Is Trump A Fascist?

If you ask progressives on the Left, even some moderates, you will probably here an answer in the affirmative. I’ve been guilty of it–no, I won’t take it back–and will probably continue to do so if only because I feel that his brand of rule isn’t democratic, nor do I think he really cares about our democracy and institutions. It’s fairly clear from his tweets that he doesn’t hold any regard for checks and balances. Pay close a

Corey Robin, who studies Conservativism and the politics of fear, notes that:

Here’s what I learned about Fear, American Style: The worst, most terrible things that the United States has done have almost never happened through an assault on American institutions; they’ve always happened through American institutions and practices. These are the elements of the American polity that have offered especially potent tools and instruments of intimidation and coercion: federalism, the separation of powers, social pluralism, and the rule of law. All the elements of the American experience that liberals and conservatives have so cherished as bulwarks of American freedom have also been sources and instruments of political fear. In all the cases I looked at, coercion, intimidation, repression, and violence were leveraged through these mechanisms, not in spite of them.

Emphasis mine.

To explain, American Imperialism, genocide, slavery, Jim Crow, the surveillance state were allowed to happen because our institutions were set up in a way that it let it happen. Americans were the ones inflicting pain on others. The Trump era has brought a completely different kind of attack. This time our institutions are attacking the American people. This attack on institutions themselves could potentially lead to an unprecendented amount of power for Trump and his inner circle.

In How to Build An Autocracy, David Frum states

Over the past generation, we have seen ominous indicators of a breakdown of the American political system: the willingness of congressional Republicans to push the United States to the brink of a default on its national obligations in 2013 in order to score a point in budget negotiations; Barack Obama’s assertion of a unilateral executive power to confer legal status upon millions of people illegally present in the United States—despite his own prior acknowledgment that no such power existed.

Sam Wang, a neuroscientist at Princeton who developed the Princeton Election Consortium, developed a checklist to determine if the new administration is authoritarian or not. Trump has managed to check of 5/10 of them and he isn’t even a month into his term.

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 11.57.59 PM

The Mysterious Disappearance of the Biggest Scandal in Washington

The Mysterious Disappearance of the Biggest Scandal in Washington:

According to the consensus assessment of US intelligence agencies, Russian intelligence, under the orders of Vladimir Putin, mounted an extensive operation to influence the 2016 campaign to benefit Donald Trump. This was a widespread covert campaign that included hacking Democratic targets and publishing swiped emails via WikiLeaks. And it achieved its objectives. But the nation’s capital remains under-outraged by this subversion. The congressional intelligence committees announcedlast month that they will investigate the Russian hacking and also examine whether there were any improper contacts between the Trump camp and Russia during the campaign. (A series of memos attributed to a former British counterintelligence officer included allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.) Yet these behind-closed-doors inquiries have generated minimum media notice, and, overall, there has not been much outcry.

Dan Rather pointed out on Facebook that this is “one of the bigger stories I have seen in a long time.” If Dan Rather says it’s a big story then it must be. So where are the stories about it?

President Bannon?

Leaks abound the Trump administration, which news that Trump isn’t in charge. Bannon seems to be pulling the strings and the latest leaks seem to confirm it:

But for the moment, Mr. Bannon remains the president’s dominant adviser, despite Mr. Trump’s anger that he was not fully briefed on details of the executive order he signed giving his chief strategist a seat on the National Security Council, a greater source of frustration to the president than the fallout from the travel ban.

Either Trump isn’t reading the Executive Orders he’s given, isn’t being fulling briefed on what the EO’s involve, or he isn’t being told what the implications of such orders are. All three alone are absolutely insane and amount to neglect but since most are in agreement that all three are happening then we have someone that is legitimately incapable of performing the job he was elected to do. His voters, although the minority, didn’t vote for Bannon. They voted for Trump.

Clinton Can’t Escape Obama’s Legacy

Clinton Can’t Escape Obama’s Legacy – Like him or not, Obama’s 8 years in office have been about as successful as possible. He’s implemented a health care system that’s insured millions and has made some much needed services cheaper, especially for women. His economic policies have lowered the unemployment rate. The next president has tough policy shoes to fill. Trump could potentially dismantle everything Obama fought for (everyone move to Canada!) and Hillary could bring another 4 years of Obama-ism.

Clinton’s straight talk on Trump and alt-right

Clinton’s straight talk on Trump and alt-right

Clinton depicted Trump as the rogue politician he is, one who qualitatively differs from all previous GOP nominees. Rogues (whether states or individuals) operate outside accepted norms or principles. This makes them seductive to some, even as they are a threat to most.

I’ve seen a lot of people try to deny that Donald Trump is a racist and a few posts floating around on Facebook about how the Republican party is the party of Lincoln so it (and Trump) can’t be racist. But let’s face it, Trump has a long history of making racist remarks and the GOP platform is, to say the very least, extreme and is full of anti-LGBTQ, misogynistic, and racist policy recommendations. The alt-right are just a bunch of white assholes and they’ve successfully taken over the GOP.

Is Voter Fraud Real?

Republicans have tried to make voter fraud a concern. For years they’ve battled “voter fraud” by trying to pass legislation that was meant to disenfranchise poor and minority voters–voter ID laws. But is voter fraud a real thing? Out of a billion votes cast, only 31 incidents of voter fraud have been found, and “this sort of misdirection is pretty common, actually. Election fraud happens. But ID laws are not aimed at the fraud you’ll actually hear about.” Voter Fraud is a myth. It almost never happens. It’s basically zero. But the GOP is still trying to beat a dead horse (just like how they keep trying to vote down the ACA).

When Donald Trump claimed, “the election’s going to be rigged,” he wasn’t entirely wrong. But the threat was not, as Trump warned, from Americans committing the crime of “voting many, many times.” What’s far more likely to undermine democracy in November is the culmination of a decade-long Republican effort to disenfranchise voters under the guise of battling voter fraud. The latest tool: Election officials in more than two dozen states have compiled lists of citizens whom they allege could be registered in more than one state – thus potentially able to cast multiple ballots – and eligible to be purged from the voter rolls. — The GOP’s Stealth War Against Voters

It’s the economy, stupid!

Trump put forth his economic plan recently. It’s definitely something. His economic advisors have turned him into Jeb Bush economically, which I guess isn’t as bad as it could be. The Upshot analyzed his plan a bit and found that the math just doesn’t add up. Trump stated that there were about 92 million Americans not working but when you break that number down you find that, while true, it isn’t quite what it seems. From The Upshot:

But the problem with that number (it actually is 94 million, if he’s referring to the Bureau of Labor Statistics number for adults not in the labor force) is that it includes a lot of people who aren’t working for good reason: They’re high school and college students; stay-at-home parents; people who are disabled; retirees.

Further, how does he plan to create jobs? Manufacturing jobs aren’t coming back, we are no longer specialized in those types of jobs and manufacturing things in the U.S. is not only more expensive but less efficient. That’s why Ford is moving small car production to Mexico. Stopping them, as Trump suggests, doesn’t make any sense from an economic stand point. Manufacturing cars in a more expensive country means those cars need to be priced higher to recoup production costs, which means less demand, which means less cars produced, which means slower production and less jobs. How can we keep manufacturing in the United States? Through automation, not people.

So if manufacturing jobs are going where will we find these magical jobs that trump wants to create? (Hint: Deregulation is not the answer.) Infrastructure programs would create millions of jobs, clean energy investment would create millions of jobs, strengthening small businesses would create jobs. Oddly enough, except for infrastructure spending, these are not programs that Trump has supported.

Edit: It’s important to note that achieving 3.5%-4% growth in a developed economy isn’t impossible but in order to do so you need not only jobs, but people. We currently don’t have enough people to achieve that growth. The good news is that there is a way to get the people we need in order to fill these jobs–through immigration, something that the GOP wants to severely limit.