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Is the U.S. Becoming a Banana Republic?  

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(@jeanne-mayell)
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02/15/2020 4:38 pm  

Lovendures and Deetoo brought up this subject and suggested a separate thread on it, so here it is.  I am fascinated and looking forward to whatever people say about it.  Masha Gessen is a good journalist source and I'm sure there are others. 

What exactly is a banana republic?  Brings to mind the unstable South American republics that the USA destabilized by influencing their elections and planting CIA paid operatives in those countries to overthrow legitimately democratic candidates.  We did it for the purpose of making profits for multinational companies like United Fruit and Dole Pineapples. 

Now Russia has done it to us by planting the Trump puppet and undermining democratic candidates.


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(@lovendures)
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02/15/2020 2:00 am  

Are we now a Banana Republic?

It sure would seem so.  Here is a great article about how the US becoming a Banana Republic. 

With President Donald Trump and his minions abusing the language so egregiously, it’s time for a brief refresher course in political vocabulary.

First, we need to re-learn the meaning of the term “banana republic.” Consider this. As retribution for his testimony against Mr. Trump during the House impeachment investigation, the president ordered the unceremonious removal of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman from his national security post at the White House. To be sure that the message was clear, the White House also removed Vindman’s brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, from his position at the National Security Council, even though he had not testified in the impeachment proceedings. According to the New York Times, the president’s (fourth) national security advisor, Robert C. O’Brien, explained the removals by saying that “we’re not a banana republic where lieutenant colonels get together and decide what the policy [of the country] is.”

Yet O’Brien’s explanation came right on the heels of a very banana-republican series of events at the Justice Department. Four DoJ lawyers were overruled by their superiors when they recommended a seven- to nine-year sentence for one of Trump’s swampier cronies, Roger Stone, who had been convicted of obstructing an inquiry by the House Intelligence Committee into Russian interference in the 2016 election and of lying to Congress. The move came immediately after Trump tweeted about the “horrible” “miscarriage of justice.” The president has since tweeted “congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control,” accusing Robert Mueller of lying to Congress in the process.

More can be found here:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/johntorpey/2020/02/12/what-is-a-banana-republic/#7dd4db0b60b0


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(@deetoo)
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02/15/2020 11:30 am  

Posted by: @lovendures:

Are We Now A Banana Republic?  It sure would seem so.

I agree.  If not, then we are hanging off that cliff by our fingertips.  

I think opening a separate thread on this is a great idea.  A lot has been written about recognizing the signs of a collapsing democracy.  Timothy Snyder and Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen are two writers who immediately come to mind.

We could post any helpful links and our comments under that specific thread.  We need to know how to deal with this, while maintaining our sanity and remaining hopeful.

 

 


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 lynn
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02/15/2020 4:59 pm  

Even the judge that was presiding over the case of Andrew McCabe, who was appointed by GW Bush, said that the govt's failure to give a good reason why they were delaying in just admitting they weren't going to prosecute him was banana republic stuff. A conservative judge. This morning trump tweeted a reference to himself as a king. It's astounding how quickly we've fallen, not only because of this clown, but because of his enablers. Are we a banana republic?  Not completely yet, but we're on our way, and the ride is accelerating. 


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(@jeanne-mayell)
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02/15/2020 5:08 pm  

@lynnventura. I didn't want to click "like" but I agree. Last night I was watching the movie Midway and thinking about all the young men who died in WWII protecting our country from dictators, only to have people vote for the one in the Oval Office. Then I read about the low turnout in Iowa and NH. Too many Americans have become too complacent to protect our country. They don't realize what is at stake here, not just for the vulnerable but for them.  We have watched many Trump supporters fall hard who were given high level jobs working for that man.  

 


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(@deetoo)
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02/15/2020 8:14 pm  

Autocracy:  Rules for Survival  (Masha Gessen, 2016)

https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2016/11/10/trump-election-autocracy-rules-for-survival/


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(@herondreams)
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02/16/2020 9:39 am  

@deetoo Frighteningly on the nose. 

 


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(@practicalnihilist)
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02/16/2020 10:36 am  

For what it's worth my intuition tells me that USA is definitely becoming a banana republic but it won't last forever.  Reason being is the truth will eventually prevail and the people will no longer stand for it.

 

I also see that the country will become more divided than ever because people will not budge from their viewpoints no matter what.


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(@jeanne-mayell)
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02/16/2020 11:38 am  

@deetoo Thanks for posting Masha Gessen's 2016 article.  When my group was meditating in July 2016 on the 2017 Inauguration, I had seen Trump standing on the platform as a full fledged fascist. I didn't believe he had won but thought he was there in spirit.  

After the election we were hoping the Electoral College delegates would not approve his election. When  I did a remote viewing of the December 17, 2016 Electoral college vote, I saw Trump as a baby lion looking for validation.  The vision was clear --  that if given the power, Trump would morph into full fledged dictator. Many people sent messages to Obama to issue a state of emergency and halt the transfer of power.  

Both Clinton and Obama knew what they were dealing with but neither wanted to set precedents for halting the peaceful transfer of power.  As Gessen said, they were wrong. Excerpting Gessen's 2016 advice, even though it is now appearing at the 11th hour before this country falls. 

Rule #1: Believe the autocrat. He means what he says. He has called himself "king", and "perhaps I will do as President Xi has done, become president for life," he wants the mainstream press punished and removed, he wants to jail his critics, remove and replace the judges, and remove and replace congresspeople who oppose him. He adores Putin who has done all of those things in a swift takeover of Russian democracy.

Rule #2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality. I have never ever been taken any by any sign of normal. Never.  Everything, no exceptions, that comes out of his mouth or his twitter feed has been a manipulation to increase his power and impunity.

Rule #3: Institutions will not save you. It took Putin a year to take over the Russian media and four years to dismantle its electoral system; the judiciary collapsed unnoticed. There are ways to do this.  It is in his plans.  He can buy them out, sue them out of existence and have his crony judiciary try the case, shut them down in a state of emergency decree, or jail their owners and editors. 

Rule #4: Be outraged... it is essential to maintain one’s capacity for shock. I feel the press has not been outraged enough.  Maggie Haberman early on wrote in a NY Times article that they don't use the word "lie" to describe Trump's lies because it is too emotion-packed.  Big mistake on the part of the Times by not showing their outraged quickly and strongly enough.  They were and are still playing by old rules that no longer apply in this new normal.

Rule #5: Don’t make compromises. Like Ted Cruz, who made the journey from calling Trump “utterly amoral” and a “pathological liar” to endorsing him in late September to praising his win as an “amazing victory for the American worker,” Republican politicians have fallen into line. 

Rule #6: Remember the future. Nothing lasts forever. Here she says the Democrats need to propose big change, to get rid of outdated institutions, especially The Electoral College which is now anti democratic.  The Senate is much worse and needs to go. Both prevent us from having fair elections.

As for Gessen's first 5 rules, our leadership and the press have been like froggie who failed to jump out of the water that was gradually being heated up to a boil. That is what happened with Hitler and Putin. Both dictators moved swiftly right in front of disbelieving people's eyes.

I cannot see what I wish I could see which is a nationwide protest of millions of people marching on the Capitol and the White House and demanding that he leave.

 


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 lynn
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02/16/2020 11:57 am  

@jeanne-mayell

I think exhaustion and disbelief are combining to prevent people from protesting. I also think the propaganda we've been fed forever, that the US is the greatest country on earth, is preventing many from really seeing what's going on, mainly, that we're not the greatest, that we're as vulnerable as any other country. Couple that with the GOP feeling that they can use this monster to get in a few years what they've been trying to do for decades, well, it's toxic mix.

I don't know at this point what I'm picking up. I do feel the right wing's energy, and if feels animalistic. It feels like brazen, craven, savage, brutal, lust for power and control. Is that will will happen?  I don't know. I'm too wound up to distinguish what I feel will happen from what I'm picking up from this group. I hope we step back from the precipice. The next few months will tell that story.

 


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(@deetoo)
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02/16/2020 1:43 pm  

Posted by @jeanne-mayell:

I cannot see what I wish I could see which is a nationwide protest of millions of people marching on the Capitol and the White House and demanding that he leave.

Jeanne,

At the moment, I can’t see that either.

I agree with @lynnventura about people's exhaustion and disbelief.  I also wonder if part of the problem is the failure of our mainstream media.  That may sound a bit simplistic, and I know there are a lot of competing voices (Faux, Breitfart, etc.) – not to mention T’s real threats against legitimate news outlets and journalists.  And we also have the influence of the corporate entities who own these media outlets.  But if these journalists don’t clearly speak out NOW, their voices may be permanently silenced.   If not now, when?

As I watched some of Joy Reid this morning, she posed the following questions: how should we cover a president who literally calls himself a king?  And how should we cover the political party who treats the president like a king? 

On Joy’s panel was Will Bunch, an opinion columnist with the Philadelphia Inquirer.  He recently wrote a piece, “Trump’s Banana Republic:  Police state for the poor, free pass for the president’s pals and the rich.”   Bunch said that he moved from journalist to opinion columnist during the Iraq war.  He stated the media wasn’t up to the job of alerting the public to some of the alarming trends that were taking place in this country at that time. 

Bunch said that we need a different kind of journalism in the T era; journalism and democracy are intrinsically linked, and when we have a president like T who is threatening that democracy, journalism can’t fall back on its “on the one hand/on the other hand” habit.  He said that journalists need to find a different voice – clearer in letting people know what democracy is, what democracy should be, and forcefully spelling out the ways T is violating it. 

Joy remarked that the Iraq war was a clear example of the error in taking the president at face value.  With T this has been taken to an extreme degree – he has much more power, freely given and supported by the Rs in Congress.

Conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin chimed in, stating that this notion of objectivity and balance has been so instilled into the media that they now don’t call it like they see it at all.  She said journalists need to use the verbs, the adjectives, and the correct descriptions so they can give the public a crystal clear feeling of how dangerous this guy is.  She said that’s not being biased; that’s being accurate in conveying the dangers that T poses to our democracy.

Rubin said that the media has to stop playing the stenographer’s game – e.g. this is what the president says/this is what Schiff says.  She said that because T’s actions are so extreme, and because the bubble he operates in is so closed, the press needs to pound on their door and say “No!  This is what is really going on.”  So instead of playing some clip of T speaking as if it’s “news,” the press needs to say “he lied about this today.”   She said this intense scrutiny should also apply to the Rs in Congress.

Rubin said the force by which the press “tells it like it is” has to take on a new meaning.  The press’s job is to be a watchdog: to inform, expose, and to be adversarial when necessary, when the government is engaging in abuse or corruption.  Rubin emphasized that the press cannot assume that the public will figure it out by themselves – they won’t.


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(@jaidy)
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02/16/2020 3:08 pm  
    1.  
        @jeanne-mayell I left an abusive husband and many of these warnings are applicable.  
    2.  
        1. Please see my request for help here https://www.jeannemayell.com/community/how-to-cope-and-even-thrive-in-difficult-times/if-you-need-support-understanding-and-love-let-us-know-here/paged/46/#post-20622

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(@jeanne-mayell)
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02/16/2020 3:39 pm  

@jaidy I have directed people to the "support" thread to help you. You just have to post something there. And people can respond and send light to you there. https://www.jeannemayell.com/community/how-to-cope-and-even-thrive-in-difficult-times/if-you-need-support-understanding-and-love-let-us-know-here/paged/46/#post-20622

 

 


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(@turtle26)
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02/16/2020 3:59 pm  

@deetoo @jeanne-mayell

It's interesting but I have seen and witnessed a new wave of musicians putting out "protest songs" that truly tell it like it is. I don't know who is actually listening - but these are there - and the songs will move you to tears. Smithsonian Folkways Archives is a label that started signing artists again, and it captures this essence so well.

https://www.americamagazine.org/arts-culture/2020/01/25/were-new-age-protest-music?fbclid=IwAR1GKCGAq5HyiQblVEn9WIerQoagbRFvC4acklfZhgKOol2ha_R_6Btp_eU  

As for marching, I believe that the issue is that as long as people ONLY watch Faux News - they really don't know the truth (hence the concerns about the Banana Republic) - these are the people that are just so brainwashed that it hurts my head and my heart to ever try to reason with them. I hope that folks actually start listening to projects such as the Lincoln Project (George Conway, Rick Wilson, etc.) so that the tide turns. 

 


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(@deetoo)
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02/16/2020 4:46 pm  

@turtle26, thank you for the link.  Music has the power to break though barriers and unite people.  You just made me remember a country-western song I heard a few weeks ago.  In “Hymn for the 81%”, Christian pastor, Daniel Dietrich, criticizes his fellow evangelicals for their ongoing support of T.   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GT-LfLpzzo

About Faux – does anyone happen to know what percentage of people in this country only watch that "news" outlet?  Because I still believe there are significantly more of us than of them.  And if that’s the case, why aren’t there more of us engaged and peacefully speaking out? 


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(@jeanne-mayell)
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02/16/2020 6:40 pm  

@turtle26  @michele Speaking of songs, I like Taylor Swift's song to the youth who she had rallied in vain to work for a democratic win in the Tennessee midterms. She got 51,000 kids to register to vote. But Trump showed up and the republican won. She wrote this song for her fans afterwards to get them to keep fighting -- Only the Young. 

My hope is that she and others with her talent will write some rallying songs for this election.  

 


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(@turtle26)
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02/16/2020 7:22 pm  

@jeanne-mayell yes! I live in TN (in a blue dot city) and we absolutely cannot stand MoscowMarsha.....sigh - Phil Bredesen was so well spoken and so well-educated but it's such an uphill battle in a state like this.  

 


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(@unk-p)
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02/16/2020 10:26 pm  

@deetoo@turtle26, thank you for the link.  Music has the power to break though barriers and unite people.  You just made me remember a country-western song I heard a few weeks ago.  In “Hymn for the 81%”, Christian pastor, Daniel Dietrich, criticizes his fellow evangelicals for their ongoing support of T.   

Great song.  Here are the lyrics:

I grew up in your churches

Sunday morning and evening service

Knelt in tears at the foot of the rugged cross

You taught me every life is sacred

Feed the hungry, clothe the naked

I learned from you the highest law is love.

And I believed you when you said

That I should trust the words in red

To guide my steps through a wicked world

I assumed you’d do the same

So imagine my dismay

When I watched you lead the sheep to the wolves

You said to love the lost

So I’m loving you now

You said speak the truth

I’m calling you out

Why don’t you live the words

That you put in my mouth

May love overcome, and justice roll down

They started putting kids in cages

Ripping mothers from their babies

And I looked to you to speak on their behalf

But all I heard was silence

Or worse, you justified it

Singing “Glory Hallelujah! Raise the flag!”

Your fear had turned to hatred

But you baptized it with language

Torn from the pages of the Good Book

You weaponized religion

And you wonder why I’m leaving

To find Jesus on the wrong side of your walls

You said to love the lost

So I’m loving you now

You said speak the truth

I’m calling you out

Why don’t you live the words

That you put in my mouth

May love overcome, and justice roll down

Come home

Come home

You’re better

You taught me better than this

Come home

Come home

You’re better than this

You taught me better than this

Come home

Come home

Oh you’re better than this

You taught me better than this

Come home

Come home…

You said to love the lost

I’m trying to love you now

You said speak the truth

I’m calling you out I wish you lived the words

That you put in my mouth

May love overcome, and justice roll down

May love overcome, and justice roll down

May love overcome, and justice roll down

May love overcome, and justice roll down.

 

One of the commenters added this:

"Thou shalt neither trouble a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. Thou shalt not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry out unto me, I will surely hear their cry."

 

 


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(@lovendures)
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02/18/2020 12:29 am  

Tonight Rachael Maddow spoke about Barr and the president saying:

I mean, I love bananas as much as the next guy, but this is really Banana Republic stuff full stop.  This is the worst case scenario. we've all been imagining and sorta gaming out in terms of rule of law and this president and it is happening...

She then went on to talk about how we might be headed to a constitutional crisis especially if the Supreme Court says the Tax records can be released next month and Trump insisted people ( Deutsch Bank) defy the supreme court.  


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(@deetoo)
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02/18/2020 8:45 am  

@lovendures, I also watched Maddow last night.   I thought her outline of the strong T family/Douche Bnk/foreign interests connections were pretty scary.  I've watched Rachel the past few nights and she's been doing a brilliant job addressing the eroding of our democracy.  Too bad the majority of Americans don't watch her.

I'm attaching a pdf of the SCt's hearing dates for March.  Looks like oral arguments on T's financial records and taxes will be heard on March 31st.  I'd read that the decision probably won't come until June. 


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