No matter what else happens today, I've got enough joy to to see me through the weekend: According to Buzzfeed, professional fascist mouthpiece Richard Spencer has had his racist ass shown the door by GoDaddy. Were you to browse your way to his alt-right website right now, you'd find nothing there waiting for you but a 404 message. I just tried. It's glorious. Apparently, GoDaddy gave Spencer 48 hours to find a new host for his bigoted bullshit before they wiped it from his servers. At the time that this post was written, it seemed that no one else wants to give his site a home. I checked on it, multiple times, to see if the site would load. Nope.
Concerning Spencer's ejection from their servers and the topic of where their business sits on the topic of freedom of speech a GoDaddy representative told Buzzfeed the following:
"In instances where a site goes beyond the mere exercise of these freedoms, however, and crosses over to promoting, encouraging, or otherwise engaging in specific acts of violence against any person, we will take action," GoDaddy's statement read. "It is our determination that altright.com crossed the line and encouraged and promoted violence in a direct and threatening manner.
Kicked to the curb.
That said, it's hard to kill hate. I'm not so naive as to think that the take down of his website will be a serious blow to his efforts to spread his white-power rhetoric and calls to violence. It's only a matter of time until someone with servers in a more permissive part of the world, be it on the dark web or otherwise, will have Spencer and his goons up and running again. Read the rest
You may have noticed of late that things in America are becoming less, well, American.
A cruel misogynist with dangerously racist beliefs is running the show. Nazis and bigots of all stripes no long fear giving voice to their hatred in public. The nation's journalists and the free flow of information are under attack. The government is working hard to defund the healthcare apparatus designed to protect the country's most vulnerable citizens. Piece by piece, the country's institutions, its heart and soul are being torn asunder, paving the way for something new. After reading Timothy Snyder's most recent book, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, I gotta tell you, if you're scared of the outcome of all of this, chances are you're likely not scared enough.
Snyder is a scholar who specializes in the history of the the 20th century and, more pointedly, the holocaust. His knowledge of how a country's slow slide into fascism at the whim of a tyrant can occur is beyond reproach, given his academic street cred: he's the Richard C. Levin Professor of History at Yale, a Committee on Conscience member at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. What I'm getting at is that he knows from bad shit, how it starts and historically, how it's gone down. With the current political and popular climate in a number of nations around the world, he's concerned that the ugliest parts of humanity are ready to rear their heads once again.
On Tyranny's only 126 pages long. Read the rest
Details have emerged about Karen Smith, the teacher who allegedly assaulted a boy who did not stand for the pledge of allegiance. The BBC reports that she was charged with "child abuse - recklessly and with injury" and with third-degree assault after picking him up by the clothes and dragging him out of class.
Local school officials say students can sit or stand during the pledge. Federal law permits students to sit.
The school district released a statement to parents after the arrest saying they "are co-operating with the District Attorney's Office and respect their decision on this matter".
"We are unable to comment further because it remains a personnel matter that the school district is actively investigating."
If the reporting is true, it wasn't simply inappropriate or excessively physical discipline: Smith committed an act of political violence against a child. Read the rest
Donald Trump retweeted anti-muslim videos posted by Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of far-right political group Britain First — and a criminal convicted of racially aggravated harassment who is currently facing more hate crimes charges in the UK.
The group, so reviled even prominent Trump supporters were critical of his choice to promote them, was made famous after a member assassinated MP Jo Cox, shrieking the party's name as he shot and stabbed her to death.
The group's leader, Paul Golding, was jailed after a series of "Mosque invasions" staged to intimidate UK muslims.
One of the video purports to depict a "Muslim immigrant" attacking a disabled Dutch boy, but local media reported that the attacker was neither. The other videos purportedly depict a Muslim man smashing a statue of the Virgin Mary and an "Islamist" mob beating that was actually filmed during Egypt's 2011 revolution.
“GOD BLESS YOU TRUMP! GOD BLESS YOU AMERICA!” wrote Fransen after Trump retweeted her to his 44 million followers.
Fransen was convicted of aggravated harassment after accosting a Muslim mother-of-four on the streets during a "Christian Patrol." She was arrested again two weeks ago following a fascist rally and charged with "threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour," with a hearing scheduled at Belfast Magistrates' Court on 14 December.
Whoever had "Trump tweeting a British far-right criminal's islamophobic videos" on this week's bingo card was playing to win.https://t.co/l27QImybVZ
— Rob Beschizza (@Beschizza) November 29, 2017
Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, has been the source of many shocks since he took office last year: he admitted to murdering people as a teen gangbanger and then later as a public official; he zeroed out the budget for the National Commission on Human Rights, and announced that deposed mass-murdering dictator Ferdinand Marcos would be treated as a hero, even as he rolled out death squads that have murdered thousands in cold blood (he also hears voices from God). Read the rest
Jia Tolentino describes The Repressive, Authoritarian Soul of “Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends”, that most cosy and all-conquering example of English bullshit for children.
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through the dedicated and comprehensive Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia, as well as asmattering of critical assessments and message-board threads from dedicated viewers, I have become a little obsessed with the show’s repressive, authoritarian soul.
It is clear from his work that Awdry disliked change, venerated order, and craved the administration of punishment. Henry wasn’t the only train to receive a death sentence. In one episode, a manager tells a showoff engine named Smudger that he’s going to “make him useful at last,” and then turns Smudger into a generator, never to move again. (There are several “R.I.P. Smudger” tribute videos on YouTube.) In another episode, a double-decker bus named Bulgy comes to the station and talks about revolution—“Free the roads from railway tyranny!” he cries. He is quickly labelled a “scarlet deceiver,” trapped under a bridge, and turned into a henhouse. A recurring storyline involves the “troublesome trucks,” which are disciplined into fearful obedience through public, symbolic punishments. Their leader, S. C. Ruffey, is pulled in two different directions until he breaks into pieces—“I guess the lesson is that if someone is bullying you, kill them?” a YouTube commenter writes—and, in another episode, a “spiteful” brake van is crushed into bits.
By the time Awdry wrote “The Railway Series,” the railway industry had shifted away from steam and toward diesel and electric.
A Florida pastor who took his 11 year old daughter to see a Donald Trump campaign-style presidential rally said he'd hoped his kid would learn something, but instead witnessed that “demonic activity was palpable.” Read the rest
President Donald Trump went full Alex Jones Infowars conspiracy theory wingnut today, saying the American news media are conspiring to cover up a vast series of Islamic terrorist attacks in which innocent God-fearin' Americans have been killed.
Statements like this from authoritarian leaders are the sort of thing you hear when a regime is preparing to institute martial law. Perhaps that is where America is now headed. Hope not.
Today's wackadoodle Trump camp statement was yet another nutty lie, just like Trump's long-running racist birther campaign against President Barack Obama, whom we miss terribly, please for the love of God make this descent into national insanity stop. Read the rest
Aaron wasn't the only one to report harassment, intimidation, and threat of arrest for photographing, filming or recording audio of the massive protests at this airport and others, as travelers officials scrambled to come to grips with Trump's sneak attack executive order.
Have just been ejected from JFK Terminal 4!while trying to interview families waiting for loved ones
— Jon Campbell (@j0ncampbell) January 30, 2017
From Rare Historical Photos, this 1934 snapshot of the Italian Fascist Party Federation in Rome.
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The building in the picture is Palazzo Braschi in Rome, the headquarters of the Fascist Party Federation (the local one, not the national Party headquarters). It was not always covered up like that; this set-up was displayed for the 1934 elections, in which Italians were called to vote either for or against the Fascist representatives list. The “SI SI…” lettering (meaning “Yes Yes…”) was propaganda for one of the two plebiscite elections held during the Fascist Regime, where electors didn’t vote for individual parties (there wasn’t any but the Fascist one), neither for single candidates, but just voted “Yes” or “No” to a single list of candidates presented by the Duce himself.
"What is the precise moment, in the life of a country, when tyranny takes hold? It rarely happens in an instant; it arrives like twilight, and, at first, the eyes adjust."
The New Yorker's Evan Osnos, with one of the best essay openings of the year, examines the posthumous memoir of Xu Hongci, a Chinese revolutionary and true believer of Mao Zedong, later imprisoned. Read the rest
The Trump election gave real legitimacy to Europe's fascist parties, including France's Marine Le Pen of the National Front; and in the absence of real, left-win alternatives for populist discontent, the only real opposition to these authoritarians is coming from the hard right parties, which are swinging even further to the right to try to gain back some of their supporters. Read the rest
Noemi writes, "After closing down Hungary's largest opposition paper (online archive included) Hungarian Prime Miniter Viktor Orban is steadily and methodically turning back the clock on 27 years of history, steadily edging back towards a dictatorship -- except this time with a fascist face. He is testing how far the beleaguered EU will allow him to stretch the boundaries of democracy. This is where the attention of European democratic efforts need to be directed. Not in kindergarten tantrums about sandwich spreads." Read the rest
An analysis from USA Today finds that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is currently involved in 3,500 legal actions. Who else is involved? Everyone from the government to vodka makers. This number is unprecedented in scope for any presidential candidate in U.S. history, and likely far too many for the entire American press corps to really get down to the bottom of, in time for voters to determine what that means for their choice in November. Read the rest