On Tyranny: Be Calm when the unthinkable arrives
“Modern tyranny is terror management. When the terrorist attack comes, remember that authoritarians exploit such events in order to consolidate power. The sudden disaster that requires the end of checks and balances, the dissolution of opposition parties, the suspension of freedom of expression, the right to a fair trial, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. Do not fall for it.” -Timothy Snyder
“(General Dwight) Eisenhower…bemoaned the fact that most of the soldiers under his command, while demanding
the rights and privileges of American citizenship, had little knowledge of or interest in living up to the responsibilities that came with that citizenship…Soldiers saw no apparent reason why the conflict between (democracy and totalitarianism) was any concern of America…There was, he added, a dismaying lack of comprehension on the part of our soldiers as to the fundamental causes of the war. ” – Lynne Olson, Citizens of London
“Britain, which then had very few blacks within its borders, was not a segregated country, and its citizens, many of whom had never seen a nonwhite person, were shocked by the American policy—and the blatant racism that
underlay it.” – Lynne Olson, Citizens of London
“The general consensus of opinion seems to be that the only American soldiers with decent manners are the
Negroes.” – George Orwell
“For decades (going back to the 1979 Islamic Revolution) Iranians have risen up, only to be put down.” – Joseph Krauss, AP/Bismarck Tribune, 1/19/20
“…the true nature of the conflict in Guatemala is not yet clear. (Consequently) I do not think we ought to jump into the Guatemalan situation, a sensitive, and very grave threat to world peace, with such elephant indelicacy.”
– Senator William Langer (R-ND), 28 June 1954
“(In voting against the August 7, 1964 “Gulf of Tonkin Resolution”), along with (Senator) Ernest Gruening (D-AK), (Senator Wayne) Morse (I-OR) saw what other senators could not or would not see: that giving the president carte blanche to commit American military might to Vietnam was dangerous in the extreme as well as unconstitutional.”
– Mason Drukman
“On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White
House will be adorned by a downright moron.” – H.L. Mencken, 7/26/1920
Without tracing the uses of mendacity in service to power since ancient times, it is enough to trace our current problems to the emergence of the United States as the dominant power, during and after WWII, realistically challenged only by the Soviet Union, and an emerging Communist China. The bi-partisan arrogance our leadership imbibed at the time has haunted our democracy ever since, but never so obviously as now, with President Trump and Trump Republicans.
In 1953-1954, Iran and Guatemala had democracies and U.S. Foreign Policy was dominated by the whims of Senator Joe McCarthy (R-WI), and we crushed the governments of these 3rd World countries. In 2020, Ukraine still has democracy, despite unspeakable, impeachable crimes by the Donald in service to himself and Vladimir Putin. What connects these actions is contempt by demagogues McCarthy and Trump for democracy, rule of law, and what Senator John McCain (R-AZ) described as “regular order.” Until recently, willingness of our political parties and media to ignore, or even prefer lies supporting unequal, oppressive societies to truths freeing up fairer ones, and suppressing dissidents among them who spoke truth to power, has been truly depressing. Now that Democrats, and most media outlets, other than FOX and Rush Limbaugh devotees, have decisively turned away from that fraudulent path, I turned to my renegade KGB friends for answers to the stupidity over the past 70 years that created this mess.
High Plains Reader: Do you think that Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is regretting that he didn’t signal his Majority Republicans to join with Democrats and convict Trump of High Crimes and Misdemeanors, when he had the chance during the impeachment trial?
Putin: No doubt. Almost as much as Congressmen and Congresswomen, especially Democrats, are beginning to regret how much they have delegated power to the Executive Branch since 1950. For his part, Moscow Mitch never thought that Americans would wake up to his Trump oligarchy scam. He is a devoted disciple of that well-known Marxist scholar, P.T. Barnum.
HPR: Who? What?
Rasputin: “There’s a sucker born every minute,” is a classic analysis of how greedy capitalists in big business usually win out over idealistic, democratic ones in small business and working people, with the help of those very victims; using lies, racism, misogyny, and religious bigotry.
HPR: But Marx was a theorist. Bankruptcy Mitch is anything but that.
Kim Dog Un: Agreed. In addition to imbibing P.T. Barnum’s inspirational messages, Mitch
McConnell is a well known practitioner of the rules set down in V.I. Lenin’s What Is To Be Done
(1902), and explained by disciple W.C. Fields: “Never Give a Sucker An Even Break.”
HPR: What about notorious liars like Joe McCarthy?
Schickelgruber: Big lies, little lies, half-truths, reality TV shows, all have deceit in common. Violence by Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Mussolini, Hitler, and others, is often a necessity in securing oligarchy and dictatorship, but optional in societies where rule of law and legally enforced constitutions represent inconvenient obstacles to the would-be 1%. But lying is NOT optional.
Torquemada: George Orwell is very clear about this. Not all dictatorships rely on violence, but every single one of them relies upon fraud and mendacity. It is a way of life for these people.
HPR: Even about pandemics it would seem. We need Drs. Fauci and Birx to develop a truth serum for the West Wing, sprinkled on Trump’s hamburgers, while “Fauci’s Army” hunts down a Covid-19 vaccine. A free press that no longer shades facts or truth doesn’t seem to be enough.
Rasputin: Your media, with lunatic exceptions, exposed Vladimir Putin as the enemy of democracy in Ukraine, abetted by Senators Moscow Mitch, Leningrad Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Stalingrad Chuck Grassley (R-IA). They have shown how Trump and Republican Senators as venal as Roman times, are a clear and present danger to American democracy, as well as to our lives and livelihoods. But for press coverage of courageous civil servants, first responders and medical personnel, even handed judges, and a brilliantly led House of Representatives, Trump’s attack on freedom and democracy would be complete. Now Trump lets Covid-19 destroy us.
HPR: What can our State and Local Governments do about that?
Alter Goat: Rebel, of course, but in a sly, legalistic, and 10th Amendment style like Governor
William Langer did in the 1930’s. Defying the Feds, he placed an embargo on wheat from North Dakota to markets until the price went up. He even called out the North Dakota National Guard to prevent, rather than force, foreclosures on farmers and ranchers.
HPR: Did he get away with it?
Alter Goat: Yes and No. Wild Bill Langer knew that he would eventually lose in Federal Court, but he was buying a month’s time for the embargo to raise the price of wheat and save North
Dakota farmers from bankruptcy. It worked. The price went up before the embargo was lifted. The National Guard’s purpose was supported by an overwhelming majority of North Dakotans.
HPR: How does that set an example for today’s Governors?
Chicago Dog: Governor Larry Hogan (R-MD) has already taken a page out of Langer’s playbook by “smuggling in” PPE from South Korea, and ordered his State Police and the Maryland National Guard to protect it from President Thief-in-Chief. If he wishes, Governor Tim Walz (D-MN), could send out his State cops and National Guard and order meat plant
“death traps” closed until they create safe conditions, regardless of what President Moron signed.
Mr. Swamp Fox: Trump’s Enforcer, AG William Barr, could go to court and would likely win the case, but the delay will be enough for Governor Hogan to protect his people with PPE and could create some social distancing time in Minnesota, for those helpless meat plant workers.
Lena: Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) has shown more guts than the entire West Wing in facing down Trump’s Reality TV, Neo-Nazi/Confederacy, Freak Show, and pods of irresponsible Republican legislators, in order to protect her citizens from the pandemic.
Headless Horseman: Trump’s failure to lead, except to cause chaos, has forced Governors, Republican and Democrat, to oppose him, individually, regionally, and with a sense of purpose that spells doom for Mitch McConnell in the Senate, and Trump in the Electoral College.
Alter Goat: Secretary of State, Al Jaeger (R-ND), caught suppressing Native American voters a few years ago, has now sent out absentee/mail ballot applications this year with a box for Tribal ID, along with boxes for Driver’s License, Passport or Military ID, Non-driver’s ID, Long Term Care Certificate, and Applicant Without ID (disability). There are still issues with signature verification shenanigans, but the North Dakota League of Women Voters are on the case.
Chicago Dog: It looks like the “Tea Party” might be over, if Americans develop herd immunity against Republicans this year and turn out their lights at the national level in November. Rats, like former failed Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC), are already leaving the Ship of State.
HPR: What do you mean? Meadows is advising Trump as we speak.
Putin: That’s what it looks like, but Meadows has chosen to exit via the West Wing. Rats like that need a place to hide while they plan their next trip on the gravy train. He gets frequent Covid testing and also, to see who gets what from all the loot being sent over by Congress.
Rasputin: Think of all the friends Mark makes among the dark money boys; while he appears to manage “he who cannot be controlled.” It’s the perfect hideout, behind the “Big Cheeseburger” while seeking your slice of Limburger, and White House reporters seek the source of the smell.
HPR: Can guys like that get away with it?
Chicago Dog: Don’t know for sure, but one of our “Deep State” Huskie friends smuggled out a Daily Brief attributed to a Meadows staff member. It’s a personalized version of their general, internal “Guerilla Guidelines for West Wing Enablers, 2020” When testing for this virus it is smart To have your expert doctors take the lead. Don’t let your moron President take heed Of it, or you are screwed right from the start.
You had the sense to flee Pelosi’s frown
And help Big Pharma with their testing scam;
But soon, no doubt, you’ll take it on the lam,
And stay afloat while Mitch and Don go down.
Things could be worse. You might be one who cares
About the front line workers and their kin;
Condemned to suffer, owing to your plan
To gift them herd immunity’s hard snares.
No matter. Just continue “spin and grin;”
And you’ll survive when sh*t has hit the fan. – Anonymous Swamp Creature, Tea Party Toilet Paper