How the GOP Grew Gangrenous-World Wars and Imported Fascism, Pt4.

In a free and open democracy, such as America was meant to be, the natural exchange and competition of ideas is a wholesome and essential part of social life. Citizens come together, hash out the issues, and forge a national dialectic on the anvil of debate. When communication thrives, interconnections between people come together of their own accord. This creates the large-scale social cohesion necessary to run a healthy state.

However, when that communication breaks down, those bonds start dissolving, and with them the prosperity and well-being of both individual and collective. It is our contention that the increasing ideological extremity of the Republican Party has grown increasingly corrosive, and as such has become a serious threat to national stability and harmony.

By the turn of the century, the political parties of America had become like the shells of hermit crabs, repeatedly picked up and sat down again by their varying occupants, the competing ideologies of the early 20th century.

Movements like socialism, anarchism, fascism, and communism were all established by this time. They settled naturally into their places on the political spectrum, and went about the business of fighting for control of humanity’s minds and hearts. The resulting struggles have had tremendous implication for the Republican Party, and for us all.

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The Great Cow Analogy

These days, the parties are more firmly in the hands of the two ideologies then at any other time in history, and in diametric opposition to one another. The result has made a pressure cooker out of our country’s political climate, which recently led to far-right Nazi thugs waving swastika flags around at Charlottesville and murdering our sister Heather Heyer.

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Colin Kaepernick

The President, at the time, said there were very fine people, waving around those Nazi flags and running down women- but says Colin Kaepernick is a son of a b*tch, over a perfectly nonviolent protest. LeBron James summed it up best on Tweeter this week, when on Sunday athletes nationwide took the knee in solidarity with the controversial quarterback and the protest that has made him famous.

This is all symptomatic of the larger problem, namely, that there is a well-entrenched and organized fascist element in American politics today. It has had control of the Republican Party for a very long time now. Cracks in the GOP defenses were opened gradually by disunity and change, and after World War Two, far more extreme and virulent faction has intermingled with their system and become it. In examining how these changes took place, it will be necessary to examine the foundation-shaking events that led to such massive upheaval,  for the Republican Party and for the world.

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The Revival of Fascism

In political science, realignment theory describes a synthesis of perspectives emanating from history, highlighting the existence and impact of “critical elections” as key factors in shaping the practice of democratic politics. The last two centuries have both seen their fair share, right around their turning. The Republican Party has radicalized increasingly as

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1900 Presidential election poster

President Woodrow Wilson, the beneficiary of the splitting of the Republican Party in 1912, spoke at length about World War One as a war being fought to make the world “safe for democracy”. That war was won, insofar as a war can be won. The war to decide the form that democracy would take was just beginning. This was to prove to  be of of the highest significance in the evolution of both American and international politics.

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President Woodrow Wilson

The general tendency in American presidential elections has generally been for one side or the other to win soundly. Extremely close elections like 2016 or 1896 used to be statistically rare. But in recent history, they’ve been the norm.  In times of unrest, when the public is highly polarized and inflamed against one another, it seems to be just the opposite.

The 1920’s came to be known as the Republican Decade for the three Republicans who occupied the White House during it: Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover. Harding was corrupt and a fool, and Coolidge was a milquetoast.

Many historians rate Harding as the worst president the country has ever had. It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that the old ratings machine, Donald J. Trump, has finally managed to break a presidential record.

Herbert Hoover had risen to the occasion of large-scale relief work admirably in Europe, toward the end of 1918 when the Spanish Flu was killing men in the tens of millions. Unfortunately for everyone, he proved out of his depth when faced with similar challenges domestically. His short-sighted, laissez-faire policies did little to relieve the poverty and massive national debt that characterized the Great Depression.

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President Herbert Hoover

Before the 1920’s and 30’s, America was mostly comprised of a loosely-knit network of regional communities, who interacted little and communicated less. During this time, however, it began to consolidate and take on a nationwide flavor. Nothing encourages social cohesion like a terrible outside threat, such as a world war or a Great Depression. Both peace and the economy had been shattered, and things were not improving.

In the 1930’s, the Dust Bowl took place as a result of shortsighted agricultural practices, and rendered much of Middle America uninhabitable, leading to a large-scale migration from states we now think of as being solidly red, to California and other places still fertile.

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Traditional beliefs were also facing erosion, from the point of view of many Americans in the 1920’s. This led to a counter- movement known as fundamentalism, which partnered with mass media in the earliest prototypes of televangelism.

This partnership provided a localized and custom-made belief system, capable of justifying anything in the name of God and country. It also provided a way to disseminate these ideas to the rest of the country. Slowly, the American value system began taking shape.

However, this newfound social cohesion was not to work out well for everyone.

During these miserable times, the black community down South was continuously victimized by their white neighbors. America’s first terrorist organization, the hate society known as the Ku Klux Klan had experienced a major revival.

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This revival of the Klan generated an organization much stronger and more numerous than the original Confederate veterans who came up with the concept. Many black people living down South decided they had at last had enough. This led to a mass exodus to elsewhere, known as the Great Migration. Before 1915, 90% of African-Americans lived down South. After 1970, a full half of these were gone.

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They had always looked to the Party of Lincoln as their hope of legal protection, but times had changed.

In the critical election of 1932, many formerly Republican blacks switched their allegiance to Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Democrats.

FDR’s New Deal had largely eroded the Southern wing of Democratic coalition, because a large section of it had traditionally relied upon rural agrarian interests made possible by slavery. For those fine gentlemen, treating black people with human decency was viewed as a diminishing return, not politically or financially expedient. Many of them refused to adapt to the changing reality. Because of that, they were no longer wanted, and they knew it.

These began to find themselves more commonly in agreement with Republicans, in terms of economic issues such as the rejecting of deficit spending or the creation of a social safety net. Little by little, the reactionary elements of the party began defecting to the GOP. This tendency continued all the way through FDR’s four terms and was firmly established by the end of World War Two in 1945.

Meanwhile, the GOP had spent the 1930’s helping the Nazis all they could. This partnership was reciprocal and continued after the war. Perhaps the most famous example is that of Wernher von Braun, the rocket scientist and former SS officer who built America’s first ICBM missiles. Given a new image, that of anti-communist crusader, and the help of his ideological allies in the GOP, von Braun was able to successfully integrate into American civilization. In exactly this way, much of the rest of the fascist network that ranged across Europe back then was successfully was incorporated, imported, and used by us, both at home and abroad. We will take a closer look at this later.

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W. Prescott Bush shaking hands with Hitler

That network is alive and well today, and of the two parties, it has chosen the GOP as its home. This is an empirical fact of life that exists within the American political process. It is not the product of partisan bias. It was no accident, that they were waving Nazi flags in Charlottesville. It is not new, and it is not random. It is deeply entrenched, vicious, and deadly.

George W. Bush’s grandfather, W. Prescott Bush, has been tied to financial institutions used to help finance Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Most of the practitioners of eugenics were Republican, such as Lothrup Stoddard, whose works are of interest for the serious student of this time period, the repugnance of his views notwithstanding.

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The philosophy of eugenics

Charles Lindbergh, another Republican, actually flew to Berlin to meet with Hitler. Back home, he started an organization and gathered many powerful people together to vigorously pursue an isolationist position using a slogan that Donald Trump has repopularized- America First.

Had this policy become official, it would have given Adolf Hitler a completely free hand in Europe. The America First Committee was even against the Lend-Lease act during World War Two, which was our policy of lending material aid to our allies in Europe.

It is all but certain that the Nazis would have won the war in Europe, which would have placed the Axis Powers in control of two-thirds of the world’s resources. We had only a third. It would have been America last.

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Charles Lindbergh meets with Reichmarshall Hermann Goering

Fortunately for every living soul on the planet, that is not how it worked out. Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his wise, temperate policy led us through that darkest of ages. He ended up being elected to four terms in the White House. People trusted him.

Franklin Roosevelt is unanimously placed near the top of the list of America’s chief executives. He guided the nation through World War Two, in which our participation was official after the cowardly sneak attack that was Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941. His domestic policy, known as the New Deal, ended the Great Depression and Prohibition. His policies secured tremendous protections for the people of the future.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Many of the rights and social programs that people take for granted now, were conceived and secured by him. His adaptation of his famous uncle Teddy’s Progressive policies to the Democratic Party platform stands as one of the most crucial realigning factors in the history of both parties, as the Republicans were to take a strong position against them. They have been entrenching that position ever since.

Roosevelt passed away during the final days of the war, and his Vice-President Harry Truman took the reins. Truman had his own style, resolute and unostentatious. He made some rational changes right away. This did not improve the increasingly strained relations between the Southern conservative wing of the Democratic Party and the new progressive wing exemplified by FDR.

The estrangement became more and more pronounced. Civil rights were to become a pressing priority for Democrats, which was to alienate its white conservative wing to the point of affecting their own great migration, one more commonly known as the “white flight”.

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The Geography of Segregation

Truman’s desegregation of the Armed Forces in particular was a decision that enraged them, and a series of others were to follow, such as when the Supreme Court ruled official prayer in school unconstitutional on June 25, 1962.

The developing value system of the Democratic Party was unified further following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Following this, the partisan realignment of the South was a fait accompli.

The crucial shift came when Barry Goldwater opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He carried the South, but failed to win the Presidency. Lyndon Johnson continued to push through civil rights legislation, but warned that it would lose the South for Democrats for a generation, a prediction that proved more than accurate.

These continuing developments ensured that Johnson was the last Democratic president to win a majority of white votes.

At this time, the Republicans began targeting and nurturing these malcontent white voters, encouraging their basest instinct and assuaging their hurt feelings with assurances of racial superiority. This policy has now borne a strange orange fruit named Donald Trump. These people have not done each other any service. Their decline is inevitable, because they have lost the capacity for self-reflection. When people try and make themselves stupider than they already are, they almost always succeed.

The 1950’s, primarily spent under President Dwight Eisenhower, were the last we were to see of anything grand in the Grand Old Party. Eisenhower was a good man and a good president, but he left office with an uneasy feeling. The speech in which he warns America against “undue influence from the military-industrial complex” is more relevant than ever today.

The Pentagon has been the only thing holding order together during the Trump crisis, and we are grateful for it, but caution must be taken. There’s never been this much of a military presence in our civilian government, and the tendency needs careful observation. Great warriors are not always great diplomats, and vice versa. Both are necessary for the maintenance of a healthy America.

Eisenhower’s successor was John F. Kennedy, popularly known as JFK. He was lain low by assassin Lee Harvey Oswald’s bullet on November 22, 1963. A conspiracy to take his life cannot be proven. What can be proven, is that the Republicans, who ever since have served as the henchmen of military-industrial interests, gained a great deal from the removal of JFK. The GOP intensified and made official the Vietnam War. Kennedy had planned to end it.

Vietnam proved to be one of the bloodiest and most heartbreaking conflicts of the twentieth century. Its ramifications have taken decades to sort out and we are still not finished. Of the 2,709,918 Americans who served in Vietnam, less than 850,000 are estimated to be alive today.

The Vietnam War was used by the Republicans to divide and discredit Democrats. It splintered the liberal consensus. Opposition to the war didn’t unify or define the party, it divided it. Lyndon Johnson’s heart was broken by it, and he refused to seek reelection in 1968. The Democratic nomination was up in the air.

JFK’s brother Robert Kennedy, who had served as his Attorney General, was a strong favorite to win. It looked like a sure thing, until he too was assassinated, shot down by kitchen worker Sirhan Sirhan for reasons that remain a mystery. Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated two months and one day earlier, on April 4, 1968. The country was being torn apart.

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The Vietnam War

Lyndon Johnson’s Vice-President, Hubert Humphrey, ended up running instead, but he was associated with the war and couldn’t split with LBJ. He received the nomination in spite of not receiving any delegates, because the party machinery chose him. After he lost, he became a scapegoat because of it. The old Tammany Hall method of leaving the Democratic nomination process under the control of the party elite was scrapped. A commission, called the McGovern-Fraser for the men who were heading it up, was assigned the task of creating a more open and democratic system.

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Tammany Hall prepares for the 1868 Democratic National Convention

Authorities have roundly criticized the reforms they made as having been a mess. It was a badly conceived and chaotic system. It left a tremendous amount of the nominations decision up to a disinterested and uninformed electorate. Rational actors influenced by well-formed policy positions are not what is filling our voting booths. The McGovern-Fraser Commission is one of the key factors behind the rise of both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

One of the Commissioners, George McGovern, ended up being the Democratic Party’s next Presidential candidate. He was the democratically chosen, favorite of the people candidate. He was also the recipient of a terrible slaughter at the hands of Richard Nixon, largely because his system was weak and full of holes.

But it didn’t stop there. It was the days of the Fourth Party System, all over again. Tad Devine, former campaign manager to Bernie Sanders, took steps to fix this by inventing the process of the superdelegate system. Democrats were being taken advantage of. Giving 15% of the party’s power back to its most trusted members was the most sensible thing the Democratic Party ever did. This was evidenced clearly by the first and worst crime of the McGovern-Fraser Commission- that it let Nixon seize and keep power.

The Nixon era was the beginning of the end, for any kind of Republican morality, although they continue to cloak the nakedness of their greed with the fig leaf of the Moral Majority. During this time, the men who ran the Nixon administration made the world a worse place to live in, with all the zeal they could muster. The damage they did paved the way for Trump and the Russians.

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Moral Majority

A decade before, Harry Truman said succinctly that “Richard Nixon is a no good, lying bastard. He can lie out of both sides of his mouth at the same time.” This was the truth, and it had a tremendous amount to do with the setting of the stage for today. In our next chapter, we will be looking closer at the Nixon era, and its relationship with the enduring legacy of fascism.

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How the GOP Grew Gangrenous- Jim Crow, Anarchy, and Immigration,Pt.3

It is a well-known fact that economic recessions give the forces of radicalism a shot in the arm. We have seen that as recently as 2016, as evinced by the popularity of both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. This is what made it so easy for Trump to knock aside and disregard the rank-and-file Republicans that have made our life a hell all these years.

We have also seen that the far right is the inevitable beneficiary of the consequences, when the far left loses control of themselves and does something stupid. The emails dumped by Wikileaks the day before the Democratic National Convention in 2016, that led to rioting in the streets and the forced resignation of Debbie Wassermann-Schultz illustrate a particularly grotesque example.

People don’t take it well, when they lose everything due to government incompetence. No one is as aware of that as people who came of age in the new millennium. If you grew up in the 1990’s, under the benign and prosperous reign of Bill Clinton, you just were not prepared, for the slaughterhouse reality of watching it all go to the dogs after 2001.

The turn of the millennium was a very hopeful time for our generation. We all grew up talking about it, watching movies about it, and dreaming of what the world would look like, when the big year finally came. The years just prior had been some of the best the country had ever seen.

The Soviet Union was gone, the Internet boom had created a whole new infinity of possible ways to spend your future, and the Stone Temple Pilots were actively touring. It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that Purple was a superior album to Core.

When George W. Bush got together with Ralph Nader, and stole the 2000 election from Al Gore, he turned all that prosperity into an unjust war. Watching the country start resembling a garbage dump, when all indicators had pointed to a magnificent, futuristic era, was the most heartbreaking and disillusioning thing you could imagine.

It was the worst thing he ever could have done for the country. The resultant war, catastrophe, and repression has caused a terrible anger to start brewing in the hearts of our people. Failure to properly cope with that anger is why people voted for Trump.

It was the financial crisis known as the Great Recession that set the stage for the chaos we are living in now. In Teddy Roosevelt’s time, also, the stage was set by a terrible financial crisis. It was known as the Panic of 1893.

The Panic of 1893

Employee unions had become an increasingly ubiquitous force in American life, during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. They sought to improve working conditions, and their methods were not always nonviolent.

Strikers had clashed violently with police and the military, in many places nationwide. In Chicago’s Haymarket Riot in 1886, a bomb was thrown at police, and seven were hanged in the aftermath. The European “doctrine” known as anarchism had showed up on the scene. Its presence was unwanted and so were the immigrants that brought it. These tensions exacerbated the situation further. Communication started breaking down between the people and the government, which barely stayed open.

The year before the Panic, the Carnegie Steel Trust cut the wages of its workers at the Homestead Works near Pittsburgh, sparking one of the greatest labor battles of the day, and bringing the name of Emma Goldman, the revolutionary socialist, to the forefront of American politics for the first time.

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Emma Goldman

Goldman’s circle devised a plan to assassinate the plant manager, Henry Clay Frick, and her husband Alexander Berkman actually tried it. The plan did not work, Berkman went to prison, and it ruined the strike for the strikers. The law had their excuse to suppress the workers, and Goldman was soon forced into exile. The pressure on the streets began approaching critical mass.

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Anarchist Alexander Bergman attempts to assassinate Henry Clay Frick.

In 1901, President William McKinley was interacting with a crowd at the Pan-American Exhibition in Buffalo, New York, shaking hands with someone, when a 28-year-old anarchist named Leon Czolgosz ran up and shot him in the chest. He died eight days later, and Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was immediately sworn in as president.

The assassination of President William McKinley.

When the far-left lost their collective temper, it expressed itself in the shooting of the President. This event worsened their lot tremendously. The press associated the assassination with “crazed” anarchists in the public mind, costing it whatever public sympathy it had.

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McKinley’s assassination reaps its dividends

The authorities used the assassination attempt as an excuse to arrest and imprison leftists of every stripe, radical or not. They will do it again anytime they have to. This is one of many reasons why we will always take a strong position against rioting and bedlam for any reason.

Whatever else is going on, Democrats remain lawful and nonviolent. We don’t poison our own waters with crap like this.

As a result of all this disorder, the immigration question suddenly took on a paramount importance. It was perceived in terms very similar to what we see today, although no one on our political scene back then was stupid enough to think this could be fixed by building a wall.

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The Melting Pot of America

Then as now, the nation was being challenged to find ways to accommodate a massive influx of immigrants. Most of these were from South America, Eastern Europe, and Middle Eastern countries such as Syria, areas which have traditionally been host to agricultural countries with dated political systems.

It was under these conditions that Teddy Roosevelt became the first president in office to explicitly link immigration with the security of the country, and put the immigration issue high on his political agenda. Although he considered immigrants to be a key building block of the nation’s success in the future, his predecessor had been murdered by one, and he never stopped considering them a threat.

TR’s immigration policy

TR suspected the public’s mood would darken in this direction, and he moved to take advantage of their outrage. Thanks to the excesses of anarchists, the executive branch was able to set the basic course of immigration debate and policy for decades to come, with the ultimate goal being for the federal government to gain the ability to pick and choose at the gate.

Our Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients have a unique perspective on this issue, and particular focus should be paid going forward on hearing their stories and receiving their input.

Under Republican guidance, the problem has gotten steadily worse, and the government responses more extreme. Most recently, the 45th President of the United States, Republican Donald Trump, ordered immigration checkpoints to remain open in Texas during the evacuation process from Hurricane Harvey.

Although Millennial Democrats opines that Theodore Roosevelt is rolling over in his grave, to see what today’s GOP has been doing with his ideas, the fact remains that he can legitimately be held responsible for setting in motion an immigration policy that revolved around a selection process that included stereotyping, racial profiling, and immigration.

TR’s views on race and people of color are repugnant by the standards of today. But it’s important to remember that he came to office at a time when racism was all-pervasive. Jim Crow laws had recently begun taking effect down South.

The famous scientist Sir Francis Galton coined the term “eugenics”, a set of beliefs and practices designed to improve the genetic quality of a human population. Eugenicists were universal in declaring for the inferiority of the black man. This theory remained popular until the Nazis applied it to its logical conclusions. These days, Republicans do not like to talk about it.

Although Galton himself ridiculed it, part of the so-called scientific racism eugenics evolved from included another “science” called phrenology, attempting to measure one’s intelligence, ability, and personal characteristics by the shape of one’s skull. The conclusions drawn by that pack of louts were, to say the least, ungenerous in their assessments of African- Americans.

But TR did not pay any of it much mind. The great Booker T. Washington served as his close adviser on racial relations, and at his invitation, became the first African-American to eat dinner in the White House. This was one of the things that inflamed the conservative wing of the Republican party against him, and this is of the highest significance.

In that inflammation, was the seed of the modern deplorable.

It was a very horrible time to be in America for anyone except white males, as we moved into the 20th century. These were free to murder a black man, or rape a black woman, with all but complete impunity in most of the nation. Discrimination against minorities and women was a part of the American bedrock, and perfectly legal, and this manifested in acts of murderous violence all the time. In 1915, a Jewish man named Leo Frank was dragged out of prison by a mob and lynched.

Leo Frank
Leo Frank

This event caused a great deal of controversy, so much so that two famous and familiar institutions were born and reborn from it- the Anti-Defamation League, and the Ku Klux Klan. The merest mention of the latter’s sickening name, let alone its history, should be enough to make anyone understand why we can’t equivocate when it comes to philosophies of hatred. When it comes time to call a foul abomination like Charlottesville by name, you have got to make a choice. Either you do, or you don’t. Inside that choice, lies the key to what manner of person you are.

Between racial issues and economics, the beginnings of the ideological schism in the Republican Party had become quite clear already. In 1908 TR decided not to run for a full second term, and went hunting in Africa instead. He came home displeased at the direction things were going, and opposed his former Secretary of War, William Howard Taft, in the 2012 primaries.

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William Howard Taft

Taft used his control of the party machinery to gain a bare majority of delegates, and kept control of the nomination by dubious means. Roosevelt left the party at once, and formed the Progressive Party.

The remainder of the Republican Party was now to be solely comprised of the reactionary Conservative faction represented by Taft, his successor.  Here we find the nucleus of the Party of Hate that the GOP is today.

But the Democrats still had plenty of racists, too. It wasn’t to be until the decline of the conservative wing of the Democratic Party was complete after 1960 that we managed to mostly rid ourselves of this pernicious and unworthy influence.

Woodrow Wilson, who defeated both Taft and Roosevelt in 1916,  was a Democrat. He was also a Southerner, who did great harm to the cause of black people, far more than either Taft or Roosevelt would have. But with the two old friends now at each other’s throats in a third-party disaster, like what we have gone through with the Green Party, his victory in 1912 was a fait accompli.

The Republicans got beat that year, and their party split in two, because of their inability to come to terms and see eye to eye. The same thing happened to us on the left wing in 2000, and again in 2016. When decent people fail to work together, it is always the villains who profit.

 World events were about to shake things up. The two World Wars were right around the corner, and they would prove capable of drawing many new boundaries, both geographical and ideological. For the Republican Party and the rest of the world, many changes were on the horizon.

How the GOP Grew Gangrenous- Racism and Reaction, Part 2.

Racism and Reaction

II. Racism and Reaction

In our times, the Republican Party has always made it a policy to resist change of all kinds, regardless of how high the cost of remaining static. Their agenda is completely negative. They can’t get anything done, because they don’t know what they want to do. They only know what they don’t want to do. This is why their party is failing and they have all been deserted in favor of Donald Trump.

An NBC/WSJ  poll released Thursday reveals that more Republican voters consider themselves a “supporter of Donald Trump” rather than a “supporter of the Republican Party.”

The Republicans have been appealing to a white-voter strategy for a long time now, because the status quo they are desperately defending only suits white men. That poll is the dividends that strategy has reaped for them. Nor have they learned from their mistakes. If you try and discuss it with them, they’ve got an extremely disingenuous defense.

Soldiers of Misfortune

Republicans like to deflect against the accusations of racism and reaction by bringing up Abraham Lincoln, who signed the Emancipation Proclamation that ended slavery. Surely, no member of the Grand Old Party of Lincoln could ever be a racist! Perish the thought!

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President Abraham Lincoln

However, the spirit that animated the forcible ending of slavery has been gone from the Grand Old Party since at least the time of Franklin Roosevelt.  Its opposite holds sway there now, and it has for a very long time. In point of fact, every aspect of modern Republican policy is a direct betrayal of President Lincoln and all he stood for.

Furthermore, it’s not just racism.

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Former Chief Justice Antonin Scalia, 1936-2016

The living personification of this tendency, Antonin Scalia, died last year. While he was here, he was anti- gay, anti- black, anti- immigrant, anti- everything. The only thing he was for, was the death penalty. And the GOP was so desperate to find someone in that mold to replace him, that they obstructed President Barack Obama’s selection, Merrick Garland, for nearly a year, staking everything on the hope of retaking the White House.

That set the stage for what is certain to be a worsening and miserable tug-of-war, in which it becomes automatic policy on the part of both parties to harass and obstruct the other.

It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that the death of Scalia drove them into a terrible panic, one they resorted to the desperate measure of Trump and the Russians to escape from. They knew full well that without him, it was going to be far harder to stem the rising tides. But why are these changing tides so threatening to them?

Political analysts Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein did a study several years ago, attempting to discover why change in America comes so hard. Here is what they concluded.

“The Republican Party has become ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the
inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by
conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy
of its political opposition.”

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The Gangrenous GOP

In other words, the problem in this country is the Republicans.

Mann and Ornstein pointed out that the two parties moved symmetrically apart from the 1960s to the 1980s. Around then, however, the GOP began to shoot rightward, as hard as it could. More and more of them abandoned the sanity that characterizes the center. That tendency has led us to our current situation, in which we’ve become so polarized that half the country would prefer the Russians be in power than the Democrats, as evidenced by the chaos on social media and elsewhere this past year.

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Driving Miss Daisy

The racist and reactionary rightward movement of the GOP has been driven like Ms. Daisy, into this continuous state of worsening polarization. Everywhere the Republicans are in control, is an awful place to live.

The state of Missouri passed a law this year making it more difficult for victims of hate crimes to sue it for damages, leading to a new precedent being set by the NAACP, who issued an actual travel advisory to people of color, people with disabilities, and even women, stating in no uncertain terms that Missouri was no longer a safe place for them to be, and that they will now have to look out for themselves, while traveling through their own country. What a sickening state of affairs.

It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that you can add to that list, anyone with long hair or an unconventional sense of style, and even people with license plates from blue states. The author of this article was once treated very badly by police officers in Arkansas, for no other reason than the California license plates on the vehicle in which he rode. The cop, who right down to his mustache looked like an obese Hitler, made sure that message was clear, along with another: Stay out of town. Do not EVER come back here again.

Selma, Alabama Civil Rights March

And while other states in the region may not have passed recent and specific legislation necessitating the issuance of another such advisory, let’s keep it real. The South is the South. We’ve all seen Selma, and we’ve all seen Easy Rider. Be careful.

Miles Demos, abused in Arkansas

 

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Electoral College Map, 1896

The U.S. electoral map we’ve come to find familiar, with the Democrats dominating on the East and West Coasts, and the Republicans running shop in the south and center of the country, is recent. In the past few elections, rich states have gone for the Democrats and poor states have voted Republican- a sickening irony, if ever there was one- but even a mere thirty years ago no such pattern existed. And a hundred years ago, things looked different entirely.

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Electoral College Map, 2000

The picture above shows the electoral map of 1896, one of the years historians consider pivotal in the timeline of the ideological shift of the GOP. Almost without exception, the states which went Republican in 1896 supported Democrat Al Gore, by the year 2000.

Meanwhile, nearly all the states that went blue in 1896, moved in the other direction. This seems unusual to us. We are used to the idea of liberal Democrats living in the city, and conservative Republicans making their dwellings in more rural areas. This is how it has always been, for millennials, but it used to be exactly the opposite. So the question begs asking. What happened?

In order to shed light on this, we will have to look closely at the turn of the twentieth century, and the circumstances surrounding the coming to power of Theodore Roosevelt. Some of the same changes were taking place then as now, such as large scale immigration from places such as South America, Eastern Europe, and Syria. The manner in which they were handled by this president did a great deal to set the stage for the hundred years that followed, and the modern era. In the next chapter, we will take a closer look at this.

Theodore Roosevelt

How the GOP Grew Gangrenous- From Lincoln to Trump, Part One.

Today’s Republican Party has become a stifling and corrosive institution. Their conduct on the health care issue alone proves them morally repugnant from top to bottom. Trying to work around this, and get anything done in spite of it, is the unpleasant and Herculean task assigned to the Democratic Party.

It is a commonly held belief that the extremist elements of political parties are most directly to blame for the polarization of a given nation’s atmosphere. This is workable as a general rule, but in America the blame is tremendously disproportionate.

Over here, the far-left has certainly done its best to make itself obnoxious, but they don’t have the resources or the party apparatus to be anything more than a nuisance. It is our position that for many decades now, the GOP itself has been largely to blame for the difficulty of making positive changes in America.

Ever since last November, a look at a newspaper headline, on any given day, has been enough to make a sane person sick. The last week has been no different, as the GOP is preparing once again to try and leave 23 million people uninsured by 2026.

In a particularly petty attempt to punish blue states for doing well and caring for their people, the new Graham-Cassidy bill would pillage California and New York of combined $114 billion over four years- roughly half the total cuts. Both are heavily Democratic states that opted to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Their plan was to rob Peter to pay Paul, by taking money from the sensible and prosperous blue states, and giving it  to the poverty stricken red states. It would have devastated California to the tune of 139 billion dollars. The Trump voters were all to eat lunch on us. We were to foot the bill for their survival, so that they could continue wearing ill-fitting Hillary for Prison shirts and voting for Trump. All thanks to the fact that the liberals they so despise are capable of producing income, where they are not.

On May 4, the House of Representatives bulled through the American Health Care Act, a bill which did nothing but cut taxes for the rich and slash Medicaid to the bone. Several more horrendous attempts to replace Barack Obama’s signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act, came and went, including the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act.

The second was as bad as the first, but the Republicans did not care. They tried to force it through just the same, and ultimately it took John McCain getting brain cancer in one of the most dramatic votes in Senate history to save it.

It should be noted that it is looking like John McCain has saved us from Graham-Cassidy, too. The new bill is said to be on its last legs, thanks to his opposition to it.

It was the second time in three months the 81-year-old Arizona Republican has emerged as the savior of millions, and the destroyer of his party’s sickening plot to deprive those millions of the basic care needed to live.

“John McCain never had any intention of voting for this Bill, which his Governor loves. He campaigned on Repeal & Replace. Let Arizona down!” Trump tweeted angrily.

It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that those tweets honor the venerable old senator almost as highly as his war decorations. When it comes to Republican competence and benevolence, John McCain is the Last of the Mohicans. He will be sorely missed.

The GOP has reached desperate times, and Trump has been their desperate measure. They were lacking leadership, and they knew it.  And they knew full well that Hillary Clinton was the best person to lead this country. But rather than see a female Democrat be President, regardless of ability, they chose to ally themselves with a man whom they knew full well to be foolish, corrupt, and incompetent- and through him, with Russia, our most hostile and implacable foe.

They did not care about what was best for the country one iota. Gone are the days when arch-conservative Hamilton and ultra-liberal Jefferson join forces to keep the criminal Aaron Burr out of the White House. In last year’s drama, Hamilton rolled the carpet out for Burr, across Jefferson’s body.

The Republicans are not friends to the best interests of the country. That much is clear. In the next section, we will be looking closer at the reasons why. Things have reached a point now, where it seems like all they want to do, is take our health care away and kill a bunch of us, and sell us out to the Russians. Their cronyism has run rampant and their morals don’t even exist. We’re tired of these new Republicans. How did it come to this?

Russia’s Zapad War Games- A Ukrainian Warning

Russian aggression is back on the front page.

The Russians have got tens of thousands of troops moving toward the Baltic as these words are placed on paper, under the legal pretext of “strategic command exercises”. They’re calling them the Zapad War Games. They shot some people with a rocket today, and inflicted three casualties, at these “games”. Image result for zapad war games

The whole project was totally unexpected, and done with no transparency. This met with worldwide condemnation, but as always, Putin just ignored it. 

This is all closely connected to what’s been going on over here since 2016. Donald Trump and his campaign connections with Russia have been carefully examined from the beginning of his presidency. From the Steele dossier to the confession of Donald Jr, evidence of collusion is ample between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives. Image result for steele dossier pee tape

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Tulsi Gabbard

Wikileaks managed to make a deal with a mole (most likely then-junior chairperson in the Democratic Party last year, Tulsi Gabbard) to attain leaked emails that caused the resignation of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz days before the convention. Then they used fake identities to disseminate propaganda to U.S. voters over social media sites like Facebook, which turned over all its advertising records on Russia to Robert Mueller’s team last week.

The problems we’ve been having with Russian hackers are not as new to other areas as they are to us. In fact, they’ve been going on for more than ten years. The trouble got started over an old war soldier, just like in Charlottesville. The Bronze Soldier attacks may be the first suspected state-backed cyber-assault on another nation, in this case Estonia

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Bronze Soldier of Tallinn

The Bronze Soldier of Tallinn was a statue of a Red Army soldier in Estonia’s capital, Tallinn. It was viewed by Russians as a symbol of Soviet deliverance from Nazism. To many Estonians, however, it was an eyesore of Communist oppression, a miserable period that lasted more than fifty years. They decided to remove it from the center of town, and move it to a military cemetary on the outskirts. The Kremlin threatened trouble immediately, and they meant it. 

Little Estonia, for all it lacks in acreage, is a world leader in the field of internet freedoms. They are one of the most heavily wired nations in the world. For this reason, one can only imagine how disruptive and traumatic it was, when the website of Estonia’s largest newspaper was brought crashing to its knees, with unprecedented speed, under the weight of a wave of Internet traffic it couldn’t support. As with America’s 2016 election, there was no way to legally prove Russia was responsible, but everybody knew. Image result for digital security

One Estonian government official told the BBC that evidence suggested the attack “was orchestrated by the Kremlin, and malicious gangs then seized the opportunity to join in and do their own bit to attack Estonia”.

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Russian-Ukrainian Conflict

2007 marked the beginning of a new and troublesome tactic. For the hostility of nations to find its mode of expression virtually is new. It is a developing situation worldwide, but the bulk of it until last year had always taken place in Eastern Europe. In order to understand the context of this struggle, it is necessary first to examine Russia’s strained relationships with most of its satellite states, particularly Ukraine.

The Kremlin has always considered Ukraine to be both a rightful part of Russia’s empire, and an important territorial asset. It presents a strategic buffer zone between Russia and the powers of NATO. It allows them a highly profitable pipeline route to Europe, and it is home to one of Russia’s few warm-water ports. For all those reasons, Moscow has worked for generations to keep Ukraine in the position of a submissive smaller sibling. It was the largest of their satellite states, and the one it took most effort to control. A great deal of bad blood on both sides remains.

Oleksii Yasinsky is the head of a company called Information Systems Security Partners, the occupant of an unassuming building in Kiev. Under his leadership, they have been able to chronicle a timeline of intrusions by a whole galaxy of hacker groups, with names like Guccifer 2.0, Petya, and the most feared of all, Sandworm

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Sandworm

This organization,  which uses the nomenclature of Frank Herbert’s Dune as code names, has been the focus of Yasinsky’s interest since the first cyber- attack on Ukraine, a country that has been used as a test lab for new types of ways to wreak virtual havoc. In December of 2016, Yasinsky was watching the movie Snowden when his building lost power- along with the rest of town.

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Ukraine Cyber Command

The lights went out in areas all over Ukraine that night. The Russians managed to shut off huge sections of their power grids, using the Stuxnet virus- the world’s first cyber weapon. It was announced in early September that more than a hundred United States power grids have been infected in exactly the same way.

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United States Cyber Command

Ukraine, however, is not alone. Numerous cyber attacks in Europe, particularly among former Soviet satellites, have been blamed on Russian-linked groups, many of an extremely astonishing nature. The lines between physical and virtual reality have blurred. Our own United States Cyber Command must be equal to the task of managing this. The consequences of their failure would be catastrophic. 

The Syrian Civil War is another place where we have had to fight the Russians time and again. Contrary to the party line, we were not all over there to fight ISIS together. But everyone thought we were, for years, because of Russian disinformation. Most Americans just didn’t seem to care enough.

Russia has proven its ability to use automated systems to inflict real harm in the world, as in their attacks on the Estonian and Ukrainian power grids. They could hurt us very badly if they wanted to.  

In 2008, Georgia too found itself at war with Russia, and suffered similar abuse.

In 2015 France’s TV5Monde broadcaster was taken off air in the middle of a broadcast. Its systems were all but annihilated.

Later the same year, another Russian hacking group calling itself APT28 perpetuated a massive data hack, in Germany’s lower house of Parliament. 16 gigabytes of data were stolen. After that, Germany’s head of domestic intelligence began speaking of a “hybrid” Russian threat” to the September 2017 elections in which Angela Merkel is seeking a fourth term in office.

The list just kept on growing.

Nigel Farage, the United Kingdom Independence Party leader responsible for the Brexit agitation, was intimitely connected to both Putin and Julian Assange, the driving force of the Russian propaganda outlet Wikileaks. Brexit represented the greatest coup ever scored on the United States by Russia, until Donald Trump’s victory in November later that same year.

The month prior, another cyber attack, this time on Bulgaria in October 2016, was described by the country’s president as the “heaviest” and most “intense” to be conducted in south-eastern Europe.

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Macron blows whistle on Russian election hack

And shortly after Trump’s inauguration, the French presidential election between now-President Emmanuel Macron was hacked and tampered with as well, on behalf of the virulently anti- Semitic Marine Le Pen, whose entire campaign was financed openly by Putin.  

Cyber operations constitute a new situation for the nature and future of war. It is reflective of a growing worldwide trend among military strategists to consider cyberspace through the lens of the Clausewitzian spectrum of war, which is to consider it “the continuation of politics by other means.”

That newness is also why cyberspace constitutes so many new strategic difficulties, particularly as it is being deliberately used as a weapon of war by aggressive and imperialistic powers such as Russia. This state of affairs exerts a destabilizing effect on international security, and complicates attempts to work together.

Cyberspace has become a new sphere for great powers to carry out conflicts directly among each other (and any other power for that matter). Previously, their behavior was frozen at a certain level due to the strategic nuclear stalemate. There was a clear limit to how far great powers could go. Great care was always taken, to remain below the threshold of an armed attack and use of force. Instead, conflicts were carried out indirectly, through proxy wars in distant lands. 

However, virtual reality and the revival of the Cold War has given us a new type of proxy, one that brings us much closer to direct conflict with one another. Moscow believes there is a constant and unending  struggle within “information space”.

The manner in which they keep on pushing our buttons and getting away with is has empowered Putin tremendously. One is reminded of the way Hitler was ignored at first. In any case all this suggests that the Kremlin will continue to employ cyber in ways that U.S. decision makers are likely to view as offensive and escalatory in nature.

Moving forward, it’s likely this will have to get worse before it gets better. Our chance to catch it early passed us quietly by long ago.

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Merkel Concerned About Russian Cyber Attacks

2017 is almost over, but we’re not out of the water yet. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is up for reelection on the 24 of this month. In the age of Trump and his slovenly brand of incompetence, Merkel is the de facto leader of NATO, and therefore the most powerful leader in the world. Her reelection is all but guaranteed on a level field of play. It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that we can expect to see a great disruption next week, as Russia tries knocking her off her perch. 

Moving forward, it is necessary for millennial and all voters to understand that trying to make meaningful changes with Donald Trump in office and the Russians eroding our base all they can, will require fifty times the effort before we can even begin to hope they might succeed. We’re vulnerable right now.

Therefore, the first step is for us, the tech-savvy information generation, to start applying our skills toward finding ways to defend ourselves from these invasive and violating virtual infiltration techniques. We have got to protect ourselves, and we have got to learn to fight back. We need all the help we can get. Our futures depend on it.

Democracy Must Defend- Russia Has Hacked Our Power Grids.

The cyber-war with the Russians may be about to enter a terrifying new phase. A series of highly sophisticated system penetrations at electric companies and nuclear plants this year has been discovered and traced back to a Russian hacking group.

Alternately called “Dragonfly” and “Energetic Bear”, this group has been involved in about 100 such breaches since the start of the year, half of them in the U.S., according to a new report from the system security firm Symantec.

This finding is worrisome in the extreme. Dragonfly is one of very few hacking groups with specific expertise in the power-grid systems that turn off and on circuit breakers.

A separate Russia-linked hacking operation has twice demonstrated the Kremlin’s ability and willingness to use that kind of expertise to cause electrical blackouts—once in December 2015, and a second time a year later, both in Ukraine.

Symantec believes the U.S. breaches may be moving into similar terrain. Simply stated, this means they can shut our power off and attack us, anytime they want.

“The original Dragonfly campaigns now appear to have been a more exploratory phase where the attackers were simply trying to gain access to the networks of targeted organizations,” the Symantec report concludes. Now, “the attackers may be entering into a new phase, with recent campaigns potentially providing them with access to operational systems, access that could be used for more disruptive purposes in future.”

Meanwhile, Russia has been holding a set of “strategic command exercises” called the Zapad war games that are looking an awful lot like a preparation for war this week, due to run until September 20. Moscow says almost 13,000 Russian and Belorussian service personnel are taking part.

NATO officials, however, have said they believe the exercises involve more troops than Moscow has disclosed. Complaints have been made about the lack of transparency regarding the exercise. It has long been feared that Russia has been planning to use virtual assaults on Western power-grids in order to pave the way for a sudden physical assault.

The world has been experiencing virtual assaults from Russia since April 27, 2007, the day known to history as the Estonian 9/11. They called it Web War One. The problem started over an old war soldier statue, like the Robert E. Lee statue that has caused so much trouble in Charlottesville. We have got to be careful when it comes to those old statues.

In the ten years that have followed, we have seen Russian attempts to disrupt and destabilize the affairs of other countries become more and more of a problem, culminating in their hacking of the United States 2016 presidential election. We have got to place a high priority on finding more effective forms of defense. 

In other parts of the world, most notably in Europe, they have been dealing with this problem a long time, and they have developed a number of systems we might look to as models.

The Czech Republic set up a team on Jan. 1. 2017.

The German Interior Ministry has proposed the creation of a “Center of Defense Against Disinformation.”

The Ukrainian organization StopFake.org has accomplished amazing results, tracking down and reverse-engineering Russian propaganda pieces. These have provided us key glimpses into how the Russian disinformation machine operates and what types of methods it uses. Incidents such as Brexit have ensured there will be no shortage of cases to study.

Russia has proven its ability to extend tentacles and roots with terrible speed, and it has done so all over the world in the wake of the massive disruption that has been Donald Trump. Its cyber-warfare apparatus is the digital upgrading of its Dezinformatsiya, or disinformation office, which was formed in 1923. Russia has been experimenting with campaigns of state-sanctioned lying for nearly a hundred years. This is a good thing to keep an eye on.

From the way Russia defines cyberwarfare, to its employment for strategic use, Russia has developed a big edge over its western counterparts. As James Wirtz, Dean of the Naval Postgraduate School in California, has noted, “Russia, more than any other nascent actor on the cyber stage, seems to have devised a way to integrate cyber warfare into a grand strategy capable of achieving political objectives.”

CIA chief Mike Pompeo recently said “It’s tough. You now have not only nation states trying to steal our stuff, but non-state, hostile intelligence services, well-funded. Folks like WikiLeaks, out there trying to steal American secrets, for the sole purpose of undermining the United States and her democracy.”

For all the trouble that Russia manages to cause, and for all its miles and hundreds of millions of citizens, it has an economy about as large as that of Italy. The state of California alone has an economy that is far more robust then Russia’s. In order to make Russia great again, Putin has to find a way to fix that. Redistribution of world wealth underneath his control is what he’s after.

The Russian cyber-warfare apparatus allows him an inexpensive and shockingly effective way to cripple, entangle, and do literal physical harm to the infrastructure of anything that opposes his will. 

To understand why these attacks on the rest of us are being committed by Russia, it helps to understand two factors. First, Russia’s domineering and abusive relationship with its former satellite stakes, most notably Ukraine, its largest neighbor to the west. Second, its need to develop a way to compete with NATO in a manner that doesn’t cripple its economy with excessive military expense. 

Nuclear deterrence is becoming obsolete, as mutually assured destruction is unpalatable even to the Russians, and new ways are being found to fight. The most ancient struggles for power and dominance are being played out in our very newest world. Cyberspace has become a very dangerous place, but it’s a place we all spend a lot of time in. Therein lies the crux of the problem. 

Donald Trump thinks that by not using email, he can protect himself from the dangers of a digital world. But no matter what he would like to think, the solution won’t be found by returning to the golden age of post-It notes and Rolodexes. The computer isn’t going away any more than the firearm.

It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that going toward the future, U.S. policy should include the immediate and thorough modernizationof the U.S. Cyber Command. After last year, we should take the offensive. An overt, popular, and well- financed American cyber- force would overtake the efforts of the Russians within months.

As soon as our highest office has been vacated by the impeachment of Donald Trump, a man that Putin has been cultivating for five years and is the property of, it will be a top priority to attain world preeminence in this area as well.

America created the Internet, and that makes its governance our responsibility. We consider this a sacred duty, and we will not shirk in its upholding.

Republican Rabies and Democrat Decency- Trump’s Base Hates Him!

Trump supporters are going berserk. The Democrats have managed to successfully appeal to Trump’s sense of mercy on the subject of the Dreamers. According to the nearly-finalized agreement, not only will there be no wall, but the DACA recipients will stay and get a legal path to citizenship. Ann Coulter is beside herself with rage, at the thought of it. Trump’s base now “hates him”, according to her. She went so far as to outright call for his impeachment.

Breitbart News also went rabid immediately, coining their old hero #AmnestyDon.  And Trump supporters have gathered in packs nationwide, to burn those stupid looking hats of his in protest of the one decent decision of his presidency.

The traditional base of the president have shown us that victory is nowhere near as important for them as being able to hold onto old misconceptions and illusions. Desperate for wins at any cost, Trump has perceived a lifeline before his eyes. He has happened across the one strategy guaranteed to pay off for him. By listening to us Democrats and helping us get our stuff done, he’ll score all the big victories he wants.

For Donald Trump, this has led to good things. For the first time since his presidency began, he is enjoying being hated less by the rest of America, the people not among his base, It is probable he will not give that up. This is very good news for America. But it is not good news for Trump’s base.

They want a return to the days of “Lock her up!” and “Build the wall!”. In the absence of these, politics is ceasing to be fun for them. What a shame.

Those “true Trump” voters –his most ardent supporters – comprised about 22 percent of registered voters in the poll. Their stance on issues like immigration and LGBT rights is far more ardent than their Republican brethren.

The Trump arm of the GOP has felt increasingly isolated, and left behind by the times they no longer understand. Many seem to be feeling acutely uncomfortable and overlooked with many of the changes of the past decade.

According to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll,

“The Trump arm of the GOP looks almost like an entity unto itself, one that is feeling acutely uncomfortable with many of the changes of the past decade and overlooked by the news media,” the poll analysis notes. “The attitudes among True Trump voters raise questions about the Republican Party’s direction. The energy in the GOP right now is with them and the data do not suggest they are a group looking for compromise or moderation.”

While Donald Trump’s supporters remain far from united in opposing the goals of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds that those with anti-immigration views are united in a very firm bloc. They are ones who feel most strongly about the issue. Their stolid racism made them Trump’s core, the backers who propelled him to his victory in the primary over his more mainstream Republican rivals.

Monmouth University poll released earlier this year, reported that six in 10 people who approve of President Donald Trump (61%) say that there is nothing Trump could do that would lose him their backing.

The cultural divide running through American politics has long had an undercurrent of partisan distrust between it, but the gaps grow even wider when one looks at the group of voters firmly behind President Donald Trump. Their devotion to him is unbounded by decency or reason.

However, for all their love and adoration, for all that their undying goodwill put him into power, what Trump wants above all else is something he can never get from Trump voters- success.

Promising his base the things they think they want was successful. Following through on them, however, has proved an impossible disaster. The process of trying has made him the most reviled man on Earth, not to mention the most laughed at. And the Republican Congressmen he had planned to shoot for the stars with, were not able to put a repeal bill on his desk, let alone a replacement. The people who brought him to the dance have become a liability.

This is a president in desperate need of validation, affirmation, and success. Trump cares about winning more than he cares about anything else. The only wins of his presidency, were achieved for him through listening to Democrats and helping us actualize our plans.

Every indication suggests that Schumer and Pelosi had such an easy time handling him in regards to this most recent deal on the DACA program, because he wanted the same media members who he hates with such a passion to say pleasant things about him.

An outsider looking in would think it ludicrous. To suggest that a brand new president would feel the need to backtrack on a key campaign promise, alienate his core base, and grant a path to citizenship for the same 800,000 undocumented immigrants he was elected to deport, seems all but fantastical.  With Trump, however, it’s the simplest explanation- and therefore, probably the best one.

We got our fill of what True Trump voters call fun, after the Charlottesville tragedy that claimed the innocent life of our sister, Heather Heyer.  Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi’s unexpected initial success in getting Trump to sign off on a worthy plan has opened a door for a number of different policies.

Proposals which would otherwise never have been possible have been put on the president’s table by Democrats. Due to this, things are looking as good as they have, since before January 20. If the cost of this tendency continuing is the unhappiness of hardcore Trump supporters, it is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that we can afford it.

 

Dangerous Distraction- Bernie’s Health Care Gamble, GOP’s Repeal Plot.

There are no easy answers, in the acrimonious American health care struggle, but that has never stopped Bernie Sanders from claiming he’s got them. He is going around the country this week attempting to drum up support for his beloved “Medicare for All” bill, in the same week that the Republicans are quietly gathering votes for one last effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The timing on this is terrible. It’s a dangerous distraction.

Because Bernie doesn’t know what he’s doing.

Even in his own home state of Vermont, with the entire Democratic political establishment behind him, he was not able to pass a single-payer plan. The plan he introduced in his 2016 presidential platform was criticized heavily for being wasteful and impractical.

It was just this type of financial recklessness that caused Vermont’s Burlington College to shutter its doors last year, thanks to the policies of Jane Sanders, Bernie’s wife. College leaders announced in May 2016 that the college had buckled under “the crushing weight of debt.”

Bernie ran for president on a promise of revolution. A really expensive one. According to a report done at the time by the Tax Policy Center, Sanders’ taxation-and-spending plans would add $18 trillion to the national debt over a decade, plus $3 trillion in interest costs. The center’s Howard Gleckman called it an “unprecedented increase in government borrowing.”

But he never had an answer as to where any of this money would come from. He said that the reviled and terrible “1%” would be paying their fair share, which seemed to imply that would cover it, but even if the government seized every penny currently held as assets by the 1%, we would still come up short.

Hillary Clinton said in her new book that it was challenging to have a straightforward argument with Bernie about health care. “He would say, ‘Oh we’re gonna, you know, do single-payer.’ And I would say, “How you gonna do it?” And ‘Uhh’- he wouldn’t know.”

Bernie has yet to provide details on just how the nation would go about making the shift to ‘Medicare for All’ and how the program’s specifics are to function. Unanswered questions include whether health care providers would accept severe cuts in payments, and how medical costs would be contained if they do. Unease about these kinds of uncertainty is why Bernie’s 2013 bill for a single-payer Medicare-for-all system failed to gain a single adherent.

The point here is not the varying merits of of single-payer systems themselves. That question is for the specialists- and for the individual- to answer. The point is three decades of hard work bitter struggle over public health care being placed at risk, over Bernie’s irresponsible attempts to focus resources wastefully.

We just finished winning a gigantic fight on health care. And it isn’t over, either. Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dean Heller (R-NV), and Ron Johnson (R-WI) are quietly preparing one final repeal attempt. They held a Senate GOP lunch on Thursday, in which they gathered votes behind closed doors, and nobody is talking about it. And Trump is still fuming. Look for him to sabotage Obamacare, any way he can.

It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that cannot possibly be a good idea to ignore this, while Bernie runs around the country spouting off about single payer. The Affordable Care Act is still standing. We came out ahead. It’s time to consolidate our gains and move on to more pressing fights.

Having raised that basic objection, however, one thing must be conceded to Bernie and the other adherents of a single- payer health care system. They managed to raise nationwide interest in their idea. A recent poll did indicate that a slight majority of Americans are at least for having the discussion, and for this reason, a discussion will be had. This is a democracy, and we are Democrats. We will do what we can to accommodate the hopes of the people of the country. But Bernie is not the man to be in charge of it.

It is for that reason that some Democrats have signed on with this idea. If a single-payer health care system is going to be planned for then professionals need to be on board. And we are the only ones who’ve got them, thanks to the experience our party has gained over three decades of fighting the health care battle. Either way it goes, the situation will require competent management. That’s what Democrats provide.

Moving forward, it will be necessary to keep a close eye on reality and to remain well-grounded in our thinking. This needs to be a process not of revolution, but of evolution. If it gets screwed up, it could really hurt a lot of people. That fact should never be lost sight of.

Trump is huffing and puffing and hopping up and down, screaming that single payer is a “curse on the nation”. Bernie is screaming in the opposite direction just as loudly, and the whole thing has turned into a political pro wrestling match. If the climate worsens much more, America may miss it entirely when the new ACA repeal comes up for vote again before the end of the month. If this isn’t handled right, Medicare for All might turn into Medicare for None. That would be a tragic joke of the darkest order. It cannot be allowed.

Democrats Keep The Dream Alive- Thank You, Chuck & Nancy!

The Democrats have found a way to save America’s Dreamers! The final details of an agreement that would protect hundreds of thousands of undocumented millennials and their children from deportation were being worked out as of Thursday morning.

Democratic leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi made a joint statement this morning, laying down the most important part. “We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides.” Trump denied that he had “cut a deal” with us Democrats, but was eager to reiterate the merits of the agreement.
The parameters of this deal are simple. Include a potential pathway to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) participants, continue the use of border security strategies developed by the Obama administration, and leave that stupid wall unbuilt.
The President’s Republican allies in Congress, who were not invited to Wednesday evening’s dinner, were stunned for the second time this month. Some were immediately outraged. These developments certainly are a bombshell to the bumbling Republicans, who still have yet to score a single legislative victory of any importance, in spite of their holding sway in every branch of government at this time.
Democratic leaders have managed to get Trump to do something right, in spite of himself. This stunning new development has come hot on the heels of their agreement on the debt ceiling and government spending earlier this month. Had that not passed there would not have been disaster relief for the survivors of the terrible hurricanes that hit our shores this month.
For this reason, Republican lawmakers are afraid that Trump will end up signing legislation written by Democrats. Even the thought has infuriated conservative voters.

Representative Dave Brat, a Virginia Republican and member of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus, said a wall on the southern border was “what the whole election was about.

Rep. Steve King of Iowa said that if the deal is true, the “Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable and disillusioned beyond repair. No promise is credible.”

And Breitbart News, with Steve Bannon back at its helm, was disgusted beyond all belief, and immediately coined the nickname #AmnestyDon. It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that as nicknames go, this is the best Donald Trump is going to get.

It’s amazing, what having eyes can do in the land of the blind. Here the Republicans are, with all the power in the world, and absolutely helpless to use it. Thanks to their greed, incompetence, and overall moral bankruptcy, the GOP does not have a single idea that’s acceptable to anyone. They can’t even get along with each other.

And so, the biggest opportunity they have had to effect changes in their favor since George W. Bush’s first term is half over, with nothing done at all. Meanwhile, they have been busily slinging their feces at one another like a pack of wild baboons. They never even mention us. They count us as helpless without any official power in government.

That may be true, for now, but that comes and goes. What we do have, is an excellent plan for every aspect of life in America, and the personnel to match. Lacking that, the opposition is guaranteed a long term failure, so long as Trump doesn’t start a nuclear war.

The Republican Party is the source of many of the large- scale social ills in our culture, directly. By stoking and fueling the worst tendencies of humans to want to separate and pull away from one another, they create an environment that is incredibly difficult to get anything done in.

They refuse to accept change at every opportunity, their agenda is completely negative, and none of their positions will ever produce gains among persons of color. It is for this reason that the the GOP has so often found itself with its back to the wall. They consistently leave themselves no real alternative but to resort to a “white voter” strategy.

In the vacuum created by their negativity, the inexperienced and short-tempered president has not been able to get anything done. This has allowed Democrats a way to make some progress, and we have seized the day.

The way things are, all key initiatives will have to come from the Democratic party. Trump has boxed himself in to such an extent, that all eyes in America are tuned in, watching to see if the Democrats are going to be able to handle this  without letting themselves get outrageously used. So far, they have displayed the skill of a matador.

We are well aware that Donald Trump has made a lifetime’s work out of manipulating and lying his way through life. This was the case long before he entered the political arena. Before he could even think about receiving our help, which he desperately needs, he had to give many assurances and prepare to do some decent human things. It was an extremely unusual reversal of fortunes.

Under these bizarre circumstances, the unstoppable Schumer and Pelosi arrived at Wednesday’s dinner. They came prepared, with a specific list of border security items that Democrats could agree to, drawn from Trump’s own budget requests. They included new sensor technology for border monitoring, building and repairing, roads along the border, drones and air support for border enforcement. They were developed along similar lines to what Hillary Clinton had planned.

President Barack Obama, who was by far the toughest president on immigration in modern times, was often referred to by immigration groups as the “Deporter in Chief”. He found and refined some highly effective strategies, which Trump is now extolling the virtues of.

In one of recent history’s most extreme ironies, Trump, who reviled Obama for years, who refused even to accept him as a fellow American, who allegedly paid Russian prostitutes to pee on a bed he slept in– has followed his predecessor in everything.

The same plans, ideas, and people are running the government now as they were eight months ago. Heroic holdovers David Fox and Kathleen Grant were in command of FEMA’s ground forces for Hurricane Harvey. And the government shutdown he threatened repeatedly was averted by the aforementioned Schumer and Pelosi.

If Trump can manage to shut his mouth down, and do what his experts advise, we might just make it through this.

Antisocial Media- Fake News, Facebook, and Russia.

The hounds of Robert Mueller are hot on the heels of Donald Trump. Headlines today read things like “Mueller Goes For The Kill” and “Mueller Closes In“, as the announcement came in that the focus of the investigation has honed in on Russian use of social media as a way to spread fake news against Hillary Clinton.

Russia’s effort to influence U.S. voters through Facebook and other social media is a “red-hot” focus of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 election and possible links to Donald Trump’s campaign ties to Russia, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

The Russian Facebook campaign also seems to include the first evidence of Russian operatives attempting to organize actual political events on American soil, as opposed to just spreading fake news and memes around social media.

But Facebook was not alone. Twitter also allows for many ways to pay for your following. For example, comedian Joe Mande has just over a million followers. It sounds pretty good, until you read the bio on his site.

“twitter is trash, facebook’s the devil, i bought a million followers for like $400“. Wow.

The way that social media keeps score, is with Likes, Shares, and Followers. The most famous people have millions of them. However, not all of these accounts are real. Some of them are “bots”, artificial accounts created for the purpose of making a person look more popular and important than they really are.

Twitter Audit, a service that allows you to test the authenticity of your followers, was used in January by journalist Yashar Ali on Trump’s Twitter account. He found that 68 percent of his then-20 million followers were real. He’s at 37 million followers now but only 45% percent are real. Likewise, Bernie Sanders has an even worse score, at 39%.

A personal anecdote. The editor of Millennial Democrats was online alongside legions of others, out there for HRC from 2015 onward, every day, for many hours. Anyone who was there back then can tell you. It can be stated categorically that there was a tangible, palpable disinformation campaign going on. You would go into groups and talk to people, who were steadfast in their refusal to listen far beyond the bounds of reason or even fanaticism. These guys were professionals.

It was like they were getting paid per response. They all seemed to be equipped with the same list of hit points about Hillary Clinton. This became clear after a while because the very same slanders would be laid out every time, in sequential order. In many cases the wording was actually identical, although most took the time to switch about at least a thing or two.

It got especially bad during the last month of the Democratic primary, which was a very horrible time filled with chaos and division. During this time, we were savagely attacked. Anything we posted would be Reported as Spam/Abuse by political adversaries from both the far right and left. We were barraged with nasty messages and threats. One particularly rabid group of Bernie Sanders supporters told one of our contributors that they hoped she was gang-raped. The list is very long, and very sordid.

It was just like in Ukraine or Syria. We were actively being targeted, by foreign agents, for participating in our own electoral process. It was scary, and it was violating.

We had wanted to make our voices heard, and to make a difference in our own futures. Instead, we found ourselves on the front lines of a virtual battlefield, fighting the first skirmishes in this new kind of proxy war we were to be fighting with the Russians.

Facebook and Twitter and other social media sites have increasingly come to be viewed as our most vulnerable area for national security. The United States does not have a ready defense to prevent such attacks.

At the time, nobody wanted to listen, but it became clear before long that we were not paranoid, although it was difficult not to come off that way in real life conversations. We expected a certain amount of eye-rolling, and we got it.

People can hardly be blamed. The whole thing was pretty implausible. Even our intelligence agencies were not fully aware of what was going on. This kind of thing has never happened here before. This sort of attack has in the past been used only by superpowers against small, Third World countries. We were never considered so vulnerable.

The anger and despair caused by the 2016 election opened a door. The smear job on Hillary Clinton represented a quarter- century’s work and God only knows how many millions of dollars on the part of the GOP. They had long ago ensured there was no end of mud to sling. And trusty Wikileaks was always around to make sure there was no shortage of new indecencies.

This, combined with the rabidity and overzealousness of a dangerously high percentage of far-left supporters of Bernie Sanders made for an extremely nasty cocktail of filth for the Russians to fling about on social media, amplifying their messages through a mixture of robot armies and highly targeted advertising.

Regular folks who go to work and don’t have time to study these things for twelve hours a day cannot be fully blamed if they fell for it. We were targeted specifically by a brand new strategy developed by a cunning and ruthless man, bent on world domination. What is most important now is that we all wake up to it.

Millennial Democrats did a series of interviews for this piece from the people most intimately involved. The administrators and moderators of Facebook groups and pages that supported Hillary Clinton in 2016 remain dedicated to the Democratic Party, its platform, and its ideals. We are out here even now, still fighting the good fight.

One source, who has screened new member requests for several dozen pro- Democratic Party Facebook groups since before the election began, made the following statement under the conditions of anonymity.

“From mid May 2017 to the end of July 2017, roughly 80% of the new member request were rabidly pro- Bernie Sanders supporters with profiles that appeared to be hijacked from the real owners or that were simply fake accounts. They seemed to have been created for the purpose of loading them up with pro Sanders, anti Democratic Party fake news to be spread by computer generation across Facebook.”

Even now, it remains far from over. Ordinarily, the months after such a chaotic election would be the slow season for politics. Spring and summer tend to be when people are out having fun. Unfortunately, both the stakes and the polarity of our atmosphere have become too high to allow for this.

Too high a level of polarity will destroy a culture. It causes a communication breakdown which leads to fighting. This polarity was not created by the Russians, but it was systematically financed, and worsened by them, using techniques so ugly they can only be referred to as antisocial media. It is now time for Facebook to answer to Congress and to the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, for what they allowed.