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User avatar
By Rancid
#15151158
Politics_Observer wrote:I think Trump is a raving, mad man, bat-shit crazy lunatic.


Most of all, he's a fucking moron that should be thrown in prison.
#15151160
@Rancid

Rancid wrote:Lil Wayne might get a pardon.


LIL WAYNE getting a pardon! You've got to be kidding me! Why does Trump want to pardon Lil Wayne?
User avatar
By Rancid
#15151164
Politics_Observer wrote:LIL WAYNE getting a pardon! You've got to be kidding me! Why does Trump want to pardon Lil Wayne?


At one point, Lil Wayne praised and supported Trump. It would also make for a good distraction from his more heinous pardons that will go along with Lil Wayne (i.e. steal the headlines.)
User avatar
By Tainari88
#15151174
Rancid wrote:One of the key elements of maintaining a cult it is to make everything black and white. Hence why blackjack, a cultist, puts 100% of blame for everything on the boogieman democrats. When in realize it's all of these fuck face politicians.


I have debated @blackjack21 for many years now. I know how he expresses himself.

He truly believes in his idea of technology and science as being the core of human existence. I am an anthropologist who has dug in excavations with ancient evidence and artifacts of how humans have survived on planet Earth for all this time. I also know humans are not solely purveyors of technology and science and humans make decisions rarely on pure reason and pure logic. If they did? You would not have angry mobs or angry rioting on both the left and the right creating anxiety right now. Humans are not purely logic driven species. I wish they were. If they were we would not have racist policies or bad educational policies or spineless, bootlicking politicians.

Ruben Berrios Martinez the ex president of the Puerto Rican Independence Party said long ago and I agree with him--that political situations are often about FEAR of losing things. Status, power, prestige, money, going hungry, not being able to find a job. It paralyzes people, or it makes them not involved, and focused solely on their own individual circumstances. People get caught up in the thought of? I can't share power with x group of people because if I do? I lose control of the little that I have. They fail to realize how connected all of human society (in all states of the USA and in all nations of the world are incredibly interconnected). We are not islands in isolation. That is a big issue I have with Blackjack. His solutions are about pulling back, not dealing with expansiveness of knowledge, in the sense that he wants hiarchies. He wants to really impose some type of system in which everyone lives in neat categories based on 'productive' values and IQ tests and some deterministic, clean and logical world, and it all justifies Asian or European superiority, and it all makes for an orderly society in which everyone is basically without any real circumstance that is flowy and fluxing all the time. He doesn't get it. He won't get the reality that humanity is emotional and logical, both at the same time, and instinctual and technical. It is a dichotomy.

Politics is about a dual and conflicting nature of humankind @Rancid . It is not writing code at all.

I despair he will ever understand what that means on a large scale. If you don't give a damn about other people and don't act in moral and ethical ways, politically, socially or physically, and implement your political policies with principles that are consistent, moral and ethical and also with logical and reasoned bases of thought and action? And you refuse to be some sellout piece of valueless immorality wrapped in warped sociopathy? And are not about shilling and selfish gain? You will wind up over many generations driving all of humanity into extinction.

Our continuation as a species is not about selfishness and exploitation. What keeps us all viable is our ability to be generous and to produce enough for our own needs and the surplus value to be in service to the ones who can no longer be in the production modes of optimal growth. It is our ability to CARE about others we have never met or will meet, and being able to be cooperative and work together to solve very difficult issues like pandemics, environmental disasters, droughts, arid lands and contamination of systems. Being able to work as one for real change. Real gain.

Not giving a shit or relying on technology only is not going to get us to survival on a mass scale. The less we care the less we are motivated to get involved in groups for change. Governments should be serving the greater good.

The USA government is acting dysfunctionally but also Grover Norquist wanted the Republican Party to be the party that drowned government in a bathtub. To make it no new taxes, no gains for anyone but private corporate power. To strip government of any authority. The USA has a very radical and community based system of representative democracy. But if its only intention was to support white men with property and profit as the directors of all wealth and all decisions in that society for all time? It will never grow. It will implode. There have been fights for power for a long time on which direction the USA will take now. I agree with Noam Chomsky and Richard Wolff--two very prominent intellects and both professors of economics and linguistics with politics I fully understand and agree with for the most part. Here is what Chomsky is saying about this crisis and Trump and what the possibilities are.

He basically states that there are only two roads out of this mess. Fascism or social democratic traditions. But the socialist column has been smeared to the point of people not understanding it, or trusting it. If people want fascism the racists and the class conscious authoritarians will win the battle. It will be a long, tough road out of the mass brain washing the USA government has engaged in for the last 70 years.

Here is the discussion if anyone reading this wants to understand what the discussion was about:



Cue it up at 16:26. What is the deal with Trump?

@blackjack21 don't give me some bullshit about how you care about immigrants. For me you either deal with the entire cause of why people are seeking work outside their own native societies or not. If you don't cope with neoliberal crap and smash their hold on many nations' economies? You have no solution to anything about immigration in the USA. They don't care about nationalism and right wing IQ bullshit from Charles Murray BJ. They care solely about anarcho capitalism.

I don't believe in some form of thinking that differences in human beings means they are supposed to be judged on inferior to superior. They are supposed to be integrated into the social fabric in a holistic way and in a way that defuses frustration, resentments, anger and hatreds. Not set frustrated people up to scapegoat vulnerable people who are just trying to get a job. For me that is being petty and exclusionary.

Got to get beyond that kind of thinking BJ. Because no one who is a human in desperate circumstances is going to accept doing nothing and accepting exclusion and accepting isolation without a fight.

It doesn't end well. It never does. Learn from that for once BJ!!
Last edited by Tainari88 on 19 Jan 2021 22:28, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By Rancid
#15151175
wat0n wrote:Surely, he isn't pardoning any of the Capitol insurgents... Right? Can anyone confirm?


I read a report that he was talked out of pardoning the Capitol terorrists. He was also talked out of pardoning his family because it could causes more legal troubles and also require him to list and admit to crimes.
User avatar
By Tainari88
#15151181
Rancid wrote:Most of all, he's a fucking moron that should be thrown in prison.


He is not a moron. He is a genius in digging away at anger and frustration with the establishment politicos in the pocket of corporate donors.

Dogma of Republican Party? This is it:




Drown the government. Kill the government. Starve the government. It means the private for profit people (anarcho-capitalists) being able to overthrow the government. As long as government power is destroyed? The private sector is going to shape policy.

It will encourage hatred of government authority. No taxes. Where is the money for emergencies like pandemics or unemployment due to no fault of the worker? They are into individual privileges.

Blackjack21 is not every person in the USA. Most American USA citizens make less than 60k a year. When you factor in the costs of paying mortgages, cars, car insurance, food, clothes, loans for school, etc etc? It is not easy making that work for most. Yet somehow the rich don't want to give up their enormous profits for the public good. Why? Lack of understanding of what it means over the long haul. ANGRY MOBS of VIOLENT folks who feel stiffed by the system. It favors huge corporations, not small businesses, it favors very powerful tiny groups, not the majority of social and economic classes.

It is anti Democratic. But they don't give a shit. They are the Kings of the World. It is a regressive mentality.
User avatar
By Tainari88
#15151186
I got a change of subject here....where is @Potemkin ?

Lately Bellisimo I have been having people eating dinner at my home. They are coming consistently now. One of my friends has confessed she only has enough money to buy breakfast and lunch for the week and can't afford dinner. So we invited her over for the week. She then tells me how I should arrange my kitchen counters. I find her washing dishes in my house and her letting herself in with us out and about....I forgot that about Latin Americans. They wind up sitting on your sofa waiting for you to come home and don't ask your permission if they are good friends or neighbors.

I still got to ask for the knife sharpener back from the two Bakers on the corner.

What should I make for dinner? I got a great rice dish from yesterday to heat up. I then have to sautee some veggies and make a fresh salad. I got a guava smoothie that my friend made last night that I have not fully drank up yet....hmmm.

I hope you let me choose this song for you Senor Potemkin:

For not being more communicative? I am an evil woman. I got busy darling. Had tons to do. And some crisis happened at my airbnb too.

I also have two people after me to do stuff. They don't leave me alone. I got people after me in this pandemic. It is interesting. Where is the social isolation? No where....if I catch that new strain of Coronavirus? I might wind up on the other side watching over my loved ones still stuck in this mess eh? ;) :D

Mucho amor.


User avatar
By Tainari88
#15151188
Rancid wrote:I'm waiting for the list of corrupt pardons he will be giving out.

Side note, apparently Lil Wayne might get a pardon.


Michael Cohen aint gonna get one! Lol.

I always wanted to know what Putin knows about Trump and the two Russian prostitutes in the Moscow Ritz Carlton hotel eh?

Maybe he made a deal to get some cover for his mafia style tactics eh?

That Trump is a conman making deals....lol.
User avatar
By Potemkin
#15151195
Tainari88 wrote:I got a change of subject here....where is @Potemkin ?

Right here, querida! :)

Lately Bellisimo I have been having people eating dinner at my home. They are coming consistently now. One of my friends has confessed she only has enough money to buy breakfast and lunch for the week and can't afford dinner. So we invited her over for the week. She then tells me how I should arrange my kitchen counters. I find her washing dishes in my house and her letting herself in with us out and about....I forgot that about Latin Americans. They wind up sitting on your sofa waiting for you to come home and don't ask your permission if they are good friends or neighbors.

Most Anglos would freak out if that happened. Lol. In Britain, people might live next door to each other and barely say more than a few words to each other for twenty years. It's a different culture....

I hope you let me choose this song for you Senor Potemkin:

For not being more communicative? I am an evil woman. I got busy darling. Had tons to do. And some crisis happened at my airbnb too.

Yeah, I noticed that, querida. Did you get it fixed up in time? I understand how busy you are. But I still miss you.

I also have two people after me to do stuff. They don't leave me alone. I got people after me in this pandemic. It is interesting. Where is the social isolation? No where....if I catch that new strain of Coronavirus? I might wind up on the other side watching over my loved ones still stuck in this mess eh? ;) :D

Don't say things like that, querida. You're going to live for another hundred years at least. :)

Mucho amor.

Mucho mucho amor! <3 :D


ELO. That takes me back.... :lol:
User avatar
By colliric
#15151218
SpecialOlympian wrote:Qanon has destroyed so many lives. It's so fucking stupid, and so perfectly American.


Yeah, in fact I think they cost Trump re-election.
User avatar
By blackjack21
#15151225
MistyTiger wrote:If Trump does not start a new business like his own media company, he might be financially crippled.

Trump will be able to hold $1000 a plate dinners to hear him speak and meet people and get pictures with them. All past presidents have plenty of ways of making money, and I doubt Trump will be any different. They all get a presidential library and they all pretty much write a book or two.

Igor Antunov wrote:Trump was great for the world, he adopted an isolationist policy and tried to disengage from conflicts abroad. He of course failed because we all know the office is largely ceremonial and others are running the country. Still that alone makes him the greatest US president ever-by merely attempting to derail the establishment he positively distinguished himself from every US president post-ww2.

Interesting take. I have an uncle who's 87 years old, and he also thinks Trump was the greatest president of his lifetime, which kind of surprised me since he was born in 1933, the year FDR assumed the presidency. So he's seen a lot of them come and go. I think his greatest accomplishment is exposing the deep state, because it becomes very clear that they operate without the consent of the governed for all practical purposes.

Tainari88 wrote:He truly believes in his idea of technology and science as being the core of human existence. I am an anthropologist who has dug in excavations with ancient evidence and artifacts of how humans have survived on planet Earth for all this time. I also know humans are not solely purveyors of technology and science and humans make decisions rarely on pure reason and pure logic. If they did? You would not have angry mobs or angry rioting on both the left and the right creating anxiety right now. Humans are not purely logic driven species. I wish they were. If they were we would not have racist policies or bad educational policies or spineless, bootlicking politicians.

It's not the core of human existence, but it is the core of modern societies. Before the 19th Century, life could be pretty brutal for the average person. Today, it's pretty comfortable for the average person comparatively. As I said in Wellsy's thread citing Dinesh D'Souza, we live in a country where the poor people are fat. A big part of my criticism of socialism and welfare-state politics is that humans are not merely material entities needing material inputs. We can even see this behavior in other mammals like mice. If you give them all the food and drink they need and don't have to struggle for anything, they become self-destructive. People need a purpose in life. They need goals. Even mice do.

Logic and reason aren't normative goods in their own right. Why intellectuals were horrified by Nazi Germany is precisely because such an abomination came out of a society devoted to logic and reason, science and technology--progress. I would say probably my most fundamental disagreement with someone like Drlee is that people with whom he disagrees are merely stupid. Very intelligent people disagree all the time. James Watson was more or less deplatformed by our cancel culture, because in his life experience he felt that Africans were less intelligent than Europeans. Watson was a co-discoverer of DNA and the double helix. He's obviously a very brilliant man and made an enormous contribution to science; yet, his personal views are characterized as racist and he gets deplatformed to that end.

Tainari88 wrote:That is a big issue I have with Blackjack. His solutions are about pulling back, not dealing with expansiveness of knowledge, in the sense that he wants hiarchies. {sic} He wants to really impose some type of system in which everyone lives in neat categories based on 'productive' values and IQ tests and some deterministic, clean and logical world, and it all justifies Asian or European superiority, and it all makes for an orderly society in which everyone is basically without any real circumstance that is flowy and fluxing all the time. He doesn't get it.

These are your assertions of what I think. You are not coming to this conclusion from what I'm saying, because I am not saying that at all. Hierarchies are useful for some things, and not others. If you knew my mind as well as you purport to, you would know that I'm far more given to directed acyclic graphs than hierarchies. Since you likely aren't familiar with graph theory, you are frequently incapable of comprehending what I say. That's why I don't support race-based hierarchies at all. I simply mention Charles Murray and The Bell Curve, and since you have heard leftist criticism of it but have not read it yourself, you think you know what it says and you don't. Bell curves are about distributions, not hierarchies. Then, you ascribe your interpretation of works like that to what I think as a whole, and why you end up with such a distorted theory of what I think that you can fit into your own ideological constraints.

It is precisely because this society is unable to deal with the actual data on complex issues like race that we are unable to deal with persistent social problems like race relations. We can all champion Brown v. The Board of Education as some moral victory, but the result was mixed. Segregation led to black schools that had inferior infrastructure and insufficient funding. Desegregation changed that. However, the grades of black students on average started going down. Why? Is it because they were put into schools with white teachers who were racist and downgrading them? Is it because people reject information from people who don't look like them? We don't know the answer at this point, but we do know that a well-intentioned policy didn't lead to universally better results.

We do have some answers, like children with two biological parents in an intact and functional family regardless of their economic status tend to do better than children from broken homes regardless of their economic status. Yet, social libertines do not want to confront this type of data, because it doesn't support the outcomes they would like to see. Many socialist manifestos hate nuclear and extended family systems, for example.

Tainari88 wrote:He won't get the reality that humanity is emotional and logical, both at the same time, and instinctual and technical. It is a dichotomy.

Who else have you debated on this board that will get right down to brain structure, genes, neurotransmitters, etc.? See, when I actually talk about that stuff, you clam up. For example, if I say about 5.5% of African-Americans have a 2-repeat allele of the monoamine oxidase A MAOA gene, and it's associated with anti-social behavior, you are simply unable to cope with the discussion. You then make gross generalities that I assert all African-Americans are criminals, when I'm saying something very specific and discrete that you could very easily infer the exact opposite using logic and reason alone. I get that people are both emotional and logical. You are triggered right into an emotional state when it comes to talking about race, for example. So much so, that you attribute things to me that I have never said and don't believe. For example, I have never said that we should build our political system on a race-based hierarchy--something, I would consider hopelessly unjust, static and inflexible. It would not work well. It's the stasis of socialism that I abhor as well. Yet, I frequently have to point out to you what I actually think compared and contrasted to the strawman you construct of me in your own mind. There aren't simply two worldview--capitalism and socialism. There are more. I am simply not an unthinking subscriber to worldviews anymore. That ship sailed for me quite some time ago.

Tainari88 wrote:It is not writing code at all.

Law is code. In fact it's called code. It's why we have the United States Code, the Code of Federal Regulations, the California Code, etc. You can say political debates aren't all rational and logical, but law is. In California, a school bus is a motor vehicle; a bus is a vehicle, but in spite of having a motor, a bus is not a motor vehicle; and, a vehicle is a device. Therefore, a school bus is not a bus, it's a motor vehicle; and, a bus is not a motor vehicle in spite of having a motor. Keep in mind, I have worked on legal compliance expert systems and worked with countless lawyers, read the laws of 50 states and countless court rulings. That does not make me a lawyer by a long shot, but I do know quite a bit about some aspects of the legal system and how laws can be distilled into bits and bytes and render binding opinions with an expert system.

Tainari88 wrote:I despair he will ever understand what that means on a large scale. If you don't give a damn about other people and don't act in moral and ethical ways, politically, socially or physically, and implement your political policies with principles that are consistent, moral and ethical and also with logical and reasoned bases of thought and action? And you refuse to be some sellout piece of valueless immorality wrapped in warped sociopathy? And are not about shilling and selfish gain? You will wind up over many generations driving all of humanity into extinction.

We spoke about this when speaking about Sapiens, and humans naturally not scaling groups beyond a few hundred without organization. Humans are unique in that respect, unlike any other species, and yet still have a lot of the same wetware as other species--emotions for example. Humans can only recognize about 4000 faces. There is a physical limit to a capacity for compassion. I just recognize it and accept it, and you don't. The human brain is believed to be able to store about 4 Petabytes of data. In storage terms, that used to be a staggering amount. I've worked on clusters of 100 petabytes. It will not be long before machine learning and mass storage start having a big influence on things.

Tainari88 wrote:Not giving a shit or relying on technology only is not going to get us to survival on a mass scale.

Those are two very different assertions. Relying on technology has done wonders. As I said, more lives have been saved with clean drinking water and sewage systems than all the socialized medicine you can dream of.

Tainari88 wrote:The USA government is acting dysfunctionally but also Grover Norquist wanted the Republican Party to be the party that drowned government in a bathtub. To make it no new taxes, no gains for anyone but private corporate power. To strip government of any authority.

Grover Norquist is ideologically capitalist. He doesn't believe in the welfare state. He thinks it does more harm than good. Sometimes, in some contexts, he's right.

Tainari88 wrote:The USA has a very radical and community based system of representative democracy. But if its only intention was to support white men with property and profit as the directors of all wealth and all decisions in that society for all time? It will never grow. It will implode.

It was never it's only intention to support white men with property. It was started by white men with property and a historical legacy of English common law and culture. The founders of this country held slaves, but they also strictly abolished both monarchy and titles of nobility. Capitalism was fledgling at that time. Adam Smith had just written The Wealth of Nations around that time.

Tainari88 wrote:He basically states that there are only two roads out of this mess. Fascism or social democratic traditions.

It's a false choice. There are other choices. We could become an Islamic Republic like Iran for example, or an Islamic monarchy like Saudi Arabia. There are other options, it's just that your guys want to constrict your choice to two--one of which you find unpalatable, and then leave you with the other one that you want.

Tainari88 wrote:But the socialist column has been smeared to the point of people not understanding it, or trusting it.

Most people can point to one or two things they like in a socialist society, and a very long list of things they don't like. The problem with ideological systems is that they want to make the world into a subset of itself, and so by their nature, they tend to be hyper oppressive. You need to have some use of force to maintain order. The liberal model was conceived to have a light touch. Neither the facists nor the socialists like it very much for that reason. Both national socialism and international socialism require higher levels of violence than the liberal model.

Tainari88 wrote:@blackjack21 don't give me some bullshit about how you care about immigrants. For me you either deal with the entire cause of why people are seeking work outside their own native societies or not. If you don't cope with neoliberal crap and smash their hold on many nations' economies? You have no solution to anything about immigration in the USA. They don't care about nationalism and right wing IQ bullshit from Charles Murray BJ. They care solely about anarcho capitalism.

Anarcho-capitalism is one reason why I oppose the neoliberal/neoconservative types. Additionally, like socialists, they are also given to violence. However, the kerfuffle on Jan 6 showed how terribly frightened they are and how much they operate separately from society like what sociologists call a "Total Institution." Their answer is more surveillance. The irony there is that the reason people are angry with them is that they don't listen to the masses and do what the electorate wants, yet they surveil the electorate to an absolutely astonishing degree. If you've ever watched "The Lives of Others" depicting East German Stasi spying on dissidents, the American security state today makes the worst spying of either the Nazis or communists seem trivial by comparison.

Another reason I don't like the neoliberals/neoconservatives anymore is that they are heavy handed, and their actions have so many non-intuitive effects even to them. There would be no ISIS without social media; yet, the neoconservatives/neoliberals pushed social media on the Arab world to organize resistance to totalitarian governments there. They pushed uncensored media as a human right, and now that they have Donald Trump on their hands, they are now pushing for mass censorship in the United States. These are power and influential people, but I've lost respect for them as being anywhere near as smart as they purport to be. I will be helping build their next generation spyware, which will make me a lot of money and will do them no good at all. At least I have the decency to tell them what they're doing is pointless.

While I think there are big problems with neoliberalism, I don't think they are the cause of poverty in Nicaragua for example. Geography, natural resources and political/economic systems have a lot to do with it too.

Tainari88 wrote:I don't believe in some form of thinking that differences in human beings means they are supposed to be judged on inferior to superior.

It's not just thinking. You and I can spend all the time we want learning about basketball. We can even learn to play the game. We will never be able to play it as well as Michael Jordan. Even Michael Jordan at his age cannot do what he used to do--at least not nearly as well. Some people have an aptitude for music, politics, art, science, or technology. Yet, specialization requires trade offs.

Tainari88 wrote:They are supposed to be integrated into the social fabric in a holistic way and in a way that defuses frustration, resentments, anger and hatreds. Not set frustrated people up to scapegoat vulnerable people who are just trying to get a job. For me that is being petty and exclusionary.

What if they white, American, and former steel workers who want to impose tariffs on foreign-made steel? Do they just have to learn to accept Chinese dumping and poor employment prospects? See I'm sort of like an immigrant. I bring up the arguments that the Democrats just don't want to do anymore.

Tainari88 wrote:Because no one who is a human in desperate circumstances is going to accept doing nothing and accepting exclusion and accepting isolation without a fight.

Tell that to the cancel culture types who want to deplatform anyone who voted for Trump, or the governors locking people down and calling some people "non-essential."

Tainari88 wrote:It doesn't end well. It never does. Learn from that for once BJ!!

Yeah. That's why the neoliberals got Donald Trump, and why they had to fake a presidential election to get rid of him, all while freaking out why his support grew in 2020. The neoliberals don't listen. They surveil. They call this "intelligence," and it is anything but...

Tainari88 wrote:He is not a moron. He is a genius in digging away at anger and frustration with the establishment politicos in the pocket of corporate donors.

Well done! You have just demonstrated logic and reason over emotion.

Tainari88 wrote:Yet somehow the rich don't want to give up their enormous profits for the public good. Why?

It's about value for money. I do not support much of what the state does with my income tax receipts. I do support them paving the roads--an easy task, which they seem incapable of doing as they are too busy calling people racist, sexist, homophobic and other things for reasons that have nothing to do with racism, sexism, or anti-homosexual views. What do I get in value for my money when I pay $20k-$40k a year to the State of California?

Tainari88 wrote:ANGRY MOBS of VIOLENT folks who feel stiffed by the system. It favors huge corporations, not small businesses, it favors very powerful tiny groups, not the majority of social and economic classes.

Indeed. That's why I'm not a big fan of the Republicans either. The Bush types are against small businesses on a policy basis.
User avatar
By Saeko
#15151242
Politics_Observer wrote:@Rancid

Is Suge Knight on the pardon list too!? :lol:


Why would he be? He certainly had nothing at all to do with the deaths of any famous rappers in the 90s... so why would he need a pardon??? :eek:
User avatar
By colliric
#15151244


Tucker is right.

Edward Snowden and Julian Assange should both receive full pardons.
#15151253
Surprised there's been no pardons today yet. It seems Trump has been having real second thoughts about pardoning himself or his family and other GOP lawmakers, on the advice of lawyers who claim it will hurt his case during the impeachment. Looks like his pardon list could come last minute as he decides his fate.

https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/19/politics ... index.html
User avatar
By colliric
#15151256
They're releasing the list all at once. About a hundred names on his final list.

Joe Exotic thinks he made it, he's got a stretch limo literally waiting to collect him.
#15151258
@colliric

No way in hell do we need to pardon Snowden or Assange. They both need to be brought back to the U.S. and prosecuted. If Trump pardons either one or both of them, I am sure the republicans are more likely to convict Trump in his Senate trial. Which I think Trump needs to be convicted at his Senate trial regardless of if he pardons Snowden or Assange.
By Doug64
#15151266
Image

XogGyux wrote:Oh please. If they felt it violated the state constitution they should have brought it to court BEFORE the election. Not after.

Not the state constitutions, the US Constitution. But beyond that, I can't disagree, the judges that threw out lawsuits on account of a lack of timeliness had a decent point. That doesn't change the fact that the judges and state authorities that altered or ignored the laws passed by the state legislatures had no right to overrule the Constitution.

There are more than a few thousand pages worth of people claiming the earth is flat... I guess that means it must be true?

Are you arguing that our court systems should ban eyewitness testimony?

They can all cry in unison. Maybe we can make a big salty lake somewhere and call it trump lake.

Right, because having 45% of the country's Likely Voters think the election wasn't honest or fair is no big deal, nothing to worry about, just move along....

And for fun:

The F Word
Is Donald Trump a fascist?

It’s a question I’ve tried to answer a few times in the six-odd years that he has dominated American politics. Back in 2015, no fascism expert would use the word to describe Trump. In October 2020, they were inching closer, but most dismissed the term as likely an exaggeration or distraction.

The assault on the US Capitol on January 6 has changed matters significantly. Robert Paxton, a Columbia University historian of fascism and Vichy France, wrote after the attack, “I have been reluctant to use the F word for Trumpism, but yesterday’s use of violence against democratic institutions crosses the red line.”

Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a historian at NYU and author of Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present, told me in October that she preferred the term “authoritarian” to “fascist” in describing Trump. This past week, though, Ben-Ghiat took to Twitter to draw parallels between the Capitol siege and Mussolini’s 1922 March on Rome, and between Republicans now turning on Trump to Italian fascists who voted Mussolini out of power in 1943, not to reinstate democracy but to save fascism.

They are hardly alone in the sense that some important line was crossed when Trump supporters, at his urging, stormed the Capitol, leaving over 50 police officers injured and two dead, and leaving four rioters dead as well.

Not everyone is on board with the label. Sheri Berman, a professor of political science at Barnard College and an expert on European politics in the 1930s, told me on Tuesday, “I saw Paxton’s essay and of course respect him as an eminent scholar of fascism. But I can’t agree with him on the fascism label.” When I asked Matthew Feldman, director of the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right, if he agreed with Paxton, he replied, “No. I still think less Mussolini than Berlusconi (and people forget his 1994 cabinet was made up of a majority of radical right ministers).”

So where are we? How do we define “fascism,” and where do those definitions leave us in terms of analyzing Trump and Trumpism? Among academics, we still have nowhere near consensus — though the post-January 6 period has seen a notable shift among some previous holdouts.

Personally, I have no problem with people who want to describe Trump as a fascist in efforts to condemn him or convey the gravity of his offenses. I do, however, think people who use the term should be aware of the risks — of why it’s important we use it correctly. Imprecision could deny us important vocabulary to describe movements in the future that are worse and more fascist than Trump. And it could distract our attention away from American precursors to Trump and toward European analogues, which runs the risk of ignoring the contribution of specifically American varieties of white supremacism and authoritarianism to the horrors on January 6.

These concerns are not dispositive. It’s totally reasonable, especially after the events of the last week, to call Trump a fascist, even given those caveats. But I think they’re important for those horrified by Trump’s actions (as we all should be) to keep in mind.

Does Trump fit canonical definitions of fascism?

Robert Paxton, the Columbia professor and author of The Anatomy of Fascism who just this week has embraced the fascism label for Trump, offers this definition of the movement in his book:

    Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion. (p. 218)

There are obvious resonances between this definition and the experience of Trumpism. His base of “committed nationalist militants” exists in “uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites,” most recently represented by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO), two Ivy League-educated Republican senators who spearheaded the challenge against certifying Joe Biden’s victory and gave oxygen to the mob’s grievances.

The entire slogan and ethos of “Make American Great Again” is meant to evoke a sense of national decline, humiliation, and victimhood, particularly on the part of white Americans. And on January 6, at least, the movement attempted to use redemptive violence unchecked by the law to achieve a kind of “internal cleansing,” complete with killings of opposition lawmakers.

But I would add a few caveats. Fascist movements in the 1930s genuinely rejected liberal democracy, not just in practice but as an ideal worth aspiring toward. The de facto position of Trumpists in recent weeks has been to overturn democratic election results, but importantly, that is not what they perceive themselves as doing.

Living in an alternative information ecosystem that has falsely told them over and over again that the election was rigged, they view themselves as defenders of the Constitution, protecting America from rampant voter fraud. Their rhetoric suggests that they see their mission as saving constitutional democracy, not undermining it. That’s distinct from, say, Nazism or Mussolini’s fascism, which did not attempt to uphold democracy even in rigged form but rejected it as undesirable.

“Fascists were in favor of totally overthrowing the existing constitution, which was usually democratic and perceived as weak. This was wildly popular. We are not in that position today,” Paxton told me in 2015. Despite everything else that has gotten worse, I think that judgment is correct.

Trump’s base does not want to junk the US Constitution, even if that’s the practical effect of their actions. They want to uphold it — it’s just that they are doing so through flagrantly antidemocratic means, fueled by delusions. That is still awful, but it’s different from those earlier precedents.

Roger Griffin, professor of history and political theory at Oxford Brookes University and author of The Nature of Fascism, has a slightly different, shorter definition than Paxton:

    Fascism is a genus of political ideology whose mythic core in its various permutations is a palingenetic form of populist ultra-nationalism.

The word “palingenetic” means rebirth, reflecting Griffin’s view that fascism must involve calling for the “rebirth” of the nation. That might at first glance sound like Trump’s promise to “Make America Great Again,” but in 2015 Griffin argued that Trump’s failure to call for a total overthrow of the constitutional order as part of that “rebirth” meant the definition did not apply. He told me then, “As long as Trump does not advocate the abolition of America’s democratic institutions, and their replacement by some sort of post-liberal new order, he’s not technically a fascist.”

When I emailed Griffin again after the Capitol attack, he hadn’t changed his mind. “Trump is far too pathologically incoherent and intellectually challenged to be a fascist, and suffers from both Attention Deficiency Disorder, lack of self-knowledge, capacity for denial, narcissism and sheer ignorance and lack of either culture or education to a degree that precludes the Machiavellian intelligence and voracious curiosity about and knowledge about contemporary history and politics needed to seize power in the manner of Mussolini and Hitler,” Griffin wrote back.

Stanley Payne, a University of Wisconsin historian of Spain and author of A History of Fascism 1914-1945, agrees that Trump’s lack of coherent revolutionary fervor makes him fall short of fascism. “Never founded a new fascist party, never embraced a coherent new revolutionary ideology, never announced a radical new doctrine but introduced a noninterventionist foreign military policy,” Payne wrote to me in an email. “Not even a poor man’s fascist. Ever an incoherent nationalist-populist with sometimes destructive tendencies.”

Richard J. Evans, the Cambridge historian and leading chronicler of the Third Reich, echoed Griffin and Payne in an article in the New Statesman, concluding, “You can’t win the political battles of the present if you’re always stuck in the past.”

Berman, the Barnard professor and author of The Primacy of Politics: Social Democracy and the Making of Europe’s Twentieth Century (which charts the rise of both social democracy and fascism), disputes the “fascism” label for Trump for similar reasons. She said in an email that the term should only be used for true revolutionary movements that want to overthrow the state entirely:

    We should reserve the term “fascism” for leaders or movements that are not merely authoritarian. Fascists were revolutionaries, they aspired to control the state, economy and society (totalitarian vs authoritarian), had large, organized mass movements behind them (which included institutionalized paramilitaries alongside control of the military as well as extensive secret police and intelligence services) and of course came to power after democracy had largely failed. So to my mind Trump (and the Republican party) remain better characterized as pseudo-authoritarian rather than fascist — both because of their particular features/characteristics and because for all its weaknesses and flaws, American democracy (at least thus far) has not deteriorated to the point where constraining institutions no longer operate.

There’s a distinction between more modern forms of authoritarianism and historical fascism. Fascists saw themselves as challengers to elected institutions and democratic forms of government. Hitler and Mussolini canceled elections once they consolidated power; today, regimes like Putin’s in Russia or Erdogan’s in Turkey simply use crackdowns on opposition forces and election rigging to ensure they are not electorally challenged.

The latter model at least pays lip service to constitutional and democratic norms, much as Trump continues to insist that he should be president not because the democratic system is corrupt but because he in fact won according to democratic norms. This approach is no less authoritarian, but for the reasons Berman describes, it’s arguably less fascist.

The stakes of the disagreement

If you’ve been rolling your eyes at the long-running debate over whether “fascist” applies to Trump, I’m a bit sympathetic. One sometimes gets the sense that while calling Trump a fascist might cause one to fail their comparative politics exams in poli sci grad school, the dispute is overly technical and nitpicky elsewhere.

A dispute over another word — “coup” — can shed some light on if and why the dispute matters. Multiple scholars of international relations who study coups argued in the wake of the riot on January 6 that the term “coup” was inaccurate.

“At no point did yesterday’s protestors attempt to actually seize control of the levers of state power— nor did anyone watching think these goons were now running the government,” Erica De Bruin, assistant professor of government at Hamilton College and author of How to Prevent Coups d’État, wrote.

To critics, this is splitting hairs. In a pointed meme, sociologist Kieran Healy translated commentators saying, “It’s not a coup because it doesn’t meet the technical conditions of the military branch yadda yadda yadda …” as actually saying, “I have a very comfortable job.”

The split on “fascism” feels akin to the split over “coup,” and both arguments seem to suffer from some confusion over what exactly we’re arguing about. On the one side are academics who value these definitions because they enable better research and analysis. If you study coups, you need to have a clear definition of what a coup is before you start compiling data sets, looking for causes and patterns, etc. And that definition may not perfectly anticipate what people want to call coups in the future.

On the other side are commentators and citizens who want to convey the gravity of what happened on January 6, how unprecedented in American history it was, and how grievous a threat to liberal democracy it represented. Some coup scholars, to their credit, argued that the term could be used differently in the different contexts. As De Bruin wrote, “I’m not trying to police the language of those finding it useful to use the term ‘coup’ to coordinate opposition right now.”

Similarly, the dispute over “fascism” seems to conflate two issues. There’s the question of whether it’s appropriate to call Trump a fascist to express your outrage with his and his allies’ violent challenge to the democratic process. And there’s the question of whether in a technical sense, historians and comparative politics scholars are well served by lumping him in as a “neo-fascist” alongside groups like Golden Dawn in Greece or the British National Party. I can easily see the answer to the latter question being no — the Republican Party is in many, many respects not a good comparison group to Golden Dawn — even if the answer to the former question is yes.

But I want to raise a couple of concerns about whether it’s wise for laypeople to use “fascism” to express alarm and outrage at Trump and Trumpism. The first has to do with the future, and the second has to do with America’s past.

My first concern about using the word “fascism” now is that things could get much, much worse — and at that point, will we have the vocabulary to describe what is happening? I first heard fascism comparisons flying in American politics back in the mid-2000s. I remember an adult I knew from church forwarding me a list of “warning signs of fascism” enumerated by writer Lawrence Britt back in 2003. The list, clearly constructed to evoke aspects of the Bush administration, included items like “religion and ruling elite tied together,” “power of corporations protected,” and “obsession with national security.”

There were clearly important illiberal aspects of the Bush administration. It spied on American citizens without warrants and set up a global network of black site torture prisons. But Republicans also peacefully and unremarkably transferred power to the Democrats in Congress in 2007, and the Bush administration did so with the Obama administration in 2009. Republicans benefited from the antidemocratic nature of the Electoral College in 2000 and played dirty to win Florida, but Bush won the 2004 election fair and square and certainly never challenged US democracy in as blatant and overt a way as the Capitol insurrection.

Which for me raises the worry: If the “Bush is a fascist” meme had caught on more in the mid-2000s, would we have lost important terms to describe the escalation of these illiberal tendencies under Trump? Would condemnations of the Capitol insurrection have been dismissed as merely crying wolf from people who described lesser actions by Bush as fascist? And correspondingly, does using the term fascist now run the same risk?

It is not hard to imagine the Republican Party’s coalescing opposition to “one person, one vote” — in its defense of the Electoral College, or the slogan that we are “a republic, not a democracy” — getting even more extreme. One could imagine a Republican presidential nominee in 2040 or perhaps sooner building these themes into an explicit critique of constitutional government, a call for patriotic elites representing the interests of real (white) Americans to rule without the constraints of elections or Congress or courts.

One could imagine this presidential nominee forming a paramilitary group, initially just to “protect” his (it’ll probably be a “he”) supporters from antifa and socialist mobs. One could imagine, in other words, textbook fascism, and I worry using the term now will diminish its power if and when that turn comes.

That might be a minor concern; there will always be skeptics who will accuse anyone who uses the term “fascism,” however carefully, of “crying wolf.” Maybe it’s best not to worry about their allegation.

But I’m still not convinced fascism is the best comparison class. Fascism is not just a term, it’s an analogy to a specific moment in European history. And arguably the antidemocratic forces in America right now bear a slimmer resemblance to that moment than they do to previous instances of white supremacist politics in America.

The gang that attacked the Capitol, as Princeton political scientist Omar Wasow has noted, looked an awful lot like a lynch mob, more than they did a group of well-organized brownshirts. There’s a decentralized, carnival-like atmosphere to their violence that recalls the loosely coordinated nature of historic anti-Black violence in America, like the Red Shirts who helped bring down Reconstruction. The writer John Ganz has rightfully pointed to Klan figures like David Duke, and “Old Right” racists like Pat Buchanan, as important American progenitors of Trumpism.

America also provides important precedents for the authoritarianism of the modern right, too.

As University of Michigan political scientist Robert Mickey has written, a whole region of the United States — the former Confederacy — was under authoritarian rule from the 1890s until the slow collapse of Jim Crow in the 1940s through the 1980s. That could provide more useful lessons for modern anti-authoritarians than the experience of European authoritarianism around the same time.

There is nothing stopping a thoughtful observer from drawing on both the American and European traditions of authoritarianism in describing Trump. But my hope is that the urge to call him a fascist does not detract unduly from the non-fascist, but strongly racist and authoritarian, origins of his politics right here at home.
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