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Tag: fascism

Politico Puts Lipstick And Glitter On Trump’s ‘Consequential’ Post-Presidency

Politico Magazine published an article Thursday that perfectly embodies the failures of tabloid-style political journalism to address the fundamental dangers facing the country: “145 Things Donald Trump Did in His First Year as the Most Consequential Former President Ever.”

“In ways both absurd and serious, the 45th president refused to let go of the spotlight or his party and redefined what it means to be a former leader of the free world,” the article sub-headline states, sitting above a colorful image containing a photo of a smiling Trump and images that have defined his post-presidency, including his second impeachment, golf clubs, and a vaccination needle.

The problem here is that Trump’s continued presence in American politics is not merely “both absurd and serious” — it is an ongoing threat to the American republic in the wake of both the former president’s attempt to overthrow the 2020 election and his continuing efforts to put his election-denier acolytes in place for 2024.

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“Donald Trump started his time as an utterly unprecedented former president before he was even technically a former president,” the article says, referring to Trump refusing to attend President Joe Biden’s inauguration and instead holding a small rally with his own supporters.

But, according to the article, even the events of January 2021 were part of Trump not following the usual rules, as it declares that a man who “instigated a deadly insurrection” had also “obliterated the long-agreed-upon parameters of the post-presidency just as he did with the presidency itself.”

This framing culminates in a paragraph that Trump himself (or his devoted fans at One America News Network) might have enjoyed, extolling his continued political appeal and possible comeback in 2024 — even elevating his importance on “the body politic and the national discourse” above the sitting President Biden:

Trump, so unabashedly unlike any other former president, simply has refused to let people not have to think about him, and what he’s doing, and what he’s saying, and what it might mean. To reengage with the reams of news coverage of Trump from the course of the last 12 months, to read and reread his statements in chronological order, is to get a visceral, dizzying reminder of the persistence, of the manic relentlessness with which he has done this and is doing it. Biden, the man who beat him, has ushered through Congress trillions of dollars of legislation, and might manage to persuade lawmakers to spend trillions more, no small record of accomplishment in spite of setbacks and stalemates in a historically challenging time. And yet there remains a sense that it is not the current but the former (and the next?) occupant of the Oval Office who is somehow the one who is imposing his will, still, on the body politic and the national discourse.

The article's greatest failure is its tone and the way it treats the 145 facts it has rounded up. For example, the author openly declares many times in the list that Trump has lied about the election, sought to purge any internal Republican opposition headed into 2024, and built up a network of political endorsements based on “his monomaniacal insistence that he won an election that he lost.”

But this is presented in a colorful spread of horse-race coverage, rather than a clarion call that America now faces a threat from a modern fascist movement. In addition, the pseudo-handwritten font used for blockquotes of actual Trump statements seems less than appropriate, making him appear almost friendly and casual.

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The problem with celebrity-style political journalism is that Trump is not just some celebrity, a Kardashian who is famous just for being famous. He is the leader of an authoritarian political movement against American democracy, and any article about his continued presence in public life should treat the issue with the seriousness it deserves.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

One America News Is Top Cable Choice For Insurrection And ‘Mass Executions’

The January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump was a watershed moment for conservative media. The “peaceful transition of power” that has long been a force in the mythologization of American democracy broke down that day, and rather than owning up to the gravity of a violent attack on that tradition, One America News Network stuck to its familiar playbook of lies and deceit – this time in service of increasing voter suppression.

A survey performed in September 2021 found that 68% of Republicans wrongly believed that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. Among Republicans who primarily trust far-right outlets like OAN, 97% believed the election was stolen. This correlation is no coincidence, and right-wing media’s continued lies about the 2020 election have provided fuel for nationwide voter suppression efforts by the GOP. In the wake of the Capitol attack, OAN became an important part of the conservative media campaign pushing a whopping 440 bills in state legislatures in 2021 that attempted to restrict voting access.

Voter suppression is nothing new for the conservative movement, but OAN used the aftermath of January 6 to double down on election lies and promote efforts to make voting more difficult for its fellow Americans – while priming its right-wing audience for a potential civil war.

OAN helped drive a frenzy for fraudulent election audits

OAN correspondent Christina Bobb disputed the 2020 election results before a winner was even declared, a moment which was a harbinger for her coverage in 2021. Fueled by a passionate embrace of the Big Lie that the election had been stolen, Bobb essentially became a salesperson for election audits in any state that would entertain the idea.

Bobb provided documents and testimony to get the Arizona audit in motion, and founded a nonprofit to raise money for the audit. Her group Voices & Votes raised $605,000 for the Arizona audit, or about 10% of its cost, undoubtedly in part because of Bobb’s frequent fundraising during her audit coverage on OAN.

The amateurish operation in Arizona appears to be the playbook for other so-called “audits” going forward, even though it confirmed both President Joe Biden’s victory in the state and the oft-asserted fact that there was no significant fraud. But that didn’t stop Bobb or other audit extremists.

Bobb has been concentrating her efforts to spread audits to Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Michigan, counting on friendly GOP legislatures to indulge in the Big Lie. Some states, like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, are making moves toward their own audits. In Texas, which Trump won handily, preliminary results of an audit have once again confirmed earlier counts.

Besides its own correspondent, OAN has helped create a second star of the right-wing election fraud movement. MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell was already known before the 2020 election to be a prolific, unhinged Trump supporter, but Lindell’s delusions turned into an erratic fusillade of election lies, and -- unprecedented in television news -- the wealthy pillow CEO acquired vast swaths of OAN airtime in 2021 to zealously push his own false claims and conspiracy theories.

OAN repeatedly aired at least three different Lindell “documentaries” alleging to unravel the conspiratorial web behind the 2020 election. Additionally, OAN ran ads for Lindell’s three-day “cyber symposium” over 150 times in a single week, before devoting more than 30 hours of live coverage to his erratic event. Just before Lindell's symposium began, OAN was sued by Dominion Voting Systems for defamation over spreading other election lies; later the network was hit with another defamation suit from voting technology company Smartmatic.

OAN followed the symposium and defamation suit by letting Lindell take over its evening programming on at least three occasions. In his “The Lindell Report” the businessman aired even more potentially defamatory election lies.

OAN backed voter suppression attempts nationwide

Pursuant to its whole-of-network embrace of the Big Lie, OAN gave friendly coverage to or expressed outright support of several voter suppression efforts in states all over the country.

OAN’s prime-time shows became important stops for Texas state legislators to promote Senate Bill 7, which “includes provisions to limit early voting hours, curtail local voting options and further tighten voting by mail.” On June 1, OAN’s Natalie Harp hosted GOP state Rep. Kyle Biedermann to raise concerns about “a lot of things going on against the laws” in 2020, like “drive-thru voting” and “ballots that were mailed out that shouldn’t have been mailed out.” OAN’s Dan Ball hosted state Sen. Bob Hall, who claimed that SB 7 would guard against what he called “soft fraud” by “election officials taking advantage of rules to bend them as much as they could in their favor.” According to Media Matters’ data, since December 2020, eight Texas state legislators have made at least 23 appearances on OAN prime time, many of them clustered around the SB 7 debate.

The Georgia omnibus election bill was another focal point of OAN programming, particularly since the network is also interested in fomenting an election audit in Georgia. In ostensible news segments, OAN reports called Senate Bill 202 a “voting rights bill” that is “securing integrity for future elections,” and literally laughed at the notion that anyone would take issue with these “common-sense changes.” The Justice Department filed suit against Georgia over a long list of “racially discriminatory” provisions in the law, including “the prohibition on efforts by churches and civic groups to provide food or water to persons waiting in long lines to vote.”

OAN frequently turns to one guest in particular for Georgia political commentary: former state representative and current gubernatorial candidate Vernon Jones. According to Media Matters' data, Jones has made at least 26 appearances on OAN prime time since December 2020 -- often dedicated to promoting his campaign for governor while pushing election lies and audit attempts.

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CitationFrom the October 5, 2021, edition of OAN's Real America with Dan Ball

OAN primed its audience for more political violence

On June 23, correspondent Pearson Sharp drew widespread condemnation for an OAN segment suggesting mass executions of Democrats for supposedly stealing the election from Trump.

Declaring the 2020 election was actually “overthrown,” Sharp told his audience: “Any American involved in these efforts, from those who ran the voting machines to the very highest government officials, is guilty of treason under U.S. Code. 2381, which carries with it the penalty of death.”

Despite the unmistakable clarity of Sharp’s words, he told Talking Points Memo, “Neither I, nor OAN, are suggesting anyone should be executed,” but added, “That is for the appropriate law enforcement agencies to determine.”

Sharp’s midsummer bloodlust wasn’t much of an aberration for One America News Network. OAN guests have casually gamed out civil war scenarios on-air, and the network has aired reports accusing “retired Democrat generals” of spreading civil war allegations against Republicans, while falsely claiming “evidence indicates that it is actually the left that is at war.”

Though she did not directly suggest violence, Bobb brought in the new year by strongly denouncing the Biden administration as “fascist” and “illegitimate,” in part for having “faked an insurrection on the Capitol” and stealing the 2020 election. For a conservative steeped in Second Amendment mythology about “the tree of liberty” and “the blood of tyrants,” the dots don’t need to be connected.

Wayne Allyn Root, a radio host and far-right conspiracy theorist, appeared on OAN in December and denounced Biden’s “communist dictatorship” for stealing both the 2020 election and Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats, giving Democrats their current tie-breaking Senate majority “destroying this country.” Root accused Democrats of “looking for a civil war,” which he claimed conservatives like him do not want -- but later in the same rant, Root said that the oppression of conservatives by the Democratic Party “is a lot worse” than the conditions that merited the American Revolution.

“The worst is yet to come,” Root warned.

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CitationFrom the December 29, 2021, edition of OAN's The Real Story with Natalie Harp

OAN is headed into 2022 with more of the same lies, and little care for any negative consequences

From OAN’s perspective, 2021 was a good year for “election integrity.” OAN’s Bobb fought for and secured an Arizona election audit, and successfully spun the mundane results into enough fuel to keep pushing for more audits. OAN collected viewers and money from airing MyPillow’s Lindell, even if it did help get the network sued for defamation. Several of the voter suppression initiatives OAN supported became law. OAN’s suggestions of political violence have retained a veneer of plausible deniability while priming the audience with fury and fear to keep pushing for more voter suppression.

Reckless, false commentary about stolen elections and calls for punishing enemies are how we got Trump supporters invading the Capitol, menacing members of Congress, and chanting to execute Trump’s vice president one year ago. But it’s all just good business for OAN.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Fox News' Tucker Carlson Thinks Democracy Needs To End


TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): The larger a bureaucracy becomes, the more impersonal it gets. Past a certain size, organizations of any kind lose their regard for people. As they get bigger, they get blunter, more soulless and cruel. The people in charge no longer care what you think. They don't have to worry about how their policies will affect you or your family. And that's the inevitable product of population growth. If you had five children, you would bathe them all in love and attention. If you had 5,000 children, you wouldn't know their names.

So, in case you're wondering why our leaders no longer seem especially interested in your health or happiness or prosperity, that's the reason. They don't have to be interested. Our population is too big. Why should your opinion matter? You're one of many. Previous generations of Americans didn't live in a country like this and they would be stunned by the attitudes that are so common now -- attitudes we take for granted. "Arresting people for walking through the US Capitol building? How is that a crime?" nineteenth century Americans would wonder.

For most of our history, Americans believed they owned the Capitol. They thought it was theirs because they assumed this was their country, political leaders told them that it was. After the 1904 presidential election, Teddy Roosevelt greeted voters in person on the lawn of the White House. It was his home, he lived there, but it belonged to them. Attitudes like that are long gone. They're the victim of population growth. The Athenians invented democratic government, but at its peak, Athens only had about 8,000 voters. So, past a certain scale, democracy can't function very well. The concept of the citizen becomes too abstract.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Republicans Undermining Democracy With Pointless 2020 Election Probes

A Pennsylvania courtroom last month became the latest battleground over claims the 2020 presidential election was rigged, as Republicans around the country pressed ahead with efforts to investigate the voting despite a lack of evidence of widespread fraud.

On December 15, a five-judge panel in Harrisburg heard Democrats' arguments to block a subpoena sought by Senate Republicans, seeking information on voters and election systems. Democrats argue the subpoena is an abuse of power and serves no legitimate legislative purpose.

A lawyer for Senate Republicans insisted lawmakers have a legitimate interest in getting the information to improve election law, regardless of the backdrop of former President Donald Trump trying to get allies in battleground states to turn up evidence of election fraud.

"The fact that there's noise floating around out there shouldn't concern the court," lawyer Matt Haverstick said.

The election review in Pennsylvania and another in Wisconsin are part of the larger story, as GOP lawmakers elsewhere make their case for similar efforts in their states. They cite concerns raised by claims made by Trump and his allies, who have referenced various conspiracy theories to explain his loss last November to Democrat Joe Biden.

Among the claims is that widespread voter fraud occurred, but an Associated Press review found fewer than 475 instances of potential voter fraud in the six states disputed by Trump — a number that would have made no difference in the election.

Though Republican leaders argue their probes are needed to restore public confidence in elections, experts say it's the reviews themselves that are undermining faith in U.S. elections.

"The intent of these reviews is to continue to create doubt, distrust and confusion around an election that has been canvassed, certified, audited, litigated and reviewed so they can keep the narrative going. So they can continue to raise money and raise their political profiles," said Matt Masterson, a former top election security official in the Trump administration.

In Pennsylvania, Republicans led by Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman insist the undertaking has nothing to do with Trump or trying to overturn last year's election. Rather, they say the point is to fix problems with the state's elections.

However, the 2020 election has been the focus of Republican-controlled committees in the Senate and House. There have been numerous hearings, hours of testimony, and proposed legislation.

In an interview on December 14, Trump praised the work of Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and argued that many of the problems that arose in the election were due to pandemic-related changes made outside of the legislative process.

"They used COVID in order to cheat, as a way of cheating," Trump said. "In Pennsylvania, Sen. Corman and a whole group of people are totally engaged because they've now found that things were much different than they were told."

To conduct the review, Pennsylvania Republicans have hired a small firm with little track record and no experience in elections. There was no bidding for the contract, and no public request for proposals. A similar situation unfolded in Arizona, where Senate Republicans seeking a review of the 2020 election hired an outside firm that was criticized for its lack of knowledge of election systems and processes.

The Arizona review ended in September without offering proof to support Trump's claims of a stolen election.

Earlier in December, in Wisconsin, Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said the investigation he ordered into the 2020 presidential election will spill into 2022 and cost more money. So far, the effort has cost taxpayers nearly $680,000.

Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman was tapped to lead the investigation and has sought subpoenas of the mayors of the state's five largest cities and the state's top elections official.

Democrats and some Republicans in the state have criticized the investigation as a sham, given that some of those hired by Gableman worked in Trump's administration or have supported conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. Trump lost Wisconsin by nearly 21,000 votes, an outcome that's been upheld following recounts, multiple court rulings and a nonpartisan audit.

Wisconsin election officials have so far identified 31 potential cases of voter fraud. In 26 of those cases, prosecutors declined to bring charges after conducting a review, according to the AP's findings.

Around the same time, Republican state Sen. Kathy Bernier, chair of the Senate elections committee and the former Chippewa County election clerk, called the review a "charade" designed to appease the GOP's conservative base and said questioning the integrity of elections will ultimately hurt turnout for Republicans.

"I understand there is frustration when you have a president saying there is massive voter fraud," Bernier said. "We have a great system here and no one should falsely accuse election officials of cheating."

The wave of demands for reviews of the election also includes reliably Republican states that Trump won in 2020.

Last week, a panel of majority-GOP lawmakers in Utah approved an audit of the state's election system. Unlike Arizona, the Utah effort will be conducted by nonpartisan legislative auditors and is not focused solely on 2020.

Republican Lt. Gov. Deirdre Henderson cautioned that efforts questioning the integrity of the state's voting system are "destructive" and "very concerning."

"From all of the things that I have seen, the endgame here is to fundamentally destroy the voting system we have here in the state of Utah," Henderson said in an interview.

H/T American Independent

Gaetz And Greene’s ‘America First’ Tour Booted Out Of Three Venues

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

The leaders of the Republican Party—Rep. Matt Gaetz and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene—have been touring the nation. Whether this is part of Gaetz's plans for expanding his sex trafficking ring, Greene's recruiting drive for terrorists, or simply a cash grab by both, isn't clear (except for the part where it definitely is a cash grab). What is clear is that it's a keen demonstration of the GOP is making a "star" out of anyone who is merely willing to be disgusting on a regular basis.

As a quick reminder, Greene was taken off her House committee assignments for continually promoting the Big Lie in a way that encouraged violence, and downplaying the events of January. 6. Meanwhile, Gaetz is under investigation for his involvement in a multi-state scheme to recruit young women, provide them with fake IDs, and jet them around the country for sex in exchange for cash and prizes—a scheme that is complicated by the fact that at least one of these women was underage. Both these things together, and you have the makings of a modern Republican dream team.

The two have been touring the country making appearances that allow their followers to own the libs by showing that they don't care about details like rape or insurrection, so long as they get to hear jokes about Nancy Pelosi and watch Gaetz sputter on in his obsession with AOC. They also have been talking up a proposed political caucus to defend "Anglo-Saxon" culture by strictly limiting immigration.

But a funny thing has happened when it comes to the West Coast edition of the Gaetz and Greene show. Funny in the "ha ha" sense. Because nobody wants them. For the third time in a week, venues have put out the Not Welcome mat, leaving the pair looking for somewhere to gestate their hate supposedly right on the eve of their next appearance.

The plan was to slide into Orange County, home to John Wayne Airport and a Republican Party that regularly plays up ideas that everyone who is not from Orange County is descending into a morass of immigrant-fueled crime. So … not the worst possible fit.

Then, as the Orange County Register reported, the Laguna Hills event center found out who was actually going to be heading up the "America First" rally slated for their venue, and cancelled. That was strike one.

With the event scheduled for Saturday, July 17 (as in yesterday), Greene's team scrambled and found another venue in nearby Riverside. Only that proved to be a very short-lived booking. On Friday evening, the Riverside Convention Center said "no thanks".

That left Gaetz and Greene with less than 24 hours to find somewhere that could hold all their hate. How madly they worked the phones isn't clear, but they found a place wiling to take them in Anaheim. And then, less than eight hours before show time, that connection went up in smoke.

Just think. Whenever and wherever Gaetz and Greene actually find a place willing to let them in, they'll have so many more cancel culture jokes to tell. Maybe they can just go straight to Mar-a-Lago. They should feel right at home there, for so many reasons.

Claremont: A Proto-Fascist Think-Tank For Trumpist ‘Intellectuals’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Although not as well-known as other right-wing think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation and the libertarian Cato Institute, the Claremont Institute has been around since 1979 — when it was founded in California by students of the late Harry V. Jaffa, who had been a speechwriter during Sen. Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential campaign. Claremont has taken a decidedly Trumpian turn in recent years, and in a lengthy article published by The Bulwark this week, Laura K. Field (a senior fellow at the Niskanen Center) argues that Claremont has been overtaken by far-right conspiracy theorists, "election lies" and authoritarianism.

"The Claremont Institute used to be one of the principal places for conservative intellectuals to come together," Field explains. "It was founded by scholars who were taken seriously even by people who disagreed with them, and some such scholars still publish in the pages of the (Claremont Review of Books). That Claremont has been unparalleled in its intellectual submission to Trumpism should give us pause. After all, in some respects, the Claremont crowd is precisely the sort who should have known better: deeply read in political philosophy and history, and familiar with the many warning signs that Trump would be a damaging and divisive president. There is also a sense, however, in which the Claremont crowd's submission to Trump was the most predictable thing in the world — the simple culmination of a political theory rooted in jingoism and denial."

Field goes on to cite specific examples of how low Claremont has sunk, noting that Jack Michael Posobiec III, who promoted the ludicrous Pizzagate conspiracy theory, and Turning Point USA's Charlie Kirk — a promoter of the Big Lie — are both Lincoln Fellows for Claremont. According to Field, Claremont has been hijacked by "intellectual cheerleaders for Trump" and others who have promoted the Big Lie that Trump won the 2020 election and was victimized by widespread voter fraud.

Many Never Trump conservatives — from MSNBC's Joe Scarborough to Washington Post columnist Max Boot to members of the Lincoln Project — have argued that Trumpism is not traditional conservatism, but outright fascism. And in an infamous essay published by The American Mind on March 24, Glenn Ellmers (a Claremont senior fellow) admitted that Trumpism falls outside of traditional conservatism. In Ellmers' essay, titled "Conservatism Is No Longer Enough," he argued that a post-conservative approach will be needed to save the U.S. from the left, writing: "Most people living in the United States today — certainly more than half — are not Americans in any meaningful sense of the term…. It is not obvious what we should call these citizen-aliens, these non-American Americans; but they are something else."

Field explains, "The people he has in mind are the ones who voted for Joe Biden…. The real and 'authentic' Americans are, 'by and large,' the 74 million people who voted for Trump…. Ellmers' essay is a bold-faced call to anti-republican, anti-democratic, factional arms and action. More than any kind of legitimate appeal to republican or democratic norms of persuasion, it signals an acknowledgment of defeat."

To make matters worse, Fields writes, Claremont "has knowingly provided cover to, and made common cause with, an alleged white supremacist named Darren J. Beattie."

Field notes, "Beattie has a Ph.D. in political philosophy from Duke University. He was a speechwriter in the Trump White House but was fired in August 2018 for having spoken at a conference in 2016 alongside White supremacists."

Field wraps up her essay by lamenting that while Claremont wasn't always dominated by extremists, it clearly is now.

"The Claremont Institute says that its mission is 'to restore the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life,'" Field writes. "But all it has done lately is divide and despoil the public spirit."

The ‘Truly Sick’ Mentality Of Trump’s Megachurch Fascists

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Experts, journalists, and chroniclers of religious extremism are sounding alarm bells over a Washington Post exposé on "a growing Christian movement that is nondenominational, openly political, and an engine of former president Donald Trump's Republican Party."

As the Post explains, "It is a world in which demons are real, miracles are real, and the ultimate mission is not just transforming individual lives but also turning civilization itself into their version of God's Kingdom: one with two genders, no abortion, a free-market economy, Bible-based education, church-based social programs and laws such as the ones curtailing LGBTQ rights now moving through statehouses around the country."

This is not just the world they want to create for themselves, as damaging and dangerous as that might be. This is a world they want to mandate for America.

In short, one could say, an American theocracy. Or worse, something that looks a bit like a scene from Margaret Atwood's dystopian work, The Handmaid's Tale.

"This is the world of Trump's spiritual adviser Paula White," The Post explains, "and many more lesser-known but influential religious leaders who prophesied that Trump would win the election and helped organize nationwide prayer rallies in the days before the Jan. 6 insurrection, speaking of an imminent 'heavenly strike' and 'a Christian populist uprising,' leading many who stormed the Capitol to believe they were taking back the country for God."

Some may say it's easy to dismiss them as crazies or radicals or extremists, but not when you see how many Americans are involved in some sort of far right wing religious cults – and that's not even including the QAnon cult and its offshoots that claim Donald Trump is saving the world from, as a Guardian columnist wrote, "national Democrats, aided by Hollywood and a group of 'global elites,' [who] are running a massive ring devoted to the abduction, trafficking, torture, sexual abuse and cannibalization of children, all with the purpose of fulfilling the rituals of their Satanic faith."

The Post says this new Christian movement "includes some of the largest congregations in the nation, housed in the husks of old Baptist churches, former big-box stores and sprawling multimillion-dollar buildings with private security to direct traffic on Sundays. Its most successful leaders are considered apostles and prophets, including some with followings in the hundreds of thousands, publishing empires, TV shows, vast prayer networks, podcasts, spiritual academies, and branding in the form of T-shirts, bumper stickers and even flags."

And they have ordained Trump as "God's chosen leader."

The Post piece focuses on a Texas megachurch called Mercy Culture. Their two-year anniversary video at one point appears to show them in a Fort Worth public school.

Meanwhile, experts are speaking out in response to the Post's report.

"This is how theocracies are born" declares Anne Applebaum, author of Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism. Applebaum is also a senior fellow at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a staff writer at The Atlantic.

"Dominionism is a real threat to America and I wished more people, especially Christians, speak up!" saysSteven A. Hassan, PhD, MA, M.Ed., LMHC, NCC, whose bio says he is "one of the foremost authorities on cults and mind control." He is the author of The Cult of Trump.

"This is the backbone of Trump's Jesus fascists," warns New York Times best-selling author Frank Schaeffer, a well-known guest on cable news who writes about the Christian far right. "PAY attention! Nondenominational congregations have surged from being virtually nonexistent in the 1980s to accounting for roughly 1 in 10 Americans in 2020."

"I'm struck by this religious group's appropriation of the word 'mercy' as a tag for its crusade to gain theocratic control over the rest of us — with eminently unmerciful plans for LGBTQ people," says William D. Lindsey, a theologian who writes on the interplay of belief and culture. "We've entered an Orwellian topsy-turvy world when those pushing 'mercy' are the least merciful of all to targeted minority communities."

Veteran journalist, author, and SiriusXM Progress host Michelangelo Signorile, sums it all up by calling it "truly sick."

How Trump Invoked A Fascist Movement That Persists

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Jason Stanley, a Yale University professor and author of the 2018 book, How Fascism Works: the Politics of Us and Them, had a lot to say about fascism during Donald Trump's four years in office — offering extensive analysis of Trump's authoritarian leanings and divisive us-versus-them politics. Stanley looks back on the Trump era during an interview with Vox's Sean Illing and stresses that although Trump is gone from the White House, a craving for fascism hasn't disappeared from U.S. politics.

Different political science experts have had different views on what constitutes fascism, but in general, fascism is understood to be far-right authoritarianism — whereas communism is far-left authoritarianism. Past dictators who are typically cited as examples of fascists include Germany's Adolf Hitler, Italy's Benito Mussolini or Spain's Francisco Franco in Europe and Chile's Gen. Augusto Pinochet or Paraguay's Alfredo Stroessner in Latin America. And a fascist, as Stanley has pointed out, doesn't have to be an actual dictator.

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