Rising fascism in the US

Reply Tue 25 Apr, 2023 05:31 pm
All republics are democracies; not all democracies are republics.

I believe that statement is correct.
Reply Tue 25 Apr, 2023 07:42 pm
The statement was:
It's not a democracy. It's constitutional republic

Your reply disagrees with the claim that the US is not a democracy..
Reply Wed 26 Apr, 2023 02:04 am
Putin and the presidents: Timothy Snyder (interview) Frontline

(Sample quotes)
What does Vladimir Putin see when he sees Americans coming to Russia, talking about democracy, talking to activists?

I think he sees it as a threat. I mean, the Putin system is based upon turning democracy into a ritual. Using what the Russians call the administer of resource.

Because there's no alternative ideology to democracy, Putin only survives with the repeated legitimation that Democratic theater acts, democratic performances provide him. So every so often, every 6 years, we're going to have an election, and Putin's going to win that election. And he has to win by a lot, not because people actually believe the results--they don't-- but because the election proves who is in charge, because he's the one who's running the election. That's how it works. The idea that elections could be real, whether it's Pompeo saying it or Clinton saying it, the idea that elections could be real is a threat.
Putin needs the Russians to believe that elections are a circus, a farce, and a fake because if the Russians believe that German elections and British elections and American elections are also fake they're not going to mind that their elections are fake. So when Americans come to Russia and talk about elections being authentic, I think he regards that a threat. And the way he expresses that threat is to say, "Our democracy is real, their democracy is fake. We care about ourselves. They only care about meddling in our politics, and so on and so forth.

But I think the concern is that people in Russia might actually believe that there are places in the world where votes are actually counted.

Russia's not trying to make America like Russia. Russia's just trying to turn America into a total mess. That's what they're going for, and that's a kind of power. And it's consistent, by the way, with a lot of Soviet history. That it's not so much about about necessarily making everybody believe your ideas it's more a matter of making sure that nobody else can mount a serious challenge to you, undermining everything else, making everything else a shambles.

It's clear that Putin wanted Trump to win. He said as much. It's clear that he applauded Trump's idea that the European Union isn't really a thing. That's all clear because Putin has said so. That's all absolutely clear.
In general, what Trump does for Putin is he normalizes the Russian way of doing politics. So Putin's view that democracy is a joke, you can lie all the time, politics is fundamentally about a rich guy becoming richer, corruption is normal, right--Trump normalizes that for the whole world. So what Trump did was he took Putin and made Putin look normal. He put Putin in the middle. Putin was no longer something exceptional. Putin was normal now thanks to Donald Trump, and that had a tremendous negative effect on politics around the world, I think.

Was that something they were hoping to get from trump? You talk about-- is it destabilizing America? Is it destabilizing the Western alliance? What are their hopes for the Trump presidency?

Look, it was a bonanza for them the way it actually turned out. So before we talk about what they were hoping, the Trump Administration was just a feast for the Kremlin everyday. Because what the Trump Administration delivered every day and it's outrageous rhetoric, in it's disrespect for American institutions, and in its countless scandals was what Russian propaganda outlets dreamed of. They dream of this kind of raw material which proves that democracy is a joke. Trump is there to tell you that democracy is a joke. He's there to tell you that the rules don't apply to everyone equally; they don't apply to him. He's there to tell you that might makes right. He's there to tell you that you can lie everyday, not just in Russia but in America, which-- that's what he did. He lied everyday, all the time, just like Putin. So, they had other hopes, but Trump gave them the thing that they basically wanted, which was an American Administration that was an embarrassment for everyone who cared about democracy, an American Administration that showed that Russia wss more normal--right-- that's what they crave. They crave the rest of the world, the Democracy world, to say, "Actually Russia's normal."

So Trump did Russia a favor just by his existence and his everyday behavior. I think they wanted an America that would pull out of NATO, which they will likely get in the second Trump Administration, if there is one, or at least an attempt in that direction.

And so now he [Putin] was showing his power. Now it looks like the Russians are powerful: "Look what we can do. We can make a mess inside American politics, which ends with bloodshed on the steps of the Capital. And since we've shown that we're powerful what are we going to do next? We're going to invade ukraine, because this crew of people who can just barely get Biden into office, this crew of people is not going to do anything about that. So January 6th, apart from anything else, leads directly to the war in ukraine, because it looks like America is not just morally discredited, it looks like America is weak.

He [Trump] respects Putin because he knows Putin helped get him get to power. He [Trump] thinks that Russia is a great power, and in this sense as in so many others his view of the world and Putin's view of the world overlap.

And of course Trump doesn't care at all about democracy. He doesn't care about American democracy, and he doesn't care about anybody's democracy. He's a gift not just to Putin but to dictators all over the world who came out of a quasi-democratic background because he seems to show you can start from democracy and end up in tyranny.

0 Replies
Reply Wed 26 Apr, 2023 02:15 pm
Reply Thu 27 Apr, 2023 01:42 pm

Here's a group fighting leftist fascism. The 'Let's go Brandon' hoodies in highschool is an interesting story.
Reply Thu 27 Apr, 2023 02:15 pm
FIRE has received major funding from groups which primarily support conservative and libertarian causes, including the Bradley Foundation, Sarah Scaife Foundation, and the Charles Koch Institute.[2][11][12][13]
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Reply Fri 28 Apr, 2023 08:56 am
If they are allowed to wear that stupid saying, "let's go Brandon" then students should be allowed to BLM apparel.
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Reply Sat 29 Apr, 2023 12:47 am
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Reply Sat 29 Apr, 2023 09:06 am
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Region Philbis
Reply Sun 30 Apr, 2023 06:37 am

Frank Apisa
Reply Sun 30 Apr, 2023 07:12 am
@Region Philbis,
Region Philbis wrote:


I love it!
0 Replies
bobsal u1553115
Reply Mon 1 May, 2023 06:28 am
The Republic of China is no democracy. What we are is a "Democratic Republic".


Democratic republic


View history


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A democratic republic is a form of government operating on principles adopted from a republic and a democracy. As a cross between two similar systems, democratic republics may function on principles shared by both republics and democracies.

While not all democracies are republics (constitutional monarchies, for instance, are not) and not all republics are democracies, common definitions of the terms democracy and republic often feature overlapping concerns, suggesting that many democracies function as republics, and many republics operate on democratic principles, as shown by these definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary:

Republic: "A state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch."[1]
Democracy: "A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives."[2]

Eugene Volokh of the UCLA School of Law notes that the United States exemplifies the varied nature of a constitutional republic—a country where some decisions (often local) are made by direct democratic processes, while others (often federal) are made by democratically elected representatives.[3] As with many large systems, US governance is incompletely described by any single term. It also employs the concept, for instance, of a constitutional republic in which a court system is involved in matters of jurisprudence.[3]

As with other democracies, not all persons in a democratic republic are necessarily citizens, and not all citizens are necessarily entitled to vote.[4] Suffrage is commonly restricted by criteria such as voting age[5] and sometimes by felony or imprisonment status.


Is America a democracy or a republic? Yes, it is
September 10, 20225:00 AM ET
Ron Elving at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., May 22, 2018. (photo by Allison Shelley)

Ron Elving

What do we call the system of government in the U.S.? Are we a democracy or a republic?

The conundrum is, well, as the common expression goes, "as old as the republic itself."

But it's not just a question for scholars and semanticists any more.

Since the election of 2020, supporters of former President Donald Trump have become notably more willing to assert their belief that voting in America is suspect. That Trump won an election he lost. That "millions of ballots" were uncounted or miscounted. That voting by mail was fraught with abuse.

Despite the lack of evidence, and the judgments of election officials from both parties and judges appointed by presidents from both parties, election denialism has become not only a thing, but a movement. And when critics call this an attack on democracy, some election deniers respond by saying the U.S. is not a democracy, it is a republic.

Robert Draper of The New York Times published a piece on Republicans who say this in August. He cited a GOP candidate for the Arizona state legislature, Selina Bliss, saying: "We are not a democracy. Nowhere in the Constitution does it use the word 'democracy.' I think of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. That's not us."

But a democratic republic is us. Exactly.

Throughout our history we have functioned as both. Put another way, we have utilized characteristics of both. The people decide, but they do so through elected representatives working in pre-established, rule-bound and intentionally balky institutions such as Congress and the courts.

The government seated in Washington, D.C., represents a democratic republic, which governs a federated union of states, each of which in turn has its own democratic-republican government for its jurisdiction.

The relationship between the democratic and republican elements of this equation has been a dynamic and essential part of our history. But it has not always been easy, and in our time the friction between them has become yet another flashpoint in our partisan wars.
Going to war over weaponized words

We regularly hear people on the left speak of conservatives destroying democracy, and just as regularly we hear conservatives say Democrats have no respect for the Constitution. To add to the confusion, the two camps often swap their lines of attack and defense. Republicans call Democrats enemies of democracy, Democrats rail against what they see as Republican disrespect for the Constitution.

And that also makes sense, in a way, as both sides want to be the champions of both democracy and the Constitution, and to advertise themselves as such to the voters.

Yes, as a polity, we think we are and can be both. We aspire to be both. But in practice that can prove difficult. And in our time, when so much of the public discourse happens on Twitter and cable TV news, the terms have become increasingly weaponized.

"Equality and democracy are under assault," said President Biden on the steps of Independence Hall last week. "We do ourselves no favor to pretend otherwise."

Biden at Independence Hall used the word democracy 31 times, including three times in one sentence. He used the word republic just twice.
Biden attacks Trump, saying his wing of the Republican party is a threat to democracy
Biden attacks Trump, saying his wing of the Republican party is a threat to democracy

Republicans, by contrast, have seemed of late to be stressing the role of the republic and its restraint on democracy. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, an outspoken Republican but hardly an outlier, got considerable attention for saying bluntly on Twitter in October 2020: "We are not a democracy."

Lee then posted online an explanation of what he meant. It said, in part: "Our system is best described as a constitutional republic [where] power is not found in mere majorities, but in carefully balanced power."

Lee went on to catalog how difficult it was for majorities in Congress to pass legislation, get it signed by a president and watch it undergo judicial review. Lee's point was that he was OK with all that. It was the intent of the founders.

"In the absence of consensus," Lee wrote, "there isn't supposed to be federal law."

Writing in 2020 in The Atlantic, George Thomas, the Wohlford Professor of American Political Institutions at Claremont McKenna College, found "some truth to this insistence" on calling the U.S. a republic but added: "It is mostly disingenuous. The Constitution was meant to foster a complex form of majority rule, not enable minority rule."

This is not just a quibble over terms. It is a fundamental battle over what American government aspires to be. Are we a democracy where the voice of the people is, like it says in Latin on some of our official buildings (Vox Populi, Vox Dei), the voice of God?

Or are we a republic? That is to say, a government of laws not of men, deriving its authority not by divine right of inheritance or strength of arms but by reason and by adherence to the mechanisms of the Constitution.
Calling things by their proper names

It's also not a coincidence that those names tend to suggest which end of the democratic-republican bargain they favor. Our current parties trace their roots to a common ancestor in a party begun by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in the early decades of nationhood.

That party formed in opposition to the original party of George Washington and John Adams, known as the Federalists because they emphasized the central authority of the combined 13 states (the original 13 colonies that had rebelled against the crown of England).

Jefferson and others who rose in opposition were called, naturally enough, anti-Federalists. Jefferson liked the word republican and used it a lot, in part for the anti-monarchist emphasis.

Others thought the term had less meaning because so many different kinds of viewpoints claimed it. The party eventually took on the label of Democratic-Republicans. That moniker might have been too much of a mouthful to enunciate, and its coalition may have been too wide to sustain.

At the time, there were also voters and candidates who preferred calling themselves National Republicans, especially in New England. That element morphed into the Whigs, while the Democratic-Republicans dominated in the South and eventually became simply Democrats — the preference of President Andrew Jackson.

In the 1850s, exhausted by the North-South tensions that were leading to the Civil War, the Whigs gave way to a new party originating in the Great Lakes region. The new party's biggest issue was abolition, but they adopted (perhaps at the suggestion of journalist Horace Greeley) the previously orphaned half of the old Democratic-Republican Party name. They have since been known simply as Republicans.
But both terms have far deeper origins in the ancient world

The Athenian democracy in Greece around 500 BCE denoted the right of the people (demos) to personify power (kratos) and meant it to include an entire polity – or at least its males. Something like 5,000 citizens were enfranchised to participate, and when they chose to delegate some of the governing task to a smaller body they still had 500 members of that council (boule).

Thomas says "the founding generation" in the U.S. never considered the Greek model workable beyond a limited area (idealized perhaps by the New England town hall). Thomas says that generation was "deeply skeptical of what it called 'pure democracy' and defended the American experiment as 'wholly republican."

That is, it was a government of the people not of royalty. It also incorporated some of the inspiration referenced in the Latin word republic, a hearkening back to the Romans who established the first Senate around 750 BCE.

Thomas says the American experiment has been about harmonizing democratic and republican models, two "popular forms of government," each of which "drew its legitimacy from the people and depended on rule by the people."

The essential difference was the role of representatives to substitute for the gathering of all the people at one point in time and space.

"To take this as a rejection of democracy misses how the idea of government by the people, including both a democracy and a republic, was understood when the Constitution was drafted and ratified," Thomas said. "It misses, too, how we understand the idea of democracy today."

One way to understand that idea was articulated by Jefferson himself way back in 1816, when he wrote: "We may say with truth and meaning, that governments are more or less republican as they have more or less of the element of popular election and control in their composition." [emphasis added]

It is hard to imagine a better statement of the two concepts as they may be comingled and act in concert.

It falls to our generation to renew that understanding in the context of our own time, two full centuries later.
0 Replies
Region Philbis
Reply Tue 2 May, 2023 05:42 am

Reply Tue 2 May, 2023 01:11 pm
@Region Philbis,
It's next to impossible for fascism to get a foothold when reason endures. Books are important, but also now, the internet. The internet is important for spreading information, and disinformation too. The Russians used internet disinformation on social media in the 2016 campaign to help get Trump elected.

The Russian strategy is to make a mess in countries with democracies, and with the election of trump they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

The goal of the MAGA and Единая Россия, Putin's party, seem to have this in common: complete destabilization in the United States.
Reply Tue 2 May, 2023 03:34 pm
Drop "seem to" in the last sentence! It's not the only thing they have in common.
0 Replies
bobsal u1553115
Reply Thu 4 May, 2023 07:07 am
Guns don't kill people, emojis kill people!

A man in rural Missouri was shot to death and a woman was injured following a heated social media exchange.

Isiah Craig Fitzgerald, 18, was killed after a war of words on Facebook precipitated by Fitzgerald reacting with a laughter emoji on the profile photo of Tanner Watkins and his girlfriend.

Watkins, 20, and Kaleb M. Ramsey, 18, were arrested and charged with murder, three counts of assault, four counts of unlawful use of a weapon and armed criminal action, KFVS reports.

Sikeston Department of Public Safety said the victims agreed to meet at a park to fight, which became the scene of the shooting.


Region Philbis
Reply Thu 4 May, 2023 07:19 am
@bobsal u1553115,

it has become abundantly clear that you are fair game if you live in a red state.

try not to piss people off, lest you get shot...
0 Replies
Reply Wed 10 May, 2023 03:10 pm
Over the past two years, school districts nationwide have become the center of culture war battles over race and LGBTQ rights. Conservative groups have made a concerted effort to fill school boards with ideologically aligned members and notched dozens of wins last fall.

In Colorado, conservatives started making gains earlier because school board elections are held in off years. Woodland Park offers a preview of how quickly a new majority can move to reshape a district — and how those battles can ripple outward into the community. Some longtime residents say that the situation has grown so tense, they now look over their shoulder when discussing the school board in public to avoid confrontation or professional consequences.


I would have guessed yesterday that overhearing a guy encourage another guy to read the most infamous National Socialist's manifesto would for sure top the list of outright fascist things I'd come across all day, but then I read the article linked above. Of course we've already seen bits and pieces of these sorts of things all around the country recently, but this is an (unusually) in-depth and enlightening piece.

The below quotes just scratch the surface of what is to me an absolutely bananas story (it's got Netflix docuseries written all over it,) but I think the real takeaway is that these tactics are being or have been employed all over the country, regardless of the depth or breadth of any reporting. And I have no doubt that school boards are far, far, far from the end goal.

“This is the flood the zone tactic, and the idea is if you advance on many fronts at the same time, then the enemy cannot fortify, defend, effectively counter-attack at any one front,” David Illingworth, one of the new conservative school board members, wrote to another on Dec. 9, 2021, weeks after they were elected. “Divide, scatter, conquer. Trump was great at this in his first 100 days.”

Teachers grew particularly alarmed early this year when word spread that Ken Witt, the new superintendent, did not plan to reapply for grants that covered the salaries of counselors and social workers.

At Gateway Elementary School in March, Witt told staff members he prioritized academic achievement, not students’ emotions. “We are not the department of health and human services,” he said, as teachers angrily objected, according to two recordings of the meeting made by staff members and shared with NBC News.

Someone in the meeting asked if taxpayers would get a say in these changes, and Witt said that they already did — when they elected the school board.

David Rusterholtz, the board’s president, believes that chasm predates his election in November 2021.

“This division is much more than political — this is a clash of worldviews,” Rusterholtz said at a board meeting in January. He concluded his remarks with a prayer for the district: “May the Lord bless us and keep us, may His face shine upon us and be gracious to us.”

When asked to respond to criticism from school personnel and parents, Illingworth, the board's vice president, replied in an email: “I wasn’t elected to please the teacher’s union and their psycho agenda against academic rigor, family values, and even capitalism itself. I was elected to bring a parent’s voice and a little common sense to the school district, and voters in Woodland Park can see I’ve kept my promises.”

The district’s teachers union complained in an email to middle school staff that the board’s action was “underhanded, and at worst illegal.” A parent sued, aiming to force the board to follow open meetings law. A trial court judge did not rule on the legality of the board’s actions but ordered the board to list agenda items “clearly, honestly and forthrightly.”

In response to the teachers’ complaints, Illingworth accused the union of attempting to organize a “coup,” and instructed then-Superintendent Mathew Neal to make “a list of positions in which a change in personnel would be beneficial to our kids” and “help the union see the wisdom in cooperation rather than conflict."

At the first board meeting in January with Witt as superintendent, the board voted to adopt the American Birthright social studies curriculum standard. No social studies teachers had been consulted prior to the vote, according to three current employees and an administrator who asked to speak anonymously to protect their employment.

American Birthright materials emphasize patriotism, argue that the federal government should have no authority over public schools and say teachers should not encourage civic engagement, such as registering to vote or petitioning local lawmakers on issues students care about.

“It is terribly important to be a disengaged citizen, and indeed, a disengaged student,” said David Randall, research director at the National Association of Scholars, a conservative organization that created the standards last year.

Shocked Shocked
0 Replies
Reply Fri 19 May, 2023 12:13 pm
Reply Fri 19 May, 2023 04:28 pm
And here I thought that Propaganda was way more effective when it chose a real topic, but played to peoples fears and prejudices (even intellectuals have these). Like:
- America, the leader of the free world (well, it is by far the most powerful democracy, and as a result other similar nations, also democracies, tend to fall into line with...or risk their relationship. Such is the way of a bully rather than a leader)
- we invaded for their beneift / for the good of all / because of the drug trade (well, there is always some justification...that doesn't mean those countries were't invaded also for economic benefit).
- the democrats <insert here> (political propaganda is usually founded on an actual action, but the motivation or goal is reinterpreted)
- the republicans <insert here>
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