“It’s hard to endure the stress that Trump is putting on us”

The Hobbledehoy loved this late night multi-part tweet from retired nuclear scientist Cheryl Rofer. Beautifully stated concern, anger and hope.

“Today seemed worse than the usual Trumpian chaos. One of the difficult things for me is the constant denials of reality by so many. We learned today that more people had brain damage from the Iranian attacks responding to the Soleimani killing. But Trump has shrugged them off. In the bizarro world he has inflicted on us, this may have averted his further movement to war.

The ongoing impeachment trial offers so much denial – in the formal Republican responses, in Joni Ernst’s gleeful electoral prediction, in Lindsey Graham’s rejection of his earlier self.

Too much of the media struggles to maintain a narrative that all is well, just some slight disagreement, as we watch our democracy slip away. The occasional reality surfaces and then submerges, like those concentration camps at the southern border.

The sheer absurdity and reality of a President who consorts with two-bit organized crime figures whose loyalty we do not know, but it’s probably not to the Constitution of the United States.

A Secretary of State who will not talk about what he is doing for the country and curses out the reporter, to be congratulated on his behavior by the President in a frat-boy atmosphere.

And in the background we have North Korea building nuclear missiles, Iran taking steps away from the carefully-crafted agreement Trump has rejected, and a potential pandemic incubating in China.

The temptation to fight with the people around us is rising. It’s hard to endure the stress that Trump is putting on us.

But let’s not do that. There is some good news every day, even if it’s a small personal victory. Find that and magnify it. Share it. Be kind to each other. Pass a good deed forward. Originate that good deed.

Cheryl Rofer is a retired nuclear scientist writing on national security issues, nature, science, and women’s issues. Follow her on Twitter

Why the world is turning to Hannah Arendt to explain Trump

George Orwell’s “1984” is not the only classic that’s celebrating a comeback. Hannah Arendt’s philosophical essay “The Origins of Totalitarianism” has also spiked in interest recently. Here’s why it’s so relevant.

Born in Germany to a Jewish family, Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) fled when Adolf Hitler rose to power in 1933. She spent time as a stateless refugee in France and was deported to an internment camp under the Vichy regime. She emigrated to the United States in 1941, later becoming a US citizen.

Having experienced first-hand the near collapse of an advanced civilization, she also became one of the first political theorists to analyze how totalitarian political movements could rise in the early 20th century.

The roots of Nazism and Stalinism are described in her first major book, “The Origins of Totalitarianism,” originally published in English in 1951.

It has been compulsory reading for many college students ever since, but the dense political work of over 500 pages isn’t typically a bestseller. It has been flying off bookshelves in the US since Trump’s inauguration; Amazon even briefly ran out of stock this week.

These new Arendt fans are presumably trying to understand what Trump’s presidency could lead to. As it might take a while for readers to get through her heavy essays, here are a few spoilers: “Trump is not a totalitarian in her understanding; he incorporates what she calls ‘elements’ of totalitarianism,” Roger Berkowitz, professor and head of the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanity at Bard College in New York, explained in a recent DW interview.

However, strong warning signs shouldn’t be ignored, added Berkowitz: Arendt believed that “one of the core elements of totalitarianism is that it’s based in a movement… and Trump has explicitly called himself the mouthpiece of a movement. That’s a very dangerous position for a politician.”

DW News Hannah Arendt Zitate ENG

Populism: easy fixes in times of global anxiety

Arendt’s analysis focuses on the events of that period. Although her observations obviously couldn’t explain everything about today’s complex political developments, many are still revealing even now, as the right-wing populism that’s spreading throughout Europe and the US is reminiscent in different ways of the situation in the 1920s and 30s that allowed the Nazis and Communists to rise.

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George Conway: Republican senators run the risk of being shamed by Trump himself 

They should think twice before short-circuiting his removal trial.

Dec. 19, 2019 at 7:00 a.m. EST

George T. Conway III is a lawyer in New York and an adviser to the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump super PAC.

In his unhinged letter Tuesday, President Trump accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of having “cheapened the importance of the very ugly word, impeachment!” A few days earlier, he accused Democrats of “trivializing impeachment.”

If anything has cheapened or trivialized the process by which Trump was impeached, it was House Republicans’ refusal to treat the proceedings with the seriousness the Constitution demands. Unable to defend the president’s conduct on the merits, GOP members of the House resorted to deception, distortion and deflection: pretending that Trump didn’t ask President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political rival; claiming that Ukraine interfered with the 2016 election; and throwing up all manner of silly assertions of procedural unfairness.

Now, as the process moves to the Senate, Republican senators threaten the ultimate cheapening and trivialization of Congress’s constitutional obligations: holding a “trial” that would be nothing but a sham.

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