As night follows day…

Like every political sound from the lips of Bannon – or Trump – fraud, deceit, lies are never missing. Any serious scholar of history classifies what they are trying to start as a “counter-revolution”. Fascism is not a step forward. It carries us in a stream of offal, blood and death, back into obedience to authoritarian violence. An end to democracy.

A guide to hate symbols at the Capitol riots


Roberto Schmidt/AFP

The sweatshirt, spotted amid the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol, seemed designed to provoke fear.

“Camp Auschwitz,” it read, along with the message “Work brings freedom” — a rough translation of the message that greeted Jewish prisoners at the infamous Nazi concentration camp.

The back of the shirt said “Staff.”

A photo of the man wearing the sweatshirt was just one of the images of hateful symbols that have circulated from the mob, whose violence led to four deaths and wreaked havoc on Congress. Confederate flags and nooses were among the overt hate signs that the insurrection brought into the Capitol…

Other slogans — on flags, clothing or signs — were code for a gamut of conspiracy theories and extremist ideologies. Here’s what you need to know about them and the far-right movements they represent.

Click the link up top, first two words of this post, and carry on through the entire piece. Many of you may know of the detail and depth of Nazi arrogance these criminals embrace. My peers in movements against racism, bigotry, fighting for international peace…never forget. Some of you may need to learn.

It’s been about 50 years since I visited Auschwitz. An international memorial, now, to the millions, who died at the hands of fascist Germany. I was there with a woman a couple decades older than me. Her husband, her two sons, were murdered there. She escaped to the Soviet Union – and then courageously went back into Poland, into the Underground Resistance, to help organize more escapes from that pit of death and torture.

One of the bravest people I’ve ever known.

Trump’s Authoritarian Moment

If there were any doubt remaining that Donald Trump still represents a dire threat to American democracy, the events of this weekend dispelled it. As a new Congress gathers to confirm that the voters chose Joe Biden to be the next President, a proceeding that should be a mere formality, Trump is desperately trying to overturn the result and stay in office. Even more disturbing, large numbers of elected Republicans are joining in this unprecedented effort to reject the popular will. If the Republic gets through the next two weeks without a catastrophe, we must surely take steps to protect ourselves against the next would-be authoritarian, which could well be Trump himself in 2024…

On Saturday, eleven more G.O.P. senators announced their intention to join more than a hundred and forty House Republicans and vote against the Electoral College electors from Georgia and five other states where Trump claims there was voter fraud. Seeking to delay or derail the congressional certification of Biden’s victory, they also demanded the appointment of a bipartisan commission to audit the election results in these states. Soon after this news emerged, Vice-President Mike Pence, a politician who gives invertebrates a bad name, issued a statement saying that he “welcomes the efforts of members of the House and Senate to use the authority they have under the law to raise objections and bring forward evidence before the Congress and the American people on January 6th.”

…In giving credence to the President’s baseless claims that he is being cheated out of office, these prominent Republicans are just making it even more likely that, at least as far as the G.O.P. is concerned, there won’t be a post-Trump future but, instead, another lengthy period in which he and his grievance continue to dominate all else.

This is the fate of a Party that has embraced a populist personality cult—Trumpism—which has recently outed itself as what Steve Schmidt, the campaign strategist who advised John McCain in 2008, called over the weekend “an American autocratic movement with Fascistic markers.” Using plainer English, Stuart Stevens, another Never Trump Republican strategist, who advised Mitt Romney in 2012, summed things up on Twitter: “The bottom line is that the @GOP has become a threat to democracy. I spent decades helping elect members of the party and it’s painful to admit. But it’s a clear and present danger and should be treated as such.” This is primarily Trump’s work, but it’s not just Trump’s work. Not by a long shot.

I was an official Young Republican once. For about three weeks…when a buddy of mine needed a few more warm bodies to help him found a chapter of Young Republicans in our Southern New England town. Then, I wished him the best of luck in his political career and returned to projects closer to my heart: playing a 12-string guitar, supporting the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and philosophical studies in Materialist Dialectics.

Even then, I knew there was a tendency inside the “grown-up” Republican Party to rollover into a full-blown Fascist Party of Putschists.

Yesterday was Godzilla’s birthday

November 3rd might be widely known as Election Day in the U.S., but it’s also Godzilla’s 66th birthday. Toho Intl. has unveiled a monstrous celebration of everyone’s favorite kaiju’s birthday with a batch of all-new episodes of its popular Godzilla Tales series, which has garnered more than 325K views to-date…

Toho recently unveiled its Godzilla Tales which offers bringing Godzilla classic monsters to screens everywhere in bite-sized formats…

You can now watch episodes of Godzilla Tales out now, with new episodes dropping weekly on the Nerdist YouTube Channel now through the end of the year

Not much to say about that other event. The election battle between the party of American bigotry and the party of cautious mediocrity is still unresolved at this point in time. One hopes the latter prevails. They aren’t as likely to continue the truly evil progress towards fascism currently led by the Republican Party.

We’re reaching the tipping point into fascism


Alex Brandon/AP/REX

In the final week of August, the United States saw its biggest deterioration in societal norms and steps toward outright fascism since President Donald Trump came to office four years ago under a mantle of barely veiled authoritarianism. The troubling developments of the past week are almost too many to count.

On Tuesday, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse allegedly crossed state lines with his automatic rifle and murdered two demonstrators at a protest of another horrific police shooting of a Black man. Police did nothing…

It was also the week of the Republican National Convention, which culminated with a grand and illegal presidential acceptance speech with the backdrop of the taxpayer-funded White House decked out in Trump-Pence 2020 propaganda…Congress did nothing

…The president is enabling and encouraging the formation of armed forces, outside the control of the state, with his uniforms and loyalty only to him. He’s further pushing loyal state forces to either acquiesce to the vigilante demands or outright support them. Amenable law enforcement—from Kenosha to Portland—have proven eager to abide.

As senior Holocaust historian Christopher Browning put it in 2018:

If people do not accept the ground rules by which democracy operates and winning at all costs and incivility become the norm, then things fall apart. … We see that falling apart with political polarization now. And that was true in the 1930s with the rise of authoritarianism and fascism in Europe and elsewhere.

Trump’s call for 12 more years in office is more than Mussolini or Hitler ever publicly asked for…at the beginning of their takeover of democratic governments. If you think he’s kidding around, if you think the least-knowledgeable voters in this Brave New World will come to their senses on their own…I presume you’re spending lots of time, now, on your knees praying for divine intervention. You’ll be spending even longer in the same position, silent and obedient, sometime down the road.

Trump’s Death Cult in complete charge of the Republican Party

It is now long past time to cast off highfalutin’ Latinisms and simply call the Republicans and their religious and secular conservative allies what they are, and in unadorned English: a death cult. As the country reels from the coronavirus pandemic, our national government might just as well be run by the infamous People’s Temple of Jonestown.

By now we are benumbed by the all-pervasive arguments over relaxing workplace shutdowns and stay-at-home orders due to coronavirus. In any sane society, the issue would be how to institute the most efficient measures to defeat the pandemic in the shortest time and with the lowest loss of life. Instead, Trump and his merry band of lunatics have hijacked the national debate into a faux-serious discussion of when, oh, please, how soon, can we “reopen the economy?”…

…Congressman Trey Hollingsworth of Indiana…put a patriotic gloss on his Malthusianism, decreeing that “it is always the American government’s position to say, in the choice between the loss of our way of life as Americans and the loss of life, of American lives, we have to always choose the latter.”…

Firearms fetishism and a fascination with violence, war, and armed insurrection are also mainstays of right-wing ideology, hardly distinguishable from Jerry Falwell Sr.’s, proclamation that God is Pro-War. And how about the Ultimate Fighting Jesus? The NRA neatly intersects with “muscular Christianity,” revealing both ideological kinship and some very embarrassing gender insecurities that frequently irrupt in misogyny and homosexual panic…

“¡Viva la Muerte!”

“Long live death!” That was the defiant cry of José Millán-Astray y Terreros, a general in Francisco Franco’s fascist army during the Spanish civil war. It could just as well suit Trump’s foot soldiers.

RTFA. I’ve trimmed it to blog size. Mike Lofgren served the nation well as congressional staff member. Reading the complete article feeds the heart of those who believe in carrying forward our democratic history. His analysis is well-grounded and well-founded.

Not only in the Panhandle…

❝ President Donald Trump was tickled last Wednesday when an audience member at a Florida rally suggested shooting migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexican border.

Trump was bemoaning the legal protections afforded migrants and espousing the need for a border wall when he asked rhetorically, “How do you stop these people?”

❝ “Shoot them!” someone shouted from the Panama City Beach crowd, according to multiple news media reports.

The remark drew a chuckle from the president, who shook his head, pointed in the audience member’s direction and said, “Only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement.”

“Only in the Panhandle,” he repeated to laughs and cheers from the crowd.

The one-liner that immediately comes to mind is…”When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” Doesn’t really matter who said it. It’s hard to dispute. And – more or less – it’s already here.

GDPR comes with teeth – and it starts up May 25th

❝ GDPR is the European Union’s latest effort to protect the personal privacy of its citizens – and it comes with teeth. As a Regulation rather than a Directive, all member states, including the UK, must comply without the additional step of national ratification.

Businesses and people who don’t live or work in the EU aren’t immune. Anyone who has customers in the EU, or works with information processors in the bloc, is subject to the GDPR. In light of this, it’s a little scary to note that, as of today, 64% of US firms either don’t know or don’t care about GDPR.

❝ The concept of privacy protection makes sense, but whenever a governmental body steps into a debate, and then regulates, there is usually collateral damage. The scope of GDPR is wide and the impacts are nuanced and complex – which means there will be winners and losers once the regulation kicks in.

Unsurprising, the European Union is going ahead with privacy protection that American politicians haven’t the backbone to consider. In a globalized marketplace, American corporations – particularly those living and profiting from the Internet – will have to make the effort even while the profit pimps in Congress/White House are working at destroying access and affordability to the Web.