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Feb 28 2005 - United States government, 2005: If it walks like a goose… (Part II)

Part I ( link to www.onlinejournal.com) compared Bush administration actions to the first seven of fourteen "basic characteristics" Laurence W. Britt claims (in his article "Fascism Anyone?") typify fascistic regimes. Here's a similar look at the list's back end:

Feb 24 2005 - Pizza, Ice Cream, and the First Amendment (Not Necessarily in That Order) (4)

I got lucky the other day. (No, I'm not talking about that kind of lucky. What do you think I am, a "family values" Republican at convention?)

Jan 12 2005 - We have met the enemy, and it is US (corporate media) (7)

On December 18, I attended Gary Webb's memorial service in Sacramento, along with about 250 other people.

Jan 01 2005 - J. Kenneth Blackwell: A Man All for Democracy, Except, Uh, When He’s Not

With folks like Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell overseeing America's electoral process, we'll never have to worry about our voting system's integrity again - 'cause there just ain't none left. For more details, read on.

Dec 15 2004 - Keep Those Cards and Letters Comin’, Folks

Is there any chance of preventing the hammering of the last nail into America's coffin on Coronation (formerly Inauguration) Day? Yes, but all care must be administered to our critically ill nation ere January 6, or she's a goner for good. For more details, read on

Dec 11 2004 - Are We There Yet?

Saddam Hussein has been universally and rightly condemned for filling thousands of mass graves. Might there be a new killer kid on the block? For more details, read on.

Nov 28 2004 - Preparing for a Crooked Election: Angst for Nothin’ (1)

Question: What good are democratic solutions if democracy no longer exists? Answer: Good question. For one writer's take on this conundrum, read on.

Nov 25 2004 - To the Viktor Go the Spoils (4)

Americans would do well to listen to thousands of Ukrainians protesting a stolen election, even though they're shouting in a foreign tongue and it would likely be hard to literally understand them but the message should still be able to be discerned anyway.

Nov 16 2004 - After the Fix, How Do We Fix the Fix We’re In? (2)

Uh, America, we have a problem. That is, of course, if you call fixed elections a problem. Some certainly do, and some also believe that if November 2's funny business is left untouched, the unfunny truth is America will be out of business. For more details, read on.

Oct 27 2004 - So Many Herrings, So Little Time (3)

Oct 25 2004 - 73 Percent of Americans Agree: Cheney Related to Devil or Something Else Really Icky

Oct 21 2004 - Election 2004: Remember, Oregon, to Breathe Early and Often

Oct 09 2004 - Today’s Republicans Are So Not (4)

Oct 02 2004 - Bush Beats Brutal Competition to Become Al-Qaida’s “Man of the Year”

Sep 22 2004 - How Can Kerry Beat Bush? Just the Facts, Man (1)

Sep 01 2004 - This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Aug 22 2004 - If Bush Wins His First Election: A Not So Far-Out View of the Not Too Far-Off Future (3)

Aug 15 2004 - Bush Making an Issue of Kerry’s Military Service is Dumber Than—Well, Anything

Aug 06 2004 - Welcome to the Age of Aviating Swine (3)

Jul 25 2004 - Right Silly Arguments (2)

Jul 18 2004 - Hey, Oregon, It’s 2004: Do You Know Where Your Seven Electoral Votes Are? (3)

Jul 01 2004 - Reagan on the Ten-Spot? Not!

Jun 19 2004 - Torture(d) Logic (10)

Jun 09 2004 - Rat in a Drain Ditch, Caught on a Limb (6)

May 30 2004 - And Remember, Honey, Don't Forget the PNAC (4)

May 23 2004 - “Asteroid Hits Earth, Millions Die—GOP Says Clinton Responsible” (2)

May 23 2004 - Oh, Say Can’t You See?

May 23 2004 - Meet the New Boss…

May 12 2004 - Oh, Say Can’t You See?

Feb 28 2005 - -

United States government, 2005: If it walks like a goose… (Part II)

Part I ( link to www.onlinejournal.com) compared Bush administration actions to the first seven of fourteen "basic characteristics" Laurence W. Britt claims (in his article "Fascism Anyone?") typify fascistic regimes. Here's a similar look at the list's back end:

"8. Religion and ruling elite tied together. Unlike communist regimes, the fascist and protofascist regimes were never proclaimed as godless by their opponents. In fact, most of the regimes attached themselves to the predominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of that religion. The fact that the ruling elite's behavior was incompatible with the precepts of the religion was generally swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents of the 'godless.' A perception was manufactured that opposing the power elite was tantamount to an attack on religion."

One would have to be a recent arrival from the planet Grornak (which is pretty far away -- at least a couple million miles or so), to not know George W. Bush has anointed himself -- or, rather, considered himself anointed by the Great Anointer -- the protector of some weird form of Christianity. When asked once to name his favorite philosopher, Bush said, "Christ." I've often wished there'd immediately been a follow-up to determine if Dubya meant the purported Son of God, or Charles Manson during his messianic phase.

'Cause if we're talkin' mass murder, George's body count puts ol' Charlie's to shame. I'm going to take a flier here and wager I'm not the first to notice that lying a nation into war that, so far, is responsible for the deaths of around 100,000 humans (even if they are, ya know, only Muslims), doesn't exactly keep with Christian principles, unless there's some secret "Christians for Killing" cult of which I'm not aware. The more cynical amongst us might even wonder if Bush's use of the exceedingly incendiary term "crusade" shortly after 9/11 was a mistake, after all.

Regardless, Bush's religious rhetoric hasn't subsided. This is from his in-gag-uration speech: "From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth." Funny, I don't remember the Declaration of Independence saying we're endowed with certain unalienable rights because we (allegedly) look like God; Bush's "in His image" shtick sounds like it might possibly be from somewhere else.

Then came Karl: Rove has out-eviled himself by using his Burning Bush to fan the flames of the religious right (and thus, reap their support) who keep maddeningly insisting Christianity is "under attack." For instance, the scary Chalcedon Foundation, which claims "it is... the duty of the state, the school, the arts and sciences, law, economics, and every other sphere to be under Christ the King," says (in an essay entitled, strangely enough, "Christianity Under Attack"): "An all-out assault has been launched to uproot the foundations of Christian civilization in America." I didn't get the notice, did you? The primary thing under assault in this hysterical, trumped-up campaign against supposedly godless Bush-haters (well, that's at least half right) is an actual working knowledge of the Constitution, which, honest to God, truly is Godless.

"9. Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of 'have-not' citizens."

I'm wondering how strict the feds would be if I didn't, say, pay my income taxes. Pretty, probably. Yet, according to Citizens for Tax Justice, "Eighty-two of America's largest and most profitable corporations paid no federal income tax in at least one year during the first three years of the George W. Bush administration -- a period when federal corporate tax collections fell to their lowest sustained level in six decades." Boy, howdy, that's some "relative freedom," all right, the closest to which I could get, if I were to try the same approach, would be a relative visiting me at the big house reminding me of the freedom I no longer had.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower's concern about the "unwarranted influence" of the "military-industrial complex" he expressed during his farewell address in January 1961 has manifested itself big-time, for the Big Business of war is going great guns. It's really not so shockin' odd, since the very ones best positioned to benefit from ongoing global slaughter are the very ones designing the conflicts and designating the battlefields, or those closely connected to same. For example, we have Dick Cheney shilling for Halliburton, George H.W. Bush glad-handing for the Carlyle Group, and Richard Perle offering even Al Franken a portfolio for Trireme Partners L.P., a "venture-capital company" chiefly "invest[ing] in companies dealing in technology, goods, and services that are of value to homeland security and defense" of which Perle is a "managing partner," according to Seymour M. Hersh in the March 17, 2003, issue of The New Yorker.*

Those are but three examples, of course, of administration insiders (in addition to several Bushes other than Poppy) who gorge themselves at the trough overflowing with, at last count, about $154 billion of taxpayer money that our gutless Congress has dutifully approved for the Iraq war; never mind that only about six bucks and change have been spent on actual reconstruction. (Rajiv Chandrasekaran of the Washington Post reports in July 2004 that, through June 22, "only $366 million of the $18.4 billion U.S. aid package [approved in October 2003] had been spent... ") But any good ol' boys back at the country club who may have been passed out when the war spoils were, too, needn't worry: Bush has got their finely-tailored collective back with his treasury-looting, uber-insane, never-ending tax cuts for these needy American aristocrats.

It's the Bushmaster version of the ultimate lethal scam as social control: perpetual war and ongoing giveaways filling the death mongers' coffers, while record deficits caused by such gross fraud are used to rationalize massive cuts across the board in services for the common folk, thereby guaranteeing a less-educated, poorer, unhealthier populace struggling so hard to pursue the ever-increasingly mythological American Dream that there's little time left for challenging the more equal animals luxuriously ensconced in the farmhouse.

"10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Under some regimes, being poor was considered akin to a vice."

A handful of unceasing lowlights of Bush's incredibly hostile assault on organized labor:

On January 7, 2002, in response to union-organizing activities in the Miami U.S. attorney general's office, Bush quietly issued Executive Order 13252, quashing that effort and also stripping union representation from the hundreds of employees working in all 93 U.S. attorney offices and also from some U.S. Justice Department workers. Naturally, alleged concern over "national security" was given as rationale for the action.

In January 2003 "almost 60,000 airport screeners, employees of the newly created Transportation Security Administration... were stripped of their rights to form a union when the Bush administration issued an order that said workers' collective bargaining rights are 'not compatible' with national security" (courtesy of AFL-CIO).

On January 28, 2005, the AFL-CIO reports the "U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) unveil[ed] plans this week to unilaterally change personnel rules for some 180,000 DHS employees, including 75,000 union members. The new rules would slash employees' bargaining and other workplace rights and eliminate civil service pay scales... Proposed new personnel rules for some 300,000 Defense Department civilian workers also are expected to be issued soon... [and are] expected to weaken or eliminate collective bargaining rights, worker rights to appeal management decisions, the current pay system and other changes."

Perhaps Bush is stupid (note to editor: strike "perhaps"), but there's no doubting his efforts' results: Also on January 28, Steven Greenhouse of the New York Times writes: "The percentage of Americans belonging to labor unions fell last year to the lowest level in more than six decades... The segment of all workers in unions dropped to 12.5 percent last year from 12.9 percent in 2003... while the percentage of private-sector workers in unions fell to 7.9 percent from 8.2 percent, making it the lowest level since the early 1900's."

Maybe, though, unions are good for nothing other than sucking dry corporations' hard-earned profits, and if Big Business were allowed to operate completely unfettered, laborers would be well-compensated and need not fret about working conditions. Greenhouse again, three days earlier:

"Human Rights Watch [HRW] has issued a report... concluding that the nation's meat packing industry has such bad working conditions that it violates basic human and worker rights... Noting that the industry's injury rate was three times that of private industry over all, the report describes plants where exhausted employees slice into carcasses at a frenzied pace hour after hour, often suffering injuries from a slip of the knife or from repeating the same motion more than 10,000 times a day. The report describes workers being asphyxiated by fumes and having their legs cut off and hands crushed... [and] concluded that packing companies violated human and labor rights by suppressing their employees' efforts to organize by, for example, often firing employees who support a union."

Anyone who's read Eric Schlosser's seminal book Fast Food Nation would be surprised by none of HRW's findings, unfortunately. Schlosser reports meatpacking has always been dangerous work, but thanks to decades of organizing efforts, by the late 1940s it paid well, was coveted employment, and "provided a stable, middle-class income" (page 153). Now, a century after Upton Sinclair first blew the whistle on the meatpacking business in 1906 in The Jungle, the industry, with the administration's full blessing, has disgustingly come full circle.

It would be impossible to misoverestimate Bush's animosity toward organized labor, as well as the astonishment of many of us regarding the millions of beleaguered working Americans who nonetheless voted for this silver-spooned loon. (Not that anyone's vote really mattered on November 2, but more about that in #14.) Indeed, the Bushies have succeeded in brainwashing a huge segment of the population into contemptuously dismissing poor Americans who supposedly disdain "personal responsibility" and could get ahead by "working harder," when in truth, Americans rack up more hours on the job than laborers in any other industrialized nation. With wages, benefits, and pensions under constant downward pressure (U.S. Airways wanted employees to work without pay during last New Year's weekend), oftentimes the very people being chided are, bizarrely, the chiders themselves.

"11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these regimes. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities were tightly controlled; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or expressions of dissent were strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed. To these regimes, art and literature should serve the national interest or they had no right to exist."

Doesn't having a president who revels in his dunderheadedness just make you proud to be an Amurrican? Dubya's the man who can't speak straight, doesn't read newspapers, and touts his "C" average he carried back at university. (His daddy couldn't have bought him a higher grade? Wait a sec... maybe he did.)

Bush's simple-mindedness is more sinister than simple, though. His handlers form an intellectually incestuous group of (sub)humans that deliberately shuns new information and therefore can't help but breed deformed ideas, a Goldilocks administration that doesn't want anything too hot or too bold; it wants it just right (as in far, far):

In February 2004 the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) issued a report on the Bushies' weird science ("Scientific Integrity in Policymaking"). It was accompanied by a statement signed by "over 60 leading scientists -- Nobel laureates, leading medical experts, former federal agency directors, and university chairs and presidents... " that said, in part: "When scientific knowledge has been found to be in conflict with its political goals, the administration has often manipulated the process through which science enters into its decisions... Across a broad range of policy areas, the administration has undermined the quality and independence of the scientific advisory system and the morale of the government's outstanding scientific personnel... " (Currently, the statement has over 6,000 scientists' signatures.)

Five months later, UCS released an update of its earlier report, saying "the Bush administration has continued to undermine the integrity of science in policy making seemingly unchecked."

I'm still trying to verify the group has also updated its name to the URCS (Union of Really Concerned Scientists).

The House of Representatives, in October 2003, passed the "International Studies in Higher Education Act" (H.R. 3077); it now pends in a Senate committee. In a March 2004 Seattle Times op-ed, Floyd J. McKay writes that "Professors at the University of Washington's respected Jackson School of International Studies" consider H.R. 3077 "an extension of inroads on academic freedom and research on the part of the Bush administration and its Republican allies in Congress." Per McKay, the bill "would create an advisory board" that "would make recommendations to the secretary of education and to Congress," allegedly to "'balance' academic discussion of American foreign policy" (according to its "sponsors"). "Seven [board] members would be appointed by the secretary and leaders of the House and Senate, all Republicans at present."

This "balance": would it be "fair," too?

The Institute for Public Affairs (IPA), which "works to bring the unique perspective of Jewish law and tradition to bear upon the widest range of public policy issues confronting American society at-large... ," favors the bill. IPA says, "At this time, many university Middle East studies centers have adopted anti-Israel and anti-American perspectives. The bill does not interfere with academic freedom... "

Uh, right.

Regarding art and literature: In the spirit of fairness, I wish to report there appears to be no truth to the rumor the Bushies wanted to hire Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl to help promote their agenda... probably because by the time they thought about it, she was dead. We certainly know, however, the esteem with which today's so-called conservatives hold Hollywood in general (just who, then, spends all those millions to see its movies?). Why buy a ticket at all, though, when priceless entertainment is provided for free by the religious right's latest guru, Focus on the Family's Dr. James Dobson, with his somber concerns about SpongeBob SquarePants' alleged promotion of homosexuality? (Psst... Jim. It's a cartoon.)

"12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Most of these regimes maintained Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police were often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. 'Normal' and political crime were often merged into trumped-up criminal charges and sometimes used against political opponents of the regime. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or 'traitors' was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power."

The federal government's "war on drugs" is an abject failure, unless filling U.S. prisons is its goal (bingo!). Conservative columnist Debra J. Saunders of the San Francisco Chronicle, who most days has me spitting nails, has nonetheless (and quite to her credit) penned several pieces about Clarence Aaron over the last few years that detail his royal reaming by our criminal "justice" system and call for his pardon. His case is not unique.

Aaron is a first-time offender serving a life sentence without parole for a drug transaction in which, at age 22, he was paid $1500 by two dealers. Aaron, a small-time fry paying a big-time price, was charged with dealing crack and has been incarcerated now for more than a decade.

Saunders, highlighting the well-known disparity between sentences for powder cocaine (preferred by whites) vs. crack cocaine (preferred by blacks), points outs Aaron is African-American and how, "if the court had sentenced Aaron for [powder] cocaine instead of crack, his sentence would be under 16 years... "

Amy Goodman, in her book (with her brother, David) The Exception to the Rulers, gives us the dreary numbers (put on your Grimness Deflector):

"In 2002, the number of prisoners in the United States exceeded 2 million for the first time in history -- up from 200,000 in 1970. The rate of incarceration in the United States... is the highest reported rate in the world... Forty-five percent of prisoners in 2002 were black; 18 percent were Hispanic. According to the Department of Justice, black males have about a one in three chance of landing in prison at some point in their lives" (page 129).

Is that a terrorist in your closet or are you just scared to see me? The ubiquitous "terrorists" of whom we should all be afraid, very afraid, have been used incessantly since 9/11 to justify giving cops carte blanche to do what they will. Here in Sacramento, just days before a June 2003 U.S. Department of Agriculture-sponsored conference hyping the marvels of genetically-modified foods, the City Council lost its mind and, with little notice, passed "parade ordinances" banning, among other things, bandannas and thick signs (dangerous in the wrong hands, obviously). When about 2000 protesters and 1000 law enforcement personnel showed up, the inevitable outlandish arrests and outright intimidation of peaceful protesters occurred. As I, stunned, later viewed videotape of police-state actions in my hometown of four decades, it was obvious the cops had been provided with some super-duper anti-human training and were gonna use it whether it was warranted or not. (Uh, not.) Gee, I wonder who paid for it?

There's no doubting where $8.5 million came from to fund "security" at the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) talks in Miami the following November, for that's how much Congress earmarked for it in the $87 billion Iraq appropriations bill passed shortly before the Florida festivities. Sacramento was a perp walk in the park compared to the brutality visited upon FTAA demonstrators, where, strangely enough, just prior to the talks, the Miami City Commission passed restrictions strikingly similar to Sacramento's.

It doesn't take a Bush administration "scientist" to figure out community officials are not coming up with this stuff on their own; these oppressive and unconstitutional measures have the feds' fingerprints all over them.

Question: What has ten legs, spent a total of two and a half years in jail, was accused with great fanfare by the Justice Department of a whole boatload of nefarious national security-threatening misdeeds including nuclear espionage, faced a possible death penalty, and was eventually freed after pleading guilty to a lone felony and a handful of minor charges?

Answer: Wen Ho Lee, Katrina Leung, James Yee, Ahmad Al Halabi, and Brandon Mayfield, three Chinese-Americans and three Muslims (Yee's a double-dipper); nary a WASP in the bunch. It's curious, though, how then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft went all mum's-the-word-like when some (very) white folks were caught red-handed with a huge cache of truly nasty weapons and other icky stuff in Bush's home state of Texas in November 2003. I guess they're not real terrorists unless they fit the profile, eh?

There's also the mystery of how Bushco can pursue Lee and others full throttle with completely trumped-up charges, yet when it comes to finding the "two senior administration officials" who did compromise national security by outing CIA operative Valerie Plame (to columnist Robert Novak in July 2003), the trail starts out glacially cold and never warms up even after two-plus years of, ahem, "investigation." (Another curiosity: Despite the threatened jailing of journalists -- one of whom didn't even write about Plame -- to divulge sources, administration toady Novak remains oddly unmolested.)

"13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. Members of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast wealth from other sources as well: for example, by stealing national resources. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population."

Ah, the biscuit's crux. We've hit upon what the Bush administration is all about: power and profits. The melding of American corporate interests with the U.S. government has been occurring for years, but the Bushies have turned it into a science (the only one in which they're interested, it seems), and under them, the morphing is complete: Corporate and administration goals are now indistinguishable.

That war on drugs thing? 'Tain't about morality, 'tis about money. Big money. Goodman writes that "Corrections is now a $50-billion-a-year-business" (page 129) and says the growing private prison industry now accounts for six percent of the pie (page 130). She also notes that "57 percent of federal prisoners are incarcerated for drug-related offenses; a fifth of state prisoners are there for drug-related charges" (page 129). In an August 2001 piece for the San Francisco Chronicle, Marianne Costantinou reported the drug testing industry then was raking in $5.9 billion annually; I doubt fewer people are peeing into bottles today. Super-harsh drug laws are guaranteed to keep the prisons, bottles, and stakeholders' pockets overflowing.

Speaking of drug money: How about that great Medicare prescription drug bill Bush signed into law in December 2003, huh? Great for his pharmaceutical company buddies, that is, who stand to make gazillions; not so great for the "seniors" it's allegedly supposed to help, since they'll be lucky to live long enough to actually figure out how to apply for the new "benefits" (a challenge no matter one's age). Initial calculations show some will now even be able to save, over time, enough money to afford the stamp for the letter they'll be sending to AARP to complain about how it whored itself to help get this hideously expensive, unconscionable slab of corporate welfare passed.

And we thought this land was our land: For Bushco cronies, it's unnatural if natural resources can't be plundered free of pesky regulations impeding drilling, gouging, scraping, blasting, injecting, denuding, stripping, slashing, hacking, chopping, poisoning, and polluting. The CEOs needn't worry, though; their superhero, Bush Boy, a.k.a. Stuporman, has come to the rescue! And, unlike the nation's air and water, the results are clear:

In January 2005, the National Resources Defense Council released an all-damning report called "Rewriting the Rules (2005 Special Edition)." The Executive Overview said, in part:

"[During] the first term, this administration led the most thorough and destructive campaign against America's environmental safeguards in the past 40 years... [Administration policy] changes do not merely call for updating regulations. They represent radical alterations to our core environmental laws... Since the Bush administration began, health warnings to avoid eating locally caught fish have doubled and completed cleanup of toxic wastes at Superfund sites have fallen by 52 percent; yet civil citations issued to polluters have dropped by 57 percent and criminal prosecutions of polluters have fallen 17 percent. Meanwhile, the administration is making every effort to keep the public in the dark about the policies that contribute to these degraded environmental conditions. It has taken unprecedented steps to cut citizens out of the decision-making process for a number of critical public health and land management policies."

Fixin' what ain't broken: Reportedly, the first draft of Bush's pitch to privatize Social Security during his recent State of the Union fleece -- er, speech -- went something like this: "We're gonna rip you off for every penny we possibly can -- and then we're gonna charge you, your kids, their kids, and hell, even their kids, trillions of dollars for the priv'lege! Heh, heh." Someone obviously talked him out of it, which is actually too bad, 'cause it would've been the most honest thing he'd ever said. The whole scam is such a ludicrously obvious looting of the citizenry, I really have no further comment on it, other than to say (with resignation): if Americans are stupid enough to swallow this, I will really regret dropping my Spanish class this semester.

Here's the general rule of thumb when the Bush-run Corporate States of America floats any proposition: If it sounds good, it's bad; hang onto your wallet. If it sounds bad, it's awful; hang onto your clothes. If it sounds awful, it's catastrophic; hang onto your ass. Be assured, though, that no matter what, Big Business wins -- and you lose. Always.

"14. Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of plebiscites or public opinion polls were usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, destroying or disallowing legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite."

Had I reread Britt's list right before November 2, I'd have said number 14 was the one item I was hoping hadn't actually, really, truly happened yet, and, with fingers, toes, and eyes crossed, wouldn't occur.

Boy, what a naïf.

In my last-chance hope that some day, some way, an America that represents the Founding Fathers' beautiful ideals could still emerge from our benighted land, I temporarily allowed denial to mentally shush my fail-safe "Bush Standard": Anyone capable of killing 100,000 people solely to secure more power and profits, is capable of anything.

Fixing an election? Small potatoes.

Volumes have been written by those of us in the alternative media about the shaft driven right up our electoral bums by bums like Rove, Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, and Wally O'Dell, just to name a filthy few. Staunch Republican O'Dell is the chief executive and board chairman of Diebold, which, along with conservative-owned Election Systems & Software (ES&S), "now control 80% of the vote count in the United States" (according to Schuyler Ebbets in Scoop, September 2003).

The corporate media on the treasonous takeover of our country? Virtually peepless.

Yep, it's pretty weird how the U.S. can cite exit polls in Ukraine to question election results there, but such a notion is rendered daft here. Or how it's just too damned expensive or undoable to provide verifiable paper trails for electronic voting machines. Or how such machines automatically assigned or switched votes to the Bush/Cheney ticket. Or how electronic voting machines should even be used in the first place. Or how, on January 6, during the debate concerning the (il)legitimacy of Ohio's electoral votes (forced by the courageous objection signed by Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones [D-OH] and Senator Barbara Boxer [D-CA]), Republicans can derisively label as "frivolous" complaints about multiple-hour waits in line to vote (in heavily minority and thus heavily Democratic precincts, naturally). Or how Blackwell, the co-chair of the Ohio Bush/Cheney re-appointment campaign, can blatantly get away with a fraudulent statewide recount. Or how just about every single reported anomaly benefited Bush. Or how... well, I think you get the idea. (Many fine articles exist detailing how this final stake was pounded into American democracy's heart; I'm partial to Alan Waldman's November 20, 2004, piece in Online Journal.)

I admit a fraudulent presidential election is a hard concept to accept. That's probably why I've heard folks say they're certain the election was fixed and then, in the same breath, wonder aloud who the Dems will run in 2008. People! Do you see the disconnect? If elections are rigged, it doesn't matter who runs -- ever -- unless out of the kindness of their tiny little spaces where their diseased hearts would be if they had them, the "Republicans," for whatever reason, unrig them.

I think we all know how likely that possibility is.

So there you have it; on the Britt scale of fascism, the Bush regime is a cool fourteen for fourteen. Hardly bush league, but definitely Bush League. Yet, even though I've now written 9200 words on the topic, I still feel like I've barely just scratched the surface, for anyone who has been paying attention can add countless examples damningly demonstrating that fascists now control America. The deed is done: Bush and his fellow thugs have rendered our democratic republic deader'n road-kill on a West Texas highway, and left it with as much chance of being revived.

So what do we do now?

Straight from the Yeah, That'll Really Show 'Em Department: I personally see no reason to vote or participate in an electoral system that only serves to lend (false) legitimacy to the solidly-entrenched ruling power. Will my dropping out change anything? Of course not; only if there were a huge, sustained, well-publicized boycott of politics and voting could one hope for an effect, and even then, what would the Bushies or their supporters care? Even if a mass abstention did materialize, word of its existence would surely not be broadcast by the complicit whoreporate media.

So, again, what to do?

When looking for guidance, I often find it helpful to check in with our nation's founders. Part I closed with words from Thomas Jefferson; it's only fitting to end Part II in similar fashion:

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."

* Perle's telling offer is recounted on page 211 of Franken's book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.

Copyright © 2005 Mark Drolette. All rights reserved.

Published originally in Online Journal.  http://www.onlinejournal.com/index.html