The facets of Australian fascism: the Abbott Government experiment (Part 46) -By Dr George Venturini

By Dr George Venturini*

Testing the thesis . . . Rampant cronyism and corruption (continued)

The late Chalmers Johnson, reviewing a book by the already mentioned Emeritus Professor Sheldon S. Wolin, who for well over two generations taught the history of political philosophy from Plato to the present to Berkeley and Princeton graduate students, made some observations of a general character which – mutatis mutandis – apply to Australia, too. “Our political system of checks and balances” wrote Wolin, “has been virtually destroyed by rampant cronyism and corruption in Washington, D.C., and by a two-term president who goes around crowing “I am the decider,” a concept fundamentally hostile to our constitutional system. We have allowed our elections, the one nonnegotiable institution in a democracy, to be debased and hijacked  … ”

As already amply noted, Wolin’s new book  Democracy incorporated: managed democracy and the specter of inverted totalitarianism is a devastating critique of the contemporary government of the United States – including what has happened to it in recent years and what must be done if it is not to disappear into history along with its classic totalitarian predecessors: Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, National-Catholic Spain and Soviet Russia. The hour is very late and the possibility that the American people might pay attention to what is wrong and take the difficult steps to avoid a national Götterdämmerung are remote, but Wolin’s is the best analysis of why even the presidential election of 2008 probably would have done nothing to mitigate America’s fate.

Wolin’s work is fully accessible and includes particular attention to the advanced levels of social democracy attained during the New Deal and the contemporary mythology that the United States, beginning during the second world war, wields unprecedented world power.

Wolin introduces three new concepts to help analyse what Americans have lost as a nation. His master idea is “inverted totalitarianism,” which is reinforced by two subordinate notions which accompany and promote it – “managed democracy” and “Superpower,” the latter always capitalised and used without a direct article. Until the reader becomes familiar with  this particular literary tic, the term Superpower can be confusing. The author uses it as if it were an independent agent, comparable to Superman or Spiderman, and one which is inherently incompatible with constitutional government and democracy.

Many analysts would conclude that Wolin has made a close to airtight case that the American Republic’s days are numbered, but Wolin himself does not agree. Towards the end of his study he produces a wish list of things which should be done to ward off the disaster of inverted totalitarianism:

“rolling back the empire, rolling back the practices of managed democracy; returning to the idea and practices of international cooperation rather than the dogmas of globalization and preemptive strikes; restoring and strengthening environmental protections; reinvigorating populist politics; undoing the damage to our system of individual rights; restoring the institutions of an independent judiciary, separation of powers, and checks and balances; reinstating the integrity of the independent regulatory agencies and of scientific advisory processes; reviving representative systems responsive to popular needs for health care, education, guaranteed pensions, and an honorable minimum wage; restoring governmental regulatory authority over the economy; and rolling back the distortions of a tax code that toadies to the wealthy and corporate power.”

Unfortunately, this is more a guide to what has gone wrong than a statement of how to remedy it, particularly since Wolin believes that the American political system is “shot through with corruption and awash in contributions primarily from wealthy and corporate donors.”

Corruption as a way of operating has become so common – if not accepted – in Australia that it is possible to access a service on the subject from the Internet.

For the last ten days of April 2016, the set having been chosen pour chance while researching this topic, the World News Report, published daily by the EIN Newsdesk of the IPD Group. Inc., based in Washington, D.C. supplied the following entries on Australia Corruption News:

On 21 April 2016:

08:55 GMT

Civil trial set for AWB bribes

13:45 GMT

Former WA minister in $3.4m Firepower fraud, court finds

12:20 GMT

Former WA minister guilty of $3.4m Firepower fraud

12:22 GMT

Former WA minister Gordon Hill guilty of $3.4m Firepower fraud, court finds

02:26 GMT

Australia launches new cyber security strategy

02:21 GMT

Morrison won’t comment on Nine bribe claim

Apr 20, 2016

More Australians falling victim to scams, ABS data reveals

Apr 20, 2016

Silence on wage fraud won’t wash

Apr 20, 2016

Silence on wage fraud won’t wash in election campaign

Apr 20, 2016

Tech support becomes Australia’s number one scam

On 22 April 2016:

14:18 GMT

AFP given $15 million boost to tackle corporate foreign bribery

14:25 GMT

Source: Gardaí believe fraudster and farmer boyfriend died from monoxide poisoning

14:21 GMT

Treasure Island: How New Zealand sees Australia’s car industry

06:56 GMT

Former Leighton Holdings executive alleges corruption over $15m payment

07:05 GMT

Whistleblower lists alleged Leighton International corruption

07:05 GMT

Leighton slammed for mishandling corruption allegations

07:26 GMT

Pankaj, Radhika Oswal told not to leave Australia over tax claims: Report

07:01 GMT

Former PNG politician Dame Carol Kidu wins injunction against Australian documentary

03:31 GMT

Unaoil: Leighton Holdings former executive Stephen Sasse alleges corruption

02:52 GMT

Unaoil: Leighton Holdings former executive Stephen Sasse alleges corruption

On 23 April 2016:

14:18 GMT

Corruption and Chaos in Papua New Guinea

09:38 GMT

Australian PM vows to to track graft funds at home and abroad

08:59 GMT

Australia aims to track graft funds at home and abroad

09:27 GMT

Australia aims to track graft funds

Apr 22, 2016

Andy Murray is right to be concerned over levels of corruption in tennis

00:02 GMT

Five tips to help prevent credit card fraud

00:19 GMT

Tasmanian over-represented as victims of credit card fraud

Apr 22, 2016

What a Federal corruption watchdog could look like

Apr 22, 2016

Source: Gardaí believe fraudster and farmer boyfriend died from monoxide poisoning

Apr 22, 2016

AFP given $15 million boost to tackle corporate foreign bribery

On 24 April 2016:

01:43 GMT

The key ‘pillars’ of world corruption

Apr 23, 2016

Fairfax Media : AFP given $15 million boost to tackle corporate foreign bribery

Apr 23, 2016

Golf: Scott draws bile from ugly Australians

Apr 23, 2016

Scott draws bile from ugly Australians

Apr 23, 2016

Corruption and Chaos in Papua New Guinea

Apr 22, 2016

Andy Murray is right to be concerned over levels of corruption in tennis

Apr 23, 2016

Australian PM vows to to track graft funds at home and abroad

Apr 23, 2016

Australia aims to track graft funds

Apr 23, 2016

Australia aims to track graft funds at home and abroad

Apr 23, 2016

Five tips to help prevent credit card fraud

On 25 April 2016:

10:06 GMT

Tragic details of fraudster granny and Irish beekeeper partner to be disclosed at inquest

06:53 GMT

Australian resident returns to face Fox Hunt and clear name

10:12 GMT

Australian resident returns to face Fox Hunt 

Apr 24, 2016

NZ car companies see Australia as ‘Treasure Island’ ripe for plundering

Apr 24, 2016

The key ‘pillars’ of world corruption

Apr 22, 2016

Andy Murray is right to be concerned over levels of corruption in tennis

Apr 23, 2016

Fairfax Media : AFP given $15 million boost to tackle corporate foreign bribery

Apr 23, 2016

Golf: Scott draws bile from ugly Australians

Apr 23, 2016

Scott draws bile from ugly Australians

On 26 April 2016:

14:21 GMT

Tennis-Wimbledon to beef up measures against doping, corruption

14:15 GMT

Wimbledon to beef up measures against doping, corruption

09:06 GMT

Corruption in Afghanistan All but Cripples Women’s Team Sports

02:09 GMT

Charges dropped against pair accused of links to ‘boiler-room’ fraud

Apr 25, 2016

Tragic details of fraudster granny and Irish beekeeper partner to be disclosed at inquest

Apr 25, 2016

Leighton testimony puts spotlight on boards to investigate alleged corruption

Apr 25, 2016

Australian resident returns to face Fox Hunt 

Apr 25, 2016

Australian resident returns to face Fox Hunt and clear name

Apr 24, 2016

NZ car companies see Australia as ‘Treasure Island’ ripe for plundering

Apr 22, 2016

Andy Murray is right to be concerned over levels of corruption in tennis

On 27 April 2016:

10:24 GMT

Inquiry asked to probe Leighton over WestConnex after corruption evidence

11:17 GMT

Shark patrol charity under investigation over alleged fraud

05:49 GMT

Australian election: Labor pulls further ahead of Coalition in new poll

00:59 GMT

Drum: Are the submarines protecting Australia or federal seats?

Apr 26, 2016

Tennis-Wimbledon to beef up measures against doping, corruption

Apr 26, 2016

Wimbledon to beef up measures against doping, corruption

Apr 26, 2016

What are the submarines really protecting: Australia or federal seats?

Apr 26, 2016

Common Tourist Visas with Australia Unlikely

Apr 26, 2016

Tennis’s fight against gambling corruption, even at the lowest levels, can’t be waged in secret

Apr 26, 2016

Wimbledon to Ramp up Measures Against Doping, Corruption

On 28 April 2016:

15:01 GMT

Inquiry asked to probe Leighton over WestConnex after corruption evidence

11:04 GMT

Shark patrol charity Australian Aerial Patrol under investigation over alleged fraud

11:17 GMT

Shark patrol charity under investigation over alleged fraud

12:21 GMT

Wimbledon to beef up measures against doping, corruption this year

05:49 GMT

Australian election: Labor pulls further ahead of Coalition in new poll

00:59 GMT

Drum: Are the submarines protecting Australia or federal seats?

Apr 26, 2016

Tennis-Wimbledon to beef up measures against doping, corruption

Apr 26, 2016

Wimbledon to beef up measures against doping, corruption

Apr 26, 2016

What are the submarines really protecting: Australia or federal seats?

Apr 26, 2016

Common Tourist Visas with Australia Unlikely

On 29 April 2016:

06:19

Journalists argue for national corruption body and whistleblower protections

05:42

Jailed CV faker facing charges in Australia

04:45

Australia’s rights record problematic for the Pacific

02:34

Filipino firebrand Rodrigo Duterte jokes about penis, lashes Australia again

01:33

CV faker jailed for $250k fraud

Apr 27, 2016

FMA fraudster analyst sent to jail

Apr 27, 2016

Papua New Guinea Supreme Court: Australian Aslyum Detentions Are Illegal

Apr 27, 2016

Inquiry asked to probe Leighton over WestConnex after corruption evidence

Apr 27, 2016

Wimbledon to beef up measures against doping, corruption this year

Apr 27, 2016

Shark patrol charity under investigation over alleged fraud

Apr 29, 2016

Case study: Athona recruits Mimecast to halt CEO fraud attacks

Apr 29, 2016

Fraudsters dupe elderly man with fictitious sob story

Apr 28, 2016

Journalists argue for national corruption body and whistleblower protections

Apr 29, 2016

Australian tourist visas: Surprising countries you don’t need a visa for

Apr 26, 2016

Tennis-Wimbledon to beef up measures against doping, corruption

Apr 26, 2016

Wimbledon to beef up measures against doping, corruption

Apr 28, 2016

Jailed CV faker facing charges in Australia

Apr 28, 2016

Australia’s rights record problematic for the Pacific

Apr 28, 2016

Filipino firebrand Rodrigo Duterte jokes about penis, lashes Australia again

Apr 28, 2016

CV faker jailed for $250k fraud

Not a single word has been omitted, or added – for transparency as well as effect !

One could not miss the very first item on the 21 April 2016 list, which deals with: Civil trial set for AWB bribes.

Tomorrow: Testing the thesis . . . Rampant cronyism and corruption (continued)

GeorgeVenturini* In memory of my friends, Professor Bertram Gross and Justice Lionel Murphy.

Dr. Venturino Giorgio Venturini devoted some sixty years to study, practice, teach, write and administer law at different places in four continents. In 1975 he left a law chair in Chicago to join the Trade Practices Commission in Canberra. He may be reached at George.Venturini@bigpond.com.au.

 

 

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