Just near-sleep-scrolling through the InterWebs the last couple of days without the energy, drive, or literary desire to post on anything, from all our environments, be it one-sided horror politics, genocidal war, or the-becoming hothouse weather. Reality nowadays is wretched.
So far today, the only real pass-along item I spied is a deep-dive into the actual charges in T-Rump’s classified documents indictment by cybersecurity expert Matt Tait on Substack — most precise I’ve seen yet. (h/t Cheryl Rofer at Lawyers,Guns&Money).
And the T-Rump’s MAGA Republicans are a pure, deplorable blight on this country. The federal charges and T-Rump being a want-to-be authoritarian/dictator kind of shit-in-charge makes for a dangerous, frightful, anxiety-inducing state of affairs.
In light of the national, democratic ambiance, via The Washington Post this morning: ‘Scholars, legal experts and political strategists agree that what lies ahead is ugly and unpredictable. Many fear that the 2024 election will not overcome the distrust of many Americans in their government and its pillars, almost no matter the outcome. “A constitutional democracy stands or falls with the effectiveness and trustworthiness of the systems through which laws are created and enforced,” said William Galston of the Brookings Institution. “If you have fundamental doubts raised about those institutions, then constitutional democracy as a whole is in trouble.”‘
Meanwhile, several tongue-in-cheek steps further into T-Rump-like authoritarianism assholes around the world:
Dictatorship? How Hitler, Stalin and Trump show it’s easier than you think.@AndreaChalupa discusses her graphic novel, co-authored with @sarahkendzior (both of the essential US political podcast @gaslitnation) about authoritarianism and its dangers.https://t.co/3rD7ftrSKg
— GET A GRIP (@docrussjackson) June 17, 2023
Andrea Chalupa, co-author with Sarah Kendzior of a new graphic novel, “Dictatorship: It’s Easier Than You Think!” in an interview at the Guardian this morning.
Chalupa notes technology and the fragility of democracies:
One relatively new development for dictators is the increasing usefulness of technology when it comes to keeping civilians under surveillance. Chalupa notes that when her Ukrainian grandfather was in one of Stalin’s prison camps, inmates were allowed to speak to each other relatively freely. Today, China uses technology to keep a constant eye on Uyghurs in its own camps. Chalupa and Kendzior fault companies like Apple, Facebook and Google for doing business with China.
“When you have innovations in AI driven by companies in the west, it’s going to be used for authoritarian control,” Chalupa says.
“It’s only a matter of time before it starts spreading everywhere. You think you live in a democracy? Every single democracy is vulnerable. Nobody is immune to the authoritarian virus. If all the surveillance technology tools go unregulated, if there’s no vocal outcry against them from the public or elected officials in the EU, North America and elsewhere, if there’s no pushback against them, it’s going to be game over.”
As Chalupa points out, dictators can’t achieve power on their own. They require the help of “useful idiots”.
“In terms of Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, all the sort of people we highlight throughout the project, the larger theme of the book is useful idiots. People helped Hitler have power. Why? What did they get out of it, or think they were getting out of it?”
The book looks at a Weimar Republic media baron, Alfred Hugenberg, who thought he could control Hitler and limit his danger to Germany: a fateful miscalculation. Meanwhile, Stalin’s brutality was whitewashed in the west thanks to figures including the celebrated playwright George Bernard Shaw and the New York Times journalist Walter Duranty, whose fawning coverage won a Pulitzer prize. One of Duranty’s contemporaries, the Welsh journalist Gareth Jones, who sought to expose Stalin’s atrocities, was the subject of Chalupa’s 2019 feature film, Mr Jones. Another voice of conscience spotlighted in Chalupa and Kendzior’s book is George Orwell, for his courageous opposition to Stalin and to authoritarianism in general.
“I think Orwell wasn’t alone,” Chalupa says. “He had a community working with him side-by-side” including “his wife Eileen, a remarkable poet in her own right”.
Go read the whole interview, interesting sad shit. And as I noted above, reality is wretched.
Even more than enough. Scrolled in the morning, scrolled in the late afternoon — shit still shit.
Close out with the coming again of the already here:
Pessimistic-depressive, or not, yet once again here we are…