Whose buying our votes now?
Make way Koch Bros and Super PACs, we now have a new uber-rich voice in the form of a foreign-born horseman and billionaire spending untold millions on an “issue ad” attempting to scare voters with his red-hot hyperbolic bullshit meant to sound profoundly serious and wizened to the under-educated ear.
He’s counting on Americans not knowing their world history or basic macro-economics.
You may have seen the ad urging people to vote Republican — with a dire warning from the heavily accented Thomas Peterffy. It starts with him saying “I grew up in a socialist country…”, then goes on to decry the horrific results of the evil and un-washed masses “bad-mouthing success” and job creators.
Oh yes, we dare not criticize the 1% of Mr. Peterffy’s world, in which he is the 60th richest person in the United States, and the 189th in the world.
Born in Budapest Hungary in 1944, Peterffy lived the first two decades of his life under Soviet-dominated communism before immigrating to the United States. He would have you believe he’s the quintessential Horatio Alger hero — and sure, he went from middle class to super rich to become a key figure among the architechs that designed our current financial market’s super fast computerized rapid-trading system. (Thanks for that Mr. Peterffy, it’s worked-out so well — no glitches.)
Channeling Ayn Rand in his ad, Peterffy first fails to make the critical distinction between communism and socialism — one being an oppressive form of government, and the other an economic system which often enjoys varying degrees of success under democratic rule –but no, this obvious conflation is not the most egregious error in Peterffy’s line of reasoning.
What is most surprising is that this Hungarian ex-pat is blind to the genuinely looming threat of fascism here in the United States, especially given that his native country had flirted with that lowest form of governmental over-reach for much of the early 20th century, with the result being the backlash of full-blown communism — which apparently, he no-likey.
Okay, so we’ve already established that conservatives tend to be definitionally-challenged — and fascism is no exception. (Perhaps there is a secret reference book: Limbaugh’s Concise Tea Party Dictionary and Users Guide to Bullshit–Speak, a comprehensive compendium for sounding like a complete idiot.) The far right routinely employs the word fascism incorrectly in the service of their fear-based agenda, often accusing President Obama of being such. They haven’t a clue of what they speak. It is ironic that they don’t even see the real fascists when they look in the mirror.
So what is fascism?
There is a reason they call it a “creeping” monster — fascism infects nations donning the disguise of seemingly loftier virtues which soon shackle all with their utterly debasing tenets. A hallmark of fascism is that it is often only identified in hindsight.
Let’s define the specifics of fascism and see if any of them look familiar.
Dr. Lawrence Britt studied fascist regimes, including those of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Suharto, along with several Latin American examples of fascism at work, and found 14 defining characteristics common to each.
Keeping it fun and sexy –Let’s put America to a Cosmo-style test…
ARE YOU A FASCIST NATION?
Answer “yes” or “no” if you can be characterized by the following statements. (See answer key below)
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism.
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights.
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause.
4. Supremacy of the Military.
5. Rampant Sexism.
6. Controlled Mass Media (direct or in-direct).
7. Obsession with National Security.
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined.
9. Corporate Power is Protected.
10. Labor Power is Suppressed.
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts.
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment.
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption.
14. Fraudulent Elections.
If you answered “yes” to: 0 to 2 — Sunshine and Rainbows! 3 to 4 — er…Puppies and Kittens? 5 to 6— meh… 7 to 8 — Your country has a problem. 9 t0 10 — Seek help now. 11 to 12 — Pack your bags! 13 to 14 — build a guillotine?
It seems Mr. Peterffy’s adopted nation didn’t fare so well. So then, why isn’t he worried about fascism?
For the same reason his contemporary fellow billionaire, hedge fund manager and hero of the super-rich, Leon Cooperman isn’t — neither man gives a flying-fuck about anything but protecting their obscene cash-stash, and they’ll both say or do whatever it takes to cow Tea Party automatons to do their electoral bidding.
Cooperman has the cojones to whine about being under-appreciated by American workers and expects a personal apology from President Obama. In a shameless effort to ply the intellectually weak among us, he actually compared our president to Hitler, which would be laughable, but not for the fact that so many middle-income fascist enablers are buying his easy on the intellect brand of bullshit.
They should be ashamed — all of them.
Amy Kerr Hardin