750 Comments

Exactly, and the response from key Republican figures in next 24 hours will reflect whether we have embarked upon our Second Civil War, or whether a young democracy dedicated to the proposition (however imperfectly executed) that all are created equal can survive the recent treason and tumult.

Expand full comment

Thank you for your reply. We need a psych intervention for the entire party in my opinion.

Expand full comment

As a psychologist I am in wistful agreement with you..and am pretty sure that none of these characters would EVER be open to self-reflection at any useful level. Like nasty 12-year-olds screaming profanity at their parents while ransacking and pillaging their own house...unlikely candidates. Nice thought though!!!

Expand full comment

They are too embedded in their power to consider self appraisal or reflection. Fundraising subjugates all ethics and morality. Citizens United allows for zero accountability, but they know where their funding is coming from: Saud. Putin. Demagoguery has replaced leadership. sustaining Democracy is no longer requisite for GOP Senators and Congressman. This should have every voter on there toes for the next two decades, or longer.

Expand full comment

All Americans should unite to overhaul the GOP. It has more than just the seeds that are willing to undue the American Democracy it is filled with vocal and silent condoners of autocracy.

Expand full comment

Citizens United must go. I think 2010 or so shares some things in common that a lot of voters don’t know or don’t care. Did the Supreme Court consider foreign donations with the Citizens United ruling? 2010 was about the time that Russia had paid down their foreign loans. Putin had gotten rid of elected governors, maneuvered control from parliament, and gained 100% control of Russian Oligarchs. This cleared the way to start laundering money stolen out of Russian industries and gov budgets. To launder money at this scale and globally, political payoffs need to precede the laundering ( think mob boss). In an indirect way, Citizens United made corrupt political bribes legal. This corruption is aligned with the oil industry lobby goals and aspirations. This corruption is aligned with the Federalist Society’s goals and aspirations. This corruption is aligned with the goals and aspirations of white evangelical and white national/white supremacy. Citizens United offers camouflage to oligarchy AND foreign non democratic influence at the highest to lowest levels of our Government. Everyone gladly takes the money but no one wants to admit where this boost of election funding comes from, but it is clear it is not coming from the constituency.

Expand full comment

Harvey: Not overhaul. To quote Grover Norquist (again): “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.” Now substitute 'the GOP' for 'government' and 'it'.

Expand full comment

J., the goal of all fascist movement is to destroy democracy. But they use democracy to get to that point where they can destroy it, and install themselves as the unaccountable ruling elite of the nation.

I think the four faces of fascism are:

1. a demagogic leader who gives his discontented followers a scapegoat, some to hate

2. a politics of resentment that stirs up people's dissatisfaction and frustration and anger

3. hyper-nationalism that lays the groundwork for Us versus Them, Patriots versus Traitors

4. attacks on democratic institutions (the press, the judiciary, the electoral process itself)

And we're seeing all four faces of neo-fascism (the old poison in new bottles) playing out before our eyes.

Timothy Snyder (in On Tyranny) said that "any election can be the last." Hopefully, with the failure of the RedWave, we've passed that point of no return. But the danger is still out there and complacency could be fatal. Thanks for continuing to fight.

Expand full comment

The trouble is there are so many Americans identifying with the big lies. Even if we could somehow abolish the "GOP", lies and liars are wired into human nature, which is not to say we can't do a much better job of keeping them at bay.

Compared to Trump, Nixon looks "presidential", especially on the key issue of environment, but he also very substantially abused his powers, and that need to be a deal breaker. Republicans of the day were willing to support his removal. Republicans of late strut their undemocratic powers, and did not even go through the motions of due process. Over the years we have become way too tolerant of abuses of political power, AKA "corruption", which are legion. We have to find a way to collectively agree on raising the bar, or it will just be the same script with different players. Democrats collaborated with corrupt plutocrats and ultra-racists long ago, but walked away from some of the worst elements of our party to significant degrees in the intervening years, while Republicans embraced and encouraged them, in exchange for coercive power to the point of eroding democracy and the Constitution. Stop, hey whats that sound?

Expand full comment

ted, the damage that Trump and his crew have done will takes years (and like you say, maybe decades) to repair, but I believe (I hope!!!) that the current tide is turning.

There were enough Republicans who were fed up with MAGA-madness to stop the mid-terms Red Wave (and hopefully we'll see the same result in Georgia) but the battle is far from over. It's not just about Trump or his enablers and successors. MAGA is founded on that "base" of discontented, resentful, angry, poorly educated, and potentially violent Americans who easily fall for the promises of the demagogues who blame others (the Jews, Muslims, Mexicans, globalists, liberals, intellectuals, elites, socialists, communists, you name it). That's what fascism is all about - (I call it neo-fascism, the old poison in new red-white-and-blue bottles) - stirring up anger and hatred, giving discontented people someone to blame for their unsuccessful lives, rallying around the Great White Savior, getting the bad guys! Now apparently all their problems are Hunter Biden's fault. And if this mob can chant Hang Mike Pence, image what they could do to Hunter Biden.

We have to call it out for what it is - the former Republican Party has been hi-jacked by neo-fascists, and might as well put a swastika on the flag.

But this is not the first iteration of this ugly side of American politics: today I posted a short (free) review of a book by Richard Hofstadter called "The Paranoid Style of American Politics" that traces this recurring phenomenon back through American social and political history, and especially explains the mind-set of Trump's "base." And it was written 60 years ago!

https://neofascism.substack.com/p/the-paranoid-style-in-american-politics

Expand full comment

Luv Hofstadter!!!

Another contemporary good one is Behold America by Sarah Churchwell. She gives a history of fascism in America. One detail is a KKK rally in 1920’s NYC. Attending the event was Fred Trump.

Expand full comment
Dec 4, 2022·edited Dec 4, 2022

At least after 20 years (or significantly less, given his eating habits), TFG will be dead...God help us if a Republican w/more intellectual skills and a similar morality were to run and win.

Expand full comment

Like that death star from Florida!?

Expand full comment

Angels and Demons. It's a substitute religion for Democrats.

You guys are running out of geniuses to excommunicate from the hallowed "high" ground. More gummies needed in pew 13.

Expand full comment

This crazy-ness will continue after TFG’s death. He will become like a martyr to the radicalized.

Expand full comment

For Trump, it is the logical conclusion for a person utterly unable to see beyond himself. The idea of a greater good, or of truth that is other than what will benefit him is foreign to him—completely. His acolytes in the Republican Party have no such excuse of a psychological disability. For them it is simply a calculation of what is most likely to get or maintain power. In that sense, they are even worse than Trump.

Expand full comment

Even more dangerous than Trump himself is "movement conservatism", which is unconnected to reality, more and more as time moves on. It is no longer a mystery to me that Republicans latched on to Trump. He is seen as a perfect trojan horse to break through the logjam and put in place a government dreamed of by movement conservatives, where unfettered free market capitalism, and enforced Christianity (at least their version of it) reigns supreme. The fatal flaw is Trump's miserable personal and moral failings. He may very well go down, and I sure hope he does. But man o man - watch out if a more astute version of Trump becomes more prominent (like a DeSantis) - we have so much to fear if that happens.

Expand full comment

I suggest that the real weakness of movement conservatism is, well, movement conservatism. What does it have to offer? As Heather points out several times a week, it is anti-democratic (as well as anti-Democratic), the heir of Southern reaction and gilded-age robber baron "capitalism." Trump had a low cunning that obscured some of the anti-social aspects of the movement with outrageous bombast, but I believe (devoutly hope) he has outlasted his15 minutes. Beyond him is a "movement" that has about as much relevance as the Whigs in 1856.

Expand full comment

And let us not forget that Liz Cheney, for all she has done a great job on the Jan 6th investigation, is part of movement conservatism.

Expand full comment

They are kowtowing to a disturbed 8 year old having a temper tantrum.

Expand full comment

A 3 yo.

Expand full comment

I thought I might be stretching it!

Expand full comment

In a way, Trump reminds me of Elvis, the "Memphis Mafia," and the doctors and other hangers-on who were willing to aid and abet a sick man with a drug addiction to the point where they were accessories in Elvis' death. These people are on the Trump gravy train because they are well rewarded for it, by a narcissist who has believed all his life that he can do as he pleases, but cannot tolerate being a loser. Watch for Trump's bizarre behavior to increase sharply in the coming months.

Expand full comment

Also those who hovered around Michael Jackson. Failure can be the greatest teacher, and tfg can't make use of this failure to learn. Instead he tantrums against it. It would just be pathetic if if weren't so dangerous.

Expand full comment

One does have to admit or at least recognize that they have or may have a problem Kat, do they not ?

Expand full comment

yes indeedy. unlikely candidates for...well, can you picture Stephen Miller presenting himself to the nice lady to talk about his "issues"? How about Bannon? Roger Stone? I'm cracking myself up here.

Expand full comment

Trump: "Dr., I think I may have rejection issues." Dr.: "Do you think it has anything to do about the election you lost?" Trump: "Dr., please, you know I won that one!"

Expand full comment

Hi Kathryn, I wrote an article called "Triumvirate of Evil: Bannon, Giuliani, & Stone" - the title is a little over the top (I'm always uncomfortable with the word "evil" but I think these three men in particular are in fact "agents of chaos" in the American political arena.

One of Bannon's favorite tactics is to "flood the zone with shit." It's all adolescent social vandalism to me, but there's obviously a market for what he is saying and doing, so we can't dismiss these men or their "movement."

Even when Trump leaves the scene, his successor and followers and enablers will be with us for a long time, and we can't take them for granted.

https://neofascism.substack.com/p/triumvirate-of-evil-bannon-giuliani

Expand full comment

If we look back at any of our political past we will see those names: Stone, Bannon, Flynn, Giuliani.. they have been all over the world stirring the witches’ brew for many years. Let’s reel them in and send them to a Fascists pool party....

Expand full comment

Yep. And if they can't manage that, they'll never be able to undertake a fearless moral inventory, and forget about making amends for all the harm they've done.

Expand full comment

those things were never part of their equation...LOL!

Expand full comment

The whole world could benefit from the 12 Steps, Suz-an. If Trump tried doing a moral inventory, he'd find that his locker is empty.

Expand full comment

You speak my language. I have been writing of late on the concepts from one 12-step program. Steps. Traditions. Concepts. The grounding in democracy of 12-step orgs could well be a model. I love it and am so grateful to have been steeped in how an org works that will listen to all, and work together for the greater good.

Expand full comment

How many times have I wished more people had a 12-step tool kit? Hold themselves accountable? Do an inventory? Make amends?

Then I wake up and remember these are wealthy, white, largely male Republicans I’m talking about.

Hope its jail time for TFG but I won’t hold my breath. Just stay active in defense of democracy. That, at least, is well within my wheelhouse.

Expand full comment

OMG, me too. And some organizations could save themselves a lot of grief if they paid attention to at least some of the 12 traditions. Not all of them apply 100%, but there's plenty of wisdom there for the taking.

Expand full comment

Agreed about the inability of the Republican party leadership to embrace self reflection. There is much that is evil-middle-schooler-like about the Republican party leadership. Poorly socialized people who have not yet learned the Kindergarten lessons to share, take turns, not cut in front of people in line, be a good sport, etc... Social skills of resolving issues and getting along with others were not learned. I assume they come from authoritarian homes that made them miserable and yet, they want things to be just like that for others. A rite of passage as in my misery justifies making everyone else's life miserable too. Such an immature perspective totally lacking in empathy. The one thing that they seem to have gotten from their upbringings is their false sense of superiority. Trump is the king of this mindset.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/decades-later-disagreement-over-young-trumps-military-academy-post/2016/01/09/907a67b2-b3e0-11e5-a842-0feb51d1d124_story.html

https://millercenter.org/president/trump/life-presidency

Expand full comment

The Republicans are providing the postscript to When Prophesy Fails.

Expand full comment

Thanks, John

I had never heard of "When Prophecy Fails" but I'll follow up because its focus (on the fantastical beliefs of a cult) seems relevant today; millions of Americans actually believe the lies and fantasies pouring out of Trump and his apologists.

I definitely think some reading on cults is in order.

Expand full comment

When 30% of the electorate prefers acting out you’ve just got to wonder.

Expand full comment

I’m not a psychologist, but I believe Trump’s a pathological lying psychopath with narcissistic personality disorder. He’s a very sick man.

Expand full comment

Even Psychologists are required to be evaluated by their peers. Are you up to date?

You are projecting.

Expand full comment

Troll alert.

Expand full comment

Nancy, I know GandalfGrey and he is not a troll.

He has always engaged in civil discourse with me on various discussion boards, even though we disagree on issues.

I think he sometimes writes in a provocative manner, but sometimes these newsletters can become echo chambers that preclude our own critical thinking, and it is the dissonant voice that makes us stop and re-evaluate and defend or adjust our positions.

I think you will find many other comments from GG (here and elsewhere) that demonstrate his intention to engage in civil discourse.

Expand full comment

LFAA is not an echo chamber; take a look at any fed or state jury instruction on deductive reasoning; dig a little deeper to solve serious matters ....

Expand full comment

Then perhaps it should be considered that someone labeling him a troll is writing in a provocative manner as well.

Expand full comment

What do you think this person is projecting?

Expand full comment

Good question

Expand full comment

I have just added this to what I usually say about them: the party of death AND treason. We must give our all against this and protect our democracy. Earth shattering indeed.

Expand full comment

They are the party of malignant narcissism, as every predatory, self-absorbed, authoritarian regime and movement is. They will sacrifice anything, decency, nature, the fate of our nation, and of our species, for money and other varieties of domineering power. It resembles the classic "devil's bargain", but it's ego displacing every other concern.

We see it in Putin, we see it in Trump, and we have seen it spread though whole societies in the past, with monstrous results. Resistance is not futile.

Expand full comment

Resistance is necessary

Expand full comment

I agree. Now, let's get specific. What exactly does "giving our all" look like?

Expand full comment

If not in a position to run for office (just about any) on your own, one can register voters, participate in postcard mailings and phone banks, do "retail politics" such as going door to door--and enjoy occasionally getting spat upon--and putting up yard signs that may make you unpopular with the neighbors. Asking elderly neighbors if they need a ride to the polls or a ride to drop their ballot into the drop box. Go to senior homes and ask who would like help having someone read their ballot to them. Host a candidate in your home (if local). Join the local political party and participate. Send money--even if only $1. Put your support into actions.

Expand full comment

Beautifully said, Citizen60.

Expand full comment

Excellent question BJ.

Expand full comment

White crosses in perfect alignment

Expand full comment

If he were a homeless New Yorker, this outburst would trigger Mayor Eric Adams having him hospitalized and getting him the treatment he needs. Unfortunately we must endure a Jim Carey worthy satire of delusional incompetence making its way to the highest levels of power, draining government and media resources, turning us all into squabbling...oh, you fill in the blank.

Expand full comment

I have just purchased the book “How to Stand Up To A Dictator “, Maria Ressa

Again we are being offered a “wake- up call” similar to the Al Gores ‘about the environment.

Are we interested in planning ahead?????

Expand full comment

Jean(Muriel) I think it was you who suggested Ruth BenGhiat's "Strongman" which I am reading now, and learning a lot from. I even plan to write a Book Review of it for my newsletter.

Then I'll have a look at this recommendation. Thanks

Expand full comment

And what can be said about the millions of voters who support this NEOGOP?

Expand full comment

This neo-fascist aspect of the GOP is not new; it has raised its venomous head periodically throughout American social and political history.

Richard Hofstadter's "The Paranoid Style in American Politics" traces its history and especially characterizes these millions of voters who so easily fall under the trance of "neo-fascism and frustrated nationalism." Madeleine Albright wrote (in Fascism: A Warning) that “fascism has always been a latent force in American politics” and we are seeing its resurgence once again in the era of Trump.

For anyone who is interested, my (free) substack newsletter includes five reviews of books that attempt to answer your question: "what can be said about the millions of voters who support this NEOGOP?"

Expand full comment

YES! will check it out

Expand full comment

NEOGOP. Like that. Has a ring!

Expand full comment

I recommend the hooskow

Psychotherapy is for those who want to learn about themselves...

Expand full comment

You made me laugh, Joan...I love your spelling of “hooskow”...I would have written “hoosgow”. Love it.

Expand full comment
Dec 4, 2022·edited Dec 4, 2022

Republicans leaders don't want a civil war. Nor do their big business paymasters — civil war has a way of hurting profits. Watch for a lot of vague, softball criticism of Trump, whose implosion signals the acceleration of his demise and the GOP's embrace of DeSantis.

Will Trump's unhinged comments provoke violence from the MAGA cult? Perhaps. But the hundreds of prison sentences for Jan. 6 insurrections stand as a stark deterrent. Is there some well-planned and financed violent coup attempt about to be unleashed? Almost certainly not. The cult and its enablers are woefully inept.

Trump is a dead man walking — no, make that waddling — his way to financial ruin, criminal convictions, and a place of infamy.

Expand full comment

Agree. The actions on trump were set in motion before he came down that ridiculous escalator in NYC. his very smallness and laughably boring performance as a businessman and then a “politician” after finding some traction with his one line act “ you’re fired” created awareness of our own failures... perhaps the only positive element in his entire story. trump is a walking cadaver now... not just a failed person. We who think we know better can take some solace in knowing that our center held strongly against his idiotic fantastical play to overturn an election like some bill that he simply doesn’t want to pay. But, what do we learn? How can we be better people? How can we avoid a situation like this the next time? Humility, honesty, civility, compassion and plain old hard work that begins with trying to just be better people... to our families, neighbors, friends and in communities. It becomes easier to live with people with whom we disagree on most everything by simply realizing that there are many more among us who share the same values we hold dear and are not apt to forget them provided we all don’t either.

Expand full comment

We also need to support policies that address those disaffected Americans who have embraced fascism. It seems there are a lot of men who're struggling with the economic and cultural changes that have left them feeling irrelevant and impotent. It's their anger and their enablers that still believe they have a right to engage in violence out of perhaps sheer frustration over the loss of status, as men, as workers, as breadwinners.

Expand full comment

Well said, J.Nol.

I think we cannot focus on Trump alone; there underlying reasons for millions of "disaffected Americans who have embraced fascism" and just being rid of Trump will not erase their discontent, resentment and anger. Their "sheer frustration" brought them to Trump, and will remain after he's gone.

This is also not new; there's long history in American politics and social life of this same phenomenon.

Today I published an article (a Book Review of Richard Hofstadter's "The Paranoid Style of American Politics") which characterizes these very "disaffected Americans" that you so ably described. They are not to be taken for granted.

https://neofascism.substack.com/p/the-paranoid-style-in-american-politics

Expand full comment

Another contributing factor is many people never learning how to think and to become at all self-aware. Instead they blame outside entities and "those people" for their unhappiness. They are inflexible and have little ability to adapt to changing trends and are very susceptible to nefarious leaders who will use them for their own self-aggrandizement and enrichment.

Expand full comment

Thank you for the link.

Expand full comment

I think you are right, J Nol. Still, there are plenty of good men, especially millennials and now Get Z who don't need any pretense or mythology to elevate themselves to manhood. As a woman, when I see the unattractiveness of Trump, Bannon, and other characters in this charade I think yucks, just what/who are you superior to?

I get the unemployment part, but the rest is delusional. I refuse to humor them.

Expand full comment

I hope you're correct about those next generations, both the men and the women. The insurrectionists seemed to be made up of people from all walks of life, and a range of ages. Many, though were those who seemed to be invested in returning to some previous and largely mythical past, where men were allowed a privilege because they were men and women agreed with that premise.

Expand full comment

And will the legislation the J6 committee recommends as a result of its investigation get passed?

Expand full comment

I am cynical. Any legislation passed will be at the expense of norms and conventions and ethics being replaced by strong rules (laws) that protect by the tightening of the application ... to the other party, when it is in power. Criminalize political activism. Prevent the good exceptions in the interest of conformity and the appearance of fairness with checklists and word checks. Laws to prevent mistakes that nullify leadership.

Expand full comment

Given the current makeup of the GOP, they will NOT get passed, given the filibuster requirements.

Expand full comment

KD, I think many of us, I am 73, have spent lifetimes doing all the things you think we need to do more of...and perhaps you are right - more is needed. Young people came out in record numbers to vote against “his idiotic fantastical play to overturn an election like some bill that he simply doesn’t want pay.” Beautifully said. Those young voters are our present and our future. We must support them running and changing what we have woefully mismanaged. That’s how we can avoid a situation like this the next time! AND, we will.

Expand full comment

Michael, Trump may be on his way out, but this MAGA-mentality has taken root and Trump's successor by necessity will harness Trump's "base." I think in this highly polarized atmosphere and with arrow election margins, no Republican can win without Trump's base, so his successor may even be more-Trumpian than the Orange Guy From Florida.

And while cults are ultimately self-defeating, they can sure do a lot of damage before the spell is broken. I think it will take a massive Blue tsunami in 2024 to once and for all wash this MAGA-madness out of the system. And even then, its remnants will be a dangerous pool of anger and resentment.

Expand full comment

I think that pinning this neo-facism to just the MAGAs is like a quick escape clause: this particular mind-set goes back ages. It lived in Britain before it moved to the American east coast. It crawled in with Columbus and multiplied with Cortez from the southwest. It marched with Rome and sailed with the Vikings. No doubt it visited Nebuchadnezzar and SETi. Civilized behavior requires cooperation. Murder requires the murderer to convince themselves that what they are murdering is not really human. That does not let MAGAs escape, just puts them in a long line of others all over the world. The problem now is: how can we put the genie back in the bottle. How can we agree to become a cohesive, productive society again?

Expand full comment
Dec 5, 2022·edited Dec 5, 2022

Patricia you have brought back the element of fear I think lodged in our DNA. Fear, while instantly raising adrenaline to escape also evokes a paralysis which renders us unable to see or even to move out of harm’s way. A week into the war we were engulfed in an artillery barrage that threw great fountains of earth leaving gaping 12 foot holes around and amongst us. I could feel the earth shudder and the debris rain down but my vision cut out and a black silence void of any sensation overtook me. Time stood still. Finally an overwhelming guilt broke into the void and events began to emerge again. A sense of loathing eroded the fear finally and I became a soldier then. Strangely what occurred to me was Poe’s description of a drowning sailor caught in a whirlpool grasping a trunk and by reason hanging on for dear life while the buoyancy raised him out of the swirling madness. That was my redirect which dispelled fear and made me able to face the 360 days that were to come. Fear drives us now too. We need in some way to redirect, to overcome our fears that drive away reason and leave us vulnerable. We must take fear out of the human equation in order to see the way clearly. A soldier unafraid makes better calls, as will a populace divided.

Expand full comment

I couldn’t agree with you more! THANK YOU!

Expand full comment

Now that's a Happy Thought!

Expand full comment

If it quacks like a vainglorious tyrant, well....

Expand full comment

I agree that Repub leaders don't want a civil war because it is bad for business, but I am concerned about people like Steve Bannon and Roger Stone. They seem able to rouse mobs to action. The convictions of Oath Keeper leaders will, I think, be some deterrent, but how much, I am uncertain.

Expand full comment

When does the rally become a mob, become violence, move with its own fever and momentum? The uncontrolled can become their unintended consequence. Imagine, on a larger, media induced scale, J6 playing out under Friday night lights.

Expand full comment

Fred, I think America (and other nations) are moving down that old fascist road again, and the battle between hard right and hard left will leave the majority of "normal" centrist citizens (who just want a peaceful world for their families to live and find happiness in) neglected while wanna-be dictators fight for power.

It all reminds me of W.B.Yeats's poem "The Second Coming"

"Things fall apart / the centre cannot hold / The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity."

Despairing thoughts for a Sunday morning, but these are trying times and we have to use our pens/keyboards to fight Yeats's "blood-dimmed tide" or, in your words, "J6 playing out under Friday night lights"

Expand full comment

That Soccer is the most popular world sport may say something about this. The energy pent up, the feeling of the crowd, the expected rush or punch or ,kick and the crowds that are prepared to follow the challenge into mayhem, instead of tennis or golf or baseball.

Expand full comment

Others have also said that physical sports are a kind of substitute for violence, a controlled catharsis for releasing the pent-up energy, even a tribal thing - and like you say, you can see it in the fans dressing in team colors and off the field competing fans engage in violent confrontations. Maybe humans need that outlet, or maybe "some" humans need it.

Myself, I prefer chess: total war, but without an ounce of blood spilled or a bone broken.

Expand full comment

My dream

Expand full comment

I wish it with all my heart. The real one.

Expand full comment

Michael, “Dead man waddling” is just perfect! May he be ruined completely after what he has ruined for 330 million of us. Thank you.

Expand full comment

“That is the story, and it is earth shattering.”

Expand full comment
Dec 4, 2022·edited Dec 4, 2022

That is a chilling final sentence to the letter today.

Everyone has grown weary and somewhat complacent of the still nagging relevance of Trump. Here is the result. One post and a viral uproar.

It’s a clarion call for action, not reaction. What do you think is the best course ahead Rowshan?

🗽

Expand full comment
Dec 4, 2022·edited Dec 4, 2022

What amazes me (among other things) is that it takes more than 24 hours for key Republicans to polish up their collective, carefully worded, milquetoast response.

P.S. I'm amazed that I'm amazed.

Expand full comment

Be in firm faith that Democracy will survive. And thrive.

However. Trump is setting the table again for violence and upheaval.

I expect his party to start complaining and whining soon that it’s time for someone to get him out of their faces. Doesn’t seem to occur to them that their malaise and corruption have fueled his mania.

Professor Richardson’s concluding sentence in today’s letter is what concerns me. Dire straits. I hear a faint bugle in the distance. Seems to get louder. Muster the troops.

Salud, Laura.

🗽

Expand full comment

The treason and sedition that you point out should not go unpunished.

Expand full comment

The Republican answer is silence. Denial that he has power. My Reds tell me they are simply "so past him" and, of course, could never support him. Thereby declining any responsibility for what he might have done to offend us, theliberals. To wit, there is nothing to be gained by relitigating, as though his playing hard politics (and skirting the edge of norms or laws) is past. "Not our problem," we are awaiting a better candidate to coalesce around, one without too much baggage to do what Trump was able to do, without as much noise: Stop the tax and spend Democrats who are giving America away to the other, immigrants and those who will take away our prerogatives, our rights as Whites. The greater enemy is us. Everthying will calm down once the investigations stop and that civil disturbance is stopped talking about. Besides it did less damage that the riots in Minneapolis. Shesh. I'm reading Borowitz Profiles in Ignorance. He thinks we (they) are at stage three: Celebration. Of the dumbing of our leaders. (His two prior stages are Ridicule, begun with Reagan, and Acceptance, the Bush with a W.)

Expand full comment

I grew up (arguable) in suburban Minneapolis. Now I live in a 'burb. George Floyd's murder had powerful national (and arguably international) impact. Four cops, one set of (irony alert) bent knees. Though George Floyd's murder has gone comparatively back-burner here (and elsewhere), it did result in a mini tectonic shift. A laser-lock on racism and violence, and a public look at horrific policing. The Twin Cities (especially Minneapolis) are still wrestling with the impact of that on their police force make-up, rules and regs, and attitudes.

So, what's my point here? Damned if I know. Probably that regardless of explosive events, public collective memory dims. Shifting this to 01/06, that's what the wretched, radical right counts on. And we've been on intense overload for so long a time, we seem to have lost our will to Fight Back Hard (FBH). Due in part to our failure as individuals and collectives to define exactly what FBH means. What are its component parts?

I can vent and speechify here or on Facebook (I don't Tweet) all day, every day. But what does that accomplish? Really, what? Riddle me that, choir members! What exactly are we called to do?

Earlier this morning, I posted the oaths of office for U.S. Senate and House, and also the two (2) oaths required of Supreme Court newbies. So, that was good for about 30 seconds of individual impact.

All y'all are very smart, knowledgeable, savvy, informed, articulate, etc. And so I ask again: What exactly are we called to do.

Expand full comment

BJ, the answer to your question is the one I am confronted with from the someone who beats me to the bathroom every morning. He get there before me, waiting to pounce while I search the meds that keeps him speaking to me. Handsome fellow, for his age and decrepitude. If I was in the shape he is, I'd not pride myself on getting there first. I think the speaking and listening as we do here and on Facebook (the other guy is there as well) is important. You never know who is listening. When I'm not being silly or offering kindness to someone I might no even know, I'm doing more of what I should have done years ago, when I mistook comity for conscience and politely held my tongue in the interest of good conversation and acceptance. I found this to be common to my ilk. We didn't get in the other person's face, raise our voice, or challenge the beliefs (as opposed to knowledge or learning or experience) of our opinionated friends and relatives. I (we) didn't bring up politics or lobby for our interests except through the usual means; write our congressmen, write letters to the editor, and work really hard to make a difference through the work I signed on to do, hoping my example and the success we came up with in policy and practice would be sufficiently convincing. There even was a time when I thought it gouch to lobby Congress for more funding for our research or to brag about what we discovered. When I retired, I found that none of my Red friends or family actually knew what I did our what our work was. I was that liberal, didn't go to church, and was on staff at a University and did my own remodeling. In this analogy, we in our silence assume the goodness of our goals and the successes of our funded platforms and programs will tell our story, convince the skeptical, change minds, entice the oppositions and ignorant into our tent. So, every morning I now get up and find someone to tell what I understand and am thinking or care about. Sometimes, it's in a personal observation to folks I know think like me and sometimes it's to strangers like you are to me to tell that story, give the encouragement, not because I am all that smart, but because I am voracious in my watching and listening and so old that my reflection is decrepid and I get to take a dozen meds while he watches. Sometimes, one or two of the people I differ with ask or note and then post. One of the most powerful experiences I had that would shape my writing-in-my-voice was visiting the Hollocaust Museum in DC and seeing and listening to the voices of survivors who by the telling keep freedom alive and tyranny at bay because they are constant in their being heard. Doing the hard work, I am becoming convinced even as my verbal skills decline, requires of us to be vocal, even in polite company. To lead the conversation rather than counter slogans and the tripe that comes from the inhinged right. LFAA feeds us and we get to shape and form and practice sharing our commendable thoughts. Nourish the mind and speak from the heart among and away from these sojourners. So, today, I picked on you BJ. Don't know who the other guy will talk to tomorrow. Maybe there are two of us engaged in these conversations.

Expand full comment
Dec 5, 2022·edited Dec 5, 2022

Absolutely inspiring Fred. It was a good question. It was a terrific answer. So glad one of us got out of bed this morn. No worries until that other fellow winks at you.

Expand full comment

BJ, Hold the center....or “Things Fall Apart”. We do not want that. Fasten your allegorical seatbelt.

Expand full comment

Say more, please. I'm not yet fully caffeinated...

Expand full comment

The next 24 hours won't be about Trump and Democrats will not like it.

Expand full comment
Dec 4, 2022·edited Dec 4, 2022

That's an interesting comment, considering the current Letter is all about Trump. What do you think will happen in the next 24 hours, and why won't Democrats like it? Perhaps you're refering to the teaser posted elsewhere by Mr. Taibbi?

Expand full comment

Ah. I've answered my own question. For a primer on the new marvel, see below.

https://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/3760753-censorship-by-surrogate-why-musks-document-dump-could-be-a-game-changer/

Expand full comment

This won’t open. Now I’m really curious.

Expand full comment

It's so funny to see the reaction in the comments here. Folks are aroused, and their arousal leads them to go back to the the same habit that created this mess. Eviscerate Trump. They cannot process what is happening here. It's like a reflex reaction.

Expand full comment

True, there's a lot of "harmony" here, which can both soothe and blind. It's a bit irritating that no one has responded to my other comment, the one about the Musk/Taibbi "revelation."

Expand full comment

This will be very interesting. I'm a big fan of Musk's rocket program, but this stuff is over the top....in a good way.

It boils down to this. If you cannot get the DOJ to investigate the evidence, buy the evidence and lay it out publicly. It's pretty amazing. I never would have thought of this, and of course don't have the resources anyway. No way they can claim the info was hacked or stolen. He just bought it.

Expand full comment

The teaser already reported months before?. Put Hunter behind us. Investigate him, try him, get it out of the way; its just a distraction

Expand full comment

You're getting warmer, but not quite there yet.

Expand full comment

You never disappoint, always on the wrong side of history

Expand full comment

If the next 24 years were not about trump, I’m thinking Democrats would be fine with that

Expand full comment

Oh, come on, GiGi (or whatever your name is). You can do better than that. Don’t be a little tease.

Expand full comment

Trembling on the brink, like Gigi in the song.

Expand full comment

Shushie, wannabe.

🗽

Expand full comment

Therein lies a big difference between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans don't rely upon Politicians to speak for them. Republicans today are speaking for themselves. A free market capitalist is taking action within the free market system. The Media and Government would not investigate the evidence so Musk purchased the evidence. The evidence speaks for itself.

It's up to Democrats to speak up. Will they allow their leadership and media to speak for them or will they speak up in forums like this and seriously address the issue? So far in these threads I still see only denial and projection.

Expand full comment

If I speak, will anyone nationally hear me? Nope, they won’t

Leaders speak, or they don’t

If a leader proposes ideas that resonate, the population will align

If leaders (trump) create insurrection and you remain silent, you have spoken, right?

Expand full comment

A good leader listens and responds to the people, not the other way around. Trump knew what the people wanted and he got it done, as much as possible against the crooked media headwind.

Yes, I have spoken a great deal about the tambourine insurrection. It's the worst instrument ever invented, next to the cowbell. I've also addressed the Kavanaugh insurrection, sponsored by Democrat congressmen and interrupting the business of government for a week.

Expand full comment
deletedDec 5, 2022·edited Dec 5, 2022
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

That's darn good Pat.

Expand full comment
deletedDec 5, 2022·edited Dec 5, 2022
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

Said the GOP: [crickets]

Expand full comment

I do not mis-understand you, my comment had nothing to do with whatever color you might be, but with the thinking and language that expands and justifies separate and not equal thinking -- no matter who says what about who. But -- thank you for clarifying your individual perspective.

Expand full comment

Do you really think there will be a reaction? That would indeed by earth shattering!

Expand full comment

I'm more interested in the Democrat reaction. Republicans don't rely on politicians to speak for them. We speak for ourselves.

Expand full comment

You’re serious about that statement? Hmmm

Expand full comment

Troll alert. Ignore it. All a troll wants is a response, any response.

Don’t feed a troll, if you do it’ll get excited and keep posting so it can suck more in to respond to its posts. It’s a never ending cycle.

Expand full comment

Most of the posts here are just people patting one another on the back and trying to outdo each other's fiction writing skills. It's not terribly stimulating.

If attempts to open stimulating conversations is trolling, then I happily accept the assertion. What is the point of having a dialogue if there is full agreement? The purpose of debate is to settle contentious issues.

Expand full comment

It always causes me to wonder who pays their subscription fees

Expand full comment

I only have a month subscription and it's about to run out.

There are plenty of other echo chambers out there in need of a stimulus package. If you want me to stay longer, donate another month for me.

Expand full comment

LOL

Expand full comment

Such a perfect example of alternate realities.

Expand full comment

There is only one base reality. There are a number of opinions about its nature. You may be only interested in your opinion, but the more points of reference one uses, the clearer the picture becomes.

Expand full comment

its

Expand full comment

Fixed. Thank you for reading.

Any comment on the assertion?

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

Thankful for that verdict. It might make a few think twice...using the verb think loosely.

Expand full comment

Hmm, "loose use" is a fine concept. Their thought ain't what it ought.

Expand full comment

In a nut shell.

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

All the way to the core of the earth where they can all burn. Btw, one of my ancestors is in one of Dante's nine circles.

Expand full comment

Perhaps into a super-dense black hole from which not even light escapes, if there were any. Abandon hope all who enter.

Expand full comment

Still waiting for a contemporary re-boot of The Inferno. Ir’s overdue!

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

I have a few saints as ancestors too. An illegitimate liaison at the court in Wurttemburg, but once you are in, you are in.

Expand full comment

Debasement.

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

There is, alas, a certain amount of crude cunning to them, rather like the behavior of a virus. Not much self-comprehension there, but still potentially dangerous.

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

Follow the money.

Expand full comment

Yep.....some verbs do not apply.

Expand full comment

❤️

Expand full comment

Hi Janet, thanks for your comments, but I've got a couple of responses:

First, I think it's important (if we want to turn some MAGA minds back towards normality and decency) to separate the "hooligans" from the silent observers on the right, who at some point may decide to reject the politics of resentment and hatred and violence. Biden made an effort before the mid-terms to distinguish between "MAGA Republicans" and "regular Republican folk" and I think that contributed to knocking down the Red Wave and illustrates that there is a wide swath of Republicans disaffected with Trump and his neo-fascist regime. Also, a sound rejection of Herschel Walker in Georgia (I hope!!!) will add to this rejection of Trumpism.

Second, for those radical rightists who will never abandon Trump (or his successor) there is no logic or reason that will ever change their minds. They are acting from a non-rational emotional state of fear and discontent and resentment and anger, and also their leaders (in their own lust for power) have released their followers' worst biases and prejudices and approved their violent actions - as in promising to pardon Jan.6 insurrectionists. These people will never be swayed by reason. But I do think (maybe I'm hopelessly optimistic) that the majority of Republicans and "conservatives" are beginning to reject Trump's neo-fascist politics.

So, we all keep fighting. And today my wife is home from the hospital so I am especially grateful.

Expand full comment

Hooligans is a very good word to describe those who love death star because they are just like him. I know several Rs who cannot stand him. But the noisiest ones are the hooligans.

Expand full comment

My wife trained dogs from girlhood and knows more about them than I, but she and others talk about fear aggression and how to handle it (from dogs) as opposed to what I'm inclined to call predatory aggression. It's just my take on things, but my sense is that some people are seemingly predatory as core life strategy, and others become problematical or dangerous when their buttons are pushed, and demagogues are expert at pushing those buttons. I think some can be turned to recognize the madness and others not; not likely to be in any case. Sickness is always around, but sometimes the fever breaks. Letting in as much fresh air and sunlight as possible helps to disinfect.

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

Yes, Trump is indeed a crazed messenger, stirring up and emboldening hooligans and racists - all for his own egomaniacal lust for power.

You would think a billionaire who has been President of United States might have some class and retire gracefully, play golf with world leaders, maybe be a Goodwill Ambassador for his country that gave him so much - but not this guy. He wants more and more and ever more.

And now he's not only inciting violence, he's actually calling for the Constitution to be re-written - specifically to re-install him in office.

This will be a very dark chapter in American history, and I actually fear for the safety of people who speak out (hence my use of a pseudonym). If the Jan.6 mob can chant "Hang Mike Pence" image what they'll do to Hunter Biden.

It has all got to end, but the existential question for American politics is: how to end this MAGA-madness peacefully?

I think one way is to engage in civil discourse with Independents and moderate Republicans and hopefully engage them in flushing this MAGA-era down the toilet in the next election.

You and I and the other contributors here and elsewhere are part of that effort to end this dark chapter. Thanks again for your support.

Expand full comment

Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.

Expand full comment

I am comparing yesterday's LFAA about John Brown and the speed of his fate to today's quotes from TFG and all that he has done. Is it not long overdue for a perp walk in cuffs? Why is this traitor a free man?

Will I live to see justice for America?

Expand full comment
Dec 4, 2022·edited Dec 4, 2022

'The Psychiatrist Who Warned Us That Donald Trump Would Unleash Violence Was Absolutely Right' (MotherJones)

Remember, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President? - October 3, 2017

“His cruelty serves, in part, as a means to distract both us and himself from the true extent of his failures. The more egregious his failures become, the more egregious his cruelty becomes.”

― Mary L. Trump, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man

‘But the real story here is not Trump’s panic about his fading relevance and his legal exposure; it’s that Trump remains the presumptive presidential nominee for the Republican Party in 2024. The leader of the Republican Party has just called for the overthrow of our fundamental law and the installation of a dictator.’(Letter)

Expand full comment

Fern, Agree totally with psychiatric prediction. Thx for links.

Expand full comment
Dec 4, 2022·edited Dec 4, 2022

Bonnie, I'm a NYC Woman, so I knew who he was long ago. While I couldn't know the degree of his madness, I agreed with the most ominous diagnosis long before he landed in the White House.

Expand full comment

I am also a New Yorker, and entirely with you on that! It is to my shame that the State of New York gave him so many passes for so many years!

Expand full comment

Connections

Expand full comment

Those open hands under the table. NYC didn't vote for the _______!

Expand full comment

Neither did nj, and for good reason. We knew the folks he scammed and forced into bankruptcy by not paying for goods and services in AC!

Expand full comment

Trump's family (especially Freddy) had their role, the key enablers are the Republican Party, and their plutocratic backers.

Expand full comment

Dr.Bandy Lee, forensic psychiatrist, was reprimanded for making public statement early on about her concern about djt displayed lack of mental fitness for the presidency...

Expand full comment

Yes, Sandra. Joshua Kendall has written an interesting article about this controversy which now seems relevant (again).

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2022/08/donald-trump-violence-mental-health-dangerous-jan-6-fbi-mar-a-lago-civil-war-bandy-lee-psychiatry-goldwater-rule/

Expand full comment

Thank you for sharing, Bonnie!

Expand full comment

Is there a reason to consider that at this time?

Expand full comment

I understand the Goldwater Rule but do wonder if we might benefit from hearing what experts have to say about alternative ways to better contain an epidemic of violence.

Expand full comment

Spot on again, Fern.

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

I think many of those 70 million base their vote solely on their 401K. If it is doing well they give all the credit to the Republicans. They have no concern about the welfare of anyone else.

Expand full comment

I still believe it was latent RACISM allowed to become overt with Trump in charge that got him elected in the first place. 401K's were a diversionary excuse as they also increased just fine under Obama admin.

Expand full comment

They are one for now.

Expand full comment

Janet, I agree and also think it was a combination of all the above. Being a lot older than most, I was well aware of his reputation...his morals, both concerning business and personal matters. I had no interest in watching his TV series, so there was no influence one way or the other in that respect. I do feel strongly that there are a lot of people

out there who have a lot of tfg’s morals towards women, people of color, some religious denominations, and it was as though they were given an open door to act and react similarly.

Expand full comment
Dec 4, 2022·edited Dec 4, 2022

"Why is this traitor a free man?"

First, Trump calling for the overthrow of the government by saying the Consitution can be ignored IS TREASON.

But, Bill you alreaduy know there are two reasons why he can still rant like this after attempting to overthrow our government with a violent coup attempt, which is ALSO TREASON.

1. He is white.

2. He has money.

Trump, daily, shows us clearly the fundamental limitations built into our own Democracy.

Expand full comment

3. His brown shirts needed to be disarmed and imprisoned first.

Expand full comment

One was trying to expand equality beyond what was considered lawful; the other was (and is) trying to limit equality beyond what is considered lawful.

Expand full comment

Thank you Heather.

I don't even know where to start.

If I got up on a soapbox and said I wanted to overturn an election from 2 years ago, place myself as the Leader and burn the Constitution, I would be summarily taken to an insane asylum. Rightfully so.

Trump has taken his playbook to an entirely new level.

Your turn GOP, what is your response?

Be safe. Be well.

Expand full comment

Exactly! Linda, this is what makes me think we are watching the wrong RAT! While the public oohs and aahs over the latest absurdity, there are more rats coming out from under the sewers. They are a very organized , highly monetized herd of cockroaches.

They do not deserve to be called Republicans. They are slimy , conniving , treasonous boils. Shame a word they know or understand.

Expand full comment

I was saying shame is not a word in their vocabulary.

The rest of us should demand that the attention be turned toward the really dangerous. Trump is too sick to be taken seriously. But, the shameless are really dangerous!

Expand full comment

I think the metaphors are no good. In order to understand and push back these forces, we need to speak plainly to best describe what the Republican party and the entire racist right wing religious extremist apparatus is up to. Pandering to the populists' prejudices to fill the plutocrats' pockets.

Expand full comment

Lin, I agree.... sometimes I say “ just use your words” yours are clear and speak plainly.

Whatever, many of us lit on fire! Let’s burn down the dangerous lies.

Expand full comment

Love your description of the R party, festering and putrid.

Expand full comment

You forgot jackals.

Expand full comment

Oh, c'mon, jackals are lovely, useful critters.

Expand full comment
Dec 4, 2022·edited Dec 4, 2022

Yup. Especially when they came out at night to eat the dead and dying strewn on the battlefields of ancient times. I always think of them as cowardly republicans waiting in the darkness. Probably had congenital bone spurs.

Expand full comment
Dec 4, 2022·edited Dec 4, 2022

Crickets, I predict, Linda.

Expand full comment

Exactly Nancy.

Expand full comment

Linda (thanks for the be safe, be well!).

The GOP will remain silent OR support Trump. That is what they have done and there is no reason to think that will change.

Cowards they are, one and all. Some actually believe in Fascism now. They understand that if they get in control of the Federal Reserve they can print as much money as they want for their buddies.

Expand full comment

Mike, your welcome. Please know I truly mean it everytime I say.

I agree with you completely regarding their eyeing of the Federal Reserve. What a dangerous acquisition that would be.

I expect they will say nothing or brush it off as " oh that's just Trump being Trump".

What Trump said was so far beyond the rails.

You can't unring a bell.

Expand full comment

GOP response? 🦗 🦗🦗🦗🦗😔

Expand full comment

They will continue down the road to me, me, me

Expand full comment

You would think everybody would have a night off, it’s Saturday, yet the most traitorous statement yet, it just gets worse. All republicans who do not speak up are complicit. Germany 1932, history repeats itself.

Expand full comment

And not just the Republicans. What is on the front page of the WaPo or NYT? Certainly not what HCR pointed out is earth-shattering. This is problematic when the media cannot call out the Republicans . WaPo has one headline about the WH “rebuking” Trump. Ok but why arent the papers shouting WTF! and holding the Republicans feet to the fire.

Expand full comment

Look to who owns the papers and ask them...when it's about the bottom line, who's going to kill the milk-cow?

Expand full comment

They are doing what they did in 2016, all over again

Expand full comment

Hi Tina, We know the answer to that. We know why. It’s money. There are no right or left wing mainstream media willing to toss the Republican Party under the bus because almost all mainstream media is owned by the Republican donors that control the headlines. Didn’t Stephen Colbert just drag on Chris Licht lately for CNN ‘s hard right after the 2020 election? (Licht is now CEO of CNN and was executive producer of The Late Show). That’s why we get our news here. I happily pay to read truth here on Substack and let my other news subscriptions run out. Telling me President Biden is ineffective while reporting on getting more bills passed, ending with a blurb to something like he’s been the most effective POTUS at this point in his administration than any other US President in history. Even Newt Gingrich admitted that last week.

Expand full comment

The great reveal, in this past GOP-while, has been being schooled in how the MSM is NOT out to serve America or Democracy. They’re out to make money. Period. Dead Stop. As We The People, we have to understand that most crucially. The thwarting of the gop’s “Death and Treason” play will come from each and every one of us rejecting their ham-fisted power-grabs, their insanity, cruelty, and general petty meanness. Each day after reading the “trending news”, I am ever more grateful for Heather’s actual news, context, and info.

Expand full comment

I think it's Trump's way of asking for help, but he first needs to be suited up in a bright orange straight jacket.

Expand full comment

Ha, from his blithering idiots, certainly not in a serious way

Expand full comment

Been coming for years, got banned on FB and T for saying so. It wasn’t just the chump nuts who got banned. Those opposing his Nazi propaganda methods did too.

Expand full comment

That guy's brain is seriously disturbed. That those who still back him don't recognize that makes one question the functioning of their brains too.

Expand full comment

I agree. Trump's pronouncements are likely the result of his falling apart under what's bound to be huge duress for a guy like him. The GOPers on Capitol Hill have no excuse not to speak up.

Expand full comment

does anyone really believe they'll give us the satisfaction of reacting?? of course not.

esp if we're all looking to them to be shocked or whatever... they will never admit anything. that would make them appear to be like us... and that's the last thing they wanna look like right now. just ignore them.

Expand full comment

They are outlaws.

Expand full comment

Trump is not disturbed. He is rational and he knows what he is doing.

He successfully managed to call up and deploy a civilian army once.

There is no reason to think he cannot do it again, and, in a more organized way by avoiding the use of Michael Flynn and Roger Stone, who were incompetent as organizers of the last coup attempt on Jan 06, 2021.

Expand full comment

Agree, Mike. By calling him mentally ill, it gives him a pass for his behavior. He knows EXACTLY what he is doing

Expand full comment