Tuesday, August 31, 2021

A special posting on comparisons with Nazi Germany

  A Facebook comment by a friend of the Muftic Forum, Krzysztof Rafacz. objecting to a meme comparing Biden with Nazi Germany, was so very thoughtful,  it is worthy of more than just a thumb's up. 

Krzysztof Rafacz
Comment on a meme posted by Eric R

Out of all these memes this one is almost offensive in how wrong it is. I don’t think you understand just how badly the Jewish people were persecuted during that time. People that were German or Aryan were allowed to do all of those things, they just forbade Jews from it. I posted links at the bottom that debunk everything.
Schools: They threw out all of the books as soon as Hitler took power. Changed the curriculum that everything was centered around Germans being the greatest, worship Hitler, and that Jews were evil. Nothing like that is happening today. In fact, the federal government doesn’t oversee what should be taught in schools, that’s left to local and state governments.
Healthcare: They had a private insurance system much like we always had. The only difference is that when Hitler took power, he forced doctors into performing euthanasia and that they refuse to help Jewish people.
Guns: The Nazis loosened all of their gun laws except for Jews. Meaning anyone could have a gun if they wanted except the Jews.
Taxes: Before the war, the only taxes that were raised were on the Jews to take away their wealth. It wasn’t just for the rich, it was for them all. During the war, they raised taxes on everyone to fund the war. The US did that too. So did every country to fund the war.
Major industries: This also falls under Blaming Capitalism: They privatized every single industry. They were purely capitalists. They made deals under threats and providing slave labor to lower costs. They boycotted businesses owned by Jews and reinforced competing businesses that were owned by Germans.
Abortion: Hitler wanted German women to have kids, tons of kids. For them, he was anti-abortion. For Jewish women, he was very pro abortion. He believed not another Jewish child should be born. No one is forcing women to have abortions. Being pro-choice isn’t pro-abortion.
Race and Identity: This one, I don’t really know how to compare. Hitler wanted to get rid of this Jewish race. He believed Germans were superior. How are Democrats trying to do that? They don’t believe one race is better than another, they believe they’re all equal.
Socialist: Hitler hijacked the name of a political group with socialism in its name because before he rose to power, it was very popular. Do you know who he first started rounding up and sending to concentration camps? It was people who called themselves socialists or communists. Way before he wrangled up Jews, he knew he had to get rid of his political opponents. Those were the socialists. WWII wouldn’t have been won if it weren’t for the communists in Russian. So why would Hitler be fighting against people he agrees with and locking them up.
Please, for the love of everything, do not get your information from memes.
Education in Nazi Germany
Education in Nazi Germany

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Lessons learned in US withdrawal from Afghanistan so far

The worst-case scenario happened, but at least the military could respond in a day because they were ready and prepared in the neighborhood. The fat lady has not sung. I am watching  how the evacuation and extraction of Americans and our allies are going. After that first awful day, the US military got their act together. The last war we lost...Vietnam...after the initial helicopter airlifts, we did nothing. Let us hope we do better this time...and just stay out of wars we cannot win in the future.

Update: 8/28/2021

 Sometimes public policy based upon popular opinion has unanticipated bad consequences. Public opinion has been in favor of ending the war for some time.   Viet Nam should have been a warning. I think that the problem is that Trump did not have much of an exit plan or a chance to develop one and I think that Biden had not foreseen that more than American citizens would be airlifted...and maybe a few SIVs already granted. He did change gears to expand the airlift to over 100,000 of those not in those original plans. For that he gets credit. The extra four months to get people out he negotiated with the Taliban were nearly wasted in red tape and in agreeing with the Taliban not to start a panic rush for the door that would turn into a stampede. The stampede happened anyway. That is the buck that stops on Biden's desk.

 We lost the war as did the Russians before us to a barbaric, radically extreme religious sect in a country that is mostly tribal. with their tribal chiefs willing and able to take bribes to join whichever side will benefit their tribe. The concept of Afghan as a nation is not where their loyalty lies. Of the 4 presidents involved with the Afghan war, only one was wise enough to see the writing on the wall.  It was Biden, who as vice president in Obama’s White House n 2009 opposed continuing the war and doing nation-building

Bloodshed by the victors and a sense of betrayal by Afghans who cast their fate with a losing side can be expected. That is what happens when promises are made by prior administrations and the ball is thrown to the next administration to execute. That Biden is even trying to rescue those Afghans who helped US forces and NGOs who tried to bring society into accepted modern norms is far different than the way we left Vietnam. We did, however, rescue the Hmong, the Vietnamese mountain tribe who were our allies, and Denver has a large population of them as do other parts of the US. One of the Hmong refugee's children just brought the US a gold medal from Tokyo in women's gymnastics. Trump had no plans to rescue anyone from Afghanistan...and it was his team who negotiated our terms of surrender. I am waiting to see how many of those who were not interpreters Biden will rescue. The operation is not over and Biden plans to ignore the August 31 deadline he set. He set priorities to rescue US citizens and those with special visas (interpreters) next, then those who aided charitable and humanitarian non-profits. I cannot quarrel with his priorities. Can you? Trump's deadline was in May. 

Who Are the Taliban, and What Do They Want? - The New York Times (nytimes.com)

The NYTimes  article is helpful if you can get around the paywall.

To understand my particular interest and to get my take on the tribal nature of Afghanistan, I posted this on Facebook on August 23. 2021  as reports of tribes in the northern part of Afghanistan are showing resistance to the Taliban takeover in the past 30 days.  I began writing about that country early in 2008 when I began a website and began writing for the Sky Hi News.  My earliest columns are posted there.www.mufticforum.com   I have had a hands-on relationship with Bosnia since my college days in 1959 and countries with ethnic conflicts. At Northwestern I spent my senior year on the Balkans and the conflict with traditional Muslim societies coming to grips with Western influences.

August 23, 2021 Interesting to follow. Not so simple. This is an interesting understanding of Afghanistan. The northern tribes that these are have been fighting the Taliban for years. When the US went in after 9/11 they came in from the north with their help. The mujahideen defeated the Russians. The Taliban is mostly from the south and belongs to the Pashtun ethnic group in the south with and the Kandahar area.. The post 9/11 Taliban when defeated were supported and gave refuge with and by Pakistan. There is also a complication that those of Iranian background inhabit parts of the central part of Afghanistan...Shiia. The Taliban is rooted in the Sunni branch of Islam. The Taliban's current rise is heavily supported, it appears, by Pakistan. The views I expressed are based on two things: themufticforum.com which explains why I have followed this so closely and the person who educated me about Afghanistan a US operative and DU professor who was there before 9/11 http://jfrasche.blogspot.com/ I also helped the Colorado School of Mines host some Pashtun women and spent time with them....as part of my activities with the Institute of Internaitonal Education

Saturday, August 14, 2021

A strange thing is happening in the GOP. They are denying they are racist

Updated: 9/6/21 to reflect a discussion of critical race theory.

A strange thing is happening in the GOP. Major leaders are planning a public campaign to deny they are racist. The message is a garbled one, denying racism exists in America while supporting laws and policies to suppress gains in civil and voting rights of racial minorities.  At a recent conference, some carried the message farther:  racism is not a family value.‘America is not racist’ becomes a GOP 2024 mantra - POLITICO  It is yet to be seen whether this signifies a serious rift between those appearing to be moderates and those who see value in beating racial drums in the GOP  

Among the GOP's recent talking point campaigns has been a cooked-up war against a red herring, "critical race theory",  about how the history of slavery and civil rights are taught in schools.  Many of us supporting civil rights, including me, had never heard of the term or much less considered or advocated"critical race theory." I am one who believes in fairness as a fundamental value worthy to support..  Both institutions and society reflect and feed each other, are constantly changing, and are shaped by many forces, including experience,  custom, and culture.    When nearly all people believe they are treated fairly, democracy. and economic and social stability thrive. Full stop. 

 I looked for a neutral definition of "critical race theory"  and found clarity in the Encyclopedia Britannica.  .critical race theory | Definition, Principles, & Facts | Britannica" intellectual movement and loosely organized framework of legal analysis based on the premise that race is not a natural, biologically grounded feature of physically distinct subgroups of human beings but a socially constructed (culturally invented) category that is used to oppress and exploit people of colour. Critical race theorists hold that the law and legal institutions in the United States are inherently racist insofar as they function to create and maintain social, economic, and political inequalities between whites and nonwhites, especially African Americans."

 I find critical race theory simplistic and lopsided.  Institutions are not the sole cause of racism, but are reflective of many factors and can contribute to mitigate or exacerbate  No doubt my views are shaped by growing up in one of the most racist societies in America, eastern Oklahoma,  student days in post-war Berlin, and close family connections to Bosnia, where there was a history of demagogues exploiting existing social and religious hatreds to rise to power, and then to shape the official and unofficial acting out and institutionalizing of their policies.  

 Those Republicans who resent being called racist are often the same who want to downplay the dark history the African American experience in schools and in the military. Those teaching about affirmative action denied they were teaching the so-called critical race theory or exaggerating this history of America's treatment of racial minorities and see the value in creating a better understanding between the races., 

 This newest push in the GOP  is after years of their southern strategy to gain staunch political support among the former slave states in the wake of the civil rights movement and the passage of the 1964 civil rights act led by a Democrat, President Johnson. The former Dixiecrat states flipped to Republicans in subsequent elections and the anti-slavery party of Lincoln became the party of voter suppression. and rolling back civil rights gains. 

 The GOP has dominated southern states since then, reaching its high point with the election of Donald Trump. Trump's campaign rally oratory contained allusions to racist tropes and "dog whistles".    He gained his political notoriety as a birther to claim Obama was not a legitimate president because he was born in Kenya (never proved and Obama had to "show us his papers" and proof of Hawaiian birth)... He launched his campaign for president by calling Central American migrants rapists and murderers. While president, he patted white nationalists on the back as "fine people" as they were waving the Confederate flag or its derivatives in Charlottesville. It became an open season to vilify the personal and physical attributes of those they feared or disdained. One of the nastiest I saw depicted a cartoonish, evil-looking Michelle Obama.  Others promoting the "big lie" of Trump's attempt to overturn the 2020 election results base on unproven claims of fraud, depicted photoshopped memes showing only black people looking like they were committing some sort of election fraud and conflating racism and fear of loss of institutional power.  Since then, Georgia,  and Texas have enacted draconian laws, copycatted by other red-state legislatures,  aimed at making it harder for those they saw as opposition voters, mostly African Americans, to make it to the polls, and putting party hacks in charge of counting votes. Some of these even make it possible for GOP party-dominated state legislatures to ignore the popular vote for president when they are on the losing side and send their party representatives to the electoral college instead. The GOP's strategy to turn the Supreme Court into a pro-life, body has been successful so that body has become more culturally conservative. The Court can no longer be counted on to protect gains in both civil and women's rights made in the past 50 years.s. We will soon see if the two issues in the "cultural wars" have similar outcomes as challenges to their constitutionality come before the Supreme Court. ...

There are political implications of this for 2022 and 2024. Some in the  GOP attending the conference must have been struck on the road to Damascus that being a supporter of white nationalism is no longer a cool thing or a good election strategy    Biden significantly increased support from independent voters over Trump's 2016 record per a recent Pew Center analysis. A meme posted recently tried to turn the tables on history claiming that Obama was the cause of racism in this country because he is the one that divided us. What? For just being African American?  I have long thought that the current "culture wars" were a backlash to him personally.  

 On one hand, I welcome this realization among some Republicans that being racist is not a GOP value, or a family or Christian value, for that matter. At least it is some acknowledgment that being called a racist is also not a good thing. This could bring an element of peace to this land so full of hate if it is just more than changing messaging.  On the other hand, let us also watch what Republicans are doing in their legislative bodies and with voter suppression tactics.  That they will ever convince those who are the target of racism the GOP has seen the light is doubtful (80% of African Americans self-identified themselves as Democrats in 2020 per a Princeton research publication), but it might lure those who would like to think a vote for the GOP is no longer an indication of the bad character of a racist.,  Those in the GOP can begin by laying off vicious Facebook posts that photoshop minorities into scary figures doing evil things. Part of this revision should be to condemn what Donald Trump did and to acknowledge that he made the racial divide much worse by hitching his wagon to racism and praising racists and white nationalism to rise to power.   

 . To be a better country, we need to know what, why, and how to improve and achieve the promises of our country.   From the Preamble to the Constitution: "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".  Those who were not a party or included at the time of the writing of this in 1787 have become the posterity.

What is Critical Race Theory? A Brief History Explained - The New York Times (nytimes.com)

critical race theory | Definition, Principles, & Facts | Britannica

Why are Blacks Democrats? | Princeton University Press

Behind Biden’s 2020 Victory | Pew Research Center

‘America is not racist’ becomes a GOP 2024 mantra - POLITICO

Sunday, August 8, 2021

How the USA could become a banana republic

 In Central America there is a role model of bad governance we have tagged as banana republics, led by dictators and their cronies, enriching themselves while ignoring the needs of their citizens.   Those countries continue in power with inept, corrupt autocratic governance. . Military coups and violent revolutions are how regime change usually happens in such dictatorships, We ourselves came closer to becoming a banana republic within the past year in retrospect as more and more evidence of what happened emerges from both House hearings and recent books .  President Trump tried to overthrow the 2020 election so he could continue a second term.  These attempts may have failed, but they are characteristic of a wannabe dictator and there is no reason to believe that given the chance to be president again, he could become closer to achieving the power of the rule of a person instead of the rule of law.. A second term would have given him the time and ability to abuse his powers to achieve control of all three branches of government.  He would have the time and opportunity to replace the federal courts and the Justice Department with those willing to make judgment calls he favors.  If he controls both houses of Congress as well, the end of democracy as we know it, rule by the majority with rights protecting the minority, and any checks and balances on executive power, is dead.

Update 10/8Subpoenas have been issued to those key Trump figures who were in the room where it happened by the bi-partisan House Committee looking into the events of January 6, 2021. This will delay much as the subpoenas are fought in court.  However, others did testify in the Hearings to give more credence to the investigative reporting by Bob Woodward and  Robert Costa revealed in their recent book. 'Peril' Review: Bob Woodward's New Book Uncovers The Trump Era's Final Moments : NPR  For an updated post of how the US almost became a banana republic, go to the 10/8/posting with that title. https://mufticforumblog.blogspot.com/2021/10/how-us-almost-became-banana-republic.html

 The violent overthrow of democratically elected governments is against the laws of all democracies because the right to protest and to change leaders with the ballot box is the peaceful alternative that is provided to dissidents as their civil rights are protected.   The violent takeover of governments,, however, is being openly supported by a sizeable number of the GOP..  Now, fully one-half of those who identify themselves as Republicans approve or do not care if tools are used to defy constitutional law and use violence to achieve their political goals.  Most Republicans Say Force May Be Required to Save 'Traditional' America: Poll (businessinsider.com. Fortunately for American democracy, these banana Republicans,  approving of autocracy also, are currently about 26% of the total electorate per a recent Morning Consult poll.26% of Americans Are Highly 'Right-Wing Authoritarian,' New Poll Finds (businessinsider.com)

This is what we know. A president attempted to overturn an election he lost by filing lawsuits claiming enough voter fraud to explain why he should serve a second term..While the battle cry he used to turn over the results of the 2020 election was "stop the steal" based on what he had been told was a lie ) he lost because of voter fraud) the thief was him who tried to overturn the election results. He was told by his own attorney general their own investigations found no proof of widespread fraud that would have changed the election outcome, Trump persisted knowing this.  First, he tried with lawsuits.  All such suits were thrown out of courts by 60 judges of all political stripes for lack of evidence. Update  10/8/21 Next, he tried to put in a loyalist to head the Justice Department to make it look like the allegations of voter fraud by investigating them look credible, but the entire brass of the DOJ threatened to resign.  Failing that, an attorney, John Eastman, then laid out a blueprint for how Trump could get his second term in spite of the election results, including conspiring with Vice President Pence to decertify the electoral vote count and throw the election into the House that gave one state one vote, assuring the decertifying of election and upholding Trump's second term.READ Trump lawyer's memo on a six-step plan for Pence to overturn the election - CNNPolitics. Pence, after considering that, told the president on January 5 he could not do it, even when Trump called him "no longer his friend".Pence Said to Have Told Trump He Lacks Power to Change Election Result - The New York Times (nytimes.com) The riot was supposed to give Pence the guts to make the decertifying call.  .  ,  Trump in a "stop the steal rally" in advance of the riot at the Capitol,   inspired a mob to terrify legislators into not certifying the election of his opponent. The attempt, too, failed. The election of Joe Biden was certified the night of January 6. Other efforts to upend the democratic process were tried and failed, including threatening state election officials "to go out and find" more votes for him..That conversation was recorded on tape.. We are hearing allegations by witnesses  Trump tried to enlist the active military to put down opposition demonstrators, a plan thwarted by the Joint Chiefs.

 These attempts may have failed, but they are characteristic of a wannabe dictator and there is no reason to believe that given the chance to be president again, he could become closer to achieving the power of the rule of a person instead of the rule of law.

  Trump pressure campaign: Durbin report details DOJ, White House meeting - The Washington Post    MUFTIC FORUM BLOG: Why General Milley is emerging as a hero who saved democracy

Interviews with former Justice Department officials provide new details on Trump efforts to undermine election results - CNNPolitics

MUFTIC FORUM BLOG: Trump's attempted coup by court has gone down in flames, as did the reputation of the GOP



 Usually, such coups, gradual or abrupt, peaceful or violent, changing governance from democracy to autocracy, are committed by an existing majority.  Their motivations can be racial, ethnic,  ideological, power-hunger, or financial., They consolidate power by denying rights and oppressing any challengers. Civil and human rights and means of communication and demonstrations of opposition to the ruling power are suppressed.

There is no such guarantee that those wishfully wanting an autocracy even if it would take violence or defiance of the Constitution, will be in the minority forever. These autocrats however are using the very tools they want to destroy if they got in power to advocate for their governance preference., free access to media, and protection of their civil rights to redress grievances peacefully. The history of the last century is of onetime existing western democracies taken over by one or a few actors slowly and step by step.  Rarely was there violence or a military coup.   Erdogan of Turkey's rise to a dictator is a classic example of how he fired those who were not loyal and replaced them with loyalists in the military and the judiciary. It takes time for this to happen successfully. That is one reason our own most recent wannabe autocrat failed. Trump had only four years in which to do gain control of the military, the Department of Justice, and the federal judiciary, by stuffing them with more yes men appointees   Imagine the greater success  Trump would have had another four years to gain greater control of these institutions... The leaders of those institutions held their ground and played a major role in blocking Trump's ambitions in 2020-2021,  believing their oath was to the Consitution and not to a president.   The hallmark of autocracy is that the pledge of loyalty is to the dear leader, not to any rule of law, such as the Consitution and the laws that flow from it.   

  Once hush hush agendas to establish an autocracy are now being spoken openly. Such views used to be called anti-American and dismissed as held by fringes.  . Now a  form of autocratic governance, the opposite of the kind of democracy we have had for 240 years, is even being promoted by prime-time news show talker, Tucker Carlson. Carlson is holding up the newest autocrat in Europe, Viktor Orban of Hungary, as a model Orban now controls 90% of Hungarian media and disdains "liberal democracy" that protects freedom of the press and gives civil rights to minorities. He has done this in the name of "Christianity" and "replacement" theories with ethnically pure Hungarian Christians, who are already overwhelmingly the majority of the existing population. How Tucker Carlson and the far right embraced Hungary’s authoritarian leader | Fox News | The Guardian  

 In a mammoth lack of understanding and with ignorance of  American history, those supporting such notions are wrapping themselves in American flags and calling themselves patriots restoring"traditional" democracy. There is nothing "traditional" about their interpretation of the Revolution not do their actions resemble what happened in 1776.  A tyrannical government of a King was exactly what the 1776 patriots revolted against. They instead embraced a new concept of democracy with governance determined through the ballot box by citizens and they constructed a Constitution in 1787 with a carefully orchestrated peaceful transition of power to the newly elected. Those using 1776 fighters of the American revolution to justify violence on January 6  are also ignorant of how the revolution was fought. It was not by rioters, but with contributions of regulated militias supplied by the 13 colonies under their authority and led by General Washington. Those claiming the election was stolen to justify their attempt to install Trump for a second term have failed to provide evidence of enough widespread election fraud and every single suit filed by Trump supporters has failed. The Trumpist financed "audit" in Arizona folded up its tent and quietly ended recently. This summer a federal judge dismissed a Trump-inspired class-action suit claiming election fraud as without evidence, frivolous, and "fantastical", ruling the attorneys who brought the suit had to pay millions to the extensively named defendants for their legal fees.

What can be done to prevent an American banana republic is not yet clear. Perhaps some laws and regulations may emerge but those bent on non democratic regime change have already indicated they would just ignore laws.  In the long run, it is up to those who understand the value of the kind of democracy we have had feel it is important enough to stand up and be counted to keep those anti-democracy views in a minority. We have a democracy, but only its people can keep it.


In response to the posting of the above, a Trump supporter responded that the real dictator was Biden and pointed to what they saw was his censoring the press and knocking Trump off of Facebook and Twitter. The old trope was repeated that Biden would take "my guns away".  The Trrum supportert was challenged to provide quotes of what Biden said on these issues, but could not produce them. Instead, he said, look what he has done. If that is the standard, then indeed, we will look at what Biden has done . Biden is now in office. FOX and Newsmax are still on the air. No one censored them. Biden did not yank Trump off Facebook and Twitter. The owners of those social sites did because of Trump's lies. Laws regarding gun ownership by private citizens are far more restrictive in other western democracies, but that does not  a criterion of whether they are dictatorships or not.. I still have my gun and everyone I know who has them legally still has them. Biden has not even attempted to support legislation that would do that. He has supported the law enforcement crackdown on gunrunners and urban violence.. 


Here is why I feel so strongly we should do everything to keep our  kind of  democracy as our form o governance  .I have seen it all in my lifetime of over 80 years. I lived in the burned-out, ruined aftermath of Hitler's fascism, the rise of the "dictatorship of the proletariat" which in reality was a repressive dictatorship by one strong man  Only sources of news permitted were government-approved. Individual civil rights and the ability to protest ended with opposition leaders sent to gulags or executed.  Show trials with judges loyal to their dear leader prevailed.  Even in Russia and Belarus today, poison and prison are the fate of those rallying demonstrations against the governments. My relatives by marriage barely survived the ethnic cleansing wars in the Balkans where tribalism resulted in 300 thousand victims in a population similar to current Colorado. It was famous for the mass killings of one ethnic group by another. I watched\ post-world war II   countries that emerged from communism and fascism with democratic forms of government resembling what we still call American democracy. I married a refugee from communism and. with frequent visits to his former country, I watched the transformation of the country he fled to become a democracy and their citizens prospered as members of the European Union and NATO.  This is the good news. The bad news is that all of these European countries have active fascist movements of large minorities who want to turn back the clock. They are enabled by the very form of government they want to destroy, free press, open and free elections, and the ability to assemble in protests. Sadly,  Hungary, a  Russian satellite that had embraced western democracy regressed to autocracy in the cause of racial purity as a reaction to middle Eastern refugees knocking on their doors. 

MUFTIC FORUM BLOG: Why General Milley is emerging as a hero who saved democracy

Interviews with former Justice Department officials provide new details on Trump efforts to undermine election results - CNNPolitics

Opinion | Our constitutional crisis is already here - The Washington Post

Monday, August 2, 2021

Stupid political tricks by both the left and the right

 It is easy to be a Monday morning quarterback, so with that mea culpa, we can look back over the past couple of years and see how strategies not only failed, but resulted in good intenders shooting themselves in their own feet with unforced errors,  being counterproductive, complicated their contribution to their goal's success, and created an unnecessary backlash.  Both Democrats and Republicans, progressives and Triumpsters, and their support groups are guilty.  Not all of the issues involved have been resolved... In many cases, it is the failure of leadership,  leaders elected and unelected urging bad behavior, or their inability to control passions and actions by their more radical supporters.  Nowhere is that more true than in the Covid pandemic, "stop the steal" , and by some seeking social justice in voting rights and police brutality.

 That "experience is the best teacher"  in the long run is still true as the GOP and right-wing media are in the process of learning and many are reversing themselves. It is a slow process for human beings to admit to being fooled and assigning blame.  Truth is revealed when they and their loved ones suffer before their very eyes and are now flooding emergency rooms, facing intubation and death Sadly, some have learned that getting Covid made you much sicker and at risk of worse far more than any reaction to the shot   Politicization with anti-Covid vaccination messaging has hurt Trump's own supporters and pro-Trump geographical regions. The media was flooded with deceit, half-truths,  and "misinformation" that was accepted as the gospel and dished out by vaccinated talk show hosts and some politicians. Some chose to get their medical advice from social media postings. . No, Covid shots will not make you sterile or impotent. No, it was not faux or a scare tactic perpetrated by the liberal media to make Biden look good. The data came from scientists using established and accepted methodology and evidence. Those who have escaped the virus until now and think they are somehow immune or the rumors of the disease effects are exaggerated must have missed the memo that the Delta variant has changed the equation. Delta is  80% of Covid virus now circulating and is more contagious and damaging than the original Covid virus version. It is also attacking younger victims than those over 65. Pfizer and Moderna are still at least 89% as effective as before in keeping victims protected and are 99% plus effective against serious illness resulting in death. I'll take those odds.I took my two shots.  Lots of luck to those who did or do not.    The Biden administration deserves points in political sloganeering for "Covid is a pandemic of the unvaccinated".  That is about as succinct and understandable as one can get to make a point.  Data supporting that message is overwhelming as well." More than 99% of COVID-19 deaths and 97% of hospitalizations are among people who have not been vaccinated, according to the CDC" .Biden grappling with 'pandemic of the unvaccinated' (apnews.com)

Promoting the "big lie"  is a slowly evolving realization that it is a lie itself. The "big lie" is the tag given by the left for Trump's claim he won the election because there was widespread voter fraud. The recent disclosure that the Department of Justice had investigated claims of election fraud. and told Trump they had found no widespread fraud that would justify his attempt to overturn the election might even change some minds. It does provide some critical evidence in pinning criminal culpability in Court on Trump for the consequences of his actions and words. 

 "Stop the Steal" was an example of the right's most effective slogan, but it has not convinced the majority of all voters the election was stolen..Per a recent Monmouth poll, only one-third of voters believe the steal, though over 60% of Republicans believe it. https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/559402-one-third-of-americans-believe-biden-won-because-of-voter-fraud-poll   .  https://www.monmouth.edu/polling-institute/documents/monmouthpoll_us_062121.pdf/  Independents tend to more favor Democrat's' positions.  Chickens came home to roost on a class action suit and attorneys who filed on on behalf of Trump in Colorado lost and will have to pay for opponents ' attorneys' fees of epic amounts. Colorado lawyers who filed election lawsuit must pay rivals' fees (denverpost.com)  Pro-Trump Attorneys Sanctioned In Colorado Over Election Lawsuit — ‘One Enormous Conspiracy Theory,’ Judge Fumes (forbes.com)  Add that one to the list of suits filed by Trump supporters: they lost every one of them in court. Trump, Republican Lawsuits Challenging 2020 Election: List (businessinsider.com)

There were even more far-reaching serious consequences.  Trump persists in claiming he was elected, not Biden to this day and the big lie fueled voter suppression Jim Crow-like legislation, while also making it more inconvenient to vote for everyone in half the states. The slogan also gave the January 6 rioters their cause and cover to try to keep Biden's election being certified by Congress.   DOJ members attending the meeting where Trump pressured the DOJ to lie about the election being stolen recorded his words in their contemporary notes. It is as close to a smoking gun of Trump's knowing and criminal intent to perpetuate the big lie and acting on it we have seen to date. He knew better, but he still persisted. It may not be the Nixon tapes, but contemporary notes of witnesses in the room at the time orders were given serve as legitimate fact evidence of criminal intent in courts. Whether it will change public opinion is a different question.

While great for GOP fundraising, the "forensic audit" of the Arizona 2020 ballots fizzled.  Disclosure has been it was funded by Trump supporters. 'Botched': Arizona GOP's ballot count ends, troubles persist (apnews.com)   Recently, the codes to election machines in Colorado's  Mesa County were posted on right-wing media while the County Clerk was attending My Pillo Guy's stop the steal "seminar". The security breach resulted in disabling the current machines, buying new ones, or doing a hand count in the next election.  Colorado County's Voting Machines Banned After Security Breach : NPR   This is a developing story.. The Mesa county District Attorney has opened a criminal investigation.Mesa County District Attorney Conducts Criminal Investigation After Posting Of Election System Passwords – CBS Denver (cbslocal.com)     Like the Arizona "forensic audit", ballot sanctity depends on keeping the chain of custody of ballots for recounts so that bad actors are not able to alter them for future official audits. Stealing passwords of tabulating machines and posting them on right-wing sites is even more serious and this is what happened in Mesa County.  In Colorado, all ballots are paper ballots heavily secured. The tabulating of them by computer is a vulnerable point and this is what was attacked in Mesa County by someone who wanted to change the vote count in the future. The answer was to force Mesa County to buy new machines or to do a hand count in the next election.  Who arranged, approved, permitted that to be done will no doubt be the subject of the criminal probe. By posting the passwords on a right-wing website is an indication the act was the work of a right-wing thief.   Assuming paper ballots are not sabotaged by a sloppy chain of command as they were in Arizona (after at least two official audits), such tinkering with machines in Colorado would have been found out sooner or later. 

 Over 500 rioters on Jan.6 who were inspired by the  Stop the Steal slogan have had criminal charges filed against them and their trials will dribble on over the next year and sure to keep the issue newsworthy. January 6 Capitol Riot Arrests (usatoday.com)  Adding to the coverage of the Jan. 6 riot will be the House Select  Committee hearings. While it is somewhat bi-partisan, it could have been like the 9/11 Commission, truly bi-partisan. but the GOP decided credulity like that was not good PR, so they opted to try to dismiss the House hearings as partisan garbage.  

Top of the list of my list of dumb political slogans by the left is " Defund the Police".  Its unclarity gave the right-wing an effective handle to make their mostly white supporters cause fear beyond a reason of the demographic shifts to African Americans gaining more political power. These unchecked African Americans would march right into the white suburbs. Remember Trump's oratory at the Republican Convention in 2020, "you will note safe in Biden's America" Trump Focuses on Fear to Win Over Voters | Elections | US News Whoever from the left came up with that slogan had to explain what they meant or some meant: shift the funding to mental health and social worker as uniformed police get greater support. There were still some shrill voices that defunding .was a way to punish local police for their unfair and brutal treatment of minorities.  BLM became painted with this racist fear-ginning brush, fairly or unfairly and the initial popularity in polls of George Floyd protests dropped dramatically...Opponents in politics are always ready to take advantage of slip-ups, but the Defund the Police people made it easy to paint the Democrats as soft and crime, fair or not. Why make it so easy? . GOP candidates have always had success in elections with stoking fear of crime. Trump Focuses on Fear to Win Over Voters | Elections | US News.  It worked for Trump as his share of women voters increased over 2016,but it was offset with Biden's increased support of men. From a Pew analysis of 2020 voters: "Trump won a slightly larger share of women’s votes in 2020 than in 2016 (44% vs. 39%)"  Behind Biden’s 2020 Victory | Pew Research Center

 Biden condemned the slogan within a day the slogan appeared, but the right managed to keep their followers ignorant of that. Biden's view which was: spend more money on giving police support with mental health workers and peaceful resolution of conflict training., He did not support removing funding, but increasing it. These were Biden's: promises he has made and kept.   The sensational fear message was far louder than Biden's position, leaving him having constantly being on the defensive and showing what he meant by his actions and support of legislation that increased funding to law enforcement.  As Trump, the candidate had publicly acknowledged: fear was the most effective political message and fear became his and the right wing's best strategic weapon. 

Not necessarily in slogan form, but in the shape of an attitude and media inference has been that violence by angry minorities crowds are fine but committed by angry white men are not.  The reverse is true if you are on the right: violence by angry African Americans is condemned, but ok by 1/6 rioters. Both are wrong but some are "wronger" than others.  Most of the violence committed by minorities was in the form of vandalism and occasionally physically attacking police, but it was nowhere in the league of militias invading the Michigan legislature and plotting to kidnap and kill the governor and other election officials and terrorize legislators to overturn the 2020 election during the obvious events of January .6.  For their efforts on January 6, the rioters are now and for the next two years, an exhibit number one of GOP's indifference to keeping democracy viable. The exceptions to the GOP stance face repercussions by their peers.

 The best answer to fact-lacking memes and fake news charges is to challenge their spreaders to provide their "alternative facts". In recent days, they often just slink away because they do not have any facts whatsoever to back up their posts on social media. One social media poster I challenged just cited Twitter opinions to justify their twisted interpretation of poll results that more were having "buyers remorse" voting for Biden. The poll they cited did not address that proposition. There is value even if such challenges fall on deaf ears of the most loyal and dedicated believers.  It can give ammunition to expose the fantasies and unproven theories to those with still a bit of an open mind. and to buck up the choir to which they preach with facts and data. Not every obviously silly slogan warrants challenges.   Silence just adds credibility to the most dangerous unproven theories and speculation that have gained traction or need to be nipped in the bud before they do.

  What minorities forgot was the warning by Martin Luther King who saw violent that demonstrations were counterproductive, creating backlashes and setbacks to the movement demanding justice. That is why MLK advocated civil disobedience, committing law-breaking activities that were not violent as a better and more effective strategy. The lessons of history which made Martin Luther King  Jr. successful were his use and advocacy of civil disobedience instead of violence, but he still said violence had some value..,. King said, "riots are socially destructive and self-defeating. ... But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard." https://theweek.com/speedreads/917022/riot-language-unheard-martin-luther-king-jr-explained-53-years-ago.   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. Violence is not protected as a first amendment right. Nonviolence | The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute (stanford.edu)

Biden says federal aid to police should be based on meeting "basic standards of decency" - CBS News

Police departments use COVID funds to fight crime at Biden’s urging (police1.com)

Trump Once Said Power Was About Instilling Fear. In That Case, He Should Be Worried. - The New York Times (nytimes.com)