Thursday, March 19, 2009

[Insert swear words here]

Commentary is limited, because right now I just have a bunch of expletives going through my head:

The House is scheduled to vote today on a bill that would levy a 90 percent tax on bonuses paid to employees with family incomes above $250,000 at companies that have received at least $5 billion in government bailout money.

"We figured that the local and state governments would take care of the other 10 percent," said Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.

Rangel said the bill would apply to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, among others, while excluding community banks and other smaller companies that have received less bailout money.

By what power? By what right? This is scary shit. It may be a good time for everyone to brush up on how "populism" contributed to the rise of Hitler.

Populist movements can be precursors for, or building blocks for, fascist movements.[29][30][31] Conspiracist scapegoating employed by various populist movements can create "a seedbed for fascism."

And this:

A demagogue is a leader who obtains power by appealing to the gut feelings of the public, usually by powerful use of rhetoric and propaganda. H. L. Mencken defined a demagogue as "one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots." The word is nowadays mostly used as a political insult: political opponents are described as demagogues, but people we approve of are "men of the people", or great speechmakers.

In the twentieth century populism gained an altogether more ominous character when dictators such as Juan Peron and Adolf Hitler used demagogery and populist rhetoric to achieve their privileged leadership positions. It could be argued that none of these men were genuine populists because they usually saw the masses as not fit to govern for themselves and therefore their elitist and privileged style of leadership was needed to govern and regulate the behaviour of the masses. Indeed, Adolf Hitler's contempt for the masses was profound; Mein Kampf written by Hitler is replete with sentiments such as "the masses are inherently stupid", not to mention his hatred for democracy and adoration of Social Darwinism.

Though populism is often associated with ideologies such as nationalism and socialism, it is not always necessarily so. Populism can be both left wing and right wing. In the above examples, Juan Peron would be perceived as a left-wing populist; while Adolf Hitler would normally be thought of as a right-wing populist.

Sound familiar?