Tag Archives: war

What’s the Difference Between Fascism, Socialism, and Communism?

What’s the Difference Between Fascism, Socialism, and Communism?
by
David Schlecht

With all the confusion out there today on the part of the Chronically Confused Conservatives of our times, I though I would try to put together  a simple comparison of the three terms they confuse the most for Democracy.

Fascism

Let’s start with the most easily confused. Fascism.

Fascism is best described as a merging of corporate and government interests. In simpler terms, it’s when corporations have taken over the government. This is also called a Oligarchy because the wealthy control the entire country. Mussolini states that the corporations were the most important part of a country and that the government should work with them to make a better country. He created this merger and called it Fascism to differentiate it from Socialism.

One of the signature characteristics of Fascism is “belligerent nationalism.” This is the practice of saying our country is exceptional and don’t you dare tell me otherwise.

Another, more modern term for Fascism is Corporatism.

Well, if Fascism isn’t Socialism, then what is Socialism?

Socialism

Socialism is where people are directly involved in the production of goods and services, things like cooperatives where the workers are the owners of the businesses. This doesn’t mean the government owns and manages the businesses. The business exists for the sake of providing for society, or the social good.

We’ve posted here many times about the socialistic bent of America’s forefathers. Socialism was such a fundamental inclination that our government is defined as “We The People.”

The corporatists in America try to hide this fact and purposely confuse socialism with fascism and communism.

Communism

The easiest way to think of Communism is the requirement that private property is not allowed. No one owns anything. Everything is owned by the government. The general idea is that the people, in turn, own the government. But in practice, this obviously doesn’t work, at last not in large scale.

However, it’s important to realize that Communism works quite well in some small communities.

So, now, tell me, which of these three best describes America, today? Do we outlaw private property (Communism)? No, so I guess that one is out. Do we encourage public ownership of businesses and services (Socialism)? Heck, we don’t even want to allow unions, let alone shared profits and management, so I guess this one is out as well. So what is left? Are we becoming Fascist? Do you see the corporate media spouting belligerent nationalism? Are we constantly threatening and invading other countries because we’re somehow special? Does the corporate media sell us on invading one country after another?

Have corporations taken over our government? Are we told to oppose any welfare or services for the people while we’re told that corporations should have unlimited influence over our government and have unlimited corporate welfare?

Even if you’re a rabid tea bagger only firing on half your cylinders, you can’t deny the fact that the Republican party is the party that is Fascist and they’re succeeding at bringing this country down the road of Fascism.

Does “We The People” sound like anything the Republican party wants to give more power to? In fact, isn’t that the party that is working overtime to disenfranchise millions of potential voters? Oh, my gosh, I guess they are.

Your Circle of Empathy

Your Circle of Empathy
by
David Schlecht

One finds countless excuses why conservatives are so different than the rest of America, excuses that range from authoritarian followers, to misplaced morals, to compartmentalized thinking, to downright sociopathy, to just plain ignorance. Many times you will see writers trying to fit all or even most of the symptoms into one shoe box or another. You will also see writers trying to put these in a less than honest light to help buffer some of the raw ugliness of their findings.

I’m going to present another perspective. This isn’t so much separate from all the rest but is rather a unified theory that includes many of the other findings and concepts.

Your Circle of Empathy

Humans have a natural inclination to feel and exhibit empathy. Your degree of empathy and the size of your circle of empathy is primarily dependent on one thing, your feeling of safety. There are other less influential factors, such as mental illness like sociopathy but this essay does not deal with those. But, it has been found that the vast majority of ruthless business owners are clinically psychopathic, finding gratification in stealing candy from babies. This is no exaggeration.

But, alas, that is a whole blog post all in itself.

Kinds of safety affect ones circle of empathy

There are many kinds of safety. Primarily, safety can be defined as freedom from want and fear. Are you afraid for your personal safety in your home and neighborhood? Are you afraid of the Mexicans invading America to steal our jobs? Are you afraid of the mooslems coming for ya? Are you afraid you won’t have enough food to feed the family tonight? Are you afraid you’re losing your home? Are you afraid that lump in your breast or throat is cancer and you don’t have decent insurance? Are you afraid you’ll be shot by a vigilante on your way home some night? Are you afraid Omaba’s commin’ for your guns?

There are countless types of fear and uncertainty that we face every day.

How Fear Reduces Our Empathy

When you have little fear and are adept at dealing with you fear, your capacity for empathy is naturally quite high, your circle of empathy contains the entire universe. You feel for the wildlife losing their habits to human encroachment, you feel for the oceans that are being poisoned and are dying around us. You feel for Mother Earth. You would probably even feel empathy for life on other worlds if they existed.

That is the natural state of human empathy.

Why do you suppose that is? Caring for the earth has allowed our small clans and societies to coexist in the world. If the cave men hadn’t survived by coexisting with the world, you and I would not be here today. Therefore, empathy is in our genes.

Now, let’s take away some of the safety. Let’s consider two small societies, living close together. When the food becomes scarce, the loving neighbors become competitors for the scarce food. They become “the other.”

If your town is hungry, you don’t have time to worry about the health of the rain forest. It’s time to slash and burn so you can feed your family. It doesn’t matter how many plants and animals have to die.

Your circle of empathy has just gotten much smaller. Even your next door neighbors are now looked at like possible competitors. In fact, when food becomes even more scarce, the loving community becomes bitter rivals. Now, it’s each family out for themselves.

Even more scarcity, more fear of hunger, and families start to split apart. Siblings are left to fend for themselves. One parent abandons the family, some times just to go out and die of hunger, leaving the food for the remainders. Sometimes parents will even abandon children when things get bad enough. This is a point where this theory ends. Some will sacrifice for the kids and many will not. The argument is, “They’ll all just die when we’re gone anyway, and we can always have more kids when things get better.”

Still some will stay together and die together and some will not. Seldom will both parents remain. We see this all the time in hunger stricken countries in Africa.

At this gruesome extreme of the safety scale, nothing is safe. The family dog starts to look like possible nutrition to keep the children alive. The size of our circle of empathy at this point includes just ourselves, and maybe our children.  That’s a pretty small circle compared to the first circle encompassing all the universe.

“Let Him Die”

How big is the circle of empathy of a person who yells, “let him die” when asked about medical care for a sick but uninsured neighbor? In this example, it wasn’t just a single person, but the entire Republican debaters and audience. Not a single person disagreed, though many were too embarrassed to admit out loud that they agreed.

Cultivating the Culture of Fear

There is no hiding the fact that the Republican party cultivates fear and capitalizes on the irrational voting behavior of their followers. The psychopathic millionaires and billionaires running the Republican party, you know, the ones without any empathy, reduce the empathy of their followers through fear and then add to that fear by reducing the safety of the American voters by destroying the things that make us safe, like industry regulations, water and food safety, drug safety, Social Security, Medicare, sitting idly by while religious fanatics attack America, taking us off to war on illegal wars.

If you don’t control your fear, the Republican party will control you.

 

 

 

Balanced Budget Amendment

Balanced Budget Amendment
Dave Speck

We’ve been hearing a lot of commotion lately by the Republicans about how we need a balanced budget.

At first blush, this might sound like a great idea. After all, don’t you and I have to balance our checkbook at the end of each month?

No, actually, we don’t. We can go out and borrow any time we feel like it.  In fact, if our federal government becomes hamstrung with a limitation like this, it would be the best thing for the billionaires and the worst thing for you and me. That’s why the Tea Baggers are all over this. Their billionaire leaders (behind the scenes) are telling them how important it is that the government can’t borrow money.

But, let’s look at what would have happened if our founding fathers were as stupid as a Tea Bagger. Without being able to spend more money than they had, we would never have been able to protect ourselves from attack as a young nation. In fact, we wouldn’t even be able to protect ourselves from Hitler during the second world war if we hadn’t been able to borrow money.

Imagine what we would have done during the Republican Great Depression of the 1930s. Without being able to borrow money to get our people back to work, this great country of the USA would have gone broke. We wouldn’t have been able to start up all the jobs programs that saved us from republican stupidity.

Here we are, a century later and the Republicans are trying to destroy our country again. When will America ever learn not to listen to the Republicans?

Religious Matters

Religious Matters
What Moral Matters Matter to America
by
Paul Johnson

The latest US budget designed and approved by almost every single Republican in the House of Representatives takes food right out of the mouths of the starving and gives it to the millionaires and billionaires.

This action has horrified America enough that we are beginning to realize that we are voting for the party that is as opposite our religious and moral values as possible.

How could we have voted for this immoral party? How could we have been made into such suckers that we have voted against all that we know to be right and voted for those intent on giving our country away to the greedy and the rich?

If we don’t stop and figure out how we got here, we’ll never be able to avoid it in the future.

What went so wrong that we got the party of the greedy running our government?

I can’t speak for everyone who has accidentally voted for the party of the greedy, but I can speak for those I know and I can be pretty sure that this is the same mistake made by almost all of those voting for the Republicans.

Wedge Issues

The easiest way to get people to vote against their own best interests and against the best interests of the country is to get them to vote primarily on wedge issues. A wedge issue is an issue that can be used to drive as a wedge between political parties. The Republicans can’t run on providing for the poor, because it would be a a lie, so they need to find something that will get people riled up enough to go and vote for a lousy candidate if he would just address the wedge issue.

The Republican voter is typically a single issue voter. This means that they are the most susceptible to being used as tools in wedge issues.

Effective Marketing

The Republican party has become experts at marketing destructive policies to the American people. Why else would you have a Tea Party out there chanting for more rights and lower taxes on the multinational corporations and billionaires? The Tea Party was created with money from the billionaires and is sponsored by billionaire dollars and marketed with billionaire money all for the purpose of getting Tea Party candidates elected who vote against the interests of Americans and all for the corporations.

Few people even realize that the original Tea Party was a revolution against multinational corporate power and now they’re out there chanting for more power and more money for the multinational corporations. You can’t tell me that’s not pretty darned impressive marketing.

Lies and Deceipt

The percentage of people who are foolish enough to be Tea Baggers is low enough that the Republican party needs more. Hence, the need to lie about what they are and what they plan to do for the billionaires.

This is not a problem limited to the Republican party. There are a few Democrats who run on Progressive principles and then vote straight ticket with the Republicans.

But, this isn’t really all about how bad the Republicans are. This essay is about how some unethical politicians and greedy billionaires can corrupt our political system. It’s not all about Republicans or Democrats. It happens to be the Republican party they have infected, but it could have just as well been the Democratic party. In fact, they’re spending billions of dollars right now, trying to corrupt that party as well.

Taking Back our Country

How on Earth are we ever going to fix this mess with so much money lines up against the American voters? How will we wrestle the media away from big money? How can we change the campaign finance laws when the Supreme Court is so obviously pro-billionaire?

This almost looks like a perfect storm. It may be too late for us to take back the country peacefully, but hopefully we will at least try before it’s too late.

The Real Issues

As I’ve pointed out, political parties don’t run on real moral issues, they run on wedge issues. This means that we voters are stuck without real issues upon which to vote.

What are the most important moral issue to you? Think about it before reading further. What is really important to you morally? Do these moral issue matter enough to affect your voting? In other words, do your morals affect your “real” life or are they just something to talk about at church?

For the vast majority of Americans, moral issues affect their daily lives. Most people try to keep morals in their lives.

Here is a short list of my moral issues. I have a much longer list but it’s not important what mine are, what matters is what your moral list looks like.

  1. Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, housing the homeless, curing the sick. You know, those things Jesus says need to be part of our lives.
  2. Turn the other cheek. This includes reducing the steel heel of oppressive laws in America and reducing the oppressive governments of other lands. This means no wars. Fix the system where the vast majority of those in our prisons are minorities and poor. You know, the things Jesus said we should keep in our lives.
  3. Discouraging greed. Wow! There’s no end to where this could go. It’s time to get the money changers out of our religions and out of our politics.

There are plenty more, but this is a good start for discussion. Do yourself a favor and come up with your own personal list of important moral issues.

Now ask yourself, how many of those issues on your list are things you actually vote on? How can there be such a great disconnect between what you think is moral and how you vote?

Now, here is a list of wedge issues that are important but are not anywhere near the top of my list and I bet they’re not at the top of yours either:

  1. Abortion. This is not a moral issue. Nowhere in the Bible does it say we need to vote on abortion. Abortions are horrible but if they’re at the top of your morals list, you might want to stop and take a second look at your morals.
  2. Hate the Gay. How many times does your religious book refer to defending the downtrodden compared to the number of times it says we need to disenfranchise gays? This is a big wedge issue but is also a big moral issue as well. Should we be taking rights away from gays? What would your common sense tell you?
  3. Religion in schools and in government. This wedge issue really as no place in a Christian’s political view. Christianity is opposed to the combination of politics and religion. So are our country’s founding documents. So, why would you vote based on this issue? Don’t get me wrong. There are some religions that think that politics and religions should be the same. But most Americans opposed to Muslim laws regarding this.

What are your most important wedge issues and is it wise to vote based on them while excluding the most important moral issues on your list?

Happy Easter!

Declaring War

Updated –

by
Matthew K.

If you read the US constitution, you’ll quickly learn that it is illegal for the president to declare war except in cases of imminent threats.

It is Congress’ responsibility to debate and declare war.

This is for a good cause. Our founding fathers didn’t want a KING declaring war.

But, when the Republican House of Representatives gathered last week they should have been doing the work of the country but were instead discussing and passing anti-American bills like the defunding of America’s constitutionally guaranteed free press.

Got that?

When you put the Republicans in charge, what do they do for America? Destroy it. What do they do to fulfill their obligations as far as war goes? Did they even discuss Libya? They ignore it and then attack the president for having to step in and do their job.

Instead of discussing things important to America, they’re busy passing bills to defund NPR and Women’s health.

Why does anyone still vote Republican?

==============

Update: For emergency purposes, the War Powers Act allows for the president to initiate military action as long as Congress is notified within 48 hours and the act only allows for 60 days before military operations must stop. Obama has notified Congress and the 60 day clock is ticking.

Only Now You Get Angry

Only Now You Get Angry
by
David Schlecht

We’ve  posted before regarding the problem with compartmentalized thinking. This post makes such a fine example of the sickness and it’s symptoms. Check out the question about why you take till now to get mad.

You didn’t get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.

You didn’t get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy.

[DailyKos]

What are your thoughts?

Obama’s Big Deficit

Obama’s Big Deficit
by
Captain Jack

I’ve heard one person after another explaining how Obama’s deficit is the biggest in history. I though I would look into this claim a little and see what I can find. Here’s is a quick graph from OffTheChartsBlog to show what the major contributors are to the deficit.

US Deficit
US Deficit

Take a look at the white area of the graph at the bottom. You see the small sliver of white? That is what the deficit would look like without the Bush years. In other words, take away the economic collapse Bush ushered in, take away the Bush tax cuts for billionaires, take away Bush’s misguided wars and what you have left is the small area at the bottom.

Of course, the TARP money is from the Bush years if you remember. TARP was already passed before Obama took office.

So, please, do yourself a favor and get in the habit of questioning the numbers and fears you hear spread by the right wing lie machine. It’s sole purpose is to take advantage of the uninformed. Don’t be one of them.

The Corrupt Media

The Corrupt Media
by
David Schlecht

It’s laughable to hear the conservatives decry the liberal media. Oh my gosh, how absolutely upside down. Will a multi-billion dollar industry be interested in advancing issues and ideas that are progressive in nature? Progressive policies generally strive for fairness. Fair taxes, fair benefits, fair opportunities. A monopoly does not want to advance liberal issues.

However, in the past few years, some news outlets have published facts that have a naughty habit of being liberal in nature. BP oil spill is a good example. How awful it must be for a conservative to watch the news and see stories about the devastation in the gulf caused by greed.

A truly unbiased media would be pointing out how unregulated greed caused the mess. It would be pointing out how the REPUBLICAN mantra of smaller government, and no regulations is the direct cause of this disaster.

Yes, a republican will think the media is biased but then they think the world if flat and free markets work so you wouldn’t expect them to understand the cause and effect of their failed policies.

We liberals know how biased the media is. We know that only the bravest of op/ed reporters will dare put this at the feet of the failed republican policies. We know the media is controlled by boards of directors which has many of the same directors that run the industrial military complex. We know those news outlets will never say anything about the harm wrought upon our nation by the ill conceived Bush wars.

But, just knowing these things doesn’t fix them. We need to get the big money out of our media. We need to break up the media. And we need to bring back the requirements that the media is to  serve the public interest. Now, there’s a novel idea.

The Government

The Government
by
David Schlecht

This will be fun for anyone who loves America or is an American patriot. This is the first paragraph in the US Constitution:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

From this preamble, can you tell who the government is?

Obviously it’s “We the People.”

The next time you hear someone telling you how bad the government is, remember, that he is saying how bad you and I are, how bad “We the People” are. When you hear Reagan saying the nine most terrifying words are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help,” realize that he was criticising “We the People”, he was disgracing you and me and saying we are incapable of governing ourselves.

Look over the preamble again and tell me what the six reasons are for creating our American government. Can you tell what they are?

  1. Create a more perfect government
  2. Ensure justice for all
  3. Keep the peace (tranquillity)
  4. Defend each other
  5. Promote welfare for all (general welfare)
  6. Make freedom certain (liberty)

These are the six things that all of us Americans are responsible for ensuring and providing to ourselves and our neighbors.

Look back at the preamble. Looking at the capitalizations, what is the ONE purpose that is the least important?

Did you know that the one least important thing is the thing that we spend more money on than all the rest combined? Is this really what we’re supposed to be doing? We spend more on defense than all other things combined. In fact, we spend more on our non-defensive defense than all the other countries in the world, combined. WHAT’S WRONG WITH THAT!??

What are we Americans supposed to be doing regarding Welfare? Are we supposed to be ensuring that EVERYONE is provided for? Or should only the rich get medical care and only the owners get rich from OUR labors? No, we are all, every one of us, responsible to ensure that everyone benefits when our country prospers and even when it doesn’t. By the constitution, billionaires should not be getting rich at the expense of all the rest of us.

Look over the preamble one last time. Tell me what kind of government provides all these thing to the people? What kind of government provides for the people, all the people? If you guessed Socialist, you’re right. Our government, our country was founded on the principles of We the People uniting for the sake of benefiting everyone. That is as Socialist as you can get. All is for the benefit of society.

The next time you hear someone calling someone a socialist, remember that the socialist is the true America and those who disgrace it are disgracing America, they are disgracing our founding fathers and they are disgracing you and me, We the People.

It’s Still Obama’s Vietnam

It’s Still Obama’s Vietnam
by
David Schlecht

Well, Obama, it’s been over a year since you took office and we’re no closer to getting out of Vietnam, oh, I mean Afghanistan. What gives? Get out, already.

I know, I know, Bush got us into this mess, but really, Obama, can’t you do a little better about getting us out? Killing civilians isn’t winning over the hearts and minds of the Afghans and the longer we stay there the more civilians will die, not to mention the more dead Americans.

Things are not getting better there and they will only continue to worsen the longer we’re there.

It’s time to declare victory and get the heck out of Dodge.

2010 and America’s Lost Decade

2010 and America’s Lost Decade
by
Captain Jack

Happy New Year to one and all. May this year bring you the financial relief and medical coverage you so deserve. Let’s take a quick look back at the past decade.

Let’s see, it’s January 2000. The economy is booming, the federal budget is in the black for the first time in decades, we were at a time of relative peace. We trusted our sciences and scientists, we had confidence in our banks. We had some control over our banking sector, even though Gramm-Leach-Bliley act had just been passed but the banking sector insanities hadn’t shifted into high gear, yet.

The middle-class American made almost $1700 more per year than today.

Oh, and did I say that we weren’t in the middle of two middle-eastern wars? Oh I did?

So, what, exactly, can you say that America saw in the past decade that was beneficial? Okay, sure, there were a few Peace Prizes, a few discoveries, oh, and we finally pulled the life support from a long gone dead woman.

You can say it is just a coincidence that these were the Bush years, but no one really believes that it was anything but Bush and the Republican politicians who benefited from everything that is now harming America.

Winning in Afghanistan

Winning in Afghanistan
by
Captain Jack

The USA is currently in two overt wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, and who knows how many covert wars like Pakistan. We’ve seen what it takes to get into a war, but no one knows what it takes to get out, these days.

Wars aren’t what they were 60 years ago when we had well defined enemies or opponents, when the only acceptable reasons for going to war were for self-defense or to defend our allies. . These days the opponents are fluid, such as with Saddam Husein. He was, at one moment our ally helping keep pressure on Iran. The next day, he’s a ruthless villain that we must rid the world of.

One day, Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda are our greatest wedges getting the Soviet Union out of the middle east, and the next day, well, you know.

Without well defined opponents and well defined borders and without armies and soldiers, it’s really hard to apply the word “War”.

Even harder than applying the word “War”, is applying words like “finish” or “win” or “succeed”. Let’s consider what, exactly, it means to win a war like these. To know if we won we need to know what our purposes were for going to war. If we take Bush and the Republicans at their word, we are in Afghanistan because 1) they invaded us and are a risk (a lie), 2) we’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here (sheer foolishness), 3) they’re really really really bad people and we need to kill them, 4) who knows whatever foolishness has been offered?

Looking at #1, they didn’t invade us. Read the 9/11 Commission Report and you will see that Afghanistan had nothing to do with 9/11. Osama bin Laden may have helped fund it but al Qaeds is not and was not the government of Afghanistan. Still, if we use this as a reason to invade, then we’ve already toppled the government and it’s time for us to get out. Since we’re still in there, it’s obvious that this is not the reason we’re there.

Looking at #2, we’re much stronger and much better off fighting them over here, in our courts. If people see that the criminals are being dealt with fairly we will make fewer enemies. By killing them over there, we are creating a perpetual supply of warriors intent on hurting America. The more we kill, the more there will be to take their place.

#3 is the only real reason we’re there. Well, that and because Bush needed a war in order to be a war president. Yes, there are many small groups of people who hate America. By killing more innocent bystanders, though, we are making more people intent on destroying us.

If you have one country bombing you into submission and another helping you rebuild your country, which one will you despise and which one will you appreciate and defend? The answer is obvious. Killing people over in Afghanistan is not helping, but is hurting our cause.

If this is really why we’re there, then war was not the solution. We need to find a way to change their hatred of us into appreciation. Now is the time to help rebuild their country. Remember how we helped rebuild Japan and much of Europe after WW II? The hatred of America dissolved when we quit killing them and started helping them.

Since it’s obvious that we’re done with the military invasion, the next question has to be, how do we get out of there, now?

We can’t just pack up and leave or all the hatred of America will just expand as they suffer, unaided, from the effects of our invasion. It should be quite obvious that we need to provide enough security to allow for a peaceful transition into self-governance, but no more. We need to help them build a respectable court system so the murderers can be brought to justice.

In conclusion, we’ve already “won” in Afghanistan. Now it’s time for us to fix the mess we created over there.

How about #4? What other excuses have you heard for our being over there killing the Afghan people?

Another Escalation

Another Escalation
by
Captain Jack

Obama has decided that he is to be remembered as a war president. This single act will do the most to lose him the support of those who voted him in. He was quite up front about finishing the job when he was campaigning but I, like many others, hoped that it was just rhetoric.

Well, here we are, killing more people and wondering why we’re losing support around the world. There are around 100 al Qaeda in all of Afghanistan. For this it takes America 100,000 or 200,000 or 300,000 soldiers and mercenaries and support personnel?

What are your thoughts?

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