Republican Trumpism versus Brezhnev’s Communist Party circa 1979

Leonid Brezhnev


“The Republican Party has become, in form if not in content, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of the late 1970s,” the Never Trumper conservative Tom Nichols laments. “I can already hear the howls about invidious comparisons. I do not mean that modern American Republicans are communists. Rather, I mean that the Republicans have entered their own kind of end-stage Bolshevism, as members of a party that is now exhausted by its failures, cynical about its own ideology, authoritarian by reflex, controlled as a personality cult by a failing old man, and looking for new adventures to rejuvenate its fortunes.”

In the late 1970s, Nichols explains, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union — under the leadership of Leonid Brezhnev — was “a spent force” run by “party ideologues” who stubbornly clung to Marxist-Leninist dogma. Brezhnev’s cronies, Nichols recalls, considered him a “heroic genius.”

“Members of the Communist Party who questioned anything, or expressed any sign of unorthodoxy, could be denounced by name, or more likely, simply fired,” Nichols notes. “They would not be executed — this was not Stalinism, after all — but some were left to rot in obscurity in some make-work exile job, eventually retiring as a forgotten ‘comrade pensioner.’ The deal was clear: pump the party’s nonsense and enjoy the good life, or squawk and be sent to manage a library in Kazakhstan. This should all sound familiar.”

Just as the Marxist-Leninist ideologues of the late 1970s rallied around Brezhnev, Nichols argues, the Republican Party of 2021 is rallying around Trump.

“Falling in line, just as in the old Communist Party, is rewarded, and independence is punished,” Nichols observes. “The anger directed at Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger makes the stilted ideological criticisms of last century’s Soviet propagandists seem almost genteel by comparison. At least Soviet families under Brezhnev didn’t add three-page handwritten denouncements to official party reprimands.”

The Soviet Communist Party didn’t collapse in 1978 or 1979, but it did collapse in the early 1990s — even Mikhail Gorbachev’s glasnost reforms of the 1980s couldn’t save the Soviet Union, which no longer exists. Modern-day Russia is now ruled by a right-wing authoritarian, President Vladimir Putin, and embraces crony capitalism and corporate oligarchs rather than communism. And according to Nichols, the Republican Party of the United States is, like the old Soviet Communist Party, terminally ill.

But the more marginal the GOP becomes in the months ahead, Nichols predicts, the more dangerously authoritarian it will become.

“A dying party can still be a dangerous party,” Nichols warns. “The Communist leaders in those last years of political sclerosis arrayed a new generation of nuclear missiles against NATO, invaded Afghanistan, tightened the screws on Jews and other dissidents, lied about why they shot down a civilian 747 airliner, and, near the end, came close to starting World War III out of sheer paranoia. The Republican Party is, for now, more of a danger to the United States than to the world. But like the last Soviet-era holdouts in the Kremlin, its cadres are growing more aggressive and paranoid.”

In 2021, Nichols laments, the GOP has passed the point of no return and can only sink deeper and deeper into the abyss.

“Another lesson from all this history is that the Republicans have no path to reform,” Nichols writes. “Like their Soviet counterparts, their party is too far gone. Gorbachev tried to reform the Soviet Communist Party, and he remains reviled among the Soviet faithful to this day. Similar efforts by the remaining handful of reasonable Republicans are unlikely to fare any better. The Republican Party, to take a phrase from the early Soviet leader Leon Trotsky, should now be deposited where it belongs: in the ‘dustbin of history.'”

edited from The Atlantic by way of Alternet

Justice is the only medicine that can bring true healing

Trump and his crime family have normalized corruption. All of which just makes it all the more urgent for the Department of Justice, after Joe Biden takes office, to ignore all calls to let bygones be bygones, and instead investigate and prosecute Trump to the fullest extent of the law. Forget all the claims that doing so is a threat to “national unity.” Failure to hold Trump to account is the true threat to national unity.

Maybe Joe Biden really “just wants to move on,” Biden can’t and shouldn’t move past Trump’s crimes.

A country divided in this way cannot stand. The only way to rectify Trump undoing justice in this way is for Trump himself to face justice. If he doesn’t, and Biden prevents investigations in the name of “healing” and “unity”, it will only send a message to the already wildly corrupt GOP: Do what you want. No one will ever stop you. Rules are only for Democrats.

Letting Trump’s crimes and cover-ups slide hurts the body politic in another way: It will increase cynicism and distrust in politics. Gallup polling in 2015 showed that three-quarters of Americans already believed corruption was widespread in government. Heaven only knows how much worse it’s gotten under Trump, who manifested this belief into reality.

Indeed, it’s because so many Americans are skeptical of government that Trump got as far as he did. Not because, as many pundits naively thought, Trump voters believed his promise to “drain the swamp.” No, it’s because the belief that all politicians are corrupt allowed Trump voters to feel justified in their desire to vote for a shameless criminal, a man who literally bragged on the campaign trail that tax evasion makes him “smart” and who loved talking at length about how he cheats the system.

If something isn’t done to counter the levels of corruption Trump has introduced into politics, expect a thousand more Trumps to flourish, brought to office by voters who figure all politicians are corrupt, so they might as well vote for the one who is the most flagrant about it. Corruption isn’t stopped by speeches. Even noble bills that introduce stronger rules don’t matter, if the norm in D.C. is that the rules are never enforced on Republicans. The only thing that can end corruption is consequences.

Trump understands this, which is why he’s stripping consequences away for all the people who committed crimes for him, or even just crimes he likes. The only way to keep Republicans from going buck wild with the financial crimes and campaign cheating is to see Trump himself prosecuted. Trump and his cronies need to taste justice for there to be any hope of fixing what’s so broken in this country.

edited from Raw Story

Even at the edge of death, Trump’s hold on his followers is strong

Jim Jones

We have made the comparison between Jim Jones’s Peoples Temple Cult and Trump’s MAGA cult before, it’s looking like even that comparison falls short of describing how totally lost these MAGA members are. Take the example of an emergency room nurse in South Dakota, Jodi Doering, who was overwhelmed Saturday night. Her patients were dying of covid-19, yet were still in denial about the pandemic’s existence.
“It’s like a “horror movie that never ends,” Doering said.

Her anxiety and despair are shared by many health-care workers who are facing a dramatic surge in covid-19 patients. But some front-line workers, like Doering, also face the emotional toll of treating patients who, despite being severely ill, are reluctant to acknowledge that they have been infected with a virus that dear leader Trump has said will simply disappear.

Doering said she has covid-19 patients who need 100-percent-oxygen breathing assistance and who will also swear they don’t have the illness that has ended the lives of nearly a quarter-million people in the United States since February.

“I think the hardest thing to watch is that people are still looking for something else and a magic answer and they do not want to believe COVID-19 is real,” Doering told CNN in an interview Monday.

“Their last dying words are, ‘This can’t be happening. It’s not real,’” Doering said, adding that some patients prefer to believe that they have pneumonia or other diseases rather than covid-19, despite seeing their positive test results.

Also, just as tragic is the patients who expect to get the same level of treatment that their beloved leader got at the White House. They want the same antibody cocktail that Trump got. Sadly, even if it was available to them, they couldn’t afford it.

Trump Cult Dead-enders just can’t deal with it

The Trump cult “dead enders” will never accept that their beloved ruler lost his re-election bid because they are not psychologically capable of letting go of their deeply held beliefs.

Trump has spent the last four years distorting reality to serve his own ends and his rabid followers have lapped up his lies because they comport with their own beliefs and cognitive dissonance rules their world.

It seems to us that most human beings will do just about anything to resolve contradictions between thier deeply held beliefs about the world and the reality of the world itself. Cognitive dissonance is so unpleasant, so disordering and catastrophic for the ego, that no amount of absurd, tortured reasoning is worse than reality contradicting a deeply held belief.  All of us try to resolve cognitive dissonance, but the Trump Cult has been a years-long exercise in it. Election denial is its latest manifestation. But before that came COVID denial, science denial, climate denial, ‘alternative facts,’ the inability of Trump’s most devoted fans to see him for the obvious con man that he is, and, at the movement’s very core, denial of the social and demographic changes that are transforming America.

Supporters of Trump who have been buffeted by reality are increasingly reaching for even more far-fetched conspiracy theories which helped along groups like QAnon.

Cognitive dissonance is also a primary reason that people resort to conspiracy theories, which Trumpworld increasingly resembles, not only in fringe manifestations like QAnon but in the allegation of widespread fraud in the presidential election, which, of course, has no factual basis whatsoever and is, at this point, simply a conspiracy theory writ large,” he explained. “In this light, QAnon isn’t some weird, fringe phenomenon with no connection to populist politics. It’s a logical extension of the populist worldview. If ‘the people’ are actually the majority, then a sinister minority—Jews, ‘coastal elites’, the media, the Satanic pedophiles, whoever—is actually in control. It’s a short jump from that to full-blown conspiracy madness. And when the anointed messenger of ‘the people’ turns out to be a buffoon chiefly interested in his own enrichment, well, that must all be a ruse. Or a media conspiracy. Or whatever.”

Edited from Jay Michaelson column in the Daily Beast

The Trump death cult and the million-maggot march for mass death

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is million-magas.jpg

 On Friday, the COVID Tracking Project reported that the number of positive coronavirus infections in the last day had reached 170,000, the highest record ever and a number that was, just a few months ago, hard to imagine. It’s now our daily reality, and it’s likely to only get worse.

Other figures are just as frightening. Hospitalizations — one of the clearest signs of the seriousness of the outbreak —have reached a new high at 69,000, according to the project. Deaths are at a disturbing 1,300, though that rate is almost certain to spike in recent weeks following the more recent spike in cases. And as the newest and largest wave yet engulfs the country, reports have begun to appear of hospitals being overwhelmed with patients, which is almost certainly a precursor to a spike in the case fatality rate.

It’s our horrifying new status quo, and one that experts and observers have been warning would unfold this fall for months. But the mind-boggling truth is that for the Trump administration, everything is pretty much going as planned.

Ever since the first wave in the spring, Donald Trump has seemed increasingly drawn to the so-called (and, indeed, misleadingly named) “herd immunity” approach to the pandemic. On this approach, you reject government restrictions meant to stop people from getting the virus. What advocates of this strategy believe is that it’s best that more people get the virus, because eventually, enough people will have had it, they’ll immune, and life will return to normal.

Trump brought on Dr. Scott Atlas, a radiologist and Fox News guest, to the White House team, because he advocated this approach and opposed restrictions. His views were at odds with the approach favored by the bulk of the health experts in the administration, but Trump liked his ideas, so they have won the day.

The White House has occasionally denied or talked around the idea that it’s intentionally carrying out a “herd immunity” strategy, but reporting has made clear the plan the administration has adopted. Per the New York Times:

The White House has embraced a declaration by a group of scientists arguing that authorities should allow the coronavirus to spread among young healthy people while protecting the elderly and the vulnerable — an approach that would rely on arriving at “herd immunity” through infections rather than a vaccine.

On a call convened Monday by the White House, two senior administration officials, both speaking anonymously because they were not authorized to give their names, cited an October 4 petition titled The Great Barrington Declaration, which argues against lockdowns and calls for a reopening of businesses and schools.

“Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health,” the declaration states, adding, “The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection.”

The problem with this approach — the reason it’s rejected by most of the public health community — is that it will lead to mass suffering and death. That’s what the increase in hospitalizations is telling us. Medical researcher Dr. Atul Gawande made the point in a recent tweet:

But there’s another important point. One crucial part of the “herd immunity strategy,” in theory, is protecting the vulnerable. Since COVID-19 poses the most significant mortality risk to the elderly and people with other health conditions, advocates argue, this population needs to be kept safe while the virus spreads and creates immunity among the rest of the people.

As people like Alex Tabarrok argued early on, though, this tactic has little hope of success. You can’t meaningfully isolate elderly people from the rest of society. What do you do with the grandmother living in a home with parents who are essential workers and kids who are back at school? What do you do with the workers a nursing homes, who have lives outside of work? Who will pay for people with chronic health conditions to stay home from their jobs for months on end?

It’s untenable. And at the same time, the White House hasn’t actually done anything to meaningfully protect vulnerable from the wave of the virus crashing over the country.

Trump has touted vaccines and therapeutics, including therapeutics that may have saved his own life when he was hospitalized with the infection. But there aren’t nearly enough therapeutics for all the patients in need — nor the top-notch care Trump received — and the vaccines won’t be ready for full distribution into well into 2021. On Friday, Trump announced that the vaccines will be available in April, though he had previously said it could be distributed last month, in October, which never happened. And right now, the administration has no plan to stop surging virus. Most Republicans are following his lead, and even Democratic governors who might prefer to take a more aggressive approach are hamstrung by a lack of federal resources.

There is no plan to stop the virus. The federal government just intends to let it spread through all of us. It’s a plan for mass death, because they don’t care enough to stop it.

Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

Examiner note: Wear a f..ing mask!

Joe Biden is the winner and has been since Wednesday

This contest has not been a nail biting, back-and-forth affair with wild swings in tallies, and that the winner truly remains in doubt. It’s not, and the coverage reflects that as analysts go over the votes, the math, the projections and essentially tell voters that Trump can’t win. The race is stuck in neutral because the corporate media is terrified of the Trump Cult

The networks bowing to Trump bullying, as he and his cult fill the indecision vacuum with outrageous, fitful claims of the election being rigged! His television appearance from the White House this week where Trump lied nonstop about the U.S election process was a truly dangerous low point for his presidency, as his supporters feed off his lies and take to streets screaming about the election being “stolen.”

After four years, are major news organizations still tip toeing around Trump in hopes of not becoming the target of his wrath? It sure feels that way.

The Trump cult went ballistic when Fox News on Election Night called Arizona for Biden, waging an ugly smear campaign against the network. Fox has stood by the call and four days later, Biden has a lead of nearly 30,000 votes. Yet other networks still won’t call it for Biden.

In Nevada where virtually all the counting is done, Biden leads by nearly two percentage points. That’s an advantage far larger than what Decision Desks usually need to make a pronouncement, when so few votes remain uncounted. If that race had the exact same vote count but were a Nevada contest for the U.S. Senate, instead of a state race that could seal Trump’s defeat, that election call likely would’ve been made 24 hours ago.

Meanwhile, for Fox News to call Arizona early, to correctly stand by it, and today refuse to call Nevada makes no sense. If Fox were to call Nevada for Biden, they’d have to announce him the winner, with 270 electoral votes. At the same time, what does Fox News know about Arizona that the other networks don’t, as they refuse to award the state to Biden?

The process is creating confusion, and real appearance that the media’s bowing down to Trump. Again.

Today, the election coverage continues to walk itself around in a “Groundhog Day” circle, as TV pundits all point to the obvious: Biden’s going to win, but claim they’re just waiting for the announcement. All the while, ironic “BREAKING NEWS” announcements fill the TV screens.

It’s a final absurdist ending to bully Trump’s absurd and radical four years.

edited from Press Run

Win or lose the Trump cult will remain a threat to the peace

If Trump wins his cult will feel emboldened to attack their opponents, if they lose the cult will lash out in anger at their opponents, so either way get ready for a rough ride!

The 2020 election will go down in history as one that was even more volatile than the 1968 election, and many Americans have been expressing fears that violence and voter intimidation will occur on Election Day. That fear is addressed in new articles by the Washington Post, Time, and USA Today.

Journalist Mark Berman, in the Post, reports that law enforcement are preparing for the worst.

“Tens of millions of Americans have cast ballots at early-voting sites, and tensions and accusations of voter intimidation have already flared up during this process,” Berman explains. “Many Americans still plan to turn out on Election Day; so, law enforcement officials have conducted drills involving multiple agencies to try to game out what could happen. Police officials in multiple cities stressed that they have no information about specific threats relating to the election, but are instead preparing to make sure they are ready.”

Andrew Walsh, a deputy chief for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, told the Post, “I don’t think we’ve seen anything like this in modern times…. When you look at previous elections, there’s always been the concern when you have large crowds…. We know (that) can be a target for someone who has an agenda.”

David Brown, a superintendent for the Chicago Police Department, told the Post, “We are all in conversations with our counterparts across the country about what we might expect. But everything is uncertain, and so, we’re trying as best we can to anticipate any hazard that might happen.” And Washington D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham noted, “It is widely believed that there will be civil unrest after the November election regardless of who wins.”

Reporter Melissa Chan, in Time, reports that police departments around the U.S. expect to be on high alert on Election Day.

Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based think tank the Police Executive Research Forum, told Time, “It’s fair to say the police are preparing in ways they never would have had to for Election Day. This year is unlike any other year.”

According to Chan, “The presence of militia groups at polls could pose real safety concerns in light of a new Amnesty International report that said U.S. law enforcement failed to protect peaceful protesters from violent attacks by armed vigilante groups and counter protesters in nearly 200 cases from May to September. The report, released Friday, said law enforcement often neglected to deploy an adequate amount of trained officers, separate or deescalate tensions between opposing groups and often harmed peaceful protesters while dealing with violent ones.”

In USA Today, journalist Trevor Hughes addresses fears that far-right extremists will resort to acts of voter intimidation on Election Day — and that Black voters will be among their targets.

The NAACP’s Stephanie Owens told USA Today, “The symbolism of who you’re supporting is a very large component of our election tradition, but there is almost nothing traditional about this election. People are already being targeted based on the candidates they are supporting.”

The Rev. Carl Day, a Philadelphia-based pastor and liberal/progressive activist, has been warning the Black community that they could be targeted for voter intimidation. Day told USA Today, “When the president of the United States seems like he’s inciting a demographic of people to be on standby and he’s saying he might not leave office, it brings legitimate fears to people. It’s in a lot of conversations in a lot of rooms I’m in.”

Carolyn Gallaher, a professor at American University’s School of International Service in Washington, D.C., told USA Today, “Everyone I know is concerned both about voter intimidation at the polls and potential violence as we get results from the election — and sort of what that might look like not just around the election, but between the election and the inauguration.”

Gallagher fears that the far right will resort to violence whether Trump wins reelection or is defeated by former Vice President Joe Biden. The American University professor told USA Today, “The violence will occur either way. If Biden wins, it will be an excuse to try to delegitimize the results and to go after perceived enemies on the left — and of course, that means labeling pretty much anyone that you disagree with Antifa. But I worry, too, if Trump wins, this will be a signal to these far-right groups that have supported him — extremist groups like the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, other groups like this — that they will see this is like an open season to go after people that have been opponents of Trump.”

Raw Story

More than 190000 deaths! Put them all on trial

 

Nuremberg trials


Listening to the tapes recorded by Bob Woodward and hearing Trump’s confessions that he knew exactly what he was doing.
Given the soaring death toll from COVID-19 and the continuing public display of police brutality in the United States, it seems to us that it’s time to convene a Nuremberg style trial for the deaths that have been caused by the Trump regime.
Trump, Barr, Pompeo, Pence, McConnell the whole complicit crew should stand trial for the death and suffering they have willfully caused in this country.

Anyone else would be charged with manslaughter so let’s prosecute them. 

 

Trump and his Radical right vigilantes are preparing for a coup

Trump cult members and Boogaloo Bois are ready for the fight

 

David Atkins from the Washington Monthly,  explains: “Trump sees violence as politically beneficial, a useful cudgel against Democratic nominee Joe Biden — even though the violence is happening while Trump himself is in charge, not Biden.”

Trump’s election theme is that Americans won’t be safe in a Biden presidency. The opposite is true. Americans won’t be safe as long as a white supremacist tyrant is leading a movement of bigots to incite a civil war, and attempting to ensure that the majority of Americans with cosmopolitan, egalitarian values remain politically disenfranchised and under the thumb of those who fear and despise them.

Trump’s campaign of racial authoritarianism and stochastic terrorism, as well as overt threats of “law and order,” resulted in a group of his supporters driving into Portland last weekend, armed with mace and paintball guns, to seek out confrontations with Black Lives Matter and anti-fascist protesters.

The protests were largely peaceful until Trump and acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf deployed federal police forces to the city in July. Their presence, as designed, escalated the tension and led to increasing levels of property damage and incidents of violence.

Previewing Trump’s plan for other parts of the nation, these federal shock troops made journalists and reporters a special focus of their violence. They also kidnapped protesters and other “enemies” of Donald Trump’s regime off the street as though they were operating in a banana republic.

Alexander Reid Ross is a doctoral fellow at the Center for Analysis of the Radical Right. His most recent book is “Against the Fascist Creep.” Ross has also completed new research that documents more than 500 incidents in which white vigilantes and other right-wing extremists have confronted Black Lives Matter protests. This includes hundreds of acts of intimidation and other threats as well as dozens of examples in which right-wing extremists have assaulted or attacked Black Lives Matter protesters.

Reid warns that Portland, the right-wing vigilante killings in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the hundreds of other attacks by right-wing extremists on Black Lives Matter protesters is just a preview of the massive violence that Donald Trump and his movement may unleash before and after Election Day — perhaps including the arrest or imprisonment of prominent Democrats, journalists, and others deemed to be enemies of the state.

After almost four years of Trump and his regime’s authoritarian, neofascist behavior, some voices in the mainstream American news media now use that correct and appropriate language to describe the reality of the situation. Why was there so much fear and denial about the obvious? Even when they use the correct terminology, the coverage is largely superficial and avoids serious discussion of the dire implications.

Donald Trump attempting to rise to the level of a right-wing political strongman. Donald Trump is using classic authoritarian tactics that one does not often see in a healthy democracy. Donald Trump is deliberately undermining the Constitution by using federal law to circumvent local governments’ control over their police forces.

Trump and William Barr’s de facto secret police are literally disappearing people off the streets of Portland and in other parts of the country where the Democratic Party is in power. How do you explain what is happening to people who do not live in those communities? Who are not being targeted by Trump and his henchmen?

The specific federal forces involved are BORTAC — the Border Patrol Tactical Unit — and the U.S. Marshals Special Operations Group and others, under the coordination of the Department of Homeland Security. BORTAC has been in Portland shooting at people and launching tear gas. BORTAC is not trained for crowd or riot control. They are trained to engage in raids against migrants and to separate children from their mothers. That is what BORTAC does. They pride themselves on being the most militarized branch and a group of the U.S. law enforcement community. BORTAC members are extreme Trump supporters. What is happening in Portland and other parts of the country is the border closing in on the citizens of the United States.

BORTAC is loyal to Donald Trump and that’s why he is using them. He’s not using them because they’re the most skilled and adept at riot and crowd control management. That also explains why there are so many incidents of people being shot in the face and otherwise abused here in Portland and other places where BORTAC and other such forces are being deployed by the Trump administration. They don’t know what they’re doing at all.

BORTAC is being used because Trump feels that they are his most loyal forces. That is fully in keeping with the tactics of authoritarian leaders who cultivate secret police whose main function is to serve as the government leader’s private force, one that operates outside of any restraints such as an internal review.

The [former] Chilean dictatorship is explicitly supported by Trump’s own supporters, who wear T-shirts that say, “Right-wing death squad” and “Pinochet did nothing wrong.” The American mainstream news media is far too charitable with its narrative that “Trump is playing to his base.”

During the recent protests in Portland, were there moments where you feared that the federal forces were going to start shooting the crowd with lethal rounds?

The fear is very real and it’s constant. The federal forces have assault rifles. They are loaded with live rounds. There are protesters who were throwing fireworks and things of that sort at the courthouse. What if one of the feds has an itchy trigger finger? What if a firework explodes and they then open fire on an entire group of unarmed people?

Trump and their defenders and other apologists will just say, “Well, these poor agents have been overworked for 60 days and look at all the things that have been thrown at them” and so on and so forth. We know what the narrative will be. All a person can do when protesting is to act accordingly and stay focused.

The idea of these right-wing protesters and militia types being “anti-government” — again, a narrative circulated by the mainstream American news media — is very uncritical, a total misnomer. They are really pro-government. They are entirely in favor of the United States government as controlled by Donald Trump. Their claim to be “libertarians” is a joke.

Those right-wing militias and others sympathetic to them are arming in opposition to Democrats, liberals, and progressives.

Right-wing extremists and other terrorists, including white supremacists and neo-Nazis, are also coordinating at times with the police.

They actually say that they are at the protests to “protect the police.” Think about that claim: They are “anti-government” vigilantes who promise that they are trying to protect the police. In essence, these right-wing militias and the like are American citizens who believe it is their role not to become police, but to guard the police. Such a claim is ludicrous. It is a paramilitary force. These right-wing forces are coordinating and positioning themselves to be able to launch a coup against American democracy and the Democratic Party if the latter gains control of the presidency and government.

The closest parallel with what we are seeing with Trump’s movement would be the “massive resistance” by white people against racial integration in the South during the civil rights movement. I am of the opinion that the United States has not seen such a mobilization of violent, far-right forces to this extent since the 1960s.

Recently, a Trumpist and right-wing militia supporter traveled to Kenosha, Wisconsin, and involved himself in the protests there. He’s accused shooting three people, killing two of them. He crossed state lines illegally with a weapon he was not allowed to own. He was only a teenager and was radicalized online into right-wing extremism. He is now being valorized by the right-wing media machine. Trump has defended this young man as a hero who was fighting against “criminals” and “looters.” This accused killer now has hundreds of thousands of dollars pledged to his defense.

Trump has defended Kyle Rittenhouse with the claim he was firing in “self-defense” at unarmed protesters. In essence, Donald Trump supports the right-wing vigilante movement, which represents the disintegration of the rule of law.

We are witnessing an erosion of democratic norms in this country by Republicans. They accept breaking the law as being viable if it supports “traditional values” — meaning racism. As a practical matter, Donald Trump is spearheading the movement of the Republican Party into a full-on violent racist organization that encourages vigilantism.

In terms of engaging in the worst type of “both-sides-ism” and false equivalencies that helped Trump win and now keep power, the American mainstream news media is now advancing a “mutual combat” narrative in its coverage of Trump’s supporters and the violence in Portland last weekend. How does that narrative contradict what really happened in Portland?

The “mutual combat” framing is inane, legally a non-starter, and obviously supportive of the aggressive party, which is typically the Trump supporters. Their strategy is to provoke fights and then call for “law and order” intervention from a corrupt president.

What do you want to warn the American people about? What do you think happens next?

I am worried about crackdowns by Donald Trump and his forces against their direct enemies. This would involve dragging Democrats in front of kangaroo courts and starting to criminalize dissent such that the average American who has a bumper sticker or other affiliation with the Democratic Party or liberal or progressive causes becomes a target for Trump’s zealots. I worry that Trump will find some way to round up the leaders of the Democratic Party and put them in jail or execute them.

That is the future that right-wing conspiracists such as the QAnon people want. They are the crowd that Donald Trump is signaling to. I do not believe that there is much stopping Donald Trump from following through on his extreme impulses. At this point Donald Trump is desperate. If Trump wins again it will just be more fuel on the fire for his followers. The right-wing will follow through on his cues and start attacking regular people, not just protesters, who they believe are Democrats.

 

 

Edited from Chauncey Devega in Salon by way of Alternet