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Wednesday, 13 July 2016

How could the U.S. turn into [sic] a dictatorship?

Dear Readers:
I have said many times on these pages that the United States is slowly turning into a Fascist State and nobody seems to take me seriously.
Well today I ran across a couple of articles I think you should read because it made my blood run cold: (Please remember that Dwight Eisenhower warned us back in the 50's about the "MILITARY - INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! Remember folks, although I might rant about all the nuts with conspiracy theories ..., IT ISN'T PARANIOA IF THEY REALLY ARE OUT TO GET YOU!)

From the pages of QUORA DIGEST:

Peter Schachte, Expatriate American

There would be many ways, such as invasion or military coup.  But I think the way most likely to succeed would be to gradually subvert the democratic process, overriding the popular will with the rulers' decisions.  Every parent knows that the way to get your kids to do what you want is to give them two choices both of which you want.  Even when they would not accept either of the options if phrased as commands, when given a choice, they'll usually pick one.  That's the way to run a dictatorship:  couched as a democracy.  Running a police state is just too much work.
To make this work best, it's probably desirable for the rulers not to be part of the government, but rather to sit on the side instructing the government what to do.  This frees the rulers from the burden of the day-to-day running of the country and making unimportant decisions, but still gives them the power to implement what they want.  More importantly, it keeps the rulers out of the spotlight.  Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
So how could this happen?  The simplest way would be to ensure that only people with a large election fund could be elected, and then allow people to donate to candidates as much money as they want.  That would ensure that mostly the only candidates to be elected would be those who were willing to do as the people with the money wished.  You don't have to buy the politicians to control government; you only need to ensure that mostly only people who agree with you get elected.
The obvious next question is how you could tell whether or not this had happened.  One way to tell would be to see if government policies reflected the people's will.  In a true democracy, you would expect that most government policies should be popular.  Some might be necessary despite unpopularity, of course, and some might be unpopular at first but turn out to work well and then become popular, but in a democracy, government policies should mostly reflect the will of the people.  A recent Princeton study  investigated exactly this and found that government policies do not reflect the will of the people; they reflect the will of the top 1% of the income distribution.  The will of the other 99% of the population had no statistically significant effect on government policies.  This summarises the findings:

Of course, that doesn't mean the US is a true dictatorship.  But all that is necessary to move from oligarchy to dictatorship is for the oligarchs to battle among themselves until a single leader, or even just a policy consensus, emerges.  That, it seems to me, is the most likely way for the US to become a dictatorship.

Gary Misch, Former military contractor and consultant. It is possible, but perhaps not quite the way you imagine it. The Roman Republic became a dictatorship. If you are really interested in how this happens, you might try reading "The Roman Revolution" by Sir Ronald Syme. It chronicles how the republic descended into dictatorship through structural weakness. The United States has been showing structural weakness since 1990.
Americans have periodically given up some freedoms for what they have perceived as good reasons. They tolerated the internment of all ethnic Japanese on the west coast during World War II. As World War II wound down, senior members of the Roosevelt cabinet discussed continuing to have the federal government closely manage the economy after the war (See "No End Save Victory" by Kaiser).
The first step in the descent to dictatorship is control, and loss of privacy makes the citizenry susceptible to control. We are already on that slippery slope. Although it is unlawful, except in the most extraordinary cases, local police in most major jurisdictions are requesting so many "emergency" tracks of cell phone locations that major mobile phone companies have set up dedicated computer links to facilitate the process. The companies are afraid to say no. (Source: New York Times)
The country is eliminating the $100 bill; the government says cash is the criminal's friend. $50s will be next. They would like to force the population into a cashless society, where all of our moves can be tracked. (Source: New York  Times)
Retired General Michael Hayden, former:
  • Director of National Intelligence (DNI),
  • Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA),
  • Director of the National Security Agency (NSA),
stated that, in violation of federal law, NSA was able to look into individual's Gmail™ address books. (Source: General Hayden testimony before Congress)
The current USA Patriot Act permits secret subpoenas for information which cannot be disclosed (National Security Letters). It is a criminal act to disclose that you have received one. It also makes it easy to require to the post office to open your mail.
You can be prohibited from boarding an aircraft under current law.
Thanks to Edward Snowden's disclosures, we know that NSA tracks masses of cell phone traffic.
If you put all this together, what you have is a government that does not widely control its population because it has not decided to, but the mechanisms are in place to do so. These are just the domestic mechanisms that are currently in place.
Thanks to the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, the U.S. has the ability to listen to dozens, or hundreds of cell phone conversations via sensors on drones or business jets flown by civilian contractors (carrying the drones' payloads). This technology can easily be transplanted to the United States.
Everything except from the last paragraph has already been put in operation, but it could be widely expanded for general population surveillance and control. These are the building blocks of a dictatorship. The one missing building block that is missing is a compliant military, however, it is my belief that the U.S. executive branch could enforce its will using civilian agencies such as the FBI, and similar, newly created forces; I do not believe the military would become the agency of a dictatorship in this country.
The capstone would be for a sitting president to create a state of emergency in order to defer the electoral process. This last step is the only one that would be tricky. After all, we held elections during a World War. Whether that is realistic is a matter of speculation, however, the definition of a dictatorship is elastic. The Obama administration, ostensibly liberals, have continued many anti democratic policies of the G. W. Bush administration. It was a pretty seamless handoff. It is never a long jump to dictatorship.