Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism

Fourteen Defining
Characteristics Of Fascism
By Dr. Lawrence Britt

Source Free


Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of
Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia)
and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics
common to each:

"1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes
tend to make constant use of patriotic mottoes, slogans, symbols, songs,
and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols
on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because
of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes
are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because
of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve
of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of
prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying
Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the
need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or
religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread
domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate
amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers
and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations
tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional
gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are
suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the
family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly
controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly
controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople
and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as
a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments
in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as
a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology
is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion
are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and
business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the
government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government
relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing
power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions
are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist
nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education,
and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to
be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is
openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist
regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The
people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil
liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force
with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes
almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint
each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority
to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist
regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or
even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist
nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear
campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of
legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries,
and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their
judiciaries to manipulate or control elections."

#FuckYouWashington Trended

Me and an lot of other angry Americans have vented today and said #FuckYouWashington on Twitter.  It was interesting - I didn't realize how much stuff I had to say "Fuck You!" about as regards our politicians, lobbyist and other hangers on there in Washington.  I will never forgive the Republican party for the actions they deliberately undertook to bring economic ruin the US because they so despised having a black President.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Best Buy Failed

Back in May, a dear friend gifted me with a new computer and monitor.  The monitor was a Dell IN 1920 18.5" monitor from Best Buy.  This morning the monitor failed on me after a mere two, count them, two months of use.  The display just lost about 2 inches or so of space... just like the picture I took shows.   I took it back to Best Buy where I picked it up in May.  It was under the manufacturer's warranty.  The Geek Squad guy, Juan,  asked if I wanted it serviced or exchanged.  Since it failed so early in use, and following what I've learned from years of reading in various consumer magazines, I took the exchange and ran into a dirty nasty trick.

The geek squad guy told me I was eligible for a 85.99 store credit for the monitor and I could pick one out of equal value or pay the difference on a more expensive model.  They did NOT have the same model monitor in stock so could not do a one for one exchange.   As this monitor was a gift ordered on the net, I took the paperwork from Best Buy that had the order number and my name on it since I'd originally needed them to pick up the original monitor at the local store.  Since the monitor was given as a gift,  I did not have the receipt.  But I am pretty sure that using the order number from order confirmation I had, they could have looked up the original purchase cost and done an equal value exchange. 

Anyway the nasty trick is that I did not get an equal value exchange.  Best Buy's 'store credit' nasty trick was to use the lowest sale price of the item within the last 30 days.  That was, they claimed, 79.99, not the 85.99 the Geek Squad guy told me.  Frankly I don't know if my great good friend paid  $129.99 or $149.99 for the monitor which went kaput in such a short time.  Dell's web sites sells it for $129.99, so I will assume the lower price. 

So Best Buy profited in collecting an additional $20.00 from me (not including tax) for the replacement monitor I took home, as well as pocketing the remaining $30.00 from the original sale price -- assuming my friend paid the full $129.00 + tax.  So they made $50.00 through a deceptive practice that really stinks.

My thinking is this:

If someone makes a gift of a product purchased from a company that has both an internet and bricks and mortar store, then by golly the gift receipt and/or order confirmation number (along with photo id) should be perfectly sufficient to get an equal value exchange.  No reduced 'store credit', no restocking fee.  Equal value.  The product sold through Best Buy failed.  Their exchange practice was, however nominally legal, deceptive and wrong and they got an extra $50 in their coffers that pure bonus.  I did tell the clerk at the counter and his comment?  "I did the best I can for you!"  Bollocks.  Also, In writing this, I looked up the return policy and nowhere does it state that the store credit will be for the lowest sale price of the unit within the last 30 days.   I worked 9 years for T-Mobile and I know what really stellar customer care is, what an employee CAN do to make a customer happy and what world class customer care looks like.  Folks, I can tell you today, I didn't even get 3rd rate customer care!

I'm not going there again and I'm am letting everyone I know about this.  My friend is also writing to Best Buy.  I'm blogging this, sharing it on my Facebook page, tweeting it and letting you all know that Best Buy disappointed me greatly and I left knowing that I will never do business with them again.  If you don't want to be disappointed like I was just don't buy from them. If you don't want a friend you give a gift to to be short changed, don't give them anything from Best Buy because their exchange policy is is unfair and, in my opinion, dishonest.   So if you don't want to be disappointed or don't want a friend or loved one to be disappointed, take your business anywhere but Best Buy.

Update 7/15/2011:  correction - the monitor was a Dell IN1910 18.5 monitor which on their site was $139.00.  My friend is now involved with the dispute.  He found that he did indeed get the monitor on sale for $85.59.  So the math changes a bit.  The fact remains that I did NOT get the appropriate credit and that's still a cheat. 

Saturday, July 09, 2011

What Is Wrong With This View?

I saw this poll on CNN today that asked: 
"Is the knowledge we gain from space exploration worth the money governments spend on space programs?"
Imagine my surprise reading that 34% said "No."  "No."  That is one-third of the people who answered the question said, "NO!"  I'm not British, but this has me gobsmacked!  It is also distressing to me because I appreciate a lot of the derivative technology and products that arose out of the space program and see them in daily use in so many places enumerating them is not entirely possible.
I use computers and smart phones.  In the Air Force in 1978, I used to do data entry on old IBM key punch machines that would fill half a room and were so noisy you practically needed headphones.  The trays of punch cards were then taken to the computing center, put through a reader and the results captured on large reel to reel tapes that filled buildings half the size of a aircraft hanger.  Today I use a desktop PC which would barely fill an area 1/100th the space, a smart phone and an iPod.  Both memory compaction and parts miniaturization were revolutionized by the space program.  The progressive lens glasses I wear for my farsighted astigmatism and middle aged presbyopia weigh less than 2 oz.  In comparison, the single vision glass lenses I wore 35 years ago weighed close to 5.5 ounces.
Imaging technology used in medicine was improved on huge scale because of the space program.  Along with that we should note improvements in things like organ transplants, artificial hearts, machines that monitor our vital stats, respirators, UV protection suits for people with severe allergies to sunlight even prosthetics for limbs and face parts were vastly improved and made lighter, more flexible and even more aesthetically pleasing to the users as a direct result of the knowledge from the space program. 
A lot of sports equipment has also been made stronger yet lighter because of knowledge and applied materials science developed by the space program. 
Materials like carbon fiber have made our cars and aircraft lighter and more energy efficient.  Kevlar helps protect our cops and nomex in fabric helps keep our firefighters safe. 
What I'd like to see is that the one-third, that 34% put down and walk away from everything they use in their day to day life because the tools, gadgets, toys and conveniences used ALL have roots in the space program.  Do without if you think it's not valuable!  Please, just stop being hypocrites about it!   If you don't want it, then don't use it!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Gussie Goes To Casa Esperanza For Charity

Today, I donated my 1993 Ford Taurus wagon, that I once named Gussie, to Casa Esperanza in Albuquerque.  Gussie's been a good car, but is old and tired and ready to be taken apart and have its working and useful parts sold and the money used for good purposes.

Casa Esperanza provides temporary housing ('lodging services") at reduced costs for family members of cancer patients who have travel to Albuquerque hospitals for cancer treatment. 

This is the second vehicle Jim and I have donated to charity.  It is a great way to recycle and help others at the same time.  I hope you will consider this option for dealing with an older car the next time you end up with a new(er) car.  Trade-ins are good, but recycling cars, boats, motorcycles and the like to help others is pretty nifty too.