Sunday, July 31, 2011

How To Quit Worrying About Default and Be Happy

A Quick Review of Recent History

Two weeks ago we had already found ourselves "ankle deep" in the fraudulent mayhem of the artificially created "debt default crisis." Every wing nut pundit sober enough to get his face up to a microphone or place fingers on his key board was in a "creative frenzy," inebriated by the wonderful opportunity.  

The media response could be measured in, well, thousand gigabyte packages.

The information challenged electorate had "taken the bait."  The "debt crisis"  had very conveniently displaced the resilient 15% unemployment rate as the "burning question of the day."

And, just in time.

The tea bags, the most recent denizens of Boehner's uncontrollable GOPCon House of  Representatives, have finally faced an unavoidable "moment of clarity."  Not  only are they utterly unable to dream up any legislation not previously drilled into them by single syllable, right wing talking points -- anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, anti-Medicare, anti-regulation and the like --  they are also unable to hatch even so much as a single, feeble talking point version of any sort of jobs bill.

So, what did this leave them?

Easy.  Attack the only "hostage" left standing after they extorted the unemployment insurance last year for their sacred tax cuts.  Amazingly, the present plan amounted to nothing less than presenting a terrifying, morbid reminder of their own party's record spending binge during the autocracy.  Of course, the well controlled media has not yet touched on these facts, but it will.  

Even toothpaste salesmen know who butters their bread.

Meanwhile, the plan lurched forward to re-create a dreary, road weary repetition of the old Republican economy wrecking measures of FDR days.  It hasn't been all that bad for them, at least, not yet.  Apparently the tea bags were also unable to read through the comic book to the part about Roosevelt's successes in overcoming the reactionary attacks on his spending policy.

What we have now is a nearly suicidal duplication of the first few pages of that old tale from the 1930's.  You know, the part just before the Democratic landslide election victory which swept both chambers of Congress, the White House and, ultimately, even the Supreme Court.  However, having read only the first pages of the comic, the tea bags haven't encountered that part about the "repeating" history -- yet.

"Doomed to Repeat History" (image source)

Perhaps, in a more perfect world the old adage about "being doomed to repeat history" might not really apply here.  There was, after all, some sort of early April form of fetal GOPCon strategy to avoid being "doomed to repeat history," but the burning bridge didn't last long enough to strand anyone who matters on the wrong side. 

Their coats and boots now charred by the flames, even the tea bag oligarch masters are horrified.  The hilarious surprise emerges from the fact that the tea bags aren't accepting phone calls from anybody, not Wall Street, not the banksters, not the Koch Brothers, Exxon, Grover Norquist -- not anybody except Murdoch.  We can even find a flaming pillary for the remnant of Speaker John Boehner in the tea bag fires of auto de fe', as if there weren't already enough smoldering corpses.

The Amazing Qualities of FOX Graduates

Amazingly, the tea bags manifest a propaganda success.  They have exposed themselves to the FOX News crowd for thousands of hours, isolated from any contradicting thoughts or even any contradicting "news."  The ideological redecoration has been so penetrating that entire vocabularies have derived from this source  -- vocabularies found no where else in natural organic life.

We see notable examples of this phenomenon when tea bags speak in their famous "press releases" and "interviews." Should some troublesome interviewer "press" a conversation beyond the typical softball invitations for more talking points, tea bags instantly become curiously defensive, victimized -- and, baffled.  The public discourse on the phony default issue is certainly no exception.

The problem facing the oligarchs is interesting.  The tea bags were not supposed to remain mindlessly propagandized after the election.  The plan was that, once the House seats had been filled, Washington cynicism would set in, converting the erstwhile noble libertarians into campaign contribution gobbling rodents like the other Congressional "projects" of the billionaires.

Instead, the now totally out of control tea bags retained all the tenets of the old propaganda, and now, clearly, intend to apply the FOX maxims to intractably difficult and complex "real life" dilemmas.  The "spending cut frenzy" was intended to be a useful, temporary little tantrum to be played only until the material influence of corporate cash had time to gradually convert the players to the thought challenged unanimity of Republican "business as usual."

Quite aside from the hostage taking over the debt limit, the GOPCon 2012 election strategy is also unfolding in all it's predictably hysterical splendor.  All across America hundreds of thousands of Social Security seniors are spending sleepless nights, wringing their hands and staring at their stash of cat food.  Combat military are asking the Head of the Joint Chiefs what they can do without their August pay checks.  Even semi-cogent Medicaid residents in old folks homes have begun to sense that something unthinkable is about to happen.

Of course there is still a base these Republicans can count on for the 2012, just not enough to justify adding the names of any GOPCon candidates to the ballot's printing costs.

It's actually quite amusing to watch those who would be our masters quaking in their penny loafers.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Plan On Having More Folks For Dinner

Our War Veterans

We must be ready to stand in when the times demand it
-- just like they have.

No hunger.  No despair.  No isolation.  No suicide.  We're in it together. (image source)

MeanMesa understands that Americans place plenty (still, perhaps not enough) of tax dollars aside to care for those who have been wounded in the places like Afghanistan, the Iraqi Oil War and everywhere else.  This isn't a casual altruism.  The soldiers and Marines who need help like that rely on the rest of us Americans to make sure that they have it.

Now, the tea bags and their corporatist masters have taken decisions to deny the veterans this help that they need, sooner or later, planning to convert the money we have saved for this purpose to tax cuts.  Thanks to the same folks, there are no jobs waiting for these veterans once they are on their feet again.

There is nothing to be done about this until the November 2012 election.

However, in the meantime, the responsibility will fall to the rest of us to make every possible effort to assist our veterans in whatever way possible.  Until the reactionaries are out of the Congress, our American veterans will have no place to look for help beyond us -- their neighbors and their fellow Americans.

Granted, none of us have much, but we can all find something to spare.  We can help in all sorts of ways.  For one thing, we can help take care of families who await their "missing faces" to come home.  We can slip a little food on the porch of folks who, because of this business in Washington, find themselves a little short.

We can cut their grass, figure out to how to fix their cars and try to repair their plumbing until the system begins to, once again, function.

Don't know a veteran or a veteran's family?  They are all around you.  Worse, they are all about to get hurt -- big time.  

Find them.  Introduce yourself.

Then help.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How to Fix Congress -- The Amendment

MeanMesa received this interesting "chain letter" via email.   Before you begin, take a moment and recall how many times the prospect of amending the Constitution -- for anything! -- has been set aside as either an outright "impossibility" or something that would take years and years to accomplish.

The email:

-- Please consider the following and if you agree please send it on to 20 others. I believe, finally, after much consideration that this is worth consideration, despite the fact that the very people who will have to sponsor this will be biting off their own "noses" to spite their "faces".

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified!  Why?   Simple!  The people demanded it. That was in 1971...before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land...all because of public pressure.

I'm asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.
In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message.   This is one idea that really should be passed around.

Congressional Reform Act of 2011

1.Term Limits. 12 years only, one of the possible options below.
     A.  Two Six-year Senate terms
     B.  Six Two-year House terms
    C.  One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms

2.  No Tenure / No Pension. 

A  Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

3.  Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.

All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately.  All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people...

4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans  do.

5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.  Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective immediately.

The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.  The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

If  each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take  three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message.  Maybe it is time.

THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!!!!! If you agree with the above, pass it
on.   If not, just delete

You are one of my 20+.  Please keeps it going.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Grayson Balances the Budget -- Why Not? Take a Look

A MeanMesa Email From Alan Grayson

Do you remember what real Democrats are like?  Do you remember that Democrats zeroed the deficit, saved Medicare and created millions of new jobs the last time we were in the White House?

All these things have now been re-imaged as nearly impossible dreams.  They aren't -- even if reactionary neo-cons would like to make them impossible.

Once the Boehner lies have been set aside, the "problem" we face isn't such a tough one after all.

How Would You Save $2 Trillion?

How Would You Reduce the Deficit?

Dear MeanMesa,

The debt negotiations in Washington look like a train wreck. In slow motion. They have a certain balletic quality to them, like the train wreck scene in the movie Super 8. Unless one of those five-ton pieces of twisted metal happens to land on you.

In a sense, it’s our fault. Nature abhors a vacuum, and politics abhors a policy vacuum. Since the 112th Congress took office, there has been a policy vacuum among the Democratics. The Republicans are trying to fill that vacuum, with cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Maybe we should try to fill that vacuum. I’d like to see us concentrate on helping the 23 million Americans who can’t find full-time work, the 50 million Americans who can’t see a doctor when they are sick, and the 15 million American families who owe more on their mortgage than the value of their homes.

The other side only wants to talk about the deficit, the deficit, the deficit. It’s what Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has called “deficit fetishism.”

But as I said a couple of days ago, if you did feel compelled to save $2 trillion over the next ten years, there’s an easy, painless way to do it: PEACE.

And that’s not the only way. Off the top of my head, here are a few other things, each one of which would save up to $1 trillion, or more, over the next ten years:

  • We could let the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire. (“No! No!” shout the Koch brothers.)

  • We could let Medicare negotiate the price of drugs, the way that the VA and private insurance companies already do.

  • We could require the rich to pay the same percentage of their income toward Social Security and Medicare as the poor and the middle class do. Not a higher percentage – my God, that would be progressive taxation! Just the same percentage.

  • We could impose the same alternative minimum tax on giant corporations that we mere humans must pay.

  • We could reduce U.S. military spending to a paltry 40% of the world’s total, from the current 48%, which would still leave us spending four times as much as any other nation.

  • We could make Warren Buffett pay the same tax rate on his income as his secretary pays on hers, by eliminating the long-term capital gains tax break, the great majority of which goes to the hyper-rich.

What do you think? How would you save the money? I’d like to hear your answers.

Do you see that button below that says “Tell Alan What You Think”? Go ahead and click it. I swear to you that it is not connected to any type of electronic shock device. Who do you think I am, Dick Cheney?

Whatever your answer on how to reduce the deficit might be, I’m pretty sure that you won’t say that we should cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits. You wouldn’t throw Grandma from the train. Unlike some people.

Unlike the 235 Republican House members who voted for the Ryan budget in April, for instance.


Alan Grayson

P.S. Please sign our petition at And pass it on to every friend you have. It’s the only way that constructive alternatives like these will ever have a chance.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Anatomy of an American Fascist

More Patient Than the Blitzkrieg

Americans have a habit of searching out life's "reference points" in our action movies while disregarding more substantial information on the same topics which might have been, more beneficially, derived from a more measured research.

This phenomenon is precisely the "cover" our modern fascists rely upon to obscure their plodding, corporatist machinations.  Consequently, when the American people think of "fascists," they see no further than Luftwaffe Stukas attacking Poland in shaky, hand held, black and white news reels.

"We know Nazis when we see them!" (image source)
However, our modern fascists actually have few identifying, visible similarities to the images in these old films.  In fact, the "fascist part" of what is happening in our modern day country has a great deal more to do with the economic and ideological aspects of the old, WWII Nazis than with the screaming "Stuka part."

Setting aside the death camps and the streets filled with howling Waffen SS thugs, let's take a look at the conceptual side of fascism to see if we can spot the similarities in both processes and participants.  The old Brown Shirts have been replaced with red power ties and $1,000 Seranammi suits.

Please spend a moment looking through the following description of fascism from The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics.   (Read the entire article here. )


by Sheldon Richman
As an economic system, fascism is socialism with a capitalist veneer. The word derives from fasces, the Roman symbol of collectivism and power: a tied bundle of rods with a protruding ax. In its day (the 1920s and 1930s), fascism was seen as the happy medium between boom-and-bust-prone liberal capitalism, with its alleged class conflict, wasteful competition, and profit-oriented egoism, and revolutionary Marxism, with its violent and socially divisive persecution of the bourgeoisie. Fascism substituted the particularity of nationalism and racialism—“blood and soil”—for the internationalism of both classical liberalism and Marxism.
Where socialism sought totalitarian control of a society’s economic processes through direct state operation of the means of production, fascism sought that control indirectly, through domination of nominally private owners. Where socialism nationalized property explicitly, fascism did so implicitly, by requiring owners to use their property in the “national interest”—that is, as the autocratic authority conceived it. (Nevertheless, a few industries were operated by the state.) Where socialism abolished all market relations outright, fascism left the appearance of market relations while planning all economic activities. Where socialism abolished money and prices, fascism controlled the monetary system and set all prices and wages politically. In doing all this, fascism denatured the marketplace. Entrepreneurship was abolished. State ministries, rather than consumers, determined what was produced and under what conditions.

Fascism is to be distinguished from interventionism, or the mixed economy. Interventionism seeks to guide the market process, not eliminate it, as fascism did. Minimum-wage and antitrust laws, though they regulate the free market, are a far cry from multiyear plans from the Ministry of Economics.

Under fascism, the state, through official cartels, controlled all aspects of manufacturing, commerce, finance, and agriculture. Planning boards set product lines, production levels, prices, wages, working conditions, and the size of firms. Licensing was ubiquitous; no economic activity could be undertaken without government permission. Levels of consumption were dictated by the state, and “excess” incomes had to be surrendered as taxes or “loans.” The consequent burdening of manufacturers gave advantages to foreign firms wishing to export. But since government policy aimed at autarky, or national self-sufficiency, protectionism was necessary: imports were barred or strictly controlled, leaving foreign conquest as the only avenue for access to resources unavailable domestically. Fascism was thus incompatible with peace and the international division of labor—hallmarks of liberalism.

Fascism embodied corporatism, in which political representation was based on trade and industry rather than on geography. In this, fascism revealed its roots in syndicalism, a form of socialism originating on the left. The government cartelized firms of the same industry, with representatives of labor and management serving on myriad local, regional, and national boards—subject always to the final authority of the dictator’s economic plan. Corporatism was intended to avert unsettling divisions within the nation, such as lockouts and union strikes. The price of such forced “harmony” was the loss of the ability to bargain and move about freely.

To maintain high employment and minimize popular discontent, fascist governments also undertook massive public-works projects financed by steep taxes, borrowing, and fiat money creation. While many of these projects were domestic—roads, buildings, stadiums—the largest project of all was militarism, with huge armies and arms production.

The fascist leaders’ antagonism to communism has been misinterpreted as an affinity for capitalism. In fact, fascists’ anticommunism was motivated by a belief that in the collectivist milieu of early-twentieth-century Europe, communism was its closest rival for people’s allegiance. As with communism, under fascism, every citizen was regarded as an employee and tenant of the totalitarian, party-dominated state. Consequently, it was the state’s prerogative to use force, or the threat of it, to suppress even peaceful opposition.

If a formal architect of fascism can be identified, it is Benito Mussolini, the onetime Marxist editor who, caught up in nationalist fervor, broke with the left as World War I approached and became Italy’s leader in 1922. Mussolini distinguished fascism from liberal capitalism in his 1928 autobiography:

Benito Mussolini, The Pope and the King of Italy - 1929 (image source)

The citizen in the Fascist State is no longer a selfish individual who has the anti-social right of rebelling against any law of the Collectivity. The Fascist State with its corporative conception puts men and their possibilities into productive work and interprets for them the duties they have to fulfill. (p. 280)  Benito Mussolini, Autobiography, 1922.

 A Short, Historical Interlude

A MeanMesa historical note - For anyone interested in a little Italian history, the exact treaty being celebrated by the flashy flag [above] begins with:

    IN the name of the Most Holy Trinity.

    Whereas the Holy See and Italy have recognized the desirability of eliminating every reason for dissension existing between them and arriving at a final settlement of their reciprocal relations which shall be consistent with justice and with the dignity of both High Contracting Parties, and which by permanently assuring to the Holy See a position de facto and de jure which shall guarantee absolute independence for the fulfillment of its exalted mission in the world, permits the Holy See to consider as finally and irrevocably settled the Roman Question which arose in 1870 by the annexation of Rome to the Kingdom of Italy, under the Dynasty of the House of Savoy;

    And whereas it was obligatory, for the purpose of assuring the absolute and visible independence of the Holy See, likewise to guarantee its indisputable sovereignty in international matters, it has been found necessary to create under special conditions the Vatican City, recognizing the full ownership, exclusive and absolute dominion and sovereign jurisdiction of the Holy See over that City;

    His Holiness the Supreme Pontiff Pius XI and His Majesty Victor Emanuel III, King of Italy, have agreed to conclude a Treaty, appointing for that purpose two Plenipotentiaries, being on behalf of His Holiness, His Secretary of State, viz. His Most Reverend Eminence the Lord Cardinal Pietro Gasparri, and on behalf of his Majesty, His Excellency the Cav. Benito Mussolini, Prime Minister and Head of the Government; who, having exchanged their respective full powers, which were found to be in due and proper form, have hereby agreed to the following articles:  (Read the entire treaty here. )

So, if our present dilemma is rising up from an under current of classical economic fascism, how did we miss it?

Hidden Faces, Hidden Ambitions

Had the contemporary oligarchic "end game" been delivered by screaming, dive bombing Stukas, we would all be completely "up to speed" about what was happening.  However, we have to conclude that, evidence-wise, this dated vision of the fascist practice is not going to do anything so direct as to fill our skies with horror this time around.  The threat we face today will have to be much more subtle.

Further, although someone like Rupert Murdoch may seem to be a first quality fascist, even he is little more than a "talking puppet" for the real bad guys.  The official national socialists may have propped up some one like Murdoch to handle the modern day version of Goebbel's assignment, but not even Murdoch's billions put him in the league of the folks presently consumed with enough avarice to dream of owning the entire country.

We are talking about some very, extremely, very, very bad apples.

"Bad apples?"  Yes, "bad apples" -- and, for reasons which plunge to much darker depths than simply being modern national socialists.  This crowd can be given the "bad apple" status solely on the basis of comparing them to normal homo sapiens.  Every moment of their day is filled with total disdain for the rest of us and a psychopathic style of "cash cannibalism" to guide what's left of their heavily soiled souls.

Looking for the Fascists

In contemporary political discourse, references to Nazis has become a "blanketing  generalization" for basically anything one wishes to demonize, whether or not the essence of the complaint has much to do with Nazi atrocities and WWII or not.  Although used less frequently in such discourse, reference to the term and concept of fascism may be both more descriptive and more relevant.

We are not suffering from a "Nazi problem."  We are suffering from a "fascism problem."

Although the rather scholarly definition of fascism noted above refers conveniently to Nazi Germany, let's try to extract a few of the specific suppositions which also apply directly and immediately to what is transpiring in the US in 2011.  Remember, we are looking for economic and cultural evidence, not death camps and Stukas.  Ten elements of what is presented above should provide a good starting point.

1.  As an economic system, fascism is socialism with a capitalist veneer.

Since ex-Democrat Reagan began a systematic demonization of socialism as the fanged enemy of all capitalism in the 1980's, the term has continued to be employed as a constant "threat" to uneducated Americans.  At the counter point, all things which could be characterized as "not socialist" were to be presumed to be capitalistic.

After the decades long saturation of Cold War propaganda, socialism -- still quite loosely defined in the minds of the American electorate -- was re-framed exclusively as the pre-cursor to inevitable Soviet style Communism.

2.  fascism was seen as the happy medium between boom-and-bust-prone liberal capitalism

The cancer stage of unregulated capitalism which now struggles to run loose in the American economy predictably led to "boom and bust" economic cycles.  Examples of this are plentiful -- Enron, the "" tech bubble, the housing finance fiasco and finally, the 401K gobbling, value vaporizing implosion of 2008.

The cited alternative of "liberal capitalism" might actually refer to a truly lassez faire "free market" system, but that possibility was steadily under cut by fascist oligarchic efforts to create "profit" from Congressional manipulation rather than from the traditional sources of innovation, invention and efficiency.

3.  Where socialism sought totalitarian control of a society’s economic processes through direct state operation of the means of production, fascism sought that control indirectly, through domination of nominally private owners. Where socialism nationalized property explicitly, fascism did so implicitly, by requiring owners to use their property in the “national interest”—that is, as the autocratic authority conceived it.

In WWII era Germany, the "autocratic authority" was the Nazi Party government, but in the modern case, the "autocratic authority" resides in a far less visible, yet equally effective form in the powerful, moneyed elite of the nation.  We can see this pretty clearly in such failed concepts as "trickle down economics" and "job creators."

Such concepts derive directly from the modern version of the "conversion of economic process."  The difference between old German fascism and modern American fascism is found in the directed benefactor of such policy.  In WWII Germany, "national interest" meant the Nazis.  In contemporary America, the "national interest" has been groomed to mean "corporate and elite interests."

4.  fascism denatured the marketplace. Entrepreneurship was abolished. State ministries, rather than consumers, determined what was produced and under what conditions.

"State interests" in Nazi Germany originated from and were defined by a very clear source in Berlin.  In the more modern version of fascism, "state interests" have been supplanted by "corporate interests."  Determinations of "what was produced" slipped from a "free market," consumer demand driven system into a profit centered system of decisions where corporate and banking "profits" dictated production, and, more recently, importation.

Further, once this hybrid blend of "state interest" and "profit interest" had been woven together to justify any practice which enhanced profits as a "capitalist" and "anti-socialist" business strategy, working conditions -- including advances delivered by organized bargaining -- came to be defined by their impact on corporate profits rather than on labor relations.

Perhaps the best recent example of the modern equivalent of a "state ministry," this is, the contemporary US corporate elite, "determining what products will be produced" is the corporate behavior of the health insurance industry as it undercut efforts to break its on going strangle hold.  A simple over view of the process reveals that the industry did everything necessary to prevent Americans from purchasing what they wanted.  Nothing was to become available other than more of the same of what had been available before, and even that at a higher, arbitrary price.

5.  Minimum-wage and antitrust laws, though they regulate the free market, are a far cry from multiyear plans from the Ministry of Economics.

The "onslaught" against negotiated wages and working conditions such as the "minimum wage" may have been orchestrated by the "Ministry of Economics" in WWII Germany, but in the modern form of fascism found in the US, these battles are waged by oligarchs and their monetary influence on elected government officials.  Carefully crafted "boom and bust" economic challenges in both states and the federal government are used to validate this effort to dispatch collective bargaining based, essentially, on the fact that it results in the "diversion" of corporate profits to laborers as increass in wages and benefits.

Fascist policy decisions taken by the "Ministry of Economics" were protected by the Nazi government.  The more modern version is protected by a heady mix of corrupted politicians and an aggressive propaganda policy delivered by the modern equivalent of Goebbels, institutions most notably similar to FOX News, but now materially augmented by most other commercial networks including PBS.

As to "anti-trust" laws, contemporary America is now in a period of the lowest anti-trust prosecutions since the concept was first adopted.  The predictable result is the new population of giant corporations, most conveniently "too big to fail," which pretend to create economic activity by mergers and purchases of other corporations.

In our search for modern fascists, we need look no further than to the politicians and propagandists which have slowly re-created such activities as "legal" and "popular" under the justification of their being "not socialist."

6.  Planning boards set product lines, production levels, prices, wages, working conditions

The "planning boards" of fascist Germany has been replaced with a softer version in its modern equivalent.  As "state interests," the old Nazi basis of incentives has been transformed into "corporate interests," the "demand side" of what had previously been the "free market" contracted violently.

Or, from another view, expanded violently.  The range of products for sale declined, based on "supply side" influences, and were replaced not by "demand defined" products but rather "supply side" products with higher profit margins.  For example, after struggling through two devastating fuel embargoes along with the associated ever-increasing fuel prices (embargo or not), American consumers could not purchase fuel efficient, domestically produced cars.  This was hardly representative of a "demand driven" economy.

Products for which there was little demand became more salable -- and profitable -- when other non-product features were added.  Rotten, over priced and under designed, cheaply made cars could be sold if the financing were right.  Unaffordable, over priced houses could be sold if the mortgages were tailored to an otherwise unqualified buyer.  The quality of the car or the value of the house became secondary, that is, the demand for a high quality car or an affordable house was set as a necessarily lesser priority in favor of these more profitable -- and parasitic -- appendages. 

Prices and wages were, of course, the fundamental target of the profit-at-any-cost corporatists.  The result was the massive exportation of jobs to low wage countries and a steady, constant, inflationary increase in prices of the foreign made products as they returned to the domestic market.  Working conditions came to represent nothing more than an unwelcome business expense.  We see this in the dead miners, refinery fires and dangerous, outrageous natural gas fracking among other "for profit enhancement" insults.

Because modern day corporatists can no longer forcibly import death camp workers, they forcibly export their labor requirements to China.

7.  Fascism was thus incompatible with peace and the international division of labor—hallmarks of liberalism

The concept of an "international division of labor" runs directly from the last item (6.) above.

Not too much need be said about this, once the general principle is firmly in place.  Think of it this way.  Normal human economies function more or less in the general region where labor is applied to resources, products are made and then consumed.  Most of the profit from such a process is also, naturally, concentrated in the same region, providing both incentives and capital resources to sustain the local participants.

However, once the normally distinct concepts of "national interest" and "corporate interest" are unnaturally blended in the fascist model, all profit generated in excess of that required for re-investment to sustain or increase future profit is re-located to the corporatists.

At first blush, this seems to be fairly consistent with capitalism, however, when the "ingredients" are considered in a larger picture, we alter our initial conclusion about this "just being good business."  The resources and labor which were already in place should have, normally, created profit and wealth for that place -- at least to some extent.

But in the fascist model, the corporatists have shown up with large amounts of external capital to "purchase" all elements of the basic system (in some cases, including the people), after which most profits are exported to the corporate coffers.  If this were to happen absent local corruption, it might, possibly, fit the description of capitalism, but it doesn't.  Local "state interests" are converted to "corporate interests" based solely on the primary conjunction between local corruption and corporate capital power.

As for peace, once this is in place, the war comes later.
8.  Fascism embodied corporatism, ... Corporatism was intended to avert unsettling divisions within the nation, such as lockouts and union strikes. The price of such forced “harmony” was the loss of the ability to bargain and move about freely

When corporate fascism masqueraded as a necessity for the success and protection of the state, extraordinary indulgences were authorized to avoid delays or stoppages in the flow of production.  In the case of the German Nazis, this was actually somewhat understandable.  The war effort of the Reich depended on a steady and dependable flow of manufactured war materials.

However, the highlighted parts of this excerpt should ring a strikingly familiar similarity to events now unfolding this country.  In the old German model, the government was not bashful about prohibiting labor strikes, but interestingly, it was also not bashful about prohibiting lock outs, i.e. management and owner labor actions.

In the modern version, no external impetus is required for this latter issue, that is, the prohibiting of the prospect of an ownership lock out.  Instead, all efforts are applied to the elimination of labor organization to prevent the former.  In today's corporately controlled system the unceasing obsession with production and profit compel the ownership class to abhor the possibility of locking workers out of their businesses.

With the population of organized workers at its lowest point in a century following the systematic attacks by the ruling class, the most egregious adherence to this policy will not be seen in the domestic scene but in totally de-unionized labor forces in other countries such as China where the labor resource is presently being harvested.

However, one recent event in the US does offer an example of this fascist practice.

Within the last months, Boeing has "moved" one of its principal aircraft manufacturing -- a $750 Mn dollar plant --  from the organized labor climate of Washington State to the "right to work" State of South Carolina where unions are essentially illegal under fascist statutes and wages are dismally low compared to those in the old location in Washington.

This manufacturing move was -- by the very words of Boeing executives -- to "punish" the unions in Washington.  Law suits were filed for unfair labor practices, but the Department of Justice, already quite "gun shy" about such matters, given the raw power of the oligarchs in the Congress, has been reluctant to pursue the matter.

This is the disguised face of modern fascism.  "Corporate interests" -- remember, these are the modern version of the old German "national interests" -- have moved illegally through the government under the cover of Congressmen beholding to the corporate class to protect Boeing's corporate profits by providing cheap domestic labor while subverting the legal rights of the unions in Washington.

Had Boeing been the German Reich, this tale would fit perfectly into the story of 1939 Germany.

9.  To maintain high employment and minimize popular discontent, fascist governments also undertook massive public-works projects financed by steep taxes, borrowing, and fiat money creation. ... —the largest project of all was militarism, with huge armies and arms production.

Although at first glance, we might wish to consider both the TARP and the stimulus packages to be evidence of the "fiat money creation" mentioned here, we would remain a little off target.  Because it turns out that the TARP amounted to something more akin to outright theft and the stimulus was directed, largely, at infrastructure and existing systems maintenance, neither really fits the "fiat money" class of fascist monetary extraction policy.

On the other hand, there does exist a prime example of this.  It is called the "Quantitative Easing" just accomplished by the Department of Treasury to the tune of around $1 Tn dollars.  This was an outright "cash printing," "fiat money creation" episode, so inflationary that it actually pissed off most of the country's Treasury Note creditors.  The US has very few other "allies" currently.

Finally, also take note that the Pentagon's military procurement expenditures were not on the table in the spending cut talks.  It might have seemed as if these were "kind'a, sort'a" on the table temporarily in an "on again, off again" way, but they were actually never even in the same room as the table, much less on it. 

This particular aspect of US fascism applies both to domestic spending for arms production and the legislative "cover" offered by the Congress to protect external arms sales in transactions which are, at least vocally, criticized as being counter the nation's national security interests.  The result is clear.  Corporate profit imperatives simply trumped any actual representation in the Congress reflecting the best interests of the common class of US citizens.

10. The fascist leaders’ antagonism to communism has been misinterpreted as an affinity for capitalism.

The false dichotomy which posed communism and capitalism as the exclusive choices for human economies was conveniently vague about the nature of both.  As time progressed, additional subtleties became necessary.  By the 1950's, with the industrialized world paralyzed in the nuclear Cold War, it became clear that both communism and capitalism required "additional resolution" if the concepts were to be expected to retain their relevance for public consumption.

That is, both systems seem to have their own respective pair of "feet of clay."  However, since there were "no other possibilities" to be considered, and because "capitalism" seemed to be "winning," the false choice proved more durable than it actually deserved to be, all things considered.

Now, American fascist elites still enjoy the the benefit of an unwarranted continuation of the old maxim.  We see this in the modern "background" bias in the propaganda arguments.  Health care reform is a good example.  The claim that subsidized health care is "socialist" has only a few teeth in its actual jaw, but the implication is that the program will lead, ultimately, to the Soviet nightmare of five decades ago.

The same observation applies to the general propaganda threats of "having Washington between you and your doctor," "the 'nanny state'," "union thugs," "big government" and "personal responsibility."  Each one relies on a subconscious transferral of the possible future to the failed Soviet systems of the past.

All of this would be overly academic except for the fact that these arguments rely so heavily on well propagandized "choices" which are no longer relevant.  It is behind these lingering demons that the modern fascists continue to validate their actions as those of "free market" capitalists.

Modern fascists believe they can hide almost anything when it is presented as the exclusive alternative behind a vaguely implied Soviet Nightmare scenario.

"If you don't want us modern capitalists, what else is there?  Joe Stalin?"

The Psychological Identity of the Modern Fascist

To complete this post, we need to consider the "self-image" of the 21st Century American corporatist.  Does he see himself as a fascist or as something else?  Perhaps, something less horrifying?

So, who, precisely, are these "fascists?"  Do they have names?  Can they be identified by their tax returns?  How can they be distinguished from those upon whom they prey?

Modern American fascists are, generally, comprised of individuals with one or more of these certain personality and character traits.

1. capitalism ideologues
2. opportunistic, greedy sociopaths
3. theocratic or political purists, "theoreticals"

In 1940 Germany, a respectable, middle class family man would have sat down for dinner with his family and openly -- and probably also hopefully -- explained with great pride his being a member of the National Socialist Party (they seldom called themselves NAZIs at first).  His modern counterparts, on the other hand, would be horrified to think that they were, in fact, active members of a socialist movement of any kind.

Modern American fascists absolutely do not consider themselves fascists, never boast about being fascists and never read ponderous books about 1940's German fascist ideology, looking for clues about what to do next.  Instead, a sickening pall of normalcy continues to reinforce their image of themselves.

Isolated in the murky world of right wing half truths, punctuated by a thousand "-isms" which conveniently fit the needs of the moment, these modern fascists have unwittingly followed a course which -- in their minds -- has begun to make their world view legitimate.  Without realizing what they are doing, they have laid the first miseries as a cornerstone of an unexamined, unplanned new world order.

Without ever actually setting it as a goal, they have become willing cadre for this new world order.  A new order where fascism has become an organic ideology.

In their mindless pursuit of something never quite explained by the likes of FOX News, Eric Cantor and the rest, they have embraced fascism wholeheartedly but without and depth or validating definition.  They nod in placid agreement with sociopaths such as Grover Norquist.  They rail, on command, at racist remarks and classist humors.

They have forsaken their consciences.  They no longer have the human capacity to sense any wrongness in their actions.

So, the next time one of us has the inclination to "trot out" the "N" (Nazi) word as we respond to the next dependable outrage, let's pause for a moment.

Let's call them what they are.

Let's be ready to explain why we think that.

Thanks for "sticking with" MeanMesa through such a long post.  Stay tuned.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Letter From Alan Grayson About War and the Debt

MeanMesa receives updates from Alan Grayson's developing campaign to re-enter the Congress after millions of oligarch dollars financed a dithering tea bag's successful campaign against him in 2010.

Remember 2010?

That was when the US Congress officially became so dysfunctional that it couldn't even agree if it were raining outside.

Remember Alan Grayson?

He was the Congressman (D-Fl who so boldly characterized the GOPCon/insurance industry's phony health insurance reform as:  "The Republican plan for health care is to not get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly."

Here's what Alan Grayson thinks about the Great, Fabulous, Never Ending TEA BAG Default Debate.  (All the links in the original email are left enabled in this post.)

Sign the petition.

Dear MeanMesa:

There are 23 million Americans who can’t find full-time work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There are 50 million Americans who can’t see a doctor when they are sick, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

There are more than 15 million American families who owe more on their mortgage than their homes are worth, according to Zillow.  That’s almost a third of all the families who own homes.

If I were in Congress right now, these are the problems that I would be trying to solve.

But instead, we see a bizarre preoccupation – no, really, an obsession – with cutting federal benefits.  Some kind of weird contest to see who can inflict the most pain on the American people.  With the proponent of each new sadistic plan announcing proudly, “mine is bigger than yours.”

I’ll be honest – the federal deficit for the year 2021 is not something that I spend a lot of time thinking about, these days.  But let’s assume – arguendo, as they used to say back in Ancient Rome – that for some reason, there were some compelling, emergency need to work out how to cut $2 trillion from projected federal budget deficits over the next ten years.

I have an idea about how to do that.  It’s a very simple idea.  In fact, I can sum it up in one word, with five letters:


Now, I know that peace may not be as popular as it used to be.  The polling is very iffy.  The focus groups are mixed.  But let’s look at the facts.

Last year, we spent $154 billion in appropriated funds on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  That is in addition to the $549 billion in appropriated funds for the Pentagon – you know, just to keep the lights on.  And the non-appropriated cost of war was even higher – especially when you include the cost of care for the 15% of all the American troops in Iraq who come home with permanent brain abnormalities.  According to Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, the war in Iraq alone is costing us $4 trillion and counting. That’s more than $13,000 for every one of us, and roughly 8% of our entire net worth as a nation.

The cost of war is enormous.  So enormous that, as I pointed out in H.R. 5353, The War is Making You Poor Act, if we simply funded that cost through the Pentagon’s own budget, rather than through supplemental appropriations, we could eliminate taxes on everyone’s first $35,000 of income ($70,000 for married couples), and still reduce the deficit by more than $10 billion a year.

And that was last year.  Since then, the number of wars has gone up by 50%.

This is what Pat Buchanan – of all people, Pat Buchanan – said two weeks ago:

"The United States is strategically over-extended, worldwide. What are we doing borrowing money from Japan to defend Japan. Borrow money from Europe to defend Europe. Borrow money from the Persian Gulf to defend the Persian Gulf. This country is over-extended. It is an empire and the empire is coming down."

You say that you want to save $2 trillion in ten years?  It’s simple:  end the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and end whatever it is that they are calling it now in Libya.  I’d rather do that than throw Granny from the train.
But that’s just me. 

Guns or butter.  It’s not a new choice.

I prefer butter.

What about you?
Alan Grayson
P.S.  Please sign our petition at  And pass it on to every friend you have.  It’s important -- let’s be heard.