Politics & Prejudices: Fascism, with yellow hair

Fascism, at least the original variety invented by Benito Mussolini, was the merger of state and corporate power.

The state was to be supreme, of course, a state with a strongly militaristic character. Interestingly, both of Europe's premier fascist states starred a swaggering leader who was mistaken for a clown by some of his opponents.

That is, until it was too late.

Any resemblance to any new president-elect, living or dead to decency, is entirely deliberate. By the way, the other two weren't elected with a majority of the popular vote, either.

They didn't seem to mind.

Well, let's run down the list. Two months ago, we thought the "deplorables" were those racist thugs beating people up at Trump rallies. Now we know who they really are.

Consider this, O students of the corporate state: Donald Trump's secretary of state will be Rex Tillerson, who in addition to having the diplomatic background and experience of a salamander, is tied up in deals with Vladimir Putin and Russia.

There's billionaire Steve Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs partner who should be more famous for the thousands of poor people he foreclosed on than the films he bankrolled.

That exploiter will be secretary of the treasury.

In case you had any doubt about Trump's essential contempt for small business, he named Linda McMahon, the co-founder of World Wrestling Entertainment, as head of the Small Business Administration. "McMahon made a fortune from entertainment masquerading as sport, and will now work for a reality TV entertainer whose performance has won him the White House," The Philadelphia Inquirer noted.

The corporate state scored another win with secretary of labor; that will be Andy Puzder, a fast-food chain CEO who has been adamantly opposed to raising the minimum wage.

Trump's pick to run the Environmental Protection Agency is Scott Pruitt, a man who has denied climate change and is dead set against environmental protection in general.

There are a few more lovelies, of course; Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who hates immigrants, and, as a U.S. senator from Alabama, would have happily led the auto industry die back in 2008. "If you give them money, they are going to have less leverage with the unions," he bellowed.

If he'd had his way, Michigan would have been plunged into the depression of all depressions, and we'd have lost between 1 million and 3 million jobs, according to a study by the Center for Automotive Research. Let's hope all the cranky auto workers who voted for Trump take notice.

Yeah, you showed 'em. Now wait till they show you.

There were also a few auxiliary picks for the campaign to destroy the lifestyles of the middle and working classes, such as U.S. Rep. Tom Price, who is to be the secretary of health and human services. He's against Obamacare, you know.

They all are, darling. Price just happens to want to also radically alter Medicare and Medicaid. We're already all aware of our own Betsy DeVos, who, after spending her adult life trying to destroy public education, is about to become secretary of education in the Cabinet from hell.

But what about the militaristic aspects of National Trumpism? Remember the concept of civilian control of the military? Well, the chief carnival barker says screw that.

Legally, Trump can't name U.S. Marine Gen. James Mattis secretary of defense. There's a federal law against it.

But he's counting on Congress to pass a new allowing him to bypass that requirement. They have done that just once in history, so that President Harry Truman could make the legendary George C. Marshall, the architect of our victory in World War II, secretary of defense back in 1950.

Marshall, who had been Army chief of staff throughout the greatest war in history was about as non-political and self-effacing an officer as there was, and had been serving as secretary of state when the president wanted him in charge of all our the armed forces when the Korean War broke out.

"Mad Dog" Mattis got in a little trouble a few years ago for saying, "Actually, it's a lot of fun to fight. It's a hell of a hoot. It's fun to shoot some people." Never married, with few or no personal entanglements, he is also known as the "Warrior Monk." Yep, that's just the kind of guy the Founding Fathers had in mind for civilian control of the armed forces.

But what's more, there's some evidence — I kid you not — that he may be the most sane and stable person in the Trump administration. Unlike his boss, Mattis is an intellectual who has a large personal library and loves to read.

He does apparently favor Roman stoics like Marcus Aurelius, a common reading choice for military men whose lives are mostly about death.

He may even be what passes for the closet liberal in Trumpland, since he favors a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. What is more encouraging is that he is deeply suspicious of Russia and its motives, and may offer some pushback if Trump, say, wants to share our nuclear codes with Vladimir Putin, who after all, delivered the presidency for him.

Mad Dog looks positively mainstream compared to the creature Trump tapped as his national security adviser.

Lt. Gen. Michael Kelly was forced into early retirement in early 2014 after complaints about his "disruptive" management style. The next year, he was seen sitting at Vladimir Putin's table at a banquet for a Russian-owned media outlet, which paid him to give a talk on the world situation.

During the campaign, he tried hard to get the vice presidential nomination and later joined Trump's deplorables in chanting "lock her up," meaning Hillary Clinton.

The Philadelphia Inquirer noted that Flynn had also "recklessly spread internet garbage that reflects his prejudices," including both anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim ravings.

If that weren't enough, he actually helped spread the fake news story that Hillary Clinton was involved with a pedophilia ring. His discharge from the military ought to be revisited and changed to dishonorable, since everything about him is.

That's what we are facing, and if you aren't scared, you are an idiot. Hard as it may be, we can get through four years of radical right-wing economic and social policies.

But if Mad Dog and Mike decide to do a remake of Dr. Strangelove, we could all be cooked. We are in a bad place, breakfast clubbers, a place none of us have ever been.

On top of that, we have been living through the ultimate nightmare Cold War novel, a presidential election that has been interfered with, perhaps rigged by the Russians.

We have to do everything we can to get through this, and fight and bear witness at every step of the way, and call out what they do over and over, and never accept it as normal.

That may, just may, give us a fighting chance to get our democracy back. They hijacked this election, these modern fascists. They are now attempting to destroy what democracy we have. One can almost not say that too strongly.

We've got not quite a month before this all starts. What we do then is in large part up to you.

From a Nobel Prize-winning economist

Paul Krugman offered this perspective in The New York Times Dec. 12: "Nothing that happened on Election Day or is happening now is normal. Democratic norms have been and continue to be violated ... This president will have a lot of legal authority. But beyond that, nothing: He doesn't deserve deference, he doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt."

Krugman added he was "still figuring out how to keep my anger simmering. This election was an outrage, and we should never forget it."

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