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Trump, Bannon and the Coming Crisis
#81
(01-31-2017, 02:00 AM)pbrower2a Wrote: Well, I hope that I don't come off as a crank. Intensely partisan and opinionated -- OK. I know that.

There are no perfect parallels in history, and we have multiple cycles in operation.

Even the Vietcong got a bad mauling from the USA, even if their allies the North Vietnamese Army ultimately prevailed. .

To be honest, you can come off as a bit of crank sometimes.  You're about as in to the impending rise of American fascism as AlphabetSoup is to WWIII.  The fact that you actually responded this time in normal fashion is a good sign.  Thanks.

I don't mind partisan and opinionated that much, it's when people do the discussion board equivalent of responding to requests for clarification by staring intently at my left ear lobe and ranting away that I get a bit concerned about how I am spending my time.

I mean, this is an odd topic for a discussion forum, broadly speaking, so we're all at least a little bit crankish.
Reply
#82
(01-31-2017, 10:22 AM)SomeGuy Wrote:
(01-31-2017, 02:00 AM)pbrower2a Wrote: Well, I hope that I don't come off as a crank. Intensely partisan and opinionated -- OK. I know that.

There are no perfect parallels in history, and we have multiple cycles in operation.

Even the Vietcong got a bad mauling from the USA, even if their allies the North Vietnamese Army ultimately prevailed. .

To be honest, you can come off as a bit of crank sometimes.  You're about as in to the impending rise of American fascism as AlphabetSoup is to WWIII.  The fact that you actually responded this time in normal fashion is a good sign.  Thanks.

I don't mind partisan and opinionated that much, it's when people do the discussion board equivalent of responding to requests for clarification by staring intently at my left ear lobe and ranting away that I get a bit concerned about how I am spending my time.

I mean, this is an odd topic for a discussion forum, broadly speaking, so we're all at least a little bit crankish.

We are all aware of Lawrence Britt's fourteen signs of fascism

1. Pervasive nationalism
2. Disdain for the value of human rights
3. Scapegoating of pariahs
4. Avid militarism
5. Sexism
6. Controlled mass media
7. Corporate power exalted
8. Labor power crushed
9. Majority religion co-opted
10. Exaggerated concern for national security
11. Contempt for arts and intellectualism
12. Brutal treatment of offenders
13. Cronyism and corruption
14. Fraudulent elections

These are all pathologies to the extent that they are unnecessary for the survival of the society.  I look at that list and I also see many Commie regimes. Ask yourself how many of those fourteen warning signs apply to North Korea or to Romania under Ceausescu and his Dracula cult. Look also at Baathism and ISIS.


I am tempted to believe that for every culture there is one style of fascism that fits the culture. Wagnerian bombast, adulation of the Roman Empire, and samurai shtick are just too alien to fit America. But Celtic mysticism and the plantation order of the Old South make the KKK possible. 

I also look at that list and examine Donald Trump, who has more forcefully left his imprint upon political culture faster than any prior President. Because I consider Barack Obama an above-average President with a political ideology compatible with mine and Donald Trump offending so many of my sensibilities that I can't count the offenses - let's see how they apply to George H W Bush. Not much. Donald Trump? To use one of his ludicrous coinages, "bigly".
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


Reply
#83
And now you're firmly back in crank territory.  You've even brought back "Wagnerian bombast, adulation of the Roman Empire, and samurai shtick", word for word.

You keep saying this is about Trump, but you were making the exact same posts back in 2013, just after Obama was re-elected.  You've even brought back some of the same lines.
Reply
#84
Source  http://historyunfolding.blogspot.com/

David Kaiser Wrote:Thursday, January 26, 2017
As I see it

We are a week into the Trump Presidency, and it is taking shape more rapidly than any since Franklin Roosevelt's.  That is no accident: both men took office in the midst of a great crisis or Fourth Turning, as described and predicted by Bill Strauss and Neil Howe about 25 years ago.  Both represent the death of an old political order and both are determined fundamentally to reshape America.  This has excited some Americans and worried a great many others, especially in the blue states.  As usual, I find my own feelings to be quite different from those of many others.  We are just beginning the rule of Trump, but I would lay to lay the groundwork for future analyses with some observations.

1.  Talk that Trump "is not my President" is silly--unless one wants to secede from the union.  Whatever your politics, if you are an American citizen you have one and one president at all times, and right now, he is it.  He was clearly elected, albeit without a plurality of the popular vote.  (We have no idea, by the way, how he and Clinton would have done if they had actually been competing for the popular vote of the whole nation, and we never will.)  He is legally exercising the powers of his office, which are indeed very broad.  He also disposes of friendly Congressional majorities, just as Obama did in 2009.

Now the Republicans clearly intend to undo as much as they can of the last 85 years of American government.  Much of the New Deal is already gone.  The SEC does not effectively regulate markets and the NLRB has not been able to protect the rights of labor for some time.  Antitrust laws, which the New Deal vigorously enforced, have been a dead letter for quite a while, and the government is not an employer of last resort.  Social Security (which was significantly increased under Nixon) and Medicare, which is 50 years old, may be severely modified.  The Republicans have announced plans to eliminate agencies such as the National Endowment of the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, which, frankly, serve Democratic constituencies.  There is also talk of abolishing the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, although I am pretty sure that was established by law in the 1950s and I can't imagine that even this Congress would abolish it by law.  They also plan a new round of budget-busting tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.

Now like it or not--and I certainly don't--the Republicans have used our Democratic processes to reach the position from which they can actually make these things happen.  It is characteristic of fourth turnings that engaged people stop caring about process and start caring about outcomes.  Lincoln used implied war powers to do unprecedented things during the Civil War.  FDR was prepared if necessary to proclaim a dictatorship when he took office, and said so in his inaugural address.  He was also ready, at one key point, to defy a Supreme Court decision if it did not go his way.  On the other side, the Confederacy, of course, took up arms to defy the Constitution of the US, and many elements of American society viewed FDR as anathema.  Those of us who still believe in our democracy, however--it seems to me--must not deny the Republicans the right to put their beliefs into practice.  That is how democracy is supposed to work, and that is how I hope new Democratic leadership will make it work when and if they have secured majorities.  Like Richard Nixon and George W. Bush, Trump will probably try to stretch executive power beyond the law, but the courts and Congress successfully restrained those men, and they still provide legal rccourse now.  But much of what Trump wants to do--including, sadly, the deportation of immigrants--is well within our legal traditions, and ardently supported by large parts of our populaton.

And let's be frank: the Democratic side of the fence is particular vulnerable because it has won some of its greatest victories in the last 70 years or so not through the legislative process, but through the courts.  Brown vs. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade, and Oberkfell v. Hodges were three decisions that reshaped important areas of American life without consulting the electorate or the national legislature.  Now I happen to believe that the legal case at least for Brown and Oberkfell was very strong--even if I would have preferred to see Oberkfell decided on equal protection grounds--but at least the first two of those decisions have probably mobilized more voters in opposition to them than on their behalf.  And that is a big reason for the political mess in which we find ourselves today. 
"The only cure for the ills of democracy," a great governor of the early twentieth century frequently said, "is more democracy," and I agree.  In blue America, in academia, and in the major media the principles behind tehse decisions are regarded as sacrosanct and unchallengeable.  But the inhabitants of the red states are citizens too, and they have elected leaders who have never accepted some or all of those decisions.

2.  Partly because of the attitudes I discussed in (1), the breakup of the country, or violence between the federal government and local authorities, has now become a possibility.  Immigration is the flash point here.  It is, of course, disgraceful that Republicans have for so long refused to do anything to legalize the status of millions of immigrants who are actively contributing to our society and who have lived here for at least a generation.  Yet if we believe in the rule of law, and in the supremacy clause of our Constitution, I do not think it is in the power of big-city mayors to shield illegal immigrants from action by the federal government, any more than it was in the power of southern governments to stop integration.  Already President Trump is also threatening to exceed his own powers with respect to this conflict.  He has warned of cutting off all federal aid to "sanctuary cities," even though the Supreme Court in 2012 ruled that the federal government could only punish local authorities for infractions in this way by withholding money specifically related to those infractions.  In my opinion, it's entirely possible that Steve Bannon, in particular, would be glad to unleash an armed conflict against liberal municipal authorities.  Those authorities must ponder their courses of action carefully and try to enlist Congress in solving a very real problem.

3.  Finally, as I indicated last week, another problem of a different character faces us.  Like William II of Germany, Donald Trump may rather quickly turn out to be intellectually and emotionally unfit to be President of the United States.  His decision to push for an investigation of non-existent massive vote fraud suggests that he is counting on the federal government to act out his irresponsible fantasies.  The ABC interview that will screen this evening is not reassuring.   If serious bipartisan opposition to Trump emerges, I think it will be on those grounds.  But if Democrats want civic virtue to prevail over partisanship among Republicans, they had better set a good example.
---Value Added Cool
Reply
#85
(02-01-2017, 10:16 AM)SomeGuy Wrote: And now you're firmly back in crank territory.  You've even brought back "Wagnerian bombast, adulation of the Roman Empire, and samurai shtick", word for word.

You keep saying this is about Trump, but you were making the exact same posts back in 2013, just after Obama was re-elected.  You've even brought back some of the same lines.


I bring this up as Donald Trump and a Party show themselves beholden to people whose idea of government is rule of the economic elites, by the economic elites, and for the economic elites for eternity. Anyone outside of the winning coalition is to just accept the change as a permanent reality beyond any challenge. Such may be strictly the ethical hollowness of Donald Trump -- but his practices resonate in people who see the working man solely as someone to exploit and degrade for the gain of economic elites.

You are right -- I hate the man viscerally. I see him as a renunciation of just about everything that I have admired in America. He considers the greed of elites the highest expression of human nature, and anything that gets in the way something to be rendered permanently irrelevant, if not obliterated. His moral values are pure egoism. He rejects the Enlightenment valuation of open inquiry when such challenges the agenda of profit maximization. He seeks a rigid class structure in which people have value to the extent of their proximity to economic power. His style of management is dictatorial, and he admires dictators. He has said flattering things about Vladimir Putin, Moammar Qaddafi, and even Saddam Hussein. His political appeal that associates his desirability as an economic steward ignores that he has gotten rich largely by exploiting permanent shortages in real estate, one of the easiest ways to get filthy rich. Trump Steaks, Trump Vodka, and especially Trump University have been fiascos, demonstrating that he is not so much an entrepreneur as he is a rentier. I have heard of how he does business -- shake hands with him and make sure that you do not lose a finger. He has stiffed many people who have dealt with him. Media star? I have never been able to watch much of his output. I can think of far better uses of viewing time than The Apprentice -- like reruns of Bonanza, M*A*S*H, I Love Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Star Trek, The Honeymooners, Taxi, Home Improvement, Perry Mason, The Andy Griffith Show, The Simpsons, Twilight Zone... classic movies or maybe a sporting event. Sure I have a bias against people who ridicule the quest for intellectual enrichment and aesthetic delight, for I am little else.

If one is a conservative one could do better with praise for Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher; they at least do not have blood on their hands as do Putin, Qaddafi, or Saddam. He lacks the spine to reject someone so venal and bigoted as David DuKKKe, whose ideology is an attempt at synthesizing Ku Kluxism and Nazism. (OK, Ku Kluxism and Nazism share white supremacy, antisemitism, economic hierarchy, extreme nationalism, and contempt for workers' rights).

All people are flawed. We will never get the perfect leader. That is why we need liberalism with its free and competitive elections, government responsible to the People, openness to cultural diversity, and political transparency.

This is no longer 2013. We do not live in the same moral and political environment, at least in the USA, that we had six months ago. I look at the Trump agenda and I see something that could cause me to hate life so much that suicide could be an option. I am too old to do sixty hours of toil that taxes the raw stamina of people a third my age. I see a political order that can turn on me fast, not because I am a thug, but because I am a good person. He used a campaign slogan "Make America Great Again" that he offered as an objective beyond any need for explanation. So far as I can tell, that 'greater' America is one in which ethnic minorities know their (subordinate) places in the context of white supremacy, in which natural resources are simply objects for sale, in which women are baby machines that must work to exhaustion if they are not rich, in which plutocrats and bosses have complete power, and in which greed is recognized as a virtue but only if it is by the rich and powerful.

It is an endorsement of the 'Twenties -- the 1920s, a time that most people who knew them from personal experience had no desire to return.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


Reply
#86
(02-01-2017, 10:25 AM)Ragnarök_62 Wrote: Source  http://historyunfolding.blogspot.com/

David Kaiser Wrote:Thursday, January 26, 2017
As I see it

We are a week into the Trump Presidency, and it is taking shape more rapidly than any since Franklin Roosevelt's.  That is no accident: both men took office in the midst of a great crisis or Fourth Turning, as described and predicted by Bill Strauss and Neil Howe about 25 years ago.  Both represent the death of an old political order and both are determined fundamentally to reshape America.  This has excited some Americans and worried a great many others, especially in the blue states.  As usual, I find my own feelings to be quite different from those of many others.  We are just beginning the rule of Trump, but I would lay to lay the groundwork for future analyses with some observations.

1.  Talk that Trump "is not my President" is silly--unless one wants to secede from the union.  Whatever your politics, if you are an American citizen you have one and one president at all times, and right now, he is it.  He was clearly elected, albeit without a plurality of the popular vote.  (We have no idea, by the way, how he and Clinton would have done if they had actually been competing for the popular vote of the whole nation, and we never will.)  He is legally exercising the powers of his office, which are indeed very broad.  He also disposes of friendly Congressional majorities, just as Obama did in 2009.

Now the Republicans clearly intend to undo as much as they can of the last 85 years of American government.  Much of the New Deal is already gone.  The SEC does not effectively regulate markets and the NLRB has not been able to protect the rights of labor for some time.  Antitrust laws, which the New Deal vigorously enforced, have been a dead letter for quite a while, and the government is not an employer of last resort.  Social Security (which was significantly increased under Nixon) and Medicare, which is 50 years old, may be severely modified.  The Republicans have announced plans to eliminate agencies such as the National Endowment of the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, which, frankly, serve Democratic constituencies.  There is also talk of abolishing the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, although I am pretty sure that was established by law in the 1950s and I can't imagine that even this Congress would abolish it by law.  They also plan a new round of budget-busting tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.

Now like it or not--and I certainly don't--the Republicans have used our Democratic processes to reach the position from which they can actually make these things happen.  It is characteristic of fourth turnings that engaged people stop caring about process and start caring about outcomes.  Lincoln used implied war powers to do unprecedented things during the Civil War.  FDR was prepared if necessary to proclaim a dictatorship when he took office, and said so in his inaugural address.  He was also ready, at one key point, to defy a Supreme Court decision if it did not go his way.  On the other side, the Confederacy, of course, took up arms to defy the Constitution of the US, and many elements of American society viewed FDR as anathema.  Those of us who still believe in our democracy, however--it seems to me--must not deny the Republicans the right to put their beliefs into practice.  That is how democracy is supposed to work, and that is how I hope new Democratic leadership will make it work when and if they have secured majorities.  Like Richard Nixon and George W. Bush, Trump will probably try to stretch executive power beyond the law, but the courts and Congress successfully restrained those men, and they still provide legal rccourse now.  But much of what Trump wants to do--including, sadly, the deportation of immigrants--is well within our legal traditions, and ardently supported by large parts of our populaton.

And let's be frank: the Democratic side of the fence is particular vulnerable because it has won some of its greatest victories in the last 70 years or so not through the legislative process, but through the courts.  Brown vs. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade, and Oberkfell v. Hodges were three decisions that reshaped important areas of American life without consulting the electorate or the national legislature.  Now I happen to believe that the legal case at least for Brown and Oberkfell was very strong--even if I would have preferred to see Oberkfell decided on equal protection grounds--but at least the first two of those decisions have probably mobilized more voters in opposition to them than on their behalf.  And that is a big reason for the political mess in which we find ourselves today. 

"The only cure for the ills of democracy," a great governor of the early twentieth century frequently said, "is more democracy," and I agree.  In blue America, in academia, and in the major media the principles behind these decisions are regarded as sacrosanct and unchallengeable.  But the inhabitants of the red states are citizens too, and they have elected leaders who have never accepted some or all of those decisions.

2.  Partly because of the attitudes I discussed in (1), the breakup of the country, or violence between the federal government and local authorities, has now become a possibility.  Immigration is the flash point here.  It is, of course, disgraceful that Republicans have for so long refused to do anything to legalize the status of millions of immigrants who are actively contributing to our society and who have lived here for at least a generation.  Yet if we believe in the rule of law, and in the supremacy clause of our Constitution, I do not think it is in the power of big-city mayors to shield illegal immigrants from action by the federal government, any more than it was in the power of southern governments to stop integration.  Already President Trump is also threatening to exceed his own powers with respect to this conflict.  He has warned of cutting off all federal aid to "sanctuary cities," even though the Supreme Court in 2012 ruled that the federal government could only punish local authorities for infractions in this way by withholding money specifically related to those infractions.  In my opinion, it's entirely possible that Steve Bannon, in particular, would be glad to unleash an armed conflict against liberal municipal authorities.  Those authorities must ponder their courses of action carefully and try to enlist Congress in solving a very real problem.

3.  Finally, as I indicated last week, another problem of a different character faces us.  Like William II of Germany, Donald Trump may rather quickly turn out to be intellectually and emotionally unfit to be President of the United States.  His decision to push for an investigation of non-existent massive vote fraud suggests that he is counting on the federal government to act out his irresponsible fantasies.  The ABC interview that will screen this evening is not reassuring.   If serious bipartisan opposition to Trump emerges, I think it will be on those grounds.  But if Democrats want civic virtue to prevail over partisanship among Republicans, they had better set a good example.

David Kaiser was one of the stars of the old site... until the trolls made him uncomfortable. He has his blog, and he leaves no room for comments. If I am to comment, I do so here. I disagree little with him. 

A few comments:

1a. I am amazed not only of how low my expectations of Donald Trump as President would be, but that he has undercut my expectations so badly. To say that he is 'not my President' is to deny that I am an American. For the next four years, I would rather be something other than American. It's not just that I expect to find political life pure offense in America; at least if I were Chinese I would not feel guilt at what the people of my country chose as leadership, for they did not choose their leadership.

If I had dual citizenship in some country not a Hell-hole I would take advantage of the 'alternative citizenship'.

1b. To be sure, the erosion of the process that really made America great has been severe, undercutting the foundation of the certainties that most of us once had. Such began well before the current Crisis. We cannot have government better than ourselves as a people or the elites that we have. We lost much when the universities abandoned the objective of liberal education that offered some values that both enhanced the effectiveness of society but also gave people the means of challenging the system for its flaws.  Simply among African-Americans, such figures as disparate in time as Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, and Martin Luther King, Jr. used the lore of the Enlightenment to challenge the vileness of white supremacy. The educational system that teaches no values can still allow people some intellectual rigor (that never left the first-rate universities) and technical prowess, but such is not enough. There must be more to life than sex, mind-altering substances (whether booze or cocaine), entertainment, material gain and comfort, and bureaucratic power -- like having the soul that allows one to reject those on principle for something even nobler. All too often we are the swine before which pearls are cast. Maybe we can accept such in people who win the lottery -- but if people unable to make personal choices of self -denial for some noble principle dominate business, academia, culture, politics, and the professions, then we are in for very bad times.

Something must have gone very wrong for so much as 46% of the American electorate to vote for someone with the ethos of a juvenile delinquent. That 46% prevailed, and look what we have.

1c. If Donald Trump can offer his 'alternative facts' as reality that we must accept as an exercise in patriotism, then we can expect the contradictions to lead to a gigantic blow-up, implosion, or meltdown. I see every day under his Presidency much like an inmate of a prison seeing his term as one more day to count down until the world becomes much better -- even if the prison does more to make me less competent to deal with the 'outside' world. I can imagine a man who governs as much by executive order as by proposing legislation transforming America into a political order much more like those in China or Russia than anything that any American can know -- unless born into a dictatorial order like the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, Iran,  or (if one is old enough -- the Jim Crow South if one is black and from the South).

If we get through this mess without the establishment of a totalitarian order or a nuclear World War III, then we may do what is best with a Crisis Era -- making radical changes that shore up democratic processes. Our democracy was safe so long as people who knew where the seams were chose to not drive the metaphoric equivalents if bicycles through them to evade them. This time we have people ruthless enough to drive the metaphoric equivalents of eighteen-wheel trucks or jet aircraft through them to rend the seams completely.

We may need something like the Constitution of the German Federal Republic, an document established to ensure that people of consummate ruthlessness and no morals cannot rip the seams. To be sure, such came too late to prevent the worst nightmare that a political order could ever become -- but if I had to choose where to live based upon my fear of becoming a political pariah and prisoner, Germany or the USA, I would now pick Germany.

1d. If we are to challenge the Trump nightmare, then we have a precedent -- the Civil Rights struggle of southern blacks -- within our own culture as part of our heritage. We still have relics of a civil society, which is more than I can say of people who had to struggle to liberate themselves from Communist dictatorships. We can find means, like entrepreneurship, to evade the economic power of the government and the giant corporations who practically own it through the lobbyists who wield the real power in both Houses of Congress, a reality that happened before Donald Trump became dic... excuse me, President. We can expect even worse under Donald Trump than "taxation without representation" as Patrick Henry saw it in 1776 -- taxation with neither representation nor service. We have a President who, if he were to be honest about himself and his agenda, would say "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask not what you can do for your country; ask instead what your country can do to you!" in a sick twist upon the famous line from the inaugural address of John F. Kennedy. Sure, we may start with a more decent and creditable version of the Tea Party Movement...  but Donald Trump and those around him lack the decency, humility, and integrity of Barack Obama. Evil people can be extremely self-righteous, convinced of the rectitude of their evil agenda.

1e. The Enemy is no foreign, exotic Evil Empire like Tojo's Japan or a culturally-related, but politically-perverse Evil Empire like Hitler's Germany or Mussolini's Italy. The Enemy could well be the scorpions in our collective soul, tendencies of racism, militarism, economic hierarchy, superstition, and sadism that surface this time. Those scorpions were always present, awaiting some weakness of spirit and some electoral freak that might unleash them. The rhetoric of the American Revolution, the Civil War, and out struggle against three Evil Empires at once are all relevant again. We get at the end of this Crisis what Abraham Lincoln called for in 1861 as the Union rifted into the two most powerful enemies then possible, "a new Birth of Freedom", or our country goes into the cesspool of chaos and despotism.

2. As with those who resisted Jim Crow in the 1960s or geriatric Communism in the 1980s, we who believe in the ideal of freedom will need allies. If the white middle class had political values analogous to those of the black, Hispanic, and Asian components of the American middle class, then America would not be in the mess that it is in. For the next four years, liberals in big-city and some state governments may be the only ones to stand up for democracy that the Republican Party now believes means "obey us or face severe consequences". A plurality of Americans rejected Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential election for reasons that seemed well justified then and still do. 

It is telling that 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and It Can't Happen Here are selling well. Many Americans now recognize a phrase as "alternative facts" as a form of Newspeak, the debasement of culture as a theme in current reality, and Donald Trump as an analogue to the fictional Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip.

[Image: Warren-Harding-Miss-Me-Yet-300x225.jpg]

I could go that far with Donald Trump. Warren Gamaliel Harding had ties to only one possible conflict of interest, and that had no foreign connections. He fornicated, but apparently much less than Donald Trump. Warren G. Harding was an ordinary man given extraordinary responsibility, and he handled it badly. But in twelve days Donald Trump has done far more harm to American than Warren G. Harding did in just short of 28 months.  

3. The comparison to Wilhelm II is a worthy scare.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


Reply
#87
(02-01-2017, 11:51 AM)pbrower2a Wrote:
(02-01-2017, 10:16 AM)SomeGuy Wrote: And now you're firmly back in crank territory.  You've even brought back "Wagnerian bombast, adulation of the Roman Empire, and samurai shtick", word for word.

You keep saying this is about Trump, but you were making the exact same posts back in 2013, just after Obama was re-elected.  You've even brought back some of the same lines.


I bring this up as Donald Trump and a Party show themselves beholden to people whose idea of government is rule of the economic elites, by the economic elites, and for the economic elites for eternity. Anyone outside of the winning coalition is to just accept the change as a permanent reality beyond any challenge. Such may be strictly the ethical hollowness of Donald Trump -- but his practices resonate in people who see the working man solely as someone to exploit and degrade for the gain of economic elites.

You are right -- I hate the man viscerally. I see him as a renunciation of just about everything that I have admired in America. He considers the greed of elites the highest expression of human nature, and anything that gets in the way something to be rendered permanently irrelevant, if not obliterated. His moral values are pure egoism. He rejects the Enlightenment valuation of open inquiry when such challenges the agenda of profit maximization. He seeks a rigid class structure in which people have value to the extent of their proximity to economic power. His style of management is dictatorial, and he admires dictators. He has said flattering things about Vladimir Putin, Moammar Qaddafi, and even Saddam Hussein. His political appeal that associates his desirability as an economic steward ignores that he has gotten rich largely by exploiting permanent shortages in real estate, one of the easiest ways to get filthy rich. Trump Steaks, Trump Vodka, and especially Trump University have been fiascos, demonstrating that he is not so much an entrepreneur as he is a rentier. I have heard of how he does business -- shake hands with him and make sure that you do not lose a finger. He has stiffed many people who have dealt with him. Media star? I have never been able to watch much of his output. I can think of far better uses of viewing time than The Apprentice -- like reruns of Bonanza, M*A*S*H, I Love Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Star Trek, The Honeymooners, Taxi, Home Improvement, Perry Mason, The Andy Griffith Show, The Simpsons, Twilight Zone... classic movies or maybe a sporting event. Sure I have a bias against people who ridicule the quest for intellectual enrichment and aesthetic delight, for I am little else.

If one is a conservative one could do better with praise for Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher; they at least do not have blood on their hands as do Putin, Qaddafi, or Saddam. He lacks the spine to reject someone so venal and bigoted as David DuKKKe, whose ideology is an attempt at synthesizing Ku Kluxism and Nazism. (OK, Ku Kluxism and Nazism share white supremacy, antisemitism, economic hierarchy, extreme nationalism, and contempt for workers' rights).

All people are flawed. We will never get the perfect leader. That is why we need liberalism with its free and competitive elections, government responsible to the People, openness to cultural diversity, and political transparency.

This is no longer 2013. We do not live in the same moral and political environment, at least in the USA, that we had six months ago. I look at the Trump agenda and I see something that could cause me to hate life so much that suicide could be an option. I am too old to do sixty hours of toil that taxes the raw stamina of people a third my age. I see a political order that can turn on me fast, not because I am a thug, but because I am a good person. He used a campaign slogan "Make America Great Again" that he offered as an objective beyond any need for explanation. So far as I can tell, that 'greater' America is one in which ethnic minorities know their (subordinate) places in the context of white supremacy, in which natural resources are simply objects for sale, in which women are baby machines that must work to exhaustion if they are not rich, in which plutocrats and bosses have complete power, and in which greed is recognized as a virtue but only if it is by the rich and powerful.

It is an endorsement of the 'Twenties -- the 1920s, a time that most people who knew them from personal experience had no desire to return.

Yep, you're staring right at my ear lobe now.  This has nothing to do with Trump, you were saying all of this in 2013, threatening suicide and all.
Reply
#88
Patrick Buchanan--paleo-conservative that he is, and Nixon acolyte that he once was--is sounding the alarm about the militant tone of the Trump administration, when Gen. Michael Flynn marched into the White House Briefing Room to declare that "we are officially putting Iran on notice."

"The Coming Clash with Iran"
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/b...with-iran/

Buchanan is right to compare this provocation to Obama’s chemical weapons “red line” in Syria, an ultimatum that led Obama to threaten the use of force against the regime of President Assad before ultimately accepting a peaceful resolution (engineered by Russia's Putin, we should recall).

Trump is fast cementing a reputation for following through on his campaign promises.  (His supporters applaud him for that, no doubt.)  So it's hard to dismiss Flynn's not-so-veiled threat as mere "saber rattling," especially in light of Steve Bannon's apparent worldview of a coming "clash of civilizations." 

Buchanan asks--

Is the United States making new demands on Iran not written into the nuclear treaty or international law—to provoke a confrontation?

Did Flynn coordinate with our allies about this warning of possible military action against Iran? Is NATO obligated to join any action we might take?

Or are we going to carry out any retaliation alone, as our NATO allies observe, while the Israelis, Gulf Arabs, Saudis and the Beltway War Party, which wishes to be rid of Trump, cheer him on?

Bibi Netanyahu hailed Flynn’s statement, calling Iran’s missile test a flagrant violation of the U.N. resolution and declaring, “Iranian aggression must not go unanswered.” By whom, besides us?

Fair questions all.  Buchanan goes on to write--

The problem with making a threat public—Iran is “on notice”—is that it makes it almost impossible for Iran, or Trump, to back away.

Tehran seems almost obliged to defy it, especially the demand that it cease testing conventional missiles for its own defense.

This U.S. threat will surely strengthen those Iranians opposed to the nuclear deal and who wish to see its architects, President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, thrown out in this year’s elections.

If Rex Tillerson is not to become a wartime secretary of state like Colin Powell or Dean Rusk, he is going to have to speak to the Iranians, not with defiant declarations, but in a diplomatic dialogue.

Tillerson, of course, is on record as saying the Chinese should be blocked from visiting the half-dozen fortified islets they have built on rocks and reefs in the South China Sea.

A prediction: The Chinese will not be departing from their islands, and the Iranians will defy the U.S. threat against testing their missiles.

Wednesday’s White House statement makes a collision with Iran almost unavoidable, and a war with Iran quite possible.
Why did Trump and Flynn feel the need to do this now?

And Buchanan points out the obvious contradiction between Trump's campaign rhetoric and the recent pronouncements of his national security team:

High among the reasons that many supported Trump was his understanding that George W. Bush blundered horribly in launching an unprovoked and unnecessary war on Iraq.

Along with the 15-year war in Afghanistan and our wars in Libya, Syria, and Yemen, our 21st-century U.S. Mideast wars have cost us trillions of dollars and thousands of dead. And they have produced a harvest of hatred of America that was exploited by al-Qaida and ISIS to recruit jihadists to murder and massacre Westerners...


Unlike the other candidates, Trump seemed to recognize this.

It was thought he would disengage us from these wars, not rattle a saber at an Iran that is three times the size of Iraq and has as its primary weapons supplier and partner Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

When Barack Obama drew his red line against Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons in Syria’s civil war, and Assad appeared to cross it, Obama discovered that his countrymen wanted no part of the war that his military action might bring on.

President Obama backed down—in humiliation.

Neither the Ayatollah Khamenei nor Trump appears to be in a mood to back away, especially now that the president has made the threat public.

I have a few questions of my own: Is Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon really trying to make "a clash of civilizations" a self-fulfilling prophecy?  If so, are he and the president of one mind on this worldview?  Is the president even aware that his emerging foreign policy looks like so much "scattershot," lacking coherence, diplomacy and rationality?
Reply
#89
Patrick Buchanan has been cheering Trump every step of the way.  Seriously, read through the archive of his articles on The American Conservative.
Reply
#90
(02-03-2017, 02:07 PM)SomeGuy Wrote: Patrick Buchanan has been cheering Trump every step of the way.  Seriously, read through the archive of his articles on The American Conservative.

That may be (and in the interest of time, I'll take your word on that).  But is Buchanan breaking with the president on the issue of Iran?  Andrew Bacevich has; indeed, he's already looking forward to post-Trumpism:

"Conservatism After Trump"
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/a...ter-trump/

If more politicians in Washington had the clear-eyed view of American military history and foreign policy that Bacevich possesses, and I disdain neo-conservatism and liberal interventionism in equal measure, I just might embrace (again) the kind of old-school conservatism that he ostensibly advocates.
Reply
#91
You've become MORE tolerant of neoconservatism in recent years?  That's an interesting position, could you elaborate?


Pat Buchanan is, to my immense surprise, consistently an enjoyable and interesting read.  The whole The American Conservative site is one of my primary news sources these days.
Reply
#92
(02-01-2017, 12:59 AM)pbrower2a Wrote:
(01-31-2017, 10:22 AM)SomeGuy Wrote:
(01-31-2017, 02:00 AM)pbrower2a Wrote: Well, I hope that I don't come off as a crank. Intensely partisan and opinionated -- OK. I know that.

There are no perfect parallels in history, and we have multiple cycles in operation.

Even the Vietcong got a bad mauling from the USA, even if their allies the North Vietnamese Army ultimately prevailed. .

To be honest, you can come off as a bit of crank sometimes.  You're about as in to the impending rise of American fascism as AlphabetSoup is to WWIII.  The fact that you actually responded this time in normal fashion is a good sign.  Thanks.

I don't mind partisan and opinionated that much, it's when people do the discussion board equivalent of responding to requests for clarification by staring intently at my left ear lobe and ranting away that I get a bit concerned about how I am spending my time.

I mean, this is an odd topic for a discussion forum, broadly speaking, so we're all at least a little bit crankish.

We are all aware of Lawrence Britt's fourteen signs of fascism

1. Pervasive nationalism
2. Disdain for the value of human rights
3. Scapegoating of pariahs
4. Avid militarism
5. Sexism
6. Controlled mass media
7. Corporate power exalted
8. Labor power crushed
9. Majority religion co-opted
10. Exaggerated concern for national security
11. Contempt for arts and intellectualism
12. Brutal treatment of offenders
13. Cronyism and corruption
14. Fraudulent elections

These are all pathologies to the extent that they are unnecessary for the survival of the society.  I look at that list and I also see many Commie regimes. Ask yourself how many of those fourteen warning signs apply to North Korea or to Romania under Ceausescu and his Dracula cult. Look also at Baathism and ISIS.


I am tempted to believe that for every culture there is one style of fascism that fits the culture. Wagnerian bombast, adulation of the Roman Empire, and samurai shtick are just too alien to fit America. But Celtic mysticism and the plantation order of the Old South make the KKK possible. 

I also look at that list and examine Donald Trump, who has more forcefully left his imprint upon political culture faster than any prior President. Because I consider Barack Obama an above-average President with a political ideology compatible with mine and Donald Trump offending so many of my sensibilities that I can't count the offenses - let's see how they apply to George H W Bush. Not much. Donald Trump? To use one of his ludicrous coinages, "bigly".

I look at that list and I see the US under FDR during WWII.
Reply
#93
(02-03-2017, 06:57 PM)SomeGuy Wrote: You've become MORE tolerant of neoconservatism in recent years?  That's an interesting position, could you elaborate?


Pat Buchanan is, to my immense surprise, consistently an enjoyable and interesting read.  The whole The American Conservative site is one of my primary news sources these days.

Perhaps you can answer this: Did I miss something in the Bacevich article?  I don't think he was necessarily advocating a neoconservative approach to managing American foreign policy.
Reply
#94
(02-04-2017, 02:59 AM)Warren Dew Wrote: I look at that list and I see the US under FDR during WWII.

Rather absurd statement.

We are all aware of Lawrence Britt's fourteen signs of fascism

1. Pervasive nationalism  FDR worked with allies to defeat nationalism and establish the United Nations
2. Disdain for the value of human rights  FDR outlined the four freedoms, and paved the way for the UN Declaration of Human Rights spearheaded by his wife
3. Scapegoating of pariahs  Japanese internment, arguably
4. Avid militarism  FDR spoke often about how he hated war.
5. Sexism   FDR's first lady was a major force for change
6. Controlled mass media  Fireside chats are hardly "control." Media was free.
7. Corporate power exalted  FDR put corporate power under strong regulation for the first time, to the extent that he was proud of the hatred which the corporate bosses had for him. Corporations became the arsenal of democracy, so that corporations served the nation rather than the other way around.
8. Labor power crushed  FDR empowered labor unions, establishing the National Labor Relations Board 
9. Majority religion co-opted  FDR did not use religion for his purposes
10. Exaggerated concern for national security   FDR's concern for national security was well-founded in those days. Or you don't think the Nazis and Japanese were a threat?
11. Contempt for arts and intellectualism  FDR very much promoted them
12. Brutal treatment of offenders   No such treatment
13. Cronyism and corruption   Not at all. Less corrupt than most presidents
14. Fraudulent elections   None
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
Reply
#95
(02-04-2017, 02:59 AM)Warren Dew Wrote:
(02-01-2017, 12:59 AM)pbrower2a Wrote:
(01-31-2017, 10:22 AM)SomeGuy Wrote:
(01-31-2017, 02:00 AM)pbrower2a Wrote: Well, I hope that I don't come off as a crank. Intensely partisan and opinionated -- OK. I know that.

There are no perfect parallels in history, and we have multiple cycles in operation.

Even the Vietcong got a bad mauling from the USA, even if their allies the North Vietnamese Army ultimately prevailed. .

To be honest, you can come off as a bit of crank sometimes.  You're about as in to the impending rise of American fascism as AlphabetSoup is to WWIII.  The fact that you actually responded this time in normal fashion is a good sign.  Thanks.

I don't mind partisan and opinionated that much, it's when people do the discussion board equivalent of responding to requests for clarification by staring intently at my left ear lobe and ranting away that I get a bit concerned about how I am spending my time.

I mean, this is an odd topic for a discussion forum, broadly speaking, so we're all at least a little bit crankish.

We are all aware of Lawrence Britt's fourteen signs of fascism

1. Pervasive nationalism
2. Disdain for the value of human rights
3. Scapegoating of pariahs
4. Avid militarism
5. Sexism
6. Controlled mass media
7. Corporate power exalted
8. Labor power crushed
9. Majority religion co-opted
10. Exaggerated concern for national security
11. Contempt for arts and intellectualism
12. Brutal treatment of offenders
13. Cronyism and corruption
14. Fraudulent elections

These are all pathologies to the extent that they are unnecessary for the survival of the society.  I look at that list and I also see many Commie regimes. Ask yourself how many of those fourteen warning signs apply to North Korea or to Romania under Ceausescu and his Dracula cult. Look also at Baathism and ISIS.


I am tempted to believe that for every culture there is one style of fascism that fits the culture. Wagnerian bombast, adulation of the Roman Empire, and samurai shtick are just too alien to fit America. But Celtic mysticism and the plantation order of the Old South make the KKK possible. 

I also look at that list and examine Donald Trump, who has more forcefully left his imprint upon political culture faster than any prior President. Because I consider Barack Obama an above-average President with a political ideology compatible with mine and Donald Trump offending so many of my sensibilities that I can't count the offenses - let's see how they apply to George H W Bush. Not much. Donald Trump? To use one of his ludicrous coinages, "bigly".

I look at that list and I see the US under FDR during WWII.

-- really. Most ppl living during that time thought we were fighting the fascists
Heart  Bernie/Tulsi 2020    Heart
Reply
#96
(02-04-2017, 01:24 PM)TeacherinExile Wrote:
(02-03-2017, 06:57 PM)SomeGuy Wrote: You've become MORE tolerant of neoconservatism in recent years?  That's an interesting position, could you elaborate?


Pat Buchanan is, to my immense surprise, consistently an enjoyable and interesting read.  The whole The American Conservative site is one of my primary news sources these days.

Perhaps you can answer this: Did I miss something in the Bacevich article?  I don't think he was necessarily advocating a neoconservative approach to managing American foreign policy.

Bacevich?  Neoconservative approach to foreign policy?  Don't be ridiculous.  That whole magazine was essentially founded in opposition to neoconservatism.
Reply
#97
(01-28-2017, 05:30 PM)beneficii Wrote:
(12-09-2016, 04:13 PM)Eric the Green Wrote: Thanks for your input, beneficii. I agree with your statement about the rise and fall of fascism.

Regarding the fall of Rome and the Huns, I'm not so sure. I think when the Visigoths invaded under Alaric in 410 and conquered and sacked Rome, the Empire was dead in all but name. The Huns just put the nail in the coffin.

It was a mix of factors perhaps: decline from within was certainly happening by all historical accounts. Authority was increasingly desperate and more tyrannical, most people were poorer and more miserable, and in the last century of Rome the people retreated more and more into a proto-medieval set up of lords and walls protection. It could be that these were the "islands in the ocean" referred to in your post. And the "barbarian" peoples were expanding and ready to fight more and more strongly and capably and take over.

Following up on the issue of Alaric the Visigoth sacking Rome as being evidence for Rome already being in an advanced state of decline. Kim disagrees, and in his other book, The Huns (Routledge, 2015), explains on pages 154-155 how in 395 a Hunnic invasion of Moesia province prompted the Visigoths under Alaric to unify their polity and to imitate Alanic and Hunnic practices. They shifted their emphasis to mounted warfare like that practiced by the Huns and were able to get a contingent of Huns to serve in their army. Because Hunnic military tactics were superior to Roman military tactics, this gave the Visigoths an advantage.

As mentioned elsewhere, the Roman army was not smaller than it was before and the Germanic soldiers serving there were no less loyal than the native Roman soldiers. Even before the arrival of the Huns, the Visigoths and Ostrogoths had the most complex societies of any Germanic peoples, and had already mixed quite a bit with the Alans.

So it wasn't so much that Rome declined, but rather it came to face new opponents it simply couldn't handle.

Keep in mind everyone, I have been dealing with on and off vertigo (sensation of moving, spinning) for the last few weeks. It is very difficult to read through a long book, or even to scan it to find a section I've read before. I had seen the section quoted above before and it took me more than an hour to look through the book to find it again as I struggled to focus my eyes on the page. It's also been difficult to carefully read and reread posts and articles on the Internet or otherwise concentrate. I am seeing a doctor tomorrow.

Because of this, there are definitely some aspects of his argument I'm missing. Unfortunately, I've already turned the book back in, so I may not be able to look through again for a while.

The first book I referenced (The Huns, Rome, and the Birth of Europe) was published by Cambridge University Press and the second book (The Huns) was published by Routledge, both reliable academic sources. They would not publish his books if he got any facts wrong.

Because of this, if you think you won the argument by knocking down my explanation, keep in mind you might very well have knocked down a strawman. My ability to concentrate and think about such issues in depth has been impaired of late, so I recommend checking the books out, getting them on interlibrary loan (free) if you have to.
Reply
#98
Are you complaining that you posted something on a discussion forum and people had the temerity to disagree with it?  Appealing to the authority of the publishers, where every interpretation of events they publish must be true?  Anxious that there might be people who feel they "won the argument"? WTF?

I hope you feel better soon, and that you feel up to participating in future discussions on a more even footing.
Reply
#99
(02-04-2017, 02:59 AM)Warren Dew Wrote:
(02-01-2017, 12:59 AM)pbrower2a Wrote:
(01-31-2017, 10:22 AM)SomeGuy Wrote:
(01-31-2017, 02:00 AM)pbrower2a Wrote: Well, I hope that I don't come off as a crank. Intensely partisan and opinionated -- OK. I know that.

There are no perfect parallels in history, and we have multiple cycles in operation.

Even the Vietcong got a bad mauling from the USA, even if their allies the North Vietnamese Army ultimately prevailed. .

To be honest, you can come off as a bit of crank sometimes.  You're about as in to the impending rise of American fascism as AlphabetSoup is to WWIII.  The fact that you actually responded this time in normal fashion is a good sign.  Thanks.

I don't mind partisan and opinionated that much, it's when people do the discussion board equivalent of responding to requests for clarification by staring intently at my left ear lobe and ranting away that I get a bit concerned about how I am spending my time.

I mean, this is an odd topic for a discussion forum, broadly speaking, so we're all at least a little bit crankish.

We are all aware of Lawrence Britt's fourteen signs of fascism

1. Pervasive nationalism
2. Disdain for the value of human rights
3. Scapegoating of pariahs
4. Avid militarism
5. Sexism
6. Controlled mass media
7. Corporate power exalted
8. Labor power crushed
9. Majority religion co-opted
10. Exaggerated concern for national security
11. Contempt for arts and intellectualism
12. Brutal treatment of offenders
13. Cronyism and corruption
14. Fraudulent elections

These are all pathologies to the extent that they are unnecessary for the survival of the society.  I look at that list and I also see many Commie regimes. Ask yourself how many of those fourteen warning signs apply to North Korea or to Romania under Ceausescu and his Dracula cult. Look also at Baathism and ISIS.


I am tempted to believe that for every culture there is one style of fascism that fits the culture. Wagnerian bombast, adulation of the Roman Empire, and samurai shtick are just too alien to fit America. But Celtic mysticism and the plantation order of the Old South make the KKK possible. 

I also look at that list and examine Donald Trump, who has more forcefully left his imprint upon political culture faster than any prior President. Because I consider Barack Obama an above-average President with a political ideology compatible with mine and Donald Trump offending so many of my sensibilities that I can't count the offenses - let's see how they apply to George H W Bush. Not much. Donald Trump? To use one of his ludicrous coinages, "bigly".

I look at that list and I see the US under FDR during WWII.

It is hardly surprising that FDR rode nationalistic trends in America that suddenly appeared on Sunday, December 7, 1941. Human rights? I wish that he had not incarcerated the Japanese and Japanese-Americans in the western USA, and I wish that he had let Jewish refugees from Hitlerland get sanctuary in America in the 1930s. Scapegoating of pariahs? No worse than anyone else. Militarism? Not really. If you are in a war for national survival, you will not choose methods for their benign character. Sexism? No worse than the norm among enlightened people.

It's clear that the media were not going to give open access to the Axis Powers. FDR imposed excess profits taxes and did not shut down unions. FDR co-opted all religions in America. I doubt that anyone can accuse him of 'exaggerated' concern for national security when America was in a war that it did not want.

Intellectual life went on after Pearl Harbor as it did before -- and there was practically no sympathy for fascism in America before, let alone after. FDR's government was indeed harsh on crime, especially gangland crime. There were few complaints.Cronyism and Corruption? FDR was clean of that.

But I will concede the rigged elections in the Deep South, where black people did not get to vote.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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(02-05-2017, 09:54 PM)pbrower2a Wrote: No worse than anyone else.

This is really the point.  Authoritarian governmental models such as fascism are natural fits for fourth turnings.  I'd say the best way to put it would be to say FDR's America tended toward fascism, but everyone else did as well.

Quote:Intellectual life went on after Pearl Harbor as it did before -- and there was practically no sympathy for fascism in America before, let alone after.

There was plenty of sympathy for fascism in America in the mid 1930s.
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