For those who study authoritarianism, Steve Bannon's refusal to respond to the subpoena issued by the Congressional committee tasked with investigating Jan. 6 is hardly a surprise. Bannon's aim is to destroy our democracy, and responding to a subpoena issued by a democratic judiciary would affirm the legitimacy of a system he seeks to overthrow.
Hell, boys and girls, all we Dems gotta do is get up off our fat asses AND GET TO YOUR DESIGNATED VOTING POLL AND VOTE!!! it's that simple, nothing else works. 4 o'clock tea time won't a thing. 5 o'clock WON'T work a BUNCH. Nope, just get your nuts home, tickle your significant other and know you have purpose ahead of you. One is not letting the mudslingers see a target. You fire then get your head down so they cannot count. On the special day, shoe up em masse and overload THEIR ass. Elephants run when they see that many in front blocking the way. Very skittish, don't you know?
Steve, I bet you are PISSED OFF about some thing. That stare is very deliberate. You know "I'm a BAD MAN and all", you know. Well I been in jail. It's kind of hard to pee in there and especially for an old guy. Good luck wit dat!
I couldn't agree more. And, can I ask you some questions about effective campaigning next year? Both George Lakoff and Rick Wilson tell us we need to pitch to voters' hearts and guts at least as much as to their heads, and I for one agree. Here are some ideas I shared with Rachel Bitecofer on which I'd appreciate your feedback in the above-mentioned appeal.
If we vote with those with whom we identify, maybe we can make some spots such as one which, say, has people of all colors and conditions grasping each other by the forearm and making an 'unbreakable' change and then contrasting it with footage from, say, Charlottesville and/or Ferguson and/or Portland, for that matter. Then we ask the audience, which do they want and also say, for all of us, vote Democratic. Another ad might show a group of people of different colors, orientations and maybe different classes (marked by different dressing styles) working together and contrasting it with angry, separated groups ready to fight one another for what comes out to be crumbs. Do you think such spots would work? Maybe one of the 'harmonious' groups could be Service people; THAT would definitely make the point as to who is more truly 'American'. Finally, what about taking Norman Rockwell's 'Freedom of Speech' illustration, making sure that the people at the meeting come from all kinds and that the debate may get heated but afterward, for example, a black woman and a Hispanic/possibly white man share a drink or something. Contrast that with black uniformed SS-type police (with no ID on them) knocking on doors and demanding to know how people voted. Again, as the audience what they want and say, if you want to retain active yet civil debate, vote Democratic. Nothing is more urgent now. Thanks in advance for your consideration and feedback.
I want to believe the Democrats know exactly what they are doing (Schiff, Pelosi, Biden, Schumer), but I’m increasingly frustrated. (Synema & Manchin are sickening). My anxiety level is so high. In the community where I live I’ve gathered 70+ neighbors to share actions/ideas, etc. through all the ups and downs of the past 5 + years. In the beginning we were all really active. Now when I send actions or links I barely get a response. I see the same people outside. I know it’s not personal. I feel 2 things are happening…1. Most have checked out & 2. So, many don’t have a clue as to the gravity of the danger. All of this feels so helpless. My husband & I voted early in a primary for Mayor & city council. I read that 10-15% of registered voters showed up. People tell me to stop reading & take a break. “You think to much”, one person told me. They don’t want to hear what you, Timothy Snyder, Bandy Lee, even former Republicans who are raising the same alarms have to say. All I think of is the nearly 100 people who participate on your ZOOM every week and the fact that those who are actively sharing and problem solving in their own communities are like the small % of activists who have done the the same before the final nail in the coffin in Democracies that imploded. Only then do those who “checked out” wake up. I’m sooo sorry for being so ‘doom and gloom’. This is what I’m feeling.
We need to be tweeting and retweeting excerpts of this article. Only a ground swell will get our legislators’ attention.
Thanks, Again, and Again, for your courage, Ruth, and the recognition that we need it to be repeated and we need it to remain in our sights.
Now that the House investigative committee has in fact recommended a contempt charge against Bannon, the implementation of the recommendation is up to the Department of Justice. Those of you who wonder about Merrick Garland’s seemingly inexplicable passivity in the face of the obvious threat of the impending destruction of American democracy should look at his record in office (an account of his first half-year is quoted at the end of this comment). As Dennis Kucinich says, if you want to understand a politician, you have to look at the scorecard.
The Establishment defense of Garland is that he is an “institutionalist.“ From the point of view of a defender of democracy, this defense is obviously absurd. The institution he is defending has been corrupted: therefore what he is defending is a corrupt institution. He is not a stupid man, so he must know this.
The logical interpretation of this situation is that the people who control the government, including Biden, Garland, Schumer, and Pelosi, are not actually defending democracy. They know they could not do so if they wanted to, because the United States is not a democracy. That it is not a democracy has been definitively demonstrated by academic studies that show that over the last forty years, the desires of 70% of the United States population have never been enacted in legislation by the Congress that allegedly represents them, whereas those of the upper .1% have invariably been enacted. Most US senators and representatives are merely hired hands. The reason the Democrats cherish democratic process, even to the detriment of democratic functioning, is that democratic process is the form of the charade that makes their careers possible. We are currently seeing this pattern being repeated in real time as congressional Democrats day after day are being forced to abandon (or choose to abandon through self-negotiation) legislation supported by overwhelming bipartisan majorities, such as legislation directed against ultra-wealthy text cheats, because the Republicans oppose it on behalf of their employers, the .1%. These taxes, if duly paid, would shave a tiny bit off the fortunes of billionaires, while making life-transforming investments possible for millions. What could more clearly demonstrate the fact that America is not a democracy?
The correct model for this spectacle appears to be America Inc., a neo-liberal capitalist corporation whose owners are the .1%, and whose legal department consists of Congress, the Department of Justice, and the Supreme Court. That is why the government is acting like a corporation in damage control mode, rather than a government of representatives of the people who are actually trying to repair the damage and defend democracy. Biden told his plutocratic sponsors before he was elected that nothing would fundamentally change. Thus his Administration is merely trying to offer enough concessions, and enough of an appearance of concessions, to neutralize a revolt of the population that would interfere with business as usual in America Inc.
The problem with the Biden-Garland appeasement model of governance is that the .1% as a whole have shown, through their failure to discipline the proto-fascists—which they could easily do if they wanted to—that having a fascist era in America is acceptable to them. (Could they even tell the difference?) And a significant part of the .1% are actively promoting the advent of this era. Most of the plutocracy’s employees in Congress imagine that during the first fascist era in America they would be able to continue their careers, if in an uncomfortable political environment, and then move through the revolving door into lucrative private sector jobs. Of course, this entire scenario is insane. (Don’t they remember hiding in fear of their lives on January 6?) But our current rulers are merely a motley collection of billionaires and politicians, either sociopathic or contaminated by the prevailing sociopathic ethos of their alternative universe, and cannot be expected to behave sanely.
The following quote will make an already long comment even longer, but it is essential to look at Garland’s scorecard. His determination to act as Trump’s private attorney defending Trump against E. Jean Carroll’s lawsuit for rape is only the dismal beginning.
This quote comprises five paragraphs from a New Republic article of June 8, 2021 by Jeff Hauser and Max Moran, in which they conclude that “At this point, Garland himself is beyond saving,” and that “Every day Biden keeps Garland in charge of his legal agenda is a day Trumpism is normalized”:
“On several key matters, Garland’s DOJ has concealed the full extent of Trump’s wrongdoing; it has kept thousands of immigrants from obtaining green cards, while flooding the immigration system with Trump-selected judges; expanded the scope of police power; ensured oil and gas profits for decades to come; and explicitly protected one of Trump’s most hated Cabinet secretaries from accountability. Indeed, Garland has quietly emerged as Donald Trump’s unwitting hatchet man, doing almost everything in his power to protect the lawless former president’s legacy.
“On May 24, Garland committed the DOJ to keep much of the so-called “Barr memo”—through which Garland’s predecessor almost unilaterally decided that no part of the Mueller probe would result in criminal charges—secret. Even Trump enemies who scoffed at the Russia probe should be disturbed by Garland’s other decisions, though. He has committed the DOJ to defending a Trump-era policy slashing the number of legal immigrants who qualify for green cards. He’s hiring dozens of new immigration court judges who received their initial offers during the Trump era, and codified Trump-era rules restricting immigrants’ options to prevent their own deportations. Garland’s Civil Rights Division also remains perilously understaffed, enormously hampering its ability to conduct oversight of municipal police departments. It also pursued private chat logs between government employees and reporters, a censorious case that began in the last 15 days of the Trump administration.
“Late last month, the Justice Department urged a federal judge to dismiss lawsuits against Trump and former Attorney General Bill Barr over their decision to tear-gas Black Lives Matter protesters near the White House last summer so that the president would be able to take a photo near a church, holding the Bible upside-down. While Garland repeated throughout his confirmation process that he’d prioritize tackling white supremacy, almost six months into the administration, no part of the federal government has a plan for rooting out white supremacists who serve in federal law enforcement roles.
“Meanwhile, Garland’s DOJ is actively defending a new oil project in Alaska that was cleared under Trump’s shams of environmental tests and may generate new oil for 30 years. In its filing, the DOJ explicitly said that the Trump administration adequately considered the new site’s effect on wildlife and greenhouse gas emissions. Garland is also maintaining support for a new oil pipeline in New Jersey and isn’t rescinding Trump-era briefs that made it harder for states to sue Big Oil over downplaying the risks of climate change.
“And some of Garland’s lieutenants are almost as hackish and corporate as any Trump appointee. His acting assistant attorney general for the civil division, Brian Boynton, represented Google, Eli Lilly, and the notorious for-profit University of Phoenix just one year before entering the department—where Boynton wrote a legal brief protecting Trump Education Secretary Betsy DeVos from testifying about for-profit schools defrauding indebted students. (The courts, thankfully, ruled against Boynton’s position.) Acting Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar likewise represented Big Tech (Facebook, Uber, Snap, Twitter) and Big Pharma (Amgen, Lumos, Syneos) just months before revolving into the department.”
Absolutely brutal ....democracy is on its deathbed in the United States because people have completely different media diets. The polarization will be ramping up to 11 in 2022
The very people who need to read this article are nowhere near it.
They truly believe the January 6th near coup was just merely a visit to the capital...ugh
Congress has no teeth. Two time loser, in its pursuit of Impeachment. Democracy is on life support and the plug is about to be pulled. People like Bannon are showing America, the world, that this country is finished. It is just a matter of time, when the Military steps in to assume power. Go ahead.....laugh. Truly, what else is left? See how gun ownership goes after that!
Outstanding piece! It is incredibly important for our news media to recognize the ascent of fascism here and talk about what fascism is, so that the voters know what they are dealing with and its dangers. Fascism in its infancy needs to be nipped in the bud to prevent it from metastasizing. Jason Stanley said fascism is "the politics of us and them". From my psychology background, I feel that fascism is also the politics of lunacy, given that so many fascist leaders and its advocates have been sociopaths (APD). This makes me wonder about Bannon's mental state. We already know that Trump is a sociopath ( along with Mussolini, Hitler, Pinochet, Josef Mengele, Slobodan Milosevic, Allen Dulles, etc.) When these people become role models in society, they become destructive charismatic leaders. Followers get sucked into the maelstrom of lunacy. We can't afford to let the lunatics take over the asylum.
so yes to all that. But how long does that legal process take, especially when they just want to use up time?...
Write your representative. Do whatever you can to keep the heat on. Keep the faith.
Holding Bannon in contempt is an early test of the Biden administration's and congress's resolve to hold the line against Trump and his ongoing authoritarian leader cult girding to make a come back. Anything less is going to be seen as a sign of weakness. The rule of law must be vindicated and the legitimacy of democracy protected against debasement. This is a critical moment in the lead up to larger battles to come in 22 and 24.
My only input would be that rather than "noting that Bannon is defying the subpoena at Trump's request", I'd highlight that everyone around Trump only agrees with him out of (economic) self-interest. Trump is successful because he enables grifters. Bannon would surely try everything to duck the subpoena without Trump.
Thank you for your clarity and strong voice on this issue! It is so needed and far too rare. I have heard so few people on the MSM approach Bannon this way. Last night I think it was Clint Watts who did a decent job of saying that Bannon actually wants to dismantle the administrative state, putting his subpoena rejection in that context.