Reading About Hitler Makes Me Think of Someone Else

I’m about halfway through Hitler: Ascent 1889 – 1939 by the German historian Volker Ullrich. It’s 1932 and Hitler is on the verge of becoming the German chancellor. I’ve learned a lot about Hitler’s rise to power. At the same time, I can’t stop noticing similarities between Hitler and our president.

I wish I’d been taking notes all along, so I could be specific, but it’s hard not to be reminded of the president when reading about Hitler’s lies, exaggerations, insecurities, misconceptions, exorbitant promises and celebration of violence. There’s his successful use of the media, his ability to excite a crowd of admirers, his reliance on certain emotional catchphrases, his need for total loyalty, the way he pits his underlings against each other and, of course, his targeting of scapegoats to explain all of the world’s ills.

There is also the reaction of some contemporary observers to the possibility that a man like him might rule the nation. Paul von Hindenburg, a military commander in World War I, had been the German chancellor since 1925. He was 84 and ill when he agreed to seek the office again in 1932, partly because he was thought to be the only candidate who could beat Hitler. The left-wing Social Democrats didn’t even nominate a candidate. They threw their support to Hindenburg, even though Hindenburg was a right-winger, because they were so afraid of the alternative. From the Social Democratic Party’s newspaper:

Hitler in place of Hindenburg means chaos and panic in Germany and the whole of Europe, an extreme worsening of the economic crisis and of unemployment, and the most acute danger of bloodshed within our own people and abroad. Hitler in place of Hindenburg means the triumph of the reactionary part of the bourgeoisie over the progressive middle classes and the working class, the destruction of all civil liberties, of the press and of political, union and cultural organizations, increased exploitation and wage slavery.

The declaration ended with: “Defeat Hitler! Vote for Hindenburg!”

A journalist noted: 

What a bizarre country. Hindenburg as the pet of the pro-democracy camp. Years ago when I heard of his election … I threw up out of fear and horror. Today, in the face of the fascist threat, a democrat has to anxiously hope for Hindenburg’s re-election.

The Nazis attacked Hindenburg on the basis that leftists were supporting his candidacy (“Tell me who praises you and I’ll tell you who you are!”), as if the leftists truly admired Hindenburg and weren’t supporting him simply as the lesser of two evils. A leader of the Social Democrats responded: 

If there is one thing we admire about National Socialism, it’s the fact that it has succeeded, for the first time in German politics, in the complete mobilization of human stupidity.

That reminds me of the present moment too.

The Truth Still Matters

Will be going to North Dakota today to discuss tax reform and tax cuts. We are the highest taxed nation in the world – that will change.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2017

But the truth still matters:

oecd tax burdens

The chart includes individual and corporate taxes, as well as local taxes, as reported by the 35-nation Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

For some historical perspective, consider “When the Rich Said No to Getting Richer” by from David Leonhardt of The New York Times:

A half-century ago, a top automobile executive named George Romney — yes, Mitt’s father — turned down several big annual bonuses. He did so, he told his company’s board, because he believed that no executive should make more than $225,000 a year (which translates into almost $2 million today).

He worried that “the temptations of success” could distract people from more important matters, as he said to a biographer, T. George Harris. This belief seems to have stemmed from both Romney’s Mormon faith and a culture of financial restraint that was once commonplace in this country.

Romney didn’t try to make every dollar he could, or anywhere close to it. The same was true among many of his corporate peers. In the early 1960s, the typical chief executive at a large American company made only 20 times as much as the average worker, rather than the current 271-to-1 ratio. Today, some C.E.O.s make $2 million in a single month.

The old culture of restraint had multiple causes, but one of them was the tax code. When Romney was saying no to bonuses, the top marginal tax rate was 91 percent. Even if he had accepted the bonuses, he would have kept only a sliver of them.

The high tax rates, in other words, didn’t affect only the post-tax incomes of the wealthy. The tax code also affected pretax incomes. As the economist Gabriel Zucman says, “It’s not worth it to try to earn $50 million in income when 90 cents out of an extra dollar goes to the I.R.S.”

The tax rates helped create a culture in which Americans found gargantuan incomes to be bizarre.

A few years after Romney turned down his bonuses from the American Motors Corporation, Lyndon B. Johnson signed legislation that lowered the top marginal tax rate to 70 percent. Under Ronald Reagan, it dropped to 50 percent and kept falling. Since 1987, the top rate has hovered between 30 percent and 40 percent.

For more than 30 years now, the United States has lived with a top tax rate less than half as high as in George Romney’s day. And during those same three-plus decades, the pay of affluent Americans has soared. That’s not a coincidence. Corporate executives and others now have much more reason to fight for every last dollar.

And fight they do (it’s called “class warfare”).

Meanwhile, the president* is unnecessarily threatening hundreds of thousands of young people brought to this country by their parents and another extremely dangerous hurricane is on its way. This is further evidence that Republicans are evil and global temperatures are rising, but you already knew that.

Update:  John McCain, the Republican senator who talks a good game but can’t be relied on, has changed his mind about repealing the Affordable Care Act. He now says he’d vote Yes on what is “in may ways … the most radical” repeal bill yet. Further evidence for [see above]. 

2nd Update: McCain now says he would only vote for repeal if the legislation survived committee hearings and was subject to amendments proposed by both sides. That’s not what the 81-year old senator implied earlier today. This latest announcement is good news, because the repeal legislation is extremely unlikely to pass if it’s subject to “normal order” in the Senate instead of being rushed through. 

Authoritarian Americans Have Found Their Authoritarian

From Eric Levitz of New York Magazine:

[DT] won the GOP nomination, and then the presidency, as a different kind of Republican — one who backed radical restrictions to immigration, trade protectionism, infrastructure stimulus, universal health care, a Jacksonian foreign policy that spurned both nation-building and international law, and maintaining Social Security and Medicare at their current benefit levels. In his shambolic, improvisatory way, [he] had articulated a new vision for the American right, one that combined rabid nativism with welfare chauvinism, economic nationalism, and neo-isolationism.

Last night, [he] declared his support for prolonging America’s war in Afghanistan indefinitely. Last week, his administration’s lone proponent of a break with conservative economics was exiled from the White House. Over the last seven months, [the president*] has proven himself a loyal servant of the GOP Establishment’s agenda, as he’s pushed for draconian cuts to entitlement programs that he’d promised to protect; avoided trade wars, while dutifully prosecuting actual ones; let corporate interests dictate regulatory policy; and touted tax cuts for the rich as a panacea for all that ails the American economy….

The president may have abandoned most of his heterodox policy views, but he’s yet to back away from the true core of his political philosophy, a creed that can be summarized in two words: “Trump first.” And given the choice between the House GOP’s movement conservatism and the president’s maniacal narcissism, a lot of Republican voters are picking the latter. As Politico reports:

“Taxes, spending and even health care have taken a back seat to the most potent new litmus test in Republican primaries: allegiance to President Donald Trump.”

“… Loyalty to Trump has quickly become the most potent issue for the Republican base, according to a dozen candidates and strategists immersed in 2018 races. [Perceived disloyalty] has already put Sens. Jeff Flake and Dean Heller under pressure in their states, sparked bickering between GOP candidates in two of Republicans’ top 2018 targets, Indiana and West Virginia, and sunk one candidate running for Alabama’s open Senate seat.”

“… One Republican strategist said polling shows staunch support of Trump is the top attribute primary voters are seeking in candidates right now. At least one-third of GOP primary voters identify themselves as “Trump Republicans” (as opposed to “tea party Republicans” or “mainstream Republicans”) in state after state, according to internal polling conducted by a Republican group, with that number reaching 40 percent in some states.”

One could argue that most “Trump Republicans” root their political identity in an ideological stance — specifically, support for nativism. Immigration has always been the mogul’s signature issue, and one that genuinely divides the GOP’s “elites” from its grassroots.

But in Republican primaries this year, debates over loyalty to Trump have often been divorced from all policy questions, with candidates touting fealty to the president’s cult of personality as a defining value, in itself. 

They like him. They really like him. The minority of Americans who want a “strong leader” above all else, a President who will anger, punish or kill their perceived enemies – or at least promise to in “strong language” – have found their object of devotion. They won’t be argued out of their loyalty, even when he fails to deliver on his promises. When he fails, he will see it as the work of his enemies. That’s exactly how his devoted followers, the authoritarian minority among us, will see it too. 

If You’re a Russian Twitter Bot, What’s On Your Mind?

In 1972, the German government founded the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), a foundation and think tank in Washington. It was a gift to the American people in recognition of how the Marshall Plan helped rebuild Germany after World War 2.

The GMF has now created Hamilton 68, a site that allows “tracking Russian influence operations on Twitter”. (The name refers to Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist Papers No. 68, in which he discussed foreign meddling in our elections.) If you visit the new Disinformation Dashboard, you can see what stories and topics Russia is pushing today. From today’s “Top Themes”:

The networks we track are engaged in disinformation. They amplify legitimate reporting when the content suits them, and they promote alternative media outlets that seemingly specialize in the production of disinformation, whether or not the outlets are controlled by the Kremlin. These outlets assemble stories from found objects – bits of information that may have some basis in reality. The final product will leap to conclusions the components of the story do not necessarily support, but which promote a distorted view of events to the Kremlin’s benefit. This past week we have seen Kremlin-oriented Twitter promoting content regarding non-lethal U.S. military assistance to Ukraine. Reality: the U.S. Navy is helping construct a naval operations center at Ochakiv. The promoted stories at Stalker Zone and Strategic Culture turn that into: “The Entire Black Sea Coast of Ukraine Will Become a U.S. Military Base” and “U.S. Military to be Permanently Stationed on [Ukraine] Soil” respectively. Such stories are produced continuously. Their effectiveness is based on cumulative impact.

Side note: A coherent response to events on the weekend in Charlottesville has not yet emerged (as of August 16), though we continue to watch for one.

They’re currently monitoring 600 Twitter users, “properly understood as a network of accounts linked to and participating in Russian influence campaigns”, officially or unofficially, knowingly or unknowingly. These include:

  • Accounts likely controlled by Russian government influence operations.
  • Accounts for “patriotic” pro-Russia users that are loosely connected or unconnected to the Russian government, but which amplify themes promoted by Russian government media.
  • Accounts for users who have been influenced by the first two groups and who are extremely active in amplifying Russian media themes. These users may or may not understand themselves to be part of a pro-Russian social network. 

Today’s top Russian tweet, according to the Disinformation Dashboard, happens to be from the government-run RT network (formerly Russia Today):

Twitter user avatar @RT_com
Petition urges Trump to recognize Antifa as terrorists, reaches 55,000 signatures in 2 days https://t.co/toDhxusjll https://t.co/SV3TfIxVUD
Retweeted 566 times

The top Russia hashtags for the past 48 hours have been “antifa” (anti-fascist), “maga” (Make America Great…), “boston”, “syria”, “isis” and “altleft”. 

By the way, according to something called TwitterAudit.com, roughly 40% of DT’s 36 million followers are automated (i.e. fake).

Shining light on Russia’s propaganda efforts is a good thing, but I’d feel better if the president* and his minions were doing something to protect our upcoming elections. They’re not, because Russia is on their side.

Dashboard

Note: Whoever designed this graphic for GMF showing Putin releasing all those Twitter birds might as well have left the birds blue. Russia isn’t a Communist country anymore. It’s a right-wing kleptocracy, which is why the president* and other right-wing fanatics are so pro-Russia now. Putin leads the kind of government they aspire to.

Darkness in America

I suppose it’s possible there were some “very fine people” who chose to march with the Nazis and Klan in Charlottesville, chanting “blood and soil” and “Jews will not replace us”. Perhaps they were seriously misinformed about the nature of the event. But as Chris Rock said today: “If 10 guys thinks it’s ok to hang with 1 Nazi then they just became 11 Nazis”.

The good news is that the president* sunk so low today that more of our fellow citizens will turn against him, finally seeing him for what he is. His angry defense of white supremacy even generated disgusted reactions from a few of the right-wingers on Fox (order has probably been restored by now).

Congresswoman Gwen Moore, a Democratic Congresswoman who represents Milwaukee, called for his impeachment:

“As we once again hear [the president*] defend those responsible for the deadly riot in Charlottesville and receive praise by hate groups like the KKK and neo-Nazis, the time has come for Republicans and Democrats to put aside our political differences and philosophical debates for a higher cause. For the sake of the soul of our country, we must come together to restore our national dignity that has been robbed by [his] presence in the White House. My Republican friends, I implore you to work with us within our capacity as elected officials to remove this man as our commander-in-chief and help us move forward from this dark period in our nation’s history.”

Of course, impeachment is unlikely, given the Republican majority in the House, but perhaps the House and Senate will vote to censure him. I could see our not-as-terrible-as-some Republican Congressman voting for that. 

Perhaps being censured would finally give our president* the heart attack or stroke he so richly deserves (after his new chief of staff told him what “censure” means). 

Meanwhile, the sun, earth and moon are speeding toward the locations in space that will give America a solar eclipse on Monday. The “totality – the area where the sun is completely blocked by the moon – will be 70 miles wide and will travel from Oregon in the morning to South Carolina in the afternoon. The rest of the country will see a partial eclipse. 

Vox has a cool eclipse tracker that allows you to see when the eclipse will occur in your zip code and how much of the sun will be hidden. At its peak here in New Jersey, 72% of the sun will be hidden at 2:44 p.m. I don’t plan to use the special glass or glasses you need in order to avoid permanent eye damage, but I’ll certainly take a quick look. Coincidentally, I have an appointment with our optometrist at 3 p.m. I can experience the eclipse from his parking lot and then he can tell me if I’m blind.

I’m just brainstorming here, but I wonder if someone could convince our president* that the eclipse will be a Message telling him his presidency is over. Eclipses have often made a big impression on the ignorant and/or simple-minded. Assuming he’s in Washington, however, the moon will only block 81% of the sun. That might not be enough. But the Secret Service could tell him he’s got a rally to attend in South Carolina (they like him down there) and arrange him to be outside at just the right time. It’s a long shot, but one can dream.

PS: Another Democratic Congresswoman, Jackie Speier, who represents the area south of San Francisco, has called for the president* to be removed because he is mentally unfit: “[He] is showing signs of erratic behavior and mental instability that place the country in grave danger. Time to invoke the 25th Amendment”.

“I’m Not Saying We Wouldn’t Get Our Hair Mussed”

In March 2016, candidate Trump said he wouldn’t rule out using nuclear weapons in the Middle East or Europe.

In August 2016, Joe Scarborough of MSNBC claimed that “several months ago, a foreign policy expert went to advise Mr. Trump. … Trump asked three times, in an hour briefing, ‘why can’t we use nuclear weapons?'”

In January, after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un announced imminent plans to test an intercontinental ballistic missile, President-elect Trump tweeted “It won’t happen!”

Last month, the U.S. government announced that North Korea had indeed tested an ICBM. The Trump administration responded by saying America would use “the full range of capabilities at our disposal against the growing threat”. 

On Tuesday, sources in the administration leaked an analysis of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities:

North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles, crossing a key threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power, U.S. intelligence officials have concluded in a confidential assessment.

The analysis, completed last month by the Defense Intelligence Agency, comes on the heels of another intelligence assessment that sharply raises the official estimate for the total number of bombs in the communist country’s atomic arsenal. The United States calculated last month that up to 60 nuclear weapons are now controlled by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The President immediately issued “an extraordinary ultimatum”:

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen… [Kim Jong Un] has been very threatening beyond a normal state. They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before”…

The President received encouragement from one of his most prominent evangelical supporters, pastor Robert Jeffress of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas:

“When it comes to how we should deal with evil doers, the Bible, in the book of Romans, is very clear: God has endowed rulers full power to use whatever means necessary — including war — to stop evil. In the case of North Korea, God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong-Un. I’m heartened to see that our president … will not tolerate any threat against the American people. 

Yesterday, Secretary of Defense James Mattis (the former general whose appointment as Secretary of Defense required special dispensation from Congress) issued a statement:

The United States and our allies have the demonstrated capabilities and unquestionable commitment to defend ourselves from an attack… The DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons.  The DPRK should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican who occasionally shows some sense, indicated that the President is ready to launch a preemptive strike: 

“I do believe Donald Trump will not allow Kim Jong-un to get a missile to hit America with a nuclear weapon on top, and it’s a matter of time until that capability exists….So, I hope we can do this [with] diplomacy and sanctions [and] war would be terrible, but if there’s going to be a war, it’s going to be in the region, not here in America….Isn’t your primary purpose as President of the United States to protect the American homeland from a nuclear weapon attack by a guy like Kim Jong-un?… He’s gonna pick homeland defense over regional stability and he has to.”

Note for Sen. Graham: Please read the Vox article “North Korea Is More Rational Than You Think”. It’s very hard to see why North Korea would want to start a war.

After Secretary of State Rex Tillerson downplayed the situation, saying there is no “imminent threat” and “Americans should sleep well at night”, Sebastian Gorka, a top presidential adviser (and neo-Nazi), declared: “The idea that Secretary Tillerson is going to discuss military matters is simply nonsensical”, apparently suggesting that the issue of war and peace is a purely military matter. 

Finally, the President today expressed the opinion that his previous ultimatum “maybe wasn’t tough enough”. He told reporters that North Korea “better get their act together or they’re going to be in trouble like few nations ever have been in trouble in this world”.

Well. I hope the North Korean leadership understands that you can’t believe a word that comes out of Trump’s mouth. When it comes to making threats or promises, he might as well be what the Chinese call a “paper tiger”. A normal response to his bombast would be “yeah, right, Donald, why don’t you go play golf or watch TV?”

But our President is also stupid, ignorant and lacking in normal human emotions, so nobody knows what he might decide to do. He does have the ability to launch a nuclear strike without anyone else’s approval (a problem that needs to be fixed). I don’t think he’d do that, however. I think it’s more likely he would authorize a non-nuclear attack on North Korea designed to eliminate the country’s leadership or slow down it’s nuclear program. The likely outcome of that would be a major war that wouldn’t be limited to the Korean peninsula.

The Atlantic has a long article on “How to Deal With North Korea”. Its subtitle is “There are no good options. But some are worse than others.” Its conclusion is “every option the United States has for dealing with North Korea is bad. But accepting it as a nuclear power may be the least bad”:

Although in late April Trump called Kim “a madman with nuclear weapons,” perhaps the most reassuring thing about pursuing the acceptance option is that Kim appears to be neither suicidal nor crazy. In the five and a half years since assuming power at age 27, he has acted with brutal efficiency to consolidate that power; the assassination of his half brother is only the most recent example. As tyrants go, he’s shown appalling natural ability. For a man who occupies a position both powerful and perilous, his moves have been nothing if not deliberate and even cruelly rational.

And as the latest head of a family that has ruled for three generations, one whose primary purpose has been to survive, as a young man with a lifetime of wealth and power before him, how likely is he to wake up one morning and set fire to his world?

The same logic applies to Iran and its nuclear program. There is no easy way to stop technologically-advanced countries from obtaining nuclear weapons, especially when unfriendly nations already have them. Fortunately, however, there is no reason to think any country on Earth would use them, unless it was to retaliate against an invasion or an earlier nuclear attack. If that happened, we could only hope the damage would be limited, as it was in Japan seventy-two years ago this week. As long as some countries have nuclear weapons, other countries will acquire them. Unless the nations of the world agree to eliminate them, and, if necessary, join together to force recalcitrant nations to give them up (and keep them out of the hands of terrorists), nuclear weapons will pose a continuing threat.

In case you didn’t catch it, “I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed” is from Dr. Strangelove. General “Buck” Turgidson is vigorously arguing for a preemptive attack on the Soviet Union: “Mr. President, I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops.”

Presumably, the real-life President will receive better advice than the fictional President Merkin Muffley (if only that nice egghead President Muffley was Commander-in-Chief right now). 

A National Moratorium to End This Presidency

Will Bunch writes a column for Philly.com, the website for what’s left of Philadelphia’s daily newspapers. This week he called for a Moratorium to End the Trump Presidency:

“Do you remember your first political protest? I remember mine, even if it comes with a big asterisk. It happened on Oct. 15, 1969, and it was called the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam. The asterisk is that I really didn’t do much — not even march in the streets or carry a peace flag. All I did, actually, was ride in the backseat of our family’s Ford Country Squire station wagon with our headlights on during broad daylight — a sign that you were against the war. For those who cruised America’s highways that Wednesday, the sight of so many other headlights was a close encounter of the first kind, meaning you were not alone … in wanting the troops to come home from Southeast Asia.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about the 1969 moratorium — especially since about noon or so on  Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. Of course, it was just the next day that America saw the Women’s March, a 4-million-participant warning shot across the bow of the Trump presidency, and that has been followed by other protests, including targeted efforts that have played a role in so far blocking any efforts to repeal Obamacare. And yet the broader protest fervor seems to have waned even as the threat that Trump and his team pose to America’s democratic norms has grown in recent weeks. Is there a lesson for today’s Trump Resistance in a wildly successful protest that took place nearly 48 years ago?

I think so. The strategy of the Vietnam moratorium … was brilliant. Some activists thought the next step in antiwar protest should be a general strike, but [others] had a better idea. Plan the kind of inclusive event where every American who opposed the war — not just crazy campus radicals with their Viet Cong flags, but churchgoing suburbanites and baseball moms and your next-door neighbor — could find some way, big or small, to take part.

Hold up a candle at a vigil. Attend a rally or a “teach-in” at your town square or in your church. Call in sick from work or stay out of school to march in a protest. Or, failing that, at least take two seconds to flip on your headlights. Anything that would prove that opposition to the Vietnam War was not only nonviolent, but moral and middle-class. And, most important, mainstream. The first round of coast-to-coast protests that October drummed up support for a mass march on Washington exactly one month later that drew an eye-popping 500,000 people….

It’s easy to dismiss the moratorium because — as history showed us — the Vietnam War didn’t end right away in 1969. The final U.S. combat troops didn’t come home until the winter of early 1973. But in other ways, the protest effort was a stunning success. October 1969 marked the first time the Gallup Poll showed a majority of Americans believed the war was a mistake. President Richard M. Nixon felt that heat inside the White House, where that fall, he addressed the public to insist that a so-called silent majority supported his policies. But Nixon also speeded up the pace of troop withdrawals, and Congress eventually moved to pass the War Powers Act, seeking to restrict presidents’ ability to launch another Vietnam. It didn’t last, but U.S. foreign policy was arguably more restrained and wiser over the next decade or two — all because everyday citizens had taken action.

What happened in 1969 is more proof that citizen action — or inaction — is the tipping point between democracy and authoritarianism. The largest wrench in the would-be despot’s toolbox is apathy — a dazed and confused populace that sits on its hands when a self-proclaimed strongman moves to restrict the freedom of the press or curb the power of the judiciary or independent prosecutors or strip people of voting rights. The flip side is that it’s remarkable what a truly engaged citizenry can accomplish.

In South Korea, during the same weeks that Trump was transitioning into the presidency, as many as 1.7 million people at a time flooded the streets of downtown Seoul to protest corruption by their country’s then-president, Park Geun-hye, in demonstrations the Washington Post described as a “democratic, peaceful and even joyous assembly, demanding the president’s ouster.” And ousted Park was. In Poland, democracy seemed to be hanging by a thread last month as the ruling party sat poised to crush that nation’s independent judiciary — until the masses took to the streets of Warsaw.

The bottom line is that government does respond to the people, but only when the people respond to the government. When Trump fires the FBI director who’s probing his campaign or calls the free press “the enemy of the American people,” right now he doesn’t see 1.7 million people outside his bedroom window. He sees only the prattling heads on Fox & Friends — and so it’s only going to get worse, especially with the new report that special prosecutor Robert Mueller is bringing evidence before a grand jury. Now is the time for America to show its inner Seoul.

A long time ago, I chose a keyboard over marching boots. But today, I’m using my keyboard and my platform as an opinion writer to offer this opinion: What America needs right now is a Moratorium to End the Trump Presidency — a mass event that will show the world a not-so-silent majority of Americans does not support an uncouth and irrational wannabe despot in the Oval Office. It’s great that 61 percent of the public can tell a pollster they disapprove of Trump’s presidency. But now we need 61 percent of Americans to tell that to their neighbors, to their local communities, and to the world, in a public display of disaffection.

When? Why not Oct. 15, 2017, the 48th anniversary of the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam, when the weather is good and the kids on campus have settled in for the fall semester? What? Whatever it takes to show people that decent Americans want this nightmare to end…. Why? Because it’s going to take more than 140 characters or your most impassioned Facebook rant to change America for good. Then, a month later — say Nov. 18, 2017, a Saturday — converge 1.7 million, give or take a few, of those people in front of Trump’s White House fence. And watch to see who will be the first Republican congressman from a swing district to endorse impeachment.

You know, moratorium, at first blush, seems like an odd thing to call a protest. But the definition of moratorium is “a temporary prohibition” of a regular activity. For the last 28 weeks, America has endured a president who is, in the words of the Twitter hashtag,  #NotNormal. Maybe mixing up our routines for a couple of days this fall is the best way to get our nation back to, you know … normal.

End quote.