American Fascism

‘Nice’ People Always Make The Best Nazis

“You know who weren’t nice people? Resisters.” By Steadfast Slovak The Daily Kos (6/14/18) The best Nazis. I’ve been thinking a lot about Naomi Shulman’s quote, “Nice people made the best Nazis.”  The people who just wanted to get along, who looked the other way and ignored politics, “[t]hey were lovely people who turned their heads as their neighbors were dragged away.” And I’ve realized, sadly, reluctantly, that I’ve filled my life with people who would be great Nazis. The people that I love would have been great Nazis. And in this time of Trump, in this ugly period of…

Read More

Censorship: Editorial Cartoonist Critical Of Trump Fired From Pittsburgh Newspaper

  Rob Rogers had been with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for 25 years. By Lydia O’Connor HuffPost (6/14/18) A veteran editorial cartoonist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was fired Thursday after he and the newspaper’s management clashed over some sketches critical of President Donald Trump. Rob Rogers, a Pulitzer Prize finalist who had been with the Post-Gazette for 25 years, announced his own ouster on Twitter. Earlier this month, he’d revealed that he was working through “unresolved” issues with the paper’s leaders over certain cartoons that they’d declined to publish. A broader push for less negative Trump coverage in the paper has been linked to John…


Rise Of The British Radical Racist Right Parallels What Is Happening In U.S.

By Owen Jones The Guardian (6/13/18) Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts were a menace. So were the Nazi sympathies of many British aristocrats in the 1930s. Today’s ascendant far right poses its own unique dangers, using familiar tropes that have been fuelled and legitimised by the political and media elite – and there is all too little appreciation of where Britain could be heading. Brexit, for the Tory right, was a national revolution: not simply a recalibration of Britain’s relationship with the EU but a blunt instrument to roll back progressive social norms. Those deemed to be critics or opponents were now enemies of the people, saboteurs, traitors,…


Why Fascism Is So Tempting — And How Your Data Could Power It

  TED Talk (6/8/18) In a profound talk about technology and power, author and historian Yuval Noah Harari explains the important difference between fascism and nationalism — and what the consolidation of our data means for the future of democracy. Appearing as a hologram live from Tel Aviv, Harari warns that the greatest danger that now faces liberal democracy is that the revolution in information technology will make dictatorships more efficient and capable of control. “The enemies of liberal democracy hack our feelings of fear and hate and vanity, and then use these feelings to polarize and destroy,” Harari says….


Trump Mind Virus: America’s Normalization Of The Grotesque

  By Gary Younge The Guardian (6/8/18) During the presidential election the Huffington Post’s US site carried the following editor’s note at the end of every story about the Republican nominee: “Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims – 1.6 billion members of an entire religion – from entering the US.” Shortly before 6am on that long election night – in between Trump’s winning Iowa and being declared the victor in Pennsylvania – the Washington bureau chief announced that the note would…


Above The Law: ‘Dear Leader’ Trump’s Authoritarian Movement Is Reaching An Inevitable Conclusion

“The imperial stage of this presidency has well and truly begun.”  By Jack Holmes Esquire (6/4/18) While you were enjoying the second weekend of summer, the president and his allies were waging a sustained campaign to suggest the law does not apply to him. Things kicked off with the (probable) leak of a letter Trump’s legal team sent to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, published by The New York Times, in which we learned that Trump essentially has unlimited power and authority—you know, like a king. The letter suggested that: Trump cannot, by virtue of being president, obstruct justice. Trump can “terminate…


Watch: Facility Staff Call Police As U.S. Senator Attempts To Examine Conditions Of Detention Center For Immigrant Children

  “Children should never be ripped from their families and held in secretive detention centers.” [Editor’s Note: There is powerful symbolism in the fact that this nation has been reduced to imprisoning poor immigrant children fleeing violence in an old Walmart with blacked out windows. The image says it all of what America has become. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore) was quoted on MSNBC saying up to 1,000 children are locked up in the facility. And as the second story linked below shows, such brutality is already being turned against citizens. That is the way of tyranny. Resist … while you…


God Help Us: The Legislative Assault By Christian Nationalists To Reshape America & Our Lives

  By David Taylor The Guardian (6/4/18) The emboldened religious right has unleashed a wave of legislation across the United States since Donald Trump became president, as part of an organised bid to impose hardline Christian values across American society. A playbook known as Project Blitz, developed by a collection of Christian groups, has provided state politicians with a set of off-the-shelf pro-Christian “model bills”. Some legislation uses verbatim language from the “model bills’” created by a group called the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation (CPCF), set up by a former Republican congressman which has a stated aim to “protect religious freedom, preserve…


Meet The Radical Economist Behind The One Percent’s Quiet Takeover Of America

 Stealth and deliberate deception. By Lynn Parramore Institute For Economic Thinking (5/30/18) Ask people to name the key minds that have shaped America’s burst of radical right-wing attacks on working conditions, consumer rights and public services, and they will typically mention figures like free market-champion Milton Friedman, libertarian guru Ayn Rand, and laissez-faire economists Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises. James McGill Buchanan is a name you will rarely hear unless you’ve taken several classes in economics. And if the Tennessee-born Nobel laureate were alive today, it would suit him just fine that most well-informed journalists, liberal politicians, and even many…


Trump’s Leverage: Study Links White American Intolerance With Support For Authoritarianism

  By Noah Berlatsky NBC News (5/27/18) Since the founding of the United States, politicians and pundits have warned that partisanship is a danger to democracy. George Washington, in his Farewell Address, worried that political parties, or factions, could “allow cunning, ambitious and unprincipled men” to rise to power and subvert democracy. More recently, many political observers are concerned that increasing political polarization on left and right makes compromise impossible, and leads to the destruction of democratic norms and institutions. A new study, however, suggests that the main threat to our democracy may not be the hardening of political ideology, but rather…


Lost Children Of The Holocaust: A Cautionary Tale Of Tragedy For Today’s America

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/31/18) Recent stories about the forced separation of migrant children from their parents and systematic abuse at the paws of the US Border Patrol have been alarming. This practice and abuse began with the Obama administration and is now ramped up by Trump. Such state-sponsored terror tactics are common in authoritarian regimes. Under the Pinochet regime in Chile the children of murdered activists and labor organizers were handed over to the families of police and government officials to be raised as their own. The same thing — and much worse — happened…


American Far Right Propaganda & Imagery Draws From German Nazis

By Michael Tymkiw The Conversation (5/29/18) For many people, events such as the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, with its torchlight parade, eagle-emblazoned shields and Nazi flags, bring with them uncomfortable reminders of fascist visual culture from the 1920s to 1945. While individuals and organisations associated with the far right have long appropriated elements from fascist visual culture, the sheer brazenness with which symbols and images were appropriated in Charlottesville, the ensuing violence and the proliferation of photographs and videos depicting these events made the spectre of fascism seem disconcertingly close. If we wish to understand how the far right…


In Our Name: Agency Documents Reveal Physical & Sexual Abuse Of Migrant Kids, Teens By Border Patrol

The authoritarian, fascist mind: ”Just following orders”.   By Gabe Ortiz Daily Kos (5/24/18) Internal government documents dating back to 2009 and obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Chicago School of Law, detail horror stories of child abuse, physical and sexual assault, verbal abuse and medical negligence at the hands of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents. The details should be a national security concern, because border agents were already “monstrous” under Barack Obama, and under Donald Trump they have been unleashed and stand to endanger untold numbers: “In one…


A Graduation Message Appropriate To The National Challenge Of This Memorial Day

  By John Whitehead Rutherford Institute (5/21/18) “When the rivers and air are polluted, when families and nations are at war, when homeless wanderers fill the highways, these are the traditional signs of a dark age.” — Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times Those coming of age today will face some of the greatest obstacles ever encountered by young people. They will find themselves overtaxed, burdened with excessive college debt, and struggling to find worthwhile employment in a debt-ridden economy on the brink of implosion. Their privacy will be eviscerated by the surveillance state. They will be the subjects of…


Trump Attack On Kneeling Football Players Echoes 1934 When A German Soccer Team Was Banned For Not Giving Nazi Salute

By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/28/18) The NFL football player kneeling protest has from the get-go been cynically manipulated and leveraged by Donald Trump to stir racist animosity and jingoistic faux patriotism among his core supporters. The “taking a knee” by mostly black football players began as a peaceful protest by then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as a statement against racial injustice and the never-ending epidemic of police shootings and brutality against blacks across the nation. Those who objected to the peaceful protests tried to reduce it to an issue of people doing their jobs and there…


Normalizing Police State Tactics In Every Day Life: 96-Year-Old WWII Vet In A Wheelchair, Groped & Molested By TSA

[Editors Note: The accompanying video to this story is agonizing to watch. The once-through routine is bad enough but then we see the TSA agent go over the same already felt-up areas of the body a second time. Apparently, one-time molestation and humiliation isn’t good enough these days. I believe the “wand” that is used is to detect evidence of explosive residue. Until we see the parents and grandparents of White House staff and congressional enablers get this kind of treatment we can only expect to see things get worse. Meanwhile, avoid flying whenever possible. Road trip! — Mark L….


Surveillance State: Tracking Your Every Move For Corporate America

  By Molly Wood Marketplace Tech (5/22/18) Phone carriers collect a minute-by-minute record of everywhere you go. If you use GPS on your phone, that may be obvious. But carriers are also selling that information to companies that don’t do much to keep it secure. One of those companies, Securus Technologies, was hacked this month. Securus gets its information from a company called LocationSmart. On Friday, security researcher Brian Krebs reported a bug on LocationSmart’s website that would make it possible to track any phone on the four major carriers using only a phone number. Krebs spoke with Marketplace Tech…


A Vile Act Of American Inhumanity: We Are Now Splitting Up Families Like The Slave Traders Did

  By Paul Buchheit Common Dreams (5/21/18) Families are being split up in the name of “zero tolerance” immigration policies. Jeff Sessions said, “[Your] child will be separated from you as required by law. If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.” John Kelly, White House chief of staff, added, “The children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever.” Yes, he said “whatever.” This isn’t much different from slave-trading days. People then were forced INTO the country and families separated; now they’re forced OUT OF the country and families separated. In both cases families have done…


Chris Hedges: The Coming Collapse Will Shatter Our Hallucinations

  By Chris Hedges TruthDig (5/20/18) The Trump administration did not rise, prima facie, like Venus on a half shell from the sea. Donald Trump is the result of a long process of political, cultural and social decay. He is a product of our failed democracy. The longer we perpetuate the fiction that we live in a functioning democracy, that Trump and the political mutations around him are somehow an aberrant deviation that can be vanquished in the next election, the more we will hurtle toward tyranny. The problem is not Trump. It is a political system, dominated by corporate…


Color Me Naive: Torture Debate Gave Me A Surprise Political Education

(An earlier cartoon on bipartisan acquiesce on torture, 3/19/18.) “We can’t allow ourselves to descend down the rabbit hole of unbridled partisanship for partisan sake.” — Mike Quigley By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/21/18) To begin, I must plead guilty. I have long opposed the role of torture in American policy. Since adolescence I have written letters, published cartoons (above), joined the ACLU, dutifully sent donations off to human rights groups, signed an endless stream of petitions and paid attention to the bipartisan torture policies of American foreign policy, which has often meant reading personal accounts that have…


Whistleblower John Kiriakou: Again I Am Speaking Out Against Torture, Again I Am Under Attack

The iconic image of U.S. military torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib prison during the Cheney/Bush Iraq war redefined America’s image around the world. By John Kiriakou Reader Supported News (5/20/18) Most of you probably know that I was a former CIA officer, that I blew the whistle on the CIA’s torture program, and that I spent 23 months in a federal prison for my troubles. I’ve never second-guessed myself. I know I did the right thing, even if the cost was high. I lost my federal pension, my job, my security clearance, my life’s savings, even my wife. Still,…


Down The Memory Hole: Dismantling Democracy, One Word At A Time

“The secret of propaganda [is to] permeate the person it aims to grasp without his even noticing that he is being permeated.” — Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister for Hitler’s Nazi Party By Karen Greenberg TomDispatch.org (5/17/18) Consider us officially in an Orwellian world, though we only half realize it. While we were barely looking, significant parts of an American language long familiar to us quite literally, and in a remarkably coherent way, went down the equivalent of George Orwell’s infamous Memory Hole. This hit me in a personal way recently. I was asked to give a talk at an annual…


Israeli Human Rights Crimes Are America’s Crimes & We Are Yoked To The Bloody Results

  By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/17/18) The wholesale, coldly methodical violence by Israeli military forces against thousands of Palestinain protesters this week has been as riveting as it is revolting. As dozens of dead and hundreds of badly wounded were filling the blood-soaked hallways of Gaza hospitals the world was treated to the self-satisfied smugness of Trump’s “little ghoul” daughter Ivanka and her husband and Trump “boy senior adviser” Jared Kushner and chortling Israeli officials at a swanky “opening” of the new American embassy in Jerusalem (which actually hasn’t yet been built). As gut wrenching as the…


While The Party Remains Silent: Four Democratic Senators Roll Over & Sign On To Bipartisan Acceptance Of Torture

  By Igor Bobic The HuffPost (8/15/18) WASHINGTON ― Gina Haspel is on track to become CIA director after two key Democratic senators announced they intend to support her confirmation. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Tuesday that he will support Haspel because she had satisfied his concerns in public and behind closed doors about her views regarding the CIA’s so-called enhanced interrogation program, which she helped oversee in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. In a letter to Warner on Monday, Haspel wrote that the agency shouldn’t have undertaken the controversial…


‘Democracy In Chains’ Author Warns: “Trump is the tumor, not the cancer.”

  “We’ve made more progress in the last five years than I had in the last 50.” — Charles Koch [Editor’s Note: Nancy MacClean’s book “Democracy In Chains” provides the necessary historical background to understand the how and why of the radical right’s capture of the government. It truly is an essential guide to corporate America’s Trumpland. — Mark L. Taylor] Wisconsin Democracy Campaign (5/4/18) Our democracy is at a “historic turning point,” said Nancy MacLean, the author of “Democracy in Chains,” last night [5/3] in Madison, where she was the keynote speaker at the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s annual celebration….


Secret FBI Program Now Jailing Activists For Speaking Out Against Police Brutality On Facebook

  By Jay Syrmopoulos Activist Post (5/11/18) Dallas, TX – When militarized FBI agents clad in tactical gear raided the home of Rakem Balogun in December 2017—forcing him and his 15-year-old son outside in their underwear on the cold and windy night as agents ransacked his residence—he thought it had to be a mistake. In an exclusive report by The Guardian, Balogun explains that he was stunned to later learn that he was under investigation for “domestic terrorism” and had been under law enforcement surveillance for years. Incredibly, Balogun’s arrest and the FBI raid on his home were partially due to a simple, and constitutionally protected,…


Picking From A Long List, Conservative Pundit George Will Declares Trump Is No Longer The Worst Person In Administration

 (Cartoon by Seth L. Taylor, 2017.)   Pence is what he has chosen to be, which is horrifying. By George Will The Washngton Post (5/9/18) Donald Trump, with his feral cunning, knew. The oleaginous Mike Pence, with his talent for toadyism and appetite for obsequiousness, could, Trump knew, become America’s most repulsive public figure. And Pence, who has reached this pinnacle by dethroning his benefactor, is augmenting the public stock of useful knowledge. Because his is the authentic voice of today’s lickspittle Republican Party, he clarifies this year’s elections: Vote Republican to ratify groveling as governing. Last June, a Trump…


‘How Democracies Die’ — The Paranoid Style Has Consumed American Politics

“In his 1964 essay “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” historian Richard Hofstader described the phenomenon of “status anxiety,” which, he believed, is most likely to emerge when groups’ social status, identify, and sense of belonging are perceived to be under existential threat. This leads to a style of politics that is “overheated, over suspicious, over aggressive, grandiose, and apocalyptic.” Half a century after its publication, Hofstader’s essay may be more relevant than ever. The struggle against declining majority status is, in good part, what fuels the intense animosity that has come to define the American Right. Survey evidence suggests…


When Democracy’s Guardrails Are Gone

“Polarization can destroy democratic norms. When socioeconomic, racial, or religious differences give rise to extreme partisanship, in which societies sort themselves into political camps whose worldviews are not just different but mutually exclusive, toleration becomes harder to sustain. Some polarization is healthy — even necessary — for democracy. And indeed, the historical experience of democracies in Western Europe shows us that norms can be sustained even when parties are separated by considerable ideological differences. “But when societies grow so deeply divided that parties become wedded to incompatible  worldviews, and especially when their members are so socially segregated that they rarely…


How The Republican Party Has Betrayed American Democracy

  “Put simply, political parties are democracy’s gatekeepers.” “We know that extremist demagogues emerge from time to time in all societies, even in healthy democracies. The United States has had it share of them, including Henry Ford, Huey Long, Joseph McCarthy, and George Wallace. An essential test for democracies is not whether such figures emerge but whether political leaders, and especially political parties, work to prevent them from gaining power in the first place — by keeping them off the mainstream party tickets, refusing to endorse or align with them, and when necessary, making common cause with rivals in support…


Activist Holds Up Sign Saying Police Hate Free Speech, So They Arrest Him To Prove Him Right

  By Matt Agorist Activisst Post (5/2/18) Stamford, CT — Free speech and liberty activist, Michael Picard had harmed no one, had not committed a crime, and was merely expressing his right to free speech by claiming the Stamford PD dislikes free speech. Indeed, within just a few minutes, the chief of police himself came out to prove Picard right. Last Thursday, Picard held a sign that said, “F*ck Free Speech —Stamford PD,” merely attempting to point out the gross violations of the First Amendment committed by the department after they arrested another activist, Michael Friend, for holding up a different sign…


Silencing Speech, Muzzling The Mind & Cutting Off The Flow Of Information

These recent incidents are part of a broader government scheme to wield immigration authority to silence activists both within and beyond the US borders.  By Carrie DeCell The Guardian (4/20/18) The Trump administration has explained that its so-called “extreme vetting” program is intended to bar individuals from the United States based on their attitudes toward this country. It is the fulfillment of a campaign promise to resurrect a cold war–era “ideological screening test” for admission into the United States. If the growing number of activists who have been denied admission or removed from the country in recent months is any indication, that test…


Pulitzer-Winning Reporter David Cay Johnston: “The evidence suggests Trump is a traitor”

  [Editor’s Note: Please listen to this interview. Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston’s insights on Trump and his long ties with the Mafia and Russian oligarchs and the only way the democrats can unseat Trump are spot on. Unlike many, he calls things as they are. Also, listen to Chauncey DeVargas’ comments afterward. He gives a hard dose of reality that we on the left need to fully grasp about what may well be coming even if — especially if — Trump were driven from office. This is serious business, folks and the democrats and the left really…


Scholar Of Authoritarianism Tells Seth Meyers That When She’s Being Asked On TV ‘you know America is in bad shape’

By Sarah K. Burris The Raw Story (4/25/18) Writer and researcher Sarah Kendzior’s new book is a series of essays that she wrote from 2012 through 2014 that ultimately predicted the rise of today’s politics, government institution bashing, paranoia — and the possibility of a President Donald Trump. In a Tuesday interview with “Late Night” host Seth Meyers, Kendzior explained that despite understanding the possibilities of Trump, she finds no solace in being right. “When I’m in demand, when my areas of expertise are in demand, then you know America is in bad shape,” she explained. She went on to…


A Short History Of Threats Received By Donald Trump’s Opponents

  By Decca Muldowney ProPublica (4/20/18) When Stormy Daniels spoke to “60 Minutes” last month, the porn actress described a threat she received years ago after speaking to a journalist about her alleged affair with Donald Trump. A stranger approached her in a parking lot in Las Vegas. Daniels was there with her baby daughter. “Leave Trump alone,” Daniels recalled the man warning her. “That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.” Daniels did not report the threat to the police. On Wednesday, Donald Trump tweeted that Daniels’ account of events was “a total con job” about…


They Spewed Hate. Then They Punctuated It With Trump’s Name

  By Will Carless Reveal/The Center For Investigative Reporting (4/19/18) Editor’s note: To provide a full picture of what hate speech victims experienced, we have not edited out offensive language. It was the day after the 2016 presidential election. Melissa Johnson was walking out of a Trader Joe’s in the heart of San Diego when a shiny BMW pulled up alongside her. The driver was a man in his late 30s. Dark hair. Green eyes. Her first thought: He’s kind of hot. The car slowed down. Then the man shouted at her through the open window. “Fuck you, nigger, go back…


‘Bring The War Home’ Shows Right Wing ‘Lone Wolf’ Terrorists Are Really Part Of A Pack

  By Lulu Garcia-Navarro Sunday Morning Edition/NPR (4/22/18) Last year, when neo-Nazis and members of the so called alt-right demonstrated in Charlottesville, Va., many Americans evinced shock that such a thing could happen: A demonstration of the white power movement, in 2017. But it’s only the latest in a history of social activism that goes back decades — and, as Kathleen Belew argues in her new book, Bring the War Home, we ignore that history at our peril. In it, she explains what many disparate events have in common — the war in Vietnam. The aftermath of warfare has correlated with widespread…


The Orgy Porgy & Centrifugal Bumblepuppy: Amusing Our Selves To Death

  “What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked…


Authoritarianism Scholar Timothy Snyder: Reporters – Are The Heroes Of Our Time

  “Everything good we take for granted in a free society depends upon factuality. Without reporters we don’t have factuality.” By Timothy Snyder (3/10/18) Without the people who seek facts, we can forget about justice, freedom, and equality. Timothy Snyder is a historian at Yale University, specializing in eastern Europe, totalitarianism, and the Holocaust. His books have received widespread acclaim. His most recent book, “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century,” explores the everyday ways a citizen can resist the authoritarianism of today. He is also the author of “Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning” and, forthcoming…


‘Self-Detonating’ Lone Wolves: How White American Right Wing Terrorists Are Radicalized

  By David M. Perry In These Times (3/26/18) When Mark Conditt was a teenager, he participated in a club called Righteous Invasion of Truth. RIOT kids were homeschooled and religious, and spent their club time playing war games, practicing weapons skills, and reading the Bible. As a community college student in 2012, he wrote blogs against homosexuality and abortion. In 2018, he planted bombs in Austin, Texas, appearing to target African-American communities, then blew himself up as police closed in. The question isn’t whether Conditt was a terrorist, but where was this terrorist radicalized? More important, who else is being radicalized…