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Chris Hedges: Israel, the Big Lie. 5/14/21 Chris Hedges

Israel is not exercising "the right to defend itself" in the occupied Palestinian territories. It is carrying out mass murder, aided and abetted by the U.S.

May 14, 2021 "Information Clearing House" - - " ScheerPost" - Nearly all the words and phrases used by the Democrats, Republicans and the talking heads on the media to describe the unrest inside Israel and the heaviest Israeli assault against the Palestinians since the 2014 attacks on Gaza, which lasted 51 days and killed more than 2,200 Palestinians, including 551 children, are a lie.

Israel, by employing its military machine against an occupied population that does not have mechanized units, an air force, navy, missiles, heavy artillery and command-and-control, not to mention a U.S. commitment to provide a $38 billion defense aid package for Israel over the next decade, is not exercising "the right to defend itself." It is carrying out mass murder. It is a war crime.

Israel has made it clear it is ready to destroy and kill as wantonly now as it was in 2014.

Israel's defense minister BENNY GANTZ, who was the chief of staff during the murderous assault on Gaza in 2014, has vowed that if Hamas "does not stop the violence, the strike of 2021 will be harder and more painful than that of 2014."

The current attacks have already targeted several residential high rises including buildings that housed over a dozen local and international press agencies, government buildings, roads, public facilities, agricultural lands, two schools and a mosque.

I spent seven years in the Middle East as a correspondent, four of them as The New York Times Middle East Bureau Chief. I am an Arabic speaker. I lived for weeks at a time in Gaza, the world's largest open-air prison where over two million Palestinians exist on the edge of starvation, struggle to find clean water and endure constant Israeli terror.

I have been in Gaza when it was pounded with Israeli artillery and air strikes. I have watched mothers and fathers, wailing in grief, cradling the bloodied bodies of their sons and daughters.

I know the crimes of the occupation—the food shortages caused by the Israeli blockade, the stifling overcrowding, the contaminated water, the lack of health services, the near constant electrical outages due to the Israeli targeting of power plants, the crippling poverty, the endemic unemployment, the fear and the despair. I have witnessed the carnage.

I also have listened from Gaza to the lies emanating from Jerusalem and Washington. Israel's indiscriminate use of modern, industrial weapons to kill thousands of innocents, wound thousands more and make tens of thousands of families homeless is not a war: It is state-sponsored terror.

And, while I oppose the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Palestinians into Israel, as I oppose suicide bombings, seeing them also as war crimes, I am acutely aware of a huge disparity between the industrial violence carried out by Israel against innocent Palestinians and the minimal acts of violence capable of being waged by groups such as Hamas.

The false equivalency between Israeli and Palestinian violence was echoed during the war I covered in Bosnia. Those of us in the besieged city of Sarajevo were pounded daily with hundreds of heavy shells and rockets from the surrounding Serbs. We were targeted by sniper fire. The city suffered a few dozen dead and wounded each day. The government forces inside the city fired back with light mortars and small arms fire. Supporters of the Serbs seized on any casualties caused by Bosnian government forces to play the same dirty game, although well over 90 percent of the killings in Bosnia were the fault of the Serbs, as is also true regarding Israel.

The second and perhaps most important parallel is that the Serbs, like the Israelis, were the principal violators of international law. Israel is in breach of more than 30 U.N. Security Council resolutions. It is in breach of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that defines collective punishment of a civilian population as a war crime. It is in violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention for settling over half a million Jewish Israelis on occupied Palestinian land and for the ethnic cleansing of at least 750,000 Palestinians when the Israeli state was founded and another 300,000 after Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank were occupied following the 1967 war.

Its annexation of East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan Heights violates international law, as does its building of a security barrier in the West Bank that annexes Palestinian land into Israel. It is in violation of U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 that states that Palestinian "refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date."

This is the truth. Any other starting point for the discussion of what is taking place between Israel and the Palestinians is a lie.

Israel's once vibrant peace movement and political left, which condemned and protested against the Israeli occupation when I lived in Jerusalem, is moribund ["approaching death"].

The right-wing Netanyahu government, despite its rhetoric about fighting terrorism, has built an alliance with the repressive regime in Saudi Arabia, which also views Iran as an enemy. Saudi Arabia, a country that produced 15 of the 19 hijackers in the September 11 attacks, is reputed to be the most prolific sponsor of international Islamist terrorism, allegedly supporting Salafist jihadism, the basis of al-Qaeda, and groups such as the Afghanistan Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Al-Nusra Front.

Saudi Arabia and Israel worked closely together to back the 2013 military coup in Egypt, led by General Adbul Fattah el Sisi. Sisi overthrew a democratically elected government. He has imprisoned tens of thousands of government critics, including journalists and human rights defenders, on politically motivated charges. The Sisi regime collaborates with Israel by keeping its common border with Gaza closed to Palestinians, trapping them in the Gaza strip, one of the most densely populated places on earth.

Israel's cynicism and hypocrisy, especially when it wraps itself in the mantle of protecting democracy and fighting terrorism, is of epic proportions.

Those who are not Jewish in Israel are either second class citizens or live under brutal military occupation.

Israel is not, and never has been, the exclusive homeland of the Jewish people.

From the 7th century until 1948, when Jewish colonial settlers used violence and ethnic cleansing to create the state of Israel, Palestine was overwhelmingly Muslim. It was never empty land.

The Jews in Palestine were traditionally a tiny minority. The United States is not an honest broker for peace but has funded, enabled and defended Israel's crimes against the Palestinian people.

Israel is not defending the rule of law. Israel is not a democracy. It is an apartheid state.

That the lie of Israel continues to be embraced by the ruling elites–there is no daylight between statements in defense of Israeli war crimes by Nancy Pelosi and Ted Cruz–-and used as a foundation for any discussion of Israel is a testament to the corrupting power of money, in this case that of the Israel lobby, and the bankruptcy of a political system of legalized bribery that has surrendered its autonomy and its principles to its major donors.

It is also a stunning example of how colonial settler projects, and this is true in the United States, always carry out cultural genocide so they can exist in a suspended state of myth and historical amnesia to legitimize themselves.

The Israel lobby has shamelessly used its immense political clout to demand that Americans take de facto loyalty oaths to Israel. The passage by 35 state legislatures of Israel lobby-backed legislation requiring their workers and contractors, under threat of dismissal, to sign a pro-Israel oath and promise not to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is a mockery of our Constitutional right of free speech.

Israel has lobbied the U.S. State Department to redefine anti-Semitism under a three-point test known as the Three Ds: the making of statements that "demonize" Israel; statements that apply "double standards" for Israel; statements that "delegitimize" the state of Israel.

This definition of anti-Semitism is being pushed by the Israel lobby in state legislatures and on college campuses. The Israel lobby spies in the United States, often at the direction of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, on those who speak up for the rights of Palestinians. It wages public smear campaigns and blacklists defenders of Palestinian rights–including the Jewish historian Norman Finkelstein; U.N. Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Territories, Richard Falk, also Jewish; and university students, many of them Jewish, in organizations such as Students for Justice in Palestine.

The Israel lobby has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to manipulate U.S. elections, far beyond anything alleged to have been carried out by Russia, China or any other country.

The heavy-handed interference by Israel in the American political system, which includes operatives and donors bundling together hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions in every U.S. congressional district to bankroll compliant candidates, is documented in the Al-Jazeera four-part series "The Lobby." Israel managed to block "The Lobby" from being broadcast. In the film, a pirated copy that is available on the website Electronic Intifada, the leaders of the Israel lobby are repeatedly captured on a reporter’s hidden camera explaining how they, backed by the intelligence services within Israel, attack and silence American critics and use massive cash donations to buy politicians.

The Electronic Intifada

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secured the unconstitutional invitation by then-House Speaker John Boehner to address Congress in 2015 to denounce President Barack Obama's Iranian nuclear agreement. Netanyahu's open defiance of Obama and alliance with the Republican Party, however, did not stop Obama in 2014 from authorizing a 10-year $38 billion military aid package to Israel, a sad commentary on how captive American politics is to Israeli interests.

The investment by Israel and its backers is worth it, especially when you consider that the U.S. has also spent over $6 trillion during the last 20 years fighting futile wars that Israel and its lobby pushed for in the Middle East.

These wars are the greatest strategic debacle in American history, accelerating the decline of the American empire, bankrupting the nation at a time of economic stagnation and mounting poverty, and turning huge parts of the globe against us. They serve Israel's interests, not ours.

THE LONGER THE MENDACIOUS ISRAELI NARRATIVE IS EMBRACED, THE MORE EMPOWERED BECOME THE RACISTS, BIGOTS, CONSPIRACY THEORISTS AND FAR-RIGHT HATE GROUPS INSIDE AND OUTSIDE ISRAEL.

This steady shift to the far right in Israel has fostered an alliance between Israel and the Christian right, many of whom are anti-Semites. The more Israel and the Israel lobby level the charge of anti-Semitism against those who speak up for Palestinian rights, as they did against British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, the more they embolden the real anti-Semites.

RACISM, including anti-Semitism, is dangerous. It is not only bad for the Jews. It is bad for everyone. It empowers the dark forces of ethnic and religious hatred on the extremes.

Netanyahu’s racist government has built alliances with far-right leaders in Hungary, India, and Brazil, and was closely allied with Donald Trump.

Racists and ethnic chauvinists, as I saw in the wars in the former Yugoslavia, feed off of each other. They divide societies into polarized, antagonistic camps that only speak in the language of violence. The radical jihadists need Israel to justify their violence, just as Israel needs the radical jihadists to justify its violence. These extremists are ideological twins.

This polarization fosters a fearful, militarized society. It permits the ruling elites in Israel, as in the United States, to dismantle civil liberties in the name of national security. Israel runs training programs for militarized police, including from the United States. It is a global player in the multibillion-dollar drone industry, competing against China and the United States.

It oversees hundreds of cybersurveillance startups whose espionage innovations, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, have been utilized abroad “to locate and detain human rights activists, persecute members of the LGBT community, silence citizens critical of their governments, and even fabricate cases of blasphemy against Islam in Muslim countries that don't maintain formal relations with Israel."

Israel, like the United States, has been poisoned by the psychosis of permanent war

One million Israelis, many of them among the most enlightened and educated, have left the country. Its most courageous human rights campaigners, intellectuals and journalists—Israeli and Palestinian—endure constant government surveillance, arbitrary arrests and vicious government-run smear campaigns.

Mobs and vigilantes, including thugs from right-wing youth groups such as Im Tirtzu, physically assault dissidents, Palestinians, Israeli Arabs and African immigrants in the slums of Tel Aviv. These Jewish extremists have targeted Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, demanding their expulsion. They are supported by an array of anti-Arab groups including the Otzma Yehudit Party, the ideological descendant of the outlawed Kach party, the Lehava movement, which calls for all Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories to be expelled to surrounding Arab states, and La Familia, far-right soccer hooligans.

Lehava in Hebrew means "flame" and is the acronym for "Prevention of Assimilation in the Holy Land." Mobs of these Jewish fanatics parade through Palestinian neighborhoods, including in occupied East Jerusalem, protected by Israeli police, shouting to the Palestinians who live there "Death to the Arabs," which is also a popular chant at Israeli soccer matches.

Israel has pushed through a series of discriminatory laws against non-Jews that echo the racist Nuremberg Laws that disenfranchised Jews in Nazi Germany.

The Communities Acceptance Law, for example, permits "small, exclusively Jewish towns planted across Israel's Galilee region to formally reject applicants for residency on the grounds of ‘suitability to the community's fundamental outlook." Israel's educational system, starting in primary school, uses the Holocaust to portray Jews as eternal victims. This victimhood is an indoctrination machine used to justify racism, Islamophobia, religious chauvinism and the deification of the Israeli military.

There are many parallels between the deformities that grip Israel and the deformities that grip the United States. The two countries are moving at warp speed towards a 21rst century fascism, cloaked in religious language, which will revoke what remains of our civil liberties and snuff out our anemic democracies.

The failure of the United States to stand up for the rule of law, to demand that the Palestinians, powerless and friendless, even in the Arab world, be granted basic human rights mirrors the abandonment of the vulnerable within our own society. We are headed, I fear, down the road Israel is heading down. It will be devastating for the Palestinians. It will be devastating for us. And all resistance, as the Palestinians courageously show us, will only come from the street.

Chris Hedges at Scheer Post

1/3/21

This book was born from the photographer’s unease with the far right’s influence in Germany. 3/15/21

World War II’s less-famous fascist. By Andrew Nagorski Dec. 31, 2020

Benito Mussolini took power in Italy in late 1922, making him Europe’s first fascist leader. Adolf Hitler, at the time a little-known beer hall agitator for his fledgling Nazi Party in Munich, would need another decade before he was positioned for a similar takeover in Germany. Yet in many histories of fascism and World War II, Hitler and his war machine receive almost all the attention, while Mussolini and the role of his armed forces are little more than an afterthought.

In “Mussolini’s War,” John Gooch, a British historian whose specialty is the Italian military, puts Mussolini and his forces front and center. The result is a painstakingly detailed, long-overdue chronicle of the attempts by the smaller Axis power to play an outsize — and unrealistically ambitious — role in the global conflict. This somber account underscores the multiple failures of Mussolini’s leadership, which led to his ouster in 1943 and his ignominious execution by his countrymen at the end of the war. His body was left on display in Milan, dangling upside down alongside the body of his mistress.

While Hitler comes across as pure evil, Mussolini is often indicted on the lesser charge of buffoonery. But the Italian leader shared many of the traits — and, above all, delusions — of his German counterpart.

Hitler spoke of Lebensraum, the “living space” for his people to be acquired by conquest; Mussolini spoke of spazio vitale, which meant the same thing. Hitler played upon his defeated countrymen’s feelings of humiliation after World War I; although Italy was on the winning side in that conflict, Mussolini played upon his countrymen’s wounded pride when exposed to the old refrain that “the Italians can’t fight.”

Hitler believed that his Blitzkrieg strategy would allow his forces to prevail against larger foes before they could mobilize all their resources. Mussolini’s term for this was a guerra di rapido corso. As Gooch writes, “The enemy would be defeated by a combination of speed, surprise and manoeuvre.”

Both dictators could boast initial successes. In 1935, Mussolini sent his troops to Ethiopia, subduing that country, whose territory was larger than France and Germany combined. On April 7, 1939, Italy invaded Albania, prompted by Mussolini’s eagerness not to be outdone by Hitler’s triumphs — his unopposed annexation of Austria and dismemberment of Czechoslovakia. The two fascist governments then signed their Pact of Steel, committing themselves to a common fight against all enemies, but it was a dysfunctional alliance from the start.

As eager as Mussolini was to prove himself a great conqueror, he knew that his country was far from ready for a major conflict. He dispatched one of his generals to Berlin with the message that his military needed at least three more years of peace to make the necessary preparations. Yet when Hitler ratcheted up the pressure on Poland, Mussolini sent conflicting signals. He told the British ambassador in Rome that he would back Germany if London made good on its promise to stand with the Poles, while Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano urged his German counterpart, Joachim von Ribbentrop, to avoid triggering a war with the Western powers.

Hitler was not about to be swayed: He had already decided to invade Poland, hoping that Britain and France would back down again as they did over Czechoslovakia. Rather than reconsider, Mussolini felt he had no choice but to stick with Germany — and, as long as that was the case, to grab whatever opportunities the larger conflict offered, including Yugoslavia and Greece. “It was already becoming apparent that Mussolini’s appetite was dangerously outrunning the means required to assuage it,” Gooch writes.

Driven by his hunger for glory and empire, Mussolini largely abandoned rational calculation by throwing his troops into far-flung battles in the Balkans, North Africa and the Soviet Union, while Italian ships and submarines fought for control of vital supply routes. The Italians scored some victories, but they were usually outgunned, outmanned and outsmarted.

“Mussolini had little if any comprehension of military strategy and none at all of grand strategy,” Gooch maintains. Moreover, Mussolini believed that any weaknesses could be overcome by sheer willpower. His credo: “He wins who wants to win.” Hitler was better prepared at first, but he was guilty of similar overreach and overconfidence — and, of course, of undermining his cause by his relentless policy of terror and mass murder in the lands he conquered.

While Mussolini’s forces did not commit crimes on as vast a scale as their German partners, Gooch leaves no doubt that they were deeply implicated in them. An Italian soldier in Slovenia described how his unit burned peasant houses and carried off the animals “just like the Germans taught us” — and how, when the peasants tried to stop them, “we sorted them out.” In Russia, Italians handed over Jews and partisans to the Germans, sealing their fates. Elsewhere, Mussolini at times resisted German pressure to surrender Jews, but that hardly evened the score.

Mussolini recognized sooner than Hitler did that they were fighting a losing battle against the Soviet Union, even urging him to try to make a separate peace again with Stalin. But it was far too late for another Nazi-Soviet pact — or for any other last-minute act of salvation. Italy was the first Axis power to fall, before Germany or Japan. In Gooch’s telling, Mussolini’s disastrous leadership allowed for no other outcome.

Mussolini’s War
Fascist Italy From Triumph to Collapse: 1935-1943
By John Gooch
Pegasus.
532 pp. $35

10-11-20

fascism in America

email from Public Citizen

Things are happening in our country that most of us have, at least until now, considered the stuff of foreign dictatorships.

On Thursday, 13 “militia” members were arrested for plotting to kidnap and possibly execute Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. It would, unquestionably, have been one of the worst acts of domestic terrorism in our lifetimes. But -- after four years of Donald Trump and nine months of the coronavirus -- even something this monstrous doesn’t quite seem to be generating the outrage it should. Fascism is gaining ground in America, right before our eyes. Governor Whitmer has an op-ed in The Washington Post that is worth reading. Here’s a little bit of what she says:

When I addressed the people of Michigan on Thursday to comment on the unprecedented terrorism, conspiracy and weapons charges against 13 men, some of whom were preparing to kidnap and possibly kill me, I said, “Hatred, bigotry and violence have no place in the great state of Michigan." I meant it. But just moments later, President Trump’s campaign adviser, Jason Miller, appeared on national television accusing me of fostering hatred.

When our leaders encourage domestic terrorists, they legitimize their actions. When they stoke and contribute to hate speech, they are complicit. And when a sitting president stands on a national stage refusing to condemn white supremacists and hate groups, as President Trump did when he told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” during the first presidential debate, he is complicit. Hate groups heard the president’s words not as a rebuke, but as a rallying cry. As a call to action.

Things are happening in our country -- with outright encouragement from Donald Trump and his MAGA faithful, including many other politicians and government officials -- that most of us have, at least until now, considered the stuff of foreign dictatorships.

The 14 Defining Characteristics Of Fascism - Trump Is a Fascist, Daily Kos, 5-26

I was watching yet another Trump “campaign” a few days ago. I’ve always believed that Trump’s campaign rallies are very reminiscent of 1930s Germany. It inspired me to research what really constitutes Fascism, which led me to a definition of Fascism compiled by Dr. Lawrence Britt many years ago. He analysed analyzed Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Suharto and a number of South American regimes. From that analysis, he established the 14 Defining Characteristics of Fascism, and guess what? They map directly to Trump’s policies, practices and political positions more than I ever imagined. The evidence is crystal clear and abundant.

The following list defines the 14 characteristics along with their definitions - and a few of Trump’s gems as examples. Some of the examples are repeated because Trump has managed to match one statement to more than one characteristic of Fascism.

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism

Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos , slogans, symbols, songs and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

Mottos and slogans: Make America Great Again, Build the Wall, Lock ‘er Up, Drain the Swamp. Songs: Lee Greenwood, God Bless the USA. Symbols and paraphernalia: Truckers’ hats, Purple Heart, “I always wanted one”.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights

Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in Fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

“Muslim ban”; “Muslim database”; “kiII their families”; “torture works”; “more than waterboarding”; “if I tell generals to do it [war crimes], they will do it”; women who’ve had abortions should be penalized.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause

In Fascist regimes, the people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

Mexicans, Muslims, Chinese, African Americans; “get-em-outta-here”; Crooked Hillary, Lyin’ Ted, Little Marco; the media; calling the US Intel Community Nazis; Russians are OK though.

4. Supremacy of the Military

In a Fascist regime, even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

Cutting funding for Meals on Wheels, CPB and after school programs, while increasing the Homeland Security and Defense budgets.

“We need to make our military so big, so powerful, we never have to use it” - even though Trump clearly knows we already have the most powerful and formidable military in the world by a wide margin, and that conventional military power isn’t the key to asymmetric warfare.

5. Rampant Sexism

The governments of Fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under Fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

“Grab ‘em by the p---y”,“You have to treat women like s--t”; “A woman who is very flat chested is very hard to be a 10."; “Perhaps I’d date my daughter."; “Look at that face”; “Fat pig”; women who’ve had abortions should be penalized.

Support of Roger Ailes’ and Bill O’Reilly’s multiple cases of sexual harassment.

6. Controlled Mass Media

Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic Fascist media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

“News media is the enemy of the American People”; “lying media”; open up libel laws.

Roger AiIes; Sean Hannity; Bill O’Reilly; Rush Limbaugh; Steve Bannon; Alex Jones; Mark Levin.

7. Obsession with National Security

In a Fascist state, fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

“They’re bringing drugs. They’re bring crime. They’re rapists”; “Muslim Ban”; “Muslim Database”,

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined

Governments in Fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

“Christianity, it's under siege”; “An amendment, pushed by Lyndon Johnson many years ago, threatens religious institutions with a loss of their tax-exempt status if they openly advocate their political views."; Selecting Christian Dominionist Pence as his running mate.

9. Corporate Power is Protected

The industrial and business aristocracy of a Fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

“I give to everybody. when they call, I give. And do you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me."

Strategic bankruptcy protection; frivolous lawsuits; shortchanging contractors and vendors; usage of eminent domain to acquire other people’s property; cabinet rife with a record number of corporate and Wall Street elite.

Nominating people to head agencies who are hostile to those agencies’ very purpose. Why? To protect corporate interests and profits.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed

Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a Fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

“Taxes too high, wages too high, we’re not going to be able to compete against the world”; “Having a low minimum wage isn’t a bad thing”.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts

Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

“Climate Change is a Chinese hoax”; “I'm smart, You’re stupid”; “I love the poorly educated” which is fine, but Trump also despises the “intellectual elite”.

Andy Warhol: “I still hate the Trumps”; Artspace Magazine: “He's hardly the only artist to hate Trump”.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment

Under Fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in Fascist nations.

(“Law and Order President”; “The Central Park 5”; “bring back Stop and Frisk”; Women who have abortions should be punished; “Lock ‘er Up”)

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption

Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in Fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

Family members and a record number of Wall Street cronies in his Administration.

“I give to everybody. when they call, I give. And do you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me."

Trump Foundation: Paid a fine for illegal campaign contributions, admitted to illegal self-dealing, admitted to accepting illegal donations, under a cease and desist order.

14. Fraudulent Elections

Sometimes elections in Fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

“The election is rigged”; “We should just cancel the election and declare me the winner”;.

At least a dozen confirmed contacts with Russian Oligarchs, Diplomats and/or Intelligence agents, despite Trump and associates publicly refuting it 20 times with absolutes such as ‘zero involvement’.

Fascism Watch: Representational democracy on the brink, 1-11-19


Midnight approaches.

Donald Trump is likely hours, if not minutes, away from declaring a national emergency over a nonexistent crisis. By doing so, he will be creating a precedent that he need not assent to congressional control of anything. Anything. Because Trump’s “border crisis” isn’t real. It’s a non-event. By breaking the government over this point, Trump—and the Republicans abetting his action—are making dead certain that it is broken. And almost as certain that it stays that way.

At this point, two years into Trump’s fact-free maelstrom, it’s become easy to treat concerns about American democracy as passé. After all, didn’t Democrats just win a resounding victory at the polls? They did. Didn’t Americans just deliver a strong message that they do not support Trump? Do not support the direction he has been taking the nation? Do not believe in his dark vision of nationalism and autocracy?

Fascism on the March

By Peter Koenig October 31, 2018 "Information Clearing House" - Latin America is re-converting into Washington’s backyard and as a sideline is returning to fascist rule, similar but worse than the sixties seventies and eighties, which stood under the spell of the CIA-led Operation or Plan Condor. Many call the current right-wing trend Operation Condor II which is probably as close to the truth as can be. It is all Washington / CIA fabricated, just with more rigor and more sophistication than Plan Condor of 40 and 50 years ago. As much as it hurts to say, after all the glory and laurels sent out to Latin America – with Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Rafael Correa, Evo Morales, Lula, the Kirchners, José Mujica, Michelle Bachelet – more than 80% of the population of Latin America were living for some 15 to 20 years under democratically elected mostly left-leaning governments, really progressive. – Within no time, in less than 3 years the wheels have turned.

Latin America was for about 20 years the only western part of the world, that was fully detached from the fangs of the empire. It has succumbed again to the forces of evil, to the forces of money, the forces of utter corruption and greed. The people of Latin America have betrayed their own principles. They did it again. Humans remain reduced as in ancient times, to the unfailing powers of reproduction and ego cum greed. It seems in the end, ego and greed always win over the forces of light, of good, peace and harmony.

That’s why even the World Bank calls corruption the single most hindrance to development. They mean economic development; I mean conscientious development. This time the trick is false and fraudulent election campaigns; bought elections; Washington induced parliamentary coups – which in Brazil brought unelected President Temer to power, a prelude to much worse to come, the fascist, misogynist, racist, and self-styled military man, Jair Bolsonaro.

The 2015 presidential election in Argentina brought a cleverly Washington manufactured win for Mauricio Macri, a friend and one-time business associate of Donald Trump’s, as it were. The election was manipulated by the by now well-known Machiavellian Cambridge Analytica method of cheating the voters by individualized messages spread throughout the social media into believing all sorts of lies about the candidates. Voters were, thus, hit on the head by surprise, as Macri’s opponent, the left-leaning Daniel Scioli of the Peronist Victory Front, the leader in the polls, was defeated.

Today Macri has adopted a fascist economic agenda, indebted the country with IMF austerity packages, increased unemployment and poverty from12% before his election in 2015 to close to 40 % in 2018. He is leading Argentina towards a déjà-vu scenario of the 80s and especially 1990’s when under pressure from the US, IMF and World Bank, the country was to adopt the US dollar as their local currency, or to be exact, Argentina was allowed to keep their peso, but had to commit to a one-to-one parity with the US dollar. The official explanation for this, in economic terms, criminal move (to impose the use of the currency of one country for the economy of another country is not only insane, its outright criminal), was to stop skyrocketing inflation – which temporarily it did, but to the detriment of the working class, for whom common staple and goods became unaffordable.

In Chile on 9/11 of 1973 a democratically elected socialist, Salvador Allende, a was overthrown under the guidance of the CIA and a brutal military dictator, Augusto Pinochet installed for almost 30 years. After a brief spring of center and left-leaning governments, Chile, in December 2017, has returned to right-wing, neoliberal politics with Sebastian Piñera, a former associate of Pinochet’s. With the surroundings of his neoliberal friends and close accomplices in Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Peru and even Ecuador, to be sure, he will move to extreme right, neo-fascist economic rules and, thus, please Washington’s banks and their instruments, the IMF and the World Bank.

Fascism is on the march. And this despite the fact that 99.99% of the population, not just in Latin America, worldwide, want nothing to do with fascism – so where is the fraud? Why is nobody investigating the scam and swindle in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia? – and then putting the results up for everyone to see?

In the meantime, we have learned about Cambridge / Oxford Analytica (CA & OA). How they operate and cheat the electorate. They themselves have finally admitted to the methods within which they operate and influence voters with lies – and with data stealing or buying from social media, mainly facebook; millions and millions of personal data to target electronically special groups of people – bombarding them with lies to promote or denigrate the one or the other candidate.

And precisely this happened in Brazil. A week before the run-off election that took place this past Sunday, 28 October, Fernando Haddad, (PT), launched a criminal investigation precisely for that reason against Bolsonaro’s campaign. Of course, nothing happened. All the judges, courts and lawyers are under control of the unelected corrupt right-wing Temer Government – which came to power by a foreign directed ruthless parliamentary coup, impeaching under totally false pretenses democratically elected Dilma Rousseff.

From day One, the US firmly counts on Bolsonaro to encircle Venezuela, together with Colombia. President Trump has already expressed his expectations to work ‘closely together’ with the new Bolsonaro Government in “matters of trade, military – and earthing else." Bolsonaro has already met with Mike Pompeo, the US Foreign Secretary, who told him that the situation in Venezuela is a “priority’ for Brazil. There you go; Washington dictates foreign leaders their priorities. Bolsonaro will oblige, for sure.

Wake up – LEFT! – not just in Latin America, but around the world.

Today, it’s the mainstream media which have learned the tricks and cheats, and they have perfected the Cambridge and Oxford Analyticas; they are doing it non-stop. They have all the fake and fiat money in the world to pay for these false and deceit-campaigns – they are owned by the corporate military and financial elite, by the CIA, MI6/5, Mossad – they are owned and directed by the western all-overarching neoliberalism cum fascism. The rich elite groups have free access to the fake and fiat money supply – its government supplied in the US as well as in Europe; debt is no problem for them, as long as they ‘behave’.

Yes. The accent is on behaving. Dictatorial trends are also omni-present in the EU, and especially in the non-elected European Commission (EC) which calls the shots on all important matters. Italy’s Fife-Star Eurosceptic Government presented its 2019 budget to Brussels. Not only was the government scolded and reprimanded for overstretching its accounts with a deficit exceeding the 3% EU imposed debt margin, but the government had to present a new budget within 3 weeks. That is how a not-so-well behaving EU government is treated. What a stretch of authoritarian EU rule vis-à-vis a sovereign government. And ‘sovereignty’ is – the EU boasts – the key to a coherent European Union.

On the other hand, France has for years been infringing on the (in)famous 3% rule. And again, for the 2019 budget. However, the French government received a friendly drafted note saying, would you please reconsider your budget deficit for the next year. No scolding. One does not reprimand a Rothchild Child. Double standards, corruption, nepotism, are among the attributes of fascism. It’s growing fast, everywhere in the west.

It has taken on a life of itself. And the military is prepared. Everywhere. – If only they, the military, would wake up and stand with the people instead of the ruling elite that treats them like their peons. Yet, they are part of the people; they belong to the most common of the people. In the end, they get the same shaft treatment as the people – they are tortured and shot when they are no longer needed, or if they don’t behave as the neocon-fascists want.

So, Dear Military Men and Women – why not pre-empt such risks and stand with the people from the very beginning? – The entire fake and criminal system would collapse if it wouldn’t have the protection of the police and the military. You, dear Men and Women form the Police and Military, you have the power and the moral obligation to stand by the people, not defending the ruthless, brutal elitist and criminal rulers – à la Macri, Bolsonaro, Piñera, Duque, Macron, May and Merkel. And there are many more of the same blood.

One of the first signs for what was to happen throughout Latin America and spreading through the western world, was the “fake election” of Macri, in 2015 in Argentina. Some of us saw it coming and wrote about it. We were ignored, even laughed at. We were told – we didn’t understand the democratic process. Yes, right. In the meantime, the trend towards the right, towards a permanent state of Emergency, a de facto Martial Rule has become irreversible. France has incorporated the permanent state of emergency in her Constitution. Armed police and military are a steady presence throughout Paris and France’s major cities.

There are only a few, very few exceptions left in Latin America, indeed in the western world.

And let’s do whatever we can to save them from the bulldozer of fascism.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research; ICH; RT; Sputnik; PressTV; The 21st Century; TeleSUR; The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, the New Eastern Outlook (NEO); and other internet sites.

This Is Your Brain on Money: Why America’s Rich Think Differently Than the Rest of Us Economist Chris Dillow cites research by Cameron Anderson and Sebastien Brion, showing that overconfident individuals are seen by others as more competent. He argues that, “overconfident people are more likely to be promoted. And this could have positive feedback effects. Higher status will itself breed even more overconfidence. (E.g. “I got the job so I must be good.") And if bosses employ like-minded subordinates, the result could be entire layers of management which are both over-confident and engaged in groupthink." Many other studies cited.

When It’s Too Late to Stop Fascism, According to Stefan Zweig

New Yorker, 2-6-17 George Prochnik

Stefan Zweig in Ossining, New York, in 1941,
seven years after he fled the ascendant Nazism of Europe.

The Austrian émigré writer Stefan Zweig composed the first draft of his memoir, “The World of Yesterday," in a feverish rapture during the summer of 1941, as headlines gave every indication that civilization was being swallowed in darkness.

Zweig’s beloved France had fallen to the Nazis the previous year. The Blitz had reached a peak in May, with almost fifteen hundred Londoners dying in a single night. Operation Barbarossa, the colossal invasion of the Soviet Union by the Axis powers, in which nearly a million people would die, had launched in June. Hitler’s Einsatzgruppen, mobile killing squads, roared along just behind the Army, massacring Jews and other vilified groups--often with the help of local police and ordinary citizens.

Zweig himself had fled Austria preëmptively, in 1934. During the country’s brief, bloody civil war that February, when Engelbert Dollfuss, the country’s Clerico-Fascist Chancellor, had destroyed the Socialist opposition, Zweig’s Salzburg home had been searched for secret arms to supply the left-wing militias. Zweig at the time was regarded as one of Europe’s most prominent humanist-pacifists, and the absurd crudity of the police action so outraged him that he began packing his things that night.

From Austria, Zweig and his second wife, Lotte, went to England, then to the New World, where New York City became his base, despite his aversion to its crowds and abrasive competitiveness. In June of 1941, longing for some respite from the needs of the exiles in Manhattan beseeching him for help with money, work, and connections, the couple rented a modest, rather grim bungalow in Ossining, New York, a mile uphill from Sing Sing Correctional Facility.

There, Zweig set to furious work on his autobiography—laboring like “seven devils without a single walk," as he put it. Some four hundred pages poured out of him in a matter of weeks. His productivity reflected his sense of urgency: the book was conceived as a kind of message to the future.

It is a law of history, he wrote, “that contemporaries are denied a recognition of the early beginnings of the great movements which determine their times." For the benefit of subsequent generations, who would be tasked with rebuilding society from the ruins, he was determined to trace how the Nazis’ reign of terror had become possible, and how he and so many others had been blind to its beginnings.

Zweig noted that he could not remember when he first heard Hitler’s name. It was an era of confusion, filled with ugly agitators. During the early years of Hitler’s rise, Zweig was at the height of his career, and a renowned champion of causes that sought to promote solidarity among European nations. He called for the founding of an international university with branches in all the major European capitals, with a rotating exchange program intended to expose young people to other communities, ethnicities, and religions.

He was only too aware that the nationalistic passions expressed in the First World War had been compounded by new racist ideologies in the intervening years. The economic hardship and sense of humiliation that the German citizenry experienced as a consequence of the Versailles Treaty had created a pervasive resentment that could be enlisted to fuel any number of radical, bloodthirsty projects.

Zweig did take notice of the discipline and financial resources on display at the rallies of the National Socialists—their eerily synchronized drilling and spanking-new uniforms, and the remarkable fleets of automobiles, motorcycles, and trucks they paraded. Zweig often travelled across the German border to the little resort town of Berchtesgaden, where he saw “small but ever-growing squads of young fellows in riding boots and brown shirts, each with a loud-colored swastika on his sleeve."

These young men were clearly trained for attack, Zweig recalled. But after the crushing of Hitler’s attempted putsch, in 1923, Zweig seems hardly to have given the National Socialists another thought until the elections of 1930, when support for the Party exploded—from under a million votes two years earlier to more than six million. At that point, still oblivious to what this popular affirmation might portend, Zweig applauded the enthusiastic passion expressed in the elections. He blamed the stuffiness of the country’s old-fashioned democrats for the Nazi victory, calling the results at the time “a perhaps unwise but fundamentally sound and approvable revolt of youth against the slowness and irresolution of ‘high politics.’ "

In his memoir, Zweig did not excuse himself or his intellectual peers for failing early on to reckon with Hitler’s significance. “The few among writers who had taken the trouble to read Hitler’s book, ridiculed the bombast of his stilted prose instead of occupying themselves with his program," he wrote. They took him neither seriously nor literally. Even into the nineteen-thirties, “the big democratic newspapers, instead of warning their readers, reassured them day by day, that the movement . . . would inevitably collapse in no time."

Prideful of their own higher learning and cultivation, the intellectual classes could not absorb the idea that, thanks to “invisible wire-pullers”—the self-interested groups and individuals who believed they could manipulate the charismatic maverick for their own gain—this uneducated “beer-hall agitator” had already amassed vast support. After all, Germany was a state where the law rested on a firm foundation, where a majority in parliament was opposed to Hitler, and where every citizen believed that “his liberty and equal rights were secured by the solemnly affirmed constitution."

Zweig recognized that propaganda had played a crucial role in eroding the conscience of the world. He described how, as the tide of propaganda rose during the First World War, saturating newspapers, magazines, and radio, the sensibilities of readers became deadened. Eventually, even well-meaning journalists and intellectuals became guilty of what he called “the ‘doping’ of excitement”—an artificial incitement of emotion that culminated, inevitably, in mass hatred and fear.

Describing the healthy uproar that ensued after one artist’s eloquent outcry against the war in the autumn of 1914, Zweig observed that, at that point, “the word still had power. It had not yet been done to death by the organization of lies, by ‘propaganda.’ " But Hitler “elevated lying to a matter of course," Zweig wrote, just as he turned “anti-humanitarianism to law." By 1939, he observed, “Not a single pronouncement by any writer had the slightest effect . . . no book, pamphlet, essay, or poem” could inspire the masses to resist Hitler’s push to war.

Propaganda both whipped up Hitler’s base and provided cover for his regime’s most brutal aggressions. It also allowed truth seeking to blur into wishful thinking, as Europeans’ yearning for a benign resolution to the global crisis trumped all rational skepticism. “Hitler merely had to utter the word ‘peace’ in a speech to arouse the newspapers to enthusiasm, to make them forget all his past deeds, and desist from asking why, after all, Germany was arming so madly," Zweig wrote. Even as one heard rumors about the construction of special internment camps, and of secret chambers where innocent people were eliminated without trial, Zweig recounted, people refused to believe that the new reality could persist.

“This could only be an eruption of an initial, senseless rage, one told oneself. That sort of thing could not last in the twentieth century." In one of the most affecting scenes in his autobiography, Zweig describes seeing the first refugees from Germany climbing over the Salzburg mountains and fording the streams into Austria shortly after Hitler’s appointment to the Chancellorship. “Starved, shabby, agitated . . . they were the leaders in the panicked flight from inhumanity which was to spread over the whole earth. But even then I did not suspect when I looked at those fugitives that I ought to perceive in those pale faces, as in a mirror, my own life, and that we all, we all, we all would become victims of the lust for power of this one man."

Zweig was miserable in the United States. Americans seemed indifferent to the suffering of émigrés; Europe, he said repeatedly, was committing suicide. He told one friend that he felt as if he were living a “posthumous” existence. In a desperate effort to renew his will to live, he travelled to Brazil in August of 1941, where, on previous visits, the country’s people had treated him as a superstar, and where the visible intermixing of the races had struck Zweig as the only way forward for humanity. In letters from the time he sounds chronically wistful, as if he has travelled back to before the world of yesterday. And yet, for all his fondness for the Brazilian people and appreciation of the country’s natural beauty, his loneliness grew more and more acute.

Many of his closest friends were dead. The others were thousands of miles away. His dream of a borderless, tolerant Europe (always his true, spiritual homeland) had been destroyed. He wrote to the author Jules Romains, “My inner crisis consists in that I am not able to identify myself with the me of passport, the self of exile."

In February of 1942, together with Lotte, Zweig took an overdose of sleeping pills. In the formal suicide message he left behind, Zweig wrote that it seemed better to withdraw with dignity while he still could, having lived “a life in which intellectual labor meant the purest joy and personal freedom the highest good on earth."

Stefan Zweig, https://www.newstatesman.com/2016-04-28

I wonder how far along the scale of moral degeneration Zweig would judge America to be in its current state. We have a magnetic leader, one who lies continually and remorselessly—not pathologically but strategically, to placate his opponents, to inflame the furies of his core constituency, and to foment chaos. The American people are confused and benumbed by a flood of fake news and misinformation. Reading in Zweig’s memoir how, during the years of Hitler’s rise to power, many well-meaning people “could not or did not wish to perceive that a new technique of conscious cynical amorality was at work," it’s difficult not to think of our own present predicament.

Last week, as Trump signed a drastic immigration ban that led to an outcry across the country and the world, then sought to mitigate those protests by small palliative measures and denials, I thought of one other crucial technique that Zweig identified in Hitler and his ministers: they introduced their most extreme measures gradually—strategically—in order to gauge how each new outrage was received. “Only a single pill at a time and then a moment of waiting to observe the effect of its strength, to see whether the world conscience would still digest the dose," Zweig wrote. “The doses became progressively stronger until all Europe finally perished from them."

And still Zweig might have noted that, as of today, President Trump and his sinister “wire-pullers” have not yet locked the protocols for their exercise of power into place. One tragic lesson offered by “The World of Yesterday” is that, even in a culture where misinformation has become omnipresent, where an angry base, supported by disparate, well-heeled interests, feels empowered by the relentless lying of a charismatic leader, the center might still hold.

In Zweig’s view, the final toxin needed to precipitate German catastrophe came in February of 1933, with the burning of the national parliament building in Berlin–an arson attack Hitler blamed on the Communists but which some historians still believe was carried out by the Nazis themselves. “At one blow all of justice in Germany was smashed," Zweig recalled. The destruction of a symbolic edifice—a blaze that caused no loss of life—became the pretext for the government to begin terrorizing its own civilian population.

That fateful conflagration took place less than thirty days after Hitler became Chancellor. The excruciating power of Zweig’s memoir lies in the pain of looking back and seeing that there was a small window in which it was possible to act, and then discovering how suddenly and irrevocably that window can be slammed shut.


Thom Hartmann: How the GOP Used a Two Santa Clauses Tactic to Con America for Nearly 40 Years This scam has been killing wages and enriching billionaires for decades.

The Republican Party has been running a long con on America since Reagan’s inauguration, and somehow our nation’s media has missed it – even though it was announced in The Wall Street Journal in the 1970s and the GOP has clung tenaciously to it ever since.

In fact, Republican strategist Jude Wanniski’s 1974 “Two Santa Clauses Theory” has been the main reason why the GOP has succeeded in producing our last two Republican presidents, Bush and Trump (despite losing the popular vote both times). It’s also why Reagan’s economy seemed to be “good."

Here’s how it works, laid it out in simple summary:

First, when Republicans control the federal government, and particularly the White House, spend money like a drunken sailor and run up the US debt as far and as fast as possible. This produces three results – it stimulates the economy thus making people think that the GOP can produce a good economy, it raises the debt dramatically, and it makes people think that Republicans are the “tax-cut Santa Claus."


Second, when a Democrat is in the White House, scream about the national debt as loudly and frantically as possible, freaking out about how “our children will have to pay for it!" and “we have to cut spending to solve the crisis!" This will force the Democrats in power to cut their own social safety net programs, thus shooting their welfare-of-the-American-people Santa Claus.

Think back to Ronald Reagan, who more than tripled the US debt from a mere $800 billion to $2.6 trillion in his 8 years. That spending produced a massive stimulus to the economy, and the biggest non-wartime increase in the debt in history. Nary a peep from Republicans about that 218% increase in our debt; they were just fine with it.

And then along came Bill Clinton. The screams and squeals from the GOP about the “unsustainable debt” of nearly $3 trillion were loud, constant, and echoed incessantly by media from CBS to NPR. Newt Gingrich rode the wave of “unsustainable debt” hysteria into power, as the GOP took control of the House for the first time lasting more than a term since 1930, even though the increase in our national debt under Clinton was only about 37%.

The GOP “debt freakout” was so widely and effectively amplified by the media that Clinton himself bought into it and began to cut spending, taking the axe to numerous welfare programs (“It’s the end of welfare as we know it” he famously said, and “The era of big government is over”). Clinton also did something no Republican has 'e in our lifetimes: he supported several balanced budgets and handed a budget surplus to George W. Bush.

When George W. Bush was given the White House by the Supreme Court (Gore won the popular vote by over a half-million votes) he reverted to Reagan’s strategy and again nearly doubled the national debt, adding a trillion in borrowed money to pay for his tax cut for GOP-funding billionaires, and tossing in two unfunded wars for good measure, which also added at least (long term) another $5 to $7 trillion.

There was not a peep about the debt from any high-profile in-the-know Republicans then; in fact, Dick Cheney famously said, essentially ratifying Wanniski’s strategy, “Reagan proved deficits ''t matter. We won the midterms [because of those tax cuts]. This is our due." Bush and Cheney raised the debt by 86% to over $10 trillion (although the war debt wasn’t put on the books until Obama entered office).

Then comes Democratic President Barack Obama, and suddenly the GOP is hysterical about the debt again. So much so that they convinced a sitting Democratic president to propose a cut to Social Security (the “chained CPI”). Obama nearly shot the Democrats biggest Santa Claus program. And, Republican squeals notwithstanding, Obama only raised the debt by 34%.

Now we’re back to a Republican president, and once again deficits be damned. Between their tax cut and the nearly-trillion dollar spending increase passed on February 8th, in the first year-and-a-month of Trump’s administration they’ve spent more stimulating the economy (and driving up debt by more than $2 trillion, when you include interest) than the entire Obama presidency.

Consider the amazing story of where this strategy came from, and how the GOP has successfully kept their strategy from getting into the news; even generally well-informed writers for media like the Times and the Post – and producers, pundits and reporters for TV news – '’t know the history of what’s been happening right in front of us all for 37 years.


Wanniski was tired of the GOP failing to win elections. And, he reasoned, it was happening because the Democrats had been viewed since the New Deal as the Santa Claus party (taking care of people’s needs and the General Welfare), while the GOP, opposing everything from Social Security to Medicare to unemployment insurance, was widely seen as the party of Scrooge.

The Democrats, he noted, got to play Santa Claus when they passed out Social Security and Unemployment checks – both programs of the New Deal – as well as when their "big government" projects like roads, bridges, and highways were built, giving a healthy union paycheck to construction workers and making our country shine.

Democrats kept raising taxes on businesses and rich people to pay for things, which didn't seem to have much effect at all on working people (wages were steadily going up, in fact), and that added to the perception that the Democrats were a party of Robin Hoods, taking from the rich to fund programs for the poor and the working class.

Americans loved the Democrats back then. And every time Republicans railed against these programs, they lost elections.

Wanniski decided that the GOP had to become a Santa Claus party, too. But because the Republicans hated the idea of helping working people, they had to figure out a way to convince people that they, too, could have the Santa spirit. But what?

“Tax cuts!" said Wanniski.


To make this work, the Republicans would first have to turn the classical world of economics – which had operated on a simple demand-driven equation for seven thousand years – on its head. (Everybody understood that demand – aka “wages” – drove economies because working people spent most of their money in the marketplace, producing demand for factory output and services.)

In 1974 Wanniski invented a new phrase – "supply side economics" – and suggested that the reason economies grew wasn't because people had money and wanted to buy things with it but, instead, because things were available for sale, thus tantalizing people to part with their money.

The more things there were, he said, the faster the economy would grow. And the more money we gave rich people and their corporations (via tax cuts) the more stuff they’d generously produce for us to think about buying.

At a glance, this move by the Republicans seems irrational, cynical and counterproductive. It certainly defies classic understandings of economics. But if you consider Jude Wanniski’s playbook, it makes complete sense.

To help, Arthur Laffer took that equation a step further with his famous napkin scribble. Not only was supply-side a rational concept, Laffer suggested, but as taxes went down, revenue to the government would go up! Neither concept made any sense – and time has proven both to be colossal idiocies – but together they offered the Republican Party a way out of the wilderness.

Ronald Reagan was the first national Republican politician to fully embrace the Two Santa Clauses strategy. He said straight out that if he could cut taxes on rich people and businesses, those tax cuts would cause them to take their surplus money and build factories, and that the more stuff there was supplying the economy the faster it would grow.

There was no way, Wanniski said, that the Democrats could ever win again. They'd be forced into the role of Santa-killers by raising taxes, or anti-Santas by cutting spending. Either one would lose them elections.

When Reagan rolled out Supply Side Economics in the early 80s, dramatically cutting taxes while exploding spending, there was a moment when it seemed to Wanniski and Laffer that all was lost. The budget deficit exploded and the country fell into a deep recession – the worst since the Great Depression – and Republicans nationwide held their collective breath.

But David Stockman came up with a great new theory about what was going on – they were "starving the beast" of government by running up such huge deficits that Democrats would never, ever in the future be able to talk again about national health care or improving Social Security.


And this so pleased Alan Greenspan, the Fed Chairman, that he opened the spigots of the Fed, dropping interest rates and buying government bonds, producing a nice, healthy goose to the economy.

Greenspan further counseled Reagan to dramatically increase taxes on people earning under $37,800 a year by doubling the Social Security (FICA/payroll) tax, and then let the government borrow those newfound hundreds of billions of dollars off-the-books to make the deficit look better than it was.

Reagan, Greenspan, Winniski, and Laffer took the federal budget deficit from under a trillion dollars in 1980 to almost three trillion by 1988, and back then a dollar could buy far more than it buys today. They and George HW Bush ran up more debt in eight years than every president in history, from George Washington to Jimmy Carter, combined.

Surely this would both starve the beast and force the Democrats to make the politically suicidal move of becoming deficit hawks. And that's just how it turned out.

Bill Clinton, who had run on an FDR-like platform of a "New Covenant" with the American people that would strengthen the institutions of the New Deal, strengthen labor, and institute a national health care system, found himself in a box.

A few weeks before his inauguration, Alan Greenspan and Robert Rubin sat him down and told him the facts of life: he was going to have to raise taxes and cut the size of government. Clinton took their advice to heart, raised taxes, balanced the budget, and cut numerous programs, declaring an "end to welfare as we know it" and, in his second inaugural address, an "end to the era of big government."

Clinton was the anti-Santa Claus, and the result was an explosion of Republican wins across the country as Republican politicians campaigned on a platform of supply-side tax cuts and pork-rich spending increases. State after state turned red, and the Republican Party rose to take over, ultimately, every single lever of power in the federal government, from the Supreme Court to the White House.

Looking at the wreckage of the Democratic Party all around Clinton by 1999, Winniski wrote a gloating memo that said, in part: "We of course should be indebted to Art Laffer for all time for his Curve... But as the primary political theoretician of the supply-side camp, I began arguing for the 'Two Santa Claus Theory' in 1974. If the Democrats are going to play Santa Claus by promoting more spending, the Republicans can never beat them by promoting less spending. They have to promise tax cuts..."

In reality, his tax cuts did what they have always 'e over the past 100 years – they initiated a bubble economy that would let the very rich skim the cream off the top just before the ceiling crashed in on working people. Just like today.

The Republicans got what they wanted from Wanniski's work. They held power for thirty years, made themselves trillions of dollars, and cut organized labor's representation in the workplace from around 25 percent when Reagan came into office to around 6 of the non-governmental workforce today.


Over time, and without raising the cap, Social Security will face an easily-solved crisis, and the GOP’s plan is for force Democrats to become the anti-Santa, yet again. If the GOP-controlled Congress continues to refuse to require rich people to pay into Social Security (any income over $128,000 is SS-tax-free), either benefits will be cut or the retirement age will have to be raised to over 70.

The GOP plan is to use this unnecessary, manufactured crisis as an opening to “reform” Social Security - translated: cut and privatize. Thus, forcing Democrats to become the Social Security anti-Santa a different way.

When this happens, Democrats must remember Jude Wanniski, and accept neither the cut to disability payments nor the entree to Social Security “reform." They must demand the “cap” be raised, as Bernie Sanders proposed and the Democratic Party adopted in its 2016 platform.

And, hopefully, some of our media will begin to call the GOP out on the Two Santa Clauses program. It’s about time that Americans realized the details of the scam that’s been killing wages and enriching billionaires for nearly four decades.


Slavehood 2017 By Peter Koenig [an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America.] May 04, 2017 "Information Clearing House"

When in the 18th and 19th Century African slaves did not ‘behave’, they were cruelly beaten sometimes to death as a deterrent for others. They were deprived of food for their families. Their women were raped. They were traded to even harsher white masters. Their lives were worth only what their labor could produce. They were treated as subjects, devoid of human warmth.

Today we have become all slaves; slaves to the powers of mafia bankster of finance; slaves to the western lie-propaganda; to the lobbies and their giant all dominating corporations – to the war-industry, because we happily believe what we are told about ever-increasing terrorism that needs to be fought with eternal wars; slaves to the environment-destructive hydrocarbon industry; to the pharma-industry; to the Monsanto-ized agroindustry; to senseless consumerism – and foremost – and summing it all up: to greed, endless greed that drives endless growth, nurturing endless competition fomenting adversity, destroying solidarity, instead of amical cooperation for a harmonious human cohabitation.

As people of western nations, we are enslaved to an all-engulfing neoliberal fascism – to a predatory economy. Corporate lie propaganda drip-feds our brains. We haven’t even noticed it. We are enslaved to so-called ‘leaders’, put in office by obscure foreign masters of deceit – the ever-stronger corporate controlled propaganda machine – the six all controlling Zion-Anglo media, whom we believe whatever lie they vomit – because it is more comfortable to believe a lie than to confront the truth – that’s self-imposed slavehood.

That’s how far we have gone. Because we are clearly on an almost irreversible downward track – sliding and running towards our own demise – into darkness – the darkness of chaos and bloody wars, endless wars against self-invented terrorism; wars that keeps our western economy running – and our armchair politics alive. Wars that kill and slaughter millions and millions – but all in ‘far-away’ lands. We are told we are protected. Our police and military watch over us. The new gods – money and military.

Although ‘pride’ was never an appropriate term to integrate our soul and minds, as we the western powers – have for centuries enslaved, raped, exploited and slaughtered the indigenous people, those who have for millennia, for history of mankind survived and passed on our human genes from one murderous civilization to another, always in the hope that the new one would see the light.

We can only hope that the patience of these native people, the survivors, our saviors – will prevail, that before we disappear in darkness, in the void of a manmade blackhole, we will awake, open our eyes and seek the light – become finally human, the term we have fraudulently applied to ourselves – the western civilization.

Independent thinking has become a crime, as it impedes the advancement of slavehood. Education is designed to kill individual thinking and the wide range of inventiveness – because it’s dangerous – for those who enslave and control us. ‘New-speak’ education has to make us thinking what the system wants us to think. That’s what western education has become in the last 50 years – a farce to keep us as non-thinking idiots.

Idiots are easily enslaved and exploited and sent to wars – to steal foreign resources to satisfy the greed of a few. We love to be cannon fodder, as we were told – enslaved – to believe that good patriots love to die for their country. We are blinded and avoid seeing that we are dying fighting to satisfy puppet leaders’ greed for power and money – whose power is nothing more than that allowed them by the Masters who control the world and who pull the strings on their marionettes.










Links


Fascism argues that modern America is fascist
Mussolini's definition of Fascism









Quotes


"If there is ever a fascist takeover in America, it will come not in the form of storm troopers kicking down doors but with lawyers and social workers saying. "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." - Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning

"Fascism is capitalism plus murder." - Upton Sinclair

"I mean to persuade you that the style of governing into which America has slid is most accurately described as fascism...

[In fascist regimes] "The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc." Dr. Lawrence Britt

"What no one seemed to notice. . . was the ever widening gap. . .between the government and the people. . . And it became always wider. . . the whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting, it provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think anyway . . . (it) gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about . . .and kept us so busy with continuous changes and 'crises' and so fascinated . . . by the machinations of the 'national enemies,' without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us. . ." - Milton Mayer - They Thought They Were Free - The Germans, 1933-45 -http://is.gd/KLLkPQ

"It is true that the use of force and the scapegoating of fringe groups are part of every fascism. But there was also an economic dimension of fascism, known in Europe during the 1920s and '30s as "corporatism," which was an essential ingredient of Mussolini’s and Hitler’s tyrannies. So-called corporatism was adopted in Italy and Germany during the 1930s and was held up as a model by quite a few intellectuals and policy makers in the United States and Europe...

"Mussolini in 1934, praising his fascism for its ability to break worker unions, disempower workers and transfer huge sums of money to those who controlled the money rather than those who earned it...

"...so many Americans and Europeans viewed economic fascism as the wave of the future during the 1930s...

"In Sinclair Lewis's 1935 novel "It Can't Happen Here," a conservative southern politician is helped to the presidency by a nationally syndicated radio talk show host. The politician - Buzz Windrip - runs his campaign on family values, the flag, and patriotism. Windrip and the talk show host portray advocates of traditional American democracy -- those concerned with individual rights and freedoms -- as anti-American. That was 69 years ago....

"So it is important for us to recognize that, as an economic system, fascism was widely accepted in the 1920s and '30s, and nearly worshiped by some powerful American industrialists. And fascism has always, and explicitly, been opposed to liberalism of all kinds...

14 characteristics of fascism:

  1. "Powerful and Continuing Nationalism... Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays

  2. "Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights... The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc...

  3. "Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause... The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc...

  4. "Supremacy of the Military... Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized...

  5. "Rampant Sexism... The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.
  6. "Controlled Mass Media...


  7. "Obsession with National Security... Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses...

  8. "Religion and Government are Intertwined...

  9. "Corporate Power is Protected... The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite...

  10. "Labor Power is Suppressed...

  11. "Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts...

  12. "Obsession with Crime and Punishment... Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power ...

  13. "Rampant Cronyism and Corruption...

  14. "Fraudulent Elections...

"...it mirrors the social and political agenda of religious fundamentalisms worldwide. It is both accurate and helpful for us to understand fundamentalism as religious fascism, and fascism as political fundamentalism...

"Still another way to understand fascism is as a kind of colonization. A simple definition of “colonization” is that it takes people’s stories away, and assigns them supportive roles in stories that empower others at their expense. When you are taxed to support a government that uses you as a means to serve the ends of others, you are -- ironically -- in a state of taxation without representation. That’s where this country started, and it’s where we are now" (By Rev. Davidson Loehr, First Unitarian Church of Austin. "SERMON: Living Under Fascism." Source: UUA News and Events. http://www.therightiswrong.us/fascism.htm).

"The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerated the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism: ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

"The strategic adversary is fascism... the fascism in us all, in our heads and in our everyday behavior, the fascism that causes us to love power, to desire the very thing that dominates and exploits us." - Michel Foucault

"What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy?" - Mahatma Gandhi

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power" - Benito Mussolini

"As Primo Levi warned, "Every age has its Fascism"... Democracy, Levi pointed out, can be undermined by "Withholding or manipulating information, polluting the judicial system, and paralyzing the school system, by encouraging in many subtle ways nostalgia for a world in which order reigns supreme"" (Frederika Randall. "The Irresistible Rise of Berlusconi." The Nation, June 21, 2004: 25).




Person A: "Whoah. Listen to this definition of fascism I found in the American Heritage Dictionary."

Person A: ""A system of government that exercises a dictatorship fo the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism."

Person B: "Why, that sounds sort of like what we have in America today, what with the one-party extreme right wing government where most of the departments are headed by corporate lobbyists and ex-CEOs of large corporations and all -- and everyone's all super-patriotic and everything, always mocking Europe and the UN" (Darrin Bell. "Candorville" cartoon.)


what-is-fascism-and-does-trumps-victory-really-show-it-on-the-rise - UK The Week

Concerning the Nazi youth movement, "Stargardt observes that "with their dichotomy between good and evil, their appeal to feeling and their demand for mortal commitment, Nazi values could have been designed for adolescence"" (Nicholas Stargardt. "High price of survival." Guardian Weekly, May 26, 2005: 27).









Best Definition of Fascism


America’s Collapsing Into Fascism Because Americans Still Don’t Understand Fascism: Fascism Isn’t What Americans Think it Is, and That’s Why Americans Are Losing the Fight Against Fascism

Yesterday, I sat down over coffee to write an essay about an organized bombing campaign by a right wing extremist targeting the political opposition. But by the time I’d finished a gunman radicalized by the delusional, paranoid propaganda of an authoritarian movement had committed a mass murder at a synagogue. What a tragedy, what a loss. One of those killed was a holocaust survivor.

That, my friends, is an extreme pace of social collapse?--?one that should leave you profoundly unsettled. And yet while I’ve long had had the uncomfortable suspicion that fascism would rise in America during my lifetime?--?across the world in fact?--?I’ve also suspected that would be because Americans, many of them, enough of them, even especially the good ones were never really taught what fascism is.

What is fascism? This wave of violence, my friends, is fascism coming to life. Now I suspect when I say this, you feel conflicted. One part of you probably says, “I know that, you idiot!!"?--?while another one, trying to be reasonable, says “but this isn’t really, you know, fascism fascism." How curious. Am I right? Do you have something like this unconscious inner dialogue going on? I’d bet that you do. But why?

The reason is that Americans have been badly miseducated about fascism. They have been told a terrible and stupid lie, that I will come to. That part of you that objects, “but this isn’t fascism fascism," does so because somewhere, probably in grade school, and then all over again in college, you were taught the definition that every American is taught. Fascism is the “concentration of state and economic power."

Now, let’s think about this for a second. If this is fascism, then Britain’s NHS, France’s retirement system, and Germany’s high speed rail network meet this definition, too--and all those kind folks working in them are…fascists. Lol. In fact, they are the precise opposite of fascism--goods designed explicitly to make everyone better off, regardless of their position in society, their caste, creed, place?--?which is why we call them “public” goods. And yet this definition--“the concentration of state and economic power," or those like it?--?has no racial or ethnic component, nor one of violence, whatsoever. Isn’t that, well, strangely, bafflingly ignorant? After all, isn’t fascism at its core about exactly that?

I want you to see the point. The definition of fascism Americans have been taught is tragically and funnily backwards. So much so that it quite literally makes no sense at all?--?it falls apart on the merest examination. What is it really defining, if it’s not defining fascism?

Mehr News Agency, Tehran

Americans have been taught that socialism is fascism. Not even totalist communism, a la Soviet Russia?--?even lightweight social democracy. Quite literally, under the terms of this bizarre definition--“the concentration of state and economic power”--Americans are left badly, deeply, and profoundly confused.

But wait! If we build that high speed rail line, or give people healthcare--isn’t that a step on the road to fascism? LOL--of course not: it is an inoculation against taking that step. I’ll come back to exactly why. Do you see how convoluted our logic grows, how dim our reason becomes, when our definitions begin from a backwards place? When we suppose fascism is a thing without a politics begin with, when we have reduced it to a ghost, a shell--then what are we to fight against?

Now. The interesting question is: why?

Why were Americans taught that socialism is fascism--when in fact the diametrical opposite is true?

The reason is quite simple, but to really understand it?--?and you will not like the explanation--we need to consider America’s gruesome, weird, and terrible history.

Fascism is best seen this way. A person who believes that there is a hierarchy of personhood--that some people are more human than others, and some fall below the threshold of being people entirely--and furthermore, that that hierarchy should be institutionalized, is a fascist.

A movement composed of such people is a fascist movement. A government managing such a project is a fascist government. (The natural moral logic of such a hierarchy is that violence must be done to the weak by the strong, since they are not human beings at all, but parasites and predators.)

But that creates a very big problem for America. If that definition is true--you are welcome to think about whether it is--then America was a fascist country for a very long time, and many Americans have always been welcoming to fascist ideas, because the central organizing principle of American life was just such a hierarchy of personhood--and its institutionalization. Slavery and segregation, after all, was exactly all this, wasn’t it?

So now we come to a difficult truth?--?one that is perhaps too difficult for America to ever really face, and that is why it is where it is now.

A Republican voters' guide: "When thinking of Fascism,
Occupy Wall Street should come to mind, not the GOP."

You see, the problem is that fascism was an American creation. The Nazis didn’t begin by being America’s enemies. They were its great admirers. They openly studied America’s long history of slavery and segregation to model their own race laws upon. Now, Americans, quite naturally, wanting to disown this legacy, were left calling fascism “white supremacy” and “white nationalism” and so on. But these are inaccurate, sanitizing terms, which only hide a bitter and grim reality--and leave us unable to ever really improve upon it much, either.

(Hence, I don’t say any of this to condemn, blame, or judge you, by the way. No nation has a virgin birth. I say these difficult things for the sake of democracy. As hard as that might be to swallow, or even accept. I wish only the best for you, really?--?which is the attitude democracy demands of us, I think, but I digress.)

Americans were taught that socialism is fascism, but slavery and segregation weren’t.

Their echoes, ideals of supremacy and nationalism and so on, were something repellent, maybe, but also to be tolerated, in the “market” or “battle” of “ideas”. That legacy, that history of failed ideas, of poor thinking, is what made America ever more vulnerable to today’s fascist collapse. Because when one doesn’t know what is seeing, one is just as blind as if one cannot see at all.

Let’s consider the question now--is what we see today really fascism? You know, fascism fascism, the real thing, as our unconscious minds probably object--now that we have some criteria we can use. If fascism is just the concentration of state and economic power--then it is Europe who is fascist, not America.

But it isn’t Germany, Switzerland, France, and Spain in which mass political violence against Jews, refugees, and immigrants is breaking out--and their heads of state and governments are not applauding, cheering, and promoting it.

But if fascism is the institutionalization of a hierarchy of personhood, well, then, America is obviously the one who is well on the way to becoming fascist. But becoming is the wrong term. The right term is “reverting”--because that is what America was always built upon. Perhaps in the end history will sum America up this way, if Americans make the wrong choice in about ten days: it had just fifty short years of democracy between dark centuries of fascism.

(Now, there are qualifications and objections we can make--they go like this. One: fascism is a modern phenomenon, it’s sometimes said, because the machinery of the state is used bureaucratically to control and subjugate people, with accounting and ledgers and all the techniques of modern management. But these aren’t convincing ones, to me. Because precisely the same thing happened to black American slaves, and native Americans who face genocide--they were counted, tracked, parcelled, sorted, and valued by managers and underlings and administrators, too...

Quote by Georgi Dimitrov [Bulgarian Communist Leader]

Two: fascism is an organized campaign of genocide, and America has never done any such thing, and therefore it is not fascist. My friend, if you tell yourself this, you badly misunderstand what “genocide” is. When the child was sold, and the mother kept, or the family broken up, that too was genocide--because it is simply limiting the reproductive destiny of a group. It would be a foolish kind of ignorance to suppose America’s centuries of slavery were not one long, slow genocide--one of history’s greatest.)

And that brings us back to that very uncomfortable place--at least if we are American. Because now we are face to face with a shattering truth. We are backwards people, thinking backwards thoughts--and among these, one of the most backwards is that fascism is socialism, but slavery and segregation weren’t.

I don’t want to mince words, on this eve of a massacre. It is believing lies like these that have made us history’s great fools--easy, gullible marks for the worst among us, who never went anywhere at all. Where would they go? After all, we were taught that socialism was the idea never to be tolerated--but not supremacy, not violence, hierarchies of personhood. Those are ingrained in us as deep as our very pores. “Hey--maybe that billionaire really is just smarter, tougher, better!" Ah, I suppose that means, too, then, that the slave wasn’t. I suppose maybe we should arm the teachers--not take away the guns. Do you see my point?

Let me make that even sharper. Slavery and segregation were seminal, pioneering forms of fascism--but Americans have not yet understood that yet. Yet without understanding that, they are impotent to know what it is to truly be, and also stay, a democracy.

What distinguishes fascism from “white supremacy”? Fascism is the superset of supremacies--it’s best to think about it that way.

So in America, it might be whites who aspire to be supreme, and in Asia, castes or tribes of some kind, and so forth. Supremacies are just different forms of the category fascism. And the only real difference between them is the desire, appetite, and will to institutionalize such a hierarchy of the weak and the strong--but what supremacist doesn’t want to do that, really? Yet that is precisely what America did, for far, far longer than it has undone.

So Americans struggle to understand fascism because they have been taught to think about it not just poorly--but in a fatally backwards from the very beginning. They’ve been taught the stupid, foolish, lie that socialism is fascism, but supremacy, slavery, and segregation weren’t. Therefore, today, the echoes of the expressions of the idea that some people are more human than others, are quite alright (hey, I hear people talking about dirty, filthy lower kinds on Faux News all the time, what’s the big deal?) But a little bit of public healthcare, education, media, or retirement--my God, that way lies the abyss!

from thinkingpacifism.net

Do you see the setup for tragedy occurring here? It made it almost inevitable that America would fail at really becoming a modern democracy--and collapse right back into the fascism it had pioneered. Socialism, in the way of public goods, is the one thing that, by equalizing societies, prevents and mitigates fascism, just as it has done in Europe, where, of course, thanks to global economic stagnation, it has risen too, but has been much, much more successfully fended off. Nobody in London, Paris, or Berlin is killing people at synagogues and sending bombs to the opposition, inspired by a demagogue, who preaches hate in the open, after all.

So what was likely to happen when fascism began to rear its ugly head again in America--driven by a sense of frustration, the very first time after the end of segregation that the economy stagnated? People were likely not to see it as a monster at all. They’d been taught that “fascism” was socialism, not the echoes of slavery and segregation, supremacy, the notion that ethnic and racial hierarchies should order societies, all of which might be repellent but were to be tolerated as “free speech” and the “debate of ideas” and so on, expressed openly, everywhere. Over and over again, American received one message: socialism equals fascism, but INSTITUTIONALIZED SUPREMACY does not.

So, quite naturally, when the classical sequence of fascist collapse began--comically textbook style, no less--demagogue, demonization, scapegoating, camps, trials, mass violence--neither intellectuals nor populace could quite anticipate, comprehend, or prevent any of it. Instead, they were shocked, every single day, more or less. “How can this be happening to us?" They cried. “We are better than this!" they shouted--even as the mass killings began.

But we were the ones who invented fascism to begin with, and, in perpetual denial of that terrible fact, remained altogether too comfortable with its expressions, ideals, and component thoughts. We had to tell ourselves it was the one thing it had never been at all--but that made it altogether too easy to stay just that thing. That’s always the price of denial, isn’t it?

So funnily, ironically, tragically, the sequence of fascist collapse began, picked up steam, and soon enough had wrecked the nation’s norms, values, institutions, rules, codes, expectations--and all this was because America, trying to run away from the ugly truth, made itself impotent to slow it, stop it, reverse it, too. If you think socialism is fascism, after all--you will fight socialism, but let fascism flourish.

And that is exactly what America’s politicians, intellectuals, thinkers, and pundits did, at the crucial moment, upon the election of a demagogue. “The real threat to us is Medicare for all! And what about Hillary’s emails? Who cares if he calls some dirty, filthy Mexicans names? Grow up!!"

Daily Worker: It wasn’t just hate – Fascism
promised to solve capitalism’s problems

Society had been constructed by now on a terrible and stupid lie. Socialism was fascism, but supremacy never had been. Therefore, hate, spite, and violence, built to enforce hierarchies of personhood, were never really rooted out of society, torn up, and turned into dust for history to spread over the ocean. Soon enough, the hierarchies demanded the violence they always did. “The intruders and the subhumans”, cried the bomber and the gunman, “are taking what is ours!! We must put them back in their place, with the fist, the knife, the bullet!" The sad truth is that could just as easily have been settlers and slavers talking about the native American or the black, too.

Fascism didn’t come to America. It didn’t even come back to America. It was born here, nourished here with centuries of slavery and segregation--hence, the Nazis learned it from us--and only slumbered a few short decades, while Americans told themselves proudly that the real monsters were not the people they had once been, but the people they did not want to be.

It’s hard to face the truth of yourself. The guilt and shame and fear that come with it. Is this really who I am? And yet until and unless you do--you will stay just that person. If you ask me, that is what the lie that fascism is socialism, but slavery and segregation weren’t, has done to America. Made it incapable of ever really changing very much.

Fascism? It’s this, my friends. The rule of violence, committed to establish hierarchies of personhood, with the intent of institutionalizing them, with a little bit more intimidation and fear every day. The lie that fascism isn’t this, but socialism, is what the phase of turmoil America is collapsing into now, day by day, a little more explosively, almost inevitable. And I wonder--and you should too--whether we have learned anything yet. Umair
October 2018

Fascism (/'fæ??z?m/) is a form of radical authoritarian ultranationalism, characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and strong regimentation of society and of the economy, which came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe. -Wikipedia

Why Fascists Never Think They’re Fascists?--?but Victims and Heroes

Eudaimonia by Umair Haque, 9-12-18

A Day in the Life of Fascism: Five Lessons from History Repeating Themselves Today

Eudaimonia, by Umair Haque, 12-5-17

I’m going to use the last 24 hours to illustrate a few simple truths about fascism. Truths which we seem to have forgotten, and so history is repeating itself in eerie and exacting echoes of the 1930s?--?from a stagnant economy, to a rising extremist movement, to a broken social contract, to failed institutions (whether media, political, or economic), to authoritarianism, to pundits and intellectuals and leaders who are perpetually surprised by its swiftness and fury, baffled, paralyzed, unable to ever really respond.

Fascism counts on your exceptionalism, too--not just theirs. The Supreme Court upheld the ban on a certain ethnic group. Now, I cannot think of a society in human history that has banned an ethnic group, which has not then fallen down a slippery slope?--?first segregation, then expropriation, and finally, cleansing and atrocity.

Not one. Even today, the cycle repeats itself: see the plight of the Rohingya. And yet, American intellectuals and leaders have at every step dismissed this great lesson of history, and that is precisely why history is repeating itself in America.

So: fascism counts on your exceptionalism. Not just the tyrant’s version--“we will be pure and great again!"--but also on the version of the story that wise men tell: “ah, this will never happen to us. It will stop itself, fix itself, slow down and go away. It will never happen here!" Both are the same conceit: that one is exceptional, special, thus above the inevitabilities of history, time, destiny. But history writes laws made of steel, not clay--and to think one can mold them is hubris, whose hand writes stories of tragedy. And the greatest of those laws is the slippery slope of tribal violence, which has plagued humankind all its day long.

Fascism stuns us with fresher and larger outrages, that make yesterday’s seem irrelevant, winnowing away our decency.

Now, what was truly striking was that when the ban was announced, the response was furious. And yet yesterday, when the Supreme Court upheld it, the response was less than muted--it was almost nonexistent. I didn’t see a single prominent leader, intellectual, pundit, journalist really raising a hue and cry about it. Why not? They were too busy being stunned by everything else: pedophiles, stings, tax bills, and so on. It’s too much. Today, it’s “are Jews people?", tomorrow it’s “So what if he’s a pedophile?" Whose senses stay intact under such an assault?

Fascism stuns us, just as if we have been morally tasered: it winnows away our sense of basic decency, by committing larger, fresher outrages, until yesterday’s come to seem mere nuisances. In this way, reality itself comes to be distorted: the bar for indecency is set higher and higher, until at last the grotesque becomes the merely commonplace, for one cannot pay attention to it all, unless we are diligently vigilant, and so all the norms and bonds which hold a society together begin to erode--such as that of never discriminating against an ethnic group or religion.

Battle of Cable Street--The infamous 1936 confrontation between
ordinary Londoners and fascists is still significant

Fascism makes it more and more costly to be your better self. This shock-and-awe strategy of moral violation was an explicit goal of the Nazis--Hitler called it the Big Lie technique, to every day tell a bigger lie, and yesterday’s would soon be forgotten.-- and it’s also one the Russians use today: to overwhelm us, until we are left numb and paralyzed by the sheer scale and scope of all these transgressions against civilization, wondering which outrage to speak out against first, and thus, we weary of morality itself. What is its effect? It raises the cost of being your better self.

Caring about every day’s fresher, bigger, more numerous violations becomes more and more difficult, exacting a higher moral and social toll, and so the price of truth, decency, and wisdom soon rise. The number of things to be concerned about has risen sharply, but the supply of what we can be concerned about, our attention and empathy and acceptance, stays fixed in us. And our true challenge is, even though we are stunned, ever increasing that supply. Too often, though, weary, we do the opposite: better to avoid those who are controversial. Better to stay away out of the fray. Every corner, there is some lie, some half-truth, some lie, some disgrace. Just let it go. Just walk away.


The Russians call it the “firehose”, and of course, today’s Nazis use it too: every day presents a fresh horror, doesn’t it? It’s not a bug, it’s the plan. The purpose of all these moral outrages is to erode your moral agency, to stun you, and thus make your better self rise in price, more difficult to be, enact, give to me, and me to give mine to you. And in the last 24 hours, we have seen it work spectacularly. Ban? Who cares? Imagine piranhas nibbling on a human soul, until it flees in horror: that is what fascism does to us.

Fascism depends on despair about now replacing a vision for a better society.

Now what is the effect of all this, of stunning people until they lose their better selves? Well, it is to create a great sense of despair. Paralyzed, numb, stuck, while every day, things seem to collapse a little more, one comes to feel hopeless. And yet the solution is always hidden in plain sight.

It is for the center, left, and what is left of the sane right to get together, and author a plan for a working society again--for fascism only ever rises in broken ones, that lack a vision. That is why the demagogue earns such undying devotion from his flock--because he is the only one presenting such a vision for a working society. Of course, it is a poor one, a broken one itself--but at least it is one.

And so though everday now we hear demagoguery denounced, still, there is not just no real “plan” to “fight it”--there is no plan to offer a better social contract and stop it dead in its tracks, which is what is this battle is always all about. The mistake that the Germans really made in the 1930s wasn’t merely “allowing fascism to rise”--what does that mean, anyways?--it was never responding to it in kind, not just with anger and despair, but with optimism, courage, pragmatism, and vision.

https://theredphoenixapl.org

Fascism proceed[s] through a series of authoritarian collapses, each one a little more severe than the last.

How did Hitler come to power? Was he elected? Nope. He frightened German leaders so, with intimidation tactics, that they gave him “extraordinary powers”. And that was the turning point which seared atrocity and ruin into the hearts of millions. Now, let us think about today. Already in America we have seen a genuine authoritarian moment this weekend: Congress ramming a tax bill through like a bulldozer--allowing no time for debate, deliberation, or even reading. That is democracy being eroded before your very eyes.

But it is still only a small authoritarian collapse, as worrying as it seems. If a parliament can subvert democracy in this way, then how far away is it, really, from giving a leader “extraordinary powers”? What is to prevent it from doing so? The opposition which cannot oppose? The intellectuals who cannot learn from history? The people overwhelmed by every day’s fresh outrages?

And that is the lesson of a day in the life of fascism. Let me draw it out.

Fascism is just like an epidemic of a lethal virus.

It spreads faster and quicker and harder and more lethally than we ever imagine--even while it spreads. For that very reason, it is difficult, if not impossible to stop, only with quarantines, treatments of the symptoms, by shunning the sick, and avoiding the vulnerable--which is what we are doing to one another now, and hoping it goes away. History teaches us we are wrong.

Like an epidemic, it is stopped either by burning itself out--and ruining all those it touches--or with the antidote. And the antidote is something that is in too short a supply now, because its price has grown dear: truth, courage, vision, grace, wisdom, memory--whether in renewed visions for society, in better institutions, in our lives, or in simply remembering the lessons of history. All that is the stuff our better selves are made of, whose prices rise every day, until, at last, they are unattainable things, ghosts, and we are only lesser monsters prowling in the same night.

So you see my point. I am deeply worried at this point in history. Not just about America--for the truth is that I think America is already past the point of no return. Whether it turns into 1930s Germany or 1990s Russia remains to be seen--but I do not really think it can avoid a fate that falls somewhere in this spectrum of failure, from tyranny to kleptocracy. My worry is for the world, now, which holds its breath, waiting for Americans to come to their senses. Because if you really understand all the above, the conclusion is: they just might not be able to.

Umair
December 2017




Right Wing Logos ~ ~ Klu klux klan Logo


The Fourteen Points of Fascism and Our President

The Swamp Media, by MARY CAITLYN 10 months ago in TRUMP

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause

4. Supremacy of the Military

5. Rampant Sexism

6. Controlled Mass Media

7. Obsession With National Security

8. Religion and government are intertwined.

9. Corporate power is protected.

10. Labor power is suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts

12. Obsession With Crime and Punishment

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption

14. Fraudulent Elections

https://goodmenproject.com/

If It Feels Like Capitalism is Killing You?--?That’s Because It is What American Collapse Teaches Us About Capitalism (and Fascism)

Eudaimonia 11-1-18 Umair haque


It’s become something of a global urban legend. People in other countries ask me often, aghast, curious: “Do Americans really sometimes have to choose between medicine and food and shelter? I can’t believe it! Is it true?" I nod, having had acquaintances who’ve made just that choice. But now we know a hard number--42% of Americans who get cancer will go bankrupt as a result. A shocking, bizarre, and horrific fact of daily American life--yet somehow also totally unsurprising.

About half of Americans will face the gruesome choice--your money, or your life. If that reminds you of being mugged for your life savings at gunpoint, you’re not wrong. And yet it’s just one grim daily reality among many, all of which can be summed up this way.

If it feels like capitalism’s killing you--that’s because it is. (No, you’re not alone.) Now, I don’t mean mom-and-pop soda shoppe capitalism, I set up a small scale business hoping to earn a decent living doing something interesting and fun--I mean mega-scale Walmart Wall St capitalism: the predatory kind. Instead of telling the story with statistics--which in the present case, hide more than they reveal, since those statistics were designed to tell us how ultra-rich capitalists are getting, whether or not the average person’s life, democracy, the planet, the old, and the young all burst into roaring flames--I’ll tell it a different, and to me at least, a truer way.

ultra-rich capitalists are getting, whether or not the average person’s life, democracy, the planet, the old, and the young all burst into roaring flames

Imagine the life of an American, somewhere in a rust belt town. How many ways is predatory capitalism killing him? Well, first it took away his livelihood, not just his income, but his means of earning one--and offered him precisely nothing in return. Then it took away his community, his home. With those went his sense of belonging, of mattering, of counting and providing.

Maybe, in depression, or despair, or disability, he went to the doctor, who prescribed him opioids--capitalism again. Maybe he went to rehab, now big business. Maybe he ended up in a private prison. Probably, he lost his family, home, belongings, what little savings he had along the way. Perhaps you think I’m overstating it. Good--I am, deliberately, a little bit.

Let’s imagine none of that happened at all--instead, he just got cancer. Bang! He has an even chance of ending up in exactly the same place. Do you see the moral of my story? Let me make it clearer. No exit. All roads lead more or less to the same destination for the average American now--nowhere. But what happens to a life that goes nowhere?

Capitalism’s killing Americans with trauma, poverty, loneliness, stress, despair, stagnation, futility, disconnection, the heartstopping panic of living perpetually at the edge, the crushing fear of always losing it all, hopelessness, a sense that there is no escape from it all--not to mention a lack of healthcare, decent jobs, retirement, schools you can send to your kids to where they won’t be shot, or even decent food and water, in many places, by now.

Do you think all these things don’t affect us severely and negatively if they are re-experienced every day--dramatically shrinking the quantity and quality of our lives? That they don’t alter our bodies and minds in profound and lasting ways? People can survive all the above, sure--some of them, at least. But that is the point. Many simply won’t--and now aren’t. Which ones? I’ll come back to that, too.

The question isn’t: how is capitalism killing us--the question is how ISN’T it? Perhaps you think I exaggerate. Then why is life expectancy plummeting— something that isn’t even happening in the world’s poorest countries? Why is the suicide rate skyrocketing?

Was there a plague, a meteor strike, the long-feared communist invasion (LOL)? Of course not. Capitalism is what’s killing Americans, my friends. (Ironically, funnily, sadly, though, many Americans are more wedded to capitalism than their very own lives, let alone those of loved ones, let alone those of their neighbours and peers--a point I’ll return to, when we discuss how fascism rises.)

Marx called all this immiseration--just think of all the forms of human misery. Aren’t they what capitalism really produces, by now, in America? It’s (objectively) not, after all, producing happiness, trust, kindness, riches, longevity, truth--but the very opposite: trauma, despair, fear, hopelessness, powerlessness, panic, stress, poverty, and the consequent rage, anger, and cruelty they ignite.

How many ways, just in my little example above, is capitalism killing Americans? It is killing them with fear and stress--will my kids survive at school today? It is killing them with overwork--and underpay (at a job, usually, in which they have no autonomy or are assigned no worth, whose only purpose is making the ultra rich ultra richer.)

It is killing them with the relentless, bone-crushing pressure of endless competition.

With the trauma of never quite being able to make ends meet, and going deeper into debt every year. With never being able to retire.

Through eviscerating the social bonds in their towns and communities--where once there was a high street, now there’s a Walmart at the edge of town. By giving them cheap thrills or addictive escapes to numb away all the above with--Fox News, or worse yet, perhaps, Facebook and Fentanyl. Wham! That is what immiseration--all the forms of human misery--really means.

(Think about immiseration as capitalism’s great dilemma. You are exploited ruthlessly and relentlessly if you’re fortunate enough to have a job, and abandoned, neglected, and preyed upon, if you don’t. Either way, you will have a life of trauma, which, of course, shatters you. It’s capitalism’s dilemma writ large?--?your money, or your life.

You are exploited ruthlessly and relentlessly if you’re fortunate enough to have a job

But no one can live under such abusive, vicious terms every single day, or even the threat of them, and have a long, happy, sane, healthy life. Bang! Soon enough, the mind, body, and heart give way--and that is precisely what we see in America, whether in explicit ways, like soaring suicide and depression, or implicit ways, like falling life expectancy and rising mortality rates.)

The point is this. America is something like history’s greatest experiment, that much is true. But not really in freedom, justice, or bravery--come now, it was a segregated country until 1971.

America was an experiment in capitalism--what would happen if we built the world’s most capitalist society, ever, one where everything from healthcare to education to energy to media was privatized by the bucketload, concerned only with profit, whose shares were traded by hedge funds relentlessly by the nanosecond to maximize it, not a moment’s peace, sanity, or reflection allowed? The results are in, and they’re grim. Capitalism’s a spectacular failure--or an equally spectacular success, depending. What do I mean by that?

Capitalism is doing to Americans exactly and precisely what it promised to do--act as history’s great Darwinian engine of natural selection. It is winnowing the weak out ruthlessly, mercilessly, constantly, relentlessly. Every nanosecond of every day of the year. Watching, tracking, counting, judging.

What is really happening in America today? Any kind of infirmity is punished with increasingly absurd severity--to the point that by now, getting sick, or losing your job, might just very well end up costing you your money, or your life, and maybe both.

Capitalism institutionalizes the idea that only the strong should survive.

But it’s mechanism of selection isn’t by any means natural--it’s artificial. “Strength”, in capitalist terms, means the most selfish, greedy, ruthless, cunning, violent, narrow-minded, short-term, and crude--the most predatory, in other words.

And so what we are seeing in America today is that capitalism is working spectacularly well at doing what it promised--to make sure only the strong survive. Now, the problem is that being “strong” in this warped and stunted way, this predatory fashion, is inimical to everything that a sensible person should value more than money: democracy, love, truth, meaning, purpose, goodness. If there seems to be a shortage of those things around today, it’s not a coincidence--capitalism killed them, too, because to it, they are all forms of weakness to be eradicated.

So capitalism’s success is also society’s failure. And that is why America is imploding violently into neo fascism. Let me make the link clearer.

When people who have been indoctrinated all their lives long to believe that only the strong should survive, that weakness is a crime, that this law of the jungle is the only correct and just moral law, and therefore basis for a political economy--and yet they seem to be the ones getting selected out, what are they likely to do?

Human beings do not give up on their cherished beliefs easily, do they? And so people who have been told, over and over again, that only the strong should survive, when capitalism appears to be failing them, will quite naturally turn to fascism.

Fascism also promises that only the strong should survive?--?and the weak should perish. Only it does it a little more explicitly?--?but do you see how closely aligned these two ideologies are, fascism and capitalism, already? It is no great leap from to the other, then?--?because one does not have to give up one’s fundamental beliefs at all, but only redouble them. That is much easier, because it does not require any real thinking, examination, it does not ask one to change one’s mind.

So there is the American--or some of them, perhaps enough of them, anyways. Capitalism has failed him spectacularly--he is immiserated, living a day to day existence in which the fundamental principle is: your money, or your life. But only the strong should survive. Maybe if he finds someone weaker, someone to abuse, hurt, harm, someone to prey upon himself--then he will survive, too.

Do you see how easily the mental leap from capitalism to fascism is made? Bang! It happens in the blink of an eye, precisely because there is a natural path from one to the other. Both say that the strong should prey on the weak, and that way, everyone is better off--and so all the frustrated, exploited prole has to do is have the epiphany that if he begins to see himself as a predator, rather than a loser, the world is restored to moral order. Now he can do what is right--which is to cause the weak to perish, and that way, be one of the strong, who survives.

But now society is imploding. A vicious spiral has begun, from which there may be no unravelling. As the immiserated prole becomes a predator, as a way out of a meaningless, pointless life of pressure, stress, despair, pain, and fear, he is just doing what he has been taught--only the strong should survive! The weak must perish! But with that one small step also go democracy, civilization, and freedom.

All that is what the sad, funny, strange story of America teaches us. Capitalism left to its own devices implodes naturally into fascism, because, just like in America, it doesn’t care if people live or die, which is to say, it’s quite happy killing them?--ence, people in a rich nation who get cancer end up bankrupt, or send their kids to school wearing bulletproof backpacks.

And yet it also teaches them that law of ruthlessness, greed, and cruelty is what is moral, just, fair, and noble--and what is immoral is gentleness, humility, selflessness, and equality--because only the strong should survive.

But if only the strong should survive?--?and you are the weak one?--?then maybe if you prey on someone weaker, a little more abusively than you have been preyed on yourself, you will be a strong one, too.

Capitalism is trying to kill you. Maybe, to prove you are strong, you should try to hurt, abuse, harm, kill someone more powerless than yourself. Bang! That is the fascist moment. (It continues like this. Dehumanize them…scapegoat them…ban them…expropriate them…eliminate them.)

If it feels like capitalism’s killing you--that’s because it is. The problem is that human beings, the funny and foolish things that they are, do not often do what is commonsensical. If capitalism’s killing you--it’s probably also killing everyone else, too. So maybe the answer is to choose an ideology which does not believe in killing anyone at all. One where everyone is a genuine equal, so no one needs to destroy anyone else in order to rise higher in the first place.

Such a system is made of public goods--things like public healthcare systems, which we can all use, without me having to exclude and deny you--and we often call it social democracy, to put things simply.

And yet the problem is, for Americans at least, making that leap would require changing their cherished fundamental beliefs--the very ones capitalism has taught them. “But wait--that would mean only the strong don’t survive, and the weak don’t perish. And if that happens, then everything falls apart! The weak will overwhelm society, and there will be no strong ones left to fight them! We can’t allow that to happen. Or at least I can’t!" LOL--you laugh, perhaps.

And yet, so seems to go the thinking of many Americans. So much so that they are willing, quite literally, to sacrifice their lives for capitalism. But capitalism is just an ideology. Or is it a god now? It’s hard to tell, sometimes. Still, that makes America something more like the Soviet Union before it. Americans are now happy, willing martyrs for capitalism. The question is how many of them know it.

Umair
October 2018

http://www.indigenousaction.org/

How Authoritarians Play Societies (Like America) Like Fools--The Economics of Kleptocracy, Fascism, and Supremacy

6-21-18, Umair Haque, Eudaimonia

It’s the greatest con game of modern history, it’s happening right under your nose, and you’re the mark. It goes like this.They’ve convinced you that using the machinery of the state to kidnap little kids and put them in concentration camps isn’t any of the following: Nazism, fascism, authoritarianism. They are men in suits, and men in suits do not do such things. Do they? Those are scary words! Ah, you see--you are afraid already. And you must be for a con to work.

Maybe these people are so dumb they’ll settle for mere kleptocracy. Let’s intimidate them into it. OK! We’re sorry! We’ll only put families in camps--not little kids by themselves. Phew, you say, relieved. Everything’s better now, isn’t it? Such horrors make the kleptocrat’s game--selling favours, selling elections, clientelism, transferring control of a nation’s assets to cronies, selling off little bits of democracy, piece by piece, to the lowest bidder--look tame, timid, harmless, like a relief. Hey, what’s a little kleptocracy--when the alternative is concentration camps? Phew--let’s settle for that.

That, my friends, is abuser logic. The abuser places you in a terrible dilemma--and it’s your fault. At least I’m not hurting you. You didn’t make me--good. But note how our perceptions of relative good and bad shift: by not committing the hardest of abuse, we see the abuser as more decent and kind than of course he is, if we are in the cycle--and we are the bad ones, whether, consciously, we know it or not. Our whole worldview has been skewed and twisted. We have been manipulated into believing that pretty terrible is decent, normal, and reasonable, because the alternative is unthinkable. And that is the first part of the con game being played on you, too.

Now consider the other alternative. Maybe these people really are dumb enough to fall all the way into institutionalized supremacy. That’s the best business on earth, my friends. Privately built and run concentration camps net you a huge profit--and when you can fill them up with people working for free, then you are something like a king. Running vast bureaucracies of secret and not-so-secret police whose job is to repress and subjugate people--all that costs titanic sums of money, to the state--but that means that titanic sums of money are earned by those who can provide all that. And so on.

Supremacy is a much better business than mere kleptocracy. More profitable, longer lasting, and, frankly, easier to control. The kleptocrat is something like an auctioneer: he sells off a bunch of existing assets, from parks to energy grids to schools to hospitals, that were once called “democracy." It’s a shaky business--at any time, buyers can renege. And eventually, he runs out of things to sell, though--and so he must move on to new countries to raid and deplete. That is why kleptocracy, though it is a good business, is not the best one of all, for a predator.

Supremacy is. The supremacist is not just selling off existing assets, though there is plenty of that to be done. He is building whole new assets to profit from, and profit richly. Camps. Police forces. Armed forces (Space Force!!). Paramilitaries. Government institutions, like Departments of Racial Purity. All these are whole new profit centers?

Do you know why the good German loved Hitler? It wasn’t just because he delivered fervently nationalist speeches. It was because their lives actually got better. But they did not want to know why. Their lives were getting better because other people were being expropriated, dispossessed, and put to work--Jews, Roma, minorities. The wages of those people--if there were any left--crashed--and so the average German’s income, for the first time in a decade, began to rise. He had barely been able to afford to feed his kids--and now he had enough money to vacation. He hadn’t been able to afford a new home--but now that the homes of Jews and minorities stood empty, prices suddenly seemed much, much cheaper. His standard of living rose explosively, finally.

Who were the people that had saved him? What had they really done? They had set the wheels of ruin in motion. Because a nation cannot grow for long in such predatory ways. It is eating the seedcorn of its own civilization. It can only regress--from democracy into barbarism, savagery, war, and atrocity. And so all that is exactly what happened next.

http://www.differencebetween.net/








Social Media

Why the World Imploded Into Fascism: How a Perfect Storm of Technology and Capitalism Tore Democracy and Freedom Apart

Eudaimonia 10-30-18 Umair Haque

An earthquake is rippling across the globe, toppling nations like dominos. You don’t look very hard, or very far, these days, to see a grim truth. The world is collapsing into fascism. There’s Brazil, electing a man who cheers torture and mass killing. There’s America, so far down the spiral that neo-fascist violence is now becoming normalized. There’s Hungary, Poland, Turkey, and so on. Even in Western Europe, neofascists are rising--barely kept at bay, with varying degrees of success (or failure).

What happened to the world? There many reasons fascism rose?--?but to my mind, two forces stand out in particular, which combined to create something like a perfect storm.

Let me start with the most visible one. Technology--and social media in particular. Now, it’s obvious to say that Jack and Zuck seem never to have met a fascist they didn’t seem to secretly want to be BFFs with. What’s less obvious--and what I think we’ve done a poor job of understanding--is just how dangerous social media is to democracy, how corrosive it is to the project of civilization. Let me explain.

What happens when we spend time on social media--a place we are at most of the day, in this era? Well, we see caricatures of people, which mostly reflect our own fears, biases, and prejudices. Where there is a living, breathing human being, social media flattens them, and reduces them to a husk, a shell, a target. In this flatland, there are no people--there are just profiles, numbers, likes, and shares. There are allies and enemies, rivals in ideology, adversaries for attention. Do you see what I’m trying to say? The problem isn’t just “filter bubbles”--people seeking reinforcing information. It’s much, much worse than that.

There is no greater mechanism for dehumanization that has been yet devised than social media. Fascism is exploding today because the more time that we spend on social media, the more capable we are of vicious, terrible forms of dehumanization.

And then we become radicalized--or some of us do. We go from rhetorical violence to real world violence. We go from feeling frustrated and disappointed, to believing in delusional propaganda, to demonizing and scapegoating those below us, to imagining they are monster we must destroy before they destroy us--to laughing and celebrating when they are hurt, harmed, or maybe even killed.

You can see it very clearly, if you look--just take the examples of the recent wave of right-wing terrorists, all radicalized by social media. But it isn’t just them we should be worried by--it’s the average person, who’s on the same path. What happens when a whole society--or enough of it--becomes radicalized? That is what social media is doing to us, my friends. It is radicalizing enough of us that societies already destabilized by capitalism are imploding at light speed into fascism.

There is no faster vehicle to spread propaganda.

There is no better way to make the delusional seem credible, by creating the illusion people already believe in it. There is no better way to hide behind a GIF, and goad, taunt, mock, and preen--modelling the behaviour of a demagogue. There is no more efficient way to imagine that those dirty, filthy beings are, just like the demagogue says, your enemies, fearsome monsters, vicious predators, and bloodsucking parasites--not human beings at all.

In other words, if you want me to put in economic terms, social media is wreaking havoc on democracy. It drops the economic cost of propaganda to zero. It drops the social cost of abuse and victimization to less than zero--now your fascist friends will cheer you on, whereas on the street, people might stop you when you abused strangers. It drops the psychological cost of paranoid delusion to zero--the lies soothe and mollify your rage and frustration. And it drops the cost of demagoguery to zero, too--now the aspiring tyrant can just send out a few tweets to tell a Big Lie.

It is the most efficient mechanism of dehumanization ever made.

But there is an added catch, too--which amplifies all the above: social media is a drug. It’s deeply, fundamentally, and inescapably addictive. We compulsively check our phones for updates, like lab rats conditioned to seek a reward--that’s not an analogy, that’s an explanation. Tap, click, whoosh! There comes the dopamine rush. Another like, fan, friend--maybe you complimented someone. But you can earn that, too, from abusing and hating someone?--?because now we feel a sense of status, power, and control. Which one is it more likely to be--scorn and spite, or kindness and gentleness, fuelling this dopamine addiction?

Since social media dehumanizes inherently, rather than humanizes, we are much more likely to choose scorn, abuse, and hate over intimacy, understanding, and connection.

So social media is addictive--that much you know. What you don’t, maybe, is that it has addicted many of us to hate. We live in a time of systems crashing and collapsing, when people feel powerless, helpless, thwarted, frustrated, failed--a point I’ll return to--for now, just imagine the sense of power, the pleasure, the intense dopamine rush, that comes from having someone to blame, attack, vilify, demonize, scapegoat.

Do you see the problem here? People feeling an intense sense of dread and rage at failing systems find an addictive technology that rewards them with a dopamine hit every time they dehumanize someone. A magical machine that delivers pleasure, and only asks that they pull the lever of hate. Can a democracy survive that? The psychological dynamics, I think, are much the same, I think, as the pleasure of the good German beating people up on the street, or seeing Jews wear yellow stars, or shouting at dirty, filthy immigrants, in the 1930s.

Social media is grooming people, if you ask me--it is creating social, cultural, and psychological structures and systems of dehumanization. Grooming people for what? To become fascists. And by that I don’t just mean the obvious candidates, but people who probably wouldn’t have become what we think of today as neofascists otherwise. How many people wouldn’t be part of this wave of demagogues and hate if they didn’t spend hours a day on Facebook, Twitter, and Snap? I’d bet the answer is: more than enough to have stopped it.

Now. What is feeding the hate machine of social media? Why do people need to feel such a sense of dominance, control, and power that they seek it compulsively the way lab rats press levers for cocaine? After all, such a burning need implies that they feel helpless, powerless, and thwarted. The answer is failed economies. Fascism is always an economic phenomenon--as much as American intellectuals want to imagine the opposite. They have been wrong all along--so why pay much attention to them at this grim juncture? I don’t.

There is not a single example in history of fascism striking prosperous societies.

Instead, fascism is the implosion at the end of capitalism’s natural tendency to collapse. And today, that is exactly what is happening--fascism is rising worst and fastest and hardest in societies which are plagued by combinations of ills like spiking inequality, shrinking middle classes, stagnant incomes, absent savings, and poor social support systems--lives lived at the edge, if you like. Why is that? The reason is subtler than you think.

Fascism is a middle class, or a lower middle class, phenomenon. We don’t often see those at the very bottom of the social hierarchy turning fascist--instead, it’s the downwardly mobile ones. In Marxist terms, it is the frustrated, aspirational prole [public], whom capitalism has promised a bourgeois lifestyle--riches, power, status.

What is capitalism really promising the prole who aspires to upwards mobility--rather than solidarity? That one day, he will have someone to exploit, too, just as the capitalist exploits him. That is the dream capitalism gives the prole--at least the one foolish enough to believe in capitalism.

The problem is that capitalism has no intention of ever giving the aspirational prole anything but subsistence wages--less money, for more work, with less security, and a destroyed social contract, to boot.

Why would capital take any of its income and share it with labour? And so, in America, for example, it didn’t: over the last fifty years, labour’s income share has fallen, while capital’s income share has exploded. Wham! A classic setup for a fascist collapse. (How sad, then, that American economists don’t seem to know their subject well, or at all, really.) Why?

Because the prole was promised a glittering dream of exploitation--being above someone else, being better than someone else, living off someone else’s labour, all the very same things the capitalist does to him. But precisely because capitalism promises what it can’t deliver, it implodes into fascism. Given enough stagnation, the prole’s thwarted aspiration simmers in a cauldron of resentment, and then boils over into rage.

Now along comes a demagogue. The demagogue says: “They are the reason you don’t have the money, power, and status you were promised! Those dirty, filthy subhumans!" See how neatly this all works?

The prole does not have to change his expectations, beliefs, dreams, ideals, or values. He has been seeking someone to exploit--to abuse, just as capitalism abuses him--and now the demagogue offers him just such a target. It is the one who is even more powerless than him--the one at the bottom of the social hierarchy. The immigrant, refugee, Mexican, Jew, and so on. Bang! This is the spark of collapse.

Now, instead of challenging capitalism upwards, reforming their society so it’s genuinely more prosperous, free, just, and stable, the frustrated, aspirational middle class begins to punch downwards. They demonize and scapegoat those lower than them. They avenge their imaginary wrongs at their hands, perhaps by murdering them in broad daylight.

Do you see how all these things are linked? Let me make it clearer. Capitalism collapses into fascism by placing a middle class at the edge of subsistence--no matter how “rich” a society may be financially--and such a middle class then begins to wreak vengeance on those lower down than it. They become subhumans, predators, parasites. Babies become monsters with the fearsome power to infect and contaminate everyone. Now a society is a place which must be cleansed and purified. Snap! Fascism has arrived.

This was, of course, the story of the 1930s. What makes today different is the pace and speed of the storm. Why did it happen so fast? So much so that in just two years, America, for example, has bans, trials for infants, camps, and mass political murder?

The hate machine of social media is why.

When a downwardly mobile middle class, already full of bitter rage, frustration, and disappointment, meets a magical machine that rewards them with pleasure every time they click the hate button--bang!! They’ll be conditioned to spite, scorn, and abuse, a little more and more viciously, every day.

What happens when such a class has been told to wish to exploit others, and they meet a magical machine that delivers them a dopamine rush, every time they abuse, shout at, demean, or dehumanize someone? Tap, tap, tap. They’ll hate faster, harder, and more violently every day--what else is there to live, really? What happens when there’s a demagogue modelling how to press the hate button hardest--how to abuse, hurt, and vilify people the most? They’ll follow his lead--like mindless automatons, imitating and copying his behaviour, attitudes, words, beliefs.

The hate machine of social media rewards people in pretty intense psychological turmoil and pain--suffering the trauma, grief, and shock of social collapse--with endless pleasure, dopamine, relief. But the price is a a social tsunami of hate--because such technologies are history’s greatest engines of dehumanization.

The more the hate lever is pulled, the more people are conditioned and groomed to become fascists--to see the world in rigid hierarchies of humanity, with themselves, eternal victims, at the top, and the hated, feared, and despised subhumans at the bottom.

When the perfect hate machine of social media met the searing precarity of capitalism’s frustrated, aspirational proles, told to look for someone to exploit, the world imploded into fascism, my friends. There are other reasons, to be sure. And I am not saying, of course, that old racial and tribal divisions don’t exist--of course not: I’m saying the above amplify them, especially in societies which haven’t done a very good job of really healing them. The question before us now, then, is this--what are we to do about these twin forces tearing the world apart?

Umair
October 2018


Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges--Scum vs. Scum

November 05, 2018 "Information Clearing House"

Bertram Gross (1912-1997) in “Friendly Fascism: The New Face of American Power” warned us that fascism always has two looks. One is paternal, benevolent, entertaining and kind. The other is embodied in the executioner’s sadistic leer. Janus-like, fascism seeks to present itself to a captive public as a force for good and moral renewal. It promises protection against enemies real and invented. But denounce its ideology, challenge its power, demand freedom from fascism’s iron grip, and you are mercilessly crushed. Gross knew that if the United States’ form of fascism, expressed through corporate tyranny, was able to effectively mask its true intentions behind its “friendly” face we would be stripped of power, shorn of our most cherished rights and impoverished. He has been proved correct. “Looking at the present, I see a more probable future: a new despotism creeping slowly across America," Gross wrote. “Faceless oligarchs sit at command posts of a corporate-government complex that has been slowly evolving over many decades. In efforts to enlarge their own powers and privileges, they are willing to have others suffer the intended or unintended consequences of their institutional or personal greed. For Americans, these consequences include chronic inflation, recurring recession, open and hidden unemployment, the poisoning of air, water, soil and bodies, and more important, the subversion of our constitution. More broadly, consequences include widespread intervention in international politics through economic manipulation, covert action, or military invasion." No totalitarian state has mastered propaganda better than the corporate state. Our press has replaced journalism with trivia, feel-good stories, jingoism and celebrity gossip. The banal and the absurd, delivered by cheery corporate courtiers, saturate the airwaves. Our emotions are skillfully manipulated around manufactured personalities and manufactured events. We are, at the same time, offered elaborate diversionary spectacles including sporting events, reality television and absurdist political campaigns.

Trump is a master of this form of entertainment. Our emotional and intellectual energy is swallowed up by the modern equivalent of the Roman arena. Choreographed political vaudeville, which costs corporations billions of dollars, is called free elections. Cliché-ridden slogans, which assure us that the freedoms we cherish remain sacrosanct, dominate our national discourse as these freedoms are stripped from us by judicial and legislative fiat.

It is a vast con game.

You cannot use the word “liberty” when your government, as ours does, watches you 24 hours a day and stores all of your personal information in government computers in perpetuity. You cannot use the word “liberty” when you are the most photographed and monitored population in human history. You cannot use the word “liberty” when it is impossible to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or General Dynamics. You cannot use the word “liberty” when the state empowers militarized police to use indiscriminate lethal force against unarmed citizens in the streets of American cities. You cannot use the word “liberty” when 2.3 million citizens, mostly poor people of color, are held in the largest prison system on earth. This is the relationship between a master and a slave. The choice is between whom we want to clamp on our chains—a jailer who mouths politically correct bromides or a racist, Christian fascist. Either way we are shackled.

Gross understood that unchecked corporate power would inevitably lead to corporate fascism. It is the natural consequence of the ruling ideology of neoliberalism that consolidates power and wealth into the hands of a tiny group of oligarchs.

The political philosopher Sheldon Wolin, refining Gross’ thesis, would later characterize this corporate tyranny or friendly fascism as “inverted totalitarianism." It was, as Gross and Wolin pointed out, characterized by anonymity. It purported to pay fealty to electoral politics, the Constitution and the iconography and symbols of American patriotism but internally had seized all of the levers of power to render the citizen impotent. Gross warned that we were being shackled incrementally. Most would not notice until they were in total bondage.

He wrote that “a friendly fascist power structure in the United States, Canada, Western Europe, or today’s Japan would be far more sophisticated than the ‘caesarism’ of fascist Germany, Italy, and Japan. It would need no charismatic dictator nor even a titular head … it would require no one-party rule, no mass fascist party, no glorification of the State, no dissolution of legislatures, no denial of reason. Rather, it would come slowly as an outgrowth of present trends in the Establishment."





What to DO?

Why you can't be nice to neo-Nazis or their enablers in the GOP, Frank Vyon Walton for Daily Kos

Well, it seems like our great investigative media has finally discovered the great secret that Donald John Trump has been not hiding at all for his entire life: He’s a racist shithead.

Who exactly didn’t know this after his claim that Mexicans are “rapists”; his attempt to ban Muslims from entering the country; his reference to “shithole countries”; birtherism; his calling for the death penalty against the Exonerated 5 from the Central Park Jogger case; his being sued twice for housing discrimination; his father saying “You know I don't rent to n*ggers”; his father being arrested at a 1927 Klan riot; the Polish Gang and his encouraging clients of his modeling agency to violate immigration laws; saying Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s judgement can’t be trusted because he has Mexican heritage; saying that Gold Star Mother Ghazala Khan didn’t speak at the DNC for cultural reasons; claiming there were “fine people” on both sides of a violent alt-right attack on Charlotesville, including those who support keeping the favorite flag of the Klan on public and state property; “I don’t like black guys touching my money”; trying to convince The Apprentice first season runner-up Kwame Jackson that he should share his win with a white guy; repeatedly using the n-word backstage at The Apprentice; saying “black people are too stupid to vote for me” and “Haitians all have AIDS”; and finally, his use of a phrase that’s literally in the EEOC manual as a prime example of discrimination, when he told four U.S. citizens who happen to be members of Congress to “go back to the [crime-infested countries]" they came from?

Who didn’t know? Apparently, nearly all of the Republican Party didn’t—and is still unable to admit it.

Having a well-documented racist in the White House is terrible, but that’s not the really big problem. The problem is that Trump still has 72% approval from Republicans, and that his support among the party faithful actually increased after his attack on Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib.

It’s not just that Trump is a raging bigot, but that so are those at the base of his support. Other than calling them out, what exactly should we, and can we, do about it?

As my favorite YouTube content provider Steve Shives points out: You just can’t be nice to neo-Nazis. It should be obvious that some people are so far gone that you can’t simply argue them out of their point of view, and you aren’t going to be able to come up with an amazing rationale that will show them the error of their ways and convert a raging bigot into a calm, reasonable, rational, and fair-minded person. That is simply not something they’re capable of.

Shives argues that once you begin trying to debate with a bigot who inherent believes in white supremacy, you’re likely to fall into the trap of trying to find the middle ground between bigotry and no bigotry.

When you assume you can have an honest conversation about our difference of opinion with someone who is a Nazi -- neo or original recipe -- we’re making a couple of very dangerous mistakes.

First, we’re elevating the belief and goals of Nazis to the level of civil discourse. That’s a bad idea. That’s worse than a bad idea -- that’s morally abhorrent. If you’re on one side of the table arguing that all people deserve justice and equality regardless of their race, religion, gender, sexuality, ability, what-have-you, and the person across from you believes that certain people are inherently inferior and deserving of persecution and death based on which of those categories they happen to fall into, what’s the middle? Where do you compromise with someone who rejects the very idea of universal human rights?

Ah, you might say that I’m not seeking to compromise with that person. I won’t have to give up any ground, because I’m going to persuade them that I’m right. That’s where the second mistake come in: assuming that the Nazi sitting across the table from you is any less committed to his ideals than you are to yours.

I think that whether we realize it or not, a lot of us have the idea that people only disagree because they haven’t seen what we’ve seen, and they don’t know what we know. A Nazi only thinks white people are superior because he hasn’t gotten to know enough people of color. He only wants to establish an ethnostate because he doesn’t know any better. Right?

Sometimes. It happens. There are ex-Nazis, ex-Klansmen, People do see the light and change. But a world war wasn’t necessary to end the horrors of the Third Reich because more people didn’t try to reason with Hitler. It wouldn’t have mattered how many Jews answered Hitlers hatred with shows of goodwill. it wouldn’t have mattered how many other took the high road and tried to argue the Nazis out of committing atrocities.

It’s not as if the people who are not ex-Nazis are the only ones who ever encounter the arguments that convinced them to walk away from their old ideology. Lots of Nazis have heard those arguments. Most of them aren’t persuaded. Most of them don’t change.

[...]

You can’t put your faith in the reason and humanity of Nazis. If their reason and humanity were functioning properly, they wouldn’t be Nazis in the first place. Being nice to them, engaging them in intellectual discourse, appeasing them, doesn’t work.

You have to fight them.

Again, that doesn’t necessarily mean violence. [...] Those who promote bigotry and intolerance, who vilify and scapegoat minority groups, who seek to destroy institutions setup to guard against dictatorship and despotism must be resisted.

if you pass them a microphone, you’re not resisting them. if you fight for their ability to fundraise or recruit, you’re not resisting them. If you argue they deserve a place onstage, you’re not resisting them. if you ignore them, you’re not resisting them.

Where is the halfway point, where you can concede that their point of view has at least some validity? It may seem like an absolutist view, but do we have a responsibility to have a certain amount of tolerance for the intolerant? Is it possible to talk someone out of their most deep-seated beliefs? Should you simply ignore those beliefs and try to move forward in other ways, or do you have a moral duty to confront them over it? Do you have to make certain they know that those views are not tolerable, even if in the end there’s no chance that you might reach a middle ground, or ever convince them of the wrongness of their position?

We’ve seen different versions of this argument play out between Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, when Biden said that he had been able to put aside the personal views of various pro-segregationist senators by compartmentalizing that issue as something they disagreed on and finding common ground on other issues where they could work together. Part of the backlash to his view was that if you’re able to ignore the basic immorality of someone’s position, are you being a tacit enabler of that position, even if you disagree with it?

Wasn’t former House Speaker Paul Ryan an enabler of Trump’s racism and bigotry after he stopped being willing to call him out publicly once he won the Republican nomination, whereas before he said that Trump’s attack on Judge Curiel was “textbook racism?" Didn’t he become a collaborator in Trump’s racism when he stopped being willing to oppose it? Or did he help America by keeping silent on those issues while working to shave off the harsher edges of Trump’s proposed policies?

"I'm telling you, he didn't know anything about government," Ryan says in the book. "I wanted to scold him all the time. What I learned as I went on, to scratch that itch, I had to do it in private. So, I did it in private all the time. And he actually ended up kind of appreciating it."

Ryan's story is remarkable, but not rare. Trump's critics in the GOP are increasingly unwilling, or unable, to speak their minds publicly about the president for fear of enduring his wrath, or that of his constituents.

The silence of Republicans takes on new significance as Trump seeks a second term, potentially deepening his hold on the party.

"Those of us around him really helped to stop him from making bad decisions. All the time," said Ryan, who stepped down after nearly two decades in Washington , in the book. "We helped him make much better decisions, which were contrary to kind of what his knee-jerk reaction was. Now I think he's making some of these knee-jerk reactions."

Did he manage to mainstream Trump’s bigoted attitude directly into the American bloodstream by downplaying its toxicity or did he manage to save us—at least temporarily—from potentially even worse policies? It could be argued that he did both. He certainly didn’t resist Trump.

There were others in the GOP who simply weren’t willing to grin and bear it, even for the “greater good."

"He's not alone," said Flake, who retired early rather than run for reelection alongside Trump.

"I could not stand on a campaign stage with the president when people shouted, 'Lock her up!' -- and I'm not alone in that," the Arizonan said by phone Friday. "The problem isn't just Trump. It's Trumpism. Unfortunately, it's a virus that's infected not just the Republican party, but the Democratic Party, as well."

The truth is that Trump’s own personal bigotry is only a symptom of a much larger problem. He was more than willing to ride the wave of political racial resentment and grievance that had been building during the Obama years among middle-class and blue-collar whites who felt left behind and ignored while America had an African-American president. Now, many of them feel more than a little emboldened to let their frustrations out—particularly in public, and against people of color.

Can any of us afford not to stand up and confront bigotry directly and clearly whenever we encounter it? Shouldn’t we feel a moral imperative, as did this fast-food restaurant manager when some of his customers demanded that he and a co-worker speak English to each other, even though it was a conversation that didn’t involve the customers?

This is how you handle racists.

These two women in Burger King heard a man speaking Spanish.

"GO BACK TO MEXICO" they said.

That man was the manager.

In reaction, the manager kicked them out of the establishment immediately, yet relatively politely.

If you don’t stand up against racism, are you not enabling racism? In another incident, a person pulled a knife on people who were peacefully protesting Trump’s immigration policy.

This racist asshole pulled out a knife and threatened to stab people who were peacefully protesting Trump’s immigration policy. Twitter, do your thing. Let’s find this son of a bitch.

And then there’s the white man who flew into a rage and ran over an autistic black man with his car for talking to his girlfriend.

Anderson was accused of purposefully striking 20-year-old Kevin Marshall with his pickup truck during a party, abandoning the vehicle in a wooded area and then fleeing to upstate New York, where he was taken into custody on Tuesday, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The 27-year-old Anderson started fighting with Marshall, who had autism, after the black man talked to his girlfriend, who was hosting the party at her Covington home but left with her boyfriend after the incident.

"That’s hatred, to beat somebody and then run him over at that impact and keep going," said the victim’s mother, Robbie Marshall. "He took my son's life, he deserves not to have his. I want him to have the death penalty."

Hate crimes against black and minority citizens are on the rise. There are even children who have been whitening their skin to avoid racism not just in the U.S, but overseas.

Children as young as 10 are whitening their faces to avoid being subjected to racist abuse in Britain, a child protection group has warned, as police struggle to stem a rising tide of hate crimes against minors.

A total of 10,571 racially-motivated hate crimes against children -- an average of 29 a day -- were recorded by police in 2017-18, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) found. Toddlers and even babies were among those targeted.

That number is now a fifth higher than it was just three years ago, and is growing at a rate of about 1,000 new crimes a year.

This is not just a local American phenomenon, and it’s not just about Trump. There is an international, nativist, anti-immigrant, racist movement afoot. We would be remiss not to recognize that, and to recognize just how deeply entrenched it has become.

Trump supporters and nativists have responded to the clear human rights violations by Customs and Border Patrol agents on our border by basically accepting the Trump administration’s excuses and lies, and blaming the migrants themselves for being held for as long as 40 days without a shower, brushing their teeth, changing their clothes, or access to fresh clean water.

They think Ocasio-Cortez calling these migrant detention centers “concentration camps” is worse than the fact that the U.N. agrees that they are concentration camps.

Republicans were aghast on Tuesday when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez -- who has an ability to rile up the GOP like few others -- called out the moral crisis that is President Donald Trump’s ongoing widespread use of “concentration camps” to detain immigrants and asylum seekers who have crossed the southern border.

"This administration has established concentration camps on the southern border of the United States for immigrants, where they are being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying," the New York Democrat wrote on Twitter, linking to an Esquire article. “This is not hyperbole. It is the conclusion of expert analysis."

The claim set off a firestorm, with Republicans lashing out and saying Ocasio-Cortez was spreading falsehoods and zeroing in on her use of the term “concentration camps." Among those who lashed out at her was Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), the third highest-ranking member of her party in the House and daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney:

Liz Cheney [daughter of war criminal] tweet:

Please @AOC do us all a favor and spend just a few minutes learning some actual history. 6 million Jews were exterminated in the Holocaust. You demean their memory and disgrace yourself with comments like this.

Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has said she is "deeply shocked" by the conditions at the CBP migrant detention centers.

"As a pediatrician, but also as a mother and a former head of State, I am deeply shocked that children are forced to sleep on the floor in overcrowded facilities, without access to adequate healthcare or food, and with poor sanitation conditions,

So: not at all like summer camp. The facts of the conditions are the facts, even if Republicans like Mike Pence and Lindsay Graham have tried to white-wash things with their staged photo-ops.

It’s also not true that Rep. Ilhan Omar has expressed “support or pride” for al-Qaida.

President Donald Trump accused Rep. Ilhan Omar of professing a “love” for al Qaeda and talking about “how great” and “how wonderful” al Qaeda is. That is false.

Trump also misleadingly claimed polls showed Omar only has 8% support, not mentioning that a similar figure is from a poll of white likely general-election voters without a bachelor’s degree.

[...]

The White House press office did not provide any evidence to back up the president’s claim. But Trump appears to be referring, wrongly, to comments Omar made in October 2013 during a local PBS show in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. The program, BelAhdan, is hosted by Ahmed Tharwat, who described it as a show that “brings Somali Americans to your living room." Omar’s appearance as a local political organizer came on the heels of a deadly attack at a Kenyan mall by members of al-Shabab, a Somali Islamist militant group that declared its allegiance to al Qaeda in 2012.

Ironically, the main discussion was about Omar’s frustration that the entire Muslim community -- and the Somali Muslim community in Minnesota in particular -- is asked to respond to violent acts committed by extremists overseas. She said there’s “a difference between the people that are carrying on the evil acts, because it is an evil act” and “the normal people … who carry on their lives."

[...]

Later in the interview, Omar was even more explicit in condemning al-Shabab.

"These people are taking part in terror and their whole ideology is based on terrorizing the communities that they would like to have an influence in," Omar said, later adding that she does not share the group’s ideology.

Unfortunately, the truth of this can barely get out of bed before right-wing lies have made it halfway around the planet. GOPers have long criticized the Muslim community en masse for failing to stand up to Islamic extremism, and yet when they are asked to stand up to white supremacists, they are largely insulted by the notion that a connection between them and alt-right/neo-Nazis can even be drawn.

Trumpism is not exactly like Nazism, of course. There is a distinction in that Trump’s goal isn’t to implement a genocide. Then again, with his new “You can leave” argument, it does appear that he supports encouraging America to become an ethnostate, just as a neo-Nazi would like. And for the record, neo-Nazis really like Trump’s latest rhetorical attack.

Shaun King tweet:

17 hours since the President of the United States tweeted that he wanted “Progressive Democrat Congresswomen” to go back the countries they came from.

And not ONE single elected Republican in Congress or otherwise has called it out.

Nothing. Utter silence.

They are complicit

These Dallas Republican women are not Nazis, but it’s also pretty clear that they aren’t resisting Trump’s naked bigotry even a little bit. Instead, they’re enabling and excusing it.

video from CNN

Again, these women are not Nazis, but they are bigots. They have completely absorbed Trump’s ridiculous reverse racism gambit that “The Squad” of freshman congresswomen are the “real racists” and poor Trump is just a victim of their mean, mean, meanness.

Trump is not a Nazi either, not exactly, but it’s clear that his efforts to block all asylum seekers from entry (even though it’s legal to cross the border at any point in order to seek asylum), his efforts to implement mass deportation and remove hundreds of thousands recipients of Temporary Protective Status (who again, are legal residents), and now saying the native-born U.S. ciitizens “should leave” if they don’t like his administration, are all very Nazi-like. You could say that it’s alt-Nazism, if you like.

The fact is though, that Trump and his sycophant followers -- including the “Trumpettes” shown above -- are actually somewhat worse than just merely alt-Nazis, because if racism isn't the source of these comments it’s much more horrible. Although he’s never suggested sending “Crazy” Bernie Sanders “back to Vermont”, he has implemented multiple racist attacks against Elizabeth “Fauxcohantus” Warren’s slim amount of Native Americn heritage, even though the DNA test she took exactly confirms the family history she had previously claimed, and he has said to ball players who kneel during that national anthem that “Maybe they should leave”, which includes several white players and also World Cup Star Megan Rapinoe.

If you honestly take the Trumphettes and most of the GOP at their word, where they make the excuse that his statements aren’t racist because “he didn’t say color”, and you assume that when he isn’t defending and holding a “summit” for actual hate-mongering Right-wing social media mavens of the ilk of Alex Jones, Gavin McInnis and the Proud Boys who’ve been banned by Twitter and Youtube for their hate speech, and encouraging the geniune anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that “Liberal Jews” like Tom Steyer and George Soros have been paying for the migrant caravans to “replace” the so-called forgotten man, he apparently thinks that even white native-born American citizens who dare to use their specifically enumerated right under the First Amendment to seek “petition for redress of grievances with their government” to criticize him and his policies somehow deserve to be attacked, harassed, intimidated and frankly terrorized -- considering the already existing death threats against them even from members of law enforcement -- even to the point of being physically forced out of their own country.

All people wanted Kierstjen Neilsen and Sarah Huckabee-Sanders to do was “leave” a public restaurant, not the entire country.

It suggests that these people would support forcibly striping certain people of their citizenship and deporting them, not just for racial reasons or by violaing asylum laws, but because of a political policy disagreement that makes them claim they don’t sufficiently “Love America”, by which they really mean they don’t sufficienly “Love Trump." Even Nazis didn’t go quite that far, because that’s Stalinist totalitarianism. Just how many people -- including U.S. citizens -- would wind up in the detention camps under yet another illegal executive order while these people cheer along with it? Stalin ultimately killed 20 Million of his own people, far more than the Nazis, including those who were sent to the gulags, deported and forcibly resettled.

Deportation of kulaks

Large numbers of kulaks regardless of their nationality were resettled to Siberia and Central Asia. According to data from Soviet archives, which were published in 1990, 1,803,392 people were sent to labor colonies and camps in 1930 and 1931, and 1,317,022 reached the destination. Deportations on a smaller scale continued after 1931. Data from the Soviet archives indicates 2.4 million Kulaks were deported from 1930–34.[46] The reported number of kulaks and their relatives who had died in labour colonies from 1932 to 1940 was 389,521.

Simon Sebag Montefiore estimated that 15 million kulaks and their families were deported by 1937, during the deportation many people died, but the full number is not known.

Forced settlements in
the Soviet Union 1939-53

According to the Russian historian Pavel Polian 5,870 million persons were deported to Forced settlements in the Soviet Union from 1920–1952, including 3,125 million from 1939–52. [46] Those ethnic minorities considered a threat to Soviet security in 1939–52 were forcibly deported to Special Settlements run by the NKVD.

Poles, Ukrainians from western regions, Soviet Germans, Balts, Estonians peoples from the Caucasus and Crimea were the primary victims of this policy. Data from the Soviet archives list 309,521 deaths in the Special Settlements from 1941–48 and 73,454 in 1949–50.

According to Polian these people were not allowed to return to their home regions until after the death of Stalin, the exception being Soviet Germans who were not allowed to return to the Volga region of the USSR.

If Trump came up with a neo-totalitarian purge agenda for those who "Hate America", do you think any of the Trumphettes would lift a finger to stop it, or would they turn on those people who most loudly complain about it and cheer as they’re rounded up, jailed and "sent home"?

I have little doubt it would be the latter considering what we’re already seeing at his migrant concentration camps and as I noted above, his support among Republicans has increased as a result of his racist attacks on Democrats.

The “Day of the Rope” is what they really want. We could only hope that the courts would stop such a policy, but as we’ve seen that would take time and lead to multiple challeges in the appeals court and eventually SCOTUS while such an illegal policy could potentially continue, just as the completely impracticle and inhumane “zero tolerance” policy continues. It won’t be stopped because his base or the GOP disapproves, because they don’t disapprove -- they truly think only they are the true “patriots” in America. The rest of us are expendable and disposable. All of us.

The question I still have is: Is there anything we can do about this other than just criticize it? Can we do anything to change it?

Even after the next election, assuming Trump is defeated or otherwise removed, what can we do about lingering Trumpism? What can we do about resolving the racial resentment that was the fuel for Trump’s rise?

Steve Shives credibly argues that you probably can’t just talk people out of their bigotry, and I think that’s true. However, I don’t think we should totally give up on a significant portion of our own population completely. We probably can’t force them to come around to the ideals of universal human rights, and we may not be able to convince them of the rightness and correctness of our point of view. It would be like trying to talk a drug addict or a cult member down.

I agree with Steve: That won’t work.

But there are some groups and organizations that have had some success bringing people out of hate movements and bringing them out of cults, gradually. Most of them have worked because they’ve been founded and operated by former members of hate groups and cults. Case in point: the anti-Supremacy group Life After Hate, which has been recently defunded by Trump’s Department of Homeland Security.

Founded by former extremists, we are committed to helping people leave the violent far-right. We are dedicated to inspiring all people to a place of compassion and forgiveness -- for themselves and each other. It was these principles that guided us away from lives of hate and that drive us to help individuals exit hate groups today and to support those who have already left.

Our primary goal is to interrupt violence committed in the name of ideological or religious beliefs. We do this through education, interventions, academic research, and outreach. Our primary goal is to interrupt violence committed in the name of ideological or religious beliefs. We do this through education, interventions, academic research, and outreach.

You, I, or Democrats may not be able to make the argument that might bring a neo-Nazi or a hardcore Trump supporter around to our way of thinking. But a former Trump fan, or a former supporter of mass deportation who manages to come to another way of thinking just might be in the unique position to lead others toward enlightenment.

Unfortunately, those people are few and far between.

Regime Change Is Urgently Needed In Washington

By Andre Vltchek, February 28, 2019 "Information Clearing House"

It is not Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Iran that are in dire and crucial need of ‘regime change’. It is the United States of America, it is the entire European Union; in fact, the entire West.

And the situation is urgent.

The West has gone mad; it has gone so to speak, bananas; mental. And people there are too scared to even say it, to write about it.

One country after another is falling, being destroyed, antagonized, humiliated, impoverished. Entire continents are treated as if they were inhabited by irresponsible toddlers, who are being chased and disciplined by sadistic adults, with rulers and belts in their hands yelling with maniacal expressions on their faces: “Behave, do as we say, or else!"

It all would be truly comical, if it weren’t so depressing. But… nobody is laughing. People are shaking, sweating, crying, begging, puking, but they are not chuckling.

I see it everywhere where I work: in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.

But why?

It is because North American and European countries are actually seriously delivering their ultimatum: you either obey us, and prostrate yourself in front of us, or we will break you, violate you, and if everything else fails, we will kill your leaders and all of those who are standing in our way.

This is not really funny, is it? Especially considering that it is being done to almost all the countries in what is called Latin America, to many African and Middle Eastern nations, and to various states on the Asian continent.

And it is all done ‘professionally’, with great sadistic craftsmanship and rituals. No one has yet withstood ‘regime change’ tactics, not even the once mighty Soviet Union, nor tremendous China, or proud and determined Afghanistan.

Cuba, Venezuela, DPRK and Syria may be the only countries that are still standing. They resisted and mobilized all their resources in order to survive; and they have survived, but at a tremendous price.

The victims keep crying. A few independent countries keep expressing their outrage. But so far, there is no grand coalition, which would be ready to fight and defend each other: “one for all, all for one”.

Until the recent ‘rebellion’ at the UN, no one has been openly and seriously suggesting that international law should apply to all nations of the world, equally.

People talk about ‘peace’. Many are begging the brigands to ‘to stop’, to ‘have mercy’, to show some compassion. But, neither Europe nor North America has ever shown any compassion, for long, terrible centuries. Look at the map of the beginning of the 20th century, for instance: the entire world was colonized, plundered and subjugated.

Now it is all moving in the same direction. If the West is not stopped, our planet may not survive at all. And let us be realistic: begging, logical arguments and goodwill will not stop Washington, Paris or London from plundering and enslaving.

Anyone who has at least some basic knowledge of world history knows that.

So why is the world still not forging some true resistance?

Is Venezuela going to be the last straw? And if not Venezuela, that is if Venezuela is allowed to fall, is it going to be Nicaragua, Cuba or Iran next? Is anything going to propel people into action?

Are we all just going to look passively how, the socialist Venezuela, a country which has already given so much to the world, Venezuela which managed to create beautiful visions and concepts for our humanity, is going to be burned to ashes, and then robbed of all of its dreams, its resources and of its freedom?

Are we all such cowards? Is this what we – human beings – have actually become; been reduced to? Cowards and cattle, selfish and submissive beings; slaves?

All this, simply because people are too scared to confront the empire? Because they prefer to hide and to pretend that what is so obvious, is actually not taking place?

Therefore, let me pronounce it, so at least my readers do not have that ‘luxury’ of claiming that they were not told:

This world is being brutalized and controlled by the fascist clique of Western nations. There is no ‘democracy’ left in this world, as there is near zero respect for international law in North American and European capitals. Colonialism has returned in full force. Western imperialism is now almost fully controlling the world.

And begging, trust me – begging and talking of peace is not going to help.

During WWII, fascism had to be stopped. If not, it was going to devour the entire planet. In the past, tens of millions have already died fighting for freedom and for our mankind. Yes, some nations tried to compromise and negotiate with Nazi Germany, but we all know where it all ended.

Now, the situation is the same. Or worse, perhaps much worse, because the West has nukes and a tremendous propaganda apparatus: it controls human brains all over the world with ‘mass media’, and ‘education’.

And because the citizens of the West are now much more brainwashed than the Germans and Italians were in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s; more brainwashed, more scared, submissive and more ‘disciplined’.

Look, seriously: are the people who are now writing those “peace essays”, in which they argue with the Western regime about who is right and who is wrong, seriously thinking that they are going to move people like Donald Trump, or Pompeo, or Abrams, or Rubio?

Do they believe that Washington is going to stop murdering millions of people all over the world? Or that the neo-colonialist plunder would stop, after the US Congress and Senate suddenly understands that it has been at the wrong side of history?

This is not some rhetorical question. I am serious: I demand answers!

Does ‘peace movement’ thinks that by amassing arguments it could stop Western expansionism? Yes or no?

Do they believe that Pompeo or Trump will suddenly hit their foreheads and exclaim: “You people are correct! We did not see this!" And call their troops, their thugs and mercenaries back?

If not, if this is not what peace movements believe would be done by North American and European leaders, then why all those thousands of wasted pages?

Would you go near a crocodile that is ready to devour an innocent child, and try to reason with it? Would you, seriously? Do you think it would stop, drop a few tears, wag its tail and leave?

Sometimes I tend to believe that ‘peace movements’ in the West are making things worse. They create false hopes, and they behave as if the empire is some entity that has a soul, and understands logic. They grossly underestimate the threat; the danger.

And they tend to analyze the Western threat from a Western perspective, using Western logic.

It somehow gets lost in interpretation that fascism, terror, and bestiality have to be confronted and fought.

One cannot negotiate with a group of countries which are already bathed in the blood of some 80% of the planet. If it was to happen, it would just be a mockery and it would simply humiliate everyone that is sincerely trying to stop the assassins.

Right now, Venezuela needs solidarity. It requires direct help, actions; not words. And so do many other countries.

Instead, it gets an endless avalanche of best wishes, as well as premature obituaries.

The Bolivarian Revolution has gotten plenty of colorful words. But what it urgently needs is volunteers, money, and internationalist brigades!

I know that billions of people all over the world are now cheering from their armchairs; in fact, doing absolutely nothing, while also spending zero. Their love for Venezuela is ‘platonic’.

I have just left Syria, where I was covering the Idlib war zone. There was not one single foreigner near me, during those days. Eva Bartlett and Vanessa Beeley usually work all over the toughest areas in Syria, but how many others do? And most of the time we work with near zero backing, just because we feel that it is our moral obligation to inform humanity.

I am wondering, how many foreigners are fighting for Venezuela, right now?

Who is going to face the Western spooks implanted into the Caracas and the Venezuelan borders with Colombia and Brazil? A few RT and TeleSur reporters, those true heroes, yes, but who else?

Only direct action can save Venezuela, and the world.

This is no time for debates.

This is worse, much worse than the late 1930’s.

The proverbial crocodile is here; its enormous ugly mouth open, ready to devour yet one more brilliant, proud country.

It is time to stick a big metal rod into its mouth. Now, immediately; before it gets too late.

Let us shout LONG LIVE VENEZUELA! But with our hands, muscles and purses, not just with our mouths.

And let us not be scared to declare: if anywhere, it is Washington where regime change is truly and urgently needed!

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Four of his latest books are China and Ecological Civilization with John B. Cobb, Jr., Revolutionary Optimism, Western Nihilism, a revolutionary novel “Aurora” and a bestselling work of political non-fiction: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire”. View his other books here. Watch Rwanda Gambit, his groundbreaking documentary about Rwanda and DRCongo and his film/dialogue with Noam Chomsky “On Western Terrorism”. Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and the Middle East, and continues to work around the world. He can be reached through his website and his Twitter.










Nazis

The Nazis took a precious kettle from a Jewish couple. Some 86 years later, their grandson in Maryland got it back.

Martin Goldsmith with the 16th-century kettle at his Kensington, Md., home. The kettle, sent to him from a German museum, belonged to his grandparents before they died at the hands of the Nazis in World War II. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

On a recent afternoon, a seemingly unremarkable brown parcel appeared on the front porch of Martin Goldsmith’s home in Kensington, Md.

Goldsmith, 68, swiftly pried open the package. With careful hands, he uncovered a 16th-century kettle that belonged to Goldsmith’s grandparents before they died in the Holocaust.

He examined the double spouted cauldron -- composed of brass, bronze and iron -- with awe. It had quite a path before it landed on his doorstep.

Goldsmith is well-versed in his family’s tragic history, having written two books on the subject. But unlike the anecdotes he has strung together over the years, the kettle represents something different to him: a rare, tactile treasure linking him to his paternal grandparents -- whom he never met.

Holding the kettle for the first time, Goldsmith was moved to tears.

Martin Goldsmith holds a 16th-century kettle that belonged to his grandparents before they were killed in the Holocaust. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

“There are very few things in the known universe that my grandparents touched," Goldsmith said. “It was a semi-miraculous opportunity to touch something they had touched; to hold something they had held."

In early April, Goldsmith was unexpectedly contacted by an art historian from a museum in Oldenburg -- the city in northwest Germany where his grandparents once lived and where his father was born.

The message came from Marcus Kenzler -- a researcher and cultural scientist who traces the origins of Nazi-looted property at the State Museum for Art and Cultural History, with the aim of returning the objects to the descendants of the original owners.

“Like every human being, every object has its own individual biography," said Kenzler, 48. He studies decades-old records to determine an object’s exact origins, searching for traces left by previous owners in an effort to reconstruct the precise path a relic once took.

According to the museum’s inventory book, the kettle in question was sold by the Goldschmidt family in November 1934. Notably, “Intensive research has shown that the sale of the kettle did not take place voluntarily, but had a Nazi-persecution-related background," Kenzler added.

The Nazi involvement in the acquisition was made clear by the glaringly low sales price of the kettle: 20 Reichsmark, or approximately $11. In 1942, another museum acquired a similar object for 300 Reichsmark. Today, the kettle is valued at roughly $2,500.

This wasn’t an uncommon occurrence. More than 20 percent of art in Europe, collectively worth billions of dollars, was looted or coerced into a sale by the Nazis. It’s estimated that 100,000 pieces of the more than 600,000 stolen artifacts are still missing. The burden of restitution typically rests on descendants, who must prove their relation to the original owner.

In an email to Goldsmith, Kenzler outlined his findings.

“Fortunately, the history of your family can be reconstructed very well through your books, and I was able to find numerous other sources," he wrote.

Kenzler suggested that once his research was complete, the kettle -- or Lavabokessel, the German term for the pouring vessel -- should belong to Goldsmith, the last living relative of Alex and Toni Goldschmidt. Goldsmith has no children, and his parents, as well as his only brother, have all died.

“I was very excited when I contacted Martin for the first time," said Kenzler, adding that since beginning his research in 2011, he has returned only three other artifacts to the families of the original owners -- two antique pieces of tin-glazed pottery and a large Renaissance cabinet. “It happens far too rarely that the provenance of a work of art or an object can be completely deciphered."

“I still have a lot of cases to solve," he continued. “This work is important, and we have the historical obligation to come to terms with the injustices and horrors of the past."

In response to Kenzler’s email, Goldsmith wrote, “Though born decades after the Nazi era, you have not shirked from the responsibility of facing up to the horrors of those years but rather have done what you can to try to balance the scales of justice, impossible though that task may ultimately be."

The kettle finally arrived in Maryland on Oct. 11, nearly 86 years after it had left the family’s hands.

Before World War II, Goldsmith’s grandfather, Alex Goldschmidt, operated a successful women’s clothing store, called Haus der Mode, in Oldenburg. The family of six lived in a grand home, adorned with sculptures, paintings and other artistic objects that reflected their good fortune.

The Goldschmidt family in 1914. From left are Bertha Goldschmidt, 5, Alex Goldschmidt, 35, his wife, Toni Goldschmidt, 26, and Gunther Goldschmidt, 1, in Oldenburg, Germany, where they lived before the Holocaust. (Family photo)

Everything changed in November 1932, when Nazi officials informed the Goldschmidts that they had no choice but to sell their home -- since a Jew was no longer permitted to own such a fine dwelling. It was sold for a mere fraction of its true value.

“The house is worth easily $6 million today, and it was sold for just over $10,000," Goldsmith said. “They were forced to move into smaller and smaller quarters."

In the years that followed, more laws and restrictions against Jews were enacted, leading up to the November Pogrom in 1938 -- also known as Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass -- in which thousands of Jewish-owned shops and synagogues were destroyed throughout Nazi Germany, and 30,000 Jewish men were arrested, including Goldsmith’s grandfather, Alex Goldschmidt.

The following year, Alex Goldschmidt and his son Helmut fled Germany on the S.S. St. Louis, a ship filled mostly with Jewish refugees that sailed to Cuba, but was turned away. After unsuccessfully appealing to the United States and Canada, the ship and its passengers returned to Europe.

In August 1942, Alex Goldschmidt and Helmut were murdered in Auschwitz concentration camp. Two months later, his wife, Toni, and their daughter Eva were killed in a forest outside Riga, Latvia.

One Goldschmidt daughter survived, escaping to Leeds, England. A son, Gunther Ludwig Goldschmidt, managed to flee to America when he was 27 -- just in time to be spared. Once in the United States, he changed his name to George Gunther Goldsmith, and had two sons, one of them being Martin Goldsmith.

While in Germany, George Goldsmith was able to survive by being part of an all-Jewish performing arts ensemble called Jüdischer Kulturbund, composed of musicians, artists and actors who had been barred from German institutions. The Nazis permitted the group, which his wife (Martin Goldsmith’s mother) also belonged to, as part of a Nazi propaganda effort to shield the oppression of Jews from the outside world.

The group was eventually forced to shutter in 1941, though Goldsmith’s parents managed to make it to New York City immediately before.

They raised their two sons in St. Louis and spoke very little of their Jewish identity or past traumas, Goldsmith recalled.

“In my father’s mind, to be a Jew was to be an outcast, to be hated, to be murdered," said Goldsmith. “So, I did not grow up with a sense of being a Jew."

Goldsmith moved through life, attending Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and ultimately settling in Kensington, with very little attachment to Judaism.

It wasn’t until his 50s that Goldsmith, who has worked as a radio host and classical music programmer for 45 years in the D.C. area, developed a yearning to understand his Jewish identity and family history.

“I had a desire to somehow be connected to my family, to the people who, by all rights, I should have known," Goldsmith said, adding that he studied and had his bar mitzvah at age 55.

He went on to write two books about the Goldschmidt family history, one of which -- “The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany” -- has become the basis for an upcoming documentary film he co-wrote called “Winter Journey," airing this December. The book and film chronicles the story of Goldsmith’s parents and their experience playing in an all-Jewish orchestra in Nazi Germany.

In researching his books, Goldsmith visited Oldenburg several times, and even toured the stately house that his family once occupied, now inhabited by a German architect and his family.

“I experienced nearly every emotion in the catalogue," Goldsmith said. “It was terribly exciting to be inside this house where my family had lived, and it was devastating to think of what had happened to them."

Although the brief visit to the home brought Goldsmith closer to his relatives in some way, it was fleeting, he said.

“The house is no longer in the family. The paintings and various other art objects in the house are all gone. Traces of my family are gone. Except for this little kettle," he said, from the dining room of his Maryland home, where the kettle now sits on a shelf in a place of honor.

Goldsmith looked over at the small vestige of his legacy -- a tangible piece of his history, that is finally his to hold.

“It’s an object that 85 years ago lived in my grandparents’ house. These people whom I never had a chance to meet passed by it and touched it and used it," said Goldsmith, adding that this type of kettle was historically -- and ironically, given the pandemic -- used for the ceremonial washing of hands, though he is not sure how his grandparents used it, or if it was simply on display in their home.

Since the kettle arrived, every evening before bed, Goldsmith finds himself doing the same thing: “I walk past it, and I touch it," he said. “It’s a way of telling my family good night."










White Supremacy

Inside the white supremacist global network. Opinion by David Ignatius Dec. 1, 2020

Violent white-supremacist groups have formed a connected global movement that rose before Donald Trump’s presidency and threatens to continue long after he leaves office.

These white-supremacist groups have used the Internet to recruit and train followers, much as Islamist extremists did a decade ago, argues a major new study by Jigsaw, a research arm of Google. The study, described here for the first time, is being published Tuesday by Jigsaw’s digital journal, the Current.

The study shatters the image that many analysts have of white supremacist attackers as “lone wolf” extremists. Jared Cohen, the chief executive of Jigsaw, argues that “this myth obscures the vast underlying infrastructure of white supremacist online communities around the world."

These groups “move fluidly between mainstream and fringe platforms," Cohen warns. They recruit followers on Facebook or YouTube, among other venues, and then direct them to protected “alt-tech” sites where they can privately share propaganda and boast about operations.

The challenge as Trump’s presidency ends is how to reduce the spread of this toxic movement and deradicalize its followers. The Jigsaw study offers some useful case studies in interviews conducted over the past two years with 36 former members of white-supremacist groups. But it’s clear there’s no silver bullet for deprogramming hate.

Former members told Jigsaw researchers that their escapes began with basic things -- a life-changing event such as a birth or death in the family; disgust with violent acts perpetrated by other followers; or doubts raised by exposure to “minorities . . . they had vilified," the study explains.

The movement is far larger and more violent than many people realize. Numbers collected by the University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database depict a network that has been growing globally since 2010 and has expanded in tandem with Islamist extremism, its twin in using online media to spread hate.

Consider these comparisons: In 2009, white supremacists were responsible for six deaths in 19 incidents, while Islamist extremists were responsible for 14 deaths in 12 incidents. Those numbers kept climbing steadily through the decade. By 2019, white supremacists were linked to 165 deaths in 336 incidents, while Islamist extremists were tied to 193 deaths in 82 incidents.

In three “hot spots” for white supremacists -- Germany, Britain and the United States -- the number of incidents seemed to spike because of special factors: in Germany, the influx of Syrian migrants in 2015; in Britain, the angry debate over Brexit in 2016; in the United States, Trump’s presidency in 2017. But in each case, the problem pre-dated these events.

The Jigsaw researchers found that former group members had been attracted by the combination of solidarity and anonymity of the online community. One former member of several white-supremacist groups explained: “Every time I went online, it was like putting on a mask, one where you’re shielded from empathy, from consequences. . . . I’d say all sorts of horrible things. And then I’d get offline and hang my mask up and go back to my family."

Another former member told Jigsaw researcher Beth Goldberg about her path from a curious 16-year-old browsing online forums to membership in the neo-Nazi Atomwaffen Division. As recruiters sensed her initial interest, the discussions moved to private channels where she was cultivated as a “prospect," gaining status and “hidden knowledge” from the group. Eventually, before finally breaking away, she became an Atomwaffen recruiter herself.

The concealment tactics of these organizations were described by a former member of a group that helped organize the August 2017 Charlottesville rally. The group urged people to celebrate “white pride” in postings on mainstream platforms, this organizer said. “Yet in private chats she was part of," Jigsaw reported, “they talked openly about what weapons they planned to bring and what violent acts they hoped to see in Charlottesville."

How can the United States and the world step back from hatred? The Jigsaw report offers some suggestions. Facebook, YouTube and other platforms are making it harder for extremists to spread their ideas and hook followers. Counter-radicalism networks (the Jigsaw study mentions five in the United States and Europe) are disrupting the radicalization process and helping people break from the violent subculture.

What can President-elect Joe Biden do against white supremacists? He says his candidacy was motivated by horror over the Charlottesville attacks and Trump’s encouragement of extremist violence there. Biden says his presidency will be about healing. But in this angry country, combating hatred won’t be quick or easy.

The Jigsaw study reminds us that the Internet is a rage accelerator. Good leaders can discourage extremism rather than feed it; they can encourage norms of good behavior. But tolerance needs to become a mass movement, more powerful than hatred.










Republicans

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled, we should treat these Republicans like the fascists they are. Dartagnan Community

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled on Texas’ ridiculous suit against four other states, perhaps we can take stock of what’s happened over the past few weeks.

Imagine a world where over one-half of the members in the Republican House of Representatives, including the top Republican in that caucus, sign on to a clumsy, thoroughly bogus attempt to overturn a national election based on contrived lies that add up to nothing except the fact that their man lost. Not just “lost," mind you, but was soundly beaten. Had his ass kicked, in fact, both in the popular vote and the electoral college tally.

And imagine a Republican Senate Majority equally contemptuous of the winner of that election, wielding the power to hold hostage many of the new President’s first official actions—such as the basic function of picking a Cabinet. That Senate uses the excuse that the election was still being “litigated” to stall even scheduling hearings on his Cabinet nominations.

Imagine the outgoing, losing president, doing his level best to sabotage and hamstring the man who beat him in the election, alternatively whining and threatening elected Republican officials, demanding a list of those opposed to him, so that he could single them out for punishment.

And imagine all of this occurring against the backdrop of the worst public health crisis, combined with an equally virulent economic calamity, to hit this country in over a century.

If you really want to appreciate the insanity of what we’re witnessing right now, just play the alternative scenario in your head.

Had President Barack Obama lost to Mitt Romney in 2012 by over seven million votes, suffered a 306-232 Electoral college shellacking, yet insisted he was the rightful winner, accusing the Republican Party of a massive and fraudulent campaign to undermine him, all while refusing to concede the election, you don’t really need to think too hard to comprehend how this whole sorry episode in our country’s history would have played out.

If something so ridiculous and far-fetched ever occurred, Democrats wouldn’t have waited to remove him, they would have done it themselves. They wouldn’t have waited for the Republican Party to cry and scream about it. He would have been banished from political life and never spoken of again.

So despite the Supreme Court’s ruling, wiping out this latest attempt by the GOP to subvert and destroy our country, there’s really something unspeakably terrible about this moment. It’s bad enough as it is, but it’s actually getting worse, Supreme Court rulings notwithstanding.

By now many people have put their finger on what’s going on here. Basically, the Republican Party has shown its true colors. In a way, perhaps, we should thank Donald Trump for bringing this out in the cold light, for all to see.

As Adam Serwer, writing for The Atlantic, cannily observes, the message that is being sent by the Republicans here is that your vote was fraudulent if the person you voted for wasn’t Donald Trump. And more specifically, your vote was fraudulent if you are not white.

To Trump’s strongest supporters, Biden’s win is a fraud because his voters should not count to begin with, and because the Democratic Party is not a legitimate political institution that should be allowed to wield power even if they did.

This is why the authoritarian remedies festering in the Trump fever swamps—martial law, the usurpation of state electors, Supreme Court fiat—are so openly contemplated.

Because the true will of the people is that Trump remain president, forcing that outcome, even in the face of defeat, is a fulfillment of democracy rather than its betrayal.

The Republican base’s fundamental belief, the one that Trump used to win them over in the first place, the one that ties the election conspiracy theory to

birtherism and to Trump’s sneering attack on the Squad’s citizenship, is that Democratic victories do not count, because Democratic voters are not truly American.

It’s no accident that the Trump campaign’s claims have focused almost entirely on jurisdictions with high Black populations.

To Republicans, only white votes matter now.

Are you wondering why you haven’t heard any accusations about voter fraud in the suburban counties surrounding Philadelphia, for example, which helped Joe Biden win Pennsylvania? There are no such accusations, because those areas are predominantly white.

Back to our imagined scenario: If Barack Obama had attempted this, the Republican Party would long since have lined up in unison, braying for his head on a platter. There would be no reticence in calling this exactly what it is: treachery, treason, sedition of the highest order.

Republicans wouldn’t be demanding hearings. From the top of the GOP leadership down, they’d be demanding an inquisition. They’d be urging all of their constituents to flood the streets.

But back in our real world, Democrats have been remarkably quiet about what is happening. Perhaps it’s an expectation that this will all blow over, once the Electoral College votes on Monday.

Perhaps the thinking is, following the lead of Joe Biden, Democrats want to project an air of professionalism and capability while the Republicans make fools of themselves. Perhaps they’re inclined to just let the media do the castigating for them. Perhaps, as some have suggested, they feel as if their Republican counterparts are only behaving this way because they know their efforts will be unsuccessful.

I don’t understand this thinking. It seems ridiculously naive, particularly under these times of unprecedented crisis, where thousands of Americans are dying in hospitals every single day.

The Republicans have embraced fascism. I don’t know how many times it’s going to be necessary to say this. I don’t know how it can be said more clearly. There will not be any cooperation with these people. They’ve sold their souls. Fascists are impervious to reason, shame or argument. The only thing they understand is power when it’s used against them.

The Democratic Party represents the majority—by a considerable margin—of the American voting public. As diverse as our coalition is, it is in fact the majority, and it needs to behave like a majority. We—not the Republicans—were the millions who marched in the streets of Washington, D.C. in 2017. We—not the Republicans—were the millions who marched in every major city in the country—and practically every other place in the country—in opposition to racism and police brutality. We—not the Republicans—were the ones who flooded the polls in 2018, and again in 2020, finally throwing this abomination out of office.

A majority has power, and it knows when to use it.

What the Republicans are doing has been, and is, intolerable. Any Republican—at the state level, the federal level, or in any other capacity—should be made to understand that they have betrayed the country. They need to know that they will be viewed and treated like people who have betrayed their country—for the rest of their political careers. They need to be made to understand that they will face the consequences of their 2020 treachery for the rest of their lives.

Unless and until that happens, they will continue to mock us, to disenfranchise us, knowing that we will sit back in fear, relying on our fragile “institutions” to protect us. And then they will try it again.


January 6, 2021

Biden White House concludes Jan. 6 preparations hurt by lack of high-level intelligence-sharing. By Devlin Barrett, Ashley Parker and Aaron C. Davis 1/5/22

Senior Biden administration officials have concluded that the government's Jan. 6 preparations were hampered by a lack of high-level information-sharing and a failure to anticipate how bad the day could be - lessons they say they are applying today in an effort to prevent another such attack.

Those conclusions, described by people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss how the federal government is trying to improve security a year after the insurrection, are not formal findings, the officials said. But they offer a kind of road map for how the Biden White House is attempting to prevent similar assaults on the democratic functions of government.

"The bottom line, we concluded, was there was insufficient information-sharing and coordination that was raised up to higher levels, and that needed to change," said one senior administration official. There was also "insufficient anticipation of the kinds of things that could happen," the official added.

Biden White House concludes Jan. 6 preparations hurt by lack of high-level intelligence-sharing. By Devlin Barrett, Ashley Parker and Aaron C. Davis 1/5/22

Senior Biden administration officials have concluded that the government's Jan. 6 preparations were hampered by a lack of high-level information-sharing and a failure to anticipate how bad the day could be - lessons they say they are applying today in an effort to prevent another such attack.

Those conclusions, described by people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss how the federal government is trying to improve security a year after the insurrection, are not formal findings, the officials said. But they offer a kind of road map for how the Biden White House is attempting to prevent similar assaults on the democratic functions of government.

"The bottom line, we concluded, was there was insufficient information-sharing and coordination that was raised up to higher levels, and that needed to change," said one senior administration official. There was also "insufficient anticipation of the kinds of things that could happen," the official added.

'No pictures, no pictures': The enduring images from Jan. 6


Colby Glass, MLIS