The fact that this question is now percolating throughout the nation is, standing alone, disturbing, to say the least.
But given that the federal government has deployed unmarked, unidentified militarized police forces into Portland and Washington D.C. to stifle protests, the question must be raised. Various media reports have identified these agents as being with the U.S. Marshals Service, Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Bureau of Prisons, and even murderous private contractor Blackwater.
Militarized Police State Stifles Protest, Disregards 1st Amendment
These police forces have utilized quasi-military tactics to silence and stifle First Amendment protected civil dissent demanding police reforms, official accountability for police misconduct, and other related criminal justice reforms.
President Trump has vowed to send more of these jackbooted, camouflaged thugs into other cities with Democratic mayors as part of his political pledge to bring about “law and order” into their communities. Ron Wyden (D-OR) rightly said, “This is the stuff of fascist regimes, not American democracy.”
What is Fascism?
In a March 22, 2019 piece in Time Magazine, Olivia B. Waxman offered this simple definition of the term: “Fascism is a movement that promotes the idea of a forcibly monolithic, regimented nation under the control of an autocratic ruler.”
Wikipedia offers this more detailed definition of the movement:
“Fascism is a form of far-fight, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, as well as strong regimentation of society and of the economy which came to promise in early 20th-century Europe.”
In November 2019, we posted a piece about U.S. Attorney General William Barr’s membership in Opus Dei, a powerful, cult-like organization whose roots are in fascist Spain. That same month Barr gave a speech to the Federalist Society, another organization with strong fascist-leaning goals, in which he railed against progressive Democrats and promoted his own fascist political ideology.
President Trump has not escaped the fascist charge either.
In a June 8, 2020 piece in the Daily Beast, respected journalist Michael Tomasky wrote that Barr is the primary individual “executing” President Trump’s fascist “instincts.” Tomasky specifically charged that the Attorney General “is a fascist, and a smart one. He’s read books. He probably has a bust of Franco somewhere in the house. I choose Franco because Barr’s brand of fascism reeks of Falangism, the fascist movement in Spain that was with Franco during the civil war and believed in the unity of church (Catholic) and state.”
Military Assault on Peaceful Protesters
Barr’s fascism was on full display when he ordered the June 1, 2020, military-style assault on peaceful protesters gathered in Lafayette Square in front of the White House. He shared Trump’s characterization that the protesters were nothing more than “domestic terrorists.”
In an appearance on the Rachel Maddow Show several days later, Republican strategist Steve Schmidt exposed the President and attorney general’s fascist-like use of militarized police forces against peaceful protesters Trump and Barr have continuously described as “domestic terrorists”:
“We don’t have secret police in the United States of America,” Schmidt said. “An essential part of this story is understanding, ‘Who are these men?’ We don’t have secret police. These men need badges, they need identification. The American people have a right to know who’s funding them, their chain of command, and who they report to. This idea that the attorney general of the United States has suddenly become an interior minister in a thugocracy with a private militia of some type that reports to him is antithetical to every precept of American democracy.”
Attorney General Barr has a history steeped in secret police, covert ops, intelligence cover-ups, and corrupt political pardons—all of which bear the earmarks of fascism.
Writing in the June 3, 2020 edition of MINNPOST, a non-partisan journalism group, Eric Black said the June 1, 2020, military-style assault on the protesters in Lafayette Park that allowed Trump to stage a political photo-op “was straight out of the fascist playbook.” He said the assault was something that would have made “Goebbels and Hitler” proud.
That the Attorney General of the United States’ name can be associated with the “fascist playbook” of “Goebbels and Hitler” should concern every American citizen.
But being associated with this sort of fascism is not something new to Attorney General Barr.
High School Bully Becomes Autocratic Thug
A recent edition of BuzzFlash carried a piece with the title: “Bill Barr Was a Sick and Sadistic Kid Who Was a Fascist ‘High School Tormentor’ and Bully, Classmate Recalls.” That classmate is Austin-based death penalty attorney Jimmy Lohman who in November 1991 penned an article as the U.S. Senate was considering Barr’s first nomination as Attorney General charging that Barr was a “right-wing tormentor” who bullied Lohman in high school and college.
And yet another high school classmate of Barr’s, Jonathan Smits told the British publication, the Independent, this past February that the Attorney General “seems pretty much the guy was in high school. It’s like his whole life has been a straight line … informed by a radically right-wing … conservative strain of Catholicism. I think he’s someone who believes in fundamental Old Testament values, basically, and he sees his mission as pointing the country back in that direction.”
President as Pawn
Lohman also told the Independent that Barr actively sought the attorney general appointment under Trump because he knew he could manipulate the President into a fascist course of action long promoted by Barr. The book-smart Barr knew that he could maneuver the book-dumb President down any path the attorney general suggested.
“The only thing that really makes sense to me is that he clearly wanted to get in on all the power and he saw Trump as someone he could manipulate and be a kind of Robespierre to a [foolish] king… in effect the most powerful person in the country by manipulating this man,” Lohman said.
“I think that he just wanted to get in on it and have the power to reshape the world in his image,” he continued. “And that image is some weird ass version of Catholicism, it’s almost unlimited executive power, it’s fascism.
“There are people out there who are fascist. William Barr, in my view, is one, and I evidently picked up on that a long, long time ago.”
Architect of Fascist Police State, “Law and Order” Reelection Strategy
Barr undeniably likes the use of fascist “secret” militarized police forces—thus, it can be reasonably assumed that he is either the architect or a major influencer in the President’s decision to deploy militarized police forces into Portland and Washington D.C. as part of his “law and order” reelection strategy.
CNN reported on June 3, 2020, that Barr counseled former President George H.W. Bush during the 1992 Los Angeles “Rodney King” riots to deploy the U.S. Army. Barr reportedly told the President that he could deploy “some 2,000 non-military federal forces (secret police) to the area with the logistical help of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell or to activate the U.S. Army.”
It has become increasingly evident that Attorney General Barr is President Trump’s “Robespierre” and is effectively using his uncanny ability to manipulate the authoritarian, fascist instincts of his boss.
And President Trump adores his perceived “strongman” image the deployment of secret militarized police forces gives him.
Barr was the persuasive, soothing voice that encouraged the President to order the “military-style assault” on the peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square just as the attorney general did with President Bush during the 1992 L.A. riots.
Increasingly, the evidence mounts that President Trump and his attorney general want to infuse American democracy with a neuvo-Franco-style fascism. This corrupt duo appears to be calculating a slowing moving coup d’etat that will come to a head in November should the President lose his reelection bid.