AMERICA: JULY 1, 2021—DECEMBER 31, 2021
BY JON NELSON
In my previous article, covering the period January 1 to June 30, 2021, I began referring to the Republican party as the New Fascist Party. Certainly it is a propitious time for all right-thinking people to begin using this term as the old Republican Party now exists only in name; virtually every one of its leaders is now supporting the formation of a totalitarian fascist government although most of them will heatedly deny this. For those who object and call this “name calling,” I refer you to the words of Donald Trump: “I want what’s best for America, not what’s best for the Communist Democratic Party.” And to be sure, there is much more objective evidence for calling the former Republican party the NFP than there is for calling the Democratic party “socialist” or “communist.”
This latest installment of the crimes of this illegitimate group will focus on how the NFP’s leaders have become more and more emboldened; many of them are now actively supporting the murder of Democrats. This unthinkable situation has become so extreme (and unfortunately commonplace) that many members of Congress are afraid to even show their faces in public; death threats have become so commonplace that it is hard to keep track of all of them. Worst of all, the NFP has become so overtly totalitarian that their leaders refuse to condemn those who are making these threats. Many of the threats are in fact coming from NFP leaders themselves. This is in stark contrast to the earlier Republican party which was successful in keeping the extremists at bay. Today, the extremists are running the show and are becoming more and more emboldened and dangerous as the few remaining moderates in their party are either unwilling or afraid to stand up for what is right. This is why I have titled the first chapter in this article “The End of Democracy.” Here, we will examine the history behind the NFP’s sudden rise to power by examining other foreign countries and how totalitarianism entered the political arena and subsequently seized control.
THE NFP AND THE END OF DEMOCRACY
The path to making the United States into a third-world theocracy has multiple roots. One of the most significant of these was the passing of the Patriot Act in the wake of September 11, 2001. The Juggernaut Project shows how this nefarious piece of legislation has been used by the extreme right in their effort to attain total power and keep it: “Twenty years ago, in the aftermath of 9/11, Congress enshrined the Patriot Act—an extensive increase of the government’s authority to spy on its own citizens. The bill was so expansive in its reach that many members of Congress didn’t even read it before voting it through. The results were disastrous. The legacy of the Patriot Act is two decades of unfettered surveillance on millions of Americans, without warrants or needing to prove any kind of probable cause. But its effects are also specific: Muslim communities, immigrant communities, and racial justice protesters have felt the brunt of the Patriot Act’s powerful, intrusive assault on civil liberties and human rights—all in the name of misguided concerns of ‘national security.’
“The real threat to our democracy comes from far-right violent extremists, emboldened by misinformation about the 2020 Presidential election. But instead of taking the threat of far-right extremism seriously, the Patriot Act authorized all levels of government to aggressively surveil Muslims, immigrants, and Black Lives Matter protesters. The Patriot Act has become a bedrock of domestic spying, with top secret courts providing almost no oversight, and costing taxpayers billions of dollars. Progressive activists won a huge victory in 2020 by gutting a key provision of the Patriot Act called Section 215. But the fight will not be over until the entirety of the Patriot Act is repealed.” (The Juggernaut Project, October 27, 2021)
If there is one absolute, indisputable fact that has emerged from the insurrection of January 6, 2021, it is that Donald Trump planned the complete overthrow of the government of the United States and install himself as president (dictator) for life. Daily Kos printed an excellent article which lays bare the president’s treason. Although long, it needs to be printed in its entirety: “One week ago, a memo was revealed showing a detailed scheme, prepared at the White House and discussed in the Oval Office, by which the former sitting executive proposed to overturn the results of the election and remain in office indefinitely. That plan wasn’t an argument about the needs of the nation in the midst of some emergency. It didn’t even claim that there was actual fraud in the election. It was simply the step-by-step means by which the electoral votes of multiple states would not be acknowledged. Those in control of the United States of America made a plan to end the United States of America. To end the whole concept of a representative democracy. To destroy the republic.
“Had the effort to fundamentally end the nation been limited to a memo circulating through the highest levels in government, it still would have represented the largest threat to the nation since the Civil War—easily greater than the threat posed by any foreign enemy. But it wasn’t just a memo. Attorney John Eastman’s plan was built on pieces that the GOP had already been putting into place to transform America from a democracy to authoritarian dictatorship.
“For example, on Dec. 14, Republicans in Georgia told the media that they were having a closed-door meeting with educators about the ongoing pandemic. They were not. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported at the time, they were actually meeting to elect a ‘shadow slate of electors’ who were put in place expressly ‘to preserve Trump’s legal challenges.’
“It wasn’t just Eastman. It wasn’t just the Oval Office. The memo was just one clear description of a scheme that went on across the country to bring down the American government. And one week later, the media is completely ignoring the biggest story in the nation’s history.
“What do we know of Trump’s efforts to sever the line of elections that goes back to the nation’s founding?
Eastman’s memo lays out a six-step process in which Mike Pence acknowledges the slate of alternative electors handily provided by Georgia Republicans as a pretext for refusing to total that’s state’s votes. Pence would then simply repeat this process across a number of states until he reached the point where Trump had won a majority of the states he would agree to count. At that point, Pence would declare Trump the winner. Should anyone object—a fairly safe bet—Pence would toss the question to the House, where Republicans control a bare margin of delegations, and each state gets only one vote. And should that draw objections, the whole thing would be bundled up for the Trump-packed Supreme Court. On every legal point, Eastman is simply wrong. In every iteration of this plan, it doesn’t matter. All that had to happen to crumple the nation was for Pence to say the words.
To smooth the path to destruction, Trump worked directly with attorney Jeffrey Clark on a plan to remove acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, replace him with Clark, and then used the full weight of the Department of Justice to support efforts to halt the electoral count and recognize Georgia’s ‘shadow slate’ as its official delegation. Clark intended to put an official Department of Justice stamp on all the claims about voter fraud being made by Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell. Again, there was actual no legal or factual basis behind Clark’s claims. It would not have mattered. The point was to throw away the last pretense that the Department of Justice was anything but a part of Trump’s effort to remain in power. Clark was positioning himself as the Martial Herman or Pyotr Krasikov of the Trumpist regime.
“The only thing that prevented Clark’s scheme from moving forward—the only thing—was the coincidental release of the recording of Trump’s threats to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Had that recording not appeared exactly when it did, there is little doubt Clark’s scheme would have moved forward.
Bannon spelled out from the beginning how Trump could pitch the nation into turmoil using the official recording of electoral votes on Jan. 6 as a gateway to chaos. Like Eastman, Bannon didn’t even pretend that there was some kind of truth behind the claims of election fraud, or that what they were attempting had a legal basis. Bannon simply explained that the goal was to ‘cast enough of a shadow over Biden’s victory’ that it destroyed any remaining faith in the election system. ‘People are going to go, ‘What the f**k is going on here?’’ said Bannon. ‘We’re going to bury Biden on January 6th, f**king bury him.’
All of this, everything Eastman, Clark, and Bannon were doing, was held up by the anger and distrust being generated through a deliberate, well-funded, ongoing effort conducted by Trump’s campaign legal teams under Giuliani. The effort to delegitimize the election system and sow the seeds of violence began before the election, with Trump saying, ‘The only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged’ repeatedly, beginning in August of 2020. And, just like Bannon, just like Eastman, just like Clark, Giuliani knew that everything he was pushing was a lie. He did not care. Because delivering the truth, or preserving democracy, was never the goal.
“The violent assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6 wasn’t the culmination of Trump’s efforts; it was the tip of an insurrection iceberg. The overthrow of American democracy was plotted and planned, in the White House, in conservative think tanks, in Trump’s campaign offices, and in state Republican parties. Not only did it represent the greatest threat to the nation since at least the Civil War, that threat remains intact.
“This is the biggest story, bar none, in the history of the nation. A story against which Watergate would barely warrant a footnote and Iran Contra would be lost in the details. So why is that story not on the front page of The New York Times, or The Washington Post? Why isn’t it at the top of CNN or NBC News?
“The only real question that remains is not what Donald Trump set out to do, but why the media was such a failure in its job to sound the warning. And why it’s failing again.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, September 28, 2021)
The article is absolutely correct in that the press has completely failed in its duty to report the facts. January 6, 2021 makes Watergate look like a candy store break-in by a ten year old diabetic. There are several reasons, none of them adequate, to explain why the traitorous attack on our nation’s capital isn’t adequately reported. One reason is that President Biden has failed to express outrage at the event. If he and the other Democratic leaders kept up a steady stream of outrage (something the NFP is highly skilled at, usually at some alleged “evil” that only exists in their imaginations) then the press would have no reason not to keep the story on the front page where it belongs.
The good news is that on October 19, the House Select Committee, which is investigating the traitorous January 6 attack, unanimously declared that Steve Bannon should be held in contempt of Congress—a criminal offense. Common Cause provides the details: “Bannon, ex-President Trump’s former advisor who could know firsthand how involved Trump was in the deadly attack, ignored a subpoena from the Committee and refused to testify. Now, the full U.S. House will vote on Bannon’s fate—and if these members of Congress side with the Committee tomorrow, Bannon could face a massive fine or even jail time.
“You may remember Bannon as Trump’s right-hand man during and after the 2016 election. He’s one of the co-founders of Breitbart, a far-right ‘news’ website infamous for spreading dangerous disinformation—and he has repeatedly been condemned for his white supremacist ideology. Bannon’s sworn testimony could be game-changing—he reportedly met with Trump in late December and urged him to focus his efforts to overturn the 2020 election on January 6th. Plus, on January 5th, Bannon forebodingly said on his podcast: ‘all hell is going to break loose tomorrow.’ (Devon Nir, Common Cause, October 20, 2021)
The investigation itself should not be controversial in the least: Our leaders are supposed to be honest and should be indignant about what happened on that tragic day. The issue is about defending the Constitution and our democracy, but the NFP only sees it in partisan terms; whatever they do is automatically OK and never to be questioned. Their every action and statement proves this; they never admit they are wrong, whatever the circumstances.
Lest you think this is an exaggeration, consider the actions of the NFP, who rushed to Bannon’s defense. Daily Kos relates this ridiculous scenario: “House GOP leaders are taking the position that complying with congressional subpoenas is now optional in America. On Wednesday, the GOP leadership team urged its caucus members to vote against holding Trump adviser and ally Steve Bannon in contempt for defying a duly issued congressional subpoena. Last week, Bannon skipped out on a scheduled deposition with the House select committee investigating Jan. 6, making an executive privilege claim that even conservative legal scholars have scoffed at. The full House vote on the criminal contempt charge against Bannon, scheduled for Thursday, comes after the Jan. 6 panel voted unanimously Tuesday evening to approve holding Bannon in contempt for ignoring its subpoena…(Liz) Cheney addressed her Republican colleagues directly: ‘Almost every one of my colleagues knows in your hearts that what happened on January 6 was profoundly wrong,’ she said. ‘You all know that there is no evidence of widespread election fraud sufficient to have changed the results of the election. You all know that the Dominion voting machines were not corrupted by a foreign power. You know these claims are false, yet, former President Trump repeats them almost daily and he has now urged Republicans not to vote in 2022 and 2024. This is a prescription for national self-destruction,’ Cheney continued, asking her Republican members to consider the ‘fundamental questions of right of wrong.’
“‘All of us who are elected officials must do our duty to prevent the dismantling of the rule of law and to ensure that nothing like that dark day in January ever happens again,’ Cheney concluded. Instead, House Republican leaders—Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, and conference chair Elise Stefanik of New York—are working to dismantle the rule of law.” (Kerry Eleveld, Daily Kos, October 20, 2021)
The ugly fact is that active members of Congress were involved in this traitorous act. Crazy Eight PAC provides us with several of the guilty traitors’ names, none of which should come as a surprise to anyone: “In a bombshell Rolling Stone report, two January 6 organizers describe participating in ‘dozens’ of planning briefings with Republican members of Congress before the violent insurrection. Paul Gosar offered ‘several assurances’ of a ‘blanket pardon’ for the organizers to motivate them to plan the rallies.
“Meanwhile, his colleagues whipped up a frenzied storm of election conspiracies and lies. Mo Brooks wore body armor and said to a pro-Trump crowd ‘today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.’ Madison Cawthorn called for ‘bloodshed.’ And Lauren Boebert tweeted, ‘today is 1776’ moments before her supporters stormed the Capitol.” (Crazy Eight PAC, November 6, 2021).
The storming of the U.S. Capitol has a striking historical precedent: The 1923 Beer Hall Putsch in Germany. In both cases, fascists and fascist sympathizers were the ones attacking the existing political system. Just as Hitler, Rudolf Hess and others present in 1923 became more powerful, the same is true of today’s NFP leaders. It remains to be seen if today’s fascists will ultimately control the entire government, as their German predecessors were.
Anyone with even the most casual understanding of twentieth century history knows what fascism is. Despite this, most Americans seem blithely unaware that the former Republican party has, over the past several decades, slowly morphed into a fascist party. Daily Kos expresses well the transformation that is destroying our country from within. This highly important article is here quoted in its entirety: “By any historical measure this country should not be where it is right now, politically speaking. The worst pandemic to strike this nation in over a century has begun its slow but inexorable transformation into an event now comprehensible in hindsight rather than experienced in the immediate moment. The economic crisis has started to recede, with millions of Americans’ thoughts increasingly occupied by their summer vacations and reuniting with friends and relatives instead of focusing on whether they can safely return to work. People are once again going out to eat, to shop, and to entertain themselves, spending money and traveling. In short, you could fairly expect this to be a time of resurgence and shared national enthusiasm as the country emerges from an unprecedented, unbelievably stressful, involuntary hibernation, and as Americans begin to reclaim their former lives. And you could fairly expect the political differences among the nation’s citizens to reflect the same general sense of relief.
“Instead, the prevailing public sentiment right now is one of politically polarized anger, distrust, suspicion and hatred on a scale that most of us have not witnessed in our lifetimes. These sentiments have consumed the nation’s politics solely because one of our two major political parties has willfully adopted the delusional notion that the 2020 election—possibly the most secure election in our country’s history—was somehow tainted by widespread fraud, even though absolutely no evidence of such fraud exists. This farcical narrative has become so embedded and fundamental to the Republican Party’s thinking that its adherents now feel emboldened and justified in attempting to disenfranchise those Americans whose votes they arbitrarily deem unworthy or illegitimate, a judgment based primarily on their skin color. But worse than that, and even more ominously, that party has now become much more overt in countenancing outright violence against other Americans in furtherance of its goals. As a result, the nation now faces a crisis even worse than the one foisted upon us by the COVID-19 pandemic, this time not from any unexpected health calamity or foreign invasion, but one that is entirely homegrown, spun out of thin air by people with no respect or regard for the country’s democratic principles, or even democracy itself. Conservative David Frum, writing for The Atlantic, recognizes what we are witnessing in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s brief tenure has a name, and it’s past time to start calling it out for what it is: fascism.
“Frum acknowledges he’s arriving late to this acknowledgement, having cautioned against labeling the autocratic tendencies of Donald Trump as akin to those infamous European fascists who deservedly turned that word into a monstrous epithet, encapsulating every horror of the 20th century as wielded by the likes of Hitler and Mussolini. But the analogy now is inescapable; as Frum observes, there is simply no other word that applies when a movement couples both contempt for the law and legal process together with an explicit endorsement of violence against one’s political opponents.
“That is what the GOP has become in the shadow of Trump’s Big Lie, and its recent trajectory suggests it will become much, much worse. Frum notes the change in Trump himself, comparing his shockingly equanimical but still somewhat tempered treatment of far-right white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville—while he still had to consider his reelection prospects—to the vitriol-spewing, unapologetic racist monster he has visibly morphed into since his electoral defeat in 2020: Whatever he felt in his heart, he was constrained [in 2017] by certain political and practical realities. His non-Twitter actions as president were filtered through bureaucracies. He had to work with Republican congressional allies who worried about losing seats in Congress in the next election. He himself was still basking in the illusion of his supposedly huge victory in 2016, and hoping for a repeat in 2020. Outright endorsement of lethal extremism? That was too much for Trump in 2017. But now look where we are. The failed insurrection of Jan. 6, which Trump himself orchestrated along with his most virulent and fanatical accomplices, provided a springboard for him to convince those followers that violence was not simply the only course to follow, but the correct and proper course, one fully justified by the sinister presence of allegedly hidden forces aligned against them. To emphasize the point, Frum quotes another well-known fascist, speaking to his crimes in the face of an establishment that had considered him defeated. When Hitler was imprisoned after failing to overthrow the German government in 1923, he defended his actions as not only justified, but necessary: ‘I do not consider myself guilty. I admit all the factual aspects of the charge. But I cannot plead that I am guilty of high treason; for there can be no high treason against that treason committed in 1918.’
“Frum compares this infamous Nazi sophistry to the revisionist tripe now being peddled by Trump’s media enablers concerning the events of Jan. 6, in which a mob of violent thugs attacked the U.S. capitol with full intent of killing members of Congress to stop the certification of a lawful election. At first Republicans sought to distance themselves from that insurrection, attributing it (falsely) to subterfuge by antifa or to media distortion of ‘peaceful,’ law-abiding protests, even as hundreds of Trump-supporting seditionists were arrested for crimes ranging from assault on police officers to conspiracy to overthrow the government. But the tone has changed. Now, instead of minimizing them, more and more Republicans are endorsing the events of Jan. 6, much like Hitler endorsed the crimes of his failed putsch in 1923, as a necessary response to government tyranny. The insurrectionist Ashli Babbitt, fatally shot while breaking into the Capitol along with her fellow rioters, is being lionized by some Republicans as a type of martyr rather than someone who recklessly threatened to inflict violence. This shift in narrative from minimizing the events to extolling the perpetrators is calculated and deliberate: it fuels the idea that the insurrection was an appropriate response to a grave crime committed against a select segment of the American people. And it makes no difference that this fanciful scenario is wholly derived from baldfaced lies.
“Frum notes how Trump has pushed this narrative in the past week, praising the rioters as great people, calling Babbitt (who he certainly never met) an ‘incredible, wonderful’ woman and darkly insinuating, again, falsely, that she was shot by a ‘democratic’ head of security (implying that Chuck Shumer somehow orchestrated Babbitt’s death). As Frum observes, all of this nonsense is directly culled from the Nazi playbook, specifically the endorsement of violence as a a justified political tactic, and the elevation of those who commit that violence in the service of fascism. But the most important takeaway for Frum is that this is a new, evolving tactic, one characteristic of fascist regimes: ‘Two traits have historically marked off European-style fascism from more homegrown American traditions of illiberalism: contempt for legality and the cult of violence. Presidential-era Trumpism operated through at least the forms of law. Presidential-era Trumpism glorified military power, not mob attacks on government institutions. Post-presidentially, those past inhibitions are fast dissolving. The conversion of Ashli Babbitt into a martyr, a sort of American Horst Wessel, expresses the transformation. Through 2020, Trump had endorsed deadly force against lawbreakers: ‘When the looting starts, the shooting starts,’ he tweeted on May 29, 2020. Babbitt broke the law too, but not to steal a TV. She was killed as she tried to disrupt the constitutional order, to prevent the formalization of the results of a democratic election.’
“Emphasizing that fascism wears a coat of many colors, Frum cautions against relying solely on the European model as an analogue to what we are witnessing in the United States. In particular, the cult of personality surrounding the autocratic, politically opportunistic regime of Juan Perón of Argentina is most strongly suggestive of the following Trump has cultivated in this country: ‘Juan Perón, a bungling and vacillating leader, attracted followers with a jumble of often conflicting and contradictory ideas. He had the good luck to take power in a major food-producing nation at a time when the world was hungry—and imagined that the brief flash of easy prosperity that followed was his own doing. The only thing he knew for certain was the target of his hatred: anybody who got in his way, anybody who questioned him, anybody who thought for himself or herself. An expatriate Argentine who grew up under Perón’s rule remembered the graffiti on the walls, the Twitter of its day: Build the Fatherland. Kill a student. As V. S. Naipaul astutely observed, ‘Even when the money ran out, Peronism could offer hate as hope.’
“‘After being ousted as president, Perón sought refuge in Madrid (Franco was an amiable host), and instead of quietly retiring, he kept determining from afar the destiny of his native land by keeping a hypnotic hold on millions of his working-class followers, before triumphantly returning to govern Argentina at the age of seventy-eight. He is a chilling model for Trump to emulate as he ponders his next moves in his Florida exile or even from abroad.’
“If this was just about Trump it wouldn’t matter much; he would simply occupy his place in a long list of presidents rejected by Americans for incompetence or other reasons, whining about his perceived mistreatment by an electorate who had finally, decisively taken the full measure of his character, or lack thereof. But the true fascist cannot cope with such a desultory vacuum if he wants to regain power. He must constantly up the ante, driving his followers to more desperate extremes until violence appears as the only solution to their ginned-up grievances. What we are seeing slowly being developed in the U.S. is the cultivation of violence in a substantial segment of the population: in effect, the formation of a base of support carefully primed to endorse the use of violence to achieve their leader’s political ends. In fact, as Frum points out, the sheer number of ordinary Republicans who buy into the Big Lie nonsense is the very reason so many Republican elected officials feel compelled to embrace it, willingly or otherwise: ‘[T]he post-election Trump movement is not tiny. It’s not anything like a national majority, but it’s a majority in some states—a plurality in more—and everywhere a significant minority, empowered by the inability of pro-legality Republicans to stand up to them. Once it might have been hoped that young Republicans with a future would somehow distance themselves from the violent lawlessness of the post-presidential Trump movement. But one by one, they are betting the other way.’
“There is no longer any question about what we are facing in this country. The sooner all Americans realize that fact, the better we all will be equipped to defeat it, before it’s too late.” (Dartagnan, Daily Kos, July 13, 2021)
The question to ask now is: Is it indeed too late to keep the United States from becoming a completely fascist state? As I’ve pointed out in a previous article, Hitler did not completely control the courts in Nazi Germany. Here, the NFP has been much more successful: From the Supreme Court on down to local municipalities, the NFP has been extremely successful in putting “their people” in positions of power that will have detrimental ramifications for decades to come.
The insurrection of January 6, 2021 did not succeed. Unfortunately, common sense tells us that this was merely a rehearsal for a much larger insurrection that will undoubtedly follow. Daily Kos is one of many media sources preparing us for it: “Donald Trump’s election lies led to a violent insurrection. There were deaths. For the briefest of moments, it looked as if at least a handful of Republican leaders who had to flee the mob of far-right militants that day would distance themselves from a delusional thug’s attempt to topple democracy rather than admit personal failure; instead, each fell back into line as soon as the day’s adrenaline had worn off. The Republican Party has now adopted the big lie, the hoax that looks to undermine democracy by declaring that important elections not won by Republican candidates are somehow ‘rigged’ or ‘fraudulent,’ and are running with it. The chances are good that there will be another insurrection or similar act of terrorism in the next election. Fox News and top Republican leaders are both making sure of that.
“On one of Fox News’ Sunday morning shows, it was host Maria Bartiromo who pushed the premise that Democrats ‘are willing to do anything to stay in power; and asked seditionist House leader Kevin McCarthy if ‘enough has been done,’ in changing the voting laws of 18 states based on Trump-fueled hoax claims, ‘for a free and fair election’ in the 2022 midterms?
“It is a frame that Fox News has been pushing: Not just the last election, but the next elections are also under threat due to unspecified, invisible supposed fraud unfairly cheating Dear Leader’s party and minions out of their rightful places in office. That each of the Giuliani-pushed, Powell-pushed, Trump-pushed claims of fraud have been proven hoaxes at this point makes no difference to Bartiromo or the others. The goal of Bartiromo and other insurrection-backing Fox pundits is to use the false claims to create an overriding belief, in their audience, that the next elections will either be won by Republicans or will be ‘illegitimate.’ The Big Lie is not meant to be proven. It is a weapon. It is the knife that top members of new Republicanism will threaten each new election with, if the nation dares vote against them. We can see how important the election hoax is to Republican Party strategy in the absolute unwillingness of Republican leaders to concede its falseness. What Trump and his top Republican allies claimed, in their attempt to overthrow the government outright, was all a hoax. It was all disproven early on, in every courtroom and investigation. It was made-up nonsense—an anti-democratic, anti-American propaganda effort and nothing more.
“House Republican Steve Scalise was, however, the second member of House Republican leadership to stand by the hoax this Sunday. The states did not follow their own ‘rules,’ insists Scalise. This is false; again, the courts weighed in on every issue Scalise is abstractly invoking, and each state certified the validity of their election according to the same Constitution the man is attempting to dress his hoax in. His argument is substanceless; his only goal is to leave Republican viewers with the general sense that our democratic elections are or might be invalid, as strategy.
“The man is backing a seditious, anti-American hoax. Whether he is doing so out of cowardice, because he is quivering over the thought of Trump publicly criticizing him if he does not toe the hoax line, or truly believes the hoax is irrelevant. He is an enemy of democracy either way.
“The Big Lie is speeding up, not slowing down. Donald Trump held a Saturday rally in which he regaled his followers with lie after lie after lie claiming his loss was the result of ‘election fraud.’ The party, from Fox News to McCarthy to Scalise to Trump, is relentless in reminding their base of the supposedly ‘stolen’ election that drove their incompetent leader from power, and relentless in suggesting, without evidence, that future elections will be stolen from them unless the base rises to take drastic action. Trump did not scream into a void, on Saturday. He was on an Iowa stage with Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds. He was there with ex-acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, and with the head of the Iowa Republican Party. These were the voices partnering with Trump as he yet again promoted a deadly and traitorous hoax. Trump made a point of endorsing Grassley, who for a brief moment after running from the insurrection crowd had a few harsh words for Trump, for reelection. And Grassley, in turn, cowed utterly.
“’If I didn’t accept the endorsement of a person that’s got 91 percent of the Republican voters in Iowa, I wouldn’t be too smart,’ Grassley told the crowd. Grassley returned the favor even more explicitly, taking to Newsmax to erase whatever words of courage he once had and fall, humiliated and slovenly, to Trump’s defense.
“There will almost certainly be another insurrection. It may be in one of the state capitols, rather than inside the U.S. Capitol itself. It may again be violent, or it may consist of a state’s Republican lawmakers simply nullifying an election outright with claims no more substantive than Rudy Giuliani’s seditionist hoaxes. Everything Republican leaders are doing, from new election laws to the drumbeat of ‘fraud’ rhetoric clogging the Fox News arteries, has the toppling of elections themselves as necessary end point. There is no point to Steve Scalise continuing to make fraudulent claims defending the hoax unless the party finds it useful or necessary for that hoax to continue. There is no point in Grassley attempting to redeem Trump after a violent coup unless ‘violent coup’ is a tool the party wishes to keep in its arsenal.
“It is not cowardice. Fox News, other conservative ‘news’ outlets, top party leaders, top House and Senate leaders are all loudly screaming the new Republican game plan for the next elections. They are going to claim victory if they win, and claim fraud if they lose, and the party is purging state parties of each state official who did not go along willingly and aggressively with the Big Lie last time around. Not only do they intend to use the Big Lie again—they are taking all possible steps to ensure that this time, they will be able to genuinely nullify elections by removing the obstacles that previously appeared.
“This is a tremendously dangerous movement, and current press conventions are too sluggish and encrusted to treat it with even a quarter of the alarm it deserves. There will be another attempt to nullify our constitutional elections, and the Republican Party is taking each systemic step necessary to do so.” (Hunter, Daily Kos, October 10, 2021)
Their actions conclusively demonstrate that the NFP has no interest in, and is even opposed to democracy. Many of their top leaders admit this and are even saying that America is not and never has been a democracy. In order to fully understand what is taking place in the United States, It will be necessary to examine recent world history to see how authoritarianism and totalitarianism have successfully taken over other governments. I will focus much of this chapter on the evidence provided by a superb book entitled “How Democracies Die: What History Reveals About Our Future.” This book, written by Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, delves into the history of totalitarian regimes and conclusively demonstrates how the same factors that gave rise to these regimes in other countries are omnipresent in today’s political arena here in America. For those who think that “this can never happen here” need only to read on to see that this is exactly what is happening: We are well on our way to becoming a third-world country run by theocratic dictators that have no intention of listening to the people of this country.
NFP leaders have become increasingly and vocally hostile toward democracy itself. Many of them are still fighting the Civil War, as was seen when the House voted 285 to 120 to remove statues of Confederate leaders from the U.S. Capitol and to replace the bust of Roger Taney (the author of the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision that concluded that blacks weren’t really human and thus had no right to sue over anything) with one of the first black Supreme Court justices, Thurgood Marshall. More than half of the Senate Republicans voted against this action, thus siding with the side that wanted to perpetuate slavery. It is clear where their sympathies lie.
More evidence of the NFP’s racism can be seen in their attempts to keep teachers from educating their students about America’s racist past. Demand Progress elaborates: “You’ve probably heard about the debate over teaching Critical Race Theory—an important body of antiracist legal scholarship that includes concepts like intersectionality. Republicans have been using that term to stoke their base and rally behind efforts to ban teachers from using the New York Times’ 1619 Project and other sources to discuss America’s racist past. This is all part of a bigger right-wing strategy to protect white supremacy by capturing the public’s attention and redirecting the conversation away from their racist agenda in Congress, including using the filibuster to block voting rights. Here’s how they do it: Congressional Republicans obstruct popular legislation, like the For the People Act (HR 1), and sidestep responsibility by drumming up noise about something else. For a while, it was false claims about the 2020 election. A few months ago, it was Biden banning hamburgers. Now, it’s Critical Race Theory. Right now, Fox News and other far right fake news machines are generating attention about legal scholarship on systemic racism in order to rally their base and block historic voting rights legislation. HR 1 would protect the votes of Black and brown communities in the South—those who are disproportionately targeted by GOP voter suppression. (Tal Frieden, Demand Progress, July 5, 2021)
Daily Kos adds that: “the idea that the teaching of critical race theory, a rather obscure field of study normally limited to political science and Black studies programs in universities and law schools, somehow constitutes an existential threat to the Republic. It makes no difference that the vast majority of Republicans who ascribe to this newest lie could not even coherently explain what critical race theory actually is.” (Dartagnan, Daily Kos, July 6, 2021)
Complete nonsense? Of course it is. But the truth doesn’t mean a thing to the NFP. What matters is the age old maxim that a lie repeated often enough and loudly enough will eventually come to be accepted as the truth. The takeover of the former Republican party by the extremists of the NFP is a startling reminder of the truth of this old expression.
The reaction of Missouri Governor Mike Parson to the protests against the murder of George Floyd in 2020 is pretty typical of the NFP and its systemic racism. Reuters tells us: “Missouri Governor Mike Parson said on Tuesday he has granted pardons to Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis couple who drew international attention for brandishing guns at racial justice protesters last year. In addition to the McCloskeys, who are personal injury lawyers, the Republican governor also pardoned 10 other people on Friday, a document from his office showed.
“On June 17, Mark McCloskey, 64, pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor fourth-degree assault. His wife pleaded guilty to second-degree harassment, also a misdemeanor, online court records showed. Mark McCloskey was ordered to pay a $750 fine while Patricia McCloskey, 62, was fined $2,000. Both were ordered to turn over weapons used in the incident. Videos show the white couple shouting at apparently unarmed Black and white protesters to keep off their property on June 28, 2020. Patricia McCloskey pointed a handgun at the crowd while her husband held a semi-automatic weapon. The protests were part of a nationwide wave of demonstrations over police violence against Black people following the May 2020 killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white Minneapolis police officer.
“The McCloskeys have said they were frightened for their lives. A St. Louis grand jury indicted the couple on felony unlawful use of a weapon and tampering charges four months after the incident. Last July, then-President Donald Trump, a Republican, said charging the couple was an abuse of power. In a live broadcast, the McCloskeys spoke from their home at the Republican National Convention in August. Mark McCloskey announced last month he was running for a U.S. Senate seat in Missouri as a Republican.” (Brendan O’Brien, Reuters, August 3, 2021)
NPR in Kansas City provides another example of Parson’s racism: “Missouri Gov. Mike Parson passed on an opportunity to release a Kansas City man who has spent 43 years behind bars for a crime prosecutors say he did not commit. Parson left Kevin Strickland off the latest list of pardons. The move leaves Kevin Strickland and his attorneys disappointed, and with fewer options for his exoneration…The Jackson County Prosecutor’s office charged Strickland with capital murder in 1978 for his alleged involvement in the killing of Sherrie Black, John Walker and Larry Ingram at 6934 S. Benton Ave. in Kansas City.
“Strickland, who will turn 62 on June 7, was convicted by an all-white jury and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 50 years. The conviction hinged on the testimony of Cynthia Douglas, who recanted in 2009. As reported by the Kansas City Star in September, two other men who pleaded guilty in the shooting named someone else as their accomplice. Last month, after reviewing evidence that emerged since the murders, the prosecutor’s office said Strickland is innocent and should be set free. Federal prosecutors in the Western District of Missouri, Jackson County’s presiding judge and Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas agreed.” (Luke X. Martin, NPR, June 3, 2021)
The McCloskey’s case is a perfect illustration of how fascism in today’s NFP works. Daily Kos uses this case to prove the point: “Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson has now pardoned the pair for their crimes, as he had previously promised he would. Both state and national Republicans were aghast the McCloskeys even being charged for their gun-waving, and the racist portions of the party—meaning pretty much all of it—claimed that even charging the Missouri pair for waving guns at marchers was a political move meant to punish conservatives.
“It’s been easy to see why the McCloskeys achieved martyr status in Trump-era Republicanism. The incident was a perfect encapsulation of racist, paranoid, gun-obsessed conservative culture. It had everything:
- Republicans believe it is their right to point guns at Black Americans who come into their neighborhoods. This has been a common point of contention in recent years, with many new laws passed to make sure Republicans could keep doing it.
- Republicans believe the lives of protesters are worth less than the theoretical injury Republicans would incur if someone accidentally walked on their lawn. Again, not speculative: Hell hath no fury like a city council that hears an Occupy Something crowd has been using a public space too much or for too long.
- Republicans are deeply paranoid, and the mere presence of Black Americans in their neighborhoods is enough to make Republicans believe The Real Race War is about to happen and they must immediately grab the nearest loaded gun and start waving it around.
- Republicans tend to actually believe National Rifle Association magazine conspiracy articles warning that Black people are always this close to coming to your neighborhood to loot your belongings or marry your imaginary daughters or, again, walk on lawns.
- Republicans believe—and have written many letters and opinion articles so as to ensure nobody is left unclear on the point—that anti-police violence protests by Black Americans should be met with violence. If not by the police themselves, then by calling out the Army. If not by the Army, by patriotic ‘militia’ members who appoint themselves to the task, ask their moms to drive them out to the protests, and start shooting people.
“The McCloskeys’ few minutes of fame combined, again, every twitch of new conservative culture into one lump. They acted out of conspiracy-minded paranoia, absolutely sure that marchers walking by their house on the way to a protest elsewhere were probably coming to kill them because Jeebus Christ, how could you watch even an hour of Fox News without having that paranoia drilled into your paranoid conservative head? They immediately sought to ‘solve’ the problem by threatening people with guns out of a belief that the Second Amendment was absolutely written into Constitution to make sure Americans could kill other Americans if Americans believed other Americans needed killing. Most of the McCloskey’s targets that day were, of course, Black, and it has long been a staple of conservatism that Black Americans who go where they are not supposed to be or ask for rights they are not supposed to have must be retaliated against with physical force.
“So yeah, this pair is the Jesus and Mary Magdalene of American sundown towns. It’s surprising the Missouri governor hasn’t yet ordered a bronze monument celebrating their act of moist-pants heroism. Make it into a fountain; like the eternal flame of other monuments, this one could depict a conservative pantswetting that would last for the rest of time.
“There is one new Republican belief that trumps all the others, however, and it is the one dictating the Republican governor’s actions here. It is the most Trumpian belief; and the one the party has most internalized; and one of the defining features of any fascist movement as it looks, with admiring eyes, for heroes willing to commit ‘good’ violence for the sake of the movement.
“A core fascist tenet is that the laws of the state exist to constrain fascism’s opponents. The laws of the state do not apply to those inside the movement. The notion that an in-movement pair could be charged for the same actions that would indisputably lead to arrests if done by those outside the movement was from the outset met with disbelief and derision. The McCloskeys aimed their guns towards Black Americans. Towards not conservative Americans. Towards uppity outsiders. That is, in conservative Republican pundit circles, among conservative senators writing op-ed letters, and in the conservative base, exactly the sort of people who guns should be aimed at. The McCloskeys chose the targets they were supposed to choose, so why should any of the usual laws apply?
“The McCloskeys. Rittenhouse. Trump’s response to Black Lives Matters protest. Cotton’s response to the Black Lives Matter protest. The Capitol insurrectionists. Republican lawmakers voicing their outrage over the jailing of Capitol insurrectionists. The Republican Party has been increasingly clear in endorsing the notion that it is time to use violence to put the American other back in their place, and that if government cannot do it, there is no problem with individual would-be martyrs taking things into their own hands.
“Republican Gov. Mike Parson plucked the McCloskeys out for special treatment to again make this point: It’s not illegal to do illegal things if you are doing it to combat Republicanism’s sworn enemies. The party will have your back if you try. Sending that message was a more important use of Parson’s pardon powers than any of the others he hasn’t gotten to yet, and you are allowed to notice that.” (Hunter, Daily Kos, August 4, 2021)
One of the most closely watched trials in recent history concluded in November. The result proved to be a stellar example of how racism has become entrenched in our political and judicial system. Kyle Rittenhouse, a supporter of the Proud Boys, went into an area he had no business to be in, at a time he wasn’t legally allowed to be there, carrying a gun he had no legal right to carry, and killed two men and maimed a third. At his trial, he claimed self-defense for the killings. MoveOn describes the travesty passing as justice that ensued: “Breaking news: A jury has just failed to convict Kyle Rittenhouse of all charges in his murder trial. Disgraceful. On August 25, 2020, Rittenhouse traveled across state lines from Illinois to Kenosha, Wisconsin, and gunned down two Black Lives Matter protesters with an AR-15-style rifle. Thousands had gathered on the streets of Kenosha to protest the police shooting of an unarmed Black man, Jacob Blake. The shooting was caught on video and left Blake paralyzed from the waist down.
“Rittenhouse killed two people who were there protesting racial injustice and police brutality—and he killed them in cold blood. Just days later, GOP leaders in Wisconsin and nationwide flocked to his defense and began raising money for Rittenhouse and his family—and shortly after he was released from jail, he was caught partying with members of the Proud Boys and gleefully flashing ‘white power’ signs for photos. Instead of accountability, he’s gotten stardom—and now he has gotten away with killing two people and injuring a third person.
“Rittenhouse’s trial has made a complete mockery of our justice system. The judge presiding over the case hasn’t even pretended to be impartial over the last couple of weeks. He lashed out and screamed at the prosecution during the middle of questioning. He’s made racist, anti-Asian comments. He barred the prosecution from referring to the two people killed as ‘victims,’ on the grounds that it’s too loaded of a word but allowed the defense to refer to them as ‘rioters.’ He even asked the jury to give a round of applause for a Rittenhouse defense witness.” (MoveOn, November 19, 2021)
Public Citizen adds: “Even Rittenhouse’s defenders should view what happened as a tragedy.
“But instead, right-wing figures are having a field day, declaring Rittenhouse a hero. Here are just a few examples:
- Rep. Matt Gaetz announced that Rittenhouse would ‘make a great congressional intern.’
- Hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman called Rittenhouse a ‘civil hero.’
- Fox News ‘personality’ Greg Gutfeld thinks Rittenhouse ‘did what the government should have done’ by making sure ‘these violent, disgusting dirtbags weren’t roaming the streets.’
- Gutfeld’s colleague Tomi Lahren—who three years ago stated that the ‘highlight’ of her Thanksgiving was watching border patrol agents teargas immigrants—opined that ‘the decent people of this country are tired of allowing it to be destroyed by thugs and miscreants.’
- And Fox News’s biggest act, Tucker Carlson, said that in a ‘normal country,’ Black Lives Matter activists would ‘be put down immediately with force.’
This idolization of Rittenhouse is one more example of a very dangerous phenomenon—the calculated encouragement and normalization of political violence—that is unfolding all across America. It is exclusively a product of the right-wing. We saw it last week when a sitting member of Congress, Rep. Paul Gosar, proudly posted an animated video in which he is depicted killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Joe Biden. We saw it on January 6 when a mob incited by Donald Trump laid siege to the United States Capitol in what amounted to an attempted coup d’etat to keep Trump in power. We saw it last summer when a wealthy white couple in St. Louis pointed guns at unarmed people participating in a Black Lives Matter march after George Floyd’s murder. (One half of that couple, Mark McCloskey, is now running for the Senate. He showed up in Kenosha during the trial to show support for Rittenhouse, posing for photos with people making ‘white power’ hand signals.) We are witnessing the emergence of a proto-fascist movement that has a categorically different disdain for democracy, multiculturalism, and the rule of law than anything we’ve seen in generations.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, November 19, 2021)
This verdict, and the NFP’s reaction, sends the message that armed vigilantes are completely justified in shooting unarmed people in the street. Rittenhouse has become a poster boy for the most extreme right-wing fanaticism, as BuzzFeed.News notes: “The Proud Boys, ‘boogaloo boys,’ subscribers to the QAnon mass delusion, Christian Identity fanatics, illegal militant groups, a neo-Nazi political party, and accelerationist terror groups were among those BuzzFeed News found heaping praise in channels and chats on social messaging apps Telegram, Gab, and Discord. ‘Hail Rittenhouse!’ someone wrote in a white nationalist group with more than 50,000 followers. ‘Our patience has its limits,’ read one message scrawled over a photoshopped image of a gun-toting Rittenhouse with red eyes. Another image showed a sketch of the teenager wielding an assault rifle against a backdrop of the Black Sun symbol (also known as a sonnenrad) used by Nazi Germany. Beside him are the words “f#$& antifa” and a swastika. It was shared across several groups that in other times would have been ideologically at odds with each other.” (Christopher Miller, BuzzFeed.News, November 19, 2021)
Given all these objectively proven facts, there is simply no way of separating racism from the NFP. To be sure, racism has always existed in the Republican party, but under Trump, it has become an essential component in determining NFP policy. Daily Kos explains: “Lately, we appear to have crossed a new Rubicon. I do remember how things were in the ’60s and in the ’70s and lately, here in the 2020’s, it seems to be the worst it may have ever been since those times. Now, yet again, we have states implementing racial bigotry into our election systems. It seems that the ugly head of open blatant racism and bigotry has lifted and is now present in the middle of our schools and in the middle of our lives in an entirely new and dangerous way.
“Exhibit A: …According to the report, one Duluth Edison Charter Schools teacher allegedly cut off a student’s dreadlock and threw it in the trash. The suit, originally filed in April 2019, alleges a ‘culture of racism at the school’s Raleigh and North Star Academy campuses and school officials’ refusal to address it,’ according to NBC News…’The lawsuit said that white students bit, punched, kicked, pinched and spit on Black students and repeatedly called them the N-word. The white classmates also taunted them, calling them ‘negro’ or ‘monkey’ and telling them they ‘look like what’s inside a toilet,’ NBC News reports. ‘In 2017, a white student at North Star Academy threatened to stab a Black kindergartner in the eye with a screwdriver because she looked ‘different,’ the lawsuit said. White students allegedly pinched and kicked the girl, who is biracial, on several occasions. And, during one bus ride to school, an older white student punched the girl so hard, she had a bruise on her rib, the suit states.’
“Things like this don’t happen in a vacuum. They don’t happen in isolation. This is part of a larger anti-black anti-immigrant movement fueled by resentment and white panic. And it’s getting worse…
“Exhibit B: An example where a Georgia School threatened students who wanted to stage a protest against the Confederate Flag: Local news station CBS 46 reports that many students at the school were upset last week when a group of white students came to school brandishing the Confederate flag while hurling racial slurs. However, the school quickly jumped in to clamp down on a potential protest against the flag and suspended the students who organized it…Please note they didn’t call the police when white students protested with the Traitor Flag—but then did threaten to do so when black students planned to protest against it. This would be a Confederate Flag similar to the one that was displayed on the truck of the man chased down and shot Ahmaud Arbery to death for the crime of ‘jogging’ in his neighborhood. The right-wing just can’t find a racist and bigot that they won’t embrace and protect. They supported Donald Sterling, they supported Paula Deen, and oh look didn’t David Duke run for office as a Republican?
“People, we are in total upside-down land here. Although Critical Race Theory is not being taught in our schools, there have been some efforts at anti-racism added to some curriculums. Some efforts to include books about Rosa Parks, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the Sesame Street Special on Racism, the history of Jim Crow and Slavery have been viciously attacked. They’ve been called ‘Anti-White.’ Parents have been saying that they don’t want their white children to ‘Hate themselves.’
“Today’s schools don’t teach about the Tuskegee experiment. They don’t teach about the Tuskegee Airmen. They don’t teach about the Tulsa Massacre and the firebombing of Black Wall Street. They don’t teach about the Internment of Japanese Americans. They don’t teach about the Trail of Tears. There are a lot of holes in our education system, and these people are completely, totally opposed to closing those holes.
“Frankly, I took ‘History of the Americas’ in college which focused mostly on South and Central America and that was a God DAMN Horror show of genocide and religious indoctrination. The Conquistadors were no freaking joke, man. In fairness, they had already implemented the Crusades and the Inquisition against their own people—so why expect better with American natives? But are we walking around with a big stigma against the Spaniards, even though they and the Dutch were instrumental in the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade? Nope. Spain is lovely this time of year. One of my best and oldest friends is Dutch.
“There is no good reason for any white person or white child today to feel they are responsible for the actions of Slavers any more than the actions of Abolitionist. They shouldn’t feel they are ‘Evil’ because Jim Crow existed. It did, but it’s not YOUR fault. Those people existed in a different time, they faced different conditions and challenges. Some of them made wrong choices. If we teach our full history, there should be no need to tell white children that they aren’t ‘inherently evil’ because of course, they aren’t. They’re responsible for what they do, not what someone else did…
“Our Constitution, as originally written, was flawed. It was a compromise between opposing views. It needed to be improved as it ultimately was with the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments which wiped away Slavery (mostly), the 3/5ths clause, the Fugitive Slave Clause and granted Citizenship and the right to vote to African-Americans. Jim Crow and segregation was wrong, it was changed. Red-lining was wrong, it is being changed. Housing, Lending and Employment discrimination is wrong. It’s being addressed, somewhat. Blatant open bigotry and racism is wrong—it’s an open issue. The current criminal justice system is being implemented in a racially biased manner—it is wrong, it needs to be changed. Turning our schools into jingoistic propaganda centers that ignore our full, rich history, both the good and bad, is wrong. That needs to stop.” (Frank Vyan Walton, Daily Kos, October 13, 2021)
The NFP wants to alter the educational system so that it favors their religious and fundamentalist ideology. To cite one of the more noxious examples, Holocaust denial is something they take very seriously. One school district in Texas (where else?) has gone further than most. A school official named Gina Peddy has told educators to offer Holocaust denying materials as part of the district’s history curriculum. She introduced the idea of Holocaust denial by noting that House Bill 3979, a bill designed to bar educators from talking about racism and race theory. Fortunately, the district rejected her nonsense, noting that there are no two “sides” to the facts of the Holocaust. This is where it stands—for now.
And of course just about every member of the NFP is a supporter of the National Rifle Association. Their basic answer to every mass shooting is: More guns. The NRA is incredibly rich and they put exorbitant amounts of money into NFA coffers. Crazy Eight PAC tells us: “As of 2019, these members of Congress, who are also some of our crazy contenders, have taken exorbitant amounts of money from the NRA:
- Josh Hawley: $1,391,548
- Ron Johnson: $1,269,486
- Mitch McConnell: $1,267,139” (Crazy Eight Pac, October 9, 2021)
Lest anyone still think that the NFP is not inherently racist (and fascist), a case in Texas should remove any doubt, as Daily Kos conclusively demonstrates: “Already trying to peel away at voting rights in the state, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is also pushing a bill that would practically remove women and people of color from a portion of required social studies curriculum. Senate Bill 3 would no longer require teachers to teach civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream,’ the emancipation proclamation, and women’s suffrage; What’s worse the Senate in a 18-4 vote along party lines on Friday passed the governor’s racist political vendetta branded as a ban on critical race theory.
“The list of social studies elements stripped from required teachings includes ‘Native American history, work by civil rights activists Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, historical documents related to the Chicano movement and women’s suffrage, and writings by Martin Luther King Jr., Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass,’ according to The Texas Tribune.
“Sen. Bryan Hughes, author of the bill, wrote in its text a teacher or other school district employee may not ‘require or make part of a course inculcation’ any concept that holds one race or sex superior to another, define a ‘hard work ethic’ as racist or sexist, or assigns moral character with a particular race or sex. The bill would also prevent teachers and school employees from teaching that: ‘the advent of slavery in the territory that is now the United States constituted the true founding of the United States; or (…) with respect to their relationship to American values, slavery and racism are anything other than deviations from, betrayals of, or failures to live up to the authentic founding principles of the United States, which include liberty and equality…’” (Lauren Sue, Daily Kos, July 19, 2021)
Beto O’Rourke sent the following letter to his constituents: “Two years ago today a Texas man killed 23 people at a Walmart in El Paso. In the manifesto he published shortly before the murders he wrote that he’d come to repel the ‘Hispanic invasion of Texas,’ language that echoed what former President Donald Trump used to describe immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees. A USA Today report found that Trump had used the words ‘predator,’ ‘invasion,’ ‘alien,’ ‘killer,’ ‘criminal’ and ‘animal’ at his rallies while discussing immigration more than 500 times.
“The newly emboldened white supremacy movement, the extraordinarily easy access to powerful firearms (the killer’s mother, after discovering that her son had purchased an AK-47, called the Allen, Texas police department asking for help. Unfortunately, it is perfectly legal in Texas to buy a weapon originally designed for war, and so there was nothing they could do for her, or for the 23 people who would be murdered in El Paso), and the constant scapegoating of immigrants by President Trump, Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the modern Republican party made this possible.
“And so did everyone who turned a blind eye to what was happening in this country. It’s tempting for some to chalk the El Paso killings up to mental illness, violent video games, or lack of religion (Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick blamed them on all three). That would allow us to ‘move on,’ and absolve us of responsibility.
“But it should be clear to us that the Walmart shooting is an example of the white supremacist terrorism that is more prevalent in this country today than at any time since the last era of Jim Crow. We see it in the white, masked gunmen who mass on the steps of state capitols across the country, seeking to intimidate lawmakers and the public; we see it in Klansmen and Nazis chanting ‘Jews will not replace us’ in Charlottesville; we see it in a Michigan militia’s attempt to kidnap and execute Governor Gretchen Whitmer; we see it in the insurrectionists carrying Confederate battle flags into the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, where five people including a capitol police officer were killed in an attempt to violently overthrow the 2020 presidential election. And we see it in the effort to entrench white power in state legislatures across this country at the expense of minority voters through aggressive racial gerrymandering and voter suppression laws.
“That’s what we’re up against today. That’s what El Paso was up against on August 3rd, 2019. And that’s what we’ll be up against for as long as we accept this as our fate. (Beta O’Rourke, letter to constituents, August 3, 2021)
What we are also up against is a decades-long effort to either radically re-write the Constitution or else reject it altogether and replace it with a document more aligned with their fascistic ideology. Common Cause discusses this alarming threat to our country: “Just seven states. That’s right, just SEVEN! That’s the tiny number of states that stand between us and the calling of a disastrous Article V Constitutional Convention—an event unprecedented in U.S. history that could mean major constitutional chaos…Many constitutional experts believe this is the least known but greatest present threat to our democracy—and it’s happening right now, behind closed doors and out of the public eye.
“Wealthy special interest groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) are spending big money to lobby state lawmakers, demanding they vote to ratify the convening of an Article V Convention to radically reshape our U.S. Constitution. If allowed to succeed—unelected, unaccountable delegates will have a chance to write their far-right-wing agenda into our Constitution.
“Those who want to move an Article V Convention talk about shredding First Amendment protections…gutting environmental regulations…rolling back civil rights advances…and enshrining far-right-wing economics as permanent fiscal policy—that will gut Medicare, Medicaid, and other safety-net programs. MOST FRIGHTENING OF ALL: if just seven more states sign on, the Koch network, the Mercers, corporate funders, and their extremist allies will reach the two-thirds supermajority required to convene the convention they need to tear apart the U.S. Constitution.” (Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause, August 26, 2021)
A few weeks later, Common Cause elaborated on this threat to our democracy and named a key conspirator: “Here’s a little-known fact about who is in charge of the dangerous, far-right plot to call a disastrous Article V Constitutional Convention to amend the U.S. Constitution: It’s none other than Mark Meckler, the right-wing millionaire notorious for co-founding the Tea Party Patriots—a group that has helped push QAnon and other extremist conspiracy theories. He’s also the CEO of Parler, Trump’s social media platform of choice. This app was removed from the Apple Store in response to the January 6th insurrection.
“It’s worrying (and telling) that Meckler has chosen an Article V Convention as the best way to amend the U.S. Constitution—and force through his far-right, anti-democracy agenda. After all, right-wing billionaires like the Kochs and the Mercers (of Breitbart and Cambridge Analytica infamy) and secretive far-right lobby groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have already signed onto this effort to shred our constitutional rights. Their agenda is clear and shocking. Shredding First Amendment protections. Gutting environmental regulations. Rolling back civil rights advances. And enshrining far-right wing economics as permanent fiscal policy—that will gut Medicare, Medicaid, and other safety-net programs.
“Many constitutional experts believe it’s the biggest present threat to our democracy—and it’s happening right now, fueled by right-wing special interest groups, behind closed doors and out of the public eye. The progress they’ve already made should strike fear in the heart of every American.
“If just seven more states call for a Constitutional Convention, the forces of reaction will have the two-thirds supermajority needed to throw our entire constitutional system into chaos. That’s right: just seven more states. And with Meckler at the helm, even more reactionary mega-donors are sure to open their checkbooks to help take this sinister effort over the top. Simply put, we must be prepared to fight back in every state they target.” (Viki Harrison, Common Cause, December 16, 2021)
THE CONTINUING EXPOSURE OF THE CRIMES OF DONALD TRUMP. HIS FAMILY, AND HENCHMEN
I’m going to start this chapter by giving one example of thousands that show what a petty, mean spirited man Donald Trump is. On the day of Joe Biden’s inauguration he—unlike every other president before him—refused to welcome his successor at the White House. Moreover, half an hour before the official transfer of power, Trump called up the Chief Usher of the White House and fired him. Why? Because the usher is supposed to be the man that opens the White House doors. If this weren’t enough, Trump then fired everyone else at the White House staff. So when Biden arrived at the White House, there was no one to open its doors and no one there to greet him. Never mind that this is a dangerous violation of protocol and a major security threat. What does this tell you about Donald Trump?
In his last few minutes of office, Trump ignored that fact that, on the same day, some 4,400 Americans died of the COVID-19 virus he did nothing to alleviate. No, his focus was to try and embarrass the man who beat him in a landslide election. This man was so singularly unfit to hold any office in the United States, let alone the presidency, that it defies all logic how he managed to get there in the first place.
Trump is also on record as saying (weeks before the twentieth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks) that Osama bin Laden wasn’t that bad because he only had one hit. Not only is this false (one can get a headache trying to list all of Trump’s lies), it is also incredibly callous. One can only wonder what the family members of those that were killed felt about this comment.
Let us also remember that Trump also released 5,000 Taliban prisoners back onto the battlefield, their leader among them.
As a quick reminder, here is a partial list of Donald Trump’s lies and crimes, any one of which should have been cause for impeachment, as reported by Democratic Strategy: “1) Colluding with Russia to rig the 2016 election. 2) Threatening Ukraine to dig up dirt on his political opponents. 3) Inciting the January 6th Capitol Insurrection. 4) Committing millions of dollars worth of tax evasion. 5) Threatening State Officials to rig the 2020 election. 6) Trying to overturn the 2020 election results. 7) Profiting privately off of his presidency.” (Democratic Strategy Network, September 12, 2021)
As time goes on, the criminal activities of Donald Trump, before and after his stolen presidency, are becoming more and more obvious to even the most casual observer. Although the mainstream media rarely covers them as they should and Fox News continues to deny the facts before their eyes, the facts are there for all to see.
And, it is not just Trump and his family that are being exposed as the criminals they are.
Axios reports on just one of these individuals: “Longtime Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg and lawyers for the company pleaded not guilty to tax-related charges on Thursday. The latest: Weisselberg was arraigned one day after a grand jury returned an indictment, charging him and the Trump family company with grand larceny and scheme to defraud. The case involves fringe benefits given to employees, including the use of apartments and automobiles. The Trump executive allegedly received more than $1.7 million in off-the-book compensation. Prosecutor Carey Dunne described a 15-year-long tax fraud scheme ‘orchestrated by the most senior executives,’ including Weisselberg, that was ‘sweeping and audacious.’
“Details: ‘The defendants…engaged in a scheme constituting a systematic ongoing course of conduct with intent to defraud more than one person and to obtain property from more than one person by false and fraudulent pretenses representations and promise,’ the indictment reads. Prosecutors allege that from 2005 through this June, ‘defendants and others devised and operated a scheme to defraud federal, New York State, and New York City tax authorities. The purpose of the scheme was to compensate Weisselberg and other Trump Organization executives in a manner that was ‘off the books’: the beneficiaries of the scheme received substantial portions of their income through indirect and disguised means, with compensation that was unreported…”
“Weisselberg surrendered to the Manhattan district attorney’s office early Thursday morning. There is no sign Weisselberg is planning to cooperate.
“Why it matters: The indictments are the first in Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s long-running investigation into Donald Trump’s finances, which has attracted national media attention and triggered a legal battle that twice reached the Supreme Court. Prosecutors have mounted an aggressive effort to pressure the 73-year-old Weisselberg—who has served the Trump family for nearly half a century and has intimate knowledge of the Trump Organization’s finances—to cooperate in the investigation.
“Trump and his family members have reportedly not been charged, butthe investigation is ongoing. ‘I can’t say he’s out of the woods yetcompletely,’ Trump lawyer Ron Fischetti told AP on Monday, while deridingprosecutors’ findings as highly underwhelming.
“How we got here: Vance began investigating the Trump Organization in 2019 after it emerged that the company had reimbursed former Trump fixer Michael Cohen for $130,000 in hush money that he paid to Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress who claimed to have had an affair with the president.
The scope of the inquiry soon grew to encompass a wide range of potential wrongdoing by Trump and his business, including tax benefits and allegations that the company manipulated the value of its properties, according to the New York Times. Vance subpoenaed Trump’s financial records in August 2019 and finally secured them in February 2021, after the Supreme Court ended a long-running legal battle over Trump’s claims of ‘absolute immunity from criminal process of any kind’ while in office.
“Trump’s lawyers met with prosecutors on Monday as part of a last-ditcheffort to persuade them not to bring charges. Vance may not oversee theprosecution if it goes to trial, as he plans to leave office on Dec. 31.
“What they’re saying: ‘Today is an important marker in the ongoing criminal investigation of the Trump Organization and its CFO, Allen Weisselberg,’ New York Attorney General Letitia James said Thursday. ‘In the indictment, we allege, among other things, financial wrongdoing whereby the Trump Organization engaged in a scheme with Mr. Weisselberg to avoid paying taxes on certain compensation.’ ‘This investigation will continue, and we will follow the facts and the law wherever they may lead,’ James added.
“Trump has denied any wrongdoing and issued a blistering statement on Monday condemning the DA investigation as ‘a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt of all time.’
“What to watch: Weisselberg’s lawyers, Mary Mulligan and Bryan Skarlatos, said in a statement before his appearance that their client would ‘fight these charges in court,’ per AP. Skarlatos later called Prosecutor Carey Dunne’s comments about Weisselberg misleading.” (Axios, July 1, 2021)
Daily Kos adds: “Indictments against the Trump Organization and chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg were released Thursday afternoon, with prosecutors saying: ‘This was a 15-year-long tax fraud scheme,’ and one that was ‘orchestrated by the most senior executives.’ According to the indictment, the scheme was ‘to compensate Weisselberg and other Trump Organization in a manner that was ‘off the books.’’
“There are 15 felony charges along with the 15 years of the tax fraud scheme. Weisselberg allegedly avoided $1.76 million in taxes, evading New York City taxes by pretending he was not a resident of the city. But Weisselberg wasn’t acting alone, according to the indictment. His tax evasion was part of a broader scheme by his employer. Weisselberg is charged with crimes including grand larceny. The Trump Organization was charged with a scheme to defraud. Both Weisselberg and the Trump Organization pleaded not guilty.” (Laura Clawson, Daily Kos, July 1, 2021)
It is a rarity for criminal charges to be filed against corporations, and this case may be indicative of a future in which Donald Trump may finally be held accountable for his criminal actions. Can there be any doubt as to why he continues to fight against revealing his income taxes?
Adolf Hitler did not run the extermination camps of the Third Reich, but everyone acknowledges that he was responsible for them. Likewise, Donald Trump didn’t attack the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, but he was responsible. And, let us not forget the statement Trump made in 2018 during a European visit commemorating the end of the First World War: “Well, Hitler did a lot of good things.”
Only in today’s NFP could such a statement be accepted at face value and no actions taken—by either party. That is how far removed they are from reality—and morality.
The final days of the Trump administration have been detailed in a new book entitled “Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost” by Michael Bender. USA Today reports: “Furious arguments, abrupt decision changes, perpetual dismay and ‘anarchy and chaos’ defined the finals days of the Trump administration, according to The Wall Street Journal’s senior White House correspondent, Michael Bender. Bender’s book, ‘Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost,’ compiles interviews with dozens of former Trump staffers and allies, as well as two interviews with former President Donald Trump himself. The book depicts the inner workings of a White House and presidential campaign in turmoil, as Trump’s subordinates fought each other for influence and grappled with obeying presidential orders that often contradicted basic democratic and constitutional norms. Bender recounted that Trump called for whoever ‘leaked’ information on him staying in a bunker during protests in 2020 to be ‘executed’ for their actions…Bender’s work depicts frantic scenes of Trump administration aides deeply concerned over the president’s cavalier desire to deploy military troops against peaceful protesters and rioters alike. ‘The country had turned into a tinderbox. And inside the Oval Office was a president who liked playing with matches,’ Bender wrote, describing aides he spoke with as horrified by the president’s behavior.” (Michael Brown, USA Today, July 14, 2021)
CNN reports on a new book detailing how the Joint Chiefs of Staff were preparing to deal with Trump’s madness after the election: “The top US military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley, was so shaken that then-President Donald Trump and his allies might attempt a coup or take other dangerous or illegal measures after the November election that Milley and other top officials informally planned for different ways to stop Trump, according to excerpts of an upcoming book obtained by CNN. The book, from Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, describes how Milley and the other Joint Chiefs discussed a plan to resign, one-by-one, rather than carry out orders from Trump that they considered to be illegal, dangerous or ill-advised. ‘It was a kind of Saturday Night Massacre in reverse,’ Leonnig and Rucker write.’
“The book, ‘I Alone Can Fix It,’ scheduled to be released next Tuesday, chronicles Trump’s final year as president, with a behind-the-scenes look at how senior administration officials and Trump’s inner circle navigated his increasingly unhinged behavior after losing the 2020 election. The authors interviewed Trump for more than two hours. The book recounts how for the first time in modern US history the nation’s top military officer, whose role is to advise the president, was preparing for a showdown with the commander in chief because he feared a coup attempt after Trump lost the November election. The authors explain Milley’s growing concerns that personnel moves that put Trump acolytes in positions of power at the Pentagon after the November 2020 election, including the firing of Defense Secretary Mark Esper and the resignation of Attorney General William Barr, were the sign of something sinister to come.’
“…Milley viewed Trump as ‘the classic authoritarian leader with nothing to lose,’ the authors write, and he saw parallels between Adolf Hitler’s rhetoric as a victim and savior and Trump’s false claims of election fraud. ‘This is a Reichstag moment,’ Milley told aides, according to the book. ‘The gospel of the Führer.’ Ahead of a November pro-Trump ‘Million MAGA March’ to protest the election results, Milley told aides he feared it ‘could be the modern American equivalent of ‘brownshirts in the streets,’ referring to the pro-Nazi militia that fueled Hitler’s rise to power.” (Jamey Gangel and others, CNN, July 14, 2021)
Yahoo News shines more light on the absurd situation in Arizona: “Donald Trump and key allies could be facing a criminal investigation in Arizona for launching a campaign to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Last week Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs wrote to the state’s Attorney General Mark Brnovich urging him to launch a criminal investigation into Trump and his allies over the potential violations of state election laws. Hobbs, a Democrat, made the request after reporting from The Arizona Republic revealed details of the pressure campaign by Trump and a number of his allies. Hobbs wrote that Trump and others, including his then-personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward, and the lawyer Sidney Powell, tried to influence Maricopa County officials to stop the counting of ballots. Hobbs cited comments made by Ward toward the chairman of the Board of Supervisors, including, ‘We need you to stop the counting’ and ‘I know you don’t want to be remembered as the guy who led the charge to certify a fraudulent election.’
…”Trump has long alleged that the results of the 2020 election were fraudulent, particularly in Arizona. His claims have been widely debunked. An Associated Press investigation revealed that Arizona county election officials found only 182 possible voter fraud cases out of the 3 million ballots cast in the state in 2020.” (Alia Shoaib, Yahoo News, July 18, 2021)
Incidentally, the unnecessary recount in Arizona that the NFP demanded confirmed Biden’s win in that state, In fact, the recount showed that Trump lost 261 votes while Biden gained 99 votes. Wait and see how long it takes the NFP to demand another recount.
True to form, Texas NFP immediately launched its own audit into the election results.
Reuters sheds some light on the alleged fraud claims and the lawyers who filed the lawsuits for Trump: “A U.S. judge on Wednesday sanctioned Sidney Powell and other lawyers who sued in Michigan to overturn Democratic President Joe Biden’s election victory over Donald Trump, and suggested they might deserve to lose their law licenses. In a highly anticipated written ruling, U.S. District Judge Linda Parker in Detroit said the pro-Trump lawyers, including Powell and prominent litigator Lin Wood, should have investigated the Republican former president’s voter fraud claims more carefully before filing what Parker called a ‘frivolous’ lawsuit. Parker, who dismissed the Michigan suit last December, formally requested that disciplinary bodies investigate whether the pro-Trump lawyers should have their law licenses revoked. The judge also ordered the lawyers to attend classes on the ethical and legal requirements for filing legal claims. ‘This lawsuit represents a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process,’ Parker said in her decision, adding that the case ‘was never about fraud—it was about undermining the People’s faith in our democracy and debasing the judicial process to do so.’” (Jan Wolfe, Reuters, August 25, 2021)
It is both amusing and alarming at the same time the way Trump and his enablers are acting as if he is still the president. Occupy Democrats reports: “Donald Trump, the twice-impeached former president, is cos-playing as if he is still in office, and his former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is acting as his enabler and dog-whistling to the MAGA base in ways that have some people thinking that they are planning to move forward with another coup attempt.
“Appearing on Newsmax‘s Cortes & Pellegrino program last night, Meadows told the world that Trump has been holding meetings with ‘cabinet members’ and that they are intending to ‘move forward in a real way,’ intimating some form of imminent action. Saying that Trump is ‘a president that is fully engaged, highly focused, and remaining on task,’ Meadows seemingly ignored his former boss’s landslide loss to Joe Biden last November while continuing with the sham pretense that Trump is still somehow not the ex-president, but continuing to act as the legitimate holder of the nation’s highest office.” (Occupy Democrats, July 31, 2021)
The situation for Mark Meadows got steadily worse by the end of the year, as Public Citizen reports: “On Tuesday night, the House of Representatives found Mark Meadows—Donald Trump’s former Chief of Staff—in contempt of Congress for failing to cooperate with its investigation of the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
When someone is found in contempt of Congress, the Department of Justice — which is run by the Attorney General—decides whether to prosecute. We learned a lot on Tuesday—including that Meadows was getting text messages from VIPs at Fox News, and from one of Trump’s own sons, as the attempted coup unfolded.
- Meadows got a text from Fox’s Laura Ingraham: ‘Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home. This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.’
- Meadows got a text from Fox’s Sean Hannity: ‘Can [Trump] make a statement?…Ask people to leave the Capitol.’
- Meadows got a text from Fox’s Brian Kilmeade: ‘Please, get [Trump] on TV. Destroying everything you have accomplished.’
- Meadows even got a text from Donald Trump Jr.: ‘[Dad]’s got to condemn this sh*t. ASAP. The Capitol police tweet is not enough.’
- And another: ‘We need an Oval address. He has to lead now. It has gone too far and gotten out of hand.’
Funny, those same Fox News figures have spent a lot of time since January 6 telling us that the savage act of sedition we all saw with our own eyes was a peaceful protest and that any violence was a ‘false flag’ operation by antifa or Black Lives Matter. And they’ve doubled down on those lies, groveling at the feet of Trump and others who incited the insurrection and glorifying those who carried out the assault on the Capitol.
“Not that it’s at all surprising to see still more evidence that Fox News is a shady hive of liars, sycophants, and opportunists. The Trump gang has repeatedly ignored and stonewalled Congress. It’s (past) time to hold them accountable.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, December 16, 2021)
Another suspect in the election denial emerged in December 2021. CNN provides the details: “Members of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol believe that former Texas Governor and Trump Energy Secretary Rick Perry was the author of a text message sent to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows the day after the 2020 election pushing an ‘AGRESSIVE (sic) STRATEGY’ for three state legislatures to ignore the will of their voters and deliver their states’ electors to Donald Trump, three sources familiar with the House Committee investigation tell CNN.
“A spokesman for Perry told CNN that the former Energy Secretary denies being the author of the text. Multiple people who know Rick Perry confirmed to CNN that the phone number the committee has associated with that text message is Perry’s number. The cell phone number the text was sent from, obtained from a source knowledgeable about the investigation, appears in databases as being registered to a James Richard Perry of Texas, the former governor’s full name.
“The number is also associated in a second database as registered to a Department of Energy email address associated with Perry when he was secretary. When told of these facts, the spokesman had no explanation. The House Select Committee declined to comment on the author of the text. The Nov. 4, 2020, text message from Perry’s phone garnered a great deal of attention this week; it was included in a tranche of roughly 6,000 documents Meadows turned over to the House Select Committee.
“The text was first presented publicly on the House floor Tuesday night by Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, and reads: ‘HERE’s an AGRESSIVE (sic) STRATEGY: Why can t (sic) the states of GA NC PENN and other R controlled state houses declare this is BS (where conflicts and election not called that night) and just send their own electors to vote and have it go to the SCOTUS.’
“Raskin cited the text in the debate over holding Meadows in criminal contempt of Congress, using it as an example of evidence that needed further explanation from Meadows, which the former chief of staff is refusing to provide. ‘How did this text influence the planning of Mark Meadows and Donald Trump to try to destroy the lawful electoral college majority that had been established by the people of the United States and the states for Joe Biden,’ Raskin asked. ‘Those are the kinds of questions that we have a right to ask Mark Meadows.’
“The text to Meadows suggests a willingness to force a constitutional crisis to undermine the election even before all the legal votes had been counted. The final results from Pennsylvania and Georgia didn’t come for days; Trump ultimately won North Carolina.
“Boston College professor and historian Heather Cox Richardson found the text striking in that its author ‘wanted Republican-dominated state legislatures not even to wait to see who had won the election—none of those states had been called by November 4—but simply to ignore the will of the voters, choose their own electors, and hope that the Supreme Court would hand the election to Trump as he had been saying for weeks it would.’” (Jake Tapper and Jamie Gangel, CNN, December 17, 2021)
Yes, the January 6 insurrection failed. But this has far from discouraged Trump and his NFP. Indeed, history will no doubt view this as a mere prelude to a much larger election stealing effort, as MoveOn reports: “In bombshell news, the congressional committee investigating the January 6 insurrection has obtained a 38-page plan—circulated inside the Trump White House on January 5—for Trump to declare a ‘National Security Emergency,’ invalidate electronic voting in all states, and seize ballots in an effort to install himself for a second, illegal term.
“Thanks to safeguards in our electoral process that Trump allies are aggressively dismantling, Trump’s coup failed. We might not be so lucky next time. Right now, Trump and his allies are methodically enacting a plan to place some of Trump’s most ardent supporters in key offices, including secretaries of state, tasked with overseeing elections at the state level. In most states, secretaries of state oversee the counting of the votes, have the power to certify—or decertify—election results, and declare the winners and losers of elections.
“As The Atlantic reports, ‘If Trump’s plot succeeds, the ballots cast by American voters will not decide the presidency in 2024. Thousands of votes will be thrown away, or millions, to produce the required effect. The winner will be declared the loser. The loser will be certified president-elect.’
That’s right, the voters will not decide the outcome of the 2024 election. It may have been outlandish before Trump, but it’s a sober analysis today. Once described as ‘apolitical,’ secretaries of state may now be the most crucial officials standing between democracy and authoritarianism…It’s no coincidence that as he masterminds a plot to steal the presidency in 2024, Trump has already endorsed several secretary of state candidates in key states—and these candidates are nothing short of terrifying. Indeed, several Republican candidates for secretary of state deny that Biden won the 2020 election.
“But the lies don’t stop there.
“In Georgia, U.S. Representative Jody Hice, Trump’s pick to be secretary of state, voted to overturn the results of Georgia’s election and proudly proclaimed the January 6 insurrection to be ‘our 1776 moment.’ And a number of other Republican secretary of state candidates say that once in office, they would fight to restrict voting by mail. This comes on top of Republican lawmakers’ efforts to make it harder for Democratic-leaning voters, including people of color and low-income people, to cast ballots.
The esteemed journalist Barton Gellman writes, ‘The prospect of this democratic collapse is not remote. People with the motive to make it happen are manufacturing the means. Given the opportunity, they will act. They are acting already.” (MoveOn, January 21, 2021)
Trump continues to fleece everyone he can, including his own supporters. The Guardian reports: “Donald Trump’s penchant for turning his political and legal troubles into fundraising schemes has long been recognized, but the former US president’s money hustling tricks seem to have expanded since his defeat by Joe Biden, prompting new scrutiny and criticism from campaign finance watchdogs and legal analysts. Critics note Trump has built an arsenal of political committees and nonprofit groups, staffed with dozens of ex-administration officials and loyalists, which seem aimed at sustaining his political hopes for a comeback, and exacting revenge on Republican congressional critics. These groups have been aggressive in raising money through at times misleading appeals to the party base, which polls show share Trump’s false views he lost the White House due to fraud.
“Just days after his defeat last November, Trump launched a new political action committee, dubbed Save America, that together with his campaign and the Republican National Committee quickly raked in tens of millions of dollars through text and email appeals for an ‘election defense fund,’ ostensibly to fight the results with baseless lawsuits alleging fraud. The fledgling Pac had raised a whopping $31.5m by year’s end, but Save America spent nothing on legal expenses in this same period, according to public records. Run by Trump’s 2016 campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, Save America spent only $340,000 on fundraising expenses last year.
“In another move, Trump last month announced he was filing class-action lawsuits against Facebook, Google and Twitter, alleging ‘censorship’ due to bans by the platforms after the 6 January Capitol attack that Trump helped stoke. But several legal experts panned the lawsuits as frivolous and a fundraising ploy. Trump’s new legal stratagem raised red flags, in part because he teamed up with America First Policy Institute (AFPI), a nonprofit group led by ex-White House official Brooke Rollins. At a press briefing with Trump, Rollins told supporters they could ‘join the lawsuit’ by signing up on a website, takeonbigtech.org, a claim belied by details on the website which featured a red button with the words ‘DONATE to AFPI’.
‘Donald Trump is a one-man scam Pac,’ said Paul S Ryan, vice president of policy and litigation with Common Cause. ‘Bait-and-switch is among his favorite fundraising tactics,’ Ryan stressed, noting that Trump’s Save America Pac told ‘supporters he needed money to challenge the result of an election he clearly lost, and then wound up not spending nothing any on litigation last year.’” (Peter Stone, The Guardian, August 2, 2021)
“Now he’s at it again, with frivolous lawsuits filed [in July] against Facebook, Twitter and Google, accompanied by fundraising appeals,” Ryan added. “This time he’s got the unlimited dark money group America First Policy Institute in on the racket.”
While most NFP leaders still support everything Trump says and does, a few have on occasion deviated, however mildly, from the cult. Even Susan Collins, in a CNN interview, stated: “there’s no doubt in my mind that President Trump helped instigate and motivate the rioters. And that’s one reason I voted to impeach him. The hallmark of our democracy is the peaceful transfer of power. And for anyone, the rioters, the president, anyone, to try to interfere with the Electoral College count is completely unacceptable.” (Egberto Willies, Daily Kos, August 1, 2021)
It is to be hoped that the House Select Committee’s investigation into what happened on January 6, 2021 will bear fruit and bring Trump and his henchmen to justice. Free Speech for People notes: “The House investigation into January 6th is a good start, but the Department of Justice must go further and investigate President Trump’s role in inciting the insurrection and other alleged federal crimes…If left unchecked, the federal crimes committed by those who incited the January 6th Capitol insurrection will not only be tacitly accepted, they will likely happen again. Every federal body with the power to address the events of January 6th has a responsibility to do so. That includes the Department of Justice.
“As Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn stated at the House select committee’s July 27 hearing: ‘If a hit man is hired and he kills somebody, the hit man goes to jail. But not only does the hit man go to jail, but the person who hired him does. There was an attack committed on January 6th and a hit man sent them. I want you to get to the bottom of that.’
“As the Department of Justice has long recognized, ‘the President is not above the law, and…he is ultimately accountable for his misconduct that occurs before, during, and after his service to the country.’ To fulfill this principle, we are urging an independent task force at the DOJ to investigate—and, if appropriate, prosecute—President Trump and his associates.” (Free Speech for People, August 11, 2021)
And of course the age-old issue of Trump’s tax returns continues. You will recall from my earlier articles that Trump is the first president in decades to refuse to share his tax returns. Considering all the crimes and shady business dealings he has been involved with, it is no surprise that he would act this way. The obvious question remains: If he has nothing to hide, why is he hiding his tax returns?
The Washington Post brings us up to date on this issue: “Earlier this year, Trump’s tax records were turned over to the Manhattan district attorney, after a separate legal fight in which the Supreme Court declined to intervene. The prosecutor’s office has been examining Trump’s finances as part of a criminal probe of his businesses, and has indicted Trump’s longtime financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, on tax charges. Weisselberg has denied the charges.” (Devlin Barrett, The Washington Post, July 30, 2021)
THE CRIMES OF THE NFP LEADERS: WILL THEY EVER BE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE?
The last half of 2021 has seen more and more polarization between the two parties. The NFP’s leaders, with very few exceptions, have rallied behind their former dictator-in-chief and steadfastly refuse to even consider objectively analyzing any evidence against him. Their intransigence goes further: they refuse to even listen to anything the Democrats have to say. The Democratic party is unnecessarily split: At a time when they should all be united in demanding the criminals be brought to justice, there is a division between the corporate Democrats who want to “just move on” and the progressives who rightly realize that if we sweep the NFP’s crimes under the rug, then the word justice itself becomes absolutely meaningless. The corporate Democrats are thus playing right into the hands of the NFP.
Let’s begin this chapter with a no-holds-barred quote from Daily Kos on the nonsensical claim that the 2020 election was somehow “stolen” from Donald Trump: “The notion that Donald Trump ‘won’ the 2020 election is a hoax. It’s specifically a fascist-promoted hoax intended to discredit democratic elections themselves, because a good chunk of the party (6 in 10, apparently) would rather burn democracy itself down than tolerate a world in which a self-promotional tax-dodging rapist incompetent gets booted after only one term in office. There is not even a scrap of evidence to support that Trump ‘won’ an election in which he was quite soundly defeated. Not a single shred of evidence was found to back the Trump camp’s propagandistic claims of ‘voter fraud.’ There is no state electoral count that could even be plausibly contested. There’s nothing. The notion that Trump ‘won’ is entirely the fabrication of a set of Trump allies who crafted it either to coddle the bruised ego of a delusional decompensating narcissist, as means for overthrowing the United States government, or both.
“It is fascist propaganda. It is the equivalent of proclaiming that vaccinations turn you magnetic or that a political opponent is in fact a lizard person. It’s not just false, but a toxic attempt to do harm for the sake of doing harm. That 6 in 10 Republican voters would tell a pollster that maintaining belief in an anti-democratic hoax is evidence of fascist crackpottery now wedged firmly into the heart of Republicanism in general. These people don’t believe a hoax out of nowhere. They believe it because dozens of traitorous Republican officials attached themselves to the claims, promoted the claims, and declared that any Republican officials who did not support the hoax should be drummed out of the party.
“It’s working. Those Republican fascists are getting what they want; a manufactured hoax based on nothing but party propaganda has now got a majority of the party’s voters believing that there was a secret plot against them so nefarious that it makes the last of America’s presidential elections illegitimate. To lawmakers perhaps the hoax was mostly a useful excuse for passing yet another round of Jim Crow-themed laws making it harder for citizens to cast their votes, but a majority of those who support them appear to genuinely believe that the last election was invalid based on no evidence other than a clownish Dear Leader and his fascist allies saying so.” (Hunter, Daily Kos, September 12, 2021)
These people that are still following what their leaders are saying are oblivious to objective facts. If they aren’t intelligent enough to distinguish fact from fancy, our democratic form of government is in deep trouble. And indeed it is.
There seem to be only two actual Republicans among the NFP. These two deserve a great deal of credit for daring to be honest and call out the crimes of Trump and his administration. For this, they have been ostracized and attacked by NFP leaders. CNN reports: “Only two House Republicans—Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois—voted Wednesday to create a select committee to investigate the deadly January 6 attack on the US Capitol. Both GOP lawmakers, who are frequent critics of former President Donald Trump, were among the 35 House Republicans who voted to establish an independent commission, which was blocked by Senate Republicans. Many Republicans have criticized the select committee, accusing Democrats of creating a partisan panel that will be used to attack former President Donald Trump. House GOP Whip Steve Scalise recommended House Republicans oppose the select committee on Tuesday, although GOP leaders did not formally whip the vote. Cheney and Kinzinger have each faced backlash for their high-profile criticism of Trump. In a dramatic move, House Republicans ousted Cheney from her leadership post as conference chair in May after she repeatedly called out Trump’s ‘Big Lie’ that the 2020 election was stolen.
heney sharply criticized Republican leaders and explained her decision to vote in support of a select committee in a statement on Wednesday. ‘Since January 6th, the courage of my party’s leaders has faded. But the threat to our Republic has not. On an almost daily basis, Donald Trump repeats the same statements that provoked violence before. His attacks on our Constitution are accelerating. Our responsibility is to confront these threats, not appease and deflect,’ she said.” (CNN, Kristen Wilson and Clare Foran, June 30, 2021)
Cheney recognizes that crimes are crimes no matter who commits them. She made this clear at the beginning of the investigation’s first meeting: “We cannot leave the violence of January 6th—and its causes—uninvestigated. The American people deserve the full and open testimony of every person with knowledge of the planning and preparation for January 6th, We must know what happened here at the Capitol. We must also know what happened every minute of that day in the White House—every phone call, every conversation, every meeting leading up to, during, and after the attack.” One can only wonder how anyone could disagree with this approach—unless they were complicit in the insurrection itself.
The NFP, in all seriousness, wants to have members who participated in the insurrection as part of the committee. One need only ask: Would the NFP have wanted Al Qaeda members to have sat on the 9/11 commission? If not, why are they insisting that those who participated in the insurrection be allowed on the 1/6 committee?
Here we see again exactly how cults operate: Deny anything they don’t like, no matter what the evidence may be. Attack those who are questioning the manufactured evidence they want to pass off as the truth. Trumpism, simply put, is an absolutist dogma based on lies that must be exposed at every level.
It should come as no surprise that many of the same NFP members who orchestrated the January 6 attack are now doing all they can to join the committee investigating the insurrection.
The NFP wants people to think that America is facing a moral crisis because of abortion, the LGBTQ and the “socialist” Democratic party when the real moral issues are the crimes they themselves are committing.
As for abortion, Mississippi’s governor Phil Bryant has signed a fifteen week abortion ban, and justified his support of the ban by saying that he wants to make Mississippi the “safest place in America for an unborn child.” Meanwhile, his state has the highest rate of infant mortality in the United States. It is also in last place in women’s health, the health of children, and the health of infants. Again, we see the NFP’s idea of moral behavior: Force all women to carry a child to birth and then ignore everyone who is already born.
The right to have an abortion is something the NFP has always hated. And typically, the Democrats response to their attacks has always been weak. The People United provides us with a bit of history since Roe V. Wade was passed: “Let’s be clear: Republicans are the bad guys here. But the Democrats who have twiddled their thumbs since 1973, as Republicans openly carried out their assault on our rights bear much of the blame as well. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who has been in Congress since 1981, tweeted today that ‘this fight is only just beginning.’ It was, almost word-for-word, the exact same thing he said after the For the People Act was filibustered in the Senate, freeing Republicans to gerrymander another decade’s worth of Congressional districts. Elected Democrats love to say that they’ll ‘fight,’ but only seem to do it when they’re trying to whip progressives back in line.
“Let’s look back at how Democrats have spent the nearly 50 years since Roe:
“When Republican Congressman Henry Hyde offered an amendment that banned Medicaid from covering abortion, forcing 1 in 4 low income women to continue a pregnancy against their will, Democrats went along with it and have enshrined the Hyde Amendment into budgets ever since, regardless of who controls Congress. When anti-abortion state lawmakers started chipping away at Roe by passing restrictions, Democrats said they wanted abortion to be ‘safe, legal, and rare,’ tacitly co-signing on the Republican restrictions. When Mitch McConnell stole a Supreme Court seat from President Obama, Democrats barely put up a fuss. When he jammed through Amy Coney Barrett just weeks before Americans overwhelmingly rejected Trump at the ballot box, Democrats promised a fight that has yet to materialize. And when Texas Republicans passed a law that effectively bans abortion—and abortion advocacy groups pleaded for someone to pay attention—Democrats in Washington fussed over bipartisanship and Senate procedures that Republicans stopped respecting decades ago.
We elected Democrats to control the White House, the Senate, and the House and they did nothing more than issue mad tweets while a stolen Supreme Court silently gutted Roe.
Abortion is a progressive issue. It’s a racial justice issue, a labor issue, an LGBTQ issue, a class issue, a housing issue, a healthcare issue. Wealthy people who can easily travel to another state won’t feel the brunt of this cruel law, but people of color will. If you aren’t fighting for the people who need abortion care, you cannot call yourself a progressive.” (The People United,September 1, 2021)
The Juggernaut Project discusses Texas’ attack on abortion rights: “Last night, in a 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court refused to block a Texas law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. As a result, the most extreme anti-abortion law in the country remains in effect. Unlike other abortion bans, this ban leaves enforcement of the law to private citizens. With the law in effect, any person around the country can sue any Texan who helps patients access abortion care after six weeks, including religious leaders, counselors, family members, rideshare drivers, providers, and abortion fund staff and volunteers. Combined with the already difficult barriers to access in Texas, this law is designed to alienate and punish patients who will now need to be aware that anyone, including abusive partners, controlling parents, or anti-choice strangers, could take them to court for seeking abortion services.” (The Juggernaut Project, September 2, 2021)
Let Betty Bowers have the last word on Texas and the abortion issue: “Texas doesn’t have a hotline if you see a man go into a kindergarten with an AR-15, but it does have a hotline if you see a woman go into a Planned Parenthood parking lot with her car.”
The NFP idea of socialism is interesting, to say the least. When they supported a trillion dollar oil and gas subsidy, this isn’t socialism. Likewise, they didn’t consider the trillion dollar bailouts of Wall Street to be socialism, but providing health care, living wages and food for the disadvantaged somehow is socialism in their world. Socialism for the rich is OK, and the NFP will never call is socialism, but they never hesitate to call giving money to the needy socialism.
And of course there’s Mitch McConnell, who has represented Kentucky for almost forty years. Kentucky has ten of the poorest 25 counties in the United States. Great job, Mitch. McConnell is also the man who blocked Merrick Garland for eight months prior to an election, and then confirmed Amy Coney Barrett eight days before an election. He is also the man who, when Obama was elected president: “one hundred percent of my focus is on stopping this new administration.” Not on serving the American people, just blocking any type of progress.
Public Citizen ran an interesting and extremely revealing article on McConnell: “Senator Mitch McConnell gave a rambling speech to a small audience at a university in Kentucky yesterday. He noted that the Bluegrass State is getting $4 billion thanks to the American Rescue Plan. That’s the landmark coronavirus relief package passed earlier this year—without a single Republican in either the House or the Senate voting for it.
“The following words actually came out of Mitch McConnell’s mouth: ‘You’re going to get a lot more money. I didn’t vote for it, but, um, you’re going to get a lot more money…Hopefully, this windfall doesn’t come along again.’
“Like Americans in every state, Kentuckians have suffered—and continue to suffer—the devastating effects of the pandemic. And Mitch McConnell just admitted that: 1) The American Rescue Plan is helping Kentucky to the tune of $4 billion. 2) He voted to deny that essential relief to the American people. 3) In his mind, it was an unearned ‘windfall’ that not even his own constituents deserved. 4) If he has his way, everyday Kentuckians won’t ever again be helped by the federal government.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, July 7, 2021)
This is typical Republican strategy: Step in and claim the credit when something they did not support is proven to work. Here, McConnell is brazen enough to admit this very fact—and no one called him out on it.
Coalition on Human Needs tells us more of McConnell’s matchless irresponsibility: “Mitch McConnell needs to be held responsible. Last night, led by McConnell, every single Republican voted against a stop-gap funding bill to keep the government running and against allowing the federal government to keep borrowing money to pay its bills. Never before—never!—has our country defaulted on our fiscal obligations. And we can’t begin now.
“Voting for a default is a complete abdication of duty. If Congress does not agree to lift the debt limit and continue funding the government, the U.S. economy will be destabilized and the ramifications will be far-reaching. By mid-October, millions of Social Security recipients, veterans and active-duty military members could stop receiving payments needed for basic survival. Disaster relief for hurricanes and wildfires will be cut off. Businesses will see interest rates rise and the U.S. economy is expected to lose 6 million jobs. Let’s keep the pressure on Senate Republicans to do the right thing and join their Democratic colleagues in voting to raise the debt limit and keep the government running. Let’s also make clear to Democrats that if Republicans refuse to do the right thing, then Democrats must do everything in their power to keep our families and our economy stable and safe…The consequences of refusing to raise or suspend the debt limit will be extremely harmful to millions of Americans. And, a government shutdown will threaten funding for Afghan refugees, public health, education, housing, nutrition for women, infants and children, Head Start for low-income children and families, and so much more.
“By refusing to allow borrowing to cover expenses that Congress has already approved, Mitch McConnell and his band of followers in the Senate are recklessly threatening people and businesses that the government owes money to.” (Deborah Weinstein, Coalition on Human Needs, September 28, 2021)
While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is much more of a corporate Democrat than a true progressive, she did have a telling comment on this nonsense: “Every single Republican voted to default on our national debt, kill 6 million jobs, rip away $15 trillion in household wealth, stop paychecks to members of our military, and freeze Social Security payments to seniors. It’s irresponsible beyond words!”
Even most Democrats have not grasped the full scope of Mitch McConnell’s corruption and the damage he has caused and continues to cause. Daily Kos pulls no punches in calling him out for what he is: “Mitch McConnell has a gift for destroying things. He’s destroyed the Senate as a political institution that was once functional. He’s destroyed the Supreme Court as a relatively apolitical institution in which Americans once had some level of trust. And by destroying the Senate and the Supreme Court, he’s taken a hatchet to U.S. democracy, which is currently hanging by a thread.
“Next up for McConnell: destroying the global economy. Causing an economic Chernobyl by failing to raise the U.S. debt ceiling seems like a bad idea. Except from a political terrorist’s POV: Republicans would be able to blame it on Democrats, so who cares if the global economy tanks, lives are ruined, and people starve? On Wednesday, McConnell—leaving out some choice details—explained how it all works in a political terrorist’s worldview. ‘We all agree America must never default, the debt ceiling will need to be raised,’ McConnell began. ‘We have a Democratic president, a Democratic House, Democratic Senate.’ Much like Republicans controlled everything in 2017/2018.
“McConnell then said Democrats had operated on ‘a partisan basis’ to pass the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill—which was exactly what Republicans did to pass their 2017 tax giveaway to the rich on a party-line vote. The main difference between the two bills was this: Democrats passed pandemic aid to shore up the economy, feed people, get the nation vaccinated, and save lives amid a global plague. Republicans passed their lavish tax cuts to enrich fat cats—and added some $2 trillion to the national debt in the process.
“McConnell also speciously included the ‘reckless’ Build Back Better Act, which hasn’t even been passed into law yet so it’s irrelevant to the issue of the national debt already amassed. ‘So my advice to this Democratic government,’ McConnell said, ‘don’t play Russian roulette with our economy. Step up and raise the debt ceiling to cover all that you’ve been engaged in all year long.’
“Oh, lookey, Mitchy left out the nearly $8 trillion in debt Republicans led the way in racking up during Donald Trump’s 4-year tenure. Imagine that—epic Mitch memory fail on a historic ballooning of the debt under GOP rule. How perfectly deceitful of him. ‘So no effort to describe our position as irresponsible makes any sense,’ McConnell continued, ‘because the facts are indisputable. This is a totally Democratic government, they have an obligation to raise the debt ceiling, and they will do it.’
“Ah, yes, and the classic killing of another congressional norm on Mitch McConnell’s watch. The debt ceiling has been raised or suspended some 80 times since 1960—almost always on a bipartisan basis, regardless of who’s in the White House, who controls Congress, and who racked up the debt. Congress last suspended the debt ceiling in August 2019 in a bipartisan budget bill. In fact, the lion’s share of the nation’s most recent debt happened on Trump’s watch, but now McConnell says Democrats and Democrats alone must clean up the GOP’s mess.
“So, apparently, Democrats must go it alone. And this is where McConnell’s treachery gets extra special. Democrats have just enough senators to raise the debt ceiling on a party-line vote except that…wait for it…Republicans plan to filibuster the bill, so it would require ten GOP senators to clear the procedural hurdle—rendering it out of reach for Democrats alone. From NBC News: ‘Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, promised to filibuster it, saying there is ‘no universe’ in which he would consent to allowing a simple majority vote on extending the debt limit.’
“Nice. So here’s McConnell’s logic: Democrats are solely responsible for paying the debts racked up under Republican rule, and they must do it and conceivably could do it, except that my GOP caucus and I won’t let them do it. As McConnell said, ‘No effort to describe our position as irresponsible makes any sense.’ Agreed, irresponsible really doesn’t do Mitch McConnell’s political terrorism justice.” (Kerry Eleveld, Daily Kos, September 22, 2021)
Here’s further proof of how McConnell is threatening to disrupt the entire U.S. economy: “Senate Republicans like Mitch McConnell are blocking yet another crucial priority out of spite for the Biden administration—and it’s one that could cost the US millions of jobs. If Congress doesn’t act quickly in raising the country’s borrowing limit, the US would default on its debts by next month and it would (at best) cause another recession. This would cause international ripple effects and must be avoided at all costs…Some Republicans have disguised their opposition as an aversion to ‘Biden’s spending plans,’ but there’s nothing being proposed in the infrastructure package or reconciliation bill that is unwarranted. All of those investments, social and otherwise, are necessary for ensuring a sustainable and stable country. Not to mention, Democrats helped Republicans suspend the debt ceiling under the Trump administration (who added $8 trillion in national debt, by the way.) It’s ridiculous that McConnell is holding the US economy hostage in hopes of negotiating away critical investments for Americans.” (Care 2 Action Alerts, October 2, 2021)
White House Press Secretary Jan Psaki showed a chart during a press conference showing the differences in the national debt under Trump and after six months of Biden’s presidency. She then explained: “We have a little chart here. Trump added almost $8 trillion in debt. Just $676 billion added under Biden. Republicans spent like drunken sailors under Trump. By NOT raising the debt ceiling, Mitch McConnell is refusing to pay the debts HE rang up with Trump.”
The People United blows the whistle on the debt ceiling: “The Debt Ceiling is a deeply stupid policy. It doesn’t authorize any new spending or debt, it merely gives the Treasury Department the ability to issue bonds to meet the obligations that Congress has already ordered. In saner times, extending it is a formality that doesn’t even merit a mention in the newspapers. But during the Obama era, Republicans turned the debt ceiling into a hostage-taking exercise, demanding concessions that they couldn’t win at the ballot box. Now, Mitch McConnell is pledging to filibuster the debt limit if Democrats don’t break the promises voters elected President Biden and a democratic Congress to enact.” (The People United, October 5, 2021)
To see how much NFP leaders care about their constituents, it only needs to be pointed out that 77 percent of Americans support President Biden’s COVID relief bill, including 60 percent of Republican voters. But not a single NFP leader in the Senate voted for it.
The inescapable fact is that the NFP couldn’t care less how many people die from the COVID epidemic. They don’t care about people at all, unless they are one hundred percent in agreement with them. Daily Kos compares and contrasts Trump’s COVID response with that of his successor: “So long as Donald Trump had his Diet Coke button on the Resolute Desk, both Republicans in Congress and on Fox News felt like they had to play the anti-vax game with a soupcon of restraint. Sure, Trump may have received his vaccine out of the public view, his distribution system for vaccines was nonexistent, and his last weeks in office brought not just insurrection but the largest wave of disease and death—but it was hard to pretend vaccines were the product of the ‘Deep State’ when Trump insisted on taking 110% credit for their development every time the subject came up. Then President Joe Biden arrived and did everything right. Biden’s team immediately got on top of vaccine distribution. Immediately made the purchases necessary to ensure an adequate supply. Immediately began knocking off goals one by one. And immediately began pushing down Trump’s parting gift as both death rates and new cases steadily dropped.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, July 9, 2021)
The article continues by discussing how Fox News tried to use this development to the NFP’s advantage: “Fox News had already moved to the point where true patriotism could only be displayed by having such a hatred for the American government that you’re willing to die rather than let them save you. Now they’re directing hate at health care volunteers.”
Senate rules regarding voting are peculiar, to say the least. If there is a bill to pass multi trillion dollar tax cuts for corporations, all that is required is a 50 vote majority. But if a bill is introduced requiring raising the minimum wage, or to protect voting rights, a 60 percent super majority is required. Clearly, these rules are made to protect the rich against everyone else, there is simply no other way to interpret it. This is another reason for the elimination of the filibuster.
The filibuster is the key issue; the NFP knows it cannot win elections by popular vote, so the only way they can keep the Democrats’ agenda from being passed is to ignore the will of the people and use the filibuster, which is a relic from the Jim Crow era. Public Citizen provides us with three examples, all from the same day: “Early this morning, Senate Republicans invoked the filibuster—three times, no less—to stall bills that would counteract the most sustained attacks on our democracy in half a century.
- First, Senate Republicans filibustered the entire For the People Act (a.k.a. H.R.1/S.1)—a commonsense package of protections to safeguard our democracy.
- Then they separately filibustered the DISCLOSE Act, which would end the scourge of secret billionaire and Big Business spending in our elections—even though this ‘Dark Money’ is widely opposed by everyday Americans, Democrats and Republicans alike.
- And then Republicans filibustered another separate proposal that would prevent the extreme partisan and racial gerrymandering that they themselves are using to rig elections in their favor.
Here’s the good news: Democratic leaders in the Senate intentionally brought these bills to the floor specifically so that Republicans would show their true obstructionist and anti-democratic colors by doing exactly what they did. Why? To make it beyond obvious that it is foolhardy to go on expecting Republicans to defend our democracy out of some hope of bipartisanship for its own sake.
“Senate Democrats face a very simple choice: Let Republicans get away with exploiting the filibuster—an outdated procedural tactic that originated by accident and was used for decades to perpetuate white supremacism—and succeed in their all-out offensive to block people of color from voting and to sabotage our democracy. Or: Stand the hell up for democracy by agreeing on a workaround to the filibuster and passing the For the People Act.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, August 11, 2021)
In other words, Democrats! Get your act together and stop letting these fascists push you around! They are not your allies! They are the opponents of everything America stands for and if you don’t stand up to them, then the American experiment will be over.
And the first step is get rid of the filibuster.
Win Without War tells of another ludicrous action by a NFP leader: “News broke this week that South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem will use a donation from a Republican megadonor in Tennessee to fund a deployment of National Guard troops to the southern U.S. border in Texas. Let’s break that down: A single billionaire from one state is funding military troops from another state to further militarize the U.S.-Mexico border, in an entirely other state. The National Guard aren’t mercenaries and shouldn’t be up for sale to the highest bidder. But this action sets an incredibly dangerous precedent for just that: anonymous megadonors calling on their—or any—governor to fund the deployment of the National Guard with little oversight or accountability.” (Shayna Lewis, Win Without War, July 1, 2021)
Noem is also typical of NFP leaders in that she has no problem with conflicts of interest that benefit her and her family. Daily Beast reports: “Days after her daughter’s application to become a certified real estate appraiser was rejected by a state agency, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem brought the state employee in charge of the agency, as well as the woman’s supervisor and the state labor secretary, to her office. Noem’s daughter was also present at the meeting, AP reported on Monday. Her application was approved four months later. Government ethics experts consulted by AP agreed that the events constituted a clear ‘conflict of interest and an abuse of power.’” (AJ McDougall, Daily Beast, September 27, 2021)
The NFP is enthusiastic about some of the worst people to come out of the woodwork in recent years. Bold Progressives tells us about one of the more dangerous of these new faces: “Last night, a white nationalist funded by a billionaire family who also funded Steve Bannon, Breitbart News, and the Jan 6th insurrection, announced his campaign for U.S. Senate in Ohio. His name is J.D. Vance…we cannot afford another fringe right-wing senator in Washington. Especially not when Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s retirement means that in 2022, Democrats have the best chance in years to flip this red senate seat blue and expand our senate majority.
“You may have heard J.D. Vance’s name from his best-selling book and Netflix movie ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ about a struggling Appalachian family in Ohio. While some critics panned the story for ‘perpetuating stereotypes about the poor’ and called it ‘poverty porn,’ it made him tens of millions of dollars and got him famous. But the danger J.D. Vance poses doesn’t come from his storytelling—it comes from who wants him in the Senate and why they want him there.
“Forbes reports: ‘Billionaire Peter Thiel and the Mercer family have donated millions to a PAC supporting author J.D. Vance’s Senate campaign.’ Theil and the Mercers are not a couple innocent billionaires on a lark. The billionaire Mercer family that wants J.D. Vance in the Senate is the same family that funded Steve Bannon and Breitbart News—and Mercer money has also been tied to the deadly January 6 insurrection. Along with Theil, they spent tens of millions of dollars to elect Trump.
“J.D. Vance has a history of remarks and comments on Twitter that Salon describes as ‘dog whistles for white nationalism and misogyny,’ and that ‘echo the ideology of white supremacists.’ MSNBC reports that J.D. Vance called universal child care an ‘assault on the working poor.’ That’s insane. Universal child care is a necessity that can lift families out of poverty. Fox News gleefully reports that J.D. Vance calls ‘the systemic racism conversation; a ‘distraction.’ That’s also insane. Systemic racism is at the core of some of our nation’s most damaging and intractable problems.” (Bold Progressives, July 2, 2021)
Here are a few quotes from Vance that shows just how extreme this man is: ‘Alex Jones is a far more reputable source of information than Rachel Maddow.’ ‘I assume that all the liberals whining about the ‘insurrection’ of January 6 will spare some outrage for General Milley subverting the duly elected president of the United States.’ ‘Thrilled to have Josh Hawley’s friendship and support.’ (Morgan Harper, ActionNetwork, October 5, 2021)
Let us add a few more words on Alex Jones, the hate-spewing right-wing conspiracy theorist who has a wildly popular media following. He is the man individual claiming that the Sandy Hook mass shooting is a “hoax.” However, he is finally being called to task for his baseless and heartless rants, as Daily Kos explains: “The bill came due for Alex Jones last week—albeit several years too late. Thursday last week, Texas district court judge Maya Guerra Gamble issued three default judgments against Jones in two defamation suits filed by the families of Sandy Hook victims. The rulings hold Jones responsible for all damages in the suit—thus legally holding him to account for the harassment and trolling the families faced as a result of Jones’ claims that Sandy Hook was a false flag. While the final figure is still to be determined, it’s very likely that the final amount will be enough to effectively put InfoWars out of business—and Jones almost certainly knows it. That probably explains why he spent Thursday whining about how this ruling effectively destroys the First Amendment…Um, Alex? I’m pretty close to an absolutist on free speech. But I don’t want to live in a world where ‘the right to speak freely’ gives you carte blanche to effectively call the families of mass shooting victims liars. And I don’t want to live in a world where those claims can lead to years of harassment, trolling, and death threats. Those families have a right to mourn—and you’ve trampled on that right for almost a decade. This default judgment was at least six years overdue. RIP InfoWars, 1999-2021.” (Darrell Lucas, Daily Kos, October 6, 2021)
Hate speech is increasingly commonplace with the NFP. People for the American Way provides us with another example: “Last week, People For’s Right Wing Watch uncovered and publicized a video from this June in which North Carolina Lt. Governor Mark Robinson insisted that Christians must take control of public schools in America because children are being abused by being taught ‘filth.’
“’There’s no reason anybody anywhere in America should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality, any of that filth. And yes, I called it filth.’ This video was picked up by various news outlets, including the Associated Press, Yahoo News, and The Raleigh News Observer, and has led to growing calls for Robinson’s resignation…Lt. Governor Robinson is, of course, free to hold whatever beliefs he wants, but as the senior elected Republican in North Carolina, his comments are reprehensible and have no place in our political discourse.
“LGBTQ+ and transgender Americans have borne the brunt of hate speech, discrimination and physical violence for many years; yesterday, in fact, marked the 23rd anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard—a gay American who was beaten and left for dead outside Laramie, Wyoming. Hateful and dehumanizing rhetoric like Robinson’s, which has become all too commonplace from far-right leaders these days, only adds fuel to the fire that leads to more violence against our fellow Americans.” (Will Easton, People for the American Way, October 13, 2021)
Inexplicably, Donald Trump’s Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, is still on the job. The Juggernaut Project reports: “The driving force behind sabotage of the US Postal Service is Trump appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy—and he’s still running the show! DeJoy is riddled with major conflicts of interest—he owns at least a $30 million stake in a company that contracts with the USPS and as much as $100,000 in Amazon stock options. And now he stands to profit even more at the USPS’s expense.
“DeJoy’s former company, the contractor XPO Logistics, will get $120 million over the next five years from the USPS, and DeJoy could net as much as $23.7 million from the company in the next decade, as his family businesses still have four office buildings in North Carolina that they lease to XPO Logistics. That’s where DeJoy will get those millions, from lease payments. DeJoy, as the Postmaster General, is continuing to profit as a USPS contractor—a blatant abuse of power and conflict of interest. On top of that, DeJoy continues to destroy the post office from within. In fact, he’s about to implement a new plan that will slow most mail delivery and raise postage rates.” (The Juggernaut Project, August 12, 2021) Only in the netherworld of NFP politics could corruption of this magnitude be allowed.
Rudy Giuliani—once the media darling in the wake of 9/11, has become a laughing stock in the NFP. CNN reports: “Rudy Giuliani’s law license has been suspended in Washington, DC, after he temporarily lost his license in New York for pushing election lies and that state court system looks further into his case. The appeals court in DC said Giuliani would be suspended from working as an attorney in the city ‘pending outcome’ of his situation in New York, according to disciplinary court records.
“Giuliani doesn’t regularly practice law in court—and hadn’t for several years before representing then-President Donald Trump in 2020 in a failed legal bid to throw out the popular vote in Pennsylvania and other states. But the law license suspension is still a major blow to the former Manhattan US attorney and political figure, once considered an accomplished and formidable force in legal circles.
“CNN has reached out to Giuliani for comment.
“When the New York appellate court temporarily suspended his law license in that state, it said in its ruling that it concluded that: ‘there is uncontroverted evidence’ that Giuliani “communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump’s failed effort at reelection in 2020.’
“Giuliani’s conduct immediately threatens the public interest and warrants interim suspension from the practice of law’ the court wrote.” (Katelyn Poletz, CNN, July 7, 2021)
Giuliani’s proof for voter fraud? Let Yahoo News tell the story: “Rudy Giuliani admitted under oath that his ‘evidence’ of voter fraud in the 2020 election came partly from Facebook and that he did not interview or fact-check his sources, reports say. Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer made the comments in a deposition on August 14 in relation to a defamation lawsuit brought by a former Dominion Voting Systems employee, Eric Coomer, MSNBC reported. Coomer is suing the Trump campaign and others for promoting baseless conspiracy theories that he helped ‘rig’ the election for Joe Biden.” (Alia Shoaib, Yahoo News, October 2, 2021)
Kevin McCarthy is another NFPer whose antics and contradictory statements and stances would be comical were they not as dangerous as they are. A month after the January 6 insurrection, he issued a list of demands for a bipartisan commission that would investigate the insurrection. In May, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that all of these demands would be met. But then, McCarthy backed off and said that the commission would be “too partisan” even though his demands had been met. Obviously, he feared that the truth would emerge and he couldn’t have that. Clearly, the NFP is committed to nothing less than a full-scale coverup of the insurrection. Their every statement and action proves this.
It gets worse. McCarthy actually said that if he gets the speaker’s gavel back, “It will be hard not to hit Pelosi with it.” Daily Kos takes it from there: “This wasn’t McCarthy slipping up and saying something he’ll regret. It was McCarthy pandering to the Republican base, the logical next step after years of ‘lock her up’ chants from Donald Trump’s rally crowds, and after McCarthy’s decision to embrace the Capitol insurrection wing of the Republican Party. ‘A threat of violence to someone who was a target of a January 6th assassination attempt from your fellow Trump supporters is irresponsible and disgusting,’ Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, tweeted in response. McCarthy wants to be all things to all Republicans, and right now that means a mix of casual misogyny, embrace of violence, and contempt for democratic norms.” (Laura Clawson, Daily Kos, August 2, 2021)
Proof that the NFP doesn’t recognize the laws of the land was conclusively demonstrated by Kevin McCarthy as revealed by Daily Kos: “On Tuesday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy issued an ugly threat to phone companies. According to McCarthy, if the companies complied with requests from the House Select Committee on Jan. 6, and turned over phone records connected to the assault on the Capitol, those companies could be ‘subject to losing their ability to operate in the United States’ when Republicans are once again in control of Congress. ‘A Republican majority will not forget,’ wrote McCarthy.
“It’s a direct threat that should telecommunications companies and social media companies turn over the requested records, Republicans will punish them to the tune of billions of dollars. Or, as Rep. Eric Swalwell tweeted, ‘McCarthy just made the Congressional equivalent of a ‘Snitches Get Stitches’ threat.’
“What McCarthy did is also called witness intimidation. As NBC legal analyst Glenn Kirschner makes clear, what the Republican leader is a clear and indisputable form of obstruction in which McCarthy threatened to retaliate against witnesses for providing information that is being lawfully sought by the committee. ‘Somebody better prod the Department of Justice into wakefulness,’ said Kirshner, ‘because they should already have an arrest warrant for Kevin McCarthy.’
“What McCarthy did wasn’t politics. It wasn’t tough talk. It was a crime, one that he committed blatantly and in public. And it’s only made worse by the confirmation that some of the records being sought by the committee were those belonging to—Kevin McCarthy.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, September 3, 2021)
Clearly Kevin McCarthy, like virtually every other NFP leader, is a criminal. Why is there no call for his resignation? Why has he not been indicted for the criminal act of witness intimidation? Where has the media been silent on this?
The above article also indicts several other NFP criminals: “In addition to McCarthy’s attempt to threaten phone companies into silence, Rep. Andy Biggs has increased pressure to bar Rep. Liz Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger from the Republican Conference for their participation on bipartisan commission. There are definitely reasons for Biggs—who described Jan. 6 events as ‘an ordinary tourist visit’—to be concerned about what might surface in the committee’s investigations. As one of the founders of the ‘Stop the Steal’ plan has made clear, the whole ‘Jan. 6 idea’ for ‘putting max pressure on Congress’ during the counting of the Electoral College votes was created with the help of ‘Congressman Gosar, Congressman Mo Brooks and then Congressman Andy Biggs.’
“For Biggs and others involved in driving the whole scheme, demeaning the committee and trying to turn it into a partisan political entity is critical to refusing to cooperate personally and to support McCarthy in trying to intimate witnesses. That’s why Biggs is so anxious to get Cheney, who on Thursday was named vice chair of the committee, exiled from Republican ranks.
- Republicans are now warning American companies that if they cooperate with the Jan. 6 committee, they will be put out of business when Republicans return to power.
- Republicans are prepared to expel their fellow Republicans for the crime of investigating Jan. 6.
All of which makes for the obvious question: What are they so afraid of? It’s known that McCarthy had at least one conversation with Donald Trump in the midst of the assault on the Capitol. In that conversation, McCarthy was overheard begging Trump to call off the attack, and shouting a ‘who the f**k do you think you’re talking to’ in response to some statement from Trump. From this alone it’s clear that McCarthy knew that the people smashing their way into the House chamber were Trump supporters, and that Trump was capable of controlling them. But is that the limit of what McCarthy is hiding? What other information did he exchange with Trump? Did he make additional calls, possibly to someone else?
“In the case of Biggs, Rep. Mo Brooks, and Rep. Paul Gosar, it’s clear that they had deep connections with the people who organized and planned events on that day. In addition to brainstorming the whole idea of the Stop the Steal rallies, which led to violence in multiple cities, Brooks spoke at the rally on Jan. 6, directly challenging those present to march on the Capitol and ‘fight.’ And, as the Arizona Central reported, Gosar not only has connections to the white supremacist community that came before Jan. 6, he hasn’t hesitated to attend a white nationalist rally that took place after Jan. 6. But then, Gosar did say that he thought the attack on the Capitol was ‘awesome.’
“For these three, and for others like Rep. Lauren Boebert, Rep. Matt Gaetz, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the question might not be whether they talked to Trump on that day, but who else they spoke with. Boebert has been accused of leading ‘tours’ of the Capitol in the days before Jan. 6 where some of those involved in the rioting and insurgency may have been given information about the building’s defenses and the best routes to critical locations. She also sent a series of tweets during the assault that appeared to keep those outside informed of the movement of Congress members and the location of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Those tweets are public, but what were Boebert, Taylor Greene, Biggs, Gosar, Brooks, and Gaetz sending in private texts and calls bother before and during the attack?
“Whatever is in the communications records connected with that day, it has McCarthy and Biggs running scared. And considering what we already know, that’s saying something.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, September 3, 2021)
Andy Biggs is disputing the voting results in his state that declared Biden the winner, but had no problem accepting the voting results from the same day and on the same ballot that declared him to be the winner against his opponent. This is true of all the other election deniers, another example of NFP two-facedness. Every single recount and audit has shown that Biden won Arizona. Even the questionable audits have come to the same conclusion. The most recent audit that Biggs is referring to was conducted by the CyberNinjas, a group that has absolutely no election auditing experience. Moreover, the firm’s founder, who was at the Stop the Steal rally, still found zero evidence of election fraud and declared Biden the winner. CyberNinjas was brought in by the NFP for the sole purpose of validating a lie, so their conclusion would seem to prove Biden’s victory beyond any reasonable doubt. So how much more evidence does Andy Biggs need? The answer is simple: Biggs is up to his ears in the January 6 attack and so of course he is going to stick to his guns and insist that the election was stolen from Trump, because if he admits that Biden won, his actions will expose him as one of the insurrectionist leaders. The fact that he has no objective proof of election fraud is irrelevant to him; he figures as long as he screams loud and long, people will listen to him.
Further proof of Biggs’ guilt was seen when the Insurrection Commission subpoenaed Ali Alexander, an organizer of Stop the Steal. Yahoo News reports: “Alexander bragged on live streams last December that he and Trump-supporting Republican Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) were working on a plot to exert ‘maximum pressure on Congress’ during the vote to certify Joe Biden’s electoral victory. The day before the attack, Alexander allegedly led a group in a ‘victory’ or ‘death’ chant at a rally, the committee said. During the events at the Capitol, Alexander filmed a video of himself looking over the crowd from afar and saying, ‘I don’t disavow this. I do not denounce this.’ (Peter Wade, Yahoo News, October 7, 2021)
As Brian Tyler Cohen says: “On one side, you have the entire federal government, state government and local officials who’ve all found the same result, that Joe Biden won the election, and on the other side you’ve got Andy Biggs, and whoever else fit themselves into that clown car along side him, saying in fact that everyone else is wrong and they’re the ones who are right.”
It’s fascinating to watch these criminals and traitors try and work their way out of the trouble they have caused. Their strategies are crystal clear. They know that Trump lost the election and that many of their colleagues are implicated in promoting the big lie. So all the lawsuits, audits, and constant re-hashing of the same nonsense serves their purposes, as it makes their position seem tenable to a gullible NFP supporter. Again, the big lie repeated often enough soon begins to be seen as the truth.
It should be obvious to any thinking person that these people are criminals and traitors that are doing everything in their power to keep the truth from coming out.
In mid-2021, NFP members in my home state of California tried to recall governor Gavin Newsome and replace him with Larry Elder, a typical extremist NFP member. EDF provides us with a few quotes from Elder illustrating what kind of man he is: “The bad news is that global warming is a crock.” “Women know less than men about political issues, economics and current events.” “The ideal minimum wage is $0.00.” “When I become governor, assuming there are still mandates for vaccines and mandates for face masks, they will be repealed before I have my first cup of tea.” Fortunately, the recall did not succeed; in fact it wasn’t even close. Unfortunately, it cost Californians $276 million dollars. Moreover, the failed effort exposed some definite flaws in California’s recall rules. While most other states require the signatures of at least 25% of the previous vote total to recall a governor, California currently requires only 12%. This means that 12% of voters can order a do-over: They can order a recall every time a regular election doesn’t go the way they want. Bryan Tyler Cohen hit the nail right on the thumb when he said: “Republicans just cost taxpayers over a quarter of a billion dollars on this failed recall election—while at the same time, Republicans in Congress are arguing that we “can’t afford” to lower health care costs, drug costs, child care costs, or invest in renewable energy.”
Congressman Eric Swalwell asked a pertinent question about McCarthy: “If Kevin McCarthy thinks anyone but Donald Trump is responsible for January 6, why is Trump the only person who McCarthy contacted to call off the attack? McCarthy didn’t call Speaker Nancy Pelosi or Antifa, etc. to stop it. He knew then and he knows now.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s website says that he: “is fighting for Texas families and Texas values, by creating jobs and defending our constitutional rights and freedoms.” This is an interesting use of the word freedom, since Abbott signed an executive order in August that bans businesses, schools, and local governments from requiring masks an anti-COVID vaccines. Thus, “freedom” for Abbott means having the freedom to infect others with a potentially lethal disease. He signed this order at exactly the same time when his state was becoming an epicenter of a new COVID-19 outbreak.
Dr. Catherine Weaver tweeted: “I want the world to see the blatant hypocrisy we see in Texas everyday. Schools aren’t allowed to require testing, vaccinations or masks by mandate of our Governor, but you can’t go see your elected officials unless your test negative first. Help this go viral.”
In mid-August, the inevitable happened. Public Citizen informs us: “Texas Governor Greg Abbott tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday. First, we wish the governor a full and speedy recovery.
“Second, a few points:
- Abbott gets tested every day. That’s not an option for most people, in Texas or anywhere else in America.
- The night before testing positive, Abbott attended a large indoor gathering of Texas Republicans at which he and most other attendees did not wear masks—despite the latest recommendation from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- In March—ignoring warnings from public health officials—Abbott ended his own statewide mask mandate and occupancy limits for businesses.
- More recently, Abbott banned any kind of mask or vaccination requirements by school and government officials throughout Texas.
- Perhaps not coincidentally, Texas has more children with COVID infections serious enough to require hospitalization than any other state in the nation.
- Abbott himself has been vaccinated and reportedly even got a booster shot recently.
- Abbott is also receiving monoclonal antibodies—the same treatment Donald Trump got when he contracted COVID last fall.
- Meanwhile, Abbott is able to rest and recover in the luxurious Texas Governor’s Mansion and receive the very best medical care possible.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott is taking advantage of every resourceavailable to him but actively denying local governments and school boardthroughout Texas the ability to use the resources at their disposal to savelives. And for what, to score points in a ‘culture war’ Republicansfabricated because their positions on actual policy matters arebankrupt?” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, August 18, 2021)The Houston Chronicle hit the nail right on the head with an editorial thatasked: “How can Abbott protect Texas from COVID when he can’t protecthimself?”Abbott isn’t the only nut case in Texas; his Lieutenant Governor is just asbad. Daily Kos explains: “In speaking about Texas’s rise in COVID-19cases Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick blamed Black Americans forthe surge during an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Aug.19. Of course, he also had to distribute the blame away from Republicansto Democrats too. ‘Most of the numbers are with the unvaccinated and theDemocrats like to blame Republicans on that,’ Patrick said. ‘Well, thebiggest group in most states are African Americans who have not beenvaccinated. The last time I checked over 90 percent of them vote forDemocrats in their major cities and major counties, so it’s up to theDemocrats to get, just as it’s up to Republicans to try to get as manypeople vaccinated…“Basically, Patrick expects some action to be taken, yet has neveracknowledged the risk anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers pose during theirprotests which have repeatedly been violent towards the public and healthcare professionals.
“In response to Patrick’s ignorant comments, Stanford Medical researcher Jorge A. Caballero provided data contradicting his statements. ‘Per the Census Bureau, 50% of unvaccinated adults in Texas are White (non-Hispanic). There are 3 unvaccinated White adults for every 1 unvaccinated Black adult in Texas 1 in 3 #COVID19 cases in Texas have been among White individuals/ Oh yeah, and Dan Patrick is a racist.’“Others noted that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has blocked Black mayors, including those of Houston and Dallas, from implementing CDC recommended COVID-19 regulations, yet has “the audacity to blame Black people for the spread of COVID in his state.” (Aysha Qamar, Daily Kos, August 20, 2021)
Texas House Democrats reacted by leaving the state and keeping the NFP from having a quorum as they attempted to pass a voter suppression law. Abbott threatened to have them arrested when they return to Texas, but this stratagem did not work.
Common Cause tells us exactly how the situation in Texas has come to pass: “Texas is the poster child for what can happen when a government isn’t accountable to the people it serves.
“Here’s the Texas GOP’s recipe for disaster:
First…draw rigged, gerrymandered district maps that lock in a voter-proof, ultra-partisan legislative majority in a state that’s trending purple…
Next… use that brazen power grab to fuel another—passing dozens of voter suppression laws targeted directly at Black and brown Texans to silence them.
Now…there’s nothing to stop them from ramming through extremist legislation, which is then rubber stamped by the Supreme Court majority engineered by Mitch McConnell.
“All of these actions are, of course, deeply unpopular with ordinary Texans—whether they are Democrats, Republicans, or Independents—and Gov. Greg Abbott has the low approval ratings to prove it. But so absolute is their grip on power that many Texas politicians simply ignore public opinion in pursuit of their ideological agenda. The sad fact is, their democracy has been so devastated that there are precious few ways remaining to deliver change…If the Texas blueprint for authoritarian rule is allowed to go unchecked, GOP legislators in other states will surely pursue the very same strategy.” (Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause, September 4, 2021)
Early in 2021, a deadly winter storm hit Texas and left millions of people without power. LeftNet tells us: “Now, gas company CEOs stay warm with the $11 billion they made during the power grid failure—and Greg Abbott has done nothing to ensure Texans don’t freeze to death again in their homes this winter. This is what happens when industry owns politicians. Greg Abbott has simply stopped listening to, serving, paying attention to, and trusting the people of Texas…What do you get when the Governor of Texas is focused on the agendas of his donors, on positioning himself for the next election, on catering to the loudest voices in his party, and on keeping himself in power at any cost? You get incompetence and fringe policies—like voter suppression, a draconian abortion ban, free-for-all gun laws, anti-mask mandates, and zero accountability or reform after hundreds of Texans died from a catastrophic power grid failure.” (LeftNet, December 5, 2021)
The NFP and its predecessor the Republican party has long since known how to deal with its overt racism: blame anyone who points out that racism exists in society as the real racists. This tactic, blaming the victim, has been successfully employed by the far right for decades and for good reason: It works because it fires up the party’s base.
Ted Cruz has been covered at length in my previous articles. To refresh your memory, he is the man who fled his state (Texas) during a power outage and fled to Cancun, left his dog to freeze and, when called to task for it, blamed his daughters. As he enjoyed the comforts of Cancun, millions of his constituents had no running water and were dealing with icy air currents that forced the Federal emergency Management Agency to send in supplies. Even though Trump insulted his wife he, sycophant that he is, continues to support Trump’s every utterance and action. He also said his own father had a role in President Kennedy’s assassination. Clearly, this is a man that has no moral system whatever and cares about no one but himself. In other words, a typical NFP member.
As with McConnell and just about every other NFP member, he is determined to block everything the Democrats try to do. Win Without War gives us an example: “After four years of corrupt political appointees and empty postings at the State Department, President Biden is ready to appoint nominees who can truly move diplomacy forward. But there’s one thing standing in their way—Ted Cruz.
“Senator Cruz is using a procedural maneuver to single-handedly block dozens of diplomatic nominees—including critically needed top roles at the State Department and a number of senior appointees to the U.S. Agency for International Development—and it has nothing to do with their qualifications…
“Donald Trump did irreparable damage to our alliances, economic relationships, and reputation on the world stage. Now, we finally have a chance to rebuild the State Department and put real experts in place. None of that will be possible if Ted Cruz continues to block President Biden’s nominees. But right now that’s exactly what’s happening: Senator Cruz is using a procedural maneuver to hold up critical ambassadorships to Somalia, Algeria, Lesotho, Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, Vietnam, and Mexico, as well as assistant secretaries of state for Europe, Africa, East Asia, and South Asia. He’s blocking multiple staff who would oversee everything from conflict stabilization operations to diplomatic security, international organizations, and political-military affairs. And he’s doing it over a near completed Russian gas pipeline in Europe.
“We oppose the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure around the world, but hobbling the federal government’s ability to conduct diplomacy—the U.S. government’s most critical tool for solving global challenges—is outrageous. And Cruz’s strategy is so dubious, even other Republican senators apparently don’t understand or support it. Whether Cruz wants to believe it or not, COVID, rising conflict, and climate change reveal a world in crisis. Obstacles like the ones Ted Cruz is throwing up make us all less safe.” (Stephen Miles, Win Without War, August 5, 2021)
Public Citizen adds: “Cruz is widely disliked even by other Republicans. John Boehner, the former Speaker of the House (who, along with Mitch McConnell in the Senate, is as guilty as anyone of stonewalling progress during the Obama presidency) called Cruz ‘Lucifer in the flesh’ and said, ‘I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bi%$& in my life.’ Lindsey Graham, the senator from South Carolina—who knows a thing or twenty about being a sniveling weasel of a politician—once ‘joked’ that ‘if you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you.’ And, of course, there’s the bizarre fact that Ted Cruz went full MAGA even after Donald Trump insinuated that Cruz’s father killed JFK.
“None of that stopped Ted Cruz from doing something disgusting on the floor of the United States Senate in the middle of the night—namely, going on record as being *for* racist and undemocratic voting restrictions by preventing the Senate from even debating the For the People Act.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, August 12, 2021)
Cruz is also the worst type of hypocrite, as Occupy Democrats makes abundantly clear: “Ted Cruz, who wants to ban masks in public schools, sends his kids to a $30,000/year private school where students are REQUIRED to wear masks. Will he pull his kids out of this ‘oppressive’ establishment?” Do as I say, not as I do seems to be Cruz’s mantra. Another word describes him perfectly: Hypocrite.
When another school shooting occurred in his home state, Cruz called a press conference in which he spent about half a minute somberly discussing the shooting, and then immediately went into a rant about the “We’re here today because of the Biden border crisis.” Cruz’ speed in turning the conversation away from dead children into an attack on Biden shows exactly where his priorities lie. Rest assured he won’t have any solutions to the gun crisis in this country. He can cry crocodile tears all he wants, but he will never take any action to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Human life means nothing to him.
Ted Cruz is a truly awful man. But unfortunately, he is far from being the only one in the NFP. In fact, he is fairly typical of the immoral extremists and traitors in his party. These people are no longer the fringe elements of the Republican party; rather, they are the standard bearers for a new right-wing totalitarianism that wants nothing other than power and will stop at nothing to get it and keep it.
Then there’s Rand Paul.
Rand Paul’s views and actions (or inactions) on climate change, Donald Trump and the supposedly “stolen” election are patently ridiculous. But there is a scandal connected with him, as YahooNews reports: “Sixteen months late, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Wednesday filed a disclosure with the Senate revealing that on Feb. 26, 2020, his wife, Kelley, purchased stock in Gilead Sciences, a company that produces an antiviral drug used to treat COVID-19. Under the STOCK Act, which prohibits members of Congress from using information not available to the public for private profit, the disclosure should have been filed within 45 days of the purchase, The Washington Post reports.
“The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020. That spring, the Justice Department launched investigations into several senators who sold stock shortly before the pandemic declaration, which upended the financial industry and caused markets to crash worldwide. Gilead makes remdesivir, an antiviral developed to treat hepatitis C that was also tested for use against infectious diseases. It was administered as part of former President Donald Trump’s treatment last October when he was hospitalized for COVID-19.
“The stock purchase and late filing raise questions about whether Paul and his family used information given to lawmakers about the coronavirus and the government’s plans to fight it so they could make a profit, Prof. James D. Cox of Duke University told the Post. ‘The senator ought to have an explanation for the trade and, more importantly, why it took him almost a year and a half to discover it from his wife,’ he said.” (Catherine Garcia, YahooNews, August 11, 2021) To any sensible observer, this looks suspiciously like insider trading.
Rand Paul’s actions, or rather non-actions, only serve to further erode public confidence in our political system. Corruption and cronyism have become so commonplace in the NFP that it barely gets noticed in the supposedly “liberal” media.
Here’s another interesting piece on Paul: “On Tuesday, Forbes reported that social media site YouTube has barred Sen. Paul from uploading any new videos over the next week. He has been banned for a video in which he claimed that cloth masks and over-the-counter masks ‘don’t work’ and ‘don’t prevent infection.’ YouTube told Paul that his video violated their COVID-19 medical misinformation policy, a charge that Paul disputed on other social media platforms. He also took another opportunity to promote more misinformation about masks.
“Paul created a scripted video statement, saying that while YouTube was a ‘private entity, they are acting like an arm of the government.’ He then went on to call YouTube’s dispute ‘anti-science’ before reiterating that cloth and over-the-counter surgical masks do nothing to protect people from COVID-19. Paul cited a Danish study that right-wing groups have increasingly cited as evidence.
“That particular study, even according to the authors of the study themselves, only proved that in Denmark, during the conditions under which the study was conducted, the researchers ‘didn’t find that the face mask intervention had a large protective effect for wearers—not that masks provide no protection at all or don’t offer benefits to others.’ Rand has been championing this study incorrectly since it came out in November of 2020 and was posted on his daddy’s blog. His bigoted dad’s blog also promoted it incorrectly. In fact, if Rand or anyone actually interested in the science of the study had wanted to, they could have easily seen that the study, when published, also came with two editorial pieces that clarified the study’s virtues and limitations for the general public. Not surprisingly, not a single scientist worth their salt looked at the Danish study and concluded that masks were entirely ineffective as part of a public health plan to help mitigate the transmission of COVID-19. The authors of the study probably explained it best, writing that their findings ‘should not be used to conclude that a recommendation for everyone to wear masks in the community would not be effective in reducing SARS-CoV-2 infections, because the trial did not test the role of masks in source control of SARS-CoV-2 infection.’ Translation: Don’t use this study to do what Rand Paul has been doing.
“The interview that got Paul suspended included the misinformation about the Danish study and misinformation concerning a Cleveland Clinic study, which compared the re-infection rates among employees who had contracted COVID-19 and did not vaccinate to employees who received the vaccine. Paul and other anti-vaxxers have used this study to ‘debunk’ guidance from Dr. Fauci, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for those who have recovered from COVID-19 to get vaccinated, which they claim is just liberal hysteria and an attempt to take our guns, stick microchips in our bodies, and ruin small businesses.
“As with the Danish study, Paul has conveniently (again) forgotten the science part of the study. As the Cleveland Clinic itself explained about the study’s conclusions: ‘We recently shared research that provides insight into how the immune system protects the body after a confirmed COVID-19 infection. The study followed Cleveland Clinic caregivers over five months as the vaccination process was beginning. The data showed that the vaccine was extremely effective in preventing COVID-19 infection. In addition, we found that none of the previously infected employees who remained unvaccinated were re-infected over the duration of the study. This information could help guide vaccination efforts should there be a shortage of vaccine supply and in countries where vaccine supply is limited.’
“Their point was not that people shouldn’t get vaccinated if they had some natural immunity to COVID-19, but that the good news was that with short supplies of the vaccine initially available, there was a potential scientific path forward in how we prioritize who should be able to get vaccine shots first.
“Sen. Paul and his fancy adult haircut join Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is being suspended from social media platforms for the continued peddling of anti-science, anti-public health rumor, and innuendo.” (Walter Einenkel, Daily Kos, August 11, 2021)
Only someone as far removed from reality as Rand Paul could say that researches won’t study the toxic livestock-deworming drug ivermectin as a possible treatment for COVID because—wait for it—of their dislike for Donald Trump. Ivermectin consumption has also been supported by Fox News. The result? Calls to poison control centers have escalated nationwide. What a surprise!
Paul, like all the major NFP leaders, is a hypocrite through and through. On the twentieth anniversary of 9/11, he posted: “Never forget the Americans who died on 9/11 & those who still sacrifice to this day to protect and defend us.” Nice words, but this is the same man who blocked legislation that would have provided health care funds for the first responders on that dark day. Many of these people are still fighting diseases that resulted from their work on Ground Zero.
And of course there is Marjorie Taylor Greene, the ultimate Trump toady. She has been discussed at length in my article “2021: A new President, but the same old Republicans.” This woman is so far removed from reality that it is singularly amazing that the mainstream media, far right though it has become, continues to treat her as a legitimate politician. She is a climate change denier who compares public officials fighting COVID-19 to Nazis. As insulting as this is to morality and plain old common sense, no one in the NFP seems to have a problem with it. The exact term she used was “medical brown shirts.”
Greene is of course a rabid gun nut that thinks weapons should be used against—believe it or not—the president and his supporters. NBC News reports on this unbelievable example of NFP traitors masquerading as a legitimate political party: “Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., suggested at a recent Republican fundraiser in Alabama that Southerners could threaten President Joe Biden’s ‘police state friends’ with guns if they show up at their homes asking about their coronavirus vaccination status. The late-July event in Dothan was closed to the media, but a video clip of some of her comments leaked, according to the Alabama Political Reporter.
“‘You lucky people here in Alabama might get a knock on your door, because I hear Alabama might be one of the most unvaccinated states,’ Greene told the crowd, prompting cheers and applause over the state’s low vaccination rate. ‘Well, Joe Biden wants to come talk to you guys. He’s going to be sending one of his police state friends to your front door to knock on the door, take down your name, your address, your family members’ names, your phone numbers, your cellphone numbers, probably ask for your Social Security number and whether you’ve taken the vaccine or not.’
“She continued: ‘What they don’t know is in the South, we all love our Second Amendment rights, and we’re not real big on strangers showing up on our front door, are we? They might not like the welcome they get.’” (Rebecca Shabad, NBC News, August 6, 2021)
Greene continues to spout outrageously dangerous and stupid things, things that can cost people their lives. Twitter was so outraged at one particular episode that they suspended her account for one week. CNN explains the situation: “Twitter (TWTR) has suspended Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s account for one week following another violation of the platform’s rules, the company said Tuesday. Greene tweeted on Monday that the Food and Drug Administration ‘should not approve the COVID vaccines.’ She also claimed the vaccines were ‘failing’ and that they were ineffective at reducing the virus’s spread. In response, Twitter labeled the tweet as misleading and prevented Greene from tweeting for one week…Tuesday’s suspension marks at least the third and toughest penalty Twitter has imposed on Greene for sharing misinformation. In January, Greene was suspended for 12 hours from Twitter for sharing conspiracy theories about the Georgia Senate runoff elections, a move that the company said violated its civic integrity policy. In July, Twitter suspended Greene again for 12 hours for sharing misinformation about Covid-19 and vaccines. (Greene was also temporarily suspended in March but was soon reinstated after Twitter said its automated systems had acted in error.) (Brian Fung and Donie O’Sullivan, CNN, August 11, 2021)
Greene’s response to the COVID crisis? “We’re human, we can’t live forever.” In other words, saving lives isn’t important to Greene. Let the number of deaths continue to rise, and do nothing about it. That is Marjorie Taylor Greene’s “strategy.”
And she calls herself “pro-life.”
If Greene’s traitorous actions before and during the insurrection weren’t enough, she is now asking for a national poll to decide if the country should be split into Democratic and Republican states. States with a Republican majority should, according to Greene, have the right to secede from the union. Apparently, Greene is unfamiliar with the fact that we once fought a bloody Civil War precisely over this issue, the only difference being that the Confederacy wanted to maintain human bondage, while the NFP wants to install a totalitarian fascist regime.
After murderer Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted, Greene wanted to give him a Congressional Gold Medal, but voted NO to giving the same honor to Capitol police officers in the wake of January 6.
Why on earth are our leaders and the news media treating this as if it’s business as usual? Why are Democrats not calling for her removal from office? Why are none of these people pointing out that 99.99 percent of vaccinated people have not had a severe case of COVID-19? Why are they legitimizing this criminal behavior, behavior that flies in the face of scientific fact and plain old common sense?
Lauren Boebert is just as far gone as Greene, and took her Nazi comment even further, tweeting: “Biden has deployed his Needle Nazis to Mesa County. The people of my district are more than smart enough to make their own decisions about the experimental vaccine and don’t need coercion by federal agents. Did I wake up in Communist China?”
Greene and Boebert seem to have no problem comparing offering the public information about the dangers of the pandemic and providing free vaccinations to the Nazis torturing and murdering millions of people. Only MAGA NFP members could concoct something so outrageously evil and insane.
When Boebert took over her position, she focused on two different items. First, she sought to overturn the 2020 election. Second, she attacked “Green New Deal Extremists” at every opportunity. Of course, she failed to mention her husband’s income (nearly a million dollars during the previous two years) as an energy consultant. Another example of conflicts of interest in the NFP.
As with so many members of the NFP, scandal has attached itself to Lauren Boebert. CNN reports: “Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert paid utility and rent bills with campaign funds, according to a new filing the Republican lawmaker made this week with the Federal Election Commission. The report, submitted to the FEC on Tuesday, details a series of four payments this year totaling $6,650 to John Pacheco, whose address is the same as Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colorado—the gun-themed restaurant that Boebert owns. The payments are described as rent and utilities that had been erroneously billed to campaign. Boebert refused to answer CNN’s questions Thursday. In an email, her spokesman Ben Stout said the funds in question ‘were reimbursed months ago when Rep. Boebert self-reported the error.’
“It is against the law to use campaign funds for personal use. And Adav Noti, a top official with the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, said using donors’ money to pay rent and utilities is a ‘flagrant violation.’ ‘There are some gray areas in campaign finance law, and this is really not one of them,’ added Noti, a former associate general counsel at the FEC.” (Fredreka Schouten, CNN, September 23, 2021)
Jim Jordan, like several other MAGA Republicans, was actively involved in the insurrection on January 6. When asked if he spoke to the president on that day, he tried to deflect the issue by saying that he speaks with him almost every day. He conveniently could not remember whether he spoke to Trump before or after the attack on the capitol. One would think that, given the gravity of the situation that day, he would be able to remember if he spoke to him before or after the traitorous attack. Jordan’s defense is to insist that the real question of January 6 is why wasn’t there more defense at the capitol that day. Jordan would have us believe that this is more important than the fact that the president of the United States encouraged and possibly even led an attack on the government of the country he is supposed to be leading. For sure, the NFP wants to absolve Trump of any criminal activity, but putting the blame for what happened on Nancy Pelosi? It staggers the imagination. The only reason Jordan would try such a far-fetched tactic is to deflect attention away from himself and the dictator he wants to shield from justice.
Even some NFP members are turning on Jordan for his evasive tactics, as reported by YahooNews: “Former chair of the Republican National Committee Michael Steele delivered a searing smackdown of Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-Ohio) claim that he can’t remember if he spoke to Donald Trump before, during or after violence erupted in the Capitol on Jan. 6. ‘You know what time you called the president, and you know what you said,’ an incredulous Steele snapped, referring to Jordan, on ‘The Breakdown’ on Lincoln Project TV, a media project of the Republican-run anti-Trump group of which Steele is a member. ‘You’re a grown-ass man,’ Steele added. ‘Stop acting like 10-year-old kid who got caught masturbating by his momma. Stop it.’” (Mary Papenfuss, YahooNews, July 31, 2021) Steele seems to have more intellectual integrity than most of our Democratic leaders who, as they have done countless times before, refused to make an issue out of this nonsense.
Daily Kos tells us exactly what Jordan is trying to pull: “Either there is about to be, or there is ongoing, or there has just been, a bloody attack on the U.S. Capitol while you, as a member of the House of Representatives, are there conducting congressional business, and you just can’t quite remember when you spoke to the leader of the party, the man who rules your world. No, that’s something you remember.” (Laura Clawson, Daily Kos, August 3, 2021)
Jordan was one of the most vocal NFP members calling for investigations which he thought would confirm that Trump “won” the 2020 election. He was taken down and embarrassed by Democratic Senator Joseph Morelle. Morelle asked him point blank if he thought Biden won the election and Jordan, true to form, tried to weasel out of it by saying that Biden is the president, which is not what Morelle asked. Jordan then said “I’ve never said that he (Biden) didn’t win.” But the fact that countless court cases have been filed, all of which declare that Biden won the election, Jordan is on camera—on many different programs—saying that the election results “should be investigated.” What more does Jordan want? There were over sixty court cases launched on this supposedly fraudulent election, there were numerous recounts and audits, and not a single instance of fraud was found in any of those cases. How many failures in court will the NFP have to endure before they give up? Their “solution” is simple: Pack the courts with right-wing NFP demagogues and then wait for rulings to go their way.
It’s not about any “stolen” election with the NFP. It’s not about truth or objective facts. It’s about the disinformation they are spewing, knowing full well that their rantings aren’t supported by a shred of evidence. The NFP’s dishonesty is truly appalling, but it serves a purpose: The introduction of countless anti-voting measures across the country. The lie here is obvious: It’s not about election “integrity” because it already exists. It’s about keeping people from voting who tend to vote Democratic.
Again, we see the role the news media plays in spreading the big lie. They continue to give the NFP platforms to spread this nonsense, treating their lies as being somehow legitimate. Until the news media wakes up and realizes they are being used by traitors to our country, the big lie will continue to be viewed as verified fact by an increasingly gullible public.
The issue is not, as the media seems to think, differences of opinion between Democrats and Republicans. It’s about one side telling the truth and the other side lying. Until the media recognizes this and begins calling out the liars, our country will continue on its slide toward oblivion. I will explore the role the media is playing in America’s slide toward fascism later in this article.
NFP con men like Jordan will continue to spout this nonsense even though it goes against all the evidence that has come to light. Even Bill Barr, Trump’s own Attorney General, said there was no fraud. Trump’s DHS said this was the most secure election in U.S. history. Audits and hand recounts in every disputed area were inspected and disclosed not a shred of evidence of election fraud.
The NFP leaders aren’t stupid. They know that Trump lost the election. They might be somewhat intelligent, but one thing they are not is honest. Their strategy is to continue claiming that the election was stolen from him because this will enable them to do the same thing in all future elections. This is why they have been introducing so many voter suppression laws: They insist that voter “integrity” is at stake, but what is really at stake is the fact that they know their party is at odds with the majority of U.S. voters and so the only way for them to “win” elections is to cheat.
The NFP will NEVER acknowledge a Democratic victory. Period. If they win an election they will say the will of the people won out. If they lose, it is because of voter fraud.
Brian Tyler Cohen said it best: “But sure, Jim Jordan never said that Biden didn’t win, other than doing daily media hits, alleging that the election was rigged, that Democrats cheated, that there was fraud, that votes were switched, that machines weren’t tabulating ballots correctly, that votes were found under tables, that the Constitution was violated. Other than all of that, sure, Jim Jordan never cast doubt on the outcome of the election.” Sometimes sarcasm is the best medicine.
In addition to being memory challenged, Jordan is also history challenged. On September 6, he tweeted: “Vaccine mandates are un-American.” He is blissfully unaware of the fact that in 1777 George Washington ordered all his troops to be vaccinated against smallpox. Would he say that the founder of our country was anti-American? Jordan is also uninformed that school vaccine mandates have been around since the 1850s. The Supreme Court approved of vaccine mandates over a century ago.
One reader of Yahoo News noted: “Every US soldier is required to be vaccinated against chicken pox, hep A, hep B, measles, mumps, rubella, rabies, pertussis, tetanus, diphtheria, rabies, typhoid, pneumococcal pneumonia, and the flu. Is that really un-American?”
Speaking of “un-American,” couldn’t we make a much better case that supporting an insurrection against the United States is supremely un-American? Why is the NFP so conspicuously silent on this important point?
Another leader and supporter of the insurrection, Rep. Madison Cawthorn opined that President Biden’s call to offer COVID-19 vaccines door-to-door could lead to the government taking people’s guns and bibles. He is the young congressman who famously waved his fist in support of the traitors the attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6. This traitor to his country said on August 29 that the arrested rioters are “political hostages” and said he wants to “bust them out.” He even hinted that he might call for a future mass protest in the Capitol.
Cawthorn’s antics have become more and more ridiculous and indefensible as time wears on. YahooNews provides some proof: “GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn has doubled down on his defense of the Capitol rioters. Cawthorn told a North Carolina news outlet that most Capitol rioters were ‘normal people’ who were ‘kind of wandering in.’ Reports released this week found that Capitol rioters committed more than 1,000 assaults on police on January 6…’But the overwhelming majority of the people of the January 6 thing were just normal people, there for a normal protest to redress their government. And then they saw an open door at the top of the Capitol, and they were just kind of wandering in,’ Cawthorn said.”
(Cheryl Teh, YahooNews, September 3, 2021)
Paul Gosar’s role in the insurrection was discussed in my previous article “2021: A new President, but the same old Republicans.” To see just how extreme this man is, consider his ally Nick Fuentes, who has recently been banned by Twitter. To see why, let Forbes tell the story: “Nick Fuentes, the 22-year-old leader of a white nationalist group who was embraced by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), was suspended by Twitter on Friday, one of the last platforms that had yet to banish the far-right rising star. Twitter confirmed it banned Fuentes after ‘repeated violations’ of its rules, without offering further information. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Thursday published an article on its blog entitled ‘Nicholas J. Fuentes: Five Things to Know’ in which it accused Fuentes of using his platform ‘to make numerous antisemitic and racist comments’…Fuentes is also banned by YouTube, Reddit, TikTok, Spotify, Venmo, Stripe, and Clubhouse, among others, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“Fuentes has been labeled a white supremacist by the FBI in a court document and ‘white-nationalist organizer’ by the Southern Poverty Law Center. He attended both the ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, and the rallies in Washington, D.C. on January 6 leading up to the Capitol riot. He first rose to prominence through his online show America First with Nicholas J. Fuentes, which he began live streaming in 2017. Fuentes is an avowed member of the “Groyper army,” which the ADL describes as ‘a white supremacist group.’ At a political event earlier this year, he warned the U.S. was losing ‘its white demographic core’ and called the Capitol riot attack ‘awesome.’ He has previously defended segregation and denied parts of the Holocaust, though he later said he was joking about his Holocaust comments. Two days before the Capitol riot, Fuentes suggested killing legislators who refused to vote to overturn the 2020 election, before walking the idea back. ‘What can you and I do to a state legislator—besides kill them?’ he said on his livestream. ‘We should not do that. I’m not advising that, but I mean, what else can you do, right?’ (Jack Brewster, Forbes, July 9, 2021)
Paul Gosar’s own family has called on him to resign, which of course he won’t. Think ran the family members’ article which, although long, needs to be quoted here in full as it discloses the utter depravity that characterizes the man and his party: “In 1954, the Boston lawyer Joseph Welch famously asked Wisconsin Republican Sen. Joseph McCarthy, ‘At long last, sir, have you left no sense of decency?’ It was a question that marked the beginning of the end for McCarthy’s madness, and the senator died a disgraced and despised opportunist. We now ask our brother, Rep. Paul Gosar, that same question. Although his colleagues in Congress and others in the media seem to only recently be paying attention, we have been aware of his unhinged behavior for years. We are therefore not surprised to see him heading down a very similar path to McCarthy’s.
“So, have you no sense of decency, Paul? Wasn’t it shameful and destructive enough when you:
- Falsely blamed the Charlottesville, Virginia, neo-Nazi march on an innocent, old man in a vicious anti-Semitic attack?
- Claimed that Covid-19 was overblown and would miraculously disappear after the election, thereby misleading and harming those who believed you, despite the fact that Arizona had the highest infection rate in the world both before and after the November election?
- Marched in England for convicted criminal Tommy Robinson in support of his hateful attacks against British Muslims?
- Backed the Cliven Bundy insurrection, when Bundy used an armed mob to defy officers attempting to enforce laws Bundy had clearly violated for years? (And doubled down on Bundy’s bigotry by failing to condemn Bundy’s horrible racist rant, although that rant was too much even for Sean Hannity?)
- Were an open and avowed ‘birther’?
“And this is just the start of our list, which includes so many other examples, from your decision to lobby for John McCain’s Senate seat while he was still alive to supporting the Senate run of Roy Moore, who was accused of sexual misconduct with teenagers when he was in his 30s. (Moore has denied the allegations). It seems, in fact, that you are immune to shame. In addition to betraying your family and causing irreparable damage to the relationships within it, you decided to betray your country by helping incite the Jan. 6 domestic terrorist attack on the Capitol.
“For starters, you repeatedly lied about the election results and achieved the deplorable distinction of being the congressman with the most tweets devoted to election lies and instigating the riot. Then you helped organize the ‘Stop the Steal’ rallies with Ali Alexander while calling President Joe Biden a ‘usurper’ who stole the election and was engaged in a ‘coup,’ challenging crowds to ‘take the Hill’ and saying ‘sedition and treason for stealing votes is appropriate.’ You ended your ‘Open Letter to Arizona’ by calling on supporters to ‘be ready to defend the Constitution and the White House.’ Finally, you lied on the floor of Congress and falsely claimed that hundreds of thousands of Arizona ballots had been deliberately switched from former President Donald Trump to Biden—a statistic you most certainly knew to be a complete lie.
“But just as shocking, you are now trying to gaslight everyone by claiming Ashli Babbitt was somehow an innocent bystander as she attempted to smash her way into the hallway right outside the chamber where you were hiding, having only moments before lied about the election.
“In fact, your lies helped delay the Capitol Police from clearing the chamber, and this delay led at least in part to the officer’s decision to shoot Babbitt to protect you. And now you have the gall to blame those men and women who protected you for her death. Disgracefully, you even voted against awarding commendations to those who risked their lives to protect yours? You, one of the key big lie proponents and key instigators of the insurrection? Have you left no sense of decency?
“Which brings us to your white supremacist ally, Nick Fuentes. How is it that a hateful boy 40 years your junior is able to lead you around by your nose? Let’s start there. And what about Fuentes’ disgusting and appalling Holocaust denial you have never once condemned? Or his racist statements scoffing at the horrors of Jim Crow, segregation and Derek Chauvin’s brutal murder of George Floyd—again, statements you have never condemned. What decent person would associate with such a wretched creature? None of your colleagues will go near him. Maybe you don’t know how you got to this very dark place, Paul. Unfortunately, we have some ideas. Maybe it’s because you’re in way over your head in Congress and don’t have the intellect, character or maturity to be in that leadership role. Maybe your lifelong, insecure need for the approval of others caused you to sacrifice your common decency and integrity to satisfy Trump and his followers in order to keep your seat.
“The extremism of your beliefs is finally getting the media attention it deserves. What should happen now is that you resign. Sadly, this seems unlikely. This means unless your colleagues step in, you are likely doomed to go down in history as a cautionary tale: a person who betrayed his family, his country and even himself. Ultimately, the first victim of the big lies—the lies you have always told yourself to justify anything you do, always for your benefit and at the expense of others—is really you.” (Dave Gosar, Jennifer Gosar, Tim Gosar, Think, August 1, 2021)
If this weren’t enough, Gizmodo adds: “Republican Paul Gosar shared an edited video Monday that depicts the congressman as an anime hero violently taking on Democrats. The animated video even shows Gosar killing fellow member of Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, which is eerily similar to some of former President Donald Trump’s edited videos. And that’s obviously no coincidence. Far-right extremist politicians like Lauren Boebert from Colorado and Marjorie Taylor-Greene from Georgia are also featured in the video. Real-life footage of asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border and Border Patrol agents can also be seen rapidly cut into the anime scenes in what obviously appears to be an anti-immigrant message.
“Twitter flagged Gosar’s tweet as against the social media platform’s own rules banning hateful conduct, but is allowing the video to stay up under its ‘public interest exception.’
“Gosar, who recently spoke at a white nationalist conference, tweeted the video approvingly Monday night, writing, ‘The creativity of my team is off the hook.’ The video is edited from footage of the Japanese anime TV series Attack on Titan and features not just Gosar killing an anime version of AOC, but attacking President Joe Biden as well. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez responded to the tweet by pointing out Gosar’s ties to neo-Nazi groups and sarcastically saying it’s a ‘fun Monday’ when this kind of content is being shared. ‘So while I was en route to Glasgow, a creepy member I work with who fundraises for Neo-Nazi groups shared a fantasy video of him killing me. And he’ll face no consequences bc @GOPLeader cheers him on with excuses. Fun Monday! Well, back to work bc institutions don’t protect [women of color],’ Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
“As Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu points out, anyone who did this kind of video edit in a normal workplace would be fired immediately. Congress, of course, is no normal workplace. ‘This is sick behavior from Rep. Paul Gosar. He tweeted out the video showing him killing Rep. Ocasio-Cortez from both his official account and personal account,’ Rep. Lieu tweeted on Monday.” (Matt Novak, Gizmodo, November 9, 2021)
When she heard of Gosar’s video, Ocasio-Cortez responded: “A creepy member I work with who fundraises for Neo-Nazi groups shared a fantasy video of him killing me,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “And he’ll face no consequences bc @GOPLeader cheers him on with excuses.” (The @GOPLeader Twitter account belongs to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.) There will be no consequences because this type of criminal behavior is acceptable—even encouraged—by today’s NFP. Rest assured that if a Democrat tried anything comparable the NFP would be screaming to the heavens.
The U.S. Constitution is crystal clear about what must be done. Article 1, Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to “punish its members for disorderly behavior and with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.” Somehow, MAGA Republicans don’t seem to think that a death threat qualifies as “disorderly behavior.” One can only wonder what they think would qualify.
Of course, the NFP cannot be bothered by that pesky Constitution. Gosar was censured, but the final House vote was 223-207, which means that 207 members of the House of Representatives have no problem ignoring the Constitution they swore to uphold. This from the party that calls itself the party of law and order! WTIN notes: “Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called the censure an ‘abuse of power’ by Democrats to distract from national problems. He said of the censure, a ‘new standard will continue to be applied in the future,’ a signal of potential ramifications for Democratic members should Republicans retake a majority.” (MISN, November 17, 2021)
Let Ocasio-Cortez have the last word on Gosar and McCarthy: “It is sad. It is a sad day in which a member who leads a political party in the United States of America cannot bring themselves to say that issuing a depiction of murdering a member of congress is wrong. And instead decides to venture off into a tangent about gas prices and inflation. What is so hard? What is so hard about saying that this is wrong?”
Paul Gosar, like every single MAGA NFP member in Congress, is a national disgrace. Where is the outrage? Where are the people demanding his resignation? And, most tellingly of all, why are none of his colleagues demanding either his immediate resignation, or for an inquiry to be held investigating his crimes? That is the level of corruption and immorality the NFP has descended into.
MoveOn tells of an incident that has become all too commonplace in NFP circles: “The New York Times reports that at a conservative rally in western Idaho last month, a young man stepped up to a microphone to ask when he could start killing Democrats. ‘When do we get to use the guns?’ he said as the audience applauded. ‘How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?’ The local state representative, a Republican, later called it a ‘fair’ question.” (Robert Reich, MoveOn, November 18, 2021)
Daily Beast rightly called one NFP leader “the lowest of the low.” This is true on several levels. Here’s why: “Tennessee state Rep. David Byrd was recorded apologizing to one of two former students who accused him of molesting them when he was a girls’ high school basketball coach in the 1980s. ‘I can promise you one thing, I have been so sorry for that,’ he says in a recording that surfaced along with the allegations in 2018. ‘I’ve lived with that and you don’t know how hard it has been for me.’ A third student charged that he had attempted to molest her. But Byrd never admitted nor explicitly denied what the three alleged, saying only, ‘I have done nothing wrong or inappropriate during my term as state representative.’
“The then speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives, Beth Harwell, called on Byrd to resign. He refused and joined many of his fellow Republican representatives in wrongdoing of another kind when the pandemic hit. Byrd was complicit in an effort to minimize the coronavirus threat as no worse than the flu. He opposed such basic mitigation measures as masking and social distancing. He was one of 55 Tennessee Republican representatives who signed a resolution in June of last year alleging that ‘[the] mainstream media has sensationalized the reporting on COVID-19 in the service of political agendas.’
“The day before Thanksgiving, Byrd tested positive for COVID-19. He was flown by helicopter from his hometown of Waynesboro to Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital in Nashville and he issued a plaintive statement on Dec. 7. ‘Please pray for God’s healing for my lungs, and that He will give me strength and endurance as I battle this virus.’ He spent 55 days on a ventilator in the ICU…He was one of the lucky ones who survived after needing to be intubated. But he was initially unable to use his limbs. And he began to suffer liver failure. On June 12, he received a liver transplant. He was still recovering on July 29, when he arrived in a wheelchair at the House chamber.
“But Byrd has now outdone himself and proven to be among the lowest of the low. On Wednesday night, Byrd joined all 73 members of the House Republican caucus in petitioning Gov. Bill Lee to call a special session of the legislature to prohibit local mask mandates and keep businesses from barring the unvaccinated.” (Michael Daly, Daily Beast, August 13, 2021)
And this is the party of “family values?”
The lies the NFP expects people to believe would be funny if their followers weren’t gullible enough to buy into them. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is a case in point. On October 20, he actually stood on a platform in Times Square to announce that free speech no longer exists in America—and that the Democrats are the villains. Daily Kos quotes him: “‘You have Democrats out there saying you have to get rid of the First Amendment, you have to get rid of freedom of speech,’ he says, likely unable to point to a single Democrat who actually is saying such things. Remember, the First Amendment doesn’t apply to private companies. It only applies to the government. For example, here at Daily Kos, we can ban whoever we want. The Constitution is utterly silent regarding our right to do so. Our forum, our rules. So yes, Facebook should shut down Kennedy, but not because the government demands it. That would be unconstitutional. Private companies should shut him down because people are dying from his dangerous lies, and who wants that stain on their conscience? That said, it is really rich to whine about attacks on the First Amendment when he, himself, is suing Daily Kos because a community member dared criticize him for attending a Nazi rally, at the behest of a white supremacist extremist party, in Berlin.” (Marcos Moulitsas, Daily Kos, October 20, 2021)
So in other words, RFK Jr. is complaining that free speech doesn’t exist in America at the same time he is suing Daily Kos for their legally protected right of exercising its free speech. No hypocrisy there.
Glenn Youngkin, who won the governorship of Virginia in November, is yet another right-wing extremist. It goes without saying he is a diehard Trumpist. He also opposes a woman’s right to choose, LGBTQ rights, and mask and vaccine mandates. He is supported by right-wing hate groups and the January 6 insurrectionists. He also supports book banning. NFP strategy was predictable in this election and in every other election: Had Youngkin lost, they would have claimed that the election was rigged. Since he won, it was because of “massive MAGA turnouts.”
On a positive note, there is at least one Republican left in the NFP that possesses some degree of honesty and intellectual integrity. This is Liz Cheney, who had the courage to come out and say: “I think what Donald Trump did is the most dangerous, egregious violation of an oath of office of any president in our history.”
I have discussed the crimes of Michael Flynn in detail in my previous articles. Tammy Duckworth adds: “Michael Flynn is betraying our nation. He posted a video of him and his family reciting the QAnon oath and encouraging others to #TakeTheOath. This comes just weeks after Flynn essentially called for a military coup here in the United States in order to overthrow a democratically-elected President who won the 2020 election by more than 8 million votes—no matter what lies about imaginary illegal voter fraud the right wing is peddling. Let me be clear: if Flynn were still active duty military, he could be court martialed for these comments. I am speaking out and asking you to do the same. It is alarming that a retired military officer—who once swore an oath to defend our Constitution—has now called for the military to tear it to shreds.” (Tammy Duckworth, July 9, 2021)
Flynn is now calling for the United States to be a one religion country. And of course he is a defender of the January 6 traitors, as Yahoo!News reports: “Flynn also said he has taped a segment for ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ on what he calls the ‘insurrection crucifixion,’ comparing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Pontius Pilate, the man who ordered the crucifixion of Jesus in the Bible. ‘This is the crucifixion of our First Amendment freedom to speak, freedom to peacefully assemble. It’s unbelievable.’” (Morgan Keith, Yahoo!News, November 13, 2021)
A few words about QAnon are in order here. This is a subject I have discussed in detail before, so here I will confine myself to a brief description of what they are and the noxious influence they have on American politics. Originating in 2017, they focus on wild and totally baseless conspiracy theories. As with all religious cults, they have their “prophet” an unknown person or persons identified as Q. Their core belief is that there is a group of Satan worshippers who are cannibalistic and abuse children via a global child sex trafficking ring. Unsurprisingly, QAnon true believers are all devout Trumpists. Christians await the return of their mythical Christ; QAnon believers insist that a “day of reckoning” will come, which they call “the Event” or “the Storm.” Also like Christianity, QAnon has spawned numerous spinoff groups. As with all religious cults, it is futile to reason with these people; the solution to their threat is to expose them for what they really are. The rub is that almost no major politicians are doing this.
As absurd as all this is, the number of QAnon “true believers” is frightening. Daily Kos reports the number at around 17 percent of the American republic, or 55 million people: “The earliest adherents were mainly far-right Trump supporters, but in 2020, the movement expanded its reach to include health-conscious yoga moms, anti-lockdown libertarians and evangelical Christians. Unlike the stereotypes of extremist movements, QAnon doesn’t appear to be primarily dominated by young men, or people experiencing economic pain. There are Harvard graduates and Wall Street executives who believe in it, as well as people with less elite pedigrees.” (Dartnagnan, Daily Kos, August 12, 2021) Numerous NFP leaders are either members of the cult or else heavily influenced by it. Marjorie Taylor Green, Lauren Boebert and Ted Cruz are only a few of the best known cultists who subscribe to it.
QAnon “true believers” are an incredible lot; they will believe anything they want to believe no matter how absurd. One example of their gullibility will suffice. Hundreds of QAnon cultists began gathering in Dallas late in October, 2021. The reason? They had convinced themselves that John F. Kennedy Jr., who died in a plane crash in 1999 was in reality still alive and is in fact their mythical “Q” leader. When their anticipated “savior” did not materialize, they began making the predictable excuses, not unlike the rationalizations Christians make when trying to explain why their imaginary savior did not re-appear during the lifetimes of his followers (as predicted in the Bible) or anytime after.
It is a defining characteristic of both cultists and the NFP never to admit being wrong. For proof, ask any Trumpist if Trump has ever been wrong or made a mistake of any kind. You will soon have your answer. The same applies to QAnon: Not a single prediction that “Q” promised has come to pass, but this doesn’t mean a thing to the true believers. Like Christians who believe Jesus is “coming soon,” QAnon adherents steadfastly continue to “just believe.”
Before dismissing QAnon as just another fringe movement, keep in mind that many people in government are avid QAnon supporters. And their number is growing.
Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is another exceedingly dangerous NFP member. A few of his comments tell us just where he stands: “Climate change is bull%&#@.” “This didn’t seem like an armed insurrection to me.” “Why is this big push to make sure everyone gets a vaccine?” This is the man who said the insurrection looked like “a normal tourist visit” and then voted against starting a commission to investigate it. Given these and countless other ridiculous statements, one has to wonder if the people who elected him are just as far gone as he is.
There’s a lot more on Johnson, all of it bad. MoveOn tells us: “Ron Johnson voted against counting the certified Electoral College outcome. He voted against impeaching Donald Trump for inciting the deadly mob of January 6. He voted against creating a bipartisan commission to investigate the failures that led to that violent mob. And he consistently downplays the scale of threat we saw that day, using thinly veiled racist language to explain that his white supremacist allies who attacked the Capitol couldn’t possibly have been a threat.” (David Sievers, MoveOn, July 26, 2021)
Johnson has also regurgitated proven lies about the insurrection. He tweeted: “At a Senate hearing, I asked the asst. dir of the FBI’s counterterrorism division, how many guns were confiscated in the Capitol or on its grounds on Jan. 6. She replied, ‘None.’” The simple fact is that yes, there were guns confiscated and arrests made because of it. Johnson is simply repeating another Trumpist lie. In fact, as Daily Kos notes: “In arrests of identified insurrectionists afterwards, police confiscated enough guns and ammunition to kill every member of Congress several times over…Would it not count as terrorism if the terrorists did not use guns?”
(Hunter, Daily Kos, July 28, 2021)
The same article rightly notes what would have happened had the insurrection succeeded: “If it had worked, Johnson and the others would be standing in front of the cameras portraying the insurrection as a new American Revolution, one that would finally allow the nation to achieve its anti-democratic greatness by solidifying Republicanism as a greater force than elections themselves.”
Johnson, like virtually everyone else in the NFP, is as corrupt as can be. Bold Progressives tells us: “In new reporting, ProPublica shows how Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson won tax cuts worth over half a billion dollars for two rich families. It starts with the families donating $20 million to groups working to re-elect Johnson to the Senate in 2016. In 2017, Johnson threatened to sink Trump’s $2 trillion tax cut unless Trump added a new tax cut that benefited those two families. In 2018, ProPublica reports, ‘The expanded tax break Johnson muscled through netted the two families $215 million in deductions in 2018 alone.’ ProPublica estimates their tax savings at half a billion dollars over 8 years.” (Bold Progressives, August 20, 2021)
People like Johnson are nothing if not predictable. Daily Kos gives us another example of the man’s depravity: “Alex Berenson has been declared ‘the pandemic’s wrongest man,’ and is currently suspended from Twitter for posting disinformation about the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine. Sen. Ron Johnson, one of the Senate’s wrongest men, is going to bat for Berenson, calling him ‘a courageous voice of reason’ and describing his Twitter suspension as censorship.
“Berenson’s suspension was for falsely claiming that a study showed that the Pfizer vaccine does not prevent death. It absolutely does prevent both death and hospitalization, even against the delta variant. Berenson also, over the weekend, repeatedly tweeted comparisons of vaccination to the Holocaust. To Johnson, that’s apparently voice-of-reason material.
“This isn’t some startling new move from Johnson, who was really excited about the coronavirus vaccines as long as he felt their existence was a good thing for Donald Trump, then started loudly spreading doubt about them once he felt that vaccination might do good things for the country under President Biden. Johnson has also buddied up to notorious anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (Laura Clawson, Daily Kos, August 2, 2021)
Louis Gohmert, one of the dimmest bulbs in Congress, is one of many who asked for a pardon from Trump for their roles in the insurrection. Some of the things he says would be comical were he not in a position of power. EDF Action Votes reports: “Congressman Louie Gohmert went on a wildly misleading rant about birds spontaneously bursting into flames due to clean energy infrastructure. His anti-environment rant made major headlines…Representatives such as Louie Gohmert falsely claim that efforts to combat climate change will destroy the country. They are going all out to sabotage the clean energy legislation we need to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, before time runs out.” (EDF Action Votes, August 20, 2021)
Crazy Eight PAC tells us just how far removed from reality Gohmert is: “He concocted an anti-LGBTQ scenario where, in order to save humanity, people must be sent to a space colony to preserve the human species and that gay people would doom us all. He once asked the National Forest System if the agency could ‘change the course of the moon’s orbit or the Earth’s orbit around the sun’ as a simple solution to climate change.
“And now he, in his highly-scientific opinion, thinks the fact that the Earth’s temperature is rising is a good thing because it means ‘there is more time for crops to grow.’ (Crazy Eight PAC, November 10, 2021)
In addition to being criminally stupid, Gohmert is also extremely dangerous. Daily Kos exposes some of his most recent actions: “If we ranked the many Republicans who supported, and still support, Donald Trump’s attempted coup d’etat by their level of enthusiasm for sedition, Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas is probably at the top of the list. In the days leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, Gohmert was openly suing then-Vice President Mike Pence in a bizarre attempt to say that, legally, Pence could ignore every single state in the Union’s votes and choose whichever person he wanted to become the next president. True story.
“Just a couple of days before a slew of delusional fascists would crash through the Capitol grounds, attack anyone in their way, vandalize the Capitol grounds, and threaten the safety of the entire legislative branch of the government (including Mike Pence), Gohmert was on Newsmax telling audiences not to wait for the series of frivolous Big Lie lawsuits to be thrown out of court, saying: ‘You gotta go the streets and be as violent as Antifa and BLM.’
“And so it is no surprise that one of the most embarrassing humans to ever hold elected office, Louie Gohmert, equates the late civil rights leader and Georgia Rep. John Lewis’s peaceful, nonviolent sit-in protest on the House floor to demand action on gun safety legislation, with…the January 6 insurrection.
“In the past couple of months, Gohmert has continued his white supremacist-based delusion tour, questioning whether or not the FBI planned the Jan. 6 insurrection in some kind of deep state conspiracy to keep Donald Trump from once again being the most unpopular president of the modern era.” (Walter Einenkel, Daily Kos, October 21, 2021)
In Gohmert’s twisted mind, a peaceful protest in which no violence of any kind too place was somehow just as dangerous and fatal as the criminals who tried to overthrow our country. And of course, he fans the flames of racism with the by now standard talking points about how “dangerous” antifa and BLM are.
If Gohmert were the only nut case in the NFP, thinking people could just laugh at him. But none of his colleagues are condemning him for his racist un-American diatribes—because they think the same way.
Matt Gaetz is one of Trump’s most fanatical supporters in Congress and a staunch defender of the January 6 traitors. He is also one of the most scandal-ridden congressional leaders in the NFP. Insider reports: “Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz’s congressional campaign paid $25,000 in June for ‘legal consulting’ fees to a Manhattan criminal defense attorney, new campaign finance records show. Gaetz’s latest filing shows that he paid the sum to attorney Marc Fernich, who lists among his ‘notable clients’ the accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman Loera, and convicted crime family boss John ‘Junior’ Gotti. The legal payments from Gaetz’s campaign came after reports surfaced in late March that the third-term congressman was under investigation for sex trafficking. The New York Times reported that the Justice Department was investigating whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him. Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing.” (Robin Bravender, Insider, July 16, 2021)
There are countless lesser NFP luminaries who, decades ago, would never have risen to power but, in today’s political climate, have come to be viewed as stellar leaders. One of these is Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Real Justice informs us: “Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is one of the worst politicians in America, and civil rights attorney Lee Merritt is one of the best possible people to replace him. Paxton is under indictment for defrauding investors—while in office—and under FBI investigation for doing special favors for a donor who helped cover up Paxton’s affair. Eight of Paxton’s closest aides quit and publicly accused him of ‘bribery, abuse of office and other crimes.’ Paxton also upholds the Big Lie that Donald Trump should be President, and personally went to Washington DC to speak at the rally that led to the January 6th Capitol Riot that attempted to overturn the 2020 election. Despite all of that, Paxton will be hard to beat. He is shameless about taking unlimited donations from CEOs and corporate PACs, whose interests he goes on to defend in office. Lee will have a tough uphill battle.” (Real Justice, July 14, 2021)
Despite the obvious nature of the NFP’s multitudinous crimes, there seems to be little effort to prosecute them. One example of this utterly stupid phenomenon is explained by Daily Kos: “In yet another move hinting that the Merrick Garland Department of Justice places more value on moving forward than holding Trump-era corruption to account, Government Executive is reporting that the Justice Department indeed found that Trump Commerce secretary and crooked rich guy Wilbur Ross lied to Congress in sworn testimony—and that they won’t be prosecuting Ross for it. No explanation for the move is being given. Demand Progress reports: “The facts are clear: Donald Trump’s secretary of commerce, Wilbur Ross, lied to Congress, under oath. That’s a crime. He should be prosecuted. So why isn’t Merrick Garland doing it?!
“Here’s the backstory: In the run-up to the 2020 Census, Trump’s political team instructed the Commerce Department to craft the census in a way that would reduce the number of congressional districts and electoral college votes awarded to Democratic states. But when questioned about it by Congress under oath, then-Secretary Ross lied. Trump and his cronies aren’t above the law. But there’s a disturbing trend in the DOJ of refusing to go after the crimes that took place when Trump was president, which is setting a terrible precedent. The DOJ needs to step up.” (Robert Cruickshank, Demand Progress, August 4, 2021)
“That Ross lied to Congress, as well as to federal courts, has been known for some time. The white nationalist-stocked Trump administration wanted to add a question to the 2020 U.S. census asking whether respondents were U.S. citizens, even though the Constitution specifically orders the once-a-decade census to count all persons inside the nation’s borders, whether they are citizens or not. While the move (which anti-immigrant forces have long demanded) was purported to be a mere attempt to collect useful data, it’s been shown that asking such questions reduces the willingness of immigrant-heavy communities to respond to the census at all, fearing the information will be shared with federal immigration officials and result in targeted investigations, harassment, or deportations. That’s precisely what makes the question useful to anti-immigrant lawmakers and the Republican Party as a whole. By reducing census participation in non-white communities, those communities’ ‘official’ population counts are lowered when it comes to reapportioning congressional seats. White communities receive a more accurate census count, while immigrant-heavy towns and neighborhoods are intimidated into smaller response rates. That outcome, in which non-white communities are given less representation in Congress than white ones, is precisely what the Republican Party wants. White Americans tend to vote more Republican; non-white Americans tend to lean heavily towards Democrats.
“What Ross is now shown to have done is assist in the Trump White House’s attempts to hide the political, partisan, and race-minded goals of the census changes by lying to Congress and to federal courts about who requested it and why. Disclosed emails cleanly prove that Ross lied to Congress about his interactions with the White House. The Commerce Department’s inspector general forwarded its own findings of misrepresentation to the Department of Justice for potential criminal prosecution, and here we are. Or rather, here we were. With the new Justice decision, it appears the Ross case, as with numerous other cases of seemingly brazen corruption by top Trump officials, is now dropped.
“What’s baffling about this case is that while any attempt to prosecute Ross for lying to Congress is bound to meet with charges of partisan retaliation. In Ross’ case it seems a rather open-and-shut case. Ross clearly did one thing, as proven by an email trail that eventually leaked to the public, and just as clearly lied about that trail to Congress as lawmakers sought answers as to why the census changes were made. But even more to the point, Ross lied with the explicit intent of hiding a Trump administration plan to artificially reduce the power of U.S. citizens living in less white American towns and cities—the precise goal that state Republican lawmakers have been simultaneously pursuing as they use false, propagandistic claims of ‘voter fraud’ to ratchet up the difficulty of voting in poorer and less white neighborhoods.
“It’s an attempt to thwart the premises of U.S. democracy itself, via intimidation. Seek representation in government, Republicans hint, and consequences may befall you. That might mean your noncitizen relatives will be investigated by federal law enforcement if you fill out a census form the wrong way; it might mean extraordinarily harsh penalties doled out to anyone who thought they had the right to vote, but thought wrong. Ross engaged in a cover-up of a Republican attempt to rig elections by stripping immigrant-heavy American towns from their full representation to begin with. There’s evidence. That’s not worth prosecuting?
“It may very well be that the Garland Justice Department believes that avoiding all hints of partisanship is more important than fighting high-level corruption, and that the attacks they would face in attempting to prosecute Ross would result in heavy backlash from Trump-supporting Americans convinced that the prosecution against the longtime billionaire crook was a conspiracy against them. But the plainer message being sent by ignoring multiple lies to Congress is that lying to Congress, like all the rest of the brazen corruption of Trump’s Republican den of hyperpartisan sycophants, is allowable. It may not be technically legal, but it is something you can do without consequence so long as you have the backing of a political party when you do it.
“That, like the rest of Republican Party-backed efforts to lie to the public in all settings, without consequence, is astonishingly dangerous. It’s nearly inexplicably dangerous. The message sent during both of the last two Republican administrations is that the public not just can be, but ought to be deceived about even the most major issues of the day. It is being backed by a Republican House caucus that has slithered into blatantly fascist declarations and goals, and by Republican senators who have steadfastly refused to allow consequences to befall even outright criminality by Trump and his top officials.
“It has gotten to the point where even sedition itself can be, and is being readily stoked by Republican Party leaders. And we can’t prosecute a single crooked billionaire for lying to Congress and to federal judges in an attempt to alter the nation’s electoral maps in the party’s favor? This one’s going to require justification, and ‘the party attempting to overthrow U.S. government might get angry if we do it’ won’t be cutting it.” (Hunter, Daily Kos, July 19, 2021)
Free Speech for People stresses the importance of having the Department of Justice thoroughly investigate what happened on January 6: “In a recent op-ed, Laurence Tribe, the Carl M. Loeb University Professor Emeritus of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, urged Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate President Trump’s involvement in the January 6th insurrection with a stark warning for the future of our democracy: “Any president or attorney general who failed to pursue with unrelenting zeal the mission of uncovering and holding perpetrators accountable for crimes…would be lethally endangering the very survival of the American experiment in self-government.”
“…The ongoing Congressional investigation shows just how valid Professor Tribe’s concerns are. Since starting its investigation in July, the House’s January 6th Committee has faced resistance from those who gave aid and comfort to the insurrection. When the Committee subpoenaed phone records from Republican lawmakers involved in the seditious attack on the Capitol, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy threatened retaliation against the telecom companies. McCarthy went one step further, arguing that the Justice Department already cleared Trump of any involvement in the January 6th insurrection. Then, just hours before their deadline, the Committee received thousands of pages of documents from phone and social media companies, as well as executive branch agencies. The resistance to this Committee’s work further demonstrates why it is critical that the Department of Justice launch a criminal investigation into all federal crimes Trump and his associates committed in connection with the insurrection — an investigation which only the DOJ can conduct.
“As Professor Tribe says, ‘Trump’s apparent crimes, which he and his supporters openly insist were patriotic acts that they would gladly repeat, have the potential to leave him in power indefinitely. The only antidote is vigorous investigation and prosecution, not for purposes of retribution but for purposes of deterrence.’
“For the future of our democracy, the Department of Justice must do its job and uphold the rule of law.” (Free Speech for People, September 14, 2021)
Given the reluctance of the Department of Justice to live up to its name, one can only wonder what the end results will be for Trump and his countless criminal cohorts. Will they ever be brought to justice? That is the key question for our time.
The crimes and corruption of NFP members should make one wonder how these criminals managed to achieve power in the first place. Let Forbes tell the story: “Three Republican members of Congress did not report up to $22 million in stock trades made earlier this year within 45 days of the transactions, as required by law, an elections watchdog group said in ethics complaints filed Thursday afternoon. The late disclosures by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Rep. Blake Moore (R-Utah) and Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Texas) all violated the STOCK Act, the Campaign Legal Center said in its complaints to the Senate Ethics Committee and the Office of Congressional Ethics…’When members of Congress trade individual stocks and fail to disclose those trades, they break the law and diminish the public’s trust in government,’ Kedric Payne and Delaney Marsco, lawyers for CLC, wrote in the ethics complaints. ‘The recent prevalence of STOCK Act violations shows that merely the threat of a fine is not deterring members of Congress from breaking the law.’ Fines for violating the STOCK Act are as low as $200, Insider reported.” (Graison Dangor, Forbes, July 29, 2021)
What a coincidence: All three of the accused are members of the NFP!
The NFP’s intentions are crystal clear and its leaders have made no effort to conceal them: They want to obtain complete control over the government and marginalize (if not literally destroy) anyone who stands in their way. What is even scarier is the fact that most of the NFP’s supporters feel the same way. The Hill informs us: “About 47 percent of Republicans believe that a time will come when ‘patriotic Americans have to take the law into their own hands,’ according to a George Washington University poll on Americans’ faith in election systems and democratic values.” (Celene Castronuovo, The Hill, July 30, 2021) NFP voters have made it clear that they only have confidence in elections if their side wins. A July 30 article in Daily Kos shows that some 80 percent of these increasingly gullible voters now believe that Trump won the 2020 election. Even though Trump’s claims are baseless and have been proven as such over and over again, this will not dissuade the true believers in Trumpism, America’s newest religions cult.
The NFP not only knows who is guilty for the traitorous attack on the U.S. Capitol, many of them were in on it from the beginning. Proof of this is seen in the fact that so many of its leaders are asking for pardons. This list includes Mo Brooks, Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Scott Perry, Andy Biggs, Louie Gohmert, Rudy Giuliani, Mark Meadows, and Jeffrey Clark. And these are only the known members. Why would these people be asking for pardons unless they knew they were guilty? They knew they were committing felonies. They knew that the insurrection was a violent attempt to overthrow the government. They knew they were committing treason against their country. And unless they are put on trial for their crimes, then American justice means nothing. The rule of law means nothing. The NFP no intention of allowing justice to run its course, which means they have no interest in the rule of law or the Constitution. This makes them a rogue party, and they must be labeled as such. No NFP member should ever be allowed to hold office in the United States. We are the land of the free, not the land of the free fascists.
Call these people and their supporters what they are: Traitors and fascists. They are a threat to everything we hold dear as Americans. The only question that remains is: Will these people ever be brought to justice?
CORPORATE DEMOCRATS: THE NFP’S BEST FRIENDS
The fact that Democrats hold a slim lead in both halls of Congress would indicate that they will be able to reverse at least some of the damage caused by Trump and the NFP. However, there are several individuals, masquerading as Democrats, that continuously oppose everything Joe Biden and his party tries to do. Who are they? Justice Democrats tells us: “Conservative Democrats and corporate lobbyists are trying to BLOCK all progressive policies. Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, Henry Cuellar, Wall Street, Big Pharma, Big Tech, Big Oil…the list goes on—they all have one thing in common: They don’t want Democrats to expand Medicare, address climate change, increase corporate tax rates, and provide universal pre-K and community college.” (Justice Democrats, October 2, 2021)
Anyone who expected major policy changes from Joe Biden’s administration should have realized that most of the leading Democrats are corporate Democrats rather than true progressives. They would rather allow criminal traitors to destroy the country than try to enact real positive change. Public Citizen gives us one example: “$753 billion. That’s how much the Biden administration has requested from Congress to fund the military in the coming year. For comparison, that’s almost three times the budget for the entire state of California (and no state budgets more than The Golden State year after year). Or—looking at states with smaller budgets—$753 billion is more than recent budgets of these 36 states combined: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Astoundingly, $753 billion is even more than the Pentagon got from Donald Trump last year. Yet some politicians in Washington, D.C.—Republicans and Democrats—are trying to divert even more money to the Pentagon through infrastructure legislation in Congress.
As noted in a letter to congressional leadership from Public Citizen and dozens of other groups: ‘We are recovering from a year of record unemployment and housing insecurity, reeling from the loss of loved ones, staggering under the weight of multiplying medical and student loan debt, confronting systemic racism and violent white nationalism, and combating the ongoing climate crisis. Militarized spending has not solved these problems, and in many ways has made them worse. Every additional dollar allocated to the Pentagon is another dollar that is not being used to address these urgent challenges, and will not provide the relief our communities desperately need.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, July 16, 2021)
Public Citizen reveals some of the frightening details about this massive flow of money to the war industry: “The Pentagon’s budget for next year is now in the hands of the Senate after the House approved over three-quarters of a trillion dollars in military spending last night. Here’s the actual number: $768,000,000,000.
- It’s staggering how much more the U.S devotes to military spending than other countries. In fact, we spend more than the next 11 countries combined: China, India, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, Italy, and Australia.
- $768 billion is *more than four times* what President Biden’s Build Back Better plan would cost per year. Yet politicians in D.C.—from both major parties—say we can’t afford key elements of that plan, like paid family leave, free community college, or even basic dental care for seniors.
- And it’s $25 billion more than the Biden administration even asked for. As Public Citizen has calculated, $25 billion is the cost of producing enough vaccine to end the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide. Our country has (so far) refused to make that crucial investment, but Congress may give that exact amount to the Pentagon *over and above* what the White House requested.
More tanks will not help make life easier for everyday Americans. More fighter jets will not end the coronavirus emergency in America or around the world. More nuclear missiles will not save humanity from the existential threat of catastrophic climate change.
“The military-industrial complex is a bloated, insatiable, stampeding dinosaur.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, December 8, 2021)
This military dinosaur is supported by both political parties; the so-called liberals are every bit as guilty as the far-right NFP in promoting wars, deaths and destruction. Justice Democrats reports: “169 Democrats just voted with Republicans to increase military spending to $768 billion. That’s more than Trump’s last defense budget. Why is a Democratic Congress and a Democratic President increasing military spending? Last year, Trump got an already massive $738 billion for the U.S. military. Now, Democrats want $768 billion for the military.
“169 Democrats in the U.S. House just voted with Republicans to throw billions more at defense contractors, weapons, and war. The Democratic establishment has learned nothing from decades of trillion dollar wars and disinvestment in housing, education, and the social safety net.” (Justice Democrats, December 9, 2021)
The United States military has become a behemoth monster that both parties kowtow to. Only real Democratic progressives recognize the threat and the cost of throwing untold amounts of money, supposedly in the name of defending democracy, into this behemoth. The amounts of waste are simply staggering: Trillions of dollars for the nuclear arsenal, F-35 fighter jets that don’t even work, so-called “security assistance” for foreign countries whose human rights violations and atrocities are matters of public record. The amount of money the U.S. military is siphoning out of our pockets is in the neighborhood of seven trillion dollars since the turn of the 21st century. Yes, you read that right: seven trillion dollars. That money goes directly from our pockets into the weapon maker’s corporate bank accounts.
The sickest joke of all is the idea that offensive operations in countries that hate us, unaccountable bombings of peaceful villages, and all the other terrors wrought by war will somehow make the world more peaceful. Yes, the war in Afghanistan is over, but that only means the weapons CEOs and their lobbyist lackeys will only demand more and more money as they search out new wars, with new weapons to fight them. All the while they and our elected officials tell us that investing in communities and fighting climate change are “too expensive.”
It is time to end this immoral nonsense. Just imagine what our healthcare system and our educational system would look like if they had access to that kind of money?
Biden himself bears responsibility for taking actions that are the direct opposite of what a true Democratic leader should be doing. Demand Progress gives us one example: “Monstrous wildfires are sending smoke all the way from Oregon to New York City. Massive flooding across Europe has killed hundreds and left scientists ‘stunned.’ An unprecedented heat dome pushed temperatures past 120 degrees—in Canada. Scientists confirm that these extreme-weather events could not happen without global warming. So why is the Biden administration getting ready to hand $6 billion to Big Oil companies to triple U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG)? We simply cannot meet our commitments on the Paris climate agreement unless fossil fuel export projects like this are stopped. But oil companies like ExxonMobil already have a big influence over Congress and the Biden White House—yet the media is barely paying attention…The science is unequivocal: unless we cut our fossil fuel emissions right now, extreme weather events like these will become much worse and much more frequent. We need to be racing as quickly as possible to reduce our emissions or transitioning to clean energy, not expanding our fossil fuel infrastructure. But instead, the Biden administration is giving the green light to massive expansion of LNG exports that will doom the climate by locking in decades of continued global-warming pollution. That’s why we’re ramping up grassroots pressure now to stop these taxpayer handouts to Big Oil.
“Here’s our strategy: First, because the media is almost totally ignoring the threat posed by these LNG terminals, we’re sounding the alarm so that the public knows what’s at stake. Then we’re mobilizing grassroots pressure on the Biden administration and Congress to say no more subsidies for fossil fuels and no more LNG.” (Robert Cruickshank, Demand Progress, July 29, 2021)
Biden made a critical mistake when he nominated Rahm Emanuel to be Ambassador to Japan. Progress America explains why: “As Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel helped to cover up the murder of Laquan McDonald, a Black teenager who was shot 16 times by police. This scandal ended his career as Mayor, but President Biden has nominated him to serve as Ambassador to Japan. Rahm Emanuel has no business representing our country on the world’s stage. This nomination sends a signal to Mayors and Police departments around the country that they will be rewarded for papering over terrorizing communities of color. This nomination must be withdrawn…
“Rahm Emanuel does not have any indispensable diplomatic expertise. His track record in the House of Representatives and the Obama and Clinton administrations is a litany of tantrums and bad advice. Nor does he have any specialized knowledge of Japanese culture. Emanuel is in this position because he’s a part of an old fashioned patronage system, one with a history of looking the other way on corruption, sexual assault, and perpetuating white supremacy.” (Team Progress, September 13, 2021)
Josh Gottheimer may not be a household name, but he is fairly typical of how corporate Democrats think and act. Justice Democrats tells us about him: “Gottheimer is one of the most conservative Democrats in the U.S. House. He’s being celebrated right now by the worst of the political establishment for leading an effort to block new investments in child care, paid family leave, Medicare, and fighting the climate crisis. Gottheimer also recently started Team Blue PAC with Hakeem Jeffries, the 4th most powerful Democrat in the House. They formed Team Blue PAC specifically to protect corporate incumbents from progressive primary challengers. They even named two of our races as top priorities for their PAC. We can expect a slew of negative ads against AT LEAST two of our Justice Democrats-endorsed primary challengers next year.” (Justice Democrats, August 20, 2021)
Tom Suozzi is fairly typical of today’s corporate Democrats. The New York House Representative seems more like an NFP member than a member of the Democratic Party. ActionNetwork tells us all we need to know about this fake liberal: “Tom Suozzi compared Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump, claiming that those who are fighting for a Green New Deal and Medicare for All are ;destroying’ the Democratic Party…To be clear, progressive policies are necessary and overwhelmingly popular. The ‘far left’ wants to guarantee people healthcare, save the planet, protect our rights and hold insurrectionists accountable—all things that Rep. Suozzi has refused to fight for. We can do better than Rep. Tom Suozzi. He failed to disclose hundreds of stock trades he made as a member of Congress. He’s taken millions from the fossil fuel industry, the healthcare lobby, real estate and other corporate interests. And he’s supported third-party Republican-funded challengers against Democrats.” (ActionNetwork, November 4, 2021) As I’ve said before: With Democrats like Tom Suozzi, who needs Republicans? Why don’t they just join the NFP since everything they do jibes with them?
The two corporate Democrats who have caused the most headaches in the Democratic party are Joe Manchin representing West Virginia, and Kirsten Sinema, representing Arizona. Time after time, they have been the deciding votes that have kept Biden and the Democrat’s agenda from passing. Justice Democrats spotlights them: “the lies and misdirections to stop the historic $3.5 trillion reconciliation package in Congress will only get worse. Nine conservative House Democrats, Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, and conservative groups like No Labels have been using support for the ‘bipartisan’ infrastructure bill as cover to stop historic investments in working people and fighting climate change. The Intercept uncovered No Labels admitting the lies. The memo said that the nine House Democrats had ‘broken the link’ between the infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill. Why is that what all of these conservatives want? Because they’re hoping to pass the Republican-backed infrastructure bill WITHOUT passing the $3.5 trillion spending bill. This may be the last chance Democrats have to pass real economic relief for the working people of this country. It could be the last chance we have to invest in fighting climate change.” (Justice Democrats, August 26, 2021)
Manchin single-handedly tanked Biden’s spending plan, as reported by The Slate Group: “Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending plan and said there was no chance the measure could get approved by Sept. 27 as Democratic leaders want. ‘We don’t have the need to rush into this and get it done within one week because there’s some deadline we’re meeting or someone’s going to fall through the cracks,’ Manchin said on NBC’s Meet the Press. Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union, Manchin said, ‘There’s no way we can get this done by the 27th if we do our job.’…
“Sen. Bernie Sanders quickly blasted Manchin for his stance. ‘No, it is absolutely not acceptable to me,’ Sanders said on CNN when asked about the $1.5 trillion ceiling that Manchin outlined. ‘I don’t think it’s acceptable to the president, to the American people, or to the overwhelming majority of the people in the Democratic Caucus.’ Sanders said progressives had already compromised plenty. ‘Many of us made a major compromise in going from the $6 trillion bill that we wanted, supported by the overwhelming majority of Democrats, down to 3.5,’ the Vermont senator said.” (Daniel Politi, Slate, September 12, 2021)
Manchin declined to support Biden’s $3.1 trillion social investment plan but had no problem whatever supporting over $9 trillion for the Pentagon. The only question here is why is this man masquerading as a Democrat?
Many people aren’t taking Manchin’s betrayal of the Democratic party lying down. They took it upon themselves to travel to Washington, D.C. and make their voices heard. As Common Dreams reports: “With the rallying cry ‘Get It Done in ’21,’ low-wage workers, caregivers, and activists from across the country converged on Washington, D.C. Monday to demand that Sen. Joe Manchin and other right-wing Democrats stop stonewalling progress on the Build Back Better Act, voting rights legislation, and other urgent priorities.
“Organized by the national Poor People’s Campaign and other groups, the demonstration included West Virginians who joined a motorcade that began at Manchin’s state office in Martinsburg and ended on Capitol Hill, where participants blasted corporate-backed Democrats for obstructing measures that would protect the franchise from the GOP’s nationwide assault, fund green energy initiatives, and bolster the social safety net. ‘We’re gathered here today to declare our independence from corporate lobbyists, the money-grabbers, and those who control the narrative about what’s possible here in the United States,’ Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, told rallygoers in a fiery speech. ‘They want to separate us. They want you to fight for voting rights over here, and fight for living wages over there.’…The demonstration featured speakers from several states who traveled to the nation’s capital on Monday to voice outrage over continued congressional inaction in the face of widespread poverty, voter suppression, and climate chaos, such as the deadly tornado system that ravaged parts of the South and Midwest over the weekend.” (Jake Johnson, Common Dreams, December 13, 2021)
Kyrsten Sinema’s dishonesty and hypocrisy is laid out for all to see in this article from Public Citizen: “Senate Democrats can still make progress on a few things despite Mitch McConnell’s shameless and incessant abuse of the filibuster. But only if they stick together. Which brings us to Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
“For some reason—maybe to satisfy her wealthy funders or just because she craves attention—Sinema is blocking progress that would help not only her constituents in Arizona but also working people and senior citizens all across America.
- This week, Sinema went on record *against* a commonsense plan that would lower prescription drug costs for millions upon millions of Americans by letting Medicare use its vast buying power to challenge Big Pharma’s outrageous price-gouging.
- That’s such an about-face from what Sinema said when campaigning in 2018—‘we need to…lower prescription drug prices’—it makes you wonder how she didn’t break her neck.
- By the way, over 80% of Arizonans—you know, the people Sinema is supposed to be representing in the Senate—want Medicare to have the power to negotiate fairer prices from Big Pharma.
- But Sinema has chosen instead to carry water for Big Pharma, which—not coincidentally—was running ads in Arizona earlier this month touting her as an ‘independent voice.’
- ‘Independent’ from what, her own party? Her constituents? The millions of everyday Americans who can’t afford the medicines they need?
- Meanwhile, Sinema is threatening to blow up negotiations over President Biden’s Build Back Better plan—a 10-year investment to confront climate change and to help everyday Americans in a way our country hasn’t seen since the New Deal era almost a century ago—saying it’s too expensive.
- The Build Back Better plan would cost an average of $350 billion per year. That’s less than half of the $768 billion Congress just approved for the Pentagon for next year and less than 2% of our nation’s current GDP.
- Earlier this year, Sinema (in)famously strutted onto the floor of the Senate and voted with a haughty thumbs-down against including an increase to the federal minimum wage in coronavirus relief legislation.
“A few facts: 1) Since entering politics, Sinema has taken over $750,000 (and counting) from Big Pharma and medical device manufacturers. 2) For the 2021-2022 congressional cycle, Sinema has taken more money from the pharmaceutical and medical device industries than all but just seven other senators. 3) Sinema’s chief of staff used to be a top lobbyist for pharmaceutical and health insurance corporations.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, September 26, 2021)
Mother Jones tells us whose allegiance Sinema adheres to: “As congressional Democrats frantically tried to reach agreement on passing President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and $3.5 trillion social spending bill, Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), one of the key moderates blocking the Build Back Better Act, abruptly left Washington DC for Arizona on Friday. Her spokesperson said she had a medical appointment for a foot injury, but it turns out Sinema will be attending a fundraising ‘retreat’ for her political action committee at a high-end Phoenix resort and spa on Saturday. It’s the second time in a week Sinema will have fundraised with corporate interests who oppose Biden’s spending bill. On Tuesday, at an undisclosed location at Capitol Hill, she held a fundraiser with five business lobbying groups who agreed to write checks between $1,000 and $5,800 after spending 45 minutes with her. The fundraiser was hosted by corporate groups including the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors as well as political action committees for the supermarket industry and various construction interests that are trying to kill Biden’s signature domestic agenda…Sinema has told the White House she opposes the $3.5 trillion spending plan and has reportedly been working to take out key provisions such as raising tax rates on corporations and wealthy Americans and lowering prescription drug prices—policies that are very popular with the public but opposed by the corporate interests funding Sinema’s campaigns.
“Sinema has received more than $750,000 from pharmaceutical and medical firms and more than $920,000 from industry groups leading the fight against the Build Back Better plan. Her opposition to Biden’s agenda and support for the filibuster, which is blocking key legislation ranging from voting rights to gun control to immigration reform, has infuriated Democrats in Arizona.” (Ari Berman, Mother Jones,, October 2, 2021)
Yahoo!News adds: “Five members of a veterans’ advisory council to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema have resigned in protest over her holding up President Joe Biden’s massive social spending package and some of her other positions, The New York Times reported. In a scathing letter to the senator obtained by The Times and highlighted in an ad from the political arm of progressive veterans’ group Common Defense, the members of the group, who informally advise Sinema on military and veterans’ issues in Arizona, charged her with ‘hanging your constituents out to dry.’
“In a portion of the letter featured in the ad, the resigning members say they ‘feel they are being used as window dressing’ for Sinema’s ‘own image,’ not to provide guidance. They particularly criticized on her opposition to plans to lower prescription drug prices, her support for maintaining the current Senate filibuster rules, and her not voting on the measure to create a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection. (Sinema said she missed the vote for a ‘personal family matter.’)
“’You have become one of the principal obstacles to progress, answering to big donors rather than your own people,’ the veteran advisors said in the letter. ‘We shouldn’t have to buy representation from you, and your failure to stand by your people and see their urgent needs is alarming.’” (Grace Panetta, Yahoo!News, October 21, 2021)
The biggest irony of all concerning Sinema is the fact that she has a background in environmental politics and was once the leader of Arizona’s Green Party! One would think that, given her history, she would be in the forefront of addressing climate change. Instead, she is blocking her Democratic colleagues efforts to address the issue.
Clearly, Sinema cares not a whit about her constituents or about issues that concern most Democrats. When a reporter asked her “What do you say to progressives that are frustrated that they don’t know where you are,” she responded by flippantly saying “I’m in the Senate.” When asked where she stood on a bill, she responded by saying: “I’m clearly right in front of the elevator.” Exchanges such as this can only mean one of two things: Sinema is frighteningly stupid or else she tries to pass herself off as funny. Let’s give her the benefit of the doubt: Sinema’s feeble attempts at humor shows that she is doing nothing other than mocking accountably. She is not telling her constituents what she is trying to block them from getting. Instead, when they try to find out if she is doing anything for them, she is laughing at them. As disgraceful as this is, it is par for the course from corporate Democrats.
Manchin and Sinema are not the only corporate Democrats keeping progressive Democrats from accomplishing anything. More Perfect Union discusses two others in the pockets of Big Pharma: “Americans pay far higher prices than anywhere else in the world for the exact same drugs. Democrats have promised election after election that they would take action to fix it. But a handful of corporate-backed conservatives stand in the way. It’s not hard to see why.
“In their careers, Rep. Scott Peters has received $1,438,546 in campaign contributions from Pharma PACs and executives. Rep. Kurt Schrader has accepted $1,060,158. Pharma cash is corrupting our democracy, and these bought-and-paid-for corporate Democrats are keeping it that way!” (Faiz Shakir, More Perfect Union, September 30, 2021)
Americans for Tax Fairness provides us with another example of how corporate Democrats are fighting progress at every turn: “Did you know that American corporations dodge an estimated $60 billion each year in taxes by shifting profits offshore? President Biden is proposing we raise the tax rate on what U.S. corporations pay on their foreign profits from 11% to 21% to bring it closer to the 28% rate he proposes to tax domestic profits. (ATF wants to go even further and raise the foreign profits tax rate to 28% to treat all profits the same.)
“Biden’s proposal would help level the playing field for Main Street businesses and U.S. workers. Unfortunately, a group of 11 moderate House Democrats are standing in the way, recently writing to the House Ways and Means Chairman to continue the Trump-GOP tax handouts for greedy multinational corporations. Essentially, they want to continue to let Apple, Google, Pfizer, Merck, Nike and scores of other giant multinational corporations continue to shift profits to tax havens to dodge paying their fair share of taxes.
“Every dollar of revenue not raised from the rich and corporations is a dollar not invested in children, families and working people…Right now, due to the Trump-GOP tax scam, offshore profits of American corporations are taxed at roughly half the tax rate applied to domestic profits, encouraging corporations to shift jobs and profits to offshore tax havens.” (Frank Clemente, Sarah Christopherson, AFTF, August 31, 2021)
Either these corporate Democrats are so naive as to think they can actually work with the NFP in bipartisan efforts, or else they are really NFP sympathizers if not members. Either way, they are standing in the way of what their party, and the American people, want from them.
Even the president of the United States, supposedly a Democrat, often acts like a member of the NFP, as The Juggernaut Project reports: “During the 2020 presidential campaign, Joe Biden promised he would ‘ban new oil and gas leasing on public lands and waters.’ And while he did issue an executive order in January to temporarily pause such leases, it was temporary and has now been blocked by a judge.
“Now, according to a shocking new report from the Associated Press, ‘approvals for companies to drill for oil and gas on U.S. public lands are on pace this year to reach their highest level since George W. Bush was president.’ That’s right: The Biden administration is approving new oil and gas drilling faster than the Trump or Obama administrations. As heat waves, floods and other extreme weather events wreak havoc and devastate our communities, it’s up to us to make sure Pres. Biden knows that continuing to allow business as usual in the oil and gas industry is completely unacceptable.
“According to the Associated Press, the Interior Department has approved more than 2,100 permits to drill on public and tribal lands since Pres. Biden took office—an average roughly 12 new permit approvals each day.
“In June, during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland even told a Republican member of Congress that ‘gas and oil production will continue well into the future and we believe that is the reality of our economy and the world we’re living in.’” (The Juggernaut Project, August 4, 2021)
Demand Progress adds: “Climate scientists warned in a new report this week that big countries need to adopt rapid and drastic reductions in carbon emissions to prevent more extreme weather and widespread devastation. But here in the U.S., oil companies are still devouring federal lands with drilling—at a higher rate than when Trump was president.
“In his first year, Biden will have authorized more drilling permits on federal lands than Trump did in his first two years in office combined. These new permits, combined with new authorizations for Liquefied Natural Gas almost ensure that the United States will not meet the goals we set in the Paris agreement. When Biden was on the campaign trail, he said he would end new oil drilling on federal lands. He did issue an Executive Order pausing new drilling leases—but a judge threw it out. Now the Biden administration is on track to approve over 6,000 new oil drilling permits (which are different from leases) on federal lands for companies like ExxonMobil and others. That’s more permits than any year since George Bush was president.
“For context, Trump never issued more than 4,200 permits in one year.”
(Demand Progress, August 11, 2021)
Read that last sentence again. With Democrats like this, who needs Republicans?
ELIMINATING VOTING: THE NFP AND ITS PLAN TO STEAL ANOTHER ELECTION
Let us start this chapter with a brief but timely quote from People for the American Way: “The Far Right is seeking to erode our democracy before you even cast your next ballot. They continue to propagate Trump’s Big Lie to justify passing racist laws that restrict the right to vote. They are preparing to further gerrymander congressional districts to rig the playing field for their candidates to win. And if they don’t win? Well, they’re passing laws to make it easier to challenge—or even ignore—the results!” (PFTAW, July 20, 2021)
The “Big Lie” is central to the NFP’s efforts to control our country. Daily Kos pulls no punches on this: “The entire effort to promote Trump’s Big Lie—a lie that boldly ascribes (without any evidence whatsoever) some obscure, sinister taint of ‘election fraud’ to the 2020 election—is itself a fraud, cynically bankrolled by a united front of right-wing organizations previously dedicated to pushing ‘under the radar’ conservative policy initiatives to disguise their true origins from the American public. The motivation of the people funding these organizations has nothing to do with election integrity, fairness, or democracy; rather, their intent in amplifying Trump’s Big Lie is wholly to justify an extraordinary effort at voter suppression, thereby ensuring that as many Republicans are elected as possible, with the ultimate goal of preserving as much wealth as possible for a tiny, uber-rich segment of American society.
“As Esquire’s Charles Pierce explains, the effort to sow distrust among the electorate regarding the integrity of our elections also has nothing particularly to do with Donald Trump, although he fulfills the critical role of a well-compensated, useful idiot and central figurehead for these interests (much in the same way he did during his tenure in office, when every action his administration took was simply lifted from the wish lists of the GOP’s right-wing donor base). Nor does that effort have anything especially to do with the unshaven, internet-spoiled terrorists who assaulted our Capitol and institutions on Jan. 6, although it dovetails nicely—if coincidentally—with these groups’ apocalyptic racist and violent agendas. Ultimately, though, they too are being played for fools, even as they willingly abet the scam. As Pierce says, what the Big Lie has to do with is money: ‘who has it, and who wants to keep it, and, here’s a revelation, it’s probably not you.’” (Dartagnan, Daily Kos, August 4, 2021)
One of the most blatant attempts by the NFP to seek complete control of our country can be seen in their increasing efforts to steal our elections. After the election of Joe Biden, they ramped up their efforts by introducing countless bills aimed at voter suppression. Arizona Republican John Kavanagh has made this strategy painfully obvious by supporting no less than 24 new suppression bills in his state. He said: “Everybody shouldn’t be voting. Quantity is important, but we have to look at the quality of votes as well.” This is exactly the type of rhetoric that was seen during the Jim Crow era to disenfranchise black voters. This is the real “voter fraud” that is going on in this country.
Arizona Democrats keeps us posted on right-wing efforts to overturn the election: “…after months and months of unnecessary delays, the Republican election “fraudit” has hit yet another snag. After three auditors responsible for providing final reports contracted COVID-19, Senate President Republican Karen Fann assured us all that the report would be coming soon. After two judges ordered it, the GOP AZ Senate was forced to turn over some texts and emails offering us a glimpse into their trainwreck of an elections audit. But Republicans are still withholding thousands of documents from the public.” (Arizona Democrats, September 3, 2021)
Common Cause tells us just how difficult it will be to remove this noxious legislation: “the Supreme Court just invited far-right state lawmakers to double down on their campaign of voter suppression. This morning’s ruling in Brnovich v. DNC will make it much harder for courts to strike down racist anti-voter laws like those just recently enacted in Georgia and Florida. In short, the forces of voter suppression are now emboldened to cut weekend voting, trim early voting, dramatically reduce the number of polling places, and get rid of dropboxes. The Court’s decision further guts the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965, granting state legislatures even more power to suppress Black and Brown voters.” (Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause, July 1, 2021)
Demand Justice reports: “The GOP is stealing our right to vote, and the Supreme Court is letting them. The Court just ruled in favor of voting restrictions in Arizona, giving the green light to the GOP to continue suppressing the voices of minority voters.
“Today’s case, Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, challenged two voting restrictions in Arizona under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act:
- Restriction 1: It prohibited people from returning completed ballots on behalf of neighbors and friends—what many older folks and people living in rural areas and Indian reservations depend on.
- Restriction 2: It invalidated any ballot that was not cast in the voter’s precinct—even if the voter was still eligible to vote on a portion of that ballot (i.e., a vote to the president).
“The 6-3 far-right Court sided with Arizona and upheld these restrictive laws, severely weakening the Voting Rights Act and making it easier for more red states to follow suit. A complete blow to democracy. The only way to fight back is to add seats to the Supreme Court. This will restore balance and legitimacy to a bench tilted too far to the right—and will ensure our constitutional right to vote is protected.” (Brian Fallon, Demand Justice, July 1, 2021)
Daily Kos adds: “The Supreme Court’s Brnovich v. DNC decision attacked what was left of the Voting Rights Act, making it easier for Republicans to deprive Americans, particularly Black and Brown Americans, of their right to vote and proving once and for all that it is an active accomplice to the GOP’s assault on our democracy. Republicans broke all norms when they stole the Supreme Court—twice—giving themselves a 6-3 supermajority that is completely out of step with the majority of Americans. And now, SCOTUS has delivered a major blow to our voting rights. The solution is clear: we can and must expand the size of the U.S. Supreme Court. (Erin Tulley, Daily Kos, July 1, 2021)
Georgia has gone to extraordinary lengths to suppress voters. Common Cause tells us what they are doing: “Georgia’s infamous new voter suppression law includes an exceedingly dangerous provision that you may not have heard about yet…The law lets Georgia’s GOP-dominated legislature stack the State Board of Elections with Republican operatives. Then, this partisan board can override local election administrators for basically any reason it pleases.
“The intention behind this legislation is all too clear. Some Republican officials are furious that they couldn’t rig our democracy to keep Donald Trump in office—and now, they want to put partisan operatives in charge of elections in swing states so that next time, they get their way. Unless Congress responds immediately, more states could follow Georgia’s lead—and turn what are supposed to be fair, non-partisan positions into Republican tools to rig our democracy.
“The Freedom to Vote Act—a modified version of the For the People Act—has new, airtight protections for local election officials, ensuring that they can’t be fired or overridden without cause. But Mitch McConnell and his cronies in the Senate have made it clear that they’ll do everything in their power to shut this bill down.
“Here’s why this matters: with this law in place, Georgia Republicans can remove non-partisan election officials—who work tirelessly to run fair and accessible elections—and replace them with GOP hacks. And once these handpicked operatives take power, they’ll have control over how elections are run, if results are certified, and more.” (Devon Nir, Common Cause, October 1, 2021)
Brian Tyler Cohen adds: “Every single Republican in the House just voted against the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. It passed with all Democratic votes. The bill would prevent voters from being discriminated against by state and local governments.” The only reason for voting against this Act is…racism. The NFP knows that blacks and other minorities tend to vote Democratic. So they are doing everything in their power to keep them from voting. There is no mystery here.
The fifty NFP Senators unanimously voted against even debating the Freedom to Vote Act. Clearly the cult of Trump extends over all NFP political discourse.
Some of the rationalizations NFP leaders have come up with in order to “prove” that the election was stolen from Trump would be funny were they not so stupid and irresponsible. Daily Kos discusses a video of Ken Buck of Colorado: “In the video clip released Thursday, Buck is explaining that ‘Google, by the way, changed its algorithm in May of 2020 to disadvantage Donald Trump and to advantage Joe Biden.’ Whoa. Considering that Rep. Buck is the ranking member on the House committee investigating an antitrust case against Big Tech, this is a surprising revelation, not mentioned in the myriad interviews Rep. Buck did about Google and antitrust findings of the committee in the last year.” (Walter Einenkel, Daily Kos, July 8, 2021)
The article continues: “…you have to wonder what the hell Rep. Buck is saying here. The fact that Google is a monopoly is a problem. The fact that Google manipulates its search engine to help squash competition in their various enterprises is not a new fact. It’s been researched and reported on for years. But Buck takes this a step further by asserting that Google is a part of the Big Lie, rigging the election in favor of Joe Biden. ‘They can move, the estimates are they moved 15 million votes, because every time you ask for an article on Donald Trump or every time you google Donald Trump, and people here obviously google in a more sophisticated way, but people out there that were hearing about Donald Trump and they’re wondering, you know, ‘Donald Trump. Hunter Biden?’ That’s verbatim. You can watch the clip below 1,000 times and it still won’t make a lick of sense how ‘you know, ‘Donald Trump. Hunter Biden?’ swayed 15 million voters to vote for Joe Biden.”
Democratic leaders in Texas finally had enough. MoveOn reports: “The Democratic state lawmakers of Texas have left their state en masse in order to stop Republicans from forcing through extreme attacks on voting rights…Leaving the state was the only way Democrats could deny a quorum to the state legislature—and the only way to stop the latest right-wing voter suppression efforts. They have left their families and homes and are risking arrest to head to Washington, D.C., to demand that federal lawmakers act now to protect Americans’ freedom to vote. This courageous move by Texas Democrats comes just days after a Texas man was arrested for voting. Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton has despicably charged Hervis Rogers with voter fraud because he voted while on parole—not realizing that racist, antiquated laws meant he’d still be barred from democratic participation.
“These attacks on voting rights and voters of color aren’t coincidental: In state after state, Republicans are mounting a concerted effort to attack our voting rights, and especially those of people of color and others marginalized by society—a multi-decade effort now fueled further by their adherence to Trump’s destructive lies about the 2020 election.” (MoveOn, July 13, 2021)
One can only wish that other Democrats would take similar action to protect our right to vote. By the time the above article was written, there were no less than 389 voter suppression bills that had been introduced in 48 states in the country. What all this shows is the importance of passing the For the People Act as well as the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.
Georgia and Florida’s lawmakers have gone overboard to keep people they don’t like (meaning minorities who tend to vote democratic) from exercising their right to vote. LeftNet reports: “Republicans in Georgia and Florida have already passed legislation making it harder to vote by mail, cutting back voting options, and CRIMINALIZING volunteers who pass out water to voters waiting in long lines. Worst of all, Georgia’s law gives appointees of the gerrymandered, Republican-run legislature the authority to take control of local elections boards and replace them with partisan cronies!” (LeftNet, July 14, 2021)
The NFP’s plans to corrupt the election process are open and spring from one source: Donald Trump and his “big lie” that he began promulgating well before the 2020 election. Arizona has become a bellwether state for the NFP’s plans, as Daily Kos reports: “The ongoing farce of Arizona’s ‘fraudit’ of 2020 ballots in Maricopa County, Arizona, is largely treated as a joke because the people behind it are prone to spouting such out-of-this-world conspiracy theories. But many smart people, people like Rick Hasen—legal scholar and expert in legislation, election law, and campaign finance; current chancellor’s professor of law and political science at the University of California, Irvine School of Law; and the guy behind Election Law Blog—aren’t laughing.
“I’m scared sh#&less,” he told investigative journalist Jane Mayer for The New Yorker. The audit combined with a spate of new election laws stemming from the kind of theories underpinning this action go beyond anything we’ve seen out the extreme right before. ‘It’s not just about voter suppression,’ he told Mayer. ‘What I’m really worried about is election subversion. Election officials are being put in place who will mess with the count.’ This is happening, as Mayer exposes, through the efforts of longstanding conservative groups, groups that have posed as mainstream Republican organizations. It’s funded by those groups and ‘fed by sophisticated, well-funded national organizations whose boards of directors include some of the country’s wealthiest and highest-profile conservatives,’ Mayer writes. Groups like the Heritage Foundation, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and the Federalist Society—all groups that the left has known for decades are extremist, but which mainstream Republicans are happy with which to associate. It’s all the dark money groups that started whispering ‘voter fraud’ in the George W. Bush administration, building up to the point of the Big Lie, which if they can get it well enough established in state legislatures—like Arizona’s and Georgia’s—they can take control of elections…Former Republican Ralph Neas, once executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, explained how this is working: ‘The Maricopa County audit exposes exactly what the Big Lie is all about. If they come up with an analysis that discredits the 2020 election results in Arizona, it will be replicated in other states, furthering more chaos. That will enable new legislation. Millions of Americans could be disenfranchised, helping Donald Trump to be elected again in 2024. That’s the bottom line. Maricopa County is the prism through which to view everything. It’s not so much about 2020—it’s about 2022 and 2024. This is a coördinated national effort to distort not just what happened in 2020 but to regain the House of Representatives and the Presidency.’
“There’s a Supreme Court—shaped by the Federalist Society—that is more likely than not to let it happen once state laws are in place. There’s a glimmer of precedence for right-wing justices to do just that in the Bush v. Gore decision that selected the president in 2000. In their concurrence on the decision, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, along with Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, ‘argued that state legislatures have the plenary power to run elections and can even pass laws giving themselves the right to appoint electors.’ That’s the underpinning, the ‘Independent Legislature Doctrine,’ to attempts by the right and the former guy’s lawyers to overturn elections. It’s what Republican legislatures are going to point to in order to justify new laws to take over elections. Nathaniel Persily, an election law expert at Stanford, told Mayer, ‘It’s giving intellectual respectability to an otherwise insane, anti-democratic argument.’ The dark money-funded Public Interest Legal Foundation is taking that job on. It’s brought nine election law cases in eight states in just the last year, and features some of the leading lawyers trying to end democratic elections. One of those is John Eastman, a Federalist Society bigwig.
“ALEC is also on the job, and in fact was laying the groundwork for legislatures to contest the popular vote well before November 2020. ‘That February,’ Mayer reports ALEC CEO Lisa Nelson ‘told a private gathering of the Council for National Policy about a high-level review that her group had undertaken of ways to challenge ‘the validity’ of the Presidential returns.’ She told a gathering of the Council for National Policy, caught on tape and obtained by the investigative group Documented, that: ‘Obviously, we all want President Trump to win, and win the national vote.’ Nelson continued: ‘But it’s very clear that, really, what it comes down to is the states, and the state legislators.’ She said conservative legislators should be encouraged to sow doubt about election results should Trump lose and to ask, ‘What did happen that night?’
“Mayer’s story is well worth the read, exposing a who’s who of the mainstream of Republican politicians who are determined to end democratic elections in this country. She features Arizona and the bizarre fraudit, but Georgia is providing another case study where Republican legislators are laying the groundwork to seize control of elections away from Fulton County election officials. Fulton County is the most Black, most populous, most Democratic county in the state.
“Which brings us around to the filibuster, the only thing standing between fixing all that with new voting rights and election laws from Congress. The Jim Crow filibuster—endorsed by Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema—is allowing all of these dark money groups and Republican states to start planning for 2022 and 2024. Manchin and Sinema center their defense of the filibuster in lofty ideals of what the ‘founding fathers’ intended (which was not to have a filibuster) and ‘traditions of bipartisanship,’ giving Republicans undue credit for being patriotic Americans.
“Every Republican they consider ‘good people’ is connected to those groups that have been plotting this takeover of elections. Every single one of them has benefitted form their largesse. They have no qualms about doing anything to win. That includes eliminating the filibuster—they did it for Supreme Court justices!
“Democrats being just as ruthless about saving our democracy as Republicans are in stealing it isn’t ‘stooping to their level.’ It’s saving it from them. And it has to happen soon. While Manchin and Sinema are basking in the glow of being used by Republicans to water down President Biden’s goals with the bipartisan infrastructure bill, Republicans are plotting how to return them to the minority and keep them there forever.” (Joan McCarter, Daily Kos, August 3, 2021)
Now that the Supreme Court has six ultra right-wing members, none of their rulings should come as a surprise. MoveOn notes what this means for voting rights: “Last month, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority, with three new Trump appointees, dealt a devastating blow to voting rights in the United States. In its ruling in Brnovich v. DNC upholding voter suppression laws in Arizona, the Court undermined a key provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act and, in doing so, further threatened the voting rights of millions of Americans, particularly Black and Brown Americans. This new attack on voting rights coming from the nation’s highest court has occurred as Republican legislators attempt to pass nearly 400 bills to restrict voting across the country. ‘It is difficult to fathom that the U.S. Supreme Court, which is bound by both duty and the Constitution to administer equal justice under law, has done more to set voting rights back than any other actor in the last decade,’ Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in response to the Court’s decision.” (John Bonifaz, MoveOn, July 22, 2021)
The full scope of Trump’s effort to steal both the 2016 and 2020 elections may never be known. What is known is that the number of individuals being charged with crimes related to these steals is increasing. CNBC gives us yet another example: “Thomas Barrack, a private equity investor who is a close friend of former President Donald Trump, was arrested Tuesday morning in Los Angeles on federal charges of illegally lobbying Trump on behalf of the United Arab Emirates. Barrack, who was charged with two other men in a seven-count indictment in Brooklyn, New York, federal court, was chairman of Trump’s 2017 inaugural fund. Barrack was ordered detained in Los Angeles pending a bail hearing next Monday. The Santa Monica, California, resident is accused with the other defendants of secretly advancing the interests of the UAE at the direction of senior officials of that country by influencing the foreign policy positions of Trump’s 2016 campaign, and then those positions of the U.S. government during Trump’s presidency through April 2018.
“Barrack, who never registered with the American government as an agent for the UAE, also is charged with obstruction of justice and making multiple false statements during a June 2019 interview with federal law enforcement agents. The indictment noted that Barrack, 74, during that time covered by the indictment informally advised American officials on Middle East policy, and also sought appointment to a senior role in the U.S. government, including as special envoy to the Middle East.
“The evidence against Barrack includes thousands of emails, text messages, iCloud records, flight records and social media records, prosecutors separately said in a detention memo. Prosecutors said the ‘evidence of [Barrack’s] guilt in this case is overwhelming.’” (CNBC, July 20, 2021)
Re-districting plays a vital role as the NFP attempts to steal all future elections. ACLU tells us what is happening in Ohio: “If you want a clear lesson in partisan gerrymandering, what’s happening in Ohio’s redistricting process is it. The ACLU is already taking legal action. Yesterday, we—along with our Ohio affiliate and Covington & Burling LLP—filed a lawsuit challenging Ohio’s newly drawn maps for state House and Senate districts that give an extreme and unfair advantage to the Republican Party.
“This is our first legal challenge of the nation’s current redistricting cycle, but—as states continue determining new district maps in this once-in-a-decade process—it will likely not be our last.
“Let me break down exactly what’s happening:
- In 2015, an over 70% majority of Ohioans approved a constitutional reform specifically to stop endemic partisan gerrymandering in the state’s General Assembly.
- Last week, the Ohio Redistricting Commission—dominated 5 to 2 by Republicans—approved new maps that lock in a Republican veto-proof supermajority in both chambers of the General Assembly. This is in blatant defiance of the 2015 reform.
- Over the past decade, Republicans have received between 46.2% and 59.7% of the statewide vote. But these newly enacted maps draw an overwhelming 67% of the House districts and 69% of the Senate districts to favor Republicans.
- Not only is this a brazen abuse of power, but it’s a clear violation of the Ohio Constitution. That’s why we’re going to court.
“Gerrymandering like Ohio’s is a dangerous political practice that harms
communities across the country—particularly communities of color
diminishing people’s representation and voting power for the next 10 years.
Too many lawmakers in the past have used redistricting in this way to
manipulate electoral boundaries and influence future elections. This isn’t
how democracy works—and we can’t allow it to happen once again. We
must defend fair representation for all of us.” (Alora Thomas-Lundborg,
ACLU, September 24, 2021)
The NFP’s attempts to steal all elections is a concerted effort to overthrow American democracy and a crucial step for them to install what they desperately want: A new Fourth Reich, American style. This is the greatest threat the United States has faced since the Civil War. In many ways it is much more dangerous: The Confederacy did not possess weapons of mass destruction, and they never stormed the U.S. Capital. The racism of the Confederacy is much more all-encompassing in the NFP, whose enemies are essentially anyone who disagrees with them about anything.
JUSTICE IN TODAY’S AMERICA
We are living in a time of increasing racial tensions that have been brought about exclusively by the increasingly right-wing NFP. There are countless examples of this. To cite one, a black man named Kalief Browder was accused of stealing a backpack when he was sixteen years of age. For this, he was imprisoned at Riker’s Island for three years without trial. Two of these years were spent in solitary confinement. After he was released, he killed himself. Fast forward to January 6, 2021: A young lady named Riley Williams, who was among countless Trump cultists that broke into the U.S. Capitol, stole House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s laptop. If this were not enough, she then tried to sell it to the Russians. For this, she spent three days in jail before being released.
Here is another example: Paul Allen, a CEO of one of our country’s largest privately held mortgage lenders was sentenced to forty months imprisonment for his role in a three billion dollar corporate fraud scheme. Meanwhile, a homeless man in Louisiana robbed a bank of one hundred dollars. He felt guilty about this and surrendered the next day. His sentence? Fifteen years in prison.
Only in Trump’s world could this pass off as justice. Clearly, there is one set of legal rules for the NFP, and another for everyone else.
Americans for Tax Fairness tells us of the NFP’s efforts to get corporate tax cheaters off the hook by not paying their share of taxes: “Tomorrow the Senate will hold an initial vote to begin debating the bipartisan infrastructure bill. But that plan is now in jeopardy because Senate Republicans refuse to hold wealthy and corporate tax cheats accountable. They are opposed to increasing IRS funding to go after tax cheats and using the revenue to pay for infrastructure. Over the last decade, audit rates of the richest 1% and large profitable corporations have dropped to the point where the IRS now audits low-income workers receiving tax credits at about the same rate as the top 1%. This is because auditing the fortunes of the super-rich is more complicated than auditing the wages of working people.” (Sarah Christopherson, AFTF, July 20, 2021)
Rep. Cori Bush has been the target of countless threats and bigoted remarks. She sent out countless screenshots of ignorant and hate-filled messages that are too vile to report here, but Fox News, rather than coming to her defense, complained about how much money she was paying for security. Not a word was mentioned condemning the threats themselves. Of course, this kind of stupidity and hate is standard operating procedure for Fox.
The head of the FBI is, of course, another Trump crony. Progress America tells us about him: “FBI Director Christopher Wray has a habit of ignoring critical information that could have protected America. Instead, he looks the other way for his political party and his friends. After Trump’s corrupt firing of James Comey, he handpicked Wray to lead the FBI. Wray has been toeing the Trump line ever since.
“Wray ignored credible warnings that could have protected America from Trump on January 6. Wray also failed to protect America from Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, ignoring 4,500 tips to his fake tip line. This confirms that the FBI was playing politics and letting Trump’s White House bury the investigation. Wray is a Federalist Society goon, a right wing group that has helped shape the judiciary into the conservative nightmare that it is now. Every member of the Supreme Court appointed by a Republican since Clarence Thomas in 1991 has been a Federalist. Kavanaugh was Wray’s longtime colleague and political ally.
Christopher Wray only protects his friends and political party. Americans deserve better.” (Mike Phelan, Progress America, August 6, 2021)
THE CLIMATE CRISIS, COVID-19 AND THE APATHY OF THE NFP
For years I have been calling religions “philosophies of death.” The same applies to Trumpism, America’s newest religious cult and its adherents in the New Fascist Party. It is obvious that its leaders care not a whit about the people they are supposed to be serving. If Democrats support policies that will save lives, the NFP will automatically oppose them—simply because they are Democratic policies. This makes Trump and his supporters accessories to murder: Nothing more, nothing less. This chapter will focus on their responses to the COVID-19 disaster and the Climate crisis.
Stop the Money Pipeline updates us on the climate crisis: “Today, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s foremost body of climate scientists, released its first complete assessment of the climate crisis since 2013—and it is even worse than we thought. Already, at just over 1°C of warming, the entire planet is experiencing rising temperatures, worse floods, larger wildfires or more searing droughts. The future will almost certainly get worse. The United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, summed up what the IPCC’s findings must mean: ‘This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet.’ Coming out just 83 days before the Glasgow Climate Talks, the IPCC report is a vital reminder that our best hope of curtailing the climate crisis lies in building a broad-based movement capable of forcing corporations and governments to act.” (Stop the Money Pipeline, August 9, 2021)
A few days later, Stop the Money Pipeline ran another timely article: “Without insurance, pipelines can’t be built. Fifteen insurance companies have already promised not to touch the toxic Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline. We have a chance this week to make it sixteen.
“Trans Mountain is a giant tar sands oil pipeline that would be a disaster for our climate and violates Indigenous rights. If built, the pipeline would also result in a sevenfold increase in oil tanker traffic in the Salish Sea, pushing the area’s already endangered southern resident orcas even closer to extinction.” (STMP, August 12, 2021)
Stop the Money Pipeline talks about the role of Chubb an insurance company that isn’t exactly a household name but nonetheless remains a key player in these projects: “Chubb is the largest publicly-traded property and casualty insurance company in the world. Despite talking about the urgent need to address climate change, Chubb remains a top global insurer of oil and gas projects—including the destructive Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline. Chubb CEO Evan Greenberg has refused to even meet with people affected by the pipelines his company insures, ignoring requests from Indigenous groups whose rights are being violated by Trans Mountain. He even refused to meet with US Senators asking what Chubb is doing to address its failing climate record…In the past, Chubb has talked a big game on climate. Two years ago, Chubb finally cut ties with the coal industry, and Chubb CEO Evan Greenberg said, ‘Chubb recognizes the reality of climate change and the substantial impact of human activity on our planet. Making the transition to a low-carbon economy involves planning and action by policymakers, investors, businesses and citizens alike.’
“The problem is, since that announcement Chubb hasn’t done anything. Chubb is still one of the largest oil and gas insurers in the world, and Greenberg refuses to even hold meetings to talk about changing that.” (Stop the Money Pipeline, September 13, 2021)
There is one huge factor in the climate crisis that almost no one seems aware of. Care2 Action Alerts tells us of the role the U.S. military plays in perpetuating the crisis: “In 2020, one single entity alone was responsible for creating more than 52 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions—more than the entire country of Sweden. What entity was this? The U.S. military. It turns out that weapons of war are not just devastating for local families and ecosystems in war-torn regions; they are also massively contributing to the destruction of our entire planet. In fact, the U.S. military is more responsible for impacting climate change than 150 entire countries!
“The military actually fully understands this. Its staff have authored numerous reports emphasizing the risk climate change poses to both national and global security. Yet year after year, while the military budget balloons, hardly a dent is made in emissions reductions within each of its branches. And government agencies that could help save the environment? They often receive pennies on the dollars needed. We are running out of time to save the planet and to also avert a huge international security crisis…If the U.S. military is truly committed to protecting Americans and the world, it must invest in green energy to ensure a habitable future planet.” (Care2 Action Alert, October 31, 2021)
Chevron has blood on its hands. Big Oil Alert reports: “Steven Donziger should be celebrated for his work to protect our environment and Indigenous communities. Instead, he’s in jail. Chevron destroyed and poisoned Indigenous and poor communities in Ecuador’s Amazon by dumping 16 BILLION gallons of toxic oil onto Indigenous land—all in the name of profits. After 18 years of fighting for accountability, the communities on the front lines of Chevron’s destruction and Steven Donziger, a human rights lawyer, secured a historic win against Chevron when a judge ordered Chevron to pay over $9 billion for intentionally polluting the Amazon in Ecuador.
“Unsurprisingly, Chevron responded by selling its assets and leaving Ecuador, refusing to apologize to the 30,000 impacted Indigenous people of Ecuador, refusing to clean the water and land it destroyed, and refusing to pay. Instead, Chevron and allies of Big Oil have spent billions of dollars hiring dozens of law firms and over 2,000 lawyers to target and sue Steven Donziger because he has done important and successful work to defend vulnerable communities who are dying at the hands of the fossil fuel industry.
“Now, after the federal government refused to take Chevron’s case against him and after being subjected to an unduly harsh two years of house arrest and potentially tens of millions in legal fees, Donziger was prosecuted by a law firm with previous ties to Chevron—a very clear conflict of interest—and ordered to report to jail.
“Unfortunately, just last month, Donziger had to surrender himself to federal authorities to begin a six-month prison sentence that was handed down by an ultra-conservative judge. What happened to communities in Ecuador and to Steven Donziger is not new, though. Big Oil and fossil fuel giants like Chevron have always stopped at nothing to evade accountability for destroying the Earth at the expense of BIPOC and poor communities around the world. It’s horrifying and wrong.
“No one should be targeted for exposing the destructiveness of the fossil fuel industry. Human rights experts at the United Nations and Amnesty International have called for Donziger’s release. It’s the right thing to do.” (Big Oil Alert, via MoveOn, November 8, 2021)
AP News discusses the COVID situation in Florida and the response of its NFP governor: “Florida’s COVID-19 hospitalization numbers are again increasing, ending months of steady decline that began when widespread vaccinations became available and leaving doctors and epidemiologists worried as the more infectious delta variant spreads…Overall, more than 38,000 Floridians with COVID-19 have died since the pandemic began in March 2020. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis reiterated that even with the increasing cases, there will be no mandates requiring vaccinations, masks or social distancing. He has pushed for the state to be fully open, a stance he is using politically as he contemplates a 2024 presidential bid. His 2022 gubernatorial reelection campaign is selling T-shirts and beer koozies that read ‘Don’t Fauci My Florida,’ referring to Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top government infectious disease official. Fauci has pushed a more cautious approach that includes wearing masks in public.” (Terry Spencer, AP News, July 16, 2021) So, while DeSantis is playing politics, his constituents are dying. Despite the fact that he has blood on his hands, his response is typical of the NFP: Deny reality and promote misinformation if it suits their political purposes. Just what those purposes are is rarely discussed; it’s all about opposing the Democratic party.
Let us focus for a minute on the state DeSantis runs. A writer named Thomas Kennedy posted the following on OD Action News: “Florida has been controlled by the GOP for 20 years. We rank 45th in tax fairness. We rank 47th in benefits to help folks who lose their jobs. We rank 50th in access to health care. We also rank 1st in toll roads and 2nd in mass shootings. Vote out Ron DeSantis in 2022.”
There is at least one Democrat that holds a high office in Florida. This is Nikki Fried, the commissioner of agriculture. Suffice it to say, she is not thrilled with the job DeSantis and his henchmen are doing to her state. Daily Kos spoke with her early in August, 2021: “As might be expected, the conversation began with the rising tide of COVID-19 cases in Florida and DeSantis’ efforts to ‘aggressively do nothing’ to get in the way of the virus’ spread. Fried said, ‘We in the state of Florida are first in a number of good things, like beaches and tourism, but the last thing I want to hear is that we are first in the nation on the number of COVID cases. What our current governor has done is nothing. He has a hands off approach, pretending that the pandemic is behind us, and is unwilling to take any leadership.’
“Two months ago, DeSantis pulled the daily updates from the Department of Health and despite a request from Fried, those pages are still missing. With DeSantis refusing to provide Florida with many of the statistics that were available a year ago and actively working to obscure facts about the situation, Fried and her team at the Agriculture Department have taken on the role of providing their own daily updates on the situation in Florida. ‘This is information that people need to protect themselves, their family members, and communities. That would be something I would have never taken down,’ said Fried.
“However, Fried does say DeSantis was interested in seeing that Floridians got vaccinated—a very select few Floridians. Fried: ‘Right now, he’s not even talking about vaccines. He did so at the very beginning, when there was an opportunity to get voters who are Republican vaccinated. He took care of the senior population and his Republican donors, and once those populations were done, he stopped talking about it. Didn’t even have a shot in public.’
“…Fried was asked about how much of the COVID-19 crisis in Florida could be laid at the feet of the governor and his policies. Fried answered, ‘From day one, he panicked. He sheltered himself with very few advisers around him, did not take the pandemic seriously, gave out misinformation, was never upfront with the people of this state…My biggest fear is that he’s now tied the hands of our local governments and corporations from being leaders here. That means the only way we have to address this crisis is individual responsibility, because state government, local government, and corporations can’t help. So my biggest fear is that, with this spike, what we’re going to see is what we would have seen last year without the local governments. Now their hands are tied, DeSantis is doing nothing, and there’s nothing to control the spread of the virus…I have called Ron DeSantis an authoritarian dictator. Because that’s what we’re seeing time and time again. It’s his way or the highway, and if he doesn’t like what you’re saying, he’s going to pass a law and prevent you from saying it. That includes an anti-protest bill and a voter-suppression bill.’” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, August 10, 2021)
It goes without saying that Ron DeSantis is as extreme as they come. If he were the only NFP member that thought and acted like an authoritarian dictator, he could be dealt with. But, far from being a noted exception, he has become mainstream in today’s NFP. His example could be laid at the door of virtually every NFP member holding positions of power across the country.
Florida and Texas both have the dubious distinction in that they have much higher COVID infection rates than the rest of the country. It should also come as no surprise that both these states are “led” (and I use the term loosely) by NFP governors, Ron DeSantis in Florida and Greg Abbott in Texas. Daily Kos tells us: “…as The Washington Post reports, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins is seeking a restraining order on the grounds that Abbott’s anti-mandate mandate oversteps the authority of the governor’s office. And Jenkins is not the only one suing Abbott over his pro-virus stance…As ABC News reports, the hospitals in Houston are ‘like a war zone,’ with one of the doctors there reporting on the horrific conditions inside area icus. ‘If people could see that, if laws allowed us to take cameras and plant them in the ICU. For you to see what I get to see, I’m certain more than 98% of people would say, ‘I don’t want that to happen to me. I’m going to do something simple like take a vaccine.’’
“School districts in both Texas and Florida have already given their anti-masking governors a middle finger of defiance. And it must come as a shock to both men that some people will continue doing the right thing in the face of threats—even financial threats.
“In addition to Judge Jenkins, Abbott is being sued by a child advocacy group who notes in their suit that: ‘One third of all new COVID-19 cases are in the states of Texas and Florida’ and ‘Children are among the most vulnerable to the Delta variant of COVID-19.’ They then note that not only are children the victims of Abbott’s actions, but Texas taxpayers will foot the bill for any school districts prosecuted for attempting to protect children. They’ll also be paying for the school closures sure to occur in districts that knuckle under to Abbott’s no-masks rule.
“Over 50,000 Texans died from COVID-19 before the delta variant arrived. Hundreds more died over the winter when a purposely fragile power grid left them struggling in the cold and dark. Now Texas’ hospitals are overrun again, the children of Texas are under a dire threat, and Abbott is only biting down harder on his red pill, sticking hard to a position that’s generating things like this report from ABC News. ‘In a sign that the delta variant is affecting more children on a daily basis, an 11-month-old girl from the Houston area had to be airlifted to Temple because no pediatric hospitals in Houston would accept her as a transfer patient.’
“An infant in the throes of seizures had to be taken 150 miles away because every available slot in her area was already filled with desperately ill children. Rather than trying to protect those kids, Abbott is focused on protecting orders that endanger those kids.
“Texas…is a red-hot mess. Emphasis on red. The question is how much longer the people there are going to keep accepting the idea that sacrificing their children to Greg Abbott’s presidential ambitions is a good idea.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, August 10, 2021)
LeftNet elaborates on Abbott’s lethal administration: “During the Covid-19 pandemic, Abbott has undermined science and public health at every turn. Early in the pandemic, he barred school boards, mayors, county judges, and even private businesses from implementing common-sense public health measures that could have prevented thousands upon thousands of deaths. As a result, we’ve lost over 75,000 of our friends, family members, and neighbors to Abbott’s bungled response to the pandemic. This is happening because Abbott has stopped listening to, trusting, and working for Texans. He’s put us all at risk in his efforts to cater to the loudest, most extreme voices in his party. In May, Abbott announced that all cities, counties, and public schools could not require masks in the classroom and would be fined if they attempted to do so. As a result, Texas became a national leader in childhood Covid deaths at the start of the school year.” (Beto for Texas, via LeftNet, December 23, 2021)
Greg Abbott has the blood of countless Texans on his hands. This is a truly evil man; he possesses no morals or values of any kind.
Beto O’Rourke pulls no punches about the insane things going on in Texas: “A tough week for Texas. The anti-voter elections bill we’d fought this entire year passed the Texas legislature on Tuesday, and the following day a raft of truly terrible new laws went into effect. For example, anyone can now carry a gun in public without getting a permit, or going through a background check or receiving any kind of training. This, in a state that has four of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history and a crisis in gun violence against women (women in Texas are 24% more likely to be murdered with a gun than women in other states).
“And now in a state that leads the country and much of the developed world in the rate of maternal mortality—because it was already so hard for women to get healthcare, family planning help or to see a doctor of any kind at all—nearly no one will be able to get a safe, legal abortion. Our state has created a system of legalized harassment with the passage of the worst anti-women’s health care law in the country, one that literally places a $10,000 bounty on anyone who supports a woman trying to exercise her basic right to control her own health and decide her own future.
“That’s just some of what the people of Texas are up against thanks to our state’s radical, out of control Republican government. They’re also hard at work making scapegoats of public educators, transgender kids and immigrants—all while making Texas one of the deadliest states when it comes to COVID transmission, and keeping their donors in the energy industry happy at the expense of the lives of our fellow Texans.” (Beto O’Rourke, via Powered By People, September 3, 2021)
Some good news came out of Florida late in August, 2021 when a judge ruled against DeSantis’ stupid anti-mask mandate for schools. NPR reports: “A Florida judge has ruled that school districts in the state can require students to wear masks. At least 10 school districts—including some in many of the largest cities—had been defying state rules set by Gov. Ron DeSantis banning mask mandates. Judge John Cooper ruled on a lawsuit brought by parents who say DeSantis overstepped his authority when his administration said school districts couldn’t order students to wear masks. DeSantis had warned that: ‘there will be consequences’ for districts that defied the ban.” (Greg Allen, NPR, August 27, 2021)
White House Press Secretary laid out the facts about COVID misinformation: “There’s about twelve people who are producing 65% of anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms. All of them remain active on Facebook despite some being banned on other platforms including ones that Facebook owns.” ( Reported on Daily Kos, July 17, 2021)
As ridiculous as it sounds those far to the right of the political spectrum are somehow equating freedom with not taking safety precautions and endangering the lives of others. Basilico’s, an Italian restaurant in Orange County, California actually placed a sign at the front of the restaurant which read: “Notice: Proof of being unvaccinated required. We have zero tolerance for treasonous, anti-American stupidity. Thank you for pondering.” Although checking to see if patrons are unvaccinated would prove difficult if not impossible, Basilico’s owner claimed he put up the sign “in defense of American liberty and freedom.” Several surrounding businesses have no problem with the sign, wrongly and stupidly comparing it with restaurants that insist its customers be vaccinated prior to entering. These people and their cohorts on the right seem unaware of the simple fact that freedom does not mean having the freedom to infect others.
The NFP’s misuse of the word “freedom” is easily disproved. They want us to believe they are fighting for the “freedom” not to wear masks. By the same reasoning, they should have the “freedom” to run red lights, attack anyone the like, steal anything they like, etc. What they refuse to understand is that society puts limits on our freedoms to protect its citizens. You do not have the freedom to run red lights because you may injure or kill someone. Likewise, you do not have the freedom not to wear masks because by refusing to do so, you are endangering the lives of others, precisely the reason the mask mandates have been put into effect. Why is this so difficult to understand? My right to live supersedes the NFP’s “right” to infect me. We have lost more Americans because of this pandemic than all the losses of the two World Wars, Korean and Vietnam combined. Again the obvious question to ask NFP members is: Why do you want people to die?
The NFP is on the wrong side of every single issue. There is nothing to be said in mitigation.
George Takei from Occupy Democrats offers a timely comment on those who refuse to be vaccinated: “Telling me you are proudly unvaccinated is like telling me you’re a drunk driver. You’re NOT a patriot. You are NOT a freedom fighter. You’re a MENACE!”
It should come as no surprise that the states with Republican governors and Congressmen are also the ones with the highest COVID infection rates and deaths. Daily Kos reports on where some of these states stood as of mid August, 2021: “Arkansas—8 ICU beds left. Gov. Asa Hutchinson only changed his mind on masks 2 days ago. But the law that bans masks is still on the books. Texas—hospitals asked to voluntarily postpone elective medical procedures. Seeking out-of-state health care personnel. Opening antibody infusion centers. Increasing vaccine action centers. But Gov. Abbott will not budge on masks. Florida—new record cases today and yesterday. Florida is LOSING the Covid battle: ’28,316 new cases Saturday and 28,317 new cases Sunday. Either number blasts the state past the previous high of 23,903 established on Friday by 18.5%.’…hospital occupancy is at all time high. And Gov. DeathSantis responds…by threatening more cruel actions against local school officials that require masks.” (Daily Kos, August 9, 2021)
By way of comparison, the hospitalization rate is twelve times higher than in Maine, per capita. This is a tragic reminder of the hollowness of the NFP when they proclaim themselves to be “pro-life.”
The NFP’s hostility toward common sense safety precautions during the worst epidemic in a hundred years can only be understood if one understands their totalitarian nature. Basically, they want to have total control over everyone and have the right to tell everyone what to do. Anyone who tries to tell them what to do, or even suggests they do something, is automatically viewed as the enemy. Since Democrats want to save lives, the NFP takes the stance that this is some kind of infringement on their freedom. Daily Kos noted the passing of one of their leaders—from COVID-19—after he had repeatedly discussed the supposed “dangers” of vaccination: “On Aug. 4, the Galveston County Republican Party of Texas posted a sad tribute to H. Scott Apley, a Texas Republican Executive Committeeman who passed away after an acute case of COVID-19…Apley’s political worldview seems to have been a typical Christian right-wing conservative one. Apley’s Twitter presence was made up of mostly Christian aphorisms and quotes from both Testaments, with some political posts scattered about. The general tenor of his politics had to do with keeping the federal government from what he perceived to be an infringement on citizens’ constitutional rights, extending to all of the standard conservative talking points, such as the need to lower taxes on corporations.
“The Washington Post points out that Apley’s social media pages included not simply the anti-vaxx sentiments of the right, but also the anti-mask interpretation of freedom. In May, Apley posted an advertisement of a ‘Mask Burning’ at a bar, writing: ‘I wish I lived in the area!’ He also posted a story about various ways in which Texas was trying to promote vaccinations by using incentives like tickets and giveaways, commenting that the efforts were ‘disgusting.’ (Walter Einenkel, Daily Kos, August 6, 2021)
Apley is far from the only NFP member to have contracted the disease. The number of COVID deaths is much higher among the NFP than it is in the Democratic party.
When will they learn?
The height of NFP arrogance (or one of many) was seen in July when the leader of the NFP actually got up and mocked the physician who is in charge of keeping the Senate healthy. The NFP is conducting a coordinated campaign to attack their own attending physician for the “crime” of trying to keep them safe by wearing masks. The irony (and utter stupidity) of their stance should be obvious to anyone not blinded by NFP lies and rhetoric. 99 percent of COVID deaths are from those who refused vaccination. The NFP has no problem at all with over half a million COVID deaths, but ask them to take safety precautions and they get up in arms about it. In other words, deaths are OK, but taking precautions to prevent them is not. That is the twisted standard of the NFP.
Science (and rationality) is the enemy of the NFP since it doesn’t tell them what they want to believe. Human evolution has long been the favorite whipping boy of the religious right. In recent years, Climate Change has become the new bogeyman. Stop the Money Pipeline informs us: “Today, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s foremost body of climate scientists, released its first complete assessment of the climate crisis since 2013—and it is even worse than we thought.
“Already, at just over 1°C of warming, the entire planet is experiencing rising temperatures, worse floods, larger wildfires or more searing droughts. The future will almost certainly get worse. The United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, summed up what the IPCC’s findings must mean: ‘This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet.’
“Coming out just 83 days before the Glasgow Climate Talks, the IPCC report is a vital reminder that our best hope of curtailing the climate crisis lies in building a broad-based movement capable of forcing corporations and governments to act. And that is exactly what we’re going to spend every day between now and Glasgow doing…
“Line 3 is exactly the kind of project that must never be built if the worst of the IPCC’s predictions are to be avoided. Line 3 would have the climate impact of fifty coal plants; its greenhouse gas emissions would be larger than the entire nation of Argentina. Yet, Wall Street banks recently gave Enbridge, the company behind Line 3, $1.5 billion in ‘sustainability’ loans. Even worse, Wall Street’s dollars are paying for more than the tar sands pipeline. Enbridge have literally been buying the tear gas, riot gear and rubber bullets that MN police have been using to shoot, beat and tear-gas nonviolent Water Protectors who are protecting the land, water and Anishinaabe treaty rights.” (Stop the Money Pipeline, August 9, 2021)
Win Without War elaborates: “Crucial wetlands and rivers, including the Mississippi River, are at risk of being contaminated by Line 3, a Trump-approved pipeline expansion project. As many as 20 wild rice lakes, sacred and much needed by Indigenous communities in the region, may be ruined. Every year, the air will be poisoned by the equivalent of the total CO2 daily emissions of 16-18 million cars. And the social cost of that poisoning? At least $287 BILLION…And the company in charge of Line 3 just so happens to own another pipeline responsible for the 2010 Kalamazoo River Disaster—the biggest inland oil spill in U.S. history. It’s not a question of if Line 3 will cause catastrophe—it’s a question of when.” (Stephen Miles, Win Without War, September 9, 2021)
One bright spot was seen in July when Fauci, in a hearing of the Senate Health Committee, got into a heated argument with Rand Paul and called him a liar. Yahoo News reports: “Certainties may be rare in Washington these days, but blowups between Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top medical adviser to President Biden, have become one of the few reliable features of life inside the Beltway, right up there with the relentless humidity of summer. That much was made clear, once again, during a hearing of the Senate Health Committee on Tuesday, during which the two sparred over the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. Paul accused Fauci of misrepresenting, in earlier testimony, the nature of U.S. government funding of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, where some believe the virus originated as the result of a lab experiment gone awry. He ended his characteristically long question by reminding Fauci that it is a ‘crime to lie to Congress.’
“Fauci did not take to the suggestion kindly. ‘I have not lied before the Congress,’ the veteran government immunologist responded. He rejected Paul’s offer to ‘retract’ his earlier testimony about U.S. funding of viral research into the pandemic’s shadowy beginnings. ‘Sen. Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, quite frankly,’ Fauci continued. ‘And I want to say that officially.’
“Never one for niceties, Paul charged that Fauci was trying to ‘obscure responsibility’ for the devastation the coronavirus has caused around the world. From there, unsurprisingly, the tone escalated. ‘I totally resent the lie that you are now propagating,’ Fauci snarled back at the senator…’If anybody is lying here, Senator, it is you,’ Fauci said near the end of their terse exchange, which, as he himself noted, fell into a somewhat predictable ‘pattern.’” (Alexander Nazaryan, Yahoo News, July 20, 2021)
Rand Paul, like all the other NFP leaders, seems determined to cause as many COVID deaths as possible. Their strategy is to try and change the focus from Trump’s responsibility for half a million deaths by attacking those who are trying to seek solutions and save lives. Bold Progressives reports: “In a new video, Rand Paul says ‘No one should follow the CDC’ and that if everyone fights mask requirements and other COVID safety measures, ‘they can’t arrest all of us.’ With COVID cases and deaths surging, one news outlet calls it Rand Paul’s ‘mass murder manifesto.’” (Bold Progressives, August 10, 2021)
Ron Johnson is just as bad as Paul, as Daily Kos notes: “Johnson claims that ‘natural immunity is as strong, if not stronger than getting the vaccine’ or that the vaccine ‘has some pretty serious side effects, including death.’ His information, or lack thereof, is contrary to that of every public health expert—which he is not.” (Amanda McKay, Daily Kos, July 21, 2021) Why is nobody asking Johnson where his “facts” are actually coming from? Clearly, there is no evidence or support for his craziness, but the idea that the vaccine is more dangerous than the virus itself has become standard fare for the NFP.
Clearly, Johnson just makes up facts to suit his purposes, and assumes that the NFP and its supporters won’t question him. Which of course they don’t. Crazy Eight PAC elaborates: “Ron Johnson claimed that hospital overcrowding from COVID-19 is no worse than what happens during ‘a bad flu season’…despite what the overwhelming data shows as well as what health care professionals have been saying all along. He went on to say that ‘just because it happens with COVID doesn’t mean there’s some massive crisis in terms of our healthcare system.’ This is coming from a man who has accepted thousands of dollars from Big Pharma. Johnson, who is unvaccinated himself, has also falsely stated that thousands of people have died from the COVID vaccine.” (Crazy Eight PAC, October 24, 2021)
Not to be outdone, Madison Cawthorn called Fauci a “pawn” of the Chinese Communist party and promised to prosecute him should the NFP gains control of the House in 2022. As one would expect, he provided no evidence for his outrageous claim. Neither did Ted Cruz when he called Fauci “the most dangerous bureaucrat in American history.” Or Fox’s Tucker Carlson when he claimed Fauci ‘morphed’ into World War 2’s fascist leader Benito Mussolini (!). These people have no facts or evidence to support their nonsense; all they have are baseless, ad hominem attacks. And, as the past several years have conclusively proven, the shriller and more hysterical these attacks, the more their base will cheer them on.
Johnson, Cawthorn, Rand Paul and all the other NFP members have no medical degrees and should shut their mouths when real experts are speaking. People are dying because of their ignorance and immorality. Not that they care.
Brian Tylor Cohen asks: “I still can’t get over how Republicans are so committed to contrarianism and obstructionism that they’ve convinced half their base not to get a free, life-saving vaccine for a virus that is now almost exclusively killing the unvaccinated.” It is almost comical that the NFP calls itself “pro-life” when they are advocating policies that can only kill people. Cohen adds: “The fact that the same ‘pro-life’ people who support government mandated bounties on women are now suddenly screaming against vaccine rules that will save lives proves that it was never about being ‘pro-life.’ It was always about controlling women.”
If the NFP really were “pro-life,” they would also be pro-gun safety, pro-health care and, most assuredly, pro-vaccinations. The simple fact is that they are not about saving lives at all.
Ted Cruz and the other NFP members who are attacking Fauci are doing so for one reason and one reason only—to deflect attention away from Donald Trump. Cruz even asked that Fauci be investigated by the Department of Justice for “lying” to Congress. The last thing the NFP wants is for the country to be aware of the simple fact that it is Trump who allowed the virus to explode across the country and kill over half a million people. The NFP needs to have a “boogeyman” to attack, no matter what that individual’s qualifications. Defending Donald Trump, no matter what he said and did, is the only thing the NFP stands for. Even today, one can go to a Trump rally and hear people screaming “lock her up” even though Hillary Clinton, the most attacked and falsely vilified individual ever targeted by the NFP, has long since been absolved of any criminal activity whatsoever. Fauci is merely the latest boogeyman of the NFP’s effort to divert attention away from Donald Trump’s crimes.
Clearly, it is Donald Trump (and his MAGA supporters) who bear responsibility for the death and destruction of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was Trump who gave daily press briefings filled with misinformation and downright lies. Trump had more than enough time, more than enough money, and more than enough resources to prepare for the pandemic before it caused such devastation.
Brian Tyler Cohen compares Cruz and Fauci thusly: “Between Ted Cruz and Dr. Fauci, only one of these men helped find a cure for vasculitis, only one of these men helped lead us through the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, only one of these men got us through H1N1, SARS, West Nile, and Ebola and Zika, and now the CORONA virus. Only one of these men has devoted his entire life to public health. The other guy grovels at the feet of men who called his wife ugly.
To reiterate, the simplest, most pertinent question to ask those of the NFP is: “Why do you want people to die?” It is beyond comprehension why it is that, faced with the worst pandemic to hit the world in a century, the NFP is unable and unwilling to work with those committed to eliminating the virus and save lives. The only answer is that they want people to die. I have often referred to religions as “philosophies of death.” The same can certainly be said of the cult of Trumpism and the NFP.
To see more examples of the corruption in the NFP, we need look no further than Michigan. NPR reports: “According to the Associated Press, the board of commissioners gave $557,000 in hazard pay to 250 county employees, including $65,000 that went to the seven county commissioners, all of whom are Republicans. The money came from federal relief aid disbursed through the American Rescue Plan Act, which was intended to help communities rebound from the pandemic. The board awarded bonuses as small as $1,000 to $2,000, but the commissioners received payments between $5,000 and $25,000, the AP reported.
“‘I think that I earned it,’ said Commissioner Cindy Garber, who received a $5,000 payment, WILX 10 reported. ‘I work really hard at this job. I was here in-person all through this crazy year.’” (Joe Hernandez, NPR, July 26, 2021)
The upcoming climate disaster is something that all—repeat, all—legitimate scientists agree on. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that July, 2021 was the hottest month ever recorded in history. This report was right on the heals of another ominous report. This report, which came from over 200 climate scientists, found that climate change will exacerbate more extreme weather in the coming years. They did note that cutting greenhouse gas emissions could alleviate some of the worst consequences.
Other98 adds: “The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just released its latest report. In its report, the IPCC found that our reliance on fossil fuels has heated the planet by about 2 degrees Fahrenheit. And we’re already seeing the impacts of that warming: heat waves, droughts, flooding, hurricanes, sea levels rising, and weather whiplash. But this is only the beginning. We’re already on track to reach 2.7 degrees of warming within the next two decades, which will have disastrous outcomes: nearly 1 billion people will suffer through more frequent life-threatening heat waves. Hundreds of millions of people will face water scarcity. Plant and animal species will go extinct.” (Team Green New Deal Network, via Other98, August 14, 2021)
Win Without War weighs in with an indictment directed at another source: “From heat waves literally melting power cables and triple-digit temperatures in the Arctic, to out-of-control wildfires in California and Greece—there is one mega-polluter that rarely makes the headlines: the Pentagon. The U.S. military is the largest institutional consumer of petroleum. It emits more greenhouse gases than 100 countries combined. Just one of the military’s jets, the B-52 Stratofortress, consumes about as much fuel in an hour as the average car driver uses in seven years. But whenever the climate spotlight lands on the U.S. military, it is used as yet another excuse to increase defense spending, instead of the no-brainer that we need to stop spending on the Pentagon’s polluting pet projects and start spending more on tackling climate change.
“Just last week, we piled in to help block a sneaky and absurd attempt to ADD $50 billion more for the Pentagon in the infrastructure bill. But we won and forced that back door closed, so now hawks and weapons manufacturers are pushing to pile this massive increase into the already sky-high $750 BILLION National Defense Authorization Act. It’s appalling.” (Kate Kizer, Win Without War, August 14, 2021)
This of course means nothing to the NFP; no matter what the evidence to the contrary, they will continue to wave all this off as being of little or no consequence. Helping people and sustaining a living world means nothing to them or the corporate polluters that support them.
The NFP continues to deny that the looming climate disaster is a problem. Common Cause tells us of a recent ecological disaster that illustrates this point: “Nearly two-thirds of Americans agree with scientists that protecting the environment should be a top priority for the president and Congress.
But voter suppression tactics, campaign finance loopholes, and weak ethics laws ensure that politicians and their polluting corporate backers get to make the rules, not the American people. We all pay the price for that—but especially communities of color, which not only are the primary target for anti-voter laws, but also face a disproportionate burden from the climate crisis.”
The climate crisis is already affecting people across the globe. Here in the United States, the people who are most affected tend to be minorities. Unitarian Universalist Service Community explains: “…certain individuals and groups already shoulder the burden of the climate crisis. They face drinking water contamination, intensified life-threatening storms, home and habitat destruction, and forced migration due to rising sea level, among other hazards. Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities are experiencing these impacts at much higher rates, yet federal disaster response efforts have long disproportionately benefited white and wealthy individuals.” (Salote Soqo, UUSC, July 19, 2021)
Environment America gives us more information on the climate crisis: “The heat wave at the start of July shattered previous record high temperatures by up to 8 degrees Fahrenheit. Hundreds of people lost their lives. Over a billion marine animals perished in the extreme heat. Summer is for warm sun and melting popsicles, not sweltering temperatures and melting powerlines—but this could be the new normal if we don’t get off fossil fuels and tackle global warming.
“The Clean Energy for America Act will create new clean energy incentives and eliminate many fossil fuel subsidies—the taxpayer-funded support we give the fossil fuel industry—but only if we can get it through Congress. The fossil fuel industry receives about $20 billion in subsidies every year. Thanks in part to these subsidies, fossil fuels accounted for 74 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2019.
“Why are we spending all this money to prop up an industry that’s damaging our health and the planet?
“Scientists just proved that this latest heat wave would have been virtually impossible without human-caused climate change. It’s time to stop funding our own destruction and end fossil fuel subsidies. Forty to 60 percent of oil resources are dependent on subsidies. If we strike down these subsidies, renewable energy will expand and become even more competitive compared to expensive, toxic fossil fuels. According to the International Monetary Fund, just reducing fossil fuel subsidies worldwide would lower carbon emissions by 28 percent and air pollution deaths by 46 percent within four years. Imagine the lifesaving impact we could have if we eliminate fossil fuel subsidies altogether.” (Wendy Wendlandt, Environment America, July 26, 2021)
Simply put, most of the world is in climate denial. The damage to our planet continues on an unprecedented scale. The world has lost over a million square miles of forest in the last thirty years. Yet simple facts like this are rarely reported by today’s corporate-owned media outlets.
For those needing further proof of the damage caused by the climate crisis,
Daily Kos provides the evidence: “The nation’s largest wildfire, the Bootleg
fire in southern Oregon has merged with the smaller Log fire and as of
Friday, has burned more than 400,000 acres. It’s one of 83 fires burning
around the country, that have burned more than 1.3 million acres. All those
acres burned are floating in a huge cloud blanketing much of the nation,
stretching coast to coast.
“‘It’s mid-July and already nearly 450,000 acres have burned across the state,’ Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Tuesday in a press conference. Since then, the area on fire in Oregon leapt to 522,680 acres. ‘It’s shaping up to be another difficult wildfire season and unfortunately we’re responding to new fires as we’re still recovering from last year’s devastating wildfire season,’ Brown said. ‘The amount of resources we’ve deployed, how many times we’ve deployed, in a three-week period we’ve deployed to six conflagrations,’ she said. ‘This is the earliest and most significant mobilization to date.’
“Climate change ‘is playing out before our very eyes’ she continued. It’s not just playing out in fire. It’s playing out in drought. The small town of Oakley, Utah, made national news this week when it imposed a construction moratorium, halting a boom in growth because it does not have enough water to sustain any more people. ‘Why are we building houses if we don’t have enough water?’ said Wade Woolstenhulme, the mayor. ‘The right thing to do to protect people who are already here is to restrict people coming in.’
“In Idaho, a dry spring and prolonged heat wave through most of June and July dried up what would have otherwise been an adequate, if not abundant, snow pack that would have seen the state’s farmers and residents through the year. ‘What we’re seeing is not at all common,’ said David Hoekema, a hydrologist with the Idaho Department of Water Resources. ‘This is a drought that nobody’s ever witnessed before.’ The state has received on average just under 4.4 inches of precipitation this year, the second worst water year to date in the state’s recorded history and less than half of what used to be normal. There are 23 fires currently burning in Idaho, on 183,868 acres.
“No part of the West is experiencing what used to be known as a ‘normal’ water year, with the drought extending into the upper Plains states. He thinks the plan is too aggressive in fighting carbon emissions, he said. ‘The timing of what they’re proposing would make it almost impossible—unless you just eliminate a lot of things.’ Manchin has said previously that climate provisions are a big problem for him. ‘I know they have the climate portion in here, and I’m concerned about that,’ Manchin said last week after meeting with President Biden and other Democrats. ‘Because if they’re eliminating fossils, and I’m finding out there’s a lot of language in places they’re eliminating fossils, which is very, very disturbing, because if you’re sticking your head in the sand, and saying that fossil (fuel) has to be eliminated in America, and they want to get rid of it, and thinking that’s going to clean up the global climate, it won’t clean it up all. If anything, it would be worse.’ Perhaps Manchin could spend a weekend in southern Oregon, on the fire lines to get a little whiff of reality.” (Joan McCarter, Daily Kos, July 23, 2021)
Justice Democrats sums up Manchin’s interest in two sentences: “Senator Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat, raises the most money from the fossil fuel industry of any senator. He personally profits from coal. And he’ll decide the fate of President Biden’s ambitious climate plan.” (Justice Democrats, September 20, 2021)
Environment America bemoans the continued use of dirty fossil fuels when cleaner energy sources are becoming readily available: “Right now, we have the technical capacity to power our lives with clean, renewable sources like wind and solar that don’t pollute our air and water or contribute to climate change. But instead, we’re still getting our energy from dirty, dangerous fossil fuels—and our planet is paying the price. Just this month, a pipeline leak quite literally set the surface of the ocean on fire in the Gulf of Mexico. The blaze was eventually extinguished, but it’s a stark reminder that when we drill, we spill.
“The fire in the Gulf certainly looked cataclysmic: a glowing orange eye hundreds of meters wide, spitting and boiling as flames leapt from the waters off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. But this wasn’t the Gulf of Mexico’s worst fossil fuel-related disaster—not by a long shot. That happened 11 years ago when the Deepwater Horizon disaster carpeted the Gulf’s ecosystems with crude oil and killed untold wildlife. We should have learned the perils of offshore drilling then—or in 2018, when it was discovered that an abandoned well in the Gulf had been leaking between 300 and 700 barrels of oil into the ocean every day for 14 years. We believe there’s no reason for us to risk further environmental destruction for a few more drops of oil—especially when, thanks in part to campaigns run by our national network, seven U.S. states have already committed to a 100 percent clean electricity future. And we believe that the country agrees with us: A 2019 survey found that 85 percent of Americans think that offshore drilling shouldn’t be expanded. In 1990, our network won permanent bans on drilling in Florida’s state waters; in 2002 and 2006, we blocked drilling in broader federal waters off Florida, too.” (Wendy Wendlandt, Environment America, July 27, 2021)
Another issue is the number of animal species that are facing extinction. Of course, Trump and the NFP do not care about animal life or preserving endangered species. One particularly sickening fact was exposed by WildEarth Guardians: “In 2020, Wildlife Services, a federal program housed in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, killed over 433,000 native animals—wolves, bears, coyotes, beavers, bobcats, prairie dogs, and countless other species. 433,000. It’s barbaric. To add insult to injury YOUR tax dollars fund the bloodshed. Last year, over $175 million of federal funding went to wildlife killing instead of protecting wildlife, or building roads and schools, or funding national parks and forests. WildEarth Guardians is leading efforts to move from a wildlife ethic that embraces killing and cruelty to one that embraces coexistence, and this includes demanding reforms at Wildlife Services.” (John Horning, WildEarth Guardians, September 26, 2021)
The Juggernaut Project tells us about another threat wildlife is facing: “Wildlife-killing M-44 ‘cyanide bombs’ have no place in the wild. These deadly devices — spring-loaded capsules armed with cyanide spray—indiscriminately kill thousands of animals every year. Luring their victims with a sweet-smelling scent, they are one of the cruelest tools in the war on wildlife, sending their victim into a slow, agonizing death. In 2019, the Trump administration reauthorized the use of cyanide bombs. Left scattered around in the wild, M-44s killed more than 7,500 animals last year alone.” (The Juggernaut Project, September 30, 2021)
Wildearth Guardians tells us of the danger and suffering much of our wildlife faces: “Did you know that in Nevada it’s legal to leave a wild animal in a steel leg-hold trap for up to 96 hours? That’s four days of cruel, barbaric treatment of a mountain lion, coyote, or even a pet dog. It’s absolute agony and terror—unless they die first. Four days trapped and starving, not knowing when or if the excruciating pain will end.” (John Horning, Wildearth Guardians, October 14, 2021)
Endangered Species Coalition adds: “Today in Montana, hunters can sit just feet outside of Yellowstone National Park and gun down as many as ten wolves each–three wolves from the Park have already been killed. Nearly 20 wolves have been killed in Montana in the weeks since its hunt began last month. More will surely follow if the Administration does not act to protect them. Montana and Idaho intend to kill as many as 80 and 90 percent of the wolves in their borders. The recovery of these wolves is a national success story that took years to accomplish. It is one of the region’s greatest conservation achievements. And it is in grave jeopardy. While this is shocking, it is nearly as disturbing that the Biden Administration is choosing not to act. They have the tools to do so–the Endangered Species Act grants the Secretary of Interior the ability to grant emergency protections in just this case. Secretary Haaland and President Biden are all that these wolves have left. If they continue to ignore what is happening in Montana and Idaho, many of these wolves will die violent deaths this winter. Bullets, traps, and snares await them in the absence of action from Biden and Haaland.” (Leda Huta, Endangered Species Coalition, October 15, 2021)
The list of species whose survival is increasingly seeming to be in doubt grows with each passing year. Consider this: “Right now, you and I are killing the last endangered orangutans in Borneo. How? Through the very foods that we eat. Caught between their homes and the booming palm oil industry, orangutans are being burnt to death and starved as the forests where they live are razed to the ground. All this is done so farmers can make room for thousands of miles and miles and miles of oil palm trees—in order to stock our grocery shelves and feed our cravings. Palm oil is in approximately half of all products sold in supermarkets. It’s in everything from cooking oils and margarine, to pizza and ice cream, to even soap. It’s also increasingly being used as a supposedly ‘eco-friendly’ alternative to fossil fuels—but there is nothing eco-friendly about it. In fact, every time a farmer sets fire to the rainforest and underlying peatlands in Borneo, it destroys one of the world’s largest natural carbon sinks, while also murdering some of our closest genetic cousins.” (Care2 Action, October 8, 2021)
We have entered a time in which cruelty and inhumanity have become all too commonplace. Is it a coincidence that this has taken place as the NFP has risen to power? Animals have become targets for unspeakable acts and almost no one seems to know about it and, if they do, seem powerless to act. The United States is far from being the only country allowing animal atrocities to take place. White Coat Waste Project provides some horrifying examples (what follows is not for the squeamish, so feel free to skip this section): “Wuhan is NOT alone. Our recent ;Worldwide Waste’ investigation proved the NIH ships $140M of your tax money to over 350 foreign animal labs…even adversaries like Iran, China, and Russia. But one brand new bill—the Accountability in Foreign Animal Research Act (AFAR)—would STOP this!
“RIGHT NOW, 31 labs in China and Russia alone have permission to take your money for their animal experiments—whether you like it or not!
*Maternal deprivation: 3-day-old piglets are ripped away from their moms, and fed ground up intestines from other baby pigs as a slurry.
*Chopped up: Monkeys are SLAUGHTERED after samples of their inner thigh were minced and infected with herpes.
*Beagle poisoning: Sweet puppies are intentionally infected with COVID and carelessly killed to harvest their organs.
“Russian and Chinese animal labs are among the WORST in the world. Victims often get little to no pain relief or anesthesia…they feel every single stab, slice, shock, and burn!” (Amanda Nieves White Coat Waste Project, October 22, 2021)
While Dr. Anthony Fauci is leading the fight against COVID-19, White Coat Waste Project shows a side of him that is far less favorable: “Fauci’s own NIH department wasted your money on many dog experiments, and locked beagle puppies in cages so biting sand flies could eat them alive…Dr Anthony Fauci has been condemned for using taxpayers’ money to fund animal experiments, including one which saw beagles trapped in cages so flies could eat them, and another where they were ‘debarked’ before being pumped with drugs and killed. One of the most disturbing incidents funded by Fauci’s National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Diseases involved $375,000 given to a Tunisian research lab. There, puppies had their heads held in cages, before being left for sand flies to eat them alive for research purposes. Distressing snaps showed the pups with their heads kept inside the muslin-type cages filled with the hungry insects.
“Another procedure—which the NIH funded to the tune of $1.8m—saw 44 beagle puppies undergo a ‘cordectomy,’ which saw their vocal cords cut to stop them barking. That experiment, which took place in Menlo Park, California, saw the dogs then pumped full of drugs, before being killed and dissected. A third, $425,000 set of taxpayer funded tests saw beagles howl in pain while being experimented on in Georgia. In response, a group of 24 lawmakers, led by Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), are now demanding Fauci provide answers about the experiments they believe to be ‘cruel’ and a ‘reprehensible misuse of taxpayer funds.”’ (Devin Murphy, White Coat Waste Project, October 25, 2021)
A week later, the project elaborated on the above article: “…our investigators just uncovered Fauci’s FOURTH beagle lab…and it’s no wonder he didn’t want you to find out about it:
*SUFFER IN SILENCE: Fauci’s NIH pays an extra fee to debark its victims, ‘insisting that the practice was common in scientific settings’ to keep the noise down while experimenters torture them.
*POISONED: Then, the poison is shoved down their throats or injected in their veins… over, and over, and over again.
*NO SURVIVORS: After several weeks, Fauci’s white coats slaughter each and every puppy. Some are only 6 months old
*YOUR BILL: $1.69 MILLION in taxes!” (Tanner Wilson, White Coat Waste Project, November 1, 2021)
The article closes: “Our campaign to end these experiments is under MASSIVE ATTACK. Our ads are being censored by Google, and Dr. Fauci’s cronies are calling our efforts ‘attacks on science.’ This isn’t science at all; it’s nothing more than torture and cruelty.
And it’s not just beagles who are suffering in these labs. Over 3,500 Rhesus monkeys live on Fauci’s “Monkey Island,” which is located just off the coast of South Carolina. From here, they are shipped to animal labs where they are subjected to torturous procedures without any kind of anesthesia or pain relief. They are taken from their mother, infected with Ebola and other viruses, denied water and become so stressed that they often pull out their own hair. The Ebola virus causes these poor animals to bleed internally, then bleed out of every body orifice prior to dying in excruciating agony. The tax bill Americans are forced to pay for these horrors? $13.5 million.
But even without these unspeakable acts, animal species are today threatened as never before in recorded history.
Dirty fossil fuels are a big reason so many species are in danger. Environment America tells us: “Congress opened up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas development in 2017, putting the incredible biodiversity there at risk. That includes endangered polar bears and the 200,000-strong Porcupine caribou herd upon which the indigenous Gwich’in tribe relies for survival. The Arctic is warming three times faster than anywhere else on the planet—we can’t afford to drill there. (Wendy Wendlandt, Environment America, October 16, 2021)
I covered the endangered right whales in an earlier article. Here is a brief update from Environmental Action: “For millennia, Right whales have patrolled the North Atlantic. Along the coast of North America, these giants of the sea would migrate from Florida to New England every year, giving birth in the warm southern shallows during the winter and nursing their young in the north every spring and summer.
“Then came the humans. European colonists in North America hunted these whales—the ‘right’ whales for hunting since they swam so close to the surface—for their blubber, which was turned into oil. By the 1890s, they were nearly driven to extinction. They stopped being hunted in the early 20th century—but they haven’t stopped dying. Only about 350 whales remain in existence today.
“Millions of commercial fishing lines connecting buoys at the surface to lobster pots on the ocean floor have turned the migratory path they’ve taken for millennia into a dangerous trek. More than half of all deaths today occur because of these entanglements—which can force the whale to drag as much as two and a half tons’ worth of equipment.
“Time is not on the whales’ side. Some scientists say that these whales could become functionally extinct in the next 25 years if nothing changes. Birth rates alone won’t save them. North Atlantic Right whales reproduce very slowly, giving birth to one calf every three to five years. To save the whales, we need to slow—or stop—their death rate. The Biden administration has announced plans that would almost entirely eliminate the danger of entanglement—but they won’t be fully implemented until 2030.” (Environmental Action, October 18, 2021)
The NFP’s hatred of the Endangered Species act has had devastating consequences for numerous animals. Environment America tells us of the struggle of monarch butterflies: “there are fewer than 2,000 western monarch butterflies still alive. The western monarch population has collapsed by 99%, and eastern monarchs aren’t in much better shape. There’s no time to lose, and we won’t stand by while they flutter over the brink of extinction.” (Wendy Wendlandt, Environment America, September 30, 2021)
HOW THE NEWS MEDIA HAS FAILED US
The news media in the United States is more responsible for our current state of affairs than any one single person or organization. This will no doubt come as a shock to most readers but, when the facts are objectively analyzed, there is no other conclusion to arrive at.
The main point here should be obvious to anyone who has read this far: The so-called mainstream media has, for decades, favored the right wing at the expense of everyone else. This trend has only escalated in the time of Trump and now Biden. Win Without War nails it right on the head: “The war machine is strong and thriving—we’re seeing record profits and lobbying power in DC for weapons manufacturers like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and General Dynamics. We’ve recently seen anti-war voices being left out of conversations in the press, in favor of warmongers like John Bolton and even mercenaries like Erik Prince…Twenty years of endless wars have been catastrophic. But it’s important to remember that despite the incredible levels of harm, these wars are a symptom of a system working exactly as it was designed to.
“If you had bet on war on September 18, 2001—the day President George W. Bush signed the first congressional war authorization of the post 9/11 era, your profits would be nearly tenfold. The pro-war machine has used those profits to buy even more lobbyists and influence to try and push for even more war.” (Win Without War, September 9, 2021)
If one watches the mainstream news media (as opposed to right wing fake news agencies like Fox News), one would think that there are still two legitimate political parties in this country, although they decidedly favor the NFP. Even though the NFP constantly screams about how the supposedly “liberal” media is out to destroy them, the facts tell a very different story. Simply put, the number of “liberal” media outlets are few and far between.
The corporate media, according to Daily Kos: “allows Americans to, in essence, choose their own news conveniently aligned with their prejudices and preconceptions is also hugely responsible. (Dartagnan, Daily Kos, July 5, 2021) This is light years removed from the halcyon days of objective news reporting.
This lengthy article continues: “We now see this distortion of our public discourse intruding, sometimes violently, on established norms of decency and civility; and we see its corrosive effect in our country’s institutions, as the gears of our government grind to a standstill under the onslaught of an endless barrage of polarizing propaganda, nearly all of it emanating from the right, chiefly by Fox News, with results to match. The fact that this stream of inflammatory right-wing fiction now motivates vast numbers of Americans to countenance violence against their fellow citizens ought to make it the most pressing issue of our time, especially since its tentacles have now invaded the most critical aspect of American society: our aspirations as a fair and functioning democracy. Climate change may be a far more over-arching, existential threat but climate change can only be combated by a citizenry that resolves to cooperate in fighting it. It can’t be effectively addressed by a society riven by the threat of propaganda-fueled violence and stuck in endless cycles of induced polarization.
“The Americans who subscribe to this right-wing tripe and cast their votes based on it have already demonstrated they’re willing to believe a criminally incompetent person should again be placed at the pinnacle of American power, despite his lethal litany of failures. They’ve shown themselves willing to believe preposterous, self-contradictory statements about the 2020 election, not because those lies have any logical grounding but simply because they fit in with their own comfortable preconceptions. Their elected representatives have shown themselves not only willing but eager to use these lies to disenfranchise as many Americans as possible in their efforts to retain power. Worse, they have the wholehearted support of their constituents in doing so.
“We see these same propagandized individuals now harassing and threatening election officials, school boards, teachers, and their own representatives in Congress, robotically mouthing pure propaganda as if it had some relationship to truth. And we see the people they vote for—who presumably know better—parroting these lies as well to achieve their policy goals. This slavish fealty to propaganda now incorporates the threat of outright violence. Jan. 6 was the most extreme example of this to date, but the right’s embrace of violent rhetoric to further its propaganda-fueled grievances is now a routine feature of our politics, having been established as acceptable by Donald Trump from the early days of his 2016 campaign. Through constant repetition and by example, threatening violence is now viewed as a legitimate means for those on the right to achieve what they want. And almost all of that violence, implicit or explicit, is directed at people of color, Democrats, and liberals.”
Newsman Bill Moyers has been a progressive voice in American journalism since the Kennedy years. His comments on today’s media hit the nail right on the head: “Legendary broadcast journalist Bill Moyers has said: ‘We’ve got to get alternative content out there to people, or this country’s going to die of too many lies.’ Moyers was asked what the corporate media means for our democracy: ‘It means that virtually everything the average person sees or hears, outside of her own personal communications, is determined by the interests of private, unaccountable executives and investors whose primary goal is increasing profits and raising the share prices. More insidiously, this small group of elites determines what ordinary people do not see or hear. In-depth coverage of anything, let alone the problems real people face day-to-day, is as scarce as sex, violence, and voyeurism are pervasive.
“So if we need to know what is happening, and Big Media won’t tell us; if we need to know why it matters, and Big Media won’t tell us; if we need to know what to do about it, and Big Media won’t tell us; it’s clear what we have to do. We have to tell the story ourselves.’” (Craig Brown, Common Dreams, December 28, 2021)
Violence, or the threat of violence, is at the heart of the NFP’s effort to gain complete control over everyone in the country. CNBC provides one of countless examples: “A North Carolina man surrendered Thursday afternoon to police, hours after telling them he had a bomb in his truck parked outside the Library of Congress on Capitol Hill. That threat by the suspect, Floyd Ray Roseberry, led to the evacuation of the library, the Supreme Court, the Cannon House Office Building and the offices of the Republican National Committee.” (Dan Mangan, CNBC, August 19, 2021) And of course Roseberry, true to the NFP script, is a devout Christian: “I have cleared my conscience with God.”
The right-wing corporate media, rather than exposing the danger the NFP poses to democracy, is instead stoking the flames for a complete transformation of the United States from a democracy to a fundamentalist Christian Fourth Reich. They act as if what is happening today is nothing more than mere differences of opinion. The above article continues: “They’ve found through careful trial and error, by pushing the boundaries at every opportunity, that they can get away with advocating violence, if they simply couch it in legally defensible language. But the import of what they say is not lost on their audience. At this point, all it takes is a meme, a click or two of carefully generated outrage, and a designated target, and they have a whole population that has shown itself willing to nod vigorously in approval, primed and ready to respond.
“But it isn’t only the constant ‘delegitimizing’ of liberals and Democrats through Fox News and right-wing social media that threatens to evoke that violent response. While dehumanizing rhetoric has historically been blamed for leading to murderous, even genocidal impulses—in the Third Reich and Rwanda, for example—among populations targeted by such media, another equally, and possibly more important element is simple peer pressure.
“Aliza Luft, an assistant professor of sociology at UCLA, points out that although the popular perception of genocidal actions committed by private citizens typically attributes such actions to media influence and political demagoguery, what really occurred in Nazi Germany (and much later, for example, in Rwanda) was a combination of such rhetoric with the overwhelming desire to be accepted by one’s social peers. She cites the work of historian Christopher Browning, who in 2018 cannily predicted how the advent of a conservative ‘information bubble’ would play out during the Trump administration as a result of the prevalence and dominance of Fox News. In an essay titled: ‘The Suffocation of Democracy’ for the New York Review of Books, Browning convincingly compares the relative functions of the Nazis’ Ministry of People’s Enlightenment and Propaganda, instituted by Josef Goebbels, to the function and tactics of Fox News, Trump’s primary media mouthpiece during his administration.
“In an article written for the Social Science Research Council, titled: ‘Dehumanization and the Normalization of Violence: It’s not what you Think’ Luft notes that Browning’s and others’ prior work in examining the motivations of so-called ‘ordinary’ Germans in perpetrating atrocities toward Jews and other targeted minorities in the Nazi state underscored the key role that social pressure toward conformity played in prompting what ultimately turned out to be genocide: ‘For example, scholarship on the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, Cambodia, and other conflicts identify in-group norms and peer pressure as powerful influences on individuals’ decisions to kill. In a now-classic example, Christopher Browning’s analysis of the Nazi Paramilitary Order Police finds that middle-aged family men, responsible for murdering at least 83,000 Jews in Poland, killed more often because of peer pressure and a sense of obedience to authority than any profound commitment to anti-Semitism. Similarly, Scott Straus’s study of civilian participation in the Rwandan genocide finds that individuals’ decisions to kill were often the result of ‘face-to-face mobilization: individuals, leaders, or groups directly solicited…at commercial centers, on roads and pathways, or at their homes.’ Yet other work finds that inequality channels participation in violence through greed or grievance, and also that people with less economic capital have fewer opportunities to resist extremists’ coercion.’ Luft’s point is that it’s not simply propaganda saturation, but also the role of these ‘hierarchical pressures’ that cannot be discounted in examining why so many people respond to propaganda the way they do.
“Which brings me back to my high school reunion.
“First, I have a pretty good guess why most of these people voted for Trump in 2016, and why most if not all of them voted for him in 2020. Racism is certainly a factor, but I suspect for many of them their reasons had less to do with racism than abortion. Republicans otherwise possessed of their senses simply made the determination that no matter how bad Trump was as a human being—and many of them are perfectly aware of how awful he was—nothing outweighed his hard-line position against a woman’s right to choose. It didn’t matter at all that Trump’s attitude toward abortion was completely opportunistic and that in reality he couldn’t have cared less about the issue.
“Beyond that, though, there is the huge element of peer pressure that comes from living in a relatively conservative area. Their social relationships are now wedded to toeing this line, and a break from that line risks being cast out of the club. Many of the men in particular are socially conditioned by friends and family alike into believing that voting for a Democrat is somehow ‘unmanly.’ None of these sentiments are particularly novel for Republicans; it’s simply how their thought processes work. And if that was all that was going on, I could chalk up our differences to politics, chug a few beers with them, and talk about other things.
“But at this point, for me anyway, their rationale for voting the way they do is just a secondary issue. It’s the continued support for a transparent lie to try to negate the fact that their guy lost, that their viewpoint didn’t prevail—and the fact that they’re willing to ratify the Republican Party’s efforts to undermine our democratic institutions in furtherance of that lie—that effectively overshadows any respect, regard, or interest I have in exploring our so-called commonality. Whether that’s because they were too invested in whatever their pet issue was, whether it was their inability to resist the propaganda, in the end it makes little difference, because I’m not seeing any change of heart. In fact, it seems to be getting worse.
“The idea that the election was ‘stolen’ is not simply an absurdity—it’s an insult to all the people who worked to get Joe Biden elected, those who worked the polls and the subsequent ballot counts and challenges. It’s an insult to everyone I know who voted for the Biden/Harris ticket. And it’s not only an insult, it’s an attempt to repudiate and erase the legitimacy of our vote, and the reasons that we voted the way we did. Just like the voter suppression laws they champion, it disregards us as human beings. That’s what all this ‘voter fraud’ and ‘stolen election’ nonsense ultimately amounts to, even if many Republicans don’t consciously perceive it that way.
“On top of that, it’s stupid and dangerous. Their representatives—the people many of these high school friends voted for—are literally taking the steps to dismantle our democracy, using this violent propaganda and rhetoric as cover. Do I think that my old classmates will suddenly go full-on ballistic and start hunting down or rounding up Democrats door-to-door, like Rwanda? No. There are still enough social, legal, and professional cues and consequences in place that would make that unlikely. But the easy willingness of many of them thus far to eagerly buy into these violence-tinged narratives is disturbing enough to me that I’m not exactly inspired to spend time with them, even if it’s just to socialize for a couple of hours. One of the most striking features of this post-election time period has been an utter silence among ordinary Republican voters as their representatives in state legislatures methodically proceed to disenfranchise their fellow Americans. There has been zero outcry among these people, zero protest, zero condemnation of these efforts. Only silence. At some point you realize that this silence is nothing but complicity. They’re silent because they approve of it.
“And then you wonder: if they’re silent about this, what else will they be silent about?”
This astute article points out some very frightening truths about the New Fascist Party, most notably the complete apathy of so many of the people who vote right-wing. It shows that extremism can always be made agreeable to the masses if the media is willing to lie and compromise its stated principles. One need only ask: Would January 6, 2021 have occurred if the media had done its job? Would Donald Trump ever have become president if the media and the Democratic party had done what they should have done and pointed out Russia’s illegal interference in the 2016 election?
The media also presents NFP disinformation as legitimate news. UltraViolet tells us that only twelve individuals—named the Disinfo Dozen—are responsible for the lies about COVID-19 that are coming to be believed as literal truth by more and more Americans. These twelve people are, according to UltraViolet, responsible for about sixty-five percent of the nonsense being presented on social media. Their article on July 7 discusses this: “While the COVID-19 pandemic has taken the lives of millions of people—especially women, girls, poor people, and Black, Indigenous, and people of color—around the globe, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have allowed disinformation and fake science to thrive. Why? Because it’s good for the corporate bottom line. Tech mega-corporations allow the Disinfo Dozen to spread inaccurate and even dangerous content because it goes viral due to the platforms’ biased algorithms, which sensationalize content and prioritize clicks and engagement rather than the truth. And as disinformation spreads, Silicon Valley rakes in the money. Anti-vaccine ‘activists,’ including the Disinfo Dozen, reach more than 62 million followers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, bringing in upwards of $1.1 billion in annual revenue for the social media giants.” (UltraViolet, July 7, 2021)
Even though the virus has killed nearly a million Americans, social media outlets continue to give extremists the platforms they need to spread their dangerous nonsense.
A commentator named Jason Stanley discusses one aspect of Fox News’ approach: “One thing that is extraordinary to me is how Fox News goes from one allegedly civilization ending threat to the next, as if the last one just disappeared. It’s immigration and caravans, then it’s critical race theory. Each the gravest threat imaginable, until it gets replaced.”
Facebook continues to allow misinformation and downright lies to be passed off as “truth.” As MoveOn reports: “Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow, has made a name for himself—and big profits—by peddling dangerous far-right conspiracies and fervently pushing Trump’s Big Lie that the election was stolen. All the while, he’s been pumping up MyPillow sales by spending millions advertising his products on Facebook. As one of the most influential advertising platforms, Facebook is aiding and abetting Lindell’s dangerous lies that threaten our democratic freedoms and profiting off them through the ad revenue they earn.
“Earlier this year, after more than 275,000 MoveOn members signed a petition, Costco announced that it was booting MyPillow products from all of its stores…Lindell is peddling many of the same, dangerous lies that forced Facebook to remove Trump from the platform. His lies are so bad that other major retailers like Kohl’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Wayfair stopped selling MyPillow products. But Lindell has doubled down on his aggressive lies and is now holding rallies at which he spouts the QAnon fiction that Trump will somehow be reinstated as president. Department of Homeland Security officials have told lawmakers that they expect this conspiracy theory to inflame the threat of extremist violence, just like the lies that Trump and Lindell spread earlier helped fuel the racist violence of January 6. Yet Facebook is still making huge amounts of money off MyPillow, which has increased its online advertising as a result of being kicked out of retail stores. (MoveOn, August 3, 2021)
Note the religious connection between Trumpism and Christianity: With Christianity, true believers insist that their imaginary savior is “coming soon” (two thousand years after the writing of the New Testament), while Trumpists hold on to the fantasy that their savior will be re-instated as president. Neither will be dissuaded from their fantasies by “mere” logic.
Public Citizen tells us more about Facebook’s dangerous policies: “Facebook ‘has repeatedly misled the public.’ That’s according to a whistleblower—Frances Haugen—who testified before Congress TODAY following her release of thousands of internal company documents and a series of damning reports about Facebook in The Wall Street Journal.
“Thanks to Haugen, we are all learning even more about long-suspected, real-world consequences of deliberate choices Facebook has made in its seemingly unquenchable thirst for profits. Haugen’s testimony and the documents she made public show that the company knows its products (which include Instagram and WhatsApp along with Facebook itself):
- Foment anti-democratic and authoritarian movements.
- Stoke ethnic violence.
- Facilitate human trafficking.
- Worsen body image issues among young women.
Again and again, however, Facebook has declined to take steps it knows could counteract those problems—out of fear that doing so would impede profits—while simultaneously keeping secret vital information that would enable policymakers to act. As Haugen noted during her congressional testimony today, ‘The company’s leadership keeps vital information from the public, the U.S. government, its shareholders, and governments around the world.’ (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, October 5, 2021)
MoveOn adds: “A new report lays out the case for criminal investigations into Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, and other Facebook executives.
Facebook executives, including Zuckerberg and Sandberg, have privately discussed plans to deceive investors, regulators, and clients in building their empire. Documents from two investor lawsuits provide ‘smoking gun’ evidence that Facebook leaders seem to have knowingly, intentionally, and chronically violated the law. These scandalous revelations are also supported in documents released by the whistleblower Frances Haugen. Facebook’s long-standing track record of unethical and potentially illegal behavior deserves criminal investigation. Because no one, no matter how powerful, is above the law…Millions of advertisers took Facebook at its word when making decisions about how to spend money—and we now have a trove of evidence suggesting Facebook knowingly lied to win that business…All of us live in a world shaped disproportionately by Facebook—a company that once seemed like a modern success story but which today appears built on flagrant and pervasive criminal activity.” (Sarah Miller, MoveOn, November 4, 2021)
Google is another company that seems to have no problem whatever in giving a platform to the most right-wing and racist extremists in the country. Other 98 reports: “A report from the New York Times found that Google Podcasts hosts podcasts hosted by white supremacists, dangerous conspiracy theorists, and Nazis. We’re talking over two dozen podcasts from white supremacists and pro-Nazi groups. And these podcasts aren’t available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher. Google is choosing not to act—and it’s unacceptable. Giving white supremacy and hate a platform has real life consequences.” (John Sellers, Other 98), July 10, 2021)
LeftNet tells us what needs to be done with Facebook and other monolithic entities that peddle lies and misinformation: “A whistleblower has just revealed revealed what many of us have known: Facebook executives prioritize profit over public good—whether the social network’s devastating impact supports genocides, leads to depression among teenagers, induces violence against people of color, spreads disinformation about COVID-19, or incites attacks against our democracy. Then when Facebook’s service was interrupted for hours, it also took down Instagram and WhatsApp, which is a major network of communication in many developing nations—showing again how the concentration of power in one corporation can have truly crippling impact on communities and the economy. These two stories—and so many others of the abuse enabled by Facebook against vulnerable communities, small businesses, and democracy itself—all point to one conclusion: For the public good, it’s time to break up Facebook.
“In the past, the U.S. government has acted to break up corporations that had grown too big and whose monopolistic power distorted the free market or harmed consumers. From transit to telecomm, breaking up concentrated corporate power is a tried-and-true American tradition. Facebook has reached that level. Its reach gives it the power to distort public discourse. Its concentration of platforms suppresses competition. Its addictive nature harms vulnerable users. It allows for the vast and rapid promulgation of disinformation, hate speech, and incitement to violence. It is functioning as an essential utility in many countries without any of the public oversight and accountability. And it does it all while turning our private information into unprecedented profits for its unaccountable executives.
“It’s not enough for Facebook to pledge to reform. It’s the role and responsibility of the government—of Congress, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Department of Justice—to use their power to break up Facebook, and to legislate and regulate in defense of our democracy, safety and privacy.” (MoveOn, via LeftNet, October 14, 2021)
Kairos gives us even more of an indictment of Facebook: “Facebook had a mess of a day. New reports from thousands of leaked documents revealed:
- CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s claims directly contradict internal research at Facebook, including his congressional testimony. For example, Zuckerberg has claimed that Facebook removes about 94% of hate speech, but in reality they were removing around 5% of hate speech.
- Facebook rolled back dozens of measures aimed at safeguarding U.S. users in the lead up to the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol, allowing for insurrectionists to organize on the platform.
- Despite extensive research showing that hate speech and misinformation are dramatically worse on the platform in non-English-speaking countries, Facebook devoted only 16 percent of it’s resources targeted towards combating misinformation outside of the US.
- Facebook consistently incentivizes engagement over safety, driving users to dangerous conspiracy theories like QAnon in order to keep them engaged.
“We already know and have experienced how Facebook has operated
without any meaningful oversight and, as a result, has continued to be a
catalyst for hate and violence both domestically and abroad.(Jelani Drew,
Kairos, October 26, 2021)
Fox News is not a legitimate news station at all; they themselves admit it, saying they are “entertainment.” This should be obvious to anyone with any understanding of what objective news reporting actually is. There have been numerous attempts to call them to task for their constant stream of lies and hate but, as Daily Kos points out, Fox has so far been able to thwart these efforts: “Fox News is walking a thin line as it serves up lies like red meat to their rabid viewers. Just how thin? The network has taken steps to stymie any legal troubles: 1) Fox News’ most popular TV personality, Tucker Carlson, claims, with absolutely no evidence that the NSA has been monitoring his electronic communications. Meanwhile, to Carlson’s disappointment, the network executives have refused to have his back and put out any sort of statement on the claims. 2) Fox News backed Trump and his lies about voter fraud during the 2020 election. They even pushed conspiracy theories about voting machine irregularities, only to have to walk those back to avoid lawsuits. The network continues to try to protect itself from any sort of legal action, even going so far as to add disclaimers to Trump’s aired speeches. 3) Even though Fox News has produced a PSA promoting COVID-19 vaccinations, it doesn’t stop many of its television personalities from pushing more and more harmful conspiracy theories. Again, Tucker Carlson has said that young people ‘shouldn’t get the shot’ because it is, he falsely claimed, more dangerous than COVID-19 while others on the network have compared vaccine requirements to an apartheid. One of the worst things about all of Fox News’ lies and falsehoods, which have cost the network dozens of advertisers over the years, is that it still has the highest cable news network in the country. Not just that, Fox News crushed the competition; CNN saw a 68% drop in viewership in the second quarter of this year. Worst of all, Tucker Carlson’s primetime show is consistently the top rated show.” (Amanda McKay, Daily Kos, July 14, 2021)
Daily Beast tells us that there is nothing Carlson won’t resort to in defending the indefensible: “Fox News host Tucker Carlson took his overt downplaying of the Capitol insurrection to a new low on Tuesday night, literally laughing at an officer who had described the vicious beating he suffered that day and the psychological trauma that followed in congressional testimony. Carlson, who has routinely dismissed the violence that occurred during the deadly riot as nothing more than a ‘political protest that got out of hand,’ took aim at the Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone and the three Capitol police officers who emotionally testified about the brutality they witnessed at Tuesday’s hearing before the Jan. 6 House Select Committee…Carlson went on to insist that the mob trying to prevent President Joe Biden’s election from being certified was nothing more than protesters having ‘casual conversations’ in the Capitol, mockingly adding for the Capitol police ‘this was very much like 9/11.’” (Justin Baragona, Daily Beast, July 27, 2021)
MoveOn tells us more about Carlson: “Call me old-fashioned, but I think people in public life need to be held accountable for the damage they’re doing to our country. So today, I’m calling out the most dangerous demagogue since Donald Trump. His name: Tucker Carlson.
“On his Fox News show, Carlson has been peddling an outrageous white supremacist conspiracy called ‘white replacement theory.’ It’s a decades-old piece of neo-Nazi trash that claims there is a liberal plot to reduce the white population and replace them with what Tucker has called ‘obedient people from faraway countries.’ This filth is dangerous—very dangerous. Every single weeknight, more than 3 million people tune in to watch Tucker Carlson on Fox News. It’s the largest audience of any show on cable news. And on Facebook, newly released internal documents show that to increase their profits the company is intentionally pushing out this violent neo-Nazi propaganda to millions of people.
“This latest conspiracy coming out of Tucker’s mouth isn’t just vile, racist, Islamophobic, antisemitic, and xenophobic. It’s deadly. In 2019, a gunman inspired by ‘white replacement theory’ drove 600 miles to a Walmart in El Paso, TX, a city along the U.S.-Mexico border, where he murdered 23 people, mostly of Latino descent. According to a manifesto the gunman posted online just before committing the mass shooting, the attack was a ‘response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.’
“And in 2018, another gunman inspired by ‘white replacement theory’ killed 11 people at a synagogue in Pennsylvania. An investigation revealed that the gunman believed Jewish humanitarian aid groups were bringing Central American migrants to the United States in order to ‘kill’ the ‘white race.’
“It’s not just Tucker Carlson who is spreading this deadly conspiracy theory. Current and former elected Republicans, including Matt Gaetz and Donald Trump, have also endorsed the theory—and thousands more right-wing social media accounts are spreading it far and wide online.” (Robert Reich, MoveOn, October 7, 2021)
Fox ignores any facts that contradict the dangerous fiction they are promoting. You will never hear them discuss the fact that Trump called his attorney general almost every day to push his claims about election fraud and that both William Barr (who resigned in December, 2020) and his successor Jeffrey Rosen found no basis in Trump’s rantings. Surely this is newsworthy, but Fox chose to ignore it. So much for journalistic integrity.
To see what Fox is really about, consider how three different news outlets covered the first day of the investigation, as reported by a reader of Daily Kos: “CNN: ‘Capitol police officers testified about the brutal attack on our Capitol by insurrectionists invited by Donald Trump.’ MSBC: ‘Capitol police officers testified about the brutal attack on our Capitol by insurrectionists invited by Donald Trump.’ Fox News: ‘Capitol police attacked peaceful tourists at the Capitol.’”
One can only surmise that Fox thinks no one in the country was actually watching the insurrection as it developed. Fox News is a joke. Anyone taking them seriously is in serious need of a reality check. Where are the lawsuits against these crackpots? Why are they allowed to continue spouting their lies to an increasingly gullible public?
With all those people watching the network, you would think there would be more lawsuits, but alas, the network’s lawyers have little respect for the audience, saying; the “‘general tenor’ of the show should then inform a viewer that [Carlson] is not ‘stating actual facts’ about the topics he discusses and is instead engaging in ‘exaggeration’ and ‘non-literal commentary.'” In other words, no reasonable person would believe the words that come out of Tucker Carlson’s mouth.
Daily Kos asks a very significant question: “Why is Tucker Carlson still on the air? Honestly, a better question might be “Why is Tucker Carlson not in jail?” On Friday night, Carlson was back on Fox News to welcome COVID-19-‘truther’ Alex Barenson to his program. Together, the two said that: ‘masks are useless’ and nothing more than a symbol that someone is obedient to the government, and claimed that mask mandates have no intention other than to make people scared, and are doing ‘psychological damage.’ They then moved on to say that the vaccines are ‘declining in effectiveness very quickly,’ and that the truth about vaccines was being blocked by ‘tremendous financial pressure.’
“Decades ago, the Supreme Court determined that the United States should live with a very expansive view of the First Amendment’s promises of free speech; in fact, that view has continually expanded. Until the 20th century, the primary test was of ‘bad tendency’; that is, speech could be outlawed if it could be seen as causing harm to the public welfare. Then, for most of the last century, the test was ‘clear and present danger,’ meaning that speech didn’t have to just be something that was considered a threat, but an imminent and specific threat. That requirement was made even sharper after 1969 when a series of decisions moved the stakes to a requirement that speech be designed to generate ‘imminent lawless action.’ Under that requirement, speech is not protected only if it is intended to create an incident that is both ‘imminent and likely.’
“That expansion of First Amendment rights has been a good thing, in part because it has protected the speech of those arguing for civil rights and those protesting war. But it’s also been used for bad purposes, to protect speech designed to create schisms in the nation and to build up racist hatred. However, even the most extreme interpretation of the First Amendment should not protect the acts in which Carlson is currently engaged. His words are, by any standard, causing harm to the public welfare, generating a clear and present danger, and creating an imminent threat to the very lives of Americans. Whether or not Carlson could be successfully prosecuted is an open question. Whether he should be on the air is not.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, July 17, 2021)
Tucker Carlson is far from being the only extremist on Fox. Consider what Jesse Watters had to say about Dr. Fauci: “…Watters, a longtime conservative FOX News personality and the current co-host of The Five, encouraged attendees to confront President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor if they see him in public. ‘The kill shot, with an ambush—deadly, ’cause he doesn’t see it coming. This is when you say, ‘Dr. Fauci, you funded risky research at a sloppy Chinese lab, the same lab that sprung this pandemic on the world. You know why people don’t trust you, don’t you?’ Boom, he is dead! He is dead! He’s done!’ Watters told the crowd, referencing some inane conspiracy that the virus was ‘engineered’ by a lab funded by Fauci.
“Watters told event-goers to ‘be respectful’ before ambushing Fauci, urging them to record any confrontations and send the footage to FOX or other leading right-wing outlets.
“‘That just is such a reflection of the craziness that goes on in society,’ Fauci said. ‘And he’s gonna go, very likely, unaccountable…I mean whatever network he’s on is not going to do anything. I mean that’s crazy, the guy should be fired on the spot.’” (Rebekah Sager, Daily Kos, December 21, 2021)
This is what our society has become. A television personality can call for the murder of a Federal official and he is not only not fired, he isn’t even reprimanded. Make no mistake about it: Fox News is a terrorist organization.
As awful as Fox News is, the rest of the mainstream media, which is supposed to be responsibly and objectively presenting the facts, is still playing footsies with Donald Trump and the NFP. In righteous indignation, Daily Kos reports: “Sorry—am I missing something? Did we or did we not all learn last Friday that the previous president of the United States of America, in his last weeks in office, tried to strong-arm the Justice Department to falsely declare that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent, and even threatened to fire the acting attorney general if he didn’t?! Didn’t we read that a sitting president of the world’s greatest democracy told the nation’s top law enforcement official: ‘Just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the [Republican] Congressmen’?
“Does that ring a bell? I seem to recall something along those lines, and I have a few questions:
- Why isn’t this the most outrageous act of political corruption in American history? I’m old enough to have lived through Watergate; isn’t this orders of magnitude beyond Nixonian corruption?
- Why didn’t every newspaper and news website in America display that headline in 60-point type? Why, instead, did the nation’s two newspapers of political record, The New York Times and Washington Post, give the story only mid-level importance on their front pages, outweighed by the Olympics and infrastructure negotiations? And why, by that evening, was the story not even visible without scrolling down a page or two?
- Why haven’t we seen a single follow-up story from any news source in America, and, apparently, only this one op-ed by Robert Reich in The Guardian (a British paper)? No one thinks it’s worth more reporting? No one wants to get responses from Democratic leaders, constitutional scholars, or historians? No editorial board has anything to say about a U.S. president conspiring to end democracy as we know it in America? No other pundit wants to opine about the greatest act of political treachery in our nation’s history?
- And where, in God’s name, are the Democrats? Why (to my knowledge) haven’t we heard a single word from any Democratic leader? A U.S. president commits actual, genuine sedition and no Democrat has anything to say? Really?
- Forget, for a moment, the moral outrage; on a purely crass political level, why aren’t Democratic leaders pressing the advantage on this?
- Why haven’t they called a mass press conference to demand Republican leaders renounce their spiritual overlord for his monumental betrayal of America?
- Why hasn’t every Democratic member of Congress written angry op-eds to their hometown newspapers decrying this unspeakable outrage?
- Where is the Democratic Party’s message machine? (I know. Don’t get me started.) They can’t even issue a DNC press release? Not even a f&%@ing tweet from their (strictly aspirational) ‘War Room’?
- Is it some kind of strategy? Is it because they’re at a delicate stage of the infrastructure deal and everyone’s afraid to piss off Republicans right now? Are we in a new era of bipartisanship and we just don’t do that anymore?
- Is America’s bizarre national disinterest just outrage fatigue?
- r because it’s just one more thing—just one of a million ways the sociopathic POS tried to ratfu&$ America and subvert our democratic way of life? Yeah, the guy tried to get the Justice Department to help him overthrow a free and fair election—what else is new?
- Is it because he’s not president anymore, so, really, who cares?
- Is it because the House Oversight Committee will probably hold a hearing or something on this, so let’s just wait a few weeks?
- Or because it happened on a Friday and this is, well, Tuesday, and haven’t I heard about the relentless 24-hour news cycle?
- The silence is stupefying. For most of my career I’ve worked in magazine and newspaper journalism. I think I have some sense of news value. Why do I seem to be alone in thinking that a U.S. president trying to enlist an attorney general in a seditious conspiracy to destroy American democracy is more than a one-day news story?
- WTF? WTGDF? Am I making way too much of this? Am I just being a hysterical liberal snowflake?
- Have I mentioned yet that this is THE GREATEST POLITICAL CORRUPTION SCANDAL IN AMERICAN HISTORY?
- What am I not getting? Somebody, please—tell me.” (Matthew Smith, Daily Kos, August 3, 2021)
While there is no single cause of the rise of right-wing terrorism, there are
numerous contributing factors. Daily Kos opines: “They are the new faces
of American terrorism. Floyd Ray Rosenberry and Joe Stack both grew up
in an America before the neoliberal austerity and tax-cut policies of
Reaganism gutted our country. They both mourned the loss of the middle-
class prosperity of that time in America and looked to rightwing
commentary to make sense of it all. They then both turned to terrorism.
“Rosenberry—the guy who drove his truck into Washington, DC yesterday and threatened to blow up part of the city—complained in his live Facebook feed that he was there in part because he and his wife were being screwed by America’s unique for-profit health insurance industry while healthcare and jobs were being diverted from good white Americans like him to dark-skinned ‘illegals.’
“‘They keep allowing these illegal Mexicans in here,’ he told folks on Facebook, echoing voices on rightwing hate radio and TV. ‘All these illegal immigrants from Afghanistan. You don’t have free health care for us. You’re f***ing giving it to them.’
“White people in distress like Rosenberry are uniquely vulnerable to rightwing demagogues like Donald Trump, particularly when they’re told that a dark-skinned ‘they’ are responsible for their economic woes or loss of status. He believed Trump when he said that: ‘the system is rigged’ and refugees want to murder and rape white women, and that Trump and his rich friends were going to ‘drain the swamp’ and restore the glory days of America’s white working class.” (Thom Hartmann, Daily Kos, August 20, 2021)
Stack’s story is out of the same playbook, so we need not recount it here. The above article continues: “Rosenberry and Stack were right about how much we actually do need a revolution against Reaganomics and the devastation it’s wrought across the American landscape, reversing the damage it’s done to every race and economic group except the top 1%.
Sadly, both men had been listening to the counter-revolutionaries—the mouthpieces for America’s rightwing billionaires and largest corporations—who told them that cutting taxes on the morbidly rich would ‘trickle down’ and that their troubles were because ‘those people [of color]’ were making off with what was once theirs. Nobody bothered to tell Rosenberry and Stack that they were being robbed by a white rightwing billionaire class intent on owning almost everything…Reagan’s obscene tax cuts lowered the top rate from 74% to 25%, slashed corporate taxes, gutted the estate tax and drilled thousands of special-interest loopholes into the tax code. It started an estimated $7 trillion transfer of wealth from working class people to the top 1 percent.
“George W. Bush added his own trillions of dollars in tax cuts that sped up the transfer of wealth from people like Rosenberry and Stack to obscenely rich oligarchs like Bush’s own dynastic family and the Trumps. And then Trump himself gifted his morbidly rich buddies with another $2 trillion in just one year, all borrowed on our national credit card and all still in place, further draining American resources that could otherwise be used for housing, education and healthcare. Meanwhile, the multimillionaire hosts on billionaire-owned rightwing media continue to blame all the ills of America on immigrants and people of color.”
OD Action News printed a small poster that provides answers to one of the most common questions Republicans have always used, and which the NFP continues to use to this day: “Republicans always ask: ‘But how will you pay for it?’ 1) Raise the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%. 2) Stop heirs of multi-millionaires and billionaires from dodging taxes on inheritances. 3) Make ultra-millionaires and billionaires pay a two-cent tax on wealth over $50 million. 4) Provide the IRS with the resources it needs to go after wealthy tax cheats. 5) End the Trump tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs and profits offshore. That’s how. (OAD Action News, September 27, 2021)
The silence of America in the time of its greatest crisis is deafening.
THE INCREASING CORRUPTION OF BIG BUSINESS
To state that big business leaders overwhelmingly support the NFP is hardly a controversial statement. Americans for Tax Fairness tells us just how much the richest Americans and wealthiest corporations have benefited from COVID and the tax scam the NFP foisted on the American people: “For decades, our tax system has been intentionally rigged to benefit the rich and corporations. A recent investigative report by ProPublica found that the 25 wealthiest Americans paid a paltry tax rate of just 3.4% on how much their wealth increased between 2014 and 2018. And many of these billionaires paid $0 in federal income taxes in several of those years. Americans for Tax Fairness found that the wealth of the country’s billionaires rose by more than 50% during the pandemic. At the same time, 55 of the US’s largest corporations paid $0 in federal income taxes last year―thanks in part to the Trump-GOP tax scam.” (Sarah Christopherson, AFTF, July 14, 2021)
The Juggernaut Project tells us about the absurd tax giveaways billionaires currently enjoy: “Last year, 55 Fortune 500 companies paid $0 in federal income tax. That’s right: Corporations such as FedEx, Nike and Hewlett-Packard paid $0 on $40.5 billion in profits. In 2018, 1,500 of the country’s biggest multinationals paid less than 8% in federal income taxes, well below what many working families pay, in part by shifting profits to offshore tax havens. And, according to the latest billionaires report from Americans for Tax Fairness, total wealth of just 708 billionaires increased by an astonishing $1.8 trillion, or by 62%, during the first 17 months of the pandemic. That would pay for more than half of Biden’s entire ten-year $3.5 trillion Build Back Better package. Some of those billionaires, such as Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, don’t even pay federal income taxes some years.” (The Juggernaut Project, September 3, 2021)
Just how much are these unreported and unpaid taxes costing our country? Public Citizen pulls no punches: “A trillion dollars. That’s how much the IRS estimates our nation is losing in unpaid taxes—largely from giant corporations and the super-wealthy—every year. Just a reminder of what that looks like numerically: $1,000,000,000,000. It’s enough to cover the entire annual budgets of these 42 states combined: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
- For years, Republicans in Congress have been chipping (and sledgehammering) away at the budget of the Internal Revenue Service.
- In fact, Republicans have slashed funding for tax enforcement so much that there are fewer auditors today than at any time since World War II.
- All of which makes it easier than ever for giant corporations and the super-wealthy to avoid paying their fair share to fund basic necessities all of us—including them—rely on.
- Now, as part of ‘negotiating’ funding for infrastructure investments our country desperately needs, those same congressional Republicans are rejecting even modest increases to the IRS budget.
- Never mind that giving the IRS more resources would pay for itself many, many times over as the agency collects taxes from billionaires and Big Business that would have gone unpaid otherwise.” (Public
Citizen, July 26, 2021)
Elon Musk has a financial income that amounts to about six billion dollars a day. Think about that number: six billion dollars every single day. David Beasley, the head of the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) asked Musk to donate one day’s income to help ease world hunger. As might be expected, Musk refused, saying he didn’t think six billion dollars would help much. Tell that to the 42 million people around the globe that are starving.
Whatever happened to philanthropy?
As we have seen with all the other mega-billionaires, Musk profitedenormously from the pandemic. As Demand Progress reports: “At the beginning of the pandemic, Elon Musk was worth $25 billion. Now he’sworth nearly $300 billion—but is waging a Twitter war with Bernie Sanders to avoid higher taxes.” (Demand Progress, November 17, 2021)
Public Citizen tells us more about Musk: “Time magazine has chosen electric car magnate and space pirate Elon Musk as its ‘Person of the Year’ for 2021. Now, being named ‘Person of the Year’ does not necessarily mean someone is a *good* person. For example, Time has given the ‘award’ to:Adolph Hitler (1938), Joseph Stalin (1939 and 1942), Richard Nixon (1971 and 1972), Ayatollah Khomeini (1979), Ronald Reagan (1980 and 1983), Newt Gingrich (1995), Jeff Bezos (1999—yes, 22 years ago).Rudy Giuliani (2001), George W. Bush (2000 and 2004), Vladimir Putin ‘2007), Ben Bemanke (2009), Mark Zuckerberg (2010), and Donald Trump
“And there are more than a few reasons why Musk is a controversial choice, including:
- Just last week, Musk opined that the U.S. should ‘just delete’ all government subsidies.
- Do you think he’ll give back the $4.9 billion (and counting) in government subsidies his companies, including Tesla and SpaceX, have actively solicited so far?
- Also last week, Musk—parroting ancient claptrap about the federal budget deficit—opposed President Biden’s proposed Build Back Better investments in America’s future.
- Never mind the fact that Build Back Better pays for itself. As Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman notes, Tesla was founded in 2003 but did not turn a profit until 2020. In other words, Musk’s flagship company operated in the red for the better part of two decades as an investment in the future.
- The self-driving cars Musk is rushing to market have a record of serious failures—including crashing into stopped emergency vehicles—some of which have involved fatalities.
- Musk has been found guilty of flagrant union busting tactics.
- In March of 2020, at the outset of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Musk infamously predicted ‘probably close to zero new cases’ in the U.S. by the end of April. Musk was, tragically, very wrong—our country was averaging almost 29,000 new cases ‘a day’ by the end of April, 2020.
“But let’s set all of that aside for the moment and focus on just one thing we know about Musk. He is currently the richest person on the planet, with an estimated net worth of $247.4 billion according to Forbes’ ‘Real-Time Billionaires’ list. Yet as recently as 2018, Musk paid nothing—literally zero—in federal income tax.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, December 15, 2021)
Former “Person of the Year” and fellow space pirate, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is currently the third richest person on Earth ($193.9 billion). Between 2014 and 2018 — when his wealth grew by $99 billion — Bezos paid less than 1% in federal income taxes.
Brian Tyler Cohen sums up the situation: “If you think the 55 largest
corporations in America should pay taxes, then you agree with President
Biden. If you think the 55 largest corporations in America should continue
paying zero in taxes, then you agree with Republicans.”
How are these people able to pull off this financial scam? Americans for
Tax Fairness tells us: “Right now, billionaires could get off scot-free from
paying any new income taxes in the Build Back Better plan, even while
Congress pays for the plan by increasing taxes on the rich and
corporations. How’s this possible? It’s because billionaires largely earn
their incomes from investments, not from a traditional paycheck. And the
increase in their wealth can go years, decades―even forever!―without
incurring any income taxes.” (Maura Quint, AFTF, October 6, 2021)
Public Citizen supports the Build Back Better Act: “…we know from history that corporations are supremely skilled at leveraging their influence to sabotage official policy in the implementation phase:
- Under President Trump, the Environmental Protection Agency did the bidding of the fossil fuel industry when it ignored the benefits of reducing smog and air pollution and decided to gut the Clean Power Plan
- Industry groups delayed regulations on carcinogens like formaldehyde and
chromium by funding questionable studies and creating uncertainty
- The Trump Administration, at the insistence of an industry trade association, reversed President Obama’s policy that required companies bidding for federal contracts to disclose past labor violations
By ignoring the benefits to society, accepting shoddy industry-backed studies, and generally following the lead of corporations, the government routinely waters down good policies that should protect us from big businesses.” (Public Citizen, December 1, 2021)
Suffice it to say that liberal news outlets like Public Citizen have gotten their share of extremely vitriolic hate mail from Christian fascists: “We get a lot of hate mail at Public Citizen. Here’s just a sampling:
*I hope you die of COVID and kill your entire f—ing family.
*You should be thrown in jail for being a terrorist.
*Too bad they didn’t abort all you traitor trash Nazi liberals.
*Die where you are standing.
*You insipid morons ALL deserve a bullet.
*Every one of you should be in prison for the rest of your sorry lives.
*I will kill you without remorse.
*You are not an American but a force of evil. I challenge you to a duel to the death. Pick the spot and time within the next 30 days. Your head will be on a pike when this is over you cowardly bastard.
*We are looking for you. If you don’t like our Constitution, then leave or die!
*Should have guessed you’re a f—ing Jew.” (Public Citizen, December 28, 2021)
People who write such garbage are nothing more than pitiful pawns of the NFP, fundamentalist Christianity, Fox News, OAN, and other right-wing propaganda networks. There isn’t a shred of decency in any of them. Should they be allowed to vote and determine our country’s destiny?
And of course the so-called “liberal” media only talks about one aspect of the Build Back Better Act: the cost. They ignore the benefits of the bill, and also conveniently ignore the staggering costs of supporting and expanding the corporate war machine. Further proof of how the mainstream media goes out of its way to make the NFP look legitimate.
Corporate polluters are the worst offenders in the climate crisis. Corporate Responsibility reports: “Earlier this month, government officials from around the world came together for the virtual U.N. climate talks. And right now, some key decision-makers are attending London Climate Action Week. And as more and more people begin to demand real, meaningful solutions to address the climate crisis, Big Polluters are attempting to position themselves as part of the solution to the very catastrophic problems they created, trumpeting plans to reach ‘net zero” carbon emissions decades from now. But the science is clear. These “Net zero’ climate plans are not the answer. In fact, ‘net zero’ has become nothing more than Big Polluters’ latest plan to evade responsibility for the climate crisis and continue maintaining their profits.
“That’s why we—along with Friends of the Earth International and Global Forest Coalition and others—launched a report, endorsed by more than 70 climate groups around the world, that exposes the myth of these ‘net zero’ pledges. For decades, Big Polluters like the fossil fuel industry have fueled climate denial, perpetuated environmental racism, and interfered in policy. And we’re making sure that governments and decision-makers around the world feel the pressure to reject these Big Polluter schemes by getting this report into their hands.” (Corporate Accountability, July 2, 2021)
Our banks play an important role in the climate crisis, and some of their business operations are only now coming to light. Stop the Money Pipeline reports: “From 2016-2020, the six biggest U.S. banks under the Federal Reserve’s supervision provided $1.2 trillion in financing to the fossil fuel industry. The Fed has the power to rein in Wall Street’s fossil fuel financing—and it’s right in line with its primary mandate: managing financial risk. The climate crisis could cause a financial crash worse than 2008. Despite beginning to take symbolic steps on climate risk in 2020, the Federal Reserve has helped bail out failing fossil fuel companies and hasn’t done anything to limit Wall Street’s risky fossil fuel financing. Words don’t mean anything when they aren’t backed up by actions.” (Stop the Money Pipeline, September 3, 2021)
One aspect of corporate pollution that few people seem to be aware of is the pollution emanating from abandoned oil and gas wells. Moms Clean Air Force (courtesy of Daily Kos), gives us the details: “ Pollution from orphaned and abandoned oil and gas wells impacts millions of people in the US. These wells are no longer in use and sit idle in our communities, leaking oil, gas, and toxic chemicals into our air and water. They can also emit methane, a powerful contributor to climate change. There are more than 56,000 documented orphaned oil and gas wells across the country. A true accounting of these wells could be more than a million. Pollution from orphaned and abandoned oil and gas wells is a critical issue facing millions of families. We need federal action to plug these wells now.” (Patrice Tomcik, Moms Clean Air Force, via Daily Kos, August 26, 2021)
Enbridge’s transgressions are so extreme that it is singularly amazing that they have not been sued. Stop the Money Pipeline shows us just how bad this corporate polluter actually is: “The situation in Anishinaabe territory is dire right now. Enbridge is spilling drilling fluid in wetlands next to the Mississippi headwaters as it builds the Line 3 pipeline and Water Protectors are chaining themselves to drilling equipment to prevent Enbridge from violating Anishinaabe treaty rights.
“On Friday, cops assaulted peaceful Water Protectors using tear gas, mace, and rubber bullets. After brutalizing them, police arrested twenty people, including Giniw Collective founder, Tara Houska. The Water Protectors were kept in jail over the weekend, denied medications, placed in solitary and given moldy and inedible food to eat.
“This brutality, it is important to remember, is being directly paid for by Enbridge, the fossil fuel company that literally bought the tear gas that police used last week. Despite all of this, in June, major banks, such as JPMorgan Chase and Citibank, facilitated $1.5 billion in so-called ‘sustainability bonds’ for Enbridge. Sustainability-linked bonds sound good, but when you look more closely you’ll see they’re close to meaningless. Enbridge’s ‘sustainability’ bonds reward the company for reducing emissions from its buildings and vehicles (in technical terms known as Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions), but do nothing to address the human rights abuses happening in Minnesota or oil that flows through its pipelines and is responsible for 99% of its climate pollution (also known as Scope 3 emissions).
“According to Wall Street, so long as Enbridge uses electric vehicles and solar power to build their oil pipelines, everything is fine. This kind of corporate greenwashing is the new climate denial. That’s one reason why we launched Deadline Glasgow last week, an all-hands-on-deck campaign, demanding genuine, transformational climate action by the start of the Glasgow Climate Talks.” (Stop the Money Pipeline, August 2, 2021)
Utility companies should be prepared for emergencies that are already arising due to the climate disaster, yet have done next to nothing, as Daily Kos reports: “Nationwide, electric utilities, grid operators and regulators have struggled to adequately prepare for the hazards of global warming, like storm surges that can knock out substations and heat waves that can cause power plants to falter, with many expecting that the biggest threats will not materialize for decades to come.
“As the nation roasts under one set of record highs after another, the West watches water supplies evaporate in the Megadrought, and air conditioners everywhere spin up to levels that trigger blackouts and brownouts, the people who are among those most to blame for the situation now say they are utterly unprepared. Utility companies saying they are still ‘expecting that the biggest threats will not materialize for decades to come’ may be a bigger example of cognitive dissonance than Rep. Elise Stefanik vowing to protect Medicare and Medicaid from ‘socialist healthcare.’
“The Times quotes an energy expert from Texas as saying, ‘It’s fair to say there was this widespread assumption that the impacts of climate change and extreme weather would unfold more gradually, and there would be more time to prepare.’ On the one hand, it’s exasperating that the people who are right in the middle of this issue would claim that they didn’t know what was going on, and behave as though they could just sit back for decades before taking steps to address the climate crisis. When I worked at the world’s largest coal company, you can bet they knew what was happening, all the way back into the 1980s. They certainly took steps. They took steps to start dozens of fake ‘institutes’ denying climate change. They took steps to fund anyone they could find who would author a paper claiming manmade climate change wasn’t happening. They took steps to print ‘Plants need CO2!’ banners and ‘America Digs Coal’ bumper stickers. They took steps to fund tea party events, where they could prop up speakers against any form of environmental regulation. They took steps to stuff the campaign coffers of Republican candidates full of cash, so they could stand in front of the nation and make jokes about the climate. They weren’t ignorant. Just evil. So it’s hard to believe that any electric utility in the nation didn’t know this was coming.
“However, that’s not to deny that the climate crisis has a messaging problem. How many times have you read an article that includes the phrase ‘by the end of this century’ when describing some effect of the warming planet? By the end of the century, the oceans will rise X amount. By the end of the century, global temperatures will be up by Y degrees. By the end of the century, Z amount of rainforest will be lost. It’s understandable that many people see the climate crisis as something decades away, because that’s how it’s so often written about.
People for the American Way gives us some unsurprising information: “Fossil fuel corporations like ExxonMobil have known for decades that their pollution was causing catastrophic climate impacts. Not only did they fail to share their science: they took deliberate action to mislead the public.” (People for the American Way, August 15, 2021)
Corporate Accountability takes it from there: “In late June, an Exxon lobbyist was caught on camera by undercover climate investigators talking about the many ways the corporation has been delaying, watering down, and trying to kill meaningful climate policy.
“This news, aired first on U.K.’s Channel 4, is reaching people far beyond the climate justice movement. It also confirms what we’ve long known: that Big Polluters like the fossil fuel industry have not only knowingly brought us into this crisis, but they have also had a heavy hand in obstructing progress on meaningful climate policies and action.
“Transnational corporations continue polluting the land and poisoning communities across the world. The fact is, for decades, Big Polluters like Exxon have knowingly fueled the climate crisis, funded climate denial, and blocked just climate solutions—all while profiting at the expense of communities of color and people across the Global South who are least responsible for the climate crisis. This is what environmental racism looks like.” (Swetha Saseedhar, Corporate Accountability, August 24, 2021)
One of the worst things corporate America has done is to continue supporting the insurrectionist’s leaders. MoveOn discusses General Motors’ role: “In the immediate aftermath of the January 6 armed assault on the Capitol by white supremacist Trump supporters, GM announced that it was pausing and reevaluating the candidates and entities it would support to ‘ensure candidates align with our core values.’ But already in 2021, GM has donated $72,000 to 12 representatives and senators who voted to overturn the election as well as to several party committees and leadership funds tied to those who did, including GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s Leadership PAC and the National Republican Campaign Committee.
“No American company should be giving money to support a political party or elected official who actively sought to overthrow our democracy. Also, GOP elected officials follow the money, and cutting off the corporate PAC taps can be an incredibly effective way to restrain the extremism of the Republican Party and reduce the stranglehold of bigots and seditionists.” (MoveOn, September 14, 2021)
General Motors is fairly typical of large businesses and corporations in the way they dealt with the insurrection. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) provides the facts: “After the insurrection, General Motors paused their political donations and pledged to evaluate their donations to lawmakers in light of whether they aligned with GM’s core values. Well, GM’s core values apparently don’t include democracy or the peaceful transfer of power, because GM has backed the Sedition Caucus to the tune of $57,000. That’s right—GM has reversed course and decided to spend tens of thousands of dollars helping to re-elect the members of Congress who voted not to certify our election.” (Noah Bookbinder, CREW, August 16, 2021)
Eleven days later, CREW gave us an update: “GM is already facing backlash on social media for the $72,000 and counting that they’ve donated to help re-elect the members of Congress who voted to reject the election results. But that’s not enough—we need to make sure that they hear from thousands of people who are fed up with companies like GM putting profits over democracy.” (CREW, August 27, 2021)
“When governments and industries are working to negotiate the details of a climate agreement, it’s understandable that they work against goals, and plan for situations that are genuinely decades in the future. It has to be that way. It’s only by looking at longterm events that the full danger of the climate crisis is visible. But when reporting on the crisis, every use of ‘over the next 50 years’ becomes a soft, soft pillow telling readers to relax: This is all far away. Nothing to concern you at the moment. And now, let’s turn to sports.
“The climate crisis is happening over the next century. In the sense that it’s happening every single day of the current century, including today. And a failure to deliver the message that things are going to be hotter, drier, colder, wetter, less predictable, more extreme, and increasingly more difficult every day is failing the public. American forests are burning now. The rainforests of the Amazon Basin are going away now. The western United States is in a water crisis now. Oceans are rising now. Storms are worse now. Arctic ice is vanishing now. The climate crisis is creating whole new forms of weather right now. It’s not coming soon. It’s not imminent. It’s not even inevitable. It’s already here. What happens every day from here on is that we decide how bad it’s going to get. And one things that’s really clear: This is unacceptable.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, July 31, 2021)
One of the biggest, yet rarely reported scandals among the super-wealthy is the fact that, despite their unheard of wealth, they pay little or nothing in income taxes. Americans for Tax Fairness is understandably outraged about this: “A recent investigative report from ProPublica shows that in 2007 and 2011, Jeff Bezos―the richest man in the world―paid zero dollars in federal income taxes. And in 2018, Elon Musk―the United States’ second richest man―also paid nothing in income taxes. That means each of us those years paid more in taxes than two people worth a combined $367 billion today.” (Frank Clemente, Americans for Tax Fairness, July 2, 2021)
The number of businesses and corporations that donate obscene amounts of money to the NFP is staggering. Women’s March reports that: “Toyota is the TOP company that donates to Republicans who objected to certifying the 2020 election results…Toyota’s donations provide Republicans the resources they need to continue attacking our voting rights and suppressing our grassroots power.” (Women’s March, July 2, 2021)
Jeff Bezos’ wealth is truly staggering. As Public Citizen tells us: “$201.8 billion. That’s where Forbes pegs the net worth of Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos as of 5:00 p.m. Friday.
- Bezos is actually worth $7.1 billion more than the gross domestic product of Iowa—the entire state of Iowa—for 2019. (You know that old saying: ‘Worth more than all the corn and caucuses in Iowa!’)
- According to the U.S. Department of Education, the average salary for public school teachers during the 2019-20 school year was $63,645. It would take 79,268 teachers working 40 years each at that salary to match the current ‘value’ of this singular Bezos.
- Poor old Charles Koch—of the infamous Koch Brothers—is worth a paltry $46.7 billion. I don’t know how he gets by.
- Bezos is the only human being so far to exceed $200 billion in net worth.
- That’s something he first ‘accomplished’ in 2020, when Amazon’s revenue grew 38% in a single year as millions of people around the world turned to the company for food, medicines, household supplies, and other essentials during the (still-unfolding) global coronavirus pandemic.
- Somehow—amid counting all that extra money—Bezos still had time to: find excuses not to pay Amazon workers substantially better wages; avoid making working conditions at Amazon warehouses significantly safer; and watch his company wield union-busting tactics when Amazon workers dared to try unionizing.
(Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, July 3, 2021)
And of course, Bezos’ wealth increased by $99 billion during the period
2014-2018. He paid less than one percent of all that in taxes. Compare
this to the rest of America which pays over 7% in taxes every year.”
Bezos is not satisfied with being the world’s richest person via his
ownership of Amazon. Now he wants to own MGM studios. Demand
Progress reports: “The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has launched an
investigation into Jeff Bezos and Amazon’s $8.45 billion acquisition of MGM
studios. The MGM merger would add a catalog of more than 4,000 films
and 17,000 episodes to Amazon’s Prime Video service and give it control of
future production, increasing its monopoly over content, and allow it to
control intellectual property rights that will stretch over other businesses.
This comes along with news that Amazon is planning to open department
stores across the nation to take over brick and mortar space.
“We need FTC Chair Lina Khan, an antitrust advocate, to block this merger as a critical first step to reining the mega company in. If Amazon is permitted to own MGM, consumers will be more forcefully pushed into subscribing to Amazon Prime to access content that should be available across all platforms, and Amazon can use its Fire TV products to keep other streaming devices out. Two hundred million people worldwide are already members of Amazon Prime, the subscription that controls content, delivery of goods, and groceries.
“It’s just one part of the all-encompassing empire that Jeff Bezos, chairman of Amazon, has built. Millions of houses use the Ring security system, seventy-seven million people read the Washington Post, and one million websites—from Airbnb to NASA to Zillow—use Amazon Web Services. Amazon is even planning on opening department stores across the country. This kind of consolidation allows Amazon to dominate the market and abuse employees.
“A report by the House of Representatives found that the company was using AI technology to crush competitors. Amazon warehouses are pushing down wages in areas with union presence. And customers are paying more for lower quality products.
“Demand Progress has been a leader in the fight against Amazon. We’ve driven in tens of thousands of messages to Congress and federal regulators urging them to take on the company, and we co-founded the Athena coalition to unite the grassroots against Amazon’s power. We need the FTC to step up and start applying antitrust law to break up Amazon and stop its acquisitions of huge companies. (Robert Cruickshank, Demand Progress, July 22, 2021)
Bezos also found the time to shoot himself into space. The Juggernaut
Project reports: “Recently Jeff Bezos, the richest person in the world, shot
himself into space. And a few days before that Richard Branson, another
billionaire, did the same thing.
“Billionaires like Bezos and Branson have so much money that they’re financing their own private space flights. And they’re only able to do so because of a rigged economy, on the backs of working people.
“Meanwhile, we’re suffering through a climate disaster. Wildfires so big and intense that they darken skies thousands of miles away. Heat waves so destructive that they are literally melting infrastructure. The solution to our climate crisis is staring us in the face: we need Congress to tax billionaires like Bezos and Branson and fund the Green New Deal…The need for a Green New Deal for all people has never been so urgent. It’s time we invest in and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and create millions of good, union jobs while tackling the climate crisis. And it’s time for people like Bezos and Branson to pay their fair share so we can make that happen.
“If they can afford to fund personal space flights, then they can afford to fund a Green New Deal.” (Team New Green Network, via The Juggernaut Project, August 10, 2021)
It also needs to be reported how heavily Amazon is invested in plastic pollution. The company is responsible for almost half a billion pounds of plastic waste each year. This plastic invariably winds up in our oceans, rivers and other waterways, where it turns into microplastics, then to be consumed by marine life, causing extreme harem to the ecosystem. While public outcry in Germany has led to the company’s avowal to eliminate plastic packaging in that country, a global effort must be undertaken if we are to save our oceans, ecosystems—and ourselves.
AT&T has blood on its hands as well. They are bankrolling One America News which, like its partner in crime Fox News, isn’t a news outlet at all, but an NFP propaganda network. AT&T is responsible for 90 percent of OAN’s revenue. MoveOn tells us more: “News broke yesterday that AT&T, the world’s largest communications company, is singlehandedly bankrolling One America News, which spreads white supremacist propaganda, conspiracy theories, and COVID-19 misinformation on AT&T’s DirecTV. It’s shameful.
“Back in June, an OAN host suggested that ‘traitors’ who ‘stole’ the election should be executed. OAN spreads dangerous messages like these every single day, powered by the income from AT&T. And court records show that not only does AT&T provide tens of millions of dollars in revenue for OAN, AT&T allegedly proposed the idea of a right-wing show for its satellite service, DirecTV, the only cable provider that gives OAN a platform to spread its dangerous messages. Even OAN lawyer Patrick Nellies acknowledged that if OAN loses or isn’t renewed by AT&T’s DirecTV, the company would ‘go out of business tomorrow,’ which shows just how much power AT&T has to stop OAN.
“And AT&T isn’t just giving a platform and singlehandedly bankrolling conspiracy theory network OAN, it also donated almost $300,000 to the Texas lawmakers who sponsored or co-sponsored the horrible abortion ban. Unfortunately, that’s not all. AT&T was also among the corporations that committed to stop donating PAC money to Republicans who voted to overturn the results of the 2020 election and fueled the insurrection, but it broke that commitment and has since donated thousands, hoping we wouldn’t notice.
“AT&T is fueling attacks on our democracy by propping up and enabling white supremacy propaganda and conspiracy theory network OAN and by funneling PAC donations to insurrectionists.” (David Sievers, MoveOn, October 7, 2021)
Common Cause adds: “AT&T is trying to claim that it treats OAN like any other network—but a new investigation from Reuters suggests otherwise.
The report reveals that:
- OAN was created at the behest of AT&T executives
- When AT&T wanted to buy DirecTV, OAN’s founder agreed to lobby FCC commissioners on AT&T’s behalf in exchange for a channel on DirecTV.
- OAN promised to cast AT&T in a ‘positive light’ when covering the DirecTV merger in newscasts.
- AT&T is OAN’s largest distributor—and their deal makes it nearly impossible for any other cable provider to pick up the network.
In short, through a number of financial entanglements and quid pro quo agreements—AT&T has been instrumental in the success of Donald Trump’s favorite cable news channel.” (Devon Nir, Common Cause, October 8, 2021)
AT&T’s connection with the NFP is undeniable. Back in the summer of 2020, when Greg Abbott rammed through a huge voter suppression bill, which turned out to be the biggest attack on voting rights since the Jim Crow era, AT&T responded the next day with a $100,000 donation for his reelection campaign.
Big Pharma has become yet another corrupt mega-business that puts profit
above everything else. Public Citizen reports: “For decades, Big Pharma
has insisted that its outrageous price gouging is necessary to cover the
costs of research and development. Never mind that much of the research
and development behind new drugs is done at public universities and
government agencies that are supported by American taxpayers. Never
mind that Big Pharma is somehow able to charge less—yet still stay in
business—in every other rich country. Never mind that a lot of what the
pharmaceutical giants spend on ‘R&D’ actually goes to suppressing
competition from generics.
“A new report from a member of Congress (Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, New York) should bust Big Pharma’s ‘R&D’ myth once and for all. From 2016 to 2020, the 14 top pharmaceutical companies spent $56 billion—that’s billion with a ‘b’—MORE on stock buybacks and dividends than they did on research and development. For comparison, Public Citizen has calculated that it would take $25 billion—not even half of what Big Pharma spent enriching shareholders over the past five years—to vaccinate enough people around the world to end the global COVID-19 pandemic.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, July 9, 2021)
Crazy Eight Pac tells us how the NFP is lining its pockets with Big Pharma money: “Last year Big Pharma spent a record $306 million on lobbying, and so far, it’s been paying off. Right now, bought and paid for members of Congress are trying to block a plan to let the federal government negotiate prescription drug prices, lowering costs for all of us. Big Pharma spends more on lobbying than any other sector. The member who accepted the most money from Big Pharma this past cycle? None other than Mitch McConnell. McConnell has taken in over $1 million since 2007, so you could say he owes a favor or two to the pharmaceutical industry.” (Crazy Eight Pac, October 10, 2021)
Meanwhile, Americans are paying exorbitant prices for basic medical necessities. Civic Shout provides an example: “Americans pay the highest prices for insulin in the world. In Canada, a vial costs $12. In the United Kingdom, it’s $7.25. But in the United States, one unit of insulin costs $98.70…Why is insulin so expensive in the United States of America? Because of Big Pharma greed.
“The inventors of insulin sold its patent for $1 nearly 100 years ago—so that this life-saving medicine would be available to all. But instead of honoring that intention, the three companies who control 90% of the world’s insulin supply—Eli Lilly, Sanofi, and Novo Nordisk—have worked in tandem to systematically raise prices. The price of insulin in the United States has increased more than 1,400% over the past 25 years. What has happened with insulin is only the most egregious example of Big Pharma’s business model. That’s why majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents support efforts to lower drug prices contained in the Build Back Better Act, including an insulin price cap.” (Civic Shout, November 13, 2021)
The NFP has no problem whatever with Big Pharma’s screwing of consumers. Every single Republican voted against capping drug costs.
Public Citizen exposes Pfizer’s role in what is turning into the vaccine scandal: “On Wednesday—as reported in The Washington Post—Public Citizen released an analysis of parts of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing process. Our analysis is based on information we uncovered in a leaked contract between the pharmaceutical giant and European countries.
“This is a watershed moment in humanity’s battle against the coronavirus.
- Pfizer and Moderna have failed to share their vaccine ‘recipes’ even as the pandemic burns across the planet.
- Instead, these corporations have been profiteering from the pandemic by selling vaccines at high prices to rich countries while providing little more than scraps to poorer countries.
- By hoarding information about how to produce these vaccines—even though they were developed with massive public funding in the first place—Pfizer and Moderna are endangering the entire world’s chances of ending the pandemic.
- As we noted in a statement to all the major media outlets, ‘Scientists worldwide, with the right tools and support, could help make many more vaccine doses—but not if basic manufacturing standards are held as corporate secrets.’”
(Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, September 17, 2021)
Still, Pfizer is right on the money when it comes to the crackpot anti-vaccers. On November 9, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said there is a “very small” group of people that are intentionally giving out false information. He called them “criminals” and have cost “millions of lives.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren appeared on CNVC’s Squawk Box as a guest alongside a corporate billionaire. Daily Kos tells how she owned him: “Given the absolute onslaught of news we’ve experienced in recent months (if not recent years), it can feel like the presidential debates for the 2020 election happened a lifetime ago. Many of us here at Daily Kos recall the countless times Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren campaigned to tax the ultra-wealthy and tried her best to break down complicated tax systems and structures for the masses. As she displayed during an interview on Wednesday morning, Warren has not lost her touch.
“Warren appeared alongside billionaire Ken Langone on CNBC’s Squawk Box, where Langone asked Warren why he, a billionaire, still receives social security checks, among other questions about taxes on the super-wealthy. When he finally gave Warren a moment to get a word in, she certainly delivered. Let’s check out the exchange and footage below. Langone, who described himself as a ‘fat cat,’ told Warren he had an ‘easy’ question that would ‘surprise’ her. ‘How do you justify giving me a three thousand dollars a month check every month with all my wealth? Why don’t you people have the courage to address entitlements as to what should no longer be an entitlement?’ He added that he shouldn’t get Social Security and asked why corporations don’t have a minimum alternative tax.
“Warren took his questions in stride, starting by explaining how taxes work for the super-wealthy. ‘Jeff Bezos has not paid taxes on the wealth that he has,’ Warren stated, adding that in spite of being worth a ‘bazillion dollars,’ he has not paid taxes on his wealth. ‘In fact,’ she continued, ‘Jeff Bezos, many years, has either paid nothing in taxes or has paid 1%. Why Because his income is very, very small but he continues to grow his wealth through all of his Amazon stock. And how does he then fund a lifestyle, like he does? Not by cashing in Amazon stock but by borrowing against it.’
“Warren explained that right now, our tax system simply doesn’t encompass people at a certain level of wealth (like Bezos), but does make low-income and middle-class folks pay. In response to Langone’s second question about minimum tax rates, Warren addressed that she has herself suggested something very similar to a minimum tax on corporations, which she called a ‘real corporate profits tax.’ She added this would be another way to get funds for universal child care and infrastructure repair. And in terms of Social Security? Warren said it’s set up differently in that it’s structured more like an ‘insurance policy.’ Warren broke down that you (in this case Langone, but also the public in general) pay in year after year, and that it’s not ‘welfare’ or ‘charity.’
“Social security, on the other hand, is an ‘agreement that every employee in the country, who is eligible for Social Security, paid into, and gets a return on the back end. Surely, you wouldn’t want to be the person to go on national TV and say, after a contract has been negotiated, and someone has paid into it for 40 years, that the federal government should turn around and say, ‘Oops! We changed our mind. We’re not going to give you the payout that you earned by making the payments all those years.’” (Marissa Higgins, Daily Kos, July 28, 2021)
Jeff Bezos epitomizes the greed of the world’s richest individuals, at the expense of everyone else. Demand Progress reports: “Jeff Bezos launched himself into space because he’s the richest person in the world and he can afford it. But he also pays little to nothing in US taxes. Rather than using his wealth to fight the devastating impacts of climate change, end hunger and homelessness, or even just pay Amazon workers a living wage, Jeff Bezos only wants to enrich himself with a 10-minute ride at the rim of space.” (Demand Progress, July 20, 2021) If this isn’t a clarion call for reforms in the tax system, I don’t know what is.
Another manifestation of corporate greed can be seen in the ever-increasing number of homeless people in this country. In my own home in the San Fernando Valley of California, there are homeless people living under freeways, in parking lots, and just about anywhere else they can find. Daily Kos provides details: “Opponents of raising the minimum wage to $15 like to say that sure, $15 might be a reasonable wage in New York City or Los Angeles, but it’s just too high in the heartland. Guess what guys?
There are more than 3,000 counties in the United States, but only 218 in which a full-time minimum-wage worker can afford a one-bedroom apartment at fair market rent, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual Out of Reach report. There is not one city or state in which a full-time minimum wage worker can afford a two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent. And there’s only one state in which full-time work at $15 an hour is currently enough for a two-bedroom market rate rental home. It’s not enough in Alabama or Mississippi, Iowa or Nebraska. It’s for damn sure not Texas or Utah. Congratulations, Sen. Joe Manchin: It’s West Virginia, sliding in 17 cent an hour under $15. But West Virginia’s current minimum wage of $8.75 an hour doesn’t come close.
“Nationally, on average, a full-time worker would need to be paid $24.90 an hour to afford a two-bedroom rental without paying more than 30% of their income. By contrast, the average renter in the U.S. earns $18.78 per hour. Nearly 60% of all wage and salary workers earn less than the $24.90 needed to make the average two-bedroom rental affordable.
“Today’s minimum wage? Ha. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Thirty states, the District of Columbia, and some counties and cities have higher minimum wages, but even so, ‘the average minimum wage worker must work nearly 97 hours per week (more than 2 full-time jobs) to afford a two bedroom rental home or 79 hours per week (almost 2 full-time jobs) to afford a one bedroom rental home at the fair market rent.’ In five states—Hawai’i, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Maryland—the average renter’s wage falls more than $10 short of the wage needed to afford a two-bedroom rental.
“The coronavirus pandemic has brought billions in federal rental assistance, though it’s being paid out too slowly, with the expiration of a federal eviction moratorium looming on July 31. But as the comparison between the cost of modest rental housing and the wages people are actually being paid shows—and as past years of this report show—even before the pandemic, housing was a crisis that demanded policy solutions. The National Low Income Housing Coalition is calling on Congress to expand rental assistance to every eligible household that needs it—current programs fall far short of the need—as well as to invest in affordable housing and bolster public housing. Another key policy would prevent landlords from refusing to rent to people with housing vouchers, since many people with vouchers struggle to find housing they can use the vouchers for.
“Republicans will never, ever allow these policies—or a minimum wage increase—to pass if they have the power to block them. Democrats need to find a way to get Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema on board with doing something, because the situation is dire.” (Laura Clawson, Daily Kos, July 19, 2021)
What does this tell you about the priorities of the NFP? Simply put, they want everyone else to pay for everything but still have nothing, while they pay for nothing and try to own everything. They have no problem whatever with predatory greed, but scream to the heavens when anyone dares to protest.
Service is becoming an obsolete concept in today’s business world. OpenMedia elaborates: “I’ve got a question for you: If you own a device, shouldn’t you have the right to repair it? Manufacturers across the US think not! These companies are making it increasingly hard to repair the stuff we buy. They’re withholding repair manuals, parts, and information, and making big profits by forcing people to throw out and replace broken devices and equipment. That hurts our wallets, creates mountains of e-waste, and even puts our lives at risk!…
“Have you ever tried to repair a device you own, only to find out that it’s prohibitively expensive or outright impossible? Same here. Manufacturers haven’t been shy to throw their weight around to deny people the materials, information, or parts we need to repair our stuff. By making products more expensive to repair, or forcing people to treat their devices as disposable, we have no choice but to replace our products more often, making device ownership more expensive for people like you and me. The loads of e-waste generated also drive environmental harm—and that’s not even the half of it. Without broad right to repair laws, manufacturers have made it extremely difficult for hospitals to fix broken medical equipment and devices. That means even lifesaving equipment like ventilators are often made unable to be repaired by hospital technicians, leading to patient suffering or even fatalities. (Erin, OpenMedia, August 5, 2021)
Small businesses are the first to go bankrupt due to the way the system works. The People United ran an excellent article on this: “Big money is undermining America. Not just the super-rich maniacs who are funding Trump’s campaign to end American democracy, but all of our infrastructure.
We used to be able to build things, and create jobs. Now, private equity barons swoop into industries, consolidate the competition, sell off the assets and leave the industry as a smoking ruin, often with foreign competitors as the ultimate winners…Private equity firms repeatedly take over companies, loot them of their most valuable assets, make millions, and then file for bankruptcy, leaving workers jobless and often without their promised pensions. Or they extort patients and consumers through monopoly prices on essential services like health care.” (The People United, August 11, 2021)
These points are well taken. The above answer has solutions: “Frankly, this type of behavior should be illegal. That’s why we’re putting pressure on Congress to enact laws to:
- Make private equity firms and executives legally liable for the damage they cause;
- Ban practices that allow Wall Street to loot the companies they acquire;
- Protect workers if employers go bankrupt so workers get paid severance and pensions they were promised;
- Close tax loopholes that encourage predatory financial activities and that benefit private equity executives.”
Action Center on Race and the Economy adds: “Over the last decade, Wall
Street private equity firms have gobbled up huge portions of the U.S.
economy, laying off hundreds of thousands of workers and bankrupting
businesses. They’re enriching themselves at the expense of working
people, families, and communities of color.
“Since 2008, private equity firms have seen the money and wealth they control grow from $1 trillion to an astonishing $7.4 trillion. They’re playing by a rigged set of rules that allows a handful of people to extract vast wealth at everyone else’s expense. Private equity firms repeatedly take over companies, loot them of their most valuable assets, make millions, and then file for bankruptcy, leaving workers jobless and often without their promised pensions. Or they extort patients and consumers through monopoly prices on essential services like health care.” (Saqib Bhatti, ACRE, August 12, 2021)
War continues to be on the table in every administration. Bold Progressives updates us on the war in Afghanistan: “Some politicians are telling us now isn’t the time to speak frankly about Afghanistan. I’m not surprised. For decades, elites told the American people we were winning this war. Later, they told us while Iraq was wrong, Afghanistan was the war worth fighting. They told us it was worth the lives, worth the money, worth the time. It was all lies. Serving there—and what I saw when I came home—factored heavily in my decision to run for U.S. Senate here in Missouri.
“I’ve always said one of the hardest parts of my deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan was coming home to my old neighborhood in Cole County, Missouri. Empty lots, abandoned buildings, a gutted Midwest. Our own communities look like battlefields after decades of economic warfare waged by corrupt politicians and massive corporations.
“They spent $6.4 trillion in taxpayer dollars sending soldiers like me out to fight on a doomed mission to build up someone else’s country—because they thought it made them look strong. Then they turned around and told us we can’t ‘afford’ nation-building right here at home.
“It’s time for this broken status quo to come to an end. We can’t let the same crooks and liars who got us into these pointless wars continue calling the shots in Congress.” (Lucas Kunce, Bold Progressives, August 17, 2021)
Demand Progress reports on the Afghanistan situation: “Right now Afghanistan is facing a humanitarian crisis—and the solutions must be humanitarian as well…Donald Trump slashed the number of refugee visas approved from Afghanistan and other countries, as part of his wider attacks on people from Muslim countries. As a result, it became harder for people to seek refuge in the United States…President Biden was right to follow the will of the American people and bring U.S. troops home from Afghanistan, rather than commit to decades more endless war.
“The Taliban didn’t just suddenly come back to power out of nowhere—they had been making steady gains for many years, and already controlled huge swaths of the country well before President Biden brought U.S. troops home. Some Republicans are demanding President Biden send more U.S. combat forces back to Afghanistan to take on the Taliban. But that’s a recipe for more war and more suffering. The priority right now must be to address the humanitarian crisis and save lives.
“But thanks to Trump, the refugee visa and resettlement process became slower, and stricter. The number of refugees from Afghanistan had already fallen by 60% within two years of Trump’s inauguration. President Biden has begun to reverse this trend—now is the time to do even more to help refugees and reverse Trump’s policies. The President and Congress need to roll back Trump’s anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim policies.” (Demand Progress, August 18, 2021)
Win Without War tells us of the unfathomable amounts of money going into the defense industry: “…the amount of money weapons and war corporations have made since 9/11 is genuinely staggering: up to $7 TRILLION has gone directly from taxpayers into their corporate bank accounts. It’s the result of decades and decades of corruption: they’ve kept HUNDREDS of registered lobbyists on their payroll, spent more than $100 MILLION on lobbying every single year for the last decade, and have hired at least 1,700 (!!) recent former DOD officials—including generals, admirals, and acquisition officials. It could pay off YET AGAIN: despite a president and Congress that promised a new way forward on how we would fund security in this moment, the House just voted to advance next year’s whopping $776 BILLION annual Pentagon budget, even with the growing objections of progressive lawmakers.
“…While they may be the most obvious, direct lobbying and campaign donations aren’t actually the biggest tool in military corporations’ influence arsenal. It’s what they do with that influence: weapons dealers know lawmakers are loath to oppose projects that create jobs in their district, so they work to intentionally spread production into as many congressional districts and states in the country as possible. That’s exactly what Lockheed Martin has done with the F-35 program: claiming the workforce is spread over 46 states, even though there’s just a handful of jobs in many.
“It helps explain why one-third of all contracts flow to just five major weapons companies—Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman—who together received more than $166 billion from those deals in fiscal year 2020 alone. It also explains why these giant corporations’ CEOs are able to get away with giving themselves millions in bonuses every year.
“It’s time for Congress to get a REALITY CHECK on this corporate welfare: half of the people in this country are living paycheck to paycheck, just under 40 million are living in poverty, and over 600,000 are homeless including roughly 40,000 veterans. It’s time that we stop spending money on boondoggles arms lobbyists want, and start spending to improve working peoples’ lives and tackle the true threats to human security: poverty, climate crisis, lack of healthcare, and more.” (Win Without War, September 26, 2021)
CNN tells us that many right-wing extremists in this country are applauding the Taliban’s success: “As the United States-backed government in Afghanistan fell to the Taliban and US troops raced to leave the country, White supremacist and anti-government extremists have expressed admiration for what the Taliban accomplished, a worrying development for US officials who have been grappling with the threat of domestic violent extremism. That praise has also been coupled with a wave of anti-refugee sentiment from far-right groups, as the US and others rushed to evacuate tens of thousands of people from Afghanistan by the Biden administration’s August 31 deadline.
“Several concerning trends have emerged in recent weeks on online platforms commonly used by anti-government, White supremacist and other domestic violent extremist groups, including ‘framing the activities of the Taliban as a success,’ and a model for those who believe in the need for a civil war in the US, the head of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, John Cohen, said on a call Friday with local and state law enforcement, obtained by CNN.” (Geneva Sands, CNN, September 1, 2021)
One would think that OSHA, which was created solely for the protection of workers, would be blowing the whistle on the dangers of over-heating due to the climate crisis. In fact, as Public Citizen notes, that is far from the case: “Heat is the deadliest weather-related threat in the United States. In fact, heat kills more people than hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods combined.
“But the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) — the federal agency that is supposed to protect workers—has failed to issue workplace heat standards.
- OSHA is dragging its feet despite having all the evidence it needs—for decades.
- Despite the reality that climate change is happening even faster and doing even more damage than feared.
- And despite July officially setting a new record for the hottest month in the entire recorded history of our planet.
Here’s what workers need: sufficient water, access to shade, and breaks.
Public Citizen petitioned OSHA to act in 2011, but the agency declined. That left workers across the nation—construction workers, gardeners, warehouse workers, and especially farmworkers—exposed to unsafe levels of heat. These workers are overwhelmingly people of color. More than a third of workers who die from job-related heat stress are Latino. We petitioned OSHA again in 2018, and are still waiting for the agency to act.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, August 17, 2021)
RELIGION, RELIGION, RELIGION
At the risk of beating a dead horse, we must once again examine the role religious fundamentalism plays in destroying morality. As seen in my previous articles, fundamentalist religion is at the heart of right-wing extremism and racism. None of the leaders of the NFP is anything other than a right-wing Christian fundamentalist. This is hardly a coincidence.
Daily Kos describes a typical Christian/Trumpist fundamentalist: “Meet Pauline Bauer, an alleged Capitol insurrectionist and Trumpaloompa who was dumb enough to follow Donald Trump, dumb enough to believe his lies, and is currently dumb enough to think she can weasel out of a prison sentence by cosplaying as Barry Zuckerkorn while claiming God has made her her own country. Or something like that.” (Aldous J. Pennyfarthing, Daily Kos, July 11, 2021) The article goes on to quote The Daily Beast: “‘A Pennsylvania woman who allegedly stormed the Capitol and told a police officer to ‘bring Nancy Pelosi out here now…we want to hang that f&%#ing bi&%$” has filed court documents claiming to be a divinely empowered entity immune from laws. Pauline Bauer, a Pennsylvania pizzeria owner, is accused of multiple counts of violent entry, disruptive conduct, and obstruction of Congress after she allegedly broke into the Capitol on Jan. 6. Prosecutors allege that Bauer tried organizing buses to transport people to D.C. for a rally that preceded the riot, and that while in the Capitol rotunda she told police that she wanted to kill House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.’
“I would caution Bauer that murdering Nancy Pelosi is not yet part of the official GOP platform, though if she cools her heels a bit longer, Trump and Paul Gosar could still make that happen. According to The Daily Beast, Bauer has demanded to represent herself in court and has said she’s a ‘self-governed individual’ who lives outside the law. Bauer does not simply appear in court, she clarified during a June 11 proceeding via Zoom. ‘I am here by special divine appearance, a living soul,’ she told a judge that day, while stating that she did not want an attorney. ‘I do not stand under the law,” she said. “Under Genesis 1, God gave man dominion over the law.’
Lauren Boebert, like everyone else in the NFP, is hostile toward the Constitutional separation of church and state. She wants nothing less than a Christian theocracy. Yahoo News elaborates: “Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) says she is ‘tired’ of the long-standing separation between church and state in the U.S., adding that she believes: ‘the church is supposed to direct the government.’ In a Sunday speech at the Cornerstone Christian Center in Basalt, Colo., ahead of her primary election on Tuesday, Boebert argued that: ‘the government is not supposed to direct the church,’ falsely claiming that dividing religion from the system of government was not what the Founding Fathers intended.
“‘I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk—that’s not in the Constitution. It was in a stinking letter and it means nothing like they say it does,’ Boebert said, earning a round of applause from the audience.
“The concept of a separation between church and state is derived from the establishment clause in the Bill of Rights, which says, ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.’ Roger Williams, who founded Rhode Island, was the first to decipher the clause as ‘a wall or hedge of separation’ between the ‘wilderness of the world’ and ‘the garden of the church.’ In 1802, then-President Thomas Jefferson penned a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut, in which he wrote the American public had built ‘a wall of separation between Church and State.’ States have long adhered to the principle since Jefferson’s letter. The Supreme Court applied the clause to states with the 14th Amendment and has used the doctrine to uphold such a wall. However, the current high court, which has a conservative majority, has recently ruled increasingly in support of religion in public spaces.
“The Supreme Court this month struck down a Maine policy that prohibited religious schools from receiving taxpayer-funded tuition aid and ruled in favor of a football coach in Washington state who prayed at the 50-yard line after public school games. Conservative justices also ruled in May that the city of Boston violated the Constitution by declining a request from a religious organization to fly its flag at city hall. After the Maine ruling, liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the court ‘continues to dismantle the wall of separation between church and state that the Framers fought to build.’ ‘In just a few years, the Court has upended constitutional doctrine,’ the justice wrote in her dissenting opinion.
“Boebert, who has drawn controversy since winning election in 2020 as a far-right conservative with hard-line views on abortion, guns and immigration, argued instead that the church has become subject to the government. ‘The reason we had so many overreaching regulations is because the church complied,’ she said. ‘The church is supposed to direct the government. The government is not supposed to direct the church. That is not how our Founding Fathers intended it.’” (Brad Dress, Yahoo News, June 28, 2021)
Boebert and her cohorts in the NFP simply cannot or will not understand that the separation of church and state works for the benefit of everyone. Everyone, that is, except for the Christian Nazis who want to have complete control over everyone in the country. As with everything else, they view any religion (or no religion) other than their own to be a threat.
When fundamentalist Christianity blends with QAnon and the NFP, only disaster can result. Vice News gives us one notable example: “At 1 p.m. on Thursday, in courtroom 880 on the 8th floor of the Roybal Federal Building in downtown LA, Matthew Coleman made his first public appearance exactly one month after he allegedly murdered his two young children in Mexico by shooting them with a spear gun. Coleman, 40, a deeply devout Christian who taught kids surfing in Santa Barbara, told FBI agents that he carried out the heinous crimes because he was ‘enlightened’ by QAnon and other conspiracies and he believed his children were going to ‘grow into monsters.’ Killing them was the only way to ‘save the world.’ (David Gilbert, Vice News, September 10, 2021)
It should come as no surprise that the fascist “Proud Boys” are finding allies in the right-wing Christian community, as Daily Kos reports: “The latest twist in the Proud Boys’ evolving post-insurrection strategy—in which they have shifted their efforts toward insinuating themselves into local right-wing protests and causes, hijacking them along the way—has been taking shape in the Pacific Northwest, and it’s an ominous one that portends the merging of far-right street-brawling forces with evangelical ‘Dominionists’ seeking to displace democracy with fundamentalist authoritarian rule. The strategy was on display this week in Salem, Oregon, when a Dominionist group organized a monthly gathering they call The Church at Planned Parenthood (TCAPP) in front of the local women’s health clinic, and were joined by a ‘security’ crew comprised of Proud Boys, including several notorious figures from the Portland scene. There were counterprotesters—including local clergy—and some minor brawls, but it all eventually broke up amid clouds of pepper spray…The anti-abortion TCAPP events are the brainchild of Ken Peters, the founding pastor of Spokane’s Covenant Church, the reins of which Peters handed to far-right former Washington Republican legislator Matt Shea in 2019 after Shea left the state House under the cloud of a report connecting him to domestic terrorist factions. (Their partnership recently crumbled for unexplained reasons, with Shea departing to form his own church.) Peters is a rabidly pro-Trump pastor who has appeared onstage in recent months with Mike Lindell, the ‘My Pillow’ conspiracy theorist who claims Donald Trump was the victim of election fraud. Peters also spoke to the crowd gathered in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 5 at a pre-rally for the next day’s ‘Stop the Steal’ protest that devolved into the Capitol insurrection.” (David Neiwert, Daily Kos. August 11, 2021)
As usual, NFP leaders try to paint Antifa leaders as the evil-doers whenever the Proud Boys make trouble. And of course, the press does its best to portray these confrontations as being the result of extremism—on both sides. Daily Kos provides an example: “Tusitala ‘Tiny’ Toese, the Northwest-based Proud Boys leader with a long history of violence, was shot in the leg this weekend in Olympia, Washington. If you were to only read the news accounts in local media, you would know that the shooting Saturday afternoon was the culmination of another confrontation between the far-right street brawlers and antifascists. However, that is a grossly incomplete picture of what happened. Videos and written accounts posted on social media—many of them posted by Proud Boys sympathizers—during the fracas show what really happened: When counterprotesters failed to appear at an anti-vaccination event for which they were providing ‘security,’ frustrated Proud Boys formed a pack and began hunting for ‘antifa’ on the streets of Olympia. They assaulted an independent female journalist who had to seek refuge in a local tavern. They also began assaulting random people on the street they identified as ‘antifa’ and began chasing them with clubs, baseball bats, and Mace; in the end, one of their victims drew a gun at a bus stop and fired several rounds, one of which apparently struck Toese…What became even more clear Saturday is that even when the ‘antifa’ menace fails to materialize, the Proud Boys will go hunting for it, wherever they can find it. Moreover, these are men carrying weapons and threatening ordinary citizens, but local police forces are clearly failing to respond, having established a record of friendly relations with Proud Boys all the way up to Jan. 6 and beyond.” (David Neiwert, Daily Kos, September 8, 2021)
Who was the aggressor here? Why doesn’t anyone in the press ask Ron Johnson, Ted Cruz or any of the other Antifa haters why the Proud Boys have such a history of violence while Antifa does not? And the same question applies to Black Lives Matter. One Daily Kos reader asked: “Police departments across the nation have consistently deployed massive force to confront, cite, and arrest peaceful protesters suspected of having leftwing sympathies. However, when rightwing thugs physically terrorize innocent people on the streets, crickets from the cops. The sympathies of the police could not be more obvious.”
The thing to remember is that Antifa is short for anti-fascist. Which means those that hate, vilify and attack them are pro-fascist. That is the simple fact that no one seems willing to acknowledge. The Proud Boys are 2020 America’s version of Hitler’s Brownshirts.
Daily Kos makes the connection between Trumpism and the Proud Boys (and related fascist groups): “…Trump and, more specifically, Trumpism, are reshaping everything from the policies Republicans champion to the candidates who will prevail in GOP primaries to the lawmakers who will fill GOP seats. The Republican Party is enduring a full Trump makeover inside and out, and anyone who doesn’t see it is living in fantasy land…Trump and, more specifically, Trumpism, are reshaping everything from the policies Republicans champion to the candidates who will prevail in GOP primaries to the lawmakers who will fill GOP seats. The Republican Party is enduring a full Trump makeover inside and out, and anyone who doesn’t see it is living in fantasy land. If America was ever a nation of laws, it’s not anymore. Slowly but surely, a system of mob rule and vigilante justice is sweeping the country. While the Jan. 6 Capitol siege surely empowered this celebration of lawlessness, its most dangerous seeds are being sown across the country at the local level during city council, school board, and health department proceedings that used to be sleepy, mundane affairs. And while Trump has regularly stoked violence at his rallies and on Jan. 6 encouraged supposed patriots to ‘fight like hell’ for the country, the GOP’s supposed leaders—Trump and McConnell included—are no longer in charge of the the monster they fed and created. They’re just holding on for dear life, hoping the monster doesn’t turn on them.” (Terry Eleveld, Daily Kos, September 25, 2021)
One astute Daily Kos reader adds: “The crowd is being stoked by Tucker Carlson and others, backed by folks like the Mercers and the Murdochs, and by Russian-backed online efforts. When the republicans got into bed with Putin we said that they would lose control when their interests diverged from those of their new comrades, and that’s what we are seeing now, to terrifying results.”
We have already seen just how extreme Madison Cawthorn is. Given that the NFP and fundamentalist Christianity are two sides of the same coin, some of his comments reflect this. Daily Kos quotes him as saying: “It is time for the American Christian church to come out of the shadows, to say ‘No longer are we going to allow our culture to be determined by people who hate the things that we believe in! We are going to stand valiantly for God’s incredible inerrant truths that predate any version of government.’ Because my friends, if we lose this country today, if we bend the knee to the Democrats today, our country will be lost forever, our children will never know what freedom is.” (Daily Kos, October 5, 2021)
This is the same Christian man who has been accused of sexual harassment by numerous women. One can only wonder how serious he is when he says that Christians have remained “in the shadows.” Has he not noticed that Christian churches are seen on just about every street corner? Has he never turned on the television on Sunday mornings to hear the religious claptrap being spouted by Christian hypocrites. Equally funny is his twisted idea that the Old Testament was trying to uphold Christian values. But then, little things like logic and facts don’t matter to Cawthorn and his NFP comrades.
Hitler’s bogeyman during the Second World War was the Jewish community. One of the NFP’s bogeyman is the Islamic community (others include the Democratic party, secular humanism, science, education, etc.). It doesn’t take much imagination to predict what will happen to American Muslims should the NFP gain total control of the government.
There are obvious connections between the Taliban and today’s right-wing movement, comprising the NFP, Christian nationalists, QAnon and other anti-American groups. Daily Kos makes the connection: “In the days after the Sept. 11 attacks—launched by a group of Islamist terrorists (al-Qaida) given safe haven and protection in Afghanistan by the Taliban—most Americans did not harbor positive feelings toward that regime. Yet somehow, 20 years later there is one group, right-wing white Christian nationalists, who now sing the Taliban’s praises. If you were prescient enough to see that one coming, well, that’s some serious Professor Trelawney-level talent. For some time now, these right-wing extremists who (falsely) claim the mantle of patriots have been just raving about the Taliban. Why? Because both groups hate LGBTQ folks, Jews, women, liberals, a non-theocratic society, and ‘globalism,’ for starters. The hard right also hates Muslims, but they mostly concern themselves with Muslims here in the U.S., not so much Muslims in other parts of the world—so long as they stay there.
“…white nationalist ‘Groyper’ Nick Fuentes—he’s also a close chum of Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar—wrote on the encrypted app Telegram: ‘The Taliban is a conservative, religious force, the U.S. is godless and liberal. The defeat of the U.S. government in Afghanistan is unequivocally a positive development.’ The fact that the Taliban’s victory came on President Biden’s watch only added to the general glee on the right. Joanna Mendelson, associate director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, noted that a dangerous number of right-wing extremists are displaying ‘almost this infatuation and admiration’ for the Taliban. She added: ‘the fact that the Taliban at the end of the day could claim victory over such a world power is something that white supremacists are taking note of.’
“An account linked to everyone’s favorite a&%holes, the Proud Boys, put this message out on Telegram: ‘These farmers and minimally trained men fought to take back their nation back from globohomo. They took back their government, installed their national religion as law, and executed dissenters…If white men in the west had the same courage as the Taliban, we would not be ruled by Jews.’ I expect the Proud Boys don’t want to turn the U.S. completely into Afghanistan, with its incredibly high poverty rate, but they don’t seem to make the connection between a society based on religious freedom, equal rights, and pluralism and the level of development our country has managed to achieve. Just sayin’.
“Here’s another one, from a blog post connected to Atomwaffen Division and the National Socialist Order, a neo-Nazi terrorist group: ‘NATO is pulling out of Afghanistan after 20 years of war with the Taliban and losing…This should in fact be celebrated as a victory against the Jewish-controlled world. While the Taliban does have its faults, they are nonetheless a marked enemy of the Jews.’
“Antisemitism is a common theme in these right-wing messages, which also typically denigrate Islam overall, despite their kind words for the Taliban. Intellectual consistency isn’t exactly a hallmark for these guys. Ultimately, the enemy of their enemy is their friend. These sentiments don’t just appear on encrypted apps and blog posts; they reflect mainstream thinking in today’s Trump Republican Party. Don’t believe me? Here’s Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, one of the twice impeached former guy’s strongest allies (he’s also officially under investigation for sex trafficking and, unofficially, for being the smarmiest looking guy in America whose name doesn’t begin with T and end with UMP): ‘Taliban and Trump should both be on Twitter. More legitimate than the last government in Afghanistan or the current government here.’ He sees the Taliban as more legitimate than the duly elected president of the United States. No snarky comment can do justice to how disgusting that statement is.” (Ian Reifowitz, Daily Kos, September 11, 2021)
Most church leaders, like most Americans, recognize the necessity of wearing masks during the pandemic. Of course, there are exceptions. Pastor Greg Locke of Tennessee is a perfect example of how nutty some of these opponents of common sense actually are. He told his congregation that no one should take any kind of COVID safety precautions and if they do, they will be thrown out of his church. Locke is a typical Christian fundamentalist who has been arrested six times and put on probation five times. He is a staunch anti-science, hell-fire and brimstone minister of the type that has become all too common in today’s America. He has a book called “This Means War” in which he claims that the world is “ripe and ready for war.” And it goes without saying that he is an avid Trump supporter who claims the 2020 election was “stolen.” Despite the ravings of this madman, he has over 14 million followers on Facebook.
Locke mouths off all the QAnon’s talking points. For example, he has accused President Biden, Oprah Winfrey, and Tom Hanks, among others, as ‘a bunch of pedophiles.’ The catch is that he can’t say he belongs to QAnon because if he did, he would be banished from YouTube.
Another example of a devout Christian’s disdain for common sense safety practices was seen in this quote from DeAnna Lorraine, a NFP activist: “God does not want us wearing masks…if you have a mask on, it means you actually don’t trust God. You don’t have faith.” By the same reasoning, this woman shouldn’t need any guns in her house, she shouldn’t wear seat belts when driving, and she shouldn’t take any medicines at all, because if she did, she wouldn’t be trusting in her celestial best friend.
When two children in Temecula California refused to wear masks, they were banned from the campus. Of course, their religious beliefs were the reason, according to their father. In a classic example of twisted reasoning, he stated: “The Bible says we’re made in the image of God and Satan tries to cover that up. A mask is a sign of oppression, If it was Muslim, Jewish or something of a more high-profile minority religion in this country, yes, they would have accommodated—just to say they weren’t discriminating based on that religion. But they feel safe because it’s Christianity.” The idea that students were removed because they are Christians is laughable in this fundamentalist Christian dominated society. Yet this father does not seem to understand that refusing to wear a mask is not mandated by any Christian faith, at least at present. It’s scary to think that people who still adhere to dark age mysticism can be taken seriously. But then, they are the ones that own the NFP.
Let us close the chapter on religion with a quote from Robert G. Ingersoll (1833-1899), known as “the great agnostic” and the foremost orator of his time: “When I became convinced that the universe is natural, that all the ghosts and gods are myths, there entered into my brain, into my soul, into every drop of my blood the sense, the feeling, the joy of freedom. The walls of my prison crumbled and fell. The dungeon was flooded with light and all the bolts and bars and manacles became dust.”
ON THE PLUS SIDE…
Despite the NFP’s attempts to turn America into a fundamentalist Christian theocracy, there are a few people and movements to hold them accountable for their crimes and to stop their fascist agenda.
As much as I hate to give credit to any Republican, former President George W. Bush surprised many people when he said that both foreign and domestic terrorists must be fought. USA Today reports: “Former President George W. Bush compared domestic and foreign extremists Saturday, seeming to liken the insurrectionists who attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 to the 9/11 hijackers and calling on Americans to confront the growing threats from both groups. ‘There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home,’ Bush said during a speech at the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. ‘But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit.’ His remarks Saturday marked 20 years since the 9/11 attacks, when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field after passengers fought against the plane’s hijackers, causing it to miss its intended target in Washington, D.C.
‘It is our continuing duty to confront them,’ Bush added…Bush has been critical of the events that occurred eight months ago, saying the assault made him ‘sick to my stomach’ and calling it an attack on democracy.” (Sarah Elbeshbishi, USA Today, September 11, 2021)
Public Citizen tells us of a positive action taken by Congress to ensure that the corruption under Donald Trump never re-occurs: “Donald Trump abused the power of the presidency. To enrich himself. To carry out vendettas against critics and political enemies. To shield himself, his children, and assorted sycophants from accountability. With the introduction this morning of the Protecting Our Democracy Act, Congress has taken a bold step toward preventing the egregious presidential corruption we saw under Donald Trump.
“The Protecting Our Democracy Act would:
- Restore the balance of power between the federal government’s legislative and executive branches.
- Prevent abuse of presidential pardons.
- Make sure presidents and vice presidents can be held accountable for criminal conduct.
- Enforce the Constitution’s emoluments clause (which is meant to keep government officials from accepting gifts from foreign nations).
- Strengthen enforcement of congressional subpoenas.
- Reassert the congressional power of the purse.
- Increase oversight of presidential emergency declarations.
- Limit political interference at the U.S. Department of Justice.
- Protect the independence of inspectors general.
- Shield federal whistleblowers who uncover misconduct.
- Restrict the use of ‘acting’ officials and improve measures to hold them accountable.
- Ensure that foreign interference in elections gets reported to law enforcement.
- Toughen enforcement of the Hatch Act (which is meant to keep federal officials from using their offices for partisan political campaigning).
- Require the disclosure of tax returns by presidential candidates.
“Tell Congress: Donald Trump made a mockery of our nation’s system of checks and balances. Pass the Protecting Our Democracy Act so that no president will ever again be able to get away with such egregious corruption and abuses of power.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, September 21, 2021)
Given the actions we’ve seen from the corporate Democrats, passage seems unlikely, but nothing has been settled as of this writing.
Right-wing Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh is being investigated for numerous reasons, any one of which would be sufficient for his impeachment and removal from the court. His lies under oath and his support of dark money groups show that the NFP isn’t the least bit concerned about putting qualified people in positions of power: Instead, they want people that will unquestioningly follow Trump’s every order, no matter what their past histories. During Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, the FBI received over 4500 tips on his misbehaviors and sexual transgressions, and passed them on to Trump’s White House Council’s office, which then, unsurprisingly, kept Senators from seeing them. MoveOn explains: “The FBI has admitted that it never conducted a thorough investigation of accusations against Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings to the Supreme Court—referring tips about Kavanaugh directly to the Trump White House instead of pursuing them directly. It’s one more reminder that Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and Senate Republicans rushed through Kavanaugh’s confirmation in a right-wing power grab—and that Kavanaugh never should have been confirmed. Now, with the revelation that the FBI collected more than 4,500 tips about Kavanaugh, the allegations of sexual assault must be fully investigated. Congress can take action now to launch a full investigation and begin impeachment proceedings, which could potentially result in Kavanaugh’s removal from the court. When Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, multiple women came forward bravely to share their experiences of Kavanaugh’s sexual assault, aggression, and maliciousness. Now, we know for sure the FBI never fully investigated these credible accusations—because they were following the Trump administration’s politicized direction on how to conduct the investigation. Clearly, this investigation was incomplete, inexcusable, and designed to dismiss the multiple cases of sexual assault brought forward. Nobody should be in a lifetime seat on the nation’s highest court under such circumstances. The Senate must impeach Kavanaugh immediately.”
(MoveOn, July 23, 2021)
Time will tell if his much-deserved removal gains any momentum. The bottom line is that the Supreme Court is no longer supreme. As Daily Kos reports: “Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett sit in stolen Supreme Court seats. Brett Kavanaugh is a sexual abuser who has no business being anywhere near a courtroom. All three of them hold dangerous judicial views. The only practical, proportional response to this rise of extremism is to restore the court’s balance and integrity by passing the Judiciary Act of 2021. The Judiciary Act of 2021 would add four justices to the bench, reversing the Republican theft of the court.” (Sarah Hogg, Daily Kos, December 10, 2021)
There are a few positive reports on the pollution industry. Environment America tells us: “The developer of the Keystone XL pipeline has officially cancelled the project. Keystone XL would have run from tar sands (one of the dirtiest sources of oil on the planet) in Canada through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. The pipeline’s construction and usage would have disrupted ecosystems and contributed to millions of tons of carbon emissions, as well as introducing the risk of potentially devastating oil spills.” (Steve Blackledge, Environment America, July 5, 2021)
The same article also reports: “A new law in Maine implements the strongest statewide restriction in the United States on the use of neonicotinoids (or neonics). Neonics harm bee colonies and can contaminate soil and groundwater long after their initial application. Environment Maine collected more than 10,500 signatures urging lawmakers to protect the bees from neonics, demonstrating staunch grassroots support. This law bans the use of neonics in residential landscapes.”
As before noted, the NFP will do everything in its power to stop anything Joe Biden and the Democratic party tries to do. That is all they stand for. The NFP has been rather silent on the economy, which should come as no surprise. Yahoo News tells us: “The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Friday the US economy added 943,000 jobs in July, which beat economist forecasts and marked the strongest month of payroll creation since last August. Nearly every facet of the report was positive. The unemployment rate fell more than expected to 5.4%. Employment broadened across racial lines. Wage growth exceeded estimates. And labor-force participation ticked higher, suggesting the worker shortage weakened. At the current pace of job growth, the labor market’s rebound is three times faster than that seen after the Great Recession.” (Ben Winck, Yahoo News, August 6, 2021)
More Perfect Union adds: “Household wealth among the bottom 20% of Americans is at $3 trillion—up nearly 20% since earlier this year and up 55% from pre-pandemic levels. The economy is booming—with the strongest job growth, wage growth, household wealth, and worker power seen in years. This is thanks to Democratic policies passed this past spring, including stimulus, unemployment benefits, the child tax credit, food assistance payments, and more…Over the 12-month period ending in September, wages and salaries have increased by 4.6%—with young people and the bottom 20% seeing even stronger gains.
“The U.S. has added an average of 582,000 jobs per month in 2021—a total of 5.8 million new jobs this year. And worker power is stronger than it’s been in decades with 74% of U.S. workers saying ‘now is a good time to find a quality job.’” (Faiz Shakir, More Perfect Union, December 13, 2021)
Don’t expect to hear any of this from Fox News or ONN.
Public Citizen has published an article detailing their strategies for 2022. Although long, I am printing it in its near entirety: “PUBLIC CITIZEN’S FOUR TOP PRIORITIES FOR 2022:
“I. Addressing the Global Pandemic
“As significant as vaccine problems remain in the United States, they are nothing compared to the developing world, where shortages as well as some delivery problems are blocking access. The vaccination rate in rich countries is over six times what it is in African nations, and rich countries are grabbing almost all of the high-quality mRNA vaccines. Meanwhile, the rich countries that house the vaccine makers have NO global plan to vaccinate the world.
“This is a humanitarian outrage. And it makes it far more difficult to contain the pandemic in the United States—as we (and others) predicted—which we’re seeing (again) with the explosion of the Omicron variant.
“Having shifted U.S. policy by winning reduced patent protections for COVID vaccines, we are now pushing for a global manufacturing plan. Global vaccination won’t come from fighting over limited supply. We need to vastly scale up production. Omicron has made this absolutely imperative. Not only will rich countries now use more high-quality mRNA vaccines—exacerbating shortages in developing countries—but Omicron makes clear that the world needs to be prepared to manufacture refined vaccines regularly in order to respond to new variants. There is nowhere near enough manufacturing capacity to do this.
“Public Citizen is driving the public debate on this issue. Our $25 billion manufacturing plan remains the most detailed plan available to scale up global manufacturing and to force the vaccine makers to share their technology. The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and many others have endorsed our plan.
“Moving forward, we will pursue three major advocacy prongs: 1. Win funding from Congress for global manufacturing. 2. Persuade the Biden administration to embrace its existing authorities and to facilitate a scaled-up manufacturing plan. 3. Help facilitate a network of vaccine manufacturing facilities around the world to respond quickly to any future pandemics.
“To drive the work, we are combining expert analysis, intensive lobbying, polling, a full-scale communication effort, coalition building, grassroots mobilization, and strategically timed protests and actions.
“We are witnessing one of the great moral failures of our time. Millions of people will die simply because we don’t share technology and scale up production. Hundreds of millions will be forced to live in dire poverty because of pandemic-related lockdowns. And even in the United States, we will be hobbled for as long as the global pandemic lasts. Public Citizen is not going to stand by and just watch the situation unfold. We are going to change it. We’ve already made a difference—forcing key changes in U.S. policy and significantly increasing U.S. vaccination donations—but we are going to do a lot more than that.
“II. Delivering on the Promise of Build Back Better
“Senator Joe Manchin’s most recent grandstanding aside, President Biden’s transformative Build Back Better plan ‘will’ be passed once Congress is back at work in the new year.
“The reforms in Build Back Better—even the version of it dialed back specifically to appease Manchin—would level the playing field for everyday Americans in a way we haven’t seen since the New Deal era.
- We’re talking about extending a tax credit that cut child poverty in half this year.
- We’re talking about affordable child care and universal pre-K.
- We’re talking about our nation’s first ‘serious’ spending to reduce carbon emissions, transition to clean energy, and keep the planet habitable for our children and grandchildren.
- We’re talking about lowering prices for essential medicines like insulin.
- We’re talking about improving the lives of *millions* of seniors by adding hearing coverage to Medicare.
- And on and on and on.
Working people need and deserve the relief in Build Back Better. And while I don’t have a crystal ball to see into the mind of Joe Manchin, I can promise you this: Public Citizen will not rest until Build Back Better passes and the American people get the relief they were promised.
“III. Averting Climate Catastrophe
“It is too late to stop climate change. But whether it is a civilization-threatening process or ‘only’ a severe-but-manageable disruption is up to us. The decisions people make now will impact humanity’s future for centuries…or perhaps all time. And, so far, we’re not making good decisions. Accelerating away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy requires multiple strategies.
“Along with our advocacy for major governmental investments in renewables and strong national standards, we are carving out a role in the climate/finance space.
“What does that mean? Two things: First, we are leading the effort to hold financial institutions accountable for their role in financing climate-destroying activities. Second, we are pushing financial regulators to infuse climate risk into their analysis of the issues facing banks and financial institutions. Our underlying theory? Follow the money. If carbon polluters can’t get financing, they can’t undertake new projects.
“Along with public pressure, the key to making this approach stick is explaining how fossil fuels pose financial risks. New investments in pipelines, natural gas, or oil drilling do not make sense because the world is going to shift away from dirty energy. Investments now are much riskier as a business proposition than the markets are recognizing. We are running a focused campaign targeting the insurer AIG to stop insuring and investing in fossil fuels, and we are pushing a broad agenda with financial regulators. We are optimistic that the Securities and Exchange Commission will soon require publicly traded companies to disclose their climate risk, which we think will prompt meaningful changes in investment strategies. And following our advocacy, federal and state regulators are starting to require banks and insurers to take climate-related risks more seriously—which will make it harder for fossil fuels to get financing and insurance.
“Going forward, our plan includes:
- Pushing for nomination of financial regulators who will address the climate crisis.
- Working with and pressuring financial regulators to take action.
- Publishing detailed, expert commentary that explains how to implement climate commitments at agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.
- Pushing the Federal Reserve, the Treasury Department, and other agencies to mitigate climate risks to our financial system and to stop banks from contributing to climate risks.
- Working with state insurance regulators to apply climate targets to insurers, following the breakthrough approach we helped win in Connecticut.
- Campaigning against AIG as a leading insurer and financer of fossil fuel projects, with the aim of winning measurable commitments from the company to reverse its practices.
And that’s only part of what we’re doing.
“We have a lot more going on, such as driving climate action plans in all major cities of Texas. We’re advocating for major federal investments in clean energy. We’re pushing for stronger vehicle fuel efficiency, including in a major lawsuit. We’re leading the way for a workplace safety rule to protect workers—especially immigrant farm workers—from deadly heat exposure. We’re pushing to end oil leasing on federal lands. We’re calling for an end to U.S. oil and gas exports. We’re pushing for innovative systems of public participation at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that would empower tribes and affected communities to push back against natural gas development schemes.
“There’s not going to be any single win that solves climate change. It’s going to take years of work, building awareness and public demand for action. We’re going to have to pile up victories—and use that momentum to make even more advances. The effort to decarbonize the planet is going to reach every nook and cranny of the global economy.
“For Public Citizen, as always, we’re driven by where we can make a strategic difference. The climate/finance area reflects that we can capitalize on our expertise. We’re confident we can impact policy makers—in fact, we’re already seeing that. We believe this strategic intervention will have broad ripple effects throughout the economy.
“IV. Preventing Fascism in America and Saving Democracy.
“It is no exaggeration to say that the American democratic experiment is under assault. Against the basic notion of ‘one person, one vote’ stands the reality of Big Money, where a mere 100 individuals are responsible for 70% of all Super PAC contributions! And the money is getting even more consequential. The coming elections will be the most expensive midterms ever—with as much as two times more spent than any previous midterm (Yes, groan for all the ads you will have to suffer through, but also shed a tear for what it means about our democracy.)
“Meanwhile, we are witnessing a reversal of core voting rights that seemed unfathomable for the past half century.
- The Supreme Court has gutted the Voting Rights Act—and states are leaping at the chance to target voters of color and make it harder to vote.
- This year alone, more than 400 bills have been proposed in virtually every state to restrict the freedom to vote—and more than 30 voting restriction laws have been passed in 19 states.
- Amazingly, that’s not all. Now we’re facing outright election sabotage—the prospect that state legislators will overturn the actual vote count and declare as winner someone who did not receive the most votes.
- t least eight states, including Arizona and Georgia, have enacted 10 laws this year that change election laws to give more power to legislatures or partisan entities and strip election duties from secretaries of state.
Public Citizen is not going to let this slow-motion coup succeed.
“Four years ago, we pulled together what has now become the major nationwide pro-democracy coalition. I don’t have enough space to list for you all the town halls, rallies, creative actions, petitions, emails, letters and telephone calls to members of Congress, letters to the editor, lobby meetings, and much, much more that we have done in the last several years to win transformative democracy legislation—not just to prevent and undo the abuses we just reviewed, but also to fundamentally strengthen and advance our democracy.
“The filibuster has slowed but not defeated us. We are on the precipice of winning major democracy legislation and we’re going to get it done, the filibuster be damned. Public Citizen is throwing everything we have at winning passage of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act—legislation that would end Dark Money, secure the right to vote, establish automatic voter registration, prevent election sabotage, and much more. Getting it done requires Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema agreeing to a filibuster workaround. It’s as simple as that. And we will make it happen.
“ONE OTHER THING
“For 50 years, Public Citizen has been hearing things like ‘no’ or ‘impossible’ and then winning anyway. To give you just one example, can you imagine anyone buying, or any company making, a new car without airbags? That was us. It’s not always easy. In fact, it’s almost never easy.
“We are not afraid of hard work. And we do not stop until we win. (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, December 28, 2021)
As long as there remain groups such as Public Citizen, Daily Kos, and the many others I have referenced through the years, there remains hope. Our job as citizens is to assist them in every way we can. Nothing less than our country is at stake.
The biggest problem facing our country today is not the New Fascist Party; it is the simple fact that most Americans still think that this is the Republican party of old. That party was on the decline for decades until the final coup de gras took place in 2016. This new party has one goal and one goal only: To get total control of the reins of government and to keep it, by whatever means necessary. They have lied and intimidated their way to success and are now close to being in a position to destroy all opposition. They have taken advantage of the old canard that a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth. It doesn’t, but what it does do is convince people that it must be true, simply because so many people are saying it. Facts mean nothing to these people; all they are interested is in hearing how their side is fighting to keep their country free of the evil opposition. They speak in simplistic terms that people can readily accept and their followers are not about to examine the issue beyond the lies they are being fed.
Put another way, the biggest problem facing the country today is that most of our citizens seem blissfully unaware of the threat to our survival posed by a party that has no interest in their welfare whatever. As discussed earlier, the safeguards that have always kept would-be totalitarians at bay no longer exist. This is what has enabled a man like Donald Trump to become president and to carry out his frightening agenda. Trumpism is America’s latest religious cult, and Trump is their savior. And true believers never question anything their imagined savior says or does. This is why faith is such an inherently evil concept.
The New Fascist Party is a party driven by hate. Their every word and action is vicious and serves only one purpose: To demonize their opponents and sow division among the American people. The NFP’s leaders are rude, arrogant, and have only their own interests at heart. The will of the people means nothing to them. The U.S. Constitution means nothing to them. The rule of law means nothing to them. Despite their screaming about the “rights” of the unborn, they couldn’t care less about anyone’s life except those of their fellow “true believers.” Facts and the truth mean nothing to them. They have no problem whatever resorting to violence to get what they want; January 6, 2021 proved this beyond a shadow of a doubt. They are, almost without exception, criminals that should be in prison and certainly not in any position of power. The days of calm reasoned discourse are over; these people cannot be reasoned with because they are the very personification of unreason. Until the Democratic party realizes this and grows a backbone, the NFP’s success will be imminent.
The NFP adheres to the same noxious formula adopted by every totalitarian regime, namely fundamentalist religion. This world view can be summed up in three words: God, country, and patriotism. They believe in a supreme being that doesn’t exist. They believe that this being will magically descend from the heavens and bring them eternal happiness. They believe that anyone who thinks differently is evil. The “don’t think, don’t question” attitude which is the foundation of their religious faith is also the foundation of their faith in Trumpism and the NFP.
The NFP offers nothing for America other than contrarianism. If Trump says it, that automatically makes it true to them. Since Democrats want to help people and keep Americans safe during the worst pandemic in a century, the NFP opposes them not for ideological reasons, but simply because they have no platform other than attacking and lying about their opponents. The NFP isn’t a legitimate party and progressives need to go on the attack and stay there, because corporate Democrats and corporate America certainly aren’t going to do it for them. Treating fascists with respect only enables them to go even further. This is a party that has made crime an integral part of its agenda and wrapping themselves in the flag doesn’t change that; it’s what totalitarian regimes always do.
Let us imagine what life will be like by mid-century (assuming there is life at all). There are two possible scenarios: First, let’s assume that people have come to their senses (admittedly far from likely) and we have a country led by progressive Democrats. In this scenario, we would be rather similar to most European countries and we would have an educational system free from religious and right-wing influences. We would also have universal healthcare, renewable energy sources and affordable taxes. Gasoline powered cars would be a thing of the past. Fascist groups and fundamentalist religious groups would be relegated to the sidelines and play no role in political decision making.
Our second scenario is one in which the NFP has complete control. The newly named Christian States of America would resemble some of the more ruthless totalitarian regimes of today, such as Russia, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia. Everyone would be required to acknowledge the “truth” of fundamentalist Christianity and dissenters would be ruthlessly dealt with. Our laws would be based on fundamentalist Christian dogma, and church leaders would write the laws. Our leaders would all be fundamentalist Christians constantly on the lookout for dissenters. The Democratic party and all other political parties no longer exist since the NFP would have long since clamped down on them as being “unpatriotic” and “un-American” and “a danger to our way of life.” Public schools would be extinct and replaced by churches whose teachers stress the NFP’s version of Christian morality and dogma. The nation’s richest people would be trillionaires, there would be virtually no middle class, and some 95-98 percent of the country would be poor. Homelessness will be ubiquitous. Unemployment will consequently be rampant, and most of the country’s wealth would be spent on defense or, more correctly on offense since the new CSA will have no qualms about starting wars with other countries. No one except the uber-rich will have clean drinking water and, with diseases rampant throughout the country, the average American’s life span will have dwindled significantly. Global warming will have melted more glacial ice caps and large parts of our coastal cities will be under water. The CSA will not be part of the UN or any other multi-national organization. Just about everyone will sport guns when walking the streets and homicide rates will be off the charts. The Christian Nazi courts will have no hesitation in acquitting those committing hate crimes; minorities will be persecuted for no reason other than hatred and racism. Employers will be free to discriminate against minorities without fear of consequences when hiring. More and more plant and animal species will become extinct. The four presidents on Mount Rushmore have been destroyed and replaced with one showing Donald Trump holding a crucifix. His image would also be on all our coins.
Suffice it to say, with the NFP currently calling the shots, and with a spineless Democratic leadership, the second possibility seems far more likely.
The Democratic party has done next to nothing to stop the assault on our country. Until the real progressives either take over the party or else start their own (please see my article “Why we Need Four Political Parties), the corporate Democrats will continue to treat the NFP as colleagues to be reasoned with rather than traitors to be dealt with. Democrats have to realize that there is no compromising with fascists and if they think otherwise, they are only fooling themselves and bringing us that much closer to a totalitarian fascist state. The NFP is the enemy of all thinking people, and progressives must unashamedly call them what they are. The NFP doesn’t care about the truth. They don’t care about the Constitution and the rule of law. They don’t care about anyone who is not filthy rich. They don’t care about the planet. And they don’t care about life itself.
True progressives are the only political entities who are both capable and willing to face the life and death issues facing this country—and the world. There are no saviors in the real world, but progressives must at least take the bull by the horns and begin the enormous task of educating our people to what real morality actually is.