Monday, August 21, 2017

The New Civil War (ongoing): Charlottesville

I know a lot of you out there think I'm going overboard with talking about a civil war, another civil war. Not just talking about it but writing about it as well (that story starts here: "Day One") but, while that story is fiction, the idea that there is a new civil war coming is not.

It's already here.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that in the future, historians are going to look back and say that the Second Civil War began in Charlottesville, VA. In many ways, it's the first confrontation, the first confrontation where the Nazis came in with intent to kill. And I don't just mean the terrorist incident with the car.

If you haven't watched this video, you need to.

Just to be clear, none of what I'm saying is because of that video. The video is just research that backs up what I was already saying.

Look, I am not advocating for a war. The thought of that scares the shit out of me, because there won't be any battle lines this time, not physical ones. There will be no armies that meet and clash in the way it happened in first civil war or in WWI or WWII. This will be a war fought in the streets of our cities all across America, often between regular people. It will be a war of terrorists attacks being performed by Nazis and those on the Alt-right. There will be no safe zones.

Can it be stopped?

I don't know.

The consensus, currently, among historians and military people who study this kind of thing (including civil wars currently being fought in other countries) say we're at about a 35% chance of a full civil war, but one of the leading minds on the subject (I forget his name and am not going to go back and look it up again now) puts us at a 65% chance of a full civil war.

One thing is clear, we can't stop it with Trump #fakepresident in office, and we probably can't stop it with anyone from the GOP in office. In fact, as I'm writing this, Bannon has just  been given the boot by Trump and Breitbart is going to war with the #fakepresident over it. I don't even know if that's figurative or not.

What I know is this:
Right-wing nutjobs have been arming themselves for decades. A huge number of the Nazis at the "rally" in Charlottesville were armed to the teeth. That guy in the Vice video was pulling out weapons as if he were Gimli in Jackson's rendition of LotR. They are prepared for violence and they want violence.

The Nazi faction in America is still growing, still getting stronger, and they want an ethnic cleansing. They want an America for white people. At some point, unless they are put down first, there's going to be a concerted effort on their part to attack minority groups with the goal of killing them.

The Left needs to be prepared and, right now, I don't think that we are. We somehow think this is all going to blow over or that real violence, really real violence, isn't going to happen, not here, not in America. Well, it's already started and it's just going to get worse. I mean, hell, various white supremacist groups are going on and on about how glad they are that they made the first kill and how she deserved it. And she was white! Wait till they start on the people they really want to go after.

If you're going to go to a protest, you need to take precautions. Minimally, I think that involves buying some Kevlar or some kind of body armor and probably wearing a helmet. Yes, I'm being serious. The white supremacists are armed and armored! You need to protect yourselves.

The time for trying to be in the middle is over. This is not going to pass without people taking a stand against it. It's time for those of us who believe in justice and liberty for all people to stand up for it. It's time for those of us who believe in what the nation was founded on to stand up and fight for it.

Most of all, it's time to deliver a message to the GOP that they need to get off of the fence. It's time for them to quit using their mealy mouths to condemn Trump #fakepresident while doing nothing about it and trying to work with him to further their own hate agendas. Either stand with Trump #fakepresident or stand against him. And, if they're going to stand with him, they need the message that they will go down with him.

What I know is this:
If you want to stop this war before it really gets going, it requires strong action now. Strong action NOW. Not more talk. Action. For some of you, that action is talk; it's speaking up. Now. It's time for the first civil war to end, for racial injustice to end, for white supremacy to end.


  1. And always remember, you do not need to be tolerant of intolerance. People who support genocide do not get free speech.

    1. Jeanne: Yeah, I'm not sure when it crosses the line from freedom of speech to death threats.
      But at least that one guy is probably going to jail.

  2. A couple years ago I read something that resonates. There are two groups out there: the group that wants a war and the group that doesn't. There are more of us who don't. We can win this.

    1. Liz: Unfortunately, sometimes wanting to not go to war requires war.

  3. Stronger action than retweeting someone? Because if so I doubt your stirring call to arms will rouse many people.

    I know I harp and harp on this because I'm a broken record but also it's true. As bad as Bill Clinton was in many respects (he should NOT be lionized simply because he wasn't as bad as 2 of the 3 guys since him) he did have one good point: "It's the economy, stupid." Nazis may not have risen TOTALLY as a result of the terrible inflation and horrible economy forced on Germany after WWI, but it didn't help, and lots of people were suffering. The Nazis gave them a scapegoat for their suffering. This is from Wikipedia and it's scary how much it mirrors what is going on right now:

    "Generally speaking, Nazi theorists and politicians blamed Germany’s previous economic failures on political causes like the influence of Marxism on the workforce, the sinister and exploitative machinations of what they called international Jewry, and the vindictiveness of the western political leaders' war reparation demands. Instead of traditional economic incentives, the Nazis offered solutions of a political nature, such as the elimination of organised labour groups, rearmament (in contravention of the Versailles Treaty), and biological politics."

    That's the same crap the new Republicans -- from little schmoes like Scott Walker and Paul Ryan up to Trump and the majors -- are selling: they're taking fears (economic and political) and repackaging them into a new form of Nazism. Rather than National Socialism, it's National Capitalism, rebranding corporations as the "nation" and blaming "others" for interfering with the progress those nation/corps could make.

    What's kind of stunning is how little the Republicans have actually achieved politically this time around, at least early on. Controlling all three branches of government, they've done... nothing. Nothing except get richer, of course, and that may be bad enough, but it's strange that this seems to be a bottom up rather than top down upheaval of society.

    That said, I think that 'civil war' may not be the most apt description for what's likely to happen next. As of right now, I'm betting on something less than a civil war (or even series of terrorist acts) but more than the upheaval of the 1960s. So far the violence has been random and sporadic: cops shooting blacks, etc. I'm betting it will get more systematic.

    1. Briane: This probably deserves a longer response than I'm going to make, but I have other things to do today and don't have time for the research involved for the things I want to say. That said:

      1. Yes, it's always the economy. However, in this circumstance, it's not so much the economy. I mean, things were bad in post-WWI Germany, really bad. Mostly, they're not so bad here in the US, especially among the people supporting Trump hardest. These are mostly people complaining Hollywood style: This movie only made $100million instead of $500million. Like my "friend" who doesn't support a minimum wage hike because if that happens he won't get a raise as a manager because the money will be going to those under him. He's an ardent Trump #fakepresident supporter and is in it because he's not satisfied with it being -better- for him; he wants it to be -more- better.

      2. They had some general on NPR sometime in the past couple of weeks, a guy who is an expert on the modern civil war. He's been studying them across the world for the last couple of decades. All of that to say that I suppose it might be how you define a civil war, but he says they are fought through terrorist attacks, now, things aimed at undermining the government and swaying people to their sides. At some point, the Right, probably through Bannon and his ilk (especially now that he's back at Breitbart) will declare a war of sorts against the government (which could be sparked by Trump #fakepresident being removed from office) and instigate attacks across the US by these Right-wing nutjob groups.

  4. 1. This is more complicated yet. There are simply no reliable numbers on who supports Trump by income. This article:

    Manipulates the numbers a bit to reach a conclusion (for example, using $50,000 as the median income when it's actually $55,000, and mixing percentages across tables) but makes clear that 1/3 of all Trump voters made less than $50,000 per year; about 50% of Trump voters were in the lower half of the income distribution.

  5. This article:

    based on exit polling said CLINTON got the majority of the votes from voters earning at or below the lower third of income, but that's not surprising as Clinton got the majority of votes, period, but it also says Clinton got the majority of lower income voters.

    What seems more relevant is how people feel. The Trump voter you mention is misguided; he sounds as though he's the sort of manager Obama tried to protect through regulations that would mandate overtime for people who have been given salaries but aren't truly in salary positions; but his "I want more if someone else gets more" isn't an uncommmon philosophy. Reaganomics played on that by suggesting that tax cuts for the wealthy trickled down to the poor, so everyone was better off.

    Moreoever, "I want more if someone else gets more" doesn't explain racial hatred. People who are afraid (economic insecurity) often look for scapegoats. That's where race-baiting and Nazism come in. Here's a Trump official

    blaming new immigrants for taking jobs from EARLIER immigrants, as well as taking jobs from 'blue collar' workers. (IE white folks).

    In 2016, of the 15 largest companies engaging in mass layoffs

    at least five were retail or factory employers. News of mass layoffs affects more than just the people laid off. Local businesses take a hit because workers have less money to spend around there.

    Janesville, heart of Paul Ryan country, lost 9,000 jobs when GM closed its plant there. But only 7100 people were laid off from GM. 9 years later it still hasn't rebounded even the slightest.

    See this article:

    I know about Janesville because I live 45 minutes away and go there frequently for court. It is a sad place, as are many other areas of Wisconsin.

    People see that, and they feel afraid. They feel lost and like they let themselves down by not getting a better job or better education. Then someone comes along and says "Hey you know what? It's not your fault. It's NAFTA and the [fill in race you want to blame]."

    A lot of people buy into that. They buy into it because they are misinformed, and ill-educated, but mostly because they are scared.

    One thing that would help everyone is a vibrant social safety net. If we could roll back bankruptcy reforms to allow people a real chance to escape debt, and at the same time have a real public welfare system so that people wouldn't need to stay in one job to get health care, or so they could get daycare and employment help or maybe just feed their family without shame and food banks, that would help. But neither the Democrats nor the Republicans want that. Let's not forget that "welfare reform" was a major Clinton program

    (with mixed results:


    So I agree in general that we're probably looking at some sort of major change in America; hopefully not the kind of violence that you foresee, but either way things will probably get much worse before they get much better.

    1. Briane: Maybe I wasn't clear about my "friend":
      He doesn't want more, also, if someone else gets more; he wants ALL the more for himself. And he's already getting more than everyone else.
      So, specifically, his company employees a lot of minorities in minimum wages jobs. He makes a LOT more than they do, something like 5x more. Even if the minimum wage went up to $15/hour, he would still be making more than 3x as much as them. But rather than them making a better slightly better living, he wants them to stay at their current wages so that he can get a bigger pay hike, say to making 6x or even 7x more than them. Keep them down so he can get farther ahead than he already is.
      And, to him, it's okay because they're -just- Mexicans and illegals (his words, not mine).

      So, yes, I agree that for some there is amount of fear involved and all of this racism and white supremacy is a reaction to that, even if it's a false fear (which I'm not going to get into right now). However, for many, it's just a matter of keeping dirty down and the white man even farther up.

      I do hope we can get through all of this without massive violence, but the Right Wing nutjobs have been stockpiling and planning for this for years, decades even, and they're spoiling for a fight. Violence is coming; we need to be doing our best to mitigate it.