On Censorship and Disinformation

W.J. Astore

The best way to combat disinformation is with more and better information.  Censorship isn’t the answer.

The Biden administration has reached a different conclusion, creating a “Disinformation Governance Board” under the Department of Homeland Security. This “board” is headed by Nina Jankowicz, an unelected official and an apparent partisan hack. One example: she dismissed the infamous Hunter Biden laptop story as a “fairy tale” involving a “laptop repair shop”; it’s now been confirmed that Hunter’s laptop was real, and so too was that repair shop.

Democrats, of course, don’t have exclusive rights to censorship. Republicans always seem to be calling for books to be banned or education to be policed. But the real problem is much larger than partisan hackery and bickering. Efforts at censorship are all around us, couched as a way of protecting us from harmful lies and other forms of disinformation. Yet, as the comedian Jimmy Dore points out, the government isn’t that concerned about protecting you from lies; it is, however, deeply concerned with denying you access to certain truths, truths that undermine governmental authority and the dominant narrative.

As a retired U.S. military officer and as a historian, the most insidious lies and disinformation I’ve encountered have come from the government. Consider the lies revealed by Daniel Ellsberg and his leak of the Pentagon Papers. Consider the war crimes revealed by Chelsea Manning, aided by Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Consider the lies revealed in the recent Afghan War Papers. Consider the lies about the presence of WMD in Iraq, lies that were used to justify the disastrous Iraq War. The government, in short, is a center of lies and disinformation, which is precisely why we need an adversarial media, one that is willing to ferret out truth. Instead, we’re being offered a governmental Ministry of Truth in the form of a “Disinformation Governance Board.”

All things being equal, a democratic society thrives best when speech is as free as possible, trusting in the people to sort fact from fiction, and sound theories from blatant propaganda. And there’s the rub: trusting in the people. Because the government doesn’t trust us (remember Hillary Clinton’s comment about all those irredeemable deplorables), even as the government is often at pains to mislead and misinform us. As maverick journalist I.F. “Izzy” Stone said, all governments lie. It’s truly nonsensical, then, to allow the government to police what is true and what is “disinformation.”

But don’t we need some censorship in the name of safety or security or mental health or whatever? Sorry: censorship is rarely about safety, and it most certainly doesn’t serve the needs of the vulnerable. Instead, it serves the needs of the powerful, those who already possess the loudest megaphones in the public square.

But doesn’t someone like Donald Trump deserve to be censored because he spreads disinformation? Which is the bigger problem: Trump or censorship? I happen to think Trump is a divisive con man, but it was a bad precedent for Twitter to have banned him from tweeting. The bigger problem wasn’t Trump’s tweets but the media’s obsessive coverage of them in pursuit of ratings. The way to combat a blowhard like Trump is to ignore him, and to correct him when needed. To combat his lies with the truth. We don’t need a governmental Ministry of Truth to police the tweets of a former president. Not when the government is often the biggest liar.

The solution isn’t censorship but an active, engaged, and informed citizenry, assisted by a fourth estate, the press, that is truly independent and adversarial to power. But the weakening of education in America, combined with a fourth estate that is deeply compromised by the powerful and often in bed with the government, means that these democratic checks on power are less and less effective. Hence calls for quick yet dangerous “solutions” like censorship, where the censors (governmental boards, private corporations) are opaque and almost completely unaccountable to the people.

Unless your goal is to give the already powerful a monopoly on speech, censorship is not the answer.

50 thoughts on “On Censorship and Disinformation

  1. I grew up with cold war time state censorship of letters. At present that can be put in a museum with ‘amusing 20th century oddities’. Since internet entered my life, I systematically self-censor, for one never is sure whther someone unknown isn’t eye-dropping.
    State censorship indeed is counterproductive, but there are cases when you at the very least hope for governments not to publicly applaud press which provokes hatred and when that press gets blowback, cry crocodile tears for them.
    The most blatant example of that was the second (or maybe even third?) terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris. A xenophobic weekly which started its life as ‘HARAKIRI, journal bête et méchant’ – [subtitled : ‘stupid and cruel’ and that was exactly what they were and still are] and never was anything resembling a satirical magazine.
    They obviously did not deserve to have their premises bombed for that reason, but they also had not stopped their provocations [not free speech but deliberate provocations] after the first bomb attack – which was stupid and irresponsible to put it mildly. That was hailed a ‘free speech’ being trampeled and it of course concerned Islamophobic entries.
    If any of the ‘world leaders’ who walked joining arms down the Champs Elysées had spent one moment asking their staff to check what CH stands for, they might have been ashamed for their support for that racist rag.
    Satire is supposed to ridicule the powers that be. CH ridicules (and worse) their victims.
    Something like making cheap fun of 9/11 victims or Bidens dead son.
    If I could insert pictures here, I would show a few of their disgusting front pages. Wonder whether they now produce similar ones about Ukraine war victims.

    So I definitely draw the line at such ‘free speech’. Not censor CH but at the very least admonish them and never ever support them other than just deploring the death of a few of their staff members. Their tiny sales skyrocketed after that ‘international support’.

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  2. Excellent piece, Colonel.

    Given all the Lies this government has told that You listed ~ and there were many, more that You could have cited, and who knows how many past and present Lies we do not know about ~ on what basis does anybody assume that that same government has told us the Truth about anything?

    Particularly, on what basis does anybody assume that this government has told the whole, real, and complete Truth about The Assassinations of King and the Kennedys? Or the Truth about The Terror Event of September 11, 2001? Or the Truth about the 2008 Financial “¢risi$”? Or, more recently, the Truth about The COVID Pandemic Event? And at the moment, the Truth about the U.S./Russia War in Ukraine?

    This nation needs a “Ministry of Truth,” all right. But its primary focus and target should be the mis-. dis-, and mal-information put out by our elected politicians, entrenched military and civilian bureaucrats, and anointed political appointees, and their pundits and propagandists in the mainstream corporatist media.

    But that is not going to happen until the American people DEMAND that it happens. Which very likely ain’t gonna happen any time soon. Or at least not soon enough to prevent what the “Disinformation Governance Board” is merely the first step toward.

    Like i asked yesterday: Can a “Ministry of Love” be far behind?

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  3. I can’t be as staunch an advocate of uncensored speech as you are, Bill. I agree completely that the government lies constantly, and that the new “Disinformation Department” will not be a good thing, but I stop there.

    TFG’s lies about Covid cost tens (hundreds?) of thousands of people their lives. Were he some whacko standing on a street corner, it would have been one thing, but he was the highest authority in the country, and obviously, his Covid disinformation was taken all too seriously by a significant segment of the population. Did the media shout in big headlines, every day, “Trump is lying!”? Hardly. Yes, we SHOULD have media who call out all the lies, but we don’t.

    Instead, we have Tucker Carlson, who endlessly creates and propagates the most outrageous, dangerous lies of anyone with a public platform. Is it perfectly fine for him and his kind to use that platform to seed divisiveness and stoke violence? People have been killed (see: Charlottesville) as a result of this endless incitement; it has become accepted and normalized.

    We saw what happened on 1/6/21 when the incitement went too far. Should TFG have been muzzled before that happened? I say he should have. If all people were educated, had critical thinking skills, and had the time, will, ability, and resources to fact-check what they’re told, it wouldn’t matter what Carlson, Hannity, TFG, et. al. spewed. But those conditions don’t exist. Until they do, allowing every con artist an equal platform, unopposed, will only accelerate the country’s downward spiral.

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    1. I was thinking about this more this morning, Denise.

      Here’s my take. If a so-called democracy has to resort to government-led censorship, allegedly to safeguard its democracy, maybe that government is no longer a democracy, and maybe, just maybe, it needs to stop censoring and start educating.

      We know commercial networks are driven by money and ratings. The original vision of PBS, NPR, and the like was of media sources driven by facts and in the public service. Now PBS and NPR also rely heavily on corporate funding and so are deeply compromised.

      Alternative media is under attack as sites like Consortium News, which has posted many of my articles, being effectively defunded by blocking online payments. This is yet another form of government-led censorship, supposedly to protect us from “Russian” views and disinformation.

      For a time, maybe still, TomDispatch couldn’t be reached via government computers, allegedly because of “hate speech.” WTF?

      If we have to censor Trump and his ilk because we’re too fucking dumb, gullible, and weak to resist his obvious bullshit, maybe what’s left of our democracy deserves to die.

      Harsh, I know …

      Liked by 2 people

      1. No. Not “harsh” at all, Colonel. Exactly on target.

        As has been noted here before: A nation and a people get the government, governance, and governors that they deserve. What does that tell You about America and “We, the People”?

        And all Trump did was carry on the tradition of BullShitter-In-Chief passed on to him by Obama, Cheney/Bush the Lesser, Billy Bob, Bush the Elder, Bozo, and on back thru FDR, Wilson, Lincoln, and beyond.

        And Biden is just taking it to the next level.

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      2. “If we have to censor Trump and his ilk because we’re too fucking dumb, gullible, and weak to resist his obvious bullshit, maybe what’s left of our democracy deserves to die.”

        I agree. However, those of us who don’t buy into the right-wing insanity, who have fought it for years, would go down with the ship, and we don’t deserve that.

        We SHOULD have better education systems, non-corporately-funded news outlets, a less-gullible public, and so on, but we don’t. Therefore, we have to deal with conditions as they are. If the right-wingers continue to spread their poison, backed by the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and the rest of their kind, there may not ever be a chance to implement the solutions you propose. Those of us without the wherewithal to bail on this failed experiment would be stuck, and that’s not the answer, either.

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        1. Given that all You folks who have been “fighting right-wing insanity for years” have failed completely to effectively counter it and come up with a viable, workable alternative, if the ship goes down, why don’t Y’All deserve to go down with it?

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          1. So….a woman who tries and fails to fight off a rapist is as guilty as her attacker?

            The fact that many of us have marched, petitioned, written letters, and voted in every election, but still could not overpower the warmongers and other liars, doesn’t mean that we deserve to go down with them. Seems odd to equate the oppressed with their oppressors.

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            1. Bullshit. Don’t equate a woman being raped with a complete and total failure on the part of America’s anti-war “movement” to have accomplished one thing since Y’All also didn’t end the Vietnam War.

              So how do You propose preventing Yourselves from “going down with the warmongers and other liars”?

              And where were all You folks during Nobel Peace Prize winner Obomber’s reign? Even if You were disappointed with the job he did advancing his Agenda, he and Hillary sure kept the Wars going, didn’t they?

              And finally: In which way have all You folks been “oppressed”? Sheeesh.

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            2. Let’s be careful here.

              First, the Vietnam antiwar movement did curb some of the worst excesses of the Nixon administration. Without the antiwar movement, I think U.S. troops would not have been withdrawn by the end of 1972. The war may have continued on for years, much like the Afghan War. Obviously, I can’t prove that …

              I don’t think “resistance is futile.” We all resist the system as we can, using whatever skills we have. I choose to write; others may be more active in the streets. I especially respect those who truly put their butts on the line.

              My point, as you both know, is that censorship is the wrong approach; indeed, I think it plays into the hands of the Trump crowd. They’re already using news of this “disinformation governance board” as “proof” of the tyranny of the Biden administration.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. First of all: What better proof could the Biden administration offer of that looming tyranny?

                And i didn’t say “resistance is futile.” i’m saying that there has been NO effective resistance to anything that this government has done overseas since 9/11 and the launch of The Forever War.

                And the War in Vietnam SHOULD have been stopped back in 1965 or 1966. And could have been stopped. But whatever the Vietnam anti-war movement did about Nixon, it did absolutely nothing to curb the even worse excesses of the Johnson administration.

                And finally, the anti-Vietnam War movement died on May 4, 1970, in a place called Kent, Ohio; when Sam got his guns up right here on the home front. After that, there was virtually nothing. Plus, all the baby Boomers were graduating from college and needed to get a job and on with their lives in an economy that was just on the verge of Stagflation.

                The beginning of the end of that War for America was established by North Vietnam and the National Liberation Front during Tet, 1968.

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              2. The Vietnam War should never have been fought.

                More than anything, what silenced the antiwar movement was the ending of the draft. That, and so-called Vietnamization.

                I know you know this, JGM, but the All-Volunteer Military facilitates war. The U.S. military has become a pseudo-foreign legion, with people like the Clintons, Obamas, Romneys, and so on not “volunteering” their children to serve. And when you, your kids, and the people you know exempt themselves from service, who gives a fuck, right?

                A smidgen of respect to Joe Biden’s son, Beau. He served in a combat zone in Iraq. The burn pits there may have caused the cancer that killed him. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/biden-addresses-possible-link-between-sons-fatal-brain-cancer-and-toxic-military-burn-pits

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              3. The draft ended in January, 1973, Colonel. By then, there had already been a near-total US combat troop withdrawal, a Peace Treaty signed, and POWs in Hanoi released.

                And You are 110% correct about the A-VM. My guess is that the primary reason there has been zero anti-war activity, activism, or actionism since 9/11 is exactly that: Because there is no Draft.

                If young folks had had to worry about getting their asses drafted and sent off to fight, kill, and die in places most of them couldn’t find on a map of the world, things might very well have been a bit different. But then again, maybe not.

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    2. How many people died in Charlottesville, Denise?

      As compared to how many people have died [or wish they had] in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, and so forth?

      And what was the role of the corporatist, mainstream media [not just Limbaugh and his Spawn like Carlson, but folks like CNN and the networks, NPR, NYT, WaPo, etc] in selling those Wars to the American people?

      Correct me if i am wrong, but it sounds like You are prepared to argue for and justify the muzzling of anybody with whom You disagree.

      So, the bottom-line, bullet-hits-the-bone question that every American should be asking themselves is this: Are You in favor of the “Disinformation Governance Board”? As long as YOU get to decide who sits on that Board and what the Standards for TRUTH will now be?

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      1. Again, be careful here. Your accusation, JGM, that it “sounds like” Denise is willing to muzzle anyone she disagrees with is unfair. She can defend herself, but her many comments at this site demonstrate she is more openminded and tolerant than most people.

        Too many people have died because of lies, whether overseas or here at home. Too many lies are advanced by the powerful so as to maintain and extend their power. How do we fight the evil without becoming evil ourselves? Let’s focus on that.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That wasn’t an accusation, Colonel. That was an observation based on what Denise has said in this conversation.

          And i agree 110% on where the Focus should be. But the problem is not the Lying, the Liars, or their facilitators in the media, As i have stated a couple of times:

          “The problem is a system of government and governance that is built, maintained, and sustained to enable selected special interests to have unfettered access to the power and authority of government to manage, manipulate, and/or control national foreign and domestic military, political, economic, social, and cultural policies and programs. All to and for ~ primarily ~ the benefit of those special interests. Any benefit “The People” or “Nation” might derive from all this is purely collateral and generally unintentional.”

          Fighting that Evil without becoming evil ourselves is indeed a challenge. And that’s where the thoughts, words, and deeds of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Thich Nhat Hahn, and other non-violent Warriors for Peace, Justice, and Truth are so important.

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          1. Bingo! Our government is corrupt and we largely accept it as the outcry is not great enough to repudiate it and far too many eligible to vote do not do so indicating either they don’t care or feel impotent, neither of which speak for our democracy being a success.

            It’s true that too many people are woefully ignorant and have no interest in altering that, taking up the nonsense that is dispensed without bothering to check it out, primarily because the nonsense appeals to them emotionally. A democracy with universal suffrage can avoid this mass of ignorance.

            Given this mass, does it make sense to stop those who direct a message to them from doing so? Given the corruption of the government, I suspect that any attempt at censorship would just as likely silence those who need to get the truth out as those who dispense nonsense. We do need to oppose ignorance, but I think a far more dangerous thing to constrain is power, the actual power of corrupt government rather than the potential power of the ignorant mass.

            Entrenched power has more than enough ability to finesse whatever/whoever the ignorant mass may put up for office. Crazies throughout American history (John Birch Society, KKK, etc.) have been coopted by the two parties and as a result faded. Trump, buffoon that he is, was attacked in every way by the powers that be. Anyone who got into office with a real reform agenda would be cut down with more determination by the lobbies than was floundering Don.

            What to do? Don’t censor. Let all the ugly stuff be seen and heard and if democracy in the American manner cannot hold out against it, then the experiment has failed. If official censorship comes, the experiment will have failed anyway.

            Are things hopeless? I don’t think so based on the new generation of women/people of color running for office. I’m mailing out my pitifully small $25 checks to support as many as I can. Will you all join me?

            TOP PRIORITY: overturn Citizens United and finance all election campaigns with public contributions only.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. PayPal has canceled Consortium News‘ account without any prior notice or due process and with virtually no explanation……….

    PayPal has sent an email to CN that says:

    “You can’t use PayPal anymore. … We noticed activity in your account that’s inconsistent with our User Agreement and we no longer offer you PayPal services. … Because of potential risk exposure, we’ve permanently limited your account. You’ll no longer be able to use the account for any transactions.”

    The message says that “any money in your PayPal balance will be held for up to 180 days,” after which, “if applicable, we’ll email you with information on how to withdraw any remaining money.”

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    1. It will be interesting to see what happens when Consortium takes PayPal to court on this.

      It would also be very interesting to take a poll and see how many Americans agree with PayPal keeping whatever donated-by-others money Consortium has in its account for 6 months, and then “if applicable” [whatever that means], perhaps be able to withdraw “any remaining money.”

      Sounds like there probably will not be too much remaining money, eh? Wonder where it’s going to go.

      Looks like PayPal just bought lock, stock, and barrel into the whole Disinfo Governance idea.

      And, one wonders if they actually have much choice.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Regarding the $9,348.14 balance in CN‘s PayPal account, the PayPal agent said that after a 180-day review PayPal would decide whether to return it. “If there was a violation,” she said “it is possible” the money could be kept as “damages” to PayPal

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    2. This is sort of Citizens United in reverse.

      With Citizens United, SCOTUS basically equated money with speech. So corporations and rich pukes have even more “say” over our politics today.

      With Consortium News, PayPal is turning off the money. No money, no speech.

      Hmm … maybe SCOTUS was right after all. Maybe we have a CAPTOCRACY. A system of government captured by capitalists and run in service of their bottom lines. Sure fits the present better than “democracy.”

      I suppose “plutocracy” has almost the same meaning, but don’t I get to invent new words?

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      1. Beyond Oligarchic Plutocracy ~ and capturing Your concept of Captocracy ~ is the most accurate and descriptive term: “Fascism.”

        Like i said: “The problem is a system of government and governance that is built, maintained, and sustained to enable selected special interests to have unfettered access to the power and authority of government to manage, manipulate, and/or control national foreign and domestic military, political, economic, social, and cultural policies and programs. All to and for ~ primarily ~ the benefit of those special interests. Any benefit “The People” or “Nation” might derive from all this is purely collateral and generally unintentional.”

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          1. If we’re “not quite there,” Colonel, are we closer today to the Fascism You described nine years ago?

            In Your article, You used Robert Paxton’s definition of Fascism as the start point for Your conclusion ~ at least back in 2013 ~ that “We don’t have a messiah-like dictator. Our justice system still works, however imperfectly. Our votes still count, even if our political speech often gets drowned out by moneyed interests.”

            Nine years later, have we not had something that a significant number of Americans apparently think was/is/should be a messiah-like dictator-for-life wannabe? And how much more “imperfectly” is our justice system working these days? And ~ the obvious question ~ DO our votes still count? And is it still only “often” that our political speech gets drowned out, if not overtly suppressed?

            In any event, Paxton’s definition was, as You stated, based on Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy. My question is whether or not “his definition is an excellent starting point in thinking about fascism” in America, as You claimed.

            In my opinion, no; it is not. It describes 20th century Germany and Italy, but has little relevance to 21st century America.

            Rather than a definition, how about looking at the historical characteristics of Fascist regimes?

            Consider the following list of fourteen common features of Fascism exhibited by Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, Tojo’s Japan, Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal, Papadopoulos’s Greece, Pinochet’s Chile, and Suharto’s Indonesia. And then ask Yourself whether or not America, its ruling elite, and its government run by that elite’s wholly-owned and -operated politicians and bureaucrats exhibit any of the same characteristics:

            1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism.
            2. Disdain for the importance of human rights.
            3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause.
            4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism.
            5. Rampant sexism.
            6. A controlled mass media.
            7. Obsession with national security.
            8. Religion and ruling elite tied together.
            9. Power of corporations protected.
            10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated.
            11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts.
            12. Obsession with crime and punishment.
            13. Rampant cronyism and corruption.
            14. Fraudulent elections.

            Source: “Fascism Anyone ???” by Laurence Brittby; https://secularhumanism.org/2003/03/fascism-anyone/

            To which can be added

            15. Central Banking and dependency on budget deficits, borrowing, and governmental debt [linked to #s 2, 4, 7, 9, and 13].
            16. Political, economic, and military imperialism [linked to #s 1-4, 6-9, and 13].
            17. Corruption and militarization of law and regulatory enforcement [linked to #s 2, 9, 10, 12, and 13].
            18. Racism, ethnicism, xenophobism, sectarianism, ageism, and classism [linked to #s 1-3, 7, 8, 10, and 11].
            19. Restrictions on and/or violations of freedoms of conscience, speech, press, assembly, and association [linked to #s 2, 3, 5, 6, and 9-11].
            20. Violations of freedom FROM [along with and as opposed to merely OF] religion [linked to #s 2, 5, and 8].

            Given those 20 characteristics of classical, traditional, post-World War I-, World War II-, and Cold War I-epoch Fascism, it was easy to characterize The Age of Trump and the reign of POTUS MAXXIMMUSS XLV as “Fascist.”

            But which of those characteristics were and are equally applicable as accurate descriptions of the Obama, Bush II, Clinton, Bush I, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, Eisenhower, Truman, Roosevelt, Hoover, Coolidge, Harding, and Wilson regimes? To say nothing of America’s first and foremost Fascist ruler, Abraham Lincoln’s?

            An easier question to answer would be which of those listed properties and attributes of Fascism were and are Not characteristic of any of those earlier administrations?

            And what has changed in Items 1 thru 20 above since the onset of The Age of Bidenopia?

            It is critical to understand that the Fascism engulfing America is not that 20th century Fascism of Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo, Franco, Pinochet, Suharto, and the others like Batista, Noriega, The Shah, Somoza, Marcos, etc; American client-dictators all. At least not yet.

            Nor is it its 21st century variants like China and Russia with their “State Crony Capitalist Fascism.” Or like virtually the entire Middle East from Turkey to Saudi Arabia and Iran, and back to Israel, with their Islamo- and Ziono-Fascisms, respectively. Or elsewhere, in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Oceania, or Europe.

            Rather, it is what various scholars have termed “Fascism with 21st century American characteristics,” “Fascism with an American Face,” “Participatory Fascism,” “Democratic Fascism,” “Friendly Fascism,” and, ultimately, just plain old “Good Fascism.” See References below.

            And such is manifest at full throttle in Swampland and the other corridors and labyrinths of political Power at virtually all subsidiary levels of government and governance in America today. Particularly since The COVID-19 Event and its economic, social, cultural, and psychological fallout and collateral damage.

            And finally, You prefaced Your conclusion with “in fascist societies, people are merely subjects, merely tools, in the service of the state.” That people are “tools” in that service is the one thing that Fascist, Communist, and Socialist societies all have in common. And what many so-called Social Democrats and Progressives would love to see happen in their society.

            REFERENCES. Americans have been being warned about a “Fascist equivalent” in the United States since even before the Fascist realities of Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo had been destroyed, with three books published in 1944: OMNIPOTENT GOVERNMENT: The Rise of the Total State and Total War by Ludwig von Mises; THE ROAD TO SERFDOM by Friedrich A Hayek [dedicated “To the socialists of all parties”]; and AS WE GO MARCHING by John T Flynn.

            The Warnings continued in 1975 with Charlotte Twight’s AMERICA’S EMERGING FASCIST ECONOMY; in 1980 with FRIENDLY FASCISM: The New Face of Power in America by Bertram Gross; and in 2008 with DEMOCRACY INCORPORATED: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism by Sheldon Wolin.

            And most recently, Jeffrey Tucker’s RIGHT-WING COLLECTIVISM: The Other Threat to Liberty [2017] and Carl Boggs’ FASCISM OLD AND NEW: American Politics at the Crossroads [2018] have brought all those older works up to date and right into the 21st century, at least thru Trump.

            ###

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            1. I recommended Jonathan Cook’s article to the group in Bill’s earlier post ‘war will continue to find a way’

              “The planet cannot begin to heal until we rip the mask off the West’s war machine
              Making political sense of the world can be tricky unless one understands the role of the state in capitalist societies.
              The state is not primarily there to represent voters or uphold democratic rights and values; it is a vehicle for facilitating and legitimating the concentration of wealth and power into fewer and fewer hands.”

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              1. Ray: Can we rip the mask off Eastasia and Xi’s and Eurasia and Putin’s war machines while we’re at ripping off Oceania’s?

                And before one can understand “the role of the state in capitalist societies,” one needs to be clear as to exactly what one means by “capitalism” and “capitalist society.”

                In the original, true meaning and sense of “capitalism” ~ as in a totally free market, laissez-faire economy with absolutely minimal government [state] involvement in that economy ~ America is not now, nor has it ever been a “capitalist society.” Or even close.

                It is and has been ~ since the railroading of the nation after the Civil War and then the launch of the Federal Reserve system a century ago ~ a corporatist, CRONY capitalist society. Another term for it is “Fascist.”

                Fascism is the most appropriate term for a system of government and governance that ~ as You said ~ is “a vehicle for facilitating and legitimating the concentration of wealth and power into fewer and fewer hands.”

                In that regard, it is exactly the same as Marxism, Communism, and Socialism. The only difference is what sort of label is attached to the ones into whose hands all that wealth and power is going. Here, we call them “special interests.” There, they’re called The Party.

                Liked by 1 person

              2. The current term is Oligarchs. But only Russian Oligarchs.
                Nobody is thinking yet of seizing the wealth of American Oligarchs for being too influential on government.

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            2. It’s the historian in me that resists the term “fascism.” Also, people like to call others “fascists” merely because they disagree with them. It’s such a heavily loaded word that for me conjures up Nazi Germany and Hitler and the cliched image of jackbooted troops marching down streets after invasions.

              Perhaps Sheldon Wolin offered the best alternative with “inverted totalitarianism.” Got my copy out and his thesis is presented on the back cover. America is led by corporate/state actors and the people are snookered into believing their vote matters when it obviously doesn’t. We have a “managed democracy” where the managers make the rules, call the shots, and administer the punishments to anyone who tries to pull the curtain back to reveal the puppet masters.

              Sounds about right …

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              1. Let me see if i can overcome~ or at least moderate ~ that historian’s resistance, Colonel.

                Let me share with You part of something i wrote last year in reaction and response to the 10 May 2021 “Open Letter from Retired Generals and Admirals,” published by Flag Officers 4 America [https://flagofficers4america.com/]. FO4A is an organization of retired U.S. military Admirals and Generals who describe themselves as follows:

                “We are retired military leaders who pledged to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Although retired from active service, each of us feels bound by that oath to do what we can, in our capacity today, to protect our nation from the threats to her freedom.”

                And whose opening paragraph of their Open Letter read: “Our Nation is in deep peril. We are in a fight for our survival as a Constitutional Republic like no other time since our founding in 1776. The conflict is between supporters of Socialism and Marxism vs. supporters of Constitutional freedom and liberty.”

                Definitely what one can call a “target-rich environment,” eh? Part of my reaction and response to FO4A’s screed follows, and explains exactly what i mean by “Fascism.”
                …………………………………………………………………………………………….

                FO4A is completely wrong when it identifies the greatest threats to America ~ and the biggest enemies of those “supporters of Constitutional freedom and liberty,” whoever they actually are ~ as “supporters of Socialism and Marxism.”

                The greatest threat to America is not Socialism and Marxism [or their spawns Communism, Progressivism, Democratic Socialism, etc], but creeping and inexorably also openly-growing Fascism. And while none of this started with Trump, it is most definitely continuing to grow under Biden… .

                The argument that the greatest threat confronting America is “Fascism” ~ as opposed the FO4A’s claim that it is “Socialism and Marxism” ~ is based entirely on how the term “Fascism” is used; just as their claim [presented without argument or proof, but simply as a given] depends entirely upon how they are using the terms “Socialism” and “Marxism.”

                Nowadays, when most folks [at least on the Left] use the term “Fascism” [or “Fascist”], they are usually referring blanketly to somebody/anybody/anything who disagrees with what they believe in, stand for, and are trying to accomplish, culturally, socially, economically, and especially politically. It’s the Left’s doppelgänger for “Socialism/Socialist” [or “Communism/Communist” or, in this case, “Marxism/Marxists”] that those on the Right use to describe those on the Left [and sometimes even in the Muddled Middle] who disagree with Them about what they’re up to. Used that way, “Socialism/Socialist,” “Marxism/Marxist,” and “Fascism/Fascist” are essentially absolutely meaningless and thus useless terms.

                But a little bit of what the ancient Confucians called “rectification” ~ the clarification of the meaning of words so that they best describe the reality they name ~ shows that “Socialism” [and its variant, “Marxism”] and “Fascism” are but two very similar systems for the centralization and concentration, the maintainment and sustainment, the perpetration, expansion, consolidation, and perpetuation of Power by one distinctively minority group of Humans over the masses of Others thru the machinations and manipulations of The State, and its executive, legislative, judicial, regulatory, and above all, its police and military or “security” and “defense” functions and authorities. In both theory and historical fact, there is little difference in PRINCIPLE between Socialism and Fascism; only in the specifics of organizational structures and operational systems, and their designated enemies.

                In Socialism [and Communism, etc], the government [more specifically, the “Vanguard,” on behalf of “The Party,” on behalf of “The People”] owns everything ~ all the public and private facilities, factors, and forces of production, distribution, and consumption ~ and has total control over all economic policies, procedures, and execution, from the national to the regional to the local economic activity level, and even to the individual level. The government is both prime producer and determiner of distribution and consumption. Its enemies are capitalists, corporatists, fascists, conservatives, neoconservatives and neoliberals, and anybody who disagrees with them; especially classical liberals, anarchists, and libertarians.

                In Fascism, there is private [mostly corporate] ownership of business; and THAT IS THE ONLY SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE.

                The facilities, factors, and forces of production, distribution, and consumption are indeed under private, corporate ownership and day-to-day managerial direction. However, it is still the government that dictates policy, procedures, goals and objectives, and execution at all levels in all aspects of economic activity. And it is the government that is a ~ if not the ~ prime and primary customer. Fascism’s enemies are socialists, communists, syndicalists and unionists, post-modern liberals, proto- and neo-progressives, democratic socialists, socialistic democrats, and anybody who disagrees with them; also especially classical liberals, anarchists, and libertarians.

                The main difference between Socialism and Fascism is that in Fascism, the concepts of private ownership and, particularly, private profit have not been abandoned, as in Socialism. The similarities between the two are as follows:

                a. Both systems place government in the business of meeting Human Needs and satisfying Human Wants, at the inevitable cost of violating Human Rights.

                b. Both systems make extended use of state-of-the-art manipulation of the Needs and Wants of those they like to call “The People,” and the obfuscation, suppression, and obliteration of those same folks’ Rights.

                c. Both systems survive and thrive best in the presence of an “Other”: a real Enemy, or at least a credible Threat of one. And if they don’t have one, they are both very skilled at creating one.

                d. Both systems are created, maintained, and sustained for the express purpose of giving Ruling Elites ~ real and/or “woulda-coulda-shoulda-been” wannabes ~ ready access to POWER [the ability to force another Human Being to do something, whether they want to do it or not], and WEALTH [the ability to buy and sell Power at a profit]. [Note: Thanks to Jim Mora.]

                Given those definitions and descriptions of Socialism and Fascism that clearly differentiate the two ~ based entirely upon whether ownership of the means of the production and distribution of economic goods, products, and services is by the government or by private individuals, organizations, or institutions [primarily corporations] ~ it should be very evident that America is much more of a Fascist nation than it is or ever has been a Socialist nation. And it has been that way for a very long time.

                While Socialism and Fascism differ most markedly as regards to who owns [and derives profit from] what factors of economic production and distribution, they both are marked by extensive, if not total government control of those factors: the processes by which goods, products, and services are created, distributed, consumed, and ultimately disposed of.

                Outside of infrastructure, health care, and education, governments at all levels in the United States actually own and operate relatively few economic enterprises compared to those under private ownership and operation. And they own and operate significantly less than governments in many, if not most other nations on the planet.

                On the other hand, the amount of control by executive order, legislative law, bureaucratic regulation and rule, and/or judicial fiat by all levels of American government [particularly at the Federal] of all that private ~ from individual to corporate ~ economic activity is as extensive and intensive here as it is anyplace on the planet, as well.

                And that speaks nothing of American governments’ attempts to monitor and effort to control the personal behavior of its Citizens, from what they ingest in their bodies, to who they share their bodies with, to what they can and cannot access on the Internet, and so forth.

                So. Colonel. That’s what i think Fascism is and why the term is very appropriate for America in the Spring of 2022. Any thoughts?

                ps: In any event, when’s the last time You watched SEVEN DAYS IN MAY, released in 1964? Or have You ever watched its 1994 remake, THE ENEMY WITHIN, which takes a slightly different approach to an American coup d’état? [Available online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWL06waOAGw , and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReZsAhULSds, respectively.]

                If a critical mass of sufficiently resourced, trained, motivated, and led individuals, then groups, then organizations within America’s military-industrial-congressional complex and its surveillance-secrecy-security panopticon decide and determine to stage a coup and install TRUE “supporters of Constitutional freedom and liberty” ~ as defined, of course, by, say, FO4A or the like ~ then who and/or what is going to stop them?

                Any thoughts on that?

                That goes back to my old question: Will the United States survive to celebrate its 250th birthday on July 4, 2026; 1,522 days from today?

                Like

              2. “Seven Days in May”: love the book and the movie.

                And this saying captures an important truth: If fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.

                In sum, it will be uniquely “our” version of fascism.

                Interestingly, fascism disguises itself as forward-looking even as it is retrograde. We see the retrograde in America today. Abortion rights being eliminated. The Cold War resurgent. A return to feudal levels of servitude. A revival of religious-driven extremism.

                Nazi fascism, of course, rejected Christ and religion. Hitler was the new “christ” and Mein Kampf was the new bible. Again, an American version of fascism will not mirror Nazism. We have the illusion of two parties and of “choice.” We have an illusion of freedom of speech and the press. But even those illusions are being increasingly refined and constricted. Usually in the name of “security” or “safety.”

                So: I’m not willing to go whole hog and accept the fascist label, but I don’t reject it when it’s used intelligently.

                Liked by 1 person

    3. Maintaining the Balance of Payments in Canadian Dollars – My current rent in US Dollars would be $440.
      My rent for a large, 1 bedroom apartment in downtown Old Hull, heated, with parking space, was raised for the 2nd Time living here for the last 16 years. It went up $16/month from $550. The first/last rent increase 4 years ago went from $525 to $550.
      Naturally I was thrilled, and thanked God of my Faith, to see my Old Age Security with the Supplement is keeping up with my balance of payments, and was just raised exactly $16/month.

      With only that income, there is no end to the requests for donations. Even so, I was able to donate $25 USD via Mastercard to ConsortiumNews this am after reading this,

      PATRICK LAWRENCE: A Nation of ‘Geophobes’
      Amid rampant Russophobia and Sinophobia, America’s penchant for Cold-War “national character analysis” will — if left unchecked — lead the U.S. into deepest trouble. […]

      […]There is the case of Wendy Sherman, for instance. Sherman, who now serves as deputy secretary of state — the No. 2 under Antony Blinken — first caught my eye in the autumn of 2013, when Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s newly elected president, wowed the U.N. General Assembly and opened the door to talks that led to the 2015 agreement governing the Islamic Republic’s nuclear programs.
      Sherman was to lead negotiations but had to satisfy the Senate of her bona fides beforehand. “We know that deception is part of the DNA,” she asserted in reference to the Iranians.

      Now have you got the picture?

      It passed for diplomacy then and it passes for diplomacy now. America’s prevalent take on the conflict in Ukraine and Russia’s determination to intervene are a sinkhole of national character nonsense. This is why it is next to impossible to have a rational conversation with 99.9 percent of Americans about the complexities of the Ukraine crisis. Nope: It’s all about those Rrrrrussians and what they always do…………….

      https://consortiumnews.com/2022/05/02/patrick-lawrence-a-nation-of-geophobes/

      Like

  5. Thruth telling is at an all time low as far as I can see, since the Ukraine crisis. Hypocrisy and multiple standards without even the slightest pinch of shame. After subjects such as Afghanistan, Palestine or Covid, I started two new folders with relevant links titled Ukraine & ‘multiple standards’ respectively. A few links as illustration, for those with time to watch.

    Interview by Lamont Hill with Daniel Ellsberg conc Ukraine war :
    https://www.aljazeera.com/program/upfront/2022/4/29/who-really-benefits-from-war
    And as we got to the Vietnam war, this excellent document about Agent Orange – in Vietnam & Oregon, where a lady had her four children criminally burned to death when fighting areal spraying of it … https://www.aljazeera.com/program/featured-documentaries/2021/11/5/the-people-vs-agent-orange
    As for propaganda & lies, try Brzeziński Jr, the current US ambassador in Warsaw (capital of the latest – willing ! – US colony). He is ready to sacrifice Ukraine in order to weaken Russia – by feeding them arms to keep the war going as long as possible instead of proper diplomacy. Just as his father boasted he sacrificed Afghanistan to weaken the Soviet Union. Lying and nauseating flattery:
    No, the 2,5 or so millions refugees are not all staying with hospitable families – although very many are, until public patience will run out – there are many ‘temporary’ camps in empty buildings or even big tents. While the population of my home town has grown by 35 %, that of a smaller town even by 50%, Warsaw by 15 % and that of the country also considerably, it’s not by far as much as he claims – unless half our original population suddenly evaporated ? I hate empty flattery, even more so when it is used to get a ‘sovereign’ country with a government at least as moronic as yours, to spontaneously support another country’s objectives. I never watch this programme but made an exception for this subject : https://www.aljazeera.com/program/the-bottom-line/2022/4/14/whats-at-stake-for-the-us-in-ukraine
    Earlier he hosted some David Asher who advocated sanctions as the universal panacea (did it ever work, anywhere ?) and modestly intimated that those he had devised against the Soviet Union were the reason that empire disintegrated. I can only hope that one day he’ll find himself in a sanctioned country with empty shelves, no medical care and no access to any of his bank accounts. And no country to legally flee to. Might open his eyes to the real impact of his favourite whip ?
    https://www.aljazeera.com/program/the-bottom-line/2022/3/3/can-western-sanctions-really-change-russias-behaviour After Biden et al, we just had Pelosi visiting and pledging never-dying support – predominantly military of course.

    Sorry Bill, too long and too sour, but the present double standards and hypocrisy are getting at me. Behind each Ukrainian refugee I see all those ‘other’ ones whom we still push back, not to mention the Afghan family that I try to get to Europe since September (finally a glimmer of hope). I must conquer that rage every day.
    My one-before-latest refugee was a lady with her cat, after three weeks in a cellar in the now bombed out town Chernichiv, near Kyiv. She burst into tears whenever we met but when after a few weeks she moved on somewhere further, she invited me to come and visit her this summer when she will be back home … Eat raspberries in her orchard. Which now is mined, she added. I do not know how to handle that.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. From banned as Propaganda RT (Russia Today) You want WAR – You got it, according to the Pentagod
    It’s only a matter of Time before Russia destroys all those deliveries as soon as they’re on Ukraine territory.
    What’s the next US escalation after that? This is the US War with Russia using Ukrainians as the Sacrificial Lambs!

    Some 80% of the M777 howitzers and half of the 155mm ammunition for them – promised to Ukraine by US President Joe Biden last month – have already been delivered, the Department of Defense said on Monday.

    The US military also said it has supplied nearly all the counter-battery and anti-aircraft radars and 5,000 Javelin anti-tank missiles pledged, but no helicopters just yet.

    The figures came from a background briefing at the Pentagon on Monday, where an unnamed American defense official gave reporters the official account of Washington’s military aid to Kiev.

    Biden initially promised Ukraine 18 howitzers, but later added another 72, along with 140,000 rounds of 155mm ammunition, ten counter-artillery radars, two air surveillance radars, 200 M113 armored personnel carriers, 100 humvees and 11 Mi-17 helicopters.

    According to the Pentagon, half of the 155mm ammunition is already in Ukrainian hands, and more is headed over every day. A total of 72 howitzers have been delivered, along with “nearly all” the radars. A total of 14 cargo flights departed the US over the past 24 hours, and 11 more are expected over the next day, along with 23 flights from five other countries.

    These supply flights reportedly land in Poland, from where the weapons are taken across the Ukrainian border by road and rail.

    The Pentagon also revealed that the training of Ukrainian troops on the new howitzers is taking place in Germany. Florida National Guard troops based there, which had previously deployed to Ukraine for training, have taken over the howitzer drills from original Canadian instructors. More than 170 Ukrainian troops have already been trained in handling the M777s, and another 50 are completing their training, the official said…..

    Imagine RT quoting the Pentagod. So enemy like!

    Like

  7. Paypal has just banned Consortium News contributions. I suppose that is another way to sort of censor information; clearly Paypal wants to make it harder for people to support this very important news source that does not adhere to the propaganda the MSM peddles daily. They did it without notice, and their explanation is cryptic and non-specific when asked. I don’ know what is going on there but I do know that I’m grateful that I never signed up with them, and now I will never be tempted to in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Scott Horton appeared on the Kennedy show to present the lies he would like fact-checked by the new Minister of Truth, Nina Jankowicz:

    1. Bill Clinton’s claim that Serbs slaughtered 100,000 Kosovar Albanians, used to justify war against Serbia in 1999

    2. George W. Bush’s claim that Saddam Hussein planned on providing nuclear bombs to Osama bin Laden, used to justify war in Iraq in 2003

    3. Barack Obama’s claim that Muammar Gaddafi was about to murder 700,000 people in Benghazi, and that he was handing out Viagra to his troops for mass rape

    4. Obama’s claim that the U.S. funded “moderate rebels” in Syria, led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s men

    5, Trump’s claim that the Saudis paid the U.S. $450 billion a year to help them kill Yemenis

    6. The thousands of CIA FBI lies about Donald Trump and the Russiagate hoax

    7. Nina Jankowicz’s claim that Russian spies planted Hunter’s laptop

    8. Nina Jankowicz’s membership in the National Democratic Institute, which was involved in the 2014 coup in Ukraine

    At the end of the show Scott played a game with the other panelists where he was told to guess the meaning of various slang words. Instead of playing along, he used his time on national television to blast the wars. Kennedy declared him the winner.

    When he was asked the definition of “roaching,” Scott said: “When you have a massive proxy war right on Russia’s border and your secretary of state has not spoken to their foreign minister in two-and-a-half months.”

    For “periodt” Scott said it was “being locked in Guantanamo Bay prison for 20 years without a trial.”

    And for “caspering” Scott said it was the “Ghosts of hundreds of thousands of people that Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden have killed in Yemen.”

    [https://www.fox.com/watch/79aab92ac921bc4c3fdbf571a0811b9f/]

    Scott Horton is director of the Libertarian Institute, editorial director of Antiwar.com, host of Antiwar Radio on Pacifica, 90.7 FM KPFK in Los Angeles, California and podcasts the Scott Horton Show from ScottHorton.org.
    ————————–

    OUR POLITICIANS HAVE LIED US INTO WAR AGAIN AND AGAIN.

    “all the war lies” is a 14-slide presentation/PDF that spells out the 11 Lies our government has told us that got us into 11 Wars:

    The Old Wars
    1 – World War I
    2 – World War II

    The Cold Wars
    3 – Korea
    4 – Vietnam

    The “Peace Time” Wars
    5 – Iraq War I
    6 – Kosovo

    The Terror Wars
    7 – Afghanistan
    8 – Iraq War II
    9 – Libya
    10 – Syria
    11 – Yemen

    One wonders what the Lie is that is getting us into what may very well be Number 12 and “The Last War,” eh?

    Like

    1. Nice to see Scott Horton on that show. I’ve done a few interviews with Scott over the years on Antiwar.com.

      He’s a no-BS guy who takes principled stances against America’s disastrous wars.

      Like

      1. He is a Real Deal, for sure. There’s a bunch of those folks that hang out at antiwar.com, eh?

        If You get the chance, take a look at his 11 Lies/11 Wars slide show. It nails it completely. That needs to be turned into a documentary film series. Think The History Channel might be interested?

        Like

  9. You wrote: “And this saying captures an important truth: ‘If fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.’”

    Heh. That saying ~ variously attributed to Sinclair Lewis and/or Huey Long ~ didn’t go “IF fascism comes to America… .”

    Rather, it went “WHEN fascism comes to America… .”

    And when it gets here wrapped in that flag and carrying that cross, will it be any more “uniquely ours” than any and every other version was or is uniquely that of the leader, nation, and people of any fascist rule, anyplace on the planet?

    In any event, i’m curious: How did You find the distinction i made between Fascism and Socialism/Marxism/Communism? That the critical, ultimate root differences between the two forms of rule are:

    1. Whether or not there is private [typically corporate] ~ as opposed to government ~ ownership of the factors of economic production, distribution, and consumption.

    2. What happens to ~ ie, who gets ~ any profits that may accrue after production and distribution: those private owners or the state.

    Does that make sense to You? Or do You see other differences?

    And, finally, i would say that America has been in serious retrograde for quite some time now; since 9/11, to be specific.

    But it all started slipping back in the 80s when we sent Osama bin Laden and Da Boyz into Afghanistan to ”give the Russkies their very own Vietnam,” and we bankrolled Saddam’s Holy War against The Great Satan in Tehran.

    That was when Reagan’s “Shining City on a Hill” began it’s transition to what it has become today.

    Like

    1. Makes sense to me, but I’m a historian, not a political scientist, and I’m not a huge fan of isms, though I’m guilty of using them.

      When we use words like communism, socialism, fascism, capitalism, and, one of my favorites, anarcho-syndicalism, thinking often stops with the word or the label. These words often just become epithets and insults. Communist! Fascist! Socialist!

      Perhaps it’s better to speak of a political system deeply compromised by money that almost completely ignores the needs of the people. A system that employs propaganda on a massive scale and which wants to know everything about its subjects while revealing as little as possible about itself. A system increasingly unaccountable to oversight by the people. A system increasingly impervious to change.

      What label you apply to that is up to you.

      Like

      1. i’m going to stick with “Fascism with 21st century American characteristics.” Not as catchy as Wolin’s “inverted totalitarianism,” but better, i suppose than “Plutocratic, Autocratic, Oligarchic Bullshit,” eh?

        Like

        1. I think Oligarchic Plutocracy describes all the regimes of this World, the allegedly Democratic ones of the FREE WORLD with RISING COSTS, and the Authoritarian ones.

          Now that the Manipulated MASSES are beginning to understand the concept of Global ‘Economic Inequality” and how it affects them, some People may be offended these ancient Words from the Book of Books accurately describes the Spirit of Our Times,

          Go to now, you rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
          Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth eaten.
          Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. You have heaped treasure together for THE LAST DAYS.
          Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by FRAUD, cries: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord Almighty.
          James 5

          It’s starting with Russian Oligarchs, but American, Canadian, British, German, Indian, Chinese and all the other 2755 Oligarchs in this World will ultimately be affected in echoes of this old adage,

          First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
          Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
          Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
          Then they came for the Gays, and I did not speak out—because I was not Gay.
          Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

          Like

  10. I liked this article and am glad you wrote on this topic. Agree with your conclusion.

    A couple of inputs:

    Am calling you out on this line: “Democrats, of course, don’t have exclusive rights to censorship. Republicans always seem to be calling for books to be banned or education to be policed.”

    What was the last book that Republicans called to be banned? And policing education (of children) is a far different thing than censorship of the “town square”. You’re promulgating a fallacy with your statement above (that the recent censorship problem is equally a Democrat and Republican supported activity). Let’s keep it real…the recent censorship problem is exclusively a Democrat/Liberal/Leftist thing.

    Second input: Your core message is essentially: Don’t use censorship because it won’t work.
    Why no mention of why it is wrong? If it would work, should it then be used? This really highlights the fundamental disconnect in values that underlies most of the unrest in America now. Some view censorship as just a tool to be pragmatically used, while others view it as anathema… incompatible with their values and the Constitution.

    Hope you hit this topic more often.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Neither political party has a monopoly on censorship.

      My second input: Actually, I think censorship DOES work. And that’s why it’s wrong. It deceives people, or keeps them ignorant, while disrupting their ability to be informed citizens who can participate actively and intelligently in democracy. But I should have added “righteously” as well. 🙂

      As an aside: censorship on the Hunter laptop story played a key role in getting Joe Biden elected. But at what price? Joe blamed Russia for putting out disinformation with respect to the laptop, and now we’re involved in a dangerous proxy war with Russia over Ukraine. I’d really like not to be nuked today.

      Like

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