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Niose writes: "It's not that Trump himself is a fascist, but he's a sign that we are more vulnerable to it than we ever imagined."

The cover of 'TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald' by Timothy OBrien. (photo: Warner Books)
The cover of 'TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald' by Timothy OBrien. (photo: Warner Books)

Our Memorial Day Collision Course With Fascism: Donald Trump and the New American Militarism

By David Niose, Salon

30 May 16


It's not that Trump himself is a fascist, but he's a sign that we are more vulnerable to it than we ever imagined

he rise of Donald Trump as a presidential contender has been accompanied with dire warnings of a coming fascist tide. In both his style and substance—belligerence toward opponents, policy proposals aimed at specific religious and ethnic groups, constant appeals to making the nation great again—Trump makes it easy for pundits to draw analogies to historical fascists.

A Trump presidency would undoubtedly mean difficulty for certain minorities, Muslims and Mexicans being obvious examples, but few observers honestly believe that it would bring about a fascist nightmare, with a complete loss of civil liberties, for most of the general public. Experts point out that the conditions for the rise of real fascism—most notably a devastating economic collapse and political upheaval—are absent in America today, making warnings of a lurch to fascism somewhat exaggerated.

That said, Trump is a new phenomenon in American politics, one that arguably creeps closer to the fringes of fascism than anything preceding it. What should concern Americans is not the possibility that Trump is an American Hitler or Mussolini, but that he is a continuation of a rightward trajectory that the country has been following for decades. His election would be strong evidence that America is vulnerable to demagogic and fascistic tendencies, and that given the right conditions—a catastrophic economic breakdown, for example, perhaps combined with a military humiliation at the hands of China or Russia—a real fascist turn would be conceivable.

This raises the question of what keeps American society on this precarious trajectory, making it susceptible to fascist appeals. There have been numerous causal factors at work in setting this dangerous course, but for those who wish to defuse a potential fascist time bomb there is one element that stands out as most significant: America’s embrace and glorification of militarism.

The United States is by far the most powerful military force the world has ever seen, with land, air and sea forces extending around the globe. At about $600 billion, the nation’s military budget is almost 40 percent of the entire globe’s military spending, an outrageous amount that, even more stunningly, is rarely questioned by the public, the media, or any politician on either side of the aisle. This militarism permeates the culture in countless ways and ultimately leaves the nation at risk of a slide toward fascism, should the right conditions arise.

Fascism needs militarism, not just for its brute force (though that’s part of it) but for its emphasis on sacrificing individualism for the sake of the state. It’s hard to imagine the Nazi rise in Germany, for example, without that country’s deep-rooted martial tradition, particularly Prussian militarism, as a foundational element. Even in Italy, which had no similar tradition of militarism, Mussolini’s power was secured by force and accompanied by militaristic policies and actions that were uncharacteristic of Italy historically.

By its nature, militarism encourages other tendencies that create a fertile environment for fascism. Militarism and nationalism invigorate one another, for example, so it’s no surprise that American culture incessantly affirms notions of patriotism and national greatness. These themes are reflected throughout the culture, in advertising, sporting events, and virtually any public function, where patriotic references and the associated military pageantry are rarely missing. Such actions are usually assumed to be benign—what could be wrong with love of country, right?—but they invariably solidify the importance of militarism as a cultural value.

Even more insidious is the way that nationalism is instilled into young psyches via the daily school ritual of pledging allegiance. The fact that Americans take the pledge exercise for granted is only proof of the effectiveness of the psychological conditioning underlying it, for no other developed country expects daily pledges of national loyalty from its youth. Again, Americans tend to see it as a harmless expression of values—liberty and justice for all—when in reality such persistent patriotic exercises are encouraging an obedient, nationalistic population.

Magnifying the problem is the fact that America defines patriotism by using theistic elements, creating a sense that the nation is doing God’s work. Thus, children pledge that we are “one nation under God,” and the national motto is now “In God We Trust.” These divine patriotic references, both adopted in the early years of the Cold War, would please anyone seeking to create conditions ripe for fascism. The best defense against fascism is an intelligent, educated, and critically thinking populace that is engaged in participatory democracy. This is not what we get when we have a hyper-patriotic nation that believes God is on its side.

In considering how American militarism pushes the nation in a dangerously fascistic direction, we need not debate whether the country’s militarism serves benevolent or malevolent ends. It is the militarism itself, regardless of the country’s historical righteousness or current good intentions, that provides a foundation for the eventual support of fascism. From there, all that is needed are the right conditions—severe economic strife, ethnic groups to vilify, perceived enemies to fear, and political chaos—and a perfect fascist storm could arise. The final entrance of a demagogic character, whether Trump or someone else, is an incidental detail.

As such, we shouldn’t be swayed when the Pentagon goes to great lengths to portray our military as synonymous with all that is good. It’s rare for a television news cycle to pass, for example, without a story of a returning soldier surprising his or her child by showing up unexpectedly at school or at a sports event. The television cameras are rolling as the parent, usually in military fatigues, embraces the surprised child in a joyous reunion, a carefully choreographed moment brought to us by Defense Department publicity experts who realized long ago the propaganda value of such heartwarming moments.

As this suggests, the corporate media, like the corporate sector in general, are complicit in the sale of militarism to the American people. Some corporations glorify the military because they directly benefit from the country’s outlandish military spending, whereas others do so simply because expressions of patriotism are good for business. Giving veterans and military personnel special discounts, or perhaps letting them board airliners first, are gestures that cost little but portray companies as good corporate citizens. However, as I pointed out in my book Fighting Back the Right, corporations have no national loyalty and consistently put their own interests above any nation’s, as their executives readily admit, but they will always play the patriotism card when it is to their advantage.

With military might perceived as innately American and thus exalted within the culture, we are quick to see war as a solution rather than a problem, as was the case in 2003 when the nation rushed to a senseless and indefensible war in Iraq, and as we see now with Barack Obama becoming the first president ever to be at war for two complete terms in office. Militarism has made the United States a nation of permanent war.

We have gone in this direction because there are many powerful interests that desire it. That enormous military budget is a corporate trough, funneling billions of dollars to the institutions that really own and control the country. These military contractors—Lockheed, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics, and countless others—don’t necessarily want fascism, but they want militarism and they do all they can to ensure that it continues. Even the Pentagon’s enormous budget isn’t enough for them, as they also profit greatly from America’s massive foreign military aid, much of which is appropriated outside of the Defense Department budget, that makes countries around the world their customers.

With the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, one might have thought that the United States would embark on an agenda that emphasized butter over guns, but that’s not what happened. Instead, we expanded NATO up to the Russian doorstep and did little to tone down our culture of militarism. If there was any hope that we might eventually demilitarize somewhat, the events of September 11 left no doubt that fighting enemies would be a defining characteristic of American society for many years to come.

Knowing all this, the accurate view of Trump is not that he is fascism incarnate, but that he is the latest step on a troubling rightward path that America has been following for decades. That path has been cut with values—nationalism, acceptance of authority, anti-intellectualism, chauvinism, conformity—that are encouraged by a culture that glorifies militarism. If you’re worried about a fascist turn in America—and you should be—look beyond Trump to the expansive and unquestioned militarism that nurtures fascistic tendencies. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+69 # sashapyle 2016-05-30 11:19
The Pentagon budget being merely a trough to keep the deep money flowing to corporations is nowhere more evident than here in New Mexico where people are kept hungry and ignorant so they will keep buying the nuclear weapons industry as our only hope for jobs and survival. And we're not just the cradle (manufacture) but also the grave, as we now have the world's only deep geologic repository for military nuclear waste. Naturally the hideous facility, designed to fail and leak, is now being put forward to receive all kinds of nuclear waste, not just the plutonium it was (poorly) designed for...Who benefits? Bechtel for starters. Such a tragedy in a state that could have led the world in renewables if we had had real leadership instead of (Los Alamos) Lab rats.
-39 # rocback 2016-05-30 14:20
Many of the hate Hillary commenters on this site are just as responsible by "friendly fire" or are Trump Trojan Horses.
+19 # sashapyle 2016-05-30 17:46
Does your comment even have meaning? I'm not seeing it.
+36 # futhark 2016-05-30 15:36
Thanks, this is the economic addiction to militarism that continues to frustrate those who would like to see resources currently spent on military applications transferred to the fields of education, health care, and environmental protection. Such a transition will no doubt cause some inconveniences to those entrenched in the current system, but ethics and our continuance as a sustainable society call for just such action.
+40 # guomashi 2016-05-30 12:08
GW Bush already demanded his employees take an oath of loyalty to him personally.
We've been fascist for a long time.

Trump with his emphasis on negotiation over invasion is actually somewhat of a reversal of the trend.

I presume that is why the RNC hates him.
+8 # hwmcadoo 2016-05-30 23:33
You are correct, fascism is intrenched, lawmakers almost completely disregard the wants of citizens and fall all over themselves giving corporations, the elite and rich anything they want.

There are many definitions of fascism and Naziism but simplistically add racism to fascism and it makes a very good copy of Naziism which Trump brings.
+3 # bullslam 2016-06-01 11:26
You are correct: fascism, a political system which is based entirely on lies, corporatism, racism, persecution of minorities, and militaristic aggression, is the same Fascism that was embodied in Hitler and his Nazis, which, during WWII, America's youth, the best and the brightest, gave their lives to destroy forever. Now the stupid authoritarians gather around Trump, as if they didn't know who won WWII. They act as if their brains were already shriveled, poisoned by lead tainted water.

Fascism in America has to do with large aggregations of unaccountable wealth. There aren't that many of them. They need to be shot for treason.
+35 # grandlakeguy 2016-05-30 13:13
In so many ways I am even more frightened by the possibility of a Hillary Clinton Presidency.
She has consistently exhibited a stunning lack of judgement coupled with a strident exaggerated militarism.

What a pathetic state of affairs we find ourselves facing when the choices in November will probably be Trump or Clinton.

Never has the phrase "lesser of two evils" been more appropriate.

I certainly hope that the Democratic party leaders wake up and realize that Bernie Sanders is the nominee that can put this country back on track for the first time in many decades and reinvigorate their corrupt and obsolete party.

Failing that epiphany Bernie needs to join forces with the Green party to at least give us a choice. The green party could actually win with Bernie!
+1 # hwmcadoo 2016-05-30 23:41
Either way with Trump or Clinton America is the loser. Why do we choose the worst among us to lead? We have very little to lose for Bernie to go Green.

As it stands it is either Trump for Clinton: both terrible choices. It is likely that Clinton will lose to Trump. Horrible.

There is so much hatred for both Clinton and Trump and so many have dumped both major parties that a third choice seems a good bet. If it doesn't work Trump is the likely President the same as if Bernie didn't run Green. Nothing lost and if he wins America may have a chance.. We really need a viable third party.
+37 # Doc Mary 2016-05-30 13:15
"A Trump presidency would undoubtedly mean difficulty for certain minorities, Muslims and Mexicans being obvious examples, but few observers honestly believe that it would bring about a fascist nightmare, with a complete loss of civil liberties, for most of the general public."

So that's okay. Not really Fascist until it is Fascist for all? It's okay if he only oppresses a few? Under Fascist dictators in Italy, Spain, Argentina - many people thought they had it good. They liked their Fascist dictators. After all, in Italy, Mussolini made the trains run on time. Just don't disagree with one.

As I understand it, Fascism combines militarism and capitalism to provide jobs, while at the same time suppressing those who are "inconvenient." That is true internationally as well as nationally. AMERICA would come first, in many scary ways. And it's also how Donald Trump would "make America Great" again.

Have you listened to any of his speeches? We may have been playing with fascism for years, but he does so openly.

As for "negotiation over invasion" - really? Is that how he has operated in his life? I think all it takes is a single taunt and the man is in full invasion mode. He doesn't like to lose. He doesn't like to appear weak.

Whether it fits the textbooks, it's close enough for me.
+19 # Krackonis 2016-05-30 14:14
"The moment you refuse the human rights for just a few, what happens when that few includes you? Civil War."

- Immortal Technique "Civil War" 2012
0 # Johnny 2016-05-30 14:31
Yep. Trump is no different from Hillary Clinton.
+11 # Helga Fellay 2016-05-30 15:55
Actually, Hillary is much worse than Trump. He is focused on America, she is focused on Empire, foreign invasions, coups and regime changes. If that isn't fascism, I don't know what is. So he is a loudmouth, while her speech is more measured, but that doesn't make her any less militaristic or fascist. I don't know where the author of this piece has been the past several decades - obviously not very observant. The rise of fascism and militarism in the USA is not a recent trend. Trump just put it out in the open.
+4 # Radscal 2016-05-30 19:26
This author recognizes that Obama is the first President to serve two full terms in constant war, yet still seeks to elect Clinton over that scary boogie man.

All of David Niose's observations of the fascistic tendencies of the US government and the propagandized public are true, yet he fails to emphasize, or even recognize that these are bi-partisan efforts.

Whether he is himself a victim of the propaganda, or is deliberately co-opting the rhetoric of the left's anti-Empire stand in order to manipulate people into voting for the most openly pro-war, pro-empire candidate of my lifetime (Hillary Clinton) matters not. The goal is still the same.

And being openly Bernie or Bust is the only way to let the Democratic Party know that we will not fall for this "lesser of two evils" BS yet again.
-7 # rocback 2016-05-30 20:35
Spoken like a true Trump Trojan Horse
+8 # Patriot 2016-05-30 16:14
Amen, Doc Mary! If "certain minorities" will have "difficulty" under a Trump administration, SO WILL I, and SO SHOULD YOU! Unless we all can see that, and ACT on it, those "difficulties" soon WILL overtake everyone.

"Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee."

So, let's begin right here. If you don't agree with someone's comments, state your own. BUT LET'S ALL STOP CHARACTERIZING ONE ANOTHER!! We really don't know a thing about each other, and our only right and duty is to strive to guarantee that everyone who comments here KNOWS he/she is free to comment. RSN will delete anything truly out-of-bounds, like obscenity, vulgarity, etc.

But no IDEAS or PERSPECTIVES should be out of bounds! If you don't like what someone has to say, give them a thumbs-down and move on, unless you have some CONSTRUCTIVE or INFORMATIVE comments to make. For instance, perhaps someone quotes a "fact-finding" article, but you've seen another version, or one correcting the first version. Fine, post a link or lay out the differences. But leave the other person's character alone!

If we can't truly support and practice FREE speech here, we can't do it anywhere else, either, and we WON'T be able to pass along the principles involved to the younger generation.

‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,’ Beatrice Evelyn Hall, about Voltaire.

Off my soapbox, since I wasn't elected to it. (grin)

What do YOU say?
+6 # Radscal 2016-05-30 19:32
Of course harmful state-sponsored discrimination of any group is abhorrent.

But since this author fails to even mention that Bernie Sanders is the ONLY major party candidate speaking out against both this discrimination AND the actual, already existing and expanding fascistic actions of our government, it seems clear his goal is to scare us into backing the "inevitable" Hillary Clinton.

Since I recognize her as the most openly dangerous candidate of my lifetime, I reject the tacit premise.
+29 # reiverpacific 2016-05-30 13:19
I've always felt that this country had a tendency towards classic Teutonic militarism, with it's worship of anything in a uniform, marching bands, selectively-edu cated to nationalistic-b ased ignorance of the rest of the world and its incredible diversity of peoples and cultures, readiness to "follow the leader", however vapid and clueless (classically embodied in Dimwits Bush), desire for uniformity and fear of "the other" rather than the proudly exemplary rainbow nation it should be.
And never forget the vast number of "useful" Nazi scientists given amnesty, free passage and citizenship post WW11 and the huge amount of others allowed to flee to the lower south American nations, even real horrors like Dr Mengele.
Hell it started almost immediately with the ongoing cheating, plundering and slaughter of the native peoples who welcomed the first settlers, with the enslavement and continuing brutalization of immigrants of various shades
Drumpf is simply tapping into this in a rare spell in clarity of vision and exploitation of a large demographic of angry, mostly white males.
"O bloody Drumpf/Clinton! miserable America!
I prophesy the fearful'st time to thee
That ever wretched age hath look'd upon."
+2 # bardphile 2016-05-30 14:57
About to lose your head, Reiver?
+7 # reiverpacific 2016-05-30 15:20
Quoting bardphile:
About to lose your head, Reiver?

"O, let me think on Hastings and be gone
To Brecknock, while my fearful head is on!"
+4 # economagic 2016-05-30 20:48
YEOW! This venue is getting far too literate for me. I guess I could respond by quoting Cole Porter, but that would this once be anticlimactic.
+2 # bardphile 2016-05-30 22:18
Anything goes, econo.
+2 # reiverpacific 2016-05-31 09:56
Quoting economagic:
YEOW! This venue is getting far too literate for me. I guess I could respond by quoting Cole Porter, but that would this once be anticlimactic.

How 'bout my favorite bluesman, Big Bill Broonzy? "If you'se WHITE, you'se allright, if you'se BROWN, stick around, but if you'se BLACK -Oooo Brother- git back git back, git back!"
+20 # vicnada 2016-05-30 13:34
"Experts point out that the conditions for the rise of real fascism—most notably a devastating economic collapse and political upheaval—are absent in America today, making warnings of a lurch to fascism somewhat exaggerated."

Hmmmm, David...and which Fascist experts are you consulting? The "transparent" and "honest" power-brokers currently in governance? The ones that engineer economic collapse and political upheaval at will because they know they are too big to fail? And these are the "absent" forces?

Fool me twice (each decade), shame on me.
+16 # Cassandra2012 2016-05-30 18:28
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross, ”
~ Sinclair Lewis
+31 # Blackjack 2016-05-30 13:44
Why the "rightward tilt?" What happened to the Democratic Party, the supposed oppositional party? Instead of opposing the corporate state that Citizens United unleashed, Democrats have joined it and have themselves tilted so far right that the best that can be said about the party now is that it is Republican Lite. Neither party serves the needs of the general population. All our elected officials do is keep themselves in office by sucking up to corporate interests, much of which is military in nature. The only way back to the left is Bernie, but the DNC does not want to recognize that, preferring instead to foist the militaristic HRC upon us. "We have met the enemy and it is us."
+30 # grandlakeguy 2016-05-30 13:48
And that is why the DNC has served up a Goldwater Girl on a silver platter to force down our throats.
-23 # rocback 2016-05-30 14:22
Another Trump Trojan Horse drops all pretenses above.
+14 # reiverpacific 2016-05-30 15:23
Quoting rocback:
Another Trump Trojan Horse drops all pretenses above.

Do yerself (and Clinton MK11) a favor. Wax mysterious and disappear sideways into the dark!
With blinkered supporters like you, she doesn't need any more aggro' or a dose of Drumpf-itis.
BTW, you chuck the word "hate" and "Haters" around so much, it must reflect y'r own mentality.
I don't think that you'll find most RSN'ers are hateful.
-23 # rocback 2016-05-30 15:36
your rhetoric sure is. Your bitterness and sour grapes are clouding your judgement.

"Sander plays a Selfish and Dangerous Game"
+7 # reiverpacific 2016-05-30 17:33
Quoting rocback:
your rhetoric sure is. Your bitterness and sour grapes are clouding your judgement.

"Sander plays a Selfish and Dangerous Game"

MY "bitterness and sour grapes??????"
I'm generally known as an easy-goin' bloke, even whilst hobbling around recovering a broken hip.
You REALLY must look in y'r mirror -but then most narcissists, which you and Drumpf have in common, are unable to do that.
Sad, sad response.
You must be a masochist also, to enjoy all the red numbers you accumulate many times daily. on RSN.
You DO know don't you, that Thirty-five years ago, a small army of illegal immigrants was used to clear the site for what became the crown jewel of Donald Trump’s empire.
The 200 demolition workers—nicknam ed the Polish Brigade because of their home country—worked 12-hour shifts, seven days a week with no overtime to knock down the old Bonwit Teller building and make room for Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
According to testimony in a protracted civil suit in federal court, the laborers were paid $5 an hour or less when they were paid at all. Some went unpaid after the contractor had financial troubles. A few never received even the paltry sum that was owed them for their dirty and hazardous efforts preceding the construction of Trump’s monument to his own wealth.
That's pretty Fascisitic, especially from an anti-immigrant twit, innit!
+2 # bardphile 2016-05-30 22:20
Most narcissists I've met spend rather too MUCH time looking in the mirror.
+11 # economagic 2016-05-30 15:43
No point in feeding the troll.
+2 # reiverpacific 2016-05-30 18:19
Quoting economagic:
No point in feeding the troll.

Right; but it's almost a pleasure to kick it in the bollocks sometimes, what?!
+1 # economagic 2016-05-30 20:50
Well, he never seems to get the last word!
+4 # jwl 2016-05-30 18:08
Quoting Blackjack:
Why the "rightward tilt?" What happened to the Democratic Party, the supposed oppositional party? Instead of opposing the corporate state that Citizens United unleashed, Democrats have joined it and have themselves tilted so far right that the best that can be said about the party now is that it is Republican Lite. ..."
See "Winner-Take-Al l Politics", by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, for a very thorough education in the "why" of our current Democratic party.
+31 # jlarson 2016-05-30 13:53
250 years ago, my German ancestors sailed to America to escape Prussian militarism. Today, the extremes of the Nazi scourge prevent many Americans from recognizing fascism in other forms. After 9/11, fear and the MSM kept us from seeing that the GW Bush administration was building the (il)legal infrastructure for a fascist state, including the establishment of NORTHCOM within our borders.
These discussions don't help much though if they're just shared among the like-minded. The older generation must seize every opportunity to teach the younger--patien tly, clearly--what's been going on for a long time
+11 # economagic 2016-05-30 15:42
"Today, the extremes of the Nazi scourge prevent many Americans from recognizing fascism in other forms."

Yes, exactly: The U.S. can't be fascist because we don't have a funny walk or a funny salute, and to the extent that from time to time we have a guy ranting about death and destruction he never has a funny little mustache.

I think Mr. Niose of Salon is right to draw the distinction between this country's long, slow slide into a fascistic style of tyranny and Trump as The Fascist. I know for certain that I had the general idea by my early teens (nearly 60 years ago) even though I lacked the knowledge or even the vocabulary to articulate it. Today I have both, and that is the reason I will not vote for Clinton, certainly not to "save" us from Trump.

And yes, "teach [our] children well." The opportunities are many, and we need to make use of as many as we can. It's on my list!
+17 # corduroyz 2016-05-30 13:59
Mr. Noise seems to forget that we were on the cusp of deep fascism under the Cheney presidency. By virtually any definition, the United States had become a fascist nation under him and his lackey W. Do you remember that Bush baby said, "It's easier to be a dictator?"
+9 # Cassandra2012 2016-05-30 18:30
Quoting economagic:

And also,

"Fascism should rather be called corporatism, as it is the merging of government and corporate power." --Benito Mussolini
+7 # Krackonis 2016-05-30 14:18
I see the world uniting against the USA and its only real remaining ally, Israel as they begin to expan their conquest of the world.

As soon as the election is over a new war will be launched and that may or may not be the straw which causes us to rally behind a world leader and a people who lost 50 million citizens to fascism and the corporate takeover of the west...


They have not forgotten the barbarity of the fascists who didn't even take prisoners. They shot all men women and children for being "Slavic" and impure.

This is what I see America heading too... Walt Disney would be proud.
+6 # Radscal 2016-05-30 19:52
I see no reason to consider Israel a "real" ally. Traditionally, a treaty of alliance includes a mutual defense agreement.

Although the US constantly swears its allegiance to defend Israel, and certainly acts on that allegiance, Israel has never agreed to defend the US.

In fact, those who remember the USS Liberty know that Israel has deliberately attacked and killed US military personnel who were merely surveilling the 1967 war.

Otherwise, I agree. If we allow HRC to become President, I fully expect a full-on large scale, and possibly nuclear war. With Drumpf, I'm not so sure.

And I certainly agree that it is Russia who remembers what real fascism is, and will not go quietly into the night when fascists try to conquer them, or their real allies once again.

RT has been running a short segment making the point that the right-wing, even exclusionary parties rising in Europe are not (yet at least) truly fascist. The neo-nazis in Ukraine ARE real fascists.

And like the little boy who cried wolf, tossing that word around weakens its power when real fascists rise up.
+3 # Anonymot 2016-05-31 08:28
An important point well made.
-1 # Radscal 2016-05-31 19:03
Thank you, Anonymot. Your comments are amongst the most well thought out and expressed, so I take that as high praise.

Probably higher than I deserve. ;-)
0 # angryspittle 2016-05-30 14:23
We need to tag this asshole with an epithet as he tags his opponents. I favor Carnival barking charlatan and con man Donnie
+3 # librarian1984 2016-05-30 14:42
Oh c'mon, it's gotta be snappier than that: Chicken Donald

ba babawwwk
+15 # Big Al 2016-05-30 14:25
Militarism never became a major characteristic until after World War II. It grew during the Cold War and exploded after 9/11. It will continue as long as the U.S. regards itself as the world's "indispensable country." But take heart: the "indispensable" Roman, British, Spanish, French, etc. empires eventually fell and then took a more realistic self-appraisal.
+11 # economagic 2016-05-30 15:41
Leaving aside the "Indian Wars" dating back to colonial times, starting in 1898 and seldom if ever pausing since then this country's armed forces and/or official assassins (CIA and others) have been fighting in countries around the world: The Philippines (that we stole from Spain in '98), Panama (that we "liberated" from Colombia), several Central American republics between the wars (for their fruit plantations, hence "banana republic"), Iran and Guatemala in the 50s, Viet Nam and others (including Panama) in the 60s and 70s, Nicaragua and Grenada and other Central American countries in the 80s, Somalia and Panama again in the 90s along with Iraq, which was bombed almost continuously from 1992 until the invasion in 2003 -- and these are just the big ones.

But you are right to the extent that it was not until after WW II that it became so commonplace as to find its way onto the Nightly TV News, bringing it to public consciousness as something not just normal and natural but as a gift we were bestowing upon the benighted peasants of the world.
+9 # dbrize 2016-05-30 16:17
You remind me of the many past chortles I have emitted when some of my progressive friends tell me they wish we had "good" Republicans like TR around today.

I usually reply, yes the guy who never had enough wars to fight and wished the USA could colonize all the little inferior brown skinned countries. Mark Twain, who met him several times and knew him well, said he was interminably warlike and self centered and in Twain's words, "certifiably insane".

To understand our history since WWII I heartily suggest Gore Vidal's under appreciated masterpiece THE GOLDEN AGE.

Vidal a genuine man of the left blows the cover off the "court historian versions" of the machinations before, during and after the war. Bottom line, the "empire" did not just happen, it was planned all along.
+4 # economagic 2016-05-30 20:19
Thanks for the tip. I have not read Vidal, sorry to say, though I have heard him speak and am aware of his stature. He is surely on my long list to read in retirement, my opportunity for a REAL education now that I am beginning to understand what I am missing. It is already long enough to ensure that I can never die!
+3 # Cassandra2012 2016-05-30 18:23
Quoting Big Al:
Militarism never became a major characteristic until after World War II....

Excuse me. You do not think Hitler and his storm troopers or Mussolini or Japan's military excursions into NanKing etc. qualify as 'militarism'??
+5 # Kootenay Coyote 2016-05-30 20:00
Hitler, Mussolini & the Japanese army were American? Not in my history books. It's American militarism that Niose is dissing.
+8 # albanygeoist 2016-05-30 14:27
How close we are to fascist tendencies is amply illustrated by a review of the apple-pie Boy Scouts of America, which is often regarded as a paramilitary organization -- see Consider the Scout law as illustrative, some items of which are disconcerting: "A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. The Scout oath obliges him to obey it!
+11 # Johnny 2016-05-30 14:36
And all our public high schools have ROTC on campus.
+3 # economagic 2016-05-30 20:59
Yeah, I think that hit me sometime in my 20s. The "Cub Scout Promise" is even worse:

"I, (State your name), promise to do my best to do my duty to God and my country, to help other people [used to say "to be square"], AND TO OBEY THE LAW OF THE PACK!"

I like to think those were part of the reason I flunked out of Scouting, although I'm not sure my consciousness had reached that level yet.
+11 # turnoutthelights 2016-05-30 14:28
Fabulously honest and insightful piece. He has said things which no one else has had the guts to say. There is a clear and present danger of fascism in this country that pervades the culture right down to the grass roots of every small town, and the worship of veterans is at the top of the list there. It's a powder keg looking for a fuse and none of the bunting-wrapped local folks even see it.
-12 # Robbee 2016-05-30 14:53
lie! - # grandlakeguy 2016-05-30 13:13
The green party could actually win with Bernie!

- sanders, rump and hill would all pick-off various states - assuring that none of them won a majority of the electoral college - throwing the election into our house of repugs - whereby rump's win would be assured!

read the 12th amendment! you do the math! - a 3-way race assures rump victory! - sorry!

guy, you can't be stupid enough to accidentally promote a rump presidency! you are a liar! you are a rump trojan! you need to stop peddling your rump garbage here! begone troll! - go dem!
+10 # margpark 2016-05-30 15:07
I really disagree that Trump and Clinton are equally bad. What is bad about Clinton IS her militarism and what is bad about Trump is his total ignorance of government and the fact that his ego is so touch.
+4 # economagic 2016-05-30 15:21
Surely no one is equating the two, as they are quite different in many ways. But in the not-so-long run both are on the same train, headed for the cliff. I think that is what Mr. Niose is saying, and what millions of Americans are still denying in a variety of ways. "This" or "that" or "he" or "she" will save us. No, they won't. There was a reason one of Garrison Keillor's make-believe "writers" was named Xavier Onassis (NOT pronounced "Hahviere").
+3 # sashapyle 2016-05-30 17:57
Also, I must point out once more that Trump is a climate change denier which makes him worse, because he has absolutely no decent skills or positive attributes to offset that most dangerous flaw. I don't like Hillary but at least she is intelligent enough to know that we live on a finite planet.
+2 # lfeuille 2016-05-30 19:59
Not really. Hillary will give lip service to it but not do anything that upsets her corporate sponsors.

It's the wars that make Hillary worse.
+3 # Radscal 2016-05-30 20:07
Clinton promotes fracking and expanded methane-burning generators as some fictional "bridge" to the sustainable power generation we NEED to be spending that money building.

Clinton opposes a Carbon Tax, but supports Fossil Fuel subsidies.

As you say, she's intelligent enough to know better.
+4 # Cassandra2012 2016-05-30 18:51
Uh "Narcissistic Personality Disorder' doesn't worry you? Or megalomania? or neo-fascism? or outright bigotry, misogyny, bullying either?
+5 # Radscal 2016-05-30 20:05
Absolutely. That's why I am in it to win it with Bernie.

There is every reason to believe that Drumpf would beat HRC.
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+15 # elkingo 2016-05-30 15:43
I think "fascist" is a personality predicate, and Donald's not quite there as this powerfully correct article shows. He's sort of a narcissistic "nice guy" blowhard who has bought into the insanity of capitalism*, which contours his personality. In fact, he's the consummate personality product of capitalism. Bully, aggressive, intolerant and sure he is on the divine path.

Why do you think so many down and out people back Trump? Because he represents the bullshit American Dream. "If Donald can make it,so can I') Madness!

And when we say God Bless America, we mean God Bless Capitalism. ("God gave me my money". John D. Rockefeller - seriously.) Of course D's xenophobia, sexism and macho are in the fascist direction.

America does not need to be great. It needs to be sane and humane. (As do the other goddamn "countries".)
+5 # bardphile 2016-05-30 20:01
...which contours his personality...

Well said. All societies so far as I know have narcissistic bullies. It's an indictment of the US as it is now that a Trump flourishes--and is admired--to such an extent. The man is sick. The country that elevates him to its highest political office is likewise sick.
+8 # Blackjack 2016-05-30 16:03
rocback, your vindictiveness toward those who do not agree with you is really just projection--wha t you accuse others of doing is exactly what you do yourself or what you would do if you had the chance. The pity is that you apparently have so much time on your hands that you can find nothing better to do. While others of us post occasionally, you are here to rebut every thought that anyone else has.
+2 # Radscal 2016-05-30 20:09
The roc is most likely "on the job" while posting. It's not free time, it's well remunerated time.
+7 # Anonymot 2016-05-30 16:31
My UI degree was clinical psych which I considered nonsense. Next was biogenetic evolution of behavior. Finally, I got a PHD in Life by living everywhere except mainland Asia. The later started when Europe was filled with remnants of the war, stateless people, camp survivors, the shot & the shooters. I had the opportunity to talk to all sorts of them. I learned their languages. I spent time in Eastern European.

Tacitus was the first to describe Germania 1900 years ago."Feasts and entertainments, which, though inelegant, are plentifully furnished, are their only pay. The means of this bounty come from war and rapine...Nay, they actually think it tame and stupid to acquire by the sweat of toil what they might win by their blood."

In Hitler's Germany Tacitus was required reading. He was proud to be the new model of Teutonia.

I find little changed. That 20% of the total American public is Germanic seems to have a bearing on the Teutonic way we act. (Not that there aren't millions of marvelous, anti-Teutonic Germans both here and there!)

Historically we've been drifting to fascism with increasing velocity since WW II. Our CIA, our MIC, our Deep State, the military, the Bush family, Trump, the Clintons' New World Order all have an aroma of the Jawohl and Sieg Heil! that resounded through their stadiums.

There are great books on the innocents who backed fascisms or fought it, but once the public's foot is off the cliff I don't see how we clamber back.
+6 # economagic 2016-05-30 17:59
Thanks -- that about Tacitus fills in a couple more of my many blanks. I am appalled to find myself at age 70 more knowledgeable about history than all but a few of the people I encounter. Santayana was right.
+4 # Aliazer 2016-05-30 17:21
Fascism, most of it latent, but some quite visible, has been alive and well in this country for a considerable number of years already.

Trump will not be the bearer of fascism because of his populism or because of his discriminatory imposition on certain groups, but he, as well as Sanders, were either one of the other become the next president, and were they sufficiently threatening to the entrenched establishment that it could precipitate reason enough for the powers that be to use every possible ruse to impose a coupe d'etat through the military, intelligence services, etc..

After all, these groups have had much experience over the years while imposing similar conditions on numerous other countries for the past 50/60 years.
+8 # Anonymot 2016-05-30 17:39
I understand where you're coming from, but doubt that Trump, proposing building the military while moving them out of harms way or Sanders who proposes no wars, a strong military, and a return of our forces to within the U.S. would either one justify a coup d'état. That the military sees a brighter future for the blood thirsty with the Clintons, yes.

It seems to me that the slide to fascism would be promoted by Trump or Clinton, but that Sanders would only cause Deep State to grind their teeth and sit back and wait for another election. But, yes, a seriously anti-Deep State/I-M-C threat would get us another CIA presidential assassination.
+2 # Shades of gray matter 2016-05-30 17:21
REACTIONARY RACISM. REACTIONARY XENOPHOBIA. REACTIONARY NATIVISM. REACTIONARY SEXISM. "Put White Males in CONTROL Again!" Use agents provocateur to create mayhem, be sure videos incriminate the targeted. "Restore Law & Order Again." Create false flag "terror" attacks. Fascism snowballs faster than resistance can organize. We may be only 6 weeks away. Expansive militarism, Great Depression not required. See Burma>Myanmar, etc., etc., etc. See Brasil. Millions & millions of Americans are fascinated by violence, by dominating via superior violence. "Restore Law & Order" will soon be a violent video game, reality show, epidemic.
-3 # Robbee 2016-05-30 18:18
simply astounding! poster warns s/he could engage brain! - says # economagic 2016-05-30 15:21
Surely no one is equating the two, as they are quite different in many ways. But in the not-so-long run both are on the same train, headed for the cliff.

- don't take my word for it! - in the not-so-long run both are NOT on the SAME train, nor headed for the SAME cliff!

in order to draw clear differences from hill, rump has made certain, unequivocal promises! - that, as prez! with a repug congresz, he is fully capable of honoring! - promises that hill WILL NEVER DO! -

1) torture prisoners;
2) kill spouses and children of enemies whom our law says he names;
3) curb the press;
4) on his first day in office, tear-up the iran treaty (that prevents iran from building nukes!);
5) deport 11 million illegals;
6) build a wall clear across mexico;
7) make mexico pay for it (which takes invading and occupying mexico!)
8) nominate to scotus, a "justice", or 3, just like scalia!
10) cut income taxes, for the rich only, almost in half!
11) register and ground muslims from air travel! OR
12) abolish the consumer financial protection bureau!

hill is NOT headed to the same cliff! and bernie has accepted responsibility for steering hill away! - go bernie! and go dem!
+6 # lorenbliss 2016-05-30 18:18
Mr. Niose states an absolute truth too often suppressed in this de facto Christian theocracy:

"The best defense against fascism is an intelligent, educated, and critically thinking populace that is engaged in participatory democracy. This is not what we get when we have a hyper-patriotic nation that believes God is on its side."

Then, without naming her, he tells us why Hillary is infinitely more dangerous than Trump:

"If you’re worried about a fascist turn in America—and you should be—look beyond Trump to the expansive and unquestioned militarism that nurtures fascistic tendencies."
+3 # economagic 2016-05-30 19:44
Yes, although that too might have been inadvertent. Apparently the roc has been here, as this post was down one when I checked back.
+2 # Radscal 2016-05-30 20:18
I did not get the sense that Niose was promoting Sanders or warning us about HRC.

He correctly notes that the US has been exhibiting fascistic tendencies for decades, but I read nothing that suggested Clinton was more dangerous than Drumpf.

I'll go back over it though, since I've learned to trust your observations.
+2 # lorenbliss 2016-05-30 22:40
@Radscal: I saw the warning as implicit -- particularly in the essay's concluding paragraph (for what other candidate but Hillary is an avowed militarist) -- but I suppose that could also be merely the interpretation mandated by my ideological bias.
+1 # Radscal 2016-05-31 00:33
I did review it, and perhaps I was too harsh, but I still see his failure to note Sanders as the only major party candidate challenging this fascistic/milit aristic trend as "weak tea" in light of how accurately he described the problem.

But perhaps the author is actually coming from a more radical position that sees Sanders inconsistency on opposing these things as disqualifying from support.

On other sites, I debate such people frequently. Since I come from the same roots, I think I'm able to sway some of them to take a chance on Sanders.
0 # lorenbliss 2016-05-31 11:52
@Radscal: My own sense of it -- and again this is merely an impression -- is that Mr. Niose was remaining nonpartisan in the hope of influencing the greatest number of readers.
0 # Radscal 2016-05-31 12:13
I'm OK with that assessment.

Thanks for leading me take a second look.
0 # Shades of gray matter 2016-05-30 18:57
Tell Latinos that Hillary is a bigger threat to them than Trump. Yes, HRC is bad, but some Contributors here seem stuck in a deep rut. Ask ALL Americans of color, non-Christians, if they fear Hillary more than Trump. I think it's a white thing.
+7 # lorenbliss 2016-05-30 19:13
@SOGM: Though I suspect it is inadvertent -- rather like the metaphorical infinity of simians at typewriters eventually producing "Ulysses" -- you have laid bare a highly probable and very disturbing truth: that Trump's function (and therefore probably his clandestine purpose) is to terrorize people of color into ignoring Sanders and voting for Clinton.

In which context reflect on the documented friendship between Trump and the Clintons.

Shame on me, as -- knowing the realities of class-war and therefore the malevolent strategy and tactics of the One Percenters and their One Party of Two Names as I do -- I surely should have recognized this probability.

Good catch, SOGM, for which kudos: what you suggest is no doubt part of the One Percent's strategy for ensuring the ultimate victory of fascism -- which is, after all, the only way capitalism can survive -- whether under Hillary or Trump.
+4 # Radscal 2016-05-30 20:30
Oh yes indeed. Some of us have seen the hours of uninterrupted, commercial free coverage of Drumpf events by MSDNC and CNN as specifically designed to draw the basest of the Republican base to nominate him, and to scare the pants off of the rest of us so we'd be willing to vote for HRC.

Sanders has disrupted that plan by generating obvious and overwhelming support - despite a corporate media blackout broken only by dismissive ridicule - requiring election fraud to keep HRC on track.

I for one am wondering if Drumpf''s narcissism might be driving him to actually want to win, in which case, he has a very real chance of beating her.
+5 # economagic 2016-05-30 20:07
Shades, lorenbliss is correct.

Turn that around: Ask all white Americans if they fear Trump more than Hillary. While the commenters here appear to be mostly white they (we) are not a random sample, better informed than the average American. Yet even here we see a good many people -- including some who are old enough and well enough informed that they should know better -- professing to believe that Mr. T-Rump is the Devil Incarnate and that Ms. Clinton, while perhaps not as desirable as Sanders, is certainly a reasonable second choice, experienced and with obvious leadership qualities. It never occurs to them that "leadership" implies no particular direction, or that certain leaders mentioned in this article are horrible examples of that fact.

Talk about a rut. . . .
+5 # Anonymot 2016-05-30 20:45
There's one point on which one should not get confused. Trump will be a fat negative for illegal immigrants and Moslems and blacks, in other words for our minorities. However Hillary's aggressive threats to Russia, Iran, and China and what remains of Syria guarantee us not just endless war, but with those who will bring it to mainland America. She is just a mouthpiece for Deep State, the CIA, and the MIC and that is a massive menace to us all regardless of color or passport.
+5 # lorenbliss 2016-05-30 22:15
@Anonymot: Hillary needs to be sat down and made to watch documentary footage of modern Soviet and Russian offensives: the sky literally dark with low-flying aircraft, the earth trembling from the treads of countless tanks, and riding on each tank a squad of infantry.

Such are the sorts of massive tactical operations -- the only variances those mandated by the extant technologies -- with which the Russians (and even their Scythian horse-archer ancestors 2500 years ago) have traditionally repelled invaders.

Nor are the Russians a people who will ever surrender: it took them 250 years to oust the Mongols from the Motherland, but in the end, that is precisely what they did.

For an exemplar of Russian resistance, Google Zina Portnova.

Yet Hillary in her unconscionable arrogance would goad the Bear in the Bear's own den -- and then resort to nukes when the Bear responds as the Bear has always responded to such foolhardy aggression.
+9 # Spence 2016-05-30 19:23
We need to clean up our terms. Fascism is corporate ownership of government. It has nothing to do with bigotry.

Bigotry is discriminating aginst people on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion and sexual orientation.

I would definitely define Trump as a bigot. Compared with Trump, I would define both Clintons and Obama as Fascists.

Hillary, like Obama, has been purchased as have most of the leaders of both political parties. The US government has been sold to the highest bidder(s).

If we have small government and larger corporations, we are bound to have Fascism. We must either amend the Constitution specifically to end corporate influence, or enforce the Sherman Antitrust Law to break up the corporations and cut them down to a manageable size.

It has now become clear, corporatism or democracy, we can't have both.

Bernie or Bust.
+4 # lorenbliss 2016-05-30 19:34
@Spence: this is a distinction I understand, though it is surely lost on most posters here, who fail to understand bigotry as a fascist method rather than an expression of fascism per se. However, the popular confusion on this semantic nuance arises from the fact Germany in the person of Hitler (and more specifically Josef Goebbels) combined fascism and bigotry into a murderously effective whole.

Fascism also needs to be recognized as the inevitable consequence of capitalism. While the New Deal and its antecedents sought to ameliorate capitalism's pro-fascist momentum, they failed because capitalism cannot be reformed. With its ethos of infinite greed as maximum virtue -- the rejection of all human morality and its replacement with consummate moral imbecility -- capitalism is literally too evil to reform. Thus to prevent capitalism from morphing into fascism, it can only be overthrown and abolished. Hence the relevance of Marxism, not only as the one truly effective antidote to capitalism, but -- increasingly (as capitalism becomes indistinguishab le from governance itself and thus grows ever more tyrannical) -- the only life-preserver we humans have left if indeed we are to save ourselves, our species and our planet.
+3 # economagic 2016-05-30 20:12
For better or for worse, there is a third possibility, which I suspect is a great deal more probable at this point: This tyranny will self-destruct in less than five decades.

Our mission, should we decide to accept it, is (I believe) to assure that what remains is not a smoldering cinder, as happens with certain such events on the cosmic scale.
+4 # Anonymot 2016-05-30 20:51
I wish you had 5 decades.
+3 # Kootenay Coyote 2016-05-30 20:04
Good analysis. Germany was, after all, not the least rational or kindly European nation, & it went psychotic: if it could, any nation could. Even the USA, eh?
+9 # jazzman633 2016-05-30 21:06
Glory, honor, duty, sacrifice, patriotism -- these words have been corrupted to mean "obedience to whatever war the politicians are selling at the moment."

Memorial Day is a sad, morbid holiday glorifying the death of brainwashed dupes, who like to dress in costumes, blow things up, and believe that every war is fought "to defend our freedom." How can Americans swallow this BS generation after generation?
+2 # Shades of gray matter 2016-05-31 00:09
Whatever triggered Trump's run, he has aroused the racist mob. Now is not the time to cower behind white privilege, whatever the glib rationalization . And, yes, evolutionary calculation is a very advanced type of AI. Don't underestimate the simians. And don't underestimate people simply because they do not agree with you. It is unbecoming, counter productive. Don't get caught up in the Vince Foster as Trump-Clinton go between hysteria.
0 # BoomerZoomer 2016-05-31 11:27
Hogwash! With roughly 7.3% of living Americans having ever served and only .4% currently serving, Americans know very little about the military. Many people have an emotional fondness, but no understanding. Require every young man and woman to serve at least two years of service, and our emotional fondness would be replaced by honest understanding, respect, and patriotism. Veterans can see Trump as representing the absolute worst and deadliest kind of leader.
+2 # hectormaria 2016-05-31 17:16
Don't know who to attribute it to (some think it was Sinclair Lewis other not sure)but it is apropos to the discussion: WHEN FASCISM COMES TO AMERICA, IT WILL BE WRAPPED IN THE FLAG AND CARRYING A BIBLE."

Conservative right-wingers want to believe in their superiority so badly that reality become fantasy land.
+1 # RMDC 2016-05-31 20:54
This fascist tide has been in Amerikkka from the very start. Trump is nothing new -- or rather what is new about him is that he is not part of the political class. He's a real estate developer and TV reality show actor. That's about what Reagan was. Trump is not an ideologue. He's a pragmatist and he follows his "political" instincts. Those are mostly what he things will please the crowd. Trump is a "room reader" and tries to please the crowd.

Hillary is an ideologue. Bush/Cheney was an ideologue.

I wish these Hysteria Factory workers would take a week off. Their product is getting very tiring. But this is the establishment unifying against the anti-establishe ment candidate. They've done the same thing to Sanders. They want Hillary -- the true fascist.

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