The Most Dangerous Tool On An Authoritarian's Belt (After Propaganda) Is CYNICISM

As annoying as the sound of Trumpanistas Autho Trump is, it’s understandable. One expects bullshit to flow from a Trumpanista.

It’s the sound of cynicism flowing from friends and loved ones that bothers me far more. That’s the sound of Trumpian lies landing where the Trumpanistas couldn’t.

The first thing your textbook authoritarian comes for (so the textbooks say) is The Truth. They murder The Truth so that no one really knows what is or isn’t without Big Brother weighing in. Haven’t we ALWAYS been at war with Eurasia?

But getting to that place where Truth is entirely at the authoritarian’s disposal takes time. There are other stops before full-on fascism flowers. Before authoritarians can have their way, they have to convince enough people that there’s no choice. We might as well do what the authoritarian wants since they’re going to do it anyway. It isn’t necessarily so — that the authoritarian will do it anyway.

Knock an authoritarian down a few pegs — most are such sissies they won’t get back up. They’ll crawl away bawling their little bitch eyes out. They’re schoolyard bullies in need of an ass-kicking. But their goal is to convince you that resistance is futile. All hope is lost.

We probably got here faster than we might have thanks to “Both Sides Do It” journalism convincing us that whatever nastiness the Republicans were up to? The Democrats were up to something just as devious. What can the average person do to fight off corruption when “both sides do it”? Consequently, Americans got jaded when getting jaded wasn’t called for.

Gerrymandering and massive Republican voter suppression has piled on. Where gerrymandering happens, the majority electorate votes one way but gets the opposite result because their “majority” has been split up into bite-sized district pieces any knuckle-scraping GOP candidate could win. Consequently the electorate feels removed from what they tried to elect. They sense corruption in the system. They see it. And decide the system can’t help them.

But, outside “the system”, what options are there to address your valid grievances? None, it turns out. A bad result is guaranteed no matter what. Why bother getting involved?

From the cynic’s point of view, that’s checkmate.

The worst part is when you point out to these people — and we’re all in this together, we all agree — that what happened in 2016 was outright theft. The Will of the American People was literally STOLEN from the American people by an active Russian intelligence campaign allied with pretty much all of the Republican Party. This was a willful theft of an election’s outcome. For a reason — to, above all, hijack the judiciary. It’s not a coincidence that even as Trump’s regime teeters, Mitch McConnell is still cramming radical right wing lifetime judges (not a one of them qualified to judge a pie-eating contest) into the system and down the majority’s throat. Rather than respond, “Gosh, how do we assuage the crime victim’s obvious wounds and begin the process of righting a wrong?”, we get “We couldn’t possibly overturn what happened — how would we do that? Those people would be so angry!”

What about “these people” — US? What about We The People — whose election outcome was STOLEN from us. Worse, not only didn’t we get the choice the majority voted for, we got its diametric opposite shoved at us. Why, I’d like to know, are we so worried about how the car thief will get around once we take our car back from him?

Screw him! He’s a thief. Of course he’ll be angry — he got caught and was forced to return what was never his to begin with.

But, see? Even people who feel wronged here — who WERE wronged — have convinced themselves that the wrong done to them can never be put right.

Why do they think that?

I’ll tell ya — it’s the exact message these criminals WANTED us to get: the crime perpetrated upon us can never be undone. They will always get away with it because they’ll threaten violence otherwise.

The rapist will get away with rape.

That’s where cynicism takes you. The correct answer is “No”.

Resisting cynicism is hard. Damned hard. Because the message coming at you is so pervasive: “resistance is futile… give up!”

Remind the class everyone — what’s the correct answer again? “NO”.

Not even “No, thank you”. Just a curt “NO.”

Immigration – And The Diversity It Brings – THAT Is “American Exceptionalism”

Rich Christian white guys, pumped up on cheap beer (they don’t drink it for the taste, they drink it to get plastered) think THEY are American Exceptionalism.

What Republicans think “American Exceptionalism” looks like…

Rich, Christian white guys with real money — we’re talking Koch & Mercer level wealth — don’t care about American Exceptionalism. They care about maintaining power and cultural hegemony. They don’t give a damn if enriching themselves far beyond ANYONE’S ability to spend the money even multiple generations onward results in the demise of the greatest experiment in human self government ever.

But American Exceptionalism is a very real thing. While white Christian men — already advantaged because they brought the money with them — may have placed themselves at the center of power in their new-fangled Democratic Republic, they weren’t actually the generators of the new ideas and vitality that would bring more money (and more new ideas and vitality) to the country — all those diverse OTHER PEOPLE were and still are.

Money is important to realizing great ideas. But money doesn’t “make” the ideas. Great minds do. And most every human has the potential for greatness in one way or another if given the chance (and the training, education and encouragement).

Take just a cursory glance at the biggest ideas of the last century — who did the innovating, whose cleverness solved a challenging problem, whose genius made lots of people lots of money — and you’ll see a sea of diverse faces staring back.

If American authoritarians continue to hold power (minority rule, remember) — and they drive every immigrant away — it will only be a matter of time before somewhere else becomes “Exceptional” in the way we used to be.

But then, looking backward — to how it was — is what rich, white, Christian men are all about. They’re “conservatives” remember — hell bent on conserving. The exceptionalism they have in mind exists only IN their mind.

Donald Trump “Winning” The 2016 Election Is A Total Fiction; We Need To Start Treating It Like One

Let’s get this straight: without Russia MAKING him president, Donald J Trump would not BE president.

We felt it collectively on Election Night 2016 as the results went toward the unexpected. It felt strange — not just because it wasn’t going the way we expected. No, it felt strange on a whole other subcutaneous level, down in our guts where our animal selves live. Our animal sense got it immediately. This stinks.

Trump winning the election felt like a lie. I still cringe on hearing the word “President” when attached to Trump’s name. It doesn’t compute or add up. I wouldn’t want him as the president of my condo association never mind of the United States.

Trump’s “win” (quotation marking it feels totally honest) felt like a lie. Like the Truth had been compromised somehow. Marginalized. That would make sense — that Trump would come for the Truth first. Truth will always be Trump’s enemy. That and human decency.

Chapter One in Authoritarianism For Dummies makes it abundantly clear: Destroy the Truth first!

From the moment even his campaign started, Trump — like a good prodigal authoritarian — went after the Truth. If he lost, he insisted, the election was rigged. The trick wasn’t so much denying the Truth as getting the rest of us to buy into his version — and damned if the American Main Stream Media didn’t oblige. How long did it take to normalize “Mexicans are rapists?”

“Grab em by the pussy” normalized even further. To be fair, it grabbed pussies had to compete with “but her emails”. You can see how that’d be challenging…

Though he sucks at everything else, Trump excels at destroying things from the inside out. He’s like a virus, always trying to turn everything else into him. That includes America.

The Mueller Report did not deal with the totality of Russia’s interference in or impact on Election 2016. They didn’t deal with the totality of Trump’s multi-faceted criminality. They didn’t deal with all the other ways (aside from Wikileaks) that Russian actors & Trump actors played nicely together for the purpose of destroying American Democracy. It was never in their purview (as much as some of us hoped it would be).

The Mueller Report came back “smaller” than we expected in part because Team Mueller’s investigation was continually compromised and obstructed by everyone on Team Trump — even the ones Team Mueller thought were cooperating. This is no ordinary group of criminals up to no good.

These are traitors and seditionists. These are confederates and anti-American greedists who cannot abide that they are already a minority party representing a minority (shrinking minority) point of view.

Want to know why Mitch McConnell won’t protect our election infrastructure? It’s because he knows for a fact that without Russia literally STEALING election 2016 on Trump’s and the GOP’s benefit, Hillary Clinton would be president now. We shouldn’t be naive. A Clinton presidency would have been under constant siege from every one of these nefarious asshats — at Russia’s urging and behest.

But we wouldn’t be facing a moment of very real peril.

We’re getting the story now in dribs and drabs. Donald Trump has been a work in progress for Putin going back years. So has the Republican Party. Election 2016. Brexit was a dry run for Election 2016. Election 2016 succeeded beyond Vladimir Putin’s wildest dreams — not only did he put his own guy in the White House, he set in motion the means to keep us under his thumb forever via permanent (Republican) minority rule.

The Projector In Chief TOLD us this was so almost as soon as he “won”: He knew questions about his legitimacy were themselves legitimate. That scared the crap out of him — which he projected like the manic sociopath huffed up on powdered Adderall that he is.

I dare anyone to look at a SINGLE thing Trump’s done since “winning” that hasn’t looked like, felt like or sounded like he wasn’t compromised in every way imaginable.

Better yet, let a thousand words do the talking…

I’ll repeat: without Russia’s direct help, influence, money & ACTIVE MEASURES, Donald Trump doesn’t win the presidency of the United States. Hell, he doesn’t even get his corrupt, bloated orange ass through the primaries — which is followed by the Republicans coming up empty.

Donald Trump won nothing in 2016. It’s questionable if the GOP won much of what they claim they won. If a single dollar of money flowed from Russia into a single Republican campaign coffer (lots more than a single dollar flowed), every victory by every Republican has to be re-examined in the light of conspiracy to defraud the American electorate and commit Treason.

Is It A “Stupid Question” To Ask “What’s Up With America’s Love Affair With Stupid”?

Not A Revelation: Stupid plays very well in America. I don’t mean we like to laugh at stupid people (everyone loves laughing at stupid people except the stupid people themselves), I mean we we like it when stupid people laugh at us.

We must like it; we keep setting ourselves up for it to happen

American politics has an actual history of stupid people proudly proclaiming how stupid they are — the whole point being how stupid they are. The “Know Nothing” movement was an actual thing started by a bunch of nativists in 1855. When it started, “I know nothing” was the intended response to any and all questions (especially as they pertained to the group’s rabid anti-Catholic xenophobia).

Know-nothingism touched something deep in American racism.

Later on, Dixiecrats — State’s rights Democrats (modern Republicans) — took up the Know-Nothing banner and waved it proudly. Racists like Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms extended the subjects about which they “knew nothing” to pretty much everything. Republicans turned “knowing-nothingism” into a battering ram of legislative ignorance, bad faith and racist claptrap.

Jump cut to today. It’s the “know nothing” attitude — the I don’t give a crap about the facts, I only care about what I want — at the core of a rip tide of anti-abortion legislation. It’s not a love of science seizing the nation, it’s a love of scientific ignorance. Feelings over Facts. Foolishness over everything else.

We are letting stupidity — and stupid people — dictate not only policy but “morality”. Stupid people have stupid morality. Even if well-meaning, stupid people unloosing their stupid upon the world never works out well for the world. Do anti-vaxxers think pathogens like measles and polio give a shit what they think?

Could the Right To Life movement be more blatantly stupid (in addition to dishonest, hypocritical and misogynistic)? You can’t sell stupid with facts. You can only “sell it” (cram it down the Nation’s unwilling throat) by saying it louder and longer. That’s always stupidity’s goal — to outlast you. It’s the only weapon on its tool belt after all…

What is Donald Trump if not Stupidity on Steroids?

Every pronouncement he built his reputation and base on was based on stupidity — and relied on other peoples’ stupidity to take off. It relied on the American news media’s willingness to spread that stupid like fertilizer. And, boy, did they! What makes Donald Trump’s lies so painful isn’t that they’re lies, it’s that they’re so damned STUPID. He must think WE’RE stupid when he says them.

That Donald Trump is STILL president makes the case that, indeed, we ARE stupid. We’re so stupid we’ll let our own rules trip us up — while we try to stop from stupidly going down the road to chaos, corruption and authoritarianism.

Worse than our love affair with stupid however, is America’s almost palpable hatred for smart people. The word “elite” really means “educated”… or “articulate”… or “thoughtful”. In other words, “not stupid”. Republicans love calling Democrats and Progressives “elite” — by which they mean “not stupid”.

Back in the 1950’s the Democrats twice put Adlai Stevenson up to run against Dwight Eisenhower. It was a thankless task — running against the War Hero who’d just won the Second World War in most Americans’ eyes. What Republicans relied on however — to beat down Stevenson — was his intelligence. Republicans called Stevenson “egghead” because his being well-read, well-informed and capable of critical thinking apparently made him less of a public servant to their way of “thinking”.

Oh, irony… poor, irony.

Where does that come from, I wonder, America’s virulent — persistent — anti-intellectualism? I don’t think it’s a coincidence that so many religions have been created here. A religion is a fantastical answer to a practical question — why are we here? But, whereas a science-thinking person starts to answer it by establishing first what they can prove with facts, a religionista doesn’t bother with facts (because facts can only confuse them or screw them up).

A religionista’s answer (to anything) doesn’t have to have a basis in reality.

I’m biased, I guess. That sounds painfully stupid. Never mind asking what could possibly go wrong, I want to know what could possibly go right?

Drip… Drip… Drip… How Authoritarianism Works

The most frustrating arguments I have these days aren’t with Trumpanistas.  They’re with people completely on ‘our side’.

The question isn’t ‘Is Donald Trump the worst thing (aside from slavery) that ever happened to America?’  The question is why are so many ‘informed’, progressive people so reluctant to fully embrace — and act upon — a simple, empirical fact?

Why are they so reluctant when their whole way of life is threatened.  Not make believe threatened — For Real, No-Shit, No-Kidding Threatened.  The kind you look back upon afterward and ask yourself, ‘Gee, considering how clearly and obviously threatened we were, why didn’t someone do something?’  That someone would be YOU, pal — and the why is YOU NORMALIZED THE THREAT.

The steady ‘Drip-Drip-Drip’ of Normalization.  It is DEADLY.

Remember the feelings of outrage you felt over the words Donald Trump spoke about Mexicans on DAY ONE of his campaign?  He said that about human beings he didn’t know, about AMERICANS (many of them) — hard-working, patriotic Americans.

The moment we didn’t stop what was happening and insist that Donald Trump’s campaign to be POTUS end right there, right then — he had us.  It was over.  We had just ACCEPTED — and therefore NORMALIZED overt racism and bigotry.  It poked its nose into the Commonweal’s tent — saw no resistance — and so came right in and made itself at home.

When we next ACCEPTED ‘Pussy-Grabbing’ as ‘Just how this candidate talks about women‘ — we were gone, gone, gone.  Now it was more than HALF THE POPULATION whose DEBASEMENT we ACCEPTED and NORMALIZED.

Authoritarians need the mob BEHIND THEM, not opposing them for this reason and that reason.  Divide & Conquer is so basic even bad dictators usually get that one right.  Donald Trump certainly did.

Donald Trump managed to get the wishes & desires of 16% of the American population — yeah, as a percentage of the whole American Population, that’s the sum total of hard core Trumpanistas.  Throw in the fact that — with the assistance of Russia and Cynical RW White Christian Male Money — Election 2016 was fraudulent top to bottom and you get the recipe for an Authoritarian soft coup just the way the chefs drew it up.

Each little drip was bad enough.  But those drips add up.  Like now — into a whole trough FILLED with Malicious, Un-Democratic Intent.  And the ‘Coffee Maker’ looks and smells like it’s about to explode.

Fer Christ’s Sake — Can we PLEASE turn the ‘coffee maker’ off before it shorts out and burns the whole house down?