Design a site like this with WordPress.com
Get started

Is Trumpism This Generation’s Version of the Confederacy?

Today’s GOP, under Trumpism, is as real a threat to the survival of our republic as was the 1860’s Confederacy and reflects a worldview grounded in the white supremacy of the American south

By Thom Hartmann

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Donald Trump promoted a modern Civil War in America this week on his social media platform. Civil War?

Further confounding things, Republican candidates like Pennsylvania’s Kathy Barnette are openly running as ultra-MAGA candidates, having hijacked Trumpism without Trump himself. It’s causing the media and political elites to have a “Huh? What?” moment.

Trumpism without Trump?  Could it even be a thing?

Apparently so: candidates Trump has openly disavowed are claiming Trumpism as their standard, the flag they’ll carry into the election and into office if they win.

Trumpism, they proclaim, is a coherent political philosophy of its own that has replaced conservativism as the dominant system of political theory in the “new” Republican Party.

But is Trumpism really new?  

Consider its main principles:

  • *Assert white supremacy
  • *Fetishize rule by a wealthy elite
  • *Brand the movement with its own flag and slogans separate from the country’s
  • *Put the “rights” of business above those of workers
  • *Marginalize and destroy trust in the media
  • *Maintain a strict racial and gender hierarchy
  • *Arm the movement’s foot soldiers
  • *Regulate school curriculum to promote a racist worldview
  • *Embrace authoritarian preachers to claim the appearance of Christianity
  • *Make alliances with foreign authoritarians
  • *Rig elections and prevent minorities from voting
  • *Embrace a police state for all but the richest
  • *Accuse political opponents of demonic or perverse behavior
  • *Criminalize abortion
  • *Heavily criminalize minor behaviors like drug use
  • *Normalize violence as a political tool
  • *Oppose worker organizing efforts
  • *Claim the mantle of “the average man” fighting against the tyranny of the “deep state”
  • *Make it hard for all but the wealthy to get a college education
  • *Minimize government regulation of working conditions and products
  • *Establish a mythology of victimhood and fear of “replacement”

This is not Barry Goldwater’s, Ronald Reagan’s, or even George W. Bush’s Republican Party.

Sure, those guys were happy to suck up to the wealthy and pass legislation favored by big business, but they didn’t go so far as to separate themselves from the mainstream of American governance.

They didn’t accuse Democrats of drinking the blood of tortured children, openly proclaim their racism, or encourage violence. Before Trumpism, Republicans had for generations opposed nations that suppressed democracy and called out murderous dictators like Hitler, Putin, and Kim.

This is something new.

Or is it? Is it possible Trumpism is simply a very old American invention making its return to the US political stage?

In the early 1800s the invention of the Cotton Gin, which could with one very expensive machine do the work of 50 enslaved people, transformed the American South. It was a technological revolution that made possible the traitorous Confederacy.

For the previous thirty or so years, the slave-holding South had been a democracy, albeit one where only white men had a say in things. But even poor white men could vote, and the region identified as “America” with the American flag and American songs and textbooks.

Wealth disparities weren’t as severe as some northern regions, particularly New York City whose bankers and traders had been made rich by the cotton export trade. (When the South seceded in 1861 the Mayor of New York City argued that the city should secede along with them, but back in 1820 there wasn’t even a whisper of what would tear the nation apart in a mere forty years.)

The Cotton Gin, invented in 1794 by Eli Whitney and widely sold in the South in the 1810s and 1820s, changed all that. Only the wealthiest plantation owners could afford to buy a Gin, and it enabled them to out-compete the hundreds of thousands of small cotton farms that dotted the South.

Large plantations, after driving smaller local farmers out of business, bought up their land and hired their former owners to work the land as sharecroppers.

Wealth inequality exploded across the South as a new, powerful aristocracy rose up and seized control of Jefferson’s Democratic Party.  By the end of the 1830s, most of the land and nearly all the wealth and political power in the South was in the hands of a few thousand families.

But that wasn’t enough for the Lords of the New Plantations in the New South of the 1840s and 1850s. They wanted total control of the entire country and were chafing under the restrictions of the American brand and its two-party system of government.

As I wrote in detail in The Hidden History of American Oligarchy, by the late 1830s, with the rise of John C. Calhoun and the Nullification Crisis, the South was firmly in the economic, political, and social hands of a small number of morbidly rich plantation-based oligarchs. 

It was no longer a democracy or a republic: the South had turned into a neofeudal state, what today we’d call a fascist state.

History Professor Forrest A. Nabors notes in his book From Oligarchy to Republicanism: The Great Task of Reconstruction, by the 1860s:

“A new generation of rulers reshaped the south around their new ruling principle…

“The development of Southern oligarchy portended the rupture of the union, regardless of the ties that bound them together, because no ties, physical, legal, or otherwise, can overcome the difference between fundamentally opposed types of political regimes.”

Nabors cites a speech to Congress by Senator Timothy Howe of Wisconsin, who argued that the oligarchy in the South had become so strong that they weren’t just trying to be left alone; they wanted to seize control of the North and end democracy in America altogether:

“Such, then, I find to be the cause and the purpose of the rebellion. It was not to secure the independence of slaveholders, but to subject you to abject dependence upon slaveholders. It was not to build a new capitol for a new government, but to place a new government in possession of your Capitol.

“It was not to frame a new constitution for a new republic, but it was to impose a new constitution upon the Republic of the United States. It was not to secure toleration for slavery within the seceding Slates, but to compel the adoption of slavery by the nation.”

Congressman John Farnsworth, representing the Chicago area of Illinois, laid it out clearly on Wednesday, June 15th, 1864 in a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives:

“The slave-owner is cutting at the heart of the nation; yes, sir, he is cutting at the throats of your sons and brothers, of your neighbors and friends; he is with mad desperation seeking to destroy the beautiful fabric of this nation, and to quench in our blood the fires of republican liberty which have burned so long, a beacon of light to other nations, and the hope of the world. All this [he] is trying to do that he may erect a slave empire instead…”

By the time of the Civil War, the oligarchs of the South had rejected all pretense of belief in democracy, a republican form of government, or even the core idea of the peaceful transition of power in the United States of America.

Instead, they:

  • *Asserted white supremacy
  • *Seized total control of the political systems of the South
  • *Branded their movement with its own flag and slogans separate from the country’s
  • *Passed laws putting the “rights” of plantation owners above those of workers, including poor whites
  • *First marginalized and, by 1861, completely destroyed any opposition media (often lynching or imprisoning publishers and editors)
  • *Established a strict racial and gender hierarchy, both in society and in law
  • *Armed the Confederacy’s foot soldiers
  • *Carefully regulated school curriculum to promote a racist worldview
  • *Incorporated authoritarian preachers into the political Confederacy to claim Christianity
  • *Tried unsuccessfully to make alliance with French emperor Napoleon  
  • *Rigged elections to prevent all minorities from voting
  • *Embraced a police state for all but the richest plantation owners who could never be prosecuted
  • *Accused their political opponents in both the North and South of demonic or perverse behavior, particularly interracial or gay sex
  • *Enforced anti-abortion laws when white women became pregnant
  • *Heavily criminalized minor behaviors like loitering  
  • *Normalized violence as a political tool
  • *Crushed a generation of Southern worker organizing efforts
  • *Claimed the mantle of “the average man” fighting against the “tyranny” of the North
  • *Made it impossible for all but the wealthy to get a college education
  • *Ended what few government regulations existed for working conditions and products
  • *Established a mythology of victimhood and fear of “replacement” later known as “The Lost Cause”

In other words, Trumpism is simply the politics of the American Confederacy reinvented for the 21st century. And even now Trumpists — whether affiliated with Donald or not — are openly talking about starting a second civil war.

They’re lionizing killers for the cause like Kyle Rittenhouse.

They’re embracing foreign authoritarians like Putin and Orbán.

They’re building and funding their own media empires while destroying American’s faith in mainstream media.

And they’re successfully using the filibuster to block the passage of any legislation that may strengthen democratic principles in our republic.

Today’s Republican Party, under the control of Trumpism, is every bit as real a threat to the survival of our republic as was the Confederacy in the 1860s. 

It’s emerged from similar conditions and reflects a nearly identical worldview grounded in the fear of losing white supremacy. It’s based in the American South, as was the Confederacy.

The media needs to wake the hell up. The American government, the American people, and the Democratic Party must see the Trumpist Republican Party for the threat it is. 

The FBI and intelligence agencies need to bring the seditionists within it to ground. Democrats must loudly call out its naked embrace of racism and fascism and make clear where this will lead if unchecked. 

Every day that goes by without action brings us closer to the new Republican Party’s goal: tearing apart democracy in America and transforming this country into this generation’s version of the Confederacy, complete with its own Lost Cause mythology.

[Source]

Chicago Protest Demands Federal Charges Against Killer Cop Jason Van Dyke

By Joe Iosbaker

Chicago protest demands justice for Laquan McDonald.
Chicago protest demands justice for Laquan McDonald. (Merawi Gerima)


A delegation of activists demanding Justice for Laquan McDonald met with an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Chicago’s Federal Building. They presented a letter signed by 38 organizations and unions, as well as five elected officials, demanding federal charges against killer cop Jason Van Dyke.

A statement released before the protest explained, “VanDyke was given a ‘slap on the wrist’ by the Cook County Criminal Court after being convicted of McDonald’s murder and 16 counts of aggravated assault and is being released from prison after less than 3 1/2 years, when Black and brown and other working-class Chicagoans are given sentences up to life in prison without possibility of parole for crimes far less serious.”

The delegation included Frank Chapman of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression CAARPR), Rev. Jesse Jackson of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, and Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina’s Church.

The delegation also presented copies of 49 complaints filed with the U.S. Attorney’s office in 2016 from families that had their loved ones killed or brutalized and tortured by the Chicago Police Department. To date, no meaningful action from the DOJ have been taken to deliver justice for these families.

The demand for charges has the support from the national president of the NAACP, Derrick Johnson, as well as the two U.S. senators from Illinois, Richard Durbin and Tammy Duckworth. In the recent past, federal charges were brought against the three accomplice cops involved with the murder of George Floyd, and the three white vigilantes who killed Ahmaud Arbery.

Nine protesters were arrested inside the federal building and charged with misdemeanor civil contempt, including William Calloway, a community activist who was involved in winning the release of the video of the murder of Laquan McDonald in 2015; the uncle of Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times in the back by a cop in Kenosha, Wisconsin in 2020; and Ja’Mal Green, community activist. Also arrested was Kina Collins, community activist and candidate for Congress. Laquan’s grandmother, Tracie Hunter, was with the group that was arrested; however, she was not charged.

A crowd of about 100 protested outside the building.

[Read on]

Derek Chauvin Has Been Sentenced to 22.5 Years in Prison for Murdering George Floyd

By Vivian Kane

Sunlight falls on a portrait of George Floyd at George Floyd Square

Former Minneapolis police officer and convicted murderer Derek Chauvin was sentenced Friday to 270 months, or 22.5 years in prison.

In April, Chauvin was found guilty on all counts in the murder of George Floyd: second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Earlier Friday, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill heard impact statements from Floyd’s family, including his seven-year-old daughter, who gave a heartbreaking statement about how much she misses her dad.

“I ask about him all the time,” Gianna said via video. “I want to play with him, have fun, go on a plane ride.”

Cahill also heard from Chauvin’s mother, who did not speak at all about Floyd or his family’s grief, but tried to paint her son as being a victim of a false media narrative, as well as from Chauvin’s attorney, who urged the judge not to be swayed by “public opinion.”

When Cahill issued Chauvin’s sentence, he insisted he wasn’t being influenced by public opinion or by emotion, but by the law. And while the 22.5-year sentence is more than the state’s sentencing guidelines for offenders without prior felony convictions and also “one of the longest a former police officer has ever received for an unlawful use of deadly force,” according to MN Attorney General Keith Ellison, it is far less than the 30 years prosecutors and Floyd’s family were pushing for.

Even for those generally opposed to America’s overly severe prison sentences, the double standard in the judicial system is on full display here, and completely infuriating.

[Read On]

Should Cops Get to Review the Video Before They Report?

Sorry, Mr. Bratton. Science says no.

By KATHY PEZDEK

The scenario is all too familiar. A police officer with a dash-cam or body camera stops an individual, the situation escalates, the individual is apprehended, a charge is made and the individual is arrested. The question is whether prior to being questioned or even prior to writing a report, should the officer be permitted to view the recorded footage?

Philip Eure, the Department of Investigation’s Inspector General for the NYPD, recently recommended that police officers be prevented from viewing recorded footage before giving a statement to investigators. Quick to respond, New York’s City Police Commissioner, Bill Bratton called this “one of the recommendations of the I.G. that we strongly, strongly disagree with and will not support under any circumstance.” His concern was enhancing the integrity of police officers; “I am not intending to use the cameras to play a game of gotcha with the cops.”

This is a complex issue, but one for which cognitive science research provides a clear answer. If the purpose of any investigation is to get the most complete, accurate information possible, then it could be argued that the officer should view the footage, probably multiple times, prior to being questioned and prior to testifying. Human memory is notoriously flawed, but we can consider recorded footage to be “ground truth.” So according to this argument, bolstering the officer’s account by having him view the recorded footage effectively serves to enhance the accuracy of the officer’s report. And it does.

The problem is that in so doing, two independent lines of evidence – the officer’s eyewitness memory and the recorded footage – are no longer two independent lines of evidence. That is, the eyewitness memory of the officer has been tainted by viewing the recorded footage. If in the prosecution of the case the officer is to serve as an eyewitness, and his memory is to be preserved untainted, then it is critical that the officer not view the footage.

[Read On]

How Congress Can Give Teeth to the Federal Law on Police Accountability

By updating federal criminal civil rights law, Congress can make criminal consequences more likely for police misconduct and brutality.

cops
Eric Baradat/Getty

When I teach civil rights law, I always start the semester with a misleadingly straightforward hypothetical scenario. Imagine a police officer pulls over an unarmed driver for a broken taillight and eventually shoots and kills the driver. Did the officer break any criminal or civil rights laws? This exercise never fails to set off a fiery debate: “Did the driver obey the officer?” “Why couldn’t the cop have used a taser?” “Don’t people have a right to not to be killed over a minor traffic infraction?” And sooner or later, one student typically reminds the class of a fundamental point about America: “But he’s a police officer.”

Think about that. “But he’s a police officer.”

When cops, unlike average civilians, deploy brute force under certain circumstances, we excuse the violence as law and order. But when law enforcement officers abuse their authority, violating our rights, we have federal criminal civil rights law to hold them accountable.

Except we pretty much don’t.

[Continue]

Activists Hope Chauvin Convictions Are Start to Real Change (+2 more)

By AMY FORLITI, STEVE KARNOWSKI and MOHAMED IBRAHIM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — “One down, three to go!” went the chant just minutes after Derek Chauvin was convicted in George Floyd’s death — a reference to three more fired officers who are awaiting trial.In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, stands after the verdict is read in his trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. Standing next to him are attorneys Eric Nelson, left and Amy Voss. (Court TV via AP, Pool): George Floyd Officer Trial© Provided by Associated Press George Floyd Officer Trial

While the verdict was celebrated by activists and brought a sense of relief, talk soon turned to ambitions for greater change outside the courtroom.

Activists, Floyd’s family members and some public officials said Chauvin’s convictions on murder and manslaughter charges were just a start, and they will continue to push for systemic change in policing in Minneapolis and beyond.

“We need true justice,” Attorney General Keith Ellison, who led the team that prosecuted Chauvin, said after Tuesday’s verdict. “That is a social transformation that says that nobody’s beneath the law, and no one is above it.”

[Read More]


Far-Right Extremists Wailing And Gnashing Their Teeth Over Chauvin Verdict

Predictably, racists aren’t happy that a white cop didn’t get away with murdering an unarmed Black man this one time.

By David Neiwert

Far-Right Extremists Wailing And Gnashing Their Teeth Over Chauvin Verdict
Image from: YouTube Screenshot

The online angst among white nationalists and other far-right extremists was neck-deep Tuesday following Derek Chauvin’s conviction for the murder of George Floyd.

“God help you if you’re a white male in this anti-white country,” wrote Andrew Torba, founder of the white nationalist-friendly chat site Gab, to his 3.2 million followers.

Many of the reactions were collected by Chuck Tanner at the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, who noted that “the response across the far right and white nationalist movement demonstrated its base lack of compassion and lack of mooring in reality.”

[Read More]


Alternate Juror in Chauvin Trial on Testimony That “Really Got to Me”

By Jamie Yuccas

Lisa Christensen sat through every minute of the trial of Derek Chauvin as prosecutors and the defense each made their case in the killing of George Floyd.a woman smiling for the camera: cbsn-fusion-alternate-juror-in-chauvin-trial-speaks-out-about-case-witnesses-guilty-verdict-exclusive-thumbnail-698718-640x360.jpg© Credit: CBSNews cbsn-fusion-alternate-juror-in-chauvin-trial-speaks-out-about-case-witnesses-guilty-verdict-exclusive-thumbnail-698718-640×360.jpg

She was an alternate juror, so she did not have a role in the verdict, but in an exclusive interview for “CBS This Morning,” she said she was happy with the jury’s decision to convict Chauvin after weeks of hard testimony. Christensen said she was reluctant to be on the jury when she was first called up.

[Read More]

Justice for Daunte Wright! Smash Police Terror!

By Devin Cole 

On April 11, police in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, on the northwest border of Minneapolis, fatally shot a young Black man named Daunte Wright. According to witnesses, Daunte Wright was being stopped by Brooklyn Center police when he was shot by an officer. He then got back in his car and drove away, driving a few blocks before crashing the vehicle several blocks away. 

Carrying Black Lives Matter flags to denounce killing of Daunte Wright (inset photo), protesters are assaulted by police, April 11.

According to the Washington Post, the police told his father, Aubrey Wright, that they stopped his son initially due to an air freshener allegedly blocking his rearview mirror. The father questioned the police motive since his son’s car windows were tinted. The police then claimed that they asked Wright to step out of his car for an “outstanding warrant” before he was killed. (April 12)  

Police officials are now saying that the killing of Daunte Wright was an “accident” since the officer who shot him thought it was a taser.  

[Keep Reading]

Calling Chauvin a “Bad Apple” Denies Systemic Nature of Racist Police Violence

Law enforcement stands guard outside the Hennepin County Government Center, as the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin continues inside, on April 2, 2021, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Law enforcement stands guard outside the Hennepin County Government Center, as the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin continues inside, on April 2, 2021, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

As the murder trial of Derek Chauvin for killing George Floyd proceeds, the prosecution will try to portray the defendant as a “bad apple.” In his opening statement, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell alerted the jurors that they would hear police officials testify Chauvin used excessive force in violation of departmental policy to apply restraints only as necessary to bring a person under control. However, this argument obfuscates the racist violence inherent in the U.S. system of policing.

The first prosecution witness to testify about Minnesota Police Department (MPD) policies was retired Sgt. David Ploeger, the supervising police sergeant on duty the day Chauvin killed Floyd. It was his job to conduct use of force reviews. Ploeger testified, “When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officer,” when he was handcuffed on the ground and no longer resisting, “they could have ended the restraint.”

[Read More]