Thursday, June 4, 2020

Why I have changed my views on whether Trump is a fascist

I wrote the blog posting below one month into the Trump administration...February 2017.  It was my reason for not calling Trump a fascist.  Name-calling and using the word fascism and Trump in the same breath is admittedly inflammatory and I stated why I did not call him a fascist then and why he did not yet fit the definition.
Here is why I am using it now  1. In three and a half years his racism and appeal to white nationalism is not subtle. It was not a show business device. His view of  Justice is not equally applied or color blind and he uses racism to feather his political nest, divide and conquer  2. Hoodwinking US military officials into intervening to promote his political agenda  3. Calling all demonstrators, peaceful and violent, thugs to be dominated by force and oppression. 4. Willful ignorance of Constitutional constraints on the executive's power and protections of peaceful demonstrations, 5.  Announcing his intent to use US military against our own civilians. These put him firmly in the ranks of the 1930's fascists.

 The term fascism is not a swear word; it is a governmental system, a method of governance. It is the diametric opposite of democracy. Born in 1938, I have early memories toward the end of World War II of how it met its fate and in the late 1950's I spent a year in war-torn Germany, Italy, and the Balkans wondering how it could have happened. In most cases, a willing populace voted them in and supported its rise.  The blame is shared by both their leaders and the people who supported them for reasons ranging from ethnic/religious/racial hatred to fear of communism to economic gains in a time of economic stress and political turmoil. Germany 's Nazism was the most extreme form of fascism. Hitler's Third Reich was a popular enough solution to boost him to power since many believed it served to restore Germany's greatness post defeat in World War I with the devastating reparations, and later coupled with the depression.

Updated  blog posting: Feb. 17-25 2017
 I have refrained from calling the Trump administration fascist. It is not there yet.  It is too early to tell and the constraints of law and the Constitution may keep President Trump from putting some of his innate tendencies into practice. However, every day it seems Trump's actions resemble even more the examples of fascism as practiced in the 20th century.

The definition of fascism as a philosophy is complex, but actions can be the definer, too.     Calling someone fascist brings to mind Hitler, the gas chambers, the hyper-nationalism, the rallies and parades, and a goal of economic recovery based on ramping up the military/industrial complex,  blaming and scapegoating minorities, and feeding on the emotions of those who hate "others".   Hitler seems to personify it in many minds, though the 20th-century ideological roots are actually in Italy and Mussolini and not all authoritarian governments are fascist.

 While President Trump certainly does not fit the extreme Hitler mold, there are some similar elements to the rise of fascism in Europe found in Trump's tweets and orders and techniques,  such as holding rallies to whip up supporters' enthusiasm and hyper-nationalism, exaggerating potential external security threats and the weakness of our military,  and the failure of an economy,. He is ignoring the fact that the economy has the lowest unemployment rate since 2009 and had a pre-election robust Wall Street. True, the blue-collar middle class has been left behind. Whatever Trump advocates, the US in 2017 is nowhere like Germany in the early '30s that was decimated by reparations and the Depression.

With crowd-pleasing rhetoric and tweets, Trump claims the only facts that are not fake are those considered true by the Trump administration. He verbally delegitimizes other centers of power,  courts, and their judges,   and media.  Stephen Bannon is the president's most trusted and closest adviser and is also an example of the hatred factor found in fascism. Bannon had been CEO  of Breitbart, the media public platform for white supremacists and ultra-nationalists.  Leading to Trump's own rise on the political scene was "Obama was born in Kenya" birtherism crusade, considered by many to be dog whistles to racists. Whether or not Bannon and he are racists and bigots themselves is the lesser issue.  Like Bannon  Trump tolerates and exploits racism for political gain, even being reluctant to condemn bigotry until forced to. His Muslim ban obviously appeals to religious bigots. Pressed for weeks to condemn Jewish cemetery vandalism and threats against religious centers, he finally made a statement last week condemning anti-Semitism.

These last couple of weeks of his media relations were particularly disturbing and brought him a step closer to qualifying as at least a wannabe fascist.  Looking at how the fascist movement got into power in the last century, we can see some similarities.  One is an attempt to bully and control the press and to take over the messaging. Trump is beginning the process by excluding "opposition" outlets.  CNN and the New York Times were kept from the press "gaggle"at a non-televised briefing at the White House and Trump and his spokespeople have refused to call on reporters who represented media promoting stories critical of him. These were obvious attempts at "punishing" CNN and the Times. Their sin: reporting on Trump's possible even closer relationship with Russians during the campaign.

The most serious media-related event raised the question of whether his administration had tried to influence the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign's colluding with the Russians. One version reported by the media was that Reince Priebus, Trump's chief of staff, had approached the FBI director asking him to tamp down a report being leaked from the agency as flawed because there was no evidence any Russian contact involved Russian agents. The Trump administration did not deny the contact had been made with Russians, but said it was not their agents, and counterclaimed that the FBI director had approached Priebus. If the latter is true, then the FBI's impartiality and credibility in their Russian related investigations into Russian hacking and meddling in the 2016 elections are jeopardized. If the administration initiated the contact with the FBI, then they are verging on a Nixon-like cover-up and look guilty that there is a fire in the smoke. Adding to suspicions that there is something there there,  as many have noted, Trump has never flatly denied that contact with  Russians and his campaign staff occurred but instead has tried to deflect attention to "illegal leaks",  as a way to direct public attention and media focus elsewhere and a way to scotch deeper probes.

 Either way, the exchange with the FBI flap is not good news for the Trump administration. In that dust-up, what has been clear is that the Trump administration is fearful that the FBI or the other investigations being conducted by intelligence agencies will find the smoking gun of collusion with  Russian agents. If that collusion turns out to be sanctioned or conducted by Donald Trump himself or others in his campaign acting under his direction, that could lead to impeachment at worse or destroying the credibility, legitimacy,  and effectiveness of the administration at best.  The stakes are very high.

.Populism has also been an element in the rise of fascism.  Candidate Trump's appeal to the blue-collar working demographic was more populist than corporate.  Ironically, a  corporatist element has been added to  Trump's presidential administration with the appointment of the team of billionaires to the various cabinet posts. These cabinet officers have been charged to de-construct their departments, eliminating consumer and environmental protections that were designed to protect the middle class from corporate excesses.

The populist rationale Trump has pitched to the public is that this pro-business, anti-environment/consumer approach will lead to high paying job creation in the rust belt and national economic growth. Those most affected by economic struggles are without a college education and robotics have replaced many of those jobs once held by human beings. Some blame unions, too, for holding back efficiencies. Trump has not provided any plan to fix those problems but instead has blamed bad trade policies.  Whether protectionism will result in high paying jobs with a workforce ill-equipped to fill them or reduce robotics is doubtful. If proof of Russian collusion does not lead to his defeat in 2020, his failure to provide promised economic growth and high paying job creation will. As counties who voted for Obama in the past then went for  Trump in 2016 showed,  populism is a fickle beast.

Another parallel with the practice of German fascism is Trump's reliance on militarism to promote US leadership in the world. The current world order he is de-constructing is one based on mutual defense treaties  (NATO) and multinational economic and trade arrangements. Instead, Trump's vision of leadership is relying on military muscle power as a threat to deter attacks and as a "might makes right" bully power over the rest of the world.  Where it does differ from Hitler's rise is that Hitler used military buildup in manufacturing as an argument to the public, promoting it as a way to pull Germany out of the depression.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Trump fans the flames of violence, yet calls himself the champion of law and order

     The preamble of the Constitution's states its purpose as "We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America"  

June 2, 2020 update  

 America has  a president who has fanned the violence of the flames over domestic tranquility. He has seized on the opportunity of the riots to proclaim himself as the champion of law and order, as he himself does not respect the law, and his form of order is the oppression of one racial group that only begets more violence and strife for years to come.  Is this what our democracy has come to?  Is this going to be our country torn apart for years to come in racial strife and race wars with cities occupied by the active military to suppress any opposition he views to be an insurrection?. This instability and turmoil is the future Donald Trump is offering us if he is re-elected.  The contrast with Joe Biden's vision could not be starker. He presented it in an address on June 2. Biden offers the antidote to Trump's poisonous vision of violence,  oppression, hate, and fear.

June 1 Trump called the George Floyd riots an insurrection so he can call in the active military to "dominate" cities and states like a tinpot dictator of a third world country, a threat that ignores constitutional provisions forbidding such action without requiring an invitation from a state's governor.   He dotes on violence to contain violence if the violence is committed by Black people but white militias are invited to do their thing. and he winks as he says he is protecting their second amendment rights.  He waves a bible as he sends the message that he is with the white evangelists and he did it in front of a historic church with its basement damaged by the rioters.  He did not visit the church to pray for peace or to urge calm. He used it to threaten more violence. He gathered the ire of faith leaders of both his use of the Episcopal Church and laying a wreath at "a Catholic church statue oft Saint John Paul. II  .

 I have no sympathy for looters and vandals. They have lost their protection of First Amendment rights of peaceful assembly when they became violent, and they should be treated as criminals,  but to clear Trump's way for his church photo op, peaceful protestors in compliance with their First Amendment rights were cleared from the park in front of the church using v flashbangs, tear gas, and mounted police was despicable
The immediate resolution to the violence will take two parties acting: the legitimate, peaceful demonstrators purging their ranks of the looters and vandals and a government who understands that
the complaints about police brutality have legitimacy and who attempts to govern and legislate accordingly to solve problems.  The second party's actions will not happen if Trump gets a second term.

Trump's inflammatory tweets have urged deadly violence to fight violence. " When the looting starts, the shooting starts.", he exhorted, drawing on a 1967' statements by a racist Miami mayor, and advocating shooting the "thugs".  He even called for an insurrection by militants against Michigan and two other states not opening up quickly enough for business. ,
The outrage is that Trump and Trump's loyal attorney general Bill Ba,, rr says that only the leftist anarchists were involved as the instigator of violence in the protests, providing no evidence.
In fact, right wing militants pose as Antifa to advocate violence while Trump seeks to designate Antifa as a terrorist organization. The FBI found no evidence of Antifa involvement in the violence. It is the Trump racist play book, his ticket to a win in November. Fear works for him. Violence works for him.We do not know yet the identity of all of the perps of flame, looting and violence. However, there is evidence that right-wing militias and extremists groups like the Boogaloo Boys were also involved, wearing their identifying Hawaiian shirts. and other insignia. Boogaloo Boys say they are preparing for the next civil war. Update: June 4 Three boogaloo boys were arrested for inciting violence: Also seen were armed men. in pickup trucks bearing extremist militia insignia of the Three Percenters. . Barr also controls the FBI but we can also depend on other sources to confirm who was doing the infiltrating. Barr and Trump were contradicted by officials and witnesses on the ground. 20% arrested for arson, vandalism, violence were from out of state. and there were reports of people unknown to the local demonstrators. " Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington confirmed evidence of white supremacist groups trying to incite violence ;Many posted messages online that encouraged people to go loot in Minneapolis and cause mayhem".
The incriminating evidence of intent was their own social media summoning their fellow travelers to come and be violent.

Whether it is anarchists on the left or right, wherever they come from, they are enemies of democracy and civil society and they are not protected by the Constitution since they use criminal methods of violence, arson and vandalism. They are eager to destroy justice and civil society so they can realize their awful objectives. They are not for reforming police or justice systems.. They want to destroy both so their respective ilk can take over. and oppress others.. Some advocate starting a race war to upend democratic institutions so they can take charge.

Trump has failed to uphold the basic purposes of the Constitution. Instead of seeking justice, and promoting domestic tranquility,  this President throws gasoline on the flames of angered voiceless.  Instead of supporting justice and the rule of law fairly and equally applied to all, he praises those who advocate,  and are demonstrating with threatening weapons.. .. He is one who just called armed militias invading a state capitol "good people", and marchers who have practiced violence and lynching as their preferred method of justice, neo-Nazis, some 'fine people". This tweet and so many of his others are a  degradation of the purpose of our Constitution, justice, and support of domestic tranquility,   
Parts of Minneapolis were in flames because the rioters did not see justice being done. . They saw Trump  even advocating treating suspects cruelly, l , asking police officers in 2017,  "please do not be nice to suspects", and letting them hit their heads entering police vehicles, for example. Trump's implication is "we have your backs".if you are brutal.  The nation and the world is in shock having viewed what looks like a murder being committed by the police before their very TV eyes. Indeed, the next day the officer whose knee was on the victim's neck for 9 minutes (and nearly three minutes after Floyd was unresponsive) was charged with 3rd-degree murder and manslaughter, further angering those who thought the charges should be first-degree murder.  The delay in arresting the officer and three of his cohorts. while  deciding on the charge was infuriating for many. It aggravated those already who did not trust the administrators of justice. It appears prosecutors wanted to make sure the charges they file will stick and convince a jury of the guilty charge. The worst-case scenario would be if the defenders were found not guilty of a charge of first-degree murder which is difficult to win in a jury trial since it requires proof of intent and planning. If a mistake was made, it was the local prosecutor who indicated in a briefing that there was evidence a crime was not committed when the video looked to viewers that murder happened before their very eyes. That was the spark that lit the tinder of the riots.     

The lessons of history which made Martin Luther King  Jr. successful were his use and advocacy of civil disobedience instead of violence.,. King said "riots are socially destructive and self-defeating. ... But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard."  Before he was assassinated, Rev. King commented that riots only helped George Wallace. 1968 saw riots and racial unrest which many think led for white voters to put "Law and Order" on the top of the political agenda, leading to the strong showing of racist George Wallace and the election of Richard Nixon in that November. June 1  Trump  exhorts governors to allow police to use more force. Call in the military Trump demands because this is an insurrection as he calls for more violence. George Wallace would look mild mannered compared to this wannabe dictator of a President.  Violence suits Trump. His heated promotion of violence  aimed at minorities is vintage Trump.  We should not expect anything else. 

Peaceful protest marches kicked off the evenings, that last weekend in May into June,  but they deteriorated into violence.  Sympathy for the injustice millions saw committed was dimmed with universal condemnation of the rioters even by their own leaders striving for greater justice.  The rioters were heard, but it was also self-defeating,, tempering the sympathy for Floyd,  as Trump's media was quick to put blame on the demonstrators as  "thugs", arsonists and looting miscreants, burying the demonstrators' protest messages about the lack of justice and equal treatment by police of African-Americans and the wrong done to George Floyd. 

Continuing chaos is a political opportunity for extremist groups to repeat past successful strategies of winning elections by being the law and order candidates, bringing fake peace by oppression. It fueled the rise of fascists in Europe in the 1930s In the US in the 1960s, law, and order was a slogan that was a successful ticket to election wins.. However,it meant law and order for only some We should know by now that the application of the law is what must be equal and just if the government is to maintain domestic tranquility and order. Let us hope this country can keep its democracy together until November and replace this Trump administration with those who want to heal the nation, removing those who stoke racial divisions, chaos and violence and those using it as a political tool. and law enforcement fingered right wing groups: "

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Trump is up to his old dirty and cruel tricks again

Updated 4/13 -27, 2020 and revised 5/11-22 2020:  Reposted: 5/21/20 as Why Trump does not want mail-in votes from the prior posting headed "The cat is out of the bag. Why the GOP does not want mail-in voting".
When polls show mail in votings has two-thirds of voter support,  why does Donald Trump go on a rampage to deny federal COVID aid to Michigan if they do mail-in balloting?   The answer: he is looking at other polls and fear in a close election mail-in voting will hurt him. (Trump mistook the Michigan mailing for mail-in ballots when it was applications for absentee voting, but it indicates how jumpy even the prospect makes him). It certainly is not because of fear of fraud as he likes to rant, in spite of numerous studies showing such fear is groundless.  It is fear of a large voter turnout and if most votes are by mail, there is diminished ability to suppress votes cast in election day physical polling places of those who would not vote for him. Military and five states (red, blue, and purple) have already been doing with no significant fraud for years.  Colorado voters in particular must be particularly puzzled because they have been doing mail-in voters since 2013 with no problem. Oregon likewise for 22 years.
Trump has been so vociferous about his opposition to mail in votes in spite of such obvious and repeated evidence,  and no states who have it will back down by November, one wonders if he has lost his grip on reality.  Is he laying the groundwork for challenging the vote in November on cooked up charges of fraud to throw the decision into his friendly Supreme Court, hoping for an "Al Gore" repeat?
I recall that prior to the 2016 election, he was asked if he would accept the vote if he lost. He waffled on an answer and that same question needs to be put to him again.  Perhaps he is hoping for chaos and demonstrations in the streets as well as an assist from the Court. It would not be beyond him to pull such a stunt.  The best result would be his overwhelming defeat.  The next best result, Americans are prepared and on the lookout for such disruption of the democratic process and make it clear they will not stand for it.
      As evidence of widespread fraud, opponents to mail-in balloting point to any number of ballots mailed to registered voters that are not returned.  They obviously have no grasp of how the system works and hope those with such insinuations do not have a clue either.  Good thing election officials don't count missing ballots..only the ones that are returned with proper signatures and postage. Also, due to the Secretary of State's electronic list of voters, if anyone tries to vote in person plus mail-in, in Colorado the mail-in vote is canceled and the in-person vote is counted...thanks to the immediate and efficient miracle of electronics and communication with the Secretary of State's computers.
Want to ensure integrity in our elections?  The answer is to demand at least that all voting has a preserved paper trail to get a judicially supervised recount base on something that cannot be hacked. Colorado has had mail-in ballots..all paper..since 2013.. We can be sure that if there is any hanky panky...we can prove it. The answer is do not fall with the GOP's and Trump's bull about fraud in paper ballots. They have demagogued that one to death without any substantial proof. Election and voting fraud protection relies on good systems. What voting fraud cases that have been found was not in casting the ballot by mail but in the registration of voters. Colorado has just taken a step to keep registered voter addresses and new voter records updated is an enhancement to motor-voter laws. Per Colorado Public Radio 5/22/20:
"Colorado’s voter registration system is now a little more automatic. When U.S. citizens interact with the state DMV, their information will be used automatically to register them to vote, or update their registration information. Newly registered voters will get a letter after the fact asking if they want to affiliate with a party, or cancel their registration."
. In this time of COVID-19, mail-in voting is one way for voters to avoid social contact. There is also a good reason for mail-in voting. It is a way to avoid last-minute voter suppression efforts. It also takes a different strategy to get out the vote. Pictures of voters in one of the most backward states Wisconsin had to risk lives and stand in chilling rain to vote. Voters should not have to risk lives to vote in person. Purple Colorado has had mail-in ballots for years and its ruby red neighbor Utah also uses mail-in ballots. Some studies show that there is no partisan advantage but turnout does increase.

Fear of catching the virus could be a political weapon, too. It is not beyond imagination that after it is too late to get a ballot mailed to voters, some politicians could hype news of a spike in the virus infections in their area in order to scare away in-person voters. You can pretty well assume the GOP voters are more determined and reliable voters than Democrats. That could make the difference in a close vote. This does not take much imagination since it was tried in the recent Wisconsin vote (9% of votes are mail-in; the rest are in-person election day. ) At stake was the state supreme court chief justice, a Republican. Because of COVID and lack of poll staff, the vote places were very few. COVID fear was high. Voters had to risk COVID-19 to line up for hours to vote. The GOP strategy failed thanks to the efforts of Democrats anticipating it and doubling down on getting out the vote. There may have been even greater reasons for turnout: voter backfire to GOP tactics to make it hard to vote. The GOP judge lost the election. It is possible to beat the dirty trick with extra GOTV efforts.
There are some defensive techniques those running GOTV (get out the vote) efforts could use to ward off more glitches, problems, and subversion of the system. Advocacy and strategizing should begin now at the state level to pressure and counter secretaries of state and governors who see mail-in ballots their party's or candidates' enemies. The earlier absentee ballots get mailed to voters and the easier and closer to closing polls they can be returned are key to scotch last-minute vote suppressing scare tactics.

All states permit absentee voting even if they do not use mail-in ballots as the primary method. However, some states require written excuses and reasons for even requesting an absentee ballot. Other states put barriers that require ID/s, witnesses, or other methods to discourage voting. In Colorado mail-in ballots can be dropped off at convenient spots.. Another problem is younger, less experienced, and English as a second language, voters who may make errors that cause their ballots to be rejected by their County clerk.

I served as an election commissioner in Denver for over 7 years as part of my duty as Clerk and Recorder..1983-91. We used the old New York lever machines that left a paper trail and in every step of the process, both a Democrat and a Republican double-checked each other. Computers were a new thing then, but we rejected them because they could have been easily hacked.,.thinking that maybe someday they would be more secure. They are not in 2020, at least in tallying the vote. I am satisfied that having signatures checked by both D and R officials, running election registration against Social Security data files to discover who is still alive, is as reassuring as you can get. They do that in Colorado. That Russians were able to hack into election systems in all 50 states in 2016 is troubling...but having actual mail-in ballots in hand for scrutiny after the elections is as foolproof as you can get. There will always be crooked fools who try, but if the system set up as it has been for years in Colorado leaves an evidence trail in actual ballots, then that is the best evidence there is if an election result is challenged. That is the best deterrent to election fraud there is.  Why? Systems are in place, per this article. 
One Facebook skeptic said his vote was not connected to the internet, so how could it be hacked? It sounds as if the person had no clue of how the systems work, particularly in Colorado. My answer:
Your vote was indeed hooked up to the internet after being tallied by the county clerk. The voting results are tallied first at the county level using scanners (or manual if really small counties) and transmitted electronically (that means an internet that is a specially secured system) to in the state Secretary of State OFfice as also are registration records. The Russians may not be able to mess around with the local machines per county within the county, but what they can do is mess up registration lists and create havoc at the state level on election the Secretary of State receives the transmissions from the county clerks and tallied statewide. throwing a close election into chaos. Every single secretary of state systems was hacked in 2016, though that may have been a practice run. The only way to prosecute or right the wrong is to have paper trails and mail-in ballots are the ultimate ones. "

How secure are our elections nationwide? Fraud everywhere... claims the Trump folks.
It is not because they found any proof of widespread voter fraud already.  Trump set up a partisan dominated commission to find it.  They couldn't so it was disbanded:
Now there is a sense of urgency because state elections officials need to make changes soon to be ready for November.  There are two reasons for urgency:  predictions that by November a second wave of COVID-19 in the fall will mean all voters required to appear in person to vote will be risking their lives and the Russians are ready to create chaos to damage any trust in our kind of democracy.

     Mail-in ballots have advantages over electronic voting methods because they cannot be hacked by Russians and the paper trail they leave makes prosecution of irregularities easier. In  2016 Russians were able to hack into state election systems, including an attempt to penetrate Colorado's registration system and in 2018 fear arose they could corrupt the voter lists and even change election results. Colorado's mail-in ballot system was cited as immune to bad actors changing results because they could not hack paper ballots and the paper trail of fraud could be more easily traced to perpetrators. There is a defeatest attitude that any elections in November using any system will have no integrity:
if you are so sure November elections will have no long as Trump invites the Russians in, you are correct. So long as paper trials of voting are not preserved, you are correct. So long as we need democracy instead of military bloody coups, we need to be ready to call a fraud a fraud...and only paper ballots will be able to do it. The Russian's purpose: to destroy a democracy, and if we want one that reflects the will of the voters, we had better be able to stop them. In Russia's mindset, our weakness is their strength. So we need to make sure November elections have integrity if we care about having a democracy.

Campaigns to attack mail-in voting are not new GOP tactics.
Well, now we know if you did not guess it before. Republicans have blatantly admitted they do not want to make it easier for you to vote because making it easier would hurt Republican election chances.   There is a line of thought permeating the GOP: The fewer certain kinds of people vote, the better it is for Republicans.  They may be fooling themselves.  538 did a very thorough analysis and found it really did not make any difference.

Voter suppression tactics in their toolbox are aimed at making it more difficult for minorities, young voters, rural,  and the working poor to vote.  The issue was dramatized recently with pictures of voters in Wisconsin risking their lives in the middle of the pandemic to vote. This was thanks to a Republican  US Supreme Court majority, a GOP dominated state supreme court, and the GOP dominated state legislature which required the in-person vote to go on in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic and which sabotaged mail-in balloting as an alternative. Now the president refuses to sign legislation to provide funding to help the deficit of the US postal service caused by  COVID-19 and less business. For years the GOP has been trying to privatize the US Mail. While the US postal service has been moved to a stand-alone enterprise operation, the administration of the USPS is not in the control of a president and his cronies. That independence is important and if the purpose of Trump is to starve the postal service into being run by some contracted private company, imagine what opportunity that would present for some ballot return tinkering or delaying it by some corrupt president in the future.
     The reason the GOP is fighting the funding of mail-in voting being included in the bills providing pandemic relief is quite clear and public. Said Donald Trump in supporting  a Democratic proposal to fund  mail-in voting nationwide as part of the virus bailout, if Democrats had their way "republicans would never be elected.' " The Georgia House speaker, Republican David Ralston, opined that an expansion of absentee voting would be "extremely devastating to Republican conservatives in Georgia."  Those who could not get to polling places due to work demand or lack of mobility could vote more easily and they believe that would be bad for their candidates. Now, in mostly red states, the attempt is to make it harder to register, opposing motor-voter laws allowing you to register when getting a drivers license, purging registration lists of those who failed to vote in more recent prior elections, reducing time and place of polling locations to make voting more inconvenient,  requiring an official picture ID even for those who do not drive a car, and any other number of voter suppression acts.  Most of these laws just make it less convenient to vote, especially poorer, less mobile and more rural African American voters and have very little to do with fraud. The goal of most of these measures is to suppress the turnout of those they suppose will oppose them.  Per 538, mail-in ballots are only one part of the process and do not make much difference in the partisan divide.  However, poor, younger voters may make more errors and have their ballots rejected.  Republicans do a better job of educating their voters about the mechanics of mail-in votes,  an observation which Democrats might want to address.
     The GOP's rationale is if you make it easier to vote by mail, there would be more fraud.  Ironically, the two most recent cases of fraud were perpetrated by GOP operatives or in ruby-red states, in North Carolina and  2008 in Utah. In Utah recently parents were signing for youth away on missions and in 2008, registration of voters was an instance that ended in prosecution. Vote in person or by mail is very rare with less than 500 cases in billions of votes. The conservative Heritage Foundation has documented all cases in all 50 states of proven election fraud dated at least back to 2004 and reported 1088 of them. 1088 in 16 years! In fact, a commission appointed by Trump to find the fraudulent votes he claimed were in the thousands in 2016 was disbanded because they could not find widespread fraud. Most center around forgeries of names of elderly, but there are a wide variety of kinds of fraud, including voter registration fraud. They did not identify the perpetrators by party affiliation or ethnicity/race. Five states have easy absentee balloting and primarily use mail-in ballots and all states use some form of absentee voting.  Colorado is one of the states that use mail-in balloting in all of the elections phased in since 2013. Fraud has not been an issue. Per the Heritage Foundation, I counted 3 instances of voter fraud convictions since 2013, one of which had to do with registration, not voting. By the way, our troops vote by mail, too.
Non-profit, nonpartisan Fact called Trump's claim, that mail-in ballots are fraudulent, false and exaggerated.
"President Donald Trump continues to add false and exaggerated statements to his already lengthy list of bogus voter fraud claims.
There is no evidence to back up Trump’s blanket claim that “mailed ballots are corrupt.” Voting experts say the president is exaggerating when he says mail ballots are “fraudulent in many cases.” While the instances of voter fraud via mail-in or absentee ballots are more common than in-person voting fraud, the number of known cases is relatively rare. Trump also falsely claimed that California reached a settlement with Judicial Watch in which the state “agree[d] that a million people should not have voted.” California and Los Angeles County agreed to remove inactive voters from their voter rolls per federal law. But there’s no evidence any of them voted, fraudulently or otherwise. And as he has in the past, Trump claimed there’s “a lot of fraudulent voting going on in this country.” Experts say voter fraud is rare."  Why? Systems are in place, per this article.
      Wisconsin, not a southern state, is a sad case when it comes to damaging a representative democracy by political and partisan tricks. Trump now has a majority in the US Supreme Court with his recent appointees and he just won a victory regarding an election in Wisconsin.  The governor wanted to delay the vote on Tuesday, April 8, for the presidential and state Supreme Court, and local government races because  Coronavirus would make voting in person as required dangerous to the health of voters. Absentee votes could suffice. The Republican-dominated legislature and their state Supreme Court wanted the election to go on in-person even though absentee ballots would not arrive on time for voters to return them to be counted.  In short, thousands of voters who feared to vote in person in the few polling places left open were denied their ability to vote. At stake was the re-election of the Republican State Supreme court chief justice and the greater the turnout, the more likely that that domination would be at risk, they feared. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg warned in dissent that the conservative majority's ruling "will result in massive disenfranchisement". Slate's Mark Joseph Stern wrote that the high court's ruling "will nullify the votes of citizens who mailed in their ballots late—not because they forgot, but because they did not receive ballots until after Election Day due to the coronavirus pandemic."  Stern just fingered the ultimate voter catch 22. Sure, you can vote by mail, but you won't get your ballots in time to mail them back.
In a twist of political justice,  brave souls turned out to vote in spite of the danger of coronavirus, and the majority.voted against the GOP Supreme Court candidate, who also had Trump's endorsement.
      Wisconsin is already a poster child for anti-democracy election practices and their legislative body is one of the worst examples of political gerrymandering in the US, giving the GOP an overwhelming advantage while they represent less than 50% of the voters. Trump's compliant  US Supreme Court majority last year had already ruled they could not intervene in Wisconsin's political gerrymandering which in effect permitted one of the most extreme cases of distortion of representative government in the US. In 2012 Republicans had gained 60.6% of the seats in the State Assembly, despite receiving only 48.6% of the statewide vote...all by drawing election districts in a way that benefited them.   The thesis: millions of mail in ballots went missing.
Missing does not mean there is fraud...the implications of this conservative web site.  It just means someone lost it, did not return it for many reasons, or preferred to vote in person. The harvesting of nursing home votes takes place everywhere since those are permitted in every state even when mail-in votes are the main method. I spent over 7 years as a Denver Election Commissioner with some experience with fraud. The most infamous harvesting of them in recent years was conducted by Republicans.,   Most of it concerns forged signatures on registration and voting documents which could and should be detected by the elections officials paying attention to the comparison of signatures with those on file. What needs to be done is up to the county clerks to keep the information of registered voters on file and updated.  There are ways to accomplish this such as sending out mailings first-class to registered voters that do not contain ballots in advance..such as informational info of where and how to vote. It costs money but that is the cost of liberty 2012 elections,
Missing does not mean there is a fraud...the implications of this conservative web site.  It just means someone lost it, did not return it for many reasons, or preferred to vote in person. The harvesting of nursing home votes takes place everywhere since those are permitted in every state even when mail-in votes are the main rule. More problems are caused in the registration process than in actually voting..I spent 7years as a Denver Election Commissioner with some experience with fraud. The most infamous harvesting of them in recent years was conducted by Republicans.,   Most of it concerns forged signatures on registration and voting documents which could and should be detected by the elections officials paying attention to the comparison of signatures with those on file. What needs to be done is up to the county clerks to keep the information of registered voters on file and updated.  There are ways to accomplish this such as sending out mailings first-class to registered voters that do not contain ballots in advance..such as informational info of where and how to vote. It costs money but that is the cost of liberty

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Trump v Biden on racism: a monumental false equivalency

FOX with glee tried to capitalize on a "cavalier" joking statement Biden made in an attempt to weaken the support of Biden by his most ardent supporters, African Americans.. Watching MSNBC over the holiday, it is clear FOX's message found an echo chamber among MSNBC pundits, looping Biden's misspeak over and over again. I will not question the sincerity of the MSNBC pundits because I think they were indeed sincere in their criticism of Biden. I do react in mock amazement,
that FOX, the platform for the President's racism and amplifiers of him, all of a sudden were pointing fingers at Biden, with a sudden conversion by its pundits as a defender of civil rights. A president is one  who calls torch-carrying white nationalists waiving symbols of the KKK and neo-nazism " very fine people", led public opinion that Obama was born in Kenya so he was not a legitimate president, and kept expressing his belief five young black men were guilty of the murder of a young white woman even after they were exonerated by DNA evidence,. Years before he got into legal trouble earlier for discriminatory policies in his rental properties. The message FOX promoted was that Trump was no more a racist than Joe Biden. It is a monumental false equivalency. Biden apologized for the comment when he realized how the joke was interpreted. Yes, he has over the years evolved to become even more a defender of anti-racist public policy, including revising and addressing the unintended consequences of a crime bill he had supported., President Trump has not evolved,. He can directly attribute his rise to political prominence resulting in his election on his advocacy birtherism and the guilt of the Central Park Five. He never believes he is wrong and never apologizes for it, and his attitudes to minorities never evolved. unlike Joe Biden..

Joe Biden made waves Friday when he said that black voters who don’t vote for him “ain’t black,” but it was hardly the first time the 77-year-old has made a racially charged remark.