Human Rights

America May Be Galloping Toward Authoritarian Neo-Fascism

This past week Trump made a ton of alarming suggestions.

An undated portrait of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. One of Thailand's most prestigious universities has apologised after students created a large mural depicting Hitler among a host of comic book superheroes during graduation celebrations.

This past week Trump made a ton of alarming suggestions in furtherance of his white working class culture war against his critics and the media — and that was the suggestion that the broadcast licenses of NBC and the Networks could be pulled because they reported stories the didn’t like.

With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!

--Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2017

Blatant attacks on journalism, not just for making an occasional mistake but of being politically biased and publishing reports as enemies against the public good have long been a strategy of bullies, authoritarian, tyrants and fascists, including for example Stalin — or so claims Nikita Kruchev’s granddaughter about Trump.

Nina Kruscheva, an international affairs professor at New York’s The New School and granddaughter of Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev, has drawn parallels between President Donald Trump and the USSR’s Joseph Stalin.

“Here, President Trump defined ‘fake news’ the way Joseph Stalin defined ‘enemies of the people’: if they offer a slightest objection to his rule they must be wrong,” Kruscheva told the Washington Examiner. “And they must be silenced.”

There are times when you really should listen to people who really should know what they’re talking about as they warn you of impending doom. I suspect this is one of those times.

And Khruscheva isn’t alone — Black feminist and Rutgers University professor Dr Brittany Cooper argues that with his attacks on the media and Pence’s attacks on the free speech protests by NFL players Trump is preserving the doctrine of white supremacy and fascism....

“They keep on mischaracterizing the protests,” she said. “Our flag and our constitution stand for the right of citizens to protest when they’re being led by oppressive governments. That is how the Americas were created, as form of dissent against the British government and citizens in this country who are vulnerable have the right to take the knee. What is even more appalling is that the president won’t stand up against white supremacists because as Jemele Hill said many weeks ago he’s a white supremacist himself.”

“I think we should simply say that. I think his record of rhetoric and policy bears that out,” she said. “When the president does not defend the right of all citizens to express their views in whatever form they have, then what we are on is the path to fascism and everyone should be enraged. I certainly am.”

Although Trump may not be able to fully implement his threat against NBC since they aren’t licensed by the FCC — because each of their individual 28 stations are licensed individually— and he may not be able to implement his threat to take away the NFL’s tax breaks since they already gave those up two years ago, all of this continues to show a trend of attempting to use the powers of the government to specifically silence lawful, peaceful dissent, commentary and opposition.

Trump has said that the NFL should have suspended Kaepernick when he first protested (they actually didn’t even notice until the third time) but there are limits of course as a Texas Labor Union has hit back at Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones threat to bench protesting players charging that his bullying of players violates the National Labor Relations Act.  Meanwhile Sen. Ben Sasse has asked Trump if he has renounced his oath of office due to his continued attacks on the 1st Amendment?

Perhaps he has.

This is in addition to implied threats and not that tacit endorsement of attacks against CNN when he repeatedly retweeted White supremacist memes of violence against them.

President Donald Trump retweeted an image of a "Trump train" running over a figure with its head replaced by the CNN logo, just three days after the death of Heather Heyer at a counterprotest against a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Trump deleted the retweet within minutes, which appeared to suggest that he knew the image was insensitive in nature after the vehicle-ramming attack in Virginia. Users shared screenshots of the tweet by a user that read, "Nothing can stop the #TrumpTrain!!"

Which was after Trump had tweet the image of himself in a WWE smackdown of CNN, which led to further attacks on the Network and it’s journalist, staff and their families personal contact information being released to the public  by neo-Nazi hackersand even more violent video memes being released against them such as this one. 

 

“Just like CNN tracked down this child and used media exposure as a bludgeon against him for posting (truthful and funny) things that they don’t like, we are going to begin tracking down their families as a bludgeon against them for publishing (seditiously fraudulent) things that we don’t like,” Auernheimer wrote. “CNN, this is your one singular chance to walk back this behavior of public blackmail. You have one week to fix this.”

As published on 4chan, Aurnheimer’s demands of CNN include “the public firing of the KFile team, a denouncement of their alleged threats, a $50,000 college scholarship for HanAssholeSolo, and a public assurance that ‘he and his family will never be harmed by your organization.'”

In addition to the going after sitting U.S. Senators from his own party, NFL players, members of the media, or single town Mayors who criticize them as being biased by partisanship the Trump administration is going after individual citizens who have protested against them by issuing subpoenas against Facebook groups that organized anti-Trump protests.

A civil rights group has launched a bid to prevent White House lawyers from obtaining private data of possibly thousands of Facebook users via search warrants linked to anti-Trump protests.

The government-issued warrants, initially served to the social media giant in February just after US President Donald Trump’s inauguration, pinpoint three specific users whose lawyers say are considered activists critical of the current administration.

One of the users operated a “DisruptJ20” Facebook page for discussion of Inauguration Day protests that was visited by some 6,000 users—whose identities would be available to the government if Facebook abides by the warrants.

There is little doubt that once the White House gains access to this data, these people will be doxed just as was the staff at CNN and their families so they may be individually targeted for harassment and threats.  Then perhaps they may be branded as “Terrorists” — as Homeland Security has already begun to brand the actions of Antifa.

According to Politico, interviews showed federal authorities really became cognizant of the antifa amid the rise of Donald Trump, and law enforcement officials have claimed Trump’s rhetoric and policies helped catalyze left-wing extremism in the U.S.

One senior law enforcement official reportedly stated, “It was in that period [as the Trump campaign emerged] that we really became aware of them. These antifa guys were showing up with weapons, shields and bike helmets and just beating the shit out of people.... They’re using Molotov cocktails, they’re starting fires, they’re throwing bombs and smashing windows.”

Some argument has been made by people such as Van Jones that Antifa members don’t always seem out to implement random violence but instead have acted the direct self defense of people being assaulted by neo-Nazi’s.

Jones: I got a chance to talk to some of the people who were there including some who are quite well known people, and they said that had it not been for the anti-Fascist counter protestors more people might have been killed.  I think that Antifa has a very bad PR problem now.  I don’t know, they should just call themselves “Anti-Fascist”, everybody in the world is Anti-Fascist.

A false arrest warrant was even issued for Charlottesville neo-Nazi beating victim Deandre Harris after the person who started the melee claimed Harris “wounded” him when in reality he was punched by a completely different individual after he tried to impale someone with his Confederate flag. All Deandre tried to do was defend the person he was attacking with a flashlight until he was swarmed and beaten himself.

So the media is being attacked and threatened for speaking out.  Private companies are being threatened by government sanctions unless they force their employees to not speak out.  Private citizens are being hunted down for protesting, people defending themselves against the actions of known terrorist groups are themselves being labelled “terrorists”, victims who’ve had their skull split open are wrongfully accused of violence for their own efforts of self-defense but the Trump administration is only interested in complaining that the “free speech” of blatant bigots like Ann Coulter, Richard Spencer and former Breitbart scribe Milo Yiannopoulos are being “restricted.”

Despite some of the limitation of options that Trump actually has to fully deploy government forces against his political enemies — which would be a direct violation of the 1st Amendment, the Hatch Act as well as Ethics rules as was Huckabee-Sanders suggestion that Jemele Hill should be fired by ESPN, and Trump’s gloating when she was ultimately suspended for continuing to support the anthem protests — there is a growing atmosphere created where this suppression and neo-fascism becomes normalized, expected and internalized.  

The goal his is to create a chilling effect, even without actually dropping the hammer of government down upon all their targets, simply continuing to apply pressure can sometimes will move them all on their own as the NFL has begun to by Commissioner Goodell declaring that “players should stand” during the anthem. 

Concerned about backlash from fans, Goodell sent a letter Tuesday to all 32 team owners asking them to support a plan to “move past this controversy” and ensure that players stand during the anthem “to honor our flag and our country.”

Goodell’s letter was leaked publicly just hours after Trump again had taken to Twitter to bash the nation’s most profitable sports league for “disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country” and threaten to revoke its tax breaks, which a White House aide later defined as public subsidies for sports stadiums.

And you can see how this theme becomes a drumbeat as it repeated — obviously — on Fox and Friends where former Bears Coach Mike Ditka says he doesn’t know of any “oppression in America for the last 100 years” and that protestors should “go play football in another country” prompting host Ainsley Eardhart to complain that “too many people have died” for NFL players to protest and she just wants her “pizza and popcorn.”

 

This whole thing couldn’t be more of a mess,” Kilmeade opined. “This is going to set up an unbelievable lose-lose situation.”

Earhardt replied: “It’s interesting, though, the people that are fighting because the division in our country, are dividing the country! Football will never be the same. I just want to turn on the TV and watch a game, you know? And eat popcorn and pizza.”

“Listen,” she added, “I think, if you have a problem with the country, protest, do whatever you want, do it peacefully. You can take a knee, just don’t do it during the national anthem. Too many people have died for this country.”

Yes, but when they kneel before the anthem they still get booed.  When high school students including players and cheerleaders have raised a fist without kneeling they get booed and death threats, or have been kicked off the field during the pre-game, called the N-word and have rocks thrown at them, called “anti-American degenerates” and some people have already been fired for it even when they aren’t even on the field.

So apparently there really isn’t a place where you can “do whatever you want” even peacefully.

And It’s funny that she said that about “people dying” because my diary from last week actually contrasted the body count of Americans and soldiers killed by terrorists since 9/11 and those killed by police.  It was not even a close contest no matter which way you slice it as I show in this extended excerpt.

With an average of 1,900 people killed annually since 2001 [according to the latest estimates from the BJS], that would be 32,200 Americans who’ve died at the hands of police during that period. That is more than five times the combined number of soldiers (6,687) we’ve lost both in the Iraq war (4,491) and the war in Afghanistan (2,396). Even if you take the FBI’s fairly low numbers of “justifiable homicides” by police, you still end up with 7,480 people killed by police since 2001, which is still more than all the soldiers we lost.

Let’s say just for the sake of discussion we only include the 1,216 “homicides” (64 percent of the 1,900 from the BJS estimate) by police per year, excluding the accidents and suicides (which for some reason both ex-sheriffs Arpaio and Clark seemed to pile up by the hundreds) and contrast that not only with battlefield losses, but also all the people we lost on 9/11 both in New York and Washington. Adding another 2,996 deaths, that brings fatalities from al-Qaida, the Taliban, and ISIS combined to 9,683, while those killed by police homicide remain at 20,624, which is still two times greater.

...

[T]he job of being a police officer isn’t even among the top 10 most dangerous jobs in America, with an average of 19 fatalities per 100,000 officers. That rate lags behind logging workers (116 fatalities per 100,000), commercial fishermen (91 fatalities per 100,000), aircraft pilots and flight engineers (71 per 100,000), and farmers and ranchers (41 per 100,000). The total number of police fatalities averages around 130 deaths.

However, the majority of police fatalities are from accidents and other events, not felonious assaults or homicide by the public, which is closer to 40-50 deaths per year or a rate of 5.33 fatalities per 100,000. That’s slightly lower than the overall U.S cities homicide rate of 5.80 per 100,000, so the average cop really isn’t in any more danger of being murdered than the average citizen.

Contrast that with the above numbers of unarmed people killed by police, based on estimates generated by the Guardian (~20% of 20,624 estimated BJS police homicides) and most of them likely did not present any genuine danger to the officers or the public (like Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, John Crawford, Sam Dubose, or Michael Brown). That brings us to about 4,124 unarmed people killed by police since 2001, while police themselves suffered an average or 40-50 homicides per year (totaling about 764) during the same time frame. That means police killed five times as many unarmed citizens than the number of their own ranks who are murdered by the legitimate “bad guys” within the public.

So, yes a lot of people have died, but far more of them have been American citizens killed by police than either U.S. soldiers or police themselves.  And an unacceptably high percentage of those have been unarmed, and also black.  

That’s been the entire point of all these protests, but in the end the threat that Trump is presenting and building isn’t just to the ability to protest, but simply being able to access information that Trump doesn’t like and pushing more and more of the media that everyone listens to into becoming more and more like the state supporting partisan propaganda of Breitbart News as described here by their former spokesman Kurt Bardella.

 

Bardella: [The Mercers via Beitbart] create this self-sustaining echo chamber where they can go from crazy on the fringe conspiracy theory to putting it on the pages of Breitbart to reaching the [POTUS.]  I mean, one of the most terrifying anecdotes so far in the new Kelly regime at the White House is Trump demanding “Where’s my Breitbart news?”  Think about that, the Commander in Chief wants to get his news from platforms that are basically self-sustaining propaganda machines. It’s terrifying.

In additional to Fox and Breitbart there’s also the shoving of partisan news segments by former Trump advisor Boris Ephsteyn into the over 170 stations owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group who in this segment rationalizes the shutdown of the on camera press briefings that occurred just before Sean Spicer was ultimately fired and replaced by his deputy Sarah Huckabee-Sanders.

 

Nowhere in the segment does Epshteyn explain how canceling on-camera press conferences will improve the flow of facts from the Oval Office to the populace. In the meantime, spouting off on TV seems to suit Epshteyn just fine. The former special assistant to President Trump hosts the 90-to-120-second program “Bottom Line With Boris,” which as of last week has been scheduled to run eight or nine times a week on Sinclair’s 173 local TV stations in 81 markets. As the Baltimore Sun points out, Epshteyn will dispense cheerful propaganda on the local news for roughly 13½ minutes each day—nearly a quarter-hour of Trump-friendly agitprop, disseminated to more than 2.2 million U.S. households by a right-leaning company worth close to $40 billion.

Despite Trump’s claims that he only wants “Equal time” the fact is that every mainstream station already covers every second of his public events and Press conferences wire-to-wire, and his pet trolls are constantly embedded in almost every broadcast with straight up Trump fluffing propaganda, as opposed to Breitbart, Fox News and Ephsteyn’s segments on SBG — the modern day American Pravdas, who often repost and link to Russian state propaganda coming from Sputnik News and RT —   which is exactly how Trump would like our media to be, telling hisstory his way.

And only telling that story, if he ever manages to have things they way he would like.  Once we lose the ability to speak freely, we lose the ability to think freely and to effectively self-govern just like how thing’s have become in Trump’s favorite country -— Putin’s Russia.

 
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