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Hullabaloo


Thursday, April 19, 2018

 

Fight back while you still can

by Tom Sullivan

Mr. Trump already doesn't like the Washington Post. The Post this morning gave him another reason not to.

The Editorial Board spotlights a speech by French President Emmanuel Macron delivered to the European Parliament on Tuesday. In it, Macron pushes back against the rise of intolerance and anti-democratic impulses across the Europe. That the Post devotes space and attention to Macron's warning gives the back of the hand to the avatar of that foul trend here at home.

Macron warns of “national selfishness and negativity” and a “fascination with the illiberal” spreading across Europe in the emergence of far-right movements and parties:

But his words also apply more broadly to the surge of illiberalism in Turkey, Egypt, Russia, China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Azerbaijan, the Philippines and Venezuela, among other places, where leaders have actively snuffed out civil society, suborned or faked elections, asphyxiated free expression, ignored rule of law, and repressed basic human rights. Leaders in such countries learn from one another as they refine methods to crush democracy, by banning or restricting nongovernmental organizations, creating laws to single out independent voices as “foreign agents,” imposing censorship on the news and social media, and, most tried and true, jailing those who dissent. They also echo one another’s claims that their imposed order offers a viable alternative to democracy, which can be so unpredictable and messy.

Mr. Macron wisely denounced a “deadly illusion” that “has precipitated our continent toward the abyss” in previous generations: “the illusion of strong power, nationalism, the abandonment of freedoms.” Democracy is not being “condemned to impotence,” he insisted. “Faced with the authoritarianism that surrounds us everywhere,” he declared, “the answer is not authoritarian democracy, but the authority of democracy.”
“I do not want to belong to a generation of sleepwalkers," Macron told leaders in Strasbourg. "I do not want to belong to a generation that will have forgotten its own past or that will refuse to see the torments of its own present. I want to belong to a generation that has decided firmly to defend its democracy.”

Nor do believers in democracy want to belong to a nationalist movement training members to kiss up to the powerful and kick down at the weak. The Post is blunt: "President Trump cannot find a voice for such essential principles." No, he cannot, because he has none to draw upon.

Each day this administration by Local 12 of the Villains, Thieves, and Scoundrels Union persists, America grows a little darker. Fight back while you still can.

As if to drive home the Post's point about jailing dissenters (if indeed the editorial is not in reaction to this news), eleven Republicans sent a letter Wednesday to Attorney General Jeff Sessions urging him to prosecute an enemies list of Trump foes. The list includes former FBI Director James Comey, former Secretray of State Hillary Clinton, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former Acting Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe, FBI Agent Peter Strzok and FBI Counsel Lisa Page.

The target list also includes "FBI personnel connected to the compilation of documents on alleged links between Russia and then-presidential candidate Donald Trump known as the 'Steele dossier,' including but not limited to" the aforementioned Comey and McCabe, plus former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente. We shall have more anon.

All but two of the House members who signed the joint letter come from the House Freedom Caucus. They are: Ron DeSantis, Andy Biggs, Dave Brat, Jeff Duncan, Matt Gaetz, Paul Gosar, Andy Harris, Jody Hice, Todd Rokita, Claudia Tenney, and Ted Yoh. If they fancy living in the kind of authoritarian autocracy where leaders jail their political opponents, here are a couple of lists of countries they might prefer to the the land of the free and the home of the brave. They'll feel right at home.

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For The Win 2018 is ready for download. Request a copy of my county-level election mechanics primer at tom.bluecentury at gmail.