For those who thought the whiff of fascism at anti-lockdown protests a couple of weeks ago was an isolated case:
The Auschwitz Memorial in Poland has condemned a viral photo of a sign from an anti-lockdown protest in Chicago on Friday that bore a phrase from the Nazi concentration camp.
The sign reading “Arbeit macht frei, JB” was held by an unidentified woman at a “Re-Open Illinois” protest in the city’s Loop district and addressed to Gov. J.B. Prtizker, who is Jewish.
From Boing Boing: A protester who wants to “reopen” was seen carrying a sign that says “Sacrifice the Weak.” No seriously; someone didn’t just think it privately, but made a sign and waved it proudly in public.
To think conservatives made the sanctity of life the centerpiece of their political lives, to the point where abortion may soon be made inaccessible to many women in America, only to discard whatever vestigial moral pretenses lurk in their belief system so they can get some ice cream.
No, that was not hyperbole. Trump is no longer pretending not to be a fascist dictator. He said, and repeated, and made clear in yesterday’s briefing:
I have the ultimate authority.
When somebody is the president of the United States, the authority is total. And that’s the way it’s gotta be. It’s total.
The federal government has absolute power. … I have an absolute right.
As Steve Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law pointed out, that would be the literal definition of a totalitarian government.
Have we mentioned on this blog that the Republican Party is general, and Donald Trump in particular, are fascist? Why yes we have, since the very first week this blog was up. If you doubted it in 2017, there is no longer any room for your doubts now.
We now know that our worst case suspicions were all true.
Trump was told “at the time” of a January 29 memo by trade adviser Peter Navarro warning that half a million U.S. deaths were possible—Trump later denied this. Trump was also personally warned by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Jan 30: Trump called him “alarmist.”
In February, the Azar-led White House Task Force “gathered for a tabletop exercise” replaying past pandemic wargaming, says the Times. The exercise resulted in the conclusion that “aggressive” social distancing would have to be adopted “soon” to avoid catastrophic effects….
The federal response to a national crisis collapsed, because Donald Trump dismissed all warnings, became furious when those warnings went public without him, and tasked Mike Pence with sabotaging future warnings.
Via Boing Boing: “Matt Novak reports that the first teenager to die in the U.S. from Covid-19 coronavirus infection was uninsured and denied treatment at the urgent care clinic he tried to check into. They told him to go to another hospital; he went into cardiac arrest on the way.”
The Republican response to the coronavirus is not mere bungling. It’s not an accident.
Disbanding a pandemic response team and leaving the nation vulnerable just to spite a prior president is a choice. Refusing to use the full powers of the Defense Production Act to ramp up production of desperately needed medical supplies is a choice. Pivoting to racism against Asian Americans and anti-immigrant rhetoric in response to criticism is a choice. Prioritizing the short-term health of the stock market over human lives by scheming to prematurely end social distancing is a choice.
Remember, when the Trump administration is over, that Republicans supported this President. They are all collaborators.
This chart shows the spread of COVID-19 in Kentucky (blue), under Democratic Governor Andy Beshear, and Tennessee (yellow), under Republican Governor Bill Lee. Note the steep exponential increase in Tennessee. Elections matter.
On March 6—the same day that the Kentucky legislature introduced a bill to limit Beshear’s power to issue executive orders—the governor used that power to declare a state of emergency, freeing up funds and resources to begin the state’s fight against COVID-19. This was a week before Trump declared a national emergency. In fact, it was a day before Andre Cuomo declared a state of emergency for New York.
Beshear issued recommendations on social distancing the next day and began a daily update to reassure the state on actions being taken as well as provide details on the status of the outbreak. Two days after that, he restricted visitations to extended care facilities and prisons. And just five days after the original declaration of emergency, with eight known cases in the state, Beshear instructed every school to close. In the next week, the state ended in-restaurant dining, extended unemployment, and offered free testing to every person in the state—all at Beshear’s direction.
Meanwhile Tennessee had it’s first case on the same day as Kentucky, and Bill Lee did … nothing. As Beshear was closing schools in Kentucky, Lee told the people of his state that there was no reason to close schools or workplaces. Finally, on March 12, Lee declared a state of emergency. And he instructed the schools to close on Friday, March 20.
The result of these two policies is that the neighboring states are on very different paths. While Kentucky has seen an increase in cases, that increase has been slow. Not only does Kentucky have only 48 identified cases, it has conducted 768 tests. Tennessee now shows 228 cases resulting from many fewer tests, and it’s on an arc that is growing at a much higher rate. When cases are moving up exponentially, every moment counts, and acting early has huge implications down the road.
Joe Biden is on the record supporting a return to bipartisan government. I have a problem with that.
Donald Trump isn’t an aberration of the Republican Party. He is its logical end point. Since the days of Richard Nixon, the GOP has served the interests of the rich by harnessing the power of racist voters. Trump has taken this strategy to the extreme, and still enjoys 92% approval among Republicans. The idea that there is a substantial block of moderate Republicans who are willing to cooperate with Democrats is laughable.
Far from it: the GOP become the party of Trump, which is to say, bluntly, the Republican Party is now fascist. That’s not a word to be used lightly, but it fits our current situation. If you doubt it, consider the praise heaped upon the Trump administration by a self-described fascist, not to mention actual Hitler-loving Nazis, for a start.
Can we trust a party that is OK with Russian interference with U.S. elections to play fair in future elections? Can we make peace with a party that openly incited violence against reporters, with deadly results? Can we break bread with people who put children in cages to terrorize their parents? Can there be bipartisan cooperation with the people who established concentration camps to detain migrants on our southern border?
Or course not. There are things that simply cannot, and should not, be forgiven.
Far from bipartisanship, what we need after the 2020 election is a committment to the complete and permanent repudiation of the party of Trump and their collaborators. We need to remind voters that in the last five years, we learned everything we ever need to know about the Republican Party’s trustworthiness and honor. We need to call them “the disgraced Republican Party” from now on.