Author Topic: Is the USA descending into fascism?  (Read 632 times)

Jake
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Is the USA descending into fascism?
« on: April 09, 2012, 03:59:55 AM »
(Provocative post title: agreed, although it stems from a charge directly levelled in the article I'm highlighting here.)

Naomi Wolf,  author of Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries and a graduate of Yale University and New College, Oxford, wrote an interesting piece for The Guardian last week about "the use of forced nudity by a state that is descending into fascism [as a] powerfully effective [tool] in controlling and subduing populations."

As she says, the lessons from history seem to have been learned well:

Quote from: Naomi Wolf
The political use of forced nudity by anti-democratic regimes is long established. Forcing people to undress is the first step in breaking down their sense of individuality and dignity and reinforcing their powerlessness. Enslaved women were sold naked on the blocks in the American south, and adolescent male slaves served young white ladies at table in the south, while they themselves were naked: their invisible humiliation was a trope for their emasculation. Jewish prisoners herded into concentration camps were stripped of clothing and photographed naked, as iconic images of that Holocaust reiterated.

One of the most terrifying moments for me when I visited Guantanamo prison in 2009 was seeing the way the architecture of the building positioned glass-fronted shower cubicles facing intentionally right into the central atrium where young female guards stood watch over the forced nakedness of Muslim prisoners, who had no way to conceal themselves. Laws and rulings such as this are clearly designed to bring the conditions of Guantanamo, and abusive detention, home.

Wolf was driven to right the article after

Quote from: Naomi Wolf
In a five-four ruling this week, the supreme court decided that anyone can be strip-searched upon arrest for any offense, however minor, at any time. This horror show ruling joins two recent horror show laws: the NDAA, which lets anyone be arrested forever at any time, and HR 347, the "trespass bill", which gives you a 10-year sentence for protesting anywhere near someone with secret service protection...

...Where are we headed? Why? These recent laws criminalizing protest, and giving local police who, recall, are now infused with DHS money, military hardware and personnel powers to terrify and traumatise people who have not gone through due process or trial, are being set up to work in concert with a see-all-all-the-time surveillance state. A facility is being set up in Utah by the NSA to monitor everything all the time: James Bamford wrote in Wired magazine that the new facility in Bluffdale, Utah, is being built, where the NSA will look at billions of emails, texts and phone calls...

... I used to think the push was just led by those who profited from endless war and surveillance but now I see the struggle as larger. As one internet advocate said to me: "There is a race against time: they realise the internet is a tool of empowerment that will work against their interests, and they need to race to turn it into a tool of control."

The complete article is at http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/apr/05/us-sexual-humiliation-political-control

22-23

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Re: Is the USA descending into fascism?
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2012, 07:38:54 PM »
       Reading the article, I wonder what the benefits could be for actually bullying random citizens? Also, wouldn't these police officers and TSA members just quit their job if they looked at this activity with a "Why are we doing this man?" attitude? It used to excite me, these types of articles, I would think of that whole doomsday situation but it's always just a misguided attempt to quell boredom. For instance, I recently went on a multitude of plane flights in the U.S. and I'm never even close to harassed for anything. I've had a couple TSA members ask to check my bag again and proceed to be a little flirty but they're human like everyone else, it's not a crime I'd write an article about.

       In short, does anyone see the kind of activity in the article, happen to them, family members, friends or at least in their vicinity?

22-23

Jake
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Re: Is the USA descending into fascism?
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2012, 03:11:25 PM »
You commit the fallacy of Hasty Generalisation - the opposite of Sweeping Generalisation - by using, in this instance, your personal experience as a basis for a general rule - which isn't representative of all possible cases. Another example would be someone saying "My parents smoked all their lives and they never got cancer" as refutation to a statement that smoking can, indeed, cause cancer.

Also, you question whether this happens at all. As Wolf states:
Quote
One of the most terrifying moments for me when I visited Guantanamo prison in 2009 was seeing the way the architecture of the building positioned glass-fronted shower cubicles facing intentionally right into the central atrium where young female guards stood watch over the forced nakedness of Muslim prisoners, who had no way to conceal themselves.

One of the aspects that you may have overlooked is how the legislation has been altered so that it now applies to "detainees" - anybody arrested, for any crime or misdemeanour, not just those convicted of an offence. Wolf points to the case of Albert Florence as an example:
Quote
In March 2005, Mr. Florence was in the passenger seat of his BMW when a state trooper pulled it over for speeding. His wife, April, was driving. His 4-year-old son, Shamar, was in the back.

The trooper ran a records search, and he found an outstanding warrant based on a supposedly unpaid fine. Mr. Florence showed the trooper the document [from court showing the fine had been paid 2 years earlier], but he was arrested anyway.

A failure to pay a fine is not a crime. It is, rather, what New Jersey law calls a nonindictable offense. Mr. Florence was nonetheless held for eight days in two counties on a charge of civil contempt before matters were sorted out.

In the process, he was strip-searched twice.

Further, she discusses H.R. 347 (and it's companion senate bill S. 1794) - the "Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011"which now makes peaceable protest anywhere in the U.S. potentially a federal felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. You see, the bill covers not only "Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds" but also ANY officially defined 'National Special Security Event' (NSSE). What constitutes an NSSE? Anything they decide... including Superbowl XXXVI, the Academy Awards and the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. It will also apply to more important gatherings, such as those of the G-8, the G-20 and the World Trade Organization. Peacefully protest at these events? Ten years chokey...

I've saved the best for last.
Also, wouldn't these police officers and TSA members just quit their job if they looked at this activity with a "Why are we doing this man?" attitude?

Wow, come on, V - psychology 101!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZwfNs1pqG0

Quote
When we see somebody doing bad things we assume they were bad people to begin with. But what we know in our study is there's a set of social/psychological variables that can make ordinary people do things they could never imagine doing...
« Last Edit: April 20, 2012, 03:15:10 PM by Jake »

Jake
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Re: Is the USA descending into fascism?
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2012, 05:43:33 AM »
Thought-provoking? A warning? Or tinfoil-hattery?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKB-yJFFj1M