Thursday, August 31, 2006

War of the Words 

0 (research/resource)

Via Public Eye.org:
Islamophobia & Arabophobia,
Clerical Fascism,
Theocratic Islamic Fundamentalism,
Apocalyptic Demonization

Since the attacks of 9/11, writers and commentators have had problems in finding accurate language to describe complicated and unfamiliar phenomena while remaining sensitive to issues of prejudice. Terms such as Islamist, radical Islamic fundamentalist, and clerical fascist entered public discussion. We hope this article will help sort out some of the confusing and problematic terminology that abounds.


Even in progressive publications, the terms theocratic fascism or clerical fascism were used not only to describe the Taliban and the al Qaeda networks, but also the government of Saudi Arabia and even all militant fundamentalist Muslims. This is an overly broad usage.

Fascism is an especially virulent form of extreme right populism. Fascism glorifies national, racial, or cultural unity and collective rebirth while seeking to purge imagined enemies. It attacks both revolutionary movements and liberal pluralism in favor of militarized, totalitarian mass politics. Fascism first crystallized in Europe in response to the Bolshevik Revolution and the devastation of World War I, and then spread to other parts of the world. Between the two world wars, there were three forms of fascism: Italian economic corporatism; German racial nationalist Nazism; and clerical fascist movements such as the Romanian Iron Guard and the Croatian Ustashi. Since WWII, neofascists have reinterpreted fascist ideology and strategy in various ways to fit new circumstances.

4 To read in full - see: Terms & Concepts: Use with Caution, by Chip Berlet.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Our Everlasting Infallible Right 

Harper's Index, July 2006/August2006:
Number of times that President Bush’s “signing statements” have exempted his administration from provisions of new laws: 750 [Phillip Cooper, Portland State University (Portland, Oreg.)/Charlie Savage, Boston Globe]

Total number of times for all other presidents since Washington: 568 [Christopher Kelley, Miami University of Ohio (Oxford)/Christopher May, Loyola Law School (Los Angeles) ]

a Have you read your Glenn Greenwald today?

Also from Harper's:
Rank of atheists among minorities whom Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry: 1 [Penny Edgell, University of Minnesota (Minneapolis)]

Rank of Muslims and African Americans, respectively: 2, 3 [Penny Edgell, University of Minnesota(Minneapolis)]

a Related/Topical see: The Carpetbagger Report, This Week in God. (Thanks to Granny for the link tip.)

More from Harper's:
Estimated change since 2001 in the total number of U.S. private-sector jobs: +1,900,000 [Economic Policy Institute (Washington)]

Estimated number of new private-sector jobs created by government spending during that time: 2,800,000 [Economic Policy Institute (Washington)]

Minimum number of close-up photographs of President Bush’s hands owned by his new chief of staff, Josh Bolten: 4 [Office of Management and Budget (Washington)]

Full Harper's Index listing: Harpers Magazine


On the sustainability of a new Lost Cause:
Every state must have its enemies. Great powers must have especially monstrous foes. Above all, these foes must arise from within, for national pride does not admit that a great nation can be defeated by any outside force. That is why, though its origins are elsewhere, the stab in the back has become the sustaining myth of modern American nationalism. Since the end of World War II it has been the device by which the American right wing has both revitalized itself and repeatedly avoided responsibility for its own worst blunders. Indeed, the right has distilled its tale of betrayal into a formula: Advocate some momentarily popular but reckless policy. Deny culpability when that policy is exposed as disastrous. Blame the disaster on internal enemies who hate America. Repeat, always making sure to increase the number of internal enemies. ~ "Stabbed in the Back! The past and future of a right-wing myth", By Kevin Baker [June/July 2006 Harpers].

Greenwald (Monday, August 28, 2006) continues to examine this familiar appeal as it manifests itself among the lilied shallows of our current media pundit pond:
One of the important points you learn from listening to political pundits is that every event and every controversy is always good for the Republicans. No matter what the controversy is -- even if it arises from the President's getting caught breaking the law -- the more it's talked about, the more political benefits will accrue to the Republicans, because most Americans are on their side.


There is this bizarre syndrome where Republicans claim that every event is good for them, pundits echo that, and Democrats internalize it to the point of being paralyzed with fear.

Everything is always good for the Republicans

Latest case in point: Bush-backers, Armitage and HUBRIS (by David Corn).


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