So-called ‘center-right’ politicians prefer neo-fascists

Illiberalism


Fig. 1. Photograph by Joachim F. Thurn, August 1991, Bundesarchiv, B 145 Bild-F089030-0003, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE

Tom Van Grieken, the right-wing Belgian politician, also pointed to Spain as the next likely example [of a center-right party allying with the far right], especially because of the possible cooperation with the [People’s Party]. “All over Europe, we see conservative parties who are considering breaking the cordon sanitaire,” he said, referring to the refusal of other parties to work with the far-right. “They are tired of compromising with their ideological counterparts, the parties at the left end of the spectrum.”[1]

In Brazil,

the election result was a major blow to progressive Brazilians who had been rooting for an emphatic victory over [Jair] Bolsonaro, a former army captain who has repeatedly attacked the country’s democratic institutions and vandalized Brazil’s international reputation.

Bolsonaro is also accused of wreaking havoc on the environment and catastrophically mishandling a Covid epidemic that killed nearly 700,000 Brazilians, by undermining vaccination and containment efforts and peddling quack cures.

Speaking on Sunday night, Bolsonaro promised to devote more time into convincing the poorest sectors of society they will be better off under a far-right government than a leftist one. . . .

[Bolsonaro] once again said Brazil must avoid following neighbouring nations such as Chile and Colombia who recently elected leftist leaders but he pointedly refused to answer questions about possible voter fraud, after spending months casting aspersions on the security of the electronic voting machines.

Bolsonaro has hinted he will not leave office if defeated, raising concerns of a Trump-like insurrection among his supporters if Lula wins.[2]

Tom Phillips, Andrew Downie, and Ana Ionova, “Brazil election: ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to face Jair Bolsonaro in run-off,” Guardian, October 2, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/02/brazil-election-ex-president-luiz-inacio-lula-da-silva-wins-vote-but-not-outright-victory-jair-bolsonaro

Barbara Moens and Cornelius Hirsch, “How the far-right got out of the doghouse,” Politico, October 3, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/the-far-right-is-out-of-the-doghouse/


Ukraine


Fig. 1. “Destroyed Russian military vehicles located on the main street Khreshchatyk are seen as part of the celebration of the Independence Day of Ukraine in Kyiv, August 24.” Photograph by Gleb Garanich for Reuters, August 24, 2022,[3] fair use.

Despite awareness of the impending catastrophe, nobody in Russia’s elite has tried to persuade Putin to stop the war for a long time. Whereas in the early months, figures like Alexei Kudrin, head of the audit chamber, tried to explain to [Vladimir] Putin the consequences of his decisions, this is not happening today.

According to [Faridaily] sources, Putin still repeats the mantra about Russia being surrounded by enemies and the machinations of Nato. Talking to him is pointless.[4]

Robyn Dixon et al., “Russian mobilization prompts backlash as Ukraine annexation effort plows ahead,” Washington Post, September 25, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/25/russia-ukraine-mobilization-referendums/

Edward Helmore, “Jake Sullivan: US will act ‘decisively’ if Russia uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” Guardian, September 25, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/sep/25/us-russia-ukraine-war-nuclear-weapons-jake-sullivan

Yaroslav Trofimov, “Pushing East of Kupyansk, Ukrainian Forces Expand Offensive,” Wall Street Journal, September 25, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/pushing-east-of-kupyansk-ukrainian-forces-expand-offensive-11664111037

Ishaan Tharoor, “The right-wing turn against Ukraine may be around the corner,” Washington Post, September 26, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2022/09/26/ukraine-west-right-wing-fatigue-italy/

Michael Horovitz, “Medvedev asserts Russia’s ‘right’ to use nukes to defend its territory,” Times of Israel, September 27, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/medvedev-affirms-russias-right-to-use-nukes-to-defend-its-territory/

Julia Ioffe, “Putin’s Male Fragility,” Puck News, September 27, 2022, https://puck.news/putins-male-fragility/

Anatol Lieven, “Putin’s regime may fall – but what would come next?” Guardian, September 27, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/sep/27/putin-regime-fall-ukraine-west-negotiate

Agence France-Presse, “‘Full chaos’: Over 100,000 Russians flood neighboring countries to flee army call-up,” Times of Israel, September 28, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/full-chaos-over-100000-russians-flood-neighboring-countries-to-flee-army/

Bloomberg, “Putin Raises Gas-Cutoff Threat as He Moves to Annex Ukraine Regions,” September 28, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-09-27/putin-raises-gas-pressure-as-he-moves-to-annex-ukraine-regions

Jennifer Hansler, “US Embassy warns Americans to leave Russia,” Cable News Network, September 28, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/09/28/politics/us-embassy-russia-warns-americans-leave/index.html

Meg Kelly and Michael Birnbaum, “E.U. warns of ‘robust’ response against sabotage after Nord Stream blasts,” Washington Post, September 28, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/28/nord-stream-russia-methane-leak-baltic-sea/

Times of Israel, “Suspecting Nord Stream sabotage, EU vows ‘robust’ response to energy network attacks,” September 28, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/suspecting-nord-stream-sabotage-eu-vows-robust-response-to-energy-network-attacks/

Sarah Cahlan et al., “Russians rebel as Putin drafts more people in battle for Ukraine,” Washington Post, September 29, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/29/russia-putin-mobilization-protests-fury/

Drew Hinshaw, Matthew Dalton, and Laurence Norman, “NATO Formally Blames Sabotage for Nord Stream Pipeline Damage,” Wall Street Journal, September 29, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/nato-formally-blames-sabotage-for-nord-stream-pipeline-damage-11664449396

CNN, “The turning points in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” September 30, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2022/09/europe/russia-territory-control-ukraine-shift-dg/

Ann M. Simmons and Yuliya Chernova, “Russia Announces Annexation of Four Regions of Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, September 30, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-prepares-treaties-to-annex-ukrainian-land-11664536196

Eli Stokols, “U.S. sanctions Russia after Putin annexes parts of Ukraine,” Los Angeles Times, September 30, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-09-30/u-s-sanctions-russia-after-putin-annexes-ukraine

John Gambrell and Adam Schreck, “Russia withdraws troops from once-occupied Lyman as Ukraine recaptures more territory,” Los Angeles Times, October 1, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2022-10-01/ukraine-encircles-strategic-eastern-city-of-lyman-in-counteroffensive-against-russia

Luke Harding, “Humiliation for Vladimir Putin as Ukrainians liberate key city of Lyman,” Guardian, October 1, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/01/humiliation-for-vladimir-putin-as-ukrainians-liberate-key-city-of-lyman

Isabelle Khurshudyan et al., “Russian troops withdraw from Lyman, a day after annexation claims,” Washington Post, October 1, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/10/01/ukaine-russia-lyman-donetsk-annexation/

Liz Sly, “Russia’s annexation puts world ‘two or three steps away’ from nuclear war,” Washington Post, October 1, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/10/01/europe-putin-nuclear-threats/

Lewis Page, “Why Putin would be a fool to go nuclear in Ukraine,” Telegraph, October 2, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/10/02/why-putin-would-fool-go-nuclear-ukraine/

Farida Rustamova, “Vladimir Putin is making rash and secretive decisions in face of defeats, Kremlin insiders warn,” Telegraph, October 2, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/10/02/vladimir-putin-making-rash-secretive-decisions-face-defeats/


(dis)United Kingdom

Prime minister


Fig. 1. President Reagan on the South Lawn during the arrival ceremony of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of the United Kingdom. U.S. Government photograph, November 16, 1988, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

Jill Lawless, “UK scraps tax cut for wealthy that sparked market turmoil,” Associated Press, October 3, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/business-financial-markets-liz-truss-0acea0ad013e41524c8be3981654b922


Gilead

Donald Trump

Coup attempt


Fig. 1. Original: The White House. Derivative work: J. J. Messerly, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

I’m guessing it has been a week or so ago that I was telling a passenger, who identified himself as being from Austin, Texas, about my yard sign observations,[5] and he astutely asked about a dissonance that has been staring us in the face. He wondered about the discrepancy between Republicans as “law and order” politicians and Donald Trump’s likely criminal mishandling of presidential records, prominently including classified records.

Yes, I replied, the “thin blue line” flags and the yard signs proclaiming support for local police white supremacist gangsters are still up. And, indeed,

“John Fetterman wants to release convicted murderers from prison,” warns the narrator, as a black-and-white photo of Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor is shown beside pictures of convicted killers. A caption adds darkly: “Socialist John Fetterman loves free stuff … but we can’t let him free murderers.”

The campaign ad from Mehmet Oz, candidate for the US Senate in Pennsylvania, is vintage Republican strategy: casting a Democratic opponent as soft on crime. The party is zeroing in on fears over public safety ahead of November’s midterm elections in an effort to change the conversation from abortion, climate or democracy.[6]

The strategy is also race-baiting, blatantly around southwestern Pennsylvania as those “thin blue line” flags and signs too often accompanied Confederate flags and Donald Trump flags (and, as well, messages that indicate a confusion of guns with penises),[7] and this is a point that David Smith barely touches on. He does point to numerous examples of likely illegal Republican conduct, not just that of Trump, rather blatantly at odds with that “law and order” pretense.[8] It’s an interesting hypocrisy and I can’t help but suspect that it is a factor in the taking down of those Trump flags and yard signs.[9]

David Smith, “Republicans’ lawless leaders at odds with midterm law and order message,” Guardian, October 3, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/oct/03/republicans-law-order-midterm-election-investigations-scandals


  1. [1]Barbara Moens and Cornelius Hirsch, “How the far-right got out of the doghouse,” Politico, October 3, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/the-far-right-is-out-of-the-doghouse/
  2. [2]Tom Phillips, Andrew Downie, and Ana Ionova, “Brazil election: ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to face Jair Bolsonaro in run-off,” Guardian, October 2, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/02/brazil-election-ex-president-luiz-inacio-lula-da-silva-wins-vote-but-not-outright-victory-jair-bolsonaro
  3. [3]Reuters, “Ukraine puts destroyed Russian tanks on display in Kyiv,” August 25, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/ukraine-puts-destroyed-russian-tanks-on-idUSRTSALV9Q
  4. [4]Farida Rustamova, “Vladimir Putin is making rash and secretive decisions in face of defeats, Kremlin insiders warn,” Telegraph, October 2, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/10/02/vladimir-putin-making-rash-secretive-decisions-face-defeats/
  5. [5]David Benfell, “More questions than answers as Donald Trump flags come down,” Not Housebroken, September 29, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/08/28/more-questions-than-answers-as-donald-trump-flags-come-down/
  6. [6]David Smith, “Republicans’ lawless leaders at odds with midterm law and order message,” Guardian, October 3, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/oct/03/republicans-law-order-midterm-election-investigations-scandals
  7. [7]David Benfell, “The banners and the guns: Flagrant racism in Pittsburgh,” Not Housebroken, October 3, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/09/20/the-banners-and-the-guns-flagrant-racism-in-pittsburgh/
  8. [8]David Smith, “Republicans’ lawless leaders at odds with midterm law and order message,” Guardian, October 3, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/oct/03/republicans-law-order-midterm-election-investigations-scandals
  9. [9]David Benfell, “More questions than answers as Donald Trump flags come down,” Not Housebroken, September 29, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/08/28/more-questions-than-answers-as-donald-trump-flags-come-down/

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