Babies in cages were no ‘mistake’ by Trump but simple test-marketing for barbarism.
By Fintan O’Toole
Irish Times (6/26/18)
To grasp what is going on in the world right now, we need to reflect on two things. One is that we are in a phase of trial runs. The other is that what is being trialled is fascism – a word that should be used carefully but not shirked when it is so clearly on the horizon. Forget “post-fascist” – what we are living with is pre-fascism.
It is easy to dismiss Donald Trump as an ignoramus, not least because he is. But he has an acute understanding of one thing: test marketing. He created himself in the gossip pages of the New York tabloids, where celebrity is manufactured by planting outrageous stories that you can later confirm or deny depending on how they go down. And he recreated himself in reality TV where the storylines can be adjusted according to the ratings. Put something out there, pull it back, adjust, go again.
People have to be given the taste for savagery. Fascism does this by building up the sense of threat from a despised out-group
Fascism doesn’t arise suddenly in an existing democracy. It is not easy to get people to give up their ideas of freedom and civility. You have to do trial runs that, if they are done well, serve two purposes. They get people used to something they may initially recoil from; and they allow you to refine and calibrate. This is what is happening now and we would be fools not to see it.
One of the basic tools of fascism is the rigging of elections – we’ve seen that trialled in the election of Trump, in the Brexit referendum and (less successfully) in the French presidential elections. Another is the generation of tribal identities, the division of society into mutually exclusive polarities. Fascism does not need a majority – it typically comes to power with about 40 per cent support and then uses control and intimidation to consolidate that power. So it doesn’t matter if most people hate you, as long as your 40 per cent is fanatically committed. That’s been tested out too. And fascism of course needs a propaganda machine so effective that it creates for its followers a universe of “alternative facts” impervious to unwanted realities. Again, the testing for this is very far advanced.
Bending, then breaking moral boundaries
But when you’ve done all this, there is a crucial next step, usually the trickiest of all. You have to undermine moral boundaries, inure people to the acceptance of acts of extreme cruelty. Like hounds, people have to be blooded. They have to be given the taste for savagery. Fascism does this by building up the sense of threat from a despised out-group. This allows the members of that group to be dehumanised. Once that has been achieved, you can gradually up the ante, working through the stages from breaking windows to extermination. …
- Trump’s Montana Rally Shows GOP Fall Strategy: More Sexism, Racism & Hate — Donald Trump’s Montana rally showed the trend moving toward the midterm election—the same, only worse. In a rambling, Trump-focused rant that only occasionally remembered that he was supposed to be there supporting a local candidate, Trump returned to the themes that served him so well in 2016: Racism, sexism, racism with sexism, and simple cruelty. Resigning EPA administrator Scott Pruitt did not get a mention, and neither did the whole issue of family separation—but Trump did take time out to say that he would have forced the protester who climbed the Statue of Liberty on Wednesday “to jump.” … Read the Rest
Update: Donald Trump’s New Campaign Slogan Is From A Horror Movie — With the release of “The First Purge,” the latest installment in the 5-year-old dystopian franchise about government-sponsored killing sprees, you might be wondering, “Huh, is President Donald Trump still planning on using that ‘Keep America Great’ slogan that was ripped straight from the horror movies?” Well, readers, he is. … Read the Rest and 1+-Minute Video
California GOP Congressional Candidate Runs As Vocal Holocaust Denier — A Republican candidate for Congress in California is openly running as a Holocaust denier, calling it a “complete fabrication” in an interview with The New York Times published Friday. John Fitzgerald secured one of the top two spots in California’s “jungle” primary system last month, where the top two vote-getters regardless of party affiliation advance to the general election. Fitzgerald is slated to face off against incumbent Democratic Rep. Mark DeSaulnier in November in the reliably blue district near San Francisco. Fitzgerald included calls on his campaign website for people to note “Jewish supremacism” and said last week on a radio show hosted by an anti-Semitic commentator that “everything we’ve been told about the Holocaust is a lie,” according to The Times. … Read the Rest
(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )
U.S. Concentration Camps: Andrea Pitzer Decries Tent Cities for Detaining Kids Without Trial
“While writing a book on camp history, I defined concentration camps as the mass detention of civilians without trial, usually on the basis of race, religion, national origin, citizenship, or political party, rather than anything a given individual has done. By this definition, the new child camp established in Tornillo, Texas, is a concentration camp.”
— Andrea Pitzer, the author of “One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps.”
By Democracy Now! (7/5/18)
Has the Trump administration set up concentration camps in Texas for migrants? The answer is yes, according to at least one expert: Andrea Pitzer, the author of “One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps.” In one of her latest articles, Pitzer writes, “While writing a book on camp history, I defined concentration camps as the mass detention of civilians without trial, usually on the basis of race, religion, national origin, citizenship, or political party, rather than anything a given individual has done. By this definition, the new child camp established in Tornillo, Texas, is a concentration camp.” We speak with Andrea Pitzer in Washington, D.C.
- History Lesson: Gitmo Started Out As A Detention Camp For Immigrants — From the Bolshevik Revolution to 9/11, mass detention starts as a temporary measure and becomes an indefinite nightmare. … Read the Rest
Did White House Send Subtle Coded Signal To Neo-Nazis?
By Chauncey Devarga
When there is no low beneath which a president and his administration will not sink, and no rule or norm which he, his allies and his supporters will not break, almost anything is possible. This atmosphere of chaos and unpredictability is one of Donald Trump’s great political advantages.
Last week, reporters and those others who monitor hate groups and extremist movements called attention to a little noticed press release issued in February by the Department of Homeland Security. Its title was unremarkable, at least by the standards of Trump administration propaganda: “We Must Secure the Border and Build the Wall to Make America Safe Again.”