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Not Dead, Just Getting Ready

We’re heading to Louisville, KY on Thursday for the NRA Annual Meeting. This year is a bit of a dilemma, as we attend the National Firearm Law Seminar on Friday, but that tends to overlap with the Leadership Forum. In past several years I’ve been fine with skipping that, since I’ve grown tired of listening to boring politicians and other such talking heads droning on beyond their welcome. But this year’s three ring circus is bound be entertaining, and I’m interested to hear and report on whatever crazy, off-the-cuff shit Trump has to say. You can say what you want about Trump, boring the man is not. One of us may skip out early to cover the Leadership Forum.

More seriously, in terms of forums that get genuinely covered, NRA’s Leadership Forum is a key Trump opportunity to start uniting the GOP base behind him and start getting buy-in from the people who worry they are being sold a bill of goods. Will Trump take the opportunity?

In the mean time, I’m trying to get ahead of my work so I’m not completely behind when I return next Tuesday. That’s the bigger reason posting is light. I’ve been behind to begin with, in case you haven’t noticed.

12 Responses to “Not Dead, Just Getting Ready”

  1. RAH says:

    I look forward your take on Trump when you see him in person and his reception.

  2. Whetherman says:

    “You can say what you want about Trump, boring the man is not.”

    Neither was Adolf Hitler, if the file footage of his speeches is to be believed. My father could remember German-speaking Americans of the older generation listening to his speeches on the radio and exclaiming “Ach! Dat Hitler!

    But going down my own memory lane, I remember 1980, when Ronald Reagan was the first candidate for president endorsed by the NRA. I was an enthusiastic Reagan supporter, and of course voted for him. But I remember when I saw Reagan on the cover of The American Rifleman, a little niggling voice in my head saying “Trouble brewing!” I had an unformed suspicion that somehow political endorsements would someday become a trap.

    I suspect an NRA endorsement of an overt fascist with a history of nothing but gum-beating about the Second Amendment may become troublesome. How, remains to be seen.

    • Joe says:

      Trump isn’t a fascist!!! Fascism is an economic system where the ways and means of production are controlled by a military or paramilitary force headed by and controlled by a dictator. If you wanna see real fascism, I will pay for your one way ticket to China, Iran, or Saudi Arabia. Then you can see where the NAZI model really exists!

      • Whetherman says:

        You got it close to right. As an economic system, fascism means that the means of production are privately owned, but production and distribution are controlled by The State. Typically, as in 1930s Germany, Italy, and Spain, large industries are effectively partners with the government, and the line between business and government is blurred. Government does use its military force when necessary to protect is partnering entities from competition.

        But history has rendered the definition of what we generally consider fascism more complex. Some things have seemed to always evolve to accompany the economic scenario, or to precede it, as fascists use certain common appeals to come to power.

        Following is one typical example:

        A definitive definition of fascism is a totalitarian government with extreme nationalist tendencies in which the government is controlled and operated for the benefit of a few elite. However, it should be noted that an all-encompassing definition of a complex system can not be simply stated. Such simple definitions undoubtedly fail in time. A caveat to the above definition would be anytime the government places the rights of corporations or the elite above the rights of the citizens, it represents a step towards fascism. A better insight into what fascism is can be obtained by listing the traits that are common to the classical fascist states of Franco’s Spain, Nazi Germany and fascist Italy. A list of traits of fascism is presented below. Note that the first two are the two most defining traits, obviously many of the others can be applied to many other social-political systems as one moves down the list.

        1. Totalitarian
        2. Extreme nationalism
        3. Top down revolution or movement
        4. Destructive divisionism such as racism and class warfare
        5. Extreme anti-communism, anti socialism, and anti-liberal views
        6. Extreme exploitation
        7. Opportunistic ideology lacking in consistency as a means to grab power
        8. Unbridled Corporatism
        9. Reactionary
        10. The use of violence and terror to attain and maintain power
        11. Cult-like figurehead
        12. The expounding of mysticism or religious beliefs

        Trump has hit on enough of these to qualify, in my opinion, and he has brought our latent fascists out of the closet. If the Republican Party somehow manages to put lipstick on their pig, I still will not forget how he started out, to obtain power. He can blather about gun rights or the Second Amendment, until hell freezes over, and I will not believe him, and any organization that tries to persuade me to believe him will never have my support again.

        • Sebastian says:

          As sure as I am that I’m going to hate nearly every moment of a Trump Administration, and I can see a few of these points in Trump, it’s the degree where I think the comparison doesn’t work for me. Trump isn’t coming with his own private army or secret police. Hitler and the National Socialists had the SA, and Mussolini’s Italian Fascists had the Ceka, based on the Bolshevik model. While Trump is definitely building of stirring up some working class violence, we’ve seen that in this country before, and a good bit worse in some cases.

          Also, most of the leaders of the totalitarian movements of the 20th century have come from the working classes. Hitler was a failed artist, and could probably be accurately described as a loser up until his rise to power. Lenin was probably one of the more bourgeois of the 20th century totalitarians, since he had a college education. But his family background was from the lower classes. Stalin’s parents were working class. His father was an abusive drunk. He failed out of a seminary and joined the Bolsheviks. Mussolini worked odd jobs in Switzerland trying to avoid the military draft, returned to Italy under an amnesty, and became a socialist community organizer. Even if you go as far back as Napoleon, he was a professional soldier, though being the son of an attorney, he was of at least some means.

          I’m not saying fascism can’t descend from a an Ivy League educated elite born into wealth, but Trump doesn’t fit the profile of past individuals who have either lead totalitarian revolutions, or who coopted previously democratic systems and turned them totalitarian. Obama fits the profile a lot more than Trump does (not that I think Obama is a totalitarian).

          That said, I think Trump is a “law & order” populist, but not anything we haven’t seen in this country before. I see more parallels to the political climate of the 1890s today than I do to Weimar Germany or Italy in the 1920s. I’m reluctant to compare Trump to a figure like William Jennings Bryan, because Bryan wasn’t quite the ostentatious buffoon I think Trump is, and the issues of the day were different. But a lot of the same things people say about Trump were true of Bryan as well.

  3. RAH says:

    So getting a NRA endorsement now means you are a fascists. How wonderful.

    Trump is going where voters are. The NRA convention is a given for a presidential candidate.

    • Whetherman says:

      “So getting a NRA endorsement now means you are a fascists.”

      No, you have it backwards. Endorsing a fascist is what would make an organization fascist.

      • RAH says:

        Whetherman I disagree. I do not agree with your premise that Trump is a fascist.Trump is a crony capitalist

        I also will not tar supporters of Trump as fascists.

        • Whetherman says:

          “Trump is a fascist.Trump is a crony capitalist

          But when you add items 2 (“Make America Great Again!), 4, 7, 8, 9, 10 (e.g., advocating assaults on protestors), 11, and arguably 12 (just believe Trump can do what he promises) to crony capitalism, voila’, you have a fascist.

          “I also will not tar supporters of Trump as fascists.”

          The subtle thing is that even most Nazis didn’t regard themselves as Nazis, in the sense of meaning the kind of person “Nazi” invokes when we hear it today. And yet they enabled everything we think of the Nazis as having done, and found self-justifications for it as they did. They merely thought of themselves as super-patriotic, super-dedicated, Good Germans.

          • Whetherman says:

            This book has always been kind of obscure, but is one of the most insightful I have ever encountered regarding the ascent of fascism in Germany.

            They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45
            by Milton Mayer (Author)

            First published in 1955, They Thought They Were Free is an eloquent and provocative examination of the development of fascism in Germany. Mayer’s book is a study of ten Germans and their lives from 1933-45, based on interviews he conducted after the war when he lived in Germany. Mayer had a position as a research professor at the University of Frankfurt and lived in a nearby small Hessian town which he disguised with the name “Kronenberg.” “These ten men were not men of distinction,” Mayer noted, but they had been members of the Nazi Party; Mayer wanted to discover what had made them Nazis.

  4. ttl says:

    The definition of fascism has been rendered meaningless by socialist academicians trying to rid themselves of their tarbaby.

    I was amused by the fasces that was on the reverse side of the Roosevelt dime until someone figured out the bad PR aspects.

    Bitter and Sebastian, enjoy your trip!

  5. Patrick says:

    Trump has been consistent in his pandering to our base, so I am not sure he will push beyond what he’s already said. Probably just try to solidify it by telling us how much he, “love the guns.”

    I’ve heard Trump say national reciprocity was in his vision, but was not sure he really even knew what the hell it was. He said, “like a driver’s license, it should be good everywhere” but I wonder if he knows that this would mean many millions of flyover people would be eligible to carry in Manhattan?

    If I had a few minutes with him, I’d explain just exactly what “carry” entails (‘regular-not-special’ people with guns, everywhere, without the need to prove cause), and then see if he still says the same things.

    EDIT: As a follow-up, has anybody seen him acknowledge that shall-issue exists? Or does he think everywhere in the USA is like Manhattan. He said he has a carry card in NY, so has that process colored his impression everywhere else – does he understand that just about anyone with a clean record can carry in most places in the USA and will he get behind extending that to the Upper West Side?

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