Author Archives: OEN

A Pro-Trump Militant Group Has Recruited Thousands of Police, Soldiers, and Veterans

Stewart Rhodes was living his vision of the future. On television, American cities were burning, while on the internet, rumors warned that antifa bands were coming to terrorize the suburbs. Rhodes was driving around South Texas, getting ready for them. He answered his phone. “Let’s not fuck around,” he said. “We’ve descended into civil war.”

It was a Friday evening in June. Rhodes, 55, is a stocky man with a gray buzz cut, a wardrobe of tactical-casual attire, and a black eye patch. With him in his pickup were a pistol and a dusty black hat with the gold logo of the Oath Keepers, a militant group that has drawn in thousands of people from the military and law-enforcement communities.

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Fascism Scholar: Strongman Trump Radicalized His Supporters; Turning This Back Will Be Very Hard

RUTH BEN-GHIAT

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is threatening to begin new impeachment hearings against President Trump if Vice President Mike Pence doesn’t invoke the 25th Amendment of the Constitution to remove Trump from office for inciting his supporters to storm the Capitol. Calls are also growing for Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley to be expelled or to resign for supporting Trump’s effort to overturn the election and fanning the flames ahead of last week’s insurrection, and authorities are warning about more right-wing violence ahead of Inauguration Day on January 20. Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a New York University historian whose work focuses on fascism, authoritarian leaders and propaganda, says the storming of the Capitol was “a logical result” of Trump’s legitimization and encouragement of right-wing extremism since 2016. “The threat to democracy is not outside our institutions only. It’s coming from inside,” Ben-Ghiat says.

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Respect for “Lesser Evil”


Though I wound up voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016, I had supported Bernie Sanders throughout the primaries. I voted for Senator Sanders again in the 2020 primaries, then wound up voting, without holding my nose, for Biden/Harris. But I never forgot or quite forgave the so-called “progressives” who expended their primary energies knocking Hillary Clinton with a degree of vehemence equal to the constant barrage of hate and derision that was coming from the Trump propaganda industry, from Fox and Breitbart and Info Wars and dozens of more subterranean outlets for bigotry, conspiracy theories, fear, and division. I recall no end of social media comment that heaped all manner of calumny on a woman who took additional barrages of bullshit from people on the left when she referred to many of those who supported Trump as “a basket of deplorables.” Those “progressive” scribblers (some of who were Russian bots) also ladled on lots of their own hate, a mirror image of the right wing hatred. Where the right found her insufficiently militant and even anti-military, some on the left bashed her for being a “war monger,” a militarist, indistinguishable from Republicans in any discernible way. They found it shocking and reprehensible that she took big checks from corporate entities that invited her to speak, and for this and other reasons they vowed never to support her no matter what.

Those matters they shrugged off included Trump’s obvious racism, misogyny, and general fascistic flakiness, all of which were on plain display, not only during the election year of 2016, but throughout his entire public life as a crook, a dissembler, a bigot, and something of a pig.

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