The Rise of the New Fascists and Their Threat to Democracy

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Trump memeI wonder if this was how my father felt in England, watching the rise of fascism in Europe in the 1920s and ’30s. By the time of my father’s 20th birthday, Mussolini had already secured his one-party-state in Italy; Hitler was elected and appointed chancellor. He would do the same in Germany within six months. While these two tightened their authoritarian hold on their nations, Stalin in the USSR would begin his Great Purge, and Franco would join the coup that led him to fascist power in Spain.

Argentina went through a rightwing, military-backed coup in the 1930s. A far-right conspiracy group attempted a coup in France — the so-called Veterans’ Riot. A group of neo-fascists in the USA also attempted a coup — the Wall Street Putsch — to overthrow the US government. Rightwing dictatorships arose — often as the result of a coup — in  Albania, Austria, Greece, Iran, Manchuria, China, Cuba, El Salvador, and elsewhere.

Even in the UK, fascists were on the rise. Oswald Mosely, MP and leader of the British Union of Fascists (BUF), was bringing Hitler’s ideology and brutal street-brawling tactics into British politics and daily life:

As leader of the BUF, Mosley led Britain’s vitriolic anti-Semitic fascist movement. The BUF embarked on a militant campaign of intimidation, harassment, and violence against Britain’s Jewish population, particularly in London’s East End – home to around 100,000 Jews at the time… Oswald’s bodyguards – dubbed ‘Biff Boys’ and led by the England rugby captain Peter Howard – damaged the New Party’s reputation with their violence and thuggery. These bodyguards would later become known as Mosley’s Blackshirts… BUF membership was said to have approached a peak of 50,000 by the summer of 1934.

It must have looked bleak to my father, living through the 1930s as democracies fell like dominoes to rightwing authoritarians, minorities were oppressed and jailed, and the world marched inevitably towards war. It was a frightening time, with totalitarian regimes taking over everywhere you looked, and democratic rights and freedoms being repressed.

My father — who I always knew as a moderate and centrist, with a slight lean to the left where unions and workers were concerned — must have felt pretty much how I feel now, looking at the rise of the ardent new fascists under Trump in the USA, PoiLIEvre in Canada, Putin in Russia, Xi in China, Modi in India, Orban in Hungary, and elsewhere. We, as he did, live in frightening times, indeed, when so many rightwing extremists can rule nations. But more scary is that their followers know the consequences their leaders represent for freedom and democracy, but still support and empower them.

You cannot exist in the information-dense, 24-hour-news-cycle, internet-access-everywhere 21st century and not know what these people are planning, what they have done, what they stand for. No one who supports them can claim they don’t also support fascism: that would be like a fish claiming it doesn’t live in water.

Make no mistake: by all reasonable definitions of the word, Trump and his MAGA Repugnicans, and PoiLIEvre and his Maple MAGA CONservatives are fascists. There are four basic pillars of fascism: xenophobia, propaganda, political violence, and dictatorship. And these two — as well as those others mentioned above — fit them all, if not in practice then in well-publicized intent.*

Trump cheaterBoth men are serial liars and rage-farmers, spewing a constant stream of disinformation, accusations, insults, and outright lies about any opposition or dissent. Trump alone made more than 30,000 untrue statements — many of them deliberate lies — during his presidency. At the top of that list of lies, Trump has continued to spread — and does so at every rally even now — is that he won the 2020 election, and that the Democrats stole the election from him. This flat-earth-level madness, but his cult-like followers and sycophants believe him.**

Why We Should be Afraid: Trump

Is Trump really the best person the Repugnicans can put forward as their choice to be the nation’s leader? Their best role model? Their standard for ethical and moral behaviour to which they aspire?

After all, they know quite well he’s a serial liar; a serial adulterer who bragged about sexually assaulting women; a con man who has more business failures than successes; whose charity was fined and dissolved as a result of fraudulent transactions to benefit his political ambitions; who was convicted in court of sexual abuse and defamation, who faces 91 felony counts in several US states; who has been found guilty of ten counts of contempt for violating court orders, whose “university” conned students with false advertising, was fined $25 million and closed; who stole classified documents from the White House, kept them in a bathroom in his golf course, and showed them to visitors; who peddles tawdry commercial goods like gold-plated running shoes and tacky bibles to raise money; who paid money to cover up an affair with a porn star he compared to his daughter; who lavishly praised dictators when he was in office while publicly insulting and denigrating his own civil servants, generals, and administrators, and who attempted to overthrow the legally elected government…

Repugnicans are not supporting Trump for his morals, ethics, or business acumen: he has none. They’re doing it because he promises to implement a violently repressive, totalitarian regime and they eagerly want to participate in punishing women, opponents, dissenters, the poor, the vulnerable, and anyone else they demean and dislike. They intend to make Gilead a reality (MAGA Trumpists in several US states like Florida, North Carolina, Texas, and Alabama have already made great strides in implementing a misogynist, Talibangelist rule akin to Gilead).***

Trump has stated he intends to revoke the US Constitution, send the military into Democratic American cities to enforce his aims, sign a nationwide ban on abortion (he bragged about overturning Roe v Wade), supporting a nationwide pregnancy registry, deport 11 million immigrants, he used Hitler’s words from Mein Kampf about immigrants “poisoning the blood” of the nation. Trump himself warned there would be a “bloodbath” if he was not elected, clearly letting voters know he was prepared to unleash violence if he did not get elected. That lie is being spread by all of Trump’s abject sycophants, including his daughter-in-law, the tune-deaf C&W singer who now heads the RNC, Lara Trump. Her appointment was part of Trump’s final push to absolutely and utterly control the Repugnican Party.

Trump has been recorded as recently as April trying to grift $1 billion from oil and gas executives by promising them he would repeal environmental protections and regulatory controls if they paid for his campaign. Meanwhile, Trump has gutted the finances of the RNC to pay for his own legal bills, even before he is the official party nominee. His followers know he’s abusing their donations to the party for his own personal gain.

Trump, who has used the phrase “I am your retribution” in his campaign rallies, was asked by Fox Newz sycophant Sean Hannity if he intended to be a dictator if re-elected. “Instead of a straightforward denial, Trump said he would be a dictator only on “Day 1″ of his tenure.” But like all of his lies, it’s not true: Trump has made and continues to make statements at rallies and on social media that make it clear he intends to be a dictator throughout his term and possibly for life if he can change or eliminate the US Constitution:

At a New Hampshire campaign event, he vowed to “root out the communists, Marxists, fascists and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country that lie and steal and cheat on elections.” We have debunked the notion that the 2020 election was stolen or rigged.
Trump has made several promises to fire local prosecutors; investigate Comcast, NBC and MSNBC for treason and remove them from the airwaves; and terminate the U.S. Constitution.
And in a Truth Social post, Trump implied that former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley should be executed for treason. Trump criticized Milley, a U.S. Army general, for calling his Chinese counterpart to reassure him after the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the U.S. Capitol. Trump wrote on the social media platform that it was “an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been DEATH.”

STeve BannonTrump’s toxic pitbull, Steve Bannon, spoke at CPAC 2024 (Conservative Political Action Committee), spewing far-right “rising storm” conspiracy talk taken directly from the cesspool of disinformation and racism, Qanon. This was part of the online system that empowered and encouraged the attempted coup by Trump supporters in Washington (the Jan. 6 insurrection).

In 2017 while he was still on Trump’s White House team, Bannon warned Americans that he was intent on “deconstructing the administrative state” which observers said paralleled earlier fascist ideologies about destroying a nation’s bureaucracy and government institutions.****

Another Trump loyalist at CPAC, Jack Posobiec, stated the Repugnican agenda: “Welcome to the end of democracy, we’re here to overthrow it completely. We didn’t get all the way there on Jan. 6, but we will endeavor to get rid of it.” Furthering the totalitarian, pseudo-Christian Talibangelist ideology that underlies the Repugnican platform, Posobiec raised his fist and proclaimed, “All glory is not to government. All glory to God.” He was met with cheers from the audience.

Trump has called the criminal Jan. 6 insurrectionists “patriots” and “hostages.” He has repeatedly promised to free them all with full pardons and apologies, subverting the law. He has also promised to charge the police who attempted to protect the capital from the rioters. As noted on NPR, the insurrectionists are Trump’s Brownshirts and he intends to use their rage and violence for his own agenda:

Jan. 6 defendants and their families have celebrated Trump’s promise. Experts on extremism, however, fear that Trump’s agenda will embolden extremists and encourage political violence. Police officers who were assaulted in the riot say they continue to receive violent threats from Trump supporters, underscoring the ongoing threat.
“You can’t support law enforcement and call the mob that attacked the police on Jan. 6 in the United States Capitol ‘patriots,'” [President] Biden said…

And then there’s Project 2025: a 1,000-page master plan for a fascist America following a Trump win and “packing the next GOP administration with extreme loyalists to former President Donald Trump.” It would also require a loyalty pledge to Trump from civil servants (and fire those who refused to sign, as the Nazis did when they took power), handicap and undercut Congress, and install “top allies in acting administrative roles… to bypass the Senate confirmation process.” Project 2025 is a frightening, extremist document for anyone with even the slightest concern for democracy or the rule of law. But it’s the agenda for the next Trump presidency. And Repugnicans are open about their fascist aims.

As Claudia Long noted on Substack, Project 2025 is “American Fascism, coming to a government near you… Republicans have a plan — to dismantle the federal government and replace it with “Donald Trump’s vision:”

…the idea is to have the civic infrastructure in place on Day One to commandeer, reshape and do away with what Republicans deride as the “deep state”.
“We need to flood the zone with conservatives,” said Paul Dans, director of the 2025 Presidential Transition Project and a former Trump administration official…
“The president’s Day One will be a wrecking ball,” said Russ Vought, a former Trump administration official…
But if they can’t win at the ballot box, they’ll just use the bullet box, they promise —over and over and over again.

Trump’s followers are comfortable with Project 2025 because it feeds into their violent fantasies about repressing their opponents. Long adds, “The history of the world is replete with deranged authoritarians eager and willing to commit any crime, excuse any atrocity, destroy any institution and step over the bodies, in a mad quest for raw power.”

Trump followers have even stopped hiding their love of dictator Vladimir Putin and are now openly praising him and his authoritarian government to the media. And, of course, Putin’s agenda to destabilize the West will be greatly advanced if Trump wins:

No one can claim to be unaware of what Trump and his cronies plan to do to America, what they have promised to do to democracy, about destroying American institutions, about the revenge he has promised against opponents. these are public statements, public documents, and promises made by Trump over and over at his hate rallies. It is not a question of if, but when he will destroy the nation.

Why We Should be Afraid: Poilievre

SKinny TrumpMeanwhile, in Canada, PoiLIEvre uses Trump’s playbook daily to gaslight, lie, rage-farm, and spread chaos and disinformation. He was an open and fervent supporter of the convoy insurrectionists who occupied downtown Ottawa and tried to overthrow the elected Canadian government, just like Trump has been of the Jan. 6 insurrectionists. As noted in The Tyee, PoiLIEvre and his party were “betting that with the help of evangelicals, angry blue collar workers and the usual fatigue with any three-term government, the truckers would chauffeur them back into power.”

PoiLIEvre has since marched with far-right extremists, and met with supporters of the extremist Diagolon organization (not for the first time: he marched with one of its more vocal members in Ottawa in 2022, then met with and was photographed with its founder, also in 2022).

In the National Observer, Max Fawcett noted about PoiLIEVre’s frequent meetings with far-right extremists and insurrectionists that while most Canadian media (especially the rightwing shills and Rebel-Media-wannabes in PostMedia) may skip lightly over them or try to deflect from them (usually with “whataboutism” questions), the extremists are paying close attention, just as they did in the USA when Trump encouraged them to attack the capital on January 6, 2021:

…Canadians need to pay close attention to how their leaders react to these sorts of situations. It’s true that, as Poilievre’s campaign said, he meets thousands of people and can’t do background checks on each one. But it’s also true that he’s entirely in control of how he responds after the fact and the message that sends to the Jeremy MacKenzies of the world. That it’s anything other than an unqualified disavowal speaks volumes — and rest assured, Diagolon is listening.

PoiLIEvre and insurrectionists

Last fall, Tom Mulcair, former leader of the NDP, said about PoiLIEvre, “Canadians should start paying more attention to his nostrums and begin asking tough questions… Far from being opposed to those involved in that illegal occupation, he brought them donuts and encouragement. That’s the same Poilievre who talks about the importance of respecting the rule of law. Instead of showing leadership, Poilievre surfed on a populist protest wave that led to police being put in danger at a border crossing in Alberta and the closing of the crucial Ambassador Bridge in Ontario. That’s the Pierre Poilievre we should all be concerned about: someone who will say or do anything if he calculates that it can suit his partisan and personal interests, then scurry away when it turns against him.”

Mulcair added:

Poilievre tends to see nothing good in…goodness, in generosity of spirit and benevolence. He knows what’s right and he’ll try to shove it down your throat if you don’t see things the way he does. It’ll take more than a one-hour speech to paper over that fundamental characteristic. That’s why I sincerely believe that people should take a much closer look at the contents of the snake oil that Poilievre is prescribing.
As our extraordinary singer and songwriter, Joni Mitchell(opens in a new tab), once put it: “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.”

PoiLIEvre openly supports pseudoscience claptrap, anti-vaxxer/anti-social beliefs, and he promotes paranoid Qanon conspiracies like “Big Pharma…crack[ing] down on our natural supplement sector,”  “The Great Reset,” and conspiracies about the World Economic Forum (WEF) agenda popular among the ignorati.

PoiLIEvre has brought extremist, fringe, and generally violent politics and actors into the mainstream and given them a voice on the national stage (aided in this by our compliant mainstream media acting as shills for him and his party). As noted in The Tyee, “The Conservatives are the one party to understand the powerful and distorting influence of the conspiracy fringe on the Canadian political scene. And they have put a lot of effort into exploiting its dark energy. Call it the politics of intimidation, and it is playing an increasingly toxic role in Canadian political life.” How can anyone argue that his are not the politics of fascism, as well, when all the evidence says they are?

And it has since been revealed that PoiLIEvre likely had foreign interference to help him gain the leadership of the party :

…both China and India may have interfered in the 2022 Conservative leadership race. Poilievre crushed his opponents on the first ballot. A record 613,000 new Conservative memberships were sold. A top-secret Canadian Security Intelligence Service assessment from October 2022 indicated that both countries interfered in the leadership race.

Like Trump, PoiLIEvre despises any media that is not slavishly sycophantic to him and his ideas. As the Halifax Examiner noted, “He’s fine with a news media-free Canada.” PoiLIEvre has consistently refused to answer inconvenient media questions and insulted and attacked reporters who challenged his fact-free claims. CBC noted, “No politician in recent memory has mocked and criticized reporters more than the Conservative leader…”

The potential implications of his approach to journalists for a future Conservative government may be as worthy of consideration as any other aspect of the Conservative offer in the next election.
Poilievre’s combative exchanges with reporters in recent months are arguably the manifestation of a rhetorical drumbeat he has been playing since his leadership campaign two years ago.

PeePee's shadowHe has threatened to use the “notwithstanding clause” in the Constitution to go against Charter rights and change any laws he doesn’t like to those that match his ideology (and many women on Xitter believe that means he will use the clause to ban abortions nationwide, like his hero, Trump, has promised to do).

Four CONServative MPS had photo ops when they wined and dined several times with Christine Anderson, a neo-Nazi politician from Germany, without any condemnation from PoiLIEvre. His office and the MPs tried to pretend they were unaware of her far-right and well-publicized political leanings, to which she snidely replied, “I found it kind of peculiar that he would claim they were not aware of my political views, since the internet was full of videos about those views…” Indeed, a simple Google search would have told them exactly with whom they were lunching. But, of course, PoiLIEVre knows, too, that Anderson’s views are popular with his own base, and he knows that she met insurrectionist convoy leader Tamara Lich, met Maxime Bernier, leader of the far-right People’s Party of Canada, and posed with a Diagolon flag when she visited Calgary.

PoiLIEvre threatened universities with installing a free-speech “guardian” who would oversee their operations and ensure his message was presented, otherwise they would lose federal funding. He complains about the imagined “gatekeepers” in government and public service while threatening to become the punitive, absolute Gatekeeper Supreme himself.

Poilievre disingenuously accused Canadian mayor of being gatekeepers preventing housing from being built and in a subsequent media release, said Conservatives would reward those who get homes built and “punish those who do not.” When Canadian mayors criticized PoiLIEvre’s language, his media relations officer, Sebastian Skamski, responded with another insult: “If gatekeeper mayors have hurt feelings they should look to the hurt they and Justin Trudeau have caused for their communities.” In other words, “Let them eat cake!”

The extremist far-right American agitator and professional liar, Alex Jones, recently endorsed PoiLIEvre on his propaganda show, saying PoiLIEvre is “saying the same things as me.” PoiLIEvre refused to disavow Jones’ endorsement, no doubt because it plays well to PoiLIEvre’s own extremist base. A recent article in iPolitics noted:

By not categorically rejecting any support from the far-right group or Jones, who he called a “garbage conspiracy theorist,” Poilievre is telling Canadians about the kinds of choices he’s making as a leader…
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre’s lack of explicit condemnation of far-right individuals and groups is a silence that speaks volumes about his willingness to court voters with more extremist views, according to those who study extremist movements.
And as incidents continue to mount in which Poilievre is photographed rubbing shoulders with people openly supporting far-right causes, questions will continue to mount about how open the Conservative leader is to more polarizing ideologies, they say.

And like Trump’s followers, PoiLIEvre’s Maple MAGA know that their leader is pushing an extremist rightwing regime, know he is cultivating the extremists in his base, know he is promising an authoritarian regime with him as Supreme Gatekeeper if elected PM. Diagolon is not only listening, but I believe is preparing to assume an enhanced and public role under the new government if PoiLIEvre and his party get into power. Every dictator needs his Brownshirts to enforce his rules.

Journalist and author Michael Harris wrote in The Tyee that “Democracy Is Under Siege Globally. Canada Is Being Tested.” He added,

If the polls hold, Pierre Poilievre will be our prime minister and Donald Trump will be ruling the United States, which — according to the Orange One’s own words — will no longer be a democracy. Trump will act as a dictator on “Day 1,” he’s declared on Fox News. According to the world’s most indicted politician himself, a U.S. Trumpocracy will run along the lines of strongman Viktor Orbán’s increasingly undemocratic Hungary.

Who benefits from the rise of the new fascists? WHo will benefit from their regimes? Why, Vladimir Putin, of course. But again, both men and their followers know that they are advancing Putin’s agenda through their constant firehose of attacks on our democracies.

Was my father as afraid for the survival of his British democracy in the 1930s as I am for mine today? I don’t know, but I like to think he would have voted for the choices that, however flawed, promise to maintain and continue that democracy and our hard-won freedoms, not those who openly and gleefully promise to destroy them. And make no mistake: these two leaders are fascists; their supporters know that, and know exactly what they stand for and what threat they represent to democracy. And they welcome it.

Notes:

Many of the above cartoons and other images here were taken from various feeds on social media where the source was not identified or they were not linked to a source. I apologize for any violations of copyright and will happily add a link and attribution if they can be provided.

* PoiLIEvre’s mentor was the autocratic, deeply anti-democratic Stephen Harper who, during his time as Canada’s prime minister, did his utmost to undermine our democracy and our public institutions. Harper now runs the IDU, an organization of far-right leaders whose stated goal is to replace democracies with authoritarian rightwing governments. As The Tyee noted:

Stephen Harper and his Conservatives have racked up dozens of serious abuses of power since forming government in 2006. From scams to smears, monkey-wrenching opponents to intimidating public servants like an Orwellian gorilla, some offences are criminal, others just offend human decency.

** Biden won the election fairly, legally, and soundly, taking 306 of the Electoral College votes compared to Trump’s 232, and winning the popular vote by 81,283,501 (51.3%), compared to Trump’s 74,223,975 (46.8%). Source: Wikipedia. Trump was the first president to lose re-election since George H. W. Bush in 1992.

*** The Talibangelists never use the New Testament Beatitudes or any of the words of Jesus: they always use a careful selection of the Old Testament’s repressive laws and statements, chosen to legitimize their beliefs without inconveniencing them with dietary, or clothing restrictions. But they are also possibly following the Hindu Laws of Manu, which both repress women and encourage punishment of perceived wrongdoers. For example, in Book IX: “Day and night woman must be kept in dependence by the males (of) their (families), and, if they attach themselves to sensual enjoyments, they must be kept under one’s control.” And Book VII: “Punishment is (in reality) the king (and) the male, that the manager of affairs, that the ruler, and that is called the surety for the four orders’ obedience to the law. Punishment alone governs all created beings, punishment alone protects them, punishment watches over them while they sleep; the wise declare punishment (to be identical with) the law.”

As Michael Harris noted in The Tyee (emphasis added):

Right-wing U.S. Christian non-profits like the Alliance Defending Freedom, or ADF, fund fringe groups across America, which then go after women’s rights to abortion, and the rights of LGBTQ+ minorities. Banning books is another signature activity of these groups. In effect, they are forcing their “dangerous, unpopular agenda on Americans,” as Kyle Herrig of the political funding watchdog group Accountable.US has asserted.
The ADF had led the successful legal campaign to overturn Roe v. Wade and is now challenging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s rules that increase access for the abortion pill mifepristone before the Supreme Court.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has classified the ADF as a “hate group” for professing that LGBTQ+ people should be imprisoned. The ADF may also have been quietly working under the radar for years in Canada to roll back abortion and LGBTQ+ rights.

In Canadian provinces, CONservative premiers have taken a somewhat different approach to destabilizing democracy by following Bannon’s approach: deconstructing the public and governmental institutions that keep Canadians safe, healthy, and happy. For example, in both Alberta (nicknamed Albertabama for obvious reasons) and Ontario, CONservative governments are trying to break the public healthcare system and implement a US_stype private system that will bankrupt many of its working-class users.

****  In his 2015 book on the Holocaust, Yale historian Timothy Snyder wrote that it was the “breakdown – or deliberate smashing – of such structures that bring the most horrific results” to nations under fascist rule. Mike Lofgren used Snyder’s views on history when commenting on Bannon’s comments about deconstructing the state, noting “Snyder shows that where states were destroyed and institutions obliterated, the results were almost invariably lethal for the vulnerable…” He adds,

Timothy Snyder’s message is clear: the stodgy institution of the traditional state, whose slow, cumbersome, and supposedly oppressive bureaucracy is the stuff of jokes, handwringing, and resentment, is in extremis the only thing between the lone individual and anyone stronger or better armed who wishes to kill him. The state, as it has evolved with its chanceries, ministries, departments, and courts, creates a skein of rules and procedures that can impede the unscrupulous and the murderous. Do away with it, and the result is likelier to be Somalia than the utopian fever-dreams of libertarians.
Am I drawing too grim a conclusion in thinking that former Donald Trump adviser (and admirer of European fascism) Steven Bannon’s statement about “deconstructing the administrative state” leads in the cataclysmic direction Snyder describes rather than what the CATO Institute would have us believe?

Words: 4,537

 

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12 Comments

  1. https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2022/08/12/Pierre-Poilievre-Symptom-Conservatives-Sickness/
    From 2022: Pierre Poilievre Is a Symptom of the Conservatives’ Sickness
    The party remains under the Harperites’ spell — or curse.
    Ever since Stephen Harper took the Conservative Party of Canada below 100 seats in the House of Commons back in 2015, the history of the party has been like a sequel to the movie Groundhog Day.

    Like the weatherman in that film, the Conservatives are caught in a time loop. The only way they can shake loose and get back into real time is by getting their approach to politics right.

    Since Harper’s forced retreat from public life to ride the gravy train of right-wing political consulting, the party has gotten it emphatically wrong.

    Despite three straight electoral losses, one under Harper, and two under the leadership of Harper mini-clones from his cabinet, the Conservatives are poised to select Pierre Poilievre on Sept. 10 as their next leader. Stay tuned for the fourth bellyflop in a row at the national polls.

  2. https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/2024/05/02/poilievre-pledge-a-dangerous-first-step-on-perilous-path-to-lost-rights-freedoms
    Poilievre pledge a dangerous first step on perilous path to lost rights, freedoms

    It seems clear that if Pierre Poilievre becomes Canada’s next prime minister, he plans to be the first federal leader to use the country’s so-called notwithstanding clause to override the constitutional rights of Canadians.

    The Conservative Party of Canada leader suggested this week he would use the controversial clause — which has never been used by the federal government — to deny bail to any repeat violent offender charged with a new violent crime.

    The question now is, how far would Poilievre go in denying Canadians their fundamental rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms? He plans to start with bail. But what other rights might he target to further his hard-right political agenda? Protection against unreasonable search or seizure? Arbitrary detention? Cruel and unusual punishment?

  3. Does this sound like anyone familiar?

    He wasn’t satisfied with mere political conformity and compliance: he demanded the people’s wholehearted commitment, selflessness, and activism. And he sought to inculcate this embrace of the cause through ideological education, mutual criticism sessions in small peer groups… and mass campaigns targeting ‘bad elements’…
    People lived in constant fear of making a slip of the tongue that could ruin their careers… [He] warned of the dangers of putting personal friendships ahead of political loyalty. A person’s commitment to the values of the regime was measured by their willingness to criticize a friend’s political mistakes. For [him the] future lay in mobilizing the energy of the people through mass campaigns…

    It’s from Susan Shirk, Overreach: How China Derailed its Peaceful Rise, Oxford University Press, 2022. And she’s writing about Mao. But the resemblance to Trump is remarkable.

    She adds:

    People lived in constant fear of making a slip of the tongue that could ruin their careers… [He] warned of the dangers of putting personal friendships ahead of political loyalty. A person’s commitment to the values of the regime was measured by their willingness to criticize a friend’s political mistakes. For [him the] future lay in mobilizing the energy of the people through mass campaigns…

  4. https://www.rawstory.com/trump-thunderous-boos-libertarian/
    Trump takes stage to ‘thunderous boos’ at Libertarian convention event

    Even before Trump arrived at the political convention in Washington, D.C., there were numerous Libertarian delegates booing when his name was even mentioned. One crowd member even yelled out that the former president “should have taken a bullet.”

    Trump supporters sought to blunt that effect as Trump took the stage by claiming a prominent presence in the room before Libertarians arrived, but they melted down after they were displaced as their Libertarian hosts requested front-row seats.

    “Wow. Thunderous boos for Trump at the Libertarian Party convention,” Conservative Army Iraq War Veteran Peter Henlein said on Saturday. “I think it’s safe to say the libertarians are voting for RKF Jr.”

  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwLFOM3rgq8

    Jordan Klepper Fingers the Pulse: Moscow Tools (FULL SPECIAL) | The Daily Show
    As Vladimir Putin continues his gritty reboot of the Soviet Union, he’s getting a surprising amount of help from the party once led by Reagan. In this new special, “Jordan Klepper Fingers the Pulse: Moscow Tools,” Klepper speaks to foreign affairs experts, possible Russian assets, and the Prime Minister of Russia’s neighbor, Estonia, to find out whether Republicans have become the Kremlin’s most useful idiots.

  6. https://www.authoritarianplaybook2025.org/
    The Authoritarian Playbook for 2025
    How an authoritarian president will dismantle our democracy and what we can do to protect it
    We now have more than eight years of experience with this phenomenon and a full presidential term as a track record proving that Trump’s pledges should be taken both seriously and literally. He has, for the most part, sought to do the extreme things that were dismissed as mere rhetoric when first promised, from enacting a “Muslim ban” to refusing to accept the results of an election. And yet, here we are again, with Trump making even more extreme promises to “terminate” the Constitution, seek “retribution” against political opponents, and be a “dictator” (just on day one), only to see people unsure what to make of or how to respond to these threats.

    This report aims to alter these dynamics by clearly showing how Trump would follow through on his most extreme anti-democratic pledges for a second term and then offering expert recommendations for how to mitigate that danger.

  7. https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/fundamentalist-christian-movement-1.6793677
    Inside the fundamentalist Christian movement that wants to remake Canadian politics
    Internal document reveals ambitions of anti-LGBTQ group that is part of populist movement

    This movement is now increasingly involved in electoral politics, advocating for conservative social and political policies based on literal interpretations of the Bible.

    Liberty Coalition Canada, a conservative Christian advocacy group, is trying to raise $1.3 million to recruit hundreds of Christian politicians and campaign staff to run at all levels of government.

    In a document marked “please keep classified” that was obtained by CBC News, the group says its ultimate goal is “the most powerful political disruption in Canadian history.”

    Working alongside Liberty Coalition Canada are dozens of churches across the country, a number of small media outlets and at least one well-funded think-tank.

    While theological and political differences exist among them, many supporters of this movement share a vocal opposition to LGBTQ rights and other social justice causes.

    Several Canadian pastors in the movement also have ties to a controversial branch of evangelical Christianity in the U.S. known as reconstructionism.

    Scholars say reconstructionist ideals — often linked to Christian nationalism, the idea that the United States is a Christian country — are influencing how some Canadian evangelicals are responding to issues like legalized abortion, same-sex marriage and added protections for gender minorities.

    “Some Christians in Canada over the last 10 years have begun to push back,” said John Stackhouse, a professor of religious studies at Crandall University in Moncton, N.B.

  8. https://substack.com/home/post/p-144874374

    This is an excellent overview of how the Repugnican shift to the far right happened, why, and when.

    If you’ve been watching the GOP jump off the cliff of democracy into the abyss of authoritarianism and have wondered, “How did this happen??!?” this post will help answer that question.

    A 2017 study by Stanford professor Shanto Iyengar found that in America (and a few other democracies), bonds based on partisan affiliation have surpassed those based on race, religion, language and ethnicity.

    When faced with the Conservative Dilemma, the Republican Party latched on to division, rather than ideas, as a political strategy. In place of a commitment to shared policy positions, Republicans redefined their party as an identity based on “perceptions of shared allegiance and shared threat.” In doing so, it committed itself to the path that led to Trump…

  9. https://www.thebulwark.com/p/the-mainstreaming-of-antisemitism-on-the-right
    The Mainstreaming of Antisemitism on the Right
    Conservatives have justly criticized left-wing antisemitism in recent years—but should look to their own side, too.
    THIS NOVEMBER, THE REPUBLICAN SENATE CANDIDATE in Minnesota will almost certainly be a guy who has railed against the “Jewish lobby” and “Jewish elite” and defended Jew-bashing rapper Kanye West. While Royce White, the former pro basketball player who has evolved from Black Lives Matter to MAGA, still faces a primary vote in August, he got the Minnesota GOP’s endorsement earlier this month, with two-thirds of the delegate vote at the state party convention (where he was introduced by top MAGA strategist Steve Bannon). A few days later, White faced some major blowback over a resurfaced clip from an appearance on Bannon’s “War Room” podcast last July in which he decried “mouthy” women and suggested that a globalist cabal may have engineered World War II with a view to getting women into the workforce. But the flap over White’s sexist comments overshadowed his troubling record of antisemitic rhetoric, which includes the claim on his own podcast—because of course he has his own podcast—that Jews use the Holocaust “to provide a victimhood cover for their own corrupt practices.”

    Remarkably, this was one of two ‘come for the misogyny, stay for the antisemitism’ episodes on the right this month. Remember Harrison Butker, the football kicker who ruffled feathers with a commencement speech at a small Catholic college in Kansas in which he not only suggested that homemaking was women’s true vocation but also asserted that women who look forward to careers and promotions have been lured by “diabolical lies”? Well, there was also a little-noticed part where Butker, decrying the supposed persecution of the Catholic faith in modern-day America, claimed that “Congress just passed a bill where stating something as basic as the biblical teaching of who killed Jesus could land you in jail.” In case you didn’t get it, that means “the Jews,” and the reference is to the Antisemitism Awareness Act passed by the House on May 1—which does not seek to put anyone in jail but to expand the tools for college administrators to combat antisemitic harassment on campus. The bill endorses the use of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, which includes “claims of Jews killing Jesus” among codes “associated with classic antisemitism.”

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