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Dec 7, 2023·edited Dec 7, 2023Liked by Robert Reich

Actually, the Republican party has been taken over by the ultra-wealthy ultra-right capitalists. At first, they did not like Trump, but they knew an opportunity when they saw one and saw that they could actualize their wildest dreams by supporting the degenerating Republican Party.

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founding

The Heritage Foundation are the ones who came up with the chilling and detailed plan to enable Trump to turn America into a Fascist state on day one. It is a club supported by the wealthiest who have hired the most diabolical of minds with no consciences whatsoever to come up with a diabolical and detailed plan to rid the United States of any vestiges of oversight that would get in the way of their race to become even more wealthy. Because they are in it for short term gain, they have no qualms about destroying American Democracy.

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The heritage foundation is the enemy of democracy and the U.S. It is also a Russian and white Supremacist propaganda organization.

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It certainly behaves like one, in Red White and Blue Christian regalia….

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Oh boy here we go. The anti-Christian movement

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Phil, anti-Christian Nationalism is not the same as anti-Christianity. If you'll read your bible, you might notice that jesus did not advocate for a theocracy based on belief in him. If you read history, you might notice that in 313 AD, the christian church became the state religion. At this point, for the next 1000 years, until Martin Luther, the world was run by a theocracy, will all the attendant corruption to be expected from the two institutional powers as they colluded to rape, pillage, loot the lives and resources of the known world. Finally, please realize that the United States is not a theocracy. It is a free republic. Supporting some of the values allegedly supported by christianity does not mean that people have to believe in that religion. If you read the founder's papers, you will realize that a theocracy was anathema to them. They'd already experienced it and rejected it.

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Throwing around the charge that those of us who do not want the theocrats to establish a Christian theocracy are “anti-Christian” is wrong, a deflection, and an attempt to shut down conversation.

I readily state I am an atheist, but I am NOT anti-Christian. Or even anti- religion, though I am against cult thinking. One of my favorite thinkers was the Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong, and I think the Sojourners have done a lot of great work promoting their faith but resisting the push toward theocracy.

I do not fall for the deflection that resistance to the rabid Evangelical Right political movement is somehow anti-Christian religion.

Nope. Not being shut down by that accusation.

As Paul says so well above, the misuse of religion to control the masses has a long and sad history. And this is true all over the world, not just with Christianity.

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Well said. As Ben Franklin said when asked what kind of government they had created, he replied "A republic. If you can keep it." We are in serious danger of not keeping it.

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Paul,

Of course, I understand the founding fathers' reason for separation of Church and State. England had been a blood bath caused by opposing protestant and Catholic monarchs for hundreds of years.

You refer correctly to Marin Luther who caused the beginning of the Protest Church and separation from the Catholic Church (which had all the cruelty of the Inquisition, the Crusade, and recently a terrible wave of child sexual abuse).

You have to separate Protestant from Catholic Christianity when looking at the historical record. There are major differences, but both believe in Jesus Christ as Savior.

Regarding Theocracy. When did I state that the United States is a Theocracy? Although most if not all Founding Fathers were Christian. e.g. "In God We Trust" that did not make the US a Theocracy.

According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, the definition of “Theocracy” is defined as “government of a state by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided” It can also refer to a country governed in this way". The only Christian Theocracy now is the Vatican.

So, the concern for most of us is that Christian Nationalism could be the equivalent to a Theocracy, but who would claim divine authority by proxy? Donald Trump? Then we would revert to a blood bath reminiscent of the religious wars and punishments in England approximately 500 years ago. And the constitution would have to be changed. I cannot see that ever happening with Trump or anybody. But then ....

BTW: I read my bible every day. Jesus in fact was disgusted by the religious leaders and castigated them several times.

Jesus wants all mankind to accept Him as Lord and Savior.

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I wanted to like this but every time I hit the like it then disappears

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You did it to yourselves. What are people supposed to think? Many followers of Christianity are trying to overthrow our government and shove their archaic patriarchal beliefs down our throats forcefully. If this doesn’t describe you or your church, you’ve got a lot of work to do to stop the degradation of your religion.

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KL, how do you do that, especially since there is no single church?

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Phil, if I am not mistaken the only story in the Bible depicting Jesus getting angry was when he admonished the money lenders. How can you equate how billionaires have taken over the Republican party to enrich themselves at the expense of most Americans and the destruction of the planet with anti Christianism. They have co-opted religious language to use it against Christians and many Christians don’t see it. True Christian values would advise not casting pearls before swine, Think about it.

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Hi Linda,

Please see below - not angry, I said castigates. I think Jesus was a true democrat!

In the New Testament of the Bible, there are instances where Jesus criticizes or rebukes the religious leaders, including priests and Pharisees. One notable passage is found in the Gospel of Matthew, in the 23rd chapter, where Jesus delivers a series of woes or denunciations against the religious leaders.

Here are some verses from Matthew 23 (New International Version):

Matthew 23:13:

"But woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to."

Matthew 23:23:

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former."

Matthew 23:27-28:

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness."

In these passages, Jesus is criticizing the religious leaders for their hypocrisy, neglect of justice and mercy, and outward righteousness without genuine inward transformation. It's important to note that these criticisms were directed specifically at certain individuals and not a condemnation of all priests or religious leaders.

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Luke 19:27 ut as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and slaughter them in my presence.'” ... But bring those enemies of mine . before me and slay them

Luke 22:36 - Sell Your Cloak to Buy a Sword

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Actually, Phil, it is truly difficult to be a true Christian. To do so, one has to abide by the teachings of Jesus, to be loving and kind and compassionate. The so called "Evangelical, pro-Trump, anti-abortion, Nationalist movement" is really a heresy, in the sense that it leans on a false interpretation of the bible to criticize and go after their neighbors, their Brethren, any one they do not agree with, to condemn them publicly and harass them.

To them Jesus, with his kindness towards the poor and the oppressed, is more the socialist, the commie that the Heritage foundation warned them about.

They are completely divorced from Christianity, even if they call themselves "Christians". They misuse the label to give themselves cover, but please don't be fooled.

A real Christian earns my admiration. Those petty minded, vicious, vitriolic and vengeful "white nationalists" earn my scorn.

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If Christians acted like the Jesus of Matthew, there wouldn't be an "anti Christian movement", instead they act like the Christians of Luke and those of Saul (Paul), and then are handy with the scissors and cut and paste those parts of the bible that fulfill their needs and assuage their fears.

There are 613 Commandments in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, and Christians copy and paste only 10, the other 601 are inconvenient, like don't eat shell fish, don't wear clothing of mixed fabric, don't eat pig.

Christians are not really Christians, they just use something called god as a sock puppet.

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Not anti=Christian, anti Nationalist Christian. Nat C's.

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Please substantiate.

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Can you read? Can you see?

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unfortunately people see and hear and read whatever reinforces their beliefs, and they disregard or question anything else.

An evangelical interviewed in Iowa recently said she supports Trump because he "shares her Christian values." Trump? I don't think there's any argument that will shake them out of their trance. And they can find any number of Biblical quotes to support their positions.

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Trump believes in Christian values about as much as he believes in the Constitution. His contempt for both is obvious every time he opens his mouth. Three monkeys time folks: Hear no evil

See no evil speak no evil about Trump.

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If Trump has Christian values I don't see them.

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Not everyone. It’s an advantage of an education in science (and law I suspect, if it’s a good education). You look for contrary information, refute it with facts if you can, and reframe if you can’t.

But lazy reading, which I admit to indulging in, reinforces preexisting opinion. I have to admit to reading economics that discuss Modern Monetary Theory rather than Friedman.

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Good point - many extreme religious types are in fact cult members by definition, and there's no doubt Trumpism is also a cult for the same reason. One of the most telling characteristics of being in a cult is not realising you are in one in spite of all the evidence.

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I do not know if it was the same interviewee, but I saw a Trump supporter (middle aged white woman, in a red hat) say on camera that she believed he was the most honest of all the candidates. The most honest of all the candidates. I thought my head would explode. 🤯

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That is so sad. He is the antithesis of Christian values! Trumpers are lost sheep.

If the Republican party does not change its culture, then despite Trump we have a serious threat to a two-party system.

Instead of concern the media responds with cynicism? They are also a threat to democracy

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True but they know that the tax collector Saul was on the road to Damascus when SHAZZAM.

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And it was prepared for use by any Republican who might become president, not just Trump.

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exactly...the 2025 project is for ANY republican elected...it is not specific to trump

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The agenda and march towards the one party system continues as it has for 50 yrs.. nothing new..the CN’s have only strengthened their position..Johnson the dinosaur man is just the beginning

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Dec 7, 2023·edited Dec 11, 2023

The plutocracy cares nothing about money, save that is an addiction. Money is a tool to acquire wealth and status. They have enough wealth, it is all about status. They scramble with each other to be the top of the pyramid (ever play King of the Mountain as a kid? That is a life lesson earned, apparently the internet generations don't play games with their peers anymore and have no idea about childhood games, where you learn the lessons of life,

What they really fear is falling off or being pushed off the top of the social pyramid, it is a long way to fall from owning mansions to living on the streets

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Good point. If our oiligarchs simply wanted a bigger piece of an ever expanding pie they would be all for increasing the minimum wage, for example. When henry Ford started paying his workers more so that they could buy the cars that they made Ford's fellow factory owners attacked him. It isn't about total wealth, it is about asymmetric wealth, asymmetric power. It is not enough that they are rich, we must be poor.

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YIKES!

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Can you substantiate with some facts regarding their policies?

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Dec 7, 2023·edited Dec 7, 2023

Since Google must be broken, here you go: https://www.heritage.org/.

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That is the Heritage Foundations web site, the very enemy of democracy, they are the problem not the solution

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Electing any Republican to any office is now too dangerous.

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Or the planet as we know it.

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Or about destroying the planet...

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You are right. There was an interview of Charlie munger on fareed zakaria gps a few months ago where the munger asks a rhetorical question: “how did china achieve what it has in a short space of 30 years”. Sadly Mr zakaria did not pursue that - but I did and my mind raced to the conclusion authoritarianism. What I don’t get is how does this benefit the Trump base???

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Dec 7, 2023·edited Dec 7, 2023

It doesn't benefit Trumps base Mehebub. These are truly the deplorables that Hillary mentioned, and the only thing these twats care about is owning libs, winning the culture war, which is nothing more than male supremacy and female submission, and that means eliminating the competition: LGBT and "feminazis", you know those brazen "bitches" that have the gall to believe that they are the equal of men and refuse to be submissive.

And in case any reads that sentence and is triggered, it was sarcasm

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Let,s not leave out the Claremont Institute, et al...

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founding

The Republican leaders know who is pouring money into their campaigns and on the side, into their pockets. If Trump wins, power, money and being in the spotlight of the news are just some of the rewards. It is easy to sell your soul to the devil if the rewards of office are high enough and almost every Republican legislator has their price.

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Unfortunately, politics attracts narcissists for the notoriety and sociopaths for the power. The social myth of the individualist that is currently prevailing in this culture does not encourage prosocial political service.

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I would be interested in your estimate of the proportion of narcissists in society. Having been a victim of three of them, two husbands and a “best friend”, I understand finally my own psychology that made me vulnerable to them.

I think it’s much higher than the estimated 4-5% of the population. And growing.

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Dec 7, 2023·edited Dec 7, 2023

4-5% of the population? I have a long-standing fascination with psychopaths, having encountered a few, too, but I think the current estimation is around 1-2% of the population.

If you're looking for books that provide some insight into psychopathology, I highly recommend:

Martha Stout's "The Sociopath Next Door" and James Fallon "The Psychopath Inside."

Stout points out that in western culture, where individualism is more important than the collective, psychopaths are a bit more obvious and we are more likely to produce dangerous psychopaths, while in cultures that value the collective over the individual, psychopaths are more contained and fewer of them become dangerous. She recounts how early in her training she asked a psychopath what he wants. I'm paraphrasing, but he responds: "That's easy, pity. With pity I can do anything." That's how I was taken in by a psychopath. I've always had an abundance of empathy, so I'm an easy mark.

James Fallon is particularly interesting. He's a neuroscientist who accidentally discovered that he's a psychopath. He had two research projects on the go - one was looking at psychopaths to see if the condition could be seen in their brain scans and the other was studying dementia. He and his family has contributed brain scans to the dementia group (as examples of brains not suffering from dementia). He was looking through these scans and found one that was clearly a psychopath. They were using a double blind procedure, so he couldn't see whose scan it was, but he assumed that one of his assistants was pranking him. When he uncovered whose scan it was, it turned out to be his brain! What was really telling was that when he told friends and colleagues, they said, 'yeah, that sounds right.' Fallon calls himself a 'pro-social psychopath'. He's an clear example that not all psychopaths are criminals. Indeed, many of them are CEOs, politicians, local mayors and sheriffs...

I think our ignorance of psychopathology is hurting our society. While around 1% of the population doesn't sound like much, with nearly 8 billion people on the planet that adds up to over 78 million psychopaths alive today. Many of them end up as criminals. Some end up being that annoying person the company hired before the company imploded - and it was such a great place to work before X was hired... Some are your annoying neighbour whose behavior is so unpleasant and so petty. But many, especially the more intelligent among them, are drawn to positions of power and as such pose a real threat to the rest of us.

One last thought. Ramaswamy (I will refrain from suggesting that he's a psychopath) has said several times that he thinks people between 18-25 should have to pass a civics test to vote. This is clearly more about suppressing votes for Democrats than a concern that people who vote understand civics - otherwise, why not propose that EVERYONE take the test. I think a better suggestion is that anyone who wants to run for any public office, no matter how small, must have their brain scanned to see if they are a psychopath and the results should be made public. They can still run for office, but I think we, the people, should have the right to know if we're voting for psychopaths - especially as Fallon's testing did show that we can identify psychopaths with a simple brain scan.

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Psycopaths become serial killers and billionaires

Sociopaths become millionaires

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And the percentage of masochists in society.

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you are not a masochist if you were conned by a narcissist. Con men/women usually prey on people who are basically trusting good people. It makes it difficult for them to believe others are capable of the deceipt and betrayal that too many are capable of. Why do you think grandparents fall for the con when someone calls telling them a relative is in trouble and they need to send money, or people think they have fallen in love on line and send money to a con? There are a million ways people are conned. It is not their fault and this includes being lied to by husbands.

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I have had thousands try to con me, today via telephone and email.

I am too skeptical and cynical to be conned, with the exception of women, but I am all over that. Thanks primarily to a reduction in testosterone. LOL :)

For years I deferred judgement to the smaller of two heads. I was raised to respect and defer to the female, and that left me vulnerable to those who saw me as a meal ticket, pick my pocket and a step up the social ladder.

My spouse of 30 years is nothing like that, equal partners, who divide labor according to abilities and capabilities

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About the same percentage of MAGAts, Daniel

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founding

Dr. Lyn, you have clearly elucidated why “Political Democracy” no longer works. It attracts the wrong people for the wrong reasons to supposedly be our representatives and it opens the opportunity for demagogues. Now we must face the growing possibility that political democracy will fail under Trump or another demagogue.

“IT WAS NOT RAINING WHEN NOAH BUILT THE ARK” is an old piece of wisdom that encourages preparation for a disaster. I was an activist in the 70's and now I am repurposed as an activist again. I am exploring a novel form of democracy called “Economic Democracy" based on the Progressive Utilization Theory first brought forward by an Indian born visionary, Prabhat Rainjan Sarkar.

Biden or Trump, we need to plan for our children’s future.

For the curious:

https://www.proutinstitute.org/policy-solutions/economic-democracy-the-alternative-to-corporate-rule

https://prout.info/what-is-prout/

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Marc Economics is the least of humanities worries, though it is the paramount concern in the present, but given the acceleration of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere, economics is a selfish and narcissistic concern, as we have passed the tipping point to save mammalian life, including ours, and varying on estimates of scientists, we have 11 years, 27 years or 77 years to save ourselves or our progeny

If you doubt that, then look at the economic refugees piled up on our borders, and the millions risking death to get into Europe.

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Dr Lyn, Individualism is a complex subject.

There are individualists like me, that can't be socially terrorized, whose opinion of self does not depend on the opinion of others, which we can not possibly know as we are not, despite the claims of charlatans called psychics, can read the minds of others.

Then there are the sociopathic Randians, called Libertarians, who pose as individualists, yet gather collectively, to impose their will on the rest of us.

I am an individualist, yet also empathetic to the pain of others.

And no I am not triggered by your statement, just want to expand your consciousness, but I do get your drift, the English language is technical and financial, and devoid of feeling and emotion. For instance we have catch all words, which are meaningless, like love and play. In Spanish if you say "te Amo: to your spouse, then that signals that the romance is over, and you probably have a lover, if you say te quiero (I want you) then the romance is still alive. How can you love a point in tennis, ice cream, your mother, your spouse, your children, each love has a different meaning and emotion.

The same with play. we play games, there is play in the chain, we play with emotions, we perform or watch a play. Play is a noun, a verb or an adjective.

A Spanish speaker will say "de me un cigarillo" give me one cigarette, English speaker says give me a cigarette

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Marc ; The devil has their 'price'! Nobody can afford it, for long.

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This I will agree to, power drunk repubs!

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The Republicans are not doing anything for for this country and the middle class and the poor but they are doing everything to help the billionaires and corporations.

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@ Teofilo: Via culture. Demagoguery. They pretend they have God on their side. Actually follow an orange Antichrist.

They pretend that we are overrun by immigrants and criminals. Need guns for protection from "the other."

Their target market is people who may/may not have a collective racist subconscious.

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Riders--

Donald Hodgins <silencenotbad@gmail.com>

8:49 AM (2 minutes ago)

What is happening in the House is nonsensical by nature. President Biden sees the need to give aid to both Israel and Ukraine. The wars these struggling Democracies are currently fighting hold material and logistical problems beyond their capacity to handle. Our immediate assistance is required to ensure the future of these countries. Bills are currently on the floor of the House addressing their needs. However, some "dweeb" attached a rider to these cries for help that has nothing to do with the needs of our friends overseas. The rider House Republicans have attached to the funding bill for Israel and Ukraine is demanding unconditional reform to our Southern border with no changes to its content. Again, stupid is as stupid does, one has absolutely nothing to do with the other. Our Southern border has been a source of turmoil for decades. No one has found a solution to this issue and believe me they have tried. Without the cooperation of the Mexican government this problem is unsolvable short of shooting anyone with wet feet. My advice to the members of the House, vote on bills based on their own merit and leave riders where they belong, in the trash can. This practice would expedite all functions emanating from that governing body, after all, time is money.

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The difference between Ukraine and Israel is that Ukraine is struggling to become a democracy, while Israel is struggling to become an autocratic theocracy.

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Not Israeli but Yahoo and the Orthodox which constitute the zionists. Most Israelis are secular and small d democrats.

Israel is beset with the same problem as the U.S., noisy religious extremists who unlike progressives and secularists are not divided

by ideology and a wish list.

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Tim--No matter what they are we still support them.

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That is true. They cannot do anything; they are blocked automatically by their ideology. Against Free Education, national healthcare. The latter would not be as good as currently but as in Europe you can get a top insurance.

Tax reduction did nothing for us, they tried Ryans Healthcare that had been rejected before and have no idea what the replacement of Obamacare would look like - they have nothing. I am beginning to think they do not have a collective creative brain in their body.

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Someone once said...'There are two important things about politics....money, and....Oh, I forgot the other one.'

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If ANY!, of Mankind, Turn Their. BACK !, ON Their

LORD/GOD !, AND SAVIOR !

JESUS !, WILL. TURN .....

HIS. BACK ! , To That ONE !,

of. MANKIND ! ....Before ' THE

FATHER !' . And. "Say, GO

AWAY !!, .... I. NEVER KNEW YOU !!

(Do You !, STILL, .Want. to

REMAIN !, ....On lucifèrs. "road", ....TO. PERDITION ??!!

I. PRAY, ....to. GOD!, ....

For Your. LOST !, SOUL. !

REPENT ! , .... BAPTIZED !, ...In. The NAME !,

of JESUS !, .......And. You

Shall. RECEIVE !, The

GIFT !, ....OF. THE HOLY GHOST !!) [ACTS. - 2, Verse

38 ]

NOTE. !! ; READ. ALL !, Of

ACTS, TWO !, To HEAR !, ALL !, .....Of. Apostle. PETERS

TESTIMONY !, ..of. LOVE !

AND. TRUTH !

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And the democrats do not?

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It wasn't the Dems who tried to overthrow the US government on Jan.6

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I find it odd and hypocritical that the party who voted against the infrastructure act now wants to take credit for the good things going on in their states. red states are essentially subsidized by blue states. to be fair, it was a democrat, bill clinton, who championed NAFTA. which decimated so many of our industries by shipping factories and jobs overseas, thus creating the rust belt. it was his admin that deregulated the banks, allowing them to gamble with depositors' money, and it was Obama who bailed them out, insteading of letting the "free market" take its due.

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founding

Paul, I fully agree.

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And it was Ronald Reagan, a Republican, who busted the unions and lowered the tax rates and who began the hateful cycle we continue to be in.

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Both sidesism is so refreshing and helpful.

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That is so sad, Marc. These ultra-wealthy care so little about our Democracy, the American Dream. All they care about is money, money, money, greed, greed, greed, and power, power, power!!

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founding

Just listen to Elon Musk shouting "F**k You” publicly on T.V. to anyone that does not agree with him and takes away income he believes is rightfully his. He is a perfect example of what is on the minds of other ultra-wealthy and he basically verbalizes what they are thinking but do not say out loud.

There are a lot of potential Tesla owners who are likely rethinking their plans to buy one of his cars. They are talking with their wallets also.

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This would be a case of instead of money talks, it's money walks!! If we all could hit these ultra-wealthy in their pocketbooks, maybe we could begin to see some normalcy. These ultra-wealthy depend on us to work and provide them with their wealth. If we cut that off, they would begin to see they are not as entitled as they think they are!

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I like the idea of the wealth tax. There is a over class in this country. The top 6.5% make a million dollars or more. The top 0.0002% make a billion or more. Because income tax law is so jacked in this country in favor of them their monetary gains from wealth increase dont get taxed. The only way to tax the income of their wealth is to change the laws so wealth is taxable. In this way we can claw back the $1

5 Trillion in taxes that is not being paid soley because their great money and accounting gymnastics prevent them from being charged (not counting if we taxed them more than the highest rate).

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Just imagine what that 5 Trillion could do for America!! So many programs funded, so much help to those that actually need it!! That would be fantastic!!

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And what happens when it is all spent? We need it to create a common good wealth creating machine for these people.

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I divided 5 Trillion by the US population of 340 Million and get $ 15,000.- for each person in the US. What would be the effect of distributing this money?

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@Bill Reitz Rich people can borrow money from themselves on paper to avoid paying income taxes. They can offshore their money, move to tax havens. The only way to get them is a consumption tax.

I'm more concerned with crime, national security. OPEC/Saudi/Trump/Russia fixes energy prices and has taken trillions from our economy. Saudis own our largest oil refineries, control "American" companies like Exxon. Sue the bastards.

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How does a consumption tax differ from a sales tax?

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Point well taken but a consumption taxes is born by the middle and lower class, who are trying to survive. It does not bother the ruling class at all.

Virginia, at first, was hesitant to join the revolution, as they and the Carolinas and Georgia, made out like bandits exporting tobacco and cotton to England and Europe.

The reason they joined is that the Tidewater Aristocracy saw the revolt as their means of becoming a new class of nobility in the new Country. To convince the serfs and freemen who had no desire to replace Britiish overlords with home grown overlords,, to overcome resistance they created Committees of Public Safety (worked so well that the French and Bolsheviks, not only copied them, but copied the name, they also purchased the pamphlets of Thomas Paine and others, from the press of Ben Franklin and Rittenhouse in Philadelphia, and distributed them to the populace.

It worked too well, fired with the Rights of Man, the Tidewater Aristocracy found that they couldn't become the nobility, but it turned out better. Nobles and Royalty are up front, in your face and visible. These planters, lawyers and politicians became an invisible nobility, hiding behind quarter mile tree lined driveways, their modern heirs own islands, mountain resorts and live in gated communities, where their wealth and social status is not on constant public display.

Louis XVI and his court would have kept their heads, if they weren't up front and in your face with their wealth and social status;.

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A much better way is to redefine income as any money you draw down to for the purposes of spending.

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Tax laws are like Swiss cheese but a consumption tax for the ultra wealthy would be a good start if its rules could be written to bar exemption loopholes.

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I generally agree with you, but wealth taxes in other countries have failed to generate the expected revenue, because the wealthy are adroit in moving to other countries, hiding wealth, underestimating their wealth, and other schemes to dodge the tax. You need to hire lots of smart IRS agents and be prepared to conduct long, extensive, expensive, and difficult audits and investigations to have a chance to actually get the trillions of dollars you want for the American people.

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Trump wants to severely cut the irs budget - that should tell everyone all about the Republican Party

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Expand the iIRS and you expand the power and ability to go after the middle class. Auditing the Plutocrats is time consuming and a waste of time,and IRS agents get rated on the number of dollars the recoup. The Plutocrats can afford reams of lawyers and tax accountants, whereas we can't.

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There’s also a bill just introduced in both houses that requires hedge funds to divest single family homes from their portfolios and prevents them from competing in that market.

We know it will go nowhere because the developers, who own most county boards of supervisors, love them.

But it might be a start.

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It isn't developers and hedge funds that are the problem alone, but banks. Banks make out like bandits via foreclosures, They hold the properties until the market permits them selling off at a profit, and the kicker is that the banks repossessed the properties without spending a dime.

In the fractional reserve system, bank profits are the interest on mortgages, credit cards, and loan. The only money that goes out the door is that portion which they hold in reserve, and the Open Market Window of the Fed, sets the reserve in the form of the percentage of assets the bank must have on hand. With a 10% reserve, the bank can loan out 100$ for every ten dollars that have in their vault, or the vault of the regional Federal Reserve Bank..

Thus they create money, as book keeping entry, which disappears as the loan is paid down, and fully disappears when the loan is paid off What is left and isn't wiped off the books (double entry bookkeeping) is the interest on the loan, that is the profit of the lending institution and also the cause of inflation.

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I believe 7% of houses ate owned by private equity or hedge funds. That is an extrordinary high amount. It is a disease that drives up the price of houses artificially for everyone. Only people who live in a house should own a house. This affects everything from the type of new houses that get built (non starter houses) to how many get built. What is the point of having a house you can't afford to buy? There is no fairness when a family with $150k in yearly income bargains for a house against a billion dollar hedge fund.

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Yes- stop spending and watch these big ultra wealthy squirm

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They already are but not enough.

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That would be extremely dangerous. If they hold all the power calling for a work stoppage or any kind of protest could be fatal. All they have to do is call the protesters "terrorists" and they will disappear!

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But Margaret, how would that make us terrorists? Just because we stop working for them? Look at the UAW. They weren't terrorists because they walked out demanding better pay and benefits. Americans deserve to be paid what they are worth and if the ultra-wealthy do not believe we are worth much, then walking out, stopping production which would put a dent in their pocketbooks is not terrorism, it is a demand for better pay and benefits. Also, they should NOT hold all the power.

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elon musk is a south african apartheid baby--he is a white supremist and antisemitic, is transphobic, and has a eugenics philosophy--he has all those kids for a reason...he is not a genius inventor, re: thomas edison--he has ideas he pays other people-the ones with the actual mathematical and scientific smarts-to produce...he simply got lucky with paypal (which, legend says, he also wanted to name "X"...what the actual F is his obsession with this letter?)

i really just can't stand him, or his incel simps

am i bitter he ruined twitter?

yes...

yes, i am

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Make it a hooked X and what do you have?

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Whoa, a swastika, good catch DZK, there are indeed some smart minds on this RR substack.

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?

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What does a swastika look like?

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A swastika, Abraham, put four hooks on the x and you have a swastika

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Either that, or it's the way he signs his name on legal documents! 🤣

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Peer Thiel, the gay billionaire who is a chief financier of MAGA and Trump, is a Quisling as well as the founder of Paypal, which is how he started his climb to be a billionaire

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Musk said he cannot be threatened financially. Think about it. He controls companies worth hundreds of billions. A piddly company worth tens of billions is chump change to him. His other companies are so entrenched in our military and security apparatus that we are dependent on Musk for the very communication services that allow Ukraine to function AT ALL. Of course he says FU! Our anti- monopoly and anti-trust protections are dead! If the Left fails to stem the tide of fascism….if young people think they can weather another possible Trump administration and the country can come back to democracy after that, they are nuts…

If Democrats think THEY can play both sides against the middle and survive, THEY are nuts.

We need a little spine AND a lot of integrity, or we are going to push the country into the hands of the cynical Right.

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ai am very proud of all the companies that pulled their advertising. Musk accused 5em of blackmail. He doesn’t seem to know the meaning of the word or that maybe they just don’t like him, The wonder boy is not used to that, but once the truth is known about a persons moral character then most people make different decisions about supporting that person.

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founding

Not to mention advertisers.

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I can’t stand to look at the ugly things. I expect their value on the used market may even fall.

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"The unacceptable face of capitalism"

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The metamorphic change in the GOP is difficult to explain. You would think political integrity would be the life's blood found in all good politicians. These men and women have helped shape a country that has survived insurmountable odds and countless attempts aimed toward our destruction. Men of unquestionable loyalty devoted their lives to ensure our safety and our future. Like apples packed tightly in a barrel, change was about to gradually alter the condition of our treasured fruit. The "rotting" of the political minds found among the members of the GOP began to spread through its body. An overall difference in character began to become apparent especially in the new, younger members who were just elected to their positions in the House. Foreign by nature these changelings began to increase in numbers, until today where they have made their presence known to all through their lack of political "Rizz." These crass new members have taken a controlling position in the party and are currently paralyzing the productivity of its remaining constituents. Over time the spreading decomposition in that hallowed barrel will affect all the facets of our struggling nation. How do we put a stop to the decline of what was once the envy of the civilized world. I think a field trip is in order. Gather up a group of these lost members and take them for a long walk off of a short pier. A sudden shock to their system just might straighten out their thinking.

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I believe the decline started when the companies were allowed to send the jobs overseas and doing business with communist countries. The decline also increased with Reagan and George W. Bush, citizens united, and the electrol college.

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I dont think the fact that they do business with “communist” countries matters a fig. Doing business with countries controlled by dictators is what matters. Communist countries aren't really communist, anyway. Just look at how they are “ governed.” Seriously. Autocrats and Strong men and oligarchs are the same the world over. SERIOUSLY!!!

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Communism is just a slur hurled around by Plutocrats who have a lot to lose. China is supposedly communist, communism and capitalism easily co exist in China. It is the Plutocrats that fear communism, however the Soviet Union really helped define it.

Here is where I get contentious. The structure of the USSR was a combine of seven trusts, organized along lines of resources from Human (KGB) to agriculture, forestry and mining. The charter was kept in Sweden, hence it's neutrality, respected by the Soviets.

Now that the USSR has been privatized and it's trusts sold off to KGB connected oligarchs, Sweden's neutrality is no longer respected by Putin.

And that is why Sweden wants to join NATO

My sources are the annual reports of the Bank for International Settlements, a 1929 edition of Fortnightly magazine, and . 0. Kuschpeta, The Banking and Credit System of the USSR, Tilburg Studies in Economics, 1978, MaRTINUS Nijhoff Social Sciences Div, Leidenl Boston, 284 pages

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NATO stinks with the US paying most the bills and troops.

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Mmm, communism certainly does not actually exist anywhere other than perhaps in the Kibbutz movement in Israel. As for your data, I’ll have to take your word for it.

😎

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founding

It’s funny you should say that because remember Ross Perot? At the time when he was decrying outsourcing we all thought he was a crackpot. Turns out he was right.

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That big sucking sound is WTO and NAFTA. We never get trade but they take all ours to get countries to join them. Most our customer service jobs off shored to countries who pay low wages. Bring them up to us bull. We are all going down.

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founding

Agreed.

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I literally remember noone saying he was a crackpot and he got almost a third of the vote.

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Kevin, I was 53 in 1992 and I do remember him being labeled a crackpot, the Plutocrats and their handmaids, the media, were all over him.

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Teofilo--Those problems still exist.

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It is a battle in the moral arena. There is an Epi-philosophy of liberal democracy which encompasses all attempts at self-governance. It requires loyalty to humanity and a self-correcting conscience. Liz Cheney represents this, even if some of us find her beliefs on political goals antithetical to our personal beliefs. She put her money where her mouth is. I respect Bill Buckley, as he didn’t appear to be a New Republican. The National Review headlined that the Iraq invasion was wrong, the last right-wing statement of honesty I’ve seen. Trump is very much a shaitan who lies and temps the weak. People sell him their souls at a bargain price.

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Steve-Liz is an American through and through, a Republican, but nobody's perfect. Trump is a bathtub filled with sewage that has no pipe to flow in. Did you know Trump's favorite form of footwear are the old reliable moccasins. These shoes have no souls.

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AMEN !, Donald ! ,...NO SOUL ! (S) ...Is. To. TRUE !!

(lucifer !, OWNS ! ..DT. !)

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mark--Yes its true, mocasinins don't have a sole.

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Nice metaphor Donald, buy the question was why the rhetoric of Trump seems to cast a spell and how to change that.

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Newt Gingrich sold the Repubs on his zero sum philosophy…”We dont win unless we make them lose.” You have all noticed havent you that compromise is a swear word to them ... equal to capitulate? With their rank and file securely in line with that attitude…and encouraged never to think for themselves ( never challenge the cult); they are well,placed to,use an entrenched minority to game the rules. If they don’t get their way, they gum up the works until the majority cries uncle. It is one hell,of a strategy, because they know and they have said out loud that they cannot win elections with the numbers they command. They need tricks, and they’ve got a slew of them.

( You know, in game theory, we learned that the first guys willing to bend or break the rules … basically to cheat … gain a hell of an advantage, and it takes a hell of an effort for the guy playing fair to recoup….Newt learned that lesson well. So did McConnell. And McCarthy. And Dick Cheney. And Bill Barr. Roger Stone. And so many more of them.

Trump may be carrying it too far, so they have lost all subtlety, but they already won a terrific advantage for a party that keeps losing national elections by millions of votes.

Is anybody else as gobsmacked by that as I am?)

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Hello Pat,

Can you translate the word Gobsmacked for me?

Gingrich was a schematic thinker; like Hannah Arendt said, "when we approach the world in terms of

ends and means, you ultimately reach a point where a goal should be reached by every means available,"

I fear the ugly turn American politics has taken, but think this simplistic schematic thinking is central.

Tom

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Yep.

Gobsmacked pretty much equals flabbergasted.

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Capitulate? Naw. Just joking per Graham -- just let our Federalist Court do its thing.

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And the democratic penchant, Pat, for compromise has led us to this point in time, because democrats vacillate, compromise, equivocate and bury their hand in the sand rather than stand up and fight, and look where that has led.

It is the Weimar Republic redux. We have not learned from the past, and thus we will repeat it, this time in a more deadly form.

Democrats have been stepping into an MMA ring with boxing gloves,playing by the Marquis of Queensboro rules, and have gotten badly pummeled. 2020 was not an exception. 81 million people voted out of fear to turn Trump out of office, not to vote FOR Biden, a head of cabbage could have beat Trump, looks different this time around because the feckless and weak DNC and administration have already untied their poor gloves and stepped out of the ring, because"When they go low, we go high" What a winning slogan, and mentality. A rationalization and excuse for losing.

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i’m not quite as charred by the culture as you are William. I do think Democrats are way too feckless. They do not have nearly the determination or strategic savvy — or at least they don’t use it — needed to prevail against Republicans for whom NO low is too low.

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founding

Bunch of toddlers. They should be embarrassed.

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Tom--Employ the services of a good witch.

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Trump is an avatar of the soul, fears and needs of his cult. He doesn't cast a spell, he verbalizes their hatreds, fears and needs and thus gives them legitimacy, they have felt victimized by not being able to exercise and speak their bigotry, towards those who they blame for their loss of power and social dominance, women, LGBT and people of color.

The tragedy is seeing so many of those that they do and would victimized take up their banner.

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... how he casts a spell, and how to change that.

That's what I'm trying to understand.

Ruth Ben-Ghiat's "Strongmen" explains a lot.

https://neofascism.substack.com/p/strongmen-mussolini-to-the-present

Also Richard Hofstadter's "The Paranoid Style in American Politics"

https://neofascism.substack.com/p/the-paranoid-style-in-american-politics

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Tom--Did you mean "By the way" the question was why---It's hard to understand the reasoning as to your response, other than your ability to act as a literary critic.

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Donald, hard to tell were we derail in communicating. I try to understand why the poisonous text of Trump seems to extinguish all rationality in millions of voters. That is what I meant.

Maybe the problem is that my native language is Dutch. But a good witch might help, so where shoud I look for one?

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Tom--No harm done, with respect to your search for a good witch, stay away from Mar-A-Largo. only the wicked witch of the West lives there, and they are already hunting for that one.

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Political integrity won't get you reelected. Gerrymandering and unaccountable super PACs assure reelection of their preferred candidates. A politician's real constituents are the shadowy entities that fund their campaigns, and that's who they're really accountable to. Pleasing the actual voters is a secondary consideration at best. It's taken 40 years of patient, diligent effort to get the Republican party to this point, and it'll take that long by an equally patient diligent opposition party to unwind it. Unfortunately I don't see the Democrats as being that party.

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Waren--The Republican party is about to implode. If the Democrats can't fix the problem no one will. Gerrymandering and super PACs give us nothing but more corruption. There are honest people out there, but I wouldn't look for them on the Republican side of the aisle. There you will find only fools and children.

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The question is will 80 plus million people save us from voter negation, voter suppression, gerrymandering, and intimidation at the ballot box?

I hope so or we are truly doomed.

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William--Trump's plan is to scare us out of voting by making us believe the effort would be futile because Donnie Boy was meant to be King.

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Waren--This fact shouldn't be difficult to see even for a rocket scientist.

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Yeah, well, it's been "about to implode" for several years now - and yet, it hasn't. Among their numerous anti-achievements is putting Democrats and the media into a "learned helplessness" situation. Sure, we should be throwing them an anvil, but I fear we're too civilized to do that.

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The lust for money is like a disease. I’ve been watching this go on for years. The more people worship money and wealth above all else, the hollower they become .

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I agree, Susan. It's like that need for more money, more wealth, more power sucks the soul right out of a person! No one needs billions of dollars to be happy. What most Americans would like is to have a job that pays their bills, supplies their groceries, takes care of their children with a little left over to either save or play with! I don't think that is asking too much. I think that is the American Dream. It is why so many people want to come here.

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Peggy Freeman ; They should be careful what they wish for, because they will not like what they get! "What goes around comes around". If you are riding a Tiger, it is dangerous to get off.

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Laurie, the mental picture I got of these republicans riding a Tiger was hysterical!! I do know what you mean though. Consequences would have to be paid for "getting off" and many do not want to have to do that!

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But the support comes not from Tesla owners, but from ordinary middle class people...

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But the ultra wealthy looove to come here, where they are untaxed and can buy influence. And social media companies. And get government subsidies for their stolen wealth.

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Jen, I meant the immigrants that want to come here and they have nothing. The ones the republicans want to keep out. I'm not fooled into believing those ultra wealthy come here and have no problems getting in, but for many, they come to have a life they have dreamed of with freedom, a job, and to raise their children without fear. The problem is, that dream is fading and it won't be long before no one will want to come because it wouldn't be any better here than where they were!

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deletedDec 7, 2023·edited Dec 7, 2023
Comment deleted
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Donald, I like your thinking!! These people do need to straighten out their thinking!! Perhaps a field trip to a country run by a fascist dictator where they could actually see what they are trying to do to America would also shock them! They would think that they would be treated differently because after all, they supported this tyrannical orange blob, but they would very soon discover that their support means nothing to him.

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Peggy, I honestly do not think that they would care. They are in the position of Putin's oligarchs. Yes, those oligarchs sometimes disappear, but by and large they get what they want – money and power. As the oppressors, they do not care about the plight of the oppressed. And the oppressed are tricked into voting for the oppressors through the fiction that the oppressors are their voice.

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Bill, there has got to be a way to break that cycle!! Telling them the truth has not worked out because they simply do not believe it. We simply cannot keep allowing these ultra-wealthy to continue to obtain power. For me, the money is irrelevant although I know they use that money to obtain the power they are so thirsty for. I simply wish the oppressed could be shown how what they are doing is not working for them!

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It won’t matter. The super wealthy in Germany supported Hitler for their own monetary gain and never paid any price. Their progeny still rule while the Jews, the disabled and down-trodden groups paid in loss of human dignity and pain perpetrated by animalistic means and ultimately with most losing their lives.

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Peggy--The ink is still wet on that one.

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This is not so clear to me. People with deliberate policies of concentrating welath and power in the hands of the already wildly wealthy and powerful were certainly happy to exploit so-called populism (it isn't) as a way to increased political power. But it often looks to me like they've lost control of that force. And then what? Well, it's a complete mess.

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founding

Behind the scenes the ultra wealthy individuals and corporations are the puppeteers; the Republicans (and some Democrats) are their puppets. Historically, capitalists benefit greatly from Authoritarianism. In return for their support, all restraint on businesses are removed. “Drill baby, drill."

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To them, the people are a ghost army to be used and discarded like the American Indian who were but invisible wraiths on a rich land. The population of America is but a few hundred thousand, to these powerfully rich; the bodies that move about the streets are just phantasms. They walk about as though in a vast haunted land, avoiding the multitude. They don’t see you, don’t care.

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I have to “like” your comment because I have seen these so-called “freedom” lovers in a similar way. What they don’t understand is that they are the next to be exploited and of course, they’ll choose the wrong people to blame for their condition. My analogy goes something like this. Europeans decimated NA tribes beginning with the myth of “Manhattan was bought with approximately thirty-four dollars worth of beads”. As I was growing up, this statement was used comically to suggest that NA tribes were pretty stupid. Now, China looms large on our horizon. Beads are everywhere. People are making and selling original creations. There is debate on whether they might be “copying” NA styles. The sad and ugly truth might come to be that “we freedom lovers” might accidentally find that we have sold ourselves to China, with the same resulting effects on our country now as we inflicted on first peoples. I hope I have not offended anyone, but sometimes it is of great benefit to one’s perspective to “put the shoe on the other foot”.

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The Freedom Caucus MAGA squad in the House is filled by people who asked Trump for a pardon Jan 6 but were not granted one. Paul Gosar, Marjory Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, Louie Gohmert, Mo Brooks, Andy Biggs, Scott Perry, and Lauren Boebert --vulnerable under the 14th Amendment Section 3 as insurrectionists -- if not for prosecution by DOJ.

Add others like MAGA Mike.

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Unfortunately the justice system in this country is so slow to react that their power will be so ingrained they will be untouchable.

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Still hope for the Colorado Supreme Court re Trump.

https://www.citizensforethics.org/

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founding

This seems like an admission of guilt to me. Can’t prosecutors make something of it?

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Marc- Spot on! And thank you. This is exactly as it is!

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It’s all about the money.

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It is not only the Heritage Foundation that is a threat, but also the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, American Enterprise Institute, Americans for Prosperity, the Americans for Economic Freedom, and many other Right-Wing think tanks that increased their power during the Trump presidency and adopted by the Republican party. Many of these operate at the local level too, such as school boards, city counsellors, and state governors. Their greed and power negatively affect all of us and we need to offer progressive solution-oriented approaches to counteract their fascist short-sightedness. Time to act!

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It matters not that constitutionalist Republicans are leaving. They all voted with Trump and the Freedom caucus. The few that dissented, made no difference to the outcome.

The parent who tells their child I am hitting you for your own good. The child says, I don't care why you are beating me, please stop.

There is a chance that they will be replaced by Democrats,if not no difference will be noted in Congress with Mike Johnson as speaker.

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Ditto for the Nazi's rise to power. BMW, Krupp remnants, and Mercedes all supplied war materials to the German war machine.

Seen the latest Mercedes and BMW commercials lately ?

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. . . and now they have the hearts and minds of roughly 10% of 'Murica! (Only 25% are registered Trumplicans . . . I forgot that more like 60% now support their dementia-addled godking. Maybe closer to 30%?)

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It began with Reagan, who taught distrust of Government in the name of "Freedom," a word many take to be uniquely American because of 1776. Unfortunately, it became a word used to oppress.

What is Freedom? It is the Freedom of the wealthy to go untaxed, it is the Freedom to buy machine guns, it is the Freedom to go bankrupt because of a lack of access to healthcare, it is the Freedom to drive 80 miles to work because there are no jobs in your hometown, it is the Freedom to be denied abortion, it is the Freedom to get shot at the supermarket.

The only way out of this morass is for a truly liberating DNC platform to go against the GOP: Taxation of the wealthy and of the corporations, universal affordable healthcare, sensible gun control, and abortion rights for all women. It's basically Bernie's message.

It's what 70% of Americans want.

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founding

Bernie is quite a radical, that is why I like him. He is also a straight shooter and lives a simple life. He does not pander to monied interests even in the Democratic party. The DNC made an obviously fatal mistakes in putting forward Hillary Clinton as a candidate and blindly assuming she would win.

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How easy to forget she DID win the popular vote!

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Agreed. Unfortunately, those attractive character traits in Sanders are what makes him a lousy politician. Why has he been so adamant to be an independent? Perhaps it has something to do with Vermont politics. But there really is no excuse for calling himself a socialist. He is, in fact, a Smithian. Socialism bad word in 'Merica. Don't use it.

As regards HNC, well, she really is slime. She was taking money from Goldman Sachs the week she announced her candidacy. Do you think that went unnoticed? And those 30,000 emails on a private server. As regards that dreadful husband of hers, I have slowly come to believe that he will go down in history as one of the worst US Presidents. As Christopher Hitchens said of them both "They never met a wealthy foreigner they didn't like," or something like that.

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Dec 7, 2023·edited Dec 7, 2023

Michael Hutchinson ; No matter what Sanders calls it; the wealthy hate what he stands for.

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It's ironic. Bernie is a Smithian capitalist who calls himself a socialist. The ultrawealthy are socialists who call themselves capitalists. Why are they socialists, you ask? Well, what else is not paying taxes but government welfare for the wealthy? They have become the new Welfare Queens.

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Michael Hutchinson ; Agree, and I have said that myself many times! The real Welfare Queens for sure,

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As a proud socialist I really get why he does it - the Democratic Party is a pretty broad church and its right wing is, well, right wing. It's also incredibly corrupt, as all politics tends to be in the US at the moment. I'm not sure why 'socialism' has become such a dirty word, maybe a legacy of McCarthyism, its association with 'communism' (which was never communism in the Marxist sense)? And it does seem that its definition in the US is a little distorted; it is after all a pejorative term for most.

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Socialism means different things to different people. I grew up in the bad old socialist UK, where the government basically took over successful industries (like the car industry) and drove them into the ground. Dreadful.

If by "proud socialist" you mean that the wealthy have to start paying their fucking taxes, then I completely agree with you. But if you mean that the government has to take over the means of production, then I don't.

In my view, Adam Smith was correct. You need strong government to break up monopolies and protect the market. Reagan preached the opposite, and as a result what we have is socialism for the wealthy.

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Yet many Socialists have been winning races locally.

Loo at Sawant in Seattle. She led a coalition of Democrats to make Seattle the first city to adopt a $15 minimum wage. Now that she has resigned, the city council is going forward to make it $20

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Allow me to share a bit of my opinion. As a European what Bernie stands for is considered the absolute most fundamental things that a country should have, as steted previously, affordable health care, abortion rights and many more. Thins things shouldn't be argued over, they should be implemented, everyone would benefit. Well everyone except the elite that profits from the misery of others.

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Marc ; Wall street hates him!

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founding

I consider that an endorsement of Bernie.

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It did indeed begin with Reagan, whose election strategy included bringing n disaffected Southern Democrats who had little to do with the Democratic mainstream of that day, or the Republican one, but whose world outlook has everything to do with the GOP of today.

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Reagan didn't invent that syndrome; he merely picked up the ball which Nixon fumbled.

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As Jon would say, "indeed"

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Indeed, well said, their idea of so-called, Freedom & Liberty

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