Al Carroll's Journal
Name: Al Carroll
Gender: Do not display
Hometown: San Antonio
Home country: US
Current location: VA
Member since: Tue Apr 22, 2014, 10:33 PM
Number of posts: 113
Gender: Do not display
Hometown: San Antonio
Home country: US
Current location: VA
Member since: Tue Apr 22, 2014, 10:33 PM
Number of posts: 113
Sent an appeal on my post being removed Oct 22. Never a response. Did it just slip through the cracks? An oversight?
Posted by Al Carroll | Mon Oct 31, 2016, 06:49 PM (3 replies)
Excerpt from Trump Fascism: A Very Possible Future
Most Customs and Border Patrol (CPB) officers were not happy with Drumpf. CBP agents were more than half Latinos. That includes not just the US born, but naturalized citizens, former immigrants, including some who were once immigrants here without their papers, “illegals” according to the epithet. CBP hires many immigrants and is more than half Latinos because it badly needs fluent bilingual agents. But few anti-immigrant types know that, and they might be angry if they did know.
Now Drumpf knew it for the first time. A Daily Stormer article he read and retweeted claimed CBP is made up of mostly Mexican illegal criminals. Just as he thought no “Mexican” (actually, US born) judge could be impartial, now he was convinced no Mexicans could serve in Customs and Border Patrol.
His presidential order came down: No more CBP agents who were not US born. And all current agents who were naturalized citizens or Mexican-American would be investigated to see if they were sympathetic to “illegals.”
That meant about a quarter of incoming or newly recruited agents were now barred, and a quarter of the current agents were under investigation. Many agents, especially US born Mexicans, took early retirement or looked for work elsewhere. Their work force was stretched thin.
Deportations fell sharply, leading to angrier charges of bias by “pro illegal” Mexican “traitors.” Morale in CPB dropped lower and lower. Where there had been 20,000 agents in 2016, the CBP dropped to sharply to under 14,000 by the end of 2017.
The order went out in February 2017 to look for volunteers to assist CBP. Drumpf came up with the name, Defend America From Illegals, or DAFI. The DAFIs were quickly nicknamed Daffys or Daffy Ducks by others. The nickname fit them, since Daffy Duck was all white, got angry easily, was impossible to understand, and white feathers have long been a symbol of cowardice.
DAFI got their recruits from the same crowd the so called Minutemen militias did. The Minutemen had been white supremacists anti immigrant vigilantes until their groups imploded, killed by scandals from its leaders involving murders, bank robberies, pagan and fundamentalist cults, neo Nazis, drug dealing, and domestic terrorism charges.
Now the same people were recruited by the US government at Drumpf’s urging and orders. Racist militias and extremists got paid civil service salaries, and issued US government uniforms and weapons, pistols, shotguns, and AR-15s. It looked to be a disaster waiting to happen.
Where the Minutemen claimed to want to recruit 3,500, Drumpf recruited 7,000 DAFIs. But where CBP agents go through nineteen weeks of training in law and law enforcement, DAFIs went through just thirty days.
The first murder of immigrants crossing happened on the same day as the first patrols by DAFIs. A panicky new DAFI shot dead an immigrant crossing in the desert. His partner swore the immigrant “reached for his waist.” “I thought he was reaching for a weapon” became the standard defense for the several immigrant murders a week by DAFI for its whole sordid existence.
Worse than that was the increasingly routine massacres. Trucks and vans carrying ten to thirty immigrants got shot up on a monthly basis, killing anywhere from several to dozens at a time. Then one smuggler did shoot back. That led to immigrant haters pointing for months to that one incident to excuse away the slaughter.
Vigilante gangs started getting in on the act too. DAFI was not enough for them. Never mind that its reputation and tactics mirrored the Black and Tans putting down Irish revolts. These gangs were not even militias. Nazi skinheads started using the murder of an immigrant on the border as their initiation into their gangs. Chapters of the Hammerskins or Combat 18 or the Aryan Volksfront in the southwest started bearing names like “Wetback Killers,” “Spic Fighters,” and “Mex Assassins.”
Hate crimes on US born Mexicans and other Latinos in the street started spiking. Drumpf followers led campaigns to boycott or harass Mexican restaurants and other businesses, or what they thought was Mexican. It was every bit as ludicrous as the campaign against Germans during World War I. They demanded Taco Bell be shut down, that McDonald’s quit serving breakfast tacos, that grocery stores quit selling tortillas. Cuban Americans, once reliably conservative, began leaving the Republican Party because so much hatred got misdirected at them too. Even Puerto Rican bodegas felt the anger, with the ignorant insisting the “immigrants” “go back to their own damn country.”
But that was just the beginning…
I awoke one day to find out most of my family got deported. The Mexican side of the family has roots that go back to long before the southwest got stolen from Mexico by war. The Zapatas fought on both sides of the Texas rebellion.
My nephew Jose was home on leave from Southcom, visiting my sister Adelita and his dad Pancho. They were all having dinner at their house on the west side when the raids swept them up.
Jose heard the sounds of bullets killing their pit bull Guarache. Redshirts kicked down their fence and raced to the front door. Their battering ram had the door smashed in only two swings.
“On the ground! Don’t fucking move, Jose!”
Jose thought that was funny since it was his actual name. But he didn’t laugh at the next part.
A Redshirt threw his mom to the ground. His knee was on her back. The sixty five year old nurse howled in pain.
Shut up, spic!”
Pancho got a billy club to the side of his head for moving toward his wife. Jose felt a Redshirt’s gloved hand on his throat.
Jose’s Ranger training kicked in. The Redshirt got his fingers broken. An angry cluster of Redshirts pinned him to the floor and kicked him until he was unconscious. Jose awoke the next in INS detention with a concussion and broken ribs.
Within a week, the three of them were on the bridge between Laredo and Nuevo Laredo, being pushed by angry Redshirts toward Mexican troops, cops, and crowds jeering the militia and welcoming the deported. My sister, nephew, and brother in law never saw a judge or a warrant. The Redshirts never identified themselves as law enforcement or knocked on the door. My family never had to a chance to tell anyone happened to them. Or to point out they are citizens born and bred in the USA for many generations, a US soldier and two US Army retired veterans.
The return of Operation Wetback came with another Drumpf announcement. No law was passed. Congress was only asked to endorse and authorize payment, after the fact of what Drumpf went ahead and just did.
The original deportation campaign came during the 1930s. A second wave hit in the 1950s, one Drumpf held up as a model. This time the operation’s actual name was that ugly racist epithet. Both campaigns together kicked out nearly 4 million people, not just immigrants without papers, but hundreds of thousands of legal resident aliens, naturalized citizens, and even legal citizens going back generations. Even American Indians and Filipino-Americans got thrown out and sent to Mexico.
What, really, were they guilty of? Being without papers, a crime about equal to driving without a license. Think about the deep racist hatred of the anger against them. When was the last time you saw angry mobs screaming about unlicensed drivers? When did unlicensed drivers ever get called “invaders” and get falsely blamed for crime, drugs, rape, and unemployment? Yes, falsely, because immigrants commit crimes at far lower rates than US born citizens. And when have unlicensed drivers ever had vigilante militias formed to get them?
But in the minds of people seeking a scapegoat, a bunch of racist bullies will blame others for their own failure to get a job. Those jobs worked by immigrants they imagine are “theirs.” In their minds, those jobs belong to whites, even though extremely few whites line up to pick lettuce and grapes, clean hotel rooms, or sew in sweatshops. In their minds, the US is a white nation, and Latinos with our various shades of brown skin, mixed ancestry, and speaking Spanish and indigenous languages (since over 90% of Mexicans are American Indian ancestry) are somehow not truly Americans.
Operation Stop The Invaders or OSTI began in May 2017. (After the DAFI naming fiasco, Drumpf was more careful.) All 14,000 members of the CBP, all 7,000 of the DAFIs, over 50,000 of Drumpf’s Redshirts (see next chapter), over 10,000 US Army and National Guard troops, and about 5,000 city cops, county sheriff’s deputies, and state police took part in the raids.
The governors of Arizona and Oklahoma agreed to send National Guard and state police. Every governor in the other 48 states refused to take part. Some city police forces and county sheriffs agreed to take part, especially in Arizona. Most others refused, often because police unions strongly objected. Basically, elected officials ordered police to take part or not based on how they thought voters would react.
The sweeps went after people based on tips from the public, tips for which they were paid bounties. So often the tips came from racists looking to get paid or get even, or hoping to open up jobs for themselves. Restaurants were shut down left and right. One construction site after another was raided. Cleaning staffs at hotels were emptied out. So far this was not so different from the usual targets for CBP.
But with so many overeager racists in uniform, the sweeps could not help be very different. DAFI and the Redshirts relished the chance to beat “illegals.” Some had to be restrained from shooting fleeing workers, not always successfully. Even cops and deputies sometimes got shot by DAFI and Redshirt friendly fire.
OSTI sweeps through the neighborhoods had the most trouble. Redshirts went door to door through East Los Angeles, west Phoenix, the west side and south side of San Antonio, east Denver, south Dallas, and almost the entire city of El Paso. There were no warrants, no knocks at the door or warnings it was law enforcement. Just Redshirts with often equally angry red faces taking great pleasure in smashing down doors, trashing homes, and rounding up Mexicans while screaming racist abuse. “On the floor, spics!”
The raids often became violent beyond smashed up living rooms and roughed up innocents. After the first few days, riots broke out every day during neighborhood raids. Local gangs, angered by the abuse, started sniping at the Redshirts and DAFIs.
But very few Redshirts or DAFIs had much skill at live fire situations. Cops and deputies increasingly resented having to take out shooters provoked by the raids. By June, almost no local police would join the sweeps anymore. Both governors also pulled out the Arizona and Oklahoma National Guard after several soldiers were shot and several more shot both gang members and bystanders.
The main difference between OSTI and Operation Wetback came from Mexico’s reaction. In the 1930s and 50s, Mexico’s government welcomed the deported. Mexico badly needed the labor force at the time. Its government actually had agreements with the US government and American railroads to send the deportees deep into Mexico. Those kicked out were not dropped off at the border, but shipped all the way to the center of the nation, making it far more difficult for them to reenter the US.
This time, the Mexican government and Mexican people did not accept the sweeps. All the Redshirts and DAFI could do was take the deportees to the edge of the border. There they were greeted by Mexican police, army, and crowds who jeered and cursed the Redshirts and welcomed the deportees.
Usually within hours the deported were trying to sneak back across the border. The raids were a huge failure. They provoked outrage, violated human rights, and harmed American business. Nowhere near Drumpf’s goal of eleven million got deported. The raids swept up slightly under a million in several months before being abandoned, and over a third of them were not the intended targets. The only ones to come out well from this were “coyotes,” human smugglers who had much new business.
In the 1930s and 50s, US citizens and legal resident aliens thrown out by mistake had little recourse. They were just deported and had to take it. But in 2017, they spoke long and loud on the internet, and on Mexican and other Latin American TV. Hundreds of thousands of Mexican-Americans, American Indians, and others “accidentally” deported were a huge embarrassment to the US.
Adelita and Pancho called the US consulate in Laredo and reporters in San Antonio. Jose called the commander of his Southcom unit near Miami, and then the Miami media. It was all over the news how two retired army colonels got beaten and “accidentally” deported. Adelita thought the tip against her probably came from a Drumpf supporter angry at what she’d said when interviewed at a Hillary rally.
Or it could be that Redshirts just got lazy and swept the whole neighborhood. At least four other homes on the block got raided. Not one of them had anyone who wasn’t born in the USA as much as Springsteen.
The US embassy and consulates became swamped with stranded Americans. Lawsuits flooded the courts. So did complaints filed for false imprisonment, abuse, assault, and even murders by the Redshirts and DAFIs during the raids. But Drumpf was determined not to let the courts stop the raids. His next publicly announced step was blunt:
“No Mexicans can be impartial judges, OK? We are building The Wall. We are deporting these invaders, these rapists and drug dealers and murderers, these disgusting people. And we are doing it humanely, for the most part.
So today we are removing these Mexican judges. Illegal alien sympathizers can’t be impartial so we are kicking them out. That’s it, it’s over and done, and no amount of squawking by these defeatists and these defenders of the invaders will stop me. OK?”
There were nearly 100 Latino federal judges. All of them were forced out of office by Drumpf, removed by the Redshirts when US Marshalls and FBI refused to do Drumpf’s dirty work. Not one of them was “Mexican.” All of them were citizens, nearly all born in the US. Nearly half of them were Latino but not Mexican. Drumpf became convinced no Latino could be impartial and had to be forced out.
And at the top of the list was Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a US born Latina, Puerto Rican. She and her family were US citizens going back to 1917, when US citizenship was imposed on all Puerto Ricans over nearly unanimous objections by them. The Redshirts dragged her out of her office in full view of the cameras.
Drumpf then appointed an “acting” Supreme Court Justice to replace her. He was a white male. Drumpf had pledged to appoint only white male judges during the election. Congress angrily rejected him. Both Drumpf and the judge ignored Congress. He continued serving, guarded by Redshirts.
The remaining Supreme Court justices were divided among themselves. They considered issuing a decision declaring the new “justice” to not be one of them. But Drumpf’s public hints that they’d be forced out of office too, plus frequent death threats from Drumpf supporters, made them back down. Some considered resigning, but thought that Drumpf would just replace them with rubber stamp “justices.” So in effect, the Supreme Court was neutered. Drumpf had silenced and cowed one entire branch of government.
This was the first time since Woodrow Wilson that the federal government had been segregated. Now hundreds of thousands of Americans lost federal jobs because of their race or ethnicity. Because Drumpf didn’t stop with kicking out Latinos from the CBP and judges’ offices. He was now convinced no “Mexican,” Latino, or immigrant could “be objective” and work for the government since they would surely automatically oppose him.
The FBI and the US Marshalls were next to be purged of Latinos and naturalized citizens. They had defied Drumpf over the Supreme Court. Then came Latino attorneys in the Justice Department, since Drumpf claimed they couldn’t “objectively” enforce his laws either. Regulatory agencies across the board were next, all departments.
By the end of 2017, there were very few civilians working for the federal government whose names ended in –ez, -ia, or –ino. Those with a non-Latino name because of their fathers or women married to a non-Latino lasted a little longer. But informers eager for promotions or to get hired for their jobs got them kicked out.
That included my son, John Lazaro Butler. John was fair skinned, taking after his German mother. But a few articles had mentioned me as his father, and he’d never been shy about talking about me. His one fourth Mexican ancestry and middle name was enough to get him blackballed.
The Foreign Service had very few Drumpf supporters. Likely it was a Drumpf supporter who’d failed the FS exam who wanted John’s job. A decade of service ended for him by bigots. He and his wife and kids went back to Texas. There’s an Indonesian American community in Houston they joined.
Some non-Latinos were also fired by mistake or came close to being kicked out, namely white women married to Latinos. Italian-Americans as well often got fired or close to being fired. They often share Latino names like Trevino and Bustamante. Filipino-Americans had the same problem. So did many American Indians, since their family names were often given to them by missionaries. It was an ugly irony, that the name of an ancestor who converted caused them so much grief.
The almost as bitter irony? Now white racists who had long complained about Affirmative Action were using race preference to take jobs away from minorities. Most who benefitted from AA have always been whites anyway, mostly middle class white women.
Posted by Al Carroll | Sun Jul 31, 2016, 09:04 PM (0 replies)
This is the first in a series of excerpts from my dystopian novel of an alternate near future.
For more see the following sites:
A Very Possible Future
By Al Carroll
This alternate future history novel is a work of fiction, but one scrupulously researched and carefully based on documented facts, logical exposition, and direct public statements.
Table of Contents
About the Author
Chapter One: Election Day and Recession
Chapter Two: Inauguration Day, the Second Great Depression Begins
Chapter Three: War on Immigrants
Chapter Four: Trump’s Redshirts
Chapter Five: War on Dissent
Chapter Six: Trump Wars on Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iran, and Sudan
Chapter Seven: Allies Fall Away, the Trump Axis Begins
Chapter Eight: Trump Wars on the Military
Chapter Nine: The Military Wars on Trump
Chapter Ten: Trump Fascism Continues
Other Books by Al Carroll
About the Author
Al Carroll is Associate Professor of US, American Indian, and Latin American History at Northern Virginia Community College, and a former Senior Fulbright Scholar in Indonesia. His other books are; Medicine Bags and Dog Tags: American Indian Veterans from Colonial Times to the Second Iraq War; Presidents’ Body Counts: The Twelve Worst and Four Best American Presidents Based on How Many Lived or Died Because of Their Actions; Survivors: Family Histories of Colonialism, Genocide, and War; and A Proposed New Constitution.
His next books will be Genocide Denial in America; Ira Hayes: The Meaning of His Life in Native Memory and White Stereotypes; and two alternate history works Confederate Terrorism and Confederate Tyranny. He has written numerous articles that have appeared in Articles Base, Beacon, Bristle, Counterpunch, History News Network, Indian Country Today, LA Progressive, Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Truth Out, Wall Street Examiner, and elsewhere.
He is best known (and often vilified and demonized by racists) for his work as a human rights and anti-racist activist for New Age Frauds Plastic Shamans. NAFPS is a multiracial and multi-faith organization of over 2000 members based at www.newagefraud.org.
This book is a work of future alternate history. It is, at this point, fiction, but squarely based on fact and carefully researched. Everything in this book is not just possible, but likely and close to inevitable should Mr. Drumpf actually win. All the events depicted were extrapolated from his own words, writings, and actions, his followers’ words and actions, and the certain responses to and consequences of these fascists’ words and actions.
Everything that Drumpf does and everything his followers believe fit the textbook definition of fascism. The government he would found most closely resembles that of Mussolini’s, including its incredible bluster trying to hide its utter incompetence.
As of this writing, the chances of his winning are extremely remote. But if he somehow should win, we cannot claim we were not warned many times. We as a nation will have only ourselves to blame.
There is, of course, the very real possibility he and his followers will try to seize power by force, a scenario originally discussed by journalist Bob Dreyfus...
I have no doubt his gullible fanatics are already jerking their knees to respond. Once the election is over and he suffers a dramatic defeat, we still should remember the unpredictable threat he is. The choice we were given was between a very unpredictable elitist bigoted warmonger fascist in the making and an all too predictable warmonger corporatist posing as a woman of the people. I have written chapters and articles criticizing her at length, and the president before her.
Drumpf represents a newer and greater danger to basic human decency, existence, and freedom than the predictable but limited menaces to peace and equality that Hillary and Barack are. Part of what I and many others resent is that we are forced to temporarily defend an established order we don’t agree with at all because Drumpf is so extreme a danger. After he goes back to being a failed sideshow carnival barker in the business world, we can all go back to the old battles, not of left vs. right, but of the mass of ordinary people vs. elites both political and economic.
Excerpt from Chapter One:
“I must overthrow my commander in chief.” As a general and lifelong soldier I couldn’t believe I was saying that to myself over and over.
I just hope it will not be too violent. I don’t want this man dead, just out of office and in prison where he belongs. But if the jury convicts him and puts him to death, I’d be fine with that sentence.
But if the overthrow becomes very violent, we in the military will have to bear the cost, once again, for politicians’ failures.
My name is Chief of Staff of the Army General Ulysses Benito Butler, and this is my story. This is the story of how Mr. Drumpf (Trump) became president, destroyed American democracy and turned the US into a fascist state, started two disastrous wars, threw America into a Second Great Depression, tried to expel millions, imprisoned hundreds of thousands, and even tortured and executed thousands of fellow Americans. This is also the story of how myself and my fellow soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, and civilian volunteers fought him in the Second Civil War.
As soon as news of his narrow election win came in, the economy tanked. People were in shock because it was so unexpected. He’d been so stingy with his money, never really “self-funding” at all. There were all kinds of rumors about who paid for that last burst of negative advertising. Did he pay for it himself? He didn’t sell his hotels or golf courses, so did he get loans against his properties? Did other billionaires buy him? Even foreign leaders were suspected of influence peddling.
The news of his win sent the stock market into a tailspin almost the same as Great Britain leaving the European Union. The markets feared his recklessness. Oil prices shot up, and that led to higher food and utility prices. Gold prices also went up, people nervous about economic hard times. The stock market dropped by over 600 points. Over two trillion dollars in value vanished in global markets in just hours. The dollar collapsed to its lowest in thirty years. Obama had to issue guarantees of over $300 billion to try to steady the market.
Naturally Drumpf had to step in and keep up his Twitter wars.
“I will make so much money from this, you’ll see. And Obama, what a loser! He’s just disgusting for doing this.”
“Place is going wild. We will take our country back from the rapists and those ripping us off. No games!”
And that made the markets and the dollar drop yet again. The Drumpf Recession had begun. So naturally some of Drumpf’s people began beating on immigrants, blaming them for it somehow.
In Boston, it was a Latino man who got beaten. In Chicago, a Muslim man got attacked to shouts of “Trump! Trump!” In Houston, a Hindu couple got mistaken for Muslims. They had rocks thrown at them while the bigots screamed, “We don’t want your sharia law!” In Philadelphia, a Sikh got mistaken for Muslim and wound up in the hospital from being beaten with baseball bats.
In Phoenix, it was a Navajo who was mistaken for Mexican, with racists yelling, “Go back where you came from!”
He had the best come back. “OK, I’m moving into your house. I look at you and I see the real illegal aliens.”
He recorded the whole episode on his phone and posted it. Online, he kept up the come backs. “Clearly Europe is not sending its best people. They’re sending rapists. (Really people, there’s an epidemic of white racist rapists coming onto the reservations. Look it up.) They’re sending drugs. (Seriously, there’s so many white meth dealers and bootleggers on reservations.) And some, I assume, are good people. But I could be wrong.”
A few of Drumpf’s supporters began a bombing campaign. The first attempt happened back in December 2015. William Celli of Richmond, California plotted to target the Islamic Society of Contra Costa County with his homemade bombs. Celli pledged online to “follow Trump to the end of the world.”
The second Drumpf supporter tried bombing in March 2016. John Roos made a series of online threats where he called the Obamas “apes” and “Muslim faggots,” said Blacks needed to “pick cotton,” called for Muslim neighborhoods to be “cleansed and replaced with human beings,” called cops “Gestapo” and “pussies,” and praised Ann Coulter and Stacy Dash. He had numerous weapons and four homemade bombs he planned to use to kill the Obamas and snipe at police. Roos called Drumpf “the savior of America” and compared him to no less than Jesus Christ.
Police caught both Celli and Roos in time by police, their bombs defused. Amazingly, Celli only got sentenced to three months in jail. The next Drumpf supporters got away with their terrorism. The first mosque was bombed shortly after Drumpf won the election. The bomber’s note read, “Trump will cleanse America and the world of Muslim scum!”
They targeted a market that sold halal meat next, during the day time. The bomb blew up in the market aisle near the butcher’s. The flying nails and metal scrap killed two and wounded eleven more. Most of the casualties were not Muslim. It was an international market, run by Koreans with mostly Latino employees. It had African, Asian, and Latino as well as Middle Eastern customers. The note left at the scene said, “Muslims and Illegals OUT!” and was signed, “Trump’s Lions.”
Drumpf was back to his Twits that day.
“Just want to say those people are very passionate about this country. We will take it back! The ban on Muslims is coming soon. Except for Britain, because they’re like us. We are going to build that wall and make Mexico pay for it, you’ll see.”
Four more years of this?
Posted by Al Carroll | Fri Jul 15, 2016, 12:45 PM (0 replies)
Originally posted at http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/163108
Given how immigrant bashing is central to his appeal, it’s best to rebrand Mr. Drumpf (Trump) by his original family name. The man best known for hatred of immigrants has a grandfather, mother, wife, and ex-wife who are immigrants. Some accounts point to the grandfather changing his name during the height of anti-German hatred during World War I.
Numerous analysts, journalists, publications, and scholars judge Mr. Drumpf to be a fascist. These range from academics to Newsweek to Salon to the New Republic to even Forbes magazine and conservatives like Max Boot and Jeb Bush. He is authoritarian, appeals to irrationality, is highly nationalistic, extremely bigoted, and calls for the defense of capitalism at the expense of democracy. The only things missing from this textbook definition of fascism for Drumpf and his followers are the uniforms.
In spite of or more likely because of the threat Mr. Drumpf represents, he has little chance of winning. Most likely he will be defeated by 15 to 20 percentage points and over 150 electoral votes, the widest margins lost by any presidential candidate since 1984. Or perhaps a better parallel would be Barry Goldwater’s defeat in 1964, where he lost the election but redefined the party and conservatism.
In my history classes I always teach using counterfactuals, alternate history questions asking college students “What If?” Even though Drumpf has little chance of winning (and I urge all those reading to make that margin of loss as great as possible) it is interesting to consider what form Drumpf Fascism would take. What if he had a chance of actually winning? What if America’s billionaires lined up behind him instead of against him as they are now doing? What if he actually had the cash to self-finance? Truthfully, he does not and never did, which is why he relies on provocative Twitter wars, media manipulation, and loans to himself he hopes will be paid back by donors or be tax write offs.
What if Drumpf Fascism became the law of the land? It likely would have these ten traits:
1. Drumpf Fascism would be brazenly racist, but claim not to be.
Drumpf’s racism is undeniable. White supremacists, white nationalists, and white separatists support him with good reason, seeing him as like them. That he will disappoint them on Israel and their belief in a worldwide Jewish or Zionist conspiracy does not deter them. He is still their best recruiter in several generations.
But Drumpf’s racism is far more haphazard and opportunistic, and far less coherent and encompassing than that practiced by the likes of the KKK, neo-Nazis, militias, and even white supremacists passing as conservatives such as Ann Coulter and Pat Buchanan. Drumpf likes to pose as “the least racist person” to spread confusion and because he grasps it would cost him support to openly admit to being racist. Drumpf wants the votes of those who are like himself, racists but not willing to admit to it, of which there are many.
Drumpf also wants the votes of self-hating minorities, those who wish they were white or who hate other minorities or some combination of the two. The best known public example of that is Ben Carson, and there are other examples who have made a career of being attack dogs on behalf of white racists, such as that most bizarre creature, Filipina and white supremacist Michelle Malkin.
That is why Drumpf likes pointing to minority tokens in his audience as when he singled out a black person in a crowd as “my African-American” – as if the individual were a piece of property. Or his incredibly clumsy attempt to prove he was unprejudiced by posting a tweet of him eating the nastiest of fake versions of Mexican food, a taco bowl. In these tokenism practices, Drumpf is only following a long precedent. Previous Republicans have been using minority tokens all the way back to Clarence Thomas.
Don’t misunderstand the distinction. Obviously a member of a minority can be a conservative or a Republican based on sincere and devout convictions. The most numerous examples are strongly anti-Communist Cuban-Americans. Token minorities by definition are willing to be used by the openly racist for the token’s own benefit, or do so from their own confusion, self-hatred, and hatred of other minorities. So a Drumpf fascist organization would gladly take minority members on the condition that they take part in disparagement of their own backgrounds. Such people make up from 5-15% of minority groups, and they will support Drumpf.
2. Drumpf Fascism would only be nominally Christian.
Much like Drumpf and his supporters, any Christian aspect of his fascism, whether belief or practice, would be in name alone. Drumpf was a serial adulterer divorced several times, indifferent to his children by previous marriages, and with little understanding of the faith he only recently publicly claimed to profess. As a child, Drumpf’s family sometimes attended services by Norman Vincent Peale, a salesman widely accused of heresy and cultism, who trivialized Christianity and was often considered a con artist. And that is the extent of Drumpf’s “faith,” period.
In fact, Drumpf publicly declared he has never asked God for forgiveness because he never did anything wrong. He refers to the Eucharist as a “cracker” and could not name any Bible passages, mistakes no actual Christian would make and many non-Christians wouldn’t either. Drumpf’s followers largely do not attend church. Most of the devout among Republicans voted for Ted Cruz or Ben Carson in the primaries. Drumpf and his followers regard Jesus, as Michael Horton said in Christianity Today, as a mascot rather than a savior. Horton argues Drumpf’s success among some self-professed but only nominal Christians proves the secularization of Christianity rather than the strength of their faith. Call them CINOs, or Christians In Name Only.
Perhaps the only part religion plays in Drumpf fascism is virulent hostility to Muslims. Christian churches and believers would likely face persecution if they opposed Drumpf, as many currently do.
3. Drumpf Fascism would use violence and threats of violence.
That Drumpf has nothing but contempt for the rule of law and democracy is self-evident. Protesters at his rallies have been beaten, with Trump urging on the violence and promising to protect the attackers by paying their legal fees. Salon magazine has a running tally of the violence at Drumpf events. So far the count is nine unprovoked attacks by his followers upon critics, compared to three incidents of violence on both sides.
Drumpf also called for violence, “riots,” if he was not nominated at the convention. He openly longs nostalgically for the “good old days” when protesters were carried out on stretchers. A Drumpf police state would see both state sanctioned police and military violence against protesters, and also by Drumpf supporters formed into militias against critics. Drumpf supporters have already called for their own militia named the Lion’s Guard which imitates the British Union of Fascists’ imagery. Journalist Bob Dreyfus imagined a scenario where Drumpf called for armed rallies to form a Second Amendment Society, seizing power by force without needing to win any elections. It is easy to imagine Drumpf using threats of violence from his followers to intimidate Congress and the courts, effectively becoming a dictator. Such violence would be a more extreme form of that from Tea Party protests in 2009, which saw heavily armed racist militia demonstrations, death threats, attacks on Black congressmen, and vandalized offices.
4. Drumpf Fascism would be completely intolerant of dissent.
That Drumpf is notoriously thin skinned, bristling at the slightest criticism, has not been news for years. Keep in mind this is a man obsessed for decades with insults over the size of his hands. This is a man who filed a lawsuit against an artist for painting him nude in an unflattering way. This is a man currently engaged in race baiting a federal judge, possibly poisoning the jury pool as well as energizing racists.
Drumpf has also publicly vowed to “open up libel laws” to use against reporters for “negative” and “horrible” stories against him. He bars reporters from his press conferences based on their being Latinos, or simply for asking questions in the normal course of their work. He even complains that Fox News has been “unfair” to him, even though the network has featured many largely puff-piece segments passing for news. Crowds of his followers at primary debates shouted down even mildly critical questions. Recently he called for people to be imprisoned for not informing on their neighbors. The next step for Drumpf and his regime would be imprisoning reporters and dissidents.
5. Their fascist uniform would likely be red shirts, plus those baseball caps.
Where Hitler had brownshirts and Mussolini had blackshirts for their storm troopers, and American fascists in the 1930s were the Silver Shirts, Drumpf’s favored color is red. Not only are his caps already red, GOP-voting states are commonly referred to as red states. Choosing red would also be a way to appropriate its association with the working class and labor. Red shirts plus baseball caps also would give a militia deniability of being an actual militia, since they slightly resemble baseball fans or blue collar workers.
6. Drumpf Fascism would always be in conflict with the military.
Many on both the political left and right have false ideas about who makes up the military and their political points of view. There is the same diversity of opinions among soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines as among the rest of America. Keep in mind the US military has produced leftists like Smedley Butler, humanitarians like George Marshall, lunatics like Curtis Lemay, and bigots like Bo Gritz.
The military is made up of nearly one-third minorities, which is actually down from its previous high of one-half minorities. One-sixth of the military is female. Gays now serve openly, and join in proportionately higher numbers than the general population. Immigrants are 5 percent of the military. All these groups oppose Drumpf in high numbers. One Military Times poll claimed to show high support for him, but even the paper itself cautioned its results were unscientific. A more accurate measure is campaign contributions. The amount of military and Department of Defense workers’ contributions to Drumpf is dwarfed by the number who have given to Hillary Clinton (17 times as many) and Bernie Sanders (an amazing 25 times as many).
Drumpf’s own checkered history does not help. He avoided the draft in Vietnam using suspicious medical claims. Drumpf held an event for veterans in January 2016 and had to be shamed by the media into finally actually donating the money four months later. He still has yet to donate other money promised on several previous occasions. Drumpf insulted prisoners of wars as losers and his companies fire reservists. He argued for torturing prisoners and targeting the families of the enemy. Such a claim brought a public rebuke from retired officers that soldiers would be duty bound by law to refuse such obviously illegal orders.
7. The economy would crash immediately, and worsen the longer Drumpf ruled.
Drumpf’s promised trade wars with China would lead to tariffs raised and US business losses. His scapegoating Mexico and Mexicans, when most Mexicans in the US are not immigrants and most immigrants are not Mexicans, would be even more disastrous. Building a certainly ineffective wall and deporting all immigrants without papers would cost tens of billions and cripple numerous US industries. Not just agriculture but construction, retail, and many other service industries need immigrants. Prices for those goods would easily triple. Historically, immigrants create jobs, lower taxes for US citizens, and commit far fewer crimes than the US born.
Drumpf also has a horrible failure rate as a businessman. He has a minimum of thirteen failed businesses, eleven bankruptcies, and earned far less money than if he had put his inheritance in an index fund and left it alone. He has a long record of cheating customers, investors, business partners, and clients, refusing to pay bills using shady practices. His claimed self-worth is largely a fantasy; it’s probably dropped far lower due to the election campaign. His actual self-worth is at most a third of what he claims, perhaps as low as one-twentieth by one estimate. A loser at business like Drumpf would be even worse at government. Historically businessmen are very poor at being politicians.
8. Under Drumpf, relations with the rest of the world would dramatically worsen, likely including the most poorly planned wars in US history.
In a short time campaigning Drumpf has managed to worry and alienate most US allies and praised some of the worst US enemies. Erecting trade barriers is just the start. Drumpf called for Japan to have nuclear weapons, encouraging its hard right and even crypto fascist fringe. His call to ban all Muslims alienates every US ally in the Mideast except Israel’s hawks, and he is the best recruiting tool ISIS and Al Qaeda could have.
His incompetence at war planning could not be worse. “Bomb the shit out of them!” As if no one ever thought of that, had not tried and failed at it before in not just Syria but Iraq, Libya, and all the way back to Vietnam. Even World War II massed bombing just made the enemy more resolute. Even a first year military cadet knows that civilians constantly overestimate air power and imagine it to work like a videogame. But of course Drumpf imagines that dress uniforms at an elite prep school somehow made him “part of the military.”
9. Drumpf Fascism would be overthrown by the military, and democracy restored.
The most likely scenario for a breaking point with the military would be one too many illegal orders, Drumpf demanding torture or the targeting of civilians, or high troop losses where Drumpf’s fits substituted for military strategy. Hitler faced repeated assassination attempts by the German military, and Mussolini’s troops deserted in record numbers when they suffered heavy losses. In Mussolini’s case, as it likely would be in Drumpf’s, even his high level supporters turned against him.
The good news is that America’s military is unlike so many Latin American militaries. Officers resolutely avoid political entanglements while still in the service. Those who do face disciplining for it. There would be no attempt to hold onto power, only an immediate handover to civilians. American democracy would recover from fascism much like Spain did, except that US fascism’s fall would take three or four years rather than 40.
10. There will be a permanent US fascist movement, whether it calls itself that or not.
Drumpf Fascism may become the permanent face of the Republican Party. The party’s own leaders such as Lindsay Graham publicly worry so. So do stalwart conservative publications like the National Review. Even Glen Beck worries Drumpf is too crazy. The Republican Party could well become America’s own version of the National Front. Or it may be like the Peronists of Argentina, with nostalgic views of dictatorship and occasionally winning elections. Other Republicans likely will leave the party. Libertarians may hope to become the alternative for rational conservatism, but most business elites like government aid.
In a previous article published on the Daily Kos website I discussed how Drumpf’s health or mental problems may fell him at some point. Who would take his place? Perhaps his own sons, who are equally sheltered and clueless sons of privilege. Or whoever is foolish enough to run as his Vice President and tie his fall to theirs.
Al Carroll is Associate Professor of History at Northern Virginia Community College, a former Fulbright Scholar, and a longtime human rights activist for NewAgeFraud.org. He is the author or editor of six history books and numerous articles for Articles Base, Beacon, Bristle, Counterpunch, History New Network, LA Progressive, Truth Out, and Wall Street Examiner.
His next book will be Trump Fascism.
Posted by Al Carroll | Sun Jul 10, 2016, 09:29 AM (1 replies)
We as a nation have a bad habit. We cannot quit talking about this most despicable of men, a symbol of everything wrong with the American nation and society: Celebrity for the sake of celebrity, the worship of wealth and mammon, imagining that wealth or celebrity somehow confers wisdom or legitimacy, not to mention his pandering to hatreds of all kinds.
Then there is the violence he brings with him everywhere he goes, stirred by his base appeal to the most rabid and brainless bigots. As of this writing, more than 50 people have been assaulted at Trump rallies. The worst of this is not yet over. The worst is likely yet to come. We as a nation should prepare ourselves for five very likely waves of violence Trump and his followers could bring:
1. His followers form an actual militia.
This seems to have briefly already happened, with opinions split on whether it disbanded or is still around. On March 13, the Lion’s Guard formed and gained about 500 followers in less than a day. The group imitated fascist iconography, a red or yellow lion with a blue collar, similar to the British Union of Fascists’ symbol. Lion’s Guard also uses the same Mussolini slogan that Trump tweeted and then defended to media, “Better to be a lion for a day than a sheep for eternity.” Another symbol of Lion’s Guard has the slogan “God With Trump” in imitation of the Nazi slogan “God With Us” but with crosses in place of swastikas.
The militia migrated from Twitter to LionsOfTrump.net. Over 40 people responded with calls in the comments section to form militias in Arizona, California, Florida, and elsewhere. They vow to “defend against Anti MAGA far left infiltrators.” MAGA stands for “Make America Great Again, Trump’s campaign slogan. So far they have limited themselves to claiming to identify protest leaders.
Many of Trump’s followers already are in militias or other armed or violent groups, white supremacists, white nationalists, and racists and bigots and anti-government zealots of all stripes. White racists did robocalls for him in South Carolina. David Duke of the KKK and half a dozen other racist groups publicly endorse him. Jeremy DeLemus, a co-chair of Veterans for Trump in New Hampshire, took part in the armed takeover by Oregon militia.
2. Trump loses at the likely brokered convention in Cleveland. His followers not only riot. Some start shooting people. A few may even bomb their enemies, perceived or imagined.
Trump already “predicted,” that is, he proposed, encouraged, and threatened that his followers would riot if he were not the nominee. Cleveland protests and counter protests and police efforts to control them will make the Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1968 seem gentle by comparison.
We already saw the chaotic Trump rally in Chicago a few weeks ago caused by Trump campaign incompetence and the childish anger of Trump followers. Unwilling to face protests, Trump’s people postponed and then canceled their rally. The police were not consulted and were caught unprepared. Dozens were arrested or injured, and then angry Trump followers blamed the anti-Trump protesters.
Now imagine Trump followers’ anger, mixed in with the higher number of gun owners in the rural conservative areas outside Cleveland, and with militia heavy areas like Michigan close by.
There may even be bombings. Sound unlikely? Ask William Celli, a Trump supporter currently under arrest since December who plotted to target Muslims with his homemade bombs. Celli pledged online to “follow Trump to the end of the world.”
3. Trump wins the nomination. Hate crimes in his name increase.
We have already seen attacks invoking Trump’s name. The earliest was two men in Boston beating an immigrant. Trump declined to criticize them, even seemed to praise them as “very passionate.”
4. Trump is nominated and then loses the general election in a landslide. Keep in mind he only has the support of 35% of one party, about 12% of the nation, and is despised by nearly all independents and Democrats. About a quarter of all Republicans swear they would never vote for him, and will instead stay home or vote Democratic or third party. By one poll, Trump would lose to Sanders by 20 points, to Clinton by 10 points. Electorally, Trump would carry few states outside of Arizona or the Deep South.
Again, his followers do not understand this, or they deny most of it. They may riot, perhaps shoot people or bomb enemies. Hates crimes in his name would also certainly increase. His followers live in a bubble, are among the least educated or politically savvy, and feel very vulnerable in this economy, and culturally persecuted. They will not taking being “losers” lying down.
The inauguration of the new president especially will be targeted. The elected opposition and news media also could get targeted, much like during the start of the Tea Party when Black congressmen were spit on, offices vandalized, one congresswoman was shot, and militia members held armed demonstrations within sight of the White House.
5. Trump becomes the Republican Party. The old elites fade or form a minor party of their own. The Grand Old Party initials change to stand for God (only nominally since churchgoers largely support Ted Cruz), Old whites, and self-proclaimed or creatively imagined Patriotic anger. Anger and violence at elections becomes a regular feature of Republicanism.
Another Trump will take over in 2020, either literal or ideological offspring. His spray on orange tan, heavy base of white powder under his eyes, and volume of voice can’t hide the fact that he is, like most of his followers, an Angry Old Man. He will be 70 before Election Day and (a ridiculous doctor’s claim to the contrary) has had health problems since childhood. He received a medical deferment for the Vietnam War, had a brother who died from alcoholism, and has sharp unexplained weight fluctuations. Trump’s regular doctor is a specialist in internal medicine rather than a general practitioner, and that may indicate serious problems he is hiding. Many medical observers also believe he suffers from chronic insomnia, which explains his manic behavior and chronically poor grasp of reality.
Trump’s Republican or third party would need a new leader after his death, incapacity, or simple boredom. Any of his three sons, who often show the same sense of spoiled entitlement and contempt for others, would fit that bill. So would figures such as fringe conspiracy theorist and former wrestler and governor Jesse Ventura. So would such unlikely figures as Ted Nugent or Sarah Palin (after another reality TV run.) Expect the violent rhetoric, and violence at rallies and against opponents, to continue into the future indefinitely.
Al Carroll is Assistant Professor of History at Northern Virginia Community College, a longtime human right activist, and the author of A Proposed New Constitution at proposednewconstitution.blogspot.com
Posted by Al Carroll | Thu Mar 24, 2016, 01:42 PM (32 replies)
Also at http://proposednewconstitution.blogspot.com/ and http://www.dailykos.com/user/Al%20Carroll.
Article 14-Limiting Idle Wealth
“1. Large concentrations of idle wealth are inherently dangerous and inhumane. All income from any and all sources greater than 100 times the median national income and all wealth of an individual greater than 100 times the median national wealth shall be seized, unless it is reinvested or donated to charity.”
Wealth is power and any accumulation of power is dangerous and undemocratic. But the strongest critique of inequality is one that US conservatives should heed because it speaks directly to the deepest beliefs of the great majority of them:
It is un-Christian.
Inequality and concentrations of wealth are against every Biblical principal, the expressed word of Christ, and for that matter, against the central precepts of most major world religions, and most minor ones too. Christ raged against money changers in the temple. He intoned that it was easier for a camel to be threaded through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Heaven. For two millenia, the church has maintained the idea of Holy Poverty, that the poor are especially close to God, that the church should be especially concerned with their fate, that we are all our brother's keeper, and that materialism and attachment to possessions are unhealthy spiritually. After all, Jesus lived an ascetic life, one concerned with the fate of “the least of my brothers,” not a life devoted in any way to financial profit or accumulating wealth.
Much of modern conservatism ignores these central messages of Christianity, instead being far more concerned with what people do with their genitals. To paraphrase George Orwell, they are only Christians from the waist down. Another portion of conservatism is devoted to putting personal profit over the public good. Bizarrely, some libertarians and conservatives admire Ayn Rand, whose philosophy inspired no less than the Satanic Church. America as a nation could gain much by returning to that original Christian message.
Wealth being power, it is also dangerous unless limited, far more inefficient than its admirers admit, and destructive to a nation and society to let it gather and remain idle. In Latin America, there were wars and revolutions fought for nearly two centuries over latifundias, huge estates larger than most US counties, kept idle while much of the public had no land at all, solely because the size of the estate brought prestige to its owner.
But US elites have long been even more conspicuous in their obscene displays. The public saw William Randolph Hearst buy entire castles in Europe to be reassembled in California. The Astors held a multimillion dollar party at the height of the Great Depression. Elvis would charter a jet just to get peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Aaron Spelling lived in a mansion covering over 6 acres, with rooms devoted just to wrapping presents. Michael Jackson had his own private zoo and amusement park with roller coasters and carousels. Numerous CEOs insist on private jets that cost millions to buy and maintain, while downsizing their companies and keeping employee wages low. Nike CEO Phil Knight became an international symbol of inequality at its most odious, accumulating over $24 billion while paying his Indonesian workers 14 cents an hour in unsafe sweatshop conditions. (It took over a decade of protests and boycotts to bring partial reforms to Nike.)
Such examples are part of a larger pattern. American elites have far more wealth and pay compared to their workers, more than anywhere else in the world. There is far more inequality in the US than in almost all other developed nations. Only Russia and Slovakia are more unequal. A Japanese CEO makes slightly less than 70 times what one of their workers do. In the US, a CEO makes over 350 times an average worker's pay. Such inequality even horrifies noted conservatives like commentator George Will, who once said American CEOs are doing what Karl Marx was unable to do, discredit capitalism.
Such concentrations of power must be ended for the damage they do to society and democracy. It is hardly a secret that money buys elections, and elites purchase favorable laws written for them by a congress dependent on their support. Barring the use of elite funds in elections is not enough, for there is no practical way to end lobbying without limiting or ending the right to petition. Remove the excess wealth, any wealth that is not devoted to investment or charity. That way elites will not have funds not only for a lifestyle that holds the middle and working classes in contempt, but to influence public sentiment any more than any other person.
The standard used for this proposal is very generous. A full 100 times the median annual income of slightly under $27,000 is currently a little under $2.7 million. 100 times the current median wealth of slightly over $81,000 is slightly over $8.1 million. If any elites or their apologists complain this is too harsh, let them try to convince a waitress or bus driver that elites “need” more than $2.7 million a year to live on, or “need” a home worth over $8 million.
There is absolutely no way that a CEO is worth 350 times more than an average worker. It defies logic and basic morality. If anything, the pattern is the opposite: Having more wealth makes one less capable, not more. For the cushion of wealth makes one soft, out of touch with the world and the people within it. It is also morally numbing. As one study pointed out, the obscenely wealthy have far less empathy for the average worker, the greater the wealth they have.
The effect of penalizing idle wealth will not be to “punish success.” Most wealth is either inherited or created by a combination of luck and favorable government laws. Penalizing idle wealth spurs investment and charitable donations. In Europe, the ideal of noblesse oblige says that nobility must give one sixth of their income to charity. In Muslim tradition, alms for the poor is one of the central pillars of the faith, requiring the giving away of up to a tenth of not just your income, but all your wealth.
But American elites as a group are not very generous. As income in America goes up, the proportion given to charity generally goes down. Phil Knight, for example, had as his sole “charity” to have a sports stadium and business school built at his old university named after him. Let this proposal become the American version of noblesse oblige, an obligation for elites to do good instead of self aggrandizement, more power, and ever increasing unequal wealth.
“2. All attempts to conceal wealth to avoid taxes shall result in prosecution as grand larceny, full seizure of not just concealed wealth but all wealth, and long prison sentences which may not be suspended. Separate white collar prisons, or other prisons that are less arduous or harsh, are forbidden, and all white collar criminals must be punished and imprisoned with all other prisoners.”
More than $21 trillion in concealed wealth is hidden overseas, about one and a half the value of the entire US economy. And that's the low estimate. The highest is $31 trillion. American wealth is roughly one tenth of that, $2.1 trillion.
Over $2 trillion in untaxed wealth is a theft and crime that Pablo Escobar could only dream about. Most hidden wealth is not from criminals, but from “respectable” sources. Nearly three fourths of the Fortune 500 top corporations routinely hide huge amounts. Apple alone hides over $180 billion. American corporate criminals, were they to pay up, owe the nation up to $620 billion. That loss weakens the nation and society, treats with contempt the average honest person and the system we all live under. The wealthiest in America clearly show they have always been the least patriotic of people.
Such concealed wealth should be immediately declared by elites and taxed, so that they may avoid having it all seized and then having to serve a lengthy prison sentence. If they fail to, then the entire $2.1 trillion should be seized outright, and elites hunted down wherever on the globe they hide out, and then imprisoned. Al Capone was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison, serving much of that time in Alcatraz, for evading income tax on perhaps $100 million. There is no just reason similar elite criminals cannot serve similar sentences for concealing similar amounts, and do equally similar hard time. Elite thieves should be tracked down by the likes of the US Marshals, no different than other criminals.
Treating wealthy elites differently from other criminals once they are imprisoned also must be ended. Some current white collar prisons have wooded parks in them. Prisoners get routine net access and email. Most get generous visits from family, with prisoners getting to choose a prison close to their family. Some white collar “prisons” allow prisoners to spend their days outside the facility. One in Pensacola even allows prisoners to go to a local movie theater.
This is obviously unjust. Let the fear of hard conditions, including the fear of other prisoners, become one more deterrent designed to make wealthy elite criminals honest. Let us stop the practice of being soft on crime when it is being done by those in $20,000 suits. Wall Street criminals should face justice no differently than those on Main Street.
Al Carroll is Assistant Professor of History at Northern Virginia Community College and the author of numerous articles and books, among them Presidents' Body Counts and the forthcoming A Proposed New Constitution.
Posted by Al Carroll | Wed Oct 28, 2015, 11:35 AM (1 replies)
Also at http://proposednewconstitution.blogspot.com/ and http://www.dailykos.com/user/Al%20Carroll.
Article 13-No Special Treatment for Wealthy Elites
“1. Government assistance only goes to those in need and corporate welfare is forbidden. No person or corporation, nor any trust or legal entity used by a person or corporation, shall receive government assistance or funding unless they make less than double the median national income and possess less than double the median national wealth.”
Quite a few wealthy elites, and quite a few with passionate hatred for the working class, argue that poor people receiving government assistance suffer from dependency, laziness, and a lack of a moral code. The most hateful depict those in poverty as leeches, bums, and bloated off of a few hundred dollars a month in aid to live. Yet seemingly none or at least few of the same people make the same argument about wealthy elites, especially corporations. If welfare supposedly is morally harmful to a single mother, what about CEOs? Bankers? What about entire corporations dependent on government? How is that not far more offensive, obscene, counterproductive, and useless?
Such an argument must be turned on its head: Those with the wealth to already support themselves get no government aid, ever. Only those in need do. The Green Party platform has long included a variation on this proposal: No corporate welfare, period. But their proposal does not prevent wealthy or well off individuals from receiving such welfare. It also prevents small business loans, which provide far more jobs than the giant corporations. Blocking all corporate welfare would also include loans or tax holidays to infant industries, where innovation most often begins.
Government should not be used to redistribute wealth upwards, from the middle and working classes to the already wealthiest elites and others who are at least well off. There should be means testing, and the simplest test is that aid only goes to those in need, best measured by wealth and income. It's best, though, to err on the side of caution. Thus the proposed standard, double the median (not average) income and median wealth as well. Since wealth and income in America are both distributed very unevenly, using the average would skew the numbers high.
Sports stadiums, built at public expense that benefit already wealthy team owners, would be barred in the future unless the team owners pay for them entirely. Current team owners would have to repay every penny of public money spent for stadiums on their behalf. Agribusiness subsidies to not grow food come to an immediate end, unless they were part of the shrinking number of small family farms. The auto industry loans, both the entire US industry in 2009 and of Chrysler in 1979, would also have been barred.
Incompetently run industries should be allowed to fail, or the government buy them out very cheaply at market rates and then either sell them off in pieces, or make them publicly owned and run for public purposes, not for profit. (For example, the US auto industry could have been put to researching and making cheaper autos run solely on alternatives to fossil fuels.) If the failure of an industry or large corporation will cause huge job losses, obviously the best option would be for the government to sell them off in pieces, but make a condition of their sale that as many of the employees as possible keep their jobs or receive pensions or generous severance. Any government assistance should go to helping workers hold onto their jobs, or finding other work or being retrained, not to rewarding wealthy elites for failure.
British history shows us many examples of the failures of “lemon socialism.” There the state took over failing industries, and it usually only benefited incompetent elites by bailing them out no differently than welfare for capitalists. Workers at industries like coal and railroads were not helped much. Huge cutbacks were still made, only with government now being blamed and public ownership discredited.
The failed bailout of the banks in the 2000s (failed in the sense that the public was not helped, only the banks), and the successful bailouts of the savings and loans in the 1980s (successful in the sense of greatly lowering the cost of the bailout), would both have been barred with this proposed article. The two options to save the banks and savings and loans, as in other cases, would be to either seize them and make them publicly owned, or seize them and break them up and sell them off. A third option also exists, one better for the average non-wealthy depositor, turn the banks into credit unions.
What happened instead was that the banks received an obscene secret bailout of over $7 trillion (on top of the public bailout of $700 billion), equal to half the value of the whole US economy. Obama and his administration, made up of executives from the likes of Goldman Sachs, naively imagined banks would lend out their new government money. Instead, much of it was lent back to the federal government. These banks received an insanely low interest rate of 0.01%, then loaned the federal government's own money back to the government at 5% interest, making tens of billions. The economy recovered unevenly, no thanks to either federal or wealthy elite practices.
One more area of assistance needs to be changed, aid to the elderly. Social Security and Medicare must be means tested, much like Medicaid is now. Those with more than double the median income or wealth do not deserve it.
“2. All government loans or tax deferrals or holidays or other benefits to corporations or business must be repaid, with interest at market rates. All facilities built even partly to benefit or profit private businesses or individuals must be paid for by those businesses or individuals equal to the benefits or profits received.”
Facilities includes not just stadiums and sports complexes, but anything that benefits in large part private businesses, from highways to the internet to airports to the maintenance and regulation of public airwaves to state subsidized education to train workers for private industries, e.g. the nuclear power industry receiving most of its trained workforce from the US military. Externalities, as pro capitalist economists are fond of calling them, come to an end. For the layman, an externality is anything whose cost can be passed along to the public or the government, and the business avoids paying for it. The practice comes down to “private profits, public losses.” It is reverse Robin Hood at its worst.
For a safer environment for us all, ending externalities will be a godsend. Mining and some chemical industries have as standard practice to pollute without consequence, declare bankruptcy, and expect the cleanup to be done by the government and paid for by the public. This is a government benefit by any reasonable standard. Now companies will be required to pay for their pollution, or better yet, avoid it in advance as cheaper than paying for cleanup later.
The huge giveaways to corporations come to an end. Amazon has benefited from no sales tax far beyond reason. Ideally it should have ended as soon as the company turned a profit, back in the 1990s, and began paying sales taxes either to the states where the items were bought, or the home of their shipping centers. Trucking and shipping companies should be paying all of their part for the upkeep of the public highways. Broadcast networks should pay for the market value of the public airwaves, on top of the cost of regulation, as cable companies should pay for the entire market value of the use of public bandwidth and cost of regulation.
Benefits also clearly includes government research that private industries profit from. Companies would now have to pay back the government for the cost of research. Intellectual property laws should also be severely curtailed, though not ended entirely. A form of means testing would keep the laws in place for artists such as independent filmmakers, musicians, and authors, or those just starting out, but end such protection for individuals once they attain a certain level of wealth, and for all corporations. Thus while the struggling artist remains protected, Hollywood and the recording industry are not.
Drug companies would also lose their patents once they earn back the cost of research. Industries with de facto or legally enforced monopolies, such as cable networks and the football and baseball leagues, lose such protections. For the consumer, prices will drop sharply. But the biggest benefit to the public will be longer lives, since medical treatment and prescription prices will be greatly reduced. For the entire US public, the next biggest benefit will be a far more thriving and representative democracy since elites will no longer be using government to enrich themselves at everyone else's expense.
Al Carroll is Assistant Professor of History at Northern Virginia Community College and the author of numerous articles and books, among them Presidents' Body Counts and the forthcoming A Proposed New Constitution.
Posted by Al Carroll | Wed Oct 7, 2015, 01:52 PM (0 replies)
This seemed the most appropriate place, though perhaps under Economics also.
Also at http://alcarroll.com, http://proposednewconstitution.blogspot.com/ and http://www.dailykos.com/user/Al%20Carroll.
Article 12-Ending Class Bias in the Law
“1. All crimes must be punished. No president may pardon or give clemency to any in their own administration, or the administration of other presidents of their party, and all such previous pardons are overturned. The guilty shall never be allowed to profit from their crimes. The guilty must pay back all wealth from their crimes and pay for all damage done to others.”
Class bias, as much as racial bias, does great harm to American society and persons. But unlike racism, class bias is rarely addressed in America. It is far too often invisible or unspoken, an enormous pretense made that classism does not exist or can easily be overcome.
There is an enormous class bias in the legal system. A criminal (even an unarmed one) who steals five hundred dollars from a convenience store is far more harshly punished than a bank president embezzling millions. White collar crime is far less punished than “street crime.” Not only far shorter sentences, but white collar prisons have a notorious reputation for soft treatment, just country clubs with high fences where the well off do their time by working on their tennis game.
Such bias goes all the way to the top. Corrupt presidents have only rarely been punished, and far more often, false charges of corruption are only used as a smear by the opposition. Nixon and Reagan were never punished for their crimes, while dozens of faux scandals were invented to smear Clinton and Obama. One Clinton administration member was actually forced to resign over a single pair of low value football game tickets. Notably, the worst thing each president did, Clinton choosing to not halt genocide in Rwanda and Obama's drone assassination program, were not objected to by most members of either party.
Presidents have also misused their pardon power to prevent officials of their own party and even own administration from being punished. Ford pardoned Nixon, the man who appointed him, in what was widely regarded by most as a corrupt deal that cost Ford the next election. George Bush Sr. pardoned those convicted in the Iran-Contra scandal for lawbreaking that later evidence showed he himself took part in. Clinton pardoned wealthy campaign donors, de facto bribery in every way but name. GW Bush gave leniency to “Scooter” Libby for his part in leaking the name of a CIA agent, when some evidence points to Bush himself leaking the agent’s name. This abuse must be ended. Presidents should always be barred from pardoning their own party and administration members, since it's a clear conflict of interest and a way to protect their own criminal actions and associates.
Wealthy criminals are rarely punished equal to the crimes they commit. Bank presidents and CEOs who embezzle or defraud routinely negotiate deals allowing them to walk away with most of what they have stolen. The list of scandals of the last 30 years is disturbingly long: The Savings and Loan Scandals, BCCI, Worldcom, subprime loans, underwater mortages, Enron, Bernie Madoff's Ponzi schemes, Lehman Brothers, Cendant, MF Global, Fannie Mae, HealthSouth, Tyco, Allen Stanford, Qwest, Arthur Andersen, Bear Stearns, IMClone, and Adelphia.
All the scandals named involved billions of dollars, sometimes tens of billions. Punishment has been limited and rare. Only Madoff received any substantial prison time, and that is because his victims were all wealthy elites like Steven Spielberg. A good illustration of the double standard was Martha Stewart, who got only a few months in a cushy “prison” for insider trading that gained her about $45,000. Her business also did not suffer, nor did most of her customers or the public condemn her the way they would a petty thief, much less one stealing $45,000. By contrast, most ex-convicts guilty of minor “street” crimes have a hard time even finding minimum wage work. Many are barred from some workplaces.
The principle this nation and society should follow is simple: No one should benefit from crime. Any punishment should at least be equal to what was stolen or gained, plus the harm done to victims. Full restitution should be standard practice. That is even more important than prison sentences. The prospect of instant poverty will deter millionaire and billionaire serial criminals. It will also end much of the worship of wealth, the Mammon so common in mainstream America, a sickness that in its most extreme form is no different from admiring gangsters just because they are wealthy.
“2. All fees, fines, and taxes must be progressive, based on ability to pay. Regressive taxes, where the wealthy pay a proportionately smaller amount, are expressly forbidden and must be immediately made progressive.”
Social Security is one of the great accomplishments of American society and government. It changed seniors from the poorest age group to the wealthiest. But the way it was enacted and maintained is striking. To keep the wealthy from opposing it, the Social Security tax is among the most regressive in America. Only the first $110,000 is taxed. Someone making $110,000 and Bill Gates, worth over $60 billion, pay the same amount.
Sales tax, compared to taxes on sales of stocks, is regressive as well. The single mother buying groceries to feed her family pays higher taxes on most of her food, up to 10%, than the speculator who pays only 0.0034% when buying stocks. Until transaction taxes and sales tax match, this is a formula for class warfare, wealth redistributed upwards from workers to elites. Ideally, the transaction tax would be between 0.5 and 1%, and so would sales tax. A great intended side benefit would be its reducing speculation in the stock market, one of the biggest reasons for instability in the economy since the start of the century.
Fines for lawbreaking should also be tailored to income and wealth. A fine of $500 devastates someone on minimum wage, and the unemployed have no choice but to serve jail time. But to the wealthy, such a fine is not even pocket change. In essence, many of the poorest go to jail for lack of money, while the wealthy are not deterred from lawbreaking. Were fines made progressive, on a sliding scale as income tax is, the average cost of fines would decline for most.
Far better to make all fines a percentage of combined income and wealth, say 0.5% of one’s annual income from all sources and value of all property and other wealth for a traffic fine, or one year's income and wealth for a fine handed down for a felony conviction. Thus (in addition to prison time) someone making the minimum wage with no other real assets would pay a $10,000 fine for a felony, while someone making $1 million a year with $2 million in property would pay $3 million in fines.
Both suffer the same just and equal fate, being reduced to zero financially for their crime. An added bonus would be that the law now has far more incentive to go after wealthy lawbreakers, when now the reverse is true. Thus all the extremely wealthy lawbreakers in the scandals listed before would have paid billions or tens of billions in fines, exactly what they deserved, not a single penny of profit from their crimes.
Al Carroll is Assistant Professor of History at Northern Virginia Community College and the author of numerous articles and books, among them Presidents' Body Counts and the forthcoming A Proposed New Constitution.
Posted by Al Carroll | Sun Sep 27, 2015, 06:05 PM (2 replies)
Perhaps this should also be crossposted under Gender and LGBT issues as well.
From A Proposed New Constitution, also at http://alcarroll.com and http://proposednewconstitution.blogspot.com/ and http://www.dailykos.com/user/Al%20Carroll
Article 11- Ending Institutional Support for Hatred
“1. No government body, law, or regulation will sanction or reward racism or ethnic hatred, religious bigotry, sexism, or other hatreds based on linguicism (hatred or discrimination based on language) or national or regional origin, whether intended or claimed to be unintended.”
The start of doctors' Hippocratic Oath is “First, do no harm.” For most of American history, government deliberately did actively harm nonwhites, and the US system was openly white supremacist. Besides the obvious African slavery and genocide against American Indians, the earliest immigration laws in the US restricted citizenship to whites only. A racist immigration quota system was kept in place until the late 1960s. Interracial marriage was banned and an elaborate system of segregation put in place. Asians, starting with Chinese, faced a series of Exclusion Acts. Native Hawaiians saw their language banned as late as 1986, American Indians were punished for speaking Native languages, and indigenous ceremonies were banned. Social Security in the beginning did not cover farm workers or other professions with a high number of Blacks, Latinos, and Natives. There were special taxes aimed at Black businesses in the south, and against Chinese and Mexicans in California (the Foreign Miner's Tax.) Sometimes discrimination was simply petty, such as a ban on Manchu hairstyles. Even most elementary schoolchildren know that nearly all minorities faced bans or limitations on voting.
Some of that discrimination continues today, with old fashioned gerrymandering and voter ID laws squarely aimed at discouraging minorities. Voting stations in inner cities are often old and underserved, leading to long lines, or far away in rural areas with mostly Blacks, Latinos, or Natives. At the same time, largely white suburban polling stations are lavish and easy to access quickly.
Other government sanctioned prejudices are far more recent than most Americans realize. The US Department of Agriculture systematically discriminated against Blacks and Natives, denied them credit and disaster relief, had almost no minority employees, and delayed civil rights claims as late as 2004. The number of Black and Native owned farms dropped dramatically, forcing many into low paying labor. The state of Georgia currently sells a special license plate that directly funds a white supremacist group, the Sons of Confederate Veterans. There are numerous de facto whites-only college practices, such as legacy scholarships and admissions, that continue today.
Government must no longer and never again be an institution for inequality or be used by the bigoted to enforce their prejudices. This must be safeguarded not only because of a long odious past, but because of an equally ugly present, and a potentially ugly future. A number of current presidential candidates call for a wall on the border with Mexico, and some states have passed laws against the mythical threat of Sharia law. A tide of intolerance could return, as it did after September 11 when 80,000 males from 24 Muslim nations were forced to register with the government. (Supposedly done to prevent terrorism, not a single suspect was caught from this profiling.) This article will act as a safeguard.
“2. Nor shall any government fail to provide redress for longstanding discrimination based on the previous.”
Those who would try to use the previous clause to undermine government or public efforts to end hatred and the harm it brings must be blocked. One could easily see the ignorant, willfully blind, or maliciously racist or sexist trying to use this article to claim Affirmative Action or Title IX (aimed at preventing discrimination against women in education) must end. Such an argument is not just false, it is bigoted. Anti Title IX or Affirmative Action arguments assume that all better jobs or benefits naturally “belong” to white males and that women and minorities have inferior abilities.
This clause goes beyond the previous one. The government is committed to not only never causing or worsening bigotry, but to actively ending such bigotries.
“3. Any person or institution taking part in or promoting discrimination based on the previous will result in that person or institution's permanent inability to receive government jobs or benefits, including licenses, grants, subsidies, retirement including pensions and Social Security, tax deductions or credits, eligibility for public assistance, student or business loans or credit.”
Much like proposed Article 10, a bigot's First Amendment rights are not being infringed upon by this proposal. All that is changing is that such prejudices will no longer be supported by the state and public money. A Klansman should not be a cop. A neo Nazi should not be allowed to be a soldier. A Nation of Islam member should not be teaching history at a public high school. For obvious reasons it is dangerous and destructive to allow them to do so. Those dedicated to the destruction of a large part of the people of this nation should not benefit from its institutions, or be allowed to use those institutions to harm others.
By extension, the state and the public have the right to deny benefits to members of the public based on their harmful actions. The obvious precedent is drug laws. Federal law does not allow those with drug convictions to receive federal student loans. One way this proposal could be immediately used is to end public money going to groups trying to “cure” gays of being homosexual.
Simply having a private bigoted opinion will not result in being cut off. But being a member of a hate group, media or other corporation promoting and making money off hatred, or actively promoting discrimination and hatred either as an individual, or part of a hate group or corporation promoting hatreds, should lead to sanctions from society and government against you.
The biggest benefit to society will not be from preventing a militia terrorist from getting military training, or even from keeping racists off police forces. The biggest gain will be from blocking corporations from profiting at public expense when they spread stereotypes. Hollywood and news media will be punished by this article far more than the far right, for they do far more harm and spread far more hate. Politicians also will face sanctions, for they will lose public funding for a pattern of preaching bigotry.
Contrary to some claims, changing behavior can and often does successfully change even the deepest of bigoted opinions. Ending many forms of legal segregation showed that. Whites who previously feared or hated minorities discovered the world does not end when one shares the same lunch counter. The percentage of Americans holding bigoted opinions has dropped sharply. Where nearly nine-tenths of the public opposed interracial dating and marriage in the 1960s, today less than a fifth do. Racism can go the way of feudalism, as a system and mindset we have to explain to students used to exist.
Posted by Al Carroll | Thu Sep 24, 2015, 05:26 PM (0 replies)