RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
‘I Struck a Nerve’: Robert Reich Makes the Case for Calling Ron DeSantis a ‘Fascist’
On Tuesday, August 23, liberal economist Robert Reich expressed his disdain for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis when he visited Twitter and posted, “Just wondering if ‘DeSantis’ is now officially a synonym for ‘fascist.’” Many MAGA Republicans had an angry reaction, bombarding the University of California, Berkeley professor with familiar Republican insults like “coastal elitist.” But in an op-ed published by The Guardian on August 31, Reich doesn’t back down from his anti-DeSantis views.
In fact, Reich doubles down on them, laying out an abundance of reasons why DeSantis’ agenda is consistent with the elements of fascism.
“I was surprised at the outrage my little tweet provoked in right-wing media,” Reich notes. “The Washington Examiner, for example, called me an ‘ultra-left-wing elitist’ who wrote an ‘insulting slur,’ which is ‘what left-wing ideologues do when they discuss Republican politicians who pose any threat to the existence of their political ideology.… Anyone the Democrats don’t like or disagree with is a fascist.’ This was among the kindest responses…. The size of the blowback on my little tweet makes me think I struck a nerve.”
READ MORE: Why Ron DeSantis is stumping for election deniers in key swing states: report
Reich points out that DeSantis is “the most likely rival to Trump for the Republican nomination in 2024” and has been called “Donald Trump with a brain.”
“DeSantis is the nation’s consummate culture warrior,” Reich explains. “Lately, he has been campaigning on behalf of Republican election-deniers around the country, including gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania and US Senate candidate J.D. Vance in Ohio. In Florida, discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity are now barred in schools. Math textbooks have been rejected for what officials call ‘indoctrination.’ Claiming tenured professors in Florida’s public universities were ‘indoctrinating’ students, DeSantis spearheaded a law requiring them to be reviewed every five years. Teachers are limited in what they can teach about racism and other tragic aspects of American history.”
Reich continues, “DeSantis has got personally involved in local school board races, endorsing and campaigning for 30 board candidates who agree with him. So far, 20 have won outright, five are going to runoffs. Abortions are banned after 15 weeks. DeSantis recently suspended an elected prosecutor who said he would refuse to enforce the anti-abortion law. A new state office has been created to investigate ‘election crimes.’ Florida’s Medicaid regulator is considering denying state-subsidized treatments to transgender people. Its medical board may ban gender-affirming medical treatment for youths. Disney, Florida’s largest employer, has been stripped of the ability to govern itself in retaliation for the company’s opposition to the crackdown on LGBTQ+ conversations with schoolchildren.”
The words “fascist” and “authoritarian” have been used interchangeably by DeSantis’ critics, who aren’t strictly liberals and progressives. Many Never Trump conservatives have been scathing critics of DeSantis and slammed him as dangerously authoritarian, from The Bulwark’s Tim Miller to the Washington Post’s Max Boot to MSNBC host Joe Scarborough (a former GOP congressman). The debate among right-wing Never Trumpers, in fact, is whether Trump or DeSantis would be a more authoritarian Republican candidate in 2024.
READ MORE: Another Democratic governor is going after Ron DeSantis with a vengeance
Reich argues that the word “fascist” captures DeSantis’ views even better than “authoritarian.”
“Authoritarianism implies the absence of democracy, a dictatorship,” Reich writes. “Fascism — from the Latin fasces, denoting a tightly bound bundle of wooden rods typically including a protruding axe blade, adopted by Benito Mussolini in the 1930s to symbolize his total power — is different. Fascism also includes hatred of ‘them’ — people considered different by race or religion, or outside the mainstream, or who were born abroad; control over what people learn and what books they are allowed to read, control over what had been independent government units…. control over women and the most intimate and difficult decisions they’ll ever make, and demands that the private sector support the regime. Perhaps my ‘just wondering’ tweet about DeSantis hit the nerve of the fascism now taking root in the Republican Party?”
READ MORE: Conservative: ‘Authoritarian’ Ron DeSantis may be even more ‘dangerous’ than Donald Trump
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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
‘Pits Parents Against Parents’: House Republicans Pass Anti-LGBTQ Florida-Style K-12 ‘Parents’ Bill of Rights’
The Republican-majority U.S. House of Representatives Friday morning passed HR 5, the “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” legislation similar to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ laws that have led to book bans and targeting of LGBTQ children.
The bill passed 213-208, with 14 Members not voting. All yes votes were from Republicans only. Five Republicans joined Democrats to vote no.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu of California warned the legislation “pits parents against parents.”
“The extreme MAGA H.R. 5 bill will let other parents dictate what books your child gets to read. It’ll make it easier for other parents to know if your child has an eating disorder, or is experiencing a mental health crisis,” Lieu warned.
READ MORE: Watch: GOP Lawmaker Orders Grieving Parkland Parents Removed From ‘ATF Overreach’ Hearing
The extreme MAGA H.R. 5 bill will let other parents dictate what books your child gets to read. It’ll make it easier for other parents to know if your child has an eating disorder, or is experiencing a mental health crisis.
This bill pits parents against parents. WATCH: pic.twitter.com/T02sluBAzB
— Rep. Ted Lieu (@RepTedLieu) March 24, 2023
U.S> Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) warned, “H.R. 5 would codify Republican book bans all over the country. Stories of Holocaust survivors, enslaved Americans, and over 1,600 other stories have already been pulled from shelves.”
U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-FL) said HR5 is “a vehicle for hate and political nonsense.”
.@RepMaxwellFrost on H.R. 5: “This bill is just a vehicle for hate and political nonsense…It's not about policy, it's about politics. It's not about freedom and liberty, it's about the fear of a problem that doesn't exist.”
The civil rights community opposes this legislation. pic.twitter.com/5eNd5MCNDa
— The Leadership Conference (@civilrightsorg) March 23, 2023
Congressman Greg Murphy, Republican of North Carolina, in a recorded statement falsely claimed the bill was needed because “Children are being taught to hate our country,” and “parents are labeled as domestic terrorists.”
In his speech before the bill passed, Speaker Kevin McCarthy declared, “We believe parents should know what your children is [sic] learning.”
CNN reports the bill would also “require elementary and middle schools that receive federal funding to obtain parental consent before ‘changing a minor child’s gender markers, pronouns, or preferred name on any school form; or allowing a child to change the child’s sex-based accommodations, including locker rooms or bathrooms.'”
Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the legislation “Orwellian to the core,” and promised it “will not see the light of day.”
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Far Right Christian Nationalist Brags His ‘Biblical Worldview’ Group Is Behind Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ Anti-Trans Law
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed legislation Tuesday prohibiting transgender people from using public school facilities that match their gender identity. Later that same day, Jason Rapert, a former Arkansas state senator and founder of the National Association of Christian Lawmakers, posted a video crediting his organization for the legislation.
Rapert, a longtime religious-right activist and ardent Christian nationalist, bragged that this piece of legislation was first proposed by Arkansas school board member David Naylor during an annual NACL meeting, endorsed by the organization, and finally brought to the Arkansas state legislature by state Rep. Mary Bentley, who serves on the board of the NACL.
“The NACL has seven working committees,” Rapert said. “Those committees actually debate and discuss every major policy issue in this country, all from a biblical worldview.”
“We make model laws,” he continued. “Do you know that just recently Rep. Mary Bentley of Arkansas passed a model law that the NACL adopted at their last meeting in the state of Texas?”
“Rep. Mary Bentley, [who] is our chair of the National Legislative Council, she went to the Arkansas legislature, took that concept that came from Dr. David Naylor that was then adopted by the full body of the NACL, and guess what? It’s already been placed into law in the state of Arkansas,” Rapert crowed. “That’s the difference the NACL can make in your community.”
“This is what the NACL does every day all across this country,” Rapert bellowed later in the video. “We are fighting for the lives of little babies. We are fighting against the people that are putting the queer books into your school libraries and trying to groom these children into homosexuality. We’re standing up. We’re pursuing school board policies to save the nation. We are standing up and have our members running bills in the halls of the state legislatures to stand up against this woke ideology, to push back against the things of the devil in our country.”
In December, Rapert declared that right-wing Christians must rise up and “take authority” over everything from their local school boards to the federal government. The National Association for Christian Lawmakers seeks do just that, advancing legislation that fits their narrow conservative biblical worldview in statehouses throughout the country. The group’s advisory board includes politicians like Mike Huckabee and Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick as well as influential religious-right activists like Tony Perkins of Family Research Council and Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel.
This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Watch: GOP Lawmaker Orders Grieving Parkland Parents Removed From ‘ATF Overreach’ Hearing
U.S. Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX) is being criticized for having the parents of a victim of the Parkland school massacre removed from a GOP-led House committee hearing on “ATF Overreach” after he deemed them “out of order” for remarks they made while a Member was speaking. Minutes later, Capital Police pinned the father to the ground in the hallway and arrested him.
“See this is, exactly what we have to avoid!” Rep. Fallon, chairing the joint hearing, angrily declared as he pointed his finger after the father, Manuel Oliver, made a remark that was inaudible. “Which is some minority of folks trying to silence dissent. Dissent shouldn’t be kryptonite.”
“There’s a decorum that should be adhered to,” Fallon, who recently refused to sign a statement denouncing white supremacy, said as he chastising Oliver.
After another, louder outburst, Fallon mockingly asked, “Is this an insurrection? So will they be held to the same — I don’t want another January 6.”
READ MORE: ‘Unlawful Incursion’: Manhattan DA Schools Jim Jordan for Demanding He Testify in Ongoing Trump Investigation
Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) responded, “If they’re trying to overthrow the government, they oughta be held to the same standard, but I think they’re trying to express their frustrations.”
Angrily again, Rep. Fallon interjected.
“Whoa whoa whoa whoa,” he shouted as he banged the gavel.
“Member’s out of line,” Fallon said (incorrectly. The term is “out of order.”)
Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX) on gun reform protests: “Is this an insurrection? Will they be held to the same —”
Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI): “If they’re trying to overthrow the government, they oughta be held to the same standard, but … they’re trying to express their frustrations.” pic.twitter.com/SFrMId1fh3
— The Recount (@therecount) March 23, 2023
Shortly thereafter, Rep. Fallon had both Manuel and Patricia Oliver removed.
“You took my son away from me!”
— Parkland parents Patricia and Manuel Oliver are removed after interrupting a House hearing on Second Amendment protections pic.twitter.com/Bjjoq9k93W
— The Recount (@therecount) March 23, 2023
ABC News reporter Will Steakin, who was in the hearing, tweeted video and said bot Manuel and Patricia Oliver “appear to leave without resistance… moments later there was a loud thud outside the hearing room and I found Manuel being pinned to the ground by multiple officers.”
Video of Manuel and Patrica Oliver being removed from the hearing at direction of GOP Chair Rep. Pat Fallon
Both appear to leave without resistance… moments later there was a loud thud outside the hearing room and I found Manuel being pinned to the ground by multiple officers: https://t.co/ZebugeU98Z pic.twitter.com/zdpfPGHjDn
— Will Steakin (@wsteaks) March 23, 2023
“Manuel Oliver, the father of a 17-year-old Parkland shooting victim, was arrested Thursday on Capitol Hill after he appeared to shout at a Republican lawmaker who was speaking during a hearing on gun regulations,” NBC News reports. Patricia Oliver, his wife and the mother of their 17-year old son, Joaquin Oliver, who was one of 17 people who died in the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre, was not arrested.
READ MORE: ‘National Security Implications’: Former DOJ Official Speculates on Ruling Ordering Trump Attorney to Hand Over Docs
On social media critics expressed anger at Fallon.
“Rep. Pat Fallon (R) thinks parents of slaughtered children should just sit down & shut up as Republicans maintain outrageously dangerous gun laws. He had this parent expelled rather than just giving a warning, which is the usual,” wrote one Twitter user.
“Texas Rep. Pat Fallon: You are the EXACT problem with the gun violence and why it keeps being the leading cause of death in children today,” wrote another.
According to the NIH, gun violence is the leading cause of childhood death.
Still another Twitter user blasted Fallon: “What disgraceful & despicable behavior by Representative Pat Fallon. Exercising your right to free speech is being an insurrectionist? The man lost his son. Have you no compassion? I think he has more than earned the right to be heard by Congress. Such an abuse of power.”
And one called Fallon “feckless.”
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