Tuesday 16th of August 2022

of american religious fascism and adoration of the gun…..

fascists to the end of time…..fascists to the end of time…..

The Supreme Court is relentlessly funding and empowering Christian fascism. It not only overturned Roe v. Wade, ending a constitutional right to an abortion, but ruled on June 21 that Maine may not exclude religious schools from a state tuition program.

 

It has ruled that a Montana state program to support private schools must include religious schools. It ruled that a 40-foot cross could remain on state property in suburban Maryland. It upheld the Trump administration regulation allowing employers to deny birth control coverage to female employees on religious grounds. 

 

By CHRIS HEDGES

 

It ruled that employment discrimination laws do not apply to teachers at religious schools. It ruled that a Catholic social services agency in Philadelphia could ignore city rules and refuse to screen same-sex couples applying to take in foster children. It neutered the 1965 Voting Rights Act. It watered down laws allowing workers to combat sexual and racial harassment in court. It reversed century-old campaign finance restric­tions to permit corpor­a­tions, private groups and oligarchs to spend unlim­ited funds on elec­tions, a system of legalized bribery, in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission. It permitted states to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion.

It undercut the ability of public sector unions to raise funds. It forced workers with legal grievances to submit their complaints to privatized arbitration boards. It ruled that states cannot restrict the right to carry concealed weapons in public. It ruled that suspects cannot sue police who neglect to read them their Miranda warnings and use their statements against them in court. Outlawing contraception, same-sex marriage and same-sex consensual relations are probably next. Only 25 percent of those polled say they have confidence in Supreme Court decisions.

I do not use the word fascist lightly. My father was a Presbyterian minister. My mother, a professor, was a seminary graduate. I received my Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School. I am an ordained Presbyterian minister. Most importantly, I spent two years reporting from megachurches, creationist seminars, right-to-life retreats, Christian broadcasting networks and conducted hundreds of hours of interviews with members and leaders of the Christian right for my book “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America,” which is banned at most “Christian” schools and universities. Before the book was published, I met at length with Fritz Stern, the author of The Politics of Cultural Despair: A Study in the Rise of the German Ideology, and Robert O. Paxton, who wrote The Anatomy of Fascism, two of the country’s most eminent scholars of fascism, to make sure the word fascist was appropriate.

The book was a warning that an American fascism, wrapped in the flag and clutching the Christian cross, was organizing to extinguish our anemic democracy. This assault is very far advanced. The connecting tissue among the disparate militia groups, QAnon conspiracy theorists, anti-abortion activists, right-wing patriot organizations, Second Amendment advocates, neo-Confederates and Trump supporters that stormed the Capitol on January 6 is this frightening Christian fascism.

Fascists achieve power by creating parallel institutions – schools, universities, media platforms and paramilitary forces – and seizing the organs of internal security and the judiciary. They deform the law, including electoral law, to serve their ends. They are rarely in the majority. The Nazis never polled above 37 percent in free elections in Germany. Christian fascists constitute less than a third of the U.S. electorate, about the same percentage of those who consider abortion to be murder. 

This flagrant manipulation of law was displayed in two of the most recent Supreme Court decisions, where those who support this ideology have a five to three majority, with the less extremist Chief Justice John Roberts often adding a sixth vote. In overturning Roe v. Wade, the court, in a six to three decision, argued that states have the power to decide whether abortion is legal. The same court conversely came down against “states’ rights,” in striking down strict restrictions on carrying concealed firearms.  

What the ideology demands is law. What the ideology opposes is a crime. Once a legal system is subservient to dogma an open society is impossible.  

Blow by blow autocratic power is being solidified by this monstrous Christian fascism which is bankrolled by the most retrograde forces of corporate capitalism. It looks set to take control of the U.S. Congress in the midterm elections. If Trump, or a Trump-like clone, is elected in 2024, what is left of our democracy will likely be extinguished.

These Christians fascists are clear about the society they intend to create.

In their ideal America, our “secular humanist” society based on science and reason will be destroyed. The Ten Commandments will form the basis of the legal system. Creationism or “Intelligent Design” will be taught in public schools, many of which will be overtly “Christian.” Those branded as social deviants, including the LGBTQ community, immigrants, secular humanists, feminists, Jews, Muslims, criminals, and those dismissed as “nominal Christians”—meaning Christians who do not embrace this peculiar interpretation of the Bible—will be silenced, imprisoned, or killed. The role of the federal government will be reduced to protecting property rights, “homeland” security and waging war. Most government assistance programs and federal departments, including education, will be terminated. Church organizations will be funded and empowered to run social-welfare agencies and schools. The poor, condemned for sloth, indolence, and sinfulness, will be denied help. The death penalty will be expanded to include “moral crimes,” including apostasy, blasphemy, sodomy, and witchcraft, as well as abortion, which will be treated as murder. Women, denied contraception, access to abortion, and equality under the law, will be subordinate to men. Those who practice other faiths will become, at best, second-class citizens. The wars waged by the American empire will be defined as religious crusades. Victims of police violence and those in prison will have no redress. There will be no separation of church and state. The only legitimate voices in public discourse and the media will be “Christian.” America will be sacralized as an agent of God. Those who defy the “Christian” authorities, at home and abroad, will be condemned as agents of Satan.

How did the historians of Weimar Germany and Nazism, the professors of Holocaust studies, the sociologists and the religious scholars manage to miss the rise of our homegrown Christian fascism? Immersed in the writings of Hannah Arendt, Raul Hilberg, Saul Friedländer, Joachim Fest, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Theodor Adorno, they never connected the dots. Why didn’t church leaders thunder in denunciation at the grotesque perversion of the Gospel by the Christian fascists as they sacralized the get-rich-with-Jesus schemes of the prosperity gospel, imperialism, militarism, capitalism, patriarchy, white supremacy, and other forms of bigotry? Why didn’t reporters see the flashing red lights that lit up decades ago?

Most of those tasked with reporting on and interpreting history, social movements and religious beliefs have failed us. They spoke about the past, vowing “Never again,” but refused to use the lessons of the past to explain the present. It was not ignorance. It was cowardice. To confront the Christian fascists, even in universities, meant career-canceling accusations of religious bigotry and intolerance. It meant credible threats of violence from conspiracy theorists who believed they were called by God to murder abortion providers, Muslims, and “secular humanists.”

It was easier, as many academics did in Weimar Germany, to believe that the fascists did not mean what they said, that there were strains within the movement that could be reasoned with, that opening channels of dialogue and communication could see the fascists domesticated, that if in power the fascists would not act on their extremist and violent rhetoric.  With few exceptions, German academics did not protest the Nazi assumption of power and the wholesale dismissal of their liberal, socialist, and Jewish colleagues.

Although my book was a New York Times best seller, Harvard told my publisher it was not interested in my appearing at the school. I gave a lecture on the book at Colgate University, where I had earned my undergraduate degree, organized by my mentor Coleman Brown, a professor of ethics. I held a seminar, also organized by Coleman, with the professors of philosophy and religion after the talk. These professors wanted nothing to do with the critique. When we left the room, Coleman muttered, “the problem is they do not believe in heretics.”

I was asked in 2006 to speak at the inauguration of the LGBT center at Princeton University when I was the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow in American Studies. To my dismay, the faculty facilitators had invited representatives from the right-wing Christian student group who see any deviation from heterosexuality as a psychological and moral abnormality. Christian fascist pastors in Texas and Idaho, who have driven countless young people struggling with their sexual identity to suicide, have called for the execution of gay people as recently as a few days ago.

“There is no dialogue with those who deny your legitimate right to be,” I said, looking pointedly at the LGBTQ students. “At that point it is a fight for survival.”

The faculty member organizing the event leapt from her chair.

“This is a university,” she said to me curtly. “Your talk is over. You can’t say those kinds of things here.”

I sat down. But I had made my point.

All those tasked in our society with interpreting the world around us forgot, as philosopher Karl Popper wrote in The Open Society and Its Enemies, that “unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.”

These scholars, writers, intellectuals, and journalists, like those in Weimar Germany, bear much of the blame. They preferred accommodation over confrontation. They stood by as the working class was stripped of rights and impoverished by the billionaire class, fertilizing the ground for an American fascism. Those who orchestrated the economic, political, and social assault are the major donors to the universities. They control trustee boards, grants, academic prizes, think tanks, promotion, publishing, and tenure. Academics, looking for an exit, ignored the attacks by the ruling oligarchy. They ascribed to the Christian fascists, bankrolled by huge corporations such as Tyson Foods, Purdue, Wal-Mart and Sam’s Warehouse, attributes that did not exist. They tacitly gave the Christian fascists religious legitimacy. These Christian fascists are an updated version of the so-called German Christian Church, or Deutsche Christen, which fused the iconography and symbols of the Christian religion with the Nazi party. The theologian Paul Tillich, the first non-Jewish German professor to be blacklisted from German universities by the Nazis, angrily chastised those who refused to fight “the paganism of the swastika” and retreated into a myopic preoccupation with personal piety.

Victor Klemperer, stripped of his position as a professor of Romance languages at the Technical University of Dresden when the Nazis came to power in 1933 because he was Jewish, mused in his diary in 1936 what he would do in post-Nazi Germany if  “the fate of the vanquished lay in my hands.” He wrote that he would “let all the ordinary folk go and even some of the leaders…But I would have all the intellectuals strung up, and the professors three feet higher than the rest; they would be left hanging from the lamp posts for as long as was compatible with hygiene.”

Fascists promise moral renewal, a return to a lost golden age. They use campaigns of moral purity to justify state repression. Adolf Hitler, days after he took power in January 1933, imposed a ban on all homosexual organizations. He ordered raids on homosexual clubs and bars, including the Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin, and the permanent exile of its director, Magnus Hirschfeld. Thousands of volumes from the institute’s library were tossed into a bonfire. This “moral cleansing” was cheered on by the German public, including German churches. But the tactics, outside the law, swiftly legitimized what would soon be done to others.

I studied at Harvard with theologian James Luther Adams. Adams was a member of the underground anti-Nazi Confessing Church in Germany led by the Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller. Adams was arrested in 1936 by the Gestapo and expelled from the country. He was one of the very few to see the deadly strains of fascism in the nascent Christian right.

“When you are my age,” he told us (he was then 80), “you will all be fighting the Christian fascists.”

And here we are.

The billionaire class, while sometimes socially liberal, dispossessed working men and women through deindustrialization, austerity, a legalized tax boycott, looting the U.S. Treasury and deregulation. It triggered the widespread despair and rage that pushed many of the betrayed into the arms of these con artists and demagogues. It is more than willing to accommodate the Christian fascists, even if it means abandoning the liberal veneer of inclusiveness. It has no intention of supporting social equality, which is why it thwarted the candidacy of Bernie Sanders. 

In the end, even the liberal class will choose fascism over empowering the left-wing and organized labor. The only thing the ruling oligarchy truly cares about is unfettered exploitation and profit. They, like the industrialists in Nazi Germany, will happily make an alliance with the Christian fascists, no matter how bizarre and buffoonish, and embrace the blood sacrifices of the condemned.  

 

 

NOTE TO SCHEERPOST READERS FROM CHRIS HEDGES: There is now no way left for me to continue to write a weekly column for ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show without your help. The walls are closing in, with startling rapidity, on independent journalism, with the elites, including the Democratic Party elites, clamoring for more and more censorship. Bob Scheer, who runs ScheerPost on a shoestring budget, and I will not waver in our commitment to independent and honest journalism, and we will never put ScheerPost behind a paywall, charge a subscription for it, sell your data or accept advertising. Please, if you can, sign up at chrishedges.substack.com so I can continue to post my now weekly Monday column on ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show, The Chris Hedges Report.

 

 

READ MORE:

https://scheerpost.com/2022/06/27/hedges-fascists-in-our-midst/

 

 

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US at war in ukraine….

 

By Bonnie Kristian

Ms. Kristian is a journalist and a fellow at Defense Priorities, a foreign policy think tank.


In the more than three months since Russia invaded Ukraine, the Biden administration has said a lot of things about the war. It had to walk a few of them back almost immediately, like when President Biden’s statement that Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power” turned out not to be a call for regime change. On other points, its rhetoric has sharpened over time: In March, America’s goal was to help Ukraine defend itself; by the end of April it was a “weakened” Russia.

But on one thing the administration has been very consistent: America won’t get into a war with Russia for Ukraine.

“We do not seek a war between NATO and Russia,” President Biden wrote in The Times at the end of May. “As much as I disagree with Mr. Putin, and find his actions an outrage, the United States will not try to bring about his ouster in Moscow. So long as the United States or our allies are not attacked, we will not be directly engaged in this conflict, either by sending American troops to fight in Ukraine or by attacking Russian forces.”

 

Much of the praise and critique of Mr. Biden’s Ukraine policy has accepted his version of events. But are we sure Americans can reliably recognize when we’ve joined a war?

Presidents have a history of insisting they have no intention of going to war, until they do. “He kept us out of war,” President Woodrow Wilson’s 1916 re-election slogan declared, only for Wilson to take us into World War I a mere month into his second term, right after describing American intervention as inevitable.

During the presidential election of 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson promised he was “not about to send American boys nine or 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.” But in February 1965, within a month of his inauguration, Johnson authorized the bombing campaign known as Operation Rolling Thunder. A month after that, “American boys” were in Vietnam.

 That history is instructive on the shelf life of any president’s promise — perhaps particularly during an election — to keep us out of war: Even if it’s true at the moment it’s uttered, it is no guarantee for the future.

But at least in the cases of World War I and Vietnam there was a demonstrable shift from not at war to at war, and Americans could point to a moment when that shift occurred. That bright line meant presidents could make straightforward promises to stay out of a war, and the public could tell when those promises weren’t kept.

In recent decades, however, especially in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, we’ve moved into a model of perpetual warfare, with ambiguous boundaries of chronology, geography and purpose. The line between what is war and what is not war has perilously blurred, and determining the moment we move from one to the other has become a more difficult task.

 

 

That’s partly because of technological advances, like drone warfare and cyberattacks, that have made it possible to commit what might otherwise be seen as acts of war — killing adversaries, destroying buildings, degrading nuclear facilities — in other countries without U.S. troops ever leaving U.S. soil. It’s also a function of executive war-making: Congress hasn’t formally declared war since 1942, but successive presidents have relied on the broad war powers granted to George W. Bush in 2002 to authorize the use of military force.

Are we at war in Pakistan or Somalia, for example, where we have been conducting drone attacks against Qaeda, Islamic State and Taliban militants in Pakistan since 2004 and Al Shabab in Somalia since 2011? Or at war in Niger, where U.S. forces were deployed and where four American soldiers were killed in an ambush in October 2017?

The United States has never officially joined the civil war in Yemen, but a Saudi-led coalition has killed civilians with U.S.-made warheads and chosen targets with American guidance.

Our role in the seven-year conflict in Yemen has been robust enough that many experts believe the Saudi-led coalition would sue for peace without it. It has been robust enough that American lawmakers — including a bipartisan majority of senators in 2019and Representatives Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington, and Peter DeFazio, Democrat of Oregon, this year — have characterized it as a violation of Article I of the Constitution, which grants Congress the power to declare war, and of the 1973 War Powers Resolution, which sharply limits, in nature and timeline, military action initiated by the president.

We crossed the line in Yemen, those lawmakers concluded, even if it’s not wholly clear where the line is.

And what we’ve done in Yemen looks a lot like what we’re doing in Ukraine. Last month, leaks by U.S. officials revealed that the United States helped Ukraine to kill Russian generals and strike a Russian warship, and Mr. Biden signed a $40 billion aid packagefor Ukraine, a lot of which is for military assistance like weaponry and intelligence sharing. The bill, which Ms. Jayapal and Mr. DeFazio voted for, comes on top of billions of prior military support. The Biden administration also announced, this month, that it will send rocket systems to Ukraine that could theoreticallystrike inside Russian territory, and it reportedly has plans to sellthe Ukrainian government four drones that can be armed with Hellfire missiles.

 

 

 

Are we at war in Ukraine? If we swapped places — if Russian apparatchiks admitted helping to kill American generals or sink a U.S. Navy vessel — I doubt we’d find much ambiguity there. At the very least, what the United States is doing in Ukraine is not not war. If we have so far avoided calling it war and can continue to do so, maybe that’s only because we’ve become so uncertain of the meaning of the word.

 

 

READ MORE:

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/20/opinion/international-world/ukraine-war-america.html

 

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choicicide….

https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202206/28/WS62ba4b26a310fd2b29e68e39.html

 

 

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