I object to the use of "populist" as ANYTHING related to the right-wing authoritarians like Orbán, Bolsonaro, Duterte, LePen, Trump, etc. They are nativists; they are bigots; they are charlatans; they are crooks; they are _______________. But they are NOT populists. You know very well that Populism originated in the US as a reaction to the trusts (AKA monopolies) that were abusing farmers and share croppers across the South, the southern Great Plains, the Midwest, etc. The Populists were inclusive and non-racist. The term comes from that movement. They were a democratic movement that is pretty much the exact opposite of the nativist charlatans and authoritarians you are referring to. In his attempt to clarify but justify his constant use of the term, even Jan-Werner Müller declares that "Populists were not populists".

In my opinion, using the term in this way demeans the Populist democracy movement that joined with the labor movement and led to the Progressive era of the early 20th century.

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Trump and his cronies have basically hijacked the Republican Party name. They are not Republican's. Only a handful of Republican's still exist i.e. Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney etc. Despite all of the recent and past books etc. revealing what a mess the White House was, nothing sticks. Trump is still the leader and carries the title of head of the Republican Party. He is not Republican, Fascist is a better term, but few understand that. They are now openly planning the takeover and it is getting very little if any criticism from the Right Wing.

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We read something like this which is so accurate and comprehensive, so enlightening and brilliantly presented with historical and contemporary facts and revelations and are mystified how others could read it and reject its premises, without offering a coherent argument (because none exists). Or more often, those who would benefit most from the information would not deign to consider reading such a piece. They presume to know something we do not.

I sent the rant to three “conservative” relatives with the expectation that they would not read more than a small part of the article. One responded with a cryptic comment indicating that Thom doesn’t live in the real world. I do not anticipate a positive response, if any, from the other two or a response that argues on the merits. Just more talking points and inane gibberish.

The question of how the minds of the people can be changed who have fallen prey to the influence of foreign bots or to the misinformation, fear mongering, and reactionary propaganda from the right-wing was apparently being discussed with a caller when I tuned in late one day last week. I missed all but the last few seconds. But the consensus seemed to be that we all have a strong tendency to resist ideas and beliefs which conflict with those which have become ingrained in our minds, irrespective of rationality. None of us, unless extremely fickle and indecisive is usually amenable to easily changing core beliefs and attitudes about politics, philosophy, religion, etc. That is a reality which presents a true challenge.

The mind is a constellation. Core beliefs are much, much more than specific articulable opinions. We do not simply have a unitary position on something such as abortion, “fiscal responsibility”, welfare, authoritarianism, or this or that foreign policy which is not correlated within a large phenomenological field. Whether a person has thought about all the possible arguments for and against a particular position, or whether they merely assume a posture relative to “conservative” versus “liberal”, an incalculable number of factors from years or decades of input have undoubtedly affected their statements or sentiments at any given point in time.

The really tricky part is that we cannot possibly ever be fully aware of the origins of, or unrecognized, unrecorded, and invisible aspects of our beliefs and feelings about anything. There is the rational, the irrational, and then there is the “a-rational” or non-rational which cannot be easily translated into words.

There is reason to believe that over 90% of cognitive activity occurs below the level of consciousness. That is, we have mental or cognitive activity that is NOT part of an internal mind conversation employing logic, verbal language, debate about factors or variables, or other traceable thoughts which we might recall and reflect upon at a later time. I believe this 90% estimate is in a commonly accepted range among neuroscientists and psychologists now.

The list is long. We arrive at a place, which is identifiable as an opinion or “view” with respect to any controversy or decision-point only as a consequence of innumerable perceptions, sensations, experiences, emotions, auditory or visual or other inputs, and deeply internal affectations involving memory and impressions, and even modified by chemical or hormonal substances in the brain and body. These varied influences or factors are part of a continuous process, which may be interrupted or diverted and altered by scheduled and unscheduled events, further complicating the picture.

The need to change hearts and minds or the goal of persuading people to abandon foolish, irrational, and often self-defeating or destructive beliefs confounds the most accomplished experts and scientists. Over enough time and with a heroic effort to engage someone and to earn their trust, it is possible to reprogram, de-radicalize, or “educate” / “re-educate” a person. But don’t hold your breath.

Media can play a hugely important part in bringing sanity and accurate information to more people. Free Speech TV is a national treasure. Social media can be a potent force for good under certain conditions. Citizen activists and people spreading their own personal messages and setting examples should not be underestimated.

However, most of us are not swayed by good arguments and solid facts from the other camp when we have come to identify too strongly with a camp or side. Credibility is not granted anymore on the same bases as in the past. People often carefully avoid exposure to viewpoints that they expect to be contrary to those they are most in tune with or familiar with, regardless of the source.

It would be easy to advise not to waste one’s breath or one’s time. Arguing with most of the people who are die-hard reactionaries, conservatives, or Trump supporters may indeed be futile. Still, if one has maintained a strong commitment to progressive values and immersed oneself in the language and logic with respect to facts, policy, and history, keeping up with literature, videos, and material produced by the indefatigable wizards such as Thom, you can make it quite difficult for anyone to demonize, disrespect, or demoralize you.

Good is supposed to triumph over evil. We may soon see if that is true. Trump got banned from his social media platforms. Alec Jones lost to the Newtown parents. Sydney Powell, et al, got slapped down by a judge, and Dominion is very likely to prevail against Fox, OAN, and others. If Trump and others are indicted and the Jan. 6th commission moves with all due speed to dismantle the conspiracy which remains, and if Democrats turn out in droves in November 2022, enough wind might be taken out of the sails of the extremists and fascists to allow a reset.

Marching in the streets is a necessity. Letters the editor or to legislators and others can make a difference. The battle is always uphill, and unceasing vigilance is necessary. However, the only way to adequately prepare for the future is to increase consciousness and awareness and the only way to do that long-term is to alter the way we indoctrinate students.

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Hungary, an ancient country, and a baby democracy. The current constitution is only 10 years old. That's about the age Orban acts. Their system is supposedly based in Christianity, but I think we have already seen their hypocrisy concerning little children and refugees. Probably not what Jesus or the Pope would do.

I see the validity in the comparison to the current GOP agenda. Bannon is a traitor and a grifter, just like the one that pardoned him. They are too stupid not to get caught. Of course that doesn't matter, the GOP has taken to supporting any criminal or immoral leader that gets them what they want.

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I'm sure I speak for the entirety of the free world when I ask what our law enforcement and intelligence agencies are doing about "shock troops" and "pre-trained teams" coalescing on US soil. Seems a prudent issue to address. Funny how everyone on the interplanet watched Jan 6 build for at least 1 month out - but somehow mom and dad missed it because they were too busy gathering "intel" when all they needed to do was accidentally look at their phones.

I'm still waiting for a note on the fridge that says "Out rounding-up seditionists, insurrection-plotters, violent separatists, and other high-order criminals. Be back for supper.".

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First, we need an Attorney General who is concerned about facism. Biden really needs to rethink his choice. If we had known Garland's history back when he was cooling his heels as a SCOTUS nominee, we might not have been so disappointed in McConnell's idiocy, and perhaps questioned Obama's judgement a bit more. I am definitely questioning Biden's judgement, and have been for some months, when it comes to Garland.

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South Dakota is a Tax Haven. Gov. Kristi Noem is probably running for President or VP. https://www.theguardian.com/news/2021/oct/04/pandora-papers-reveal-south-dakotas-role-as-367bn-tax-haven

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