Archive for February, 2016

Vox Political on BoJo, Gove and Somebody Else Demanding Public Clean Up Britain for Free for the Queen

February 29, 2016

This is a very bizarre story. The government has, in what it thinks is its infinite wisdom, that we should all get off our backsides this summer and celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday by cleaning up the country for free. Mike over at Vox Political asks the obvious question why the poor should be expected to work free of charge for a multi-millionaire monarch. The scheme was launched today by Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, and someone called Rory Stewart, wearing hi-vis jackets matching T-shirts with the slogan ‘Clean for the Queen’, and posing next to a giant banner of the slogan. Mike points out that this is particularly hypocritical, given that BoJo, Gove and presumably Stewart would never, ever, absolutely do anything themselves unless they were being very generously paid for it.

Go see Mike’s blog for his comments, piccies of the three Tories and the poster, and further information on the way this has been greeted on Twitter. Even one of the hacks on the Graun has had a dig at this.

Tories line up to demand free labour for our multi-millionaire monarch

It’s a bizarre idea. The Tories have clearly decided that something should be done to celebrate Brenda’s longevity. My guess is that in previous ages this would probably have resulted in pageants, fetes and parties up and down the country. Roughly the same kind of jollification that was de rigueur under the Victorians when the Queen (Gawd bless ‘er!) reached a particularly venerable age. They have, however, clearly decided that this is not acceptable in today’s economic climate, because it would cost money.

And as the government’s policy is based on cutting services, and getting the rest of the population to perform them for free, let getting old age pensioners to run libraries under ‘localism’, they’ve clearly settled on this policy instead. So, no street parties like we had a few years ago when it was the anniversary of D-Day. Instead, we’re all being told to get to work, and like it, because it’s celebratory.

It all reminds me of the corvee, the system of forced labour that was part of the serfs’ feudal duties to the lord of the manor during the Middle Ages, and which survived in France and elsewhere until the French Revolution. The Queen is a feudal monarch, and once again, her loyal subjects are being asked to toil for her for free on public works. No doubt Cameron will be making notes, wondering how he can fit it into some kind of universal, neo-feudal system. How about placing each citizen of this glorious nation under the personal authority of a leading businessman, who can use them anyway they like, putting them to work for free, on the pretext that this is somehow promoting public spirit and teaching them how to be good employees and submit obediently to the authority of the upper classes. Or is this too much like workfare?

It also reminds me of one of the more bizarre Communist rituals that used to go on in the former Soviet Union. Every year in February, in the depths of the Russian winter, there was a national cleaning day, when good Soviet citizens had to clean the streets and spring clean their places of work. That included cleaning the windows, and opening them to the bitter Russian cold. You were also expected to bring out of storage – or hiding – all the old statues of Lenin and the tat celebrating the Bolshevik Revolution, putting them proudly on display. The busts of Lenin came in a variety of materials, to suit the pockets of the Soviet purchaser. The really expensive busts were in stone. The cheaper alternative was papier mache. I can remember reading a description of the kerfuffle that broke out during one of the spring-cleans in a travel book on the Soviet Union in one office, wear they discovered that their papier mache bust of the great Soviet leader had got damp and sprouted mushrooms.

This was the Soviet Union, one of the archetypal monolithic totalitarian states. For all that Cameron, BoJo, Gove and their odious cohorts represent the direct economic polar opposite in capitalism, they share the Soviet state’s authoritarianism, its need to control absolutely and its rigidly hierarchical social order. This was a society where the party elite had access to a range of goods and services, including special, curtained shops, from which the ordinary Soviet citizens were barred. This was a state built on slave labour, where the leaders of the various industries had actually put in orders to the KGB for the numbers of new people they wanted arrested to work for them. Workfare has been organised very much on the same lines, where the unemployed are effectively rented out to the ‘work providers’ as unfree workers, who are paid only their jobseekers allowance. And not even that, if they’ve been sanctioned. Mike and the other bloggers have shown that, by law, you are still liable to perform workfare, even if you’ve been sanctioned and are not being given your Jobseeker’s Allowance. This is true slave labour, of which Stalin would be envious.

And it seems this initiative, to get us all cleaning the country up for the Queen, is pretty much more of the same. Now I’ve no objection whatsoever to campaigns to Keep Britain Tidy, like there were in the 1970s. I wish more people had respect for their environment, and there was less littering and fly-tipping. But I don’t see why we should be expected to do it for nothing. And I am very suspicious in case the government suddenly announces that it is very impressed with how well this has worked, and now wants to roll it out as a national scheme.
I can see that coming all too easily.

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The Young Turks on Trump Being Sued by Students at his Fraudulent University

February 29, 2016

Trump isn’t just a racist Nazi – he’s a scam artist too. In this piece from the Young Turks, Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian discuss how Trump is being sued by Tarla Makaeff and the New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, for ripping off prospective students, who enrolled at his ‘university’. In 2005, Trump announced he was opening the ‘Trump University’ to teach students how to be successful Real Estate salesmen and women. Tarla Makaeff, one of those, who enrolled, and Attorney General Schneiderman, are suing Trump because the university was not accredited, did not issue degrees, and in fact only saddled the students with $60,000 worth of debt that they couldn’t afford for classes that didn’t materialise. In fact, all they got was a seminar in a ballroom. Schneiderman is launching a $40 million lawsuit on the students’ behalf. As for staff at the seminar, they were instructed to do all they could to get students to sign up for further seminars, costing $1,495. There were three booths ranged round the exits, so that if the prospective students left, they’d be button-holed by these spivs. Trump himself did not appear, despite promises that he would. Trump later dropped the title of ‘University’ as he realised this was actually illegal, considering it wasn’t. The scam, however, went on. Kasparian also asks whether it’s sensible to take business advice from a man, who went bust four times.

Kasparian is furious, as it reminds her of the inflated and frequently fraudulent claims of the for-profit colleges. Uygur points out that even they aren’t as bad as this, which is just pure fraud. As for any of Trump’s admirers, who will actually look up to him and boast about how he’s conned people, they should realise that he’s doing exactly the same in the election with his promises. He’s a scam artist, and they’re his next mark.

Bremner, Bird and Fortune on

February 29, 2016

The satirists Rory Bremner and the ‘Long Johns’ Bird and Fortune have a section in their book, You Are Here (London: Phoenix 2004) attacking Tony Blair’s part-privatisation of the London Underground. They point out that while in opposition, Blair had loudly opposed privatisation. Once in power, he was most enthusiastically for it, and the London Underground was one of those businesses slated to be given over to private investment under the PFI initiative. They write

After the abolition of the Greater London Council (GLC) in 1986, the London Underground could no longer be funded out of the local rates paid by all London households. Ever since then, the Underground has only had two sources of revenue: central government grants and passenger fares. Government grants to upgrade infrastructure have declined from £398 million in 1994/5 to £160 million in 1998/9. This has resulted in fare increases of double the rate of inflation over the last decade, making London’s Tube system the most expensive in Europe.

The government believed this could be solved by the part-privatization of the Underground. it projected that a PPP will make possible £7.5 – 15 billion of new investment, but the only indication of where this investment will come from is a prediction that passenger numbers will increase by 40 per cent over the next fifteen years. But how can such an increased number of passengers be accommodated without an immediate investment programme?

The Tube system spans 400 kilometres of track, 275 stations, and twelve different lines, and there is also the complex issue of who will be responsible for shared lines or interchange stations. The legal documents dealing with it are said to fill fourteen filing cabinets.

Admittedly, this may not interest people outside London, particularly as with the present system it’s very unlikely they’ll manage to the get there in the first place.

It’s the same system that was so signally successful with the railways: London Underground runs the trains; the private contractors run the infrastructure; and any problems, the lawyers will sort out. (Giving new meaning to the warning ‘Mind the gap’.) No wonder the carriages are full – it’s all the lawyers and accountants desperate to get in on the act.

It’s those privatized public services again. The people who put the Enron into electricity, the Railtrack into railway, and the Edexcel into education … Whatever happened to ‘three strikes and you’re out’?

The government love to call anyone who disagrees with them either a wrecker or a cynic. You don’t have to be either to recognize that separating the running of the trains from the maintenance of the track is exactly where the last privatization went wrong. To add insult to injury, one of the new consortiums includes the company responsible for the maintenance at Hatfield. That’s the trouble with these private consortiums. If you try to do away with them they just go underground.

Let’s go over the points:

Under privatization it costs three times as much for each mile of track. On top of all the subcontracting and regulation you’ve got to build in about 30 per cent profit for the private company. And they’ll still get it if the service is 5 per cent worse than it is now. (pp. 162-3). (My emphasis).

They then go on to describe how massively profitable all this is for the firms involved, their accountants and lawyers.

So the PFI deal is massively cumbersome, and even then was set to deliver even worse service. Just like the privatisation of the railways. Now, Blair massively expanded the PFI system, but it was Maggie and John Major that started the ball rolling with their privatisations in the 1980s and ’90s. And the part-privatisation of London Underground was based on the railway privatisation carried out by John Major’s government. A policy that resulted in a series of disasters, including one at Hatfield, resulting in hundreds of deaths and years of litigation as the various rail companies passed the buck between them. And this privatisation policy is being rabidly pursued in the NHS by Cameron.

It should be scrapped immediately. As indeed should the government behind it. And the Blairites should be removed from anywhere near power in the Labour party. Corbyn is absolutely right to champion the nationalisation of the utility services. Anyone who tells you otherwise is just arguing for more rubbish service for the profit of the big corporations.

Private Eye on Racist ‘Mac’ Cartoon in Daily Mail in 2003

February 29, 2016

I found this piece in Private Eye’s ‘Street of Shame’ column about the antics in Fleet Street also in the magazine’s issue for 26th July – 8th August 2003. It was about a very suspect cartoon with strong overtones of racism in the Daily Mail.

Even Daily Mail hacks, few of whom are bleeding-heart liberals, recoiled in horrified amazement when they saw how the paper’s pisspoor cartoonist Mac (aka Stan McMurtry) had dealt with the story of the IVF mix-up which gave a white couple a black baby.

Mac’s drawing shows two women arriving at an infant’s school with their young children. “I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about, Eileen,” one tells the other. “But why not ring the hospital just to put your mind at rest?” The joke is that Eileen’s son is a monkey. Dressed in a school uniform. Geddit?

What no one at the Mail can understand is why editor Paul Dacre let the cartoon through, given that jibes about black people and chimpanzees have been a staple of racist comedians and football hooligans for years – and that Dacre claims to be genuinely sensitive about his newspaper’s fascist past (“HURRAH FOR THE BLACKSHIRTS”)

Naturally, no Mail hack has been brave enough to ask him directly. The assumption is that either he didn’t look at the cartoon before printing it, or he simply didn’t geddit. A third possibility – that he actually found it funny, and that all the Stephen Lawrence angst was a mere stunt – is, of course, too absurd to contemplate.

Of course, the Daily Mail is endemically, frantically racist, as I’m sure is apparent when the EU referendum really heats up. Then it’ll be trying to swing the result by printing even more scare stories about evil EU foreigners coming here to sponge off our benefits.

Private Eye Photo Lampooning Ian Duncan Smith

February 29, 2016

IDS Photo

I found this old photo of IDS in Private Eye’s issue for 26th June to 8th August 2003. This was the time when IDS, the William Wilberforce de nos jours, was the leader of the Tory party. I thought I’d include it just remind people what a failure he was then.

If you can’t read it, the speech bubble reads, ‘Oh no – I can’t even beat these eggs!’

Unfortunately, the man, who fancies himself the equal of the great anti-slavery campaigner, has gone from trying to beat eggs to beating humans – the sick, the unemployed, and the disabled, driving them to death and despair with the benefit sanctions he believes, but can’t dare prove, are making them fit to work.

He’s a failure, his policies are failures, and its a tragedy and disgrace that he and the rest of the government are in power.

Vox Political: Gap Year Students Recruited by Government to Decide Asylum Seeker Claims

February 29, 2016

This is chilling and outrageous. Yesterday Mike put up a piece from the Guardian, which claimed that the government is recruiting gap year students to judge claims for asylum from immigrants. Some of the students recruited are studying law. The recruits are only given five weeks’ training before finally being considered qualified to interview asylum seekers and decide their cases. Mike askes the obvious question of whether, if this is true, it is fair to either the students or the asylum seekers themselves. The piece Mike put up also states that some of the students were put to work on the ‘detained fast-track’ cases, which were decided very quickly. This part of the claims process has been discontinued, but its replacement is also being challenged legally.

Now I don’t think it is fair or just, either to the asylum seekers or the students, that they should be expected to make potential life or death decisions on immigrants’ cases with only five weeks’ training. It simply isn’t enough. I would expect instead that such cases should be decided by professionals with years of experience and a deep knowledge of the issues involved. This just indicates to me that the government is determined to decide these cases as quickly and as cheaply as possible, regardless of the enormous potential for miscarriages of justice and the immense dangers to some claimants if they are sent back to their countries of origin. It’s the action of a government determined to cut down on immigration, regardless of the consequences and the potential deaths of those wrongly denied entry to the UK.

See Mike’s article at http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/02/28/gap-year-students-are-deciding-asylum-claims/

The Young Turks: Trump Refuses to Release Tax Returns as Being Persecuted by Tax Office for his ‘Strong Christian Faith’

February 29, 2016

More bullshit from the Goebbels of reality TV. Donald Trump was asked during in an interview by American television’s Chris Como why he hadn’t released his tax returns. Trump stated that he wasn’t able to release them, because they were still being audited. When Como asked him why that was, he said, ‘I dunno, perhaps because of my strong Christian faith’. The Turks point out how hypocritical that is, as Trump in his mind was thinking that he doesn’t have any Christian faith.

Indeed he doesn’t. There’s no record of him attending any evangelical church in New York. And when he did attend one in Iowa, he mistook the communion plate for the collection plate and slapped money on it. But his allegation that he’s being persecuted for his Christianity is likely to resonate with that section of the American Christian right which does feel that Christians are being persecuted in an increasingly aggressively secular America. It’s a very cynical lie by Trump. Even Como was visibly taken aback by it.

Now I’ve worked for the Inland Revenue, the British tax office. I was nothing important – just a lowly filing clerk. Most of my duties were just taking the files to the people, who actually made the decisions, and then filing the paperwork afterwards. It was a pretty boring job. The Inland Revenue is very careful about its image, and making sure that the public have confidence that their taxes are dealt with in a proper, professional and conscientious manner. And this is true. They are also completely uninterested in what religion a person is. All they’re interested in is sorting out how much tax the citizen should pay. My guess is that it’s exactly the same in America.

The IRS has also made a statement saying that while it cannot comment on a person’s private tax accounts, there’s nothing to stop them doing so. So Trump could still hold up his tax returns and talk about them. And one of the American newspapers pointed out that one reason tax audits can go on for longer than expected is if there’s something irregular and suspect about them.

Surprisingly, the Young Turks in this segment have some respect for Mitt Romney, one of the other Republicans in the presidential race. Trump had accused Romney in a previous election campaign of showing his tax returns late in the cycle. Now Romney is doing something very few of the other candidates have done, and actually challenged Trump on his own terms. He’s pointed out that Trump could still show and talk about his tax affairs, and has tweeted that he thinks that Trump ‘doth protest too much’ when he claims he’s innocent of any irregularity and being persecuted by the tax office. He’s also questioned why Trump hasn’t released any of his tax returns from further back, if his returns for the last four years are also being audited, as he claims. Indeed, he suspects there’s something Trump’s hiding.

Which strikes me as very true. If Trump is unwilling to talk about his tax affairs, and show that everything’s above board and in order, it does rather suggest that there’s something suspicious going on, like some kind of tax dodge. That’s a far more likely explanation than stupid accusations about being persecuted because he’s a Christian.

The Young Turks: Alex Jones Freaks Out, Challenges Bill O’Reilly to a Boxing Match

February 28, 2016

I’m putting this piece from The Young Turks up simply as a piece of light relief from some of the more serious issues. It shows some fine, table-pounding ranting from the conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones, and from the Turks’ own anchor, Cenk Uygur. Jones was furious because Bill O’Reilly included a clip from Alex Jones’ Infowars programme on a piece he was presenting on hate speech on the internet, and how Facebook was under pressure to take it off. Jones, never one to keep his own anger in check for too long, then begins a long rant about what a bully O’Reilly is, and finally challenges him to a boxing match. In fact, he invites O’Reilly to bring a friend, as with two fighting him he might just keep awake.

The piece also shows Uygur losing his temper big time with USA today. His anger was provoked by that newspaper publishing the lies that Saddam Hussein was in league with al-Qaeda, and partly responsible for 9/11, thus justifying the western invasion. Uygur makes the point amongst the ranting that 58 per cent of Americans are against the war in Iraq. Or at least, they were when that clip was recorded. Unfortunately, 43 per cent believe that somehow Hussein was responsible for 9/11. He wasn’t. Bremner, Bird and Fortune on their show on Channel 4 pointed out that Hussein wasn’t involved, and that Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein loathed and detested each other, not least because Hussein’s Iraq was an officially secular state. In fact, they even played part of a propaganda message from Osama bin Laden threatening Hussein. It was in Arabic, but they supplied an English translation. Bin Laden was ranting about how he’d destroy Hussein in extremely florid tones. At one point he starting going on about how Hussein’s towers would fall. Uygur makes the point amid his own furious shouting that if USA Today had actually done its job, the number of people, who believe the lie about Hussein and bin Laden would be far less, and the number of people opposed to the war would be greater.

Uygur has a point, and while the rant is not quite what you’d expect from a professional news presenter, it’s entirely justified. The war was manufactured through lies, and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, have died as a result. Not just Iraqis, but also US troopers sent in to fight for the enrichment of America’s leading corporations, the paymasters of the Neo-Cons and their lackeys in the White House and Pentagon. Uygur’s own background is Turkish Muslim, and my guess is that his rage was also partly due to the fact that it hits close to home. He’s very definitely American, but Bush’s war and the devastation it has wreaked on the Middle East and its people is clearly much more immediately painful to him.

I’ve even got some sympathy for Alex Jones. Jones is an extreme right-winger. He’s an opponent of Obamacare, and has made some extremely violent verbal attacks on Bernie Sanders. On the other hand, he does talk about the corporate takeover of America, and he is right when he attacks the globalists plans to subvert and reduce national governments for their own corporate profits. And Bill O’Reilly, one of the main presenters on Fox News, is a paid shill for Murdoch, and so deserves all he gets.

So sit back and enjoy the show!

Secular Talk: Fox News Attacks Minimum Wage Worker, Who Couldn’t Afford Food

February 28, 2016

This shows just how low and bitterly anti-poor Fox News is. In this piece from Secular Talk, Kyle Kulinski discusses a segment from Fox News in which the host, Sandra Smith, invited on to talk cosily with Stefanie Williams, the author of an internet piece attacking Talia Jane. Jane was a worker on the minimum wage, who had written a piece on Yelp stating that despite working full time for her employer, she still could not afford to buy food, as 80 per cent of her income was spent on rent. She stated that she was tired of working for an employer that did not watch her back, and included her paypal address and an appeal for people to help her pay her rent. This piece got her the sack from the company’s CEO.

Smith congratulates Williams for writing her piece attacking Jane, stating that millennials have an undeserved sense of entitlement. Williams preens herself on receiving so many letter from other people, who believe she has spoken up for them, and stating that they have had trouble making ends meet, but have buckled down and worked harder. She also criticises Jane for having a paypal account and wanting people to help her pay her bills.

Kulinski rightly describes this as ‘a new low’. He observes that Williams and others like her are all ‘useful idiots’ for the millionaires and billionaires, who have rigged the economy in their favour. For example, the richest people in America are the Walton family, a group of about six people. They have more wealth than the bottom 50 per cent of Americans. And this money is largely inherited. Globally, the richest 62 people on the planet have more money than the bottom 3.7 billion. Williams and the others have internalised the idea that America is a meritocracy, and all you need to do is work harder to succeed. Talia Jane’s case shows that this isn’t true, as the woman was already working a full time job.

As for the millennials’ sense of entitlement, the anger stems from the fact that the previous generation has wrecked the economy. They produced the sub-prime mortgage crisis and the recession, and created the conditions where few can now afford mortgages and the only jobs are in the low paid sectors. And now they’re blaming the younger people for complaining about the recession and poor economic prospects they’ve created. This is, as Kulinski says, ‘victim blaming 101’. The whole argument is based on the idea that if you don’t succeed in meritocratic America, then it’s because there’s something wrong with you morally.

Now this is another piece that’s clearly American, but it has implications for us over here in Britain as well. Channel 5 is already doing this kind of criticism of the poor with its ‘poverty porn’ shows, like Benefits Street. Murdoch, who owns Fox with a Saudi billionaire, wants to have the Beeb privatised, so he can move into the vacuum created by the demise of the public service broadcast. The Beeb isn’t perfect, and it’s right-wing bias infuriates me as well, but it is not as right-wing as Fox. And if Murdoch got his way, that’s all you’d get for your daily news. More right-wing, Conservative, hate and bile at the poor.

A few days ago Mike at Vox Political posted up a video made by a young woman in the Guardian, about what life is really like for the poor. She’s right to do so, and I’ll get round to reblogging that soon. But Fox is the people, who want to shout these voices down.

Secular Talk: Trump’s Rise Is the Product of a Broken Media

February 28, 2016

In this piece from Secular Talk, Kyle Kulinski gives his reasons why he believes there’s an 80 per cent chance that Donald Trump will become president. It’s because the media does not do its job. It gives the Nazi chump airtime, and does not challenge his many factual assertions, most of which are outright lies, nor the outrageous policies he says he supports such as waterboarding, torture, the targeting of civilians in the war against terror. Instead, it concentrates on the details where he is ‘politically incorrect’, such as when he attacks journalists. he also states that the supposed neutrality of the media actually works to bias them in favour of the right, as they treat all statements as merely differences of opinion. So even though the Democrats are right more than the Republicans, especially on issues such as Climate Change, the media does not challenge the Republicans on their failings, and so in effect supports them. He also states that the media are so afraid of being accused, as they have for three decades now, of liberal bias, that they ask soft questions to conservatives and much harder questions to liberal and Democrats. For example, when Anderson Cooper interviewed Ted Cruz or whoever the other night, Cooper was asking him such easy softballs as whether he sings to his wife and what musicals he liked. Bernie Sanders, however, gets asked tough questions on how he differs from Latin American dictators and if healthcare would be rationed under his system. Even Hillary Clinton gets asked much tougher questions, like when she’ll release transcripts of her speeches to Wall Street. Now Kulinski certainly wants her to release them, but the broader point is that she’s asked harder questions than those lobbed to the Republicans.

It’s a massive failing of the media. He states that Trump is winning through confidence and repetition. He makes a point, they repeat it, but don’t try to apply the same criticisms to Trump that he makes of his opponents. For example, Trump will accuse Ted Cruz of being a liar. The media focus on that as a horrendous allegation. They repeat it. But they don’t do the same, and report how many times Trump has lied. Similarly, Trump states that he’s not taking money from the corporate donors. But the mainstream media is silent on the fact that the only reason Trump isn’t taking money from them, is because they turned him down. And it’s only the New Media that’s holding Trump to account for his monstrous policies, like advocating torture ‘even if it doesn’t work'(!) and targeting civilians – which are war crimes. He states that if the mainstream media pointed this out, and cited the international treaties Trump would be violating, showing that it makes America look bad, and took a day, or three days on these issues, then it would be all over for the Corporate Clown. But they don’t. They let him get away with it, and so he effectively frames the narrative, taking control of what’s being discussed.

Trump is also extremely vulnerable when it comes to his stance on international trade. He claims he’s against the outsourcing of American jobs, but his ties are made in China. So the question can be asked how he can challenge outsourcing, when he can’t stop himself from doing it.

Kulinski states that the Republican mainstream establishment will back some of the more moderate candidates. Their favourite at the moment is Marco Rubio, but he doesn’t give much for their chances. Several of the mainstream Republican favourites have the backing of talk radio personalities like Rush Limbaugh. They are not going to carry the popular vote, as increasingly very few are listening to right-wing talk radio. Most people probably have never heard of Limbaugh, at least not those voting for Trump. Besides which, Marco Rubio also has a very stilted, robotic delivery, which puts off voters.

And so it looks like, in Kulinski’s words, we may have to get used to saying ‘President Trump’. A chilling prospect.

And part of the blame for this lies in a media that’s paralysed by the fear of being accused of liberal bias, does not check facts or pull Republicans up on their falsehoods, and prefers to concentrate on the election as a kind of horserace, focussing on personalities, rather than policies. And so they’ve allowed American politics to be pulled so far to the right by the Republicans, that it borders on Fascism. And so Trump has an all-too-real possibility of entering the White House.