It is no longer sufficient to brand Donald Trump as abnormal, a designation that is surely applicable but that falls significantly short in registering the magnitude of the menace.
The standard nomenclature of normal politics must be abandoned. What we are witnessing is nothing less than an assault on the fundamentals of the country itself: on our legacy institutions and our sense of protocol, decency and honesty.
In any other circumstance, we might likely write this off as the trite protestations of a man trapped in a toddler’s temperament, full of meltdowns, magical thinking and make believe. But this man’s vindictiveness and mendacity are undergirded by the unequaled power of the American president, and as such he has graduated on the scale of power from toddler to budding tyrant.
This threat Trump poses — to our morals, ethics, norms and collective sense of propriety — may be without equal from a domestic source.
Everything he is doing is an assault and matters on some level.
There is an enduring expectation, particularly among American liberals, that progress in this society should move inexorably toward more openness, honesty and equality. But even the historical record doesn’t support that expectation.
In reality, America regularly experiences bouts of regression, but fortunately, it is in those regressive periods that some of our greatest movements and greatest voices had found their footing.
President Andrew Jackson’s atrocious American Indian removal program gave us the powerful Cherokee memorial letters. The standoff at Standing Rock gave us what the BBC called “the largest gathering of Native Americans in more than 100 years.”
Crackdowns on gay bars gave us the Stonewall uprising. America’s inept response to the AIDS epidemic gave us Act Up and Larry Kramer. California’s Proposition 8 breathed new life into the fight for marriage equality and led to a victory in the Supreme Court.
The racial terror that followed the Emancipation Proclamation gave us the anti-lynching movement, the N.A.A.C.P., W.E.B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells and James Weldon Johnson.
Jim Crow gave us the civil rights movement, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Congressman John Lewis, Fannie Lou Hamer and James Baldwin.
The latest rash of extrajudicial killing of black people gave us Black Lives Matter.
The financial crisis and the government’s completely inadequate response to it gave us Occupy Wall Street and the 99 percent.
A renewed assault on women’s rights, particularly a woman’s right to choose, gave us, at least in part, the Women’s March, likely the largest march in American history.
Multiple populations are being assaulted at once, across race, ethnicity, religion, gender and sexual identity.
So, in this moment of regression, all the targets of Trump’s ire must push back with a united front, before it is too late.
What is qualitatively different about the situation today, and reason
for genuine concern among activists, is that Russia now seems less
interested in supporting authentic movements and more concerned with
Russia never tried, as far as we know, to splinter off a fake Occupy
frontgroup. Back then Russia wasn’t seeking to create American movements
directly led and controlled by Russian citizens.
Today, on the contrary, we know that Russians created fake Black
Lives Matter protests and fake Standing Rock social media accounts. This
shift from providing support to actively establishing groups under
their total control is the real danger activists must resist.
From co-opting Occupy to cloning Black Lives Matter, the next step
will be the creation of new, previously unheard of, contagious social
protests in America that are conceived, designed, launched and remotely
controlled entirely by foreign governments.
Many activists might join these protests because they believe in the
cause being espoused without realizing who owns the leadership. But if
the suspicion becomes widespread that tomorrow’s social movements are
actually Russian, Chinese or North Korean frontgroups then there will be
a profound delegitimization of protest that significantly bolsters the
anti-democratic forces in Western democracies that already want to clamp
down on activism.
Both outcomes represent truly terrifying future scenarios […]
We are caught between a rock and a hard place: protest is more important than ever, with the (so called) “triumph” of neo-liberalism. However, being co-opted by Russia means making our fragile and imperfect democracies ever more willing to crack down on activism, not matter how legitimate.
And remember: Russia plays both sides of the political spectrum: to them supporting neo-nazis is just as fruitful as supporting the extreme left. Russia wants chaos.
Under the FCC’s dismantling of Net Neutrality: The internet would look like either Spain or Portugal. I would have to agree that Net Neutrality is about preventing the micromanaging of the internet which makes the FCC chairman’s argument a load of BS.
Those on the left represent a threat to capitalist hegemony, whereas those on the right do not – in the above picture and on the political spectrum. You see the same disparity regarding the number of (and responses from) cops between the Occupy movement/Black Lives Matter and the Tea Party bullshit; one set of movements is challenging a dominant paradigm that the system is built around (white supremacist capitalism), while the other is pushing for further entrenchment into said paradigm. The Tea Party challenges nothing (“don’t tread on [the capitalist bosses]”); Occupy and BLM hint at a resurgence of leftist movements, and the establishment (yes, the capitalists and the state) doesn’t like that.
The way forward begins with an honest acknowledgement from American activists that we were complicit in Russia’s ability to mimic our protest movements. We allowed our techniques of protest to become so entirely predictable that a fake Black Lives Matter group can gain more likes than the real one and an agent in Moscow can organize a plausible protest in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Activism has become scripted and this has increased not only the ineffectiveness of our protests but also our susceptibility to mimicry by external anti-democratic forces. The indistinguishability between fake and real protest is a wake-up call for protesters and must be the catalyst for a profound rethink of contemporary activism.
That is how we protect ourselves. Here is how we fight back.
Genuine social protests tend to boomerang around the world. So let’s ensure that foreign governments fear that the protests they create abroad will return home. To protect against fake activism in America we must insist that every protest be globally oriented.
That means exporting our protests to every country, especially those suspected of supporting, co-opting or controlling our movements. If Russia wants to create civil rights protests in Oakland then they must be prepared to deal with those same protests back into Moscow. From this point forward, our best defense is a global offense.
The Clintons are the worst war-mongering, homophobic, pro-police, pro-prison, pro-corporate, anti-worker, anti-women, anti-environmental smooth-talking slime. Make no mistake: with vitriol, they hate us.
The failure of the trickle down economics is finally over which means:
The 👏 Koch 👏 brothers 👏 will 👏 now 👏 be 👏 paying 👏 their 👏 fair 👏 share 👏
Kansas lawmakers have voted to roll back a series of major tax cuts that became an example for conservative lawmakers around the country but didn’t deliver the growth and prosperity promised by Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican.
A coalition of conservative Republicans, some of whom voted for sweeping tax cuts in 2012 or defended them in the years since, sided with moderates and Democrats to override Brownback’s veto of a $1.2 billion tax increase.
The law to increase taxes over the next two years comes as legislators seek to close a projected $900 million budget gap for that same period and bolster funding for K-12 schools under a Kansas Supreme Court order.
“It’s a huge vote,” said state Rep. Steven Johnson, a Republican and chairman of the House tax panel, adding that legislative leadership had explored many routes to find a tax solution that would gain sufficient support in both chambers. “It’s a huge vote for looking for an option for Kansas among limited options.”