464 Comments

There is so much fear in this country right now. The previous administration ruled with fear. It continues to instill fear with lies. As a mental health professional, I can tell you fear is underneath powerlessness, and it is the basis of trauma. Those believing the lie live in anger which masks their fear and those that understand the truth of this situation live with a fear of losing our democracy. We live in the land of the free…yet we are not free because we live in fear.

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Fear is the absence of hope. Hope comes from effective leaders and the strength in numbers of mass protests by like minded people.

This is something that has to happen in broad daylight, not on the screen of your smartphone. Images of a jam packed places like the Mall in Washington DC is where people find hope.

The left needs fewer hand wringers living in fear and more folks with signs in their hands standing shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with a million others.

I predict women will take the lead to get it started.

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I fully agree with the point you make Kim. The fear comes from a combination of the pattern of self-isolation that Americans have slowly imposed on themselves in the last six decades. People feel alone. True community, with its ups and downs, has been discounted by many. The siren song of rugged individualism has been too seductive. Paradoxically and ironically that sense of isolation has been buoyed by “social” media where the communities are tangled, self-isolating, impersonal and, in the end ephemeral.

That fear has been strengthened too by the loss of hegemony American whites have begun to sense, ever-strengthening this century. Americans do not feel hegemonic in the world any longer. They don’t feel secure in their jobs. They certainly don’t feel secure in their whiteness. The book Deaths of Despair acutely points this general angst out. The opioid epidemic is more symbolic than anything else of how far and hard Americans sense they have fallen. And so they take refuge in anger.

Ultimately, though, this conglomeration of ills has led to an outbreak of jaw-dropping stupidity. Americans do everything to the max and now a good many are doing stupidity this way. Frankly, it stuns me.

It seems clear to me now the desperate need to put Trump away. This boil will be lanced only with a highly publicized perp walk. The possibility exists, rather strongly in fact, that this will turn him into a martyr and catapult America into a fearful cycle of violence. That’s not certain. People may awaken from their fever dream and see Trump as a small, squalid man as so many Americans outside the circle of fear and failure do now.

But to fail at this signal task will be to surrender freedom. That would be a much worse outcome. There are those who are working relentlessly to bring Trump to justice. But do enough Americans have the stomach to offer open encouragement to Letitia James, the SDNY, and the Department of Justice? The legal entities must feel the will of the public behind them of the investigations will Peter out, buried in meaningless legalese.

There is fear on the left as well. Fear of Trump whipping up his supporters. One hopes that does not become a paralyzing malaise.

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American stupidity is world-famous. However it is not universal, present company is a case in point. It is also not evenly distributed. Where I live in California, the rampant stupidity is on the decline. The reason that DT and his family moved out of New York City, their family home for three generations (grandparents born in Kallstadt Germany), is because of nonstop picketing and protests in front of Trump Tower. That family is no longer welcome, so they felt compelled to move to Florida, where they are far more welcome. NYC has long ago stopped being a safe harbor for white racists, once they have been identified.

Your concerns about the legal will, well, relying on media reports is of marginal help. Media reports should be the last resort for information, because it is often written more to attract readership than to convey clearly the reality on the ground. Too much hyperbole. Too much highlighting of isolated events. For reality on the ground, for true trends, you need real people, not journalists subject to the vicissitudes of their editors and employers: you already have Heather and the people in this community. Excellent resource. The expert commentators on MSNBC and CNN and elsewhere are also clear voices. The Lincoln project people, all of them, despite their internal troubles, are very smart. James Carville. These are go to sources.

I think the will is there, Eric. No more Bill Barr. DT is going to be arrested, if not this year then next year. Rudy Giuliani is almost there already, he’s about to be indicted. The wheels of American justice grind exceptionally slowly, but they grind surely. Once they have their case, the criminals are in trouble. Forever. It’s a stain that never goes away, and in this case, jail time is very very likely.

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As usual, Eric, brilliant analysis.

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Thanks Roland. At my core, I think there are enough brilliant, dedicated and fearless legal entities to bring Trump to justice. I’m not certain of this because the concept of Trump’s legions have a habit of terrorizing people. To be honest though, we have mostly seen this in the insular world of politics.

An as significant unknown is which way the chips will fall if/when Trump is indicted. When he’s on trial, how far will his supporters go to back him? If he’s convicted what will be the fallout? I’m not at all sanguine that there would not be, say, an assassination attempt on a judge, lawyers or jurors. Then what’s the fallout? Nobody can look that far down the path.

Of course Trump’s support may be more ephemeral. If there is a sensational revelation (say, proof of a link to Epstein) there could be mass revulsion.

Or he could just slowly fade away and when arrested appear as he is - the emperor with no clothes.

Bad analogy, especially in a section referencing Epstein. :(

People propped up the emperor with no clothes.

I do think, though, that how this entire situation resolves goes through Trump.

I appreciate your comments Roland. Always.

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I, too, hope in the lawyers working to indict Tя☭mp, et al. But you are right to raise concern about Tя☭mp's legions endangering the lives of judges, lawyers, and jurors. Does Fauci still have security? What about the Republican GA Secretary of State Raffensperger? And employees of Dominion?

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My concern, too.

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Something I've never understood, though, is WHY the anger?

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Anger is usually a façade for the emotion underneath, the one they deny and don't want to deal with...shame, guilt, frustration, anxiety, loneliness...fear.

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They are not living the life that they were brought up to dream about. They "fear" that it is their fault somehow and thus need sombody else to blame.

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Ooooo, Stuart, I think that slant is interesting. I have thought they felt entitled just because they are white people. But there is nothing more shaming than to be anger at oneself for one's lot in life. I think it is more that they are angry that POC were getting help educationally and job-wise as our country attempted to equalize and dilute our caste system of perpetual poverty and inequality. That rattles the hearts of those who fear being the next disenfranchised population...and there may be historical guilt knowing what our white founders actually did to Make America Great--- they owned, tortured, raped, whipped and worked people to death just like colonials did in the "Pink" countries around the world. Our shadow is facing us squarely at this moment in time. We need to look at it, smell it's stink and deal with it's shame and guilt once and for all before we can fully be on the path to equality in this country and around the world. The Party of Pinocchio DO NOT WANT our people to be educated and or vote. They want total power and control. Just like Hitler, Putin and all the other autocrats and dictators who lust for power. These cult followers are merely tools for power. But We might need to get out from the safety of this forum and spew Truth in all ways and speak out now. I think it is time to try to break through the propaganda. I think those who lie should lose their right to free speech during this coup on sanity. Sounds a bit radical, but that might be what it takes to save Democracy.

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Jan 6th were mostly middle aged white men in a deluded midlife crisis. No hobbies, no love, no other passionate activity as an outlet for real pain ( other than hoarding guns and playing soldier). Empty and lost lives, desperate to cure their self imposed meaninglessness.

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The Capitol Rioters Aren’t Like Other Extremists:

"...a new kind of violent mass movement in which more “normal” Trump supporters—middle-class and, in many cases, middle-aged people without obvious ties to the far right—joined with extremists in an attempt to overturn a presidential election."

"Two-thirds are 35 or older, and 40 percent are business owners or hold white-collar jobs. Unlike the stereotypical extremist, many of the alleged participants in the Capitol riot have a lot to lose. They work as CEOs, shop owners, doctors, lawyers, IT specialists, and accountants. Strikingly, court documents indicate that only 9 percent are unemployed."

"...most of the insurrectionists do not come from deep-red strongholds. People familiar with America’s political geography might imagine the Capitol rioters as having marinated in places where they are unlikely to encounter anyone from the opposite side of the political spectrum."

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/02/the-capitol-rioters-arent-like-other-extremists/617895/

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And they were told to do it by the President of the United States. Not to excuse their crimes, but if they truly believed they were being called into action by the commander-in-chief, one can understand the delusion.

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Wow! You hit that nail right square on it’s head!

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But that very "radicality" kills democracy just as effectively. Lies, big and small have always been a very basic mainstay of politics. You only win when you convince a majority of the people without unduly denigrating the unbelievers. They are necessary too.

On question of the "white. Supremacy" arguement. It is an "effect" and not a cause in my mind. The Black Community is just easy to blame and the Rich White Community has always sought to keep the "Poor Whites" agin them rather than with them. Divide and conquer!

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Agreed Stuart, divide and conquer has always been the go to playbook of those in power.

When we scapegoat, demonize and ridicule the “stupid” Republicans we just play into their hands.

I believe Biden understands this and is attempting to bring hope and opportunity to those who feel left behind.

It’s a radical approach disarming the opposition.

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The racism is camouflage for the classism.

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I know that would be the answer to radically. But this is a Constitutional Crisis. Can we not measure actions and words by others that attempts to lie, gaslight, propagandize in an effort to overthrow a democracy against our Constitution and Bill of Rights? If it is anti-American at this critical moment in our history, can we not nip it? And later, when sanity returns to 40% of our people, we can let freedom of speech ring again. How do you protect against this rapid rise in totalitarianism otherwise? Is violent revolution our only upcoming answer? Can we not find another way by using slam dunk Justice immediately against these thugs spewing lies? One cannot have a democracy with liars. That is where we have arrived. This is no longer a democracy because we must trust one another with basic truths in order for democracy to exist. Is that not exactly what has been allowed to happen? Conspiracy theorists tried to stop our electoral counts by rioting at our Capital. Now they refuse to accept our ballots and are given power to re-count what has already been recounted multiple times because they believe the Big Lie. Yes, we have been divided and we are being conquered. This is a radical time and requires radical actions. I fear we are trying to trust our DOJ system. Is it too slow for the major infiltration of those hostile to our country and the damage already perpetrated on our democracy? Would a few years of radical curtailed freedom of lies be better than an out and out war? Or are we already too late to avoid a war? The world has looked to us for answers- do we have any? Really? Homegrown, cultified, armed terrorists have risen. What is the answer to this?

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Thank you for your comment Penelope- I have been thinking so much of what you just put into words. Free speech is one of the bedrocks of our democracy, but at what cost? Allowing liars to go unchecked and to propagate their falsehoods without consequences isn’t working. I don’t believe all republicans are (were) evil, some of my family are both, but they’re being fed a 24/7 loop of lies from the x prez, hannity, tucker, and congress. To them their information is legitimate - because they trust these people. I can’t understand how the optics alone don’t make them second guess and wonder.

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Yes, Joe, free speech, a pillar of our country is being used to manipulate and destroy our democracy. We need to find a way to level the field where lies and propaganda are not allowed to destroy a democracy. I have no idea how to do that quickly except using with radical interventions..

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100%.

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Demagoguery takes advantage of these facts. “Offering fake protection from real pain”-Tim Snyder

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I do see this in some, Stuart... but right now I'm thinking about those who fell for the Q conspiracy angle. The 'woke' crowd. They don't fall into this group... ?

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Qanon believers are the opposite of "woke."

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Agree with TC. Nancy we here are the “woke.” QAnon are the sleepyheads, the cult followers.

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haha! I know! I was referring to those who think they are... (like the health coaches & my family members who "found the truth" in Q)!

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If this is true why don’t they put the blame where it belongs, on the kleptocrats?

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Surely the answer to your question is that the kleptocrats have manipulated those folks, directing their ire to targets they can be easily riled up about.

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Trisha, this resonates with me. I am always aware that to see most clearly, to make the best decisions, I need to view situations dispassionately.

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Thank you Kim. Your posts have helped me understand the emotion fueling the angry behavior patterns of former close friendships that I've needed to give up. Your explanation atleast gets to the WHY of it, which helps with the grief I have experienced and it syncs up exactly with the personalities of my former friends.

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100%!

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I have wondered that, too, Kelly. I heard/read about a theory from a researcher, Robert Pape, University of Chicago, who with others has examined data from the insurrection. He wrote in a recent Washington Post opinion piece: "One driver overwhelmingly stood out: fear of the Great Replacement. Great Replacement theory has achieved iconic status with white nationalists and holds that minorities are progressively replacing White populations due to mass immigration policies and low birthrates." He goes on to explain his findings. Worth a read. He was also interviewed on Ammanpour & Co. and wrote a piece in Esquire, probably elsewhere.

It's one theory. But an interesting one.

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I believe Pape is correct, and it goes along with what Kim is saying. Anger is what I call a "secondary emotion." It's easier to feel anger than to experience the emotions of fear or shame, etc. What so many are fearing is loss of what they believe is their "right" as white people. They can't tolerate/fear that possibility, so become angry.

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Yes, anger is a secondary emotion. So, we have to ask what lies beneath the anger? What are we afraid of? In this case, it's a fear of losing white supremacy. And also white Christianity.

And fear of other things too. Michele Goldberg: "People voted for Trump for reasons besides racism. There was also sexism. Some voters were just partisan Republicans or thought that reality TV is real and that Trump was as successful as “The Apprentice” made him seem. I once met a young man at a Trump rally who’d voted for Obama but was worried about the taxes he’d pay when he inherited his family’s car dealership.

Trump, however, seems to grasp that racism is what put him over the top. It’s what made his campaign seem wild and transgressive and hard to look away from."

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Trump had a number of groups at his disposal and he took full advantage of their angst and fear - white supremacists, evangelicals, dominionists, misogynists, etc. He played to them all.

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In our society, men are allowed anger. Fear, shame and guilt denote weakness and are discouraged.

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Awful lot of insurrectionist women, though. Just sayin'. Marjorie Taylor Greene is the angriest member of Congress.

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Hmmm. Do not agree with that. I believe she is merely smug and very self serving.

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Ashleigh Babbit was the only one shot and killed by police for crawling through the broken glass window/doorway to the offices.

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Sadly yes and the most strident ones, like Greene, just confound me.

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Once people are hardened to anger, it’s much easier to manipulate them. Demagoguery 101.

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Ah, YOU were the prompting person! Great article! Thank you! I just posted this link elsewhere herein:

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/02/the-capitol-rioters-arent-like-other-extremists/617895/

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Trump fueled the racist hate into anger —he stoked the fires through hours and hours on Twitter. Hitler didn’t have social media.

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These are people who need someone to BLAME. They are playground bullies who never grew up to take responsibility for their own lives. In the Obama era, for example, there were many re-education opportunities for coal miners and improved health benefits. How unfair! /sarcasm. Compared with the majority of Immigrants who come to this country and take any job they can get and work hard, they are just windbags who want to get rich quick. Calling themselves Patriots is the ultimate offense.

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As a retired teacher (1994-2016) I started teaching in the early days of parents sticking up for their children, always blaming the teacher or others. It started with a few students “who could do no wrong”. By the time I retired, it was most of them. I never had any trouble with students whose parents asked me to call them if I did - they behaved, did their homework and learned well. With the others, I tried to explain to parents that they weren’t doing their kids any favors by backing them when they were obviously wrong. Better to learn when you’re 8 and take a classmate’s pencil than when you’re 18 and get arrested for shoplifting. Most parents didn’t get it. That’s the upbringing that has led us to this mess of anger and blaming everyone instead of their own actions or inaction.

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Excellent example of the acculturation to “blaming others” and victim hood. Those parents also learned it, and the Fox News culture has purposely fed it.

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Agreed!! These are folks who are raised/acculturated in an environment of blaming others for every perceived negative in their own life all the while giving away their power to change it and exacerbating their feeling of powerlessness

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It’s interesting how susceptible human beings can be when a person in authority starts repeating messages that make them feel better—like it’s all because of them that your lives aren’t so great anymore.

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Stanley Milgram. Hahah Arendt.

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3rd time today, Ted Keyes, I’ve totally agreed with you!

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“Do not obey in advance, (Tim Synder) for you teaches power what it has over you.

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Ha ha Stanley!

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A childhood of hurt

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& inadequacy... no love. You can not love another, when you have never loved yourself. That is the former guy.

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Wise words. Mary Trump's book gave a lot of detail about FG that explained so much.

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His father was a malignant, abusive man.

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And his mother not much better.

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And so was Fred’s father.

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We know that abuse is multigenerational, for sure. And now discovering that in some cases the effects of trauma can actually be encoded in DNA, so the passage is more organic, in addition to the toxic environment.

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USA is becoming a majority-minority country. The fear is loss of white privilege

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This interview has an answer about who stormed the capitol

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dskVval50AE

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We saw the white male presence in the many videos of that day.

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This interview with Robert A. Pape is worth watching. Please take the time...it is short and concise and surprising.

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Very insightful. 🙏

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Why the anger? These people feel that America is about white supremacy. They are simultaneously terrified and enraged that white people may be losing a monopoly on power. Their identity depends on (conservative, straight, propertied, male) white people calling the shots. They think that's what this country is really all about, and they are both terrified and enraged at the thought that are no longer the majority and might lose their imagined birthright to power.

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Whose anger? I think there is plenty of anger in people of all opinions about the state of our country. And the "shame, guilt, frustration, anxiety, loneliness...fear" Kim Weidman mentions below are also pervasive. Are any of us living the life we were brought up to dream about, Stuart Attewell? This is a very disturbing and disturbed era we are living through, and though it is possible to sometimes take a bit of comfort from looking at the many times in world history that the human race has managed to survive, it's hard to take the long view when we are living in the midst of one of those times. Taking progressive action can only do so much to alleviate the guilt, frustration, anxiety, etc. Not a reason to give up, but definitely a reason to stop, take a breath, do some self care and spend time with like-minded friends.

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Anger is a secondary emotion.

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Agreed

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TY, well said. Linda Seidel,M.S. Retired ? at 74 yrs.

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100%!

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Trump tore a hole in the body politic and his troops won’t let it heal because the wound nourishes them - the festering works to their benefit like flies laying eggs in the eyes of the dying.

They pick the scab, and will keep picking it, pouring their salted lies into it and spreading their poison coast to coast until they either die at their own hand, or so foul the system that in desperation, the people succumb, sacrificing their liberty to an autocrat.

We came perilously close to that fate, and today, instead of acknowledging the damage done by following their leader down his path to perdition, the party of Lincoln embraces him. They have undeniably cast their fate with his.

Banish the fetter of bipartisanship, Democrats. There is no bargaining with a boil. Lance it and be done with it. Move forward with the Agenda – pass the legislation needed to stop the bleeding and begin the healing.

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“You don’t negotiate with terrorists” is an old hostage negotiator saying.

This is the same sort of scenario, only it is democracy being held hostage at this point.

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Perfectly said! We don’t negotiate with terrorists! Manchin, Senima, need to realize this sooner than later. So does our Commander in Chief, he a class act, but kindness and etiquette don’t work when dealing with Domestic Enemies.

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Totally agree!

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Pretty repulsive imagery R., but point taken.

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Any answer to the "Trupist faction" gives a platform for more attack from the Trump Cult. We all need to publicly and privately communicate our desire to support reasonable debate, and a government with a conscience. Let's all of us support a "Democracy Now" movement publicly and privately! Please read Stuart Atwell's letter above and help us organize a clear headed movement to rescue for our fragile United States of America!!

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Thank you for your earlier post, our voters all share responsibility for our governance. I have no more patience for lies than anyone else and I believe that we can find a large majority of people who'll support some of us carrying signs, and maybe occupying a public square or two on a regular basis.

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Yikes. But you are so right.

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100%!

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While the GOP appears to have lost all ability to be even somewhat reasonable, why are the Dems insisting on "working with them"? It's not like the GOP rolled out the red carpet of bipartisanship over the last 12 years (specifically). The GOP is batshit crazy, but the Dems need to stop letting the minority party pull all the strings. Enough is enough!

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I really cannot get my head around the fact that those who instigated (trump and his criminal family), those who were complicit (republican congress people) and the terrorist minions who participated (everyone in the videos) in the attempted and violent January 6th political coup have not been indicted, tried, found guilty, and thrown in jail for the rest of their pathetic lives.

Why is the rule of law not taking hold here? I just don't get it and as far as I can tell, we are sinking further and further into the abyss of lawlessness and the type of 3rd world country that succumbs to and accepts violent and repressive "ideology" as a way of life. Thankfully, the majority voted the Biden/Harris administration into office BUT with the abject stupidity of a large subsection of the masses, who obviously can't distinguish their hind ends from their elbow, and the evil that currently directs republican mindset, IMO we are in deep bird doo as a country.

But hey, real estate prices are increasing at a ridiculous rate so there's a "shiny" new distraction . . . . wow people are "making a bundle" so who cares about politics anymore as long as I get mine?! Yeesh.

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Janet we have a very fine AG now. He will do everything possible. Biden has an excellent team. The cult isn't growing, and there's lots of trouble on the other side. People need to organize as John Lewis made clear. Do not feel helpless. Talk to your friends, and reach out to Ellie Kona. There is a lot to do.

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Thanks, Fern. You're right.

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Yvette Schaff Kirilenko, I could not find you on the forum. Ellie is a subscriber and very active. She is lovely and hard working. When I see her name, I will give yours to her. She was on the forum yesterday with information. Look at the comments on yesterday's forum. Please let me know if you make contact with her. Thank you for getting involved this way.

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This kind of complex investigation takes a lot of time and manpower to come up with prosecutable cases. When you factor in the specter of Congressional involvement and Presidential incitement, it must be thorough and complete.

I want congressional heads on a platter. I don’t want a sloppy, hasty investigation that has “technicalities” that allow guilty people to go free.

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Ally. I think this is the first time I've ever heard on the LFFA Forum..."I want congressional heads on a platter." I just burst out laughing, picturing what that might look like! Headless Mitch! But perfectly understandable to feel that way. Thanks for my 2nd big belly laugh of the day.....

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I agree with janjamm. 1/6 is the single largest most complicated crime in FBI and DOJ history. I don’t know if overextended is the right word, but they are definitely stretched. Patience is called for. Rudy Giuliani is about to be indicted any day. DT will be arrested, probably this year, if not then next year. The American criminal justice system grinds slowly, very slowly, but it grinds thoroughly. When they have their case, it’s usually something close to ironclad. DT and criminal associates and criminal family members will be in the news soon enough for their crimes. Never fear. Patience. 😘

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In my town, when there is a homicide, people start posting a a just few days after, asking why they haven't caught the killer! It's as it people have lost a sense of time or a sense of legal process. There are hundreds of cases coming out of 1/6. Hundreds of leads to follow up. Hundreds to identify. I think the FBI and security are doing their job, finding proof, ID-ing people every day. It's a long schlog. Meanwhile, insurrectionists are "lawyering up," raising money, and groping for a defense. 1/6 is not a homicide in the neighborhood, it's a complicated legal process.

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Hi Jan, I’m reposting this here to make sure you see it.

“I agree with janjamm. 1/6 is the single largest most complicated crime in FBI and DOJ history. I don’t know if overextended is the right word, but they are definitely stretched. Patience is called for. Rudy Giuliani is about to be indicted any day. DT will be arrested, probably this year, if not then next year. The American criminal justice system grinds slowly, very slowly, but it grinds thoroughly. When they have their case, it’s usually something close to ironclad. DT and criminal associates and criminal family members will be in the news soon enough for their crimes. Never fear. Patience. 😘

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The rule of law assumes everyone buys in to it. Now we're learning it's optional. As for politicians backing the former president, most don't believe his shit but they like living in DC and don't want to go back to some podunk town in upstate NY i.e. Stefanik. So they play along in hope he drops dead.

The reason there is a base for this mess is b/c their elected reps and the former guy have repeated it so many times it has to be true.

The problem is there is a substantial mass of misguided middle to lower middle class Americans sufficient to keep this clown show on the air. To get it cancelled will take substantial bucks from all the liberals living in gated or almost gated communities given to the real grass roots of the left dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

If it all goes to hell, it will be the fault of NIMBY Democrats in my not humble opinion b/c they had the financial means to push it over the edge. The rest of us are trying to figure out whether to pay the mortgage or get our kids braces, a college education or something just as important.

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Janet, I am coming to the belief that the party of family values and the rule of law should be more correctly title the Party of Lawyers, Precedents, and Exceptions. As such, my behavior must be only judged in a court where the burden of individual responsibility is replaced by the burden of proof and wherein the exceptions to prosecution for my actions is rewrit in a narrative of other similar sounding cases where the defendent is left free by arguing how precedent cases exonerate me of wrongdoing. Thus, I do and if caught am likely to be found not guilty or not guilty enough to be tried where the dollar cost has to be borne by the state and a not guilty judgment will likely include recovery of court costs by the dependent. To wit, Trump and his thousands of suits.

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"Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), who has maintained he can work with the Republicans, commented: 'So disheartening. It makes you really concerned about our country…. I’m still praying we’ve still got 10 good solid patriots within that conference.'"

What will it take to convince the West Virginia senator that to the Republican Party, "good solid patriotism" is today defined as abject, obsequious loyalty to the former president. Or silence; a profound, deep, deafening silence, broken only by the single voice of Liz Cheney.

Congressional bipartisanship is dead, and wishful thinking by Joe Manchin will not bring it back to life. However, continued wishful thinking on the part of Senator Manchin can enable the Republicans to block any signficant initiatives by Democrats.

Got that, Joe?

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Maybe this will be the straw that gives Manchin just enough courage to crush the filibuster. It will provide a pretty stark image of what the consequences will be of caving in to the Republican autocrats. Does he really want to whitewash a Trump induced attack on our Congress, on our Democracy? If he joins the Democrats I have a sense that Sinema will not stand alone. If you're looking looking for a patriot Senator, you need look no farther than the mirror.

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If Manchin thinks there are 10 Republican Senators willing to work with him, he should go find them. He can even make them a promise that if, on the day the Senate votes for the bipartisan commission, 11 Republicans vote for it, then he, Manchin, will vote...against. How's that for bipartisanship?

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Got to do more than praying, Joe Manchin!

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HCR paints a grim picture. But it’s worse than she describes. It’s not that “…our Republican lawmakers, who have taken an oath to defend the Constitution, are trying to protect their leader…” It’s that Republicans, in facing a choice between abiding by the Constitution, and wielding power, have decided the Constitution has to go. We keep thinking the Trump party is torn between their obligation to follow the rule of law and fealty to Trump. They’re not. As McCarthy and McConnell and Graham and all the rest keep demonstrating, it’s all Trump. They’ll tear the Constitution into shreds, and gleefully toss the confetti at the next Trump “The Election was Stolen” rally. Soon, the Arizona auditors will report that thousands of votes were fraudulent. Then similar audits in Michigan, Georgia and Pennsylvania will do the same (see yesterday’s brilliant report from WaPo - https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2021/05/21/arizona-election-audit-trump-maricopa/) We keep underestimating the Trumpists, at our peril.

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Biden has the bully pulpit. He needs to use it. It's a nice sentiment to "go high", but we NEED to hear from him, if not on a daily basis, how about weekly? It is NOT, return to "normal executive branch" anymore.

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Watch the press conferences. Go to the website whitehouse.gov. The Biden administration is working hard every minute and doesn’t need to windbag like the idjt did.

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And yesterday I tuned into MSNBC midday which I never usually can do and Biden and the Joint Conference with South Korea were on nonstop. And it was amazing watching this President presidenting 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼🤩🤩 you can betcha your bottom dollar that Fox viewers will never see it!!

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Christy, you are on fire today. You have buoyed my somewhat deflated spirit today.

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One of the perks of community! Maybe we could start a gofundme to buy ad time on Fox Not News to show the actual truth happening? not sure how any of that works but it's one way to get the truth on there.

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Lincoln Project is a PAC with money, media tech, and donation buttons...

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Gigi, you wanna bet?

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Absolutely. The Dems/Progressives/Independents need to Stop attempting to work with the Party of Pinocchio. They are not rational. They are anti-American, anti-Constitution and are our modern fascists in Christian get-up. Truly, America-- we need to stand up right now and demand Truth and stop working with Long-nosed Liars. Get rid of the filbuster, gerrymandering and do not tolerate anti-Constitutional behavior. If I as a normal American and did what most of these thugs have done, I would be in jail. If I were of a darker shade, I would not be alive if I committed these thugs' atrocities against civility and our country. Shut their cult leaders up and you will see the lies fade. To keep the mind control going, you must have constant reinforcement. Shut down all anti-American/Democracy venues that spew Hitlerian propagandist lies-- sites like Fox, OAN and Qanon. It should have been nipped in the bud with obstructionists against democracy beginning with McConnell years and years ago. Turn off their microphones and educate the masses with Truth.

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After penning my posts this morning, I came across this on WaPo. It summarizes very well how we are underestimating the Republican threat to democracy. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/05/20/american-democracy-is-even-worse-shape-than-you-think/

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100%

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Just finished the WaPo story. Excellent. Highly recommend as well.

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JR, I don't know anyone underestimating the danger do you? Speak to your friends. If you want to help politically reach out to Ellie, she can get you stated.

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Fern, many Democrats and media people underestimate the danger. Joe Manchin, Kristen Sinema and Joe Biden are continually being played by Republicans who dangle a bipartisan carrot while swinging a heavily partisan stick. Most reporters and editorialists reporting on Republican obstructionism and double-dealing throw in a couple of “both sides” paragraphs in every story in an effort to be “balanced”. Republicans understand this, and exploit it. For example, McConnell’s claim that the “For the People” act is a partisan threat to elections has succeeded in killing that bill. All while Republicans write dozens of voter suppression bills and strengthen gerrymandering. Or McCarthy’s and McConnell’s claims that a Jan 6th Commission is a partisan attack on Republicans. Which seems likely to succeed in killing the Commission. Democrats have been too accommodating. Or maybe it’s just that the Democrats’ majority is too thin. Either way, McConnell and McCarthy are winning.

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I’m of the mind that Biden is not being played, sees the danger better than any of us, has much better information and advisors than any of us and is playing the long game with multiple fires and dangers

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I think you’re right about Biden, behind the scenes. He watched McConnell stiff Obama (and America) for 8 years, he understands their game. Still, I’d like Biden to be more forthright about calling McConnell and McCarthy on their lies and schemes. And pay “bipartisanship” less lip service. As for the long game, I think the Republicans are more ruthless, more dishonest and more lawless. Unabashedly so. We keep thinking that they’ll be constrained by a guilty conscience and adherence to the rule of law. We’re wrong about that.

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Biden should be more vocal in calling McConnell & Company names? Hmm, this sounds too much like a corollary of the maxim, "An asshole doesn't become less of an asshole for being called an asshole." Biden's audience is Republican voters who have bought the idea that their leaders are on the side of the "little guy," instead on the side of authoritarian oligarchs.

He will have to do that with effective actions and leadership, not name-calling, and I hope there's still enough functioning elements in our government to make such effective action possible.

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Biden should be telling Americans that McConnell and company are lying, every time they lie. Biden should explain what the lies are, and why the Republicans are lying. For example, when McConnell says that the For the People Act is “a partisan takeover (and) a Democratic power grab", Biden should say “Mitch McConnell is spreading blatant lies about an important law that will ensure voting rights for all Americans. McConnell fears that if every American exercises their right to vote, Republicans won’t win elections. He doesn’t want you all to vote.” McConnell and crew lie constantly, about voting rights or the Jan 6th Commission or the Infrastructure Bill or the election, and their lies go unchallenged. Every time a Republican lies, they should get hammered by Democrats and the media.

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And, ruthless dishonesty and lawlessness too often overtakes good no matter the amount of effort of well intentioned people. Masses of good people live under tyranny around the world - we're just catching up! Democrats need to step up the game and take off the gloves, so to speak.

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I’m under no delusions re the Koch/Putin/GOPfor years now, but yes there is much evidence from comments everywhere that folks don’t understand their evil intentions.

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Totally agree.

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I hope you're right. It would be reassuring to see evidence of their work.

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I believe the intelligence on China is such that Biden is tackling the most important stuff every day. And building on our alliance with South Korea is essential. Covid and the Cult of Trump are not the only wolves at our door.

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JR, your mention of "Republicans who dangle a bipartisan carrot while swinging a heavily partisan stick" reminds me of the famous Bugs Bunny quote "What's up, Doc?" Democrats must must use this question and the question "Are you sure?" If they don't, we could all be in big trouble.

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JR, I was answering your question. I am aware of the situation as I stay engaged and up-to-date. A contact was suggested to you because you expressed concern, and I thought, perhaps, you might want to do some work for candidates or in other areas.

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Fern, you mentioned “Ellie”. I don’t know who that is, or why you’re recommending her.

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She is a subscriber and had a robust comment regarding political help on yesterday's forum. As I indicated in my reply, if you care to do some political work she it an excellent contact for that. She is lovely, has a network for those that want to help candidates, alert the public to issues, etc. Ellie Kona is on the forum most days.

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Thanks, I hadn’t run across Ellie. I’m active in local political action groups, have been for decades. But thanks for the suggestion.

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Then obv you do not read this stream as intended.

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Dems should stop trying to beat them and join them, asking for recounts in some of the elections Dems thought they might be able to win but didn’t. Jaime Harrison. Theresa Greenfield. Cal Cunningham. MJ Hegar. It just seems like whenever the GOP points out smoke, there is actually a fire but they’re the ones with the lighter fluid and matches in their hands.

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I agree. Did McTurtleneck really win the KY vote. Seems it was close... How about Susan Collins? Did she really win? For that matter.... Did Taylor-Greene win?

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Greene “won” because her Democratic opponent dropped out due to death threats to him and his family. I sincerely hope that is being investigated.

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I like to refer to her as M T Greene because she seems empty to me.

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Thank you, your M T Greene is my LOL of the day and my new go-to reference for her!

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Betsy, TY. I'm with Ellie! My 3rd big belly laugh of the day!

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Hi Yvette, can you post a link on that, so we can read up on it? Thanks.

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I'm not sure, but most of MSM coverage at the time focused on two factors:

(1) that the 14th District was tailor-made for Greene, see, e.g.,

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-someone-like-marjorie-taylor-greene-could-win-again/

and (2) that Van Ausdal had personal doubts and marital troubles, see

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/10/17/kevin-van-ausdal-qanon-marjorie-greene-georgia/

This of course doesn't necessarily mean that there weren't the predictable internet crazies.

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That is what I thought I had read as well.

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I mean, it’s a slippery slope for sure. And probably not one we want to slide down. But what we’re doing now (saying, no, no it was fair over and over) doesn’t seem to be working.

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https://www.foxnews.com/politics/marjorie-taylor-greene-opponent-drop-out-georgia-house I read somewhere Ausdal received threats and moved to protect his family. As I can't remember where I read this, I'm not sure if it is true or not. Will keep looking. But someone on twitter did an analysis of several of the big losses for Democrats, like McConnell and Graham and the numbers did not add up. I posted it but it was several days ago.

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This looks like more accurate infomation on why he dropped out.https://www.foxnews.com/politics/marjorie-taylor-greene-opponent-drop-out-georgia-house

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Democrats demanding recounts where margins were not very narrow would just feed the Republican narrative that election fraud is everywhere, when in fact it is always micro-scale and vanishingly rare. It would just feed the narrative that elections cannot be trusted, when in fact multiple authorities and courts have attested that the 2020 election was the most secure ever. Joining the Republicans this way would feed some of their biggest lies.

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This was from twitter about McConnell and Graham's numbers from the election that do not add up.https://twitter.com/GrassrootsSpeak/status/1387493542935867395?s=20

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Interesting. Thanks!

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I like this idea. Start with KY.

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Very early in my training as a hostage negotiator, I learned a variety of skills for specific situations; dealing with a hostage taker who was engaged in criminal conduct and found themselves in a law enforcement trap (think bank robbery interrupted) is what we’d call a “barter” situation while someone who was emotionally overwhelmed (think someone holding spouse and kids over an infidelity and wanting to “make a point”) was what we’d call more of a “vent snd solve the problem” situation. For a terrorist situation, there was one rule: “don’t negotiate with terrorists”

Today’s Republiqans are holding democracy itself hostage. Do not negotiate with them. There is no “bipartisan” in today’s congress. From McConnell’s stated objective to stop everything President Biden wants to do to the man who “won’t take yes for an answer” McCarthy they have demonstrated they are not playing the same “game” as the Democratic Party.

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What's the saying? When someone tells you what they are, believe them?

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I understand the "do not negotiate", but I just wonder if no one will negotiate, especially in politics, only over-powering the suspect would be effective. What does that even look like?!

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Negotiations only work when there is something to negotiate with. The intransigence of “stop Biden at all costs” and not “taking yes for an answer” is, in essence, holding our democracy hostage in order for them to maintain governmental power as a minority party. There are times for negotiation. Today’s Republican Party has arrived at a point where they are holding democracy hostage.

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Ally, I am in complete agreement. Too many people believe we are dealing with normal humans. We are way beyond that. We are in territory we have never been in and the Trumplicans change their stripes constantly. Not to repeat myself, they have dismantled democracy. We are foolish to believe we can work with them while they continue to gaslight and lie boldfacedly. I feel we are paralyzed with fear if we do something and fear if we don't. What would have changed the tide in 1930's Germany propagandist machines just before Jews were pushed into ghettos? I am very serious here, dear friends. I still cannot believe we are trying to work with people who are proven Seditionists and liars and who vowed to not participate and do their jobs. We The People should have the power to fire people who do not do their jobs. No waiting till voting, because they have tried to rig our elections. Now they should stand before a council of knowledgeable citizens and have their actions (and hearts) weighed against their job descriptions, our Democratic principles, our Constitution and our Rule of Law. If they cannot meet the requirements and have forsaken their job responsibilities, they need to be dismissed immediately and never allowed to return to public service paid for by The People.

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Get rid of the filibuster?

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Today’s read makes me think of a subject that is always at the back of my mind. When the US started it was 13 states. This covered a landmass that seemed genuinely huge. States seemed to be a reasonable notion given that they were trying to get agreement. Let the local areas govern themselves and we will come together only on the big issues. Stepping way back this is what I have taken from those beginning days.

By the time of the civil war the US had expanded to include much more landmass and many more states. The north and the south had differentiated into industrial and agricultural areas and states still maintained their ability to be very different. Over slavery, but really many other issues as well, the war started. At its end the US as a whole had decided that abject legal slavery was out but the states were still maintained as self-governing entities allowed to culture differing ideas and standards.

Racial repression became one of the biggest areas of cultural difference between the states and sparked many conflicts between our national identity and our local identities. We were still not one country. During WWII we came together to fight an outside repressive regime. While I feel certain the underlying regional and state level cultural differences were still there they didn’t play a clear or obviously detrimental role on the battle fields. Perhaps, at this time we were as united as we have ever been.

After WWII we entered a period of prosperity based on a wide spread and agreed upon craving for safety and normalcy. Eisenhower, our hero of the war, became president and seemed to embody that character of normalcy but in fact he was the one that started black ops and the attempted control of communism through the covert overthrow of governments in what we considered the ‘little’ places in the world. The domino theory dominated fears but turned out to be false in actuality. During this time the state level differences quietly grew back as local areas were influenced by local personalities often ones who simply craved attention and power and knew that emphasizing differences rather than commonalities was the way to get it.

Nationally we took on the cold war, the space race, and the computerization of industry and society. A whole generation mobilized to get us out of Viet Nam, a war that our leadership seemed incapable of either winning or loosing. We saw our selves as the arbiters of freedom in the world while at home we were quietly dividing at the state and local levels driven by personalities that were gorging on fear, division and the ease of distorting the facts through local radio. These personalities recognized that they could command the attention of huge but local audiences and develop a popularity that fed them. Seeing this success the moguls of industry began buying local media stations and fostering personality driven news entertainment as actual news. This was coddled under our sacred if sanctimonious devotion to the idea of free speech the underlying tenant of which is that the average American is too educated and too smart to be constantly lied to, however, this turned out not to be true.

Then came the incredibly fast growth of the internet and social media took the stage; news entertainment had found its new home. Network TV and its attendant regulations that had been our safe guard were marginalized and finally thrown out as simply obsolete. All this while Face Book and its progeny occupy a national and international position was and is done at the local and state level because individuals get to choose what they read and look at and the attention of those individuals is more easily drawn to level of local topics. In short state and local politics became or remained the most important.

Then enter the current tide of Senators who made the filibuster a push button option that requires no energy or maintenance. Senators are state level elected officials controlled by the agenda and issues promoted in their home states. While members of a national group Democrats or Republicans for the most part they are ultimately controlled by the state level machinery that does or does not keep them in office. At one time politicians were envisioned to be ordinary men (not women) who had real lives and professions that they returned to after serving their country in a leadership role but this day is long past. Politics is now a life long career choice and therefore when elected it is paramount, not to lead, but to remain elected and this fact has governed us. Ultimately election facts are local and they are controlled by that same carefully tuned machinery of local disinformation and entertainment news that was purchased by huge non-local financial special interests.

So our national agenda is ultimately controlled by state level and local level concerns and the information quality delivered at that level. We have painfully learned that that information is not poor, because it is a most expertly crafted message tuned precisely to the smaller audience it is courting, it is simply not often actually true. So true has this been that the very notion of truth is now questioned.

So what do we do? How does this ocean liner of momentum turn? We have Texas rewriting the history it teaches its young. We have voter suppression laws locally being passed on the basis of the fear of election fraud well after our officials in charge of such things have been repeatedly vindicated in court. We have division in our country at a level unprecedented in history because we are now at a different position in history.

Then, miracle of miracles, our national identity reasserted itself partly due to the extreme distaste of what arose from the unexpected quarter of individual hubris and the attempt to elect the first female president. Disinformation, manipulation abounding in that contest put a such a ridiculous figure in office to the point that he could be disposed by a majority of American voters despite all the local entertainment (fake) news. To do it we had to embrace a true gentleman and elder long-term statesman, a bastion of respectability and one who has made efforts to see the country as a whole but has our ocean liner actually changed course? He can’t quite get the media to focus on him and what he is doing because the loud ruckus coming from the local entertainment news and their despicable star character keep playing to the crowd.

And, I think, because though he is captain of the ocean liner, commander in chief, he hasn’t actually turned the wheel and that is what he has to do. He has repaired or started to repair major holes in the boat and the boat may not be sinking quite like it was but it is still headed in the same direction it was before. That is a lack of meaningful long term national government, a willingness by our governing bodies to be controlled by personalities and power structures that are not national but rather stem from the local aberrations and blatant disinformation fed to local audiences by a media controlled by financial special interests. Our head is moving but our shoelaces are tied together. The inevitable fall is predictable.

What would it mean to actually turn the wheel? How is that done? By introducing bills that will never even make it to the Senate floor? By backroom discussions with life long politicians who have been put into office and maintained there by the very financial special interests that own the local entertainment news industry? By being quiet and respectful and a perfectly beautiful statesman in a world gone crazy with loud lies and liars?

Lies are like balloons, bright and colorful and eye catching. But they are ultimately fragile and easily popped. This balloon is maintained by a single support. It is continually pumped up by fear but its pressure valve is simple. It is the filibuster. To pop the balloon and allow the majority of American’s to have their will expressed by their government the filibuster simply needs to change such that votes take place in the Senate again.

Our captain keeps hoping that the boat will change course without his having to actually turn the wheel. That he can get government to act as it once did in fondly remembered days before all this division was created. But the filibuster in its current form isn’t a natural part of our government. Its current form is simply a creation of the same disinformation and local politic and special interest financing that is dependent upon it. No founding father felt that the process of government, the bringing of bills to the Senate floor for debate and an eventual vote could be affected, delayed, or out rightly killed by sending an email. Bills can still legally pass by a majority vote it is the vote itself that is blocked by the filibuster.

Biden simply has to come out against the current form of the filibuster and campaign loudly, daily, personally and persistently to challenge specifically those few Senators that, controlled by their local desire for re-election, are preventing the majority of Americans from having a democratic government guided by majority rule. Even those local politicians and their local entertainment news backers will offer change in their positions once they are relentlessly called to national attention and once that national attention brings legitimate news to those local Americans who are the actual voters that support those politicians. If this is not true, if turning the wheel actually doesn’t turn the rudder and thus the boat then we are lost. But if we loose without even turning the wheel then we have been lost all along.

It all makes me feel that the time of states rights is showing its age. We live in a small world now. While we still live locally the issues that come to our doors are now global. We must actually become a nation and a world even while we look out our windows at our yards and our neighbors.

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Well said. I hope you are archiving your "Responses to Letters from An American Scholar." Your thoughts are worthy of a long read. As an ex-sailor, I appreciate your rwheel and rudder analogy. The wheel is connected by gears and pins and wires to the rudder in the ship's keel. We're any of those parts to fail at best the ship will flounder. At worst, roll over and sink. Hopefully, Mr Biden is tending to the mechanics and strengths of his ships mechanics as he heaves toward the wind. I also think your point that we now live in communities no longer in isolation where the defining issues brought to our attention are global is well made.

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Very well analysed, Mr. Munson. The opposition between state/local identity vs. national/global needs has become a critical danger to all of us.

I'm troubled that after a spate of editorials about the filibuster a couple of months ago, including some very creative ideas on modifying, instead of abolishing, it, media attention on the subject seems to have moved on. Did Manchin/Sinema manage to kill the idea completely, or is this simply an artifact of the media's miniscule attention span?

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Great read. An analogy used in a business class was to turn the wheel of a ship to fast will cause it to overturn. This was used in conjunction with a large corporation changing direction. As much as we want fast change, I think Biden has to make incremental changes. I wish his changes were more obvious though.

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Patrick, I completely agree with you. If we do not act quickly by ending the filibuster, our fragile ship cannot take much more from years of these harsh beam seas. Seas of lies and corruption at such high levels that I do not think our normal activist activities will be able to have as much impact since they are attacking voting rights, postal services, education, and everything that supports a functional democracy.

I would add to your sixth paragraph the malevolent use of algorithms in manipulation and mind control has brought cyberwarfare into our homes and is a real threat to critical thinking skills (by both domestic and hostile foreign entities).

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Why, when the republicans continually pull the football away à la Lucy to Charlie Brown, why do the Democrats not cut their losses and pass their legislation and leave the republicans to stew in their own juices? Can Democrats on the state level petition the courts there to prevent these sham audits of election ballots? What other recourse do we have before the 2022 elections to stop the republicans?

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Perhaps it is because HCR is so articulate or because of the mood I am in, but I feel so ineffably sad about all this this morning. Though I get their hunger for power and money, I get that many of them are being threatened in one way or another, I get that many are the products of abuse, I get the unhinged nature of the paranoid philosophies that led them to public office, and I get the craven obeisance to the white grievance MAGA crowd, I still cannot get my head around how so many people in our Congress have sold their souls for a pack of blatant lies. One would think there must be a limit, a place where the circuit breaker trips and they say to themselves: now we have gone too far, now the Republic itself is at risk, now we are on the precipice, now we call on an honor and patriotism that transcends ideology to salvage what we can of decency and this fractured, toxic nation. The fact that they cannot do this actually made me cry today. I understand they don't agree with me, with us, with people like us, and that's fine. But what they are doing now is tearing this country to shreds and we may never recover, not completely. There is damage being done that--potentially at least--cannot be undone.

I have never embraced the concept of patriotism because it too often devolves into sectarianism, jingoism, and xenophobia. But this morning I am a patriot, a man who loves his country and is mired in deep grief that a cadre of hate might just bring it to ruin. I am doing what I can, every day, to counter them, but some days it feels futile and discouraging. How do I even live in a world that contains such monsters?

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You're singing my song today too, Reid. Trying to take everything in that has transpired over the past 5+years, and ESPECIALLY what has transpired since the election, I am struck dumb by witnessing firsthand what "leaders" in American government are actually capable of. Never in a million years would I have imagined what we are dealing with today, AND might have to deal with in the future. Like you, excessive, overt patriotism makes me uncomfortable. My years living in Europe tempered it as I saw that America IS a great country, but by no means the absolute BESTEST country on earth (like The Right wants to believe). I was able to better put America in perspective with the rest of the world. Europeans learned the hard way in WW2 what over-the-top nationalism can lead to and a lot of Europeans are wary of excessive patriotism--okay, maybe EXCEPT when playing football/soccer! (But even then, we've seen what happens when nationalistic hooligans turn to violence in football matches.) The events of January 6th shook me to my core. I watched it with a similar kind of horror that I felt on 9/11. I could not believe what I was watching. In both instances I feared for what was happening to my country and realised how much I really do love it, but not in a super-jingoistic, crazy-patriot kind of way. I love it because it is where I am from. It is responsible for my identity. I am connected to it and am a product of it. I also can be extremely disappointed and critical if it does something stupid. The insanity of what is now constituting the Republican party deeply worries me. Again, never in my life would I have thought that what has been happening actually IS happening. One can feel helpless that the world is spinning out of control and we can do nothing to stop it. I have some hope, but it comes and goes, as do the feelings of hopeLESSness. One of the comforting things is finding people like you and others on here, especially HCR, who share your fears and concerns. Misery loves company, I guess. It does help knowing you're not alone.

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‘I am in blood

Stepped in so far that, should I wade no more,

Returning were as tedious as go o'er.’

‘Macbeth’ Act 3, Scene 4, Line 168

Reid, I always think of these lines when confronted with those who continue down a path of destruction, fully aware that they have ‘crossed the line of no return’. Like Thelma and Louise, these characters have done too much damage to even consider surrendering; they would rather decease than face the consequences of their actions. As HCR has written and said before, the Movement Conservatives, tied to their ideology, cannot compromise; to do so would admit they are wrong: they will not do that regardless of any awareness or consideration that they may be just that. They’ve cast their lot with the Devil, body, mind, and soul, and there’s no turning back for them.

The world has always contained such monsters, and there are those who fight them, resist them, and survive them. MacDuff, who grieved for his country, defeated Macbeth, who died swinging ‘with harness on [his] back’.

Take heart, and breathe, Reid.

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❤️ Thanks.

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As we all take turns finding ourselves in despair, turn your head and look to all the people of goodness-power in this world. Fair Fighters are still fighting. Democracy Docketers are still lawsuiting. DOJ is evidence gathering. Fellow HCR Substackers are here with empathy, support, and marshalling activism. We can always find someone with the light on.

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Saying what we all need to hear Ellie. TY.

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“Sold their souls fir a blatant pack of lies”. So very sad. I completely get your sadness today.

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(Sweden)

Reading this very concerning letter about US democracy, there is one major question: What is the stand of the military? They have promised to defend the constitution, but they would be likely also to have about 40% supporters for Trump, maybe with some more higher rank officers? So, it is a matter of twisting the constitution. - The world remembers 9/11 in Chile, where the legal majority of 60% was overthrown by the 40% minority, including the military. The military/industrial complex in the US, I hope, is very far from the same in Myanmar, but it is huge and largely unknown, even if Eisenhower warned you.

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Sometimes Fox-type far-right messages have appeared on my computer screen (though most of these things that invite themselves come from MSNBC and I rarely care for any of them, I don't like the style, the shitty design of most American screen presentation, all that cheap last-minute political gossip...).

Anyway, something once popped up reporting how some one hundred and twenty something generals (it didn't say if they were on active service or retired) were complaining that the USA is “not safe under President Biden”, then going on to declare that he's mentally handicapped and not competent to hold office, because he'd shown difficulty in remembering the name of a member of his Administration... (Such crap, says this 81-year-old, writing now...) Anyway, I didn't stay to dirty my mind with this mental diarrhea...)

Precedents: a couple of very recent ones in France, which may have given the QOP conspirators the idea of a copycat operation. First, a bunch of retired military officers, guided by generals with far-right connections, signed a petition in the most prominent extreme-right publication, Valeurs Actuelles, drawing attention to growing lawlessness in the Muslim population (unmentioned by name). More recently, at about the same time as the US item that came on my screen, another petition, directly attacking the government in more violent terms, said to represent 2000 active members of the armed forces... unable to sign the petition for reasons of military discipline...

The second precedent: attempts to invoke the 25th amendment to the US Constitution, in order to have the 45th President removed on grounds of mental incapacity.

Of course, we are now seeing that said 45th President is far madder than the proverbial hatter and still able to play havoc with the country even after removal from office, for there's method in his madness, and there's power behind it: the power that lies in his ability to repeat and update Hitler's performance, spreading his contagious psychosis to millions. Like Hitler, there's reason to fear that his poison will continue to spread long after the man himself is dead and buried. Now, there's “success” for you...

Back briefly to France: one weekend in 1958 I witnessed a mass demo of uniformed police in front of the National Assembly. Back in my room, I drew a cartoon of the milling mob of truncheon-waving cops, yelling slogans and blasting away at their whistles in front of France's parliament. The building was covered with a grid of scaffolding, and I asked "Is the cage to keep the Deputies in or to keep the crazies out?"

Three days ago, the French police held what looks like a far bigger demonstration in the same place. It was not chaotic, but disciplined. The Interior Minister joined it. It comes in reaction to the latest murder of a police officer, killed in Avignon by drug dealers.

Yesterday, a smaller, orderly and disciplined police demo in Nice, attended by the Mayor... One should be careful to distinguish the 1958 disorders from today's anger among France's police at their vulnerability in the face of mounting violence; yet the events of '58 brought down rather more than the government, they put an end to France's Fourth Republic, bringing General Charles de Gaulle to power... And three years later, in October 1961, the Paris police massacred Algerian demonstrators, many of them thrown from bridges into the Seine.

Awkward signs, awkward precedents. Needless to say, Marine Le Pen and the far right are fanning the flames for all they are worth.

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They were retired officers.

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Thank you for the info -- and thank goodness there's no active General Jack D. Ripper in that bunch!

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Peter, interestingly the tribunes by the retired and active military and the actions of the police have the massive support of the French people. Awkward signs as you say but the problem currently is the governments inability or unwillingness to do other than tinker around the edges of some very real problems. The French are very fed up! They will increasingly act outside the "norms" of polite society. Gone are the days when its was sufficient to "moan" and "participate in the debate". Macron is already a "goner". He just doesn't know it yet or refuses to see what his own people are telling him.

PS: the American military tribune was from 140 retired senior officers.....takes all sorts. T

PPS: The sources you quote in France are not nearly as extreme as you portray them. them unless you are viewing them from the extreme left of course....the goal posts are effectively moving back to a "center-right median"....where it has historically been in France.

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The ones coming out against Biden were recently “reviewed by Jim Wright (his blog is “Stonekettle Station” and Professor Richardson quotes him occasionally). Wright is a retired Navy Chief Warrant Officer with a heavy Intel background. He did not have anything positive to say about any of them (more than a few he had direct experience with). I’d go look for the post, but I am on vacation, and searching on my phone is more effort than I want to exert.

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Enjoy your vacation, Ally, wherever you are, and put your mind at ease, relax, rejuvenate. We’ll keep the light on.

🕯

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I understand most of what you write here but not your PPS. The only source I'm aware of having cited is Valeurs Actuelles, which seems to represent the Rassemblement National, whose leader is as poisonous as anything to be found in Western Europe, maybe elsewhere.

I don't care for categorical statements, they're like sharp blades, but I have no hesitation in saying this of Madame Le Pen. Nothing center-right about her.

Or are you discounting the world's huge rightward lurch since the collapse of the Soviet Union?

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Much as i both dislike and find incompetent Le Pen, it is clear that she has diluted massively the tune of her father. Current polls suggest she'll get nearly 48% in next years Presidentials. Not many people want her, lots just don't want the current clowns nor those who goverened for the last 40 years. Valeur actual is most definitely to the right of much French media but hardly "extreme" ...at least no more so than the Communist Party's newspaper "L'Humainité" . The goal post have most definitely shifted rightwards...back to where they were before the first socialist government in 1981.

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Stuart, I wish I was feeling a bit more energetic. Then I could explain more readily why I'm far more wary of daughter than of father. Potentially a female Viktor Orban.

I can understand your pre-Mitterrand view if I take a very Franco-French standpoint, but... it's strange... Her dad became a.sort of right-wing Marchais, an antibody, an opposition fixture, happy in the knowledge that he would never make it to power. This left him free to do and say it what he liked, and he did love shocking people.

Marchais, of course, was Moscow's man.

Madame Le Pen wants to be what Marchais never could become: the western advance guard of Putin's neo-Fascist international.

The daughter realising her father's unfulfilled potential.

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Historically, the military breaks heavily Republican. This observation is based on 25 years, a Marine Corps officer's wife and mother of Naval Officer. Where once, on-base housing did not permit personnel to put up political yard signs, that is no longer the case.

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Hello Olof. Good to see you here.

America’s military does not generally intervene in internal affairs. Myanmar is unlikely to happen here. The National Guard is the military arm which engages in domestic affairs, and these days that usually means relief work like hurricanes and floods and other disaster relief. Back in the 1960s the National Guard was brought in to enforce racial integration of schools, because the whites in power in southern states did not want their children going to school with black children.

Eisenhower's “military industrial complex“ refers to the complex of corporations that supply the military with arms, weapons, ships, airplanes. That syndicate of corporations, sometimes called “military contractors,” wield a tremendous amount of influence in politics, like the NRA has been well known for.

Heather Cox Richardson is writing about some of the most immediate problems. The military interfering with our country is not one of those concerns. Back when Trump did that photo op with him holding a Bible in the air, a civilian Secretary of Defense in attendance, who was naive and inexperienced, was widely criticized by generals and for Secretaries of Defense for being there. Giving even the appearance of having the military involved in domestic politics is a No-No.

You are correct that the members of the military are heavily Republican. However, so far they have maintained their distance from internal affairs, because for over 200 years, the US military has been restricted to foreign affairs.

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Thanks for your answer. That's what I thought, the US military is heavily dependent on public funding and a fairly strong state. Unlike Myanmar where the military is evidently financed from their own businesses and virtually independent of the state.

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Yes. A lot of democratic norms have been broken by the previous administration, including an unprecedented new attack on the Capitol and on what has normally been a routine election certification ritual. The American voters and politicians who are white racists, but who would never admit to it of course, are thrashing wildly like a cornered animal because their whites-dominant society is becoming race-egalitarian. Sexists and anti-rainbow-ists and anti-Semites (and others, rigid Islamophobic Christian right-wingers for example) are also objecting loudly and violently, including on January 6, for the same reasons. Dr. Richardson is closely following these developments, the central issues of these times. You came to the right place. Regarding the military, I recently read a book by Marine Corps General (and ex-SecDef) James Mattis that opened my eyes and fostered respect and admiration for the military and its leaders. Also recommend Lucian Truscott IV on Substack. He is descended from both Thomas Jefferson and a famous US World War II general in Italy. General Mattis and Mr. Trescott have caused me to revise my somewhat stereotyped view of the US military.

https://luciantruscott.substack.com/p/you-cant-rewrite-history-that-is

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Thank you Roland for your comment and the link to Mr. Trescott. My question was not out of suspicion about the US military, but from a general point of view in exceptional times. My reference to Chile I thought maybe could be answered: don't worry, US military will protect democracy in the US, even if it takes protecting a dictator in Chile. Within the US I was thinking of adjustments or interpretations of your constitution that could be picked up by these strong undercurrents of elitism, and oligarchs, and include a loyal military. Yours, and others comments are reassuring though.

I had a similar experience to that of Mr. Trescott with an american cousin of Swedish descent who wanted to visit the Ribbing Society on the ground that we were both descending from the holy Birgitta, 13 generations ago, and he could document all the people in every generation that connected us. It was shameful and ridiculous to see the rejection from my relatives, counting only the male line in the order of the Swedish house of nobles. It never came anywhere near death threats, and I could meet him with joy.

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“former Secretaries of Defense”

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Your concern is very warranted, Mr. Ribbing, because even though the U.S. military has never taken a direct role in the democratic change-of-government, that doesn't mean that they never will. For despite their very long tradition of rigid non-partisanship, military personnel are still people, hooked into the media-machine described by Mr. Munson above.

I recently attended a military affairs committee meeting at a Chamber of Commerce in a small town situated near a major cluster of military bases, where a charming young Master Sargent in charge of social programs gave a talk on her life and work. I was struck by how the American military has become a huge separate society, filled with ordinary people living their lives, which is absolutely dependent on public funding. They produce no "product," except the rather nebulous one of "national security." (I'm not impugning their usefulness -- the military is also a vast, publicly funded training center for millions of dedicated, skilled, workers who leave the military with job experience and training far superior, in many respects, to that offered by the civilian educational system. It's just that for the larger society to take direct advantage of those skilled workers, they have to leave the military and return to civilian life. And once they do leave the military, we must find something better for them to do than flippin' burgers.)

It occurred to me while listening to the Master Sargent that the military must be exquisitely sensitive to any loss of public funding. Any drop in military spending that diminishes the lifestyles and prospects of military families runs the risk of alienating a huge group of highly skilled, well-organized, heavily armed, voters. Any call to divert military funding to other social programs must be done with great attention to this fact.

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Makes you proud, doesn’t it Senator Manchin? Too bad you can’t do anything about the filibuster.

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Dr Richardson’s letter tonight is alarming; it’s meant to be because she is detailing the actions of an obdurate minority unwilling to behave in a democratic, honest, legal and fair manner. Thanks for your good work as their actions are un American and most definitely will not prevail. Our democratic roots are strong, deep and fiercely resilient. We all need to be part of the healing process now underway. We won’t convince most of the 70 million who voted for trump but some will wake up. Our majority will get larger and stronger as this happens. A new R party will emerge at some point chastened by the undemocratic and excessively obstructionistic behavior of the party of McConnell and yes, of Liz Cheney as well.... trump will be forgotten except as a warning to the future. In the meantime Joe and his supporters who succeed him will have put America not just on track again but transformationally in harmony with the needs and wants of the people of the world...and that will be what unites us perhaps as we’ve never been before in our history as a group of people who define our nation.

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Dr Richardson's "alarming" letter did what its meant too...inspire to action. Since reading it, I've put another letter in the mail to my senator.

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Well, Keith, your lips (or keyboard) to God's ears.

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I pray you are right

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"Representative Ralph Norman (R-SC) questioned whether the rioters were Trump supporters"

Seems like he would be among the first to insist on an investigation to uncover the "real" leaders of the riot.

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The common defense of those arrested to date: "I was just doing what I thought my president wanted." Sounds like trumpistas to anybody with a brain.

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There reply is clear and concise "The Dems are sneaky like that. Just look how far they are prepared to go to divert blame from themselves!" Facts don't count once you start the chain of lies running.

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I'm an old fashioned anti-war weary fan of our fragile Democratic Republic. I agree that your suggestion of protests supporting our return to a governance of sanity and logic requires a vocal and visual message. I agree that mass movements may very well extinguish the blood lust a and vicious name calling techniques (ad hominem) that has been a media favorite since the election of 45. The "Occupy Movement" generated much media attention. I thoroughly agree that a mass demonstration of "our united democratic vision" would generate media attention. Our fragile majority depends on us all at this juncture.

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Vast conspiracy with posing morons being arrested. Sigh

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I don’t think that the former president could maintain his focus on anything for a day much less six months. There isn’t a scintilla of patriotism in the man. He drapes himself in the mythological flag of a patriot. The only thing that has ever been a motivator for him in this world is money. I think that he has found that perpetuating the lie is a way (a really easy way) for him to get (lots of) money. He does not care that it’s dangerous for our country. Senator Manchin and fellow democrats, wake up.

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Your comment hits the nail on the head! That is Trump -- plain and simple. He care not a whit for America; it's all about how much money he has. Hopefully, law suits will put him jail where he is permanently out of the picture.

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