By Gary G. Kohls, MD for VT
“Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.” – Benito Mussolini (actually first written by Giovanni Gentile)
“Corporations are the opposite of good citizens. They bribe politicians to write laws that cheat society on a mammoth scale, most significantly by allowing them to avoid paying many of the very real costs incurred in conducting their businesses.“
Such very real costs ”include the social and environmental costs of destruction of valuable resources, pollution, the burdens on society of workers who become injured or ill and receive little or no health care, the indirect funding received when companies are permitted to market hazardous products, dump wastes into oceans and rivers, pay employees less than a living wage, provide substandard working conditions, and extract natural resources from public lands at less than market prices.
Furthermore, most corporations are dependent on public subsidies, exemptions, massive advertising and lobbying campaigns, and complex transportation and communications systems that are underwritten by taxpayers; their executives receive inflated salaries, perks, and “golden retirement parachutes” which are written off as tax deductions.” — John Perkins, author of “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” and The Secret History of the American Empire: The Truth About Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and How to Change the World”
“There are two governments in the United States today. One is visible. The other is invisible. The first is the government that citizens read about in their newspapers and children study about in their civics books. The second is the interlocking, hidden machinery that carries out the policies of the United States in the Cold War. This second, invisible government gathers intelligence, conducts espionage and plans and executes secret operations all over the globe.”
“The Invisible Government…although the CIA is at its heart…even encompasses business firms and institutions that are seemingly private.” – David Wise and Thomas B. Ross, co-authors of “The Invisible Government”
“If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been “taken”. Once you give a charlatan (or a corporation) power over you, you almost never get it back.” – Carl Sagan, author of “The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark”
“Corporate-controlled ‘science’ is not really science but a smokescreen to pave the way for products that may be harmful or addictive – but what do they care as long as they profit? There are many great scientists but there are also many who are willing to be ‘hired’ to ‘prove’ that something is safe, effective, or doesn’t cause cancer. You cannot trust the EPA, the FDA, the CDC or Big Pharma/Big Vaccine-connected corporate ‘science’.” – Anonymous
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” — Upton Sinclair, American anti-fascist, anti-imperialist author
“He who pays the piper, calls the tune.”
In the United States, only simpletons, lunatics, the blindered, the deluded, the inattentive, the over-medicated, the too-easily propagandized, those too impoverished and/or too busy to find the time to think rationally and those with serious corporate/economic conflicts of interest are unable (or refuse) to see that uber-wealthy, often criminally-connected, multinational corporations now control the actions of the US President, the majority of the US Congress, the majority of the US Supreme Court, Big Business Trade Associations, Corporate Lobbyists, Wall Street, War Street, etc.
A timely example of the ruling power that corporations have over most politicians is the sad fact that corporations routinely bribe (via “campaign contributions”) politicians like Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and their mostly GOP, pro-NRA legislators that can be induced to do nothing about the “slaughter of the innocents” with weapons of war.
The NRA is just one of thousands of Big Business “corporate trade associations” whose paymasters make money selling products (such as military-style assault weapons) that a lot of violent right-wing extremists are using to kill and intimidate people of a different nationality, religion, skin color, country of origin or way of life. Corporations do not pledge allegiance to a code of ethics (like physicians used to do). Their only duty is to make as much money as possible for their shareholders.
And the march toward corporate supremacy started long before the dramatic boost that corporations received when the Neo-conservative-dominated US Supreme Court ruled that inanimate corporations should have the same rights and privileges as human beings in the outrageous Citizen’s United (a corporation) versus the Federal Election Commission in 2010.
President Obama accurately predicted in his State of the Union address the next week that the decision would “open the floodgates for special interests…to spend without limit in our elections.”
The 5-4 Court that granted personhood to corporations in the 2010 Citizens United vs FEC decision
And the flag to which most Americans actually pledge allegiance (to purchase one, go to: reclaimdemocracy.org)
I have been reading a book authored by David C. Korten, titled “When Corporations Rule the World”. It was published back in 1995. Everything he predicted back then has come true.
Here are some excerpts from one of the summaries of the book:
“Perhaps the most far reaching but little understood transformation in the late twentieth century has been the growth of multinational corporations. Under the guise of free market economics, modern corporations have assumed enormous economic and political power. Corporate libertarians have equated corporate growth with the public good, but as David Korten argues, increasing corporate power results in an enormous transfer of power, wealth, and resources from the public to the private sector. Unresponsive to the public will, corporations have placed their immediate self-interest over the public good. In When Corporations Rule the World, former USAID official and Harvard Business School professor Korten examines the social, economic, and environmental consequences of the uncontrolled growth of multinational corporations.”
“The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organization (WTO) have all facilitated the growth of multinational corporations. The new global economic environment has resulted in a massive transfer of jobs and capital (to third world nations) and a drain on natural resources. Corporate expansion has been fueled by the disconnection of money from value in a predatory financial system, by corporate mergers and buyouts, and most of all by the illusory idea that unlimited growth is possible in a finite global environment. The corporate agenda of maximizing short-term profits often works against the common good, especially when corporations externalize their costs and export jobs and capital. A healthy society requires more than greed and self-interest to sustain itself.
“With the unlimited growth of global corporate power, Korten foresees the emergence of a new corporate colonialism resulting in the loss of national sovereignty, economic dependence, and continued environmental and social decline. The corporate goal of global consumerism on a Western scale is simply unsustainable, Korten warns, without catastrophic social and environmental consequences. The coming “Ecological Revolution” will require a new corporate vision of social responsibility.”
Frequent readers of my Duty to Warn columns will recognize the significance of the following article by Thom Hartmann that deals with American Fascism. My anti-fascist articles can be found at a number of internet sites, including the Duluth Reader’s archives. I agree with Hartmann and also with the following quote from Heywood Broun, an actual investigative journalist who wrote during the liberal democratic era of FDR, who saw the connection between Hitler’s fascism and German corporations.
“Fascism is a dictatorship (authoritarian rule) from the extreme Right, or to put it a little more closely into our local idiom, a government which is run by a small group of large industrialists and financial lords … I am going to ask latitude to insist that we might have Fascism even though we maintained a pretense of democratic machinery. The mere presence of a Supreme Court, a House of Representatives, A Senate and a President would not be sufficient protection against the utter centralization of power in the hands of a few men who might hold no office at all. Even in the case of Hitler, many shrewd observers feel that he is no more than a front man and that his power is derived from the large munitions and steel barons of Germany.” — Heywood Broun, syndicated columnist (1936)
It Can Still Happen Here:
Donald Trump, Ben Carson and the “American Fascists” Among Us
By Thom Hartmann – Alternet – November 4, 2015 (1958 words)
Republished at: https://www.salon.com/2015/11/04/it_can_still_happen_here_donald_trump_ben_carson_and_the_american_facists_among_us_partner/
Ben Carson’s feeble attempt to equate Hitler and gun control Democrats was short-lived, but along with the announcement that Marco Rubio has brought in his second big supporting billionaire, it brings to mind the first American vice-president to point out the “American fascists” among us.
Although most Americans remember that Harry Truman was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s vice-president when Roosevelt died in 1945 (making Truman president), Roosevelt had two previous vice-presidents: John N. Garner (1933-1941) and Henry A. Wallace (1941-1945).
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.
“The really dangerous American fascists,” Wallace wrote, “are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist 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 information.
“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 this, Wallace was using the classic definition of the word “fascist”—the definition Mussolini had in mind when he claimed to have invented the word. (It was actually Italian philosopher Giovanni Gentile who wrote the entry in the Encyclopedia Italiana that said: “Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”
Mussolini, however, affixed his name to the entry, and claimed credit for it.)
As the 1983 American Heritage Dictionary noted, fascism is, “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.”
Mussolini was quite straightforward about all this. In a 1923 pamphlet titled “The Doctrine of Fascism” he wrote, “If classical liberalism spells individualism, Fascism spells government.”
But not a government of, by, and for We the People; instead, it would be a government of, by, and for the most powerful corporate interests in the nation.
In 1938, Mussolini brought his vision of fascism into full reality when he dissolved Parliament and replaced it with the Camera dei Fasci e delle Corporazioni—the Chamber of the Fascist Corporations. Corporations were still privately owned, but now instead of having to sneak their money to folks like Tom DeLay and covertly write legislation, they were openly in charge of the government.
Vice-President Wallace bluntly laid out in his 1944 Times article his concern about the same happening here in America:
“If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. … They are patriotic in time of war because it is to their interest to be so, but in time of peace they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead.”
Nonetheless, at that time there were few corporate heads who’d run for political office, and in Wallace’s view, most politicians still felt it was their obligation to represent We the People instead of corporate cartels.
“American fascism will not be really dangerous,” he added in the next paragraph, “until there is a purposeful coalition among the cartelists, the deliberate poisoners of public information….”
Noting that, “Fascism is a worldwide disease,” Wallace further suggest that fascism’s “greatest threat to the United States will come after the war” and will manifest “within the United States itself.”
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 portray advocates of traditional American democracy as anti-American.
When Windrip becomes president, he opens a Guantanamo-style detention center, and the viewpoint character of the book, Vermont newspaper editor Doremus Jessup, flees to Canada to avoid prosecution under new “patriotic” laws that make it illegal to criticize the President.
As Lewis noted in his novel, “the President, with something of his former good-humor [said]: ‘There are two [political] parties, the Corporate and those who don’t belong to any party at all, and so, to use a common phrase, are just out of luck!’ The idea of the Corporate or Corporative State, Secretary [of State] Sarason had more or less taken from Italy.”
And, President “Windrip’s partisans called themselves the Corporatists, or, familiarly, the ‘Corpos,’ which nickname was generally used.”
Lewis, the first American writer to win a Nobel Prize, was world famous by 1944, as was his book. And several well-known and powerful Americans, including Prescott Bush, had lost businesses in the early 1940s because of charges by Roosevelt that they were doing business with Hitler.
These events all, no doubt, colored Vice-President Wallace’s thinking when he wrote:
“Still another danger is represented by those who, paying lip service to democracy and the common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the power which money gives, do not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion. American fascists of this stamp were clandestinely aligned with their German counterparts before the war, and are even now preparing to resume where they left off, after ‘the present unpleasantness’ ceases.
Fascists have an agenda that is primarily economic. As the Free Dictionary (www.thefreedictionary.com(http://www.thefreedictionary.com/) ) notes, fascism/corporatism is “an attempt to create a ‘modern’ version of feudalism by merging the ‘corporate’ interests with those of the state.”
<<<Rule by the Rich>>>
Feudalism, of course, is one of the most stable of the three historic tyrannies (kingdoms, theocracies, feudalism) that ruled nations prior to the rise of American republican democracy and can be roughly defined as “rule by the rich.”
Thus, the neo-feudal/fascistic rich get richer (and more powerful) on the backs of the poor and the middle class, an irony not lost on author Thomas Frank, who notes in his book What’s The Matter With Kansas that, “You can see the paradox first-hand on nearly any Main Street in middle America—’going out of business’ signs side by side with placards supporting George W. Bush.”
The businesses “going out of business” are, in fascist administrations, usually those of locally owned small and medium-sized companies. As Wallace wrote, some in big business “are willing to jeopardize the structure of American liberty to gain some temporary advantage.”
“Monopolists who fear competition and who distrust democracy because it stands for equal opportunity would like to secure their position against small and energetic enterprise [companies]. In an effort to eliminate the possibility of any rival growing up, some monopolists would sacrifice democracy itself.”
But American fascists who would want former CEOs as president, vice-president, House Majority Whip, and Senate Majority Leader, and write legislation with corporate interests in mind, don’t generally talk to We the People about their real agenda, or the harm it does to small businesses and working people.
Instead, as Hitler did with the trade union leaders and the Jews, they point to a “them” to pin with blame and distract people from the harms of their economic policies.
In a comment prescient of Alabama’s recent closing of every drivers’ license office in every Alabama county with more than 75% black residents (while recently passing a law requiring a drivers’ license or similar ID to vote), Wallace continued:
“The symptoms of fascist thinking are colored by environment and adapted to immediate circumstances. But always and everywhere they can be identified by their appeal to prejudice and by the desire to play upon the fears and vanities of different groups in order to gain power. It is no coincidence that the growth of modern tyrants has in every case been heralded by the growth of prejudice. It may be shocking to some people in this country to realize that, without meaning to do so, they hold views in common with Hitler when they preach discrimination…”
But even at this, Wallace noted, American fascists would have to lie to the people in order to gain power. And, because they were in bed with the nation’s largest corporations – who could gain control of newspapers and broadcast media—they could promote their lies with ease.
“The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact,” Wallace wrote. “Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy.”
In his strongest indictment of the tide of fascism, the vice-president of the United States saw rising in America, he 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.”
This liberal vision of an egalitarian America in which very large businesses and media monopolies are broken up under the 1890 Sherman Anti-Trust Act (which Reagan stopped enforcing, leading to the mergers & acquisitions frenzy that continues to this day) was the driving vision of the New Deal (and of “Trust Buster” Teddy Roosevelt a generation earlier).
As Wallace’s president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, said when he accepted his party’s re-nomination in 1936 in Philadelphia, “…out of this modern civilization, economic royalists [have] carved new dynasties…. It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction…. And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man….”
Speaking indirectly of the fascists Wallace would directly name almost a decade later, Roosevelt brought the issue to its core:
“These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power.” But, he thundered, “Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power!
In the election of 2016, we again stand at the same crossroad Roosevelt and Wallace confronted during the Great Depression and World War II.”
<<<Fascism is Again Rising in America, This Time Calling Itself “Conservativism”>>>
The Republican candidates’ and their billionaire donors’ behavior today eerily parallels that day in 1936 when Roosevelt said, “In vain they seek to hide behind the flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the flag and the Constitution stand for.”
It’s particularly ironic that the “big news” is which billionaire is supporting which Republican candidate. Like Eisenhower’s farewell address, President Roosevelt and Vice-President Wallace’s warnings are more urgent now than ever before.
Dr Kohls is a retired family physician from Duluth, MN, USA. Since his retirement from his holistic mental health practice he has been writing weekly Duty to Warn columns for northeast Minnesota’s major alternative newsweekly magazine. His columns, which are re-published around the world, deal with the dangers of American fascism, corporatism, conscienceless industrialization, militarization, racism, xenophobia, malnutrition, sea level rise, global warming, geo-engineering, solar radiation management, electromagnetic radiation, Big Copper Mining’s conscienceless exploitation of northeast Minnesota’s water-rich environment, Big Medicine’s over-screening, over-diagnosing, over-treating, Big Pharma’s over-drugging and Big Vaccine’s over-vaccination agendas (particularly of tiny infants), as well as other movements that threaten human health, the environment, democracy, civility and the sustainability of life on earth. Many of his columns have been archived at a number of websites, including these four: http://duluthreader.com/search?search_term=Duty+to+Warn&p=2; http://www.globalresearch.ca/author/gary-g-kohls; http://freepress.org/geographic-scope/national; and https://www.transcend.org/tms/search/?q=gary+kohls+articles
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