police state
‘ve been browsing, with great unease, some of the neocon sites discussing what they should do after the upcoming US election.

One of the most frightening thing about Bush’s first term has been his massive deregulation by deliberate neglect — simply ignoring and not enforcing social and environmental laws and regulations put in place by previous administrations, giving carte blanche to corporations and security forces to simply ignore existing laws with impunity. This is easily accomplished by starving the authorities and agencies responsible for enforcing these laws of budget and information, and by putting zealous hands-off neocons in charge of them.

All this is likely to change, one way or another, after the November US elections. If Kerry wins, which is looking increasingly unlikely, the corporations will have to deploy their armies of lawyers to entrench the de facto deregulations and discourage the ‘re-enforcement’ of social and environmental laws. The strategy for this would appear to be to argue that what Bush giveth away, rightly or wrongly, Kerry has no right to take back.

But if Bush wins, the strategy will be to permanently entrench the gains made by non-enforcement of the laws by either eliminating the laws entirely or, even better, eliminating the social and environmental regulatory authorities or agencies. The new mantra of the neocon corporatists is self-policing. In Bush newspeak that means, of course, no policing. We all saw how effective this approach was with the spectacular corporate frauds of the last decade, led by Bush buddy Ken Lay’s Enron. Nevertheless, we should not be surprised to see a flurry of eliminations of laws, regulations and regulatory authorities, positioned as cost-cutting, streamlining and ‘self-policing’ initiatives, in the early days of a second Bush presidency.

The second thrust of the new neocon agenda is indemnification of corporations against consumer litigation. Bush will be encouraged to use a few big-headline egregious abuses of contingent-fee and class-action litigation to ban these recourses outright, to put strict caps on individual settlements, to provide corporations with more power to intimidate consumers with devastating countersuits, and to put certain privileged industries and groups out of the reach of the courts entirely. The test case for this is the California ballot initiative entitled Limitations on Enforcement of Unfair Business Competition Laws. This initiative, if successful, will prohibit consumer groups from suing corporations to prevent fraud, false advertising or other deceptions. Business groups have poured millions into this, led by Nike, which failed in its earlier attempt to establish a legal right to lie to consumers about its sweatshop operations.

Next on the agenda is expansion of the war in the Mideast with a ‘pre-emptive’ attack on Iran to curtail its nuclear weapons capability. Financing such a war will require severe cuts to government services. Services of a regulatory nature will be replaced by self-policing. Other services will be privatized to corporations that will have free rein to make them profitable. Services that can’t be offered privately at a profit will be simply eliminated. More important than paying for the war, however, will be manning it. There are no countries willing and able to provide significant numbers of troops for a long war against Iran and then Syria and, inevitably, Saudi Arabia. And US voluntary recruits are maxed out, so a reinstatement of the draft is clearly in the cards. Of course, those with money, power and connections will be able to avoid active duty, as Bush did in Vietnam.

Patriot Act II will certainly be back on the agenda if Bush is re-elected. Kerry is so terrified of alienating moderate ‘swing’ voters that he is not making a big issue of this draconian, terrifying legislation, which would effectively suspend many civil liberties that Americans take for granted, and, worse, would give Homeland Security vast new powers and immunity from disclosure or justification of their actions. Those powers would be applied arbitrarily at the absolute and unrestricted discretion of individual officers, with no recourse to the victims. This is a flagrant abrogation of the US Constitution and of the fundamental rule of law. Just as in Latin American and Asian countries under juntas with similar unrestricted powers, American citizens who dare oppose or protest the actions of the government of the day will simply ‘disappear’.

And finally, the neocons are furious at the suggestion that the UN should have suprarnational authority over acts of misconduct carried out by Americans, including war crimes (under the International Court of Justice) and execution of foreign nationals for crimes committed in the US. The US has exercised its executive veto in the UN so often in the last four years that it has become a laughing stock, and these vetos completely undermine the credibility of the UN as well. The simple solution, in the eyes of the neocons, is to withdraw from the UN, to make it clear once and for all that the US does not recognize its authority and considers itself above international law. Expect a re-elected Bush to conveniently present this as an ultimatum to the UN when it invades Iran — join us or we quit.

Repeal of social and environmental protections, prohibition of consumer litigation against corporations, massive elimination and privatization of essential government services, more hugely expensive and dangerous wars in the Mideast, reinstatement of the draft for the poor and middle classes, abrogation of civil liberties, and withdrawal from the UN. This is the worst case scenario if Americans are foolish enough to re-elect Bush. If it comes true, America will have alienated itself from the rest of the West, and evolved into a corporatist state, a rogue nation. If we ever needed proof that the political and economic systems of society are incapable of solving the problems that threaten the survival of our planet, we will have it.

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  1. gbreez says:

    This is so bad. This is so so bad. It is my worst nightmare put to words. What on Earth can we do, besides vote against Bush, to stop this from happening??? Jennifer Government is on the way here and too many people are totally asleep. What can we do to wake them?

  2. I agree 10000% with gbreez.Dave do you have a list of these Neocon sites?You always seem to find backup info to explain the fears that I can feel down in the pit of my stomach but cannot find words to express.

  3. Life Tenant says:

    Wish I could argue with you about this one, buddy.

  4. Jon Husband says:

    Ditto to all three comments above. Unfortunately (mild word) all too likely, IMO.Robert Reich wrote a piece about a month or so ago mirroring your points. I blogged it, and would be glad to provide the link if you are interested … you may have already seen it.

  5. Gil Friend says:

    As John Robb, I think, says: It’s worse than it appears. This has not beee just ‘massive deregulation by deliberate neglect,’ but a very active program of ‘stealth’ deregulation. (See for example http://radio.weblogs.com/0109157/2004/08/15.html#a750)And yes, if they manage to get re-elected we can expect far worse still.

  6. JC says:

    You mentined “If Kerry wins, which is looking increasingly unlikely”. How do you figure this to be the case? What analysis do you base this on? Most of the polls are tipping, minimally, in Kerry’s direction.

  7. Dave Pollard says:

    Thanks, Gil, for this and for your great blog.JC: I base it on several things: The betting exchanges all show Bush winning the pop vote by 2-points. Bush should get a small boost with the convention, especially if there is rioting (which is inevitable). The electoral college skews in favour of the candidate with small-state pluralities. And Kerry’s lead drops when those who don’t ‘expect to vote’ are eliminated, which is very worrisome. And the incumbent holds all the cards — any number of events just before the election could be exploited for his political advantage. But I hope I’m wrong.

  8. Don Dwiggins says:

    I see another aspect to this: if things go this direction, the US may become the next Soviet Union, which had plenty of military power, but collapsed of its internal contradictions. How could we sustain more military adventures around the world, while the unleashed greed of the corporatists eats out the vitals of our economy? This seems so crashingly obvious to me that I suspect that I must be missing something, that the neocons know this and have figured out some clever way to bleed the turnip. (Alternatively, their blind devotion to their ideology makes them oblivious to it, as it did to the obvious need in May 2003 to get the Iraqi people massively involved in the reconstruction of their country, instead of sidelining and alienating them.)As to what we can do: don’t get distracted by the superficial issues; focus on the need to heal democracy, which will need to be done from the ground up, and will need a long-term commitment. (It took us decades to get into this mess; it’ll take a while to get out.)Look at it this way: we have a long tradition of popular uprising against attacks on our democracy; we’re well prepared to do it again. Now look at a place like Bolivia, where the indidenous people, with only a vague memory of pre-conquest times and a history of constant oppression and exploitation, have become a political force that’s having to be reckoned with. (There’s a lot of that going around in South America, what the neocons call “rampant populism”.) If those folks can do it…What will it take? Get out of the comfort zone, create ongoing dialogues with one another (as Dave says in his first post of the day), create and spread a sense of community, prepare to be in it for the long haul, and build up your patience and courage for the tough (and occasionally exhilirating!) times ahead. You got anything more important to do with your life?Geez, Dave, if I’m not careful, you’re going to turn me into a blogger!

  9. Dave Pollard says:

    Don: You’d make a great blogger. The Pentagon is already the world’s largest ‘planned economy’ so we’re half way to what you describe. You’re right about doing this from the ground up. I just wish I were as optimistic as you that we have the luxury of the time that we both agree will be needed to bring about masaive, popular change.

  10. Jon Husband says:

    I know I’ve said this somewhere before, either on this blog in comments or on mine, and I know of once on The Whiskey Bar … most often, the fastest route to truly fundamental change is a massive crisis, a collapse, in a system. Not to be desired, true, but the way much fundamental, major change has occurred during the history of this planet. The more everyone tries to create incremental change, the more the weight and rigidity of the existing systemignores or denies the incrementalism … and I too don’t think we have all that much time available to us.I would love to see Bush and the Republicans thoroughly, 100% discredited, and assume an infamous place in history as the gang who (finally) destroyed what Americans still consider to be democracy and freedom. This will sound strange … maybe the best way for that to happen, and to create a truly burning platform with which to wake people to the need for fundamental change is to come face to face with the worst case scenario ?

  11. Don Dwiggins says:

    Dave, it’s not a matter of “luxury of time”; I believe there’s simply nothing better that “ordinary people” can do. Read on…Jon: you’re very likely to be right. In a book review I did (and should really flesh out) at http://home.socal.rr.com/dldwiggins/BookReview.html, the last section, “Macroshift and Evolutionary Cycle”, discusses the relationship between “evolutionary” and “revolutionary” transitions. In a critical change, an important determiner of a successful outcome is the presence of enough of what Sahtouris refers to as “imaginal disks” — precursors of the new system. (The analogy is to the cells that arise in the caterpillar, and begin to form the adult insect as the caterpillar’s structures break down.) In this case, the imaginal cells are dedicated local communities of people who are determined to begin creating a sustainable way of life, and are well aware of the difficulties they’ll face, and the likelihood that not all such communities will survive.For an interesting, and hopeful, complement to Dave’s post, see http://www.ratical.org/LifeWeb/Articles/AfterDarwin.html.(P.S.: Dave, on the assumption that Jon won’t revisit this blog entry, could you forward this to him?)

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