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writing for godot

Fascism Rising - Trump and Kavanaugh aren’t bugs; they’re features

Written by Zepp Jamieson   
Sunday, 23 September 2018 11:44

September 23rd, 2018

One of the many sub-plots in Cary Joji Fukunaga’s brilliant Maniac involves the character Jed Milgrim (played by Billy Magnussen) a “colorful douche” who is a scion of a vicious, powerful, wealthy family, and who stands accused of a heinous sexual assault involving urination.  It’s nearly impossible not to think of the Trump family while watching this, not only because of the nature of the crime, or the resemblance Magnussen bears to one of the Trump scions, but because of the calm assurance of the family that in order to protect their power, prestige and wealth, it is perfectly reasonable to commit perjury, blackmail and bribe people (including family members), and stand well above the law in pursuit of their own interests.  They are used to dismissing people who they have wronged and who want to fight back as greedy little scuttlers, and resent a legal system that doesn’t just let them destroy such rabble.
The haughty, self-assured mien Magnussen wears is one we have seen far too often, not just in this White House (including many of its nominees from the world of wealth and privilege) but in the faces of the broadcasters on the right-wing media, and the people who trot out endless columns of right wing think tanks to assure us that “identity politics” and “takers” are only showing resentment of their betters, and Americans should not believe people who profess to stand for the people when America’s ultra-wealthy stand ready to defend the people from the people.
Congruent with this, I’m presently reading a book by Nancy MacLean, Democracy in Chains - The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America. I’ll have a full review of the book upon completion of reading it,
America has always had a class of aggrieved plutocrats who believe their property rights trump the civil rights of all other Americans.  This dates back to John C. Calhoun and his vigorous defense of America’s biggest economic phenomenon prior to the civil war: slavery.  MacClean notes that slavery made North Carolina the richest and most powerful state in the union prior to 1860, and created more one percenters in Mississippi than in New York. 
The power of this elite was held in check by the Civil War and various economic crashes, culminating in the Crash of ‘29 and the Depression, resulting in the New Deal. 
MacClean explains how a libertarian economist of the 1950s, James McGill Buchanan, created a reality in which vast sums of money could be spent organizing the plutocrat class and using propaganda and control of the media to convince Americans that they were incapable of self-governance and should let the natural leaders of society (the “businessmen”) run things.
It was fascism, pure and simple, although that is a word they never, ever acknowledge and attack all who use it.  Governance through corporation. 
The biggest problem with fascism is the same that one sees with other unaccountable forms of governments, such as theocracies and monarchies: corruption sets in quickly, and the rot spreads until it finally kills its host. 
But as long as there is power and money to be accumulated, corruption isn’t seen as a bug—it’s seen as a feature. 
The fascists have taken over the GOP, with the nightmarish and Kafkaesque results that we see in the paper every day, of people grimly determined to fight unions, civil libertarian groups, workers in general, women, and any group that can organize, collectivize and perhaps challenge their power.
MacClean writes, “Is what we are dealing with merely a social movement of the right whose radical ideas must eventually face public scrutiny and rise or fall on their merits? Or is this the story of something quite different, something never before seen in American history? Could it be—and I use these words quite hesitantly and carefully—a fifth-column assault on American democratic governance?...Pushed by relatively small numbers of radical-right billionaires and millionaires who have become profoundly hostile to America’s modern system of government, an apparatus decades in the making, funded by those same billionaires and millionaires, has been working to undermine the normal governance of our democracy. Indeed, one such manifesto calls for a “hostile takeover” of Washington, D.C.”
As you watch this week as the Republicans cling like grim death to the Kavanaugh nomination, hoping to push this vile corporatist down our throats to consolidate their power they way they have with Thomas, and Gorsuch, and you wonder how they can possibly continue to support Trump, reflect on the fact that they are no longer just an American political party: they are a fifth column, enemies to the Constitution and determined to finish a slow coup they have been conducting against America for 40 years.
They know Trump is a bad president.  Even without the corruption, the sheer scale of his incompetence and inability to lead would, in a normal party, be enough to impeach him.  They see the weirdness and chaos as inconveniences; the fact that Trump is utterly corrupt is what makes him so valuable to them.  They know he’s a thief, a crook, a swindler, and possibly a traitor.  But so are they, even if they dress it up in self-serving rhetoric, and as for being traitors, they are much closer in spirit to the most corrupt plutocrat of all, Vladimir Putin, then they are to anything readers might recognize as American values. Treason is betrayal against those you owe fealty.  By their lights, betraying America is not treason.
Perhaps the saddest element of this is the people they have roped in to support them.  The racists.  The Evangelicals.  The Xenophobes. The growling, disaffected population that feel they deserve a place at the table and the fascists are more than happy to promise them that place.
They’ve always been useful idiots for demagogues.  Nothing new there.  What is new is what will follow.
Should the fascists win, they will discard these people like used condoms.  Not only are their beliefs and impulses bad for business, but they can reorganize and pose a threat to their masters.  And they cannot be trusted: they’ve already betrayed America.  It would only be a matter of time before they revolt against Trump’s New Order. 
And the worst of all is that they would become our allies in a common cause. 
If you can vote in November, vote like your life depends on it.  It does. 
We can avoid having to fight a Fascist Fifth Column again. your social media marketing partner


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+2 # Paul Bunion 2018-10-03 12:02
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