JULY 1-DECEMBER 31, 2020


The American people have spoken: Despite all Republican efforts to sabotage the 2020 election, Donald Trump lost to Joe Biden, Democrats remain in control of the House of Representatives and, if the efforts of a few dedicated people in Georgia come to fruition on January 6, will also control the Senate.  But, unlike every other election in our history, November 3, 2020 is markedly different because Trump, predictably, has contested the election and has indicated that he might even refuse to leave office on January 20, 2021.  In this, he has the unswerving support of the majority of Republican leaders who continue to use whatever devious and illegal means at their disposal to keep him in power.  Actions such as this constitute proof positive of what I have said in each of my previous articles, namely that the Republican party is no longer a legitimate political entity, but an increasingly fascist organization that will stop at nothing to demonize their opponents and keep their power.  In this article, I will continue to expose the lies and corruption that is at the heart of virtually every action they undertake.  Having said this, I note that Trump’s refusal to concede the election results has alarmed quite a number of his colleagues: By year’s end, even Mitch McConnell is distancing himself from Trump.

I will also spend a great deal of time discussing how the COVID 19 pandemic has gotten worse; hundreds of thousands of Americans are dead because of failed leadership from the Trump administration and the Republican party, who’s basic strategy has been to ignore it as much as possible.  We will also present a family member’s view of Trump when we examine Mary Trump’s book, which has recently been printed despite efforts of her uncle to suppress it.  In addition, there are many other issues that plague our country due to Republican statements and actions (or inactions).  These include the increasingly right-wing media outlets, the Republican control of the judiciary, their denial of climate change, their ever increasing support of racism and bigotry; we will also examine the role fundamentalist religion plays in most of this.  The exploitation practices of Big Pharma and other corporations will be discussed.

Trump and his cohorts are utterly incapable of telling the truth to the American people.  Back in July, Daily Kos ran an article on the head criminal: “It’s fair to say at this point that Donald Trump isn’t living in the real world.  His mind is so overrun with conspiracy theories, half-baked truths, and utter B.S. that he has now spewed 20,000 verifiable lies, according to The Washington Post.  Like anything, practice makes perfect, and Trump’s rate of lying is nearly double what it was in the first couple years of his presidency.  The Post’s calculations show that while Trump was lying an average of 12 times a day in the first 827 days of his presidency, he has averaged closer to 23 lies a day in the last 14 months.

Trump’s lie spree has partially been fueled by cataclysmic events such as his impeachment by the House of Representatives, the coronavirus crisis, and the aftermath of the senseless killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers.  In just several months, the pandemic has accounted for some 1,000 of Trump’s lies, while the impeachment loosed some 1,200 lies from Trump’s cakehole.  But let’s not overlook the possibility that Trump’s loose relationship with reality has simply become more fraught over time.” (Kerry Eleveld, Daily Kos, July 13, 2020)

In addition to the lies, the corruption of Trump and his party, far from abating, has increased almost exponentially since Trump took office.  Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) briefly summarizes: “In the last few months, we’ve seen President Trump repeatedly fire or demote inspectors general, several of whom were investigating his cronies or were poised to conduct much-needed oversight of the pandemic response.  We’ve seen loans go to companies that rent from the Trump Organization and companies owned by Jared Kushner’s family.  We’ve seen government contracts being awarded to new companies with close ties to the administration.  We’ve seen Jared Kushner’s shadow coronavirus task force ignore conflicts of interest and transparency laws.” (Noah Bookbinder, CREW, July 14, 2020) This is now the status quo in Washington, and this is what the Republican party, soon to be the minority party in at least two of the three branches of the Federal Government, is determined to maintain.  The runoff in Georgia on January 6 will determine if Democrats control the Senate.

Corruption has always been standard operating procedure for Trump and his family.  Even though federal rules prohibit the White House from hosting political events, Trump openly defied these rules when he hosted the Republican National Convention.  As expected, there were no consequences for this illegal action; both Democrats and, especially, the media treated this as if it were perfectly legal.  But this is only one of countless illegal activities Trump (and the Republican party) engages in.  When Democrats Turn Out notes: “Sons Eric and Don Jr. have made over $100 million in real estate deals as heads of the Trump Organization while their dad has been in the White House—skirting conflict of interest rules designed to keep close family members from profiting off their ties to the White House.  The Trump brothers spent almost $250,000 just to take two trips to Dubai in 2017—and all that money came out of taxpayer pockets.  Daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner were brought into the White House despite anti-nepotism laws and raked in up to $135 million in 2019.” (When Democrats Turn Out, August 26, 2020) Scandals such as this continue to be under-reported or ignored altogether by an increasingly complacent mainstream media.  Indeed, one might well make the case that the mainstream media (if such an entity even exists anymore) has utterly failed in its responsibility to accurately report the news objectively.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington provides us with more evidence of Trump’s corruption: “President Trump is the most corrupt president in history.  We counted the ways.  Trump has racked up more than 3,400 conflicts of interest since taking office, which CREW tracked meticulously during the last three and a half years.  That’s an astoundingly high number, and it translates to two conflicts per day.  That’s two reasons each day that the American people cannot trust that the president is making decisions in our interest, rather than his own.  These conflicts include Trump’s 500+ visits to his own properties, 141 members of Congress who have patronized Trump properties, 130 special interest group events at his businesses, 67 foreign trademarks granted to Trump’s business, and many more…New information about Trump’s tax returns shows that his businesses were losing tens of millions every year when Trump was elected president.  He paid only $750 in federal taxes in 2016 and 2017, and reported more than $420 million in debts coming due soon.  The fact that Trump’s businesses are struggling to break even may help explain Trump’s desperate attempts to cash in on the presidency.

“Trump’s financial liabilities—and his failure to divest from his businesses—left him open to influence from those who are willing to give him a financial lifeline.  That includes the banks that carry his debt, the special interests seeking to curry favor with him and the foreign officials who spend money at his hotels.  Trump’s corruption is not a theoretical problem.  Trump’s corruption means that the people who are helping Trump stay afloat may have more sway in our government than we can understand or account for.  Corruption like Trump’s is undemocratic, and it is a national security risk.” (Noah Bookbinder, CREW, October 1, 2020)

The New York Daily News ran an excellent article by two psychologists who discussed some of Trump’s more abhorrent character traits: “1) He breaks norms, rules, and laws with impunity. 2) He lies, on average, 15 times a day. 3) He peddles fake conspiracy theories and irrational magical thinking. 4) He has been accused of sexually predatory behavior by at least 25 women. 5) He blames, scapegoats and gaslights as easily as he breathes. 6) He undermines the vital role of the free press because he abhors oversight and accountability. 7) His lies and anti-scientific advice and intentional downplaying of the coronavirus pandemic has led to countless American deaths. 8) He is callous and cold and unfeeling because he has no conscience. 9) He denigrates and humiliates anyone and everyone in his path. 10) He has no respect for military heroes or renowned experts. 11) He is racist and xenophobic. 12) He incites violence and culture wars. 13) He is obsessed with power and adoration. 14) He is a greedy opportunist. 15) He is corrupt to the core.” (Quoted by Joan McCarter in Daily Kos, September 24, 2020)  These and much more will become obvious during the course of this article.

The two most significant developments in the period covered in this article are the election and the now out-of-control COVID pandemic.  However, since fascism is the defining characteristic of the current Republican party, we will begin by examining the various characteristics of what constitutes fascism and how a totalitarian ideology is a fundamental component of today’s Republican party.


Long before the beginning of his first presidential campaign, Trump had already proven himself to be an unmitigated liar, a fact that I have illustrated over and over again in my previous articles.  One of the more outrageous and easily falsifiable lies occurred when he said of Russian president Vladimir Putin: “I got to know him very well because we were both on 60 Minutes, we were stablemates and we did very well that night.”  In fact, when he said this, he had never met the man: the two did make joint appearances on a single episode, but they were taped separately, Trump in his New York office, and Putin in Moscow.  Despite this obvious lie, virtually no one in his party, the Democratic party, or the mainstream media (constantly referred to by conservatives as “the liberal media” which is the exact reversal  of the truth) or anyone else seems to have made an issue of it.  This particular lie is chicken feed to the more significant and dangerous ones, particularly those dealing with the election and the coronavirus.

I summarized Trump’s willingness to lie in all occasions in the summary of my 2016 article: Lies, Lies, and More Lies (available on my blog).  Here is my summary: “There are so many amusing/alarming/dangerous things this man has said and done that detailing them all would require a huge book—or series of books.  He flip-flops on virtually everything: First he was a Democrat, then a Republican.  He’s for a woman’s right to choose abortion, then he’s against it.  Contradictory stances on taxes, health care, trade and other issues are also well documented.  And yet he has supporters who like him because he ‘tells the truth’ and ‘speaks his mind.’  No, he’s just a self-indulgent crackpot who doesn’t possess anything even remotely resembling a consistent and coherent political philosophy.”  If there were any doubts about this, they were certainly removed during his presidency and his actions after leaving office.  The lies have multiplied to such an extent that it is inconceivable that they would have been ignored in earlier times, when truth and honesty actually mattered in political discourse.

I noted in my first lengthy article on Trump Fascism Comes to America, that the Republican party has gradually morphed from a legitimate political entity to an authoritarian, even totalitarian state.  I first noted that: “In 1933, Adolf Hitler promised the German people that he would make Germany ‘great again.’  Donald Trump’s campaign slogan was frighteningly similar: ‘Make America Great Again.’  Few people noticed the similarities at the time, but his was only the beginning; the situation has gone from bad to worse since 2016.  The very idea of America as a free country is under threats more serious than we’ve ever faced before, and these threats are all coming from the Republican party.

I will now provide a few defining characteristics of what constitutes a fascist state.  In my article America: Can it be Saved?, I provided a quote from Daily Kos which described fourteen traits that detail what fascism encompasses: “1)  Powerful and continuing nationalism;  2) Disdain for human rights;  3) Identification of enemies as a unifying cause;  4) Supremacy of the military;  5) Rampant sexism;  6) Controlled mass media;  7) Obsession with national security;  8) Religion and government intertwined;  9) Corporate power protected;  10) Labor power suppressed;  11) Disdain for intellectuals and the arts;  12) Obsession with crime and punishment;  13) Rampant cronyism and corruption;  14) Fraudulent elections.” (Daily Kos, January 20, 2020)

After this quote, I added: “Every single one of these characteristics of fascism is an integral part of Trump’s administration, made to order.  To this may be added several more significant characteristics.  One of these is governmental secrecy; Republicans want to go about their business without the public knowing what they are doing.  They last thing they want is for the general public to be aware of their actions and to be held accountable for them.  This is why they do their level best to exclude unbiased reporters from their press releases and interviews and hold secret meetings that make critical decisions they know are illegal, unsupported by the American people or, more often than not, both.  A second characteristic is an absolute unwillingness to admit error, coupled with extreme anger sometimes bordering on hysteria whenever they are questioned.  Yet another is one that even Hitler failed to obtain, but that Republicans have nearly accomplished already: Complete control of the courts.  Republican efforts to derail the impeachment trial conclusively demonstrates how successful they have been.”

All of this should be kept in mind as we examine the impeachment trial, as these fascist characteristics have become painfully obvious to everyone except the most fanatical Trump supporters.  The unfortunate reality is that the overwhelming majority of Republican senators now fall under this category.  They are of one mindset: To allow Trump to do anything he wants anytime he wants.  Their view of how politics should be run is that Trump is never to be questioned on anything, and their strategy is simply to attack anyone questioning their dictator-in-chief.

My second article on Trump’s presidency, Trump and the Republican War on Truth further elaborates the fascist theme.  The administration began using the term “alternative facts” to counter any factual evidence they didn’t like.  And, on the rare occasions when these so-called “facts” were disputed, the real facts were labeled “fake news” as if this automatically invalidates the objectively verifiable truth.  Just about every Republican leader has followed Trump’s lead: Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani who now serves as Trump’s sycophantic lawyer famously said during a televised interview that: “facts are not facts.”  Quotes such as this are further proof of a burgeoning fascist party; Republicans want the public to accept everything they say at face value.  It proves the validity of the old truism that a lie, if repeated often enough, eventually comes to be seen as the truth.  The past four years have provided ample evidence in support of this statement.

Fascists want to have one set of rules for themselves and another for their opponents.  In my article: America: Can it be Saved?, I compared Trump’s impeachment trial with that of president Bill Clinton back in the 1990s: “There are two critical differences other than the obvious fact that Clinton was never a threat to our country and the world.  One of these is the fact that Clinton apologized and promised never to do it again.  Trump, who never once has admitted to being in error, is unapologetic and repeatedly insists that he will do the same thing again.  Republicans thought that Clinton having an affair outside of marriage was a call for impeachment, whereas Trump’s trampling of the Constitution and the laws of the land are perfectly okay—because he is a Republican.  This brings us to the second point, namely which of these presidential offenses poses a greater danger to our country: A president having an extra-marital affair or a president who colludes with foreign governments in order to obtain information on a political opponent in order to win the next election (along with dozens of other equally egregious offenses).  The answer should be obvious.  The impeachment farce proved beyond any doubt that the Republican party has no legal or moral compass guiding their thoughts and actions.  Further proof is seen in the fact that fourteen of the Republicans that voted to impeach, convict and remove Bill Clinton voted to acquit Donald Trump.  They are party hacks, nothing more.  Here is a quote from one of them, Jerry Moran of Kansas, who said during Clinton’s trial: “I choose to be on the side that says no person is above the law; that this is a nation of laws, not men; that telling the truth matters; and that we should expect our public officials to conduct themselves in compliance with the highest ethical standards.”  Other Republicans made similar statements about the law—when attacking Clinton.  They have said nothing of the kind during Trump’s reign of error and terror, even though the charges were infinitely more serious; most treated the impeachment trial as a joke.  If this isn’t hypocrisy, then what is?  Hypocrisy is another key component of totalitarian regimes.

There are many other examples of how the Republican party has become a fascist organization.  Much of this was evident across the nation as blacks peacefully protested the killing of George Floyd, which occurred in Minneapolis.  Daily Kos tells of one example: “Donald Trump’s beta run for flooding a city with armed unmarked, unidentified forces took place in Washington, D.C., right alongside his botched Bible photo op that sent his approval ratings plummeting.  Now Trump is executing the next phase of his totalitarian fantasy in Portland, Oregon, a western city that was bound to attract far less press coverage than power plays in the nation’s central media corridor between New York and Washington, D.C.  This time around, Trump and his Homeland Security chief Chad Wolf have not only deployed unmarked forces, they’re also snatching people off the streets without cause and effectively interrogating them.  Take Mark Pettibone, a 29-year-old, who was kidnapped by these secret Gestapo-like forces while he was walking home from a peaceful protest in the wee hours Wednesday morning.  Though he had done nothing wrong, men in green military fatigues jumped out of an unmarked van, descended on him, apprehended him, drove him to a federal courthouse, then eventually read him his Miranda rights and asked if he would waive those rights to answer some questions.  When he said he wouldn’t, they let him go.  No explanation.  No identification.  Pettibone doesn’t even know if he was officially arrested because it was all such a shady mess of a deal.” (Kerry Eleveld, Daily Kos, July 17, 2020)

One of the worst manifestations of the fascist ideology that dominates the Republican party today is seen in the rise of white nationalism, racism and violence.  These various hate groups have become increasingly bolder as Republicans attempt to shift the blame for violence at Black Lives Matter protests away from the fascist groups, who are unquestionably responsible for the violence at these events to the peaceful protesters.  It is a classic example of “blame the victim,” and it is ubiquitous in today’s Republican leaders.  We will see this over and over again in this article.  One of the worst of these terrorist groups is the so-called “Proud Boys.”

The Proud Boys have made their presence known in Portland and other cities by inciting riots and provoking violence.  And the Portland police are either nowhere to be found, or else watching from the sidelines.  This is a scenario that has been repeated across the country.  As Daily Kos noted: “The police in Portland, Oregon, always seem to come up with handy excuses for failing to protect the citizens of the city from violent far-right thugs—but when it comes to whacking and arresting leftist protesters, they’re regular Johnnies-on-the-spot, replete with readily recited but factually dubious (if not utterly groundless) excuses for making arrests.  Just ask Demetria Hester.

“After a weekend in which violent Proud Boys—the vast majority of whom live elsewhere—descended on Portland’s downtown once again and, for the umpteenth time, provoked large violent brawls while police stood by and watched.  It’s quite clear: The long-established Portland Police Bureau ethos of defending far-right extremists and victimizing their opponents remains fully intact.” (David Neiwert, Daily Kos, August 24, 2020)

But Portland was only the beginning.  Following the first outbreak of violence, Trump announced he would send his paramilitary secret police to violate protesters constitutional rights in other cities across the country.  Demand Progress expands on this blatantly fascistic terrorist tactic on American citizens: “It’s horrific to tell you that we now have secret police in the United States—but it’s the truth.  Federal officers from the U.S. Marshals Service, Customs and Border Patrol, and other agencies of the Department of Homeland Security are operating in Portland without any identification.  Trump’s goons are grabbing protesters off the street without charge, without reading them their rights.  They’re shooting tear gas and flash bang grenades at protesters, including a group of mothers who stood guard over the weekend to stop the federal violence.  Oregon’s leaders have demanded that Trump and the DHS withdraw these forces.  Trump has refused. Instead he’s vowing to send his secret police to attack civilians in cities across America.  Even worse: Trump refused to promise to respect the result of the November election despite being asked multiple times in a Fox News interview on Sunday.  I don’t have to tell you how alarming it is for Trump to say that, especially when he’s using actual secret police in our cities.” (Robert Cruickshank, Demand Progress, July 21, 2020)

The situation got progressively worse afterwards.  Protesters were assaulted by local police as well as federal agents with increasingly brutal violence.  These resulted in countless broken bones, head injuries, and brain trauma.  Medics sent in to assist the injured were themselves teargassed, pepper sprayed and shot with rubber bullets.  All of this because people had the courage to protest against racism and police brutality.  This is yet another example of how totalitarian regimes operate.

At this point, I must introduce antifa, which is an abbreviated form of anti-fascist.  This is a movement that recognizes the danger posed by the fascists in the Republican party and is actively involved in protest movements.  They actively confront fascists at their rallies, but generally do not engage in violence.  They have become the favorite whipping boy of the far right and misrepresent them at every opportunity, who seek to demonize them as a terrorist organization.  By doing this, they justify their violent actions against them (and other left-leaning organizations).  In fact, there is no single “antifa” organization, and its purpose is not to cause violence, but to prevent it.

All dictatorships rely on misrepresenting their opponents.  Antifa is a case in point.  Trump, Barr and others continuously try to label them as a violent group, ignoring the fact that when there are confrontations, it is invariably the fascists who attack their opponents rather than the other way around.  Antifa is constantly referred to as a “terrorist” organization by the far-right, even though their protests are invariably peaceful.  The right-wing strategy is to send in unidentified federal police who then engage in physical violence, kidnapping, and other strategies to break up the protests.  Since the federal police wear no identifying uniforms, badges, or anything else, it is next to impossible to identify any of them by name.  This makes it easier for Republicans to blame Antifa for the violence.  Of course, when white supremacists, Ku Klux Klansmen and other hate groups have rallies, federal police are never called in.  Clearly, there is a double standard at work here, and can only be understood in terms of the increasingly fascist state the United States has become under Republican leadership.

Christopher Wray, the director of the FBI, testified at the House Homeland Security Committee that antifa is: “not a group or an organization.  It’s a movement or an ideology.  Daily Kos adds: “This was a direct contradiction of Donald Trump’s insistence that: “the United States of America will be declaring ANTIFA a terrorist organization.’  So naturally, in the alternative universe occupied by Fox News—where similar demands have become essential components of the right’s hysterical campaign of eliminationist demonization of the movement—this reality was immediately glossed over to emphasize one of the predicates of Wray’s remarks: namely, his acknowledgment that antifa is indeed ‘a real thing.’

“The headline at the Fox News website shouted: ‘FBI Director Wray: ‘Antifa is a real thing,’ FBI has cases against people identifying with movement,’ adding: ‘It’s not a fiction,’ Wray says.’ The story went on to focus on claims that antifascists pose a serious domestic-terrorism threat.
Wray added that the FBI had undertaken ‘any number of properly predicated investigations into what we would describe as violent anarchist extremists.’  None of the Republicans (or Fox reporters) present seemed to apprehend the importance of Wray’s insistence that antifa is not an organization, since the FBI as a matter of standard policy has always insisted that it does not investigate ideologies, rather individuals or groups engaged in criminal activity…Even at its most questionable, the antifascist movement is and always has been comprised of Americans who mostly believe in the same freedom of speech, as well as a multitude of other civil rights, as everyone else—but also are aware that fascist organizing is a potent threat to each of those freedoms.  Moreover, even if you disagree with them, these are constitutionally protected political beliefs.  The drive to deprive them of their civil rights by declaring them ‘terrorists’—being fomented both by Trump and Attorney General William Barr—is a looming travesty of historic proportions.” (David Neiwert, Daily Kos, September 17, 2020)

Common sense should tell anyone that, since antifa means “anti-fascist,” the people who are against them must be pro-fascist.  Why is this so difficult for people to understand?  For sure the media, in its determination to cater to the Republican party, never points out this obvious fact.

Yes, there are a few leftists who have committed vandalism and violent acts.  But Trump’s stormtroopers are not arresting and injuring the violent few, but the peaceful many.  And therein lies a critical distinction.

If Portland were not enough, Trump even made plans to send his Federal police (stormtroopers) to Milwaukee in time for the Democratic National Convention.

There is one hero in the disaster in Portland, and that is Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.  Unlike the overwhelming majority of Democrats, Wheeler isn’t afraid to put the blame where it belongs, on Trump’s shoulders.  Here is his word-for-word speech from CNN: “President Trump, for four years we’ve had to live with you and your racist attacks on Black people.  We learned early about your sexist attitudes towards women.  We’ve had to endure clips of you mocking a disabled man.  We’ve had to listen to your anti-democratic attacks on journalists.  We’ve read your tweets slamming private citizens to the point of receiving death threats, and we’ve listened to your attacks on immigrants.  We’ve listened to you label Mexicans ‘rapists.’  We’ve heard you say that John McCain wasn’t a hero because he was a prisoner of war.  And now you’re attacking Democratic mayors and the very institutions of democracy that have served this nation well since its founding.  Do you seriously wonder, Mr. President, why this is the first time in decades that America has seen this level of violence?  It’s you who have created the hate and the division.  It’s you who have not found a way to say the names of Black people killed by police officers even as people in law enforcement have, and it’s you who claimed that white supremacists are good people.  Your campaign of fear is as anti-democratic as anything you’ve done to create hate and vitriol in our beautiful country.  You’ve tried to divide us more than any other figure in modern history, and now you want me to stop the violence that you helped create.  What America needs is for you to be stopped so we can come back together as one America while recognizing that we must demand that all people, Black, brown, white, every color from every political persuasion, pull together and hold all people accountable in stopping racism and violence.” This is one of the best summaries of Trump’s failures and evil I’ve ever come across.  Not that it will have any effect on Trump or his rabid followers, of course.

Tennessee Republicans addressed the protest issue in typical totalitarian terms, as Daily Kos reports: “Tennessee isn’t making a big deal about it. During a three day special session, the Republican-dominated state legislature passed a new bill last week without making the usual announcement, and Republican governor Bill Lee ‘quietly’ signed it into law on Friday.  But despite the way the bill was tiptoed across the finish line, the results are anything but small—because they could make many forms of protest illegal in Tennessee, and threaten protesters with the loss of voting rights.  Since the First Amendment includes ‘the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances’ it might seem that turning protests into a felony would be not just difficult, but unconstitutional.  But Tennessee Republicans aren’t really saying that protesters can’t protest—they’re just making sure that they don’t do it anywhere people can see them or hear them.  Or else.

“As the Associated Press reports, the bill does a number of things, including: 1) Institutes a mandatory 45 day sentence for ‘rioting’ 2) Increases fines for blocking highways 3) requires that protesters pay for any damage to state property 4) makes assaulting a ‘first responder’ a Class C felony with a 90 day mandatory sentence.

“Most of these changes seem to be addressing events that supposedly occurred in other states, and which have been at the center of a ‘cities in chaos’ theme pushed by Donald Trump and Fox News.  But the biggest change in the bill is that makes ‘illegally camping’ on state property a Class E felony.  What constitutes ‘illegal camping?’  That’s left up to ‘the discretion of judges.’  This charge was formerly a misdemeanor, generally resulting in a small fine.  But under the new law, any protesters staying in the area around the capitol in Nashville could face up to six years in jail.  More than that, Tennessee is one of the few states where committing a felony removes the right to vote.  So anyone who pitches a tent on state land without permission, or who stays in an area past a curfew, or fails to leave promptly when ordered, could find themselves permanently locked out of democracy.

“This last part isn’t theoretical.  It’s aimed directly at mostly young, mostly Black protesters who have regularly appeared outside the state capitol in Nashville in the weeks following the police murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.  This bill is intended to remove those protesters from the sight of Tennessee legislators.  Gov. Lee defended the bill as being necessary because of a damage at a state courthouse back in May, even though no such event has happened in the three months of protests that have followed.  How this new law will be enforced is unclear, but it appears to offer numerous opportunities for abuse that would result in protesters facing mandatory sentences, long jail terms, and loss of voting rights—even while being completely peaceful.

“The intention behind all this is crystal clear: Republicans are doing all they can to build an authoritarian police state in which anyone daring to question the government—the Republican’s government—will be treated as enemies of the state.  Trump has referred to the Black Lives Matter movement as a “Marxist group” that wants to destroy the country; he infamously invited Mark and Patricia McCloskey—who pulled guns on Black Lives Matter protesters who appeared outside their Missouri home—to speak at the Republican National Convention.  He and other Republicans have made similarly ridiculous statements about Antifa and other groups.  It’s the old “a lie repeated often enough comes to be seen as the truth” syndrome, and Republicans play it well.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, August 22, 2020)

The worst aspect of this is that a disturbing number of Americans are buying into those lies.  Daily Kos reports: “Republicanism is now nothing more than a cult.  That’s the takeaway message of a new CBS News poll splitting out Republican voter sentiments from those of the rest of the nation.  Taken together, America’s registered voters now say America is not better off than four years ago by an overwhelming 65%-35% margin.  Republican voters, however, believe it is—and by a 75% to 25% spread.

“Republicans believe the United States’ battle against COVID-19 is ‘going well’, also by a 3-to-1 margin; among all voters, 6 in 10 say it is in fact going ‘badly.’  Republicans believe COVID-19 deaths are being exaggerated; a plurality of all voters believe it is being undercounted.  And, most troubling at all, Republicans are split from the country in whether the now 180,000 United States COVID-19 deaths and rising are ‘acceptable.’

“Republicans say the number of deaths has been ‘acceptable,’ 57-43%.  Other voting groups believe 180,000 pandemic deaths are not acceptable, and by very wide margins.  Even a sociopath would know to at least lie, when asked whether the death of 180,000 people was a reasonable and acceptable outcome.  For these voters, however, protecting conservatism, even crooked and incompetent conservatism, from the consequences of its failures is all-consuming.  And it continues to break a very large number of brains.

“What we’re seeing here is a segment of America that has divorced itself from reality—a now-cult that simply denies any news, from economic collapse to mass deaths, that might cause Dear Pasty Leader to look bad.  The cult’s extent can be gleaned from the 82% of Republicans who, when asked why they believe America is better off than four years ago, cite their own ‘confidence in Donald Trump.’  That’s it.  America is doing ‘better’ because Donald Trump is in charge, and he says so, and so the same Fox News-primed cult that sent themselves into a froth over ebola, over Benghazi, and over a dozen or more conspiracy theories about the nation’s first Black president and first woman to be nominated, say that America is ‘better’ now.  Even a pandemic non-response that the rest of the world finds horrifyingly incompetent is in fact Good, with 180,000 deaths are an ‘acceptable’ price to pay in exchange for the nebulous whatever Trump and his allies are doing inside Republican voter heads.

“Modern Republicanism is, to repeat, at present a fascist movement.  It is willing to forgive mass death as price for ideological purity.  It is not just willing to lie about everything, all the time, to protect the movement’s floundering ‘leaders,’ but aggressively purges those who refuse to embrace the lies themselves.  Lawbreaking is considered good when those of the movement do it; laws elsewhere are tightened to more vigorously punish movement opponents.  It is obsessed with the national purity of the white, especially over immigrants, and demands not just that immigrants be blocked, but punished.  That the police state be made more aggressive, not less.  That lives matter only in accordance with Dear Ignorant Crooked Leader.

“To self-identified Republicans, 180,000 pandemic deaths are ‘acceptable’ for whatever reasons can be lazily mustered.  Perhaps it is a hoax; perhaps they were all old, and vulnerable; perhaps 180,000 people would have died of something, so what’s the point of keeping track.  But it will not be different when the numbers top 250,000.  The numbers in the polls will barely change.  There are Republicans, and there are Americans, and the two no longer share the same reality.  The former will do nothing, no matter which laws Trump might break to stay in power or which lies he might tell to brush off the next 100,000 deaths.  The willingly corrupt Senate proves that much.” (Hunter, Daily Kos, August 23, 2020) Clearly, these numbers are “acceptable” since they disproportionally affect blacks and other minorities.

The next episode involves a 17 year old militia member named Kyle Rittenhouse who shot and killed two people and wounded another at two different locations.  Daily Kos ran another article specifically focusing on Rittenhouse; the article conclusively illustrates that today’s Republicans are not conservatives, but fascists: “It was inevitable that the conservative movement would rally to the defense of the latest white, conservative terrorist.  To an outside eye, Kyle Rittenhouse would appear to be a pro-Trump, law enforcement-obsessed white vigilante who specifically traveled to the site of a Black Lives Matter protest with an illegal assault rifle because he believed there might be protesters there who required murdering—to the extent that the police would not themselves be able to murder them all.  To prominent conservative pundits, Kyle Rittenhouse appears to be—the exact same thing.  But in their eyes, that makes him a hero.

Republican, Trump-based conservatism, of which Rittenhouse was a devoted member, is a fascist movement.  And one of the defining features of a fascist movement is an eagerness to celebrate redemptive, cleansing, or necessary violence; that is, violence against the movement’s enemies, always defended as now-required because the normal laws of the state have not been able to contain the hated other, necessitating a more aggressive, and more definitive, violent purge.  From Trump-supporting pipe bombers to armed capitol-storming militias to far-right militant street fights and murderers, the Rittenhouse murders are a continuation of a now-familiar campaign of ‘necessary’ violence against enemies of Trump and Republicans who are unironically condemned as antifascists.  There is nothing new here—but with each incident, Trump’s own allies are more insistent that violence is becoming more necessary, and more justified. 

Reading from a now-familiar script, white nationalism-promoting Fox host Tucker Carlson was quick to set the theme.  It was perhaps unfortunate that Rittenhouse would do such a thing, Carlson mewled—in the same dull tone of voice that Bill O’Reilly once used to half-distance himself from the eventual murder of a Kansas doctor who O’Reilly had devoted himself to targeting with rabid accusations and declarations—but you cannot exactly blame the child, said Carlson, for thinking he ‘had to maintain order’ when he saw that ‘no one else would.’

“By this morning, and after the death of another of Rittenhouse’s victims, the defense became more specific. Regardless of his intent or actions, Rittenhouse was justified in killing those who attempted to detain him once he had shot his first victim.  It was not just understandable, but the proper course of action.  Those who attempted to stop him had it coming. 

The claim was echoed by conservative blusterer Erick Erickson and by the Trump White House’s most significant architect of white supremacist policies, Stephen Miller.  ‘Do not use a skateboard to attack a man packing a rifle,’ a mocking tweet retweeted by Miller declared.  It refers to a bystander, now dead, who forfeited his life after attempting to stop Rittenhouse from further violence with nothing more than a skateboard to use as a shield against the gunman’s bullets.

“In prior shootings we were told that burlier-than-average schoolchildren should be taught to ‘rush’ shooters to try to reduce the total number of dead.  This time around we are told that rushing an active shooter is adequate legal grounds for the shooter to kill in ‘self-defense.’  It is because the killer is allied with conservatism.  That is the only reason.  That is why archconservative pundits are barking that they want the eager murderer Rittenhouse ‘as my president’ after conducting such heroic killings.  If Rittenhouse were the one shot and killed after waving his weapon at protesters, each voice would instead be demanding vengeance, and a militarized response.  It takes no time or effort to switch from one to the other.

“Trump is the head not of a conservative movement, but a fascist one.  There can be no plausible dispute about this after ticking off each of the markers of historic fascism.  It’s the celebration of necessary or redemptive violence that’s ideologically inherent to fascism—the propping up of acts of vigilantism and terrorism against fascism’s targeted enemies, acts deemed good and reasonable and perhaps the only remaining means, laws be damned, of maintaining ‘order.’  There will be more, both before and after the election.  The defenses of violence are already twisting, in Tucker’s own speech, into notions that it is only natural that vigilante violence will occur if the state is not willing to properly commit the violence itself.  The conservative movement intends to broadcast the ‘need’ for such violence as an escalating message.  If Tom Cotton cannot rouse the military to suppress the other, the need to maintain order will fall on young Trump supporters willing to do it themselves.” (Hunter, Daily Kos, August 27, 2020) Making such criminally stupid and dangerous remarks would have, in earlier times, have led to his immediate firing.  Tucker Carlson obviously believes that a murderous armed vigilante stalking people on the streets gets to be judge, jury and executioner.  That is how far Republicans have sunk.  And that is why their party is now a fascist organization, and not a conservative movement.  Their every word and action proves this.

The Republican message on this issue is crystal clear: If a murderer goes on a rampage, don’t do anything to stop him—if he is known to be a Republican.  And always remember: Trump was the self-proclaimed “Law and order” president.

The Republican’s idea of what constitutes law and order was again displayed when a Trump lawyer announced the strategy he would employ at the Rittenhouse’s trial: “Kyle Rittenhouse is charged with first-degree reckless homicide and first-degree intentional homicide after shooting three people, killing two of them, at a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last week.  You’d think that would be his lawyer’s main concern, but go figure—the new far-right celebrity has a lawyer who’s interested in turning a misdemeanor charge for possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18 into a Second Amendment case.  Attorney John Pierce of Pierce Bainbridge, who has also represented Rudy Giuliani and former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, plans to argue that Rittenhouse, at 17, could be part of the ‘well regulated militia’ of the Second Amendment.  It’s a blatant attempt to distract from the people Rittenhouse murdered, to make his case about gun rights (for homicidal 17-year-olds) rather than deadly violence.

“MSNBC legal analyst Danny Cevallos writes that the defense is unlikely to work on a legal level, but the fact that Pierce is getting attention for the gun charge at all is a win for the distraction effort.  And with Donald Trump defending Rittenhouse from the White House—part of his ongoing refusal to denounce violence from his supporters—and many others on the far right arguing that Rittenhouse was justified, Pierce has plenty of distractions.

“Let’s be clear: Kyle Rittenhouse shot three people.  He killed two of them.  He did this while hanging with a militia group that included at least one person who has promoted white supremacist propaganda.  Trying to turn his crimes into a question of whether a 17-year-old can carry an AR-15-style rifle is outrageous—and totally par for the course for the far right.” (Laura Clawson, Daily Kos, September 1, 2020)

Republican’s attempts to downplay the numbers of people who have died because of their (the Republicans) failure to address the coronavirus is exactly like the skinheads and others who likewise insist that the number of Jews killed by the Nazis in the Second World War was also exaggerated.  Fascism is fascism, whether it be in Nazi Germany, or in today’s Republican party.

I will end this chapter with a quote from Josef Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister: “There was no point in seeking to convert the intellectuals.  For intellectuals would never be converted and would anyway always yield to the stronger and this will always be ‘the man in the street.’  Arguments must therefore be crude, clear and forcible, and appeal to emotions and instincts, not the intellect.  Truth was unimportant and utterly subordinate to tactics and psychology.” Goebbels’ strategy has been adopted to the letter by today’s Republican party.  And that is why they must be called fascists; it’s not a question of insulting them, it’s simply calling them what they are.

There was a time, not long ago, when Republican leaders distanced themselves from the racists, fascists and others in their party.  Now, these people are the leaders.


There are countless examples of Republican hypocrisy and fanaticism, many of which I have covered in this and other articles.  One of these concerns the Supreme Court and Republican Senator Mitch McConnell’s alternating views about how nominees should be handled.  In a February 2016 report, CBS News quoted McConnell saying : ”The Frist fairness rule guarantees up-or-down votes for every circuit court or Supreme Court nomination, regardless of which party controls the Senate or the White House…It guarantees every president that their judicial nominees will get through committee and get a vote on the Senate floor.”  This was said during the presidency of Republican George W. Bush.

However, when Supreme Court chief justice Antonin Scalia died in March 2016, McConnell suddenly changed his views, knowing that Democratic president Barack Obama would nominate someone he wouldn’t like: “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice.  Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”  Even though Republicans had for years suggested they would consider Garland as a possible Democratic nominee (Garland is far from being a left-winger; he is in fact a very moderate Democrat), they now steadfastly refused to hold a hearing or vote on his nomination, insisting that the next president should be the one to nominate a candidate.  So the position went unfilled for the final ten months of Obama’s presidency.  When Trump became president, he immediately nominated right-wing Neil Gorsich for the position, and he was quickly approved by the Republican-led Senate.

McConnell reverted to his earlier view when justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on September 17, 2020.  Here is Mitch McConnell in 2016: “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice.  Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”  Now here is Mitch McConnell one hour after news of RBG’s passing: “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”  It took Trump eight days to nominate arch conservative Amy Coney Barrett to the position, and McConnell managed to get her approved a mere thirty days after her nomination.  So much for the wishes of “the American people.” And so much for Mitch McConnell’s trustworthiness.

Other Republicans also reversed their stances.  Lindsay Graham in particular proved (again) what a consummate liar he is, as reported by People for the American Way: “Sen. Lindsey Graham in 2016, as he was supporting the Republican theft of the Supreme Court seat President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill (with nearly 8 months to go before Election Day): ‘I want you to use my words against me.  If there’s a Republican president [elected] in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.  And you could use my words against me, and you’d be absolutely right.’  Lindsey Graham NOW: ‘I will support President @realDonaldTrump in any effort to move forward regarding the recent vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ginsburg.’” (People for the American Way, September 21, 2020) At this point one must wonder: Are there any Republicans left who care anything at all about keeping their word?

The same McConnell Senate that continuously denied assisting anyone during the pandemic suddenly expedited the process of affirming yet another right-wing justice to the Supreme Court.  As Common Cause described the situation: “Let’s face it: There just isn’t enough time for the Senate to hold a full, rigorous vetting process for a new Supreme Court justice on top of this country’s more pressing needs.  But just hours after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing, Mitch McConnell confirmed that he’ll rush to hold a vote on President Trump’s nominee anyway.  Never mind that he has pushed COVID-19 relief aside for nearly 6 months.  Never mind that he looks less and less likely to pass a bill that’ll fund local governments, election security, and the U.S. Postal Service.  Never mind that despite a nationwide reckoning on racism and police violence—the McConnell Senate hasn’t lifted a finger to make our country more equitable.
Mitch McConnell has cast aside all other priorities—and is instead laser-focused on ramming through a SCOTUS nominee and shifting the court in an ultra-right, pro-corporate direction.  But in order to do so, Senate Republicans will have to toss out their constitutional duty to hold a rigorous and transparent confirmation process for Trump’s selection.
Vetting a nominee takes time—reviewing thousands of documents and cases, in addition to a thorough FBI background check.  There’s simply not enough time to do that properly in this partisan environment, with so many other priorities to address.  Plus, with the presidential election already underway—absentee ballots have been mailed in several states and early voting has begun—the Senate should respect the voices of ‘We the People’ by letting us decide who we want to nominate the next Supreme Court justice.” (Devon Nir, Common Cause, September 25, 2020)

All this proves conclusively how the Republican party operates: One set of rules for them, and another for Democrats.  Again, there was little mention of their obvious hypocrisy in the mainstream news media.

Democrats nervously waited to see who Trump would nominate to replace Ginsburg.  They didn’t have long to wait: Amy Coney Barrett was quickly approved by the Republican Senate.  She is as extreme as they come, even going to far as to support “separate but equal” accommodations based on race, apparently viewing the time of racial segregation as the “good old days.”  She also refused to comment on whether Trump had the right to postpone the election (clearly he doesn’t).  She wouldn’t even say whether or not the sitting president must commit to a peaceful transferral of power!  Of course, since the Republican party is now a fascist organization, no dissenting voices were heard from any one of them about this dangerous nominee—indeed, they unanimously approved the nomination.  Again, it’s not a question of competence or honesty, but simply packing the courts in a power grab.

Barrett has also made no less than five speeches for the ultra right-wing organization Alliance Defending Freedom, a group I have covered in previous articles.  Suffice it to say that this group is, among other things, extremely homophobic and has been classified as a hate group.  During her confirmation hearing, Barrett wasn’t even able to name the five freedoms guaranteed in the first amendment.  In light of the countless protests across the country, it was singularly significant that she was unable to name the right to protest.  This alone should have been enough to disqualify her, but much more has emerged: She is a climate change denier (of course), she says the legacy of Roe v. Wade is “barbaric,” and she denied that voter suppression is illegal in federal law.  In other words, a typical right-wing extremist.  And one who doesn’t, despite her law degree, understand the United States Constitution.

Barrett made every effort to be elusive during the confirmation process, but her answers left no doubt that, if necessary, she would be there if Trump tried to deny the election results—which as time would show, is exactly what he did.

And of course, there was the usual dishonest committee shenanigans when Senator Lindsay Graham, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, broke committee rules to send Barrett to the Supreme Court.  He waited until no Democrats were present before taking a vote to send her nomination to the full Senate.  The Senate rule states that at least two minority members must be present before a vote can be taken.  But when have rules applied to Republicans?  This is a typically sleazy strategy from Republicans who will stop at nothing to attain total control of our country.

Data For Progress provides us with a short history of how Republicans have illegally and unethically managed to obtain a 6-3 majority vote on the Supreme Court: “Republican Senators, led by Mitch McConnell, just completed the heist of the century: They’ve secured a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court, even though Republican presidents have won the popular vote just once in the past 32 years.  A 6-3 court is an existential threat to American democracy. Even before Kavanaugh and Barrett took the court, Republican appointees have been dead-set on stripping the rights of working people to participate in our democracy.  In 2008, Barack Obama was swept into the White House in a landslide by a popular movement of small-dollar donations, made online.  In 2010, the Supreme Court responded by unleashing unlimited corporate spending on elections with the Citizens United decision.  In 2012, Obama overcame the dark money assault and was re-elected.  So in 2013, the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act with the Shelby v. Holder decision.  Then, in 2016 Mitch McConnell refused to even hold hearings on Merrick Garland, Trump took the White House without popular support, and Mitch and Trump jammed 3 new Justices onto the court.

“Just last night, Mitch said it out loud: ‘By tomorrow night, we’ll have a new member of the United States Supreme Court.  A lot of what we’ve done over the last four years will be undone sooner or later by the next election.  They won’t be able to do much about this for a long time to come.’  A 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court can stop almost anything Democrats come up with―climate legislation, voting rights legislation, reproductive justice, Barrett has even suggested that Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional.” (Sean McElwee, Data For Progress, October 26, 2020)

On the night before Barrett was confirmed, Minority leader Chuck Schumer had some telling words for his Republican “colleagues:” “And I want to be very clear with my Republican colleagues.  You may win this vote.  And Amy Coney Barrett may become the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.  But you will never, never get your credibility back…I know you think that this will eventually blow over.  But you are wrong.  The American people will never forget this blatant act of bad faith.  They will never forget your complete disregard for their voices for the people standing in line right now voting their choice not your choice.”

Daily Kos adds: “The hypocrisy of Republicans to refuse President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee some eight months before an election, but to grant Trump’s confirmation eight days before an election in which over 65 million people have already voted, is utterly enraging.” (Amanda McKay, Daily Kos, October 27, 2020) In addition, Barrett’s appointment also pointed to possible court rulings on the election, an enormous conflict of interests since the SCOTUS case of 2009 held that justices must recuse themselves if their “impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”  Not that Republicans are concerned about such things, of course.

There is another aspect to Barrett’s confirmation that was brought up by CREW: “You may not have heard of Leonard Leo, an informal advisor to President Trump on judicial nominations, but he has been closely involved in picking all three of Trump’s Supreme Court justices.  He also helps oversee a constellation of anonymously-funded dark money groups that have spent millions in recent years to promote Trump’s judicial picks.  That arrangement already raised ethics questions, but a recent CREW discovery has raised even more alarming red flags.  Leo is the sole trustee of a shadowy group that raised $80 million in 2018.  That increases the amount of secret money known to be tied to Leo—by a lot.  For more on this discovery, read CREW’s new investigation.

“So what happened to this massive pot of money?  Where did it come from?  Did the group spend its millions boosting the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett?  The fact that we don’t know illustrates the problem with powerful, anonymously funded interest groups in our political system.  And it exposes just how unjust it is that a few wealthy individuals or major corporations can pour millions into reshaping the highest court in the land—and get their way.

Of course, dark money is probably not the only reason that the Supreme Court is on your mind this week.  Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Court—a rushed process tainted by her failure to promise to recuse from election-related cases and her unwillingness to speak about basic legal principles that might contradict the president—was a serious blow to our democratic system.” (Noah Bookbinder, CREW, October 30, 2020)

All this is necessary if we are to understand Republican strategy to win an acquittal for Trump during his first impeachment trial.  Let us now examine why an impeachment was necessary and how the trial was a complete and total sham and a disgrace to our country.

At the risk of repeating myself from my earlier articles, I will briefly focus on some of the crimes Donald Trump has committed while president.  The excellent book: The Constitution Demands It was published before Trump’s first impeachment trial and lists no less than eight grounds for impeachment:  “1) Accepting unconstitutional foreign and domestic government emoluments.  2) Conspiring to solicit and then conceal illegal foreign assistance for his presidential campaign.  3) Obstructing justice.  4) Directing law enforcement to investigate and prosecute political adversaries and critics for improper purposes.  5) Abusing the pardon power.  6) Advocating illegal violence and undermining equal protection of the laws.  7) Reckless endangerment by threatening nuclear war, and 8) Undermining the freedom of the press.” (The Constitution Demands it by Ron Fein, John Bonifaz, and Ron Clements.  Published 2018 by Melville House publishing)

By any standard, these are exceptionally serious charges; nothing comparable to them has ever been leveled at an American president before.  Yet, Republicans chose to band together, ignore all the facts and defend Trump no matter what came out at the trial.  Again, this is a typical fascist strategy: Never under any circumstances agree that the enemy (which is how they view Democrats) might possibly be right, and never ever admit error.  The impeachment trial was a monument to fascist strategy.  As proof, consider what Republicans did to corrupt the legal process.

In any trial, jurors are supposed to be impartial and render their decision based exclusively on the evidence presented.  If they cannot judge the case fairly, they will not be allowed to serve on the case.  This is the way it has always worked: Until Trump’s impeachment trial.  Senate Republicans openly defied the law and announced that they would not be impartial jurors.  Rather than recuse themselves from the proceedings as they should have, they were quite vocal in saying they would support Trump no matter what.  In other words, the jurors in this trial announced their decision before the trial had even commenced!  Again, there were few dissenting voices when these public announcements were made.

If this were not enough, Republicans further corrupted the judicial process when Mitch McConnell announced that no witnesses would be called.  Despite the fact that there are no legal precedents for such an action, no questions of the legality of such an unprecedented legal violation were raised.  Clearly, McConnell and his cohorts didn’t want an honest trial to take place, one in which witnesses might actually present evidence against the president.  McConnell’s refusal to follow the law is in and of itself an indictment of him and his party.  McConnell himself should have been immediately impeached for this flagrantly illegal and unprecedented mockery of the judicial process.

In my article America: Can it be Saved? I elaborated on this mockery of justice by McConnell and Congressional Republicans: “They have no interest in the truth; if they were convinced of Trump’s innocence, they would have welcomed witness testimonies.  In the entire history of the U.S. Senate, there have been fifteen completed impeachment trials.  In every single case, witnesses were called to testify.  Why have the rules suddenly been changed for Trump?  Clearly, Republicans have no problem whatever in tossing out legal precedents that go back to our nation’s founding.  Let us call these people what they are: Traitors.

“Imagine the following scenario: Someone is called to jury duty and is told that he/she must decide on the defendant’s guilt or innocence without hearing the testimony of a single witness.  Possibly incriminating documents will not be allowed as evidence.  Jurors are not even questioned if they are biased one way or another.  Some of them have even made their biases public.  By what stretch of the imagination would the result of such a trial be considered legitimate?  Yet this scenario is exactly what has transpired in the mock trial of Donald Trump.  This is the very essence of what is meant by the term ‘kangaroo court.’…Mitch McConnell was even able to restrict Democratic House Impeachment managers to 24 hours of testimony to Senate jurors—in the dead of night!  If this eleventh hour rule change were not enough, he also refused to allow any evidence from the House of Representatives to be presented—unless it was first accepted by a line-item vote in the Senate.  He also went to unprecedented lengths to keep the public from having access to the trial.”

The facts are obvious: Everyone, including Republican congressmen, knows that Trump is guilty of multiple legal and moral crimes.  The senators decided long before the trial began that they would rig it in Trump’s favor—the Constitution be damned.  The last thing they and Trump’s lawyers wanted was to hear evidence, so they changed their focus from defending Trump to insisting that the trial was somehow unnecessary and shouldn’t even take place!  This proves that they are aware of Trump’s crimes and that a trial would expose them for all to see.

Many of the Republican senators seemed bored by the proceedings; Rand Paul spent most of his time doing crossword puzzles, and other Republicans, in defiance of accepted procedures, left their seats to wander the halls of Congress.  Of course, there were no consequences for their doing this.  Obviously, most of these people took the trial about as seriously as they took their oath to administer “impartial” justice.

Yet another example of Republican dishonesty and hypocrisy was seen in the Republican response to the Democrats 111 page brief that laid out in clear detail the reasons for Trump’s guilt.  One of the most ridiculous claims was that presidential impeachment: “subverts the will of the people.”  This makes no sense whatever, especially since they made no such argument when Democrat Bill Clinton was impeached.  Again, we see one set of rules for Democrats, and another for Republicans.

Trump’s lawyer Alan Dershowitz’s argument against impeachment shows how far removed from reality right-wingers have become.  His argument was essentially that Trump’s abuse of power, obstruction of justice and other crimes do not meet the criteria for impeachment under the Constitution.  In other words, conservatives aren’t addressing the issue of Trump’s crimes, only that, according to their twisted version of Constitutional law, he is allowed to do so as commander-in-chief.  They are insisting that the executive branch of government is superior to the other two branches and the president can do anything he wants without fear of repercussions.  Perhaps Dershowitz can explain why he thinks that the executive branch of government is superior to the legislative and judicial branches.  Perhaps he can inform us exactly where in the Constitution it says that the executive branch is superior to the other two. According to Dershowitz, nothing Trump has done is sufficient to remove him from office.  Trump’s colluding with a foreign government to interfere with the 2016 election?  No problem.  Publishing private emails and other documents to smear their opponents?  Fine and dandy.  Presidents can withhold funds in order to force foreign leaders to do their bidding: Also perfectly legal.  Finally, they can deny facts, lie, and do essentially anything they want without being held accountable.  Does Dershowitz seriously believe that this is what the founders intended?

To reiterate this important point: The foundation of Dershowitz’s argument is that abuse of power and obstruction of Congress do not meet the criteria for impeachment under the Constitution.  So he isn’t arguing that Trump isn’t guilty of abuse of power or obstruction of Congress, only that, in his view, the Constitution allows him to do so.  Think about that.  Dershowitz, as well as Trump’s defenders in Congress and the press, believe that a president may abuse power and obstruct Congress without ever having to worry about being held accountable.  They can collude with adversarial foreign governments to interfere with an election.  They can publish stolen emails and other private documents to smear their opponents.  They can withhold critical funds in order to coerce foreign leaders to do their bidding on personal matters.  And they can refuse to disclose such behaviors, and even lie about them to the American people.  All this is A-OK to Republicans, but a Democrat having an extra-marital affair is an impeachable offense.  One must wonder at this point where they get their standards of ethics.

Trump was guilty of treason in the fall of 2019 when he put pressure on the Ukrainian president to dig up any dirt he could find on his presumed opponent, Joe Biden.  He is also in violation of the Hatch Act, which was enacted to keep administration officials to campaign from the White HouseClearly, Republicans know Trump is guilty, so they are saying that’s OK—because he is the president.  If any of these lawyers had made such ridiculous arguments when they were in law school, they would never have passed the bar exam.  These so-called “lawyers” should have their licenses Immediately revoked.  And the Republican congressmen who agree and who refuse to recuse themselves from a trial in which they are openly professing bias should be removed and tried in a legitimate court of law for the crime of treason.  Their allegiance is to Donald Trump, not the American people.  This is a national disgrace, and one of the main reasons the people of other countries are laughing at us.

During the Mueller investigation of Trump’s crimes, the president repeatedly referred to the proceedings as a “witch hunt.”  He used this  term again during both impeachment trials.  However, even the original Salem witch trials of 1692 allowed witnesses of both sides to be called.  Trump’s 2020 impeachment farce was not only a direct violation of the laws of the land by the Republican party, but a repudiation of all legal precedent going back to England’s Magna Carta of 1215.

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

Although the first impeachment trial ended on February 5, 2020, Trump’s impeachable offenses did not magically disappear with his acquittal.  On July 14, Progress America ran an article that provides a brief summary of his most recent crimes: “Just in the last six weeks, Trump has: 1) Ordered the tear gassing of peaceful protesters outside the White House; 2) Paid Facebook to spread misinformation about the safety and security of mail-in voting; 3) Abused the Department of Justice to dismiss charges against his crony Michael Flynn; 4) Blocked oversight of $500 billion COVID bailout fund; 5) Abused the Department of Justice in an attempt to block the publication of a book that was critical of him; 6) Commuted the sentencing of his criminal campaign advisor, Roger Stone; 7) Argued before the Supreme Court that he was above the law; 8) Ignored Russian bounties on American combat troops; 9) Forced the resignation of a US Attorney who was investigating Trump crimes; 10) Threatened to pull federal funding from school districts who refuse to endanger children, families and teachers during the pandemic.

“And, of course, our economy is in shambles, Americans are dying by the hundreds of thousands, and the person with the most power to stop them both refuses to take action.  If Donald Trump refuses to fight the pandemic, he should be removed and replaced with someone who will.  If that means impeaching him again, so be it.” (Mike Phelan, Progress America, July 14, 2020)

The only issue is whether the general public will be able to obtain and digest the real facts proving his guilt, or whether they will shrug their shoulders and spit on the Constitution, as their leaders have done.  What is not in dispute is that the Republicans in Congress will continue to rally behind Trump, even though he will not be in office by the time Biden is sworn in as president.


The first point that must be made is that, from an early date in 2020, Trump had already lost the election.  He was not fighting for re-election; he was fighting to stay in power.  His fellow Republicans knew this and, deep inside his twisted mind, Trump must have known it as well.

He also must have known that the lies he was telling about his opponent were also completely ridiculous.  Trump had been attempting to gain anything bad on Joe Biden for two years, and did not hesitate to do so by the most illegal means.  He and Rudy Giuliani had been trying to find some kind of scandal connected with Ukraine which would supposedly show illegal activity by Biden.  By election time, it had become obvious to everyone except Trump and Giuliani that there was nothing there.  Daily Kos reports: “There’s a basic problem with the story that Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani have been pushing about Joe Biden’s actions in Ukraine: It’s a lie.  Of course, this is politics, and the fact that the story is simply lacking in any facts isn’t necessarily an issue.  The real problem with this lie is that it’s an obvious lie.  An extremely obvious lie.  One that they’ve been trying to pass off for more than a year.  After all, the claims now being made are exactly those that Trump was trying to extort from the president of Ukraine in the scheme that ultimately got Trump impeached.  This is the same scheme that the CIA warned that Russia was going to use in an effort to influence the election.  The scheme the Russian state-owned media has been pushing for a year.  It’s part of the same scheme that Trump confessed back in February.  And it’s being pushed by Rudy Giuliani, the guy at the center of a criminal investigation, whose partners have already been indicted, and who pocketed half a million for helping out the henchman of a Russian oligarch.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, October 28, 2020)

Giuliani knows he has committed crimes, and by the end of November, reports came out that he had already asked Trump for a pre-emptive pardon—so he can continue engaging in crimes knowing the president will sanction them and free him from any legal repercussions he might face.

The Republican national convention was, of course a joke.  No platform was even mentioned; speakers and attendees were of like mind in praising Trump as their savior figure, while presenting the most audacious lies that no one present ever thought to question.

On the eve of the Convention, an absolutely astounding announcement was made by the head of the FDA.  Public Citizen reports: “Want to know something that’s NOT helpful during a public health crisis unlike anything humanity has faced in at least a century?  When the head of a federal agency that is supposed to be politically independent and scientifically diligent stands next to Donald Trump and makes wildly misleading claims about a possible treatment for COVID-19.  That’s what Stephen Hahn—who heads the Food and Drug Administration—did over the weekend.

“Hahn was announcing that the FDA had just authorized a procedure whereby infected patients are given transfusions of blood plasma from people who have recovered from the coronavirus.  Now, plasma transfusions may turn out—after repeated, peer-reviewed research—to have some potential as a treatment.  But Hahn severely exaggerated the preliminary findings of one limited study that has not yet been reviewed by other scientists or even published.  While Hahn later tried to walk back some of what he said, the horse was out of the barn.  And this isn’t the first time Hahn has publicly made exaggerated and misleading claims for seemingly no reason other than it’s what Donald Trump wants to hear.

“In fact, the FDA broke with longstanding tradition and politicized its announcement with a headline including the phrase ‘Another Achievement in Administration’s Fight Against Pandemic.’  As if Donald Trump and Jared Kushner have been holed up in a secret lab at the White House—clad in lab coats and surrounded by beakers, pipettes, and graduated cylinders—concocting cures for the coronavirus!

“Hahn’s announcement on the eve of the Republican National Convention represents the most blatant politicization of decision making in the history of the FDA.  He has seriously damaged the FDA’s credibility at the worst possible time—which does not bode well for future FDA decisions about COVID-19 vaccines and other therapies between now and Election Day.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, August 26, 2020)

The convention of course was a joke; there wasn’t a single speaker who spoke of an agenda for the party.  Instead, it resembled a pep rally in which Trump was constantly praised, indeed all but deified by the adoring crowd that ate up every word.  Since Trumpism is America’s newest religion and since religions require a common enemy to despise, it didn’t take long for some of the most ridiculous statements to emerge attacking Democrats.  Some of them were downright laughable, but Iowa’s Joni Ernst’s comments were so over the top that, in normal times, she would have been laughed right out of the hall.  As incredible as it might seem, she actually said with a straight face that Democrats want to ban farm animals.  Cable commentators burst out in laughter, but the audience ate it all up, proving once again that with today’s Republicans, nothing is too ridiculous or stupid not to be believed and defended at all costs.  If this were not enough, she also said Biden wants to ban gas powered cars.

The final night of the convention presented their hero in all his “glory.”  Every thing he said was the reversal of what he has done or plans to do.  People for the American Way describes this Orwellian speech: “We will ensure equal justice for citizens of every race, religion, color and creed”…’We will uphold your religious liberty’… “We will protect Medicare and Social Security.’  And, perhaps the biggest whopper of all: ‘We will always, and very strongly, protect patients with pre-existing conditions, and that is a pledge from the entire Republican Party.’  Remember, this is a president who ran on destroying the Affordable Care Act and a party that has tried (and, thankfully, failed) to do away with protections for people with pre-existing conditions literally DOZENS of times legislatively.  This is a president and party that have sued repeatedly and are CURRENTLY suing to end those protections in court.  And this is a president and party that have rammed through the confirmation of a record number of extreme anti-health care judges to the federal bench.  The dishonest attacks from Trump against Biden and progressives echoed those of other speakers throughout the convention—attacks that Trump himself has made in the past:  1) The Democratic Party ‘supports the extreme late-term abortion of defenseless babies right up to the moment of BIRTH.’ 2) ‘If the left gains power, they will demolish the suburbs, confiscate your guns, and appoint justices who will wipe away your Second Amendment and other Constitutional freedoms.’ 3) Biden will defund police and bring violence to America’s cities—No one will be safe in Biden’s America.’ 4) ‘If the Democrat [sic] Party wants to stand with anarchists, agitators, rioters, looters, and flag-burners, that is up to them…’ And, while Trump continues to cast himself as a populist champion of ‘the forgotten men and women’ of America, we know that when he speaks the words, ‘Always Remember: they are coming after ME, because I am fighting for YOU,’ the violent conspiracy theorists and white nationalists who have rallied around this president hear him and know that he is also talking to them” (Ben Betz, People for the American Way, August 28, 2020)

The greatest irony of all was pointed out by one Daily Kos reader who noted: “Every RNC speech is like “This dangerous national unrest that is occurring now, three years into the Trump presidency, will NOT happen when Donald Trump is president.” (Zach Schonfeld, August 27, 2020)

Be a Hero highlighted even more outrageous lies uttered by the liar-in-chief: “We’ve heard a lot of lies from this administration…but Trump’s speech last night at the Republican National Convention takes deception to a whole new level. 1) ‘To save as many lives as possible, we are focusing on the science, the facts, and the data’ 2) ‘To protect our nation’s seniors we rushed supplies, testing kits and personnel—to nursing homes, we gave everything you can possibly give’ 3) ‘America has tested more than every country in Europe put together, and more than every nation in the Western Hemisphere combined.’

“Trump and his Republican friends are portraying themselves as heroes.  It’s a slap in the face to Be A Hero and every single organization that worked day in and out to rush PPE for frontline health care workers while our president denied the existence of a crisis.” (Be a Hero, August 28, 2020)

Not surprisingly, most of the attendees failed to wear safety masks and as a consequence many in attendance were soon diagnosed with the virus.  Many of the attendees stated that the coronavirus no longer existed and they praised Trump to the heavens for ending it.  So there is a perverse justice in their acquiring the virus; nature will not be denied.  They found out firsthand that the virus does exist, although they will continue to downplay it.  Lies such as this are the norm for today’s Republican leaders, and Trump’s economic advisor Larry Kudlow’s speech was typical.  Despite the fact that 1,100 Americans died on that very day, he said: “Hardship and heartbreak were everywhere.  But presidential leadership came swiftly and effectively with an extraordinary rescue for health and safety to successfully fight the COVID-19 virus.”  No one has dared to ask exactly what “presidential leadership” actually did; for Republicans, stating a lie without explanation and then moving on to the next one is their modus operandi.

By the time Joe Biden was elected president in November 2020, serious talk had already begun about having Trump impeached for a second time.  The primary reason this time is one that he had hinted at for months before the election, namely that he thought the election would be “rigged” to favor Democrats.  Of course, he provided no evidence to back up this ridiculous assertion.  This statement, constantly repeated, (the “big lie” truism again) is particularly ironic in view of the fact that it is Trump who did everything in his power (not the least of which is soliciting aid from a foreign government) to rig both presidential elections in his favor.  I don’t think anyone expects the second impeachment trial to turn out any differently than the first.

Trump and his far-right supporters are well aware of the fact that the majority of their ideas are not popular with the general public.  This is why they have made so many groundless claims about alleged voter fraud; Trump has been claiming as much since the election of 2016.  And as the 2020 election grew closer, his hysterical rants steadily increased.

On July 10, Trump tweeted: “Mail-In-Ballot fraud found in many elections.  People are just now seeing how bad, dishonest and slow it is.  Election results could be delayed for months.  No more big election night answers?  1% not even counted in 2016.  Ridiculous!  Just a formula for RIGGING an Election.”  This was said even though he had encouraged voters in Pennsylvania  to vote by mail only a couple of weeks previously.

Twelve days later, Trump posted his most oft-repeated lie about the upcoming election (Caps are all in his original tweet): “RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS.  IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!”  Of course, none of this happened; the only scandal was the deliberate lying of the president of the United States in order to rig the election himself.  Yet this, the real scandal, was overlooked by a complacent media.  In his tweet, Trump failed to mention which foreign countries would be involved; his statement is particularly ironic since he is the only candidate who has sought illegal foreign assistance during an election.

The facts refute everything the Republicans said about mail-in ballots.  These ballots are completely safe and secure, with less than 0.0001% resulting in fraud.  This form of voting is supported by the overwhelming majority of Americans: At least one in four voters have used this method in the past several elections.  This year, given the threats of the pandemic, even more voters will seek to vote by mail.  There is no evidence whatever to support Republican claims about election fraud and so, like all their other lies, they don’t provide specific examples simply because there aren’t any.  Not that this means anything to Trump’s supporters, who will continue to believe anything he tells them.

In this information age, wildly inaccurate stories and outright lies are what makes the headlines, while the truth is invariably given scant attention at best.  Voter Action Project relates this disturbing fact with the election: “The odds of ballot fraud in the U.S: .00025%.  The odds of Americans being exposed to disinformation about ballot fraud: EXTREMELY LIKELY.  Ballot fraud does not happen.  Disinformation does.  And it spreads like wildfire on social media before any fact-checking can be thoroughly done.

“Check out this recent example:  The claim: Mail-in ballots were found in a dumpster in California!!!  The reality: Someone took a picture of empty, discarded envelopes from a 2018 election and lied about it on Facebook.  Guess which version of this story got more clicks?  The lie did, and the damage is done.  This is the kind of disinformation that we’re combatting.” (Voter Action Project, October 7, 2020) This is one of the hazards of living in the information age: Validation of any claim has become virtually nonexistent, and an increasingly gullible public is unable to separate facts from fancy.

The reality is multi-faceted.  First of all, many people (and most Republicans) believe what they want to believe, and reality is often viewed as the enemy.  Second, the media will invariably accept whatever Republicans say.  Thirdly, it is much faster and easier to spew lie after lie than it is to fact-check them and report the results.  Trump, more than just about anyone, is well aware of this, and that is why he tells so many lies every day, so that people will have to be kept constantly busy checking up on them.  Who has the time or wherewithal to do all that work?

Republicans have been trying to take away people’s voting rights by any number of means, including purging voter rolls, enacting ridiculously strict voter-ID laws, drawing district lines that favor their party, and attacking the post office and voting by mail.  Meanwhile, Trump has threatened to withhold aid from states that will use vote by mail in the election.

Of course, these same Republican leaders who attack voting by mail invariably do so themselves, trusting that their votes will be legally counted, but then they turn around and become suspicious when anyone else’s votes are concerned.  They want the right to vote by mail only for themselves.

Trump’s attacks on the post office served only a single purpose: To help him get re-elected. The USPS Board of Governors, all appointed by Trump, nominated Louis DeJoy to serve as Postmaster General on May 6, 2020 and he assumed office the following month.  DeJoy had previously been a top Republican donor who headed fundraising for the 2020 Republican National Convention.

DeJoy immediately went into action, making changes he said would “improve operational efficiency.”  In fact these changes did nothing of the sort; rather, they exacerbated an already serious problem.  All they did was to cancel overtime and order mail carriers to leave mail at distribution centers overnight.  The intention behind these and other actions was crystal clear: to bankrupt the post office and slow down mail delivery.  These changes were clearly instituted with the November election (and minority voters) in mind: In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the primaries proved that voting by mail would be the safest and surest way to ensure voter access to their ballots.  But this fact puts stress on the already under-staffed post office, which resulted in countless ballots not being counted by election day; in 34 states, votes are automatically rejected if they have not been received by election day.

There is much more to be said about Louis DeJoy, all of it bad and all of it showing that he is nothing more than another right-wing crook.  Daily Kos reports: “Donald Trump’s new USPS Postmaster General Louis DeJoy allegedly used a straw donor scheme to evade campaign finance laws when he was CEO of New Breed Logistics.  According to a report in the Washington Post, employees were strongly urged to donate to Republican candidates—and then paid back with generous bonuses.  That would be a blatant violation of campaign finance law, and the attorney general of North Carolina (where these incidents allegedly occurred) has called for a criminal investigation.  This could also prove that DeJoy lied under oath to Congress, an impeachable offense.  When he testified in August, Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) asked him if he ever repaid executives for donating to Trump. His reply at the time: ‘That’s an outrageous claim, sir, and I resent it.’  As Postmaster General, DeJoy has abused his position to politicize the U.S. Postal Service.  From consolidating top executive positions to cutting back on work hours to removing machines to slowing down mail service, he has done the bidding of Trump’s re-election campaign.” (Paul Hogarth, Daily Kos, September 9, 2020) Again, Republican leaders, like the right-wing media, failed to even mention any of this; scandals are fine with them—they are increasingly confident that no charges against them will stick.

In addition to the election, there are countless other repercussions of the Republican attack on the post office, all of them negative.  Many people rely on the post office to deliver important medications, and the slower delivery rate could have disastrous consequences for them.  Others rely on prompt delivery of their unemployment checks.  Of course, none of this matters to the Republicans.

Trump’s attacks on the post office can only be understood in this context.  He knows that if every American can vote, Republicans will be big losers.  And once he lost the election, he predictably said that everything he said would happen had come true.

His Facebook ads about the election spread misinformation and downright lies to millions of people.  Despite the obvious falsehoods, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg refused to stop Trump from continuing these ads.  Zuckerberg in fact has made enormous profits from Trump’s efforts to rig the election.  Demand Progress elaborates: “Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has run more than 500 misleading ads claiming that Democrats are using vote-by-mail to steal the November election.  But despite vowing to protect the 2020 election, Facebook refuses to stop these dangerously misleading ads.  Four years ago, Facebook looked the other way while Cambridge Analytica invaded our privacy and scraped our data to run targeted political ads during the 2016 election.  The tech giant made huge profits from false, inflammatory ads that fed voters misleading information.
There was such an uproar that Facebook swore to change its ways before 2020.  The social media company changed its rules and claimed they would block ‘misleading’ ads and block bots.  But then, in 2019, the company made a crucial exception for one of its biggest ad buyers—the Trump 2020 campaign.” (Robert Cruickshank, Demand Progress, July 14, 2020)

The 2020 primary elections served as a blueprint for what would follow in November: Absentee ballots turned up missing.  Countless polling places were closed, while many of those that remained used outdated voting machines.  The end result was that countless numbers of potential voters were denied their right to participate in our democracy.  This proves that the attempts to “rig” the election were led by Republicans, not Democrats.  It was they who tried to steal the election.

In order to steal an election he knew he could not win honestly, Trump utilized his friends at Fox News and other right-wing media sources to disseminate false information, distort reality, and mislead voters.  He and his fellow Republicans filed numerous lawsuits against state and local governments to keep them from using mail-in ballots.  Finally, they have spent millions of dollars to hire veterans and off-duty police officers and officials to appear at key Democratic precincts to intimidate both voters and poll workers.  There is historical precedent for this; Hitler’s goons did the same thing in Germany’s 1933 election.

In state after state, efforts were made to suppress votes from populations that tend to vote liberal.  This means open discrimination against people of color and other minorities.  Georgia closed countless polling places in minority areas.  Alabama requested the Supreme Court act to stop curbside voting.  And in Pennsylvania, all registered Republicans received mail-in ballot requests, but Democrats did not.  This in itself is scandalous to the extreme, but little was made of it by the supposedly “liberal” media who for decades have bent over backwards to accommodate the increasingly radical Republican party.

The situation in Georgia serves as an example of how corrupt the Republican party has become and the lengths they will go to in order to stay in power.  Common Cause ran an excellent article setting forth the obstacles a potential voter in Georgia might face: “Just imagine being a voter in Georgia a few weeks ago.  You wanted to follow social distancing guidelines, so you requested your absentee ballot weeks or even months in advance so you could vote by mail.  One week goes by, then two, then three—and your ballot never arrives.  So first thing in the morning on Election Day, you go to your polling place—after looking it up one more time, just to be sure.  And good thing you did, because it was changed at the last minute to a new location.  Just as frustrating, your polling place isn’t open when you get there.  You wait in line for hours—maybe a machine breaks, or there are too few poll workers, or too many voters in the same situation as you.  And finally, after all of that, you’re told you won’t be able to vote at all, or forced to use a provisional ballot you’re not sure will count.  This is exactly what happened to thousands upon thousands of voters this year, in state after state.  Despite the best efforts of poll workers and volunteers, a multitude of eligible voters—particularly in Black and Brown communities — were left behind.”  (Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause, July 31, 2020) If this doesn’t constitute an attempt to “rig” an election, then what does?

The coronavirus pandemic created massive budget shortages at every level of government, and Republicans did nothing to ensure the election would be safe.  Instead, they set up every conceivable roadblock and tried to use the pandemic to their advantage.

The right-wing dominated Supreme Court aided and abetted Trump by refusing to allow the general public to see the complete Mueller report until after the election.  They also assisted him in keeping his financial records a secret—by sending his case down to the lower courts, knowing full well that the resulting delays would keep the results from the public until well after the election.  So much for the “impartiality” of the Supreme Court.

The role played by QAnon in the Republican party is central to our understanding of what fascist and neo-fascist groups have done to poison our democracy.  QAnon is a conspiracy theory group that makes ridiculous claims that have no foundation in reality.  The group all but worships Donald Trump since they hold the view that he must remain in power to fight a liberal group of satanic pedophiles (they seriously believe this!).  The group operates in the same way as any fundamentalist religious group operates: They start with something they want to believe is true and try and find information from any source that seems to support their beliefs.  If no such information is available, they claim that their beliefs are true and have been proven and then pass that information on to their followers.  Since they are all religious fundamentalists, questioning those who post this nonsense is never an issue.

This crackpot group has now become mainstream, and is supported not only by Trump, who repeatedly tweeted some of their claims, but by far too many others in his administration.  His son Eric openly supports QAnon, as do Trump’s favorite news sources One America News, and literally dozens of Republican candidates.  A poll conducted in December 2020 showed that 17% of adults believe in their nonsense while another 37% are not sure.  This means that, if this poll is accurate, about 54% of American adults are unable to distinguish truth from falsehoods.  This is a telling indictment about the intelligence, or lack thereof, of the American public.  Gullibility has replaced critical thinking in the majority of our fellow citizens.  Again, as with all religious claims, QAnon followers no doubt find some sort of comfort in these outlandish claims.

QAnon supporters pose a very real threat to our country since, like all fundamentalist religious groups, they cannot be dissuaded from their beliefs by “mere” logic, however outlandish their beliefs actually are.  The FBI noted that: “The FBI assesses these conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts.”  Despite this, QAnon has become indelibly intertwined with the Republican party.  The party refused to withdraw its support for a single one of the 64 GOP candidates who support QAnon’s claims.  The inevitable result was to push the party even further to the right.

Violence has always been at the heart of QAnon’s devotees.  Daily Kos provides us with several examples of this: “ 1) “A QAnon fanatic armed with an AR-15 and an armored truck blocked traffic on the Hoover Dam and demanded the inspector general’s report on the government investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email practices in June 2018. 2) A California man arrested in December 2018 with bomb-making materials in his car told investigators he intended to use them to ‘blow up a satanic temple monument’ in the Springfield, Illinois Capitol rotunda.  His larger intentions, he said, were ‘make Americans aware of Pizzagate and the New World Order, who were dismantling society. 3)  An Illinois woman who became a fanatical QAnon devotee livestreamed herself on a cross-country trip, armed with a collection of illegal knives, to New York City, where she hoped to ‘take out’ Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.  NYPD officers arrested her there. 4) The young man who murdered Gambino mob boss Frank Cali, who gorged himself on QAnon theories online, told investigators he committed the crime because he believed that Cali was part of the ‘Deep State’ operation to sabotage Trump’s presidency. 5) The Los Angeles locomotive engineer, also a QAnon fan, who drove his engine at high speed off the tracks near the docks where the US Naval Ship Mercy was stationed as part of the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic—it halted about 800 yards away from the ship—told arresting officers he was hoping to ram the ship because he believed the claims (primarily from QAnon theorists) that the patients were going to be secretly carted off to Guantanamo: ‘You only get this chance once.  The whole world is watching…I had to.  People don’t know what’s going on here.  Now they will.’” (David Neiwert, Daily Kos, July 16, 2020)

Besides the violence and lies that are the essence of the QAnon movement, there is also blatant hypocrisy, as pointed out by Daily Kos: “One of the great strangenesses and perversions in the QAnon conspiracy theory is that part of what Donald Trump—a man who was good friends with convicted child molester Jeffrey Epstein—is doing in his fight against the ‘deep state,’ is to clean up a vast child-sex human trafficking cabal.  The idea that there are powerful people engaged in illegal human sex trafficking that involves underage children is very believable.  In fact, Donald Trump seems to have intimately known some of those people, and even hired the former U.S.  Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Alexander Acosta—one of the main guys who cut a deal to let one of those human traffickers off with a hand slap.

Anywhos, QAnon theorists have evolved the Hillary Clinton and Pizzagate and whatever else anti-Semitic globalist bulls&%t theory that makes them feel like they know what’s going on.  It’s like chemtrail conspiracy theory with a touch of sex and child abuse because QAnon is even more of a religious cult than Pizzagate was.  And religious cults usually help define themselves by saying other groups of people do terrible things to children.  And guess what?  Republican QAnon conspiracy theorist and failed Louisiana candidate Ben Gibson was just pulled into custody on Wednesday and charged for—yup: four counts of possession of child pornography ‘involving juveniles under the age of thirteen.’

“To truly understand how profoundly hypocritical and grotesque the ‘Q’ movement really is, they will sweep this under the rug like they do with any fact or piece of reality or logic that conflicts directly with their convoluted narrative.  In recent months, the QAnon folks have used this blanket child trafficking conspiracy theory to argue against COVID-19’s true danger, and the need to overthrow our government and install a billionaire with dozens of sexual assault allegations against him, into power.  Is everyone who believes in QAnon a secret pedophile?  No.  In fact, I’m sure that the overwhelming majority of people that believe in QAnon are not, and really do worry about child human trafficking and the powers that allow men like Donald Trump and Alexander Acosta to support known pedophiles.  But a group that is intensely focused on child human trafficking and is clearly manipulated by logic-free conspiracy theories are a great target for people who pray on such people.  That’s not a conspiracy theory.  That’s how predators work.  Just ask Donald Trump and the MAGA-mites who have given him hundreds of millions of dollars to fight for an imaginary coup.
WGNO reports that the 34-year-old Gibson is an active airman at Barksdale Air Force Base.  He was arrested along with 30-year-old Jared Kutz who was also charged with possession.  Both men are from Bossier City.  Gibson came in last in a four-person race for the Fourth Congressional District of Louisiana a couple of weeks ago, receiving just over 6% of the vote.  Republican Mike Johnson held onto his seat easily.” (Walter Einenkel, Daily Kos, December 11, 2020)

Considering all this, it should come as no surprise that as early as July, 2020, Trump said he might not accept the results of the election, which served to further embolden his fanatical supporters and spur them to action.  On July 20, he even suggested that the election be postponed “until people can properly, securely and safely vote.”  The date of the election, presumably, would be decided by Trump.  Of course, the president of the United States, whoever it is, does not possess the power to delay an election, but little things like the Constitution do not worry a man like Trump or his supporters.  Only a convinced fascist like Trump would do as he did: Create unfounded suspicion about the election, deny the results when he lost, and even threaten that he would refuse to leave office at the end of his term.  If this isn’t fascism, then the word no longer has any meaning.

Although the American people have spoken, Trump remains unfazed by the objective fact that he lost the election.  This despite the fact that Republicans managed to keep countless number of people away from the polls and managed to keep other people’s votes from being counted.  So if there is any election fraud, it is Republicans, led by the dictator-in-chief, who are responsible for it.

To cite the most egregious example, he actually encouraged his supporters to vote twice, as reported by Public Citizen: “Wednesday, on live TV, Donald Trump told his supporters in North Carolina to vote twice in the upcoming election: ‘Send it in early and then go and vote.’  Let’s set aside, for now, that voting twice, or inducing another person to do so, is a felony in North Carolina and a violation of federal law as well.

For many years, the Republican Party has been fabricating racist myths about voter fraud to jam through anti-democratic schemes that depress turnout and disenfranchise voters.  Now Trump and his cronies have embarked on a relentless—but utterly baseless—crusade against expanded voting by mail, which is crucial to ensure we have a free and safe election in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus emergency.

“Asked on CNN whether Trump had encouraged voters to engage in voter fraud—purportedly a source of great concern to the administration—Attorney General William Barr stated, ‘I don’t know what the law in the particular state says.’  Not that Trump deserves any benefit of the doubt, but it’s possible he tripped over himself in North Carolina and didn’t really mean what he said.  But then, in Pennsylvania yesterday, he repeated the same instructions to vote twice.  What’s this all about?  Trump is trying to create chaos around the election and sow doubts about the validity of the final vote count. (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, September 4, 2020)

Of course, Barr reiterated Trump’s nonsense that mail in ballots lead to fraud.  The CNN reporter asked him: “You’ve said you’re worried a foreign country could send thousands of fake ballots—what are you basing that on?’  Barr: ‘Logic.’ CNN: ‘But have you seen any evidence?’ Barr: ‘No.’

Obviously, the only “logic” and the only “evidence” Barr needs are the words coming from Trump’s mouth.  No naming of countries, no naming of who is sending them to America and, even if they were, why would his Justice Department not be able to stop them from coming in?  Is the Justice Department that inept?

One would have thought so—until December, when even Bill Barr had had enough.  Given all that he has done to serve Trump rather than the people of the United States, what he said at that time was quite a surprise.  Daily Kos reports: “There hasn’t been a hell of a lot Barr has been unwilling to do for Trump.  He found his limit, though: He will not manufacture evidence of voter fraud to overturn the election.  He just announced that the Justice Department has found the election valid.  ‘To date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election,’ Barr told the AP.  He sicced U.S. attorneys and FBI agents on reports of irregularities days after the election, writing a memo to federal prosecutors ‘authorizing’ them to pursue ‘substantial allegations’ of voting irregularities.  Those allegations were apparently not so ‘substantial,’ as he’s now admitting.  Because all the king’s horses and all the king’s men found absolutely no evidence of voter fraud that could change the results of the election.” (Joan McCarter, Daily Kos, December 1, 2020)

To Trump, it’s only election fraud because he says it is.  Telling people to vote twice is perfectly OK because he says it is perfectly OK—as long as the votes are for him.  Facts are what he says they are.  The truth is whatever he says.  Despite this, virtually every single Republican in Congress continues to support him.

As we moved closer to the election, Trump’s idiotic statements and actions actually increased.  People for the American Way describes his activities during just one week: “As we get closer to Election Day, Trump is leaning into lies, bigotry, and violence—the hallmarks of Trumpism—perhaps more than he ever has.  In just the past week, Trump has: 1) Defended the actions of the 17-year-old far-right militia member who murdered two protesters in Kenosha, WI in response to Trump’s inflammatory and dishonest rhetoric about the nature of the ongoing racial justice protests. 2) Continued to escalate his characterizations of mostly peaceful protesters as thugs and anarchists. 3) Continued to assert that Joe Biden supports violence committed by protesters and defunding the police (both are lies). 4) Urged North Carolina voters to vote TWICE—once by mail and once in person—it’s unclear whether Trump’s intent was to see if his supporters could get away with casting multiple votes for him or if he just wanted to sow chaos and cast doubts about the election results in that important swing state. 5) Claimed, ‘Portland has been burning for many years, for decades it’s been burning’—another lie. 6) Said he’s done more for Black people than any other president except ‘maybe Abraham Lincoln’ (and went on to strongly emphasize the ‘MAYBE’) 7) Attacked mail-in ballots as a ‘disgrace’ and claimed that dogs had received them in the mail. 8) Mocked Joe Biden for wearing a mask, while Trump himself continued to downplay the coronavirus crisis. 9) Invented a new conspiracy theory about ‘people that are in the dark shadows’ controlling both ‘the streets’ and Joe Biden, and planes ‘completely loaded with thugs, wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms, with gear and this and that’ that were flying into cities to spark riots. 10) Visited Kenosha and, during a press event, appeared to shut down Black ministers before they could answer a question about racial injustice and compared the police killings of Black people to a golfer ‘choking’ and missing a ‘three-foot putt’  It was also reported this week that Trump has repeatedly mocked members of the military, especially those who have died or have been injured or captured in combat.  And U.S. Intelligence has confirmed Russian disinformation efforts on social media are boosting Trump’s efforts to disparage mail-in voting.” (Ben Betz, PFAW, September 5, 2020)

Daily Kos elaborateness on this final point: “Top intelligence officials issued a warning that Russia, as well as China and Iran, are trying to interfere with the 2020 presidential election.  So what did Trump’s Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John Ratcliffe decide to do?  He announced that the Office of the DNI will no longer give in-person briefings to members of Congress on election security issues in an attempt to downplay the foreign assistance being handed to the Trump campaign.  This drastic and unprecedented change will curtail the ability of members of Congress to ask questions about the office’s findings—and limit their access to timely updates on election interference attempts.  Eliminating in-person congressional briefings on election security will hamstring our members of Congress, as it will prevent them from learning about attacks on our democracy in real time.  This is a blatant and obvious attempt to keep Congress and the public in the dark about the threats facing our democracy.” (Erin Tulley, Daily Kos, September 10, 2020)

As the election drew closer, Trump began searching for other means to steal it from the Democrats.  Win Without War tells us: “Trump is ramping up his hawkish rhetoric and aircraft carriers are moving—we’re left with little choice other than to prepare for an Iran War ‘October Surprise.’
For weeks, Trump’s been laying the groundwork for escalation.  On September 14, he threatened war crimes as a response to a since-discredited report about an Iranian assassination plot.  Last week, the Navy steamed one of the largest aircraft carriers in the world right past the Iranian coast in an unsubtle show of force.  And on Monday, Trump announced new, unilateral sanctions against Iran.  With each passing day, Trump’s warmongering against Iran gets more dangerous.  And as his poll numbers continue to decline, he’s backed into a corner—the last three years tell us that these are the moments when he’s at his most impulsive.
In January, Trump took us to the brink of an all-out war with Iran for the THIRD time in less than a year.  We simply can’t trust he won’t do something just as incredibly reckless again.

“We already know Trump cares little for diplomacy — all of this started with his reckless decision to walk away from the historic and successful Iran nuclear agreement in favor of a maximum pressure campaign that’s been a maximum failure.  What’s more, is that over 200,000 people in the United States have died from COVID-19 this year, many, in fact because of the Administration’s failed response.  Sobering estimates of catastrophic casualties simply may not deter Trump from the unavoidable and unnecessary human costs resulting from a war with Iran.” (Kate Kizer, Win Without War, September 24, 2020)

Trump’s Proud Boys did their best to steal the election for him, as When Democrats Turn Out related only days before the election: “Trump’s Proud Boys may already be doing his dirty work for him.  They’ve been linked to cases of voter intimidation in key battleground states—like in Alaska and Florida, where Democrats have received threatening emails to vote for Trump or face retribution.  ‘We are in possession of all your information,’ the emails, signed by ‘officialproudboys[dot]com,’ read.  ‘You will vote for Trump on Election Day or we will come after you.’

“These shocking threats—now under FBI investigation, according to an NPR report—are yet another despicable act of voter suppression, following Trump’s recruitment of 50,000 ‘poll watchers’ nationwide meant to coerce voters (particularly voters of color) out of voting for Biden.

“Trump won’t be able to suppress the vote if Democrats show up to the polls in droves and send in their ballots early and en masse.  A win like that IS possible—we saw it in the 2018 midterms.  But Trump and the GOP are working day and night to undermine the election however they can—making baseless claims about Democrats ‘rigging’ the election and attacking the USPS during a year when a record number of Americans are voting by mail.  The California Republican Party has even admitted to placing more than 50 illegal ballot drop boxes throughout the state, which officials have said could lead to election fraud.” (When Democrats Turn Out, October 24, 2020)

And what was the administration doing during this time to address the coronavirus?  Absolutely nothing.  In other words, business as usual.  The article continues: “A CNN Politics headline on Friday read: ‘After wild week, the Trump train looks close to full derailment.’  And Trump has definitely been off the rails since the Republican Convention.  But this is all just the culmination of the most lawless, corrupt, anti-democratic, and devastatingly awful presidency in American history.

“Just before the Republican National Convention, Trump praised followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory—a bizarre and violent movement rooted in the belief that prominent Democrats and media figures are involved in a Satanic cabal that deals in child sex trafficking and cannibalism.  QAnon followers have been linked to at least two murders as well as kidnappings and acts of domestic terrorism.  To be clear, the rise of QAnon benefits exactly one person: Donald Trump.  That’s according to Jared Holt, an investigative reporter who helps lead QAnon coverage for PFAW’s Right Wing Watch and is one of the country’s foremost experts on several far-right movements, including the QAnon conspiracy theory.  More than simply offering praise for QAnon followers, several Republican candidates for office this year—including candidates for the U.S. Congress!—are prominent QAnon promoters.  The most famous of them, who is almost assured to be elected to Congress because of her deep-red Georgia district, is Marjorie Taylor Greene.

“When she won her primary, Trump congratulated her and called Greene a ‘future Republican star,’ saying, ‘Marjorie is strong on everything and never gives up—a real WINNER!’  Most recently, Greene has grabbed headlines for the unearthing of her past racist, anti-Semitic, and Islamophobic comments as well as her sharing of a Facebook meme depicting her holding an assault rifle (Greene loves to be photographed holding guns) and U.S. Representatives Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib (three fourths of ‘The Squad’ and all women of color), with the caption ‘SQUAD’S WORST NIGHTMARE.’  I wish I could say that views like Greene’s were fringe and not widely representative of Republicans’, but new research from the polling group Civiqs shows that a whopping 33% of Republicans say the QAnon conspiracy theory is mostly true, 23% think some parts are true, and only 13% say it’s not true at all.  (In contrast, 72% of Democrats correctly say the QAnon theory is not true.)
This is Trump’s party.)”

The screams about election fraud escalated after he lost the election.  First, when it became obvious he had lost, he tried to get the Supreme Court to stop more ballots from being counted, which of course is completely undemocratic.  It is one hundred percent normal for votes to continue being counted following election day, but Trump attempted to use this fact as “evidence” of voter fraud.

The day after the election, Daily Kos printed an article that summarized all the things we Democrats had predicted all along: “For everyone still asking “how can it be so close,” the answer is: it’s not.  Based on current projections, Joe Biden will win the White House with a greater popular vote margin than Hillary Clinton and somewhere north of 300 electoral votes.  In any other cycle, we might not call that a blowout, but it would certainly be a solid win.

If your question is ‘how is it possible Donald Trump is seen as a viable alternate in the first place?’ the answer is: I don’t know.  But one thing that’s exceptionally clear on the day after the election, is that while Biden came out late in the evening to tell the nation, correctly, to have patience and trust in the process, Trump stepped up at 2 AM to do the opposite.  Trump’s false claim of victory, and his attempt to murder the election in mid vote, may be the most dangerous statement Trump has ever made.  And that’s saying a lot, for Mr. Maybe We Can Inject Bleach.  Stepping in front of the cameras in the early hours, Trump falsely claimed both that Democrats were trying to steal the election, and that he had already won the election.  Repeatedly during his tirade Trump made it seem that people were still voting after the polls closed, rather than simply counting the votes that had already been made.  And Trump reached straight for his big gun, saying that he intended to go to the Supreme Court, though he gave no clue on what basis or through what mechanism he would seek to appeal—democracy.

“No one sitting through Tuesday evening, or looking at where things stand on Wednesday morning, should be surprised. This is exactly the scenario that was predicted over and over.  Trump and other Republicans worked hard to throw as many monkey wrenches into the works as they could.  They’ve already launched, lost, appealed, and tried again on everything from halting drive-up voting locations, to throwing out whole boxes of mail-in votes.  This is literally the effort Trump put underway months ago.  It’s the reason he employed DeJoy to wreck the Post Office, and the reason he was so determined to seat Amy Coney Barrett before the election.  Trump thought he would lose, and set up a process to make it seem like he hadn’t.  Now he’s executing that plan.  On Wednesday morning, that plan looked like Trump standing in front of a hundred maskless supporters to lie about winning, call counting the vote ‘stealing,’ and make false claims of fraud.  ‘To me, this is a very sad moment,’ said Trump.  He also said that it was an embarrassment to the nation.  On those two points, Trump is right.  Though not for the reasons he believes.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, November 4, 2020)

Simply put, Republicans want to choose their voters, rather than voters choosing their leaders.

Their every action, both before and after the election, conclusively proved this.  People for the American Way listed just three of the lies Republicans were spouting even before it was announced that Biden had won: “1) More ballots were cast in Wisconsin than there are registered voters.  TOTAL LIE.  2) Trump voters in Arizona were having their ballots tossed because they were filled out with Sharpie magic markers provided by poll workers (already dubbed ‘Sharpiegate’).  BOGUS.  3) Votes were still being cast after Election Day in states like Michigan and Pennsylvania.  NONSENSE.” (PFAW, November 5, 2020) Even before the final announcement of Biden’s victory had been made, lawsuits were already being filed contesting the election results.  Most of these were designed to throw out legitimate ballots cast by eligible voters.  Republican leaders now know that all their lies and disinformation did not keep Trump in office and now that the election is over, we can’t overlook any possibility of what they and their followers might do.  Trump may refuse to leave office on January 20.  His followers like the Proud Boys and other fascist groups may become increasingly violent.  Even while votes were being counted, a large group of Trump supporters tried to force their way into TCF hall in Detroit where ballots were being counted.  This occurred shortly after Trump had told another lie about Michigan’s ballots.  Clearly, he stoked the fires that led to the crowd’s actions.  These “stop the count” protesters were blocked from by guards.  Who is to say that this crowd might be the harbinger of much larger and more violent fascist crowds in the future?

Detroit wasn’t the only city that experienced protesting crowds, as Daily Kos reports: “On Wednesday night, a mob began gathering outside the Maricopa County Elections Department offices in Phoenix, where clerks were counting the votes well into the night.  Republicans are desperately trying to recreate their successful ‘Brooks Brothers Riot,’ where so-called average citizens demanded the vote count be stopped in Florida during the 2000 presidential election.  Some of the people involved in that scheme included Roger Stone, Matt Schlapp, Brett Kavanaugh, and Joel Kaplan, who is now vice president of U.S. public policy for Facebook.  This coup isn’t going as well for the conservative movement for a variety or reasons.  First and foremost: the Trump message is stop the vote count in some states and keep going in others.  The mob that showed up in Arizona last night also had mixed messaging.  They were chanting ‘count the vote’ while simultaneously making such a ruckus that Elections officials had to keep dealing with them.  (In other words, making it more difficult to count the votes.)  At one point they walked into the office demanding answers about a conspiracy involving ballots and sharpies.  The group erroneously believed ballots where sharpies and felt pens were used would be thrown out, something elections officials had already debunked.  That didn’t stop this group from barging in the office to demand answers.  With the help of deputies, they were escorted outside, where the MAGA circus grew larger and more heavily armed, thanks to calls on social media from the deplorables below.” (Jen Hayden, Daily Kos, November 5, 2020) So the nonsense about counting votes was by no means restricted to this particular election.  And nobody seems to have noticed the irony of these potentially violent protesters being handled with kid gloves on, while peaceful protesters against fascism were dealt with violently.

Trump was of course far from being the only Republican screaming about the election results.  Like the lackeys they are, several made stupid public statements supporting the imaginary “stolen” election.  PFAW reports: “In the days since the election, Donald Trump’s attacks on the very foundation of our democracy—our free and fair elections—have become increasingly erratic and alarming.  His public calls for stopping the count of legitimately submitted ballots, and tacit calls for violence against elections workers, have resulted in a strain on our democratic process unlike we’ve ever seen—and too many of these outrageous statements have even had the backing of several Republican leaders: Senator Lindsey Graham: ‘I’m here tonight to stand with President Trump […] Everything should be on the table…Philadelphia elections are as crooked as a snake.’  Referring to both the unsupported claim that poll observers haven’t been allowed access to ballot counting and the notion that the Pennsylvania State Legislature should invalidate delegates that voters selected.  Senator Ted Cruz suggested the Justice Department, state legislatures, and the Supreme Court get involved in stopping the nonexistent fraud to which Trump keeps referring.  House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: ‘Every American should stand up.  Whatever they see—tell us if they see something that’s incorrect out there,’ McCarthy said.  He later added, ‘Do not be silent about this.  We cannot allow this to happen before our very eyes.’  In an interview on Fox News, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggested that the Department of Justice begin arresting election workers.” (PFAW, November 6, 2020) The article continues: “Just last night Philadelphia police detained two people who were planning to show up at the convention center with an arsenal of weapons where votes are being counted.  The pair had driven from Virginia with multiple weapons in their possession and ‘QAnon’ conspiracy theory gear emblazoned on their vehicle.”
Events followed in almost dizzying regularity: Trump announced to his allies that he would have to be removed from the White House “kicking and screaming.”  Five lawsuits filed within days of Biden’s victory were laughed out of court.  The international observers Trump asked to seek out evidence of election fraud came up with exactly nothing, according to the Wall Street Journal.  A week after the election, Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that: “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”

Public Citizen tells us of another corrupt Trump official: “Her name is Emily Murphy.  And her allegiance to Donald Trump may well result in thousands of Americans getting the coronavirus and even put our national security at risk.  I’ve broken this down as simply as I can, but it’s still a lot.  It’s really important, though, so please stick with me:  Murphy is a Trump adherent who runs the Government Services Administration, or GSA.  The GSA, in case you don’t know, was established after World War II to help facilitate the basic operations of the federal government.  According to its own website, the GSA’s mission is to ‘deliver value and savings in real estate, acquisition, technology, and other mission-support services across government.’  It is supposed to be—and, until now, always has been—an independent agency.  By law (the Presidential Transition Act of 1963), Murphy’s sign-off—in the form of what’s called an “ascertainment” determination—is required to start the formal transition process and allow the incoming Biden administration to access federal agencies and transition funds.  But Murphy—disregarding established precedent and norms—has refused to recognize President-Elect Biden’s victory in the election.  Which means Biden’s transition team can’t obtain office space, gain access to funds and equipment, vet potential Cabinet nominees, access intelligence that might be crucial to national security on Day One, and meet with key officials in the outgoing Trump administration.  People on Biden’s transition team can’t even set up their official government email addresses yet.  Because of Murphy’s stonewalling, Biden’s team can’t speak with current government officials and employees to start formulating a plan to get serious about the coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic crisis—even as the case count is exploding all across the country.  This is supposed to be a straightforward process designed to provide continuity through the transition from one president to the next.  But Emily Murphy has gone out of her way to make it baldly, egregiously partisan.  And with every day she delays, the incoming Biden administration is kept in the dark about potentially serious national security matters and thousands more Americans get infected with the coronavirus.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, November 11, 2020)

It soon became obvious that Trump and the Republicans were laying the groundwork for a second Trump term, the election results notwithstanding.  As Daily Kos reports: “Donald Trump’s refusal to accept the reality that Joe Biden won last week’s election is not merely an overgrown child’s tantrum.  By deliberately seeking to undermine the results, Trump and a wide swath of Republican leaders are laying the groundwork to overturn them—an act that, were we watching it unfold abroad, we’d call a coup d’état.  Just consider: 1) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hasn’t acknowledged Biden’s victory. 2) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has promised there will be ‘a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.’ 3) Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt says that Trump ‘may have not have been defeated at all.’ 4) Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson says he won’t congratulate Biden because ‘there’s nothing to congratulate him about.’ 5) The White House is reportedly vetting appointees for a second Trump term. 6) Attorney General Bill Barr has issued a memo authorizing federal prosecutors to pursue claims of voter fraud. 7) And Trump’s legal team continues to pursue baseless litigation promoting unfounded conspiracy theories.

“These are not the actions of a president and political party prepared to peacefully hand over power after losing an election.  They are the exact opposite: a deliberate strategy seeking to annul the expression of the popular will.  It is a dangerous scheme that, at best, will fray confidence in our already fragile democracy.  At worst, it will succeed and keep Trump in office against all right and all law.  This is, of course, exactly what we expected from Trump.  But where are Democratic leaders in denouncing this with the righteous fury this moment requires?  Why have we not seen Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, their chief lieutenants, and their most prominent allies all gather before the Capitol and, in one voice, expose this plot against America for what it is?

“We can’t just let Trump play out the string.  We can’t, as one nameless Republican pleaded, ‘humor him’ while we tell ourselves, ‘Jan. 20 can’t come soon enough.’  The peril is too great.  Trump’s attempted coup probably will not succeed, but that is not a good or acceptable reason to ignore it.  Even if it fails, Trump can do great damage on his way out.  Top Democrats must stand up for democracy while there is still time, to show the country and the world that we will not tolerate the GOP’s assault on this great nation and all it stands for.  The stakes are too high to delay any longer.” (David Nir, Daily Kos, November 11, 2020) Instead of treating all this as some kind of joke, the mainstream media needs to start doing its job and address this as the threat to democracy that it is.

Trump’s non-stop lies about Democrats having stolen the election are not going to stop, and they are having an effect.  Within a couple weeks after the election results, When Democrats Turn Out reported: “CNN has reported that data ‘makes clear that Trump’s misinformation campaign is having its intended effect with Republican base voters.’  Without any major pushback from elected Republicans or American voters, the data warns that we will certainly ‘see a sizable chunk of the country believe that Biden cheated his way into the White House.  And therefore that they don’t really need to listen to him or even recognize him as the duly elected president.’

“After four years with this raging narcissist in the White House, we knew better than to expect Trump to leave peacefully—but his unwavering ploy to undermine our democracy is catching on.  Over 50% of Republicans believe Trump ‘rightfully won.’  And Trump’s supporters have been holding ‘Stop the Steal’ rallies in battleground states, claiming that the results are illegitimate—they almost succeeded in Michigan, where Republican officials refused to certify Biden’s win in Detroit before public outcry made them reverse the decision.  Even though Trump’s claims are not backed by evidence, CNN has warned that his team could ‘run out the clock enough to put forward a Republican slate of electors in key states where President-elect Joe Biden won the popular vote,’ especially since state laws vary on whether they can.” (When Democrats Turn Out, November 25, 2020)

On November 26, Trump announced that even though he still refuses to concede the election, he will leave the White House voluntarily on January 20.  Given the man’s unparalleled history of lying, anything he utters should be taken with a grain of salt.  We will wait and see, but should be prepared for the worst.

Every time Republicans do something wrong, immoral, or illegal, they turn around and claim the Democrats are the ones doing it or are responsible for it.  The attempt to steal the election is an irrefutable case in point.  While Trump and his supporters continued their hysterical rants about election fraud, they were the ones committing the crimes.  Daily Kos provides us with a telling example which occurred soon after Biden’s victory: “Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has come under harsh pressure from his fellow Republicans to do whatever it takes to deliver his state to Donald Trump—despite President-elect Joe Biden’s 14,000 vote lead.  But South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham may have made the most outrageous intervention.  Raffensperger told The Washington Post that Graham oh-so-delicately suggested that Raffensperger throw out legally cast absentee ballots.  Graham asked Raffensperger about his power to throw out all absentee ballots cast in counties that had higher rates of nonmatching signatures between ballots and voter registration files.  Georgia checks signature matches at two points: when a voter requests an absentee ballot, and when the ballot is cast.  But here’s Graham, wanting to just toss every absentee ballot in any county with higher rates of nonmatching signatures, as if having found some nonmatching signatures means there’s something wrong overall.  Maybe those counties are already the most aggressive about signature matching, for heaven’s sake!

“Graham denied having suggested throwing out legal ballots, though he acknowledged he had been asking about the general subject of signature matching.  Just, you know, casually asking a neighboring state’s top election official questions about the subject of one of Trump’s big temper tantrums.  The good news is that instead of caving to pressure, Raffensperger is getting angry about it.  He’s especially angry at Rep. Doug Collins, who is heading up Trump’s efforts to overturn Georgia’s results.  ‘I’m an engineer.  We look at numbers.  We look at hard data,’ Raffensperger told the Post.  ‘I can’t help it that a failed candidate like Collins is running around lying to everyone.  He’s a liar.’

“But Graham’s private effort to get large numbers of legal votes tossed drew widespread condemnation from Democrats: ‘Even if one were to accept Graham’s version of the story, the call’s a scandal that should lead to his immediate resignation.  The republic won’t survive Senate committee chairs calling election officials from their own party to discuss vote counting before a final verdict.’–Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) November 17, 2020. (Laura Clawson, Daily Kos, November 17, 2020)

Graham tried to weasel out of his predicament, but there were two witnesses (Raffensperger aides) who were in on the conversation and corroborated Raffensperger’s account.  This entire episode is in no way an aberration; it is standard operating procedure for the Republican party.

Another Republican, Louie Gohmert, went so far as to say that, if Trump isn’t declared the winner, he would support the end of U.S. democracy.  Daily Kos provides the details: “Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert has made quite a name for himself around these parts and others.  Now the House Republican is jumping with both feet into suggesting that, well, maybe if Donald Trump didn’t win the election maybe it’s time for his Republican voters to rise up and end American democracy, period.  As reported by the Dallas Morning News, Gohmert claimed to a ‘Million MAGA March’ audience near the White House that: ‘this was a cheated election and we can’t let it stand.’  He spoke of the American revolution and the Egyptian uprising: ‘They rose up though all over Egypt, and as a result of the people rising up in the greatest numbers in history,’ he said, and ‘if they can do that there, think of what we can do here.’ (Hunter, Daily Kos, November 17, 2020) The fact that no thinking person can take him seriously, it would be a mistake to dismiss him outright.  The Proud Boys and other theofascists are listening.

The above article notes: “…that’s where we’re at now: House Republicans advocating for the overthrow of the United States government based on conspiracy fictions they saw on fringe websites.”  So why wasn’t this man arrested for inciting a mob to commit violence and treason?  This is, as one reader noted, a textbook example of sedition.

Gohmert wasn’t done, however.  Daily Kos tells us of a late December strategy to overturn the election: “There is a new Dumbest Lawsuit in the Land, and it should not surprise anyone to know that Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert, a man whose battles with coherency and common sense have become the stuff of congressional legend, is the first name on the sheet.  According to the lawsuit—which is filed in Gohmert’s home district and features the names of Arizona’s supposed ‘alternate’ Republican ‘electors’ Kelli Ward, of all people—the manner in which presidential electoral votes have been counted by Congress all these years is completely wrong and unconstitutional.  Instead, Gohmert and the others are filing suit against Vice President Mike Pence.  They demand that the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas declare that Pence need not count the electors from the states Donald Trump and his allies do not want counted when Pence presides over the congressional tally of Electoral College votes on Jan. 6.  The Constitution, they say, grants Pence the power to throw out votes if he damn well wants to, upon which the election is nullified, the House and Senate meet to pick who the president will be, and in theory that somehow leads to the Democratic-led House somehow agreeing that Donald Murderbuffoon must remain president.  The important thing to know is that lawsuit has roughly zero chance of working, because (1) the Constitution does not say that, (2) the claim that Gohmert has standing because as a congressthing, counting electors he doesn’t want counted will make him officially Sad, and (3) all the rest of it.  It’s a broadly dishonest retread of the previous Dumbest Lawsuit in the Land, with some of the most egregious errors removed and new ones added.

“The backstory here, though, is mildly more interesting.  Exactly a week ago, Gohmert and a host of Republican fascism-peddlers met with both Donald Trump and Mike Pence to plot out strategies for sabotaging the acceptance of the Electoral College results.  House Republicans have been strongly pressuring Pence to cause a scene at the Jan. 6 tally, Donald Trump’s pseudolegal bullsh&%ters have been hyping conspiracy theories rallying the base around the same premise, and we can gather that this lawsuit against Pence was either a planned move between House Republicans and Pence to give him plausible deniability for creating a scene or, perhaps more likely, a disgruntled loner move from Gohmert himself after Pence refused to explicitly promise House crackpots that he’d go along with their ridiculous, seditious, and doomed-to-failure plan.  So this is what they came up with.  Or, at least, what Rep. Louie Gohmert and Kelli Freaking Ward came up with.  We’re going to no doubt see different versions appear in coming days from Jim Jordan and Trump’s other most willing traitors, but all of it is meant mostly as rube fodder.  It is meant to rile the far-right Republican base into believing the election was ‘illegitimate’ based on hoaxes peddled by Republican leaders claiming all manner of conspiracy and fraud.

“It’s already been made clear that even conservative courts are not going to go along with Republican attempts to stage an outright coup.  House Republicans and Trump are instead working to so delegitimize our elections process that the violent far right comes out to do what the courts will not.  Just because it probably won’t work doesn’t make it less dangerous.  This is another test of the system’s bounds.  They will be tested again, and again, and again.” (Hunter, Daily Kos, December 28, 2020)

In yet another example of Republicans who refuse to acknowledge reality, Common Cause reports on the activities of Pennsylvania Republicans: “This is not a drill: over 50 Republicans in Pennsylvania’s state legislature just sent a letter officially requesting that their state’s 20 electoral votes for President-elect Biden be thrown out.  This is an absolutely brazen attempt to overrule the clear will of the voters—and toss out the millions of legitimately-cast ballots from Pennsylvania voters—based on groundless claims from President Trump and his associates.  Let’s be clear: this shameful action has no chance of overturning the results of the presidential election.  Pennsylvania law states that the popular vote determines who receives the state’s electors.  Pennsylvanians cast their ballots in record numbers, those ballots were counted—and a winner has been declared.

“But make no mistake—this will fuel the fire of Trump’s repeated attempts to undermine the public’s trust in our democratic systems.  And worse yet, state legislators deciding that they can overrule an election because they don’t like the results would go against the very foundation of our democracy.  It’s time for us to move forward together after this divisive election—not point fingers and spread baseless conspiracy theories that impugn the integrity of our elections.  Officials in Pennsylvania did their job and ran a free, secure, and accessible election this fall.  And millions of voters did their jobs, too—braving a nationwide pandemic, disinformation campaigns, and restrictive voting laws to make their voices heard.” (Devon Nir, Common Cause, December 6, 2020)

At least one journalist showed some integrity in exposing the lies about voter fraud.  Daily Kos reports: “George Stephanopoulos came prepared to handle the misinformation and lies he knew he was sure to encounter from any Republican that appearing on his program.  This means Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) could not sneak in lies that gave the president’s voter fraud lie any plausibility.

“‘There have been more than 55 lawsuits brought forward by the president and his allies,’ Stephanopoulos said.  ‘Thirty-eight have been dismissed by judges.  There have been investigations directed by the Justice Department, by the attorney general.  And the attorney general came back and said there’s no evidence of widespread fraud.  So the process has played out, hasn’t it?  And there’s no evidence of widespread fraud.  Why can’t you accept the results?’  And then the lying and misinformation began.  ‘I think it’s easy to say it’s played out because that might be the most convenient thing to say,’ Braun said.  ‘But let’s look at what the secretary of state did not mention in Georgia, you know, the video where, after a counting place closed, you see boxes of ballots coming out from underneath the table.  I know that’s, kind of, a graphic example, but…”  Stephanopoulos was ready.  ‘Well, I have to stop you right there,’  Stephanopoulos interjected.  ‘No, that—it wasn’t mentioned because it didn’t show anything improper.  He’s spoken to that this week.  They—that was exactly the proper process for counting the ballots.  There wasn’t anything wrong shown in that video at all.  So you’re just throwing out a claim out there that doesn’t prove what you’re saying.’” (Egberto Willies, Daily Kos, December 6, 2020)

On a positive note, there are a few dedicated leaders who, despite threats of just about every kind, have refused to be intimidated.  I quote here from Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs whose life, and those of her family, were threatened: “The truth is, I was prepared for these threats of violence and vitriol I have been a social worker for many years and can anticipate this reaction when certain people feel powerless and angry.  These actions are utterly abhorrent, especially when directed at my family and my staff. They are a symptom of a deeper problem in our state and country—the consistent and systematic undermining of trust in each other and our democratic process Arizonans deserve to know that elections are safe and secure.

“This does not excuse the perpetrators.  Their continued intimidation tactics will not prevent me from performing the duties I swore an oath to do.  Our democracy is tested constantly, it continues to prevail, and it will not falter under my watch.

“But there are those, including the president, members of Congress and other elected officials, who are perpetuating misinformation and are encouraging others to distrust the election results in a manner that violates the oath of office they took.  It is well past time that they stop.  Their words and actions have consequences.  Now, I am calling on other leaders in this state, including the governor whose deafening silence has contributed to the growing unrest, to stand up for the truth.  When facing unimaginable challenges this election year, Arizonans stepped up.  More people are registered to vote in our state than ever before, election participation has been at historic highs, thousands answered the call to work at voting locations during a pandemic, and people made their voices heard.  This should be a time for thanking voters and election workers for their incredible commitment during unprecedented challenges.  In that spirit, I offer my gratitude and express my admiration for the Arizonans who inspire trust in our democracy.” (Quoted by Walter Einenkel, Daily Kos, November 18, 2020) The chances of any Republican uttering such heroic words are virtually nonexistent.

No matter how many lawsuits filed by Trump and his lackeys, the courts have seen through their lies, as reported by Daily Kos: “Donald Trump did not have to personally lift a finger on Tuesday to put together a truly impressive record of losing.  The Nevada Supreme Court voted six to zero (with one recusal) to uphold a lower court’s dismissal of the Trump campaign’s effort to overturn the state’s election results.  Both these decisions came beefier the safe harbor deadline, solidifying the results of the law.

“And then came the biggest loss of all, when the Supreme Court took a single sentence to reject Rep. Mike Kelly’s challenge to Pennsylvania’s election results.  That rejection came an hour after a trump retweet suggesting that his hand-picked justice, Amy Coney Barrett, would bail him out.  And it was Team Trump’s 50th court loss in election challenges on his way to ending the day with 51 losses.

“‘To prevail on this appeal, appellants must demonstrate error of law, findings of fact not supported by substantial evidence, or an abuse of discretion in the admission or rejection of evidence by the district court,’ members of the Nevada court wrote.  ‘We are not convinced they have done so.

“In Arizona, Republicans failed to ‘present any evidence of ‘misconduct,’ ‘illegal votes’ or that the Biden Electors ‘did not in fact receive the highest number of votes for office,’ the chief justice of the court wrote, ‘let alone establish any degree of fraud or a sufficient error rate that would undermine the certainty of the election results.’

“And those, of course, were the courts that bothered to write anything detailed, unlike the Supreme Court’s missive: ‘The application for injunctive relief presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied.’

“Donald Trump is a loser.  He lost Arizona.  He lost Nevada.  He lost Georgia.  He lost Pennsylvania.  He lost Michigan.  He lost Wisconsin.  He or his allies lost 51 court cases.  Sooner or later, even many of Trump’s followers currently convinced that he’s a strong man and a fighter are going to realize how weak he is.  I hope he’s alive to watch that happen.” (Laura Clawson, Daily Kos, December 9, 2020)

When Rudy Giuliani infamously said that: “facts are not facts,” Republicans had already been denying reality for decades.  Yet, in full defiance of the truth staring them in the face, they still deny that Joe Biden won the election fairly.  Daily Kos tells us what transpired a month after the election: “Seventeen American states, all run by Republicans, have decided to join Texas in its seditious and frivolous quest to have the U.S. Supreme Court throw out the votes of 81,282,896 citizens and declare Donald Trump the winner of the 2020 election.  Those states: Missouri, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia.  All of these states gave their popular vote to Trump, though Joe Biden is receiving one electoral vote in Nebraska’s split system.  Each of these states is trying to get the justices to throw out all the votes in all of the states that Biden won, though the effort just names Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.  In reality, they would have the Supreme Court nullify the the entire election. And they argue in exceedingly bad faith in their amicus brief.

“For example, they argue that Pennsylvania allowing ballots received after Election Day to be counted ‘created a post-election window of time during which nefarious actors could wait and see whether the Presidential election would be close and whether perpetrating fraud—would be worthwhile.’  Two of the states, Kansas and Mississippi, counted ballots received three and five days, respectively, after the election.  In another example of their astonishing bad faith, they write that the states’ executive officials shouldn’t have a role in determining voting rules.  But, ‘Texas—the plaintiff in this case, the state they’re supporting—did that very thing.  The governor used executive power to extend the early voting period, among other things.’” (Joan McCarter, Daily Kos, December 9, 2020)

Daily Kos rightly calls for the removal of all those responsible for perpetrating this hoax on the courts and American people: “On Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed suit in the Supreme Court asking that the outcome of the federal election in four states—states that voted for Joe Biden—be overturned.  Not recounted.  Not investigated.  But overthrown, eliminated, reversed.  By any definition, what Texas asked of the court was for an immediate end to democracy in America and its replacement by single party rule.  Then seventeen more Republican-controlled states signed on to this overt act of sedition.  On Thursday, 106 Republican members of the U.S. House added their names to this declaration that they’re done with the whole concept of representative government.  If politics is war by other means, then Republicans are levying that war against the people, institutions, and foundations of the United States.

“This is not a partisan dispute.  There is no coming back from this.  Certainly it should never be forgotten.  Neither should there be any forgiveness.  Republicans have launched a second civil war in the courts, and it should be treated no more kindly than any launched on the battlefield.

“The Washington Post provides a list of the Republicans who, while technically not guilty of treason—perhaps, are none the less proud to put down their names as traitors, along with a 107th Republican who whined on Twitter that she was omitted from the official list due to a ‘clerical error.’  The names you might expect are there: Andy Biggs, Mo Brooks, Greg Gianforte, Louie Gohmert, Jim Jordan, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Steve Scalise.  So is a long list of GOP backbenchers both so odious and pitiful that the opportunity to put their name on this infamy is the ‘highlight’ of their careers.

“The statement pulls no punches in what it requests.  As the secretary of state for Pennsylvania wrote, ‘Texas seeks to invalidate elections in four states for yielding results with which it disagrees.  Its request for this Court to exercise its original jurisdiction and then anoint Texas’s preferred candidate for President is legally indefensible and is an affront to principles of constitutional democracy,’ wrote Shapiro.  ‘Texas’s effort to get this Court to pick the next President has no basis in law or fact.  The Court should not abide this seditious abuse of the judicial process, and should send a clear and unmistakable signal that such abuse must never be replicated.’

“For the attorney generals who have signed their names to this blatant effort to overthrow the duly elected government of the United States, the Supreme Court should send a powerful rebuke.  It’s not clear what punishment the court might mete out to the complainants—but it should seek the harshest available.  Then every bar association should seek the disbarment of every one of these attorneys general for an act that involves signing on in support of statements they know to be false.  This is an illegal, immoral, amoral, and insupportable attempt to break the nation.  It should be treated as such.

“And then every member of the House of Representatives who put their name to this document should be expelled.  So 106, or 107 Republicans might have signed on to this atrocity.  But there are 233 Democratic members, and 89 Republicans who did not rush to anoint themselves Traitors for Trump.  Let the House put their integrity to the test by calling for the expulsion, one at a time, of every member who attempted to destroy the nation’s most foundational institution.  And let them start with Minority Whip Steve Scalise.

“It does not matter that the text and assertions of the Texas suit are ludicrous.  It does not matter that they’re certain to fail.  In many ways, that only makes things worse.  If it were possible to plow the posts of these men under and salt the earth above them, that should be done.  Failing that, every one of them should be made absolutely certain that this is a mistake that will ruin their reputations for a lifetime.  The only thing more ridiculous than the suit issued by Texas, is the idea that these people might take this action and then carry on as if it never happened.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, December 11, 2020)

Fortunately, the Supreme Court wasn’t buying the nonsensical suit filed by Texas.  Daily Kos elaborates and presents an alternative scenario which, although quite long, should be read in its entirety: “Now that the Supreme Court has ruled on Texas’ ridiculous suit against four other states, perhaps we can take stock of what’s happened over the past few weeks.

“Imagine a world where over one-half of the members in the Republican House of Representatives, including the top Republican in that caucus, sign on to a clumsy, thoroughly bogus attempt to overturn a national election based on contrived lies that add up to nothing except the fact that their man lost.  Not just ‘lost,’ mind you, but was soundly beaten.  Had his a&% kicked, in fact, both in the popular vote and the electoral college tally.  And imagine a Republican Senate Majority equally contemptuous of the winner of that election, wielding the power to hold hostage many of the new President’s first official actions—such as the basic function of picking a Cabinet.  That Senate uses the excuse that the election was still being ‘litigated’ to stall even scheduling hearings on his Cabinet nominations.  Imagine the outgoing, losing president, doing his level best to sabotage and hamstring the man who beat him in the election, alternatively whining and threatening elected Republican officials, demanding a list of those opposed to him, so that he could single them out for punishment.  And imagine all of this occurring against the backdrop of the worst public health crisis, combined with an equally virulent economic calamity, to hit this country in over a century.

“If you really want to appreciate the insanity of what we’re witnessing right now, just play the alternative scenario in your head.  Had President Barack Obama lost to Mitt Romney in 2012 by over seven million votes, suffered a 306-232 Electoral college shellacking, yet insisted he was the rightful winner, accusing the Republican Party of a massive and fraudulent campaign to undermine him, all while refusing to concede the election, you don’t really need to think too hard to comprehend how this whole sorry episode in our country’s history would have played out.  If something so ridiculous and far-fetched ever occurred, Democrats wouldn’t have waited to remove him, they would have done it themselves.  They wouldn’t have waited for the Republican Party to cry and scream about it.  He would have been banished from political life and never spoken of again.

“So despite the Supreme Court’s ruling, wiping out this latest attempt by the GOP to subvert and destroy our country, there’s really something unspeakably terrible about this moment.  It’s bad enough as it is, but it’s actually getting worse, Supreme Court rulings notwithstanding.  By now many people have put their finger on what’s going on here. Basically, the Republican Party has shown its true colors.  In a way, perhaps, we should thank Donald Trump for bringing this out in the cold light, for all to see.  As Adam Serwer, writing for The Atlantic, cannily observes, the message that is being sent by the Republicans here is that your vote was fraudulent if the person you voted for wasn’t Donald Trump.  And more specifically, your vote was fraudulent if you are not white:  ‘To Trump’s strongest supporters, Biden’s win is a fraud because his voters should not count to begin with, and because the Democratic Party is not a legitimate political institution that should be allowed to wield power even if they did.  This is why the authoritarian remedies festering in the Trump fever swamps—martial law, the usurpation of state electors, Supreme Court fiat—are so openly contemplated.  Because the true will of the people is that Trump remain president, forcing that outcome, even in the face of defeat, is a fulfillment of democracy rather than its betrayal.  The Republican base’s fundamental belief, the one that Trump used to win them over in the first place, the one that ties the election conspiracy theory to birtherism and to Trump’s sneering attack on the Squad’s citizenship, is that Democratic victories do not count, because Democratic voters are not truly American.  It’s no accident that the Trump campaign’s claims have focused almost entirely on jurisdictions with high Black populations.’

“To Republicans, only white votes matter now.  Are you wondering why you haven’t heard any accusations about voter fraud in the suburban counties surrounding Philadelphia, for example, which helped Joe Biden win Pennsylvania?  There are no such accusations, because those areas are predominantly white.

“Back to our imagined scenario: If Barack Obama had attempted this, the Republican Party would long since have lined up in unison, braying for his head on a platter.  There would be no reticence in calling this exactly what it is: treachery, treason, sedition of the highest order.  Republicans wouldn’t be demanding hearings.  From the top of the GOP leadership down, they’d be demanding an inquisition.  They’d be urging all of their constituents to flood the streets.

“But back in our real world, Democrats have been remarkably quiet about what is happening.  Perhaps it’s an expectation that this will all blow over, once the Electoral College votes on Monday.  Perhaps the thinking is, following the lead of Joe Biden, Democrats want to project an air of professionalism and capability while the Republicans make fools of themselves.  Perhaps they’re inclined to just let the media do the castigating for them.  Perhaps, as some have suggested, they feel as if their Republican counterparts are only behaving this way because they know their efforts will be unsuccessful.  I don’t understand this thinking.  It seems ridiculously naive, particularly under these times of unprecedented crisis, where thousands of Americans are dying in hospitals every single day.

“The Republicans have embraced fascism.  I don’t know how many times it’s going to be necessary to say this.  I don’t know how it can be said more clearly.  There will not be any cooperation with these people.  They’ve sold their souls.  Fascists are impervious to reason, shame or argument. The only thing they understand is power when it’s used against them.  The Democratic Party represents the majority—by a considerable margin—of the American voting public.  As diverse as our coalition is, it is in fact the majority, and it needs to behave like a majority.  We—not the Republicans—were the millions who marched in the streets of Washington, D.C. in 2017.  We—not the Republicans—were the millions who marched in every major city in the country—and practically every other place in the country—in opposition to racism and police brutality.  We—not the Republicans—were the ones who flooded the polls in 2018, and again in 2020, finally throwing this abomination out of office.

“A majority has power, and it knows when to use it.

“What the Republicans are doing has been, and is, intolerable.  Any Republican—at the state level, the federal level, or in any other capacity—should be made to understand that they have betrayed the country.  They need to know that they will be viewed and treated like people who have betrayed their country—for the rest of their political careers.  They need to be made to understand that they will face the consequences of their 2020 treachery for the rest of their lives.  Unless and until that happens, they will continue to mock us, to disenfranchise us, knowing that we will sit back in fear, relying on our fragile ‘institutions’ to protect us.  And then they will try it again.” (Dartagnan, Daily Kos, December 11, 2020)

One thing is for sure: No Republican member of Congress will support a single thing proposed by Democrats.  To them, Democrats are enemies, not colleagues.  As further evidence of this, consider this article from Win Without War: “Federal officials have recently discovered that the U.S. government was the target of one of the largest cyberattacks in history.  The list is long: Treasury, Federal Reserve, Defense, State, Homeland Security, and Energy (which oversees nuclear weapons) have ALL been breached.  The implications are staggering.  There’s one thing we know for sure: the incoming Biden administration MUST have the information about this hack and its potential effects if they are going to be able to face this and other challenges on Day 1.  However, hours ago, the Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller ordered a Pentagon-wide halt to cooperation with the Biden transition team, hamstringing their ability to understand and address a dangerous situation with far-reaching national security implications.  This goes beyond politics and is simply unacceptable.  There is plenty of blame to go around for the hack.  Over the last four years, the Trump administration has refused to take cybersecurity seriously—appointing people like Rudy Giuliani to head these efforts while firing genuine experts for political reasons—leaving gaping holes in our cybersecurity infrastructure.

“Meanwhile, the normalization of data breaches continues and tech companies receive no punishment for leaving consumers vulnerable.  And our congressional oversight structure is filled with folks who simply don’t understand how the internet works.  It’s clear when it comes to tech and cybersecurity there are problems across the federal government.  But apparently, the issue isn’t even about blame for the hack.  Axios reports that Acting Secretary Miller canceled the briefings in retaliation for a story about the border wall.  Yep, the Pentagon is risking our national security for ego.” (Amy Frame, Win Without War, December 18, 2020)

Yet another election scandal emerged toward the end of the year, as Public Citizen reports: “Yesterday, the news website Business Insider broke a story reporting that nearly half of the $1.26 billion raised throughout Donald Trump’s failed reelection bid was paid out to a shell company the site says was concocted by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.  The shell company (of which, reportedly, Eric Trump’s wife, Lara Trump, was the president and Mike Pence’s nephew, John Pence, was the vice president) allegedly paid salaries to some of Trump’s family members and top advisors.  By funneling expenses through the shell company, the Trump gang was able to dodge federal campaign spending disclosure rules.  Even some people who worked on Trump’s campaign say they didn’t know about this shell company or what it actually did.  And nobody—not Donald, not Jared, not Ivanka, not the Vice President, nobody—is saying where all that money went.  This family—this administration—is a writhing mass of poisonous serpents sinking their fangs into every grift they get a whiff of.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, December 19, 2020)

Late in December, perhaps the final nail in the coffin of Trump’s efforts to reverse the election results was reported by Daily Kos: “On December 8, the Court slashed the Trump legal team’s challenge to Pennsylvania’s presidential election results in asserting that the state’s expansion of mail-in voting was illegal, by refusing to hear the case.  In one sentence, the Court (including the three justices appointed by Trump) gutted Team Trump’s flawed claim stating, ‘The application for injunctive relief presented to Justice Alito and by him referred to the Court is denied.’
Still believing that he had a winning argument that just needed to be heard to be appreciated, Trump joined Texas’s suit seeking to overturn the presidential election results in the four states—Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.  Those states awarded crucial electoral votes to President-elect Joe Biden.  In a brief statement, the Supreme Court inflicted an even deeper stab wound by denying Texas’s petition, stating ‘the State of Texas’s motion for leave to file a bill of complaint is denied for lack of standing under Article III of the Constitution.  Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections.  All other pending motions are dismissed as moot.’

“As Politico Magazine pointed out, ‘The Supreme Court’s action is likely the end of the line for Trump’s legal push to reverse his defeat.  Dozens of courts at the local, state, and federal level have swatted down his team’s and his allies’ legal efforts to scrap the results of the election, with many judges issuing forceful rejections, noting that the campaign’s arguments relied on conjecture and conspiracy theory.’” (FP Dunneagin, Daily Kos, December 21, 2020)

By the end of the year, some of Trump’s closest allies were finally beginning to see the writing on the wall and trying to distance themselves from him.  Daily Kos reports: “This is what happens when you put crazy in the White House.  The import of the job doesn’t humble such folks.  It makes them barmier than ever.  And so you get an unhinged 11th hour death rattle from a blue-pissing mad king.  Axios: ‘President Trump, in his final days, is turning bitterly on virtually every person around him, griping about anyone who refuses to indulge conspiracy theories or hopeless bids to overturn the election, several top officials tell Axios.  The latest: Targets of his outrage include Vice President Pence, chief of staff Mark Meadows, White House counsel Pat Cipollone, Secretary of State Pompeo and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.’

“Oh, do tell.  ‘Why it matters: Trump thinks everyone around him is weak, stupid or disloyal—and increasingly seeks comfort only in people who egg him on to overturn the election results.  We cannot stress enough how unnerved Trump officials are by the conversations unfolding inside the White House.’  Interesting that the weak, stupid, disloyal Oval Office disgrace thinks everyone else is weak, stupid, and disloyal.  But what else is new?” (Aldous J. Pennyfarthing, Daily Kos, December 22, 2020)

On the same day, another Kos reporter noted: “We begin today’s roundup with Tom Nichols at The Atlantic and his call to refuse to engage with or profile anti-democratic Trump supporters: ‘[O]rdinary people worn out by the dramas and lies of the past four years have a right to refuse to take Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters seriously.  To reject further debate with people whose views are completely incoherent is not only understandable, but sensible. […] I am talking about the people who are giving Trump their full-throated support to the very end, even as he mulls a military coup; the people who buy weird paintings of Trump crossing the Delaware, or who believe that Trump is an agent of Jesus Christ, or who think that Trump is fighting a blood-drinking ring of pedophiles.  These supporters have gone far beyond political loyalty and have succumbed to a kind of mass delusion.  It is not possible to engage them.  Indeed, to argue with them is to legitimize their beliefs, which itself is unhealthy for our democracy.  I don’t want to treat our fellow citizens with open contempt, or to confront and berate them.  Rather, I am arguing for silence.  The Trump loyalists who still cling to conspiracy theories and who remain part of a cult of personality should be deprived of the attention they seek, shunned for their antidemocratic lunacy, and then outvoted at the ballot box. […] [W]hen views are incoherent and beliefs are rooted in fantasies, compromise is impossible.  Further engagement is not only unwarranted, but it can also become counterproductive.’” (Georgia Logothetis, Daily Kos, December 22, 2020) Again, we see further proof of how Trumpism, America’s newest religion, is completely unresponsive to logic and even plain old common sense.  The Trumpists are a cult unto themselves; they can only be ignored and marginalized from America’s mainstream.  Reasoning with Trumpists, fundamentalist Christians, or any other fringe religious entities is pointless.

Consider this comment from a Trump supporter: “If Jesus Christ gets down off the cross and told me Trump is with Russia, I would tell him, ‘Hold on a second.  I need to check with the president if it’s true.’”   And the very worst part about the election is that, despite the lies, crimes and immorality of Donald Trump and the Republican party, 73 million Americans still voted for him!  This is the real issue, and it will not go away just because Trump will no longer be in office after January 20, 2021.  He will not go quietly; that is an easy prediction to make.

Even though he is now a lame-duck president, he is using his remaining time to do ever more outrageous things, like pardoning more of his fellow criminals.  Public Citizen reports: “Yesterday, Donald Trump issued more pardons to people who do not deserve absolution, including: 1) Roger Stone—Trump whisperer and man with Richard Nixon’s face tattooed on his back—who was convicted of witness tampering and lying to federal agents during the Mueller investigation into how Russia helped Trump become president. 2) Paul Manafort—former Trump campaign manager and “renowned” lobbyist for assorted autocrats and dictators—who was convicted of obstruction of justice and witness tampering throughout the Mueller probe as well as a myriad of financial fraud and other crimes. 3) Charles Kushner —father of Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner—who was convicted of tax evasion, campaign finance violations, and obstruction of justice (in connection with a sordid plot that involved hiring a prostitute he secretly videotaped his brother-in-law with then sending that tape to his sister).  This follows Trump’s pardoning, Monday night, of four men convicted for their roles—as employees of the private military contractor then known as Blackwater—in the slaughter of 14 Iraqi civilians in the 2007 Nisour Square massacre.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, December 24, 2020) All that needs to be pointed out here is that all three of these men have one thing in common: All continue to be unswervingly loyal to Trump.  To Trump, loyalty to him is more important than the laws of our nation.  Suffice it to say that this is a blatant abuse of presidential pardoning power: Executive pardons are supposed to be given to those who regret their crimes and seem to have been reformed, not to exempt friends and allies from the consequences of their crimes.  It is to be hoped that Trump will be held accountable for this, as well as his other multitudinous crimes, once he leaves office.  If Democrats fail to do this, then the American experiment will truly be over.


Trump and the Republican party’s strategy on the COVID 19 disaster is very simple: Ignore it and hope it will go away.  And, of course, blame Democrats for their own failures.  This chapter will provide a chronology of how the United States, unlike virtually every other country in the western hemisphere, has utterly failed its citizens, leaving hundreds of thousands dead and many times that amount infected, and our economy in a shambles.

For comparison purposes, consider New Zealand’s response.  As soon as the pandemic hit their country, its government took quick action.  They began testing almost immediately and instituted social distancing measures.  The end result was that the outbreak was quickly suppressed and virtually eliminated.  Other countries, such as France, Spain and Italy experienced more severe breakouts of the virus which necessitated more serious control efforts.  Again, the governments of these countries applied the necessary measures to get the virus under control and save lives.  This involved mandatory shutdowns that lasted for weeks and a gradual recovery of their economies.  But the end result was that the pandemic was eventually gotten under control, although it has not yet disappeared.

Contrast the leadership of these countries with that in the United States.  Trump at first insisted that there was only one case in the United States and continued long after to deny the severity of the disease.  His lies have continued up to the present, and when the number of fatalities could no longer be denied, he began his usual strategy of downplaying the numbers and blaming others for his own failure.  The man simply cannot admit to ever having made a mistake.  He and his Republican supporters obviously would rather have thousands of Americans die than admit that they underestimated the seriousness of the pandemic and that they should be taking more serious measures to control it.  They have ignored the objective evidence presented to them and rejected all the knowledge that contradicted what they wanted to believe.  The end result is that, unlike most other countries, the virus has spiraled out of control and the death rate continues to accelerate.

Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Center for Disease Control ominously notes: “We’re not in the situation of New Zealand or Singapore or Korea where a new case is rapidly identified and all the contacts are traced and people are isolated who are sick and people who are exposed are quarantined and they can keep things under control.  We have way too much virus across the country for that right now, so it’s very discouraging.”

One other European country, Sweden, took an economics-over-public-safety approach similar to that of the United States.  Republicans applauded loudly when the initial numbers came in indicating that their approach was working.  Then, the fatalities started mounting, and Sweden now has a COVID death rate somewhere between six and twelve times that of its bordering countries (Denmark, Norway and Finland).  Not surprisingly, Republicans are no longer mentioning Sweden at all.

The United States has approximately 4% of the world’s population.  Yet we have approximately 25% of the number of COVID cases reported.  These wildly disproportionate numbers should indicate to any thinking person that the U.S. is lagging far behind other countries in addressing the pandemic.  And the people responsible for the failure should be equally obvious.

On July 1, 2020, Daily Kos ran an article that puts the blame exactly where it belongs: “The United States doesn’t have a coordinated federal testing program.  The United States doesn’t have a national system of case management and contact tracing.  The United States doesn’t have consistent nationwide regulations on how to conduct social distancing, when businesses and gatherings should be closed, or when to enforce stay-at-home orders.  The United States doesn’t have something as simple as a national mandate to wear the masks that have been proven as one of the most effective measures in slowing the speed of the virus.  None of that happened because it had to.  None of it came because the U.S. could not do those things.  All of that happened because Donald Trump chose not to provide any genuine federal response to the crisis, and because Republicans refused to address his failure…

“Given that Trump has made it clear that the inaction he took at the outset of the pandemic was the peak of his involvement, no one should be expecting that Washington, D.C. will in any way pick up this burden and try to stomp out that fire.  Just as in the initial weeks, any response will be left to states.  And increasingly, as in Texas and Arizona, Republican ‘leaders’ at the state level are shrugging off their responsibilities to county and city officials.  Those officials have far less authority and far less ability to enforce their decisions.  So as Trump passed to governors, and governors pass to cities, the response goes from small, to smaller, to smallest.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, June 30, 2020)

So where is the leadership at the top?  Missing in action, of course.  It makes one wonder how any Republican political figure can say with a straight face that they are “serving the people?”

It all started when Trump assumed the presidency.  The Obama administration had established a task force to deal with situations such as this; it could have been used when the pandemic broke in March 2020, but Trump had already eliminated it almost from the moment he became president.  And then he turned around and insisted that Obama had left him with no way to deal with the pandemic!

Despite Trump’s constant insistence that the COVID-19 virus was no more serious than the flu, it soon emerged that he knew the opposite to be true, even before the first case was reported in the U.S.  People’s Action reports: “Journalist Bob Woodward just revealed that he has tapes of Donald Trump admitting that he knew that the COVID-19 virus was far, far more deadly than the flu, weeks before the first U.S. case of coronavirus.  Trump has been lying to us from the beginning, and as a result, almost 200,000 people are dead.  Trump told Woodward that ‘this is deadly stuff,’ and that it was ‘maybe five times more deadly’ than the flu.  Meanwhile, he was saying in public that the virus was ‘going to disappear.’ (George Goehl, People’s Action, September 9, 2020) So, the president of the United States knew well in advance that the virus was deadly, and didn’t share that information with anyone.  And as soon as it hit our shores, the lies and coverups began.

One of the biggest lies was when asked why he said he didn’t want people to panic over the seriousness of the virus.  Daily Kos reports: “[Trump] may have just admitted to being a liar for the first time ever: Asked if he had misled the country on the threat of coronavirus to reduce panic, Trump admits: ‘In order to reduce panic, perhaps that’s so.’  Trump, the same guy that has driven his base to hysterics over MS-13, Honduran caravans, ‘anchor babies,’ ‘the mob,’ antifa, black people moving to the suburbs, and countless other bigoted, racist, sexist attacks meant to divide us along class and racial lines, is now going to claim he didn’t want to ‘panic’ people?” (Daily Kos, September 9, 2020)

Woodward’s astonishing revelation produced some typical, if sometimes humorous, responses from Republican leaders, as Daily Kos reports: “Guess how Senate Republicans reacted to this week’s astonishing taped confession from Trump that he knew exactly how dangerous the coronavirus was and lied about to the public.  Well, since my email earlier in the week, Republican Sen. Joni Ernst hasn’t read the news.  Neither has GOPer Martha McSally.  Susan Collins?  LOL, she just used a staffer as a human shield and ran away from reporters.

“Senate Republicans are all simply pretending they’ve managed not to hear or read about the fact that their president admitted to lying about a public health crisis that has, so far, killed more than 190,000 Americans.  I have no words for this.  Only white hot anger for Trump and the Republican senators who voted to keep a corrupt, incompetent reality TV ‘star’ in office because they were too scared of his white supremacist superfans to remove him from office.  These cowards knew full well that Trump was dangerously unfit for office—and now we’re all paying the price.” (Michael Langenmayr, Daily Kos, September 12, 2020)

Not long after the numbers proved his minimizing of the numbers of deaths and infections became common knowledge, Trump tried a different tactic,  insisting that a vaccine would soon be available, and he repeatedly said he wanted it by November 1.  That day is of course highly significant, as it shows that he was more interested in gaining a crucial “victory” before the election than he is about the health of the citizens he is supposed to be protecting.

Moscow Mitch McConnell also bears a huge part of the responsibility for the pandemic; it was he who insisted on cutting funding for the federal agencies that are supposed to prepare the country for emergencies such as this, all the while doing his best to ensure that Big Pharma will be able to call the shots and make billions by gouging victims of the pandemic.

Trump made a grave situation even worse early in July when he gave official notice of withdrawing from the World Health Organization.  The withdrawal will become official on July 6, 2021, unless newly elected president Biden takes immediate action to address the issue.

Meanwhile, as Americans began tightening their belts as employment rates plummeted, Trump supporters were getting untold amounts of taxpayer money.  Progressive Caucus Action Fund explains: “Kanye West, Jared Kushner’s companies, and Trump’s personal lawyer got millions in PPP loans.  What did you get?  The Trump Administration is handing out fistfuls of cash to their powerful friends and allies.  All while claiming there’s no money left to help us pay our rent and feed our families.  Not so fast.  The news just broke that the Trump Administration gave out money through the Paycheck Protection Program to Trump’s advertising firm, Trump and the RNC’s fundraising firm, Trump’s personal lawyer, and companies related to the Kushners.  The Ayn Rand Institute, Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Fairness Foundation, and Citizens Against Government Waste—all of which loudly oppose government spending—also got at least six-figure checks.  After finding millions in Congress’s couch cushions to bail out their friends, Senate Republicans and the Administration are refusing to pass another coronavirus relief package to bail out struggling families.  They say there just isn’t any money left.” (Progressive Caucus Action Fund, July 7, 2020)

However, there was plenty of money left for McConnell to introduce a bill giving the coal industry $161 million.  McConnell knew that the bill wouldn’t pass, but his strategy was clear: Introduce it and then tell his corporate sponsors that Democrats blocked it.

On July 8, word got out that Mitch McConnell and his fellow Senate extremists are trying to pass a bill that would shield companies from responsibility should their employees contact the virus at the workplace.  First, Republicans tried to ignore the threat of the virus and urged people to return to work.  Now, if they do return, companies that don’t take measures to protect their employees get off scot free while their employees are left to pay the medical bills caused by their employer’s negligence.  Under McConnell’s bill, employers don’t need to provide masks, they don’t need to create safe working conditions, and they don’t even need to insist on social distancing.  McConnell and his allies want the employees to pay all the costs of their employer’s failure to ensure their safety.  Meanwhile, the corporations and their shareholders aren’t liable for their actions (or inactions).  McConnell won’t even consider more COVID-19 relief unless this bill is passed.  This provides proof positive that Republicans don’t care a whit about the lives of the American people; the livelihood of large corporations is their only concern.  Only the Republican party would even consider such a stupidly immoral action as McConnell’s bill.

On the same day, Trump showed his callousness and unconcern for the lives of America’s schoolchildren.  He wants them back at school—their safety be damned.  Public Citizen elaborates: “Donald Trump confessed that he is willing—eager, actually—to risk the lives of our nation’s nearly 60 million elementary and secondary school students, more than 3.5 million teachers, and countless additional support staff so that he can say things are back to normal before the election.  Vice President Mike Pence and billionaire Education Secretary Betsy DeVos also called for sacrificing children, teachers, and others to boost Trump’s election chances.

“We should understand this for what it is: The president of the United States would endanger every school-age child in America—along with their teachers and other school workers, along with their families and communities—to satisfy his deranged craving to pretend the coronavirus emergency is over because he knows how catastrophically he’s bungled his response to it. (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, July 9, 2020)

It is singularly ironic that Pence, who was appointed by Trump to lead the charge against COVID-19, sees no contradiction between exposing children to a life-threatening disease while calling himself “pro-life.”  The same is true of all other Republicans: To them, the life of a zygote is more important than the life of a child.  Pro-life means to get the baby born, get it baptized, and then forget all about it.

Corrupt Education Secretary DeVos even had the effrontery to insist that: “There is nothing that would suggest that kids being back in school is dangerous to them.”  Nothing, other than the reality of hundreds of thousands of deaths that could have been prevented if Trump and his lackeys had actually done anything to prevent them.

Daily Kos quotes the president’s tweet of July 8: “In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS.  The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families.  May cut off funding if not open!”  The Kos article then provides us with the number of new cases reported on that same day: Germany had 298 new cases, Sweden 271, Norway 11, Denmark 10, and the U.S.—61,779.  Who does Trump think he’s kidding?

The clannishness of Republican leaders who absolutely fail to criticize the criminal-in-chief is truly astounding: Nothing he says or does is ever questioned, no matter how patently false, stupid, or dangerous it might be.  A case in point concerns Rep. Joni Ernst’s response to CNN reporter Dana Bash who queried: “You said in 2014 that Obama showed ‘failed leadership’ with Ebola, when only 2 Americans died.  Would you say Trump’s showed failed leadership with coronavirus as 130,000 Americans have died?  Sen. Joni Ernst: “No, I think that the president is stepping forward.”  Unbelievably stupid and callous as this response is, it is commonplace in today’s Republican Party, and par for the course for Joni Ernst.  Incidentally, Ernst’s Iowa has the highest rate of COVID 19 cases in the country.

Ernst has made other equally stupid statements, repeating a QAnon conspiracy theory about the actual death count of the virus.  She even thinks that doctors and nurses are lying about the death count in order to make more money: “These health-care providers and others are reimbursed at a higher rate if COVID is tied to it, so what do you think they’re doing?”

Republican stupidity starts at the top and then trickles down to everyone else in the party.  The president has repeatedly advocated for less coronavirus testing.  Unbelievably, he actually said: “If we did half the testing, we would have half the cases.”  In other words, Trump wants us to believe that testing, rather than the virus, is what is killing people.  How can anyone take such nonsense seriously, especially when human lives are concerned?

Daily Kos summarizes why the president refuses to take positive measures to address the pandemic: “It’s obvious that Trump sees the COVID-19 crisis as yet another opportunity to operate through the shock doctrine.  He has no intention of making things better because he is not interested in making things better.  Instead, the White House is now viewing the crisis as an opportunity.  An opportunity to provide even greater power to ICE and to limit all types of immigration.  An opportunity to crush public education between impossible demands.  An opportunity to push state and local budgets and infrastructure to the brink; to leave every form of public assistance starved for funds and facing overwhelming demand; to deliberately spark a crisis in evictions and foreclosures.  Trump hasn’t just surrendered to the coronavirus, he is eagerly feeding it victims.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, July 8, 2020)

Another Daily Kos article elaborates on this: “White House officials also hope Americans will grow numb to the escalating death toll and learn to accept tens of thousands of new cases a day, according to three people familiar with the White House’s thinking, who requested anonymity to reveal internal deliberations.  Grow numb.  To life being defined by a serious sickness. Team Trump expects us to ‘live with the virus being a threat,’ as a senior administration official told the Post.

“‘Live with the virus being a threat.’  That’s not a slip of the tongue.  ‘They’re of the belief that people will get over it or if we stop highlighting it, the base will move on and the public will learn to accept 50,000 to 100,000 new cases a day,’ according to ‘a former administration official in touch with the campaign.’  This is surrender.  It is negligence as policy.  No, it is failure as policy.  And it is a wish that we surrender for the sake of Trump’s political future.” (Laura Clawson, Daily Kos, July 6, 2020)

There is another, equally asinine aspect to the pandemic that only someone as immoral as Trump could come up with.

Back in March, Trump began promoting hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19, even though it does nothing to treat the illness.  The only thing it does is to increase risks of heart attacks.  But, the administration being what it is, it purchased 63 million doses, which are now sitting idly in warehouses.  The drug can be used to treat certain other illnesses, but Big Pharma responded predictably by gouging the prices.  This absurd situation perfectly illustrates the incompetence of the Republican government to deal with the situation.

Demand Progress tells us of another way the Republican government is doing its utmost to worsen the situation: “The Trump administration will no longer allow the Centers for Disease Control access to coronavirus data.
After telling lie after lie about the pandemic—including that 99 percent of cases are ‘harmless’ and the virus will just ‘disappear’ soon—Donald Trump just couldn’t make the facts line up with his fake stories.  So now hospitals will be required to send data on coronavirus infections directly to Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services—where the CDC and the public won’t be able to access it…Epidemiologists, state and local governments, and organizations across the country are relying on the CDC’s regular updates on coronavirus infection rates and hospitalizations to make crucial decisions, like whether to open schools or allow businesses to operate.  But as of yesterday, hospitals are no longer allowed to send that information to the CDC, but instead must provide it to a central White House database where it won’t be accessible to the public.  This is an incredibly dangerous blow to government transparency, as well as a huge setback to our health care system’s efforts to control the virus.

“Trump has already politicized science in a way that no other president before has.  On Tuesday, former directors of the CDC, spanning Republican and Democratic presidencies, wrote an open letter published in the Washington Post warning of the dangers of letting Trump continue to mislead the public on the data and recommendations of the agency.
Now the president has cut the CDC out entirely.  At this moment, the US is home to a quarter of the world’s coronavirus cases, and hospitalizations are spiking in more than half of states.  If the Trump administration is allowed to quash the data, health professionals will be operating in the dark as they try to control the virus and keep the public safe.

“The Trump administration is continuing to escalate its out-of-control power grab, and this latest move is a terrifying threat to the lives of millions.  We need Congress to rein in Trump and force the White House to hand coronavirus data back to the CDC—and ensure that the CDC is working independently of Trump’s influence.  Science, not Trump’s whims, must guide their work.” (Robert Cruickshank, Demand Progress, July 15, 2020) Unconscionable that it may be, this article makes it clear that the Trump administration is trying to keep vital information away from the general public—only because they want to be the sole purveyors of what we hear.  This is yet another example of how fascist governments function.

Not everyone has suffered under the COVID-19 pandemic.  In July, only four months into this national emergency, Americans for Tax Fairness noted: “…as millions of families struggle to afford basic necessities in the midst of the pandemic, the wealth of our country’s 600-plus billionaires has grown by more than $700 billion since the pandemic began in mid-March.”  (Andrea Haverdink, Americans for Tax Fairness, July 25, 2020) It is unconscionable that, in this crisis, the richest in this country are profiting from the suffering and death of others less fortunate.  But then, that is what constitutes the essence of Republican ideology.

That $700 billion number has only increased as the virus claims more victims.  Americans for Tax Fairness reports: “Sadly, the Gilded Age is here again.  This week, America’s 651 billionaires reached a disgraceful milestone.  Since the pandemic began in March, their wealth jumped by $1 trillion, or more than one-third.  They are now worth more than $4 trillion.  During that same time, 15 million Americans contracted COVID-19 and 284,000 people died from it.  To put that $1 trillion wealth increase in perspective, that’s enough to send a stimulus check of $3,000 to every one of the roughly 330 million men, women and children in America.  A family of four would receive over $12,000.

“This new report from Americans for Tax Fairness and our allies at the Institute for Policy Studies, highlights how the wealth gains of America’s 651 billionaires―largely white men―come at a time when low-wage workers, people of color and women have suffered disproportionately in the combined healthcare and economic crises facing our country.  As these extraordinary wealth gains have been realized by a tiny sliver of the population, nearly 67 million people lost work; 98,000 businesses permanently closed; and 12 million people lost employer-sponsored health insurance.  Yet, Mitch McConnell and most Republicans in Congress are blocking new stimulus checks from being included in the modest bipartisan pandemic relief package worth $900 billion―less than the increase in billionaire wealth the last 9 months…In the short term, we need a COVID relief package that meets the urgency of the moment, not Senator Mitch McConnell’s skinny bill that does nothing more than offer political cover for congressional Republicans.

We need a lot more aid for state and local services at a time when budget gaps―including for education―are estimated to be at least $500 billion.  We need enhanced unemployment benefits for millions still out of work.  And we need a lot more money for vaccine distribution so that all of us can quickly get protection from this deadly virus.  In the long-term, we need major reform that taxes the extraordinary wealth of the billionaires and millionaires and uses that wealth to create an economy that works for all of us.

“Since the pandemic began, Jeff Bezos’s wealth grew by $71.4 billion, to $184 billion―an increase of 63%, thanks to his Amazon stock.  If that wealth growth was distributed to all of Bezos’s 810,000 U.S. employees, each would get over $88,000 and Bezos would not be any ‘poorer’ than he was 9 months ago.

“Elon Musk―the founder of Tesla and SpaceX―has seen his wealth grow by 482% from $24.6 billion to $143 billion.  That $119 billion growth in wealth is more than five times NASA’s $22.6 billion budget in FY2020, the federal agency Musk has credited with saving his company with a big federal contract when the firm’s rockets were failing and it faced bankruptcy.  None of this wealth growth is taxed under our current tax system.  That’s why we need a tax on wealth to rid us of this scandal like we need a vaccine to rid of this COVID-19 scourge.” (Frank Clemente, Americans for Tax Fairness, December 9, 2020)

All this should be kept in mind when we recall that in July, Mitch McConnell released his coronavirus “relief” package.  No one was surprised at the content, which predictably put corporate profits ahead of actual relief for people suffering and dying because of the pandemic.  His bill wants to give corporations immunity from lawsuits for spreading the virus, slash unemployment benefits, and end eviction protections.  Conspicuously absent from the package was any funding whatever to ensure election safety and voting rights.  Instead of using money—taxpayers money—to provide relief, Republicans continue to promote their own favorite projects such as a new FBI head quarters and the F-35 fighter plane.

The bill was so bad that even some Republicans refused to support it.  As Daily Kos reports: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer officially dismissed the proposal in a joint statement.  ‘Two and a half months after Democrats delivered the solutions to defeating the virus and safely reopening the country in The Heroes Act, the Senate GOP has now come back with a weak, piecemeal proposal that will only prolong the suffering for millions of workers and families across America,’ they wrote.  ‘The Senate GOP proposal is a sad statement of their values, selling out struggling families at the kitchen table in order to enrich the corporate interests at the boardroom table.’

“They detail all those decisions in the Republican bill: cutting the UI by $400/week, ‘hurtling toward completely unworkable bureaucracy that will overwhelm already chaotic unemployment offices and risk benefits never going out at all’; the business meal tax deduction for wealth corporations while refusing to increase food assistance ‘for families struggling to keep food on the table’; refusing to extend the eviction moratorium or provide financial assistance for people to stay housed; no additional state and local funding for government that are laying off ‘health workers, first responders, teachers, food, transit and sanitation workers and other frontline heroes’ because of revenue shortfalls; a liability immunity for corporations and no OSHA protections to make sure workers are safe; the effort to ‘bully schools to reopen without the resources to reopen safely, tying urgently-needed funding to reopening instead of safety and failing to provide adequate resources;’ no help for victims of domestic violence; no election funding or Postal Service funding to make sure the November election can be pulled off; the complete lack of ‘a strategic and well-funded, science-based testing plan,’ while also abandoning communities of color, ‘with no assistance for the Black and other minority communities who are being disproportionately devastated by COVID-19.’  All of these issues are addressed in the Democrats’ HEROES Act, which passed the House two and a half months ago, and which McConnell has been ignoring since.” (Joan McCarter, Daily Kos, July 28, 2020)

Even such fascist stalwarts as Lindsay Graham, John Kennedy, and Josh Hawley refused to support the bill, with Hawley calling it “a mess.”

The health of the American people isn’t the only thing the pandemic has threatened.  It has also affected all Americans economically.  People are losing their jobs, their homes, and some cannot even put food on the table.  So what excuse have Republicans concocted to explain their abysmal failure to provide any kind of sorely needed economic relief emanating from the COVID-19 crisis?  Data For Progress addresses this issue: “The pandemic has created an economic crisis for millions of Americans.  Most economists agree that we need massive government investment to help them, and to prevent this emergency from turning into a full-scale depression.  Why, then, is Congress tying its own hands?  A self-imposed rule called PAYGO forces Congress to reject any spending that doesn’t come with an immediate ‘pay-for,’ either in new revenue or in spending cuts.  This rule prevents Congress from helping people who desperately need aid.  It also prevents it from investing in economic growth—investment that will pay for itself in the long run.  The PAYGO rule reflects the same austerity thinking that slowed and limited economic recovery from the 2008 financial crisis in the United States, the United Kingdom, Greece, and other countries.  It was a bad idea then, and it’s a bad idea now.  We are in an economic emergency, as well as a health crisis.  The PAYGO rule has never made sense.  Under these conditions, it’s not just bad policy.  It could also cost lives, by preventing Congress from investing in life-saving programs to get people healthy—and to get them back on their feet financially.” (Data For Progress, December 26, 2020)

While Americans are suffering and dying at horrifying rates, many corporate bigwigs, lobbyists, and former public officials are cashing in big time on the pandemic.  AP News reported that forty lobbyists, all of whom had close ties to Trump and his administration, have managed to steal over $10.5 billion in taxpayer money that was supposed to have gone to fighting the coronavirus.

In August 2020, Trump selected Scott Atlas to serve on his White House Coronavirus Task Force.  As with everyone else connected with Trump, his job was basically to repeat everything Trump says and never recognize or apologize for his mistakes.  He spread all the usual misinformation that Trump and the Republican party had been formulating to cover for their inadequacy in dealing with the pandemic.  Atlas towed the Republican line in “dealing” with the pandemic, including herd immunity, faster opening of schools, dismissal of face masks and social distancing, and so on.  Daily Kos tells us more about this medical quack: “On Sept. 9, researchers and physicians at Stanford Medical School shot an open letter across the virtual campus to Donald Trump adviser Scott Atlas, who is also a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.  The fine conservatives at the Hoover Institution haven’t exactly been covering themselves in glory during the COVID-19 pandemic.  They’ve been the source for absolute confusion, including claims that deaths were being overreported, that COVID-19 was much less deadly than deceptive old math would have you believe, and that we should just all ‘learn to live’ with COVID-19.  Except, of course, for those who don’t.

Atlas has been at the center of much of this cobbled-together quackery.  He’s claimed that young people have ‘essentially no risk’ of dying from COVID-19, that statewide shutdowns were more deadly than the disease, and that most COVID-19 deaths—aren’t actually COVID-19 deaths.  That kind of nonsense, frequently amplified on Fox News, earned the absolutely unqualified in any way Atlas—a radiologist with no experience in either epidemiology or infectious disease—a spot on Trump’s increasingly pointless coronavirus task force.  In fact, the task force exists in name only, and its only function is to convince people that Trump is actually doing something.  Exactly what he and the task force is doing is never discussed.

“This failure earned Atlas a take-down at YouTube, where his dangerously unscientific claims got one of his videos yanked for misinformation when he scoffed at masks and social distancing and embraced the magic of just ignoring the body count.  Of course, the fact that Atlas’ video was removed for being not just wrong, but misleading in a way that very definitely could get people killed, has been greeted with complaints about ‘cancel culture’ on Fox News and claims from Atlas that he was being censored ‘like a third world country.’  And now, Atlas is showing how much he hates cancel culture by suing 100 doctors and researchers for having the audacity to criticize him.

“The original open letter has now been removed from Stanford’s server, but is still available from other links.  99% of the letter is simply a list of known truths about the SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19. For example: 1) The use of face masks, social distancing, handwashing and hygiene have been shown to substantially reduce the spread of Covid-19.  Crowded indoor spaces are settings that significantly increase the risk of community spread of SARS-CoV-2. 2) Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 frequently occurs from asymptomatic people, including children and young adults, to family members and others.  Therefore, testing asymptomatic individuals, especially those with probable Covid-19 exposure is important to break the chain of ongoing transmission.

“The only mention of Atlas in the letter is a single sentence: ‘To prevent harm to the public’s health, we also have both a moral and an ethical responsibility to call attention to the falsehoods and misrepresentations of science recently fostered by Dr. Scott Atlas, a former Stanford Medical School colleague and current senior fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University.’

“So, having been caught in a series of lies that threaten the health of millions of Americans, Atlas responded as anyone in the Trump White House would: he’s suing.  The attorney here, Marc Kasowitz, is from a firm that has also represented Trump.  His notice to Stanford Medical School demands a removal and an apology stating, ‘Your letter, which you wrote and sent with no regard for the truth, maliciously defames Dr. Atlas.’  It then goes on to claim that Atlas has always been at war with Eastasia—err, always agreed with all the things that Stanford said in their letter and no one had better say otherwise.  Stanford professor Michael Fischbach provided a quick reply.  ‘I stand by everything we said.  More facts, more science.  Less Kasowitz.’” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, September 18, 2020)

Atlas was so extreme and dangerous that 78 of his former colleagues at Stanford Medical School signed an open letter condemning his dangerous stances.  The letter stated that Atlas had made: “falsehoods and misrepresentations of science” that “run counter to established science” and “undermine public health authorities and the credible science that guides effective public health policy.”  Atlas resigned his position on November 20.  But the question remains: How could somebody this stupid have earned his degree in the first place?  And how could anyone in the federal government have been stupid enough to choose him to head a task force that is outside his area of expertise?

Herman Cain, a businessman and Trump supporter who refused to wear a mask at a Trump rally on June 20, was diagnosed with COVID-19 nine days later and died of the virus on July 20.  This is particularly ironic, given his tweet statement that: “It looks like the virus is not as deadly as the mainstream media first made it out to be.”  Even after being diagnosed, he still had the audacity to tweet on July 2 (in reference to another Trump rally on July 4: “Masks will not be mandatory for the event, which will be attended by President Trump.  PEOPLE ARE FED UP!”  One can only wonder how many other attendees have suffered the same fate as Cain.  They have no one to blame but themselves; they were repeatedly warned, but chose to listen to Trump rather than the real experts.  Once again, we see that faith (Trumpism) takes precedence over facts in the Republican alternate universe.

Then, on October 1, Trump and his wife both came down with the virus.  Daily Kos provides the details: “Shortly before 1 AM ET on Friday morning, Donald Trump tweeted that both he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19.  On Thursday evening, Trump aide Hope Hicks, who had been traveling with Trump’s campaign this week, tested positive.  Hicks was with Trump when he held a large rally in Duluth, Minnesota, on Wednesday and had previously joined him at the presidential debate on Tuesday in Cleveland, Ohio.  During the debate, Trump mocked his rival Joe Biden for wearing masks, which have been proven to slow the spread of the coronavirus.” (David Nir, Daily Kos, October 1, 2020)

As president of the United States, Trump had access to COVID-19 information from the country’s leading experts.  His own administration provided him with all the information he needed to have.  If anybody in the country was in a position to be informed about the virus, it was he. Yet he ignored everything that contradicted what he wanted to believe, and even mocked it, so he had only himself to blame for contracting the disease.

After being prematurely released from the hospital and after having received every imaginable treatment for the disease, Trump tweeted: “Don’t be afraid of COVID.  Don’t let it dominate your life.”  So the countess thousands of people who have died of the disease made the mistake of allowing it to “dominate” their lives.  Trump did nothing more here than spit on their memories.  As if this were not enough, he then tweeted that COVID-19 is “less lethal” than the flu.

Several other notable right-wingers have also contracted the disease, including Cabinet member Ben Carson, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Senators Ron Johnson, Chuck Grassley and Mike Lee, and many others, but to date no major Democrat has tested positive.  That should tell you something.

In late October, following the worst two days of new cases up to that point, Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows was interviewed on CNN and actually said: “We’re not going to control the pandemic.”  In other words, even though other countries have been able to do so, Trump and the Republicans completely gave up.  They’re not even going to try.  Meadows paid for his ignorance shortly after the election when he too tested positive for the virus.

And then, the White House issued the most immoral lie in a non-ending series of lies, as Daily Kos reports: “On Tuesday afternoon, the White House issued a statement that named ‘ending the COVID-19 pandemic’ as one of Donald Trump’s big ‘accomplishments from the first term.’  Given the rapidly rising number of COVID cases and deaths at this point, one must wonder: Can Trump possibly sink any lower than this?

One final note by Daily Kos should be read by every thinking American.  The final part of that article reads: “…Trump’s failure to address the COVID-19 crisis is not only total, it was deliberate.  Trump himself announced a national testing and tracing strategy back on March 13.  That’s when he produced the CEOs of six major big box retailers to announce that thousands of drive-through testing sites would be set up in parking lots across the nation, all to be coordinated by a website being constructed by ’17,000 engineers from Google.’

Then Trump himself decided to cancel that effort.  Not because it was impossible.  But because he thought that not instituting a national testing strategy would result in more deaths in blue states, giving him a political advantage.  The nation is not in dire straits because of some inevitable circumstances.  The rising toll of illness and death was a strategy; a conscious and deliberate decision that has led to the death of more than 1 out of every 1,000 Black people in the nation.  Trump’s deliberate neglect of the population for sick, misguided political purposes isn’t just a tragedy, it’s a crime against humanity.

“‘Genocide is a denial of the right of existence of entire human groups…many instances of such crimes of genocide have occurred when racial, religious, political and other groups have been destroyed, entirely or in part.’—UN Resolution 96(1),  December 11, 1946.’

“Donald Trump hasn’t ‘defeated’ anything, other than morality, empathy, and humanity.  But he’s hopefully about to get a lesson in defeat.  Followed by one concerning justice.”
This is the man some forty percent of the population voted for in 2020.

The most disgusting aspect of the COVID-19 crisis is the way right-wing politicians and the richest Americans have profited by it.  MoveOn tells us of how two Georgia Republicans have been able to do so: “The corruption scandals swirling around the GOP candidates for both of the Georgia Senate runoff races continue to deepen.  The news broke last week that the Justice Department, FBI, and Securities and Exchange Commission investigated Senator David Perdue this year for the sale of at least $1 million of stock in a financial firm whose board he previously sat on.  The CEO sent Perdue an email two days before his stock sale that mentioned ‘upcoming changes’ at the company.  Weeks later, the CEO announced he was stepping down, and the company’s stock price plummeted.   Both Perdue and Senator Kelly Loeffler were also investigated earlier this year for insider trading at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic. Both dumped stocks and bought others in key sectors after receiving early, confidential briefings about the coronavirus.  They lined their pockets with these stock sales while publicly downplaying the threat of the virus.  At a campaign stop in Georgia last month, President Barack Obama called Perdue and Loeffler the ‘dynamic duo of doing wrong.’  He said that the two senators ‘were publicly telling you that the virus would be no big deal, but behind closed doors, they were making a bunch of moves in the stock market to try to make sure their portfolios were protected instead of making sure you were protected.  Man, that’s shady.  That ain’t right.  They downplayed the pandemic in public, and in private they’re trying to see if they can profit from it.  Both of them, not just one of them, both of them.  They’re like Batman and Robin gone bad.’

“Perdue and Loeffler know how damaging these scandals could be to their races.  Perdue backed out of his final general election debate after his Democratic challenger, Jon Ossoff, called him a crook in their second debate and the interaction went viral. Perdue continues to refuse to debate Ossoff. Loeffler is so worried that she went so far as to run an ad calling the Trump Justice Department investigation ‘fake news’ and a ‘witch hunt’ and claiming she’d ‘done nothing wrong.’ (MoveOn, December 3, 2020)

Perdue made every effort to deny that he has done anything wrong, but When Democrats Turn Out exposes the truth for all to see: “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.  A new 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.’” (WDTO, December 9, 2020)

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.  The problem is we know Perdue is a powerful man who can afford to hide behind his lies without losing support.  And that is the tragedy of today’s Republican party.

Perdue and Loeffler are typical right-wing extremists who, like virtually every one of their colleagues, will always support Trump, no matter what he says or does.  PFAW expanded on this: “As Trump continues waging his scorched earth campaign to overturn the results of the November election, Georgia’s Republican Senators Perdue and Loeffler—both in neck-and-neck runoff races to keep their seats—have refused to distance themselves from Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric attacking state election officials (who also happen to be Republicans).  Senators Perdue and Loeffler’s dangerous complicity in choosing not to condemn Trump’s rhetoric underscores just how urgent it is to ensure that we defeat them in the runoff election.  As it has in the past, Trump’s violent rhetoric has given rise to some very real threats of violence.  Earlier this week, Georgia voting systems manager, Gabriel Sterling (a Republican), didn’t mince words when he lashed out at Trump for his ongoing attacks on the election in Georgia, stating: ‘Mr. President, you have not condemned these actions or this language.  Senators, you have not condemned this language or these actions.  This has to stop.  We need you to step up—and if you’re going to take a position of leadership, show some. […] Someone’s gonna get hurt, someone’s going to get shot, someone’s going to get killed.  It’s time to look forward. If you want to run for re-election in four years, fine, do it.  But everything we’re seeing right now, there’s not a path.”

“Sterling’s strong warning follows ongoing threats of violence against workers connected to the Georgia election, including protestors showing up at Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger’s house (threats of sexual violence also directed at his wife), a noose calling for the execution of an election contractor, and one of Trump’s lawyers calling for a former national election security chief to be ‘taken out and shot.’  NONE of this has been condemned by Senators Loeffler and Perdue.” (PFAW, December 4, 2020)

As time goes on, Republican hysteria and lies are becoming even more obviously stupid and false.  Rudy Guiliani’s supposedly “star” witness actually stated the following: “This is what they do to Trump,”  It’s not going to work with me.  I won’t back down because I am very religious and I know God is watching over me.  This started with COVID.  The Obamas funded that Wuhan lab to make COVID.”  You read that right: Obama and his wife are responsible for the pandemic.  This from a person who stresses her religious affiliation, which every Republican does, as if being a fundamentalist Christian somehow makes them more moral than everyone else.  I will have more to say on Christian fundamentalism in a subsequent chapter.

Daily Kos tells us more about this reprehensible woman: “Mellissa Carone’s testimony before the Michigan state house panel made her an instant meme across the nation and more than earned her a parody on Saturday Night Live that was, if anything, less bizarre than her actual statements.  The aspiring actress put on a one-woman show of conspiracy theories that included food trucks full of ballots and poll books that contained 100,000 fake names.  It took just two days for a Wayne County judge to rule that Carone’s statements—statements that she included on a signed affidavit—were ‘simply not credible,’ making this another chapter in the ongoing saga ‘Say, just what do these guys have to do before they’re charged with perjury?’

“While Carone’s house testimony might have been lifted from the b-plot of bad sitcom, what she’s doing now isn’t nearly so hilarious.  After sitting next to a highly infectious Rudy Giuliani for a mask-free day of testimony, Carone joined America’s major embarrassment for some post-testimony mugging for the camera.  All of which came just hours before Giuliani tested positive for the novel coronavirus.  Which means that Mellissa Carone was parked next to someone during their peak period of potential contagion.  Naturally, she’s doing the wrong thing.  As The Washington Post reports, health officials in the county where Corone lived have ordered anyone who had had close contact with Giuliani to self-isolate and get a test for COVID-19.  Carone is not cooperating and waved off the suggestion that she should get tested, or be concerned about infecting anyone else, saying, ‘I would take it seriously if it came from Trump, because Trump cares about American lives.’  Yes.  That’s exactly why the number of Americans dead from COVID-19 hit 295,000 on Wednesday.  Because Trump cares so much.

“As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, the Michigan house was not the first place where Carone put her acting chops on display. Giuliani’s star witness recently completed probation for another starring role in a series of sex videos which she emailed to her fiance’s ex-wife.

“Unsurprisingly, when she was caught and brought in for an interview by police, Carone denied having ever sent the emails.  It wasn’t until she was actually presented with the evidence that the videos were sent from her computer and her IP address that Carone confessed.  Police also uncovered the little fact that after sending the videos, Carone told her fiance to get a new Wi-Fi router and change internet providers.  Which would seem to be pretty good acknowledgement of guilt.

“According to the AJC, a police investigator said, ‘Mellissa then confessed to sending the videos because she wanted to send (the ex-wife) ‘over the top.’  Instead they earned Carone a conviction and a year of probation for ‘disorderly conduct’—a pretty good deal considering that the original charges could have both landed her in prison and on the sex offender registry.  In response to the news coming out, Carone made a statement just as coherent as any she made during her House testimony, ‘But one thing that that anybody that knows me, or people that don’t even know me, cannot and will never be able to ever claim about me is that I’m a liar.  I am not a liar.  I’ve never been known to be a liar.  I am not a liar.  And I am the most honest person.’  Which pairs perfectly with the statement of the Wayne County judge, which stated that Carone ‘made numerous demonstrably false allegations’ and was ‘not credible.’

“Honestly, Rudy Giuliani and Mellissa Carone are right—when they say that Carone’s past actions should not be taken as an excuse to either impugn her character or deny her testimony.  Unfortunately for Giuliani and Carone, the character that she demonstrated in her testimony was more than enough to show that probation was ineffective in changing her behavior.  Even more unfortunately, Carone is confirming that character by her cavalier treatment of her COVID-19 exposure and her willingness to endanger those around her.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, December 9, 2020)

Trump’s abysmal failure to act on the COVID-19 disaster continued right up to the end of the year.  And, when Pfizer announced that they had created a vaccine for the virus, the White House responded in typical fashion, as told by Public Citizen: “The Trump administration is once again doing something that is incomprehensibly incompetent and utterly unsurprising at the same time.  Let’s go through this step by step: 1) Last week, following emergency FDA approval, a coronavirus vaccine manufactured by Pfizer started being administered nationwide. 2)  Distribution of that vaccine is run through the Trump administration’s ‘Operation Warp Speed,’ which is a joint project of several agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services. 3) Over the past few days, numerous states reported that they were just finding out that they would be getting much less — perhaps only half as much — of the vaccine than the Trump administration initially committed to provide. 4) When asked to explain, Trump’s abysmal Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar—who just announced that his own wife has coronavirus—tried to blame Pfizer. 5) Pfizer says it has millions of doses ready to distribute but has ‘not received any shipment instructions for additional doses’ from the Trump administration. 6) And officials from numerous states say that the Trump administration is giving no explanation whatsoever for any delays or reductions in distributing the vaccine. 7)  Meanwhile, COVID-19 has surpassed both heart disease and cancer as the leading cause of death in the U.S.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, December 18, 2020)

By the end of the year, the death count from the COVID-19 virus had passed 300,000.


This is another issue I have discussed at length.  I will commence by quoting from an excellent Daily Kos article that provides us with a brief history of Trump’s undeniable racism: “You don’t have to search far to find examples of Trump’s racist past.  In 1973, Nixon’s U.S. Department of Justice sued Trump for discriminating against Black tenants, including lying about whether units were available to prospective Black renters.  In the ‘80s, a former employee of Trump’s failed casino told the New Yorker that: ‘When Donald and Ivana came to the casino, the bosses would order all the black people off the floor—they put us all in the back.’  The former president of that Trump casino, John O’Donnell, wrote about Trump’s criticisms of his accountants in his book Trumped!  ‘Black guys counting my money!  I hate it.  The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day,’  O’Donnell quoted Trump as saying.  ‘I think that the guy is lazy.  And it’s probably not his fault, because laziness is a trait in blacks.  It really is, I believe that.  It’s not anything they can control.’  Lest you think that this was a he-said, she-said situation, Trump admitted to it all, telling Playboy Magazine in 1997 that ‘the stuff O’Donnell wrote about me is probably true.’

“Still, of all the documented instances of Trump’s racism and bigotry, none beat his sorry involvement in the Central Park Five case in 1989, in which a white woman was sexually assaulted while jogging through Central Park.  Five young Black men were arrested, charged, and convicted of the crime.  The four youngest, all 14 years old, served six to seven years in juvenile facilities, while the oldest, who was 16 at the time, was tried and sentenced as an adult and served 11 years.  They were all exonerated when another inmate in the prison system confessed to the attack, further confirmed by DNA evidence.  Throughout the racially charged investigation and case, Trump used his perch and money to fuel the flames of racial division, even running a full-page ad in four NY City newspapers—The New York Times, The Daily News, The New York Post and New York Newsday—demanding to ‘BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY.’  For 14 year olds. ‘[NYC is] ruled by the law of the streets, as roving bands of wild criminals roam our neighborhoods, dispensing their own vicious brand of twisted hatred on whomever they encounter,’ the ad claimed.  ‘At what point did we cross the line from the fine and noble pursuit of genuine civil liberties to the reckless and dangerously permissive atmosphere which allows criminals of every age to beat and rape a helpless woman and then laugh at her family’s anguish?’

“Given chances to recant, given the exoneration of the five youths, Trump has steadfastly refused to concede that he was wrong, even claiming on the eve of the 2016 election that ‘they admitted they were guilty.’  Of course they hadn’t, professing their innocence throughout their trial and incarceration.  Yet that episode displays the seeds of what would become his signature campaign style, saying in that ad, ‘They should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes.  They must serve as examples for their crimes.  They must serve as examples so that others will think long and hard before committing a crime or an act of violence.’ (Daily Kos, December 24, 2020)

This article alone should remove any doubt that Donald Trump is and always has been an inveterate racist.  It also shows another side to the man that has become typical not only of him, but of the Republican party in general: The inability to admit they are wrong about anything.  No matter how extensive evidence may be that a Republican is wrong about something, they will lie without batting an eye.

There is another angle that has developed in recent years that clearly illustrates the racism of Donald Trump and the Republican party.  This concerns the flying of the Confederate flag, an issue that should have been relegated to the dustbins of history in 1865 but has resurged under Republican leadership.  Daily Kos reports: “Trump has railed against NASCAR for its Confederate flag ban, and he has railed against moves to rename military bases that currently bear the names of Confederate leaders.  Trump has even threatened to veto a defense authorization bill over the issue.  That’s how much Donald Trump loves this symbol of racism and slavery.

“‘For more than a century, the flag was used extensively by the Ku Klux Klan as it waged a campaign of terror against Black Americans after the Civil War and during the civil rights movement, as segregationists in positions of power raised it in defense of discriminatory Jim Crow laws, and in the continuance of a false narrative of white racial superiority,’ the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Lecia Brooks wrote last month. ‘Our public entities, especially our military assets, should no longer play a role in distorting history by honoring a secessionist government that waged war against the United States to preserve white supremacy and the enslavement of millions of people.’” (Laura Clawson, Daily Kos, July 7, 2020)

Then there are the “Proud Boys.”  This group serves as a perfect illustration of what has gone wrong in this country: They are an extreme right-wing neo-fascist organization composed exclusively of white males that promotes white nationalism and participates in violence against perceived enemies.  It originated in 2016 and has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.   They have been present at right-wing rallies and Republican campaign events and have been involved in countless riots and near riots.  The Republican mainstream has steadfastly refused to condemn these terrorists, a telling indictment of how far the party has slid toward fascism.  We will be hearing more from them later in this article.

Our country has come a long way since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Increasingly, the Supreme Court has chipped away at this law, always unpopular with Republicans.  Finally, the Roberts Court put the final nail in the coffin in 2013 and gutted the Act.  This blatantly political act resulted in new discriminatory voter ID laws, purges of mostly minority voters, and the closure of countless polling places, again in almost exclusively minority areas.  The Roberts Court apparently isn’t aware (or doesn’t care) that it is a federal crime to interfere with people’s right to vote.  The COVID-19 pandemic has forced these voters to choose between their health and safety or their ability to vote.  This is yet another example of the racism at the heart of Republican politics.

The violence, particularly against blacks, has risen markedly since Trump’s presidency began.  Public Citizen provides one example: “This past Sunday, police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shot an unarmed Black man.  In the back.  Fom point-blank range.  Seven times.  Right in front of his young children.  His name is Jacob Blake.  The horror of that shooting was compounded Tuesday night, when two people protesting police violence were gunned down—allegedly by a teenaged Trump supporter who may have been affiliated with self-described militia members who flooded the streets of Kenosha to antagonize protesters.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, August 28, 2020) Of course, William Barr’s justice department was nowhere to be found and have made no comments on the murder.  It is patently clear that they and the Republican party only view the peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters as the real threat and that armed Trump supporters are not an issue at all, murderous though they may be.

Daily Kos ran an excellent article elaborating on how Republicans perversely view anti-fascists as the real threat: “On Thursday, shockwaves rippled throughout the U.S. after 13 men were arrested for conspiring to kidnap or kill Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, along with additional plots to blow up a bridge near her home to delay law enforcement response and other plots to kill police officers in the hope that Black Lives Matter supporters would be blamed, thus sparking a new civil war.
As additional details come to light, the picture of what these men were plotting has become even more frightening.  Kidnapping plot aside, perhaps the most disturbing element is just how cozy they are with law enforcement—including Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf.

“When Fox 17 reporter Aaron Parseghian caught up with Leaf to get his thoughts on the men facing charges, specifically whether he regrets appearing on stage with these men at a May 16 rally in opposition to the lockdown orders issued by Gov. Whitmer—orders Leaf said he would not enforce—Leaf gave a downright chilling response.  Not only did Leaf say he had no regrets, he said these men were within their rights to conduct a citizen’s arrest of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.  Really, he did…Leaf belongs to a far-right fringe group who call themselves the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officer Association (CSPOA).  If that sounds familiar, it’s because some of the whackiest and cruelest sheriffs in the news over recent years all belong to this organization, including the Trump-loving disgraced former Milwaukee sheriff, David Clarke.  In short, they (wrongly) believe the Constitution gives them the ultimate authority in their county and that they can enforce—or not enforce—whatever laws they want.  They also frequently espouse anti-government views.  Like many of today’s far-right groups, their ideas are founded in white supremacy.  From NBC News: The constitutional sheriff movement, according to the teachings of Mack and his supporters, is rooted in the historical definition of sheriffs as the most powerful law-enforcement officers within their counties.  The idea harkens to medieval England, when Anglo-Saxon kings tasked sheriffs with enforcing their edicts.  English colonists brought the tradition to the Americas, and began electing their own sheriffs in the mid-1600s, entrusting them with overseeing the judicial process, carrying out legal decisions, and keeping the peace.  Under the latter authority, they could organize citizen brigades to catch outlaws or defend against attackers, an arrangement known as ‘posse comitatus.’

“In the 1970s, a minister in the white supremacist Christian Identity movement, William Potter Gale, wrote a series of articles that would come to be known as the handbook of the Posse Comitatus movement.  Gale described sheriffs as the only ‘legal’ law enforcement officers in the country and urged citizens to form their own militias to resist encroachments on their rights if sheriffs did not.  The constitutional abuses he cited included the federal income tax system, gun control, federal education, and civil rights laws.  He advised citizens to form their own ‘common law’ courts to try officials who violated the constitution, and prescribed archaic punishments, such as hangings.

“The extremist organization named Leaf ‘Sheriff of the Year’ in 2019.  Leaf addressed the CSPOA in 2019 at a ‘Lawmen for Liberty’ conference, and expressed some downright bone-chilling thoughts on Democrats.  He said that the Social Democrats, Democratic socialists, Progressives, etc., are ‘just people who can’t spell Communism.’  Sheriff Leaf spoke of the historical duties, rights and powers of the Sheriff and shared this US Supreme Court case on the power of the Sheriff: The Sheriff represents the sovereignty of the State and he has no superiors in his county and in the execution of his law enforcement duties the Sheriff represents the state and a ‘county commission has no direct control over how the sheriff fulfills his law enforcement duty’. McMillian v Monroe County, 520 US 781, 791, 792-94; 117 S Ct 1734 (1997).

“Leaf’s outlook is not confined to Michigan.  In 2016, Ammon Bundy and his armed militant crew illegally occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge; one of the reasons they chose that location was its proximity to Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer, who they believed would side with them if they needed to take refuge in his county; indeed, Palmer called the men ‘patriots.’  Federal officials were so concerned that he was working with the Bundys that they concealed their plans to put up a roadblock to apprehend them as they traveled to meet with Palmer.  It was at that roadblock where Bundy follower LeVoy Finicum reportedly tried to draw his weapon on federal agents and was gunned down.

“The connections go even deeper than that.  The primary reason the Bundys occupied Malheur was to bring attention to the case of Dwight and Steven Hammond, who’d been sentenced to five years in prison for arson after a 22-year fight with the federal government over land management and grazing fees.  The Hammonds became the faces of a far-right fringe movement that is intertwined with the Constitutional Sheriffs movement.  Donald Trump has been courting these extremists since at least 2016.  Three of his most controversial pardons are related to this movement.  In August 2017, Trump pardoned former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, also a member of the CSPOA. In July 2018, Trump pardoned Dwight and Steven Hammond.  Make no mistake about it, these pardons were to shore up support from the most far-right law enforcement and militia types in the country.  At the end of the day, once we rid this government of Trump, we need to make a nationwide effort to purge each and every one of these extremist sheriffs with their grandiose ideas based in white supremacy.  Everyone in this country deserves unbiased policing and law enforcement who follow the law, not make their own law.  After all, if they feel empowered to arrest a sitting governor because they disagree with her statewide orders in a deadly pandemic, what’s to stop them or their ‘militia’ friends from knocking on your door next?” (Jen Hayden, Daily Kos, October 9, 2020)

Two days later, Daily Kos ran another quoting an op-ed piece by Governor Whitmer that appeared in the Washington Post: “When I addressed the people of Michigan on Thursday to comment on the unprecedented terrorism, conspiracy and weapons charges against 13 men, some of whom were preparing to kidnap and possibly kill me, I said, ‘Hatred, bigotry and violence have no place in the great state of Michigan.’  I meant it.  But just moments later, President Trump’s campaign adviser, Jason Miller, appeared on national television accusing me of fostering hatred.  When our leaders encourage domestic terrorists, they legitimize their actions.  When they stoke and contribute to hate speech, they are complicit.  And when a sitting president stands on a national stage refusing to condemn white supremacists and hate groups, as President Trump did when he told the Proud Boys to ‘stand back and stand by’ during the first presidential debate, he is complicit.  Hate groups heard the president’s words not as a rebuke, but as a rallying cry.  As a call to action.”

The Proud Boys are not “standing back and standing by.”  Rather, they are becoming increasingly more vocal and violent as time goes on.  Daily Kos tells us of some of their recent activities: “It’s become apparent that, even as Donald Trump tries to deny reality and continue claiming he won the election, the hate group that he ordered, on national television, to ‘stand back and stand by’ now considers (per leadership’s statements that ‘standby order has been rescinded,’ as well as other threatening statements on social media) those orders null and void: The Proud Boys are now playing the role of Trump’s goon-squad defenders in the streets—and appear unlikely to stop anytime soon.

“Following the initial burst of Proud Boy violence in Washington, D.C., during and after the ‘Million MAGA March’ of November 14, the familiar black-and-yellow polos, red MAGA hats and thug tactics have been showing up on the streets of Raleigh, North Carolina; Sacramento, California; and Staten Island, New York.  At each event, brawls broke out amid overheated rhetoric, much of it in Trump’s defense.  The violence follows the pattern established over the previous four years—right-wing extremists organizing gangs of out-of-town thugs from rural and exurban areas to invade liberal urban centers on vague political pretexts in order to engage in threatening acts of intimidation and provoke violence that they can then blame on ‘antifa’ and the ‘left.’  And as with all those events, the Proud Boys’ presence has been to act as street enforcers for a variety of far-right causes: Denouncing the election results, protesting about COVID-19 public-health measures, or whatever else might be the right-wing grievance du jour.

“Mostly, it’s about creating fear and violence on behalf of a white-nationalist agenda.  That’s what the Proud Boys exist for, and it’s why the Southern Poverty Law Center lists them as a ‘general’ hate group.  All during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Proud Boys have been whipping up a sense of public intimidation at the liberal cities where they hold rallies while spreading conspiracist misinformation about the virus, its spread, and the government orders intended to fight it.  These appearances have been part of the Proud Boys’ steady drumbeat of bringing the politics of thuggery to American cities throughout 2020, as the Institute for Education and Research on Human Rights has mapped out in detail, for a variety of ostensible causes…

“The event in Sacramento had nothing to do with COVID-19, but instead was entirely a protest of the election results, and an insistence that Trump won the election—and heavily populated by Proud Boys and their militia cohort.  One of the Proud Boys told the crowd that the organization’s role was to defend ‘people like you that come out to rallies.’  As Capital Radio reporter Scott Rodd observed, those were hollow words: But the Proud Boys also played the aggressor.  CapRadio observed one Proud Boy take a swing at a member of the press for filming him.  Other members, after the demonstrators returned to the barricaded area near the Capitol, remained outside the perimeter and instigated counter-protesters and passersby.  Several chased after one counter-protester.  Some also followed and taunted observers from the National Lawyers Guild.  By day’s end, multiple brawls had broken out, and police—who declared an unlawful assembly and issued a dispersal order—reported one arrest on ‘assault-related charges.’

“Reporter Gabe Stutman of Jewish Weekly was also present, and watched as, after their rally speeches ended, ‘they spilled into the streets of downtown Sacramento, chanting ‘Whose streets?  Our streets!’ and ‘F*ck antifa!’ while butting up against police cordons that blocked their path.  The demonstrators exchanged insults and threats with roughly a dozen people identified as part of antifa …” (David Deiwert, Daily Kos, December 3, 2020) And of course, Bill Barr, whose job as Attorney General is to protect people from mob violence, was nowhere to be found, nor did he or his office claim any knowledge of these events.

The Proud Boys showed their true colors (pun intended) on December 12, as reported by Daily Kos: “When the Proud Boys attacked African American churches in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 12 at the culmination of that day’s ‘March for Trump’—tearing down banners and signs reading Black Lives Matter, and either destroying them outright or parading them through the street and then setting them aflame—it sent shock waves through the Black community, and not just in the nation’s capital.  ‘For me it was reminiscent of cross burnings,’ commented the pastor of one of the victimized churches, Asbury United Methodist.  So it was for many Americans who could remember all too well the nation’s history of burned-down and bombed churches during the long struggle for Black civil rights.” (David Neiwert, Daily Kos, December 28, 2020)

There have been numerous other instances of groups supporting Trump and the Republican’s racist agenda.  Daily Kos provides on late December example: “An undercover report from inside the protest describes the far-right protest in detail, from unconfirmed reports that someone saw ‘a Chinese person’ inside to numerous calls for ‘revolution’ and a debate over whether to burn a Blue Lives Matter flag after police refused to allow them entry. (They did not.)  As reported by Laura Jedeed, the attempt to storm the legislature appears to have been egged on primarily by Patriot Prayer’s Joey Gibson and Chandler Pappas, both fixtures of the Oregon far right, who also appear to have not been willing to actually risk arrest themselves while leading the would-be revolutionaries.  The crowd consisted of ‘between 100 and 150’ protesters, which is small for a revolution but which would completely fill a Chuck E. Cheese.” (Hunter, Daily Kos, December 21, 2020)

Despite Trump’s ridiculous claims about stopping the liberal “mob,” we know which side the mobs are on.  Two days before the election, People’s Action reported on one incident: “We want to share some heavy news: Yesterday, People’s Action members with our local member organization Down Home North Carolina were supporting a multiracial voting rights rally when they were attacked by police and pepper sprayed.  This political violence took place two blocks away from an early voting location.  Children and elderly people were present and hit with the chemical. Immediately following the pepper spray attack, several vehicles drove through the area bearing Trump signs.  Several rally attendees were arrested.” (George Goehl, People’s Action, November 1, 2020)

Racism infects virtually every aspect of Trump’s White House.  Policy is built on it.  Thus it is supremely ironic to find it in the Department of Housing and Urban Development—run by Ben Carson, a black man.  Public Citizen has done more than its share to restore some semblance of normalcy to that department: “We just sued the Trump Administration to block a dangerous rule issued last month that makes enforcing key aspects of the landmark Fair Housing Act of 1968 all but impossible. The Fair Housing Act was passed 52 years ago with the ambitious goal of dramatically reducing structural inequalities and racism in housing.  Achieving the goal of equal housing opportunity requires more than prohibiting intentionally discriminatory acts.  It also requires prohibiting seemingly neutral policies and practices that have a negative impact on a group based on race, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.  And for half a century, courts have held that the Fair Housing Act bars such policies and practices unless there is no non-discriminatory way to serve a legitimate need.  But just last month, Donald Trump’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (a.k.a. HUD) issued a rule to undercut that half century of settled legal precedent.  In effect, HUD’s illegal new rule makes it virtually impossible for anyone to prove these all-too-common kinds of housing discrimination.  Even though housing discrimination is still one of the most severe systemic barriers to equality for people of color all across America!  So Public Citizen is suing HUD and HUD Secretary Ben Carson to strike down this damaging rule. (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, October 30, 2020)

Given all this, it should be obvious that racism has become deeply, and perhaps permanently, ingrained in the Republican party and, because of this, white supremacists donated heavily to Trump’s campaign.  As Daily Kos reports: “During the 2016 campaign, you may recall, there was often a notable press reluctance to acknowledge that many of Donald Trump’s supporters were raging white supremacists.  (The most infamous case was a PBS story profiling a Trump volunteer worker that somehow managed to avoid noting the prominent neo-Nazi and white supremacist symbols tattooed on both hands.)  Ah, the old days, when such things were even controversial.  Welcome to 2020, when Donald Trump is getting campaign donations from prominent neo-Nazis and there’s apparently not even a glimmer of thought that gosh, maybe Typhoid Hitler might not want to cash those particular checks.

“At Popular Information, Judd Legum investigates some of the notorious white supremacists who have donated to Trump’s campaign.  Actual Neo-Nazi leader Morris Gulett, who believes ‘the Jew is the literal child of Satan,’ has given Trump at least $2,000. (Legum notes that Trump’s campaign was asked about Gulett’s donations over two years ago, but refused and refuses to respond.)  Other Trump campaign supporters include K.C. McAlpin, crackpot Peter Zieve, and (of course) rich racist Republican-backer Timothy Mellon, who’s shoved $10 million at Trump’s super PAC and $30 million towards getting Trump’s enablers in the House and Senate reelected.

“There’s no chance Trump’s campaign will be returning the money, of course.  For starters, Donald Trump is a cheap, crooked man who goes to great lengths to avoid parting with cash.  For seconders, the campaign needs the money, and if Trump’s campaign of white nationalists backed down and returned money from known neo-Nazis there’s no telling just how much money they’d end up having to give back.  And for thirdsies, this isn’t 2016.  Trump’s campaign isn’t trying to hide their white nationalist ties.  Trump himself isn’t trying to hide his constant white nationalist incitements.  Trump’s new ‘law and order’ campaign theme, hastily plastered on top of the administration’s massive and ongoing pandemic failures, has brought his support for white nationalism and its violence front and center.  Trump’s racist response to calls for police reform are now his campaign’s primary message.  If anything, it’s likely that Trump’s embrace of prominent neo-Nazi leaders will not stop at taking their money this time around.  Trump and his son Junior have been bolder in retweeting white nationalist and eliminationist themes.  Trump’s Fox News allies, including Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, have been steadily ratcheting up their defenses of vigilante violence on Trump’s behalf.  We may yet see Trump standing on stage with one of these militia-uniformed goons before the campaign is out.” (Hunter, Daily Kos, August 31, 2020)

It is unbelievable what Republicans are saying and doing, and what they are getting away with.  One Republican in Congress has set a new low for racism, as Public Citizen reports: “A member of Congress just suggested he would execute Black activists in cold blood.  On Tuesday, Clay Higgins—a Trump loyalist who represents Louisiana’s 3rd District in the United States House of Representatives—posted a photo on Facebook of armed Black demonstrators three states away in Kentucky protesting the police killing of Breonna Taylor.  In his Facebook post, Higgins threatened any Black protesters carrying guns in Louisiana (an open carry state, by the way): ‘I’d drop any 10 of you where you stand—[Y]ou won’t walk away.’  Higgins, who has worked as a police officer himself, makes a show of wearing a gun when he’s out and about in Louisiana.  Apparently, his support of the 2nd Amendment and his adherence to laws against threatening to kill people do not extend to African Americans.  His post was so blatantly racist and violent that Facebook deleted it.  So Higgins followed up with another Facebook post saying ‘I’ll advise when it’s time [to] gear up, mount up, and roll out.’  This all follows Donald Trump—the President of the United States—praising the teenage vigilante charged with murdering two protesters last week in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

“Let’s be clear: Trump, Higgins, and others in the Republican Party are fomenting violence by white people against people of color and dangerously nudging the country toward a race war.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, September 3, 2020)

Trump’s hatred of blacks, Jews, and other minorities was fully exposed in an excellent article from Daily Kos: “According to interviews with more than two dozen current and former officials in the Trump administration, Donald Trump’s behavior in private is—exactly what you might expect, as reported by Greg Miller of The Washington Post.  ‘In unguarded moments with senior aides, President Trump has maintained that Black Americans have mainly themselves to blame in their struggle for equality, hindered more by lack of initiative than societal impediments, according to current and former U.S. officials.  After phone calls with Jewish lawmakers, Trump has muttered that Jews ‘are only in it for themselves’ and ‘stick together’ in an ethnic allegiance that exceeds other loyalties, officials said.  Trump’s private musings about Hispanics match the vitriol he has displayed in public, and his antipathy to Africa is so ingrained that when first lady Melania Trump planned a 2018 trip to that continent he railed that he “could never understand why she would want to go there.’

“As Miller’s article points out, Trump isn’t the first racist president we’ve ever had.  He is, however, the first incumbent president in living memory who has explicitly made racism the cornerstone of not only his tenure in office but his reelection campaign, as well.  As Masha Gessen wrote in her now-famous essay on autocracy: ‘Believe the autocrat.  He means what he says…Whenever you find yourself thinking, or hear others claiming, that he is exaggerating, that is our innate tendency to reach for a rationalization.  This will happen often: humans seem to have evolved to practice denial when confronted publicly with the unacceptable.  Back in the 1930s, The New York Times assured its readers that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was all posture.

“But the outspoken racism of this president and the administration he controls could never be mistaken for ‘posturing.’  As detailed by Ibram X. Kendi, writing this month in The Atlantic, racism has been the guidepost of nearly all of Trump’s domestic policies from day one, with a constant and obvious goal of eliminating all of the achievements of the nation’s first Black president.  As Kendi describes it, ‘he would make it seem as if a Black man had never been president, erasing him from history by repealing and replacing his signature accomplishments, from the Affordable Care Act to DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.’

“And although Trump has not succeeded (thus far) in completely undoing the work of President Obama, it isn’t for lack of trying.  He has significantly undermined many of his predecessor’s accomplishments through deliberate sabotage, stealthy rollbacks, or willful neglect.  But it was never enough for Trump to simply repudiate Barack Obama.  His end goal is much more comprehensive and mirrors that of the GOP as a whole—to protect and preserve a social hierarchy where whites are always at the top.  Through his words and behavior he brought unabashed racism into the mainstream for millions of Americans, the same ones who attend his rallies and wear little red hats, the same ones who cheered as he demonized immigrants during his campaign rallies in 2016.  As Kendi sardonically observes, we should all be thankful for what he has forced us to recognize about this country and its high-minded pretensions of equality.  Black Americans—indeed, all Americans—should in one respect be thankful to him.  He has held up a mirror to American society, and it has reflected back a grotesque image that many people had until now refused to see: an image not just of the racism still coursing through the country, but also of the reflex to deny that reality.  Though it was hardly his intention, no president has caused more Americans to stop denying the existence of racism than Donald Trump.” (Dartagnan, Daily Kos, September 23, 2020)


Mitch McConnell has prove himself to be the worst Senate Majority leader in U.S. history.  From ramming through countless right-wing judges at every level of government to denying the 2020 election results, this man has made a mockery of the Senate and, along with his right-wing colleagues, has made our government a mockery to the rest of the world.

Attorney General William Barr is a virtual photocopy of McConnell.  Rather than serving the American people, he has treated his office as a law firm with one sole purpose: To defend Donald Trump and exonerate him from all accountability.  I need not repeat myself in covering all the abuses he has made, but will note that House member Steve Cohen (D-Tennessee) began an impeachment probe of Barr, but was unable to get most of his democratic colleagues to sign a letter of support.  At this crucial time, Democrats still cannot get their act together and show any backbone.

When Barr testified before the House Judiciary Committee on July 28, he was grilled mercilessly by Rep. Pramila Jayapal for his countless crimes as Attorney General.  The results exposed Barr for what he is: A none-too-bright Trump Lackey.  Daily Kos reports on some of the exchange: “With the backdrop of wildly inappropriate federal secret military police interventions in Black Lives Matter-inspired political protests, Barr attempted to defend his racist and hypocritical position against a real leader, who I wish could be president of the United States, in Rep. Jayapal.  Rep. Jayapal was not going to let Barr play the neckless dictator he wants to be, and slammed him for his transparent racist and totalitarian stance on the Black Lives Matter movement and the mind-bending federal interventions in places like Portland.  Jayapal began by once again reminding Barr of his anti-democratic actions in the nation’s Capitol, when he organized a gestapo-like use of force to clear the Washington, D.C. streets in order to allow Donald Trump the opportunity to desecrate a bible for a photo op.  From there she compared the Barr reaction to peaceful protesters in D.C. to less peaceful, but almost entirely armed white male protesters in Michigan.

“REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL: Let’s look at how you respond when the protesters are supporters of the president.  On two separate occasions after president Trump tweeted ‘liberate Michigan’ to subvert stay home orders to protect the health of people in Michigan, protesters swarmed the Michigan capitol carrying guns, some with swastikas, Confederate flags, and one even with a dark-haired doll with a noose around its neck.  Are you aware that these protesters called for the governor to be lynched, shot, and beheaded?
REP. JAYAPAL: You’re not aware of that?
AG BARR: I was not aware of that.
REP. JAYAPAL: Major protests in Michigan, you’re the attorney general and you didn’t know that the protesters called for the governor to be lynched, shot, and beheaded.  So obviously you couldn’t be concerned about that.

Barr isn’t a smart man.  You don’t have to be smart to be in our current government.  You just have to lack scruples and be willing to cravenly grovel at the every whim of a pathological narcissistic sociopath.  Barr has nothing to stand on and repeats the weak sauce argument of a true coward, saying: ‘Well, there are a lot of protests around the United States, and on June 1st, I was worried about the District of Columbia, which is federal.’

“Jayapal has made her point and from here she drives it home, steamrolling over Barr’s bullshit attempt to interrupt and waste the entire world’s time.
“REP. JAYAPAL:–In certain parts of the country, you’re aware of those.  But when protesters with guns…
BARR:–I am aware of protests—
REP. JAYAPAL:— Excuse me, Mr. Barr. This is my time and I control it.  You are aware of certain kinds of protesters, but in Michigan, when protesters carry guns and confederate flags and swastikas and call for the governor of Michigan to be beheaded and shot and lynched, somehow you’re not aware of that.  Somehow you didn’t know about it.  So you didn’t send federal agents in to do to the president’s supporters what you did to the president’s protesters.  In fact, you didn’t—you didn’t put pepper balls on those protesters.  So the point I’m trying to make here Mr. Barr, that I think is important for the country to understand, is that there is a real discrepancy in how you react as the attorney general, the top cop in this country, when white men with swastikas storm a government building with guns, there is no need for the president to quote, ‘activate you.’  Because they’re getting the president’s personal agenda done.  But when Black people and people of color protest police brutality, systemic racism, and the president’s very own lack of response to those critical issues, then you forcibly remove them with armed federal officers, pepper bombs, because they are considered terrorists by the president.  You take an aggressive approach to Black Lives Matter protests but not to right-wing extremists threatening to lynch a governor if it’s for the president’s benefit.  Did I get it right, Mr. Barr?
“Barr responded with a super sad attempt to reiterate his job description as he saw it, the lap dog of Donald Trump, but Jayapal cut him off to make sure what Barr was revealing to anyone paying attention.
“JAYAPAL: Mr. Barr, let me make it clear: You are supposed to represent the people of the United States not violate people’s First Amendment rights.  You are supposed to uphold democracy and secure equal justice under the law, not violently dismantle certain protesters based on the president’s personal agenda.

“With that, Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s time expired.  Jayapal had a study showing that mail-in voter fraud does not exist, entered into the Judiciary Committee record, and just like that, as with every time she speaks, America was a better, smarter, and more hopeful place. (Walter Einenkel, Daily Kos, July 28, 2020)

What this exchange demonstrated for all the world to see was the racism and white supremacy that defines Barr, Trump, and all their supporters in the Republican party.

William Barr is one of the most dangerous men ever to hold a position of authority in this country.  Like Trump, he seriously believes he is above the law and can do anything he wants.  Daily Kos ran a telling article on this point: “On Wednesday afternoon, Attorney General William Barr blasted the members of his own department in a speech in which he insisted that he was perfectly justified in overruling legal decisions of career staffers, insisted that he can wade into any case in any way he likes, and informed the FBI that they were ‘agents of the attorney general’ who worked directly for him.  Not only did Barr’s declaration nix the idea that the agents and officers involved had sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution rather than the whims of Barr, there was a single underlying theme behind everything Barr had to say: Both the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are to stop going after people in power, and focus their attacks on the powerless.
As The Washington Post reports, Barr made it clear that as long as he is in charge, there will be no investigations of Trump’s friends.  No looking into the wealthy and influential.  Then the white men in the self-described positions of absolute power explained how they should really be going after Black Lives Matter protesters who, according to Barr, ‘are not interested in Black lives.’  And he put a cherry on top by insisting that social distancing guidelines were the ‘greatest intrusion on civil liberties’ since slavery.

“In a nutshell, Barr explained how: 1) He’s all-powerful, with the authority to levy any charge, dismiss any case, or investigate anyone he pleases. 2) The FBI and DOJ should ignore criminal activity by the powerful. 3) Instead they should focus their efforts on Black protesters, who have a ‘political agenda.’  Any questions?” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, September 17, 2020) Clearly, this man is as much a totalitarian despot as his president.  Justice in his world only means justice for the well-to-do and/or the well connected.  Everyone else is on their own.

The article continues: “While some conservative Republicans have long expressed the idea of a unitary executive, Barr apparently has a different idea of just who that executive might be. (Spoiler: It’s Bill Barr.) As the man who has never prosecuted a case in his entire life dressed down experienced U.S. attorneys, and told them they were running their cases like preschoolers, he also made it clear that FBI agents needed to know their place.  Which is as his personal servants. ‘These people are agents of the attorney general,’ said Barr. ‘… whose agents do you think you are?’ Apparently FBI agents had made the mistake of thinking that they were agents of the federal government who swore an oath to defend the Constitution.  No more of that crap.

“On a similar note, Barr explained how when he steps in to dismiss a case, alter a plea agreement, or order the department to go after someone, it’s not interference.  ‘What exactly am I interfering with?’ said Barr.  ‘Under the law, all prosecutorial power is invested in the attorney general.’  Barr is literally claiming that his role gives him the unchallenged authority to determine justice in the United States.”

Roger Stone’s crimes have, like Barr’s, been extensively covered in earlier articles.  Trump first commuted and then pardoned his longtime ally and political fixer, who had been sentenced to forty months imprisonment after being convicted of no less than seven felony counts, including witness intimidation and obstructing the federal investigation into Trump’s crimes.  It all goes back to the 2016 election when Stone tried to impede Congress’s investigation into Russian interference in that election.  Simply put, Stone’s sole purpose was to shield Trump from being investigated.  He was arrested in January 2019 and charged with witness tampering, obstruction an official legal proceeding, and with five counts of making false statements.  He was convicted in November, 2019.  On July 10 of 2020, Trump commuted his sentence, mere days before Stone was to report to prison.  The official pardon came on December 23.

Stone is an all too typical Republican of our times.  He once described his political modus operandi as “Attack, attack, attack—never defend” and “Admit nothing, deny everything, launch counterattack.”  This strategy has become sacred scripture and has been adopted by virtually every Republican holding public office today.  And they will align themselves with anyone or any group they think may be of use to them.  This includes some of the most dangerous racist and white supremacy groups in the country, all of whom have become emboldened during Trump’s tenure in the White House.

Like many of his cohorts, Stone has definite ties to the Proud Boys.  At the annual meeting of the Dorchester Conference in Salem Oregon in 2018, he sought out their assistance for security, knowing full well of the group’s propensity toward violence.  There are photos showing him drinking with several of them.  When a reporter asked him if it was true that the Proud Boys had made him a member of their group, he responded in typical fashion by calling the reporter a communist.  He is in fact a close friend of the hate groups current leader, Enrique Tarrio.  At a Florida Trump rally of February 18, 2019, Tarrio had the “distinction” of being seated directly behind the president and sporting a tee shirt saying “Roger Stone did nothing wrong.”

It must be emphasized over and over again that Stone is a convicted felon.  That fact alone should, at the very least, make people wary about anything he says.  Daily Kos ran an excellent article that perfectly evil this man is.  I here quote it in its entirety: “Trump ally and longtime political bagman Roger Stone is now a felon.  He’s been convicted of witness tampering and lying to Congress in his efforts to hide from law enforcement the extent of the 2016 Trump campaign’s connections to the (still ongoing) Russian election hacking and disinformation campaign.  He is only out of prison because Donald Trump commuted his sentence—for crimes committed on Trump’s behalf.

“Not being in prison means Stone is free, now, to coordinate with Trump and the far-right to subvert the 2020 U.S. elections.  Speaking to the QAnon-friendly conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on September 10, Stone had a specific message for Trump: Trump should use his powers to declare martial law, arrest anti-Trump public figures like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple’s Tim Cook, former Sen. Harry Reid, President Bill Clinton, and former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and ‘seize’ voter ballots.

“For whatever reason, Stone and Jones feel comfortable now in advocating for the end of American democracy if that democracy puts Donald Trump and his fascist regime at risk of losing the election.  Stone has long been a saboteur of elections; as one of Trump’s top allies, he is now encouraging Trump to nullify them altogether.  As reported by Media Matters, Stone, who is in Nevada for a post-conviction fundraising tour as Trump campaigns in the same state, was blunt.  ‘The ballots in Nevada on election night should be seized by federal marshals and taken from the state,’ urged Stone, claiming them to be ‘corrupted.’  ‘The votes from Nevada should not be counted.  They are already flooded with illegals.’
Stone instead urged Trump to consider nationalizing the state police, appoint William Barr head of ‘an Election Day operation using the FBI, federal marshals, and Republican state officials across the country’ to file legal objections and ‘if necessary, to physically stand in the way of criminal activity.’

“There is no subtlety to be had here.  Stone is advocating for the toppling of the U.S. government, imposing a fascist Republican government via ‘martial law,’ and the arrest of political opponents.  That he is doing so under the pretext of conspiracy theories is irrelevant; Stone fully knows his allegations are false.  He is a professional liar; he continues to stoke, embellish, and repeat conspiracy theories about election ‘fraud’ by his enemies to justify violent and illegal acts by his allies.  Stone is a fascist.
More to the point, he is a fascist closely tied to Donald Trump, who evidently still keeps close tabs on Stone’s comments and advice.  Just two days after Stone’s appearance with Jones, in which Jones pushed for use of the Insurrection Act to arrest opponents and critics, Trump himself vowed in a televised interview to quickly ‘put down’ any ‘riots’ on election night.  ‘It’s called insurrection,’ he claimed.

Readers familiar with my other articles on Trump and the Republicans will remember what I have been saying all along, namely that the Republican party will become more and more extreme until they become a literal fascist party.  In the first part of Trumps presidency, the word “fascist” was rarely used by other writers, even the more liberal ones.  My prediction has now come to pass and, as evidenced by the quotes I have used in this article, the word “fascist” is increasingly being used to describe the former Republican party, at least in the more progressive journals.

No matter what happens in this country, Fox News will continue to serve as a mouthpiece for the extremists in the Republican party.  When Tammy Duckworth’s name was put forth as a possible running mate for Joe Biden, Fox’s Tucker Carlson called her an “unimpressive person” who he said hates America since she advocated removing the statues of Confederate monuments.  Duckworth, who lost her legs serving her country in Iraq, responded by saying: “Does Tucker Carlson want to walk a mile in my legs and then tell me whether or not I love America?”

Unfortunately well-respected media outlets are succumbing to the tidal wave of misinformation and lies emanating from the Republican party.  Many of these groups, such as the New York Times, seem to have forgotten what responsible journalism actually is.  If a politician tells a lie, merely quoting it without comment is not journalism; it’s only an outlet by which propaganda is dispensed to an increasingly gullible public.  What we are seeing today is journalism at a crossroads: Their efforts to appease the fascists in the Republican party (who continue to refer to the “liberal media”) has made them into a propaganda machine for the same people who are attacking them.  And the irony seems to be lost on them.

So much for the so-called “mainstream” media outlets.  That said, Fox is in a category by itself when it comes to sleaze.  UltraViolet reports: “Earlier this week, a former Fox News employee and a news contributor filed a lawsuit accusing Fox News anchor Ed Henry of rape.  The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Manhattan by contributing Fox News analyst Cathy Areu and former production assistant Jennifer Eckhart, also claims that Fox News primetime anchors Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, as well as journalist Howard Kurtz and network political analyst Gianno Caldwell, sexually harassed and abused Areu and Eckhart…This is not the first time that Fox News fostered a toxic culture of sexual violence and misogyny, which resulted in legal claims.  Last March, UltraViolet demanded that Fox News fire Carlson after news reports cited his extreme sexist views that women are ‘primitive’ and ‘need to be quiet and…do what you’re told,’ and his outrageous defense of child marriage.  In 2017, after Fox News host Bill O’Reilly settled multiple sexual harassment and assault claims for $32 million, the network renewed his contract—despite acknowledging the women’s claims against him.  And in spite of losses in revenue for shows such as ‘The O’Reilly Factor,’ ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight,’ and ‘The Sean Hannity Show,’ Fox News continues to subsidize these predators.”
(Shaunna Thomas, UltraViolet, July 15, 2020)

Fox News, Breitbart, Sinclair and other right-wing propagandists masquerading as legitimate news sources reach huge numbers of Americans who, lacking in critical thinking skills, believe in every lie as “revealed truth.”  There is no counterpart to this in any other nation.  So when Donald Trump and others scream about the “liberal media” it is clear that they want all media sources to go even further to the right of the political spectrum.  It has taken decades, but they have succeeded.  And, as previously stated, there is nothing comparable on the left to counteract them.  At least nothing with any real political clout.

Rand Paul is another diehard Trump lapdog that won’t hesitate to lie to protect his master.  As Trump finished his Convention speech, Paul insisted that he was attacked by Biden supporters and tweeted this lie for all to see.  Daily Kos describes the whole ridiculous scenario: “After leaving Donald Trump’s big illegal speech, Sen. Rand Paul did a personal test run of the Republican National Convention’s message that chaos and violence reigns in cities under Democratic leadership and would spread under a Joe Biden presidency.  And, like the message as a whole, Paul’s claim was visibly false. ‘Just got attacked by an angry mob of over 100, one block away from the White House.  Thank you to @DCPoliceDept for literally saving our lives from a crazed mob,’ Paul tweeted.  Problem being, there’s video, and it doesn’t show what he says.

“In the video, protesters surround Paul and his wife as they’re escorted by police.  Some ‘say her name’ chants are audible, and a little jostling is visible, with one police officer at one point shoved backward into Paul.  But that’s it.  That’s the ‘angry,’ ‘crazed mob.’  Rand Paul has faced a helluva lot more violence from his own neighbor.

“Republicans, of course, are eager to embrace any protest for Black lives or against Donald Trump as inherently violent, just as they’re increasingly eager to embrace murderers if those murderers are Trump supporters.  The message is that the United States is a terrible, broken place, and what we need is four more years of Trump to crack down on those who dare to resist.  But this is what it looks like: Rand Paul trying to draw attention to himself by intentionally walking into a protest he had to know was there, and walking out without violence or injury, but claiming that the police were required to ‘literally sav[e] our lives from a crazed mob.’  It’s not that Paul actually thinks this.  It’s that he thinks he can fool voters into believing it who don’t fully embrace their own racism, but do find groups of urban people, some of them Black, awfully scary.  It’s the same Republican message, repeated over and over.  But it’s especially telling to see this message coming from someone who has faced actual serious violence in his own neighborhood yet doesn’t run around warning of the dangers of Kentucky neighborhoods inhabited by senators and doctors, yet immediately tries to blow a peaceful protest up into an imminent threat to his life.” (Laura Clawson, Daily Kos, August 28, 2020)

Daily Kos also has some deservedly harsh words for Senator Mark Rubio of Florida: “On Thursday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blew up conservative deceit machine Project Veritas for taking over half a million dollars in government stimulus while promoting anti-government intervention rhetoric.  Ocasio-Cortez was making a larger statement about how people of color—and more directly Black and brown-owned small businesses—were disproportionately underfunded and being left out of the already meager CARES Act stimulus package.  Sen. Marco Rubio, who hasn’t done much of anything besides genuflecting to a man he publicly called a ‘conman,’ decided to try and take a swipe at the progressive leader, tweeting: ‘Working together R’s & D’s helped save the jobs of 55 million Americans through PPP Work more, tweet less & one day you too can make a difference.’  It’s one thing to throw stones when you live in glass houses, but it’s another thing entirely when you throw stones directly at your own face because you live in a pile of cowardice.  Also, while attempting to punch down, Rubio forgot that Ocasio-Cortez is far above his weight class when it comes to ethics and intelligence.

“First, Ocasio-Cortez dropped this truth bomb on the laziest of the privileged class: Republican officials: ‘The thing that these conservative Senators don’t seem to understand is that I’ve actually had a physically difficult working-class job without good healthcare most of my adult life.  I bring that work ethic to Congress & to my community.  They sit around on leather chairs all day.’  And the Lilliputian Rubio was silent.  So Ocasio-Cortez expounded on these truths we all believe to be self-evident: ‘Republicans like to make fun of the fact that I used to be a waitress, but we all know if they ever had to do a double they’d be the ones found crying in the walk-in fridge halfway through their first shift bc someone yelled at them for bringing seltzer when they wanted sparkling.’

“Ruh roh.  About 13 hours later, the tiniest person in the history of Florida, Rubio stepped forward with this tall tale, tweeting: ‘Apologies for late response.  Was busy this week helping a Floridian get travel documents to see his dying sister, a high schooler whose mother died get SSI benefits, a specialist for a child with a crazy Obamacare deductible & negotiating Intelligence bill & another round of PPP.’  Is this all true?  Maybe.  Rubio doesn’t have a good track record with telling the truth about his actions, or feelings or ideas or anything, for that matter.  Unlike Ocasio-Cortez, Rubio’s attempts at swiping while sinking in the quicksand of moral bankruptcy didn’t go as well.  Also, the swipe at high deductibles is precious coming from someone whose only piece of legislature has been to give away tax breaks to the people raising the deductibles.” (Walter Einenkel, Daily Kos, December 4, 2020)

Daily Kos tells us about some other Republican henchmen: “There is a battle right now for the absolute worst governor in America and, unsurprisingly to readers of this website, all the top contenders are from the Republican Party.  Let’s review: 1) South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem
First up is South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.  She resisted stay-at-home orders in April, leading to a massive outbreak.  In June, she released a video calling for ‘more freedom, not more government’ while lashing out at the media.  In July, she hosted Donald Trump himself for a no-mask appearance that was more of a campaign rally at Mount Rushmore.  Noem had previously asked Trump to overturn the ban on fireworks around the monument.  The ban went into effect after a pine beetle invasion devastated the area, leaving lots of dry timber to fuel fires, and because of concerns that fireworks debris was poisoning groundwater.  Never mind it all, Noem and Trump wanted a big show of freedumb with no masks, even during one of the worst health crises in American history.  For what it’s worth, there were rumors Trump liked her so much he was considering replacing Mike Pence with Noem, although people in Trump’s orbit later shut that down. 2) Next up is Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds: another governor who resisted shutting things down to flatten the curve and then oversaw a spike, mostly in agricultural sectors where immigrants working at meat processing plants bore the brunt of the outbreak.  Today she is drawing the ire of teachers and school administrators after she abruptly changed the state’s policies and demanded students attend in-person this fall for at least half the regular school days.  As noted in the Des Moines Register, this has sent parents and teachers into ‘chaos.’  The paper notes it is the ‘most concrete misstep in addressing the next school year.  It throws into chaos families’ expectations about school as they continue to confront rampant uncertainty about COVID-19 in many other aspects of their lives.’

“3) Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.  And now we head further south, where the top contenders all reside.  Crossing over the Mason-Dixon line, we have Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia.  He rode into office on a wave of voter suppression, suppression that he directly created and implemented in his previous role as secretary of state.  Kemp proudly resisted shutdown orders until the data clearly showed that the virus was beginning to spiral out of control.  We were fully into the month of April and full-blown efforts to ‘flatten the curve’ when Kemp held a press conference saying he’d just learned asymptomatic people could spread the disease, something the rest of us were all aware of because we listened to the scientists from the start.  Making this even worse, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are headquartered in Atlanta.  All he had to do was consult with literally anyone at the CDC for this information.  And when Donald Trump saw his poll numbers beginning to slide and started barking about ordering everything to open back up, Kemp was right there to lead the charge.  When Trump’s charge to reopen was criticized and his numbers slumped even more, he quickly threw Kemp under the bus, criticizing him for reopening too soon.  Even today, as the science is clear as day that masks are critical in reducing the spread of the disease, Gov. Brian Kemp has the gall to sue Atlanta for requiring masks in the city.  Bless his heart. 4) Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt.  When that COVID wind came sweeping down the plains, Gov. Kevin Stitt largely refused to wear a mask.  Sure he was telling folks in March they were ‘safer at home,’ but over on his Twitter account, he was proudly defying expert advice to stay home, avoid indoor spaces, and wear masks, sharing photos of his family out to dinner in a crowded restaurant.  He has since deleted this tweet after announcing on July 15 that he is the first governor in the country to test positive for COVID.  And while the restaurant photo drew national attention, that same week he shared photos at a junior livestock show that took place indoors, with not a mask in sight.  Stitt was one of a handful of attendees to test positive since attending Trump’s hilariously disastrous comeback rally in Tulsa, which predicatbly sparked an outbreak in the Tulsa area.

“5) And that leads us to the Show Me State of Missouri, where Gov. Mike Parson has shown himself to be a total buffoon.  You might be thinking, even worse than DeSantis? I’m here to to sadly affirm this to be true.  As a lifelong Kansas Citian (from both sides of this Kansas-Missouri state line), it is hard to understate just how embarrassed and frankly how frightened I am to live in this state right now.  Like Donald Trump, Mike Parson seems intent on inflicting maximum harm on the residents of the state’s urban centers.  From sending the National Guard to Kansas City during the height of the Black Lives Matter protests (which served only to turn up the temperature of protesters, instantly creating tension and conflict where there had been very little), to vowing to pardon the St. Louis couple who pointed guns at peaceful protesters as they walked down the street in front of their tacky St. Louis mansion if charges end up being filed in the case, Parson keeps lowering the bar.  Then there was the embarrassing display at the White House, where he slathered praise on Donald Trump during a made-for-television July 7 meeting on reopening.  His comments were widely mocked  both nationally and back home in Missouri.  Shortly after traveling to D.C., Parson returned home for a steak fry event—no masks, no social distancing, and with most of the programming taking place indoors.  This happened in mid-July 2020, with all the information we have about how this disease spreads…Finally, in an interview on Monday with conservative radio host Marc Cox, Parson insisted children go back to school full-time and that children who contract COVID will simply be sent home.  ‘These kids have got to get back to school.  They’re at the lowest risk possible.  And if they do get COVID-19, which they will—and they will when they go to school—they’re not going to the hospitals.  They’re not going to have to sit in doctor’s offices.  They’re going to go home and they’re going to get over it.’  And that, my friends, was the icing on the freedumb cake for me and why I had to move Mike Parson to the top of the list.  Where does Mike Parson think those kids are going?  They are going home to mom and dad.  They are going home to grandparents who live in the home.  They are very, very likely to spread it to their teachers and support staff.  Where are those adults supposed to go?  What are the protocols when a teacher contracts COVID?  Is there testing available in each school?  How many substitute teachers are willing to take their place?” (Jen Hayden, Daily Kos, July 20, 2020) There is more to this article, but Hayden conclusively points out just how removed from reality these people really are.  And how inhumane.  And yet, they still have the support of most of their victims (constituents) who remain in the dark about what is being done to them.  This is how far down the drain we have gone as a nation.

EDF Action Votes tells us of yet another scandal that has occurred, this time in Ohio: “Breaking News Alert: The Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives and four others have been arrested in what an FBI investigation says was a bribery scheme to keep toxic power plants open.  Big polluters are willing to do whatever it takes to win—at every level of government.  That’s why we’re leading the charge to elect climate champions at every level of the ballot.  Onlookers are calling it the worst political scandal in Ohio’s history—the Speaker of the House and four others have been arrested in a $61 million scheme to force a bill through the state legislature that rolled back Ohio’s renewables and energy efficiency laws while bailing out dirty power plants.  Let’s be clear: if they’re doing it in Ohio, they’re trying something similar across the country.  Big polluters will stop at nothing to get their way.” (EDD Action Votes, July 24, 2020)

When Kamala Harris became Joe Biden’s pick to be his vice president, the real dregs of the Republican party emerged.  A Republican mayor in Virginia said that Biden had “just announced Aunt Jemima.”  No one in the Republican hierarchy condemned him for this ignorant and racist statement.  T-shirts were made up saying “Joe and the ho, 2020”.  Since Harris had once had a brief relationship with California Democratic kingmaker Willie Brown (who had been separated from his wife for ten years), this was enough for the dregs.  Suffice it to say that a real sexual predator like Donald Trump is A-OK with them; they have no problem whatever with his spousal abuse, affairs, crass statements about women or his dalliances with porn stars.  Again, one standard for Democrats, and another for Republicans.

If you think at this point that the Republican leaders cannot possibly get any worse, think again.  Georgia has a new member in the House of Representatives, Marjorie Taylor Greene.  This woman is so unhinged that even fellow Republicans are taken aback at some of her views and statements.  Let Daily Kos introduce her: “Greene’s victory leaves Republicans with a national candidate who is running on a platform filled with Son of Pizzagate delusions.  That includes the whole international network of pedophile assassins connected through pizza-orders and attempted Deep State coups.

 That includes how Jews are the real Nazis, Black people are enslaved to the Democratic Party, and Confederate monuments are signs of ‘progress.’  Greene’s words were roundly condemned by Republican leaders Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise, both of whom declared her ‘offensive.’  But the racism and conspiracy theories weren’t offensive to Republican voters.  Racism and conspiracy theories are what the Republican Party is about these days.  In fact, they are all that it is about.  After all, both McCarthy and Scalise have backed up every ludicrous claim by Trump.  They’ve been right there, carrying the torch, leading the party toward a horde of people—waving torches.  When Donald Trump ran in 2016, Republicans in Congress dismissed him, but Trump showed he understood the Republican base better than the Republicans.  Now Greene is simply demonstrating that again.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, August 12, 2020) No doubt we will be hearing a lot from her in the future.

One man was so insane he was even kicked off of Fox News!  Daily Kos tells us about him: “David Clarke, a Trump-supporting former sheriff from Milwaukee best known for running a jail ripe with abuse, where four inmates, including a baby, died, is again swirling in controversy.  Clarke was a key Trump advocate in 2016, later getting hired on for a cushy senior advisor gig at America First Action, a pro-Trump Super PAC where many of the Trump administration and Fox News castaways like Don Jr.’s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, have landed high-paying jobs.  Clarke was fired from America First Action not long after Fox News banned him because of his increasingly outrageous rhetoric.  Twitter once temporarily suspended Clarke after he advocated violence toward liberals.
And now Clarke is again proving how unfit he ever was for the job of sheriff or political adviser.  Clarke was guest-hosting The Mark Belling Show, a Milwaukee-based radio show on WISN, when he essentially advocated the premeditated murder of protesters, telling listeners to ‘make a plan.’  Thanks to Media Matters for the audio and transcript:

“DAVID CLARKE (GUEST HOST): The question is when is government going to do something?  Inaction is not a plan.  You know what happens with inaction?  People take the law into their own hands.  Government is leaving them no choice.  No choice.  I don’t advocate for some of the stuff that’s starting to happen, but I am certainly done—I am through with condemning it.  I’m done with that.  I’m just telling people, ‘Hey, you’re on your own.’  Think about it, have a plan.  Act reasonably.  You have to act reasonably.  Then you’re going to have to articulate what you did afterwards.  But you can’t have government officials and law enforcement executives telling people, ‘Do not take the law into your own hands.’  Well, you’re forcing them to!

“Clarke went even further: ‘DAVID CLARKE (GUEST HOST): The majority of these gun purchases are first-time gun owners.  And when we leave this up to the individual, it’s not going to end real pretty.  But I don’t blame them.  Have a plan, think it through, be able to articulate it, and be reasonable. It’s all the law requires.  You have the right to defend yourself, you don’t need permission from the police or a sheriff.’

“Just make a plan—to murder.  In other words, premeditated murder.  He once likened the Black Lives Matter movement to the KKK.  Is it any wonder he was too extreme for even the Trump administration and Fox News?” (Jen Hayden, Daily Kos, September 3, 2020) The logical question to ask at this point is: Why hasn’t this man been arrested yet?  He is guilty of inciting to riot and to commit murder.  What is wrong with a country that allows crazed people like David Clarke to say such things on the air and not be held accountable?

There is no platform and no substance to the Republican party other than racism and power madness.  They are a party of fascists and scammers.  Daily Kos summarizes this: “It seems incredible that behind every Republican scam—is another scam.  With the evidence that organizations right at the center of the American right are nothing more than money funnels for a handful of con artists, it’s worth asking: Is there anything at all to the right?

“Across all these scams, the M.O. is the same.  They start with a pitch that seems to break down into one of two categories: 1) You’re missing out on secrets that can quickly give you an advantage over other people. 2) Your way of life is being threatened by people who are not like you.  These are, of course, the classic basis of scams for centuries. The solution to either of these issues is the same—send money.

“With money, you can defend the right to bear arms!  Or—give millions to Wayne LaPierre while hitting members with frantic messages about a critical need for cash.  With money, you can be gifted the secret insight of Donald Trump’s real estate genius.  Which—turns out to be being born to someone who leaves you a billion so you can spend your time womanizing and duping people who think you know something.  With money, you can build that wall, even if Congress won’t!  Except—instead of building a wall, you can pay off hundreds of thousands of personal debt for Steve Bannon.  (And again, just how did the perpetually grubby Bannon run up, at a minimum, hundreds of thousands in personal debt?)

“Steve Bannon is a scam artist.  Roger Stone is a scam artist.  Paul Manafort is a scam artist.  Rudy Giuliani is a scam artist.  Jerry Falwell, and Kenneth Copeland, and Joel Osteen, and Paula White, and a long list of other televangelists are scam artists.  David Clarke is a scam artist.  Alex Jones is a scam artist.  David Daleiden is a scam artist.  James O’Keefe is a scam artist.  A quick glimpse of the boards of any of the organizations involved, or a reference to all the ‘institutes’ and ‘think tanks’ that provide an endless stream of talk show guests, recycled lobbyists, and Republican politicians bouncing around in the safety net shows that the same names come up over and over again.  The same right-wing figures constantly vouch for each other’s importance and knowledge.  The same right-wing ‘experts’ are dredged up to give opinions on science, when they know nothing about science, or explain health care, when they have no interest in health care, or simply fill the airwaves with confusion when there’s no better strategy…The truth is that there is no secret knowledge.  Knowledge is available to anyone.  It’s just that becoming a real expert on anything requires years of study and experience.  It doesn’t come in a weekend seminar, or in a ring-binder priced higher than a Midwestern home…Maybe there was a time when the Republican Party stood for something.  If so, it’s hard to locate that time.  What’s absolutely clear is at the moment the Republican Party exists only as a marketing organization—a platform for launching scams.  The reason that Republicans never get concerned about upholding real knowledge or expertise isn’t secret at all—those things make it more difficult to part fools from their money.” (Mark Sumner, Daily Kos, August 20, 2020)


Sometimes it takes a family member to really address the evil of one of its members.  This is certainly true of Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, who’s book Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man provides an insider’s view of who her uncle is, his multitudinous failures, and the threat he poses to everyone.  While this is not the place for an in-depth book review, some of it’s points merit inclusion in this article.  Let Daily Kos introduce the topic: “Donald Trump’s niece Mary Trump has a new tell-all book that Donald Trump is attempting to block.  He is attempting to block the book’s publication because Mary Trump does not like her uncle and the tell-all book is filled with nothing but bones from a grotesque man’s closet…Mary Trump, who is estranged from her uncle and reportedly signed a nondisclosure agreement in connection with a settlement over her grandfather’s (Fred Trump) will seems to be ready to drag out a lot of skeletons from the Trump family walk-in closet, nondisclosure agreement or not.  Here’s a fun one: Trump cheated on his SATs in order to get into the prestigious University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton business school.  I mean, we all sort of assumed that if Trump somehow had high marks—standardized testing or otherwise—it was related to money.  One of Trump’s former professors at Wharton, William T. Kelley said that ‘Donald Trump was the dumbest goddam student I ever had.’  Listen, I’m not a fan of standardized testing.  I think SATs and the like are poor ways of showing little more than how well one can handle a standardized test.  That being said, I also believe bragging about one’s excellence based on things you haven’t done to be a terrible trait.

“Mary Trump dishes on the Fred Trump-driven family ethos of ‘cheating as a way of life,’ and looking at the rest of humanity as monetary pieces.  There are stories of Trump and his family sending off the wayward alcohol-addicted son, Donald’s older brother Fred Jr., to the hospital alone on the night he died from a heart attack.  Fred Jr., Mary’s father, died at the age of 42.  Trump’s niece clearly feels that her grandfather’s anger toward her father over not choosing the family business led in part to his demise as well as a lack of care when he needed it most.  In fact, Mary writes that Donald went to the movies the night of his older brother’s death.

“Of course, the true nature of those relationships is hard to know or judge, but what can be judged in Mary’s opinion is Donald’s ability to be successful with his father, Fred, who if you don’t know was a terror of a human being by most every account.  According to Mary Trump, Donald’s success was simply based on the fact that he was mediocre enough, and sociopathic enough to fit into his father’s  plans. ‘The only reason Donald escaped the same fate is that his personality served his father’s purpose. That’s what sociopaths do: they co-opt others and use them toward their own ends—ruthlessly and efficiently, with no tolerance for dissent or resistance.’

“The most important issue facing Donald is that his entire life has been a fake news myth-making endeavor.  He’s been a terrible businessman, a terrible ‘ladies man,’ a crap parent, a boring talk show host, and now a truly incompetent and dangerous world leader.  What Mary Trump’s book does more than anything is remind Trump of his mediocrity, and it hits Trump in the place that hurts him the most—the public’s imagination.

“The most important issue facing the United States—if not the world—is also contained in this tell-all tome: we live in a world that not only is not a meritocracy, but it is designed to allow terrible people to rise into outrageous positions of power, with little to no oversight and zero justice.  It is a story of our country’s well-known, but not spoken about, caste system, created by income inequality and our current economic and health crisis is the proof-positive of how few people for which this system works.  When the going gets tough, the rich and people like Trump buy their way forward at the expense of hundreds, thousands, and millions of other people’s lives.” (Walter Einenkel, Daily Kos, July 7, 2020)

Mary Trump exposes her uncle’s lies about President Obama.  One of these lies was seen when Trump accused Obama of being a foreign-born student who tried to con his way into the Ivy League.  His niece says that, to the contrary, it was her uncle who lied and cheated his way into an Ivy League school and paid another student to take his SAT test.

As a clinical psychologist (and family member), Mary Trump is uniquely qualified to analyze her uncle’s various disorders.  She agrees with the oft-stated fact that he is a narcissist, but his other psychological traits are much more difficult to pinpoint since the president obviously will never subject himself to any kind of psychological analysis.  Nonetheless, in the prologue to her book Ms. Trump considers some of the possibilities, which include antisocial personality disorder “which, in its most severe form is generally considered sociopathy, but can also refer to chronic criminality, arrogance, and disregard for the rights of others…Donald may also meet some of the criteria for dependent personality disorder, the hallmarks of which include an inability to make decisions or to take responsibility, discomfort with being alone, and going to excessive lengths to obtain support from others.” (pg. 13) On the same page, she notes: “As the pressures upon him have continued to mount over the course of the last three years, the disparity between the level of competence required for running a country and his incompetence has widened, revealing his delusions more starkly than ever before.”  The next page sums all this up: “His egregious and arguably intentional mishandling of the current catastrophe has led to a level of pushback and scrutiny that he’s never experienced before, increasing his belligerence and need for petty revenge as he withholds vital funding, personal protective equipment and ventilators that your tax dollars have paid for from states whose governors don’t kiss his a&% sufficiently.”

There are countless insights into Donald Trump’s psychological makeup that his niece provides, but I will provide a few that should whet the appetite of the reader seeking to understand what makes him tick.  The story of his upbringing is particularly relevant as it tells us much about the adult he became:  “For Donald, lying was primarily a mode of self-aggrandizement meant to convince other people he was better than he actually was.” (pg. 40)  “By limiting Donald’s access to his own feelings and rendering many of them unacceptable, Fred (Donald’s father) perverted his son’s perception of the world and damaged his ability to live in it.” (pg. 43)

This quote is particularly relevant as it shows how he has utterly failed to outgrow the emotional immaturity that was already in evidence during his childhood: “Ideally, the rules at home reflect the rules of society, so when children go out into the world, they generally know how to behave.  When kids go to school, they’re supposed to know that they shouldn’t take other children’s toys and they’re not supposed to hit or tease other children.  Donald didn’t understand any of that because the rules in the House—at least as they applied to the boys—be tough at all costs, lying is okay, admitting you’re wrong or apologizing is weakness—clashed with the rules he encountered at school…Not surprisingly, his understanding of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ would clash with the lessons taught in most elementary schools.” (pg. 43-44)

Finally, seeing the kind of boy he was makes it much easier to see the kind of man he became: “Mary (his mother) couldn’t control him at all, and Donald disobeyed her at every turn.  Any attempt at discipline by her was rebuffed.  He talked back.  He couldn’t ever admit he was wrong: He contradicted her even when she was right; and he refused to back down.  He tormented his little brother and stole his toys.  He refused to do his chores or anything else he was told to do.” (pg. 49) Given all this, it is easy to see how the miscreant child eventually became the would-be dictator of the United States.

Any one of these traits might be understandable in any individual.  For example his niece’s comment that his lying was meant to convince others he is better than he actually is might apply to each of us at some point in our lives.  The point, however is that Trump has never outgrown this or any of the other traits Mary Trump discusses.  He remains a perpetual man-child utterly incapable of critical self-examination, incapable of empathy toward others, and certainly incapable of running a large corporation, much less the entire country, in any kind of positive way.  We are all the worse for it.

As for racism, Mary Trump informs us that as far back as 1973, Trump and his father were sued by the Department of Justice for violating the 1968 Fair Housing Act.  This came about because of Trump’s refusal to rent to blacks.  Roy Cohn, the sleazy aide during Joseph McCarthy’s anti-communist witch hunt of the 1950s, offered his services to defend the Trumps.  The author notes that Donald’s father had: “primed him to be drawn to such men as Cohn, as he would later be drawn to authoritarians such as Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un or anyone else, really, with a willingness to flatter and the power to enrich him.” (pg. 101)

As for Donald’s alleged business acumen, I have covered this in detail in earlier articles, but Mary Trump offers much more insight into the foundations of his incompetence.  His father Fred was well aware of his son’s business failings and covered up for him for years.  But the bubble eventually began to burst, as the author notes: “When things turned south in the late 1980s, Fred could no longer separate himself from his son’s brutal ineptitude; the father had no choice but to stay invested.  His monster had been set free.  All he could do was mitigate the damage, keep the cash flowing, and find somebody else to blame.” (pg. 103) The author concludes her long discussion of Trump’s alleged business prowess by saying: “Nobody has failed upward as consistently and spectacularly as the ostensible leader of the shrinking free world.” (pg. 197)

The bottom line is simple: Donald Trump has done the same to his country that he did to his businesses—and blamed everyone around him for his own failures.  Mary Trump notes: “Donald today is much as he was at three years old: Incapable of growing, learning, or evolving, unable to regulate his emotions, moderate his responses, or take in and synthesize information.” (pg. 197)

So how has this singularly unqualified and dangerous man been able to garner the support he has from his fellow Republicans?  Mary Trump summarizes: “The government as it is currently constituted, including the executive branch, half of Congress, and the majority of the Supreme Court, is entirely in the service of protecting Donald’s ego; that has become almost its entire purpose.” (pg. 201)

The author also blames the media for failing to ask Trump pointed questions, calling him out on his lies, and generally treating everything he says and does as being somehow legitimate.

Mary Trump has provided us with an excellent eye-opening book that, unlike other biographies of her subject, focuses on the psychological aspects of her uncle’s warped personality.  Everything Trump says and does makes sense once one understands where he came from and the influences in his life.  What should be done now is for her or some other qualified writer to collectively analyze the psyche of Trump’s supporters and followers.  People who cannot or will not recognize obvious facts should not be allowed to determine our country’s future; they’ve done more than enough damage already.


There are numerous other issues that need to be discussed, all of them intertwined with the corruption of Trump and the Republican party.

One of these concerns the judiciary.  I have gone into considerable detail in my earlier articles of how Moscow Mitch McConnell has gone out of his way to fast track as many ultra right-wing judges as possible.  These people are dedicated to serving Trump rather than the Constitution they have sworn to uphold.  Our courts were designed to be independent of politics and to treat all sides equally and to base their conclusions exclusively on the objective facts presented.  This is no longer the case; instead, loyalty to Trump and the Republican party has replace judicial neutrality, to the detriment of all concerned except the anti-constitutionalists in the Republican party.  Over and over again, these judges put political interests above the law, which enables Republican leaders to enact their extreme nationalist agendas.  These judges rubber stamp everything Trump and his cronies put before them and shield them from any accountability.

I have already gone into detail about Trump’s failure to release his tax returns, as every other president has done for the past half century.  Americans for Tax Fairness reported: “Now we know why Trump has been hiding his tax returns.  Yesterday, the New York Times released a major investigative story about President Trump’s taxes.[1] The report shows that in both 2016 and 2017, he paid just $750 in income taxes.  And, he paid ZERO federal income taxes over 11 years between 2000 and 2017.  Just compare that to what you have paid in federal income taxes over the last two decades; or what nurses and other essential workers have paid.  Or, compare it with how much Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and other leading Democratic presidential candidates paid in income taxes: Biden—3.7M.  Harris—516.5K.  Sanders—343.9K.  Warren—268.5K.  Trump—$750.  If it wasn’t such an abuse of our broken tax laws, it would almost be laughable.  Trump is the poster child for everything that’s wrong with our corrupt tax system.  Even as Trump dodges taxes, such as writing off a $70,000 business expense to style his hair while starring on ‘The Apprentice,’ he then sought to further-lower his tax bill through his $2 trillion 2017 tax scam that mostly benefited rich people like himself and major corporations.  Greed knows no bounds.” (Frank Clemente, Americans for Tax Fairness, September 28, 2020) Donald Trump makes Al Capone look like a piker.  And Capone went to jail for tax evasion.

Public Citizen provides more details:
“*Trump appears to be personally responsible for loans totaling $421 million, with much of that debt coming due over the next four years.  *Trump may owe $100 million or more in back taxes, penalties, and interest.
*Trump may have reduced his taxable income by paying his daughter Ivanka exorbitant ‘consulting fees’ at the same time she was employed by his corporation.
*Trump paid NO income taxes for 10 of the 15 years before he became president.  Trump paid just $750 in federal income tax for both 2016 and 2017.  That’s not a typo.  This supposed ‘billionaire’ paid far less in taxes than most working Americans do—less than someone who earns $75,000 a year would pay every month.” (Public Citizen, September 29, 2020)

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez adds: “Donald Trump paid $750 in income taxes the year he was elected President.  In 10 out of the last 15 years, he paid $0 in taxes that support our schools, our hospitals, our roads, and our entire country.  There’s two things we want to make clear here.  First, the system is working as intended.  Decades of corporate power in politics and Republican tax cuts have built a society designed to funnel wealth from the working-class into the pockets of the top 1%.  Second, Trump knew this and still issued a trillion dollar tax cut to those same wealthy and powerful elites.  In 2016, AOC paid more in income taxes as a bartender than Donald Trump did as a billionaire.  The undocumented immigrants who he has dedicated unprecedented vitriol towards have contributed billions of dollars in support for our communities, while Trump sees nothing wrong with his $750.  We’ll say it plainly: Trump is a walking scam.  Despite his words, he has never cared about anything more than himself—let alone this nation.  His sole purpose is coming out ahead, and to him, it doesn’t matter how many people have to suffer along the way.” (Alexandria Ocasio Cortez email, September 29, 2020)

Consumers United for Fairness adds: “America’s nearly 650 billionaires now have more than twice as much wealth as the entire bottom half of the population—165 million people.  It’s not supposed to be like that.  A wealth tax would begin to even things out.  One version would assess a 3% tax on wealth between $50 million and $1 billion, and a 6% tax on wealth above $1 billion. It would raise more than $2 trillion, and only the wealthiest 0.1%—or 75,000 households—would be subject to the tax.  And there’s this: Donald Trump can get away with paying $0 in income tax because the enforcement capabilities of the IRS have been severely weakened by Republicans in Congress.  Nine years ago, 12% of millionaires’ tax returns were audited.  Now, it’s just 3%.  Remarkably, the very poorest taxpayers—those eligible for the poverty-fighting Earned Income Tax Credit—are about as likely to get audited as the wealthiest 1%. (Susan Madrak, Consumers United for Fairness, November 1, 2020)

Obviously, this ridiculous situation points to serious flaws in our tax system, and most Democrats realize this.  Americans for Tax Fairness discusses an eminently reasonable solution to the economic disparity: “One major reform is for Congress to enact a wealth tax, which would annually tax the net worth of the super-rich.  It would be similar to the taxes on real estate and, in some places, personal property like cars that millions of Americans pay each year.

“A wealth tax would curb the phenomenal growth in wealth that the country’s nearly 650 billionaires have reaped since the beginning of the pandemic, which has taken the lives of over 210,000 Americans and infected 7.5 million.  These billionaires have seen their wealth increase by $845 billion—or 29%—between mid-March and mid-September as 50 million people lost their jobs, 30 million went hungry and 12 million lost their employer-provided health insurance.  America’s nearly 650 billionaires now have more than twice as much wealth as the bottom half of the population—165 million people.  A wealth tax would annually tax the net worth of these billionaires and a whole lot of multi-millionaires.  Different versions of a wealth tax have been proposed by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.  One version would assess a 3% tax on wealth between $50 million and $1 billion, and a 6% tax on wealth above $1 billion.  It would raise more than $2 trillion, and only the wealthiest 0.1%—or 75,000 households—would be subject to the tax.

Another reason that millionaires and billionaires like Donald Trump can get away with paying $0 in income tax is because the enforcement capabilities of the IRS have been severely weakened by Republicans in Congress.  Nine years ago, 12% of millionaires’ tax returns were audited.[5] Now, it’s just 3%.[6] Remarkably, the very poorest taxpayers—those eligible for the poverty-fighting Earned Income Tax Credit—are about as likely to get audited as the wealthiest 1%.” (Mark Rickling, Americans for Tax Fairness, October 10, 2020)

The disparity between the ultra-rich and everyone else is a crime in itself.  More of a crime is the loopholes that exist in our tax laws that allow the disparity to continue to grow.  Public Citizen gives us a brief example: “It’s impossible to fully understand how much money and influence Big Tech companies and their CEOs have.  And that power is growing as the national crisis shifts more of our lives online: Apple’s annual earnings are now higher than the GDP of Portugal, Egypt, or New Zealand.  In a single day in July, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made $13 billion.  That’s more than the combined net worth of the three richest Americans on the day the World Wide Web launched.  Studies show that Facebook and YouTube’s recommendation system funnels users towards content promoting political extremism and dangerous conspiracy theories.” (Bret Thompson, Public Citizen, September 1, 2020) Obscene numbers such as this are impossible to visualize, but suffice it to say that the system is so grossly unfair and immoral that it is amazing that almost no one seems to acknowledge it.  One wouldn’t expect the Republicans to do so, so the Democrats need to start growing a backbone and address this criminal situation.

Big Pharma continues to exploit the pandemic for its own purposes.  When a promising new COVID treatment was discovered by Gilead Sciences, and even though they had been funded by $70 million in taxpayer money, they announced that treatment would cost $3,120 per patient (and that is with private insurance).  Price gouging of this nature has become all too commonplace with Big Pharma.  This is another issue the incoming administration will need to address.

People’s safety is never an issue for Republicans; they just ignore it.  Environmental Action provides us with an example:  “Nobody wants massive tanks of dangerous, explosive fuel in their neighborhood—but the Trump administration is proposing to transport volatile liquefied fracked gas on railroads across the country.  This plan is a disaster waiting to happen.  There are more than 140,000 miles of freight railroads in America—every inch of which could become an explosive threat if this volatile cargo is approved.  Fracking is bad enough already.  We can’t allow dangerous liquefied natural gas on our railroads, too.

“Natural gas is already explosive in its original form.  To transport it, it is condensed into a potent liquid fuel that’s far too dangerous to be shipped across the country by rail.  We know that when fossil fuels are transported by rail, disasters can happen.  A 2013 derailment in Canada sent a train full of volatile oil hurtling into the center of a town.  More than a million gallons of fuel exploded, killing 47 people and incinerating nearly the entire downtown neighborhood.  This plan isn’t just dangerous: It’s also likely to lead to more fracking, which has devastating effects on our environment and our climate.  The process of fracking tramples habitat, disturbs wildlife, endangers aquifers and pollutes the air.  After all of that, the last thing we need is for the fracked gas to be condensed into dangerous fuel and shipped across the nation to pose an explosive risk to our communities.  It’s time to fuel our lives with the inexhaustible power of the wind and sun.  We need to invest in renewable energy to build a healthier future for ourselves, our communities, and the wildlife and wild places we share the planet with.  Expanding the transportation of dirty, dangerous fossil fuels across the country is simply the wrong choice.” (Environmental Action, July 17, 2020)

Our banks play a huge role in the climate change disaster facing all of us, as reported by Public Citizen: “The numbers are staggering: banks finance nearly one trillion dollars a year in fossil fuel projects.  Imagine how different our world would be if we invested that one trillion dollars in clean energy.  President-Elect Joe Biden can take common sense steps to move us towards that future.  For example, weather disasters cost our country $136 billion in 2018 and 2019.  The climate emergency is making these events, like hurricanes and wildfires, more frequent and costly.  So before new drilling projects that will make these disasters even worse are financed, bank regulators should require that these costs are accounted for.  This will discourage and ultimately restrict banks from investing in the dirty energy projects that continue to fuel the climate crisis…Bankers and bank regulators have been too focused on short-term profits and not the long-term risks building up.  The greenhouse gas pollution that Big Banks are underwriting is a grave threat to our country’s stability, including the banks’ own fortunes.  It’s time for financial regulators to do their jobs and stop the big banks from fueling catastrophe. (Bret Thompson, Public Citizen, December 15, 2020)

Public Citizen also relates how plastic production directly affects climate change: “The climate crisis and the plastic pollution crisis have a lot in common. 1) Both are worsening the existing inequities in the United States and around the world. 2) Both have been created by the fossil fuel industry. 3) Both require immediate action to protect human health and the ecosystems we rely on. 4) And plastic production directly contributes to climate change.  Oil and gas companies are driving the production of plastics to increase demand for their fossil fuels.  This was true before oil prices plummeted, and those companies are even more desperate now.  The petrochemical industry—which converts fossil fuels into the chemicals used to make plastics—is ramping up production with massive new facilities.  In Texas and Louisiana alone, proposed new petrochemical facilities would emit as much greenhouse gas as 131 coal-burning power plants.  By 2050, an estimated 20% of climate pollution will come from plastic productionEven worse, that plastic releases more greenhouse gases as it slowly breaks down.” (Kaiba White, Public Citizen, July 24, 2020)

Flooding is just one example of how climate change is threatening our world.  For example, Charleston West Virginia had 13 days of flooding in 2019.  In the fifty year period from 1929-1979, the city experienced the exact same number of floodings.  Even though flooding along our coastlines has increased over five times since 2000, Republicans remain in complete denial and refuse to act.  This should be a wake-up call to any thinking person that our environment is undergoing serious changes that will affect everyone. discusses the building of yet another dangerous oil pipeline: “I just got off the phone with renowned environmental activist Winona La Duke.  Canadian company Enbridge has begun construction of the dirty Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline stretching from Alberta to Wisconsin—and Winona and her allies have asked for our help to stop it.  Construction may be underway, but opposition is stronger than ever too.  Last week, 22 water protectors were arrested for resisting construction.

“Joe Biden has the power to review the permits granted by Trump and can still halt construction on this destructive pipeline.  But he won’t do it without an unprecedented wave of public pressure.  If constructed, this pipeline would carry 760,000 barrels of tar sands oil from Canada every, single, day—using a three-foot-wide pipe as big as Keystone XL.  This would be devastating to our climate, threaten the Mississippi River, and violate treaty rights.  Line 3 would cross more than 200 bodies of water, including the Mississippi River and wild rice beds sacred to the Anishinaabe people that should be protected under treaties.  The pipeline would also have the climate impact of 50 new coal plants, causing more than $287 billion in climate damages to our communities around the world.  With pipelines like this, it’s not a question of if they’ll have a spill, but when—and tar sands oil is near impossible to clean up.  Pipeline owner Enbridge has a terrible track record of devastating pipeline spills—responsible for more than 800 separate incidents between 1999 and 2010.  We can’t let Biden recognize the implications of Keystone XL on our climate and communities and ignore the consequences of Line 3.  But we need to get that message across loud and clear.” (Tzeporah Berman,, December 26, 2020)

I have already discussed this and other disastrous effects of climate change in my previous articles.  Here, I will simply quote from EDF Action Votes: “Look at what has happened over the past five years.  We’ve seen 1) The five hottest years ever recorded 2) Wildfires in California and Australia 3) Heatwaves with record temperatures in India and Europe 4) Temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the Arctic.  None of these events are normal.  It’s disturbing that the Trump administration refuses to act in the face of overwhelming evidence of climate change.” (EDF Action Votes, August 6, 2020)

Climate change is such a direct threat that Scientific American finally abandoned its policy of political neutrality.  When Democrats Turn Out relates: “Scientific American, the country’s longest continuously published science journal, just endorsed Joe Biden for the presidency, breaking a 175 year commitment to remain neutral—and stating ‘we’d love to stay out of politics, but this president has been so anti-science that we can’t ignore it.’  Since his election, Trump has blocked stricter air pollution standards, denied the devastating effects of climate change, and ardently embraced anti-science conspiracy theories—telling Americans, against the suggestion of his own health experts, that they could use hydroxychloroquine, bleach, and sunlight to treat the coronavirus.” (When Democrats Turn Out, September 19, 2020)

I have discussed Trump’s efforts to rig the 2020 census.  Common Cause summarizes: “You probably saw that President Trump announced a sinister plan to radically change the way we conduct the 2020 Census.  How?  By editing the data after it’s collected—penalizing towns and cities where undocumented people are believed to live by giving them less representation in Congress and stripping them of resources.  The first thing you need to know about Trump’s action—and the reason we are suing—is that it’s completely and obviously unconstitutional.  Our Constitution expressly forbids the administration from picking and choosing who counts—to serve their political agenda or for any other reason.  The 14th Amendment is unambiguous—representation depends on ‘counting the whole number of persons in each state.’ (Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause, July 21, 2020)

Daily Kos adds: “The U.S. Census Bureau has confirmed they are closing operations one month early, which would make it impossible to get an accurate count.  Donald Trump is sabotaging the census, which would have dire consequences for the next 10 years.  Marginalized communities would not be counted, and get unfairly shortchanged on federal funding and voter representation.” (Paul Hogarth, Daily Kos, August 6, 2020)

Trump got his wish when the right-wing Supreme Court ruled that he could end the census prematurely.  Public Citizen tells us what this means: “An accurate census is essential in determining how seats are divvied up in Congress as well as in state and local governments.  So why does the Trump administration want to end the census count now, even though the coronavirus has made it more difficult than usual to complete the process?  Because shutting it down means that people the Census Bureau needs more time to count—people of color, immigrants, poor people, younger Americans, and residents of big cities—will be undercounted.  And it just so happens that those groups tend to vote Democrat more than they vote Republican.” (Robert Weissman, Public Citizen, October 14, 2020)

Hip Hop Caucus adds: “This move will severely damage and create irreversible effects on our democracy.  A shortened census will exacerbate underrepresentation of our most vulnerable populations for a generation. We will see a larger undercounting of communities of color, undocumented people, houseless individuals, poor and young people.  This decision will disproportionately reduce our communities’ representation in reallocated congressional seats and Electoral College votes for the next decade.” (Rev Yearwood, Hip Hop Caucus, October 14, 2020)

We have already seen that Trump and his cronies have no regard for wildlife or the environment.  For example, even though there are only about six thousand gray wolves left in the United States, Trump sought to remove them from the Endangered Species Act.  And Trump’s National Park Service legalized wolf hunting during the denning season, meaning that wolf cubs who are completely unable to care for themselves can be shot by Alaskan hunters, even if they are too young to see, hear, or even stay warm by themselves.

Brown bears are another target: Trump wanted to make it legal to lure these animals with food at “bait stations” at the Kenos National Wildlife Refuge, allowing hunters to trap and kill them.  Trump even instituted a new rule allowing hunters to kill bear cubs in their dens.

As one would expect, Trump’s nominee to serve as head of the Bureau of Land Management, is an anti-environmental extremist who spend decades fighting the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act.  Given this, it was only natural for Trump to try and put him in charge of 250 million acres of land.  Although he served as acting director from July 2019, he was never approved by the U.S. Senate (which would no doubt have approved him as it approved all other Trump nominees), and was removed on September 25, 2020.  He then moved to another position.

Endangered Species Coalition discusses one aspect of the administration’s attack on the Endangered Species Act: “The Round Two attacks on the Endangered Species Act by the administration seek to redefine the word ‘habitat’ that would radically limit the ability of conservationists to protect land that enables the recovery of imperiled species.  The Trump Administration’s proposed habitat definition is a departure from every administration that preceded it during the highly-successful tenure of the Endangered Species Act.  It would require that habitats have an undefined number of necessary elements that support wildlife.  This could allow this–or future–administration to deny habitat protections based on an arbitrary finding that the forest, river, or other space was somehow lacking.  The administration is even seeking to limit protections to currently-occupied land or waters.  Meaning that forests and other wild areas that could support highly-endangered species can be developed or destroyed if the species has yet to recover sufficiently to expand to that space.  For example, if a species must move to a higher elevation due to a warming climate, that habitat will not be protected under these new regulations.  This would clearly limit the ability of those species to recover…This is nothing more than another attempt by the Trump Administration to open up more and more of our country to oil, gas, logging, and other extractive and destructive development.” (Leda Huta, Endangered Species Coalition, August 12, 2020)

Perhaps the biggest contradiction in the Republican party concerns the military.  Republicans have always been outspoken about military intervention (at least when a fellow Republican is president) and wars.  But Trump, after visiting a military cemetery referred to the dead soldiers as “losers.”  But there’s much more.  ActionNetwork reports: “Over and over, Donald Trump insults our veterans.  Trump said of John McCain, ‘I like people who weren’t captured,’ and said soldiers missing in action ‘performed poorly—and deserved what they got.’  But his insults to our veterans go beyond words.  As veterans suffer from high rates of suicide and PTSD, the American Prospect reports that Trump has gutted the VA’s staffing: VA leaders have installed, promoted, and protected incompetent administrators who have violated labor agreements, leveled threats against employees, and instituted punitive management practices.  The top clinical vacancy is for psychiatrists, with 61 percent of VA facilities reporting severe shortages for the role.” (Patricia Ackerman, ActionNetwork, September 5, 2020) What is so amazing about this is not Trump’s attitude toward war heroes, but the silence of virtually all the Republican leaders who, of all people, have always been the biggest defenders and promoters of the military.

I have gone into great detail on the role fundamentalist Christianity plays in the Republican party.  Christianity has always been front and center in Republican politics, but recent decades have altered its role considerably.  Today, it is the Christian fundamentalists who wield all the power; more liberal congregations are falling by the wayside.  As I showed in earlier articles, the extremists, once considered a fringe element of the party, are now its driving force.  The book of Revelation describes the end of the world in which only the “true believers,” meaning of course themselves, will be magically lifted into the clouds in the rapture.  The death infatuated mystics who wrote this nearly two thousand years ago reflected the backward religious thinking of that time.  It is frightening to think that so many people today believe in this clearly nonsensical claptrap.  But they do, and they not only own the Republican party: They are now its leaders.

But the mix of fundamentalist Christianity and the Republican party now has a third element, namely Trumpism.  This is the new faith of the Republican party, and it bears many similarities with fundamentalist Christianity.  The idea of an imaginary savior (Jesus and/or Trump) who will come and rescue the true believers is central to both faiths.  So is mythology.  Christianity’s mythology has largely been replaced by the Trumpist’s mythology: Our hero is a really nice fellow, he has America’s best interests at heart, he is a great businessman, he has led the way through COVID 19, he has done more for blacks than anyone else, he is fighting the pedophiles in the Democratic party, etcetera.  No matter how silly these nonsensical ideas are, the true believers accept them simply because their savior in orange said them.  The idea that there are mortal enemies that try and lead them away from the “true path” is another critical component.  In both faiths Jews, and non-believers are the common enemy.  Trumpism has added foreigners, Muslims, liberal Christians, and Democrats to the list.  Hatred, fear, and guilt are the three main ideas Christianity seeks to inculcate in its followers while Trumpism utilizes only the first two; it shouldn’t take long for the third idea to manifest itself as well.  The fire-and-brimstone preachers of Christianity have their counterpart in Lindsay Graham, Mitch McConnell, and many other hysterical Republican leaders who rant about Trump in the same way fundamentalist Christian preachers rant about Jesus Christ.  Neither fundamentalist Christians or Republicans can admit to being wrong; they believe that there is a shortcut to knowledge called faith which is absolute and never to be questioned.  This is why it is a waste of time trying to argue or reason with these people.  The only way to defeat fundamentalist Christianity is by recognizing the principal of absolute separation between church and state, and the only way to defeat fundamentalist Trumpism is at the ballot box.

The idea of separation between church and state, central to the philosophy of the founding fathers, is anathema to the Republican party, who wants nothing more than to make the United States into a Christian theocracy.  To do this, one of their strategies is to re-write history to “show” that the founding fathers were all fundamentalist Christians who wanted the United States to be a Christian country.  If they are successful in making the US into a Christian version if Iran, they will have free rein over the country since Democrats and liberals are not Christian fundamentalists.  The purges against their perceived enemies will then begin in earnest.  This is the way fascism always works.  The extremists in the Republican party insist that only they are the “true” Christians and that everyone else is automatically wrong—about everything.

The late Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a champion of church/state separation which is one reason the right-wing was trying so hard to convince her to retire.  Church and State magazine quoted her in the 2019 case of American Legion vs. American Humanist Association.  She noted that church/state separation: “protects the integrity of individual conscience in religious matters and guards against the anguish, hardship, and bitter strife that can occur when the government weighs in on one side of religious debate.” (Rob Boston, Church and State, October, 2020)  Ginsburg, unlike her right-wing colleagues, understood that religious freedom is certainly important, but must never be used to discriminate against others.

Christian fundamentalist leaders, despite their pretensions of morality, have a long history of scandals, from Billy James Hargis and Jim Bakker to Jerry Falwell, Jr., who resigned his position as president and chancellor of Liberty University on August 25, 2020 after another sex scandal, which seems to be the underlying factor for most of these disgraced fundamentalist ministers.  Considering that Falwell had run Liberty with a strict moral code, hypocrisy again rears its ugly head.  And, as we have repeatedly noticed in this article, Falwell refused to admit to any wrongdoing and attempted to portray himself as the victim.

It should come as no surprise that Falwell is yet another Trump lackey who waves aside anything negative Trump says or does.  Like Trump, he called the pandemic a hoax and ridiculed those who wear protective masks.  His religious bigotry also echoes that of his master and just about all the Republican leaders; in 2015, he actually said that Liberty students should carry handguns on campus so “we could end those Muslims before they walk in and kill.”

As for Liberty University, Church and State noted: “The Washington Post and Politico ran stories asserting that Falwell ruled LU through fear and intimidation.  More than two dozen former or current high-ranking LU officials spoke to a Politico reporter, describing a stifling institution where employees worry constantly about offending Falwell or his wife.

“As one employee put it, ‘Everybody is scared for their life.  Everybody walks around in fear.’  The story also asserted that Falwell was using the school to enrich himself and his family.  It detailed several cases of questionable real estate deals.  One senior LU official put it, ‘We’re a real estate hedge fund.  We’re not educating; we’re buying real estate every year and taking students’ money to do it.’” (Rob Boston, Church and State, October, 2020) Falwell’s use of the school to line his own pockets is exactly like Trump’s use of his office to promote his own businesses.  As already noted, scandals like this will continue as long as the press continues to give Republicans a free pass for everything they do.

Religion tends to make people conservative, clannish and bigoted.  This of course does not mean that all religious people are this way, but it most certainly applies toward fundamentalists.  The further to the right these people go, the more inclined they are toward violence.  As evidence, I offer the entire history of religion.  But we needn’t open musty old history books to see the proof, as it is right before our very eyes in the Republican party today.   Lest you think differently, I invite you to do a little research on one simple question: How many of the Proud Boys are atheists?  The same applies equally to devout Trumpists.  While I have not conducted any research on this, I would be surprised if the number was above one percent, if that.

Religion aside, I have always been fascinated by what makes people think the way they do.  Although I am not a psychologist, I was fascinated by an article that appeared in Daily Kos that addresses this issue as it pertains to Trump’s followers: “I was reading another diary and I looked up something that caught my eye.   How sad it is that the people have become this mentally unstable.  People who have been raised at the same table, shared the same holidays, worked along beside each other and many raised by the same parents or raised their children and the kids and all the others mentioned above  become gaslighted  and we are in this mess.  I feel that social media is to blame for much of this and I say that because gamers that are addicted to a game are isolated and start listening to other gamers and that is not even mentioned in the 5 traits that mental health experts studied.  It should have been in my opinion. 1) Authoritarian Personality Syndrome: Authoritarianism refers to the advocacy or enforcement of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom, and is commonly associated with a lack of concern for the opinions or needs of others. 2) Social dominance orientation: Social dominance orientation (SDO)—which is distinct but related to authoritarian personality syndrome—refers to people who have a preference for the societal hierarchy of groups, specifically with a structure in which the high-status groups have dominance over the low-status ones.  Those with SDO are typically dominant, tough-minded, and driven by self-interest. 3) Prejudice: It would be grossly unfair and inaccurate to say that every one of Trump’s supporters have prejudice against ethnic and religious minorities, but it would be equally inaccurate to say that many do not.  It is a well-known fact that the Republican party, going at least as far back to Richard Nixon’s ‘southern strategy,’ used strategies that appealed to bigotry, such as lacing speeches with ‘dog whistles’—code words that signaled prejudice toward minorities that were designed to be heard by racists but no one else. 4) Intergroup contact: Intergroup contact refers to contact with members of groups that are outside one’s own, which has been experimentally shown to reduce prejudice.  As such, it’s important to note that there is growing evidence that Trump’s white supporters have experienced significantly less contact with minorities than other Americans. 5) Relative deprivation: Relative deprivation refers to the experience of being deprived of something to which one believes they are entitled.  It is the discontent felt when one compares their position in life to others who they feel are equal or inferior but have unfairly had more success than them.” (Vetwife, Daily Kos, August 29, 2020) This article seems to fit the average Trump supporter to a “T.”

More than anything else, fear is what Republicans use in order to stay in power.  Demonizing their opponents is a favorite strategy for a very simple reason: It works.  Daily Kos elaborated on this point in an article printed just after the RNC was over.  The article includes a 75-second video of some of the more unhinged Republicans spouting nonsense and lies designed to make viewers think that the real threat to our country comes from Democrats: “As one Republican speaker said, ‘nightmares are becoming real.’  Fact check: True.  Everything we feared about Trump has come true.  And that’s where the Republican convention hits a rhetorical speed bump: If this vision of America were true, wouldn’t the guy in charge of it for the last four years perhaps have something to do with it?  It’s quite the rhetorical feat, claiming that the country is going to s&%# and the only person who can rescue it is the guy in charge while the country is going to s&%#.  No speaker at this convention thus far has been able to explain that away.  The best they can do is pretend COVID-19 is over and that racism didn’t exist until those radical liberals decided to, what, make their Dear Leader look bad by rudely getting in the way of police knees and bullets?  So if you can’t blame Trump for the world collapsing around him, who can you blame?  The radical left, of course.  As one half of that detestable St. Louis gun-waving couple ominously warned: ‘No matter where you live, your family will not be safe in the radical Democrats’ America.’ The other half of the couple echoed that theme: ‘These radicals are not content with marching in the streets.  They want to walk the halls of Congress.  They want power.’

“‘Our side is working on policy, while Joe Biden’s radical Democrats are trying to permanently transform what it means to be an American,’
said South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott with a straight face as his party didn’t even bother to have a policy platform for the first time in convention history.  (It’s the same Republican Party that has had years to come up with a replacement health care plan and failed because, you know, they’re ‘working on policy.’) Cissie Graham Lynch, granddaughter of the Rev. Billy Graham, said: ‘The radical left’s God is government power.’  Some random business guy on stage (probably a big donor) said: ‘This is not time to hand our government over to a washed up career politician who will be nothing but a puppet of the radical left Democrats.’  So yeah, radical left radical left radical left radical left.

“There are several problems for Republicans trying to make that case.
One: Joe freakin’ Biden.  We just spent a whole primary season where the ‘radical left’ was supposedly represented by Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.  And sure, Republicans can try to work around it by saying stupid s&%# like ‘Biden is a captive of the left,’ but it simply falls flat.  No one sees Biden as a radical leftist because quite frankly, he’s not a radical leftist.  We can argue (credibly) that even Sanders and Warren aren’t ‘radical left.’  But Biden?  Zero people actually believe that.  Not even Republicans.  Two: Compare the conventions.  The Democratic one seemed to have as many Republicans as it did Democrats.  The real left of the party wasn’t represented.  The closest we might’ve come to it—Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—got a little over a minute to speak.  Meanwhile, Republicans like Colin Powell and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich got prime-time featured slots.

“The Republican one?  Where do we even start?  There’s Abby Johnson.  There was the time she argued that her Black adopted son was statistically more likely to commit a crime than her white one.  And there was the time she argued that women living at home with a man shouldn’t have the right to vote.  Then there’s Mary Ann Mendoza: Hours before she was set to speak at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night, Mary Ann Mendoza took to Twitter and urged her followers to investigate a supposed Jewish plot to enslave the world.” (Daily Kos. August 26, 2020) Watch the video.  You don’t even need to hear what they are saying; just watch the looks on their faces and you will see that these people are dangerous.  Anyone with even half a brain will see who the real radicals are.


CREW aptly summed up the past four years: “President Trump is the most corrupt president in American history.  His continued ownership of his businesses, leading to more than 3,500 conflicts of interest since he took office, would on its own be enough to merit that title.  But Trump has repeatedly used the government to try to keep himself in power—in the most notorious instance, his efforts to bribe the government of Ukraine into announcing an investigation into his political rival led to his impeachment.  He has surrounded himself with conflicted Cabinet members and advisers, overseen attacks on the rule of law, fired watchdogs, allowed unchecked industry influence over policymaking and fought transparency at every turn.  In short, President Trump’s abuses and corruption are astounding.  No wonder CREW has taken more than 800 legal actions since the start of the Trump administration.
“Here are just a few of the most memorable examples of Trump’s shameless abuses.  For the full roundup, read more on CREW’s site: 1) Crimes Committed in Connection with Ukraine: In December 2019, CREW released a report documenting compelling evidence that President Trump likely committed several crimes in his Ukraine conduct for which ordinary Americans would be prosecuted and incarcerated.  CREW’s analysis found that those crimes include: Bribery (18 U.S.C. § 201); Soliciting foreign campaign contributions (52 U.S.C. §§ 30109, 30121); Coercion of political activity (18 U.S.C. § 610); Misappropriation of federal funds (18 U.S.C. § 641); and Obstruction of Congress (18 U.S.C. §§ 1505, 1512). 2) Conflicts of Interest: As of October 23, 2020, CREW has documented more than 3,500 instances of Trump’s conflicts of interest since day one of his administration.  Every time a government official visits a Trump resort, or an event is held on Trump properties, or foreign trademarks are granted to Trump brands, there exists a conflict between Trump’s duty to the American public and his own business and financial interests.  CREW has documented 26 government policies and actions under this administration that specifically appear to benefit the Trump businesses. 3) Nepotism and Other Abuses by Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner: On the same day that President Trump took the oath of office, the Department of Justice reversed decades-old precedent and approved Trump hiring his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner to work in the White House.  Since they joined the White House, CREW has highlighted the myriad ethical questions around Ivanka Trump’s and Jared Kushner’s employment in the White House including her company receiving numerous international trademarks and her participation in implementation of the Opportunity Zones program while Kushner held financial interests in a company benefiting from it. 4) Assault on Inspectors General: Trump has always been hostile toward oversight and accountability, but his attacks on inspectors general have become more frequent in 2020 including firing the State Department OIG investigating misconduct by Secretary of State Pompeo as well as the intelligence Community IG who reported the Ukraine whistleblower complaint to Congress.  Since Trump took office, he has left numerous IG posts vacant for significant periods of time, fired two permanent IGs and removed three acting IGs by other means.  In their places, he has nominated or installed at least six loyalists.  Trump has also appointed four IGs in dual roles, in some cases creating possible conflicts of interest.  In total, we have conservatively identified 25 actions by Trump to undermine the IG community since he took the oath of office.

“Those are just a few of the ways Trump has abused his power, enriched himself using the office of the presidency, and surrounded himself with corrupt loyalists while attacking independent oversight.  Unfortunately, the more we learn about Trump and his finances, the more alarmed we become about his shady financial ties, and the national security risk he presents for the country.” (Noah Bookbinder, CREW, November 2, 2020)

There is little doubt what the Republican response to all this would be: “Fake news!”  That’s all they have.  Denial and nothing more.  No facts, no documentation, only lies and cover-ups.

George Washington once said: “99% of failures come from people who make excuses.”  This is a particularly appropriate headstone to the Trump presidency; one can only wonder what he and other early presidents would have to say about this man and the untold damage he has caused.

Republicans have no plans whatever for addressing the critical issues facing this country.  They have no plan to contain the coronavirus, no plan to address climate change, no plan for healthcare, no plan for addressing racism, and no plan for anything else—other than to scratch the back of their big business looters and shield themselves from accountability.  They have had complete control over government for the past two years and never once made any attempt to work with Democrats, viewing them as enemies to be conquered, not colleagues to be respected and worked with.  Republicans simply don’t care what happens to their fellow citizens, and their actions on any given day conclusively prove this.

A president is supposed to be a uniter, but Donald Trump has done, and no doubt will continue to do, his level best to divide the country into two warring camps.  Republicans have eagerly embraced this strategy.  The motto of his presidency might well be: If you’re not with me on every single thing I say and do, you are the enemy.  This also defines his supporters who will continue to believe his every utterance as if is holy scripture.  Trumpism is indeed America’s newest religion.

A writer for Daily Kos, objecting to a reader’s complaint that Democrats are “just as bad as Republicans,” wrote: “Not even a little bit.  There is no comparison and there is no ‘both sides are doing it.’  There is only one side that has completely broken with reality.  This is not the party of John McCain or Mitt Romney or Bob Dole.  It is a cult in thrall to a madman who rejects science, truth, and democracy, not to mention our Constitution.  The last two Republican presidents gave us: the most disastrous foreign policy blunder in our history (Bush invading Iraq in 2003), the most incompetent response to a natural/weather disaster in our history (Bush, Katrina—although Trump and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico isn’t much better), the worst economic crash since the Depression (Bush, 2008), and now, COVID—where we have, by far, the worst death rates in the developed world, to a large degree because our federal government played politics with our health (Trump).  These were all things that, unlike, say, 9/11, were completely within our control, and all followed Republican control of the White House and Congress.  By comparison, Clinton’s presidency had no major blunders to speak of, and he turned the largest deficits in history into surpluses—which his successor blew.  Obama turned around the worst economic crash since the Depression—handing his successor a job-creating machine of an economy, oh, and expanded health care to millions of people.  Both Democrats avoided getting into any new wars, for what it’s worth.  There is no way I can see avoiding the conclusion that today’s Democratic party produces far better results for the American people than the Republican party does.” (Ian Reifowitz, Daily Kos, July 19, 2020)

Still, there remain people who insist that we must learn to work with Republicans.  Daily Kos has an answer for that nonsense: “What about the next time you hear or read someone telling you that we should all work to understand the motivation of these Trump supporters; that we must somehow bridge this chasm between a wide-ranging spectrum of views on the left and a totally insular, rigid and intolerant right?  Just ask yourself when, if ever, have these people on the right—now embodied in the inflexible 40% or so who have wedded themselves to the likes of Donald Trump—ever made a similar effort?  When have any of them ever expressed the slightest inclination toward unity with their fellow Americans in any capacity beyond exchanging their occasional labor and currency, before quickly retreating back into their enclaves to generate ever more spite and vitriol?  Former President Barack Obama famously said in 2004 that: ‘there is not a liberal America and a conservative America—there is the United States of America.’  That was a heartfelt expression of hope.  But one of those Americas has voluntarily resolved to never compromise, as Obama’s presidency clearly showed, and as the Trump presidency has revealed in spades.  If Democrats win this election, they should never, ever forget that lesson.” (Dartagnan, Daily Kos, October 19, 2020) Although Democrats did win all three branches of government, and although Kamala Harris is a true progressive, I remain skeptical whether most Democrats will heed this warning.  The Republican Party is not about compromise, it is about getting and keeping control.  That is fascism, not democracy and the sooner our elected officials recognize this, the better.

John Kerry aptly summarized the past four years by noting that Trump: “inherited a growing economy and a peaceful world, and like everything else he inherited, he bankrupted it.”  An abysmal failure as a man, businessman and leader, Trump has done everything in his power to transfer his failures to the country he failed so completely.

The Washington Post also weighed in on Trump’s abysmal record: “Washington Post editorial board: “But beyond the low unemployment rate he gained and lost, history will record Mr. Trump’s presidency as a march of wanton, uninterrupted, tragic destruction.  America’s standing in the world, loyalty to allies, commitment to democratic values, constitutional checks and balances, faith in reason and science, concern for Earth’s health, respect for public service, belief in civility and honest debate, beacon to refugees in need, aspirations to equality and diversity and basic decency—Mr. Trump torched them all.” Quoted in Daily Kos, August 26, 2020)

The following month, When Democrats Turn Out quoted another Post article that described what happened under Trump and what the consequences would be had he been re-elected: Another term could allow Mr. Trump to complete the demoralization, politicization and destruction of a workforce that was once the envy of the world: the American civil service, health service, Foreign Service and uniformed military.  In everything from consumer safety to air quality to life expectancy, the results would be catastrophic.  But there would be nobody left to measure them.’

The Washington Post said it best, Trump has systematically depleted our government agencies of the experts and advisers who keep our country running—and his reelection would cause irreparable damage to our democracy.  It would give Trump another four years to isolate the United States on the world stage, replace top experts with political loyalists, and finalize his increasingly authoritarian moves to illegally expand executive power.  Our country won’t survive another Trump-Pence term.” (When Democrats Turn Out, September 10, 2020)

Fortunately for us and the world, this nightmarish scenario may not come about: Trump lost the election (though he and most of his fanatical follows still refuse to admit it) and, if things go well in the election runoff in Georgia on January 6, will find themselves in control of the executive branch as well as the House of Representatives and Senate.  The only downside to this is that many of these Democrats still seem willing to work with Republicans.  They haven’t learned the lessons of the Second World War, namely that you cannot reason with or work with fascists.  Unless they finally grow a backbone and say: “enough,” the dangers will still be there.

To compare this horrible man with his successor, all one needs to do is search out what Biden said to a 13 year old boy (Brayden Harrington) who is battling the same affliction Biden himself once battled, namely stuttering.  Watch the video and the differences between these two men will be obvious. Here is a man who actually cares about people.  Donald Trump has never developed empathy for other human beings, a conclusion aptly borne out in his niece’s book.

Although he has yet to assume office, Biden simply has to be better than the criminal he is replacing.  There is so much to be done, and even more to be undone.  He has already committed to re-joining the Paris Agreement.  Climate change will finally be addressed, not ignored.

The reality is that, as we prepare for a new administration, the Republican party will continue to lie and obstruct as they have always done.  COVID-19 has spiraled out of control.  Climate change threatens our very survival as a species.  Air and water pollution is increasing as Republicans strip environmental protections.  Tens of millions of people are now unemployed due to Republican ignoring and mismanagement of the pandemic.  Blacks and other minorities are increasingly finding themselves marginalized and even attacked as racism continues to rise.  State and local governments are fighting to stay financially afloat.  The integrity of our elections, and of governmental processes in general, has been nearly destroyed by these power-obsessed right-wingers.  Homelessness is on the rise.  The rich continue to get richer while everyone else gets the shaft.  This is the America Donald Trump and the Republican party have created.  They have nearly succeeded in their efforts to make America into a third-world country and a Fourth Reich, in which they alone posses the instruments of power and dissent is ruthlessly crushed.  Concentration camps already exist and are still being used for those trying to seek asylum.  Can the time be far off for incarcerating other “undesirables?”

I have not spent much time on the new president-elect, but the early signs are encouraging.  But then, anything has to be better than what this country has endured for the past four years.  When Democrats Turn Out compares Trump’s cabinet appointees with the ones Biden has called to serve: “Republican Senator Marco Rubio has made it clear that the GOP is preparing to block Biden’s Cabinet selections.  The reason?  Biden’s Cabinet picks ‘went to Ivy League schools, have strong resumes, attend all the right conferences & will be polite…’  Oh no.  According to Rubio, ‘I support American greatness.  And I have no interest in returning to the ‘normal’ that left us dependent on China.’  But we see through his fear tactics.  We’re tired of seeing inexperienced rich loyalists like Betsy DeVos and Steve Mnuchin run our government while career veterans and top advisers are pushed to the sidelines.

“From Antony Blinken to Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Biden’s Cabinet picks are professionals with proven track records of leading with integrity, and it is refreshing to see experts leading in our federal government again. (When Democrats Turn Out, December 2, 2020)

In addition, the Democrats (if the Georgia runoff goes our way) will soon control the Senate and White House.  When Republicans controlled them, they refused to work with Democrats on anything.  It is time for Democrats to do the same thing; the difference is that the Democrats will have the support of the majority of the American people, and they don’t have 300,000 unnecessary deaths on their hands.  When Democrats Turn Out tells us what they should do: “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, December 23, 2020)  What do you say, America?

Categories:   Political Affairs