• NYT Book Review: The Suffocation of Democracy
    9 replies, posted
The President of the United States craves your attention. Don't give it to him. Tonight, boycott his 9pm address. Better yet, spend that time curled up in bed with a cup of tea, reading the New York Times Book Review of The Suffocation of Democracy by Christopher R. Browning. Technically not an opinion piece so there is no [opinion] tag in the headline. However the author takes a strong stance so make of that what you will. In the absence of more stringent rules I'll assume these articles square with pd rules. In any event, this is an important article and I think you should read it. https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/10/25/suffocation-of-democracy/ Some highlights: Because an ever-shrinking base of support for traditional conservatism made it impossible to carry out their authoritarian revision of the constitution, Hindenburg and the old right ultimately made their deal with Hitler and installed him as chancellor. Thinking that they could ultimately control Hitler while enjoying the benefits of his popular support, the conservatives were initially gratified by the fulfillment of their agenda: intensified rearmament, the outlawing of the Communist Party, the suspension first of freedom of speech, the press, and assembly and then of parliamentary government itself, a purge of the civil service, and the abolition of independent labor unions. Needless to say, the Nazis then proceeded far beyond the goals they shared with their conservative allies, who were powerless to hinder them in any significant way. If the US has someone whom historians will look back on as the gravedigger of American democracy, it is Mitch McConnell. He stoked the hyperpolarization of American politics to make the Obama presidency as dysfunctional and paralyzed as he possibly could. As with parliamentary gridlock in Weimar, congressional gridlock in the US has diminished respect for democratic norms, allowing McConnell to trample them even more. Nowhere is this vicious circle clearer than in the obliteration of traditional precedents concerning judicial appointments. Systematic obstruction of nominations in Obama’s first term provoked Democrats to scrap the filibuster for all but Supreme Court nominations. Then McConnell’s unprecedented blocking of the Merrick Garland nomination required him in turn to scrap the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations in order to complete the “steal” of Antonin Scalia’s seat and confirm Neil Gorsuch. The extreme politicization of the judicial nomination process is once again on display in the current Kavanaugh hearings. One can predict that henceforth no significant judicial appointments will be made when the presidency and the Senate are not controlled by the same party. McConnell and our dysfunctional and disrespected Congress have now ensured an increasingly dysfunctional and disrespected judiciary, and the constitutional balance of powers among the three branches of government is in peril. Whatever secret reservations McConnell and other traditional Republican leaders have about Trump’s character, governing style, and possible criminality, they openly rejoice in the payoff they have received from their alliance with him and his base: huge tax cuts for the wealthy, financial and environmental deregulation, the nominations of two conservative Supreme Court justices (so far) and a host of other conservative judicial appointments, and a significant reduction in government-sponsored health care (though not yet the total abolition of Obamacare they hope for). Like Hitler’s conservative allies, McConnell and the Republicans have prided themselves on the early returns on their investment in Trump. The combination of Trump’s abasement before Putin in Helsinki, the shameful separation of families at the border in complete disregard of US asylum law (to say nothing of basic humanitarian principles and the GOP’s relentless claim to be the defender of “family values”), and most recently Michael Cohen’s implication of Trump in criminal violations of campaign finance laws has not shaken the fealty of the Republican old guard, so there is little indication that even an explosive and incriminating report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller will rupture the alliance. But the potential impact of the Mueller report does suggest yet another eerie similarity to the interwar period—how the toxic divisions in domestic politics led to the complete inversion of previous political orientations. Both Mussolini and Hitler came to power in no small part because the fascist-conservative alliances on the right faced division and disarray on the left. The Catholic parties (Popolari in Italy, Zentrum in Germany), liberal moderates, Social Democrats, and Communists did not cooperate effectively in defense of democracy. In Germany this reached the absurd extreme of the Communists underestimating the Nazis as a transitory challenge while focusing on the Social Democrats—dubbed “red fascists”—as the true long-term threat to Communist triumph.
https://i.gyazo.com/2697a005459b13241b57eac915a39968.png https://files.facepunch.com/forum/upload/1250/62806867-1a84-4ad8-9c69-da8ed24ce3ec/image.png
From an outside perspective it is pretty wild how the Republicans have radicalised themselves into right-wing extremism. I think Obama really broke their brains. None of this would have been possible without the grassroots tea-party movements that popped up in reaction to him. Now that the republican party superstructure has caught up with the rightward shift of the base it is predictably bonkers to everyone but 30-40% of US voters. Their ideology is now a shit sandwich between paranoid (and often racist) NWO-esque conspiracy thought and blatantly extortionate and exploitative capitalist economics.
The GOP needs to die, and there are two ways political parties have died in the US historically. The Federalists lost popularity and relevance everywhere except New England because of their elitist and big business image, the Whigs died because the party split over slavery.
You know at this point I have no qualms to say that Trump really is a lot like Hitler. Concentration camps, discrediting the free press, xenophobic, hypocritical, racist, homophobic, liar, incompetent military strategist, sociopathic, narcissistic...
Make no mistake, Trump is an American fascist. It's not the same kind of fascism as the fascism that erupted in the early 1900s in Italy and Germany, but the thing about fascism is that it itself is just a system that can be modified by whoever is using it. Italian Fascism looked very different from German, with a much lower focus on racial superiority, an instead a focus on national supremacy. Similarly, modern American fascism has more of a focus on isolationism rather than racial or national superiority in order to make America great again.
The major difference is Hitler didn't dodge the draft.
the tea party wouldn't have been possible without the gutting of Mccain-Feingold through Citizens United which allowed the Kochs to dump hundreds of millions into dozens of PACS making something that on the surface appeared to be grassroots but in reality was a very deliberate orchestrated campaign to take over. where are the tea party's massive grassroots donors today? most of the promising ones didn't survive their first serious elections, and the house has been swinging back democrat since 2016. The kochs have backed off their spending as have other billionaires because they got what they wanted
Capitalism will help fascism if fascism is more profitable.
Maybe he should've invested more points into his agility score.
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