Trump’s U.S. 2020 Election

Alternative Media sources discuss Donald Trump as President and candidate! 

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Policy issues under the Trump administration

Donald Trump – Ballotpedia


Trump Administration Needs to be Investigated and Punished for any Crimes they have committed

The first order of business for this new administration is to ensure that he appoints a good attorney general (how about Preet Bharara?) and have him/her go to town.  Any trump administration official who has committed crimes should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  And these GOP cheaters in MN and elsewhere should receive the same treatment.  There needs to be some real accountability for GOP misdeeds or they will continue to worsen and someday in the not too distant future they will succeed in creating a totalitarian state here.   (as in 2020-11-06 RoadTripBoy  comment)


2020-11-21 In ‘Tremendous Rebuke’ of Trump Appointee, Federal Judge Bars US Media Agency Head From Interfering in News Coverage    “Michael Pack has repeatedly and intentionally violated the First Amendment rights of VOA journalists.”    President Donald Trump’s appointed head of the U.S. Agency for Global Media is barred from making any further editorial or personnel decisions following a series of injunctions issued by a federal court late Friday, in what journalists called a major rebuke of the Trump administration’s attempt to reshape government-funded news broadcasters.

2020-11-21 A Disgrace’: Trump’s DOJ Schedules Three More Federal Executions in Days Before Anti-Death Penalty Biden Takes Office    “We all should be paying more attention to the killing spree that the Justice Department is currently engaging in.”   Two months before President-elect Joe Biden is set to take office and halt the use of the federal death penalty, President Donald Trump’s Justice Department on Friday evening announced it plans to execute three more death row inmates in addition to three whose state-sanctioned killings were already planned for the coming weeks.   The announcement came a day after the execution of Orlando Hall—the first American to be put to death by the federal government by a lame-duck administration in more than a century.  

2020-11-21 Trump Skips G20 Pandemic Preparedness Meeting as Covid-19 Cases Surpass 12 Million in US   “The president is not only missing from his post, but he’s encouraging a mutiny.”  

2020-11-20 ‘Certify the Results!’: GOP Michigan Lawmakers Blasted for ‘Legitimizing a Fascist Coup Attempt’ by Meeting With Trump   Two Republican lawmakers in the Michigan legislature were reprimanded on Friday as they made their way to the White House for a meeting with President Donald Trump, who has endeavoured to overturn the election results in key battleground states won by President-elect Joe Biden.   Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) called the meeting between State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, Speaker of the State House of Representatives Lee Chatfield, and the president “an attempt to subvert our democracy and undermine the will of Michigan voters.”  Bob Bauer, a legal adviser to the Biden campaign, described Trump’s invitation as “an open attempt to intimidate election officials,” which is “an abuse of office.”

2020-11-20 Let Trump Off the Hook in the Name of Elusive Unity? Some Critics Say That Could Be a Big Mistake   One observer stressed that the Justice Department must “keep its options open, and not prematurely foreclose on the possibility of criminal investigations.”    In a nation that doesn’t punish—and often lionizes—its leaders who perpetrate or support genocide, nuclear war, mass murder, torture, and other crimes against humanity, Democrats calling for probes and prosecution of Trump have given what are arguably his worst offenses a pass. Democratic presidents, after all, also wage wars that kill thousands of civilians, support murderous regimes, and ignore refugee rights.

“In the end, the dilemma over what to do about Donald Trump may be less about Trump than it is about the structural problems his presidency exposed.”  —Jonathan Mahler, New York Times Magazine.  Absent any prospect of punishment for policies and actions critics call war crimes and crimes against humanity, those hoping to see Trump face some sort of justice must settle for more mundane misdeeds. The most realistic prospects—those openly discussed in the halls of power and the corporate mainstream media—would likely involve Trump’s alleged bribery, obstruction of justice, conspiracy to defraud the United States, campaign finance violations, Census improprieties, and Hatch Act violations.

2020-11-20 Trump Administration Accused of Trying to Bully Banks Into Financing Arctic Fossil Fuel Extraction   “Contrary to the claims of oil-backed politicians, banks don’t want to finance more drilling in the Arctic not because of some vast liberal conspiracy, but because it’s bad business,” said a Sierra Club leader.   Responding to grassroots pressure and shareholder activism, five of the six largest U.S. banks have decided they want no part of financing fossil fuel drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—but that isn’t stopping the Trump administration from what critics on Friday called bullying banks into funding oil and gas extraction.

2020-11-18 Freedom Rider: The Real Trump Coup  Trump is a political force, even as he leaves the White House. He is the true face of the Republican Party, even as “never Trumpers” claim otherwise. Not only do his supporters agree that he was cheated, but they protest in support of him as they did in the Million MAGA March in Washington.   It is interesting to watch the hand wringing because Trump is once again blowing up the political system. His claims of fraudulent voting are no worse than the Democratic Party and their friends among the elite establishment pushing the Russiagate fraud. People and institutions deemed trustworthy, prestigious and eminent, all turned the system upside down and did lasting damage to electoral politics, the media, and to public trust in government.

The people undermining democracy are the establishment figures who gerrymander districts, the military industrial complex which buys off both parties, and the prosecutors who always find a way to keep black people behind bars.

Of course, Trump would have less success if the Democrats offered people what they need. The angry white racists will surely remain amongst us, but some of them would be peeled off if they saw a clear personal advantage in voting for Democrats. If that party were half as inclusive and as helpful to working people as it claims, there would never have been a Trump presidency at all.   There is no coup, just the corruption we are told to accept. Trump will throw bombs on his way out the door. He changed politics forever but the way to beat him is simple. Just meet the people’s needs.

2020-11-17 Trump’s New Toy: the Pentagon   From the standpoint of government functionality, President Trump’s lame-duck seeding of the Department of Defense with inexpert loyalists—most of whom do not require Senate confirmation—seems conspicuously pointless and needlessly deleterious. Worries about national and international security and domestic political stability are understandable. But more dire reasons for alarm are readily dismissed, as cogently argued in The Atlantic by Kori Schake, who quite sensibly tallied it up to pure spite.

A predictable and hardly baseless suspicion is that Trump is planning some form of dramatic overseas military action—for instance, an attack on Iranian uranium reprocessing facilities—with an eye to vindicating his “maximum pressure” policy and to reducing President-elect Biden’s latitude for reviving the Iran nuclear deal, which he already did to some extent by ordering the assassination of Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps commander Qassem Soleimani in January.

2020-11-17 Shocking Story out of Michigan   Stunning turn of events tonight in Michigan. The Wayne County Board of Canvassers deadlocked and was unable to certify the county’s vote. Wayne County includes Detroit. The Board has two Republicans and two Democrats. The Republicans refused to certify. But tellingly the GOP Chair said they’d agree as long as Detroit was left out. Basically, they were trying to pull a power play in which they used their power to toss out the votes of the city of Detroit.

The state GOP jumped in and lauded the decision. Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis excitedly predicted it was the first step toward the GOP state legislature tossing out the results of the election and appointing Trump electors to the electoral college. Finally President Trump himself tweeted excitedly that it was a turning point.

But then it all changed.

2020-11-17 A vote to certify election results fails in a Michigan county, a rare victory for Trump.  (corporate media) The two Republicans on the board said they had voted against certifying the results because many precincts in the county were out of balance by a few votes. Monica Palmer, one of the Republicans, suggested that the board would certify the county’s results without the totals from Detroit, where Mr. Biden won with 94 percent support.  

UPDATE, 9:11 p.m. EST: After sparking nationwide outrage and a blistering rebuke from Benson about their not-so-subtle attempt to disenfranchise heavily pro-Biden African-American voters in Detroit, the two Republicans backed down.  In an update just hours after the initial tie vote, the Wayne County Board of Canvassers reconvened and unanimously certified the vote, but asked Benson to audit the clerical errors found.

“Monica Palmer sat there and said she’s willing to approve the results of the lily-white city of Livonia, which had the second-highest number of out-of-balance precincts, but she won’t certify the city of Detroit,” “There is no reason to single out the city of Detroit for this racist treatment.”   Detroit is 78 percent Black, while Livonia’s Black population is 4.4 percent. 

The election results now move to Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers, which will complete the work that the Wayne County board could not finish. The state board also has a 2-2 Republican-Democratic split.

Jenna Ellis, a legal adviser to the Trump campaign, said explicitly on Tuesday that the goal was to enable Republican state legislators to choose Michigan’s electors even though Mr. Biden had clearly won the state — an extraordinary subversion of the democratic process. 

The Republican members’ refusal to certify the results in Wayne County amounted to placing “partisan politics above their legal duty to certify the election results,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan said in a statement on Tuesday. “Today’s action is a blatant attempt to undermine the will of the voters. The process, however, will move forward.”

The Board of State Canvassers consists of two Democrats, Jeannette Bradshaw and Julie Matuzak, and two Republicans, Norman D. Shinkle and Aaron Van Langevelde.   Mr. Shinkle’s wife, Mary Shinkle, filed an affidavit in support of the Trump campaign’s lawsuit claiming there were voting irregularities in Wayne County.  Mr. Van Langevelde, the other Republican member of the Board of State Canvassers, is a former deputy legal counsel for the Michigan House’s Republican Policy office and a former prosecutor in Branch County.

2020-11-17 Presidential Transition Live Updates: Trump Fires Official Who Disputed Baseless Claims of Election Fraud (corporate media) Christopher Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, had called the election “the most secure in American history.” President Trump on Tuesday night fired his administration’s most senior cybersecurity official responsible for securing the presidential election, Christopher Krebs, who had systematically disputed Mr. Trump’s false declarations that the presidency was stolen from him through fraudulent ballots and software glitches that changed millions of votes.

2020-11-17 Trump CORONAVIRUS VACCINE Donation Appeal to Supporters   (Trump e-mail) Friend,  Did you hear the latest update on Operation Warp Speed?  ANOTHER Coronavirus Vaccine was just announced. This time, by Moderna. Studies show that it is almost 95% EFFECTIVE – this is excellent news.

For all of the great historians, remember that these unprecedented discoveries, which will END the China Plague, all took place on my watch. If Biden were President, this would have taken much longer – perhaps even years.  The Fake News media will never report on our incredible progress. They don’t care about reporting the TRUTH, they only care about appeasing their partners, the Democrats.   Remember, what we’ve accomplished is HISTORIC, Friend. Next year will be our BEST YEAR YET, but only if we continue putting America First for FOUR MORE YEARS. Defending the Election is critical – can I count on YOU to step up?

2020-11-16 Judges appear increasingly frustrated with Trump’s legal claims about election     (corporate media)  “At what point does this get ridiculous?” the exasperated judge, an appointee of President Barack Obama, asked before ruling against the Republicans.  In court hearings and opinions around the country, judges are voicing similar frustrations with the Trump campaign’s legal filings to a degree rarely seen in venues where political rhetoric is generally unwelcome, experts and courthouse veterans said.  “Judge after judge after judge has asked, in essence, ‘Where is the beef?'” said Karl Racine, the attorney general for the District of Columbia and a frequent Trump critic, in a call with reporters Friday.

2020-11-16 CNN Reporter Details How Flailing Trump Team Has Devolved Into Circular Firing Squad: One Official Shouted at Giuliani He’s a ‘F-ing A-Hole’     CNN senior White House correspondent Pamela Brown portrayed a Trump campaign effort coming apart at the seams as its elections lawsuits continue to fail, with top officials angrily hurling claims of dishonesty and obscenities at each other in a highly charged Oval Office meeting with the president.    During an appearance on Anderson Cooper 360 on Monday night, Brown offered shocking details in a behind-the-scenes account of the meeting, which Donald Trump himself had convened at the White House after he was apparently shocked by his legal team’s decision to abandon an election lawsuit in Arizona.

2020-11-16 Trump Has No Path to Win, Says Bush’s 2000 Florida Recount Team   (corporate media) Several members of Bush’s team in 2000 predict this election won’t be overturned because of the size of Biden’s lead in multiple states and a lack of evidence on which to base any claims.  “You can’t just say, ‘This election’s tainted, throw it out,’” said Benjamin Ginsberg, national counsel for Bush’s 2000 campaign. “You have to have some specificity, and so far, they’re sorely lacking in specificity. Their airplane crashed on takeoff because they forgot to add fuel.”  

Ted Olson, the lead attorney for Bush in the U.S. Supreme Court case in 2000 that ended the recount in Florida and delivered the presidency for him, said there’s no doubt about the outcome.   “I do believe the election is over,” Olson said at a Federalist Society event last week. “We do have a new president.”   Even Karl Rove, Bush’s top strategist in 2000, said in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece that Trump’s litigation to overturn Biden leads won’t succeed.

Senator Ted Cruz has said he thinks the legal process must play out and that he still hopes Trump is re-elected. Other Republican lawyers who worked for Bush in the 2000 election fight include now-Supreme Court justices John Roberts, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

2020-11-16 Obama said he was surprised at top Republicans who did a ‘complete 180 on everything they claimed to believe’ to align with Trump  (corporate media)   Obama told The Atlantic he wasn’t surprised by the behavior of President Donald Trump during his time in office. But he said he was shocked to see Republicans position themselves as staunch Trump allies despite much of the president’s rhetoric and actions that break with the values of the party.  “I did not believe how easily the Republican establishment, people who had been in Washington for a long time and had professed a belief in certain institutional values and norms, would just cave,” he said in the interview. 

2020-11-15 Tomgram: John Feffer, There’s No Returning to Normal After Trump      Hillary Clinton would have faced challenges of every sort if she’d won the presidency in 2016. They nonetheless pale in comparison to what now awaits Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

The Republicans are already gunning for the new president. They’re blocking the transition process to handicap the incoming administration. President Trump has forbidden federal agencies from even cooperating with the Biden-Harris team. The 2020 presidential election forms part of the Republican Party’s denialism trifecta: the pandemic, climate change, and now Biden’s victory are all simply liberal “myths.”  The Republican Party will either control the Senate — pending the outcome of two run-off races in Georgia — or, at least, be able to disrupt any major pieces of legislation.

The Biden administration will be hard-pressed to roll back the tax cuts the Republicans handed out to the wealthy in 2017, pass a major green infrastructure bill, or expand affordable health care.   When Biden tries to implement a nationally cohesive program to combat Covid-19 through more testing, tracing, and investment in medical equipment, he’s guaranteed to face resistance from a number of Republican governors who have refused even to mandate the wearing of masks. And then there are all those Republican-appointed judges just itching to rule on any legal challenges to Biden’s executive orders, not to speak of a Supreme Court now located in the bleachers beyond right field that will serve as an even greater constraint on an activist agenda.

And those are just the political obstacles. The pandemic is clearly spiraling out of control. The economy has yet to crawl out of its hole. And Donald Trump has a couple of more months to scorch the earth before his army of incompetents are driven out of Washington, D.C.

*2020-11-13 A look at 5 false or misleading Trump team claims of election fraud    (corporate media)   False claim: Ballots were counted, even though they arrived late.   False claim: Military ballots went missing in Georgia?  Unsupported claim: late ballots were backdated in an attempt to allow them to be counted.    False claim: “Software glitch” caused ballots to switch from Trump to Biden in Michigan.  Misleading claim: Observers were not granted access to see the vote counting process.

2020-11-13 NOW WE HAVE TO FIGHT TRUMP’S TIN-POT COUP — AND BIDEN’S WORST INSTINCTS   Republicans keep finding new ways to tell us that they don’t believe in democracy, and we should believe them.  To be clear, the reason a tin-pot coup attempt remains highly unlikely has nothing to do with the laughable idea that Republican lawmakers have too much respect for core democratic principles to engage is such a brazen power grab. These are people who owe their holds on state power, and in many cases their entire careers, to openly anti-democratic redistricting schemes and other wily tools of suppressing, at all costs, the terrifying prospect of majority rule. They keep finding new ways to tell us that they don’t actually believe in representative democracy, and we should believe them.

Moreover, the tactic of taking minor voting irregularities and outlandishly inflating them to the level of election-stealing, thereby justifying a very real coup d’etat, has been the go-to tactic in countless U.S.-backed “regime-change” operations around the world — schemes supported, it must be said, by Republicans and Democrats alike.

Do not tell yourself they are above bringing the tactic home. If the Republican Party refrains, and I believe it will, it won’t be out of fealty to democracy but rather out of loyalty to market and empire.  

Given this reality, Joe Biden’s “Come on, man” approach of brushing off Republican election denialism as an “embarrassment,” rather than a serious threat, is probably a poor one. The Republican strategy, if they do go down this road, relies on state legislators appealing to a perception — not a reality — that the public has lost faith in the election results. That’s a lot easier to claim if the only people screaming outside your offices and bombarding you with phone calls and emails are Trump supporters shouting conspiracy theories about voter fraud, while the people who would see a challenge to certified results as a straight-up coup have already moved on, convinced that Republicans wouldn’t dare cross yet another democratic red line so they aren’t even bothering to make the point.

2020-11-13 1,000 Legal Experts Sign Letter Condemning ‘Shameful Attack’ on Democracy as Trump Continues Baseless Election Lies   “The president seeks an unconstitutional ‘restriction on the right to vote’… He is violating his duty to defend the Constitution.”   A coalition of 1,000 legal experts and scholars Friday denounced as unconstitutional President Donald Trump’s ongoing refusal to accept the election results and called on his legal team to meet their “ethical obligations” by ending their support for the his false claims and assertions.

An open letter signed by retired federal and state judges, former state attorneys general who served under Republican and Democratic governors, and law professors condemned Trump’s claims of fraud as being presented “without evidence and false,” singling out Republican officials who have publicly supported the president’s efforts to have thousands of ballots thrown out.

2020-11-13 Pompeo committed treacherous sedition with his announcement of Trump’s coup  In answer to a Fox News’s reporter’s question about the transition, Pompeo relied, “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”

That comment, by the senior Cabinet officer of the United States, sent foreign ministries around the world, as well as the diplomatic corps in the United States, into a bewildered frenzy. The U.S. Secretary of State position is far more than that of a foreign minister. The Secretary of State also acts as a type of notary and official document repository for the Executive Branch of government. The Secretary of State acknowledges and archives documents such as international treaties, instruments of surrender, and letters of resignation from the president and vice president of the United States. On three occasions in U.S. history the Secretary of State has received such letters:  

Pompeo was misusing his position in an official capacity and to a degree never before seen in American history.  “The world should have every confidence that the transition necessary to make sure that the State Department is function today, successful today, and successful with a president who’s in office on 20th January, a minute after noon, will also be successful.” That comment was a signal to the world that countries with which the United States has diplomatic relations had better not think about conferring recognition on Joe Biden as the president-elect of the United States. Pompeo’s seditious proclamation was ignored by the heads of state and government of Canada, Germany, France, Japan, Australia, Turkey, and over 200 other nations, all of whom had extended congratulations to Biden on being elected the 46th president of the United States.

2020-11-13 ‘Pathetic’: Sanders, Khanna Slam Trump and GOP for Spreading Election Lies as Pandemic Surges  “Every day without a new Covid relief bill is an outrage beyond words.”     “Instead of fighting to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic that has killed over 242,000 Americans, the Trump administration is spending its final days in office fighting a bogus voter ‘fraud’ problem that does not exist,” said Sanders

2020-11-13 White House official admits the administration is still pretending Biden didn’t win  White House trade adviser Peter Navarro claimed on Friday that White House officials are still operating as if President Donald Trump will remain in office for a second term despite him losing the presidential election to President-elect Joe Biden. 

“We are moving forward here at the White House under the assumption there will be a second Trump term,” Navarro said on Friday morning.  Due to Trump’s refusal to concede, his staffers have followed suit. Navarro noted the uphill legal battle Trump is attempting to fight in hopes of having the election results overturned. He claimed the White House would not focus on any aspects of transferring power to the Biden administration.

2020-11-13 US Federal Election Commission Chairman Says Voter Fraud Is Taking Place   The US Federal Election Commission Chairman Trey Trainor believes voter fraud is taking place in states still counting ballots and that the 2020 US Presidential Elections may be illegitimate.   He said the lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign are “very valid allegations” that need to be “fully vetted” by the court system. He predicts some of the legal challenges will likely end up in the Supreme Court.

2020-11-13 The 2020 Elections: A Roundtable  Five Dissent editorial board members discuss what the elections tell us about the path ahead for the left, center, and right in American politics.   Timothy Shenk, Sheri Berman, Adom Getachew, Michael Kazin, Aziz Rana and Matthew Sitman

2020-11-13 ‘He Cares About No One. Not a Soul’: Ire for Trump After 130 Secret Service Agents Reportedly Infected or Under Covid-19 Quarantine     As the U.S. continues to hit daily records in coronavirus cases—and with at least 40 people within the president’s inner circle having been infected.  Friday more than 130 Secret Service officers are now in quarantine because they either tested positive for Covid-19 or had exposure to a co-worker who tested positive.  “Trump was warned repeatedly that failure to take precautions could threaten the safety of those around him, but as he makes clear every day, he is only capable of thinking about himself.”   The infections of Secret Serves staffers, according to the Post, are “believed to be partly linked to a series of campaign rallies that President Trump held in the weeks before the Nov. 3 election.    

Trump’s total disregard for the lives of his protectors, supporters, and aides shows how dangerous his extreme selfishness has become,” Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said in a statement. “The virus is spreading freely across the country, and Donald Trump has only made it worse by holding super-spreader rallies and events like the Election Night party, which appears to have infected several of his closest associates.”

2020-11-13 Can Trump Pardon Himself? Jane Mayer on Trump’s Desperate Bid to Stay in Power & Avoid Prosecution    I think you can see that he has many reasons to be concerned, at least, that if he leaves the White House, he’s going to lose the immunity that goes along with being president, for legal reasons. And I think, from what I understand, he’s quite concerned that he may face prosecution in New York, where a pardon from the White House wouldn’t be able to reach.

2020-11-13 Trump faces around two dozen legal threats leaving office — and he’s getting desperate  Trump has many reasons to be concerned, at least, that if he leaves the White House, he’s going to lose the immunity that goes along with being president, for legal reasons. And I think, from what I understand, he’s quite concerned that he may face prosecution in New York, where a pardon from the White House wouldn’t be able to reach.  

There are about two dozen different kinds of legal actions coming at him. By far, I think, the most serious is the investigation underway in New York City by the District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.  It was a federal case against Michael Cohen, who had been Trump’s lawyer. Michael Cohen, as people remember, served a three-year — is still serving a three-year prison sentence. And when he was indicted, the indictment mentioned that there was an unindicted co-conspirator, who happened to have been — he wasn’t named by name, but it was clear that it was President Trump. 

District Attorney’s Office has got an open criminal investigation into President Trump, looking at among all kinds of fraud in his business before he became president — bank fraud, insurance fraud, tax evasion and other kinds of fraud. So, that is ongoing. There is an open investigation, and it’s said to be quite a serious one. 

Donald Trump has at least over $300 million of loans coming due in the next four years that he has personally backed, meaning he’s on the hook himself for these loans. He’s also got an IRS case that he appears to be losing. It’s an argument with the IRS about what he owes in taxes. It appears that if he loses it, he’s going to have to pay an additional $100 million. So he has tremendous liabilities hanging over his head.

If he’s out on the street, it’s going to be a lot harder. He’s going to be very hard up for where to find the cash to pay these things off. He could try to sell some of his assets, but because of the pandemic, some of those assets are worth a good bit less than they were before, because commercial real estate and resorts are in the tank right now. And so, he’s in a hard, hard spot, and as he is with facing these criminal investigations. And so, there are a lot of reasons he’s fighting so hard to stay inside the White House, according to people who know what’s going on inside.

2020-11-13 Can Book Publishers Afford to Publish Donald Trump?        When (if?) Donald Trump leaves office, he will be deeply in debt and starved of the bully pulpit that has made him an inescapable focus of attention. Ever since he lost the presidential election, many have already begun to tune him out. Once he has left the White House, he will be just another guy tweeting all-caps conspiracy theories about voting machines.

Deprived of the only two things he actually cares about—money and attention—Trump will look to get them back as quickly as possible. He may immediately embark on a campaign for the Republican nomination in 2024. He may launch a television network (or license his name to an existing one, like One America News or Newsmax) and go toe to toe with Fox News for right-wing TV supremacy.

But the most straightforward path to money and attention is the most traditional one for ex-presidents: a memoir, much like the one Barack Obama will publish about his first term next week.   

A Trump post-presidency memoir would be a mega-bestseller. But is the industry prepared to deal with the fallout?  For publishers, however, a Trump presidential memoir is hardly straightforward. Putting out a book by the president—particularly if it were ghostwritten by someone like regular speechwriter Stephen Miller—could lead to an enormous backlash, including revolts from staffers, authors, agents, and indie bookstores, even if it were published by a dedicated conservative imprint.

2020-11-13 A Letter to My Students on the Election    The president’s refusal to concede lays groundwork for the narrative of a new “Lost Cause.”     The fears so many of us had that Trump would get a second term are over.  But neither Trump nor his enablers were repudiated in a way that suggests we won’t have Trumpism around for years to come, or that he doesn’t speak for today’s Republican Party. The bipartisan congressional majorities that in the 1960s allowed Lyndon Johnson to pass Medicare and successfully champion the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 are no longer present. 

The president’s refusal to concede the election is not mere petulance. It is the groundwork for the narrative of a new “Lost Cause.” South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has encouraged Trump to take to heart the example of Grover Cleveland, who won the presidency in 1884, lost it in 1888, and re-won it in 1892. Whether Trump runs again or not, he is sowing grievance with his supporters that will far outlast 2020.

What made the Republican Party under Trump so frightening was not just the bad policies it supported, but the danger it posed to democracy in a multiracial country. Republicans did not play by the rules we have taken for granted, and in so doing they exposed how fragile our democracy can be when politics divides people in a way that makes compromise feel like surrender. Trump made clear his contempt for political norms early on with his nicknames for his opponents: Marco Rubio was “Little Marco,” Elizabeth Warren was “Pocahontas.” But the personal insults were nothing compared to the contempt he and his supporters showed for political traditions both parties once respected.

2020-11-13 Trump’s Final Dereliction of Duty     In the twilight of his presidency, Donald Trump has retreated into fantasy,

2020-11-12 Here’s the real danger lurking in Trump’s world-historical tantrum     what terrifies so many Biden voters — an astonishing number of people are complaining of panic attacks or lost sleep on social media — are the real moves Trump’s team and many Republican politicians are taking that make this less like a typical tantrum and more like a genuine attempted coup.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has trolled reporters by talking about Trump’s “second term”. General Services Administration head Emily Murphy, a Trump appointee, is refusing to sign paperwork that would allow the Biden transition team to begin work. Trump’s campaign is continuing to file relentless and frivolous suits, even though they’re getting promptly thrown out of court, making false allegations of “voter fraud.” Relatively few Republican elected officials will even admit that Biden won, and a healthy number are backing Trump’s false accusations that Democrats stole the election.

But what really sent a lot of people around the bend was Trump’s petulant firing of various leaders at the Pentagon and in U.S. intelligence services, replacing them with loyalists apparently trained at Rep. Devin Nunes’ Camp for Incompetent Conspiracy Theorists. This triggered a fear response, largely due to outdated American notions of what a “coup” looks like, borne from half-remembered ’70s-era news footage of tanks and military fatigues in foreign countries. 

Mostly, the public chest-thumping and administrative tricks are designed to trick people into believing that some election reversal is still possible, both to troll the left and, perhaps more importantly, so Trump — who is anywhere from $425 million to over $1 billion in debt — can shake down his gullible supporters for more cash before he’s pushed out the door.

Trump will be slinking out of the White House in about nine weeks. But that doesn’t mean his reality TV-style failed coup isn’t dangerous. It’s very much is — because Trump is pushing his already vitriolic and authoritarian followers further down the path towards rejecting democracy entirely.  But of course the implication of all Trump’s prattling about “legal” and “illegal” votes — language that is being picked up by all manner of Republican politicians — is that Democratic votes are somehow not legal.  This is, it should go without saying, preposterous. But it’s the clear message being sent by all the outrage from Trump and his minions at the pedestrian fact that Democrats voted and that those votes are being counted.  he is likely driving his supporters to feel even more hostile to the very concept of democracy, and especially of the right to vote being extended to Americans they see as less American than they are.   A poll released Wednesday by the Economist and YouGov shows that 86% of Trump voters believe that Biden did not legitimately win the election.

2020-11-12 Two-face America: 73 million Trump party apparatchiks guarantee turmoil over the coming years   One defeat of the Party of Trump and its 73 million apparatchiks is not enough. In Trump, the United States has bred its own dictator in waiting and he’s got an army of servile apostles willing to fight and die for him. Vigilance by his opponents has never been more important.

Incumbent President Donald Trump now owns the Republican Party, lock, stock and barrel. With 73 million restless apparatchiks clearly beholden to the cult of Trump, will it be long before the Republican Party gets rebranded as the Trump National Party; or, perhaps, the MAGA Party (Make America Great Again)? Maybe Trump sells-off his faltering real estate empire and creates a media conglomerate—consisting of television, radio,and the Internet/WWW—that spews out divisive, fascist, ultraconservative fare 24 hours a day, 7 days  week. Trump Media would absorb the National Review, New York Post and similar conservative publications/websites.

2020-11-12 JOHN KIRIAKOU: The Depressing State of US Politics     The politics of the past month have been overwhelming.  I’ve had enough of the disaster that has been Donald Trump over the past four years.  I’ve had enough of the Democratic National Committee’s demonization of the progressive movement.  I’ve had it that nobody takes third parties seriously.  I’m sick of politics.  I’ve always been something of a political animal.  But this latest election has just been too much.  It has pushed me over the edge.

There’s a lot wrong. Foremost is the hypocrisy of the Republican Party.  For example, Trump’s margin of victory in battleground states in 2016 was far smaller than Joe Biden’s margin in those states in 2020.  Yet, Trump has pulled out all the stops to delegitimize Biden’s election, apparently with no memory of his or his underlings’ actions from 2016.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who right now is alleging pro-Democratic voter fraud at every opportunity, said in 2016:  “You have people trying to delegitimize the president-elect of the United States right now.  You have people out there that are calling for recounts that are unsubstantiated based on no evidence.”

That’s rich.  Rudy Giuliani, the president’s shameless lawyer, who at one time was actually a serious person, and who is currently leading the charge alleging voter fraud, called protestors against Trump’s election in 2016 “a bunch of spoiled crybabies.”  I get that politics is a tough game.  But this bald-faced hypocrisy is too much.   

2020-11-12 The frivolous lawsuits of a sore loser   Yet, despite the historic number of popular votes cast for the Biden/Harris ticket and their ticket gaining 279 electoral votes, as states continue to count, Donald Trump has continued to show his ill-mannered, boorish contempt for democracy by refusing to accept defeat.

Instead, Trump and his campaign have continued to pour fuel on the fire of conspiracy theories plaguing this year’s election. Rather than a phone call to begin the peaceful transition of power, they continue to make unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud and ramp up their threats of lawsuits that will lead to a supposed Trump victory.

As of this morning, Nov. 8. Trump administration appointee to the General Services Administration, the agency in charge of federal buildings, that also signs off on access to government funds, and office space to the president-elect’s transition team, Emily Murphy had refused to do so.

Trump’s strategy of filing a flurry of lawsuits challenging the Biden/Harris win isn’t about upholding the law or ensuring transparency throughout the voting process. It’s about providing Trump with a viable off-ramp for a loss he can’t accept and is about giving his supporters something to be angry about.

2020-11-12 State of Chaos: Trump Knew Us Better Than We Knew Ourselves    Whatever his political position of the moment, he reflected one thing above all: the underlying chaos and bad faith of a world of wealth, power, and ever-growing inequality, a world, as it happened, just waiting to go down.

Now that he’s defeated, count on one thing: he’ll take as much of this country with him as he can. If he has his way, when he finally decides to jump ship, money in hand, he’ll leave the rest of us at a vast mask-less rally with death running wild in our midst. From the beginning, he was always the orange-faced, yellow-haired personification of chaos. Now, just as the Republican Party did in 2016, this country has taken on his chaos as our own and, in the wake of the recent election, one obvious question is: Are we, too, scheduled for the ventilator of history?

2020-11-12 Six Brief Theses on the Trump Era  It was as much an election to prevent “socialism” as “fascism.” The mainstream of the ruling class wants neither right now, and it continues to make the decisions. Biden is now the face of the ruling class, the bulk of which (Wall Street numbers suggest) is happy to see his victory. Far from being a puppet of the left, as the defeated Moron President warned might happen, he will say “thank you very much, AOC and Ilhan,” before combining with Spanberger to marginalize them.

2020-11-12 ELECTION 2020: Payback For Russiagate     After trying to undermine Donald Trump with Russiagate, Democrats are now facing a reprisal from Republicans trying to undermine Joe Biden’s election.

Hillary Clinton laid the groundwork during the 2016 campaign to undermine Trump by recklessly branding him a “Putin puppet.”   That blossomed into four years of full-blown Russiagate, which was meant to question the validity of Trump’s election,  undermine his legitimacy and hamper his ability to act as president.   

Now the Republicans are questioning the validity of Biden’s election, undermining his legitimacy and hampering his ability to act as president-elect, and later as president.   This is tit-for-tat for the Russiagate gambit.  Put bluntly, this is what the Democrats get for starting all this.   

Don’t be surprised if Fox and other Republican outlets gear up to question Biden’s legitimacy for the next four years, the way Democratic media stirred up Russiagate madness the previous four years. Russiagate may morph into Chinagate following stories of Hunter and Joe Biden’s business deals in China, which partisan, liberal media suppressed.

2020-11-11 Can Trump really stage a coup? Experts break it down      For the first time in history, an incumbent president is refusing to concede after clearly and indisputably losing a presidential election.  Trump may be preparing to stage a coup of some sort, or perhaps call again on his supporters to commit violence to sustain his rule.

Though it sounds alarmist, such happenings are certainly not unprecedented in the global arena; the United States frequently interferes with the Democratic process in other countries, and often undermines it in order to provoke a coup or make a citizenry lose faith in a governing party, as US interests did in Bolivia last year. What is more unprecedented is for such a thing to happen in the United States.

Some political scientists are arguing that rather than a coup, we should be more concerned that Trump’s baseless claims erode faith in democracy. Such moves are often the first step in a longer process towards a future coup — a kind of death spiral for democracy.  70 percent of Republicans say they don’t believe the 2020 election was “free and fair,” an alarmingly high percentage.

“Violence and other costly forms of conflict are avoided by the mere fact that the political forces expect to take turns,” Przeworski told Farrell. “Yet this mechanism fails when the short-term stakes in an election are too high or when the opposition sees no chance to win according to rules.”  Trump is trying to overturn the election, but is not likely to succeed. The main reason is that none of Trump’s lawsuits provide evidence of voter fraud.   In fact, what Mystal argues is that the Trump campaign is going to put America through 70 days of turmoil all in the name of a grift.  “These lawsuits purportedly challenging the election are a huge money-making opportunity for the Trump campaign,”

If Trump launches “a full-scale coup d’état and uses the military to keep him in power” then yes, we’d be at war.  Trump’s attempted coup appears disorganized, as he clearly doesn’t have the support of generals.  It’s important to remember that an estimated 71 million Americans voted for Trump, and 76 million voted for President-elect Joe Biden. Our country remains just as divided, if not more so, than in 2016. But research shows that such divisiveness isn’t enough fodder for a civil war.

The appearance of what Trump is doing matters most to the GOP.  “Everything Mitch McConnell is doing and saying is about keeping the Trump voters enraged enough to get out in full force for those Geogia’s Senate seats,”  “I think they believe this will help maintain their base of support, whether for a potential 2024 presidential run or to help the president succeed in whatever other plans he has after January of 2021.”

2020-11-11 Donald Trump’s Terrible Coup Attempt Is Killing Americans   It’s pulling focus from the most dangerous moment of the crisis. This is The COVID-19 Daily Report for Veterans Day, 2020.     Every moment Donald Trump tries to steal the election is a moment that he’s not paying any attention to the most harrowing moment of the coronavirus crisis. Cases are now completely out of control; we could easily hit 200,000 a day soon. Hospitalizations are at an all-time high, and we’re approaching triage conditions in several states. The medical profession has been able to save lives as they learn more about the disease, but if they cannot attend to all the patients, many people will die unnecessarily. In North Dakota, where some astronomical percentage of the population is hospitalized with COVID, they’re allowing asymptomatic carriers to keep working because they have no reinforcements to treat people. Sidelining medical staff is a big a problem as having too many patients.    


2020-11-10 How Fox News Foiled Trump’s Plan to Steal the Election     The television network known for spewing the president’s propaganda is now being accused by right wingers of being biased.      epublicans had ensured, via the courts, that Pennsylvania couldn’t begin counting mail-in ballots prior to November 3rd. So Trump was relying on an early lead in that state coming from those who had voted in person on Election Day. That made Arizona pivotal to the public relations campaign for Trump to claim victory.

But at 11:20 pm on Tuesday, Fox News foiled the plan by calling Arizona for Biden. The Associated Press followed at 2:50 AM. Eventually, they were joined by NPR, “PBS NewsHour,” Univision, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. With Arizona gone, Trump would have no clear path to 270 electoral votes.

As had been predicted, the call set up a showdown at Fox News. The Trump campaign was livid. According to Washington Post reporters Sarah Ellison and Josh Dawsey, the White House sprang into action.

Trump erupted in anger, telling others in the White House to “get that result changed,” a senior administration official said. His chief of staff, Mark Meadows, phoned Fox News’s decision desk repeatedly. Top aide Hope Hicks, who had returned to the White House earlier this year after a stint at Fox Corp., messaged Raj Shah, a former Trump White House staffer whom she hired at Fox, about how to get the call reversed. Kellyanne Conway got in touch with Fox News chief political anchor Bret Baier to complain. Jared Kushner reached out to Fox Corp.’s billionaire owner, Rupert Murdoch.

In response, Fox News anchor Bret Baier brought Arnon Mishkin, the head of their decision desk, on air to explain himself. Mishkin stood his ground.   

 2020-11-10 Rival Governments Are Often Recipes for Violence and Regional Warfare     Even as Biden continued to rack up votes in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada, Trump tweeted and told aides that he would refuse to concede the election, hold periodic campaign “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) rallies across the country, refuse to depart from the White House on January 20, and even suggested he might stage a rival inauguration in January as Biden is sworn in as president on the west façade of the U.S. Capitol building.  

If Mr. Trump fails to leave the White House at the constitutionally-mandated hour of noon on January 20, 2021, he and his family and staff would be physically removed from the Executive Mansion by federal law enforcement officers. President Biden would be free to move into the White House and take up his post in the Oval Office. Trump may decide to forgo such a public humiliation of being placed under arrest and stage a rival inauguration at his private club at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, in the hope that Republican officials, including Florida’s Republican governor and two U.S. senators, as well as other Republican officeholders, pro-Trump county sheriffs in Florida, and a few Trump-appointed federal judges, might be in attendance.

Trump may also decide to seek the support of wealthy right-wing Cuban, Colombian, and Venezuelan interests in South Florida to help defend his rival administration, taking a cue from Venezuelan National Assembly leader Juan Guaido, who, on January 23, 2019, declared himself the acting president of Venezuela in opposition to the re-election on May 20, 2018 of incumbent President Nicolas Maduro.

2020-11-10 Trump can’t steal the election now — but Mitch McConnell sees it as a power grab Trump’s attempted coup, to be clear, has zero chance of working. His election lawsuits are pathetic and keep getting thrown out, including by Republican judges. All the whining about “illegal” voters — which is mostly code for voters whose skin color or political leanings are not to Trump’s taste — amounts to nothing, since the votes he’s complaining about are already opened and counted. At this point, the main purpose of all the false promises that the courts will invalidate the election appears to be money — the fine print on the solicitations for Trump’s “legal defense fund” makes clear that the money will mostly be used to pay down Trump’s campaign debts. Since Election Day, more than 130 such emails begging for cash have gone out to gullible marks — sorry, I mean Republican voters. Considering what a practiced con artist Trump is, he’s probably already working out how to leverage his fake victim status to squeeze his hapless supporters for more cash down the road.

The problem, unfortunately, is that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has decided to back Trump’s play, as I predicted he would a year and a half ago. or one thing, McConnell implied there could be something shady about the presidential election, but affirmed the legitimacy of down-ballot elections, where Republicans did better than expected. Problem is, these are literally the same ballots. How can the same ballot be legitimate one when it comes to a congressional or Senate race, but a fake in the presidential race?   It’s the same Mitch-style logic under which confirming a Supreme Court justice nominated by a Democratic president nine months before the next election is somehow unacceptable, but confirming a justice just days before the next election is perfectly fine, as long as a Republican president nominated that person. Put more bluntly, it’s just bad faith.   

2020-11-09 ‘These Lawsuits Are Incredibly Rinky-Dink’  Trump, of course, announced in advance that, “As soon as that election is over, we’re going in with our lawyers.”  But Republicans didn’t just start going in with their lawyers. In particular, since the gutting of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, they’ve used the courts to provide cover for the kind of voter suppression they feel favors them. They’ve played these cards face up for so long, it’s hard to see why anyone would credit Trump’s current legal maneuvers as anything other than what they are—frank attempts to hold on to power, no matter what.

2020-11-09 Emily Murphy: Release the Biden/Harris transition funds!     A little-known Trump appointee is refusing to release the Biden/Harris transition funds!! This is one of Trump‘s strategies, and we need to respond urgently.

Normally after the election the new President-Elect’s team immediately shifts into plans for governing the country. But the head of the General Services Administration, Emily Murphy, a Trump appointee, is holding the transition up — she won’t recognize Joe Biden as the winner of the election or release essential transition funds. This decision is not supposed to be political!

2020-11-07 Media Still Refuse to Report the Real News: Trump Is Actively Trying to Steal the Election   When the media are unable to present as fact that Trump is trying to steal the 2020 election, they are implying that there is room for debate about what his intentions are, simply because he hasn’t explicitly stated: “I am trying to steal the election.”

Since media know—and are reporting—that Trump has not won the election, and there is no “major fraud,” Trump’s statement amounts to a declaration that he will overturn the results of the election to keep himself president—“for the good of this nation,” of course. In the face of this assault on democracy, corporate media appear content to offer factual corrections of the sort that Trump and his base will simply ignore, as they have done for the past four years regarding countless other lies he has told.

Indeed, corporate media cannot even straightforwardly report that Trump is lying about winning the 2020 election, instead employing flaccid euphemisms like “falsely asserts” and stating things “without evidence,” which have by now become mere comical and impotent phrases to describe presidential deceit.

This failure to report an ongoing coup attempt is even more incredible when we recall that Trump had already telegraphed his attempt to steal the election by prematurely declaring victory on Election Day. Yet we are not seeing many headlines in corporate media like Mother Jones’ “The Trump Campaign Is Openly Trying to Steal the Election” that would more accurately convey the gravity of the situation.

While I admittedly didn’t expect corporate media performance to be any better after the polls were closed, it’s still difficult to write this article without being infuriated by the timid refusal of the establishment press to condemn Trump’s ongoing election-theft efforts:

2020-11-07 State Legislatures Should Stay Out of the Presidential Contest    One of the most disconcerting developments of the 2000 presidential contest in Florida was the prospect that the Republican state legislature might attempt to settle the dispute by selecting its own slate of presidential electors. Some supporters of President Donald Trump have suggested that a similar call is in the playbook this time. That would be a huge mistake, and elected leaders in Republican states should make clear that they would not support such a plan.  

Presidential electors have overwhelmingly been chosen directly by voters for most of American history. By 1796, the first presidential election without George Washington as a candidate, less than half the states were still using direct legislative selection of presidential electors. The last state legislature to choose electors was Colorado in 1876, and that was only because Colorado was admitted into the Union too late in the presidential election cycle to organize an election.

2020-11-07 US Elections 2020 was essentially a Referendum on Trumpism & he lost

2020-11-07 2020 election reveals deep flaws in how the U.S. chooses its president      The Electoral College:  Why do we still have the Electoral College, a vestige of our agrarian roots, that makes little sense in our mobile and confederated way of sharing political power? The idea that there is a popular vote that is somehow divorced from the actual naming of a national leader is nuts. And even if we keep the logic of the Electoral College, why can’t it be made proportional by state — which it was at the start of the Republic — rather than winner-take-all?     

Can’t we seek bipartisan acknowledgment that the Citizens United case has led to a monstrous cloud of dark political money and demand a federal law to address this with some kind of reasonable limits, like public financing? 

We just proved the case for mail-in ballots, for early and spread-out voting over days, for ending long lines and for encouraging full voter participation. Let’s make sure these approaches are made permanent.

Why are we allowing one-party state legislatures to gerrymander districts and to pass an increasing set of voting laws aimed at suppressing the vote? How about renewing the Voting Rights Act right now? And let’s insist on independent district line drawing in the next year to account for census results.  

Something is seriously wrong with polling and our insistence on creating them, misinterpreting them and publicizing results that we find advantageous. Maybe we just should abandon them for the one poll that seems to count.

Those debates were pretty terrible. Let’s cancel the next round for organized side-by-side interviews.  

Having a Senate in opposition to the White House is not good for most of us, unless, like re-elected and once and probably future Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), your goal simply is to block anything the other side wants to accomplish.

And, since we seem to have a limited attention span, how about we keep the entire election campaign to three months?

2020-11-06 Gingrich to Barr: Send Agents To Arrest PA Poll Workers    Gingrich is as despicable today as the day he resigned his political office in disgrace.    An argument can easily be made that people like Newt Gingrich and Pat Buchanan paved the way for Donald Trump.

2020-11-06 Trump says he’ll have to be dragged from the WH “kicking and screaming”

2020-11-06 Kevin McCarthy should retract his reckless statements or resign.     House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) appeared on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show on Thursday, where he recited baseless claims about fraudulent voting and parroted President Donald Trump’s false claim that Trump won the 2020 election

2020-11-06  The RNC is recruiting Republican activists across the nation to make false claims of election fraud   If you incite a riot, that’s a crime. If you suborn perjury, that’s a crime. And if you participate in a multi-state conspiracy to engage in election fraud … that’s definitely a crime. On Thursday evening, it became clear that Trump’s campaign had attempted to get Wisconsin voters to contact Trump supporters in Pennsylvania with the apparent goal of adding late submissions to the stack of mail-in ballots.

Trump campaign officials and Minnesota Republicans are encouraging Trump supporters to make claims about ballot fraud, even when they have no evidence of ballot fraud, with promises that the campaign and the RNC will back them up.

2020-11-06 Fine Print of RNC-Trump “Election Fraud” Fundraising Shows Half the Money Can Go to Pay Off Existing Campaign Debt    The president’s suits, said one law professor, look less like a legal strategy and “more like public relation stunts meant to create a false impression that the election is filled with improprieties and fraud.”

2020-11-06 Will the Supreme Court Overturn the Election Result?  The Court isn’t going to overturn the election result. The election isn’t close enough for any of Trump’s litigation to affect the result. What the president wants is to stop the counting of votes in Pennsylvania (while demanding that vote counting continues in Arizona!). But there is no legal controversy about the votes in Pennsylvania. They were received before election night. There is no question they should count. The Pennsylvania legislature should have changed the law to allow them to be counted before Election Day, as many other states permit, but Republicans in the legislature would not allow this, perhaps because they wanted to support Trump’s fraudulent claim that votes counted after election night are fraudulent.  But, to repeat, the election result in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania just isn’t close enough for the Court to find any credible basis for interfering.

2020-11-06 Armed Suspected QAnon Supporters Arrested Over Alleged Plot to Attack Philadelphia Convention Center  Local police and the FBI launched an investigation after two men with unlicensed guns who drove from Virginia were arrested near a site of the ongoing vote count in the 2020 election.

2020-11-06 Lawsuits Unleashed in Pennsylvania’s ‘Collar Counties’     The four historically purple “collar counties” surrounding Philadelphia—Chester, Montgomery, Bucks, and Delaware—may decide whether deeply divided Pennsylvania gives 20 electoral votes to President Trump or puts Joe Biden in the White House. Pennsylvania’s collar counties look to be solidly in the Biden column: Bloomberg reported on Thursday that Biden is leading by a wider margin than Clinton in 2016 in all four counties. But either way, county election officials are already dealing with a flood of litigation—just as promised.  

According to Chester County Commissioner Josh Maxwell, 66 lawsuits had been filed in Pennsylvania by the Republican Party or the Trump campaign by early Thursday. Maxwell says that all Chester County ballots received before 8 p.m. on Election Day have been counted. The rest—provisional, military, and ballots postmarked after November 3—will be counted by Friday.

2020-11-06 Donald Trump Jr. is promoting an authoritarian plan to steal the presidency    Murphy explains: “With Pennsylvania on the verge of flipping into the Democratic column — the remaining uncounted ballots appear to heavily favor Biden — Levin was promoting a legal theory that drew some attention before the election. Because state governments have to formally certify results and then formally send electors to the Electoral College, the Republicans who control the state legislatures of Pennsylvania and several other swing states could, in this theory, simply send their own set of rival electors and force Congress to choose — potentially tipping the election to Trump.” 

“Changing the process by which Pennsylvania appoints its electors requires changing Pennsylvania law, which the Democratic governor (Tom Wolf) would veto,” Murphy writes. “If Biden goes on to win enough of the remaining uncalled states, perhaps his sizable Electoral College and popular vote lead will dissuade Republicans from attempting to deploy such chicanery.”  Murphy also points out that Republican Jake Corman, majority leader of the Pennsylvania Senate, “wants nothing to do with” that type of power grab. 

Trump’s latest tweets follow a string of misleading or completely false claims that have been flagged by Twitter. The president’s claims have led to mass confusion as he continues to sow doubt about the integrity of the United States’ election systems.

2020-11-06 Steve Bannon faces massive backlash after saying Trump should behead Fauci and the FBI director​​​  Trump went on to spread more misinformation about the election as he described the votes being counted as “late ballots.” The president once again alluded to the possibility of attempting to rely on the Supreme Court to have the election outcome “corrected.”

Although the ballots being counted are legal votes that were submitted on or before Election Day, Trump claims the U.S. Constitution is being “ignored.”   “This is what we know. We have to go back to the state level and how this morass came to be in the first instance. The Governor, Wolf, and the State Supreme Court, flagrantly violated the Constitution of the U.S. The power to set these rules and regulations is vested in the Legislature.”

2020-11-06 Trump’s last ploy for the presidency: Wage war against reality     Now, Trump is resorting to “a wild, relentless war against reality and truth, falsely claiming several states are stealing the election by adhering to their laws, rules, and long precedents,” according to Axios. The publication reports that Trump is aware that his greatest fear may be released today: the election could be called in Biden’s favor today, ironically by Fox News.

2020-11-06 Alabama cop calls for the murder of Biden voters: ‘Put a bullet in their skull for treason’

2020-11-06 Labor Organizer: I Witnessed Bush Steal 2000 Election in Florida. We Can’t Let Trump Steal This One    The fact is that Al Gore did win Florida. And the consequences of that decision is something we’re still paying for.  So, the parallels right now, that are sort of nerve-wracking, from my viewpoint, are the following. One, what we hear from, we hope, President-elect Biden is a lot of the same sort of commentary that we heard from Al Gore: Stay calm, the process is working. There’s sort of an overinvestment in the idea of counting and the legal process. And that, that was an error of judgment in a pretty profound way in Florida in 2000.   

We needed it because we understood that the conservatives, the right wing, were going to frame a narrative that it was Al Gore who was trying to steal the election versus Bush. And, of course, we didn’t have to wait for Election Day, you know, because Trump has been saying this for the month and a half leading up to Election Day. So he’s been forecasting every single thing he’s doing right now.

2020-11-06 Trump’s limp coup is falling apart — and right-wing media is losing it      It was an odd mix of emotions. There was the disgust of watching the actual president of the actual United States demand that legal votes be thrown out insinuating that millions of American voters were somehow fakes. But there was also the relief of seeing Trump’s facade of bravado collapsing, exposing the loser that was always hiding behind that wall of bluster. Even many Trump voters knew, at that moment, that it was over. Trump’s attempted coup is collapsing under the weight of his own incompetence and laziness.  We are now at the portion of the right-wing cycle of failure where the supporters of the corrupt and failed Republican president slink away and pretend that they were never that into him in the first place. (See: Nixon, Richard M., and Bush, George W.) But for whatever reason, a decent number of rats are clinging fiercely to the side of the sinking ship, insisting, as the water starts lapping against their skinny tails, that Captain Bleach-Injector can still somehow save himself.

2020-11-06 Opinions | Thank goodness Trump is too incompetent to properly organize a coup   Trump’s definition of an “illegal vote,” it is clear, is one that is cast against him. This is the kind of thing you expect to hear from Robert Mugabe, Alexander Lukashenko or Nicolás Maduro — not from the leader of a constitutional republic. No president in our history has mounted such a blatant assault on our democracy.  

Nor have the courts intervened despite all of the judges that Trump has appointed. Unable to mobilize a high-powered legal team as George W. Bush did in 2000, Trump is relying on the usual low-wattage loyalists: Rudolph W. Giuliani, Richard Grenell, Pam Bondi, Corey Lewandowski. Their arguments play well on Fox “News” — but, so far, not so well in court. Trump’s Supreme Court appointees are not exactly rushing to sacrifice their reputations on Trump’s altar.

Many of us have spent the past few years decrying the tendency of Trump supporters to live in a world of alternative facts. But ultimately reality bites. The fact that Trump and his cultists cannot point to a single actual case of fraud — much less enough fraud to overturn an election that he is on track to lose by a significant margin — makes it impossible for them to effectively challenge the results. Their theory — that Democrats perpetrated a massive fraud in the presidential race but neglected to fix the results of House or Senate races — is laughably absurd.  (corporate media)

2020-11-06 Trump continues campaign of lies, protests break out to protect the vote    As Joe Biden heads closer to victory, Donald Trump and the right-wing have launched a massive campaign of lies over the results. Protesters have taken to the streets across the US demanding that all votes be counted.   As of Wednesday, the Trump campaign also approached courts in the key States of Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania asking for the counting to be halted. According to reports, the campaign will be seeking a recount in the state of Wisconsin, which all polling companies have declared for Biden. The existing litigation, which include one in the Supreme Court for an intervention in Pennsylvania, seek to challenge existing rules on the counting of late postal ballots. Several States, including the four in question, allow for postal ballots to be counted if they come in within three days after election, provided the mail is dated November 3.

2020-11-06 U.S. NETWORKS DROP RACIST TRUMP AD AHEAD OF ELECTION DAY     NBC, Fox News, and Facebook pulled an ad by President Donald Trump’s campaign that critics had labeled racist as a bitter election fight for control of the U.S. Congress headed on Monday for an unpredictable finish.    The 30-second ad, which was sponsored by Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign and which debuted online last week, featured courtroom video of an undocumented immigrant from Mexico convicted in the 2014 killings of two police officers, juxtaposed with scenes of migrants headed through Mexico.   Critics, including members of Trump’s own party, had condemned the spot as racially divisive.

2020-11-05 Whoever Wins, This Election Is Not the End of Trumpism    Joe Biden and the Democrats have steadfastly refused to articulate a compelling alternative political vision to Donald Trump’s reactionary right-wing politics. Trump looks likely to have lost, but without creating an alternative to defeat it, Trumpism could return with a vengeance four years from now.

On top of that, with the Senate likely remaining under Republican control and a judiciary packed from top to bottom with Trump appointees (not just the Supreme Court), Trump’s supporters will retain plenty of avenues for exerting power. As for Trump himself, we can’t exclude the possibility that he will just keep campaigning so that he can run again in 2024. In any case, the Republican Party is likely to remain Trump’s party for the foreseeable future.

As for the Democrats, they lack any kind of coherent political vision to counter Trumpism. Biden’s principal — really, his only — message during the campaign was that he was not Trump. He steadfastly refused to advance any kind of comprehensive, progressive vision to respond to the burning issues of today, like climate change, the economic crisis, racial justice, health care, and more. Biden even bragged at several points about the fact that he beat the candidates like Bernie Sanders who were advancing that kind of vision precisely because he rejected that vision.

But in rejecting a broader vision, and in doing little more than promising a return to “normal,” a President Biden would risk returning to the very kind of politics that laid the groundwork for Trump. The Trump phenomenon is the symptom of a profound crisis of political representation in the United States. Neither of the two major parties can address the concerns of the vast majority of Americans: economic security, health care, jobs. Trump may have failed miserably to deliver on each of these counts and never had any intention of delivering on them in the first place, but at least he talked about these issues in a way that resonated with a significant, desperate chunk of the population.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party, which is supposed to represent the interests of working- and middle-class voters, has, at least since the Bill Clinton era , promoted policies that have neglected their ostensible base in favor of cozying up to Wall Street. In 2016, the party paid the price for these policies, as some white working-class voters in the Midwest switched to Trump, while many disillusioned voters of color stayed home, clearing Trump’s narrow path to victory. Absent some compelling progressive political vision from Biden, it’s likely that we will see the return of an amplified form of Trumpism four years from now.

2020-11-05 Reacting to Trump’s speech, Colbert was on fire tonight

2020-11-05 Trump’s especially low-caliber legal team tells us exactly where Trumptanic is headed  In a matter of several years, Rudy Giuliani has gone from being America’s mayor to the serial butt of its jokes. That’s what makes him the perfect figurehead of Donald Trump’s farcical multi-pronged legal effort to claw back the will of The People and invalidate enough legally cast votes so that Trump can retain the presidency.

Rudy, more plugged into Ukrainian corruption than U.S. election law, is no James Baker, the attorney who led the successful legal bid by the George W. Bush campaign in 2000 to end the Florida recount and claim the presidency for the GOP. Team Trump had hoped for a Baker-like figure but has instead rolled out Giuliani, partisan hack Pam Bondi, and a handful of other miscreants willing to jump aboard the Trumptanic right as it’s hitting the iceberg. Trump’s low-caliber team is also a sign that every conservative attorney who has a reputation worth preserving for a post-Trump era is steering clear of this legal dumpster fire.

2020-11-04 “Today Is About Defending Democracy”: People Take to the Streets to Stop Trump’s Attempted Coup   nearly 1,000 activists with com­mu­ni­ty orga­ni­za­tion Bay Resis­tance took to the streets of Oak­land, Cal­i­for­nia on Wednes­day to ensure that every vote is count­ed. They are part of a nation­wide grass­roots effort to mobi­lize in defense of the demo­c­ra­t­ic process — and stop Trump from stag­ing a coup — in the days and weeks ahead.

With mil­lions of votes left to be count­ed, Trump false­ly declared vic­to­ry at 2:28 a.m. east­ern time on Wednes­day and, through­out the day, repeat­ed his pre­vi­ous untrue claims that mail-in bal­lots are ille­git­i­mate — a move clear­ly aimed at pre­vent­ing the count­ing of mail-in bal­lots in key bat­tle­ground states. Those mail-in bal­lots are believed to over­whelm­ing­ly favor for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden, who is cur­rent­ly ahead in both the pop­u­lar and elec­toral vote count.

2020-11-04 Media Fail to Prepare Public for Potential Trump Coup  Corporate media approached election night with circuitous, often tepid reporting, scattered with euphemisms that obscured GOP voter suppression efforts and the clear possibility that Trump will try to steal the election.

2020-11-04 Lincoln Project ‘Epically Failed,’ Say Progressives as Trump Wins Bigger Share of Republican Voters Than in 2016    “Turns out there were no ‘Biden Republicans.'”   In response to Tuesday night exit polls showing that a greater percentage of self-identified Republicans voted this year to reelect President Donald Trump than supported him in the presidential contest four years ago, progressive commentators characterized the massive spending by anti-Trump conservative groups like the Lincoln Project and the associated attempt by Democratic challenger Joe Biden’s campaign to appeal to GOP voters as a misguided and ultimately losing strategy that squandered crucial resources.    

The Lincoln Project, “the anti-Trump cash cow for veteran Republican consultants”—ran “ads focused on trying to court disaffected Republican voters and attack Trump’s character, as Biden loaded up the Democratic convention with GOP speakers.”  “Imagine how much of a Democratic voter turnout operation could have been funded in places like Pennsylvania or Georgia with the $67 million that was lit on fire by the Lincoln Project to supposedly court GOP voters,” Sirota quipped on social media.

2020-11-04 As Wisconsin Called for Biden, Trump Campaign Baselessly Cries ‘Irregularities’ and Demands Recount  Baselessly claiming “irregularities” in the vote-counting process, the Trump campaign on Wednesday afternoon demanded a recount in the key battleground of Wisconsin as both CNN and the Associated Press called the razor-close state for Democratic candidate Joe Biden.    In Wisconsin, a state Trump narrowly won in 2016, a recount is automatically conducted if the margin is less than 0.25 percentage points. If the margin is under one percentage point, candidates can request a recount that they must finance.

2020-11-04 ‘Every Vote Must Be Counted’: Democracy Defenders Face Off Against Trump Lies About Election Results   As President Donald Trump doubled, tripled, and quadrupled down on his baseless claim of widespread voter fraud as results from Tuesday’s election continued to slowly roll in Wednesday, watchdog organizations and rights groups made clear they are undeterred by the president’s dangerous rhetoric and committed to doing everything in their power to ensure that all legally cast ballots are counted.

2020-11-03 Statement by Ralph Nader and Bruce Fein on Trump, Hannity and Limbaugh Election Law Violations    Both Hannity and Limbaugh have collaborated with President Donald Trump to turn their invaluable radio and television programming time into soap-boxes for his 2020 re-election efforts.  Also, Hannity and Limbaugh have made no effort to hide it: they openly boast about it. The in-kind programming contributions Hannity and Limbaugh have made to Trump’s campaign vastly exceed $2,800 in value based on the costs of 60 seconds of advertising on their respective shows.  Trump has violated the Federal Election Campaign Act in neglecting to report the in-kind contributions from Hannity and Limbaugh to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Will the FEC ever enforce its own regulations?   The failure to report these election law violations is also journalistic malpractice.

2020-11-03 ‘We’re ready for it all’: Inside the Democratic Party’s months-long methodical preparation for a Trump election coup   According to Axios reporter Jonathan Swan, Trump plans to prematurely declare victory on Election Night if he is ahead in the vote count. And Pennsylvania, a key swing state, could be Ground Zero.  If the vote count on Election Night shows Trump ahead in Pennsylvania — with many mail-in votes from Philadelphia and its suburbs having yet been counted — Trump might announce that he won Pennsylvania and won the election. But no one will know for sure who won Pennsylvania until all of its votes have been counted.   

Pelosi told HuffPost, “We have been prepared for the worst for a long time because what we have seen is the worst on the part of this president in terms of his disrespect for the Constitution, his disregard of free will of the people and his stooping to any level for his own reelection. We have tremendous intellectual, political and financial resources at our disposal…. We have our lawyers poised to move on a dime on Election Day or evening, as we see a problem.”  

2020-11-02 Warning Against Trump ‘Coup’ Attempt, 15,000+ Sign Petition Urging US Military Leaders to Refuse Any Order to Interfere in Election   “The public very much needs media outlets and prominent officials, including the Secretary of Defense, to state clearly that the president’s use of the military to interfere in the election will not be tolerated.”

2020-11-01 Unsanitized, Election Edition: The Virus in Voters’ Minds     What’s keeping Democrats from being confident, and how undecided voters will have the grimness of 2020 in their thoughts.  Three things are preventing rapturous celebration or at least the prevention of despair.

One is, simply, 2016. Liberals are simply not going to believe victory is in hand until it’s actually delivered. The polling error nationally was actually not that large in 2016, and an error at the state level of comparable 2016 size would not shift the states Biden needs to win, if it came to pass.

Second is the expectation of the random shredding of Democratic votes in what amounts to a legislative coup.

Third is the very plausible fear that Mitch McConnell could keep the Senate in Republican hands, and here I don’t have many comforting words.

2020-11-01 Trump says he’s sending in his lawyers as soon as the election ends to review swing state votes

2020-11-01 Trump lashes out after FBI announces investigation of Biden bus incident

2020-11-00 How to Fight a Coup: The Role of the Workers’ Movement     “It can’t happen here.” That is the complacent mantra that societies with long-standing “democratic” institutions cannot possibly succumb to authoritarian dictatorship. Sinclair Lewis used the phrase as the title for his 1935 novel about the rise of a fascist dictatorship in the United States. Even as the aspiring dictator rises in prominence, and mobilizes a paramilitary army to deliver him to power, many of the novel’s characters ignore those who try to raise the alarm, refusing to believe that such a dictatorship could ever take power in their country. The relevance of the novel to our own times is not lost on those who have read it.

2020-11-01 A “Y2K” election in 2020? Seriously    6 reasons why this election is like the Y2K exercise    History has both criticized and praised the Y2K response. As to the critical view, what was all the hoopla about? While most accounts agree it was time and money well spent, the doubters are still vocal.

That’s the problem with prevention. The public doesn’t worry about what didn’t happen. And it’s hard to prove that what did not occur might have occurred. (The problem with successfully combatting COVID 19 is eerily similar).   The presumed apocalypse turned into a challenge ultimately well-handled by an international effort. Even in those countries that did nothing to prepare for it — or had no resources to devote to it — the sky did not fall. Pretty much everyone felt vindicated. 

But the history of U.S. democracy also indubitably has its dark sides. Currently, we are experiencing how fragile democracy can be.   That experience, however, is not limited to the past four years. Look at what Franklin Delano Roosevelt faced: Father Coughlin and Huey Long. Hard to believe now that, for all the progress we have made as a culture and as a civilization, we are dangerously back to the 1930s.   

Nevertheless, having a President at the helm of the nation, who is clearly unhinged, as well as highly incompetent, and always has been, is a new experience. He is truly our “crazy uncle.”   So, like the anti-Y2K programmers just over two decades ago, Americans are being called upon to do their part — large and small.   Individuals, families, groups and organizations are kicking in to tackle the current major “bug” that threatens American civilization — never mind modernity.

2020-10-31 The “hanging chads” of 2020: More than 1 million mail-in ballots could be rejected this election   “Rejecting thousands of ballots would be enough” to swing a close race, says Columbia professor Richard Briffault  “It is possible millions of ballots will be disqualified — at least one or two million due to the normal 1-2% disqualification of mail-in ballots, primarily for errors in completing the ballot, such as a signature problem or late submission,” Richard Briffault, a professor a the Columbia School of Law, told Salon. “Of course, in a close election, rejecting thousands of ballots would be enough.”   Just under 1% of mail-in ballots were rejected in the 2016 election, according to the Election Administration and Voting Survey, and about 1.2% of all mail-in ballots cast between 2016 and 2018 were disqualified, according to an analysis by ABC News.

2020-10-29 This Election Is About Trump’s Pandemic Failures. But What Happens Next?   It’s going to take more than a change of personnel in Washington to address our decaying climate, public health, and democracy. But it’s not too late. 

In a country that feeds the world, nearly 30 million Americans don’t have enough to eat, triple the number of people from two years ago.   COVID-19 has also exposed political dysfunction in the United States. The country could not overcome political divisions in the face of what should have been a unifying threat. The federal government failed to coordinate an effective response with the states.  A near civil war has erupted between the masked and the maskless, the lockdowners and the open-uppers.   As a result, the upcoming presidential election has been turned into a referendum on the pandemic response.

Americans are rightly upset that their country, with only 4 percent of the world’s population, has suffered 20 percent of the world’s deaths. China and South Korea have already restarted their economies while the United States is still struggling to return to some semblance of normality.

Donald Trump promised to make America great again. In no election in recent memory has the gap between campaign promise and political reality been so enormous.  The November election will not spell the end of the COVID nightmare. But it can represent the first step in a necessary pivot — away from the flawed status quo that was incapable of handling the pandemic emergency and toward a more resilient, sustainable, and equitable future.

2020-10-22 Trump Has Been Quietly Setting the Stage for an Authoritarian Second Term     On the one hand, Trump has clear authoritarian tendencies in his rampant flouting of rules and laws, his encouragement of violence and hostility toward political opponents and democratic institutions, the cult of personality that surrounds him, and his threats of state violence against nonviolent protesters.

On the other, he has largely governed as, in Barton Gellman’s words, “a weak authoritarian,” while some of his most headline-grabbing acts of despotic-type behavior — his efforts to prosecute Julian Assange and various whistleblowers, suppress the vote, go after political dissidents, and use executive orders as an end run around Congress — are largely in line with, if escalations of, the actions of previous presidents and other parts of the US political spectrum.  

Trump and the GOP have been giving increasingly clear signals of the kind of authoritarian policies and power-grabbing governance they may pursue more ardently in a second term.     

2020-10-21 Trump’s Durable Base and Rolling Coup   Every few weeks or so for the last three years, I have engaged in the masochistic exercise of seeing whether Donald Trump’s latest outrages have significantly hurt his approval rating. The answer is almost always the same: not really.  Which is depressing, for the orange-brushed fascist’s maniac’s crimes and horrors are endless. Where to begin? Here’s a short list:  …………….

And…the list goes on and on and on. I could fill up volumes with a registry of the orange-brushed Antichrist’s mind-boggling and soul-wrenching transgressions against human decency, democracy (what’s left of it in corporate-managed neoliberal America), and the common good. It’s not for nothing that the nation’s leading intellectual, Noam Chomsky, calls the tangerine-tinted Twitter-tantruming tyrant Trump “the most dangerous criminal in human history.” Recall that “our” malignant Danger Clown of a Pennywise “president” sits atop a global Superpower whose planetary reach and exterminist capacity for human catastrophe far dwarfs any powers of destruction ever enjoyed by Hitler’s Third Reich.

2020-10-14 The United States is a Sick Society That Produced Two Sick Options for President    The United States is a sick society and the COVID-19 pandemic is but one of its ailments. Joe Biden and Donald Trump are agents of the dictatorship of capital—the disease that has made the U.S. a sick society since its formation. The dictatorship of capital relies upon a feverish spread of the exploitation and destruction of its hosts: the people and the planet. Biden and Trump are ill-equipped to provide an antidote for austerity, endless war, mass incarceration, and the other symptoms of the disease. Each of these symptoms are a prerequisite to the existence and reproduction of the disease itself.

2020-10-09 Trump’s Election Day Coup Threat: Into the Streets! Shut it Down!   The spectacle of some dozen U.S. TV stations broadcasting election returns on November 3 while Trump’s White House simultaneously prepares its own count is almost beyond belief. Yet, if would-be dictator Trump takes this route there is zero doubt that we will see a massive protest mobilization of unprecedented proportions in the streets of the nation.

Anticipating such a mobilization the threatening Election Day coup plotter bigot Trump has announced his response in advance. He intends to interpret  the 1807 Insurrection Act as empowering him to deploy the U.S. military and federalized National Guard troops to brutally repress demonstrators across the country who insist on the constitutional right to peacefully protest and insist on the right of the people to vote.

2020-10-14 The United States is a Sick Society That Produced Two Sick Options for President    The United States is a sick society and the COVID-19 pandemic is but one of its ailments. Joe Biden and Donald Trump are agents of the dictatorship of capital—the disease that has made the U.S. a sick society since its formation. The dictatorship of capital relies upon a feverish spread of the exploitation and destruction of its hosts: the people and the planet. Biden and Trump are ill-equipped to provide an antidote for austerity, endless war, mass incarceration, and the other symptoms of the disease. Each of these symptoms are a prerequisite to the existence and reproduction of the disease itself.

2020-10-09 This November, America’s Safety Is on the Ballot   Americans are already less safe because of growing distrust in their intelligence. Dangers will multiply without a change in political leadership.  

In the popular imagination, espionage is all about lies, deceit, and deception. But the ability of the United States’ security agencies to warn against threats and inform sound foreign policies depends on a more elusive condition: trust. Slow to grow, easy to break, and painstaking to rebuild, trust is flagging in four essential intelligence relationships. The country will be less safe until it is restored. When Americans vote in November, this trust—and their nation’s safety—will be on the line.

The first relationship where trust is eroding is with the human sources on whom intelligence-gathering depends. Every day around the world, courageous foreign sources risk everything to provide information that protects the United States, relying on a promise that the U.S. government will safeguard their identities, alert them to hazards, and, in extreme cases, extricate them from danger. The reasons why sources cooperate with U.S. intelligence are invariably complex, but if the U.S. government falls into the habit of compromising clandestine sources and creates the perception of being indifferent to their fate, it will inevitably diminish its future ability to collect intelligence from human sources.

2020-10-08 ‘War is imminent’: Iraq’s Kadhimi moves to fend off US threat to target pro-Iran groups  Iraqi government scrambling to head off threatened closure of US embassy in Baghdad amid fears move could lead to political and economic collapse  The United States has drawn up a list of 80 sites in Iraq linked to Iranian-backed groups that it plans to target if it follows through with a threat to close its embassy in Baghdad, Middle East Eye has learned.    

2020-10-06 Abraham Accord: Experts Warn Trump Peace Deal a Precursor to War with Iran  Experts warn that the Accord is motivated by a desire to secure a united front against Iran for a potential future war — a conflict that would likely make Iraq and Afghanistan look mild by comparison.   The Abraham Accord, as it is known, is likely to expand the power of Gulf dictatorships and increase the number of devastating high-tech weapons in the Middle East, fueling further instability and bloodshed, a welcome prospect for neoconservative hawks and religious zealots who see the deal as fulfilling ancient prophecies about the end of the world. Above all, the deal can be seen as an attempt to present a united front against Iran for any potential future war — a conflict that would likely make Iraq and Afghanistan look mild by comparison.   But across corporate media, the accord was almost universally hailed as a “peace deal” — and a potentially massive breakthrough.

2020-10-05 100,000 BALLOT REQUESTS WERE INVALIDATED IN IOWA AFTER COURTS SIDED WITH TRUMP CAMPAIGN   Democratic wins for the presidency and the Senate could hinge on an absentee-ballot snafu affecting tens of thousands of voters. “Is Iowa going to be the deciding factor in the presidential race?” Wahls said. “That’s not necessarily unlikely. But could we decide the balance of power in the Senate? Theresa Greenfield could quite possibly be the difference between a Democratic majority or not, and that’s a big deal.”   Biden and Trump are neck and neck in Iowa, according to polling averages, while recent surveys show Greenfield holds a slim lead over her Republican opponent, making the race one of the best pickup opportunities for Democrats.

2020-10-05 Chris Hedges: Trump’s Barrett Nomination Another Step Toward Christian Fascism  The Christian Right is content to have the focus on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett revolve around her opposition to abortion and membership in People of Praise, a far-right Catholic cult that practices “speaking in tongues.” What it does not want examined is her abject subservience to corporate power, her hostility to workers, civil liberties, unions and environmental regulations. And since the Democratic Party is beholden to the same donor class as the Republican Party, and since the media long ago substituted the culture wars for politics, the most ominous threat Barrett’s appointment to the court represents is going unmentioned.

All fascist and totalitarian movements paper over their squalid belief systems with the veneer of morality. They mouth pieties about restoring law and order, right and wrong, the sanctity of life, civic and family virtues, patriotism and tradition to mask their dismantling of the open society and silencing and persecution of those who oppose them. This is the real game being played by Christian fascists, which since the early 1970s have been building institutions with tens of millions in corporate donations to take power. Donald Trump, who has no ideology, has allowed the Christian Right to fill his ideological void. He is the useful idiot.

2020-10-05 TEXAS VOTER SUPPRESSION TACTICS RECALL THE JIM CROW ERA   Gov. Greg Abbott’s voter suppression tactics have inspired voting rights advocates to redouble their efforts to get out the vote.  

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had invalidated the county’s decision, issuing a statewide proclamation that limits all 254 counties in the state to only a single site where absentee ballots could be dropped off. By the end of the day, the League of Women Voters of Texas, the National League of United Latin American Citizens, and the League of United Latin American Citizens, had sued the governor over the change, charging that it puts an unreasonable burden on voters during the pandemic.

Over the past several months, as Covid-19 rates have soared throughout Texas, Abbott and the state’s Republican attorney general, Ken Paxton, have fought against efforts to expand mail-in voting during the pandemic. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Texas Democrats’ argument that people concerned about contracting the coronavirus at polling places should be allowed to vote by mail. Texas is one of five states where voters concerned about coronavirus exposure will not be allowed to vote by mail.  

In 2019, the state also banned temporary and mobile voting sites, a change cheered by Republican lawmakers and expected to depress turnout near college campuses and residents of senior centers.

Although Abbott issued a state-wide mask mandate in July, his order specifically exempted polling places. During the primary held later that month, some poll workers left their polling site in Collin County after Republican workers refused to wear masks.  Voting rights advocates fear the phenomenon will be repeated in November, when the state and country may be experiencing a second wave of coronavirus infections. 

Diaz fears that, emboldened by both Trump and Abbot, the poll watchers who respond to the recent call will increase the bullying of Biden supporters that he’s witnessed at “Trump train rallies” over the past several weeks.  

Statewide, Texas saw 750 polling places close during this period, a change that disproportionately affected communities of color, according to the report. 

Even successful delivery of a ballot won’t ensure that his vote will be counted. Each absentee ballot can be challenged on several grounds, including if the signature on it doesn’t perfectly match the signature on the application for the ballot. Research shows that white people are much more likely to have their absentee ballots counted, with Black voters accounting for only 10 percent of absentee ballots, but 18 percent of rejected ones, and Hispanic voters accounting for 12 percent of absentee votes and 36 percent of rejections.

2020-10-03 Leonardo DiCaprio  Voter suppression is a very real threat.   @SaveMyVote2020  from @Greg_Palast  seeks to change that. Check now to see if your voter registration has been cancelled at @YNB    

2020-10-02 Despite Trump’s Boast, Insulin in America Among the Most Expensive Liquids on Earth    During the debate Trump claimed that insulin is now “so cheap it’s like water,” but A 10ml vial of insulin from Novo Nordisk or Eli Lilly, for example, costs Americans $290, ranking it alongside the likes of Chanel No. 5 and scorpion venom as among the most expensive liquids in the world.

2020-10-02 ‘October Surprise’: Trump Incapacitated from Electioneering. POTUS and FLOTUS Tested Positive for Covid-19    

2020-10-02 The election has already been hijacked and the winner decided: ‘We the people’ lose   Republicans and Democrats alike fear that the other party will attempt to hijack this election.   President Trump is convinced that mail-in ballots are a scam except in Florida, where it’s safe to vote by mail because of its “great Republican governor.”   The FBI is worried about foreign hackers continuing to target and exploit vulnerabilities in the nation’s electoral system, sowing distrust about the parties, the process and the outcome.    I, on the other hand, am not overly worried: after all, the voting booths have already been hijacked by a political elite comprised of Republicans and Democrats who are determined to retain power at all costs.   The outcome is a foregone conclusion: the Deep State will win and “we the people” will lose.    The damage has already been done.

2020-09-30 TRUMP CAMPAIGN LOOKS TO MAKE GOOD ON POLL-WATCHING THREAT IN PHILADELPHIA   Trump has falsely claimed that poll watchers are being thrown out, but they’re not allowed at early-voting sites, where voters can drop off mail-in ballots.

2020-09-30  Stopping Trump’s Coup   But there’s a precedent for countering Trump democratically, with a symbolic declaration that could be as potent as his debate performance: the four living former U.S. presidents—Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter—should come together to announce their shared conviction that Donald J. Trump is a clear and present danger to the republic. That might help to galvanize sustained, widespread democratic organizing not only in the courts and in some states’ election bureaucracies but also among voters and federal workers within the Post Office and the Department of Justice, among other agencies.

Millions of us now need to take what may be this last best chance to prove that the republic isn’t ultimately about Trump or his presidential predecessors, or even Joe Biden, every one of them a carrier and partial casualty of the virus of financial capital that’s enveloping and consuming us. We need prophetic witness like Schell’s to chasten them and to move others to vindicate the humbler, braver Americans whose example we’ll need to follow on November 3.

2020-09-30 Former Neo-Nazi Says Trump’s Call for Proud Boys to “Stand By” Will Encourage More Violence   President Trump refused to condemn white supremacists during the first of three scheduled presidential debates with Joe Biden. When pressed by moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News to disavow far-right extremism, Trump name-checked the Proud Boys and told them to “stand back and stand by,” words widely denounced as a tacit endorsement of the violent, white supremacist organization classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. The Proud Boys almost immediately responded by changing its logo online to include the Trump quote. Christian Picciolini, a former neo-Nazi who now leads the Free Radicals Project, a group focused on helping people disengage from violent extremism, says Trump’s words were a clear encouragement for “continued violence” from far-right groups. We also speak with Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill, who says Trump’s performance at the debate is a continuation of his white supremacist project. “He wants violence in the streets, he wants chaos at the polls, because he wants Americans to feel a sense of unsafety. It’s its own kind of diplomatic terrorism,” he says.

2020-09-30 “Vigilantism at the Polls”: Trump Attacks Election Integrity, Ballots & Backs Illegal Poll Watching  It’s a rigged election,” claimed President Trump when he and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden were asked about election integrity during last night’s debate as the two men sparred over mail-in voting. Trump ended the debate by calling for poll watchers. We speak with Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, who says Trump is promoting unlawful intimidation and voter suppression, and has vowed to go to court to block any attempt to discourage or block people from freely casting their ballots.    

2020-09-30 Republicans Are Slowing Down Mailed-In Vote Counts in Key Swing States      Are they purposefully manufacturing a crisis that Trump wants to use to contest the election results?

2020-09-29 Donald Trump’s Real Mob Connections   Will the November election be decided in the streets?   White mobs have once again moved out of the shadows and into the limelight during this Trump moment. Militia movements and right-wing extremists are starting to turn out in force to intimidate racial justice and anti-Trump demonstrators. Predominantly white and often explicitly racist, these groups now regularly use social media to threaten their adversaries. This election season, they’re gearing up to defend their president with an astonishing degree of support from Republican Party regulars.

According to a January 2020 survey by political scientist Larry Bartels, most Republicans believe “the traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it.” More than 40% agree that “a time will come when patriotic Americans have to take the law into their own hands.” 

As the 2020 election nears, that party is also desperately trying to flip the script by using fear of “their mobs” and “Antifa terrorists” to drive its base to the polls. Of course, this country has no such Marxist mobs. The only real groups of vigilantes with a demonstrated history of violence and the guns to back up their threats congregate on the far right. The white supremacist Atomwaffen Division, for instance, has been linked to at least five killings since 2017. In late May and early June, members of the far-right Boogaloo Bois conducted two ambushes of police officers and security personnel, killing two of them and injuring three more. Over the summer, as far-right organizations spread the meme “All Lives Splatter” around the internet, dozens of right-wingers drove vehicles of every sort into crowds of Black Lives Matter protesters.

The prospect of far-right vigilantes or “militias” heading into the streets to contest the results of the November election has even mainstream institutions worried.

2020-09-29 Trump is plotting to steal Pennsylvania’s electoral votes—but here’s how we can stop him cold

2020-09-29 “…the biggest threat to the rule of law” is not ‘organized, violent leftist terrorism’, but Trump  President Trump successfully markets a fictional version of himself. For years he has reaped immense rewards from that effort. But then his hallmark combination of incompetence and narcissistic overconfidence leads him to squander those rewards on ill-conceived schemes. Yet he continues milking his fictional image by peddling a series of increasingly transparent scams.  

Tax records provide a detailed history of President Trump’s business career, revealing huge losses, looming financial threats and a large, contested refund from the IRS. Here’s a timeline of Trump’s finances.–the-biggest-threat-to-the-rule-of-law-is-not-organized-violent-leftist-terrorism-but-Trump      

2020-09-25 Trump openly admits he wants to fill RBG vacancy before election day so his justice can help fight mail-in ballots    ‘They aren’t hiding that they want to confirm a new Trump justice so that justice can steal the election.’   President Donald Trump frankly stated his motive for rushing to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: To help him dispute the legitimacy of mail-in ballots in the November election.

“We need nine justices. You need that. With the unsolicited millions of ballots that they’re sending, it’s a scam, it’s a hoax,” said the president, who for months has falsely attacked mail-in voting as highly susceptible to fraud. “Everybody knows that. And the Democrats know it better than anybody else.”

Trump said pushing his nominee through the Republican-controlled Senate before Election Day—now just over 40 days away—”would be a very good thing” and baselessly claimed Democrats are “trying to sow confusion and everything else.”

2020-09-25 “The Election That Could Break America”: Inside How Trump & GOP Could Steal the Vote  As President Trump refuses to commit to accepting the results of the upcoming election, we speak to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Barton Gellman, whose latest piece in The Atlantic looks at how Trump could subvert the election results and stay in power even if he loses to Joe Biden. “Trump’s strategy is never to concede. He may win, he may lose, but under no circumstances will he concede this election,” says Gellman. “That’s a big problem, because we don’t actually have a mechanism for forcing a candidate to concede, and concession is the way we have ended elections.”

2020-09-24 Voters warned of a ‘five-alarm fire’ as Trump plots a ‘flat-out coup’    Democratic lawmakers and progressives did not mince words Thursday regarding President Donald Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the election, warning that Trump—and Republicans who continue to enable and support him—are paving the road towards a fascist takeover that threatens the fabric of American democracy.

Other Democratic leaders and government watchdogs employed descriptors including “flat-out coup” and “autocracy” after Trump told the press that election officials should “get rid of the ballots” in order to “have a very peaceful…continuation” of his presidency.   “The president is openly and explicitly considering a coup to hold onto power,” tweeted Public Citizen.

2020-09-24 Trump can’t even keep his coup secret    he first time Karem asked Trump whether he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election, Trump pulled his usual move, pretending that the fate of our democracy is like a reality-show cliffhanger: “Well, we’re going to have to see what happens.”

But Karem was dogged and asked him again: “Do you commit to making sure that there’s a peaceful transferral of power?”  That’s when Trump let the cat out of the bag: “Get rid of the ballots, and you’ll have a very — we’ll have a very peaceful, there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation.” 

Trump has been falsely claiming for months that mail-in ballots are fraudulent.   The purposes of this false claim are crystal-clear. First, it creates a pretext to prevent people from voting in the first place, through legal challenges against efforts to make mail-in voting more accessible during the pandemic. Second, it’s the excuse Trump and Barr intend to rely on when they try to get those votes thrown out before they can be counted.     


 2020-09-23 A ‘naked ballots’ crisis triggered by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court just put 100,000 votes on the line in the key state     So what is a “naked ballot”? In Pennsylvania, mail-in ballots come with two envelopes. The first, blank envelope, contains the ballot and is meant to keep it secret. The ballot and the first envelope are then together placed in a second envelope, which is postmarked, addressed and carried to the elections office.   When a voter accidentally skips the first envelope, placing the ballot directly in the second envelope, it’s called a “naked ballot.”  Philadelphia Board of Elections has traditionally counted these ballots. After all, the first envelope is mean to ensure a voter’s privacy. If a ballot is “naked,” it doesn’t undermine the integrity of the vote at all, it just means the voter won’t have all the privacy they could have.  

But the state supreme court’s ruling would invalidate these ballots, she explained. According to Deely’s accounting, 6.4 percent of ballots in a 2019 general election were naked. Statewide, she estimated, this could result in 100,000 votes or more that would be discarded under this rule — “votes that will not be counted, because of a technicality.” This problem could be exacerbated because mail-in voting is expected to be widespread, and many people will be engaging in the process for the first time.

2020-09-17 Warning: Trump and his Rioters can win using “The XII” Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Six weeks ago, I told Naomi Wolf, on air, that President Donald Trump can win via a constitutional coup d’état—via the first-ever use of the 12th Amendment. And yesterday, Trump let the cat out of the bag: he expects to invoke the 12th Amendment loophole.

He said, “You think November 3 [decides the election]….at a certain point it goes to Congress.” He was giving away what his minions must have told him: you’ll win using Amendment XII.”    Here’s what I said on August 5. (And thanks to Thom Hartmann for first warning about a “coup d’état by XII.”): I want people to think about this carefully. For example, the Brooks Brothers Riot with Roger Stone back in 2000 where we saw $1,200 an hour consultants banging on the windows and stopping the vote count. Now we’ll get Boogaloo Boys in Hawaiian shirts with crowbars and pipes who will be smashing the buildings, Molotov cocktails thrown into post offices because our president has said there are a million ballots in these 12 Post Offices from Venezuela and we have to stop the election from being stolen.   There will be protests in the streets on both sides. We already had the test run in Portland. It’s a test run of the unmarked SUVs picking up people as if we were in Peronist Argentina.    

2020-09-17 Socialist Action 2020 Presidential Candidate Jeff Mackler: No to Trump’s Coup Threat!  Should Trump continue to threaten the election or its results, we must stand in the political forefront against such a move without in any manner indicating political support to Biden and the Democrats. Indeed, should there be anything resembling an electoral coup, we can fully expect outraged millions to take to the streets, perhaps in numbers exceeding the millions that have done so to date. While it seems obvious that if Trump moves to declare himself re-elected in the face of massive evidence to the contrary, the Democrats are not likely to accept being out-maneuvered, as they did with Bush v. Gore in 2000, we put no faith in the institutions of the bourgeoisie to uphold the right to vote in any form. In that election, Bush had serious ruling class support and credibility, to the point that the Democrats understood that a challenge in the streets was the last thing they wanted.

2020-09-15 “Mass Voter Disenfranchisement”: GOP Ramps Up Assault on Voting Rights Across U.S. Ahead of Election   With just seven weeks to go before the U.S. presidential election, the battle for the White House is increasingly being fought in courts across the country. From Wisconsin to Florida, Pennsylvania to Colorado, judges are making major rulings deciding who gets on the ballot, how a record number of mail-in ballots are handled and distributed, and who ultimately gets to vote on November 3. Ari Berman, senior writer at Mother Jones and author of “Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America,” says Republicans are carrying out a nationwide attack on voting rights aimed at keeping a shrinking white minority in power. “This is the Republican Party’s game: Don’t do anything for the American people, make it as hard as you can to vote, and then put in place judges who will then uphold those new voter suppression laws.”

220-09-15 Journalists Need to Be Clear About a Clear Threat to Democracy  When the president of the United States has:

…then the evidence threshold has been more than satisfied for journalists to declare that he is trying to steal the 2020 election. Journalists and newsrooms have an obligation to report that the most powerful person in the country is trying to subvert the election and retain power illegitimately, and a failure to blow the whistle on a clear threat to democracy is journalistic malpractice.

2020-09-09 Would Trump Cancel the Election?   Republican parties in four states—Nevada, Arizona, South Carolina, and Kansas—are on track to cancel the 2020 primaries.    Why would they do such a thing? Because Trump is facing some primary opposition. The crazier he gets, the more the chances increase that he could face more than token opposition in his own party.   The fact that four state parties are moving in tandem and others may follow is no coincidence. This is all orchestrated by the Trump machine.

But can they do this? Canceling elections is the very hallmark of a dictatorship. In principle, yes. Supposedly, this is an internal Republican Party affair, and not a general election. In past years, when an incumbent was running for re-election, primaries were occasionally canceled.

On the other hand, when Dixiecrats tried to preserve an all-white Democratic primary, the Supreme Court intervened in the 1944 decision Smith v. Allwright, holding that the Democratic Party in the South in that era was the only game in town; that even though this was ostensibly an internal party affair, it effectively denied black citizens voting rights.   Of course, that was a very different Supreme Court. Between Trump’s cavalier treatment of canceling elections and increasingly captive courts, we are well on the road to dictatorship.

2020-09-09 The Winter of Our Discontent   Projecting the 78 harrowing days after the election  This is a horror story.   Maybe you think that way about the past three years: the corrupt self-dealing, the fusillade of lies and ignorance, the corporate handover of the regulatory state, the authoritarian repression. The oncoming election may provide you with a crack of hope for America to reverse what many consider a grave mistake.

But while Election Day will signal the end of a campaign, it’s not the end of Donald Trump’s term in office.

The 78 days from November 3 to January 20, known as the transition, have kept me awake at night since I started reporting out this article. The coming interregnum is likely to be one of the most politically, economically, and socially fraught periods in American history, one that could set the trajectory for the nation’s future. “If you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can,” Michelle Obama counseled in her Democratic Convention speech. Trust me on that as well; they will, immediately after the election.   With Trump at the helm, it could become more “confrontational and unmoored to truth,” said Rick Hasen, election law expert and professor at the University of California, Irvine. Attorney General Bill Barr did not shut down the possibility raised in congressional testimony that the Justice Department would step in and demand that ballot-counting stop. Right-wing media would amplify rhetoric about a stolen election. And this may not play out in just one state, but several with close margins.

The scenarios quickly get more extreme. Trump has alleged that any election with high levels of mail-in votes is fraudulent and cannot be trusted. “Rather than just litigate, what if Trump tries to convince a Republican legislature to take back their power under the Constitution to appoint electors directly?” Hasen explained. “They would be canceling the election for president and picking the president themselves.”

This is theoretically constitutional, in that each state has the power to choose electors “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct.” In Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court confirmed that state legislatures can legally determine electors themselves, rather than via a vote of the people. Florida’s legislature made preparations to do this, in fact, though the ruling rendered it unnecessary. Does anyone believe that Trump couldn’t convince Republican state legislators to act on his behalf and overturn the election process?

It’s not clear whether governors could veto a legislature wresting control of electors. But Arizona and Florida, two key battleground states, are controlled by Republicans at all levels, so there wouldn’t necessarily be a check on this activity. In Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, Republicans control the legislature but Democrats hold the governor’s mansion; there, you could see competing slates of electors, one from each branch of government. (This happened in 1876, with the Hayes-Tilden election leading to separate slates in Florida, South Carolina, and Louisiana.)

Public outcry would be intense. “We’re talking about an intentional effort to use retroactive voter suppression and overturn a democratic result,” said Norm Eisen, a Brookings Institution fellow who served as counsel for the House Judiciary Committee in the impeachment process. Progressive activist groups are already preparing for the possibility of mass street protests, using an umbrella group called Protect the Results. Trump supporters would likely take to the streets as well. Many of the TIP scenarios ended in general strikes and riots. Of course, at least until January 20, Trump would be in control of military forces confronting protesters, as we’ve already seen.

Underlying this tumult are some deadlines. Per the Federal Election Commission, states must report results by December 8. Electors cast their votes in the Electoral College on December 14. The incoming 117th Congress certifies the election on January 6. In a protracted fight, some or even all of those deadlines could be missed.

State courts or the Supreme Court could get involved at any step along the way, with the Supremes foreclosing challenges before states must report on December 8. But in 2000, the Court was able to do that with one ruling, ending ballot-counting in Florida. There could be several states embroiled in litigation, with different challenges in each. The calendar becomes a factor.

In addition, a resolution depends on the Supreme Court retaining authority among all participants. Al Gore’s acceptance of the ruling in Bush v. Gore ultimately resolved that dispute. In one tabletop scenario, Democrats refused to accept a Trump Electoral College win if he lost the popular vote by millions, pushing to overturn certified results in states with Democratic governors.   

2020-09-08 10 Ways Trump Is Becoming a Dictator, Election Edition    

2020-09-08 How Trump Will Try to Win the Election   Donald Trump hates to lose. Here’s how he’ll try to steal an electoral victory.  

Option 1:    Lie      This summer, Trump told his 20,000th lie. To reach the 10,000 mark, Trump told a dozen lies a day. He literally doubled down for the next 10,000, by telling nearly two dozen a day. 

Option Two:     Incite Violence      Donald Trump has repeatedly encouraged his supporters to get physical.  As president, Trump has defended violent police and neo-Nazis. He has praised the QAnon conspiracy theory, which the FBI considers a terror threat.   But heading into the last 60 days of the election, Trump is taking incitement to the next level. He is telling his supporters not just to focus their wrath on a couple of demonstrators. He is effectively urging his base to start a civil war.

Option 3: Steal the Election     Donald Trump has no regard for the rule of law. He has broken so many laws during his presidency – from the emoluments clause of the constitution to his collusion with foreign leaders to aid his reelection campaign – that he has no compunction about doing so again with an important election on the line.  The Republican Party has engaged in widespread voter suppression activities. It has removed voters from the lists, prevented people from registering, and closed down polling booths. Trump is just as interested in reducing the number of voters in the next election.  To that end, he has called into question the very legitimacy of the voting process by disparaging mail-in ballots. Trump has said, “Mail ballots, they cheat.” However, there is no evidence of significant cheating associated with mail-in ballots.

Option 4: Don’t Leave Office    If all else fails, Trump could simply refuse to vacate the White House. He could say that the election was rigged, that he actually won, and that his supporters have to come out into the streets to defend his “victory.” In other words, Trump could bundle all the options together – lie, steal, incite violence – to turn democracy into autocracy.   For the last several months, Trump has been seeing exactly what military forces he can count on in an emergency.   Fortunately, without the support of the U.S. military, Trump doesn’t have enough fire power on his side to suspend the constitution and subvert American democracy.    

2020-09-00 Six ways the Right is shredding the vote  Little known fact: In more and more races, the GOP doesn’t have broad enough appeal to fairly produce an election majority, so it has resorted to rigging the system so a minority prevails.

How the Right rigs elections.   Many voter suppression techniques have been around a long time, and some even get regular media coverage, but in this month’s Lowdown, I want to highlight some of the newer and lesser known repressions spreading across the country. 

SURGING THE PURGES   GOP governors, judges, and election officials have turned this simple feather- dusting chore into a supersonic leaf blower blasting masses of living, eligible voters out of the system. They’re targeting precincts with lots of young, poor, immigrant, and other Democrat-inclined constituents.

UNLEASH THE LAWYERS   As of August, his campaign and the Republican Party had amassed a $20 million war chest for voting-related lawsuits, with many already filed in the battlegrounds of Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.   In Florida, for example, they’ve sued to stop postage-paid return envelopes. In Pennsylvania, they’ve sued all 67 counties to allow GOP-hired, out-of-county “poll watchers” who, it is feared, will castigate and challenge voters. And they’ve sued California and Nevada to keep them from mailing ballots to all eligible voters.   Trump himself sees these courtroom efforts to restrict access to the polls as crucial.

ADVANCE THUGGERY   Over and above legal machinations, one of the GOP’s tried-and-true vote-suppression techniques is deploying squads of partisan muscle into non-white, immigrant, and other Democratic-leaning neighborhoods and precincts. These “poll watchers” single out voters they view as “suspicious” and accuse them of trying to vote illegally. They aren’t subtle. Sometimes packing guns, badges, cameras, arm bands, etc. to pose as official ballot police, they literally pull people out of line to loudly demand proof of eligibility. It’s ugly and frighteningly autocratic … and yet legal in many states.

SHUT THE DOORS    Don’t want Black people to vote? Or tribal members on reservations? Or students on campus? Simple: Eliminate their polling places. Or just slash the budgets for voting machines, poll workers, and early voting in their precincts, creating punishingly long lines and waits. COVID can turn this systemic disenfranchisement lethal.

KILL THE POST OFFICE     The Lowdown has been puzzled by Trump’s crazed hostility to the US Postal Service–by his fevered demands that the most effective and popular agency of government shut its 31,322 offices. But now we see why: USPS workers could securely handle our ballots in the coming election, making it easier and safer for America to vote. But that would increase turnout and democracy –two things Trump hates.

SUPREME SUPPRESSION   in 2013 Chief Justice John Roberts, a partisan legal hack who had pushed to stifle minority voting since his days as a Reagan White House operative, the Court decreed the Voting Rights Act unnecessary.  Sure enough, right after Robert’s astonishing expression of ignorance, every state that had been subject to the law raced to pass new voter restrictions, while also closing 1,688 polling places, making it harder for African Americans to vote.  The court clamp down has since accelerated. This year alone, Roberts and his robed Republican brothers have voted in lockstep in four other big cases to disenfranchise the electorate–especially people of color–to help the GOP win elections.

2020-08-28 Press Normalizes Trump’s Lawlessness as Use of ‘Tools of Presidency’ to ‘Broaden Appeal’   Americans got a Republican Convention featuring—to pick just one thing— gleeful violations of the Hatch Act. That’s the law that prohibits federal employees from taking part in partisan political activities. So, things like having the Secretary of State make a campaign speech from Jerusalem, where they’re engaged on state business, or the first lady stumping with the White House Rose Garden as backdrop, or the head of Homeland Security performing a naturalization ceremony, with Trump looking on, as part of the convention—all patently illegal and unethical.

But besides framing it as “many Democrats were outraged,” as did USA Today (8/26/20), elite media normalized the behavior with passivity, like the New York Times headline (8/26/20), pointed out by Eric Boehlert in his newsletter Press Run (8/27/20), “At RNC, Trump Uses Tools of Presidency in Aim to Broaden Appeal.”

When Trump was threatening to ban the app TikTok, explicitly because of its “Chinese ownership”—or else, he said, it could get taken over by Microsoft, in which case the US Treasury should get a cut since it was his threat that made the sale possible? The BBC, with restraint, called that “almost Mafia-like behavior,” but, as Dan Froomkin of Press Watch spotlighted (Twitter, 8/4/20), the New York Times (8/3/20) described it in a headline as Trump’s “Impulse to Act as CEO to Corporate America”—his “interventions in company dealings based on his own instincts” being, you guessed it, “a departure” from the “approach of predecessors.”

2020-08-05 Freedom Rider: How Trump Can Steal the 2020 Election

2020-08-21 The Specter of a Fascist Coup by Trump Haunts the US, But There’s Worse to Worry About   Spreading faster than COVID-19 among those on the portside, warnings of a fascist-style coup by Trump are rampant this presidential campaign season. Should Trump fail to carry the Electoral College, Noam Chomsky admonishes, “he could send Blackshirts out in the streets… preparation for a plan to try to bring the military in to carry out something which would amount to a military coup.”

A New York Times columnist opines: “Put nothing past Trump, not even the destruction of the American electoral process.” Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, explains that Trump’s election delay threat is a coup in the making. Economist Jack Rasmus speculates Trump will “call for his radical right, gun-toting friends to come to Washington to surround and protect the White House.”

The left World Socialist Web Site joins the liberal chorus: “In an act unprecedented in American history, Donald Trump has repudiated the Constitution and is attempting to establish a presidential dictatorship, supported by the military, police and far-right fascistic militia acting under his command.”

Short of a fascist coup by Trump, the liberal-left has legitimate concerns. A rightward specter is haunting the US and beyond with serious consequences. White supremacy remains seminal in a nation founded on the expropriation of the Indigenous and the exploitation of African slaves. The decline of living standards and an ever more precarious workforce are reaching crisis proportions with the pandemic. The worst is yet to come, creating a political dynamic of discontent that can swing either left or right.    

2020-08-20 POGO Files Hatch Act Complaint Against Postmaster General Louis DeJoy     The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) writes to file a Hatch Act complaint regarding potential violations of the Hatch Act by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and possibly other senior federal officials for engaging in prohibited political activity by using their official authority to attempt to sway an upcoming election. The Hatch Act explicitly prohibits executive branch officials from using their “official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election.”    

According to recent reporting, USPS has removed high-speed mail sorting machines from USPS facilities.4 These machines would be used to sort any mail-in ballots and are capable of sorting around 35,000 pieces of mail each hour. Documents gathered by CNN show that the removal of these machines is a part of a plan by USPS to remove “671 machines used to organize letters or other pieces of mail”—a coordinated “reduction” that began in June of this year during Mr. DeJoy’s tenure.   These changes include cutting back employee hours and prohibiting overtime.

USPS has recommended that states employ the more costly 55-cent first-class stamp in lieu of the 20-cent stamp which is typically used for bulk mail and takes longer to deliver.12 Yet, historically, USPS has treated mailed in ballots as first-class mail even without a first-class stamp.

Another recent policy change seems inarguably aimed at directly affecting mailed-in ballots: USPS has banned postal clerks from signing as witnesses for mail-in ballots while on duty. This ends a long-time practice that seems uniquely important under physical-distancing concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.14 This practice has been so common that the state of Alaska includes postal officials as an example of an authorized witness for ballots on their mail-in voting instructions website.

Although several of these policies may have been walked back as recently as August 18,16 this does not negate the possibility that Postmaster General DeJoy—who was until recently a former finance chair of the Republican National Committee17—violated the Hatch Act.18 In that light, we also urge you to investigate the actions of other federal officials who may also have engaged in potential Hatch Act violations.

2017-08-17 Trump faces ‘humiliation and possible imprisonment’ if he won’t leave after losing: Legal analyst  “Were he to attempt such a maneuver, however, history suggests it would end with his personal humiliation, disgrace, and possible imprisonment on criminal charges,” Callan explains. “In 1807 former Vice President Aaron Burr was tried for treasonous acts against the United States… though Burr was acquitted, it seems clear that an attempt to illegally seize and retain presidential power would violate a variety of criminal conspiracy laws.”

Callan speculates that, if Trump is truly insistent about not leaving the White House, even the military could get involved to tell the president that it will have no part in participating in a coup.   Should Trump file a lawsuit challenging the results of the election, he could theoretically delay rival Joe Biden’s inauguration — but that would also backfire because it would make House Speaker Nancy Pelosi the interim president. 

“While serving as interim president, Pelosi would undoubtedly order Trump’s arrest and confinement in the Tower, the Trump Tower, under house arrest to await his treason trial,” he writes. “Under such circumstances, despite the President’s bluster about keeping his options open concerning presidential election fraud, Trump will pack his bags and head for his new low-tax Florida home if he loses the election.”    

2020-08-16 Top Democrat demands rapid IG probe into postmaster general     The top Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Government Operations, a panel with jurisdiction over the U.S. Postal Service, is demanding that the agency’s inspector general conduct a “flash review” of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s recent policy changes that have dramatically slowed mail delivery across the nation and raised the specter of calculated election sabotage.

“The timing of his proposals—amidst a global pandemic and just weeks before a contentious presidential election that will rely on the Postal Service to deliver unprecedented volumes of mail-in-ballots—constitutes a deliberate attempt to use the Postal Service to stifle democracy and influence an election,”    Connolly noted that DeJoy—a major Republican donor to President Donald Trump—has in recent weeks:

Removed employee access to overtime, despite clear evidence of a workforce shortage caused by the coronavirus pandemic;

Told employees to leave late-arriving mail behind, changing years of Postal Service practice;

Introduced a reorganization plan without providing any evidence or justification for it;

Announced plans to request authority for a hiring freeze, again in the midst of a global pandemic that is prompting workforce shortages; and

Announced plans to consolidate regions without clarity as to what problem these changes would solve.

2020-08-12 What Will Trump Do to the World to Win Re-Election?  Trump shrugged at 150,000 U.S. COVID-19 deaths. Who’s to say he’s above starting a fight with China or Iran?  To put it mildly, Donald Trump has not been the most engaged president in U.S. history. He doesn’t pay attention to his briefings. He plays golf while a pandemic rages throughout the land. He has only a vague understanding of the world that exists beyond the global archipelago of Trump Organization holdings.

After experimenting with North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, and Iran, the Trump administration has decided that China is the most useful adversary to distract attention from the president’s many failures. As with Iran, Trump is probably not thinking about starting a war with China. But a skirmish in the South China Sea that produces a rally-around-the-flag surge in support of the president could certainly fit the bill for an October surprise.  The U.S. military seems to be preparing for such a contingency, with Pentagon chief Mark Esper effectively drawing a line in the water near China.   

Surely, you might be saying, Donald Trump wouldn’t pick a fight with China or Iran just to win an election. Wouldn’t the potential casualties, if nothing else, stay his hand?  But remember, this is a president who has already dismissed more than 150,000 American coronavirus deaths as “it is what it is.”  What’s another few thousand deaths to guarantee four more years?

2020-08-11 Will War with Iran Be Trump’s Election Eve Shocker?     Was Donald Trump’s January 3rd drone assassination of Major General Qasem Soleimani the first step in turning the simmering Cold War between the United States and Iran into a hot war in the weeks before an American presidential election?

Trump’s administration also seems to have launched a series of covert actions against Tehran that look increasingly overt and have Iran watchers concerned about whether an October surprise could be in the cards.

“The Central Intelligence Agency has conducted a series of covert cyber operations against Iran and other targets since winning a secret victory in 2018 when President Trump signed what amounts to a sweeping authorization for such activities, according to former U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the matter… The finding has made it easier for the CIA to damage adversaries’ critical infrastructure, such as petrochemical plants.”    

2020-08-11 On Right-Wing Violence in Texas, Media’s Silence Sends Message     Hank Gilbert, the Democratic challenger to Rep. Louie Gohmert in Texas’ 1st congressional district, held a rally in Tyler, Texas, on July 26 against federal law enforcement agencies’ recent intervention in Portland, Oregon. But armed participants of a “Back the Blue” counter-protest crashed the event, beating and robbing attendees in the park. The attack injured a number of rally attendees, including Gilbert’s campaign manager Ryan Miller, resulting in at least two police reports being filed so far.    armed supporters of a far-right politician holding Confederate flags and attacking people in broad daylight in front of police, in a place like East Texas with a history of white supremacist violence, is an important event with national implications about the growing boldness and militancy of the far right. It is a critical example of the white supremacist violence that has skyrocketed in response to the George Floyd uprisings.

Major media’s silence is also striking in light of Gohmert’s infamy across the country for a number of incidents which include, in the last year alone, being one of the four (out of 414) votes against an anti-lynching bill, outing an impeachment whistleblower on the House floor, drafting a resolution to ban the Democratic Party for its “loathsome and bigoted past,” and, most recently, testing positive for Covid-19 after refusing to wear a mask.   Gohmert supporters’ July 26 armed attack of his opponent’s rally came just three days after Gohmert’s July 23 resolution to ban Democrats, and three days prior to his July 29 Covid-19 diagnosis.  

2020-08-10 Freedom Rider: How Trump Can Steal the 2020 Election    The election was stolen from Clinton four years ago and the even weaker 2020 candidate can expect the same fate. “No one in the media or the Democratic Party gives a basic civics lesson or talks about how elections are really stolen.” Republicans win the presidency…   

It is important to remember the real electoral threats when Donald Trump decides to have fun with America’s collective reptile brain. When he tweeted that he might postpone the election, people who should have known better immediately began responding with anger and fear. The corporate media, who love the president because he is always good copy, failed to inform the public about American law and how presidential elections are regulated.

Simply put, election day can’t be changed absent congressional action. Nor can a president stay in office if he loses. If Trump loses he will no longer be president on January 20, 2021. While the Trumpian desire to mess with our heads continues, no one in the media or the Democratic Party gives a basic civics lesson or talks about how elections are really stolen. Once again Trump is used as the perfect foil, a poster child for vote blue no matter who. His every nonsensical remark is a substitute for policy change that would motivate the high voter turn-out that democrats need.

2020-08-03 What If Trump Refuses to Accept a Biden Victory? A Look at How Electoral Chaos Could Divide Nation   As President Trump floats the idea of delaying the election, we speak with Nils Gilman, historian and co-founder of Transition Integrity Project, which organized a bipartisan group of experts to game out what a contested November election might look like. “In every scenario except for the one where Biden won in a landslide, we ended up with severe electoral contestation, protests in the streets, crazy stories happening on social media, and the challenges went down to Inauguration Day,” Gilman says.

2020-07-31 Here Are the Billionaires Funding Trump’s Voter Suppression Lawsuits   Dozens of billionaires have donated to the RNC’s legal fund that is being used to fight against expanded access to mail voting.

2020-07-30 President’s Call to Delay the Election is Dangerous    Congress has the power to set elections, not the president, and there are no legitimate concerns about fraud with mail-in voting. Mail-in ballots are a secure form of voting that the American military has been using since the Civil War. Trump’s push to delay the election appears to be a politically motivated attempt to preemptively call the election results into question. His tweet clearly aims to distract from bad economic news and is not based on legitimate concerns about the integrity of the upcoming election.    

2020-07-30 ‘Trump’s Troops Are Breaking the Law and Creating Chaos’  A man, dressed in black, stands apparently alone on a darkened sidewalk, when two heavily armed men in camouflage walk up on him, hustle him off into an unmarked van and drive off, refusing to identify themselves to observers.

We’ve since learned this is part of an orchestrated effort by the Trump administration to deploy federal law enforcement agents to deal, SWAT-style, with what they call “violent anarchists.” What’s more, they plan to replay those nightmarish scenes from Portland wherever they see fit. As Acting Homeland Security Chief Chad Wolf says, “I don’t need invitations.” Wolf also subsequently described federal agents as arresting demonstrators “proactively.”   Alarm seems appropriate.    

2020-07-24 ‘A Combination of Forces Puts Our Postal Service at Grave Risk’  Big Trump donor—surprise—Louis DeJoy issued a series of memos, disclosed to the Washington Post, calling for significant operational changes, including restrictions on overtime that many, including the Postal Workers Union, contend would slow down mail delivery, at the same time as Donald Trump holds up crucial pandemic support for USPS, contingent on it making steep price increases. “Sabotage” starts to sound like quite an apt description.

But what we should know is that this direct attack on the Postal Service, while it may be felt especially acutely during a pandemic and an election in which the most reasonable response is voting by mail, is absolutely nothing new, only the latest iteration of a decades-long assault on the US Postal Service, featuring some characters and some ideas with which you might be, unfortunately, familiar. 

2020-07-22 Trump’s Last Hand  The groundwork for a police-state and subsequent coup has been laid-out in advance by the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations. With Clinton’s police and prisons, Bush’s patriot act and war on terror, Obama’s continuance and expansion of the Patriot Act, enhanced surveillance, and the removal of Habeas Corpus and the Posse Comitatus under the NDAA, which he signed in 2011. These two ancient laws that are the foundation of modern constitutional law, having been weakened or removed from the security and rights of US citizens, now allow the federal government to use US troops in the arrest and indefinite detention and trial in military courts of any US citizen. This, along with the corruption of the election system and electoral process– from purges of registration rolls to limiting polling places and other forms of suppression and tampering– brings us to the end of our constitutional republic. 

The Trump administration, by all appearances, is ready to play the last remaining cards.   The scripts for totalitarian dictatorship has been written and handed down through the decades, and Trump, with his cabal of traitors, has studied them well. Trump is not concerned with the presidency as we know it; he has gone beyond that. A presidency with its limits on stature, power and years in office does not interest or appeal to Trump. Trump wants much more than a simple and limited four or eight year as president. Trump is making way for the greatest gamble. He is betting everything on this hand. To succeed is virtually unlimited wealth and power, to fail is to risk humiliation, prison, bankruptcy, or worse. Trump, from all appearances, is now ready to make his final push. Trump knows that he cannot win the election, so he is preparing to sabotage the election. This is where his last 3 ½ years have been spent, on cueing-up for his final coup.

2020-06-13 ‘Trump Judges Are Showing Just How Extreme They Are’   Donald Trump has done so many high-profile egregious things as president—building a wall on the Mexican border, calling white supremacists “very fine people” and trying to ban Muslims from the country—that it can distract from other behind-the-scenes harms his administration is enacting. Importantly, harms that will outlast his presidency. At the top of that list: judges.

2020-06-11 Trump Plays To White Supremacist Voters In 2020 Re-Election Bid  Who Trump’s voter base consists of, and what their philosophy and ideology make up is all about, became abundantly clear once Trump announced the date and place he had chosen to hold his first 2020 Presidential re-election rally, following the lifting of the pandemic lockdown. It originally was scheduled to be held on June 19th in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

 This writer’s first reaction was, “Why in the hell has Trump, a man who has declared “These Aren’t My Voters” chosen June 19th, of all dates that Black America proudly refer to as Juneteenth, an emancipatory moment in history for Black America   

2020-05-20 ‘Efforts to Make Voting More Difficult Are Magnified in a Pandemic’  t was called “one of the most brazen acts of voter suppression in modern history.” With an unsigned opinion, believed to come from Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court voted 5–4 that it was OK for Wisconsin to disqualify ballots postmarked and received after their primary election day—even though thousands of voters didn’t even get those ballots until after election day, due to the sheer overwhelm of requests for absentee ballots resulting from the pandemic. Coming literally on the night before the election, the ruling overturned a lower court’s decision to extend the absentee ballot deadline, and forced people to risk their health in order to exercise their right to vote.   In trying to understand what happened with April’s primary in Wisconsin, you have written that you need to start the clock earlier than, say, Governor Evers’ push to postpone the election in the face of Covid-19, and the Republican-dominated state supreme court’s reinstatement of it.

One of the things they did was they passed these really horrible gerrymandered maps that made it possible for Republicans to win no matter what happened. So in 2018, Republicans in Wisconsin only got 46% of the vote, but they got 64% of seats in the state legislature.  Now, they’ve also done other stuff, like pass an array of voter suppression laws, such as a voter ID law, such as cutbacks to early voting, changes to voter registration, that have also made it easier for Republicans to win elections, including to win a majority on the state supreme court, which, of course, was the court that said that Tony Evers, the governor, couldn’t delay the election.

2020-05-15 Ari Berman on Voter Suppression and Coronavirus   From targeted “voter ID” laws to purging people from the rolls to fighting vote by mail, Republicans are making ever-bolder attempts to suppress voting—expanding the franchise doesn’t work in their favor, Donald Trump unabashedly stated recently. It’s a patently anti-democratic project by definition, but corporate media’s business-as-usual, partisan framing reduces a struggle over a fundament of societal participation to jockeying between elephants and donkeys. It’s a failure of the greatest magnitude, and no amount of ponderous, prize-winning books written in the aftermath will substitute for tough reporting done now to protect the integrity of the vote going into one of the most monumental presidential elections in the country’s history.     

2020-05-06 The President Is Goading Anti-Lockdown Militias to Violence   We must not overlook the danger of Trump’s signaling.  But a pres­i­den­tial call to ​“lib­er­ate” states led by elect­ed offi­cials of the oppo­si­tion par­ty while Trump sup­port­ers car­ry guns into their state capi­tols should­n’t be one of them.     The anti-lock­down ral­lies were ini­ti­at­ed and anchored by for­mer White House offi­cials, a num­ber of state-based con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­cy groups, and a coali­tion of high-lev­el GOP donors. Attor­ney Gen­er­al William Barr has aligned the Jus­tice Depart­ment with the pro­test­ers’ goals.   Most impor­tant, Trump’s tweets appeared to back the rifle-car­ry­ing mili­tia com­po­nent of the protests, as the Pres­i­dent called for defy­ing legal author­i­ty.

2020-04-10 Trump pushes false claims about mail-in vote fraud. Here are the facts.   The pandemic has ignited a partisan battle around the voting method, with Democrats increasingly embracing the idea as way to ensure a safe election.

2020-04-00 How to destroy a government  Trump’s White House was chaotic and vicious, unlike anything in American history, but it didn’t really matter as long as “the adults” were there to wait out the president’s impulses and deflect his worst ideas and discreetly pocket destructive orders lying around on his desk.

After three years, the adults have all left the room—saying just about nothing on their way out to alert the country to the peril—while Trump is still there.  

The adults were too sophisticated to see Trump’s special political talents—his instinct for every adversary’s weakness, his fanatical devotion to himself, his knack for imposing his will, his sheer staying power. They also failed to appreciate the advanced decay of the Republican Party, which by 2016 was far gone in a nihilistic pursuit of power at all costs. They didn’t grasp the readiness of large numbers of Americans to accept, even relish, Trump’s contempt for democratic norms and basic decency.  

When Trump came to power, he believed that the regime was his, property he’d rightfully acquired, and that the 2 million civilians working under him, most of them in obscurity, owed him their total loyalty. He harbored a deep suspicion that some of them were plotting in secret to destroy him. He had to bring them to heel before he could be secure in his power.

But a simple intuition had propelled Trump throughout his life: Human beings are weak. They have their illusions, appetites, vanities, fears. They can be cowed, corrupted, or crushed. A government is composed of human beings. This was the flaw in the brilliant design of the Framers, and Trump learned how to exploit it. The wreckage began to pile up. He needed only a few years to warp his administration into a tool for his own benefit. If he’s given a few more years, the damage to American democracy will be irreversible.

2020-01-03 Why Trump is escalating the US-Israeli war on Iran   Trump – who ran for office railing against the Iraq war – is now resorting to the same sorts of lies and exaggerations all his predecessors have used to manipulate the public into supporting their military adventures. 

Following the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the US invaded Iran’s eastern neighbor Afghanistan. Two years later, the George W. Bush administration invaded and occupied Iraq, immediately to Iran’s west.  This came amid euphoria from the neoconservatives at the heart of the Bush administration that Damascus and Tehran would be the next targets.   This all followed the script set out by the Project for the New American Century, a think tank pushing for regime change across the region as a way of securing American and Israeli domination.   

Allied with American imperialists, Israel and its supporters have been the prime backers of escalation if not outright war with Iran.   Israel, and specifically Netanyahu, took the lead in working to end the 2015 deal which saw Iran voluntarily place its nuclear energy program under strict limits in exchange for a lifting of economic sanctions.  Israel has relentlessly pushed for the punishing economic war waged by Trump aimed at inflicting suffering on ordinary people and bringing Iran to collapse.   The hatred is so extreme that Sheldon Adelson, the pro-Israel billionaire and top funder to Trump and the Republican Party, has previously called on the United States to nuke Iran.

The growth and spread of groups like ISIS and al-Qaida – a direct consequence of American wars and interventions – has been a catastrophe for millions of people across the region.  But these groups never really bothered the United States and Israel, who just see them as more tools in their effort to impose their will.  That is why the United States sent at least a billion dollars of arms into the hands of such groups to fuel the war in Syria.   That is why Israel armed and funded groups linked with al-Qaida in Syria as well.

Columbia University professor Joseph Massad has suggested that recent US-backed moves to reach formal “non-aggression pacts” between Israel and certain Gulf States may be a preparatory step for a wider war against Iran as well as against Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and the Palestinians.   Understanding this perverted logic is essential to seeing why the US and Israel appear so determined to pursue conflict with Iran no matter the human cost.   

2020-01-03 No, a War with Iran Won’t Help Trump Win Re-Election

2020-01-00 Will Small Farmers’ Beef With Trump Sway the 2020 Election?   Ranchers on horseback converged to demand fair cattle markets.  demand that the White House rein in the power of massive transnational companies, like Tyson and Cargill, that slaughter and pack more than 80 percent of the cattle raised in the United States. As corporate meatpackers have expanded, small ranchers have been getting squeezed: In 1970, they earned about 70 cents of every dollar that consumers spent on beef; today small ranchers get less than 40 cents. Their profit margins have fallen nearly 30 percent since 2016, while packers’ profits have jumped 68 percent. Another measure of desperation, farmer suicides, are believed to be on the rise. As a succession of speakers harangued the crowd about the plight of ranchers, attendees were encouraged to tweet at the president and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, punctuating their complaints with #FairCattleMarkets.

2019-09-19 New national security adviser recently considered war to free prisoners in Iran    So, just days before assuming his new White House post, O’Brien postulated that the US could go to war with Iran to secure the release of a small number of people.  Amnesty International has reported that conditions in Evin prison are “inhumane and unsanitary” and that abuses including torture take place.  

The human rights organization has also recently pointed to the “horrific human rights violations” including torture committed by the United States at its Guantánamo Bay military prison.   Additionally, it has condemned breaches of international law and “callous and dehumanizing” practices at a federal super-maximum-security prison in the United States. The use of solitary confinement in prisons across the country is described by Amnesty as a “shocking abuse.”     

2019-05-28 Donald Trump’s Path to Victory  This is how the GOP plans to re-elect Trump in 2020.   First get-out-the-vote cam­paign tar­get­ing the 36% of the elec­torate in swing states who are ​“inclined to vote for Trump.”  Sec­ond, the Repub­li­can Par­ty will sup­press the vote of Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­stituen­cies — with the help of the five-jus­tice con­ser­v­a­tive major­i­ty on the Supreme Court.  Third, the GOP will try to win over afflu­ent sub­ur­ban­ites by smear­ing Democ­rats with the S‑word. ​“We’re going into the war with some social­ists,” Trump told GOP con­gress­men in April.   Fourth, Politi­co reports that pro-Trump PACs, like Amer­i­ca Ris­ing and Amer­i­ca First, are spend­ing mil­lions ​“pur­su­ing a strat­e­gy intend­ed to pit Democ­rats against each oth­er in a bat­tle of pro­gres­sive bona fides.”

2019-05-08 Trump Floats Proposal to Cancel 2020 Elections  Referring to the Democratic Party-led effort to label Trump a Russian collaborator, the tweet read:  “Trump should have 2 yrs added to his 1st term as pay back for time stolen by this corrupt failed coup.”

By re-tweeting this proposal, Trump is, in effect, threatening to cancel the 2020 elections and declare himself above the law. Article II of the US Constitution states that the president “shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years.”  Trump’s action is a direct threat to abrogate the Constitution. Bourgeois politics has degenerated to such a degree that political and legal norms considered fundamental since the American Revolution are now challenged by presidential tweet. 

Trump’s Republican backers claim that Trump was only joking. But canceling elections is not something about which presidents’ joke. The president is the most powerful person in the world and his every word is closely followed in the US and internationally. Politicians, businessmen and decision makers around the world parse even seemingly mundane statements or off-the-cuff remarks for their deeper significance.

2018-07-17 Voter Suppression Is Warping Democracy    Voter suppression almost certainly helped Donald Trump win the presidency. Multiple academic studies and court rulings indicate that racially biased election laws, such as voter-ID legislation in places like Wisconsin, favored Republican candidates in 2016. Like most other elections in American history, this one wasn’t a fair fight.

A new poll conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and The Atlantic has uncovered evidence of deep structural barriers to the ballot for black and Latino voters, specifically in the 2016 election. More than that, the survey finds that the deep wounds of Jim Crow endure, leaving America’s democratic promise unfulfilled.

2018-07-00 Trump’s border cruelty is a test of our national character      There’s no need for me to chronicle each step in this Trump-run-amuck saga, for nearly everyone has seen shocking videos and photos of his troops seizing and ripping apart families. Again, and again, we’ve heard recordings of bewildered, anguished, and sobbing children and absorbed weeks of 24/7 coverage and commentary about this flagrantly immoral assertion of Trumpist autocracy. And we’ve heard the bizarre twists, turns, and tweets of Trump, Sessions, Spence, Kelly, Huckabee-Sanders, Nielson, et al. trying to rationalize their intentionally cruel policy. Rather, this edition of The Lowdown will consider the deeper issue of what their relentless pursuit of zero tolerance says–not just about them, but also about us.

Although deportation injustices have long been a blot on our country’s “Give me your tired, your poor” pretensions, Trump has turned immigration policy into a despotic nightmare of presumed guilt, mass incarceration, and what amount to death-sentence deportations.

2018-04-00 Is Trump mentally ill? And does it matter?   In The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, Yale psychiatrist Dr. Bandy Lee and her 26 co-authors warn that the president is a clear and present danger because he is mentally ill.   Their diagnosis? Trump has malignant narcissism. His symptoms? He is alienating our allies, taunting our enemies, threatening our democracy, and undermining our national security. And he’s in control of the nuclear trigger. It’s their duty, exclaim the authors, to warn America. 

The authors clearly support progressive issues, but they do not once question the underlying economic system that aids and abets social crimes like racism. They do not consider that it was precisely the mass disillusionment created by a bipartisan assault on working people’s standard of living that put Trump in the spotlight.  

Whatever Trump’s mental status, what must be addressed is his political program, because many politicians who are considered quite normal, whose sanity is not called into question, endorse exactly what he is trying to accomplish. They are working with him, and he with them. He’s not in this alone. And they’ll still be around once he is gone, still leading us to the brink of disaster.

2018-03-28 2020 Census Citizenship Question Trump’s Latest Move in War on Immigrants   “A naked attempt to politicize the census, with the goal of suppressing minority participation.”     The Trump administration’s decision to add a controversial question on citizenship status to the 2020 Census questionnaire is its latest attack on immigrant communities—a far-reaching power grab disguised as a technicality.

“The inclusion of a citizenship question in the census is meant to instill fear and discourage undocumented taxpayers and mixed-status families from participating, ensuring that these communities receive fewer resources and that congressional districts are redrawn in favor of Republicans.”

2020-03-09 Trump Has Turned the 2020 Election Into a Political Version of “Survivor”     But The Donald was fixated on 2020 even before he pulled off the upset of the century on November 8, 2016. After all, no one seems to have been more surprised by his victory that day than Trump himself.   Donald Trump filed his paperwork to run for reelection only hours after his inauguration in January 2017, setting a presidential record, the first of his many dubious achievements.

According to Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury and his personal attorney Michael Cohen, even on election night 2016, the billionaire tycoon didn’t think he’d win his first presidential bid. His wife, Melania, assured by her husband that he’d lose, reportedly wept as the news came in that she would indeed be heading for the White House. Before his surprise victory, Trump described the election many times as “rigged” and seemed poised to declare the vote illegitimate as soon as the final returns rolled in. The attacks he’d launched on Hillary Clinton during the campaign — on her health, her integrity, her email account — were not only designed to hurt an opponent but also to undermine in advance the person that everyone expected to be the next president.

2019-09-03 House Democrats turn their attention to Donald Trump’s involvement in hush-money payments   The House Judiciary Committee is picking up where federal prosecutors in Manhattan left off.  Former special counsel Robert Mueller’s refusal to indict the president or his family is presented as favorable evidence by the White House and its allies to suggest Trump was somehow vindicated and acquitted of any wrongdoing. Not only did Mueller not acquit Trump, now it turns out the White House’s celebration for avoiding indictments may have been a bit premature.  House Democrats, back in session after the summer recess, are reportedly preparing to launch a comprehensive investigation into hush-money payments made on Trump’s behalf to at least two women — former Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Both women say they had affairs with Trump.

2017-01-00 Trump and National Neoliberalism    Trump’s ascendance means the end of globalism—but not of neoliberalism.  The election of Donald Trump portends the completion of the U.S Government’s capture by wealthy corporate interests.   This election appears to be a key stage in the ongoing process of American democratic disintegration, though in my opinion Trump’s election does not signal the beginning of a rapid descent into European-style fascism. Instead, the merger of state and corporate interests is proceeding along an already-established trajectory. American democracy has been under attack from large and wealthy corporate interests for a long time, with this process accelerating and gaining strength over the period of neoliberal globalization (roughly the early 1970s to the present). This time period is associated with the rise of powerful multinational corporations with economic and political might that rivals that of many national governments.   I am persuaded by the argument that the U.S. political system is not democratic at all, but rather an “inverted totalitarian” system.

2017-01-02 The End of Progressive Neoliberalism    In a moment of political upheaval, it is up to the left to reject the false choices on offer and seize upon widespread discontent to redefine the terms of debate.  The election of Donald Trump represents one of a series of dramatic political uprisings that together signal a collapse of neoliberal hegemony. These uprisings include the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, the rejection of the Renzi reforms in Italy, the Bernie Sanders campaign for the Democratic Party nomination in the United States, and rising support for the National Front in France, among others. Although they differ in ideology and goals, these electoral mutinies share a common target: all are rejections of corporate globalization, neoliberalism, and the political establishments that have promoted them. In every case, voters are saying “No!” to the lethal combination of austerity, free trade, predatory debt, and precarious, ill-paid work that characterize financialized capitalism today. Their votes are a response to the structural crisis of this form of capitalism, which first came into full view with the near meltdown of the global financial order in 2008.

Until recently, however, the chief response to the crisis was social protest—dramatic and lively, to be sure, but largely ephemeral. Political systems, by contrast, seemed relatively immune, still controlled by party functionaries and establishment elites, at least in powerful capitalist states like the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Now, however, electoral shockwaves reverberate throughout the world, including in the citadels of global finance.

2016-11-14 Authoritarian Democracy: A Playbook    From India to Turkey to the Philippines, authoritarian-leaning leaders of major world democracies have refined a set of strategies to make their countries less democratic. Here are five common tactics to watch out for.

  1. Politicizing the prosecution of political opponents. In countries like India, it is not uncommon for politicians in power, or their allies, to bring cases against opposition politicians.
  2. Selective application of the law to the media and civil society   
  3. The use of libel laws to attack critics
  4. Undercutting non-partisan government institutions
  5. Silence in the face of violence

2016-11-13 Prepare For Regime Change, Not Policy Change  Those of us who witnessed illiberal populist movements take hold in Turkey, Russia, Hungary, Poland, the Philippines, and elsewhere are watching the election of Donald Trump with a particularly acute sense of foreboding. With this difference: unlike the United States, none of these countries have ever stood out as a beacon of liberty. To many Americans, this means that however autocratic his leanings, Trump’s designs will fail. But this is exactly the wrong conclusion to draw. It is precisely such overconfidence in the United States’ long and illustrious tradition of liberty that could lull the American public into a false sense of security and facilitate the rapid destruction of that very tradition.

Confidence in the exceptional resilience of American democracy is particularly misplaced in the face of today’s illiberal populist movements, whose leaders are constantly learning from each other. Trump has a wide variety of tried and tested techniques on which to draw; already, he has vowed to take pages out of Putin’s playbook. Defenders of liberal democracy, too, must learn from each other’s victories and defeats. Below are some hard-earned lessons from countries that have been overrun by the contemporary wave of illiberal democracy. They could be essential for preserving the American republic in the dark years to come.

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About mekorganic

I have been a Peace and Social Justice Advocate most all of my adult life. In 2022, I am again running for U.S. Congress in CA under the Green Party. This Blog and website are meant to be a progressive educational site, an alternative to corporate media and the two dominate political parties. Your comments and participation are most appreciated. (Click photo) .............................................. Paid for by Michael Kerr for Congress with Peace and Justice C00803577
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