It takes only two things to keep people in chains: The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders.
In case you have wondered how it was possible for the German people voluntarily to surrender their freedoms and to accept and even cheer for an obviously lying, bigoted, preening, egomaniacal dictator like Adolf Hitler, wonder no more.
Many Americans are following that familiar, Hitleresque script.
Back in 6/24/13, during the Obama administration, the Chicago Tribune published my letter about dictatorships:
The war on terrorism cannot be won. There always will be people who hate the U.S. So every day, the government will “have to” create some new restriction on our freedoms, justified by the never-ending war.
Today, the government tracks your Emails.
Tomorrow, the government reads your Emails.
The next day, the government reads your snail mail.
The next day, the government censors your snail mail.
The next day, the government plants listening devices in your office.
The next day, the government plants listening devices in your home.
The next day, the government bans criticism.
The next day, the government bans trials for accused critics.
Where does it end? It doesn’t. Each step is justified by “national security.” Each day, the populace approves it because “I have nothing to hide.”
And that is how all dictatorships are built — step by step, with the acceptance of the populace.
To the above list of how the people encourage self-imprisonment, I could have added Donald Trump’s desire to disembowel the media with his incessant refrain of “Fake news” and his desire to sue the media for any criticisms of his greatness.
Dictators hate a free media because the media expose the dictator’s excesses and incompetence.
Trump would love to have the media control Kim Jong Un has.
Two years later, an Aug 19. 2015 post titled, “Perhaps Germany still has some cattle cars you can use,” included these paragraphs:
Bill O’Reilly confronts Donald Trump: You can’t ‘deport people who have American citizenship’
Trump called for ending birthright citizenship, or the right of anyone born in the US to American citizenship.
“That’s not going to happen because the 14th Amendment says if you’re born here, you’re an American,” O’Reilly said. “And you can’t kick Americans out. The courts would block you at every turn. You must know all that.”
Trump insisted that the Constitution did not grant citizenship to “anchor babies,” a pejorative term used to describe the children of people who enter the country illegally with the purpose of having a son or daughter who would then be granted US citizenship.
“I can quote it!” O’Reilly exclaimed. “You want me to quote you the amendment? If you’re born here, you’re an American — period! Period!
“You are not going to be able to deport people who have American citizenship now. And the federal courts will never allow mass deportations without due process for each and every one.
“And do you envision federal police kicking in the doors in barrios around the country, dragging families out?”
The above was followed by the comment: “Hmmm . . . An amoral politician, basing his popularity on fomenting hatred against a minority. Government police kicking in doors, dragging families out and deporting them. Does that remind you of anything?”
This all was written in 2015, well before Trump became a serious candidate. The post was one of many that likened Trump to Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Castro, Kim, Mao and other despicable dictators.
For instance, in September 2016, we posted:
Click the above link and you will be treated to a frightening list of parallels between Trump and Hitler.
Actually, they were not just parallels between Trump and Hitler. More importantly, they were parallels between Trump’s followers and Hitlers’ followers, for it is the followers who first give any dictator his power.
That post was published in 2106. Now, we have arrived at August of 2017.
Hillary Clinton got more than 2.8 million more votes than President Trump in the 2016 election, and there is zero evidence of any significant amount of voter fraud, despite Trump’s false claims about millions of illegal Clinton voters and the staunch numerical agnosticism of the voter-fraud commission he ordered into being.
Still, a new survey from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Yeshiva University found that 47 percent of Republicans said they believe Trump won the popular vote, 68 percent believe that millions of illegal immigrants voted in 2016.
They also may believe Trump did not grope the women who accuse him, Obama tapped Trump’s phones, and Trump University was a legitimate university.
The dictator-in-waiting first must find a willing cadre of gullible followers, who will believe anything the leader tells them, no matter how outrageous or easily-disproved it may be.
Clearly, Trump has found those followers.
Researchers, Ariel Malka and Yphtach Lelkes, asked respondents:
“If Donald Trump were to say that the 2020 presidential election should be postponed until the country can make sure that only eligible American citizens can vote, would you support or oppose postponing the election?”
Then they asked the same question with the addition that Trump and Republicans in Congress proposed postponing the election together.
More than half of Republicans, 52 percent, supported postponing the vote, and 56 said the same thing if the GOP offered the proposal alongside Trump.
Think about it for a moment:
More than half of the people who self-identified as Republicans, would, in essence, make Trump “President-for-life.”
(That would be the reality of an election delay, for there always would be “good reasons” to delay further elections, once the precedent has been set.)
Malka and Lelkes said: “The data show a substantial number of Republicans are amenable to violations of democratic norms that are more flagrant than what is typically proposed.
If you are one of the majority of voters who are alarmed at Trump’s job performance, you might understand the devilish allure of saying yes to postponing an election.
Dictators, in themselves, are just individuals, each with no more power than any other individual. Their power comes not from themselves, but from their followers.
If Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Castro, Kim, Mao, et al, had not begun with cadres of willing, citizen followers, they never could have been able to rule their nations.
Sometimes, if the dictator’s hold on the people ends, the dictators can be overthrown (as witness what happened to Mussolini).
But far more often, the dictator gathers strength via his rule-by-terror of the politicians, the military, the police, and the courts. The people lose their power and are left to rue the day they ever backed him.
Today, Trump retains his power over a majority of Republicans. Despite Trump’s obvious shortcomings, the Republican politicians — even those he has insulted and demeaned — are cowardly and afraid not to back him, lest he turn the voters against them.
And by law, he is Commander-in-Chief of the military, and he even holds a majority in the Supreme Court.
So today, Trump is close to having all the tools he needs: The military, the courts, and a willing populace.
He still can be stopped — it’s early — if the people come to their senses. The people still have the power.
Later, it will be too late, and America will turn into Russia, China, North Korea, and Cuba, all of which became instruments of slavery because, from ignorance, the people allowed it to happen.
Note to Trump’s followers: You are well on your way to living in a jail of your own making.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
The single most important problems in economics involve the excessive income/wealth/power Gaps between the have-mores and the have-less.
Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics.
Implementation of The Ten Steps To Prosperity can narrow the Gaps:
Ten Steps To Prosperity:
1. ELIMINATE FICA (Ten Reasons to Eliminate FICA )
Although the article lists 10 reasons to eliminate FICA, there are two fundamental reasons:
*FICA is the most regressive tax in American history, widening the Gap by punishing the low and middle-income groups, while leaving the rich untouched, and
*The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, neither needs nor uses FICA to support Social Security and Medicare.
2. FEDERALLY FUNDED MEDICARE — PARTS A, B & D, PLUS LONG TERM CARE — FOR EVERYONE (H.R. 676, Medicare for All )
This article addresses the questions:
*Does the economy benefit when the rich can afford better health care than can the rest of Americans?
*Aside from improved health care, what are the other economic effects of “Medicare for everyone?”
*How much would it cost taxpayers?
*Who opposes it?”
3. PROVIDE A MONTHLY ECONOMIC BONUS TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN AMERICA (similar to Social Security for All) (The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB (Economic Bonus)) Or institute a reverse income tax.
This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Employer of Last Resort is a bad idea. Sunday, Jan 1 2012
MMT’s Job Guarantee (JG) — “Another crazy, rightwing, Austrian nutjob?” Thursday, Jan 12 2012
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Jobs Guarantee is like the EU’s euro: A beloved solution to the wrong problem. Tuesday, May 29 2012
“You can’t fire me. I’m on JG” Saturday, Jun 2 2012
Economic growth should include the “bottom” 99.9%, not just the .1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.
4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONE Five reasons why we should eliminate school loans
Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.
Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.
An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefitting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.
5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL
Even were schooling to be completely free, many young people cannot attend, because they and their families cannot afford to support non-workers. In a foundering boat, everyone needs to bail, and no one can take time off for study.
If a young person’s “job” is to learn and be productive, he/she should be paid to do that job, especially since that job is one of America’s most important.
6. ELIMINATE FEDERAL TAXES ON BUSINESS
Businesses are dollar-transferring machines. They transfer dollars from customers to employees, suppliers, shareholders and the federal government (the later having no use for those dollars). Any tax on businesses reduces the amount going to employees, suppliers and shareholders, which diminishes the economy. Ultimately, all business taxes reduce your personal income.
7. INCREASE THE STANDARD INCOME TAX DEDUCTION, ANNUALLY. (Refer to this.) Federal taxes punish taxpayers and harm the economy. The federal government has no need for those punishing and harmful tax dollars. There are several ways to reduce taxes, and we should evaluate and choose the most progressive approaches.
Cutting FICA and business taxes would be a good early step, as both dramatically affect the 99%. Annual increases in the standard income tax deduction, and a reverse income tax also would provide benefits from the bottom up. Both would narrow the Gap.
8. TAX THE VERY RICH (THE “.1%) MORE, WITH HIGHER PROGRESSIVE TAX RATES ON ALL FORMS OF INCOME. (TROPHIC CASCADE)
There was a time when I argued against increasing anyone’s federal taxes. After all, the federal government has no need for tax dollars, and all taxes reduce Gross Domestic Product, thereby negatively affecting the entire economy, including the 99.9%.
But I have come to realize that narrowing the Gap requires trimming the top. It simply would not be possible to provide the 99.9% with enough benefits to narrow the Gap in any meaningful way. Bill Gates reportedly owns $70 billion. To get to that level, he must have been earning $10 billion a year. Pick any acceptable Gap (1000 to 1?), and the lowest paid American would have to receive $10 million a year. Unreasonable.
9. FEDERAL OWNERSHIP OF ALL BANKS (Click The end of private banking and How should America decide “who-gets-money”?)
Banks have created all the dollars that exist. Even dollars created at the direction of the federal government, actually come into being when banks increase the numbers in checking accounts. This gives the banks enormous financial power, and as we all know, power corrupts — especially when multiplied by a profit motive.
Although the federal government also is powerful and corrupted, it does not suffer from a profit motive, the world’s most corrupting influence.
10. INCREASE FEDERAL SPENDING ON THE MYRIAD INITIATIVES THAT BENEFIT AMERICA’S 99.9% (Federal agencies)Browse the agencies. See how many agencies benefit the lower- and middle-income/wealth/ power groups, by adding dollars to the economy and/or by actions more beneficial to the 99.9% than to the .1%.
Save this reference as your primer to current economics. Sadly, much of the material is not being taught in American schools, which is all the more reason for you to use it.
The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.