Sunday, April 7, 2013

Can YOU be a brown shirt? Now Hiring

Obama-Phobia and Hitler-Phobia

One of MeanMesa's favorite radio shows [The Stephani Miller Show, AM1350, Albuquerque, 7 AM to 10 AM weekdays] offers a daily "good morning" dose of hilarious commentary about current progressive events.  Naturally, one of the most frequent sources used on the program is from actual audio clips of the latest wing nut dissertation about rape or gay marriage, however, perhaps the second most entertaining parts come from conservative callers who phone in "to say their piece."

It is during these "cold calls" that Stephani and her production staff conduct a little contest.  That contest is all about this question: "How long before this caller trots out a Hitler reference."

The Obama-phobia "Hitler" (image)
Sooner or later during most of these calls from righties, someone -- most commonly, President Obama -- is almost inevitably characterized as "being just like Hitler."  Of course most of those tenuous references are based not on actual history, but, instead, on the famous movies that righties watch which are, of course, about Hitler -- the "evil" of Hitler, the war against Hitler, victory over Hitler and the similarity between "Hitler" and ObamaCare, highway construction, gay marriage, foreign policy, gas prices, failing education, high taxes and so on.

Predictably, MeanMesa would be tastefully reluctant to simply grab a bassoon and "jump on this right wing band wagon" without sufficient reason to justify such a road weary repetition of a typical morning radio show laughter point.  However, that "reluctance" is now, officially, set aside, and that "band wagon jumping" is now, also officially, under way.

MeanMesa's "Hitler" Reference Talking Point
Just a Wee Bit of WIKI History Can't Hurt...

Here, we step into the MeanMesa "way back" machine for a quick journey back to 1930's pre-WWII Germany. We might over hear the following conversation among the fellows who had the grand ambition of, a year or two later, firing up the Third Reich just in time for another shot at the "regional title."

(image source)
"Darn.  This 'popular uprising' plan of ours is going no where in a basket.  The people of Germany aren't the least bit interested in another world war so soon after that last one, and our scheme to vilify the Jews doesn't seem to be getting much traction either.  Worse, so many 'normies' keep showing up at our big hate rallies that our guys are either simply getting lost in the crowd or getting their butts kicked when we try to start making trouble."

"Plus, we still have all these unopened bundles of brown shirts from Taiwan left over from the Kaiser."

The "Nazi-wanna' be's" were having, well, "staffing problems."

The solution they pieced together turned out to be, at least "mass movement-wise," just "what the doctor ordered."   They could hand out all those brown shirts to the then recently unemployed, colonial soldiers roaming the streets looking for work, hammer the recruits into some sort of marching order and start raising hell until the battered country was, once again, in fighting spirit.

The Sturmabteilung (SA) (Storm Detachment or Assault Division, or Brownshirts) functioned as the original paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party. It played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s. Their main assignments were providing protection for Nazi rallies and assemblies; the disruption of opposing political parties and the fight against their paramilitary units (esp. the Rotfrontkämpferbund); and the intimidation of Jewish citizens (e.g. the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses).

The SA was the first Nazi paramilitary group to develop pseudo-military titles for bestowal upon its members. The SA ranks were adopted by several other Nazi Party groups, chief amongst them the SS, itself originally a branch of the SA. SA men were often called "brownshirts" for the colour of their uniforms (similar to Benito Mussolini's blackshirts). Brown-coloured shirts were chosen as the SA uniform because a large batch of them were cheaply available after World War I, having originally been ordered during the war for colonial troops posted to Germany's former African colonies.

And that is only the beginning of MeanMesa's historical preparation for our very own Hitler reference.  Unlike the confused drivel of Stephani's wing nut callers, it, of course, makes perfect sense and explains everything, right?

A Closer Look at the "Brown Shirts" of 1930's Germany

During the early "gear grinding" stage of Hitler's career, his fledgling party was just not able to enlist the needed popular support from the German population.  Of course, there were quite a few earnest "believers," but there were simply not enough of them to sweep him into power.  Further, many of those earliest followers were also simply not, well, "earnest" enough, either.

It didn't take too much strategic political planning for the early Reich to conclude that exactly what was needed was 1. more believers and 2. more "earnest."  Of course there were plenty of other details, but Adolph's planners pretty clearly figured that they could handle those as they came up in the flow of events.

His German sympathizers were, in fact, sympathetic because of what they perceived to be the conditions around them in post-WWI Germany.  If the popularity and earnestness rates were to be enhanced, those observations of the conditions would have to do the "heavy lifting."

Hence, it was clear that progress on the popularity and earnestness fronts would be achievable only through progress in re-framing the conditions -- or, at least, the perception of those conditions.  Public opinion-wise, the worse things appeared to be, the more attractive Hitler's "solution" would look.

This left the baby-Reich with an interesting question.  "How can we make conditions appear bad enough to entice millions more from the population to 'get on board?'"

Both the political climate and the economic climate were already horrible for most Germans, but the flames needed just a bit more fanning to "get over the top."  This meant that there was going to have to be some "surgical" agitation executed in a number of opportunities all across the observable spectrum of public exposure.

Right behind those "surgical agitation opportunities" there would need to be a steadily building psychological foundation, too.  This foundation would not be assembled from specific details, but rather from a general flow of nuanced elements which would, as time progressed, become an unexamined "body of thought" validating the desired conclusions about those inflaming events.

Jewish businesses had to be vandalized and boycotted.  Emotional marches and rallies had to be held.  Public events had to be exploited in incendiary ways -- including conveniently available political explanations of why the events were, in fact, incendiary.

Importantly, "someone also had to answer the phone," that is, there had to be something to join, someone to welcome you into that something and some way to constructively manage all the folks who had joined once the thing began to "catch on."

This is where the brown shirts came into the picture.  To accomplish all this gradual re-assembly of public perception through incitation, propaganda, manipulated observations and a carefully tailored background collection of "conclusions," the "right kinds of things" had to not only "happen," but "keep happening."

The Wehr Macht" ["defense force"] wasn't going to make sense if there were not something quite convincing to "defend against,"  and whatever it was going to ultimately be, that "something" needed to look pretty darned threatening.

If the unfolding of events, left all to themselves to unfold more or less naturally, were not going to be enough to bring Germans into the new Reich, those events would have to be amplified and craftily interpreted.  While the political arm of Hitler's organization was busy with the "re-interpretation" task, the brown shirts would be working on the "amplification" task.

Interestingly, there is one last little part of the recipe to be mentioned before we move ahead.  The brown shirts were going to need guns.

If you were part of the existing German government while all this was happening, probably the very last thing you would be interested in doing was handing guns over to the brown shirts.  The early fascists knew they would have to overcome this pesky problem at some point along the line.

Also noteworthy, in the German model the armed brown shirts were only employed until their social necessity had diminished.  Once the Reich was fully in power socially, the brown shirt "shock troops" from its earlier days were brutally disbanded.

An Increasingly Less Secret "Secret Conspiracy"

There's no need to start looking under the couch at the Koch mansion for more bundles of unused, left over, WWII German brown shirts, but still, there are a couple of nagging points lingering around. Aside from the snazzy uniform shirts, this thing is chuck full of other similarities.

Once we disabuse ourselves of the emotional vomit of "hyper-Hitler hyperbole" from common sources such as Face Book and begin to sort through the debris for clues of what really might be happening, it becomes more and more difficult to simply dismiss what is found as coincidence or poorly forged conspiracy theory.

1. Are the oligarchs following the basic strategy that Hitler followed?
2. If they are, how far along have they gotten so far?
3. Should we expect the oligarchs to replicate Hitler's brown shirts?

MeanMesa has always assumed that the modern American moneyed class is every bit as ambitious as the fascists in the early Reich.  When we look at the "challenges" confronting this present day band of anti-democracy oligarchs we see a few disparities, but we also see some chillingly similar challenges -- and solutions -- to those which faced Hitler's merry "Reich-band" decades ago.  We can actually make a very abbreviated, yet still quite interesting, list of similarities between the respective "wish lists" of those ancient fascists and America's latest crop of oligarchs.

1. Crushing labor unions and redistributing wealth

Hitler's ambitions for squelching organized labor had many layers.  Probably first was the prospect of "absorbing" [nationalizing] the significant assets of existing unions.  However, right below this were other matters.  Russian Communism had already been officially demonized; National Socialism, at least theoretically,  replaced the necessity for union representation for the worker; and the few "living wages" still remaining in Germany were provided by union jobs.

Germany itself had always trended toward wealth concentration at the top -- even while the region was still divided into Dark Age kingdoms like the Upper and Lower Palatinates. The cultural history was littered with genetic nobility along with the exclusive economic prerogatives.  When National Socialism offered the promise of immense wealth to "insiders" such as the Krupps, no one was particularly bothered by it.  Although not often mentioned as such, a suspiciously prosperous, well paid oligarchy of politically connected industrialists developed just below the ideological cover of Reich-style National Socialism.

The penchant for modern oligarchs to crush organized labor comes primarily from the prospect of eliminating the substantial organizing power of union work forces in political contests.  Just below this first issue, however, we find the modern oligarchic obsession to lower all wages in favor of enhancing "supply side" profit ratios.

Here these modern oligarchs are, of course, still neglecting the longer term priority of "not destroying purchasing power of their consumer base."  National Socialism set aside this gnawing necessity, replacing it with the mythology of the "Super Civilization" [1,000 year Reich] which would become possible later.

2. Reaffirmation of past morality and conditions as social ideals

Looking at the facts, citizens are most inclined to revert to the comfort of past ideals and mythology when they are stressed.  The most common form of modern stress is created economically.  If the reaffirmation of past morality and social ideals can be constructively employed by modern oligarchs, introducing the economic stress would be a logical preparation. 

Amalgamating that yearning for an imaginary past with both ageing religion and ageing  ideology turns out to be something made much more straight forward by owning and controlling the media.  Once the old fears have been resurrected and delightfully enhanced by the narcotic attraction of refuge in the imaginary "olden days," the sky's the limit. 

"Everyone's against you." (source)
Those "old fears" are the currency for oligarchic control. Schemes similar to this one have worked since the time of Caesar Augustus' "reaffirmation of faith" program in ancient Rome.  The most productive of the "old fears" for modern American oligarchs are the lingering tatters of the domestic propaganda campaign which accompanied the Cold War with the Soviets.

As the artificial righteousness of perennial ditties such as "American dream" are artfully blended with unchanging messages of pastors and priests, suffering is to born bravely and quietly, cleverly disguised Satanic influences are dancing through the halls of all "non-old school" religion and no one is to be trusted -- ever.

"Dr." Jack van Impe

This, of course, is not the first time that raw nationalism has been saturated with barely recognizable contemporary religion.  It retains, however, its direct lineage to old pre-WWII Germany. 

The insinuation of such thoughts into the active military are covered under another topic [see no. 7 below].

3. Creating suspicion and disdain for the existing government

Intending to take over everything is a common feature to the ambitions of both the German National Socialists and the current American oligarchs.  Obviously, if you aspire to replace the government, a great first step would be to "peel off" as many citizens as possible from the existing population of those who liked that government.  This is hardly rocket science.

Further, if there are any convenient, "spare, loose scapegoats" roaming around close by, a little cautious media work can transfer all the blame for everything to them.  Hitler had Jews and Communists; modern American oligarchs have a black President and "liberals" relentlessly defined and redefined by FOX "News."

For example, the emergence of the gun law "debate" has certainly illuminated the number of uninformed, paranoic low information types who will eagerly appear on the street with pre-made signs on command, gleefully parroting talking point after talking point, all of it grotesquely devoid of fact or depth. The conversation conducted above spilled beer in the late hours quite comfortably traces to over throwing the government or surviving a government attack against the citizens.

Here, the oligarch strategy strays a bit from conditions in Germany during the brown shirt period.  However, while Germany may have been more instantly frightening, the oligarch version may not be far behind after all.

There will inevitably come a point when it becomes unavoidably clear to the oligarchs and corporatists that they cannot win an election in the current conditions.  Like their National Socialist forebears they will conclude, soon enough, that conditions must be further degraded -- perhaps through an easily subsidized and recruited mechanism such as a violent modern version of the brown shirts -- before the electorate can be persuaded, out of desperation perhaps, to vote for their policies.

One might consider this a dismal, unlikely exaggeration, but consider the strategy of Al Qaeda endlessly attacking civilians in hopes of winning political/religious power.  The oligarchs are watching -- everything -- everywhere. 

While pictured as exclusively "domestic creatures," oligarchs have always had quiet colonial military ambitions. A quick review of the Republican Primary "debates" shows that the "wanna' be's" have always been jealous for control of the military. Bush W. and Cheney lurched right ahead for Iraq oil wealth,  but the only ones among the oligarchs who actually profited were the close in cronies.

Oligarchs typically inherited their wealth, but they neither lose that wealth, of for that matter, any sleep because they feel bad about not sharing the loot.

4. Permanently lowering expectations

Over any particular period of time, generalizations can be drawn about the scope of  citizen expectations.  This is, actually, the essential fundamental which drives public opinion polling.  MeanMesa can recall quite distinctly what "expectations" were generally held during past decades in the United States.  These were not driven by specifics or even closely examined; people were just generally inclined to be optimistic. 

As for the United States, recent history seemed to provide more than enough evidence that this positivism made rational sense.  Everyday examples of things turning out pretty well abounded.  The problem here -- if not in old Germany -- is that this outlook for an increasingly prosperous future contradicts the plans of the oligarchs.  The German approach was to paint a basically imaginary picture of the Reich ruling Europe and England, being served by slave state Russia and so on.

Because of the fundamental conflict between the expectations of ordinary citizens who look back to see an economic culture which has steadily improved and the ambitions of the oligarchs to slowly extract all wealth for redistribution upward, a new "hobby" has entered the picture.  The "peace" of the current decline can be maintained if those who are gradually losing everything can be persuaded to blame each other. 

The "divisiveness" began in earnest with the Reagan years, but its success was so appealing to those wishing to obscure their plans that its "new, improved" versions have consistently protected the culprits since then.  As an effective domestic manipulation technique, it has now become an industry of its own accord.

5. Permanently avoiding identified leadership

Here, the process of the modern American oligarchs departs from the German National Socialism model.  Collectively, they have absolutely no interest whatsoever in the prospect of an actual leader emerging organically from their own ranks, much less from anywhere "outside" their ranks.

If perceptive, we see this.  On the national stage the oligarch candidates seem to have appeared in the public light already equipped with an unseen third party in the shadows behind them.  There is very little policy but an astonishing image management capacity.  Decisions continuously "manifest" from unseen sources which cannot be safely questioned.

This was the "skeleton in the closet" with both recent GOP Presidential candidates, and the problem surfaced when the skeleton wouldn't stay in the closet.  Neither seemed to be even loosely in command of himself or to at all concerned with his lack of autonomy.  On the rare occasions when John McCain acted on his own impulses, disaster -- such as Sarah Palin or his emergency trip to Washington to "fix" the economic collapse ushered in by the oligarch puppet before him -- ensued almost immediately after ward.  Romney never even attempted what he saw as such dangerous autonomy.

Among the most furtive of the mass of talking points issued to discredit Obama were those directed at exactly this issue.  Terms such as "dictator" and "messiah" served up popular paranoia -- especially in the void of an actual man to compare on the other side.

Oligarchs didn't become oligarchs by trusting each other.  When anyone -- such as, for example, an electoral majority does trust someone such as, for example, the man they elect -- oligarchs find the phenomenon not only incomprehensible, but odious.

6. Gaining power through "extra-political' mechanisms

By "extra-political" we refer to actions which fundamentally subvert the normal political system -- the system which traditionally makes decisions about governance.

Germany in the 1930's was hardly a monument to ideal representative governance, but even as a flawed case of democracy attempting to re-establish itself after the country's defeat, it still presented far too many obstacles for Adolph to simply "play by the rules and hope for the best." 

By the time of his elevation to Chancellor, most of the democratic institutions and processes were in shambles -- often because of precisely the topic of this post, the brown shirts of the SA.  This had to occur in roughly this manner.  Germany was a militarized [and, "para-militarized"] police state.  There were no "riots" which accidentally exploded out of control.  Things were far more direct than that.

Before we discuss the similar, anti-democracy efforts of the domestic oligarchs, we should settle one matter first.  In the "red states" where Republicans hold all political power, we see "territories" which are effectively under oligarchic rule right now.

These are "territories" where the standing law of Supreme Court decisions are arbitrarily placed in convenient abeyance, where the Old Testament bigotry of the local priesthood is considered as valid as any other source of law, where citizen educational outcomes are at their nadir in dilapidated, cash starved, public school systems, but most importantly, amid the dire economic conditions in such places, we see a visible flow of tax payer cash now moving directly to oligarchs surreptitiously renamed "job creators."

The new owners of these places have commanded a uniform suppression the normal electorate pressure which would have previously been considered the two party political counter balances. 

The tactical question confronting the oligarchs is how to extend this territorial control to more and more states and ultimately to the entire country.  This is where the recruitment of modern brown shirts enters the picture.

7. Forming an American Oligarchic "Social Assault" Division:
 Brown Shirts

One notable, stark similarity along these lines is the insinuation -- by both the old Germans and the new American oligarchs -- of arcane aspects of religionist mythology and supernaturally defined values into the military consciousness. Given conditions of German superstition already in place, this was hardly necessary for para-military gangs such as the brown shirts, but was actively pursued with the regular military.

Now, just as then, the goal is to split a part of military loyalty away from the traditional chain of command to an ambitiously crafted and conveniently defined "higher authority"  where there is a chance to claim it later for exploitative purpose. The old Nazi's held these rituals at Wewelsburg Castle, while the modern supernaturalist faction of the oligarchs conduct their indoctrination rituals at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and other federal places.

Of course, all aspects of the artificial supernaturalism are a fraud.  None of it means anything to the perpetrators promoting these applications of religionist fables and "wisdom" to contemporary decisions.  In recent times we have seen this in the "innocent" slaughter of dozens of Pakistani troops during a drone strike and the etched doggerel of chapter and verse of St. John's famous parable [3:16] between the front sight and flash suppressor on modern military rifles in Iraq and Afghanistan.

NAZI cult room - Wewelsburg Castle (image)
Maybe not the candle lit dirges of Wewelsburg Castle, but still quite creepy.

Obama famously misspoke about stressed people being attracted to "God and guns."  Not all of those inspired to serve the interests of the oligarchs are motivated in this manner, but a nice population is, indeed, motivated in exactly this manner.  Consider these folks to be "low hanging fruit."  You can find them watching the 700 Club.  They are creatures which have been "created and nurtured" to be impervious to facts or contradiction in which have been carefully honed a steady, reliable, political/religious credulity which is, frankly, beyond comprehension.

It's not an "8" on this list, but it is too important to overlook after we've come this far. 

We see these folks at Tea Party rallies, in interviews on "news" reporters wishing to put a "personal face" on public opinion, we hear them on call in shows and when the life details of psychopathic mass murders are revealed in the inevitable "follow up stories" in the aftermath of the last monstrosity we see the trail of the same type of character.

If the oligarchs intend to collect an army of usable brown shirts from volunteers among the masses of Americans, these will be the recruits.  As of today, there is no visible cadre which can introduce some lower form of military discipline to all these new members, but there is one challenge which has been met.

They are already armed.  Well armed.

There is probably no better place to start when establishing a "Social Assault" force than with eager volunteers, illiterate, armed and -- thanks to years of media propaganda -- thoroughly terrified with the prospect of losing something about which they know almost nothing, the democracy.

We can speculate for a moment

The Reich found the recruits needed for the formation of the SA -- brown shirts -- from the military which had previously occupied German colonies, largely in North Africa.  These disappointed ex-active soldiers could not find work in post WWI Germany, a country legally neutered by the economic terms of the vengeful armistice and the forced reparations exacted by the European victors.

Some days, they could not find food.

The domestic scene, although quite removed economically, provides a huge count of similarly disheartened souls.  These would be the burping and bellowing, largely uneducated products which were being formed by the relentless media bombardment.  These fellows have been told, over and over, every sort of useful lie that voices such as Limbaugh, Hannity and O'Rielly could plant into their already rather damaged psyches.

What can happen with these people?

The oligarchs are not likely to relax their strangle hold on the domestic economy.  This means that there are no "better times" ahead for these young men who have never known "better times."  They have grown to adulthood in a social culture constantly at war, constantly presented as "us and them," constantly portrayed as a place full of enemies and constantly ruled by unseen oppressors quite beyond their influence.

Most in their twenties and thirties, they are desolate in a void which has no good memories.  Even the country's thoroughly lack luster performance in those wars has been "re-framed" into yet another failure to be blamed on "liberals" or "Washington" or ... on Obama.  They already live in a dusty, suffocating, artificial, grey world starving for heroes.

Will they become brown shirts?  If they somehow don't, it won't be from the neglect of the oligarchs.

I suppose that we'll just have to wait and see.

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