By Robert A. Vella
While President Trump demonized his election opponent Joe Biden during the GOP convention, his Republican supporters insisted that he is not a racist nor a sexist. Furthermore, they attempted to conceal the very real authoritarian (i.e. fascist) threat Trump poses to America’s democratic republic by falsely accusing Democrats and racial injustice protesters as left-wing “extremists” who would rain anarchy down upon the nation even though it is Trump who is inciting the violence.
Such disinformation tactics are the trademark of autocrats, dictators, and tyrants. Adolf Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels was the archetypical right-wing propagandist who exploited latent resentments in the populace to deceive them and to fuel their rage against the center-left in Germany. Compare his statements to what we heard from Trump et al this week:
“A nation without a religion – that is like a man without breath.” “He who cannot hate the devil cannot love God.” “The war we are fighting until victory or the bitter end is in its deepest sense a war between Christ and Marx.” (1926)
If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself. (misattributed to Goebbels, but he did express similar sentiments)
“To attract people, to win over people to that which I have realised as being true, that is called propaganda. In the beginning there is the understanding, this understanding uses propaganda as a tool to find those men, that shall turn understanding into politics. Success is the important thing. Propaganda is not a matter for average minds, but rather a matter for practitioners. It is not supposed to be lovely or theoretically correct. I do not care if I give wonderful, aesthetically elegant speeches, or speak so that women cry. The point of a political speech is to persuade people of what we think right. I speak differently in the provinces than I do in Berlin, and when I speak in Bayreuth, I say different things from what I say in the Pharus Hall. That is a matter of practice, not of theory. We do not want to be a movement of a few straw brains, but rather a movement that can conquer the broad masses. Propaganda should be popular, not intellectually pleasing. It is not the task of propaganda to discover intellectual truths. Those are found in other circumstances, I find them when thinking at my desk, but not in the meeting hall.” (1928)
“We enter the Reichstag to arm ourselves with democracy’s weapons. If democracy is foolish enough to give us free railway passes and salaries, that is its problem… We are coming neither as friends or neutrals. We come as enemies! As the wolf attacks the sheep, so come we.” (1928)
“The best propaganda is that which, as it were, works invisibly, penetrates the whole of life without the public having any knowledge of the propagandistic initiative.” (1933)
“Sub-humans exist in every people as a leavening agent.” (1936)
“A judgment is being visited upon the Jews that, while barbaric, is fully deserved by them. The prophecy which the Führer made about them for having brought on a new world war is beginning to come true in a most terrible manner. One must not be sentimental in these matters. If we did not fight the Jews, they would destroy us. It’s a life-and-death struggle between the Aryan race and the Jewish bacillus.” (1942)
“I ask you: Do you want total war? If necessary, do you want a war more total and radical than anything that we can even yet imagine?” (1943)
To protect ourselves from deception and to see our leaders for what they truly are, we must judge them by their actions and not by what they feed us in rhetorical public statements. Throughout Donald Trump’s life and presidency, he has clearly and repeatedly demonstrated racist and sexist behavior; and, since he has been in the White House, he has blatantly assaulted America’s democratic (i.e. free and fair elections) and republican (i.e. the rule of law) constitutional foundations just as his autocratic predecessors have done countless times before him. Denying it is to deny reality. Mere words cannot alter what Trump is as a man and as a president.
In eerie juxtaposition to the Republican National Convention, equally disturbing incidents of hypocrisy are transpiring across the country with the nation’s law enforcement agencies and especially so in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Police in the U.S. are bound to the equal application of the law. Biased and prejudicial conduct is illegal and punishable. Yet, the same racism exhibited by Trump and his supporters is painfully evident in policing. Despite endless cases of misconduct, and all-too-often murder, police departments continually try to justify their behavior through misinformation and secrecy. They defiantly reject accusations of bias, but their actions frequently tell a different story. Like Trump, the trustworthiness of police is badly deteriorating in America; and, that is a very dangerous thing indeed.
Here’s the news:
Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, is facing charges that he allegedly killed Anthony M. Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum.
About 11:45 p.m. Tuesday — hours after the 8 p.m. curfew — Rittenhouse was walking down the streets near the car dealership holding what investigators later determined to be “a Smith & Wesson AR-15 style .223 rifle,” the criminal complaint says.
Social media accounts believed to belong to him portray a young White man with an affinity for guns who supports “Blue Lives Matter” and President Donald Trump. A video posted on a Snapchat account believed to belong to him placed him at the scene of protests Tuesday night. The clips show a few seconds of the point of view of someone carrying a long rifle and police announcements can be heard over loudspeakers.
At those demonstrations, the complaint states Rittenhouse clashed with people gathered near the car dealership for reasons not specified. Rosenbaum was unarmed and threw an object that appeared to be a plastic bag at him and missed, according to the complaint.
Rosenbaum and the suspect moved across the parking lot and appeared to be in close proximity when loud bangs suddenly rang out and Rosenbaum fell to the ground, according to the complaint.
As Rosenbaum lay on the ground, the suspect made a call on his cellphone and said, “I just killed somebody” as he ran away, the complaint alleges. His friend received a call from him at 11:46 p.m. saying that he shot someone, an investigator says in the complaint.
Rosenbaum was declared dead at 12:47 a.m. Wednesday.
Rittenhouse is facing two felony charges of homicide in the death of Rosenbaum and Huber, and a felony attempted homicide charge in Grosskreutz’s incident. Court records show he’s also being charged with possession of a dangerous weapon while under the age of 18, which is a misdemeanor.
Attorneys representing Blake and his family released a statement calling for a timely and full investigation into Blake’s shooting, while also demanding authorities protect protesters from “outside vigilante forces” after two people were killed in Kenosha Tuesday night.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump and co-counsels Patrick Salvi and B’Ivory Lamarr also drew a sharp distinction in how authorities’ interaction with Blake, who was shot multiple times in close range after police were called to a domestic incident, and their response to Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old from Illinois who is accused of fatally shooting two people and wounding a third.
“They shot him seven times in the back in front of his children,” the attorneys statement read, referring to Blake.
But when it came to Rittenhouse, “local law enforcement and National Guardsmen allowed him to walk down the street with his assault weapon,” they said.
Video of the scene showed the shooter with a gun running toward an intersection in Kenosha where two squad cars and three armored police vehicles are approaching. On the video, someone can be heard yelling, “Hey, he just shot them! Hey, dude right here just shot them!”
The shooter slowed to a walk and raised his hands as he got close to the police vehicles. He waved at one, but it drove by. A second police vehicle also passed him. The shooter approached the passenger side of a parked squad car and then backed away. The video ended there.
Rittenhouse was arrested hours later in Antioch, about 20 miles southwest of Kenosha in Illinois, where he lives.
Postal union leaders in five battleground states told ABC News that they have seen few concrete steps to reverse or halt a set of cost-cutting measures that have slowed mail service, despite assurances last week from Postmaster General Louis DeJoy that he would “suspend” those initiatives until after the general election.
DeJoy’s announcement led to confusion among some in the Postal Service ranks as to whether he meant there would not be cutbacks in addition to the ones already in place, which include reductions in overtime and limiting mail carrier trips, or if it meant a return to prior operational standards before the cuts altogether.
For now, the union officials said DeJoy’s initiatives remain in place — despite a deluge of legal and legislative efforts to reverse them. As a result, and with the clock ticking on election day, many of them said the mail continues to pile up in sorting facilities.
Nick Casselli, the president of the Philadelphia postal union, said overtime pay has not come back fully, post offices are still operating with slashed hours, and trucks are still being instructed not to stay and wait for all of the mail to be loaded on in an effort to keep to a stricter schedule, instead of staying later.
“Nothing has changed,” he said, echoing concerns from postal union leaders in major cities in Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina and Colorado.
Republican National Convention: