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Terrorism expert compares today's Republicans to old-school Communists
Tyranny expert Timothy Snyder, a Yale University professor and author, explained that the contemporary Republican Party has a startling number of characteristics that they're adopting from fascists and authoritarians — and also from the communists they claim to oppose.
Speaking to Ali Velshi on Wednesday, Snyder addressed the recent alarm raised by retired Judge Michael Luttig, claiming that the American democracy is still in peril and there is no end to the threat in sight.
Snyder explained that it's easy to see the decline in a democracy when it's something like Russia invading Ukraine, because there it's an "autocracy trying to take over a democracy by force." But Velshi noted that when it comes to things like Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's attempt to eliminate the independent judiciary or threats to the rule of law with Donald Trump ginning up violence against those investigating potential crimes, it's more of an abstract idea. It isn't as openly understood as the same kind of attack on democracy as Russia's.
Snyder explained that the interesting thing seen in the 21st Century is that everyone is trying to claim to be a democracy. Russia claims have claimed in the past it's a democracy. Their use of the word is an attempt to erode the understanding of it, he said. It's part of their design.
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Looking at Ukraine's success, he explained it's about the cooperation of a unified country intent on fighting a potential oppressor.
"It's the habit of resistance," Snyder said. "It's the habit of cooperation that allows the army to do so well. That's a lesson for other societies. Why did Netanyahu have to pull back in Israel? Because Israelis are finally getting on the streets in large numbers and they are making their voices known as a society. Democracy is about muscle. It's about movement. It's about people taking a stand together. If you wait for the institutions to save you, then it's already too late."
Velshi brought up Judge Luttig again and noted that he's not a "hair on fire" kind of guy. He's a conservative Republican, and he's very concerned about the American democracy at risk. The concern he has, and it's something Snyder shares, is in convincing people that the risk is real.
Velshi cited Donald Trump's claim, for the second time in a month, "I am your retribution." As Velshi explained, "It's the language of autocracy."
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"It's also the language of fascism," said Snyder. "Living in a 'Big Lie' is being a fascist. Saying that I have an alternative truth for you, an alternative reality where you can live, saying that politics is all about naming the enemy and taking revenge, that is basically a fascist reality that we're talking about."
He said that those who care about democracy should remember the 20th Century.
"When I look at Florida, I have to say, what I think about is Communism," Snyder said. "The book bans, and the public gatherings, and the singling out of authors, and the denunciations — like it's funny, all of this stuff is supposed to be anti-Communist, but as a historian of Communism, that reminds me of some of the basic things that were wrong about Communism. Those denunciations and book bannings and getting people all rallied up about authors that are supposedly contaminating other people. So, I think we have to be ready to name some names and describe some practices. And we also have to say positively that in a democracy we don't do those things, but we do other things, and those other things are actually better and make for a better sort of life."
See the full interview with Snyder below or at the link here.
Yale tyranny expert compares today’s Republicans to communist book bans of the past www.youtube.com
Former GOP lawmaker slams Republicans' tight relationship with gun manufacturers
Former Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) tore into his former Republican colleagues on MSNBC Wednesday following the horrific mass shooting at Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, accusing them of being completely beholden to the gun lobby and its propaganda.
He focused particular on Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), who got into a shouting match with Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) over the issue earlier today.
"[Michigan Congresswoman] Elissa Slotkin was on the program yesterday and she said, the terrain is shifting right now. I can feel it. I'm in a swing state, I'm running statewide," said anchor Chris Hayes. "What do you think?"
"I don't think it's going to shift among Republican politicians," said Jolly. "It could be shifting with voters, who get to hold Republican politicians accountable, and that will be the ultimate test. We have a generation of Republican politicians who basically have been indoctrinated from the time they entered politics, alongside their gun lobby talking points, and I think you're seeing that from Thomas Massie."
Jolly proceeded to debunk many of the claims Massie made in his argument with Bowman.
"The reality is, even if there's truth to the fact there's not been a school shooting in the schools that arm teachers, I would suggest causation, or correlation does not imply causation," Jolly said. "And secondly, inevitably, Chris ... Thomas Massie will be proven wrong. The data point that should inform all of our judgment on gun deaths is that the United States, per capita, for 100,000 people, has a higher density of gun ownership by a rate of 3 to 10 times than other developed countries, and we have 3 to 10 times the gun deaths in the United States, compared to other developed countries. It is the guns, and I think that's what Bowman was making clear."
Watch the segment below or at this link.
David Jolly attacks his former colleagues for being too cowardly to protect children from AR-15s www.youtube.com
All 7 victims have been identified in massive chocolate factory explosion in Pennsylvania
PHILADELPHIA — The Berks County Coroner's Office on Wednesday released the names of the remaining victims of the explosion at the R.M. Palmer chocolate factory in West Reading that killed seven people.
The remaining five were identified as: Xiorky D. Nunez, 30, of Reading; Susan H. Halvonik, 63, of Upper Providence Township; Michael D. Breedy, 62, of Marion Township; Diana M. Cedeno, 44, of Reading; and Judith Lopez-Moran, 55, of Reading.