Weekend Open Thread: Malyk Bonnet’s Great Day — and is Donald Trump a Fascist?

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One of these people is extremely admirable and quick-thinking.

Both of these men took advantage of racial prejudice to get what they wanted.  What the man on the left wanted was heroic.

I’m scrambling from one busy week — Council meetings, Anaheim Districting Committee meeting, CATER Climate Change fundraiser — to the next.  (Another Districting meeting comes up next Wednesday, and there is much to do to prepare.)  So, this is going to be an abbreviated Weekend Open Thread, with some good news and some bad news.

The good news regards Malyk Bonnet (the one in the photo above without the combover.)  Unless you’ve seen the story (and I really don’t know how prevalent it has become in the corporate media, aside from the NBC story that appeared after the event), you’ve almost surely never heard his name.  But what he did will make you cheer.

As described in this story, on August 1 Malyk Bonnet was in a bus station in Montreal when he saw a man yelling abusively at the woman accompanying him.  The man then asked him to give them bus fare for a trip to Laval, a town about 25 miles away.  Bonnet may have looked like an easy mark, or at least someone who would not get in the way of what the man wanted to do.

Bonnet felt uneasy about what was happening. But instead of declining, he decided to get more involved. He helped the man and woman with their fares and told them he was also traveling to Laval (which was not the case).

“My plan was to keep them in a public place where he wouldn’t hurt her,” Bonnet told Dateline NBC.  “I decided to be friendly with the man and have him think I was his friend. I played my game and he seemed to trust me.”

After arriving in Laval, Bonnet suggested they grab a bite to eat. At the restaurant, he gave the pair $50 for food and excused himself to use the restroom. Finally having the opportunity, he called the police and told them “someone had been kidnapped.” Officers arrived minutes later.

Bonnet’s suspicions turned out to be more than justified:

“We were looking for a 29-year-old woman who was kidnapped by her former boyfriend earlier that day,” Laval police Lt. Daniel Guérin told CBC News. “We believed that man was very dangerous.”

It’s unfortunate that in the U.S. Bonnet would have had to think twice about calling the cops in such a situation — because you never know what might happen.

Meanwhile, here are a couple of articles about Donald Trump for you to consider:

A piece from Salon about Trump’s “authoritarian rage.”

A piece from Rolling Stone about Trump’s responding to a the beating of a Latino homeless man by two white Boston youth, who later justified the act by invoking Trumps position on “illegal immigrants,” by explaining that while he didn’t agree with what they did, his followers did tend to be “passionate.”  (The title is “Donald Trump Just Stopped Being Funny.”)

Here’s a piece from the land of Political Science that gets tossed around a lot.  I would not defend its complete accuracy, but it strikes me as being in the ballpark.  It’s entitled “Early Warning Signs of Fascism.”  They are:

  1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
  2. Disdain For Human Rights
  3. Identification of Enemies as a unifying cause
  4. Supremacy of the military
  5. Rampant Sexism
  6. Controlled Mass Media
  7. Obsession With National Security
  8. Religion and Government Intertwined
  9. Corporate Power Protected
  10. Labor Power Suppressed
  11. Disdain For Intellectuals & and the Arts
  12. Obsession With Crime & Punishment
  13. Rampant Cronyism & Corruption
  14. Fraudulent Elections

People often conflate “fascism” with one of two things: “conservatism” and “Nazism.”  It’s not conservatism.  It shares some characteristics with conservatism, just as liberalism shares some characteristics with socialism (by which I don’t mean merely Bernie- Sanders-style Scandinavian socialism), but they are NOT the same thing — particularly in the extremity of the beliefs expressed.

It also isn’t Nazism.  Nazism was an example of fascism — just as Mussolini’s government before and during World War II was an example of fascism (and was the system that actually used the term “fascism” to describe itself), but these were just two examples of a far wider phenomenon.  Americans — other than neo-Nazis — don’t generally like to think that the term “fascism” can apply to anything home-grown because then we’d have to worry about it possibly applying to us.  But this is a dispensation that we haven’t earned.  I appreciate that we don’t want to “normalize” the term “fascism” as part of the normal territory of possible political differences, but I think that this works against our real interests.  Yes, it makes sense for us to worry about legitimizing the name “fascism,” but I think that we have to be more worried about legitimizing the extreme behavior that constitutes fascism, regardless of whether we choose to call it by that name.  Refusing to call it what it is, I’m afraid, makes it easier for it to be considered normal and acceptable — when it is neither.

So, let me ask you: based on what you see in the list, is Donald Trump a fascist?  (Note: he’s not a Nazi.  Re-read the paragraph above if you don’t yet get what that is a different question.)  If you think that Trump is something less than a fascist, where does he fall short of it?  What would he have to do to make you decide that the jackboot fits?

This is your Weekend Open Thread.  Talk about that, or whatever else you’d like, within reasonable bounds of decency and decorum.


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)