Beast Banner Sept. 7-21, 2006
ISSUE #106
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Features
ArrowThe 51 Funniest Things
About 9-11

The BEAST 5 year fun-a-versary tribute!
Ian Murphy

ArrowThe End was Nigh
Just ask Glenn Beck & Karl Rove
Matt Taibbi

ArrowIronic Accuracy
Rumsfeld gets it exactly backwards
Allan Uthman

ArrowSemtex on a Plane
A brief guide for the aspiring terrorist
Alexander Zaitchik

ArrowJourney to the Center of
the Center

USA Today’s Commonground
Chris Famighetti

ArrowOff With Their Heads
Democrats walk themselves to the gallows
Matt Taibbi

ArrowAmericans Reluctant To Help Fake-Sounding "Darfur"
Josh Righter

Local BEAST
ArrowAnonymous for Senate
Opposition who?
Allan Uthman
Departments

ArrowThe Beast Page 3
Inevitable Untimely Death

ArrowKino Korner: Movies
Little Miss Sunshine, World Trade Center, Accepted, Pulse, Snakes On a Plane, Zoom, Material Girls

ArrowBEAST-O-Scopes
As divined by your ethereal guide

Arrow[sic] - Letters
Googlophobia, Local Man Likes Bar, Ho Defends Pimp, Bucky Balls and more

Ironic Accuracy
Rumsfeld gets it Exactly Backwards
Allan Uthman

“I recount that history because once again we face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism… But some seem not to have learned history's lessons.”
-Donald Rumsfeld

I’ve always thought that the Bush administration’s rhetoric displayed an unhealthy amount of Freudian projection, but this really tears it. Do I really have to tell you how accusing your political opponents of endangering the nation and appeasing the enemy is a classic fascist tactic?

Right wingers lament the tendency among liberals to use words like fascist and Nazi in describing the Republican agenda. But if the new White House strategy to deflect criticism is to call their critics Nazi sympathizers, I’d say all bets are off. So let’s talk about fascism.

An unpublished legal opinion, written last year in the White House Office of Legal Counsel and released this week by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, declares the White House immune from federal whistleblower protections under the Clean Water Act. The opinion reverses decades of precedent and cites the dusty old doctrine of sovereign immunity, but it was enough for Labor Secretary Elaine Chao—the only other continuously serving cabinet member in Bush’s White House besides Rumsfeld—to decide that such whistleblower claims may not be brought in the future. If you work for the Environmental Protection Agency and discover that your boss is covering up water pollution, snitch at your own risk.

The EPA went even further. In a legal opinion invited by Chao, the EPA now states that absolutely no environmental law protects its employees from being demoted, fired, or anything else if they report wrongdoing within the Agency. These opinions fly in the face of the clear intent of the whistleblower provisions, but what’s worse is the palpable motive for issuing them: the EPA apparently intends to punish whatever employees may be left with the decency to give a damn about their jobs. It’s a sure indicator that the EPA is as dirty as the Mississippi, and intends to be as opaque.

It seems like a big deal to me. Whistleblower protections are such an obvious boon to society, encouraging employees to report the illegal activities of their bosses and coworkers. And nowhere would such laws be more important to uphold than in the federal government. But it hasn’t even registered in the press.

Bush’s corruption is the old news that never was news. By now every single regulatory body under the Executive umbrella, from the FDA to the SEC, has been completely subverted, each led and staffed by high-ranking loyalists of the respective industries they purport to supervise. The kids are driving the bus, and they’re not going to tolerate tattling. But none of it is news, according to television producers—especially not similar collusion in the FCC.

“It is astonishing for the Bush administration to now suddenly claim that it is above the law,” said PEER Senior Counsel Paula Dinerstein of the Labor Secretary’s decision. But nothing could be further from the truth. It’s not astonishing at all; it is entirely routine and predictable. The Bush administration has made it clear in every way imaginable that it believes itself to be above the law. The only way they could clarify their position further would be to firebomb the next MoveOn.org convention.

The saddest part of it all is the total failure of our hallowed system of government to contain them. The whole checks-and-balances thing was obviously set up to prevent the inevitable power-mad president from seizing monarchical control of the nation, but so far the engine’s not even turning over. The trick, it seems, is in taking over two or more branches of government at once.

These new Republicans claim a tradition that is demonstrably not theirs. American conservatives grew out of an opposition to FDR’s new deal. They favored limited government, fiscal responsibility, states’ rights, a strong congress and a weak presidency. All of these traditional conservative values have been turned on their heads in the new Republican Party. What passes for American conservatism today doesn’t go back any farther than Reagan. It’s a con, a mass duping of nostalgic Caucasians, who don’t seem to realize that the American era they mourn took place during the most economically progressive chapter of our history. Wave the flag and threaten their serenity, and watch how easily they surrender their hard-won rights to a tight-knit oligarchy.

John Dean estimates that 23% of Americans are authoritarian or “protofascist” conservatives. It’s a safe bet that virtually all of them make up the majority of the thirty-something percent who still support Bush. But their support of Bush the personality is not as troubling as their support of his and others’ illegal, unconstitutional tactics. They may profess a disbelief in most of the myriad scandals that surround the White House, but the denial is a charade—truth is, they’re just okay with it. Vote fraud, corruption, falsified evidence—whatever it takes, it’s fine with them as long as their team is winning. These people are the real danger in our midst. They’re the ones who truly do hate freedom, and they’re capable of doing far more damage to this country than al Qaeda.

It’s difficult to imagine, for instance, what kind of ideological contortions one has to perform to support crushing whistleblowers in the EPA. That can’t be described as anything but a pro-collusion, pro-pollution idea. It’s rooting for evil in a very real way. Who could have watched Bush’s speech Wednesday, in which he called on congress to simply void the laws his administration breaks habitually, and found it reasonable? Someone who is loyal to a man, not a nation.

It’s not about small government, or embryonic stem cell research. It’s about permanently establishing a new, totalitarian system of government while maintaining the illusion of democracy. It’s about a White House that was monitoring domestic phone calls seven months before September 11, 2001. And it’s only possible because most of you didn’t know that, and some of you just don’t care. Rumsfeld is right: it’s a new type of fascism, and the lessons of history are lost.

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