Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Prof. Timothy Snyder Warns Of Potential Trump Fascist Coup Attempt In 1 Year

Trump bloviating idiocy in another interview on Monday. Even his aides have been appalled at his nonsense including praising Philippine strongman Duterte.

In a post from two years ago I'd criticized Yale Prof. Timothy Snyder for his book, 'The Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning', e.g.

I took issue with his particular hypothesis of how the holocaust was engendered and cited the works of German journalist Konrad Heiden to show the strong eugenic basis, and pure bloodthirsty motives driven by the Volkisch movement.

However, in his new work he's come through with a timely warning on Donald Trump and an approaching fascist takeover of the country, According to Snyder, in an interview with 

"The whole point of my new book, 'On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century,' is that we have a century of wisdom and very smart people who confronted situations like our own — but usually more demanding — and that wisdom can be condensed. What my book does is it goes across the arc of regime change, from the beginning to the end, and it provides things ranging from simpler to harder that people can literally do every day."

This is timely, because in that interview Snyder warns we may only have a year before Trump, emboldened by his crazy followers and also the limits of gaining approval from the general population, will try another route. That is, foment a fascist coup using a 9/11  -style incident which may or may not be planned.  Given the extensive parts of the Patriot Act that remain in force, Trump could enact everything from martial law to instant arrest of any protesters - based on any and all forms of protest, from environmental to political. (Those interested in what basis Trump could use need to Google "continuity of government" ASAP.)

Let's also be clear sustaining outrage against Trump and his incessant yapping, tweeting, and BS is not for the faint of heart. The inclination of too many is to turn attention to other matters because as Janice put it, "Your head feels as if it will explode from the sheer volume of crap you're hearing and seeing every day. Of course, she follows the Rachel Maddow show each and every day and her histrionics and rapid, hysterical speech would be enough to have anyone on emotional overdose.  (Truth be told I can only take a little of Maddow at a time, but that's me.)

When pressed on this "outrage deficit"  score by the salon interviewer, Snyder noted that a part of this has to do with  attention span.  In his words:

"It’s not so much a lack of outrage; people are in fact outraged. But in order for a scandal to have political logic, the outrage has to be followed by the research. It has to be followed by the investigation. It has to be followed by an official finding"

And this is not happening because the GOP is in charge of both Houses of congress and they are not too interested in prosecuting Trump on any dereliction. Why would they? He represents their gravy train, their primary vehicle to ram through programs and destroy others (e.g. repeal of Obamacare) - as in aspirations that had given them wet dreams the past 7 years.

So there is never any 'reward' - emotional or psychological - when one even learns of some new aspect of investigation (as Janice constantly learns from Maddow) because it never seems to be followed up. True, former AG sally Yates is to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on 8th May, but what will come of it? Anything? I'm not holding my breath but Janice believes something will finally "break loose" and Trump will be toppled. Don't hold your breath!

Salon's interviewer went on to ask Prof. Snyder:

In your book you discuss the idea that Donald Trump will have his own version of Hitler’s Reichstag fire to expand his power and take full control of the government by declaring a state of emergency. How do you think that would play out?

And he replied:

"Let me make just two points. The first is that I think it’s pretty much inevitable that they will try. The reason I think that is that the conventional ways of being popular are not working out for them. The conventional way to be popular or to be legitimate in this country is to have some policies, to grow your popularity ratings and to win some elections. I don’t think 2018 is looking very good for the Republicans along those conventional lines — not just because the president is historically unpopular. It’s also because neither the White House nor Congress have any policies which the majority of the public like.

This means they could be seduced by the notion of getting into a new rhythm of politics, one that does not depend upon popular policies and electoral cycles. Whether it works or not depends upon whether when something terrible happens to this country, we are aware that the main significance of it is whether or not we are going to be more or less free citizens in the future.

My gut feeling is that Trump and his administration will try and that it won’t work. Not so much because we are so great but because we have a little bit of time to prepare. I also think that there are enough people and enough agencies of the government who have also thought about this and would not necessarily go along."

The above ought to be required reading for every citizen alarmed about Trump's recent moves and concerned over the future path of the nation.  Above all, no citizen should become complacent or reach a saturation point that dismisses further Trump warning signs. Even if you watch 'Rachel Maddow'.  At this point the next interview question perhaps has the most import:

What can citizens do? What would your call to action be?

Whereupon Prof. Snyder answers:

"The thing that matters the most is to realize that in moments like this your actions really do matter. It is ironic but in an authoritarian regime-change situation, the individual matters more than [in] a democracy. In an authoritarian regime change, at the beginning the individual has a special kind of power because the authoritarian regime depends on a certain kind of consent. Which means that if you are conscious of the moment that you are in, you can find the ways not to express your consent and you can also find the little ways to be a barrier. If enough people do that, it really can make a difference — but again only at the beginning.

The last lesson in “On Tyranny” is to be as courageous as you can. Do you actually care enough about freedom that you would take risks? Do individuals actually care about freedom? Think that through. I think if enough of us take the little risks at the beginning, which aren’t really that significant, this will prevent us from having to take bigger risks down the line.

We are still at a stage where protest is not illegal. We’re still at a stage where protest is not lethal. Those are the two big thresholds. We are still on the good side of both of those thresholds and so now is the time you want to pack in as much as you can because you could actually divert things. Once you get into a world where protest is illegal, then the things that I recommend like corporeal politics, getting out on the streets — they have to happen but they are much riskier. It’s a much different kind of decision."

In other words, when the Trump goons start shooting and killing protesters like his hero Duterte is doing, it's time to buckle up and realize the war is on. Call it the "Second American Revolution".

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