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.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir member quits rather than perform for Trump

❝ A member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has resigned in protest over the group’s decision to sing at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, saying “it will appear that [the] Choir is endorsing tyranny and [fascism] by singing for this man.”

❝ The famous choir, which is affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), first announced its decision to perform at Trump’s inauguration last week. The news sparked controversy among Mormons—many of whom are deeply ambivalent about Trump—but organizers justified the decision by noting that the group has performed at the inaugural celebrations of both Republican and Democratic presidents.

❝ …The reasoning was not enough for at least one performer: Jan Chamberlin, a member of the choir, published a Facebook post on Thursday morning announcing she would rather quit than sing for Trump…

“Since ‘the announcement,’ I have spent several sleepless nights and days in turmoil and agony…I’ve tried to tell myself that by not going to the inauguration, that I would be able to stay in choir for all the other good reasons. I’ve tried to tell myself that it will be all right and that I can continue in good conscience before God and man.” Chamberlin wrote. “But it’s no use. I simply cannot continue with the recent turn of events. I could never look myself in the mirror again with self respect.”…

❝ “Tyranny is now on our doorstep; it has been sneaking its way into our lives through stealth,” she wrote. “We must continue our love and support for the refugees and the oppressed by fighting against these great evils.”…

“I only know I could never ‘throw roses to Hitler.’ And I certainly could never sing for him,” she wrote.

Bravo! A courageous stand against bigotry. An evil Mormons have often faced in their young history. Too bad so many mainstream and evangelical sects in this land haven’t the same sense of history and justice.