On the 20th day, when the Rovian hordes of paid-for astroturf political operatives and uncritical Fourth Reich fanatics descended on Crawford, Texas, Cindy Sheehan used the "f" word.

I finally figured out George Bush's New reason for staying in Iraq. This reason has also been co-opted by the Move America Forward (forward to what: Fascism?) and the poor mothers who would be honored if their sons were killed in George Bush's war for greed and power," Sheehan wrote.

Sheehan's correct in recognizing that hardcore Bush supporters would gladly sacrifice their children to curry favor with the chickenhawk fuehrer, and they'd probably be willing to accept Hitler-style "Bunny Medals" to produce new warriors for the New World Order.

If fascism prospers, none dare call it fascism. Bush's response to the genuine grassroots criticism of the war is to also use the "f" word in the form of his upright middle finger.

What Bush's increasing propensity to flip off the American people represents is an ever-widening gap between the 60% or so of the people opposed to his war in Iraq and his Big Lie policies that led us into this 19th century-style occupation.

All the signs of incipient fascism loom as a spectre before the American people, yet few want to talk about it or agitate against it. Until, of course, Cindy the Gold Star mom went to Crawford.

The ugly irrational ultra-nationalism embodied by Bush's position that somebody needed killing in the Middle East, and it didn't really matter if they had weapons of mass destruction or were tied to 9/11, confronts us daily. Albeit the message is brought to you in the form of a new smiley-faced fascism reduced to catchy slogans, bumper stickers and talking points.

Bush's recess appointment of John Bolton as UN Ambassador displays his regime's contempt for human rights and his commitment to the supremacy of military solutions over negotiations in foreign policy matters.

All the other elements of growing fascism are here, although the mainstream corporate media refuse to talk about it ? which is, of course, one of the signs. Other signs include: the suppression of labor unions; the obsession with real and imagined national enemies; corporate control of the economy which Mussolini defined as the "core" of fascism; and blatant corruption and cronyism a la Halliburton and Enron.

Wherever fascism rears its head, the ruling elite ties itself to the predominant religious sentiment of the day. This "Gott mitt uns" alliance produces the so-called Christian coalition of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Rod Parsley and a growing legion of self-proclaimed "Patriot Pastors." Bush the Younger merely flaunts his "born-again" state to show that his fascist cabal are the defenders of the faith and at war with "the godless liberals."

Remember that Mussolini also defined fascism as "illiberalism." At the heart of liberalism and centuries of liberal arts education is tolerance, openness and scientific inquiry. All of these values are abhorrent to the faux religious regime. There's a reason why Karl Rove brags about reading Machiavelli's The Prince every year. It reminds him that the autocrat he has created must be the first one out on high holy days to publicly demonstrate his religious faith.

Another clear sign of creeping fascism is the fraudulent elections that brought Bush to power. The systematic corruption of the vote in Florida in 2000 and the Ohio vote in 2004 are readily explained away as the whining of sore losers. Thus, 7,000 Kerry votes lost in Lucas County as the Diebold machines seize up and 17,000 in Franklin County where the election is conducted with only half the machines needed are considered minor and inconsequential problems. A bogus Homeland Security alert in Warren County on Election Day and ballots were diverted to an unauthorized warehouse, and it is simply explained away as no big deal. Yet, 14,000 new votes popped up for Bush in the wee hours of the morning.

In fact, Bush has at his service John Tanner, Chief of the Voting Section of the Department of Justice, who eagerly points out that "nearly three times as many voters cast ballots at the Gambier/Kenyon polls (in 2004) than in 2000."

What Tanner doesn't tell you is that with 1300 registered voters and the need for 13 machines (1 per 100 voters), the pro-Kerry primarily student voters were given two machines, one which broke down early on Election Day.

Hence, it is regrettable that the students had to wait up to 11 hours in line.

So the people wait for the next outrage and regrettable incident, and such acts come day after day.

We have accepted things with the Bush administration we swore we would never tolerate. Now, Cindy has used the "f" word and Bush has flipped off the majority of the population. The day to stand up is now; the day to head to Washington is September 24.

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