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08 • JUNE 29, 2018 • LOSANGELESBLADE.COM

LOCAL

Is America on a slippery slope to fascism? The Republican Party ‘has become a threat to liberal democracy,’ says Steve Schmidt By Karen Ocamb kocamb@losangelesblade.com Out journalist Masha Gessen, an expert on Russian President Vladimir Putin and authoritarianism, pulled no rhetorical punches. “I don’t think we have fascist rule in this country, but what we have is a fascist leader,” Gessen told MSNBC’s Joy Reid on June 23, referring to President Donald Trump. “We have a nativist, nationalist leader who is devoting all his energy into portraying a group of people as a super dangerous enemy, both sort of subhuman animals, right, ‘infestation,’ and superhuman at the same time because they’re so frightening— because if we don’t protect ourselves, terrible things will happen, we don’t know what kind of catastrophe will befall us,” encapsulating Trump’s use of fear tactics and dehumanizing language about immigrants to rile his base. “That is  fascism,” Gessen said. “Whether we allow fascism to take over this entire country is an open question and none of us knows what’s going to happen. But it is by no means hyperbole to call Trump a fascist.” Gessen noted how slowly fascism takes hold. “Somebody posted recently the mock cover that The Boston Globe did before Trump’s election to try to scare people that said, ‘Deportations to Begin.’ And we thought it would be so shocking just a year and a half ago—and now we’re in the middle of it,” she said. “Deportations have long since begun and worse than deportations.” “And soon internment camps,” Reid added as an almost throwaway afterthought. And then came the internment camps— for children. But first came the announcement. In March 2017, Trump called for an end to the “catch and release” policy whereby migrants crossing illegally into the US, a misdemeanor, would be freed to stay in the country while awaiting a court hearing. A Department of Homeland Security proposal called for women and children to be separated as a deterrent to mothers. Implementing the new policy proposal

President Donald Trump didn’t mention LGBT people in his National HIV/AIDS Testing Day statement. Blade File Photo by Michael Key

“could create lifelong psychological trauma,” Marielena Hincapie, executive director at the National Immigration Law Center, told Reuters for a March 3, 2017 story. “Especially for children that have just completed a perilous journey from Central America.” A year later, on April 6, 2018, Attorney General Jeffrey Beauregard Sessions announced a new “zero-tolerance” policy. Lest anyone miss the point, Sessions went to Friendship Park on the border on May 8 and gleefully spelled out the new policy.

“People are not going to caravan or otherwise stampede our border. We need legality and integrity in the system. That’s why the Department of Homeland Security is now referring 100 percent of illegal Southwest Border crossings to the Department of Justice for prosecution.  And the Department of Justice will take up those cases,” he said. “If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you.  It’s that simple. If you smuggle illegal aliens across our border, then we will prosecute

you. If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law.” The felony criminalization of immigration forced authorities to take a child while the parent was referred for prosecution, which often resulted in deportation without the child. Sessions later declared that asylum would not be granted to anyone fleeing from domestic violence or gangs. Asked by NPR if separating a child from a mother is “cruel and heartless,” White House

Profile for Los Angeles Blade

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 17, June 29, 2018  

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 17, June 29, 2018

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 17, June 29, 2018  

Losangelesblade.com, Volume 2, Issue 17, June 29, 2018

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