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The Hardening of Society and the Rise of Cultures of Cruelty in Neo-Fascist America

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  • There is more at work here than getting rid of Trump, there is a need to eliminate a system in which democracy is equated with capitalism, a system driven almost exclusively by financial interests, and beholden to two political parties that are hard wired into neoliberal savagery.
  • Related:'Spectacular Betrayal' as Trump Hands Economy 'Back Over to Wall Street'

Henry Giroux, Greanville Post

March 17, 2017 | Dark Times are truly upon us. There will be an acceleration of acts of violence under the Trump administration and the conditions for eliminating this new stage of state violence will mean not only understanding the roots of neo-fascism in the United States, but also eliminating the economic, political, and cultural forces that produced it.

There is more at work here than getting rid of Trump, there is a need to eliminate a system in which democracy is equated with capitalism, a system driven almost exclusively by financial interests, and beholden to two political parties that are hard wired into neoliberal savagery.

What does the culture of cruelty look like under a neo-fascist regime?

Henry Giroux currently holds the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the English and Cultural Studies Department and a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Ryerson University. His most recent books are America’s Education Deficit and the War on Youth (Monthly Review Press, 2013) and Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education (Haymarket Press, 2014). 

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'Spectacular Betrayal' as Trump Hands Economy 'Back Over to Wall Street' Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams

http://www.commondreams.org/sites/default/files/styles/cd_large/public/headlines/wall-st-flag.jpeg?itok=_L_cvE3UExecutive orders seen as "a cave-in to the power of Wall Street and the financial lobby." (Photo: Dave Center/flickr/cc)

  • "Wall Street titan Goldman Sachs seems to be taking over financial regulation in the United States, trying to make it easier for them and other big banks like Wells Fargo to steal from their customers and destabilize the economy." —Lisa Donner, Americans for Financial Reform
  • 'The Wall Street bankers against whom Trump ran are making policy now,' says Public Citizen
  • Related: Not So Spineless: Paul Ryan Plans To Use Trump’s Chaos To Destroy Medicare, Medicaid And Social Security

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Section(s): 

Spiritual Practice in the Time of the Mad King

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  • Ultimately, we need to find an electoral expression to decontaminate the land and restore sanity. But for now at least, acting every day makes a mark in favor of sanity and pushes back against the lies that are spreading like a fungus.
  • Related: 101 Ways To Take Care of Yourself When the World Feels Overwhelming

Rodger Kamenetz, Tikkun

http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/199014709_572866b8c1_b.jpg February 28, 2017 | Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, an early 19th century Hasidic master, offered a parable about a king who foretold that the year’s harvest of rye would be contaminated with ergot, a fungus with effects similar to LSD. Whoever ate the rye would become mad. The prime minister said we must put aside enough grain so we won’t have to eat this year’s harvest.

But the king said, “But then we will be the only ones who will be sane. Everyone else will be mad. Therefore they will think that we are the mad ones. Therefore, we too must eat this year’s grain. But we will put a mark on our foreheads so at least we will know we are mad. I will look at your forehead you will look at mine, and when we see this sign, we will know we are both mad.” 

Rodger Kamenetz is the author of Burnt Books (Schocken 2010), a dual biography of Franz Kafka and Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav. His blog is www.thenaturaldream.com

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101 Ways To Take Care of Yourself When the World Feels Overwhelming, Annie Wright, Upworthy

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  • A therapist shares small ways to practice self-care.
  • Related: How Bonhoeffer Dealt with the Despair of World Chaos
  • Related: From a trained therapist | 11 small ways to feel less helpless this week

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"Morally Obscene" Trump Budget Proposal Stands to Make America Cruel Again

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President Donald Trump in Nashville on Wednesday. Analysts said his budget proposal would hurt those voters who helped get him elected. (Photo: AP) 

  • Environment, public education, worker protections, and cultural institutions all stand to lose under Trump's "cruel" budget blueprint.
  • Related: What It Really Means To ‘Defund’ Planned Parenthood

Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams

Thursday, March 16, 2017 | Meals on Wheels. Amtrak. Teacher training, after-school, and summer educational programs. The National Endowment for the Arts. The Appalachian Regional Commission. The National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

All these initiatives and agencies—plus many more—face cuts or wholesale elimination under President Donald Trump's proposed "skinny budget," officially unveiled Thursday. Meanwhile, the blueprint calls for increases in military spending, border and immigration enforcement, and money for charter and private schools. The Washington Post has a comprehensive breakdown, with graphics, here.

The document was variously denounced as "an all-out assault on our planet;" "dirty and dangerous;" "cruel;" and "unacceptable."

Deirdre Fulton, staff writer, Common Dreams

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What It Really Means To ‘Defund’ Planned Parenthood, Laura Bassett, Huffington Post 

  • It’s just taking away people’s options.
  • Related: The Real Reason Republicans Keep Pushing Transgender Bathroom Bans

 

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How US nuclear force modernization is undermining strategic stability: The burst-height compensating super-fuze

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  • We cannot foresee a situation in which a competent and properly informed US president would order a surprise first strike against Russia or China. But our conclusion makes the increased sea-based offensive and defensive capabilities we have described seem all the more bizarre as a strategy for reducing the chances of nuclear war with either Russia or China.
  • Related: Trump’s Proposed Increase in U.S. Defense Spending Would Be 80 Percent of Russia’s Entire Military Budget

Hans M. Kristensen, Matthew McKinzie, Theodore A. Postol, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

1 March 2017 | The US nuclear forces modernization program has been portrayed to the public as an effort to ensure the reliability and safety of warheads in the US nuclear arsenal, rather than to enhance their military capabilities. In reality, however, that program has implemented revolutionary new technologies that will vastly increase the targeting capability of the US ballistic missile arsenal. This increase in capability is astonishing—boosting the overall killing power of existing US ballistic missile forces by a factor of roughly three—and it creates exactly what one would expect to see, if a nuclear-armed state were planning to have the capacity to fight and win a nuclear war by disarming enemies with a surprise first strike.

Because of improvements in the killing power of US submarine-launched ballistic missiles, those submarines now patrol with more than three times the number of warheads needed to destroy the entire fleet of Russian land-based missiles in their silos. US submarine-based missiles can carry multiple warheads, so hundreds of others, now in storage, could be added to the submarine-based missile force, making it all the more lethal.

Hans M. Kristensen is the director of the Nuclear Information Project with the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) in Washington, DC. His work focuses on researching and writing about the status of...

Matthew McKinzie is the director of the Nuclear Program of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in Washington, DC. He and Kristensen recently co-authored...

A physicist, Theodore A. Postol, is professor of science, technology, and national security policy at MIT. His expertise is in ballistic...

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Trump’s Proposed Increase in U.S. Defense Spending Would Be 80 Percent of Russia’s Entire Military Budget, Alex Emmons, the Intercept

At a meeting of U.S. governors on Monday, Trump described his forthcoming budget proposal as “a public safety and national security budget.”

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The Tears We Don’t Spill

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  • On that night when America watched spellbound as a woman cried for her dead husband, no tears fell for the children who were murdered in Yemen.  Don’t think of a fucking dead kid.  Don’t think of a murdered child with his face split open by American bullets.  And do not ever fucking think about any elephants, especially fucking dead ones.
  • Related: Liberal War Addiction

Michael LandisCounterpunch.org

http://voiceseducation.org/sites/default/files/images/peacegallupcolorsmall_1.jpg  March 10, 2017 | During our current President’s speech to the joint session of paid-for lackeys, idiots and low dollar whores for Wall Street there was a particularly horrible, predictable American moment.  A fresh widow created by our intrusion into another country in the mid-East to ferret out, that is, murder, some evil-doers was trotted out for all the nation to see.  It was epic television; a hearty round of applause drowning out her deep throated gasps of mourning.  She was trying her best to stand tall with the very people who decided her husband must go on another raid for the good of our country.  It was a typically cathartic moment.

One that America embraces, with proper amounts of solemnity, to bolster our national pride and the righteous sense of ourselves and our sacrificial military combatants.  As the fictitious Colonel Jessup said, “You need brave men on that wall.”  You could almost sense those faded yellow ribbons on America’s cars brightening themselves in the moonlight.  Poignant, powerful, sad, and serious, it was a spectacle we’ve long become too accustomed to, reenacting on a massive platform.  In short, it was a very high and sinister level of war porn.  To say this is to violate one of our biggest taboos.  And it certainly remains one of the biggest problems with us, the American people.

Michael Landis is a retired Sergeant in the US Army and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom-3.

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Liberal War Addiction, Peter Levelle, RT

Today it’s liberalism that shows itself to be intolerant and decidedly pro-war. 

Series | A Living Earth Economy, Part 9: Want National Security? Dismantle the War Machine

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  • A military response to violence creates more violence. For real security, we need to stop climate change and work toward shared prosperity.
  • 9th in a Series
  • Related: Trump’s Proposed Increase in U.S. Defense Spending Would Be 80 Percent of Russia’s Entire Military Budget

David Korten, Yes! Magazine

http://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice/a-security-strategy-for-the-21st-century-20160921/peaceday.jpg/imageSep 21, 2016 | The recent 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade towers was a reminder of the terrible consequences when a nation ignores the lessons of history—including its own recent history. The U.S. military budget is a tragic example.

We currently spend roughly $598 billion on defense, which is more than the next seven biggest military spenders combined: China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the United Kingdom, India, France, and Japan. This represents 54 percent of federal discretionary spending. In return, we get an ability to rapidly deploy conventional military power anywhere in the world.

  http://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/the-thing-sanders-trump-and-clinton-agree-on-its-that-bad-20160323/Korteninset.jpgDavid Korten wrote this article for YES! Magazine as part of his new series of biweekly columns on “A Living Earth Economy.” David is co-founder and board chair of YES! Magazine, president of the Living Economies Forum, co-chair of the New Economy Working Group, a member of the Club of Rome, and the author of influential books, including When Corporations Rule the World and Change the Story, Change the Future: A Living Economy for a Living Earth. His work builds on lessons from the 21 years he and his wife, Fran, lived and worked in Africa, Asia, and Latin America on a quest to end global poverty

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Previously in this series

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Trump’s Proposed Increase in U.S. Defense Spending Would Be 80 Percent of Russia’s Entire Military Budget, Alex Emmons, the Intercept

At a meeting of U.S. governors on Monday, Trump described his forthcoming budget proposal as “a public safety and national security budget.”

 

 

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Corporate Media Counting Cadence to Fascism

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  • The ruling class/War Party/corporate media campaign for regime change in Washington has moments of pure silliness, with grown men claiming that U.S. presidents don’t have the power to wiretap people. Someone should have informed Dr. Martin Luther King. But, if self-described “progressives” can believe that the CIA is a benign, democratic institution, they can believe anything. “The destabilization of the U.S. bourgeois state is a project, not of the Kremlin, but of multinational and finance capital headquartered in the U.S.”
  • Related: Mainstream Media’s ‘Victimhood’

Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report 

https://blackagendareport.com/sites/default/files/styles/image-400x300/public/Glen_Spying.jpeg?itok=oj8HD4cgWed, 03/08/2017 | When Donald Trump charged that President Obama wiretapped the Republican campaign in the weeks after the November election, the bulk of corporate media chose to treat the allegation as another example of Trump’s “alternative facts.” They trotted out folks like Ben Rhodes, a former deputy National Security Advisor to Obama, who dismissed the charge as ridiculous. "No President can order a wiretap,” Rhodes huffed.

This may be technically true, but it’s an objective lie. Presidents can cause anybody to be spied upon, simply by indicating a desire to see it happen. In 1963, the Kennedy brothers -- formally acting through Bobby Kennedy’s office as Attorney General -- gave FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover permission to tap Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s phones and bug his home and offices. Hoover’s goal, according to a 2008 CNN “Black in America” report, was to “neutralize King as an effective Negro leader.” The Bureau didn’t find evidence that King was under “communist influence,” but did discover “embarrassing details about King's sex life,” which the FBI used to encourage King to kill himself. When he declined to take his own life, someone else did the job.

Glen Ford,  Executive Editor, Black Agenda Report 

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Mainstream Media’s ‘Victimhood’, Robert Parry, Consortium News

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  • Just weeks ago, mainstream U.S. media decried “fake news” and backed a blacklist of independent news sites over “Russian propaganda.” Now, under fire from President Trump, the MSM loves a free press.
  • Related: Watch Jon Stewart on 'Colbert' Urge Media to Dump Trump 

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