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Est. April 5, 2002
Oct 15, 2020 - Issue 837
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Having had a three-day treatment of Covid-19 with experimental drugs, President Trump has rushed to get back on the campaign trail, a place he feels most comfortable, and with the constant fear that he is losing some former supporters.

Campaigning is his most comfortable place because he can ramble on and say mostly nonsense and his adoring crowds give him their rapt attention and continued support. When he is spouting hateful things, which he often does, they love him and he feels it. He needs the energy of their naked hatred, hatred of the “other,” and that could be anything that spews forth from the mouth of their “dear leader.”

And, who are the “others?” It’s “the blacks.” It’s “the Muslims.” It’s “the antifas.” It’s “the Mexicans.” It’s “the immigrants.” It’s “the enemies of fossil fuels.” It’s “the non-fundamentalist Christians.” It’s “the environmentalists.” It’s “the radical Democrats and their far-left ideas and policies.” This would be the partial list of enemies of Trump, as he would put in one of his tweets. Twitter is his favorite way of conducting national and foreign policy. That way, he doesn’t have to put on paper any of his intentions for the U.S., either at home or abroad. And often, his tweets are short enough and vague enough that his followers can make of them what they want.

Many medical experts disagree with Trump’s personal doctors that he is recovered enough from his coronavirus case that he should even be out among the public, but that never stops him from doing what he thinks will be best for him. It’s what he thinks about, most of every day...what’s good for him and how his actions will bring in money and more power. He thinks he is immune to Covid-19 because he’s had it, but there are now at least a few cases of repeat Covid-19, that is they had it and recovered and now they have it again. Pretending to be the invincible “chosen one,” Trump has ignored medical advice of most public health officials and doctors and is desperately trying to regain his place as number one, as his poll numbers from multiple sources continue to fall. Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate, leads him in most polls by as much as 10-12 percentage points.

Those numbers have Trump running scared, even though he knows that it’s too late for the Democrats to rustle up another set of impeachment charges which many believe he richly deserves. The election is too close, as millions have already voted, which is another reason that the Senate should not hold a vote to confirm a replacement for the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court. He’s hoping for a solid majority of right-wingers on the court to bail him out, if the election outcome should be thrown to the court to decide. Also, he’s making a lot of money as president and he is immune to prosecution for crimes he and his companies might have committed before he became president. So, there is much for him to lose in losing the election.

He has threatened to have some of his bully boys “monitor” polling places around the country, but everyone knows that they would be there to intimidate voters, maybe even encouraging them to leave polling places without casting a vote. He has asked one of his white supremacist groups of free-lance militias, The Proud Boys, to “stand by,” for exactly what reason, only Trump knows. He’ll know what to tell them to do when the time comes. In the meantime, he must be on the campaign trail, where he doesn’t have to be bothered by policy in domestic or foreign affairs, but just spew his bile and feel the glow of love of his cult members. He even lies when the truth might be better for him, but he can’t do otherwise, because that’s the content of his personality and character.

The danger of Trump at this time is that, in desperation, he will do anything to win another term as president, because of the potential of criminal indictments after the protection of his high office no longer is valid. Of course, he has, through his Trump Organization, benefited financially from being president and he doesn’t want to lose that. In that regard, he has not hesitated to use the power of the government to achieve his ends, especially to punish his perceived enemies. In that, he has surpassed President Nixon by many factors. Being willing to use the power of government to attack “enemies,” whether they be individuals or states, is the mark of fascism, wherein the state is protected above all else and, usually, the power of the state is manifested in the person of one supreme leader. In the case of the U.S. at this point, the supreme leader is Trump, but the people do have the last word in the presidential election. Trump, though, has set the stage for calling the election “fake,” just as he calls most news outlets “fake,” except the few that serve as his propaganda arms.

The attacks on entire states that he sees as not sufficiently loyal to him are to be expected. He recently declared that New York State has “gone to hell,” and that California and Illinois are not far behind. Their crimes? They’re not loyal to him and have rightly criticized his pathetic response to the coronavirus pandemic for the past nine months. He is even more hostile to Puerto Rico, where the criticism of his response to hurricanes this year have shown him to be totally incompetent and he didn’t like the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz, standing up to him and detailing his shortcomings. But, he doesn’t mention Puerto Rico in his vicious tweets, because for one thing, he barely knew that the island is part of the U.S. and its residents are American citizens.

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The president also is desperately trying to hold on to all of his Christian fundamentalist base, which, according to some witnesses, he holds in contempt, except as they are useful to his reelection. There is pushback, however. According to the Associated Press, an organization across Christian belief groups, Not Our Faith, has formed to show that Trump is not worthy of the support or the votes of Christian believers. The group includes a range of leaders in their faith communities: Michael Wear, a former faith adviser in the Obama Administration; Autumn Vandehei, a former aide to former Rep. Tom Delay, a Republican from Texas; Carolyn Woo, former CEO of Catholic Relief Services, and the Rev. Alvin Love, chair of faith-based initiatives at the National Baptist Convention.

The ad, according to the AP, says Trump “has used Christianity for his own purposes,” invoking imagery of the Republican president’s photo op outside a historic Washington church amid this summer’s racial justice demonstrations. Urging Christians to break from Trump, the ad states that they “don’t need Trump to save them. The truth is that Trump needs Christians to save his flailing campaign.”

Trump has loosed a wave of hate and vitriol and has divided the nation. White supremacists, white militias, and other hatemongers have been released from their compounds and hiding places, having realized that they have been legitimized by Trump’s words. Just this week, “social visit cards” have been left at the homes of Biden supporters in Shelbyville, Tenn., that held an ominous warning: “You have been paid a social visit by the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Don’t make the next visit a business call.” Such is the caliber of Trump’s supporters and it harks back to the bad old days of the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, when rule by such threats were commonplace.

There are several definitions of fascism, but when the use of the state apparatus to punish political “enemies” becomes routine, such as under Trump, it’s clear that fascism has paid a visit to the U.S. and with Trump at the helm, there is no telling where or how far it will go. Remember that his “America First” slogan means rich Americans first and its ruling class first. Whatever he says he will do for minorities and the working class always turns out to be nonsense and lies. He will never be in their corner on any issue. Columnist, John Funiciello, is a former newspaper reporter and labor organizer, who lives in the Mohawk Valley of New York State. In addition to labor work, he is organizing family farmers as they struggle to stay on the land under enormous pressure from factory food producers and land developers. Contact Mr. Funiciello and BC.
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