Est. 1995

Tag: #Autocracy

The Blueprint

The far-right has a plan to remake America. They even wrote it down in a 920-page manifesto called Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise, laying out its agenda for Trump or any other Republican who should win the White House. The book consists chiefly of the world’s longest enemies list, with detailed instructions on how to target them, oust them, and reverse their policies, both real and imagined.


The far right has a plan to remake America. They even wrote it down.

(Illustration by Roberto Parada)


It’s not like we haven’t been warned.

Should the Republican presidential nominee (likely Donald Trump) win the election next year, conservatives have been pretty clear about what they intend to do. In fact, explicitly clear.

Trump himself isn’t much on policy, of course. The 2020 Republican National Convention was notable chiefly because, at his behest, it made no effort to pass a party platform, effectively giving Trump carte blanche for whatever he wished to do in his second term.

Trump is assembling a cadre of lawyers who supported his attempt to cling to the presidency, and who won’t be deterred from doing his bidding—as those wusses from the Federalist Society were—by the niceties of constitutional law. A leading figure among these l’état c’est Trump legal eagles is Jeffrey Clark, a Trump Justice Department official who during the plot to overturn the 2020 election countered a White House counsel’s argument that Trump’s putsch would lead to “riots in every major city” by noting, “That’s why there’s an Insurrection Act”—a law that allows the president to deploy the Army to quell protests. That exchange is quoted in the federal indictment of Trump for fomenting the January 6th insurrection. (The Post indicates that Trump is plotting to invoke the Insurrection Act on the first day of his presidency: January 20, 2025.)

But Trump’s all-too-personal vision for a second-term agenda is now leaking into the press. According to stories in The New York Times and The Washington Post, it begins with transforming the Justice Department into an instrument of his vengeance, initially against those first-term appointees Trump thinks betrayed him: former Attorney General Bill Barr, former chief of staff John Kelly, former Joint Chiefs Chair Mark Milley, and others who opposed his attempted seizure of power. Then comes filing charges against Joe Biden and his family, with the substance yet to be determined.

At a recent campaign event in New Hampshire, Trump stumbled into a rationale for going after Biden, should he win the 2024 contest. “This is third-world country stuff, ‘arrest your opponent,’” Trump said. “And that means I can do that, too.”

If nothing else, that quote explains why Trump is seeking more lawyers like Jeffrey Clark.

But Clark’s current ambit isn’t confined to Mar-a-Lago. He’s also part of Project 2025, an initiative of the right-wing Heritage Foundation, which, in collaboration with over 80 other far-right groups (including the Center for Renewing America, where Clark is a senior fellow and director of litigation), is laying out the tasks and recruiting the candidates that the next Republican president must employ to de-woke-ify America, banish liberalism, and extirpate modernity.

When the Post reported that Clark is leading a study on how to implement the Insurrection Act, a Heritage Foundation official quickly sought to assure the wider world that “there are no plans within Project 2025 related to the Insurrection Act or targeting political enemies.”

Oh really?



The Blueprint

Mike Johnson rejects the separation of church and state

Johnson rejects the separation of church and state in our government, saying that the framers’ idea “clearly did not mean…to keep religion from influencing issues of civil government.

New House speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) rejects the separation of church and state in our government, saying that the framers’ idea “clearly did not mean…to keep religion from influencing issues of civil government. On the contrary, it was meant to keep the federal government from impeding the religious practice of citizens. The Founders wanted to protect the church from an encroaching state, not the other way around.”

James Madison of Virginia, the key thinker behind the Constitution, had quite a lot to say about why the government and religion must be kept apart.

In 1772, when he was 21, Madison watched as Virginia arrested itinerant preachers for attacking the established church in the state. He was no foe of religion, but by the next year, he had begun to question whether established religion, which was common in the colonies, was good for society. By 1776, many of his broad-thinking neighbors had come to believe that society should “tolerate” different religious practices; he had moved past tolerance to the belief that men had a right of conscience.

In that year, he was instrumental in putting Section 16 into the Virginia Declaration of Rights, on which our own Bill of Rights—the first ten amendments to the Constitution—would be based. It reads: “That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity toward each other.”

In 1785, in a “Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments,” Madison explained that what was at stake was not just religion, but also the representative government itself. The establishment of one religion over others attacked a fundamental human right—an unalienable right—of conscience. If lawmakers could destroy the right of freedom of conscience, they could destroy all other unalienable rights. Those in charge of government could throw representative government out the window and make themselves tyrants.

Madison believed that various religious sects would balance each other out, keeping the new nation free of the religious violence of Europe. He drew on that vision explicitly when he envisioned a new political system, expecting that a variety of political expressions would protect the new government. In Federalist #51, he said: “In a free government the security for civil rights must be the same as that for religious rights. It consists in the one case in the diversity of interests, and the other in the multiplicity of sects.”

To make sure men had the right of conscience, the First Amendment to the Constitution reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….”

In 1802, President Thomas Jefferson called this amendment “a wall of separation between Church and state.” In a letter of January 1, 1802, he explained to a group of Baptists from Danbury, Connecticut, how that principle made him refuse to call for national religious days of fasting and thanksgiving in his role as head of the government.

Like Madison, he maintained that “religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship.” “[T]he legitimate powers of government reach actions only,” he wrote, “[and] not [religious] opinions.”

“[T]hat act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’” he wrote, built “a wall of separation between Church & State.” It prevented him from such religious practices as declaring a day of fasting in times of trouble, or thanksgiving in times of triumph.


Creating an Alternate, Autocratic Reality

Musk, Thiel, Zuckerberg, and Andreessen are American oligarchs, controlling online access for billions of users on Facebook, Twitter, Threads, Instagram, and WhatsApp, including 80 percent of the US population. Moreover, from the outside, they appear to be more interested in replacing our current reality—and our economic system, imperfect as it is—with something far more opaque, concentrated, and unaccountable, which, if it comes to pass, they will control.

Their plan for your future involves nothing less than confronting the nihilism of a looming dystopia. And four of the projects they are pursuing to address their visions will need tens of trillions of dollars of (mostly public) investment capital over the next two decades.

These Technocrats make up a kind of interlocking directorate of Silicon Valley, each investing in or sitting on the boards of the others’ companies. Their vast digital domain controls your personal information; affects how billions of people live, work, and love; and sows online chaos, inciting mob violence and sparking runs on stocks. These four men have long been regarded as technologically progressive heroes, but they are actually part of a broader antidemocratic, authoritarian turn within the tech world, deeply invested in preserving the status quo and in keeping their market-leadership positions or near-monopolies—and their multi-billion-dollar fortunes secure from higher taxes. (“Competition is for suckers,” Thiel once posited.)

Excerpted from The End of Reality: How Four Billionaires are Selling a Fantasy Future of the Metaverse, Mars, and Crypto by Jonathan Taplin. Copyright © 2023 by Jonathan Taplin. Printed with permission of Public Affairs, an imprint of Perseus Books LLC, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc., New York, N.Y. All rights reserved.


How Musk, Thiel, Zuckerberg, and Andreessen-Four Billionaire Techno-Oligarchs-Are Creating an Alternate, Autocratic Reality

GOP wages an asymmetrical war on democracy because it can’t get the votes

The conservative movement doesn’t really believe in the liberties laid out in the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. It believes in the divine right of its preordained hierarchies — white supremacy, patriarchy, homophobia, xenophobia, etc. — and will stop at nothing to maintain them.

“I wish that in a circumstance like this, I would be able to concede to a worthy opponent,” Kelly told his supporters on election night. “But I do not have a worthy opponent to which I can concede.” He claimed without evidence that Protasiewicz is “a serial liar” and that the Democrat who defeated him doesn’t believe in the rule of law but “the rule of Janet.”

It should have been a banner week for democracy. But it wasn’t.

Anyone doubting Republicans’ impeachment bluster in Wisconsin could take a look around to Nashville, Tenn., where white GOP lawmakers stunned the nation by expelling two Black colleagues and disenfranchising their roughly 140,000 predominantly African American constituents because the men had, from the floor of the Capitol, joined a thousand or so young people protesting gun violence.

It would be easy to dismiss Kelly’s election denial as unusually sour grapes, except that some lawmakers in the GOP majority in the Wisconsin legislature are — and this is hard to believe — already talking about impeaching Protasiewicz even before she takes the oath of office. A new state senator who won a special election to give Republicans a supermajority in Madison said he’d “seriously consider” impeaching the new justice, citing the flimsy pretext of her record as a circuit judge in “failing” Milwaukee.

GOP wages an asymmetrical war on democracy because it can’t get the votes

It was the highlight reel of what should have been a banner week for American democracy – scores of down vest-wearing, smartphone-gazing students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in a line that snaked around every corner of a campus building as they waited to cast a ballot for an open seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

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