Sunday, February 20, 2005

Bar None. . .

This Is The Most Important Read Of The Day. . .
Forwarded To Me By A Member My E-List, Feb. 20, 2005

The main article, (
"Nobles Need Not Pay Taxes",) is by Thom Hartmann, and the rest is related to
his article's content.  You'll have to click on the "Below The Fold" link to read it, as this is just an introduction to this important information.

It is a longish "in-depth" discussion, with links to additional sources, and referenced information, that requires one spend some real quality time in it - But - It is, bar none, the best "in a nutshell" exposure of today's American reality that I have found to date.

"Worth the time," is an understatement.

I strongly suggest that you, dear reader, pass this important information
 Your Right
on to as many people as possible, especially those that are misinformed, in denial, etc., because it will take the dedicated efforts of all of us Americans to turn this incredible mess around. . .

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = 

Nobles Need Not Pay Taxes

by Thom Hartmann

A new aristocracy is taking over not just the United States of America but also the world.  Proof of how far along it has come was in an article by Glenn R. Simpson in the January 28, 2005 edi-
tion of
The Wall Street Journal.

"European countries have been steadily slashing corporate tax rates," wrote Simpson, adding, "...
between 2000 and 2003, one nation after another has moved toward lower corporate rates with fewer loopholes."

On January 31, 2005, the Journal followed up with another story (
"Tax Showdown Promised by
EU Chief"
) pointing out that "...the new president of the European Commission launched a blunt attack on French and German efforts to end tax competition among European Union countries."
Ironically, EU leader José Manuel Barroso is also quoted in the Journal as saying: "Corporatist vested interests are the most important problem, be they from the left or the right."

This is more than just a tax cut story.  It's about a fundamental shift in power and wealth from average people and the governments they had formed to represent them, to the capture of those governments and economic enslavement of their people by corporate aristocracies.

In it, Europe is simply following the lead set out by the United States, starting with the Reagan-
/Bush administration, when, in 1983, corporate taxes revenues were slashed to a low not seen since 1929.

This isn't the first time this has happened.  Marc Bloch is one of the great 20th Century scholars of the feudal history of Europe.  In his book
"Feudal Society" he points out that feudalism is a fracturing of one authoritarian hierarchical structure into another: the state disintegrates, as local power brokers take over.  In almost every case, both with European feudalism and feudalism in China, South America, and Japan, "feudalism coincided with a profound weakening of the State, particularly in its protective capacity."  Whether the power and wealth agent that takes the place of government is a local baron, lord, king, or corporation, if it has greater power in the lives of individuals than does a representative government, the culture has dissolved into feudalism.  Blunt-
ly, Bloch states: "The feudal system meant the rigorous economic subjection of a host of humble folk to a few powerful men."

This doesn't mean the end of government, but, instead the subordination of government to the in-
terests of the feudal lords.  Interestingly, even in Feudal Europe, Bloch points out, "The concept of the State never absolutely disappeared, and where it retained the most vitality men continued to call themselves 'free'."

The transition from a governmental society to a feudal one is marked by the rapid accumulation of power and wealth in a few hands, with a corresponding reduction in the power and responsibilities of governments that represent the people.

Once the rich and powerful gain control of the government, they turn it upon itself, usually first eliminating its taxation process as it applies to themselves.  Says Bloch: "Nobles need not pay taille [taxes]."  Or, as Glenn Simpson noted in the
Wall Street Journal, "General Electric Co., for example, reported paying an effective tax rate of 19% last year on world-wide income, compared with 26% in 2003."

Corporations are taxed because they use public services, and are therefore expected to help pay for them - the same as citizens.  Corporations make use of a work force educated in public schools paid for with tax dollars.  They use roads and highways paid for with tax dollars.  They use water, sewer, and power and communications rights-of-way paid for with taxes.  They de-
mand the same protection from fire and police departments as everybody else, and enjoy the benefits of national sovereignty and the stability provided by the military and institutions like NATO and the United Nations, the same as all residents of democratic nations.

In fact, corporations are heavier users of taxpayer-provided services and institutions than are average citizens.  Taxes pay for our court systems, which are most heavily used by corporations to enforce contracts.  Taxes pay for our Treasury Department and other governmental institutions which maintain a stable currency essential to corporate activity.  Taxes pay for our regulation of corporate activity, from assuring safety in the workplace to a pure food and drug supply to limiting toxic emissions.

Under George W. Bush, the burden of cleaning up toxic wastes produced by corporate activity has largely shifted from polluter-funded Superfund and other programs to taxpayer-funded clean-
ups (as he did in Texas as governor there before becoming President).

Every year, millions of cases of cancer, emphysema, neurological disorders, and other conditions caused by corporate pollution are paid for in whole or in part by government funded programs from Medicare to Medicaid to government subsidies of hospitals, universities, and research insti-
tutions funded by tax dollars through the NIH and NIMH.

Because it's well understood that corporations use our tax-funded institutions at least as heavily as do citizens, they've traditionally been taxed at similar rates.  For example, the top corporate tax rate in the US was 48% during the Carter administration, down from the a peak of 53% during the Eisenhower and Kennedy years.  Today it stands at 35%, but in May of 2001 Bush admin-
istration Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill suggested there should be no corporate income tax whatsoever.  This was the opening salvo in a very real war to have working people bear all the costs of the commons and governance, while the wealthy corporate elite derive most of its benefits.

And, as George H.W. Bush pointed out when he was president, this isn't just an American phenomenon.  It's a New World Order.

"The corporate tax-cutters of recent years stretch from Portugal, where the rate has dropped 10 points to about 17%," notes
The Wall Street Journal's 28 January article, "to Austria, down nine points to about 25%."

A cornerstone of the conservative movement to consolidate power in the hands of a wealthy corporate elite, the campaign to end corporate income taxes altogether - and leave the rest of us to pick up the entire tab for corporate use of our institutions and corporation despoliation of our commons - first picked up steam when Reagan came to power in 1980.  As Cato Institute adjunct scholar Richard W. Rahn noted in Rev. Moon's
Washington Times, "The idea and practice of the corporate income tax has been dying slowly for the last two decades."  The December 1, 2004 Washington Times article, titled "End Corporate Income Tax," reflects a powerful and growing movement not just in the United States but across the world.  So-called "free trade" agreements and supranational institutions like the WTO have given multinational corporations control of the economic lives of nations that were previously democracies.  Holland, Ireland, Germany, Portugal, Belgium - the list goes on and on.

In a feudal state, as Bloch reminds us, the nobles need not pay taxes.  And as Mussolini told us, the newest form of feudalism has been reinvented and renamed.  He called it "fascism" - a word that was defined by The American Heritage Dictionary (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1983) as "
*fas-cism* (fash'iz'em) n. A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism."

We are quickly shifting toward a corporate-run state in countries all over the world.  It appears "free" and even allows elections, albeit they are only among candidates funded and approved by corporate powers, held on voting machines owned by those corporate powers, and marketed in media owned by those corporate powers.  But this bears little resemblance to the democratic republic envisioned by our nation's Founders.

If our elected representatives - and those of other "free" nations - don't quickly wake up and reverse course, we will soon again be in a feudal world.  And it's up to us - We the People - to help them awaken.

Thom Hartmann ( is a Project Censored Award-winning best-selling author and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk show.

Comment from a reader:

I agree that the rising power and wealth of Corporations is another sign of the growth of fascism in the world.  I'm not so sure corporations are the new feudal lords.  As bad as the feudal barons may have been, they were at least local.  In any case the attachment came from Mark Irons last month and I think it's a good one for identifying the growing signs of fascism in this country.

On Fascism. . .

About twice a year something comes along in email or on the internet which is this thoughtful and articulate.  It starts off heavy enough but by the end I found inspiration in it.  This prints out at about seven pages but it reads quickly and for me it's a good place from which to move forward into the unknown new year. First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin , Texas About Minister, Davidson Loehr, Ph.D.

------------------------------------------------------------------------ --------

SERMON: Living Under Fascism You may wonder why anyone would try to use the word "fascism" in a serious discussion of where America is today.  It sounds like cheap name-calling,
or melodramatic allusion to a slew of old war movies.  But I am serious.  I don't mean it as name-calling at all.  I mean to persuade you that the style of governing into which America has slid is most accurately described as fascism, and that the necessary implications of this fact are rightly regarded as terrifying.  That's what I am about here.  And even if I don't persuade you, I hope to raise the level of your thinking about who and where we are now, to add some nuance and perhaps some useful insights.

The word comes from the Latin word "Fasces," denoting a bundle of sticks tied together.  The individual sticks represented citizens, and the bundle represented the state.  The message of this metaphor was that it was the bundle that was significant, not the individual sticks.  If it sounds un-American, it's worth knowing that the Roman Fasces appear on the wall behind the Speaker's podium in the chamber of the US House of Representatives.

Still, it's an unlikely word.  When most people hear the word "fascism" they may think of the racism and anti-Semitism of Mussolini and Hitler.  It is true that the use of force and the scape-
goating of fringe groups are part of every fascism.  But there was also an economic dimension of fascism, known in Europe during the 1920s and '30s as "corporatism," which was an essential ingredient of Mussolini's and Hitler's tyrannies.  So-called corporatism was adopted in Italy and Germany during the 1930s and was held up as a model by quite a few intellectuals and policy makers in the United States and Europe.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago (in "
The Corporation Will Eat Your Soul"), Fortune Magazine ran a cover story on Mussolini in 1934, praising his fascism for its ability to break worker unions, dis-
empower workers and transfer huge sums of money to those who controlled the money rather than those who earned it.

Few Americans are aware of or can recall how so many Americans and Europeans viewed eco-
nomic fascism as the wave of the future during the 1930s.  Yet reviewing our past may help shed light on our present, and point the way to a better future.  So I want to begin by looking back to the last time fascism posed a serious threat to America.

In Sinclair Lewis's 1935 novel "
It Can't Happen Here," a conservative southern politician is helped to the presidency by a nationally syndicated radio talk show host.  The politician - Buzz Windrip - runs his campaign on family values, the flag, and patriotism.  Windrip and the talk show host por-
tray advocates of traditional American democracy - those concerned with individual rights and freedoms - as anti-American.  That was 69 years ago.

One of the most outspoken American fascists from the 1930s was economist Lawrence Dennis.
In his 1936 book, "
The Coming American Fascism" - a coming which he anticipated and cheered - Dennis declared that defenders of "18th-century Americanism" were sure to become "the laugh-
ing stock of their own countrymen."  The big stumbling block to the development of economic fascism, Dennis bemoaned, was "liberal norms of law or constitutional guarantees of private rights."

So it is important for us to recognize that, as an economic system, fascism was widely accepted in the 1920s and '30s, and nearly worshiped by some powerful American industrialists.  And fascism has always, and explicitly, been opposed to liberalism of all kinds.

Mussolini, who helped create modern fascism, viewed liberal ideas as the enemy.  "The Fascist conception of life," he wrote, "stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with the State.  It is opposed to classical liberalism [which] denied the State in the name of the individual; Fascism reasserts the rights of the State as ex-
pressing the real essence of the individual."  
(In 1932 Mussolini wrote, with the help of Giovanni Gentile, an entry for the Italian Encyclopedia on the definition of fascism.  You can read the whole entry at

Mussolini thought it was unnatural for a government to protect individual rights: The essence of fascism, he believed, is that government should be the master, not the servant, of the people.

Still, fascism is a word that is completely foreign to most of us.  We need to know what it is, and how we can know it when we see it.

In an essay coyly titled "
Fascism Anyone?," Dr. Lawrence Britt, a political scientist, identifies social and political agendas common to fascist regimes.  His comparisons of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Suharto, and Pinochet yielded this list of 14 "identifying characteristics of fascism."  (The following article is from Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 23, Number 2.  Read it at  See how familiar they sound.

1.  Powerful and Continuing Nationalism Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia.  Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2.  Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need."  The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3.  Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4.  Supremacy of the Military Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected.
Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5.  Rampant Sexism The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated.  Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.

6.  Controlled Mass Media Sometimes the media are directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media are indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives.  Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7.  Obsession with National Security Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8.  Religion and Government are Intertwined Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion.  Religious rhetoric and term-
inology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9.  Corporate Power is Protected The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business-
/government relationship and power elite.

10.  Labor Power is Suppressed Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to
a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11.  Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostil-
ity to higher education, and academia.  It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested.  Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

12.  Obsession with Crime and Punishment Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws.  The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism.  There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations

13.  Rampant Cronyism and Corruption Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups
of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability.  It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14.  Fraudulent Elections Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham.  Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manip-
ulation of the media.  Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

This list will be familiar to students of political science.  But it should be familiar to students of religion as well, for much of it mirrors the social and political agenda of religious fundamentalisms worldwide.  It is both accurate and helpful for us to understand fundamentalism as religious fas-
cism, and fascism as political fundamentalism.  They both come from very primitive parts of us that have always been the default setting of our species: amity toward our in-group, enmity to-
ward out-groups, hierarchical deference to alpha male figures, a powerful identification with our territory, and so forth.  It is that brutal default setting that all civilizations have tried to raise us above, but it is always a fragile thing, civilization, and has to be achieved over and over and over again.

But, again, this is not America's first encounter with fascism.

In early 1944,
The New York Times asked Vice President Henry Wallace to, as Wallace noted, "write a piece answering the following questions: What is a fascist?  How many fascists have we?  How dangerous are they?"

Vice President Wallace's answer to those questions was published in
The New York Times on April 9, 1944, at the height of the war against the Axis powers of Germany and Japan.  See
how much you think his statements apply to our society today.

"The really dangerous American fascist," Wallace wrote, "is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way.  The American fascist would prefer not to use violence.  His method is to poison the channels of public infor-
mation.  With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power."

In his strongest indictment of the tide of fascism he saw rising in America, Wallace added, "They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution.
They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest.  Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection."  By these standards, a few of today's weapons for keeping the com-
mon people in eternal subjection include NAFTA, the World Trade Organization, union-busting, cutting worker benefits while increasing CEO pay, elimination of worker benefits, security and pensions, rapacious credit card interest, and outsourcing of jobs - not to mention the largest prison system in the world.

The Perfect Storm

Our current descent into fascism came about through a kind of "Perfect Storm," a confluence of three unrelated but mutually supportive schools of thought.

1.  The first stream of thought was the imperialistic dream of the Project for the New American Century.  I don't believe anyone can understand the past four years without reading the
Project for the New American Century, published in September 2000 and authored by many who have been prominent players in the Bush administrations, including Cheney, Rumsfleid, Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Donald Kagan to name only a few.  This report saw the fall of Communism as a call for America to become the military rulers of the world, to establish a new worldwide empire.
They spelled out the military enhancements we would need, then noted, sadly, that these wonder-
ful plans would take a long time, unless there could be a catastrophic and catalyzing event like a new Pearl Harbor that would let the leaders turn America into a military and militarist country.
There was no clear interest in religion in this report, and no clear concern with local economic policies.

2.  A second powerful stream must be credited to Pat Robertson and his Christian Reconstruc-
tionists, or Dominionists.  Long dismissed by most of us as a screwball, the Dominionist style of Christianity which he has been preaching since the early 1980s is now the most powerful religious voice in the Bush administration.

Katherine Yurica, who transcribed over 1300 pages of interviews from Pat Robertson's "
700 Club" shows in the 1980s, has shown how Robertson and his chosen guests consistently, openly and passionately argued that America must become a theocracy under the control of Christian Dominionists.  Robertson is on record saying democracy is a terrible form of government unless it is run by his kind of Christians.  He also rails constantly against taxing the rich, against public education, social programs and welfare - and prefers Deuteronomy 28 over the teachings of Jesus.  He is clear that women must remain homebound as obedient servants of men, and that abortions, like homosexuals, should not be allowed.  Robertson has also been clear that other kinds of Christians, including Episcopalians and Presbyterians, are enemies of Christ.  (The Yurica Report.  Search under this name, or for "Despoiling America" by Katherine Yurica on the internet.)

3.  The third major component of this Perfect Storm has been the desire of very wealthy Amer-
icans and corporate CEOs for a plutocracy that will favor profits by the very rich and disem-
powerment of the vast majority of American workers, the destruction of workers' unions, and the alliance of government to help achieve these greedy goals.  It is a condition some have called socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor, and which others recognize as a reincarnation of Social Darwinism.  This strain of thought has been present throughout American history.  Seventy years ago, they tried to finance a military coup to replace Franlkin Delano Roosevelt and establish General Smedley Butler as a fascist dictator in 1934.  Fortunately, the picked a general who really was a patriot; he refused, reported the scheme, and spoke and wrote about it.  As Canadian law professor Joel Bakan wrote in the book and movie "
The Corporation," they have now achieved their coup without firing a shot.

Our plutocrats have had no particular interest in religion.  Their global interests are with an imper-
ialist empire, and their domestic goals are in undoing all the New Deal reforms of Franklin Delano Roosevelt that enabled the rise of America's middle class after WWII.

Another ill wind in this Perfect Storm is more important than its crudity might suggest: it was President Clinton's sleazy sex with a young but eager intern in the White House.  This incident, and Clinton's equally sleazy lying about it, focused the certainties of conservatives on the fact that "liberals" had neither moral compass nor moral concern, and therefore represented a dangerous threat to the moral fiber of America.  While the effects of this may be hard to quantify, I think they were profound.

These "storm" components have no necessary connection, and come from different groups of thinkers, many of whom wouldn't even like one another.  But together, they form a nearly com-
plete web of command and control, which has finally gained control of America and, they hope,
of the world.

What's coming When all fascisms exhibit the same social and political agendas (the 14 points listed by Britt), then it is not hard to predict where a new fascist uprising will lead.  And it is not hard.  The actions of fascists and the social and political effects of fascism and fundamentalism are clear and sobering.  Here is some of what's coming, what will be happening in our country in the next few years:

The theft of all social security funds, to be transferred to those who control money, and the in-
creasing destitution of all those dependent on social security and social welfare programs.  Rising numbers of uninsured people in this country that already has the highest percentage of citizens without health insurance in the developed world.  Increased loss of funding for public education combined with increased support for vouchers, urging Americans to entrust their children's edu-
cation to Christian schools.  More restrictions on civil liberties as America is turned into the police state necessary for fascism to work Withdrawal of virtually all funding for National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System.  At their best, these media sometimes encourage critical questioning, so they are correctly seen as enemies of the state's official stories.  The rein-
statement of a draft, from which the children of privileged parents will again be mostly exempt, leaving our poorest children to fight and die in wars of imperialism and greed that could never benefit them anyway.  (That was my one-sentence Veterans' Day sermon for this year.) More imperialistic invasions: of Iran and others, and the construction of a huge permanent embassy in Iraq.  More restrictions on speech, under the flag of national security.  Control of the internet to remove or cripple it as an instrument of free communication that is exempt from government control.  This will be presented as a necessary anti-terrorist measure.  Efforts to remove the tax-exempt status of churches like this one, and to characterize them as anti-American.  Tighter control of the editorial bias of almost all media, and demonization of the few media they are unable to control - the New York Times, for instance.  Continued outsourcing of jobs, including more white-collar jobs, to produce greater profits for those who control the money and direct the society, while simultaneously reducing America's workers to a more desperate and powerless status.  Moves in the banking industry to make it impossible for an increasing number of Ameri-
cans to own their homes.  As they did in the 1930s, those who control the money know that it is to their advantage and profit to keep others renting rather than owning.  Criminalization of those who protest, as un-American, with arrests, detentions and harassment increasing.  We already have a higher percentage of our citizens in prison than any other country in the world.  That percentage will increase.  In the near future, it will be illegal or at least dangerous to say the things I have said here this morning.  In the fascist story, these things are un-American.  In the real history of a democratic America, they were seen as profoundly patriotic, as the kind of critical questions that kept the American spirit alive - the kind of questions, incidentally, that our media were supposed to be pressing.  Can these schemes work?  I don't think so.  I think they are murderous, rapacious and insane.  But I don't know.  Maybe they can.  Similar schemes have worked in countries like Chile, where a democracy in which over 90% voted has been reduced to one in which only about 20% vote because they say, as Americans are learning to say, that it no longer matters who you vote for.

Hope In the meantime, is there any hope, or do we just band together like lemmings and dive
off a cliff?  Yes, there is always hope, though at times it is more hidden, as it is now.

As some critics are now saying, and as I have been preaching and writing for almost twenty years, America's liberals need to grow beyond political liberalism, with its often self-absorbed focus on individual rights to the exclusion of individual responsibilities to the larger society.
Liberals will have to construct a more complete vision with moral and religious grounding.
That does not mean confessional Christianity.  It means the legitimate heir to Christianity.
Such a legitimate heir need not be a religion, though it must have clear moral power, and be
able to attract the minds and hearts of a voting majority of Americans.

And the new liberal vision must be larger than that of the conservative religious vision that will
be appointing judges, writing laws and bending the cultural norms toward hatred and exclusion for the foreseeable future.  The conservatives deserve a lot of admiration.  They have spent the last thirty years studying American politics, forming their vision and learning how to gain control in the political system.  And it worked; they have won.  Even if liberals can develop a bigger vision, they still have all that time-consuming work to do.  It won't be fast.  It isn't even clear that liberals will be willing to do it; they may instead prefer to go down with the ship they're used to.

One man who has been tireless in his investigations and critiques of America's slide into fascism is Michael C. Ruppert, whose postings usually read as though he is wound way too tight.  But he offers four pieces of advice about what we can do now, and they seem reality-based enough to pass on to you.  This is America; they're all about money:

First, he says you should get out of debt.  Second is to spend your money and time on things that give you energy and provide you with useful information.  Third is to stop spending a penny with major banks, news media and corporations that feed you lies and leave you angry and exhausted.
And fourth is to learn how money works and use it like a (political) weapon - as he predicts the rest of the world will be doing against us.

Coincidence:  I just picked up his book "
Crossing the Rubicon" today....

That's advice written this week.  Another bit of advice comes from sixty years ago, from Roose-
velt's Vice President, Henry Wallace.  Wallace said, "Democracy, to crush fascism internally, must...develop the ability to keep people fully employed and at the same time balance the budget.
It must put human beings first and dollars second.  It must appeal to reason and decency and not to violence and deceit.  We must not tolerate oppressive government or industrial oligarchy in the form of monopolies and cartels."

Still another way to understand fascism is as a kind of colonization.  A simple definition of "coloni-
zation" is that it takes people's stories away, and assigns them supportive roles in stories that em-
power others at their expense.  When you are taxed to support a government that uses you as a means to serve the ends of others, you are - ironically - in a state of taxation without representa-
tion.  That's where this country started, and it's where we are now.

I don't know the next step.  I'm not a political activist; I'm only a preacher.  But whatever you do, whatever we do, I hope that we can remember some very basic things that I think of as eternally true.  One is that the vast majority of people are good decent people who mean and do as well as they know how.  Very few people are evil, though some are.  But we all live in families where some of our blood relatives support things we hate.  I believe they mean well, and the way to re-
build broken bridges is through greater understanding, compassion, and a reality-based story that
is more inclusive and empowering for the vast majority of us.

Those who want to live in a reality-based story rather than as serfs in an ideology designed to transfer power, possibility and hope to a small ruling elite have much long and hard work to do, individually and collectively.  It will not be either easy or quick.

But we will do it.  We will go forward in hope and in courage.  Let us seek that better path, and find the courage to take it - step, by step, by step.

-- "Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword.  It both emboldens the blood just as it narrows the mind.  And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no
need to seize the rights of the citizenry.  Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all their rights unto the leader and gladly so.  How
do I know?  For this is what I have done.  And I am Caesar."


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