Category Archives: To Save Democracy

David Corn on the Origins of the Trump Disorder

NBC News, Sept. 18, 2022 – The GOP’s American psychosis didn’t start with Trump. It won’t end with him, either.

A line runs from the 1964 Republican National Convention to Trump’s Jan. 6 riot. It has zigged and zagged over the years. But there is a path.

By David Corn, Washington, D.C., bureau chief for Mother Jones
This piece has been adapted from “American Psychosis: A Historical Investigation of How the Republican Party Went Crazy,” by David Corn:

Nelson Rockefeller stared into a sea of hate.

Standing at the podium of the Republican National Convention of 1964, the 56-year-old patrician politician who symbolized dynastic American power and wealth was enveloped by waves of anger emanating from the party faithful. Delegates and activists assembled in the Cow Palace on the outskirts of San Francisco hurled boos and catcalls at the New York governor.

David Corn

He was the enemy. His crime: representing the liberal Republican establishment that, to the horror of many in the audience, had committed two unpardonable sins. First, in the aftermath of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, these turncoat, weak-kneed Republicans had dared to acknowledge the need for big government programs to address the problems and challenges of an industrialized and urbanized United States. Second, they had accepted the reality that the Cold War of the new nuclear age demanded a nuanced national security policy predicated on a carefully measured combination of confrontation and negotiation.

Rockefeller’s crime: representing the liberal Republican establishment that, to the horror of many in the audience, had committed two unpardonable sins.

Worse, Rockefeller had tried to thwart the hero of the moment: Barry Goldwater, the archconservative senator from Arizona, the libertarian decrier of government, the tough-talking scolder of America’s moral rot, and the hawkish proponent of military might who had advocated the limited use of nuclear arms. Continue reading David Corn on the Origins of the Trump Disorder

Gwynne Dyer: Putin’s Fans May be Italy’s Next Rulers

Power close at hand for hard-right populist party as Italy’s snap election draws near

Gwynne Dyer – Sept. 20, 2022

There’s an election in Italy next Sunday, almost exactly 100 years after Benito Mussolini’s ‘blackshirts’ marched on Rome and brought the first fascist dictator to power.

Giorgia Meloni, the hard-right populist politician who is likely to win that election, rejects any comparison with that ugly past. The party she leads, Brothers of Italy, has some nostalgic neo-fascists in its ranks, but she prefers to compare it to Britain’s post-Brexit Conservative Party or the U.S. Republican Party as rebranded by Donald Trump.

She shares her hostility to the European Union with Britain’s Conservatives, her hatred of immigrants, gays and Muslims with the U.S. Republicans and her truculent nationalism with both those parties. She is also militantly Christian and she dabbles in Great Replacement paranoia. And just like them, she wages a non-stop culture war. Continue reading Gwynne Dyer: Putin’s Fans May be Italy’s Next Rulers

On the Brink of Autumn: Quote of the Season

 

Joe Biden, 09/15/2022, United We Stand Summit, at the White House:

George Floyd mural, Minneapolis

“Too much hate that’s fueled extremist violence [has] been allowed to fester and grow.

Heather Heyer, spontaneous memorial, Charlottesville

You know, as a result, our very own intelligence agencies — our own intelligence agencies in the United States of America, have determined that domestic terrorism rooted in white supremacy is the greatest terrorist threat to our Homeland today.

I’ve been around a while.I never thought I’d hear that or say that.

Enough.”

Some Non-Elizabethan Weekend Images

This blimp is three shirts to the wind . . .

 

Covering up? Or bringing issues together around a central focus . . .

 

What’s that? I can’t hear y’all over the sound of chains and the cries of their lost children . . .

 

Looks like the spitting image to me, with the right color suit too . . .

 

A cannon aimed directly at all who challenge 45 .. .

 

Somebody’s singing the Michigan Fight Song . . . Or maybe the one from Kansas.

Quotes of the Day

Patti Davis, recalling the passing of her father, Ronald Reagan:

“My hope is that people remember this about the royal family: In the end, though they breathe rarefied air, they grapple as we all do with life and death, with the mystery of what it means to be human. When darkness falls, and they are alone, they sink into the same waters that everyone does when a loved one dies. And they wonder if they’ll make it to the other side..”

Jamelle Bouie quoting Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address: “‘A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people,” [Lincoln] said. “Whoever rejects it does of necessity fly to anarchy or to despotism.”

“You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the government,” Lincoln added, “while I shall have the most solemn one to ‘preserve, protect and defend it.’ ”

SERGE SCHMEMANN: Part of [the Queen’s] appeal was the extravagant — some might say excessive — pomp and ceremony that accompanied her every royal appearance. While Scandinavian countries deliberately decontented their monarchies until their kings and queens could barely be distinguished from normal citizens, Britain proudly maintained the full medieval monty: gilded carriages, bearskin helmets, liveried footmen and volumes of tradition.

It was marketing, to be sure; the royals are central to Britain’s brand and identity. But Queen Elizabeth was prepared to treat it all, from wearing a five-pound crown while reading a canned message in Parliament to feigning delight in some tropical ceremony, as the service to which she dedicated her life. . . .Though democracy left her no real governing power, she was ahead of her time in championing equality and diversity in the Commonwealth and, by most accounts, she made her views discreetly known to successive prime ministers, whom she met weekly.”

Eugene Robinson: “I once had the opportunity to attend an investiture, the palace ceremony at which the queen conferred knighthoods and other honors to the great and the good. It was the first time I had seen her in person, and what struck me was how tiny she was.

This woman who had been a larger-than-life presence on the world stage since before I was born — the first prime minister who served under her was Winston Churchill — was minute, dwarfed by her regal accoutrements and surroundings. Her voice was thin and soft, her words hard to follow.

Yet she did have a presence that dominated the vast room. On reflection, it occurred to me that this aura of authority and command was not emanating from the queen herself. It was being projected upon her by the audience.

And so it is with all the anachronistic stature and privilege the British royal family still enjoys in an egalitarian age. Elizabeth’s character, stamina and skill persuaded her subjects to suspend any possible disbelief in the divine right of a mostly German family to reign over the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Will they have such faith in Charles? In William?

“Après moi, le déluge,” King Louis XV of France is thought to have said, decades before the French Revolution. After Elizabeth, the British monarchy will find itself in rising waters and struggle not to be swept away.”

Seattle: Later that day, the congresswoman [Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington] was driving from her house to an event in Seattle, celebrating the introduction of a trans bill of rights. [Rachel] Berkson, her district director, was behind the wheel. In the passenger seat, Jayapal pulled out her phone and played some of the voice mails she’d received.

A man’s voice filled up the car.

“ … Your f—in’ day is coming. God damn, as soon as the president’s installed, like on Nov. 4 or 5, we’re f—in’ coming after all you motherf—ers. You’re gonna be scrubbing f—in’ floors for the rest of your life, you f—in’ wh—.”

Another man, a trace of a smile in his voice.
“ … Get ready for the worst year of your life. It’s gonna be turmoil every day. This is gonna be fun. This is gonna be fun. Your life is gonna be miserable. And we’re gonna get rid of that corrupt Biden, and that socialist Kamala, and the rest of the group, and you’re going right along with them.”

His voice deepened.
“You stupid f—in’ b—-. Get ready for turmoil. You’re gettin’ it. You’re gonna get exactly what you deserve, b—-. Have a nice day, b—-.”

Then another man.
“ … I’m gonna send you some knee pads, you f—in’ b—-. You worthless f—in’ c—.”
“ … We’re coming. And we’re really pissed off.”
“ … You are an evil b—- and you need to die and I hate you and I will never vote for you again.”

Jayapal stopped the recordings. Berkson, in the front seat, was one of the staffers who screened the messages. She decides what to forward to Capitol Police, and what to bring to Jayapal’s attention. As she drove, she started to cry. “Sorry,” Berkson said. “I honestly don’t think about it that much.”

At home later that night, Jayapal listened again to the threatening voice mails that [Rep. Adam]  Kinzinger and [Eric] Swalwell released this summer. She thought about how violence begins with the ability to dehumanize the subject of that violence. And she spent that evening replaying the voice mails that had been left for her. There was one calling her an animal. “The unleashing of it everywhere creates this space for other people to be unleashed as well,” she said.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington)

She thought about her decision to talk about what happened. What would she and [her husband] Williamson be saying, to themselves, to each other, to their loved ones, if they did?

“I don’t really want to admit that we’re in danger,” Williamson said, “because that’s not a place I want to occupy.”

“But at the same time,” said Jayapal, “it’s important people understand how ubiquitous this is, and how much a part of our psyche it is taking up.”

She thought about why she had never shared the voice mails before.
“Why didn’t I?”

“Is it like, ‘Oh you’re supposed to take it?’”

“Or you’re not tough enough if you release it?”

These were questions the congresswoman couldn’t answer.

Instead, she asked, “Have we somehow conditioned ourselves to think this is what we should expect?”

Michigan Supreme Court Puts Abortion Vote Back on The Ballot

Esquire: Politics With Charles P. Pierce
The Logic Behind Dobbs Was Always Crap, and Michigan Is a Case in Point
“Leave it to the states,” they said, disingenuously.

By Charles P. Pierce — SEPT. 9, 2022

Friday’s entry in our new F*ck Around And Find Out archive comes to us from Michigan.

Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack of the Michigan Supreme Court

It seems that over 700,000 Michiganders signed a petition to keep abortion legal in that state. Of course, this is exactly what the Supreme Court suggested should happen when it stripped away that right from American women, which they’d had since 1973. “Leave it to the states,” the anti-choices howled for nearly 50 years.

Of course, once the question was put on the ballot, Republican monkeyshines ensued. From Politico:

The Michigan Supreme Court’s emergency ruling overrides last week’s party-line tie vote by the Board of State Canvassers, which blocked the certification of the proposed constitutional amendment.

The two Republicans on that panel sided with conservative groups that argued spacing and formatting errors on the text canvassers presented to voters rendered the entire effort invalid.

This is the kind of penny-ante ratfcking in which state GOP organizations specialize—and in which they glory, truth be told. Unfortunately for them, however, Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack can see a church by daylight. Continue reading Michigan Supreme Court Puts Abortion Vote Back on The Ballot

Krugman on Europe’s Coming Winter of War

Wartime Economics Comes to Europe

In order to save energy in Germany, buildings and monuments lit for aesthetic purposes will no longer be illuminated at night.
Credit…Lukas Barth/Reuters

Opinion Columnist

The West isn’t exactly at war with Russia. However, it isn’t exactly not at war, either. Western weapons have helped Ukraine to stall Russia’s invasion and even to counterattack, while Western economic sanctions have clearly created serious problems for Russian industry.

Russia has retaliated with a de facto embargo on exports of natural gas to Europe. This shows how Vladimir Putin actually thinks the war is going. After all, this will have huge long-run costs: Nobody will ever again consider Russia a reliable trading partner. But Putin appears willing to bear those costs in an attempt to bully the West into reducing its support for Ukraine — which he wouldn’t do if he were confident about the military situation.

In any case, the embargo has raised the economic stakes. Six months ago, there was a lot of discussion about whether Europe could or should stop importing energy from Russia. Well, Russia has in effect made that decision on Europe’s behalf.

Continue reading Krugman on Europe’s Coming Winter of War

More Cartoons: “Forgive Us Our (School Loan) Debts Edition

Their CVs all list “Trump U Law School” . . . .

But at least the party still has some rock-solid beliefs . . .

But give this guy a break– he’s running for Q-Anon shaman in Arizona, and has a tough race . . .

File this next one under “Circular Firing Squad,” Continued . . .

Gotta repeat this message; like every half hour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And to bring us back, um, down to earth . . .

Bernie in ‘24?? New Poll Says He’s Got Highest Favorability

The Hill — August 26 2022

CAMPAIGN
Sanders has highest favorability among possible 2024 contenders: poll
BY ZACH SCHONFELD

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) clocked in with the highest favorability rating among a list of 23 potential 2024 presidential contenders, according to a new USA Today-Ipsos poll.

Forty-six percent of respondents said they had at least a somewhat favorable view toward Sanders, while 41 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion.

President Biden had the second-highest favorability rating at 43 percent, although his unfavorability rating was notably higher than Sanders’s, with 52 percent of those surveyed saying they had an unfavorable opinion of the president.

Former President Trump clocked in with the same ratings as Biden.

The three political figures were followed in the poll by other well-known potential candidates, while possible contenders with a smaller national profile were seen as unfamiliar by most voters.

Vice President Harris and former Vice President Mike Pence both received favorable ratings from at least 40 percent of respondents, earning the third- and fourth-highest figures among the candidates, respectively.

Continue reading Bernie in ‘24?? New Poll Says He’s Got Highest Favorability

New NBC Poll: Dems’ Midterm Odd Improve; Ex-CIA Boss: GOP BIGGEST DANGER TO U. S.

NBC News poll: 57% of voters say investigations into Trump should continue

Ahead of the midterm elections, the GOP leads in congressional preference, but Democrats catch up in enthusiasm.

August 21, 2022 — By Mark Murray

WASHINGTON — A clear majority of American voters believe that the various investigations into alleged wrongdoing by former President Donald Trump should continue, according to a national NBC News poll conducted after the FBI searched Trump’s Florida home and recovered documents marked as “top secret” earlier this month.

The poll also shows a dissatisfied public, with three-quarters of voters saying the county is headed in the wrong direction, a record 58% who say that America’s best years are behind it and 61% who say they’re willing to carry a protest sign for a day because they’re so upset.

And it paints a mixed picture of the 2022 midterm landscape, with President Joe Biden’s job rating mired in the low 40s, and with Republicans narrowly leading on congressional preference — but with Democrats nearly tying Republicans on voter enthusiasm — and with “threats to democracy” overtaking the cost of living as the top issue facing the country for voters.

“Politically, for Joe Biden and Democrats, the news is not all bad,” said Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies.

“Heading into Labor Day, the political dynamics could be worse [for Democrats], but they also need to get a lot better and fast,” he said.

McInturff, the GOP pollster, agrees that the environment has improved for Democrats since earlier this year. But he argues that the main fundamentals — the president’s job rating, the nation’s direction — are breaking against the party.

“America is singing the blues, and that is bad news for the blue team in November,” McInturff said.

The NBC News poll was conducted Aug. 12-16, during and after a tumultuous period for Donald Trump — when the FBI searched the former president’s Florida home, when Trump attorney and ally Rudy Giuliani revealed he is a “target” in the probe of alleged election interference in Georgia, and as a former Trump business executive pleaded guilty for tax fraud.

According to the survey, 57% of registered voters say that the investigations into alleged wrongdoing by Trump should continue, while 40% say they should stop.

By party, 92% of Democratic voters, 61% of independents but only 21% of Republican voters think the investigations into Trump should continue.

While all voters who prefer the investigations continue rather than stop lead by 17 points, the margin holding Trump responsible for the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is much smaller.

A combined 50% of voters say Trump is solely or mainly responsible for Jan. 6 — up 5 points since the May NBC News poll, before the House committee investigating the attack began holding multiple televised hearings.

That’s compared with a combined 49% saying Trump is only somewhat responsible or not responsible at all for Jan. 6, which is down 6 points from May.

Biden’s job rating remains in the low forties

The poll was also conducted after a strong stretch for President Biden, which included Congress passing climate and health care legislation and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that 528,000 jobs had been created last month.

But the survey doesn’t show a significant improvement in the president’s standing, with 42% of registered voters approving of Biden’s job performance and 55% disapproving.

In May, Biden’s job approval stood at 42% among registered voters and 39% among all adults.

The president enjoys his highest approval rating among Democrats (79%), Black voters (68%), urban residents (50%) and women (47%), while he has some of his lowest ratings among Latinos (40%), men (36%), those 18-34 (36%), rural residents (21%) and Republicans (7%).

On the issues, 40% approve of Biden’s handling of the economy (up 7 points among adults in May), and 39% give him a thumbs-up on foreign policy (down 3 points among adults).

Looking ahead to November’s midterm elections, 47% of registered voters prefer Republicans winning control of Congress, while 45% want Democrats in charge.

In May’s poll, the parties were tied on this question: 46%-46%.

Democrats close the enthusiasm gap

Despite Biden’s approval rating and the GOP’s lead in congressional preference (albeit within the poll’s margin of error), the NBC News survey shows an improvement for Democrats since earlier this year.

For one thing, Democrats have closed the enthusiasm gap.

According to the survey, 68% of Republicans express a high level of interest in the upcoming election — registering either a “9” or “10” on a 10-point scale — versus 66% for Democrats.

That 2-point GOP advantage is down from 17 points in March and 8 points in May.

The pollsters who conducted the survey attribute the increased Democratic enthusiasm to the June Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

“The Supreme Court ruling has shaken up the electorate,” said Horwitt, the Democratic pollster.

Indeed, the poll finds that 58% of voters disapprove of the Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade and ended the constitutional right to an abortion, compared with 38% who approve.

And the poll finds that “threats to democracy” has overtaken the “cost of living” as the most important issue facing the country, and that the climate and health care legislation Biden signed into law last week is more popular than unpopular (42% call it a good idea, while 31% say it is a bad idea).

Upset enough to carry a protest sign for an entire day

But hovering over the entire poll is a deep dissatisfaction from the American public.

Three-quarters of voters — 74% — say the country is headed in the wrong direction, representing the fifth-straight NBC News survey showing this number in the 70s.

Additionally, 58% believe America’s best days are behind it, which is the highest percentage on this question dating back to 1990.

Another 68% of voters think the United States is currently in an economic recession.

And six in 10 — 61% — say they’re so upset by something that they’re willing to carry a protest sign for an entire day.

Asked what their protest sign would say, the top responses among Democratic voters are “Women’s rights,” “Equal rights,” “Prosecute Trump” and “Abortion rights.”

And the top responses among Republican voters are “Impeach Biden,” “Protect our freedom,” “Protect 2nd Amendment,” and “Stop Democrats.”

The NBC News poll was conducted Aug. 12-16 of 1,000 registered voters — including 750 reached by cell phone — and it has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points.

© 2022 NBC UNIVERSAL

 

GOP Is Most ‘Dangerous’ Political Force in World, Michael Hayden Says

Retired Gen. Michael Hayden, a former director of both the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, has called out the Republican Party as extremist and dangerous, on an unprecedented level.

Hayden was responding Wednesday to an Aug. 11 tweet by the British journalist and author Edward Luce, who had said: “I’ve covered extremism and violent ideologies around the world over my career. Have never come across a political force more nihilistic, dangerous & contemptible than today’s Republicans. Nothing close.”

Luce is the chief U.S. commentator for the Financial Times.

“I agree. And I was the CIA Director,” Hayden responded via quote-tweet.

The tweet sparked immediate debate online, and drew more than 35,000 “likes” in its first three hours.

Hayden, a retired Air Force general who was named director of the NSA during the Clinton administration and was then tapped as CIA director by President George W. Bush, was among five former top military officials who penned a USA Today op-ed last month warning that American democracy “is in real peril” following the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection and by the manner in which the Republican Party has embraced conspiracy theorists, 2020 election deniers and extremist elements.

Also see: Trump lost — 2020 election wasn’t stolen, group of ultraprominent conservatives says

“For those of us focused on domestic security, the forces of autocracy now trump traditional foreign threats, hands down,” the former military officials wrote, citing a study earlier this year that found one in three Americans believe violence against the government could be justified.

A number of prominent Republicans have also gone on record decrying the state of the Republican Party and Donald Trump’s ongoing influence over it. On Wednesday, Rep. Liz Cheney — who lost her Wyoming Republican primary Tuesday after vigorously opposing Trump — vowed to fight to prevent Trump from becoming president again.

“I am absolutely going to continue this battle,” she told NBC News. “It’s the most important thing I’ve ever been involved in, and I think it’s certainly the most important thing, challenge, that our nation has faced in recent history, and maybe since the Civil War. And it’s one that we must win.”

Separately, former Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday pleaded with fellow Republicans to tone down their rhetoric against the FBI following last week’s search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago private club in Palm Beach, Fla.

Law-enforcement officials have warned in recent days that angry words from Trump and his allies are putting agents, officers and federal employees at risk. Violent rhetoric may have contributed to at least two deadly encounters involving law enforcement over the past week.