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(AlterNet)   Yes, It Has   (alternet.org) divider line 160
    More: Obvious, dictators, mass unemployment, C. Wright Mills  
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20670 clicks; posted to Main » on 27 Jan 2013 at 10:13 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-01-27 09:18:41 AM  
You do not have permission to make the statement, citizen subby.
 
2013-01-27 09:55:17 AM  
The newspaper in my very small hometown (5K) had a letter last week (a friend of the old man). He went on about liberals, gays, poor people, and all of the rest of them, believing that America is what it is today because of those people. The fact that America is becoming increasingly conservative did not seem to figure into the calculus.

This guy from an age when marijuana was illegal but they didn't bust you for smoking it at rock concerts; they went after the dealers.

A time when airport security was about maintaining American's freedom to travel rather than patting everyone down in hopes of finding a tube of toothpaste and declaring the world safer.

An era where the screw ups your life came to be laughed at as you grew up and become a  solid citizen whereas now we dredge up any past stupidity and hold it against a guy forever like it's a felony conviction.

A silly time when streaking was popular and funny but not considered worthy of sexual offender status.

A period when the local cops weren't as well-armed as the military nor manned with people who thought they would soon be defending Smalltown against the invading US Army.

Yes, it's really was simpler back then just as the old guy laments.

How odd the solution is always to restrict freedoms in order to protect them. To reduce taxes to balance the budget. To flunk more kids to improve their education. To do the wrong thing every time and wonder why things get worse.

I guess we're just not cracking down hard enough.
 
2013-01-27 10:18:26 AM  
Yep, it started 9/12/01. No looking back now!
 
2013-01-27 10:19:26 AM  
"Obvious"? How about "Asinine"?
 
2013-01-27 10:20:06 AM  
Probably no more than the US has historically been authoritarian. The difference between then and now is that one political party is mindlessly authoritarian and comprises multiple mass propaganda outlets.
 
2013-01-27 10:21:48 AM  
I get what he's saying, but I think he's confusing totalitarianism with authoritarianism.
 
2013-01-27 10:26:48 AM  
America's been dead for about 11 years and 3 months now. Oh, it was circling the drain for a few decades, what with our involvement in Vietnam and the War on Drugs, but there was always a glimmer of light that radiated out from America. The Land of the Free. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. We still had something to say about being great, and other countries believed it, just as much as we did too.

But 11 years and 3 months ago our beacon of hope was snuffed out. We turned from the Home of the Brave into the home of the cowering pusillanimous slaves to Fear. Once upon a time, we had nothing to fear but fear itself. These days we do everything we can to satisfy those who scare us. We pretend to be strong, but the fear defines and limits us. We take action against our fear, but to the detriment of our freedom. We aren't Americans anymore. We're American'ts.

So when you hear the government calling for more restrictions on our freedoms, especially ones specifically enshrined in our Constitution, tell that government to stick it in its ear. If we as a collective nation can't be a beacon of freedom for the world, at least let us as individuals be a small torch of freedom.
 
2013-01-27 10:28:18 AM  
"Yes, It Has"... hmmm, that's not correct either. The correct answer is "It pretty much always has been, but nowadays, some people cannot ignore the blatant hypocrisy coming from the 'talking heads'."
 
2013-01-27 10:29:12 AM  
If you don't like it you can leave. Maybe.
 
2013-01-27 10:30:57 AM  
I think it's funny that someone who writes about income inequality is complaining about authoritarianism.

How exactly does one propose to "solve" that "problem" WITHOUT authoritarian means?
 
2013-01-27 10:32:12 AM  
Why is there political bullshiat in my Main tab? Dumbarse headline leading to a non-article.
 
2013-01-27 10:33:17 AM  
Never underestimate an idiot's ability to hyperbolize.
 
2013-01-27 10:33:20 AM  
DAMN YOU SHARTBAMA
 
2013-01-27 10:33:56 AM  
FTA has a properly provocative title, but reads like one of those computer-generated papers that are devoid of any real content, instead being one sentence and paragraph after another filled with glittering generalities and banal conclusions that don't even address the title's claim.

So, the questions is...was that a deliberate example of the offence the author accuses the government of perpetrating? In which case it was subtle. Or just shiatty writing?
 
2013-01-27 10:34:10 AM  

Lernaeus: How exactly does one propose to "solve" that "problem" WITHOUT authoritarian means?


Laws protecting the rights to unionization and collective bargaining are authoritarian?
 
2013-01-27 10:34:26 AM  
I think people place too much emphasis on Orwell's predictions of the evolution of totalitarianism with regards to this country, and not enough on Huxley's. I think Huxley was far more accurate regarding the soothing effects of capitalist consumerism and the resulting indifference towards societal decline. How nice that both of these authors' worst observations about society have merged into a giant ball of suck.
 
2013-01-27 10:34:30 AM  

Katolu: Yep, it started 9/12/01. No looking back now!


It started well before then.
You could move the marker back to when we were just coming out of the civil rights movement, or even further to the 1920's era anti union violence and prohibition.
Politicians kept working on the right combination of power grabbing, gerrymandering, and bullshiatting to make you want a police state like what they've seen in other nations. They've desperately wanted to copy the changes they saw in nations like Germany, but Americans are difficult to persuade.

The powers that be finally hit the perfect recipe after 9/11, but this mess has been cooking for a long time.
 
2013-01-27 10:34:45 AM  

edmo: The fact that America is becoming increasingly conservative


Citation, please.

Is this based upon your not-at-all-myopic view, your having lived in the 1950's, and your unfamiliarity with the current president, re-elected?

Yes, America is much more conservative now than ever.
 
2013-01-27 10:34:57 AM  
The country started going down hill when Kennedy was assassinated. It went from the government protecting and helping the people of the country to the government protecting itself from the people and helping itself.
 
2013-01-27 10:36:01 AM  
Fark: the rehost of poorly written diatribes from Truthnet.

Your blog sucks.
 
2013-01-27 10:39:51 AM  

AverageAmericanGuy: America's been dead for about 11 years and 3 months now. Oh, it was circling the drain for a few decades, what with our involvement in Vietnam and the War on Drugs, but there was always a glimmer of light that radiated out from America. The Land of the Free. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. We still had something to say about being great, and other countries believed it, just as much as we did too.

But 11 years and 3 months ago our beacon of hope was snuffed out. We turned from the Home of the Brave into the home of the cowering pusillanimous slaves to Fear. Once upon a time, we had nothing to fear but fear itself. These days we do everything we can to satisfy those who scare us. We pretend to be strong, but the fear defines and limits us. We take action against our fear, but to the detriment of our freedom. We aren't Americans anymore. We're American'ts.

So when you hear the government calling for more restrictions on our freedoms, especially ones specifically enshrined in our Constitution, tell that government to stick it in its ear. If we as a collective nation can't be a beacon of freedom for the world, at least let us as individuals be a small torch of freedom.


It's been going on for much much longer than that. Ask the Japanese-Americans that were forced to spend most of WWII in internment camps whose only crime was being born of Japanese parents or Emma Goldman and Charlie Chaplin who were deported due to having unpopular political beliefs or any of the people deported under the Anarchist Exclusion Act of 1903 or the targets of COINTELPRO or the HUAC hearings and so on and so forth.


The only difference now is that due to the increased flow of information we're being inundated daily with examples so it seems like things are so much worse.
 
2013-01-27 10:40:07 AM  
ugh I dont want to read 9 pages. I read the first one.
Fark it, its almost 11am, time for beer
 
2013-01-27 10:41:06 AM  
FTA : Decontextualized ideas and issues, coupled with the overflow of information produced by the new electronic media, make it more difficult to create narratives that offer historical understanding, relational connections and developmental sequences. The fragmentation of ideas and the cascade of information reinforce new modes of depoliticization and authoritarianism

a248.e.akamai.net
 
2013-01-27 10:42:13 AM  
I love how an article supposedly on a system-wide transformation of the American Republic into an authoritarian system still manages to take the time to blame the "Republicans" and tries to excuse the "Democrats" -- criticizing them only for when they act like "Republicans".

More political tribalism. More group identity that makes people feel good.
 
2013-01-27 10:43:02 AM  
TFA will have to be dumbed down considerably for the general American public to understand it.
 
2013-01-27 10:44:59 AM  
What is fascinating is that our blogger intentionally avoids mentioning an actual on-going crisis, the unfunded public employee pension bubble.

This week, Illinois' credit rating was reduced because they can't pay the pension liability, because the controlling party made wild promises while refusing to require that the public employees contribute at rates commensurate with the private sector.

Result? Illinois is broke. Thanks Democrats.
 
2013-01-27 10:47:27 AM  
People who think the US is authoritarian now have no sense of history. While there's a perpetual pendulum swing, I think we can pinpoint the death of American freedom to 1798.
 
2013-01-27 10:47:50 AM  

heinrich66: I love how an article supposedly on a system-wide transformation of the American Republic into an authoritarian system still manages to take the time to blame the "Republicans" and tries to excuse the "Democrats" -- criticizing them only for when they act like "Republicans".


Do you honestly deny that Republicans are a profoundly authoritarian party? At least Democrats have a huge faction who are committed to civil liberties and equal rights; the GOP no longer pays even lip service to those concepts.
 
2013-01-27 10:47:51 AM  

Snapper Carr: The only difference now is that due to the increased flow of information we're being inundated daily with examples so it seems like things are so much worse.


and of course that those in power have much more sophisticated means of monitoring and controlling the population.
 
2013-01-27 10:48:31 AM  
i think it was the point where i was kicked out of a park bench for zero reason by a park ranger while i was waiting for a friend to go tour the White House when i realized that we're really farked up.

now pick up that can, citizen.
 
2013-01-27 10:49:22 AM  

born_yesterday: I think people place too much emphasis on Orwell's predictions of the evolution of totalitarianism with regards to this country, and not enough on Huxley's. I think Huxley was far more accurate regarding the soothing effects of capitalist consumerism and the resulting indifference towards societal decline. How nice that both of these authors' worst observations about society have merged into a giant ball of suck.


You want Orwellian Style? Try Britian

2.bp.blogspot.com
 
2013-01-27 10:52:04 AM  

Snapper Carr: Snapper Carr: The only difference now is that due to the increased flow of information we're being inundated daily with examples so it seems like things are so much worse.

and of course that those in power have much more sophisticated means of monitoring and controlling the population.


Monitoring, absolutely, but control, absolutely not. If anything, in fact one of our biggest problem is that the federal government is under-engaged in "controlling" social welfare and the economy and instead dancing to the flute of a select few industries.
 
2013-01-27 10:52:37 AM  

t3knomanser: People who think the US is authoritarian now have no sense of history. While there's a perpetual pendulum swing, I think we can pinpoint the death of American freedom to 1798.


Umm...1791...the year the USG first used force against its own citizens; whiskey tax protesters in Western Pennsylvania.
 
2013-01-27 10:55:07 AM  

edmo: The newspaper in my very small hometown (5K) had a letter last week (a friend of the old man). He went on about liberals, gays, poor people, and all of the rest of them, believing that America is what it is today because of those people. The fact that America is becoming increasingly conservative did not seem to figure into the calculus.

This guy from an age when marijuana was illegal but they didn't bust you for smoking it at rock concerts; they went after the dealers.

A time when airport security was about maintaining American's freedom to travel rather than patting everyone down in hopes of finding a tube of toothpaste and declaring the world safer.

An era where the screw ups your life came to be laughed at as you grew up and become a  solid citizen whereas now we dredge up any past stupidity and hold it against a guy forever like it's a felony conviction.

A silly time when streaking was popular and funny but not considered worthy of sexual offender status.

A period when the local cops weren't as well-armed as the military nor manned with people who thought they would soon be defending Smalltown against the invading US Army.

Yes, it's really was simpler back then just as the old guy laments.

How odd the solution is always to restrict freedoms in order to protect them. To reduce taxes to balance the budget. To flunk more kids to improve their education. To do the wrong thing every time and wonder why things get worse.

I guess we're just not cracking down hard enough.


lol, you have a seriously twisted and misinformed view of the 50's and 60's. In a lot of ways America is far more free than it was a generation ago and if there's things you don't like that congress is doing or that your State/local government is doing than you should protest, or write an e-mail or run for office yourself. Hell, especially at the State level and lower a lot of the people who make the decisions are people that you can arrange to meet with personally to discuss your concerns. Even this guy from your town who's spouting hate managed to find the time to send a letter to the editor to the local paper. If you don't like what's happening go and do something about it. What's that thing Edmund Burke said? Oh, yeah. "All that's needed for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing."

/hit Wikipedia and look up, "Kent State Shootings", "Chicago Seven" and "James Howard Meredith".
//It's also worthwhile to see what you can find about the Civil Rights Movement and Anti(Vietnam) War movement. Hint: it isn't all flower power and boys-will-be-boys
 
2013-01-27 10:55:14 AM  
Well, the author uses big words, and so must be smarter than me and therefore right
 
2013-01-27 10:55:23 AM  
It's becoming more of a corporate oligarchy, if anything.
 
2013-01-27 10:57:34 AM  
It's in the early stages of authoritarianism, I would say. It is technically not too late to reverse the change, but reversing it would require us to confront the cowardice we have espoused as a society for many, many years (far longer, in fact, than the actual slide toward authoritarianism has been going on). That would be a matter, not directly of votes, but of dialogue: cultural change, not governmental. The votes will follow, when the people are once again brave.

Or, more likely, they will not. Both parties have used fear and trauma-by-proxy as a weapon against the other for so long that they've forgotten how to function without it, and the end result is that neither party truly carries the necessary courage anymore. They each carry some aspects of it, but even when working together they wouldn't hold all the pieces, and besides, neither side wants to. They've grown comfortable in their cowardice, and that's when things really took their turn for the worse.
 
2013-01-27 11:02:16 AM  
This is actually a very well-written article. Unfortunately, it places too many BS buzzwords in the first few paragraphs, restricting the readership to the dedicated few.
 
2013-01-27 11:03:00 AM  

Stone Meadow: ...So, the questions is...was that a deliberate example of the offence the author accuses the government of perpetrating? In which case it was subtle. Or just shiatty writing?


I can't make a true assessment of just how bad this article could be overall considering I got down to this line on the front page before my head exploded: "The fiscal cliff argument is manufactured both in that it is not a real crisis (except for its impact on poor and middle-class families), and it serves as a diversion from pressing issues ranging from mass unemployment and widespread poverty, to the housing crisis and the student debt bomb.

So, it's only a real crisis if it affects the rich?
 
2013-01-27 11:04:28 AM  

Agarista: This is actually a very well-written article. Unfortunately, it places too many BS buzzwords in the first few paragraphs, restricting the readership to the dedicated few.


And I had to go and prove that statement immediately. Ha.
 
2013-01-27 11:05:15 AM  

nmemkha: born_yesterday: I think people place too much emphasis on Orwell's predictions of the evolution of totalitarianism with regards to this country, and not enough on Huxley's. I think Huxley was far more accurate regarding the soothing effects of capitalist consumerism and the resulting indifference towards societal decline. How nice that both of these authors' worst observations about society have merged into a giant ball of suck.

You want Orwellian Style? Try Britian

[2.bp.blogspot.com image 400x300]


The myth about the number of CCTV in the UK is a myth based on a very flawed survey that looked at one area in London, that had a lot of high end retailers, and extrapolated that to the rest of the UK.
New York has thousands of CCTV, and you just have to look at Youtube to see CCTV footage from across the US. When the Times Square bombing happened a couple of years ago cops said they were looking at CCTV footage from something like 100+ cameras covering Times Square alone.
The vast, vast, majority of streets and areas in the UK do not have any CCTV, just as the vast majority of the US doesn't have CCTV. Busy shopping streets, busy motorway junctions and high traffic tourist areas? Yeah, they'll have cameras.
 
2013-01-27 11:07:01 AM  

Stone Meadow: Umm...1791...the year the USG first used force against its own citizens; whiskey tax protesters in Western Pennsylvania.


I'm not certain that's fair to count. The Whiskey Rebellion is better thought of as the finale of the American Revolution, or even a second revolution. It was a direct consequence of changing the form of government from a Confederacy to a Republic.
 
2013-01-27 11:09:57 AM  

Snapper Carr: The only difference now is that due to the increased flow of information we're being inundated daily with examples so it seems like things are so much worse.


Exactly.

I would say we're more free in some ways than we were.

The Espionage Act of 1917 made it a Federal Offense to in any way impede any military function for any reason. Note that this included the draft, and it included speaking out against conscription.

Note that this interpretation was upheld by SCOTUS in Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47 (1919), where they ruled that the First Amendment does NOT give you the right to free speech if you use that speech to oppose government policies during wartime.

Charles Schenck served six months in Federal Prison for speaking out publicly against a miltiary draft for World War I. That's it, he didn't burn draft cards or block doors or do anything other than say "we shouldn't be doing this!", and he was thrown in prison and the courts upheld it all the way to the Supreme Court, and that was in 1919.

The law was repealed in 1921, but it is a good example of how this country tends to get a little authoritarian at times, especially when it is at war. Then after the war it quietly backtracks, repeals some laws, the courts say they really shouldn't have done that, and things calm down.

Lincoln suspending Habeas Corpus nationwide during the Civil War was very totalitarian (and completely illegal as per Ex parte Milligan and Ex parte Merryman.

The Espionage Act was quite totalitarian, and during World War I

The internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II

COINTELPRO during Vietnam.

Nothing new.
 
2013-01-27 11:09:57 AM  
i.imgur.com
 
2013-01-27 11:10:22 AM  

BlippityBleep: i think it was the point where i was kicked out of a park bench for zero reason by a park ranger while i was waiting for a friend to go tour the White House when i realized that we're really farked up.

now pick up that can, citizen.


I finally realized it for myself when I was summarily evicted from an I-5 freeway rest stop by an extremely rude Oregon State Trooper for parking to snooze for a few hours while driving from Seattle to San Jose. I had been there for all of about 20 minutes when the man came up to my truck and bashed on the door with his flashlight several times and then opened it up and told my I would have to leave or I would be arrested on the spot. When I asked him, (rather blearily, I had just dozed off when he came knocking) on what charge, he told me he'd "think of something."
 
2013-01-27 11:10:47 AM  

Nightenstaff: Why is there political bullshiat in my Main tab? Dumbarse headline leading to a non-article.


In order to generate wild, adolescent, ranty responses from people who have no clue what it's like to live in an actual authoritarian state. Duh.
 
2013-01-27 11:11:19 AM  

halfof33: What is fascinating is that our blogger intentionally avoids mentioning an actual on-going crisis, the unfunded public employee pension bubble.

This week, Illinois' credit rating was reduced because they can't pay the pension liability, because the controlling party made wild promises while refusing to require that the public employees contribute at rates commensurate with the private sector.

Result? Illinois is broke. Thanks Democrats.


Poor baby's scared, better hide behind mommy's skirt.
 
2013-01-27 11:16:02 AM  

TomD9938: FTA : Decontextualized ideas and issues, coupled with the overflow of information produced by the new electronic media, make it more difficult to create narratives that offer historical understanding, relational connections and developmental sequences. The fragmentation of ideas and the cascade of information reinforce new modes of depoliticization and authoritarianism

[a248.e.akamai.net image 320x180]


HA!
 
2013-01-27 11:16:19 AM  
"Become?" What do you mean, "become?"
 
2013-01-27 11:16:51 AM  

ourbigdumbmouth: If you don't like it you can leave. Maybe.


Only if you can afford to buy your way out.

http://renunciationguide.com/

I believe it's called "Pay to no longer play". Also, according to my American friends, the tax implications of dual citizenship, even if you maintain no U.S. residency nor make U.S. income, are Byzantine and geared to taxation without representation.

Freedom ain't free, Yankees, and freedom from that freedom is particularly pricey. Lastly, my overall taxes here in the Socialist Workers' Paradise are lower than yours, but we live longer. Go figure.
 
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