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If you can't see echoes of fascism coming from the Tea Party

To The Daily Sun,

Fascism evolves from right-wing extremism, just as Communism evolves from left-wing extremism.
The fascism we are most familiar with began with Mussolini in 1919 Italy and spread. These regimes arose in very different times but echoes of fascism can still be heard in right-wing rhetoric. Fascism at its core is uber-nationalistic. It expresses and demands patriotism on the scale of religious fanaticism. Fascist propaganda specializes in patriotic mottos, songs, and slogans. Flags, flag symbols and flag clothing are to be ubiquitous. Fascism glorifies the nation and the military. Fascists promote an aggressive foreign policy and tend to disproportionately fund their military when the money could be better spent elsewhere. This nationalist militancy bleeds over into a love of paramilitary organizations and militias.

Hate speech and fear mongering about "others" is a tool that promotes obsession regarding national security and traditional values. Robert Paxton, foremost expert on fascism noted, "The use of ethnic stereotypes and exploitation of fear of foreigners is directly out of a fascist's recipe book.

"Making the country great again" sounds exactly like the fascist movements. Concern about national decline, that was one of the most prominent emotional states evoked in fascist discourse, and Trump is using that full-blast...". Right-wingers use ethnic and religious stereotypes to attack Mexicans, Muslims, immigrants, etc. Fascism remains feverishly anti-immigrant. "English only" is an American echo of the Nazi's "German only" agenda.

Fascists have a deep hatred for Marxism, socialism and liberalism. In his famous 1932 speech, The Doctrine of Fascism, Mussolini attacked liberalism and Marx's socialism by name over 40 times.

You may have noticed the obsession with "Marxist-socialists" coming from many of The Sun's writers. Fascists will also look the other way regarding police abuses, torture and revoking civil rights if its in the name of patriotism and national security. Or their religion. Fascists are obsessed about protecting their culture and its traditional values. Here is where religion enters the fascist blend. In the Muslim world, authoritarians stress "Muslim values" while here in the USA, our extremists insist on "Judeo-Christian values." The Christian Dominionist movement strives to have all U.S. laws based on the Bible. This is Christo-fascism which has its roots in the Depression. Ted Cruz is a Dominionist.

Like Abrahamic religions, fascism is patriarchal and wants to control women's lives and everyone's sexual conduct, too. In fascist Europe, family planning, contraception, and abortion were suppressed. Masculinity and femininity were narrowly defined. European fascism was heavily intertwined with Christianity in Italy and Spain. Weremacht SS belt buckles said, "God With Us."

Franco favored conservative Catholicism and reversed the secularization process that had succeeded under the Second Republic. Historian Julian Casanova claimed of Franco's regime, "the symbiosis of religion, fatherland and Caudillo saw the Church assume great political responsibility, a hegemony and monopoly beyond its wildest dreams and play a central role in policing the country's citizens."

The echoes of this remain loud in right-wing world. The Nazis created a bureaucracy in 1936 called "The Reich Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion." Right-wing Christians are doing their best in legislatures around the nation to craft such laws seeking control of women and the marginalization of the LGBT community. Extremist Christian legislators attack women's rights and the LGBT community with bills because they deem themselves the ultimate guardians of the family institution.

Fascism is not a friend of intellectual rigor, cultural diversity, or the arts because these are deemed a threat to traditional religious and/or national values. Fascism tends to promote open hostility toward higher education, and academia. Professors and universities are openly attacked while newspapers, magazines, books, TV, plays and films are monitored for any transgressions against national traditions or Judeo-Christian values.

Fascism protects corporations and seeks to eliminate unions and worker's rights. Hitler, Franco, Mussolini and Pinochet all outlawed trade unions. Tens of thousands were murdered in these sweeps against socialism and trade unions.

If you can't see echoes of fascism coming from the Tea Party, the Religious Right, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump, you need help.

James Veverka



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Pre-trial inmates at the county jail are treated unfairly at times

To The Daily Sun,

My approaching month in confinement (at the Belknap County Jail) started off with frightening emotions and thoughts of unfamiliarity. The initial contact and customs with correctional officers and jail inmates may overwhelm even the toughest of minds. Hope seems to be found through camaraderie during a time of partiality that is un-favoring to the pre-trial inmate.

As a pre-trial inmate unable to post bail, one clings to the warmth that is the idea of the presumption of innocence. This inherent constitutional right is suppose to protect many of the fundamental generosities that we enjoy in everyday life. Unfortunately for many unable to post bail, economics trumps, creating a disparity between defendants from affluent families and those from impoverished circumstances.

Strangely, at Belknap County Jail, there is evidence showing that pre-trial inmates are treated in worse respects than sentenced inmates who have been adjudicated guilty. Those inmates who have been found guilty are labeled minimum security and enjoy amenities greater than pre-trial inmates who are dictated medium security.

The minimum security inmates at the jail enjoy an environment mirroring that of a boys summer camp. They enjoy a larger room with individual beds, and many windows to literally and figuratively lighten their atmosphere with sunlight. They enjoy a common area with amenities that include a microwave, personal refrigeration, and are able to regulate the time. Further, minimum security inmates enjoy working privileges, and have a relaxed correctional officers presence, often governing themselves in a space far exceeding that of pre-trial inmates.

The medium security amenities for defendants awaiting their day in court are less than acceptable. The jail's inmate handbook attempts to explain that pre-trial inmates are housed in pods and dorms but fail to accurately describe what these are. These pods and dorms are mostly cement walls stacked on cement floors and colored in a dismal bluish-gray. They allow for very little sunlight to pierce the integrity of what very little space exists. Alactraz-like bars are substituted for contemporary plexiglass windows, but do not alleviate the gloomy, depressing, lifeless atmosphere represented by these rooms.

Additionally troubling are the showers where pre-trial inmates are subjected to the possibility of contracting diseases such as mercer or scabies. Vents polluted with mold are also a threat — cycling spores on a daily basis and increasing the risk of potential illness.

As previously stated, the facility allows sentenced inmates to work. In its discretion the facility may allow pre-trial inmates to work if their bail does not exceed $5,000 cash, and upon signing of a work waiver. This limitation is for protection and security of the facility but needlessly creates a bias between pre-trial inmates. Those inmates whose bail is higher than $5,000 cash should have the same option and courtesy to work and further the efficiency of the jail, regardless of bail limitations.

Our society is predicated on such optimism where the alleged risk should be exceeded by a defendant's right to be considered and presumed innocent.

This should be extended not only in a courtroom, but also in related correctional matters. With failing amenities, and such disparity, it is not surprising that supervision is lacking.

Correctional officers at Belknap County Jail come in an array or personalities, stretching from ethical and pleasant to emotionally questionable.

Pre-trial inmates are treated unfairly at times and in too controlling of a manner, which is inconsistent with the cloak of innocence. Too much discretion is given to the facility regarding pre-trial inmates. This results in too much infringement upon First and Fourth Amendment freedoms. Many pre-trial inmates fail to express opinion for fear of being moved to "the hole" — solitary confinement. This breeds oppression for those individuals whose guilt has yet to be determined, and creates fear of being sanctioned by the jail.

Understanding that we do not live in a perfect system of justice. I cannot however accept that the presumption of innocence fails to cloak and extend to those pre-trial inmates unable to make bail, yet it seems evident by the mere amenities provided, and the treatment of its pre-trial inmates that this is the case. The theory should be more than a mere assumption granted to someone in a courtroom. It should shroud a citizen until such time that their guilty is proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Joey Woodbury



Pre-trial inmate

Belknap County Jail



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