Mitch McConnell

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Steady Statesmanship and Climate Policy in the Midst of a Fascist Threat

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 15/01/2021 - 4:36am in
By Brian Snyder

The insurrectionist mob that stormed the Capitol last week has been frequently described as fascist. Certainly, it was a far-right, racist mob attempting to overthrow a democratic election, as with the Beerhall Putsch or the March on Rome. Yet, the real fascists in the Capitol weren’t the mob. The actual fascists are far more powerful than a bunch of conspiracy-addled cosplayers. The real fascists were the half-dozen senators and 140 or so representatives who abetted and instigated the insurrection. Furthermore, the real problem in American democracy is not determining how to punish the rabble, but determining how to handle the fascists who’ve infiltrated our American government.


Donald Trump: Conservative or fascist? (Image: CC BY 2.0, Credit: Michael Candelori)

The Mob Was Not Fascist

Do not mistake my argument that the mob was not fascist for sympathy. Quite the opposite. But the difference between fascism and conservatism—even far-right conservatism—is profound. Conservatives believe in democracy; fascists do not. Conservatives and fascists may (or may not) have similar policy preferences, but fascism seeks power through any means—democratic or not. Conservatives, because of their respect for the rule of law, propriety, and precedent, would not seek to abrogate the results of an election. Mitt Romney is a conservative; Donald Trump is better described as a fascist. Of course, this definition seems to suggest that the rioters were fascists. Followers of Trump tried to undermine democracy.

Yet, it would appear that the rioters did not think that they were undermining democracy. They seem to have been deluded into believing that the democratic process had been corrupted and that it was up to them to right that wrong. They saw themselves as democracy’s savior, not its destroyer.

Fascism in the Republican Party

While I do not believe that most of the mob could be fairly called fascists, some members of Congress clearly are fascists, and this should be far more frightening. The mob was enabled by a group of senators and House members who planned to object to the results of free and fair elections in six states. In most cases, they followed through with these objections even after the insurrection. These politicians, all of whom are high-achieving, highly educated individuals, surely knew they were misleading Americans. They knew the elections were fair and that Joe Biden rightfully won, but they did not care. They were willing to trade democracy for power. That makes them nihilists. That the power they sought—another term of Trumpism—was racist, nationalist, and far-right, makes them fascists.

Of course, the Republican Party also has a conservative, non-fascist core centered around Mitt Romney, Mitch McConnell, and a handful of Never Trumpers. At present, it seems like there will be a prolonged dispute within the party between those who will seek power at all costs, and those who believe in democracy. If this conflict occurs—that is to say, if Mitch McConnell is able to rid the party of Trumpism—the mainstream conservatives will win. What they lack in an enthused base, they will more than make up for in corporate dollars, and so a new iteration of the Republican Party may emerge, if not simply revert to the pre-Trump version.

What Now?

In the midst of all of the problems of 2020 and 2021—an attempted coup, racial injustice, a global pandemic, increasing tensions with Iran—we still have all of the problems we had in January 2017 when Donald Trump took office, and most of them are worse. The past 12 months will be the warmest in recorded history—until it is overtaken soon—as global emissions continue to rise. The national debt has ballooned due to the stimuli and tax cuts used to maintain growth. Our geopolitical rivalry with China has deepened, causing concern about a new cold war. The government’s ability to leverage political capital has plummeted as our European allies wonder if we will elect more fascists in the coming years. In just about every way, the USA is worse off than it was four years ago.

Global heating: Concurrent with political division, no less. (Image: CC0, Credit: NASA)

Meanwhile, some of us have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time. Dealing with all of these problems at once will be like riding a unicycle while eating meatloaf. Yet, that appears to be the hand we’ve been dealt, and the consequences if we fail—if we remain divided by race and class, divided on climate and energy, at odds with the world—will be catastrophic. Trump has brought us to the precipice of the abyss, and it is up to Joe Biden to walk us back.

Joe Biden has a task before him unlike any president has; and, as in 1932, the problems we face cannot be solved in a divided, polarized nation. Thus, Biden’s first job must not be climate or economic policy but unity. Unfortunately, Biden can only accomplish something approaching unity with the help of Republicans in the Senate, especially Mitch McConnell.

The unicycle is on a bumpy path when the highest hopes for the Republic rest with Mitch McConnell, yet if anyone in the Democratic Party can work with McConnell, it’s probably Biden.

What Does This Mean for Environmental and Steady-State Policy?

While many of the issues facing the USA are critically important, climate change takes on a special urgency and needs to be addressed immediately. But climate change lacks the immediacy of a pandemic, or insurrection, or a conflict with Iran. As a result, there is a risk that it will be pushed to the back burner. That would be both disastrous and understandable.

Joe Biden

Joe Biden: Not a steady-stater, but a symbol for climate stability. (Image: pink dating app, Credit: sri lanka dating womens)

Further, it is hard to imagine how climate legislation could be passed in a nation so divided. We cannot even agree if our elections are fair or if the President incited a violent mob. How can we possibly agree on a contentious policy that we have argued over for decades?

Yet there is room for a certain degree of optimism. History is instructive. Our nation has been divided in the past: During the late 1960s following the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, the riots following King’s assassination, the Kent State Massacre, the My Lai Massacre, and the police assault during the Democratic Convention in Chicago. Then, as now, domestic terrorist organizations were dedicated to overthrowing the U.S. government from the left (Weather Underground) and the right (the Klan).

Despite these stark divisions, the early 1970s witnessed the passage of nearly every major piece of environmental legislation in U.S. history. The National Environmental Policy Act (1970), the Clean Air Act (extended 1970), the Clean Water Act (1972), and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (1976) were all passed or strengthened during this period and still, five decades later, form the backbone of U.S. environmental policy. Perhaps this was just the culmination of growing environmental awareness, or perhaps it was because passing environmental legislation was easier than dealing with issues of race or war. Whatever the cause, something positive emerged from this great division. Perhaps something similar can happen today.

Perhaps Americans watching this division and hatred will recoil and attempt to build a more community-centered nation, along the lines of that explored in Herman Daly and John Cobb’s For the Common Good.  Perhaps they will react against the gilded excess of Trumpism and return to a saner level of personal consumption and debt. Perhaps Americans will begin to understand that they should not rely on their drunk uncle’s Facebook feed as a source of information and return to factual news sources. Or perhaps Americans elect representatives in future elections that make real, substantive change in our political culture, our public policy, or both. If they are looking for a place to start, I might humbly submit the Full and Sustainable Employment Act (FSEA). Indeed, steady-state economics is a curious mix of progressive ideals and conservative values. (What could be more conservative than community-centered, fiscally-conservative conservationism?) The FSEA could make for common ground from which to start.

Brian F. Snyder is an assistant professor of environmental science at Louisiana State University and CASSE’s LSU Chapter director.

The post Steady Statesmanship and Climate Policy in the Midst of a Fascist Threat appeared first on Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy.

Back to Work: Impeachment 2.0

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 14/01/2021 - 12:43am in

There are three real stories right now with regard to this crisis. The first is that what happened on January 6 when rioters stormed the Capitol. The second, and related, story is that the Republicans are splitting, and their leadership is trying desperately to find a way to remain powerful. The third ties the first two together: lawmakers are preparing to throw Trump out of office. Continue reading

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Defeating McConnell: The Real Stakes of the Georgia RunoffsThe...

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 05/01/2021 - 10:14am in

Defeating McConnell: The Real Stakes of the Georgia Runoffs

The upcoming runoff elections in Georgia are about more than replacing two corrupt Republican senators with Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. They are about flipping the Senate.

They are referenda on the disastrous tenure of Mitch McConnell and the damage the Republican Party has inflicted on America.

I don’t want to mince words. Mitch McConnell is the most duplicitous, morally bankrupt politician in America. (Well, maybe Trump beats him, but not for long.) He has wielded the GOP to inflict massive damage on our democracy.

In 2016, 293 days before the presidential election, he stole a Supreme Court seat by refusing to even give President Obama’s pick a hearing, claiming it was too close to the election to fill the seat. 

But when Ruth Bader Ginsburg tragically passed away in September, 2020, he engineered the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett, just 8 days before the 2020 presidential election and after 60 million Americans had already cast their ballots.

That’s not all. After blocking many of Obama’s nominees to the lower federal courts, he rammed through nearly 230 of Trump’s judicial picks, reshaping the federal courts for decades to come.

In 2017, McConnell rushed through the Senate, without a single hearing, a $2 trillion tax cut for big corporations and the super-rich. Despite his lofty promises, that tax cut increased the government debt by almost the same amount, generated no new investment, and failed to raise wages. Nothing trickled down.

Meanwhile, McConnell has blocked nearly 400 House bills addressing major issues like a minimum wage increase, voting rights, and gun reform.

After the pandemic hit, McConnell refused to extend extra unemployment benefits beyond the end of July while insisting on giving corporations immunity from Covid lawsuits if their workers got sick. And he refused financial aid to cash-strapped state and local governments facing massive budget shortfalls — dismissing it as a “blue state bailout.”

Senate Majority Leader, McConnell also helped subvert our democracy by refusing to acknowledge Joe Biden’s win for more than a month.

Mitch McConnell cares about only one thing: Power. He has single-handedly turned the Senate into a failed institution that has abandoned the American people for partisan gain. 

And that’s what the Senate will continue to be — unless Georgia elects Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. If McConnell remains in control of the Senate, it will be impossible to enact the bold changes this nation requires.

Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue are terrible politicians, but these historic elections are about more than defeating them. They’re about defeating Mitch McConnell and rebuking everything the GOP stands for. 

On January 5th, Georgians can make it happen.

Georgia Holds the Key to Unlock $2,000 Checks

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 05/01/2021 - 6:32am in

Despite Mitch McConnell’s obstruction last week, a Democratic Senate would have no real obstacle to the popular relief measure. Continue reading

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Democracy Needs to Find the Will to Roar

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 01/01/2021 - 1:25am in

We have, disastrously, discovered the final answer to whether or not it is a good idea to destroy the activist government that has protected us since 1933. Continue reading

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Trump and McConnell Break Up

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 31/12/2020 - 6:39am in

The complicated fight in the Senate over the one-time stimulus payment of $2000 illustrates that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), not Trump, now controls the Republican caucus. Continue reading

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Trump Takes A Holiday

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 25/12/2020 - 3:27am in

The main story is that Trump has essentially quit even pretending to govern, and instead created chaos in Washington. Continue reading

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Unsanitized: Miracle on Pennsylvania Avenue

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 24/12/2020 - 4:01am in

Congress, after nine months of dithering, passed a COVID relief bill, attached to a year-end omnibus that funds the government until next September. Into all this walks Donald Trump. Continue reading

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The White House Naughty and Nice List

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 24/12/2020 - 1:52am in

Trump stands in front of the long-fought relief bill and issues some controversial pardons. Continue reading

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Unsanitized: The Tax Time Bomb That Congress Can Defuse

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 18/12/2020 - 4:51am in

There’s a difference between the two types of relief: stimulus checks are not taxed, but unemployment benefits are. Continue reading

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