Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fascism: The Merger of the Oligarchic Corporatocracy and the State

Oil and Gas Companies Can Take Your Land. By Alison K. Grass, Food & Water Watch
23 August 12

[Excerpted] No Person Shall Be Deprived of Life, Liberty or Property… Unless the Oil and Gas Industry Says So.

Eminent domain, the government's right to condemn (or take) private land for "public use," has at times been a highly contentious topic because it can displace people from their homes to make way for construction of different projects, like highways or roads, civic buildings and other types of public infrastructure. However, what some may not realize is that several states have granted eminent domain authority to certain private entities, including oil and gas companies. These companies are using it as a tool to seize private land, which increases profits and benefits their wallets...

...The state legislature of North Carolina recently legalized fracking. Yet, what some residents may not know is that North Carolina's eminent domain law allows some private entities to take private property for certain uses. This includes oil and gas companies who have been given the right to condemn land and construct pipelines for natural gas transportation. As a supervising attorney at the Duke Environmental Law and Policy Clinic points out, there could be even bigger implications. "If private companies engaged in these activities are designated as 'public enterprises,' then they may be able to take private property for purposes far beyond that of laying pipelines."

Op-Ed Contributor Giving In to the Surveillance State By Shane Harris. The New York Times
Published: August 22, 2012

[Excerpted] In March 2002, John M. Poindexter, a former national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan, sat down with Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the director of the National Security Agency. Mr. Poindexter sketched out a new Pentagon program called Total Information Awareness, that proposed to scan the world’s electronic information — including phone calls, e-mails and financial and travel records — looking for transactions associated with terrorist plots. 

...when T.I.A.’s existence became public, it was denounced as the height of post-9/11 excess and ridiculed for its creepy name... and T.I.A. was dismantled in 2003. 

But what Mr. Poindexter didn’t know was that the N.S.A. was already pursuing its own version of the program, and on a scale that he had only imagined. A decade later, the legacy of T.I.A. is quietly thriving at the N.S.A. It is more pervasive than most people think, and it operates with little accountability or restraint....

...Today, this global surveillance system continues to grow. It now collects so much digital detritus — e-mails, calls, text messages, cellphone location data and a catalog of computer viruses — that the N.S.A. is building a 1-million-square-foot facility in the Utah desert to store and process it....

Majia here: The merger of corporations and the state has occurred in the energy industry, in the medical industry, in the food industry, and in the military-industrial-nuclear complex.

The merger occurs through revolving doors, corporate lobbying, and politicians' economic investment in powerful corporations. The result is that the laws that are written by congress, and the policies pursued by government more generally, are far more likely to benefit special corporate interests than the general public. 

We see this corruption of legislation in this example of the extension of eminent domain privileges to fracking interests.

Those who resist this creeping (lunging?) fascism get constituted as enemies of the state, as internal threats to security, and are subject to surveillance and, sometimes, outright intimidation.

The American Civil Liberties Union reports that DoD terrorism training materials currently employed describe public protests as “low level terrorism” (“ACLU Challenges”). Additionally, the Pentagon plans to have 20,000 uniformed trained troops inside the U.S. by 2011, purportedly to help state and local officials respond to a terrorist attack or some other domestic catastrophe (Hsu and Tyson A1). The Washington Post reports resistance to this plan:

[Excerpted] Domestic emergency deployment may be "just the first example of a series of expansions in presidential and military authority," or even an increase in domestic surveillance, said Anna Christensen of the ACLU's National Security Project. And Cato Vice President Gene Healy warned of "a creeping militarization" of homeland security. (Hsu and Tyson A1)

Majia here: These strands - the merger of mega-corporations and state apparatuses coupled with the growth of authoritarian surveillance - are clear symptoms of a democracy devolving into fascism. 


ACLU. “ACLU Challenges Defense Department Personnel Policy To Regard Lawful Protests As ‘Low-Level Terrorism.’”ACLU. 10 June 2009. 24 June 2009

Hsu, Spencer S., and Ann S. Tyson. “Pentagon to Detail Troops to Bolster Domestic Security.” The Washington Post 1 December 2008: A1.

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