Category Archives: Trumpism

Trump Calls for Insurrection (Again)


On September 15, 2022 Donald Trump was asked what would happen if he was indicted. This is what he said,

“I think if it happened, I think you’d have problems in this country the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen before. I don’t think the people of the United States would stand for it.”


Then he was asked by Mr. Hewitt, “what kind of troubles, Mr. President?” Trump responded this way: “I think they’d have big problems. I just don’t think they’d stand for it.”

Don Lemon, when he was on CNN,  asked Phillip Mudd, a CNN analyst and former counterterrorism analyst if that was a threat.  Mr. Mudd’s answer was about as direct as you can get.  His answer was “Yes.”  Yet, Mr. Mudd went further. He added this,

“I don’t know if that is a subtle enough answer, Don. That’s a yes Don. Let me be clear about what this is.  In the world of extremism which I followed for decades that is what I would refer to as validation… You don’t have to tell someone to go out there and commit an act of violence for them to say, ‘Well if we were robbed then it is my constitutional right and responsibility to go to the Congress and storm it.’ That is the president of the United States having witnessed January 6th saying, ‘Well let me have a redo of that. That redo will happen if I ever get indicted.’  To me as an extremist follower that is not a political statement, that is a statement that anybody who follows extremists can understand. That is validation…”


Juliette Kayyem a CNN National Security Analyst agreed completely. She said,

“It is not even hinting anymore. We used to use the word “dog whistle” when we talk about Trump. This is now directing. Don’t just listen to Trump’s words. Imagine what his supporters are hearing. They are hearing the call to action…We need to call it what it is that we have a former president who is inciting violence as an extension of his political defeat. That’s what it is now.”


I know Trump’s supporters don’t believe anything CNN says, but I think CNN got this right from Trump’s own words. I agree with the CNN interpretation. This was the only logical interpretation of what Trump said. This was a call to violent action without mentioning the word. The message was absolutely clear, just as his words were absolutely clear to his supporters on January 6th. They knew what to do. And Trump was threatening to do it all over again if he was charged! This was doing what Donald Trump always does when he is cornered. He does not back down. He doubles down.

In November of 2023 a Colorado judge District Judge, Sarah B. Wallace, after hearing all the evidence and arguments from lawyers for Trump, and the District Attorney, and then ruled that former President Donald Trump “engaged in insurrection” during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol but rejected an effort to keep him off the state’s primary ballot because it’s unclear. The judge rejected the claim that the constitutional amendment that bars insurrectionists from public office applies to the presidency, but that is irrelevant.  The judge clearly said Trump was an insurrectionist based only on evidence.

This was not a judgement by the libs. This was not the “failing New York Times” claiming that Trump was an insurrectionist. Nor was it “fake news” CNN.  Nor was it a “biased House of Representatives committee. This was the decision of an impartial judge after weighing all the evidence and listening to the argument of the lawyers. Is this not something Republicans, and in fact all Americans, should take seriously? That judgment makes it absolutely clear, beyond any doubt in my view, that Trump was guilty of insurrection? Yet, as far as I know, his support among Republicans in the current presidential election campaign has not dropped! How is that possible?

Millions of Americans are prepared to elect an insurrectionist as President of their country! They don’t care!

I recall Trump once said that he could shoot someone in Times Square New York City and it would not affect his support. It looks like he was absolutely right!

Americans must realize what Trump is doing. He is doing the same thing Hitler did after the German Reichstag burned down. The German people continued to support Hitler. We must always remember that Germans elected Hitler because they wanted him to make Germany great again,

Now the question is what will the American people do? Will they acquiesce with  this dangerous slide into fascism?  I know many of his supporters will do that. They will accept that with the enthusiasm they showed on January 6, 2021.

I am not sure of what the majority of Americans will do, but I am uneasy.

Deeply uneasy.


A Safe Place to Hate.


There had been a lot of social change just before Rush Limbaugh arrived on the scene. There was gay liberation, women’s rights, and liberalism. Many felt they could no longer say what they wanted to say. Political correctness was seen as a stifling chain. They also thought no one was speaking like them or to them. They were ignored and invisible. As Justin Ling said in his CBC. Radio series , “In the universe of right-wing media compared to the Wall Street Journal and like the later Fox News Limbaugh’s listeners were older, whiter, more conservative, and more religious. For this slice of America Limbaugh created a safe space.” He created a safe place to hate.

Surprisingly, because there was a Republican in the White House, as Ling said, “he convinced these old, white, conservative, and religious Americans that they were disenfranchised!” Even though they were in the majority! It was pure alchemy. He told them they were looked down on. He milked them for their resentment—the elixir of devils. As Ling said, “He formed a kind of counterculture; a resistance against the liberals, and the progressives, and the feminists.”

In the mid-80s he syndicated to about 50 stations across the country but by 1990 he got 450 affiliates. He was the rock star of talk radio and the conservative movement. He led a Rush to Excellence Tour to various stadiums around the country with as many as 10,000 people.  As Justin Ling said, “Limbaugh declared a culture war”. Limbaugh put it this way:

“We are in the midst of a culture war. What are rights? This culture war illustrates precisely what is going on. We in America are in the midst—it’s an exciting time to be alive—we are in the midst of a redefinition of who is going to define right and wrong, what the punishment is going to be for those who violate the limits that we place on our behavior. We are arguing about who has the right to tell us what is right and what is wrong. We’re arguing over what censorship is And to me its pretty scary.”


And there it is again—fear—the secret sauce of paranoia and right-wing hysteria.

Like Trump later, Limbaugh went from being a spoiled rich kid to a champion of the working class. People all over America were starting to take notice of Limbaugh. I remember at the time hearing about him from a friend of mine, a trucker. Truckers loved Limbaugh, just like they later loved Trump and basically for the same reasons. They liked to have a wrecking ball in their corner as did my friend the trucker, and much later the truckers convoy in Ottawa in 2022. They got a rush from Rush Limbaugh.

As Justin Ling said, “On his radio show he was the voice of God on a one way street. And he loved nothing better than to run over liberal women. On his radio show he said, “this is a show devoted to what I think.” On the Dave Lettermen show he said people were bugged by him because “I have almost a monopoly on the truth.” No one could ever accuse Limbaugh of humility. Humility was a liberal vice. And his fans loved it.  He also said “This is a benevolent dictatorship. I am the dictator. There is no first amendment here except for me.”

Now he was entitled to be the dictator of his own show. If we don’t like it, we don’t have to listen to it.


Shamelessness is Contagious



While staying in Arizona this year we wanted to find a television news show that was not as partisan as most of the US stations. Back home we watch CBC’s The National.  Somehow we happened on public broadcastings Newshour and were happy we did.  It appeared to us to reasonable news coverage.


David Brooks a New York opinion columnist whom I read regularly, was interviewed on PBS NewsHour and said, “Shamelessness is contagious.” This of course is what we have seen a lot of this year. In particular, the legions of Republicans who have supported Donald Trump’s lies about a stolen election. He has been making these lies without any evidence whatsoever. None! Astonishingly, republicans have fallen in line even though he gave no credible evidence whatsoever about his claims. In fact, his own Attorney General Bill Barr who had continuously supported Trump throughout his tenure, could not support this lie. As he told the House Select committee investigating what happened on January 6 2021, “it was all bullshit” Notwithstanding, that many Republican political leaders have acquiesced in supporting Trump’s lies. This is a great example, of the contagion of shamelessness.


I am sorry to report that this contagion has caught on fiercely in the United States.

This is uniquely egregious because democracy needs the trust of the electors or it will not stand. Trump’s lies undermine this essential foundation of democracy and Republican leaders and Republicans in general have been falling in line. That is how a country declines–i.e. when the courages of its leaders collapses and the people are left bereft.

No wonder I am on the grand finale tour.


Extremism: Alive and Not well in America


Driving through a large part of the United States from the northern State of North Dakota south to Texas and then west to Arizona, as we did this year, it did not take long to realize that extremism is alive and not well in this country. While there is ample extremism on the left and the right, it clear that most extremism lives and thrives in the right wing.

I heard an interesting interview with Cynthia Miller-Idriss an award-winning author and scholar of extremism and radicalization in the US.  She is the founding director of the Polarization and Extremism Research & Innovation Lab (PERIL) at the American University in Washington, DC, where she is also Professor in the School of Public Affairs and in the School of Education. She has testified a number of times before the US Congress on issues relating to extremism. She has also been a frequent commentator on these issues for various media outlets. She is a member of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Tracking Hate and Extremism Advisory Committee and the author of a number of books including recently Hate in the HomelandThe New Global Far Right.

One of the problems that Miller-Idriss alerts us to is the fact that American federal law does not yet have a crime of domestic terrorism. As a result, American law enforcement has to try to squeeze the charges they want to lay against an accused into boxes that really are not the best fit.

The fact that in the new American Congress there were participants in the insurrection on January 6th ,  means that American democracy is still in jeopardy. Michael Fanone who was a police officer engaged in resisting the violent insurrection on Capitol Hill that day said we need political leaders who will clearly denounce political violence.

When the January 6th insurrectionists invaded the  Capitol Hill police officers and 60 Metropolitan police officers were injured resisting the political violence, that was clearly an act of domestic terrorism. They were resisting a violent attempt to impose a political goal, namely, to stop the election of Joseph Biden.  Many of them were chanting “Stop the Steal,” or, even worse, “Hang Mike Pence” while engaged in violence against the police authorities who were defending the Capitol and the elected political representatives. By any definition of “terrorism” these violent acts would qualify as domestic terrorism. They were using violence for a political end. That is what constitutes terrorism. Clearly their political aim was to support the case of Donald Trump with whom the rioters and Trumpsters were aligned. Yet many Republican leaders have not denounced that violence of the far right.

The future of America still seems clouded with violence. And that comes mainly, though not exclusively on the right. All political leaders of all stripes ought to object strongly to any political violence, especially from their own side. If we can’t do that the future is grim.

Jordan Klepper Fingers the Conspiracies


On my regular walks in Arizona, I have enjoyed many interesting podcasts, including some  about the crazy things done by Trumpsters. One series of such podcasts were hosted by Jordan Klepper under the title “Jordan Klepper Fingers the Conspiracies.”  I have listened to a number of them.

On one of such walks through Johnson Ranch in San Tan Valley I learned about Trumpsters who believe that even though Trump lost the election he is still in charge. They believe he still leads the American armed forces.

Klepper specializes in attending Trump rallies for the Daily Show on television in order to interview Trumpsters. Often they are hilarious. All he has to do is ask them questions and they do the rest. But I loved one comment he made: “you can tell how these people really love America by the weapons they have bought to hurt other Americans.” For example, the Proud Boys, who are strong Trump supporters expect the American military to attack them so they must be prepared. In America that means they must be heavily armed.

Often crazy conspiracy theories have a hint of truth to them. For example, on January 6th of this year it was obvious that a number of military types still support Donald Trump. To them he is still the Commander-in-Chief. Nothing he can do will change that! They would die on the hill for Trump if he asked them to. Frankly, to me that is a little frightening.

Many of the Trumpsters are former members, or even current members, of the American military. And conspiracy theories gather around the military like iron filings collect around magnets. I believe the reason for this is the extraordinary level of fear among the theorists. A military of course is important to all of us. They are meant to protect us from some of our worst fears. As a result, conspiracy theories abound in and around the military. For example, there is a new theory in the United States that Donald Trump is still calling the shots for the military, even though he is no longer the president.

General Mike Flynn was Trump’s was the 24th U.S. National Security Advisor who was appointed by president Donald Trump and he lasted exactly 22 days of the Trump administration. He resigned after it was revealed he had lied to Mike Pence and others vetting Flynn for the advisor position.

Flynn held some whacky conspiracy views and it is disturbing that for 22 days he was so close to Commander-in-Chief of the United States. In some of his on-line posts he showed that he gave credence to conspiracy theories including the one that there was a plot to kill Navy Seals  involving current President Joe Biden who had been involved in the assassination of Osama bin Laden by the Seals.

Trump also endorsed such views when he re-tweeted some of those theories. Trump denied that re-tweeting constituted an endorsement of such theories, but what else could that mean? We also must remember that Donald Trump had about 50 million Twitter followers at the time, so re-posting such theories was a dangerous thing. Trump followers notoriously believe what Trump says and don’t require evidence to back up his claims. His proclamations are enough to convince them no matter how much contrary evidence is available.

Another on-going conspiracy theory—most of these never seem to end—was the call by Trumpsters to the Attorney-General to investigate reports that in Italy certain nefarious actors had hacked the voting machines in American election, even though they offered no evidence that this had happened. As Klepper commented, this theory had “as much substance as cotton candy that had been put through a clothes dryer.” These conspiracy theorists expected the authorities to pay attention to these wild and unsubstantiated claims.

Conspiracy theories aren’t getting more rational are they?

Credulity in America is a serious problem. This is one more sign of serious decline in American society. Having a president or national security advisor promulgating them can have serious consequences.


The Brazilian Trump



We were in Arizona on the anniversary of the Trump insurrection on January 6th.  Watching the news of the election in Brazil it really seemed like deja vu all over again.

Rumours were spreading not just faster than the truth but even faster than lies. In Brazil, on January 8, 2023 there were furious, and in some cases, violent protests after Lula defeated Bolsonaro, aptly called “the Brazilian Trump.” Like Donald Trump’s supporters, Bolsonaro’s supporters believed that the election was stolen from their boy and they were “as mad as hell and were not going to take it anymore,” to copy what was said in the movie Network.

As Mac Margolis, Washington Post commentator said, “this was carbon copy and paste Donald Trump.” This is the same thing Anne Applebaum, a columnist for The Atlantic said when she pointed out how populist political leaders around the world were learning a lot from each other. Populist leaders around the world are being encouraged by each other and the rest of us had better taken notice. As Margolis pointed out, in Brazil rumours spread quickly on social media and since they were lies, they spread at the speed of light. Truth is much slower. Margolis called it “anti-incumbent fury.” This is now happening across South America. Actually, it is happening around the world.


Persistence in Folly


Shortly after we arrived in Arizona, it was the second anniversary of the attempted coup by violent supporters of the former president Donald Trump. It was a day that will live on in infamy.


Surprisingly, we learned that day that  Republicans in some states like Arizona and Pennsylvania are still challenging the outcome of the 2020 election as stolen despite a complete absence of credible evidence. More than half of Republicans believe that the election was stolen. That is why they continue to support Trump and even finance his endless litigation despite the fact that he loses every case. Don’t they have anything better to do with their money?

Their folly is nothing if not persistent. One of my favourite quotes from the Bible is this: “As a dog returneth  to his vomit, so a fool  returneth to his folly .’.


We are Doomed


Not every one likes Bill Maher.  I know he is the worst interviewer on television.  Often he does not let his guests speak, but speaks up for them instead.  As well, when he lets them speak, he has some very interesting guests from all ends of the political spectrum from Steve Bannon to Nancy Pelosi.  And he sometimes makes some very interesting points.

For example, he was the first one to predict that Trump would never resign after he was elected president. He said that almost immediately after the election in 2016!  Now every one knows that. But not many said that in 2016. But Maher has also appreciated, as few others do, that this refusal now has important consequences.  Americans seem to be tolerating, if not encouraging,  this refusal even though the peaceful transfer of power has for long been considered the most important characteristic of democracy. It is what distinguishes democracy from autocracy.

And now millions of Americans have demonstrated clearly that they don’t think this element of democracy is important. They don’t care! I have found this astonishing. Many have not. Many shrug their shoulders as if it didn’t matter.

Maher said “Well we had a good run.”  On November 8, 2022 Americans had a chance to vote for democracy. As Joe Biden and many Democrats said, “Democracy is on the ballot.”  And they were right. And it didn’t matter to millions Americans. Inflation was more important than democracy. Bill Maher predicted this 4 days before the election as if it was a foregone conclusion. This is what he said,

“Tuesday is the election and I know I should tell you to vote in the most important election ever. So, O.K., yes. You should vote.  And it should be for the one party that still stands for democracy preservation. But it’s also a waste of breath because anyone who believes that is already voting and anybody who needs to learn that isn’t watching and no one in America can be persuaded about anything anymore anyway.”

On this point Maher is right.  No one will change their mind. Trump was right when he said he could stand in Times Square, murder someone and it wouldn’t make any difference to his supporters. They are that determined to vote for him no matter what he says or does. that gives him a lot of rope.  Look at the mountains of evidence revealing his nefarious deeds. Yet, his supporters are filled with religious devotion that cannot be altered. No one can be convinced out of a theological devotion. That in itself is enough to kill democracy.

Maher gave another pertinent example—the January 6th hearings. Those hearings provided Americans with an overwhelmingly convincing narrative that Donald Trump had no respect for democracy as he led the charge against democracy and his devoted followers followed. As Maher said,

“The January 6th hearings it turned out changed nobody’s mind. Democrat Jamie Raskin said the hearings “will tell a story that will really blow the roof off the House.”  No that was Hurricane Ian. Hearings roof not blown. The Committee did a masterful job laying out the case but we live in Partisan American now. So it’s a little like doing stand-up when half the crowd only speaks Mandarin. No matter how good the material is it’s not going to go over. After all the hearings the percentage of Americans who thought Trump did nothing wrong. Went up 3 points! That’s America now.”


Again, Maher is right. The truth did not matter! All that mattered was that millions of people are devoted to Trump and nothing—absolutely nothing—will turn them away from their religious leader. The overwhelming narrative is irrelevant.

I am a Canadian; I have no dog in this hunt. But I do. America is the leader of the modern world. Maybe not for much longer, but for now that is true. If America coughs the rest of the world catches a cold.

 I am posting this as the election is drawing to a close. I don’t know any results. I hope Maher is wrong; if fear he is right.

Are we doomed?  Let’s see what happens tonight.

Is Civil War in the US possible?

One of the two respected jurists William S. Cohen who wrote about the disappointing actions of Republicans complaining about the Justice Department warrants at Donald Trump’s home, is a former secretary of defense and former Republican senator from Maine who was such a moderate Republican that he served as Secretary of Defence in the Democrat Clinton administration. The other, William H. Webster is a former director of the FBI and the CIA and a retired judge of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit. He served under both Democrat and Republican administrations, including that of Donald Trump.  These are not partisans.


These men have pointed out that the Republican leaders, disrespect for maintaining law and order is serious, and can have very serious consequences.  They even suggested those actions might lead to Civil War! Remember these are not fringe leftists clamouring about the possibility of Civil War. These are respected lawyers who served both Democrat and Republican administrations in national security matters and they are not alarmists. They remind us that fears and warnings of Civil War are not outlandish, given the conduct of Republican leaders and the former president. They are real possibilities.


The opinion of Cohen and Webster was based on their personal experience and also their reading of respecting historian Barbara F. Walter who in her book “How Civil Wars Start: And How to Stop Them,


“Walter raises valid concerns about the United States slipping into a place where civil war is possible. She writes about a netherworld of anocracy — between democracy and autocracy — a breeding ground for political violence, where the grievances and resentments of a large white underclass have greatly increased the potential for civil war.


These predictions once sounded like the fever dreams of far-right lunatics who would welcome such a bloody conflict; today, such predictions are coming from responsible voices such as Walter and others who have carefully studied this phenomenon around the world.”



Please note how Cohen and Webster refer to “these valid concerns” and that such opinions are not “the fever dreams of far-right lunatics.”  These concerns are brought forward by the upper echelons of American jurists and public servants. Again, this is serious stuff and should be taken seriously.

Some people have suggested Merrick and Wray should not have issued and executed the warrants at Mar-a-Lago, because the risk of causing civil unrest, which Trump in fact has been encouraging, again, but these two jurists rightly point out that, “our nation’s senior law enforcer, a man who has an impeccable record of fairness and impartiality as a distinguished jurist, cannot tailor his judgment to accommodate the rage of the lawless.

Genuine believers in the rule of law, like Merrick and Wray, must do their duty, rather than bowing to the reckless cries of lawless insurrectionists and their Republican enablers. There was a time when conservatives were dedicated to law and order. This is not one of those times. If there are no longer many conservatives, the radical left or the radical right will the vacuum.

The Rage of the Lawless



Did you read the article in the Washington Post by two outstanding lawyers and public servants, namely William S. Cohen and William H. Webster? the y commented on the right wing hysteria that followed the Department of Justice issuing warrants to enter and seize government documents from Donald Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago Florida.

William S. Cohen is a former secretary of defense and former Republican senator from Maine. He was a moderate Republican who served as Secretary of Defence in the Democrat Clinton administration.

William H. Webster is a former director of the FBI and the CIA and a retired judge of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit. He served under both Democrat and Republican administrations, including that of Donald Trump.

Neither is a left-wing radical. These are respected lawyers and public servants.

These two hard-headed experienced lawyers with deep knowledge of the law and national security issues have jointly issued a severe warning in the Washington Post. They commented how unusual it was for an Attorney General like Merrick Garland together with FBI director Christopher Wray to have  authorized the execution of search warrants of the home of the former president Donald Trump. Wray was a Trump appointee after Trump dismissed former director James Comey. Webster and Cohen said they both had full confidence that the warrants by these men who were “both honest and honorable men,” were justified.

.Even though it is clear to them that the warrants were rightfully issued, and executed, Cohen and Webster were highly critical of the actions of leading Republican leaders who together with the former president did their best to inflame the Trump supporters. As Cohen and Webster said,

Prominent Republicans reacted with predictable fury and heated threats of retaliation against the attorney general — unprecedented acts of vitriol based on the belief the FBI’s conduct was politically motivated rather than legally necessary. In doing so, they recklessly and knowingly undermined respect for a “law and order” institution and the men and women who risk their lives to protect us.”


And that is the real problem. Republicans claim to be the party of law and order, but repeatedly, in service of their former leader and president, Donald Trump, they do all they can to “reckless and knowingly” undermine “respect for law and order.” Every who saw what happened in Washington D.C. at the Capitol on January 6th knows what the effect of disrespecting law and order can lead to—violence, chaos, and insurrection. This is serious stuff, but Republican leaders seem to have forgotten it in their rush to pay obeisance to Donald Trump at the expense of the country.

As important as this issue is because it could lead to violent insurrection, Cohen and Webster think it is even more important to consider what they called “the far larger issues surrounding the conduct of the former president.” These two respected jurists acknowledged that the House Select Committee investigating the Jan.6 2021 incident, which I call an insurrection and others call a riot, acknowledged that this committee

“…has produced compelling evidence that Trump and his supporters engaged in an orchestrated six-step plan to prevent the peaceful transfer of power, culminating with the assault on the Capitol.

We share disgust and deep disappointment that the Republican Party’s decency and respect for the rule of law has been defined down to a cultish devotion to a demonstrably unprincipled man of greed and blind ambition.”


As a society we must learn how to contain the rage of the lawless. If we can’t do that, everything else is pretty futile. Is that not what conservatism is all about?