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February 21, 2011

Comments

Preach on.

Outstanding work there Gary, astonishing
I apologize for reposting a part of my post but believe it is important.
Recently i had an experience that scared the sh.t out of me. I live in Phoenix where there are few artificial lakes used as water reservoirs for Phoenix. I was at a gas station filling the watter bottles which was right next to Red Box kiosk. While i was doing my thing a guy was renting the movies out when he said: "i would not use that water" and while handing me his business card with his Arizona Department Water Resources written on top with his name and info "they do not let us inspect those anymore". I responded with: "then i will by only new bottles"
Him:"do you know they dumped 40tons of waste into Canyon Lake, and we are not allowed to do nothing about it"
Me: "Then we are in Fascist state already"
Him:"Yes, it's fascism already"

EPU'ed from the previous thread :

"Madison Guy", who writes the thoughtful and often beautiful Letter From Here blog, recommends this Help Defend Wisconsin site to those who wish to help defray the immediate costs of maintaining the demonstration.

There is no one in government contracting that have an incentive to care about costs 45 years from now. Most taxpayers don't have an incentive to care about those costs.

Just as we saw with GM and Chrysler, the people charged with caring about the longterm costs associated with employment won't exist to pay for them.

Even long term private sector companies are unable to make decisions about value that exist beyond the lifetime of those living.

The lawyers among us may recall that you generally cannot require anything regarding real property that will exist beyond the lifetime of any one now living (give or take). Maybe that rule is one that should be resurrected: leaving debts for your children to pay seems like a bad plan.

Which is not to say that contracts that required government investment over time to compensate employees should be ignored. Rather, they should be funded, those who failed to fund then should be jailed, and those who agree to them now should identify revunue streams to pay for them, or lose thier own benefits.

I see a small problem with the assertion that once public employee's union bargaining rights are taken away, they will never be returned. Which is that an identical assertion could have been made, with equal validity (and more persuasively, given the role of public employee unions in financing politicians campaigns), that once public employees were granted union bargaining rights, they could never be taken away.

Which doesn't take away from your point that taking them away while committing to give them back is stupid. Regardless of whether one approves of public employees having those rights or not.

But wj, what reason would those who have erased collective bargaining rights for public workers ever return them - or even give the time of day to those who lobby for their return?

I don't get how you think this isn't an issue.

We had a little rally here in support of Wisconsin's sane and respsonsible citizens. By "here " I mean Olympia, the nearest metro area where I very nearly had an accident due to my unfamiliarity with urban driving.

The rally was fun--Teamsters, AFL-CIO, my union, and, to my surprise, a big contigent from the PTA! I think they were there to support funding for education but we all ended up more or less at the same rally.

I gave fifty bucks to the Wisconsin Democrats through Act Blue.

To buy pizza for protesters call 608 252 9248.

My only problem with the outbreak of protests is that they are a long time in coming. It reminds me of that poem from WWII--paraphrasing like mad it goes something like this: "First they came for the Jews and I did not protest, then they came for the unions, and I did not protest..and then they came for me. Etc."

Its the same principle. The Republican party leadership decided thirty years or so years ago to destroy the middle and working classes in this country. That is their intent and they are a long ways toward realizing their goal. But they didn't start out by attacking the middle class. They went after "nigg---" oops, excuse me, Republicans don't say that--"BUMS on welfare" first. Then the demonizing of gays, liberals, Muslims, immigrants, unions...all the while creating deficits and shifting the tax responsiblity on to those who can afford it the least, while using deficits--THEIR deficts--to justify their real goal, the dismantling of every instution or program that doesn't serve their corporate sponsors or red state special interests.

Now they are finally coming out in the open about "reforming" Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid and they are attacking unions, one of the last supports for the middle class.


So while I am very grateful that people are finally getting mad I wish it had happened sooner. There should have been mass expressions of outrage against Faux stations the first time Glen Beck's bullshit casued a murder. There should have been huge crowds protesting demonization of welfare recepients, most of whom are very young or very old. There should be mobs of young people protesting the global warming deniers who are fucking up the future for everyone. It sort of peeves me in a way that this rebellion is sparked by Republican efforts to kick another support out from under the middle class.

But I guess rebellions have to start somewhere.

wonkie: To buy pizza for protesters call 608 252 9248.

If it's Ian's Pizza, I think the number is (608) 257 9248. Also, if you want mad love from the Madisonians, you can't go wrong by ordering the protestors a mac'n'cheese pizza -- fresh out of the oven, it's one of the best dang things ever.

Go get it, Wonkie.

Meanwhile, quorum jumpers in Wisconsin have illustrious precedent:

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/20/lincoln-fled-state-wisconsin/

John Kasich's parents were U. S. Postal workers in Pennsylvania. His bones were made by sucking off the gummint titty.

And he never gets enough of the suck.

Thief, parasite, vermin, deadbeat.

I repeat myself, but a virulent, armed nationwide tax revolt is needed from the left side of the political spectrum.

Opening non-negotiable position: no taxes paid, not one cent, of any kind to governments run by Republican thieves.

I say kill the government before they can.

Great post, Gary.

Hey, the Wisconsin Mubaraks shut down some public communications

tp://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/02/wisconsin-legislature-shuts-down-comment-line-after-too-many-complaints.php?ref=fpb

February has been so much fun thus far.

Wait until you get a load of March.


http://crookedtimber.org/2011/02/21/shutdown/#more-19049

My dear friend, wonkie, we truly are kindred spirits: Not to slight the many wonderful and strong words you have written on a subject near and dear to both our hearts, our beloved shelter dogs, those are the most powerful and spot-on words you have authored on these pages.

It is hardly a coincidence that as organized labor has been dying a slow death so, too, is this country's once great and iconic middle class.

Having grown up in a union household -- my late father was a lifelong ironworker -- I have listened over the past decade or so with disdain, digust and sadness hearing co-workers, even friends, bad-mouth organized labor and declare pathetic and misinformed complaints such as "unions are what's wrong with this country."

Never mind that organized labor was a driving force toward creating the very middle class in which they belong.

Or that organized labor gave them hard-earned lifestyle enhancements that we take for granted -- the 8-hour work day, the 40-hour work week, weekends.

Not to mention safe working conditions, clean working conditions.

Yet, like so many other Americans in this nation's dying middle class, they have somehow bought into the views of the GOP, corporate CEOs, and those life-destroying Masters of the Universe.

I wonder how many of them have seen the excellent 1987 John Sayles' masterpiece, Matewan, as inspirational as it is heartbreaking in its dramatization of the United Mine Workers bloody and brutalizing fight to uplift the lives of downtrodden and seemingly hopeless West Virginia coal miners. (A film that should be shown and discussed in all high school civics courses.)

And so it has come to this: With Wisconsin as a test case, if you will, Republican governors across the land feel emboldened
-- and perhaps sensing a power vacuum left open by the ineffectual leadership of the Great Obama, he who stuck up for the middle class by extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich -- to bust organized labor once and for all and, in the process, crush one of the greatest allies of the Democratic Party.

And wasn't it just a couple of years ago when we were reading and writing obituaries of the Republican Party that George Bush seemingly left for dead?

If only.

If anything is dying -- some would say it is already dead -- it is the middle class and those workers in it like myself.

---

Seeing how it has been many moons since I visited The Kitty and friendly confines, belated props to russell, lj, Jacob, Doctor Science and Gary.

Me: "Then we are in Fascist state already" Him:"Yes, it's fascism already"
I'm sorry, but, no, we're not living in a fascist state.

No matter what you project, or extrapolate, we have a Democratic President, Senate, we have courts, they're all flawed, we have major disagreements in this country, but there are no armed militias fighting each other, no... look, you can take anything, and view it in the most alarmist fashion, and predict it will continue in the worst way.

That doesn't mean we're currently in this imaginary future. I could equally make up a scenario and description that a tea partier can, will, and does use to explain that we're living in a communist state.

These are equally ridiculous claims.

"We don't live just by ideas. Ideas are part of the mixture of customs and practices, intuitions and instincts that make human life a conscious activity susceptible to improvement or debasement. A radical idea may be healthy as a provocation; a temperate idea may be stultifying. It depends on the circumstances. One of the most tiresome arguments against ideas is that their 'tendency' is to some dire condition -- to totalitarianism, or to moral relativism, or to a war of all against all."
-- Louis Menand

Hey, bedtime! Good to see you again!

--TP

Fascist state as in Arizona state, and i did not make it up. I lived in Illinois before moving here and i have to tell you it is astounding difference in many faces, but most is in business codes and rules.
This is the state where governor signed SB1070 a racist law that benefits Corrections Corporation of America only, where state capitol building was sold 2 years ago, where even teachers are so brainwashed that most of them are against unions and majority of schools are charter (private) schools now. This is the state where corporations rule the government in pure definition of the Fascism. Not to mention what Clarence Dupnik stated not that long ago cause of which those bigots recognized themselves without being named.

I just realized that you consider fascism as having militias fighting each other. That is not necessary for fascism but for Nazism.
From Wikipedia:
Fascists believe that a nation is an organic community that requires strong leadership, singular collective identity, and the will and ability to commit violence and wage war in order to keep the nation strong..... Fascists advocate the creation of a single-party state.[17] Fascist governments forbid and suppress opposition to the fascist state and the fascist movement.[18]

I just realized that you consider fascism as having militias fighting each other.
You just realized wrong. Please stop trying to mindread. I write carefully, as a rule. If I write something, respond to it. Don't imagine something else and respond to it.

If I wanted to offer you a full definition of fascism, I would. I've done it before, but there are limits on my time.

First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.

-- Pastor Martin Niemoller.

The text:

There is some disagreement over the exact wording of the quotation and when it was created; indeed, the content of the quotation may have been presented differently by Niemöller on different occasions.

[...]

The statement was published in a 1955 book by Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free, based on interviews he had conducted in Germany several years earlier. The quotation was widely circulated by social activists in the United States in the late 1960s. Its exact origin is unclear, and at least one historian has incorrectly suggested that the text arose after Niemöller's death.[2] Later research traced the text to several speeches given by Niemöller in 1946.[1]

Nonetheless, the wording remains controversial, both in terms of its provenance, and the substance and order of the groups that are mentioned in its many versions. While Niemöller's published 1946 speeches mention Communists, the incurably ill, Jews or Jehovah's Witnesses (depending on which speech), and people in occupied countries, the 1955 text, a paraphrase by a German professor in an interview, lists Communists, Socialists, "the schools, the press, the Jews, and so on," and ends with "the Church". This likely refers to the thousands of Catholic priests and other ministers imprisoned at Dachau and other camps. However, as cited by Richard John Neuhaus in the November 2001 issue of First Things, when "asked in 1971 about the correct version of the quote, Niemöller said he was not quite sure when he had said the famous words but, if people insist upon citing them, he preferred a version that listed 'the Communists', 'the trade unionists', 'the Jews', and 'me'."[citation needed]

At the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, the quotation is on display, but is altered so that there is no mention of communists, even though communists have been mentioned in every version of the quote given. The Holocaust Museum website, however, gives a more complete discussion of the history of the quotation.[3]

The "official" version of the statement (as preferred by Niemöller) is also on display at the Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem in Israel.

There are some links I'm not embedding here which can be found here. We could go into this further at some length, but it hardly matters.

There are reams of books and sources debating "fascism," but let's go simple -- again, I'm not going to embed links here; read the above for more, as a starting point:

What constitutes a definition of fascism and fascist governments is a highly disputed subject that has proved complicated and contentious. Historians, political scientists, and other scholars have engaged in long and furious debates concerning the exact nature of fascism and its core tenets.

Most scholars agree that a "fascist regime" is foremost an authoritarian form of government, although not all authoritarian regimes are fascist. Authoritarianism is thus a defining characteristic, but most scholars will say that more distinguishing traits are needed to make an authoritarian regime fascist.

Similarly, fascism as an ideology is also hard to define. Originally, "fascism" referred to a political movement that was linked with Sindicalist-Corporativism that existed in a single country (Italy) for less than 30 years and ruled the country from 1922 to 1943 under the leadership of Benito Mussolini. Clearly, if the definition is restricted to the original Italian Fascism, then "fascism" has little significance outside of Italian politics. Most scholars prefer to use the word "fascism" in a more general sense, to refer to an ideology (or group of ideologies) that was influential in many countries at many different times. For this purpose, they have sought to identify a "fascist minimum" - that is, the minimum conditions that a certain political group must meet in order to be considered fascist. Several scholars have inspected the apocalyptic, millennial and millenarian aspects of fascism.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] According to most scholars of fascism, there are both left and right influences on fascism as a social movement, and fascism, especially once in power, has historically attacked communism, conservatism and parliamentary liberalism, attracting support primarily from the "far right" or "extreme right."[8] (See also: Fascism and ideology).

Contents
[hide]

* 1 Benito Mussolini
* 2 Sergio Panunzio
* 3 Franklin D. Roosevelt
* 4 John T. Flynn
* 5 Ernst Nolte
* 6 Stanley G. Payne
* 7 Roger Griffin
* 8 Emilio Gentile
* 9 Robert Paxton
* 10 Umberto Eco
* 11 Dimitri Kitsikis
* 12 Kevin Passmore
* 13 John Weiss
* 14 Marxist definition
* 15 Anarcho-capitalist definition
* 16 Fascism as vague epithet
* 17 Notes
* 18 References

So:
Doctrine of Fascism by Benito Mussolini. It was first published in the Enciclopedia Italiana of 1932, as the first section of a lengthy entry on "Fascismo" (Fascism). The entire entry on Fascism spans pages 847-884 of the Enciclopedia Italiana, and includes numerous photographs and graphic images.

[...] A key concept of the Mussolini essay was that fascism was a rejection of previous models: "Granted that the XIXth century was the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy, this does not mean that the XXth century must also be the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy. Political doctrines pass; nations remain. We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the 'right', a Fascist century. If the 19th century was the century of the individual (liberalism implies individualism) we are free to believe that this is the 'collective' century, and therefore the century of the State."

However:
Mussolini recalled and destroyed all available copies of "The Doctrine of Fascism" in April 1940 after he had second thoughts about certain phrases in it. (O'Sullivan, 1983) However copies in Italian and English survived, and are available in many libraries around the world.

[...]

"Fascism Doctrine and Institutions"

[...]

The Fascist conception of the State is all-embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value. Thus understood, Fascism is totalitarian, and the Fascist State—a synthesis and a unit inclusive of all values—interprets, develops, and potentiates the whole life of a people. (p. 14)

Fascism is therefore opposed to Socialism to which unity within the State (which amalgamates classes into a single economic and ethical reality) is unknown, and which sees in history nothing but the class struggle. Fascism is likewise opposed to trade unionism as a class weapon. But when brought within the orbit of the State, Fascism recognises the real needs which gave rise to socialism and trade-unionism, giving them due weight in the guild or corporative system in which divergent interests are coordinated and harmonised in the unity of the State. (p.15)

Yet if anyone cares to read over the now crumbling minutes giving an account of the meetings at which the Italian Fasci di Combattimento were founded, he will find not a doctrine but a series of pointers… (p. 23)

It may be objected that this program implies a return to the guilds (corporazioni). No matter!... I therefore hope this assembly will accept the economic claims advanced by national syndicalism. (p. 24)

Fascism [is] the precise negation of that doctrine which formed the basis of the so-called Scientific or Marxian Socialism. (p. 30)

After Socialism, Fascism attacks the whole complex of democratic ideologies and rejects them both in their theoretical premises and in their applications or practical manifestations. Fascism denies that the majority, through the mere fact of being a majority, can rule human societies; it denies that this majority can govern by means of a periodical consultation; it affirms the irremediable, fruitful and beneficent inequality of men, who cannot be levelled by such a mechanical and extrinsic fact as universal suffrage. (p. 31)

Fascism is definitely and absolutely opposed to the doctrines of liberalism, both in the political and economic sphere. (p. 32)

The Fascist State lays claim to rule in the economic field no less than in others; it makes its action felt throughout the length and breadth of the country by means of its corporate, social, and educational institutions, and all the political, economic, and spiritual forces of the nation, organised in their respective associations, circulate within the State. (p. 41).

—Benito Mussolini, 1935, "The Doctrine of Fascism", Firenze: Vallecchi Editore.

I think there's a fair argument that Benito Mussolini knew what fascism was. Others may disagree -- learnedly, and with facts, and citations, or original insights well put.

The Labour Charter (Promulgated by the Grand Council for Fascism on April 21, 1927)—(published in the Gazzetta Ufficiale, April 3, 1927) [sic] (p. 133)

The Corporate State and its Organization (p. 133)

The corporate State considers that private enterprise in the sphere of production is the most effective and usefu [sic] instrument in the interest of the nation. In view of the fact that private organisation of production is a function of national concern, the organiser of the enterprise is responsible to the State for the direction given to production.

State intervention in economic production arises only when private initiative is lacking or insufficient, or when the political interests of the State are involved. This intervention may take the form of control, assistance or direct management. (pp. 135-136)

—Benito Mussolini, 1935, "Fascism: Doctrine and Institutions", Rome: 'Ardita' Publishers.

Let's try: Others:
n 1944, John T. Flynn wrote a polemical work, As we go marching,[11] aimed against socialist and social democratic tendencies that he saw beginning to subvert capitalism. He characterises fascism based on an analysis of Mussolini's Italy:

1. Anti-capitalist, but with capitalist features;
2. Economic demand management...
3. ...through budget deficits
4. Direct economic planning, reconciled with partial economic autonomy through corporatism;
5. Militarism and imperialism;
6. Suspension of rule of law.

Or: Ernst Nolte:

Controversial historian and philosopher Ernst Nolte, by Hegelian dialectic, defined Fascism as a reaction against other political movements, especially Marxism:
“ Fascism is anti-Marxism which seeks to destroy the enemy by the evolvement of a radically opposed and yet related ideology and by the use of almost identical and yet typically modified methods, always, however, within the unyielding framework of national self-assertion and autonomy. ”

— Ernst Nolte, Three Faces of Fascism[12]

Or Stanley G. Payne:

Stanley G. Payne's Fascism: Comparison and Definition (1980) uses a lengthy itemized list of characteristics to identify fascism, including:[13]

* the creation of an authoritarian state
* a regulated, state-integrated economic sector
* fascist symbolism
* anti-liberalism
* anti-communism
* anti-conservatism.

As the common aim of all fascist movements he sees elimination of the autonomy, or in some cases the existence of, large-scale capitalism.

Or Roger Griffin:

With Griffin the emphasis is placed upon the aspect of populist fascist rhetoric that argues for a "re-birth" of a conflated nation and ethnic people.[15] According to Griffin:

[F]ascism is best defined as a revolutionary form of nationalism, one that sets out to be a political, social and ethical revolution, welding the ‘people’ into a dynamic national community under new elites infused with heroic values. The core myth that inspires this project is that only a populist, trans-class movement of purifying, cathartic national rebirth (palingenesis) can stem the tide of decadence”[16]

Also according to Griffin, a broad area of scholarly consensus developed in the social sciences within the English-speaking world during the 1990s, centered around the following definition of fascism:

[Fascism is] a genuinely revolutionary, trans-class form of anti-liberal, and in the last analysis, anti conservative nationalism. As such it is an ideology deeply bound up with modernization and modernity, one which has assumed a considerable variety of external forms to adapt itself to the particular historical and national context in which it appears, and has drawn a wide range of cultural and intellectual currents, both left and right, anti-modern and pro-modern, to articulate itself as a body of ideas, slogans, and doctrine. In the inter-war period it manifested itself primarily in the form of an elite-led "armed party" which attempted, mostly unsuccessfully, to generate a populist mass movement through a liturgical style of politics and a programme of radical policies which promised to overcome a threat posed by international socialism, to end the degeneration affecting the nation under liberalism, and to bring about a radical renewal of its social, political and cultural life as part of what was widely imagined to be the new era being inaugurated in Western civilization. The core mobilizing myth of fascism which conditions its ideology, propaganda, style of politics and actions is the vision of the nation's imminent rebirth from decadence.[17]

Finally, Griffin claims that the above definition can be condensed into one sentence:
“Fascism is a political ideology whose mythic core in its various permutations is a palingenetic form of populist ultra-nationalism.”

The word "palingenetic" refers to notions of rebirth (in this case, national rebirth), and carries a similar meaning as the words "apocalyptic" and "millennarian", but without religious connotations.
Then there's Emilio Gentile:


Emilio Gentile sees fascism as the "sacralization of politics" through totalitarian methods.[19]
Or Robert Paxton:

Robert O. Paxton, a professor emeritus at Columbia University, defines fascism in his book The Anatomy of Fascism as:

A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.[20]

Umberto Eco, in a 1995 essay "Eternal Fascism",[21] the Italian writer and academic Umberto Eco attempts to list general properties of fascist ideology.

He claims that it is not possible to organise these into a coherent system, but that "it is enough that one of them be present to allow fascism to coagulate around it". He uses the term "Ur-fascism" as a generic description of different historical forms of fascism.

The features of fascism he lists are as follows:

* "The Cult of Tradition", combining cultural syncretism with a rejection of modernism (often disguised as a rejection of capitalism).
* "The Cult of Action for Action's Sake", which dictates that action is of value in itself, and should be taken without intellectual reflection. This, says Eco, is connected with anti-intellectualism and irrationalism, and often manifests in attacks on modern culture and science.
* "Disagreement Is Treason" - fascism devalues intellectual discourse and critical reasoning as barriers to action.
* "Fear of Difference", which fascism seeks to exploit and exacerbate, often in the form of racism or an appeal against foreigners and immigrants.
* "Appeal to a Frustrated Middle Class", fearing economic pressure from the demands and aspirations of lower social groups.
* "Obsession with a Plot" and the hyping-up of an enemy threat. This often involves an appeal to xenophobia or the identification of an internal security threat. He cites Pat Robertson's book The New World Order as a prominent example of a plot obsession.
* "Pacifism Is Trafficking with the Enemy" because "Life is Permanent Warfare" - there must always be an enemy to fight.
* "Contempt for the Weak" - although a fascist society is elitist, everybody in the society is educated to become a hero.
* "Selective Populism" - the People have a common will, which is not delegated but interpreted by a leader. This may involve doubt being cast upon a democratic institution, because "it no longer represents the Voice of the People".
* "Newspeak" - fascism employs and promotes an impoverished vocabulary in order to limit critical reasoning.

Or Dimitri Kitsikis:

Dimitri Kitsikis Greek historian and Emeritus professor at the University of Ottawa proposed a scientific model[22] of fascism and defined 13 categories by which fascist ideologies, movements and establishments can be analyzed and contrasted with others:

1. The idea of class and the importance of agrarianism
2. Private ownership, the circulation of money, the regulation of the economy by the state, the idea of ethnic bourgeois class, economic self-sufficiency
3. The nation and the difference between nation and state
4. The attitude towards democracy and political parties
5. The importance of political heroes, i.e. the charismatic leader
6. The attitude towards Tradition
7. The attitude towards the individual and society
8. The attitude towards equality and hierarchy
9. The attitude towards women
10. The attitude towards religion
11. The attitude towards rationalism
12. The attitude towards intellectualism and elitism
13. The attitude towards the Third World

As an example,[23] Kitsikis applies the model to the Peruvian communist party, Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path), which claims to follow Maoist ideology. The results of the analysis show that the party's ideology satisfies all the criteria of 9 categories (to which a score of 9 points is given), some of the criteria of 3 categories (1.5 points) and none of the criteria of one category (0 points). A total score of 10.5 out of a possible 13 shows that Shining Path actually follows a Third-World fascist ideology. An objective analysis is thus obtained, not being tainted by any ideological presupposition.

With this model Kitsikis was also able to show that philosopher and father of the French Revolution, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, laid the foundations of French Fascism.


Then Kevin Passmore:
Kevin Passmore, lecturer in History at Cardiff University, gives a definition of fascism in his book Fascism: A Very Short Introduction. The definition he gives is directly descended from the view put forth by Ernesto Laclau.[25]

The definition he gives is as follows:

Fascism is a set of ideologies and practices that seeks to place the nation, defined in exclusive biological, cultural, and/or historical terms, above all other sources of loyalty, and to create a mobilized national community. Fascist nationalism is reactionary in that it entails implacable hostility to socialism and feminism, for they are seen as prioritizing class or gender rather than nation. This is why fascism is a movement of the extreme right. Fascism is also a movement of the radical right because the defeat of socialism and feminism and the creation of the mobilized nation are held to depend upon the advent to power of a new elite acting in the name of the people, headed by a charismatic leader, and embodied in a mass, militarized party. Fascists are pushed towards conservatism by common hatred of socialism and feminism, but are prepared to override conservative interests - family, property, religion, the universities, the civil service - where the interests of the nation are considered to require it. Fascist radicalism also derives from a desire to assuage discontent by accepting specific demands of the labour and women's movements, so long as these demands accord with the national priority. Fascists seek to ensure the harmonization of workers' and women's interests with those of the nation by mobilizing them within special sections of the party and/or within a corporate system. Access to these organizations and to the benefits they confer upon members depends on the individual's national, political, and/or racial characteristics. All aspects of fascist policy are suffused with ultranationalism.

Perhaps you prefer John Weiss:
John Weiss, a professor of history at Wayne State University, sought to give a definition of fascism in his book, The Fascist Tradition: Radical Right-Wing Extremism in Modern Europe. He arrived at a list of ideas that he believed to be shared by the majority of the people commonly referred to as fascists:[26]

* Organicist conceptions of community;
* Philosophical idealism;
* Idealization of "manly" (usually peasant or village) virtues;
* A resentment of mass democracy;
* Elitist conceptions of political and social leadership;
* Racism (and usually, though not necessarily, anti-Semitism);
* Militarism;
* Imperialism.

[edit] Marxist definition

In 1935, as fascist political movements were making gains across Europe and often took violent action against communist organizations, it became important for Marxists to have an exact definition of "fascism" in order to determine precisely whom they were fighting. Thus, the Communist Third International published the following definition:
“Fascism in power is the open, terroristic dictatorship of the most reactionary, the most chauvinistic, the most imperialistic elements of finance capitalism.”

The majority of Marxists, even those who were not members of the Communist International, agreed with this definition.[citation needed] Marxists argue that fascism represents the last attempt of a ruling class (specifically, the capitalist bourgeoisie) to preserve its grip on power in the face of an imminent proletarian revolution. Fascist movements are not necessarily created by the ruling class, but they can only gain political power with the help of that class and with funding from big business. And, once in power, fascists serve the interests of their benefactors (not necessarily the interests of capitalism in general, but the interests of those specific capitalists who put them in power).

“The historic function of fascism is to smash the working class, destroy its organizations, and stifle political liberties when the capitalists find themselves unable to govern and dominate with the help of democratic machinery.”

— Leon Trotsky, Fascism: What it is and how to fight it[27]

Many Marxists are strongly opposed to labelling of governments that were elected from traditional conservative parties without 'street movements' backing them up as fascists. The vast majority therefore reject the characterisation of the US government as fascist.

Amadeo Bordiga adopted a somewhat different stand on fascism. He regarded fascism as just another form of bourgeois rule, on the same level as bourgeois democracy or traditional monarchies. He did not believe that fascism was particularly reactionary or otherwise exceptional.[28]

The Encyclopedia of Marxism defines fascism as "right-wing, fiercely nationalist, subjectivist in philosophy, and totalitarian in practice", and identifies it as "an extreme reactionary form of capitalist government." However, it also goes beyond this traditional definition and lists nine fundamental characteristics of fascism:

1. Right Wing: Fascists are fervently against: Marxism, Socialism, Anarchism, Communism, Environmentalism; etc – in essence, they are against the progressive left in total, including moderate lefts (social democrats, etc). Fascism is an extreme right wing ideology, though it can be opportunistic.
2. Nationalism: Fascism places a very strong emphasis on patriotism and nationalism. Criticism of the nation's main ideals, especially war, is lambasted as unpatriotic at best, and treason at worst. State propaganda consistently broadcasts threats of attack, while justifying pre-emptive war. Fascism invariably seeks to instill in its people the warrior mentality: to always be vigilant, wary of strangers and suspicious of foreigners.
3. Hierarchy: Fascist society is ruled by a righteous leader, who is supported by an elite secret vanguard of capitalists. Hierarchy is prevalent throughout all aspects of society – every street, every workplace, every school, will have its local Hitler, part police-informer, part bureaucrat – and society is prepared for war at all times. The absolute power of the social hierarchy prevails over everything, and thus a totalitarian society is formed. Representative government is acceptable only if it can be controlled and regulated, direct democracy (e.g. Communism) is the greatest of all crimes. Any who oppose the social hierarchy of fascism will be imprisoned or executed.
4. Anti-equality: Fascism loathes the principles of economic equality and disdains equality between immigrant and citizen. Some forms of fascism extend the fight against equality into other areas: gender, sexual, minority or religious rights, for example.
5. Religious: Fascism contains a strong amount of reactionary religious beliefs, harking back to times when religion was strict, potent, and pure. Nearly all Fascist societies are Christian, and are supported by Catholic and Protestant churches.
6. Capitalist: Fascism does not require revolution to exist in captialist society: fascists can be elected into office (though their disdain for elections usually means manipulation of the electoral system). They view parliamentary and congressional systems of government to be inefficient and weak, and will do their best to minimize its power over their policy agenda. Fascism exhibits the worst kind of capitalism where corporate power is absolute, and all vestiges of workers' rights are destroyed.
7. War: Fascism is capitalism at the stage of impotent imperialism. War can create markets that would not otherwise exist by wreaking massive devastation on a society, which then requires reconstruction! Fascism can thus "liberate" the survivors, provide huge loans to that society so fascist corporations can begin the process of rebuilding.
8. Voluntarist Ideology: Fascism adopts a certain kind of “voluntarism;” they believe that an act of will, if sufficiently powerful, can make something true. Thus all sorts of ideas about racial inferiority, historical destiny, even physical science, are supported by means of violence, in the belief that they can be made true. It is this sense that Fascism is subjectivist.
9. Anti-Modern: Fascism loathes all kinds of modernism, especially creativity in the arts, whether acting as a mirror for life (where it does not conform to the Fascist ideal), or expressing deviant or innovative points of view. Fascism invariably burns books and victimises artists, and artists which do not promote the fascists ideals are seen as “decadent.” Fascism is hostile to broad learning and interest in other cultures, since such pursuits threaten the dominance of fascist myths. The peddling of conspiracy theories is usually substituted for the objective study of history.

Fascism as Epithet is probably most relevant, alas:
The word fascist is sometimes used to denigrate people, institutions, or groups that would not describe themselves as ideologically fascist, and that may not fall within the formal definition of the word. As a political epithet, the word fascist has been applied, in an anti-authoritarian sense, mainly to a broad range of people and groups on the extreme right, but also to groups on the far left and at points in between. It has also been applied to people of many religious faiths, particularly fundamentalist groups. The individual, institution, or group(s) called fascist often find the use of the term in this way to be highly offensive and inappropriate.

In this sense, the word fascist is intended to mean "oppressive", "intolerant", "chauvinist", "genocidal", "dictatorial", "racist", or "aggressive" – all concepts that are allegedly inspired by the ideology of actual fascism, and pervasive through fascist states. One might accuse an inconveniently placed police roadblock as being a "fascist tactic" for its perceived oppresion or interloping, or an overly authoritarian teacher as being "a total fascist". Terms like Nazi and Hitlerite, are often used in similar contexts.

The phrase social fascists was used by communists against social democrats before 1933, and is still used in some communist circles to refer to modern social democracy movements. As early as 1944, the term had already become so widely and loosely employed that British essayist and novelist George Orwell was moved to write:

It would seem that, as used, the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox hunting, bullfighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else.[1]

Would anyone like to further discuss what "fascism" is? I can do this for as many hours as anyone would like.

Easier and less irritating that have someone decide to read my mind and "realize" what I "think" fascism is.

But maybe I don't understand what fascism is; how many more days would you like to discuss it, Crithical Thinker?

This is the state where governor signed SB1070 a racist law that benefits Corrections Corporation of America only
You're referring to State of Arizona Senate Forty-ninth Legislature Second Regular Session 2010 SENATE BILL 1070
where state capitol building was sold 2 years ago
You're referring to this:
For the second time this year, the state has sold some of its buildings to investors to raise cash for the budget.

A two-day sale raised $300 million for state coffers, according to the state Department of Administration.

The state sold "certificates of participation" in the buildings and will buy them back at an interest rate of 4.37 percent, agency spokesman Alan Ecker said. The certificates carry varying maturity dates ranging up to 30 years. A figure on the payback cost to the state was not immediately available, but a sale last month of $450 million in lottery revenue bonds, at a 4 percent interest rate, will cost $680 million to repay. This week's sale included the state Supreme Court building, which the state had just paid off from an earlier sale-leaseback transaction.

Lawmakers authorized the sales as part of their strategy to balance the 2010 budget. In January, the state netted $735 million from a sale that included the Capitol buildings, with the exception of the original sandstone Capitol building, which is now a museum. That sale drew national attention to the depth of the state's budget distress.

But I guess I don't know anything about it.

where even teachers are so brainwashed that most of them are against unions and majority of schools are charter (private) schools now.
First, you don't have to be "brainwashed" to disagree with you. Second, I think charter schools are generally way oversold, third, they're not "fascism."
This is the state where corporations rule the government in pure definition of the Fascism.
Which pure definition? I've given cites. Your turn.

Assertion is not argument.

Kindly give your cite to an accepted definition of fascism that you're using, please, or cease using a term you won't define.

Please pick one.

Not to mention what Clarence Dupnik stated not that long ago cause of which those bigots recognized themselves without being named.
Clarence Dupnik:
Dupnik was a vocal opponent of Arizona's anti-illegal immigrant bill SB 1070. In April 2010, Dupnik used drastic language to criticize the law, calling it "racist," "disgusting" and "stupid" as well as unessential.[5]

In September 2010, Dupnik criticized the Tea Party movement at an immigration forum, publicly claiming the movement was associated with bigotry.

He said:
Sheriff Clarence Dupnik went after the tea party this weekend at an immigration forum, saying its members are bigoted.

“We didn’t have a tea party until we had a black president,” Dupnik said at a forum held at St. Francis Cabrini Roman Catholic church.

Asked how it came up in the discussion, he said, “I brought it up. I think I was talking about how bigotry is alive and well in America.”

He said aside from the timing of the movement’s birth, he’s seen bigoted messages at their rallies.

“I think it bring out the worst in America,” he said. “Instead of sitting down and getting both parties to work together, they are part of a movement designed to stop Obama from accomplishing anything.”

He said the group is preventing a rational discussion of immigration reform. “Every time you start talking about reform, they start talking amnesty,” he said. And although the comprehensive immigration reform effort pushed by U.S. Sen. John McCain failed before the tea parties organized, Dupnik said the chances are far worse now than they were before.

Tea party organizer Trent Humphries was outraged at the comments. “He pegged everybody who supports the tea party as racists,” he said. “You don’t do that if you’re in a position of power.”

The local tea party didn’t take a position on Arizona’s immigration law, SB 1070. Humphries said it was an intentional decision to stay focused on fiscal and taxation issues, as opposed to social ones. He said inviting Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to the group’s big annual event in October is not a shift from that earlier position, saying it just reflects the fact that many conservatives wanted to hear Arpaio speak.

“I just want to make the point that Sheriffs Paul Babeu and Larry Dever are being held up as potentially guilty of (racial) profiling and there’s been all sorts of outrage about it,” Humprhies said. “This guy absolutely is profiling. What’s wrong is wrong is wrong.”

Dupnik said he isn’t sorry he made the comments and won’t cave to pressure, just like he didn’t cave when a group of fellow Democratic elected officials asked him to apologize for saying in May 2009 that 40 percent of the students in Sunnyside Unified School District are in the country illegally.

“I didn’t apologize to Raúl Grijalva and I’m not going to apologize to them,” Dupnik said. “They have a right to their opinions and I have a right to mine.”

What on earth makes you think I'm not aware of these things? Why don't you try asking me if I know about something before I'm assuming I'm an ignorant dolt you have to fill in on stuff I know perfectly well? It's very rude.

Try asking, not lecturing, and talking down, please? Thanks.

Would anyone like to further discuss what "fascism" is?

No. Let's further discuss what "pedantry" is.

--TP

Gary, I agree with you that we're not living in a fascist state, not yet. But do you really think, "We have a Democratic President, Senate" even vaguely resembles a refutation of that claim???

Well, Gary did the work on fascism so I don't have to. I have read Griffin and like the revolutionary modernist model.

But for our purposes or mine as a socialist, a quick very important theme is that in fascism the state controls corporations. (and everything else.) We are moving rapidly to conditions in which corporations control the state. (matters of degree, nothing new, what is the state, what is a corp, all qualifiers, etc). Your polluter who can't be regulated shows the form.

Fascism is a nationalism. The authoritarianism needs a hierarchy and certain trascendental quasi-religious values, racism, the Leader that are in conflict with capitalism. I don't think the kind and degree of nationalism of the early 20th is available anymore.

The Koch Brothers, seeking energy profits and lower labor costs (among other things) are a major factor in what is happening in Wisconsin. Not to single them out, because this is what capitalism or corporatism always does, and the Kochs are replaceable and interchangeable with innumerable others. In Egypt its Cargill, in Libya Monsanto and others. The names don't matter.

Are we back in the Gilded Age? I don't think so. Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein are not Rockefeller, Morgan, or Vanderbilt. See Veblen, they are technocrats and managers driven by the system more than driving it.

Hell, I don't even think late Neo-liberal capitalism is or needs an ideology. The people who are "running things" apparently can't imagine anything different anymore. It's a freight train driving itself.

IMF Report on Libya's recent Neo-Liberal Reforms

Feb 15, 2011:"The outlook for Libya’s economy remains favorable"

"Executive Directors agreed with the thrust of the staff appraisal. They welcomed Libya’s strong macroeconomic performance and the progress on enhancing the role of the private sector and supporting growth in the non-oil economy. The fiscal and external balances remain in substantial surplus and are expected to strengthen further over the medium term, and the outlook for Libya’s economy remains favorable." IMF, Feb 15

I don't understand all of what's going on. Maybe Global Capital needs a interconnected workforce. Marx says capital needs labor to have two freedoms:freedom from subsistence and freedom to sell her labor. Could be the ole nepotistic dictators are just bad for the New Business Model.

But it is an incredible freight train a 'rollin over us now.

This likely refers to the thousands of Catholic priests and other ministers imprisoned at Dachau and other camps.

As a historical aside, it's more likely that Niemoller's reference to "the Church" here refers to the German Confessing Church, a Protestant movement that opposed the Nazification of the German churches, and Naziism generally. Niemoller and many others were imprisoned or killed for their opposition to the Nazis.

Not to slight the Nazi's persecution of Catholics.

it affirms the irremediable, fruitful and beneficent inequality of men, who cannot be levelled by such a mechanical and extrinsic fact as universal suffrage.

Pay attention to that one.

in fascism the state controls corporations. (and everything else.) We are moving rapidly to conditions in which corporations control the state.

That is my take as well.

One difference I see between the ideologues of the era of fascism* and those that aim for a similar system today is that in the past the preachers tended to believe in it themselves while I doubt that the same holds true for the main voices today.
To take one example: Hugenberg vs. Rupert Murdoch. The former used his riches and media empire with the goal of restoring the absolute monarchy (minus all liberal reforms), the latter supports authoritarian politics/politicians in order to boost his bottom line. Hugenberg was an ardent nationalist, Murdoch is a pure "vaterlandsloser Gesell" who for example foments anti-German hatred in his English and anti-English hatred in his German media.
The Koch family is in the same tradition, profitting from Stalin while starting Bircherism at home. Looking at the GOP leadership I see few 'true believers', the lies are simply too blatant to be the result of delusion.

*that includes proponents of alternative authoritarian systems that lost to those that would write their pages of the history book in blood.

February has been so much fun thus far.

Wait until you get a load of March.


http://crookedtimber.org/2011/02/21/shutdown/#more-19049

You know if they're going to shut down the gov't then I want a real shut down. None of this "essential personnel" are exempt BS. If there's no money there's no money. So, no social security checks, no salaries for executive branch employees, no congressional salaries, no money for additional supplies for the troops in Afghanistan/Iraq/Yemen/Pakistan/etc., no money for DEA enforcement, air traffic control, border "protection," etc. etc. etc. None none none.

Hello Bedtime! I hope you are here to stay!

I did not mean to bring facism into the conversation. My point was the incremental attack on pretty near everyone by the Republican party seems to have provoked public protests of large size only when the attack became clearly aimed at the middle class. I can rememver Jesse Jackson warning us that this was coming (white middle class people) about this nearly thirty years ago!


There is more in the Wisconsin union busting legislation than union busting BTW. It's a perfect example of Republican legislation in that the need for the legislation is a lie, it is intended to reduce the incomes of a sector of the not-rich public, it is being promoted through demonization, and --here's the part that is not getting much buplicity--it has a crony-capitalism componenet that would allow a political appointee ( in this case a freind of the govedrfneor's) to sell off public assets through a no-bid process, and it includes a sneaky behind the scenes way to destroy Medicaid while claiming to manage Medicaid better ( in this case a change in how Medicaid eligibility is determined that gives the power to change the basic rules of eligibility to political appointeees rather than the legislature).

Deliberate creation of a crisis, boogeymen, attack on the incomes of ordinary Americans, cronyism and corruption, the gutting of programs under the lie of reforming them. Your Repubican party at work! Pro-life! Family values! Fiscally conservative!

And switch off water and electricity to the Capitol Building. Congresscritters shall be required to borrow torches from the pitchfork crowd outside to light the chamber.

I think Harmut is generally right about the leaders of the Repubilcan party. The Senators, a few of the most promenent Representatives and the behind the scenes types like Rove, Norquist etc aren't ever sincere in anything they say. Barefaced liars. Their goal is simply power and money for themselves and their sponsors. On the other hand the House is full of idiots who actually believe the stuff McConnell/Boehner etc. say.


One of the weird things about people wh vote for Repubicans is the apparent lack of anny sense of history. Its like a consituency of folks with short term memory loss. Every election cycle the Repubicans gin up a fake issuue to get themselves elected and every cycle once elected they drop the issuue and gofor what really matters: cutting taxes for the rich, creating deficits, attacking the economic viablity of everyone else incluuding their won base.

Remember when the Republicans were all about term limits? One of the very few to take that seriouly once elcted was Frist.

Remember when Palin and McCain decided that earmarks wereth issue? It didn't matter that Palin had delivered, during her brief term in office, more earmark money perhaed to Alaska than any other governor. And concern over earmarks has faded out of Cngres now that the issuue is now longer useful for getting the Teatard vote. Last election Reppubicas who voted agasint the stimulus ran for office claiming credit for the job creating effectgs of the stimuluus on their own districts and trumpeting the need for jobs.

Now all that is gone and the whole Republican party is united in screaming abouut the dire effects of the national budget deficit--their deficit!--and jobs are forgotten.

I am not willing to amintaint he fiction any longer that the Republican party is just composed of people with a diffedrent philosophy and a different take on things and that we can talk stuff over and compromise and share insights and wisdom etc.

The Republican party has no philosophy beyond the ends justify the means and thhe goal is to restore make us a facade democracy with the economic and social norms of Dickens; England.

bedtime, great to hear from you, often wondering how things are going. Thanks so much for dropping by.

It's not merely collective bargaining rights:


http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/02/22/947918/-Wisconsin:-Its-not-just-collective-bargaining,-Medicaid-is-on-the-line-too

This will be wholesale murder.

Joan Baez singing kumbaya will not do the job.

The Republican Party is a murderer.

TP:

No. Let's further discuss what "pedantry" is.
Sure.
"The term, then, is obviously a relative one; my pedantry is your scholarship, his reasonable accuracy, her irreducible minimum of education, & someone else's ignorance."

-- A dictionary of modern English usage
By Henry Watson Fowler

Brett:

But do you really think, "We have a Democratic President, Senate" even vaguely resembles a refutation of that claim???
No. But if I answer long, someone complains I'm too long. If I answer short, someone complains I'm not refuting sufficiently.

This goes with writing, and blogging, and that's fine, but that's your answer: no, I don't believe it refutes the claim.

I agree completely with bob mcmanus at bob mcmanus at February 22, 2011 at 07:17 AM.

Bob: write me a guest post, please. Write me at gary underscore farber at yahoo dot com

Discuss with me.

Russell quotes:

... We are moving rapidly to conditions in which corporations control the state.
I agree, and this is where I part company with many libertarians when many blithely see no difference between "private" corporate power, and the evils of governmental power, which they're all over.

I completely agree that if government becomes too intrusive and powerful, by definition it leads in the direction -- if taken far enough -- to some form of fascism or communism, both of which, loosely speaking, generally have historically led to some degree, high or low, of totalitariansim.

Which is, y'know, bad.

But that regulation capture leads to corporate semi-control of government, and has is something too many libertarians (not all, some are quite sensible and moderate) seem to be blind to, and thus blind that their own views lead to supporting the same Big Government they ostensibly oppose.

And we're all too close to this stage. And that's where I'll agree that there are tendencies to a small degree towards "fascism." Or, if you prefer, "communism."

Both of which terms indeed have many usages, but what we have is "corporatism," and in a very bad way.

We need to eliminate corporate personhood.

But that's circular, and I don't see how, absent increases in the current kind of protests building to a crescendo of near-revolutionary fervor.

Right now, corporate money rules Congress. Therefore Congress won't act, and the only way to change Dartmouth College v. Woodward, decided in 1819, and Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, 1886, would be a SCOTUS decision that I'm not going to hold my breath on, so therefore it's Congress, Congress won't act, and it's entirely possible a Constitutional Amendment might be required, and good luck waiting for that.

So the only solution is sufficient mass outrage and change in Congress, and that takes something like near-revolutionary fervor, and I don't want violence, so the only solution I see is endlessly further education, and I don't see sufficiently good outcomes arriving for years, if ever, so we've all got to keep working damn hard.

And that's why I blog. And try to do what I can politically.

To make this a better world for all of us, most of all the plain people of America, who aren't rich.

Hello Bedtime! I hope you are here to stay!
Second the motion, bedtimeforbonzo.

I ain't no Hilzoy, and never will be, but this isn't your grandparent's ObWi, and the more longtimers back, and newcomers, the better, and you're a delight to see.

Wonkie:

And concern over earmarks has faded out of Cngres now that the issuue is now longer useful for getting the Teatard vote.
No, that's because Congress changed the law, and Obama gave it away, because it's trivial, although I happen to think that earmarks are confused with "pork," and that earmarks, when not abused, were a good thing.

We're a democracy. Congress, and your Representative represent your local district. Having people able to lobby their local representative, if it's real people talking, not, again, corporate money, to get local projects built, if they're good projects, is a good thing.

Localism is good. Conservatives should support local representation and power over centralized executive power.

But they don't. Eric Lichtbau in March: New">http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/12/us/politics/12lobby.html?_r=1">New Earmark Rules Have Lobbyists Scrambling:

Jolted by a sudden tightening of the rules, lobbyists and military contractors who have long relied on lucrative earmarks from Congress were scrambling Thursday to find new ways to keep the federal money flowing.

The playing field has changed dramatically,” said Michael H. Herson, a lobbyist in Washington whose firm, American Defense International, represents numerous defense industry contractors who have already put in their requests this year for earmark money.

Those clients, who along with hundreds of other businesses got $1.7 billion last year through the controversial practice of awarding earmarks, will now be barred from receiving money under a new policy adopted Wednesday by Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee.

Let's play that again. Who adopted the policy? The Democrats.
House Republicans, seeking to outdo the Democrats in ethics reform, went even further Thursday by agreeing to swear off all earmarks, for both nonprofit and commercial organizations, for the next year.

“This is the best day we’ve had in a while,” said Representative Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican who has been a fierce opponent of earmarks — no-bid contracts directed by lawmakers — but had found little support among Republican colleagues before this week. “In terms of us getting this moratorium, the stars were aligned. What the Democrats did certainly motivated the Republicans.”

And that's what changed.

But it doesn't change. It just centralizes power more. Why is this good? It isn't. Libertarians and Republicans and conservatives should surely agree, if they hold to their alleged principles:

“For firms that have made their living on getting earmarks for their clients, this is a sea change,” said Joseph M. Donovan, managing partner at Nelson Mullins Public Strategies Group, a Boston lobbying firm that represents about 50 private and public clients. “It fundamentally changes their business model.”

Mr. Donovan said his company had anticipated a sharp cutback in earmarks because of the political mood in Washington and began taking steps to help clients navigate the new landscape. That includes hiring an in-house writer to help them apply for federal grants directly from executive branch agencies instead of Congress.

Because that grant money is usually awarded based on competitive bids, he said it would be harder for smaller companies with promising research-and-development ideas. Contractors will have to be “more strategic” in their thinking, he said, “because I don’t want to be in the position of telling them that things are being done through a wink and nod and you’re just going to get a million dollars.”

And this is true:
[...] In the Senate, some lawmakers have defended earmarks as a necessary tool for Congress to exercise the power of the purse and influence federal spending. Supporters say that for every “Bridge to Nowhere,” the Alaska earmark project that became infamous five years ago, there are worthy projects that get less attention.
And this:
[...] Whether earmark money will dry up completely was a matter of sharp debate Thursday. While Democrats and Republicans alike were trumpeting their respective efforts and hailing the end of an era in earmark abuse, some lawmakers warned that, without close oversight, lobbyists and contractors would find new ways to get around the restrictions.

In particular, lawmakers said they were wary about commercial companies piggybacking on nonprofit projects, or remaking themselves into nonprofits.

Indeed, Mr. Flake, the Arizona Republican, predicted that the rules in the House might tighten even more.

“Democrats will have to go further, once people understand that you’ll have for-profits masquerading as nonprofits,” he said in an interview.

As a way of guarding against that, the new restrictions by House Democrats include the auditing of 5 percent of all nonprofit earmarks. But some lawmakers and lobbyists closely involved in the earmarking process predicted that Congressional appropriating committees could still find ways to provide money for pet projects at home — for instance, by directing the Pentagon to add the project money to its own budget.

Lawmakers who support earmarks “are still going to move money around on the committees,” said Mr. Herson of American Defense International. “It just won’t be as transparent.”

I agree with Republican conservative Jeff Flake, and with Mr. Herson.

Who doesn't?

(I could give more up to date detail on what's since happened, but then I'm going long.)

Russell quotes:

Just citing McManus' analysis, which I find right on. Especially his discussion of the role of nationalism and national identity in fascism, and it's absence in any meaningful way from corporatism.

Leading to Hartmut's comment:

Hugenberg was an ardent nationalist, Murdoch is a pure "vaterlandsloser Gesell" who for example foments anti-German hatred in his English and anti-English hatred in his German media.
The Koch family is in the same tradition, profitting from Stalin while starting Bircherism at home.

Correct, IMO. The loyalty is not to nation, but to the rights and privileges of property ownership, most especially capital.

I disagree with wonkie's sense that there is something hypocritical in Republican adherence to this. They aren't dissembling or trying to hide a secret "privileges of wealth" agenda behind a patriotic veneer. Their understanding of what the country is about *is* the enhancement and preservation of the rights and privileges of private property, most especially capital.

The extreme Republican position is that the function of government is to enforce contracts, coin money, and provide for defense, full stop. And when I say "extreme", I'm referring to spectrum, not to frequency of occurence.

There's no distinction in their minds.

If somebody thinks I'm overgeneralizing or painting with a too-broad brush, feel free to explain where and how. I'm all ears.

We need to eliminate corporate personhood.

You're singing my song dude.

But that's circular, and I don't see how, absent increases in the current kind of protests building to a crescendo of near-revolutionary fervor.

Well it's a start.

I think in some cases it is not about 'what the country is about'. They would serve any system that would benefit them.

We need to eliminate corporate personhood.

A separate thread on this maybe? I know we've had the discussion before but I think that was a digression from something else (campaign finance law, I think).

Always feels good to be warmly welcomed at The Kitty no matter how long or short the interval away.

The orchestrated assault on unions moved me to write last night because of organized labor's historic roots in making a better life for generations of millions of Americans and the realization that it is one of the last vestiges to save a vibrant middle (unless you are placing your bets on the Democratic Party and the Great Obama, who have done more to save Wall Street and the banking industry than the millions who have lost their jobs or earning power and who have been foreclosed on largely because of the Disaster Capitalism created by said Masters of the Universe).

Unfortunately, I am late for work and thus prevented from making more sense of that argument.

It seems like i(critical tinkerer) have earned limits on posting, so let me try

No there is no accepted definition of fascism, you are right, and it carries a very negative stigma that is mostly used as epithet due to wide variety of integration of economic and social system so it can apply to any economic system. Most of the definitions are based on defense of their idealogical perfect economic system where anything negative is put into fascism.
My definition is based on what other economic systems are describing: relations of economic fundamentals.
capitalism- state regulates the corporations and owns only utilities and services that private fails to provide. And emphasizes property rights
socialism-where state owns all utilities by default and also owns companies where exist higher risk of manipulation and damage to the population. Banks, railroads, transportation, healthcare are treated as utilities.
communism- labor is the state and it owns and controls pretty much everything.
fascism- corporations control the state and it uses power of government to control labor
Noam Chomsky has similar descriptions, more or less

my definitions are very broad and general, but i believe it should apply only to economic systems not to social structures, but since in order to control labor,fascism uses social structures in manipulation of it.
Arizona is more fascist in a sense of verbal wishes of the ruling party then the still present democracy allows it. Arizona would be fascist if based only on verbal communication then situation on the ground would describe.

"socialism-where state owns all utilities by default and also owns companies where exist higher risk of manipulation and damage to the population. Banks, railroads, transportation, healthcare are treated as utilities."

Please allow me to correct you, crithic.

In the America President Bush and President Obama have overseen -- 10 hellish years and counting -- the new socialism is one in which the banks, big pharma, big oil and pretty much the rest of Corporate America control the state.

The Republican party has no philosophy beyond the ends justify the means and thhe goal is to restore make us a facade democracy with the economic and social norms of Dickens; England.

Yes and no. The above sort of *is* a philosophy, appalling though it is. But I agree that there is a strong whiff of entropy to it, that it's sort of an 'automatic' disaster. In the words of the Poet: "I don't know what I want/But I know how to get it."

And I'd say that a nationalist *usually* doesn't actually give a s*#t about their country, as such. Even Mr Hilter blamed The German People at the end. Nationalism is another name for a certain kind of patriotism - the compulsory kind; the last refuge of a scoundrel.

We don't live in a fascist state, room-temperature comfort that that is (thank god were are only on the road to authoritarian plutocracy! Feel better?). We live in a politically dysfunctional state with a very powerful reactionary insurgency, the latter exacerbating and/or actually creating dysfunction with hopes that that will redound to its political advantage.

And it usually does. But this mid west thing might be a turning point. One has to keep in mind that this insurgency has had as much success as it has because their political opponents (the Dems) mostly allowed it to happen, with only a few pitiful squeals here and there. Having such a hapless opponent breeds recklessness and overreach. I hope this is those.

Gary @ 11:21,

You'd better watch it, or I shall have to invoke the no true (small c) communist defense.

To the best of my knowledge, nobody has (to any degree of widespread concurrence)successfully invoked the 'no true fascist' defense.

This should mean something.

And it goes without saying that there are, of course, no true Scotsmen.

Hi, Gary. If I might interject, in your discussion with CT re: fascism, you wrote:

Gary
I'm sorry, but, no, we're not living in a fascist state.

No matter what you project, or extrapolate, we have a Democratic President, Senate, we have courts, they're all flawed, we have major disagreements in this country, but there are no armed militias fighting each other, no... look, you can take anything, and view it in the most alarmist fashion, and predict it will continue in the worst way.

To which he responded:
crithical tinkerer
I just realized that you consider fascism as having militias fighting each other.

You seemed to take umbrage at that.
Gary
You just realized wrong. Please stop trying to mindread. I write carefully, as a rule. If I write something, respond to it. Don't imagine something else and respond to it.

Not wishing to take sides either way vis a vis fascism, but it does appear from your comments that you place some importance on fighting militias as a criteria for fascism. You're usually quite precise in your comments, so it seems odd to see you argue so strenuously against a claim you appear to have made, even if accidentally or through mistyping or haste. This lead to a giant wall o’ text in defense of you position (it ran to 21 pages on my particular screen).

Now, I realize I’m not a regular contributor, merely a lurker, but it seems that CT had a valid point, and that if there was a lack of clarity about your position, it quite probably came from your comment, and that if you did not hold that opinion (militia violence a necessary component of fascism) a simpler solution might have been to simply withdraw that claim or clarify your previous comment.

I appreciate a well-source response, as yours almost always are, but (in my very humble lurker’s opinion) they might benefit from a bit more brevity. Speaking only for myself, I find discussion threads easier to follow when commenters use links rather than block-quoting large sections.

Regardless, I really appreciate the vibrant discussion and don’t want to interfere with it any more than I already have. If this comment is out of line, please accept my humble apologies.

Wanted to elaborate on my respect for organized labor.

Since 2003, I have worked in car sales, a field in which management treats it salesmen -- the front line of its business -- with casual indifference and, often, condescension.

On more than one occasion, I have heard a manager refer to salesmen as "a dime a dozen." Which may have been true before my time in the business.

Now, every time my dealership runs an ad on the internet or in the newspaper the response is amazingly paltry and the quality of the person who does respond is lacking (in social skills, intelligence and other things you'd regard as basic). This, in an age of 10 percent unemployment.

I remember back when the housing bubble first burst and our business started to go bad, too; numbers plunged. As a means of motivating, I guess, the owner read us the riot act and told us that many quality realtors and mortgage analysts would be looking for work and to take our jobs.

Not a one ever showed up.

Perhaps the skill sets aren't completely transferrable. It's a strange business. In eight years, I have seen guys who had just lost good jobs and who were considerably smarter than I but who hated this work, or were simply terrible at it, and were gone in weeks.

The hours suck. Management's thinking -- and thus managerial approach -- is still stuck in the heyday of the 70s and 80s when good money was to be made. And -- perhaps what turns off most prospective employees -- this is strictly a commission job. Not even a modest salary. In other words, if you don't sell, you don't eat.

So even in an era of 10 percent unemployment, it would seem despite management's outdated thinking salesmen are not a dime a dozen.

As far as I know, there are no unions for salespeople.

I've often wondered why.

And this is where my respect for unions -- and especially for those who organized them at the turn of the century when doing so meant risking life and limb -- comes in.

Let's say I wanted to start a union movement. Forget the three other departments here; let's just go with mine and my six co-workers.

Seven guys.

All of us, to a man, behind in our bills, some more than other (the seemingly never-ending Great Recession has not been good for business).

Yet I doubt I would get a single vote to join my movement.

What's more, I can confidently predict that at least two of those six co-workers -- suck-up types -- would rat me out to management and brand me as a troublemaker in the process.

And, in short order, I'd be fired.

So count me firmly on the side of the brave souls fighting the system in Wisconsin.

BTFB--welcome back. Please stay a while.

'Let's say I wanted to start a union movement.

I doubt I would get a single vote to join my movement.'

'As far as I know, there are no unions for salespeople.

I've often wondered why.'

You raise an interesting topic. Why would you want to be unionized? Except for the fact that the dealership has to approve your working there, are you not almost self-employed? Are there limits on how much time you spend on the job or on how many cars you can sell or how much you can earn? Maybe the amount you earn per transaction is too small so that you would need to close too many deals to make a lot?

It seems as if the union concept of exercising control over the labor output won't work very well in a 100% commission environment. What if one salesperson is so effective that his/her success rate is many multiples more than all the others. What's the union reaction? It is known how rate-busters were/are viewed in a unionized piece work environment.

I'm just suggesting some factors that might help answer the question.

Ugh

We need to eliminate corporate personhood.

A separate thread on this maybe? A good idea, bookmarked.

Ideas for good posts are not a problem, though. :-)

But we do take requests. :-)

bedtimeforbonzo:

Always feels good to be warmly welcomed at The Kitty no matter how long or short the interval away.
Vote early and often! Er, come on, come on, comment on! Bring your friends!

crithical thinker:

It seems like i(critical tinkerer) have earned limits on posting
I could say I don't know what you're talking about, but I'm going to take a wild guess that you had some kind of browser/Typepad problem and again have leapt to some conclusion.

There's no limit on posting here, other than the posting rules. If you had any problem posting, it's with either Typepad, your computer, the internet, or some interaction thereof.

It also can depend on how you're signing in, if you time out, sometimes if you use too many links, Typepad doesn't give warnings, and there are simply innumerable possibilities.

Best thing is to try refreshing your browser, if that doesn't work, close it, make sure the process is killed, reopen it, try restarting you computer, try waiting a brief time, any number of possible solutions.

If all that fails, and you have a problem, try writing the kitty, though no promises as to how soon I'll notice or get back to you.

But if you think you're somehow being censored deliberately, then you're simply being paranoid.

You'll be informed if you've broken the Posting Rules, and given a warning, unless it's in a form that requires immediately dealing with (as soon as someone brings it to our attention, or we notice), and then we take it from there.

No one will deliberately interfere with your comments otherwise.

Thanks for your elaboration on your usage of "fascism."

I'll decline to get into definitions of isms further at this time.

I do suggest that use of these political labels as epithets are used way way way too freely, that it's destructive to productive political conversation and agreement in exactly the way you decry, and that calling people fascists, communists, or other extremist names is, absent extremely clear reasons based on extremely clear criteria, is a Bad Idea. You're free to disagree and argue back all you like, and vice versa. :-)

Iif you hang around, you'll learn that I am, as a lifelong editor, copyeditor, proofreader, writer, mass-market publishing minion (well, the latter I'm pretty much retired from, but I Hang Around A Lot), and generally precise person, someone whom I'm afraid does get very picky about usage, and most issues in general, though if I'm an *ssh*le about it, you're free to clap me on the ears, preferablly not too rudely, and say so.

I'm as human as the next person, and sometimes get annoyed when I shouldn't, and worse. I do get particularly annoyed when people tell me what I'm thinking, or mean, when they're, you know, wrong, or even when they simply make announcements about what anyone is thinking, what they "mean," and so on, when it's not what they've actually written, but as a commenter about this, I'm just another commenter.

I'm not a fan of the Governor of Arizona, and I'm not a fan of many of its state policies, of John McCain, Jon Kyl, or Arizona Republicans in general, he said rather mildly.

John of the Dead:

If I might interject [...]
No need to ask, commenting is what comment threads are for, and the more the merrier.

You seemed to take umbrage at that.
See above. I get prickly at people who don't read carefully, and who make assumptions, and worse, declarations, about what other people think. More so when they're wrong, and more so when it's me, but in general, no one can mind-read, and anyone who announces some variation of a mindreading claim is not, in my opinion, doing anyone, least of all themselves, any favors. But I say this as a commenter, not as a poster announcing any sort of rule. People are free to say what they want, and as a commenter, I sometimes should be more diplomatic, but I'm full of flaws.

But to repeat, I don't think militias are necessary for fascism, but they're darned helpful as a pointer that we're on the way towards it.

I do have a tendency towards over-kill, and carpet-bombing both in posts and comments, and should do a better job of being gentler and shorter, I fully agree. You have a perfectly valid point there.

As for lurking, there's certainly no obligation to speak up, but you're more than invited to; we like to have comments, and encourage people to jump on in. How well you impress or disimpress anyone, or enjoy the rough-and-tumble, is another matter. :-)

But, really, this idea of "interfering" is something you should completely put aside. Comment away!

It makes some of us front pagers feel neglected and unread and sad, tragically tragically sad, and uterly wet and a weed if we don't get more comments, or at least, I do, I can't speak for any other front-pager, and don't.

BTFB---sales takes unique skills and the ability to not get hundreds of "no" or "I'll get back to you" responses without letting it get to you. It's not for somebody whose feelings are bruised easily, or for the shy or the meek. If you don't relate socially to total strangers almost immediately, you have entered the wrong field.

The problem I have with most (not all) car salespeople is they all seem to have read the same Zig Ziglar sales book, and when they pull that old "let me go talk to the manager" stunt, I want to scream.

There should be no such thing as 'full commission' sales. They should be salaried with bonuses. But it's brutal out there.

Have you tried for inside industrial sales? Take industrial abrasives, for just one example. I hear some of those folks make very good money.

After the Revolution, we shall fix that.

Welcome back, and ON WISCONSIN.

Gary,

"...they might benefit from a bit more brevity."

As constructive, and I do mean constructive, criticism, I feel this observation from that dead john guy is apt. This is as opposed to pedantic-a critique which was, alas, an honest misfire. Massive text and link rebuttals tend to induce MEGO, and practically nobody is going to open and explore all those links unless they really want to get in the weeds with you.

You might also try for a little bit more of the pithy at times (Wilde, Parker, Twain, Russell, et al). It generally misfires for me, but when it works, it is devastating.

One may quibble as to whether or not devastation of your opponents is the desired outcome for blog comments, but that is a topic for another day.

In Cheerful Solidarity,
bobbyp

Gary
Thank you for advice, posting fixed after restarting.
I admit i am guilty of attempting devastation of my opponents and i apologize to all that were affected, but i hope it got them on deeper thinking process as it did to me.
I still do not believe that i invoked Godwinn's law of blogging.

There is another step in Walker's waltz

"Madison – Today, Governor Scott Walker signed Special Session Assembly Bill 5 which requires a 2/3s vote to pass tax rate increases on the income, sales or franchise taxes."
from http://wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=227740

FWIW, Gary, I would argue that the Tea Party movement is largely a fascist one, albeit without a militia. I mean, God help us if there's ever a Tea Party Freikorps...

What's interesting to me is that the radicalism of the right in the US seems directly proportional to their positions of power; while the rank and file of these movements tend to be nothing worse than loudmouth bloviators -- nothing unusual there -- the leaders of these movements higher up seem to be genuinely crazy in a way that's genuinely frightening. That's in distinction with the left which, in the US, seems to reverse the trend: the rank and file tend to be considerably more zealous than the leaders.

As another random thought in this direction: it seems that the pattern of most American extremism is to buy into and co-opt the existing system rather than to fight against it. [The, say, Idaho militia movement notwithstanding.] To that end, I think there could an interesting argument that (say) police or military brutality could be indicators of a right-wing propensity towards violence in America in a way that it isn't really in Europe -- but I don't feel I have the expertise to explore it.

Take industrial abrasives, for just one example. I hear some of those folks make very good money.

Just be careful not to let the bastards wear you down.

"Just be careful not to let the bastards wear you down."

Slarti, sometimes you just rub me the wrong way, but that made me laugh.

But really, the observation was based on a true story....snot nosed kid graduates from podunk U.; somehow falls into selling industrial abrasives; makes truly good money.

I, of course, am green with envy. Such is life.

Perhaps the skill sets aren't completely transferrable. It's a strange business. In eight years, I have seen guys who had just lost good jobs and who were considerably smarter than I but who hated this work, or were simply terrible at it, and were gone in weeks.

As bobbyp says, being in sales takes a certain kind of personality and skillset-- it doesn't have to do with smarts or even a desire to do hard work. Once you "know yourself" well enough to know what you're good at and what you can handle, even if you're out of work and looking for a job, you probably know you won't be able to hack it in sales and don't bother to apply. The thing is that sales guys don't "cost" anything-- if they're working almost entirely on commission, they pay for themselves, so lots of employers always have sales jobs available, and if you can't find something else, you might end up in sales.

Thanks Gary for the inof about earmarks. I agree that earmarks are generally beneficial expenditures and don't amount to much of the budget anyway--that's part of why I said that it was an example of the kind of false issue Republicans thrive on. I remember following this a little after the elctioh: the House R's seemed to take the issue somewhat seriously--meaning they were serious about limiting the amount of money spent on eramarks--, but, if I recall correctly, the Senate R's wanted to forget about it. But maybe I am remembering that wrong.

"You raise an interesting topic. Why would you want to be unionized? Except for the fact that the dealership has to approve your working there, are you not almost self-employed? Are there limits on how much time you spend on the job or on how many cars you can sell or how much you can earn? Maybe the amount you earn per transaction is too small so that you would need to close too many deals to make a lot?

"It seems as if the union concept of exercising control over the labor output won't work very well in a 100% commission environment. What if one salesperson is so effective that his/her success rate is many multiples more than all the others. What's the union reaction? It is known how rate-busters were/are viewed in a unionized piece work environment."

Good points, GOB.

But I believe nearly every job or profession could benefit and be bettered by union representation.

If I led my hypothetical union of car salespeople, I would collectively bargain for a token salary of $350 a week -- a sum that I don't think would send my owner into the poorhouse or cause him to sell his yacht at his summer home in Avalon, N.J.

On the other hand, it would greatly help his employees -- especially during those inevitable times when they have a bad week or month. It would lessen the stress and tension during such times and would probably have the result of shortening such periods and actually wind up making the owner even more money.

I would collectively bargain for one Saturday off a month. This, too, may wind up benefiting the owner if you believe happy employees are more productive employees -- it might even result in attracting good prospective salespeople who otherwise rule out working a job in which you must give up every Saturday of your adult life.

So these are just two things -- and, to my mind, the two most important -- I would collectively bargain for. They hardly seem radical to me. I imagine Samuel Gompers, if he were alive today, would agree.

But then, that's one thing today's labor movement is lacking -- great and visionary leadership.

"But then, that's one thing today's labor movement is lacking -- great and visionary leadership."

Disagree: there's plenty of that to go around. What they lack are sufficient members.

What they lack are people willing to join. That does tend to lead to insufficient members... But never fear, they've got a solution: Abolish the secret ballot!

The union membership rate in the private sector has been dropping for years, it's down to 7.2%. It's been rising in the government sector for years, now up to 43%.

Is this because the government is a monstrously evil employer, driving people to unionize in response? No, it's because public labor unions are a handy way for politicians they favor to launder the public's tax dollars into campaign donations and campaign workers. So they put a very heavy thumb on the scale, favoring unionization. After all, if the union drives up the cost of government, it's not coming out of THEIR pockets...

Right, because public employee union members are exempt from state and federal taxes.

That IS the clear implication of what you just said. Right?

Wrong.

State and federal taxes are irrelevant for calculating the cost of state and federal employees. A state could, just as easily, were it not politically infeasible, exempt it's employees from taxation, and pay them less. The same at the federal level. But double their pay, and you double the expense, even if some of the money is just recirculating through the tax system.

I mean, is that your argument: Pay raises for government employees are cost free, because the pay is taxed? That would only be true at 100% taxation...

I'm not making an argument, I'm poking holes in yours.

(Because it is a stupid argument btw.)

Right, because public employee union members are exempt from state and federal taxes.

That IS the clear implication of what you just said. Right?

Actually, no. Whatever other errors in argument Brett has made, this is not one of them.

Unless the entirety of the state budget is payroll, and all of payroll is union. But I don't think there are any states that operate under those conditions.

If unions get a pay raise of (say) 5%, and as a result the state's expenditures increase by 1%, requiring a bump in taxes (which might not involve ANY bump in income tax) and other revenue, the employees always win. Except for the case where all the state's expenses are payroll, and all of their revenue is flat-rate, no-deductions income tax. But as I said, that state doesn't exist.

BTFB--wouldn't it be true that if sales are off and salespeople are having a bad month, so too is the dealer? If the dealer is to make good on employees' incomes when there is no business income, where does that money come from? A third issue is that once an employee becomes salaried, the Fair Labor Standards Act is triggered and overtime kicks in. Commission sales people, as I understand it, work extra and odd hours in exchange for the opportunity to make more money. The employer isn't going to authorize overtime pay to get people to work extra hours. You'd be stuck with whatever commissions you could generate on a 40 hour work week. You might not like that.

My issue with unions is that people are not fungible. Russell is good at what he does because he applies himself. He knows people who are marking time, waiting for the whistle to blow. Do Russell and the minimalist get the same pay, benefits and job protections? Suppose the minimalist is a year senior to Russell and payroll needs to be trimmed--can the employer look at Russell's superior performance and make a qualitative judgment? Can Russell be promoted ahead of his peers and even his seniors?

Let the Governor speak for himself:

Read the article and listen to the phone call:

http://www.buffalobeast.com/?p=5045

If this is a real deal, pretty good David Koch impersonation. I mean, compared to subhuman filth Breitbart's white trash pimps and 'hos.

Hey, don't take my word for it, take Walker's.

He took the call from the Citizens United "outside agitator".

...public labor unions are a handy way for politicians they favor to launder the public's tax dollars into campaign donations and campaign workers.

One: why are you worried only about labor unions 'laundering money'? What about everybody else? I would argue that our campaign finance system is legal corruption - all the money is laundered through politicians. Do you think other interests don't get political favors - big, expensive ones - from politicians? I know this point has been made upthread, but I just wanted to pose it directly.

Two: I notice that our movement conservatives tend to fight, at least rhetorically, yesterday's battles, kind of like the cold warrior neocons in the last administration. It's certainly convenient for them. Brett is worried about Huey Long; others complain about Liberal Bias in the media, big city Machines, etc. It's 2011 guys! You still have abortion to flog, but other than that you'll need to put down the tract for a minute and look around. Big Spending and/or crony capitalism Government is the problem now, and it's the 'conservatives' who are mainly responsible for it. When Huey Long shows up, let's talk.

However, enough! This WI, et. al. deal is raw politics, and has nothing to do - really - with principle. This is about punishing people who work for and donate to Democrats. This is about using state power to crush your political opponents. Ain't beanbag.


Brett: "The union membership rate in the private sector has been dropping for years, it's down to 7.2%. It's been rising in the government sector for years, now up to 43%. Is this because the government is a monstrously evil employer, driving people to unionize in response?"

Things I strongly suspect Brett is aware of, but for some reason has neglected to mention:

1. People don't just unionize because they think their employer is monstrously evil. They also do it when their employer is just run-of-the-mill evil or even OK, because they would like to protect their own interests.

2. Private-sector employers benefit from much lighter scrutiny of their behavior during union drives. The NLRB under GW Bush notoriously turned a blind eye to the use of misinformation and intimidation to turn employees away from organizers, but this has always been a problem-- it's not that government employers are happy about the prospect of unionization, but there is crap that private employers can get away with that even the worst public-sector manager cannot do. (I can back this up only with anecdata, having worked for sleazos on both sides of the divide, and having witnessed a mind-bogglingly oblivious NLRB ruling that entirely ignored blatant violations by my private employer, whose over-the-top paranoia about the union would've been funny if not for the real consequences.)

3. Even if employers behaved well, regulatory and judicial decisions have steadily whittled away the ability to unionize. This one, for instance, would've turned me from a worker into a non-unionized "manager" (with no change in my duties) if I'd been working in the private sector.

4. And it's not as if US labor law was particularly good in the first place; workers in entire industries have been stripped of protection ever since the 1930s. A Human Rights Watch report in 2000 summarizes the result:

"Exclusions" from labor law protection affect tens of millions of workers in the United States ranging from farmworkers to college professors. Big chunks of the labor force are defenseless against employer reprisals if they try to exercise freedom of association. If they protest abusive working conditions, employers can fire them with impunity. If they seek to bargain collectively, employers can ignore them. Protection of the right to organize and bargain collectively, a bedrock requirement of international labor rights norms, is denied these workers.

If there's a thumb on the scale, as Brett puts it, in favor of public-sector unions, there's a big set of buttocks on the scale against them in the private sector.

Also, though it makes no difference to speak of, Brett's numbers are of unclear provenance. The figure of 7.2% unionization in the private sector is from January 2010-- and that study made it clear that it had not been a steady drop, but had fallen precipitously during the Bush years. The same study showed 37.4% in the public sector, not 43% as Brett says. The most recent BLS study has it at 36.2% public, 6.9% private. I can find no source at all for 43%.

You have to remember, Hob, Brett is among those who believe that, in a union drive, the two sides who should be voting are not "pro-union workers" and "anti-union workers," but "pro-union workers" and "management/ownership."

"A third issue is that once an employee becomes salaried, the Fair Labor Standards Act is triggered and overtime kicks in. Commission sales people, as I understand it, work extra and odd hours in exchange for the opportunity to make more money. The employer isn't going to authorize overtime pay to get people to work extra hours. You'd be stuck with whatever commissions you could generate on a 40 hour work week. You might not like that."

As for salaries cutting into the owner's profits, one thing I would note is that when we are having a good month (and by today's standards, we had a good January and, almost inexplicably, we are on pace for what would be a record February even in pre-recessionary times) there is usually one guy who doesn't partake in the prosperity (the odd man out, if you will).

Last month, it was my buddy Paul. This month -- depending on this last week -- it will be me or newbie Matt. (An aside about how cold the business can be: Despite his 30 years in the business -- and yes, at age 58, he's not what he used to be -- management gave Paul an edict after his 5-car Janauary. Sell 10 cars, or you're done. I was worried I would be getting that speech March 1, but now that I am up to 8, I have been sleeping better).

My hypothetical demand for a $350 weekly salary wasn't to give one a cushion so as not to work as hard or be less motivated to sell more.

Rather, I would argue it to be a cushion for those inevitable "slumps" even the best salespeople suffer -- be it a week or two -- to allow them to have gas money, lunch money, maybe even pay a bill or two. And perhaps just as important, allow them not to press as much (the more you press, the least likely you are to sell).

Last month, during a 10-day period, I sold seven cars -- at point one sale five days in a row. By day three, I figured I'd be going home that night with good news for the wife.

This month, I went a 10-day period without selling a single car. By Day 4 or 5, I became gun shy to even "up" a customer, something that still happens to the 30-year lifer whose desk is next to mine.

I am not a golfer, but I imagine it's a connundrum that even the best golfers experience when you hear they suddenly "lost their swing."

And another thing: That salary would pay you for the "real" labor you do. Before getting into the business, I figured they had "people" who move the cars, clean the cars and get the lot back into proper order when snowstorms attack -- like yesterday's, or the other four or five we've had this winter, or the six or seven we had last year. Yeah, they have people to do that job -- they have us, commissioned employees, thus free labor to do such jobs (a pretty cost effective ploy for ownership).

McKinney Texas makes a good point about if we made a salary management would be reluctant to pay us overtime in a profession in which 40 hours just won't cut.

A normal work week for me is 48-50 hours. Last week, since we worked Sunday, it was 55 (oddly enough, even though we aren't paid by the hour, for some reason, we are required to fill out a time card).

Anyhow, addressing the OT thing, in bargaining for that $350, I would compromise for being paid the minimum wage.

Someone will correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the minimum wage -- certainly not a living wage -- is $7.25.

So, lo and behold, my typical 50-hour work week would equate very closely to that reasonable $350.

Then again, knowing how ownership in the car business thinks, this small hourly wage might not be their only dilemma -- I think it would rather not be subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Finally, I will introduce a common and apparently age-old practice known as "flooding the floor" management uses to limit the amount they have to pay car salesmen by reducing their opportunity to hit various unit bonuses.

Our dealership recently did this with our growing Hyundai department, where the 5-man sales team was doing pretty well, hitting good-paying bonus levels, even in the face of a recession. Management's response was to increase the staff to 7 -- now those original 5 guys, who stuck it out when times were really tough, aren't doing as well.

Epilogue: I realize my desire for commissioned salespeople to is a pipe dream. The reason I have outlined the reasons why it would be a good thing is to demonstrate, I hope, that just as was the case when Samuel Gompers paved the way for an actual middle class management/ownership -- those authors of Disaster Capitalism, corporate greed, the housing bubble and other wretched excesses -- will always have the upper hand over the working class.

P.S. I am off on Wednesdays and Sundays, so I am not writing on company time.

Bedtime, what you guys need is a ccop. Can the mangement and run the place yourselves.

The stereoptype of the lazy union guys is an old one. The Wobblies were demonized as "I Won't Work" even though they were protesting twelve hour work days and worked a hell of a lot harder than the people in management of timber companies.

It's divide and conquer. It's rationalizing a way to justify screwing over one's fellow citizens. Its easy for someone from the safety of their own economic security to believe in stereotypes that help justify screwing over someone they don't know on theexpectation of a small benefit for themslevs.

I bet that if the publicn employee uinons were widely percieved as black union busting would be easier for Republicans.

BTB: Good to see you again and thanks for these comments, from which I've learned some things.

Phil: I'm very familiar with Brett's stated opinions and style of argument. I choose not to say more about them in general because I'm still sentimentally attached to the ObWi posting rules, so I figured I'd just comment on the facts.

"It's divide and conquer. It's rationalizing a way to justify screwing over one's fellow citizens. Its easy for someone from the safety of their own economic security to believe in stereotypes that help justify screwing over someone they don't know on theexpectation of a small benefit for themslevs."

Agreed.

And it all equates to why we no longer have a real middle class in this country and, instead, have become a nation of haves and have-nots.

Too bad he was a lying, cheating, snake -- most voters saw right through him even before it became that became crystal clear -- but John Edwards was onto something regarding his Two Americas.

Right idea. Wrong guy to deliver it.

Too bad the Great Obama can't seem to decide which America we are or which America he wants us to be -- in real life (not well-delivered speeches; as great as his oratory is, I find it cheap, not inspiring. President Obama is stuck on "winning the future" -- as bland a slogan as I've ever heard -- while I am focused on winning the present.)

----

"I bet that if the publicn employee uinons were widely percieved as black union busting would be easier for Republicans."

Agreed again.

"I bet that if the public employee unions were widely perceived as black union busting would be easier for Republicans."

This is already the case in some areas. SEIU in particular represents a lot of non-white workers, and also engages in pro-immigrant activism, and the right wing does try to make hay of this. Limbaugh in particular is very fond of mentioning SEIU in the same sentence as ACORN and the New Black Panthers, and it's pretty clear what he's getting at.

However, the message sometimes gets a little muddled since the right keeps trying to paint labor as anti-white and anti-black at the same time, as in this Fox piece, or the zillions of "SEIU thugs attack black man!!" articles about the Kenneth Gladney incident.

BTFB - Seems a possible approach to dealing with lean periods would be for proven salespeople to be able to draw against future commission sales. This would undoubtedly involve some limits and some trust, maybe the trust is not there since you don't sound very upbeat about your dealer/salesperson relationship.

"This would undoubtedly involve some limits and some trust, maybe the trust is not there since you don't sound very upbeat about your dealer/salesperson relationship."

Ironically, my dealership has a reputation -- and from what I know, it is -- for being one of the fairest and most progressive in the area.

Full disclosure: I am distrustful of authority by nature.

If I may ask for The Kitty's indulgence for a moment, I want to tell my dear friend wonkie -- after almost three years following the untimely deaths of my beloved CoCo and Bowser -- we are again (since August) a two-dog household.

Joining the indestructibe Hamilton, our loud and proud 16-year-old Beagle, is Cody, who was supposed to be my dream Black Lab.

Finally getting the OK from my wife to become a two-dog family again, I had been following the website pawsforlife.org -- a wonderful rescue in Chesapeake City, Md., run, amazingly, by just four dedicated souls -- and found Tank.

Just one visit and I knew he was the one. Friendly and 5 -- I no longer have the time or patience for a pup -- Tank, being a Lab, had plenty of energy and appeared simply majestic to me.

So when my wife and son joined me a few days later to bring him home, I was as happy as I had been in a long time.

Except my wife totally -- and, I mean, totally -- freaked at the sight of this gigantic, drooling, in her eyes, domestic wrecking ball.

Would her reaction had been different if I had fallen for a smaller Lab? Don't know. Perhaps I should have realized he was named Tank for a reason.

Anyway, I knew if we took Tank home, he and I would be spending most of our remaining days in the doghouse. So I figured we go home empty.

Then Olga says, "Why not this one, Honey?" All along, this smallish (to me) white bundle of fur had been sitting on her lap, overdosing on the attention -- Cody, a Pappilion mix (the French dog named so for his huge butterfly-like ears), had been allowed to roam freely, uncaged, because of his size and all-around easy nature.

I took one look at that precious little dog and imagined him adorning Paris Hilton's side, not wrestling with me in the backyard.

Then I looked closer and saw how happy my wife and son looked -- not to mention 2-year-old Cody -- and realized this was going to be my big Black Lab.

And now, of course, I am Cody's favorite and I simply adore him. He's a charmer, a lover, and the most comedic canine I have ever had. Wednesdays are our favorite -- when we are home alone a great deal and free to nap as we please. He's even sparked renewed life into the 112-year-old Hamilton, who, I think, might live forever.

While I still need to take Wellubutrin and Effexor, Cody -- or any dog, to my mind -- is the perfect complement to help get me through those dreaded blue periods.

And sometimes things do work out for the best.

A few days after taking Cody home, feeling guilty and still thinking of that big Black Lab, I sent the lady who runs Paws For Life a pack of tennis ball for Tank.

Soon after, the big Black Lab was adopted. Pictures on the website showed him on what looked to be a small farm where he was happily diving into a small lake.

Though I have no idea how to justify this in terms of the Blogospheric Users Relations Pact (BURP for short), we WILL have an open thread on pets on Friday. I know John Cole and Balloon Juice will never forgive us, but sometimes, the natural order of things has to be shaken up.

In this indifferent world, where people become more and more estranged, it's really nice feeling to be that someone you miss and worry about!

BTFB:

I'm so glad you are back.

I'd like to see a front-page post on your disappointments with the Obama Adminstration.

Gary?

Cleek could go full Monty.

I have pragmatic views on this topic, but still, I'd like to burn down the entire edifice.

Thank you for the endorsement, Countme--In.

But I am afraid I would succumb to my tendency to write with more emotion than reason. And, in doing so, Gary would eat my lunch -- not that there's anything wrong with that.

I have not read these pages in many months, but I am sure I am not alone in feeling the Great Obama has not been the working man's friend. Not to mention the poor. Cutting home-heating assistance for those who need it in his current budget proposal? Pathetic.

As someone who despised George Bush, his inept predecessor, I feel it is only fair to note President Obama's latest broken campaign promise -- to stand firm with labor to the point he would put on "comfortable shoes" and march with it if collective bargaining rights were ever in peril. (Of course, Mr. Obama hasn't made an appearance in Wisconsin let alone walk any picket line.)

On his MSNBC show tonight, Lawrence O'Donnell showed the clip of the President saying just that at a 2007 campaign rally, further proof that the man who offered so much hope and change to so many is and always was just another politician.

Since he's been in office, it's almost as if the Obama Administration has ignored perhaps the No. 1 thing that continues to keep the economy (and unemployment) from truly rebounding: the housing crisis in all its different but related forms.

I'm not sure "foreclosure" is in President Obama's vocabulary, which is unfortunate because the ongoing crisis in this country will keep so many millions of Americans from "winning the future."

And don't tell me about his HAMP program.

As someone who applied for it twice in 2009, I can tell you it offers mostly false hope and no change and is especially maddening unless you find taking one dead-end road after another enjoyable.

I made out pretty good -- it doesn't take much Googling to find out that President Obama's focked-up HAMP program, due to its inartful application, actually precipitated the foreclosures of some applicants. The ultimate blindside.

Unlike the millions who have already lost their homes -- and, yes, I realize, each of us bears responsibility for our financial lives and the federal government isn't in the business of bailing out its citizenry -- I have managed to avoid such a fate the last three years.

This time last year -- behind by two payments with a third due soon -- I received a pre-foreclosure notice from Wells Fargo. I was scared and angry. I also found the notion of a pre-foreclosure letter almost humorous in the friendly but threatening way it was written.

Falling behind by three mortgage payments is usually a death knell. But I was finally able to prevail upon the CFO at work after the HR manager refused to let me take a hardship withdrawal from my 401k on the grounds that I had yet to receive an actual foreclosure notice. She must be a Republican.

Now I am in the same predicament, close to three months behind after a year of making ends meet in our paycheck-to-paycheck life.

Now I must beg and plead again -- you do not mind humiliating yourself if it means saving your home -- for another hardship withdrawal.

It's Groundhog Day, just not as funny.

And so, I've stayed away from the only blog I have ever regularly been a member of its community.

My spirit is not where I would like it to be in order to truly enjoy the rough-and-tumble of debating and commenting on the politics of the day. I admire those who do. But I am tired. Some days, I care. Some days, I don't.

"I don't think we're back to the Seattle General Strike of 1919, but I approve."

Here, here.

The past two weeks of the Wisconsin Walkout has been the best thing to happen to the labor movement in a long, long time.

For the generation or two of workers who benefited from hard-fought wars of labor's past -- yet unaware of why they have it so good, or not as bad as it could be -- have seen a new light that has shown the union movement isn't the big, bad thing they might otherwise were led to believe.

Polls have shown most Americans stand on the side of the Wisconsin workers, a majority that should only increase now that Scott Walker's real motives -- bust labor, not save the state -- have been revealed. (I saw a commenter say somewhere when Walker went off half-Koched in that tell-all phone call he never once mentioned the state's budget crisis he was purported to be so worried about.)

Not all Americans approve of unions. We know that.

But approving of, and understanding, fairness is a different matter altogether.

Thank you, Governor Walker -- labor, and the Democratic Party, for that matter, needed a guy like you.

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