American Fascism

A Stinking Mess: Toilet Paper Wars And The Shithouse Of Capitalism

Looking out for number one, so you can continue to do your number twos in peace. By Simon Spring Common Dreams (3/15/20) The run on toilet paper has brought the failings of capitalism front and center to the bathroom of every house across Australia, a trend that has now spread to other countries. We are witnessing, in real-time and with stunning consequence, the stone-cold fact that markets are an ineffective mediator of resources, prone to the worst vagaries of herd mentality. Perceived impending shortages of toilet paper owing to the spread of COVID-19 set off widespread panic. We might be…


Lies, Damn Lies & The Greater Threat Of ‘Post-Truth’ America

Even if all politicians lie, I believe that post-truth foreshadows something more sinister. By Lee McIntyre The Conversation (11/19/18) Most politicians lie. Or do they? Even if we could find some isolated example of a politician who was scrupulously honest – former President Jimmy Carter, perhaps – the question is how to think about the rest of them. And if most politicians lie, then why are some Americans so hard on President Donald Trump? According to The Washington Post, Trump has told 6,420 lies so far in his presidency. In the seven weeks leading up to the midterms, his rate increased to 30 per…


A Group of Agents Rose Through The Ranks To Lead The Border Patrol. They’re Leaving It In Crisis & Chaos

They leave corruption, misconduct and a toxic culture in their wake. By Melissa del Bosque ProPublica (2/10/20) On a Saturday evening in late September, Deputy Chief Scott Luck gathered with family and friends in the crystal-chandeliered ballroom of the Trump National Golf Club, nestled along the shores of the Potomac River in Virginia, to celebrate his retirement after 33 years in the U.S. Border Patrol. The party was adorned with a who’s who in Border Patrol leadership, past and present. There was the unmistakable figure of Luck’s boss, Chief Carla Provost, tall and broad with her trademark fringe of brown bangs,…


Complete Collapse Of The Existing Institutions Of A Civil Society

[Editor’s Note: German historian and journalist Volker Ullrich’s amazing 2016 biography of Adolf Hitler is`a stunning account of the rise of Nazism in 1930’s Wiemar Germany, which exposes extremely disturbing parallels to what is happening in the United States now with Trump and the complete transformation of the Republican party into cultism. The Commoner Call will be running short excerpts from the book that have particular resonance to today’s political climate. It is essential to grasp the true, dark nature of the transformation we are seeing in our political climate. — Mark L. Taylor] ***** “It was astonishing not just…


“You Will Never See Your Child Again” — Physician Report Documents The Persistent Psychological Effects Of Family Separation

Asylum narratives documented instances of four parents who were taunted and mocked by immigration authorities when asking for the whereabouts of their children. By Hajar Habbach, MA, Kathryn Hampton, MSt, & Ranit Mishori, MD, MHS Physicians For Human Rights (2/25/20) Executive Summary The Trump administration’s crackdown on asylum seekers has included the brutal intimidation tactics of family separation and family detention. These policies have profound health implications for migrant adults and children and violate basic human rights, including the right to be free from torture and enforced disappearance. A new Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) investigation, based on psychological evaluations of asylum-seeking…


Bipartisan Charlatans & Hypocrites: Let’s Look At Who Really Loves Dictators & Tyrants

By Mehdi Hasan The Intercept (2/27/20) Bernie Sanders’s critics, including his top rivals for the Democratic nomination, want you to believe that Sanders is a communist with a soft spot for Fidel Castro — that he loves dictators and tyrants. The Intercept’s Mehdi Hasan argues that, in fact, Joe Biden and Michael Bloomberg are the ones who’ve long cozied up to autocrats, while Sanders is the only candidate who has given an entire speech about fighting authoritarianism and tyranny around the world. Link to 5+-Minute Video (Commoner Call carton by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Open source and free for non-derivative…


How Fascism Works: The Nature Of Fascism, Truth & Donald Trump

Our weapons are our high ideals of liberty and equality, and we have to fight to keep those American ideals. By Sean Illing Vox (12/15/18) “Fascism” is a word that gets tossed around pretty loosely these days, usually as an epithet to discredit someone else’s politics. One consequence is that no one really knows what the term means anymore. Liberals see fascism as the culmination of conservative thinking: an authoritarian, nationalist, and racist system of government organized around corporate power. For conservatives, fascism is totalitarianism masquerading as the nanny state. A new book by Yale philosopher Jason Stanley is the latest attempt…


American Fuhrer: Delusionary, Dictatorial Donald Trump Is Drunk On Power

What is most troubling are the silences of the countervailing forces that Americans have a right to rely on to fight Trump the tyrant. By Ralph Nader Common Dreams (2/29/20) Delusionary, dictatorial Donald Trump is drunk on power. Trump’s monarchical and lawless actions are a clear and present subversion of our Republic and its Constitution. As soon as the impeachment trial ended and Trump was acquitted by the Senate’s supine Republican courtiers (except for Senator Mitt Romney), vengeance flooded Trump’s fevered mind. Ignoring warnings from his advisors, Trump is lashing out in all directions, unleashing torrents of foul-mouthed tweets. Note…


ON CONTACT: Outcome Of Julian Assange Extradition Case Could Provide News Blackout Of Govt. Crimes

Psychological torture, faulty evidence, abusive treatment, isolated in courtroom glass cage and kept from attorneys. By Chris Hedges On Contact / RT America (2/29/20) On the show this week Chris Hedges talks to Joe Lauria, editor of Consortium News, about his coverage of US prosecutors in London attempting to extradite Julian Assange to the United States to face trial for allegations of espionage. Link To 28-Minute Video


The New York Times’ First Article In 1922 On Hitler’s Rise Should Be A Lesson For Today’ Media

  [Editor’s Note: As we have often seen, the American media has been unprepared to deal with the crass cruelty and danger of the Trump administration. By repeatedly pulling punches and using euphemisms like “misstatement” to describe Trump’s “lies” they have too often padded the sharp edges of Trumps reality. This excellent story shows how such journalistic timidity puts all of us at risk. — Mark L. Taylor] By Zack Beauchamp Vox (3/3/16) On November 21, 1922, the New York Times published its very first article about Adolf Hitler. It’s an incredible read — especially its assertion that “Hitler’s anti-Semitism was not…


Worshiping Bloomberg: The False Savior Of Wall Street & The Corporate Dems

As was true in FDR’s first campaign back in 1933, this is not the time for fear and half-measures. By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (2/24/20) Weird times bring forth weird players. For example, there is the failed, bankruptcy-bouncing, scamming real estate hustler and off-and-on Democrat who jumps from reality television to become the Republican president of the United States. Now, in the midst of the Democratic primary scrum for the 2020 presidential election a long-time, hardcore Wall Street Republican renounces all but his name to campaign for the party’s nomination. And nobody can deny that Facebook is one…


Historian Timothy Snyder Evaluates Whether Or Not The U.S. Is Sliding Towards Tyranny

  Amanpour & Company (2/18/20) President Trump has just announced the sentence commutation of former Illinois Governor Rob Blagojevich, a move that arrives just days after the DOJ overruled a harsher prison sentence for Roger Stone. Given the increased White House involvement in judicial matters, Yale University’s Timothy Snyder, a historian and author who has devoted much of his career to understanding the rise of tyranny in different parts of the world, sits down with Ana Cabrera to discuss his concerns about a worrying trend taking root in the U.S. Link To 20-Minute Video


The Classic Faustian Bargain Of New Intrusive Age Of Surveillance Capitalism

  “The real psychological truth is this: If you’ve got nothing to hide, you are nothing.” ― Shoshana Zuboff, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism ***** What happens to our pics on social media and what does that have to do with the persecution of the Uighars in China? (Scrape, scrape, scrape…) What is Pokémon Go really about? (Talk about child abuse.) Who was really behind Google Earth? (One shouldn’t be too surprised.) How much info do they really have about us? (Waaaay more than we volunteer.) Can there be a hidden microphone in your new home security system that isn’t revealed in the…


Republican Assurances That Trump Has “Learned A Lesson” Echo The Rise Of Another Tyrant…

“Only [Theodore] Duesterberg, who had been subject to scathing attacks from national socialists [Nazis] only months before for having a Jewish grandfather, warned against “the dynamics of Hitler’s nature and his fanatic mass movement.” Hugenberg brushed aside such concerns, arguing that the dominance of traditional conservatives in the cabinet would neutralize the threat of Nazi abuse of power and “fence Hitler in.” Duesterberg prophesied that Hugenberg “would one night have to flee through his ministerial gardens in his underwear to avoid arrest.” Few traditional conservatives were that prescient. Most were aware of the risk entailed by a pact with Hitler…


Take 2020 Very Seriously Because Your Life Depends On It

  By Mark L. Taylor Commoner Call (2/17/20) The arrival of the police state. Take note: In fascist states it always begins with harassing, tormenting and rounding up the minorities, marginalized and powerless. Then they move up the food chain. No one is safe now. The concentration camp system is already in place and being expanded. As the ranks of the Border Patrol and aptly-named ICE confirms, there are plenty of American thugs willing to carry out immoral and cowardly orders. Take 2020 very seriously. Like your life depends upon it. Because it does. ***** ‘These are the Bad Times’:…


UNACCOUNTABLE: Border Patrol & ICE Granted Broad New Levels Of Secrecy

  On The Media (2/14/20) Among the norms straining to govern our top law enforcement agencies are the basic presumptions of openness safeguarded by measures like the Freedom of Information Act. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), for instance, was required to disclose its operations, salaries, and staffing — much like any local police department. But under the Trump Administration, it has aspired to greater secrecy. The Daily Beast’s Betsy Swan has reported on efforts by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and CBP to join the “intelligence community,” which is made up of agencies that use wide-ranging powers to surveil, detain, and inquire,…


Chris Hedges: What Is Happening To Julian Assange Will Happen To The Rest Of Us

This global security state is a terrifying melding of the corporate and the public. And what it has done to Assange it will soon do to the rest of us. By Chris Hedges Truthdig (2/10/20) David Morales, the indicted owner of the Spanish private security firm Undercover Global, is being investigated by Spain’s high court for allegedly providing the CIA with audio and video recordings of the meetings WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had with his attorneys and other visitors when the publisher was in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. The security firm also reportedly photographed the passports of all of Assange’s visitors. It is…


Buying America: Mega-Billionaire Bloomberg’s $350 Million Ad Spending Blitz

  “At some point Bloomberg is mass bribing cable/local news.” By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (2/11/20) In a staggering milestone in what critics have characterized as an effort to buy the Democratic nomination, billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg has already poured more than $350 million of his own personal wealth into television, digital, and radio advertising since launching his 2020 presidential campaign last November. “This is what plutocracy looks like,” author and environmentalist Naomi Klein tweeted Monday in response to a CNN graphic comparing Bloomberg’s ad spending to that of his 2020 Democratic rivals. No other candidate has spent as much on advertising as Bloomberg, the former…


Clearview AI: Secretive Company Providing Law Enforcement Facial Recognition Tech That ‘Scrapes’ Photos Off The Net & Eliminates Your Privacy

  This will not remain limited to law enforcement. The Daily / New York Times (2/10/20) A secretive start-up promising the next generation of facial recognition software has compiled a database of images far bigger than anything ever constructed by the United States government: over three billion, it says. Is this technology a breakthrough for law enforcement — or the end of privacy as we know it? Link To 31-Minute Audio ACLU Slams Facial Recognition Company That Scrapes Photos From Instagram & Facebook — Clearview AI, the facial recognition company that claims to have a database of more than 3 billion photos scraped…


Report Reveals CIA Controlled Trusted Global Encryption Company For Decades

By Julian Borger The Guardian (2/11/20) Encryption weaknesses added to products sold by Crypto AG allowed the CIA and its German counterpart, the BND, to eavesdrop on adversaries and allies alike while earning million of dollars from the sales, according the Washington Post and the German public broadcaster ZDF, based on the agencies’ internal histories of the intelligence operation. “It was the intelligence coup of the century,” the CIA report concluded. “Foreign governments were paying good money to the US and West Germany for the privilege of having their most secret communications read by at least two (and possibly as many as five or six) foreign…


Scope Of The Sophisticated ‘Disinformation Campaign’ Backing Up Trump In The 2020 Election

Republicans have created the most extensive online disinformation campaign in U.S. history — one intended to reelect President Trump. [Editor’s Note: This is an extremely important article. Probably the most important article you will read this week. What the Trump campaign has achieved with social media manipulation is nothing compared to what is coming at us, including ‘deep fake’ videos designed to bend fact into fantasy . The impacts will stretch far beyond November 2020, testing and undermining the information base needed for any functioning democracy. — Mark L. Taylor] By May Louise Kelly All Things Considered / NPR (2/7/20)…


American Policy For Kidnapping, Torture & Death: US Sent At Least 138 Salvadorans Home To Be Killed

Risking the unknown violence of migration over guaranteed violence at home is, for many Salvadorans, a logical decision. By Mneesha Gellman The Conversation (2/6/20) At least 138 people deported from the United States to El Salvador since 2013 have been killed, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch, which investigates human rights abuses worldwide. The 117-page report also says at least 70 of the more than 200 deportees tracked by researchers were sexually assaulted, tortured or kidnapped. Many victims were asylum-seekers attacked or killed by the gangs they originally fled. The findings show that “the U.S. is repeatedly violating its obligations to…


Dishonorable: Trump Awards Bigoted, Hate Monger Rush Limbaugh Medal Of Freedom

‘Both Disgusting and Pure Right-Wing Genius.’ By Eoin Higgins Common Dreams (2/5/20) Progressives were quick to pounce after President Donald Trump on Tuesday night awarded radio host Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the middle of the State of the Union, pointing out the right-wing provocateur’s long history of bigotry and hate speech and his contribution to poisoning the American political conversation. “Few people have done more to degrade our political discourse than Rush Limbaugh,” tweeted Matt Duss, foreign policy advisor to the 2020 Democratic presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). “It’s an absolute disgrace that he’s being honored here.”…


A Radical Message Of What REAL Resistance In This Nation Will Take If We Are To Survive

“It is our job to make people in power feel fear. That’s our job. … You know why they are so scared? Because they know even better than we do how corrupt and fixed the system is. … They understand how hated they are and that makes them weak.“ This talk by Chris Hedges has been posted in the Commoner Call before, and is well worth the time, but it is being re-posted now specifically for Hedges’ call to resist. After the bumbling debacle of the Iowa caucus and the corrupting influence of oligarch Michael Bloomberg’s millions in the primary process,…


‘A Very Stable Genius’ — A Conversation With Book Authors Carol Leonnig & Philip Rucker

  Washington Post Live (1/24/20) Watch as The Washington Post’s White House Bureau Chief Philip Rucker and National Investigative Reporter Carol Leonnig discuss their new book, “A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America.” Link To 54-Minute Video ***** WashWeekPBS Extra: Discussing “A Very Stable Genius” With Writer Carol Leonnig Washington Week (1/24/20) Moderator Robert Costa was joined by The Washington Post’s Carol Leonnig. She shared insights from her newly published book “A Very Stable Genius,” co-written with the Post’s Philip Rucker. Link To 10-Minute Video


Worldwide Dissatisfaction With Democracy ‘at record high’

By Sean Coughlan BBC (1/29/20) Dissatisfaction with democracy within developed countries is at its highest level in almost 25 years, according to University of Cambridge researchers. Academics have analysed what they say is the biggest global dataset on attitudes towards democracy, based on four million people in 3,500 surveys. The UK and the United States had particularly high levels of discontent. “Across the globe, democracy is in a state of malaise,” report author Roberto Foa said. The study, from the University of Cambridge’s Centre for the Future of Democracy, has tracked views on democracy since 1995 – with the figures…


Chris Hedges: Onward, Christian Fascists

Trump has filled his own ideological void with Christian fascism. By Chris Hedges Truthdig (12/30/19) The greatest moral failing of the liberal Christian church was its refusal, justified in the name of tolerance and dialogue, to denounce the followers of the Christian right as heretics. By tolerating the intolerant it ceded religious legitimacy to an array of con artists, charlatans and demagogues and their cultish supporters. It stood by as the core Gospel message—concern for the poor and the oppressed—was perverted into a magical world where God and Jesus showered believers with material wealth and power. The white race, especially…



US Government Lists Non-Violent ‘Valve Turner’ Climate Activists As Threat On Par With Murderous Neo-Nazis

The making of national security is rarely about security for the population. It’s about security for those in power. By Julia Conley Common Dreams (1/13/20) Climate action advocates on Monday condemned reports that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has placed non-violent environmental activists on a list of domestic terrorists alongside white supremacists and mass murderers. Citing documents received by the non-profit group Property of the People, The Guardian reports how the Climate Direct Action members who shut off tar sands pipeline operations in an act of civil disobedience in October 2016, were called “suspected environmental rights extremists” by DHS. In the document, the…


Half Of Americans Don’t Know 6 Million Jews Were Killed In Holocaust, Survey Says

Only 45% gave the correct answer. By Harriet Sherwood The Guardian (1/22/20) Fewer than half of American adults know how many Jews were killed in the Holocaust, according to a survey published ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27. Forty-five per cent of those asked by the Pew Research Center about the number of Jews killed by the Nazis gave the correct answer of approximately 6 million. The Anti-Defamation League annual audit of antisemitic incidents in the US for 2018 recorded the third-highest total since the civil rights group began publishing data 40 years ago. From multiple choice answers, 12% selected about…


Beneath The Peaceful Veneer Of Virginia’s Gun Rally: ‘I Have a Dream of a Boogaloo’

Tyler Lloyd, an attendee at the Virginia State Capitol “Lobby Day” gun rally on Martin Luther King Day. (Right Wing Watch 1/21/20) “Yeah, I really wanted a shooting.” By Kristen Doerer Right Wing Watch (1/21/20) RICHMOND, Va.—The “Lobby Day” gun rally at the Virginia State Capitol was winding down and the crowd slowly dispersing when I came across a young man holding up a sign reading, “I have a dream of a Boogaloo.” I stopped in my tracks.​ “Boogaloo​”​ is extremists’ short-hand term for what they see as a looming civil war​. More discreet displays of the term were to be found for…


Supreme Court Could Rule That You Will Be Forced To Subsidize Private Religious Schools

By Nina Totenberg Morning Edition / NPR (1/22/20) The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in a major case that could dramatically alter the line separating church and state. At issue is a Montana state constitutional amendment that bars direct and indirect taxpayer aid to religious institutions. Conservative religious groups and advocates of school choice are challenging the “no-aid” provision. They have long sought to invalidate state constitutional amendments that prohibit taxpayer funding from going to religious schools. Given that Montana is one of 38 states with a “no-aid” provision, the court’s eventual decision could have far-reaching consequences. The case…


George Orwell, 70 Years Later

By John Rodden History News Network (1/20/20) Seventy years ago this Tuesday [1/21], George Orwell, the author of Nineteen Eighty-Four, died alone in a hospital sanitorium in London.  He had struggled for years with pulmonary tuberculosis, and his weak lungs hemorrhaged for the final time.  He was just 46, and just on the verge of fame, having published his great novel just seven months earlier in June 1949. Would the visionary author of Nineteen Eighty-Four—who always insisted on the full eighteen letters as his novel’s proper title, not the four screaming digits “1984”—have ever imagined that George Orwell might become the most…



Chris Hedges: How Democracies Wither & Die

A Christianized fascism champions Trump as an agent of God while the traditional church refuses to denounce evangelical right-wing extremists as heretics and impostors. By Chris Hedges Truthdig (1/13/20) Leo Tolstoy wrote that happy families are all alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. So too with failed democracies. There is no one route to the dissolution of the open society, but the patterns are familiar, whether in ancient Athens, the Roman Republic or the collapse of the democracies in Italy and the Weimar Republic in Germany that led to fascism. The ills that beset Germany and Italy…


Former GOP Strategist Rick Wilson Pens New Rules For Republicans Who Have Decided To Worship ‘Sniffles The Clown’ Trump As Their God

By Sarah K. Burris Raw Story (1/8/20) Former Republican Rick Wilson unleashed an epic rant against Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) Wednesday night. As part of the mockery of the South Carolina Senator, Wilson outlined new rules for Republican officials to follow under the leadership of President Donald Trump, who he called “Sniffles The Clown.” “The assertion by Lindsay Graham that today’s bizarre performance by Sniffles The Clown was on par with ‘Tear Down This Wall’ is part of the Saddamification of the GOP,” said Wilson. “What are the new rules?” he asked. Never be the first guy to stop clapping…


The Dangerous Mental State & Shared Psychosis Of The ‘King Of Everything’

By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (1/13/20) There has been a growing concern among the nation’s mental health professionals about the psychological state and fitness of Donald Trump in his role as president. His endless tweeting, lying, name calling, impulsivity, inconsistent policy statements and, most recently the assassination of an Iranian military leader, which has put the Middle East on edge and set the stage for serious military and diplomatic repercussions all underline the danger Trump’s mental state brings to the world. In the January 4 episode of the Ralph Nader Radio Hour, Nader does a two-part interview with…


War Is A Racket: If You Know A Young Person Thinking Of Enlisting, Buy Them This Book. It Might Save Their Life & The Lives Of Others

“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify…


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‘Literally And Politically Flammable’ — Naomi Klein On Risk Of Eco-Fascism

  By Alexander C. Kaufman HuffPost (1/5/19) California burned. The Amazon burned. Greenland burned. Siberia burned. Indonesia burned. Australia’s ongoing fires look hellish. Now, last year’s global inferno looks to Naomi Klein, the author and intellectual godmother of the Green New Deal movement, like a lit fuse to a fascist future. “We’re in a moment where we are literally flammable,” Klein, whose latest book “On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal” was published in September, said on a recent afternoon. “But we are also politically flammable.” In 2019, some factions of the global far-right that gained power in…


US Border Officer Uses Nazi Nuremberg Defense To Explain Involvement In Separating Families: “We were all told to do this.”

“Ah, so he was just doing his job? Where have we heard that defense before?” [Editor’s Note: Just a quick reminder to members of the military and police: as the Nuremberg Trials after WW II made clear, doing something wrong simply because you are ordered to do so is no legal — or moral — defense. There is an understanding and legal requirement that soldiers and police refuse to carry out criminal orders. Don’t be a Nazi — be a good citizen first — listen to your conscience, not corrupt commanders. — Mark L. Taylor] By Julia Conley Common Dreams…