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Sunday, April 3, 2022

When Fascism Comes to America

 

“Before mass leaders seize the power to fit reality to their lies, their propaganda is marked by its extreme contempt for facts as such, for in their opinion fact depends entirely on the power of man who can fabricate it.”
Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism


Ukraine.

As we in America wake to pictures and reports of horrifying war crimes committed by Vladimir Putin's forces, innocents -- hands tied behind their backs -- lined up and executed, the bodies of children, women, men, thrown into ditches or left in the streets, I would remind you of this:

"Why do I care what is going on in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia? I'm serious. Why shouldn't I root for Russia? Which by the way I am."
-- Tucker Carlson, Fox News

"This is genius. Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine -- of Ukraine. Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that's wonderful."
-- Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States

"I'd say that's pretty smart. He's [Putin] taking over a country -- really a vast, vast location, a great piece of land with a lot of people, and just walking right in."
-- Donald. J. Trump

"I don't need a ride, give me ammunition. The fight is right here. But we also have neighbors to the north who need freedom and need to be liberated, and we need that right here at home as well."
-- Lauren Boebert, Congresswoman, 

I could go on all day, quoting various Americans who support the idea of genocide. 

But, I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader. 


Russia learned from the Nazi invasion of their own country. 


Oh, most certainly, they had already committed horrifying slaughters of their own, too many to name in the 1920s and 30s. As someone on my Twitter timeline noted: Hitler had nothing to teach Stalin. Russia already knew all there was to know about brutality. 

But when the Nazis invaded Russia, it gave Stalin justification for that Soviet brutality. 

Or perhaps validation is a better word. 

Whatever word you use, Russia carries that idea to this day, i.e. they were brutalized by their enemies and so any savagery on their part today is justified by that terrible history. 

That's why any appeal to humanity and the rules of war go unheeded by Vladimir Putin. 

Russia took the ruthless lesson of their brutal history to heart and it informs how they wage war: target the innocents, burn the hospitals, slaughter civilians, destroy the infrastructure, and thus reduce a nation's ability to fight back. You have only to look at the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to see the broad outlines of this doctrine. 

Trump, Carlson, et al look upon that brutality, that savagery, that ruthlessness, and they see exactly what Russia sees. 

Strength.

Power. 

And willingness to do whatever violence is necessary to achieve your goals. 


And the brutal means are justified by the idea that you yourself are the real victim of this violence. 


Trump, and far too many Americans, admire Vladimir Putin because they see themselves as victims just as Russia does. 

They see themselves as oppressed, put down, because the world is changing. 

They feel themselves diminished because others who have been traditionally marginalized in our history are now gaining rights and privileges and an unashamed place in our society. 

You have only to look to Fox News and OAN right now to see those who speak for this brutal Republican ideology, you can daily see them threatening similar violent revenge on Americans for a thousand imagined slights. 

See the comments of Ron DeSantis, Florida Republicans, Laura Ingraham, et al. and how they fully intend to use the power of their office to punish Disney over trans rights. 

Listen to the words of Donald Trump and who he admires. 

Listen to the MAGAs who support him: he says what we think!

Listen to Republican Congresswoman Lisa McClain speaking at a Trump Rally in Michigan yesterday when she declares that migrants crossing the border are all “terrorists, convicts, murderers and rapists.

Listen to Texas Republican Robert Foster: 

Some of y’all still want to try and find political compromise with those that want to groom our school aged children and pretend men are women, etc, I think they need to be lined up against a wall before a firing squad to be sent to an early judgment.”

That's how it starts.

You see yourself as a victim. 

You see The Other as terrorists, murderers, convicts, and rapists. 

You paint The Other as the worst possible thing you can think of, Satan worshipers, pedophiles, criminals, subhuman, the Enemy. 

You use that rhetoric, revenge, get even, and you tell those most privileged by your society that they are the real victims. 

And when you gain power, you use the mailed fist of government and the military to crush your opponents -- and to keep that power, you'll need to carry through on your promise. 

You'll have no choice but to actually line up those you hate against the wall and put a bullet in their heads. The mob who raised you up to power will accept nothing less than blood. 

That's where it starts. 


And it ends with the bodies of innocents shot in the head and dumped in a ditch.


You remember when Trump as President threatened to send the Army into Chicago? 

And Republicans cheered that idea? 

You remember when that same president sent goons dressed in unmarked military garb to Seattle to secretly arrest "ANTIFA" and "BLM?"

And Republicans cheered.

When he paraded tanks through our capital? 

And Republican cheered? 

Do you? 

It's all part of the same mindset, one that ends in war and genocide. 

We must not only stop what's happening in Ukraine, we must stop it before it happens here. 


For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power!
-- Joe Biden, 46th President of the United States







84 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I have never felt more solidarity with Israel and the hard choices it has had to make than I do now that I too live in a nation filled with violent terrorists who have vowed religious war against my country, who have vowed to destroy it completely, to the point where I can no longer go shopping or send my kid to school without wondering if today's the day that the sudden bombing or mass shooting will happen in my area.

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    2. Fascism rose in The USA when with Dicky Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” which lobbied “Dixiecrats” to join the GOP based upon their “conservativism” and pívot from their overt Rascism. Any concept of this happening died with Raygun, who announced his 2nd Pres run (1978?) in the town that “Mississippi Burning” occurred - the murder of whites who were organizing blacks in 1963. Dog Whistle to the Northern Racists and racist Dixiecrats who took over the GOP. “We will bring prosperity, honor, and strength (military but not diplomatic) to America.” All of which was bogus. Raised in the Party of Lincoln, I quit 6 years later and, as a protest, joined the Communist Party of the USA, just as it died. I can’t be a true democrat, even though my wife of 30 years has been since 18. I try to remain independent, until I find a party that is conservative in the manifesto of personal responsibility; being gratified for self-worth, of gaining employment and called to serve office, employment or political. The bottom point: Corporate-rat USA needs to encourage the employment of all citizens who wish to be productive to the national economy and earning a higher standard of living. Without individual prejudice, except internet influencers: they promote exceptional consumerism, which is lust of riches cloached in lust of flesh and environmental degradation with each cheesy dollar you buy. And yet we have famine and war playing out on the internal scene. God help us all.

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    3. Israel...as victim or aggressor?! I see them these days as aggressor, having been brutalized by the Nazis. It's a shame that brutality and genocide live on in the bones and blood of future generations so that they become the next brutalizers.

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  2. As always, you are spot on. More people need to read this. Thanks for writing for those of us who don't always have the words to express

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  3. Jim,

    I agree with your take about Trump and the GOP, but regretfully, that doesn't address the issue of the moment, which is the genocide going on in Ukraine.

    Yes... genocide.

    I was initially against a NATO escalation in Ukraine because I mistakenly believed that Russia would at the very least conduct itself as a combatant following the rules of war.

    I was wrong.

    Russia is showing that its leadership and armed forces are no better than barbarians. (I will leave it to others to decide whether to apply that to its citizenry in general).

    The genocide will continue until Russian forces are neutralized and completely pushed out of the Ukrainian homeland.

    I do not believe that the Ukrainian armed forces and its foreign volunteers have the combat ability to accomplish that on its own. I think NATO or the UN will need to get involved.

    Sadly, I do not believe that the Biden administration will get the public support it needs to lead in this area. I know that this is a decision that needs to be made by ALL NATO countries but frankly, if the US can't be counted on to commit, then NATO will not move in that direction.

    Americans are tired of war. I get that. We have finally pulled out of Afghanistan after 20 years.

    Americans are also afraid of nuclear escalation with Russia. I understand that fear as well.

    But... for decades after the genocide of the Jewish people during the 1940's, we have always said, "Never again."

    We are at that point (if not already past it) where we have to decide whether "Never again" is actually a commitment or a feel good phrase.

    I fear that too many will choose the latter.

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    1. We ARE supporting the Ukrainians in their fight. I listened to a reporter at a Ukrainian air base as freighter plane after plane was delivering tons of material.

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    2. So why allow it to happen in Yemen and Palastine?

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    3. Did you perhaps miss this part of Jim's excellent essay? "We must not only stop what's happening in Ukraine, we must stop it before it happens here."

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    4. "Never again" has already happened numerous times since 1945. Mainland China (with Mao, in Tibet, and now with the Uighers). Cambodia (Pol Pot and the killing fields). Rwanda. Ethiopia. Sudan. This is just the first time that I can think of since 1945 that white folk are being massacred.

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    5. As Beau of the 5th Column (rightly) argues, NATO stepping in at this point with boots on ground is likely to result in MORE civilian casualties.

      Ukraine is more than holding its own with the assistance given now (regardless of what you think). What they need at this point is MORE of the same - more handheld ordinance to take down planes, helicopters, and land vehicles. More of the same to give them the upper hand at the negotiating table.

      Sure, NATO stepping in directly might lead to a shorter conflict *in Ukraine*, but what is left of the country would likely be one giant graveyard. It's not going to be Operation Desert Shield with NATO rolling up the opposition in days/weeks, Russia would escalate horribly, even without involving nukes.

      Let Ukraine continue their successes. Give them the tools they need to continue to have them.

      And watch the fascists here in the US more carefully than ever.

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    6. Joe Biden already has the support of the American people. A plurality is happy with his efforts right now and another 30% or so say he should be going further.

      Trust us, nothing unites America like a chance to go in there and KILL'EM, kill 'em till they're dead.

      If this lasts through the Summer, the "October Surprise" that gives the Democrats a midterm landslide will be Biden's formation of a "coalition of the willing" to take back Crimea for Ukraine.

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    7. Shall we examine worst cases?

      If we keep doing what we do now, the worst is that Ukraine loses the war, occupation ensues, and Russia eventually pulls out after killing far too many people.
      If NATO joins this war, the worst case is a nuclear exchange.

      Mr Biden is unwilling to take that gamble, that Mr. Putin be sane enough to accept military defeat, even though that's liable to cost him his power (and probably his life, as well). I tend to agree.

      No, it is not just. It is, however, one of the realities of the nuclear age, and has been since 1949.

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    8. I totally agree. One must not gamble with nuclear war.

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    9. When one is asked to play Global Thermonuclear War, the only safe choice is...not to play.

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  4. Republicans are the greatest security threat this country has ever faced.

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  5. Exactly right. Hopefully, people are waking up to reality and realizing that we should be supporting Ukraine with everything short of direct intervention. At the same time here at home, maybe, just maybe, we can elect a few more sane people to elective office.

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  6. Foster is a Mississippi maggot, not a Texas turd. Someone still needs to "talk" to him.

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  7. IMHO, if Putin takes Ukraine, that will embolden China to try to take Taiwan and N Korea to try to take S Korea. Should that happen, I fear that while we, the intelligentsia,non-deplorables, are looking outside our borders, the doors will be opened to civil war in my beloved country.

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  8. Excellent piece and yes, exactly why we must care about what is happening.

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  9. I've never felt a post more solidly in my SOUL than I did this one. Spot on. SPOT ON.

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  10. I agree with you 110%. The LGBTQIA/2-Spirit communities have been in the crosshairs before, and we're here now. We know the history, and we know that what starts with us will not end with us. We stand for the humanity of us all. We'll stand with everyone targeted by these miserable bastards, precisely because we know what happens when someone is targeted. We will be stronger, more able to endure and survive and triumph if we hold together. The best time to stop this was five years ago, when Trump announced his presidential bid. The second best time to stop it is right now.

    As you so often say, Jim, if we want a better country, we have to be better citizens. Let's expand it: if we want a better world, we have to be better citizens of this world. Country by country, state by state, city by city. Democracy is a team sport that must always be intramural, participated in by all, with no one on the sidelines.

    So many of us feel the terrible urgency of our times. Watching the second season of _Star Trek: Picard_, I realize the creators and writers of that program feel it too, because they set the turning point in 2024. We still have time to turn this around. Not much, but maybe, if we're lucky, just enough.

    As the Rolling Stones song goes, "Get off the fence/It's creasing your butt."

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  11. I don’t remember when tfg send unmarked goons into Seattle to arrest and terrorize protesters, but as an Oregon resident I sure as fuck remember them in Portland. And sickened but unsurprised when the regressive media cheered it on or dismissed any concerns about it.

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  12. I'm always excited to see your posts. Thank you.

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  13. It's frightening how supporters of what is now the Republican party can't even see any of this while they believe they're all "patriots" trying to save the country.

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  14. Simply brilliant, as always, and spot on!!

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  15. I tried to explain this to old friends that still support the GOP. Their answer is always "both sides are bad". It's beyond infuriating.

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  16. Nothing but the facts. Of course, it doesn't fit the narrative of those abusing the notion of victimhood, theirs.
    The Dictatorship of the Proletariat was meant to justify the violence of the workers against their oppressors. The dictatorship of the fascism was meant to justify the violence against the liberals that took their freedom to inflict violence against "the others". Mussolini didn't teach anything to Stalin nor learned anything from Stalin. They already knew all about genocide from the European history from the 8th Century to the 19th century, and even before. They already knew all about genocide... from the Old Testament... What else they added to it... Nothing.

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  17. As a former Army medic, there are NONE of them prepared for casualties - their own included. And they will have some of their own. But not in the video game version, or the hoped for victory parade they believe will be theirs in the end. It is a pathetic revenge, whether here or in Ukraine.

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  18. History has shown us how these stories can end. Let’s all work for a better ending to this American story.

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  19. It is so frustrating the so many continue to support these views. I live in a rural area of the Midwest and I can tell you that crap from Foster would get a lot of support here. Immigrants are constantly vilified even though agribusiness around here would suffer without them.
    One point of info: I believe Foster is from Mississippi, not Texas.

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  20. So much truth in what you say. But how do we stop it? Appeal to the better side of human nature? It seems most people don't care as long as their lives don't get bothered. Is that what it takes? The world brought to the edge of collapse before people rise up and do what's best? I hope not.

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    1. That's exactly where I'm living too. What are we supposed to do????

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  21. “Stand back and stand by…”

    Military goons snatching random people off the streets of Portland, while the play-acting president tells white nationalists and other violent thugs to just wait their turn… and almost nothing has changed with regard to how our city is going to deal with any of that this year.

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  22. You are so right. This is why history, good or bad, is so very important. Thank you for reminding us.

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  23. Trump, Boebert, Ingraham, and Carlson should all go to Russia if they love Putin so much. I for one, would gladly help pay for their tickets.

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    1. There should be a rule: "Trump, Boebert, Ingraham, and Carlson should henceforth be paid only in rubles.

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  24. ASTUTE AS ALWAYS!! What else is there to say, Jim. Thanks!!

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  25. The press/media attacked President Biden for saying Putin cannot remain in power. The same people attacked Hillary Clinton for saying Trump's racist followers were deplorable. They are promoting & protecting the fascist movement and almost no one takes them to task for it.

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    1. That is because the media is still operating under the presumption that the Republicans are a respectable party. As they are currently constituted, THEY ARE NOT. And the media, as you said, refuse to see what is right in front of their faces. Why, you ask? For the almighty dollar. For clicks. For eyeballs. For likes and retweets and shares on social media.

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  26. Well and truthfully stated. The rise of fascism in the US is already well on it's way.

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  27. I have this terrible feeling that no-one is going to stop it, becasue everyone has decided that Putin's threat of nuclear weapon use is the stalemate. Except it's not a stalemate. It's license for him to keep doing what he's doing while the world wrings its hands and say "oh noes, why won't he stop."

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    1. Which is proving to NK and Iran that they SHOULD continue developing nukes if they want to do what they want.

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  28. You are one of my true and long-term heroes. You're kind of grouchy, but these times call for grouchy and I can overlook certain personality traits in my very few heroes.��

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  29. Many of those who put T**** in office have felt ill-used, ignored, and wronged for years. The U.S. right wing has figured out how to use this racist, no-nothing attitude for their own means. Those being used have just not noticed that they are simply tools to be tossed aside and further ignored.

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  30. Yes, yes and yes. Sadly, there is no waking those who wish to sleep.

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  31. "Whatever word you use, Russia carries that idea to this day, i.e. they were brutalized by their enemies and so any savagery on their part today is justified by that terrible history."

    Israel, too, unfortunately.

    It's the problem of authoritarians: They get control and are willing to burn it all down rather than cede even a whisker of it :-(

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  32. Crybullying is getting painfully dangerous.

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  33. Very well said. Out in unsocial media-land, there are a lot of handwringers and hopeless doomsayers saying it is inevitable that the fascist faction of the Republican party is going to win in the primaries. Their defeatism has the stench of a pail of dirty diapers. I need a breath of fresh air now and then. Thanks for being on Twitter to throw a life ring. I live in a Midwestern red town near St. Louis, a former member of an evangelical misogynistic patriarchal SBC church. We lost acquaintances because of pandemic denial and the Commandant Cheeto Orange blindness. The crazies are in charge of the GOP, 2/3 of SCOTUS is rogue on the Constitution and its amendments, and it is past time to look outside of this crashed social support area for like-minded thinkers. I listen to Beau of the Fifth Column, Brian Tyler Cohen and read Heather Cox Richarson and Jay Kuo daily. My dad was a Navy WWII vet with a wicked sense of humor who would not suffer fools. His name was Jim. Although you wrote more words in this Fascist America piece than he said in an entire month, your no nonsense outlook reminded me how much I miss him and my blue collar great uncles. If something doesn't change in the Republican party and the seditionists aren't ousted and punished, Putin will attain one of his fondest dreams. I'd like to say I've been a part of denying that evil shark-eyed demon his piece of vengeance against America. It's time for Trump, Putin, and all their allies to take a beat down.

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  34. The truest issue is that it will probably too late before anything happens. politic in America itself is set up against doing anything about this.

    The huge problem is the 2 party system: in America there are 2 parties
    1. the fascist party
    2. the "everybody who isn't a fascist" party

    the problem with being in the "everybody who isn't a fascist" party is that, if that is all you can agree on, you spend way more time fighting against each other than you do the actual fascists cuz you cant agree on any kind of agenda.

    the other issue is that "just not being a fascist" isn't really a message most (white) people care about. they know they will be fine. so they don't care because they are not required to. and the fascists are REALLY committed to their side having power and will do literally anything to attain it.

    "real power does not come from money or drugs or guns. real power is simply having the will to do what the other guy won't."
    Kaiser Soze.

    this is the grounding principle of their whole philosophy and the Democrats just cant keep up with that.

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    1. Yup. To defeat fascism, the center and the left have to unite, and that's really hard! We have real disagreements. It's a slog. And yet, the alternative is horrific.

      "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
      Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
      The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
      The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
      The best lack all conviction, while the worst
      Are full of passionate intensity."

      That's what we - all the non-fascists - are up against and must defeat.

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  35. Well said. America's future is guarded by truth-tellers like you. Waiting for the correction that Robert Foster is a Mississippi politician (not Texas), then I will share this article to my Facebook account in Mississippi. Wikipedia has a page on Robert Foster.

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  36. One of the first things that Putin did was get rid of any "free" press. Trump hated the "fake News". He vilified the free press daily. We heard nothing from the rest of the GOP. If any of these Republicans come to power, they will pervert and destroy the free press. The Truth is, that the only thing that kept Trump from staying in power was the free press and free speech. Putin knew who to get rid of first...the free press.

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  37. I know, Jim, I know. I've been sounding the same alarm since early 2016 during candidate vetting prior to the primaries, when I first understood what was happening, and abandoned my 15 years post 9/11 of avoiding all news sources per VA counselor advice because of the nightmares -waking and sleeping- which were tearing me to nonfunctional shreds. I essentially dove back into data acquisition and analysis and reporting findings, but informally to the public via word of mouth and social media and online article commentary, eh?
    You've been at it a lot longer than I have. All we can do is keep sounding that alarm as widely as possible, as clearly as possible. It's not a lot, but unless the nightmares finally put me where I can;t, my voice will keep at it, too. And thanks, from another veteran, for keeping at this yourself.

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  38. 58% of Russian citizens approve of what Putin and his forces are doing. I believe President Biden is on shaky ground saying we have "no quarrel with the Russian people." Hell - he's also wrong-headed in his idyllic quest for "bipartisanship" with the GQP, who you correctly characterize as Autocratic Birds of a Feather. "We have met the enemy and he is us," said Pogo. Still true. It's amazing, Pete Seeger, but we still haven't learned.

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  39. Agree on all counts. I've spent a fair amount of time this morning on a News and Guts FB post, reading comments that are detached from reality, based on no facts just feelings...the usual stuff that you see every day.
    I've been doing my best to patiently explain why certain things can or can't be done, how various things do or don't work in the world we actually live in. Too many people who don't know any world history or how our gov't works at all but are absolutely sure what "they" should be doing. No idea at all that where we are now is a direct result of the past you describe in your post.
    One thing I do think we do have going for us is that all those you mention above are, in the end, cowards. Big hats, no cattle. But they, of course, can "inspire" others to act. Thank goodness for the FBI.
    FWIW, if you search "Ukrainian shops" on Etsy you'll find yet another example of how creative and resourceful they are.
    Thanks for all you do to inform and enlighten us!

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  40. On Facebook, you reiterated something you've said a hundred times before, when asked why you don't like threadrippers and content-thieves: "This is an expanded version of the thread I posted to Twitter this morning -- and which people are now stealing because "it's important and your words need to be shared even if others profit from it." Irritated, me? What?"

    This makes sense. I agree. Everybody who genuinely values content-creators agrees. As John Scalzi says: "Money flows TOWARD the writer".

    But here's the part I don't understand. You post a lot of links to Raw Story dotcom, a weaselly ad-farm where seemingly nearly every story includes an "as reported by (link to somebody the fuck else)" right in the first couple paragraphs. These people are stealing the results of somebody else's reporting, rewording it, sticking a pile of ads on it, and serving it up, stealing clicks and ad impressions from the original writer in exactly the same way that you -- quite rightfully -- say that you hate.

    I love you, man. I'm begging you: please stop supporting these scumbags. Click through to the somebody-the-fuck-else link, and give the credit to the person who has earned it, just like you want people to do with the stuff you create.

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    1. Goddammit Jim, the first words of that story are "According to a report from WAVY", and if you just google that phrase, you get this: https://www.wavy.com/news/investigative/chair-of-hampton-electoral-board-accused-of-racist-posts-called-upon-to-resign/

      Why are you doing this?

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  41. Who woulda ever thought the repubs needed help, dividing USA. The RU botts, have 'weaponized' the debate, drastically increased the % of repubs, who think VIOLENCE is the ONLY solution.from 1% to 10+% iirc.

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  42. Spot on. If we don't recognize what is happening, we won't be equipped to deal with it.

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  43. "...wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross."

    Thank you for continuing to fight the good fight.

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  44. I completely agree with you and wish there was more that could be done. I am a part of the LGBTQ+ community and have watched my friends be brutalized, ostracized and blamed c for the country's woes. Please help to get the word out for people to vote this November to remove the Nazi in chief, Ron DeSantis and a few other Magats....keep doing what you do!

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  45. There is one counter-factual to this that gives me some hope that it's not too late:

    For the four years TFG was in office, Hilary Clinton never was so much as detained for her supposed crimes.

    I think that's a sign that these modern fascists know they are outnumbered. But like you keep saying, that means nothing if we don't show up at every chance and vote them down.

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  46. Exactly. Thank you for saying this.

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  47. I follow you on Twitter, but I really prefer these longer essays.

    Stephen R. Donaldson said something about the synergy between two unrelated ideas creating a more interesting book. That's often the case with your essays. I like it. There's more to get my teeth into. Thanks for working to be good at what you do.

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  48. The only disagreement I have is that we aren't trying to prevent it happening here. It's already happened, it IS here, and our task is minimizing, damage control, and repair. Which is one reason we're having so much trouble. The fascists are pretty much all on the same page and we're still arguing over how far along they are on their agenda.

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    1. 100% fact. Fascism is here and its foundations fairly well-established.

      The parallels between 2020s America and 1920s Europe are stunning, and yet still vastly overlooked -- not just by the left, but by large number of otherwise well-intentioned people on the right who cannot see past the little (R) after a candidate's name.

      Politicians -- ALL of them, both parties, few (if any) exceptions -- rely on the uneducated and/or unknowledgeable masses for their strength and power. Literally every word out of their slimy mouths is in furtherance of THEIR goals. Not OURs, only THEIRs. And the more they control the narrative, the more they can convince people to simply accept their view as "the correct one", the more likely they are to retain (and in many cases expand) their power and control.

      Which are the only two things any politician actually wants. Just like religion. It's all about POWER and CONTROL.

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  49. Reminder that Trump actively wanted big military parades much like Un and Putin have so he can stand and act patriotic while whining about how he doesn't get enough credit or something.

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  50. First, thank you for this, CWO Wright.
    Now my comments: I'm afraid a lot of people are missing the specific message here. Of COURSE the situation in Ukraine is important, and so are myriad other things. The point of THIS thread is specifically that it CAN and WILL happen here. Jim points out the brutal history of the Russian people as perhaps a partial explanation for how they could be such heartless *Morlocks as a group. I'm sure that has some bearing on it, but we must never forget that WE - white Americans of European extraction - committed an appalling genocide against the people who lived here for millennia not because we had been oppressed but because we wanted the land they lived on. It is mostly undocumented. We just call it "the Indian wars" as if it was not a one-sided methodical extermination.
    And as if that is not enough, we also ran a slave trade, kidnapping or purchasing from kidnappers human beings, to be sold as beasts of labor, and we fought a war amongst ourselves (white euros vs. white euros) over whether that was ok.

    So when Jim says "this can happen here; this is how it starts," don't dismiss it because you think somehow we are better than that. There is NO "American exceptionalism." Jim lists several examples of white Euro American citizens holding elected office, and prominent TV talking heads aggressively driving that truck right through your denial. Yes, of course YOU may be "exceptional." YOU may do all the things to promote democracy. You may volunteer to help the less fortunate. All fine; I applaud you. But DON'T think just because you are Eloi the Morlocks are not emerging from the underworld to eat you.

    "A republic, madam, if they can keep it."
    - B. Franklin, 1787

    *My apologies to anyone who does not recognize the Time Machine references. If that is you, I recommend it . H.G. Wells, The Time Machine, 1895. Google it, Plenty of copies under $10. Or get the DVD of the 1960 movie.

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  51. Spot on, Chief (Ret.) Unfortunately, our own oligarchs are lavish with financial support of our home-bred fascists.

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  52. "Trump, and far too many Americans, admire Vladimir Putin because they see themselves as victims just as Russia does.

    They see themselves as oppressed, put down, because the world is changing.

    They feel themselves diminished because others who have been traditionally marginalized in our history are now gaining rights and privileges and an unashamed place in our society. "

    ^^^ This. It started in the 60s and 70s. I had a front row seat. Generations of white Christian men, who were raised to believe that they would always be in charge because of an accident of birth (whether or not they were actually capable of performing the task at hand) suddenly had to compete with women and minorities (thanks to the Civil Rights and ERA movements). And many of the white boys lost, as some enlightened (smart) managers figured out that others were more than qualified to do the jobs previously held only by white men. Of course, we were pawns, too, as we were consistently underpaid for the work we did. But even showing up, and getting the jobs, was a threat to the white boys, who suddenly had to compete (and couldn't). In most of the jobs I left, unless I was leaving as the company imploded, I was replaced by anywhere from 2 to 5 fulltime people - just to handle the tasks I completed in 35-38 hours a week. And I, as a female, was paid less than any of them. And the guys I worked with - well - I got along well with the smart ones, but the entitled ones, not so much. Now, through the "advancement" that is the internet, these entitled dweebs only need $250 and a phone line to spout off about how they've been wronged. Yeah, well, if you were capable of solving the equations needed to build the systems, maybe you'd get hired, too. But it shows just how lacking in critical thinking skills that these "victims" are.

    As I got older, though, I found some interesting technology history that's generally been well hidden from the masses, which only goes to shore up my beliefs that the smart white men are not threatened by capable people, as I found evidence of the unexpectedly large number of women who worked - as techie types - in the WW II brain trusts. Their work was credited within the trusts, but not outside, so it's been a long time in coming.

    nb - Jim - okay to edit if you want/need to - I'm kinda scattered today, and I do value good editors (and good writers usually make good editors - as I learned working my way through engineering school doing both tech editing and tech writing).

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  53. Robert O. Paxton, "Anatomy of Fascism", details many of the same points made here. In particular, he highlights the "cult of victimhood" (my term)that fascist leaders stoke in order to gin up support for their grasp at absolute, hegemonic power. It is also worth remembering that it is still fascism, even before it has achieved that hegemonic power.

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  54. "That's where it starts."

    Or, to complete that particular thought:

    (...S)in, young man, is when you treat people like things. Including yourself. That's what sin is."

    "It's a lot more complicated than that--"

    "No. It ain't. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they're getting worried that they won't like the truth. People as things, that's where it starts."

    "Oh, I'm sure there are worse crimes--"

    "But they starts with thinking about people as things..." - Granny Weatherwax to Mighty Oats ("Carpe Jugulum", by Terry Pratchett.)

    Fascism is the ideology of thinking about -- and the practice of using -- people as things.

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  55. So well stated and clear. Just discovered your blog and you are speaking to my soul. Now, what should we do? The media is facilitating the distractions of the Margery Taylor Greenes while the real work of disenfranchising voters has begun. It seems like millions are amusing themselves on Twitter poking fun at the antics of Greene and other outrageous GOP as if they were truly dumb hicks. They are not. They are part of the strategy. The media promotes the click bait the outrageous acts produce, while the real serious dangers of disenfranchisement and dismantling of public education and hard-fought for civil rights has begun. But I am terrified the American people are sleeping through this....

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  56. Thank you, Jim. I'll be putting up a link to this on my FB page with your blessings inferred forward. You're a great writer. Much respect, but not solely because of your writing skill this time, but for abiding by your conscience so well, as well.

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  57. Sarah Palin attracts all these nut jobs. Now she is running for congress. she quit her elected position in 2009. still no list of newspapers, 14 years later.

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