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"When Democracy Failed: The Warnings of History" by Thom Hartmann

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Emit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-15-07 11:51 AM
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"When Democracy Failed: The Warnings of History" by Thom Hartmann
This article is a re-write from a few years ago, updated by Hartmann in '05 ... My apologies if it has already been posted before.



It started when the government, in the midst of an economic crisis, received reports of an imminent terrorist attack. A foreign ideologue had launched feeble attacks on a few famous buildings, but the media largely ignored his relatively small efforts. The intelligence services knew, however, that the odds were he would eventually succeed. (Historians are still arguing whether or not rogue elements in the intelligence service helped the terrorist...

~snip~

... the warnings of investigators were ignored at the highest levels, in part because the government was distracted; the man who claimed to be the nation's leader had not been elected by a majority vote and the majority of citizens claimed he had no right to the powers he coveted.

He was a simpleton, some said, a cartoon character of a man who saw things in black-and-white terms and didn't have the intellect to understand the subtleties of running a nation in a complex and internationalist world.

His coarse use of language - reflecting his political roots in a southernmost state - and his simplistic and often-inflammatory nationalistic rhetoric offended the aristocrats, foreign leaders, and the well-educated elite in the government and media. And, as a young man, he'd joined a secret society with an occult-sounding name and bizarre initiation rituals that involved skulls and human bones.

~snip~

Within four weeks of the terrorist attack, the nation's now-popular leader had pushed through legislation - in the name of combating terrorism and fighting the philosophy he said spawned it - that suspended constitutional guarantees of free speech, privacy, and habeas corpus. Police could now intercept mail and wiretap phones; suspected terrorists could be imprisoned without specific charges and without access to their lawyers; police could sneak into people's homes without warrants if the cases involved terrorism.

To get his patriotic (legislation) passed over the objections of concerned legislators and civil libertarians, he agreed to put a 4-year sunset provision on it... Legislators would later say they hadn't had time to read the bill before voting on it.

~snip~

To consolidate his power, he concluded that government alone wasn't enough. He reached out to industry and forged an alliance, bringing former executives of the nation's largest corporations into high government positions. A flood of government money poured into corporate coffers to fight the war against the Middle Eastern ancestry terrorists lurking within the homeland, and to prepare for wars overseas. He encouraged large corporations friendly to him to acquire media outlets and other industrial concerns across the nation, particularly those previously owned by suspicious people of Middle Eastern ancestry. He built powerful alliances with industry; one corporate ally got the lucrative contract worth millions to build the first large-scale detention center for enemies of the state. Soon more would follow. Industry flourished.

~snip~

With his number two man - a master at manipulating the media - he began a campaign to convince the people of the nation that a small, limited war was necessary. Another nation was harboring many of the suspicious Middle Eastern people, and even though its connection with the terrorist ... was tenuous at best, it held resources their nation badly needed ...

~snip~

Another technique was to "manufacture news," through the use of paid shills posing as reporters, seducing real reporters with promises of access to the leader in exchange for favorable coverage, and thinly veiled threats to those who exposed his lies. ...

http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0222-22.htm
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DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-15-07 12:09 PM
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1. It's been posted before but I'm sure many haven't seen it.

Thanks for posting it again. I go to Thom's site every few months and re-read favorite essays.
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