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Republicans Never Sleep

They apparently spend every hour plotting ways to turn the country into an unassailable authoritarian state.

It appears that ever since last November’s election, they have relentlessly focused on passing state laws whose only goal is to insure that not enough Democrats can vote to stop Republicans from winning state and federal elections. They even pass laws to allow the Republican legislatures to overturn any state results where the Democrat somehow won. This is tyranny, no matter how they lie about it or try to cloak it with their usual nonsense words.

This is their only focus. Not helping families, dealing with the pandemic, improving the roads or the electrical grid. Just making sure that they win every time. In Texas they have just about passed laws about which courageous attorney Marc Elias of Democracy Docket says, “This bill is so terrible, that I would have thought it was an April Fool’s joke, but it’s Texas, so it;s real.”

Texas State Senator Brian Hughes, speaking in favor of one of these bills, said, “Overall, this bill is designed to address areas throughout the process where bad actors can take advantage, so Texans can feel confident that their elections are fair, honest and open.” That is an absolute lie, based on a bigger lie, that the last election was riddled with fraud. Every reputable voting monitoring group in the country said that the election was free and fair. But the Republicans do not care about the truth, they rely on their propaganda machine to tell people what they want them to hear.

We thought, or at least I did, that all this idiocy about rigged elections, and that Trump could only lose if it were fixed, were the products of his mad, self-serving delusions. But it seems that this was all part of an insidious plot hatched by whatever malevolent people run things in Republicanland; Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society, or whoever. The polls showed that Biden would win, and so they prepared the fallback plan of convincing their base that a Biden win would be based on fraud. And then virtually none of the Republicans would admit that Biden won. And then they immediately began passing draconian voting laws in every state where they held a legislative majority.

So they said that the election was rigged. Then they tried to completely overturn the democracy, by having a horde of armed insurgents try to kill as many officials as they could, and stop the certification of votes. That barely failing, they then moved to passing laws which will insure that this will never happen again, Their goal is that America will be a banana republic without the bananas, where those in power control and count the votes, and the only way to displace them is some kind of military coup or mass rioting.

I do not like to have to think this way. I derive no pleasure whatsoever in alarming people. But looking at all of this, it seems to be the biggest internal threat to our democracy that we have ever faced. Many people are realizing this; but what to do about it? Republicans just continue with their actions, they are not dissuaded by anything; certainly various Democratic state legislators who angrily or imploringly oppose what they are doing, mean absolutely nothing to them, they are just surface noise.

We see that Delta and Coca-Cola executives have said something or other about the Georgia voting repression being unacceptable. But is that just corporate nothing-speak, where they try to cover themselves so as to not lose market share? What are they actually doing about it? So far, nothing. Republican troops march ahead relentlessly, moving to impregnable positions.

Something has to be done, we all know that. But would it be sufficient? If these laws are not struck down, Democrats cannot win in Texas, Georgia, probably Arizona. They are trying in Pennsylvania and Michigan, too. The vestiges of the Obama shellackings of 2010 and 2014 still remain in those Republican-dominated state legislatures, even where Democrats took back the governorships. Republicans always work with what they have, that is part of their malevolent genius, if you want to call it that. Whatever cards they hold, they use them to get what they want, or at least stop Democrats from thwarting them. That is why the states which they are focusing on are Georgia, Arizona, Texas, states where the Democrats actually won in 2020, or are coming close. They want to take care of that, forever.

President Biden at least seems very aware of this, and so does his Chief of Staff, the estimable Ronald Klain. Time moves on, though, and all the complaining or appealing to people’s better nature, or the history of the Republic, will not cancel half a line, or wash out a word of what the Republicans are doing. They actually feast on the tears and indignation of the liberals, that is their lifeblood, along with untrammeled power.

What must be done, whatever it is, has to be meeting force with force. Boycotts can be a good idea, but Republicans would take a few blips in the profits, to insure complete power, because they can get all the money back again, and then some. Are corporations based in those states somehow going to get the laws changed? Once they are on the books, they can’t be removed except by judicial decree. And a sad and frightening truth is that the takeover of the Supreme Court was done with just this kind of thing in mind. Also, who is to say that even if the courts overturned these laws, the states would remove them? All they want is to win the next election, take over the House and Senate, and they have won. All the rest is just sound and fury signifying nothing.

Republicans also make sure that they try to roll back voting rights in as many states as possible. It is along the principle of sending your forces everywhere, you figure to win at least some battles. If Georgia is overturned, they’ve still got Arizona, and so on. Joe Biden won the popular vote by seven million, and yet, had 42,000 votes in key states gone the other way, Trump would have been elected. Does anyone have the stomach to imagine Trump, or DeSantis, or Rick Scott, or any of them, being president in 2025? The country would be unlivable.

The barbarians are at the gates. We have to do something. We do not have the immense propaganda machine which the Right Wing has cultivated for decades, which lies with Orwellian fluency, and tells people that they are just protecting election integrity from bad actors who do not exist, but which have been implanted in their minds.

File the cases, but don’t expect redress from the Supreme Court. Breaking the filibuster would be far better. Past that, all that might save the democracy are absolutely massive boycotts, or the actual use of federal troops to secure the vote. The Republicans would scream that it was lawless and unconstitutional, but they do things like that all the time. The Supreme Court has to be made to realize that it is not going to be some comfy situation for them, where they deliver right-wing dictates to a compliant populace. If Republicans are determined to turn the country into a permanent fascist state, they have to be stopped by whatever non-violent powers the good people have at their disposal. There is no other course.

13 Responses

  1. There is no such thing as an unassailable authoritarian state, Orwell’s most famous work notwithstanding.

    With each day that passes, there are more of us and fewer of them.

    If the Elephascists make their peaceful removal from power impossible, they will only make their violent removal from power inevitable.

    But as Saruman said to Frodo, that will not be my doing. I merely foretell.

    • Effectively put, IBW. But Russia and China have proven to be pretty much unassailable, though Gorbachev tried very hard to change their historic authoritarianism, only to have to witness them inevitably returning to it. It is a hope, and this country is used to some form of democracy, but an authoritarian regime which has the outer trappings of a democracy, with a so-called vote, and elected bodies, could lull most into thinking it is not what it really is. But of course we hope, and there are still things we can collectively do. I will have to get around to reading LOTR, it apparently has much to offer on that theme.

      • They will fall eventually.

        You see, Nature itself hates authoritarianism, because authoritarianism is order, while Nature loves chaos. (2nd Law of Thermodynamics)

  2. Agent of Chaos by Norman Spinrad is an excellent sci-fi novel that deals with this subject. Is there such a thing as unassailable authoritarian state? The novel suggests that the more control a state imposes, the more control it requires to maintain that level of control. The controls have to constantly ratchet up, which might be unsustainable.

    That’s why China cannot have a free (in the free speech sense) internet.

    However, we need HR1 and we need it now. That will address many problems, if passed.

  3. The state we are in now shows how effective it is to pound your message into heads for 40+ years. Everyone under 45 or so, has grown up exposed to the nonsense of talk radio and 24/7 news cycles; they are more easily led astray. The wide use of Facebook and other such social media has ratcheted the problem upward by 100%.

    • Yes, that is very distressing. People who know others who listen to this propaganda, say that they endlessly repeat the talking points: crisis at border; they’re going to raise your taxes, etc. And what we learned about Facebook’s collusion with Russians and Trump was horrifying, and certainly got him elected. A great problem is that every so-called technological advance or means of communication is exploited by those who seek immense power, and are happy to use lies of all kinds to get it. We were much better off with thirty minutes of nightly news read by professional newspeople, and just music on the radio, or straight news, not these awful propaganda talk shows.

      • Some quotes from a document that gets a lot of things right IMO. I have been very anti marketing/advertising since my mid 20’s when I read Subliminal Seduction. I blame a lot of where we are today on marketing, the 24/7 news cycle. the internet, and most importantly social media sites like Facebook

        Note: this was written in 1995 before the internet came into its own and way before that tw{i|a}t (both apply IMO) Zuckerberg even gave serious thought to getting laid; so Facebook wasn’t even a gleam in his eye.

        Advertising and marketing techniques have been developed that make many people feel they need things that their grandparents never desired or even dreamed of.

        People vary in their susceptibility to advertising and
        marketing techniques. Some are so susceptible that, even
        if they make a great deal of money, they cannot satisfy
        their constant craving for the the shiny new toys that the
        marketing industry dangles before their eyes

        But freedom of the
        press is of very little use to the average citizen as an individual. The mass media are mostly under the control
        of large organizations that are integrated into the system.
        Anyone who has a little money can have something printed, or can distribute it on the Internet or in some such
        way, but what he has to say will be swamped by the vast
        volume of material put out by the media, hence it will
        have no practical effect.

        A reform movement designed to clean up political corruption in a society
        rarely has more than a short-term effect; sooner or later
        the reformers relax and corruption creeps back in

        There has been a consistent
        tendency, going back at least to the Industrial Revolution for technology to strengthen the system at a high
        cost in individual freedom and local autonomy.

        The system HAS TO regulate human behavior closely in order to function.

        The system does not and cannot exist to satisfy
        human needs. Instead, it is human behavior that has to
        be modified to fit the needs of the system.

        It is not possible to make a LASTING compromise
        between technology and freedom, because technology is
        by far the more powerful social force and continually encroaches on freedom through REPEATED compromises.

        Once a technical innovation has
        been introduced, people usually become dependent on it,
        so that they can never again do without it, unless it is replaced by some still more advanced innovation.

        Corporations and government agencies, when they find it
        useful, do not hesitate to collect information about individuals without regard to their privacy.

        Without the entertainment
        industry the system probably would not have been able to
        get away with putting as much stressproducing pressure
        on us as it does.

        the
        average American should be portrayed as a victim of the
        advertising and marketing industry, which has suckered
        him into buying a lot of junk that he doesn’t need and
        that is very poor compensation for his lost freedom. … It is merely a
        matter of attitude whether you blame the advertising industry for manipulating the public or blame the public for
        allowing itself to be manipulated

        • Very powerfully prescient and accurate. And of course it is even worse now, as they are not just marketing laundry detergent and cars, but political candidates, political movements, and lies.

          • I agree with a large part of the document, especially these and other rants against advertising/marketing and market manipulation. I do not agree with the author’s methods, but he was spot on in calling out a lot of what I see today… the author is Ted Kaczynski, and this is from the manifesto.

        • Whoa, I find myself agreeing with Kaczynski’s analysis! That’s very scary.

          I was first “introduced” to the internet in grad school around 1989-90. Can’t say I have ever been a big fan. Facebook creeped me out from the beginning. Lil’ Opie Zuckerberg didn’t fool me with his boyish ways. I never joined FB, nor have I been on any other social media platforms. I took a nearly 4 year vacation from the internet altogether in late 2016. I wanted peace and quiet, a simpler way of being in the world. The internet is just so much noise!

          I still limit my time online to a few hours a month. I prefer to read. Real books, the kind you hold in your hands. The kind you keep by your bed. The kind you treasure forever or pass along to the people you love.

          • I don’t have cable TV or any streaming services either. No 24/7 news channels! I have a simple antenna on my TV so I can get several PBS channels. That’s it. It is possible to live in our society without the shiny new toys. One just makes a decision to do it.

          • I also listen to the radio. It plugs into the wall. NPR, lots of music, UCLA tournament basketball. It’s right there on the dial. Like a miracle or something!

          • Exactly Beata, pretty scary. I have to think that just maybe he turned out the way he did because of those CIA experiments he participated in while at Harvard. They guy was super smart before he was messed with.

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