We've all probably read FCC's thread about the 14 facets of Fascism. Well that got me thinking more about the obvious parallels to the US, so I am going to compile references pertaining to each one. FCC: 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. Is pursuant to... Will post link later tonight.. Someone at SA.com How do you know that we're finally taking the situation in New Orleans seriously? We're sending in the private mercenaries -- the very same folks we've called on to do the dirty work in Iraq. Reports are beginning to surface that New Orleans and environs are crawling with armed private commandos from Blackwater USA, the North Carolina-based security firm that has risen to prominence with its highly visible role in Iraq. The slide show at the top of this entry comes from their Web site. A Georgia-based doctor and military veteran who blogs under the name Otter has been down in the disaster zone the last few days, and he has seen the private Blackwater security forces everywhere. He wrote yesterday from a police precinct house in New Orleans: Blackwater Security is here--clean, well-equipped, and armed to the teeth. The New York Times has seen them too: No civilians in New Orleans will be allowed to carry pistols, shotguns or other firearms, said P. Edwin Compass III, the superintendent of police. "Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons," he said. But that order apparently does not apply to hundreds of security guards hired by businesses and some wealthy individuals to protect property. The guards, employees of private security companies like Blackwater, openly carry M-16's and other assault rifles. Mr. Compass said that he was aware of the private guards, but that the police had no plans to make them give up their weapons. The company acknowledged yesterday that it has about 150 people in New Orleans so far: North Carolina-based Blackwater USA, for example, has 150 security personnel in the Gulf Coast region. The company, which provided personal security for the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority and continues to have a large presence in Iraq, began by donating the services of a helicopter crew to help the Coast Guard with rescue efforts. But it since has added commercial clients that either have buildings in the region, such as hotels, or are sending employees there to help with the reconstruction. "The calls came flooding in. It's not something that we went down and tried to develop," said Chris Taylor, Blackwater's vice president for strategic initiatives. If that's the case, why did Blackwater put out this news release one week ago, offering its services in New Orleans...presumably not all free of charge? Blackwater USA has been around for a while, founded in 1996 by an ex-Navy Seal. But most folks never heard of the company until the war in Iraq, when four of the company's employees were murdered in Fallujah in the horrific incident that put the city on the map for most Americans. The company has dramatized the way that America -- stretched for troops -- has increasingly called on these private soldiers, who serve in a murky world with the ability to shoot-to-kill. We don't begrudge the existence of a private security company like Blackwater. But what does bother us is how quickly what was supposed to be a disaster relief effort turned so quickly into Gulf War III, the French Quarter now a Green Zone. At the very same time that Blackwater was offering its services in New Orleans, workers from the American Red Cross and other agencies carrying food supplies, not M-16s, were turned away. Is the large Blackwater presence yet another sign that our National Guard and military -- who are supposed to perform the same functions, but under more clearcut marching orders -- are now stretched too thin? Or a dramatic symbol of something more sinister, a society that now views every problem as one to point semi-automatics first, ask questions later. Either way, we don't like it. Ill add more references to the characteristics later tonight.