Friday, July 12: Philadelphia, PA 4:15pm - At Netroots Nation
Location: PA Convention Center, 1101 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA
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Is Our Government Any Different from a Fascist Government Now?
I think that we need to start using language that actually reflects reality. The definition of fascism, as Benito Mussolini invented the word, comes from the Latin word fasces which was the old symbol of the Roman Empire.
Our Congress has it engraved at the speaker's podium. A fasces is a bundle of sticks with a rope around it, with a little axe stuck in the top and this was the symbol of the Roman Empire.
And the idea was that individual sticks can easily be broken, but if you bundle them together and tie a rope around them, you can't break it. You can't even destroy it with an axe.
So Mussolini defined fascism as the merger of corporate and state interests.
And in Italy in the 1930s he dissolved the Parliament that had been elected by the people and replaced it with a parliament where each Italian equivalent of a congressional district, instead of sending an elected representative to serve in the Italian parliament, the largest corporation in that district sent a representative to serve in Parliament.
And the name of the Parliament was changed during Mussolini's rule to the Camera dei Fasci e delle Corporazioni - the chamber of fascist corporations.
How is what's going on right now any different from that?
I mean, it's not quite as blatant, it's not quite as obvious, it's not quite as honest, but as Toly Rinberg and Andrew Bergman report in the New York Times in an article titled Censoring Climate Change...
" If you searched Google for the words "climate change" a little over six months ago, one of the first hits would have been the Environmental Protection Agency's website. But that was before April 28, when the agency began systematically dismantling its climate change website."
Now, why would they do this?
Well, because some of the biggest funders of the Republican Party are the Koch brothers. Koch Industries is a fossil fuel company, largely. The Koch brothers' daddy made all his money in Russia teaching Joe Stalin how to drill for oil. He came back to the United States, expanded that fortune with refineries down in Texas and pipelines. They own a good chunk of the Canadian tar sands, etc., etc. They are fossil fuel billionaires and one of their many political arms is called Americans for Prosperity. As the New York Times article says...
"If you search those words today, a link to the E.P.A. site may not appear until the second or third search results page, and sometimes not even then... The site has fallen in Google's search results because its address, or URL, no longer directs you to the climate change site or a related page.
If you click that link, you'll be redirected to a notice page that says, "We are currently updating our website to reflect E.P.A.'s priorities under the leadership" of President Trump and Scott Pruitt...
A significant number of pages and PDFs are not available, and entire portions of the site, like the Student's Guide to Global Climate Change, have been left out...
And now-broken links that previously led to the E.P.A. climate change pages are scattered across federal and nonfederal websites."
[There have been] changes to tens of thousands of web pages... It is clear that the administration is intent on making it difficult or impossible to find information on its web pages about climate change.
The authors write...
"Of all the government websites we've been monitoring, the E.P.A.'s has been hit hardest."
I would say by this fascist administration, an administration that is entirely dancing to the tune of billionaires and the industries that made them rich.
Find anything this administration is doing that isn't principally being done for the benefit of billionaires and the corporations that made them rich. I can't think of anything. Back to the article...
"Terms like "greenhouse gases," "carbon" and "climate change" have been replaced by vague descriptors like "sustainability" and "emissions." In addition, web resources about specific regulations have disappeared."
Talk about censoring the internet!
"The agency also removed its website for "Climate and Energy Resources for State, Local and Tribal Governments" and replaced it with one called "Energy Resources for State, Local and Tribal Governments," eliminating over 200 web pages, including almost all of those pertaining to climate change"...
The State Department removed reports containing required emissions projections under international treaty.
The Interior Department removed descriptions of its priorities for tackling climate change...
Links to websites hosting climate data were removed from the main Department of Energy climate change web page."
This is a horror show, and the other thing about fascism is it's all about rich people.
So you've got Senator Rob Portman, the Republican from Ohio, lying at a tax reform event hosted by the Koch-funded PAC Americans for Prosperity - gee, what a surprise!
"Portman was asked by a constituent whether the tax bill could impact his Medicare benefits."
Here's what Senator Rob Portman said: "no, it's a tax reform bill". Well, actually, it is going to impact all of our Medicare benefits and more. There's this thing called PAYGO. The Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010 reinstated pay-as-you-go budgeting rules used in Congress starting under George H W Bush in 1990.
Is our government any different from a fascist government now?