, I think, of no return. Then it will take generations of the U.S. under the control of these people, enough time for the Straussian aristocracy to produce or acquire a truly psychotic leadership, then a long time under such leadership for this to be eradicated. By then American society will have been forced to be so impervious to the rest of the world and reality, the forces that erase this type of programming will turn the U.S. into a permanent second rate country. I have a start toward descendants alive during those times. I feel some responsibility to them.

    One need not buy my conclusion about recourse in order to confirm this is really the situation. Go to the experts. There are scientists, technologist, researchers, psychologists, a whole host of well-trained professionals who work with this body of knowledge. Their knowledge and experience is available like any other area of human endeavor. Anyone can learn about these advances and then go looking for them in the current political environment.

    Logic says that ignoring them, which is universal at this point, only exacerbates their success. Knowledge is power, knowledge is protection.

  72. #72 Jimoh
    October 1, 2006

    Kelly: have you ever lived in a dictatorship? Have youu even lived outside of the US before in your life? I unfortunately have lived in more than dictatorship before, and I have first-hand experience of what that is like. I have lived in dictatorships that had regular elections — the only thing is, there was only one candidate, and so he won. Usually by a landslide. I have lived in dictatorships that had wonderfully-written constitutions, ironically usually based upon the US one — they were never suspended, just ignored when the dictator wanted to do what he wanted to do. I have lived in dictatorships where the state police didn’t bother to arrest any dissenters — they just shot them and then made press releases to say that the victim was killed due to “an accidental discharge” of the gun. I have lived in dictatorships that had newspapers and magazines sold on the street corner — but with NO negative or otherwise critical statements against the head of state (indeed that was a crime).

    We ARE very very close to being a dictatorship. When one man has the power to declare anyone he doesn’t like as a terrorist (and I repeat ANYONE — it could be you), when the accused person has no legal recourse, when the accused person can be tried without him being able to see the charges against him so that he can assemble a defense, when the accused man is released after they find him to be not guilty (“oops, sorry about that, here’s four years of your life you can’t get back, our bad!”) and he has no legal recourse, when the writ of habeus corpus is suspended and is subject to the whims and caprices of one person who considers himself above the law…what else can you call it?

    It looks like a duck, it quacks like a duck, then either it is the world’s best duck impersonator, or…

    It’s the bottom of the ninth, people.

  73. #73 Matthew Cromer
    October 1, 2006

    We are now officially living in a dictatorship

    How did they manage to forget to arrest you?

  74. #74 Chemical Billy
    October 1, 2006

    Thanks for this post.

    Kelly, if elections are ever suspended, it’s entirely too late. We need to speak up now if we hope to save our country.

  75. #75 SkookumPlanet
    October 1, 2006

    Caledonian
    We are still talking about two different things.

    “There has never been something like this done before,” refers to the technological details discussed in the link. Not the results but the how. There’s no propaganda-like material involved here. The semantic content of the speeches were immaterial to this effect. Do you understand? Although they functioned on many levels, conceptualize the speeches as devices to get these specific 10 second soundbites into news broadcasts. Neither the speeches nor the tiny soundbites derived from them ever said, implied, suggested, in any way connected Saddam and Al Queda. It was not rationality or meaning or logic or language. This technique could have worked if Dub and Vee Dub were giving geography lessons.

    Let me give a fictitious example based on what they did. Excerpted from soundbite. “…dictatorships around the world are a threat to our freedom, dictators like Saddam Hussein. And there are others, those that hate our freedom, the terrorists…..”

    That’s it. The only mention of Saddam and [implied Al Queda] terrorists in the entire soundbite. Or they could be five sentences apart in separate paragraphs. That was enough! Put that into the media environment background, voila, convince one-third of Americans Saddam was involved in 9-11.

    This type of approach is highly resistant to logical refutation because citizens arrived at their erroneous conclusion through a non-logical means. The problem isn’t that they’ve reasoned their way into a mistake. It’s that their minds intuitively processed their environment exactly as our brains have evolved to process our environment. A process that kept us alive, and the species on the planet for a long time.

    It’s highly difficult and resource consumptive to reason someone out of instinctual behavior, say having a sex drive, or at least not acting on it. This isn’t impossible to do, but it’s often more efficient to find other means to ones goal, sublimation, or fiddling with hormones or lots of possibilities.

    I’m focused on process, not the political goals. You’re right, those are the same old same old. But these people are succeeding as the first to use this state-of-the-art knowledge in politics. Just as reason has advanced over time and been applied to social issues, just as science has done the same — take social marketing and the dissemination of public health information — it has now happened in politics on a grandiose scale. And a bunch of really smart, amoral, nasty people are the ones how have done it. It’s just fact, reality.

    The radical right started a sociopolitical corporation 30-odd years ago, with a widely published and acknowledged goal of changing, then controlling, the the way Americans perceive and think about reality.[see Justice Powell's Memo]. Their goal isn’t, per se, political control. They’re smarter than that. They have been applying the tools of modern corporate governance, and these include the complete and ever-more powerful tool kit of the persuasion industry.

    The rise of the right is not due to the politics and worldview of Americans grossly shifting over a 15-20 year period naturally, in reaction to events. That’s the BS that’s promulgated. There’s absolutely zero social antecendant for that. It’s been done with an unfortunately brilliantly conceived and executed 100% artificial campaign.

    What force is to prevent that from continuing. Not reality, that’s certain. The right could [and may] drive America right off an economic cliff. Afterwards, in the emergency room they’ll convince enough voters the left put the cliff there “because they hate America”, and so be more firmly installed.

    Americans only have access to the world beyond the families and jobs through media. Again, that’s just reality. Media is increasingly being used in a way that cannot be observed, nor discussed. It’s manipulation has become counterintuitive, analogous to how quantum mechanics is counterintuitive. So neither the effects, tools, nor delivery systems being used can be effectively countered with rational argument. It’s all pre-conscious. One can’t debate the autonomic nervous system into behaving a certain way.

    There will reach a point, I think, of no return. Then it will take generations of the U.S. under the control of these people, enough time for the Straussian aristocracy to produce or acquire a truly psychotic leadership, then a long time under such leadership for this to be eradicated. By then American society will have been forced to be so impervious to the rest of the world and reality, the forces that erase this type of programming will turn the U.S. into a permanent second rate country. I have a start toward descendants alive during those times. I feel some responsibility to them.

    One need not buy my conclusion about recourse in order to confirm this is really the situation. Go to the experts. There are scientists, technologist, researchers, psychologists, a whole host of well-trained professionals who work with this body of knowledge. Their knowledge and experience is available like any other area of human endeavor. Anyone can learn about these advances and then go looking for them in the current political environment.

    Logic says that ignoring them, which is universal at this point, only exacerbates their success. Knowledge is power, knowledge is protection.

  76. #76 Caledonian
    October 1, 2006

    No, Skookum, we’re talking about the same thing. It’s a very, very old strategy, and it’s not anything new in the least.

  77. #77 SkookumPlanet
    October 1, 2006

    Caledonian
    My addendum above makes clear the psychomarketers used by the White House Iraq Group were able to reach out and manipulate the content of U.S. news broadcasts through controlling the choices editors made. These editors, in many different organizations, have as part of their jobs to act as gatekeepers against news manipulation yet still don’t know this happened. Nobody in the editorial structure knows it. The message delivered worked. It still works, because no one knows how it’s implanted, not even you. This is a powerful, diabolical use of science. The opposition to these SOBs hasn’t got a single tool that will touch this sort of manipulation.

    I know of no other incident in history where such a 1) level of specificity of [subconscious] control moved 2) so covertly through such a 3) diverse, voluntary, non-centralized, and unregulated communication system with such 4) precise placement of message leaving 5) a “trace” nearly unanalyzable by traditional means.

    I can’t imagine any combination of technology and politics that could have produced such an incident. While it’s end result is the same, overt propaganda, by definition, works via meaning of it’s content, and so is a different methodology. Proximity soundbites work irrespective of meaning, overt or covert. Theoretically, a population could be made certain another was on the verge of attacking it by holding a cat show.

    As I said before, I’m neither speaking of strategy nor tactics, which haven’t changed, but new tools to accomplish those tactics which in turn actualize old strategies.

    You apparently believe it’s not worthwhile to discuss/evaluate this new technology, indeed that there’s nothing new. I feel the opposite. For some reason, you are affecting a disingenuous miscomprehension of my thesis. I’ve read many of your comments over the months and know your intellect, which exceeds mine, is more robust than you are exhibiting here. I have no interest in the blog oneupmanship debate. I’m simply trying, with whatever skills I can muster, to teach. So, I’ll defer to you and move on to another conversation.

  78. #78 Prup aka Jim Benton
    October 3, 2006

    Coturnix:
    (Your blog has always been interesting, and I am sorry I have never commented upon it before. On a personal note, I’d love to discuss the history of Yugoslavia between the wars with you at some time, since this has always been an interest of mine. I’m not from there, but when I discovered my favorite detective came from Montenegro, I got interested in the subject.)
    On to more important things. I won’t be discussing the various comments, because there are just too many oftem, some sensible, some off-the-wall.
    I believe you are right in seeing a serious danger, one that I’ve worried about. But it isn’t as imminent as you see. And, ironically, the one thing that will almost certainly prevent it has just occurred.

    The two parties are NOT ‘the same.’ I have been following politics since before I could vote, going back to listening to — though hardly comprehending — the Army-McCarthy Hearings live when I was 8. In fact, the ‘they’re all the same’ meme has, consistently, been one of the more dangerous tools the conservatives, here and in other countries, have used to keep the vote down and thus increase their own chances.

    The Democrats have their flaws, certainly, but, for all the years I have been voting, there’s been a difference between them and the party of McCarthy, Nixon, Agnew, Reagan, and now of Bush and the Theocrats, the cut taxes and take it from services crowd, the neoCon war hawks, etc. Will their victory in the upcoming Congressional election fix all the problems? Of course not. But it will stop the drift into the dangerous waters that we both see.

    And, with magnificent irony, it is the hypocrisy and sexual misdeeds of an obscure Congressman — and much more the Republicans’ covering it up — and the idiocy of a prominent Republican Senator suggesting that the Taliban should be included in the Afghan Government that has assured this. IF we vote. IF we make sure our vote is counted correctly (I beg of everyone who votes where Diebold machines are used to DEMAND a paper ballot). And IF once we vote we stay active, that we keep writing and e-mailing our Representatives, DEMANDING they repeal this legislation and other Bush/Republican horrors like the bill not awarding costs to successful plaintiffs in religious cases, demanding the end to support of the truly dangerous religious groups, demanding they ‘call’ the Republicans on things like their connections to Moon and Parsley and Dobson and the Bible-Based Baby Beaters (see my current post in the Carnival of the Godless on THAT).

    We are in danger, yes, but we have the chance to stop it the right way, with ballots and democracy, and not let it get to where we’ll need other means.

  79. #79 coturnix
    October 3, 2006

    My response – I am doing this.

  80. #80 kamster
    October 4, 2006

    a brilliant oratory and you would have no problems in pursuading an international audience in taking a course of action to regain their civil liberties and democracy. but this is not where the solution lies. an american audience has a poor memory and consequently, unable of anamnesis. teaching an american audience about truth lies not in historicity but in the same sort of iconoclasm you have just expounded. in other words, using mass media, particularly film, to bring ignominy to their cultural icon, instead of the ususal veneration. many referred to V for Vendetta but in this scenario i would consider Star Wars to be more appropriate. by the way V was a great film. i am writing a near future world story for those interested in politics meets biotechnology sci-fis.

  81. #81 Keanus
    October 4, 2006

    Whatever one may think of the Military Commissions bill, don’t forget that Bush will negate the entire thing with a signing statement (if it reaches his desk). And such signing statement will surely say he can ignore the bill if he doesn’t like it.

  82. #82 glenda allen
    October 23, 2006

    Well said. I am a 53 year old Grandmother of seven and I
    fear for their futures. However, it is good to see that
    people are paying attention. My frustration grows daily
    and trying to figure out a solution only adds to the
    delimma. Thanks for interesting reading and assurance
    that I am not alone in my thinking.

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