Trump again refuses to commit to peaceful transfer of power

Yesterday Trump was asked, not for the first time, whether he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election. Again, he has refused.

“Well, we’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump said when first asked if he would “commit here today for a peaceful transferral of power after the November election.” He continued, “You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.” But it’s when the reporter, Brian Karem of Playboy magazine, pressed again, that Trump really laid it out. “Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful—there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation.”

There you have it, the Republican plan for the 2020 election with all the lies and obfuscation burned away: they plan to win by getting rid of the ballots.

QAnon conspiracy theory is just rebranded Nazi conspiracy theory

Gregory Stanton, a genocide expert, makes the case that QAnon, the conspiracy theory beloved of many Republicans, is a Nazi cult.

A secret cabal is taking over the world. They kidnap children, slaughter, and eat them to gain power from their blood. They control high positions in government, banks, international finance, the news media, and the church. They want to disarm the police. They promote homosexuality and pedophilia. They plan to mongrelize the white race so it will lose its essential power.

Does this conspiracy theory sound familiar? It is. The same narrative has been repackaged by QAnon.

Stanton points out that what QAnon has repackaged, is The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the most influential anti-Jewish pamphlet of all time, one promoted by Hitler and his collaborators.

You might think it’s unfair to say the whole Republican Party is in bed with QAnon, but you’d be wrong.  Not only are Republicans running QAnon supporters on the ballot for Congress, but Iowa Republican Joni Ernst is repeating the QAnon conspiracy theory.  We have to vote out all the Republicans; they no longer have a place in a democratic government.

It’s no exaggeration: Nazis love Trump

It will come as no surprise to regular readers of this blog to hear that Donald Trump is very popular among German neo-Nazis.

The Trump appeal to Germany’s neo-Nazi groups, a source of domestic terror in that nation as their far-right allies are in this one, is simple to understand. Trump is an avowed nationalist and nativist. He’s brazenly racist. He’s both a sponge for far-right conspiracy theories and an avid distributor of them. And he’s a practicing fascist—leading an administration that has increasingly simply ignored federal laws, Congress, and the courts in service to a white nationalist agenda headed by a forever-incompetent Dear Leader figure. Trump is currently closer to the neo-Nazi ideal government than perhaps any other top nation, both nationalist and world-powerful.

Nobody in Germany is confused over what Donald Trump represents or what his intentions are. They understand him, and those he has staffed his administration with, perfectly fine. It is only the American press that cannot quite muster what to make of Trump’s fascist rhetoric and “norm”-breaking dismantling of ethics and law alike.

It’s what I’ve been saying for years now:  Republicans are supporting a fascist.  And as if to underline it for us, Trump is now openly supporting extrajudicial killings.

Republicans now openly support right wing violence

I read somewhere that fascist violence doesn’t begin with uniformed military turning their guns on the people.  Instead, it begins with violence by civilians against their neighbors, on behalf of the government.  Back in 2017 I thought we might get past the first Trump term before we saw fascist violence on behalf of the Trump regime, and I was wrong.

Case in point, a pro-Trump pro-law-enforcement vigilante has murdered two people in Wisconsin.  And right wing media are rallying to support the murderer.

Secret federal police arresting people without charge in Portland

In my last post I mentioned that President Trump has threatened to send federal troops against civilian protesters.  He has now carried out that threat.  From Daily Kos:

…Trump and his Homeland Security chief Chad Wolf have not only deployed unmarked forces, they’re also snatching people off the streets without cause and effectively interrogating them. Take Mark Pettibone, a 29-year-old, who was kidnapped by these secret Gestapo-like forces while he was walking home from a peaceful protest in the wee hours Wednesday morning. Though he had done nothing wrong, men in green military fatigues jumped out of an unmarked van, descended on him, apprehended him, drove him to a federal courthouse, then eventually read him his Miranda rights and asked if he would waive those rights to answer some questions. When he said he wouldn’t, they let him go. No explanation. No identification.

These unidentified federal police also shot a peaceful protester in the head.

I have to say I’m surprised.  I didn’t think actual military force against civilian dissenters would occur until after Trump got reelected.  Apparently I was too optimistic.

Trump promotes “The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.”

The next time someone says you should be for bipartisan cooperation, remind them of this:

President Donald Trump promoted a video on Twitter late Wednesday night that opens with Cowboys for Trump founder Couy Griffin declaring that “the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.”

Here’s the screenshot of Trump’s tweet.  It is not ambiguous.Screenshot of Trump tweet

We’re one election away from losing our democracy

It’s easy to claim to love democracy when your own side is winning. When your party is losing, though, then you tend to show your true colors. Since the election of 2018, we’ve had plenty of opportunities to see what Republicans think of democracy when it really counts, and the results aren’t pretty.

Republicans rammed through a long list of laws in Wisconsin aimed at preventing the incoming Democratic governor from doing what the voters elected him to do. They’ve done something similar in Michigan. In North Carolina, there may be a new election because of blatant Republican voter fraud. Their contempt for democracy could not be more clear.

Paul Krugman has more than once pointed out how similar our Republicans are to the authoritarian regimes taking hold in Europe:

The fact is that the G.O.P., as currently constituted, is willing to do whatever it takes to seize and hold power. And as long as that remains true, and Republicans remain politically competitive, we will be one election away from losing democracy in America.

Voter-approved state laws are also under attack.  Missouri’s constitutional amendment to prevent gerrymandering, Florida’s restoration of voting rights to ex-convicts, and a medical marijuana measure in Utah are all being “slow walked” by Republicans or outright replaced by legislation not approved by voters.

One partial solution Democrats should pursue, is to change state constitutions so that there can be no monkey business during the lame duck session, because there is no lame duck session. Let the term of every legislator end on election day. The same should be done at the federal level.

Trump again endorses violence against journalists

Let’s talk about another member in good standing of the Republican Party, Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte.  He’s a convicted violent criminal.

In May 2017, the day before a congressional special election in Montana, Republican Greg Gianforte, physically assaulted a reporter…. The Guardian‘s Ben Jacobs pressed Gianforte with a substantive question about health care policy, and the GOP candidate responded by attacking the journalist, throwing him to the ground, and breaking his glasses.

Gianforte and his campaign lied to the public about the unprovoked violence — they issued a public statement accusing Jacobs of instigating the physical altercation, despite an audio recording that proved otherwise — and we later learned that the Montanan lied to the police, too.

Gianforte nevertheless won his election, and after the votes were counted, he pleaded guilty to assault.

Donald Trump, who you may vaguely recall having expressed support for law and order, is campaigning now for the convict’s reelection.  And the pitch is not “you should forgive him for assaulting a member of the press,” rather, Trump praised the assault, and Republicans at the rally roared their approval.

This is not a problem with “tone.”  It is actual literal incitement to violence being committed by the leader of the Republican Party.  Not for the first time.  And he is not alone among Republican leaders in approving of violence against the press.  And it comes during a week when Trump has been literally helping the Saudi government cover up the murder of a journalist who worked for the Washington Post.

Control of the mass media (by intimidation, among other means) is a defining characteristic of fascism.  We should turn out for the coming election, because we literally may not get another chance to vote.

Republican Steve King endorses white supremacist for Toronto mayor

We already knew our Congressman Steve King is in the habit of palling around with fascists, from sharing social media posts by Nazis and other white supremacists over and over, to taking meetings with fascist leaders.  So you will not be surprised that he has now openly endorsed a white supremacist mayoral candidate running in Toronto, Ontario.  Why does he do these things?  Because Steve King is a fascist.

King, we should underline, is a member in good standing of the Republican Party, treated well by Trump and by House Speaker Paul Ryan.  He is co-chair of Kim Reynolds’ campaign for Iowa Governor.  Because the whole Republican Party is fascist now.

There has never been a more important election to turn out for.  Vote against Steve King, and for J.D. Scholten.  Vote against Kim Reynolds, and for Fred Hubbell.

Republicans using the big lie on Puerto Rico

We know that nearly 3,000 Americans died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.  We know that, because the Milken Institute of Public Health at George Washington University did a scientific study based on actual mortality data and death certificates.

These facts are not the story that Donald Trump would like to tell.  Trump would prefer that the Puerto Rico disaster response be a success story, with himself as the paper-towel-tossing hero.  So he is now literally claiming that the Democrats made up the number out of whole cloth, to make Trump look bad.

This is a technique called the big lie.  And it works, particularly among people who have been told to disbelieve what they read in the press.  And, as usual, Republican leaders are complicit in the Dear Leader’s lies.

His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.

This could be written about Donald Trump today, couldn’t it?  But it wasn’t.  It was written during World War II, by the U.S. Office of Strategic Services, as part of their psychological profile of Hitler.