Paranoia or time to defend democracy
If the righties have been good at one thing, its using the mechamicisms of an open society to undermine the very freedom which they claim to care so much about. They have succeeded in defining freedom as security. They have and continue defer the rule of law in favor of order. The Soviets had order, the Chinese have order, all authoritarian regimes do. These regimes do not have a culture of ethics or a systems of genuine social justice which the rule of law would dictate.
By way of Democratic Veteran, Welcome to Germany, 1933
The moves have taken place on several fronts. The White House is considering expanding the power of a little-known Pentagon agency called the Counterintelligence Field Activity, or CIFA, which was created three years ago. The proposal, made by a presidential commission, would transform CIFA from an office that coordinates Pentagon security efforts -- including protecting military facilities from attack -- to one that also has authority to investigate crimes within the United States such as treason, foreign or terrorist sabotage or even economic espionage.
The Pentagon has pushed legislation on Capitol Hill that would create an intelligence exception to the Privacy Act, allowing the FBI and others to share information gathered about U.S. citizens with the Pentagon, CIA and other intelligence agencies, as long as the data is deemed to be related to foreign intelligence. Backers say the measure is needed to strengthen investigations into terrorism or weapons of mass destruction.
beware, possible Godwin's Law violation ahead. Jo at DV quotes from Goering. Not an unfair comparison in my view. Let's continue the eerie comparison to our current political climate.
As the creator of the secret police, Goering, together with Himmler (q.v.) and Heydrich (q.v.), set up the early concentration camps for political opponents, showing formidable energy in terrorizing and crushing all resistance.
On 1 March 1935 he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force and, with Udet and Milch, was responsible for organizing the rapid build-up of the aircraft industry and training of pilots. In 1936 his powers were further extended by his appointment as Plenipotentiary for the implementation of the Four Year Plan, which gave him virtually dictatorial controls to direct the German economy. The creation of the state-owned Hermann Goering Works in 1937, a gigantic industrial nexus which employed 700,000 workers and amassed a capital of 400 million marks, enabled him to accumulate a huge fortune
and let's here from an admittedly flawed man that possessed great vision.
The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it comes strong than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Note the deep partnership that the current administration has with large multi-national corporation like Haliburton and the pandering to the right-wing religious extremists. When pundits from The Wall Street Journal to radio shock jock to certain facsist-lite bloggers throw out words like traitor at the mereist whim, that's not the worst of times, that's a warning of what could be. Will the John Murthas, Cindy Sheehans, Michael Moores, or Wesley Clarkes that are derided today have a dossier today and be somehow cut off from the public debate tomorrow. Yes. its easy to dismiss talk like this as being over reaction, its also easy to let small freedom after small freedom slip away until there is little left. There are no small freedoms.At the very core of liberalism is that which even contrarian liberals and progressives agree on, that whether authoritarianism comes from the far right, the far left, or radical Muslims, its always wrong.
For those that feel that its a reasonable trade-off, security at the sacrifice of civil liberties, there is no country where that formula has worked for long or worked for the betterment of that society.
"Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the
government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding."
Justice Louis Brandeis, 1928
I disagree with Justice Brandeis in the sense that the leaders of the modern incarnation of the Republican Party are acting with the most malicious of intentions. Sure, there are good well meaning people that have had their patriotism exploited by these masters of modern propaganda, but people like G.W. Bush who once refered to FDR as a socialists, have only contempt for a progressive democracy that regards it as a moral obligation to take care of the poor, the aged, and the working class.