Friday, February 24, 2017

Route 66 to the Concentration Camps

While we slept, the United States became a fascist country.

This is not just the result of the presidential election. Right-wingers espousing fascist policies control both houses of the national legislature and, as soon as Neil Gorsuch is confirmed, will again control the Supreme Court.

The titular president and his string-puller, Alt-Pres. Bannon, have the power to select a record number of new federal judges, more than any administration in history. (Note: Obama had the right to fill many of these vacancies, but the Republican senate refused to consider his nominees.)

Republicans now control 32 state legislatures and the governors of 33 states are Republicans.  The office-holders at the state level are among the most right-wing, anti-environment, anti-immigrant and anti-social politicians ever to hold office in this country.

They include the likes of Sonny Borrelli, an Arizona state senator, who once punched his wife in the face not once but three times, was convicted of domestic violence, was sentenced to 10 days in jail — and served one.  In Arizona, that’s how you spell j-u-s-t-i-c-e.  Think of “Sheriff Joe.”

Borrelli has just enjoyed the greatest triumph of his political career. He sponsored legislation called  SB 1142 that has just passed the senate and will soon pass in the house.  It expands existing racketeering laws to allow police to arrest anyone involved in a protest and seize their assets, treating demonstrators like organized criminals.

The legislation would give the state of Arizona the right to arrest and prosecute and seize the assets of anyone who planned a protest and everyone who participated.  Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, said, ”This is a total perversion of the RICO [Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations] process, the racketeering process, and I see major Constitutional issues down the line. I don't think this is going to do anything but get us into more lawsuits."

Borrelli and his Republican cohorts allege that protests are the work of paid provocateurs.  Even people not present at protests could be prosecuted, for conspiracy,  under SB 1142.  

Borrelli’s law has the fingerprints of ALEC  (the American Legislative Exchange Council) all over it.  This is the control center for the laws and political action that have plunged the country into fascism while the citizenry slept, or fell for blatant lies and elected the liars to run things. ALEC has tons of money, given to it by Exxon Mobil, the Koch brothers, the pharmaceutical industry (PhRMA) and other corporations or their phony foundation fronts. 

ALEC dispenses this largesse to Republican state legislators, wining them and dining them at meetings where copies of “model” legislation are distributed.  Many of the puppets go back home and sponsor these bills without even reading them, and they become law, as Arizona’s SB 1142 soon will become law.  Oklahoma’s draconian laws that deny women the rights of free citizens, Utah’s anti-environment laws that would steal all the federal public land in the state . . . these and many other pieces of fascist legislation are ALEC’s gift to the people under the boot heel.

With Alt-Pres. Bannon and his lap puppet leading the way at the federal level, and states like Arizona marching in lockstep, the path to concentration camps for the rest of us is very nearly complete.

If travel you must in Arizona, be very careful what literature you carry, what bumper stickers are on your vehicle, what you say over tacos at the lunch counter.  You could be a “paid agitator.”  Sheriff Joe might be gone — some say there’s a position for him in the new national government — but his infamous jail is still there.

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