Calling a Fascist a Fascist Is Descriptive—Not a Slur

Ron DeSantis appears to have succeeded in his attempt to bully the College Board into stripping Black Lives Matter, discussion of gay Black thought leaders (perhaps like James Baldwin, whose mother was born enslaved?), and multiple well-known Black authors from their African American Studies Advance Placement course.

Over at the newsletter, Judd Legum et al noted yesterday that the College Board’s revenue is increasingly coming from selling these courses (more and more students aren’t taking the SATs — their other revenue source — as colleges move away from basing admissions on testing), so to maintain their viability and their CEO’s $2.5 million annual salary, they apparently decided they pretty much had to bow to DeSantis’ threats and those from the right wingers who preceded him and he was imitating.

In addition to threatening teachers with prison if they don’t remove books from classrooms, arresting Black men who were told they could vote and did so, and now demanding menstrual histories from high school girls (presumably to look for pregnancies?), DeSantis has laid a reign of terror against minorities of all sort across his state.

Bullying like this is at the core of authoritarian behavior, as I noted in my Daily Take yesterday about DeSantis, and we need to start calling things what they are. And that

— source | Thom Hartmann | Feb 03, 2023

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ALEC Lawmakers and Corporate Lobbyists Meet in D.C. to Debate Rewriting the Constitution

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meets this week in Washington, D.C., for its annual States and Nation Policy Summit at the four-star Grand Hyatt Washington, where rewriting the U.S. Constitution, “woke” capitalism, and protecting hate speech and misinformation are at the top of the agenda.

Given that the meeting is in Washington, many GOP politicians will make cameos at the Republican-aligned gathering, including former Vice President Mike Pence, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Senator Steve Daines (MT), Senator Mike Braun (IN), Representative Jim Banks (IN), Representative Victoria Spartz (IN), Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

ALEC is a pay-to-play operation in which state legislators and corporate lobbyists meet behind closed doors to write model legislation that advances a radical right-wing, pro-

— source | David Armiak | Nov 30, 2022

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Fascism Returns in Italy

in Italy, where the country’s first far-right leader since Benito Mussolini, Giorgia Meloni, has declared victory, as the right-wing alliance led by her Brothers of Italy party looks set to win a clear majority in the next Parliament. Meloni is also allied with Spain’s far-right Vox party, Poland’s ruling nationalist Law and Justice party, Sweden’s newly formed coalition government led by the anti-immigrant, far-right Sweden Democrats party, which emerged out of Sweden’s neo-Nazi movement. Far-right French politician Marine Le Pen’s party hailed Meloni’s strong showing as a lesson in humility to the European Union. Meloni has vowed to shift the EU’s politics sharply to the right.

The pan-European progressive movement, co-founded by former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, said in a statement on the Italian election, quote, “Italians must now repeat what their ancestors once did: defeat fascism. But not for the return of the politics-as-usual that brought the fascists to power in the first place,” he said.

Meloni is somebody who was a hardcore neofascist, who was in the — at 15, she joined the party that was founded right after Benito Mussolini’s original party was banned in 1945. And this become the fourth-largest party, the neofascist party, called the Italian Social Movement. And she was not only a militant, she became by the ’90s the head of its student organization.

And the flame — if you look at the logo of her party, called Brothers of Italy today, which was founded in 2012, she insisted on keeping a tricolor flame in the logo. And that is

— source | Sep 26, 2022

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Israel and the Rise of Jewish Fascism

Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposed coalition government of Jewish extremists, fanatic Zionists and religious bigots represents a seismic change in Israel, one that will exacerbate Israel’s pariah status, erode external support for Israel, fuel a third Palestinian uprising, or intifada, and create irreconcilable political divides within the Jewish state.  

Alon Pinkas, writing in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, calls the coalition government, scheduled to take power in one or two weeks, “a kakistocracy extraordinaire: government by the worst and least suitable collection of ultranationalists, Jewish supremacists, anti-democrats, racists, bigots, homophobes, misogynists, corrupt and allegedly corrupt politicians. A ruling coalition of 64 lawmakers, of whom 32 are either ultra-Orthodox or religious Zionist. Certainly not a coalition Zeev Jabotinsky, the father of Revisionist Zionism, or Menachem Begin, the founder of Likud, could have ever imagined.” 

Itamar Ben-Gvir, from the ultra-nationalist Otzma Yehudit, “Jewish Power,” party, will be the new minister for internal security. Otzma Yehudit is populated with members of Rabbi

— source | Chris Hedges | Dec 11, 2022

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Neoliberalism’s Dark Path to Fascism

Neoliberalism as economic theory was always an absurdity. It had as much validity as past ruling ideologies such as the divine right of kings and fascism’s belief in the Übermensch. None of its vaunted promises were even remotely possible. Concentrating wealth in the hands of a global oligarchic elite—eight families now hold as much wealth as 50 percent of the world’s population—while demolishing government controls and regulations always creates massive income inequality and monopoly power, fuels political extremism and destroys democracy. You do not need to slog through the 577 pages of Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” to figure this out. But economic rationality was never the point. The point was the restoration of class power.

As a ruling ideology, neoliberalism was a brilliant success. Starting in the 1970s, its Keynesian mainstream critics were pushed out of academia, state institutions and financial organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank and shut out of the media. Compliant courtiers and intellectual poseurs such as Milton Friedman were groomed in places such as the University of Chicago and given prominent platforms and lavish corporate funding. They disseminated the official mantra of fringe, discredited economic theories popularized by Friedrich Hayek and the third-rate writer Ayn Rand. Once we knelt before the dictates of the marketplace and lifted government regulations, slashed taxes for the rich, permitted the flow of money across borders, destroyed unions and signed trade deals that sent jobs to sweatshops in China, the world would be a

— source | Chris Hedges | Nov 26, 2018

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Fascist’s Use of Violence to Keep Trump in Office

On Tuesday, prosecutors played for the jury an audio recording of a meeting held by the Oath Keepers after the 2020 election where Rhodes talked about bringing weapons to Washington, D.C., to help Donald Trump stay in power. In the recording, Rhodes is heard saying, “We’re not getting out of this without a fight. There’s going to be a fight.” Rhodes also talked about keeping some members of the group outside the city who could provide backup support. He’s heard saying, quote, “I do want some Oath Keepers to stay on the outside and to stay fully armed and prepared to go in if they have to.”

So, I think one of the major objectives of this trial is really to expose those militant organizations and groups and movements that are really trying to undermine American democracy. And I think the trials provide in detail a lot of specifics about how they try to mobilize the poor, how they try to gather resources, how they were trying really to engage in actual plans to disrupt the transfer of power. And we’re talking about substantial groups. And one of the more concerning characteristics of those groups is their ability to recruit substantial numbers of military personnel, active-duty, former veterans, and as well as members of law enforcement.

I think what’s really distinguished the Oath Keepers from other movements is their focusing on the recruitment of law enforcement and military personnel. This is — provide them

— source | Oct 05, 2022

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Existential Threat to Future of Democracy

President Biden gave a primetime speech Thursday night warning Donald Trump and his MAGA supporters are threatening the foundations of the republic. Biden spoke in Philadelphia in front of Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were debated and signed.

My overall response is that this was the most important speech of President Joe Biden’s political career, and it was a wake-up call to the nation, and particularly to the mainstream media, in the nick of time. He was absolutely right, in my opinion, that the Trump wing of the party and the MAGA Republicans have jumped the rails of constitutional democracy, of the factual universe and of representative democracy. You cannot have a democracy in which one party does not accept the legitimacy of the other party’s candidates, elected officials and the outcomes of elections. But that is where we have come with Donald Trump and the MAGA faction since they first questioned the legitimacy of President Obama’s election and denied that he had been born in America. That was the start of all that has ensued since. And it’s really important that President Biden called that out for the nation.

— source | Sep 02, 2022

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Oath Keepers sedition trial could reveal new info about Jan. 6 plotting

Five members of the extremist group Oath Keepers, including leader Stewart Rhodes, face trial for seditious conspiracy next week, in which U.S. prosecutors will try to convince jurors that Rhodes’s call for an armed “civil war” to keep Donald Trump in power on Jan. 6, 2021, was literal — and criminal.

Starting with jury selection Tuesday and opening statements as early as Thursday, Rhodes’s trial could reveal new information about the quest to subvert the 2020 presidential election results, as prosecutors continue to probe Trump’s conduct and that of his inner circle.

Prosecutors’ challenge will be to prove that Rhodes, one of the most visible figures of the far-right anti-government movement, and his group intentionally conspired to use force to prevent President Biden’s swearing-in. Whether the government tips its hand in court about the Oath Keepers’ ties to other political figures, the trial is an important step in the wider probe, analysts said.

Investigators continue to ask cooperating members of the Oath Keepers who have pleaded guilty about their knowledge of any coordination with others, according to defense

— source | Spencer Hsu, Rachel Weiner, Tom Jackman | Sep 24, 2022

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Proud Boys memo reveals meticulous planning for ‘street-level violence’

The document is so dowdy and formal it resembles the annual minutes of a society of tax accountants. Its index lists sections on “objectives” and “rules of engagement” and carries an “addendum” that provides recommendations for hotels and parking.

On the cover, two words give a clue to the notoriety of the group that produced it: “MAGA” and “WARNING”. That and the date: 5 January 2021, the day before the US Capitol attack.

What goes unsaid on the cover and is barely mentioned throughout the 23 pages is that this is the work of one of the most violent political gangs in America, the far-right street fighters told by Donald Trump to “stand back and stand by”: the Proud Boys.

The document, published by the Guardian for the first time, gives a very rare insight into the meticulous planning that goes into events staged by the far-right club.

The document was obtained from a Proud Boys member by the extremism reporter Andy Campbell as he researched his new book, We Are Proud Boys: How a Right-Wing Street Gang Ushered

— source | Ed Pilkington | 20 Sep 2022

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