The second impeachment of Donald Trump has all but eclipsed the ongoing catastrophe that political “going along” to get along has produced. Three thousand deaths daily, and with only 4% of the world’s population we now have 20% of the fatal outcomes. That figure does not contemplate the so-called excess deaths this year.
The chart below further exposes the ghastly reality that is colliding with GOP denial and posturing. (There are still those who refuse to wear masks!) I hope our Republican partisans will resolve to never again let a charismatic extremist leader escape accountability for the sake of solidarity.
It’s time for soul searching and truth. It’s time for genuine goodwill for the success of the elected administration. Those whe were complicit must make amends, go the extra mile, and act in good faith to heal and strengthen representative democracy. They must speak out against mendacity, disinformation, dirty tricks.
All is NOT fair in love, war, and politics. Lack of leadership and character is killing 3,000 of us a day.
Arnold Schwartzenegger was born in Austria after World War Two. His father and other fathers in his neighborhood bore the physical and emotional scars of having fought for a regime that brought great cruelty and suffering to Europe and the world. He sees that terrible time echoed in the mob rampage at the US Capitol on January 6th.
The moral injury of fighting for theThird Reich led to alcoholism and abuse. We all need to ponder how we can heal the injury of the past four years.
It has become abundantly clear that the left and the right see the world quite differently. It may be because we are all deluding ourselves with the help of algorithms that tell us what we want to hear.
But it is also becoming clear that these algorithms are being harnessed by those who shape perception: advertisers and propagandists.
The Social Dilemma | Netflix Official Site
This documentary-drama hybrid explores the dangerous human impact of social networking, with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations.
“Media Literacy” is a term describing a skill set we all need if we want to avoid being pawns in the struggle to capture our attention and motivate us to action. Susan Mehrtens and I wrote about knowing what’s authentic in our book Credible? But critical thinking skill is not enough. We also need to be schooled in how the flood of information that gains our attention is shaped and tinted so that we maintain our perspective.
The same social mechanisms that bind people into cults allow political bubbles to form and be perpetuated. We are seeing this emerge and play out in what’s happening among the political followers of Donald Trump. To what extent are those aligned with Biden, AOC, and various liberal social movements also living in cultish systems of belief? How do we keep it real?
A friend of mine cautioned me that Trump has no corner on scandalous behavior. He meant to imply that Biden and the Democrats are no better. In many of our discussions, he’s diverted from the latest Trump scandal by detailing wrongdoing by Clinton, Obama, or Biden. I’ve argued that there is no equivalency, even if you accept his allegations. (I usually find them meritless when I check the sources.)
Wanting to come up with actual verifiable evidence of Trump’s excesses, I remembered an article about the work of Amy Siskind. She’s made a list of thousands of acts large and small perpetrated by the 45th president since November 2016. The Washington Post published a feature (Outlook 10/16) by her.
Perspective | Trump has shredded norms. Here’s an exhaustive – and still partial – list.
A guide to what the next president will have to unwind.
The website catalogs the wrong things Trump has done EVERY WEEK for 207 weeks. The total number of items is in the thousands and it fills volumes. You can scan the whole ugly catalog on the website.
This is far from the only list of misdeeds. The list published by McSweeney’s is up to 954 as of 10/30.
Lest We Forget the Horrors: A Catalog of Trump’s Worst Cruelties, Collusions, Corruptions, and Crimes: The Complete Listing (So Far): Atrocities 1- 954
To be read before the 2020 Presidential Election. Register to vote, or check to make sure you’re registered to vote here.
To download a PDF of thi…
Of course, there is WaPo’s list of lies that will exceed 25,000 by election day. You can search the database by topic here (click).
Analysis | Trump is averaging more than 50 false or misleading claims a day
The Fact Checker is keeping a running list of the false or misleading claims Trump says most regularly. Here’s what you need to know.
Politifact also keeps a running list of the President’s mendacity. Here’s the scorecard as of 10/31/2020
There are books being sold on Amazon purporting to list all of Trump’s acts of generosity and compassion. The top listing is actually a blank book – a cover with no inside printing. It’s yours for $15. Another is a collection of apocryphal stories about Trump’s excessive modesty about his selflessness. It’s published by an evangelical preacher/author (Michael Yeager) with more than 10,000 sermons and 100 book titles to his credit who claims to have helped start more than 25 churches. Among his titles is a book wherein he recounts his personal two-hour visit to hell and how it informed his life and the lives of others who heard his report. I have no information about his journalistic integrity or his motives.
Visit https://www.promiseskept.com/ to see the official list (by Trump) of his accomplishments. But you’ll want to fact check carefully, his veracity is highly questionable. Here’s a less partisan review:
The 2016 promises Donald Trump has (and hasn’t) kept – CNN Video
In 2016, candidate Donald Trump outlined 28 promises he hoped to accomplish for the American people in his first 100 days in office. CNN’s Victor Blackwell looks at how many the President has definitely delivered.
About 40% of American’s are loyal supporters of Donald J. Trump. Almost none of them are aware of the facts these various lists present. His fans are focused on the President’s personality, or they have a narrow self-interest that overrides any concerns about character or deceptive behavior. They listen selectively for information that supports their affinity for the President. They revel in the emotional buzz of crowding into the bleachers at rallies with like-minded people experiencing the affirmation of hundreds who resonate with the words of their President. They are often described as “low information voters.” It’s not about facts, or lists. It’s about belonging and being uplifted by a successful and powerful man who promises to be their champion, one who never talks down to them. One who isn’t afraid of anything. Not even COVID-19.
With the manipulation of social media networks by foreign powers and political activists using coordinated disinformation (propaganda) campaigns, it is clear that most of us are poorly equipped to discern what’s real and authentic (the truth) in the torrent of lies and deceptions.
The book Sue Mehrtens and I wrote is a guide to civic literacy despite the mendacity. Credible? is available at Lulu.com and major booksellers.
There is plenty of evidence that the GOP has been preparing to exploit all possible strategies to retain power without winning either the popular vote or the electoral college. The US Constitution provides for deciding an election where the election results are not conclusive, and the alternative means make a “win” possible by a minority that refuses to accept the election results. Van Jones explains:
The play hinges on successfully contesting the validity of the voting or at least miring the certifications in litigation. The GOP has laid the groundwork by promoting the idea that mail-in ballots are prone to wholesale fraud. (Ther aren’t.) They have launched numerous court battles to prevent changes to vote-counting practices that would allow speedy processing of mailed ballots. They have hobbled the US Postal Service’s ability to process the peak volume of mail-in ballots promptly. They have made it as inconvenient as possible to return ballots without mailing them. All of these actions foretell bad faith in accepting the reality of unfavorable results when ballots are tallied.
Here’s a WaPo story on these strategies:
These forebodings of an organized attempt to steal the election have prompted the mobilization of many diverse groups to prepare for active resistance. George Lakey sounded the alarm early on.
We need a plan to prevent a Trump takeover — and this anti-coup research shows the way
By studying the research that shows how other countries have handled coup attempts, we can better counter or even prevent one of our own.
The Project on Government Oversite (POGO), not given to alarmism, has added their advice to protesters:
How to Respond to Risk of Surveillance While Protesting
We’re less than a week away from an election that could lead to mass protests. Here’s what you need to know about possible surveillance of protesters, and how to deal with the risk of being watched while speaking out.
It is sad indeed that America is faced with the grim prospect of extreme civil unrest and a constitutional crisis. One party appears to have embraced a strategy of large-scale disenfranchisement of urban and minority voters. The grass-roots progressives are preparing to take to the streets.
Those on the right fear that progressives will bring Socialism to the US. Those on the left fear that conservatives will bring Fascism. Neither fear reflects the broad continuum of political positions. Heather Cox Richardson offers a clear and nuanced perspective on these concerns. It’s not an either-or choice, except in propaganda.
October 27, 2020
During her interview with the vice-presidential candidate on CBS’s 60 Minutes on Sunday, journalist Norah O’Donnell asked Senator Kamala Harris if she would bring a “socialist or progressive perspective” to the White House. Harris burst out laughing before she said “no.”
“Denial is not a river in Egypt.” This joke has become a cliche among those who understand addiction. But willful blindness to reality is not exclusive to addictive behavior. Reality has a way of biting those who deny it, as President Trump is demonstrating as he fights his personal infection with the COVID-19 virus.
Though few ordinary citizens think much about it, our government at all levels is big on being prepared. We have an Office of Emergency Management at city, state, and federal levels that seeks to anticipate what will be needed when emergencies arrive.
Detailed plans are made that establish the systems needed to coordinate first responders and mobilize needed resources before, during, and following an emergency. The COVID-19 pandemic was not unanticipated. Plans were made. But they were largely ignored.
While he publicly disparages mail-in ballots, his mailings to GOP voters say something else: “Important Notice: Requesting your General Election Ballot is a safe and secure way to guarantee your voice is heard.” Yup, that’s right, if you are a Republican he wants you to know it your mail-in ballot is safe and secure, despite anything he may be saying on TV.
The President is accountable, but the propaganda and disinformation coming from Fox News and Sinclair Broadcasting shield his base from reality.
In March, 63% of Fox News regulars, polled by the non-partisan Pew Research Center’s Election News Pathways Project said the president’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic was “excellent”. Just 23% of average Americans – and a mere 2% of MSNBC regulars – agreed.
Denial has been lethal for tens of thousands because the US did not and does not have a coherent strategy for limiting contagion. The economic cost will be many multiples of what is might have been limited to judging from the experience of more successful countries.
Source: Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Center
This cumulative curve of deaths per 100,000 population continuse to have a steep rise. Testing indicates a rising trend in positive results as a percent of those tested — and indicator of accelerating spread. Business and school openings will tend to increase contagion.
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