During her interview with the vice-presidential candidate on CBS’s 60 Minutes on Sunday, journalist Norah O’Donnell asked Senator Kamala Harris if she would bring a “socialist or progressive perspective” to the White House. Harris burst out laughing before she said “no.”
Isn’t saying three days in and Joe is shot an incitement to violence? Isn’t that a criminal act? Shouldn’t a criminal complaint be filed? The word “shot” If one takes a different meaning is rather archaic and more familiar to our older generations. It’s not funny to speak about assassination in this way. We are still traumatized by the political violence Perpetrated by angry mentally unstable assassins in the 1960’s who murdered two Kennedy brothers and MLK. ENOUGH This needs to be called out for what it is— incitement to violence against political enemies in a state where actual threats against the governor occurred!!! Even worse the perpetrator of this inciting hate speech is the president who violates his oath of office to uphold the constitution and the laws of the nation daily. Where’s the outrage and filing of charges?
BTW for anyone feeling despair who has not listened to Heather's talk today, she commented that for all of us, our mental health is in danger, so proactively take measures of self care, like make a list of things to do that keep you moving forward, and then do one thing everyday that was different from the day before. My addition: Hope is a survival skill, but keep eyes wide open, and do be prepared for anything.
Trump's use of the classic tactics used by domestic violence abusers in regards to Gov. Whitmer makes me absolutely furious. First he encourages the degenerative, dangerous behavior, then he takes credit for the FBI foiling the kidnapping plot, then he is dismissive as to the angst, peril and danger he has put this woman and her family through. And after continued requests to tone down the rhetoric, he continues to "entertain" his beloved rally attendees by essentially shaming the victim (she should be grateful we foiled the plot) and reveling in the "lock her up" chants. This is not politics. It's abuse. The man is despicable.
Don’t know about the rest of you but I’m suffering from a serious case of too much trump.
A little satirical diversion set to the tune of “Marianne” recorded by The Brothers Four.
All day, all night Donnie boasts
I hold rallies packed with maskless folks
I’m a stable genius its very plain to see
Nobody’s better than me, me, me
I’ve never had to pay a dime for anything I sought
Daddy always bailed me out whenever I got caught
Stealing, cheating, going broke or breaking stupid laws
I am perfect, strong and smart without a single flaw
All day, all night Donnie wails
You can’t make me go to jail
I am the president don’t you see
Bilbo Barr will rescue me
I am not responsible for anything that stinks
I have golden showers in my house with matching sinks
Groping women by their private parts is true romance
Please suburban housewives won’t you give me one more chance
"...no one seems to be asking Trump, who is currently in power, if he’s a fascist."
And why is that? Why do so few in media call Trump out using explicit language to define his behavior? Why are so many unwilling to confront him and call his lies lies, not misrepresentations? Why doesn't anyone ask him point blank, "Are you a fascist?"
Trump has a very long history of pushing people around, it's now time people push back aggressively. (It's significant how quickly the Lincoln Project shot back at Jared & Ivanka after the couple threatened to sue LP for the ads in Time's Square. The Trump-Kushners are not used to being rebuffed so quickly. It took them by surprise and knocked them down a peg or two.)
I’m sure it’s been mentioned numerous times already, but do you think you will make a book of these Letters? I cannot think of a better record of this time in history and I would be happy to pre-pay for my copies year in advance. Thank you so much for this work. It’s so important and impactful.
You’re on fire in a good way this past week or so, Dr. Heather Cox Richardson—much as Rachel Maddow is simultaneously in her own lane. Thank you, more than I can say, for your amazing scholarly contemporary daily first draft of our rapidly unfolding national saga.
An interesting small book to read to understand "socialism" is "Understanding Socialism" by Richard Wolff. In particular, while Lenin viewed socialism as a goal, he was clear that what the Soviet Union established was "state capitalism" meaning the state controlled the economy but it was a capitalistic economy. Stalin around 1930 declared that the goal of achieving socialism had been achieved ... and thus tainted socialism with the reality of state capitalism ... which seems to be the actual reality of socialist or communist regimes that have existed.
Socialism in Europe as a concept was popular and enough so that the German Nazi party included the word socialism in the name as in the National Socialist German Workers Party ... while at the same time the Nazi party was collaborating with the German elite to eliminate actual socialist ideals and install a system of state capitalism in collaboration with the elite.
Socialism in Europe developed a split in the late 19th century between those who are often identified with the German socialist Eduard Bernstein and Vladimir Lenin. Bernstein advocated a non-violent and electoral means to modifying society by implementing social programs and this movement became identified with social democracy, which has reached an impressive reality in the Nordic countries. Lenin in contrast saw social democracy as one of the greatest enemies to his revolutionary socialism advocating the violent overthrow of existing systems and creating state capitalism ... which became identified with the term communism. International communists viewed social democracy as such a great threat that they collaborated with the Nazi party to defeat and destroy the social democratic movement in the German state of Prussia in the beginning of the 1930s.
Fortunately, Nordic social democracy survived and thrived as the elite in Nordic countries decided a better solution than the violent revolution experienced in Russia or the smoldering violence of the Nazi revolution experienced in Germany was the non-violent transition to a social democratic system where capitalism thrives and many social benefits such as education, healthcare, work training, etc. are the responsibility of the government as "we the people" while private capitalists would focus on business and accept the government ("we the people") as an additional partner at the table with labor in setting priorities and guiding social and economic development.
A very interesting academic history of Nordic social democracy is the small book "The Nordic Model of Social Democracy" which gives the history of the Nordic social democratic movement from the 1848 time frame through the present. One interesting concept is that mentioned by the German social democrat Eduard Bernstein at the end of the 19th century who stated that "the final destination, whatever it is, is nothing to me, the movement is everything". This ideal of social democracy has been a major reason for the success of Nordic social democracy; there is no utopia end goal in mind, but rather a continual journey to a better society as times change.
It would be nice for people in this country to be more educated regarding the many ideas related to socialism ... as it is, everything that has any social aspect is blanketed with the term as something negative. Even cooperatives such as those that have been common in rural communities to serve needs ranging from farm supplies to mutual insurance companies are frequently termed socialism because they are not pure capitalism run by a few but a cooperative venture of the local society.
Is there any hope for this country becoming more kind and caring? I tend to view the best chance as generational change ... but even then, there are those in the younger generation who are strongly in favor of resisting social benefits ... so the journey will be challenging.
I liked that you were surprised that Nora O’Donell would ask Harris if she was a socialist but didn’t ask Fake 45 if he was a fascist. That, ladies and gentlemen, is very revealing how a woman is treated as opposed to a man, even if the question is asked by a woman. It was quite unnerving, to me. So what is wrong about socialism in the 21st Century? Can it bring about fairness?
All of these labels are dog whistles. I understand why people have been debating in academic circles about calling the Cheeto a fascist. I disagree with HCR that he wants to be an oligarch (Russian style): I think he wants to be an autocrat, which is somewhat different from fascism as a political stance. But his command of English is so poor that I am sure he has never pondered any of these words and their meaning. The socialist thing has been abused by the Right for so long that it--like real definitions of both democracy and republicanism (neither to be confused with any political party)--has lost any meaning. It is just a label used for mendacious and slanderous purposes.
The Cheeto wants to be a monarch--that's the role he really envies because he doesn't understand what monarchs actually do these days. But after so many years of experiencing him in various guises, my conclusion is that he really is just plain stupid. It goes beyond ignorance. He is a goniff and a narcissist but he also just has not got the smarts to be evil all by himself. He does, however, know how to hire people who are smart enough to be truly evil. Those are the fascists. Stephen Miller being a prime example.
I was a child when President Kennedy was assassinated yet I understood why Jackie refused to remove her pink, wool suit that was smeared with her husband's brain matter. That is why last night in Lansing, MI, trump's encouraging his deranged "supporters" makes me so depressed. This is about good vs. evil. Meanwhile, the Secret Service must be strained beyond belief due to having to serve super spreaders. This will be a very long, difficult week and I can't imagine ever being able to be calm about this. Ever.
Actually, the US did come close to a classic Marxist revolution (without the Marxists) in 1876. At the time the country was celebrating its centennial, 3/4 of the working class was on strike against the capitalists. Of course, the event has been buried in the writing of "official history," so as not to give people ideas that leaving the rich dangling from lamp posts is something that could/should happen.
As to Trump's ideology, it doesn't matter what he is or isn't. His turn toward authoritarianism and its expansion throughout the Republican Party has empowered people who really are actual fascists. Tom Cotton, probably the most dangerous right winger in America (and an actual fascist as you described the term), who managed through Democratic ineptitude to end up without an opponent for re-election this year, is already visiting Iowa and New Hampshire in preparation for his run for the presidency in 2024. Hawley of Missouri is another one - more a theocratic fascist, but still a fascist. Trump win or lose has opened the door for all the scum to come sliming out from under the rocks.
I think it might be a good idea if words like "capitalism", "socialism", "progressive" etc. are retired unless it is very clear to all parties exactly what form of "capitalism", "socialism", etc. is being discussed. "Socialism" is not a "natural-kind" -- a term we philosophers use to distinguish kinds of things, like "rocks", "trees", and "lemurs", that occur naturally and are not 100% social constructs, like "money", "liberal democracy", and..."socialism." This would in turn require a restructuring of high school and post-secondary curricula to give more than a nanosecond's notice to philosophical reflection on politics. You know, Locke, Hobbes, and Rousseau and all that.
And Marx too. Americans of all persuasions have their hairs stand on end whenever his name is mentioned, but they know little of what HE actually said and wrote. Much of his thinking has been overtaken by events. But one observation he made is still quite relevant and has not been thrown into the dustbin of history: the tendency, inherent in the dynamic of capital accumulation for the system to undermine itself. Instability is not a bug in capitalism, but a feature. Without it, growth is impossible, But the ironclad mandate of capitalism to extract value wherever it can places pressure on the wages of those who depend on a paycheck to get by. And if they have less to spend in an economic downturn, the downturn becomes a spiral, then a vortex, then a depression, then a recovery, and the process repeats itself until it collapses.
This self-destructive side of capitalism, and its effect on those for whom their paid labor rather than return on capital fundsheir primary mode of existence, was not just noted by Marx. Keynes, no Marxist, was on to this as well, and also Karl Polanyi, a non-Marxist socialist who should be far more widely known. To the extent that "the 's' word" is taboo in American politics, we evade one of our central issues -- economic inequality and instability and its political side-effects. And this is something even more urgent for non-socialist progressives like Kamala Harris to ponder.
I'd put it this way. Marx was wrong about socialism (or at least his brand of socialism). But he was largely right about capitalism. That we don't see this as a BIG problem is central to our predicament.
Vote early, if you can, for Joe the human being and Kamala the "socialist." It's important.....
Thanks, Heather, you buttress my suspicion that the 60 Minutes and especially Nora O’Donnell set a trap for Biden/ Harris to derive a sensational outcome to the forecast.
I rarely watch the program but have respected the 60 Minute Journalists for their interview prowess for years.
But Leslie Stahl allowed her sector to personal bickering, he sez, she sez, confrontation and missed several lies he used to justify his acts.
But Nora’s opening on Socialism put the two interviews on separate planes.
I would have expected Trump to have to defend his populism for the wealthy and promotion of the growing white supremacist sector of the nation to develop a comparison of the three candidates.
I don’t know what impels so much of our country’s lackadaisical attitude on the Covid 19 attacks but it doesn’t help for highly popular TV shows try to portray theoretical politics as the key issue of the day.
I must compliment Heather’s special efforts to track and provide historical perspective to this circus. Someday peeling back the layers of irresponsible responses and ridiculous disintegration of Journalism is going to require consulting the diaries and notes of Historians.
Heather, your analysis this evening is powerful, elegant, and much appreciated! I particularly admire the second-to-final paragraph where you say, "But for all that, Trump is an aspiring oligarch, rather than a fascist. He has no driving ideology except money and sees the country as a piggy bank rather than as a juggernaut for national greatness. Still, that his drive for power comes from a different place than fascism makes it no less dangerous to our democracy." Please keep up the great work!
I took the word "shot" as a gun shot. Every day 45 is crazier. I think it can't worse, but then it does. Leaving his MAGA followers stranded away from their cars and letting the folks freeze. Lordy! Six days from now. I hope it's good. Thanks Heather for keeping it together for us.