American Fascism

Trump & Republicans Provide Comfy Socialism For The Rich & Brutish Capitalism For The Rest Of Us

    By Robert Reich RoberReich.com (2/11/19) “America will never be a socialist country,” Donald Trump declared in his State of the Union address. Someone should alert Trump that America is now a hotbed of socialism. But it is socialism for the rich. Everyone else is treated to harsh capitalism. In the conservative mind, socialism means getting something for doing nothing. That pretty much describes the $21bn saved by the nation’s largest banks last year thanks to Trump’s tax cuts, some of which went into massive bonuses for bank executives. On the other hand, more than 4,000 lower-level bank employees got a…

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Rep. Ilhan Omar Nails Criminal Trump Official Elliott Abrams Over His Links To War Crimes

  By Carla Herreria HuffPost (2/13/19) Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) homed in on Elliott Abrams’ dubious past when the controversial diplomat testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday. Abrams is now the special envoy to Venezuela, appointed by President Donald Trump in January. Omar ― who is embroiled in her own controversy over tweets viewed by some as anti-Semitic (she “unequivocally” apologized on Monday) ― questioned how Abrams, who has a history of lying to Congress and abetting war crimes by U.S. allies, could be trusted at all. “I fail to understand why members of this committee or the…


‘Shock Doctrine’ Author Naomi Klein Worries ‘What Next?’ If Trump Succeeds In Inventing A ‘National Emergency’

“What is to stop him from declaring emergencies again and again if this works?”   By Jon Queally Common Dreams (1/10/19) As a result of creating a fake crisis in order to appease his far-right base and achieve a policy goal that has majority public opposition, President Donald Trump continues to threaten to declare a “national emergency” as a way to commandeer military funds in order to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. But even as experts debate whether or not Trump has the authority to make such a declaration—and consensus that an immediate legal battle would ensue—author and activist Naomi Klein…


REPORT: ICE Brutalizing Protesting Detainees With Forced Nasal Feeding Torture

“Monstrosity.” The Young Turks (1/31/19) Immigrants have gone on hunger strikes over the past month to protest conditions inside detention facilities, prompting officials to force-feed six of them through plastic nasal tubes at a Texas location, The Associated Press has learned. More detainees are refusing food at the El Paso Processing Center than at any other ICE facility, and lawyers say some detainees are losing weight rapidly after not eating or drinking for more than 30 days. Detainees, a relative and an attorney told the AP that nearly 30 men in the El Paso, Texas ICE detention center, mostly from…


Watch, If You Can, The Tortured Face Of What America Has Become

Screen shot of hysterical toddler Grethshell during a television ‘visit’ with her mother Sindy, a Honduran immigrant separated from her young daughter by U.S. border police. ***** “This type of prolonged exposure to serious stress—known as toxic stress—can carry lifelong consequences for children.”   – American Academy of Pediatrics   [Editor’s Note: All this child abuse is being done in our name, on our dime and thus — as citizens — we all bear moral responsibility for such ongoing brutal travesties to immigrant children and their families. Indeed, young Grethshell is the face of what America has become. — Mark L. Taylor]…


‘We Have Monsters Leading America’: Trump’s DHS Locked Up More Children Than Previously Known

By Julia Conley Common Dreams (1/17/19) Confirming the fears of human rights groups, the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported on Thursday that thousands more children were separated from their parents at the southern U.S. border by the Trump administration, long before it first publicly unveiled the family separation policy last spring. “The total number of children separated from a parent or guardian by immigration authorities is unknown,” reads the report, and the inspector general found that children were separated over a longer period of time as officials “observed a steep increase in the number…


“I Was Absolutely Afraid”: Indigenous Elder On “Mob Mentality” Of MAGA Hat-Wearing Students In D.C.

  Democracy Now! (1/22/19) On Friday [2/22], thousands took part in the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington, D.C. The next day, video went viral of an interaction that took place soon after the march ended between an indigenous elder and a group of Catholic high school students from Kentucky who had attended a March for Life protest the same day. In the video, Omaha elder Nathan Phillips is seen peacefully playing his drum and singing while being encircled by the students—some of whom were wearing red “Make America Great Again” hats. The video appears to show the students taunting and…


Weekend Racism In DC Shows The Nation Has A Long Way To Go On This MLK Day

[Editor’s Note: The following letter came from a Commoner Call reader who asked for anonymity. The letter is appropriate to what this nation should stand for on this Martin Luther King Day. — Mark L. Taylor] ***** “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I’m not going to say much but rather allow the videos below to speak for themselves. I woke up this morning to the NPR news at seven (sleeping in for me) and heard a story about boys from a Catholic school in Covington, Kentucky who were harassing some Native American singers/drummers….


Timothy Snyder On The Shutdown Showdown: Trump’s Next Move Is To Rule With ‘a regime in a permanent state of emergency’

If we the people choose not to be active then the institutions will slowly — or perhaps even actually more quickly than we expect — fall apart. By Chauncey Devega Salon (1/13/19) The U.S. government has now been partially shut down for three weeks, the longest such closure in our nation’s history. What began as an act of brinksmanship and political hostage-taking by Donald Trump in an effort to extort billions of dollars for his wall along the Mexican border has spiraled out of control. Trump and the Republican Party’s gambit has left almost a million federal employees without pay,…



Surveilance Capitalism: How Tracking & Selling Your Personal Data Became A Business Model

On Point / WBUR (1/15/19) There are new calls for tech companies to stop selling your location to third parties. We’ll look at the economics and perils of “surveillance capitalism.” Guest — Shoshana Zuboff, professor emerita at Harvard Business School and former faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. Author of “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power,” among other titles. Excerpt from “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism” by Shoshana Zuboff The Unprecedented One explanation for surveillance capitalism’s many triumphs floats above them all: it…


It Could Go On Forever: What Trump Could Legally Do If He Declares A State Of Emergency To Save Himself

From seizing control of the internet to declaring martial law, President Trump may legally do all kinds of extraordinary things. By Elizabeth Goitein The Atlantic (Jan/Feb 2019) In the weeks leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, President Donald Trump reached deep into his arsenal to try to deliver votes to Republicans. Most of his weapons were rhetorical, featuring a mix of lies and false inducements—claims that every congressional Democrat had signed on to an “open borders” bill (none had), that liberals were fomenting violent “mobs” (they weren’t), that a 10 percent tax cut for the middle class would somehow pass…


It Is More Than Mere Ignorance That Takes Down Democracies. The Problem Goes Far Deeper

Authoritarian leaders have rarely abolished liberal democracy overnight. Rather, they slowly but steadily chip away at its liberal foundations first, and its electoral foundations later. By Cas Mudde The Guardian (12/15/18) Democracy is in crisis and, for some, ignorance is to blame. Take the slogan of one major American newspaper: “Democracy dies in darkness.” It represents a simplistic answer to the rise of authoritarian and populist forces around the globe. The reason for its popularity is, undoubtedly, its appeal to an Enlightenment logic, in which knowledge means power and progress. Hence, the argument goes, if people would only know how…


History Shows The Descent To Authoritarianism Happens Slowly … Then Very Quickly

An out-of-focus, rain and sleet-soaked, twisted half-mast flag tightly wrapped around a Walmart flag pole in the middle of a dark winter night is emblematic of the New Year in Trump’s America. ***** The extent of the brutality exceeds the imagination of people until it is too late. By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (1/3/18) On a recent broadcast of Grit TV’s Laura Flanders Show (12/18) Pulitzer Prize-winning author Chris Hedges spoke about his recent book “America: The Farewell Tour”. Drawing from over 20 years of foreign reporting for the New York Times in places as diverse as Central…


Targeting American Citizens: Corporate Infiltrator Sows Deceit & Suspicion

“Everyone was suspicious of everyone. It was infuriating and debilitating for the movement.” By Alleen Brown The Intercept (12/30/18) JESSE HORNE STILL struggles to talk about the day he was kicked out of the anti-Dakota Access pipeline movement. It had been an intense week. Searching for direction and ideological fulfillment ever since Iowa’s stand against the pipeline wound down, the 20-year-old had reconnected with some of the state’s more radical pipeline opponents, and the group was now taking on drone warfare. After a protest outside a drone base in Des Moines in which Horne and several others were arrested, two of his…


Border Patrol Abuses: The Office Of Missing Children

ProPublica [Editor’s Note: OMG! This is an amazing piece of journalism and a heart wrenching profile of our inhumane immigrant policy. Be sure to watch the video. — Mark L. Taylor] By Reveal Staff Reveal / Center for Investigative Journalism (12/21/18) More than 2,600 kids were separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border under President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” family separation policy. What happened to those children? Reveal’s investigative reporting team looked at facilities across the country to answer that question. After being separated from their parents at the border, some of the children were held in office buildings…


Democracy Now! Author Jason Stanley Explains How Fascism Cannot Operate Without Rigid Patriarchy

  “Everything in fascism is about smashing the truth and replacing it with loyalty and power.”   [Editor’s Note: This is an excellent conversation with Jason Stanley on the propaganda pillars of fascism, the sexualized politics of fascism and the steps to counter our growing far right fascist movements. — Mark L. Taylor] Democracy Now! (10/22/18) In his new book “How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them,” Yale professor Jason Stanley outlines the 10 pillars of fascism and warns about the dangers of normalizing fascist politics. Following the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court despite multiple…


He Drew His School Mascot — And ICE Labeled Him A Gang Member Then Deported Him

  “That scarlet letter sits on these kids’ files forever. When that happens at the immigration level, it’s fatal.”  By Hannah Dreier ProPblica/New York Times Magazine (12/27/18) WHEN ALEX WALKED INTO SCHOOL on June 14, 2017, it felt as if summer had already started. He didn’t have regular classes, just a standardized math test in the late morning. The other immigrant students in the bilingual program at Huntington High were crowded in a hallway comparing their plans for the break — most already had jobs lined up — and promising to stay in touch. Classmates came up to greet him. At 19,…


Silent Night In ‘Christian’ America: In Immigrant Childrens Shelters, Sexual Assault Cases Are Quietly Open & Shut

  By Michael Grabell, Topher Sanders & Silvina Sterin Pensel ProPublica (12/21/18) A World Cup soccer match was playing on the shelter’s TV when the two older teenagers tackled Alex on July 1 and dragged him into the empty bedroom. Wrestling him onto his stomach, one of them, a tattoo on his forearm, got on top. As Alex struggled to move, he said he could feel the teen’s penis grinding against his butt. “Take off his shorts!” he heard the other teen, who’d bragged he’d been a gang member in Honduras, shout. “Let’s get him naked!” Just 10 days earlier, Alex, 13, had…


U.S Law Enforcement Coddling Of Far Right Fascist Gangs & Nazis Places Nation At Risk

And now they have no idea how to stop it. [Editor’s Note: This is a stunning piece of reporting on not just the ignoring of fascist organizing and violence but a deadly fostering through neglect. As Timothy Snyder notes in his book “Twenty Lessons From The Twentieth Century”, when the police and military begin to align with the fascist paramilitaries the game is over. — Mark L. Taylor] By Janet Reitman The New York Times (11/3/18) The first indication to Lt. Dan Stout that law enforcement’s handling of white supremacy was broken came in September 2017, as he was sitting…


‘The Silence Of Others’ — New Film Warns Against Spain’s Fascist History Repeating Itself

“How unjust life is. Not life, we humans .. we are unjust.” — Victim of Spain’s Franco fascist regime. Democracy Now! (12/6/18) A far-right, anti-immigrant, anti-abortion political party in Spain has made gains in regional elections, prompting protests in the streets. Members of Spain’s younger generation are too young to remember the brutal 40-year military dictatorship under General Francisco Franco. But a remarkable new documentary titled “The Silence of Others,” or “El Silencio de Otros,” hopes to remind Spaniards of the country’s fascist past, lest history repeat itself. The film follows several survivors of the Franco regime in their pursuit…


DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Blames Migrant Family For 7 Year-old Daughter’s Harrowing Death

  Accountability ***** [Editor’s Note: Here we have yet another example of typical conservative Republican ‘pro-life’ compassion, responsibility and (of course) family values we have all come to expect. — Mark L. Taylor] By Amy Russo HuffPost (12/14/18) Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Friday blamed the family of a 7-year-old migrant girl for her death in U.S. custody, saying the group never should have tried to come to the U.S. without authorization. Nielsen said Jakelin Caal Maquin’s death was “heart-wrenching” and said her heart goes out to the child’s family. But she also used the opportunity to argue against…


What Trump Could Do By Declaring A State Of Emergency: The Atlantic Lays Out The Worst Case Scenario

While most of these statutory powers have never been used, we now have a President who clearly feels unconstrained by the rule of law. By Dartagnan Daily Kos (12/8/18) If the last two years have taught us one thing, it is to take nothing for granted, particularly regarding the stability and resilience of our Republic. We are now witnessing firsthand in Wisconsin and Michigan how one of our two major political parties has become wholly captive to corporate dominance, and how it will behave when its power is taken away by ordinary voters. Instead of accepting the verdict of the people, it will subvert and…


Rethuglicans Follow An Old Model: Fear, Anger & Simple (Minded) Slogans

“All propaganda should be popular and should adapt it intellectual level to the receptive ability of the least intellectual of those whom it is desired to address. Thus it must sink its mental elevation deeper in proportion to the numbers of the mass who i has to grip. …The receptivity ability of the masses is very limited, and their understanding small; on the other hand, they have a great power of forgetting. This being so, all effective propaganda must be confined to very few points which must be brought out in the form of slogans.” — Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf…


The GOP’s Systematic Plot To Destroy Any Remaining Scraps Of Democracy Is Rapidly Clicking Into Place

  By Sonali Kolhatkar Truthdig (12/6/18) The Republican Party has once more demonstrated that it has no respect for democracy and is determined to hold on to power by any means necessary. GOP state lawmakers in Wisconsin this week engaged in a brazen power grab in the form of bills that were introduced, debated and voted on with breathtaking speed in order to cripple the decision-making powers of Gov.-elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul. Legislators called a special session late last Friday, and then, as protesters marched and rallied outside the state Capitol building, the politicians debated in a closed-door session….


COUP! Unable To Even Name The Foe, Wisconsin Dems Flap Hankies & Rattle Teacups At Fascist Onslaught Against State Govt.

A brass knuckle legislative coup. By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (12/6/18) What has happened in Madison this week with the hard right Republican legislature preemptively kneecapping the administration of Democrat Governor-elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-elect Josh Kraul before they even have a chance to take the oath of office is a brass knuckle legislative coup. While it is shocking the republicans would take such action it is not surprising; after all, that is what fascists do; abandon legal niceties, tradition and the normal transition of power. All those vestiges of democracy are as dead to the GOP…


Author Jason Stanley Explains “How Fascism Works”

  “In a healthy liberal democracy, language is a tool of information. The goal of fascist propaganda is not merely to mock and sneer at robust and complex public debate about policy; it is to eliminate its possibility.” — Jason Stanley, “How Fascism Works: The Politics Of Us And Them”, 2018. (p.54) Politics and Prose (9/25/18) Jason Stanley discusses his book, “How Fascism Works”, at Politics and Prose. In this clear and direct primer, Stanley, the award-winning author of How Propaganda Works, draws on a wide range of history, philosophy, sociology, and critical race theory to define fascism, explain its…


After Briefing With CIA Chief Republicans Agree: Yeah, Saudi Crown Prince Definitely Had Jamal Khashoggi Killed

“There’s not a smoking gun, there’s a smoking saw.” By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (12/4/18) Reasonable observers and analysts concluded weeks ago that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the gruesome killing of Washington Post journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi. Though it took them far longer than most, a small group of Republicans finally fell in line with this widespread consensus after a secretive briefing by CIA chief Gina Haspel on Tuesday, admitting that all the available evidence suggests MBS orchestrated the murder that has sparked international outrage and brought America’s longstanding military relationship with the brutal kingdom under sharp scrutiny. “There’s not a…


America’s Forgotten Dark History Of Organized Anti-Semitism Re-emerges In Today’s Far-right Groups

Mass rally of 20,000 American Nazis at Madison Square Garden in 1939. Orgnizer Fritz Kuhn declared that if George Washington had still been alive, he would be a Nazi. This aspect of history is rarely found in textbooks. By Bradley W. Hart The Conversation (11/29/18) Hours after Robert Bowers allegedly walked into a Pittsburgh synagogue and killed 11 people, investigators told the media that Bowers appeared to have acted alone and fit what experts call the “lone mass shooter profile.” Weeks later, FBI agents arrested a Washington D.C. man who followed Bowers on social media. He had told relatives he wanted…


The Fate Of Julian Assange & The Free Press: No Matter What You Think Of Wikileaks, The Risk To All Journalists Is Real

“A really dangerous moment.” On Contact With Chris Hedges RT (11/26/18) Chris Hedges and Joe Lauria, journalist and editor-in-chief, Consortium News, discuss efforts to force #WikiLeaks publisher, #JulianAssange, out of the Ecuador Embassy in London and extradite him to the USA to stand trial. Link to 28-Minute Video Manafort Held Multiple Secret Talks With Assange In Ecuadorian Embassy, Sources Say — Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort held secret talks with Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and visited around the time he joined Trump’s campaign, the Guardian has been told. Sources have said Manafort went to see Assange in 2013, 2015 and…


Tragedy & The Promise: The History Behind American Asylum

  The Daily / The New York Times (11/27/18) As large groups of Central American migrants approach the U.S. border, the Trump administration is making it more difficult for them to apply for asylum. Is the president undermining the original concept of asylum, or is he restoring it? On today’s episode: Caitlin Dickerson, who covers immigration for The New York Times. Background reading: The temporary closing of a border crossing in Southern California became a confrontation between Central American migrants trying to enter the United States and the American and Mexican governments trying to hold them back. The discord stems, in part,…


Why? The FBI Is Massively Undercounting Hate Crimes

  Southern Poverty Law Center (11/16/18) Mulugeta Seraw was standing on a corner in Portland, Oregon, when they spotted him. It was 1988, and he was a college student from Ethiopia. His friends had dropped him off in front of his apartment, and he was standing next to their car, talking, when a group of racist skinheads affiliated with a neo-Nazi group descended. As one attacker smashed the car’s taillight and a window with a baseball bat, another punched Seraw. When his friends tried to intervene, the skinheads attacked them too, beating the black men with their fists, baseball bats…


Trump’s Gestapo: Thuggish ICE Agents Get Violent

A callous and cruel system. By Abbey Zimet Common Dreams (11/23/18) Thanksgiving weekend, but the barbarism of the Trump regime goes on apace. On Friday, plainclothes ICE officers in North Carolina ambushed and arrested Samuel Oliver-Bruno, a 47-year-old undocumented construction worker from Mexico in the U.S. for over 20 years who’s been living in the basement of a sanctuary church for 11 months while he petitions to stay here with his sick wife and teenage son. Oliver-Bruno left Durham’s CityWell United Methodist Church, part of the state’s growing faith-based sanctuary movement, for an alleged meeting with immigration officials, who told him he had to come in person to provide fingerprints for his…


Member Of White Supremacist Group Pleads Guilty To Assaults At 2017 Rally

  “Hell is truth seen too late.” — Thomas Hobbes, 1651. ***** By A.C. Thompson ProPublica (11/21/18) One of the eight members or associates of a violent California white supremacist group arrested on federal riot charges has pleaded guilty to assaulting protesters and others at a political rally in Huntington Beach, California, in 2017. Tyler Laube, 22, pleaded guilty on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in central California to a single count of conspiracy to violate the federal riots act over his role in a March 25, 2017, attack on protesters and others, including a journalist, at a Make America…


Documenting Hate: New American Nazis

  Frontline / ProPublica (11/20/18) In the wake of the deadly anti-Semitic attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, FRONTLINE and ProPublica present a new investigation into white supremacist groups in America – in particular, a neo-Nazi group, Atomwaffen Division, that has actively recruited inside the U.S. military. Continuing FRONTLINE and ProPublica’s reporting on violent white supremacists in the U.S. (which has helped lead to multiple arrests), this joint investigation shows the group’s terrorist objectives and how it gained strength after the 2017 Charlottesville rally. [Watch the first documentary in this series, August 2018’s Documenting Hate: Charlottesville, online.] Link to 54-Minute Video…


Nazis Are Gearing Up Secretive Paramilitary Training Across America

One thing stands out: The Base’s posts are largely designed to promote violent action. By Ben Makuch & Mack Lamoureux VICE (11/20/18) A neo-Nazi who goes by the alias Norman Spear has launched a project to unify online fascists and link that vast coalition of individuals into a network training new soldiers for a so-called forthcoming “race war.” Spear, who claims to be an Iraq and Afghan war veteran, is a self-proclaimed white nationalist with a significant online following. His latest act involves bringing neo-Nazis together, regardless of affiliation and ideology, into a militant fascist umbrella organization. His tool for doing this? A social network…


Why America? Gun Culture, Mass Shootings & White Nationalism Share Deep Cultural Roots

  “Capitalism tends to become fascism when it no longer has something to really offer most of the people.” Empire Files (11/12/18) Since October 2017, America experienced three of the deadliest mass shootings in modern history. This epidemic coincides with a frightening resurgence of white nationalism. Sometimes the two trends overlap. But why here? Both phenomena can be explained by a common historical thread—to unravel it Abby Martin sits down with indigenous scholar Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz to discuss her latest book “Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment”. Empire Files is now produced by your donations! Keep us going on…


The Poisoned Soil From Which The Toxic Weeds Of Fascism Creep

“Ever since Plato and Aristotle wrote on the topic, political theorists have known that democracy cannot flourish on soil poisoned by inequality…the resentments bred by such divisions are tempting targets for demagogues…Dramatic inequality poses a mortal danger to the shared reality required for a healthy liberal democracy…[such] inequality breeds delusions that mask reality, undermining the possibility of joint deliberation to solve society’s divisions. (pp.76-77) ***** “Under conditions of stark economic inequality, when the benefits of liberal education, and the exposure to diverse cultures and norms are available only to the wealthy few, liberal tolerance can be smoothly represented as elite…


Chris Hedges: Late Stage Capitalism Is Killing America

“We have to overthrow this system. We have to begin to think in revolutionary terms. These people have to go because we can’t afford to endure much more of their destruction; not only what they are doing to human beings but the ecocide they are carrying out.” Link to 35-Minute Video   ***** Chris Hedges On The Rise Of The Corporate Class & The Call To Resistance Link to 27-Minute Video ***** “The capitalist who does no useful work has the economic power to take from a thousand or ten thousand workingmen all they produce, over and above what is…


Just What Is It We Believe In?

“At some point a great country has to have a great animating principle. And somewhere along the line we mistook materialism for our great animating principle. We’re gonna make so much money, have so many successes – and that isn’t enough, as we know, as human beings. So the way that philosophy or spiritual life got out of our animating principle is interesting. I think [nothing will change] until the country says: ‘Actually, we do believe in a big, moral and ethical principle.’” — Novelist George Saunders, ‘A lot of my extended family are Trump supporters’   *****   “They…