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Daily Archives: June 28th, 2020

The Guardian

Robert Reich
<span>Photograph: Carlos Barría/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Carlos Barría/Reuters

Donald Trump will do anything to be re-elected. His opponents are limited because they believe in democracy. Trump has no limits because he doesn’t.

Related: Trump bruised as polls favour Biden – but experts warn of risk of dirty tricks

Here’s Trump’s re-election playbook, in 25 simple steps:

1) Declare yourself above the law.

2) Use racist fearmongering. Demand “law and order” and describe protesters as “thugs”, “lowlife” and “rioters and looters”. Describe Covid-19 as “kung-flu”. Retweet posts from white supremacists. In your campaign ads, use a symbol associated with Nazis.

3) Appoint an attorney general more loyal to you than to America, and politicize the Department of Justice so it’s lenient on your loyalists and comes down hard on your enemies. Have it lighten the sentence of a crony convicted of lying under oath. Order investigations of industries you dislike.

4) Fire US attorneys who are investigating you.

5) Fire independent inspectors general who are looking into what you’ve done. Crush any whistleblowers you find.

6) Demean and ignore the intelligence community. Appoint a director of national intelligence more loyal to you than to America. Demand that the head of the FBI pledge loyalty to you.

7) Pack the federal courts with judges and justices more loyal to you than to the constitution.

8) Politicize the Department of Defense so generals will back whatever you order. Refer to them as “my generals”. Have them help clear out protesters. Order the military to surveil protesters. Tell governors you’ll bring in the military to stop protesters.

9) Purge your party of anyone disloyal to you and turn it into a mindless, brainless, spineless cult.

10) Get rid of accumulated experience and expertise in government. Demean career public servants. Hollow out the state department, the Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, and public health.

11) Reward donors and cronies with bailouts, tax breaks, subsidies, government contracts, regulatory rollbacks and plum jobs. Put their lobbyists in charge of your agencies. Distribute $500bn in pandemic assistance to corporations in secret, without any oversight.

12) Coddle dictators. Don’t criticize their human rights abuses. Refuse to work with the leaders of other democracies. Withdraw from international treaties.

13) Create scapegoats. Demonize migrants and lock up asylum seekers at the border, even if they’re children. Put a white nationalist in charge of immigration policy. Blame Muslims, Mexicans and Chinese.

14) Denigrate and ridicule all critics. Describe opponents as “human scum”. Attack the mainstream media as purveyors of “fake news” and “enemies of the people”.

15) Conjure up conspiracies supposedly led by your predecessor and your opponent in the last election. Without any evidence, accuse your predecessor of “treason”. Fabricate a “deep state” out to get you.

16) Downplay real threats to the nation, such as a rapidly spreading pandemicLie about your utter failure to contain it. Muzzle public health experts. Urge people to go back to work even as the pandemic worsens in parts of the country.

17) Encourage armed supporters to “liberate” states from elected officials who disagree with you.

18) Bribe other nations to investigate your electoral opponent and flood social media with lies about him.

19) Use rightwing propaganda machines like Fox News and conspiracy-theory-peddling One America News to inundate the country with your lies. Ensure that the morally bankrupt chief executive of Facebook allows you to spread your lies on the biggest media machine in the world.

20) Suppress the votes of people likely to vote against youIntimidate voters of color. Encourage Republican governors to purge voter rolls, demand voter ID and close polling places.

21) Seek to prevent mail-in ballots during the pandemic. Claim they will cause voter fraud, without evidence. Threaten to close the US postal service.

Related: Covid-19 survivors could lose health insurance if Trump wins bid to repeal Obamacare

22) Get Vladimir Putin to hack into US election machinesas he did in 2016 but can now do with more experience and deftness. Promise him that in return you’ll further destabilize America as well as Nato. Let him even place a bounty on killing US troops in Afghanistan.

23) If it still looks like you’ll be voted out, try to postpone the election.

24) If you’re voted out of office notwithstanding all this, refuse to leave. Contest the election, claim massive fraud, say it’s a conspiracy, get your cult of a political party to support your lies, get your propaganda machine to repeat them, get your justice department to back you, get your judges and justices to affirm you, get your generals to suppress any subsequent rebellion.

25) Declare victory.

Memo to America: beware Trump’s playbook. Spread the truth. Stay vigilant. Fight for our democracy.




Tré Goins-Phillips,  Faithwire

I have to wonder: What would Frederick Douglass think of us?

On Tuesday, a group of angry protesters gathered around a statue the great abolitionist — himself a formerly enslaved man — dedicated on April 14, 1876, 11 years after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, who signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all enslaved peoples.

Standing in the D.C. plaza surrounded by prestigious members of the U.S. Congress, members of the U.S. Supreme Court, and President Ulysses S. Grant, Douglass delivered a stirring address in celebration of the what later became known as the Emancipation Memorial.

Douglass, more than the memorial itself, was moved by the peacefulness of the celebration in the nation’s capital. He was overcome to see people with white and brown skin coming together to celebrate not only the unveiling of the statue but the freedom it represented.

Here’s a particularly poignant portion of Douglass’ dedication:

I cannot forget that no such demonstration would have been tolerated here 20 years ago. The spirit of slavery and barbarism, which still lingers to blight and destroy in some dark and distant parts of our country, would have made our assembling here the signal and excuse for opening upon us all the flood gates of wrath and violence. That we are here in peace today is a compliment and a credit to American civilization, and a prophecy of still greater national enlightenment and progress in the future.

I refer to the past not in malice, for this is no day for malice; but simply to place more distinctly in front the gratifying and glorious change which has come both to our white fellow citizens and ourselves, and to congratulate all upon the contrast between now and then; the new dispensation of freedom with its thousand blessings to both races, and the old dispensation of slavery with its ten thousand evils to both races — white and black. In view, then, of the past, the present, and the future, with the long and dark history of our bondage behind us, and with liberty, progress, and enlightenment before us, I again congratulate you upon this auspicious day and hour.

It would certainly grieve Douglass today to see the group of progressive protesters vowing to destroy and tear down that very memorial, which was paid for by freed slaves, as well as its replica in Boston.

To Douglass, the Emancipation Memorial’s placement in the heart of Washington, D.C., was itself a form of peaceful protest — a beacon of freedom and a reminder of the equal place black Americans ought to have in the country:

We are here in the District of Columbia, here in the city of Washington, the most luminous point of American territory; a city recently transformed and made beautiful in its body and in its spirit; we are here in the place where the ablest and best men of the country are sent to devise the policy, enact the laws, and shape the destiny of the Republic; we are here, with the stately pillars and majestic dome of the Capitol of the nation looking down upon us.

We are here, with the broad earth freshly adorned with the foliage and flowers of spring for our church, and all races, colors, and conditions of men for our congregation — in a word, we are here to express, as best we may, by appropriate forms and ceremonies, our grateful sense of the vast, high, and pre-eminent services rendered to ourselves, to our race, to our country, and to the whole world by Abraham Lincoln.

If you’re still not sure how Douglass might feel about the effort now to tear down the Emancipation Memorial, look no further than this chilling and powerful portion of his dedication in 1876:

Let it be known everywhere … [that] we, the colored people, newly emancipated and rejoicing in our blood-bought freedom, near the close of the first century in the life of this Republic, have now and here unveiled, set apart, and dedicated a monument of enduring granite and bronze, in every line, feature, and figure of which the men of this generation may read, and those of after-coming generations may read, something of the exalted character and great works of Abraham Lincoln, the first martyr President of the United States.

Douglass knew then at the end of the 19th century that memorial wasn’t a beacon just for his day, but one for generations to come — a beacon for the United States in 2020 when we are bursting at the seams with division and vitriol.

The famed abolitionist knew Lincoln wasn’t perfect. In fact, Douglass referred to him as “pre-eminently the white man’s president,” but added: “While Abraham Lincoln saved for you a country, he delivered us from bondage, according to [Thomas] Jefferson, one hour of which was worse than ages of the oppression your fathers rose in rebellion to oppose.”

And to those who are so confused to believe the statue — which depicts Lincoln standing with his arm outstretched as a freed slave on one knee lifts his head up — depicts servitude, look again.

The memorial is rich with meaning and shouts the message of freedom.

As one woman explained to WJLA-TV: “That man is not kneeling with two knees with his head bowed. He is in the act of getting up. And his head is up — not bowed — because he’s looking forward to a future of freedom. People have said, ‘Well, he’s chained to Mr. Lincoln.’ With a closer look, you’ll see that, while there’s a shackle on his right hand, he’s holding the end of a broken chain, which means he has taken to his freedom. He now realizes that he’s free.”

“So I say leave it,” she continued. “Let it stand.”


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