Executions, Dictators, and the GOP’s Own Reality

  • Trump and other Republicans float the execution of Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley; this is where Republicans are: executions;
  • How wannabe dictator Trump would take NBC and other news outlets off the air;
  • More about the GOP’s attack on truth (i.e. fact-checkers) to promote their “own reality”;
  • Images from Facebook today about Conservatism, and Cognitive Biases.

The right has become so extreme, things so outrageous that decades ago they would have prompted calls for resignation or censure or disqualification from future office now go by without much notice, i.e. not on the front pages of papers, or the nightly network news. And his followers don’t care, and would I’m sure will continue to endorse him. This is where Republicans are now.

The Atlantic, Brian Klaas, 25 Sep 2023: Trump Floats the Idea of Executing Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley, subtitled “The former president is inciting violence against the nation’s top general. America’s response is distracted and numb.”

Late Friday night, the former president of the United States—and a leading candidate to be the next president—insinuated that America’s top general deserves to be put to death.

That extraordinary sentence would be unthinkable in any other rich democracy. But Donald Trump, on his social-media network, Truth Social, wrote that Mark Milley’s phone call to reassure China in the aftermath of the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021, was “an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been DEATH.” (The phone call was, in fact, explicitly authorized by Trump-administration officials.) Trump’s threats against Milley came after The Atlantic’s publication of a profile of Milley, by this magazine’s editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg, who detailed the ways in which Milley attempted to protect the Constitution from Trump.

And yet, none of the nation’s front pages blared “Trump Suggests That Top General Deserves Execution” or “Former President Accuses General of Treason.” Instead, the post barely made the news. Most Americans who don’t follow Trump on social media probably don’t even know it happened.

Trump loves to hide behind the thin veneer of plausible deniability, but he knows exactly what he’s doing. If a mob boss were to say, “In times gone by, people like you would have had their legs broken,” nobody would mistake that for a historical observation. The suggestion is clear, and it comes from a man who has one of America’s loudest megaphones—one that is directed squarely at millions of extremists who are well armed, who insist that the government is illegitimate, and who believe that people like Milley are part of a “deep state” plot against the country.


Heather Cox Richardson provides context and background.

Heather Cox Richardson, Letters from an American: September 24, 2023

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the nation’s highest-ranking military officer and the principal military advisor to the president, secretary of defense, and national security council. The current chairman, Army General Mark Milley, has served in the military for 44 years, deploying in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Panama, Haiti, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Somalia, and the Republic of Korea. He holds a degree in political science from Princeton University, a master’s degree in international relations from Columbia University, and a master’s degree from the U.S. Naval War College in national security and strategic studies.

Former president Trump chose Milley for that position, but on Friday night, Trump posted an attack on Milley, calling him “a Woke train wreck” and accusing him of betraying the nation when, days before the 2020 election, he reassured his Chinese counterpart that the U.S. was not going to attack China in the last days of the Trump administration, as Chinese leaders feared.

Trump was reacting to a September 21 piece by Jeffrey Goldberg about Milley in The Atlantic, which portrays Milley as an important check on an erratic, uninformed, and dangerous president while also warning that “[i]n the American system, it is the voters, the courts, and Congress that are meant to serve as checks on a president’s behavior, not the generals.”

Trump posted that Milley “was actually dealing with China to give them a heads up on the thinking of the President of the United States. This was an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been DEATH! A war between China and the United States could have been the result of this treasonous act. To be continued!!!”


Also noted here. What is this nation coming to?

Salon, Heather Digby Parton, 25 Sep 2023: The death knell for the GOP’s hold on the military, subtitled “Donald Trump effectively called for Gen. Mark Milley to be executed”


Along the same lines:

Boing Boing, Carla Sinclair, 25 Sep 2023: Donald Trump says he will take NBC and other news outlets off the air if he wins in 2024

Wannabe dictator Donald Trump further threatens democracy and the United States, once again promising to go after the free press if he becomes president next year. In fact, he suggests that NBC News, and MSNBC specifically, as well as all mainstream media, will be investigated and taken off the air waves.

Never mind the First Amendment; dictators don’t do Constitutions. Do all of his supporters realize who he is and wants to do??


This is a follow-up to the WaPo piece a couple days ago about Republican attacks on fact-checkers.

AlterNet, Thom Hartmann, 25 Sep 2023: Opinion | The GOP’s attack on the truth is now on steroids

The Putin GOP wants misinformation to reign as we head into the 2024 election. Without lies, they can’t win most competitive elections, and they want to keep those lies safe from fact-checking, regardless of what accurate information the voters need or the damage they inflict on our nation.

With many examples in addition to those cited in the WaPo piece. Examples in Alabama, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida, Tennessee, and other red states.

As Justin Higgins, a former policy adviser for House Republican Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, told Aaron Rupar:

“You can basically make up your own reality in right-wing media.”


Finally for today, images I saw today from Facebook posts. Since such links don’t always work after a time, I’m saving the graphics and posting those there.

Conservatism: The intense fear that somewhere, somehow, someone you think is inferior is being treated as your equal.

I suspect many conservatives would hotly deny this — but that’s how you all seem to us non-conservatives. This aligns with the in-group/out-group quote that I posted three days ago.


This one I’m not going to type out. Here’s the saved image. It’s a summary of common cognitive biases, *with examples*, which makes it especially useful.

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