Jackboots And Apple Pie

Most Americans are spectators in this democracy….I say that because most elections only about 49% of the voting population actually shows up.

But in the last year it seems that this fragile democracy is in danger of falling apart….yes, I am talking about the time from 2016 election to today……nothing happening is encouraging if anything it appears losing ground weekly…..

It can be analyzed back to Pres. Trump……

The problem with Donald Trump is not that he is imbecilic and inept—it is that he has surrendered total power to the oligarchic and military elites. They get what they want. They do what they want. Although the president is a one-man wrecking crew aimed at democratic norms and institutions, although he has turned the United States into a laughingstock around the globe, our national crisis is embodied not in Trump but the corporate state’s now unfettered pillage.

Trump, who has no inclination or ability to govern, has handed the machinery of government over to the bankers, corporate executives, right-wing think tanks, intelligence chiefs and generals. They are eradicating the few regulations and laws that inhibited a naked kleptocracy. They are dynamiting the institutions, including the State Department, that served interests other than corporate profit and are stacking the courts with right-wing, corporate-controlled ideologues. Trump provides the daily entertainment; the elites handle the business of looting, exploiting and destroying.


I am not alone…..most thinking people, that means people that can count beyond 10 sees problems mounting up….

Democracy is in under siege around the world, according to a new report by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The annual Democracy Index tracks the health of the world’s governments. And the results for 2017 are depressing. In 89 countries, democratic norms look worse than they did last year, the report’s authors write. Just 4.5 percent of the world’s residents live in fully functioning democracies, down from 8.9 percent in 2015.


So far events in government point to a leader that is more concerned about his personal affairs and not those of the country…..a leader that demands loyalty to him and not necessarily the rule of law….BTW this country was founded on the rule of law, in case there was confusion…..a leader who shows affection for authoritarian heads of state…..

It appears that Trump wants to be a dictator…..

It began the day he was sworn in, with his vow to end “American carnage”—a direct echo of his autocratic pronouncement when accepting the Republican nomination that “I alone can fix it.” Donald Trump has chipped away at the pillars of democracy ever since. According to a new report from Freedom House, an independent watchdog group that has monitored democracy globally for decades, “The past year brought further, faster erosion of America’s own democratic standards than at any other time in memory.” The nation’s core institutions, the report says, have been “attacked by an administration that rejects established norms of ethical conduct across many fields of activity.”

In his first year as president, Trump often appeared driven by his urges for self-aggrandizement, self-enrichment, and revenge against anyone and everyone he perceived to be his political enemies—targets to be punched 10 times harder or screwed 15 times harder than they’ve punched or screwed him. He has used the presidential platform to taunt and threaten, going after federal judges, members of Congress, law enforcement leaders, celebrities, professional athletes, private citizens, and, of course, his greatest bête noire: the “Fake News” media, which he has blasted hundreds of times since taking office.


TO political observers nothing about the Trump act seems to be democratic……he desires total control on all aspects of government and even some within the legislative branch are enabling his moves toward authoritarianism.

American democracy is in danger!

That is the tale back when I was a radical wanting to rid ourselves of this system….it is humorous that they saw a danger then but do not see it now…..selective knowledge.

I do not think that our republic will be replaced with some sort of Trumpian mind fuck…..I just see the games being played that can be dangerous to our way of governance.

Did you know that about 1 in 4 Americans would accept authoritarian rule…..

A new survey reveals that although most Americans like to believe they prefer democracy over authoritarian forms of government, the actual content of their convictions can veer precipitously toward authoritarianism.

“If given a direct choice, the overwhelming majority of Americans choose democracy,” writes Lee Drutman, Larry Diamond and Joe Goldman of the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group. “In fact, on each of the five questions we asked, three quarters or more of all respondents provide at least some support for democracy, and half or more express support for the strongest pro-democratic option. By contrast, depending on the question, between an eighth and a quarter of respondents provide an answer that does not support democracy.”


A scary thought and turn of our democracy…..we should be careful and watchful….

Could this be the beginning of a 3rd revolution?

Get ready, America. According to a new study on inequality and revolutions throughout history, the United States soon may experience a profound paradigm shift, Inverse reports (with a hat tip to Lee Camp). A team of scientists at Washington State and 13 other institutions conducted the study, and their findings, published in the journal Nature, could have major implications for today’s world.


If accurate which way will it go?

Will the revolution be televised?


It Is Not A Democracy

You know that there is always someone going to point out the US is not  democracy but rather a republic…..usually it is someone that is trying to make a point but have nothing to add to the conversation…..

It is true we are a republic…meaning that we cannot elect the president directly….instead it has to go through the whole electoral college thing.

Personally, I have stated many times that the EC has run its course and it is time to get rid of that dinosaur from our early days.

It will not be eliminated simple because our country can only support the 2 party system……according to some government would collapse if we ever rid ourselves of the EC….that the US would slide into anarchy.

I disagree.

The wealthy elite that are our founders did not want a democracy……..

I’ve already confessed my bad attitude about the Electoral College system. And I’ve listed 10 of the potentially serious ways it can screw up our choice of national leaders. The trouble with such a list is that it implies that we have somehow been saddled with the worst system possible. It needs to be said that no system for choosing a national leader would be perfect (although I do believe that considering the anachronistic elements of our system, we could definitely do better).

All this system-bashing could also begin to imply that I have no respect or appreciation for the Framers. That’s not so. Although I don’t seem to have the normal allotment of reverence for the Constitution or its authors, I see them as very smart guys, many of them heroes of the War for Independence, who came to Philadelphia in the summer 1787 hoping to — and trying hard to — make things better.


One in a series of articles. You can read the whole series here.

Populism–What’s It Good For

The election of 2016 brought about the use of the term populism….it has been around for many many years but not used so much by the media when reporting on an election…..and the 2016 arrived and not knowing exactly what to do about the whole popularity of Trump and Sanders….viola the term “populism” found a new home……

Populists abhor restraints on the political executive. Since they claim to represent “the people” writ large, they regard limits on their exercise of power as necessarily undermining the popular will. Such constraints can only serve the “enemies of the people” – minorities and foreigners (for right-wing populists) or financial elites (in the case of left-wing populists).

This is a dangerous approach to politics, because it allows a majority to ride roughshod over the rights of minorities. Without separation of powers, an independent judiciary, or free media – which all populist autocrats, from Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Viktor Orbán and Donald Trump detest – democracy degenerates into the tyranny of whoever happens to be in power.

Periodic elections under populist rule become a smokescreen. In the absence of the rule of law and basic civil liberties, populist regimes can prolong their rule by manipulating the media and the judiciary at will.


Populism is a dangerous thing….the whole “voice of the people” is good cover but a dangerous trend in a democratic country.


What Fate The Republic?

How many times have you heard some political wannabe tell you that the US is not a democracy but rather a republic?  Most times it some well meaning Rightie that wants to point that out when others write about the things that is going wrong with this country.

I will admit that they are right (you do not know how hard that is for me to admit for I dislike most Right wing dullards)…..and since they are right and this is nothing more than a republic …..is there an expiration date?

Whither the American republic? It is worth remembering that no one founds a republic believing the republic will last forever. To believe such a thing automatically negates one’s conservatism. Like all living things, a republic must experience a birth, a middle age, and a death. The question is never if a republic will die, but when. The stronger its soul, the healthier its body. Conversely, the less a people have a purpose, the faster will they decline. A republic, American or not, is a res publica—a common good, a good thing, a public thing. Whether our government still resembles the republic of the American founders is yet another question, and one for another post.

It is also worth remembering that in the long history of western civilization, no political arrangement—with only the rarest exceptions—has lasted more than a few centuries. Political bodies come and go. The two longest lived institutions in the West are not political, but, ethnic and religious. The oldest sustained cohesive people in the world are the Jews, and the oldest institution in the West is the Latin church. We can conservatively date the first at 4,000 years old and, the second, at roughly 2,000 years old. Not a single political body that existed during the time of the Pentecost still exists today. Indeed, even the very form of government that so predominates in the world—the roughly 200 nation states of the world—did not exist until the fifteenth century.


When is our expiration date?  Are we living that day now?


Is Populism A Thing Of The Past?

You would think that once we elected a small minded populist that we would have learned our lesson, right?

Not even close.

Across the globe populism and populist thought has become the rule of the day…..but is it here to stay?  You betcha.

The vote for Brexit and the election of Donald Trump has baffled the main stream and the establishment. Most market participants and observers didn’t believe ex ante that they were possible, and as a result were completely surprised when the unexpected happened. Ever since the term populism has become socio-politically relevant in modern-day public discourse. Google Trends illustrates that there was a veritable explosion in search queries for the term “populism” last year:

But, populism — regardless of its political flavor — merely represents a symptom. The generally surprising results were consequences of the economical erosion of the past years Although there are idiosyncrasies in every country that foster the rise of populist movements, the ailing foundation of the economy provides the fertile soil and is the major driver of people’s dissatisfaction and the associated voting decisions. To assert that populism is the reason for this process of political change is in our opinion far too simplistic. An analysis of stating that economic erosion is responsible for the rise in populism is supported by by a McKinsey study, which examines the trend in real household incomes in 25 industrialized nations.1 McKinsey arrived at the striking conclusion that real incomes of 65 to 70 percent of households in developed countries either stagnated or even declined between 2005 and 2014. The following chart illustrates the trend in household incomes in selected countries.


In this country the question on most every normal person mind is…..just why is this brand of populism working?

Watching the Republican tax plan race through Congress, one is reminded of a big apparent difference between Donald Trump’s program and other populist movements in the Western world. In America, Trump is leading something that is best described as plutocratic populism, a mixture of traditional populist causes with extreme libertarian ones.

Congress’ own think tanks — the Joint Committee on Taxation and the Congressional Budget Office — calculate that in 10 years, people making between $50,000 and $75,000 (around the median income in America) would effectively pay a whopping $4 billion more in taxes, while people making $1 million or more would pay $5.8 billion less under the Senate bill. And that doesn’t take into account the massive cuts in services, health care and other benefits that would likely result. Martin Wolf, the sober and fact-based chief economics commentator for the Financial Times, concludes, “This is a determined effort to shift resources from the bottom, middle and even upper middle of the U.S. income distribution toward the very top, combined with big increases in economic insecurity for the great majority.”


Populism?  Or Nativism?

Last week the Cambridge Dictionary declared populism its 2017 word of the year. In many ways, that makes perfect sense. Since Brexit and Trump, virtually every political event has been couched in terms of populism, from the Dutch parliamentary elections to the French presidential elections earlier this year. New media catchwords such as “fake news” are linked to populism.

However, it has become the buzzword of the year mostly because it is very often poorly defined and wrongly used. Indeed, the Cambridge Dictionary’s definition perfectly illustrates this. It describes populism as “political ideas and activities that are intended to get the support of ordinary people by giving them what they want”.

Oddly enough, this is almost identical to the interpretation used by many populists themselves. However, rather than populism, it describes responsive politics, as exists in idealistic models of democracy. The only part of that description that has some overlap with more common academic definitions of populism is the reference to “ordinary people”.


This is working for the GOP….why?  Basically they are gutless wonders that will lick anyone’s boots that will give them a legislative win…..they care little for the country….their only concern is pushing crap through the legislative process….the American people can be damned for all they care…..and they have the perfect president to do their crap for he cares NOTHING for the American people.

Populism is not just an American thing…….

There is no doubt that nationalist populism will remain an important driver of Europe’s debates. As we showed in our 2017 Chatham House research paper on the future of Europe, elites across the EU identify populists as their number one challenge. Thus, as we leave 2017 it seems that many observers were too optimistic about the ‘Macron moment’ and the supposed defeat of nationalist populism that was reflected in losses for Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands.

Indeed, as Macron’s popularity plunged, Austria swung sharply to the right, electing the young conservative Sebastian Kurz, who has entered negotiations to form a coalition deal with the hard-right Freedom Party. Then, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) captured 12.6 per cent of the vote and 94 seats in the Bundestag in Germany’s federal elections, the strongest result for populism in the country’s post-war history and one that overturned the assumption that such parties could not find success in the country that gave birth to National Socialism.


And the beat goes on…….


Can “True” Conservatives Survive?

In this eras of Trump real conservatives, if you listen to Bannon they are RINOs, are trying desperately to hang onto their beliefs and their base…..but they are losing their grip the minions in Congress are making it difficult for a conservative to embrace the GOP.

The GOP for a couple of decades could depend on the blue collar worker for support but that support is sliding…..

Our news feeds this year have been saturated with dispatches from Donald Trump’s America. Media outlets deployed journalists to regions besieged by rapid globalization, technological advances, and demographic change, where they attempted to explain the anger that inspired voters to embrace a figure like Trump. Their written pieces created a kind of niche journalism, presenting stories of what our nation failed to address with its transitioning economy. A number of these articles were accurate and empathetic portrayals of struggling communities, but too many of them patronized their subjects and reeked of condescension.


Then there are the Christian conservatives some are solidly embracing Trumpism which is giving the GOP some concern…….(key word in that sentence is “some”)…….but will they continue to support the GOP?

Republican nominee Roy Moore lost the vote in Alabama on Tuesday. To many, that defeat was comforting: Moore’s troubling background included lawlessness, extremism, and allegations of child molestation. He may not have lost by much—but with a tenfold increase in write-ins and a drop-off of 800,000 voters, it appears that Moore was too much for principled conservatives in Alabama.

Indeed, after crunching the numbers, economist Lyman Stone suggested that Moore had the lowest white evangelical support of any Alabama Republican in the 21st century:


To be honest I do not see the GOP turning their backs on Trumpism right now….they are getting what they have desired for 30 years…a tax cut for the wealthy and the promise of attacks on Social Security and Medicare to start….Congress is thumping their chest with pride now….

Now will that support remain next year?  Damn good question.  I would say that it will depend on the events that are forming as I type.

Will the US continue to be a conservative state and maker no mistake matters not who is elected we are a conservative state….but a good question if you know what is meant by a conservative state……let me offer you some help…..

Over the last several years, amidst the swirls of overt corruption, immigrant “hordes,” rising “national security” concerns, police militarization, bloated empire, and the so-called deepening of the “deep state,” conservatives and libertarians of all stripes have pondered the meaning of the modern state. Most recently, Paul Moreno has brilliantly considered the rise of The Bureaucratic Kings, Alex Salter has wisely questioned the relationship of anarchy (the Bohemian, Nockian variety) to conservatism, and, though I have yet to read what the always thoughtful Jason Kuznicki of Cato recommends, there is also James C. Scott’s Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States. Believe me, I am intrigued.  Each of these authors and recommenders, of course, owes an immense debt to the pioneering work of Robert Higgs’s magnum opus, Crisis and Leviathan (1987), and Higgs, in turn, had followed in the footsteps of such 20th century greats as Christopher Dawson, Robert Nisbet, Friedrich Hayek, and Joseph Schumpeter.


A lot to take in but if you consider yourself a conservative then I think you need to read and understand…..

Peace out


On The Road To Authoritarianism

There is a trend going on here in the US that is not something to be proud of…..I know we are according to the slogan “Making America Great Again”…..but the only thing that we are doing to our country is making it more authoritarian….

What does it feel like when a liberal democratic country turns the corner into authoritarianism?

America is changing. It isn’t always obvious and flagrant — like Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro announcing that some opposition parties will not be allowed to take part in the country’s 2018 elections, or the Polish government changing the way the courts oversee the nation’s laws in order to advance the agenda of those currently in power. And neither are these changes necessarily all things that have happened only since President Trump’s election last year. Even if the authoritarian drift accelerated with Trump’s rise, it didn’t begin with him. He is its expression. We need to do everything we can to ensure he doesn’t end up being its culmination.

Doing that requires keeping our eyes open for and taking note of longer-term trends and signs of authoritarian drift that are sometimes difficult to detect.


What started off as a positive thing….the generals in the Trump cabinet would keep Trump on an even keel…..that has yet to materialize….if anything they are traveling the authoritarian road…..

An article yesterday at NBC focusing on Trump and “his” generals got me to thinking on this subject again.  Its author, Suzanne Garment, suggests that Trump likes generals as obedient alpha males.  They lend him credibility without directly threatening his delicate ego.  And there’s truth in this.

But I want to focus on other reasons for Trump’s preference for generals in high positions.  A year ago, I wrote an article for TomDispatch.com on “All the President’s Generals.”  That article focused mainly on the potential impact of these generals on America’s foreign policy and domestic culture.  As I wrote last December:


It is not looking good for the country…..the American people need to stay informed and stay alert……we have a country to lose.