"The essence of authoritarianism is getting away with crime." - Ruth Ben-Ghiat
"Corruption is always at the center of autocratic projects. Clouding minds with propaganda meant to disseminate hate and silence the inner voice of conscience prepares people to do the unthinkable.
Authoritarians arrange the institutions of government to protect them from exposure. That's why Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who faces corruption charges, immediately launched a "judicial reform" upon returning to office. Trump followed a century of illiberal leaders in using propaganda to turn the public against the press, prosecutors, investigators, judges, and anyone else with the ability to uncover his corruption or charge him or his allies with crimes." - StrongMen
What does a fascist do when they are indicted? Learn to recognize the plays in the indicted fascist's playbook.
Grand jury made up of ordinary Americans
"Trump released a long, antisemitic statement blaming “Radical Left Democrats” for a “Witch-Hunt” and saying this is “blatant Election interference.” House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) also quickly reinforced Trump's argument, saying that Bragg had “irreparably damaged our country in an attempt to interfere in our Presidential election,” and a number of other Republican officials reinforced that sentiment.
That is quite a position to take. The vote to indict came not from Bragg himself, but from a grand jury made up of ordinary Americans, and none of us knows what’s in the indictment, so one can hardly object to it in good faith." - Ruth Ben-Ghiat
The reaction from Republican politicians has been reckless, dangerous, and inexplicable. They seem incapable of quitting Trump despite being given every opportunity to do so. Of all the ignorant statements made in defense of Trump, Ron DeSantis’s statement will go down in history as the most ignorant and dangerous of all.
DeSantis issued a statement saying that Florida would not assist in the extradition of Trump to New York. The statement by DeSantis was nothing less than a declaration that he would disobey the Constitution, which provides: "A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime." - Robert Hubbell
Lying about his contact with Russians
"From the very start of his presidency, when the Federal Bureau of Investigation caught Trump's then–national security advisor Michael Flynn lying about his contact with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, more and more information has come out tying the Trump campaign to Russian operatives. As it did, Trump insisted that his followers must believe that all that information was a lie. If they believed his lies rather than the truth over the Russia scandal, they would trust him rather than believe the truth about everything.
In exchange for weakening the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), undermining the U.S. stance in favor of Ukraine in its attempt to throw off the Russians who had invaded in 2014, and removing U.S. sanctions from Russian entities, Russian operatives were willing to put their finger on the scale to help Trump win the White House." - Letters from An American
Fox is GOP's de facto propaganda arm
"Fox is not just a far-right disinformation machine but also the GOP's de facto propaganda arm. Fox is also partnering with the GOP to cover up their joint support for the attempt to overthrow the 2020 election and pull off a coup on Jan. 6. There is far too much at stake for Fox --and too many other secrets that Trump, an expert blackmailer, can reveal--if Trump is neutralized as an active political contender. Closing ranks behind the cult leader is the result." - StrongMen
Trump plays the 'Victim Card'
Democratic judicial system is working
"The history of authoritarianism shows that appeasing bullies and not acting due to fear of possible future violence merely sets up the conditions for more violence. It allows the bully to feel empowered and righteous in his lawlessness, which triggers more feelings of omnipotence and grandiosity and more reckless actions." This indictment matters because it asserts the power of the law to punish anyone. It also sends a statement that government officials will not be swayed by authoritarian threats. Right now, our democratic judicial system is working, and our free press can report on it." - Ruth Ben-Ghiat
Ruth Ben-Ghiat covers a century of authoritarianism to explain why strongman rulers in Africa, Europe, and Latin America, drawing from a common playbook of machismo, propaganda, violence, and corruption, have found popular support even as they bring ruin to their countries. The fruit of decades of research, Strongmen gives readers insight into how such rulers think, who and what they depend on, and how they can be opposed.
TakeAway: No one is above the law in a democracy. Don't let fascist threats of violence derail justice.
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