How the Fascist Right has Failed the Country on COVID 19 – and on Everything Else

The Fascist Right
Out of Power but Still Calling the Shots
AMERICA: JANUARY 1, 2020—JUNE 30, 2020



This latest expose on the crimes of President Donald Trump and the Republican party will provide further examples of how this administration threatens not only the American people, but the very world we live in. During the six month period covered herein, Senate Republicans made Donald Trump’s impeachment trial a total farce; this has emboldened Trump to become even more authoritarian in his actions. I have shown in previous articles how his only concerns are in finding ways he personally can profit from the presidency; the concerns of the American people or the welfare of the planet are not a concern for him, or any other Republican leaders. We will examine the trial, the increase of racism, the upcoming election, and numerous other areas that collectively prove this administration to be the most dangerous and corrupt in American history. Most significantly, a great deal of time will also be spent on a new issue, namely the Covid-19 global pandemic and how the administration has once again failed the American people. The result is thousands of unnecessary deaths. So now the Republican party has blood on its hands. This will be our first area of inquiry, and it will be the longest chapter.

2020 is also an election year. This will be the chance for the American people to finally say “enough” and rid our country of the horrible lack of leadership Republicans have given us. We will have the opportunity to select a president who will be faced with the enormous task of ridding the country of the stench of Trumpism, America’s newest religion (why I call it a religion is covered in a previous article). We will also have the opportunity to take back the Senate and end filibusters once and for all.

This article will discuss the impeachment farce in some detail, providing graphic proof of how Senate Republicans have absolutely to regard for the United States Constitution and the rule of law. Their tactics were patently immoral and illegal, which is another reason why I have called the Republican party a rogue party; they have no respect or toleration for those citizens and politicians holding different views and have done everything in their power to remove them from the body politic.

Since racism has escalated dramatically since Trump stole the 2016 election, I have devoted an entire chapter to this issue. The Department of Justice, under the leadership of another Trump toady named William Barr, is no longer concerned with justice at all, but instead serves a single purpose: To protect the president at all costs. The DOJ has thus become another illegitimate political rogue. Barr’s words and actions will conclusively support this conclusion, which is why I now call his agency the Department of injustice.

The first six months of 2020 have seen the arrival of this pandemic which, as of June 30, 2020, has claimed almost 130,000 American lives. How our leaders have responded to this crisis should come as no surprise, given their incompetence and corruption in just about every other area. Their failure to even consider the health of the people they are supposed to be serving conclusive proves that the Republican party is no longer a legitimate political entity.

This article will be different from those preceding it because the virus was not an issue prior to 2020. It has affected every single person in the United States in one way or another and, not surprisingly, the response from Donald Trump has been nothing less than a resounding silence. I will of course be covering other issues in this article, most of which I’ve covered before but require updating. However, the Covid-19 pandemic, in addition to causing the most serious health crisis since the Spanish flu epidemic immediately following the first World War, has by its very nature affected countless other aspects of our lives besides our health. Thus, our first chapter will focus on the emergence of the pandemic and how Donald Trump and the Republican party has responded.


The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the lives of everyone in the country. The first news reports trickling in did not make it sound very serious. But then, people began getting sick and dying at alarming rates. The end result is that humanity is facing the worst health pandemic since the great flu epidemic of a hundred years ago. This is a time for us to put politics aside and start looking for solutions. But Republicans and big business have failed to do this, downplaying the crisis at every opportunity and failing to take any kind of responsibility for their inaction. If there were any doubt that Republicans don’t care at all what happens to the American people, this chapter should provide irrefutable proof.

Over 120,000 lives—and counting.  That is where we are as of mid-2020.  But it needn’t have come to this.  No other country is experiencing similar death rates, and this is largely due to Donald Trump and the Republican party who at first attempted to downplay the seriousness of the pandemic, and then, as the situation worsened and deaths began to rise dramatically,  tried to shift the blame to the Democrats.  Trump’s own words show the complete ineptness of his response (to say nothing of his constant stream of lies).  Here is a brief list of some of his responses and how his constant lying has caused untold damage and misery.  Consider his words on January 22: “We have it totally under control.  It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control.  It’s going to be just fine.”  On February 10, he said: “Looks like by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.”  By February 24, global markets had fallen precipitously, but Trump ignored this with one of his more blatant lies: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. … Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”   Three days later, he said: “It’s going to disappear.  One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”  By March, even Trump had to acknowledge that the virus was not disappearing but instead rapidly spreading.  Nonetheless, he still insisted the public was not in danger.  This despite the World Health Organization’s clear warnings that the virus was spreading at alarming rates.  Trump’s eventual response was to withdraw support of the WHO, and blame them for failing to warn people of the seriousness of the disease!  And, on March 9, he began his predictable attempts to shift the blame by instigating attacks on his perceived opponents, blaming them for exaggerating the dangers of the pandemic: “The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, is doing everything within its semi-considerable power…to inflame the CoronaVirus situation.”  Finally, on March 17, he actually had the gall to say: “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”  Clearly this man who has no shame and is utterly lacking in morals.  Despite his incompetence, lies and outright criminality, he still has a large number of supporters.  An email sent out on May 31 by Social Security Works hits the nail right on the head: “If the Trump administration were as dedicated to fighting the coronavirus as they are to destroying Social Security and Medicare, we might not have 40 million newly unemployed and more than 100,000 deaths.”

Even as early as February, many people were becoming panic-stricken over the pandemic. Enter the religious snake oil salesman Jim Bakker. Daily Kos reports: Jim Bakker, the infamous televangelist who was convicted in 1989 on 23 counts of fraud and one count of conspiracy, is back selling snake oil to the rubes. The Jesus-‘n’-bulk-pancake-mix salesman, who recently said supporting Trump ‘is a test whether you’re even saved’ and claimed ‘the demons of hell were impeaching the president as I was taping this show recently,’ thinks the coronavirus that’s rampaging the globe as we speak can be eliminated in 12 hours. And, coincidentally, the cure happens to be the thing he’s selling on his show and website right now. BAKKER: ‘This influenza that is now circling the globe, you’re saying that Silver Solution would be effective.’ NATUROPATH SHERRILL SELLMAN: ‘Well let’s say it hasn’t been tested on this strain of the coronavirus, but it’s been tested on other strains of the coronavirus and has been able to eliminate it within 12 hours—totally eliminate it, kills it, deactivates it. And then it boosts your immune system so then you can support the recovery, because when you kill the virus then the immune system comes into action to clear it out. So you want a vibrant immune system as well as an ability to deactivate these viruses.” (Aldous J. Pennyfarthing, Daily Kos, February 13, 2020)

Notice first of all that Bakker, a convicted criminal in a fraud case, is also a far-right Republican and Trump supporter. Also, note his reference to the deadly virus as “influenza,” thus downplaying the seriousness of the crisis. Trump and his supporters have also constantly referred to the virus as a type of flu, which it clearly is not. Months after this ad aired, and the product’s efficacy disproven, the gullible people who paid $125 for a bottle of it were out their money. And Bakker has not, as of this writing, been indicted for his latest fraud. Fundamentalist Christianity, far-right Republicans, lies, swindlers and crime—all part of the same package deal.

Once the danger of Covid-19 made it impossible for even Trump to deny, he reacted in predictable ways.  Daily Kos tells us: “The Trump Administration is woefully unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic (due to his own fault), so they are stealing $139 million from programs that help the poor—and zero from his border wall.  They are taking $37 million from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program that pays for heating & cooling assistance for the poor, $4.9 million from Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services, $4.2 million from Aging & Disability Services, and many more.  It is devastating. (Daily Kos, February 27, 2020) To Trump, the unfortunate are the enemy and his goal is to remove all funding from programs that help them.

Even as people were dying from the virus, Trump was still trying to turn the situation into a political football.  Daily Kos reported in early March: “At a South Carolina rally last week, President Trump claimed that COVID-19 was a ‘hoax’ being perpetrated by the Democratic Party.  He analogized it with the impeachment probes and the Mueller investigations into his administration.  Forget about the fact that, like COVID-19, the facts of Trump’s corruption are scientifically proven.  Even if you believe Trump did nothing wrong and the Democratic Party is just trying to relitigate the 2016 election, COVID-19 is a virus that even world leaders have caught and are suffering from.  But how dumb is the racist death cult following Donald Trump?” (Walter Einenkel, Daily Kos, March 6, 2020)

By contrast, consider how President Obama handled the Ebola crisis when it broke. Instead of using it as an opportunity to attack Republicans, he showed his leadership by leading our government as well as the international community to contain the epidemic and save lives.

When CNN reporter Jim Acosta asked Trump: “What do you say to Americans who are concerned that you’re not taking this seriously enough and that some of your statements don’t match what your health experts are saying?” Trump gave this predictable response: “That’s CNN. Fake news.” As we have repeatedly seen, any news reports that Trump doesn’t like are automatically labeled “fake news” and not addressed. This man really thinks he is the sole conveyor of truth. His words are not to be questioned by discomforting facts. This is exactly how religions operate—and fascists as well. Trumpism truly is America’s newest religion.

In March, Trump gave a phone interview to Fox’s Sean Hannity and again tried to downplay the significance of the virus. Daily Kos reports: “How many ways can Donald Trump get facts about the coronavirus pandemic dangerously wrong? How many ways you got? In a phone interview on Fox News, Trump seemed to consider it to be a personal challenge to be absolutely wrong on every point, and to continue underplaying the threat posed by the disease, even as Americans are dying. Speaking with his eternal partner in lies, Sean Hannity, Trump manages, in just a few moments, to dismiss the risk of infection, call the outbreak ‘corona flu,’ suggest that millions of Americans already have it without knowing it, and encourage people to go on about their lives even if they are carrying the virus…After calling the disease ‘corona flu,’ Trump says this: ‘If we have, you know, thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better, just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work—some of them go to work—but they get better. And then when you do have a death, like you’ve had in the state of Washington, and like you had one in California, I believe you had one in New York, you know, uh, all of a sudden it seems like 3 or 4%, which is a very high number, as opposed to—as opposed to a fraction of 1%.’

“Everything in this statement isn’t just terrible; it’s also all almost impossibly dangerous.  Trump is flat-out suggesting that things are improved by people having coronavirus—and going to work.  Apparently because this makes the overall percentage number look better.  Trump then moves back to comparing coronavirus to the flu, repeating his astonishment about how many people the flu kills each year, in an effort to dismiss the coronavirus as an also-ran.  Everything about this whole conversation is Trump at his most staggeringly ignorant.  But it’s also Trump leveling a gun at the nation and firing.  Both barrels.  In an effort to downplay the significance of the coronavirus, he’s deliberately undercutting efforts to slow the spread of that virus.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, March 5, 2020)

There is an historical parallel here that should be mentioned. This concerns the Spanish flu epidemic that began in 1918 near the end of World War 1 and killed an estimated 670,000 Americans. The president at the time, Woodrow Wilson, attempted (like Trump) to withhold information about the flu and acted like everything was just fine. Since the epidemic began during wartime, Wilson felt that information about it should be kept from the public as much as possible and he instigated a campaign of misinformation and advertisements that urged people to report to the Justice Department anyone “who spreads pessimistic stories, cries for peace, or belittles our effort to win the war.” As a result, governmental officials and health experts began to lie about the seriousness of the epidemic. While hundreds of thousands of Americans died, Wilson was trying to focus on other issues and downplay the urgency of the health crisis. So, Trump’s trifling of the pandemic has a historical precedent. It is worth noting that over fifty years ago, Wilson was rated among our “near great” or even “great” presidents. Today’s historians know better and rate him as “below average” or even a “failure.” Incidentally, Wilson’s overt racism, which led to a resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s, also parallels what is happening today under Republican leadership.

At the end of February, Trump announced that Vice President Mike Pence would be leading the charge to address the pandemic.  This is another example of how clueless this administration is: Rather than appoint someone who is a disease expert, Trump decided instead to put his vice president in charge, knowing full well that Pence knows nothing at all about communicable diseases, or even medicine in general.  Pence immediately showed what he intended to do with this new responsibility: Cover the president’s back and support his every move and nonsensical statement.   Daily Kos notes: “One Wednesday evening, Donald Trump held a press conference to announce how the United States would address the looming threat of the 2019 novel coronavirus.  Trump’s primary action was to place Mike Pence—a man who not only directly intervened to help make an HIV epidemic in Indiana worse, but also wrote columns expressing doubt about the link between cigarettes and cancer—in charge of the epidemic.  Why Pence?  According to Trump, people with actual experience in the area were too busy.  So apparently Pence will handle what could be the most pressing issue facing the nation because he has some free time.  For nearly an hour, Trump rambled in a terrifyingly incoherent appearance that sent the stock markets into an after-hours nosedive.  Again and again, Donald Trump insisted that there were 15 cases of COVID-19 in the United States, listing off the outcome of some of the first cases to be diagnosed, and ignoring the fact that the actual number is 60.  And that 60 includes the first case in the United States to have no known contact with someone who traveled to a region where the infection is rampant.  While Trump was waving off the crisis as something that would never happen, it gave every appearance of already being in the room.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, February 27, 2020) “Too busy?”  Doing what?  If the “experts” referred to had the experience Trump mentioned, they wouldn’t be “too busy” but already working on addressing the issue.  In fact, Trump has ignored the words of virtually every real expert on health issues.  Why?  Because they don’t tell him what he wants to hear.  This is how he reacts to everything.

Another Daily Kos writer discusses what Pence’s appointment will mean for the country and how seriously he will take his new job: “Mike Pence, Donald Trump’s choice to head up the administration’s coronavirus response, has what you might call the reverse of public health expertise, but he could buckle down, work hard, and learn, right?  Sure he could—but of course that’s not what Pence is doing.  On Thursday, Pence spoke at CPAC (where he was interrupted by a Trump impersonator).  And on Friday, Pence is heading to Florida for a high-dollar fundraiser.  Pence will be in Longboat Key to raise money for the National Republican Congressional Committee.  Tickets to the fundraiser cost $2,500 just to get in the door.  It’s $5,000 for a picture with Pence and $25,000 for dinner.

So he’s not exactly studying up on public health and the best responses to a virus outbreak.  On the other hand, Pence’s real role in the Trump administration’s coronavirus response appears to be throttling information, with actual government health experts ordered to go to Pence for permission to make public statements.  And blocking information from the public is something Pence can do from Florida or anywhere else.” (Laura Clawson, Daily Kos, February 28, 2020)

Pence, like most religious fundamentalists, only accepts science when it happens to coincide with his antediluvian worldview.  When Democrats Turn Out summarizes Pence’s anti-scientific stances: “Trump has named Mike Pence as the head of the government’s coronavirus response team.  His first action?  Demand that all new information be sent to his office for approval before being released.  This is the man who, in 2015 as governor of Indiana, delayed sending critical assistance to counter a rural HIV outbreak exacerbated by his budget cuts to healthcare.  His slow response has been cited as a key reason that the outbreak was allowed to spread as far as it did before it could be contained.  This is the man who wrote an op-ed declaring, ‘Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill.’  And this is the man who believes in harmful and scientifically-discredited gay conversion therapy and doubts that evolution is real.” (When Democrats Turn Out, March 3, 2020) It would be difficult to think of a worse person to be leading this fight.  Appointing Pence to such an important position can only mean that responses will be slow, and more people will needlessly die.  All because of Republican ignorance, negligence and intransigence.

Trump has lied about the seriousness of the pandemic ever since it first became an issue.  But, being Trump, rather than coming clean and taking the blame for his poor response to the epidemic, he acted predictably by blaming—guess who—the Democrats.  At the end of February, Daily Kos reported: “On Friday night, Donald Trump called the coronavirus epidemic a ‘hoax’ by Democrats who ‘failed’ to bring him down over his collusion with Russia, or the extortion of Ukraine that led to his impeachment.  After weeks of downplaying the threat, of ignoring the spread around the world, and of demonstrating that his concerns begin and end with the stock market, Trump has moved on to the next stage of how he is handling the COVID-19 issue—affixing the blame.  On a rally stage in South Carolina, Trump took his statement that he could kill Americans and get away with it out of the realm of theory and put it into practice.  The people that he murdered might not be dead yet, but his words on that stage have killed them as certainly as if he lined them up on Fifth Avenue and opened fire.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, February 29, 2020)

Once Joe Biden became the Democratic party front runner, Trump tried to shift the blame of his failures in addressing the pandemic to Biden.  Daily Kos reports: “On Thursday morning, Donald Trump took aim at Joe Biden with a fresh series of tweets that blamed Barack Obama and Biden for ‘complicating’ the CDC and for an H1N1 flu response that was a ‘disaster.’   Trump then had the absolute audacity to claim that since taking the White House he had cut ‘all the red tape,’ making the CDC and other agencies better able to meet a pandemic threat.

“The idea that Barack Obama is somehow to blame for what everyone agrees is a completely bungled response to the novel coronavirus is handy, especially for a White House where assigning blame is often the top priority in any situation, and even more so when Joe Biden looks set to win the Democratic nomination.  But it’s also completely ridiculous.  And the idea that Trump has done anything that improved the situation is more ridiculous still.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, March 13, 2020)

Daily Kos takes issue with Trump’s criticism of Obama’s handling of the 2009 pandemic and compares Obama’s handling of the crisis with Trump’s handling of the current one.  The article should be required reading for anyone who thinks Trump is handling the crisis well: “On Tuesday morning, Trump issued a long line of tweets on topics as vital to the nation as his repeated charge that Joe Scarborough got away with murder and making absolutely unsubstantiated claims about voting by mail.  But Trump did manage to throw in at least a couple of coronavirus-related tweets before the day when the death toll officially crosses 100,000.  First up, Trump claimed that his handling of the ‘China Virus’ had gotten ‘great reviews.’  And then, in the very same tweet, he complained that he had gotten ‘no credit’ for all the good he had done.  Just to be clear, Trump’s response to the COVID-19 crisis has garnered miserable reviews, and deserved much worse.

“After a weekend in which Trump spent more time on insults and golf, it’s nice to know that he at least remembers there is a pandemic in progress. But the finishing note (so far) in Trump’s morning tweet session was throwing an insult at Joe Biden about the handling of the H1N1 pandemic in 2009…and that deserves an updated look at the timelines of the two pandemics.

“Trump calls the handling of H1N1 a ‘complete and total disaster.’  Below is a detailed timeline comparing the two pandemics.  However, here’s the short form: Within a week of the first H1N1 case, the CDC was working on a vaccine.  Within two weeks the virus had been completely sequenced, President Obama had declared an emergency, a test was ready to ship, and the federal government distributed protective gear and antiviral drugs to states.  Within three weeks, Obama had issued guidelines for school and business closures, and 1 million tests had been shipped to states.  Six months after the first case, a vaccine was available and a federally managed vaccination program began.  The total number of people who died in the H1N1 pandemic over two years was fewer than the number who died from COVID-19 in the last two weeks. (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, May 26, 2020) In the interest of space, I will not print the timeline referred to, but interested readers may find it on the Daily Kos site.  Even a cursory perusal of this timeline will show who the real leader was/is during a health crisis.

Another writer from Daily Kos further elaborates on the COVID-19 issue and how two wildly different presidents reacted to it: “When H1N1 appeared in 2009, the first case was in the United States, so there was no time to prepare. Despite that handicap, the CDC launched a vaccine program within six days, published the complete genetic sequence of the virus within nine days of that first case, and had tests available at 13 days. One million tests were mailed to states within 21 days. When China first released information on COVID-19 on Dec. 31, it was two weeks before the first case appeared in the United States. But that lead time—along with much of the next two weeks—was completely wasted. Though test kits in other countries were available in mid-January, it wasn’t until Feb. 6 that the CDC shipped 90 tests to state labs. Three days later, those tests were withdrawn after problems were found. On March 10, Mike Pence said there were ‘millions of tests on the way.’ There weren’t. It would be April before the U.S. completed a million tests, and by then 150,000 of those tests would be positive as the epidemic in the country raged out of control.

“The nations that have successfully managed COVID-19 have taken different approaches, but the one thing they’ve had in common was a unified, coordinated national testing strategy.  And now Donald Trump has released his latest plan—and it is still none of those things.  In mid-March, Trump dragged a series of big box store CEOs onto the podium to insist that they were going to create a nationwide network of drive-thru testing sites, all managed through a massive website being built by 7,000 engineers at Google.  Exactly a month later, Trump was back to declare that his own idea was ridiculous.  ‘Washington shouldn’t be doing that,’ said Trump.  ‘We can’t be thinking about a Walmart parking lot that’s 2,000 miles away where we’re doing testing…’

“In Trump’s mind, the federal government’s responsibility extends from Trump to—however far it takes to contain his latest chip shot.  No further.  Trump’s testing policy from the beginning has been to claim credit for everything the states do and blame the states for every one of his own failures.  So it shouldn’t be surprising that the policy that was released on Sunday in the middle of a holiday weekend is more of the same.  As The New York Times reports, Trump’s all-new, all-improved national testing plan is to not have a national testing plan.  Instead, it ‘holds individual states responsible for planning and carrying out all coronavirus testing.’  Which definitely is planning of a sort—it’s planning for failure.

“The new plan does suggest that the federal government may supply some testing materials, but it doubles down on Trump’s April statement that states should consider the federal government ‘the supplier of last resort.’ Six months into the coronavirus crisis, Trump’s team has labored long and hard to say that they’re not going to labor at all. They’re not going to provide tests. They’re not going to provide national coordination of either testing or case management. They’re not going to provide recommended policies or standards. Instead, they’re telling states to do what states have already been forced to do: develop their own testing plans, provide their own tests, and manage the data themselves. Trump will allow the strategic national stockpile to hand out some swabs and testing supplies, which one expert cited by the Times referred to as a ‘positive step.’ It might also be called far too little, way too late. Or simply despicable.

“What the new federal plan-not-to-plan notably does not do is help to smooth out the steps of the supply chain necessary for states to get all the equipment, supplies, and protective gear needed for a robust testing plan.  Trump isn’t just refusing to pick up any of the work, he’s refusing to take even the simplest steps to make the task easier for the states that are left holding the bag.  He continues to avoid not just accepting any blame, but admitting any responsibility.  But, as he tweeted on Tuesday morning, there is one place Trump is happy to step in: He’ll take the credit.  He’ll take all the credit.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, May 26, 2020) Avoid all responsibility but step up and take all the credit, all the while blasting the experts: That is the essence of Trump’s plan for the coronavirus—as it is for everything else he deals with.

Does Trump feel any sympathy or empathy for the countless thousands of people who have lost their lives due to the virus?  Yet another Daily Kos writer answered that question unequivocally: “As he headed into Memorial Day weekend, Donald Trump complained that he was COVID-19’s biggest victim.  ‘He was just in a &$%@ing rage,’ said a person who spoke with Trump late last week.  ‘He was saying, ‘This is so unfair to me!  Everything was going great.  We were cruising to reelection!’  Even as the death toll neared 100,000 and unemployment ranks swelled to over 38 million, Trump couldn’t see the pandemic as anything other than something that had happened to him.  ‘The problem is he has no empathy,’ the adviser said.  Trump complained that he should have been warned about the virus sooner.  ‘The intelligence community let me down!’ he said.  The intelligence community actually warned him in—oh, here it is: November.
But why split hairs?” (Aldous J.Pennyfarthing, Daily Kos, May 26, 2020)

MoveOn lists six ways the Trump administration is making the coronavirus response worse: “1) Trump is putting drug company profits ahead of vaccine affordability.  Trump installed a former Big Pharma executive and lobbyist, Alex Azar, to head the Department of Health and Human Services.  When asked by Congress if a future vaccine will be guaranteed to be affordable for all Americans, Azar refused to commit.  Instead, he suggested that private pharmaceutical companies’ profits would come before the health needs of the people.  2) Trump has caused disastrous testing delays in an attempt to keep numbers artificially low.  While other countries raced to produce tests and were testing thousands of their citizens every day, the Trump administration delayed for weeks as the virus spread across the United States.  Even now, tests are strictly limited, the damage of the delays cannot be reversed, and Trump and Pence are lying about the availability of tests.  South Korea has tested close to 200,000 of its citizens; as of March 6, the U.S. had tested fewer than 2,000.  Reports indicate Trump was against widespread testing, because he wanted to keep the ‘numbers’ of reported cases low.  3) Trump is spreading ignorant and dangerous misinformation.  Donald Trump has tried to downplay the virus, directly contradicting federal infectious disease experts, and has tried to sow politically opportunistic mayhem by calling the coronavirus the ‘Democrats’ new hoax.’  He has suggested it’s fine to go to work when sick and that the coronavirus is no worse than the normal flu.  All of these statements are lies.  Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said during hearings that the mortality rate of the coronavirus ‘is multiple times what the seasonal flu is.’  Trump also has repeatedly said that a vaccine could be ready within months, again having to be corrected by Fauci that it would be more than a year.’  4) Trump gutted the pandemic response.  In 2018, Trump axed the top White House official on pandemics and his entire executive branch team responsible for coordinating responses to pandemics—and never replaced them.  And by the way, Trump and the GOP are still pursuing a legal case in the courts to take health care away from 30 million people.  5) Trump is prioritizing Wall Street over people and public health.  Trump has muzzled his own experts, downplayed the threat, and delayed taking aggressive action, because he was afraid of the stock market tanking (which it did anyway).  He placed Larry Kudlow, whose only experience is as a Wall Street pundit, on his Coronavirus Task Force.  6) Instead of following the science, Trump & the GOP are promoting hate and fear.  First, the Trump administration wanted to use the virus as an excuse to shut down the southern border, even though that is not how the disease is spreading inside the United States.  Now, his Republican allies are trying to rename the virus in an attempt to gin up racist feelings toward Chinese and other Asian people.” (Mohammad Khan, MoveOn, March 13, 2020)

By now it should be obvious to any thinking person that Trump won’t listen to anyone who disagrees with him, no matter what the individual’s expertise may be.  Dr. Fauci is the country’s leading expert on infectious diseases, but this means nothing to Trump.  When Democrats Turn Out fills us in: “The Washington Post reports that the White House has blocked Dr. Fauci from testifying before a House subcommittee investigating the administration’s pandemic response, saying his appearance would be ‘counterproductive.’   It makes sense for him to be there: national polling shows Americans view Dr. Fauci, America’s top infectious disease expert, as the official they trust the most to share advice on COVID-19—with Fauci beating out both Pence and Trump.  But Trump, notoriously the jealous type, has chosen to remove Dr. Fauci from news briefings.  He announced a major decision to cut off support for the WHO with Dr. Fauci nowhere in sight, and he retweeted a hashtag that called for Fauci’s firing.” (When Democrats Turn Out, May 7, 2020)

Fauci is far from being the only expert targeted by the White House in this time of crisis.  When Democrats Turn Out tells us: “The nation’s top health officials are no longer appearing on television.  White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, and leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci have all been conspicuously out of sight in recent days in part of what CNN reports is a ‘newly implemented’ White House communication strategy.  Top medical officials are having their wings clipped behind the scenes as well—with Trump blocking Dr. Fauci from testifying before the House Democrats because of his fear of political fallout.  While the country slowly starts to get back on its feet, some Americans are seeking advice from experts who might best guide reopening efforts to maximize safety and minimize potential risk.  But right now, it looks like the only person Donald Trump wants addressing the American public is himself.” (When Democrats Turn Out, May 18, 2020) Further evidence of a fascist regime.

Another expert that dared to criticize the administrations failures on the pandemic is Dr. Rick Bright, an immunologist and vaccine researcher.  Bright is on record as having given early warnings to the administration about the seriousness of the pandemic.  When he spoke out publicly, Trump illegally removed him from his position.  Daily Kos adds: “Days after testifying to Congress, coronavirus whistleblower Dr. Rick Bright spoke to 60 Minutes about how he was removed from the head of a federal pandemic response and vaccine development agency after he pushed for a more effective response.  Bright still has a warning to sound, saying: ‘We don’t yet have a national strategy to respond fully to this pandemic.  The best scientists that we have in our government who are working really hard to try to figure this out aren’t getting that clear, cohesive leadership, strategic plan message yet.  Until they get that, it’s still gonna be chaotic.’

“In response, Donald Trump showed that failure of leadership in action, rage-tweeting that Bright is ‘yet another Fake ‘Whistleblower’, a disgruntled employee who supports Dems, fabricates stories, & spews lies.’  But it wasn’t just a personal attack.  Trump took aim at the idea of accountability, continuing: ‘This whole Whistleblower racket needs to be looked at very closely, it is causing great injustice & harm,’ and predictably attacking the media for daring to report on his failures.” (Laura Clawson, Daily Kos, May 18, 2020) Trump’s reaction is so typical of the man; he simply cannot accept the fact that there is anyone on the planet who knows more than he does on any given subject.

Daily Kos informed us in May of how the White House’s response has gone from bad to worse. Although long, it deserves to be quoted in full as it conclusively proves that Trump and his Republican enablers are far more concerned with his image than the lives of the people he is supposed to be serving: “You may have noticed, of late, a distinct change in the Trump White House pandemic strategy. Out are the pandemic briefings because somebody finally convinced Trump they were making him look bad; in are Trump economic advisers making implausible claims on the Sunday shows. Out are the government medical experts, the ones who kept making news by not entirely agreeing with Trump’s every bizarre new medical invention. (Take malaria medication! Drink bleach!) In is the newest White House press secretary putting on surly Fox & Friends-styled briefings declaring President Awesomedude to have done 12 brilliant things while nobody was looking, all wedged invisibly between the day’s angry tweets.

“This leads to the inevitable question: Are the government’s pandemic experts even doing anything at this point, or has Trump’s government simply bailed outright on the premise that they will be doing even a single damn thing to get the pandemic under control?

The last substantive public appearance from top government infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci (that is, one in which he was allowed to speak) appears to have been on May 4, over two weeks ago—an absence interrupted this week only by a video appearance with actress Julia Roberts.  That doesn’t mean Fauci hasn’t been at the White House or appeared as prop behind Trump.  But when it comes to public briefings on the most urgent news of the day, such as the government’s recent promising vaccine results or the overall direction of the pandemic as states ‘reopen’—perhaps, say, weighing in on Alabama now beginning to see the same hospital room scarcity that quickly escalated to crisis levels in New York City, early in the pandemic—neither Fauci or any other government medical experts have been made available to weigh in.

“There are at least two factors at work here. By far the lesser one, because everything is insane now, is that the entire White House task force is either self-isolating or should be after Vice President Mike Pence’s aide, Katie Miller, who frequented the media gatherings, tested positive for the virus and set off a minor White House tizzy. Why is this probably the lesser reason? Well, look at them. Pence has been traveling the country, licking walls or whatever it is Trump’s vice president has officially been tasked with doing these days; you’re not seeing the team’s various economic-minded hangers-on making themselves scarce during this same period, nor do any of them need to given now-ample resources for conducting remote interviews and testimony.

“Which brings us to the other factor: Trump doesn’t want to hear from the medical team, and so none of the rest of us are going to hear from them either if he and towel boy Pence have any say in it.  One of the core reasons for Pence’s elevation to top pandemic manager was to curb public appearances by the medical experts to begin with.  Pence already threatened to retaliate against a news network by ending all Fauci interviews once; preventing government officials from publicly speaking about things that upset Trump has become one of the White House’s most all-consuming tasks.  Indeed, the day after Fauci’s last significant White House appearance, the Trump White House prohibited, outright, Health and Human Services head Alex Azar, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid head Seema Verma, and Dr. Fauci from testifying to the House about the pandemic—at all.  The reason?  Trump believes the House is made up of ‘Trump haters.’  (Fauci was, however, allowed to testify to the friendlier, Republican-controlled Senate last week, where the ‘Trump hating’ could presumably be kept to a minimum.)

“The extent to which government medical experts have fallen out of favor with Trump and Trump’s team of, well, idiots, has been obvious since the beginning of the month, and is in line with Trump’s apparent mental inability to process any information he did not himself invent.  Trump and his team had even suggested that the medical-expert-including pandemic task force would be ceasing operations completely in favor of a new task force stuffed to the brim with only economic-minded ‘reopening’—pushers. Trump relented, apparently, upon learning that the original task force was still popular—but you probably couldn’t tell that from the team’s sudden bout of invisibility.

“The main problem, of course, is that Donald Trump has decided that he wants the pandemic to be over for electoral reasons, and so the White House is now single-minded in their pursuit of that fiction regardless of each day’s new death tallies. Those in government who know better will be hidden as best the White House is able, so that the White House can better claim nobody knew this was coming as deaths mount despite entire buildings full of people warning that it was. Azar and others who have proven themselves more astute at dodging follow-up questions on whether or not Americans should drink bleach or indulge in whatever other fantasy President Biff Ideasguy pipes up with in an effort to fill camera time are still being let out of their cages from time to time. But it appears the White House tolerance for actual pandemic expertise has now been exhausted.

“Trump is bored now.  He wants to reopen, he doesn’t particularly care what the consequences are—as with his constant pushing of malaria medication, his ‘ideas’ consist primarily of all-or-nothing Hail Mary shots to end the crisis by magic, in the hopes that just one of them will stick—and he does not need America hearing from anyone who might confuse the public as to whether or not that’s a good idea.” (Hunter, Daily Kos, May 21. 2020)

That same day, another Kos reporter weighed in, and this report is particularly interesting as the author shows that he fully understands Trump’s psyche: “For Donald Trump, the pandemic has been not so extraordinary after all. Because all he’s had to do is exercise the skill he’s worked at all his life—blaming others for his personal failures. That’s included propping up conspiracy theories about the origin of the virus and condemning the World Health Organization for doing exactly what they are intended to do. But all that is not enough, because Trump was getting daily, sometimes hourly, updates from intelligence agencies warning about the increasing threat of the pandemic for months—months in which he kept on golfing, holding rallies, and saying it would all just go away ‘like magic.’ But Trump has found a scapegoat even among the intelligence community. Shockingly (in a completely unshocking way) that scapegoat is an experienced woman.

“For Donald Trump, the COVID-19 pandemic has called for serious action and assigning responsibility.  Not in the sense that Trump has done anything to slow the spread of disease, manage testing, or coordinate the response.  After all, Trump made it very clear he wasn’t about to be in charge of testing in a parking lot.  And he certainly wasn’t about to take personal responsibility for anything, ever.  However, Trump’s pointing finger has gotten a serious workout, between directing blame at China, at the WHO, and at Democratic governors left to pick up the wreckage in the wake of a nonexistent federal response.  As The New York Times reports, Trump has found the finger strength to also direct blame toward career intelligence analyst Beth Sanner, who has the most unrewarding job in all of intelligence work—trying to get Donald Trump to listen to his daily briefing.

“Saying that he wasn’t concerned because Sanner apparently failed to add enough red letters or pictures of scary monsters on his daily briefing sheets doesn’t address the fact that there were numerous special meetings and frequent memos across January and February. Meetings and memos in which Trump was given increasingly dire warnings by epidemiologists, scientists, military strategists, biodefense experts, the HHS secretary, CDC officials, and intelligence officials who outranked Sanner.

“But sure. Trump has focused blame on the woman who failed to come into his office humming the Jaws theme.  It’s all her fault.  In particular, Trump has focused on a briefing Sanner prepared for January 23 in which Trump claims the virus was presented as ‘no big deal.’  No big deal except for the fact that this meeting came five days after he’d already been given a briefing on the unfolding crisis in China and warned about the need to prepare the nation.  That was far from the only time.  Both before and after that January 23 briefing, Trump was warned repeatedly about the scope of the looming threat.  And repeatedly, Trump refused to listen.  Instead, he insisted on downplaying the threat to the public, bragging about the stock market, and going on with his frequent golf trips and rallies.

“Trump’s failure to respond is symptomatic of several things. First, Trump would always, always, always, rather just pretend that he’s done something, and brag about it, than actually take any action. That’s just how he saved the steel industry, brought back coal, and gave America the best water and air ever…by not doing any of those things. It’s not that Trump failed to take action about COVID-19 in particular, it’s that Trump rarely takes any action at all. His energy on any topic extends only so far as it takes to Tweet out a claim that it’s already done.

“It’s also an emblem of not just his hatred for intelligence agencies, but his inability to listen to any voice that isn’t engaged in singing his praises. According to the Times, interviews with a series of intelligence experts saddled with the task of briefing Trump were uniform in their assessment that keeping him listening was more difficult that holding the attention of a toddler. Trump ‘veers off on tangents’ and refuses to get back to the topic of the briefing. He has a short attention span. He never reads the reports prepared for him—apparently even when those reports have been pared down to one page. With pictures.

“Instead, Trump counters information given to him by conspiracy theories he’s gotten on phone calls, or things that he heard on Fox News. Above all, when confronted by information that doesn’t mesh with what he already believed, Trump simply dismisses it out of hand. It’s a problem so bad, that intelligence agencies have actually hired consultants to asks them how they can make their pablum soft enough for Trump’s digestion.
The answer is: you can’t.  As the hydroxychloroquine incident shows, Trump cannot change his mind.  He does not learn.  Once he has an idea in his head, it is the idea, and can’t be ousted no matter how much expertise is levied, or how many deaths prove otherwise.  Trump can’t be taught.  He can only be expelled.  The sooner the better.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, May 21, 2020)

On May 18, Trump uttered what may be his most awful, life-endangering statement regarding the pandemic.  Daily Kos provides the sordid details: “Since February, Donald Trump has been touting the benefits of hydroxychloroquine in fighting COVID-19.  The claim that the drug, used in the treatment of malaria as well as lupus and arthritis, could help fight the novel coronavirus came from anecdotal results involving small numbers of patients.  Still, Trump’s continuous claims that hydroxychloroquine was a ‘game changer’ were a factor in spurring multiple trials of the drug as a treatment for patients at various stages of COVID-19.  What those trials found wasn’t only a lack of any evidence that the drug had value in treating COVID-19 patients, but renewed evidence for something scientists already know: Hydroxychloroquine taken in large doses has serious, life-threatening side effects.  Several trials were ended early when it turned out patients taking the drug were dying of heart attacks at a rate that exceeded deaths from the virus.

“But despite an FDA warning that the drug should not be taken for COVID-19 outside of a closely supervised hospital trial, Donald Trump stood up on national television on Monday and claimed that he was taking the drug.  Trump declared that he had been taking the drug without the recommendation of the White House physician, and was taking it to prevent COVID-19 rather than as treatment—a use that was never approved, even for trials.  And now it’s clear that Trump’s insistence on supporting this proven-deadly drug is having exactly the result that might be expected: People are dying.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, May 22, 2020)

On the same day, another Kos writer gave us further proof of how Trump absolutely refuses to admit his mistakes: “Donald Trump’s disdain for science is well known.  A man who lies constantly doesn’t have much use for facts.  And a man who makes things up on the spot doesn’t have much use for the process of carefully trying to find out what’s real.  But the novel coronavirus pandemic has Trump believing that science isn’t just irrelevant—it’s out to get him.  A study of the outcome of using Trump’s beloved hydroxychloroquine on patients in Veterans Health Administration hospitals didn’t make the drug look so good as a COVID-19 treatment.  Did Trump back off his promotion of it?  Nope.  It was ‘a Trump enemy statement,’ he said.  Another study found that tens of thousands of lives would have been saved had social distancing been put into place a week earlier.  ‘A political hit job,’ said Trump.” (Laura Clawson, Daily Kos, May 22, 2020)

Perhaps the most amazing thing about the foregoing is the fact that it shows that Trump hasn’t changed in the least during his lifetime. He remains the same egotistical, lying, misogynistic, narcissistic ignoramus he has always been. Yet, despite this, people elected him to be president of the United States and, despite the dangerous facts staring them in the face, they continue to support him and his lies. This is why they belong to America’s newest religious cult, Trumpism. Religious zealots aren’t interested in truth: what they want is validation. That and a strong dictator-like individual who, if he knows nothing else, does know that his followers will believe every word he utters as the latest “absolute truth.” And the media bears a huge part of the responsibility for our national crisis as they refuse to call him to task for his lies and crimes. Their double standard couldn’t be more obvious, because whenever there is even a whiff of a lie from a Democrat, they pounce on it like a cat on a mouse. Our weaknesses and vulnerability as a nation have never been more painfully obvious.

People for the American Way discloses some of the countless negative consequences of Trump’s response to the pandemic: “During his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump told a reporter that fear is ‘real power.’  His preference for Machiavellian machinations has never been more evident than during the coronavirus pandemic as he continues to do everything in his power to deflect responsibility for his failures:
1) One of the week’s most alarming developments came on May 20, when Trump tweeted that he would withhold federal funding from Michigan and Nevada if they expanded voter access ahead of the 2020 election.  His false claims of voter fraud and corruption and his potentially illegal threats have become especially worrisome during the pandemic.  Significant improvements in election security and safety measures during the time of coronavirus are desperately needed but are being stonewalled by Republican lawmakers.  Republicans’ voter suppression tactics in 2020 include plans to send 50,000 ‘poll-watchers’ to polling places nationwide to monitor ‘voters deemed suspicious.
2) Trump has continued to remove oversight officials from their government positions.  Last Friday, after the publication of that week’s round-up, Trump fired Steve A. Linick, an inspector general at the State Department.  Linick had been working on an inquiry into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s possible misuse of a political appointee to perform personal tasks.  During the following days, the White House spoke openly about the retaliatory nature of this dismissal, confirming that Pompeo himself requested that the inspector general be let go.  Trump’s efforts to ‘dismantle the multiple mechanisms of accountable democracy’ are especially harmful during this public health crisis.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also been feeling pressure from Trump to conform to his preferences, with the administration pressuring the agency to revise down the U.S. death count and CDC staff saying that they have felt ‘muzzled’ during the pandemic.
3) According to a new report, only 13 percent of small businesses that applied for Trump’s bungled Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) were approved for the loan.  Without that aid, just 31 percent of the 30.7 million small businesses in the U.S. can afford to operate for another few months or less under the existing stay-at-home measures—and six percent could be forced to close in less than a week.  These disbursement delays are also happening in other pandemic stimulus programs.
4) Trump continues to advance his racist anti-immigration agenda during the pandemic: The New York Times reported on May 20 that the Trump administration has cruelly deported hundreds of migrant children since the onset of COVID-19, often alone and without notifying their families.  Additionally, the Trump administration has been refusing to provide the coronavirus legislation-required stimulus payments to families that include a non-U.S. citizen spouse, exposing them to even greater harm during this crisis.
5) While everyday Americans struggle to put food on their families’ tables, we continue to learn about how many Trump allies and campaign donors were able to easily get a hold of coronavirus stimulus funding.  Some new examples include: A hotel company that made $2.2 billion last year and is owned by a large Trump donor received $96.1 million meant for small businesses.  Another Trump donor’s private jet company received a $27 million bailout.  A technology company whose largest shareholder is Trump’s reelection campaign manager received almost $800,000 from the small businesses relief fund.  In addition, Trump’s newly appointed ‘vaccine czar’ reportedly has significant ties to Moderna, the company that this week became the first to enter a vaccine into clinical trials.
6) Almost exactly one year before the onset of the coronavirus lockdown, Trump declared that the GOP was going to become the ‘party of health care.’  Not only has this promise not materialized, the Republicans have followed Trump’s path toward destroying health care in this country altogether.  Moreover, he has continued to spin the administration’s disastrous coronavirus response with similar rhetoric, asserting that their next pandemic phase is going to be the ‘transition to greatness.’  He also claimed that he considers the devastating death count (more than 93,000) to be a sign of progress and a ‘badge of honor.’  Yet, there are new COVID-19 hot spots appearing in the South and the Midwest and more than half of all U.S counties don’t have even one testing site.  Republican administration officials have been searching for ‘pro-Trump’ doctors who are willing to publicly prescribe a rapid reopening of both society and the economy, to help aid Trump’s overzealous push to prematurely remove stay-at-home restrictions.  And the Republican-funded lockdown protests that Trump supported appear to have spread coronavirus widely in those communities, according to cellphone data.  Trump doubled down on his support of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine this week, saying that he has been taking it himself and calling the study that disproves its effectiveness and emphasizes its danger a ‘Trump enemy statement.’  He also baselessly dismissed the official FDA warning against hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19.
7) A new study released by Columbia University disease modelers demonstrates that had Trump listened to health care experts and started social-distancing measures only one week earlier in March, about 36,000 fewer people would have died in the U.S. due to the pandemic. Instead, at the time, he was busy downplaying the danger of COVID-19.  Today, he continues to downplay the dangers of coronavirus and denies the people who are hardest hit by the pandemic’s economic effects a vital extension of their unemployment insurance.  These are not the actions of a true leader.

“The Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus recently described the ‘exhaustion factor’ in reading or producing any coverage of Trump during this unprecedented crisis.  It’s difficult to read over and over again about Trump abdicating responsibility for his failures, his lies, his cronyism, and his lack of empathy.  But it’s crucial that we don’t permit ourselves to become numb to these outrages.  Together, we will prevail and build an America that honors the values of justice, opportunity, and equity for all.” (Sarah, People for the American Way, May 22, 2020)

It needs to be stated that Trump has fired not one or two, but FIVE Inspector Generals during his administration.  The New York Times noted that these firings are: “a full-fledged attack on [their] ability to investigate his administration.”  This is one of the more blatant examples of how Trump will intimidate or even fire anyone who tries to investigate his administration.  Simply put, accountability is the enemy of Trump and the present Republican party.  There can be no debate on that issue; their every action proves it.

Daily Kos tells us that Trump’s ineptitude can and should be favorably used by the Biden campaign which had by late May already come up with two ads to that effect: “‘When coronavirus came, Trump froze like a deer in the headlights,’ the first ad opens, charging that Trump was ‘paralyzed’ by his fear of dooming the stock market and killing his trade deal with China.  ‘So he failed to act, and the virus got out of control, and shut down the nation, and crushed the economy,’ the ad continues, citing the nearly 100,000 American deaths and 38 million unemployment claims.  ‘Too scared to act, too panicked to tell the truth, too weak to lead,’ the ad concludes.  ‘A president who can’t handle the crisis is no president at all.’

The next ad uses newly released research showing that if Trump had enacted social distancing measures even one week sooner, he could have saved 36,000 American lives.  But Trump is shown playing up how ‘early’ his administration acted and, given the chance to reflect on his response several months into the crisis, Trump says he would have done ‘nothing’ differently.  Because Trump isn’t living in a world where saving lives is paramount.” (Kerry Eleveld, Daily Kos, May 22, 2020) Another reason Trump says he wouldn’t have done anything differently is obvious: He can never admit to being wrong, or to have made any kind of mistake.  I defy anyone to prove otherwise.  He always, and I mean always, shifts the blame to others.  The man, like all megalomaniacs, is utterly incapable of self-reflection.  The fuhrer in chief is exactly like his predecessor in Nazi Germany in this regard.  Here is a great quote from an official that captures the essence of this man: “He’s never at fault for anything.  It’s Fauci’s fault.  It’s China’s fault.  It’s Obama’s fault.  It’s always someone else, somewhere else,” said David Lapan, a former Department of Homeland Security official in the Trump administration.  “He doesn’t want to hear the bad news, he doesn’t take responsibility for the bad news and wants to gloss over it and change the subject.  That does a disservice to the American public, who need the facts and the straight truth about what’s going on.

Now let us examine economics and how the coronavirus has blown Republican economic theories out of the water. This is a particularly relevant topic since Republicans have always claimed to be the party of fiscal responsibility. The facts, as in every other Republican claim, show otherwise. Nowhere is this better illustrated in their infamous tax scam. The scam Senate Republicans enacted has now inflated the deficit to over 1 trillion dollars, which will have a huge negative impact on how the government responds to the crisis. And, instead of doing anything to help people during the pandemic, they are focusing all their attention on ramming through more right-wing extremists judges and preparing for the upcoming election.

LeftNet tells us of the hypocrisy of the Republican party when it comes to economics: “Let’s make something clear: Our government has already handed over a trillion dollars in relief to massive corporations and millionaires.  When the money was going to the top 1%, fiscal conservatism wasn’t an issue.  But now, as it becomes increasingly clear that a single $1,200 check wasn’t even close to enough for working Americans, the Trump administration is fighting to attach destructive strings to any relief for people like you and me.

“Here’s their plan: Allow working Americans to take out $5,000 or $10,000 cash payments…if we allow cuts to their Social Security benefits in the future. It’s obvious. This is a ploy to undermine the solvency of Social Security, which Republicans have been trying to do for decades…Let us illustrate the absurdity of this plan. The first CARES Act handed over an average tax break of $1.6 million to 43,000 millionaires. When that happened, Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell had no issue whatsoever.

But now, as over 30 million Americans are out of work, they’re raising the alarm bells about how we’re supposed to pay for real economic relief? And forcing people like us to pick up the tab for our own economic relief?” (LeftNet, May 27, 2020) This stupidly immoral plan, which Jared Kushner calls “The Eagle Plan” basically says that if you lose your job due to Covid-19, you can get money from the federal government—but be prepared to keep working until you’re dead.

Trump has criminally underplayed the importance of emergency preparations of all kinds. His gutted White House has disposed of epidemiologists and emergency response specialists from the National Security Council, CDC, and elsewhere—for reasons that don’t seem to be much more defined than Trump’s lifelong hatred of having people around who know that what is doing is foolish.

One of the most ridiculous notions that Trump has propounded during this health crisis was seen when he suggested that the injection of disinfectant could actually cure the disease. Later, after much deserved criticism, he attempted to backtrack and say he made the suggestion in jest. And, predictably, he continues to use the COVID-19 situation as a way to push his anti-immigration policies. He continues to blame China for “starting” the virus; Trump wants us to believe that the virus originated in a governmental laboratory in Wuhan, China. All this is done, of course, to divert attention away from his own failures to properly address the issue. Again, playing the blame game is more important to Trump than saving American lives.

Trump has also quietly been finalizing the removal of a policy that protects LGBTQ patients from being discriminated against in their health care treatments. Hatred of the gay community is also more important to him than saving their lives.

We have already seen how Trump is constantly trying to downplay the crisis and telling people to get people back to work, without any assurance whatever that workplaces are safe. Late in April, he released a so-called “blueprint” for states to increase their testing rates so that people can return the work. His proposal essentially passes responsibility to the states rather than from the federal government. Thus, the president of the United States is passing the buck to the states to end a testing crisis that he himself helped to create.

MoveOn tells us more: “President Trump has signed an Executive Order requiring all Meat Packing Plants to be open despite the fact that these plants now have thousands of COVID-19 infected workers, some of whom have died. He MUST sign an Executive Order MANDATING ALL PLANTS COMPLY with newly developed plans (from OSHA, CDC) to ensure all workers are better protected from this dangerous and highly communicable virus. Right now, these companies are using the keep open order as protection from any liability for what happens to workers. This is egregiously unfair and is a barely disguised form of what’s called ‘forced labor.’ Workers should not have to choose between poverty and getting sick and possibly dying. These plans change all of that. Shame on Trump and Shame on these companies for not doing this!” (David Roy, Ph.D, MoveOn, May 6, 2020)

The New York Times found that Trump has praised himself about ten times more often than he has expressed sympathy or empathy for those afflicted by the virus.

Demand Progress tells us more about how this criminal administration is responding to the health crisis of its citizens: “Where are all the masks, test kits, and other crucial supplies desperately needed to safely end the lockdowns and end the coronavirus pandemic?  It looks like Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, has a lot of them.  He’s secretly working with big corporations to hoard millions of gloves, masks, swabs, and more.  We don’t know where they’re all going, even as governors have to have the National Guard protect their own shipments so the feds don’t seize them…Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner runs Project Airbridge, which is a the heart of the issue.  According to Bloomberg News, Project Airbridge has imported at least 746 million pairs of gloves, 71 million surgical masks, 10 million surgical gowns, 2 million thermometers, 768,000 N95 masks and 562,000 face shields.   But those supplies don’t appear to be making it to where they’re needed—especially to states run by Democrats.  Governors from Illinois and Washington State have pointed out the White House has failed to deliver the promised supplies.  They have no way to know what Kushner is doing with this enormous hoard.  Neither do we.

“The necessary coronavirus lockdowns can only end when states have enough supplies to protect the public and test and trace their populations to stop a renewed spread of the infection. Most states don’t have those supplies yet. Jared Kushner has a lot of these supplies, but we don’t know what he’s doing with it. We don’t know if he and his family are personally profiting from this. We don’t know whether big corporations that are involved are making big profits either. This is a totally unacceptable situation, especially amidst a national crisis. It’s time for Congress to step in. (Robert Cruickshank, Demand Progress, May 4, 2020)

Of course, nobody in Congress will take the initiative to investigate this criminal behavior. Americans should be outraged—but they aren’t.

It has become obvious that certain people are indeed profiting off the suffering of others.  Social Security Works discusses this: “The COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 120,000 Americans, with over 40,000 of them seniors.  But new reporting shows that instead of protecting seniors, the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration joined GOP Senators Richard Burr and Kelly Loeffler by making a series of investment decisions to personally profit off of the pandemic.

Saul purchased health care-related stocks, including with companies that manufacture COVID-19 test kits and PPEs between January 15 and March 16, just as the pandemic was setting in.  And, just a couple of weeks later, Trump himself promoted these test kits in a Rose Garden address on March 30.  Trump and Saul are long-time friends, dating back to their college years.  And his appointment to head the Social Security Administration was fought by Social Security Works and our allies because of Saul’s past hostility to the program, and willingness to play fast and loose with the law.  It’s outrageous that any public official, especially one whose agency represents the interests of COVID’s worst victims, would profit off of the deaths of Americans.” (Michael Phelan, Social Security Works, June 25, 2020)

It’s rather difficult to find anything positive in this horrible pandemic situation, but there is at least one hero that should be mentioned.  Daily Kos tells us who: “On March 12, during a House Oversight Committee briefing, Rep. Katie Porter directed a line of dogged questioning at the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Robert Redfield, about coronavirus testing.  Whiteboard in hand, Rep. Porter did the math to show that a full battery of coronavirus testing costs at least $1,331.  She also explained that the CDC has the authority to cover testing costs for all during a public health emergency, a crucial and necessary measure particularly for uninsured people who may be forced to choose between receiving health care and putting food on table for their family.

For Rep. Porter, anything less than a full commitment from Dr. Redfield to provide free testing for all regardless of insurance coverage was unacceptable—and she kept questioning him until he agreed to just that.
Whether CDC Director Redfield keeps his promise is yet to be seen.  It’s also possible that the federal government may decide to provide free coronavirus testing for everyone as part of a deal between Congress and the Trump administration.

Among a swirl of questions about what happens next, one thing is clear: Rep. Katie Porter is leading the charge to hold the Trump administration accountable for its massive failings in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and keeping working families healthy and safe.  Rep. Porter’s bold, resolute leadership—along with the work of her colleagues Reps.  Rosa DeLauro and Lauren Underwood, who joined her in the fight—is desperately needed right now.” (Sarah Hogg, Daily Kos, March 15, 2020)

Former president Barack Obama has until recently been conspicuously silent in condemning the Trump administration.  But he issued a condemnation of Trump and Bill Barr when the DOJ let Michael Flynn off “scot-free,” even after Flynn had pled guilty to lying to the FBI about the Russian scandal.  Obama has also criticized the administration’s response to the Covid-19 crisis as it has become a national emergency.  When Democrats Turn Out reports: “After former president Barack Obama criticized Trump’s pandemic response, pointing to a selfish and reckless attitude by the administration that has resulted in an ‘absolute chaotic disaster,’  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell responded to the previous head of state.  Mitch’s take?  ‘I think President Obama should have kept his mouth shut.’  McConnell also called Obama’s remarks ‘classless,’ and went on to blame the 44th president for not leaving Trump a ‘game plan’ to deal with the pandemic before leaving office.  But POLITICO reports that the Obama administration actually left a detailed, 69-page playbook of specific steps to take in a situation like this—and the Trump White House has completely ignored it.” (When Democrats Turn Out, May 14, 2020) Apparently McConnell thinks it is not “classless” to lie about a former president and to tell him to keep his mouth shut.

Fortunately, Joe Biden called out McConnell on this, tweeting him as follows: “This is a bunch of malarkey and you know it, @senatemajldr.  We left a 69-page playbook on how to fight pandemics.  You can read it here if you’d like:  And make sure to pass along your notes to President Trump.  He could use them.

McConnell, of course, has his own ideas about “dealing” with the pandemic. Tax March gives us the details: “Last week, the House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act: a sweeping, $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill that took huge steps towards creating a relief plan that puts people over corporate profits—one that expands aid for Americans out of work, protects the postal service, and ensures states have access to more resources needed for their residents to make it through the pandemic. But, as businesses across the country start reopening without a plan for testing or recovery plans, Mitch McConnell and the Senate GOP are holding necessary aid for millions hostage by refusing to move forward on relief unless corporations are given absolute immunity from being held accountable for protecting their employees. McConnell and the GOP want companies to be able to force their employees to work in unsafe conditions and face no repercussions for the harms they cause. One thing is clear: From attempting to sneak more tax scams in favor of the wealthy few into recovery bills to removing protections for essential workers, McConnell and the GOP never miss an opportunity to prioritize corporate interests over all of our lives and livelihoods.” (Tax March, May 20, 2020)

The pandemic has not been an unequivocal disaster—if you are fortunate enough to be one of America’s super rich.  Indeed, it has been a virtual godsend to them.  This obscene fact is discussed in an Americans for Tax Fairness article: “While most families have had to grapple with the difficult realities of the pandemic, that hasn’t been the case for the 630 U.S. billionaires.  A new Americans for Tax Fairness report shows that the total net worth of these billionaires has jumped $434 billion, or by 15%, between March 18—May 19 this year.  And, this report is receiving major news coverage.  Jeff Bezos (the founder of Amazon and the world’s richest person) and Mark Zuckerberg (the founder of Facebook) combined saw their fortunes grow by nearly $60 billion during a two month span that saw over 38 million Americans lose their jobs.  Their wealth jumped by an incredible 30% and 46%, respectively―so OUTRAGEOUS!!!  At a time when Donald Trump and congressional Republicans’ response to the pandemic has been to call for more tax cuts for the rich and corporations, including cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits, ATF research is shining a spotlight on pandemic profiteering while demanding that aid be directed where the need is greatest.” (Frank Clemente, Americans for Tax Fairness, May 28, 2020)

Mitch McConnell’s home state has the dubious distinction of leading the country in job losses due to the pandemic. Despite this, McConnell has the gall to say that there is “no urgency to act immediately.” One can only wonder what would constitute an emergency in McConnell’s eyes.

As already noted, far-right Republicans want businesses to re-open as soon as possible and are enacting legislation to protect businesses from lawsuits when their employees become sick.  Fox News is particularly hypocritical in this regard; Business Insider reports: “Fox News is telling its employees to work from home for at least another month while its TV hosts push for businesses to reopen.” (Medicare for All, May 23, 2020

Of course, Trump’s fellow Republicans are completely opposed to providing any financial relief coverage to Americans who are unable to work due to the epidemic. Republican John Kennedy’s words are all too typical of the utter heartlessness of his party: “Well people in hell want ice water, too.”

I have gone into considerable detail in previous articles with regard to Big Pharma and their price gouging of the American people.  Currently, Americans pay higher prices for prescription drugs than any other industrialized country.  It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the Republican party that its leaders couldn’t care less about Big Pharma’s ridiculously over-priced products or about the health of its citizens.  Hero Action Fund tells us more: “Donald Trump has appointed a Big Pharma executive to lead the distribution of any coronavirus vaccine, and his administration has repeatedly stated that they’re not responsible to make the vaccine affordable for all.  Especially as we get closer to the development of a vaccine, it’s critical we make sure the pressure is on the White House to do the right thing.  It’s a little-known fact that the pharmaceutical industry relies heavily on federal funding to pay for the initial development and research into new life-saving drugs and treatments.  Government policies give drug companies patent monopolies, but don’t require they sell medications at fair prices.

Big Pharma’s massive profits are made possible with our tax dollars and support from politicians ready and willing to do their bidding.  When so many Americans are worried about whether they will be able to afford the treatment they need if they are infected with COVID-19 and weather unemployment—putting our full weight behind a vaccine for all should be a no-brainer.” (Laura Packard, Hero Action Fund, May 20, 2020)

Of course, since Republicans constantly downplay the importance of protecting themselves (or anyone else), many of them refuse to take basic safety precautions, such as wearing protective masks. Rallies in which almost none of the attendees are wearing masks are already taking a toll as many of the attendees, not surprisingly, test positive within a few days. The first Congressman to test positive was Republican Tom Rice of South Carolina. Like so many other Republicans, he announced that he and his family had contacted what he called the “Wuhan Flu” thereby offending the Chinese in addition to mislabeling the virus a flu, which it isn’t. Rice, like so many other Republicans, is still attempting to downplay the seriousness of the pandemic, insisting that few people will die from it. This is an insult to the over 120,000 Americans who have lost their lives due to this disease and the administration’s incompetent handling of it.

Vice President Mike Pence, the illogically chosen “head” of the anti-virus force is, like just about every other Republican, intent on downplaying the dangers.  He has called on state governors to lie to their constituents and to tell them that Trump’s insistence on re-opening the country to “business as usual” has nothing to do with the rise in Covid-19 cases.  And, Pence has proven himself to be every bit the liar the president is: “On Monday, Mike Pence outright lied to reporters when explaining why it was just dandy for Trump to hold a rally in Tulsa on Saturday over the objection of local officials.  ‘In a very real sense, they’ve flattened the curve,’ said Pence.  ‘And today their hospital capacity is abundant, the number of cases in Oklahoma has declined precipitously and we feel very confident going forward with the rally this coming weekend.

None of that—none of that—is true.  Oklahoma has racked up its highest number of new cases ever during the last week.  So did the county where Tulsa is located.  And then Oklahoma beat its old record today.  There is no sense in which the curve is flattened, or cases are declining…Pence scoffs that ‘the media has tried to scare the American people every step of the way, because sure…120,000 dead Americans is a walk in the park’…According to Pence, it’s time for ‘celebration,’ not ‘fearmongering.’ (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, June 16, 2020)

The article continues with a feeble attempt by Pence about the allegedly positive testing the U.S. is doing:…”he does spend a good deal of time bragging about how testing is now so good that ‘today less than 6% of Americans tested each week are found to have the virus.’ ‘Today’ clearly not being today, where Florida’s rate of positives was an amazing 23%. Even if the U.S. was turning up positives at the rate Pence suggests, that would still be a horrible signal of an outbreak in progress. In Italy, once the world’s biggest hot spot, daily positives are down to 300 with a rate of positives below 0.5%. Germany is at 0.8%. Australia is currently conducting over 3,400 tests for every positive case found, for a rate of 0.03%. That is what adequate testing looks like. Not only is a 6% positive rate nothing to brag about, it’s an absolute sign of a broken system where in many locations people still aren’t being tested until they are displaying obvious symptoms.” More on this in just a moment.

As this is written, Donald Trump continues to ignore the pandemic and is putting all his efforts into his re-election campaign. He is still downplaying the pandemic and says it is “dying out.” In Phoenix, he claimed that Democrats were trying to shut down the country to hurt the economy and his re-election campaign. Even while he was saying the pandemic was dying out, COVID-19 is spreading within his team.

Meanwhile, Republicans are still trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act. If they are successful, they may remove health care coverage for an estimated 23 million people—in the midst of a pandemic.

When Democrats Turn Out discloses that even some Republicans are becoming fed up with Trump’s callousness and irresponsibility: “Donald Trump has a message to states struggling with increased coronavirus cases: good luck, you’re on your own.  The federal government has announced it will withdraw support for over a dozen drive-thru COVID testing sites before the end of the month, leaving states like Texas—where cases and hospitalizations are at record highs—to fend for themselves.

Even John Cornyn, Texas’s senior Republican senator, condemned the move by saying that ‘now is not the time to retreat.’  But Donald Trump’s mind is made up—he’s waving the white flag, packing it in, and declaring his mission accomplished even as members of his own party plead for help.” (When Democrats Turn Out, June 27, 2020)

So how does the United States compare with other countries dealing with the pandemic?  Daily Kos lays out the case against our leaders in somber but graphic terms: “On Wednesday, the United States surpassed all previous single-day records for new cases of COVID-19.  It is, or at least should be, impossible for anyone to pretend that the pandemic is in any sense over.  It is raging.  It has been only nine days since Vice President Mike Pence published an editorial titled ‘There Isn’t a Coronavirus ‘Second Wave’’ and bragged about the decline in new cases.  In the history of foolish statements, Pence made a bid for the most foolish.   Unfortunately, he won.

“Around the globe, the story of the pandemic is changing. As nation after nation brings local outbreaks under control, more and more this isn’t the story of a global disease. It’s a story about the utter failure of the United States—a disaster that may genuinely reshape the planet.

“In Paris this week, visitors are again traveling to the top of the Eiffel Tower and visiting the Louvre. In Italy, tour guides are back on the streets, ready to tour visitors around the Pantheon or Coliseum. The threat of COVID-19 in those countries is far from over, but despite the level of disease that spread through both countries, the difference between what’s happening there and what’s happening in the United States could not be more graphic. It’s not just that new cases of COVID-19 are now greater than they were at their previous peak in April: it’s that they’re increasing at a rate equal to that of the previous climb in March.

“If there’s anything that’s been front and center throughout Donald Trump’s residency in the White House, it’s been the utter and absolute destruction of the United States’ role as a world leader. Trump has seen to it that U. S. policy is vindictive, trite, and petty—utterly unconcerned with issues such as human rights or the environment, and absolutely focused on playing golf, eating cake, and exchanging ‘beautiful’ letters with autocratic tyrants. Trump is far more concerned about where he gets to stand in pictures of NATO leaders than he is about the policies of NATO toward neighboring nations.

“But if Trump’s handling of foreign affairs made the United States a laughingstock, his mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic is making the nation a pariah state. Even nations like Italy, which was stunned by the ferocity of the disease’s spread there, have worked the tools of isolation and lockdown, testing and tracing, masks, and careful reopening to stage manage a result that sees its current rate of infection two orders of magnitude lower than it was in March. Italy isn’t a story of perfection, but it is still a story of success. So is France. So is almost everywhere. Even the hugely mismanaged effort in the U.K. has at last reduced the rate of infection there to a level where isolation and case tracing stands a reasonable chance of protecting the lives of citizens and the future of the economy.

“The United States isn’t the only nation still reeling toward disaster, but the U.S. is unique in being the nation that has failed to address the pandemic, seen the horror that it could bring, and then failed again. The rising tide of cases in the United States represents an unmatched level of failure. An unrivaled instance of mismanagement. A peerless instance of utter incompetence.

“Donald Trump has achieved this singular accomplishment in the same way that he has bumbled between so many failures in the past: an absolute inability to realize that he does not know everything. Trump is not smarter than all the generals. He doesn’t know more about energy than all the engineers. He doesn’t understand the environment better than all the scientists. And he absolutely does not understand how to manage a pandemic better than all the epidemiologists and health care experts at his disposal. It’s absolutely true that the United States has access to the best experts and unmatched resources. That’s exactly what makes this such a f*cking tragedy. Thanks to Donald Trump—thanks to Matt Gaetz, and Jim Jordan, and Devin Nunes, and Mitch McConnell, and Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio, and Bill Barr, and every other damn Republican who has patted Trump on the back every time he has claimed some kind of special genius that allows him to ignore the actual experts—the United States is not just hurtling toward an epic disaster, it has already taken the kind of fall usually reserved for mythological figures. How many Americans will die is still to be seen. But the ‘American Century’ is dead and buried. (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, June 25, 2020)

Let Trump call reports like this “fake news” all he wants. The facts are clear to anyone willing to be objectively honest. And that lets out virtually the entire Republican party.

Let’s close this chapter with a final quote from the president of the United States: “If we stop testing right now, we’d have very few cases, if any.” This quote should be repeated over and over—by all Democrats in Congress. Let the Republicans try and rationalize this stupidly insensitive remark. Let them tie themselves into knots trying to defend this increasingly unstable man. Or, if there are any left with an ounce of common sense, let’s watch as they try to distance themselves from him without antagonizing him. Don’t expect much from these spineless “public servants” who haven’t got an ounce of honesty or integrity left in them.


Trump and his administration continue to support the most obviously immoral regimes in the world, while alienating virtually every one of our former allies.  Win Without War informs us of just how Trump is threatening world peace and laying the groundwork for a war with Iran, knowing full well that, with a presidential election coming up in November, people will generally support the incumbent administration during wartime: “Because of the actions of Donald Trump, we’re right now on the brink of a major war with Iran.  On Thursday, Donald Trump ordered the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, a senior Iranian military leader, who was killed in drone strikes at Baghdad airport—merely the latest escalation by a president who has taken one step after another down the path to war with Iran ever since he took office.

“Since day one of his presidency, Donald Trump has pushed our country towards a war with Iran:

  • He filled his cabinet with warmongers like Mike Pompeo,
  • He pulled out of the historic and successful Iran nuclear deal, and
  • He embarked on a ‘maximum pressure’ campaign—sending thousands more U.S. troops to the Middle East and imposing crippling economic sanctions on Iran.

“We are where we are today because of Donald Trump.

“War with Iran would be disastrous and wholly unnecessary. Military and diplomatic leaders have warned it could bring costs in both blood and resources greater than the wars with Iraq and Afghanistan combined. For those in the Middle East, the human suffering from decades of war would be immeasurable.

“War is NOT the answer. Diplomacy is the only way out of this crisis, and Congress is our best chance to put up a giant roadblock to war.

Earlier this year, bipartisan majorities, backed by a massive grassroots push for peace, voted in both chambers of Congress to prevent exactly this kind of unilateral escalation. Pushback from Trump and his allies stopped us then, which is why we need to get even louder now.” (Erica Fein, Win Without War, January 3, 2020)

Demand Progress provides us with some background on the situation with Iran and tells us exactly how Trump has done everything in his power since assuming the presidency to bring about a devastating war with Iran: “While many of us were celebrating the holidays, U.S. military forces bombed five facilities in Syria and Iraq that the Pentagon says are linked to an Iranian-backed militia group. The airstrikes killed dozens of people and were done against the will of the Iraqi government. Then hundreds of protestors in Iraq surrounded the U.S. embassy. Without providing any proof, Trump’s defense secretary accused Iran of planning new attacks on U.S interests in the Middle East. The Pentagon has deployed more troops to the area, causing Iran to ramp up its own warmongering rhetoric.

“But the assassination of the #2 ranking member of Iran’s government is a massive escalation that could cause the conflict to spin out of control.

Trump inherited the best chance for peace with Iran in decades with the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by President Obama, and he has been trying to provoke Iran since Day 1 of his administration. Now, in response to yesterday’s assassination of Maj. Gen. Suleimani, Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced that ‘a forceful revenge awaits the criminals who have his blood and the blood of the other martyrs last night on their hands.’

“Iran is a Middle East powerhouse with a strong government and massive population. As disastrous as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been, war with Iran would be far, far worse.” (Robert Cruickshank, Demand Progress, January 3, 2020)

A couple of appropriate quotes will close this discussion on Iran.  Congressional Progressive Caucus Center notes: “By abandoning the Iran nuclear deal, enacting punitive military actions, and adopting incendiary rhetoric, Trump has reversed years of progress toward peace and cooperation in the region and endangered millions of lives.” (Congressional Progressive Caucus Center, January 3, 2020)  Daily Kos adds: “Trump wants a war to make himself a heroic figure.  He will instead crash the global economy and destroy our standard of living for decades to come while killing and maiming millions of people.  This is why you don’t elect a malignant narcissist to be President of the most powerful nation on earth.” (Paul C., Daily Kos, January 2, 2020)

Apathy again rears its ugly head as the public seems unaware of or unconcerned with a possible war with Iran.  After all, we have been fighting an unwinnable war in Afghanistan for almost twenty years.  As in Iran, the public seems unconcerned about the costs of this war.  Win Without War summarizes the situation: “Last month, a U.S. airstrike in Herat, Afghanistan killed 10 unnamed Afghan civilians, including three children.  Yet, of the 7,423 bombs dropped on Afghanistan last year, it’s hard to find any real information about the impacts on the people of Afghanistan beyond these kinds of numbers.  It’s been hard to find out any truths about the war at all.

“That was until the Afghanistan Papers dropped—exposing that senior U.S. officials withheld key pieces of information for the past 18 years, including that the war was unwinnable, failing every single metric. In other words: the Afghanistan Papers exposed that the U.S. war in Afghanistan has been—and still is today—built entirely on blatant lies.

“We HAVE to use the momentum of the Afghanistan Papers to push as hard as we can to end the endless U.S. war in Afghanistan. This starts with hauling the liars who have been enabling this endless war into Congress to say publicly, under oath, what we now know they admit behind closed doors. It’s time for the truth.

“We didn’t know what we were doing’ said Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who served as the White House’s Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama administrations. This is just one line in the Afghanistan Paper’s more than 2,000 pages of previously unpublished notes of interviews with people who played a direct role in the war, from generals and diplomats to aid workers and Afghan officials.

“It’s hard to comprehend. Because this reality alongside the harrowing facts of the Afghanistan war is sickening. 18 years of U.S. occupation. At least 160,000 Afghan and U.S. casualties. At least $1.8 trillion spent. A war now fought by U.S. service members who weren’t even born when it began. An unwinnable war. What’s more difficult to understand is why, when the vast majority of the U.S. public, Congress, and U.S. presidential candidates all want THIS WAR TO END, it hasn’t ended yet.

“When the Pentagon Papers dropped in 1971, outrage exploded across the country about the lies that kept the Vietnam war going. Today, the Afghanistan Papers barely filled headlines for a week, breaking a murmur only for antiwar and veteran communities. Perhaps it’s because, sadly, people today just expect the government to lie to us. But these lies have deadly consequences, and it’s up to us to demand the truth. It’s on you and me to end the U.S. war and push for peace in Afghanistan.” (Stephen Miles, Win Without War, February 3, 2020)

Dictators rely on public apathy which gives them free rein to commit all kinds of crimes and human rights violations. Until we demand moral leadership from our leaders, nothing will change.

Now let us shift our attention to Trump’s continuous profits he is making by being president—clear violations of the Constitution.

The Emoluments Clause of the United States Constitution was written to keep presidents and public officials from profiting from their positions. I have covered this extensively in previous articles, but there is still much to be said, as these violations and their concomitant lies have by no means stopped and the media, as usual, rarely brings them up. CREW reports: “Even after three years and countless outrageous examples, many people may still not realize that President Trump is making money off of the presidency. It’s part of our job to remind everyone that he is. Every. Single. Day. Here are just a few recent lowlights:

“Trump has continued to funnel taxpayer money into his own pockets by visiting his properties—more than 450 times, according to our count. Last weekend, he golfed at his Virginia golf course, which likely resulted in Secret Service payments to his business. In fact, while Trump makes a big show of donating his presidential salary every year, taxpayers have paid more than a year’s worth of that salary for Trump’s golf cart rentals alone.

“In January, the Republican National Committee held its winter meeting at Trump’s Doral resort in Florida, and a new analysis by CREW found that the RNC and 13 state Republican parties spent over half a million dollars at Doral as a result.  That’s just one of the most recent examples of Trump’s political allies holding fundraisers and events at his properties, currying favor and putting money in his pocket all at once.  In February, Trump visited four western states, but flew back to Las Vegas to stay at his own hotel each night, likely costing taxpayers an additional million dollars in travel costs alone.  He claimed that the Secret Service requested the arrangement—but when we requested documents corroborating that claim, the Secret Service could find no evidence to back up what the president said.  We’ve since continued our investigation into the trip by requesting records of costs related to the trip paid to Trump’s businesses.

President Trump is also forging ahead with plans to hold another Fourth of July rally on the National Mall, despite the coronavirus pandemic.  It’s unfortunately not surprising that rates at Trump’s DC hotel are spiking over the weekend of the Fourth, raising questions about whether Trump is pushing for the rally in order to sell rooms at a higher rate, despite the ongoing health risks.  And just this week, CREW uncovered that on May 5, the Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners voted to grant a portion of Trump’s West Palm Beach golf resort a rent deferral due to the coronavirus pandemic.  This is yet another example of the conflicts inherent in Trump’s continued ownership of his businesses: while many businesses have struggled as a result of the economic fallout from the pandemic, no other business has an owner with the uniquely powerful bully pulpit of the presidency.

“Even with our tireless efforts to track Trump’s corruption, we still can’t know the full extent of Trump’s profiteering. Records requests and data released by the Secret Service have helped put together an incomplete picture, and we know that taxpayer spending tied to Trump’s visits to his properties has cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. We know that his political allies and special interests have spent millions at his businesses over the last three years. We may never know the full extent of his manipulation of the presidency for profit, but at CREW, we’re going to do our best to find out—and hold him accountable.” (Noah Bookbinder, CREW, May 29, 2020)

There are countless other issues that affect people’s lives, and in virtually every case, Republican leaders choose to ignore the will of the people.  A woman’s right to choose has never been as endangered as it currently is.  The first week of January saw almost every Congressional Republican sign a legal brief requesting the Supreme Court to consider overturning Roe v. Wade.  Joining them was Democrat Dan Lipinski, who has spent his entire political career siding with Republicans.  One can only wonder why he continues with the charade that he really is a Democrat.

Further evidence of Trump’s corruption also emerged early in January.  Daily Kos reports on the shenanigans involved in his ties with Deutsche Bank which, although long, will be quoted in its entirety: “But onto that stack of dog-wagging rationales add this one: According to Forensic News, Trump’s loans from Deutsche Bank were underwritten by a Russian state-owned bank.  That news reportedly comes from a whistleblower with access to documents from both Deutsche Bank and Russia’s state-owned VTB Bank.  VTB Bank was also the proposed lender on the never-completed Trump Tower Moscow project.  The question of why Deutsche Bank would extend a series of huge loans to Trump has been dangling since before he ever announced his candidacy for president on a golden escalator ride.  When Trump first went to Deutsche Bank, he was worse than broke.  He had just finished bankrupting multiple casinos in New Jersey, and then had convinced investors to back a takeover of those casinos at a fraction of the original value.  Then Trump deliberately allowed the investment group to go bankrupt so he could grab the whole deal himself at a fraction of what his investors had paid.  Then he went bankrupt.  Again. And along the way he was socked with a massive fine for money laundering at his now bankrupt (again) casino.

Trump was so fiscally radioactive that no American bank would let him in the door.  But Deutsche Bank turned around and gifted Trump with loans that gave him a fresh start and an apparently miracle turnaround of his New York real estate empire.  Those loans have always been the subject of head-scratching over just what Deutsche Bank could have been thinking.  But if Forensic News is right, what Deutsche Bank was thinking was that it wasn’t risking a damn thing, because the Russian government was actually vouching for Trump through VTB Bank.  If Trump didn’t come through, Vladimir Putin was offering to make it good.  The documents supposedly originated with the son of a former Deutsche Bank official who committed suicide, which is very much the kind of connection that raises concerns about the authenticity of the information.  This only highlights the importance of efforts by Congress to gain access to information on these loans.  The last appeals court ruling in the case instructed Deutsche Bank to turn over the information, but the Supreme Court stepped in to block the subpoena and hear the case.

“Trump lost the fight against the congressional subpoena at the district level and in two appeals, with all judges decisively siding with Congress’ authority to request the records. That the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case is very unusual, both because there was no conflict among rulings by lower courts and because the Supreme Court tends to avoid most cases involving a conflict between the executive and legislative branches.

“Much of Trump’s ‘recovery’ depended on selling apartments and buildings to Russian oligarchs at far above market prices. Those deals have always suggested the same kind of money laundering that added to the conviction of Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, but if these accusations are accurate, Russia did far more for Trump than buy his gilded condos. If they are true, this would show that Donald Trump was 100% dependent on the Russian government for his ‘big comeback.’ It would mean that he was completely beholden to Putin for his real estate, for his golf courses, for his candidacy—for everything.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, January 3, 2020)

Should it come as any surprise that the most corrupt businessman in U.S. history is also the most corrupt individual ever elected to public office, much less the presidency?

Now let us move on to the judiciary. Here Trump, Mitch McConnell, and their fellow Republicans have broken all the rules of how judiciary appointments are handled. I have discussed the Merrick Garland disaster in a previous article and need not repeat it here, other than to mention that McConnell has pushed through ultra conservative judges that will bend over backward to support the president, no matter what he says or does.

Most of Trump’s appointed judges have followed his party line to the letter.  People for the American Way provides us with numerous examples of this; I will quote just one example: “Confirmed Judges, Confirmed Fears” is a blog series documenting the harmful impact of President Trump’s judges on Americans’ rights and liberties.  Cases in the series can be found by issue and by judge at this link.  Eighth Circuit Trump judge Jonathan Kobes cast the deciding vote in a 2-1 panel ruling dismissing a lawsuit by an Arkansas man against the police officer who shot him.  The April 2020 case is Goffin v. Ashcraft.

“Davdrin Goffin was sitting alone in the passenger seat of his car at a mechanics’ shop when he was approached by police officers in Warren, Arkansas. They suspected Goffin of having just committed a burglary and stealing firearms and ammunition. Having been told by a witness that he was carrying two handguns with him, the police conducted a pat-down search when Goffin got out of the car and found no firearms. Goffin then tried to run away. Within a split second, Officer Robbie Ashcraft shot him in the back, later testifying that she thought he might be reaching for a weapon. Goffin sued Ashcraft for using unconstitutionally excessive force. Judge Kobes wrote an opinion for a divided panel dismissing the case on the basis that Officer Ashcraft had qualified immunity from lawsuit. Kobes wrote that Ashcraft was not on notice that shooting the suspect despite a pat-down that produced no weapon was unconstitutional, because prior case law had not specifically covered that situation. In dissent, Judge Jane Kelly noted that a jury could find that Ashcraft’s actions were not objectively reasonable. The law was clearly established long ago that deadly force cannot be used unless a suspect poses a ‘significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.’ That was clear even if previous cases did not specifically involve someone running away from the police after a pat-down search revealing no weapons. The pat-down search did not make the law inapplicable, she explained. Instead, it could influence a jury’s evaluation as to whether Ashcroft’s actions were objectively reasonable. But Judge Kobes ensured that Goffin will not be able to present his case to a jury.” (Paul Gordon, People for the American Way May 20, 2020)

For further examples of how Trump’s judges have been performing, interested readers may consult Confirmed Judges, Confirmed Fears on the People for the American Way website.

Next, I will briefly cover how this president has lied so often that one must wonder if he even knows what the word “truth” means.  His constant spewing of lies has become legendary.  He even lies about trivial things that don’t affect him.  Obviously, space prevents me from listing all of them, but one here is particularly egregious and is part of the public record.  Alliance for Retired Americans tells us:  “This weekend, President Trump tweeted that he would ‘not be touching your Social Security and Medicare in Fiscal 2021 Budget.’  But he lied.  His latest budget proposal calls for deep cuts to earned benefits, including:  1) $30 billion from Social Security  2) $850 billion from Medicare  3) $270 billion from Medicaid.” (Richard Fiesta, Alliance for Retired Americans, February 11, 2020)

Trump has always relied on Twitter for posting his rants.  But in May something unexpected happened.  Let Daily Kos explain: “On Tuesday, Donald Trump did something that Donald Trump does everyday—lie on Twitter.  But something unusual did happen in response.  After 52,000 tweets, Twitter decided to actually call out one of Trump’s persistent lies.  Specifically, Twitter added ‘get the facts’ tags to a pair of Trump tweets about vote by mail.  Those facts show that Trump’s claims about vote by mail leading to fraud, are themselves fraudulent.  Clicking the Twitter-added link takes readers to a fact-checking page detailing ways in which Trump’s statements about voting by mail are absolutely wrong.  False.  Lies.  And, as might be imagined, Trump has responded on Wednesday morning with a sputtering fury in which he’s accused Twitter, and all of social media, with ‘silencing conservative voices.’  And with ‘interfering in the 2020 election.’  And with ‘stiffing free speech’ (with quite a few more capital letters involved).  Trump is not only blasting Twitter, all social media, and the fact checkers, he’s threatening to either regulate Twitter or to shut them down completely.  The tags that Twitter added to the pair of tweets are the first sign that Twitter is trying to hold Trump to anything approximating the rules that face ordinary users of the service.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, May 27, 2020)  Again, we are seeing the words and actions of a dictator, not the leader of the free world.

Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden took issue with Trump’s constant lying on Twitter.  Daily Kos reports: “As several pundits have pointed out, Donald Trump isn’t spending more time on Twitter than he is on the coronavirus because he’s trying to distract from the 100,000 who have died on his watch.  Trump isn’t strategic.  This is just where he puts his values.  That’s why over the course of the morning, Trump tweeted threats against social media, lies about President Obama, more lies about Joe Biden, and attacks on the Mueller investigation.  That’s what he cares about.  The only time the two Vietnam War’s worth of Americans he’s done in through incompetence crossed Trump’s mind was when he paused to attack Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s social distancing guidelines.

Donald Trump is a troll who is only concerned about keeping his name at the top of the news no matter how many people have to die to keep it there.  Literally. And Twitter is his main tool for trolling.  But sometimes, that tool can be flipped around to smack Trump right in the pumpkin.  And Joe Biden did exactly that.

“Biden’s tweet was short and simple. He merely directed attention to two other tweets that happened on the same date back in October. ‘We are not prepared for a pandemic. Trump has rolled back progress President Obama and I made to strengthen global health security. We need leadership that builds public trust, focuses on real threats, and mobilizes the world to stop outbreaks before they reach our shores.’

“On that day, Biden was warning that America was unprepared to face exactly the crisis that we’re now experiencing. Trump was concerned about the difficulty of mastering the phone screen swipe. But again, this isn’t really a matter of guile on the part of either man—both spent that day talking about what they felt was important. Biden was concerned about the health of the nation and its citizens. Trump was concerned about the tool he uses to spew hatred.

“And, to be fair, that’s not the only thing Donald Trump tweeted on that day. Nope. In fact, Trump tweeted 47 times on that day on topics as central to the Republic as his next rally, his last rally, his latest appearance on Hannity, multiple threats to sue Adam Schiff, and especially all the great things he’s done for the African American community. How’s that last one going, by the way?

“Biden’s tweet was both timely and on target, identifying a gaping hole that Trump had allowed to form in the nation’s security. Trump’s tweets were about stroking his own ego. Anyone looking at how we got here could learn a lot from looking at those two tweets. (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, May 28, 2020)

OpenMedia elaborates: “Donald Trump just declared himself judge of what is ‘good faith’ and ‘unfair’ on the internet. Angry after Twitter fact-checked of two of his posts, President Trump has retaliated by signing an executive order aimed at taking control of how social media websites manage online content. And who will be the judge of whether they’re being unfair to President Trump? His political appointees at the FCC, led by Chairman Ajit Pai—the same FCC commission that repealed Net Neutrality on behalf of Big Telecom. The result is that social media websites will have no choice but to police the speech of most users in whatever way Pai and President Trump believe they should, and we can’t let that stand…President Trump’s tantrum is a real threat to our speech. His executive order threatens to make websites and platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google legally liable for the content their users posts—opening them up to endless costly lawsuits.

“Here’s the background: websites including Twitter and Facebook are protected by a rule called Section 230, which prevents the sites from being held legally liable for content posted by users like you and me. Websites get to decide for themselves how to police third-party posts. Since the summer of last year, President Trump has floated the possibility of trying to use an executive order to strike down Section 230 because of the bias he says social media platforms have against conservatives. But instead of protecting free speech, President Trump’s executive order would do the opposite. The new order allows social media platforms to be sued for content at the whim of the FCC, forcing them to take down posts they are afraid will bring about legal action. It pulls federal advertising from any platform President Trump believes is acting ‘unfairly’, and directs the FCC to solicit complaints of political bias from users, putting political appointees in charge of deciding what is or is not appropriate speech online. Free speech experts from the left and right are opposing the order, because they know that if this stands, the next president could use it to silence any of us.” (OpenMedia, May 30, 3030)

Free speech, a cornerstone of our republic, is now under threat by a president who wants nothing more than to be able to completely silence anyone who dares disagree with him—a defining characteristic of what constitutes a fascist.

In October, 2019, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told a congressional committee that his company intended to “crack down” on hate groups. This has not happened; in fact, these groups’ presence on Facebook has actually grown during the pandemic. Daily Kos discusses this: “If it feels as though white supremacists are coming out of the woodwork everywhere these days, particularly on social media, you’re not alone—and it’s not a figment of your imagination. On Facebook particularly, they are thriving, organizing, and recruiting, and it’s unlikely to slow down anytime soon. A report this week from the Tech Transparency Project (TTP) examining the numbers of designated hate groups with a presence on Facebook turned up some disturbing results. Foremost among them: Over half of the 221 organizations identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as hate groups have a continuing and active presence on Facebook, with even previously banned outfits managing to worm their way back onto the platform.

“The trend, as the report’s authors explain, is acutely worrying in the midst of a pandemic that is enabling or requiring millions of people to spend most of their time online—which is where nearly all white supremacist organizing and recruitment now occurs. ‘With millions of people now quarantining at home and vulnerable to ideologies that seek to exploit people’s fears and resentments about COVID-19, Facebook’s failure to remove white supremacist groups could give these organizations fertile new ground to attract followers,’ the report observes.” (David Neiwert, Daily Kos, May 26, 2020)

Twitter, Facebook, and the media are currently serving as nothing more than conduits for Trump’s baseless lies. For these and other companies, money supersedes honesty and objective facts. Until that changes, we will continue on our downward slide toward becoming a third-world country.

Then there is Reddit. This is a social news and discussion website that has become a favorite site for racist comments and right-wing propaganda. UltraViolet Action posted a letter demanding an end to the bigotry and racist groups that use the site as a forum for their nonsense: “Reddit has been called the home to some of ‘the most violently racist’ content on the internet by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The popular social network has long been a haven for sexist, racist, homophobic, and transphobic content—and the company has done little to address it. In fact, Reddit’s former CEO recently called out the company saying it ‘nurtures and monetizes white supremacy’ and hate. Reddit has been linked to the alt-right, the manosphere, white nationalists, and other hate groups that promote violence and harass other users, particularly women, people of color, and LGBTQ people. Reddit is home to appallingly racist forums dedicated to promoting violence and unspeakable slurs against Black people. Meanwhile, forums created as safe spaces for Black women and LGBTQ people have called on Reddit to protect them from being inundated with harassment and attacks, and the company hasn’t done much to help. Reddit forums have also served as an organizing platform for extreme men’s rights groups that promote violence against women, including the belief that women want to be raped. The reputations of U.S. Reddit users are so bad that Reddit Ireland resorted to shutting down its site entirely every night to stop racist posts coming from the U.S.

“Reddit has also been linked to deadly shootings and attacks. Reddit was used to organize the Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Va that killed activist Heather Heyer, and at least three recent mass killers in North America were inspired by Reddit chatrooms fostering misogyny and racism. In 2015, Reddit refused to ban ‘open racism and slurs,’ claiming it needed to allow people with so-called “different beliefs” to express themselves. But Reddit can’t hide from this moment of national reckoning on systemic racism.” (Maria Tchjov, UltraViolet Action, June 26, 2020)

This time, Reddit took action and updated its policies by introducing new rules designed to stop the spread of hate and racism. This new policy was put into effect only three days after the above letter was written, which shows that letter writing can still have an effect. Whether they will honor that pledge remains to be seen.

Donald Trump has no understanding of presidential duties and responsibilities. He ignores crucial efforts to control the pandemic and spends his time lying, attacking anyone who disagrees with him, and praising himself to the moon. It is beyond comprehension how anybody can fail to see through this man when everything he says and does is so transparently ridiculous, immoral, and dangerous.

Previously, I have gone into considerable detail describing Trump’s cabinet members and associates.  Trump has surrounded himself with some of the most immoral people imaginable.  These people’s sole responsibility is loyalty to Trump.  If they disagree, they are dismissed.  Trumps cabinet has had the highest turnover ratio in U.S. history.  Jared Kushner is Trump’s son-in-law and closest advisor.  I have discussed his crimes in previous articles and need not regurgitate them here, but I will content myself with this article from Win Without War: “Explosive reports broke that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) reportedly hacked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos via WhatsApp.  This news stacks on last year’s reports that Jared Kushner uses WhatsApp, despite senior officials directing him not to, to secretly speak with foreign contacts like MbS—just one of Kushner’s many corrupt government leader courtships.  Jared Kushner has been a consistent security risk since day one—when he was reportedly DENIED his security clearance by top security officials.  Yet despite his dodgy track record, Kushner is STILL at the White House putting out his peace sham that would permanently dispossess Palestinians of their land.

“Jared Kushner is not just a risk to U.S. security, he is an unacceptable risk to global safety and security. He doesn’t have to follow the rules because it is exactly this kind of nepotism that allows for impunity. And that’s why he must be fired NOW. The list of Jared Kushner’s ENORMOUS security concerns is never-ending:

  1. Jared Kushner has an unofficial, private and encrypted WhatsApp relationship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
  2. Trump personally overrode security experts to give Kushner a security clearance despite major red flags and recommendations to deny his clearance.
  3. The Kushner family received a billion-dollar bailout from a Qatari-government-funded investment company…not long after Jared had backed a Saudi-UAE blockade against Qatar.
  4. Kushner failed to disclose meetings with foreign officials on his security clearance forms, a potentially criminal offense (and then took four months to rectify the situation).

And it wouldn’t be SO alarming, if Kushner wasn’t advising Trump on issues of enormous global security, like the sovereignty of Palestinians. But he is. And his impact is deeply destructive, like offering a sham of a peace plan that will only lead to permanent occupation and apartheid in Israel and Palestine. Kushner at the highest level of the U.S. government is not just a risk to U.S. security, but global security as a whole.” (Kate Kizer, Win Without War, February 10, 2020)

Mike Pompeo, Trump’s Secretary of State, is as controversial as ever.  When Democrats Turn Out gives us the latest in a non-ending series of scandals and irregularities concerning this man: “Late Friday night, Donald Trump fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick.  Linick, an Obama appointee, was doing his job and investigating Mike Pompeo—Trump’s Secretary of State—for inappropriate behavior.  Pompeo would apparently rather not answer questions about whether he was sending a political appointee to perform personal errands like walking his dog and picking up his dry cleaning.  It’s not the first time Pompeo has been investigated for this sort of misconduct.  But rather than cooperate with the investigation, Pompeo suggested Trump fire Linick—and Trump did.

“Now House Democrats led by Nancy Pelosi are saying the firing could be an act of unlawful retaliation and have called for the White House to turn over its records on the incident. But CNN reports that chances of stopping the firing ‘appear slim given the fact that Trump has now fired multiple inspectors general following his Senate acquittal in early February,’ and goes on to say that ‘the President has long been fixated on ridding his administration of government watchdogs he views as Obama loyalists and now appears to be working toward achieving that goal.’

With the White House fighting Congress’s ability to hold this administration accountable for their corruption, it’s up to the American people to provide the kind of oversight Trump is so afraid of.” (When Democrats Turn Out, May 19, 2020)

Pompeo and his boss are both guilty of supplying weapons to Saudi Arabia.  Win Without War elaborates: “Only days after Pompeo and Trump were roundly criticized for firing an inspector general investigating possible crimes related to $8.1 BILLION in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—they’re at it again.  Pompeo’s State Department just approved the possible sale of a whopping 4,569 (!) armored vehicles to the UAE, even though last year these EXACT same vehicles ended up in Yemen in the hands of militias.  In a similarly despicable move, news broke yesterday that Pompeo is prepping another sale to Saudi Arabia—as we speak.

The arrogance and the inhumanity is mind-boggling.  Yet again, Trump’s top priority is padding the pockets of defense industry pals and corruptly propping up authoritarian despots.  In case it wasn’t obvious: it is all about the money.  A new report from the Center for International Policy’s Security Assistance Monitor found that the Trump administration made at least $85.1 billion in arms sales offers in 2019—the highest level since it took office in 2017.  That’s partly because the Trump administration has turned the State Department into a marketing department for the defense industry.  And the 4,569 Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles the administration cleared for sale to the UAE?: Estimates are they’d add another $556 million to Trump’s merchants of death tally.” (Win Without War, May 28, 2020)  All this is further proof of how this administration’s foreign policy—and all its other policies—is marked by nepotism, cronyism, and downright corruption.

Freedom Forward tells us more about this “ally” of the Republicans: “In case you missed the news, the Trump administration has announced a new $478 million weapons sale to Saudi Arabia’s monarchy.  This sale would provide 7,500 precision-guided missiles to a government that has already bombed thousands of civilians in Yemen, often with U.S. weapons.  And as a result, Yemen is undergoing one of the worst humanitarian crises in modern history.   The Trump administration has already announced a $556 million arms sale with the U.A.E., which is a close ally of Saudi Arabia, and has similarly brought unspeakable misery to both Yemen and Libya. Saudi Arabia and U.A.E. are two extraordinarily repressive monarchies.  And both dictatorships pose significant threats to U.S. national interests, regional democracy, and global security.

“Here are 8 quick reasons why we must cut ties and downgrade relationships with Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E.: 1) Using U.S. Weapons to Drive War and Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. have used U.S. weapons in their devastating wars in Yemen and Libya, which have contributed to the spread of the Coronavirus across the Middle East and North Africa by decimating local healthcare systems. 2) Supporting Terrorist Networks, Including with U.S. Weapons: Officials from the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia have been caught supporting terrorist networks, such as Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups across the Arabian peninsula. The reality is that American weapons that are sent to Saudi Arabia or the U.A.E. can end up in terrorists’ hands. 3) Jailing and Killing Human Rights and Democracy Advocates: Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. have both jailed reformers and advocates for democracy within their borders. Saudi Arabia has also assassinated and executed nonviolent reformers and dissidents, of whom Jamal Khashoggi is only the most famous example. 4) Exporting Dictatorship: Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. both intervene across the Middle East and North Africa to stop democracy and promote dictatorship, including in Bahrain, Egypt, Sudan, and Libya. 5) Violating Women’s Rights: Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. both violate women’s rights through systems of discrimination and repression, as well as through imprisonment and torture of women activists. Two notable Saudi women’s rights activists who are still imprisoned are Loujain al-Hathloul & Samar Badawi. 6) Modern-Day Slavery: Both Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. maintain the kafala system, an abusive labor system that robs foreign workers of their human rights. Under kafala, workers are often trapped, unable to leave abusive employers without their permission, in circumstances that can amount to forced labor. 7) Global Kidnapping, Espionage, and Murder: Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. have both worked globally to silence critics and forcibly stop those attempting to escape state repression, including through espionage, armed kidnappings, and assassination. 8) Driving the Climate Crisis: Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. are major contributors to the global climate crisis through their massive fossil fuel export economies, which are responsible for a significant share of the world’s fossil fuel emissions. In addition, Saudi Arabia has repeatedly undermined global climate negotiations.” (Sunjeev Bery, Freedom Forward, June 30, 2020) Clearly, Trump and his Republican cronies are no different than these Middle East dictators, either in their objectives or in their actions.

I have already gone into considerable detail about Senator Lindsey Graham’s complete subordination to Donald Trump.  This is the man who had, prior to Trump’s election victory, taken quite a different view of the man.  Daily Kos provides us with some telling quotes: “Of all the Trump toadies in the Trump toady universe, it’s hard to find a wartier one that South Carolina Sen.  Lindsey Graham.  In 80 seconds, the LindseyMustGoPAC Super PAC proves it with a new ad.  Well, Huckleberry himself proves it.  ‘I want to talk to the Trump supporters for a minute,’ the ad starts: ‘I think he’s a kook.  I think he’s crazy.  I think he’s unfit for office.’  All that is Graham as of 2016.  Flip to 2020 Graham: ‘You’ve been a damn good president!’ Graham tells Trump.  It goes on and on and on with split personality Lindsey—trashing Trump in the most vehement language pre-November 2016 and then slavering and fawning in the most embarrassing and obsequious displays you can imagine.  ‘Every time I turn around I’m being asked about Donald Trump saying one dumb thing or another.  And I’m tired of it,’ says 2015 Graham.  Then, in a 2018 interview, Graham intones ‘President Trump deserves the Nobel Peace Prize and then some.’ (Joan McCarter, Daily Kos. May 22, 2020) A writer called jfromga responded to the article thusly: “Throwing away all your integrity, all your self respect, blatantly violate the rights of people and your oath to the Constitution to kiss the ass of a malignant narcissist who maligns you and makes fun of you behind your back and still carry water for him to hurt your own constituents, that isn’t about wanting to win.  That is cheating, lying, stealing and destroying democracy to win.”  Clearly, Graham is one of the most hypocritical members of a party teeming with hypocrites.  He has gone from outspoken critic to fawning sycophant in only four years.  And, he has done so without a word on how or why his views have so radically changed.

Kayleigh McEnany was appointed White House Press Secretary in April 2020. A typical Trump crony, the young McEnany previously served as a producer in Fox News (where else?). In her first press interview, she pledged never to lie but soon proved that she would, in all cases, support whatever the president had to say. She supports his lies about the coronavirus stating: “This president will always put America first, he will always protect American citizens. We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here, we will not see terrorism, and isn’t that refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of Barack Obama?” This despite the fact that the pandemic had already been in the United States over a month prior to her statement. Add to this the fact that she had echoed the birther conspiracies against Barack Obama and you have a pretty good idea of where her priorities lie.

I have also given extensive evidence of the conflicts of interest that this president has engaged in.  CREW gives us some of the details: “President Trump has now racked up more than 3,000 conflicts of interest.  That’s more than 2.5 per day he’s been in office, and unfortunately, he shows no signs of slowing down.  Just a few weeks ago, he stayed at his Las Vegas hotel for several nights during a trip to the West Coast.  It would have been much more efficient not to travel back to Las Vegas every night—but that would have meant turning down an opportunity to profit from the presidency.  President Trump’s conflicts range from his 450+ visits to his properties, to 134 visits by foreign officials to a Trump business, to 292 visits from 123 Members of Congress.  55 Members even contributed to Trump’s corruption by visiting his businesses while the impeachment inquiry and trial were underway.

Those numbers are staggering, and as the number of conflicts continues to climb ever higher, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer scale of his corruption.  That’s why we’ve been tracking Trump’s conflicts since the start of his presidency: we can’t lose sight of how unprecedented and how deeply corrupt his actions are.  Trump has used the presidency and the machinery of the government to personally profit, and he has enlisted members of his administration and Congress in advancing his profiteering.  Conflicts including the constant spending by industry groups at Trump properties and the unprecedented influence of the President’s paying customers mean that we have to question whether every decision he makes is in the best interest of the American people, or his own bottom line.” (Noah Bookbinder, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington [CREW], March 4, 2020)

These conflicts of interest are costing the American people untold amounts of money. CREW lists some of them: “The public has a right to know what our government is up to. That’s the basic principle underlying the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which provides a mechanism for journalists, organizations, and ordinary citizens to request government records from any agency. At CREW, we send over 100 FOIA requests a year to agencies throughout the federal government to uncover corruption, shine a light on lobbyist influence, get a fuller picture of government spending, and learn why an agency has taken a specific action or adopted a specific policy.

“The FOIA process can take a long time, but the fight is worth it. Here are some things we would not know without our FOIA requests:

  • Taxpayers spent at least $80,000 on just one of Eric Trump’s business trips: Just last month, we obtained Secret Service records that showed taxpayers spent at least $80,000 on Eric Trump’s two-day business trip to Uruguay in 2019.  That means the taxpayers’ bill for Eric Trump’s work on the Trump Organization’s Punta Del Este project in Uruguay alone is at least $178,000.
  • President Trump lied about the G-7 Summit at Doral: When President Trump claimed that his attempt at hosting the 2020 G-7 Summit at his Doral resort was because the Secret Service wanted it there, we sent a FOIA request to find out if that was true.  A few months later, we got records that proved President Trump had lied, that Doral was only added to the list at the last minute, and that the Secret Service in fact had concerns with that location for the summit.
  • VA staff frustrated by Mar-a-Lago member influence: Last August, CREW obtained documents shining light on a major scandal at the VA.  More than 300 pages of emails show that career VA officials were forced to waste taxpayer resources by working on government contracting issues with three Mar-a-Lago members, none of whom had specific policy or government expertise.  They were given access simply because they are the president’s paying customers.
  • The State Department blocked major news outlets from a briefing call: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a ‘faith-based media’ briefing in March 2019, which excluded several news outlets.  CREW’s FOIA uncovered that even more news outlets were blocked than previously known, and obtained the transcript of the call, which State had resisted releasing for months.
  • Donald Trump Jr’s hunting trip racked up a $17,000 bill: Just a few weeks ago, we learned that Donald Trump Jr’s Mongolian hunting trip, where he killed an endangered sheep, cost taxpayers at least $17,000.  Most of that sum went to a Mongolian company whose owner arranged for Don Jr.’s ‘very political’ hunting permit.

Because this administration has resisted transparency at levels never before seen, CREW is leading the fight to protect and strengthen FOIA policies and processes.  Last fall, the Interior Department abandoned proposed FOIA regulation changes that would have made it more difficult for the public to obtain records, following comments opposing the changes from a coalition led by CREW.” (Ann Weismann, CREW, March 16, 2020)

And of course, since all religious fanatics and dictators require an imagined enemy to focus their attacks on, it is not surprising that Trump has gone after Barack Obama with a vengeance.  Also not surprising is the  complete vacuity of his attacks.  When Democrats Turn Out elaborates on a recent rant: “What is Obamagate, exactly?  No one has any idea, but Donald Trump can’t stop tweeting about it.  According to Trump, Barack Obama is guilty of ‘the biggest political crime and scandal in the history of the USA, by FAR.’

Trump can’t quite say what that crime is.  But he knows Obama is to blame.  And, unlike when Trump touted racist conspiracy theories about Obama being born in Kenya, now Trump has the power of the chief executive and Obama doesn’t.  And Trump’s using it.  To plan a show trial for the 44th president.  He just demanded on Twitter that Lindsey Graham bring Obama before the GOP-controlled Senate to testify like an accused criminal.” (When Democrats Turn Out, May 18. 2020)

Daily Kos adds: “‘Obamagate’ is Trump’s latest conspiracy theory, with no basis in reality.  Unfortunately, Trump’s henchmen in the Senate are preparing to dig deep to uncover anything that could even remotely resemble a scandal.  This past week, the Senate Judiciary Committee, controlled by Republicans, voted along party lines to give Trump lapdog Lindsey Graham sweeping authority to issue subpoenas to probe Trump’s enemies.  Graham is already planning to subpoena several prominent Obama administration officials, including former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and former FBI Director James Comey.

“This all comes at a time when the country is facing multiple, intertwined crises; a viral pandemic, an economic crash, police violence and systemic racism. Instead of addressing these emergencies, the Republican-controlled Senate is helping Trump deliver politically-motivated retribution.
Republicans are using the power that comes with controlling the Senate to carry out a witch hunt for Trump.” (Amanda McCay, Daily Kos, June 13, 2020)

In other words, the U.S. Senate is ignoring the real issues facing this country and trying to find dirt on a highly respected former president who has never had a hint of scandal attached to him.

The facts don’t lie when comparing these two men. Republicans continue to boast about their economic “accomplishments” and lie about what’s really happening to the economy and how ordinary Americans are suffering. POLITICO reports that, “In April, 20.5 million Americans lost their jobs and unemployment was at 14.7 percent.” But when Obama left office, the country had experience 75 straight months of job growth and an unemployment rate of 4.7%. Facts like this won’t dissuade Trump and his minions, of course. They will just claim that this is “fake news” and then launch into another attack on the “liberal” media.

Trump and his cohorts are simply incapable of being honest. The moral decay in the Republican party has reached a point where everything they say must be taken with a grain of salt.


Let us begin this chapter by re-examining how democracies can devolve into autocracies. Ditch Mitch makes a convincing case for removing Mitch McConnell from power at the earliest opportunity: “It’s hard to explain just how dangerous Mitch McConnell has been to our democracy, but please, let us take a few minutes to try. With everything Donald Trump is doing right now, nothing is a more critical threat to our constitutional ideals.

When you look at how democracies devolve into autocracies, the pattern is frequently the same. Often it starts with economic downturn, disruption, or growing inequality. New leaders come to power by promising to fix everything while demonizing a minority group or groups. They attack the independent and free press along the way.

“Once in power, they pack and politicize the courts with judges who will side with them. They manufacture emergencies and crises. They begin to outlaw dissent and erode civil liberties, even employing the power of the military against their own citizens. And when their slow erosion of norms and consolidation of powers are challenged through the judicial system, the judges they picked defend them and declare their actions as constitutional.

“The similarities to what Mitch McConnell has done over the past decade are stark. And while Mitch might not be trying to claim the power at the top for himself, he has continually attacked and undermined our democracy in ways that have precariously set the stage for malicious actors like Donald Trump to act like dictators and to seize unprecedented levels of power.

“When President Obama was in office, McConnell obstructed and held up so many of his judicial nominees that, by the time Donald Trump took office, there was not just an open Supreme Court seat belonging to Merrick Garland, but also 107 other judicial vacancies that Trump began filling with people who would be loyal to him. Since Republicans regained the White House, Mitch has changed the Senate rules again and again and again to swiftly and efficiently stack the courts with lifetime appointments of right-wing judges. This is Mitch McConnell’s strategy: When Democrats were in power, he blocked and obstructed Obama’s judicial nominations, and now with Republicans in power, McConnell is doing everything he can to ram through Trump’s nominees and fill the vacancies he created. It might be a strategy that Mitch McConnell thinks is simply harmless political and partisan gamesmanship, but to those of us watching it more closely and critically, the damage being done to our democracy right before our eyes is terrifying.

“Donald Trump has vowed now to use the United States military against its own citizens. And by enabling him for so long, Mitch McConnell has taught Trump—and any other autocrat who might come after him—that he can do whatever he wants and Congress is powerless to stop him.
Mitch McConnell swore an oath when he became a senator to ‘defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.’ But it is clear that Mitch himself has now become a threat to our constitution.” (Ditch Mitch, June 3, 2020) The case for removing Mitch McConnell from power and putting him on trial for treason is overpoweringly strong.

Betsy DeVos, Trump’s ever-loyal Department of Education Secretary, continues to do everything in her power to turn her back on the students she is supposed to be protecting.  AFT (American Federation of Teachers) reports: “Time and again, Betsy DeVos has shown just how determined she is to help her friends who run predatory for-profit colleges, no matter the cost to the students she has taken an oath to serve.  This summer was no exception, when her Department of Education released a new regulation that would further hurt students already defrauded by for-profit colleges, in a callous one-two punch.  The ‘borrower defense to repayment’ rule is meant to protect student borrowers who have been defrauded by their colleges, by canceling their student loans.  The Obama administration formalized those rights in the fall of 2016.  But when DeVos became secretary of education, she attempted to undermine this rule, even being held in contempt of court for continuing collections on some student loans that should’ve been canceled.  Instead of supporting students, DeVos has attacked these defrauded borrowers, limiting their loan forgiveness by millions of dollars and forcing arbitration clauses that erased their rights.  For many affected students—so many of whom are veterans, first-generation college students, and people of color—it’s a double whammy: Not only are their finances and careers wrecked by having worthless degrees, they have no way to seek justice because DeVos has callously changed the rules.  DeVos’ rewrite eliminates the possibility for group claims, forcing individual borrowers to come forward with evidence, a tactic meant to stop people fighting back together.  The rule also imposes a new three-year time limit on claims.  The DeVos rule guts protections for students to the benefit of predatory colleges.” (Randi Weingarten, AFT, January 7, 2020)

ActionNetwork summarizes DeVos’ three years as Education Secretary:  “This week is the third anniversary of Betsy DeVos’ confirmation as secretary of education.  In the past three years, she’s turned the job she was appointed to do—look out for America’s students, teachers and public schools—into a political crusade to defund and destabilize our nation’s entire education system.  Look no further than Trump’s State of the Union address to see how she’s moved her agenda within his administration and the Republican Party.  Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump have decided the path to re-election is a full-fledged attack on public schools.  It’s like they forget that the role of government is actually to help people—like the 90 percent of students in America who attend public schools.  Instead, they try to cut funding for public education at every turn, and claim funneling taxpayer money for private and religious schools is the answer.  Rather than strengthen the cornerstone of our democracy and the chief enabler of pluralism and opportunity, they choose to defund and destabilize it.  No amount of disparaging public schools or of rebranding vouchers and privatization as ‘choice’ and ‘freedom’ changes that.  Despite the fact that parents overwhelmingly support public schools, want investment in and support for their schools, and choose to send their kids to public schools, DeVos is so determined to push her version of vouchers that she sat in on a Supreme Court case that seeks to mandate vouchers for religious schools across the U.S.  She’s sabotaged Public Service Loan Forgiveness, stripped LGBTQ students of their rights, sided with predatory for-profit colleges and debt collectors, and tried to cut vital programs from the Department of Education’s budget.  She’s gone from being the person who talked at her Senate hearing about having guns in schools to fend off grizzly bears, to being one of Trump’s longest-serving Cabinet members.  Parents, communities and educators want freedom, all right: the freedom to fund our kids’ futures and meet our children’s needs.  They want investment in the services that make a difference in their lives, not in the private alternatives that further segregate and divide us.  Moreover, studies have consistently shown that vouchers fail to improve outcomes and that three-quarters of the public reject them.” (Randi Weingarten, ActionNetwork, February 8, 2020)

The bottom line with DeVos is that she has: 1) Spent millions of taxpayer dollars on charter schools that closed or never opened 2) Cut after school programs for low income students 3) Cut funding for student mental health services 4) Supported dishonest and incompetent for-profit colleges in their efforts to swindle student borrowers 5) Gone out of her way to silence victims of sexual assault on college and university campuses. If this is not enough, she also (not surprisingly), always sides with corporate interests and those of Trump. She is, in other words, a typical Trump toady.

People’s Action reports on how DeVos is trying to use the coronavirus issue to further defund public schools: “As American deaths from COVID-19 crested 100,000, the New York Times reported U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos declared her intention to ‘force’ public school districts to spend a large portion of federal funds they’re receiving through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on private schools.  Going beyond the traditional practice of education secretaries to issue guidance on how states should interpret federal law, she now wants to write the laws herself.  DeVos is twisting the language of congressional law so that public schools with high percentages of students from low-income households get less assistance, and private school students get more.  DeVos’s rewiring of the law could also lead to more federal aid to pay for ‘extra services’ in private schools, such as hiring tutors.  Should DeVos get her way, the impact will be devastating on struggling school districts.” (Joy Blackwood, People’s Action, June 16, 2020)

Moscow Mitch continues to make every effort to get extreme right-wing judges on the bench. Early in May, he pushed for Justin Walker to be appointed to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. This is a man who is, like the majority of appointees during Trump’s administration, is utterly unfit for such an important position. He was rated as unqualified by the American Bar Association, but that doesn’t mean anything to Trump, McConnell and their ilk who only want someone who agrees with everything they say and can be expected to toe the party line at all costs, whatever the situation. Independent thought is their enemy; loyalty to the fuhrer in chief is their only standard.

Hypocrisy is the name of the game with these people, and nowhere is this better illustrated than with Mitch McConnell.  Although I have covered the issue of Supreme Court appointees in previous articles, a brief quote from When Democrats Turn Out illuminates this hypocrisy and exposes him as the bald-faced liar he is: “Do you remember when Mitch McConnell refused to even consider Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court?  McConnell claimed that since it was an election year, the American people should decide instead.  He insisted the decision had nothing to do with politics—that it was ‘about a principle, not a person.’  Turns out, that was a lie.  Now that Obama is long gone from the White House, and with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently hospitalized, Republicans are eagerly anticipating another Supreme Court vacancy in an election year.  When asked what he would do with a vacancy now — months closer to the election than the 2016 vacancy—CNN reports that McConnell ‘took a long sip of what appeared to be iced tea before announcing with a smile, ‘Oh, we’d fill it.’” (When Democrats Turn Out, May 14, 2020)

Further proof that the Republican party is corrupt to the core can be seen in the multitudinous ways its leaders have profited from their positions and appointments—no matter how dubious (and illegal) the means.  Rootstrikers, a project group of Demand Progress, reports on this: “We just got a reminder this week that Congress has a corruption problem.  One reason: they still get to own, buy, and sell stock even when they’re making laws and rules that impact those stocks.  Senator Richard Burr is under FBI investigation for stock trades he made right after he got a classified briefing on the coronavirus, and was forced to step down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.  Another Senator, Kelly Loeffler, is reported to have made similar trades.  There are rules preventing members of Congress from insider trading.  But Senators may have done it anyway.  It’s clear we need to do more to stop Congress from abusing their power and privilege. (Robert Cruickshank, Rootstrikers, May 16, 2020)

The article continues by noting how different things were forty years ago, under a Democratic president: “When Jimmy Carter became president, he placed all his investments—even his own peanut farm—into a blind trust so that there wasn’t even the slimmest chance his decisions could affect his personal income. But today that’s not how most members of Congress operate. Senator Burr made 33 transactions in a single day just before the stock market crashed in February. He had just received a private briefing from federal officials warning of the devastating impact the coronavirus would have on the United States. Meanwhile, Senator Kelly Loeffler sold $20 million in stock in three separate deals in late February and early March after receiving the same closed door briefing—and even invested money in a company that makes protective gear for health care workers. Her husband runs the company that owns the New York Stock Exchange, which gave her a huge payday when she entered the Senate. Congressional ownership of stock threatens to derail effective oversight of the massive federal bailout program. Representative Donna Shalala, who was appointed to the bailout oversight commission, was revealed to have made more than 500 stock trades after taking office and didn’t follow the rules in reporting it. There’s no way she can fairly and effectively oversee the bailout when she engages in this behavior. This is all part of the vast culture of corruption that engulfs our federal government, and it has to stop.” And, as always, the mainstream media, whose job is to report on such things, is conspicuously silent.

Moscow Mitch is also completely unconcerned about the technology crisis millions of Americans are facing.  OpenMedia explains: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is blocking a bill that would bring Internet access to millions of Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.  The House of Representatives’ HEROES Act provides $5.5 billion in funding to get people from rural and impoverished areas online, but McConnell—who has taken more than a million dollars from Big Cable—won’t even allow a vote.

“We can’t allow Big Cable to keep millions of people offline during a pandemic, when access and connectivity is more important than ever…Congress is going virtual. Work has gone remote. Students’ lessons are delivered online. But Americans in rural and low-income areas are falling further behind every day because they can’t adequately participate in this new normal. The numbers are staggering: 14 million people without any Internet access, and another 25 million without high-speed connections needed for work and school. Millions of kids are at risk of being permanently left behind because they don’t have adequate Internet access to education at home. Workers in remote and impoverished areas aren’t able to connect to keep up with basic information or stay in touch with their jobs.

“That’s where the $5.5 billion in the HEROES Act comes in. The bill provides subsidies for low-income families to purchase high-speed Internet, and money for libraries and schools to immediately purchase hot spots and connected devices for students in need. Getting the bill through the House of Representatives was the easy part. Now it is headed to the Senate, where Big Cable-funded McConnell is trying to stop it. (OpenMedia, May 25, 2020)

Two things are obvious here. First is a fact that shouldn’t come as a surprise, that McConnell has taken enormous amounts of money from Big Cable and will never bite the hand that’s feeding him. The second issue is that an educated and informed public is the last thing Moscow Mitch McConnell and his cohorts want.


One of the ugliest manifestations of Trump’s racism is the dramatic increase of bigotry and hate crimes since his term began.  I have covered much of this in previous articles.  Under Republican leadership, the bigots in our midst are no longer silent.  One particularly egregious example of this trend was seen in Wisconsin.  Daily Kos reports: “Remember the scandal that erupted last year when the entire junior boys class at Baraboo, Wisconsin, was photographed giving the Nazi salute?  Remember how the school district wound up just dismissing those concerns, claiming that the teenagers’ real intent was impossible to discern?  What’s now clear is that the coddling of the students became a gigantic green light for white boys to just be as racist as they want to be.  The story that emerged this week of a black girl’s experience at the school is just the stuff of any decent parent’s nightmares.  According to the lawsuit filed by 17-year-old Dasia Banks against the district, her experience at Baraboo High School was an endless parade of bigotry, threats, bullying, violence, and sexual assault.  Students shoved her in the hallways, paraded Confederate flags in her face, called her the N-word, and left threatening notes in her locker.  At one point, a student asked another in Banks’ presence: ‘Is it a hate crime if you slap a black girl?

‘I voiced my opinion and stood up for myself, but it got to the point where it just felt like there was no point in me saying anything,” Banks told The Daily Beast.  When Banks complained to school officials, they declined to investigate her complaints, refusing to review the video files that would have corroborated her story.  This is similar to the response of school officials over the Hitler-salute photo.  Jordan Blue, one of the few students in the photo who declined to join in on the salute, told a local newspaper that his classmates were trying to make an ‘upsetting’ joke.  The salute apparently occurred at the photographer’s encouragement.  One of the people present said the students spent ‘about five minutes taking pictures and laughing’ about their salute.  Superintendent Lori Mueller sent a letter to parents explaining that the district was ‘not in a position to punish the students for their actions’ because of their First Amendment rights.  ‘As previously stated, we cannot know the intentions in the hearts of those who were involved,’ she wrote.  The problems in Baraboo, clearly, run much deeper than just the photo.” (David Neiwert, Daily Kos, January 20, 2020)

People’s Action explains how hate groups are growing: “Colin P. Clarke has been teaching a course on terrorism and insurgency at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh for four years, and much more of his class these days is devoted to white supremacy than in the past. So Clarke was not one bit surprised when a new report by the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism revealed that efforts to spread white supremacy propaganda—often through discriminatory fliers, banners and posters—more than doubled from 2018 to last year. ‘It’s concerning because, for all the people who don’t move on to become threats of violence, some will, and some will get their start by seeing pieces of propaganda that will alert them to the fact this group exists,’ Clarke said. The ADL report represents a sobering warning about the reach of white supremacist groups, which can take advantage of the efficiency and anonymity provided by social media to disseminate their ideology with little fear of backlash. Last year the ADL recorded its highest number of propaganda incidents ever with 2,713 cases, compared to 1,214 in 2018. College campuses, full of impressionable young minds open to new ideas, are a favorite target, receiving about one-fourth of the propaganda against minority groups like immigrants, blacks, Jews, Muslims and members of the LGBTQ community. The report also said all states except Hawaii registered instances of this kind of messaging, which is often cloaked in patriotic themes and serves as a recruiting tool. In addition, the ADL said the use of announced white supremacist rallies has given way to flash demonstrations, which are less likely to draw counter-protests and negative media coverage.” (Tom Conway, People’s Action, February 14, 2020) To reiterate: If the Republican party is not a racist organization, why are there no voices of condemnation from its leaders?

For years, the Radical Right has promoted false conspiracy theories, but these have taken on new life under Trump and the Republicans.  Daily Kos notes that the Right is now actively preparing for a “civil war” which they believe is coming soon: “The myths and conspiracy theories that fuel the radical right often take on lives of their own: Think of how the QAnon phenomenon began as a handful of conspiracy theorists making groundless claims and predictions about a coming ‘Storm’ that metastasized first into a wildly popular body of ‘Patriot’/militia conspiracism, and finally into a massive submovement operating within the framework of the Trump presidency—while producing a growing record of lethal violence by its unhinged believers.

Something similar appears to be coalescing around the ‘boogaloo’—the vision of members of the far right of a coming civil war, which they claim is being forced upon them by liberals who want to take their guns away as the first step toward their incarceration and enslavement.  In reality, of course, a number of sectors of the far right have ginned up this kind of rhetoric for decades—but now, a systematic study of its spread through social media has found that it appears to be massing into a movement of its own.

The study, conducted by the independent Network Contagion Research Institute, explores, according to its subtitle, ‘how domestic militants organize on memes to incite violent insurrection and terror against government and law enforcement.’  It focused on the ‘boogaloo’ in large part due its increasing popularity—particularly as a hashtag (#Boogaloo or #Boogaloo2020)—on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, as well as the extreme and often callous expressions of violent intent that form the essence of the chatter.

“In its initial forms, the ‘civil war’ talk was generated in different sectors of the radical right in different ways. Among neo-Nazis, it generally has focused on a ‘race war’—i.e., a genocidal conflict between whites and nonwhites—dating back to the 1980s and the classic white-supremacist blueprint, The Turner Diaries. This vein of rhetoric has produced a long record of lethal domestic terrorism, including the 1984 neo-Nazi criminal gang The Order; the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing; and more recently, the 2011 attack in Norway that killed 87 people and the 2019 Christchurch mosque attacks in New Zealand that killed 51.

Among the ‘Patriot’ movement believers who form militias in resistance to ‘the New World Order,’ most of the rhetoric has focused on using arms against law enforcement, particularly the federal kind, as well as the mythic ‘blue-helmeted’ United Nations soldiers about to descend on them from black helicopters.  In its more recent iterations among far-right Oath Keepers and ‘III Percent’ militiamen, the ‘boogaloo’ talk has mostly revolved around resistance to liberal gun-control legislation.  This reached its apotheosis in January when thousands of armed ‘Patriots’ from around the United States descended on Richmond, Virginia, to protest imminent gun safety legislation making its way through the state’s General Assembly.  Before the rally, FBI agents arrested a trio of neo-Nazis who were preparing to open fire on law enforcement at the event.  However, one of the results of the broad emergence of popular ‘boogaloo’ rhetoric has been a blurring of the lines between the anti-government extremists who foresee conflict with federal forces and the more extreme white supremacists who lust for a bloody conflict between the white and nonwhite races.  While many of the latter also eagerly participate in the anti-government talk, many of the former appear to be warming up to the race-war talk.

“The NCRI study found not only that the discussion of the ‘boogaloo’ on social media had surged, but that discrete groups were coalescing around the discussion and creating the nascent forms of a movement. The ‘boogaloo’ ‘topic network’ produces ‘a coherent, multi-component and detailed conspiracy to launch an inevitable, violent, sudden, and apocalyptic war across the homeland,’ it said, adding that the models created by researchers ‘show that the meme acts as a meaningful vector to organize seditious sentiment at large.’

“The conspiracy, replete with suggestions to stockpile ammunition, may itself set the stage for massive real-world violence and sensitize enthusiasts to mobilize in mass for confrontations or charged military events. Furthermore, the meme’s emphasis on military language and culture poses a specific risk to military communities due to the similar thematic structure, fraternal organization, and reward incentives.

One of the ‘boogaloo’ groups featured in the study, calling itself ‘Patriot Wave,’ illustrated perfectly how the lines between militia ‘Patriots’ and alt-right white nationalists were completely blurred and submerged in the larger project of fomenting a violent civil war.  Its members wore alt-right ‘Pepe the Frog’ patches with the title ‘Boogaloo Boys,’ while others wore the skull balaclava generally associated with members of the fascist Atomwaffen Division.  The study also pointed to a particular area of concern: namely, the ability of these extremists to simply blend into existing power structures, including law enforcement and the military.  One ‘boogaloo’ enthusiast, Coast Guardsman Christopher Hasson, was arrested with a full arms cache and a plan to assassinate liberal political leaders.  A Patriot Wave member is quoted in the study: ‘Some of the guys we were with aren’t exactly out of the military yet, so they had to keep their faces covered.

“The spread of the ‘boogaloo’ organizing on social media has been facilitated with the use of hashtags #Boogaloo and #Boogaloo2020, which are then accompanied by associated hashtags such as #2A, #CivilWar2, and #2nd Amendment, as well as hashtags such as #BigIgloo, intended to elude filters. This kind of informational conflict—or what the study calls ‘memetic warfare’—has evolved, the study says, ‘from mere lone-wolf threats to the threat of an entire meme-based insurgency.’

The NCRI report was sent to members of Congress and the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Justice, among others.  Paul Goldenberg, a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, told NBC News’ Brandy Zadrozny that the report was ‘a wake-up call.’  ‘When you have people talking about and planning sedition and violence against minorities, police and public officials, we need to take their words seriously,’ said Goldenberg.” (David Neiwert, Daily Kos, February 25, 2020)

Let Public Citizen provide us with a little historical perspective on the recent history of racism.  It all begins with the man Republicans want placed on Mount Rushmore: “In August 1980, Ronald Reagan launched his campaign as the Republican nominee for president with a rally outside of Philadelphia, Mississippi—where the Freedom Summer workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were murdered by the KKK in 1964.  In his speech, Reagan announced his commitment to ‘states’ rights.

“The message could not have been more clear: Reagan aimed not just to end but to reverse the progress of the Civil Rights era. And he did—ushering in decades that have seen the mass incarceration of black and brown people, the evisceration of affirmative action programs, a racist ‘war on drugs,’ stunning reversals on voting rights, and the slashing of the social safety net.

“Flash forward 40 years. Donald Trump announces that he will resume his mass rallies beginning in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 19. Tulsa is the site of one of the worst massacres of black people in our nation’s history. In 1921, white mobs descended on what was at the time the wealthiest black community in the United States, destroying 35 square blocks and killing as many as 300 residents.

June 19 is known as Juneteenth, celebrating the end of four centuries of slavery in this country and memorializing slaves in Texas who were not freed until two-and-a-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation. The parallels between Reagan’s and Trump’s rallies are near perfect. Both men aimed to launch election campaigns with racist appeals at sites symbolizing white supremacy and violence—and both were committed to racist policy agendas.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, June 13, 2020)

There are countless examples of discrimination and violence against minorities in this country, and these have escalated dramatically since Trump assumed the presidency. The George Floyd protests are a case in point. Floyd was a 46-year-old black man who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer during an arrest. Floyd apparently did not resist arrest, but was thrown to the ground; an officer then kneeled on Floyd’s back for almost eight minutes while other officers did nothing other than keep passers-by from intervening. During this time, Floyd repeatedly said “please” and “I can’t breath.” Although the officer and three others were later arrested, this incident served as a rallying point for protesters, and the movement soon became a nation-wide phenomenon. The Black Lives Matter movement, which began in 2013, has gained worldwide attention as a consequence of this latest assault. Millions of people have become involved in the subsequent protests, making them the largest in United States history.

The administration’s militarized response to these overwhelmingly peaceful protests has been nothing if not predictable: The protesters are labeled as “dangerous” and “radical” and presented as such by an unquestioning media. Yet when neo-nazis and white supremacists march and threaten lives, they are called “protesters.” Clearly, there is a double standard in this country. Public Citizen elaborates: “Yesterday, Donald Trump said this about how people in Minnesota and throughout America are reacting to the death of George Floyd: ‘Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.’

“Trump, of course, did not come up with the ‘looting … shooting’ phrase himself. It was used by southern white police officials and politicians during the Civil Rights era, including infamous segregationist and presidential candidate George Wallace. Trump later claimed he wasn’t familiar with the history of the phrase. Given his overall lack of knowledge about most things, that may be true. But it hardly matters. The president of the United States was advocating that American citizens be shot on sight for activity perhaps no more severe than breaking windows or stealing toaster ovens.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, May 30, 2020)

As if this were not enough, Trump actually tweeted that he was planning to declare Antifa a terrorist organization. Antifa stands for “anti-fascist” so the president if the United States is declaring that an organization fighting fascism is a terrorist organization, even though Antifa isn’t even an organization. This speaks volumes about what Trump feels the real dangers lie: Not from fascism but from people who don’t support fascism. Any doubts about this man’s racism should be removed on the basis of this one action alone. It is also a fact that there is no legal authority for designating domestic groups as terrorist organizations; that designation is reserved for foreign groups. Again, Trump’s failure to understand the rules of law stagger the imagination.

Further proof of how Trump would like nothing better than to turn the United States into the Fourth Reich can be seen in some of the Facebook ads that his administration has put up. One of the most distinctive symbols they are using is an inverted red triangle—once the symbol the Third Reich used to identify their opponents in concentration camps. Given this horrific fact, it should come as no surprise that Trump thinks Antifa is his enemy.

As peaceful protesters surrounded the White House Trump, not unlike his mentor in Nazi Germany in the last days of the Third Reich, retreated into a bunker in the White House. After clearing out the protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets, the president pathetically held up a bible—upside down—in a photo-op in front of a church. Trump then said: “Our country always wins. That is why I am taking immediate presidential action to stop the violence and restore security and safety in America. I am mobilizing all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting to end the destruction and arson and to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans, including your Second Amendment rights. Therefore, the following measures are going into effect immediately. First, we are ending the riots and lawlessness that has spread throughout our country. We will end it now. Today I have strongly recommended to every governor to deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers that we dominate the streets, mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled.” In a subsequent rant, he said: “If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them. I am also taking swift and decisive action to protect our great capital Washington, D.C. What happened in this city last night was a total disgrace. As we speak, I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel, and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults, and the wanton destruction of property. We are putting everybody on warning our 7 o’clock curfew will be strictly enforced. Those who threatened innocent life and property will be arrested, detained and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I want the organizers of this terror to be on notice that you will face severe criminal penalties and lengthy sentences in jail.” (reported in Daily Kos, June 1, 2020)

The Kos article then quoted Democratic Senator Ron Wyden’s response: “The fascist speech Donald Trump just delivered verged on a declaration of war against American citizens. I fear for our country tonight and will not stop defending America against Trump’s assault.” This may be the first time a Democratic politician has had the courage to refer to Donald Trump as a ‘fascist.’ It is to be hoped that others will follow his example.

Daily Kos notes that William Barr is responsible for the attack on peaceful protesters: “The Washington Post has now confirmed from two sources that Trump Attorney General William Barr personally ordered the violent clearing of Lafayette Square and St. John’s Church in the minutes before Trump walked to the church to hold up a Bible.  Barr personally gave the order to clear the park immediately for Trump’s ‘walk,’ resulting in local, federal, and military police attacking the peacefully gathered protesters and the St. John’s Church reverend, on church property for Trump’s speech.

“Even the justification is horrific. The claim, according to the Post’s sources, was that the no-protest ‘perimeter’ around the White House was supposed to be extended by one block, but that when Barr arrived on the scene for Trump’s speech he found the planned perimeter was not in place. So: ‘This needs to be done. Get it done,’ Barr ordered, according to the Post’s Justice Department source.

“If anything, that makes Barr’s order worse and confirms, as a certainty, that the attack was indeed coordinated to allow Trump’s planned photo op, the one he announced as the last line of his turgid Rose Garden speech. When the attorney general found that the assembled crowd was in Trump’s way, rather than cancelling the planned stunt, Barr instead ordered an attack on the crowd so that the stunt could go forward. That result, widely documented by perhaps a hundred on-scene cameras, shows the assembled officers and troops firing flash-bang grenades, gas canisters, advancing on the crowd with riot gear and on horseback, sending them fleeing from the park and from church property.

“William Barr is—remains—a traitor to this nation. He gave an order to attack Americans so that the now-invalid ‘president’ could hold up a Bible where the protesters were peacefully standing. He has betrayed his oath and country and must be immediately be removed from his position by Congress. He should be treated as a criminal. As, in fact, one of the ‘domestic terrorists’ he now claims were impeding his ability to commandeer a place of worship for a cheap stunt, even if it required an act of violence to do it.” (Hunter, Daily Kos, June 2, 2020)

LeftNet adds: “This wasn’t a show of force against rioters or looters. This was a military-style assault with riot gear in broad daylight—all so that Donald Trump could get a picture with a bible.” (LeftNet, June 3, 2020) And, when the administration insisted that no one was tear gassed, their lies were exposed when canisters were found on the streets around the White House.

On June 4, Barr further disgraced himself when he mentioned Antifa as being an “extremist agitator” organization.  Daily Kos notes: “In his opening statement, Barr spoke out about ‘extremist agitators who are hijacking the protests’ before saying that ‘we have evidence that Antifa and other similar groups…have been involved.’  Barr would never provide that evidence.  And despite eventually saying that ‘actors of a variety of different political persuasions’ were involved, Antifa was the only group he would ever name.  Through the rest of his statement, Barr again mentioned that there were a range of people involved in violence or vandalism, but there was only one name that got mentioned.  Even though Antifa is only ‘a group’ in the sense that there are people who use that label in describing themselves, Barr continued to act as if it was an organization whose connections and activities were to be investigated.

When Barr gave way to (FBI director Christopher) Wray, it was clear that the director was eager to cast off the taint of an FBI report issued just last Monday that let both Trump and Barr know that the bureau had no evidence that any violence in the protests was related to Antifa.  Instead, just like Barr, Wray declared that those responsible for the violence were ‘anarchists like Antifa…and other agitators.’  And just like Barr, he didn’t name any of those others…Under questioning, Barr was directly confronted by the fact that while the evidence of Antifa involvement appears to be invisible, at least three of those arrested so far are members of the racist, right-wing ‘Boogaloo Bois.’  The reporter then asked Barr directly why he didn’t name other groups.

“Barr protested that he did name others. ‘That’s why I said Antifa and other groups like Antifa,’ said Barr. If that wasn’t bad enough, Barr then went on to say that the FBI had been cranking up its data collection and intelligence operations against people who are ‘Antifa-related.’ That was the cue for Wray to pop back to the podium and declare, ‘We have quite a number of investigations of violent anarchist extremists, including those of Antifa or Antifa-like motivations.’

“SO…there’s antifa, groups like Antifa, Antifa-related groups, and people with Antifa-like motivations. And again, all this was in response to a question about the arrest of three men who identified themselves as Boogaloo Bois. Eventually Barr did stumble and repeat the word ‘Boogaloo’ in response to a question, but it was the only slip in some of the most blatantly deceptive speech ever recorded.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, June 4, 2020)

Common Cause tells us all we need to know about William Barr: “Last week, Attorney General Barr violently denied a group of Americans their First Amendment rights—when he ordered law enforcement officials to attack a peaceful crowd of demonstrators with tear gas and batons.

Why? To make way for President Trump’s photo-op in front of a nearby church. These demonstrators had gathered in downtown D.C. to demand an end to systemic racism in America—and to decry the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others before them.

“But Barr—who’s supposed to uphold the Constitution and defend Americans’ liberties and safety—stripped them of their First Amendment rights and put them directly in harm’s way…all to serve Trump’s vanity. Barr has repeatedly done Trump’s bidding at the expense of real justice. He dropped all charges against Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, even after Flynn pleaded guilty…he brazenly misled the public about Robert Mueller’s findings…and his Department of Justice tried to bury the whistleblower complaint that led to Trump’s impeachment. Plus, he threatened legal action against those governors who sought to enforce social distancing regulations during the COVID-19 crisis—falling in line with Trump’s stance against these life-saving measures.” (Devon Nir, Common Cause, June 12, 2020)

William Barr’s actions are a direct attack on our democracy.  He will do anything to absolve Trump of any criminal charges he should be facing.  Daily Kos provides yet another example, one that also accurately sums up the unparalleled corruption in Washington: “Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer wants answers for why the attorney general of the United States abruptly ousted one of the nation’s most prominent U.S. prosecutors over the weekend—the prosecutor who also happened to be conducting several investigations into Donald Trump and his associates.

Schumer asked the Justice Department’s inspector general and the Office of Professional Responsibility to jointly investigate whether the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), Geoffrey Berman, was ‘removed for partisan political purposes, to influence an investigation or prosecution, or to retaliate for his actions in any specific investigation or prosecution.’  Berman had most prominently been conducting several inquiries into Trump’s inner circle, including one probe that led to the arrest and prosecution of Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen.  Berman’s work also led to the indictment of a Turkish state-owned bank for which Barr had been trying to get a settlement to avoid prosecution.  Berman has also been focused on Trump’s more recent lawyer and fixer, Rudy Giuliani, and has led the prosecution of two Giuliani associates: Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman.  Berman is a Republican who contributed to Trump’s election campaign, but his independence as head of the SDNY has rankled Trump.

“Barr’s actions amount to one of the most blatant signs yet that he is presiding over a totalitarian system of justice that deems Trump and his political allies to be above the law. It, in fact, represents a total breakdown of the rule of law in the United States.

“In his letter, Schumer reminds Inspector General Michael Horowitz and Director Jeffrey Ragsdale that their offices undertook an ‘identical investigation’ in 2006 after the mass firing of multiple U.S. attorneys during the Bush administration. Schumer also reminds them that Barr lied, in writing, about Berman supposedly ‘stepping down’ when the Justice Department originally announced Berman’s departure. Berman hadn’t been informed of the announcement and initially declined to leave because he wasn’t directly appointed by Trump. Barr then sought Trump’s personal intervention in Berman’s ouster, at which point Berman agreed to leave after Trump officially ‘fired’ him.’ This corrupt firing cannot be explained by cause and gives the impression that the President interfered in ongoing criminal investigations into himself and his associates,’ Schumer writes, reinforcing the blatant abuse of power by both Barr and Trump.

Trump has been engaged in an administration-wide loyalty purge that includes the ouster of a handful of Pentagon officials, about a half dozen inspectors general, and now the person who arguably holds the most prominent U.S. attorney post in the nation.  Barr already shook up the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C. just before he interfered in the cases of Trump allies Roger Stone and Michael Flynn.” (Kerry Eleveld, Daily Kos, June 22, 2020)

With one exception, Senate Republican’s response to Berman’s removal amounted to little more than a stifled yawn.  Daily Kos notes: “The rule of law in America is currently dangling by a thread.  Yet it seems that only one Senate Republican believes the upper chamber is there to do anything more than conduct performative acts of governance—even when the president of the United States has fired his chief investigator.   With the exception of Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, every Senate Republican asked shrugged off the fact that Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr ousted the man who has been overseeing several investigations into Trump’s dealings and inner circle.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn  seemed annoyed by questions about the ouster of top prosecutor Geoffrey Berman.  ‘Everything that happens around here creates a tempest in a teapot,’ Cornyn told CNN when asked about Berman.  (Gee, wonder if that has anything to do with the president he voted to acquit.)  ‘I feel like I’ve got more important things to do,’ Cornyn added.   Sometimes being routinely asked about your job is such a downer.  Cornyn’s got a reelection run, folks, the country can just suck it.

Cornyn, like other Senate Republicans, expressed the view that Trump and Barr were well ‘within their rights’ to sack the guy who was running an investigation into Trump’s lawyer and fixer, Rudy Giuliani. And no, he wasn’t interested in why they fired Berman and even confirmed that he had no intention of asking—because frankly, it would just be a real pain in the butt to do something resembling his job…Asked if the American people have the right to know why Berman was fired, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina offered, ‘Not particularly.’ That’s basically the official Senate GOP position on everything Trump: The People will get nothing and we will make sure of that.”

“The Senate GOP’s No. 2, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, similarly downplayed the removal of the person who is running multiple investigations into Trump. ‘My assumption is whatever investigations are underway, it will be continued by the career staff there. So they’ll go on,’ Thune said. ‘Assumption’ being the operative word. No need to actually check on that, or maybe give Barr the impression that Senate Republicans actually care about his motives and are making certain he’s not interfering with legitimate inquiries into corruption and criminal activity, perhaps at the highest levels of government.” (Kerry Eleveld, Daily Kos, June 23, 2020)

James Mattis, a Marine four-star general who served as Trump’s Secretary of Defense until he resigned (Trump jumped in and moved up his resignation date to January 1, 2019) had some telling words about this fiasco. Public Citizen quotes his entire statement: “I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled. The words ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation.

“When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.

“We must reject any thinking of our cities as a ‘battlespace’ that our uniformed military is called upon to ‘dominate.’ At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors. Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict—a false conflict—between the military and civilian society. It erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect, and of which they themselves are a part. Keeping public order rests with civilian state and local leaders who best understand their communities and are answerable to them.

“James Madison wrote in Federalist 14 that ‘America united with a handful of troops, or without a single soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited, with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat.’ We do not need to militarize our response to protests. We need to unite around a common purpose. And it starts by guaranteeing that all of us are equal before the law.

“Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that ‘The Nazi slogan for destroying us…was ‘Divide and Conquer.’ Our American answer is ‘In Union there is Strength.’ We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics.

“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children. We can come through this trying time stronger, and with a renewed sense of purpose and respect for one another. The pandemic has shown us that it is not only our troops who are willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of the community. Americans in hospitals, grocery stores, post offices, and elsewhere have put their lives on the line in order to serve their fellow citizens and their country. We know that we are better than the abuse of executive authority that we witnessed in Lafayette Square. We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution. At the same time, we must remember Lincoln’s ‘better angels,’ and listen to them, as we work to unite.

“Only by adopting a new path—which means, in truth, returning to the original path of our founding ideals—will we again be a country admired and respected at home and abroad.” (Daily Kos, June 4, 2020)

Racism is larger, more powerful, more dangerous and more emboldened than it has been since the passing of the Civil Rights Amendment in 1965, and the blame lies solely on Trump and the Republican party.  White nationalists, neo-nazis, white supremacists, Ku Klux Klanners—whatever label you choose to affix to them, they are a telling indictment of the hatred that simmers beneath the surface of our body politic.  They have become arrogantly emboldened and are taking to the streets, just as their predecessors did in Nazi Germany.  Daily Kos describes one of their rallies: “Roughly 100 white supremacists chanted their way through the nation’s capital on Saturday, in the latest display of cowardice to come from the white nationalist movement.  Clad uniformly in khaki pants, blue shirts, blue winter coats, and branded khaki hats, Reuters reported that, with their faces covered, the craven members of SLPC-designated hate group Patriot Front strolled from the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol before ending their hatred stroll at a Union Station Walmart.  The posse of poltroons was protected by Metropolitan Police and U.S. Capitol Police officers as they stomped through Washington, D.C., shouting vile nonsense like ‘Reclaim America!’ and ‘Life, liberty, victory!’”…The group, Patriot Front, as the Anti-Defamation League explains, was formed ‘by disaffected members of another white supremacist group, Vanguard America, in September 2017, in the wake of the Unite the Right white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.’ Our own in-house expert on such groups, David Neiwert, noted in 2018 that the group’s members ‘are explicit fascists who even use a fasces as their symbol.  One of (their) fliers reads: ‘Making America Safe For Fascism Again.’  Their agenda beyond the simple embrace of fascism, Neiwert added, includes ‘(s)topping immigration, defending ‘western civilization,’ attacking LGBT rights, attacking nonwhite civil rights and hate-crime laws.’  The group, which the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as ‘image-obsessed,’ was founded by an internet-radicalized Dallas teenager, Thomas Ryan Rousseau, who was photographed just feet away from Heyer’s murderer, James Alex Fields, Jr., during the 2017 Unite the Right rally.  Rousseau was, notably, the only PF member not to hide behind a mask and aviators.” (Jessica Sutherland, Daily Kos, February 9, 2020)

I need only ask: “How many of these people are Democrats?” If they are not representatives of what the Republican party has become, where are the voices of condemnation from Republican leaders?


The beginning of 2020 provided further proof, if any were still needed, of how Mitch McConnell and his Republican cohorts will ignore the Constitution, the will of the people, legal proceedings and countless other hallmarks of a democracy in order to shield the dictator-in-chief from being properly investigated for his multitudinous crimes as president. The so-called impeachment trial that took place in the Republican controlled Senate made an absolute mockery of honesty, justice and even plain old common sense. This article will conclusively prove how dishonest and underhanded today’s Republican party is, and how they are absolutely unwilling to even consider anything that contradicts what they want to believe, no matter how compelling the evidence. The cult of Trumpism allows for no dissenting voices to be heard, and that is exactly what Mitch McConnell and his co-conspirators were able to achieve. They had made up their minds before the trial that their hero would not be called into account for his actions, and so they rigged the trial to ensure the outcome they desired.

When asked how the impeachment trial would be handled in the Senate, McConnell was very clear on one key point, namely that no witnesses would be allowed to testify.  This is of course, blatantly illegal, but the press almost universally failed to bring this up.  Although a few Democrats spoke out against this, the response from the general public was essentially, so what?  This is a stark illustration of how far down the road to fascism the United States has gone under Republican leadership.  Daily Kos, reporting on an article appearing in the New York Times, noted: “But according to the Times, McConnell is nixing any possibility of witnesses, and has warned other Republicans that allowing any witnesses to speak would provide ‘an opening for uncertainty during the trial.’  It’s worth taking a moment to understand what McConnell means by this.  If there’s anything that can be said about the trial at the moment, it’s that everything about it is uncertain.  There’s no information about its length, about the rules under such it will be conducted, or about any other aspect of it.  McConnell has even floated the idea of bringing in some of Trump’s most vocal supporters in the House as kind of special advisers to the Senate, which would be a genuinely unsettling action.

“But when McConnell says he’s worried about ‘an opening for uncertainty,’ what he really means is that someone might say something. If they actually had Mick Mulvaney there to confess that the OMB knew that placing a hold on the assistance was illegal, or had Bolton there to talk about the actual harm done by Trump’s actions, or had Rudy Giuliani spilling his guts about smearing an ambassador for the benefit of ‘his client’—if the Senate heard any of those things, it might have to listen.

“Of course, it remains unlikely that enough Republicans would vote for removal to threaten Trump, even if Giuliani showed up to confess actual murder. But any witnesses, and perhaps especially those OMB officials who scrambled to enforce Trump’s 84-day delay, while simultaneously admitting that they knew it was wrong, might be enough not only to peel away some Republicans up for reelection, but also to threaten others on the bubble. Like, say, Mitch McConnell. McConnell is flat-out saying that he can’t allow witnesses because witnesses might give evidence that Trump can’t withstand. Which is pretty good evidence all on its own.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, December 31, 2019)

Prior to the trial’s commencement, Mitch McConnell even said that he would coordinate his efforts with Trump’s attorneys. This is unconscionable. Any potential juror who claims to be biased one way or the other would be dismissed out of hand. So why is this allowed in an impeachment trial? It goes without saying that the news media failed to criticize this farce; McConnell was never called to task to explain why, as an admittedly biased juror, he should not recuse himself from the impeachment trial. Neither were any other Republicans.

Also, why were no witnesses allowed to testify? What is the precedent for such an action? Obviously, there is no precedent; the trial was rigged by Republicans from the beginning. They have no interest in the truth; if they were convinced of Trump’s innocence, they would have welcomed witness testimonies. In the entire history of the U.S. Senate, there have been fifteen completed impeachment trials. In every single case, witnesses were called to testify. Why have the rules suddenly been changed for Trump? Clearly, Republicans have no problem whatever in tossing out legal precedents that go back to our nation’s founding. Let us call these people what they are: Traitors.

Imagine the following scenario: Someone is called to jury duty and is told that he must decide on the defendant’s guilt or innocence without hearing the testimony of a single witness. Possibly incriminating documents will not be allowed as evidence. Jurors are not even questioned if they are biased one way or another. Some of them have even made their biases public. By what stretch of the imagination would the result of such a trial be considered legitimate? Yet this scenario is exactly what has transpired in the mock trial of Donald Trump. This is the very essence of what is meant by the term “kangaroo court.”

Now imagine if the defendant in our imaginary trial announced that he would not allow any witnesses to testify.  Unthinkable, of course.  Yet that is exactly what happened when Trump announced that he would keep John Bolton from testifying at his impeachment trial.  Daily Kos reports all the sordid details: “In an interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, Trump explained again how anxious he is for the facts to really come out in his Senate trial, then pulled out his well-worn executive privilege card and declared he would stop Bolton from appearing.  Trump announced that he wasn’t blocking Bolton’s potentially game-changing testimony because it might lead to defeat in 2020 or even an early moving van pulling up to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Instead Trump said that he had to do it ‘for the sake of the office.’  The Friday statement aligns with another Trump made on Thursday in which he said that ‘we have to protect presidential privilege,’ which is not a thing, and most tellingly…’When we start allowing national security advisers to just go up and say whatever they want to say, we can’t do that.

“Actually, we can. Especially during impeachment hearings. Though Richard Nixon made an effort to hide the recordings made in the Oval Office after they were revealed during congressional hearings on Watergate, neither he nor Bill Clinton made any effort to stop witnesses from appearing at impeachment proceedings, and neither did either put any limits on what witnesses might say. On the other hand, Trump hasn’t just ordered White House staff not to cooperate and refused to hand over all documents, he has also taken an expansive view of privilege from the moment he moved into the White House, one that includes blocking access to individuals many steps removed from the White House and reaching back to protect members of his campaign and transition team. The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled against the kind of expansive claim of privilege that Trump is making. There is no new law to be decided here. If Trump was taken to court over blocking Bolton’s testimony, he would lose. Trump’s statements that he had to block Bolton’s testimony to protect the office are clearly nonsense, because in previous instances such testimony from top officials wasn’t just allowed, but assumed. Trump isn’t preserving anything—except himself.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, January 10, 2020)

Yet Mitch McConnell and his co-conspirators got clean away with this unprecedented perversion of justice.

Daily Kos raised a most salient point at the beginning of the trial: “To all those Republican Senators stating that they won’t consider any new documents or witness testimony, simply ask: ‘So, if we learn of new evidence that exonerates President Trump, you will fight and vote to make sure that the Senate can’t consider such evidence?’  That is it.  We don’t need anything more complicated than that one question to demonstrate the absurdity of their position, or to demonstrate their bad faith as they struggle to answer.  And it is amazing and revealing that the Republican position is driven by a bedrock assumption that any new evidence could only be bad for Trump.  That needs to be highlighted above the current process driven arguments.” (Daily Kos, June 16, 2020) Of course, since the media bends over backwards in favor of the Republicans, a telling question such as this would never be asked.  If it were, one can only imagine the ensuing hostility as Republicans tried to stammer out a justification.  They know Trump is guilty of countless crimes, nepotism and general incompetence.  Their only defense is to lie and attack those who seek real justice.

Mitch McConnell was even able to restrict Democratic House Impeachment managers to 24 hours of testimony to Senate jurors—in the dead of night! If this eleventh hour rule change were not enough, he also refused to allow any evidence from the House of Representatives to be presented—unless it was first accepted by a line-item vote in the Senate.

He also went to unprecedented lengths to keep the public from having access to the trial.  Demand Progress provides the sordid details: “Journalists are being scanned by magnetometers for recording devices.  Reporters are corralled into a ‘pen’ far away from senators’ conversations.  They even provided senators with cards listing phrases to use to avoid the press.  Mitch McConnell has declared war on freedom of the press to prevent public accountability for Trump and the senators who defend him.  In an age when the White House produces edited ‘transcripts’ of phone calls and Mitch McConnell tries to dismiss impeachment charges without a single witness, it could not be more important for the press to have public accountability and access to the impeachment trial.  But McConnell is doing everything possible to make sure that doesn’t happen.  According to a proposal leaked last week, only government cameras will be allowed in the chamber, stopping the public from seeing which senators are paying attention and how certain questions are asked and answered.  Journalists will be roped off from the senators who may want to speak to the press.  The impeachment trial press rules are so restrictive that even C-Span is mad!  Trump’s impeachment is an event of monumental historical importance, and the legitimacy of our democracy is at stake.  There is absolutely no reason why Americans shouldn’t have open access to the trial, and the Senate should, if anything, err on the side of more access, not less.” (Robert Cruickshank, Demand Progress, January 22, 2020)

McConnell’s hypocrisy was evident long before the beginning of the trial; his opening statements used the words “fair” and “fairness” no less than sixteen times. He even had the audacity to say: “The Senate’s fair process will draw a sharp contrast with the unfair and precedent-breaking inquiry that was carried on by the House of Representatives.” This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that, because he had already made up his mind about the trial, he was determined to get Trump off the hook no matter what, including attacking the House of Representatives before the proceedings had even begun. Even though 55% of Americans agreed with the House’s resolution, and even though 70% of them wanted witnesses to be called, McConnell didn’t take the will of the people seriously. So much for “fairness” from Mitch McConnell.

Then there are the attorneys. Daily Kos notes: “even in their opening statements, attorneys Jay Sekulow and Pat Cipollone have demonstrated that they have no interest in the evidence. Instead, they intend to talk about the Mueller report, Peter Strzok’s mash notes, and former Obama official Eric Holder. And sneer. There will be much sneering, because that’s what Trump likes. You can bet that Cipollone and Sekulow are being graded on their lip curl.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, January 21, 2020)

Sekulow and Cipollone’s defense of Trump and their understanding of the Constitution makes one wonder how these men were ever allowed to practice law in the first place.  Mark Sumner of Daily Kos does a masterful job in exposing these two frauds for what they are: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s proposal on procedures for the impeachment trial of Donald Trump sets up an obstacle course designed to exclude damaging evidence and confine discussion of Trump’s crimes to the darkest hours of the night.  But it’s far from the only extraordinary bit of pro-Trump illegal-ese to emerge over the extended weekend.  On Saturday, Trump’s legal team released a six-page letter calling on the Senate to exercise the most extreme option of McConnell’s proposal and simply dismiss the impeachment without even the pretense of a trial.  In the process, they make claims that are extraordinary by any measure, claims that show the real threat Trump poses to constitutional law.  The letter, from White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump’s current personal attorney Jay Sekulow, supports a 110 page ‘legal brief’  issued by Trump’s team on Monday.  Both documents call on the Senate to reject the case submitted by the House—an option that, by a total noncoincidence, is open to Republicans in two ways thanks to McConnell’s proposed rules.  Republicans either can vote to dismiss the case outright or can vote to exclude evidence collected by the House, leaving trial managers to argue a case in which their evidence isn’t allowed in the door.  Imagine House managers not only trying to make their case after midnight, but doing so after Republicans vote to refuse to admit key elements of evidence collected in the House hearings. (Hint: Give it a couple of days. You won’t have to imagine.)

“But the letter does more than just muster all Trump’s dander behind demands that the whole case be dismissed. It also argues that Trump should be able to bully Ukraine all he wants because it’s just ‘a comparatively small European republic’ and the United States is a superpower. Somehow, this disparity of size is supposed to mean that there’s nothing that Ukraine has that Trump would want. He can’t be guilty of extorting Ukraine because its leaders don’t have ‘vast treasures at their disposal’ to ‘actually buy off the Chief Executive.’ Which seems very much as if Trump’s attorney’s are not arguing about what Trump is. They’re debating his price. That’s not all. Cipollone and Sekulow aren’t just ready to do away with Trump’s impeachment; their argument is really aimed at the idea of impeachment. According to them, the reasons for impeachment existed when the United States was ‘a fledgling, debt-ridden republic situated on the seaboard of a vast wilderness continent.’ But now we’re all grown up. And if the corruption comes from America—it’s not an issue.

Trump’s legal duo follows up telling the authors of the Constitution that their document is no longer required by moving to an argument about what they really meant.  Forget what it says on paper.  Forget what the much-quoted-by-Republicans Alexander Hamilton actually had to say about impeachment in The Federalist No. 65, in which he defined impeachment as dealing with ‘those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust.’  Instead, Trump’s attorneys argue that the framers intended only a very ‘limited impeachment power’ that expressly does not allow impeachment over abuse of power.  They also belittle the idea of ‘foreign entanglements’ as being subject to impeachment, because of that whole ‘superpower’ thing.  And, of course, the pair argue simultaneously that Donald Trump is perfectly within his authority to deny the House both testimony and documents, while also claiming that the House lacks enough direct first-hand evidence to take the case to the Senate.

“The whole document is a master class in contradiction and internal inconsistencies. It’s also so boot-lickingly close to Trump’s own Tweet-logic that some readers have suggested that Trump himself authored parts of the missive. The document certainly contains enough Arbitrary Capitalization to support that argument.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, January 21, 2020)

Trump has repeatedly called his impeachment trial a “witch hunt.” However, even in the 1692 Salem witch trials, both sides were allowed to call witnesses. The Republican party has managed to thrash the rule of law, the Constitution, and the very foundation of English law dating back to Magna Carta in 1215. The only comparable trials to this one were those that took place in Nazi Germany during Hitler’s reign of terror.

Sekulow (a darling of the Radical Religious Right) and Cipollone are far from being the only right-wingers that see what they want to see and refuse to adhere to the rules of law.  Daily Kos ran a terrific article exposing the absurd lengths the president and Fox News will go to in order to exonerate Trump.  Although long, it should be set forth in its entirety: “The Senate trial of Donald Trump’s Articles of Impeachment is set to begin on Tuesday.  In advance of that, the Democrats released a 111 page brief on how they intend to prosecute the case against Trump.  It’s a detailed and comprehensive outline of the high crimes and misdemeanors that justify Trump’s conviction and removal from office.

On the other side of the aisle, Trump’s motley crew of Fox News lawyers released a shallow and lie-riddled response that hardly touches on the specific allegations against Trump.  In fact, Trump’s official answer to the Articles of Impeachment is an emotional seven page rant that repetitiously makes a single point, that: ‘the Articles of Impeachment are constitutionally invalid’ because they ‘fail to allege any crime or violation of the law.’  It further states that it is ‘a lawless process that violated basic due process,’ and that its consideration would be ‘subverting the will of the American people.

“Every bit of that is utterly false and has no legal basis as a defense. The charge that there is no crime alleged is false because Trump’s efforts to coerce the Ukrainian president into aiding his scheme to smear Joe Biden is, in fact, a crime. So is withholding military aid allocated by Congress and signed by the President. So is ignoring Congressional subpoenas for documents and ordering his subordinates not to cooperate. But even if those weren’t crimes, it wouldn’t matter because the Constitution doesn’t require violations of criminal statutes. For one thing, there weren’t any criminal statutes at the time the Constitution was written. As for due process, that is a right granted in courts of law conducting criminal prosecutions. Due process doesn’t apply here because impeachment is a political process conducted in the Congress. Even so, Trump was permitted to present his witnesses and defense, but he declined to do so. He even refused after complaining about not having such an opportunity. And he’s still refusing to allow witnesses and documents that he says are exculpatory.

“The claim that impeachment ‘subverts’ the will of the people is bizarre on its face. Was it subverting the will of the people when Clinton was impeached? How could any impeachment—which is, of course, in the Constitution—be pursued without the prospect of removing an elected president? To suggest, as Trump’s response does, that impeachment is ‘a dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their President,’ is to assert that the Framers were out of their minds for including impeachment in the Constitution in the first place. And Trump probably shouldn’t raise the issue of ‘the will of the people’ to ‘freely choose their President,’ when he lost the election by 3,000,000 votes. To bolster his argument that impeachment is invalid, Trump assigned the newest member of Fox News legal team, Alan Dershowitz, the task of presenting his case to the media. Dershowitz was interviewed by George Stephanopoulos where he offered up this preposterous legal theory: Stephanopoulos: Is it your position that President Trump should not be impeached even if all the evidence and arguments laid out by the House are accepted as fact? Dershowitz: That’s right.

“The foundation of Dershowitz’s argument is that abuse of power and obstruction of Congress do not meet the criteria for impeachment under the Constitution. So he isn’t arguing that Trump isn’t guilty of abuse of power or obstruction of Congress, only that, in his view, the Constitution allows him to do so. Think about that. Dershowitz, as well as Trump’s defenders in Congress and the press, believe that a president may abuse power and obstruct Congress without ever having to worry about being held accountable. They can collude with adversarial foreign governments to interfere with an election. They can publish stolen emails and other private documents to smear their opponents. They can withhold critical funds in order to coerce foreign leaders to do their bidding on personal matters. And they can refuse to disclose such behaviors, and even lie about them to the American people.

“That’s the crazy vision that Trump and the Republican Party are offering to the nation. That’s their depraved interpretation of the Constitution. And that’s the legal basis for which they believe Trump should be exonerated. They know that they cannot defend Trump as innocent, so they’re embracing his guilt as acceptable. That’s how far Trump and the GOP have fallen.” (Daily Kos, January 19, 2020)

Perhaps the most amazing thing about the foregoing is that Alan Dershowitz is a lifelong Democrat who supports Joe Biden for president. With Democrats like that, who needs Republicans?

MoveOn summarizes the Ukraine scandal: “On the Rachel Maddow Show, Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas publicly confirmed that Trump directly approved efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. Maddow also exposed text messages suggesting that Trump’s team had Marie Yovanovitch, the then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, under surveillance as part of an effort to smear her and ‘get her out of the way.’ And the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office concluded that the Trump administration’s withholding of the aid to Ukraine violated the law…The president of the United States was caught trading U.S. national security interests to smear a political opponent. If not for the White House whistleblower and other government officials stepping in, Trump was prepared to let Vladimir Putin continue his invasion of Ukraine and destabilize the entire region—just to help smear Joe Biden and win re-election. Just imagine if Harry Truman had teamed up with the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War to help win re-election. Or if FDR had secretly teamed up with the emperor of Japan to help Democrats win more seats in Congress during World War II. That’s what we’re talking about here, and if the Senate, after everything we’ve learned, turns a blind eye to these crimes, our democracy will be forever damaged.” (MoveOn, January 21, 2020)

There are countless felonies and crimes committed by Trump that, by any legal and moral standard, are grounds for impeachment and constitute valid reasons why this criminal should have been immediately impeached and removed from office once the evidence of these crimes began to emerge. There are also countless Republicans who have committed treason in their attempts to bypass the Constitution and the rule of law to exonerate their president. Not the least of these was in the transparently ridiculous efforts on the part of most Republicans to exonerate him by attacking his accusers. People for the American Way provides us with yet another example of how Trump and his cohorts seem to be on the wrong side of virtually every possible issue: “The evidence against Trump continues to pile up. Just this past weekend evidence emerged as newly obtained emails revealed that even officials at the White House and Trump’s Office of Management and Budget raised serious concerns over Trump’s direction that the much-needed military aid to Ukraine be withheld—and yet despite the concerns raised repeatedly by administration officials, Trump proceeded to deny release of the aid.

“As the Senate continues to negotiate the rules for the impeachment trial they’ll soon undertake, this damning new evidence increases the urgency that Trump is convicted and removed from office. The newly released emails show that officials at OMB and the Pentagon had severe concerns over Trump’s demand to freeze the aid—leaving an important U.S. ally without desperately needed military assistance.

As Republicans in the Senate threaten to abdicate their responsibilities to serve as impartial jurors in their trial; with Majority Leader McConnell making it clear that he is negotiating the terms of the trial with the White House.  Many Republicans in the Senate are signaling their willingness to abdicate their responsibilities to serve as impartial jurors in their trial following Mitch McConnell who is making it clear that he is working closely with the White House to set the terms of the trial.  Remember that the rules for the trial can be set with only fifty-one votes in the Senate, so ANY Republicans who push-back against Trump or McConnell’s plans for the trial is significant in and of itself and will be seen as an important fracture in his support.” (Zach VanHouten, People for the American Way, January 2, 2020)

Free Speech for People brings up some other salient points, points that should make every thinking American realize that Republicans are swearing allegiance to Donald Trump, rather than the United States Constitution: “…one of our most critical constitutional safeguards is under attack.  Top Senate Republicans are refusing to hear evidence that the president has abused his power for personal gain and has obstructed Congress in its impeachment investigation.  In doing so, they are directly defying their oaths of office to ‘defend the Constitution,’ as well the oaths they are required to take with any impeachment trial to ‘do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.’  Donald Trump sought illegal foreign assistance from the Ukrainian government for his re-election campaign, and engaged in extortion and bribery in the process.  He then tried to cover it all up.  And, we had overwhelming evidence prior to this scandal of the president’s multiple high crimes.  We expect the United States Senate to hold Trump accountable because nobody, not even the president, is above the law.” (Free Speech for People, January 3, 2020)

Then there is Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, the man who has famously said that: “facts are not facts.”  In his effort to muddy the Constitutional waters over the impeachment farce, he was his usual incoherent self.  Daily Kos gives us the rundown that would be funny if it weren’t so absurd: “Donald Trump’s personal attorney argues that Congress can’t impeach Trump over either abuse of power or obstruction of Congress, because those are not crimes.  They’re just violations of the Constitution.  And impeaching Trump for violating the Constitution would be unconstitutional.  In fact, it would be so unconstitutional to impeach Trump for an unconstitutional act that Giuliani thinks the Supreme Court should step in to halt the impeachment.  Even though he acknowledges that that is…not in the Constitution.

But Giuliani then uses his astounding legal reasoning to determine that the Constitution’s ‘silence’ means that the Supreme Court gets to tell Congress how to do impeachment, in the same way that the Supreme Court can determine that some legislation is unconstitutional.  Which might make some sense … except for that part where the Constitution explicitly awards the power to determine how impeachment is handled to Congress, not the courts.  Instead, Giuliani wants to give the Supreme Court a veto on impeachment by awarding it the ability to declare an impeachment unconstitutional.  Which, if you’re having trouble keeping score, means that Giuliani wants to award the Supreme Court the unconstitutional authority to declare an impeachment unconstitutional if it’s based on charges of unconstitutional action.  Not only is this a dizzying un-merry-go-round of illogic on the part of Giuliani, but it also ignores one other issue: This is already settled law.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, January 10, 2020)

Giuliani first insisted, with a straight face, that facts are not facts. And now he says that the Constitution is not constitutional. Donald Trump, not to be outdone, has called himself an “environmentalist.” Welcome to the bizarro world of Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump, and the Republican party, where facts aren’t facts unless they say they are.

The corruption starts at the top. Nothing this man says or does is even questioned, much less condemned, by his sycophantic supporters in Congress.

Chief Justice John Roberts should have demanded that Senators who refuse to judge the trial fairly as the law requires should recuse themselves from the proceedings.  Not surprisingly, every single Republican refused to do so.  These corrupt Republicans were adamant that they would not do their duty and trying the case fairly and according to the rules of law.  Daily Kos mentions three of the worst offenders: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has openly admitted that he’s not an impartial juror, and has even strategized behind closed doors with Donald Trump’s legal team to map out the trial—with the desired outcome of his eventual acquittal.  Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) won’t even pretend to be a ‘fair juror,’ and has said he wants impeachment to ‘die quickly’ in the Senate with no witnesses.  Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) was a witness in various incidents that relate to the underlying charges against Donald Trump.  But he insists that he will not recuse himself, because this is a ‘political process,’ not a judicial trial.

“Given these statements, Senators McConnell, Graham & Johnson would have to commit perjury in order to be seated in this impeachment trial.

“Their continued active presence as jurors in this trial will taint the outcome of any verdict that acquits Trump.  And it lowers respect for our institutions.  As Justice Roberts himself recently said: ‘we have come to take democracy for granted.’ (Paul Hogarth, Daily Kos, January 3, 2020) Apparently, Roberts and his fellow Republicans think this is a good thing: Forget democracy and put party above democracy, the Constitution, and the will of the people.  This is the defining characteristic of today’s Republican party.

If ever a time has come for the American people to realize that one of their two political parties has become an illegitimate fascist dictatorship, that time is now.   I have covered this in great detail in previous articles, but will here  summarize the defining characteristics of fascism once again, as provided by Daily Kos:  “1)  Powerful and continuing nationalism;  2) Disdain for human rights;  3) Identification of enemies as a unifying cause;  4) Supremacy of the military;  5) Rampant sexism;  6) Controlled mass media;  7) Obsession with national security;  8) Religion and government intertwined;  9) Corporate power protected;  10) Labor power suppressed;  11) Disdain for intellectuals and the arts;  12) Obsession with crime and punishment;  13) Rampant cronyism and corruption;  14) Fraudulent elections.” (Daily Kos, January 20, 2020) Every single one of these characteristics is an integral part of Trump’s administration.  To this may be added several more significant characteristics.  One of these is governmental secrecy; Republicans want to go about their business without the public knowing what they are doing.  They last thing they want is for the general public to be aware of their actions and to be held accountable for them.  This is why they do their level best to exclude unbiased reporters from their press releases and interviews.  Another characteristic is an absolute unwillingness to admit error, coupled with extreme anger sometimes bordering on hysteria whenever they are questioned.  Yet another one is one that even Hitler failed to obtain, but that Republicans have nearly accomplished already: Complete control of the courts.  Republican efforts to derail the impeachment trial conclusively demonstrates how successful they have been.

“All of the administration’s actions are indicative of a burgeoning fascist state.  Free Speech for People discusses one of these, number nine above: “Ten years ago today, the Supreme Court reversed a century of legal precedent that barred corporate money in our elections.  And, the Court extended into the political process the dangerous fiction that corporations are people with constitutional rights.  The consequences have been severe.  Since the Citizens United decision, we have seen an explosion of new spending in our elections by big money and corporate interests, drowning out the voices of American voters.  Meanwhile, corporations are continually pushing to expand even further the fabricated doctrine of corporate constitutional rights.  McDonald’s tried to reverse a living wage law in Seattle, claiming that it violated their Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection under the law.  Monsanto challenged a Vermont GMO labeling law on the assertion that they have a First Amendment right not to speak.  And ExxonMobil is trying to claim a First Amendment right to block state investigations into whether they committed consumer and securities fraud by hiding for decades scientific evidence that global warming is real and escalated by burning fossil fuels.

“Corporations are seeking to capture the Constitution to rig elections and boost their bottom-line. Free Speech For People was founded on the day of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling in January 2010 to fight back.  We have worked for a decade to lift up the promise of a democracy in which all people can participate equally and meaningfully in the political process.  We have sought to uphold and defend our core democratic principles and our Constitution—beginning with the plain facts that corporations are not people and money is not speech.” (John Bonifaz, Free Speech for People, January 21, 2020)

Let’s take a moment for a brief look at the differences between Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial and that of Trump. There are two critical differences other than the obvious fact that Clinton was never a threat to our country and the world. One of these is the fact that Clinton apologized and promised never to do it again. Trump is unapologetic and insists that he will do it again. In other words Republicans thought that Clinton having an affair outside of marriage was a call for impeachment, whereas Trump’s trampling of the Constitution and the laws of the land are perfectly okay. This brings us to the second point, namely which of these presidential offenses poses a greater danger to our country: A president having an extra-marital affair or a president who colludes with foreign governments in order to obtain information on a political opponent in order to win the next election. The answer should be obvious, and it shows that the impeachment farce proves beyond any doubt that the Republican party has no legal or moral compass guiding their thoughts and actions. Further proof is seen in the fact that fourteen of the Republicans that voted to impeach, convict and remove Bill Clinton voted to acquit Donald Trump. They are party hacks, nothing more. Here is a quote from one of them, Jerry Moran of Kansas, who said during Clinton’s trial: “I choose to be on the side that says no person is above the law; that this is a nation of laws, not men; that telling the truth matters; and that we should expect our public officials to conduct themselves in compliance with the highest ethical standards.” Other Republicans made similar statements at that time. They have said nothing of the kind during Trump’s reign of terror. If this isn’t hypocrisy, then what is? With Republicans, it’s one set of rules for Democrats, and another for themselves.

Even before the Ukraine scandal emerged, Trump told interviewer George Stephanopoulos that he would seek foreign interference in future elections. When Stephanopoulos pointed out that the FBI director said this was illegal, Trump buckled down and said the director was wrong. He never provided any reasons why the director was wrong; he simply assumed that by saying he was wrong, that automatically made him wrong. This is but one of countless examples of Trump never admitting he is wrong, one of the defining characteristics of a fascist leader, as discussed above. Another example, of course was when he was asked if he bore any responsibility for his total bungling of the coronavirus response, he said: “no, I don’t take responsibility at all.”

A president who has openly committed treason and promises to do so again is reason enough to remove him from office. He is a traitor to his country. Republican leaders who deny this are traitors as well.

In a previous article, I have described Trumpism as America’s newest religion: Just as fundamentalist Christians are impervious to facts that contradict their beliefs, so fundamentalist Trumpists are likewise unwilling to even consider that their leader just might be committing crimes—which is why they are becoming increasingly violent whenever new facts emerge that contradict their beliefs.

There was a momentary cause for concern in early January when John Bolton announced he was willing to testify at the impeachment hearings. People’s Action tells us the details: “John R. Bolton, the former White House national security adviser, said on Monday that he was willing to testify at President Trump’s impeachment trial, putting new pressure on Republicans to call witnesses and raising the possibility of revelations as the Senate weighs Mr. Trump’s removal. Mr. Bolton’s surprise declaration, in a statement on his website, was a dramatic turn that could alter the political dynamic of the impeachment process in the Senate and raise the risks for Mr. Trump of Republican defections. The former national security adviser is a potentially vital witness, with direct knowledge of presidential actions and conversations regarding Ukraine that could fill in blanks in the narrative of the impeachment case. It came as the House continued to withhold the articles of impeachment necessary to start the trial in a bid to increase Democratic leverage in Senate negotiations over calling Mr. Bolton and three other administration witnesses the president blocked from testifying in the House inquiry. ‘I have concluded that, if the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify,’ Mr. Bolton said in the statement.” (Jeff Bryant, People’s Action, January 7, 2020) And of course, when he found out about this, Moscow Mitch McConnell went into action, as reported by Common Cause: “We just got word that Mitch McConnell is ready to push his rules for President Trump’s impeachment trial through on a party-line vote. That means: new witnesses like John Bolton, who recently agreed to testify before the Senate, could be shut out. It means critical evidence could be left unheard. And, it enables McConnell and his allies to rush through the trial to guarantee an acquittal for Trump.” (Jesse Littlewood, Common Cause, January 7, 2020)

At this point, anyone who actually believed the impeachment trial was not corrupted even before it got underway was in serious denial. The outcome was a foregone conclusion.

To be sure, Democrats did their best to get Trump convicted. People’s Action discusses their strategy: “One by one, the seven House impeachment prosecutors seeking President Donald Trump’s removal from office reconstructed a case against the president so dense—at times, head-scratchingly complex—that it was hard for senators new to the material to keep up. After a lofty introduction by the House’s lead manager, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Democrats shed any pretense of offering a streamlined, made-for-TV version of events meant to captivate the Senate or the nation. For much of the day, they cast aside any attempt to make a narrowly tailored case to Republicans that they should support calls for additional witnesses. Instead, they decided to hammer senators with everything they had: an all-day torrent of intricate information, peppered with screenshots of deposition transcripts, emails, text messages and about 50 video clips—nearly three times more than House Republicans used during the entirety of their arguments in the 1999 Clinton trial. It was a presentation that seemed designed to demonstrate what Democrats have long professed: that the facts of the Ukraine scandal threatening Trump’s presidency are so overwhelming as to be almost infallible. As Republicans harangued Democrats for failing to ‘do their homework,’ the House managers were intent to emphasize just how much ‘homework’ they did. ‘We have some very long days yet to come,’ Schiff warned the Senate as he kicked off the House’s arguments on Wednesday. He added, ‘Over the coming days, we will present to you and to the American people the extensive evidence collected in the House’s inquiry into the president’s abuse of power, overwhelming evidence…despite his unprecedented obstruction into that misconduct.’” (Tobita Chow, People’s Action, January 23, 2020)

Daily Kos tells us of how well-prepared the Democrats were on the opening day of the trial, and of the Republican’s response: “On the first full day of the presentation to the Senate in the impeachment trial against Donald Trump, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and the House management team delivered the evidence against Trump in three different ways: in a two-hour opening statement; in a six-hour walk-through of the whole timeline of events; and in a ten-minute recap of the highlights. The entire team was effective, and the presentation was clear. Schiff’s opening account was genuinely compelling—sharp, precise, impactful, well-supported by short moments of testimony from the House hearings, and leaving absolutely no doubt as to Trump’s guilt. So naturally, throughout the day, Republicans left their seats, wandered out into the hallways, and complained that they were ‘bored.’ Though the rules of the trial require all senators to be present, double-digit numbers of Republicans were missing at any given time. At least one, Missouri’s Josh Hawley, found an opportunity to make an appearance with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson during the trial…without garnering as much as the shake of a finger from Chief Justice John Roberts. For anyone tuning in from outside the Senate, Schiff’s opening was a master class in getting across complex information. Despite the volume of material on events and individuals, Schiff moved from point to point with precision, delivering information in a speech that’s likely to appear in future textbooks. Even for those who had seen the facts presented in House hearings, he was simply compelling. For anyone watching—whether or not they knew the facts of the case coming in—it was spellbinding work: a scene straight out of the best courtroom dramas.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, January 23, 2020) Republicans breaking the rules by leaving the Senate floor without permission is yet another indication of how little respect these people have for the rule of law. And of course, no one called them out on it.

The article continues: “Following Schiff’s introduction of the facts, the House team worked through events in a timeline, starting with the smear campaign to unseat U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, and proceeding to the whistleblower, congressional investigations, and the eventual release of U.S. aid that had been allocated to Ukraine. Each presenter took a section of the timeline, mixing a recitation of facts with snatches of testimony. All of the presentations moved the story forward, but some presenters brought additional energy to their time in front of the camera, presenting the information in a personal and genuine way. In Rep. Val Demings’ case, her experience in law enforcement came through in her clear disdain for the criminal behavior of Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and others maneuvering to game the system for personal gain. Unlike the lengthy opening act on Tuesday, when amendments, efforts to obtain witnesses, and Republican actions to suppress those witnesses carried the hearing into the early hours of the morning, Schiff actually wrapped the presentation within 8 hours after it began, revisiting the high points of the day in a compressed replay. Whereas Schiff used his opening statement to deliver a thorough, sharp account of the events leading to Trump’s impeachment, in the final 10 minutes of the night he touched again on some of the most compelling moments of that story. That included the scheme against Yovanovitch and the sorry spectacle of officials standing back to allow Giuliani to threaten and harass a widely respected ambassador.

“Across all the presentations, there was a theme: Trump wasn’t fighting corruption; he was the source of corruption. The actions that Trump took in an effort to secure an announcement that had personal benefits only for him came at the cost of the national security of the U.S. and Ukraine. It also came at enormous cost to the relationship between the two nations, and to the whole idea that the United States is on the side of justice and democracy. And, of course, despite the fact that this was the first day of the presentation; despite the fact that many Republican senators claimed not to have watched a moment of the hearings in the House; despite the fact that Schiff and his team presented their information in a way that would have made a must-watch documentary—or a genuinely outstanding college course—there were those empty seats. Republicans complained that the information was just the same thing over and over, that they were bored, that they…were absent. Anyone wondering why Mitch McConnell locked down the camera locations and kicked out C-SPAN has their answer in those empty seats. Chief Justice John Roberts opened his mouth long enough on Tuesday evening to caution visitors that this was the United States Senate, the ‘greatest deliberative body’ on the planet. He should have told the Republican senators. But then, it seemed Roberts had no concern about the Republicans violating the rules he was supposed to enforce.”

Rep. Rand Paul spent much of his time working on a crossword puzzle. Clearly Republicans took this trial about as seriously as they took their oaths to provide “impartial justice.” Other Senators left their seats to wander the halls of Congress, in violation of accepted parliamentary procedures. Of course, they were not reprimanded.

Republican Senators attitudes and actions have proved time and again why they are the “deplorables” Hillary Clinton referred to. Senate Republicans were never interested in the facts; they know Trump is guilty. The impeachment “trial” was not a trial at all: it was a cover-up. And it worked.

A president who has already admitted he will break any promise or break any law in order to maintain power has been given a green light to do so by the Republican party.

Once the sham trial was over, talk began to turn to the inevitable revenge Trump will try to enact on his “enemies.”  People’s Action reports: “With Senate Republicans on track to acquit Donald Trump on Wednesday, Washington is bracing for what an unshackled Trump does next.  Republicans briefed on Trump’s thinking believe that the president is out for revenge against his adversaries.  ‘It’s payback time,’ a prominent Republican told me last week.  ‘He has an enemies list that is growing by the day,’ another source said.  Names that came up in my conversations with Republicans included Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, Mitt Romney, and John Bolton.  ‘Trump’s playbook is simple: go after people who crossed him during impeachment.’  Several sources said Bolton is at the top of the list.  Trump’s relationship with Bolton was badly damaged by the time Bolton left the White House in September.  Trump has since blamed his former national security adviser for leaking details of his forthcoming memoir that nearly derailed the impeachment trial by pressuring Republicans to call witnesses.  In the book Bolton reportedly alleges Trump told him directly that Ukraine aid was tied to Ukraine announcing investigations into the Bidens (Bolton has denied being a source of the leak).  The campaign against Bolton has already begun.  On January 23, the White House sent a cease and desist letter to Bolton’s lawyer demanding that Bolton’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, not release the book in March without removal of certain information.  Trump intends to ratchet up the pressure, and some Republicans close to the White House fear how far Trump will take things after he’s gotten off for a second time.” (Hugh Espy, People’s Action, February 4, 2020) Control of the press: Another example of the fascist characteristics previously discussed

Bolton, who was White House Security advisor until September, 2019, released his book The Room Where it Happened on June 23, 2020, despite furious attempts by Trump to keep it from being published. Among the things Bolton discusses are the various death threats against journalists who dare to write against the administration, Trump’s fawning over dictators, his attempts to prosecute his opponents, his support of Chinese concentration camps, and many other disturbing allegations. Naturally, Trump’s response is to try and destroy Bolton’s credibility by a favorite Trump strategy: name-calling. He can’t deny the facts, so he goes on the offensive. It worked for him in the past, and it will work for him as long as the Republican party goes along with everything he says and does.

Common Cause tells us more: “With a blank check from the Senate’s sham impeachment trial in hand, Donald Trump is out for revenge. He’s starting to lash out against those who put their loyalty to the country ahead of their loyalty to him. His latest target? Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert who was on the fated July 25th phone call where Trump tried to extort an investigation into the Bidens from Ukrainian President Zelensky. Vindman later testified before the House about what he heard on the call. Today, Lt. Col. Vindman was pushed out of his role at the National Security Council—and escorted from the White House. Vindman did this country a great service. He felt, in his words, a ‘sense of duty’ to tell the American people the truth—and now, that honorable act has cost him his job, his career, and his privacy. He needs to know that Americans are thankful for his courage—and that Trump’s attacks can’t change the important truth that he told.” (Devon Nir, Common Cause, February 7, 2020)

Vindman’s lawyer was incensed over Vindman’s dismissal: “Today, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman was escorted out of the White House where he has dutifully served his country and his President.  He does so having spoken publicly once, and only pursuant to a subpoena from the United States Congress,”  Vindman’s lawyer said.  “There is no question in the mind of any American why this man’s job is over, why this country now has one less soldier serving it at the White House.  [He] was asked to leave for telling the truth.  His honor, his commitment to right, frightened the powerful.” (quoted in Daily Kos, February 7, 2020) The key term here is: “He was asked to leave for telling the truth.”  This is a perfect illustration of the unparalleled corruption of this administration: Always remain loyal to the dictator-in-chief, never question anything he says, and be willing to lie (under oath!) if necessary.  The parallels with Nazi Germany continue to mount: The purges have begun.

Adam Schiff, of course, has become Trump’s number one target for revenge. After posting a thinly-disguised threat that Schiff “has not paid the price, yet,” Schiff began receiving hate mail, with one individual actually threatening his life. Jan Peter Meister of Arizona, an avid Fox News watcher, left Schiff a voicemail in which he said: “I’m gonna f#@$ing blow your brains out you f#@$ing piece of s&%#.” While there is no crime in being stupid, it certainly is a crime to make threats like this to anyone, much less a public official. When they searched his home, federal officials found an AR-15-style rifle, two pistols, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. One writer noted: “It’s almost as if ‘it’s not a crime if the president does it.’ has morphed into ‘It’s not a crime if one of the president’s supporters does it.’” Another writer predicted if Trump wins the election, this man will be pardoned.

Finally, it must be mentioned that Donald Trump was not acquitted by the U.S. Senate for the simple reason, as Nancy Pelosi pointed out, that: “you cannot be acquitted if you did not have a trial. You don’t have a trial if you don’t have witnesses and documentation.”

The Republican party turned the impeachment “trial” into a farce. They will now concentrate on making the November election a sham election. There wasn’t the slightest pretense of legality. Republicans are doing all these illegal things for one reason: Because they can. No one is stopping them. Not the courts, not the Attorney General, not the news media, and certainly not the Democrats. With Republicans, it’s about one thing and one thing only: Getting and keeping power.


Justice has become a thing of the past in Trump’s America. His appointed Attorney General, William Barr, has joined the long list of “deplorables” serving Trump rather than his country. He now wields unprecedented power and can do virtually anything he wants—or, more properly, whatever Trump wants him to do. Daily Kos provides some singularly disturbing facts on how these men are making a mockery of the word justice. This article is extremely long, but I will print it in its entirety: “On Tuesday, Donald Trump tweeted that the sentencing recommendations for his longtime associate Roger Stone were unfair. Stone, who was convicted in federal court on seven counts, including lying to Congress and obstruction, including death threats against a judge and threats to murder a witness’ dog, could have received 20 years in prison or more. The recommended sentence of seven to nine years was solidly in the middle of the possible range and was made by a quartet of veteran prosecutors.

“But rather than ignoring Trump’s tweet, within hours Attorney General William Barr had instructed the Department of Justice to take an appallingly unprecedented move.  The DOJ announced that it was overruling the action of the U.S. attorneys in order to reduce Stone’s suggested sentence—even as Trump threatened to pardon his henchman altogether.  It was a moment when American justice teetered on the edge.

Then, overnight, it fell over completely. And the attorney general of the United States officially became Trump’s personal attorney.

“Three of the four U.S. attorneys who signed on to Stone’s sentencing recommendation have now withdrawn from the case in protest.  At least one has resigned from the DOJ entirely.  Rather than seeing this as a moment to rethink how much he had been putting his thumb on the scale of justice, Trump responded by slamming down his whole fat hand.  Trump spent the night mocking and threatening the career prosecutors, accusing them of being allies of Robert Mueller, then accusing Mueller of lying to Congress—one of the same charges on which Roger Stone was convicted.  It was a staggering sequence of events—Trump demanding a lighter sentence for someone who participated in both collusion and obstruction for Trump’s own campaign; Barr stepping in to give Trump what he wants; U.S. attorneys who had spent their whole careers with the Justice Department protesting in the only way available to them by resigning; Trump responding by mocking them and threatening to prosecute both them and others.  In a matter of just a few hours, every possible flare had been launched to reveal that the Department of Justice wasn’t just being politicized—it was being corrupted, turned into an instrument of Trump’s will.  And then Barr doubled down.  As NBC News reports, Barr has taken ‘control of legal matters of personal interest to President Donald Trump.  That includes persecution of Trump’s enemies, such as former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe.  That includes protecting Trump allies such as Roger Stone and Michael Flynn.  Barr isn’t turning the Justice Department into a political instrument—he’s already done that.  He’s using his role to create revisionist history and to actively support and generate nothing less than corruption.

“The entire Ukraine plot underlying the impeachment of Donald Trump revolved around a corrupt prosecutor general who persecuted political opponents but refused to go after his allies, no matter how large their crimes. And what Trump learned from this is was that that way of operating was a really good idea. Fortunately, Trump already had William Barr on hand. Barr has already proven, with his manipulation of the special counsel’s report and his round-the-world conspiracy hunt, that he’s up to the job. And now the attorney general of the United States has officially made himself Donald Trump’s personal attorney—except that this personal attorney has the ability to protect Trump’s friends, persecute his enemies, and bring an end to the idea of apolitical justice in America.

“Barr’s interference in Stone’s case follows his already reaching into that of Michael Flynn. Flynn, one of Trump’s former national security advisers, whose convictions were limited to lying to the FBI only because he had made a deal to provide information to the FBI in a number of other cases—including his illegal lobbying for Turkey and his participation in a plot to kidnap a U.S. resident cleric and return him to certain death in Turkey—began backing away from his deal and stalling on sentencing hearings last year. As a result of Flynn breaking his deal, prosecutors recommended a six-month sentence—and an angry judge seemed to agree that Flynn was still getting off easy. Then, in the midst of the process, Barr withdrew the attorney who had been handling Flynn’s case from the beginning and replaced him with a new attorney who rewrote the sentencing guidelines to suggest that there was no need for Flynn to be punished for his lying, obstruction, and defiance of investigators. Instead, the new recommendation was probation.

“What’s happening in both the Flynn and the Stone cases is an overt subversion of the role of the attorney general and the Department of Justice. And Trump isn’t backing away—far from it. He has stated that he has an ‘absolute right’ to tell the DOJ what to do. In addition to threatening the attorneys who withdrew from the case, Trump also expressed ‘congratulations’ to Bill Barr in his new role of minister of justice, or prosecutor general, or whatever.

“When the Republicans in the Senate voted to allow Trump to get away with abuse of power and obstruction, he did learn a lesson. But it was the same lesson he’d learned before—that he can do anything. There are no laws except the laws that Trump declares. No justice except that which he permits. No republic remaining except what he deigns to allow. That may seem like an exaggeration. It’s not.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, February 12, 2020) The fascist state has moved another step closer to completion.

Another article in Daily Kos from the same day discusses the ramifications of these flagrant abuses: “Harry Litman is a professor of Constitutional law at UCLA.  Now a lawyer in private practice, he served as law clerk to Supreme Court Justices Thurgood Marshall and Anthony Kennedy from 1987-89.  A former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California as well as the Western District of Pennsylvania, he also served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the Department of Justice for five years.  Litman’s reaction to the Justice Department’s repudiation yesterday of the sentencing recommendation made by the DOJ team that prosecuted Trump ally and co-conspirator Roger Stone, and the stunningly abrupt withdrawal of the four prosecutors on that legal team that followed this repudiation, is set forth in today’s Washington Post.  Titled ‘The Justice Department’s reputation is on life support,’ Litman’s editorial is nothing short of blistering.  His main point is that by all appearances what occurred yesterday—the action of a rogue Justice Department in fulfilling a demand by the president for political leniency to someone who can legitimately be described as co-conspirator with that president to the commission of federal crimes—cannot be permitted to stand in a functioning democracy.

“Resignation is the strongest possible protest that prosecutors can employ, within professional bounds, against improper conduct by their leadership. The president’s tweet and the department’s reduction of Stone’s sentencing were utterly rank and improper. The action runs counter not only to standard practice but also to the standard that the Justice Department is supposed to embody: the administration of justice without fear or favor. Litman acknowledges he has trouble even describing just how bad this is. Stone, who was convicted of serious offenses including witness tampering and lying to Congress, received a sentence recommendation literally taken from the Federal Sentencing Guidelines Manual which federal prosecutors routinely and necessarily rely on as the source for such recommendations. He slams the Barr Justice Department’s excuse that the sentencing was somehow disproportionate or shocking under the circumstances. In truth, it was neither, particularly in light of Stone’s cavalier decision to go to trial and flout the Court’s rulings regarding publicity during the proceedings. The recommendation was not only appropriate, it was mandated under the circumstances.

But it is not the sentence itself that is sending an ominous red signal, but the unprecedented countermanding of the recommendation at the obvious instigation of the White House, or, worse (as Litman explains) through an alliance between the DOJ’s interests and those of the White House. That crosses a barrier that simply cannot be crossed if the rule of law in this country is to mean anything going forward.

“As a general matter, the Justice Department and the White House are supposed to communicate only in rare, well-defined instances and almost never about the results of individual cases. Such contact is a third rail. For those of us committed to the normal course of legal justice, it cuts into bone for the department to do the White House’s bidding in a case in which the president has a strong personal stake. As Litman states, if, as the White House contends, it played no part in influencing the repudiation of Stone’s sentencing, then that is even worse, since it shows Barr to be acting at the political preferences of this president without even being instructed to do so. In other words, Barr has abandoned the independence of the Justice Department to serve the political ends of the Executive.

“Litman is not alone in his assessment. Other federal prosecutors agree, in even more alarming terms: Jeffrey Cramer, a longtime former federal prosecutor who spent 12 years at the DOJ, didn’t mince words when reacting to the string of developments.  ‘Can’t recall a worse day for DOJ and line prosecutors,’ he told Insider.  ‘A robbery in broad daylight in the middle of Chicago is more subtle than Barr’s obsession to shield Trump and his co-conspirators.’

“That is the hallmark of a nascent police state. It is the hallmark of a Justice Department weaponized to reward the president’s political friends and punish his political enemies. As noted by another In this respect, as Litman notes, we should have seen it coming…Litman calls this corruption of the Justice Department the ‘most odious achievement of the Trump presidency.’ In what must be a particularly painful realization, he characterizes the Department’s reputation for justice and fairness as on ‘life support.’ Even Litman, it seems, is loathe to admit that the institution he once served with such distinction may in fact already be dead.” (Dartagnan, Daily Kos, February 12, 2020)

On June 24, Public Citizen ran an indictment which ended by calling for William Barr’s impeachment: “A federal prosecutor has testified that the Justice Department’s criminal sentencing recommendation for Trump confederate Roger Stone was weakened due to interference from the top echelons of the department. The prosecutor—who left his post in protest—doesn’t know who ordered the reduced sentencing recommendation, but it’s highly unlikely to have occurred without Barr’s approval, at minimum.

“That fits a pattern of distorting justice to protect the political interests of Donald Trump and his allies. 1) Over the weekend, Barr engineered the ouster of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman. Berman had pursued prosecutions of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen and other Trump allies. 2) Barr’s Justice Department shockingly recommended that perjury charges against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn be dropped—even though Flynn had already pled guilty. (Earlier today, a federal appeals court authorized this jaw-dropping Justice Department move.) 3) Barr mischaracterized the Mueller report to wrongly claim it exonerated Trump, and he blocked officials from complying with congressional subpoenas in the Trump impeachment investigation.

“The list goes on and on. Among the attorney general’s most sacrosanct duties are to enforce the nation’s civil rights laws and to protect our civil liberties.

“Over the weekend, in an interview on Fox News, Barr said, in response to a question about the nationwide uprising sparked by the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and so many more of our fellow Americans: ‘No, I don’t think there’s systemic [racism].’ Barr was not misquoted. He was not taken out of context. He was not being grilled by ‘the liberal media.’ He was being fed softball questions by Trump TV.

“This too fits a pattern of wrongful conduct by Barr: 1) To defend Trump’s racist push for a citizenship question in the 2020 Census, Barr defied congressional subpoenas for information on how the question was designed to suppress responses from Latinos. The House voted to hold Barr in criminal contempt. 2) Continuing the policy of his predecessor, Jeff Sessions, Barr has declined to use consent decrees with city police departments—a powerful tool used by the Obama administration to facilitate reform in departments with histories of discriminatory practices. 3) With the nation facing a November 2020 election crisis due to the pandemic and needing to move swiftly to easy voting by mail, Barr has raised groundless concerns about how voting by mail might encourage fraud. 4) Barr helped drive the militarized response to Black Lives Matters protests, including the decision to violently clear peaceful demonstrators from near Lafayette Park, in front of the White House. For all of this, and much more, William Barr should be impeached.

“Look, we don’t have any illusion that Congress is going to rush to impeach Barr. Congress remains shell-shocked from the Trump impeachment. It is barely functioning due to the coronavirus emergency. It has enormous work to do to mitigate the health and economic fallout from the pandemic. And there’s an election in just five months. But the case against Barr is too strong to ignore. Attorney General William Barr should be impeached. (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, June 24, 2020)

Finally, consider what happened during the House’s Judiciary Committee meeting on June 24: “House Republicans, proving themselves worthy of permanent minority status, had no way to defend against the corrupt actions of Attorney General William Barr during Wednesday’s Judiciary Committee hearing other than to loudly jingle their keys in hopes of distracting the American people. Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, living up to his IQ, literally started banging on the dais as former George H.W. Bush deputy attorney general Donald Ayer relayed that Barr’s politicization of the Justice Department represents a clear and present danger to the country.

“‘I am here because I believe that William Barr poses the greatest threat in my lifetime to our rule of law and to public trust in it,’  Ayer said somberly.  ‘That is because he does not believe in its core principle that no person is above the law.  Instead, since taking office, he has worked to advance his lifelong conviction that the president should hold virtually autocratic powers.’

“But as Ayer tried to finish his opening statement, Gohmert began rhythmically rapping the dais, making it almost impossible to hear Ayer, let alone for anyone in the hearing to think. Ayer raised his voice, attempting to talk over the racket.  When Judiciary chair Jerry Nadler told Gohmert to stop, Gohmert responded:  ‘There’s no rules about when you can make noise.’  Imagine: You’re a former Justice Department official who served under two Republican and one Democratic presidents.  You go to the Hill to provide witness testimony and a GOP member, who apparently never graduated from the sandbox, just drowns out your testimony with an epic lack of impulse control befitting a toddler.” (Kerry Eleveld, Daily Kos, June 24, 2020) Infantile behavior is the only answer Republicans like Gohmert have to the facts.

The crimes of William Barr are so extreme that it staggers belief that anyone cannot see this man for what he is. Daily Kos ran an article that, although long, accurately details what this man has done since becoming Attorney General: “Pop quiz! Which of these men is currently behind bars? A) Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty over two years ago to lying to FBI agents in a scheme to defraud the United States; B) Roger Stone, convicted four months ago on obstruction, witness tampering, and five counts of making false statements; C) Paul Manafort, convicted on eight counts of tax evasion, bank fraud, and hiding foreign bank accounts and pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy against the United States and witness tampering; D) Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to five counts of tax evasion, one count of making false statements, and two counts of illegal campaign contributions at the request of a candidate? The answer, of course, is E) None of the above.

“Since William Barr became attorney general, he has withdrawn charges against Flynn, reduced the sentencing for Stone, and both Cohen and Manafort have been sprung from prison out of concerns over COVID-19. (Oddly enough, there are people still in both of the prisons where Manafort and Cohen were serving who didn’t get a pass to return home when the pandemic hit.) Despite working together to corrupt an election, conspire against the nation, suborn perjury, intimidate witnesses, and walk away with millions, every one of Donald Trump’s boys is comfortably Netflix-and-chillin’ at home. That’s what it means to have the head of the so-called Justice Department willing to cut down tradition, precedent, and U. S. attorneys to protect the boss.

“It’s not absolutely certain that Stone and Flynn will avoid spending some time on the other side of bars. Despite Barr’s best efforts, Judge Emmet Sullivan seems likely to bounce Flynn’s case back to the full Appeals Court for another go at forcing some kind of consequences, though surely insufficient, for Flynn’s both lying to the FBI and breaking a deal with the special investigator. Stone—who was convicted back on February 20, but unaccountably had all the way until June 30 to show up for his sentence—has now applied for the same get-out-of-jail-because-COVID pass that Manafort and Cohen have already received. It’s hard to believe he won’t get it. The odds that either of the pair will ever need a genuine Trump pardon to avoid a day behind bars is slim.

“Meanwhile, the sentences for Manafort and Cohen have been commuted to serving the remainder of their term under ‘house arrest.’  So even if the pandemic were to vanish as magically as Trump has claimed, neither would have to put down their Scotch bottle or get off the couch—which in Manafort’s case, is probably covered in the hide of something endangered.  As The New York Times reports, Barr’s attempts to interfere in these cases isn’t anything new.  From the moment he arrived in D.C., Trump’s incoming attorney general began to undermine the case against Cohen, questioning why U. S. attorneys had even bothered to investigate a case of extortion and campaign fraud.  Even though Cohen had been convicted by the time Barr was officially installed as AG, he still ordered up a memo listing arguments with which the Justice Department could attack its own case and own attorneys.  The goal of that memo wasn’t just to free Cohen, but to start building the groundwork for the prosecutions ahead—Stone and Flynn.  Barr deliberately turned the headquarters of the DOJ into a machine that operated to destroy the cases of the U. S. attorneys serving at offices across the nation.

“Where previous attorney generals had recused themselves from politically charged cases involving the man who put them in office, Barr ran toward those cases. Under Barr, the priorities of the Justice Department became a mirror of Trump’s priorities. Trump wanted conspiracy theories about Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton investigated, so Barr created a special investigator and sent a team around the world, traveling with them himself and several times trying to get foreign governments to make statements that would undermine both U. S. agents and U. S. intelligence in order to feed Trump’s Q-grade theories.

“At home, Barr destroyed the results of the Mueller investigation, dismissed the obvious findings of obstruction, and wrote Trump a clean bill of health. Then he set out to assist in a purge of the FBI and rest of the DOJ to ensure that Trump loyalists, and only Trump loyalists, remained—even if that meant shoehorning totally inexperienced and inappropriate figures into critical roles. And it meant that Barr dove into cases directly involving Trump and his associates. That meant not just leaning on U. S. attorneys to get the results he wanted, it meant replacing those attorneys who failed to play ball. Unprecedented is an overworked term when it comes to Barr, but it’s often the only one that fits. The removal of sentencing suggestions in the case of Roger Stone and the complete withdrawal of the case against Michael Flynn despite a guilty plea, were genuinely unprecedented events. Also terrifying when it comes to the rule of law.

“Rather than attempting to limit the extent of politics within the Justice Department, Barr has made it clear to everyone inside and outside of the agency that he intends to make it more political. U. S. attorneys who attempt to operate with impartiality are to be ‘reined in’ and reminded who is boss. Which is exactly what happened as Barr ousted first Washington D. C. attorney Jessie Liu, then clumsily bulled his way through removal of U. S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman.

Clearing that SDNY office, and moving to replace Berman with Jay Clayton—a close friend of Barr’s who has never prosecuted a case of any kind—doesn’t just punish Berman for his role in going after Trump associates, it cuts off future threats to Trump.

“Whether it’s corporate malfeasance, tax fraud, a fake university, using a charity as a personal slush fund, or the antics of Rudy Giuliani, Trump is free from any concern so long as the U. S. attorney in the Manhattan office is both inexperienced and in his pocket.

“Barr hasn’t just ignored the lines that supposedly exist between the White House and the Justice Department, he has actively worked to destroy even the impression that there should be such boundaries. He has openly operated the DOJ as if it is Donald Trump’s personal legal team and opposition research squad. Barr should be impeached at a minimum. There is no magic umbrella above Barr’s head, no tangled interpretation that says he can’t be disbarred, charged, and convicted. With all Trump’s pals wearing their cashmere slippers at home, there are plenty of open jail cells. One of them should have Barr’s name on it.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, June 26, 2020)

The situation is truly incredible—and unprecedented. It took only two days for William Barr to transform the Department of Justice from America’s top law enforcement agency into a personal instrument serving Donald Trump. It no longer serves the interests of the American people; it now serves as Donald Trump’s personal law firm. This is the reason why I now call it the Department of Injustice. This is a crisis of the greatest magnitude, unparalleled in our history, and it threatens the very survival of the United States as a free democracy.

Predictably, Republican responses to the whole scenario has been to try and shift the blame to—who else—Barack Obama.  Daily Kos tells us how this effort completely backfired and left Trump’s faithful lapdog Lindsay Graham with egg on his face: “From way, way back in the Trump-Russia timeline, one of the biggest charges from Republicans has been about the ‘unmasking’ of Michael Flynn.  This idea, that someone in the Obama White House used their authority to uncover the real name behind an anonymous ‘SUBJECT 1’ in some discrete intelligence report has been a key Republican charge since that time Devin Nunes leaped from an Uber to go scurrying through the White House shrubbery.  And just last week, lapdog Lindsey Graham announced that he wanted to know just who was behind the dastardly unmasking of Flynn as a lead off to his big new investigation of Russia investigation.

“Yeah…about that. As it turns out, there’s a problem with Graham demanding that the FBI tell him who in the Obama administration ordered the unmasking of Flynn. The problem is that Graham got an answer. And the answer is: no one. That’s because it never happened. And that’s because Flynn’s name was never masked in the first place. But there is something about Flynn that was covered up, and the facts behind that seem like a real scandal.

“As The Washington Post reports, Graham made a big announcement on Tuesday that he was sending a letter to the brand-new extra-Trumpy Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell demanding to know why documents had not been produced to explain who unmasked Flynn’s name in connection with his multiple calls to Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.  Meanwhile, Nunes was back on Fox News to accuse the Obama administration of ‘unmasking anyone and everyone so that they could leak information to a press.’  These are the calls that Flynn first denied, then lied about not just to the FBI, but supposedly to Mike Pence.  They were at the core of both Flynn’s resignation and the charges he is still facing in court, no matter what William Barr and Donald Trump might wish.

“The reply that Graham got doesn’t exactly give more power to his bid to get in on this ‘Obamagate’ thing.  Because what Grenell sent back was the news that the FBI never masked Flynn’s name.  It was always on the report, because understanding who was talking to Kislyak ‘was essential to understanding its significance.’  There was no unmasking request, because there was no mask.  But don’t worry.  Graham is given a chance to provide a detailed written response.  Between them they’ll surely find a way to blame someone for unveiling what was never veiled.  Maybe Nunes can sneak back into the White House basement and get a hot tip from Flynn’s former protege—who is exactly who handed him the claims about unmasking in the first place.

“Still, it’s not as if there isn’t some new secret to be uncovered about Flynn’s calls to the Russian ambassador.  As Marcy Wheeler reported over at emptywheel: Flynn wasn’t lying to hide what he said to Kislyak.  He was lying to hide that he had coordinated with people at Mar-a-Lago before speaking with Kislyak.  Records of Flynn’s interviews with the FBI show that he repeatedly lied, not about the contents of the call, but about his own coordination with Trump before and after that call.  Not only did Flynn lie directly to the FBI at least three times about his knowledge of sanctions, he followed the call by requesting a written note directly intended to mask the importance of the conversation.  The problem for Graham, Nunes, and others trying to find evidence that Obama did something wrong in regards to Flynn, is that Flynn is a crook, who didn’t just lie to the FBI, but covered up his coordination with the Trump transition team.  That’s in addition to numerous violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act and planning for the kidnapping of a U.S. resident.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, May 21, 2020)


If there is one thing that Republicans know for certain, it is that they are in grave danger of losing not only the presidency, but also the Senate in the November 2020 elections.  Despite the complacency of the mainstream media to report the administrations countless crimes, despite the nonstop barrage of lies emanating from Republican lips, support for Donald Trump is sinking, although not as greatly as his words and crimes should warrant.  Since maintaining power is the only thing driving their actions (the will of the people be damned), Republicans are currently taking steps to corrupt the election and ensure they will come out on top.  Issue One discusses one aspect of this, the inactivity of the Federal Election Commission: “The FEC has been essentially shut down since the beginning of September of 2019.  The agency charged with protecting campaign finance law is off duty as we enter the 2020 elections.  This is unacceptable.  Congress must act to get the FEC working so that our election laws are enforced!  The Federal Election Commission (FEC) remains missing in action.  The agency responsible for enforcing our election laws has been effectively shut down for 129 days due to the resignation of one of its commissioners.  Now the FEC doesn’t have a quorum.  That means the agency can’t enforce existing laws, fine violators, make new rules, or move forward with investigations.  And there’s been no effort by Congress or the administration to get it back up and running.” (Meredith McGehee, Issue One, January 7, 2020) This of course works to the advantage of Republicans fearing loss of power.  The same Republicans who are screaming about election fraud are the ones who are perpetrating the fraud—to their advantage

This election will be the most important one ever held in the United States. It will determine if the fascist state Republicans are hell-bent on creating continues on its destructive path or if common sense prevails. Either way, the fact that the election will not be a runaway for the Democrats illustrates just how successful Republicans have been in corrupting the political process.

The 2016 election was given to Donald Trump by the electoral college, but the Mueller report conclusively proved that Russia interfered in the election.  Republicans have no problem with their doing so again.  Daily Kos reports on the latest evidence that the next election promises to produce the same illegal results: “The news that Russian spies had hacked into Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company central to debunked conspiracy theories from Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani about Ukrainian election interference, has rocketed 2020 election protection to the top of the intelligence community’s list of concerns.  Likewise, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blasted Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump Tuesday for refusing to ‘take meaningful action to strengthen our election security.’  McConnell, she said, is ‘giving hostile foreign powers the green light to attack our country’ by refusing to take up House-passed legislation.  ‘The President and every Republican Senator must explain to the American people why they are refusing to defend our national security and the integrity of our elections,’ Pelosi added.  ‘We only learned of this hacking through the press.  Congress must be briefed on what the Administration knows about this attack and why the President doesn’t have a plan to protect our elections.’

“Asked about it Tuesday, McConnell blew the question off.  ‘We’ve appropriated $800 million over the last couple of years to deal with it,’ he said, scoffing off the possibility of doing further.  Then he actually said ‘I do want to encourage the current administration on both the efforts in [2018] and the off-year elections in [2019], from which we have essentially no reports of any kind of success.’  Yes, he’s congratulating the president that has been impeached because of his efforts to get a foreign country to influence the 2020 election.  He concluded that ‘we need to keep our eye on the Russians or anybody else who’s trying to mess with our elections system, and we’re appropriating plenty of money to do just that.’  State and local governments that have to try to conduct safe elections in less than 11 months might not be so sanguine after reading today’s news.” (Joan McCarter, Daily Kos, January 14, 2020)

Election security has become an extremely important issue in this election year. Mitch McConnell’s “legislative graveyard” has at least ten bills related to election security that have stalled in the Senate. One can only ask: “Why?”

Not content with allowing hostile foreign governments to interfere in our elections, Republicans are taking every possible step to ensure victory in November, however illegal and immoral. Voter purges have become a favorite strategy. The purges that Republicans are attempting to enforce, not surprisingly, focus on key areas of the country that tend to vote Democrat. They are also focusing on blacks and other minorities that tend to vote against them. And rest assured that, should he lose the election, Trump will call “fraud.” And his co-criminals in Congress will back him up.

Republicans have been screaming about alleged election fraud for years.  Daily Kos tells us that they have been trying to overturn the results of the 2018 Florida election for a year and a half without proving a thing: “As Florida began the process of recounting votes for the 2018 election cycle, Trump and his Republican cronies like Sen. Rick Scott pushed the unfounded theory that Democratic voter fraud was afoot.  Scott worked vigilantly to stop the recount, even attempting to have voting machines and ballots impounded.  It was a bogus claim, but recounting continued anyway.  On Friday, Politico reported that Florida’s law enforcement agency, tasked with investigating this supposed fraud, found ZERO cases of voter fraud.

So it turns out that the Nov. 8, 2018 tweet by Donald Trump saying ‘Law Enforcement is looking into another big corruption scandal having to do with Election Fraud in #Broward and Palm Beach.  Florida voted for Rick Scott!’ was…bull#$%&.  In all honesty, it was less than that, since I’m sure there is something of substance to be found in the excrement of a bull, and at the very least it probably can help fertilize soil.  That’s less than I can say for anything that comes out of Trump’s mouth.  On Wednesday, it was announced that no charges would be filed after the 18-month investigation into the pretend voter fraud…The charges of Democratic voter fraud have been the most egregious of projections on the part of the GOP the past few years, as the only real examples of sizable voter fraud have been committed by Republicans.  In recent days, Republicans like original Florida man Rep. Matt Gaetz have begun priming their anti-Democracy pump by charging that vote-by-mail initiatives are attempts to tip the scales in favor of Joe Biden.  They are correct.  The more Americans that vote, the better the chances that Trump’s ability to thwart the popular vote diminishes.  But these conspiracy theories of voter fraud speak to their minority base of followers who don’t want to believe in a democracy that doesn’t allow control for their dwindling oligarchy.” (Walter Einenkel, Daily Kos, May 22, 2020)

Voter purges have already begun.  Knowing full well that Trump faces the real possibility of losing his re-election bid, Republicans are trying to remove minority voters in state after state.  Wisconsin provides us with a typical example of their strategy, as reported by People’s Action: “Wisconsin has become early 2020’s Exhibit A for political fights surrounding the updating of statewide voter lists, where escalating court battles over conflicting law, procedures and underlying data could lead to removing thousands of legal but infrequent voters.  The fray’s epicenter is a series of rulings by a county judge against Wisconsin’s bipartisan but deadlocked state election board, which has refused to immediately delete 209,000 voter registrations in a swing state with 3.3 million voters.  The conflict may preview legal battles coming to other states. California, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Colorado and Virginia have all received letters from Judicial Watch, a right-wing group, threatening to file suits like the complaint from the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) against the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC).  WILL’s lawsuit, where two of its three plaintiffs are donors to state Republican campaigns, seeks the immediate removal of 209,000 infrequent voters who were flagged for the WEC by an interstate data consortium run by top election officials.  But Wisconsin is not the only state wrestling with voter analytics. In Georgia, the process used last fall to remove 300,000-plus old registrations (out of 7.4 million statewide) led to 22,000 voters being reinstated in December.  Thus, in early 2020, there is an emerging trend of the potential disqualification of thousands of infrequent voters in swing states.  While partisan claims surrounding these developments often dominate their news coverage, this trend is driven by a confluence of conflicting laws, regulatory precedents and imperfect voter data.” (Steven Rosenfeld, (People’s Action, February 28, 2020)

What we are witnessing now is a preview of what will happen in November, 2020.  Georgia provides an example of what to expect: “FIRST: Voters in predominantly African American communities turned out to vote only to find long lines, broken polling machines, and unstaffed polling stations.   SECOND: Georgia’s governor Brian Kemp who is known for widespread voter suppression in his 2018 campaign refuses to take responsibility.  THIRD: Georgia has emerged as a battleground state for November.  Trump is behind in the polls, and both Senate seats are poised to flip into Democratic hands.  FOURTH: This is just a preview of what will happen in November.  Voter suppression is the GOP’s only playbook to win.” (Voter Action Project, June 10, 2020)

Republicans don’t even try to hide the fact that voter disenfranchisement is central to their strategy to win elections and that they will be doing the same thing in November 2020.  People’s Action ran an excellent article detailing how the disenfranchisement of voters has already begun in Texas and how this has affected minority communities, who tend to vote Democratic: “Texas has shuttered more polling places than any other state since 2012 and most of the closures disproportionately hit black and Latino areas, according to a new analysis by The Guardian.  Texas has closed 750 polling locations since 2012, the Leadership Conference Education Fund, a civil rights group, reported last year.  The state had one polling place for every 4,000 residents in 2012, but that number rose to 7,700 residents by 2018.  The Guardian’s analysis found that the overwhelming majority of closures came in areas that saw the largest increase in black and Latino residents.  The 50 counties that saw the highest growth in black and Latino population had 542 polling sites close between 2012 and 2018, while the 50 counties with the lowest black and Latino population growth saw just 34 closures.  The closures came despite the population in the top 50 counties rising by 2.5 million while the 50 counties that had just 34 closures saw their population fall by 13,000.  ‘This is voter suppression—plain and simple,’ said the progressive advocacy group MoveOn.  The moves are likely to worsen Texas’ already-low turnout rates, advocates warned, despite changing demographics and large growth in black and Latino areas.” (Adiel Pollydore, People’s Action, March 4, 2020) Rest assured that if polling sites were reduced in heavily conservative areas, Republicans would be screaming to the heavens about it.

Voter Action Project sums up the situation: “It’s happening all over the country.  In Georgia, lines to vote in the primary election stretched HOURS long—but only in majority-Black communities.  In Pennsylvania, they’re trying to purge 800,000 voters from the rolls.  In Texas, they’re saying that a worldwide pandemic is NOT a good enough reason to let people Vote By Mail.” (Voter Action Project, June 12, 2020) In yet another example of Republican hypocrisy, Trump, Pence, William Barr and countless other Republicans vote by mail.  The Voter Action Project focuses on Texas as an example of this hypocrisy: “Texas Governor Greg Abbott regularly votes by mail.  Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick regularly votes by mail.  Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton regularly votes by mail.  Yet the three of them are fighting so hard against allowing the people of Texas to vote by mail this November.  They’re even taking that fight all the way to the SUPREME COURT.  It’s another sign that extremist lawmakers are only opposed to Vote By Mail because it would be bad for their reelection.” (The Voter Action Project, June 23, 2020) Do as we say, not as we do is clearly their message.

Common Cause disclosed how the primary elections showed the efficacy of Republican disenfranchisement strategy: “we witnessed multiple systemic failures in yesterday’s primary elections. In New York, thousands of absentee ballots didn’t arrive on time—forcing eligible voters to choose between risking their health to vote in person, or giving up their rights entirely. Meanwhile, the state of Kentucky decided to reduce the number of polling places for yesterday’s primary from 3,700 to less than 200. They left just one polling place for 616,000 registered voters in Jefferson County near Louisville—where half of Kentucky’s Black voters live.

The result? Hours-long waits at polling places. Confusion about where and how to vote. And thousands of eligible voters denied their right to participate in democracy.” (Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause, June 24, 2020)

Though Trump may scream to the heavens about it, the Mueller report proved that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. Four years later, the same thing seems to be happening again. People’s Action reports: “Intelligence officials warned House lawmakers last week that Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to try to get President Trump re-elected, five people familiar with the matter said, a disclosure to Congress that angered Mr. Trump, who complained that Democrats would use it against him. The day after the Feb. 13 briefing to lawmakers, the president berated Joseph Maguire, the outgoing acting director of national intelligence, for allowing it to take place, people familiar with the exchange said. Mr. Trump was particularly irritated that Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the leader of the impeachment proceedings, was at the briefing. Though intelligence officials have previously told lawmakers that Russia’s interference campaign was continuing, last week’s briefing included what appeared to be new information: that Russia intended to interfere with the 2020 Democratic primaries as well as the general election.” (Steven Rosenfeld, People’s Action, February 21, 2020)

So what was the Republican reaction to the new information? Daily Kos continues: “The story has come out in pieces over the last two days, but those pieces are slotting into place with sickening clarity: Last week, a member of the intelligence community testified before the House Intelligence Committee that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election to support Donald Trump. Republican representatives rushed to the White House in concern, not about the interference, but about the fact that Democrats knew about it. And Trump then responded by purging the intelligence community of anyone who was trying to combat the interference. The result is that not only is Russia known to be interfering in support of Trump, but Republicans are openly acting to support that interference. And the intelligence community is being flipped from an instrument meant to protect the nation into one that exists entirely to support Trump.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, February 21, 2020)

Since Trump got away with election fraud in 2016, there is no doubt he will do it again in 2020. And virtually no one is doing anything about it.

Yet another somber note was observed by People’s Action, reporting on the Supreme Court which, given its ultra-conservative majority, may well prove to be the deciding factor in keeping Trump in office: “Not a single significant policy or initiative proposed by the candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination is likely to survive a Supreme Court review.  Nothing on guns, nothing on climate, nothing on health care—nothing survives the conservative majority on today’s court.  Democrats can win the White House with a huge popular mandate, take back the Senate, and nuke the filibuster, but Chief Justice John Roberts and his four associates will still be waiting for them.  If the Democratic candidates are serious about advancing their agenda—be it a progressive agenda or a center-left agenda or a billionaire’s agenda—then they have to be serious about undertaking major, structural Supreme Court reform.  That reform is not airy wish-casting by a hard left dreaming of revolution.  It is the practical first step toward getting any meaningful Democratic policies through all three branches of government.  Either court reform happens or nothing happens. People who focus only on Congress or the presidency are like people who plan a road trip thinking only about their eventual destination.  They forget that without gas, nobody is going anywhere. Court reform can take a variety of forms, some blunt and partisan, others intricate and geared toward balance.  But at its core, Supreme Court reform involves shaking up the configuration of the court. And at its core, it is constitutional.  That’s because the Constitution provides Congress with wide latitude in structuring the court.” (Steven Rosenfeld, People’s Action, February 28, 2020)  He goes on thusly: “The line between law and politics has always been blurry, and judges have often professed to sharpen it.  Claims of unblinking fidelity to the text have increasingly become the crowning orthodoxy on the right in recent decades.  Now Gorsuch and his conservative colleagues have a chance to harness that energy to transform the law.  ‘The Trump vision of the judiciary can be summed up in two words: ‘originalism’ and ‘textualism,’ Donald F. McGahn II, the former White House counsel, who was instrumental in Gorsuch’s and Kavanaugh’s appointments, said in 2017 at an event for the Federalist Society, a group that has been a juggernaut for propelling the courts to the right.  Placing judges on the courts is ‘the most important thing we’ve done for the country,’ Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, said last spring.  He earlier promised that Trump judges (192 and counting) will ‘interpret the plain meaning of our laws and our Constitution according to how they are written.’  Since the 1960s, conservatives have often derided liberal judges as ‘activists’ who bend the law to make big changes.  And until his departure in 2018, Justice Kennedy held the Supreme Court’s swing vote and (like Sandra Day O’Connor before him) restrained his fellow conservatives by forging a kind of national compromise on abortion rights, marriage equality, gun laws, the regulatory powers of federal agencies and the scope of the death penalty.  But now Gorsuch, along with Thomas and Alito, has become ‘the leading edge of a second generation of conservatives who are not afraid of exercising judicial authority’—in other words, making decisions that can significantly change the law.”  Who are the “judicial activists now?” one might wonder.

Daily Kos discusses two of Moscow Mitch’s typical judicial appointees: “While we were all busy focusing on the crisis facing this country, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-10 (on a party line) to recommend both Justin Walker to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and Cory Wilson to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.  And now, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell is hell-bent on ramming through a full Senate vote this week.

“Justin Walker is a former McConnell intern with no trial experience who called the Supreme Court’s decision upholding Obamacare ‘catastrophic’ and praised Brett Kavanaugh for writing the ‘roadmap’ for courts to overturn it. He supports unchecked executive power and will erode civil rights protections–-a position made even more dangerous by the Trump Administration’s continued efforts to to attack all who are fighting for Black lives.

“Fifth Circuit nominee Cory Wilson called the Affordable Care Act ‘indefensible’ and ‘perverse,’ and fought efforts to expand affordable health care as a legislator in Mississippi. Wilson has also supported discriminatory efforts that would restrict voting rights for people of color, including voter roll purges and voter ID requirements. Wilson’s record is troubling in light of Republicans’ recent attempts to use the COVID-19 crisis to undermine our ability to vote.” (Paul Hogarth, Daily Kos, June 13, 2020)

What is singularly amazing is that these men were able to pass the bar exam since they obviously have no qualifications to administer justice fairly. No understanding of the Constitution, coupled with a complete lack of common sense and empathy ensures that these men will be a disgrace to the judiciary. The same can be said for all the other incompetents and extremists Trump and McConnell are pushing through.

Once Joe Biden became the Democratic front-runner, Republicans began re-hashing discredited claims about Biden’s son Hunter. Daily Kos explains how Republican Ron Johnson got the ball rolling: “It isn’t even the slightest bit surprising that the very moment Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden leapt back into frontrunner status, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson used his post as Senate ‘Homeland Security’ Committee chair to announce that it turns out he will also be reviving the Trump-backed claims against Biden’s son Hunter that Rudy Giuliani has been shipping in from disgraced oligarchs with an axe to grind against the new anti-corruption Ukrainian government. Fortunately, Ron Johnson does nuance the way a bag full of rattlesnakes does nuance, so he was not able to play coy about why, exactly, corrupt Senate Republicans need to rededicate themselves to an anti-Biden conspiracy theory. The Wisconsin senator is doing it because people are voting for Biden, he admits…Johnson is the perfect embodiment of the new Republican party. He is dumb; dishonest; a hack; has evident contempt for democracy in any situation in which he or his allies risk losing any sliver of power; and, as his every act has demonstrated, is willing to be crooked if crookedness will win elections. He a Lindsey Graham with even less shame or charisma, which probably means he, too, will eventually thrust himself upon the nation in a Republican presidential bid.

“It is absolutely clear that Republican lawmakers are intent on helping Trump corrupt the next election with conspiracy claims, foreign interference, extorted foreign help, the blocking of election security efforts, the closing of polling places, and outright vote-rigging if they think they can get away with it.  This is a fascist movement now.  They exist to assert Dear Leader’s power; party ideology and the law alike are now whatever Dear Leader claims them to be, and the party’s enemies are whoever Dear Leader believes his enemies to be, guilty of whatever supposed crimes Dear Leader claims they are.  From Ron Johnson to Attorney General Bill Barr, they will corrupt every institution as much as is necessary to retain and expand power.  There will be no bottom.  Ron Johnson, personally, will support much worse.” (Hunter, Daily Kos, March 4, 2020)

Yet another way Republicans are trying to steal the election in advance concerns the Post Office.  Knowing that millions of voters rely on this service to mail in their ballots, Republicans want to shut it down.  Demand Progress reports: “The U.S. Postal Service is due to go bankrupt by the end of the summer due to the pandemic—but Donald Trump is blocking funding, and called the post office a ‘joke’   Now he has just named one of his top donors as the new head of the U.S. Postal Service—putting the survival of this longtime service in mortal danger.  Shutting down the postal service would throw more than 500,000 workers onto unemployment—and undermine our efforts to expand vote-by-mail before the November election.” (Robert Cruickshank, Demand Progress, May 14, 2020)

It goes without saying that Republicans know that the majority of Americans do not agree with most of their agenda and that an honest, open election would soon make their party obsolete. Suppressing the vote of minorities is central to their plans, since minorities tend to vote Democratic. A new organization, Fire Mitch, Save America tells us how they are planning out their strategies: “Kentucky’s Republican-controlled legislature just enacted a new law requiring voters to show a government-issued photo ID—even though they know that the offices in charge of issuing IDs have been SHUT DOWN due to the coronavirus. It’s no coincidence that students and voters of color—AKA, likely Democratic voters—will be most impacted by this extra barrier to exercising their right to vote.” (Fire Mitch, Save America, May 15, 2020)

Knowing that a large turnout will be disastrous for Republicans, feelers have already been put out to possibly postpone the election. Never mind that this is unconstitutional; the Constitution has never been a major stumbling block for the radical right. When Democrats Turn Out elaborates: “When asked about whether the November election would be held on schedule, senior White House adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner replied, ‘I’m not sure I can commit one way or the other.’ Of course, both legal scholars and everyday Americans should feel comfortable dismissing Kushner’s remark—by law, Election Day is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November; it doesn’t matter who’s on the ballot, or how badly they’re polling. But it will matter if Trump is laying the groundwork to delegitimize the election, or if Americans can’t get ballots at all—Trump has repeatedly pushed back against vote-by-mail, saying, ‘I think a lot of people cheat.’ Without mail ballots, Americans may be forced to choose between risking their lives and risking the country’s future—something the GOP is counting on to win.” (When Democrats Turn Out, May 17, 2020)

There’s more.  MoveOn tells us just how desperate Republicans are to keep people (mostly minorities) from voting.  The article also tells us how long this has been going on: “A shocking new report in The New York Times on Monday revealed that the Republican party plans to employ 50,000 people at the polls—some of whom will be armed—to intimidate Democratic voters across critical swing states, and that the Republicans intend to spend at least $20 million on nefarious lawsuits designed to suppress the vote this fall.  This is a stark and disturbing escalation in the Republican party’s voter suppression tactics, resulting from a 2018 court ruling overturning decades of precedent that stopped the GOP from blatant voter suppression and intimidation efforts.  Since 1982, the GOP was barred from pursuing what they called ‘ballot security’ measures, after a lawsuit showed that they had engaged in a coordinated campaign to remove voters of color from voter rolls through a deceptive mail campaign and even hired off-duty police officers to patrol majority-minority polling locations to intimidate voters.  And now that a judge has given them the go-ahead to ramp up their efforts with impunity, the GOP is back to the same dirty tricks, targeting Democratic voters—and particularly voters of color—in 15 battleground states.  It’s a baldfaced effort to steal the election for Donald Trump and the Republicans.” (MoveOn, May 19, 2020)

The article goes on to say: “These efforts by Republicans shine a light on a central truth: When more Americans are able to vote, right-wing politicians lose. They lose because their policies of protecting the ultra-rich over regular Americans, stripping health care from those who need it most, destroying the environment, demonizing immigrants, and dumping billions of dollars into endless wars do not serve the interests of most Americans; they only serve the interests of their wealthy corporate backers. Which is why the right spends so much time and money to keep people from the polls.

In that same article, MoveOn tells us of what they are trying to do to counter this threat to our democracy: “1) Demanding that states set up and properly fund universal vote-by-mail programs. More than ever before, every American should have access to a vote-by-mail ballot to protect our health and the safety of our communities. But only a few states are set up to run these programs, which is why we are pushing governors and state legislators to get these systems in place immediately. 2) Helping 100,000 voters across the battleground states vote by mail. To do this, MoveOn’s Creative Lab will be creating educational videos that we will release as paid providing key voters in these areas with detailed information about how to register to vote and request vote-by-mail ballots. Our efforts are focused on ‘high-potential voters,’ meaning young voters, new voters, and voters of color who tend to be more progressive but are often ignored by campaigns—and who are precisely the voters that the GOP is hoping will stay home. 3) Training MoveOn volunteers to become poll workers. Many of the so-called ‘poll watchers’ that the GOP intends to hire will be off-duty law enforcement, who often show up armed to scare away voters from the polls. This is blatantly illegal, which is why MoveOn will work with our partners to train volunteers to become poll workers who can ensure that any such intimidation is stopped in its tracks. 4) Joining our partners to support legal cases that seek to protect access to the vote. If Republicans plan to spend $20 million to strip access to voting from Americans across the country, we will turn out a grassroots movement that reveals their shameful tactics and fights to stop them.”

People for the American Way gives us an example of a typical day Trump effort to steal the election: “Donald Trump began his day this morning with a series of tweets threatening to withhold critical funding from states that are taking efforts protect voters and allow them to safely cast ballots.   Trump at 7:51am ET:  ‘Breaking: Michigan sends absentee ballots to 7.7 million people ahead of Primaries and the General Election.  This was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State.  I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!..’Trump at 9:11am ET:  ‘State of Nevada ‘thinks’ that they can send out illegal vote by mail ballots, creating a great Voter Fraud scenario for the State and the U.S.  They can’t! If they do, ‘I think’ I can hold up funds to the State.  Sorry, but you must not cheat in elections.  @RussVought45 @USTreasury.’

“Of course there is nothing illegal or improper about what these states are doing—in Michigan, the Secretary of State is merely sending applications for absentee ballots to all voters!—but the type of corrupt retribution and extortion that Trump is threatening almost certainly IS illegal. And it’s clear that his threats are politically motivated and have nothing to do with so-called ‘voter fraud,’ as pointed out by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s response on Twitter highlighting the fact that her ‘GOP colleagues in Iowa, Georgia, Nebraska and West Virginia’ did the same thing she did without attracting any angry threats from Trump. It’s never been clearer: Trump and his Republican enablers want to end democracy. They want to do it by taking the people’s ability to remove them from office by taking away the vote.

“Trump clearly doesn’t know or care what’s legal and what’s not. His lawyers are no doubt scrambling to spin his tweets into some sort of policy they’d be able to defend in court. While his tweets are vague about exactly what money he’s threatening to withhold, states are in dire need of pandemic relief funding and are desperately scrambling to make up for major budget gaps due to the impacts of coronavirus. The harm Trump is threatening—out of vindictiveness, spite, and a driving instinct to avoid accountability via the ballot—is ghoulish. And it’s eerily reminiscent of the very thing Trump was impeached for—withholding aid money to force Ukraine to help him politically…now he’s trying to do the same thing to the states!

“This is not a president who gives one ounce of a damn about the American people, the Constitution, or our democracy. We’re fighting to stop voter suppression in the states, expand SAFE voting options—whether vote by mail, absentee, or in-person—and pass vital congressional funding to secure our elections. But we’re up against a foe as ruthless and LAWLESS as this country has ever seen.” (People for the American Way, May 20, 2020)

The issue of accountability is a crucial one; Trump and his supporters are doing everything they can to make him accountable to no one. The impeachment sham alone proved that. CREW elaborates: “Over the last six weeks, President Trump has intensified his all-out war on accountability. He has taken steps to oust five independent watchdogs, which is worrisome on its own, but when you examine the consequences and reasons behind the firing of those inspectors general (IGs), it’s even more chilling.

“Late Friday night, May 15, President Trump effectively pushed out two IGs, announcing that he was planning to fire State Department IG Steve Linick, and that he was removing acting Department of Transportation IG Mitch Behm and replacing him with a political appointee who will now divide his time between the Office of Inspector General and leading another DOT office. Read CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder’s op-ed about how Trump’s attacks on watchdogs are chipping away at checks and balances.

“Trump’s attacks on the DOT OIG are particularly troubling in light of the fact that Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao was under investigation by Behm for favoritism benefiting her husband Senator Mitch McConnell’s political prospects.  Ousting acting IG Behm casts the future of the investigation into doubt.  The new acting IG, Howard Elliot, was already vetted by McConnell and confirmed by the Senate to lead the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration…The President’s announcement of his intent to fire State Department IG Steve Linick has earned a significant amount of attention, and for good reason: Linick was reportedly in the midst of several investigations of alleged misconduct by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, including the misuse of government resources, such as having aides pick up his dry cleaning and walk his dog; hosting lavish tax-payer funded dinners with wealthy political donors; as well as Pompeo’s role in the Trump administration’s plans to sell arms to Saudi Arabia without congressional approval.  Pompeo, a close ally of the President, admits that he requested Trump fire Linick, which looks a lot like retaliation.  That revelation is incredibly troubling but unfortunately not a surprise, given this administration’s unprecedented stonewalling of oversight, and its blatant abuses of power.  We’ve requested records related to Linick’s firing, and we’ll keep pushing for accountability in any way we can.

“And those are only the most recent attacks—by demoting DoD Acting IG Glenn Fine, Trump made him ineligible to serve as chair of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, weakening oversight of the enormous government response to the pandemic; two more of the ousted IGs were also serving on the PRAC.  His move to sideline HHS Acting IG Christi Grimm was apparently in retaliation for a report she wrote outlining hospital supply shortages.  CREW has also requested records related to his attacks on Grimm.  People are understandably focused on the coronavirus pandemic, and President Trump is taking advantage of the situation to attack watchdogs and oversight.” (Donald Sherman, CREW, May 26, 2020)

As usual, the last thing Trump wants is for anyone in the media to even hint that he is not the most popular man in America.  When CNN disclosed the results of a recent poll showing Trump trailing Joe Biden by 14 points nationally, Trump responded in character: He blasted CNN and demanded that they retract it and issue him a public apology and if they failed to do so, they would face a lawsuit.  When Democrats Turn Out records CNN’s response: “CNN responded by saying it’s the first time in their history they’ve ever been threatened by an American politician—and that such threats usually come from ‘countries like Venezuela or other regimes where there is little or no respect for a free and independent media.’  We’d better hope Biden keeps his lead over Trump, or that’s exactly where the U.S. is heading. (When Democrats Turn Out, June 13, 2020)

One of Trump’s recent tweets lays the groundwork for his plans in November: “Rigged 2020 election: Millions of mail-in ballots will be printed by foreign countries and others. It will be the scandal of our times!” The sheer irony of the man who stole the 2016 election due to Russian collusion now claiming that “foreign countries” will help their Democrats “steal” the election is laughable. Just who are these “foreign countries? Why didn’t Trump name them? And, as the most powerful man in the U.S. government, why isn’t he doing anything about it? And who are these “others” Trump ungrammatically refers to? As with everything else that comes from this man’s mouth, there are no facts whatever backing up what he says. I have already written about Trumpism being America’s newest religious cult. Blind faith, the defining characteristic of all cults, is particularly relevant here, because the Trumpists will never question a thing he says: Trump’s words, to them, are the new “revealed truth,” never to be questioned and to be believed to the letter.

Given his complete lack of character, there is a strong possibility that, if he loses the election, Trump will refuse to leave office on January 20, 2021. For sure, he will claim voter fraud and blame the “liberal media” for his loss. Whether he will leave voluntarily or by force remains to be seen.

Clearly, Republicans are laying the groundwork for stealing the election. Whether they succeed will depend on whether or not the American people wake up and recognize the illegal evil in out midst.


The Trump administration continues to promote their own interests and the interests of big corporate polluters at the expense of everyone (and everything) else. The administration started the new year with another predictable attack on the National Environmental Policy Act. Republicans cannot stand this law, as it demands detailed environmental assessments for any and all federal construction projects. Daily Kos reports the consequences of the president’s actions: “Under Trump’s new regulations, the majority of mines, pipelines, chemical plants, and other polluting operations could begin construction without undergoing crucial reviews that examine their impact on the environment. Additionally, the rules expressly forbid planning for climate change, the largest global threat we face today. The new rules would also exclude local communities, including Indigenous communities, from having a say in decisions regarding federal projects, violating the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. As Speaker Nancy Pelosi explained, this is a public health issue: Trump’s rollbacks ‘means more polluters will be right there next to the water supply of our children.’” (Sarah Hogg, Daily Kos, January 12, 2020)

The Trump Organization, like the man himself, is completely corrupt. Daily Kos ran an article exposing some of the illegal shenanigans this organization is involved with: “The Trump Organization, not unlike the Trump administration, is rife with stories of corruption and grift, incompetence due to the cutting of corners, and general crapulence. ProPublica and New York Public Radio station WNYC have published a brand-new joint investigative story about how Trump’s business interests in 1980s-1990s New York City included the bribing of tax assessors in order to lower The Apprentice host’s property taxes. Speaking with five former city employees and one former Trump organization employee, the reporters heard testimony implicating Trump’s business interests more directly in connection with a real estate housing scam that came to light in 2002. The five former city employees were among more than a dozen who had been indicted in 2002, in what The New York Times called the ‘largest tax fraud case in the history of New York City government.’ Trump has always maintained that he was ignorant of any of this happening, including the claim that in ‘one instance, tax payments on property owned by Donald Trump were instead applied to the account of a corrupt property owner.’

“The Trump Organization’s chief legal officer, Alan Garten said that the ProPublica report was old news, and that all previous investigations had cleared Donald Trump and the Trump Organization of any wrongdoing. Pointing out that ‘at no time did the Trump Organization or any of its employees or principals ever pay anyone for the purpose of unlawfully obtaining a lower tax valuation,’ Garten called the report ‘reckless’ and questioned the outlet’s journalistic ethics.

“However, this is not simply a re-reporting of what happened before. ProPublica and WNYC report now that two of the former New York City employees say they took bribes themselves ‘from middlemen representing the Trump Organization to lower assessments on 40 Wall St. after Trump took over the skyscraper in 1995.’ Frank Valvo, a former city assessor who served prison time for the fraud, says he remembers a co-worker telling him that the Trump Organization had agreed to pay bribes, saying there was elation between him and the other corrupt city worker. According to the men ProPublica spoke with, the bribes came in the form of envelopes handed over to them. Once, upon receiving an envelope they thought was a little light, they were told that ‘Donald Trump thought the employee should be making the assessment changes for free.’ This is amazing, pointing to Trump’s narcissistic belief that laws shouldn’t apply to him, and that he shouldn’t even have to pay into the rigged system he himself benefits the most from.

“Moreover, according to the report, a former Trump Organization employee was able to say that he or she knew that Trump had a meeting arranged with Thomas McArdle. McArdle, his son Stephen E. McArdle, and a man named Joseph Marino were cited by all of the indicted and convicted assessors as the middlemen involved in the New York City scam in 2002. While Trump did not end up attending this reported meeting with McArdle, the former employee told ProPublica that that meeting did take place and that it included money and false information to hand over to the city’s assessors to lower the property evaluation.

“Trump has denied knowing McArdle or ever using him as a consultant or in any other way. As ProPublica points out, Trump sued the city in 2002, saying, ‘I’m getting ready to bring a major lawsuit against all the property owners whose taxes I was funding, because I was honest and used legal channels. The other people used illegal channels and got better results.’ He received a $100 million tax break as part of an agreement involving a secondary lawsuit he launched against the city at the same time over building affordable housing.” (Walter Einenkel, Daily Kos, March 11, 2020)

This last point is particularly telling in light of the fact that Trump continues to refuse to release his tax returns. If he really is “honest,” he would jump at the chance to discredit his critics and those pesky people in the Democratic party. One reader of Daily Kos tells us why: “Trump bankrupted a dozen businesses, plus the fraudulent Trump University and Trump Foundation and grafted 3000 contractors and workers, some of which are illegal immigrants and underpaid. He did several bank and insurance frauds. His resorts in Miami, Ireland, and Scotland are running in the red. That is why he refused to release his tax returns.” (Hartmut69, Daily Kos, May 23, 2020)

The scandals continue unabated, and generally unreported. CREW discusses the Trump organization’s overseas reach: “Less than two weeks after President Trump returned from an official visit to India, his business made an announcement: it would now ship Trump-branded products to India. The Trump family pledged that they would not take on new foreign business during the Trump presidency. This is a blatant violation of that promise to the American people.

“It is also an invitation for foreign nationals to funnel money straight into President Trump’s pocket, secretly and legally.  The list of countries where Trump-branded products are now being sold, in addition to India, includes Germany, Canada, England, Scotland and Ireland, and seems far from random.  India hosts the most Trump-branded properties of any country outside of the US, and Ireland and Scotland are both home to struggling Trump golf properties.  In fact, Trump’s Doonbeg property has never turned a profit in the time he’s owned it, and has lost his company millions of dollars.  That also happens to be the property that Vice President Mike Pence racked up $600,000 in limo bills visiting last August on the taxpayer dime.  The fact that the Trump Store announced shipping to India just two weeks after Trump made an official visit is suspect.  The fact that most of the other countries are home to Trump properties is also suspect.  But the truth is this: there is no good time for the president’s personal business to announce it will be profiting in foreign countries, and there are no good countries for a president to solicit profits from while in office. (Noah Bookbinder, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington [CREW], March 14, 2020)

One would think that in this supposedly enlightened age, the citizens of the United States would be able to recognize obvious lies and untruths when laid before them.  Most either cannot or will not.  One would also think that, given the objectively provable crimes of Donald Trump and his Republican henchmen, the mainstream news media would lay the facts before the public.  They do not.  What we are witnessing instead is the rise of right-wing propaganda promoters passing themselves off as news agencies.  As the Republican party slides further and further toward fascism, Fox News has become the largest media corporation in the country, finishing 2019 with the highest ratings in its 23 year history.  During the same period, left-leaning publications are struggling to survive.  Indeed, many have gone under due to lack of funding and support.

What this means should be obvious: People will be getting their information on what is going on in their government almost exclusively from Fox news and other right-wing sources who are not about to feign objectivity in their reporting slants.  Not surprisingly, Republican senators imposed restrictions on just which members of the press would be allowed to view the impeachment proceedings.  Control of the press—essential for fascist regimes.

Many outstanding progressive news sources have been forced to shut their doors.  CredoAction, often quoted in my previous articles, was forced to shut down operations in January of 2020.  Other liberal news outlets are struggling to survive.  These agencies strive to be bulwarks of truth and do their best to remind Democratic leaders to live up to the progressive values that were at one time the foundation of their ideology.  What has happened, as related in my previous articles is that, over the course of the last half century, the Democratic party has reneged on these values and morphed into a spineless entity that spends most of its time and money defending themselves against Republican attacks.  As the Democratic party has slowly but inexorably moved toward the center of the political spectrum, true progressives have become exceedingly rare (Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and several others being all too rare exceptions).  Meanwhile, the Republican party has become more and more extreme.  I have discussed these trends in previous articles and need not repeat them here other than to cite my previous example of Robert Dole, who was considered far too radical when he ran for vice-president in 1976, was put forward as a “moderate” when he ran for president twenty years later; he had not changed his political views in any major way during that time.

It should come as no surprise at this point to mention the overt hostility Republicans have toward mainstream news agencies.  I have already covered this in my previous articles.  Here, I will simply point out that when a CNN reporter asked Senator Martha McSally, “should the Senate consider new evidence as part of the Impeachment trial?”  McSally responded by saying: “You’re a liberal HACK, I’m not talking to you.”  Comments such as this gives one pause to wonder: Is there any civility at all in today’s Republican party?

Daily Kos has covered this scandal since its inception: “For his part, Texas Sen. John Cornyn is trying to keep the illegality of withholding aid to Ukraine from reaching Trump by compartmentalizing it.  ‘It’s a civil matter, it’s not a criminal matter…It’s not directed at the president, it’s the Office of Management and Budget,’ Cornyn told reporters of the GAO report.  ‘The GAO report identifies the OMB, not the president,’ he adds.  Oh, okay, so how about all those emails showing that Trump ordered the freeze?” (Kerry Eleveld, Daily Kos, January 16, 2020)

January 2020 saw the Ukraine scandal unfold in ways that should have resulted in calls for action against the perpetrators.  MoveOn informs us: “In an explosive interview last night, Rachel Maddow asked Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas a simple question: ‘What is the main inaccuracy [about the Ukraine scandal] that you can correct?’  His response?  That the president didn’t know what was going on.  President Trump knew exactly what was going on.  But that’s not all.  Parnas went on to say that ‘everybody was in the loop.’  Trump.  Mike Pence.  John Bolton.  Mike Pompeo.  William Barr.  Mick Mulvaney.  Rick Perry.  Devin Nunes.  Everybody.

“This scandal is no longer just this generation’s Watergate.  If what Parnas says is true, this is a gargantuan conspiracy perpetrated by the highest levels of the administration and their allies in Congress.  There has never been anything like this before.   This information, combined with this morning’s news from the nonpartisan watchdog group the Government Accountability Office determining that the Trump administration violated the law by withholding nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, means only one thing: Trump must be convicted and removed from office.” (MoveOn, January 16, 2020)

Daily Kos printed a long article that explains what happened when the Ukraine scandal began to unfold.  Despite its length, I will re-print it here: “When Donald Trump handed down the demand that military assistance to Ukraine go into the freezer until he got the Biden-dirt he was demanding from the U.S. ally, someone had to carry out that order.  That person was Mick Mulvaney.  In his double role as acting chief of staff and director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mulvaney both is right there to catch whatever Trump is pitching and has the government’s checkbook in hand.

So Trump told Mulvaney, who told the OMB staff, who told the Department of Defense to stop sending Ukraine the materials it needed to survive.  And they also told the DOD to shut up about it, because all this stuff was illegal as hell.  Of course, those OMB officials all refused to testify before Congress, and Mulvaney, after bragging about the whole thing in front of every television network in America, then walked it back on Twitter.  So it never happened.

“Then the emails started coming out.

“Over at the website Just Security, they’ve been combing through the emails that have been obtained over the last two months since hearings ended in the House.  Most of those emails have been released through Freedom of Information Act requests filed by various media and nonprofit sites.  However, those official FOIA versions of the emails have been redacted so heavily that Sharpie stock probably got a bump.  The fragments that survive certainly tell a story: a story of criminals criming, and covering it up.  But what’s even better is that Just Security managed to find sources for some of those same emails without their heavy coat of black paint.  Those emails confirm that both the DOD and the OMB  were completely aware that what they were doing was a violation of the Impoundment Control Act.  Pentagon officials repeatedly complain and point this out.  OMB officials acknowledge this fact—then go back to telling the folks at the Pentagon to clam up.

“Simultaneously, the letters reveal that the OMB was taking a different tack when it came to concerns expressed by the Government Accountability Office.  With the GAO, the OMB officials mostly played dumb and pretended that everything was on track.  That sometimes required just misleading the GAO. Sometimes it meant outright lies.  Just Security’s glimpse at the unredacted emails also reveals something else: The redactions made to the official versions were not made because they touch on information that is classified or protected by some form of executive privilege.  Instead, the site notes, the redactions show that ‘OMB is continuing its efforts to keep its knowledge of the Pentagon’s legal worries a secret, blacking out the portions of the emails where DoD officials voiced their concerns and where OMB staffers acknowledged them.’  The redactions made to these documents were not made casually.  According to The Washington Post, they were reviewed by OMB attorney Mark Paoletta, who ‘signed off on the delay of security assistance to Ukraine’ and overruled career officials.

“As Adam Schiff has noted, many of these are the same emails that the House Intelligence Committee attempted to obtain through a subpoena but the White House is still refusing to honor that subpoena.  And since Republicans in the Senate have endorsed the cover-up, it’s unclear that the OMB will ever hand over what appears to be crystal-clear evidence.

  • They knew they were involved in a crime.
  • The debated various excuses for their action.
  • They told Pentagon officials to help them in the cover-up.
  • That cover-up continues in the redactions made in response to FOIA requests.

“At this point it’s hard to even say that the House should subpoena Paoletta and OMB official Michael Duffey.  It should just go on to contempt—for the contemptible.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, February 13, 2020)

Trump’s trade war has cause great damage to our economy.  People’s Action explains why: “Trump crows the ‘Phase One’ trade agreement with China is a ‘promise kept’ to supporters to rebalance trade between the two nations.  But it is really just a temporary truce in his trade war, one which may not last long or deliver anything close to the outcomes he has promised.  In the deal, the U.S. will reduce some of its tariffs in exchange for a pledge from China to restore trade levels to where they were when Trump started the trade war, and to buy billions more in goods and services over two years.  But Trump’s China trade deal may blow up well before 2022, because it leaves the deeper sources of tension between the two countries untouched.  This means a renewed escalation is likely after the 2020 elections, if not sooner.  Trump’s two-year trade war has already been immensely destructive to the U.S. economy.  Rather than reviving U.S. manufacturers and creating an avalanche of new jobs, it has pushed the manufacturing sector into a recession.  Farming communities, too, have suffered billions in losses, causing the highest number of farm bankruptcies since 2011.  In order to avoid more harm to the U.S. economy, farmers and workers, we must bring a permanent end to the trade war and set the U.S.-China relationship on a fundamentally different path based on progressive priorities that favor workers, confront our climate crisis and counter Trump’s nationalism with a spirit of international solidarity.” (Tobita Chow, People’s Action, January 23, 2020)

Trump and the Republicans continue their assault on the environment, as reported by People’s Action: “The Trump administration is set to continue its dismantling of Obama-era environmental protections for the country’s waterways on Thursday, issuing new rules that remove federal protections for half the nation’s wetlands and hundreds of thousands of small waterways.  Trump repealed Obama’s 2015 ‘Waters of the United States’ regulation in September, a set of rules restricting dumping and development that impacted the country’s rivers, streams, and wetlands.  Now, the Trump administration is finalizing its own set of water rules that will, for the first time in decades, allow for pesticides and fertilizers to be dumped in waterways and open up wetlands to new development.  The Obama water rule was loathed by farmers, a crucial vote bank for Trump in 2020, as well as developers and the fossil fuel industry.  It covered 60 percent of American waterways, including large waterways like the Chesapeake Bay or Mississippi River and smaller rivers and streams, as well as seasonal waterways.  Those protections limited, for example, the pollution runoff from fertilizers and pesticides from nearby farms, the dumping of industrial chemicals by extraction companies, and wanton development on real estate that impacted nearby waterways.  Golf course developers, of which Trump is one, were vocal opponents of the Obama rule.  ‘Legal experts say that Mr. Trump’s replacement rule would go further than simply repealing and replacing the 2015 Obama rule—it would also eliminate protections to smaller headwaters that have been implemented for decades under the 1972 Clean Water Act,’ according to The New York Times.

‘That could open millions of acres of pristine wetlands to pollution or destruction, and allow chemicals and other pollutants to be discharged into smaller headland waters that eventually drain into larger water bodies, experts in water management said.  Wetlands play key roles in filtering surface water and protecting against floods, while also providing wildlife habitat.’” (Tobita Chow, People’s Action, January 23, 2020) Destructive acts such as this are a trademark of this administration.  I’ve asked this question before, but it needs repeating:  Just what are these so-called conservatives actually trying to conserve, other than their own jobs?

The issue of our reliance on plastics is becoming an extremely important one.  When Democrats Turn Out elaborates: “If we stay on our current course, in 30 years the ocean will have more plastic in it than fish.  That won’t just destroy marine life.  It will have irreparable harm on human health—as toxins leach from our waste into the food chain.  Increased risks of cancer, birth defects, immunodeficiencies, and impaired childhood development will follow as the poison we put in the planet’s seas makes its way back onto our plate.

“Democrats in Congress have proposed a solution: The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act.  The bill would halt construction of more plastic production plants until the EPA has a chance to assess the damage already done.  Then, the healing would begin—as single-use plastics would slowly be phased out starting in 2022.  And finally, the big corporations who allowed so much plastic into our oceans in the first place will have to pay the price, as the legislation would make them responsible for cleaning up the mess they created.  Right now, the bill has not made it past ‘Grim Reaper’ Mitch McConnell and his legislative graveyard. That’s why we’re asking for a grassroots push.” (When Democrats Turn Out, May 31, 2020)

For another example of how the administration views wildlife, consider this article from Environmental Action: “Are you sickened or saddened by the Trump administration’s get-out-of-jail-free passes for companies who ‘accidentally’ kill millions of birds per year?   Tell your U.S. representative to support H.R. 5552, the Migratory Bird Protection Act.  The proposal, which has bipartisan support, aims to stop the administration’s cruelly lax enforcement of one of our most successful bird protection laws: the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

“For decades, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cracked down on companies that let birds suffocate in oil field waste pits, get electrocuted on power transmission lines, and drown under commercial fishing nets.   That’s why BP paid $100 million in penalties: Its 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill killed hundreds of thousands of birds in the Gulf of Mexico.  But the Trump administration is looking the other way—and countless numbers of birds are paying the price.  If the BP oil spill happened today, the company would get off scot free.  After all, the administration says, the company didn’t intend to kill all of those birds!” (Environmental Action, May 26, 2020)

Trump and his administration are moving forward with their “Dirty Water Rule” which poses an enormous threat to our waterways.  Environment America explains: “The Dirty Water Rule strips protections from more than half of the country’s wetlands and thousands of streams.  Wetlands play a vital role in filtering out pollution and absorbing floodwaters.  The streams that are now left vulnerable feed our most iconic waterways, from Puget Sound to the Great Lakes.  And these streams help provide drinking water for millions of Americans, so opening them to polluters puts our health at risk.  It comes down to this: The administration’s new rule will mean dirtier water and more flooding.” (Wendy Wendlandt, Environment America, May 17, 2020) The article closes with this highly appropriate summary: “The Dirty Water Rule defies common sense, sound science and the law.”

The assault on our environment is by no means limited to our waters.  Sierra Club discusses the attempt of corporate polluters to install a new project, the Sea Port Oil Terminal: “The oil and gas industry has already taken over much of the Gulf Coast, contaminating our wetlands, beaches, and waters—jeopardizing the health and well-being of the people and wildlife in the region.  Now, a multi-billion dollar oil corporation, Enterprise Products Partners, wants to construct the massive and dirty Sea Port Oil Terminal (SPOT).  If built, the SPOT project would load very large crude carriers at a rate of two million barrels of oil per day, posing a significant risk to marine life and the livelihoods of people and local communities up and down the coast.  That’s why the campaign to #StopSPOT is so important—we must prevent this multi-billion dollar corporation from causing irreparable harm to the Texas Gulf region…Pipelines leak and spill oil.  Between 2010 and 2016, Texas alone suffered more than 1,100 pipeline accidents.  The corporation behind SPOT, Enterprise Product Partners, already has one of the worst oil spill records in the country.  Among its worst spills, in 2017, Enterprise’s Seaway pipeline leaked more than 600,000 barrels of crude oil near Dallas.  The year before, Enterprise reported 27 ‘incidents,’ including a major spill from a corroded pipe at its Cushing, Oklahoma, tank farm.  SPOT’s storage facilities, inland pipeline routes, and the offshore pipeline and platforms would cross more than 100 streams and rivers, many wetlands, and then travel through Gulf waters for more than 30 miles.  Additionally, the project involves the loading of massive oil tankers, the size of the Empire State Building, at a rate of 2 million barrels of crude per day.” (Rebekah Hinojosa, Sierra Club, May 23, 2020) There are countless other dangerous projects underfoot to turn our dwindling natural resources into vast wastelands of pollution.

Of course, the Republicans are doing everything they can to destroy our environment.  Environment America describes what is happening to the Tongass forest in Alaska, which encompasses 16.7 million acres: “Right now, the Trump administration is trying to lift protections for the world’s largest temperate rainforest.  The Tongass is a priceless treasure—and we’re committed to keeping it safe for generations to come.

“What threatens the Tongass today?  How did we get here?  And what’s next?…The Tongass is the largest national forest in America.  Part of what makes it so special is how wild and ancient it is: Sections of the Tongass are home to centuries-old trees that have never been cut down.  Right now, about half of the Tongass is completely off-limits to logging and development thanks to a policy called the Roadless Rule.  But if the Trump administration gets its way, it won’t remain protected for long.  The Trump administration has announced that it wants to exempt the Tongass from the protection of the Roadless Rule.  This would make more than 9 million formerly protected acres vulnerable to logging and the road-building that precedes it.  Over 165,000 acres of priceless old-growth forest could be logged.  The Roadless Rule is vital.  Our network had a hand in establishing it, and we remain committed to maintaining it.” (Wendy Wendtland, Environment America, May 29, 2020)

Donald Trump is a supremely ignorant man.  To cite one example, after winning the 2020 Super Bowl, Trump tweeted the following: “Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs on a great game, and a fantastic comeback, under immense pressure.  You represented the Great State of Kansas and, in fact, the entire USA, so very well.  Our country is PROUD OF YOU!”  Someone must have whispered to Trump that Kansas City is in Missouri, not Kansas, because the tweet was soon removed.  Comical as this and similar examples may be, they are disturbing as they show what kind of man the American people chose to be their leader.  Could Trump even pass a sixth grade geography exam?

In view of all his crimes, Donald Trump should not have been allowed to make his state of the union address.  What transpired is reported by People’s Action: “President Trump took full advantage of the large television audience for his State of the Union speech on Tuesday to make his case for reelection in November, touting the strong economy and delighting Republicans in the room with a series of made-for-TV moments.  But his address also laid bare his bitter partisan standoff with Democrats and left little doubt that legislative accomplishments between now and the election will be difficult, if not impossible.  Before declaring that ‘the state of our union is stronger than ever before,’ Trump appeared to snub Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, turning away as she reached out to shake his hand after he handed her a copy of his remarks.  After Trump finished speaking, as Republicans cheered, she theatrically tore her copy of the address in half.  Later, on Twitter, Pelosi called the speech a ‘manifesto of mistruths.’” (James Mumm, People’s Action, February 5, 2020)

Many Republicans expressed displeasure over Pelosi’s supposed insult to the president, while conveniently ignoring his earlier snub of her.  It would have been even better if she had thrown it at him after tearing it up, but the point was made.  To cite just one of the lies Pelosi referred to, Trump actually had the audacity to claim that drug prices have gone down under his leadership when in fact he has given the green light for pharmaceutical industries to raise prices to unprecedented levels.  Pelosi summed up the whole scenario on twitter: “He has shredded the truth in his speech.  He’s shredding the constitution in his conduct.  I shredded his state of his mind address.”

One of the most nonsensical arguments that Republicans continue to make is how great the economy is—when they are in charge.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Let Daily Kos provide us with a bit of truth that Republicans will never admit, namely that Democrats have always been the ones to straighten out economic disasters brought about by Republican policies: “It was March 2008, and the American economy was in free fall.  The George W. Bush administration was frozen, relying on token measures of the Federal Reserve to try to stem the bleeding caused by a decade of myopic financial policy that had finally culminated in the subprime mortgage and market meltdown known as the ‘Financial Crisis.’  The stock market had already collapsed, wiping away the net worth and future retirements of millions, and the economy was already in recession.  The unemployment rate had jumped, in a month, from 4.8% to 5.1%.  An Illinois senator and presidential candidate named Barack Obama—then locked in a tight race with New York Sen. Hillary Clinton—issued a blistering critique of the Bush administration’s ineptitude: ‘It’s a policy so divorced from the reality facing the American people and the American economy that it would be laughable if it weren’t so frightening.’  Fast forward one year to February 2009.  Barack Obama had just been sworn in as president.  The unemployment rate was now 8.1%.  House Democrats, now with a Democratic president, had worked for months on an $819 billion recovery plan to shore up American business with grants, loans, and infrastructure projects, as well as aid for Americans hardest hit by the crisis.  This fiscal ‘stimulus’ passed, without a single Republican vote…Had the ‘fiscal stimulus’ to the economy not been passed—or had Republicans controlled both the House and Senate—what we now call the Great Recession would very likely be known as the Second Great Depression.  It is also quite possible that we would still be mired in it.  The years that followed that stimulus, called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, have been widely understood, by Democrats and Republicans alike, as ‘the longest period of economic growth and job creation in American history…

“Today we see a similar disparity in fiscal policy in response to the coronavirus pandemic already emerging between Republicans and Democrats.  The Trump administration, acting with its routine, reflexive incompetence, first floated a magical, amorphous ‘tax cut’ as their only idea for solving the crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.  When the markets reacted to that with a unanimous vote of no confidence, the administration tried to get more specific.  The tax cuts would be directed to the hospitality industry, the cruise industry, and the airline industries.  There is now also vague talk of a payroll tax cut, although the value of a smaller payroll deduction in Americans’ pockets will provide little in the way of fiscal stimulus, particularly where homebound workers aren’t spending anything beyond basic necessities.

“According to CNN, ‘Wall Street executives, including bank CEOs, have been invited to provide suggestions on how the U.S. economy could possibly claw itself out of a worldwide work stoppage.’  The White House is considering small ‘timely and targeted micro forms of assistance,’ according to Larry Kudlow, the Fox News personality now apparently responsible for saving the entire U.S. economy.  But, as he clarifies, ‘we’re not looking at these massive, federal, throw money at people plans.’
On Monday, the markets again weighed in on the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic: The Dow registered its largest one-day point drop in history

“It’s clear that the same disparity between Republican and Democratic responses to an urgent calamity impacting the well-being of literally millions of Americans was apparent in 2008 and 2009, and remains apparent today. Republicans—before Trump, and now under Trump—uniformly and robotically respond to any crisis with calls for ‘tax cuts,’ while Democrats respond by addressing the practical ramifications, the nuts and bolts of the actual crisis.  With the coronavirus pandemic there is also the massive additional task of managing an unprecedented public health catastrophe.  Thus far the Trump administration hasn’t even seen fit to acknowledge the magnitude of that, and continues to downplay its seriousness, even as the infection rates soar throughout the country.

“There is a lesson here for all Americans, one that is likely to grow more and more apparent in the coming weeks: Republicans are ideologically unprepared—if not utterly incapable—of managing any crisis of this magnitude.  Since their entire ideology assumes that the government is ‘bad,’ they can’t adapt to any situation where government action is clearly the only solution, whether it’s an economic crisis brought on by their own fiscal malfeasance, or here, a public health crisis of unprecedented proportions.  They simply don’t have those tools in their kits.  They are so wedded to their ideology that they can’t even begin to comprehend just how complicated a crisis like this will be, or the measures necessary to protect Americans from disaster.  The painful lesson here for Americans is that Republicans must be voted out if this country is going to survive. Hopefully Americans will come to understand this—before it’s too late.” (Dartagnan, Daily Kos, March 9, 2020)

Daily Kos has much more to say on the current economic crisis: “House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is not a fan of history, apparently.  At least not when history belies the myths Republicans stick in their constituents’ mouths like lightly drugged binkies whenever they want to pretend our country’s economy wasn’t saved by a black man who actually understands trivial matters like economics, foreign policy, diplomacy, and not dribbling a painter’s palette worth of McNugget sauces down the front of one’s torso.  Of course, Republicans are particularly bad at grasping recent economic history—so much so that they’ve almost completely forgotten who was president between Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.  The name is on the tip of their tongues, but when the Republican National Convention comes along every four years, they somehow can’t seem to get it out.  That’s why they need to be reminded of their incompetence at every turn, and tweets like this are a great start: McCarthy: ‘Can you even imagine what a socialist democrat president would do to the booming economy that President Trump and Republican policies have helped build?’ J.Rehling: ‘Nine of the last ten U.S. recessions began with a Republican President.  Good time for you to, I don’t know, shut up.  1953 Republican.  1958 Republican.  1960 Republican.  1969 Republican.  1973 Republican.  1980 Democratic.  1981 Republican.  1990 Republican.  2001 Republican.  2007 Republican.

“Honestly, this pervasive, lingering myth that Republicans are great for the economy and Democrats are poison never ceases to baffle me.  The opposite is true.  On every important measure—GDP growth, job creation, deficit spending, business investment growth—Democrats beat Republicans’ brains out, and they have for decades.  This only makes sense, of course.  Democrats want to invest broadly in our economy, whereas Republicans love to balloon the deficit and hand fistfuls of cash to obscenely wealthy plutocrats just because.  So what would a ‘socialist Democrat’ do?  Probably invest in infrastructure and a forward-looking green economy; unshackle financially strapped workers who are burdened with crushing student loan debt; free would-be entrepreneurs who are scared to leave their jobs because they can’t lose their insurance; put more money in the hands of poor and middle class workers, who would be more apt to spend it; and protect our air, water, and natural resources, thus ensuring a sustainable future economy.  What won’t they do?  Take credit for the previous president’s economy, like McCarthy just did.  Why?  There’s still a very good chance we’ll be in a recession by January 2021, because you could replace Donald Trump’s brain with a 9-volt battery plugged into a pimento loaf and very few people would be able to tell the difference.  Also, on economic policy, Trump has pretty faithfully followed the script of our last Republican president—whoever that might be—and that dude left the economy in a smoldering Yucatan crater before skipping off to paint cat pictures or some sh@#.  Which begs the question: Given all of this thoroughly documented historical data, why would anyone trust a Republican with the economy ever again?” (Aldous J. Pennyfarthing, Daily Kos, February 8, 2020)

Consider also how Republicans treat senior citizens.  People’s Action reports: “Glen Heck spent 28 years sweating in a Campti, La., paper mill that he likes to say was ‘hotter than nine kinds of hell.’  The Democratic-controlled House passed—with bipartisan support—a commonsense plan to save Heck’s pension and those of another 1.3 million workers, retirees and widows.  But Republican leaders in the Senate refuse to consider it.  In the meantime, the futures of workers and retirees like Heck hang in the balance.  Under the bill passed by the House, the Butch Lewis Act, the Treasury Department would loan money to troubled plans.  The plans would use the money to meet their obligations to retirees, and they would repay the loans over 30 years.  But instead of passing the Butch Lewis Act to fix the pension crisis, Senate Republicans introduced legislation that would make the problem worse.  Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee want to increase the premiums that retirement plans pay—something that would push currently healthy plans into financial ruin and put more workers’ retirements in jeopardy.  The added costs also would propel some employers into bankruptcy, costing workers their jobs.  Grassley and Alexander also want to increase taxes on pensions, taking a bigger slice of the benefits workers earned and imposing a greater burden on retirees unable to afford it.  Workers and retirees didn’t create the pension crisis.  But Grassley and Alexander want them to pay for it.” (Tom Conway, People’s Action, February 14, 2020) Of course, it is Republicans who always accuse Democrats of raising taxes.  Another myth waiting to be exposed.

Now let us move on to the issue of Social Security and see how Trump’s words contradict his actions, as they do on virtually every other issue.

The Social Security Administration actually ran the numbers and confirmed: Trump’s plan to gut Social Security would cause disability insurance to run out in 2021, and benefits for seniors to run out in 2023. Protecting Social Security was one of Trump’s campaign promises; now it’s at the brink of collapsing.

This from the man who said: “Democrats are going to destroy your social security.  I have totally left it alone, as promised, and will save it!” Donald Trump, January 23, 2020)

The tax scam of 2017 has received a great deal of criticism, but this of course has not dissuaded Trump and his henchmen.  Far from it.  Americans for Tax Fairness lists some of the nonsense in Trump’s latest budget: “Donald Trump has proposed an austerity budget that slashes trillions of dollars of critical services for working families to pay for his tax scam for the rich and corporations.  And now, through his latest budget proposal, he’s doubling down on his tax giveaway, growing it from $1.9 trillion to a proposed $3.1 trillion―mostly for the richest among us…For the fourth year in a row, Donald Trump’s budget will take from working families in order to give to the wealthy.  Trump’s latest budget proposes the following:  1) $1 trillion in cuts to Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act  2) $180 billion in cuts to food and nutrition assistance and $1.7 billion in cuts to school meals for low-income children  3) $170 billion in cuts to student loan programs  4) $75 billion in cuts to Social Security disability programs  5) And more including cuts to the EPA and housing for low-income families!
Trump’s budget doubles down on tax cuts for the rich while slashing services for the rest of us.” (Andrea Haverdink, Americans for Tax Fairness, February 11, 2020)

Americans have a right to know where their tax money is going, but Republican will have none of it.  As When Democrats Turn Out asks: “Which businesses are being bailed out on your dime?  According to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, that information is ‘confidential.’  That’s right—Trump’s top money man won’t tell Americans where their tax dollars are going, POLITICO reported, even though ‘officials had indicated earlier that the information would be subject to public scrutiny.’  News organizations are now suing the Trump administration for release of that information.  But every day that goes by is another day Trump’s cronies get to treat our taxes like Monopoly money—and another day big business gets to profit off of everyone else’s crisis.” (When Democrats Turn Out, June 17, 2020) Five hundred billion dollars in corporate bailouts, but Mnuchin won’t mention who the beneficiaries are.  Clearly, the only way to end this nonsense is to remove the perpetrators from power.

A word about presidential pardons is in order here.  Trump has issued pardons to more individuals than any other president in history.  And what kind of people are receiving these pardons?  People’s Action tells us: “President Trump announced Tuesday that he would commute former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s 14-year prison sentence for extortion, bribery and corruption—as well as issue full pardons for former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik and financier Michael Milken.  The president’s clemency spree largely benefitted white-collar criminals convicted of crimes like corruption, gambling fraud and racketeering, undercutting his message of ‘draining the swamp.’  Blagojevich, a former contestant on Trump’s ‘Celebrity Apprentice,’ attempted to exchange an appointment to Barack Obama’s Senate seat for campaign contributions after the 2008 presidential election and was eight years into his sentence.  DeBartolo was convicted of gambling fraud in 1998.  Kerik, the head of the NYPD during the Sept. 11 attacks and a nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security by George W. Bush, pleaded guilty to tax fraud and other charges in 2009 after accepting a $250,000 ‘loan’ from an Israeli billionaire during his tenure as interior minister of Iraq immediately after the U.S. invasion.” (Steven Rosenfeld, People’s Action, February 19, 2020)

A similar article from the same publication  and author tells us how Trump thinks he is above the law: “Trump’s pardons and commutations of political allies followed moves to punish witnesses in his impeachment trial, publicly intervene in a pending legal case to urge leniency for a friend, attack a federal judge, accuse a juror of bias and threaten to sue his own government for investigating him.  Trump defended his actions, saying he has the right to shape the country’s legal systems as he sees fit.  ‘I’m allowed to be totally involved,’ he told reporters as he left Washington on Tuesday for a trip to California, Nevada and Arizona.  I’m actually, I guess, the chief law enforcement officer of the country.  But I’ve chosen not to be involved.’  The president’s post-impeachment behavior has alarmed Attorney General William P. Barr, who has told people close to the president that he is willing to quit unless Trump stops publicly commenting on ongoing criminal matters, according to two administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.  It also has appalled several legal experts and former officials, who have said his direct intervention in legal matters risks further politicizing law enforcement at a time of fraying confidence in the Justice Department.  More than 2,000 former Justice Department employees signed a public letter this week objecting to Trump’s public intervention in the case of his longtime friend Roger Stone, and urging Barr to resign.”

A key strategy for Republicans is to shift the blame to others and to do so loudly, knowing that almost no one will fact check them, their reporters will buy every word of it, and the media will rarely question them.  Daily Kos summarizes this brilliantly: “It wasn’t Russia that attacked America, tipping the election scales to the Republicans in an effort to keep a longtime Putin adversary from the presidency; it was actually the Democrats, and Ukraine.  It was not Manafort, Flynn, Stone, and a host of other Trump officials and hangers-on that did crimes; it was the Deep State, a conspiracy coming from within the government itself.  Climate change was invented by scientists to get more sweet, sweet science money.  China invented a new coronavirus in an attempt to take over the world by giving everyone ‘the flu, but slightly worse.’  The enemy of the state is not those who break laws, but the “whistleblowers” who speak up.  The enemy of the state is a free press that reports things the party doesn’t like, rather than the things the party would prefer.” (Hunter, Daily Kos, February 17, 2020)

It is time for us to discuss the role fundamentalist Christianity, coupled with Trumpism, is causing untold damage to our country and its institutions.


In my earlier articles on Trump and the Republican party, I went into considerable detail about the pernicious influence of fundamentalist religion both on individuals and on society.  We have seen how whenever someone is forced to explain why they believe something that is objectively unprovable or even blatantly false, they tend to become angry and lash out at whoever dares to question their beliefs.  Psychologically, this is because at some level, they know that there is no objective proof that validates their fantasies.  So how does this affect the two political parties?

The Democratic party is one that has no official stance on religion; most Democrats, whether Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Buddhist, agnostic or atheist, tend to take the view of “live and let live.”  Democrats can trace their views on the founding fathers who, despite lies promulgated by the Radical Religious Right (RRR), almost universally believed in the importance between religion and government.  A few quotes from the founders may be in order here.  Benjamin Franklin said: “The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.”  John Adams noted: “As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character or enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Mussellmen,—and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”  (Mussellmen and Mehomitan are terms then in vogue to describe Islam and Muslims)  This quote stands in stark contrast of those who falsely contend that the United States is a “Christian Nation.”  Thomas Jefferson stated: “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and state.”  Jefferson also noted: “In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty.  He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses for protection to his own.”  It should be obvious that Radical Religious Right (RRR) leaders rarely if ever quote Jefferson.  Consider his comment on religious history: “On the dogmas of religion, as distinguished from moral principles, all mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, have been quarreling, fighting, burning, and torturing one another, for abstractions unintelligible to themselves and to all others, and absolutely beyond the comprehension of the human mind.”  One final quote from Jefferson: “Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity.  What has been the effect of coercion?  To make one half of the world fools, and the other half hypocrites.  To support roguery and error all over the earth.”  History bears stark testimony to Jefferson’s observation: If one cannot convince someone of the alleged truth of a religious claim, his only recourse is to violence.

The difference here is simply the difference between objectivity and subjectivity.  If there is a table in your kitchen, you can prove it objectively.  If you believe in something that you cannot show, describe or demonstrate, that is subjective.

So when you listen to the rantings of a RRR preacher, recognize that you are hearing the voice of a Christian Dark Age mentality.  To people of this kind, who have accepted their ideas on faith, reason is of no use; Martin Luther once said that the best way to have faith is to “tear out the eyes of reason.”  This is what is meant by the term “blind faith.”  Here, I will provide a few quotes from religious people that illustrate this mentality: “Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith…we need believing people.”  This statement, one that falls directly in line with todays RRR Christian leaders, was made by Adolf Hitler in “Mein Kampf.”  Randall Terry, the founder of Operation Rescue, instructed his parishioners: “I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you.  I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you.  Yes, hate is good…Our goal is a Christian nation.  We have a biblical duty, we are called by God, to conquer this country.  We don’t want equal time.  We don’t want pluralism.”  This also perfectly dovetails with the views of today’s Republican party.  The medieval monk Thomas A’ Kempis, the author of “The Imitation of Christ,” had this to say about how we should live: “Be fiercely angry against thyself, and suffer no pride to dwell in thee, but show thyself so humble, so very small, that all may be able to walk over thee, and to tread thee down as the mire of the streets.”  This formula, if followed, will create either a non-questioning sheep-like believer who believes everything he is told, or else—a criminal.  Finally, Pope Gregory the first showed his idea of Christian morality with this statement: “The bliss of the elect in heaven would not be perfect unless they were able to look across the abyss and enjoy the agonies of their brethren in eternal fire.”

Despite Christian claims that their religion is based on love, the reverse is the case: Fear, hatred, ignorance, and guilt are the engines driving Christianity.  For an elaboration of this conclusion, I refer readers to my earlier articles, all available on this blog.

All of this illustrates the fundamental immorality of dogmatic religious belief, Christianity in particular.  Daily Kos provides an excellent example of what this means in today’s fractured religious and political communities: “The message of progressive Democratic candidates often falls on deaf ears with followers of conservative and religious right leaders.  Same goes for many Trump supporters.  This is because they speak the language of logic rather than emotion.  The right wing recognizes and affirms the more negative emotions, angers, and feelings of the voters, and starts there with their propaganda and manipulations.  And it’s not just those who one would classify as cult like followers of these con men and women, who are being bamboozled.  Large swaths of voters are also swayed by their rhetoric.  Understanding the mass psychology of the right and Christian right are worth understanding, if for no other reason that you should know your opponent’s strategy and understand why they are often successful.  In very simple terms, it happens when an individual is so repressed and confused by their life experiences and emotions that they eagerly give up thinking, personal freedom, problem solving, and logic to someone else, like an authoritarian leader, who in turn transmits back to them an illusion of personal power and control.

“It is NOT a logical process, but an emotional one.  Any authoritarian leader or religious hustler or cult leader can latch on to that emotion and energy.  There is a strong repressed sexual aspect to this, and true followers, as opposed to the opportunists that take advantage of them, have had their spirits crushed by a lifetime of sex negative religious dogma and emotional paralysis in dealing with sexual and personal relations.  Every Patriarchal society and almost every nation is plagued by this development, and has the potential to develop in a fascist direction.  The upper classes usually emphasize independent thinking and leadership for their own class, but a submissive to authority education and upbringing to the lower classes.  Those of us who have not fallen victim to such leaders are completely out of touch with the large segment of our country which follows them blindly.  These millions of followers are quite naturally a valuable resource to be exploited by opportunist politicians like Trump, which seek to hide their true loyalties and irrational and destructive policies behind a public face of religious sympathy and support.  Not surprisingly, the Republicans have succeeded in trapping and using this resource.  Whatever one likes or dislikes about the Democrats, their appeal to voters is primarily to logic.  Whereas the Republicans long ago learned to appeal to the dark side of people’s emotions, since they had no logical or progressive policies to sell.  So the Republicans have become the party of hate, misogyny, racism, bigotry, homophobia, war, and anti-immigrant sentiment affixed to a false and extremist Christian face.  They now, and have been for some time, openly organizing people around these negative emotions and behaviors.  The mainstream media fails to recognize the effects of the extreme polarization of the two party system, and blames BOTH parties equally for the log jams in Washington.  People who have fallen under the influence of an authoritarian or religious leader will hold on furiously to their dependence.  They have invested their self esteem into the identity and success of these leaders, and by supporting them, they have built up their own self worth.  One of the reasons right wing religious leaders can get their members to send them so much money for such ridiculous and scandalous reasons.

“We cannot assume that logic and reason will prevail over emotional biases.  There are too many tragic historical examples of this human failing.  As we all know, Christianity is the dominant religion in America.  And it has not been immune to class compromise over the centuries and in America more recently.  The state allows Christianity today a favored status as long as it remains compromised, and does not pursue a class based policy that Jesus reportedly followed, one which advocated for the poor.  A policy which eventually also cost the life of Rev. King and many others.

“Candidates hoping to defeat Trump MUST read the emotional mood of the voters, and deliver their message in an emotionally credible and effective manner.  All can easily be lost if significant mistakes are made in this area.  No matter how sensible and logic a message may be, it doesn’t guarantee it will be heard or understood, or that it will win votes.  One thing I’ve been kicking around is what is the best emotional grounds to go after Trump with?  That will energize and motivate those already against him, and perhaps penetrate the walls of resistance many of his supporters.   Can there even be such a strategy.  I think there is.  But it’s not one that is complicated or hard to follow.  It must be simplistic yet valid and emotional. I would consider some simple, yet emotional propositions.  Such as a mass line saying: ‘What has he done as president?  For you?  For the country.  For our future?  He offers a future of perpetual conflict and corruption for the country.  Burying our heads in the sand while American democracy crumbles will not change our fate.  A Wall between us and Mexico solves nothing and wastes valuable resources.  Nor will it pay your bills, solve global warming, mitigate and address racism and racial conflict, get you a good paying job, or health care insurance you can afford, or you son or daughter into college.  He has turned brother against brother, and sister against sister.  American against American.  Enough of him.’” (Psychusa, Daily Kos, February 21, 2020)

Here is a brief peek into the mindset of Jerry Falwell, Jr. who, like his father, seems to be on the wrong and immoral side of every issue: “Jerry Falwell Jr. has been pushing anti-COVID-19 propaganda for a couple of months now.  He tried to keep Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, open during quarantine.  He did this in opposition against everyone in Lynchburg and the greater area.  He was forced to close the school as reality struck.  His school has subsequently been sued for trying to keep students’ money, having mislead many into believing the school was going to be open during the pandemic.” (Walter Einenkel, Daily Kos, May 27, 2020) This shows how, like most fundamentalist preachers, Falwell cares not a whit for American lives.

Calling themselves “pro-life” may be the single biggest lie Republicans try to sell the American public.  Theirs is a philosophy of death, not life.  And religious faith lies at its core.

Understanding the fundamentalist religious mindset is key to understanding the fundamentalist Republican mindset.  Both are based on subjective faith rather than objective facts.  And both are completely wrong in their ideas.  In both cases, compromise is a foreign concept.  In both cases, logic and reason are either inadmissible or altered and falsified to suit their purposes.  And both religion and Republicanism are necessary foundations to a totalitarian state: Without faith, the lies and dangers of both Christianity and Trumpism would be exposed for all to see.  What we are witnessing in today’s United States is a massive credulity crisis.  Too many of our citizens are taking the easy way out, since believing is easier than thinking.  Simply put, as a nation we are not intellectually honest enough or emotionally mature enough to reject religion, in whatever form it takes.  The chaos we are witnessing today provides more than enough proof of this assertion.


In summarizing the first three years of Donald Trump’s presidency, People’s Action graphically illustrates the disastrous consequences of this immoral man-child’s so-called leadership: “When Donald Trump came into office, there was a sense that he would be outmatched by the vast government he had just inherited.  The new president was impetuous, bottomlessly ignorant, almost chemically inattentive, while the bureaucrats were seasoned, shrewd, protective of themselves and their institutions.  They knew where the levers of power lay and how to use them or prevent the president from doing so.  Trump’s White House was chaotic and vicious, unlike anything in American history, but it didn’t really matter as long as ‘the adults’ were there to wait out the president’s impulses and deflect his worst ideas and discreetly pocket destructive orders lying around on his desk.  After three years, the adults have all left the room—saying just about nothing on their way out to alert the country to the peril—while Trump is still there.  Within the federal government, career officials are weighing outside job opportunities against their pension plans and their commitment to their oaths.  More than 1,000 scientists have left the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture, and other agencies, according to The Washington Post.  Almost 80 percent of employees at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture have quit.  The Labor Department has made deep cuts in the number of safety inspectors, and worker deaths nationwide have increased dramatically, while recalls of unsafe consumer products have dropped off.  When passing laws and changing regulations prove onerous, the Trump administration simply guts the government of expertise so that basic functions wither away, the well-connected feed on the remains, and the survivors keep their heads down, until the day comes when they face the same choice as McCabe and Yovanovitch: do Trump’s dirty work or be destroyed.  Four years is an emergency.  Eight years is a permanent condition.  ‘Things can hold together to the end of the first term, but after that, things fall apart,’ Malinowski said. ‘People start leaving in droves. It’s one thing to commit four years of your life to the institution in the hope that you can be there for its restoration.  It’s another to commit eight years.  I can’t even wrap my head around what that would be like.’” (Vijay Prasad, People’s Action, March 2, 2020) This article shows how one evil man, like his fascist predecessor in Nazi Germany, can wreak havoc on an entire country.  Even more ominous is the fact that almost no one seems aware of the incalculable damage this man has done not only to our country, but to the world.  Unless people wake up and start fighting back, fascism will win.

Der Spiegle, a respected German news magazine, ran an article on Donald Trump that well summarizes the views of those outside the United States.  As quoted in Daily Kos: “Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States.  He does not possess the requisite intellect and does not understand the significance of the office he holds nor the tasks associated with it.  He doesn’t read.  He doesn’t bother to peruse important files and intelligence reports and knows little about the issues that he has identified as his priorities.  His decisions are capricious and they are delivered in the form of tyrannical decrees.  He is a man free of morals.  As has been demonstrated hundreds of times, he is a liar, a racist and a cheat.  I feel ashamed to use these words, as sharp and loud as they are.  But if they apply to anyone, they apply to Trump.  And one of the media’s tasks is to continue telling things as they are: Trump has to be removed from the White House. Quickly.  He is a danger to the world.” (Jen Hayden, Daily Kos, May 26, 2017) Interestingly this article dates from some three years ago.  One can only wonder if the author of this piece has seen or heard anything from Trump that has caused him to re-consider.  I wouldn’t hold my breath.

November 2020 will prove to be a turning point in American history.  If Donald Trump successfully steals the election, as he did the last one, Republicans will feel emboldened to remove the last vestiges of democracy from the United States.  Should he lose, he will certainly contest the election.  Given his statements and those of his co-conspirators in Congress, this is a foregone conclusion.  The only thing that is open to question concerns the response from his supporters should he lose the election.  Will it be a peaceful transition, or a violent one?  What is certain is that Democrats would be well advised to prepare for the worst, whether Trump wins or loses.

Categories:   America, Political Affairs