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Republican Lies Pose a Danger to
The election of Joe Biden to
the presidency and majorities, however tenuous, in both Houses of Congress
should not be reassuring to Democrats. Remember
that there is a solid conservative majority on the Supreme Court and many governorships and State legislatures remain in the hands of Republicans. Biden will try to be a president of all of
the people, but that will be very difficult in view of the entrenched
opposition he faces. Republicans are
good at tearing things down and awful at rebuilding them because of the
libertarian streak which permeates the G.O.P. and believes that the less
government does, the better off the nation will be, regardless of the extent it
benefits the citizenry. Reactionary Grover Norquist’s recommendation that “government
be drowned in a bathtub” still appeals to many.
A recent Associated Press
article addressed this situation, pointing out how this disease has spread
throughout what used to be a legitimate political party, the G.O.P., but which is
now no more than a haven for extreme radicalism. This is paraticularly true at the State and local levels.
Manhattan GOP chairwoman Andrea Catsimatidis,
seen in September, this month retweeted:
'Corporate America helped rig the election.'
Here is the Associated Press
Local GOP Leaders use Falsehoods
Some manipulate social
media to gain followers
By Garance Burke,
Martha Mendoza, Juliet Linderman and Larry Fenn - ASSOCIATED
A faction of local, county and state Republican officials is pushing lies, misinformation and conspiracy theories that echo those that helped inspire the violent U.S. Capitol siege, online messaging that is spreading quickly through GOP ranks fueled by algorithms that boost extreme content.
The Associated Press reviewed public and
private social media accounts of nearly 1,000 federal, state and local elected
and appointed Republican officials nationwide, many of whom have voiced support
for the Jan.6 insurrection or demanded that the 2020 presidential election be
overturned, sometimes in deleted posts or now-removed online forums.
'Sham-peachment,' they say, and warn that
'corporate America helped rig the election.' They call former President Donald
Trump a 'savior' who was robbed of a second term – despite no evidence – and
President Joe Biden a 'thief.' 'Patriots want answers,' they declare.
The bitter, combative rhetoric is helping the
officials grow their constituencies on social media and gain outsize influence
in their communities, city councils, county boards and state assemblies. And it
exposes the GOP’s internal struggle over whether the party can include
traditional conservative politicians, conspiracy theorists and militias as it
builds its base for 2022.
This month, FBI agents visited Republican
Women’s Federation of Michigan Vice President Londa Gatt to ask where she was
on the day of the Capitol attack.
Gatt, a Bikers for Trump coordinator who
roars, leather-vested, alongside political rallies on her Harley-Davidson, had
helped organize busloads of Trump supporters to join her in Washington on Jan.
6. She says she climbed the scaffolding outside the Capitol building that day
'to take a picture of the whole view.' And she said she gladly told FBI agents
that she did nothing wrong, and left the scene right away as things turned
violent. Since then, Gatt has shared hashtags tied to QAnon conspiracy theories
online and asked her Facebook friends who participated in Capitol intrusions to
send messages directly to Trump explaining that he didn’t incite them. 'The lawyers need our help,' she posted. Gatt
is among many conservatives organizing on Twitter, Facebook, Parler, Gab and
Telegram and is working on a digital strategy under different monikers.'We were
cheated out of our legit president, and we have no voice because our vote
didn’t count,' she told The Associated Press. 'I’m getting ready to start
opening up some new pages, focus on getting out people who voted against Trump
and replace those with conservative Republicans.'
Working with artificial intelligence company
Deep Discovery, AP also helped build a classification algorithm that matched
officials to accounts on the right-wing-aligned Parler. AP reporters
hand-verified each match using an archived Parler dataset provided by New York
University researcher Max Aliopoulios containing 13million user profiles and
183million posts between August 2018 and Jan.10, when Parler was taken offline
for several weeks. AP also surveyed officials’ use of alternate social media
sites such as Gab and Telegram, whose active users have soared in recent weeks
since Twitter and Facebook barred users from posting extremist content and
Republican National Committee spokeswoman
Mandi Merritt didn’t answer specific questions about the GOP officials’
rhetoric, and instead referred AP to a Jan.13 statement by Chairwoman Ronna
McDaniel: 'Violence has no place in our politics. Period.' In early December,
Idaho’s Kootenai County Republican Central Committee Chairman Brent Regan
boosted a Parler post: 'SIDNEY POWELL’S 'KRAKEN' IS DOD CYBER WARFARE PROGRAM!
WE ARE AT WAR!' Powell, a lawyer who supported Trump, called her legal strategy
'the kraken,' powerful enough to destroy Biden’s presidency. However, the
Supreme Court on Monday rejected several cases related to the 2020 election
filed by Trump and his allies.
Regan has continued posting on Facebook,
including on Jan.16: 'The thing I object most about democrats is that they
incite my base instincts to retaliate in kind.'
When AP asked about his posts, Regan
said: 'My message on social media, print media, and in person is
consistent. ‘Pray for serenity. Be the eye of the storm. Stay
calm. Think clearly. Don’t panic. Stay peaceful while demanding integrity
Some Republican officials are posting theories
related to QAnon, which the FBI has called a domestic terrorism threat. And the
Department of Homeland Security has warned of the potential for lingering
violence from extremists enraged by Biden’s election and emboldened by the
Following Trump’s acquittal in his second
impeachment trial, Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s top Republican, called claims
the ex-president won the election 'wild myths.' Still, about two-thirds of
Republicans say – contrary to all evidence – that Biden was not legitimately
elected president, according to a recent poll by AP-NORC Center for Public
Free speech advocates say the legal definition
of inciting violence is extremely narrow, and over-policing online posts could
'We need to be very careful about not painting
with an overly broad brush what incitement to violence is,' said Nora
Pelizzari, spokeswoman for the National Coalition Against Censorship. 'We can’t
allow anger at people in power to become punishable.'
In Arizona and Illinois, prominent Republicans
who refused to support Trump’s bid to overturn the election have been rebuked
by the state GOP and a central committee, respectively.
Earlier this month, Manhattan, New York, Republican party chair Andrea Catsimatidis retweeted: 'Corporate America helped rig the election.' Catsimatidis told AP she believes it is political officials’ duty to reach as many people as possible. 'Political leaders have influence, and the fact that I have developed a social media following is exactly what you should be doing,' she said. 'I want to make sure that I can get information out.'
(It matters not to such Republicans that the information they are passing on consists of lies.)
* * * *
Buying a Distressed Property Worked for Trump
Shrewd real estate operators are always looking for a bargain. They are always on the lookout for otherwise fine properties whose owners are in financial distress, or which are devalued for other reasons … such as the possibility of nearby construction which would affect it. They pounce on it and get it for a bargain price and figure out how to turn it around.
Go into a “dollar store,” and notice the “name brand”
merchandise on their shelves carrying brand names which once carried a favorable
image, but no longer do in the “real” marketplace, brands like “Sunbeam” for
example. Also note the items peddled on
TV carrying the “Bell & Howell” label, once renowned in many areas but now
just a label owned by its successors, currently offering cheap sunglasses on TV
So it is with the political organization known as the Republican Party. Once it lost its connection with the American voter because of programs which did little for them but benefit business and the wealthy greatly, it became no more appealing than the once respectable Sunbeam or Bell & Howell brand names. In 2016, its backbone was weak, and it looked like a bargain to a shrewd investor looking for a distressed, underpriced property with a historic name to acquire. (Sort of like the Doral Golf Resort in Florida, after it lost its fine reputation of earlier years, and which that investor purchased for a bargain price.)
And so that’s how
Donald Trump seized the G.O.P., turning it into a party dedicated to his personal
glory. And that’s what it remains today,
the Trumpublican cult ... with a claim to being the party of Lincoln (which Trump might believe is a city in Nebraska or a luxury car made by Ford).
Item Added 2/28/2021
The major weapon, if not the only one, the Republicans are using to try to win elections is voter suppression.
Americans at the local level must figuratively "take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end them." Every elected Republican State official should be put on notice by phone calls, emails, demonstrations, letters to local newspapers and at town meetings that voting suppression will not be tolerated.
State legislatures are where these undemocratic laws are promulgated. Examples are limitations on early voting opportunities, voting by mail, voter registration procedures, reduced numbers of "drop boxes," excessive "ID" requirements and interference with voting results by State legislatures.
It is not enough for Democrats to complain among themselves and post on sites (like this one) that Republicans never visit. Voters cannot sit idly by as their number is intentionally depleted by Trumpublican forces of evil.
Item Added 3/02/2021
For years I have had a “garden
flag” standing among the plantings in front of my house. (When the sun fades
it, I replace it.) Because any official American flag, even those without fifty
stars, may be displayed, this is perfectly acceptable. The flag I display is the “Betsy Ross” flag
with thirteen stars arranged in a circle.
It has great historical significance.
The American Legion’s website points out that “According to the U.S. Army Institute
of Heraldry, the United States flag never becomes obsolete. Any officially
approved American flag, irrespective of the number or arrangement of the stars
and/or stripes may continue to be used and displayed until no longer
|Washington Reviewing Troops -1777
|Garden Flag in front of my home
not everyone fully understands this. I
have been asked why I display a “Confederate” flag in front of my house. More recently, domestic terrorists, convinced
by conspiratorial lies that they are the true defenders of American democracy,
have displayed it prominently along with their other banners, many of which
were turned into weapons when these terrorists attacked the Capitol on January
6. The former president always used innumerable flags as the backdrop when he
spoke, making his connection with the flag unmistakable. Hence, in the eyes of
many, displaying the flag is a sign of loyalty to a conservative political
position rather than a patriotic display, not denoting any political
position. I am sure that some driving by
my house, seeing my flag, believe that I am a conservative Republican, since in
their mind, that’s what it represents.
are wrong. It is every American’s flag,
and if there are any who do not deserve to display it, they are those whose
actions show that they despise democracy, and that includes the forty-fifth
Item Added 3/04/2021
In "A Very Stable Genius," Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker provide tremendous insight into the mind of former President Trump. Published a few months before his defeat (still not acknowledged by him) at the polls in November, 2020, it describes the kind of person who not only should never be elected to the presidency, but should be kept out of government service at any level, at least in a democracy. Here's an example from a section dealing with his efforts to close the Mexican border, where the actions he asked be taken were clearly illegal: (page 307)
"Trump did not see the law as an impediment, a mind-set forged as a real estate developer. A developer could always just sue, battle it out in court, and negotiate some middle ground." He is further quoted as saying to then Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Neilsen, "Look, we'll get sued and then we'll work it out." (after breaking the law.)
This is enough to suggest that no one with any connection to the real estate field should ever be nominated for political office, by any party. The book's title, "A Very Stable Genius" is a statement Trump sometimes used in describing himself.
Item Added 3/06/2021
We note that among those now charged with lawbreaking in the January 6 invasion of the Capitol is a State Department employee who had a "top secret" security clearance. Unless you were a relative of the President during the past administration, like Ivanka and Jared, such clearances required extensive "vetting." That ought to have revealed his history of involvement in extreme right wing connections which should have disqualified him. I suspect that any security clearances granted during the past administration need to be reviewed. Of course, they should be removed from those no longer in government service and who still would be subject to penalties for disclosing information to which the clearance had given them access.
When I was in the Army back in the mid-1950s, my job required a relatively high security clearance. On leaving the service, and no longer having that clearance, I was made well aware of the penalties (fines and/or jail terms) which could be imposed on me with no time limit, for disclosing information to which my former clearance had given me access.