The World Is Watching

It’s got to be scaring the bejesus out of people around the globe that the world’s biggest nuclear superpower appears to be devolving into fascism. Do not doubt that the world is watching, and that Trump is not likely to stop fomenting fascist mobs.

The Associated Press reportsthat Trump and his campaign believe that placing “racial polarization at the center of his call to voters” carries “far more benefits than risks.”

We know what Trump is doing here. The reporting has established a pattern, in which Trump’s racist provocations are employed deliberately to foment racism, rage and/or hate among his supporters. Trump’s belief that his base would cheer was partly what drove his attacks on African American athletes and his refusal to condemn white-supremacist violence.

Charles Pierce:

The president* has a predator’s gift for bringing out the native self-destruction in people for his own profit. What he has done in the last three years has been his masterwork in this regard. He doesn’t plague himself with doubt about what he’s creating around him. He is proud of his monster. He glories in its anger and its destruction and, while he cannot imagine its love, he believes with all his heart in its rage. He is Frankenstein without conscience.

All of that is going to be on vivid display over the next 18 months or so, just as it was on vivid display Wednesday night in North Carolina. The details are already so well-known as to beggar repeating, but what existed in that hall exists all around us now. As a nation, in our politics, we are both Frankenstein and Creature as one, and the president* seems to be the only one who grasps this basic fact, grasps it well enough to use as both sword and shield.

It might have been interesting if Rep. Al Green had held off introducing his impeachment bill to the House until today, after last night’s hate rally shamed the nation.  The representative’s bill failed, but the vote revealed growing support for impeachment. I’ll bet that support would be bigger today. I would hope so, anyway.

Unfortunately, I see no indication that the leadership of the Democratic Party has half a clue what to do about Trump and the rising fascist movement he is fomenting. Yesterday Greg Sargent wrote that Moderate Democrats are getting skittish about confronting Trump’s racism. Seriously?

The House did pass a resolution condemning Trump’s racism, but …

But, dispiritingly, some moderate Democrats now think the party is going too far. Behold this startling passage in the New York Times write-up of the ongoing battle:

While Democrats were publicly unanimous in their support of the resolution, some moderate lawmakers from Republican-leaning districts that backed Mr. Trump in 2016 privately voiced their discomfort. They said that while the president’s comments had been racist, the party was playing into his hands by spending so much time condemning his remarks, according to centrist lawmakers and senior aides who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions.

This is just terrible. To be clear, I’m sympathetic to the plight of moderates. It’s true that they inhabit districts that are far more Republican-leaning than, say, those of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of “the Squad.” …

…But when it comes to Trump’s racism, such political skittishness is baffling and indefensible.

According to the Times, moderate Democrats feel that too much time has been spent on talking about Trump’s racist remarks. But this isn’t just some parlor debate with no real-world consequences. Trump is sending a signal to the country that it’s acceptable to treat racial, ethnic and religious minorities as fundamentally not belonging to the American nation.

There can be no squishiness now, no more paying lip service to diversity while signalling nonwhite congresswomen to stay in their place. It’s understandable for red state Democrats to express disagreement with Medicare for All or free college tuition; it’s not okay to be the least bit waffling on racial and gender equality. No more. The leadership needs to make this very, very clear, including to themselves.

Republicans, on the other hand, are either avowedly with Trump or lost in space. Mitch McConnell defended Trump today, saying that he was “on to something” in his hate speech toward the Squad. Miz Lindsey declared that it was okay for Trump to call out the hate dogs on Rep. Ilhan Omar because she has been strongly critical of Trump. It’s not racist, then, you see. But the crew at The American Conservative are aghast.

Trump must have gotten some hints of a backlash against last night’s rally, because today he is claiming he “disagrees” with the “send her back” chant. He tried to discourage it by speaking over it very quickly, he said today. You can watch for yourself how much he discouraged it —

See also House Dems warn Omar in ‘imminent danger’ after Trump rally chants and Moderate Democrats Warn That AOC Is Distracting From Their Nonexistent Message.

30 thoughts on “The World Is Watching

  1. trump's criticism is more than racist, it is sexism, too.  He wouldn't do this to a minority man.  Both points need to be made to him and his a-hole supporters.  A vote for trump is a vote for the Devil.

    • "He wouldn't do this to a minority man."

      He did it to Obama for eight years; is still doing it to him.

  2. " There can be no squishiness now, no more paying lip service to diversity while signalling nonwhite congresswomen to stay in their place "

    Trump is telling nonwhite congresswomen what to do. Pelosi is trying to maintain a majority. Don't equate the two, you do understand the difference don't you?

    • What I understand is that Democrats have to make a choice. They are either for full representation of all Americans, of all races, genders, and whatever other boxes people put themselves in, or they are not. Pelosi never had to belittle and margnalize the Congresswomen of color; she could have said things like "I disagree with their positions on many issues" or "the Democratic party is a big tent that allows many perspectives," but that's not what she did. 

      • Really? She made light of their twitter following, how is that belittling anyone. She pointed out that they are four votes out of two hundred and thirty six, did someones feelings get hurt? Pelosi led the charge for the vote condeming Trump's racist attack, she read the words on the floor, she corralled a unanimous vote.

        • Really? She made light of their twitter following, how is that belittling anyone. 

          It's a little more complex than that. What she did is to diminish and disrespect their voice by belittling the means in which they chose to project it. Pelosi could have been more tactful in expressing what she was trying to convey. One of the characteristics of being human is the need to be heard, and not dismissed arbitrarily by someone you rely on to respect your voice.

          • " Pelosi could have been more tactful in expressing what she was trying to convey"

            Maybe? Perhaps the "Squad" could show a little more deference to the Speaker and many in the house who have been representing their districts and getting re-elected for decades? The problem is a few on the left seem to be conflating a minor political squabble between democrats (a squabble that had mostly fizzled out until Trump re-ignited it) with a President who called for people of color, elected members of congress to "go back to where they came from". Those two things are not the same, it is actually a swipe at people of color to conflate the two. Internal political disputes are not racism? What Trump does is by definition Racism.

        • Please drop it. You've expressed your opinion clearly; I'm not seeing any agreement. Few people in North America don't see clearly that Pelosi was trying to marginalize the Congresswomen. She was doing it in the — mistaken, I say — belief that the Squad's outspokenness would cost the Dems votes in 2020, but I think Pelosi is costing them more votes. 

  3. The press has a celebrated role in our democracy, codified by the 1st Amendment.  That its the actual first one the Founders saw fit to document speaks to the value they saw in the press role of ensuring citizens had the information to evaluate leaders and government policy and make informed decisions.

    And yet the MSM has consistently abdicated its role, seeking to entertain rather than inform, even as we face the intentional undermining of democracy towards creation of a fascist state based on white supremacy by a corrupt political party.  

    Meanwhile the press, either out of fear, collaboration or naked pursuit of profit leaves the public misinformed, if at all, as it refuses to report plainly about the racism and fascist policies that Trump and the GOP are pushing, and the impact on democracy.

    On the one hand, if we reach the end state the GOP desires, the press will not be able to report freely, limited to state approved propaganda.  But given the current state, evidence is they may be fine with it, as long as they're making money.

    Sad!

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  4. Trumpism is the result of decades of racist dog whistle politics. "Respectable, true conservative" Republicans played along or looked away because they needed election votes. They are no better people for condemning Trump now that the game has turned ugly.

    In a way we're lucky. Trump is a fascist, but his compulsive personality and ignorance make him relatively ineffective. However, he has enablers, and there are more organized sympathizers and followers that will continue to build on Trumpism. They are the enemy. Blaming Nancy Pelosi and moderate Democrats for not being all-powerful to stop them is misguided and counter productive.

  5. " it’s not okay to be the least bit waffling on racial and gender equality "

    Who's waffleing? They held a vote condemning Trump as a racist, it passed by 240 votes to 187, all 236 democrats in the house voted for it? People say lots of stuff "off the record" it is the public vote that counts. When Greg Sargent or any other opinion writer can get a democrat to go on the record an say they are "skittish" about Trumps racism then I'll listen, until then it just comes off as chattering class stirring the pot.   

    • I gave examples of "waffling" in the post. Please read it. Please also read the article I linked by Greg Sargent wrote that Moderate Democrats are getting skittish about confronting Trump’s racism. Seriously?

      Also explain this that happened three days ago, during the debate on the resolution on Trump:

      House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) took the chair and brought with him a decision — one that surprised his own party. He ruled that Pelosi’s remarks were not in order. In other words, he ruled that lawmakers, including Pelosi, could not say Trump or his tweets were racist. Instead, they would go on to say the rhetoric coming out of the White House was. (That’s how closely House members were parsing their words.)

      That, dude, is waffling. And Democrats are doing it. 

      • Actually Hoyer was forced by the house parliamentarian, the parliamentarian ruled Pelosi's word were out of order. Hoyer stated a point of order so they could proceed to a vote. I watched the whole thing live on C-Span.The house then held a subsequent vote and over-ruled the house parliamentarian, the vote was unanimous amongst democrats including Hoyer, again it's the votes that count, not what some website columnist interprets. Whether or not Nancy be-littled the "squad" is, I agree a matter of opinion, I see it as a senior congresswomen exerting her authority as speaker, these people are all adults. What I disagree with is your post starts out rightfully chastising our racist president for his racist remarks and ends up pulling the democratic leadership into it, as if they bear responsibility for Trumps racism. I'm not sure if that was your intention but that is how it comes across.

  6. tRUMP said the world was laughing at us when Obama was POTUS.

    No, they were not, you bigoted tangerine-colored latrine.  They had respect for America, because it seemed that we had finally cut the chains of our county's "Original Sin" – black slavery.

    But then, tRUMP happened, and for that one step forward under Obama, we went back about six decades!

    Now, the world would be openly laughing at us and the bigoted, buffoonish ignoramus in the White House, except they're too terrified of that creature and what it might do.

    The entire ball-less Republican Party should burn in Hell – if only there was an actual Hell.

    The party needs to be destroyed!

    Hopefully, that destruction will begin in November of 2020!

    But it'll only happen if we vote, and make sure that every decent person we know in our rapidly devolving country chooses a person with a "D" by their name!i

    Final thought:  If that shitshow in NC the other night didn't scare the hell out of you, and piss you off at the same time, check your pulse – you might be dead.

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  7. The NC rally was exactly down to my expectations.  There is a populace out there that totally buys what Trump is selling for any of several reasons.  There are more Democrats, but if they don't get sense, and the "Independents" don't come along, we will end up with more Trump.  Why are Democrats not appearing on talk shows and getting their message out there?  Where are they?  Wave a mic and six Republicans appear out of nowhere.  

     

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  8. There is no serious threat of fascism in America at this time, nor has there been any during my lifetime (I am 70).

    And Bozo's relationship to white racism is still only that of its beloved dog-whistler in chief.

    Throughout the country, alleged efforts to disenfranchise and disempower blacks are actually efforts to disenfranchise and disempower Democrats.

    And the real domestic danger of a second term is of effective attacks on abortion and gay rights as well as on the welfare and regulatory states, from the EPA to the Social Security Administration, Medicare, Ocare, and Medicaid.

    In foreign affairs, it's possible the Duce might actually pull us out of NATO, other longstanding alliances, and maybe the UN.

    Only the irresistible temptation to bully on the world stage would cause him to go easy on his isolationism and anti-globalist nationalism.

    • "Throughout the country, alleged efforts to disenfranchise and disempower blacks are actually efforts to disenfranchise and disempower Democrats."

      Put another way, "Throughout the country, alleged efforts to disenfranchise and disempower Jews are actually efforts to disenfranchise and disempower opposition to Hitler."  See how that works? I want to believe it's not going to work, but you've got to be blind to see that it's not happening. 

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    • According to Websters –

      fascism: a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

      Joseph, with all due respect, how do the statements and policy of the current administration fail in a single aspect of that definition???

      It's true that Trump has declared he's a huge supporter of the first amendment – usually followed by an expression of his desire to control the content of the free press. The conflicting statements do not cancel out, IMO. The declaration that the media is the "Enemy of the People" is sincere. Trump is arresting people who have not committed a crime and holding them in conditions the USSC has described as "cruel and unusual punishment".  Children of people seeking asylum in the country have been forcibly separated and given for adoption to US citizens.  Harsh treatment of immigrants was described by Kelly as a "deterrent."

      Please, we are waiting since you are the expert. What does Trump need to do that he has not done (or tried) that would qualify as "fascism."   

  9. There's two sides to the coin. Pelosi HAS tried to get the "squad" to sit down and shut up. That's wrong. 

    When Trump tried to drive a wedge to split the Democrats by enlisting Pelosi in a racist attack, she went ALL THE WAY in defense of the squad. 

    Both are (IMO) true – they aren't in any way exclusive of each other.

  10. Joe McCarthy is calling people communists.

    George Wallace is running on a racist ticket

    What is old is recycling on Twitter.

    Welcome to the 2020 campaign.

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  11. The idea that Trump will deliver the insult to democracy that leads to his impeachment is fantasy:

    " The latest survey finds that 21 percent of registered voters say that there is enough evidence for Congress to begin impeachment hearings now."

    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/meet-the-press/support-impeachment-falls-2020-heats-n1029656

    So is the belief that everything would be going our way if not for Nancy Pelosi and Democrats from purple districts. The problems and politics of Trumpism have been with us since Pelosi was a preteen. Anyone who lived through the Nixon administration should know. The Republicans are more than capable of having their way with the support of the wealthy, big business and culture warriors. That will not change soon. It's important to pick the right fight.

    • And the number of registered voters who have actually read the report or have consumed enough detail reporting on it to understand what's in it is likely equivalent, roughly, to that same 21 percent, if that.   If one of those "man on the street" pop up surveys were done, the vast majority of people would think (a) the report exonerated Trump, and/or (b) there's no evidence of "collusion."  And this is because these messages have been ascendant.  Not because they are true, but because they have been repeated.  There is no competitive, counter narrative of the facts that has been effectively presented that votes have "heard."

      The problem here is, how do you get them to a point where they have enough of an understanding of the report to really make a decision?

      All that said, I do agree with this, but for different reasons:

      "The idea that Trump will deliver the insult to democracy that leads to his impeachment is fantasy"

      Whether Trump is IMPEACHED IN THE HOUSE, and I emphasize that because that's what we're talking about, the first step, is not going to happen because of anything he does that finally turns republicans around.  That is fantasy.  The GOP is driven by the same, self-interested, politically expedient calculations that drive the democratic party as you describe above.  Neither party is concerned with the Constitution or the rule of law right now, only what they think is in their political best interest.  Do the political parties exist for their own political/financial (let's be real) self-interest, or the traditional role as laid out be the founders in a democratic society?

      IF, and its a big if, the democrats are really interested in holding Trump accountable, they have to bring the public along.  During Watergate, it was the same situation; initially the public was not on board, but public opinion turned against Nixon as they consumed more information about what he and his administration did through news reports and hearings.  The hearings the democrats are holding now are not high profile enough to attract attention; if they were an impeachment inquiry, they would.  As it would garner attention from the press and be reported at the top of news hours and front pages.  More registered voters would realize that, there is evidence supporting impeachment, and then some.  Public opinion would change.  These slow motion, low profile hearings the dems are having now are just not effective in that regard in terms of informing the public, and the level of media attention they are receiving are commensurate with that.

      Trumpism is the logical result of the "southern strategy" started ironically with Nixon.  But that and all the culture warrior-ism that goes with it is irrelevant with respect to the mechanics and process of impeachment.  

      I respect Pelosi but I do not believe she is above criticism.  I believe she is making a mistake.  If her goal is to not impeach and to let this be dealt with by the election, then say that in no uncertain terms and let the public know why.  Let democrats know what the strategy and end game is and stop teasing the public with statements of Trump being guilty, is a criminal, etc.   Given what the average person "knows" now, the question is, if Trump was guilty, the democrats would be impeaching, and if not, then Pelosi is just playing politics and should stop accusing him of being a criminal when she knows its not true.  Or, if he really is a criminal, then the democratic party is just playing DC establishment politics by protecting him.  Neither one is not a good look for the democrats come 2020.  Besides, and not to defend him, but its really not fair to Trump to be publicly accused by the Speaker of the House on a regular basis of being a criminal, "self-impeaching" and all of the other things thrown out without taking action on assumed evidence.  Republicans cast similar aspersions on Obama, about him being "lawless" and more, but the fact that they never actually initiated impeachment hearings told us all we needed to know: this is more about the DC political back and forth and the charges are not serious.  That's how the average voter sees this, and is why only 21% are for impeachment at this time.

      This all can be summed up with the old saying, to democrats, "either sh*t or get off the pot;" if you're not going to impeach stop talking about Trump being a criminal because if he is then you're only telegraphing your own weakness or are demonstrating you're part of the DC "establishment" coming together to protect one of your own by not impeaching.  But if you truly believe he is a criminal, then start impeachment inquiry so at least the public can know what you know that leads you to publicly say that.

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      • CSM — very well said. In particular, "The hearings the democrats are holding now are not high profile enough to attract attention; if they were an impeachment inquiry, they would.  As it would garner attention from the press and be reported at the top of news hours and front pages." Exactly, which is why they need to formally begin the impeachment procedure. They don't have to hold a vote right away, but they need to be holding impeachment hearings now.  

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      • There's room for reasonable disagreement. Here's how I disagree with your argument:

        If Democrats begin impeachment hearings before the public is informed, it will be widely perceived as a purely partisan move this close to an election. Dems are trying to bring the public along. Give the Mueller hearing a chance, even if it's only a beginning step.

        The media environment is different than it was in the 1970s. There is no one equivalent to Walter Cronkite and there is a cable outlet that will wantonly lie to protect Trump. So will plutocrats like AG William Barr, who is worth over $40M. Pelosi is well aware of public perceptions and knows the limits of her power. Despite that there is no question Trump is a criminal. The ideas Democrats only care about party power and want to protect Trump are contradictory.

        • "The ideas Democrats only care about party power and want to protect Trump are contradictory."

          I made very clear that its not "and" but "or;" its either one or the other.  

          "If Democrats begin impeachment hearings before the public is informed, it will be widely perceived as a purely partisan move this close to an election."

          Holding impeachment hearings is not a decision to impeach; its having hearings to determine if there is evidence to support impeachment.  At the end of the hearings a vote is taken in the House to determine if there should be impeachment in the House.  The vote could go either way.  The proceedings are publicized, and this is how the public becomes informed.  This is what happened with Nixon and Watergate, and this is how public opinion was moved, not by lies and bluster, but by facts.

          If the public will straightaway perceive holding impeachment hearings as a "partisan move," which I don't believe there is evidence or facts to support that, what's preventing them from seeing what the democrats are doing now, in holding hearings, as a partisan move as well?

          "Give the Mueller hearing a chance, even if it's only a beginning step."

          We have no choice but to give it a chance, however I suspect it will be anti climactic, or worse.

          The "beginning step" you see the Mueller hearing as, has already been taken, as Mueller himself has already said, and said again he will testify as much, saying that he's not going to say anything different than what he's already said.  1000 federal prosecutors, present and former, have said the evidence in the Mueller report rises to the level of impeachment.  Every honest actor, on both sides, who have said they have read the report have said at the least that the report does not exonerate Trump, and at worst, contains evidence that rises to the level of criminality and "crimes and misdemeanors."  Given this, what would Mueller have to say to change democratic leadership's minds on impeachment hearings, that he hasn't already said?

          I caution you and everyone else not to put too much stock in the outcome of Mueller's testimony.

          The risk with the Mueller hearing is that now we give republicans a high-profile opportunity to discredit Mueller, and for what?  An opportunity for him to just repeat the same thing that's in the report?  

          As I said, I respect Pelosi and appreciate all she's done.  She knows the technical aspect of her job far better than I do.  But I would argue that in some respects, Pelosi is putting limitations on her own power for political reasons, having to do with not wanting to get on the wrong side of red district democrats.  And that's a viable concern. 

          But what it comes down to is, sometimes self-interest has to be set aside to do what is right.  Doing what is right doesn't always mean self-gain, and by "self" I mean political gain for the democratic party and its leaders.  This, to me, is one of those times.  And I suspect voters and history will be kind to her for making the right decision.

          • Not so clear: "Neither party is concerned with the Constitution or the rule of law right now, only what they think is in their political best interest."

            The constitution does not demand impeachment. It allows it, which does not indicate the Dems are either protecting Trump or their own interests.

            The vast majority of the public wouldn't know the difference between impeachment hearings and impeachment, especially because the Trump team would say anything to claim victimization.

            The report has not had the effect televised hearings probably will.

            Who is the arbiter of what is ultimately "right" in a democratic republic? It's not Pelosi or a minority of House Dems.

  12. I have a vague memory of me as a 20-something.  Our generation had a saying that you can't trust anyone over 30.  Still, growing up in my American Indian family I was taught to respect my elders and know that I can learn from them.  I think that Pelosi and the Squad need to work harder at working together.  There is much they all can learn from each other. The Squad could become even better than Pelosi if they would take time to listen to her.  And, Pelosi can learn a lot from them, too.  I sort of understand Pelosi's comments about twitter.  At 73 I hate twitter and have little patience with it.  In the words of Canned Heat:  Let's work together.  I will add let's work together so we can beat the Devil incarnate–trump.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGGW4IezbC4

    I have seen that the heart of the country and the east are going to have a terrible heat wave.  Today, it is just going to be a nice pleasant day in our little corner blue state.  Maybe the heatwave in trump country is punishment for their transgressions against the country by voting for trump.  Maybe.

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    • We've been boiling here in the Chicago Area for the last few days, it hit 98 here in my town yesterday! Thankfully a nice cold front blew through yesterday evening!

  13. Maha, check out Digby. "They love him because he hates who they hate" she quotes Tim Wise, discussing defeating David duke.

    It is spot on for where we are.

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