Judge who blocked Muslim ban is receiving death threats and receiving 24-hour protection

This is what domestic terrorism looks like.  U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson ruled last week to block the latest Trump Muslim ban, citing “significant” evidence of “religious animus.”   In a normal government, the administration would say they disagreed with the court and/or were disappointed in the ruling, perhaps say they would seek new legislation.  But this is your new Republican government, and they’re not big fans of the separation of powers:

And just to review, the Republican Party officially stood behind Trump when he delegitimized the judicial branch of government.  So why would anybody be surprised when the authoritarian followers start making death threats to judges?  While U.S. Marshals guard Judge Watson around the clock, I’m sure other federal judges are getting the message loud and clear.

Is it fair to call Donald Trump a fascist?

Benito Mussolini  Donald Trump

Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so.

A lot of people are making comparisons of President Trump to the fascist leaders of the 1930s.  Is that fair?  Well, first let’s consider what fascism is.  This article, which I strongly recommend reading now, describes 14 features common to fascist governments.  It wouldn’t be fair to throw the word “fascist” at Trump unless he matches all 14 items on that list.  Here they are.

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Yes.  This is the “Make America Great Again” guy, after all.  Trump has repeated “America First” like a mantra, a phrase is not just nationalistic on its face, but was the slogan of some of the most prominent anti-Semites who opposed U.S. entry into World War II.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Yes.  Trump is unambiguously in favor of torture.  He turns away refugees fleeing war zones, supports racist voter suppression, and rolled back protections for transgender children.  He plans to have the Border Patrol separate children from their parents in detention, as a deterrent to illegal border crossing.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – Yes.  He tried to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.  He wants to create a registry of Muslims, just like the Nazis did in the 1930s with Jews.

4. Supremacy of the Military – Yes.  He proposed a $54 billion increase in military spending.  He claims to have a secret plan to defeat ISIS (in 30 days, which expired a month ago at this writing).  He has promised to deport immigrants in a “military operation,” a disturbing way to talk about domestic policing.

5. Rampant Sexism – Oh yes.  He has already ordered cutbacks in U.S. funding of international family planning organizations.  He has bragged of sexually assaulting womenOver and over again, he has referred to women as sexual objects, criticized women for their looks, and joked about dating underage girls.

6. Controlled Mass Media – Yes.  He wants to make it easier to sue the press into submission, and has a media enemies list, and literally used the Stalinist phrase “enemy of the people” to describe the press.  It wouldn’t be accurate to say he controls the media, in the present tense, but his desire to do so is not a secret.

7. Obsession with National Security – Hell yes.  Fear is central to Trump’s appeal.  We are told to be afraid of immigrants, afraid of African Americans, afraid of Chinese.  We are told that police are under attack.  We are told in ominous tones that something is going on.  He has repeatedly claimed that the U.S. murder rate is the highest it has been in 47 years, when the opposite is true.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Yes indeed.  Trump has made no secret of his intention to prioritize Christian immigrants to the U.S.  He has promised to lift the political restrictions on religious nonprofits, making it possible for churches to participate directly in political campaigns, with anonymous tax free money.  He has promised to appoint antiabortion judges.  He promised to get cashiers in stores to say “Merry Christmas.”  He promised to bring back prayer in public schools.

9. Corporate Power is Protected – Yes.  Trump promises to reduce taxes on corporations to zero, and cut regulations.  He has the CEOs of many of the most powerful companies in the world attempting to curry favor with him.  His cabinet is dominated by corporate executives.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Yes.  Trump’s first pick for Secretary of Labor, Andrew Puzder, is a fast food CEO, with a long history of fighting against the $15 minimum wage, whose employees complain of wage theft and sexual harrassment.   His current nominee, Alexander Acosta, refuses to say he’ll enforce current regulations that protect workers’ overtime pay.  Trump has been overtly hostile to labor unions.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Emphatically yes.  Trump has taken anti-intellectualism to new levels.  This is the guy who doesn’t need to read much because he has so much “common sense.”  He literally stands opposed to the idea of the very existence of objective truth.  He proposes eliminating the arts and humanities endowments.  He has described art he dislikes as “degenerate,” a chilling choice of word that we have heard before, from actual Nazis.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Yes.  Trump favors the death penalty and asserts against the evidence that the death penalty deters crime.  He thinks we have to give more power to police, including the power to stop and frisk people without suspicion, a practice already ruled unconstitutional in New York.

13. Rampant Cronyism and CorruptionTo an unprecedented level, yes.  Trump has refused to put his assets into a blind trust, so anyone wishing to curry favor with the President of the United States can literally give him money, by staying at a Trump hotel, or playing at a Trump golf club, or just buying one of his many properties, in violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution.  He will fill vacancies in the National Labor Relations Board, which will referee matters between Trump hotels and labor unions.  He will fill vacancies in the General Services Administration, which will administer the lease of Trump International Hotel.

14. Fraudulent Elections – And…yes.  We know that Russia intervened in the U.S. election, according to U.S. intelligence officials.  There is evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians in that effort.  On top of the Russian angle, Trump and the Republican Party have engaged in systematic voter suppression.

Perhaps this is why Trump has an actual sworn Nazi working for him as an adviser.  Perhaps this is why the Nazi web site Daily Stormer celebrates Trump’s victory and calls him “our God Emperor.”  Perhaps this is why the Ku Klux Klan’s official newspaper endorsed Trump.  Perhaps this is why radical Serbian nationalists, who carried out actual genocide in the 1990s, support Trump.

“Fascist” isn’t a word that means “someone I don’t like.”  It’s not a word to be thrown around lightly.  It has a specific meaning.  And if you’ve read this far, you can’t escape the conclusion:  Donald Trump is, indeed, a fascist.

Obamacare repeal fails in House

It was a massive tax cut for the rich, disguised as a health care bill.  It would have resulted in 24 million more people being uninsured by 2026, and those who do get coverage will get less and pay more.  A lot more.

On the nongroup market, annual net insurance premiums for a 64-year-old with an income of $26,500 would rise from $1,700 to $14,600. Yup, that an annual increase of $12,900, to buy a significantly less generous policy than is now available under ACA. For proponents of AHCA, that’s politically self-immolating.

All week we watched the spectacle of Republicans who merely want to destroy Obamacare, fighting with the Republicans who want to be even more cruel.  The fact that they couldn’t agree among themselves is almost immaterial to the main lesson here.  The Republican Party proposed this bill.  Never let anyone forget it.  The shame can never be allowed to fade.

Rep. Steve King openly peddles white nationalism

From Daily Kos:

That’s Iowa Rep. Steve King, the prime architect of the party’s newly aggressive anti-immigrant stance, a position he obtained by scuttling post-2012 party efforts at reworking and moderating the party’s past immigration stances. He’s voicing these thoughts in support for Dutch white nationalist stain Geert Wilders.

And yes, this is the new Republican “normal.”

In case you had any doubt as to whether our Representative in Congress is openly white supremacist, let’s see what David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the KKK, has to say about it:

OK, that clears it up.

Steve King meets with French fascist candidate

Long a vocal proponent of extremist anti-immigrant policies, Iowa Rep. Steve King hasn’t wasted any time jumping on the anti-immigrant, white nationalist Trump bandwagon. Now he apparently wants to make sure America is crystal clear about his support for white nationalism throughout the rest of the world, as well.

He met with Marine Le Pen.

Marine Le Pen is, for newcomers, the white nationalist leader of the extremist-right French political party National Front. Her father was himself a notorious anti-Semite and Holocaust denier; she herself is a Trumpesque figure who demands immigrants be stripped of jobs, welfare, school rights, and all other government services in favor of native citizens.

Anti-Semitic Valentine’s Day card at Republican event

So, this happened.

Central Michigan University’s College Republicans threw a Valentines event where attendees got gift bags prepared by the university’s young, upstanding Republicans, including this one, bearing a likeness of Adolf Hitler and the message, “my love 4 u burns like 6,000 jews.”

The College Republicans have since apologized.

Republican Party spits on the Constitution and America in one tweet

The Republican Party could have stood up for the Constitution and the rule of law when Trump issued his first Muslim ban order.  Let’s see how they did.

Not so good.

The Republican Party appears to be joining Donald Trump in trying to undermine the legitimacy of the American court system—a coequal branch of government to the executive, with a thinly veiled call to stand against the courts after the 9th Circuit’s decision to uphold a restraining order on Trump’s Muslim ban

When it starts to turn against Trump, remember:  the Republican Party stood with him.

Beware of men who try to scare you

They are usually selling something you wouldn’t want to buy, unless you were scared out of your wits.  Here’s another example from Donald Trump:

And we must support the victims of crime. I have ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American victims. The office is called VOICE, Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement.

We are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media and silenced by special interests. Joining us are four very brave Americans whose government failed them. Their names are Jamiel Shaw, Susan Oliver, Jenna Oliver, and Jessica Davis. Jamiel’s 17-year-old son was viciously murdered by an illegal immigrant gang member, who had just been released from prison.

And so on, and so on.  As the late great Molly Ivins might have said, it sounded a lot better in the original German.  (Thanks to Jamelle Bouie.)

The Republican agenda is the Trump agenda

Don’t take my word for it, that’s what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had to say.

“I think for virtually all Republicans, the chance to actually do things we felt would move the country in the right direction and have the President sign them into law is a pretty exciting prospect, so we’re looking forward to a positive, upbeat presentation tomorrow night,” McConnell said, “and then proceeding with our agenda, which is exactly the same as the Trump agenda.”

Someday the Republican Party will try to claim Trump was an aberration, that we can’t blame the Republican Party for the worst crimes of Trump.  It will be a lie.  They are in lockstep with Trump on every issue that matters.