Monday, June 18, 2018

Rediscovering Tyranny Before We Are Living Under It

Timothy Snyder is the Levin Professor of History at Yale. He's written several books. Up until a month ago I didn't even know he existed.
About a month ago is when Nick suggested I read "On Tyranny" by Timothy Snyder. Nick has just finished his first year of law school. He is the grandson of one of my oldest friends. We talk about once a week via telephone. He has a smartphone. I have a flip phone.
A conversation I had with Nick almost a year ago served as inspiration for one of my blog posts. If you are inclined, I've provided a link.

Nick carries around a pocket sized U.S. Constitution with him. He's wanted to be a lawyer since forever and he could end up being a member of the Supremes someday if our Republic survives.
A month ago I had at least 5 unread books on my night table. Somehow, no matter how much I read, I invariably have at least 5 unread books on my night table.
That's not actually my night table, but it's what I see when I look at my night table. Thing is - I failed to write down the title and decided to rely on my laser sharp memory.
Last week I posted a comment on a Twitter post by Chris Lutolf. He replied and suggested I read "On Tyranny". I was on my computer, so I checked it out on Amazon and ordered it. It was only $6.39. (What a deal.) It arrived 2 days later and it took me about an hour all toll to read. I read it over 2 days.
"On Tyranny" is an excellent book. When I finished it, I immediately called Nick and recommended that he read it. At first he thought I might be setting him up, but then he realized I wasn't. Sometimes I like to mess with him.
In a situation like this, I always plead my age. I'm 72. Ha! Ha! The short story here is that I urged him to carry it (it too is pocket sized) along with his pocket U.S. Constitution and read from it daily - use it for meditation.
I often recommend "Friendly Fascism" by Bertram Gosss to people. It's not a book you can read in a day - at least I couldn't. It was written in 1980, but it's what I would call a foundation book. If you want to understand our Republic it's excellent.
If you've never read "Stick and Rudder" by Wolfgang Langewiesche, I recommend that as well. It has nothing to do with politics. "Stick and Rudder" is about flying. It was written in 1944. It is still relevant. It too is what I would call a foundation book. I was so impressed with "Stick and Rudder", I suggested it be added to every high school student's reading list. I mention this because that is exactly what Chris Lutolf said about "On Tyranny".

The link above will take you to a video of Timothy Snyder talking about the Mueller Investigation. It is excellent and it gives you a feel for Timothy.
The picture above is of Robert Mueller as a young man. He is a Vietnam War veteran. He graduated from Princeton in 1966. In 1968 he enlisted in the U.S. Marines and was sent to Vietnam. After the war he went to UVA and in 1973, he got his JD.
In 2001, Mueller was unanimously confirmed as Director of the FBI by the U.S. Senate. He left the FBI in 2013 and in 2017 he was recruited as Special Counsel to investigate Russian interference in our 2016 election.
It's not an exaggeration to suggest that Robert Mueller is a modern day Atlas. He literally has the fate of our Republic and possibly the world on his shoulders. I doubt he forgets anything. Nothing gets passed him.
Donald Trump attacks Mueller almost daily. He trashes Mueller, the investigation, the FBI, our IC community and the press in a seemingly unending barrage of invective, lies and hate. Several Republican members of Congress and lots of right wing media folks join in those attacks.
Trump's supporters do not care about facts. Their morality seems to be whatever Donald Trump decides and that changes on a regular basis - sometimes from moment to moment. They are a cult.
They have also been a mob at times. That seems to be happening more and more.
We've seen this all before. We know how this story ends. The question is will we allow it to happen here? Will fascism and tyranny be in our future?
We have now begun taking children from their parents. The parents are coming to our border seeking asylum from murder and violence in their countries, so naturally we arrest them. The children are housed in "detention centers". Over 2,000 children have been taken to date. It must stop.
Trump and his criminal co-conspirators must be stopped. We need to protect Mueller and vote in the mid-terms. Until that time we need to put daily pressure on our House and Senate members to protect Mueller, protect the integrity of our elections, and stop the illegal and immoral actions committed by members of this administration and those they control. This is not what the immigrants I descended from had in mind when they came to America.
Meanwhile, Trump is pushing for a parade. Maybe he has earned one. Maybe we should watch as he and his minions are rounded up and paraded off to trial.
Holy Moly!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

It Ain't Termites Hosanna

When you demolish a large structure, you have to do it carefully. Multiple charges are placed at key places in the foundation. The charges are synchronized. The idea is to cause it to implode into itself - not blow it to smithereens.
A large structure with a solid foundation cannot be taken down by a single charge. In 1993, a group of terrorists tried to take down the World Trade Center's North Tower with a truck bomb. They were successful in placing the truck in the building's below ground parking garage and detonating the bomb.

6 people died and over 1,000 were injured. There was a lot of damage, but the building remained standing.

The Constitution of the United States of America is our legal foundation. Our country is based upon the "rule of law". Our rights are protected. Rebellion did not destroy our foundation anymore than the truck bomb did to the WTC's North Tower.
Our government survived world wars. Our foundation was so strong it became a model for other governments. Our strength brought international stability. Working with our allies we put an end to fascism in Europe and Asia.
The people who supported rebellion at home and tried to subjugate and conquer us from abroad, were not obliterated. They have worked for decades to rebuild their strength. They have looked to weaken the foundation of our government and neutralize our great military power.
Our alliances have worked to protect us along with other democracies across the world. Russia and China have continued to grow and they emerged as the two biggest threats to democracy globally.
Since WWII, we have contained Russia and China through strategic alliances and trade agreements. NATO was the deterrent to Russian aggression in Europe. Our forces in South Korea have protected South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. We've been able to use economic sanctions as a deterrent because we are too strong for anyone to contest militarily.
As strong as we are, we've always remained vulnerable from within. What can't be done on the battlefield can be done in the ballot box. We can vote to weaken and destroy our country and ourselves.
There are wealthy Americans who want to control our politics. They have sought to weaken our foundations by buying politicians, controlling our media and funding social movements.
Religious groups and organizations like the NRA have help fund contentious social debate and helped polarize our voters along ideological lines.
This all came to a head in 2016. Russia waged a war on our elections and American voters were subjected to a propaganda blitz that resulted in this man being elected.
Take a good look. In a little over a year Trump has all but destroyed our reputation and weakened our military and trade alliances. He has embraced Vladimir and Xi and Kim and Rodrigo. He has weakened NATO and sought to dissolve the EU.
There was never a threat of nuclear war with North Korea. Everything we have witnessed regarding North Korea during the last year was carefully choreographed by China and Russia. A false threat, saber rattling and a photo op - all designed to enable Trump to stop military exercises with South Korea and reduce our military forces in the region.
Trump has filled Cabinet positions with incompetent, detestable people - with the notable exception of General Mattis. They are wreaking havoc within our country.
Trump has personally attacked our free press. He ran a campaign that advocated violence and we are seeing the results of that everyday.
This is the new face of America under Trump. We are now separating children from their parents and concentrating them in detention centers.
People who have aligned themselves with white supremacists are running for office.
Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein have helped weaken the opposition to Trump and what he represents.
The Republicans in Congress are actively abetting Trump. They have failed to use their Constitutional powers to protect us. Crime, corruption and civil rights violations are rampant within this administration.

The mid-term elections may be our last chance to take back our country before the synchronized charges that have attached themselves to our foundation are detonated. The Republicans are doing everything they can to suppress and restrict our voting rights. Don't let them succeed.

It can happen here. Fascism is the ultimate enemy of democracy and we are poised on the brink of surrendering to it.
I have found these books helpful. I urge you to read them and share them and talk to others about what you learn.

Holy Moly!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

What Me Worry

Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat, yet he ran in the primaries as one. He did a lot of damage. He helped get Trump elected. He was a spoiler. What he really did was suck in a lot of well intentioned people who were ill equipped when it came to sorting out his bs.
By the way, for those who are slow on the uptake, Bernie's initials are BS. Yep, the gods have a sense of irony. Kokopelli was having a field day.
Bernie has some questions to answer, particularly when it comes to where his campaign money came from. It appears he and Jill Stein had at least one donor in common.
Vlad was very clever. Not clever enough to cover his tracks, but clever enough to destroy our election. He had a third party candidate in there to syphon off votes from the Democrats and he had Bernie in there to stir the pot and alienate lots of otherwise Democratic voters.
Bernie is not done with us yet. His supporters are among the most determined to see that Democrats are not elected in the mid-terms. They are trolling like crazy and spreading disinformation and plain idiocy in a manner that Putin would be proud of.
Ronald Regan used voodoo economics to rationalize his positions. Bernie uses pie in the sky and pixie dust.
Our country is in the worst position it has ever been in politically - worse than even the Civil War. Brain washed voters, with the help of Bernie and Jill and Vlad, pulled off a literal coup in 2016.
Both our Executive and Legislative branches are run by people who sold out their country for personal and ideological gain. The mid-terms may be our very last chance to take the country back and foil a very real coup.
We need Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate. It will require an act of Congress to stop Trump. 2016 is over. Clinton is not President. Trump needs to be stopped and the Republicans need to be shown the door. Tune out the BS. Any questions?
Holy Moly!