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There is a Coup Coming and I am Cassandra

 

I have never felt more like Cassandra in my life. Cassandra, the priestess who was given the power to see the future by Apollo, but because she wouldn’t love him, cursed by him to also never be believed. 

We are about to experience a Republican coup in this country. All the signs are there. The Trump administration is simply ignoring its mandate to turn over power to the Biden administration. The lawsuits don’t matter. They are theater to bang the drum of “Fraud!”

What matters is that Republicans are planning to use Republican legislatures in states where they have the majority in the state house to claim that the popular vote has been corrupted, claim Constitutional authority to to submit a completely different slate of electors for the state — ones that would vote for Trump — and ask Congress to accept their vote instead. 

This would create a Constitutional crisis, since the Democratic-controlled House would vote against it, and the Republican-controlled Senate would vote for it, wreaking a kind of havoc that hasn’t been seen in this country for well over 100 years. If you want to read the details of this plan and the consequences — which I recommend — read this article https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/11/06/state-legislatures-electoral-college-steal/ 

The problem is that Democrats don’t seem to want to believe this is going to happen, yet it seems obvious to me that it will. 

  • Apparently some 70% of Republicans believe that the election results are invalid, despite there being zero actual evidence of it. 
  • Trump, his sons, and people like Newt Gingrich, Lindsay Graham, Ted Cruz, Rush Limbaugh, and many others, are promoting the idea that there’s been massive fraud — which of course there has been, by the Republicans — and that the Democrats are trying to “steal the election.” 
  • The coordinated, weaponized language they are using, “legal ballots” vs. “illegal ballots” is meant to support unfounded theories of fraud and open the door to invalidating wide swaths of Biden ballots
  • All but a few Republican politicians are refusing to refer to Biden as President-elect or acknowledge that he won the presidency
  • GSA administrator Emily Murphy is refusing to sign the transition paperwork to allow the Biden administration to receive money and access to government.
  • Trump has literally walled off the White House like a war-time bunker, in the obvious expectation of overwhelming protest and riots (in response to his stealing the election)
  • The Supreme Court is packed with partisans who are on board with this, especially Kavanaugh (who has written a recent opinion about this*) and Thomas, and one must assume, Barrett, otherwise she’d never have been chosen. 
  • Trump is riling up his base who are dutifully protesting with high-powered artillery in the streets, many of them prepared to use it in a new Civil War should Trump not win this coup. 
  • Attorney General Bill Barr, whose office traditionally stays out of electoral issues, has issued orders to “investigate fraud” in the election.
  • Trump has made his plans public. He’s said all these things. He and  his administration have used “jokes” as a way to distance himself from accountability, but as we know, on the right wing, “jokes” are just a way of being able to say something while claiming deniability. But how many times have we seen him / them “joke” about something only to then go do it. By now we should know better. Pompeo recently “joked” about “the transition will be smooth to Trump’s second term.”

Democrats and independents largely want to believe that this is all bluster and theater, in preparation for Trump to disappear to Mar-A-Lago for good, while coming up with a way to pay off his legal fees and campaign debts by bilking his followers. While the second part of that is clearly true, the first part, that he’ll just disappear to Mar-A-Lago never to be seen again, is just wishful thinking.

We just don’t want to believe that this is possible AND HAPPENING NOW.

At best, he will start a media company and use it as a bully pulpit to cause more chaos and anti-democratic sentiment, while using the Infowars model of selling all kinds of crap to his rabid followers.

Trump loves the attention, he loves the chaos. He thrives on both. He craves power. He detests losing. Trump planned on a second (or third, or fourth) term, and will do everything in his power to get it. He has no care for norms, laws, or standards, and will do anything to achieve what he wants. We’ve seen this in the last four years, why should it surprise us now?

Just look at just some of the fraud he perpetrated going into the election:

  • Kneecapping the USPS, a constitutionally-mandated agency
  • Promoting that mail-in ballots are fraudulent
  • Shamelessly promoting that Democrats would steal the election, while doing everything he could to steal the election
  • Working with state officials to purge the voter rolls of Democrats, limit early voting, and limit voting sites in Democratic-leaning districts
  • Executing orders to allow him to fire non-partisan government employees in order to create his own “deep state” of loyalists

If we were observing this happen in any other country, it would be obvious that this is all a prelude to a coup. But Democrats don’t want to see it here. We believe that “it can’t happen here,” that “it’s just smoke and mirrors,” “drama.” 

Citizens should be out in the streets protesting the coming coup; let the Republicans know that we see what they are trying and we will not allow it. Republicans are floating these ideas, seeing what they can get away with. And so far, they are getting away with everything because we’re not responding. 

Biden, Harris, Pelosi, Schumer, and all of them should be calling it out as Trump’s plans, and vowing to fight it. They should be exposing it to sunlight and rallying the troops to prepare for taking over the streets and shutting down the country. 

But instead, there’s a sense of “everyone remain calm, there’s no way he’d actually do this. He’s just making noise.”

I promise you, he’s not “just making noise.” Now is the time to get out in the streets and tell the GOP “NO, WE’RE NOT GOING TO LET YOU GET AWAY WITH THIS.” It’s the time for our leadership to begin their own lawsuits and make it clear that THEY are not going to let Trump and the Republicans get away with this.

It may already be too late. But if we don’t, we’re nearly guaranteed another four, eight, or more years of Trump in the White House, dismantling institutions that can threaten him, ignoring health mandates, enriching himself and his cronies, all the while, destroying America as we know it. 

Call your representatives and senators and tell them to get on this. Get out on the street. Organize protests. Now is the time to act before all is lost. Here’s a protest event to get you started: https://www.facebook.com/events/372147500769800

* Kavanaugh’s opinion https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/brett-kavanaugh-bush-gore-wisconsin-election/2020/10/27/799fe8aa-1876-11eb-befb-8864259bd2d8_story.html 

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White supremacists in the DHS are sending coded press releases and nothing’s being done

DemocracyMeansYou has found a very disturbing page from the Department of Homeland Security that is clearly written in not-so-subtle coded form for white supremacists.

Contact your Representatives to open an investigation into who published and approved this. ( https://www.dhs.gov/news/2018/02/15/we-must-secure-border-and-build-wall-make-america-safe-again ).

Also attached as PDF in case it gets removed: We Must Secure The Border And Build The Wall To Make America Safe Again _ Homeland Security

White Supremacists in the Department of Homeland Security

The reasons this is so disturbing are:

  • This uses the “14 words” of white supremacy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourteen_Words in the title, adapted to a border wall
  • There are 14 sections (13 bullets + 1 callout)
  • In the 13th bullet, they clearly purposely use the number “88” which stands for HH or Heil Hitler (see the above Wikipedia article) and the number 13, which stands for the Aryan Circle (See
    https://www.adl.org/education-and-resources/resource-knowledge-base/hate-symbols) to show a percentage, which is probably not 88% and 12% but they make it fit.
  • This is an official news item on the DHS website. The person responsible needs to be fired, prosecuted, and the editors, or whoever approved it needs to be investigated to make sure they were unaware of it. There needs to be an investigation into white supremacists at DHS and other law enforcement, because clearly this person is not the only one, or he? wouldn’t have thought he’d get away with it.

Some more supporting information:

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2008/10/white_supremacists_by_the_numbers.html

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Things are so bad. How can I make a difference?

Start small. Make a call or email.

Get involved. Call your local, state, or regional Democratic party office and volunteer. Or volunteer for a specific candidate. Go out, knock on doors, make phone calls, distribute fliers. Donate money. Call for donations. Help stuff envelopes.

While you’re doing this, be kind. Always be kind. Be thoughtful. It’s a cliche of sorts that the difference you make to one person is the most important, but it truly is. Just look at Donald Trump to see why it’s so important to be kind. Look at what he has created, and brought up from the muck just by encouraging harshness, violence, and cruelty. And not just his words, but his policies.

“Be careful hunting monsters, lest you become one yourself, for when you stare into the Abyss, the Abyss also stares into you.” — Nietzsche.

Sure, Nietzsche was a syphillitic douchebag, but he also had a lot of words of wisdom, so we’ll quote him on that one.

Don’t argue with people online. Share your thoughts, but don’t stoop to their level. Be thoughtful and kind, and speak as if you’re talking to someone who, somewhere in there, at least, can listen. Don’t react. Respond. And never trade insults.

Humor helps me deal with all of this. I save the harsh humor for between me and my friends, where we’re all on the same page and know where we’re coming from. But gentle humor out in the world can make a huge difference in interactions.

Of course all this is hard, that’s why more people dont’ do it. That’s why you and I don’t do it all the time, despite how much we’d like to. But the only way out is by being something different than what you’re trying to change, or they will assume that at base you are just like them, only with a different perspective.

And while as humans, we are “just like them,” we are trying to follow our better angels and inspire fellow humans rather than just follow in their footsteps of “pissing off the liberals,” only the other way around.

Be better than that because you are better than that.

But never forget to get involved in electoral politics, too. Without that, the present and near future can be lost.

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Why not give up?

Because there’s a future whether we like where we are now or not. Because love is stronger than hate, even though in the short-term it doesn’t always seem like it. Because no matter what they do, we must keep our dignity and hope. Because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice (MLK). Because despair is contagious, but so are hope and kindness.

Because we can’t. 

Because the alternative is to live in a world that is ruled by rage and selfishness. Because there are more of us than them, even though they are louder and more obnoxious right now. Because they cannot be allowed to destroy democracy without a fight. Because they are slaves to their fears, and we are inspired by our dreams. Because others need us to fight, and we are protectors.

Because giving up and giving in is too close to consent, and we do not consent to this wholesale corruption, selfishness, greed, and cruelty. Because we are believers in kindness. Because we see beauty. Because we believe in justice. Because we believe in inherent good in the majority of people. Because we know that this is a minority of loud but powerful people, and we can defeat them in the end. Because we will fight for this. Because we must.

Because those before us fought so that we could have the freedoms and happinesses and rights that we have. Because we must honor their struggles. Because our we are fighting for our childrens’ future — all childrens’ futures, even those of our opponents. Because they may not see a world where justice is possible. Because they may not want a world where justice for all is possible. Because they are — whether they mean to or not — are creating a world of pettiness and cruelty and we will not sit idly by and watch.

Because our children are watching what we do and will follow in our footsteps or judge us for our inaction. Because we are driven by joy and visions of our children in a just and nurturing world rather than a world in which they dominate others.

Because we may never reach the ideals we have, but we will shoot for the stars and settle for the moon if we must. But we *will* shoot for the stars no matter what.

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Is it Fascism Yet?

Is it fascism yet? Or does it just walk, look, and sound like a duck? And even if it does, what does that mean?

Every kid knows the “F word” is bad. You’ll get punished if you say it around the wrong people. It’s overused. It’s strong. And people often use it without thinking about what it really means. But sometimes, it’s the only word that seems to fit. These qualities are shared with the other, political “F word.”

The word “fascism” conjures up either 20th-century dictatorships or screaming 60s counterculture radicals unable to have a rational discussion. It’s such an “un-American” word that applying it to America makes you seem like some drooling, wide-eyed conspiracy theorist nut. But Huey Long, Louisiana’s governor hit the nail on the head way back in the 1930s when he said “When Fascism comes to America, it will be draped in the American flag.” Was he just some early hippie freak or a political prophet? When hasn’t Fascism been draped in the local flag? And why should America be any different?

To see if the shoe fits, we need to ask, “What is fascism?” What has it looked like in the past? How is it defined?

According to Webster’s, Fascism is derived from the Italian fascismo, from fascio bundle, fasces, group, from Latin fascis bundle
Date: 1921

1 : often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control [early instances of army fascism and brutality — J. W. Aldridge]

According to Mussolini, “Fascism is the convergence of corporations and the state.” It’s a quote that’s seen a lot on the Internet. While this is not exactly what it appears, it is still a useful quote to examine.Fascism had roots as a reasonably populist movement, and what “corporations” referred to in Fascist ideology was actually any social group, such as a church, a township, or a company (not just a business enterprise, as we use the word in America today). The government was logically the umbrella corporation for all of these. So this quote actually sounds more damning of the current situation in the U.S. that it really is.
However, As I understand it, that statement would have sounded good to populist Italians of the 1930s, as good as something like “We live in the greatest democracy in the world, and our freedoms must be protected.” But both statements are fantastic examples of using populist language and concepts to hide a more totalitarian agenda. If you’re interested, Mussolini’s own definition of fascism for an Italian encyclopedia of the day can be found here in the Modern History Sourcebook: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/mussolini-fascism.html

Remember also that fascism in theory and fascism in practice are as similar as communism in theory vs. communism in practice in the USSR. Fascism didn’t have the negative implications that it has now until after Mussolini, Hitler, and others used it as a brutal tool to control their people.

That said, there are still enough similarities between facist countries of the past and some of what is going on today in the United States that it bears examining.

The following is excerpted from “Introducing Fascism and Nazism” (Stuart Hood and Litza Jansz, Icon Books UK, Totem Books USA, 1993, pp 88-89). Take a look for yourself and see what parts of the shoe fits.

Fascist regimes in Italy, Germany, Spain and Japan were superficially varied, drawing on differed histories and traditions. But they had some of the following in common:
1. A political philosophy which was a compound of radical ideas and mysticism, of left-wing sounding slogans and conservative policies.

2. A strong state with a powerful executive which did not require democratic consultation before acting, combined with a hatred of bourgeois democracy.

3. Hatred of Communism and Socialism as political movements based on the idea of class differences and class antagonisms. Against this idea, Fascism aimed to substitute a corporative state that denied a divergence of class interests between capital and labor.

4. The formation of a mass party on paramilitary lines which drew its recruits in part from the discontented and disenfranchised working class.

5. Admiration of power and the deed which found expression in the cult of violence. Training for war and violence gave free rein to sadistic and pathological characteristics.

6. Authoritarian program which emphasized conformity, discipline and submission. Society was militarized and directed by a Messianic leader.

7. The cultivation of irrationality – the impulse was more important than logical thought. Irrationality led to a cult of death – witness the Spanish Fascist slogan: Arriba la Muerte! – Long live Death!

8. Nostalgia for the legendary past. For instance, in Italy’s case, the Roman Empire. In Germany, an appeal to primitive myths of Niblungen. The initials SS were written in Runic letters from Viking times. Japan resurrected the medieval code of the samurai.

9. Aversion to intellectuals whom Fascism accused of undermining the old certainties and traditional values.

10. Fascism claimed to honor the dignity of labor and the role of the peasantry as providers of the staples of life. With this went an idealized picture of rural life – the healthy countryside versus the decadent city.

11. Machismo. Women were relegated to traditional female roles as housewives, servants, nurses and as breeders of “racially pure” warriors for the state war machine.

12. Fascism was frequently subsidized by big industrialists and landowners. 13. Fascism’s electoral support came overwhelmingly from the middle class – in particular the lower middle class affected by economic crisis.

14. Fascism needed scapegoat enemies – “the Other” on whom to focus society’s aggressions and hates.

In a 21st-century America, where corporate interests are a primary driving force, where intolerance for dissenting views is rampant, and media spin by the administration is the norm, does the “F word” finally fit? Maybe, and more in the second definition from Websters, “A tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic and dictatorial control.” But use it conscientiously.

Remember that we are not experiencing mass murders of American citizens by our government. And while there is pressure to conform to “toe the patriotic line,” we still have our freedoms of speech, assembly, and religion.

The United States today may have early elements of what fascism turned into in Italy, Germany, and Japan, but we are not “there yet.” But we should be aware and keep an eye on our liberties, our government, and our democracy.

For further reference, in a similar vein are these 14 characteristics of fascism excerpted from Free Inquiry Magazine, (Volume 23, #2)

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14.Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.