Politicians talk openly of executing LGBTQ Americans

Cattle car at Birkenau, part of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Photo by Rob Archer.

Cattle car at Birkenau, part of the Auschwitz concentration camp. In these, Nazis shipped Jews and “undesirables” to their deaths. Photo by Rob Archer.

Several politicians recently have been caught raising the idea that LGBTQ Americans should be killed or executed. That these statements are being made in the open is a disturbing trend. How far will it go? Will they start talking about “camps” for “undesirables”?

In Florida, Mark Hill is heard on tape laughing about a suggestion that, because the Bible allegedly calls for the death of gay men, legislation should be introduced that would execute gay people for their “crime.”

In Alabama, Mayor Mark Chambers of Carbon Hill in a Facebook rant complained that the only way to “solve” the “problem” of gay people is to kill them. When called out on it, he doubled down. No remorse, no apology.

Already in America, we have a version of concentration camps where migrants are being kept in overcrowded, unhealthy conditions, and people – including children – are dying as a result. With minimal outcry, I might add.

We seem to be primed, as the German people were, to accept the idea of wholesale killing of groups of people as a solution.

As the national psyche hardens, it will take so much more to un-harden than just talk or reason. And that scares the living hell out of me. Germany had to be utterly destroyed to loosen the grip of people who firmly believed it was right to kill Jews, gays, Soviet POWs, Roma, and the handicapped.

Is it already too late?

So many questions

So many questions.

For two years, the president and his supporters said Mueller was a “bad cop,” and his team was filled with evil people who couldn’t be trusted. Does that mean Mueller’s alleged findings are suspect? What are the people who attacked Mueller saying today? Are they taking it all back?

Trump yet again said the Mueller investigation was “illegal.” If so, does that mean we should throw out the findings and do the probe over again?

If they did nothing wrong, why did so many of campaign and administration officials… and Mr. Trump and his family… lie and mislead about their connections, dealings, and meetings with Russians? Why the attempts to cover up if there was nothing to cover up?

Why did Mr. Mueller not subpoena in-person testimony from the president, Donald Trump Jr., or Jared Kushner, or question them under oath?

And the head-scratcher of all head-scratchers: Why did Mr. Mueller defer the obstruction of justice determination to Mr. Barr, Trump’s hand-picked Attorney General installed to make sure “no president can ever be indicted”? Was Mueller pressured?

No republic is eternal. It lives only as long as its citizens want it.

Most people, if they compare the fall of Rome with the impending fall of the United States, are thinking of the fall of the Empire that led to the so-called Dark Ages. But the comparison isn’t really valid.

What’s happening right now, not just in America but in several other democratic republics around the world, is more like the fall of the Roman Republic before the advent of Caesar Augustus.

The similarities between then and now are eerily disturbing and frightening. We’re at the cusp of what could be a disastrous change for America and democracy on our planet.

That’s why I highly recommend the book, Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell into Tyranny by Edward J. Watts, professor of history at UC San Diego.

An excerpt:

1606933485This book explains why Rome, still one of the longest-lived republics in world history, traded the liberty of political autonomy for the security of autocracy. It is written at a moment when modern readers need to be particularly aware of both the nature of republics and the consequences of their failure. We live in a time of political crisis, when the structures of republics as diverse as the United States, Venezuela, France, and Turkey are threatened. Many of these republics are the constitutional descendants of Rome and, as such, they have inherited both the tremendous structural strengths that allowed the Roman Republic to thrive for so long and some of the same structural weaknesses that led eventually to its demise. This is particularly true of the United States, a nation whose basic constitutional structure was deliberately patterned on the idealized view of the Roman Republic presented by the second-century BC author Polybius. This conscious borrowing from Rome’s model makes it vital for all of us to understand how Rome’s republic worked, what it achieved, and why, after nearly five centuries, its citizens ultimately turned away from it and toward the autocracy of Augustus.

No republic is eternal. It lives only as long as its citizens want it.

Contrary to what Trump has been saying at rallies, there is no “open borders bill.”

Image: President Trump Holds Make America Great Again Rally In Pennsylvania

The President of the United States said this recently at a rally:

“Every single Democrat in the U.S. Senate has signed up for the open borders – and it’s a bill. And it’s called The Open Borders Bill. What’s going on? And it’s written by – guess who – Dianne Feinstein.”

Here’s the problem: There is no such bill. Everything about that accusation is completely made up.

This is a lie so blatant that no excuse can be found in the realm of “maybe he’s just confused or mistaken.” It is so totally untrue that he must know he’s lying, and he’s lying on purpose.

The art of political campaigning used to be the art of spin, and the art of spin was to make your charge true enough that you could score a valid point. But now we’re in the era of make anything up, do it out of whole cloth, it doesn’t have to have any relationship at all with reality.

As Steve Benen writes:

When the lines between fact and fiction blur for the president, it’s unsettling.

But more broadly, Trump has also apparently convinced himself, not only that an imaginary bill is real, but also that he’s accurately describing the Democratic position on immigration policy.

To put it mildly, he isn’t.

I realize that the president isn’t a fan of nuance or substantive policy debates. He enjoys the convenience of binary framing: to agree with the far-right agenda on immigration is to be “tough”; to oppose it is to support “open borders.”

But no one of any influence in Democratic politics endorses Trump’s bizarre description of the party’s agenda. On the contrary, the Obama administration strengthened border security measures well beyond what we saw under his Republican predecessor.

Sexual assault happens to men, too. But there’s a difference between how it’s received if you’re a woman. I know.

I, too, am the victim of sexual assault.

I have shared this privately with very few people, but never publicly.

Because of shame. And in many ways, shame is the follow-up assault. It’s the lifelong coup-de-grace that re-assaults you over and over again at the start of each new day.

It happened to me when I was a little boy. I only knew him as “Uncle Tim,” a friend of the family.

I vividly remember the minute details, where I was, the fact that it was cold, what he did, what he said… but I couldn’t tell you the year or “Tim’s” last name. My best guess is that it had to be in the very early 70’s because that was the time period I lived in that house. That’s the only way I know.

So I completely understand when someone can remember some details but not others after the passage of time. It is not a mystery.

My guess is, “Tim” victimized other children, some in the house with me at the time.

It’s not a “recovered memory.” I never forgot about it and then suddenly remembered it later. I didn’t invent it or make it up. I’m not confused about who did it. I haven’t conflated him with someone else.

I did tell my mother a few years after it happened, and she wept that she had put me in such a position as to allow such a person into the home, but it wasn’t her fault, just like it wasn’t my fault. She wasn’t in a good place, either, and I learned many years later there was abuse she had endured that I never knew about.

Over the years the people I confided in never upbraided me for it, never accused me of “asking for it,” or said it was my fault because I was wearing something inappropriate.

But if I were a woman that’s the reaction I’d probably get. I’m sure my mom got that reaction. I bet she got that reaction from people who were supposed to love her.

What a horrorshow this planet can sometimes be.

I can’t even imagine what it must feel like to have the anger and doubt thrown at you on top of all the shame, the questioning that you didn’t fight hard enough, that maybe, deep down inside, it was your fault.

But it’s not. If it happened to you, it’s not your fault. No matter how many years it takes you to find the strength to tell someone about it.

An anonymous op-ed from the flight deck

Hi there. I’m an anonymous senior flight official who works for the airline.

Your pilot is deliberately trying to crash this plane. He’s a little crazy and unhinged. In the early days, there were whispers of having him committed and never letting him get on a plane, but we didn’t want to cause a fuss with corporate.

But don’t worry. There are several of us here who, while we believe in the principles the pilot has espoused, are nevertheless doing everything we can to curb the pilot’s more murderous intentions.

We’ll keep working to keep all of you passengers safe while the pilot continues trying to crash the plane. We’ll keep doing this until he stops being the pilot… one way or the other.

So just relax. You’re in our hands. Go about your business and don’t mind the sudden changes in altitude.

What happens to the military in a government shutdown?

President Trump tweeted this morning that if the government shuts down, it would be “devastating to our military.”

So, what happens to the military in a government shutdown?

US officials say the armed forces are considered essential and would still report for duty, unlike rank and file government employees.

And military personnel still get paid, unless a shutdown lasts until February 1. That’s because funding runs through midnight Friday and the last paychecks went out last Monday. Personnel must report to work and still would be paid at the first pay period after the shutdown ends.