Sunday, February 12, 2017

Poisonous Illusions In the White House

Creepy fascist thinker Julius Evola
My stomach is still hurting from laughing at Melissa McCarthy's second outing last night on the opening segment of Saturday Night Live as she once again skewered White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

But Jason Horowitz's enlightening must-read article in this morning's New York Times about senior White House advisor Stephen Bannon being influenced by the fascist Italian thinker Julius Evola was no laughing matter.

As Horowitz's article notes, Evola has influenced 20th century Italian facists, far-right thinkers and modern day European Neo-Nazis with his bizarre mix of pre-Christian theology, white supremacy and 'Traditionalism':

"...a worldview popular in far-right and alternative religious circles that believes that progress and equality are poisonous illusions."

Unfortunately for this nation, Bannon is not the only White House advisor shaping foreign and domestic policy with established ties to Neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

As Michael F. Brown reported in an article posted on, a 2007 email from Peter Laufer, a senior professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, shows that current White House advisor Stephen Miller worked closely with alt-right Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer while the two worked together to organize a debate on anti-immigrant policy when they both attended Duke University.

Spencer has become familiar to many as the speaker leading a crowd of white supremacists in a disturbing "Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!" chant as audience members gave Nazi salutes during an alt-right conference in Washington, D.C. back in November celebrating 45's election victory.

This morning the White House trotted out Spencer's conservative college homey Stephen Miller on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos where the anti-immigrant ideologue criticized the federal judges who struck down the legality of 45's disastrous ban on Muslims entering the United States.

White House policy advisor Stephen Miller
If you really want to get a sense of the depth and scope of the nationalist anti-immigrant hysteria at the core of 45's domestic agenda, take a few minutes to listen to Miller being interviewed with Stephanopoulos this morning on ABC.

He also tried to justify the current wave of ICE agents forcefully removing illegal immigrants, some of them working parents who've been in the U.S. for years, in an unprecedented wave of deportation.

Those targets include the heartbreaking case of 35-year-old Mexican immigrant Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, which made global headlines last week.

As reported, the working mother of two, who snuck into the U.S. illegally 20 years ago and was arrested and convicted by immigration officials in 2008 for using a fake Social Security number, had gone to an immigration center in Phoenix, Arizona (as she'd done regularly for the past eight years) to check in with government officials.

But despite that fact that she complied with the law, this time she was detained and deported back to Mexico within 24 hours.

During his interview on ABC this morning Stephen Miller defended such actions as necessary to national security and called these efforts "magnificent"even though the rollout of 45's immigration plan is almost universally viewed as a disaster.

(Did you hear about the American-born NASA scientist Sidd Bikkannavar being detained by U.S. Customs agents at a Houston airport and being forced to unlock his phone?)

Now I can't speak for everyone, but Ms. Garcia de Rayos' presence here in the U.S. doesn't strike me as threatening anything other than the Republican Party's narrow-minded vision for the cultural fabric of this nation.

Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos being deported 
Some critics immigrants rights advocates point out that this boost in the rapid deportation of illegal immigrants taking place across the U.S. is part of broader strategy by some Republican leaders to channel taxpayer dollars to the private prison contractors who will profit off of the sudden spike in arrests and detentions.

Miller also repeated 45's wildly-ridiculed claims that his proposed Mexican border wall "will pay for itself over and over".

Despite statistics from organizations like the Pew Research Center showing that net illegal immigration from Mexico into the U.S. has declined steadily since the Great Recession in 2009, and estimates that construction costs could cost American taxpayers over $21 billion since the Mexican government is on record as saying there's no way they'll pay for it.

To top all that off, remarkably Miller also had the gall to repeat 45's outrageous unsubstantiated claims of massive voter fraud in the New Hampshire primaries; and like 45 himself, offered no actual proof.

Predictably, 45 Tweeted his congratulations to Miller for eloquently spreading even more fake news, unproven claims and shaky promises.

One of the disturbing aspects about people like Bannon and Miller advising the the man with no political experience who now occupies the Oval Office is that here in the 21st century, the influence of far right extremist thinkers and those who openly advocate white supremacist ideology have utilized fear, ignorance, lies and misinformation to allow hate and bigotry to infect the highest political office in the land like a virus.

After all the suffering, persecution, horror and death that devastated Europe as a result of the rise and eventual fall of the Third Reich in in Nazi Germany, that dark flame still burns inside the hearts of some here in the US.

Including those who whisper in the ears of the erratic man who was Tweeting his anger over retailer Nordstrom's decision to stop selling his daughter Ivanka's accessories as North Korea was test firing a ballistic missile.

Men who, as Jason Horowitz noted, believe "that progress and equality are poisonous illusions."

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