Do We Have To Wait Until Bush Purges 20 Million of Us Before We Can Say He's Like Stalin?:
Sometimes, man, it's easy to understand why people just go on with their lives if they're in countries led by a dictator. 'Cause, see, ya got different types of dictators: ya got yer blatantly greedy, "fuck everyone's poverty and hunger as long as my fat belly is full and my big ass is on a gold pillow"-type, like yer House of Saud; ya got yer crazy, seein' shit, killin' everyone in sight, paranoid dictators, like yer Stalins, yer Kim Jong-Ils; ya got yer "as long as you don't fuck with me, we're cool" dictators, like yer Saddam Husseins; and, the most insidious kind, the dictators who pretend they're not dictators, that everything they do is good and right for the majority of the people in the nation, and, really, where do ya wanna start? Mao? No category is hard and fast, for qualities of one kind certainly bleed into the others (and, hey, this ain't a fuckin' textbook here). Besides, every dictator has his or her brutal fetishes, like rape rooms, testicle torture, or scalp-collectin', that inflict themselves on the occasional innocent. But, for the majority of a population, in the majority of dictatorships, it's just easier to live your life and hope that you never run over the dictator's son's pet goat or some such shit.
'Cause, like, if you're a citizen in a dictatorship, you can belong to one of a few categories: inner circle, by connection, family, or ethnicity, where the bounty of the dictator is shared with you as long as you keep said dictator happy; enemy group, by politics, ethnicity, or region, in which case you will be fucked with, beaten, and your daughter raped in front of you on a regular basis until you're disappeared, imprisoned, or cleansed; or average person-in-the-street, the men and women who each day walk past the posters of Glorious Leader, listen to the Leader's speeches, work their jobs, fuck their spouses and/or lovers, raise their kids, watch their TVs, and feel a little exhausted and cranky all the time without wanting to admit why. Think of life in a Soviet bloc country back in the day. And average person-in-the-street has to make a decision: to seek to rebel, overthrow that dictator, and try to make a change in the nation (thus turning into a purgeable enemy of the state, you know), or take the safe, easy way out and live that average person life. And who could blame you?
In America, we pretend, god, how we pretend, that we're not drifting precipitously into dictatorship, despite a government that clearly behaves as if it has the powers of such tyranny. How else do you explain the Bush administration's blatant violation of criminal law in the President's authorization of spying by the NSA on perhaps thousands of American citizens, a story the "liberal" New York Times sat on for a year at the behest of the White House? Combined with the revelation of the Pentagon database of "potential threats" to the nation that includes war protesters, and you've got some good ol' Soviet-style paranoia going on. If the government feels it has to monitor and/or control the speech and gatherings of its citizens, well, shit, may as well break out the ball vices, put up the posters of Bush standing on top of the corpses of traitors, and call it totalitarianism.
But the occasional good work is a nice distraction from the excesses of a dictatorship. It's what makes it easier for that average citizen to sit back and be an object, acted upon, instead of a subject with that awful agency that forces one to act. Stalin knew that if he built a mighty dam, many people in the nation would overlook the death and misery he had wrought as his press praised him endlessly for his vision in making that mighty dam. So it is that the White House announced the request for an additional $1.5 billion to help reconstruct the levees in New Orleans (which takes care of an effect, but not the disease of environmental degradation).
And anyone who thinks that Bush actually "gave in" to John McCain on the torture amenement is either an idiot or an idolater (and, really, it's hard to tell one from the other these days). We know, from funding for African AIDS programs to the use of poor people and the military as props, that Bush doesn't give a shit what he agrees to, what oaths he vows, what promises he makes: he's gonna do what he wants. Alberto Gonzales has already figured out a way around the McCain amendment, to be sure. And we'll find out about that in another couple of years. The agreement, like the promise to fund the levees, is hocus-pocus, sleight of hand, so you can't see the real fakery of the magic. It's like Stalin promising defectors that nothing would happen if they returned back home. Oh, what glorious bloodletting occurred because of that lie. Oh, how nice and peaceful that lie sounded.
The failure of most Democrats to capitalize on these makes it seem like when Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton show up on some Sunday talk show, it's only because the powers-that-be allow them to speak. It's why when something happens like Russ Feingold getting some nutzoid, paranoid right wing Senators to go along with him on a possible filibuster of the Patriot Act, it is an extraordinary act of courage, when it should only be common sense.
But dictatorships, even demi-dictatorships masked as democracies, don't operate under such convenient notions like "common sense" or "laws." And while the ghost of Hitler, which always haunts these kinds of writings, hasn't been dragged out yet here, let's end by saying this: for the dictatorship, there is only the will to power, and whatever manipulations and machinations it takes, that power will be maintained and the dictator will get whatever the dictator wants.
(By the way, the Rude Pundit is not naive enough to think that spying on Americans hasn't occurred in the past, but, shit, at least COINTELPRO was part of the FBI.)