Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Choosing Between Between One Party State Trumpism And Sanity - A No Brainer

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Americans have now heard about a trillion times that today's midterm election is "the most important in our history".  Well, let us at least agree it's likely the most important in recent history. It will basically determine if the "minority faction" that brought our Republic to its knees two years ago, with the mis-election of Dotard Trump, will continue this infamy and passage into nihilism. Or be checked.  Recall mischief of faction was defined in Federalist  #10  by James Madison as that condition whereby:

"citizens - whether amounting to a minority or majority of the whole - are united and actuated by a common impulse of passion (to cast their votes) adverse to the rights of other citizens or the permanent and aggregate interests of the community".  

This is exactly what the Trump voters ('the minority")  did in November, 2016. They were motivated by passion and recklessness via Trump's often violent rallies to give a middle finger salute to the rest of the country, e.g.

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 They now seek to do it again today, not only delivering the middle finger, but to be able to laugh and howl  with the delight of feral apes in the aftermath of this election. Laugh and howl at our total consternation, hysteria and yes, tears - as the promised "Blue wave" dissolves into a puddle.  This, of course, we cannot allow. Indeed, the prevention of further GOP-Trump perfidy may well rest in the hands of white, college-educated women as per a recent WSJ graphic showing their massive tilt toward the Dems:

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Meanwhile, Capt. Sully Sullenberger-  appearing over the weekend on MSNBC -  also gave one of the best takes, in an op-ed in The Washington Post .   On MSNBC's 'Last Word', he said:
"I'm talking to the American people and saying you are the ultimate check and balance. We cannot wait for someone to rescue us we must do it ourselves. Everywhere must vote in massive numbers.

We're not facing nuclear annihilation at the moment but we're facing a more pernicious challenge. Right down to the fabric of our society and the inability to agree on the same facts. 

As a former Republican I've already voted and I voted for Democrats...  I could not allow my silence or civility connote acquiescence."

Imagine a basically private guy in terms of politics like Sully, coming out the way he has, to marshal more awareness of the importance of today's vote. If it took this crisis for the hero of the 'Miracle on the Hudson' to speak (and write) as he did, imagine the sheer magnitude with which he perceives the vote today.

Jim Vandehei, CEO and Founder of Axios, best summarized Trump's entire shtick on Real Time, Friday night, referring to an interview conducted recently:

"Every President I've ever covered believed it was their job to bring the boil down. You seem like you need to bring it up. And he said, 'yeah, my people demand it. Even I wanted to calm down they'd tell me they want more, more, more. I said, but you made the conscious decision to turn it up, so what happens if a reporter gets shot. And even then he said, 'It's on them, it's not my job to tone it down.' And that is such a radical departure from previous presidents.

The warnings given above and in weekend remarks by Barack Obama, Joe Biden,  former GOP strategist Steve Schmidt, former FLA congressman Dave Jolly and others are not hysteria. Even as I write this post, the Trump degenerates and their acolytes - including GA Secretary of State Brian Kemp,  are doing all they can to try to intimidate Democratic voters. Kemp - contesting the GA governorship vs. African-American Stacy Abrams,  has launched a bogus investigation into alleged Dem hacking in GA, while Trump and Sessions are fulminating over "voter fraud" - a crime so minuscule and uncommon that it scarcely bears attention. And certainly not in the same league as outright voter suppression or hacking.

In regards to the first, it is evident in Kemp's Georgia, thanks to an AP report,   the slimeball has used "pending" status to confine over 50,000 voters in an electoral limbo. No surprise up to 70 percent of these citizens whose franchise has been put on hold are African-American.  The reason? The registration forms did not "identically" match their names in government data bases.  After Stacy Abrams called this thug tactic out as suppression, Kemp then switched to the "hacking" bollocks. But no one of sense or intelligence is buying that balderdash. (Trumpies, of course, excluded!)

Despite that, Trump wasted no time belching out nearly his 6,500th lie yesterday, snorting:

"Just take a look!  All you have to do is go around, take a look at what's happened over the years, and you'll see. There are a lot of people - a lot of people - my opinion, and based on proof - that try and get in illegally and actually vote illegally"

Of course, Dotard just pulled this out of his fat orange ass. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, which examined all available data for the 2016 election:

"From the tabulation of 23.5 million votes there were  only 30 incidents of suspected noncitizen voting referred for further inquiries or prosecution. Thus, improper noncitizen votes accounted for 0.0001 percent."

Get that?  Not one percent, not one hundredths of one percent, but one ten thousandth of one percent of the total votes!

These reprehensible tactics are all Trump and the GOOPs have left, realizing their "bait with fear"  tactics are unlikely to work, and they simply don't have the numbers to counter the groundswell of citizens rising against them. Citizens determined not to let nihilist Trumpism destroy this nation. Because that is what these criminal tactics are all about, the promotion of thuggery and Trump-driven nihilism.

Jim Vanderhei's interview gets at the essence of Trumpism as a mutation of citizen character to one of predatory grievance seeking.  Jettison or ignore all constitutional norms, just work all those who hate them and desire chaos into a frothing lather. Especially with the purpose of seeing the other side crawl into a hidey hold and weep, licks its wounds. Which aberration turns out to be nihilism more than racism, xenophobia or misogyny.  This was the basis exposed by Garret Keizer  in his recent New Republic piece, Nihilist Nation


The Empty Core of the Trump Mystique | The New Republic



"My strong suspicion is that along with the undoubted racists and xenophobes in the Trump camp are a number of uneducated white voters who do not hate blacks, Muslims, or Mexicans but rather the educated white liberals whom they suspect of caring more about blacks, Muslims, and Mexicans than about uneducated whites. When Trump said during his campaign, “I love the poorly educated,” he may have revealed more about whom many of his supporters truly hate than David Duke did when he endorsed Trump. So for those white liberals wringing their hands over the purported racism of Trump’s supporters, there is good news and bad news: They don’t all hate black folk. A lot of them just hate you."

And further:

"Arguing with a nihilist is like intimidating a suicide bomber: The usual threats and enticement have no effect. I suspect that is part of the appeal for both: the facile transcendence of placing oneself beyond all powers of persuasion. A nihilist is above you and your persnickety arguments in the same way that Trump fancies himself above the law."

Most telling of all:

"To put it in cruder terms: “The world sucks for me, so I am going to make it suck for you too. I have lost my job, my status as a white male, and may even lose my gun. So you, my smug, privileged friend, are going to lose your civil liberties, your faith in social progress, your endangered species, your affirmative action, your reproductive freedom, your international alliances, your ‘wonderful’ exchange student from Syria.” The rationale is probably not too distant from that of the jealous husband who shoots his wife, her lover, and himself. Enjoying ourselves, are we? We will enjoy nothing!—which is to say, we will enjoy the only thing a nihilist can enjoy

Which nihilism I suspect is ultimately the noisome dynamic of the Trumpers and Trumpism. "You got yours, but we're gonna make damned sure in the end you get nothing but a big pile of shit!"   A degeneracy of attitude, character and civic consciousness that's a product of attachment to a warped, narcissistic personality.

Hence, the grievance obsession, callous scapegoating of "out groups"   and anti-intellectualism so well documented in Amanda Marcotte's book: 'TROLL NATION: How The Right Became Trump-Worshipping Monsters Set On Ratf*cking Liberals, America And Truth Itself'.

Marcotte paints a mildly hyperbolic but generally well-reasoned and depressing assessment  of how  Trump, his Reepo enablers, their stable of troll pundits and writers, and Trumpist goons have abandoned any hope of winning through reasoned discourse.  Instead, like the QAnon turkeys in tow, they've adopted bad faith claims, wacko conspiracy ideations and culture war hysterics ("The migrant caravan is full of MS13 criminals, and smallpox disease carriers! Aieeeee!")

Bottom line: The knuckledraggers have abandoned civil discourse for nihilist rage and destruction - which will descend on us in spades if these reprobates win again, paving the way for a national nihilism that will likely see the end of this country as we know it within 4-6 years.

Keizer defines nihilism thusly:

"would define nihilism as a combination of three basic elements: a refusal to hope for anything except the ultimate vindication of hopelessness; a rejection of all values, especially values widely regarded as sacrosanct (equality, posterity, and legality); and a glorification of destruction, including self-destruction—or as Walter Benjamin put it, “self-alienation” so extreme that humanity “can experience its own destruction as an aesthetic pleasure.” Nihilism is less passive and more perverse than simple despair. “Nihilism is not only despair and negation,” according to Albert Camus, “but, above all, the desire to despair and to negate.”

 The corollary is that these nihilists - especially if they manage to keep the House-  will get to enjoy themselves in the ultimate schadenfreude  as we- the "uppity" ones, the "globalists",  "the elites",  "the educated" etc., circle the economic and environmental drain.  Oh,  and if we scream in trepidation at the horrific outcome they will hurl more epithets  like "snowflakes" or "Cucks".  In sum, they will laugh even harder, and enjoy themselves more while they pop opioids and swig Moonshine at our despair and hand wringing.   Comity and civility? You can kiss it goodbye.

Blogger and professor Henry Giroux is very clear how Trump's nihilism has veered into fascism, e.g.

"Trump employs endless rhetorical tropes of hate and demonization that set the tone for real violence.

Trump appears utterly unconcerned by the accusation that his highly charged rhetoric of racial hatred, xenophobia and virulent nationalism both legitimates and fuels acts of violence. He proceeds without concern about the consequences of lending his voice to conspiracy theorists claiming that George Soros is funding the caravan of migrant workers, calling Maxine Waters a “low IQ person,” or referring to former CIA director John Brennan as a “total lowlife” and a “very bad guy.” Meanwhile, this inflammatory invective promotes violence from the numerous fascist groups that support him.

Trump thrives on promoting social divisions and often references violence as a means of addressing them. His praise of Montana congressman Greg Gianforte for body slamming a Guardian reporter in 2017 speaks for itself, as does his remark that the neo-Nazi protesters in Charlottesville were “very fine people.” 

No wonder Trump is praised by David Duke, the former head of the Ku Klux Klan, and by the Proud Boys (a vile contemporary version of the Nazi Brownshirts). Needless to say, as Karen Garcia notes, Trump’s “frenzied Nuremberg-style rallies” are a cauldron of race baiting and anti-Semitic demagoguery.

We have seen before this collapse of language into a form of coded militarism and racism — the anti-Semitism couched in critiques of globalization, the call for racial and social cleansing couched in the discourse of borders and walls. The emerging discourse of state terrorism in the US alarmingly resembles that of Europe in the 1930s.

 Edward Luce rightly reminds us that we have heard this language before. He writes: “Eighty-five years ago on Thursday, Heinrich Himmler opened the Nazi’s first concentrating camp at Dachau. History does not repeat itself. But it is laced with warnings.”

....Trump’s language is neither harmless, nor merely a form of infantilized theater. It is toxic, steeped in a racist nationalist ardor that stirs up and emboldens extremist elements of his base. It adds fuel to a culture capable of horrific consequences, as we have seen with the recent killing of two Black people in a grocery store near Louisville, Kentucky; the sending of pipe bombs to a number of high-profile Democrats; and the mass murder in a Pittsburgh synagogue

It is also the language of silence, moral irresponsibility and a willingness to look away in the face of violence and human suffering. This is the worldview of fascist politics and a dangerous nihilism — one that reinforces a contempt for human rights in the name of financial expediency and the cynical pursuit of political power."   

Can Americans summon the intestinal fortitude, moxie and will to avert the collapse of our Republic?   The early signs are cautiously optimistic:  Democrat Andrew Gillum, for example, is now up by 7 points over his Trump clone rival DeSantis in the polls revealed (CBS)  this  a.m.  for the FLA Governor's race.

It might sound hyperbolic, but this nation's future is exactly what's on the line today, and why Capt. Sullenberger's original header for his op-ed was 'Mayday, Mayday, Mayday'.  Given Sully is not one to get overly excited for nothing, we can take his warning literally as  a real civic  'Mayday!'  and respond accordingly today - as citizens who can then earn the abiding respect of my Revolutionary War ancestors.

As John Meacham said after the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre:

"What happened today is a reminder of the stakes  of the era in which we are living. This is an era of fundamental redefinition of politics and culture. It requires leadership that is steadying , not incendiary and we've seen too much incendiary language from the top."

Of course, even a full- out Dem conquest of congress doesn't mean Trump's abominable behavior will stop or the Ds will "check" it.  (See e,g. WSJ editorial today: 'A Check On Trump? Good Luck!, p. A20), noting the only one who can rein in Dotard's bad beahvior is Dotard.  But that misses the point. At the very least checks and balances will be restored to governance, as the Founders originally envisioned. They did not see our Republic operating as a dictatorship or a one party state.  This is precisely why it's essential to vote Dem: not to check Trump, but to restore balance to government!

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