Showing posts with label MAGA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MAGA. Show all posts

January 20, 2023

Will the public ever recognize instantly who the initials JRB stands for?

 Will the public ever recognize instantly who the initials JRB stands for?
By Hal Brown

Look up FDR and you will find...

 247,000,000 results on Google. The initials LBJ and JFK are readily associated with the two presidents.

Look up JRB on Google and while there are 8,820,000 results none, at least on the first page, refer to Joseph Robinette Biden.

Click above to enlarge

The text I used for the illustration on this blog is from this Salon article by historian Robert S. McElvaine's article ... 

Of course some presidents no matter where history ever ranks them end up being referred to by three initials even when their middle names were fairly well known. Harry S. Truman never became HST, for example.

The reference to President Biden as JRB, who is usually referred to as Joe Biden rather than Joseph Biden, jumped out at me. I think using the three initials was an attempt by the author to equate him with FDR and LBJ.

I agree with the author's assessment. 

I think that Biden's (JRB's if you prefer) accomplishments have been drowned out in the GOP noice machine. He's been like Pablo Casals or Jascha Heifetz playing a solo during  a shit-throwing battle between screeching monkeys.

After describing the accomplishments that he uses to justify why FDR and LBJ were great presidents the author explains why he thinks Biden's two-year record stacks up well against "the very high bars set" by FDR and LBJ. Here are bullet points:

  • The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan to stimulate the economy.
  • The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to provide for repairs and extensions to the nation's roads, bridges, railroads, water systems and broadband. 
  • The PACT Act, expanding health care and benefits for those who were exposed to toxic substances during their military service. 
  • The CHIPS and Science Act, funding advanced scientific research and investing $53 billion to manufacture silicone microchips in the U.S. 
  • The Inflation Reduction Act, which does more than any previous legislation to mitigate climate change, allows Medicare to negotiate with Big Pharma to cut prescription drug prices, begins to crack down on tax evasion by corporations and the very rich and much more. 
  • The Respect for Marriage Act, protecting both same-sex and interracial marriage.
  • A reform of the Electoral Count Act, making it more difficult to overturn an election, and reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
  • Biden has also excelled on the international stage far more than Roosevelt did in his first two years — and more than Johnson ever did. Biden rallied the forces of democracy to oppose Vladimir Putin's authoritarian aggression and aid Ukraine and revived NATO, which Trump had on the verge of collapse.
The future not only for JRB, for American democracy itself, depends on how well Democrats are able to, one, get enough voters to know about these accomplishments, and two and perhaps just as or more importantly, to care about how these benefit them personally.

Those who prefer to have a fascist authoritarian America where minority groups are marginalized (or worse) are a lost cause.  In their MAGA slogan "again" is a yearning for a pre-Civil War Confederacy. 

Those with even a rudimentary grasp of history wouldn't be bothered by the similarities between the rise of Hitler in the 1930's and what is happening in the United States today. To the contrary, they would applaud it.

--------- Addendum---------

Other articles by Robert S. McElvaine:

WHATTAYA THINK OF “SLEEPY JOE” & “DYSFUNCTIONAL” DEMOCRATS NOW, AMERICA? Aug. 2022

 
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Coincidentally, as I was finishing up this story the Cincinnati mayor was being interviewed on "Morning Joe" about how Biden's infrastructure bill was helping his city from improving transportation to increasing funding to the police in order to enable them to hire community resource officers to deal with mental health calls.

Postscripts:

Jennifer Rubin in a Washington Post Q&A answers this question: Will Republican lunacy ever cost them any significant number of voters?

There are multiple groups of voters who continue to support GOP candidates. The first is the hardcore cultists, who are beyond reason and persuasion. The second includes business interests, which go along for the tax cuts and anti-regulation policies. Those people are more reachable if they fear House Republcians are inviting economic chaos.

The final group includes habitual Republicans with an inordinate fear of Democrats. They can also be swayed. These are the voters who at some level understand that Biden is not a raving socialist; that our economy is recovering; that our international standing has improved; and that the side that is radical is the GOP. Biden's appeal to bipartisanship, good faith efforts to address the border and popular economic measures (e.g., infrastructure investments) are effective in persuading this group. Overall, the best thing going for Democrats is the unhinged, irresponsible conduct of the MAGA House.

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I posted links to this on Facebook, Tribel, Mastodon, and Twitter. On the latter I included the most popular hashtags with Biden including the one with the highest number, BidenWorstPresdientInHistory. I'll add replies to this tweet here if I get any.

January 16, 2023

For those panicking over America becoming a fascist country let's not forget Russia is committing war crimes every day

 For those panicking over America becoming a fascist country, let's not forget Russia is committing war crimes every day

By Hal Brown

This is not the first time the then Soviet Union committed genocide in Ukraine. Stalin did it through starvation rather than missiles.

Click above to read article.

It is easy to think America first, not in the Trumpian way, but because we live here and what is reported in the news about the MAGA cult and its aspirations effects democracy loving Americans each and every day as we worry, even obsess, about the country becoming an authoritarian state. 

If you're a news junkie like I am you also follow what Russia is doing to Ukraine. Today those paying attention to international news saw articles like this on HUFFPOST:

Excerpt: About 1,700 people lived in the multi-story building, and search and rescue crews have worked nonstop since Saturday’s strike to locate victims and survivors in the wreckage. The regional administration said 39 people have been rescued so far and 30 more remained missing. Authorities said at least 75 were wounded.

Click above to read article in The Guardian

Russia is committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, on a weekly, if not nearly a daily basis. Killing civilians in order to demoralize the country is their primary strategy since they are unable to win on the ground. 


In addition to using the killing of Ukrainian civilians as a strategy Putin is able to use poorly trained convicts and reluctant conscripts to amass waves of 100,000 troops at a time to be basically cannon fodder. 

The NAZI buzzbomb strikes and bombing raids against London targeted civilians as well and supplemented their military engagements against the Allied forces. However from my understanding their main strategy was to win army vs. army, air force vs. air force, navy vs. navy.


Back to current day Russia:

We saw this in June:

It is a travesty that they even are members of the United Nations' let alone a permanent member of the Security Council where they have veto power.


Anyone who values democracy should be taking a stand against Russia. Unfortunately millions of Americans take Tucker Carlson's words like this as a gospel:


Putin is Stalin without a mustache. I wonder whose side the likes of Tucker Carlson would have been on prior to and during World War II. I expect he would have been a leader in the German-American Bund (read article):
German American Bund rally New York, Madison Square Garden, February 1939. Image courtesy of the Department of Defense.

Men saluting Nazi and American flags at Camp Siegfried, New York on October 1937. Image by University of Southern California.

Had the Allies not needed the Soviet Union to fight the NAZI army on the Eastern Front the alliance between this despot and the Allies would never have happened and we wouldn't have had the Yalta Conference and this amazing historic photo.

(From left) Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin at the Yalta Conference, 1945. Click above to enlarge photo.

To conclude:

“Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.”

This famous quote is attributed to the American philosopher George Santayana and it can be accurately quoted as “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” as stated in his work, The Life of Reason: Reason in Common Sense. His work speaks mostly about the role of rationality in moral philosophy and general ethics.

The problem is with those protofascists who do remember history and rather than wanting to repeat it are trying their damnedest to change the ending so their side wins. They want to avoid the errors of the NAZIS and turn the United States into the Germany Hitler envisioned for the greatest German Reich (read article).

Comment below or on Facebook or on Mastodon. You can make a reply on Twitter too.

December 31, 2022

Protecting New York City on New Year's Eve

 Protecting New York City on New Year's Eve
By Hal Brown
Update: Thankfully there was only one violent incident on New Years Eve in Times Square.  Story here.
Pictured: NYC Police flag with DOJ seal added

After reading this article in The New York Daily News ....

...it hit me that had the Capitol been protected the same way Times Square is protected on New Year's Eve I doubt the insurrectionists would have been able to invade the building. 

I have no doubt that there are many people out there, some who may have been in the mob on January 6 and some who would have liked to have been there who have thoughts about doing something violent to express their outrage that the coup failed. 

We know that two MAGA men planned to attack the Knoxville, TN FBI office but were arrested before they could follow through. One of the men  was the fourth rioter to enter the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

There is no certification of an election to try to thwart on New Year's Eve. There is only an opportunity for would-be MAGA terrorists to make a huge statement to show to the nation on a night of celebration their outrage that, as they believe, the election was stolen and that Biden is president rather than Donald Trump.

There is an enormous law enforcement challenge about how to prevent violence during the country's most watched New Year's Eve celebration. 

Not only does law enforcement have to protect Times Square but I have no doubt that they are well-aware that would-be terrorists know that with the concentration of law enforcement in a several block area there are violent extremists who might think of buildings to target that they believe would be more vulnerable and have real or symbolic meaning to these people.

I am confident that for months the task force threat assessment team has been closely monitoring the activity of would-be terrorists. I am also confident that they are doing a better job than those who should have known that there would be a violent insurrection on January 6th.

I also don't take as gospel the assurance, or reassurance, coming from NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell because any so-called credible threats, if they exist, might still be under investigation. I believe that this team, as opposed to those assessing the threat of violence preceding January 6th, have a broader and more realistic definition of what constitutes a credible threat.

There may be people who want to try to do something destructive to a building that they think represents the criminal justice system in New York which they may rightfully think is Trump's enemy. Some of them may have hinted at this in ways that could have been picked up by law enforcement and then either given up or tried to "go dark" as they actually worked on a serious plan. We can only hope they didn't elude law enforcement. 

The New York City Police Counterterrorism Bureau  will doubtlessly be working with the federal law enforcement anti-terror team which was augmented after J6. Here's Attorney General Merrick B. Garland's Domestic Terrorism Policy Address which describes the National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism

Making the New Year's Eve challenge even more difficult, as if it isn't arduous enough, is that routine policing has to go on with the added burden of protecting businesses from opportunistic burglars who may think stores elsewhere in the city won't be as protected as they'd be on a typical night.

Recent blog posts:

November 3, 2022

The Humpty Dumpty Trumpty Republican Party

 The Humpty Dumpty Trumpty Republican Party, 

with due credit to Mother Goose and Lewis Carroll

by Hal Brown

Click above enlarge image
Read all of Chapter Six here.

More of the above excerpt:

And only one for birthday presents, you know. There's glory for you!'

'I don't know what you mean by "glory",' Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. 'Of course you don't — till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'

'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument",' Alice objected.

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.'


If you don't recall the final demise for Humpty, here it is:

'I shouldn't know you again if we did meet,' Humpty Dumpty replied in a discontented tone, giving her one of his fingers to shake: 'you're so exactly like other people.'

'The face is what one goes by, generally,' Alice remarked in a thoughtful tone.

'That's just what I complain of,' said Humpty Dumpty. 'Your face is the same as everybody has — the two eyes, so —' (marking their places in the air with his thumb) 'nose in the middle, mouth under. It's always the same. Now if you had the two eyes on the same side of the nose, for instance — or the mouth at the top — that would be some help.'

'It wouldn't look nice,' Alice objected. But Humpty Dumpty only shut his eyes, and said 'Wait till you've tried.'

Alice waited a minute to see if he would speak again, but, as he never opened his eyes or took any further notice of her, she said 'Good-bye!' once more, and, getting no answer to this, she quietly walked away: but she couldn't help saying to herself, as she went, 'of all the unsatisfactory —' (she repeated this aloud, as it was a great comfort to have such a long word to say) 'of all the unsatisfactory people I ever met —' She never finished the sentence, for at this moment a heavy crash shook the forest from end to end.

Indeed the crash shook the forest from end to end. Democracy and truth loving Americans can only hope for such a story tale ending to befall (pun intended) Trump and his MAGA Republicans including all the Tweedledees and TweedleDums who like, in "Thorough the Looking Glass," never contradict each other, even when one of them, according to the rhyme, "agrees to have a battle". Rather, they complement each other's words.

Look closely, it does say MAGA on their caps.

Of course we have quite a few of these:

Don't get me going on who the Queen of Hearts would be. Hint: He screams a lot.



I'm not the first to compare the United States under Trump and his cult to being something even Lewis Carroll might have had trouble believing could happen in real life in his own England or the fledgling democracy across the ocean which had fought a civil war during his lifetime and was becoming one of the world's greatest democracies when he died in 1898. (He wrote Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in 1865) and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass in1871.)

October 12, 2022

Some thoughts about Putin's Russia and Trump's MAGAmerica

Some thoughts about Putin's Russia and Trump's MAGAmerica

by Hal Brown 

I used for a background this natural-color image which combines cloud-free data from over 500 Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) orbits with shaded relief Digital Terrain Elevation models from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) and other sources. It shows an astonishing diversity of geological features, ecological systems and human landscapes. I meant it to show how from space there are no state lines.

I'll start with the comment I put on the following David Ignatious column in today's Washington Post (subscription):

The parallels between Russia under Putin and what the of MAGA part United States has become struck me. Even if Trump never gets a second term his MAGA cult will remain with us. They envision a United States chillingly similar to those who want Russia to be an imperial fascist country. The equation to describe these segments of the two countries looks like Russian First = America First. The remedy is the kind of transformation that occurred in Germany after World War II.  I don't know how this can happen without the resounding military defeat the NAZI regime suffered. It will require not only a victory of morality over immorality for both countries, but a moral awakening among a large portion of those who adhered to the belief that ultra-nationalism was their credo.


These are what I thought were the most important observations in the column. As you read them substitute how the Ukrainians view Russia with how you view MAGAmerica and how you think these MAGA cultists want the United States to be.

Through Ukrainian eyes, this terrible conflict has become a clash of civilizations. They argue that most Russians support Putin’s brutal war in the way that most Germans supported Adolf Hitler. Unless Russia as a nation abandons the imperial dreams that Putin has evoked, the conflict cannot be resolved through negotiations.


“Russia has to go through the same process that Germany did after World War II,” presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak insisted Saturday in an interview with me and the other members of a group organized by the German Marshall Fund, of which I’m a trustee. “If Russian society doesn’t understand what they’ve done, the world will be brought into chaos.” He enthusiastically predicts that postwar Russia will dissolve into five or six smaller nations.


The word "rebirth" below jumped out at me:


For me, thinking about how this war ends juxtaposes two conflicting lessons of the 20th century. Historians generally agree that the punitive peace imposed on Germany after World War I helped bring on the vicious Nazi quest for revenge. But historians also agree that the decisive outcome of World War II, with Germany and Japan pounded into unconditional surrender, allowed the miraculous postwar rebirth of both countries.

I would rephrase the last paragraph...

Surely, this is a war worth winning. I don’t want to see Russia destroyed, and I think any argument that it is forever an alien civilization is wrong. But the ideology that Putin represents, and that many Russians embrace, must be defeated.

 ... in this way:

Surely, the war against MAGAmerica a war that Democracy loving Americans must win. MAGAmerica can't be literally destroyed the way NAZI Germany as a military machine was. MAGAmerica is currently a country within a country. I think any argument that it is forever an alien civilization is wrong.  But the ideology that Trump and his cult represents, and that many Americans embrace, must be defeated. Those who "reside" in MAGAmerica can't be exiled. They have to be rehabilitated.

This will be a long arduous process which would ideally follow the kind of Democratic Party win in November which Michael Moore predicted (and I wrote about here). 

It would be too much to hope that Rupert Murdock fired his Hitler-Mini-Me money makers, in particular Tucker Carlson. It would certainly help if these ultra-nationalists didn't have a major television platform. 

Obviously it would help the most if Donald Trump, probably reinstated on Twitter, would at least develop severe chronic laryngitis.

We can't be naive. If Trump was indicted, tried, and found guilty of any crimes, and even sentenced to prison or home confinement this would have a huge backlash as his cult would believe he was a victim of the "deep state" and would make him into a living martyr. 

No matter what the January 6th Committee reveals, no matter whether that have incontrovertible proof as to Trump's culpability in more than inciting the attack on the Capitol but being part of a felonious conspiracy it won't matter to these MAGAmericans. They will take this as his being the most patriotic of all patriots.

Liberals like us see articles like this (top) and this (bottom) and hope for eye-popping revelations.


It won't matter because for the MAGAmericans "fascist" is simply a word describing the country they want to live in and the promotion of violence is laudable as long as it is their violence.

We see articles like Utterly devastating”: Legal experts say DOJ filing “pulverizes all of Trump’s arguments” to SCOTUS on Salon but while this news pleases us, it hardly matters because show me a resident of MAGAmerica who reads Salon or even follows news about the legal peril Trump is in and I'll show you a  Where's Waldo where some prankster decided not to put Waldo in the picture.


By chance as I completed this David Ignatius was being interviewed about this column on Morning Joe. There's a good chance that if you are reading this you are a regular viewer of MSNBC and you may even read their website but we can't delude ourselves that any warnings about what Donald Trump's American fascism would look like in reality are even heard by residents of MAGAmerica. I summarized the David Montgomery Washington Post Magazine article "What Will Happen to America if Trump Wins Again? Experts Helped Us Game It Out" here. 

What is horrifying is that diehard MAGAmericans want the country to look like this.


The blog archives are on the right at the top of the page. Here are the last three editions:




I found Trump in Medieval painting of legal Hell

  I found Trump in Medieval painting of legal Hell By Hal Brown Okay, that's a lie. I added a stylized version of Trump (made by using B...