191 Comments

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?

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We have become so numb to the subtext -- no, the explicit TEXT -- of Trump's ranting that we either don't notice the call to political violence or are too tired to care. It shows that the rot in our political community runs far deeper than the disaster of 2016. I fear that really is going to end in death and mayhem UNLESS the Republican party is not only routed but demolished, and its ideology something to be ashamed of. The analogy is less the Goldwater defeat in 1964 than postwar Germany in 1945. I am not exaggerating. That people might think this IS an exaggeration is a sign of the moral torpor into which the USA has fallen.....

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His use of Doublespeak is extraordinarily dangerous. It wouldn't surprise me to see him it ramp up by Friday night and continue through Election Day.

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And a lot of time it isn't even doublespeak. It is StraightupthisiswhatiwantyoutodoSpeak. Did you hear he just said if the winner isn't declared on the eve of Nov. 3rd the election is illegitimate? The Electoral College doesn't meet until December. That's when it is official ... unless its a tie and goes to the House and Senate.

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I would also add that another reason we're so dumb as a people is the defunding of education for decades. Another part of the plot. Keep them ignorant and you can manipulate them.

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Laura Nelson's analogy is prewar Germany in the 1930s. Authoritarianism takes control of the media and systems of education to instill its propaganda to shape compliance and loyalty. Postwar, the Allies implemented the Nuremberg Trials and requisite de-Nazification.

Here today we have trump administration and Betsy DeVos move toward privatization of education both for profit and mass messaging control. Fox News has become the opiate of the masses. The fix includes education, widespread and long term, to grow critical thinking skills and empathy.

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Four years on, I am still stewing about his remark: “I can’t do anything about [Hillary Clinton] - maybe the second amendment people can do something.” (Quoting from memory, but that is approximately it.) If I said that about a president, I would expect the FBI or Secret Service to be knocking on (or breaking down) my door within hours.

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Michael, you’re an old white guy like me. They knock when coming through our door. But I agree with you, he gets away with shit all the time because we won’t slap him when he says it. We have our constitutionally guaranteed chance to hold him and his enablers accountable; I hope we don’t mess it up.

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Ya done good, Mr. Merchant, from memory. To recharge the banks, click this:

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/10/us/politics/donald-trump-hillary-clinton.html

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At least the outrage should be there. Plus, he said in a rally that the attacks on Whitmer were 'maybe not a problem'. Some people will hear that a lot more loudly than his other statement in the same speech that it's wrong.

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He is a Stochastic Terrorist, one who uses mass communication to incite 'lone-wolf' terrorists to act in unpredictable ways. I am really angry at the complicit News Media will not call him on it. He is the guy safely standing by the exit and yelling FIRE in a crowded theater. Even the Supremes said that is not allowed by the First Amendment.

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Not unlike his dog whistle to the '2nd Amendment people' taking care of Hillary. I forget the exact quote, but it was blatant.

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He often speaks in mob boss veiled threats, and his cult, especially the militant segment of it, interpret what he says as a call to arms; viz.: the Proud Boys almost immediately creating a T-shirt emblazoned with "Stand Back. Stand By."

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You speak for me, Seth! Well stated!!!

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I noticed on twitter that dozens of people were forwarding that "shot" video to the CIA and FBI and GOP and more. Seems to me that they have to respond some way...

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And, just who is going to hold him to account? He's been doing this throughout his term in office. The only hope is this election and even in that he is setting up an end game to declare himself the winner no matter what. I'm waiting to see whether he pulls yet another rabbit out of his hat and democracy dies. Vote as if this is the last time you'll be allowed to vote. I'm still waiting to find out if we already had our last chance in 2018.

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Accountability through enforcement of the law starts with evidence, such as this list of trump administration transgressions day by day through present, color coded for type:

https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/the-complete-listing-so-far-atrocities-1-952

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We long ago started allowing Republicans and their operatives to make threats against Democrats. For example, I remember Ann Coulter saying in 2011 that someone should put cyanide into Justice Stevens's creme brûlée.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/ann-coulter-we-need-someb_n_14588

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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.

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One excellent thing to do is to spend at least 15 minutes out in nature each day. This morning I have a herd of deer nestled down in my back yard and 4 or 5 Cardinals have been playing in the puddles of water on my patio. Of course, the other thing is chocolate. Find something to smile about today!

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Yes! Don't make me find the source, but there is scientific evidence that being outside in the open air and looking at greenery, along with walking to get the circulation going, is a mood lifter. And/or stop and just breathe: Close your eyes, follow your breath, inhale, exhale... And "present moment, wonderful moment," find joy.

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For those of us lucky enough to have access to even a tiny quiet or green space...

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There are many articles and studies on this. Here is just one article in positive psychology: https://positivepsychology.com/positive-effects-of-nature/

I learned this from taking the Positive Psychology Specialization of five courses from the University of Pennsylvania led by Dr. Martin Seligman and based on his theory of well-being. The five elements are: Positive Emotions, Positive Relationships, Engagement, Meaning and Accomplishment - PERMA Go to www.authentichappiness.com to learn more. And, there are some great questionaires on well-being there. Great Britain is far ahead of on this. For instance, having gardens for dementia patients helps them with memories triggered by the smells of familiar plants and also calming so it also makes things easier for the care-givers as well.

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Living in the country (so lucky) & walking my dog morning & night - no thoughts of the current carryings on for at least a little while.

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Deer, watery cardinals and chocolate, how cool is that!

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The next thing I'm doing today is picking up my violin to play some Bach. Bach has a way of taking you to what I call the Universal Plane, a beautiful place where concepts like omnipresence is simple -- you're playing music written two hundred years old and bringing it into the present as fresh as the day it was written. Very calming.

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And all three just blow numnuts right away (at least briefly)

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thank you :)

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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.

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We Michiganders campaigned and voted for this strong, unflappable woman, never in our wildest dreams imagining the president would one day call for her assassination. It IS abuse - of her, us, and our democracy. And to my mind it is attempted murder.

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45 makes all this noise about attacks on him being attacks on the benighted souls who voted for him. How much noise is there in Michigan about attacks on Gov.Whitmer being attacks on all the people who voted for her?

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and all the people of the state she leads

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Well stated! Whitmer has proven herself to be a loud voice while her life is being daily threatened.

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I was making canvassing calls in AZ when somehow I got a number for a woman in Indiana who had never even been to AZ. (There are so many retired people here that an unfamiliar area code doesn’t raise a caution flag.) I tried to deflect her simmering hostility with a self deprecating apology, which I guess she took as an invitation to launch a stream of insults. After I finally extracted myself, it occurred to me that the license this woman felt she had, which she felt allowed her to be abusive toward me, seems a characteristic of the Trumpist phenomenon. If entitlement is the stain of liberal white privilege, perhaps entitlement to abuse is a defining trait of Trump era conservatives. Trump didn’t sell this entitlement to his base, he—or maybe Bannon—recognized it and amplified it. It goes with the sense of grievance we have seen reflected in his public statements. The question I have is, how deeply and broadly does this particular entitlement extend? Where is the line between tolerance of the militias and outright approval? And by extension, complicity? And ultimately, active participation?

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First, thank you for your canvassing work.

Over the years, I've been struck by people who are energized by being hateful, in forms ranging from racist micro-aggressions (and many not at all micro) to malicious gossip to vindictive lawsuits to TV/radio shows that make fun of people to domestic violence to sexual violence to white supremacist militias. All amplified by trump and his minions and his Kremlin handlers. It's an age old Othering phenomenon that fuels the rise of authoritarian power. What lies underneath hate? Fear. So how broad? Worldwide and throughout history. And history such as the rise of the Nazis and of Stalin has taught us the danger of complicity.

Timothy Snyder on how to deal with tyranny:

https://lifeclub.org/books/on-tyranny-timothy-snyder-review-summary

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Fear is definitely the primary emotion. One thing that struck me is that the insults I received were all categorical, as in, “You’re the people who...”, followed by a litany of offensive activities, like encouraging people to support Democrats. I was not a guy doing what people do at election time, I was the embodiment of everything she hates about the left. That wasn’t the first time I’ve encountered that kind of generalized animosity. I guess maybe it reflects a generalized fear.

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Over-generalizing is the antithesis of critical thinking and a hallmark of Othering and propaganda. It is hard to field, to probe for the possibility of constructive engagement through empathy for the underlying fear, to defend yourself, to assert facts, and when to cut your losses, disengage, take away their platform. Like dealing with bullies.

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Ref my comment on Stochastic Terrorism

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Didn't see your other comment and had to look it up. Spot on!

Stochastic Terrorism is "the public demonization of a person or group resulting in the incitement of a violent act, which is statistically probable but whose specifics cannot be predicted."

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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.

Chorus

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

Verse

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

Chorus

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

Verse

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

Chorus

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

Nobody’s better than me, me, me

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While we're in a singing mood, this reminds me of a lyric I wrote a couple of years ago about our president. I don't play the guitar but imagine the lyrics sung along with someone strumming along.

The Ballad of “Cheatin’ Donald”

Sung while strumming a guitar. Chorus is sort of like “Davie Crockett.” Verse is something like “Sweet Betsy from Pike.”

Oh, he cheats on his taxes,

He cheats on his wives,

But the hammer of justice never arrives,

He don’t pay his bills,

He’ll fight you in court,

When you try to collect, the amount he wuz short.

Cheatin’, Cheatin’ Donald, a pro at the old con game

Do things his way,

Or you’re right out the door,

The rule of law, he prefers to ignore,

To Liberty’s gates,

He’ll add ste-el locks,

That’s what he learned, from watching Fox.

Cheatin’, Cheatin’ Donald, a pro at the old con game

To keep his guys happy,

He’s got all the tools,

So long as they let him, he makes all the rules,

They buy into

His big song and dance,

Blaming their pain on those damn immigrants.

Cheatin’, Cheatin’ Donald, a pro at the old con game

The problems of plain folks,

He’d good at ignorin’,

Like health costs which are, eternally soarin’,

But give him a despot,

With ty-rannical power,

To be his buddy and b’fore whom to cower.

Cheatin’, Cheatin’ Donald, a pro at the old con game

He pours it on thick,

Like with real estate,

Though it involves, our nation’s fate,

But sooner or later,

Our laws he’ll obey,

Or get himself locked up at, Gwan ton a mo Bay.

Cheatin’, Cheatin’ Donald, a pro at the old con game

Oh, he’ll cheat on his taxes,

He’ll cheat on his wives,

Till the day that hammer, of justice arrives,

I don’t give a damn, what will be his fate,

But I only hope that, it won’t come too late!

Cheatin’, Cheatin’ Donald, a pro at the old con game

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AMERICA'S GOT TALENT!! And it's right here! Thanks R. Dooley and Jacob Lippman. I would also like to suggest "We Need a Little Xanax Now", which came out after Trump's 'selection'. It's sung to the tune of "We Need a Little Christmas"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3Tvclf3wp8

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And Patti Lupone's "Don't Cry for Me, White House Staffers," released after his "Evita moment" from the White House balcony when he got out of the hospital:

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

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The best

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Love it!

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Timely tune for many of us, Sandra; thanks!

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Love this . Maybe add to billboard in Times Square nailing creepy Jared and “ Barbie” Ivanka Folks could sing along

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😂😂😂😂😂😂👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

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"golden showers" -- OTT lol

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"...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.)

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I think one of the reasons no one asks Trump if he is a fascist, or any other challenging question, is that he stomps off the set, verbally assaults the questioner who must then be provided with security protection, and denigrates all journalists as "enemy of the people." Why would his base accept this? They accept it because they love his transgressiveness. They love his extreme antics. They love to see him "go too far." For the same reasons that McCarthy was able to flog innocent people, Trump exists. It's our darkest nature on parade.

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His supporters call his toddler meltdowns "authentic", say "he isn't a typical politician". They are idiots and some are just flat out racist, sexist, and homophobic who would sell the country down the road to preserve their 'supremacy'. I will take a good politician, a person with deep belief in Democracy, who has shown through thick and thin they are dedicated to be a public servant, instead of an autocrat, any day of the week over a "businessman" who can't control his greed and contempt for the American electorate.

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Shelly, I'm counting on a landslide of voters to feel the same way as you do.

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"he stomps off the set, verbally assaults the questioner who must then be provided with security protection, and denigrates all journalists as "enemy of the people." Why would his base accept this? They accept it because they love his transgressiveness. They love his extreme antics. They love to see him "go too far." For the same reasons that McCarthy was able to flog innocent people, Trump exists. It's our darkest nature on parade."

Fascism on display.

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You hit it, Jan. They love watching the opposition's head explode. It gives them great satisfaction. There is no regard for the harm it might inflict and don't care that it doesn't move society forward.

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You are right, he does stomp off the set and verbally assaults the questioner, etc., and its disgraceful. But ignoring the poisonous behavior doesn't make it go away, ignoring it feeds the poisonous behavior.

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Fortunately, it is not ignored, but pointed out in most of the sources I read and vividly displayed and replayed on social media. One side continually deplores the behavior as ruinous for a democracy and the other praises it as "democracy set free." We have a rocky road before us.

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WE don't ignore it but 30-40% of the population does. WE are not the ones who need convincing that Trump embodies fascistic behavior. His base don't watch the same news media, they don't read the same print media, they silo in their own social media realms. The folks they rely on for their news ignore Trump's fascistic behavior or extol it as a virtue. We do have a rocky road ahead of us.

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Putting him in a fascist "box" is important but insufficient to make people realise the dangers that they face as it would "just" associate him in people's minds with "Hitler" and ....if they are aware even of this...they will say to themselves that "he is not that bad" as he hasn't yet murdered 40 million people....just nearly 250 000. It is the constant use of standard autocratic techniques of distorting and replacing with lies reality, history and values, disrespect, disregard for the "rule of law", constant and insidious undermining of faith in the electoral system and violent suppression or intimidation of opposition which must be repeatedly explained and their highly negative impact upon the drive for continued democratic expression highlighted. In those terms whether you are Communist, die-hard Socialist or Fascist the techniques are the same and so is the disasterous end-game and results for the freedom of the people; the 2 extremes use the same means and justify them with the same purported ends. So Trump and Co are non-democratic political extremists and whether they be labeled Fascist or Socialist ceases to have real meaning as little differentiates them where they hit the ground; the philosophy behind is strictly camouflage for hunger for power of others and for stealing other people's gold.

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Fascist is shorthand, I admit. But my concern is assigning "autocrat" or "oligarch" misses the destructive methods that a term like fascist captures.

As an example. I spent months in a pro-Trump blog just prior to the 2016 election. Obama and Clinton were both agreed to be Oligarchs by that community. Does ANYONE (left, center, or right) believe that the politics of Trump are equivalent to Obama and Clinton?

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Just watched Heather's chat on Facebook where she goes through how we got here

https://www.facebook.com/heathercoxrichardson/videos/782367832326220/ starting at around 32:30. I loved where she says Eisenhower, who defeated Hitler, is an anti-fascist... Makes one see how distorted labels become in the Maggot era. It is a great summary of how we got here. I recommend watching it.

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In reality, The Lincoln Project has saved us. They are producing incredible videos that are being shared worldwide. They have also proven that Dems lacked the “know-how” to play dirty... eye for an eye. We Dems finally WOKE!

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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.

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I would prepay for a copy too!

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Sign me up - I will prepay for a copy too!

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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.

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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.

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Point of interest - Finland had universal suffrage *and* female MPs in 1907! Also, as a matter of community status, teachers were ranked highest

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YES! I am copying and pasting this onto Facebook as I feel it addresses much of what I believe, and what I believe which was gained through my own experience. I'm posting my own thoughts on here, but am glad I found this further down the posts. THANK YOU!

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Wow! Can I copy and post this?!

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I just ordered Wolff's book you suggested along with his book on "Capitalism's Crisis Deepens". Look forward to understanding what socialism really is versus the sound bites of politics.

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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?

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To be fair, Leslie Stahl said she didn't get through all of her questions when rRump stormed off the set. Not that I think she was going to ask if he was a fascist...but if he isn't why is he so hell bent against the antifa.

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If you ain't anti-fa you're pro-fa, I say.

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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.

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Absolutely right, Linda. As for Trump's stupidity, he does have a predator's cunning, I believe. In that, he's like a shark that, smelling blood in the water, zeroes in on the hapless prey with laser-like focus.

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So not the Mastermind Fascist. Just a Fascist User. But he's addicted.

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The ends justify the means for him. He wants the attention, accolades and worship and has no regard from where or from whom they come. He's a narcissist for which there is no cure.

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Autocrat is defined as someone who believes in government by a single person with unlimited power. I don't see your distinction. Moreover, dt's fascism is evident in many of his remarks and actions (see my comment above for a small sample). Hard for me to believe how many have ignored them and their implications for so long. Can't tell you how many times over the last five years I've heard and read, "Dt is not Hitler." True: he doesn't have a mustache or dark hair or brown shirts (the militia will do) to back him up. But good to remember that history rhymes, doesn't repeat itself.

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Yeah, I get that there is a very fine distinction between all these terms--autocracy, nazism, fascism. I see the Cheeto more as Nero (or even Caligula) than as Hitler. He runs on emotion not policy. His enablers, on the other hand, really are those guys--and I suspect they are really running the show because Drumpf cannot even articulate the words they give him with any accuracy. They're just noise for him.

There was a Roman emperor of the 3rd c. named Elagabalus. He thought he was the manifestation of the god Baal. He was not very bright (his grandmother and mother were the true powers behind the throne). This reminds me of Trump a lot.

I think that what the Cheeto really is afraid of is what is going to happen to him personally if he loses. His debts will come due. He will be subject to indictment. There is a consensus among a lot of legal minds (but perhaps not the current SCOTUS) that he cannot preemptively pardon himself. I think there are knee-breakers he is really terrified of. So it's not ever been about governing, which for all their horrors the fascists and nazis were actually interested in doing. It's been about preserving his own fundament.

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I completely disagree with your conclusions, Linda. You're right that there are a lot of "sticks" he doesn't want to be hit with. But there are many carrots, too: power is, in addition to corrupting, addictive, and Hitler and Mussolini gloried in adulation. Neither ran good governments, but both knew how to handle power adeptly so as to retain power (though ultimately Mussolini failed, Hitler had rabid followers right down to his death, including generals and adjutants who were afraid of him). He has started the wheels moving toward a purge of the executive branch if he retains power and has gotten the Census Bureau to put together information on citizens' interactions with the fed government, which is ominous, to say the least. In my comment above (or perhaps below, I'm not sure) is a small sampling of things he has done that indicate fascism on his part: no one convinced him to encourage a Nazi salute in the 2016 campaign (and later disclaim it, as usual). Certainly no one except him is responsible for preaching white supremacy -- and eugenics -- at a rally the evening RPG died (see Rolling Stone write up).

But suppose the distinctions you make are correct. In which case he has encouraged and loosed forces on the far right that he cannot control, which is every bit as nightmarish a scenario as if he controlled them, given who else might. Then, too, if he has been "managed" by the likes of Miller and Bannon, there's no reason to suppose he is stupid about their views or will abandon their management now. I'm afraid that he is just as brutal and ruthless as they are, as indicated by his tweets and his mentor Roy Cohn.

I would and will be happy if I am wrong and of course if he does not succeed in stealing the election if he doesn't win it: look for a contest that goes up to the S.Ct. But regardless, I think it's fair to suppose that part of his legacy will be a permanent hard right presence in our politics. He has mainstreamed hate groups.

At any rate, we need to vote, vote, vote. And hope for the best.

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I don't disagree with you L. Tharaud (as I don't know your first name, I cannot be as familiar with you as you can be with me) and I fear for the months before 20 January even if he concedes. But a desire to be a "Hitler" and the mechanics of enacting National Socialism--a political movement that has a complex series of totalitarian and nationalizing focuses, which included a takeover (with industrialists' blessings) of many of the industries of pre-war Germany--are different issues. Yes, history rhymes (as an historian myself I can attest to this!) but I appreciate the distinctions academics make about how to define what is going on. The packing of the judiciary by McConnell--Trump was simply the tool that enabled this--and the malign gerrymandering of state and local districts to guarantee state Republican dominance even when there is a Democratic majority (vide Wisconsin) are both tools of oppression but I cannot lay them at Trump's door. There are far larger nefarious strategies at work here, ones that have been brewing for 50 years and more, and it will not take a mere 4 years to unravel and ameliorate the damage. But I am crossing fingers and toes that there is an overwhelming response by the end of November 3rd and that we might at least look forward to the departure of this administration in January. It's not a done deal, though.

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Not smart enough to be evil by himself? Evil has nothing to do with intelligence, and in any case he's a lot smarter than people give him credit for.

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Linda, well stated. He really is just plain stupid.

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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.

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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.

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I'm not sure that the goals of the strikers included in any way, shape or form "overthrow of the government by revolutionary action of the workers"and control of the "heights of the economy" by workers councils, political commissars and THE PARTY.....more likely a better share of the wealth generated, more democracy in the workplace, better living and working conditions for the people and for their voices to be heard in government decision-making. More Social Democratic than Marxist, I feel!

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I think Emma Goldman, et al., might disagree with you.

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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.....

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We could start, it seems to me, by teaching civics in our public schools again. When I had it, back during the Pleistocene, it was a full course on its own; when my daughter had it in the 90s, it was a very weak tea, blended into social studies.

So many of the locals around here have no clue how government works, let alone whom it works FOR.

Judy Woodruff reminded David Wessel last week, when he talked about states' loss of revenue due to Covid-19, and the subsequent cuts in government jobs, just what he meant by 'government jobs'. Because, as she said, too many people hear 'government worker' and think some faceless bureaucratic pencil-pusher, not their child's homeroom teacher or the doctors who staff the county hospital. Not to mention the police and fire, the town clerks, the clerks of court, etc.

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Great points. I'm guessing you're familiar with Prof. Richard Wolff also. He expounds on the instability of capitalism regularly.

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Right after I posted this I see someone else left a long piece about Prof. Wolff. Lol

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There is too much either or, black or white, in our rhetoric. Things like trade create an and situation where both trading parties benefit and the pie is bigger. We can have both individual rights and opportunity balanced with creating an expanding pie that benefits all not just a greedy few. Synergy is my favorite word. When asked what party I belong to I call myself a Synergist. Wish there were a Synergist party for the moderate and unifiers -- the "and" people. I've thought about trying to write a platform for such a party. It would be an interesting assignment for a class in political science.

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My favorite paradigm, the both/and paradigm.

Sounds like a fun assignment idea for all those teachers out there!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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