How Many Licks…?

On reflection, I look at the support that Donald Trump received during this year’s U.S. election and the inescapable conclusion I find myself coming to:

Given the U.S. population, perhaps socialism isn’t a good idea and people are right to be against it.

The Road Map Back From Authoritarianism

“Experts in authoritarianism advise keeping a list of things changing, subtly, around you, so you’ll remember. Days after the 2016 presidential election, I started a list. Each week, I chronicle the ways Donald Trump has changed our country. This selection, adapted from more than 34,000 entries — or about 1 percent of the total — focuses on the norms he and his administration have broken. The List offers us a road map back to normalcy and democracy.”

-Amy Siskind, “This is not normal:
A guide to what the next president will have to unwind.
The Washington Post. October 16, 2020.

Doom scrolling, at its very best.

Scalzi on Impeachment

Of course, this is just going to make Trump more, well, Trump. The man has never understood why people wouldn’t just let him be king, and narcissists never react well to blows to the ego. If you think he’s lost his shit and been completely unreasonable before, just you wait. Things are going to get worse, much worse, especially if, in fact, Speaker Pelosi frustrates McConnell’s plan for a rubber-stamp acquittal in the Senate. And while there is some schadenfreude to be had with Trump spinning in tight, angry circles about this, at the end of the day he’s still president, he’s still a petty, vindictive little shit of a human, and he has enablers. Expect bad news from this dude. More than usual, I mean, and including directives and policies and proclamations that will energize his most bigoted and violent supporters.”

-John Scalzi, “Impeachment Thoughts.” Whatever. December 19, 2019.

John Scalzi says everything that needs to be on the topic of impeachment.

Leading Marxist Scholar David Harvey on Trump, Wall Street, and Debt Peonage

“I remember watching a speech that Castro gave in which he was talking about, he was lambasting a report by Human Rights Watch, the U.S.-based human rights organization, which often does do the kind of ideological bidding of the U.S. government in the way that it applies its filter to different societies versus the United States, although less so now than it was before. And Castro said that there is essentially a “Western” meaning, like, white-Anglo states’ view of human rights and then there is a different version of what it means to have human rights in countries like Cuba. And he basically was saying, in the West they cherish freedom of speech and freedom of assembly and these things that are sort of of the mind. And here [in Cuba] we would list as human rights, housing, education, health care, etc. Does that absolve Castro of the need to — I mean obviously he’s no longer with us but to embrace the idea that freedom of assembly and freedom of speech are in fact somehow inherently human rights that we all are entitled to just because they’re giving people affordable or free healthcare, affordable or free education, affordable or free housing? I mean is he correct in saying, “Well, these are two different views of what the priorities are in human rights.”

—David Harvey. Interview by Jeremy Scahill. “Leading Marxist Scholar David Harvey on Trump, Wall Street, and Debt Peonage.” The Intercept. January 21, 2018.

Interesting throughout.

Is This Fascism?

“‘You submit to tyranny,’ Snyder writes, ‘when you renounce the difference between what you want to hear and what is actually the case.'”

—Snyder, Timothy. “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From The Twentieth Century” quoted in Gumbel, Andrew. “Is This Fascism?Los Angeles Review of Books. July 24, 2017.

Interesting discussion throughout regarding the Trump presidency. This quote on the American style of fascism seemed particularly on point:

In 1944, The New York Times asked Vice President Henry Wallace to assess the risk of fascism in the United States, and Wallace’s startlingly frank answer was that there were millions of fascists in the country already. Wallace identified a peculiarly American brand of fascist, not a brownshirt bent on violence but rather a charismatic populist interested in poisoning the well of public information and appealing to the public’s worst instincts as a way of accumulating wealth and power. What Wallace most feared was a ‘purposeful coalition’ between ‘cartelists, the deliberate poisoners of public information, and those who stand for the K.K.K. type of demagoguery.’ ‘They claim to be super-patriots,’ he wrote, ‘but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution.'”