Tag Archives: democracy

Trump undermines democratic institutions while in Poland

President Donald Trump gave a speech in Poland yesterday that contained all the white nationalist talking points of his alt-right advisers Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller. Trump cast the world as being in a clash of civilizations between Muslim terrorists and the West. Transcript:

This continent no longer confronts the specter of communism. But today, we’re in the West, and we have to say, there are dire threats to our security and to our way of life.

You see what’s happening out there. They are threats. We will confront them. We will win. But they are threats.

We are confronted by another oppressive ideology, one that seeks to export terrorism and extremism all around the globe.

America and others have suffered one terror attack after another. We’re going to get it to stop.

During a historic gathering in Saudi Arabia, I called on the leaders of more than 50 Muslim nations to join together to drive out this menace which threatens all of humanity. We must stand united against these shared enemies to strip them of their territory and their funding and their networks and any form of ideological support that they may have.

While we will always welcome new citizens who share our values and love our people, our borders will always be closed to terrorism and extremism of any kind.

We are fighting hard against radical Islamic terrorism. And we will prevail.

We cannot accept those who reject our values and who use hatred to justify violence against the innocent.

Today, the West is also confronted by the powers that seek to test our will, undermine our confidence and challenge our interests.

Then oddly, Trump identifies “government “bureaucracy” as enemies:

Finally, on both sides of the Atlantic, our citizens are confronted by yet another danger, one firmly within our control. This danger is invisible to some but familiar to the Poles: the steady creep of government bureaucracy that drains the vitality and wealth of the people.

The West became great, not because of paperwork and regulations, but because people were allowed to chase their dreams and pursue their destinies.

Americans, Poles and nations of Europe value freedom and sovereignty. We must work together to confront forces, whether they come inside or out, from the south or the east, that threaten over time to undermine these values and to erase the bonds of culture, faith and tradition that make us who we are.

If left unchecked, these forces will undermine our courage, sap our spirit and weaken our will to defend ourselves and our societies.

This is Doctor Stragelove‘s General Jack Ripper: “I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.”

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Trump is mentally and emotionally unfit to serve as president – invoke the 25th Amendment

There has never been any question that our always insecure egomaniacal Twitter-troll-in-chief is a serious head case. He is mentally and emotionally unfit to serve as president.

The one and only true statement that White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders made this past week was ‘America knew what they were getting’: Sarah Huckabee Sanders blames you for Trump’s despicable tweets.

Trump’s unhinged attacks on the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe over the past week, Lawmakers blast Trump’s ‘crude, false, and unpresidential’ CNN tweet, is just the latest skirmish in a war against the independent media and the First Amendment that he has been waging since announcing that he was a candidate for office.

The first thing that any autocratic authoritarian leader does is to silence the independent media, often having reporters arrested and jailed, or even killed. The authoritarian state establishes its own media as the sole voice of what is truth.

Donald Trump has repeatedly asserted that all independent media that is critical of him is “fake news.” Trump’s media team openly states that they are creating an “alternate reality” with “alternative facts” (i.e., propaganda). Trump regularly tells his sycophant supporters that only he can be believed — even though it is well documented that virtually everything he says is a demonstrable lie, Trump’s Lies, the Definitive List — and during his campaign he encouraged his supporters to engage in violence against reporters. Donald Trump Encourages Violence At His Rallies. His Fans Are Listening.

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The New Civil War

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

I don’t remember my parents being political at all. My Step-Dad was an Army Green Beret and my Mom a naturalized American citizen via Germany. I’m sure they voted, but it wasn’t like we sat around the dinner table discussing geopolitics. Neither of them had attended college while I was still living at home and being politically active wasn’t really congruent with my Dad’s military service.

After I joined the Air Force, that was also the case for me, especially when I became a commander. After retirement though, it was a different story. Since moving to Tucson in 2008, I ran for and won a seat on my local school board and worked on three Arizona campaigns, two Senate and one House, and supported various other campaigns in one way or another. It has been my service as a school board member though, that really led to my activism. Public K–12 education and the children it serves, (as it turns out) is my new passion. Continue reading

Losing faith in democracy

Some deeply disturbing reports in the Washington Post Wonkblog today. First, Yascha Mounk and Roberto Stefan Foa write, Yes, people really are turning away from democracy:

We have been surprised by the scale and intensity of attention our work has garnered around the world since the New York Times profiled it last week. Perhaps we shouldn’t have been. Our research, after all, helped contextualize the seismic shifts we’ve seen in some of the world’s long-standing democracies over the past year — and comes to some rather startling findings.

Public attitudes toward democracy, we show, have soured over time. Citizens, especially millennials, have less faith in the democratic system. They are more likely to express hostile views of democracy. And they vote for anti-establishment parties and candidates that disregard long-standing democratic norms in ever greater numbers.

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It is to be expected that claims as disconcerting as these would evoke some skepticism. Over the past week, our critics have mooted three main objections: They claim that our findings are highly sensitive to the wording of particular survey questions or the way in which we interpret particular results; they claim that, contrary to what we are saying, millennials are not more critical of democracy than their elders, and they dispute that disenchantment with democracy has markedly increased over time.

We would be very pleased if these criticisms held true. After all, we’d rather be reassured of the stability of our democracies than win an argument. Sadly, though, we remain as alarmed as we have ever been.

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The New Fourth Estate

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

I recently read that today’s youth can’t determine whether or not a story is factual or fictional. Some of this no doubt is because there is just too much information available and there is no consequence of disseminating false information. I had an interesting conversation with a smart, older millennial recently and she didn’t know the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) once required holders of broadcast licenses to present controversial issues of public importance in a manner that was honest, equitable and balanced. The policy was called the Fairness Doctrine and its intent was to ensure viewers were exposed to a diversity of viewpoints. The FCC eliminated the Doctrine in 1987 and some believe its demise played a role in an increased level of party polarization.

Fast forward to 2016. We now have a President-Elect who tells outrageous falsehoods, (on TV no less), and then claims he didn’t say them. We have his surrogates who lied repeatedly during his campaign and continue to do so. We have Scottie Nell Hughes, Trump supporter and CNN commentator, who recently said “There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore of facts.” (Evidently, there’s no such thing as proper grammar either.) She followed that outrageous comment with “people believe they have the facts to back that [Trump’s tweets] up.” WHAAAAAAAT? No. Believing you have facts is not the same as well…ACTUALLY HAVING THE FREAKIN’ FACTS!!! Continue reading

Donald Trump is at war with democracy itself

trumpintimidationDonald Trump’s call for his supporters to be vigilante poll observers on election day — remember, RNC warns its members not to engage in poll watching or any other so-called ‘ballot security’ measures — is all about depressing Democratic voter turnout among “those people” with the prospect of voter intimidation.

Already, “Many of the schools across America that house polling booths will not be open on Election Day for the first time after parents raised fears over violence.” Election Day Safety Fears See Schools Cancel Classes or Move Polling Places.

A USA Today/Suffolk University poll conducted this month finds that Half of likely U.S. voters say they are concerned about violence on Election Day:

Half of likely voters say they are at least somewhat concerned about violence either on Election Day or after.

One in five likely voters say they are very concerned, about the same number who said they were not terribly confident that the United States would “have a peaceful transfer of power after the election.”

And then there were the Trump supporters, i.e., potential vigilante poll observers:

[T]wo out of three Trump supporters said they thought the election’s results would be manipulated rather than be accurate. Trump supporters were also more likely to say that if he lost, it would be due to corruption and therefore the outcome would not be legitimate.

Exactly what Donald Trump has been programming his supporters to believe for months.

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