The “World’s Greatest Country” is Swirling Down the Drain


Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

The United States’ descent into pandemicist and neofascist Hell (something I have documenting for some time here at CounterPunch and recently in a new book titled This Happened Here) under the eco-cidal command of capital continues apace.

Stupid and Selective Censorship Concerns

The comments sections of mainstream US news Websites are abuzz with angry Amerikaners’ hatred of Neil Young. Young stands idiotically accused of “censorship” for making the personal moral and business decision to tell Spotify to take down his music if the company insisted on maintaining its contract with the racist podcaster and mediocre blowhard Joe “Planet of the Apes” Rogan, a self-described “moron” who has offered platforms to fascist propagandists (e.g. Andy Ngo and Gavin McInnes) while helping spread mass murderous anti-vax misinformation on Covid-19.

Many if not most of the white folks losing their shit over Young’s alleged Big Brotherism are victims of the cult of Donald Trump, who regularly attacked press freedoms and demonized media not allegiant to him. Curiously but predictably enough, the palingenetic Caucasians raging at the rock-folk legend’s supposed assault on free speech show no concern over the many state laws that have been passed forbidding teachers from teaching real American history, with slavery, Jim Crow, Native American genocide, US imperialism, and capitalist oppression (among other terrible things) included. The neofascistic Red State assault on teaching actual American history is only getting started. According to Education Week:

‘Republicans this year have drastically broadened their legislative efforts to censor what’s taught in the classroom… What started in early 2021 as a conservative effort to prohibit teachers from talking about diversity and inequality in so-called “divisive” ways or taking sides on “controversial” issues has now expanded to include proposed restrictions on teaching that the United States is a racist country, that certain economic or political systems are racist, or that multiple gender identities exist, according to an Education Week analysis of 61 new bills and other state-level actions. In Florida, a bill would ban teachers from saying “racial colorblindness” is racist…In New Hampshire, “promoting a negative account or representation of the founding and history of the United States of America” could become illegal…’

The campaign draws inspiration from a list of prohibited “divisive concepts” that originally appeared in an executive order signed by the “instinctive fascist” Donald Trump when he was still US president in the fall 2020.

The Pandemo-Fascist Firing of Dr. Michael Phillips

That’s some serious Big Brother shit but don’t ask Neil Young’s right-wing critics about this kind of actual censorship. It doesn’t concern them. They also don’t care about – and would probably approve – the recent firing of Dr. Michael Phillips, an award-winning history professor at Collins College, in Dallas, Texas. Phillips has been discharged for warning his colleagues and students about the dangers inherent in his former community college’s policy of forbidding faculty from recommending or encouraging students to wear masks during the Fall semester of 2021, as the Delta covid variant was about to surge in Texas. The school was upset at Phillips for making its pandemicist anti-masking “gag rule” public. “It’s apparent,” Phillips told the Dallas Observer, “that they feel like college policy trumps the First Amendment, some kind of vague policy that the foundational document of the United States somehow is not relevant anymore.” The second history professor fired by Collins College for exercising free speech rights in the last two years, Phillips was earlier warned by an administrator that he’d “violated school policy” by co-authoring a 2017 letter advocating the removal of Dallas’ Confederate statues.

The Confederacy was formed and seceded from the United States in response to the election of Abraham Lincoln, whose presidency the slave-owning leaders of the South considered an existential threat to their “cornerstone” institution: Black chattel slavery. The Civil War that followed cost more than half a million lives over four years – considerably fewer US lives than have been lost to the Covid-19 pandemic over the last two-plus years.

Sign a petition for Phillips’ reinstatement here.

“This is Not Like Jim Crow; it is Jim Crow”

Sold as protection of children from trauma, the neofascist assault on historical and societal truth-telling in US schools is meant to whitewash past American crimes so as better to replicate those crimes in the present and future. The replication is well underway. Commenting on the absurdly right-wing Supreme Court’s recent “shadow docket” decision approving the openly racist gerrymandering of Alabama’s Congressional district map (and on the broader open racist suppression of Black voting rights in red state America), Elie Mystal recently told MSNBC that “this isn’t ‘like Jim Crow;’ this is Jim Crow.”

Gilead Too

The USA is also starting to be and not just look like Gilead – the nightmare patriarchal, gender-terrorist state portrayed in Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale. The high court is poised to return much of the nation to a nightmarish time when abortion was illegal – to a future, that is, when tens of millions of US women are subjected to the de facto female slavery of forced motherhood. Abortion is now essentially illegal in Texas even in cases of rape and incest. That is flat-out gender fascism, slated for approval and expansion by the accused rapist and arch-sexist Donald Trump’s high court, which includes at least one accused and likely sexual harasser (the right-wing cretin Clarence Thomas), one accused and likely rapist (the right-wing molester Brett Kavanaugh), and one actual former Handmaid (Christian fascist Amy “Coat-Hanger” Barrett).

“What it Was”: Down the Memory Hole with Trump’s Responsibility for January 6th

Speaking of the orange fascist reptile (OFR) Trump, a recent poll reflects the specter of the mass fascistic idiocy that hangs over the “American experiment” in the days of the bumbling corporate-imperialist Weimar Democrat Joe “Nothing Would Fundamentally Change” Biden. As The Hill reported three days ago:

“The results from Pew show that 43 percent of respondents view Trump as being primarily responsible for the attack, a drop from 52 percent last year. The surveys were taken shortly after the attack and its anniversary. The decrease in those who put the onus on Trump was seen among both Democrats and Republicans. The number of Republicans who say Trump bears no responsibility at all for the attack grew from 46 percent to 57 percent over the last year, while the share of Democrats who see Trump as having ‘a lot’ of responsibility for the attack dropped from 81 percent to 70 percent.”

Never mind reports emerging from and related to the ongoing US House January 6th committee and showing like never before that the OFR and his team were primarily responsible for the Capitol Riot – a final stage in a many-sided attempt to subvert and overturn the 2020 presidential election.

This will only get worse as the ahistorical amnesia that poisons the mass American mind draws more strength from the passage of time and it becomes too late to sell a timed-out prosecution of the OFR to a populace concerned with things like keeping overpriced food on their table and covid out of their lungs as pandemic policy shifts back in the direction of “Live and Let Die.”

The malevolent, monumentally corrupt Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell just felt compelled to criticize the Republican National Committee’s recent description of the “Hang Mike Pence” Capitol Tour Visit as “ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate public discourse.” McConnell skirted with violating Republifascist rules against “divisive concepts” by stating the historically unimpeachable regarding January 6: “We saw it happen. It was a violent insurrection for the purpose of trying to prevent the peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election, from one administration to the next. That’s what it was.”

Mitch had better keep a watch on his Marxist language! Is he trying to traumatize suburban white children by “portraying American history in a negative light”?

Never mind that McConnell voted to acquit Trump for the Capitol Riot and declared himself ready to be a loyal 2024 Trump supporter just weeks after the Trump-instigated attack. And never mind that the Republican base, having gone basically fascist in the Trump years (if not before) is firmly with their Dear Leader on the “legitimate” and virtuous nature of Ashli Babbitt’s death leap and the attempted overthrow of previously normative bourgeois democracy and constitutional rule of law.

Now we have learned that the OFR not only tore up presidential records while in office but feloniously took classified material down to his private Florida palace after his time in the White House. No love for any previous or current US presidents (except maybe the Abraham Lincoln of 1863-65) here, but it simply incredible to process the fact that tens of millions of US citizens are pining to put this hideous sack of reptilian excrement back in the world’s most dangerous job. In a self-respecting democratic republic, the only question by now wouldn’t be whether to prosecute Trump or not. It would be whether to sentence him to life in prison or death.

January 6th on Wheels: Pandemo-Convoy-Fascism at Home and Abroad

The point of forgetting and denying the crimes of the past, including the very recent past like January 6th Capitol Riot, is to make it easier for current and future transgressors to replicate and expand upon those crimes. Across the country, the violence that the RNC calls “legitimate political discourse” is on regular display with right-wing threats and attacks on election officials, public health officials, school board members, teachers, nurses, school nurses, doctors, prosecutors, and elected officers. Much of the nation’s viciously idiotic Trumpenvolk is ripe for new violence to overturn what’s left of US democracy in coming months and years.

They are inspired by the so-called Freedom Convoy one nation north – the right-wing truckers who have crippled the Canadian capital in Ottawa and closed off traffic, shutting down commerce across key US-Canadian border locations in the name of opposing vaccine mandates. With no small support from sympathetic cops, these “Canada First” covid cucks pretend that they are heroic “working-class populists” expressing widespread mass opposition to elite Big Pharma globalism. The reality is a lot less egalitarian. As the Guardian’s Arwa Mahdawi has explained:

‘[the Freedom Convoy] is not a grassroots protest that has spontaneously erupted out of the frustration of local lorry drivers. Rather, it’s an astroturfed movement – one that creates an impression of widespread grassroots support where little exists – funded by a global network of highly organised far-right groups and amplified by Facebook’s misinformation machine. The drama may be centred in Canada, but what is unfolding has repercussions for us all…The people protesting against vaccine mandates are by no means representative of the Canadian haulage industry as a whole. Just 10% of cross-border drivers refused the jabs, according to the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), meaning that from 15 January they can no longer cross back into Canada without quarantine. The CTA, along with other major industry organisations, has disavowed the protest. The protesters don’t represent the vast majority of lorry drivers, nor are they representative of public sentiment towards vaccines in Canada – a country where 84% of the population, children included, have received at least one vaccine dose…They may be a fringe minority, but… they have a lot of powerful supporters. The usual crowd of rightwing politicians in the US, including Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, have been cheering them on. They have also been getting millions of dollars in funding across crowdfunding sites from international donors.’

‘Meta Platforms, Facebook’s owner, said on Monday that it had removed dozens of scam pages associated with the convoy protest from Facebook; however, there are still a huge number of recently created pages supporting the haulers, with suspiciously large numbers of followers. Meanwhile, on Telegram, a social network favoured by the right, people across the world are urging each other to replicate the tactics in Canada in their hometowns. Canada may not be on the brink of civil war, but what is happening in Ottawa is one small front in a global information war. And the baddies, I’m afraid to say, are winning.’

The minute I heard about the white-nationalist “Save Canada” trucker rebellion, it struck me as just a short matter of time until Trumpist truck terrorism became part of the rolling neofascist coup arsenal in the US. After all, “lorries” (to use the British term) are widely available to a certain aggrieved and reactionary white male populace. They are highly effective as blockade weapons. I have been borne out, as usualThe Hill again:

‘The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Wednesday warned police partners of protests similar to those in Canada that it said could even disrupt the Super Bowl or the State of the Union address. DHS “has received reports of truck drivers potentially planning to block roads in major metropolitan cities in the United States in protest of, among other things, vaccine mandates. The convoy will potentially begin in California early as mid-February, potentially impacting the Super Bowl scheduled for 13 February and the State of the Union address scheduled for 1 March,” DHS wrote in a memo shared with police partners.’

The DHS and The Hill left out three things:

+1. The convoy movement is part of the contemporary Fascist International. The Canadian convoy’s commerce-crippling and attention-getting gambit – January 6th on Wheels – has inspired the global far-right to take-up big rigs as weapons in the name of “freedom.” Freedom, that is, from the “tyranny” of public health measures meant to stem the viral liquidation of masses of poor, old, and disproportionately nonwhite people that the right consider as “useless eaters” – “life unworthy of life.” Australia and New Zealand have seen already seen sizeable trucker mobilizations. Pandemicist convoys are planned for all 27 European capitals this weekend. It’s all very, very white and very fascistic.

+2. Opposition to pandemic protections is a big tent covering a broad range of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, QAnoners, anti-vaxxers, and other far right, conspiracist and (by the way) climate denialist movements. The campaign against covid safety measures provides a smokescreen for efforts to terrorize non-whites, liberals and leftists while claiming to defend “freedom.”

+3. In the US as in Canada, cops (DHS’s “police partners”) mostly oppose vaccine requirements and strongly identify with angry and reactionary white males. Many trucker “protests” will be ignored and otherwise enabled by gendarmes who would gladly crush equivalent or lesser protests led by leftists, Blacks, and/or Indigenous people.

Jason Van Dyke Has Genocidal Fans and Fascist “Union” Backing Him Up

Speaking of racism and cops, I was still reeling from the savage racist no-knock execution of the 22-year-old Black man Amir Locke by militarized white-skinned pigs in Minneapolis (the city of George Floyd and Derek Chauvin) when I went through reader comments on mainstream media websites linked to reports of the white ex-cop and convicted killed Jason Van Dyke’s release from prison. I beheld dozens and dozens of sociopathic white posters praising Van Dyke for executing Laquan McDonald in the streets seven-plus years ago. They love the kill video. They think it was great. They enjoy watching the clip of Van Dyke pumping 16 shot into Laquan’s body on October 20, 2014. They relish watching the dying teenager’s body move slightly as the demented sadist Van Dyke keeps blasting away, causing smoke to rise from Laquan’s wounds. It turns them on. They think Van Dyke “should never have been convicted.”

I may have underestimated the menace afoot in late-fascising Amerika. Untold masses of mentally and morally ill white folks here are ready not merely for fascism but for white power genocide.

Van Dyke is currently employed by the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, which is headed by an open fascist antivaxxer who championed the Capitol Rioters – the noxious swine John Catanzara. How lovely for the Chicago FOP to embrace the caring reintegration of ex-offenders into the labor market

Jamie Raskin’s “Seriously Delusional” and Suicidal Love of the Constitution

I’m already starting to think about what resistance to consolidated US-Amerikaner neofascism ought to look like in 2025-26. The Democrats appear to be completely useless, hopelessly attached to establishment institutions that were never designed for actual democracy (quite the opposite) and that no longer function even to sustain the nation’s peculiar form of bourgeois democracy. In an interview with Business Insider three weeks ago, the smart bourgeois historian Timothy Snyder rightly noted that “Democrats tend to trust the very institutions that Republicans are corrupting. Republicans are the ones who, if you poll them, are more likely to say somebody’s gonna fix the election. Democrats just aren’t worried enough about this because they tend to believe the institutions are going to work, that everybody will come together, etcetera.” Beneath this polite language lay a key point: millions of “liberal” Democrats are dysfunctionally and suicidally attached to an old bourgeois-democratic electoral regime that the Republifascist Party is effectively rigging for authoritarian, white nationalist outcomes.

What Snyder doesn’t say and what also merits stating is that the problems with the institutions “Democrats tend to trust” are bigger than recent and ongoing corruption at the hands of Republicans. The US constitutional order was an expertly crafted straitjacket on democracy long before the current round of rightward re-engineering being conducted by the Republikaners in the name of Trump’s Big Lie of a stolen election. It is a minority and class rule document by design.

This is what the sad liberal US Congressman and second Trump impeachment manager Jamie Raskin (D-MD) seems not to understand. I watched last Sunday night’s MSNBC documentary on Raskin, titled “Love and the Constitution.” It was surprisingly bad. I certainly feel for the horror Raskin went through with his son’s tragic death and I thought he was quite effective as the second impeachment manager. But the film was second rate and maudlin, and it revealed a Raskin who is excessively in love with a document that William Lloyd Garrison once properly called “a covenant with death.” I have no idea why Raskin thought he could convince enough Republifascist Senators to convict Trump after the Capitol Riot. He never had a snowball’s chance in Hell of doing that. As the Left historian and journalist Terry Thomas wrote me:

I had read Raskin’s [recently published] book [Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy] so I knew where it would go and consciously decided I would not watch. Raskin makes the same assertion in the book: he actually thought they could convince enough Republicans to convict the Orange Julius Caesar. He’s a smart guy but he misread everything about that second impeachment. He says he thought he could convince McConnell and then the rest of the Senate goose-steppers would follow. Would be 100-0 if he made strong enough case. He apparently included [Republifascist Senators] Hawley, Johnson, and Cruz as those who could be swayed by solid evidence. His problem was he thought evidence had anything to do with this.

Somebody needs to tell, or remind Raskin (an accomplished constitutional scholar), that democracy was absolutely the last thing the wealthy slaveholding and merchant capitalist Founders and framers of the US Constitution ever wanted to see break out in their infant republic.

The Biggest Issue and Crime of Our or Any Time Ranks Well Below the Budget Deficit, “Illegal Immigration,” and, well Crime

In the meantime, as the nation swirls ever further and faster down the neofascistic drain (with little authentic or meaningful resistance from the “seriously delusional” likes of Raskin, or anyone else), unmentionably capitalogenic global warming – merely the biggest issue of our or any time – ranks sadly below nine other issues, including even the budget deficit, illegal immigration and crime, in US Americans’ view of the top fifteen issues of the day. The low priority given to the climate catastrophe – a shining testament to the power of fossil capitalist propaganda and context for why we never hear anything anymore about how Trump quietly handed the keys of US environmental and energy policy over to flatly climate denialist fossil fuel chieftains and advocates (maybe the single most criminal and dangerous act of the Trump presidency) – is chillingly juxtaposed alongside recent scientific reports on how “The permafrost is melting and roots that have been frozen for 40,000 years are thawing out and decomposing….Colossal explosions shake a remote corner of the Siberian tundra,” PBS’s science show NOVA reports, “leaving behind massive craters. In Alaska, a huge lake erupts with bubbles of inflammable gas. Scientists are discovering that these mystifying phenomena add up to a ticking time bomb, as long-frozen permafrost melts and releases vast amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.”

How’s that for a capital crime? No other issues are really going to matter if we can’t reverse the ongoing capitalist murder of livable ecology – a murder that is richly endorsed by right-wing and far-right racist parties and movements at home and abroad. What’s the point of trying to turn an irrevocably poisoned and baked world upside down? Hey, but let’s cut the deficit and illegal immigration first. And go after crime, understood not as capitalism’s dedicated effort (with the fossil fuel faction of the ruling class in the lead) to turn the entire planet into a giant Greenhouse Gas Chamber but rather as desperately poor Black ghetto dwellers fighting for scraps in a society so racially unequal that Black household wealth is equivalent to one cent on the white household net worth dollar – a country so savagely inequitable that a typical household’s wealth in the (white) richest part of the Chicago area is 206 times that in its (Black) poorest area.

Racialized fascism and ecocide are hardly separate menaces here or abroad. As I will argue (with no special claim to originality) in my next essay, they are intimately bound up with each other in numerous ways, and they are both rooted in the same underlying capitalist dictatorship that is likely to bring not the just the “American experiment” but the entire human experiment to a miserable conclusion unless it can somehow be confronted and overthrown by an actual people’s revolution that has yet the show its desperately needed face.

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