Sunday, January 24, 2021

The impeachment trial can serve as our own Truth and Reconciliation Commission

 At the end of apartheid in South Africa,  a court-like commission was established to bring peace and greater unity to that country. There was no reconciliation without exposing the truth as an inherent part of the process and truth could be told without retribution. We have nothing like that in the US, but the impeachment trial of Donald Trump may serve that purpose, whether or not he is acquitted of inciting the insurrection of January 6 and attempting to force state officials to lie about the presidential vote tally.  Reconciliation would have been useless without both sides of the conflict in South Africa having a chance to air their version of the truth and the truth was aired in a courtroom setting where the public could hear the parties present their cases.   Not all minds were changed or was reconciliation total, but it was still effective enough for the country to heal sufficiently and to move on.  The lesson learned: without the truth being exposed in a trial-like setting where both sides were fairly heard, a critical degree of reconciliation would not have happened.

The impeachment trial in the Senate will give us that same opportunity. Now that the GOP has lost the White House, tied and in effect lost the Senate, and failed to turn the House red, they are the ones calling for unity and saying the impeachment trial will make the country more divisive.    It probably is a good thing the trial is delayed until early February for several reasons: It will give a chance for the Biden administration to get its cabinet in place through the Senate process (avoiding the "acting" appointee practice Trump favored. The Consitution had given the Senate the power of advice and consent in cabinet appointments,). It will give time for more evidence on either side to come forward. The evidence will be presented under oath and in sworn testimony.  It will give a sense of fairness, permitting Trump forces to plan and mount their defense.  If there is no fairness in the proceedings, its value would be virtually useless in shaping public perception of what the truth is. 

 What is at stake in not life and death or financial deprivation or prison for Donald Trump?  It is whether he can be a candidate for federal office again. That is as far as retribution goes.   If he is acquitted on a partisan vote ( 2/3 of the Senate is required for conviction), he would not lose that ability to be a candidate in 2024.  If he is convicted, a simple majority could vote on his eligibility to run again,, but he would have to be convicted in the trial first. He was already voted out of office through electoral college certification by each of the 50 states and the House, so removal is no longer an issue. The balance of power of the three branches would also not be affected.  This is the GOP's only chance to diminish his power over them in the future by reducing his bully pulpit advantage he could get as a candidate. It is a chance for Biden to convince more that he was elected in a free and fair election and to accept the legitimacy of his power to govern.    It is also a chance for all to hear from the Democrats:  how close we came to having a dictatorship, the rule of a person, instead of the rule of law,  and the end of democracy as we have known it.  The impeachment trial will shape the future of both the GOP and the Democratic party,   as well as to provide the truth element necessary for reconciliation.

Why is finding and exposing truth so important? It is because of our bifurcated media,  and social media platforms, that too often see themselves as an advocate, a vehicle to shape opinions, not an impartial reporting of the facts, all of them, good or warts and all. Half of the country hears only half of the news, and the half they want to hear reinforces their beliefs without contradiction. They will now be confronted with evidence to which they had not been exposed before by their preferred media. Both sides of our political divide will be forced to hear the inconvenient truths. about this one issue,  whether Trump tried to overturn an election by inciting an insurrection and threatening state officials to lie on his behalf.

Of course, the coverage of the impeachment trial by Fox and Murdoch media depends upon their followers' version of the truth and hopefully it will be 
fair and balanced...(their old slogan).   If you want to follow the impeachment trial unvarnished by any media pundits, follow it on C-Span.


Saturday, January 23, 2021

Good riddance, Mike Pompeo


  • "The outgoing secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, on Tuesday decried multiculturalism as un-American. 
  • "Our enemies stoke these divisions because they know they make us weaker," he said."
  • Words from me: an old white woman. So now we learn his true self and what an awful representative to the world he was as a secretary of state. Good riddance. America is for all,, not just for old white men...Thank goodness he is a fossil. We are in the midst of a great demographic shift, and white Americans have the choice of accepting it, working with it, or fighting it. Demographics march on and those fighting it will lose to arithmetic and numbers, but those fighting it will only make the transition more difficult for my children and grandchildren. We saw the violent manifestation of that on January 6.
    From my blog posting on Dec. 24 and column in the Winter Park Times: Demography will be the gasoline on the fires of conflict but also it may save democracy. A new generation is ascending into power as the white nationalists and self-serving interests inspired by Trump’s action and words age out of the scene. The younger generations themselves are more multicultural through intermarriage and social integration and they are steeped in the ethics of diversity They are already politically awake. Their vote in 2020 impacted results in several states. Millennials and Gen Xers turned out to vote in 2020 for Joe Biden in greater numbers than for the Democrat candidate in 2016. The youth vote turnout was 53% of those eligible in 2020 compared with 46% in 2016 per a Tuft's University study. I am placing my hope in them for the long term survival of democracy

Monday, January 18, 2021

Is religion a cult?

 The action of the blind believers in whatever Trump says is the truth and what he has done is due to his cult-like control has spread into a debate of whether religion is a cult, too.  False equivalencies at work, here.  Here is my take on that:

I do object to religious philosophy being passed off as a cult. However, more death has been caused in the name of religion in history than we could count. It is not unlike what we see now in right-wing protestant Evangelicals...which is closely related to cultural racism ...my observation having been born and raised in Eastern Oklahoma. There are some academic studies that try to make the same connection. Let us not forget that our Judeo-Christian -called- civilization is fundamentally about the golden rule and has roots back to 3 to 4000 years...and that most religions also share many of the same ethics and idealized rules for behavior. My belief is that people looked for an antidote to humanity's worst anti-social behavior and found it in religion and they most often seek some divine intervention when they feel out of control by horrific events...personally or as a group. It is the application of religious philosophy that gives religion a bad name, but it is the glue that holds civilization together in the face of total anarchism. If anything that still means faith and belief is a cult to you, then at least separate the good from the bad. From their fruits, you shall know them.



Opinion | In God We Divide - The New York Times (nytimes.com)

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/racism-among-white-christians-higher-among-nonreligious-s-no-coincidence-ncna1235045

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Polls: 74% of registered Republicans now define what the GOP has become

 This poll says a bunch about the GOP....They are now the party of white power, autocracy, incompetence, blind loyalty, willful ignorance, passive and active approval of mob violence, and the opposite of what the founders of our country envisioned for America. I used to appreciate the GOP for being the loyal opposition and with rational debate and the self-interest of their constituents in mind. I did not always agree, but at least I understood. At times I was part of the loyal opposition, but I never felt the foundations of democracy were in jeopardy. We may have disagreed on public policy issues, but I had never doubted their respect for American democracy and the Constitution. Most of those pledging allegiance to the GOP are no longer the loyal opposition or those that guided the country with respect to our democratic system. Per the NBC poll, " 35 percent of voters — including 74 percent of Republicans but just 30 percent of independents and 3 percent of Democrats — believe President-elect Joe Biden did not win the election legitimately." That kind of partisan irrationality does not deserve respect. Where's the proof or the evidence of "the steal"? Where's the beef? Even Trump's loyal attorney general said there was no evidence of widespread fraud. The Trump supporters had every reason and opportunity to present evidence in those 50 court cases, and they did not. 80 judges of every affiliation demanded evidence, not theories, tossed out their theories, and their attorneys. It is a mind-boggling denial of reality. What I do understand is that this is the ultimate evidence that their fealty is to a person, not to the loyalty of law, facts, or the Constitution.

This large chunk of GOP voters has lost their blithering minds collectively. This 74% who believe that there was a "steal" is more than just a matter of ignorance. It was the entire "rationale" for motivating mob violence at the Capitol. It was their banner. It is what their President told them in inciting them on January 6. It was their justification for public consumption for their actions. Aside from the violent actors who heard their fuhrer told them to do it, the mass of the GOP voters polled still believe what their fuhrer said because only he and the Trump media tell the truth. So long as that number of voters in a primary or in a ruby red state or district believe it, there will never be "unity" in this country because even their representatives know better, they like to be re-elected. Only a few have shown any profiles in courage. Instead, this is mass think of so many who believes "what if.", "it could have happened", "I heard this someplace", 'makes sense to me because it was probable or possible" and "I agree with those with which I agree", "it fits my belief that African Americans will cheat to win", so therefore it is "true"." " It is a fact that Biden is not elected legitimately, so we do not have to respect him". It is that groupthink that will be the barrier Biden must hurdle. Fortunately for US democracy, this group is in the minority, per the polls.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/meet-the-press/poll-trump-approval-remains-stable-republicans-unmoved-after-capitol-violence-n1254457

Mass psychology as a subject of studies and for years it will also me a subjject of books and doctoral dissertations for years to come as academics try to explain this Trumpist movement. It certainly played a role in the rise of fascism. The Mass Psychology of Fascism by Wilhelm Reich

Mob Mentality in the Digital Age Increases Likelihood You Will Do Evil | Observer


Saturday, January 16, 2021

Shocked, shocked, shocked that the militias were cop killers January 6?

 Some cheering on the mobs from the comfort of their TV viewing couch are probably the same who thought the cops were the heroes in the battle with George Floyd demonstrators last summer. They  need a serious dose of reality.  If they were shocked, shocked, shocked that there were cop killers among the militias storming the Capitol January 6, they need to wipe away the red film over their eyes. Militias have a history of treating cops as their enemies. Among the worst actors were the Michigan militias. They actually attempted to wage war on the cops.

  FBI: Mich. militia plotted to kill police - CBS    

US Capitol riot: Police describe facing the pro-Trump mob - CNNPolitics

'Kill him with his own gun' - feliciamuftic@gmail.com - Gmail (google.com) From the Boston Globe

"Kill him with his own gun!"

Imagine being a cop hearing those chilling words as you're being clubbed with metal pipes, kicked, and tasered by a bloodthirsty mob determined to overthrow the results of a presidential election while you're battling to protect the seat of democracy -- and the elected representatives of the people.

That cop was D.C. police officer Michael Fanone. He was one of the officers dragged down the steps of the Capitol and beaten by the Trump Terrorists. The 40-year-old suffered a mild heart attack and drifted in and out of consciousness.

____________________________________________

From the Washington Post:

 https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/capitol-police-officers-support/2021/01/08/a16e07a2-51da-11eb-83e3-322644d82356_story.html



Friday, January 15, 2021

My family's brush with terrorists

The attack on the  Capitol on January 6 and the subsequent death threats by the same violent actors to punish those  GOP members of the House who dared vote for Trump's impeachment reminded me of an incident in the late 1970s when our family was also threatened by terrorists. It takes guts and determination to buck such threats. Burned in the memory of my now middle-aged children and me was the Denver Bomb Squad opening suspicious mail on the picnic table on our back porch for a couple of years in the late 1970 's.  

  My husband, Dr. Mike Muftic, (1933-2015),  was a  Democratic National Committeeman in the latter 1970s and was in a position to speak out and be heard in Washington.  He was an immigrant from the old Yugoslavia, and within the early 1990s that country would break apart in the bloodiest civil war in Europe since World War II.  We had received a visit from the FBI warning us that extreme right-wing Croatian nationalists living in the US were sending out letter bombs to other Croatian immigrants in the US from Yugoslavia in an attempt to force them by fear to support  Croatian nationalism and separatism. Croatia was a province in Yugoslavia and Dr. Mike was a Croatian.

 Some background: In World War II, a civil war raged in Yugoslavia at the same time parts of this southeastern European country were occupied by Nazi forces.  A large number of Yugoslavs joined with the Germans because Hitler promised Croatian nationalists they would gain their long-coveted independence.   Tito,  a communist terrorist and a guerilla army leader, defeated the German invaders and their cohorts with the help of Britain and the US.  Dr. Mike was  12 when the war ended there. His family was decimated and broken up as parts of the family had taken opposing sides in the conflict. In a foreign policy conference in Washington in which Dr. Mike participated,  there was a discussion about the future of Yugoslavia, which had already broken from the Soviet orbit in 1948 and had become one of the three leaders of the non-aligned world (Egypt and India, the other two),  Dr. Mike had spoken out in the conference for keeping Yugoslavia one country for the sake of peace. He hated war with more passion than anyone I ever knew. He had seen it first hand.  He feared the bloodshed that would result in the process of the breakup of the country. Balkan passions in history often turned violent.  Sadly his fears were realized in the 1990s.  In the wake of that conference, some extreme right-wing Croatian nationalists who had immigrated to the US used terrorist tactics in an attempt to force getting the US Croatian immigrants to support a separate Croatia. Among the terrorist tactics they used were sending letter bombs. US-based  Croatian nationalists had succeeded in nearly killing one of their targets in Chicago, which triggered the FBI warning to us in Denver.   

The domestic violent extremists attacking the Capitol were kissing cousins of terrorists we knew from our own family experiences. One stated goal of those on January 6,  2021, was to seize the Capitol and overturn the Nov. 3 election by stopping the electoral college vote count and certification that was in progress. It was more than just being disruptive. They had other goals,  erecting hangman noose to punish VP Pence they thought was not loyal enough to Trump, searching Nancy Pelosi with handcuff ties on the ready for God knows what and leaving pipe bombs and  IEDs ready to kill and maim. Their goal now is to discourage any GOP Senators who dared to vote to convict Trump in the impeachment process using death threats and harassment. They plan a show in the 50 state capitols in advance of the inauguration on January 20. They were the same ilk who Trump had given the blessing for the insurrection on January 6 in an address to them "to fight like hell" and march to the Capitol. They were the same who had stormed the Michigan capitol and hatched a plan to kill the governor.  Trump had called them patriots. There were the same who marched in Charlottesville and Trump had called them fine people. He "loved them," he said as he asked them to go home hours after they had already vandalized and terrorized the Capitol.  I salute the brave members of the GOP who voted for impeachment now and are enduring the terrorist threats.  I have no respect for the  GOP members who supported the big lie about the outcome of the presidential election. They were the willing dupes, the fearful,  and the craven who in effect helped give cover to the "stop the steal" slogan chanted by the rioters. This is in the face of over 50 court cases that found no evidence of a " steal".  Fear is a powerful weapon and it takes guts to stand on principle.  It will take guts for GOP Senators to face down the threats. It takes guts to stand up to the terrorist threats in the face of their constituents who had swallowed the big lie that Donald Trump had won the presidency in November. The future of the US depends on the fortitude of those who vote for the conviction of Trump to send a signal their kind will not rule the US nor will he have a chance to run for political office again and incite sedition from a public podium.

ARREST OF 9 IN TERRORIST GROUP BRINGS UNEASY CALM TO CROATIAN-AMERICANS - The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Sunday, January 10, 2021

On the Trump insurrection

Updated January 21, 2021 What was that all about on January 6?    There will be many words written, but it was mostly about white supremacy because the symbolism of their flags and the words they shouted exposed what they were about. There was a reason this insurgency was done under the banner of the battle flag of the Confederacy and a noose was strung on crossbars on the Capitol grounds. They are the symbols of their racist movement. What counts: The future of democracy still lies in the ballot box and, so long as we still have a democracy,  we the people, not some despots, still have the ability to shape our destinies and vote out those who do not support our power to do it.  

Those who invaded and looted the Capitol are not the only ones who should be held accountable. Those who turn their heads the other way and open the gates and doors to the Capitol also count in any reckoning. The GOP''s mammoth lie counts,  that there was widespread fraud and the election was stolen. What counts. too, is the Trump loyal media who spread that great lie. Both still promoted their lies even after 50 lawsuits and 80 judges and the president's own attorney general found no widespread fraud. The proponents of " the steal" had every opportunity to provide the evidence in court to back their rhetoric, and they could not. The GOP reaped what it sowed, and its lies were the ultimate rationale and slogan of the terrorist thugs who claimed it was patriotic to invade the Capitol with incendiary devices,  weapons to kill, gear to take hostages, and nooses prepared to hang those not loyal enough to their hateful cause.  What counts is this was a coup attempt by Trump's terrorist supporters with their announced and insinuated purpose of keeping Trump in power, overturning the election and the electoral college,  and setting him up as a dictator who would carry out their hateful agenda. 

What should happen to those who led and participated in the mob violence and terror attack? They need to pay for their actions  It starts at the head, Donald Trump himself. Imagine if he had indeed won the election on Nov. 3? Four more years of this is unimaginable.  We narrowly dodged his bullets. He will be gone from the White House no matter what happens. But just losing an election is not enough punishment for sedition or for his years of incitement.  He cannot get off scot-free. We must deter any wannabe dictator in the future. A slap on the hand or condemning words would not hurt enough to stop anyone.

What he deserves for breaking the law as spelled out in federal statutes for the offense of sedition, is 20 years in prison. The general consensus is that will not happen, though it could be attempted.  The most likely results of holding him accountable are not punishment enough, but at least they will get him out of our sight short term but will leave him, though,  free to foment more sedition  Under the threat of a second impeachment,  he could consider a  transaction he understands, the Nixon solution: resign and his VP Pence pardons him before January 20.  The risk he takes if he does not leave of his own volition is the Senate may come close to finding him guilty even after he leaves, and he loses his pension, secret service protection,  and the ability to run for office again. There is talk that the impeachment will be delayed until later to give the Biden administration space to get the business of governing and their most pressing agenda underway. Whatever happens, Trump must pay a price that hurts him. Otherwise, we have just given a blueprint for any future wannabe dictator who thinks he has a way to get away with a power grab. Passions may cool with delay, but impeachment action should never be canceled. He must be held accountable in some way and impeachment is the only power Congress has been given to do that.  What he will experience in the meantime is constant reports of his Trumpist terrorists facing justice and sentenced to jail and he will not be in office to pardon them if they are found guilty. 

 Perhaps, though not for sure, enough Americans who once supported Trump's lies and attempted coups will come to their senses and vote out the elected officials who supported him and lied to them.  The Mark of T will be on the public and official records of those trumpist enablers for years because their words and deeds have been recorded in social media and with their votes in Congress. 

These are Trump's bullets we just dodged, the end of democracy, and a tumultuous future. Once democracy is gone, it will be too late to get it back easily. Peaceful transitions of power are a rarity.  History is instructive of how this can play out in violent revolution and counter-revolution.  It is not a pretty outcome.  Mr. Guillotine in the French Revolution, the inventor of the more "humane" mechanics of beheading, himself was executed by the guillotine in the Reign of Terror that followed. What goes around can come around. What stands as a barrier to the cycle of bloody violence is adherence to our Constitution and the rule of law which was established by our country's founders a few years before the French Revolution.   However, as we witnessed on January 6, the country saw how fragile democracy is. Its survival will still depend on the power of the people to continue it peacefully. It is not too late. 

Parts of our democracy remained firm.  In that I find some optimism.  The military joint chiefs and the judiciary, a number of governors from both parties, the FBI did not wobble from their allegiance to the Constitution. On the backs of them we can rebuild and continue with democracy.  It just takes our will to do it.

Trump Supporters' Main Problem Was Never The Economy | HuffPost

January 21, 2021, Why have a trial in the Senate and or have a commission to report on the January 6 insurrection? Trump is no longer president. An impeachment trial or a commission might answer some questions. , Puzzling was what role did Trump think the military would play in overturning the Nov. 3 vote?. Did he have a plan and conspired with others, or did the riot just erupt organically after Trump uttered his inciteful words? The latter is hard to believe since the rioters who came to the preceding rally were well equipped for violence, helmets, body armor, lethal and non-lethal weapons, and plastic ties for use as handcuffs to hold people as prisoners or hostages or worse. Earlier, Trump had replaced civilian control of the military with his unqualified yes men with the ability to order the active military into action into civilian streets.. Why was the decision by the Pentagon to permit calling out the national guards delayed two hours after the first frantic calls from officials besieged or alarmed by the rioters.? . The various secretaries of the armed forces had made it clear earlier they would not call out the active military unless it was an insurrection, but to approve the national guard mobilization still required Pentagon approval. Would the chaos in the Capitol really result in the disruption of the electoral college vote, or would it have sparked a reason for Trump to declare martial law:, Was it realistic to expect holding a gun to the head of Pelosi and a noose around Pence's neck force them to sign a document that Trump won the electoral vote? In short, what was the end game other than simply disrupting the Congressional vote on the certification of the electoral college? Was it all an excuse to declare martial law, rush in troops to "save" Pelosi and Pence, and keep Trump in power? If the goal was to disrupt the certification, they failed. Congress reassembled five hours later and held the vote. Capturing Pelosi and Pence, failed, too, because of the quick action of the Capitol Police. The martial law angle is no fantasy of an imaginative mind since General Mike Flynn, pardoned by Trump and a reported follower of QAnon, had advocated for Trump's declaration of martial law to keep the President in power for a second term by holding another election. QAnon ideology and supporters believed that martial law would be declared by Trump. Flynn's brother, a Pentagon general, was in on the debate meetings of whether to OK the intervention of the national guards, though his role in this or his political affinity is not clear. The Pentagon brass did OK the calling up of the national guards, though their actual intervention was many hours away and too late to deal with the rioters.
Michael Flynn: Trump should impose martial law to overturn election - Business Insider



Update: January 23, 2021
  • The outgoing secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, on Tuesday decried multiculturalism as un-American. 
  • "Our enemies stoke these divisions because they know they make us weaker," he said.
Words from me: an old white woman. So now we learn his true self and what an awful representative to the world he is as a secretary of state. Good riddance. America is for all,, not for old white men...Thank goodness he is a fossil. We are in the midst of a great demographic shift, and white Americans have the choice of accepting it, working with it, or fighting it. Demographics march on and those fighting it will lose to arithmetic and numbers, but those fighting it will only make the transition more difficult for my children and grandchildren. We saw the violent manifestation of that on January 6




Saturday, January 9, 2021

Should Parler be taken down?

 Calling the violent mob attack on the Capitol what it was: sedition... by federal statute definition and the penalty: 20 years. On this basis alone, social media taking down posting with plans, supporting and coordination of sedition like Twitter have a firm legal ground. In their use as the communication vehicle for those committing sedition, sites like Parler that plan to continue as the platform for sedition need to be considered as those aiding and abetting sedition. This is not a freedom of press or first amendment rights issue. There is nothing in the Constitution that protects those who incite revolution or violence against the US. Parler's Amazon server platform was taken down late January 10..

Update 1/10/21 https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/09/tech/parler-suspended-apple-app-store/index.html

18 U.S.C. § 2384 defines seditious conspiracy as follows:
If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.""
Who and what is Parler? From Wikipedia:" Parler has not publicly disclosed the identities of its owners besides founder John Matze.[27] Rebekah Mercer, an investor known for her contributions to conservative individuals and organizations, is a co-founder of the company, and conservative political commentator Dan Bongino has said he is an owner.[1][33] As of November 2020, according to Parler, the service had about 4 million active users and over 10 million total users.[2][3]
Noting complaints that Parler was used to coordinate the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol, Apple informed Parler executives on January 8, 2021 that its mobile app would be removed from the App Store within 24 hours if Parler did not improve its moderation policy.[34][35] Parler was removed from the Google Play Store on the same day.[36][37][35]"
"
Parler - Wikipedia
EN.M.WIKIPEDIA.ORG
Parler - Wikipedia
Parler (/pɑːrlər/, PAR-ler) is an American microblogging and social networking service launched in August 2018. Parler has a significant user base of Donald Trump supporters, conservatives, conspiracy theorists, and right-wing extremists.[5][6][7][8] Posts on the service often contain far-right c...

"I just don't get it"...words from a moderate

 A post on social media is by Ted Muftic, my son:  (Ted is a graduate of  Stanford in international relations and economics and a Harvard MBA, and an international business consultant with experience from  Wall Street to nearly every continent).  His perspective is valued by me and I wanted to share this:

I agree that we should understand the motivations and find a way to address them and work to calm the situation. At the same time, I am white and don't feel villainized at all, so I hope it is not just a race issue or that "MSM" is trying to make this a race issue or that "urbans" are trying to villainize "rurals". What happened in Yugoslavia is that very cynical politicians exploited and enhanced already deep divisions in society along ethnic and religious lines to cement their power and to profit by it. I see many parallels here right now, re: how politicians here seek to divide along race, culture and socio economic lines to profit and consolidate their power.  Our historical racial divisions are obvious and undeniable. What is new is this "culture" war (maybe just code for race) and this information ecosystem which creates two sets of facts and no room for dialogue -- call it political propaganda and extreme tribalism.  We need to address this now or we may be really in trouble.

 I mean,  I really struggle with this. I don't fear the black. I dont fear the brown, I don't fear the Muslim or the Christian or the Jew. I don't fear the rural, I don't fear the 2nd amendment, I don't fear the media, I don't fear the demographic changes in the country, I don't hate our history, I don't hate the elites, I don't fear the poor or the sick or the weak,  or hate the Republicans or fear foreigners or "the illegals" and really don't understand why anyone would. What I fear is an end to this wonderful imperfect democratic experiment which has done a lot of good, created the most prosperous  society the world has ever seen, led the world in creating free democratic societies and has given me and my family so much. I try not to live with any hate in my heart for anyone and welcome everyone and respect our constitution and really believe that "all men are created equal". So I really don't understand why we insist on dividing ourselves and feel so compelled to do so. I just don't get it.


So what's conservative about the Trumpists?

 Ok, Trumpists, happy with what you have enabled on the mob invasion of the Capitol, January 6.  Oh, you say you are conservative so he was supporting your beliefs. So I asked a person who had a history of supporting Ronald Reagan and considered himself at one time a conservative.  He gave me his views of  what a conservative meant. I think there are still many who would agree with this definition. Let me see: small government, states rights, rule of law,  strict adherence to the Constitution, strong defense, leading the world with American setting the example of being the shining city on the hill of democracy,  individual accountability, and responsibility, small taxes, low debt, low taxation, fiscal constraint., minimum regulation?

Let us talk about states' rights.  So States' Constitutional right to count and determine their own vote total was denied by more than a majority of GOP House members and 6 Senators on the basis of "fraud" though they presented no evidence,"What if" theories were all the proof they needed. they believed.  They did this even if they knew about multi audits and many court cases that decided there was no basis to throw out votes from those racial groups who voted against Trrump. These so called "conservatives"  did this,  even if they knew  Trumpster attorneys had the opportunity to present evidence of widespread fraud in over 60 judicial actions to make their case before a judge, many of which were members or appointees of the GOP and Trump. They knew they had lost every single suit.  Trumpster attorneys either chose not to present evidence of fraud, or the judge threw out their cases, or there just was no evidence they could find to support the claim of fraud.   they kept on asserting the lies.

Let us talk about small government.  We had a wannabe dictator that threatened and forced his will on everyone else and demanded loyalty to him the president? That is the exact opposite: of any degree of democracy, It was attempted totalitarian control from the very top. 

There may be less environmental and financial regulation but the regulations removed were those that once protected the health and finances of ordinary citizens. The only people to benefit from low taxes were the ultra-rich.....and that was before COVID.  Denial of health insurance to those who could not afford private insurance or who did not have employers insurance was done because providing this was "socialism" and therefore by definition evil.  

Let us talk about rule of law  His was a rule of a person and he expected loyalists to break the law on his behalf to protect his power and then promised he will pardon them if they end up in jail or admit to the crime and get punished. They had to be loyal to him, even lie, throughout their ordeal, though.   Was the riot in the Capitol by the militias he summoned and incited exemplified what you would consider. law and order?

Strong defense?  He has supported the national interests of our adversaries, defied his own intelligence services favoring Russians instead, and replacing leadership at the Pentagon with his political yes man flunkies, thinking he could command the military to keep him in office.  He even denied the use of the national guard as the Capitol was stormed; though after the Capitol was ransacked, people killed, and incendiary devices were set to burn it down, his Vice President called up the guards. . He destroyed US participation in alliances, making it a "go it alone" defense without the help of our friends. 

What about individual liberties?  Great if you are white, but not if you were brown or black. Those white rioters were good people and patriots. He loved them.  Freedom of the press?  Only ones who tell the truth are those the president tells them what the truth is and the only ones that deserve his support were the ones who towed his "truth" line.  Don't believe what you see, he told his followers.  Only believe what he says?  The rest is fake news.  All facts are fake unless he tells you otherwise. Anyone who dared deviate from his lines is no longer "his friend" and is to be vilified.  Freedom of religion meant freedom to discriminate against those of other beliefs or lifestyles.  

While the debt/deficit soared during COVID , it was also a disaster before COVID due to his tax cuts and the failure of the economy to reach 4% growth needed to offset the loss to the treasury. He had a philosophy that either debt or bankruptcy was just fine. After all, he had plenty of both, but that did not slow down his lifetime of wealth accumulations he claimed he had. (Tax returns were to be kept under wraps, though, but just take his word for it).  

So what's conservative about any of this? 

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Trump supporter, do you deserve to be called a fascist? Take the test

 

 Some of Trump's supporters have been accused of being fascists and Trumpism shares some characteristics, but not all, with the 1930's Europeans  So abhorrent were the 1930s' dictators, calling someone a fascist is taken as an inflammatory insult.  It is a political philosophy, but how it was carried out can be separated from the ideology and philosophy.  There are many shades of fascism and not all fascists try to exterminate those who they deemed an undesirable race  One ideologically opposite of democracy is fascism.  That is clear. It is autocracy at its extreme when applied to governing.. Many of its characteristics are also shared by communists, right-wing, non-ideological power-seekers,  totalitarians,  and others on the far left. However, what sets fascism apart is capitalism and its preservation and coziness with businesses and corporations.   

 There are many definitions and books on the ideological definitions of fascism and often they cite how it was applied in the 1930's compared with today, and especially Trumpism. Separating ideology from its application is possible.  The best modern definition of fascism as an ideology  I have seen is one provided in 2013, well before Trump's political rise and before the term was applied to Trump supporters or Donald Trump himself. . Dr. Lawrence Britt, an Australian political scientist wrote "14 Defining Characteristics of Fascism":[  Those who wonder if they are ideological fascists or object to being called one, take the test and see how many with which you agree. If the shoe fits wear it

  1. Nationalism: saying one's own country is better than other countries
  2. Disdain for human rights
  3. Scapegoating: blaming someone else for the country's problems
  4. Putting the military first
  5. Sexism: saying men are better than women
  6. Control of mass media: telling newspapers and other sources of news what they can and cannot tell the people
  7. Focus on national security
  8. Close ties between religion and government
  9. Protection of businesses and corporations
  10. Suppression of labor power: preventing labor unions from becoming powerful
  11. Disdain for intellectuals and the arts: telling people not to listen to scientists, scholars, and artists
  12. Focus on crime and crimefighting
  13. Corruption
  14. .Fraudulent elections: Even if the people vote, the votes are either not counted or otherwise abused. In some fascist governments, leaders will have their opponents killed. .   

 

 

   The application of fascism and Trumpism is the subject of recent writings. My favorite:.:  www.pri.org/stories/2018-04-25/madeleine-albright-thinks-its-time-set-alarm-fascism.   The Britt article was found on Wikipedia and a google search

Another view similar to the test above: Opinion | If You’re Not Scared About Fascism in the U.S., You Should Be - The New York Times (nytimes.com)