Republican Party

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We Do Not Have a Public Health Crisis. We Have a Crisis of Law and Order

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 15/09/2021 - 10:30pm in

Photo credit: Joaquin Corbalan P / Shutterstock.com _____ So, again, with feeling: Anti-vaccine GOP leaders are lawless. Their followers are...

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Whatever Happened to the Republican Party that Stood for Limited Government?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 14/09/2021 - 4:57am in

I’m old enough to remember when the Republican Party stood for limited government – when...

The Media Bias No One is Talking AboutThe mainstream media has...

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 20/08/2021 - 2:23pm in

The Media Bias No One is Talking About

The mainstream media has historically tried to balance left and right in its political coverage, and present what it views as a reasonable center.

That may sound good in theory. But the old politics no longer exists and the former labels “left” versus “right” are outdated. 

Today it’s democracy versus authoritarianism, voting rights versus white supremacy. There’s no reasonable center between these positions, no justifiable compromise. Equating them is misleading and dangerous.

You hear the mainstream media say, for example, that certain “Republican and Democratic lawmakers are emerging as troublemakers within their parties.” These reports equate Republican lawmakers who are actively promoting Trump’s big lie that the 2020 election was stolen, with Democratic lawmakers who are fighting to extend health care and other programs to help people. 

These are not equivalent. Trump’s big lie is a direct challenge to American democracy. Even if you disagree with providing Americans better access to health care, it won’t destroy our system of government. 

You also hear that both sides are gripped by equally dangerous extremism. Labeling them “radical left” and “radical right” suggests that the responsible position is somehow between these so-called extremes. 

Can we get real? One side is trying to protect and preserve voting rights. The other side is trying to suppress votes under the guise of “election integrity.”  

But there isn’t and never was a problem of “election integrity.” The whole issue of “election integrity” in the 2020 election was manufactured by Donald Trump and his big lie about voter fraud, and was bought and propagated by the Republican Party. 

Today’s Republican Party is behind what historians regard as the biggest attack on voting rights since Jim Crow, but the media frames this as a right-versus-left battle that’s just politics as usual. Equating the two sides is false and dangerous.

Or compare the coverage of Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, on one hand, with the coverage of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar on the other. You’d think they were all equally out of the mainstream, some on the extreme right, some on the extreme left. That’s bunk. 

Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, in addition to spreading dangerous conspiracy theories, harassing colleagues, and promoting bigotry, don’t actually legislate or do anything for their constituents. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar both organize to help everyday people, deliver for their constituents, and have pushed legislation to provide universal school meals, expand affordable housing, and combat the climate crisis.

Equating all these lawmakers suggests that the responsible position is halfway between hateful, delusional conspiracy theories on the one hand, and efforts to fight white supremacy, save the planet, and empower working people on the other. 

It’s similar to what the media did following Donald Trump’s infamous condemnation of “both sides” after the deadly violence sparked by neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017. In the ensuing weeks, America’s six top mainstream newspapers used just as much space condemning anti-Nazi counter-protesters as they did actual neo-Nazis.

But research shows white supremacists pose a significantly graver threat than those trying to stop them. White supremacists are animated by racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, and other forms of bigotry, violence and hate. 

Battling white supremacy is not the same as advocating it. Passing laws to prevent voter suppression is not the same as passing laws to suppress votes. Fighting for our democracy is not the same as seeking to destroy it. 

The media equating both sides, one “left” and one “right,” suggests there’s a moderate middle between hate and inclusion, between democracy and proto-fascism. 

This is misleading, dangerous, and morally wrong. Don’t fall for it.

A Trump Bombshell Quietly Dropped Last Week. And It Should Shock Us All.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 04/08/2021 - 5:20am in

We’ve become so inured to Donald Trump’s proto-fascism that we barely blink an eye when we learn...

The Anti-Family Party

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 19/07/2021 - 10:06am in

Last Thursday, 39 million American parents began receiving a monthly child allowance ($300 per child...

Why Your Chipotle Burrito Costs MoreRepublicans have finally...

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 30/06/2021 - 5:27am in

Why Your Chipotle Burrito Costs More

Republicans have finally found an issue to run on in next year’s midterm elections. Apparently Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head weren’t gaining enough traction…

“Democrats’ socialist stimulus bill caused a labor shortage and now burrito lovers everywhere are footing the bill,” said an NRCC spokesman, Mike Berg.

You heard that right. They’re blaming Democrats for the rise in Chipotle burrito prices.

The GOP’s tortured logic is that the unemployment benefits in the American Rescue Plan have caused people to stay home rather than look for work, resulting in labor shortages that have forced employers like Chipotle to increase wages, which has required them to raise their prices.

Hence, Chipotle’s more expensive burrito.

This isn’t just loony economics. It’s dangerously loony economics because it might be believed, leading to all sorts of stupid public policies.

Start with the notion that $300 per week in federal unemployment benefits is keeping Americans from working.

Since very few jobless workers qualify for state unemployment benefits, the Republican claim is that legions of workers have chosen to become couch potatoes and collect $15,000 a year rather than get a job.

I challenge one Republican lawmaker to live on $15,000 a year.

In fact, the reason workers are holding back from reentering the job market is because they don’t have childcare or are still concerned about their health during the pandemic.

Besides, if employers want additional workers, they can do what they do for anything they want more of but can’t obtain at its current price — pay more. 

This is free-market capitalism at work…which Republicans claim to love.

When Chipotle wanted to attract more workers, it raised its average wage to $15 an hour. That comes to around $30,000 a year per worker — still too little to live on, but double the federal unemployment benefit.

Oh, and there’s no reason to suppose this wage hike forced Chipotle to raise the price of its burrito. The company had other options.

Chipotle’s executives are among the best paid in America. Its chief executive, Brian Niccol, raked in $38 million last year — which happens to be 2,898 times more than the typical Chipotle employee. All Chipotle’s top executives got massive pay increases. 

So it would have been possible for Chipotle to avoid raising its burrito prices by — dare I say? — paying its executives less. But Chipotle decided otherwise.

By the way, I keep hearing Republican lawmakers say the GOP is the “party of the working class.” Well if that’s the case, it ought to celebrate when hourly workers get a raise instead of howling about it.

Everyone ought to celebrate when those at the bottom get higher wages. 

The typical American worker hasn’t had a real raise in four decades. Income inequality is out of control. Wealth inequality is into the stratosphere (where Jeff Bezos is heading, apparently).

If wages at the bottom rise because employers need to pay more to get the workers they need, that’s not a problem. It’s a victory.

Instead of complaining about a so-called “labor shortage,” Republicans ought to be complaining about the shortage of jobs paying a living wage.

Don’t hold your breath. Or your guacamole.

The Business PACs Are Back in Business

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 09/06/2021 - 5:04am in

Photo credit: Anne Mathiasz / Shutterstock.com _____ Roll Call reported political action committees (PACs) have restarted making contributions to members...

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The Greatest Danger to American Democracy

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 01/06/2021 - 9:15am in

The greatest danger to American democracy right now is not coming from Russia, China, or North...

The fascism is already here, but we can’t see it through the lens of exceptionalism

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 28/05/2021 - 4:10am in

A hardwired belief that it couldn’t happen here has made it impossible to acknowledge the reality. 

On May 19 Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell came out against the January 6th Commission, a proposed bipartisan investigation into Republican crimes. Kevin McCarthy, the GOP House leader, did the same on May 18. Thus the Democrats were once again stymied in their efforts to obtain answers under oath about the violent attempt to overturn the 2020 election results and reinstall Donald J. Trump as president. 

These provocations come on the heels of Liz Cheney’s removal from her House GOP leadership position for having affirmed Biden’s victory and for having criticized the “Big Lie”—i.e., that Trump won the election and the Democrats “stole” it— that led to the January 6th insurrection. It is a lie that the GOP continues to promote, as do the media outlets aligned with the party. Trump loyalist Elise Stefanik replaced Cheney. On Fox News Sunday, Cheney said that both McCarthy and Stefanik were complicit in Trump’s lies.  

Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican congressman who also voted to impeach Trump, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he was “very disappointed” with his party’s leadership for ousting Cheney, saying: “We’re not going to win unless we add to our base, not subtract from our base.” 

In a functioning democracy, what Cheney and Upton said might make sense. But if their party’s strategy is to pack the courts, overturn elections, incite mobs, gerrymander, suppress votes, and otherwise harass the vulnerable, then the size of its base is not as relevant a concern. 

Authoritarians don’t want a big tent. They want—demand—a loyal, obedient cult of personality.  Exclusion is their power move. The GOP is an authoritarian party that has been open about its intent to establish minority rule by any means necessary. The Big Lie is going strong, part of a long tradition of racist Lost Causes.

As of April 1, Republicans introduced 361 voter suppression bills in 47 states.  As Jamelle Bouie wrote in The New York Times: If It’s Not Jim Crow, What is It? In Florida and Oklahoma, Republicans legalized hitting protestors with cars. Across the country, Republicans are engaging in an all-out legal assault on trans kids and their families. This past week, the Republican-installed Supreme Court agreed to take up a Mississippi abortion case that is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade

Republicans have been on the path toward authoritarianism for more than two decades. Bush v. Gore, Citizens United and Shelby v Holder were way stations on the road to the insurrection. Trump just speeded up the journey and helped them blossom into their worst selves. 

American exceptionalism has distorted our perception of the GOP’s turn to authoritarianism. The shocked surprise at each new escalation, the democracy experts Columbusing authoritarian studies—there are so many experts in so many countries to whom one could turn for years of accumulated wisdom if only the association were not considered so deeply offensive. A hardwired belief that “it couldn’t happen here” has made it impossible to acknowledge the reality: it has already “happened here.”  

People continue to argue that America can’t be fascist, as if semantics will save us from what’s to come.  People said it couldn’t be a slow-motion coup, and even if it was, that it would never succeed. How cavalier! In November, 2020 I tweeted,  “Not every attempted coup becomes a successful coup, but every successful coup was once an attempted coup. Why the fuck would you ever want to take the chance?”

People desperate for any semblance of the rule of law see principles in Liz Cheney’s behavior. Others see her hard right voting record, her continued support for voter suppression laws and last name and wonder what she stands to gain. Her vote to impeach Trump was significant, and good for fundraising. In betting against the party, she must expect to survive long enough to see Trumpism implode. With the help of her backers, she is positioning herself and a few colleagues to pick up the GOP pieces. 

People have been betting since the 2016 primaries that Trump would collapse. What began as “he’ll never be the nominee” morphed into “he’ll never win”  which led to “he’ll resign.” By the end we’d hit a low: “he’ll leave the White House.” The latest version of this magical thinking: “He won’t run again.” 

Says who? How do they know? Have they met an abusive narcissist, let alone one with a personality cult who’s had a taste of nuclear codes? What happens if Trumpism doesn’t implode and the GOP further radicalizes? What happens if they regain national power? How much damage are they doing on the state and local level? Can you imagine a Republican Congress certifying a Democratic winner in 2024? 

On the bright side, Trump and the Trump Organization are embroiled in civil and criminal legal action. The Biden administration has shown more openness to unilateral action and structural change than many expected. Biden’s stimulus bill was passed without bipartisan support through reconciliation. He’s created a bipartisan commission to advise on expanding the Supreme Court. Previously against filibuster reform, Biden has since become open about its abuse and the need for change.  

But the administration has yet to overcome some exasperating hurdles. Senators Manchin and Sinema still oppose ending the filibuster, which effectively gives Republicans the power to block the January 6 Commission,  legislation securing the right to vote, PR or DC statehood, or an expanded Supreme Court. The myth of bipartisanship stands in the way of legislative mobilization to save our democracy.

Americans find it difficult to think of their country as anything other than a democracy. The reactionary backlash to the groundbreaking New York Times Magazine 1619 Project, which questioned how democratic a white supremacist America could truly be, most recently cost journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones tenure at UNC— despite impeccable credentials that include having been awarded a MacArthur “genius” fellowship in 2017 and a Pulitzer Prize in 2020.  

These trends did not arise overnight. America has a long history of legalizing atrocities, corruption and discrimination. Those efforts have been supported by white supremacist, nationalist myths like American exceptionalism and its imperialist predecessor, Manifest Destiny. 

If we’re going to save our democracy, we must accept that Trump and the GOP are one, and that they pose a longstanding, violent threat to our democracy and human rights. American exceptionalism isn’t real. We aren’t special. Rule of law won’t save the day. Propaganda works, and can’t be easily undone.  

To start, it would help if people stopped expecting authoritarianism in the US to look like some other country’s version of it. We have our own white, capitalist, Evangelical version, built upon what Isabel Wilkerson persuasively calls the American caste system, rooted in indigenous genocide and chattel slavery.  The rest of the world knows it too. The Nazis studied American race laws, both state and federal, in order to write the Nuremberg Laws. In the case of the one-drop rule, even they found America too harsh. 

Too often, news analysis gives the impression that Trump is done and the authoritarian threat is past. But GOP displays of loyalty and escalations on Fox  News suggest otherwise. The base is holding Trump 2024 signs. 

We don’t know how this will play out, or when Trumpism will implode, whether in two months or 10 years. But abusers don’t quit, and it’s a mistake to let our relief at the reprieve fool us into thinking we’re free of him. 

 

 

The post The fascism is already here, but we can’t see it through the lens of exceptionalism appeared first on The Conversationalist.

Let’s Call the Republican Party by its Proper Name—Fascist

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 26/05/2021 - 10:48am in

Photo credit: Rebekah Zemansky / Shutterstock.com _____ Journalist John Harwood had a piece in CNN Sunday reflecting on an essay...

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