Naomi Wolf on Colbert Report: 10 steps to fascism

Naomi Wolf was on The Colbert Report last night talking about her book, The End of America, A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, which outlines ten steps that "fascist, totalitarian, and other repressive leaders [employ to] seize and maintain power, especially in what were once democracies.”
Picture 3-691. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

2. Create a gulag

3. Develop a thug caste

4. Set up an internal surveillance system

5. Harass citizens' groups

6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release

7. Target key individuals

8. Control the press

9. Dissent equals treason

10. Suspend the rule of law

Here's an essay on the 10 steps that Wolf wrote for the Guardian in April. Link to Colbert video


  1. 11. Maintain single party rule over all branches of gov… oopsie.

    You’d think it would be impossible to violate Godwin’s Law for an entire book, but evidently Naomi Wolf proved us wrong.

  2. Most democratic countries have more stringent firearms regulations than the US, yet they are not moving towards tyranny. Additionally, firearms were widely available and legal under Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, but were not used to overthrow him.

    Guns /= Free.

  3. This is the same Naomi Wolf who once claimed that there were 3.5 million anorexics in the UK, right?

    Naomi Wolf is an intelligent woman. She has been ill-served by her education. But if you read Lacan, this is the result. Your brain turns to pudding! She has a case to make. She cannot make it. She’s full of paranoid fantasies about the world.
    – Camille Paglia

  4. Meh. ‘US government has totalitarian tendencies: news at 11.’

    I wonder why anyone buys her books at all. You can cherry-pick any number of ‘ten steps’ you like to prove that your country is moving toward fascism. Nothing new, and nothing that hasn’t been said before.

    It ain’t journalism, babe.

  5. Umm…so on Jan. 21 2008 when President Bush leaves office you promise to stop all the “ZOMG! FACIST DICTATOR!!!” stuff?


  6. Most of what she states in her book is classic socialist liberal stuff updated with the deeds of the Bush presidency. Nothing new and nothing special.
    I truly believe that there is nothing wrong with private enterprise, as long as it is free. It could be the saving grace of Africa and every troubled nation in the coming century.
    Of course, most liberals point out firms such as Enron and Blackwater as blanket dismissals of free enterprise. Like i said, nothing wrong with enterprise as long as it is FREE. Most of the contractors in Iraq and many around the country are given no-bid contracts because they’re buddy buddy with the same people who are supposed to regulate.
    I know boingboing trumpets net neutrality a lot, but I’m pretty sure if people like Hillary get into office, they will squarely set their sights on restricting free speech in the name of neutrality and equal time and the like.
    Naomi Wolf and her ilk want the right to not be offended, rather than our current laws which state that freedom is the right to be offended and then move on with your life.

  7. And Camille Paglia should know about pudding brains. She’s a high class wingnut and will be one of the first up against the wall when the revolution comes.

    While I’m not certain that her worst fears will come true it is true that no one has gone wrong assuming the worst from this administration. Indeed it’s hard to keep up.

  8. ‘you promise to stop all the “ZOMG! FACIST DICTATOR!!!” stuff?’

    Only if the next guy (or gal) isn’t a authoritarian twit too. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

    If Bush wants to leave office in January 2008, hey, he should go for it. He doesn’t look like he’s having much fun, and most of his old Texas buddies already bailed. Pretty soon it’ll be him, Cheney, and a bunch of sycophantic staffers way in over their heads.

  9. [Paglia is] a high class wingnut and will be one of the first up against the wall when the revolution comes.

    Couldn’t you just exile her to one of the post-revolutionary gulags?

  10. chck Bng Bng rglrly – 3 r 4 tms dy slly. nd m stll dsppntd whn y chs t pst crp lk ths lst. rn’t y gys t smrt fr ths? ‘m rlvd t s tht mny f yr rdrs r.

  11. for the record, Plato said the exact same thing in the Republic – that all democracies will become tyrannies – he just didn’t have Wolfe’s catchy recipe.

    I dont know why everyone is so eager to pan this out of hand without argument other than invective.

    i dont know if Wolfe is correct, but at least it sounds plausible. Her main point is, if this is the script being followed, we need to step in NOW to amend the ending before the final cut.

  12. I agree with ianm, I don’t know if it’s shilling or ostrich syndrome or what, but things are bad and unfortunately stand to get a lot worse in the US over the next few years.

    The US has moved toward a vastly stronger and more pervasive (and invasive) executive branch of government in the last several years. This is a dangerous direction for them to move if you value your freedom. The executive branch was limited in the US Constitution in large part to prevent the executive branch (i.e. the English monarchy and its colonial system) excesses that sparked the American Revolution in the first place.

    Personally I think that the 10 steps Wolf points out are inevitable whenever you have an executive with insufficient checks. The problem the US has now is that an executive finally rose to power that realized the situation and is now running as far as they can with it — and notice how many of them first came to prominence in the Nixon era — hopefully they won’t decide that January 2009 isn’t a good time for them to stop being in power. And that last part seems to be Wolf’s point.

    I really want to know what those who think that Wolf and Mark pointing these things out is somehow wrong or misguided are thinking; that gets reminiscent of points 3, 5 and 9, people.

    And the Paglia quote is unhelpful (not to mention out of context). Reading Lacan can be good for you, go check out some of Slavoj Zizek’s work. He’s a Lacanian theorist who has very little problem taking a stand against the policies of the GW Bush administration. Here’s an example:


  13. Exactly, how could anyone equate the Bush administration with fascism? Someone please taze this trader, lock her up and throw away the key!

  14. I agree with CantStopTheSignal. This is by the way the same kind fo thing Dawkins (who is commonly posted about here) spouts, how the “evil right” is trying to take over America and the world. I read BB despite this, and I tend to ignore anything even vaugely sounding like it has the message of warning of “the evil left” or “the evil right.”

    (And CantStopTheSignal, I love your name. Good to meet a fellow browncoat.)

  15. I honestly think that all you conservative readers would be happier reading another blog.

    Have you figured out yet that you’re not in Kansas anymore? That you’re not reading Rush Limbaugh’s blog? Have you figured out yet that the editors and contributors of BoingBoing skew left? (Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, Cory et al.)

    This blog is about progress, not about maintaining the status quo and reactionary mindsets. That’s why I read it. So please stop clogging up the BoingBoing forum with your complaints–they’re boring.

    But the real problem is how remarkably content-free so much of the above is. “Camille Paglia should know about pudding brains”? That’s really insightful. Yawn.

  16. This blog is about progress, not about maintaining the status quo and reactionary mindsets. That’s why I read it. So please stop clogging up the BoingBoing forum with your complaints–they’re boring.

    So in your view, “progress” does not require taking into account opposing viewpoints (often registered as “complaints”)? I know the conservatives are really scary and all, but are you really so threatened by their words that you can’t stand to read them?

  17. Doesn’t look to me like you are getting censored “CantStopTheSignal”. But you aren’t really that interesting either.

    If you are left-leaning and you surround yourself with only lefties and you talk with only lefties then you are operating in a dangerous vacuum where you don’t get dissenting opinions to check your rationale against.

    Well sure, but when I visit Michele Maulkin or Little Green Footballs or Instapundit I feel pretty secure about the general correctness of my political opinions. “Reality has a Leftwing Bias” ya know. And when it comes to the Right on questions of scientific facts… well… humor has it’s place in the world I suppose.

    America is not a fascist state, it is a surveillance society. There are general signs and they sure are frightening but who knows what tomorrow will bring? I don’t.

    It’s pretty hard to have a rational debate in the comments on a blog “CantStopTheSignal”. I’d look for that in a well moderated forum somewhere. Good luck with that.

  18. You people ever come across the concept of complacency?

    Now Naomi Wolf may well be a wingnut but some of this stuff is not *speculative* it is actually in place.

    For example you already have a legal mechanism whereby travel is prevented for opaque reasons. You are told that this is for your own good and will only be used on terrorists. But there are already examples of it being used for other classes of people (anti war protesters) and in those cases it has also been shown that there is no legal recourse.

    So all you ‘can’t happen here’ people – do you genuinely trust your government so much that not only do you not mind them having these powers but you don’t even want to hear that they have them?

  19. Here’s the problem. The problem isn’t that Bush is fascist. He’s just stupid, paranoid and greedy.

    The problem is that he’s knocked down walls, so that it’s easier for a fascist to step in and further their cause.

    The problem with losing your rights is, once you’ve lost them, you no longer have the right to win them back. Once they’re gone, they’re gone for good, so I like to defend mine early and often to make sure I don’t lose that right.

    C’mon. I’m sure you guys are familiar with the idea that we fight over there (early) so we don’t have to fight over here (later)?

  20. Sorry to be pedantic, but Fascism is defined thus: an authoritarian government promoting the supremacy of a particular nation over all others. This political movement supresses democratic mechanisms such as the Union movement and is nationalistic and militaristic.

    Its wrong to say that the US is ‘moving towards’ becoming a fascist state, because the US has had strong fascistic tendencies ever since Communism became a perceived threat to the US. Faced with Left-wing extremism the US establishment decided to fight authoritarian socialistic fire with authoritarian nationalistic fire.

    Tell me the Hollywood blacklists and the Mcarthy anti-Communist witchhunts of the late forties an the fifties were not fascistic, or that making all kids pledge allegiance to the flag is not nationalistic authoritarianism!

    The fact is that anyone who is affiliated to, or is a supporter of, a political party that promotes the US as the best nation in the world, that teaches its citizens it has to support the US and its soldiers at all costs and which threatens military action against other nations that don’t agree, is a fascist. Look up the word in a dictionary and you will see I am right.

  21. Actually Mark, Naomi is a “moonbat” which is a derogatory term the right uses for the left. “Wingnut” is the derogatory term we use to describe the right.

    Risser: Bush may be many things but stupid isn’t one of them, he just plays one on TV. It’s all an act. He reads books and newspapers constantly even though publicly he says otherwise. Why? Because it’s what “The Prince” would do.

    If you are going to be pedantic “Tim the Pedant” at least get it right.

    fas·cism /[fash-iz-uhm]

    a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.


    A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.


    A system of government that flourished in Europe from the 1920s to the end of World War II. Germany under Adolf Hitler, Italy under Mussolini, and Spain under Franco were all fascist states. As a rule, fascist governments are dominated by a dictator, who usually possesses a magnetic personality, wears a showy uniform, and rallies his followers by mass parades; appeals to strident nationalism; and promotes suspicion or hatred of both foreigners and “impure” people within his own nation, such as the Jews in Germany. Although both communism and fascism are forms of totalitarianism, fascism does not demand state ownership of the means of production, nor is fascism committed to the achievement of economic equality. In theory, communism opposes the identification of government with a single charismatic leader (the “cult of personality”), which is the cornerstone of fascism. Whereas communists are considered left-wing, fascists are usually described as right-wing.

    Note: Today, the term fascist is used loosely to refer to military dictatorships, as well as governments or individuals that profess racism and that act in an arbitrary, high-handed manner.

    Clearly there are fascistic elements at work today but whether or not we will become a full blown fascist state really doesn’t matter. Our rights and freedoms are being systematically taken away and we live in an increasingly authoritarian and repressive state.

  22. OK, flame war wtf up there…

    Ignoring that, my problem with people like Naomi Wolf, neo-libs and neo-cons like Malkin is that their hypocrisy. As chris rock says, “The hypocrisy of democracy.” They will fight to the death against bush or clinton saying that we are going towards fascism/socialism etc. but when we do it it is completely necessary and all right. Yes, what Wolf says about the Bush administration is largely true, a lot of what he is doing is going back to Mccarthy era politics and ensuring that he is never held accountable for his actions. Plus, its not like his so called opposition ever tried to anything about it beyond cursory, “Hey..WTF dood?” because they know it gives them a better chance in the elections if they stay silent and become activists later on.
    The only thing both sides are really saying it, “You doodz suck ass, but its totally cool when we do it, cause we’re thinking about the good of the country.” be it socialized health care, banning the n-word or warrant less wiretapping. I bet a thousand bucks that all of bush’s measures will take at least 20+ years to get rid of because the dems will never want to seriously challenge tradition and “the law.”

  23. “So in your view, “progress” does not require taking into account opposing viewpoints (often registered as “complaints”)? I know the conservatives are really scary and all, but are you really so threatened by their words that you can’t stand to read them?”

    Like I said: boring. And off-topic. But mostly just boring.


    You’re narcissistic ramblings are non-germaine and extremely uninteresting. Not to mention disruptive of the forum.

    Please stop taking up valuable space with your self-obsessed, overly long entries and imaginary freedom fight. No one cares.

  25. Har. Like anything Naomi Wolf says is credible in the first place (remember kids, she was Al Gore’s “Image Consultant”). So of course this book is going to side with the leftwing nutballs that are still upset that Gore lost in 2000.

    I’m a rightwinger (who doesn’t read political blogs) who very often frequents BoingBoing. I have absolutely no problem with Boing’s leftwing bias as (a): I like to see what the other side says about things and (b): the non-political stuff is always fascinating. The thing I find the funniest is how open minded the left is, provided of course that you agree with them.

    But hey, it all works out.

  26. As an evil conservative libertarian, I’d like to take a crack at the (cue booming voice) “10 Steps to Fascism.”
    1.) Invoke a terrifying internal & external enemy: Republicans (internal)/ Zionists (external). BOOGA BOOGA!

    2. Create a gulag:

    3. Develop a thug caste: Come on! The Clintons are the goddamn Sopranos. They even made an ad about it!

    4. Set up an internal surveillance system: See NBC, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, NYTimes, WaPo, and on & on & on…

    5. Harass citizens’ groups: Hey, a white christian…KILL KIM!

    6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release: Sensitivity Training.

    7. Target key individuals: Screw that, target anyone who doesn’t believe in WTC 7…and Ron Paul.

    8. Control the press: LMFAO!

    9. Dissent equals treason: It sure does. Just ask Joe Lieberman.

    10. Suspend the rule of law: God bless the ACLU. Wait, did I say “God?” I didn’t mean that…please don’t sue.

  27. Here’s the problem. The problem isn’t that Bush is fascist. He’s just stupid, paranoid and greedy.

    The problem with your “problem” is that it isn’t a problem. You state that President Bush is “stupid, paranoid and greedy.” And your evidence for all this is……..?

    Really now, you need to reach back into your memory banks and recall what you presumably learned in Philosophy 101: “All opinions are valid, but not all arguments are valid.” Show us your evidence or–how shall I put this delicately?–oh yeah, shut up.

  28. For some reason #2 didn’t post (pro’lly because I used “insert” keys). Don’t want any of you tough, “You’ll be the first lined up against the wall when the revolution comes,” fellas to think I was scared of the Gitmo reference, so..

    2.) Create a Gulag: Insert (any) American university here.

    Other acceptable answers for #7: Target anyone who doesn’t reek of patchouli & body odor or refuses to pepper his sentences with the word “man.”

  29. Remember that south park episode die hippie die. I was a sophomore in college about that time and that video is probably the best example of what goes on in most northeastern colleges. Kids in che shirts talking about communes and a whole lot of BS and a complete unwillingness to think on their own or accept an alternative point of view. My college had one conservative newsletter published by a single student. I knew the guy, very nice and courteous person and never raised his voice and the level of hate directed at him was astonishing.

  30. MarkJ, you’ve had 6 years of evidence that Bush is stupid, paranoid and greedy. (Well, actually, I’m not sure the evidence for “stupid” is conclusive–I’m still not sure whether what I’ve been seeing is stupidity or malice disguised as stupidity. Any sufficiently advanced yadda yadda yadda.) It’s public record. If you rejected it as evidence of such when you saw him do, say, or act it, then you’re not likely to take it as evidence should anyone here repeat it to you.

    CantStopTheSignal, the BoingBoing moderator is, to my knowledge, a huge Firefly fan. And she also hasn’t deleted your posts in this thread, which are all fairly dissenting. In my experience, someone yelling about how a moderator can’t stand dissent is usually just someone mistaking their own rudeness for Speaking! Truth! To Power! and getting a martyrdom complex about it. And the fact that they can yell about it in the moderators’ forum rather argues against what they’re yelling being true.

  31. CantStopTheSignal said:
    “How does someone even get so out of touch with reality that they think America is anywhere even remotely close to this?”

    The point isn’t that the US is close to this, but that right now it’s moving in that direction. And that’s a bad direction to go. In other words, it’s not the position that bothers me so much as it is the vector.

    I don’t think that anyone would say that the US is close to all 10 of the steps. Personally I wouldn’t say that we’re even close to more than 2 or 3 of them.

    But the very fact that I think the US is close to 2 or 3 of those steps frightens the bejeebus out of me. Ten years ago, we weren’t close to any of them. Not a single one of them. There was no Guantanamo prison, no “Axis of Evil”, no rationalization of torture. You had to watch the X-Files to find anything close. Now we have it on the front page every day. When this happens, those that value living in a free society have an obligation to speak out against it.

    I’m pissed off at the violent extremists who punched a hole in the US psyche on Sept. 11, 2001. They stole from me the vision of a shining civilization that I’d hoped would come to be within my lifetime. But I’m even more pissed off at those in power who have taken advantage of that hole, who haven’t patched it, who have used it to move us further and further away from what could have been. And for what? I certainly am not substantially better now than I was in December 2001, or December 2002, or December 2004, nor is anyone I can think of, except those I know who aren’t serving in Iraq any more. Are you?

    I really want to believe that there would never, ever be a coup in the US. But then, ten years ago I wouldn’t have guessed that we’d be as close as we are to even 3 of those items on Wolf’s list. Or that there would be a hole called “Ground Zero” in Manhattan. Things don’t always happen the way that you would expect them to, it could be that instead of an obvious coup there is massive and untraceable voter fraud that barely ends up putting more of the same into power next year. If done right, nobody would be able to prove a thing. What happened in Florida in 2000 has been described that way, as have the electronic voting mishaps that happened nationwide in 2004. I think it all had more to do with ineptitude than fraud personally, but ineptitude around the right to vote is worse in some ways. And you can see where it might give bad eggs some ideas on how to manipulate a vote.

    And finally, for the record, I have no respect for dogmatic thinking no matter what the subjective stance of the dogmatic. The left is as guilty of it as the right is. The only difference I see is that the left has a little bit less of a tendency to take an intransigent “Us vs. Them” stance than the right does.

    (Incidentally, the reason why all the posts by your previous login are gone, CantStop, is probably because rescinding a login removes all the posts done under that login. And whatever reason your login was rescinded is something you can probably describe better than anyone, I’m guessing.)

  32. I think that I would delete all the comments from a banned individual if she decided to bypass the ban, particularly if she flaunted her defiance of the ban, if I were charged with that responsibility.

    The way to get unbanned is definitely not to sneak back in, any more than it’s the way to get invited back to a party or unbanned from a bar or restaurant. The more effort you spend on sneaking in, the less likely you are to get the ban lifted.

    That said, I’d like to see Nick’s posting at 38 treated with spot remover, and LamontYouDummy’s tediously standard-issue bozosity never would be missed. If I were responsible for moderating these comments I’d probably take care of these latter first: they seem more harmful to civil discourse than Can’t Stop the Yawning’s droning unpleasantness.

  33. [Boring moderation notice: Sorry about the holes that just appeared in this conversation. The commenter who posted here as “CantStopTheSignal” is actually another user who’s been temporarily suspended for misbehavior in another thread. CantStopTheSignal’s comments, here and elsewhere, have been unpublished because he’s the sockpuppet of a suspended user. For the record, this had nothing to do with the content of his comments. -tnh]

  34. Having just read the boingboing post on 9/11 conspiracy theories, I just want to say that in other countries, a lot of these people would be in jail for 9/11 denial. You only have to look towards europe where holocaust deniers are put in jail and its a crime to speak of the nazis in any way that could be considered “positive” to understand how far liberals are willing to go in the name of political correctness and sensitivity.
    Yes the right-wing stifles free speech, but their style is by throwing money at the problem, not by saying, “WHAT? HE SAID THAT? NO WAI!! THERE SHOULD BE A LAW AGAINST THAT!”
    Freedom means the right to do and say stupid things, and there should never be a law against stupidity as long as it doesn’t directly and physically hurt other people. Someone says something you don’t like, you can shout them down, not shoot them down. FTW. Stoopid senators…

  35. I don’t think these are crazy ideas to humor. I am in favor of free markets and capitalism. I am not in favor of private organizations infiltrating our government to use its power to give them an upper hand in that market. These groups have hijacked our system of law and are using it to keep us as slaves.

  36. Wow. looking back at my post I realized I was vague on some points. Not sure if the “conservative folks” comment was aimed partly at me, but i feel I should clearify.

    I agree this whole “look out for terrorists ZOMG!” paranoia trend with the TSA crap and wiretapping crap is definitely bad. I’m not extremly worried because from what i see of public opinion I have a feeling the pengalum is going to swing far in the other direction, simply from how bad a job Bush did (Ok, maybe it’s also some wishful thinking).

    I am somewhat more conservative, but I do enjoy about 95% of what’s here, that’s why I’m still here.

    I think good reference is the article that was linked from BB not too long ago (I think it was actually a link from a link, sorry I don’t know where it is. :( ). It was about how the system we have now is only instilling terror in the people, thus giving the terrorists what they want.

  37. Neon – you must be using a different dictionary to the one I use. My definition came from the online Chambers dictionary (UK) which says nothing about a fascism needing to be a dictatorship. After all, there are fascist parties which are not in power that can still be described thus – all that is required is a tendency to act like a dictatorship or a desire (either explicit or secret) to behave like one.

    Judging from the way that Bush’s Republican party has systematically installed their political allies into many preferably non-political areas (eg, the Judiciary and the Governmental scientific bodies) it is certainly doing its best to be dictatorial. Also, did Bush even win his first election? A leader who is elected through corruption counts as a dictator in my book.

    Even if we say Bush did win, both Mussolini and Hitler also won ‘democratic’ elections. You can be elected and still be a fascist – the difference is that once in power a fascist will do everything they can to overcome the limits placed upon them by the democratic system. I think Bush has certainly done his best to do this.

    Look at it this way; if Bush and his buddies had lost the second election, but had found a sneaky way of staying in power that didn’t cause complete chaos… would they have bowed down to the wished of the electorate? I doubt it.

  38. Whats frightening about lefties like Wolf is that they are completely blind to to very real fascism that exists today in many parts of the middle east. This lefty is a woman too, which make it that much more frightening.

  39. Aren’t those ten steps used by both the left and the right? I could’ve sworn that’s what ol’ Adolf did in Germany and the Bolsheviks did in Russia. But hey, what do I know. I’ve been known to be wrong before.

  40. The argument about whether the left or the right is worse (except the illuminating ‘moonbat’ vs. ‘wingnut’ definition, thanks for that) is surely missing the point. I can’t see anyone actually disagreeing that 9/11 provided an excuse for a raft of repressive measures that at best infringe all our civil rights and — if you are particularly unlucky — mean you end up stuck in a cage in Guantanamo being humiliated and tortured.

    In the UK, Amnesty is starting a campaign called ‘Unsubscribe – from human rights abuse in the war on terror’ to make the case that terror is not fought successfully with more terror. It is perhaps hugely telling that such an argument needs to be made at all but these are the times we find ourselves in.


  41. “That said, I’d like to see Nick’s posting at 38 treated with spot remover”

    Do you mean #’s 32 and 33?

    For the record: Admittedly, my language was strong, but I was reacting to some (IMO) egregious misuses of the forum (some since deleted), and expressing my frustration with commenters who seem to not like the blog, but instead of simply not reading it, or disagreeing with it, opt to mock it and other commenters, hence my note about “complaining.”

    I am usually quite an amiable fellow! :)

  42. @41: For the record Pt. 2 (see what you’ve started?!):

    My position was not that conservatives shouldn’t read bOING bOING, or that they should not post dissenting opinions, but that:

    1) criticizing the blog’s content is pointless: it’s their blog, they will post what they want. They don’t need our approval. When I get tired of it, I will stop reading it;

    2) there’s a difference between disagreeing and taunting;

    3) there’s a difference between commenting, and posting 1000-word expositions. I think really long posts are out of place here, but of course that’s the moderator’s call.

    I could also point out that phrases like “tediously standard-issue bozosity” and “Can’t Stop the Yawning’s droning unpleasantness” occurred in my critic’s post, not in any of mine, but that would be childish of me. :)

    But now I’ve become boring, so I’ll just stop and promise to be good in the future.

  43. Hey, Nick. The numbers changed when posts from CantStopTheSignal were expunged.

    My apologies if my remarks were intemperate or insulting to you. I think that mockery and direct and blunt statements like yours are reasonable in sufficiently robust conversations, which it turns out these comment threads generally have. If I’d had the ability to change them or pull them back I might have done so, when the following morning proved wiser than the evening when I posted them. Other comments with your byline should have shown me the error of my ways before I hit “Post.”

  44. The Ten Steps of the Fascist Shift as interpreted by Naomi Wolf and applied to the Bush administration, could equally apply to Presidents in the 1920’s, 1940’s, and 1950’s. United States history has been through many worse times and survived.
    While researching the 1920’s for my book “The Ragman’s War,” I learned many dark secrets about the Roaring Twenties hidden in union archives, news articles from that time, and in memories of old men.
    Applying the 10 steps to the administrations of Wilson, Harding and Coolidge would have made it the 1920’s the worst decade for fascism in US history. Steel and Rail Barons controlled all branches of government and wielded their influence to keep millions of immigrant workers laboring in the mills and mines for little or no wages. Dissidents and union organizers who riled against this serf system of cheap labor that kept the Twenties stock market roaring were branded as anarchists. They were detained, deported, jailed, or murdered.
    In the mining towns the mine families were forbidden to bear arms, to assemble, to have free ingress and egress to their towns, to sing hymns, and join unions. During the 1927-28 strike in the western Pennsylvania coalfields, they had their property seized and sold at auction and were evicted from their houses even when the rent was paid. Company agents had free access to invade their homes at whim.
    Constitutional abuses in the bituminous coalfields around Pittsburgh were so bad that members of the US Senate decided to visit the area to evaluate the situation. The ACLU did their own investigation and reported their findings in a booklet titled “The Shame of Pennsylvania.”
    If you don’t believe me, then look it up for yourself or read “Bucket of Blood the Ragman’s War,” “The Battle of Blair Mountain: The Story of America’s Largest Labor Uprising,” or “Storming Heavan.” Then there was the Red Purge of 1919, the Palmer Raids, and persecution of the IWW (Wobblies). What about the Red Scare of the late 1940’s under Truman? How many communists and sympathizers were detained, deported, jailed, or went into hiding?

    The Ten Steps of the 1928 Fascist Shift:
    1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy (Communists, Wobblies, Labor Unions).
    2. Create a gulag ( Captive Coal Towns, Wobbly Interment Camps, Deportation Centers).
    3. Develop a thug caste (Coal and Iron Police, Pinkerton Men, American Legion).
    4. Set up an internal surveillance system (Paid Stool Pigeons, Mail Interception).
    5. Harass citizens’ groups (Company Sheriffs, State Troopers, County Sheriffs, Constables, Coal and Iron Police, KKK, Jim Crow Laws).
    6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release (union organizers, black lists, civil rights activists, Wobblies, innocent immigrant workers).
    7. Target key individuals (scientists, academics, journalists, artists, writers, social activists, movie producers, labor leaders and organizers).
    8. Control the press (coal, steel, and rail barons, judges, Hearst Syndicate).
    9. Dissent equals treason (Sedition Laws, Red Scare, Palmer Raids, Anti Union Laws).
    10. Suspend the rule of law (suspension of Constitutional rights for coal and steel families, Rossitor Injunctions, Coal & Steel companies rule the towns they own, their appointed agents are the law).
    OOPS!!! Wolf forgot about suppression of free speech.

  45. All the items on Naomi’s list are actually happening in Great Britain, a very liberal country run by very liberal politicians.

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