Posts Tagged fascism
By Dan Rather
“Cruel and unusual,” the phrase rings in my head as I read the press reports of President Donald Trump’s proposed budget.
But to even talk about it as a budget is to miss the point. It is not a budget. It is a philosophy, and one that may come as a surprise to many of the people who voted for Mr. Trump. They will hurt in real ways. Meanwhile it confirms the worst existential fears of those who see his presidency as a threat to the very being of the United States they know and love.
This is a man who made a lot of promises on the campaign about helping those struggling in society, about leading the United States to greatness in such things as fighting disease. If anyone had any doubt about the hollowness of his words, this philosophy is all the evidence one would need.
This is a philosophy that doesn’t believe in helping the poor, rural or urban, or the power of diplomacy or the importance of science. It is a philosophy that doesn’t want to protect the environment. It doesn’t believe in the arts. This is about putting a noose around much of the United States federal government and hanging it until it shakes with life no more. In the name of reining in waste, it rains pain and suffering amongst the Americans who already are the most vulnerable. It must be remarked that many of these programs are really small budget items in the greater scheme of things, rounding errors in the federal budget. The purpose is to send a message, not to save money.
Rather than investing in what truly will make America great, this philosophy pounds its chest with false bravado. People will die because of this budget. People will suffer. Diseases will spread, and cures will not be found (really? slash science research?) Our nation will be darker and more dangerous. You know it’s a philosophy because the budget has few details really in it. And here is where I see its saving grace.
This philosophy is not the United States I think a majority of Americans would recognize. I believe that we are not so cruel, so shortsighted, so dark. It’s easy to rail against the federal government on the campaign stump, but cutting programs that people rely on, that is the kind of thing that can break through the fake news into reality very soon. We have already seen the mess that has become of the health care efforts.
This philosophy is no longer theoretical and it will be a rallying cry for a reverse philosophy. Those who champion an empathetic America, an America prepared for the challenges of the modern world, will have plenty of evidence to point to. Mr. Trump has already put many Republicans in Congress on a defensive footing, on Russia and on healthcare. Wait until the constituents start calling about how they won’t be able to heat their homes in the winter or the agricultural programs that were slashed.
“The administration’s budget isn’t going to be the budget,” Senator Marco Rubio told the Washington Post. “We do the budget here. The administration makes recommendations, but Congress does budgets.” You can expect to hear a lot more of that kind of rhetoric.
Mr. Trump’s philosophy is an opening salvo in a battle for the soul of America that is only beginning. This will be a battle fought trench by trench. But I think it is winnable and America will reconfirm a governing philosophy that is hopeful, compassionate, and wise about the role of government in making our world a safer, fairer, and more just place to live.”
Everytime Fascist-In-Chief Trump refers to refugees or immigrants for that matter, he calls them bad, evil people who must be stopped.
Every single tweet! Every single speech.
All refugees are bad people and terrorists.
In reality, of course, these are families escaping war and violence (most of it which we created) and who have lost everything. These are the most vulnerable human beings that he is going after.
It is absolutely appalling, but also sadly and effective and time-honored practice by all tyrants.
Notice how there is a remarkable similarity between the treatment of Muslims today and the treatment of Jews in Germany in the 30s It is obviously the case that the point of the Muslim ban is to instruct Americans that Muslims are an enemy: a small, well-assimilated minority that we are supposed to see not as our neighbors or as fellow citizens but as elements of an international threat that needs to be contained and quashed in order to keep Americans safe. More than that, Trump’s policy is a provocation and distraction. It is meant to provoke and instigate fear and hate while at the same time distracting us from the real criminals we all need to be afraid of, namely him an his administration.
But the Third Reich is only one example. History, especially our own, is rife with this kind of dog whistle/provoke and distract politics. And it always plays out the same.
Remember in 1971, when Richard Nixon pronounced drugs to be “public enemy number one”? That was an odd choice, to put it mildly, in a nation wrecked by poverty, racial tension, injustice, civil strife, ecological disaster, corporate domination, a hated Vietnam War and much more.
Similarity, it seems rather odd – at least to a decent person astutely aware of the realities of our times – that Fuehrer Trump and Republicans are choosing to focus on illegal immigration when there are hundreds of other things that should take precedence given our state of affairs. After all, immigrants didn’t cause the problems of this nation, but they are the easiest targets to malign and bully and vilify, just as all poor people who have nothing are.
Nixon’s war on drugs was never about drugs but about the Drug War’s primary targets: Blacks and young voters. Once the Vietnam war was over, the “war on drugs” focused on destroying the lives of people of color and poor whites and those very people were scapegoated for ills they never even caused in the first place while those very criminals that caused those ills were running the show, writing policy and in the process scapegoating the victims, the targets of those sinister policies.
In an article in Harper’s Magazine, author Dan Baum reveals that in reviewing notes of his conversation with John Ehrlichman, who had served as Nixon’s domestic policy advisory, Baum came across a bombshell admission from Nixon’s senior adviser.
Ehrlichman conceded that, in his own words:
“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. […] We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
It is eerily similar to what is happening now. The anti Muslim/refugee propaganda, much like the war on drugs, is designed as a tool to win votes. It has never been, and never will be, about the safety of Americans and all that other jingoistic bullshit our fascist administration will have you believe, just as the war on drugs was never about drugs and keeping Americans safe, but about the exploitation of racial resentment and fear for political gain and power.
As such, it has succeeded more than any other political scheme of the last half of the twentieth century and this is the exact same route Trump is taking this nation on once again.
I want to point out that anti-immigrant sentiments and deportations have been huge under Obama. ICE itself keeps public data on who it removed from the country during the Obama years. Even as it got better at focusing on convicted criminals, a very substantial number were noncriminals. In Fiscal Year 2015, 139,368 convicted criminals were removed by ICE; the same year, 96,045 noncriminals were removed.
That’s just the ICE deportations, which are focused on the interior of the country. Elliot Young, a history professor at Lewis & Clark College who studies immigration, tallied the numbers using government data that includes deportations by the Border Patrol and other agencies that do removals closer to the border. He concluded that 56 percent of immigrants who were removed from the country between 2009 and 2015 were noncriminals.
“Obama was more believable than Trump and it wasn’t true when he said it,” Young said of both presidents’ supposed focus on criminals. Even if the government is truly trying to target criminals, “the reality on the ground is that they are picking up lots of people who either don’t have any criminal convictions or they have low level misdemeanors or have crossed the border more than once and have been deported which then becomes a criminal offense.”
And the Trump administration has already expanded its focus beyond criminals. In the executive order he signed on January 25, Trump laid out “enforcement priorities” for removals by the Department of Homeland Security that include immigrants who have “committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense” or who have “abused any program related to receipt of public benefits.” These immigrants have the exact same priority as those who have been charged for criminal offenses.
The ACLU’s Joanne Lin explained that the executive order basically makes all undocumented immigrants a “priority” for removal. “So, like, jaywalking, have you ever driven without your wallet because you left your wallet at home? That begs the question whether any of us could actually meet that standard, in all candor,” she said.
“Because it doesn’t say that you’ve been arrested, you’ve been charged, you’ve been booked, it just says you ‘committed,’” she said. “It’s very wide berth. It’s written that way because under this administration they want every undocumented immigrant to be a potential priority.”
In fact, under Obama’s watch a record number of people have been deported out of the country. As of 2015, more than 2.5 million undocumented people had been deported by immigration authorities since President Obama took office in 2009, a total which is record-setting. During the two terms of his predecessor, President George W. Bush, just over 2 million people were deported.
Stating that they are only doing it to criminals is nothing but a manipulative tool designed to get the masses behind this callous and inhumane undertaking, becasue when you say you are doing it to criminals, images of dark and brown men with knives raping and murdering and stealing from the precious white man are conjured up in peoples’ minds and they begin to wonder if maybe there isn’t some value to ridding the country of these dark elements. After all, who wants rapists and sinister criminals in their midst.
But nothing could be further from the truth and the targets of deportation and anti immigrant policy are not the evil people our administration will have you believe.
The only criminals in this country harming Americans aand posing a threat to their health and safety as well as security are Fuehrer Trump and his white supremacist, fascist administration of billionaires and bigots. And dog whistling about minorities, refugees and the poor and scapegoating them is a time honored tradition among authoritarians and charlatans such as him and his administration.
Having no inhibitions to benefit from a tragedy, such as the shooting in Colorado last night that left 12 people dead and more than fifty wounded, Representative Louie Gohmert from Texas used this opportunity to push his agenda of gun wielding religiosity on everyone by stating that the shootings were a result of “ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs.”
“You know what really gets me, as a Christian, is to see the ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs, and then some senseless crazy act of a derelict takes place,” Gohmert said.
He also questioned why nobody else in the theater had a gun to take down the shooter:
“It does make me wonder, with all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying a gun that could have stopped this guy more quickly?”
He went on to say that “some of us happen to believe that when our founders talked about guarding our virtue and freedom, that that was important. Whether it’s John Adams saying our Constitution was made only for moral and religious people … Ben Franklin, only a virtuous people are capable of freedom, as nations become corrupt and vicious they have more need of masters. We have been at war with the very pillars, the very foundation of this country.”
He concluded that the shooting in Colorado was a “a terrorist act” that could have been avoided if the country placed a higher value on God.
Did I miss something? Was there a part omitted in the Bible that says “And the Christ did whippeth out his gat and did just righteously blow Judas awayeth”?
If a loving, forgiving Christian with a gun would have stood up and blown him away with the all loving god guiding the bullet through his Kevlar, that would have been divine intervention? Really?
Religious people never fail to amaze me with their capacity for unsurpassed, shameless hypocrisy. Especially in this country, I have never encountered such a truly callous group of cowards. In my opinion, evangelical Christians are just about the worst human kind has to offer.
The Founding Fathers did not say that we ought to protect our freedoms as laid out in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence with guns and violence. If they wanted people to walk around armed to the teeth, they didn’t need to write the Constitution of the people, by the people, for the people; they could have just declared martial law.
Secondly, one does not guarantee and secure the kinds of freedoms the Founders talked about with guns and violence. That was the whole point of the revolution and of walking away from the yokes of tyranny and oppression in Europe. America is an idea, a dream, a vision and it never included gun wielding jingoists with nervous trigger fingers running the country.
Moreover, Jesus never advocated violence: he was a peaceful man who believed in forgiveness and turning the other cheek. He did not believe or even preach in walking around with deadly weapons to take down opponents and threats. I am stunned this man claims to be a Christian since there is nothing Christ like in anything he utters.
Finally, does he or anyone really think that if everyone in that dark room had a gun, the outcome would have been better? It would have been a shoot-out of epic proportions with lots of innocents in the cross-fire, and the perpetrator probably would have been missed.
It is also ironic that he would say that more god in everyone’s life would have prevented such a tragedy, generally leading to a peaceful society, when in fact more people have died in the name of religion, with Judeo-Christianity taking a lead, than in the name of any other ideology. From the Crusades, to chasing of “heretics”, witch hunting and burning, religious wars for the past two thousand years, antisemitism, the killing of Native peoples, to various events in the twentieth and twenty first century, including the massacre in Rwanda, the occupation of Palestine, 9/11 and suicide bombers. This is in addition to policies enacted (covert violence as opposed to overt violence) that are informed primarily by religious doctrine, such as halting stem cell research that could save millions of lives, to defunding of Planned Parenthood whose primary work consists of disease prevention and health screenings and not, as the religious Right has been telling, abortion. For Gohmert to say that more god and religion would be better for everyone is beyond ignorant and intellectually comatose.
America: A Culture Obsessed with Violence
The truth is that America has an infatuation, an obsession, a fascination with violence, the culture of violence, the instruments of violence and war; all to to a degree that vastly exceeds that of any other developed country; actually any country. We love executing, we love going to wars, the DOD is overfunded, our gut reaction to any international incidence is bomb them to the ground, ask questions later. That is why on one talks about guns being bad. This is something not even Obama dared to tackle. And why? Because it is off limits, a taboo. God forbid, pun not intended, anyone limits the ability of Americans to own an arsenal of weapons and ammu to defend “freedom.”
Ironically, those Americans who are the most vocal “Christians” are the ones who have the greatest infatuation and obsession with the aforementioned. And Louis Gohmert believes that embracing this American Christian culture of violence worship will prevent massacres like this?
I say, fuck you Representative Gohmert. I’m not a Christian or religious so your comments mean absolutely nothing to me you political hack. Stop trying to profit from this tragedy by once again infesting the public with your backwards religious, “Judeo-Christian” beliefs – which you shouldn’t be doing anyway because your bony, bigot ass is paid for by tax payer dollars.
And for those of you who are unfortunate enough to be religious or Christian, I say: if you believe in a god, know that he’s telling you to stay the hell away from people like Gohmert. He supports guns, guns, and more guns. There is nothing intelligent, divine or Christ-like in what this guy says. He is part of the problem. There always has been and will always be the mentally ill who will murderously go off the deep end with little or no warning. The question is why does this society make it easier for them to accumulate an assault weapon arsenal than to own a car and get a drivers license. If that’s the way we want it, then this is what will, from time to time, happen.
Everytime I think it is impossible for the Republican Party and their spokes-whores to degrade themselves and those they offend any more, something like this happens, reaffirming my notion that there are no holes deep enough these sanctimonious right wing nut jobs won’t sink into.
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh sunk below the deepest layer of prehistoric frog shit at the bottom of a New Jersey scum swamp when he, on Wednesday, called Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University law student, a “slut” and a “prostitute” for publicly advocating that employers cover contraception in their health plans.
Fluke’s testimony in the hearing was not, as Limbaugh claimed, about the fact that she’s “having so much sex she’s going broke buying contraceptives.” Fluke told the story of her friend who had an ovary removed because the insurance company wouldn’t cover the prescription birth control she needed to stop the growth of ovarian cysts.
Limbaugh concluded his vile rant by insisting that if his tax dollars go to provide health care to citizens, they should be forced to also make sex tapes to provide him with plenty of jerk-off material. I don’t even really want to repeat the despicable words that came out of his mouth, I am sure people can look it up everywhere.
Obama Calls – Republicans Reluctantly Follow Suit
President Obama ended up calling Fluke on Friday, thanking her for speaking out on the issue. Apparently cry baby John Boehner took a brief break from lying and also condemned the remarks. But at this point it seems more like an afterthought, like something he was compelled to do because the Republican PR machine advised him on this strategic move that would make Republicans appear less like barfinating biles of vomitous bigots. It is almost like he is checking off a pesky task from his to-do list so he can move on already and stop being bothered for apologizing for his beliefs. And I have no doubt that Boehner probably has more in common with Limbaugh than with Obama. They are all made of the same canvas.
What I don’t understand is why Obama did not make an official public announcement condemning what that worthless human being said and instead just sort of only called her up. Why not also publicly declare in a press conference that such behavior is unacceptable. I have never understood what virtue is to be found in being a doormat giving credence to hatred and bigtory. What is so heroic and classy about that?
Limbaugh, who has made a career and millions out of insulting people and spreading hatred, defamed this women in the worst possible way and those words of defamation reached all of his 20 million listeners, not to mention that he – together with fascists like Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman – have been the unofficial spokespeople for the Republican party, and in particular the Tea Party, for the past four years, setting the direction and tone of the debates and policies we are having right now.
This man is a driving force behind all the bigotry and hate Republicans have been cultivating like a malignancy and which has ultimately been translating into public policy; he is not some minor player whose words are inconsequential. It’s bad enough that there has not been much Republican criticism and rebuke of this, they have stayed mum on the issue more or less and only “condemned” it as sort of a pesky afterthought, like it was a chore to get over with; but it is just incomprehensible to me why Obama would not take his balls out of his wife’s purse and just make a public announcement already, stating firmly that as the President, he does not condone such behavior.
There is nothing honorable in staying really low-key and silent when you see injustice and hate against another human being. Limbaugh is a contemptible, sorry excuse for a human being and he should be fired for instigating and spewing such despicable hatred. This isn’t even an issue of free speech, this is pure, cold, unadulterated hate-speech and slut-shaming of a person who has had the unmitigated temerity to assert her right to participate in the public sphere.
Remember How We Thought We’d Have Flying Cars by Now?
Who would have thought that in 2012, basic contraception would be the major election issue.
There is a war going on against women and it is happening on all spheres and levels, subtle and overt, small and big, large scale and small scale.
A few days ago, in my review of the Season 2 episode of The Walking Dead, I recited the offensive nature with which women are and have been portrayed throughout the show, such as a bunch of incompetent bimbos and doormats incapable of tying a shoelace apparently without a big strong man around to guide and supervise them through it. In this very last episode, Lori, who I am going to nickname Michelle, based on her role model Michelle Duggar, was giving Andrea shit for basically possessing insufficient skills to be dude property and every woman on the show who has made her own decisions this far has ended up regretting it five minutes later.
A couple of weeks ago, the biggest doormat of them all, Michelle Duggar published her advise list on how to basically be a functioning doormat for your husband (the fact that women themselves advocate misogyny is disturbing and subject for another post).
And just last week the Virginia senate approved the ultra sound abortion bill, setting a precedent for other states to follow by requiring that a woman be probed with an ultra sound prior to getting an abortion, thus not only creating an unnecessary barrier between women and a lawful medical procedure but to also, in the finest tradition of oppression, humiliate a woman by patronizing her into taking a look inside, as if she didn’t know what she was doing and had to be sort of reminded.
Women are being knee-capped everywhere and all this is nothing but an underhanded attempt by men and religious people to shame and humiliate a woman into carrying a pregnancy they chose to abort, to term (remember how Rick shamed Lori into not getting rid of that baby from hell?).
Republicans piss and moan about government invasion into their lives and infringement upon their religious beliefs all the time, but they have no problem shoving their backwards religious beliefs, literally, up my vagina and uterus. It is like the King saying that the demands of his subjects for equity constitute an infringement upon his rights to oppress them.
Truth is that it in fact has been religious people and their beliefs that have been infesting the public sphere and public policy for decades now to unimaginable levels, such as defunding stem cell research that could provide a cure for a myriad of currently incurable diseases, insisting on school prayer and on teaching Creationism and Intelligent Design in public schools, infringing upon a woman’s right to choose what to do with her body and reproductive organs, prohibiting gay people from exercising their civil rights to get married and even going so far as to putting it on a ballot for others to vote on. The recent debates with respect to defunding Planned Parenthood, whose primary role is health promotion and disease prevention, and finding ever newer ways to shame and humiliate women at every turn they can, slowly eroding their rights, are just a couple of examples to the point.
Rick Santorum’s rant on how sex for any purpose other than procreation constitutes some kind of a moral problem in our society and Limbaugh’s recent slut-shaming of Sandra Fluke and calling on her to make a sex video for him already to give him his money’s worth (and Ari Fleischer’s shameless defending of Limbaugh in some sort of a “what’s the big deal?” way) are just the tip of the iceberg with respect to the kind of infestation of public policy we’ve had to endure at the hands of these self-proclaimed pious, god fearing people.
Liberals, atheists, feminists and gays are being constantly held responsible for the moral decay and all the ills of our society, when in fact it has been religious people and their beliefs that have caused a lot of grief for everyone. Until the devil makes himself known, we’re always a handy substitute and there certainly is nothing like an unembarrassed hypocrite from the Right.
I conclude this post by acknowledging that, of course, not all religious people are bigots. But if you are a bigot then chances are you are religious.