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First off, I think comparisons to other governments & countries in order to prove the point that "at least we aren't this bad" is not productive

What I am trying to say is that the diary is over the top. The comparisons are there to point out that we don't think of those places in that way and similarly we shouldn't think of America today in such a manner.

just because it's been tolerated before does not mean it should be tolerated again.

And I said it shouldn't be tolerated, so we agree.

Note, in each of the previous instances you mention, a particular group is the "enemy": Japanese, Socialists, Peace groups, Hippies, Democrats, Communists.  What we see today is different and I believe even more dangerous because aside from the Al Quaida, which we must all admit represent the slimmest of minorities in America, if there are any in the country at all, everyone is held under suspicion.

In the case of ethnic targeting you're right it's different, though I'm not sure that it is better - singling out people according to their ethnicity has its own ugliness.  

The rest I disagree - this admin is looking at everyone in search of those it considers dangerous, some genuinely so, most not. The same applies to the earlier political persecutions.

You might compare it to McCarthyism, but I'd remind you that that was one man with an agenda and he was brought down easily enough.  We are now talking about the enactment of laws, the Executive branch, the military, the media and private corporations actively taking part in police state tactics without our knowledge and with few or no ways to stop them.

The idea that McCarthyism was just about one man is a nice comforting illusion. It wasn't like that. He had the support of the bulk of the Republican party, and some conservative democrats and copy cats on both state and local levels. Laws galore were passed. The witch hunts lasted for years and affected schools, universities,  civil servants at all levels, journalists, unions, the arts - even the ACLU purged itself IIRC. Those targetted were mostly left wing, but also centrists -  anyone who at any point in their life had flirted ever so slightly with the far left and hadn't turned rabidly right wing. By the standards of the day pretty much the entire net-roots community would be in serioius trouble (they work against the Iraq War, extreme left wing groups play a big organizational role in the anti-war movement, ergo everyone's screwed - and the communists in the thirties played a key role in civil rights, trade unions, anti-Franco movements, anti-fascism, socio-economic reform discussions.)

The only thing that arguably makes it worse is technological change. But I don't find the idea of cops systematically going down lists of attendees at all sorts of meetings, then questioning them and their friends, reading my mail, being forced to solemnly swear that I wasn't involved in any of that sort of stuff and that I support the government's policies; more reassuring than the idea of the NSA reading my e-mail and listening to my phone calls.

Both now and then the apolitical or politically safe had nothing to fear. But the politically tainted Americans had a lot more to fear then than now.  

by MarekNYC on Wed May 17th, 2006 at 07:31:43 PM EST
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call the National Enquirer, I'm going to agree with MarekNYC :-)

"Tail Gunner Joe" wasn't that easy to get rid of.  careers were wrecked and some lives were lost.  on a scale of one to peak Stalinism not so bad, admittedly, but I wouldn't, from our relatively safer vantage, underestimate the McCarthy putsch's viciousness and impact.  imho the US still hasn't recovered from that era;  red-baiting still works and socialism is still a dirty word.  which is exactly what the rentier classes wanted, so Joe M wasn't a failure from a longer POV.

OTOH it is also easy to underestimate the speed with which things can change, and I do think the right wing in the US is laying the groundwork for a potential crackdown, with their detention centres and erosion of posse comitatus and pan-surveillance and all the rest.

neither panic nor complacency seems to be in order...  unfortunately in the absence of clear and present panic we do tend to get complacent :-(

good diary, anyway.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu May 18th, 2006 at 09:43:59 PM EST
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