Some not-so-great political developments out of Italy this weekend, and plenty of other news to catch up on. It's Monday again folks, here we go! – Jack
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THE BIG NEWS
Fascism Rises Again in Italy as Giorgia Meloni Poised to Become Prime Minister
Giorgia Meloni, an Italian far-right member of parliament who rose to power on a platform largely based on bashing the EU and advocating strongly for the persecution of minorities, LGBTQ people and migrants is expected to become the country's next prime minister, after her party put up an extremely strong showing in Italy's parliamentary elections on Sunday and is expected to form a coalition with other far-right factions to hold power.
Meloni's political platform is what you'd expect from the far-right. Recently, she's tried to distance herself from some far-right leaders like France's Marine Le Pen, but her core politics aren't really any different. via the NYT:
But critics say she revealed her true self during a recent speech at a conference supporting Spain’s hard-right Vox party. “There is no possible mediation. Yes to the natural family. No to the L.G.B.T. lobbies,” she bellowed in Spanish. “No to the violence of Islam, yes to safer borders, no to mass immigration, yes to work for our people. No to major international finance.”
The only real point of contention in her coalition at the moment, however, is support for Ukraine. Meloni has been steadfastly supportive of the West and EU's support for Ukraine, while her right-wing coalition partners (including former PM Sylvio Berlusconi, lol) are generally against sanctions on Russia and broadly supportive of Putin. The EU is watching that relationship strongly, as if Meloni goes with the rest of her coalition, it could be a chink in the EU's generally united response to the Russian invasion.
But what's more relevant to the swing of global politics, in my opinion, is Meloni's history. The Times describes her party as having "fascist roots," which is a very polite and hedged way of saying: she is a fascist from a fascist party. Meloni represents the "Brothers of Italy" party, which, have a quick gander at this from the Atlantic.
The party formed a decade ago to carry forth the spirit and legacy of the extreme right in Italy, which dates back to the Italian Social Movement (MSI), the party that formed in place of the National Fascist Party, which was banned after World War II.
If that's not enough, consider this, per the aforementioned Times article:
There are things she won’t give up on, including the tricolor flame she inherited as her party symbol. Many historians say it evokes the flickers over the tomb of Mussolini.
Right, so, they're just fascists. They're fascists! That's who is soon to be in charge of the Italian government. The Times reports that the Ukraine issue may drive a wedge between Meloni and her coalition and result in a short-lived tenure, but then again, it may not. And either way, it's clear that voters there, like here, are easily swayed by the promises of violent nationalism.
MORE STORIES TO WATCH
Russia Now Drafting Ukrainians to Fight; U.S. Warns Off Nuclear War
Russia's rapidly expanding conscription efforts are getting more and more grim. The Times reports that in some areas of occupied Ukraine, civilians who were trapped by the Russian invasion or chose to stay under occupation are now being press-ganged into service for the invaders, while the Russian government holds "referendums" on whether or not those areas want to be annexed. In Russia itself, however, the government is carving out exceptions to the draft for white-collar workers after businesses raised a fuss at the mandatory conscription.
Meanwhile, Putin's nuclear posturing is starting to have a significant effect on the tone of the U.S. State apparatus. On Sunday, National Security advisor Jake Sullivan said that if Putin does use nuclear weapons against Ukraine there will be "catastrophic consequences." The spies and spooks say they haven't seen any movement of Russia's tactical nuclear assets, so right now we're not exactly changing the Defcon levels, but it's clear that this rhetoric on both sides doesn't lead anywhere particularly positive.
Iran Protests Still Spreading
Iran's rapidly-growing protest movement is still gathering steam. Pay no mind to indulgent western profiles of astroturfed activists – the movement in Iran itself is widespread and powerful. The latest count is that protests have spread to 80 Iranian cities, captivating young people and mobilizing marginalized ethnic groups like Iran's Kurds. The protests began after Iran's notorious Morality Police killed a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, for allegedly being "improperly dressed," as part of her hair was visible. Amid other social and economic woes, the Amini's death appears to have broken something in Iran's social contract – and it's too soon to tell what shape the country will take once it reforms.
- Dersh Joins MyPillow Guy's Legal Team Alan Dershowitz, the only guy too weird and perverted for Martha's Vineyard is now representing the Trump-loving MyPillow founder Mike Lindell. via WSJ.
- Liberals Got Distracted By Dead Queen Coverage New research shows that donations to Democratic candidates and causes dropped during the 24/7 cable news blitz for the Queen's death. What a drag! via NYT.
- Maine's GOP Gov. Candidate Got Tax Breaks in Florida What with this guy – former Gov. Paul LePage – and Oz, sometimes it feels like these GOP guys aren't even trying to pretend they care about the state they're running to represent. This guy was getting tax breaks in the sun down south! via NYT.
- Major Storm Headed for Florida This Week Hurricane Ian is expected to make landfall as early as tomorrow on the West coast of Florida, though the weather people's models aren't sure on its strength or exact path. via WaPo.
Amount that Jared Kushner's real estate company was just forced to settle for in a lawsuit that alleged it charged illegal fees for leaky, moldy, and rodent-infested apartments. Like father-in-law, like son, I guess.
ON THE SHOW TODAY
9/26: Emma hosts Destin Jenkins, assistant professor of history at Stanford University, to discuss his recent book The Bonds of Inequality: Debt and the Making of the American City.
DON'T MISS MR CLIPS
Got a weird one here!
MAGA Communism is the sensation that's sweeping the nation!
“The election of the first woman prime minister in a country always represents a break with the past, and that is certainly a good thing."
– Hillary Clinton, on the potential ascendance of Giorgia Meloni to Italy's top political role.
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