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 Post subject: It Can Happen Here--By Joe Conason
PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 12:40 am 
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http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/022407F.shtml

If "it" denotes the police state American-style as imagined and satirized by Lewis, complete with concentration camps, martial law, and mass executions of strikers and other dissidents, then "it" hasn't happened here and isn't likely to happen anytime soon.

For contemporary Americans, however, "it" could signify our own more gradual and insidious turn toward authoritarian rule. That is why Lewis's darkly funny but grim fable of an authoritarian coup achieved through a democratic election still resonates today - along with all the eerie parallels between what he imagined then and what we live with now.


Excerpted from Joe Conason's new book, "It Can Happen Here".

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:50 pm 
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What a great article. I almost missed that one. This reads like a glossary of felonies and really makes the point about the nature of this republican administration under Bush- Authoritarianism!

Here's a quote from the article-
Quote:
What worries many Americans even more is that the authoritarians can excuse their excesses as the necessary response to an enemy that every American knows to be real. For the past five years, the Republican leadership has argued that the attacks of September 11, 2001 - and the continuing threat from jihadist groups such as al Qaeda - demand permanent changes in American government, society, and foreign policy. Are those changes essential to preserve our survival - or merely useful for unscrupulous politicians who still hope to achieve permanent domination by their own narrowly ideological party? Not only liberals and leftists, but centrists, libertarians, and conservatives, of every party and no party, have come to distrust the answers given by those in power.

The most salient dissent to be heard in recent years, and especially since Bush's reelection in 2004, has been voiced not by the liberals and moderates who never trusted the Republican leadership, but by conservatives who once did.

Former Republican congressman Bob Barr of Georgia, who served as one of the managers of the impeachment of Bill Clinton in the House of Representatives, has joined the American Civil Liberties Union he once detested. In the measures taken by the Bush administration and approved by his former colleagues, Barr sees the potential for "a totalitarian type regime."

Paul Craig Roberts, a longtime contributor to the Wall Street Journal and a former Treasury official under Reagan, perceives the "main components of a police state" in the Bush administration's declaration of plenary powers to deny fundamental rights to suspected terrorists. Bruce Fein, who served as associate attorney general in the Reagan Justice Department, believes that the Bush White House is "a clear and present danger to the rule of law," and that the president "cannot be trusted to conduct the war against global terrorism with a decent respect for civil liberties and checks against executive abuses." Syndicated columnist George Will accuses the administration of pursuing a "monarchical doctrine" in its assertion of extraordinary war powers.
Even republican stalwarts are turning away from this egregious example of power without checks and balances.

Quote:
In the 2006 midterm election, disenchanted conservatives joined with liberals and centrists to deliver a stinging rebuke to the regime by overturning Republican domination in both houses of Congress. For the first time since 1994, Democrats control the Senate and the House of Representatives. But the Democratic majority in the upper chamber is as narrow as possible, depending on the whims of Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, a Republican-leaning Democrat elected on an independent ballot line, who has supported the White House on the occupation of Iraq, abuse of prisoners of war, domestic spying, the suspension of habeas corpus, military tribunals, far-right judicial nominations, and other critical constitutional issues. Nor is Lieberman alone among the Senate Democrats in his supine acquiescence to the abuses of the White House.

Even if the Democrats had won a stronger majority in the Senate, it would be naive to expect that a single election victory could mend the damage inflicted on America's constitutional fabric during the past six years. While the Bush administration has enjoyed an extraordinary immunity from Congressional oversight until now, the deepest implication of its actions and statements, as explored in the pages that follow, is that neither legislators nor courts can thwart the will of the unitary executive. When Congress challenges that presidential claim, as inevitably it will, then what seems almost certain to follow is not "bipartisanship" but confrontation. The election of 2006 was not an end but another beginning.

The question that we face in the era of terror alerts, religious fundamentalism, and endless warfare is whether we are still the brave nation preserved and rebuilt by the generation of Sinclair Lewis - or whether our courage, and our luck, have finally run out. America is not yet on the verge of fascism, but democracy is again in danger. The striking resemblance between Buzz Windrip [the demagogic villain of Lewis's novel] and George W. Bush and the similarity of the political forces behind them is more than a literary curiosity. It is a warning on yellowed pages from those to whom we owe everything.


Thanks dori. Hope "IT" never comes to fruition!

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:03 pm 
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Thanks for taking the time to read it DO.g's...so often the things I post don't get read. You pointed out the same things that got my attention.

What amazes me is how many times I hear something supposedly 'news', that I have already read at TVNL. Does that happen to you?

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 10:35 pm 
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All the time. I'm getting sick of saying "I told you so" like Al Gore does.

We're on the cutting edge of the first wave of information always.

Comes from having so many good honest reporters, who aren't afraid to face the harsh reality of truths.

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Now I know how Kusinich feels.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 5:14 am 
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You are right DO.g's. The first step is to be able to face reality.

Unfortunately, too many people never get that far. I am just amazed when I hear people still saying the same things they were saying four years ago.

The net is great, but places like TVNL are the best!

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