By Robert A. Vella
The two deadliest wars in U.S. history were the Civil War (640,000 to 700,000 deaths) which was fought to preserve the Union against Southern secession and against the institution of slavery, and World War II (405,000 to 420,000 American deaths) which was fought to stop the fascist threat to the free world posed by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. The number of Americans killed in its third most deadly war, World War I (over 117,000), has been far surpassed by the coronavirus pandemic which has now killed more than 165,000 Americans.
How do COVID-19 fatalities in the U.S. relate to America’s Civil War and its involvement in WWII? The answer is readily apparent from an understanding of ideology and history. The Confederacy broke away from the United States because it felt that the country (i.e. the Northern majority) was mobilizing politically against the immorality of institutionalized white supremacy; and, it was determined to maintain it in the plantation-dominated Southern economy. Similarly, fascism and militarism erupted in Europe and Japan during the tumultuous aftermath of WWI which provided political opportunities for authoritarian interests motivated by economic exploitation and racial purity. Consequently, fledgling democracies were destroyed from within and from hostile foreign aggressors; and, an inhuman wave of ethnic cleansing campaigns (e.g. the Rape of Nanking and The Holocaust) soon followed.
This isn’t just opinion, nor is it hyperbole. This is factual history, and it is happening all over again right before our very eyes. Donald Trump and the Republican Party are today analogous to those Southern slave owners who rejected democratic governance in 1861 and to those fascist upstarts in Italy, Japan, Spain, and Germany during the 1920s-30s who nearly destroyed it. All authoritarians are inherently capable of the most horrific crimes because they respect no authority other than their own. That’s why there is no such thing as a “good” dictator. As Lord Acton warned us a long time ago:
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
So, America has one chance left to save democracy and itself from fascism and racism – that is, the 2020 election. If it fails, the road forward will mirror the terrible past. As they say, history repeats.
Before getting to today’s news, I highly recommend reading an illuminating exposé on the internal battles between President Trump and the U.S. Intelligence Community (see: Unwanted Truths: Inside Trump’s Battles With U.S. Intelligence Agencies – Last year, intelligence officials gathered to write a classified report on Russia’s interest in the 2020 election. An investigation from the magazine uncovered what happened), plus yesterday’s opening segment of The Rachel Maddow Show which brilliantly detailed how brutal authoritarians hold onto power despite opposition from the majority of the populace.
From: Trump aides exploring executive actions to curb voting by mail
This past spring, President Donald Trump began a full-fledged assault on voting by mail, tweeting, retweeting and railing about massive fraud and rigged elections with scant evidence.
Then the Republican apparatus got to work backing up the president.
In the weeks since, Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee have taken to the courts dozens of times as part of a $20 million effort to challenge voting rules, including filing their own lawsuits in several battleground states, including Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Nevada. And around the time Trump started musing about delaying the election last week, aides and outside advisers began scrambling to ponder possible executive actions he could take to curb mail-in voting — everything from directing the postal service to not deliver certain ballots to stopping local officials from counting them after Election Day.
The actions can only make so much difference before November — elections are mostly run at the state and local level, and are subject to congressional authority. And some fellow Republicans are warning the president privately and publicly that attempts to restrict mail-in ballots could actually hurt the GOP in November, scaring Republicans from voting remotely even if they also refuse to vote in person during a pandemic. New polling has fueled these concerns.
But the flurry of activity is buoying the president in other ways. Namely, it has allowed Trump to present himself as a fighter on an issue that many of his most fervent supporters have taken up in the last few months.
If Donald Trump Controls The Mail, He Controls Democracy
Five Ways Trump And GOP Officials Are Undermining The Election Process
GOP Asks Supreme Court to Make It Harder for People to Vote During Pandemic
Constraints gone, GOP ramps up effort to monitor voting
Nevada’s Republican Secretary of State Accuses Trump, RNC of Targeting Her State’s Vote-by-Mail Law
Millions registered to vote in June. BLM protests likely contributed to the surge.
States scramble as low census response rates threaten political power
From: The 34 wildest lines from Donald Trump’s wildly inaccurate coronavirus press conference [where he railed against vote by mail, the post office, COVID-19 statistics and testing, racial injustice protests, China, criticism of his recent unconstitutional executive orders, Democrats, opinion polls, and Obamacare, while praising Brazil’s authoritarian leader Jair Bolsonaro and suggesting that he might give his presidential nomination acceptance speech at the Civil War battlefield site of Gettysburg]
Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
Late Monday afternoon, President Donald Trump took to the podium in the White House briefing room to give one of his semi-regular updates on the fight against coronavirus. And even by the remarkably low standard for truth that he has set in office, it was a doozy.
“They’re all at least pretty bad, but that was one of the worst Trump press conferences in a while from a truth standpoint,” tweeted CNN fact checker Daniel Dale. “Fast and furious lying.”
I went through the transcript of Trump’s remarks — and his Q&A with reporters — and picked out the lines you really need to see. They’re below.
Shooting near White House that interrupted Trump briefing is under Secret Service review; no gun found on suspect
Donald Trump walks out of news conference after being fact-checked by bold journalist
Ohio Won’t Ante Up for Trump’s Unemployment Insurance Plan
[Senator Ben] Sasse [R-NE] responds to Trump: ‘America doesn’t have kings’
Watchdog report raises new questions [concerning perjury and withholding documents[ for top Interior [Department] lawyer
Over 800 students, staff now told to quarantine in Georgia school district
Over 500 ASU students and staff push back on school reopening
DeVos publicly absent as critical decisions are made on public school reopenings
More than 900 healthcare workers have died of Covid-19 – and the toll is rising
Florida reports record COVID-19 hospitalizations
New York’s true nursing home death toll cloaked in secrecy
Fauci has questioned whether Russia’s coronavirus vaccine is safe amid concerns nations are cutting corners to win the vaccine race
Civil unrest and police misconduct
100 arrested, 13 officers injured in Chicago after police shoot man
L.A. deputies point guns at 3 Black teens who say they were attacked
Video shows Florida police arrest 8-year-old and try to put him in handcuffs
Police body camera video of Floyd arrest released to public
Seattle police chief retires after vote to trim up to 100 cops, $3 million from the force [towards community programs]
Judge rules against Idaho’s ban on changing transgender birth certificates
Uber and Lyft drivers are very likely employees, California judge rules
Opposition leader [Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya] flees as ‘Europe’s last dictator’ [Alexander Lukashenko] faces mass protests [after controversial reelection]
Lithuania says Russia is using Belarus crisis to try to draw it closer into its orbit
Slovaks Shift Tactics and Expel Russians for Alleged Spying
Russia, Germany emphasize shared interest despite frictions
Germany to Russia: we will protect our people, online and off [after murder in Berlin park]
German authorities conduct raids in money laundering probe [involving Russian criminals]
Trump says he wants to invite Putin to the next G7 meeting despite opposition from Canada, Germany, France, and the UK
It’s so much easier to live in denial than to face reality. Until it is too late for action. I’ve been taking breaks from the daily abuse to maintain my sanity, but continue the struggle. Thank you for what you are doing to rally the troops. Don’t forget to take care of yourself ❤
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Will do. Thanks, Ros. 🙂
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