Terrifying Washington Post Op-Ed: First, Trump Resurrection, then Insurrection Unless We Get Serious Now!

The WaPo Op-Ed by Robert Kagan is an absolute must read and share broadly. I’ll provide some quotes and connecting commentary, but trust me, this must be read and shared.

Before we get started, we offer a brief announcement about an important Zoom meeting on Wednesday night on the plan and design process for the Health Security Act from the Health Security for New Mexicans campaign, then a recording of our first radio broadcast since my stroke.

Health Security for New Mexicans is on its way… Join this Zoom to find out more

Weds., Sept. 29, Rep. Debbie Armstrong and Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino will kick off our fall Health Security Plan Design Process series via Zoom. These dedicated Health Security Act sponsors have been instrumental in moving the Health Security planning & design phase forward. They’ll be talking about what’s currently happening with the design process and what they’re envisioning as we move ahead. There will also be time to answer your questions.

The 2021 legislature allocated $575,000 to the Office of the Superintendent of Insurance to begin the Health Security design process. This first year focuses on four priority research areas. Through discussions with the Superintendent of Insurance, Rep. Armstrong and Sen. Ortiz y Pino have been actively involved in guiding this process. Don’t miss out! If you haven’t registered yet, click here to do so now! Attendance is free, but registration is required. Sign up today!

I spent over an hour speaking with Mary Feldblum, Director of Health Security for New Mexicans the other day and she outlined in some detail where the process is now and where it is headed. Join the Zoom at the link above if you want to find out how Mary, Rep. Armstrong, and Sen. Ortiz y Pino are guiding this process so that when the legislature votes on final approval they will not be voting on a concept but on a fully developed plan that outlines precisely what health services will be provided, what they will cost, how they will be paid for, and how much the state will save. Their plan calls for taking a deep dive into the existing system, how it operates, and how its flaws create obscenely high costs, impossible working conditions for providers, and the worst health outcomes of any “wealthy” country in the world. Then, by researching how other countries have addressed these issues by developing health systems that deliver far more equitable access at much lower costs, the planning team will have assembled an inventory of “best practices” to share with consumers and providers, who will select from these practices to customize a final plan responsive to New Mexico’s unique assets and challenges.

Retake Returns to the Radio

Below we offer a link to the first radio show we’ve done since my stroke. A bit rough at times, but with important info… And it will get better. Promise.

Chilling Revelations About the Threat to Democracy and Creeping Trump-led Fascism

Because many of you may likely don’t subscribe to the Washington Post, I’ve included a generous number of citations. First, take a look at the opening to the WaPo Op-Ed by Robert Kagan that Retake follower Richard Holcomb brought to my attention:

The United States is heading into its greatest political and constitutional crisis since the Civil War, with a reasonable chance over the next three to four years of incidents of mass violence, a breakdown of federal authority, and the division of the country into warring red and blue enclaves. The warning signs may be obscured by the distractions of politics, the pandemic, the economy and global crises, and by wishful thinking and denial. But about these things there should be no doubt:

First, Donald Trump will be the Republican candidate for president in 2024. The hope and expectation that he would fade in visibility and influence have been delusional. He enjoys mammoth leads in the polls [against other GOP candidates]; he is building a massive campaign war chest; and at this moment the Democratic ticket looks vulnerable. Barring health problems, he is running.

Second, Trump and his Republican allies are actively preparing to ensure his victory by whatever means necessary. Trump’s charges of fraud in the 2020 election are now primarily aimed at establishing the predicate to challenge future election results that do not go his way. Some Republican candidates have already begun preparing to declare fraud in 2022, just as Larry Elder tried meekly to do in the California recall contest.

Meanwhile, the amateurish “stop the steal” efforts of 2020 have given way to an organized nationwide campaign to ensure that Trump and his supporters will have the control over state and local election officials that they lacked in 2020. Those recalcitrant Republican state officials who effectively saved the country from calamity by refusing to falsely declare fraud or to “find” more votes for Trump are being systematically removed or hounded from office. Republican legislatures are giving themselves greater control over the election certification process. As of this spring, Republicans have proposed or passed measures in at least 16 states that would shift certain election authorities from the purview of the governor, secretary of state or other executive-branch officers to the legislature. An Arizona bill flatly states that the legislature may “revoke the secretary of state’s issuance or certification of a presidential elector’s certificate of election” by a simple majority vote. Some state legislatures seek to impose criminal penalties on local election officials alleged to have committed “technical infractions,” including obstructing the view of poll watchers.

Washington Post: “Opinion: Our constitutional crisis is already here: Democracy Dies in Darkness” by Robert Kagan

Clearly, right in front of our eyes, a coup is being plotted, first by stacking the election deck by rigging the process in state after state, and then by creating Congressional gridlock to essentially prevent Biden from having any accomplishments to run and win on, despite the rigged process.

In frightening detail, “Opinion: Our constitutional crisis is already here: Democracy Dies in,” outlines precisely how this is being plotted.

The stage is thus being set for chaos. Imagine weeks of competing mass protests across multiple states as lawmakers from both parties claim victory and charge the other with unconstitutional efforts to take power. Partisans on both sides are likely to be better armed and more willing to inflict harm than they were in 2020. Would governors call out the National Guard? Would President Biden nationalize the Guard and place it under his control, invoke the Insurrection Act, and send troops into Pennsylvania or Texas or Wisconsin to quell violent protests? Deploying federal power in the states would be decried as tyranny. Biden would find himself where other presidents have been — where Andrew Jackson was during the nullification crisis, or where Abraham Lincoln was after the South seceded — navigating without rules or precedents, making his own judgments about what constitutional powers he does and doesn’t have.

Today’s arguments over the filibuster will seem quaint in three years if the American political system enters a crisis for which the Constitution offers no remedy.

Most Americans — and all but a handful of politicians — have refused to take this possibility seriously enough to try to prevent it. As has so often been the case in other countries where fascist leaders arise, their would-be opponents are paralyzed in confusion and amazement at this charismatic authoritarian. They have followed the standard model of appeasement, which always begins with underestimation. The political and intellectual establishments in both parties have been underestimating Trump since he emerged on the scene in 2015. They underestimated the extent of his popularity and the strength of his hold on his followers; they underestimated his ability to take control of the Republican Party; and then they underestimated how far he was willing to go to retain power. The fact that he failed to overturn the 2020 election has reassured many that the American system remains secure, though it easily could have gone the other way — if Biden had not been safely ahead in all four states where the vote was close; if Trump had been more competent and more in control of the decision-makers in his administration, Congress and the states. As it was, Trump came close to bringing off a coup earlier this year. All that prevented it was a handful of state officials with notable courage and integrity, and the reluctance of two attorneys general and a vice president to obey orders they deemed inappropriate.

Washington Post: “Opinion: Our constitutional crisis is already here: Democracy Dies in Darkness” by Robert Kagan

Kagan then outlines how the U.S. Constitution offers no remedy in a political context in which the “separation of powers” has essentially been dissolved, with a packed court system, and a Republican Party (including GOP controlled state legislatures and the Congress) willing to place power above democracy, even if it means supplicating before a demagogue, suppressing any sense of commitment to the rule of law, or legitimate democracy and justice.

The Framers did not establish safeguards against the possibility that national-party solidarity would transcend state boundaries because they did not imagine such a thing was possible. Nor did they foresee that members of Congress, and perhaps members of the judicial branch, too, would refuse to check the power of a president from their own party.

Washington Post: “Opinion: Our constitutional crisis is already here: Democracy Dies in Darkness” by Robert Kagan

Kagan does an outstanding job of distinguishing what is coming from historic partisan conflict and legislative posturing and maneuvering. Trump and his movement are not motivated by policy or even interested in legislative squabbling.

Suspicion of and hostility toward the federal government; racial hatred and fear; a concern that modern, secular society undermines religion and traditional morality; economic anxiety in an age of rapid technological change; class tensions, with subtle condescension on one side and resentment on the other; distrust of the broader world, especially Europe, and its insidious influence in subverting American freedom — such views and attitudes have been part of the fabric of U.S. politics since the anti-Federalists, the Whiskey Rebellion and Thomas Jefferson. The Democratic Party was the home of white supremacists until they jumped to George Wallace in 1968 and later to the Republicans. Liberals and Democrats in particular need to distinguish between their ongoing battle with Republican policies and the challenge posed by Trump and his followers. One can be fought through the processes of the constitutional system; the other is an assault on the Constitution itself.

What makes the Trump movement historically unique is not its passions and paranoias. It is the fact that for millions of Americans, Trump himself is the response to their fears and resentments. This is a stronger bond between leader and followers than anything seen before in U.S. political movements. Although the Founders feared the rise of a king or a Caesar, for two centuries Americans proved relatively immune to unwavering hero-worship of politicians. Their men on horseback — Theodore Roosevelt, Grant, even Washington — were not regarded as infallible. This was true of great populist leaders as well. William Jennings Bryan a century ago was venerated because he advanced certain ideas and policies, but he did not enjoy unquestioning loyalty from his followers. Even Reagan was criticized by conservatives for selling out conservative principles, for deficit spending, for his equivocal stance on abortion, for being “soft” on the Soviet Union.

Trump is different, which is one reason the political system has struggled to understand, much less contain, him. The American liberal worldview tends to search for material and economic explanations for everything, and no doubt a good number of Trump supporters have grounds to complain about their lot in life. But their bond with Trump has little to do with economics or other material concerns. They believe the U.S. government and society have been captured by socialists, minority groups and sexual deviants. They see the Republican Party establishment as corrupt and weak — “losers,” to use Trump’s word, unable to challenge the reigning liberal hegemony. They view Trump as strong and defiant, willing to take on the establishment, Democrats, RINOs, liberal media, antifa, the Squad, Big Tech and the “Mitch McConnell Republicans.” His charismatic leadership has given millions of Americans a feeling of purpose and empowerment, a new sense of identity. While Trump’s critics see him as too narcissistic to be any kind of leader, his supporters admire his unapologetic, militant selfishness. Unlike establishment Republicans, Trump speaks without embarrassment on behalf of an aggrieved segment of Americans, not exclusively White, who feel they have been taking it on the chin for too long. And that is all he needs to do.

There was a time when political analysts wondered what would happen when Trump failed to “deliver” for his constituents. But the most important thing Trump delivers is himself. His egomania is part of his appeal. In his professed victimization by the media and the “elites,” his followers see their own victimization. That is why attacks on Trump by the elites only strengthen his bond with his followers.

Liberal democracy requires acceptance of adverse electoral results, a willingness to countenance the temporary rule of those with whom we disagree. As historian Richard Hofstadter observed, it requires that people “endure error in the interest of social peace.” Part of that willingness stems from the belief that the democratic system makes it possible to work, even in opposition, to correct the ruling party’s errors and overreach. Movements based on ideas and policies can also quickly shift their allegiances. Today, the progressives’ flag-bearer might be Sanders, but tomorrow it could be Sen. Elizabeth Warren or Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or someone else.

For a movement built around a cult of personality, these adjustments are not possible. For Trump supporters, the “error” is that Trump was cheated out of reelection by what he has told them is an oppressive, communist, Democrat regime. While the defeat of a sitting president normally leads to a struggle to claim the party’s mantle, so far no Republican has been able to challenge Trump’s grip on Republican voters: not Sen. Josh Hawley, not Sen. Tom Cotton, not Tucker Carlson, not Gov. Ron DeSantis. It is still all about Trump. The fact that he is not in office means that the United States is “a territory controlled by enemy tribes,” writes one conservative intellectual. The government, as one Trump supporter put it, “is monopolized by a Regime that believes [Trump voters] are beneath representation, and will observe no limits to keep them [from] getting it.” If so, the intellectual posits, what choice do they have but to view the government as the enemy and to become “united and armed to take care of themselves as they think best”?

Washington Post: “Opinion: Our constitutional crisis is already here: Democracy Dies in Darkness” by Robert Kagan

“They [Trump supporters] put their trust in family, tribe, religion and race. Although jealous in defense of their own rights and freedoms, they are less concerned about the rights and freedoms of those who are not like them. That, too, is not unusual. What is unnatural is to value the rights of others who are unlike you as much as you value your own.”

As it happens, however, that is what the American experiment in republican democracy requires. It is what the Framers meant by “republican virtue,” a love of freedom not only for oneself but also as an abstract, universal good; a love of self-government as an ideal; a commitment to abide by the laws passed by legitimate democratic processes; and a healthy fear of and vigilance against tyranny of any kind. 

Washington Post: “Opinion: Our constitutional crisis is already here: Democracy Dies in Darkness” by Robert Kagan

Clearly, respect for “legitimate democratic processes” has evaporated within the Trump movement, along with respect for science and the health and well-being of our neighbors. In this context fascism takes root and anything can happen.

The events of Jan. 6, on the other hand, proved that Trump and his most die-hard supporters are prepared to defy constitutional and democratic norms, just as revolutionary movements have in the past. While it might be shocking to learn that normal, decent Americans can support a violent assault on the Capitol, it shows that Americans as a people are not as exceptional as their founding principles and institutions. Europeans who joined fascist movements in the 1920s and 1930s were also from the middle classes. No doubt many of them were good parents and neighbors, too. People do things as part of a mass movement that they would not do as individuals, especially if they are convinced that others are out to destroy their way of life.

It would be foolish to imagine that the violence of Jan. 6 was an aberration that will not be repeated. Because Trump supporters see those events as a patriotic defense of the nation, there is every reason to expect more such episodes. Trump has returned to the explosive rhetoric of that day, insisting that he won in a “landslide,” that the “radical left Democrat communist party” stole the presidency in the “most corrupt, dishonest, and unfair election in the history of our country” and that they have to give it back. He has targeted for defeat those Republicans who voted for his impeachment — or criticized him for his role in the riot. Already, there have been threats to bomb polling sites, kidnap officials and attack state capitols. “You and your family will be killed very slowly,” the wife of Georgia’s top election official was texted earlier this year.

Looking ahead to 2022 and 2024, Trump insists “there is no way they win elections without cheating. There’s no way.” So, if the results come in showing another Democratic victory, Trump’s supporters will know what to do. Just as “generations of patriots” gave “their sweat, their blood and even their very lives” to build America, Trump tells them, so today “we have no choice. We have to fight” to restore “our American birthright.”

Washington Post: “Opinion: Our constitutional crisis is already here: Democracy Dies in Darkness” by Robert Kagan

It is clear that GOP Congressional leadership has swallowed the Kool Aid and is not willing to compromise on any piece of legislation, even willing to allow the unthinkable to unfold — U.S governmental default and the unfathomable consequences to be borne by the American people. If they are willing to do this, should we rely on their taking a principled stand against state legislatures ignoring legitimate Biden wins and selecting alternate electors committed to Trump? We are clearly in uncharted waters.

Where does the Republican Party stand in all this? The party gave birth to and nurtured this movement; it bears full responsibility for establishing the conditions in which Trump could capture the loyalty of 90 percent of Republican voters. Republican leaders were more than happy to ride Trump’s coattails if it meant getting paid off with hundreds of conservative court appointments, including three Supreme Court justices; tax cuts; immigration restrictions; and deep reductions in regulations on business. Yet Trump’s triumph also had elements of a hostile takeover. The movement’s passion was for Trump, not the party. GOP primary voters chose Trump over the various flavors of establishment Republicanism (Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio), and after Trump’s election they continued to regard establishment Republicans as enemies. Longtime party heroes like Paul Ryan were cast into oblivion for disparaging Trump. Even staunch supporters such as Jeff Sessions eventually became villains when they would not do as Trump demanded. Those who survived had a difficult balancing act: to use Trump’s appeal to pass the Republican agenda while also controlling Trump’s excesses, which they worried could ultimately threaten the party’s interests.

Washington Post: “Opinion: Our constitutional crisis is already here: Democracy Dies in Darkness” by Robert Kagan

Kagan goes on to explain that it was wise for the Dems to have accepted Manchin’s pared-back election bill to make it easier for Republican Senators with any semblance of a conscience, or even just a rational appreciation for what another round of Trump could bring, to vote for it.

Senate Democrats were wise to cut down their once-massive voting rights wish list and get behind the smaller compromise measure unveiled last week by Manchin and Sen. Amy Klobuchar. But they have yet to attract any votes from their Republican colleagues for the measure. Heading into the next election, it is vital to protect election workers, same-day registration and early voting. It will also still be necessary to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which directly addresses the state legislatures’ electoral power grab. Other battles — such as making Election Day a federal holiday and banning partisan gerrymandering — might better be postponed. Efforts to prevent a debacle in 2024 cannot. Democrats need to give anti-Trump Republicans a chance to do the right thing.

Seven Republican senators voted to convict Trump for inciting an insurrection and attempting to overturn a free and fair election: Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Romney, Sasse and Patrick J. Toomey. It was a brave vote, a display of republican virtue, especially for the five who are not retiring in 2022. All have faced angry backlashes — Romney was booed and called a traitor at the Utah Republican convention; Burr and Cassidy were unanimously censured by their state parties. Yet as much credit as they deserve for taking this stand, it was almost entirely symbolic. When it comes to concrete action that might prevent a debacle in 2024, they have balked.

Specifically, they have refused to work with Democrats to pass legislation limiting state legislatures’ ability to overturn the results of future elections, to ensure that the federal government continues to have some say when states try to limit voting rights, to provide federal protection to state and local election workers who face threats, and in general to make clear to the nation that a bipartisan majority in the Senate opposes the subversion of the popular will. Why?

It can’t be because they think they have a future in a Trump-dominated party. Even if they manage to get reelected, what kind of government would they be serving in? They can’t be under any illusion about what a second Trump term would mean. Trump’s disdain for the rule of law is clear. His exoneration from the charges leveled in his impeachment trials — the only official, legal response to his actions — practically ensures that he would wield power even more aggressively. His experience with unreliable subordinates in his first term is likely to guide personnel decisions in a second. Only total loyalists would serve at the head of the Justice Department, FBI, CIA, National Security Agency and the Pentagon. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs will not be someone likely to place his or her own judgment above that of their civilian commander in chief. Nor would a Republican Senate fail to confirm Trump loyalists. In such a world, with Trump and his lieutenants in charge of all the levers of state power, including its growing capacity for surveillance, opposing Trump would become increasingly risky for Republicans and Democrats alike. A Trump victory is likely to mean at least the temporary suspension of American democracy as we have known it.

Romney & Co. don’t have to abandon their party. They can fashion themselves as Constitutional Republicans who, in the present emergency, are willing to form a national unity coalition in the Senate for the sole purpose of saving the republic. Their cooperation with Democrats could be strictly limited to matters relating to the Constitution and elections. Or they might strive for a temporary governing consensus on a host of critical issues: government spending, defense, immigration and even the persistent covid-19 pandemic, effectively setting aside the usual battles to focus on the more vital and immediate need to preserve the United States.

One wonders whether modern American politicians, in either party, have it in them to make such bold moves, whether they have the insight to see where events are going and the courage to do whatever is necessary to save the democratic system. If that means political suicide for this handful of Republicans, wouldn’t it be better to go out fighting for democracy than to slink off quietly into the night?

Given that to date not a single GOP Senator has even hinted at interest in Manchin’s bill, it would appear that without Dems abandoning the filibuster, 2024 looks more than grim. I remember so well, hearing the moderators in the ‘Situation Room” saying words I thought I’d never hear: “Donald Trump has just been elected the 45th president of the United States.” I didn’t think any political moment could be worse. After reading Kagan’s Op-Ed, I see there is an abyss much, much deeper.

l’m looking for comments that offer some glimmer of light. This is not how I was hoping to end the week, but I strongly believe it is important to understand what we are dealing with, rather than ignoring it until it is too late.

Is Kagan overstating the threat? Given that he offers no ideas as to what the left might effectively do, are there any ideas from you?

It seems to me that the situation calls for an intensive bully pulpit style community education campaign about how dire the situation is and the critical importance of protecting our election process, but so far, Democratic leadership, is so immersed in other legislative battles, the supreme importance of legislation to protect democracy seems lost in the shuffle.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

Categories: Election, Political Reform & National Politics, Uncategorized

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8 replies

  1. Unfortunately for us NM is not the problem.
    We need to support Beto or whomever runs against Abbott and help flip TX to the Dems.
    Support other Dems like Stacy Abrams, and whoever runs against DeSantis in FL.

  2. Yes, Trump has tragically captured and hopelessly transformed the GOP! But the Republican Party has never been keen on fomenting collective actions for the common good. AND Congressional Dems (our side!) are coming across as weak and delusional, except for a few staunch progressives. Some corporate Dem reps are working to undermine the infrastructure bills, and all senators have refused (so far) to ditch the silly filibuster & parliamentarian or expand the Supremes. Instead they’re allowing “moderates” to call the shots on voting rights & infrastructure, with our democracy (and much-needed economic & climate mitigations) on the line.

    Trying to come up with alternative approaches, I’ve come up with some questions I need answers for:

    #1: Can’t the filibuster be voted out for now, then restored in a later Congress?

    #2: Will Trump be allowed to run for President if in ankle chains or in jail? Kagan and others don’t even consider the likelihood he’ll be prosecuted and imprisoned for SOMETHING shady or treasonous he’s done. Are all those federal and state investigators simply going through the motions?

    #3: Is it too late to remove frivolous items (like the $121 billion subsidies to oil & gas) from the bipartisan bill to reduce costs? Or at provide a reduced amount to help gas & oil companies “transition” to cleaner energy systems (to bring their workers along)?

    I have seen little recent discussion on any of these concerns…..and many more!

  3. Very Scary. I hope that some more articles like this will begin to wake people up. I appreciate your work very much. Thank you!

  4. Despite all the GOP’s voter suppression efforts, we must tirelessly work to get out the vote.

  5. Hi Paul and Roxanne – Listened to your new show on radio yesterday. Welcome back, lucidity and all.

    As to Kaplan and the agonizing reruns of history, of course he and you are correct. It can, does, and has occurred, again and again. But not as absolute cloning. With every yin there is a yang, count on it. Dualism, which began within the intellect of humans a long time ago, is NOT a ‘thing,’ but most assuredly the inability to ‘sense’ the existence of real things.

    Nowhere is this more obvious than in the ‘murkan phenomenon right now, as it is in other places like Romania, Austria, Philippines, Brazil, N. Korea, within the Brahman class in India and the like.

    What perpetuates here and there is the occlusion of real phenomena, the Painted Veil of rice paper that separates fantasies of subjective nightmares from the deep sleep and rest of ‘feeling’ the presence of real life that still swirls all around us, around everything. This, IMO, is not a conscious act, but rather a two-dimensional response to the angst generated by the limbic brain, transferred to the reptile brain, which is the sole handmaiden of the limbic system of sensory awareness.

    There has existed here and elsewhere the ‘war on terror,’ as if that ‘thing’ was something outside our own existence hell bent upon ‘coming to get us and devour us. But the only ‘terror’ is within each and every brain, created from a plethora of sensory experiences that actually ‘split’ the thinking mind, a psychotic break if you will.

    The reptile brain, commanded to protect the organism, does whatever is needed to defend the organism, including act out psychotic episodes that use violence – the fundamental vehicle of terror – to rescue the organism from the peril of oblivion, the death of self.

    I read Kaplan’s essay the morning it hit cyberspace. This morning, WaPo chief editor Fred Hyatt wrote a sequel to its publication, and once more printed the Kaplan essay, using it as more than a cautionary tale to posit a response to the ‘terror’ the essay evoked in many.

    I wrote a response to the first publication in WaPo, which follows:

    “This is a brilliant ‘prognosis.’ But it is not the disease itself. It is taking ‘some’ of the past to one logical conclusion.

    It is, for all its other brilliance, based almost entirely on this one statement:

    ‘ “While it might be shocking to learn that normal, decent Americans can support a violent assault on the Capitol, it shows that Americans as a people are not as exceptional as their founding principles and institutions.” ‘

    This blanket statement is not so. It is about the size of a hankie, and under that hankie are some deranged, mentally perverse and deviant lunatics.

    The Germanic cultural pattern of the last century is the largest ethnic group in ‘murka. There is an overarching subjectivity in this group – unsubstantiated supremacy. I can speak to this because half of my ancestry, and my own upbringing was largely within this group. Angle Saxon, Protestant, Lutheran, miserly, paranoid of other ‘ethnicities,’ paranoid of failure, on all counts, paranoid of unfavorable judgements by others, incapable of mastering emotional discipline while succumbing to subjective dramas.

    These patterns result in a mostly silent, gut-wrenching fear – oblivion.

    But the author tends to paint all of us as much less suspicious and alarmed as he is. Leftists, progressives, socialists, communists, atheists, agnostics, so-called ‘minorities,’ all of us are somehow too self-absorbed to note, without long memories or without having educated our children about the great evils of ‘evil,’ that living ones life requires extreme vigilance.

    The true danger here, as always, lies NOT with the citizenry, but with the pathological outliers to that citizenry, the so-called ‘leaders’ who are only SO due to their absolute failure to be able to accomplish anything else other than being horrible examples to those they allegedly ‘lead.’

    Tyrannus rumpfk is a ‘caricature’ of a hologram of a parasite. Its biological ‘father’ was a carpenter of little talent who turned to crime to avoid failure.”

    The psychotic break of ‘cognitive dissonance’ does NOT destroy the reality of Planet Earth and all its things and all its active phenomena. We will all die if we do not pierce the Painted Veil of fear and terror that the reactionary groups ‘feel’ they are being threatened by.

    Kaplan incites a kind of terror in those of us who sense the threat from reactionaries, a threat that they attempt to blame us for, when it is resting solely inside their own terrified minds.

    But we cannot fight terror by becoming terrified ourselves. And we cannot fight terror with more terror. That is the overwhelming lesson of human history, and the reason why it so often repeats itself.

    Terror is yin, because it is based upon illusion; so courage must be yang. We simply must act with courage to face down terror. It is simple, but it is not easy, and it does not come without sacrifice or loss. But that loss is NOT oblivion.

    It is exactly the opposite. It is the courage to sacrifice self so that all else, all reality and all being and all doing, not only stays intact, but evolves, grows, matures, creates, innovates.

    Fears never change, they are a constantly repeating cycle. Courage changes everything.

    I reject Kaplan’s terror. I will take its energy away, and use it to destroy terror itself. As you two spoke of yesterday, conscious effort to create and strengthen community, by using compassion and loving, ethical practice, will change fear into courage. Life does require constant vigilance, self-policing if you will. We must throw out the demons within our midst.

    Mick Nickel

  6. The entire political/social climate has become extremely toxic. In addition to the factors you mention, major contributing factors to the current political/social climate include: the adverse psychological effects on the nation caused by the extended lockdowns; name-calling (anti-vax, far right-wing, far left-wing, socialist, fascist, etc.) by the media; cancel culture; vaccine requirements (jab or job); and the censorship of non-mainstream views that is occurring, not only on social media, but also in the mainstream media.

  7. Kagan, who is a very smart and capable guy but fairly conservative, is not writing this to persuade liberals. He is targeting conservative moderates who he hopes will help convince some of the 7 Republican Senators he names to side with Democrats on at least the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, or a watered-down version of HR 1. This would outflank Manchin and Sinema. It might also require some painful concessions on the budget bill or other legislation, since Republicans who cross Trump would have to try and show they got something for their treason. However, I haven’t seen any signs that these Republican Senators are open to such a deal, or that Biden and Co are trying to negotiate with them. Has anyone else? Instead, it seems the Biden plan is to focus on passing the budget and accompanying infrastructure bill, and hoping this will deliver enough benefits to voters that Dems don’t lose the House and Senate in 2022. This strategy requires that Manchin and Sinema stay on board; even if the $3.5 Trillion ends up being 3.0, or 2.75, it’s still a heck of a lot. Meanwhile, Republicans want to tie the government in knots to prevent anything from passing.

  8. It pains me to say this (understatement), but one thing Trump Horribilis has going for him is “authenticity.” Terrible, I would say even evil, authenticity. He’s flaming authentic to not only our baser instincts, but to those who have been ridden hard and put away wet by the supremely inauthentic Establishment. While our awareness and response to the dangers now with us in plain sight are critical, we need cohesion and guts, as we are dying for authenticity.

    Neither corporate-serving Party has it. That’s one strong reason why Trump doesn’t need the GOP, the GOP needs him to the extent they can remain enabled to feed at the power and money trough. The Dems have enabled a Trump figure through multiple administrations and inauthentic, even criminally inauthentic “representation.”

    Retake, New Energy Economy, the youth led climate and Indigenous activists, NM Health Security, Public Banking, and their ilk are where the hope lies. To the extent that we can support and join them is where we can add our weight to the birthing of a counter tipping point. And vow to remain authentic whilst doing so.

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