Tuesday, December 8, 2015

They Might Be Fascists

10. This week, the National Front Party, led by reliable fascist Marine Le Pen, won the first round of regional elections in France.

9. Another thing happened this week that you may have heard about. Donald Trump, the presumptive frontrunner for the Republican nomination for President of the United States, proposed a total ban on Muslims entering the United States. 
But he hasn't called for the deportation of all Muslims residing in the United States. At least, not yet.

8. Senator Marco Rubio believes a woman's right to choose to end a pregnancy via abortion should be banned totally even in rape cases. But that stance is within the Overton Window, so he's not a fascist as such.

7. “It’s not about closing down mosques. It’s about closing down any place — whether it’s a cafe, a diner, an internet site — any place where radicals are being inspired.” 
- Senator Marco Rubio of Florida (source), who is definitely not a fascist and we shouldn't call him one because that would be an overly shrill and partisan thing to say.

6. The Golden Dawn, an explicitly neo-fascist party in Greece, won 6.8% of the vote in that country's election this year despite most of its leadership being behind bars. Golden Dawn operatives have been accused of carrying out acts of violence and hate crimes against immigrants, political opponents, LGBT folks and ethnic minorities. They have also vandalized holocaust memorials, and outside observers frequently draw comparisons to the Nazis when describing them. 
This is not from a movie. This is a Golden Dawn rally.
Meanwhile, the brand new left-wing political party that actually won the Greek elections this year cannot implement its platform due to German intransigence at the European Central Bank. Germany's lending policies towards the smaller European economies have been criticized by some of the most prominent economists in the world as totally counterproductive and stupid, and are sure to lead to the further immiseration of Greece, Spain, and Italy. Recent research suggests a strong correlation between economic failure and the rise of far right wing political extremism.

5. Candy at school???

4. "After more than an hour of solemn ceremony naming Rep. Marco Rubio, R-West Miami, as the 2007-08 House speaker, Gov. Jeb Bush stepped to the podium in the House chamber last week and told a short story about 'unleashing Chang,' his 'mystical warrior' friend. Here are Bush's words, spoken before hundreds of lawmakers and politicians:
Chang is a mystical warrior. Chang is somebody who believes in conservative principles, believes in entrepreneurial capitalism, believes in moral values that underpin a free society. I rely on Chang with great regularity in my public life. He has been by my side and sometimes I let him down. But Chang, this mystical warrior, has never let me down.' Bush then unsheathed a golden sword and gave it to Rubio as a gift. 'I'm going to bestow to you the sword of a great conservative warrior,' he said, as the crowd roared.
"The crowd, however, could be excused for not understanding Bush's enigmatic foray into the realm of Eastern mysticism. We're here to help. In a 1989 Washington Post article on the politics of tennis, former President George Bush was quoted as threatening to 'unleash Chang' as a means of intimidating other players. The saying was apparently quite popular with Gov. Bush's father, and referred to a legendary warrior named Chang who was called upon to settle political disputes in Chinese dynasties of yore. The phrase has evolved, under Gov. Jeb Bush's use, to mean the need to fix conflicts or disagreements over an issue. Faced with a stalemate, the governor apparently 'unleashes Chang' as a rhetorical device, signaling it's time to stop arguing and start agreeing. No word on if Rubio will unleash Chang, or the sword, as he faces squabbles in the future." 
The Gainesville Sun, Sunday, September 18, 2005. 
Chiang Kai-Shek, Mystical Warrior
The Chang referred to in the above story is actually Chiang Kai-Shek, the Nationalist Chinese Warlord who took refuge in Taiwan after Mao won the Chinese Civil War in 1949. Starting in the 1950s, the U.S. Navy began protecting Taiwan from invasion by the much stronger mainland Chinese communist regime. Far rightwing loonies of the day (such as John Birchers) believed that the U.S. Navy was actually protecting the Chinese mainland from Chiang Kai-Shek's Nationalists. In their view, the Navy was keeping Chiang Kai-Shek "leashed." They periodically called for the U.S. Navy to "unleash Chiang Kaishek" so that he could reconquer mainland China. Yeah.

When George H.W. Bush played tennis badly in the 70s and 80s, he threatened to "unleash Chiang" as a goof on the rightwing nutcases of the day and on his own dweeby lack of serious tennis skills. Those Bushes are some charmers, aren't they?
Former President George W. Bush, a moderate conservative who instituted a regime of torture, bombed and invaded Iraq thus planting the seed of al-Qaeda in Iraq which later became Daesh (aka the Islamic State), and illegally fired U.S. attorneys in order to intimidate his political opponents. Now I understand he paints lovely watercolors of himself in the shower. Such charm. So wow.
How this was transmitted into the family lore that Jeb describes above in which Chang is a mystical warrior "who believes in conservative principles, believes in entrepreneurial capitalism, believes in moral values" is a mystery we may never solve.

3. Meanwhile in Hungary:

2. Nate Silver is as good a predictor of electoral results as we have in the United States of America. He continues to argue that Donald Trump has very weak chances of winning the GOP nomination. So we're okay right? 
It's not as if Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio want to do anything crazy like ban entry of Muslims into the United States. Ted Cruz just thinks it's really cool and fun to tell made up stories about district court judges threatening teenage girls with jail time "if they say the name of Jesus." So I'm relieved, that's for sure.

1. Remember in 1989 when liberal democracy won and history ended? Francis Fukuyama does. And Fukuyama is the most influential scholar of political development in the world today according to Stanford University.

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