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2021: A New President, But The Same Old Republicans

THOUGH OUT OF POWER, THE RIGHT-WING IS STILL CALLING THE SHOTS.  HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?
AMERICA: JANUARY 1—JUNE 30, 2021
BY JON NELSON

INTRODUCTION

This is the ninth installment on my ongoing examination of Donald Trump and the corruption of his party.  The first thing to mention is that, from this point forward, the Republican party will no longer be referred to by that name.  This is not hyperbole on my part; given their fascist tactics which I have discussed at length in each of my preceding articles, they will from this point onward be referred to as the New Fascist Party (NFP).  This is only appropriate inasmuch as the NFP bears almost no resemblance to the Republican party of earlier times.  What follows should make the rationale behind my name change for this party perfectly clear.

This article will focus on the January 6 insurrection led by a group of fanatical NFP Trump supporters, aided and abetted by their idol, and the cowardice exhibited by politicians who have since attempted to downplay the significance of this traitorous attack on our country.  Democrats once again seem to be unsure of how to deal with the situation, while Republicans have made some of the stupidest statements imaginable as they try to get their standard-bearer off the hook in the hope that he will run for president again in 2024.

We will also see how the NFP continues to do everything in its power to keep Democrats, who now have control of all three branches of government, from leading the country they were elected to serve.  The NFP’s only purpose of existence is to destroy democracy and institute one-party rule, and their basic strategy is to be against everything, and I mean everything, the Democrats support.  From COVID-19, safety masks, the 2020 election, the filibuster, voter fraud, and just about every issue facing this country, the NFP has spewed lies, distortions, and every conceivable dirty trick in order to trick the public.  The key question emerging from this is: How is it that when the NFP was in charge, the Democrats were unable to stop them as they forced their agenda on the American people, but now that the tables have been turned and the Democrats control the seats of government, the NFP is able to block everything they try to accomplish?

Another key question, perhaps the key question, is: How is it that, given Trump’s support of the traitorous attack on our country, the majority of Republicans continue to support him?  If democracy means nothing to these people, as it obviously doesn’t, what does that say about the future of our country?

This article will examine most of the issues covered in previous articles, including COVID-19, the right-wing media, the election, big business, racism and bigotry, the tax scam, fundamentalist religion, the unparalleled lies of the right-wing and, most of all, the scandalous behavior of the NFP on all these issues and their utter failure to serve the people they were elected to serve.  I will update these points with new evidence that should prove to any thinking person why my labelling the former Republican party as the NFP is fully justified.

However, there is one new issue that has arisen which the entire world knows about and which conclusively shows what the former Republican party has devolved into.  This issue is, of course the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump’s most fanatical followers.


JANUARY 6: THE FASCIST ATTACK ON OUR COUNTRY

On January 6 2021, something occurred in Washington that would have been unthinkable in earlier times: A full-scale insurrection occurred in the U.S. Capitol led by a rabid group of Trump supporters who bought into his nonsense about the election being “stolen” from him.  I have covered the election in my previous article entitled: “Voter Fraud: Where and by Whom?” and will not repeat myself here.  I did mention in that article that Trump’s fanatical followers will stop at nothing to keep him in power, a prediction that came true on January 6.  As we will see, it is likely that this failed coup will only serve as a prototype for much more violence to come.

Trump had long been calling for the insurrection to take place and had even set the date for January 6, so no one should have been surprised at what happened on that day.  As the day grew nearer, Daily Kos reported: “As far as what Donald Trump and his most violent followers are actually planning on doing on Jan. 6, that remains to be seen.  Trump, fully immersed in the delusion that his election loss was due to massive, unproven, and completely invisible ‘fraud’ by voters, is no longer pretending to do his day job, and after being shut down by every court due to his ‘legal team’s’ claims being provably false on their face, is now inviting supporters to flood Washington in an apparent attempt to simply intimidate Congress into nullifying the election. Trump is doing it from a place of literal delusion—the man has suffered a narcissistic breakdown and cannot distinguish between objective reality and his own promoted lies.  His followers are doing it because establishing a white nationalist, pseudo-Christian state where our democracy used to be seems close enough to taste; whether it is based on hoaxes and propaganda is, in yet another of the defining features of fascism, irrelevant.

The Proud Boys do not intend to end their instigations of violence next week. Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio is encouraging followers to obtain tickets to Biden’s inauguration, don pro-Biden clothes, then ‘revolt’ from inside the venue.  Other fascist groups are also calling for anti-Biden violence.  Trump is pointedly not discouraging it and will likely escalate into himself calling for violence, explicitly, before he is removed from the White House.  He is desperate, he has never given a damn about his oath, the country, or anything else, and his new pardons show that he is keenly aware that he has left a trail of crimes and corruption behind him that will outlast his presidential abilities to hide them.” (Hunter, Daily Kos, December 29, 2020)

Even though it was obvious that the Proud Boys and other fascist groups descending on Washington would prove to be violent insurrectionists, numerous NFP members continued to stoke the flames.  Louis Gohmert, one of the dumbest people ever to hold high office in the United States, said the following on a right-wing TV network on January 1: “you’ve got to go to the streets and be as violent as Antifa and BLM.”  Inciting people to violence has become standard operating procedure in the NFP, much as it was in Hitler’s Germany.  As for Gohmert, he was briefly profiled in Public Citizen in this way: “Gohmert thinks climate change is a hoax. (He also thinks lynching should not be a federal hate crime.  And he filed a lawsuit against then-Vice President Mike Pence for not overturning the 2020 election.)   Last week, in a congressional hearing on natural resources, Rep. Louie Gohmert said the following (I am not making this up, and Gohmert was apparently serious): ‘We know there’s been significant solar flare activities. Um…and so is there anything that the National Forest Service or [Bureau of Land Management] can do to, uh, change the course of the Moon’s orbit or the Earth’s orbit around the Sun?  Obviously that would have profound effects on our climate.’  That’s an actual member of the United States House of Representatives wondering out loud—and on the record—if we can solve the climate crisis by altering the orbit of the Moon or the Earth.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, June 14, 2021)

As the Proud Boys and other fascist groups boarded their planes taking them to Washington, two women refused to wear masks, forcing the other passengers to deplane.  As they left, one of them said to a black passenger: “Have a good day, nigger.”  This racial epithet is typical of the NFP and speaks volumes about the kind of America they envision.  One can only imagine how many other incidents of this kind took place prior to January 6.

Daily Kos tells us in no uncertain terms just what kind of people attacked our nation’s capitol on January 6: “As the clock ticks down to Jan. 20, this country is experiencing something it has never seen before.  Acting president Donald Trump is dismissing the results of an election that indisputably removed him from office, while loudly rallying disparate factions of his supporters to publicly demonstrate, using loud, angry threats of violence, in an attempt to intimidate elected federal lawmakers into disregarding those election results.  The people who he is summoning to fulfill his wishes number among what most Americans would traditionally consider our country’s worst specimens: violent white supremacists, anti-government militia, neo-Nazi groups and others from our society’s fringes.  Their collective end-goal, fairly stated, is the transformation of this country into a racist republic, with violence as its means of enforcement.  This is occurring in the context of a pervasive, national propaganda effort instigated and supported by fringe, right-wing media, much of it nationalist and white supremacist in origin.  These platforms have spun an alternative, wholly fictional world where the election was somehow fraudulent and the product of a mythical conspiracy to deprive Trump of his rightful victory.  Despite being rooted in nonsense and fabrication, this contrived mythology has nonetheless acquired such force and power that a large number of congressional Republicans—at least in the House of Representatives—are willing to abet and encourage it, disregarding their oaths both to the Constitution and to their country.

“Only a few years ago the prospect of something as potentially destructive to our democracy as this would have been consigned to the realm of speculative fiction.  Yet that is exactly where we are, right here, right now, as Congress prepares to certify former Vice President Joe Biden’s substantial and incontestable victory in the Electoral College on Wednesday.  Just how incredibly far the country has descended into this poisonous cesspool in such a short period of time can be discerned by reviewing the potential attendees who Donald Trump has been urging the entire week to demonstrate ‘wildly’—and implicitly, violently—in the streets of our nation’s capital as Congress votes.” (Dartagnan, Daily Kos, January 2, 2021)

The article continues by focusing on the potential violence that could be released when January 6 actually arrives: “Individuals scheduled to attend and speak at the rallies include convicted criminals Roger Stone and George Papadopolous, both of who were pardoned by Trump for crimes that relate to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s involvement with the Russian Federation during Trump’s 2016 campaign.  According to the Daily Beast, the predominant topic concerning these Trump supporters is how they can bring weapons to the rally in an effort to physically prevent Congress from ratifying Biden’s victory…There is really no issue, no policy outcome, no coherent plan that any of them could point to as something they’d like to see implemented—only the desire to reclaim the hate that Trump has so graciously given them the opportunity to spew over the last four years.  This vocal minority has seized on the collective fiction that the election was somehow ‘stolen’ from their hero, not because that narrative makes any sense, but because blind, unquestioning acceptance binds them together and makes them feel strong and consequential.  The one thing that unites these criminals and hate groups is the threat of violence that they carry with them, both implicitly and explicitly.  Their purpose has nothing to do with defending democracy as we know it.  Rather, these protesters’ purpose is to assist Trump’s attempt to unlawfully seize power by subverting our democratic institutions, because Trump has catered to their hate and grievances like no other American leader in modern history.  These right-wing devotees see Trump as their first real chance to exert their power and legitimize their hatred and anger, with their ultimate goal to dominate, or preferably exterminate, Democrats and those ‘others’ who support them.  The people who will gather on the streets of D.C. next week are the same people who just this weekend vandalized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home with graffiti and a severed pig’s head.  Left to their own devices, these people do not present a credible threat to our republic.  But the fact that they exemplify and represent the delusions of millions of Republican voters, so much that elected officials feel compelled to submit to their wishes, should really horrify all decent Americans.”

Two days before the lethal uprising, Daily Kos ran another excellent article on this unprecedented attack on our country: “As President of the United States, there are a few expectations of your job.  One of them is that you do not agitate in favor of an uprising against your fellow Americans.  Donald J. Trump has worked from the first day in office to his last to divide Americans, to foment discord, and to ask people to not see what is good in each other, but to distrust and hate each other.  For the party of Christian values, for a party that values life, this is the open decision to say 81 million Americans who voted should fear for their lives or have their lives threatened.  Recently, some of the conservative cases against Democratic voters and elected have bridged from the bizarre into rants that would be worthy of a cult or a terrorist organization.  Whether they like the label or not, On January 21, 2021, Donald J. Trump will stop being president.  He will begin his new life as the leader of an organization that has one goal: to destroy America.  Take to the streets.  Urge the violent overthrow of a duly elected government.  This is Trump’s party.  Where is the Republican Party to even defend their own?  As their own duly elected Secretary of State and his family were receiving death threats, where were the party members denouncing calls for violence?  Nowhere.  More death threats.  Republican federal elected to say it was wrong?  It’s a ghost town.  Recently, Lin Wood, Trump’s own attorney, demanded the public execution by hanging of Vice President Mike Pence, because he will confirm Joe Biden as president on January 6.” (Christopher Reeves, Daily Kos, January 4, 2021)

As the events of January 6 began to unfold, Daily Kos began reporting the scene: “12:30 PM: Shortly after the joint session began to count the electoral votes, and as Donald Trump wrapped up his rally at the other end of the National Mall, Trump supporters turned on the Capitol and began knocking down one security fence after another.  Capital police met them at the steps and initially forced the group behind a temporary barrier.  But as more Trump supporters have arrived, the situation has become increasingly chaotic.   At least two buildings have been evacuated, there have been multiple reports of possible bombs or suspicious packages, and Trump supporters—many of them wearing military garb—have pushed past police to occupy scaffolding and move around barriers.  Despite Trump’s promises to invite the worst of his white supremacist followers to Washington for a ‘wild’ time, police seem to be completely unprepared for this level of violence.  Most are not wearing riot gear, and there has been only limited and sporadic deployment of pepper spray and tear gas.  In some instances Trump supporters have been pepper spraying the police, but they don’t seem to be getting arrested.  Now police are injured and protesters have breached the Capitol.  They are outside the Senate chambers, pounding on the doors.  Debate on the electoral votes has been halted as senators are evacuated to the sound of a roaring crowd and breaking glass…12:40:58: MSNBC reports the Senate is being evacuated.
CNN reports that Pence has been escorted out of the building.  Trump gets what he wants—the electoral vote was not totaled…12:43:17: These are the same Capitol Police who spent the summer wearing full riot gear and using tear gas, flash bangs, and rubber bullets against genuinely peaceful protestors blocks away from the Capitol.  Now they’re not even arresting Trump supporters who have forced their way past every security line, invaded the Capitol, and even injured police…12:44:57: Trump tweeting at his supporters to ‘stay peaceful,’ which they are not.  He has not called on them to leave the Capitol.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, January 6, 2021)

The claim that the police were “unprepared” is complete nonsense; reporter Ady Barkin for Daily Kos says he has been arrested no less than eight times for protesting peacefully at the U.S. Capitol.  Those same police are never “unprepared” when it comes to dealing with black protesters.

At this point, the Kos article quoted the tweets/reports from those on the scene:  “‘@MEPFuller reporting that shots have been fired in the House chamber.’ https://t.co/iMDTg6b1DK> Amanda Terkel (@aterkel) January 6, 2021.’  ‘Igor Bobic: ‘Protesters are on the third floor of the Senate, walking door to door shouting: ‘Where the fu%* are they?’  They’re in the Senate.  One is on top of the dais shouting: ‘Trump won that election!  This is insane.’  Rep. Dan Kildee: ‘I am in the House Chambers.  We have been instructed to lie down on the floor and put on our gas masks.  Chamber security and Capitol Police have their guns drawn as protesters bang on the front door of the chamber.  This is not a protest.  This is an attack on America.’  NBC News: ‘We have evacuated the House chamber.  Lots of members wearing gas masks as moving through buildings.  Members are calling family and saying they are OK.’  Alex Seitz-Wald: ‘They’re trying to break down the doors.  Literally.’  Igor Bobic: ‘Police officers are holding them steps away from the Senate chamber, which is locked.  Senators are inside.  I see a few confederate flags.’

Daily Kos stayed on the scene and reported other comments: “Anti-fash Gordon: ‘Police are nowhere in sight. People are entering the Capitol again.  ‘This is our country.  We’re not going to let the globalists take it,’ one rallier says.  ‘Globalists’ is a dogwhistle used by Neo-Nazis to refer to Jews, a replacement for ‘rootless cosmopolitan.’

Trump had encouraged this insurrection all along.  Daily Kos tells us what Trump said to his followers early on January 6: “On Wednesday, January 6, Trump addressed his supporters in Washington, DC and said: ‘We will not take it anymore and that’s what this is all about.  To use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal.’  He then directed them to march to the Capitol.  He said: ‘You’ll never take back our country with weakness.  You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.’” (Amanda McKay, Daily Kos, January 12, 2021) Here, the president of the United States is on record encouraging his supporters to commit treason, and by violent means.  He is openly advocating the overthrow of the government.  If this isn’t cause for his immediate dismissal from office and arrest, I don’t know what is.  This is a federal crime, and both the FBI and the Department of Justice should have taken immediate action.  That they did not speaks volumes about the state of the country today.

As for the ransacking of the U.S. Capitol, Trump tweeted: “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously and viciously stripped away.”  The preposterous idea that the election was stolen was being promoted months before the election, first by Trump alone (who cited no evidence whatever), then by his fellow NFP members, and eventually it trickled down to the fascists that stormed the Capitol.

When the insurrection was finally getting under control and it became obvious that the traitors would not be able to take over the U.S. Capitol, Trump, who until that point had steadfastly refused to condemn the attack, told the traitors: “We love you.  You’re very special.  Go home.”  In other words, the whole world heard the president of the United States telling the insurrectionists that he loves them.  They are special and loved, even though they’re responsible for five deaths and dozens of injuries.  They are loved even though they tried to overthrow the government.  Trump loves people who wear Confederate flags and wear pro-Nazi shirts.  Can this leave any doubt in the mind of any thinking person that we had a fascist leading our country for four years?

From the beginning of his presidency to its end, Trump has refused to acknowledge that he has ever been wrong about anything.  But, as his niece’s biography of him (extensively covered in my previous article) makes clear, that fact has been true of him his entire life.  He cannot admit to losing on anything, and this is what underlies his ridiculous claims of voter fraud.  Daily Kos explains how this has poisoned American politics, perhaps forever: “The foundations of this Republican coup attempt were laid from the beginnings of Trump’s ‘presidency,’ when his aides staffed government with collections of the party’s most far-right fringe figures, white nationalists, hoax-promoters, authoritarians, propagandists, incompetents, and seditionists.  Those figures received support from their party as they killed 400,000 Americans through incompetence, purged government of the non-ideological and the non-corrupt, and either decapitated government agencies to immobilize them or turned them into willing tools of one-party rule.

“The ‘denazification’ of government will be an all-consuming job for the next administration—or the nation will indeed fall.  So long as one party believes preserving its own power and removing opposition is worth trampling over all government norms, worth pardoning any criminals whose actions assisted their party, and worth nullifying even elections themselves if the outcomes are not what they desire, a second, third or fourth coup attempt will remain a clear and present threat.’ (Hunter, Daily Kos, January 12, 2021)

In addition to Trump, there were numerous other traitors that planned, aided and abetted the failed coup, as Daily Kos reports: “It would remain a call for a coup even if the resulting crowd had not ransacked the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to find and execute anti-Trump politicians.  You can be assured that every American who associated themselves with something called ‘Stop the Steal’ intended rebellion.  It is possible some were persuaded by hoaxes and propaganda:  ‘Stop the Steal’ is that hoax and propaganda.  It was intended, from the outset, as a fraud.  Stop the Steal organizer Ali Alexander, a key figure in the now-attempted coup, was kind enough to list out his congressional allies and accomplices in a video released before the violence. I suggest we listen to him.  ‘I was the person who came up with the January sixth idea with Congressman Gosar, Congressman Mo Brooks, and then Congressman Andy Biggs.  We four schemed up of putting max pressure on Congress while they were voting so that who we couldn’t lobby, we could change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body hearing our loud roar from outside.’

“That is, of course, quite the gloss on what would soon turn out to be an attempt to exert ‘max pressure’ on Congress by killing the movement’s opponents, and ignores the most pertinent issue: that the entire campaign was based on propaganda, lies, and hoaxes.  Indeed, all three figures named by Alexander promoted, for weeks, known hoaxes to claim that Donald Trump had won the election only to have it stolen from him by imaginary fraud, and all were traitors to their oath and nation long before the Capitol was attacked.  Their hoax now has a body count—and one that will likely rise because of their conspiracy.  But they have co-conspirators as well. Dozens.  Rep. Mary Miller was the Republican who extemporaneously quoted Hitler in egging on the soon-to-be-violent crowd.  We can go on, and we should.  The metric that should be used for expulsion should be a simple one. 1) If a member of Congress advocated for overturning a U.S. election based on fraudulent claims, that member should be expelled. 2) If a member of Congress promoted known-false conspiracy theories designed to discredit the U.S. election that were used to justify the violent insurrection against Congress, that member must be removed.

“That really is not a hard measure of who should be a lawmaker and who should not.  It requires no ideological litmus test.  There is no ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal’ label that needs to be applied.  Fomenting insurrection by using your office to promote hoaxes discrediting U.S. democracy itself is not an edge case.  It does not matter if these members chose to spread sedition-justifying hoaxes because they were incompetent paint-huffing dullards or with explicit intent to deceive; either is sufficient reason to expel them from government service.  Any government service.  This will not be easy, because the Republican House and Senate are full of co-conspirators to this attempt to overturn democracy in favor of one-party rule.  They have been willing saboteurs who have allied themselves with Trump’s criminal acts, who have blocked probes into those acts, who have abided as Trump misled the American people using a torrent of lies and who took up those lies and fascist causes themselves.  But it needs to be done.  This nation cannot survive if governed by seditionists and traitors.  Democracy is already dead if the public can, without consequence, be manipulated into believing whatever hoax their leaders find it most advantageous to push.” (Hunter, Daily Kos, January 11, 2021)

The article also lists two others who bear responsibility for the insurrection: “On Jan. 3, GOP Rep. Pete Sessions tweeted that he had a great meeting with ‘folks from ‘Stop the Steal’’ and that he ‘encouraged them to keep fighting.’  Tweet was deleted 4 days later, on Jan. 7, after insurrectionists stormed the Capitol.”  And: “Moments before a riotous mob stormed the US Capitol, Illinois state Representative Chris Miller, husband to Congresswoman Mary Miller, railed against ‘dangerous Democrat terrorists,’ and said: ‘we’re in a great cultural war to see which worldview will survive.’  Statements like these are further proof, if any were needed, that Democrats cannot and should not waste their time trying to work with the NFP; all their leaders are saying the same thing as Miller, and their words are invariably uttered in apocalyptic terms.  Miller has divided the country into two warring camps, with, in his mind, the Democrats being the terrorists.  In fact, it is the NFP that wants to divide the country in two, with itself as the sole party controlling the country and everyone in it.  It doesn’t take much imagination to envision what will happen to their opponents should they succeed.

No one should be surprised at Paul Gosar’s involvement in this plot.  He is such an extremist that, even though a devout Catholic, he boycotted the Pope’s speech in Arizona in 2015 because the pope had the audacity to mention climate change.  Indeed, he is so far removed from reality that members of his own family have campaigned against him.  One of his siblings, Jennifer Gosar, noted: “We know him to be an extremist and we took that very seriously.  After the insurrection, three of his siblings asked Rep. Raul Grihalva for assistance in getting their brother removed from office.  They know of his role in instigating the insurrection.

MoveOn tells us of another NFP Congressperson who has proven herself to be a traitor to her country: “In shocking new reports, we are learning that QAnon-supporting Congresswoman Lauren Boebert live-tweeted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s location and movements during the white supremacist attack on Capitol Hill last week, in what appears to have been an effort to help the racist mob locate the speaker.  The Republicans like Boebert, Ted Cruz, and Josh Hawley who helped to motivate this deadly white supremacist mob to invade the Capitol, plant explosive devices, and murder a police officer, must be condemned, held accountable, and removed from office.” (GOP Treason [via MoveOn], January 12, 2021)

Hawley was famously photographed giving a supportive raised fist as the traitors stormed the Capitol.  This is not surprising given his past.  It later emerged that as a 15 year old, he wrote a column defending the militia members who were responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing in which 168 people were killed.  One must wonder how someone this extreme could possibly have wound up in Congress.  But then, the same question could be asked of each member of the NFP.

Daily Kos elaborates on how Republicans are attempting to place the blame on Democrats: “In the wake of a deadly attack many of them helped incite, Republicans are only continuing their descent into ignominy.  The only way out is for them to take responsibility for their actions and actually admit that they helped their mentally unhinged leader—Donald Trump—sic a mob of his foaming-at-the-mouth cultists on U.S. lawmakers at the Capitol last week.  Instead, they have dug in their heels and unleashed a Gatling gun round of finger-pointing at Democrats, who are moving swiftly to hold Trump to account through impeachment charges.  Democrats, they claim, are being divisive by trying to protect the country from further abuses by a madman.” (Kerry Eleveld, Daily Kos, January 12, 2021)

Quoting from The Washington Post, the article continues: “Shortly before convening a conference call of House Republicans on Monday, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) sent a missive asserting that: ‘an impeachment at this time would have the opposite effect of bringing our country together when we need to get America back on a path towards unity and civility.’  ‘After the abhorrent violence we saw last week, our country desperately needs to heal and unify,’ RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said.  ‘I have concerns that impeachment proceedings will only divide us further.’”

The Kos article concludes: “McCarthy’s empty rhetoric about ‘unity and civility’ is particularly precious given his role in perpetrating Trump’s lie that the election was stolen.  Not only did he sign on to the GOP legal challenge to the election results and vote to oppose congressional certification after the siege, he also used his platform to push Trump’s baseless claims into the ecosphere.  Immediately following the election, McCarthy started pumping Trump’s crap to the GOP base.  ‘President Trump won this election, so everyone who’s listening, do not be quiet,” McCarthy told Fox News viewers on Nov. 5.  ‘We cannot allow this to happen before our very eyes—join together and let’s stop this.’
Other GOP lawmakers also bear unique responsibility for helping to foment the deadly violence:

  • Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama speaking at the MAGA rally last week: ‘Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass…Are you willing to do what it takes to fight for America?’
  • First-term Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado called the day Republicans’ ‘1776 moment.’
  • Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona repeatedly called Joe Biden an ‘illegitimate usurper’ while promoting numerous ‘Stop the Steal’ events.  ‘Be ready to defend the Constitution and the White House,’ Gosar counseled in an op-ed titled ‘Are We Witnessing a Coup d’État?’”

There is one other major NFP official who was directly involved in the coup, as Public Citizen reports: “Donald Trump was not alone in inciting last Wednesday’s armed insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.  In a rally just before a MAGA horde stormed the halls of Congress, Trump’s lawyer—disgraced former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani—provoked the mob with a call for ‘trial by combat.’  Then, just hours later—with the Capitol building barely cleared of Trump’s seditious invaders—Giuliani left a voicemail intended for Senator Tommy Tuberville (a Trump diehard, and former college football coach, newly elected to the Senate from Alabama).  Except Giuliani called the wrong number and actually left his message with a different senator, who leaked it to the media.

“Here’s some of what Giuliani said: ‘Senator Tuberville?  Or I should say Coach Tuberville.  This is Rudy Giuliani, the president’s lawyer.  I’m calling you because I want to discuss with you how they’re trying to rush this hearing and how we need you, our Republican friends, to try to just slow it down—I know they’re reconvening at eight tonight, but—the only strategy we can follow is to object to numerous states…’  Rudy Giuliani abetted Donald Trump in inciting the Capitol insurrection and then continued trying to overturn the election even as members of Congress were still reeling from having their workplace invaded and their lives threatened.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, January 12, 2021) Fortunately, the New York Bar Association began considering debarring him in the wake of the insurrection.  Charges that he was corrupt and engaged in profiteering and engaged in violating lobbying laws led to his being federally investigated late in 2019.  He was also a key figure in the Ukraine scandal, which I covered in a previous article.  Because of these and other charges his law license was suspended by New York State in June 2021, and it is expected that the District of Columbia will follow suit.  Axios reports on this important development: “Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City and top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, led a nationwide campaign to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the wake of Joe Biden’s victory.  He is currently facing multibillion-dollar defamation lawsuits from Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems, two voting-machine companies that were the target of baseless conspiracy theories from Giuliani and other Trump allies.  Giuliani is also under criminal investigation by the Southern District of New York—the office he used to run—for his dealings with Ukraine.” (Zachary Basu, Axios, June 24, 2021)

So much for the man named in 2001 as “America’s mayor.”

A bit more on Tuberville concerning his reaction to one of Marjorie Taylor Greene’s most stupid and insensitive assertions: “U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville declined to comment on the controversy surrounding a north Georgia congresswoman under fire for believing the country’s deadliest school shooting was a hoax—along with other conspiracy theories—because recent severe weather has prevented him from reading the news, according to a report published Tuesday.  ‘I haven’t even looked at what all she’s done,’ Tuberville, a Republican, told CNN about Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Business Insider reported.  ‘I’d have to hold back a statement on that.  Travel in this weather it’s been a little rough looking at any news or whatever.’ (Aldous J. Pennyfarthing, Daily Kos, February 3, 2021) So, Tuberville’s excuse for not being aware of Greene’s ridiculous assertions is that—the weather was bad?  Seriously, the intelligence level of the NFP has sunk so low that they can’t even come up with a good lie anymore.  Not that that will stop them from trying.

As a further example of how uneducated Greene seems to be (and how unintentionally comical), she emailed President Biden and ranted against Dr. Anthony Fauci and ended by saying: “‘We urge your administration to act to provide us with these answers by June 31, 2021.’”  Apparently Greene was absent that day in first grade when the rest of her class learned that June has 30 days.

In addition to the criminal individuals who aided and supported the insurrection, certain major corporations must also bear some of the guilt, as Action Center On Race and the Economy points out: “Amazon, the Blackstone Group, Fidelity, and Google were complicit in enabling the insurrection in Washington, DC on January 6th.  This deadly insurrectionist violence was incited by Donald Trump, numerous members of Congress, and networks of white supremacist and far-right organizations who spread misinformation and conspiracy theories about the election, stoked racial division, and even encouraged violence.  Their actions were enabled by corporations like Amazon, the Blackstone Group, Fidelity, and Google that have provided fascist politicians and organizations money and a platform.

“Amazon has helped propagate white supremacist and fascist movements, both domestically and abroad.  White supremacist and alt-right groups rely on Amazon Web Services (AWS) to host their websites.  Because of Amazon, white supremacist and fascist organizations are able to generate revenue by selling white supremacist, misogynist, anti-Black, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, and anti-LGBTQ merchandise and propaganda and by streaming ‘hatecore’ music on Amazon’s platforms.  Amazon’s self-publishing arm, Kindle Direct Publishing, has provided the infrastructure to racist and violent ideologues looking to validate and disseminate their views widely.  Amazon creates further funding streams for hate groups by enabling their customers to designate a portion of the proceeds from their purchases to be donated to those hate groups through the AmazonSmile program.  Importantly, Amazon’s cooperation with ICE, the Department of Homeland Security, and law enforcement agencies helps fuel the humanitarian crisis at the border and the surveillance, criminalization, and brutalization of Black, Indigenous, and people of color across the country.

“Blackstone has played a critical role in supporting Donald Trump and his Republican Party over the past four years.  CEO Stephen Schwarzman has been one of Trump’s strongest supporters and closest advisors on Wall Street.  Blackstone’s affiliates have donated more than $67 million to Republicans since the 2016 election cycle, including more than $329,000 this past election cycle to the 147 members of Congress who voted against certifying all of the electoral votes from the 2020 Presidential election. Schwarzman personally donated $3 million to a PAC supporting Trump’s 2020 campaign, and nearly $25 million to other Republican candidates and PACs in the 2020 election.

“Fidelity helps resource white supremacist and fascist movements in the United States by enabling wealthy individuals to use Fidelity’s donor-advised funds to make millions in anonymous donations to known hate groups.  The founder of the far-right group Turning Point USA bragged about sending 80 buses of Trump supporters to Washington, DC for the insurrection at the Capitol in a tweet he has since deleted.  According to tax filings from 2017 and 2018, Fidelity Charitable funneled more than $700,000 in donations to Turning Point USA in just the first two years that Trump was in office.  Money from Fidelity’s donor-advised funds likely helped bring insurrectionists to the Capitol’s doorstep.

“Google-owned YouTube has been a key propagation tool of white supremacist and fascist movements and violence, both domestically and abroad.  YouTube’s autoplay algorithm pushes extreme content onto users, promoting white supremacist, alt-right, and fascist messaging and right-wing content creators.  The algorithm has been shown to be a gateway to far-right ideology for young people in particular.  YouTube also enables far-right influencers to raise money by monetizing their videos.  In fact, supporters of last week’s attack on the Capitol are using YouTube to raise money off live video footage of the insurrection.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg for many of these corporations.  They must be held accountable.” (Saqib Bhatti, Action Center on Race and the Economy, (ACRE), January 13, 2021)

Police response (or lack thereof) on January 6 was, to put it mildly, disturbing.  Daily Kos summarizes: “Reports are that the Capitol Rioters planned their attack for weeks publicly, and still the police and National Guard weren’t ready.  The invasion of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday was stoked in plain sight.  For weeks, the far-right supporters of President Donald Trump railed on social media that the election had been stolen.  They openly discussed the idea of violent protest on the day Congress met to certify the result.  ‘We came up with the idea to occupy just outside the CAPITOL on Jan 6th,’ leaders of the Stop the Steal movement wrote on Dec. 23.  They called their Wednesday demonstration the Wild Protest, a name taken from a tweet by Trump that encouraged his supporters to take their grievances to the streets of Washington.  ‘Will be wild,’ the president tweeted.  Ali Alexander, the founder of the movement, encouraged people to bring tents and sleeping bags and avoid wearing masks for the event.  ‘If D.C. escalates…so do we,’ Alexander wrote on Parler last week—one of scores of social media posts welcoming violence that were reviewed by ProPublica in the weeks leading up to Wednesday’s attack on the capitol.  Thousands of people heeded that call.  The day before the riot the Pentagon approved deployment of National Guard to DC for Pro-Trump protests however they were not authorized to protect the Capitol, instead they were placed on traffic duty away from the rally…

The same day that the National Guard was approved for their traffic duty deployment the FBI sent out a dire internal warning about the Capitol attack, but they didn’t take any action, deploy any resources, contact the National Guard, the Capitol Police or the Metro Police.  They sat on their hands.  A day before rioters stormed Congress, an FBI office in Virginia issued an explicit internal warning that extremists were preparing to travel to Washington to commit violence and ‘war,’ according to an internal document reviewed by The Washington Post that contradicts a senior official’s declaration the bureau had no intelligence indicating anyone at last week’s pro-Trump protest planned to do harm,” the newspaper reported.  ‘As of 5 January 2021, FBI Norfolk received information indicating calls for violence in response to ‘unlawful lockdowns’ to begin on 6 January 2021 in Washington. D.C.,’ the document says.  ‘An online thread discussed specific calls for violence to include stating ‘Be ready to fight.  Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Pantifa slave soldiers being spilled.  Get violent.  Stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest.  Go there ready for war.  We get our President or we die.  NOTHING else will achieve this goal.’  The FBI frankly, used to be known as ‘Trumplandia’ so it’s not totally surprising that they took no action and didn’t spread the word.  However this was a deadly mistake.  Technically, once approval was given it took another 8 hours for the guardsmen to be gathered, equipped briefed and redeployed.  All of this should have happened the day before if they had received the warning from the FBI, but for some reason—this didn’t happen.

“‘Three days before thousands of rioters converged on the U.S. Capitol, an internal Capitol Police intelligence report warned of a violent scenario in which ‘Congress itself’ could be the target of angry supporters of President Trump on Jan. 6, laying out a stark alert that deepens questions about the security failures that day,’ The Washington Post’s Carol Leonnig reported Friday evening.  ‘In a 12-page report on Jan. 3, the intelligence unit for the congressional police force described how thousands of enraged protesters, egged on by Trump and flanked by white supremacists and extreme militia groups, were likely to stream into Washington armed for battle,’ Leonnig reported.  ‘This time, the focus of their ire was members of Congress,’ the report said.  Supporters of the current president see January 6, 2021, as the last opportunity to overturn the results of the presidential election,’ the memo read.  ‘This sense of desperation and disappointment may lead to more of an incentive to become violent.  Unlike previous post-election protests, the targets of the pro-Trump supporters are not necessarily the counter-protesters as they were previously, but rather Congress itself is the target on the 6th.’  But somehow that warning went unheeded.” (Frank Vyan Walton, Daily Kos, January 14, 2021) There is much more to this lengthy article, but these are the main points.  Clearly, there is both corruption and incompetence at the highest levels of the police forces.

Mark Sumner of Daily Kos was rightfully incensed at the police response, or lack thereof: “Approaching four hours after the Capitol Building was overrun by Trumpist insurrectionists, police are finally beginning to move in force, backed by National Guard forces from both D.C. and Virginia. However, at least one improvised explosive device has been located, and many of those currently occupying the halls of Congress are thought to be armed.  So it may be some time before the full crowd can be safely removed, and those who invaded the Capitol arrested.  Of course, none of this might have been necessary had the Capital Police taken action to halt the terrorists, rather than opening doors for them and sticking around to take selfies with them while making no move to arrest, or even impede, their invasion.  After a year in which police repeatedly treated Black Lives Matter protesters with extreme action, to say these Trump supporters were treated with kid gloves doesn’t come close.  Police didn’t even bother to gear up for what they knew would be a large event including members of militia and white supremacist organizations.  And it’s not like the insurrectionists were doing anything bad, like peacefully protesting on a street.  They were only attempting to overthrow the U.S. government, take members of Congress hostage, and conduct show trials on the National Mall…And if there are questions about how the terrorists were allowed to reach all areas of the Capitol, including the Senate chamber and doors of the House, without being detained, and certainly without being disarmed; there’s also an answer for that.  The police played along with them.  Not only did these invaders disrupt the count of the Electoral College vote, disrupting the transition of government, it’s clear they had other intentions. They came prepared to take hostages.  And they had plans for what to do with those hostages when they had them.  The idea of capturing members of Congress and executing them as ‘traitors’ for failing to recognize Trump as the rightful ruler, has been widespread on far right sites since the election.  It’s absolutely clear that these people came to the capital with not just the intention of overturning the results of the election, but of conducting show trials and executing those they found inadequate supporters of Trump.  The definition of treason in the U.S. Constitution is constrained to only a few meanings.  This easily meets that definition.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, January 6, 2021)

Another Daily Kos writer echoed Sumner’s comments: “At every moment of the Trumpist assault on the U.S. Capitol, differences have been glaringly visible between how these overwhelmingly white, far-right people have been treated and how protesters for racial justice have been treated over the past year by the very same law enforcement agencies.  From the fact that the Capitol prepared for Black Lives Matter protests with ranks of heavily armed officers while claiming to have been simply caught unawares by an assault on the Capitol that had been telegraphed in advance, to the violence meted out to racial justice protesters while members of the crowd that violently stormed the Capitol were ‘gently walked…down the stairs,’ as CNN reported, it’s impossible not to see. (If you’re honest.) (Laura Clawson, Daily Kos, January 6, 2021)

On the same day, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) reported: “What is happening right now at the Capitol is nothing less than an attempted violent coup against our democratically elected government.  President Trump has used every resource he has to overthrow our democracy and install himself as dictator.  When voters said no, when the courts said no, when even his own vice president said no, he incited his supporters to take violent action against the government to try to stop the peaceful transition of power that forms the basis of our democracy. 

This will not stand.  President Trump may be leaving office in mere days, but this will be his legacy: he has made himself an enemy of democracy, perverted the justice system for his own ends, and emboldened his supporters to take violent action against the government.

“This is a sad and a scary day for our democracy.  The way forward starts with us calling this what it is: an attempted coup.  The American people deserve a government that works for them, that protects their liberties and advocates for their safety.  That is not what we have seen the past four years, and that is not what we have seen today.” (Noah Bookbinder, CREW, January 6, 2021)

One can only wonder why tear gas and rubber bullets, which police have readily used against peaceful Antifa protestors were not used here?  They knew this was coming; why were no precautions and preparations made?  As this is written at the end of June, 2021, these questions have yet to be answered, or even addressed by the major news outlets.

If there was one photograph that summed up the awful day’s proceedings, it was an image of one of the traitors wearing a shirt that said: “Camp Auschwitz.”  The connection between Hitler’s Third Reich and America’s burgeoning Fourth Reich couldn’t possibly have been clearer.

This is the depths to which the NFP and their supporters have sunk.  Supporting a treasonous coup against a duly elected president.  A coup that left five people dead and countless others injured.  If this had happened in any other country, the U.S. would have condemned what happened.

One key point that has to be emphasized is the reaction of Trump himself during the attack.  Daily Kos hits the nail right on the head: “On January 6, one prominent Republican after another called Donald Trump or the people near him, begging him to take decisive action to protect the U.S. Capitol from his mob of supporters, including by sending the message only he could effectively send convincing the mob to stand down.  But Trump, transfixed by what he was watching on live television, didn’t respond for hours.  In fact, early on, he tweeted an incitement to violence against Mike Pence.  According to The Washington Post, Trump ‘didn’t appear to understand the magnitude of the crisis’ and was ‘not initially receptive’ to the idea that he needed to do something to tamp down the violence.  Gee, why could that be?

“‘He was hard to reach, and you know why?  Because it was live TV,’ according to one adviser.  ‘If it’s TiVo, he just hits pause and takes the calls. If it’s live TV, he watches it, and he was just watching it all unfold.’  That’s presumably why Fox News spent long stretches quoting a litany of Trump-supporting Republicans begging him to take action—in an attempt to get him to pay attention.  But something else was going on here, and it needs to be said, and said again: Trump didn’t want the attack on the Capitol to stop.  He was hoping it would succeed.  Sen. Lindsey Graham, who, trapped inside the Capitol, called Ivanka Trump to ask her to get her father to send a strong message to his supporters, urging them to go home.  ‘It took him awhile to appreciate the gravity of the situation,’ Graham told the Post.  ‘The president saw these people as allies in his journey and sympathetic to the idea that the election was stolen.’  Despite knowing in a very personal way that Trump did not want to stop the domestic terrorists terrorizing Congress in his name, Graham is still opposing impeachment, because ‘It is past time for all of us to try to heal our country and move forward.’  And to Republicans, the way to move forward is by emboldening the people who did this and letting them know there will be no consequences.  Trump did not want to tell his followers to back down, and at some point, responsible people have to say out loud that it was because he was waiting and hoping the terrorists would succeed in the coup they were attempting on his behalf.  He’s a grown man.  ‘He didn’t understand’ cannot stand as an excuse for standing by while his supporters trashed the Capitol, threatened Congress to keep it from doing its constitutional duty, and killed a police officer.  No matter how transfixing that live TV was, Trump was watching terrorism and violence, and didn’t want to put a stop to it.” (Laura Clawson, Daily Kos, January 12, 2021)

The Capitol police rightly came under attack for their inaction: “‘Capitol Police did have a plan, but apparently they assumed business as usual,’ an unnamed law enforcement official told the Post.  ‘They didn’t expect Trump to incite them and that they would forcefully push their way in.  Bottom line, there just wasn’t enough personnel to prevent a mob from pushing in.’ 

But here’s the thing: Saying: ‘we didn’t know they would seriously invade the Capitol’ is no excuse.  It’s simply a statement that the Capitol Police gave this group special treatment ahead of time—when leaders didn’t plan to stop them from storming the Capitol—and regretted it afterward.  These domestic terrorists were public about their plans, and Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser started warning the city’s residents about the potential for violence days ahead of time.  A District official described the realization that: ‘this could be a stadium-sized crowd—a full-fledged Trump rally, and much bigger than anything we had seen previously.’  

But ‘even as people poured into downtown Washington midmorning Wednesday, Capitol Police officials assured D.C. police leaders that they felt comfortable with their security setup, according to a senior District law enforcement official,’ the Post reports.  Once again, the failure to defend the Capitol building and the members of Congress and staff and other workers within it was a decision made at the top of the department.  The individual police officers who took selfies with domestic terrorists or opened gates to allow them inside are a problem, but they are not the source of the problem.

The police are on the horns of a dilemma: They cannot claim that they are a competent force while at the same time claiming that they were somehow taken by surprise.  Which is it?

Daily Kos reports on the statements made by Rep. Karen Bass during a CNN interview: Bass also pointed out the brazen double standard in how authorities peacefully responded to Trump protesters versus how they have brutally responded to Black Lives Matter protesters over the last year.  She said it’s ‘demoralizing’ for people of color who ‘know if you could even imagine if tens of thousands of young, old African Americans attacked the Capitol like that what would have happened.’  Bass cited a similar double standard in how Kyle Rittenhouse, a white racist, was treated after allegedly shooting three Black Lives Matter demonstrators and killing two of them in August in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  He ‘shot three people, walked with his gun in front of the police officers,’ Bass said.  ‘They gave him something to drink and sent him home.’  Jacob Blake, the Black father the demonstrators were in Kenosha to protest for, was shot seven times in the back and paralyzed for the mere suggestion that a knife was on the scene.  The city’s district attorney announced Wednesday that the cop would not face charges in the shooting.  ‘So we’re just sick and tired of seeing the same type of double standard,’ Bass said.” (Lauren Floyd, Daily Kos, January 7, 2021)

“Congress is taking notice.  ‘There was not supposed to be anyone near the Capitol.  You would be reasonably close, to be able to protest and express your view, but nobody belongs on the Capitol plaza, nobody ever goes on the Capitol steps, that is an illegal act.  Those were illegal acts, and those people should have been immediately arrested,’ Rep. Tim Ryan told reporters.  He made the likely outcome explicit, saying ‘I think it’s pretty clear that there are going to be a number of people who are going to be without employment very, very soon.’ (Laura Clawson, Daily Kos, January 7, 2021)

The President-elect had this to say following the attack: “They weren’t protesters, don’t dare call them protesters.  They were a riotous mob, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists.  It’s that basic, it’s that simple.”  However, since the sole purpose of the NFP is to take the opposite stance on everything the Democrats say and do, it didn’t take long for the NFP members in the House and Senate to change their tunes on the insurrection.  Even though they were there and their lives were in danger during the attack, once it was settled, they began dismissing its significance, much as they have dismissed the threats of COVID-19.  In other words, they supported the NFP version of Germany’s 1923 Beer Hall Putsch.

Initially at least, many in Trump’s own party condemned him for his inciting of the insurrection.  Former Attorney Bill Barr, one of Trump’s staunchest allies, said that Trump had betrayed his office.  But the fact remains that Trump most certainly was not alone in betraying his country; countless NFP congressmen and women supported his baseless conspiracy theories and lies about the election results.  They, along with their incorrigible leader should be held liable for their criminal activities.  As I write this and the end of June 2021, I have little doubt that justice will ever be done; the forces of totalitarianism and fascism are simply too deeply entrenched in our society.  The NFP is not about to change its views and it certainly is not willing to abandon its violent agenda.

NFP apologists soon emerged to shift the blame and exonerate the insurrectionists.  Unbelievably, with the images fresh on everyone’s mind, House representative Matt Gaetz returned to work the following day and his first order of business was to do just that.  Daily Kos reports: “Representatives like Matt Gaetz returned to the House to claim it was not Trump supporters who had been wearing those Trump hats, waving those Trump banners, and shouting those Trump slogans.  It was antifa.  A whole busload of antifa.  And as he told this lie, his Republican colleagues applauded…(but) Antifa does not exist.  Many Americans—one would hope, a large majority—are, in fact, anti-fascist.  But the big, organized, and apparently well-funded boogieman that Republicans invoke for every act of violence, or imagined violence, simply does not exist.  There are small groups, especially in the Northwest, who like to show up at white supremacist rallies and confront their members.  Had they been present in Washington on Wednesday, they would have been fighting against the Trump supporters, not with them.  By the time Gaetz made his false claims shortly after Congress reconvened in the desecrated Capitol, the antifa claims were already running regularly on Fox News and blazoned across every mention of the violence in right-wing media.  There were secret antifa people hidden among the Trump supporters.  Lots of them.  Within minutes of the capital police giving way on the steps outside Congress, the narrative had already gelled—an unnamed former FBI agent had somehow identified ‘at least one busload of Antifa thugs’ who had infiltrated peaceful Trump supporters.  That claim didn’t just become widespread, it became the baseline for ‘reporting’ by Fox and other right-wing sites.  These are not Trump supporters, lied guest, after reporter, after pundit.  Not our people.

Except, of course, they were.  In December, Donald Trump made it clear that he wanted people to come to Washington, D.C., on the day the electoral votes were counted for a ‘wild’ protest.  He used that term repeatedly in his invitations to supporters, along with claims that this was their last opportunity to ‘stop the steal.’  This was, after all, the ‘march to save America.’  From the outset, it was clear that those most enthusiastic about the march were the Proud Boys, militia groups, and others who clearly heard Trump’s wild talk as an invitation to come to D.C. and do their worst.  That’s who came.

“The Sparrow Project has flipped through just a few of the images from Wednesday’s assault and come up, not surprisingly, antifa-dry.  The guy mocking the traditions of American Indians, was Arizona QAnon supporter Jake Angeli, a ‘fixture at right-wing political rallies.’  With him is neo-Nazi Jason Tankersley.  Another Nazi participant can be easily identified by his ‘Camp Auschwitz’ hoodie.  One of the people that right-wingers keep circling in pictures as a ‘known antifa member’ happens to be actually known as white supremacist Matthew Heimbach.  One of those who invaded Nancy Pelosi’s office, read her emails, and rifled through her files was right-wing reporter for Glenn Beck’s BlazeTV Elijah Schaffer.  Others known to be in Pelosi’s office—where furniture was damaged, mail and other items were stolen, and Pelosi’s sign was ripped from the wall and destroyed—included holocaust-denying streamer Nick Fuentes and his Nazi buddy ‘Baked Alaska’ Tim Gionet.  Gionet is also a ‘very fine person,’ who was a keynote speaker at the Charlottesville rally.  Oh, and he recently tested positive for COVID-19.  Have fun with that, other maskless invaders.

“At least two of those who invaded the Capitol were actually elected Republican officials.  That includes Derrick Evans of West Virginia who helpfully filmed himself committing multiple felonies.  Another would be Steve Smith, who is not an elected Republican committeeman in Pennsylvania, but a member of the Keystone Skinheads.  It’s not as if many of these people were hiding their faces or their identifies.  That includes heavy metal musician Jon Schaffer, the author of a ‘drain the swamp’ song, who gave an interview after raging through the halls in a vest with Trump’s face.  The woman shot, and sadly killed, while trying to smash through a door into the House floor was Ashli Babbitt, a San Diego QAnon believer whose last post warned, ‘Nothing will stop us—they can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon DC in less than 24 hours.’  As usual, you have to hand it to antifa.  Not only do they have the money to send people everywhere, and the stealth to slide those buses into place without notice, they apparently employ nothing but vampires who never show up on camera.  No matter how much or how loudly Republicans lie, these were white supremacists, neo-Nazis, QAnon fanatics, and plain old fascists—in other words, the people who now make up the base of their party.  And efforts to lie about it have one purpose: To enable these people to do it again.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, January 7, 2021)

The situation took another dramatic turn early in March when one of Trump’s own was arrested for his part in the insurrection.  Politico reports: “The FBI on Thursday arrested Federico Klein, a former State Department aide, on charges related to the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, marking the first known instance of an appointee of President Donald Trump facing criminal prosecution in connection with the attempt to block Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s victory.  Klein, 42, was taken into custody in Virginia, said Samantha Shero, a spokesperson for the FBI’s Washington Field Office.  An FBI lookout bulletin issued two weeks after the Capitol assault included a photo of Klein, prompting two tipsters to contact the FBI and finger him as the man in that picture, according to an affidavit filed in federal court in Washington.  The affidavit says video from police body-worn cameras on Jan. 6 shows Klein jamming a riot shield into doors at the Capitol as police were trying to secure them to keep the mob out.  Klein was also heard on video trying to encourage others to clash with the police, the complaint says.

“’We need fresh people, we need fresh people,’ Klein shouted repeatedly, according to the complaint.  In much of the video, he is wearing the Trump campaign’s trademark ‘Make America Great Again’ red hat.  Klein is charged with several felonies, including assault on police officers, interfering with police during civil disorder and obstruction of an official proceeding, as well as lesser offenses.” (Josh Gerstein, Politico, March 4, 2021)

The belief that the election was stolen from Trump and the belief that antifa was involved in the insurrection are the two key articles of faith in Trumpism.  Another is the belief that he is always right, whatever the circumstances.  This is why I have referred to Trumpism as America’s newest religious cult.  As with all religious cult members, Trump’s supporters aren’t the least interested in the truth; what they want is validation, which invariably comes from their allies in Fox News and other right-wing propaganda networks masquerading as news agencies.  Refuting these claims is ridiculously easy.  After all, if the election were stolen, why would antifa want to invade the Capitol?  The two articles of faith obviously contradict each other, but this doesn’t matter to the cultists.  Facts are irrelevant; all that matters is unquestioning religious devotion.  Recognizing this, NFP leaders know that they can lie through their teeth and get away with it.  Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson is one of the worst of these liars.  As Daily Kos reports: “Johnson, reading from an account by J. Michael Waller in The Federalist, claimed the ‘great majority’ of protesters had a ‘jovial, friendly, earnest demeanor.’  He blamed the deadly violence on ‘plainclothes militants, agent provocateurs, fake Trump protesters, and a disciplined uniformed column of attackers.’ (David Neiwert, Daily Kos, March 1, 2021)  Statements such as this have since become articles of faith among Trumpists.  The article aptly concludes: “Conservatives—and their supposed ideology of ‘personal responsibility’—in fact have a long and colorful history of gaslighting the media and the public with narratives that turn reality on its head, bullies into victims, and victims into bullies.  It’s how they can look the public in the eye and tell them without blinking that last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests were much worse than the Capitol siege.”

To reiterate, even though FBI director Christopher Wray testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that there were no alleged “fake Trump protesters” at the insurrection, NFP supporters remain oblivious to the facts.  Daily Kos reports: “Wray made it clear that the two largest groups involved were terrorists associated with the militia movement, and those associated with white supremacist movements.  Wray said he had seen no evidence of antifa, or any other leftist involvement, in the events of Jan. 6.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, March 2, 2021) None of this means anything to Trumpists; in their alternate reality universe, these words automatically make Wray the enemy, since he is “attacking” their heroes.  In point of fact, Wray steadfastly refused to condemn either Trump or QAnon (as he should have), but even this has no effect on the devout.

QAnon is nothing more than a pro-Nazi cult, as Daily Kos shows: “From the beginning, QAnon has been rooted in Pizzagate, and Pizzagate is nothing more than an update of the Blood Libel.  As The New Republic wrote last fall, claims about how Jews were murdering Christian children for use in rituals have become ‘more baroque and more codified’ over centuries.  But there is a direct and horribly clear trail that goes back at least 900 years in making claims about Jews trafficking in the blood and flesh of children.  These anti-Semitic conspiracy theories have been used to justify pogroms, persecution, and holocaust.  And as of Jan. 6, they’ve also been used to justify storming the U.S. Capitol.

“Historians have made clear that QAnon is just another iteration of the ‘nocturnal ritual fantasy’ in which some group is accused of ‘perverse, ritualistic behaviors that target innocents.’  Once people are placed in the category that supports or benefits from such behavior, then any action against them is licensed.  After all, why not call for the murder of Democratic politicians—if they’re baby-eating Satanists under the control of a secret Jewish cabal?

“As Just Security put it: ‘A secret cabal is taking over the world.  They kidnap children, slaughter, and eat them to gain power from their blood.  They control high positions in government, banks, international finance, the news media, and the church.  They want to disarm the police.  They promote homosexuality and pedophilia.  They plan to mongrelize the white race so it will lose its essential power.’  If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s lifted straight from the most influential anti-Semitic work of all time, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.  Published in 1902, it was a core document for building the Nazi movement in the decades before World War II.  It’s also no different from what Marjorie Taylor Greene and other followers of QAnon are pushing.  The whole purpose of QAnon is to draw a line around people who are so other, that any action at all—even erecting a gallows on the Capitol lawn—can be justified.  That these lines always include mentions of items straight from the Blood Libel, or invocations of the Rothschild family, or claims about George Soros is absolutely not a coincidence.  QAnon could not exist without its anti-Semitic core.  Taylor Greene’s space lasers may sound completely ridiculous.  The idea that there are tunnels beneath Washington, D.C., through which captive children are ferried based on coded orders to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria is ridiculous.  The idea that George Soros is funding antifa buses to prowl around the nation is ridiculous.  But ridiculous is not harmless.  The Voltaire quote ‘Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit atrocities’ has been common around social media for a reason.  Donald Trump understands that power.  Joseph Goebbels understood that power.

NFP Congressman Andy Biggs showed his extremism and hatred for the LGBTQ community when he said that allowing transgender children to participate in sports would be “a devastating attack on humanity.”  Since election day, more than half of the states in the union have introduced bills targeting these children.  Equality means nothing to the NFP; all they care about is attacking anyone different from them in any way.

“There has been a grand semantic debate over the past four years about whether Trump’s brand of white nationalist authoritarianism really deserved the label of fascism.  But when QAnon’s blatant anti-Semitism is added to that core, there should be no question about the results.  That’s Nazism. It may be ludicrous.  But it’s certainly not funny.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, January 29, 2021)

Just how insane QAnon members actually are was clearly explained in a Daily Kos article: “They believe that not only is Joe Biden, not the President, that Trump is actually still in the White House running things while wearing a Joe Biden mask.  The House has shut down today because Qanoners apparently believe that Trump will be revealed today and re-inaugurated as the ‘19th POTUS’ since this was the date of inauguration back in 1871 when something something ramma-lamma-ding-dong.  Trump is supposedly going to unilaterally install a new economic system that will forgive debts and mortgages which haven’t been paid over the past year, even though in truth he’s a disaster kleptocrat who can’t avoid an opportunity to grift from the government and enrich himself personally.  HE OWNS PROPERTY—why would he forgive mortgage and rent payments TO HIMSELF?

“Their primary news sources—other than the internet—are via Newsmax and OAN.  They don’t even really watch Fox News other than Tucker Carlson, who claims he doesn’t know what Q is and that he can’t find any evidence of it.  All of them agree that it is clear that Qanon s a White Supremacist Domestic Terrorist group.  They switch the meaning of their words depending whether their speaking online or on the phone.  They use the term ‘Canadians’ when referring to ‘less desirable’ people.  They feel that children are in danger, that their freedom is in danger and that they have to ‘go to war’ to fight back.  Since the ‘Election was Stolen’ (sic) they felt justified in storming the Capitol.  It was an act of last resort, but they are now even more desperate and the Jan 6th Insurrection was merely a ‘drop in the bucket’ for what’s coming.

“Facts are inconsequential.  Truth is a lie.  The regular news is in on the giant plot, they are enablers for the pedophiles and bloodsuckers among Hollywood and Democrats.  It appears that the spread of Corona Virus has acted as a gateway for people who were nervous and anxious about what is currently happening, Q provides a pathway to answers, bad answers, a solution for those anxieties.  It provides comfort and security, a way to make the world make sense.  You can ‘choose your own doomsday rabbit hole’ for whatever your most afraid of.

“Q is ruining lives.  It’s ruining families.  They are the ones who wanted to change the results of the election, however many of them refuse to believe that their supporters were the ones who attacked the Capitol—they think it was really Antifa dressed up in cosplay Trump gear.  Except that FBI Director Wray just testified that Antifa was not involved in the Insurrection.  Q tells you that what you are being told by the media is a lie.  Then it encourages you to do your own hunting through history and old claims—like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion—to find your ‘true’ answers.  These newly crafted theories get shared and debated back and forth on social media from Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Parler, Gab and Telegram until the new narrative begins to form.  The truth doesn’t come from Q, his posts merely present suggestions—they’re making this sh&% up themselves.” (Frank Vyan Walton, Daily Kos, March 4, 2021)

At this writing, there are 19 QAnon candidates who will be running for Congress in 2022.

All this proves yet again that there are no conspiracy theories too far-fetched, stupid, immoral and dangerous not to be latched onto by the right-wing.  This ridiculous scenario could only have become possible in the NFP world where “alternative facts” become revealed truth and objectively provable facts are dismissed out of hand.

And of course there’s the simple truth that if these people are against antifa (short for anti-fascist), then there is simply no alternative than to call them pro-fascist.  This is why I noted at the beginning of this article why I would be referring to the Republican party as the NFP (New Fascist Party).

One Democrat who isn’t afraid to call things as they are is Eric Swalwell, as reported by Daily Kos: “I did a double-take while listening to Congressman/Impeachment Manager Eric Swalwell in the background.  I heard him making statements where he interspaced the necessary descriptive words to ensure those who are listening continue to understand the complicity of many Republican politicians’, Right-Wing and otherwise, complicity in the insurrection on January 6th, 2021.  Katie Tur asked Swalwell what his open question relative to the FBI hearings he listened to today was.  He said it’s the question all have.  Whether an insurrection would happen again, then he pivoted.  ‘We saw today that many of the people questioning FBI Director Wray were people who were responsible for the BIG LIE that brought so many to the Capitol on January 6th.’

“But it gets better.  He made an important CPAC connection.  ‘Many of the people questioning Director Wray went to the INSURRECTION REUNION this past weekend in Florida and showing no remorse for what they did,’ Swalwell continued.  ‘And continued to advance the idea that Joe Biden is not the legitimate president.’  He continued stating that because the Republican leaders have not corrected the big lie, they would be responsible for a repeat by the insurrectionists.  When asked what the FBI director needed to do, his answer made sure to paste the keywords unto them.  He used the phrases WHITE NATIONALISTS, RECRUIT, RADICALIZE, & TARGET, CAPITOL ULTIMATELY FELL.  These phrases and keywords are important because it makes them no different than the terrorist from abroad.  We must codify that they are thought of equivalently.” (Egberto Willies, Daily Kos, March 2, 2021)  Exactly.  Let the NFP continue to downplay the insurrection.  Their lies will be more and more transparent if Democrats (and all honest Americans) start using words that really described the people and events of January 6, 2021.  One way is to stop pronouncing antifa as “an teef a” and start using the phrase “anti-fascist” which of course is exactly what this “group” (again, it’s not even an organized group) actually is.  That will make it much harder for the NFP to portray them as the enemy of America.  It will also make it harder for them to keep their own base terrorized and ready to go on the attack.  Something as simple as this can show who the real villains are in this country.  Words matter, and pronunciation is the key to understanding them.

Having a man as unhinged as Donald Trump in charge of our country has left many Americans wondering how this could have come about.  Democrats at least have long since recognized the untold horrors that could be unleashed by this man, which is why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke to the country’s top military officer about ‘available precautions’ that could be taken to keep Trump from ordering a nuclear strike.  Given this, it defies comprehension that anyone could possible still have felt safe with Trump in the White House even for a few more days.

Trump had long since laid the groundwork for this traitorous attack.  Daily Kos notes: “Trump’s encouragement of violence from his followers goes back to before he began occupying the White House.  That includes encouraging people to beat up protesters at his rallies, calling for and then deploying active military forces to face immigrants seeking asylum, praising Nazi marchers at Charlottesville who were complicit in the murder of a peaceful protester, and repeatedly making threats of violence against Black Lives Matter protesters and others.  Trump has made it absolutely clear to his followers that violence—including deadly force—is perfectly acceptable, even encouraged.  Even if Trump had lost in 2016, he had already prepared his supporters to use violence as a means of overturning the results of the election.  The same claims of election fraud and polling fraud had already been laid then, because Trump expected to lose.  And the same calls for his supporters to carry out violent response and ‘monitor’ the polls with armed poll-watchers had prompted the nation for widespread violence that was only halted by Trump’s surprising win.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, January 8, 2021)

The article rightly concludes: “The only thing that wasn’t planned at this event—was failing.  Trump didn’t anticipate that Congress would return to the building and complete the vote count.  He didn’t think that Mike Pence would carry on naming Joe Biden as the victor.  He didn’t anticipate that much of the American public would recoil in horror.  Most of all, he didn’t expect that most of Congress would respond with anger rather than fear.”

Several days after the attempted coup, Trump finally addressed the country and, as usual, tried to shift the blame on the Democrats.  Daily Kos reports: “Donald Trump was given two chances Tuesday to turn down the heat of his cultists and take responsibility for his role in last week’s deadly attack on the Capitol as he addressed reporters at the White House and then once again at Andrews Air Force Base.  He took a pass both times.
Instead, Trump registered his grievances, calling impeachment a ‘continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics.’  Trump—forever the victim.  And although he claimed he wanted ‘no violence,’ Trump blamed Democrats for the toxic environment and sympathized with his supporters.  ‘For Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to continue on this path, I think it’s causing tremendous danger to our country and it’s causing tremendous anger.’  Trump also brushed aside any culpability for inciting the riot at the Capitol.  ‘If you read my speech,’ he offered, ‘it’s been analyzed, and people thought that what I said was totally appropriate.’
Actually, exactly no one has said that.  His cultists listening to him at The Ellipse knew exactly what Trump instructed them to do, so they marched straight over to the Capitol and did it.  Hours into the insurrection, Trump’s legal counsel and aides inside the White House finally convinced him that he must release a video telling his supporters to leave because he and his family could be legally liable for the death and destruction they caused.” (Kerry Eleveld, Daily Kos, January 12, 2021)

This theme was quickly picked up by other NFP members, QAnon extremists and other Trump cultists.  Thomas McInerney, a retired general in the Air Force, said: “You all know the attack on the Capitol was done by the far-left political movement antifa.”  This is yet another example of how the right wing is  willing to lie enthusiastically even when the evidence is right there contradicting them.  People like McInerney have to be either blind, stupid, or complete fascists to make such ignorant statements.

And of course Trump’s favorite toady Lindsey Graham chimed in with this classic: “It was horrendous to see people come and take over the Capitol, the House and the Senate, beat officers, defile the seat of government—how the hell could that happen?  Where was Nancy Pelosi, it’s her job to provide Capitol security.  We’ll get to the bottom of that.”  The answer should be simple: Pelosi, like everyone else in the building, was hiding from people Trump had inspired to kill her.  She had managed to evade the people who wanted to kill her, no thanks to newly elected Laura Boebert, who spent time during the siege tweeting the traitors on Pelosi’s location.  But the point is that the sergeants at arms of both House and Senate, are the people responsible for security.  Since Graham obviously isn’t aware of this, he probably is also unaware that both of them were dismissed in the wake of the carnage.  Graham’s comment is nothing more than another feeble effort to deflect attention away from Trump and the NFP.

Alexandria OcasioCortez asked several questions that need to be answered in the wake of this treasonous attack on our country: 1) How does a group of violent rioters march into Congress so easily? 2) Why were some officers seen taking selfies with rioters who were trespassing on Capitol grounds? 3) What role did racial bias play in the police response to this attack? 4) What were the links between white supremacist rioters and Capitol Police?” (OcasioCortez.com)

OcasioCortez was also quoted by Daily Kos during the last days of Trump’s dictatorship: “‘I thought I was going to die,’ Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez said during a livestream one week after the Capitol was attacked.  But the fear for her and her Democratic colleagues’ safety has only escalated in the days leading up to Biden’s inauguration.  House Democrats not only have had to deal with violent assassination attempts by far-right extremists but also the threat of their Republican colleagues, who now are refusing to comply with even the most routine of safety precautions.  The safety precautions Republicans representatives are so upset about?  Being asked to leave their guns in their personal offices and walk through a metal detector.” (When Democrats Turn Out, January 19, 2021)

OcasioCortez’s team sent out a message responding to more nonsense the right-wing has been cooking up: “There is yet another viral misinformation campaign out there.  This time, it’s a fabricated tweet that’s been—poorly—Photoshopped to look like Alexandria sent out a call for a ‘purge’ and ‘roundup’ of ‘all Conservative traitors.’  Unsurprisingly, it’s circulating like wildfire on Facebook and Twitter.  Some of the posts have hundreds of comments and shares.  People are falling for this disinformation at alarming rates, and this is one of the ways that threats and targeting start ramping up.  When people call Alexandria ‘extreme,’ you have to wonder just how many Photoshopped tweets, fake news articles, and altered posts they’ve been exposed to.  A lie gets halfway around the world before truth puts on its boots.  That’s why we have to be vigilant.” (Team AOC, January 19, 2021)

Daily Kos quotes Jonathan D. Sarna from The Conversation: “A scholar of American anti-Semitism explains the hate symbols present during the US Capitol riot: ‘One of the many horrifying images from the Jan. 6 rampage on the U.S. Capitol shows a long-haired, long-bearded man wearing a black ‘Camp Auschwitz’ T-shirt emblazoned with a skull and crossbones, and under it the phrase ‘work brings freedom’–-an English translation of the Auschwitz concentration camp motto: ‘Arbeit macht frei.’  Another image, more subtle but no less incendiary, is of a different man whose T-shirt was emblazoned with the inscription ‘6MWE’ above yellow symbols of Italian Fascism.  ‘6MWE” is an acronym common among the far right standing for “6 Million Wasn’t Enough.’  It refers to the Jews exterminated during the Nazi Holocaust and hints at the desire of the wearer to increase that number still further.  These and related images, captured on television and retweeted on social media, demonstrate that some of those who traveled to Washington to support President Donald Trump were engaged in much more than just a doomed effort to maintain their hero in power.  As their writings make clear to me as a scholar of American anti-Semitism, some among them also hoped to trigger what is known as the ‘Great Revolution,’ based on a fictionalized account of a government takeover and race war, that, in its most extreme form, would exterminate Jews.” (Greg Dworkin, Daily Kos, January 11, 2021)

The connection with the Third Reich could not be plainer.  Krystallnacht, also known as the night of the broken glass, was carried out in 1938 in a night of hatred and destruction against the Jews by the Nazi equivalent of the Proud Boys.  History does indeed repeat itself.  Fascism has indeed, as I noted in my first article on Trump’s presidency, come to America.  And, it’s growing stronger by the day.  The mere fact that Nazis are able to walk into the United States Capitol, while openly and brazenly sporting Nazi symbols, and not be condemned by half the members of Congress is a telling indictment of the criminality of the NFP.

The idea that the Republican party has turned into a fascist party is being publicly discussed and even embraced by members of the NFP and the corrupt propaganda media outlets.  Daily Kos gives us proof of this: “After the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, American conservatives were faced with a stark choice.  They could recognize that their movement had inspired a seditious attack on democracy itself and work to restore the damage, swallowing the cold blue pill of the reality that they lost the 2020 election.  Their other option was instead embracing the authoritarianism that had inspired a significant chunk of their base to attempt to lynch members of Congress and overthrow the legitimate counting of ballots, gulping down the red pill of conspiracism that fueled those warped beliefs.  It is now abundantly clear that they have chosen the latter.  They have lied brazenly about who committed the attack, tried to claim that efforts to counter extremists’ presence in the military and law enforcement are an attack on conservatives, and muttered darkly about secession while punishing members of Congress for voting to impeach Donald Trump.  The final step—an open embrace of fascism—is now being discussed as a rational option among their leading pundits, including Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.   On his nightly Fox News show last Thursday, Carlson invited radio talk-show host Jesse Kelly on to discuss how Hunter Biden’s gun permit somehow proves Democrats have rigged the system to their own  exclusive benefit (no mention of Ivanka’s multitudinous business deals was made).  Kelly complained that ‘it’s just item Number 1,000 in proving to people that there’s two sets of rules in this country, there are rules for powerful Democrats, and there are rules for people like you and I.  This is what they do and people are sick of it.  It’s making people feel helpless, it makes people feel like there is no justice out there, it feels as useless as going to a feminist rally and trying to find a woman who can cook.’
Carlson then veered into a discussion of how all this undermines society:

‘CARLSON: I think you make a really solid point about the sadness and the powerlessness that people feel in the face of this.  And at some point people are going to say, ‘Why should I follow the rules?  Why should I be a good citizen if they don’t have to follow the rules?’  I mean, things kind of break down at some point, don’t they?

KELLY: They will break down, they are breaking down, Tucker.  I have said this before, and I’m telling you I’m worried that I’m right, the right is going to pick a fascist within 10 to 20 years.  Because they’re not going to be the only ones on the outs.  There’s 60, 70 million of us.  We’re not a tiny minority, and if we’re going to be all treated like criminals and all subject to every single law, while antifa, Black Lives Matter guys go free and Hunter Biden goes free, then the right’s going to take drastic measures.  And it’s not about Hunter Biden and his drug use.  Nobody cares that he was bumpin’ Booger Sugar and European hookers on the weekend, it’s about justice, that he’s never held accountable for it and none of the Bidens are, but you would be, Tucker, and so would I.’
CARLSON: That’s so well put, and you’re absolutely right.  We’re moving toward actual extremism because they’re undermining the system that kept extremism at bay.  I don’t think we can say that enough.  I’m so glad that you just said it. Jesse Kelly, thank you.

“This is an argument straight out of a Matt Bors cartoon—you know the one, where a young MAGA fanatic embraces neo-Nazism because of mild criticism from a liberal, saying: ‘I feel bullied, really’—that is recycled with great regularity on the right, particularly by young men who’ve embraced a proto-fascist ethos: ‘The left is making people become Nazis!’  Portland Proud Boys figure Tusitala ‘Tiny’ Toese is fond of regaling audiences with a similar origin story.  I have heard versions of this legend for many years in covering the radical right, and each time, given further probing with questions, it uniformly became clear that people who say they were pushed into extremism were already there in most regards, and whatever ‘pushed’ them simply removed the pretense.  Each of them had a preexisting antipathy toward liberalism and ‘the left’—the same animus that historically fueled fascist movements—as well as a predilection toward conspiracism and violence.

“But take special note of how Kelly frames the discussion: The Jan. 6 insurrection is never mentioned, but it forms the subtext of his complaint that ‘we’re going to be all treated like criminals and all subject to every single law, while antifa, Black Lives Matter guys go free’—because in their minds, those are the factions responsible for terrorist violence in America, not a mob of right-thinking MAGA folks.

“This narrative runs throughout much of mainstream conservative discourse in the aftermath of the Capitol siege.  Seizing on modern variations of the timeworn ‘bloody shirt’ trope, they have tried to depict the insurrectionists as ‘decent Americans in good standing’ being victimized by a vengeful left.  When the military sought to offer fresh training intended to weed out far-right extremists from their ranks, right-wing pundits complained that it was an ‘attack on conservatives.’

“The left is not driving conservatives toward fascism: Rather, their own embrace of far-right radicalization is the engine in all this.  The simple existence of ‘the left’ is enough to drive them into an eliminationist rage, and provides a handy rationalization for their own radicalized worldview…In the epistemologically demented world that people like Kelly and Carlson occupy, the left is the source of all the world’s ills, its political violence, its social dysfunctions, while ‘real Americans’ like themselves are standing up for goodness and righteousness.  In the end, this is why fascism becomes an acceptable option, especially after Jan. 6, when the web of denial that normalized the American right’s descent into radicalization was wiped away and its inherent authoritarianism and anti-democratic intent became unmistakable.” (David Neiwert, Daily Kos, March 30, 2021)

The real problem is not that a small group of deranged right-wing extremists committed treason and tried to take over our government, unthinkable as it was; rather it is the fact that in its aftermath, many of the same NFP leaders who condemned Trump (however mildly) soon fell back on their own words and now are openly supportive of him should he seek another term in 2024.  The statements they have made show just how removed from reality these people really are.  They have either ignored what happened on January 6, downplayed it, or even tried to make it into some kind of liberal crime.

If the laws of the land are to mean anything, the rioters, who caused a million and a half dollars worth of damages, must face criminal charges, and be forced to pay for the damages they caused.  Hitting these criminals in the pocketbook is something they might understand.  And then their supporters in the NFP must be held to the same standards of accountably.  To ignore these crimes is to encourage a much more lethal uprising in the future.  Which, if you listen to Fox News and other right-wing media outlets, is exactly what they want.

Acting as if nothing at all had happened on January 6, 138 members of the House subsequently voted to deny Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.  These people are traitors to their country and need to be expelled from Congress—it is their words and actions that encouraged the treasonous attacks in the first place.  As supporters of Trump’s mob, they have betrayed their country by aiding and abetting a criminal president and looking the other way when his traitorous followers attacked the United States Capitol.  Where is their outrage?  Where is their sense of decency?

Thinking Americans want to know the answers to those questions.

At one point, it seemed as though the groundswell of resentment against the NFP might have positive results: On January 14, ten House NFPers voted to impeach Trump.  Even Moscow Mitch McConnell seemed to favor the idea…for a while.

In the wake of the insurrection, more evidence continued to mount concerning the role NFP Congresspeople played in the attack.  When Democrats Turn Out listed one example: “This just in from CNN:
‘Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee said that he and a fellow lawmaker personally saw Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado guiding a group of people through the Cannon House Office Building in the days leading up to the Capitol insurrection on January 6.”

“CNN continues: ‘Cohen’s accusation is significant because it is the first time a member of Congress has specifically accused another member of giving a tour of the Capitol complex prior to the riot.  It comes after several Democratic members have suggested that their Republican colleagues may have been providing the tours as an opportunity for the would-be rioters to get the lay of the land ahead of a planned insurrection.’  This is HUGE—it means that there are GOP members of Congress who are actively trying to destroy our democracy and put their colleagues’ lives at risk.” (WDTO, January 21, 2021)

There is at least one conservative in Congress that isn’t completely beholden to Trump.  Liz Chaney earned the scorn of the NFP when she said: “There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”  She then blamed Trump for inciting the rioters who tried to take over the country but only succeeded in trashing the Capitol.  The NFP response was to try and remove her from all her positions of leadership in February 2021.  This proves one thing beyond a shadow of a doubt:  That to be successful in today’s “Republican” party, one must believe in Trump’s lies about a stolen election.  But to believe these lies, one must not believe in democracy.  With the NFP, the welfare of the public means nothing; it’s all about getting control and keeping it.  As proof, what have they been focusing on this year?  The traditional Republican agenda items such as fiscal policy, small government, states rights have been swept under the rug.  Instead, the NFP’s agenda focuses on a single issue: Keeping people from voting.  To this effect, they have introduced over three hundred voter suppression bills across the country.  Clearly, the NFP doesn’t give a whit about what “we the people” want.  They have no principles, no values, and no agenda other than power.  It’s about them getting complete control over the reins of government and keeping it.  This is their one and only goal.  Mitch McConnell said it outright when he claimed that “one hundred percent” of the Republican party’s focus would be on stopping the Biden administration.  In other words, the pandemic and the economic disaster resulting from it will be ignored.  The climate crisis will be ignored.  So will everything else because, to fascists, power is the name of the game.  This is all the information we need to see through the nonsense spouted by the right.  So when the NFP talks about bipartisanship, Democrats should immediately recognize their statements as complete and utter nonsense.  Bipartisanship does not exist in the NFP, and it hasn’t for over a decade, roughly since the time when McConnell announced that “one hundred percent” of his focus would be on stopping the Obama administration.  If Democrats are naive enough to think they can work with the NFP, they are only fooling themselves.

New information and developments have come in torrents since January 6.  When Democrats Turn Out describes a key fact that emerged less than two weeks after the attack: “On January 6, as the world watched as a violent mob overtook the Capitol and nearly committed a massacre on dozens of members of Congress, it was clear that this was a carefully orchestrated attack.  Now the group primarily responsible has been identified.  They are the Oath Keepers, which The New York Times describes as ‘a far-right militia-style organization founded by military and law enforcement veterans that professes to believe that a shadowy globalist cabal is plotting to take away Americans’ rights.’  They listened to Trump’s and the GOP’s continued assertion that Democrats stole the election, and now they’re out for blood.  But even though Trump is officially out of office, Republicans are STILL not claiming enough responsibility for inciting fascist militias—let alone doing enough to ensure we never see such an attack again.” (WDTO, January 23, 2021)

On January 30, a mere 24 days after the attack, When Democrats Turn Out reported on a new strategy to exonerate Trump and the NFP—blame the Democrats.  This singularly amazing announcement should have left people shaking their heads in amazement—after all, virtually the entire travesty was shown on every major network with hundreds of photos taken.  The report: “The Oregon GOP is now calling the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol a ‘false flag’ operation that was meant to ‘discredit President Trump, his supporters, and all conservative Republicans.’  The ultimate goal, they say?  Providing ‘sham motivation’ to enable the Democrats who are ‘seizing total power.’  Donald Trump may be out of office, but his fellow Republicans have realized that his practice of spouting lies and conspiracies to rile up their supporters can work for them, too.” (WDTO, January 30, 2021)

Several things jump out from this report.  First of all, the sheer nerve of the Georgia NFP to make such a claim when almost everyone in the country had seen and heard the attack as it unfolded defies belief.  Second, none of these supposed “Democrats” at the Capitol were named by the NFP.  Finally, we see the gall in the alleged claim that Democrats are “seizing total power.”  It is the NFP who are doing this, not the Democrats.  The Democrats control all three branches of government, but they do so because the voters gave them to them.  This is precisely why the NFP has been introducing countless voter suppression efforts—they know that their ideas are not popular with most voters, and their only hope is to keep as many voters as possible from voting—with blacks and hispanics receiving most of their attention since they tend to vote for Democrats.

What worries us most is that it doesn’t show any sign of stopping—and if anything, it’s spreading faster.  In the aftermath of the insurrection, 139 House Republicans and 8 Senate Republicans STILL voted against the certification of Biden’s victory, siding with Trump’s treason—and affirming the Oregon GOP’s lies about the true source of the violence on Capitol Hill.

Almost immediately after the attack, the NFP began to downplay its significance and try to exonerate Trump.  Daily Kos quotes Sen. Ron Johnson’s completely stupid rationalization: “‘The fact of the matter is this didn’t seem like an armed insurrection to me.  I mean armed, when you hear armed, don’t you think of firearms?  Here’s the questions I would have liked to ask.  How many firearms were confiscated?  How many shots were fired?  I’m only aware of one, and I’ll defend that law enforcement officer for taking that shot.’  Really?  You’re not armed unless you’re carrying a gun?  Tell that to any one of the Chicagoland Chuck E. Cheeses I’m no longer allowed to set foot in.  For some reason, I happen to think bashing in a cop’s head with a fire extinguisher pretty much qualifies as ‘armed.’  Call me crazy.

“Of course, PolitiFact had a field day with this one, bestowing the rare and coveted ‘Pants on Fire’ award on ol’ RoJ: ‘[N]ews reports are filled with accounts of armed people at the Capitol.  NBC News reported that within a week after the attack a dozen guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition had been found on seven people arrested before and after the Capitol riot.  Not only that, Trump hooligans were caught with all sorts of other nasty weapons: David Blair, 26, was seen hitting officers with a lacrosse stick, NBC said.  Others had pepper spray, brass knuckles, a pipe and pocket knives, and one man was carrying a ‘stinger whip,’ a tool with blunt and whip-like edges marketed for self-defense and escaping a locked vehicle.  One rioter was caught on video beating a police officer with a flagpole bearing an American flag, NBC Washington reported.  The New York Times reviewed video that showed people using stolen police shields, sticks and crutches as weapons.  And then there were those pipe bombs, but why split hairs, huh?  PolitiFact’s bottom line on RoJo’s statement?  ‘That’s ridiculous revisionist history.’  But then if you’re trying to make your not-guilty impeachment vote seem like something other than treason, it behooves you to downplay the seriousness of what happened.  And while these 21st century revolutionaries for some reason decided to leave their muskets in their Hyundais, they nevertheless showed up prepared to kidnap and kill.” (Aldous J. Pennyfarthing, Daily Kos, February 15, 2021)

Given all this, it should come as no surprise that, within six weeks of the insurrection, the majority of the NFP voters were now blaming President Biden for it.  This of course defies all common sense; was it Biden who encouraged his followers to storm the Capitol?  Was it Biden who told his “followers” to take the Capitol and restore Trump to the presidency?  At this point, one can only shake one’s head at the utter stupidity of anyone who believes this nonsense.

Rep. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is one of the most devout Trumpists. Ignoring all the facts and with the evidence right in front of his face, he said that the perpetrators were “fake Trump protesters” and “agent provocateurs” and that they were the real villains of January 6. Of course, this completely ignores the fact that over two hundred Trump supporters have been charged with the insurrection.  People for the American Way notes that even his fellow NFP members think this is over the top: “Johnson’s fellow Republican, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, said, ‘It’s disgraceful for a sitting Senator to spread disinformation so blatantly…It’s a disservice to the people he serves to continue lying to them like this.  It’s dangerous and it must stop.’  Quoting an article published on a far-right extremist website, Johnson falsely claimed the ‘great majority’ of protesters had a ‘jovial, friendly, earnest demeanor’ and the violence was instigated and led by anti-Trump infiltrators.  Rep. Mark Pocan, also of Wisconsin, said Johnson was ‘a small step away from blaming Bigfoot [and] the Loch Ness Monster.’  And, as Wisconsin’s Lieutenant Governor – and an important member of People For’s Young Elected Officials Network—Mandela Barnes pointed out, that this reckless extremism is nothing new for Johnson: ‘Expect the expected,’ Barnes tweeted, ‘Same man who fear mongers with unsubstantiated immigration claims, suggests that health care, food, and shelter are privileges, and continues to dismiss the virus.  This is who we know. (Lizet Ocampo, People for the American Way, February 25, 2021)

But Johnson wasn’t done.  His overt racism was on full display when he said he was more afraid of Black Lives Matters protesters than of the rioters.  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports: “MADISON – U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson is facing accusations of racism after saying the supporters of former President Donald Trump who stormed the U.S. Capitol in January didn’t worry him but that he might have been concerned if they had been supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement.  ‘I knew those were people who love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law, so I wasn’t concerned,’ Johnson said about the predominantly white crowd that marched to the U.S. Capitol to overturn a presidential election and triggered an assault that left five people dead, 140 police officers injured and windows smashed.  ‘Now, had the tables been turned, and Joe—this is going to get me in trouble—had the tables been turned and President Trump won the election and tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and antifa, I might have been a little concerned,’ Johnson said during an interview with syndicated radio show host Joe ‘Pags’ Pagliarulo. (Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 12, 2021) Someone should ask Johnson the obvious question: Just how many Black Lives Matters people joined in the insurrection that killed five people?  And how is it that such an event wasn’t breaking the law?  Why wasn’t Johnson concerned about an effort to overthrow the government?  People who “love their country” do not attack its most symbolic edifice to overturn a clean, democratic election in order to install a fascist dictator who, like the seditionists, has no respect whatever for the Constitution or the rule of law.  If you respect authority and law enforcement, you don’t scream, attack, and murder police officers whose job it is to protect the U.S. Capitol.  If you respect the law, you do not participate in sedition which, by definition, is illegal, and you do not call for the murder of the vice president and other members of the cabinet.  Clearly, someone as rabidly racist and ignorant as Ron Johnson has no business being in Washington.

It is pretty clear what Ron Johnson is saying: He’s more afraid of black protesters demanding justice than he is of white supremacists attacking our nation’s capitol.

Daily Kos adds: “But the killer here is this assertion that the people who threw fire extinguishers, who hit, punched, kicked, shoved, and bear-sprayed law enforcement, while also breaking into a federal building and numerous off-limit private spaces in that building, ‘truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break a law’ is not simply laughable:  It’s the opposite of true.  This is not an opinion…Johnson’s entire racist argument here relies on the concept that it’s okay for U.S. officials like Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Talib, Chuck Schumer, and even Mike Pence to have been ‘concerned’ that they might be hurt and/or murdered by a mob of mislead insurgents because…they represent the opposition to…Donald Trump.  That’s not how a democracy is set up to work.  The last time we decided on that, it was a bunch of southern barbarians who didn’t want to move into the future and end slavery.” (Walter Einenkel, Daily Kos, March 12, 2021)

Johnson’s stupidly immoral statements are consistent with a man who is absolutely clueless about what constitutes right and wrong.  Johnson, who singlehandedly blocked making Juneteenth a national holiday, appeared the following year at a Juneteenth celebration and was roundly booed.  Afterward, he complained about his reception, saying: “this is not how you heal a nation.”  Apparently he thinks supporting the traitors on January 6 and denying the election results will help “heal the nation.”

The NFP, quite simply, is dead-set against denying the reality of the insurrection.  Even though dozens of law enforcement officers were brutally attacked by NFP traitors, on March 18, twelve NFP House members voted against honoring them because they objected to the term “armed insurrectionists” that described the traitors.  This makes them traitors as well and they should be removed from office and charged with treason.  Lauren Boebart’s comment on the same day showed her true colors when she complained that the traitors sought only to “petition the government” which is certainly allowed under the Constitution.  However, on that same day, the FBI released a video that made it crystal clear what actually happened on January 6.  Daily Kos describes the video: “The video shows officers being punched, beaten with objects, doused with bear spray, and being literally crushed by a crowd working together to grind them between a closed door and a wall of shields.  Trump supporters rip away officer’s masks, hurl heavy objects, smash down on officers with stolen shields, and drag them along the ground while genuinely grunting in anger and effort.  Contrast this with the celebration at CPAC, with Roger Stone dancing along as the insurrection was described as ‘Patriots, coming up knocking on the Capitol.’…Republican efforts to downplay Jan. 6 will continue.  Because they have to.  They can’t both support Donald Trump and acknowledge the level of antidemocratic violence that occurred on Jan. 6, because the two things are absolutely wedded.  It doesn’t take the latest FBI video to know that what happened on Jan. 6 was violent.  Everyone in Congress—including Boebert and Johnson—know the truth.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, March 19, 2021)

It has become crystal clear that many NFP members knew in advance of what would happen on January 6.  People for the American Way reports: “On January 5, Steve Bannon—the architect of Trump’s political movement told his podcast audience, ‘All hell will break loose tomorrow.’…Bannon seemed to know that something was going to happen.  The question, now, is how much he knew—and how deeply he was involved in both the incitement and execution of that attack.  What Bannon said on his podcast was just the tip of the iceberg.  Brand new reporting by Right Wing Watch’s Adele M. Stan published in The New Republic details how Bannon’s activities in the weeks leading up to January 6 dovetailed with those of the organizers of the insurrection, and how Bannon’s rhetoric and actions indicate that he could have played a key role in instigating the attack.  Among those playing organizing roles were Bannon associates Jack Posobiec, Raheem Kassam and Ali Alexander, a key ‘Stop the Steal’ organizer, and Bannon solicited donations to the bail fund for Enrique Tarrio, leader of the Proud Boys who was arrested upon his arrival in D.C. for weapons possession and burning a Black Lives Matter flag.  Additionally, Trump’s rhetoric during the January 6 rally on the Ellipse, which jump-started the attack on the Capitol, directly parroted the false claims Bannon had been peddling for weeks on his podcast.

“It’s clear that Steve Bannon played a role in the events leading up to the insurrection and we deserve to know the full truth about who was involved! Even Trump seemed to know Bannon had been involved in potentially illegal activity, since after multiple phone calls between the two, Bannon received a pardon from Trump just days before he departed office.  As the Department of Justice continues to probe those who were involved in the violent insurrection, they must look into Bannon’s activities in the weeks leading up to the insurrection.  If he was involved in inciting the attack in any way, he should face consequences for his actions.” (People for the American Way, March 21, 2021)

Even some of Trump’s most loyal supporters were appalled at his dismissal of the insurrection.  CNN tells us the story: “Calling into Fox News on Thursday night, Trump was asked if he was concerned about the US Capitol’s beefed-up security, including razor-wire fencing, which he derided as ‘disgraceful’ and a ‘political maneuver.’  ‘It was zero threat, right from the start, it was zero threat.  Look, they went in, they shouldn’t have done it.  Some of them went in, and they are hugging and kissing the police and the guards, you know, they had great relationships,’ Trump told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham.  ‘A lot of the people were waved in, and then they walked in and they walked out.’  Trump’s comments came after the world has been presented with reams of video evidence of the violence that broke out on January 6…The former chief of staff to ex-President Donald Trump on Saturday pushed back against his former boss’ recent attempt to whitewash the history of the January 6 Capitol riot.

“Mick Mulvaney, who stepped down as Trump’s special envoy to Northern Ireland after the insurrection, called Trump’s comments that his supporters were ‘hugging and kissing’ police officers and posed ‘zero threat,’ despite widespread violence, ‘manifestly false.’  ‘I was surprised to hear the President say that.  Clearly there were people who were behaving themselves, and then there were people who absolutely were not, but to come out and say that everyone was fine and there was no risk, that’s just manifestly false—people died, other people were severely injured,’ Mulvaney told CNN’s Pamela Brown on ‘Newsroom.’  ‘It’s not right to say there was no risk, I don’t know how you can say that when people were killed,’ he added.” (Kelly Mena, CNN, March 27, 2021)

Lest anyone think that Mick Mulvaney has distanced himself from his dictator-in-chief, the article closes with: “Still, Mulvaney said he ‘absolutely would’ still vote for Trump if he were to win the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.”

NFP hypocrisy and double standards were clearly seen just before Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, was convicted for the murder of George Floyd, a black man: “The Republican double standard is again on full display as House Republican leaders are putting forward a censure resolution against Rep. Maxine Waters while some of their own members backpedal away from outright white supremacy.  After Waters said that if Derek Chauvin is acquitted in the killing of George Floyd, ‘We’ve got to stay on the street and we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational,’ Republicans exploded with outrage, with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene announcing she would seek to have Waters expelled from the House, while House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has called for censure.  These are the same people, CNN’s Stephen Collinson points out, who have dismissed Donald Trump’s call to his supporters on Jan. 6 to ‘fight like hell’ and to march to the U.S. Capitol—after which thousands of his supporters attacked the Capitol.  At the same rally where Trump spoke, Rep. Mo Brooks said ‘today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.’  Despite the violence, loss of life, and vandalism that followed, McCarthy did not back censuring Brooks, let alone impeaching Trump.

“In fact, Greene herself was stripped of committee assignments in part because she responded positively to social media posts calling for the assassination of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former President Barack Obama, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  But calling for protest if a killer is acquitted because he was a police officer and his victim was Black—that’s a bridge too far!.’…And what Greene really, really wants to talk about is, of course, Maxine Waters, who she uses as an in to attacking Black Lives Matter protesters more generally.  Waters, according to Greene, wasn’t calling for civil rights protest, she was giving ‘orders to her BLM terrorist troops.’  This, again, coming from someone who described Jan. 6 as a ‘1776 moment.’” (Laura Clawson, Daily Kos, April 20, 2021)

Another unconscionable fact was reported by CNN late in April concerning the role of Capitol police on January 6: “A US Capitol Police officer directed ‘all outside units’ on the morning of January 6 to only monitor for anti-Trump agitators ‘who want to start a fight,’ not any ‘pro-Trump in the crowd,’ according to the findings of a newly revealed internal investigation.  Rep. Zoe Lofgren described the radio broadcast, the existence of which was not previously known, during a House Administration Committee hearing on security failures around the January 6 attack.  In that transmission, according to Lofgren’s telling, the officer said: ‘Attention all units on the field, we’re not looking for any pro-Trump in the crowd.  We’re only looking for any anti pro-Trump who want to start a fight.’” (Zachary Cohen, CNN, April 22, 2021) This shows once again how the constant brainwashing (there is no other word for it) of the NFP has percolated downward not only  to every branch of government, but to our law enforcement agencies as well.  The unquestioned assumption behind all this is that Black Lives Matter and other groups (and imagined groups like antifa) seeking justice are the troublemakers, and those attacking the U.S. government are “patriots.”  Until this nonsense is addressed, our country will slide further and further into a totalitarian regime which of course is exactly what the NFP wants. 

Perhaps the most ludicrous irony of all concerning the insurrection was seen on the night of March 25.  Bold Progressive tells us: “Last night, as old white men surrounded Georgia’s Republican Governor signing away voting rights, an African American legislator knocked on the closed door wanting to bear witness to the tragedy.  Did they let Rep. Park Cannon in?  No.  THEY ARRESTED HER AND CHARGED HER WITH A FELONY!”  This is further evidence of how this country has turned more and more into a fascist police state: When a black Democratic representative wanted to watch her state’s governor sign an unconstitutional voter suppression bill, she was arrested and charged with two felonies, while sitting NFP members of Congress are facing no charges whatever for inciting the traitorous attack on our Capitol.

By May, NFP comments on the insurrection had reached levels of absurdity that it is difficult to believe that anyone in their right mind could take them seriously.  Daily Kos reports: “On Wednesday morning, former acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller and former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen appeared before the House Oversight Committee to discuss events connected to the Jan. 6 insurrection and assault on the Capitol. In terms of actual facts about the events of that day, the hearing generated little that wasn’t already known.  But as a display of the willingness of Republicans to erase history that is only four months gone, it was a showcase.

“Over the course of questioning, Republicans did their best not just to paper over obvious delays in response by Miller and others in authorizing the use of the D.C. National Guard, but also slapped coat after coat of happy paint onto the actual events of Jan. 6.  What happened at the Capitol was absolutely not an insurrection, insisted Georgia Rep. Andrew Clyde, who said the only insurrection in America was ‘the Russia investigation’ and said of the video of the insurrection, that if it hadn’t been labeled by the media, you ‘would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.’  Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs scoffed at the idea that anything out of the ordinary had occurred, saying the worst that happened was ‘disorderly conduct’ in a federal building.  But none may have gone so far as Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar, who declared that not only was it ridiculous to call what happened on Jan. 6 an insurrection, just investigating the events constituted ‘harassing peaceful patriots.’  Gosar then went on to decry the ‘execution’ of Q-Anon supporter Ashli Babbitt who, he declared, was unarmed and ‘wrapped in the American flag.’  In this case, the American flag is apparently a blue banner bearing the word ‘Trump.’

“Georgia Rep. Jody Hice backed up Gosar by saying,  ‘It was Trump supporters who lost their lives that day, not Trump supporters who were taking the lives of others,’ though apparently Hice forgot that the death of 34-year-old Rosanne Boyland came when she was crushed under the feet of her fellow Trump supporters.  None of them wanted to discuss the Capitol police who committed suicide two days after the event.

“Overall, Republicans made it clear they were there to show that Jan. 6 was simply a peaceful protest carried out by patriotic Americans who were hugging and kissing police, and also not inspired by the morning rally because people planned weeks in advance to bring guns and bombs to that event.  But most importantly, none of it was influenced in any way by Donald Trump.  Unless it was good.  And then it was.

“Republicans also spent some time claiming that the people who battered their way into the Capitol building were not really Trump supporters, and then made sure to get in claims that the rally and speeches that morning weren’t connected to the insurgency, because there was evidence that people had planned violent action weeks earlier. In other words, they brought in every excuse to show that Trump wasn’t to blame—even when those excuses were contradictory.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, May 12, 2021)

It should be mentioned that Clyde and 174 other NFPers voted no to create a bipartisan committee to investigate the riot.  And lest people forget, there is a photo of Clyde barricading the Capitol doors from his “tourist” pals.  Funny that he never did this during any other “normal tourist day.”

The dishonesty and outright absurdity of the NFP defies belief. 

At least one former Republican presidential nominee wasn’t afraid to recognize the insurrection for what it was: Mitt Romney.  Romney said: “I was there: What happened was a violent effort to interfere with and prevent the constitutional order of installing a new president.  It was an insurrection against the Constitution that resulted in property damage, severe injuries and death.”

True to form, the NFP closed ranks when it came to creating a bipartisan commission to investigate the insurrection.  It was a classic example of bad faith from them.  MSNBC reports: “Asked yesterday about a bipartisan proposal to create a Jan. 6 commission, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) seemed eager to appear reasonable.  ‘I think it’s safe for you to report that we are undecided about the way forward at this point,’ the GOP leader told reporters, adding that he simply wants to ‘read the fine print’ on the bipartisan plan.  Cynics had a hunch McConnell’s thoughtful consideration was a sham, and that he’d inevitably prioritize his party’s interests.  They were, of course, right: McConnell announced his opposition to the measure this morning.

On Wednesday morning, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor that he’d ‘made a decision to oppose the House Democrats’ slanted and unbalanced proposal for another commission to study the events of January the 6th.’…’It’s not at all clear what new facts or additional investigation yet another commission could actually lay on top of existing efforts by law enforcement and Congress,’ he said.  The phrasing was curious: McConnell twice referred to ‘another commission’ to investigate the attack on the Capitol, as if some other commission already existed.  That’s not the case: Congress is working on a bipartisan proposal to create the first and only commission to examine the deadly insurrectionist riot.  McConnell’s statement nevertheless brings him in line with House Republican leaders, who announced their opposition to the plan yesterday, despite the fact that the GOP helped negotiate the deal, and despite the fact that Democrats made nearly all of the concessions Republicans asked for.  The Senate minority leader’s announcement also came about a half-day after Donald Trump called McConnell out by name in a written statement, demanding that the congressional debate over a bipartisan commission end ‘immediately.’  It didn’t take long for the Kentucky Republican to agree.

“So what happens now?  The House is still on track to pass the measure today, at which point the bill will head to the upper chamber.  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has vowed to bring the proposal to the floor, where it will face a Republican filibuster.  While there was some chatter yesterday about a bipartisan majority possibly overcoming GOP obstructionist tactics—as many as seven Senate Republicans said they were open to backing the bill—McConnell’s opposition will likely seal the measure’s fate.  At that point, congressional Democrats will almost certainly move forward with a thorough investigation by way of House and Senate committees, which is a process the party began in March.  Those committees, of course, have subpoena power, and as Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) put it this morning, ‘Congress was physically under siege in an organized attempt to overthrow democracy itself…[T]he House just needs to let subpoenas fly.’” (Steve Benen, MSNBC, May 19, 2021)

It should come as no surprise what happened next.  35 NFP senators voted against a commission to investigate the treasonous attack.  The supreme irony of this is that these people were the ones whose lives were endangered by the mob that attacked the capitol.  This shows what the former Republican party has morphed into: a lawless and openly fascistic organization that has made a mockery of its claims to stand for law and order.  It shows they care not a whit for justice, truth, and even common sense.  Clearly, the NFP is against the founding principles of our country; they are a rogue party that must be exposed for what they are and permanently removed from any position of political or legal power.

If the NFP were not a fascist organization, the events of January 6 gave them the perfect opportunity to distance themselves from the traitors involved and the man who led the insurrection.  Daily Kos explains: It’s still a marvel to many of us that Republican leaders decided to gift their party to a man who is presently ripping it apart at the seams.  GOP leaders, particularly at the federal level, had the perfect opportunity following the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection to cut Donald Trump loose and rebuild their party with fresh ideas.  Trump had already done them the favor of dismantling the traditional conservative agenda.  It would have been an ideal time to take stock of what was working and not working and retool what the party stood for.  For anyone with even an ounce of leadership skill and a smidge of entrepreneurial spirit, it could have been an exciting time of renewal.  But no.  No leadership, no fresh thinking.  Instead, Republicans in positions of power tied themselves to a mad man who doesn’t give two craps about the party.  It was the coward’s way out, but new Civiqs polling this week sheds more light on why the Republican Party is where it is.” (Kerry Eleveld, Daily Kos, June 25, 2021)

January 6 proved conclusively what the former Republican now stands for: Absolute obedience to a dictator and the absolute refusal to adhere to the Constitution or the will of the American people.  Only time will tell if the American people wake up and realize this.  And hopefully if they do, it won’t be too late.


THE SECOND IMPEACHMENT TRIAL FARCE

Even as the treasonous attack on our nation’s capitol was taking place, there were calls for Trump’s immediate removal from office to be followed by another impeachment trial.  Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution provides the legal justification for a president’s removal: “A President can be temporarily removed from office, if the Vice President and a majority of Cabinet members inform Congress that he is incapable of serving his duties.”  Daily Kos sent the following message on January 7: “Our message to Vice President Pence and the Trump Cabinet: Donald Trump provoked an armed riot of right-wing militants to storm Capitol Hill and disrupt the electoral college vote count.  He is clearly incapable of serving his duties for the final two weeks of office, and for the stability of our country you must invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office now. (Daily Kos, January 7, 2021)

On January 7, Daily Kos quoted POLITICO: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called on Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to immediately remove President Donald Trump from office following the deadly riots at the U.S. Capitol.  ‘If the vice president and the Cabinet do not act, the Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment,’ Pelosi said.” (Daily Kos, January 7, 2021)

That same day, Democrats began drafting articles of impeachment against Trump.  It was obvious to them that, even this early, NFP members would never even consider invoking the 25th Amendment, and that, even with mere days left in Trump’s administration, an impeachment trial must take place if the laws of the land are to mean anything.

In January, Free Speech for People and other allied groups sent a letter to Merrick Garland, Biden’s nominee for Attorney General (who was appointed in March) urging him to investigate all the crimes committed by or connected with the previous administration: “Free Speech For People and its coalition partners have released a letter to Judge Merrick Garland, Biden’s nominee for Attorney General, urging the establishment of an independent task force within the Department of Justice to investigate any potential federal criminal or civil violations that may have been committed by President Trump, members of his administration, or his campaign, business, or other associates.  For at least the past five years, Donald Trump, and his aides and associates, have engaged in a flurry of unethical, unconstitutional, and often criminal activity, culminating with the seditious insurrection on the United States Capitol on January 6th, incited and encouraged by the President and his allies.  If we are to begin the process of restoring the integrity of the Department of Justice and the rule of law to our nation, it is essential that the Department thoroughly investigate these actions and, where warranted and appropriate, hold accountable those who have violated the nation’s laws.

“Our letter to Judge Garland calls for an investigation on the following grounds: 1) Offenses related to President Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, including soliciting aid from the President of Ukraine in exchange for military aid, sabotaging the U.S. Postal Service, and attempting to prevent tabulation of ballots and cause state legislatures to appoint slates of electors contrary to the will of the voters.  Just in the last few days, President Trump and aides were found engaging in illegal election tampering in a recorded phone call in which they pressured Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to ‘find 11,780 votes’ to overturn the presidential election outcome in that state.  (Two Members of Congress have already sent a criminal referral to the FBI regarding that phone call.)  Since overturning Georgia’s election results alone would not yield an Electoral College majority for Trump, it is almost certain that he made or attempted similar conversations with election officials in other states. 2) The culmination of this misconduct has been President Trump’s speech inciting an angry mob which then marched toward Capitol Hill and engaged in a violent, seditious attack on the United States Capitol, taking over the House and Senate chambers and forcing emergency evacuation or sheltering of the United States Congress, all in an effort to stop the certification of the electoral votes from the 2020 election.  President Trump’s actions may constitute rebellion or insurrection, seditious conspiracy, and advocating the overthrow of the government. 3) Offenses related to the 2016 election, including Russian interference cited by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and involvement in Michael Cohen’s criminal offenses, that were not prosecuted during the Trump presidency because of Department of Justice policy.  That same policy acknowledges that ‘[r]ecognizing an immunity from prosecution for a sitting President would not preclude such prosecution once the President’s term is over,’ and consequently ceases to apply to Mr. Trump at 12:00 pm on January 20, 2021. 4) Offenses related to misuse of the presidency and high office for personal profit, including bribery or extortion, in violation of the Emoluments Clause. 5) Other offenses related to the Trump Organization, including tax fraud, bank fraud, or insurance fraud.  While the Trump Organization is already under investigation by New York state authorities for state law violations, this conduct raises serious questions of federal criminal law that must be investigated by federal authorities, under the leadership of the Department of Justice. 6) Offenses related to immigration and the U.S.-Mexican border. Of particular note, the administration implemented a policy of family separation and detention of children under conditions that, according to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, ‘may amount to torture.’ 7) Other offenses, including obstruction of justice, obstruction of the lawful function of federal agencies, and destruction or concealment of federal records, many of which may occur in the remaining days of the transition period.

“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 to investigate—and, if appropriate, prosecute—President Trump, his officials, and his associates. (Ben Clements, Free Speech for People, January 8, 2021)

The Department of Justice, under Trump’s lackey Bill Barr, was up to its nose in corruption, as I have discussed in earlier articles.  The Washington Post adds more fuel to the fire: “The Trump Justice Department secretly seized the phone records of three Washington Post reporters who covered the federal investigation into ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, the newspaper said Friday.  The disclosure sets up a new clash between the federal government and news organizations and advocates for press freedom, who regard the seizures of reporters’ records as incursions into constitutionally protected newsgathering activity.  Similar actions have occurred only rarely over the past decade, including a seizure of phone records of Associated Press reporters and editors over a 2012 story that revealed a foiled bomb plot.

“In a statement published by the newspaper, Cameron Barr, the Post’s acting executive editor, said: ‘We are deeply troubled by this use of government power to seek access to the communications of journalists. The Department of Justice should immediately make clear its reasons for this intrusion into the activities of reporters doing their jobs, an activity protected under the First Amendment’…Bruce Brown, the executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said it ‘raises serious First Amendment concerns’ for the government to obtain records of journalists’ communications.” (Eric Tucker, The Washington Post, May 7, 2021)

When Democrats Turn Out quoted Rachel Maddow a day after the insurrection: “‘As best as I can tell, President Trump thinks [Wednesday] was a win.  His supporters pulled off a violent, armed insurrection, attacking the US Capitol, and then they all just walked away to go tell their war stories about it and brag about it.  The president offended some of the more norms-respecting members of his party, maybe, but he loves that!  He’s not out there to win everybody to his side, he’s out to destroy the norms of democratic governance so they don’t exist anymore so he can run the country without them.  The more he and his movement make enemies of those who still respect democratic norms, the cleaner the fight is for him.

“After the rioting and the attack on the Capitol [Wednesday], eight Republican senators last night—eight!—still voted to defy the results of the presidential election and continue nursing and stoking this fantasy grievance that Joe Biden didn’t really win and somehow Trump must still be declared the winner.  Eight Republican senators!  And a huge majority of Republicans in the House.  Republicans in the House voted for the conspiracy theories and the grievance by a nearly 2 to 1 margin, including the number one and number two House Republicans, Kevin McCarthy and Representative Scalise.  [Wednesday] was a win for the violent insurrectionism that is now the apex of the Republican Party.  And the biggest disappointment for the president’s supporters appears to be fear of missing out—regret that they weren’t there if they weren’t there, regret that they didn’t go farther if they were, regret that they didn’t do similar damage in other parts of the country.’” (When Democrats Turn Out, January 8, 2021)

House Democrats wasted no time in trying to bring Trump to justice.  Two days after the coup attempt, their conference was noted by Daily Kos: House Democrats met by conference call Friday, the outcome of which is articles of impeachment against Donald Trump will be ready to be introduced on Monday.  A source told Reuters the articles drafted by Representatives David Cicilline, Ted Lieu, and Jamie Raskin will be introduced in Monday’s pro forma session.  There will likely be an objection from Republicans, so they probably will have to bring the whole House back to bring the resolution formally Tuesday or Wednesday.  A draft of the measure charges Trump with ‘inciting violence against the government of the United States’ in his effort to overturn the results seating President-elect Joe Biden.  The articles also cite Trump’s efforts to get Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to ‘find’ the votes to give the state to him.  ‘President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government.  He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power and imperiled a coordinate branch of government,’ the draft legislation states.  ‘President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States, [emphasis added]” it concludes.  That says it all.” (Joan McCarter, Daily Kos, January 8, 2021)

Here is the actual impeachment resolution:
ARTICLE I: INCITEMENT OF INSURRECTION

“The Constitution provides that the House of Representatives ‘shall have the sole Power of Impeachment’ and that the President ‘shall be removed from Office on Impeachment, for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery or other high Crimes and misdemeanors.’  Further, section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution prohibits any person who has ‘engaged in insurrection or rebellion against’ the United States from ‘hold[ing] any office under the United States.’  In his conduct while President of the United States—and in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, provide, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed —Donald John Trump engaged in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States, in that: On January 6, 2021, pursuant to the 12th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, the House of Representatives, and the Senate met at the United States Capitol for a Joint Session of Congress to count the votes of the Electoral College. In the months preceding the Joint Session, President Trump repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the Presidential election results were the product of widespread fraud and should not be accepted by the American people or certified by State or Federal officials.  Shortly before the Joint Session commenced, President Trump, addressed a crowd at the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. There, he reiterated false claims that: ‘we won this election, and we won it by a landslide.’  He also willfully made statements that, in context, encouraged—and foreseeable resulted in—lawless action at the Capitol, such as: ‘if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.’  Thus incited by President Trump, members of the crowd he had addressed, in an attempt to, among other objectives, interfere with the Joint Session’s solemn constitutional duty to certify the results of the 2020 Presidential election, unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress, the Vice President, and Congressional personnel, and engaged in other violent, deadly, destructive and seditious acts.

“President Trump’s conduct on January 6, 2021, followed his prior efforts to subvert and obstruct the certification of the results of the 2020 Presidential election.  Those prior efforts included a phone call on January 2, 2021, during which President Trump urged the secretary of state of Georgia, Brad Raffensperger, to ‘find’ enough votes to overturn the Georgia Presidential election results and threatened Secretary Raffensperger if he failed to do so.  In all this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government.  He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government.  He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury to the people of the United States.

“Wherefore, Donald John Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law.  Donald John Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.”

Despite his obvious guilt, the coverage of the coup attempt, and the clear and present danger Trump poses to our country, the result of the trial would be as predictable as the previous sham trial had been.  Republicans would treat the indictment as if it were a colossal joke, and had no intention of objectively analyzing, or even hearing any evidence that threatened the dictator-in-chief.  This failure to objectively hear a case constitutes treason in and of itself.

The same day, January 8, that House Democrats announced their intention to impeach Trump, the NFP began what it does best: Defending Trump.  Daily Kos noted on January 8: “following the first invasion of our nation’s capital since the War of 1812—an attack that left four dead and more injured—congressional Republicans still objected to the certification of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ win in November.  They did this knowing full well that their actions were being cheered on by the very terrorists who’d stormed the Capitol complex only hours earlier.” (David Nir, Daily Kos, January 8, 2021)

A subsequent Daily Kos article reports: ”’Any attempt to impeach President Trump would not only be unsuccessful in the Senate,’ claimed Trump sycophant-in-chief Lindsey Graham, ‘but would be a dangerous precedent for the future of the presidency.’  Republicans in both the House and Senate quickly got back in line behind Trump on Friday, pushing this disgusting new talking point that removing Trump from office would be ‘divisive’—as if defending Trump after he spurred a mob to lay siege to the Capitol isn’t dangerously divisive in and of itself.” (Michael Langenmayr, Daily Kos, January 10, 2021)

And, predictably, Trump then announced that he would be holding a virtual second inauguration for himself.

The Pentagon soon jumped on the NFP bandwagon, as reported by Daily Kos: “Over the last week, there have been many reasons to be enraged, disgusted, and horrified.  But this may require a complete reset of the outrage meter.  The Pentagon has released a heavily slanted timeline of events surrounding the Donald Trump-incited insurrection on Wednesday.  Only they didn’t call it an insurrection.  Or an assault.  Or an attempted overthrow of the American government by white supremacist forces organized, inspired, and directed by Donald Trump.  It’s not a coup.  It’s not even a failed revolution.  The Pentagon is calling Wednesday’s events ‘First Amendment Protests.’  The timeline from the office of the Secretary of Defense not only paints a violent assault on the nation—one in which men in tactical gear roamed through the House and Senate seeking hostages while others smeared human sh%& on the walls—as ‘protests,’ it give the event capital letters.  First Amendment Protests.  So don’t be surprised this is now the ‘official’ name assigned to thousands of Trump supporters attempting a violent takeover.  What did this feces-spreading assault on the nation have to do with the First Amendment?  Well, it did deliver a powerful message to the media—by destroying expensive equipment, threatening reporters, and making it clear that they were next on the list to be hanged.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, January 9, 2021)

On January 13, 2021, the unprecedented second impeachment trial of a sitting president began.  It proved to be even more of a travesty than the first trial.  From the beginning, NFP members made it clear that they would never consider removing Trump from officers.  In other words, the same NFPers whose lives were endangered a week earlier had no intention of removing the man who caused it.  The American people, by a two-to-one majority, felt that Trump was responsible for the insurrection.  Unfortunately, his lies about the supposedly “fraudulent” election have also had a major impact on the public.  At the time of the trial, fully 39% of Americans believed that there are serious problems with the electoral process, 65% percent of whom, not surprisingly, are NFPers.

One of the more stupid (and incorrect!) excuses for letting Trump off the hook was uttered by Tom McClintock who actually said that Trump’s incitement on January 6 was perfectly legal because it was “freedom of speech,” conveniently forgetting that it is not free speech to yell “fire” in a theater if there is no fire.  Meanwhile, Louie Gohmert, who we’ve already seen to be one of the dimmest bulbs in Congress, opined that: “I don’t know why there aren’t more uprisings around the country.”  Matt Gaetz’s defense can be summarized when he said: “So many people love him so much.”

Daily Kos discusses the Articles of Impeachment: “When the House acted swiftly to impeach Donald Trump for a second time on Jan. 13, the actual Articles of Impeachment were shockingly brief.  With just five pages, the first of which is completely taken up with the names of sponsors who signed onto the resolution, the gist of the single article is that Trump repeatedly issued false statements that inflamed the crowd and incited insurgents on Jan. 6.  The statements cited in the resolution include Trump’s oft-repeated claim that ‘we won this election, and we won it by a landslide’ and more aggressive statements like ‘if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.’  Those statements, which Trump repeated at the rally he held shortly before the insurgents swarmed up the steps of the Capitol, may seem scant.  And arguments over whether they are really incitement to violence may seem to allow Republicans a lot of wiggle room when it comes to their vote.  But the article is not everything that House members will be bringing to the Senate when they come for Trump’s trial on Feb. 8.

“In addition to the article itself, there are considerably more detailed supporting documents.  These documents don’t just cite the statements that Trump made on the morning of the assault on the Capitol, they cover the whole period following the election and show how Trump laid the groundwork for violence.  That means that things like the phone call Trump made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and tweets that Trump put out threatening any officials who got in his way, are fully covered.  The document also details events on Jan. 6, including statements by Rudy Giuliani urging the crowd to have ‘have trial by combat,’ and Donald Trump, Jr. warning Congress that ‘we’re coming for you.’  And it points out how, when Trump got up to speak, he called out specific legislators as targets for the crowd’s hate before falsely telling them that he was going to walk up Pennsylvania Ave. with them.

“The document is far from comprehensive.  It doesn’t contain a full list of the 62 legal actions filed by Trump’s team.  It doesn’t cover all the changes Trump made at the Pentagon following the election.  It doesn’t discuss the scheme to sub in a Devin Nunes aide as head of the CIA.  It doesn’t cover Michael Flynn’s plan to implement ‘partial martial law’ or DOJ attorney Jeffrey Clark’s scheme to use the Justice Department to interfere in counting the electoral vote.  But there is more than enough in the provided documents to show that the crowd that pushed through police to hunt hostages in the halls of Congress wasn’t just inflamed by a few offhand words Trump delivered on that Wednesday morning.  The insurgency was the result of weeks of incitement and of planning by both Trump and other members of his team.  It was neither spontaneous nor an accident.  It was an attempted coup.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, January 23, 2021)

Given all this, is it any wonder why the NFP is fighting against an independent commission to investigate what happened on January 6?  They know it was a treasonous act, and they also know that their party is the one with blood on its hands.  They simply lack the honesty to investigate it.

What would be comical were it not so indicative of the complete hypocrisy and corruption of the NFP is the way many of them spoke out against the insurrection soon after it happened, only to go back to defending Trump soon after.  Trump’s favorite lackey, Lindsey Graham, is a perfect case in point.  Daily Kos uses his own words to condemn him and make him a laughingstock: “…Trump sent a mob to the Capitol to hunt leadership, including former Vice President Mike Pence, down and kill them.  Which is what the House impeachment managers intend to keep at the forefront.  A Democratic source told Washington Post’s Greg Sargent that their presentation will include ‘a lot of video of the assault on the Capitol—to dramatize the former president’s incitement role in a way that even GOP senators cannot avoid grappling with.’  Maybe that will keep them awake during the proceeding.  ‘If they‘re going to vote against it, they’re going to vote against it knowing what actually happened,’ the aide told Sargent.  ‘A lot of senators’ were ‘very upset angry about what happened,’ the aide continued, saying the managers’ goal is to ‘remind them of why.’  Among those needing the reminder is Trump’s caddy, Sen. Lindsey Graham.

“Remember Graham on January 6, in the aftermath of the attack when the Senate reconvened.  He said the effort to challenge the Electoral College vote was ‘the most offensive concept in the world.’  He said that he and Trump had been on ‘a hell of a journey.  I hate it to end this way.  Oh, my god, I hate it.’  He said Trump’s attempt to challenge the result in Congress was ‘not going to do any good.’  That’s Graham, essentially admitting that Trump set the insurrection in motion.  Here’s what Graham said just two weeks later.  ‘For the party to move forward, we got to move the party with Donald Trump.’  So much for the end of the journey.  ‘There’s no way to be a successful Republican Party without having President Trump working with all of us and all of us working with him. […] [W]e got a decent chance of coming back in 2022.  But we can’t do it without the President.’  He’s not alone.  There’a a whole cadre of Republicans senators who are actually threatening McConnell’s leadership if he votes to convict Trump.” (Joan McCarter, Daily Kos, January 22, 2021)

Lindsey Graham has shown his hypocrisy over and over during his sinister career.  Daily Kos ran an excellent expose on him that begins with the following quote: “‘So the point I’m trying to make is you don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if this body determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role. […] Because impeachment is not about punishment.  Impeachment is about cleansing the office.  Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.’

“No, that’s not Reps. Jamie Raskin or Stacey Plaskett this week laying out the case against Donald Trump.  It’s then-Rep. Lindsey Graham in January 1999 speaking as an impeachment manager in the Senate trial of Bill Clinton for lying about sex.  On Thursday, Sens. Graham and Ted Cruz and Mike Lee met for an extended period strategizing behind closed doors with the Trump defense team not on how to cleanse and restore the office of the presidency, but how to twist the record to defend Trump against behavior that tens of millions of Americans with a television saw him do repeatedly over the past several months.

“Okay, pointing out Lindsey Graham’s hypocrisy long ago reached the level of cliché.  Even quoting him being scathing about what he thought of Trump before the election and the utter servility we see now doesn’t matter to him.  And it obviously doesn’t matter to the South Carolina voters who in November stuck him back in the Senate for another insufferable six years.  Neither does hypocrisy matter to most other Republican senators.  After all, 13 who were representatives who voted to impeach Clinton or senators who voted to convict him 22 years ago are now in the Senate, every one of them primed to acquit Trump.  Only a few Republican senators haven’t told us directly or indirectly how they expect to vote when the time comes.  Yet even now, when newscasters, media analysts, and veteran political  junkies repeat that no way will 17 Republican senators be persuaded to join Democrats in convicting Donald Trump of inciting insurrection, you can still sometimes catch a whiff of hope in their tone that perhaps they’ll be proved wrong.  That perhaps those Republicans actually paying attention to the proceedings will not remain impervious to the truth.  That they will abandon the view that an impeachment trial after the defendant has left office is a waste of time as well as the debunked assertion that it is unconstitutional.  That they won’t align themselves with the eight senators who cozied up to Trump’s lies about fraud and voted to overturn the election results.  That their vote on impeachment won’t cause gagging across the land every time in the future they label themselves ‘patriots.’  That maybe, just maybe, enough Republicans will stop cowering at the feet of the departed Trump and quit worrying about what his cultists may do in two years at the polls.  Unfortunately, no maybes about it.

“The worst part of this is that these men and women aren’t blind and they aren’t stupid.  Whatever they say for the cameras, they know the truth of the situation.  They know that Trump has been ramping up the incitement since his campaign began in 2015.  They know that injecting a ‘be peaceful’ into one incendiary speech out of the dozens he’s made isn’t acquittal territory.  They know that he’s overturned practically every presidential norm in existence, ultimately topping it with the cherry of incitement dedicated to undermining the foundations of democracy.  They know that if he had been reelected, he would right this minute be enhancing the autocratic practices with which he already had damaged the presidency and the republic in his four terrible years in the White House.  They know he’s a liar, they know he’s a thief, they know he’s a relentless conniver, and they know—with nearly half a million Americans dead of COVID-19—that his ineptitude knows no bounds.  Most of all, they know that Trump’s behavior may well have irrevocably split the Republican Party.

“But still these senators will vote to acquit.  They will ignore the criminality the videos at the Capitol show.  They will deny the assertions of the insurrectionists who said coming to Washington was in answer to Trump’s call.  They will prove that they just don’t give a good goddamn for the democratic values they tell audiences on the campaign trail and patriotic holidays that they hold sacred.  After Clinton’s acquittal, Lindsey Graham said, ‘People have made up their mind in a political fashion that will hurt this country long term.’  You can be sure he won’t be repeating that line again today.  Nor will he be talking about cleansing the office of the presidency or restoring its dignity and integrity.  He’s shown himself way beyond being able to restore his own.” (Meteor Blades, Daily Kos, February 12, 2021)

To Republicans, a Democrat lying about a sexual affair is cause for impeachment, but a man who steals elections, colludes with our enemies, tramples on the Constitution, lies without fear of contradiction, and has made a mockery out of everything that is good and decent in America is A-OK with them.  This is much more than mere hypocrisy: It’s hypocrisy rising to the level of treason.

45 out of 50 Senate NFP members voted to throw out the trial even before it was to begin on February 9.  Obviously, their statements to hold “impartial justice” was, like everything else they’ve said, a complete lie.  Moreover, does it make any sense at all that many of the same Senators that helped incite the insurrection were allowed to vote at the impeachment trial?  Every single Democrat should have known that none of these people would recuse themselves from the trial; they should have done everything in their power to make sure they wouldn’t be there.  They did not.  The spineless attitude toward treason and the rule of law only gives the NFP encouragement to commit even worse crimes.

Several of the most extreme NFP members tried to get Trump off the hook in a patently ridiculous strategy, as Daily Kos reports: “The opening shot of Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial came this week, as right-wing quack Rand Paul tried to shut the whole thing down before it could even begin by introducing a resolution declaring the trial was somehow ‘unconstitutional.’  It’s not, of course: Even legal scholars from the GOP’s own Supreme Court justice factory, the Federalist Society, say that Trump can be tried and convicted after leaving office.  Still, Paul’s ridiculous resolution gave us a sneak peek of what to expect once the impeachment trial gets underway.  And among those voting to declare the trial unconstitutional?  Republican Sens. Marco Rubio, Chuck Grassley, Ron Johnson, Rob Portman, and Richard Burr.  Know what else those senators have in common?  They all represent vulnerable Senate seats that will be on the ballot in 2022.” (Michael Langenmayr, Daily Kos, February 1, 2021)

As February 9 approached, Trump’s main Congressional ally, Lindsey Graham, came up with a novel (and, of course, utterly absurd) approach that is so far-fetched it shows just how desperate the extremists are in their efforts to exonerate the criminal-in-chief.  If focuses on, of all people, Vice President Harris.  Daily Kos details the whole ridiculous scenario: “If you’re going to pursue this, and you wanna start calling witnesses, and you want to drag this thing out, it would be fair to have Kamala Harris’ tape play where she bailed people out of jail,’ said Graham.  ‘What more could you do to incite future violence, than to pay the bail of the people who broke up the shops and beat up the cops.  How’s that not inciting future violence?  Be careful what you wish for my Democratic colleagues, be careful what you wish for.’”

“The thing about the ‘Kamala Harris’ tape’ is that it would be very difficult to play.  Because there is no tape.  Instead, there appears to be nothing behind this by a single tweet from Harris in which she encouraged contributions to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, which helps to address inequities in America’s often crushing cash bail system.  Harris’ tweet was made on June 1, placing it less than a week after Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis Police, and at a time when over a hundred nonviolent protesters had been arrested.  The claim that Harris was encouraging violence became a recurring theme on the right.  In August, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton tweeted that Harris ‘helped violent rioters in Minnesota get out of jail to do more damage.’  Donald Trump recycled that information the next day, except that Trump—as he does so often—expanded on the lie to make it not just about Harris, but “thirteen members of Biden’s campaign staff” as well as ‘his running mate, Kamala’ bailing ‘rioters’ and ‘looters’ out of jail.  Now, almost six months later, Graham is reviving this claim against Harris as if it represents some sort of defense of Trump.  It’s a mirror of how Republicans have been reacting to criticism of QAnon Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene by waggling fingers at Rep. Ilhan Omar.  In both cases, Republicans are trying to equate racism, anti-Semitism, and white supremacist violence with Black Americans asking for justice.

“As The Washington Post pointed out back in September, this whole line of attack isn’t just racist, it’s also simply wrong.  Of the 170 arrested in connection with the protests between Floyd’s murder and the date of Harris’ tweet, 167 were released without bail or with only a small fee.  About a third were arrested without charges.  Minnesota Freedom Fund definitely benefited from the attention, and their contributions went way up.  But it seems that none of the money actually went to bail out anyone charged with either rioting or looting.  Some of the money collected did later go toward people charged with serious crimes, even murder.  But that’s an indictment of the cash bail system, and the massive inequality it generates in the justice system.  It’s not a mark against Kamala Harris.  In any case, what Graham is proposing is the kind of testimony that would not be allowed in any court.  It’s pointing a false finger of blame at someone else in a completely different situation.  It’s a third grade idea of justice where ‘she did it too’ is supposed to be an excuse for doing something wrong.  On top of all that, Graham’s finger pointing at Harris is deeply racist.  Not only is it built on false racist claims about protesters in Minnesota, it’s absolutely no coincidence that Graham was signaling toward Harris and not other people who have been vocal about the need to abolish the cash bail system—including President Biden.

“Unable to defend Greene, Republicans have resorted to attacking Omar or Maxine Waters, as Republican leader Kevin McCarthy did in his statement on Tuesday evening.  Unable to defend Trump, Graham instead lodged a completely false claim at Kamala Harris.  Those targets are not a coincidence.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, February 4, 2021)

The day before the trial farce began, Daily Kos ran an article that aptly summarized the political scene at that time: “Tomorrow marks the start of Trump’s impeachment trial.  We also just passed a budget resolution through the U.S. House and Senate, which will enable Democrats to pass a real COVID relief package without having to wait on Republican votes.  Because we’re moving forward with necessary work for the American people and for our democracy, Republicans have been criticizing our party and President Biden for a lack of ‘bipartisanship.’

“First of all, what a bunch of hypocrisy.  Republicans didn’t care about bipartisanship for the past 6 years when they held a Senate majority, with Mitch McConnell blocking former President Obama’s agenda and judicial nominees, and for the past 2 years blocking almost all bills passed by the Democratic majority in the U.S. House—including legislation to address the pandemic.  Republicans regularly passed legislation without a single Democratic vote, including when they gave away trillions of dollars of tax cuts to the one percent and big corporations in 2017.  Now that we want to invest trillions of dollars in struggling people and families instead, they’re putting up a fight…Republicans in office have been morally bankrupt throughout the pandemic, needlessly contributing to the deaths of over 450,000 residents of this country.  Most congressional Republicans sided with Trump and against the American people last month by voting to overturn the results of our November 2020 presidential election. Fortunately, they did not succeed.  Now they’re telling Democrats and the American people to ‘get over’ January 6th’s attack on our lives and our democracy, to ‘move on’ and not hold them or Trump accountable for a deadly attempted coup where people came close to kidnapping and assassinating elected officials…Now, the very same congressional Republicans who’ve threatened Democrats’ lives, incited an attack on our Capitol, and tore this country apart are fighting new Capitol building security measures like metal detectors, boasting about bringing guns to Congress, and failing to wear masks around us.” (Rashida Tlaib, Daily Kos, February 8, 2021)

On the day the trial began, Public Citizen ran an article that should have been read to every NFP member: “Donald Trump clearly failed to uphold his duty to the Constitution as spelled out in the oath he swore when he became president.  Trump’s fate now rests with the 100 members of the United States Senate, who take an oath of their own when they assume office: ‘I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.’

One phrase stands out: “… against all enemies, foreign and domestic …” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, February 9, 2021) Indeed, all members of the NFP, by ignoring this part of their oath, have betrayed their country and should be immediately impeached and removed from the seats of power.  It is they who are our “domestic enemies.”

Actually, Trump’s defense team was laughingly incompetent from the start.  When Democrats Turn Out exposes the utter absurdity of the defense: “During the first day of Trump’s impeachment trial, his lawyer Bruce Castor made the disgraceful argument that Democrats are only impeaching Trump to prevent him from running for office in 2024—not because he incited a violent white supremacist mob to storm the Capitol.  But in doing so, he argued, ‘The people are smart enough…to pick a new administration if they don’t like the old one.  And they just did.” (When Democrats Turn Out, February 14, 2021) Can’t he see the contradiction in what he said?  His client has said that he won the presidency (by an even wider margin than the 2016 election, by the way) and yet his defense attorney is claiming that the election was fair and America chose the president they wanted.

The first day of the proceedings was summarized by People for the American Way thusly: “The Democratic Impeachment Managers from the House were led by Rep. Jamie Raskin—a leading constitutional scholar and former People For the American Way Senior Fellow—and the case they made for impeachment on the opening day of the trial was devastating and undeniable.  Rep. Raskin, citing eerily prescient quotes from the founding of our nation about the threats to republics, the liberties of the people, elections, and the peaceful transfer of power, made the point in his opening remarks that ‘President Trump may not know a lot about the framers but they certainly knew a lot about him.’ (Ben Betz, People for the American Way, February 9, 2021)

Trump’s lawyers argued that the trial should be dismissed outright, claiming that it will “tear the country apart.”  The counter to this nonsensical statement should be obvious.  The prosecutors should have said something like: Donald Trump violated the U.S. Constitution on an almost daily basis.  What could divide our country more than to allow this criminal to get off scot free?  What would that say about the rule of law in this country?  If the president can violate the Constitution at will, what is to keep future presidents to do the same and even commit worse offenses?

Then there are those that I call the despicable fifteen.  When Democrats Turn Out names them: “Marco Rubio.  Rand Paul.  Chuck Grassley.  Tim Scott.  Todd Young.  Ron Johnson.  Roy Blunt.  John Boozman.  John Neely Kennedy.  John Thune.  John Hoeven.  James Lankford.  Jerry Moran.  Mike Lee.  Mike Crapo.  We’re remembering these names.  Why?  Because they’re the 15 senators up for re-election in 2022 who voted not to even hold Trump’s impeachment trial—and who will vote to acquit him when the time comes.  These 15 men and their colleagues decided that the violence that disrupted our democratic process, fostered white supremacy and conspiracy theories nationwide, and had their colleagues and staffers running for their lives was permissible.  As the Washington Post stated, ‘In the eyes of history, Trump’s acquittal will convict those who failed to summon the courage to find him guilty.’” (When Democrats Turn Out, February 10, 2021)

To briefly focus on just one of the fifteen, John Thune actually opposed Democrat’s proposal for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, claiming that, as a kid in South Dakota, he worked in a restaurant for only $6 an hour.  He conveniently ignored the fact that six dollars back in the 1970s would be the equivalent of over $24 today.

The prosecution at the trial was outstanding; Nancy Pelosi had hand-picked nine House Democrats to prepare the case against Trump.  They showed firsthand videos, they used Trump’s own words, they showed unseen security footage to conclusively prove that Trump was the man who incited and led the insurrection.  The defense team had no way of refuting the obvious evidence against their client.  As it turned out, it didn’t matter because, with one exception, all the NFP Congresspeople had already made up their minds they weren’t going to convict him.

As we’ve come to expect from Fox “News,” Tucker Carlson had a field day trying to exonerate Trump from all guilt.  His strategy?  Blame the Black Lives Matter people, George Floyd, and just about anyone or anything else that shifts the focus away from Trump.  Daily Kos elaborates on this: “The sinking ship that is Fox News is helmed by the ghost of William F. Buckley Jr.’s toilet bowl, Tucker Carlson, financial liability Sean Hannity, and hoax racist Laura Ingraham.  Tucker Carlson has been purveying his solid brand of fact-free, intellectually bankrupt, rhetorical monologue skills to promote racist COVID-19 conspiracy theories, and racist fearmongering of Black Lives Matter protests most of the year.  Now, with Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial making it hard for Fox News to ignore, Tucker turned his attention on becoming a low-grade version of Infowars’ Alex Jones for the evening.  But like everything Tucker, he adds a dash more white supremacy on top of what even Alex Jones has the capacity for.

Tucker went full deep state corporate conspiracy theory on Wednesday night in a long-winded, roundabout opening 12-minute monologue where he questioned the facts of the Capitol insurgency, arguing that Trump both didn’t incite the coup attempt, and then saying that it wasn’t a long-planned event, while also saying that it had to be either or of those two things.  It’s a rhetorical trick where you create a straw man argument and then you step out of the fake argument to say that both positions are not real, thus negating your entire argument while pretending you have proven your argument.  It’s the kind of intellectually vacuous dirtbaggery Carlson has made his entire existence on.  But Tucker wasn’t done there, he needed a motivation for why everything we have seen has happened but also not happened the way we all seem to have seen it happen.

“Black people, y’all.  It’s socialism and Black people.  It’s socialism and Black people that is funded by corporations—an organization well-known for loving both socialism and Black people?  And that’s just one small piece of how offensive Tucker goes in his conspiracy theory.  Tucker explains that the facts Fox News viewers know—make-em-up things Tucker pretends are facts—contradict the impeachment proceedings.  He explains that the reason this grand lie is being told to the American people dates back to this summer ‘beginning of Memorial Day, BLM and their sponsors in corporate America completely changed this country.  They changed this country more in five months than it had changed in the previous 50 years.’  Whoa!  How’d this happen?  Well, as Carlson tells it, after George Floyd died at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derrick Chauvin, protesters ‘upended society.’  But even more importantly, the whole thing was a lie.  According to Tucker, ‘The story they told us about George Floyd’s death was an utter lie.  There was no physical evidence that George Floyd was murdered by a cop.  The autopsy showed that George Floyd almost certainly died of a drug overdose fentanyl.”  Let’s pretend for a moment that one of the top reasons George Floyd’s death, unlike so many thousands of Black people’s deaths at the hands of law enforcement, set off mass protests, was because it was filmed by onlookers, while the sun was still out, and people were pleading with the officers to stop.  Let’s pretend that that irrefutable fact does not exist.

“Tucker is lying.  His assertion about the autopsy is a lie.  Not a misrepresentation of things but a straight-out lie.  The autopsy notes the drugs in his system but the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office autopsy report determines Mr. Floyd died of ‘cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.’  Tucker Carlson is a liar.  He’s a weak-minded and cynical white supremacist apologist a&%hole, whose lazy mind cannot even come up with decent bullsh$& defenses for his obtuse attitudes and positions.  Tucker goes on to make the textbook white American racist claim that these BLM protests ‘destroyed’ the ‘fabric’ of American society.  Here’s a man who has never been a good person but now finds himself grabbing at the empty void that their destitute morality has left them protecting.” (Walter Einenkel, Daily Kos, February 11, 2021) Profanity excused, Einenkel makes startlingly effective points.  The NFP has made such egregious lies part and parcel of their strategy; in the 1930s, when Father Charles Coughlin made anti-Jewish and pro-fascist nonsense part of his “Little Flower” radio broadcasts, he was pulled from the airwaves.  Nowadays, with fascism on the rise, his racist successors are heard on the highest rated “news” source in America and almost no one is calling for their removal from the airwaves.  How times have changed!

In 1949, the Fairness Doctrine was established by the FCC to maintain truth in journalism.  It was eliminated by President Reagan, which is at least partially explains how the media has become more and more of a tool for the right-wing.

The same society that allows lies in the media to go unchecked will follow the same strategy at every level of government.  More to the point, what we are witnessing in this country is nothing more than an assault on the truth.  Truth has always been the enemy of religious cults.  Martin Luther said it best when he said that in order to be a true believer, one must “tear the eyes out of his reason.”  America’s newest religious cult, Trumpism, has its own interpretation of Luther when it began promoting the idea of “alternative” or “alternate” facts, a term that the NFP wants people to accept rather than the much less palatable word “lies.”  But a lie by any other name is still a lie; two facts or truths cannot contradict one another.  Theories can and do contradict one another, but a fact is something that is objectively provable.  Objective reality and facts mean nothing for the true believer; witness the NFP’s complete boredom while the facts were presented at the impeachment trial.

For the devout believer, whether in Christianity, Islam, Trumpism, or the NFP, wish has replaced reality.  And, as history starkly attests, when adherents of these cults are questioned, they invariably get angry.  Why?  Simply because deep down they know that their beliefs cannot withstand critical examination.  So they either regurgitate previous lies or else create new ones, which they then call “absolute” truths.  It is a small step from “alternative facts” to “absolute truth.”  They have created their own alternate universe where facts are only facts if they support what they want to believe is true and anyone who dares disagree with them in any way is automatically “the enemy.”

And, whenever members of a cult dare to deviate from the cult, they are roundly attacked, sometimes physically.  We saw this again during the trial when Republican Bill Cassidy dared to think for himself.  Daily Kos explains: “Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana is now exhibit A of why many GOP senators are simply too spineless to examine the impeachment case against Donald Trump on its merits.  On the opening day of arguments over whether the Senate had the constitutional authority to proceed with the trial, Cassidy had the audacity to actually weigh the arguments by Democratic impeachment managers against the Mickey Mouse presentation offered by Trump’s defense attorneys and conclude it was no contest.  ‘It was disorganized, random,’ Cassidy said Tuesday of the defense while explaining his vote to proceed with the trial.  ‘The issue at hand, is it constitutional to impeach a president who’s left office?  And the House managers made a compelling, cogent case, and the president’s team did not.’

“D’oh.  The issue at hand?  How dare he!  The Louisiana State Republican Party sprang into action, declaring itself ‘profoundly disappointed’ that Cassidy was supporting a ‘kangaroo court’ that amounted to an ‘attack on the very foundation of American democracy,’ according to The Washington Post.  Cassidy, newly elected to a six-year term in November by a 40-point margin, seemed unfazed.  ‘As an impartial juror, I’m going to vote for the side that did the good job,’ he said.  Cassidy was so persuaded by the tightness of House Democrats’ rationale that he actually flipped his vote on the constitutionality question from last month, when he voted in lockstep with 44 other GOP senators against the legitimacy of the Senate trial.  This time, he joined the other five GOP senators who parted with their peers both times on the matter: Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania.” (Kerry Eleveld, Daily Kos, February 11, 2021)

One of the saddest days in American history was February 13, 2021.  On that day, the Senate NFP voted to acquit Trump of his crimes on the January 6 insurrection.  This proves beyond any shadow of doubt that they are more concerned with staying in Trump’s good graces than doing their duty and convicting him of treason.  By doing so, they have irrevocably put themselves in the same category as their dictator-in-chief: Traitors to their country.

Further evidence of NFP hypocrisy and dishonesty was revealed by When Democrats Turn Out in discussing the original comments made by certain NFP members: “Sen. Mitch McConnell: ‘They were provoked by the president.’  Sen. Roy Blunt: “I think it was a tragic day, and he was part of it.’  Sen. Mike Rounds: “If anything he urged…inappropriate action by people that appear to be his supporters.’  These GOP senators admitted that Trump is to blame for the violent mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6.  And yet along with all but 6 of their colleagues, they voted not to even hold Trump’s impeachment trial—and eventually voted to acquit him.  By condemning Trump verbally but not legally, Republican senators are deciding that the violence that disrupted our democratic process, fostered white supremacy and conspiracy theories nationwide, and had their colleagues and staffers running for their lives was permissible.  They’re trying to play both sides, but it’s IMPOSSIBLE to reconcile Trump’s role in the violence with the idea that he should be let off scot-free.” (When Democrats Turn Out, February 14, 2021)

Trump’s acquittal proves one thing: violence and white supremacy are the defining characteristics of the NFP and will continue to define them until the American people recognize fascism when it’s staring them in the face.  Rashida Tlaib rightly notes: “To clarify: Racism is not merely overt expressions of bigotry, such as the Confederate flags and antisemitic clothing brandished by January 6th’s insurrectionists.  More insidiously, it’s the systemic oppression built into our systems and societal structures, and a deep-rooted ideology about who should or should not be included, valued, and represented in our country.  We can only understand Trump’s rise to power—and the fact of his election in the first place—within this deep-rooted historical context.  As Ta-Nehisi Coates explained, Trump’s ‘political career began in advocacy of birtherism, that modern recasting of the old American precept that black people are not fit to be citizens of the country they built.’  It’s fitting, then, that his last attempts to cling to power were based on throwing out votes in Black and brown cities, including my hometown of Detroit.  Even ‘moderate’ Republicans have perpetuated the lie that the election was stolen, a lie that state-level lawmakers have been using in order to fuel a resurgence of anti-Black and anti-democratic voter suppression efforts.

“This is all part of the larger systemic problem of white supremacy, which is at odds with the very nature of democracy.  Before it rips our country apart, we must confront white supremacy and dismantle it.  We must not heed the calls of Republicans to sweep this horrific period under the rug for the sake of a false ‘unity’ that would only benefit those in power and continue the unjust status quo.  Any ‘unity’ that fails to address the threat and harms of white supremacy is not true unity, nor is it sustainable.  It’s up to us to move forward in seeking justice, accountability, and healing.  The racist GOP is afraid of our power, so we’ve got to use it while we can.” (Rashida Tlaib, February 17. 2021) The key three words here are the last ones: “While we can.”  This implies that our time is running short before the NFP remakes the United States into a one-party state.  And then, the American people will know just what fascism is.

To see another example of why I have called these impeachment trials farces, consider Mitch McConnell’s own words, as reported by Daily Kos: “The single most outrageous moment of Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial came less than half an hour after the trial formally ended.  That’s when Mitch McConnell took the floor of the Senate, after voting to acquit Trump for inciting an insurrection, and proceeded to give a speech in which he said: ‘There’s no question—none—that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events’ of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.’

“You read that right.  McConnell said Trump was to blame after voting to let him off.  It was one of the most shameful acts of Mitch McConnell’s career—and that is really saying something, considering the man’s career.”
(Michael Langenmayr, Daily Kos, February 17, 2021)

Progressive Reform Network places the impeachment trial in historical context: “After peaceful transitions of power, France, South Korea, and Taiwan defended their democracies by convicting former Presidents for criminal conduct.” (Progressive Reform Network, February 17, 2021) The fact that this did not happen in America is an ominous indication of how fascistic we have become.

Soon after his acquittal, Trump began renewing his attacks with Moscow Mitch McConnell, ironically yet somehow fittingly, being one if his first targets: “Fresh off his Senate GOP acquittal, Donald Trump reinserted himself into the national political arena with none other than a 625-word screed lashing out at GOP Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as a ‘dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack.’  Credit where credit’s due—the assessment isn’t entirely off the mark.  But it was the second portion of that sentence that cued up the 2022 fight to the death between Trump and McConnell.  ‘If Republican Senators are going to stay with him,’ Trump said of McConnell, ‘they will not win again.’  He also accused McConnell of getting played ‘like a fiddle’ by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and declared McConnell’s ‘Beltway First agenda’ a loser compared to his own America First agenda.  Trump’s broadside was entirely predictable after McConnell tried to absolve his own acquittal vote by declaring Trump ‘practically and morally responsible’ for the lethal Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol…McConnell declined to issue a response to Trump’s outburst, but he deployed his braintrust of former aides to channel his inner monologue.   ‘It seems an odd choice for someone who claims they want to lead the G.O.P. to attack a man who has been unanimously elected to lead Senate Republicans a history-making eight times,’ Billy Piper, a former McConnell aide, told The New York Times.  ‘But we have come to expect these temper tantrums when he feels threatened—just ask any of his former chiefs of staff or even his vice president.’ (Kerry Eleveld, Daily Kos, February 17, 2021) So with two of the worst men in American political history jawing at each other, the 2022 election should indeed be memorable.


TRUMP’S ATTEMPTS TO STEAL THE ELECTION

The first thing that should be mentioned here is that NFP claims of voter fraud have absolutely no basis in fact.  This has been demonstrated time and time again but, as we’ve already seen many times, facts mean nothing to Trumpists.  Let me quote California Senator Diane Feinstein in a response to a petition I signed and sent her: “The 2020 federal elections were a success for our democracy in many ways: a record 159 million Americans voted—the highest voter turnout rate in 120 years—and, according to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the 2020 election was the most secure election in our nation’s history.”

So, despite the evidence from experts, Trump and the NFP went their usual way and simply ignored the facts and regurgitated the same lies about election fraud they’ve been saying since long before the election.  Interestingly, not a single Republican officeholder that objected to Biden’s victory also objected to their victories, on the same day and on the same ballots, using the same election systems.  If the system is as corrupt as they want to think it is, then why aren’t they pointing this out?

The beginning of 2021 saw yet another example of how Donald Trump attempted to steal the election.  Demand Progress reports: “Donald Trump was just caught on tape trying to overturn the result of the 2020 election. We cannot let him get away with it.  Yesterday Trump called Georgia’s Secretary of State and, according to an audio recording of the call obtained by the Washington Post, Trump asked him to find enough votes to overturn Biden’s win and hand Georgia to Trump.  ‘I just want to find 11,780 votes,’ Trump demanded.  Trump abused his power to seek to influence Georgia’s Secretary of State to change the vote count, and made threats if they refused his demands.  That’s trying to corrupt the election, through and through.” (Demand Progress, January 3, 2021)  Fortunately, Georgia’s Secretary of State refused this patently illegal demand.

Daily Kos, quoting The Washington Post, uses this incident as evidence telling us just how little Trump thinks of the law.  The Post is the newspaper that first ran the recorded (yes, the entire phone call was recorded) transcript of the conversation between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger: “Over the course of the rambling call, Trump appears to threaten or extort Raffensperger and state legal counsel Ryan Germany.  He argues that Raffensperger needs to ‘find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.’  At one point in the conversation, after Raffensperger states that he cannot legally provide requested data, Trump says: ‘I don’t want to know how.  You guys can do it very confidentially.’  Trump’s intent is clear throughout the conversation.  He wants Raffensperger to ‘find’ enough votes to overturn his loss in the state by any means necessary, wants the state to illegally leak information it cannot otherwise provide him, wants the state to back up his evidenceless claims of fraud, and threatens both officials with unspecified alleged crimes if they do not comply.” (Hunter, Daily Kos, January 3, 2021)

Daily Kos lays out the facts of the law as it relates to this case:
U.S. Code Title 52 (Voting and Elections), Section 20511:  A person, including an election official, who in any election for Federal office-
(1) knowingly and willfully intimidates, threatens, or coerces, or attempts to intimidate, threaten, or coerce, any person for—(A) registering to vote, or voting, or attempting to register or vote; (B) urging or aiding any person to register to vote, to vote, or to attempt to register or vote; or (C) exercising any right under this chapter; or:
(2) knowingly and willfully deprives, defrauds, or attempts to deprive or defraud the residents of a State of a fair and impartially conducted election process, by—(A) the procurement or submission of voter registration applications that are known by the person to be materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent under the laws of the State in which the election is held; or (B) the procurement, casting, or tabulation of ballots that are known by the person to be materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent under the laws of the State in which the election is held, shall be fined in accordance with title 18 (which fines shall be paid into the general fund of the Treasury, miscellaneous receipts (pursuant to section 3302 of title 31), notwithstanding any other law), or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.” (Michael Zapendowski, Daily Kos, January 3, 2021)

The law is crystal clear on this issue: The president of the United States has attempted to overthrow the results of an election by illegal means.  The (now) former president of the United States has committed a felony, pure and simple.  This action alone should have been enough to have Trump arrested and convicted for violating the Constitution.

Until this incident, Watergate was the worst scandal in American history.  But Trump’s phone call to Georgia makes Watergate look like standard operating procedure by comparison.  Daily Kos beautifully sums up the outrage we all should be feeling: “Carl Bernstein: ‘This is something far worse than occurred in Watergate’.  So what has changed so much that the Republican members of Congress won’t now force Trump’s resignation, the same way they did Nixon’s?  What brings Congressional Republicans to ignore this far worse criminal action of this sitting President?  What has caused Congress to change so much since Watergate?  Bernstein explains, ‘It’s not déjà vu.  This is something far worse than occurred in Watergate.  We have both a criminal President of the United States in Donald Trump and a subversive President of the United States at the same time in this one person, subverting the very basis of our democracy, and willing to act criminally in that subversion.  But more important, what we hear on this tape, this is the ultimate ‘smoking gun’ tape, is the tape with the evidence of what this President is willing to do, to undermine the electoral system and illegally, improperly, and immorally try to instigate a coup in which he remains the President of the United States.  And in any other President, any other Presidency, this tape would be evidence enough to result in the impeachment of the President of the United States, his conviction in the Senate of the United States, and really, an immediate call by the members of  Congress, including of his own party that he resign immediately.  That’s really what we ought to be hearing from Republicans at this moment, ‘Mr. President, resign.  Leave the White House.  This is unconscionable.  It is wrong.  And we of your Party will not permit it.’  We’re not going to hear that.  We might from a few Republicans, but that’s what’s really called for here.  And the one thing we should recall from Watergate is that the heroes of Watergate were Republicans who would not tolerate Richard Nixon’s conduct.’

“Myself, I am less optimistic than Bernstein that were this any other Presidency the members of his own Party would force him out.  Yes.  We all know how adept Trump is at threatening to unleash his base at any wayward GOP members of Congress, the constant threat of their being ‘primaried’ into oblivion.  Is that what it is?  Or is there something far more sinister at work here?  The answer is clearly, ‘Yes.’  And in a perverse way,  it has to do with ‘Citizens United.’  The basic problem is not new.  F. Scott Fitzgerald explained it this way:  ‘Let me tell you about the very rich.  They are different from you and me.  They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand.  They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are […] They are different.’

“Unfortunately, in the less than fifty years since Watergate, and mostly just within the last decade—since the Citizens United decision—our Congress has become almost exclusively a plutocracy, a club whose members are almost exclusively the very rich.  Because of Citizens United, It is virtually impossible to mount a successful campaign for Congress without huge amounts of funding.  And the rich donors who provide the backbone of funding for both parties are much more willing to support people ‘like them’ than to support an ordinary Joe.  Yes, there are exceptions who break through. (‘AOC’ and ‘The Squad’, I suppose are examples).  But the sad truth is, there are very few in Congress today who are not at least millionaires, if not multi-millionaires.  And this, more than we, with our egalitarian American values care to admit, is the big change in Congress from the time when there were Republican members of Congress strong enough to force Nixon to resign.  As Fitzgerald foretold, the typical GOP member of Congress today is ‘soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful.’  This softness (moral weakness really) combines with cynicism to their being almost wholly without honor, and they don’t even care.” (hughwill, Daily Kos, January 4, 2021)

To date, there has been no effort made to put Trump on trial for this most egregious crime.  Democrats are making no noise about it.  The media ignores it.  One would think that the Democratic party would jump at the opportunity to hold Trump responsible for this blatant attack on the rule of law.  Instead, Progress America tells us how, once again, Democrats have failed to hold criminal NFP members accountable for their actions: “Democrats control the House of Representatives.  What are they doing to ensure accountability?  Adjourning for two weeks.  The Democratic Caucus Chair, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, told reporters he wanted to ‘look forward, not backward,’ effectively letting Trump off the hook for his crimes…We must demand that Democrats fight for our democracy!  If there are no consequences for this behavior, Republicans will keep trying until it works!” (Mike Phelan, Progress America, January 4, 2021)

The article continues by citing one historical precedent for this kind of Democratic inaction: “In 2009, Barack Obama took over the Presidency amid an unprecedented crisis, and made the same promise as Rep. Jeffries, to look forward, not backward.  As a result, the same people who lied to start the Iraq War, and who set up illegal secret torture sites, now hold key positions in the Trump administration.  We can’t move forward without accountability!”

This is only the latest crime by a man who has made crime his basic method of operation.  Although I have covered these crimes in extensive detail in my earlier articles, I will let MoveOn list some of them: “This call with Georgia officials is only the latest in a long list of criminal offenses that could put Trump in legal jeopardy starting January 20.  Here are nine more to round out our Top 10 List:

  1. His campaign finance violations.  Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen admitted in 2018 that he arranged hush money payments using campaign funds to stop Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels, who both alleged that they had affairs with Trump, from sharing their stories during the 2016 election cycle.  Cohen was sent to prison for his part in these crimes, and although he admitted that Trump directed him to make the payments, Trump avoided prosecution at the time because of his status as the president.  But Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. is still looking into these allegations, and when Trump leaves office, he could still be charged in relation to the payments.
  2. Tax fraud.  The Manhattan DA is also actively pursuing an investigation into Trump and the Trump Organization’s taxes, and the potential implications are massive.  Trump lost an appeal in October to stop the DA from subpoenaing his tax returns, which the DA has suggested will show ‘possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct’ that could lead to years behind bars.
  3. Real estate fraud.  Since 2019, the New York attorney general has been investigating allegations that Trump and his company have routinely inflated the value of his properties in order to secure loans and reduce his taxes.  Trump has refused to participate in the investigation thus far, using his status as the president as an excuse.   But starting at 12:01 p.m. on January 20, he can no longer hide from the investigation.
  4. Conspiracy to defraud the United States.  Put simply: It’s illegal for anyone to agree to obstruct the work of a federal agency—in this case, the United States Postal Service.  If Trump and his administration are found to have made attempts to sabotage the Postal Service in an effort to influence the results of the 2020 election, they can all be held liable.
  5. Violating the emoluments clause.  Trump has repeatedly used the office of the president to promote his private businesses and make money.  There are currently three active lawsuits against Trump for violating the emoluments clause by hosting foreign officials at multiple Trump properties during his time in office and accepting large sums of money from them without consent from Congress.
  6. Violating the Hatch Act.  The Hatch Act bars federal employees from engaging in certain political activities while on the job, and although the president is not technically bound by the Hatch Act, he can still be held criminally liable for coercing other federal employees to violate it—as Trump did multiple times in 2020 alone by holding campaign events at the White House.
  7. Obstruction of justice.  In his report on the Trump campaign’s involvement in 2016 election interference, special counsel Robert Mueller identified at least 10 instances of Trump obstructing justice through his attempts to stop the investigation, fire those involved, stop the disclosure of evidence, and more.
  8. Bribery.  The crux of the impeachment case against Trump was bribery.  He withheld nearly $400 million in military aid from Ukraine and asked that officials find dirt on then-candidate Joe Biden in return for the aid being released.  Although he was acquitted in a sham trial in the Senate, the Constitution does not bar Trump from facing criminal charges for this bribery once leaving office.
  9. Multiple allegations of sexual assault.  At least 26 women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct and sexual assault since the 1970s, and there are two active lawsuits brought by survivors against Trump which will move forward after he leaves office.

“Any one of these crimes would be enough to result in serious legal consequences for people outside of public office—and in just 15 days, that will be Donald Trump.  But make no mistake: One of the reasons he is trying so hard to overturn the election results is because he knows how much trouble he could be in the second he starts life as a former president, and he will do whatever he can to avoid facing the music.  It is also still possible that he will attempt to preemptively pardon himself, but presidential pardon power only covers federal laws, meaning any laws he broke in New York, Georgia, or anywhere else aren’t covered, and leading lawyers argue that presidents cannot pardon themselves.” (MoveOn, January 5, 2021)

Clearly, a criminal took the office of president in January, 2017 and he wasted no time appointing other criminals to work with him.  None of today’s NFP members are honest and have only two goals: To support Donald Trump and to obtain and keep absolute power.

Both parties are sworn to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the land.  By failing to take action on Donald Trump’s multitudinous crimes and those of the NFP, Democrats are making themselves criminal accessories.  Given that, who is left to stand up for what’s right?  Unless something is done, the NFP will soon have complete control of the government and of every one’s life.

Trump’s efforts to overturn the election go back far before the election took place.  Daily Kos provides us with a timeline which, although long, must be included here: “Even as the votes continued to be counted in the early hours of Nov. 4, one thing became obvious before dawn: Joe Biden was going to be the next president of the United States.  Though networks were extremely slow to acknowledge Biden’s wins across Rust Belt states, every model showed that Biden was going to win decisively in Minnesota and Michigan.  Though Donald Trump had a large early lead among votes counted in Pennsylvania, it was easy to see from the make up of those votes that this was going to change.  The closest of these swing states, Wisconsin, had already been called by the Associated Press.  While it would take all the way until Saturday before networks made the final call, really the only thing in doubt by that point was the exact size of Biden’s victory.  But well before the final calls were made, at 2 A.M. on Nov. 4, Donald Trump had already made it clear where he was going.  Trump appeared before the nation and said, ‘This is a fraud on the American public.  This is an embarrassment for our country.  We were getting ready to win this election.  Frankly, we did win this election.  We did win this election.’  Since Trump is constitutionally incapable of admitting a mistake, but only responds to errors by doubling down, everything that happened after that might have been predicted.  Even so, the catalog of actions Trump took in an effort to subvert democracy is astounding.

“Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results can be broken down into five broad categories: 1) Legal challenges on both state and federal level 2) Recounts, signature challenges, etc. 3) Efforts to suborn perjury from state officials or coerce state legislators 4) Reverse coup using government to defy election results 5) Overt calls to violence.

“In this timeline, the legal challenges are given very light treatment.  Most of the 62 lawsuits filed by Trump’s legal team—teams, actually—were aimed at overturning the vote in one of six states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.  The only lawsuit that Trump’s team won out of this whole collection was a ruling on how long voters had to ‘cure’ mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania—which ultimately had no effect on the results in that state.  So only a few ‘highlights’ of these challenges are provided in this far-from-complete timeline.

“Nov. 04—A mob of Trump supporters gathers outside the Maricopa County Elections Department offices in Phoenix, Arizona, claiming that Republican votes are not being counted because of ‘SharpieGate.’  First ‘Stop the Steal’ group forms on Facebook.
Nov. 05—Trump initiates a string of lawsuits, including sending Pam Bondi and Corey Lewandowski to Pennsylvania for threatened legal action.
Nov. 06—Trump campaign seeks volunteers to engage in election fraud in Pennsylvania by submitting late ballots.
Nov. 06—Trump lawsuit count in Pennsylvania alone reaches 16, as ‘garbage’ suits proliferate in Nevada, Arizona, and Georgia.
Nov. 06—Armed QAnon fanatics are arrested outside Philadelphia election center as part of Trump-organized ‘Stop the Steal’ rally.
Nov. 09—Trump replaces Secretary of Defense Mark Esper for failing to support Trump’s efforts to bring active duty military into Washington, D.C. during Black Lives Matter protests.
Nov. 10—Trump shuffles leadership at Pentagon, bringing loyalists to critical positions.
Nov. 10—William Barr authorizes U.S. attorneys to pursue false claims of election fraud, triggering resignation of DOJ’s Election Crimes Branch, Richard Pilger.
Nov. 10—Mike Pompeo declares there will be a ‘smooth transition to a second Trump administration.’
Nov. 10—Trump pressures Georgia Senate candidates Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue to support his claims of election fraud in that state, or be cut off from his support in their Senate runoffs.
Nov. 11—Experts warn that Trump’s lies about the election are sending followers ‘spiraling’ toward violence; white supremacist groups boil in confusion.
Nov. 12—Trump campaign sues to stop vote count in Georgia counties with the highest numbers of Black voters.
Nov. 12—Trump lawsuits in Arizona founder, as lawyers withdraw and the Trump team asks a judge to seal the evidence.
Nov. 12—Trump continues shuffling chairs at Pentagon, moving former Devin Nunes aide Kash Patel into the position of chief of staff, and Michael Flynn protégé Ezra Cohen-Watnick into the role of undersecretary for intelligence.
Nov. 14—Trump stages ‘Million MAGA March’ in Washington D.C., including a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally and thousands of white supremacist extremists descend upon the capital city in a preview of the  Jan. 6 insurgency.  Violence erupts among MAGA marchers, as groups including Proud Boys, American Guard, and Oath Keepers instigate assaults—as Trump sent statements of encouragement.
Nov. 16—Lindsey Graham calls Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, asks him to throw out all absentee ballots.
Nov. 16—Trump’s legal team is forced to retract a major portion of Pennsylvania lawsuit after being caught in a lie.
Nov. 17—Georgia conducts a hand recount of ballots, confirming Biden’s victory there.
Nov. 18—Trump demands recount of the two most Democratic counties in Wisconsin.
Nov. 18—Arizona Secretary of State releases a statement in response to continued threats of violence.
Nov. 19—Trump calls members of thee Wayne County, Michigan Board of Canvassers in attempt to prevent certification of votes from Detroit.
Nov. 19—Sidney Powell calls for votes to be overturned in all states Biden won as Trump ‘exerts full power of his office’ to reverse election.
Nov. 20—A Michigan militia plot to takeover state capital, execute governor, is revealed.  Trump calls for MAGA revolt.
Nov 20—Trump summons Michigan Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield and state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey to the White House in an effort to persuade them to block certification of votes in Wayne County.
Nov. 25—Trump and Pennsylvania GOP leaders stage a ‘Gettysburg conference,’ as Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis promote list of conspiracy theories to be incorporated into new lawsuit.
Nov. 30—Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp reminds Trump that election fraud is illegal after Trump posts series of tweets attempting to get Kemp to overturn election results.
Nov. 30—Wisconsin conducts a recount in only the two most heavily Democratic counties (the only counties where Trump would pay for it).  Biden picks up 87 votes.
Nov. 30—Rudy Giuliani appears before the Arizona legislature, urging them to throw out election results and name a slate of Trump electors.
Dec. 02—Recently pardoned Michael Flynn takes out a full-page ad in The Washington Post calling on Trump to overturn civilian government and institute ‘limited martial law.’
Dec 05—Trump calls Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to demand that he hold a second election.
Dec. 05—Kash Patel blocks Pentagon and intelligence officials from sharing data with Biden’s team.
Dec. 07—Georgia conducts a machine recount and audit of votes.
Dec. 07—‘Stop the Steal’ protests funded by the Trump campaign continue to bring out armed extremists across the nation.
Dec. 08—The Supreme Court refuses to hear Trump’s Pennsylvania challenge.
Dec. 08—Republican leaders in Congress cooperate with Trump to block Joe Biden from access to information and funds needed for transition.
Dec. 09—Michigan Supreme Court rejects a request for a ‘special master’ to take control of ballots and order a third-party recount in Detroit in narrow 4-3 decision.
Dec. 10—Trump threatens Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr after Carr defends integrity of Raffensperger.
Dec. 11—The Supreme Court rejects a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, that attempts to overturn vote in four other states.  That lawsuit was supported by other Republican attorneys general, and by 126 Republican members of the House.
Dec 11—Trump plans to insert Kash Patel as deputy to CIA Director Gina Haspel, and then fire Haspel, making Patel acting director.  The plan falls apart when Haspel threatens to resign and reveal everything that’s been going on.
Dec. 12—Texas Republicans respond to failure of seditious suit with calls for secession.
Dec. 13—Trump once again claims that he won the election ‘overwhelmingly,’ and says there was ‘massive fraud.’  He claims that Democrats voted two, three, or four times, and declares that he will ‘never give up.’
Dec. 13—‘Stop the Steal’ rallies continue to be accompanied by violence across the country as Trump fanatics swear to never surrender.
Dec. 13—House Republicans sign onto plan to nullify election if the
Electoral College votes for Biden.
Dec. 14—The Electoral College votes to deliver victory to Joe Biden.

Dec. 14—Michigan Republicans propose a plan to overturn electoral vote and send their own slate of electors to Congress, even it requires violence.
Dec. 14—Wisconsin Supreme Court tosses Trump’s lawsuit seeking to have 221,000 voters disenfranchised, in a narrow 4-3 decision.
Dec. 15—Trump brings new acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to White House, insists he appoint special investigators for election fraud, and announce support of Trump’s lawsuits.  Rosen refuses.
Dec. 17—Michigan conducts a hand recount of votes in Antrim County, in response to Sidney Powell’s ‘Kraken’ lawsuit.  Totals change by just a dozen votes.
Dec. 17—The Proud Boys stage attacks on Black churches in Washington, D.C. in connection with a ‘Stop the Steal’ gathering.
Dec. 18—Senate Republicans stage a hearing to promote Trump’s claims of election fraud, including disinformation and testimony from witnesses who had already had their claims thrown out of court.
Dec. 18—Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell meet with Trump and urge him to move forward on Flynn’s plan to institute martial law and force a ‘do-over’ election where Trump sets the rules.  Trump considers bypassing DOJ to make Powell special prosecutor in charge of a sweeping elections investigation.
Dec. 19—‘Big protest in D.C. on January 6th,’ tweets Trump.  ‘Be there, will be wild!’
Dec. 21—Trump supporters storm the Oregon Capitol, force their way past police, and enter the Capitol building.
Dec. 23—Trump calls Georgia’s lead elections investigator and insists that he ‘find the fraud’ in a lengthy conversation where he complained about other officials.  Trump declares that the investigator would be a ‘national hero’ if he overturns Georgia’s vote.
Dec. 29—Raffensperger announces that the investigator has found no sign of fraud.
Dec. 30—Sen. Josh Hawley announces he will join House Republicans in objecting to electoral votes, ensuring that counting ceremony will take hours longer than necessary, and inflaming the importance of Jan. 6.
Jan. 01—DOJ officials warn B.J. Pak, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, that Trump is ‘obsessing’ about his office and may take actions to replace him.
Jan. 02—DOJ attorney Jeffrey Clark meets with Trump.  The two develop a plan in which Trump will replace acting AG Rosen with Clark, and Clark will then move forward to inform Georgia legislators that the DOJ is investigating serious election fraud in the state; simultaneously, Clark will file suit in effort to prevent Congress from counting electoral votes on Jan 6.
Jan. 02—Trump calls Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, asks him to ‘find’ votes.  He also warns that U.S. attorney B.J. Pak is a ‘never-Trumper’ who won’t support him.  The recording surfaces the next day, after a member of the secretary of state’s office releases recording due to Trump’s continued complaints about Raffensperger following the call.
Jan. 03—The recording drops just hours before Rosen and Clark meet with Trump and White House attorney Pat Cipollone.  With the tape causing problems, Cippollone convinces Trump not to execute Clark’s plan.
Jan. 06—While a joint session of Congress meets to certify the electoral college vote, Trump’s violent MAGA army swarms the Capitol in a deadly assault.
Jan. 09— B.J. Pak resigns.
Jan. 15—MyPillow founder Mike Lindell visits White House with papers urging Trump to carry through with Flynn’s plan for martial law.
Jan. 20—Joe Biden inaugurated as 46th President of the United States.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, January 23, 2021)

There are so many facts here that need elaboration that it would require a book to do so; nevertheless, a few comments seem appropriate.  First, it is to be noted that the QAnon protesters on November 6 were armed, a clear indication that they are ever willing to commit violence if it serves Trump’s purposes.  There have been countless similar instances since then.

Mike Pompeo’s comment on November 10 that there would be a “smooth transition to a second Trump administration” was belied by his own words when he tweeted: “We need more Pipehitters to answer the call and defend our values.  Are you with me?”  Salon provides us with definitions of what constitutes a “pipehitter:” “Beyond Pompeo’s vague definition, what is a ‘pipehitter?’  In military slang, a ‘pipehitter’ is a member of a special operations unit such as the Navy SEALs, Delta Force, the 75th Ranger Regiment, the Green Berets, or other elite forces.  The word ‘pipehitter’ can also be used to describe a mafia enforcer or a street thug who is feared because of their prowess with and enthusiasm for violence.  ‘Pipehitter’ has also been used to describe strikebreakers and other company enforcers who attacked union members and labor organizers in the 19th and 20th centuries in America and elsewhere. (Chauncey Devega, Salon, June 18, 2021)

The article continues: “The mission statement for Pompeo’s new PAC signals to a right-wing fantasy world, where (white) ‘patriots’ and ‘real Americans’ are under siege and ‘victimized’ in ‘their own country’ by ‘evil’ and ‘traitorous’ ‘liberals.’  These ‘real American’ ‘patriots’ should be prepared to use violence to ‘defend’ themselves and their communities, Pompeo hints.  This fascist aesthetic and political logic is antithetical to normal politics and democracy; such rhetoric implies that violence is an acceptable means of resolving political disagreements.”

November 12 was significant in that it showed how Trump was trying to overturn the Georgia turnout by focusing on the areas with the highest percentages of black citizens.  Next, in a prequel to January 6, thousands of white supremacists descended on Washington DC and began assaults, egged on by Trump, on November 14.  Trump’s December 13 rant that some Democrats voted “2, 3, and 4 times” was, like so many of the lies coming from his mouth, a complete fabrication.  Suffice it to say that neither he nor anyone else has provided any objective evidence of this occurring.  Finally, proof of just how clean the actual voting process was is seen in the stupid recount in Antrim County, Michigan in response to a lawsuit.  The claim of voter fraud here was as unsubstantiated as anywhere else, with only twelve votes being overturned.

There are numerous companies that have given millions of dollars not only to elect Trump, but to his cronies who tried to steal the election for him.  Of these, ATT is one of the worst, as The Juggernaut Project tells us: “AT&T was the single largest corporate contributor to the group of Republican politicians who objected to the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the electoral college.  Last month, when dozens of other corporations announced they would stop donating to those politicians, AT&T said it would ‘suspend contributions,’—stopping far short of the longer term commitments many companies made.  Donating to dangerous and dishonest politicians is nothing new for AT&T.  The company donated millions of dollars to Donald Trump, more than $1 million to Republicans in the 2020 election cycle, and has long supported racist, anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ politicians.  Some of the politicians AT&T helped fund recently didn’t just try to undermine Joe Biden’s electoral college victory—they spent months lying to their supporters and helped incite the January 6 attack on the Capitol.  Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, for example, received thousands of dollars in contributions from AT&T.

“By merely suspending its donations to the Republican members of Congress instead of committing to ending them outright, AT&T is leaving the door open to resuming its contributions once grassroots activists and the media stop paying attention.  It’s up to us to make sure they don’t get away with it.” (The Juggernaut Project, February 6, 2021)

Daily Kos printed an article on February 11 summarizing the situation as it stood at that time: “The insurrection on Jan. 6 was planned by Donald Trump and his allies.  It did not occur in a vacuum.  Trump broadcast long before the election that if he lost he was going to claim the election was stolen from him.  Trump’s allies were quoted after his loss, anonymously and not, describing what the ‘plan’ was each step of the way, as they alleged invisible fraud in each swing state Trump lost and came up with each new rationale why the votes from those states should be nullified.

“After each state certified its vote totals and electors, the Trump team’s game plan was, openly, to demand that Congress itself throw out non-Trump electors in sufficient numbers as to nullify the election itself.  A large part of this effort consisted of gathering as many far-far-right Trump supporters as possible in Washington on Jan. 6, the date Congress would formally count the electors, explicitly to pressure Congress into throwing out those electors.  Trump himself promoted the effort, as House managers in his second impeachment trial laid out tweet-by-tweet, and the event was explicitly timed to turn the assembled crowd, worked into a froth by multiple speakers and finally Trump himself, toward the U.S. Capitol precisely as Congress began counting those votes.

“All of this is known and incontestable.  It was reported in real time, over the course of months; we all witnessed it.  Though Trump’s team has gone to considerably more effort to hide it, we now know that the Jan. 6 event timed to interfere with the counting of electors in Congress was not just promoted by Trump and his campaign, but financed by it as well.  New research by OpenSecrets shows that Trump’s 2020 campaign and joint fundraising committees made at least $3.5 million in direct payments to those organizing the Jan. 6 event.  This includes a payment to event planners Event Strategies Inc. on Dec. 15, three weeks before the event.  The point is significant because it demonstrates, yet again, two plain facts about the Jan. 6 ‘rally.’  First, that the effort to assemble a mass crowd of demonstrators intent on opposing Congress’ formalization of the election results, at exactly the point Congress would be doing that formalization, was planned well in advance—including the attendance of the Trump-supporting violent far right.  Second, that the effort was heavily financed by the Trump campaign itself, pouring at least millions into a strategy they hoped would nullify the United States election at the very last opportunity to do so, after all their other attempts had failed.  This was not Donald Trump, delusional, ranting in the darkness.  This was a planned and organized attempt to nullify the election, carried out by his staff, allies, and complicit Republican lawmakers.

“It may have been based on brazen lies and propaganda, but it was a real attempt.  The crowd was not in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6 to merely voice their displeasure over the election results.  They had been gathered there to interfere with those results.  The ‘at least millions’ part is because, OpenSecrets says, we may never know exactly how much money Trump’s campaign and fundraisers channelled into the staging of the Jan. 6 rally and riot.  We know that at least $50 million was spent to promote the ‘Stop the Steal’ campaign itself, in the weeks before Jan. 6, but OpenSecrets reports that Trump’s campaign used shell companies to hide ‘hundreds of millions of dollars’ in campaign spending.  We know they spent it, but we don’t know who they paid those hundreds of millions to.  Because this is the Trump family we are talking about, and because they have surrounded themselves with a collection of the seediest grifters the conservative movement has to offer, it is widely speculated that those shell companies are hiding the straight-up theft of campaign money by Trump and others.  But it also looks like the companies were used to intentionally hide the full extent of the campaign’s financial support for an attempted insurrection.  Which is no more surprising than any of the rest of it, to be sure. Trump and his allies fully intended to overthrow the government if they could, on Jan. 6.  They planned it, they provided financing to make it happen, and they used the gathered crowd as the weapon they intended it to be.  It was all pre-planned, and just because it failed—as it was almost certain to—does not erase the intent or the harm.  There were multiple deaths inside the U.S. Capitol that day.  As they were occurring, Trump and Rudy Giuliani were calling senators, using the violence as a tool to help block certification of Joe Biden as the winner, even as Trump refused to intervene to help send rescue teams to the Capitol.  ‘The call was cut off,’ reported CNN of a mid-riot call from Trump to Sen. Tommy Tuberville, ‘because senators were asked to move to a secure location.’” (Hunter, Daily Kos, February 10, 2021)

This is overwhelming, irrefutable evidence of the criminal activities of Trump and his supporters.  On the second day of the trial, a 13 minute video of the insurrection on January 6 was shown.  So how seriously did the NFP take this when it was presented?  Daily Kos tells us: “As reported by Karoun Demirjian, writing for The Washington Post, despite this proffer of irrefutable video evidence relevant to the trial, a handful of Republican senators apparently couldn’t be bothered to pay attention.  Demirjian writes: ‘Almost every senatorial eye in the chamber was glued to the screens as lead House manager Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) played a 13-minute video depicting the events of Jan. 6 to introduce the impeachment case against Trump—with a few notable exceptions.  While the screen showed demonstrators marching on the Capitol, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) looked down at the pad of lined paper in his lap, where he had already begun doodling with a pencil.  Behind him, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) studied papers in his lap, taking only the tiniest glimpses at the screen to his right.  A few seats over, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) also focused most of his attention on papers in front of him instead of on the images depicting the insurrection at the Capitol, and a few seats from him, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) did the same.”

“Paul sat and ‘doodled.’  Scott, Cotton, and Rubio ‘studied papers.’  Of course, it’s impossible to know the thoughts, if any, that were flitting through each senator’s mind.  But it seems fairly clear that none of them take the prospect of the trial of a former president on the charge of fomenting an insurrection against their country—or their role as purported ‘jurors’ in that trial—with any degree of seriousness.  In point of fact, they are demonstrating their contempt for the proceedings, and by extension, their contempt for the U.S. Constitution and the American people.

“There is some debate as to whether senators in an impeachment trial can actually be considered ‘jurors.’  But at a bare minimum, given the seriousness of the subject matter, they should be required to pay attention to the trial proceedings.  In criminal trials, if a juror does not pay attention to the evidence, bringing, for example, a ‘doodle pad’ while the prosecutor presents key facts, both sides have the option (and some would argue, the duty) to have that juror questioned privately and admonished.  As compiled by NOLO, remedies the judge may impose for noncompliance include: 1) discharging the juror and replacing them with an alternate, 2) holding the juror in contempt, 3) instructing the jury that sleeping and inattentiveness won’t be tolerated, and that jurors who violate that order could be dismissed and sanctioned, 4) granting a motion for mistrial (if the misconduct was discovered before the verdict), and 5) granting a motion for a new trial (if the misconduct was discovered after the verdict).

“There is no reason American citizens should tolerate deliberate efforts on the part of Republican senators to ignore evidence in a trial of this magnitude.  Of course, since the imposition of any sanction requiring them to modify their physical behavior would simply provide an opportunity for grandstanding on the part of these senators, it’s probably best  to quietly impose a monetary sanction on them while highlighting their deliberate inattentiveness to various media sources responsible for covering the trial.  If they continue to protest, they could conceivably be expelled from the trial since there is no requirement that all senators attend this type of proceeding, only that they are expected to attend.  The expulsion of senators for deliberate inattentiveness would simply result in fewer votes required to attain the two-thirds vote necessary for conviction.  Ultimately, there’s no reason that these senators should have any less responsibility than ordinary Americans who are called upon to do their civic duty.  They should be required to pay attention, and if they choose not to, they should be sanctioned.” (Dartagnan, Daily Kos, February 10, 2021)

Several obvious questions come to mind: Why was the presiding officer not on top of the court’s proceedings?  Why were Rand and the others not reprimanded and, if they continued to ignore the trial proceedings, dismissed?  Why are these people allowed to get away with things no “ordinary” juror would be allowed to do?  And, most fundamentally, why were these people allowed on the jury in the first place when they had already publicly stated that they would vote to acquit?  In any legitimate trial, jurors who announced before the trial that they were biased one way or another would be immediately dismissed.  Why the double standard for elected officials?

It didn’t take long for the original cover-ups and lies to spawn into even more ridiculous statements.  Daily Kos points the finger at one of the more egregious offenders: “…Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey—dropped in on party officials last week to explain to his fellow Republicans that the assault on the Capitol was ‘a hoax.’  Forget what you saw.  According to Shirkey, those were not Trump supporters, everything was peaceful, and the whole event was staged.  Instead, Shirkey insisted that the attack was a scheme whipped up by—Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell with the assistance of Democratic D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, February 10, 2021) The article closes with this highly revealing observation: “And remember—this is the guy who other Republicans just censored for not being extreme enough.”

Here is a literary quote that sums up the NFP perfectly: “The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears.  It was their final, most essential command.” From 1984 by George Orwell.

Another amazing and disturbing fact emerged during the trial’s second day, as reported by Daily Kos: “Bottom line, when the dust settles, is that the president of the United States deliberately tried to sic a mob on his own vice president, who had the misfortune of being constitutionally required to certify the vote count of the electoral college.  As explained, quite cogently, by Pema Levy, writing for Mother Jones: ‘During the impeachment trial on Wednesday, Democrats demonstrated a powerful point: President Donald Trump knew Vice President Mike Pence was in danger during the January 6 assault on the Capitol and, rather than call off the murderous mob, Trump chose to attack Pence in a tweet and further incite the marauders against his own veep.  In his presentation, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), one of the House managers prosecuting the impeachment case, outlined a damning chronology.  He noted the insurrectionists had turned on Pence by 2:15 pm that day and that their attempt to find Pence in the Capitol was being reported on television—which Trump was undoubtedly watching.  But instead of urging his supporters to end the assault and protecting his vice president, Trump at 2:24 pm tweeted an attack on Pence.  ‘Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.’  While his veep was fearing for his life, Trump put him in even greater jeopardy.’  It’s pretty clear, the mob would have harmed the man Trump told them to blame.  They would have strung Pence up, had they managed to catch him.  It was literally a matter of minutes.” (Dartagnan, Daily Kos, February 10, 2021) This is a perfect illustration of Trump’s innate criminality: If there’s someone you don’t like, try to get them killed.  No trial.  Just murder.

The obvious question is: If Trump is willing to call for his own Vice President to be killed by a rampaging mob, what is to keep him from doing the same thing if the people who still blindly support him suddenly dare to disagree with him about anything?

NFP leaders learned nothing from the impeachment trial.  Indeed, Trump continues to exert more influence on them than any other individual; they will continue to defend him at any cost and believe anything he says, no matter how outrageous.  Consider this article from People for the American Way: “Donald Trump just delivered the keynote address at the Far Right’s largest annual gathering, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), using his speech to cement his grip on the GOP and position himself as the presumptive Republican nominee for president in 2024.  In fact, the entire conference was about heaping adulation on Trump and propping up his baseless lies about the 2020 election that resulted in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and continue to fuel a frenzy of far-right bigots, conspiracy theorists, and seditionists.  Multiple panels promoted false narratives about the last election, with titles such as, ‘Other Culprits: Why Judges & Media Refused to Look at the Evidence,’ and ‘The Left Pulled the Strings, Covered It Up, and Even Admits It.’  Make no mistake, the heavy lean into the bogus ‘stolen election’ lie is not just about coddling Trump’s ego, it’s about using the lie to justify a new wave of aggressive voter suppression policies so the Right can further rig the playing field to their advantage by denying Americans their right to vote.” (Ben Betz, People for the American Way, February 28, 2021)

Make no mistake: The current NFP effort to repress voters is about one thing and one thing only: To keep the NFP in charge.  To reiterate, they know that they have no agenda other than stopping Democrats and that most voters, at least at some level, understand this.  Voter suppression is designed not because of any alleged “corruption” in the electoral process, but simply because the NFP, openly fascist and unwilling to change in any way, wants complete and total control over the country.  Occasionally, one of them admits as much.  Daily Kos provides one example: “Republicans have said again and again why they want to make it harder to vote or to have your vote counted: It helps them win.  A lawyer for the Arizona Republican Party explained that again in Supreme Court arguments this week.  Asked ‘What’s the interest of the Arizona RNC in keeping, say, the out-of-precinct ballot disqualification rules on the books?’  by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the lawyer replied, ‘Because it puts us at a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats.’  It’s that simple for Republicans.  If they can find a way to disqualify a type of vote that is more likely to go to a Democrat, they want to disqualify that entire type of vote.” (Laura Clawson, Daily Kos, March 3, 2021)

The article goes on to compare the NFP suppression effort with the Democratic effort to bring more voters to the polls: “The voting rights bill Democrats are trying to pass, meanwhile, would make it easier for everyone to vote.  It would require states to carry out automatic registration of eligible voters and same-day voter registration, to have 15 days of early voting, and to allow no-excuse absentee voting.  It would restore voting rights for returning citizens and limit purges of voter rolls.  It would create a public financing system for congressional campaigns and revamp the useless Federal Election Commission.  It would restrict gerrymandering by having redistricting carried out by independent commissions.  It would bring dark money into the light.

So: Registering more people to vote, giving people more ways to vote, drawing congressional district lines fairly rather than according to partisan benefit, preventing billionaires from secretly buying elections.  Republicans are outraged.  According to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the For the People Act is an attempt by Democrats to ‘tilt the playing field in their side’s favor.’  No, Mitch, if Democrats tried to, say, institute automatic voter registration only in cities of more than 100,000 people while closing voter registration sites in rural areas, that would be an attempt to tilt the playing field in their side’s favor.  That would be tailoring restrictions to partisan ends as Republicans have done again and again, whether by closing drivers license offices in heavily Black areas, as happened in Alabama in 2015, or pushing a bill banning Sunday voting so that Black churches can’t do Souls to the Polls voting drives, as Georgia Republicans are in the process of doing right now.  ‘Democrats want to use their razor-thin majority not to pass bills to earn voters’ trust, but to ensure they don’t lose more seats in the next election,’ said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.  This is a thing he said after every single House Republican voted against a COVID-19 relief package with massive public support, with Senate Republicans contemplating procedural maneuvers to drag it out as long as possible before a final vote.  This is the state of play as McCarthy wants to lecture Democrats on not passing bills to earn voters’ trust?…It’s truth vs. lies.  Democracy for everyone vs. partisan efforts to disqualify the other side’s voters.  Democrats vs. Republicans.”

The Georgia NFP has gone out of its way to restrict voting rights, particularly of the black community.  Some of its tactics are so ridiculous and immoral that it’s difficult to comprehend how anyone could fail to see through them.  Consider this: “Georgia is about to make it illegal to bring someone waiting in line to vote a snack…Due to voter suppression, studies have shown that voters in heavily Black neighborhoods are six times more likely to have long waiting times to vote than white neighborhoods.  Now, after losing a presidential election and both senate seats, opponents of voting rights want to limit the role churches play in getting people to vote, including helping transport people to polling places or providing them with food or water while waiting in obnoxious lines…The same legislators who championed automatic voter registration, churches bringing people to vote, and mail-in voting rights a few years ago are now the same ones ramming these restrictive bills through, just because more Black voters have embraced them.” (Voter Action Project, February 7, 2021)

Brian Tyler Cohen had a field day on his podcast with what is going on in Georgia: “Think about that: It is now illegal to give water to voters waiting in lines as long as eleven hours, lines that were intentionally created by Republican policies purposely targeting black precincts.  And here’s how you know that those policies target black people: Because the average wait time in Georgia after polls were scheduled to close was six minutes in neighborhoods that were at least 90 percent white and 51 minutes in places that were at least 90 percent non-white.  And yet still, despite this disparity, the precincts with the highest percent of black voters had polling places eliminated in the last election.  Every step of the process is deliberately crafted to make it difficult for minorities because they overwhelmingly vote for Democrats.” (No Lie, Brian Tyler Cohen)

Ignoring the evidence in front of his face, Mitch McConnell actually dared to say: “states are not engaging in trying to suppress voters whatsoever.”  Texas, in fact has passed Georgia in suppression efforts.  The state’s NFP has introduced legislation that 1) Removes deputy voter registrars 2) Purging massive amounts of unknowing voters from their rolls 3) Getting rid of all mass voting locations and closing others by 7 p.m. and 4) Requiring massive amounts of proof of disability before voters can vote by mail.  But if what is happening in Georgia, New Hampshire, Texas, Arizona and all over the country is not voter suppression, then exactly what is it?  McConnell was conspicuously silent on this point.  By lying about this (and countless other issues), Mitch McConnell is actively engaged in destroying democracy in this country.

Fortunately, the ACLU took action on Georgia’s deplorable racist legislation.  At the end of March, they sued Georgia, asserting that: “This legislation violates the 1st, 14th, and 15th Amendments and the Voting Rights act, and is a clear attack on voters of color.  We’ll see Georgia Governor Kemp in court.”

Texas is another bellwether state for voter suppression.  Public Citizen tells us: “Last week it was Georgia.  This week it’s Texas.  Yesterday, Texas Republicans rammed a voter suppression bill through the state Senate.  If passed by the Texas House and signed by Trumpist Governor Greg Abbott—which is likely—this bill would make it significantly harder to vote in the Lone Star State, especially for people of color.  Which is exactly what Texas Republicans intend.  This anti-democratic, racist bill would:

  • Drastically reduce expanded voting hours, making it tougher for many eligible voters, including working people, to get to the polls.
  • For example, in Harris County—home of Houston, the state’s largest city — 56% of those who cast a ballot during expanded nighttime hours last fall were Latino, Black, or Asian.
  • Prevent polling places that serve densely populated urban areas from having more voting machines than those in sparsely populated rural areas, which is almost certain to create long lines and discourage voters in cities.
  • Eliminate drive-thru voting.  You can buy alcohol and guns right from your car all over Texas.  But voting from your car is unacceptable to state Republicans.
  • Allow so-called ‘poll watchers’—operatives loyal to a specific candidate or party—to actually film people voting, which could intimidate countless potential voters.
  • And much more.

Republicans are now pushing some 361 voter suppression bills in 47 states.  That’s because—as Senator Ted Cruz himself recently admitted—if we had true democracy, Republicans would basically never win another election.  And rather than trying to appeal to more Americans, the Republican Party has instead chosen to cling to power by opposing the very concept of democracy itself.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, April 2, 2021)

It is crystal clear that the last thing the NFP wants is a fair election in which everyone of legal age is allowed to vote.  They know that most Americans are at least somewhat aware of how extreme the former Republican party has become.  The January 6 insurrection was their absolute defining moment and it showed beyond any doubt that they have no interest in the Constitution, the rule of law or in serving the American people.  Rather than trying to appeal to voters by eliminating the lies and corruption that are now the defining characteristics of their party, the NFP has instead doubled down on their efforts to eliminate all competition and obtain complete control over the United States and everyone in it.  The NFP is no longer a legitimate political party: It is a fascist organization and nothing more.  Given that, let us now take a look at some of the criminals, appeasers and enablers that make up their party.


THE REAL “DEPLORABLES:” THE LEADERS OF THE NFP, THE RIGHT-WING MEDIA AND BIG BUSINESS

I will begin this section with a quote from a woman who typifies what many “ordinary” Republicans/NFPers think about Donald Trump: “Debra Ell, a Republican organizer in Michigan and fervent supporter of former president Donald Trump, said she has good reason to believe the 2020 presidential election was stolen.  ‘I think I speak for many people in that Trump has never actually been wrong, and so we’ve learned to trust when he says something, that he’s not just going to spew something out there that’s wrong and not verified,’ she said, referring to Trump’s baseless claims that widespread electoral fraud caused his loss to President Biden in November.” (Aldous J. Pennyfarthing, Daily Kos, May 2, 2021) You read that right: Many of Trump’s supporters are actually claiming their man to be omniscient—a term previously reserved for earlier religious leaders.  For these people, their all-perfect, all-knowing deity is to be revered as the be all and end all of existence.  Many have spoken openly about getting his likeness on Mount Rushmore and even of giving him a Nobel Peace Prize.  These are apparently only the first steps before he is officially elevated to sainthood and then deified.  Like all religious cults, Trumpism is based on blind faith: the willingness, even enthusiasm, to believe in lies if they are uttered by the object of their devotion.

The NFP leaders know this and waste not a day attacking the Democrats and lying about anything and everything.  And of course, the complicit mainstream media does little or nothing to expose their lies.

Democrats seem to have had no problem when Senate Majority leader Moscow Mitch McConnell said that his number one priority is to block everything the Biden administration tries to do.  If they did, they didn’t make much noise about it.  Even though Biden’s party is now the majority in all three branches of government, many Democrats are still, in spite of all that has occurred in recent years, trying to appease the NFP and find some common ground.  There is no common ground with fascism, and NFP members have, in every instance when Democrats “worked” with them and watered down their bills, turned around and voted against the bills they had said they would support once these changes were made.  Clearly, they cannot be trusted under any circumstances, and Democrats who persist in trying to find common ground with them are only fooling themselves and harming their country by pretending that the NFP is somehow honorable and trustworthy.

It needn’t be this way.  When Democrats Turn Out tells us of an alternative: “Trump and the Republicans have proven for the last four years that they have no respect for precedent or common decency—from silencing opponents in Congress to ramming through a lame duck Supreme Court appointment, against their own objections four years ago.  So what if Democrats broke out the bare knuckles, too, and actually got some things done while Biden and Harris are in office?

“LegBranch, an organization dedicated to congressional reform, offers some suggestions.  They explain how it’s merely through ‘long-standing practice’ that the Senate Majority Leader moves ‘to proceed to the Senate’s floor business,’ and that: ‘in reality, any rank-and-file member, or the minority leader, can make a motion to proceed to a bill or nominee on the Senate floor.  They simply choose not to and instead defer to the majority leader to do so.’  In other words, why should Mitch McConnell be allowed to kill any bill he chooses?  With Kamala Harris soon to take the Senate president’s chair, what if she started recognizing Democratic senators instead of giving the Grim Reaper a monopoly on legislation?  With this workaround, Democrats could open up the floor to force the GOP to vote on popular Democratic bills they’d otherwise rather avoid.  It’d be a bold move for the Democrats, but they might be more likely to pursue it if they had the backing of the American people.”  (When Democrats Turn Out, January 6, 2021) As of June 2021, this seems like the only viable course of action for the Democrats.  Kamala Harris portrays herself as a true progressive; it is high time for her to act the role.  The question is if the other members of the Democratic party have the wherewithal to choose this course.  Given the number of corporate Democrats in Congress, this seems unlikely.

McConnell’s hypocrisy and dishonesty have been extensively covered in my earlier articles, but they continue unbated in the new administration.  On January 26, he said: “Today, I made clear that if Democrats ever attack the key Senate rules, it would drain the consent and comity out of the institution.  A scorched-earth Senate would hardly be able to function.  It wouldn’t be a progressive’s dream.  It would be a nightmare.”  Daily Kos discusses this threat: “Lofty words about consent and comity, but the real McConnell shines through in the words ‘scorched-earth, nightmare, I guarantee it.’  It is a direct threat, it is the language of the right, it is same tactic used by trump and his enablers—lie, deceive, change the rules, bend the law, intimidate, terrorize and bring in the mob when necessary.” (AKALib, Daily Kos, January 27, 2021)

Astute Daily Kos readers had a field day with this nonsense.  MontyBoa noted: “Mitch changed Senate rules to: 1) reduce hearings on Trump judges from 30 hrs to 2. 2) eliminate the filibuster of 220 Trump judicial nominations and 3 Supreme Court nominations. 3) use ‘reconciliation’ to pass the Tax Scam bill.  Now he threatens to jam up the Senate if they mimic.”  What is this if not the most transparent hypocrisy?  Again, McConnell wants one rule for himself and his party, and another rule for Democrats.  A reader called Trinity was tellingly blunt: “You vile lying hypocrite.  You blocked: 1) Obama’s federal judge picks, leaving 125 plus vacancies 2) Over 400 House bills 3) Merrick Garland for 237 days then rammed through Barrett.  You were single handedly the biggest enabler of a fascist tyrant.  You aided and abetted destruction of democracy.”  That about sums it up!

How would a “scorched earth” policy by the NFP be any different than what they are doing now?

The Daily Kos article concludes: “Most of you will agree that McConnell cannot be trusted with anything.  Even if we agree to all of McConnell’s terms, he will still use scorched earth tactics.  Let’s not call republicans hypocrites—they are far worse; they are unprincipled, ruthless and will do anything, including colluding with our enemies and sending in the frenzied mob, to cling to their ill-gotten power.  McConnell is a crafty conniver and it’s time we took matters in our own hands, now that we have the majority, and move the country forward.  Let’s not expect any goodwill from Republicans, let’s not expect them to meet halfway or even a tenth of the way in any negotiation—even Obama learnt it the hard way.  The GOP is a minority party—let’s keep them that way.”

Once he lost his Senate majority, McConnell began focusing on the one weapon left to him—the filibuster.  Common Cause reports: The filibuster wasn’t routinely used in the Senate until recently.  It requires 60 senators to vote to advance most bills—which means even if a bill would win a fair up-or-down Senate vote, a handful of senators can still abuse the process to kill it.  That’s outrageous—the voters took away McConnell’s gavel.  He shouldn’t be able to exercise absolute veto power over our entire legislative process.  That is not democracy.” (Devon Nir, Common Cause, January 30, 2021) It certainly is not, but then McConnell and the NFP couldn’t care less about democracy.  The article continues: “Right now, McConnell and his caucus—who represent a disproportionately white minority of the country’s population—can shut down almost any bill they want by abusing the filibuster.  Even a bill that the vast majority of Americans support can be blocked by these self-serving politicians.”

McConnell and other NFP members are scared to death that Democrats will succeed in eliminating the filibuster.  On March 16, 2021, Mitch McConnell, speaking on the Senate floor, actually threatened to nuke the entire Senate if Democrats are successful in eliminating the filibuster.  He knows the NFP is not popular with the majority of Americans, and so he must resort to fear tactics to keep this archaic relic of slavery days alive.  The NFP is the party of obstruction, nothing more; they ran the 2020 campaign without even having a platform, their only goal being to keep Trump in office and blocking everything the Democrats proposed.  But in so doing, they are shooting themselves in the foot simply because most Americans approve of Biden’s agenda.  McConnell’s speech, is in reality no different than the child who takes his ball home when he doesn’t get his way.

However, his threats are completely nonsensical: The NFP is already blocking everything the Democrats propose, so exactly how would McConnell’s threat of a Senate “scorched earth” policy affect things?  The key point is not that the NFP wants to pass good legislation that helps people; they want to stop good legislation because it will make Democrats look good and the NFP’s popularity will sink even lower.  To reiterate: The NFP couldn’t care less about the American people.  They will do their best to stop any piece of legislation that benefits them in any way, no matter how popular it may be with the majority of Americans.  Gun checks, COVID relief, tax reform, a woman’s right to choose and LGBTQ rights—all of which are popular with most Americans—are all opposed by the NFP.  They are the party of againstism.

Early in May, McConnell made it crystal clear how he intends to deal with Biden’s administration (as if anyone had any doubts).  Yahoo News reports: “‘One hundred percent of my focus is on stopping this new administration,’  when asked if he was concerned that Republicans who acknowledged Biden as the rightful winner of the 2020 election could face political liabilities.  ‘One hundred percent of my focus is on standing up to this administration,’ McConnell continued.  ‘What we have in the United States Senate is total unity from [moderate Maine Sen.] Susan Collins to [conservative Texas Sen.] Ted Cruz in opposition to what the new Biden administration is trying to do to this country.’…McConnell’s statements about stopping the Biden administration came as some members of his caucus say the White House is not making enough of an effort to reach out to Republicans and build bipartisan support for major legislative endeavors, including a new infrastructure proposal.  The Biden administration, meanwhile, argues that it has been acting in a bipartisan fashion because polls indicate widespread support for its agenda. (Christopher Wilson, Yahoo News, May 5, 2021) In other words, not even one percent of McConnell’s or the NFP’s efforts will be directed toward addressing the pandemic, climate change, human rights, or anything else except stopping the Democrats.  Given this and other such statements, one can only wonder why any thinking person could possibly expect the NFP to help people or the country in any way.  This is exactly the way fascist regimes work: Ignore the will of the people, attack anyone who gets in their way and lie shamelessly to cover their tracks.  The fact that 70% of “Republicans” still believe that Joe Biden somehow stole the 2020 election is proof positive both that their lies actually work and that the gullibility of right-wing America is at an all-time high.

Almost laughably, McConnell followed this with the statement that Democrats must “go bipartisan” if they want to get anything done.  As if he is about to let anything written by a Democrat to get past the Senate cemetery.

As an indication of just how unpopular Donald Trump is among most Americans (as opposed to ALL the NFP members of Congress), there is the rather amusing story concerning a wax museum in San Antonio, Texas.  It seems a wax statue of Trump that was vandalized so often that it had to be removed.

There are so many NFP Senators who still support the former dictator-in-chief that it staggers the imagination that we have sunk this low as a country as to elect such people to positions of authority.  Missouri Senator Josh Hawley is one of the worst, an outspoken Trump supporter who, since the election, has bought into Trump’s lies about the “stolen election” hook, line, and sinker.  He also persists in calling Antifa (discussed at length in my previous article “Voter Fraud”) a terrorist organization and the following example, as reported by Daily Kos, will illustrate his fundamental dishonesty: “Protesters with the organization ShutDownDC demonstrated in front of the senator’s suburban Virginia home Monday and made a point of leaving a copy of the Constitution on Hawley’s doorstep, The Washington Post reported, calling the demonstration a ‘peaceful vigil.’  Hawley tweeted Monday his unique version of what happened.  ‘Tonight while I was in Missouri, Antifa scumbags came to our place in DC and threatened my wife and newborn daughter, who can’t travel,’ he said.  ‘They screamed threats, vandalized, and tried to pound open our door.  Let me be clear: My family & I will not be intimidated by leftwing violence.’ (Lauren Floyd, Daily Kos, January 5, 2021) So is there any truth in this statement?  Clearly there isn’t.  In fact, this was such a minor event that the police didn’t even bother to send out a press release.  As you might expect, when real violence occurred on January 6, Hawley gave the intruders fist bumps as the entered the U.S. Capitol.  So, when so-called “leftists” leave a copy of the U.S. Constitution on his doorstep, that constitutes “left-wing violence,” but when right-wing terrorists invade Washington and try to seize power, killing five people in the process, that is perfectly all right.  Welcome to the NFP world.

One of the best-known fascist leaders in this country is Ted Cruz.  Daily Kos printed an article which, although long, exposes this awful man for what he really is: “As we all now know, Ted Cruz was caught taking a flight to the resort town of Cancun, Mexico, during (1) a massive natural disaster in his home state that caused much of the state to lose power and is now resulting in citizens dying in their homes and (2) a global pandemic that has killed 500,000 Americans, closed schools, shuttered businesses, and prevented many Americans from seeing their friends or loved ones for something approaching a full year now.  When caught, Ted blamed his young children.  ‘Like millions of Texans, our family lost heat and power too,’ says Ted.  ‘With school cancelled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends.  Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon.’  You’ve heard of the general edict between politicians and press to ‘leave the children out of it.’  This is the other edict: When in political danger, throw your youngest daughter at reporters and bolt.

“Now, there are sev-er-al problems with Cruz’s statement up there, and that’s being generous.  Cruz previously said that his home did not lose power, suggesting he was selflessly hosting the neighbor children who were not so fortunate.  The airport pictures show Cruz with a rather significant amount of luggage for a supposed one-night stay, but we will be good sports and presume that he is merely moonlighting as a Texas drug mule or that he never, ever leaves the country without a two week supply of his favorite canned soups.  Fine.  But then there’s the rather bigger problem of Ted Cruz, a United States senator, willingly declaring that despite a deadly global pandemic, his kids got bored during a school break and insisted daddy spirit them off to Mexico for funsies, which he of course did, but of course he had to shepherd them there himself before, um, turning right around and coming back.  Really now?  Really?  The rest of us are conducting half our lives over Zoom to keep ourselves and our neighbors safe during a plague while the senators ostensibly in charge of these things are letting their daughters organize their own international superspreader events?  Outstanding.  Just outstanding.

“By far the biggest flaw with Ted’s claims here, however—and it is a doozy—is that an airline-knowledgable reporter was quickly able to check with a source and reports that Cruz’s original United Airlines tickets originally had him booked to return Saturday.  Ted Cruz is, apparently, just brazenly lying his confederate beard off on this one.  I realize that does not really come as a surprise to anyone, given that the current crop of propaganda-spewing Republicans quite literally uses lying as means of governance and therefore lies about absolutely everything, all the time, but it still needs to be said that this yellowbellied Texas lungfish blamed a weekend Cancun vacation on his kids, then lied to everyone in his state about how Actually he was just tagging along to show them how to work the hotel vending machines.  Nope.  It seems Cruz had, among senators, a very particular reason for being outraged at the notion that the Senate might have to hear evidence in the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump for longer than a few days.  Cruz had an international beach trip planned for the Senate break, and didn’t intend to let a probe of whether a former president attempted to have his vice president and a good chunk of the presidential line of succession killed in a coup attempt interfere with that.  Oh, and apparently he didn’t even tell his staff where he was going, which was the reason his staff had no immediate response when pictures began flowing in of their boss leaving the damn country.  The last time that happened we learned that a certain Republican governor had an Argentinian mistress, but not before his staff had piped up with a cover story claiming he was off hiking the Appalachian Trail on—shoulda done a little research on that one, kids—National Nude Hiking Day.

“You may, at this point, be almost close to maybe having a microscopic bit of sympathy for Ted Cruz in the form of at least being embarrassed on his behalf for being such an amazingly craven little sea squirt.  Don’t bother.  Once the Jan. 6 seditionist had been caught and had to book a quick flight back to Texas in order to pretend that he gave two biscuits about his voters freezing to death in their homes, one of the things his staff quickly made sure of was to contact the Houston Police Department to arrange for their ‘assistance’ at the airport when he got back.  Sure, it’s not like anyone in Texas has anything better to do right now.  Surely there’re some spare officers available to guide Cruz through an airport terminal and fend off anyone who wants to ask for more details about his international pandemic superspreader sleepover.

“Cruz has managed to be a truly amazing human being these last few years, and that should not be taken as praise.  He has managed to throw every member of his family, from his father to his wife to his children, under ye olde tour bus in his various attempts to slither through a political career.  He has both Trump’s sociopathic unwillingness to stick to the truth and a personality so magnificently awful that he could save 10 orphans from a burning orphanage and still somehow come out of it more hated than he was when he went inside.  Above all, he somehow managed to maneuver himself into playing a central role in the biggest seditious anti-government conspiracy since the actual Civil War, all in service to an incompetent blowhard and gasbag, under the apparent impression that what the nation really needs these days is to just nix elections outright and put tax-dodging rapists in charge.  Did he support the nullification of an election because his kids and their friends were bored and wanted to play insurrection, or was that one on him?  If any of us could still stomach even hearing this mulletfaced Gulf treasonfish bubble at us any longer it might make for a fascinating story, but if Texas voters still have a drop of dignity left maybe they’ll run Ted out of town—the roads are slick, so a pair of skates and a little push is probably all it would take—and appoint a particularly irritable rat snake to fill out his term.” (Hunter, Daily Kos, February 18, 2021)

Rest assured that, were not so many photos taken, Cruz and the NFP would be dismissive of the entire scandal as “fake news.”  Instead, they went to plan B: Just ignore it altogether.

Actually, Cruz doesn’t seem to be well-liked by his fellow NFP.  Public Citizen shows this with a few timely quotes, in addition to adding more on the Cancun trip: “Cruz’s staff even asked Houston police—who had their hands full with the devastating effects of the sub-freezing weather—to escort Cruz through the airport before his departure and upon his return.  Never mind that Cruz has snarkily faulted politicians in other states for electricity outages caused by weather-related emergencies.  Never mind that Cruz has taunted other politicians for going to the beach during a crisis.  Never mind that we’re all supposed to be avoiding non-essential travel—especially on airplanes—as our nation continues to battle the coronavirus.  Never mind that Cruz has castigated other politicians for taking trips abroad during the pandemic.  Never mind that Cruz told radio listeners in Texas earlier this week to ‘just stay home and hug your kids.’

“Ted 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 bit%& 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.’  Even Fox News lambasted Cruz for abandoning Texans in the middle of the disaster.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, February 19, 2021)

Ted Cruz is, like the others in the NFP, completely immoral.  He actively pals around with hate groups and insisted during his 2016 presidential run that we should bomb the Middle East so hard that we find out if “sand can glow in the dark.”  Within a week of the Cancun “incident,” he appeared on a podcast and actually said that people need to “loosen up” and “laugh a little bit.”  Few people have disrespected their fellow human beings as much as Cancun Ted Cruz.

Like his boss, Ted Cruz lies at every opportunity, and will make statements on the Senate floor, no less, that are so patently ridiculous that it’s hard to believe anyone takes him seriously.  One of the more egregious examples of this was when he claimed that illegal immigrants would be able to receive $1400 in stimulus checks from the Democrat’s relief bill.  Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the majority whip, then took the floor and lambasted Cruz for his lies.  He said that Cruz’s statements were “just plain false.  False.  Let me be clear: Undocumented immigrants do not have social security numbers, and they do not qualify for stimulus relief checks.  Period…And for you to stand up there and say the opposite is just to rile people up over something that’s not true.”

Cruz is far from being the only culprit in the Texas freeze, as Daily Kos points out: “On MSNBC Friday morning, Houston’s Democratic Mayor Sylvester Turner told Stephanie Ruhle that he still has 10,000 residents without electricity.  There’s a boil water notice for the whole city through the weekend.  But get this: ‘I have not talked to the governor at any time during this crisis,’ Turner told Ruhle.  Abbott has not reached out to the mayor of the state’s largest city.  Ruhle was dumbfounded.  ‘You’re the mayor of Houston,’ she said.  ‘The governor of your state hasn’t reached out to you since this began?!’ Turner reiterated, ‘I have not talked to the governor. […] But we’re pushing forward.’  Just let that sink in.  Since last week, when the storm and hit and crippled the state, Abbott has not once reached out to the mayor of the state’s largest city.  How very Trumpian.  Turner shouldn’t feel slighted, though.  As of Thursday night Judge Clay Jenkins, the chief executive of Dallas County, hasn’t heard from Abbott either.  ‘I haven’t heard from the governor,’ he told MSNBC. ‘I haven’t heard from any of the state leaders throughout this.  We have been doing the best we can.’  But who has he talked to?  ‘We have heard from the White House.’ (Joan McCarter, Daily Kos, February 19, 2021)

The confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland to head the Justice Department showed Cruz at his most outlandish.  He accused, with a straight face, the Obama administration with “politicizing and weaponizing” the Justice Department!  The best example of the existence of a politicized and weaponized Justice Department was, as I’ve discussed in previous articles, the Department during Trump’s presidency, then run by William Barr.  This is the same department that intervened in a defamation lawsuit against Trump brought by a woman who accused him of raping her back in the 1990s.  The same Bill Barr who intervened to block the release of Trump’s tax returns.  Barr’s DOJ moved to drop charges against Michael Flynn after he had been found guilty of breaking the law.  If all this weren’t enough, Barr even went on an international tour asking British and Italian officials to reject the Mueller report, simply because it revealed the truth about Trump’s crimes.  This was such a blatant distortion of the facts that Mueller himself spoke publicly that the committee’s findings did not exonerate Trump at all.  All this and much more took place under Barr, a man who was dedicated to serving Donald Trump rather than the rule of law.  William Barr turned the DOJ into Trump’s personal law firm, and yet Ted Cruz completely ignores this and accuses Obama, without naming a single example of Obama’s alleged transgressions.

The nerve and gall of Ted Cruz to ask such a question of Merrick Garland who was himself a victim of NFP political bias, defies belief.  Only a man as devoid of honesty and principle as Cruz would have this kind of effrontery.  Clearly, this man is a national disgrace whose entire career shows him to be nothing more than the worst kind of party hack who will stop at nothing to keep his party in power.  But then, this is equally true of the majority of the NFP.

To top it off, Cruz also lied when he claimed that Garland did not answer all 127 of the questions he asked of Garland.  Garland indeed answered all those questions, but obviously not to Cruz’s satisfaction.  But when Jeff Sessions was undergoing questioning during his confirmation process, he steadfastly refused to answer questions concerning Russian officials who colluded with Trump during his first presidential run, repeatedly either denying that he met with them or else that he “didn’t remember.”

Cruz also questioned Garland’s qualifications for the position, ignoring the fact that Garland had been the chief judge for the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, a position he held for over twenty years.  But he had no issues with confirming Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary, even though she had no experience whatever in the education field.  She didn’t even send her children to public schools.  Cruz also had no problem confirming other unqualified nominees, or nominees who had conflicts of interest.  These include Ben Carson, who had never held any government position but was nonetheless appointed to head the Housing and Urban Development department.  Cruz also raised no objections over Rex Tillerson’s appointment as Trump’s Secretary of State; needless to say, Tillerson had no diplomatic experience prior to his appointment and had also been fined for violating Russians sanctions when he was head of Exxon Mobile.  This conflict of interest didn’t bother Ted Cruz or other Senate NFP members at all.

In other words, Cruz had no problem at all confirming the least qualified individuals for high government posts, as long as they were NFP members.  But when a highly qualified democratic candidate is up for confirmation, he suddenly questions his qualifications for that position.  If this isn’t one hundred percent proof of Ted Cruz’s hypocrisy and partisanship, then no such proof could possibly exist.

At this point, one must wonder if the word “leadership” means anything at all to the NFP.  Clearly, none of the Texas NFP leaders did anything to assist their constituents at a time when their leadership was most needed; instead, they spent their time on vacation or on attacking clean energy.

The story on Matt Gaetz is particularly disgusting and shows once again the hypocrisy that seems to be rampant in the NFP.  Gaetz, who was the sole representative voting against the Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles act on December 19, 2017 came under investigation for—having a sexual relationship with a minor girl and paying her to travel across state lines with him!  Daily Kos reports: “It’s bombshell after bombshell in the Trump Republican era, but this one is a stunner.  The New York Times reports that Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, a vitriolic Trump loyalist, is ‘being investigated by the Justice Department’ over a possible sexual relationship with a 17-year-old that may have included paying ‘for her to travel with him.’  The investigation was reportedly opened late last year under Trump-appointed Attorney General William Barr, and ‘some’ Trump-appointed officials had been informed of the investigation.  Gaetz is being investigated as part of a broader sex trafficking investigation of Florida politico Joel Greenberg, who has already been indicted for child sex trafficking and other charges.  Earlier today Gaetz had indicated that he might not run for reelection to his congressional seat, instead possibly taking a position at conspiracy outlet Newsmax.  Newsmax and other conservative outlets have promoted ‘QAnon’-based conspiracy claims of a worldwide sex trafficking ring controlled by Donald Trump’s personal enemies. (Hunter, Daily Kos, March 30, 2021)

For even more proof of how corrupt the NFP is, it is interesting that no one seems to be making an issue of the fact that Gaetz, while being investigated by the Justice Department, continues to sit on the House Judiciary Committee.  This means that he can oversee the same branch that is investigating him for these crimes.  And yet no on in the NFP is speaking out against this obvious conflict of interest.

I discussed Ron Johnson’s absurd lies earlier in this article, but this man is such a dangerous demagogue that I will once again put the spotlight on him.  Daily Kos describes a New York Times report by Trip Gabriel and Reid J. Epstein that illustrates just how much a threat this man poses to his country: “Gabriel and Epstein do not merely repeat Johnson’s latest claims, nor do they brush responsibility off with parenthetical fact checks of each.  They interview Johnson, but do not allow him to run their reporting off its rails by treating him with unwarranted deference.  Instead, they find the story behind the story—the information that the public most needs to know, defended in detail and with its conclusions intact.  Sen. Ron Johnson ‘has become the Republican Party’s foremost amplifier of conspiracy theories and disinformation,’ report Gabriel and Epstein.  An ‘all-access purveyor of misinformation on serious issues,’ one who uses his powerful perch to mislead the American public on critical subjects and in dire ways.

“He is a propagandist.  He is a liar.  The what that the public most needs to know and that journalism has the most responsibility to convey is not the occurrence of each individual lie, set apart from the others and rebutted by fact in whatever detail a journalist or editor believes it necessary to muster.  The what is that a powerful senator who acted as chair of the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee is a serial propagandist, a habitual if not compulsive liar who engages in fraud against the public with regularity and with clearly political intent.  The what is not that Ron Johnson has told lies.  The what is that Ron Johnson’s willingness to pass on hoax after hoax to American voters is a threat to the nation’s democracy.  Such propaganda seeks to nullify the voice of voters by so muddling the information available to them that they cannot make judgments about the successes or failures of their representatives at all.  It is all noise, and voting becomes not an exercise of public will but of the effectiveness of competing strategies for gaslighting them.

“Johnson’s lies are all to a purpose.  He lies to boost his party’s ideological stances—even when those stances were merely blundered upon, as with his continued boosting of hydroxychloroquine as anti-COVID treatment, still repeating a damaging Trump claim from the early days that Trump himself only latched onto as one of a list of supposed quick-fix cures Trump vowed would end the pandemic in short order.  Johnson’s efforts to fuel skepticism as to the efficacy of the vaccines now available, by contrast, are part of a brickheaded campaign to sow distrust in all things non-Republican, be they in science or in government.  It is the same for climate change, and for his backing of Russian-backed conspiracy theories about Ukraine and the Biden family; there is no invented fiction that he will not endorse in service to a long-term partisan campaign demonizing non-conservative, non-Republican figures as something close to vampires.  Similarly, he lies to absolve his own party and ideological tent from even proven violent acts, as with his incessant new explanations as to how the violent insurrection that targeted lawmakers inside the Capitol—which resulted in well over 100 injured police officers, multiple deaths, and chants about what the crowd intended to do to those it was hunting—was not violent, or that the violence was caused by non-conservatives who had secretly infiltrated the conservative crowd, or take-your-pick.  It does not seem to matter to him that each of these lies is provably false on their face.  He continues, undaunted, even as profiles of those arrested for the violence paint each as rabid far-right partisan.

“There was a point when it seemed possible that Johnson was lying so prolifically because he was genuinely stupid.  The current pattern seems to put such thoughts to rest, however; he is lying about things that he himself has seen with his own eyes, and about things that have been so prolifically debunked that he, an alleged United States senator with his own dedicated staff, could not possibly still be confused about in good faith.  The man is a liar and a provocateur, nothing more.

“That the Times piece makes a comparison to professional propagandist Sen. Joe McCarthy, who made a brief career out of defrauding the nation as means of self-promotional and authoritarian-premised warfare, is also of note.  Indeed, Ron Johnson is of the same mold.  His methodology is to accuse his enemies of all manner of things, using the weight of his office and committee positions to give merit to constant flights of conspiratorial fancy, and to bellow about oppression when called out.  Like McCarthy, Johnson has also gone so far in his fictions that he is no longer known primarily as ideological zealot, but for his insufferable dishonesty.  So yes, then, this is indeed a big news story.  A sitting U.S. senator is a serial propagandist, an eager liar who incessantly spreads misinformation as his political weapon.  It is a story that the daily tit-for-tat sniping about each individual lie dodges, if only for expediency.  Note that it still makes no value judgment about the morality of Johnson’s pattern of lies—but it does identify them as a pattern, and factually conveys the man’s status as a ‘purveyor of misinformation on serious subjects.’

“…If an elected official, or a dozen of them, or 100 of them, have engaged in a years-long pattern to misinform the public, gaslighting them about some of the most vital issues of the day until even the integrity of our elections themselves is seen by ideologues as a truth that can be successfully challenged if only enough misinformation and enough violence can be brought to bear against it, it is front-page news.  The Trump White House operated from its first day to its last day as a source of constant, relentless propaganda, but the national press ignored the ramifications of such behavior as if they had been put under a spell.  It is catastrophic to democracy.  It is inherently authoritarian.  It is a behavior a free country cannot possibly abide, not as measure of morality but as matter of structural integrity.

“Ron Johnson is a propagandist who manufactures false claims against his enemies and distorts plain truths in order to paper over the errors or corruption of his allies.  It is a form of corruption that strikes at the nation’s very heart, and it deserves more press attention as something more than filler or sideshow.” (Hunter, Daily Kos, March 23, 2021)  The only thing I can add to this is that it is time the media stop using words like “misinformation” when what is really coming out from the NFP is lies.

Fortunately, the departure (however unwilling) of Donald Trump also meant the departure of most of the nut jobs in his administration.  Although I’ve already discussed this at length in my previous articles, I will cite one example showing how corrupt the NFP is.  Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Education Secretary, made over $225 million while serving in that capacity and tried to avoid the obvious conflicts of interest by donating her taxpayer-funded salary while she “served.”  This donation, in the amount of $800,000 was a piddling amount compared with her total earnings.  DeVos, Trump’s wealthiest cabinet member, continued to maintain her role with Neurocore and refused to recuse herself from any matters concerning the company.  She also promised that her husband would stop making any political donations as long as she was Education Secretary.  However, he continued to make donations until virtually the end of her term.  Again, almost no one in the media has pointed this out.

Win Without War gives us even more proof of how corrupt Trump’s administration was: “Every day we uncover more shocking and enraging information about how Trump’s inner circle acted with reckless abandon during his presidency.  Next up: Erik Prince, former head of Blackwater, Betsy Devos’ brother, and major Trump crony turned international arms dealer.  You might remember him from when Blackwater guards killed 17 Iraqis in 2007 or from his surprising appearance in the Mueller report alleging he helped fund a covert effort by a foreign state to obtain Hilary Clinton’s emails.  Yeah, that Erik Prince.  Now, according to the United Nations, he offered to supply weapons and troops-for-hire to a militia commander seeking to overthrow the internationally-recognized Libyan government [1].  This is a flagrant breach of UN arms embargoes and a clear violation of international law — but are there any consequences for these people anymore?  This is a complicated world of holding companies, intermediaries, and secret transactions so it is incredibly rare for us to see such clear and damning proof of wrongdoing—over 121 pages of evidence!  If there is this much evidence and still nothing happens, it begs the question whether there will be ANY accountability at all for crimes and misdeeds that happened in the Trump years.” (Amy Frame, Win Without War, March 31, 2021)

Like his father-in-law, Jared Kushner must be held accountable for his crimes.  Even if Trump, at this writing, is still a free man and trying to lie and bamboozle his way back into the White House in 2024, this does not mean that Kushner should be able to get away with his crimes.  Win Without War summarizes some of them: “As the eyes of the world are focused on Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, we must acknowledge that Trump’s malfeasance, ethical lapses, and potential crimes, at home and abroad, did not happen in a vacuum.  Many willing officials played a part—but they may have escaped notice and justice because of the constant chaos Trump created around himself and his cronies.  Prominent among those individuals is Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.  The accusations against Kushner for potential crimes, conflicts of interest, and negligence are numerous.  His improper relationships with key government officials in Saudi Arabia and the UAE while they were fueling the world’s largest humanitarian crisis in Yemen is just one example.  Others include his foreign real estate dealings that put his interests over the foreign policy of the U.S. and his utter failure as a lead official in charge of the coronavirus response, which has contributed to the death of more than 450,000 people in the United States.

“The list goes on and on, and the American people deserve a full investigation into all of these accusations and misdeeds.  Kushner must be held accountable for all of the harm he created.  We must ensure that no future administration officials think that they can act with this kind of hubris and greed and not face consequences for their actions.

“Kushner’s list of misdeeds is sweeping: 1) Kushner cozied up to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman while Saudi Arabia waged an illegal war against Yemeni civilians and murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.  2) The Kushner family received a billion-dollar bailout from a Qatari-government-funded investment company, not long after Jared had backed a Saudi-UAE blockade against Qatar. 3) Kushner repeatedly failed to disclose meetings with foreign officials on his security clearance forms, harming our national security. 4) Kushner failed to vet private companies and executives involved in the COVID-19 response he coordinated, raising questions about self-dealing and potential conflicts of interest while hundreds of thousands of people in the United States suffered and died.

We must not let the graft and nepotism of the Trump administration become normalized or forgotten.  We must not let this become business as usual.  We are all tired from 4 years of Trump’s instability, but our fight against his authoritarianism is not done until everyone who committed misdeeds and harmed people alongside him are held accountable, and this includes Jared Kushner.  Right now Rep. Joaquin Castro and Sen. Ron Wyden are pushing for an investigation into Jared Kushner’s flagrant conflicts of interest and they need our support.  Accountability cannot stop at the impeachment trial.  All of those who have committed crimes must face consequences.  Unless we make real and sure consequences for corruption, future opportunists will replay the Trump playbook again and again.” (Stephen Miles, Win Without War, February 12, 2021)

Consider also the difference between Joe Biden and his predecessor: Biden sent emergency aid to Texas, even though that state is run by an NFP governor.  What would Trump have done under similar circumstances with a state led by a Democratic governor?  The answer should be obvious.  To emphasize the point even more, Daily Kos noted: “Meanwhile, Beto O’Rourke made over 150,000 wellness checks on seniors left in the cold during the blackout, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez helped raise over $1 million in relief funds through ActBlue.  Do you get it yet, Texas?” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, February 19, 2021) It may be asking too much for Texas voters to remember who assisted them and who didn’t come the next election, but one can only hope.

Then there’s Marjorie Taylor Greene.  This woman is so unhinged that her very words should strike terror into the hearts of every thinking person.  Daily Kos: “Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is not just the QAnon congresswoman.  Not just the 9/11 truther, Sandy Hook and Parkland were staged congresswoman.  She’s also, we’re learning, the pro-assassination congresswoman.  Greene liked other people’s Facebook comments calling for, in one case, ‘a bullet to the head’ for Speaker Nancy Pelosi and in other cases for executing FBI agents.  When Greene posted about the Iran deal, a commenter asked about hanging former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to which Greene responded ‘Stage is being set.  Players are being put in place.  We must be patient.  This must be done perfectly or liberal judges would let them off.’

“At another point, she, as Media Matters describes it, ‘endorsed a conspiracy theory that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was videotaped murdering a child during a satanic ritual and then ordered a hit on a police officer to cover it up.’  This is apparently a theory that people have because—it’s not enough to disagree about policy?  These posts and likes by Greene are not in the distant past, to be clear.  They are in 2018 and 2019.  And they are not the first outrageous, incendiary, dangerous social media activity we’ve seen from her.

“Greene responded to the discoveries with a non-denial: ‘Over the years, I’ve had teams of people manage my pages.  Many posts have been liked.  Many posts have been shared.  Some did not represent my views. Especially the ones that CNN is about to spread across the internet.’  Okay, Marjorie.  So come out and tell us in detail which of these things you don’t endorse.  This is someone who has incited violence against Democrats since joining Congress, and who is suspected of helping to plan the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.  So yeah, we’re going to need specifics about which part of assassinating the speaker of the House and hanging the former president and secretary of state she doesn’t really like.  True to form, Greene then went on the attack against people criticizing her for literally endorsing assassination.  When Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (that’s his Twitter handle, and it’s fabulous) called her social media positions ‘dangerous and unacceptable,’ Greene attacked him for supporting abortion rights, concluding, ’Pastor,’ being a heretic is far worse than fake news.’  When former FBI agent Peter Strzok tweeted about her, well, Greene’s response was predictable.

“Greene should be expelled from Congress.  Until that happens, she’s House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s problem, and according to his spokesperson, ‘These comments are deeply disturbing and Leader McCarthy plans to have a conversation with the Congresswoman about them.’  Yeah.  Does it seem like McCarthy is the kind of guy who’s going to deliver the strong talk that gets Greene to back down?  More likely that he’ll come out of that conversation QAnon-curious himself.  Greene isn’t going to stop embracing dangerous conspiracy theories.  But the House could ensure that she is no longer embracing dangerous conspiracy theories from within Congress by expelling her, and it’s increasingly clear that’s what needs to happen.” (Laura Clawson, Daily Kos, January 27, 2021)

Public Citizen provides further examples of Greene’s insane antics: “ 1) In January 2019, she ‘liked’ a comment on Facebook advocating ‘a bullet to the head’ of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 2) Last September, she posted a graphic on her Facebook page in which she holds a military-grade assault rifle that appears to be pointed at congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib with the caption ‘Squad’s worst nightmare.’ 3) She thinks mass shootings at schools—like Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida—were ‘false flag’ operations carried out to foster support for gun control. 4) She thinks the California wildfires were intentionally started by Jewish bankers (specifically the Rothschilds) using a secret space laser.  (I’m not making this up—Google it.) 5) She believes that Muslim Americans should be prohibited from serving in the U.S. government and once roamed the halls of Congress with the intent of forcing Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib—whose election in 2018 Greene called part of ‘an Islamic invasion of our government’—to retake their oaths of office on a Bible instead of a Quran. 6) She believes that ‘the most mistreated group of people in the United States today are white males.’ 7) She claims the Capitol insurrection—that she herself helped instigate by perpetuating the ‘Big Lie’ that Trump won the 2020 election—was actually carried out by Black Lives Matter activists. 8) She was one of several Republicans who refused to wear a face mask while members of Congress were huddled together during the seditionist rampage (following which, several of her House colleagues tested positive for COVID-19).” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, January 29, 2021)

What was the NFP response to her claim that the school massacres at Sandy Hook and Stoneman Douglas were “false flags?”  She was put on the Education and Labor committee!

Even her fellow Congress people are afraid of this deranged woman though none of them are doing anything about it.  As Daily Kos notes: “Rep. Cori Bush is changing offices to get away from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, she tweeted Friday, after words were exchanged between the two congresswomen over mask-wearing in the Capitol.  ‘A maskless Marjorie Taylor Greene & her staff berated me in a hallway.  She targeted me & others on social media,’ Bush wrote.  ‘I’m moving my office away from hers for my team’s safety.’  There’s no question about that targeting people on social media thing.  Greene has a long trail of winking at and liking and inciting violence all over social media, and her response to Bush highlights the tone she takes.  Greene replied by first repeating the attacks on Bush: ‘Rep. @CoriBush is the leader of the St. Louis Black Lives Matter terrorist mob who trespassed into a gated neighborhood to threaten the lives of the McCloskey’s.’  Um, yeah.  That’s not what happened and we all saw it.  A group of activists got lost in a labyrinthine gated community and the McCloskeys, who were not in any way targeted or threatened, came out and waved guns around trying to look like bad-asses but in fact looking like jackasses.  Continuing on, Greene claimed ‘She is lying to you.  She berated me.  Maybe Rep. Bush didn’t realize I was live on video, but I have the receipts.’  The video follows in her tweet.  In it, Greene is walking around with her ‘censored’ mask, ranting breathlessly about Black Lives Matter protesters, when someone—apparently Bush—calls out something about putting on a mask.  Greene turns from her camera to scream in response, as a male voice can also be heard in the background—presumably a Greene staffer, and in a tone that fully earns ‘berated’ as a description.

“So—yeah, if that person telling Greene to put on her mask was indeed Cori Bush, sure, Bush made one comment to Greene.  For breaking the rules and endangering other people’s health.  Including Bush.  And what was Bush supposed to do, come up close to Greene and get close enough to breathe in her fumes while pleading gently for her to do the thing she was supposed to be doing all along?  That would no doubt be as successful as getting Greene and other Republicans to wear masks in lockdown during the January 6 attack on the Capitol, when following their refusal to wear masks, several members tested positive for COVID-19.  Or as successful as efforts to get Greene and other Republicans to go through metal detectors when entering the House chamber, thanks to those who’ve wanted to carry guns there in violation of the rules.  That effort yielded a string of Republican temper tantrums that left Bush asking ‘Have they ever had a job before?’  Bush once again shows her courage here.  Marjorie Taylor Greene is dangerous, and her followers are dangerous.  Confronting her over anything is a risk—but not confronting her will only embolden her.  Greene thinks she can get away with anything she wants, no matter how vile or disgusting or harmful.  Someone needs to tell her she can’t, and her Republican leadership sure isn’t doing it.  Taking that on—both to say ‘You don’t get to break the rules with impunity’ and to protect everyone around the huffing, panting, ranting Greene—shouldn’t have fallen to Bush, but it did, and she did it.” (Laura Clawson, DK, January 29, 2021)

In early February, Greene was removed from all her committee assignments in a (rare) bipartisan majority in the House.  This is indicative of just how polarizing this woman is, but as I write this in late June, there has yet to be any effort made to remove her from Congress.

Where are the voices condemning this obviously crazed woman?  Where is the outrage?  Why is this kind of disgraceful behavior acceptable, even the norm?  How did someone this dangerous wind up in the halls of Congress in the first place?  Why is it OK for someone in Congress to advocate violence against their colleagues?  These are questions all Americans should be asking.  If democracy means anything at all anymore, every single member of Congress should be united to rid the Senate of this disgraceful bigoted Nazi.

Even Mitch McConnell, of all people, called Greene as a “cancer” within his party.  Yet he has made no effort to persuade House members to expel her.  His counterpart in the House, Kevin McCarthy has likewise remained silent.  One can only wonder: Is there anything at all that a NFPer could do to get the others to act?

In the January runoff elections in Georgia, the NFP went all out to win since control of the Senate was the prize.  When Democrats Turn Out quotes a New York Times article: “As Georgians prepare to vote in two runoffs…that will decide control of the Senate, there is little mystery as to which of the two Democratic candidates G.O.P. officials want to elevate as a target as they try to rouse their base: the Rev. Raphael Warnock, who is running against Georgia’s other Republican senator, Kelly Loeffler.  Ms. Loeffler made plain the Republican strategy when she called Mr. Warnock a ‘radical liberal’ 13 times in their recent debate.”  (When Democrats Turn Out, January 1, 2021)  Smear tactics like this are a ubiquitous presence in the NFP, and with good reason: It works.  And, as usual Democrats, rather than go on the attack, spend their time trying to defuse the attacks.  What Warnock should have done should be obvious: Go on the attack.  He should have stated something like: “Radical, Ms. Loeffler?  Let’s see which of us is the real radical…” and then gone on to enumerate the insane statements and stances of today’s NFP.  He might have closed by noting: “And you call me a radical, Senator Loeffler?  It is your party leaders who are the real radicals.  Your every statement and action proves this.”  In this age of lies and misinformation, responses like this, in addition to being good copy, are guaranteed to get voter’s attention.  So why aren’t Democrats using them?

When Democrats Turn Out elaborated on this in a subsequent article.  The article begins by quoting Loeffler’s exact words: “Raphael Warnock is the most dangerous and radical candidate in America.  He’s a radical, and will change our country forever.  If we will lose this country, we won’t be able to bring it back.’  These baseless exaggerations are what Republican candidate Kelly Loeffler wants Georgia voters to believe.  Unless wanting to prioritize racial justice, police reform, affordable health care, and climate action makes you a radical—and therefore someone to be feared—Loeffler’s words have no merit, and only serve to undermine the truth about Warnock’s policies behind a lazy smear campaign.  What Loeffler, a proud Trump loyalist and proponent of the ‘build the wall’ circus, wants to hide is that she used her position in the Senate to make herself even richer during a global pandemic.  She sold millions of dollars in stocks after a briefing on the coronavirus—all while following Trump’s lead in downplaying the pandemic’s threat.” (When Democrats Turn Out, January 4, 2021)

However, Loeffler was hardly the only NFP member to personally profit from the pandemic.  This was made clear in another article on January 2.

On that day, When Democrats Turn Out discussed the other Georgia candidate: “According to Georgia Senator David Perdue, “Jon Ossoff believes if you repeat a lie enough, people just might believe it”—but it seems he might be confusing Ossoff with himself.  Perdue, one of the richest members of the Senate, has repeatedly told voters that accusations against him on insider trading are ‘totally false.’  But let’s look at the facts.  An analysis by The New York Times shows that Perdue made over 2,500 stock trades in just one term—more than any other Senator—and that many of those trades were ‘made in companies that stood to benefit from policy and spending matters that came not just before the Senate as a whole, but before the committees and subcommittees on which he served.’  Perdue can hide behind the word ‘exonerated’ all he wants, but we’ve seen plenty of Republicans wield their power to escape prosecution before, and the facts don’t lie.” (When Democrats Turn Out, January 2, 2021)

Fortunately, Ossoff, unlike most other Democrats, isn’t afraid to call a spade a spade.  When Democrats Turn Out: “‘I think that a sitting U.S. senator exploiting his office, exploiting his access to privileged information, exploiting his power to enrich himself, while his own constituents are suffering and dying, absolutely makes Senator Perdue a crook,’ Perdue’s challenger Jon Ossoff recently told CNN.  ‘And he’s afraid to come out and debate me, because he won’t answer these charges, because he can’t defend the indefensible.’” (When Democrats Turn Out, January 2, 2021)

There’s more about Perdue, and it’s not good.  His reaction to Donald Trump’s illegal effort to obtain more votes in Georgia is typical for today’s NFP.  Daily Kos ran an article that tells us just how low Perdue’s standards are when it comes to right versus wrong: “David Perdue has now made it as clear as it could possibly be that he has absolutely zero integrity and a completely broken compass.  Frankly, I am absolutely stunned that Perdue would be upset that Donald Trump was taped while attempting to commit a crime by interfering in a federal election and trying to manipulate the results of the election rather than Trump’s criminal actions.  I can’t begin to fathom how anybody could express disgust at a person who perfectly legally taped an autocrat’s attempted shakedown (which if done and released was in response to the autocrat lying about him) in order to alter the accurate and certified election results of a free and fair election devoid of the kind of widespread fraud that would be needed to change who won and hold harmless the autocrat who through an immoral and criminal act attempted to illegally change the accurate and certified election results of a free and fair election .  Who gets upset at the person taping a horrific act rather than the person who was taped committing the horrific act?  Who gets angry at the taping of a horrific act rather than the horrific act itself?  This demonstrates he has absolutely zero integrity, zero character, and an upside down and completely broken moral compass.  Either he actually believes what he said and is that sorry a human being or he said those things knowing that they were completely immoral and wrong just because he is desperate to retain political power which indicates he has absolutely zero integrity and character and only cares about retaining his own personal political power…What this shows is that Perdue cares more about loyalty and fidelity to Trump and his fellow republicans than to democracy and the US Constitution and federal and state election law!  This is truly party over country and self over country.” (Dem, Daily Kos, January 4, 2021)

Lindsey Graham is in a class by himself when it comes to hypocrisy.  When the sex scandal involving Andrew Cuomo emerged, this is what he said, as reported by Daily Kos: “‘Well, here’s what I would tell my Democratic colleagues to do: Follow the Republican model.  We had a Republican nominee for the Supreme Court be accused of something the day before we voted, the moment before we voted.  We could have gone ahead saying, ‘This is too late, you sat on it, you didn’t tell us, this is not fair.’  We stopped the entire damn process.  We had days and weeks of hearings.  We had another FBI investigation.  We took it seriously.  And what should you do as Democrats regarding Cuomo?  Do exactly what Republicans did.’  A Washington Post editorial from September 2019 gave an indication of just how thorough the FBI was with its ‘investigation’: ‘In an article adapted from their forthcoming book on the Kavanaugh controversy, two New York Times reporters revealed that the FBI interviewed practically no one regarding one of the allegations against Mr. Kavanaugh, in which one of his Yale classmates, Deborah Ramirez, said Mr. Kavanaugh drunkenly exposed himself to her.  ‘During his Senate testimony, Mr. Kavanaugh said that if the incident Ms. Ramirez described had occurred, it would have been ‘the talk of campus.’  Our reporting suggests that it was,’ the reporters wrote.  They found that federal agents interviewed none of the two dozen people who Ms. Ramirez said could bolster her story and ignored an allegation of a second episode of drunken misbehavior.  But, sure, give us some more lectures on the ‘Republican model,’ Lindsey.  From what I’ve gathered, the Republican model is to vigorously deny all credible allegations against Republicans while characterizing any legitimate questions from Democrats as the lunatic ravings of dastardly traitors engaged in an obscene witch hunt.” (Aldous J. Pennyfarthing, Daily Kos, March 2, 2021)

The simple fact is that the FBI “investigation” was, to say the least, somewhat incomplete: No one was put in charge of compiling evidence, the FBI didn’t accept any witness testimony and they didn’t even interview Kavanaugh!

Speaking about Andrew Cuomo, it should come as no surprise to see yet another NFP leader being accused of sexual abuse.  The same people who screamed to the heavens about Bill Clinton’s minor sexual peccadilloes had no problem at all ignoring Donald Trump’s major ones.  Likewise, they are making no calls for Cuomo’s resignation.  Again, we see that it is one set of rules for Democrats, and another for the NFP.

South Dakota governor Kristi Noem is another devout Trumpist.  She refused to issue lockdown orders during the worst days of the pandemic and never asked people to wear a mask.  Her way of dealing with the pandemic is: “Washing your hands and making good decisions.”  It should come as no surprise that South Dakota has the eighth highest death rate from COVID-19 in the country.  In Noem, we have another example of a party with blood on its hands.

As discussed earlier, a disastrous cold front in Texas in mid-February exposed both the NFP and Senator Ted Cruz for what they are.  Texans were without heat or power for days while their Senator left for a trip to Cancun.  Millions of people were without water during this time and had to resort to unsafe measures to heat their homes.  The entire incident showed how incompetent NFP leadership is when their constituents need them the most.  Since that time, Cruz has been given the nickname “Cancun Ted,” by his detractors, reminiscent of the moniker given to “Moscow Mitch” McConnell.

And of course, Texas NFP governor Greg Abbott has gone out of his way to disclaim any responsibility whatever for the disaster.  Typically he, Cruz and other NFP members spent their time attacking the Green New Deal, renewable energy, and the power outages rather then doing anything to help the people they are supposed to be serving.

During the midst of the crisis, one of Texas’ mayors explicitly showed us how the NFP feels about its constituents: “When it came time to write a platform for the 2020 election, Republicans either could not be bothered, or could not think of anything beyond ‘whatever Trump says now.’  In any case, they took the extraordinary move of simply discarding their platform and moving forward with no declared plan at all.  Which at least means they can’t be accused of breaking promises, since they didn’t make any.  But now one Republican official has spoken up to provide a document that seems tailor-made to fill that empty niche.  It incorporates the core Republican themes of ‘rugged individualism’ and the Reaganesque tradition of government distrust into such a pure form, that it’s not hard to see them being stitched onto banners for the next assault on the Capitol.  ‘No one owes you or your family anything; nor is it the local governments responsibility to support you during trying times like this!  Sink or swim, it’s your choice!…Only the strong will survive and the week will perish.’  This message was delivered by the mayor of a Texas town suffering from electrical outages and frozen water pipes in the middle of a freezing arctic blast.  You can practically hear the stirring patriotic music.  This message was authored on Tuesday by Colorado City Mayor Tim Boyd.  Actually, make that ex-Colorado City mayor, as according to KTXS, Boyd resigned from his position on Tuesday afternoon.

“Boyd posted his stirring call to arms on Facebook Tuesday morning because he said he was ‘frustrated’ that people would call their local city government about problems such as a lack of power or water.  For those people, Boyd had a perfect answer:  ‘I’m sick and tired of people looking for a damn hand out!  If you don’t have electricity you step up and come up with a game plan to keep your family warm and safe.  If you have no water you deal without and think outside of the box to survive and supply water to your family.’  And Boyd had a completely Fox News-worthy reason that people were so ‘lazy’ and just sitting around being cold and thirsty.  ‘This is sadly a product of a socialist government where they feed people to believe that the FEW work and others will become dependent for handouts.’  Yes, it seems that some of those in Colorado City labored under the misunderstanding that the town had a government and the reason they elected a mayor was to do something.  Boyd was out to set them absolutely straight on that score.  And when people didn’t understand the pure free market hymn Boyd was singing for them in that first message, he came back with a second.  In which he…resigned.  ‘Please understand if I had it to do over again I would have just kept my words to myself and if I did say them I would have used better wording and been more descriptive.’  Actually, the first statement seemed plenty descriptive.  Boyd also claims that his wife has been either ‘laid off’ or ‘fired’ following his statement ‘based off the association people gave to her and the business she worked for.’  That statement really could use some ‘better wording.’  In any case, don’t expect Boyd to stay down for long.  He has all the makings of a GQP hero for the modern age.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, February 17, 2021)

The only thing missing from this unbelievable diatribe is an attempt to blame Democrats for the storm itself.

Not that Texas’ NFP leaders weren’t actively searching for scapegoats during the crisis.  Daily Kos ran an article that discusses this, and refutes the false claims about the alleged “dangers” of clean energy sources : “On Wednesday morning, millions of homes in Texas are still without power as a prolonged blackout continues.  Meanwhile, the temperature in Austin, Texas, is expected to approach freezing for the first time in days…as the city is hit by a massive ice storm that’s expected to bring down trees and power lines.  As a bonus, the cold weather has also broken water lines in multiple Texas towns and cities.  In some areas, the prolonged outage has become genuinely life-threatening.  Fox News and Republican politicians—including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott—have been taking this ‘opportunity’ to attack Texas’ use of wind energy, call for the burning of more fossil fuels, and to make claims that green power is ‘deadly.’  However, the statistics provided by Texas own grid managers show that wind continues to produce more power than projected for this time of year, with the great majority of outages in exactly the gas- and coal-based plants that Fox has been touting.

“Meanwhile, far from being off line, wind generators are enjoying a fat payday.  Thanks to the way power prices fluctuate in Texas, Bloomberg reports that a 100Mw windfarm that could normally expect to clear $40,000 on any two days in February, instead racked up over $9.5 million on Monday and Tuesday thanks to record spikes in Texas power market.

“In 2003, Australia installed a pair of wind turbines at its Mawson Research Station in Antarctica.  One of those turbines failed…after 14 years of operating in extreme conditions where temperatures are regularly far below zero and winds exceed 100 mph.  The other turbine is still operating, providing 300 kW to power the research post.  At the opposite end of the world, Norway installed a pair of 100Mw turbines in Svalbard, the most northerly town in the world.  Further south, but still within the Arctic circle, the fishing and tourist town of Havøysund, Norway, is home to Arctic Wind.  Greenland also has been moving to wind power since 2008.  And in the United States, anyone traveling along Interstate 94 through North Dakota can’t help but notice that the area is graced by more than 1,500 wind turbines generating over 3,000 Mw of energy.  The temperature in Dallas might have reached 24 degrees on Tuesday, but it was -1 in Fargo.  North Dakota’s wind turbines kept right on cranking.

“In short—wind turbines operate reliably, year in and year out, in conditions far worse than those currently being experienced in Texas.  Yes, there are some turbines currently down for maintenance in Texas, but with 10,700 turbines operating, there are always turbines down for maintenance.  The current number doesn’t seem to be any higher than normal.  In fact, while many sources are citing wind as accounting for 13% of the 30 gigawatts of power currently offline in Texas, that’s only true if you count the rated power of every turbine offline and ignore the fact that the operating turbines are actually producing well over their projected rate.  If the wind turbines aren’t frozen, then what is?  Gas pipelines.  Unlike pipelines in Alaska or the Dakotas, those connected Texas fields with storage facilities and power plants are above ground and uninsulated.  Methane doesn’t actually liquify until it hits a temperature that even Antarctica can’t match, but what’s in a natural gas pipeline is far from pure methane.  It usually includes fluids involved in drilling and fracking as well as a good deal of water vapor.  As a result, when those pipelines get cold, they can develop a kind of methane-saturated sludge that severely restricts the flow.  At the same time the pipelines are producing less, demand is going up.  Not only is natural gas used at power plants, it’s used directly in home and business heating.  So everyone wants the gas, just as it’s getting more difficult to move.  That definitely is happening in Texas.  The result is both shortages that have either taken plants offline or reduced their rate of production, while at the same time driving the spot price for natural gas through the roof.  Gas that sold for $4/MMBtu last week, hit $500 over the weekend and $1,000 on Tuesday.

“Coal plants are also having difficulty.  Almost all the coal burned in Texas is sub-bituminous from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming, or lignite from Texas’ own fields.  Both grades of coal are high in moisture.  And since coal is generally shipped in open cars and often stored outside in stockpiles, also subject to local weather.  Frozen coal can be hard to remove from train cars, difficult to move down conveyor belts, and clog the crushers that are used to ready it for furnaces.  In addition, coal plants and gas plants are steam plants, meaning that they require huge amounts of water.  That water also moves around in pipes.  When those pipes are exposed and uninsulated, they freeze.  The freezing temperatures in Texas may be a record in some locations, but they were not a surprise.  Forecasters could see this wave of extreme cold coming for weeks before it arrived.  Even so, there appears to have been no effort made to prepare Texas’ power grid for the surge of demand that would come when all that cold air reached all those millions of homes.  It appears that was…because it was that way.

“As The Washington Post makes clear, natural gas is by far the largest contributor to the current power shortfall in Texas.  The reason is simple lack of preparation that has nothing to do with engineering.  It’s simply the system of incentives put in place by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and how Texas created a ‘Wild West market design based only on short-run prices.’  No one prepared because there is no money in preparing.  The market is designed to capitalize on high-demand situations, and—as the mid-sized wind farm back at the outset of this article illustrates—situations that are miserable for Texas consumers can be wonderful for Texas operators.

“It’s no wonder that Fox News is claiming that the ‘Green New Deal’ is killing Texas, even though that legislation has never been passed.  And it’s no secret why Abbott and others want to find a convenient scapegoat that lets them announce ‘investigations’ that have no intention of changing a thing.  Texas’ power grid is not only operating as designed, it’s a showcase of Republican plans for deregulation and ‘free markets.’   They can’t admit the truth, because what they want is more.  Not more power.  More of the same system that’s keeping Texas in the dark.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, February 17, 2021)

Fox News used old footage of icy wind turbines in Denmark to “prove” their case that Texas’ weather catastrophe was the result of clean energy.  As the above article clearly shows, it was the unregulated electrical grid and the uninsulated gas lines which froze the fossil fuel plants which Texas stupidly relies on.

Team AOC puts the blame right where it belongs: “In the midst of this crisis, Governor Abbott went on Fox News blaming solar and wind and using this crisis as ‘evidence’ that the Green New Deal would be ‘deadly,’ when in fact 80-90% of Texas’ energy comes from fossil fuels.  Let’s be clear about what’s really going on.  The failure of fossil fuels and Republican governing caused the blackouts.  Almost all of the outages were caused by non-functioning gas power plans.  Yes, some wind turbines and solar facilities were affected, but on Monday while gas plants were freezing, wind and solar exceeded expected power delivery.  Only inaction and failed leadership are to blame for what’s going on.  The lack of investment in our infrastructure is what got us here and this is an example of what to expect if we don’t pursue a Green New Deal.” (Team AOC, February 18, 2021)

Not surprisingly, other NFP members, like Lauren Boebert, also insisted that the Green New Deal was responsible for the catastrophe in Texas.  Not to be outdone, Trump’s son Eric weighed in with: “I think every single day Biden makes people miss Donald Trump more when you see these policies that are literally destroying jobs, that are destroying industries, that are causing Texas to freeze, that are cutting off our power to our energy grids, and all these other nonsensical policies.”  So, in his myopic little world, it was Biden, rather than the Texas NFP that deregulated the state’s energy system.  Was it Biden that flew off to Cancun while ignoring the tragedy unfolding in his state?  People like Eric Trump are so far removed from reality that it amazes me when reporters fail to break out laughing when they make such stupid statements.

The actual facts are incontrovertible: Denial of the climate threat is what caused the extreme weather.  The complete failure to invest in their state’s infrastructure is what caused the power grids to fail.  And, the complete disregard for the most basic needs of the most vulnerable Texans resulted in far too many deaths that needn’t have happened.  All of these failings can be laid directly at the doorstep of the NFP leadership.

Despite NFP voter suppression tactics and lies (and general immorality), the Democrats won the Georgia election and with it, the Senate, but it was extremely close.  The point is that until Democrats grow a backbone and begin calling their opponents’ party the NFP (or some similar name), they will continue to be on the defensive.  They still haven’t learned that the best defense is a good offense.  The NFP learned it early—and it obviously works for them.

Racism is ubiquitous in the NFP; Some members make no effort to hide it.  Consider Mike Erwin.  He’s the 19th Judicial District Court Judge from Baton Rouge Louisiana who saw a white man offer his seat to a black woman at a local restaurant.  He went up to the man and said: “You never give up your seat for a nigger.  You should have made her get her fat nigger ass up.”  Although this incident took place back in 2017, Erwin was never dismissed or even reprimanded for his words.  Erwin, who retired in 2019, has never apologized for what he said.  And no NFP leader, to my knowledge, has condemned him for his racism.

Another case in point concerns newly-elected Congressman Madison Cawthorn, a man who, far from being a fringe member of the NFP party, is in fact fairly typical of it, as Daily Kos reports: “In his short time as a Republican congressman from North Carolina, Madison Cawthorn has really distinguished himself as an incomprehensibly craven liar, with little competence for anything other than self-promotion.  He has already seemingly broken a very serious law by bringing firearms into the House chamber.  Cawthorn has repeatedly gone on television and spouted the easiest-to-verify lies.  He’s called the COVID-19 pandemic ‘overblown.’  In the face of an armed insurrection at the Capitol building, Cawthorn still tried to have millions of Americans’ votes thrown out.  While he was running for office, he set up and curated a wickedly racist website.  He did it anonymously because, at heart, Cawthorn is a coward like the rest of his bigoted ilk.” (Walter Einenkel, Daily Kos, January 22, 2021)

When Democrats Turn Out was also incensed at: “the freshman congressman who, despite flirting with Nazi propaganda, being accused of multiple accounts of sexual assault, and lying about his attempts at getting into the Naval Academy, is considered the rising star of the Republican Party.  Most recently, Cawthorn skipped out on the House vote on the COVID-19 relief bill—apparently, taking the stage at a crowded CPAC to yell about Democrats turning our country into a ‘communist ash heap’ took precedence over his suffering constituents.” (When Democrats Turn Out, March 4, 2021)

Cawthorn the same man who said that Adolf Hitler was his fuhrer and “The future of the GOP.”  One can only imagine which side he and the NFP would have been on during the Second World War.  This is today’s NFP, and the media still refuses to acknowledge it.

We have already discussed Paul Gosar and his role in the insurrection.  If this were not enough, Huffpost gives us further proof of his innate evil, as well as the role of fascism in today’s NFP: “Last week a sitting U.S. congressman delivered a keynote speech at a white nationalist conference in Florida.  ‘Wow, what a group,’ Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) said as he took his place behind a podium emblazoned with the letters ‘AFPAC’—an acronym for America First Political Action Conference, the second annual gathering of the white nationalist ‘groyper’ movement.  After speaking about ‘cancel culture,’ Big Tech’s supposed censorship of right-wingers, and the need for a big border wall to keep ‘America First,’ Gosar said goodbye to the AFPAC crowd, who’d traveled from across the country to attend the secret gathering inside the Hilton Orlando.  ‘May God bless you,’ Gosar said.  ‘And may God bless the United States of America.’  The crowd—a motley crew of unabashed racists and anti-Semites—broke into a chant of ‘Gosar!  Gosar!’ to which the congressman responded with a wave, a smile and what looked like an earnest, heartfelt ‘Thank you.’

“AFPAC’s organizer, white nationalist figurehead Nick Fuentes, took the stage next, telling the crowd that: ‘white people are done being bullied’ and that America needs to protect its ‘white demographic core.’  The next day, Fuentes and Gosar sat down for coffee, according to a photo Fuentes posted to Twitter.  ‘Great meeting today with Congressman Gosar,’ tweeted Fuentes, a 22-year-old Holocaust denier who once compared Jews killed in Nazi gas chambers to cookies baking in an oven.  ‘America is truly uncancelled.’

“In the week since AFPAC, the Republican Party has yet to rebuke Gosar…The GOP’s silence about his recent attendance at a white nationalist conference is one of the clearest indicators yet of an American conservative movement thoroughly unreformed and unrepentant since Trump’s electoral defeat, and shows one of America’s two major political parties beholden as ever to a white majoritarian, anti-democratic agenda.” (Christopher Mathias, Huffpost, March 5, 2021)

And just who is this Nick Fuentes?  To say he is a Holocaust denier only scratches the surface.  Huffpost makes the answer undeniably clear: “It’s hard to overstate how extreme and loathsome Fuentes and his cohort truly are.  Fuentes attended the 2017 ‘Unite the Right’ white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he stood alongside neo-Nazis, one of whom drove his car into a group of anti-fascists, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.  Afterwards, Fuentes wrote on Facebook that the rally had been ‘incredible.’  ‘The rootless transnational elite knows that a tidal wave of white identity is coming,’ he wrote.  ‘And they know that once the word gets out, they will not be able to stop us.  The fire rises!’

“In the years since the Charlottesville rally, Fuentes has hosted a series of podcasts, most notably ‘America First,’ which he’s livestreamed on various video platforms, including YouTube.  The livestreams frequently feature Fuentes in a suit and tie, sitting in front of some crudely green-screened cityscape, spewing racist invective.

“‘Enough with the Jim Crow stuff,’ Fuentes said in one episode, defending the terror that was racial segregation in the pre-Civil Rights era South.  ‘Who cares? ‘Oh, I had to drink out of a different water fountain.’  Big fu&%ing deal.  Oh no, they had to go to a different school.  And even if it was bad, who cares?  It was better for them, it’s better for us.’

“The podcast earned Fuentes a devoted following and a source of income, and it made him a major name in the far right.  By 2019 he had teamed up with Patrick Casey, former leader of the hate group Identity Evropa, to lead a new coalition calling itself the ‘Groyper Army,’ a name taken from their online talisman: a cartoon toad closely related to the alt-right’s Pepe the Frog. (Followers of Fuentes and the ‘America First’ movement call themselves ‘groypers.’)  Fuentes and Casey sought to use a political strategy called ‘entryism,’ which according to The Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights is the practice of ‘gaining a place in more mainstream organizations by moderating one’s appearance and expressed values in order to further movement goals.’

“Groypers, most of whom are in their early 20s, presented themselves in public as simply clean-cut young Republicans, wearing Make America Great Again hats and waving blue ‘America First’ flags.  When Fuentes turned up at various MAGA rallies with a megaphone last year, he didn’t preach for the necessity of a white ethnostate or homeland—though that’s exactly what he wants—but instead talked of preserving ‘heritage,’ using terms he knows are more palatable to the average Republican.  The groypers became fierce proponents of Trump’s campaign to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, and were fixtures at ‘Stop the Steal’ demonstrations across the country…

“He has a long history of political extremism, spending his 10 years in office often hobnobbing with extremist groups in America and even abroad.  Gosar is closely tied to the far-right militia the Oath Keepers.  A leader of the group recently claimed Gosar once told the militiamen that America was already in a civil war.  ‘We just haven’t started shooting yet,’ Gosar allegedly said.  He once traveled to Nevada to support other far-right militiamen in an armed standoff with federal authorities; he’s posed for a photo with a member of the Proud Boys, a violent neo-fascist street gang; and another time flew all the way to London to speak at a rally in support of a jailed anti-Muslim activist.  He’s faced little consequences for these associations, routinely winning re-election and enjoying the support of his Republican colleagues in Washington.”

The point needs to be reiterated: People like Gosar and Fuentes are not fringe members of the NFP.  They are the core of it.  If that doesn’t scare every thinking American, nothing will.

Police presence during Proud Boy rallies pales when compared with their presence anytime antifa is expected to make an appearance.  Daily Kos provides one example: “When the Proud Boys and their far-right cohorts led the violent Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, they did so largely operating under their longstanding belief that the police were on their side.  This weekend, breaking their weeks of quiet amid a stream of post-Jan. 6 arrests, they held an armed ‘Second Amendment’ rally in Salem, Oregon—without a whiff of police presence.  That meant that the Proud Boys, acting as gun-bearing ‘security’ for the ‘One Nation, One God’ rally on Saturday at Salem’s Riverfront Park—an event that had no permit from the city—were able to close off access to anyone deemed undesirable, threatening both journalists and citizens with impunity.  The only sign of law enforcement was a police helicopter hovering overhead.” (David Neiwert, Daily Kos, May 3, 2021)

As an example of how extreme some of the legislation being enacted by the NFP, consider Care2 Action’s report on abortion: “People who terminate pregnancies already have a tough decision to make.  Now, if Texas lawmaker Representative Bryan Slaton has his way, they would also face being put to death by the state.  In early March 2021, state Rep. Slaton introduced a bill that would not only ban abortions starting with the moment of fertilization—it would also bring criminal charges of assault or homicide against individuals and doctors involved.  And those charges mean pregnant people and physicians could face the death penalty.  Self-righteous Rep. Slaton has no sympathy for survivors of rape or incest who are impregnated as a result of the attacks they endured, and they would not receive any exemption under this bill.  The only exception is for rare instances of ectopic pregnancies.  Unfortunately, this terrifying and dangerous legislation is not a complete outlier.  Other lawmakers introduced similar bills in 2017 and 2019, and more than half of the Republican members of the state’s House of Representatives support banning abortion entirely.” (Miranda B., Care2 Action, March 30, 2021)

One thing is crystal clear about the NFP: They have no intention whatever of serving their constituents or fixing any problems that arises, most of which are due to their own failure to act.  The water pollution in Flint, Michigan is a case in point.  I have described this situation in great detail in previous articles, but a brief recap is in order here.

The problem goes back to 2014 when a new water source contaminated the drinking water with high levels of lead.  Because of the Republican governor’s failure to act claiming returning to the older water source was “too expensive”, many people may have lifelong health issues.  Suffice it to say that Flint is one of the poorest towns in Michigan, and poor people don’t exactly top the list of NFP priorities.  Corporate Accountability takes it from there: “Seven years. 2,555 days.  That’s how long the people in my hometown of Flint, Michigan have had poisoned water coming out of their taps.  There is now an entire generation of children who have never taken a bath.  My friends and neighbors still develop skin rashes and see their hair fall out when they wash their hands or bathe in our lead-poisoned water.  For seven years, we’ve been dealing with the chronic health effects of lead in our water and the financial burden of paying for poisoned water we can’t even drink.  The situation has only intensified over the COVID-19 pandemic—while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that frequent handwashing is critical to stop the spread of coronavirus, we still have unsafe and unaffordable water coming from our taps.  And to make the situation even worse, the state moratorium on water shutoffs due to non-payment just expired on March 31, putting many people in the state at risk of losing their access to any water in their houses at all.  A report released last month revealed the startling fact that a national moratorium on water shutoffs could have prevented almost half a million COVID-19 infections and saved more than 9,000 lives in the United States over the past year.  When looking at these facts, it’s little wonder that Michigan has the highest number of new cases in the country.” (Nayyirah Shariff, Corporate Accountability, April 25, 2021) There may not be a better example of the right-wings complete apathy, even hostility toward their constituents.  So why do they get elected in the first place?

When it comes to extreme legislation, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is clearly operating in another dimension, one where logic and plain old common sense are never allowed in.  Defy Logic provides us with a stellar example of how dangerous and immoral this man is: “As of Monday in Florida, a gathering of three or more people can be labeled a ‘riot’—and if they’re blocking the road and you feel frightened, it’s generally OK to run them over with a car.  Historic monuments, however—Confederate and otherwise—receive special protection under the law.   These are just some of the stipulations created by Florida’s new controversial anti-protest bill, which Gov. Ron DeSantis, flanked by law enforcement officers at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, signed into law on Monday.  ‘It’s the strongest anti-rioting pro-law enforcement piece of legislation in the country.  There’s nothing even close,’  DeSantis said at a press conference.  ‘We’re not going to end up like Portland.’

“The ‘Combatting Public Disorder Bill,’ or HB1, is the latest attempt to crack down on First Amendment activity in the wake of the nationwide protest movement that was triggered by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.  Florida’s bill, as with those introduced in 45 states this year, has been widely criticized by civil liberties groups who fear that the law will be used disproportionately to criminalize Black-led protests against police brutality and racial injustice.  Floyd’s death also sparked a conversation about the limitations of police reform, and galvanized the ‘Defund the Police’ movement.  DeSantis made shutting that conversation down a centerpiece of his legislative agenda.

“The bill intends to prevent local governments from taking steps to defund law enforcement by making them liable for any damage that occurs during a protest.  ‘Obviously in the state of Florida, we’re not going to do that under my leadership, but if the local government were to do that, that would be catastrophic and have terrible consequences for their citizens, and so this bill actually prevents local governments from defunding law enforcement,’ DeSantis said.

“Florida’s new law also creates civil immunity for people who drive into crowds of protesters, meaning they won’t be sued for damages if people get hurt or killed if they claim self-defense (but they could still face criminal charges).  Democrats asked their GOP colleagues whether the neo-Nazi who drove into a crowd of protesters during the violent Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville could have claimed immunity or self-defense.  ‘That person rammed a vehicle into those people to hurt them,’ GOP state Sen. Danny Burgess responded, according to the Orlando Sentinel.  ‘He wasn’t defending himself.’

“This comes after an alarming surge of vehicle-ramming attacks against protesters across the country.  Between May and October 2020, there were over 100 incidents of drivers going into crowds of protesters—about half of which were confirmed to be intentional, according to research by Ari Weil, a terrorism researcher at the University of Chicago’s Chicago Project on Security and Threats.  At least eight of those incidents took place in Florida.  For example, a man drove his car into a small group of protesters near downtown Gainesville and pointed a gun at them last May.  In a separate incident in Tallahassee, a man accelerated his pick-up truck into a group of protesters…At least five other states, including Iowa, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Washington are considering similar bills which would extend some degree of liability to individuals who drive through protesters.  Oklahoma’s bill goes further than Florida’s new law, by proposing immunity for criminal charges for people who drive into protesters.  Florida’s HB1, which received strong GOP backing and passed the Republican-led Senate on Thursday with a 23-17, also ramps up penalties against protest participants.  Anyone who ‘willingly participated’ in a ‘riot’—now defined as a protest involving three or more people—could be charged with a third-degree felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison.  It also makes ‘mob intimidation’—defined as two or more people trying to compel someone to ‘assume, abandon, or maintain a particular viewpoint against his or her will’—a misdemeanor.” (Tess Owen, Vice News, April 19, 2021)

The article goes on to note one Democrat’s response: “‘This bill is a direct effort to silence the Movement for Black Lives and the uprisings last summer following the police killing of George Floyd,’ said Gainesville Commissioner Gail Johnson in a statement from Local Progress, a network of progressive-minded elected officials.  ‘It keeps no one safe, and undercuts our liberty.’”

The right wing, simply put, is completely dedicated to crushing peaceful dissent while absolving right-wing violence.  As evidence, consider the following: “Right now, Republican legislatures in many states are actively maneuvering to criminalize protest.  In fact, some 81 bills criminalizing protest have been introduced in 34 states over just the first four months of this year.  Let’s be absolutely clear: These Republican legislators are attempting, in effect, to overturn our constitutionally guaranteed rights to free speech and peaceable assembly.  And they are doing so specifically in response to the overwhelmingly peaceful protests that have occurred throughout America—from small towns to our largest cities—to stand with Black Lives Matter against police racism and violence.

  • The Washington Post examined 7,305 protests in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., involving millions of everyday Americans, and found that over 97% of the events resulted in NO reported injuries to participants, bystanders, or police.
  • And when there was violence, it was usually being directed AT peaceful protesters BY so-called ‘counterprotesters’ or the police themselves.
  • Less than 4% of the protests resulted in any vandalism or property damage (again, with much of that caused by police and ‘counterprotesters’).
  • Quite notably, no such anti-protest legislation was introduced when rabid Trump adherents armed with military-grade weaponry menaced lawmakers in the Michigan State Capitol last year.
  • Or in response to the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol—the only intentionally violent and blatantly seditionist ‘protest’ of our time.

“Any day now, the Republican-dominated state legislature in Iowa is expected to pass a draconian anti-protest bill that—among other retrograde, undemocratic measures—would:

  1. Prevent you from suing me if you were protesting on public streets without a permit and I drove my car right into you.  Iowa is not the only state looking into granting immunity to people who plow into crowds of protesters—a barbaric tactic that seems to be catching on among right-wing extremists and even some law enforcement personnel.
  2. Impose a penalty of up to a year in prison for not stopping for an unmarked law-enforcement vehicle driven by plain-clothes officers.  In other words, pull over for ANY vehicle with flashing lights or risk going to prison for a year.
  3. Make you subject to felony charges if law enforcement says you were part of a ‘riot’—which is defined both broadly and vaguely—that could result in five years in prison and the permanent loss of your right to vote.

“The Republican governor of Iowa, Kim Reynolds, has so far been supportive of the bill—even though it would deprive the people of her state of some of their most fundamental rights as Americans.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, April 27, 2021)

Like all his fellow NFP members, Ron DeSantis wants to be an anti-Robin Hood character, robbing from the poor and giving to the rich.  The Orlando Sentinel reports: “Gov. Ron DeSantis quietly signed into law late Monday a bill that will cost Florida consumers who shop online an estimated $1 billion a year in sales taxes, with the money used to cut business taxes.  The governor’s office announced the decision at 11:23 p.m. Monday in an email that contained no comment…’Governor just signed a bill into law to increase your taxes and give the new revenue of $1 billion to businesses,’ Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, tweeted after the bill signing was announced.” (Orlando Sentinel, April 20, 2021) One of the key words here is “quietly.”  The NFP knows its ideas won’t sell with the public, so they keep as quiet as possible when they enact legislation that they know their constituents won’t like.


HOW THE RIGHT-WING MEDIA ASSISTS IN THE RISE OF FASCIST AMERICA

The problems in this country have been greatly exacerbated by the right-wing media, of which Fox News is the greatest offender.  Far from being an objective news source, Fox has lied, twisted facts, slandered, and done just about everything possible to convince their viewers that the NFP is the greatest party ever assembled, while the Democrats are traitors trying to destroy the country.  I have covered their antics in each of my previous articles on Trump and the NFP, but let us hear what Daily Kos has to say about their role in destroying our country: “Throughout the four years of terror we have witnessed since the inauguration of Donald Trump, Fox News has enabled his calls for violence by spreading misinformation and hate.  As noted previously, by misconstructing headlines Fox News has framed narratives that incite hatred and spread misinformation to large communities that may not gather their news from elsewhere.  This doesn’t just date back to this last year, or even this past Wednesday during which Fox News attempted to humanize the terrorists as protesters who took over the Capitol building, and even declared some to be antifa.  For years Fox News has incited hatred within Americans and pushed a xenophobic agenda, whether it be against undocumented folk, people of color, or immigrants of any nature.

“Most recently this agenda can be seen in the use of racist language toward Asians when speaking of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the language used to describe Black Lives Matter protests, and the lack of language used to describe terrorists who identify as white.  When Black Lives Matter protests took place across the country this summer, Fox News host Tucker Carlson described demonstrators as ‘poison,’ claiming that ‘the rioters in Minneapolis and in other places act as if they’re allowed to loot and burn—No one stops them.  The authorities don’t arrest them.  Instead, they pander to them, flatter them, desperately try to win their love.’   Meanwhile, after Trump’s terrorists took over the Capitol, Tucker called the group ‘solid Americans’ and noted that these people were frustrated.  The media must call terrorists what they are, whether it be Anthony Quinn Warner (the Tennesse suicide bomber) or the Trump supporters who attempted to accomplish a coup on Wednesday.  Instead of using their platform to do what it is meant to—report the news—Fox took this opportunity to again give its viewers biased and untrue commentary.  The truth is that without agents like Fox that fuel individuals with misinformation and hate that they claim is justified, our country would not be where it is today.  Yes, Trump has consistently used misconstructed language and has exaggerated the truth, but Fox News has also consistently amplified his lies.

“Continuing in its pattern of putting the blame on someone else, Fox News on Wednesday depicted Trump supporters as peaceful individuals, completely ignoring the numerous incidents of Trump-induced violence the country, once again blaming liberals as the reason why the chaos on Wednesday took place.  ‘We don’t know who all were the instigators in this of these horrible things that happen today, I think a lot of it is the antifa folks,’ Sarah Palin said on Fox.  All three of Fox’s primetime shows pushed the same lies and narrative of ‘protesters,’ not rioters or terrorists, occupying the Capitol building to fight for their rights.  Fox’s rumors repeated throughout the Fox News primetime lineup on both Laura Ingraham’s show and Carlson’s show, blaming others for the violence and not only spreading misinformation, but creating opportunities for further violence.  The shows even framed Trump’s refusal to condemn the violence—and his statement, which is predicted to incite more violence due to his continuous claim that the election has been ‘stolen’—as positive.  ‘There are 75 million people that voted for President Trump and they’re scared.  They’re worried about what the future of this country looks like.  They’re confused.  They’re heart-broken that their candidate didn’t win.  And they don’t want to be forgotten,’ Fox & Friends’ Ainsley Earnhardt said.  Additionally, when officials spoke of prosecuting these terrorists who not only assaulted members of the media and threatened members of Congress but damaged the Capitol building, Fox News took this opportunity to further provoke Trump supporters, telling them that their rights were being threatened.

“Fox News’ use of language has severe consequences.  Their spread of misinformation leads to violence not only against journalists and lawmakers but communities of color.  Within four weeks of the March launch of Stop AAPI Hate, an online anti-Asian bias tracker, almost 1,500 cases of violence towards Asian Americans were reported.  Months later the website continues to receive reports of discrimination and violence, including physical assault and being refused entrance to public spaces.  According to Media Matters, Fox & Friends deliberately used and advocated the use of the term ‘Wuhan virus’ as opposed to ‘the coronavirus’ on its March 6 show. Additionally, transcript searches have found combinations of ‘Wuhan,’ ‘Chinese,’ and ‘China’ with the use of ‘coronavirus,’ ‘virus,’ or ‘flu.’  Media Matters noted that Carlson himself used the terms on Fox 43 out of the 144 times they were used on air.  ‘Just to be clear, describing a virus from Wuhan as the ‘Wuhan virus’ is not xenophobia, it’s accuracy, and anybody who says otherwise is lying and probably for a reason,’ Carlson said in one incident.  Fox News is the real fake news, and in order for it to gain any credibility, it needs to realize that words matter.” (Aysha Qamar, Daily Kos, January 8, 2021) Actually, Fox News certainly does know that words matter, and that lies and propaganda matter as well.  The only thing that doesn’t matter to Fox is honesty.

Consider how the terms “hero” and “villain” have been reversed by Fox and other media outlets: “Normal, decent people were outraged when Kyle Rittenhouse, the Kenosha killer charged with first-degree intentional homicide, was made into a right-wing celebrity.  All of the videos we’ve seen of him are unpleasant, whether he’s shooting people, or punching a girl.  Yet Tucker Carlson praised him.  Failed actor Rick Schroeder put up hundreds of thousands of dollars to bail him out of jail.  Alex Jones let Rittenhouse’s mother sell ‘Free Kyle’ merchandise on his show.  Michelle Malkin even took the killer’s family out for a night on the town.  The GOP has developed quite a knack for making heroes out of gross people.  Mitch McConnell hired the smarmy kid from Covington Catholic, Nick Sandmann, as a grassroots director right after Donald Trump had him speak at the Republican National Convention.  His qualifications were essentially the ability to smirk on camera.  Then there’s the McCloskeys, whose entire claim to fame is pointing guns at peaceful Black protesters.  They too were given a primetime RNC slot and used it to stoke racial fear.  Mike Lindell, the infamous MyPillow CEO, is a star at conservative events, despite promoting insurrection and violence.  Conservative cable networks are already making excuses for the Jan. 6 insurrectionists, even referring to them as ‘patriots.’  Expect a few of those domestic terrorists to get their own ‘opinion’ shows.

“As disgusting as these displays are, it’s a lot worse when we allow the right wing to force real heroes underground.  I was livid when I saw Rittenhouse partying with a white supremacy group at a bar, while election workers in Georgia—who quite literally saved our democracy—are in hiding right now because their lives are threatened.  Although I’m rightfully angry at the Republicans, I also am left to wonder where the progressive outreach and support are for our people.  Why haven’t our progressive leaders bothered promoting their stories?  Why haven’t our politicians invited them to speak at our events, or offered them legal or financial assistance, or even employment?  These are our heroes, and the least we could do is treat them as such.

“Actually, the very least would be to ensure they aren’t vilified.  There are plenty of heroes who have helped democracy and, I don’t believe, are getting their due.  Last year, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman was fired from the National Security Council for the crime of adhering to the law.  His twin brother, Yevgeny, was also fired, in an act of pure petty retaliation.  Contrast their treatment with Oliver North, who was involved in the illegal sale of weapons to Iran.  The right wing gave North his own platform to spew hate, financial backing to run a doomed Senate campaign, and eventually, leadership of the NRA—which he thankfully ran into the ground.  Meanwhile, I’d be happy if Vindman and his brother would just get reinstated.

“Yet the person who specifically inspired me to write this story is a woman named Ruby Freeman.  I’d have loved to interview her, but I can’t get hold of her.  No one can: she’s in hiding, along with her family.  Before November, Freeman sold handbags at an Atlanta mall kiosk.  She was just one of hundreds of people in Georgia who, along with her daughter, answered the call to be an election worker, during an historic election taking place during a pandemic.  Freeman worked late into the night counting ballots at a vote counting center in Atlanta.  Poll observers from both parties were present, and surveillance video covered the entire process.  Very late on Nov. 3—Nov. 4, actually—election workers were told they could retire for the night.  They packed uncounted ballots into secure, standard bins.  However, word came down that they didn’t want all of the workers to leave just yet after all, so Freeman and others dragged the cases out to begin counting again.  Allies of Donald Trump selectively edited and distributed misleading clips of the surveillance video, to only show the election workers taking out the ‘suitcases,’ claiming it was proof of election fraud.  Those clips were featured on Hannity and other right-wing programs of ill repute.  Over in QAnon-land, an elderly election worker was instantly transformed into a key global conspirator: It was Ruby Freeman who thwarted the election for Trump, the far right insisted.  The conspiracies were all over the place, but they typically involved Freeman single-handedly generating thousands of fake ballots for Joe Biden.  No explanation was ever given as to why she would have chosen to support Republicans in all the down-ballot races, of course.

“Trump became obsessed with her.  He repeatedly tweeted false information that named Freeman; in his now-infamous call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Trump falsely insisted that she created and planted ’18,000 ballots, all for Biden.’  Raffensperger and his team had already analyzed the video, frame by frame, and confirmed that it showed nothing but the normal counting process.  That analysis and those facts didn’t matter to Trump or his believers.  His psychotic followers have since ensured that Freeman can’t walk down the streets of her own neighborhood anymore.

“This really bothers me.  I live near Sanford, Florida—home to the racist miscreant who killed Trayvon Martin.  A local gun show treated George Zimmerman like a hero—and the little bastard actually signed autographs.  If I never mentioned it before, I sometimes really hate this state.  But back to Georgia, where, unfortunately, Freeman wasn’t the only election worker made to suffer.  Lawrence Sloan was part of the team that processed thousands of absentee ballots at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta.  There were plenty of media, poll observers (from both parties), and election officials present.  Sloan volunteered to work an 18-hour shift because he felt he was needed.  Although absentee voters are only supposed to send back the ballot, many mistakenly sent the instruction sheet back as well.  In one instance, Sloan processed a ballot, and crumpled up the accompanying instruction sheet.  Video clearly shows the crumpled paper is not a ballot: that would have been obvious, since those are 19 inches long.  Unfortunately, that innocent action changed Sloan’s life.  Several Trump supporters sent out tweets that falsely allege Sloan’s paper crumpling was nefarious, including Donald Trump, Jr.  Trump Senior also recklessly referenced Sloan in support of his false claim that the vote was ‘stolen.’  Sloan ultimately was forced into hiding.

“Freeman and Sloan are two people who did their jobs for democracy, and they ended up sacrificing everything.  They should be so lucky to get even a small percentage of the adoring attention the GOP showers on their worst people—the people who actually should be shamed into hiding.  Wouldn’t it be nice if Joe Biden or Kamala Harris called attention to the plight of election workers in this environment, and publicly thanked Ruby Freeman and Lawrence Sloan for their service, while also clearing their names?  It would also serve as a sledgehammer to Trumpists who still want to parrot the lies that have disrupted the election workers’ lives, and to a larger extent, the entire election.  The Capitol insurrection has forced a reckoning amongst Republicans, and I doubt there are too many who are still willing to make monsters out of these election workers.  If they do, they must be blacklisted, along with the other untouchables of the Sedition Caucus.” (SemDemfor, Daily Kos, January 29, 2021) As I have come to expect, neither the new president or vice president (or any other Democratic leader) has come out to lend any assistance to Freeman, Sloan, or any other worker falsely accused of election fraud.

Fox is so desperate to get anything on the Biden administration that several of its anchors attacked him for the audacious crime of—reading from a script!  Sean Hannity noted that: “Never in my lifetime have I ever seen anything like this before.”  He seems to think that this has never occurred before in U.S. history.  What he and other NFP anchors fail to note is the number of times their hero did the same thing during his administration.  One example, which can easily be found on video: Trump reading directly from his script as follows: “I want nothing.  I want nothing.  I want no quid pro quo.  Tell Zellinsky, president Zellinsky, to do the right thing.”  So what Hannity and the Fox network are saying is that reading from a script is some kind of a crime, but only if it is a Democrat doing it.

This is pretty typical of what Fox tries to pass off as newsworthy—a non-issue passed off as a lie.

Fox is always—always on the wrong side of every issue.  The election fraud issue has led Dominion Voting Systems to sue the propaganda network, as Slategroup tells us: “Dominion Voting Systems, the company that creates much of the voting infrastructure used to cast ballots in the U.S., filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox News Friday morning seeking $1.6 billion in damages.  The suit alleges that the right-wing news network knowingly and purposely broadcast falsehoods about the election technology company that was at the heart of the Trump-driven election fraud conspiracy theory that consumed the network and nearly devoured the nation.  Fox ‘endorsed, repeated, and broadcast a series of verifiably false yet devastating lies about Dominion,’ the suit states.  ‘Fox took a small flame and turned it into a forest fire.’

“The claims, which started on the QAnon fringe before creeping their way into the former president’s brain, were over-the-top ludicrous.  Dominion, the conspiracies went, was the key player in the successful plot to ‘rig’ the election.  The company surreptitiously switched votes!  It was paying kickbacks to election officials—even Republican ones—to keep it quiet!  One-time Trump lawyers Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani made dark claims about ‘the algorithm’ and, when all of that didn’t seem on the nose enough, they came up with a Rorschach test of Republican lunacy, pushing the idea that the company and the whole sinister plot was somehow linked to socialist Venezuela and the country’s former president Hugo Chávez, who died in 2013.  The lies were outlandish, and those who propagated them are now trying to wriggle free of their consequences.  The Dominion suit alleges that not only did the Fox network knowingly broadcast false statements—over and over and over again—it did so with a commercial purpose in mind: to hold on to viewers who were decamping for more extreme sites considered more loyal to Trump.  ‘Fox sold a false story of election fraud in order to serve its own commercial purposes, severely injuring Dominion in the process,’ the suit claims.  Well, yeah.  It’s hard to argue with the baseline accusation that Fox did all of those things and it did those things for its own financial benefit.  Whether that ultimately rises to the technical legal definition of defamation remains to be seen, but what Fox did here is plain as day.  Last month, another election technology company, Smartmatic, which has been aggressively going after Trump’s right-wing enablers, filed a similar $2.7 billion suit against the network, as well as a trio of its highest-profile hosts: Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs, and Jeanine Pirro. Dominion has already sued two of the biggest individual distributors of election fraud misinformation, pro-Trump lawyers Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani.  Powell this week filed a motion to dismiss the suit, claiming that no ‘reasonable person’ would have believed her claims to be true.  The even a tomato can knew we were full of it theory seems like a worrying sign for Fox News’ how were we to know?  defense.” (Elliot Hannon, Slategroup, March 26, 2021)

It would be easy to dismiss Fox “News” as a mere propaganda machine for the NFP were it not for the fact that many of the more “mainstream” news sources continue to give Trump and the NFP respect they certainly do not deserve.  NFP lies, crimes and scandals are rarely given the coverage they deserve.  Daily Kos reports on an article by The New York Times reporter Sharon LaFranier, who insists that Trump be given some of the credit for Biden’s success in getting the vaccine out to the public: “…LaFraniere contends Biden owes the Trump administration gratitude for its prior ‘efforts.’  ‘At the same time, though, Mr. Biden benefited hugely from the waves of vaccine production that the Trump administration had set in motion.  As both Pfizer and Moderna found their manufacturing footing, they were able to double and triple the outputs from their factories.’…

“LaFraniere relies on exactly one Trump administration source to justify the premise of her article.  ‘They criticize what we did, but they are using our playbook every step of the way,’ said Paul Mango, the Trump administration’s deputy chief of staff for health policy and a senior official in the crash vaccine development effort then known as Operation Warp Speed.  He said Mr. Trump’s team oversaw the construction or expansion of nearly two dozen plants involved in vaccine production and invoked the Defense Production Act 18 times to ensure those factories had sufficient supplies.  Mango is quoted multiple times in LaFraniere’s drive to illustrate that the Trump administration is being unfairly maligned by the press for its lackadaisical efforts to increase vaccine production.  However, she makes no attempt to verify his aggrieved statements and appears to simply accept them at face value while backhandedly acknowledging that ‘corporate, state and federal officials agree that Mr. Biden’s White House has been more active than his predecessor’s in trying to build up the nation’s vaccine stock.’  Believe it or not, this ends LaFraniere’s foray into what the Trump administration did or did not do to accelerate vaccine production.” (Dartnagan, Daily Kos, March 10, 2021)

Is this what passes for responsible journalism?  Citing one source to legitimize a fascist organization to make them appear legitimate?  Clearly, today’s reporters are bending over backwards to avoid appearing “partial” to the Democratic party.  Simply put, most of them have become moral cowards and have abrogated their responsibilities as journalists.  Into this quagmire, Fox and other extremist networks have risen in power.

The various press agencies have been treated far differently during the Biden administration than during that of his predecessor.  With Trump, every question from anyone other than Fox, Newsmax and other right-wing propaganda agencies was treated rudely and the questions either ignored or rationalized.  It got to the point when only Trump-friendly reporters were allowed to attend press briefings.  Under Biden, even non-news sources such as Fox are allowed to ask questions and then politely answered.  No one calls them “fake news” agencies, although that surely is what they are.  Daily Kos provides us with a stellar example:  “On Friday, the White House press briefing included the conspiracy-addled jumble of thoughts from right-wing Newsmax reporter (big question mark if she can be called a  reporter) Emerald Robinson.  White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki does charity work every briefing by allowing right-wing outlets a chance to ask what passes for ‘questions’ about made up right-wing things at virtually every press conference.  Newsmax and Fox News and other organizations overselling the word ‘news’ in their name will frequently raise their hand and then attempt to ask what passes for gotcha journalism in the conservative blogosphere.  This means creating false narratives filled with strawman arguments and made up facts, that like the twice impeached former president are always prefaced with phrases like, ‘Some people are saying,’ or ‘Lots of people are saying,’ or some other such construction of a fake audience wondering about things most people are not wondering about.  An example would be today, when Psaki called on Robinson, who proceeded to just babble on endlessly from one conspiracy theory to another.  But Psaki isn’t a two-bit confidence shill like the previous administration’s merry-go-round clown parade cast of press secretaries, and she isn’t having any of this.

“Robinson begins what we will call an English sentence by saying she has loads of questions about lots of stuff (yaaaaaaaaaay?), before saying this, verbatim: EMERALD ROBINSON: ‘Given the number of former Obama administration officials that are now in this Biden administration, and the president’s relatively light schedule, there’s a growing perception that this is really just the third term of President Obama.  What do you say to people who say that?’

“It’s like watching a pre-school kid trying to retell you a knock knock joke they heard during a EDM concert at an outdoor festival.  Psaki matches Robinson’s question by being as serious as she can be when facing down someone starting a bullsh&% rumor, as we used to call it in high school by asking Robinson, ‘Who is saying that?’  Robinson responds with, ‘You hear that a lot in the media,’ which is interesting as no one around these here parts has heard this thing that Robinson’s media is saying.  Psaki then asks Robinson, ‘Who in the media?’ to which Emerald

Robinson, a grown adult person, literally say, ‘Different people.’  It not only reads like a bad high school movie, it plays out like a truly terrible one.  Psaki just lets Robinson try to explain herself, offering her a chance to dig her grave of ignorance and petty ambition deeper and deeper.

“Robinson, unable to give the names of her imaginary three brain cells who told her stuff, attempts asking a question that implies Vice President Kamala Harris did all of the heavy lifting when Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga came to town.  Psaki reminds Robinson that she can’t react to imaginary people who are saying imaginary things, but if Robinson ever runs into these people, she can remind them President Biden met with Prime Minister Suga, had a meal with Prime Minister Suga, held a long press conference with Prime Minister Suga.  This also is not an administration where the vice president was picked because of their vapid and immoral bootlicking capabilities.  Robinson has zero at this point and attempts to say that Harris has more responsibilities than any other previous vice president.  It’s ‘unprecedented,’ in fact.  Psaki smiles and says she would love to see the ‘data’ on that, and would welcome it from Robinson, at which point Psaki might be able to answer that made up question, too.” (Walter Einenkel, Daily Kos, May 7, 2021)

Other NFP members have followed the Trump administration’s policy of excluding press members perceived hostile toward fascism.  People for the American Way notes: “…last Thursday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis kept everyone other than Fox News out of what should have been the public signing of his state’s most recent initiative to suppress Floridian voters, signaling exactly what audience this bill was aiming to please: the Far Right.” (People for the American Way, May 9, 2021)

Alex Jones is about as extreme as it is possible for a radio host to be.  This is a man who promotes the most wildly erroneous conspiracy theories imaginable; his website has hosted white nationalists, he has promoted his own products as “cures” for COVID-19 and, most disgustingly of all, has dismissed the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre of elementary school children and school officials in Newtown, Connecticut as a “hoax.”  Given all this, it should come as no surprise to hear of his involvement in the January 6 insurrection, as The Juggernaut Project reveals: “‘Why is Alex Jones a free man?’  That’s what David Weissman, a former Trump supporter, tweeted when news surfaced that Mr. Jones had donated half a million dollars to fund the now infamous January 6th rally.  He isn’t the only one asking that question.  Since the news broke, thousands of people have been scratching their heads wondering why Alex Jones hasn’t been taken into custody for his role in stoking the flames of insurrection on that fateful day.

“Alex Jones is no stranger to controversy, in fact, he thrives on it.  After the Sandy Hook shootings that left 26 people dead, Jones took to the airwaves to claim that it was all fake.  Similarly, he claimed that the victims and surviving students of the Parklands massacre were ‘crisis actors’’ paid to behave as if they had experienced the trauma of a real-life shooting.  The extent of his repulsive behavior could fill books, but while his behavior and accusations may be reprehensible, they were not, for the most part, illegal.  The same cannot be said for being one of the principal backers of a full on assault on the U.S. Capital.  Jones publicly admitted that his media company funded the rally prior to the attack in a January 6th video.  But he didn’t stop there.  In the video, he claims that he got his marching orders from the White House, directing him to leave the protesters to the steps of the Capital.” (The Juggernaut Project, June 29, 2021) Given all this, why on earth does this man still have a broadcasting license?  He should be on trial for treason.

It’s not only the right-wing media that is to blame for the mass of lies and disinformation that has become the norm in our country.  I have been saying for years how the so-called “mainstream” press has always favored the Republican party; interested readers are encouraged to read my earlier articles for examples.  Now that the Republican party has morphed into the New Fascist Party, the chickens have come home to roost.  And now that Biden is president that same press which has given Trump every consideration, is trying to tell Biden to “back off.”  As incredible as it sounds, these people, who are by definition supposed to be truthful and objective, have, in the face of ever-widening extremism, abandoned these standards in a dangerous attempt to make it seem as if the NFP is a legitimate political entity.  Daily Kos ran an excellent article on this which, although quite long, deserves to be quoted in its entirety: “In The New York Times yesterday, the editorial board offered up the most milquetoast possible analysis of a point in time marked by nearly a half-million American pandemic deaths, the gutting and willful corruption of government agencies, and the near-assassination of Trump-disloyal public figures in the halls of the U.S. Capitol.  Sweeping all these dangers aside, the Times urges President Joe Biden to ‘Ease Up on the Executive Actions,’ grousing that Biden’s undoing of Trump’s myriad executive orders with his own executive orders is ‘a flawed substitute for legislation,’ are ‘ephemeral,’ and that the rapid undoing of Trump’s biggest cruelties (no, really, Biden’s reestablishment of protections for Dreamers after Trump’s white nationalist agenda stripped those protections is explicitly chosen as example) ‘can set up a whipsaw effect’ between presidencies.  Radicalizing government is bad, sniffs the Times in this of all moments.  But Biden un-radicalizing it by reinstating the policies that existed before extremism ran amok is too much.  Instead, the magical fairies of bipartisanship must suddenly appear, causing sensible legislation that a fully radicalized Republican Party has blocked relentlessly to somehow become unblocked, and Biden’s ‘legacy’ now hinges on convincing a party that attempted to nullify his win by inventing hoax-based reasons for simply tossing out the votes from multiple states to instead un-radicalize so that fascist extremism and Obama-era technocracy can meet halfway and stop all the reporters of our land from feeling so itchy and uncomfortable in their current duties.

“’Now is the time for the new president to show the American people what permanent change for a better nation can look like,’ ends the Times, after giving absolutely no plausible path for that new president to get there.  Not to be outdone, The Washington Post has its own version.  This one comes from the Post’s Matt Viser, already making it a more courageous attempt than the Times’, and expresses more than anything a sort of vague press discontent at Biden’s current path of dull competence.  It is in the rough spirit of 2016’s grumblings that candidate Hillary Clinton was perhaps ‘over-prepared’ for a debate appearance: “Yes, we all agree our leaders should be competent or even extraordinary, but too much competence, done too effortlessly, is always looked upon with suspicion.  There are hints of book-learning afoot; will the public (or rather, the press) become bored and disenchanted with this incessant normality?  ‘The question to be answered in coming weeks, however, is whether Biden’s orderly presidency matches this moment of national urgency, and whether it’s sustainable in the face of multiple crises,’ this version proposes.

“Ah ha!  Where the Times was unwilling to even contemplate whether facing multiple catastrophes at once might require more urgent action than waiting for the Bipartisanship Fairies to come hose down everyone involved, from insurrectionists and pandemic-deniers to the people that sternly disapprove of those things, here we have recognition that the nation is currently in Extremely Deep Poop, something that requires extraordinary urgency.  But is Biden being too orderly about it?  Opinions differ!  Highlights of this version include: ‘It is unclear for now whether Biden’s more restrained style is an antidote or an overcorrection.’  An ‘air of studious normality.’  ‘Biden himself said last week that the government was on a ‘wartime’ footing—then took the weekend off from public appearances.
“Few of Biden’s social media messages have included anything that could be seen as controversial; rather, they often read like fortune cookies.’
Meanwhile at Axios, we are treated to a bipartisan list of each party’s ‘Mischief Makers.’  On The One Side, Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene is listed, a conspiracy theory advocate who expressed support for assassinating lawmakers, gave out information on the whereabouts of the House Speaker during an assassination attempt, and stated her belief in a wide range of malevolent conspiracy theories ranging from a belief that a school shooting was a ‘false flag’ hoax to seemingly every detail of ‘Q’-premised crackpottism.  On The Other Side, Rep. Jamaal Bowman is marked for joining other Democrats in ‘voting against a waiver for retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to serve as Defense secretary.’  Ah yes.  Troublemaking is truly bipartisan.  Both parties have their travails, do they not?  So then, a week. It took the elite press about a week to begin fretting that returning to Biden-era policies may be just as divisive as Trump’s widespread smashing of those policies, and tut-tutting about the impetuousness of it all.  It took a week for the press to wonder if Joe Biden is in fact being too boring after a presidency predicated on a loutish clown flinging mud and lies on an hourly basis swung too far in the other direction.  It took about a week for Important Journalistic Neutrality to weigh in with a both sides take explaining that the supporters of insurrection may be a real thorn in the side of Republicans who still believe in at least pretending at decency, but Democrats have several members who disagree on policy concerns so, literally, Both Sides.

“We’re still in a pandemic, by the way.  There is a widespread movement on the right, supported by a majority of Republican lawmakers, to end U.S. democracy by force or by fiat.  The last administration was such a cesspool of corruption in everything from ‘emoluments’ to multiple Ukrainian scandals to pardon-fishing that it may take a decade to sort it all out.  And climate change is, after a decade of delay, now absolutely assured to cause widespread global destruction—it can be mitigated at the edges, but it cannot be prevented.  But none of that is quite as important as the press getting back to the routine of pretending that none of that, really, is important or should take precedence over ephemeral notions that if the supporters of fascist coups and the supporters of competent technocracy can just find a middle ground, we can all shake hands and decide to cap things off at perhaps 2 million dead, and only some regions and states rendered unlivable, and a new arrangement that allows for democracy within limits, and assassinations or state-by-state coups here and there.  Just wait.  It’ll get worse.  Our American press has largely decided to deal with the radicalization of the Republican Party and the propagation of hoaxes not simply as a fringe propaganda tool but a party propaganda tool by pretending that it does not exist.  Even after a president successfully goaded a mob of supporters into attacking lawmakers who were formalizing the win of his election opponent, there is no stomach to suppose that this is a new chapter in American life, one marked by continued demands that elections be done away with or new attacks to ensure the party’s enemies cannot cast votes.  The press wants excitement, but not too much.  It wants boring, but only as much as it can digest.  It mostly wants stability, and columns that can write themselves from year to year with little acknowledgement of changing circumstance.  There is no stomach for recognizing the urgency of our current multiple crises, because it would require assigning blame—something no paper or network is willing to allow their journalists to pipe up with.” (Hunter, Daily Kos, January 28, 2021)

Simply put, at a time when our country is in need of extreme measures on countless issues and problems that have been ignored by the NFP, the mainstream media wants Biden and the Democratic party to downplay the dangers and seek a moderate path.  To see the absurdity of this, all we need to ask is what happened to those seeking a moderate path in Hitler’s Germany?  The example quoted from Axios was particularly ludicrous, equating Marjorie Taylor Greene with Jamaal Bowman, equating a fascist with a man who had the audacity to vote ‘against a waiver for retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to serve as Defense secretary.’  This makes him, according to Axios, as much a “mischief maker” (the softness of this term should tell you where the reporter is coming from) as calling for the assassination of political opponents.  In this reporter’s mind, calling for assassination makes Greene a “mischief maker” rather than a dangerous fascist.  No, the contemporary news media’s attempt to normalize fascism will implode and leave no opposition to the extremists as they want nothing less than complete control over every person and institution in the country.  They and the American people need to recognize the simple fact that bipartisanship  no longer exists in this country and the only way for it to return is to eliminate the fascists from the body politic.  Nothing less will suffice.  Again, I refer the reader to my article on the necessity of having four political parties.

Another reason why we need a true progressive party is because corporate Democrats are afraid of upsetting the status quo.  Justice Democrats reports: “The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is pressuring the White House to weaken its plan to tax corporations and the wealthiest Americans.  The DCCC is the wing of the Democratic establishment that raises bundles from corporate PACs and Wall Street CEOs—and tries to protect the status quo in this country.  The Washington Post reports that ‘Democrats said some donors are anxious about the political ramifications of raising taxes before the midterms.’” (Justice Democrats, May 11, 2021)

Another Kos article on the same day shows that the American people completely misunderstand the situation, and a large part of this failure rests with the media for normalizing fascism: “President Biden’s unity pitch has gained steam since November, with fully 71% of Americans saying they would rather see Republicans in Congress find ways to work together with Biden instead of focusing on keeping him in check (25%).  The new finding from a Monmouth University poll shows a notable nine-point increase in the public’s thirst for Republican cooperation with Biden since just after the November election when 62% said the same.  But perhaps more importantly, the widespread support for GOP lawmakers working with the president to tackle problems suggests that Biden’s unity push is very much in sync with the public.” (Kerry Eleveld, DK, January 28, 2021) If so, and I believe it to be, then Biden and the public are only fooling themselves.  With perhaps a couple of rare exceptions, no one in the NFP is willing to work with Democrats.  Those that are soon find themselves under attack by the NFP.  Once again, there can be no unity with fascists who want to kill their opponents, and anyone who seeks unity with them is only painfully deluded.

Before unity, there must first be accountability, something the NFP assuredly will never agree to.  Trump, Hawley, Cruz, Taylor Greene and others must be held accountable for their actions both in their election lies and in the Capitol attack.  Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington tells of a surprising development: “Trump did not act alone in stirring up the violent mob.  Two senators in particular led the fight to reject the outcome of the election: Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley.  There must be an investigation into whether their challenges to the election results contributed to the violence at the Capitol and if it did, they should be expelled from the Senate.  Just last week, seven senators requested a Senate Ethics Committee investigation into Hawley’s and Cruz’s conduct. For one senator to ask for investigation into another is exceedingly rare; seven is unheard of.  But in this case it was absolutely necessary.” (Noah Bookbinder, (CREW, February 2, 2021)

Facebook has played a major role in the rise of the NFP.  After countless violations of its rules by Trump, the company finally decided in early May, 2021 to suspend his account.  But, as Public Citizen warns us: But the story is not over.  Content moderation decisions are difficult, but Trump violated Facebook’s rules over and over again.  And Trump’s violations of the rules in his Facebook posts caused real, severe, and widespread harm—to people and to our democracy.

  • Trump repeatedly engaged in hate speech—as commonly understood and as defined in Facebook’s own rules—directed at immigrants, Muslims, people of color, and others.  Appallingly, but not surprisingly, hate crimes soared during Trump’s presidency.
  • Trump repeatedly circulated false, misleading, and dangerous posts about the coronavirus — contributing to the COVID denialism and vaccine hesitancy that public health experts just this week admitted may prevent us from ever achieving herd immunity.  The American people have suffered, and continue to suffer, incalculable misery—in economic ruin and lives lost—as a result of Trump’s utterly catastrophic response to the pandemic.
  • Trump repeatedly lied on Facebook before and after the 2020 election—that there was rampant ‘fraud’ and that the election was ‘stolen’ from him—in direct violation of Facebook’s own rules.  And now Trumpist legislators in 47 states are exploiting those lies to push retrograde, racist voter suppression laws that threaten to undermine the very concept of democracy in America.
  • Trump himself—and his MAGA legions, including openly racist thugs from groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers—actively used Facebook to incite and plan the January 6 insurrection.

“The review board upheld Trump’s suspension and directed Facebook to make a firm decision about what it will do going forward.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, May 5, 2021) Suffice it to say that Facebook has proven itself to be extremely reticent to remove right-wing contributors from its site.  This makes them complicit in the fascist movement that has taken over the former Republican party.

The NFP’s 2017 tax scam has been covered in great detail in my earlier articles.  However, it is worthy of note that the vast majority of the super rich are devout Trumpists.  All they are interested in is making even more money, and since the members of the NFP the ones giving it to them, it stands to reason that they would be Trump supporters and right-wing activists.

Trump’s support goes beyond elected officials and right-wing activists. Americans for Tax Fairness notes: “Between 2016 and 2020, 134 billionaires donated nearly $236 million to Donald Trump and his super PACs, according to a new ATF analysis of the OpenSecrets campaign contributions data.” (Andrea Haverdink, Americans for Tax Fairness, January 16, 2020.  The article continues by listing eight of these billionaires along with their contributions to Trump: 1) Sheldon and Miriam Adelson: $120 million 2) Linda and Vincent McMahon: $22 million 3) Isaac and Laura Perlmutter: $21 million 4) Bernard and Billi Wilma Marcus: $17 million 5) Kelcy and Amy Warren: $10 million 6) J. Joe and Marlene Ricketts: $8 million 7) Andrew Beal: $7 million and, 8) Diane Hendricks: $5 million.

The article then notes that: “126 others gave $23 million.  These billionaires bankrolled Trump’s hate and sedition; they bought racism and attacks on democracy along with their rich-guy tax cuts and conservative judges.”

Clearly, there is one set of rules for the super rich and another for everyone else.  It is obvious that the NFP cares only about the super rich.  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tells us the facts: “Why do we need to tax the rich?

  • The super rich pay lower taxes than the poorest Americans.  The United States has a regressive tax system in which the richest people actually pay lower effective tax rates across all levels of government than the poorest people in our country.  Seems hard to believe, right? But it’s true.
  • Taxes on the rich are much lower than they used to be.
  • Two men—Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos—own more wealth than the bottom 40% of Americans combined.
  • During the pandemic, U.S. billionaires saw their wealth go up 55% from $2.95 trillion to $4.56 trillion.  Just the gains they made over the last year of this pandemic alone could pay for almost 70% of Biden’s jobs plan.
  • U.S. income inequality has returned to Gilded Age levels from the early 1900s.  Our inequality levels are the highest of all G7 countries (UK, Italy, Japan, Canada, Germany, France).
  • CEOs at large companies in the U.S. now make an astonishing 264 times what the average U.S. worker makes.  In 1989, the ratio was 58-to-1, and in 1965, it was 20-to-1.
  • Polls show Americans don’t believe the rich pay their fair share, but Republicans keep lowering their taxes.  Gallup polls as far back as 1992 have shown that the vast majority of Americans want to tax the rich more.  Even then, Presidents Bush and Trump pushed through massive tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans.” (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, May 17, 2021)

But it turns out that the NFP is only getting started.  The Republican Study Committee―a rabid caucus of three-quarters of House Republicans – is out with their 2022 budget, and it’s ugly.  Not only does this congressional Republican budget propose to cut $14 trillion in critical services including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid; it adds another $1.9 trillion tax cut that mostly benefits corporations and the wealthy. The House Republican budget would:

  • Enact new corporate tax cuts and extend the Trump-GOP tax cuts that mostly benefited the richest 1%;
  • Raise the eligibility age for Medicare by at least two years to 67
  • Cut Social Security benefits, especially for people with disabilities;
  • End health care guarantees through Medicaid and the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP);
  • Cut SNAP food stamp benefits for low-income kids and families, and more! (Frank Clemente, Americans for Tax Fairness, June 2, 2021)

Clearly, the NFP was not satisfied with its 2017 tax scam: they want to continue their plan of eliminating the middle class, destroying the poor, and enrich themselves and their patrons at the expense of everyone else. The media is complicit in all this.  By failing to report the objectively provable facts of the NFP’s financial dealings and intentions, they are assisting them in achieving their fascist agenda.


MORE ON THE CLIMATE DISASTER, COVID-19 AND THE ENVIRONMENT

My previous articles have provided overwhelming evidence that the reality of an upcoming ecological disaster brought about through climate change means absolutely nothing to members of the NFP.

In the last chapter, we saw how the media has failed to expose the NFP’s financial corruption.  In this chapter I will begin by discussing their role in the climate crisis.  Their role has increasingly been either to downplay it or else ignore it altogether.  The Juggernaut Project provides the details: “There’s an emergency happening; it touches every corner of the globe, will irrevocably change life on this planet, and has the potential to kill millions.  But if you watch the daily news, you may not be aware of how serious it is.  No, it’s not the pandemic, it’s climate change.  Media watchdog Media Matters has just released their 2020 assessment on how the major broadcasters on both sides of the political spectrum have covered the climate crisis over the past year.  Their conclusion?  Horribly.  With all the hype on green energy and the electric vehicle revolution, one might be fooled into thinking that the crisis is waning, but that is far from the truth.  Governments, businesses, and everyday citizens aren’t doing nearly enough to stave off the looming global disaster.  Yet, when Media Matters evaluated corporate media coverage, they found that it had actually dropped rather than increased—from 0.7% of network airtime in 2019 to a dismal 0.4% in 2020.  Even the increasing onslaught of climate-change-related disasters in the U.S—the devastating fires in the West, the cold wave that tore through the South, haven’t pushed the networks to give global warming the priority it deserves.  With the pandemic taking the front page almost daily, one might think that any other issue, including climate change, would understandably be put on the back burner.  But the roots of the COVID-19 crisis can be directly connected to the climate emergency, and major broadcasters repeatedly failed to make that clear to their viewers.

“The exploitation of natural resources, as well as the constant encroachment of humans further and further into animal habitats, not only destroy precious carbon absorbing forests that help stabilize the Earth’s climate, but also bring us in closer contact with wild animals that often have diseases our bodies are ill-equipped to fight, including COVID-19.” (The Juggernaut Project, April 25, 2021)

The reason why news outlets refuse to take the upcoming climate disaster seriously?  The answer should be obvious: Simply look at who owns the major news corporations.  The last thing the so-called mainstream media wants is to upset their bosses, the corporate polluters who are almost never called to account for the climate disaster, the oil spills, and other ecological disasters that are becoming more and more common not only in this country, but worldwide.

In the closing months of his presidency, Donald Trump did everything possible to auction off the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling.  Environmental Action elaborates: “The Arctic Refuge lives up to its name, providing a safe haven for polar bears, caribou, wolves, migratory birds and much more.  That vast diversity of life is worth more than any amount of oil and gas that companies might find after they carve up and despoil the land looking for it.  Oil and gas drilling is a loud, destructive and dirty process—and it poses a particular risk to polar bears.  As Arctic ice melts due to climate change, polar bears are denning inland more often, where their dens will be more likely to be disturbed by drilling operations.  This in turn makes it more likely that the bears will abandon their dens.  For cubs, the trek through the harsh elements to find a new den can be dangerous.” (Environmental Action, January 4, 2021)  Not that this means anything to the NFP, of course.

Fracking, as I discussed in my earlier articles, is a major problem for a number of reasons.  The fracking process uses literally hundreds of different chemicals, many of which are carcinogens posing serious health problems.  The fracking process also releases poisonous substances including arsenic and naturally-occurring radioactive materials (NORMs).  These substances can poison our sources of drinking water; many of these hydraulic fracturing activities take place on private property, including areas where children play, and residents have little or no say in where the fracturing can take place.  In addition, the practice involves drilling through drinking water aquifers, thereby exposing them to the risk of contamination; tens of thousands of gallons of chemicals are used in a single fracturing operation.

Daily Kos elaborates: “Fracking leads to increased climate pollution, water waste, earthquakes, and now, it can physically kill us!  In a recent study, fracking was shown to increase heart failure to those exposed, with increased noise and air pollution, and traffic from fracking acting as major stressors.  Add this to the list of health issues caused by fracking, especially among Black community members who disproportionately live near fracking wells…The science is clear, fracking is a key contributor to our climate emergency.” (Erin Tulley, Daily Kos, February 3, 2021)

So much of the climate disaster rests on the shoulders of American agribusiness that an entire volume could be written on the subject, but I will let Care2 Action Alerts focus on just two examples: “Last year the Amazon Rainforest lost 11,000 square km of forest—equivalent to three football fields every minute.  Meanwhile, other biomes in Latin America such as Argentina’s Gran Chaco and Brazil’s Cerrado are being destroyed at a breathtaking pace to clear land for industrial agriculture like soy.  Destruction of these ecosystems is driving wildlife to extinction, worsening climate change, and forcing local communities off of their land.  U.S. agribusiness giants Bunge and ADM are playing a lead role in driving this problem, as they source huge quantities of soy from farmers who are actively clearing native vegetation.  Given their market share and influence, if both Bunge and ADM change, we will have a critical mass to tip the entire agribusiness industry and catalyze a historic shift towards forest protection and regenerative agriculture.  And now shareholders, who recognize that destroying the environment is bad for our planet and bad for business, are urging Bunge and ADM to do just that.” (Lauren W. Care2 Action Alerts, February 16, 2021)

The world’s forests are indeed endangered.  As Wildlife Conservation Society reports: “Right now, on every continent, forests are sustaining staggering losses—from fires, mining, logging, agricultural expansion, and infrastructure development.  If destruction continues at the present pace, at least half of the planet’s current stock of intact forests—forests left relatively untouched by human activity—will be gone by 2100.  This would be a heartbreaking loss of wildlife and wild places, since forests provide homes to two-thirds of land-based plants and animals.  Without forests, where would these animals go?  These same forests are also one of our best weapons in the fight against climate change.  The future of Planet Earth is on the line.  Every ton of carbon stored by an intact forest keeps CO2 from being released into the atmosphere.  Without these forest strongholds, there is no pathway to decarbonizing our planet by 2050.  With them, we stand a chance.” (Wildlife Conservation Society, March 31, 2021)

Two days after the insurrection, People for the American Way provided an update on the COVID-19 situation: “This week’s news has been largely dominated by the Senate runoff races in Georgia and Trump supporters’ terrorism at the U.S. Capitol.  But even as news coverage focused on these events, the pandemic continued its dangerous spread through our communities.  At Trump’s rally that preceded the assault at the Capitol, his supporters urged the crowd to: ‘turn to the person next to you and give them a hug’—creating a ‘mass-spreader event.’  That same day, the United States experienced its most deadly day of the pandemic so far: More than 3,900 deaths and 255,000 new cases were reported on January 6.  And neither Trump nor his Republican allies have indicated any concern about the ongoing severity of the pandemic or that their failures and misdeeds have further exacerbated it.

  • On January 3, two days after the U.S. surpassed the milestone of 20,000,000 total reported COVID-19 cases, Trump tweeted that the number of cases and deaths due to the ‘China Virus is far exaggerated’ because of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) ‘ridiculous method of determination.’  Both Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, and Dr. Jerome Adams, the U.S. Surgeon General, pushed back against Trump’s claims within a matter of hours.
  • More of the Trump administration’s vaccine rollout failures came to light this week: Despite Operation Warp Speed chief advisor Dr. Moncef Slaoui’s promise last December that 20 million people would be vaccinated before the end of 2020, only 5 million Americans had received their first dose as of January 6.  Only 30 percent of the 17 million distributed vaccine doses have been administered so far.  Public health experts warn that delays in distributing and administering the vaccine could cause hundreds of thousands more COVID-19 deaths, and the CDC forecast that the overall toll of the virus in the U.S. could exceed 430,000 by the end of January.
  • Trump’s private club in Florida, Mar-a-Lago, violated the area’s coronavirus safety restrictions during multiple holiday events, including a New Year’s Eve party that was widely maskless.  A state representative has since called for the club to be shut down for flouting the mask order in Palm Beach County.
  • Further details of the Trump administration’s extensive campaign to exert influence over the CDC’s medical expertise continue to emerge.  In late December, the House select subcommittee on the coronavirus released documents detailing Trump political appointees’ attempts to ‘alter or block’ information in at least 13 reports on the use of masks, the virus’s spread among children, its transmission during the Wisconsin primary in April, and other key morbidity and mortality data.
  • Top Trump enabler Mitch McConnell objected to the extension of the paid leave mandate for U.S. workers in the coronavirus relief legislation passed in late December.  McConnell’s earlier obstruction has also resulted in the allocated state aid coming too late to help the earliest rollout of the vaccine during the latest surge.

“Despite the ongoing devastation, Trump and his federal allies continue to obstruct the orderly transition of coronavirus information to the Biden-Harris administration’s incoming team of public health experts.  During a pandemic, every day can make a life-or-death difference.  Trump’s callous indifference to protecting the American people has already taken a needlessly tragic toll on the country.  Trump’s failure to lead us through the pandemic will be among the greatest failures of his presidency.  And although he will soon lack any governing power, the impact of his failures will continue to hurt the American people.  President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have outlined their extensive plans to combat the virus and speed up the production and dispersal of COVID-19 vaccines—and their leadership couldn’t come soon enough.” (Sarah, People For The American Way, January 8, 2021)

One would think that when something as devastating as a worldwide pandemic begins killing millions of people, we would begin to unite as a people to fight off this common enemy that threatens us all.  This has certainly not happened as the NFP has ignored and downplayed the seriousness of the epidemic and then attacked legitimate doctors like Anthony Fauci who has led the charge in fighting the disease.  Instead, Fauci has received death threats, and his wife and children were harassed, all because he dared to tell the truth about the pandemic and was acting to save people’s lives.  Of course, by doing so, he dared to contradict what Donald Trump said.  Again, we see why Trumpism is now a religious cult: his defenders are utterly beholden to everything he says, no matter how stupid and dangerous.  And anyone who dares to think or act differently is automatically the enemy, to be dealt with accordingly.  So, for trying to save lives, Dr. Fauci has become their enemy.  This is the alternate reality that Trumpists are living in.

Rep. Jim Jordan is one of the worst members of the NFP and showed not only his stupidity but fundamental rudeness when he attacked Dr. Fauci during a House Oversight coronavirus subcommittee hearing.  Daily Kos reports on just how far the NFP has sunk by trying to get Fauci to come up with a timeline when Americans will get their rights back, as if telling people to wear face masks to save lives is a violation of their rights: “Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio is a personification of the perverse corruption of the GOP and a pathetic little man.  I mean ‘little’ in all of its most withering implications.  This is a man that should (allegedly) be in a jail cell, praying every moment of every day for forgiveness, for his suspected complicity in the sexual molestation and assaults of numerous young men under his charge when he was an assistant coach on the Ohio State University wrestling team.  A reminder: Numerous former wrestlers say that they told then-coach Jim Jordan that they were being sexually assaulted or knew others were being assaulted by the team doctor Richard Strauss, and Jordan did not simply do nothing, he tried to keep them quiet about it.  That is who Jim Jordan is. That’s it.

On Thursday, Republican Rep. Jordan sat on a House Oversight coronavirus subcommittee hearing that featured testimony by Dr. Anthony Fauci, because he’s the foremost expert in our country on the public health crisis we are facing.  Jordan, no stranger to being full of sh&%, decided to use his time to whine and pretend that Dr. Anthony Fauci and the Democratic Party are stealing Americans’ civil liberties by advising we try to do everything possible to stop the spread of the virus that has claimed more than 560,000 American lives.  An important note here is that under the Trump administration and the Republican Party, our country’s handling of the pandemic was so bad that our infections and deaths far outpaced most other countries in the world.  Dr. Fauci and the Democratic representatives on the committee tolerated Jordan’s histrionics for a couple of minutes before deciding to shut down the man who former Republican Speaker John Boehner remembers this way: ‘I just never saw a guy who spent more time tearing things apart—never building anything, never putting anything together.

Ostensibly, Jim Jordan’s angle was that everybody’s civil liberties are being crushed by public health officials who keep telling Americans that just going about like there is no pandemic has led to hundreds of thousands of dead Americans, millions of sick Americans, and elongated the timeline for returning to some normalcy in our country.  Jordan’s only gotcha conflict here is he wants Dr. Anthony Fauci to give him a number, a number that does not exist, that would allow Jim Jordan to then cry about that number.  Here’s a number Jim: Six. That’s the number of former wrestlers who say Jim Jordan knew about the abuse at OSU.

“Dr. Fauci, then tried to center the conversation where it should be, public health.  He simplified his language as much as he thought was possible without simply grunting, explaining that his answers have a foundational tenet—the COVID-19 pandemic is ‘a health thing.’  But it was this exchange, with Dr. Fauci telling Jordan to stop being so sensitive and making things personal, that has made the rounds.  Dr. Fauci tried his most direct approach yet at explaining that the issue being manifested here is that it is officials like Jordan continue to misuse the public trust, and this has steered our country to well over half-a-million COVID-19 related deaths this past year.  Rep. Maxine Waters did her best to simplify the proceedings, as Jordan continued his bully-attempts at asking questions only his fragile ego can answer for him well after his allotted time, telling him to ‘shut your mouth.’

“Say what you will about the Republican Party, they have been one hundred percent wrong about every aspect of the 2019 novel coronavirus pandemic.  At every single step, instead of taking the proverbial bull by the horns—something that would have likely won them the 2020 election—they have lied and misinformed and made political a seemingly no-brainer issue of public health.  It is easy to say that this is what the Republican Party is and it is easy to say that the Republican Party is in the pockets of big money interests but that does not take into account the full breadth and scope of their criminal incompetence.’” (Walter Einenkel, Daily Kos, April 15, 2021)

Jordan is a truly despicable individual at every level, but Fauci failed to turn the tables on him by pointing out that he is asking an impossible thing: Nobody can provide an exact date when the situation will return to normal. What would Jordan have him do?  Pull a magic number out of a hat so the NFP can continue to attack him when that date doesn’t arrive?  Fauci should have pointed out that if Republicans were truly concerned about the pandemic and the countless deaths they are responsible for, they would stop blocking all the relief efforts the Democrats are trying to put in place, none of which were taken by the previous administration.  But this will never happen since the NFP doesn’t care about human life and will never admit that their unconscionable actions (or non-actions) have caused hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths.

The bottom line is this: The NFP wants Dr. Fauci, the man responsible for guiding us through the worst pandemic in a century, to be fired from his post.  This fact tells us just about everything we need to know about the NFP: They don’t care at all about science, the welfare of the people of the United States or even common sense procedures to save lives.  And they call themselves “pro-life!”

They were conspicuously silent as half a million Americans suffered and died yet became enraged when people were asked to wear masks.  One can only shake his head in wonder: Just what matters to these people?  Why do they want people to die?  Perhaps the biggest irony of all is that the disease is becoming a Republican disease since they are the ones who stupidly refuse to get vaccinated or wear safety masks.

And of course, the notion that asking people to wear masks to save lives is somehow unconstitutional and an infringement on their rights is laughably absurd any way you look at it.  The NFP is trying to turn the mask mandate into an attack on the U.S. Constitution and individual freedom.  The NFP’s stance is comparable to setting a building on fire and then asking, while it’s still burning, how long it will be before people can re-enter.  Shouldn’t the first priority be to stop the fire?  The NFP is simply incapable of recognizing the stupidity and immorality of their stance.  They don’t care if Americans die.  All they care about is contradicting everything the Democrats do to solve the crisis the NFP created.  They know that if the Democrats get credit for anything, it will make the NFP look bad.  So their strategy is to lie, obfuscate, deny and attack.  That is all they have in their arsenal.

Jordan’s tactic at the hearing is typical of the NFP: Find a completely irrelevant point on which to attack the Democrats, get all worked up about it and act as if this is the most important issue facing the country.  Here, Jordan is asking a totally unanswerable question while ignoring the key issue: How to save lives.  That is how the NFP operates, and it should be transparently obvious to everyone.

The facts speak for themselves: Donald Trump and the NFP did virtually nothing positive to address the pandemic.  Daily Kos puts the responsibility for the over 400,000 right where it belongs: “It’s no surprise to anyone that Donald Trump did a horrible job in managing the COVID-19 crisis.  From refusing to wear a mask, to promoting snake oil cures, to actively promoting state-level insurrections against governors who attempted to impose even minimal social distancing, Trump did everything possible to make the situation worse.  In statistics that have become heartbreakingly familiar, the United States has only 4% of the world’s population, but has somehow managed to have over 25% of the entire world’s cases of COVID-19.  Deaths are slightly better.  Still, over 20% of all COVID-19 deaths in the world are in the United States—and that’s despite evidence that the U.S. is frequently undercounting those deaths…a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) makes it clear just how miserable Trump’s handling of the pandemic really was.  The 340-page report from the GAO pulls no punches right from the start.  The agency says that it ‘remains deeply troubled’ that of 31 recommendations it made in previous reports issued in June and September, 27 remained unimplemented as Trump was going out the door.  These programs represent ‘critical gaps’ in addressing the pandemic, and particularly in suppling PPE, vaccines, and other medical supplies to states and facilities where they are most needed.  In addition, the GAO expressed concern about the way that the funds approved under previous acts were being doled out by the Small Business Administration.  It’s not just outsiders who found the idea of billions being handed out in unaccountable hidden payments astounding.  The GAO also noted that the program which was run as a secret trust by Steven Mnunchin ‘creates risk of considerable improper payments’ which includes those that could be ‘related to fraud.’  Among the past GAO recommendations that never got implemented were a series on making the loan program more transparent and accountable.

“The accounting practices in particular appear to have been all but nonexistent across multiple departments.  Of the $300 million from the CARES Act that the Commerce Department was supposed to provide as assistance to the fishery industry, only $54 million could be located, with conflicting statements on whether it had ever moved from Washington D.C.  The Department of Labor’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program appears to have $1.1 billion in overpayments to unqualified businesses, and the SBA’s loan program may have over 3,000 invalid loans. How many of those ultimately go back to Trump, or Trump associates, the GAO does no say.  In a number of areas, the GAO recommendations, unsurprisingly, matched those of experts on pandemics, logistics, and accounting.

“These are just some of the GAO recommendations that went unmet: 1) A comprehensive national COVID-19 testing strategy to be developed by HHS and incorporate both individual and mass testing along with a system of case tracing and quarantine management. 2) A coordinated plan between HHS and the Department of Defense for distributing and administering COVID-19 vaccines, including how this plan would incorporate state agencies and make the full journey from vaccine manufacturers to the arms of patients. 3) A key contact for state, territorial, and tribal authorities that would provide two-way communication with the federal team, keep everyone updated, and work with those authorities on strategies from preparedness to vaccine rollout. 4) Ensure vaccine availability by designating a unit within the FDA to work between vaccine manufactures and federal agencies and keep everyone aware of roadblocks or concerns. 5) A series of mechanisms to to track the progress of funds distribution to states, tribes, and territories, implement data analytics on loans and advances to detect ineligible and fraudulent claims, and account for overpayments and money that was not disbursed by states.

“Another area of concern from the GAO was one that never even got considered by Trump: worker safety.  The GAO recommendations called for HHS to work with OSHA ‘to determine what additional data may be needed from employers or other sources to better target the agency’s COVID-19 enforcement efforts.’  The truth was there were no efforts to enforce worker safety in the midst of a pandemic.  Instead, Trump ordered meatpacking companies to stay open despite knowing that it was placing workers at severe risk.  Even before the fall surge, at least 42,534 meatpacking workers tested positive and at least 203 died since Trump forced them back onto the job.

“The GAO report makes it clear, at length, that the Trump response was inadequate in every way.  There was a failure to provide a national testing plan, a failure to provide national guidelines, a failure to account for billions distributed through a questionable process, and a failure to protect essential workers even when they were forced to remain on the job.  The most obvious result of Trump’s mismanagement can be found in the 458,000 Americans now dead from direct results of COVID-19.  But the effects are also in the depressed economy, and in a government that was left hollowed out, deprived of experts, and with no plan.  It’s also clear that while the Trump White House was incapable of suppressing the pandemic, it was very capable of making large amounts of money just—disappear.  In the spring.  And the summer.  And the fall.

“This is a far-from-final accounting of the horrible degree of pure mismanagement and neglect under Trump.  It’s going to take months, at least, to determine where the money went, how the vaccine distribution went so wrong, and what actions were taken to deliberately make the situation worse.  But this GAO report pretty much closes the book on that agency’s overview of Trump and the pandemic.  One thing is certain: When the next such report appears, it will not find that the recommendations of experts have been completely overlooked.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, February 3, 2021)

Yes, there is utter incompetence and stupidity in Trump’s dealing with the pandemic.  But underneath lies a much more sinister fact: That he and virtually everyone in the NFP doesn’t care a bit about American lives.  Their every word and action proves this.  Trump didn’t care one way or the other how many people sickened and died; he only cared about making himself look good.  To this end he manufactured lie after lie, while the rest of the NFP looked on and nodded approvingly.  This is proof positive that the former Republican party is now a fascist organization, and fascist leaders don’t give a hoot about the lives of their followers, the environment, or anyone that isn’t a right-wing NFPer.  Trump has never admitted wrongdoing about anything, and he is certainly not about to start now.  His only concern about the pandemic was to divert attention away from himself and to deny responsibility.  He is the most self-centered, egotistical man ever to enter American politics.  And, worst of all, he has more blood on his hands than any other American in the history of this country.

His followers either don’t or won’t acknowledge the facts; this is the way religious cults operate; again, this is why I have referred to Trumpism as America’s newest religion.

There are other villains in the pandemic besides Trump, as Center for Health and Democracy tells us: “Just hours before Joe Biden took the oath of office, UnitedHealthcare quietly released the news that it had blown away Wall Street’s most optimistic profit expectations for 2020, the year of the worst public health crisis in our lifetime that’s seen 400,000 Americans die.  That’s right: insurance companies made a fortune during the pandemic.  How did they pull this off?  By paying far fewer claims last year than the year before.  Millions of Americans lost their employer-provided health insurance during the pandemic, but UnitedHealth was still able to take in $15 BILLION in additional revenues last year, even though the number of people covered in its individual and employer-sponsored/group plans FELL by 1.5 million. (Wendell, Center for Health and Democracy, January 23, 2021) Big Pharma is one of the most corrupt business institutions in the country today; keeping people healthy is on the back burner as corporate profits have taken over center stage in the health industry.

For further proof, consider this: Center for Health and Democracy tells us that, despite COVID-19, 2020 was a great year for health insurers: “486,000+: That’s the number of people in this country who have lost their lives to COVID-19.  27,000,000+:  That’s the number of people who have been infected by this dangerous virus.  $120,800,000,000, $160,400,000,000, $257,100,000,000: Those are the 2020 revenue numbers from Anthem, Cigna, and UnitedHealth Group, respectively. (Wendell Potter, Center for Health and Democracy, February 16, 2021) The numbers don’t lie; can anyone reading them deny that America has a broken healthcare system?

Americans for Tax Fairness reports: “Last March, when the pandemic was just taking hold, Senate Republicans snuck a huge tax break into the initial round of COVID relief.  The so-called ‘Millionaires Giveaway’ handed an average $1.6 million tax cut to each of 43,000 millionaires.” (Frank Clemente, AFTF, January 27, 2021) Their attitude toward the pandemic was to lie about it and let people die without lifting a finger to do anything about it.  The only thing they do care about is making the richest Americans richer.  The article continues: “$1.1 trillion in obscene wealth gains of America’s 660 billionaires since the pandemic began last March, according to a new Americans for Tax Fairness report.”

Center for Health and Democracy asks a couple of pertinent questions that show how certain CEOs in the healthcare industry have profited from the pandemic: “How would you like to see your paycheck go up by 81%?  Or to make a combined $22.8 million with your colleague (during a global pandemic)?  Well, if you work in the for-profit healthcare industry, that could be you.  In a recent report, Health Care Service Corp. (HCSC) reported paying their two CEOs a combined $22.8 million while the board chairman’s pay increased an astronomical 81%.  That’s more than $31,000,000 paid to three people during the worst global health and economic crisis we have seen in generations.  You see, it’s not a coincidence.  These three executives needed the pandemic in order to reap these insane profits.” (Wendell Potter, Center for Health and Democracy, May 18, 2021)

Americans for Tax Fairness reported another group of rich Americans who have profited from the pandemic, namely our sports barons: “According to a new Americans for Tax Fairness study, 64 billionaire owners of major league sports franchises have enjoyed a $98.5 billion rise in their collective net worth, a 30% increase, since the pandemic began—even as millions of fans have fallen ill, lost jobs, neared eviction, gone hungry and died due to the coronavirus.  Included amongst those billionaire sports barons are the two Super Bowl powerhouses—the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs’ Hunt family and the NFC champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Glazer family.  Twenty-six of these billionaires have received $9 billion in taxpayer subsidies over the years to help build or update stadiums and arenas, even as they themselves have seen their wealth increase by $45 billion since last March.” (Andrea Haverdink, Americans for Tax Fairness, February 7, 2021)

As one might expect, COVID-19 has been much more devastating for low-income families than any other group.  Coalition on Human Needs provides one example: “The COVID-19 pandemic has created incredible health and economic problems for millions of U.S. families.  The statistics chronicling the suffering are both stunning and hard to fully absorb.  Within the past month, more than 12 million people in households with children said that they sometimes or often did not have enough to eat; more than four in ten in households with children are having a tough time just paying for their regular household expenses…In 2019, people earning between $10,000 and $20,000 received an average of just $850 from the Child Tax Credit while those earning between $75,000 and $100,000 typically received more than three times that amount, or the full $2,000 per child.” (Deborah Weinstein, Coalition on Human Needs, February 14, 2021)

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson reacted predictably to the passage of a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief passage by insisting that the entire 628 page bill be read aloud.  Also predictably, Mitch McConnell condemned the bill as a “partisan spending spree.”  Suffice it to say that saving lives is not a top priority for the NFP.

The bottom line is this: Not a single NFP member in either the House or Senate voted for relief of the pandemic they are largely responsible for.  They are the ones who continuously downplayed the seriousness of COVID-19, which has led to half a million deaths that needn’t have happened had they taken the necessary steps to control it.  Their response to the crisis they created is to unanimously refuse to offer any relief, instead telling Americans that the virus is here to stay and to “live with it.”  This is standard operating procedure with the NFP: Cause problems and then steadfastly refuse to fix them.

Daily Kos informs us of how many anti-vaxxers there are with a death wish while also naming the evil people responsible for the misinformation they are feeding the public: “The fact that three-fourths of remaining unvaccinated Republicans refuse to be vaccinated is shocking, but considering the messages that many of them are seeing on Facebook from organizations like the National Vaccine Information Center and the Organic Consumers Association, it shouldn’t be surprising.  Those august-sounding organizations are telling Republicans that not only is the COVID-19 pandemic not real, and that vaccine passports are the doorway to a new world government, but that the coronavirus—if it even exists—can be controlled by much simpler means than a dangerous, blood-clotting, infertility-causing vaccine that’s connected to a whole wave of suspicious deaths.  The reason that both of these organizations are so busily pumping out dire warnings about the COVID-19 vaccine is that both are controlled by scam artist Joseph Mercola.  Mercola pushes everything from dietary supplements to a hydrogen-peroxide nebulizer as a cure for COVID-19.  His absolutely false claims about the virus, the vaccines, and the pandemic have made him a ‘successful anti-vaccine entrepreneur’ and also earned himself the #1 spot in the Disinformation Dozen identified by the Center for Countering Digital Hate in a report published last month.

“Taken together, these top 12 disinformation artists are responsible for an astounding 73% of anti-vaccine content on Facebook.  The claims made by this collection of bad-influencers aren’t just wrong, they’re literally sickening.  But what may be more sickening is that Facebook doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it.

“Mercola is far from alone in selling deadly lies for a buck.  While the No. 2 member of the Disinformation Dozen may be the perennially sorry excuse and long established child-killer Robert Kennedy Jr., the third slot belongs to Ty & Charlene Bollinger.  Like Mercola, the Bollingers have pushed the idea that the entire pandemic is a fake while simultaneously fleecing their believers for a set of DVDs and books that promise ‘the truth’ about everything from COVID to cancer.  In between, they’ve made false claims about the COVID-19 vaccine being fatal, amplified the long-debunked link between all vaccines and autism, and seriously leaned into the ‘Bill Gates microchipping your brain’ nonsense. (Disgraced doctor Andrew Wakefield, the man behind the original autism scam, features in some of the information spread by the Bollingers and other members of the Disinformation Dozen).
Going down the list, there’s:

  • Rashid Buttar, who promotes the idea that the COVID-19 vaccine ‘increases the risk of getting HIV’ and that ‘becoming sterile is almost a certainty.’
  • Erin Elizabeth, who created multiple lies about the safety of both the COVID-19 vaccine and flu vaccine while promoting hydroxychloroquine—along with anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
  • Sayer Ji, who spread claims that hidden data from Pfizer’s vaccine trials showed the vaccine kills ’40 times as many people as the disease’ and that the point of the vaccines is to ‘lower the number of people on Earth.’
  • Kelly Brogan, who promotes the theory that the entire pandemic was planned solely in order to get that mind-controlling vaccine into the population.
  • Kevin Jenkins, who calls vaccines a ‘conspiracy to wipe out Black people’ and who accused Hank Aaron of being a race traitor for taking the vaccine.

“What’s the common link?  These people aren’t pushing conspiracy theories based on compounded lies because they believe them.  They’re doing it because there’s money in it.  Whether that means pushing fake ‘cures’ like Mercola and Elizabeth, their own ‘secret’ insights like the Bollingers and Jenkins, or ‘alternative health’ like Ji and Brogan, these people have something to sell.  And they don’t care who dies so long as it leads to the profit and attention they want.

“The Disinformation Dozen may dominate false claims circulating on social media, but they are far from alone.  As Reuters has noted, former Pfizer scientist Michael Yeadon has become a go-to source for false claims about the vaccines after co-authoring a paper suggesting that all COVID-19 vaccines could cause infertility in women.  As evidence for this, Yeardon offered…no evidence.  That didn’t stop Yeardon’s paper from becoming a touchstone of the anti-vax right, including members of the ‘dozen.’  Yeardon has become the Wakefield of the COVID-19 vaccine: someone who has what looks like respectable credentials, but who serves the role of promoting anti-science conspiracies.

“Spreading lies and peddling snake oil isn’t the only way scammers are making money off of inserting themselves into dangerous schemes to slow the use of vaccines.  As The Washington Post reports, there’s also forgery.  That includes forgers like the Chicago-area pharmacist who has also sold more than 100 CDC vaccination cards over eBay.  That account is just one of hundreds selling thousands of blank, forged, or completely fake cards.  The decision to use paper cards was made by Trump officials and when the first vaccines rolled out in 2020, the system was already somewhat locked in place.  But there seems to have been no thought put into how easily the cards could be counterfeited (or what a bad idea it is to pass around paper objects in the middle of a pandemic).

“Finally, what may be most frustrating about all of this is that the electronic platforms hosting this fraud, from Facebook and Twitter to eBay, seem to be doing almost nothing about it.  Mercola’s account is still active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, despite dozens of violations of those site’s supposed rules (and tens of thousands of forwards and retweets).  So are most of the others in the Disinformation Dozen.  That shouldn’t be all that surprising, since Robert Kennedy Jr. and his anti-vax conspiracy organization Children’s Health Defense has maintained an online presence for years, all while spreading lies that lead directly to the death of kids.  eBay has made token gestures at wiping away the fake vaccine cards, only to have them appear again in ads that are worded slightly differently.  In fact, the availability of these fakes seems to be increasing.  With Texas and Tennessee handing out the templates and eBay doing little to enforce its own rules, this is just found money for anyone with a printer and some card stock.  It shouldn’t be too surprising that all these practitioners of manslaughter via greed are getting their opportunity to make a profit from their lies.  After all, their rights are protected by groups like the United Medical Freedom Super PAC that formed to promote anti-vax causes in the last election.  The founders of that group: Ty & Charlene Bollinger.

“On the other hand, the United Medical Freedom Super PAC may not really be much of a threat, politically.  Based on data from OpenSecrets, the PAC took in money and spent it.  It just doesn’t seem to have given any to candidates.  But then, what do you expect from a PAC created by scammers to promote scammers?” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, April 21, 2021)

This is corruption on a scale unprecedented in U.S. history.  And why is nobody except Daily Kos doing anything about it?  A scandal this huge should be on the front page of every newspaper in the land.  It is not.  People are dying and criminals like the Disinformation Dozen (I would prefer to call them the Criminal Dozen) are not on everyone’s lips as they should be.  If this isn’t proof that the media is shirking its responsibility to report actual news and let the chips fall where they may, I don’t know what is.

So how have Democrats addressed the crisis?  By giving Americans relief money, a child allowance of up to $3600, and $350 billion in aid to states and local governments.  Oh, and making vaccinations free for all Americans.  Even here, the NFP squawks about people being “forced” to wear masks, about the alleged “dangers” of the vaccine, and other issues.  Again, the simple question to ask these people at this point is: Why do you want people to die?  Why is opposing Democrats, who are providing real solutions to the problems caused by the NFP, more important than saving lives?  Their stances are completely wrongheaded and, let’s not hesitate to say it, evil to the core.  But that is exactly what the NFP actually is.

Three days after Biden assumed the presidency, it became obvious that the previous administration had no vaccine plan at all.  One Trump advisor told CNN: “There is nothing for us to rework.  We are going to have to build everything from scratch.”  This may well be the biggest crime of all: The former president of the United States had no plan whatever to protect the people he was elected to serve from the worst pandemic in a century.  This is the most damning indictment that could possibly be leveled at this man; he has more blood on his hands than any other American president.  Four hundred thousand unnecessary deaths cry out for justice.

“Joe Biden called it a ‘big f*king deal’ when President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, which allowed 20 million of the 50 million Americans uninsured at the time to get health insurance that was more affordable.  The ACA also made it illegal for insurers to deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions.  But—insurance lobbyists rigged the bill in ways that guaranteed huge profits at the expense of vulnerable Americans for years to come and now, during a deadly pandemic, they’re cashing in big.  No wonder Wall Street loves UnitedHealth and other big health insurers so much.  UnitedHealth’s shares alone have increased 1,650% over the past 12 years.  How much have American wages increased in that time?  Not much.  How much have their premiums increased?  A lot.” (Wendell, Center for Health and Democracy, January 23, 2021)

Welcome to corporate America!

The COVID-19 disaster has been discussed in detail in my previous article: Voter Fraud: Where and by Whom?  There is absolutely no question that Donald Trump and his fellow NFPers are responsible for the staggering numbers of deaths that, had they taken positive action, could have been avoided.  Be a Hero Team notes how difficult it will be for Democrats to address the problem: “Yesterday was a historic moment for our movement.  We turned the page on a dark chapter of our history.  But today’s reality is more sobering: More than 400,000 people have died of COVID-19.  Millions of families are struggling to make ends meet.  We need bold action—and we need it now.  President Biden’s American Rescue Plan is an enormous step forward toward addressing the health care and economic crises we face today.  The $1.9 trillion plan is a roadmap for: 1) Accelerating vaccine deployment 2) Safely reopening schools 3) Providing more support to frontline workers 4) Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, and 5) Extending jobless benefits, paid leave, and eviction moratoriums.  But passing the American Rescue Plan won’t be easy.  Senate Republicans are going to use any corrupt tool available to obstruct progress and hamstring President Biden’s first 100 days in office.” (Be a Hero Team, January 21, 2021)

Texas governor Greg Abbott’s response to COVID-19 is frighteningly typical of the NFP, as Public Citizen reports: “On Monday, Houston became the first city in the United States to record every known major strain of the coronavirus.  How did Texas Governor Greg Abbott respond?  Abbott announced that he intends to issue an executive order lifting coronavirus precautions throughout the Lone Star State.  That includes canceling a statewide mask mandate and allowing businesses to open at 100% capacity.  (Yes, this is the same guy who falsely blamed wind and solar for the devastating power outages that left millions of Texans without electricity, heat, and water last month—when the failures were primarily related to fossil fuels and deregulation.)

Abbott’s actions are EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of what public health experts are calling for.  Just the day before Abbott’s deranged announcement, the director of the federal Centers for Disease Control said this: ‘I am really worried about reports that more states are rolling back the exact public health measures we have recommended to protect people from COVID-19.  Please hear me clearly.  At this level of cases with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained.”

“Other Republican governors are poised to follow Abbott’s ‘lead.’  In fact, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves has already announced that he will end a statewide mask mandate TODAY.  Abbott says that mask wearing and other mitigation measures are now about personal choice.  Again, EXACTLY WRONG.  With the pandemic, you don’t get to choose to take on more risk for yourself only.  If you ‘choose’ not to wear a mask, you endanger the whole community.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, March 3, 2021)

Abbott, like just about all other members of NFP, has no problem contradicting himself.  EDF Action Votes provides two completely contradictory statements Abbott made: “‘Pretty much every scientific and medical report shows that whenever you have a reopening…it actually will lead to an increase in spread.’—Greg Abbott, May 2020.  ‘I just announced Texas is OPEN 100%.  EVERYTHING.  I also ended the statewide mask mandate.’—Also, Greg Abbott, March 2021.  (COVID cases are 52% higher today than they were in May).  The Governor of Texas just announced a policy that, in his own words, will result in an increased spread of COVID-19. (EDD Action Votes, March 4, 2021) It is absolutely stunning that a governor would know of the dangers of COVID-19 and then take steps that ensure it will get worse.  Where are the demands for his resignation?  Why is the media not doing its job when criminals like Abbott are endangering lives?

The obvious question to ask any NFPer who is fighting on the wrong side of this issue is to ask a simple question: Why do you want people to die?  Since so many of them are dead set against vaccinations, this is a make-or-break question to ask of them.  Likewise, those who are opposed to using masks need to be asked: Why?  Isn’t it wise to play it safe?  Why do you want people to endanger themselves and other people by not wearing a mask?  Exactly how does wearing a mask harm anyone?  And, perhaps most significantly, they need to be asked: Why is towing the party line by following everything the NFP says more important than saving human lives?

One of the stupidest attacks on wearing masks came from Joseph Chaplic of Arizona, who authored an anti-mask bill that stated that mask mandates are an “overreaction” and that society has survived previous viral outbreaks.  As an example, Chaplic said, regarding the AIDS epidemic that emerged in the 1980s, that: “We heard about that in the 80s, yet no masks were required.”  Another GOP member said that: “If they work, how are people still catching COVID?”  Comments like this are so singularly stupid that it is a waste of time responding to them.  This is the moral level of the NFP: Somehow they think that saving lives is less important than their right to spread a lethal disease.

Naturally, Fox’s Tucker Carlson is up in arms about wearing masks.  Insider tells us: “Fox News host Tucker Carlson raged against the idea of wearing face masks on Monday night, telling his viewers to openly mock those they see wearing masks outside.  ‘Your response when you see children wearing masks as they play should be no different from your response to seeing someone beat a kid in Walmart.  Call the police immediately.  Contact Child Protective Services.  Keep calling until someone arrives,’ Carlson said.  ‘What you’re looking at is abuse, it’s child abuse, and you are morally obligated to attempt to prevent it.’” (Cheryl Teh, Insider, April 26, 2021) So, in Carlson’s warped worldview, children wearing masks to save their lives is a form of child abuse.  If he were so gung-ho on protecting children, he should really be upset at the pedophile priests in the Catholic Church (and other churches) that have been abusing children and ruining lives for centuries.  What has he said about this?  Not a word.

As with every other issue facing the American people, the NFP is living in an alternate universe.  To them, half a million American deaths doesn’t mean anything to them.

Despite all this, Public Citizen may have done a monumental service by addressing how a $25 billion investment could literally eliminate the COVID crisis: “‘The nonprofit advocacy group Public Citizen estimates that a $25 billion governmentwide initiative would produce around eight billion doses of mRNA vaccine, or enough to vaccinate half the planet.  That’s far less than the trillions that could be lost if the economy contracts further as the pandemic persists.’  That’s from a New York Times editorial last week titled America Is Failing Its Moral Test on Vaccines.  A report Public Citizen published three months earlier—$25 Billion to Vaccinate the World—goes into more detail about this proposal, which would:

  • Shorten the pandemic by years, thereby paying for itself many times over.
  • Save hundreds of thousands—maybe even millions—of lives in poorer countries.
  • Decrease the need for pandemic mitigation measures, which are costing trillions in lost economic output.
  • Reduce the risk of vaccine-resistant variants emerging and making their way to the U.S.
  • Enhance vaccine manufacturing capacity for the U.S., making it possible to produce booster shots, if needed, much faster than currently possible.
  • Reestablish U.S. scientific, technological, humanitarian, and foreign policy leadership.

As the Times also noted:  ‘The United States is well on its way to protecting Americans from the coronavirus.  It’s time to help the rest of the world.  By marshaling this nation’s vast resources to produce and distribute enough vaccines to meet global demand, the United States would act in keeping with the nation’s best traditions and highest aspirations while advancing its geopolitical and economic interests.  It is a moment of both obligation and opportunity.’” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, May 21, 2021)

Concerning the climate crisis, Joe Biden did more in one day than his predecessor did in four years.  Justice Democrats reports: “Yesterday (January 27), Joe Biden announced significant action to combat the climate crisis. This major victory includes: 1) The establishment of a White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy and National Climate Task Force with the full mandate and scope of powers and authority we partnered with Sunrise Movement and called for in an Office of Climate Mobilization; 2) The creation of ‘Civilian Climate Corps’ modeled after the New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps through executive action to put Americans to work in government jobs tackling the climate crisis; 3) Working alongside environmental justice leaders and communities to ensure a whole-of-government approach to Environmental Justice and assuring that 40% of climate investments go to frontline communities. 4) Using the federal government’s power of the purse to raise labor standards while spurring production of 100% clean energy technology; 5) Working alongside farmers to create jobs in sustainable agriculture and wealth in rural America; ensuring economic development and a just transition for fossil fuel communities; 6) And aggressively pursuing renewable energy development while putting all fossil fuel leasing on federal lands and waters under review and stopping all new leasing.” (Justice Democrats, January 28, 2021)

What most people don’t seem to realize is the interconnectedness of the COVID-19 disaster and the climate crisis.  Daily Kos explains: “COVID-19 has highlighted the fact that continued deforestation makes future pandemics more likely: displaced wildlife species put them in close proximity with each other and to humans.  As humans continue to cut down our forests and build more infrastructure, we’re increasing the risk of pandemics.  In order to prevent the next global pandemic, we must slow and stop human deforestation activities.  That is why we must urge our government to establish forest conservation policies.  Ending deforestation is our best chance to conserve wildlife, one of the quickest and most cost effective ways to curb global warming, and tamp down the spread of a long list of diseases—COVID-19, Zika, Nipah, malaria, cholera and HIV among them.  We cannot afford continued global pandemics!” (Erin Tulley, Daily Kos, February 12, 2021)

Plants and animals are threatened as never before in our history.  Environmental Action reports on the bee situation: “Native bumblebee populations are crashing—in some places by up to 97 percent compared to their historic levels.  Honeybees aren’t faring much better; U.S. beekeepers lost 43.7 percent of their colonies between April 2019 and April 2020 after a summer of record-high losses.  Bees are vital to the continued existence of 250,000 species of flowering plants and trees.  Losing bees threatens the survival of those plants, which in turn threatens the animals that rely on them for food.  If we don’t save the bees, the catastrophic effects will ripple through entire ecosystems.  These unprecedented bee die-offs are caused by an array of factors that includes climate change and the overuse of bee-killing pesticides—both of which we’re fighting against.  Another major factor, and one that states can start addressing right now, is the loss of habitat.  A 2019 study found that bees and other pollinators actually thrive in cities and towns when the right kinds of plants are allowed to grow in public gardens and parks.  That’s why we’re calling on officials in states across the country, beginning with governors, to support initiatives to create safe havens for bees by growing bee-friendly native plants on state-owned land.” (Environmental Action, January 12, 2021)

The Trump administration showed at every opportunity that they don’t care a whit about wildlife.  Environment America provided an example: “A rule initiated by the Trump administration to strip protections from some of our nation’s rarest birds was recently finalized.   In a ‘gift’ to the oil and gas industry, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act no longer holds companies responsible when their practices kill birds.  The Migratory Bird Treaty Act is a decades-old rule that protects some of the most beautiful—and some of the most vulnerable—birds that grace our skies.  And it’s still essential today: We’ve lost a startling 3 billion birds in North America since 1970.  Before the reversal, the rule held companies accountable for migratory birds—like when BP paid $100 million for killing protected birds in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill.   But now, the rule change means that companies won’t pay for killing scores of birds, lowering the incentive to ensure that their practices keep birds safe in our skies.  With more than 1,000 bird species suddenly at greater risk, we must work to restore their protections if we want to restore bird populations.” (Wendy Wendlandt, Environment America, January 29, 2021)

Then there is the issue of oil spills.

The plain but simple fact is that drilling means spilling.  And wildlife suffers accordingly.  Environment America tells us: “We can and should be moving away from the dirty fossil fuels of the past, and President Biden’s moratorium on new oil and gas drilling leases is a key step in the right direction.  But when Congressional representatives introduced a bill that would let oil and gas companies keep drilling on our public lands, they moved us in the wrong direction on our path toward clean energy.  We all remember the Deepwater Horizon disaster that spewed 134 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.  It killed ‘somewhere between 100,000 and one million’ birds, as well as untold millions of marine mammals, sea turtles, birds and fish.  And drilling isn’t getting safer: In 2018 alone, the United States saw 137 oil spills—some spilling more than 2.1 million gallons at a time.  Drilling threatens wildlife and wild places, disrupting habitat, polluting air and water, and poisoning animals that ingest the dirty byproducts of an outdated practice.” (Wendy Wendlandt, Environment America, February 9, 2021)

The issue of saving the spotted owl is one that has been around for decades.  Trump’s actions have brought their plight to the forefront once again: “In one of its final acts, the Trump administration struck down vital protections for Northern spotted owls: The administration opened up 3.4 million acres of their protected habitat for logging and other development.  Scientists believe that all of their unprotected habitat could disappear by 2030 at the earliest, making one thing clear: Our nation’s dwindling spotted owl populations needed these protections.  With populations plummeting and habitat vanishing, spotted owls need the protections restored now.  That’s why we’re calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to swiftly stand up for spotted owls…Across the country, as our forests are opened up for logging, spotted owl homes become hostile lands, barren of the trees they need for survival.  Already in Washington state, 77 percent of spotted owls have died, and each year, 4 percent of all remaining spotted owls die.  One of the worst threats?  Habitat loss.  Spotted owls have already lost 70 percent of their habitat due to development and logging.  And while spotted owls deserve Endangered Species Act protections, they’re instead being stripped of their habitat…When a baby spotted owl learns to fly, it performs an exercise called ‘branching.’  Leaping from branch to branch, sometimes landing and hanging upside down, these owls need the trees and branches in their forest homes before they can take to the skies.  But without their protected habitat, there’s no branch to land on, no tree to launch from, and nowhere to learn how to fly.” (Wendy Wendlandt, Environment America, February 12, 2021)

Wolves are another species that is now threatened with extinction.  The NFP’s response has been nothing short of criminal.  Daily Kos, working with the Sierra Club, briefly summarizes the situation: “Scientists say one million species are facing extinction.  We cannot let the gray wolf be one of them, again.  The Endangered Species Act is our nation’s most effective law for protecting threatened wildlife, bringing hundreds of species—including the gray wolf—back from the brink of extinction since it was enacted in 1973.  But in 2020, the Trump administration decimated this vital legislation, stripping protections from imperiled gray wolves across most of the lower 48 states and putting them and other species in danger of disappearing for good.  Without the Endangered Species Act’s critical protections, countless species could be wiped out forever.” (Daily Kos, February 6, 2021) Again, we see how little the NFP cares about wildlife.  And the scientists?  No problem; the NFP probably has its “alternative science” to counter-act the experts.

The Northern White Rhino has been hunted to virtual extinction, with only two females surviving.  The black market has done its job, and nothing can be done to save them.  The world needs to wake up and address the fact that whole species are now gone and many more on the verge of extinction unless we start reversing course and taking positive steps to ensure their survival and the survival of the planet.

Biden also got a good start in addressing the issue of dangerous pesticides.  Pesticide Action Network fills us in on some recent developments: “The Biden administration has already committed to reviewing the last administration’s decision to reverse course on a planned ban of the brain-harming insecticide chlorpyrifos and their reduced protections for farmworkers from pesticide drift.  These are excellent steps, and we urge the new leaders to move these reviews forward quickly and take bold, justice-oriented, and science-based action.  We also ask that they take urgent action on the following: 1) Keep aldicarb and paraquat off the market.  The neurotoxic insecticide aldicarb, approved for use on oranges in the final days of the outgoing administration, was withdrawn from the U.S. market in 2010 and has been banned in more than 100 other countries.  Reauthorization of the herbicide paraquat, which is the deadliest pesticide still in use in this country today, is in final stages at the agency. Chronic exposure to paraquat increases risk of Parkinson’s disease. 2) Reverse decisions on atrazine, dicamba, glyphosate, isoxaflutole and sulfoxaflor.  All of these pesticides have been approved for continued use— or had uses expanded—within the last year.  ‘Listening to science’ will reveal the unacceptable and unnecessary risks these chemicals pose to farmers, farmworkers, rural families, children and pollinators.  In the case of dicamba, ‘listening to farmers’ will additionally underscore the harms of this drift-prone herbicide—millions of crop acres have already been damaged over the past three years, bringing financial devastation to farmers who had chosen not to purchase seeds genetically engineered to tolerate it.” (Pesticide Action Network, February 6, 2021)

A few words need to be said about how anti-science the entire right-wing has become.  They have fought evolutionary theories for over a hundred years, since it contradicts what they want to believe in their bible.  Daily Kos examines this issue in some detail: “In an ideal world, Scientific American would not be a publication strongly associated with politics.  That’s because in an ideal world, the idea of building on past discoveries through experimentation and evidence would not be a political position.  Neither would the idea that people who have spent their lifetimes studying and working to understand some facet of the world might understand that specific area better than a casual observer.  Unfortunately…this world.

Of course, every new discovery or scientific theory brings with it some element of politics.  Evidence of the destructive threat of global warming is bound to bring pushback from those who profit from spilling more carbon into the atmosphere.  Show that gender identity is controlled by elements that are baked into the human brain rather than being something casually decided on a whim, and there are people who want to scorn that information based on bias wearing religious clothing.  But there’s a distinction between political differences arising from a new piece of scientific information and the politics of ‘anti-science.’  Anti-science consists of deliberately snubbing mainstream, well-proven scientific views and substituting ideas drawn from conspiracy theories and propaganda.  It’s an explicit rejection not of some experimental result, but of the experimental method.  If science is a world view that says the truth can be discovered through observation and experimentation, anti-science is a view in which the truth is simply declared, no matter what unfortunate facts are in the way.

“Anti-science has always existed in various forms, but in the last decade right-wing politics hasn’t just adopted individual positions that are unscientific—it’s become intrinsically welded to the anti-science movement, and not just in the United States.  As Scientific American points out, the consequences of anti-science in politics can be disastrous on an enormous scale.  In the 1920s, Soviet scientist Trofim Lysenko developed a set of theories that rejected entirely the idea of genetic inheritance and grossly distorted the ideas of evolution.  Lysenko proposed a kind of agricultural process in which he insisted that grain levels could be increased by planting seeds ever closer together, because plants of the same ‘class’ would support each other rather than compete.  Lysenko’s theories were easily worked into the political theories of Joseph Stalin, and Lysenkoism became the official position of the Soviet state.  For decades, teaching about genetics or Darwinian evolution was forbidden.  So was hybridizing seeds for greater yield.  More than 3,000 biologist or agronomists were either exiled to gulags or simply executed, biological sciences in the Soviet Union were set back for decades, and tens of millions of Soviet citizens simply starved from the catastrophic effects of following Lysenko’s state-sanctioned pseudoscience.

“A much more recent and much closer to home version of this event is still ongoing.  With the appearance of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Donald Trump deliberately underplayed the threat, promoted ineffective quackery in direct opposition to research, and purposely refused to implement a national plan of testing and case management.  Researchers and experts were either ousted from federal agencies, or—as Trump has claimed proudly—completely ignored.  As a direct result, 400,000 Americans died needlessly.  This wasn’t a mistake.  It wasn’t ignorance.  It was a purposeful campaign of disinformation that is part of a broader program of dismissing the results of research, scorning the knowledge of experts, and equating ‘gut feeling’ with hard-won facts.  The effects of this campaign are still visible in the 42% of Republicans who say they will definitely not get a COVID-19 vaccine.  This number has not declined despite the evidence of millions being vaccinated safely.  In fact, it’s now slightly higher than it was before the first vaccine became available.

“It wasn’t always this way.  As Scientific American points out, both parties were once proud supporters of scientific endeavors.  In the United States, the National Academy of Sciences was founded under Abraham Lincoln.  NASA was a product of the Eisenhower administration.  The Environmental Protection Agency wasn’t just signed into law by Nixon, he proposed it and originally created the agency through executive order.  But around 2015, the anti-vax movement—which had generally made a home somewhere on the left side of the political spectrum—found genuine support on the right with the increasing dismissal of basic science and skepticism of medical experts.  The most visible instance of this change came in California, where a measles outbreak turned into a campaign for ‘health freedom’ within the state Republican Party.  The anti-vax community welcomed support of members of the Congressional Freedom Caucus and in barely over a year, these ideas were integrated into Republican positions at the federal level.   That break with medical expertise may have been the last thread still connecting the right to standard scientific consensus, and the snapping of that final connection could not have happened at a worse time.  It made the party absolutely ready to accept the idea that Trump, on the basis of being ‘really smart,’ could discard the recommendations of Dr. Anthony Fauci, silence Dr. Nancy Messonnier, and run through a list of ever less qualified advisers until he ended up with Scott Atlas actually advocating to get everyone infected as fast as possible.

“It’s why the ‘Great Barrington Declaration’—a proposal that specifically called for an end to social distancing, and for the United States to adopt policies that had already proven to be an absolute disaster in Sweden—didn’t come out of nowhere.  It was generated by the right-wing think tank American Institute of Economic Research.  Atlas was the product of another of those think tanks, the Hoover Institution.  So were numerous papers that downplayed the threat from COVID-19, or played up stories that America was already on the brink of herd immunity from millions of undetected cases.  This bond between anti-science and the right is not limited to the United States.  Across Europe, right-wing parties have become not just increasingly authoritarian and anti-democratic but anti-fact, anti-expert, anti-reason.  The threat from the right is not just a challenge to centuries of progress in representative government, but to the whole enterprise of civilization.  That includes the ongoing resistance by the right to take the necessary actions to combat human-generated climate change. However, that’s only part of the picture.

“Just like Soviet agriculture, our world depends on not just an understanding of science, but a constant increase in that understanding just to survive.  Without a strong, diverse, and expansive layer of researchers, the potential disaster makes the starvation under Stalin look picayune.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, March 31, 2021)

Hatred of science has long since been a staple of right-wing rhetoric.  Ever since the Scopes “Monkey Trial” of the 1920s, evolutionary theory has been a favorite whipping boy of these people.  It’s no different today: Marjorie Taylor Green is on record saying: “I don’t believe in evolution; I believe in god.”  She, like all the other Dark Age science deniers in the NFP, is well-funded by big polluters.  They can’t accept any idea that isn’t between the covers of the bible, which proves once again just how dangerous religious fundamentalism is and the threat it poses to our survival.

Moreover, this line of thinking (or, more properly, rationalizing) dovetails perfectly with the anti-progressive nature in right-wing conservatism.  The NFP simply cannot accept the idea that their bible is a primitive book that should have been relegated to the dustbins of history centuries ago.  Theirs is indeed a philosophy of death, since they believe that life on earth serves one purpose and one purpose only: To prepare them for eternal life in some imaginary other world.  This world be damned, so they have no problem destroying it because they imagine their imaginary savior will magically descend from the heavens and free them from this mortal coil.
The Kos article just quoted illustrates my point about Trumpism and the NFP both being part of America’s newest religion.  “Alternative facts” (meaning lies) have replaced provable facts.  Wishes and whims have become core components of the NFP’s agenda.  Lies have replaced the truth.  As with Christianity and all other religions, faith has replaced reason, although there are efforts to base these religions on objective facts, efforts that always fail.  And finally, unqualified right-wing politicians with no scientific credentials whatsoever are attacking legitimate experts in the scientific community.  And the true believers are gleefully following them into the abyss of tyranny.

As I have repeatedly stated, this is why religions are philosophies of death.  Whether the religion is Islam, Christianity, or Trumpism, they all promote false and dangerous ideologies that serve no good purpose and can only lead to misery, death and destruction.  I will be elaborating on this in the next chapter.
As a child growing up in the 1960s, I witnessed the growth of several movements relating to the environment.  Pollution got a lot of publicity in those days, in particular air pollution.  The over-population of planet earth was also hotly discussed.  As is the case today, the right-wing downplayed or ignored these issues.  The Democratic party must focus again on these issues, although over-population will probably never be discussed in the foreseeable future as it will “offend” religious sensibilities. This is the lesson we will probably never learn as our species holds a special religious place in most people’s lives; the fact that religions are not just untrue but dangerous is an idea whose time is coming, but certainly not here yet.  The true believers will fight it every inch of the way, to be sure, since they would rather sacrifice life on earth for an imaginary second life which does not exist.  The very existence of mysticism and religious belief in our supposedly enlightened age tells us how far away we are from being a rational society.

Today, plastics pollution has become a central issue as Environmental Action reports: “Plastic waste is choking our oceans and killing the wildlife that call them home.  If we want to do something about the plastic waste crisis, we have to go to the source.  In 2020, for the third year running, Coca-Cola ranked number one on the list of the world’s worst plastic polluters—no other company was even close.  Volunteers from around the world collected hundreds of thousands of pieces of plastic litter from parks, rivers, beaches and more in 55 countries.  When they analyzed the litter, they found that more of it came from Coca-Cola products than from any other brand.  In fact, Coke products were responsible for more of the litter than the second and third-worst offenders combined.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  By switching to glass, aluminum or biodegradable materials, Coke could reduce the amount of plastic it puts out in the world.

“The amount of plastic waste we generate is staggering—every day, the U.S. alone averages enough plastic waste to fill a football stadium 1.5 times.  Nearly half this waste is from items we only use once—soda bottles, for example.  So much of this plastic waste ends up in the ocean, where it poses a deadly threat to marine wildlife.  Sea turtles in particular are drawn to bits of plastic, which smell to them like food.  Studies have found that ingesting just over a dozen pieces of plastic is all it takes to kill a turtle.  We can’t recycle our way out of this crisis.  Research has found that up to 91 percent of all the plastic waste ever made never got recycled.  If we want to stop polluting our world with plastic, we’ll need to stop making so much of it.  And that’s where Coca-Cola comes in.  By replacing plastic with more sustainable products, it cannot only reduce its own contribution to the plastic waste problem, but possibly also spark industry-wide change.” (Environmental Action, February 3, 2021) Whether Coca-Cola heeds this warning remains to be seen but, as with every other polluter, the only way to push them into action is to hit them where it counts—in the pocketbook.

Another issue relating to our oceans concerns coral reefs.  As Environment America tells us: “It’s been called ‘America’s Great Barrier Reef’: It’s one of the largest coral reefs in the world, and the only living barrier reef in the continental U.S.  To say the Florida Reef is rich with life is an understatement.  Five different kinds of sea turtles, seven kinds of dolphins, whales, manatees and hundreds of species of tropical fish make their home here.  All these creatures depend on the health of the reef’s hundreds of miles of coral and island mangroves.  And those ecosystems are under tremendous strain.  Global warming pollution is acidifying and warming our oceans, making them more susceptible to the other things that plague reefs: coral diseases, runoff and pollution from nearby cities, and overfishing.  That’s why, as we deal with climate change, we need to keep reefs as protected as possible.  The Florida Reef, an incredible ecological treasure, has lost as much as 90 percent of its original coral cover over the past 40 years.  Reefs are essential to the health of our oceans, sheltering countless species.  But thanks to the effects of climate change, they’re more vulnerable than ever to disease, pollution and overfishing.” (Wendy Wendlandt, Environmental America, February 18, 2021)

As a species, we are digging our own grave as our politicians of both parties continue to take little or no action on the most serious issue facing us today.  Over-population is off the table simply because religions leaders want more and more converts to their nonsense.  Religious does indeed poison everything.  Let us now examine why.


RELIGIONS: PHILOSOPHIES OF DEATH

The more one studies religion objectively (which is impossible for most people to do), the more likely they are to become freethinkers, whether atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, rationalists, non-believer or any other branch of the group now collectively called “nones,” meaning “none of the above” when questioned about which religion they belong to.  This group has been under assault since the formation of the first religions.  Since no religion is based on logic, facts, empirical evidence, or even common sense, true believers have one strategy and one only if they want to gain control: They must demonize those who question them.  And the one common enemy all religions have is the freethought community.

Here in the United States, the so-called “Bible Belt” has long been the area of highest fundamentalist religiosity in the country.  It also has the lowest life expectancy, the highest amount of homicides, the highest divorce rate, the highest numbers of teen pregnancies, the highest rate of poverty, the highest infant mortality rate, and numerous other distinctive factors.  Could it be that, just maybe, there might be a connection?

Texas provides a stark illustration of how NFP leaders talk out of both sides of their mouths.  In the name of religious morality, they criminalize abortion, but their state ranks 50th in baby wellness checks, 50th in clinical care for infants, 44th in funding for schoolchildren and 46th in child hunger.  Is this moral?

Of course, Ted Cruz weighed in on the morality issue by saying that school shootings are occurring because we have removed “God from the public square.”  As always, he ignores the real facts, namely that his state is 93 percent Christian and averages a school shooting every year.  Meanwhile, Japan is 2 percent Christian and has never had a school shooting.

RDTdaily offers a message to Southern Republicans: “You’ve been voting for Republicans for fifty years, and you’re still the poorest part of the country.  The problem isn’t immigrants, or environmental regulations, or the media, or socialism, or Sharia Law, or people saying ‘happy holidays.’  The problem is that you keep voting for people who care more about giving tax breaks to corporations and billionaires than about helping you obtain the basic necessities of life.”

All this shows that there is an unmistakable connection between fundamentalist Christianity and the NFP.  I have written extensively on this, but here I will let a Daily Kos reporter explain it with his own story which also provides us with some telling points on how the Southern Baptists have become so powerful and how the NFP has followed their example: “I grew up as a member of a Southern Baptist Church.  I say ‘a’ church, rather than ‘the’ church, because for decades each of the churches that went under the label Southern Baptist had a considerable degree of freedom.  It would be going to far to claim that many of these churches were ‘liberal,’ but there were certainly some that were far more liberal, especially in urban areas, and a good number of churches everywhere that were solidly in the moderate range of Protestant churches.  Two years before Roe v. Wade, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) published a position on abortion that supported its use in cases of rape or incest, when there was evidence of severe medical issues with the fetus, or when going forward with pregnancy would cause damage to either the emotional, mental, or physical health of the mother.

The Southern Baptist Convention is the system that loosely connects the churches.  For years, it was pretty much what is sounds like—an annual get together where members from the various churches gave speeches, ate traditional convention rubber chicken, and talked about the focus of the church over the coming year.  For decades, most churches looked on this convention as a huge bore, and finding someone willing to attend usually required fingering a deacon who wasn’t quick enough to come up with an excuse.  But starting in the late 1970s, a group of extreme conservatives within the church got a simple idea.  They encouraged their members to volunteer for the convention, and they reached out to like-minded members of other churches to persuade them to come.  As soon as they held a majority at the convention, they demonstrated what so many members in all those churches had forgotten: The convention held incredible power.  Using that power, they redefined what it meant to be a member church, requiring that each church swear to follow a very strict set of teaching, including things like biblical inerrancy and conservative social positions.  At all levels, from pulpits, to seminaries, to missionaries, progressives and moderates were expelled.

“Almost 2,000 churches left the convention.  The conservatives didn’t care.  That only helped them to purify their revised organization; in the wake of those departures they grew stronger by incorporating the idea of ‘mega-churches’ that recreated many of the institutions, like youth sports leagues, that had once been part of the community.  The SBC emerged from this takeover apparently weakened, but ultimately grew to be a powerhouse in the conservative movement and a cornerstone of the modern Republican Party.  Whenever you see the term ‘evangelicals,’ you can think of it as ‘Southern Baptists and others,’ because the SBC is now the largest organization on the ‘Christian Right’ by far—over 47,000 churches and 14 million members.

“The reason for recounting this history is that something very similar has happened with Republican organizations at the state and local level.  Attending a county-level Republican Party meeting two decades ago wasn’t much different from sitting through an evening at the Kiwanis Club.  Most of the discussion was centered on local events, planning the details of getting out the vote for local races, and sorting out which local candidates had put in enough time with ambulance districts or school boards to deserve being supported for a state or county office.  Now those meetings still talk about getting out the vote…when they’re not talking about fighting the replacement of the white race by an invasion of diseased and deviant brown people, or deciphering the latest missive from Q.

“It’s easy to look on Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Rep. Lauren Boebert, and Sen. Ron Johnson as aberrations.  The truth is they’re the tip of a massive iceberg, the great bulk of which is hidden down at the state and county level.  That iceberg can be glimpsed in the 47 state legislatures where bills have been advanced to make it more difficult to vote.  It can be seen in bills like Missouri’s Federal Government Oversight legislation, which would allow Republicans to secede without seceding, by simply voting to reject federal laws.  It’s visible through the endless statements from county Republican organizations promoting racism, violence, and white supremacy.  And it’s visible in county sheriffs who proudly run on a platform of not enforcing state or federal laws.

“As Dave Neiwert has written many times for Daily Kos, the Republican Party is no longer a partner in American democracy, but a source of disruption.  Republicans can’t distance themselves from the extremist elements in their party, because those extremists are the core of their party.  It’s the more reasonable Republicans, those who still believe in the American experiment in democracy, who are on their way out.  The GOP hasn’t just become radicalized, it is still radicalizing.  And as Melissa Ryan writes at The Progressive, Republicans at the state and local level are now fully engaged in spreading the Big Lie about the 2020 election, promoting conspiracy theories in which racist and anti-Semitic themes are not even hidden, and openly supporting violent white supremacist militias.  Jan. 6 doesn’t represent a cautionary tale for them.  It’s the Alamo.  It’s Bunker Hill.  It’s the starting gun on a race they’ll do anything to win.  It would be nice to think of Donald Trump as the sign of a party rotting from the head.  But the Republican Party has been eaten by fascism from the feet up—and they’ve already shown that the nation is vulnerable to an attack from the same direction.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, April 24, 2021)

Sumner makes excellent points that bolster what I have been arguing all along: That the connection between fundamentalist Christianity and the NFP is central to our understanding of how the former Republican party has been destroyed by the dual forces of fascism and fundamentalist religion.  It also illustrates my point about the necessity of having four separate political parties in the United States, as I have written about in another article.

Fundamentalist religion is particularly hypocritical when it comes to Trump and the NFP.  It is ironic that these people who scream to the heavens about what they think morality is about are so willing to look the other way when it comes to right-wing politicians.  Daily Kos has an excellent article on this: “When the history books are written about the Donald Trump era, a lot of people on the right are in for a lot of well-deserved scorn.  The religious right, in all likelihood, will come under particular scrutiny.  These self-appointed moral guardians tried to get the nation to bow to Trump, knowing full well that he was manifestly unfit and unqualified.  These so-called leaders were willing to support a guy who plastered a news anchor’s personal cell number on social media, mocked the disabled, condoned violence at his rallies and against the media, reveled in degrading women, blew blatantly racist dog whistles, mishandled the worst peacetime crisis in our nation’s history, and on, and on, and on.

“Oh no, the religious right told their followers when they dared to flinch at the idea of supporting Trump.  None of that matters.  What mattered, they insisted, was that Trump opposed abortion and wanted to end Roe v. Wade; that he supported the definition of marriage as one man and one woman, and would appoint line-drawing conservatives to our courts.  For people who cut their political teeth during the Bill Clinton years, as I did, seeing the religious right go all-in for Trump was particularly bewildering.  The biggest example of their hypocrisy when we note that the same Christian conservatives who slammed Bill Clinton over his character issues during the 1990s were more than willing to look the other way for Trump.  Trump is A-OK with them even though they knew full well that he was a reprobate and a thug, so long that he checked the right boxes on social issues.

“Not long after the Access Hollywood tape came to light, former Christian Coalition chairman Ralph Reed told NPR’s Scott Simon that hearing Trump boasting about forcing himself on women wasn’t nearly as important to ‘conservative people of faith’ as a president who would oppose abortion, strengthen the economy, and scrap a nuclear deal with Iran that he and his compatriots considered ‘an existential threat to Israel.’  Along similar lines, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins told BuzzFeed that the religious right’s support for Trump wasn’t based on ‘shared values,’ but ‘shared concerns’ about the country going off the rails.  Franklin Graham claimed—with a straight face—that as bad as Trump’s comments were, the Supreme Court mattered more.

“It is not possible to overstate what Reed, Perkins, Graham, and other purported moral guardians were doing at this moment.  They effectively told their followers, and the nation at large, that they would look past behavior that no decent person would ever tolerate—all for the sake of a few policy wins and the prospect of putting a distinctly conservative stamp on the federal judiciary.

“I was reminded of this just days before Election Day 2020, when one of my more conservative friends laid into me for citing Trump’s degrading comments to women.  She told me that trashing women was nothing compared to ‘murdering babies.’  Worse, the religious right is not just willing to condone Trump’s outrages, but willing to bully those who exposed them.  During Trump’s first impeachment, a number of pro-Trump pastors went as far as to frame the impeachment effort as an attack on their values.  That was pretty mild stuff, compared to what we heard from other prominent pro-Trump pastors.  Perry Stone called Trump’s foes in Congress ‘demonic,’ and threatened to ask God to smite them if they didn’t leave Trump alone.  Hank and Brenda Kunneman tried to spiritually ‘shush’ the evil forces that were supposedly driving the impeachment effort.

“Several prominent members of the religious right signed onto Trump’s effort to steal the 2020 election, long after it was clear he had lost to Joe Biden.  Some of the worst offenders were the Kenneth Copeland clan.  Just 24 hours after the major networks declared Biden president-elect, Copeland’s daughter, Terri Pearsons, led her flock in praising God for giving Trump ‘legal strategies’ to expose the (nonexistent) fraud that supposedly denied him victory.  She even called for a new election, if necessary.  A day later, Pearsons and her husband, George, led Copeland ministry staffers in an effort to cover Trump’s efforts in prayer.  Terri told the audience that she’d organized the meeting after the Trump campaign asked for prayer as it sought to throw out ballots in Pennsylvania, supposedly cast after Election Day.  At that same meeting, George Pearsons issued a ‘heavenly cease-and-desist order’ against the supposed scheme to deny Trump another term.  Two weeks later, George told his flock that he’d had a vision of Jesus walking up and down a roomful of tables where ballots were being counted in Philadelphia and flipping them over.  The symbolism was obvious: George was likening this scene to Jesus’ flipping over of tables in the Temple after he saw it had been turned into a marketplace…

“According to 2020 exit polls, 76% of white evangelicals voted for Trump.  This marks a significant drop from the 81% of white evangelicals who voted for Trump in 2016.  How could it still be even that high, even in the face of Trump’s endless outrages?  Well, for the better part of five years, the religious right subjected its devotees to a steady diet of warnings against opposing Trump.  If you opposed Trump, at best, you opposed God, and at worst, you needed a demon cast out of you.  These rabidly pro-Trump pastors and evangelists preach to a choir that mostly lives in a bubble.  Their children are homeschooled or attend Christian schools.  The entire family consumes a news diet of Fox News, Newsmax, One America News, and Christian talk radio.  In other words, they’re hearing this pro-Trump drumbeat day in, day out, and with little to counter it.

“Combine that with some four decades of being told—sometimes subtly, sometimes not so subtly—that merely voting for a Democrat puts one’s salvation at risk.  Suddenly, it makes sense why so many white evangelicals were still willing to vote for Trump, even though it was amply demonstrated that he was a gangster and a thug.  Considering the environment in which most of Trump’s most diehard evangelical supporters live, it’s natural for anyone who had even mild reservations about Trump to keep their heads down—especially if they lived in one of the few areas where Trump’s approval ratings were still in the stratosphere…

“I’ve found myself thinking back a lot to that time ever since I realized how many religious right pastors and evangelists pushed their followers to vote for Trump simply because he made the right clucking noises about key social issues.  Forcing people to give birth was so important, they could look past over 30,500 false or misleading statements Trump made in four years and believe he deserved another term.  More conservative judges were so important that devout evangelicals were told to look past Trump’s choice to knowingly ‘play down’ the severity of the coronavirus pandemic and vote for his reelection.  I realize now that I saw a prelude to this cherry-picking mentality when my former friends in WayMaker were more than willing to stay loyal to a pastor who they knew had lied to them about some serious stuff.

“The religious right’s support for Trump has exposed the movement, once and for all, as utterly morally bankrupt.  I saw the beginnings of that moral bankruptcy during my college days, and it is this moral bankruptcy that has contributed to the poisoning of our political discourse.  If we are to prevent a next time for this, we must call it out when we see it…and we must do so loudly.” (Darrell Lucas, Daily Kos, February 17, 2021)

Is there any doubt after reading this article that, as I and others have repeatedly noted, that Trumpism is America’s newest religious cult?

For years I have been calling religions “philosophies of death.”  This is because they place an imaginary “next life” as of primary importance, but as this is only a pipe dream bearing to resemblance to reality, this means they have accepted a philosophy that elevates non-existence (gods, the afterlife, etc.) above existence (the real world) and death (the imaginary “next life”) above life.  What makes religions so lethal is that since they cannot be proven objectively, they can only gain acceptance from others by force.  The history of the world demonstrates this conclusively.

Believing in the Bible makes people Christians.  Understanding the Bible makes them atheists.

Here in the United States, our newest religion, Trumpism, has accepted prima facie the most obnoxious and evil doctrines of Christianity.  Chief among them is the idea of Armageddon, the destruction of the earth in which only the “true believers” will be saved.  Fundamentalist Trumpists share this common “goal.”  How else can one justify the wars Trump actively supports?  How else can one justify ignoring half a million deaths resulting from a pandemic that their leaders did nothing about?  How else can one justify the complete destruction of plant life and wildlife in order to continue raping the globe in the pursuit of fossil fuels when alternatives are becoming readily available?

Donald Trump and many of his followers repeatedly claimed that the president of the United States (as long as he is a Republican) is above the law and can do anything he wants.  This notion would have been laughed at at one time, but there is a fundamentalist religious foundation behind it.  In a brilliantly presented article, Free Inquiry explains: “The false narrative that former President Donald Trump actually won the 2020 election has been dubbed the ‘Big Lie.’  It was an enormous misrepresentation to the American people that has led millions down a rabbit hole.  Many ascribe this falsehood to Trump, given his penchant for lying, but they are missing the big picture.  His election Big Lie was built on the evangelization of lawlessness that has been operating against the public good since the Moral Majority gained political power.  The righteous push for believers to be above the law was sold to Congress and imposed on the American public by RFRA in 1993 and then, after the Court saved us from RFRA in Boerne v. Flores in 1997, again in 2000.

“Trump is a tool of the evangelical Right, and he actually was riffing off of the foundation they laid with RFRA.  RFRA was the first ‘Big Lie.’  The RFRA formula gives religious actors a right to be above the law that no other citizens enjoy.  If a law ‘substantially burdens’ you, the RFRA formula gives you the right to ignore that law unless the government can prove it serves a ‘compelling interest’ in the ‘least restrictive means’ possible.  Good luck to the government.  The original RFRA, passed in 1993, applied to every law in the country: local, state, and federal; legislative, executive, and judicial.

“In the culture at the time, religious actors and entities were almost universally treated as both benign and benevolent.  What could possibly go wrong if they weren’t penned in by the law like everyone else?  The story was that the world would be a better place once believers were no longer yoked to legal restrictions in every context.  As of 1990, litigators for the religious already had been arguing for decades that their clients should not have to obey the laws that govern everyone else due to their faith.  They argued that their clients shouldn’t have to pay taxes (United States v. Lee), abide by military uniform rules (Goldman v. Weinberger), observe limits on federal lands they didn’t own (Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Protective Association), or obtain social security numbers as part of the welfare system at the time (Bowen v. Roy).  The U.S. Supreme Court routinely rejected these demands to be above the law, but they left standing legislative accommodations.  The typical path was that a challenge would be brought under the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause—the argument would be that the First Amendment placed believers beyond the reach of the law—and the Supreme Court would reject it; then the believers would seek legislative exemption.  That happened in virtually every case.  In other words, the Court held the line on constitutionalizing lawlessness but deferred to lawmakers who considered the issue and created legislative exemptions to generally applicable laws…

“The ‘Coalition for the Free Exercise of Religion’ beguiled Congress with a brilliantly (though misleadingly) titled bill—the Religious Freedom ‘Restoration’ Act—and a chance to be smarter than the Court on the Court’s own turf, interpretation of the First Amendment.  For three years, hearings were held.  They were short on examples as to why believers should be superior to the law, but there were many statements by lawmakers stating how awfully dim the Supreme Court was and how they, the lawmakers, would be the saviors of religious liberty.  The Coalition even drew liberal groups such as the ACLU and People for the American Way into its snare.  Remember: religious actors were benign and benevolent, so no harm could flow from giving them more rights.  Thus, RFRA passed in 1993 via unanimous consent in the House (that is, there was no recorded vote) and by a vote of 96–3 in the Senate.  This is the moment in history where you get the line about RFRA being ‘bipartisan and passed nearly unanimously,’ which is repeated on all sides.  Well, not so fast.

“The truth is that no one had a clue what had just been unleashed.  The standard it set had not been part of the First Amendment’s doctrine, and the inherently ‘benign and benevolent’ presumption about religiously motivated actors was false…By the time RFRA was invalidated in 1997, its actual impact was becoming clearer.  It was a tool the Right would want and the Left should fear.  For example, it didn’t take long for conservative apartment owners to argue that RFRA gave them the right to refuse to rent to unmarried couples in violation of fair housing rights that the Left had fought to enact.  The ACLU and People for the American Way started to edge away…

“As we have seen, RFRA is a menace to the civil rights of women (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby) and LGBTQ persons (Bostock v. Clayton County). Justice Neil Gorsuch in Bostock correctly stated that RFRA is a ‘super statute’ that will likely carve back on Title VII protections for LGBTQ persons.  But it is even more insidious, because RFRA has created a cognitive dissonance in our culture that is downright dangerous.  The RFRA rhetoric and its misleading title have led to a widespread, but false, assumption that RFRA’s sui generis statutory rights are constitutional rights, as I elaborated in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.

“This is, in fact, the first Big Lie: that RFRA was a mere ‘restoration’ of constitutional standards and that those standards create a preferred citizen class of religious believers who need not worry about the pesky law.  RFRA was a radical change cloaked in false cultural presuppositions hidden by a misleading title and weaponized by members of Congress who couldn’t resist stepping into the Court’s domain.  RFRA advocates—and this applies to the federal version as well as the state counterparts—want us to believe that the Constitution sanctions treating religious believers as above the law.  No, it doesn’t, and it never should.

“The critics of the Equality and Do No Harm Acts talk about their ‘constitutionally protected’ and ‘First Amendment rights’ being at risk.  That is dangerous rhetoric.  The exemption from RFRA that both acts sanction is in fact a return of the religious liberty calculus to its constitutional foundation.

“Just as millions of Americans have been misled into thinking that the 2020 election was ‘stolen’ from Donald Trump, the same constituency was willingly misled into believing that the Constitution grants them a right to avoid all laws and a transcendent right to impose their faith on others, including in the workplace and the marketplace.  Yet there is no such constitutional right to martyr others for your faith, thank God.  The Equality and Do No Harm Acts threaten religious triumphalism but not wholesome religious liberty.” (Marci A. Hamilton, Free Inquiry, June/July 2021)

Lying is now universal in the NFP as it has always been in the Bible.  There is a famous passage in 1 Thessalonians 9:20 where the Apostle Paul says to his followers: “And to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews.”  Which is of course nothing more than plain unvarnished lying done in the name of spreading the faith.  Which is a clear indication that even Paul recognized that the Christian faith could not stand on its own merits.

All this means nothing to true believers of any religious cult (all religions are cults that somehow became successful) because they think that their faith (which means gullibility) is a virtue and that people who dare to think are the enemy.  Christians versus the Jews, Muslims versus the Christians, the Religious Right versus the secular humanists and freethinkers, the NFP versus the Democrats—it’s all part of the same anti-rational mindset.  Faith, (which is nothing more than false hope) not reason, is what drives these people.

There are many fundamentalist religious and Christian Nationalist movements active today whose sole purpose of existence is to turn this country into a Christian theocracy built on biblical laws that everyone must obey.  Daily Kos examines one of these groups: “In their latest efforts to gain control of society, many different Christian nationalist leaders (oligarchs) and their groups began seeking power in the 20th century.  Four of them require a close examination because of their massive influence on American culture; they are: (1) the Family, (2) the ‘Moral Majority,’ (3) the Father of Christian Reconstructionism, and (4) the New Apostolic Reformation.  Due to length, this article focuses on the first group, and the other three will be addressed subsequently.

“I highly recommend watching the five-part Netflix documentary called The Family.  It’s based on Jeff Sharlet’s 2008 book The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power.  Not only did Sharlet research the Family, but he also spent time living as a Family member.  Understanding this group goes a long way to understanding Christian nationalists and the danger they pose.

“The Family is one of the most influential religious groups in Washington.  Most people probably haven’t heard of them, but this group is the stealth organization behind the National Prayer Breakfasts.  The Family (also known as ‘The Fellowship’) operates like an octopus with secret tentacles reaching into all levels of government and aspects of American society—and beyond, including a loose network of non-profit corporations and prayer cells throughout the world.  This group consists of politicians, business and military leaders, and other powerful people.

“Sharlet says the Family is about power, obedience, and Jesus, not the Bible.  Indeed, the Family hands out a subset of the Bible to its followers, which is simply titled, Jesus.  Through this book and the group’s teachings, the Family promotes its own frightening totalitarian version of Jesus—one that desires total control over societies around the world.  Because the Family requires strict obedience, its leaders teach that democracy is rebelliousness against Jesus.  No surprise since they can’t control people within a democratic form of government.  This is why Sharlet calls this group an anti-democratic movement.” (Daily Kos, June 9, 2021)

My only disagreement with this article at this point is when Sharlet mistakenly says the Family is not about the Bible.  In fact, without the Bible as its foundation, the group would not even exist.  The Family, as with every other fundamentalist Christian group, interprets the Bible exactly as written.  So the “power, obedience and Jesus” are not only in the Bible, they are central to it.

The article continues: “The Family’s leaders teach their flock that Christ didn’t come to preach equally to everybody, but rather, to help his ‘chosen’, which are, according to the Family’s self-interests and jaded perspective, themselves.  Their organizational structure reflects this belief.  The Family’s organization consists of rings of power.  Closest to the center are the people the Family calls ‘apostles,’ who exercise authority and know the inner-most secrets of the sect, including its finances.  The next closest ring contains the ‘disciples,’ or followers.  Outside the circle resides the public at large, who, according to the Family, can’t handle the ‘truth.’”

At this point, the article dives into the connections between fundamentalist religious cults, oppression, dishonesty, crime, fascism, Adolf Hitler, and fascism: “The Family tolerates bad behavior from its ‘chosen’ to justify corrupt conduct.  They point out that, in the Old Testament, King David, who was chosen by God, was imperfect and sinned, yet God forgave him.  The Bible teaches that David seduced Bathsheba, a married woman, and got her pregnant.  When he couldn’t hide his sin, he successfully implemented a plan to kill Bathsheba’s husband.  Then, merely because David repented, God took away his sin.”

Think about that: David committed a terrible crime (made even more horrible sounding by calling it a “sin”) yet god forgave him.  How this immoral idea has influenced the thinking of the Christian fundamentalists!  They think they can do anything wants because they think that their deity will “forgive” them.  Murder, bombing abortion clinics, stealing elections are all “OK” since their imaginary sugar daddy in the sky will forgive them.  This isn’t morality, it is the destruction of morality.  And it’s all based on the Bible.  This is what faith does to moral behavior.

Returning to the article: “When a group of people believe that only some individuals among them are charged with carrying out God’s will, the ‘chosen’ become unaccountable.  When a Family member is not charged for committing criminal behavior, this inaction on behalf of the group’s leaders breeds more bad behavior and creates a culture of corruption.

“From the start, the Family’s goal has been power.  In 1935, Abraham Vereide, a minister, hosted a prayer breakfast, inviting business leaders in Seattle to come together to solve a common crisis.  What was this crisis  The Great Depression had inspired workers to begin organizing to protest their miserable conditions due, in part, to corporate greed.  The people didn’t want to wait for handouts from the powerful.  A year before, there had been a general strike up and down the West Coast.  Troops and even warships were called in, and guerilla warfare had broken out.  Before the first prayer breakfast in 1935, Sharlet says [in the Netflix documentary  [Vereide] concluded [that] labor unions are the agents of the enemy, that they are doing Satanic work.  He gathers nineteen industrialists, nineteen business leaders.  They are united in their belief that their wealth must be protected by force, and that the force will be most effective if it is backed up by God.

“So, Vereide’s new purpose aimed to produce a Christian leadership.  Vereide would later call it a ‘New World Order.’  The group picked one among them to become governor, and this individual set out to crush labor.  After the battle, Sharlet relays that, according to Vereide, God spoke, saying that Christianity had been focused on the poor and other lesser people for too long and ‘What we need to do is fortify men who will take the strong hand and restore law and order.’  This is the very same ‘wolves’ and ‘sheep; scenario that Thomas Jefferson warned in his 1787 letter that could destroy our democracy.

“A terror-State is the goal of the Family.  They are a secretive organization with a frightening history of advancing their wolves and seeking wolf-kings, like Donald Trump and other despots.  Tyrants, like Hitler, fascinated Vereide, who was interested in using Hitler’s playbook to create fundamentalist Christian theocracies in the U.S. and the world.

“After WWII, Vereide moved to Washington, D. C., to influence the U.S. government in the hopes of merging religion with it.  The State Department commissioned him to talk to high-level Nazi war criminals, seeking out men who would ‘switch out the Führer for the Father,’ as Sharlet cites in the Netflix documentary.  Their ‘Father’ is a fascist totalitarian version of Jesus, and the documentary presents a document that calls this effort ‘A Worldwide Spiritual Offensive.’

“Working with the government, Vereide got Nazi war criminals’ records expunged, and Nazis became ambassadors for Christianity.  Highlighting one very senior Nazi war criminal named, Konstantin von Neurath, Sharlet says, ‘We go back in his record, and he says, ‘God has ordered us to hunt down the Jews.’’ Neurath became a spiritual adviser to U.S. congressmen.  This destruction of the doctrine on the separation of Church and State is also potentially part of a future holocaust planted on our soil in which the government is complicit.

“The American people and the world have, for decades, been set up for totalitarian rulers like Hitler and Trump, both wolf-kings exploiting Christian nationalism to take over a nation.  One of the steps Vereide took to support the wolves was to get the government to host the National Prayer Breakfasts.  In 1953, President Eisenhower finally gave in to Vereide’s repeated requests during the height of the Cold War.  Today, the National Prayer Breakfasts involve up to a week-long series of gatherings intended to connect U.S. officials with right-wing lobbyists and foreign officials, especially dictators.  Both Republican and Democratic members of the Family attend these events.  On the surface, what could possibly be wrong with leaders sharing Christian values?  In truth, this is a form of Christian fundamentalism operating behind the people in power in America.  It’s been a principal operative and exporter of fascism and promoter of Christian nationalism around the globe.”

Lest there be any remaining doubt about the connection between Adolf Hitler and the NFP, consider this 1928 quote from the fuhrer: “We tolerate no on in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity.  Our movement is Christian.” Unless they were told the source of this quote, today’s NFP leaders would wholeheartedly agree.

Whether we are discussing totalitarianism, fascism, the NFP, Adolf Hitler or Donald Trump, the thing that connects them together is fundamentalist Christianity.  Until the world recognizes this and takes steps to counter-act its noxious philosophy of death, we will continue to slide down the path toward oblivion.


OTHER ISSUES

It is interesting, if terrifying, to imagine what will happen to Trump in the future.  Will the NFP succeed in getting him to run for president again in 2024?  Will he start his own political party (he already has his own religion, Trumpism, as I discussed in another article)?  Will he ever be brought to justice for his disgraceful crimes while in office (and before and after as well)?  Will the news media continue to give him every break they can when reporting on his latest escapades?

One other question looms prominently, as discussed by When Democrats Turn Out: “Donald Trump has always billed himself as a wealthy businessman whose financial success meant that he was one of life’s ‘winners’—and that he was therefore qualified to lead our country.  But, as the New York Times reports, he’s stepping out of office directly into ‘a financial minefield.’  His resorts are losing millions of dollars.  He has nine-figure loans coming due in the next few years.  He has a decade-old IRS audit and is being investigated for tax fraud.  It’s tempting to picture Trump losing all his money and power now that he’s out of office.  But regardless of whether or not he goes broke, the fact is that he and his loyalists defied expectations two election cycles in a row.  He and his supporters will likely find a way to brush off his financial woes, and many Americans will still overwhelmingly support the GOP’s far-right agenda, especially since, right before leaving the White House, Trump brazenly announced that his MAGA movement is ‘just the beginning.’” (When Democrats Turn Out, January 23, 2021)

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump made the building of a wall separating the United States and Mexico one of his central campaign promises.  It is somewhat amusing that no one seems to be asking the NFP: What happened with the wall?  The answer is that the walls are made of cheap wood and can be scaled with ease; all that is needed is a cheap ladder.  So we are no closer in 2021 than we were in 2016 than solving the border problem.  Surprisingly, or perhaps not, Democrats failed to make an issue of this during the 2020 election campaign.

It is singularly amazing that both parties continuously increase military spending.  Win Without War has some timely comments about this, not that politicians will listen, of course: “Last month, the US passed a devastating milestone: the total number of lives lost to COVID-19 surged past 420,000, more than all the Americans killed in World War II.  Military comparisons are overwrought, but this one matters because Congress has spent an eye-popping $6.4 trillion of our taxpayer dollars on weapons and wars since September 11, 2001.  And despite the ‘official’ justifications behind that massive level of spending, the reality is that money is simply feeding the war machine—not keeping us safer.  Just 10% of funds from the bloated Pentagon budget would be a gamechanger for public healthcare, climate change, and education.  A measly 10% cut from the three-quarters of a TRILLION dollar budget is really not even that dramatic—it would only return Pentagon spending to around the same level as when Trump took office!

That’s how out of whack the situation is.  Even now, the same Senators who are refusing to support a new COVID relief bill because it’s ‘too much money’ had no problem approving the bloated Pentagon budget less than a month ago.  Billionaire arms dealers and their lobbyists are convincing politicians to take our taxpayer money for food, healthcare, and pandemic preparedness away and instead give it to war.” (Win Without War, February 3, 2021)

Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic Progressive who lost to Joe Biden, has a plan for addressing the economic inequalities in this country: “Inequalities in our economy have existed for a long time—and the COVID crisis has just made them worse.  The rich and powerful have written the rules of our economy and our government to benefit themselves.  Here’s one benefit for the ultra-rich: After making a killing from the economy they’ve rigged, they don’t pay taxes on that accumulated wealth.  Consider two people: An heir with $500 million worth of yachts and jewelry and fine art and a public school teacher with no savings in the bank.  They both bring home $50,000.  And they both pay the same amount in federal taxes despite their vastly different circumstances.  That’s a system that’s rigged for the top.

It’s time for a wealth tax in America.  And I’ve got a plan for that.  It was a major piece of our campaign for president.  Now, I’m getting ready to introduce it in the Senate.  But we can only get it passed if a grassroots movement demands it, with all of us raising our voices from across the country.  Because here’s the thing—someone built a great fortune in America?  Good for them.  All we’re saying is, when they make it to the top, to the top of the top, top of the top of the top, pitch in two cents so everyone else gets a chance to make it in America.  Here’s how it works: Anyone who has over $50 million in accumulated assets—their first $50 million is free and clear.  Their fifty-millionth-and-first dollar, they’ve got to pitch in two cents.  And two cents for every dollar after that.  And a few more cents for every dollar of wealth over $1 billion.   That will generate $3 trillion over the next ten years.  With $3 trillion, we can help working families recover and improve their lives.  We can make sure women aren’t knocked out by lack of child care.  And we can bring structural change to our health, education, and economic systems.  And we need a wealth tax to get it done.  I’m counting on this team to speak out and support a wealth tax, because Washington needs to see and hear that there is a grassroots movement fighting for this plan.” (Elizabeth Warren, February 3, 2021)

This is certainly a plan that could work.  The NFP, of course, will have none of it.  Warren should challenge them on the numbers and have them explain in detail why they think it would not work.  Of course, they will never do this, contenting themselves with repeating over and over again that it won’t work.

Now let us consider some other issues that need attending to.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, known by the acronym ICE, is a federal agency whose job is to, according to its website: “ICE’s mission is to protect America from the cross-border crime and illegal immigration that threaten national security and public safety.  This mission is executed through the enforcement of more than 400 federal statutes and focuses on immigration enforcement and combating transnational crime.”  At first glance, this seems like an agency that is designed to keep America safe.   However, as is so often the case, the reality behind this is quite a bit different.  Public Citizen minces no words: “The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency—ICE—is a racist, rogue operation that must be stopped.  On Tuesday, ICE deported a man named Paul Pierrilus to Haiti.  With no warning, ICE agents came for Pierrilus in the middle of the night, then forcibly put him on a plane to Haiti.  Except Pierrilus was not born in Haiti and is not a Haitian citizen.  In fact, he had never even been to Haiti.  The 40-year-old had lived in America ever since his parents (who later became U.S. citizens) brought him here from Saint Martin, which is part of France, when he was just five years old.  And he had a permit to live and work in the U.S.  Meanwhile, asylum seekers from Cameroon who may be murdered once back in that country say ICE agents tortured them into waiving their asylum claims.  Trump sycophant and xenophobe Steven Miller is actually encouraging ICE (and DHS) agents to resist the Biden administration’s efforts to infuse a modicum of humanity into immigration policy.  ICE is defying the spirit of a 100-day moratorium from President Biden (temporarily blocked by a Trump-appointed judge) on some deportations.  Here’s how Rep. Mondaire Jones—just-elected to Congress from New York—characterized ICE:  ‘Ice is a rogue agency.  With the help of right-wing operatives on the federal bench, ICE is choosing to ignore President Biden’s deportation moratorium.  ICE must be brought to heel.’” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, February 4, 2021)

The U.S. Postal Service has been a shambles since Trump appointed Louis DeJoy as Postmaster General.  Daily Kos sums up the recent developments: “The U.S. Postal Service, still reeling from Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s sabotage to help the Trump campaign; the spread of COVID-19; and the huge increase in mail because of the pandemic, was able to deliver just 71% of first class mail on time by the end of last year, as opposed to 92% in January 2020.  On-time delivery of non-first class mail dropped to 38% last month, from 79% the year before.  But DeJoy isn’t done yet and is about to unveil his vision for the agency, which includes even deeper service cuts, more expensive postage and services, and lower delivery commitments.  That means he is still intent on destroying the institution on behalf of the corporate delivery entities in which he has investments—the very ones he’s been entering the USPS into service agreements with.  Yes, he needs to be ousted and soon, before he can do any more damage.

“That and other things are on the agenda in Congress and, hopefully, the White House.  Democratic lawmakers are urging President Biden to fill all the vacancies on the Postal Service Board of Governors and have them oust DeJoy.  That would be the fastest and most efficient way to Trump-proof the agency, since the existing board members are all cronies of Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump.  Biden appears to have that on his agenda, the White House said in a statement to NBC’s Geoff Bennett, with the president preparing to ‘nominat[e] officials who reflect his commitment to the workers of the US Postal Service—who deliver on the post office’s vital universal service obligation.’  His timeline, however, wasn’t mentioned.  The White house points out that only the board of governors can boot DeJoy, but goes on to say that there are ‘currently three vacancies on the nine member board, with a fourth who is serving a hold-over year. […] As these are Senate confirmed positions, we will work closely with the Senate to move these nominations forward.’” (Joan McCarter, Daily Kos, February 8, 2021)

Like everyone else in the Trump administration, Louis DeJoy played fast and furious with the law.  Common Cause tells us why: “Trump’s handpicked Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is now being investigated by the FBI and the DOJ for potentially breaking federal law.  Back when he was a CEO, DeJoy reportedly pressured his then-employees to donate to GOP candidates and reimbursed them with bonuses—a serious campaign finance violation.  Common Cause filed a complaint with North Carolina law enforcers just last year about these allegations.  And of course, since becoming Postmaster General—DeJoy has done all he can to gum up USPS operations, slow down mail delivery, and try to make it harder to vote by mail.  For the sake of our democracy, he must be fired.

“Recently, President Biden’s three nominees for the USPS Board of Governors—the only body that can oust and replace DeJoy—were confirmed by the Senate, potentially giving the Board a more reform-minded majority.  But so far, the Board hasn’t made any commitments either way about DeJoy’s future at the USPS.  So unless we take action immediately, DeJoy could remain Postmaster General for, in his words, ‘a long time’—calling the shots for the very agency he has tried to destroy.  Remember: DeJoy—a GOP mega-donor with no previous USPS experience—made headline after headline last year for imposing outrageous restrictions on postal workers, having mailboxes removed by the truckload, and more.  He was a pawn in then-President Trump’s scheme to silence mail-in voters by sabotaging the Postal Service.  And even now that the election is behind us, DeJoy remains committed to bringing the Postal Service to a grinding halt.  Earlier this year, he unveiled a 10-year plan that would further slow down first-class mail delivery, reduce Post Office hours, and raise postage prices.” (Devon Nir, Common Cause, June 8, 2021) This is just more proof of two points I have made over and over in previous articles, one being that Trump’s appointees all had one thing in common: No previous experience in the agency they were appointed to lead.  The other is that the sole purpose for their appointment was to destroy their agency from the inside.

A key issue coming up concerns the redistricting in 2021 and 2022.  This could be a disaster since the NFP has complete control in many states, which means that they will use gerrymandering to their favor; the issue is simply over who will and who will not be represented in Congress.  The NFP has already introduced countless bills to keep anyone who doesn’t support them away from the polls.  Their efforts could suppress the political power of minorities indefinitely.

Gerrymandering has been around for two centuries.  League of Women Voters tells us why it is so dangerous: “In 1812, Gerry signed a redistricting bill creating a snakelike district specifically designed to favor the then-Federalist Party.  A Boston Gazette cartoonist satirized the district as a salamander-like monster, coining the term ‘gerrymander.’  The practice of politicians systematically concentrating power has disenfranchised voters ever since.  Partisan gerrymandering creates ‘safe districts,’ eliminating electoral competition, disenfranchising communities of color and low-income areas, reducing voter turnout and amplifying ideological polarization—causing the partisan gridlock and illegal discrimination that can grind government to a halt.  It’s terrible for our democracy.” (VIrginia Kase, League of Women Voters, June 7, 2021) Terrible it may be, but the NFP is using it to their advantage as they try to strip voting rights from minorities and Democratic voters.

The NFP is well aware that most Americans do not support their racism and lies, which is why they have tried to steal both the 2016 election (which they won thanks to Russian interference) and the 2020 election.  Trump knew long before the election that he would most likely lose, and so he began his campaign of lies based on an alleged voter scandal instituted by Democrats.  After he lost the election, the NFP picked up on Trump’s lead and began an unprecedented attack on voting rights all across the country.

Another Trump scandal has largely been overlooked by just about everyone.  The San Diego Union Tribune, quoting an article originally in the New York Times were two exceptions: “Stacy Blatt was in hospice care last September listening to Rush Limbaugh’s dire warnings about how badly Donald Trump’s campaign needed money when he went online and chipped in everything he could: $500.  It was a big sum for a 63-year-old battling cancer and living in Kansas City on less than $1,000 per month.  But that single contribution—federal records show it was his first ever—quickly multiplied.  Another $500 was withdrawn the next day, then $500 the next week and every week through mid-October, without his knowledge—until Blatt’s bank account had been depleted and frozen.  When his utility and rent payments bounced, he called his brother, Russell Blatt, for help.mmWhat the Blatts soon discovered was $3,000 in withdrawals by the Trump campaign in less than 30 days.  They called their bank and said they thought they were victims of fraud.  ‘It felt,’ Russell Blatt said, ‘like it was a scam.’

“But what the Blatts believed was duplicity was actually an intentional scheme to boost revenues by the Trump campaign and the for-profit company that processed its online donations, WinRed.  Facing a cash crunch and getting badly outspent by the Democrats, the campaign had begun last September to set up recurring donations by default for online donors for every week until the election.  Contributors had to wade through a fine-print disclaimer and manually uncheck a box to opt out.  As the election neared, the Trump team made that disclaimer increasingly opaque, an investigation by The New York Times showed.  It introduced a second pre-checked box, known internally as a ‘money bomb,’ that doubled a person’s contribution.  Eventually its solicitations featured lines of text in bold and capital letters that overwhelmed the opt-out language.  The tactic ensnared scores of unsuspecting Trump loyalists—retirees, military veterans, nurses and even experienced political operatives.  Soon, banks and credit card companies were inundated with fraud complaints from the president’s own supporters about donations they had not intended to make, sometimes for thousands of dollars.

“The sheer magnitude of the money involved is staggering for politics.  In the final 2 1/2 months of 2020, the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and their shared accounts issued more than 530,000 refunds worth $64.3 million to online donors.  All campaigns make refunds for various reasons, including to people who give more than the legal limit.  But the sum the Trump operation refunded dwarfed that of Joe Biden’s campaign and his equivalent Democratic committees, which made 37,000 online refunds totaling $5.6 million in that time.  The recurring donations swelled Trump’s treasury in September and October, just as his finances were deteriorating.  He was then able to use tens of millions of dollars he raised after the election, under the guise of fighting his unfounded fraud claims, to help cover the refunds he owed.  In effect, the money that Trump eventually had to refund amounted to an interest-free loan from unwitting supporters at the most important juncture of the 2020 race.

“Political strategists, digital operatives and campaign finance experts said they could not recall ever seeing refunds at such a scale.  Trump, the RNC and their shared accounts refunded far more money to online donors in the last election cycle than every federal Democratic candidate and committee in the country combined.  Donors typically said they intended to give once or twice and only later discovered on their bank statements and credit card bills that they were donating over and over again.  Some, like Stacy Blatt, who died of cancer in February, sought an injunction from their banks and credit cards.  Others pursued refunds directly from WinRed, which typically granted them to avoid more costly formal disputes.

“Jason Miller, a spokesperson for Trump, downplayed the rash of fraud complaints and the $122.7 million in total refunds issued by the Trump operation.  He said internal records showed that 0.87% of its WinRed transactions had been subject to formal credit card disputes.  ‘The fact we had a dispute rate of less than 1% of total donations despite raising more grassroots money than any campaign in history is remarkable,’ he said.

“A Small Yellow Box and a Flood of Fraud Complaints

“The small and bright yellow box popped up on Trump’s digital donation portal around March 2020.  The text was boldface, simple and straightforward: ‘Make this a monthly recurring donation.’  The box came prefilled with a checkmark.  Even that was more aggressive than what the Biden campaign would do in 2020.  Biden officials said they rarely used prechecked boxes to automatically have donations recur monthly or weekly; the exception was on landing pages where advertisements and emails had explicitly asked supporters to become repeat donors.  But for Trump, the prechecked monthly box was just the beginning.  By June, the campaign and the RNC were experimenting with a second prechecked box, to default donors into making an additional contribution—called the money bomb.  An early test arrived in the run-up to Trump’s birthday, June 14.  The results were tantalizing: That date, a seemingly random Sunday, became the biggest day for online donations in the campaign’s history.  The two prechecked yellow boxes would be a fixture for the rest of the campaign.  And so would a much larger volume of refunds.  Until then, the Biden and Trump operations had nearly identical refund rates on WinRed and ActBlue in 2020: 2.18% for Trump and 2.17% for Biden.  But from the day after Trump’s birthday through the rest of the year, Biden’s refund rate remained nearly flat, at 2.24%, while Trump’s soared to 12.29%.

“Around the same time, officials who fielded fraud claims at bank and credit card companies noticed a surge in complaints against the Trump campaign and WinRed.  ‘It started to go absolutely wild,’ said one fraud investigator with Wells Fargo.  ‘It just became a pattern,’ said another at Capital One.  A consumer representative for USAA, which primarily serves military families, recalled an older veteran who discovered repeated WinRed charges from donating to Trump only after calling to have his balance read to him by phone.  The Trump operation was not done modifying the yellow boxes.  Soon, the fact that donations would be withdrawn weekly was taken out of boldface type, according to archived versions of the president’s website, and moved beneath other bold text.

“As the campaign’s financial problems became increasingly acute, the yellow boxes became dizzyingly more complex.  By October there were sometimes nine lines of boldface text—with ALL-CAPS words sprinkled in  before the disclosure that there would be weekly withdrawals.  As many as eight more lines of boldface text came before the second additional donation disclaimer.

The ‘Gary and Gerrit’ Operation

By last summer, the Biden campaign had begun outraising Trump’s team, and the president was hopping mad.  For months, years even, his advisers had been telling him how he had built a one-of-a-kind financial juggernaut.  So why, Trump demanded to know, was he off the television airwaves just months before the election in critical battleground states like Michigan?  ‘Where did all the money go?’ he would lash out, according to two senior advisers.  Inside the Trump reelection headquarters in Northern Virginia, the pressure was building to wring ever more money out of his supporters.  Perhaps nowhere was that pressure more acute than on Trump’s expansive and lucrative digital operation.  That was the unquestioned domain of Gary Coby, a 30-something strategist whose title—digital director—and microscopic public profile belied his immense influence on the Trump operation, especially online.

“A veteran of the RNC and the 2016 race, Coby had the confidence, trust and respect of Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, who unofficially oversaw the 2020 campaign, according to people familiar with the campaign’s operations.  Kushner and the rest of the campaign leadership gave Coby, whose talents are recognized across the Republican digital industry, wide latitude to raise money however he saw fit.  That meant almost endless optimization and experimentation, sometimes pushing the traditional boundaries.  The Trump team repeatedly used phantom donation matches and faux deadlines to loosen donor wallets (‘1000% offer: ACTIVATED…For the NEXT HOUR’).  Eventually it ratcheted up the volume of emails it sent until it was barraging supporters with an average of 15 per day for all of October and November 2020.

“Coby declined an interview request for this article.

“Coby’s partner in fundraising was Gerrit Lansing, president of WinRed, which had been created in 2019 as a centralized platform for GOP digital contributions after prominent Republicans feared they were falling irreparably behind Democrats and ActBlue.  Top Trump officials said they did not know specifically who had conceived of using the weekly recurring prechecked boxes—or who had designed them in the increasingly complex blizzard of text.  But they said virtually all online fundraising decisions were a ‘Gary and Gerrit’ production.  Unlike ActBlue, which is a nonprofit, WinRed is a for-profit company.  It makes its money by taking 30 cents of every donation, plus 3.8% of the amount given.  WinRed was paid more than $118 million from federal committees the last election cycle; even after paying credit card fees and expenses like payroll and rent, the profits are believed to be significant.  WinRed even made money off donations that were refunded by keeping the fees it charged on each transaction.

“All told, the Trump and party operation raised $1.2 billion on WinRed and refunded roughly 10% of it.  And after Trump’s first public speech of his post-presidency at the end of February, his new political operation sent its first text message to supporters since he left the White House. ‘Did you miss me?’ he asked.  The message directed supporters to a WinRed donation page with two prechecked yellow boxes.  Trump raised $3 million that day, according to an adviser, with more to come from the recurring donations in the months ahead.” (Shane Goldmacher, The New York Times, April 3, 2021)

The number of homeless people rose dramatically during Donald Trump’s presidency.  And, more than half of these people are black.  During the pandemic, some two hundred corporate landlords managed to rake in $320 million in federal pandemic relief funds—all the while evicting thousands of tenants.  In other words, these corporations are taking our tax dollars to take advantage of families.  The pandemic has laid bare the economic inequalities that exist in this country.

Feisty Senator Elizabeth Warren has called these corporations to task for their exploitation of the tax code.  When Democrats Turn Out explains: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren shared a clip from a Senate Finance Committee hearing where she accused Amazon of ‘manipulating the tax code to avoid paying their fair share.’ (She’s right! Amazon pays next to NOTHING in taxes each year.)  It wasn’t long before Amazon responded, ‘You make the tax laws @SenWarren; we just follow them.’  But Warren was quick to fire back, ‘I didn’t write the loopholes you exploit, @amazon—your armies of lawyers and lobbyists did.  But you bet I’ll fight to make you pay your fair share.  And fight your union-busting.  And fight to break up Big Tech…’

“In the same post, Warren stated that she’s about to introduce a new bill that will make sure that the most profitable companies pay their fair share.  Billionaire Tech Bro CEOs see Sen. Warren as a threat to their strategy to rake in BILLIONS more each year—that’s why they’re publicly attacking her now.” (When Democrats Turn Out, April 2, 2021)

As time goes on, the NFP becomes more and more open about its racism.  The Washington Post provides us with yet another example: “Far-right Republicans in Congress are forming an ‘America First Caucus’ that would promote nativist policies, according to materials outlining the group’s goals first obtained by Punchbowl News.  Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) are reportedly behind it, with Reps. Barry Moore (R-Ala.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) signed on as early members.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who faces federal and House Ethics Committee investigations over allegations of sexual misconduct and illicit drug use, tweeted that he was joining Greene in the caucus.  ‘We will end wars, stop illegal immigration & promote trade that is fair to American workers,’ said Gaetz, who has denied all allegations against him.  A seven-page document that lays out policy positions for the caucus includes nativist language and perpetuates the falsehood that there was widespread fraud and corruption in the 2020 election.  According to the document, the group says it seeks to advance former president Donald Trump’s legacy, which means stepping ‘on some toes’ and sacrificing ‘sacred cows for the good of the American nation.’  In a section on immigration, the document describes the United States as a place with ‘uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions’ and argues that ‘societal trust and political unity are threatened when foreign citizens are imported en-masse into a country, particularly without institutional support for assimilation and an expansive welfare state to bail them out should they fail to contribute positively to the country.’…The caucus also criticizes U.S. foreign aid, blasts coronavirus restrictions as an overreaction, and suggests the country’s education system ‘is actively hostile to the civic and cultural assimilation necessary for a strong nation.’” (Amy B. Wang, The Washington Post, April 17, 2021)

Black Americans have become the primary focus for NFP racism.  We see this manifested in various ways.  We have already discussed the anti-voter legislation bills that have cropped up all over the country.  Let Real Justice point out how the disgrace of one man for his systemic racism has now become his badge of courage: “His name is Carlos Vega and I can’t even believe that I am about to say what I really HAVE to say here.  This man is a monster.  He was FIRED from the Philadelphia DA’s office for gross misconduct after 35 years of working in a department that literally framed and wrongly convicted Black men all over the city.   And now he has decided that he is running to be the DA. Guess who his main backers are  The local FOP police union that backed Trump.  That police union needs Vega elected because he will never hold them accountable.  Just like he never held them accountable for the 35 years he was in office.  The only thing keeping this man from losing his law license or going to jail himself are laws that protect ALL prosecutors from ever being held accountable.  Right now, I know at least 20 different men who combined lost over 500 years of their lives because they were wrongly convicted by the homicide division of the DA’s office when Carlos Vega was there.  Vega worked in that department from 1982 until 2017.  Those 35 years are the literal 35 years that mass incarceration EXPLODED in this country and exploded in Philadelphia—making it the single most incarcerated large city in America.  Carlos Vega and the homicide division of the DA’s office knowingly worked with corrupt cops who concocted evidence and framed Black men for murders and crimes any way they could.” (Shaun King, Real Justice, April 26, 2021)

Vega is another perfect example of NFP corruption and racism.  RealJustice gives us more information on this despicable man, who has announced his intention to sue RealJustice: “This is what happens when a monster of a man, Carlos Vega, who worked in an incredibly corrupt division of a corrupt DA’s office for 35 years, without any accountability, without any media scrutiny, without anybody ever saying out loud how horrible he is, finally has somebody punch back for a change.  But Carlos has a glass jaw, and is hoping that the same system that protected him for 35 years will now protect him, but it doesn’t quite work like that—because you can’t win a lawsuit against someone for the ugly truths they’ve told about you.  Please allow me to explain.  Let me break this whole thing down for you.

“Carlos Vega worked in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office for 35 years from 1982–2017.  During those 35 years, which literally coincide with the explosion of mass incarceration in Philadelphia, and the country at large, his office wrongly charged and convicted more innocent Black men than possibly any other office IN THE NATION.  They worked with corrupt cops who planted evidence and forced false confessions.  They worked with corrupt cops who routinely scooped innocent Black boys and men up off the streets and randomly pinned heinous crimes on them that they had nothing to do with.  Those cops used fake informants, fake evidence, fake reports, and that office used it all—and then routinely hid evidence that they had that would have cleared and exonerated the people they framed together for crimes.

“In the 3 short years Larry Krasner has been District Attorney of Philadelphia, he has already exonerated a staggering 19 people that his office framed and convicted for crimes they didn’t commit before Larry got there.  Let me give you the scale of that work.  In 3 years Larry has exonerated more people than not just any other DA’s office in the country, but more than the Innocence Project itself during that same time.  Can you imagine what it would be like to serve a single day in prison for a crime you didn’t commit?  How about a month?  Or a year?  Or how about 25 years?  That’s not hyperbole.  That’s how long our dear brother Tony Wright spent in prison after he was arrested, charged, and convicted for a heinous rape and murder of a 78-year-old woman that he had absolutely nothing to do with.  For almost 25 years Tony begged the Philadelphia DA’s office to test the DNA they found in the case and they simply refused.  Can you imagine?  While Tony was in prison he missed 25 years of raising his son.  So many members of his family died.  And Tony had to carry the shame of people believing that he did something that was unthinkable.  They sentenced Tony to LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE.  But after DNA evidence fully exonerated Tony, and proved his innocence, the Homicide Division of the Philadelphia DA’s Office did something that was unprecedented in a DNA exoneration case—they charged him with the same crimes again.  Carlos Vega was one of the two leaders in that case.

“Let me be clear, DNA evidence all over the crime scene belonged to another man and no DNA evidence at all at the crime scene belonged to Tony Wright.  He was never there.  In DNA exoneration cases before this, the exonerated person was then allowed to move on with their life.  But Carlos Vega refused to let go.  After 11 brutal days at trial, the jury came back in less than 90 minutes with a full not-guilty verdict in the case.  Ultimately, what they did to Tony Wright cost Philadelphia a $10 million misconduct and wrongful conviction settlement—the largest in the history of the city.  When Larry Krasner then became the DA, he fired Carlos Vega.  Instead of apologizing for all of the harm he caused Tony Wright, Carlos Vega has repeatedly lied to the media to say that he was hardly even involved with the case.  Vega told the local press that saying he was very involved with the case was a ‘bald-faced lie’ and that he was ‘brought in at the eleventh hour, two weeks before trial, just to question three witnesses.’  And here’s the thing—for most of Carlos Vega’s career, he could tell a lie like that and nobody would check him on it, but things are different in 2021.  His lies were so egregious that The Innocence Project themselves decided to violate their own unspoken rule of not critiquing people running for office.  If that isn’t enough for you, The Pennsylvania Supreme Court was forced to issue a rebuke of Carlos Vega in a death penalty case where his instructions to the jury were so deeply unethical that they were forced to intervene.

“Here the Pennsylvania Supreme Court says they were ‘dismayed’ by the words of Carlos Vega telling the jury that they should give a man the death penalty not on the merits of his case, but to send a message to everyday people across Philadelphia that sent chills down their spine if they ever considered doing evil themselves.

“So yeah, I’m standing by every single word I said about you, Carlos.  You are a monster.  You ruined people’s lives.  You worked with corrupt cops.  Your office repeatedly framed and convicted Black men for murders they had NOTHING to do with.  And you know this.  And you never intervened for Tony Wright—you tried him again.  Your name is mentioned over 900 times in the transcripts on that case.  When Tony calls you evil, when he calls you the devil, it’s because you earned that moniker.  I’m going to frame this legal notice, put it on my wall, and show it off to friends and family to signify the time a monster like you tried to threaten me with a lawsuit for calling you out.  Shame on you.” (Shaun King, RealJustice, May 6, 2021) King’s letter is exactly the kind of letter people should be writing when confronted with such dangerous people.  Outrage from the left is desperately needed from Democrats since the NFP has employed it, however wrongly, against them.  If outrage based on lies from the fascist right works, why shouldn’t outrage from the liberal left, based on objective truth, also work?

One of the many jobs that the President of the United States must do is to provide relief when disaster strikes his country.  In an age when we are witnessing more and more catastrophic consequences of the climate disaster, the contrast between Biden and Trump couldn’t be more pronounced.  Daily Kos provides an example that perfectly illustrates this point: “Texas is being battered by a winter storm, causing rolling electrical blackouts while unplowed streets have people trapped at home without heat or water.  At least 2.5 million people don’t have power in the state, several times the number that lost power during Hurricane Harvey, with record winter demand in the cold weather and turbines and other equipment freezing.  In response, President Biden has approved an emergency declaration, authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency ‘to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures,’ with 75% federal funding.  Oh.  So this is what it’s like to have a president who considers himself responsible for the whole country, not just the states that voted for him.

“By contrast, Donald Trump repeatedly delayed disaster aid to parts of the country he didn’t think were sufficiently pro-Trump.  After Hurricane Maria, in 2017, Trump repeatedly whined about disaster relief funding for Puerto Rico, assailed Congress for passing too much funding—when in fact it was inadequate—and only changed his tune as the election approached.  When Puerto Rico was hit by an earthquake in early 2020, Trump again forced the island to wait for needed aid, while imposing harsh restrictions on how aid could be spent.  California, too, bore the brunt of Trump’s contempt for anyone outside of his own base.  In October, 2020, he initially rejected a request for disaster assistance as California fought six major wildfires, before reversing course days later.  That came after a 2019 threat to cut off disaster funding related to wildfires.  And after a similar threat in 2018.  And a January 2019 attempt to cut off aid to victims of the 2018 wildfires.  Puerto Rico waited years, and never got the relief it needed.  California got its aid in more timely fashion, but under constant threat and abuse, with the ever-present fear that Trump would really follow through on his threats.  Texas got its emergency declaration basically as soon as Gov. Greg Abbott requested it.  Because, as Biden repeatedly said during his campaign and in his inauguration speech, he wants to be a ‘president for all Americans.’  Even the ones who didn’t vote for him.

“Of course, it’s not just Trump.  Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn were right out with a letter echoing Abbott’s request for aid—yet another reminder that both Cruz and Cornyn voted against relief funds for Hurricane Sandy in 2013.  Texans are being asked to conserve energy by not running major appliances where possible—put off that load of laundry for a few days, for instance—and by turning their heat all the way down to 68, a number that is an indictment of the culture, because seriously, 68 is ridiculously warm, put on a sweater and stop wasting energy.  That said, it’s important to understand that while this is weather that for many parts of the country would not be a particularly big deal, it’s truly a serious problem in an area that does not have the infrastructure to handle significant amounts of snow or very low temperatures.  This is absolutely an emergency.  It’s a good thing the United States now has a president who will respond appropriately, without threats and tantrums.  It’s unfortunate Texas still has senators who won’t return the favor next time the state asking for assistance is one they find it convenient to level culture war attacks on.” (Laura Clawson, Daily Kos, February 15, 2021)

Given this, is there any doubt that Donald Trump is motivated by revenge against perceived opponents and support only for those who he considers “his” people?  Can anyone honestly say that he cares a whit about serving all his country?


WHAT JOE BIDEN MUST DO IN ORDER TO BE SUCCESSFUL

I have written about the pressing need for this country to have four major political parties in an earlier article.  The NFP would be the most extreme of the right-wing, while moderate Republicans (those few that remain) would constitute the other conservative party.  The Progressive Party would be just that, while the Corporate Democratic Party would encompass the likes of Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton and numerous others.  To see the difference between the two, consider what Justice Democrats reported: “In 2019, when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced the Green New Deal in Congress, Nancy Pelosi condescendingly referred to the historic piece of legislation as ‘the green dream or whatever they call it.’ (Justice Democrats, April 23, 2021)

Even in the last hours of the Trump dictatorship, NFP members were doing their best to sabotage the government even further.  Daily Kos described one last minute power grab: “With mere hours left in the Trump administration, acting defense secretary Christopher Miller has pushed to install Michael Ellis—a hard-right former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes and Trump loyalist—as general counsel for the National Security Agency.  Because this is a civil service position, Joe Biden cannot dismiss Ellis the way he could most political appointees.  Which is what makes this last-minute move so dangerous.  As the Biden Administration turns the page on Trump’s legacy, a Trump loyalist as general counsel for the NSA could sabotage such efforts—and Michael Ellis is no minor figure.  Ellis was responsible for moving the phone records of Donald Trump’s attempted extortion of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to a codeword-classified server, an attempt to hide evidence from government whistleblowers and from Congress.  He was previously behind Rep. Devin Nunes’ bizarre 2017 invitation to the White House, where Ellis showed Nunes intelligence reports selectively leaked to build the lie that the Trump campaign was being improperly surveilled by intelligence officials.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has urged Miller to not go forward with the appointment, and has also requested an investigation to see if civil service hiring rules were violated—given that Ellis would likely be placed in this position above more-qualified applicants.  ‘The efforts to install him or ‘burrow’ him into a highly sensitive intelligence position 72 hours prior to the beginning of a new administration,’ wrote Pelosi, ‘manifest a disturbing disregard for our national security.  Therefore, this placement should not move forward.’ (Paul Hogarth, Daily Kos, January 20, 2020)

The good news is that Ellis was put on administrative leave the same day Biden took the oath of office.  After three months of nothing to do, he resigned his post in April.

In addition to this, Trump also pardoned two other right-wing criminals: “In the final hours of his presidency, President Trump has once again turned an instrument of mercy into a tool of corruption.  His pardons of Steve Bannon and Elliott Broidy are a shockingly corrupt act in a shockingly corrupt presidency—even Nixon didn’t pardon his cronies on the way out.  Amazingly, in his final 24 hours in office, Donald Trump found one more way to fail to live up to the ethical standard of Richard Nixon.  President Trump’s abuses of the justice system for his own purposes and his own gain—aided by former Attorney General Bill Barr—have been appalling and unending.  His use of the pardon process to reward his cronies and the well-connected have been one more way of undermining our justice system.  Late last night, President Trump also rescinded his ethics order, allowing members of his administration to immediately become lobbyists or represent foreign countries by nullifying their ethics pledges.  You don’t do things you’re proud of in the middle of your last night in office—but President Trump, who pledged to ‘drain the swamp’ has now taken a giant step towards filling it, in one last cravenly corrupt act.” (Noah Bookbinder, CREW, January 20, 2021)

Devin Nunes is, as I have thoroughly pointed out in earlier articles, as hardcore a Trump apologist and criminal that one could imagine.  He was the man who covered up Trump’s Russiagate crimes.  Trump then awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom!  Like everyone else in the NFP, anytime the media reports on his sleazy activities, he calls it “fake news.”  He voted against stimulus relief aid for Californians even though his own winery raked in a million dollars in COVID relief only months earlier.  Laughingly ridiculous but nonetheless true is the fact that he even sued an imaginary cow because he said it “hurt his feelings” on Twitter.

It should surprise no one that as soon as Biden took the oath of office, the NFP, acting as if January 6 had never happened, started its campaign and media blitz attacking the new president.

The NFP unintentionally revealed a lot about themselves as they responded to Biden’s inaugural address.  The comments are generally so ludicrous that any thinking American would laugh them off in earlier times, but this is 2021, when stupid comments are taken seriously by an increasingly credulous population.  Daily Kos quotes some of these comments and then responds to them (not that they deserve any reaction other than disbelief and laughter): “Republicans are telling on themselves.  After President Joe Biden said, in his inaugural address, ‘a rise of political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat.  To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America requires so much more than words.  It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: unity,’ Republicans are outraged.  Because, see, he was obviously talking about them.  Pro tip: If someone says: ‘white supremacy and domestic terrorism are bad’ and you’re like ‘you’re being mean and unfair to me,’ you’re saying you identify yourself with white supremacists and domestic terrorists.

“With that in mind, Sen. Rand Paul: ‘If you read his speech and listen to it carefully, much of it is thinly veiled innuendo, calling us white supremacists, calling us racists, calling us every name in the book.’  Dude, he didn’t call you a white supremacist.  He said white supremacists exist in this nation.  You chose to identify yourself with that.  Fox News personality Tucker Carlson: ‘What is it, exactly?  Now that we’re waging war on white supremacists.  Can somebody tell us in very clear language what a white supremacist is?’  He wants a definition?  We could start with the dictionary: ‘a person who believes that the white race is inherently superior to other races and that white people should have control over people of other races.’  But it’s safe to conclude that Biden was not talking about ‘waging war’ on people who merely believe these things.  His issue is going to be people who act on it, by, say, attacking the U.S. Capitol.  Or burning Black Lives Matter banners at historic Black churches.  There are concrete actions here—crimes, no less—and Biden is not somehow leaping over them to wage some kind of nebulous fight against stuff people think in the privacy of their homes without carrying it out in their public actions.  Carlson’s concern there was that Biden ‘has now declared war.  So we should know specifically and precisely who exactly he has declared war on.  We have a right to know that innocent people could be hurt in this war. They usually are.’  Oh noes!  Innocent people could be hurt by—the fight against white supremacy?  How about we start talking about that when those numbers approach the number of people hurt by white supremacy itself in, let’s say, the last month.  That should buy us at least a decade before we have to worry about people who insist that they are not white supremacists, but merely white supremacy-adjacent…

“Here’s everything else Biden had to say about racism in his speech, beyond that one mention of white supremacy: ‘A cry for racial justice some 400 years in the making moves us.  The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer.’  ‘We can deliver racial justice.’  ‘Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we are all created equal and the harsh, ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, and demonization have long torn us apart.’  ‘The sting of systemic racism.’

“Not exactly ‘all of my Republican opponents are white supremacists and must be strung up,’ is it?  But when Republicans see themselves under attack by this language, they’re telling us a lot.  They’re telling us that they want the dream of justice for all deferred still longer; that they don’t want racial justice delivered; that they want racism, nativism, fear, and demonization to continue to tear us apart.  And, yes, that they look at the white supremacists who have attacked Black churches, attacked the Capitol, attacked U.S. democracy, and they see themselves.” (Laura Clawson, Daily Kos, January 21, 2021)

The above article also contained two very savvy comments.  One, by a writer called “Stupidsays” said: “What they want is to act as racists and be called freedom protectors.  The same as they want to be called constitution defenders when they are acting to prevent the counting of electoral votes as the constitution demands.”  Another writer, called LiberalsLoveAmerica noted: “These modern day racists are just like their ancestors who could lynch an escaped slave and feel proud of themselves at church on Sunday.”

Hunter from Daily Kos elaborated on the NFP response to the inaugural address: “They would like us to know that Joe Biden’s speech was divisive, because it called out white supremacists and racists and liars and whoa, talk about rude.  They would like us to know that Joe Biden firing the incompetent toadies who have failed catastrophically in responding to the deadly pandemic, the nation’s economic crisis, or anything else is divisive, because if this nation is ever going to heal from its current traumas the new administration should clearly keep all of Trump’s malevolent and sometimes-criminal conservative D-listers in their current posts rather than divisively have the new president choose new appointees.  And it’s all very insincere and nonsensical and is most aggressively being shouted by traitors and allies of traitors, so they can all go pound sand, the end…Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who helped shepherd an act of democracy-nullifying sedition through the House and who remained supportive of the attempted coup even after like-minded allies murdered a law enforcement officer in an attempt to assassinate the vice president, the House speaker, and other Trump opponents, made the threat more broadly.  McCarthy went on Fox News to declare that Biden’s new executive orders, from a new mask mandate on federal property to rejoining the Paris climate agreement, were ‘dividing.’  Biden ‘won’t be able to unite this nation’ if he keeps doing things that are objectionable to McCarthy’s band of fellow seditionists, he mewled.  

The attempted fascist coup led by Fox News and Republican lawmakers remains ongoing.  It has been defeated only in that one assassination attempt was thwarted, primarily by luck, even though the entire federal response to the violence proved to be incompetent, if not itself seditious.  The focus now, by those who insisted for two months that the Republican should be reappointed as the nation’s leader based on nonsensical lies and hoaxes, is on demanding immunity for those who participated in the attempt to sabotage our democracy.  Some have abandoned, for now, their election hoaxes—but none are admitting they were hoaxes.  They are only clamming up after their lies resulted in bloodshed inside the U.S. Capitol itself, in individual attempts to save their own power, careers, and television appearances.  There is zero evidence, not a stitch, that they will not return to those same hoaxes the moment they believe consequences have passed them by.  The fascist premise remains: Non-Republican rule is illegitimate and invalid, and if a non-Republican wins election the proper response is to strip them of power.  It is being played out yet again in state legislatures as we speak. The same white nationalist demands are being made by McCarthy and others.

“The purpose of these ‘unity’ demands are to evade consequences, every single one, so that the most prolific enablers of anti-democratic attacks can continue to mount those same attacks without repercussion.  But nobody should want ‘unity’ with seditionists.  Or with liars.  Or with racists.  Or with white nationalists.  All of those people should face widespread public scorn, everywhere they go, forever.  The American fascist version of ‘unity’ demands purges of immigrants, the isolation of LGBT Americans, the widespread curbing of American civil rights, and the nullification of political opposition through fraud or by force.  It is a ‘unity’ that demands the nation abide by all their own bigotries, and harm all those Americans who they believe need harming. (Hunter, Daily Kos, January 21, 2021)

What the NFP means by the word ‘unity’ is crystal clear.  They want all white America to be just like them: Fundamentalist Christians and NFPers who believe everything they are told and will not hesitate to resort to fraud, violence and even homicide if it serves their leader’s purpose.

Hitler’s SS is back, and with a vengeance.

Biden, like Obama, has a disturbing propensity for pandering to NFP demands.  He needs to realize that there can be no unity with a party whose sole objective is to destroy the country and set up a one party dictatorship.  The same applies to all the other dormant Democrats in Congress.

When NFPers refer to “unity” one only needs to look at their agenda to see the utter hypocrisy of their stance: It means overlook the traitor’s attack on the nation’s Capitol that they instigated and led, demand that Democrats look the other way every time they ignore the Constitution and the rule of law, refuse to even consider any item the Democrats try to pass, continue their baseless attacks on Black Lives Matter and antifa, allow the corona virus to go unchecked while attacking those who want to control it, and continue their anti Robin Hood economic agenda of robbing the poor to pay the rich.  Where is the unity in any of this?

What Biden needs to support is an effort to limit the power of the president to start a nuclear war.  For four years, the United States was ruled by an unstable maniacal dipsomaniac who had it in his power to destroy life on earth.  We must never put ourselves in that position again.   Progress America tells us: “No one person or nation, regardless of character or party affiliation, should have the power to end life on Earth.  We urge you to enact a No First Use policy for our nuclear arsenal.  Donald Trump was a bad president, and it was terrifying to think that he spent the past 4 years with the power to launch a nuclear strike at a moment’s notice.  Now, with Trump out of the White House, it’s time to think about ways to fix the unthinkable consequences of leaving the Presidency in the hands of a madman.  Let’s end the policy that gives the American President unilateral authority to start a nuclear war.  Recently, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Adam Smith introduced a bill that would make it the policy of the United States not to use nuclear weapons first.  Your Representatives should support it!

Why No First Use?  Here are five reasons that we stand for No First Use:

  • There are no circumstances in which the United States could use nuclear weapons first without suffering horrific consequences and inflicting the loss of millions of innocent lives.  Retaining that suicidal option only encourages other countries to do the same.
  • No individual or Congressional body—by intention or miscalculation—should ever be able to threaten the annihilation of states and cities.
  • We need to disincentivize the demand for a nuclear arsenal that costs us trillions of dollars and could be going to the actual needs of our communities: healthcare, education, housing, solutions to the climate crisis, and much more.
  • Nuclear detonation anywhere in the world, by any actor, would drastically elevate the role of the military globally and fundamentally weaken the ability of civil society to advocate for their communities and causes.
  • A No First Use policy would in no way reduce our ability to deter nuclear-armed adversaries who fear a nuclear counterattack.

Now is the time for society to act together—civil society groups, Members of Congress, faith leaders, and everyday people.” (Mike Phelan, Progress America, April 28, 2021)

If this issue is not addressed no one—repeat, no one—is safe should a future Donald Trump (or, worse yet, the same one) rise to power.

On his first day in office, Biden has re-committed the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement.  We should never have left it; time is running out for decisive action if we are to make our planet livable for future generations.  We need to have safe air, water, and living conditions.  Having said that, I have no hope whatever that Biden or any other politician worldwide will take steps to address the number one worldwide problem, a problem that is the root cause of all our other problems, namely over-population.  The planet simply cannot sustain seven billion people, a number that is rising every single day.  Religion of course is a major player in this, as “go forth and multiply” is and always has been a call for each religion to increase its numbers.  Atheist and other forethought organizations are doing their part to expose the fallacies and dangers of religious systems, but the message is only gradually creeping out, and religions, faced with their own extinction, will continue to lie and misrepresent their opponents at every opportunity, all the while portraying themselves as the guardians of morality.  It has always been this way, and since religions are all based on lies, it will continue to be this way until people wake up and realize that the religious emperor indeed has no clothes.  As with over-population, I don’t see any major political leader anywhere in the world standing up and saying the truth about religion.

As reported in my earlier articles, Trump and the NFP don’t even recognize the upcoming climate disaster.  The reason is simple: Their corporate sponsors want them to look the other way as they continue to rape the planet with dirty fossil fuels.  Biden, at least initially, has taken positive steps to address the situation: “In the primaries, Joe Biden wasn’t the first choice of most climate hawks.  For, example, the youth-led Sunrise Movement, which supports radical climate proposals, graded the top three candidates, putting Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in first and second place, Biden coming in third with a score less than half that of the two senators.  But after Sanders ended his campaign in April and endorsed Biden, the two set up a unity task force that came up with far more ambitious climate-related plans.  Consequently, although Sunrise never formally endorsed Biden, it encouraged its 10,000 members and other supporters to work on getting him elected.  Said co-founder and executive director Varshini Prakash in July,  ‘We’ve seen a pretty huge transformation in Biden’s climate plan.  What I’ve seen in the last six to eight weeks is a pretty big transition in upping his ambition and centering environmental justice.’  Still not as far as Sunrise and other climate hawks would prefer, but a good first step, she said, one that responded in a good way to past criticisms.

One change was Biden’s commitment to a public investment of $2 trillion over four years—up from his primary campaign’s pledge of $1.7 trillion over 10 years—to accelerate the transformation to a clean energy economy.  This would generate millions of union jobs to build renewable energy infrastructure, get zero-emission cars and mass transit systems on the road, boost sustainable home construction, improve conservation, and perform a multitude of other tasks that decarbonizing the economy by 2050—as the president has pledged—will require.

“Now, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has released the pre-publication draft of a 209-page study—Accelerating Decarbonization of the U.S. Energy System—which concludes that a net-zero economy is not only achievable by 2050, but would ‘also build a more competitive economy, increase high-quality jobs, and help address social injustice in the energy system.’  The authors sped up the publication of their acceleration study specifically with the idea of influencing the direction of the new administration’s climate action, but without consulting the Biden-Harris team.  Stephen Pacala, the Frederick D. Petrie Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University and chair of the committee that wrote the report, said in press statement, ‘Because of dramatic decreases in the costs of renewable electricity and batteries, the U.S. can now—during the 2020s—make strides toward achieving a net-zero emitting energy system at a cost lower than investing in reduced air pollution alone.  Because the energy system impacts so many aspects of society, a transition to net-zero will have profound implications well beyond climate and energy—and it is paramount that we maintain a strong social contract to ensure this transition benefits all communities.’  That perspective is one climate hawks have expressed for at least two decades even as the technology to make it happen has improved and gotten cheaper, some of it gradually, some of it by leaps and bounds.” (Meteor Blades, Daily Kos, February 3, 2021)

As outlined above, there is no logical reason for the United States not to be moving forward toward a clean, renewable energy plan.  The only opposition comes from those beholden to fossil fuels, those politicians who have no interest in sustaining life on the planet.  They are playing politics with our lives, and they must not be allowed to continue on their path to oblivion.

In addition to his actions on the climate disaster, Biden should have hit the ground running in trying to bring Trump and his minions to justice.  If there are no consequences for the January 6 insurrection, or of Trump’s countless violations of the Constitution, rule of law, and plain old common sense, then the Constitution, the rule of law, and justice means absolutely nothing in the United States.  Future NFP members will feel emboldened to concoct more lies, violate the Constitution even more flagrantly, and generally do anything they want without fear of reprisal.  To date, Biden has been conspicuously and ominously silent concerning his predecessor and his crimes.

Fortunately, it didn’t take Biden long to fulfill his pledge to revoke the Keystone XL pipeline permit.  As Bold Alliance reports: “Yesterday, President Joe Biden fulfilled the ‘NoKXL campaign pledge’ he made to all of us last year, and on Day One as President, he issued an Executive Order to revoke the Keystone XL pipeline permit.  A decade of fighting in the cornfields, dirt roads and halls of Congress led us to this moment, where an unlikely alliance of faces and voices were heard by President Biden.  We are filled with hope that the rejection of the KXL pipeline is the first of many projects that will be cancelled, and be replaced with a clean energy plan that lifts us all up and builds America back better.” (Jane Kleeb, Bold Alliance, January 21, 2021) It is to be hoped that the president will be consistent on this issue and that our country will be able to make a safe and sane transition to clean energy.

Unfortunately, Biden has not done anything to stop construction on the Line 3 pipeline, as Other98 notes: “President Joe Biden has already signed an executive order to halt the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.  This is a great step.  But KXL wasn’t the only pipeline that threatens our planet.  Line 3 is a massive pipeline that is already underway in Northern Minnesota.  Like other pipelines, Line 3 violates Indigenous rights and land.  Line 3 is also a major polluter—it would carry the pollution equivalent to 50 coal power plants…Line 3 would require bulldozing through sacred watersheds, over 800 wetlands, and over 200 bodies of water in Ojibwe treaty territory.  Unsurprisingly, as Indigenous water protectors are fighting to protect their land, the police are militarizing.  That’s why Biden must step in and halt construction.” (John Sellers, Other98, January 23, 2021) As I write this at the end of June, 2021, Biden still has not acted on this.  He must be consistent in his actions; if he seriously wants our country to move away from fossil fuels into clean energy he must oppose all such pipelines.

ActionNetwork.org expands on Enbridge’s history: “About 70 years ago, Enbridge built two pipelines known as Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac.  The aging pipelines could rupture and cause a catastrophic spill, threatening multiple Great Lakes and the people who live near them  Enbridge already caused the nation’s largest-ever land-based oil spill in Michigan in 2010, when one of its other pipelines spilled 1.1 million gallons of tar sands bitumen into the Kalamazoo River.  Their tarnished safety record, plus the deterioration of key support structures for the Line 5 pipelines, led our Governor Gretchen Whitmer to order the removal of the dangerous Line 5 pipelines by May 2021.  But Enbridge has announced that they will defy the order, suing our state to block action.

“This is just a glimpse of what’s ahead for Minnesota, whose Governor actually supports the Line 3 pipeline expansion.  Similar to Line 5, the Line 3 pipeline was built about 60 years ago and has also deteriorated, with current structural concerns preventing it from operating at full capacity.  It should be shut down for safety reasons, not expanded to double its capacity or rerouted through precious waterways.  Continuing—and expanding—Enbridge’s pipelines threatens the Great Lakes and our global climate.  We cannot allow Enbridge to violate Indigenous rights, pollute sacred waters, and lock in fossil fuel dependence and climate devastation for decades to come.” (Rashida Tlaib, ActionNetwork.org, February 14, 2021)

There are other villains in the tar sands pipelines, as discussed by Stand.earth: “Insurance giant Liberty Mutual is a huge backer of the destructive tar sands sector.  It’s a major insurer of the Trans Mountain pipeline and has billions of dollars invested in other fossil fuel projects that spell disaster for Indigenous rights and the climate…Pressure has been mounting on Liberty Mutual to start respecting Indigenous rights and join the growing number of insurance companies and financial institutions divesting from fossil fuel expansion projects.  But so far Liberty’s executives have refused to meet with Indigenous and frontline leaders whose lands, livelihoods, and cultures are threatened by its business practices.” (Sven Biggs, Stand.earth, March 29, 2021)

Public Citizen adds: “‘ We need to save the Arctic not because of the polar bears, and not because it is the most beautiful place in the world, but because our very survival depends upon it.’—Lewis Pugh, UN Patron of the Oceans.

All oil and gas projects need one thing: insurance coverage.  Without insurance, new tar sands pipelines, Arctic drilling rigs, and oil refineries cannot be built, and existing projects cannot continue to operate.  Insurance giant Liberty Mutual is a huge backer of tar sands extraction and has not ruled out support for Arctic drilling, both of which spell disaster for our climate and Indigenous rights.  Tar sands oil is one of the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fuels on the planet.  Extracting it unleashes massive amounts of carbon pollution, while contaminating the food and water for Indigenous communities in Canada.  Its expansion is impossible without the cooperation of megacorps like Liberty.  Liberty recently said it would join an international network on responsible investing because of its commitment to build ‘prosperous and inclusive societies for future generations.’  Liberty can’t possibly live up to these values while continuing to underwrite fossil fuel projects on Indigenous lands without consent.” (Bret Thompson, Public Citizen, March 30, 2021)

Environment America discusses yet another pipeline ecological disaster: “In Huntersville, North Carolina, the Colonial pipeline broke open and leaked 1.2 million gallons of gasoline into the surrounding area, marking the biggest gasoline spill in 24 years.  The Colonial pipeline isn’t unique—much of the country’s oil infrastructure is aging, corroded, and on the verge of spilling.  But instead of shutting down these decrepit pipelines and speeding up our move to green energy, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) passed rules in the last four years that made building new pipelines easier…The Biden administration has pressed pause on the Keystone XL pipeline, but it must go further in shutting down all plans for any new pipeline and work toward ending America’s reliance on oil.” (Wendy Wendlandt, Environment America, March 27, 2021)

Also on his first day was another hopeful sign regarding the Arctic Refuge.  Arctic Refuge Defense Campaign reports: “Hours after taking the Oath of Office, President Biden signed an executive order halting all activity related to the implementation of the Arctic Refuge’s Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program, including seismic exploration.  Having this occur as a Day One action shows just how important the protection of the refuge is to our new President.  As Bernadette Demientieff, Executive Director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee, shared, ‘We have fought so hard to protect these lands and the Porcupine caribou herd, trusting the guidance of our ancestors and elders, and the allyship of people around the world.’” (Desiree Sorenson-Groves, ARDC, January 22, 2021)

Biden also needs to take action that holds the forestry industry accountable for its impact on climate change and biodiversity.  As The Juggernaut Project explains: “The United States is home to some of the world’s most diverse forests—and protecting these forests is as vital to solving the dual climate and environmental justice crises as transitioning to clean, renewable energy.  However, the US is among the world’s largest producers and consumers of wood products.  Logging rates are among the highest on Earth.  The scales have tipped towards looking to our forests primarily as a wood-supply store, largely ignoring their life-supporting and climate stabilizing functions.  The reality is that massive extraction and degradation of forests occurs in the U.S. at one of the fastest rates in the world.  Threats to US forests are accelerating with a recent increase in the use of wood for electricity generation, in spite of scientific warnings that substituting coal or gas with wood will accelerate climate disruption.  Standing, living natural forests are our only hope for removing and storing enough carbon from the atmosphere at the scale necessary to help stabilize the climate and keep temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees.  Forests also provide clean drinking water, wildlife habitat, soil productivity, fresh air, and natural flood control, helping to protect our communities from the worst climate change impacts.

“For decades, forest policy in the U.S. has served to support the forest products industry, ensuring economic returns for large corporations and private landowners at the expense of healthy forests, workers, and communities.  The forest products industry is driving massive carbon emissions, degrading forests, polluting the air and water, and compromising vital ecosystem services.  The impacts, like so many other dirty and destructive industries, disproportionately harm low-income and communities of color.  As President Biden works to uphold his promises to address climate change and environmental justice, we must urge him to establish strong, ecologically-sound, and environmentally-just protections for our forests, as they are central to fulfilling these pledges.” (The Juggernaut Project, March 22, 2021)

If Biden truly wants to help his country, he needs to stop trying to accommodate the NFP; this group must be ignored on every issue; fascism must be recognized and labeled as such.  The NFP exists for numerous reasons, all of them bad and all of them against the interests of our country and even life itself.  Biden must recognize this and stop trying to “work” in good faith with people who have shown absolutely no good faith in dealing with Democrats.

One of the most critical issues concerns the judiciary; Biden must appoint justices who are pro-democracy rather than conservative ideologues.  He must take action to expand the Supreme Court, recognizing that there is nothing in the Constitution keeping a President from keeping the number at nine.  Donald Trump and the NFP have caused untold damage to our judiciary, appointing the most extreme and, in many cases, supremely unqualified judges that have done all they can to destroy our voting rights, reproductive freedom, and healthcare while siding with corporate polluters at the expense of everyone else.  The Democrats now have a majority in the Senate and House and must appoint more progressive judges to the Supreme Court to counter the right-wingers currently serving.

The NFP was completely disingenuous from the start of the Obama administration but, as Daily Kos reports, they quickly found out that Joe Biden had been doing his homework: “The first year of President Barack Obama’s presidency, however well-intentioned, was a disaster.  What should’ve been a quick move to pass the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became a painfully drawn out 14-month ordeal, with Republicans pretending to negotiate with the president while at the same time publicly and gleefully mocking those efforts, obstructing to the very end.  It almost worked on a policy level: Not only did those negotiations significantly water down the ACA to a shell of what it could’ve been, but the only reason the law passed was because one Republican (Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter) defected to the Democrats at the last minute to provide the necessary 60th vote.

“On the political level, however, it was a resounding success.  The long process prevented Obama from tackling other key liberal priorities like pro-union card check and immigration reform, angering and demoralizing key segments of our base.  The end result omitted key liberal priorities like a public insurance option to compete against private insurance companies.  In the end, a demoralized and pissed-off base stayed home, and Republicans swept into congressional majorities in a massive 2010 red wave.

“Apparently, then-Vice President Joe Biden was taking notes.  During the Democratic primary, Biden talked a big ‘bipartisan’ game, echoing many of the same bromides we heard from Obama about ‘reaching out across the aisle’ and other such nonsense.  It really did seem as though he was setting up ‘Obama, the sequel.’  Yet that’s not what we’ve seen, not even for a second.  When 10 supposedly ‘moderate’ Republicans paid him a White House visit, presenting him with a $600 billion counteroffer to his own $1.9 trillion proposal, they were essentially laughed out of the room.  ‘I think it’s—they put their ideas forward.  That’s how the President sees it,’ White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said when asked about the GOP’s ridiculous counter-offer.  ‘He felt it was, you know, an effort to engage, and engage on a bipartisan basis, and that’s why he invited them to the White House today.  But his view is that the size of the package needs to be commensurate with the crisis—crises we’re facing—the dual crises we’re facing, hence why he proposed a package that’s $1.9 trillion.’

“Not only did Biden dismiss the Republicans, he didn’t even bother to engage in negotiations.  No, ‘Would $1.3 trillion work?  No?  $1 trillion?  $800 billion?’  Because we know that not only would that have dragged out this process for way too long, delaying critical work on election reform, immigration reform, and other Democratic priorities, but in the end, you know those a&%holes would’ve voted against the legislation anyway.  It’s what Republicans have always done, and there was zero reason for Democrats to believe that this time, with a party beholden to Donald Trump of all people, that things would’ve ended up differently.  It is impossible to overstate just how momentous this accomplishment is.  Biden proposed a $1.9 trillion rescue plan, and Congress passed a $1.9 trillion rescue plan. Democrats delivered not just a massive boost to a recovering economy, but also passed the most comprehensive anti-poverty initiative in generations.” (Kos, Daily Kos, March 12, 2021)

The Guantanamo Bay Detention camp is still functioning, as it has been since 2002, following the attacks on September 11, 2001.  The camp has come under well-deserved scrutiny almost since its opening.  A 2013 report filed by the Medicine as a Profession Institute noted that the health professionals “designed and participated in cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment and torture of detainees.”  The International Committee of the Red Cross examined the camp in 2004 and concluded that: “the construction of such a system, whose stated purpose is the production of intelligence, cannot be considered other than an intentional system of cruel, unusual and degrading treatment and a form of torture.” Despite this, the Bush administration (needless to say a Republican administration) dismissed the findings, and the tortures continued.  President Obama was able to reduce about nine-tenths of the numbers of inmates, but Trump, true to form, signed an executive order to keep the camp open indefinitely.  If Joe Biden is truly concerned about human rights, he must take steps to close this camp once and for all.

Our foreign policy must change.  The situation in Iran is critical. Win Without War provides us with five reasons showing why diplomacy is so important: “1) Without diplomacy, we’ll see tensions escalate—and that could mean war.  It’s time to stop making the same mistakes that cost lives, break up families, and destroy cities and the priceless cultural artifacts and spiritual sites in them. 2) It’s crucial to challenge anti-Iranian racism in the United States.  Foreign policy doesn’t happen in a vacuum.  It builds out of and is reinforced by domestic policy—and both have real consequences for people that live outside of and within the United States.  From the Muslim Ban to hate crimes and violence, we see the impact of that unchallenged racism over and over again. 3) People in Iran—not politicians in Washington—should choose the government of Iran.  But people have gotten wise to ‘regime change;’ they know it’s toxic.  So instead, hawks are calling for the Iran deal to be ‘comprehensive’ which is code for things they know will never happen and an excuse for a more confrontational, hostile posture.  In the end, a regime change policy will always end in catastrophe. 4) Sanctions are strengthening authoritarians and hurting people in Iran.  Sanctions in Iran have been devastating and disproportionately hurt vulnerable groups.  They’ve caused immense suffering, which is only exacerbated under the Iranian government’s incompetence and corruption.  Not to mention—they’ve also led to more authoritarianism in the country.  Yet, they remain the policy of choice for hawks in Washington. 5) The Iran deal is the beginning, not the end.  We cannot solve all of our differences with Iran with the nuclear deal alone.  That said, it is a critical start for the United States to resolve conflict with diplomacy, instead of violence.  Iran must be held accountable for its human rights abuses and for its role in violence across the region—and the best way to do that is multilateral and through diplomacy.” (Sara Haghdoosti, Win Without War, March 20, 2021)

Another thing Biden and the Democrats must do, and in no uncertain terms, is condemn Fox News and other right-wing propaganda networks, for the constant stream of lies they broadcast as truth.  Biden needs to go on the offensive and do everything in his power to have these spin machines removed from the airwaves.  Fox, OANN, Newsmax have no right to call themselves news sources in the first place; they are propaganda networks for the NFP.  Nothing less, nothing more.  Exposing these networks for what they are will no doubt infuriate NFP members, but that’s just too bad; facts are facts.  The reason so many people believe the election was stolen is because of these groups.  The reason so many of the American people believe Trump is the victim of a “deep state” is due to these groups and their lies.  It is time for Biden and the Democrats to go on the offensive and expose all the lies, the crimes and everything else they have been unashamedly propagating for years.

In March, 2021, Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch finally announced what everyone already new, namely that the network’s function would be the “loyal opposition” to Biden’s administration.  This should make every American realize that this announcement removes Fox from consideration as a legitimate news organization: It’s sole function is to promote the NFP.  Biden must emphasize the fact that, in these dangerous times, we need objective news reporting, not false propaganda and lies about the health dangers posed by COVID-19 and its variants.

Along with this, Biden must address the tech companies that have allowed disinformation, racism and hate to appear on their sites.  Because of this, we have candidates that can tell the most outrageous lies, lies which soon spread all over the internet.  When questioned, executives defend their refusal to remove this noxious content.  The end result is that the most extreme groups can say anything they want and, in so doing, raise enormous sums of cash enabling them to become more and more powerful.

To his everlasting credit, Joe Biden has done one thing that none of his predecessors have dared to do since 1915: Acknowledge that the massacres in Armenia by the Turks in 1915 (and earlier) were crimes against humanity: He rightly referred to it as a “genocide” which of course it is.  Until this announcement, no American president, fearful of losing Turkish business, dared to call it what it is.  When Hitler ordered the massacre of Jews during the Second World War, he remarked: “Who remembers the Armenians?”  Biden’s actions will probably cause major problems with Turkey, but it does show his commitment to global human rights.  Again, facts are facts, whether people like them or not.

Biden must also do everything in his power to overturn Citizens United, that disastrous 2010 Supreme Court ruling that allowed the wealthiest individuals and corporations to spend unlimited amounts of untraceable dark money during election years.  The result has been a continually growing distrust of representative democracy in more and more Americans.   The result of this ruling is that elections no longer serve the wishes and needs of the community, but rather the interests of the richest Americans. 

The rationalization used to justify Citizens United is the First Amendment’s right to free speech.  The claim is that money is a type of political speech and that consequently, any limit on money is a limit on free speech.  The reasoning is of course specious, for three primary reasons: 1) Money is not the same thing as speech.  By insisting that it is, the ruling allows people with more money to drown out the voices of those with less money.  This is a direct violation of the Court’s own stated principle to allow all citizens to have an equal voice in government.  In the period between 2000 and 2018, the money spend on Congressional elections more than tripled; less than one percent of the electorate contributed the majority of the money to these elections.  The conclusion is obvious: money buys elections, most people recognize this, and Biden must find a way to put a stop to it. 2) The claim that corporations are people is likewise specious; while corporations are certainly composed of groups of people, the way the corporate legal structure is constructed makes the corporation liable for its actions while shielding the people who run it.  Thus, no matter how the corporation is run, the individuals running it can accumulate obscene amounts of money.  Thus, in many cases, corporation interests run contrary to the interests of John Q. Public.  Finally, 3) when the court made its Citizens United decision, it claimed that since political spending is different than quid pro quo corruption, it would not increase the perception of corruption the public would have in America.  This has been proven time and again to be false; America’s confidence in the political system is, eleven years later at this writing, at an all-time low: Only about 17% of citizens still think that the federal government is serving their interests.  On this one issue, most people agree that big donors are corrupting the political system.  NFP members love the ruling because they know their issues are not popular with the general public and they thus rely on dark money and untraceable donors to sustain the party.  Joe Biden must lead the charge in destroying this obviously self-defeating piece of legislation.  He has repeatedly said this would be one of his first priorities as president, but to date (June, 2021) he has taken no positive action on this critical issue.

Racism must be exposed and stamped out as much as possible.  David Newert, author of the 1999 book In God’s Country: The Patriot Movement and the Pacific Northwest wrote an excellent article explaining how this right-wing fringe group has had a re-birth since the election of Barack Obama, a clear indication of its racist foundations: “While the numbers of militia groups had declined to a mere 131 groups in 2007, they revived sharply over the next two years, with 512. By 2012, they had reached a record high 1,360 militia groups.  The Anti-Defamation League defines the Patriot movement thus: A collective term used to describe a set of related extremist movements and groups in the United States whose ideologies center on anti-government conspiracy theories.  The most important segments of the ‘Patriot’ movement include the militia movement, the sovereign citizen movement and the tax protest movement.  Though each submovement has its own beliefs and concerns, they share a conviction that part or all of the government has been infiltrated and subverted by a malignant conspiracy and is no longer legitimate.  Though there is some overlap between the ‘Patriot’ movement and the white supremacist movement, that overlap has shrunk over time; there are, in fact, people of color within the ‘Patriot’ movement, particularly within the sovereign citizen movement.” (David Neiwert, Daily Kos, January 21, 2021)

Ron DeSantis is one of the worst members of the NFP.  He has been on the wrong side of so many issues it is difficult to keep up with him.  When Democrats Turn Out describes his effort to violently deal with any protester he doesn’t like: “Florida governor Ron DeSantis, the GOP favorite best known for his abhorrent COVID policies, is pushing anti-protest legislation so heinous that it encourages violence against protestors themselves and provides violent counter-protestors with a legal shield.  DeSantis’s proposed legislation would do the following: 1) Allow police broad leeway in arresting protestors if the police claim that the protest has turned violent. 2) Allow police to charge those arrested at protests with a third-degree felony, taking away their right to vote. 3) Shield counter-protestors who kill or injure protestors from civil liability. 4) Let police hold those arrested in jail without the possibility of bail.  This is a blatant violation of the First Amendment’s rights to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.  DeSantis is trying to stifle dissent and discourage anyone from speaking out against his GOP fascism and far-right extremism.” (When Democrats Turn Out, April 3, 2021)  Biden must expose this and similar actions as fascist tactics, pure and simple.  And he must stress that they are blatantly unconstitutional.  And, most importantly, he must go on the offensive and tell the American people just how evil people like DeSantis and other NFP members actually are, and he must to so repeatedly.  The NFP has been doing this for decades while the Democrats have meekly stood by and allowed the lies to go unchallenged.  They need to start getting angry and treat fire with fire.  The NFP spends all its time, repeat: ALL its time attacking anything the Democrats say and do, and no time at all in helping the American people.  This must also be brought out in no uncertain terms not only from the President, but from every Democratic leader.

Tax breaks to the super-rich must end.  As already noted, the billionaires that bankrolled Trump and his minions must be made to pay their fair share of taxes.

Other98 sums up the situation with our nation’s super-rich with this pithy quote: “The billionaires who own the news have the millionaires who report it sit there with a straight face (and tell you) that you don’t deserve $15 an hour.” (John Sellers, Other98, February 26, 2021)

Senator Elizabeth Warren, along with Representatives Brendan Boyle and Pramila Jayapal, has introduced an excellent wealth tax that Biden should take up in earnest.  This is the Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act which, if enacted, would raise $3 trillion over the next ten years.  Other98 tells us how it works: “1) The wealth tax would only be paid by about 100,000 taxpayers―the richest 0.05% 2) The tax rate would be just 2 cents on the dollar (2%) for people with wealth between $50 million and $1 billion 3) The tax rate would be just 3 cents on the dollar (3%) for wealth above $1 billion.  Right now, the ultra-wealthy are paying an overall tax rate that is the same as many middle-class people.  They get to pay a ridiculously low tax rate on the investments they sell to rake in their massive profits, while the rest of us pay a greater rate on our income tax.” (John Sellars, Other98, March 23, 2021) This excellent plan, if enacted, would keep the super-rich from further exploiting the system, and eliminate the tax loopholes that they and their NFP colleagues are using.

Because the NFP is totally corrupt and evil, steps must be taken to ensure that they will remain powerless.  To this end, there has been a lot of talk of late about making Washington DC a state.  DC is currently the only part of the United States in which its residents do not have representation in the capitol.  Its citizens pay taxes, so this alone should ensure that they get the representation that everyone else in the country already has.  The citizens are overwhelmingly liberal, so statehood would give the Senate two more members and a sizable majority.  President Biden needs to act on this to make it a reality.  Whatever happened to our nation’s founders comment about “no taxation without representation?”

It should also be noted that when Trump’s rioters attacked the Capitol, the District of Columbia was forced to wait for permission before obtaining the use of the national guard—because it isn’t a state.  That fact alone should convince anyone with an ounce of common sense how important statehood is for DC

It is surprising that there is a small group of blacks in the so-called “Patriot” movement; Neiwert discusses some of the few groups targeted by the so-called “patriots:” “…the Patriot movement has long been antagonistic to a number of nonwhite ethnic groups: 1) Latino immigrants.  One of its major subgroups that kept the Patriot movement alive in the early 2000s was the ‘Minutemen’ vigilante border-watch movement of 2005-10, which organized public rallies that denigrated Hispanics and encouraged violence against them.  The Minutemen eventually dissolved under the weight of the manifestations of violent criminal elements within their ranks. 2) Native Americans.  Patriot movement conspiracists—many of them operating in states with Indian reservations and, consequently conflicts between tribes and nontribal residents and fishermen over land and water rights—have been highly active in organizing campaigns to attack tribal treaty rights and even decertify certain tribes, built primarily around ‘New World Order’ conspiracy theories. 3) Muslim refugees.  A number of more recent Patriot groups have been highly active in promoting Islamophobic campaigns against Muslims generally and refugees in particular.  In 2015-16, ‘Three Percenter’ militia groups organized multiple protests in Idaho against the presence of a refugee-relocation program based in the city of Twin Falls, claiming it was part of a nefarious global campaign to eventually replace the white population there. 4) Black Lives Matter.  Most Patriot groups are unapologetic in their disdain and hatred for the Black Lives Matter movement.  The Oath Keepers in particular have prominently attacked BLM as innately violent Marxists and a threat to the nation, as have ‘Three Percenter’ militia groups and the Northwest-based Patriot Prayer street-brawling group.  When Proud Boys marched violently through the streets of Washington, D.C., on December 14, their primary targets became African American churches adorned with Black Lives Matter banners and signs, which they tore down and burned.

“Groups in the 1990s regularly adopted ‘Patriot’ as part of their name, just as many right-wing militia and conspiracy-fueled groups include ‘Patriot’ in their organizational titles to this day.  Most of these are explicitly pro-Trump operations.  Two Trump-loving Arizona groups, the Arizona Patriots and Patriot Movement AZ, have been highly active in protests against the election results the past two months.  During the 2018 midterm election campaign, after pro-Trump forces repeatedly ran ads quoting his hysterical references to an ‘invasion’ on the southern border, another group—the United Constitutional Patriots—set up camp at the New Mexico/Mexico border and tried arresting migrants, eventually resulting in prison time for the militiamen.”

President Biden must take the offensive and expose the hatred and bigotry that is the driving force for the “Patriots” and other similar groups.  He must publicly recognize that groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center have been active for decades fighting hate groups, most of which are affiliated with the right wing.  The SPLC has identified 838 active hate groups in 2020 a notable rise since Trump took office in 2016.

Predictably, NFP Congresspeople wasted no time in hindering everything the new president tried to do.  Demand Progress reports at the beginning of his term: “Joe Biden has only been president for 24 hours, and Senators Josh Hawley and Mitch McConnell are already throwing roadblocks in the way of his progress.  McConnell is refusing to give Democrats their committee chairs unless they agree to protect the filibuster rule he used to help block more than 400 bills last year alone.  Hawley—the same senator who raised his fist in solidarity with the Capitol Building insurrectionists—is attempting to block Biden’s nominee for head of the Department of Homeland Security.  We can’t afford another four years of Republicans using procedural rules to kill legislation and nominations.  If we’re going to see the progress America needs right now, the Senate’s first order of business must be killing the filibuster.  But there are Senate Democrats who want to keep this outdated procedural rule.” (Robert Cruickshank, Demand Progress, January 21, 2021) This has proven itself to be a key issue in Biden’s first months as president: Should a Jim Crow law be allowed to remain on the books?

Daily Kos provides us with a valuable lesson on the history of the filibuster: “Obama called for eliminating the filibuster in his eulogy for Rep. John Lewis to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, ‘making sure every American is automatically registered to vote, […]  adding polling places, and expanding early voting, and making Election Day a national holiday, […] guaranteeing that every American citizen has equal representation in our government, including the American citizens who live in Washington, D.C. and in Puerto Rico, […] ending some of the partisan gerrymandering—so that all voters have the power to choose their politicians, not the other way around.’  Not to put too fine a point on it, the filibuster is far from being an institution created by the Framers of the Constitution to preserve the rights of the minority.

“In fact, as Senate procedural expert Adam Jentleson writes, the Framers ‘wanted the Senate to be a place where debate was thorough and thoughtful, but limited, and where bills passed or failed on majority votes when it became clear to reasonable minds that debate was exhausted.’  Thomas Jefferson wrote an early manual for the Senate establishing ‘procedures for silencing senators who debated ‘superfluous, or tediously.’’   They had experienced the need for supermajorities in the Articles of Confederation, and explicitly abandoned them in the Constitution.  In Federalist 22, Alexander Hamilton wrote about supermajority requirements, ‘What at first sight may seem a remedy, is, in reality, a poison.’  Requiring ‘more than a majority,’ he wrote, would be ‘to embarrass the administration, to destroy the energy of the government, and to substitute the pleasure, caprice or artifices’ of a minority to the ‘regular deliberations and decisions of a respectable majority.’  As Jentleson said in Daily Kos’s ‘The Brief’ last week, the Framers foresaw a Mitch McConnell, and also defined him: ‘pertinacious.’

“The filibuster quite literally came about in the 19th century to fight the abolition of slaves.  ‘South Carolinian John C. Calhoun,’ Jentleson writes, ‘envisioned a Senate where this powerful pro-slavery minority would have not just the voice Madison intended but a veto—or as he put it, ‘a negative on the others.’’  His talking filibuster morphed over the decades into the 1917 Jim Crow-era Rule 22, which required a supermajority to (now 60 senators) to overcome a legislative filibuster.  ‘Southerners inflated the minority’s right to unlimited debate with soaring oratory backed by intimidation from their monopoly of the Senate’s all-powerful committees,’ Jentleson explains, ‘which controlled the prospects for legislation as well as senators’ careers.’  For the next 50 or so years, the filibuster ‘killed only civil rights bills.’  Princeton University historian Julian Zelizer elaborates on the Jim Crow roots of the practice.  ‘In 1951, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights ranked filibuster reform alongside criminalizing lynching and ending segregation,’ he writes.  ‘Civil rights activists knew that the filibuster was one of the most potent weapons used by southern reactionaries to prevent racial justice.’

“And here we are again, with President Biden and a Democratic Senate majority that is making explicit their intent to address racial injustice, to tackle the racial disparities in the COVID-19 crisis, to rebalance federal courts, to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers.  Up steps white supremacist, extortionist Mitch McConnell, taking that entire agenda hostage.  Again.” (Joan McCarter, Daily Kos, January 22, 2021)

An astute reader of the above article weighed in thusly: “ Today, the filibuster continues to hold back progress on civil rights.  Because the chamber’s two-senators-per-state structure favors smaller-population rural states, disproportionately white states have disproportionate power in the Senate.  Combine this with the current 60-vote threshold for passing legislation, and it’s not hard to see why racial justice is a far more urgent priority for Americans than it is for senators.  In fact, just two weeks ago, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul used a parliamentary delaying trick to hold up an anti-lynching bill.  The segregationists of a century ago would be proud.”  One would be tempted to dismiss Rand as being a man of the antebellum southern era were it not for the fact that his racism has been accepted hook, line and sinker by his cohorts in the NFP.

The word filibuster appears nowhere in the Constitution; the founders of this country would never have envisioned the Senate rendered unable to function by a minority of its members.

Proving once again that he is oblivious to history, honesty, the objective facts or even common sense, McConnell actually made the statement that the filibuster has: “no racial history at all.  None.  There’s no dispute among historians.”  Suffice it to say that this ridiculously false statement was so far removed from the actual facts that his communications staff had to go to work to “re-interpret” what he said.  Daily Kos takes it from there: “That required immediate cleanup from his communications staff, who had to interpret for McConnell.  The origins of the filibuster, they said, were what he was talking about.  Which is ridiculous, on all counts.

“The origins of the filibuster were ignominious, to be sure, but only because it was Aaron Burr who inadvertently created it.  After having killed Alexander Hamilton in that duel, Burr was still vice president and for some reason senators were paying attention to him.  Burr, as vice president, thought that the Senate rules were too messy and cluttered.  He suggested that the previous question motion could be jettisoned because it wasn’t really being used.  The motion is still used in the House.  It’s how a simple majority ends debate.  But the handful of senators who had all known each other forever figured they could work stuff out without that rule, so away it went.  For a century or so that was pretty much fine.

“Until after the Civil War.  Go figure.  This is where the McConnell flack’s explanation really does McConnell no favors, because in reality the modern origins of the filibuster and how it’s developed since Reconstruction is absolutely racist, and there is no way any objective person can paint that history as anything else.  ‘You start to see civil rights bills pass the House in the 1920s, and it was consistently used to block them,’ Adam Jentleson, a former aide to Sen. Harry Reid and the author Kill Switch, a history of the filibuster, told Vox.  ‘If there was any ambiguity in the antebellum era, it certainly shed that during the Jim Crow era—where it was widely taken for granted that the filibuster was directly tied to [blocking] civil rights.’  Kevin Kruse, a historian of race and American politics at Princeton University, agrees. ‘It’s been a tool used overwhelmingly by racists.’

“Political scientists Sarah Binder and Steven Smith have also studied the filibuster, particularly how it’s been used since 1917 when the Senate adopted a cloture rule—the ability to break a filibuster with 67 votes.  Binder writes, ‘Of the 30 measures we identified between 1917 and 1994, exactly half addressed civil rights—including measures to authorize federal investigation and prosecution of lynching, to ban the imposition of poll taxes and to prohibit discrimination on the basis of race in housing sales and rentals.’  She adds, ‘Keep in mind, the 20th century filibuster scorched many civil rights measures beyond those that it killed outright.’

“The thing is, McConnell knows all this.  He knows it very well, and until he declared that Democrats calling it a ‘Jim Crow relic’ is ‘an effort to use the terrible history of racism to justify a partisan power grab in the present,’  he admitted the truth publicly.  In writing. Saladin Ambar, an associate political science professor at Rutgers, quotes McConnell from just two years ago in McConnell’s book, The US Senate and the Commonwealth.  When he wrote that book in 2019, he recalled how as a 22-year-old intern in the Senate, he watched his boss, Sen. John Sherman Cooper of Kentucky, help break a filibuster of the Civil Rights Act.  ‘I saw that those who wrote to Senator Cooper were overwhelmingly opposed to the pending civil rights legislation.  But Senator Cooper was undeterred,’ McConnell wrote. ‘He actively lobbied his colleagues to oppose the Southern Democratic filibuster being carried out against the civil rights legislation.  I was exhilarated as I watched him take this courageous stance.’

Exhilarated.

“Now the attempt to maintain and expand those civil rights McConnell was so excited about has suddenly become a partisan power grab.  As Georgia Republicans were preparing to enact a new and sweeping discriminatory voter suppression law, McConnell stood in front of the nation and declared, ‘States are not engaging in trying to suppress voters, whatsoever.’  His historical revisionism is surpassed only by his histrionics over the likely end to the filibuster as his favorite tool.  ‘These folks are not interested in compromise, they’re interested in passing all of their bills to remake America,’ McConnell said in an interview last week.  ‘It may not be the panacea that they anticipate it would be, it could turn the Senate into sort of a nuclear winter, where the aftermath of the so-called nuclear option is not a sustainable place.’  He’ll go to any lengths, he’s promising, to stop Democrats from ending the racist filibuster in order to stop racist voter suppression and restore democracy.  All the while declaring that Republicans aren’t acting on white supremacy.  McConnell knows better.  As Ambar says, ‘McConnell knows this history well.  He wrote about it.  He witnessed it.  He was there.’ (Joan McCarter, Daily Kos, March 29, 2021)

Of course, this is hardly the first time Mitch McConnell has said or written something and then completely change is stance when it threatens the NFP.  The man has absolutely no honesty or intellectual integrity whatever.

When Democrats Turn Out, quoting Politico, gives us more information on NFP strategy to derail everything the Democrats want to accomplish: “It seems ‘a higher-than-usual number of Trump administration political appointees—some with highly partisan backgrounds—are currently ‘burrowing’ into career positions throughout the federal government, moving from appointed positions into powerful career civil service roles, which come with job protections that will make it difficult for Biden to fire them.’  This is alarming news.  Joe Biden hasn’t even had a chance to sit in the Oval Office, and Republican loyalists are already conspiring to keep a Trump agenda on deck.  And as POLITICO further reports, ‘once entrenched in these posts, the Trump bureaucrats could work from the inside to stymie Biden’s agenda, much of which depends on agency action.’” (WDTO, January 22, 2021)

What is unfathomable is how Democratic leaders continue to act as if there are still NFP “colleagues” that will do the right thing.  Joe Manchin is the most obvious example of a lukewarm Democrat.  Because of the filibuster, Democrats in the Senate must have sixty votes in order to pass any legislation at all.  If there are ten NFP senators that will actually support a democratic proposal, then the proposal will pass.  Manchin, in his naiveté, said that all the Democrats need is “ten good people” in the NFP to support them but, unsurprisingly, these people do not exist, with one or two possible exceptions, and the exceptions are then attacked by the NFP as being betrayers to their cause.  This is the reality: We have a broken system that does not allow a simple majority to pass anything, and the reason they are unable to do so is the filibuster.  Because of this, there is no reason for the NFP to work with Democrats on anything.  So why are Democratic senators like Manchin allowing this to continue?  Bipartisanship is a thing of the past with the NFP, and if the Democrats fail to recognize this, they are digging their own—and the country’s—grave.

Manchin refuses to support the For the People Act because he claims it isn’t bipartisan.  Clearly, he isn’t even listening to the people of West Virginia, the state he is supposed to be representing.  Here, 81 percent of Democrats support the bill, 79 percent of Independents support it—and 76 percent of Republicans support it!  Bipartisan means that people across the political spectrum are in agreement.  It does not mean that politicians are in agreement.  One can only ask: Who does Manchin think he’s kidding?

When the NFP passed their tax scam in 2017, none of them showed any interest in making it “bipartisan.”  The NFP wasn’t even willing to approve an INDEPENDENT commission to investigate an invasion of the United States Capitol.  If this doesn’t prove that they have no interest at all in bipartisanship (or the Constitution, or justice, or Democracy), then proof of any kind is impossible.

Simply put, keeping the filibuster is essential to the NFP as it allows a minority party to control the country.  They are laying the groundwork for invalidating any future democratic victories at the election polls.

Fascists don’t work with their opponents. They fight them at every turn.

It is certainly true that the only way for the NFP to win elections is to keep people from voting.  However most people also believe that they can halt the Democrat’s agenda via the filibuster.  This is simply not the case, and Daily Kos explains the way around this: “Astute politics observers well know that the Senate filibuster—the Jim Crow relic that requires supermajority support to pass most legislation—is a major obstacle for any hopes that Democrats have of enacting Joe Biden’s agenda and righting the country after four years of wicked misrule.  But because a handful of Democratic senators (as well as all Republicans) oppose curtailing the rule—for now, at least—party leaders are pursuing an alternative route that will allow them to bypass the filibuster and pass major bills with just a simple majority.

It’s called reconciliation, and it’s a complicated beast.  If you’ve heard about it, you may have read that it can only be used in a limited fashion.  But that’s simply not so.  Democrats can actually use the reconciliation process for almost anything, including an increase to the minimum wage, a current topic of contention.  What’s more, in contrast with filibuster reform, they don’t need unanimity from their caucus to proceed.  A mere 41 votes will do the trick.

“Congressional experts usually say that the person who decides what can and can’t be included in a reconciliation package is the Senate parliamentarian, an appointed official who advises the chamber on matters of procedure.  The key word there, though, is ‘advises’: the presiding officer—that person who occupies the big chair atop the central dais you’ve seen on C-SPAN, either the vice president or a sitting senator—is free to reject that advice.  So what happens if Kamala Harris (or, if you like, Jon Ossoff) does exactly that?  A Republican could object, but in order to sustain that objection—that is to say, in order to override the presiding officer’s decision to rebuff the parliamentarian—it would take 60 votes.  In other words, all 50 Republicans would need 10 Democrats to join them.  There’s little chance that would happen.

“And it’s been done before, in the service of promoting majority rule in the Senate.  The last occasion arose in 1975, when a bipartisan coalition, led by Minnesota Democrat Walter Mondale, sought to reduce the threshold for ending a filibuster from two-thirds to three-fifths.  Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, a Republican, paved the way for the proposal to move forward by declining the parliamentarian’s advice in order to allow a key vote that would buttress reformers’ arguments.  While pro-filibuster senators staged a revolt after the vote succeeded, the dispute ultimately ended with the filibuster requirement getting lowered to today’s familiar 60-vote benchmark.  The same approach can be deployed when dealing with constraining guidance from the parliamentarian regarding reconciliation, and Democrats have no reason to fear doing so.  While Republicans will inevitably complain, voters don’t care about procedure—they care about results.  That’s especially so when we’re talking about popular legislation like a $15 minimum wage, which poll after poll has shown Americans support in massive numbers.  Some have in fact already called for the Senate to take this tack.  ‘You don’t have to override the parliamentarian or get a new parliamentarian,’ noted one expert on Senate procedure, a likely reference to the occasion when then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott fired parliamentarian Bob Dove in 2001 after Republicans grew frustrated with him.  ‘Under the statute, it is the vice president who rules.  It is the presiding officer who makes the decision.  The parliamentarian advises on that question.’

“That’s precisely right, and it’s precisely the approach Democrats should take.  And when Republicans howl, Democrats need only point out that the expert who advocated for a robust use of reconciliation was none other than Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.” (David Nir, Daily Kos, February 10, 2021)

A copy of this article should be sent to every single Democratic Congressperson.  The NFP ran roughshod over their opponents for far too long.  It is time to fight fire with fire and get down to the business of governing.  And a key part of governing is the For the People Act.

In my chapter on Trump’s attempt to steal the election, I quoted from Senator Diane Feinstein.  Here is another significant part of that letter, an issue that Democrats must face if they are to have any success at all during Biden’s presidency: “The elections were also marred by an unprecedented amount of dark money fueling campaigns, as well as a concerning effort by some states to make it harder for citizens to vote by mandating the use of photo identification, closing polling locations, and limiting the number of early voting days.  These laws have a disproportionate effect on the voting rights of African-Americans, Latinos, students, senior citizens, those with disabilities, and those with lower incomes.  That is why I strongly support the ‘For the People Act’ (H.R. 1), which was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman John Sarbanes (D-MD) on January 4, 2021.  Among many election reforms, this bill would expand Americans’ access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, strengthen ethics rules for public servants, end partisan gerrymandering, and implement other anti-corruption measures that would fortify our democracy.  Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) has expressed his intention to introduce the Senate version of this bill, which I have enthusiastically agreed to cosponsor.  I look forward to fighting for passage of the ‘For the People Act’ when it comes before the full Senate for a vote.”

Sierra Club tells us just how important the For the People Act actually is: “The For The People Act is a bold and comprehensive bill that begins to clean up corruption, repairs much that is broken with our democracy, and creates more ways for us to hold politicians accountable.  It’s being considered in the House (H.R. 1) and the Senate (S. 1) and will likely be voted on this year.  Specifically, the For The People Act will: 1) Strengthen ethics laws: Curb the influence of corporate polluters by requiring the President to disclose their tax returns, put tougher restrictions on lobbying, prevent elected officials from spending taxpayer dollars to settle sexual harassment lawsuits; 2) Expand voting access and restore voting rights: Create a nationwide automatic voter registration system and have same day voter registration, restore the right to vote for people with felony convictions; 3) Protect our elections: Safeguard our election infrastructure from hostile actors, foreign and domestic, and provide funding to states to upgrade their voting systems; 4) Fix our broken campaign finance system: Empower small-dollar donors, support small-dollar public financing of elections, and combat the influence of ‘dark money’ unleashed by Citizens United; 5) Let the people pick their elected officials, not politicians pick their voters: Ban partisan gerrymandering and increase protections for communities of color.

“Communities of color are most impacted by an unfair and broken democracy.  We need bold transformational change to address this inequity.  The For The People Act will fix some of what’s broken in our government and help create the more fair, transparent, and inclusive democracy that we all seek.  As this bill moves through Congress, we must show it has the broad and sweeping support it deserves.” (Courtney Hight, Sierra Club, February 13, 2021)

One wonders how any honest Republican (assuming that this is not a contradiction in terms) could object to this act.  Public Citizen re-enforces what Sierra Club just stated: “If passed, the For the People Act would:

  • Protect voting rights and uphold the ideal of ‘one person, one vote.’
  • Make it easier to vote.
  • Limit secret political spending (a.k.a. ‘dark money’).
  • Tackle partisan and racist gerrymandering.
  • Give everyday Americans a fighting chance at running for office through a public financing system funded by penalties on corporate wrongdoers.
  • Improve election security.
  • Clean up the ethics free-for-all in Washington, D.C.
  • Prevent foreign interference in our elections.
  • Confront the corrupting influence of billionaire and Big Business money in politics.
  • And much more. (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, February 28, 2021)

Exactly which of these poses a threat to an honest Republican?  The answer would clearly be: none.  But each and every one poses a threat to the NFP.  And they are the ones in power.  Consider the following: “Donald Trump just delivered the keynote address at the Far Right’s largest annual gathering, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), using his speech to cement his grip on the GOP and position himself as the presumptive Republican nominee for president in 2024.  In fact, the entire conference was about heaping adulation on Trump and propping up his baseless lies about the 2020 election that resulted in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and continue to fuel a frenzy of far-right bigots, conspiracy theorists, and seditionists.

“Multiple panels promoted false narratives about the last election, with titles such as, ‘Other Culprits: Why Judges & Media Refused to Look at the Evidence,’ and ‘The Left Pulled the Strings, Covered It Up, and Even Admits It.’  Make no mistake, the heavy lean into the bogus ‘stolen election’ lie is not just about coddling Trump’s ego, it’s about using the lie to justify a new wave of aggressive voter suppression policies so the Right can further rig the playing field to their advantage by denying Americans their right to vote.” (Ben Betz, People for the American Way, February 28, 2021)

Only someone as brazenly dishonest as Cancun Ted Cruz could find fault with the For the People Act.  And then try to destroy it with lies, as Public Citizen reports: “Yesterday, the Senate held a pivotal hearing on the For the People Act—the most sweeping, transformative democracy reform in generations (which the House passed earlier this month).  To the surprise of exactly no one, Senator Ted Cruz chimed in absurdly: ‘This bill is the single most dangerous bill this committee has ever considered.  This bill is designed to corrupt the election process permanently, and it is a brazen and shameless power grab by Democrats.  That the number one priority is not COVID or getting people back to work or getting kids back in school.  It’s keeping Democrats in power for 100 years.’   First, Congress did make COVID a priority and already passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.  Maybe Senator Cruz forgot because he—along with every other Republican in both the House and the Senate—did not vote for it.

“Second, think about what Ted Cruz is really saying here.  Ted Cruz is saying that if we had true democracy—where we make it easy for eligible voters to, you know, actually vote—Republicans would basically never win another election.  And rather than trying to appeal to more Americans, the Republican Party is trying to retain a grip on power by essentially opposing the very concept of democracy—by making it harder, not easier, for Americans to exercise their constitutional right to vote.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, March 25, 2021)  Of course, calling voting rights for everyone a “power grab” by Democrats is as absurd as anything else coming from Cruz’ mouth.  What exactly is the NFP afraid of?  A level playing field?  If their agenda isn’t popular with an almost overwhelming majority of voters, shouldn’t that tell the NFP something?  It won’t, of course; all it will do is make them double down on their suppression efforts.  Changing their plans in any way (other than becoming more and more reactionary) has never been part of the NFP agenda, and it’s not about to start now.

Of course, Republican opposition to the For the People Act borders on the hysterical, with Trump saying it “cannot be allowed to pass.  This monster must be stopped!”  In other words, Trump and the NFP think that the bill, which demands clean air and water, sensible gun legislation, equal pay for equal work, easier voting access and reasonable earnings for workers is a “monster.”

It should also come as no surprise that most of corporate America is bankrolling these massive efforts at voter suppression.  As CREDO Mobile reports: “In 47 states across America, right-wing lawmakers, who still believe Donald Trump’s ‘Big Lie’ that the election was stolen, have introduced hundreds of bills to make it harder for Black voters and other voters of color to cast their ballots.  It’s absolutely shameful.  So who in the world would fund these extremist lawmakers?  Much of corporate America, that’s who.

“A stunning new report by Public Citizen found that corporations have donated an incredible $50 million to lawmakers supporting these outrageous voter suppression efforts across the country.  Which company tops the list?  AT&T, which donated nearly $811,000 to the state lawmakers behind these voter suppression bills.  These donations are in addition to the $2 million AT&T donated to Congressional Republicans who said they would object to certifying President Biden’s victory.  While AT&T tries to publicly distance itself from overturning elections and funding voter suppression, these donations add to the company’s long history of donating millions to bankroll the right-wing agenda.

“Ever since the Jan. 6 riots on the U.S. Capitol by insurrectionist Trump supporters, AT&T has tried to walk back its donations to the right-wing politicians who continue to promote election lies—and the company has failed miserably.  As we previously noted, AT&T promised, after widespread condemnation, that it would suspend contributions to members of Congress who voted to object to the certification of the Electoral College.  Yet, only a few weeks went by before they cut a $5,000 check to the leadership PAC of one of those insurrectionist Republican members of Congress.  Now, as lawmakers in state houses across the country propose harsh voting restrictions—like requiring voter IDs and limiting drop boxes, early voting, mail-in voting and voting on Sundays (a traditional day for voting in many Black communities), or even making it a crime to hand out water to people waiting in line to vote—AT&T is once again leading the pack in donations to right-wing politicians trying to suppress our votes.

“Some of these donations include at least $99,700 since 2018 to a group of Georgia Republican lawmakers who are sponsors of House Bill 315 and Senate Bill 241, two voter suppression bills that would make voting much harder for many Georgians.  And at least $45,000 donated to Ron DeSantis and eight state senators backing Senate Bill 90, a harsh voter suppression bill that would ban ballot drop boxes, limit who could return a legal ballot to a polling place, and place restrictions on mail-in voting.  And the $574,500 to Texas lawmakers behind some of the nation’s harshest voter suppression bills.  These donations by AT&T aren’t surprising, either.  AT&T has a long and dark history of funding Republican lawmakers and right-wing causes, including $2 million to Trump’s inauguration, $2.7 million to anti-LGBTQ politicians, or $1.1 million to Republicans in the 2020 election.” (CREDO Mobile, April 28, 2021)

If there is one important aspect of the For the People Act is particularly hated by the NFP, it is the one that addresses tax returns.  Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington tells us the whole story: “The president is not above the law.  Neither are former presidents.  That’s a simple principle that is foundational to our democracy.  Yet over the past four years, we’ve had to keep reminding people of that.  One of the best examples of this is the case of Donald Trump’s tax returns, which he managed to keep hidden from the American people over the course of nearly six years, two different campaigns for president and several lawsuits.  This was a break from presidential norms and made Trump the first president in four decades to block the public from seeing those details about his finances and potential conflicts of interest.  Now we know that not only was Trump doing something unprecedented, so was the Treasury Department.

When Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin blocked the release of Donald Trump’s tax returns after a congressional request, it was the first time the IRS had ever failed to turn over tax returns to Congress, the IRS told CREW.  We already knew that this stonewalling was illegal (and I said as much to Congress when I testified two years ago), but now we know that the government was taking unprecedented action to protect Trump from scrutiny.  Luckily, the Biden administration now has a chance to reverse the corrupt and illegal actions of Trump’s Treasury Department.

CREW, along with eight fellow good government groups, sent a letter today to Biden’s Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, saying that the agency should, and legally must, comply with the congressional subpoena and finally release Trump’s tax records to Congress.  It’s also worth mentioning that if the Senate passes the For the People Act, and President Biden signs it, we’ll never have to deal with this situation again—because the bill would require presidents, vice presidents, and major party candidates for those offices to disclose 10 years of tax returns.  We’ll keep pushing for accountability on this for as long as it takes, and we’ll keep pushing for the reforms we need so we don’t have to fight so hard for accountability in the future.” (Noah Bookbinder, CREW, March 26, 2021)

The Brennan Center for Law and Justice tells us of another often overlooked aspect of the For the People Act: “In addition to sweeping reforms to improve voting, redistricting, and ethics laws, the For the People Act would also establish a voluntary small donor match public financing system for candidates running for federal office.  This type of program is transformative.  It matches and multiplies donations to candidates from everyday Americans, and it allows candidates to stop chasing big checks and special interest money and instead focus on grassroots supporters.  It’s a new idea for federal elections, but it already has an established track record.” (Brennan Center for Law and Justice, March 25, 2021)

In my article “Why We Need Four Political Parties” I laid out the case for two Republican parties and two Democratic parties.  Joe Biden is by no stretch a progressive; he would belong to the Corporate Democratic party, the party that would still kowtow to big business.  He has already made several disastrous moves, which will eventually come back to hurt him.  Win Without War tells us that: “President Biden gave the green light to continue selling Saudi Arabia and the UAE billions in fighter jets, armed drones, bombs, and missiles.  Biden’s approval of Trump-endorsed arms deals will put MORE top-of-the-line U.S. weapons in the hands of abusive militaries.  Militaries already implicated in horrific attacks on civilians in Yemen, secret drone attacks in Libya, and documented giving U.S.-made equipment to al Qaeda-linked fighters.  While it’s positive Biden is taking action to end the endless U.S. war in Afghanistan, his quiet approval of arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is an affront to those committed to ending U.S. complicity in mass famine and war crimes.  We didn’t think we would have to have this fight.  Biden called Saudi Arabia a ‘pariah’ on the campaign trail and promised an end to U.S. complicity in the moral and strategic catastrophe in Yemen.  But now it’s clear: The Biden team won’t hold Saudi Arabia and the UAE accountable on its own…Biden’s approval follows more than six years of war that has included starvation as a weapon and airstrikes—deploying U.S.-guided and -provided weapons—that have killed thousands.  It is a callous failure of leadership and a troubling yield to arms dealers that fuels a spiraling arms race likely to spur more conflict in the region.” (Michael Galant, Win Without War, April 21, 2021) Saying one thing on the campaign trail and doing another once elected is the hallmark of the NFP, and Biden should be held accountable for the same misdeeds I have attributed to the NFP throughout this article.

Biden has already made numerous other errors that show that he is far from being a progressive.  He has even surpassed his predecessor in military spending, as Win Without War informs us: “2020 provided an entire year of deadly proof that throwing money at the Pentagon won’t keep us safe.  But last Friday, as many folks were preparing for the long weekend, President Biden quietly proposed padding the Pentagon with three-quarters of a TRILLION dollars—an increase that’s even more than the staggering sums of the Trump administration.” (Win Without War, June 1, 2021) One would hope that he will realize how self-defeating and dangerous this is.  Biden must start to look away from building up the military-industrial complex and start to other solutions to the security threats of our time.

He has committed other dangerous foreign policy errors.  Win Without War explains: “He’s proposed raising the Pentagon’s budget to spend more than Trump.  He’s pushing through an unprecedented multi-billion dollar arms sale to the architects of the war in Yemen.  He’s rejecting a return to the Open Skies Treaty, a critical pact designed to reduce the risk of accidental war with Russia.  And he’s set to rubber stamp one BILLION dollars in more—free—missiles and guided bombs for Israel.  We’re witnessing a slow accumulation of failures to use presidential leadership to end a war-first approach to the world.  While President Biden’s domestic agenda has at times been ambitious, his foreign policy is a whole lot of same-same status quo thinking that time and again prioritizes authoritarian regimes and corrupt defense contractors ahead of human rights and families.” (Sara Haghdoosti, Win Without War, June 2, 2021)

If this were not enough Biden, like Joe Manchin seems to still think he can “work” with his “Republican colleagues” as if such people actually exist.  For example, he has tried working with them on an infrastructure even though he must have known what their strategy would be: Insist on a watered-down bill and when it’s presented, vote against it.  This has been done numerous times and proves beyond doubt that the NFP is incapable of negotiating in good faith.

All I have discussed here will not be achieved in one administration; indeed, given the power of the NFP, most of it probably will not be achieved at all.  But the first steps can and must be taken.  If the Democrats continue to let the NFP call the shots and checkmate them at every turn, our country will be lost.


CONCLUSION

Yes, the Democratic party is in possession of the White House and both branches of Congress.  No, the NFP hasn’t changed in any significant way.  They will never consider anything the Democrats put forth.  If the Democrats say two and two are four, the NFP will fight it.

The late scientist Carl Sagan had some insight into today’s world when he wrote the following in his 1995 book “The Demon Haunted World:” “Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking.  I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time—when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.  The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30-second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.”

Sagan’s prescience is extraordinary in the way he describes America a quarter century since his death, but the thinkers in our society have seen this coming for decades, although few could have imagined the intellectual, political and cultural wasteland that is today’s America.

Donald Trump used “Make America great again” as his campaign slogan.  A good way to really make America great again would be to begin prosecuting any politician who has violated their oath of office to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

If there is one single fact concerning America’s current political system that is indisputable, it is that the “Republican” party is no longer interested in serving the American people.  They are not interested in democracy, the U.S. Constitution, the rule of law, and even common decency.  This party has morphed into a fascist party with only one goal: Getting control and keeping it.  As with its fascist predecessor in Nazi Germany, this hooligan organization has now proven beyond any doubt that they are more than willing to use violent mobs and criminals to assist them to achieve their goals.  The January 6 insurrection was merely the culmination of the party’s transformation into a terrorist goon squad.  Proof of how far to the right of the political spectrum this “party” has gone can be seen in how its leaders responded to the insurrection.  If there were any moderates left in the party, they would have taken the moral high road and condemned the traitors and its criminal leader.  Almost none of them distanced themselves from the traitors; none of them have distanced themselves from the conspiracy kooks because they know that these people are now the cornerstone of their party and to stand up to them is to invite another insurrection and endanger their lives again.  And, the Senate NFP refused to even consider the possibility that their president has committed treason.  Some of them refused to even pay attention to the irrefutable evidence presented at the trial.  That is how far the former Republican Party has let themselves be led down the path toward oblivion.

It is fascinating that the same people who insist we “move on” from the January 6 insurrection have no intention of moving on and accepting that the South Lost the Civil War.

The NFP is a violent, terrorist organization that has also taken on the form of a religious cult.  I have written extensively on this in earlier articles.  Here, I need only mention that war talk is a common theme with these people, just as, in earlier times, devout Christians tried to expel “heretics” from their midst.  The concentration camps of the Third Reich were far from an aberration; Christianity’s toxic doctrines had sown the seeds of anti-semitism for centuries.  The NFP is the new Fourth Reich.  No, there are no concentration camps—yet.  But rest assured that should the NFP attain the complete control they seek, the camps will begin to spring up.  And torture (which the NFP has no problem with: just look at Guantanamo Bay) and murder will become commonplace.  The January 6 insurrection was exactly like the Nazi party’s Beer Hall Putsch of 1923 and served the same purpose: as a precursor to future violence.

Daily Kos provides us with a couple recent quotes supporting the idea of an upcoming second Civil War: “Talk of ‘civil war’ is increasingly voiced with approval both among conservative pundits and GOP officials.  Phil Reynolds, a member of the GOP central committee in California’s Santa Clara County, commented on Facebook during the January 6 insurrection: ‘The war has begun.  Citizens take arms!  Drumroll please!  Civil War or No Civil War?’  Randy Voepel, a state Assemblyman in California, voiced support for the insurrectionists in a Jan. 9 San Diego Union-Tribune piece: ‘This is Lexington and Concord.  First shots fired against tyranny.  Tyranny will follow in the aftermath of the Biden swear in on January 20th.’ (David Neiwert, Daily Kos, February 10, 2021) Notice how the right-wing’s propaganda is used: To make them the patriots and the Democrats the tyrants.

A brief segue into the Civil War should clarify the issue.

The Civil War, despite today’s racist claims to the contrary, was based on the Southern states’ perceived need for slavery.  It has become a popular claim these days that the war was not based on slavery; those who think otherwise must deny the words of the South’s own leaders.  Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederacy, stated: “‘Its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery—subordination to the superior race—is his natural and normal condition.  This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”  Those who insist that the Civil War was about states rights need to answer the question: Exactly which states rights was the Confederacy fighting for?  If they need further proof, all they need to do is read the Confederacy’s Constitution.

In 1860, the Southern states didn’t like the results of an election, and began to secede from the union.  160 years later, the NFP is speaking of a new civil war because they didn’t like the results of an election.  The January 6 insurrection involved the same mindset of the people that seceded from the Union 160 years earlier.  White supremacy is the foundation for both groups.  Secession and insurrection are flip sides of the same racist coin.  In both cases, hatred of democracy and, yes, hatred of America are fundamental foundations.  The insurrectionists of January 6, knew exactly why they were carrying Confederate flags into our nation’s Capitol.

The situation in 2021 is actually far more dangerous than in 1860.  The Southerners in that year did not attack the United States Capital and murder innocent people.  And, those who did not like the election results in 1860 did not remain in Congress just to sabotage everything the Northerners did.  Instead, they simply left and tried to start their own country.

The idea of a second Civil War is more than verbal hyperbole; many NFP leaders today are actually talking about seceding from the union.  Daily Kos reports: “If modern Republicans have established a noteworthy track record in any aspect of electoral politics, it involves being the sorest of all losers.  Whenever their presidential nominee loses, you can count like clockwork on the GOP-dominated states starting to talk about seceding from the union, and the red counties in blue states start agitating to secede from those states.  It happened in 2009 after Barack Obama’s election victory over John McCain and again in 2012 after Obama won reelection.  Now, as Tess Owen reports at Vice, it’s happening all over again following Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss, with the usual helping hand from the far-right extremists who always concoct these schemes in the first place.

“Leading the way once again is Texas, where Republican legislators filed a bill creating a referendum election on whether Texans should create a joint legislative committee ‘to develop a plan for achieving Texas independence.’  Its advocates call the secession movement ‘Texit,’ and as Owen reports, it’s gaining steam not just in the Lone Star State but elsewhere as well.  Texas GOP Chairman Allen West is stoking those fires.  In December, following the Supreme Court’s ruling knocking down Trump’s post-election lawsuits, West issued a statement calling for the state to leave the union.  ‘Perhaps law-abiding states should bond together and form a Union of states that will abide by the constitution,’ West said.  ‘The Texas GOP will always stand for the Constitution and for the rule of law even while others don’t.’  ‘I am sick to my stomach watching what is happening to our country,’ wrote a commenter on the NRA’s Facebook page.  ‘As a Texan, I find myself supporting HB1359 (for secession)…At any other time I would have said absolutely not, but I find that harder to say.’  Among her reasons for supporting Texit: ‘Every day we inch closer to a socialist dictatorship where the constitution has lost its meaning.’

“‘People’s level of grievance against the status quo has reached a level to flip that switch, where they’re seeing Texas Independence as the solution to their problems,’ Texas National Movement leader Daniel Miller told Vice, claiming that interest in Texit has surged in recent months (though he declined to provide any documentation of that).

“Texans are not alone.

  • In Mississippi, a Republican legislator named Price Wallace tweeted his view that the state ought to ‘succeed from the union and form our own country’ (and then apologized for it).
  • In Wyoming, state GOP Chairman Frank Eathorne told an interviewer that residents of his state may well follow in Texas’ footsteps: ‘Many of these Western states have the ability to be self-reliant, and we’re keeping eyes on Texas too and their consideration of possible secession,’ he said.  ‘Now, they have a different state constitution than we do as far as wording, but it is something that we’re all paying attention to.’
  • In Florida, county-level Republican leaders have talked up secession while spreading disinformation about the election and promoting QAnon conspiracy theories.  One poll found that 53% of southwestern Floridians are open to the idea of state secession.

“A survey by Bright Line Watch found that 35% of Republicans and 37% of independents favored secession from the union to form a new regional union with like-minded states; the proposal was particularly popular among Southern Republicans at 50% support.  It also found that only 22% of Republican voters had confidence in the fairness of national elections.  The ‘Texit’ movement is being monitored enthusiastically online by a variety of far-right partisans, as Owen observes.  ‘SECESSION OR DEATH,’ commented a chat participant at the conspiracist MAGA message board patriot.win.  ‘These are your only options.  The ammo box is necessary.’ (David Neiwert, Daily Kos, March 11, 2021)

The article closes by noting that threatening secession whenever they don’t like the results are standard operating procedure for the NFP: “Threatening secession has long been a predictable Republican response to losing elections.  In 2008-9, Texas led a parade of states where officials discussed the possibility of leaving the union unilaterally after Barack Obama won the presidency.  The idea gained traction in right-wing media as well; Fox News’ Glenn Beck in particular helped root for secession on his daily show.  The same happened again in 2012-13 after Obama’s reelection.  Some eight states successfully filed secession petitions on a White House website that December, though the petitions naturally were rejected as unconstitutional.  Texas again led the pack with 117,373 digital signatures.  Other secession movements, including one in Maryland to again form a 51st state, joined in the sore-loser festivities.  As I observed at the time: ‘This is the reaction we’ve come to know and expect from people on the hardnosed edges of the American right: At the end of the day, they don’t really believe in democracy.  They don’t believe in putting up with other citizens who believe differently, who pray differently, who dress and wear their hair and their clothes differently and eat differently and most of all who think differently from them.  They like the idea of America as a big all-white nation.  They don’t like the idea of America as a democracy.  Their antipathy to democracy always creeps out, even in their conspiracy theories (how many times have we heard the far-right refrain, ‘This is a republic, not a democracy!’), but more importantly in their actions and their political strategies, embodied most recently in the gutting of the Voting Rights Act and the ongoing efforts at voter suppression by conservative Republicans.  And when they realize they are not going to get their way, their solution is not to accept the verdict of democracy. Their solution is to drop out.”

It is particularly ironic to hear the NFP talking about “Standing for the Constitution” when their party has trashed the document beyond recognition.  What Constitution are they talking about?  It certainly isn’t the U.S. Constitution.  Our Constitution tells us that states cannot secede from the union; we fought the first Civil War over this issue (and of course the alleged “right” of white people to own black people.

What people need to ask themselves, and what Democratic leaders need to ask the general public is: Exactly what has the NFP done for you and the country?  What did they do to address the coronavirus?  What did they do to address domestic terrorism by extremist Nazi groups?  And, most importantly, what the public needs to ask them is: Just what are you doing about it?

The answer to these questions may well determine the fate of our country.

Categories:   Political Affairs