Sunday, March 3, 2019

Trump's Unhinged CPAC Rhetoric & Why A New American Civil War Has Moved Further From The Realm Of Fantasy

"The United States is premised on an agreement about how to deal with our disagreements. It's called the Constitution. We trust our system of government enough that we abide by its outcomes even though we may disagree with them. Only once in our history -- in 1861 -- did enough of us distrust the system so much we succumbed to civil war . But what happens if a president claims our system is no longer trustworthy? - Robert Reich, The Baltimore Sun, Mar. 3

Paging through a Civil War volume ('War of the Rebellion: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies Series I,  Vol. 13)  documenting a history of battles and skirmishes in Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas (1861-62), I was able to see how my Southern ancestors might have tried to evict the invading Union Army.  

Most insightful was on pp. 68-69 encountering the annals of the Wisconsin Cavalry and another Missouri Union unit in a skirmish near Searcy Landing, Ark. This was in the vicinity of my dad's ancestral family farm.  It intrigued me that my Northern ancestors could well have been battling my Southern ancestors. In a remarkable way I am a product of both North and South, a southern (Arkansas-born) father and northern (Wisconsin--born) mother.   I daresay you won't find too many like me on that score.

But what pains me now, as I've noted before, is that this nation may well be on the brink of a new civil war. One not brought on by slavery or state's rights, but  by Trump's lawless residency as embodied in his insane, polarizing and unhinged rhetoric - like Saturday at the paranoid CPAC ghoulfest, e.g.

And earlier by the countless outrages of  his militant, racist goons and followers, i.e.

Image may contain: one or more people, tree, outdoor and nature

Trump's unhinged performance - bordering on the psychotic - was in the words of MSNBC host Joy Reed, "an unscripted punchdown collection of fan favorites, a rant against the quote fake news, Robert Mueller's investigation, and even Hillary Clinton".   He also decried the coming Dem House hearings, bawlng like a toddler after guzzling a caffeine-loaded energy drink, e.g. "So they don't have anything with Russia there, no collusion. So now they go in and morph into 'Let's inspect every deal he's ever done. We're going to go into his finances. We're going to check his deals. These people are sick!"

 As if astounded that after two years of no accountability under House GOP rule,  that branch of congress is now finally doing its effing job under Jerry Nadler and the Dems.  What we beheld in fact was not so much a "speech" at the CPAC farce, but more like a batshit crazy, bombastic buffoon high on meth, MJ candy and LSD. If an ordinary citizen, he'd have been clapped into straightjacket, taken to a rubber room and given a round of ECT every hour, e.g.Image result for ect images

That at least would be less abominable than having this asshole working his base into a lather, getting them prepped for any outcome that they may not like regarding Trump. And hey, perhaps even a fucking civil war.  Don't laugh, the possibility is being seriously discussed in serious circles by pundits, history profs and wonks.

The long and short of his Saturday night CPAC escapade is that he behaved like the psychotic, narcissist tyrant and odious scumball he really is, attacking  everyone who's mounted the slightest opposition to his traitorous occupation. Moreover, this ought not surprise anyone. We knew it was coming after  a tumultuous week in which his own fixer - Michael Cohen - revealed the true nature of this cheat, racist and criminal in a House Oversight public hearing.  Cohen pointed repeatedly to Drumpf's unfitness for office, which was confirmed (again) by his siding with the new tyrannical "love" of his life, Kim Jong -Un. This was in regard to the horrific end of 22 -year old Otto Warmbier, i.e  insisting he "took Kim at his word" that Kim  "told me he knew nothing about it".   In a pig's eye.  This walking turd worships Kim, like he does Putin, because those two embody the lawless dictators he wants to be - but can't (so far) -  because of our constitutional checks.

Trump said he "had no choice" and had to walk "a fine balance" which is an out right lie like the 8,700 others  this POS has spewed thus far.  In fact, as is his wont,  he merely demonstrated how he grovels at the feet of other autocrats (like Putin, Duterte, Saudi Prince Salman bin Saud et al) and chooses to believe these degenerates over his own intel agencies. Meanwhile,  his own zombie followers love it.  They especially relished it Saturday when he told these losers the sane segment of the country wanted to "take them out".  Well, not literally, but more metaphorically - by excising the metastasizing cancer of Trump.

We now know, for example, that Michael Cohen warned in his televised House Oversight Hearing:

Given my experience working for Mr Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020 that there will never be a peaceful transition of power.”

His warning ought to be taken dead seriously.  And as I've written multiple times before, no nation with two segments of the population  who subscribe to radically divergent realities, can ever find comity or civility. I even argued that in many cases the only way out is Civil War, one side subduing the other so a unified nation can emerge again.  Is this hysterical balderdash? Not at all!

Trump in his two hour and two minute CPAC harangue even invited the furies be brought down on his head, and the heads of his followers by declaring we (the sane side) "hate our country".  No we do not, we hate the refuse and cancerous maggot attempting to befoul it and destroy the Constitution and rule of law.   We who behold this wannabe tyrant in action, and haven't yet succumbed to "outrage fatigue", see how every bedrock principle at the heart of our nation is being undermined and contaminated by bigotry, xenophobia, run amuck nationalism and an insane autocrat who has no clue how to be a leader. 

All of this in tandem, and now more than ever after yesterday, has many thinking people - including scholars-  perceiving that a Civil War may well be in our future. Not that any rational person would want such cataclysm, but that it may be the only way to set the ship of state aright from the monstrous infection that invaded from November, 2016.

 Take Barbara Walter, a professor of political science at the University of California at San Diego. Originally she had said her first instinct was to dismiss any talk of civil war in the United States. “But the U.S. is starting to show that it is moving in that direction,” she said in a recent WaPo interview, adding: “Countries with bad governance are the ones that experience these wars.”   
She isn't alone, and let's agree the U.S. has descended into "bad governance" -  really bad - since Trump's ascension.

Robert Reich, a former secretary of labor -  now a professor at the University of California at Berkeley -  wrote in The Baltimore Sun  how  he  imagined a new American civil war, in which demands for Trump’s impeachment lead to reactive calls from Fox News for “every honest patriot to take to the streets.”.   As Reich put it: 

"The way Mr. Trump and his defenders are behaving, it’s not absurd to imagine serious social unrest.   That's how low he's taken us."

Well,  it isn't that hard to imagine given the awful scenes out of Charlottesville  two years ago, when thousands of white nationalists and Nazis marched openly while attacking innocent protesters, e.g.
Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, people walking, crowd and outdoor

So merely seeing the photos, images, including knowing one protester-  Heather Heyer- was killed (run down)  by one of these odious madmen, ought to set alarms ringing. A precursor to what may be headed our way? Who knows? But the signs are not auspicious.

Reich's sobering take  got some unlikely support last week from Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist who said in an interview on 'Face The Nation':. “I think that 2019 is going to be the most vitriolic year in American politics since the Civil War, and I include Vietnam in that"

Meanwhile, echoing Cohen,  Joshua Geltzer, a former senior Obama administration Justice Department official, wrote a recent editorial for CNN urging the country to prepare for the possibility that Trump "might not leave the Oval Office peacefully” if he loses in 2020.  He wrote:

If he even hints at contesting the election result in 2020 . . . he’d be doing so not as an outsider but as a leader with the vast resources of the U.S. government potentially at his disposal."

   "These are dire thoughts,” Geltzer wrote, “but we live in uncertain and worrying times.

He urged both major parties to require their electoral college voters to pledge to respect the outcome of the election, and suggested that it might be necessary to ask the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to reaffirm their loyalty to the Constitution over Trump.  But will Trumpie Republicans, now more a cult like Jim Jones' in Guyana - who all took the purple,  cyanide-laced  kool aid, do that ?  I doubt it.

Another  historian from Stanford University’s Hoover Institution (not exactly my 'go to' source),  when asked last summer in an essay in National Review. prophesied that the United States “was nearing a point comparable to 1860,”  i.e. about a year before the first shots of the Civil War were fired on Fort Sumter, S.C.

 Concerns about a civil war  extend beyond the pundit class to a sizable segment of the population. An October 2017 poll from the company that makes the game Cards Against Humanity found that 31 percent of Americans believed a civil war was “likely” in the next decade.

More than 40 percent of Democrats described such a conflict as “likely,” compared with about 25 percent of Republicans. The company partnered with Survey Sampling International to conduct the nationally representative poll.

The source of these surreal expectations? Look no further than the increase in distrust of our own  democratic institutions.  The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, a measure widely cited by political scientists, demoted the United States from “full democracy” to “flawed democracy” in January 2017, citing a big drop in Americans’ trust for their political institutions.

Similarly, Freedom House, which monitors freedom and democracy around the world, warned in 2018 that the past year has “brought further, faster erosion of American’s own democratic standards than at any other time in memory.”

Those warnings about the state of America’s democratic institutions concern political scientists who study civil wars, which usually take root in countries with high levels of corruption, low trust in institutions and poor governance.

Boaz Hameiri, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania sounded an apt cautionary note that violence "is most likely to occur when political leaders use dehumanizing language” to describe their opponents.

Most experts fret that the talk of conflict, armed or otherwise,  serves to raise the prospects of unrest and diminish trust in America’s already beleaguered institutions.   But this has already happened!  The gangrene has already set in, and multiple limbs of the body politic are dead or dying and need to be chopped off. The cancerous lesions have spread since Trump took over (thanks to the Russians' help) and now those tumors, lesions need extreme surgery.  Or maybe high dose "radiation" to "burn"  them out.

Is there some hope we can escape the expected conflagration? Maybe. But that depends on a certain subset of Trump voters coming to their collective senses next year - and finally seeing the error of their choice.  I am not referring here to the zombies, the cult followers and kool -aid drinkers.  I am referring to those named by Peggy Noonan in her piece yesterday (p. A13).  Those who "did not care what he did or said during his campaign or when he became President"  only that he kept his promises, e.g.

"Trump has come through from the courts to the economy and he still 'hates all the right people.'"

Unswerving belief in that codswallop without those voters becoming changelings is what holds greatest peril for the nation.  The abject failure to appreciate that whatever tiny benefit has accrued from the "economy" (incomprehensible given the farm foreclosures and millions no longer getting tax refunds!)  or the "courts" are chicken feed compared to the possibly irreversible damage to the nation's norms, laws, and principles.   

Yes, there is the chance to avert the calamity of a new civil war but that means more citizens coming to the defense of our nation's principles, Constitution and respect for law. Above all, there must be the expectation that a leader is held to account, not given a pass.  This morning that expectation appears to be receding not increasing given Trump's approval rating has now climbed to 46 percent from 43 percent in a new poll. This is sickening and more than ever doesn't bode well for our future,  especially given many coming oversight investigations.  If we are to be on the right side of history - and not the 'good Germans" who enabled Hitler's rise and atrocities - we need to see those Trump approval numbers crash, not rise.

See also:
by William Rivers Pitt |

Matthew Chapman's picture
Article Tools E-mail | Print Comments (0)

by Larry Beinhart | March 2, 2019 - 7:27am | permalink


Trump derides Mueller probe, mocks Democrats and Jeff Sessions at CPAC 


Ed said...

Relax. Just call it (civil war) "The Resistance" and it will be totally acceptable.

Glen Tomkins said...

If our system of govt fails and its failure leads to violence as the only way forward, that violent workaround will almost certainly be a coup rather than a civil war.

In 1860, state militias outnumbered the US Army -- collectively by quite a bit, with some states rivaling the entire US Army by themselves. The war was fought between states' armies called to national service.

In 2019, there are no state militias. There are only the armed forces of the US. For there to be a civil war in 2019, these armed forces would have to split almost evenly in their loyalty to one side or another. An even enough split for a sustained armed conflict to be possible seems unlikely to me. Far more likely that the armed forces would either side predominantly with one political tendency, or would set themselves up as the successor govt to our failed current system. There might be some fighting involved, but it would be more like a coup than a civil war.

Copernicus said...

Actually, I don't believe that any of the writers cited in the respective sources (with the possibility of Hanson in The National Review) meant an actual full scale Civil War with heavy weapons - e.g. tanks, jets, bombers, - used. I believe they meant mass civil unrest, i..e. cars burned in the streets by both sides, Molotov cocktails, and possibly - at worst- bombs set off like from the Weather Underground in the 1960s, 70s. There simply isn't the level of organization to have a civil war on the level or scale of the one that occurred from 1861-65. What we have are lots of angry people on both sides, but especially the Trumpers- who may be willing to pour into the streets if Hannity or Limbaugh "gives the orders". But one hopes the forces of the "deep state" will put them in their place if they get too out of hand. :)