Category Archives: Death of Democracy

Strongman Government


Recently, I watched the Rachel Maddow show on television. She is an unrelenting liberal so I don’t watch the show very often, figuring I get enough of that already. After watching the show, I might change my mind. I just watched a small part of the show and it was very interesting.

First, she showed brief interviews with Trumpsters who had each been asked one simple question:  “If you had a choice of 4 more years of Joe Biden or 4 more years of Donald Trump as a dictator what would you choose?”

The answers were shocking. Each one chose Trump!  One said, “This country needs a dictator. I hate to say it, but it’s true.” He looked sheepish but he said it.  Another said, “Sometimes in life we need a good paddling from the principal to set our life on the right path. And this country needs a little of that.”  A young woman said, “I’d pick Trump all the way.” She also had a sheepish grin, but again, said it.  A number of them said “Trump” with enthusiasm.  They seemed to want a dictator.

Is it really true that Americans want a dictator? Dictatorship seems to have a lot of appeal in the US. Why is that?  Rachel Maddow said, many Americans want a strong man government and think that is what Trump will give them.

When Law Makers and Law Enforcement  Support the Violence


One of the things that shocked me when I watched the violence and rioting unfold at the Capitol in Washington on January 6th 2021 was the presence, in a supportive role, of what appeared to be cops or military in the midst of the rioters. They believed in the cause of violent insurrection in the support of a lawless President.

As Ryan Reilly author of a book called “Sedition Hunters: How January 6th Broke the Justice System,” said about the rioters:

“We do have a lot of people within the FBI who are not so enthusiastic about bringing these cases against people who attacked the Capitol on January 6…There are, and I say that because some of these individuals who were at the FBI have come out and said that publicly. They have resigned from the FBI because of these cases.”



He said he would work against the FBI charging rioters. Reilly also pointed out that not only did current and former law enforcement officials push conspiracy theories, so did members of Congress who outright opposed the investigation into the crimes committed at the Capitol on January 6th. The current speaker of the House, Republican Mike Johnson, was one of those obvious supporters.  Added to that, he said many of them “contributed to misinformation about what happened that day.”

Think about that: Law makers and law enforcement supporting domestic terrorism. I  repeat what I have beeen saying: how can anyone deny that America is a country in serious decline?

Sedition Hunters


The investigation by the FBI into what happened at the US Capitol on January 6th is the largest criminal investigation in the history of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI is so overwhelmed it is relies on tips from amateurs doing their civic duty, as they see it, to pursue leads about the rioters so they can help the FBI to identify insurgents. One of those citizens, talked to PBS’s Judy Woodruff and told her that she had joined a massive citizen organization, including Trump supporters, to identify the people who participated in the riot at the Capitol by attacking police and the Capitol security.

As a result, that woman now has to hide her own identity because American right-wing extremists are threatening her personally to such an extent that she fears retaliation. One of the ones she called “insidious” was sending her videos of himself racking his gun. Imagine if you received such a video. 

The group of citizens is now referred to as “sedition hunters,” because as Judy Woodruff said on PBS News Hour,

“Over time, they developed their own methodologies, guidelines, even a software application to keep track of every individual rioter, giving each one a pseudonym and compiling dossiers of evidence that they then turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with the rioters’ real identity.”

As Ryan Reilly NBC Justice Reporter said, “The FBI was overwhelmed with the number of tips that they were receiving. They had received hundreds of thousands of tips.” Reilly, the author as well of the book “Sedition Hunters: How January 6th Broke the Justice System,” described how the FBI has struggled to investigate the thousands of claims about people who stormed the Capitol.

Of course, according to FBI data,  the number of domestic terrorism cases in the US have increased by about 490% between 2016 when Trump was elected and 2021 when he lost the election and Biden was inaugurated.

Frankly, it is astonishing to me that the richest country in the world is unable to properly investigate the crimes committed at what the Americans refer to as a sacred place for its democracy. Many of those cases will expire because the statute of limitations is approaching and after that the perpetrators can’t be prosecuted. The FBI does not have the capacity to investigate all cases in time to meet the deadline!

 How can the US deny that it is a country in decline?


Surging Domestic Terrorism


The American criminal investigation by the FBI into what happened on Capitol Hill in Washington on January 6 2021 is the largest investigation it has ever undertaken. More than 1,200 people have already been charged with more than 900 of those convicted by courts of law. Republicans and many other Americans don’t seem to grasp this. These are 900 people who have already either admitted their guilt or been found guilty by a court of law.  And it is expected that hundreds of more charges will be laid. Yet many of them believe this is not true. Because that is what Fox News and their spiritual leader tell them.

There are so many investigations that the FBI basically acknowledges that it will not be able to complete all of the investigations before the Statute of Limitations expires!  That means many people who should be charged won’t be charged because it will be too late. Many domestic terrorists will be released or not even charged because the FBI is overwhelmed.

This is not fake news. This is fact. In fact, it is a brutal fact. These are Americans who were incited to appear at the Capitol on that day because Donald Trump said, “it’s going to be crazy.”  And “It will be wild.” And for once Trump was exactly right. It was crazy and it was wild.

I watched it unfold on television for hours that day, and to me it was completely unbelievable. Yet there it was right before my eyes. I saw much of it. And it was a riot. It was not a bunch of overly enthusiastic tourists as many Republicans alleged. Those were not crisis actors. This was a riot and for hours the president of the United States did nothing to stop it. Instead, he poured gasoline on the flames. Trump told his followers that day, “We fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

 One of the interesting things about this riot is the varied reactions from Americans. Many on the American right have pooh-poohed it. American House Republican Representative Matt Gaetz said the rioters who breached the Capitol that day were not Trump supporters but were members of the violent left-wing terrorist group known as Antifa, masquerading as Trump supporters.  In effect, he said, it may look like a duck, walk like duck and quack like a duck, but still not be a duck.  And of course, all of this he claimed without any evidence whatsoever.

Many of the rioters violently tried to throttle the police and Capitol security forces. Many of those officers feared for their lives.  Many of the rioters were chanting “Hang Mike Pence” over and over again, because they were disappointed that he did not support Trump’s attempt to steal the election by subverting the electoral count  in the House of Representatives that day. Some of them even carried gallows to the event ready for use when needed!  Many of them were hunting for Senator Barbara Pelosi, likely for a similar purpose.

It was indeed crazy!


Yearning for a Strongman Government


Recently, I watched the Rachel Maddow show on television. She is an unrelenting liberal so I don’t watch the show very often, figuring I get enough of that already. After watching the show though, I might change my mind. I just watched a small part of the show and it was very interesting.

First, she showed brief interviews with Trumpsters who had each been asked one simple question:  “If you had a choice of 4 more years of Joe Biden or 4 more years of Donald Trump as a dictator what would you choose?”

The answers were shocking. Each one chose Trump!  One said, “This country needs a dictator. I hate to say it, but it’s true.” He looked sheepish but he said it.  Another said, “Sometimes in life we need a good paddling from the principal to set our life on the right path. And this country needs a little of that.”  A young woman said, “I’d pick Trump all the way.” She also had a sheepish grin, but again, said it.  A number of them said “Trump” with enthusiasm.  They seemed to want a dictator.

Is it really true that Americans want a dictator? Dictatorship seems to have a lot of appeal in the US. Why is that?  Rachel Maddow said, many Americans want a strong man government and think that is what Trump will give them.

American on the Edge of Fascism


I posted about a judge in Colorado evaluating all of the evidence, hearing arguments from both sides and concluding that Donald Trump was engaged in insurrection.  As a result I submitted that it was astonishing to think that Trump supporters  still don’t believe that he was engaged insurrection. To me it seems obvious.

The judge however said she was not sure that this section applied to the presidency so refused to ban Trump from the upcoming presidential ballot in 2024.

The American Constitution, unlike the American people,  takes insurrection very seriously. In s. 3 to the 14th amendment to that constitution it says:

“Section 3

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability”


What does this section mean? Donald Trump’s lawyers argued that this meant the section did not apply to the president. It only applies to every other officer of the United States, the lawyers argue.

In effect if Trump wins this argument then he has absolute immunity from criminal prosecution for conspiring to overturn the 2020 election. Think about that, a former president is arguing in court that he cannot suffer any legal consequence for participating in an insurrection!

Laurence Tribe a well known Harvard Professor of law and constitutional expert said this decision by the Colorado Judge was “bizarre.” I am not that bold because I find the wording in s. 3 perplexing, but Professor Tribe had no such doubt. This is what he said when interviewed by PBS Newshour about this decision:

“it would turn the presidency into a dictatorship. It would basically mean that the revolution that we fought against King George failed, and that the American experiment in constitutional democracy, with no one being above the law, lasted 225 years, and then ended. I don’t want that to happen.”


Now I have to agree with Professor Tribe that this would be bizarre, but frankly I find many aspects of the American Constitution, which so many in America consider Holy Text, to be bizarre. Remember that according to constitution the president  has the authority to pardon anyone from a a criminal offence without giving any reasons or justification. Trump used this last time he was in office to pardon a slew of his corrupt cronies. Some have even argued that the Constitution would allow Trump to pardon himself if he was convicted. What could be more bizarre than that? Sometimes I really wonder if the US can be said to have the rule of law at all. Like so much holy writ, the American Constitution is far from perfect.

We have already heard that Trump will make it his job to destroy all of his enemies if elected. How could he be stopped?

This is what Professor Tribe says about the possibility that Trump’s argument succeeds:

“I think it would be a disaster for the freedom of every one of us to have anybody completely above the law. We have in this case someone who said he would terminate the Constitution. He will make his presidency about vengeance. It’s what fascists do.


That is precisely what fascists do all right, and America seems to be headed in that direction thanks to the undying support of millions of Americans for Donald Trump. No matter what he does they will continue to support him. It doesn’t matter if he engages in insurrection. It doesn’t matter if he shoots someone in Times Square. It doesn’t matter if he sexually abuses a woman in department store, his true believers will continue to believe.

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 Crusade of lies against the Clintons


On the David Lettermen show Rush Limbaugh attacked the Clintons as he always did but he even attacked their daughter Chelsea who was only 12 years old. He made a joke by comparing her unfavorably to the family dog. Nothing was too low for Limbaugh, particularly when attacking liberals.

He attacked them bitterly over the death of Vince Foster.  He said on his show that a Washington consulting firm was about to publish a story that Vince Foster was murdered in an apartment owned by Hillary Clinton! Foster was a childhood friend of Bill Clinton and joined the White House administration as counsel and was involved in scandals that in hindsight were pretty minor.  Nothing compared to the later Trump administration scandals. Foster was depressed, anxious and over worked. His death was investigated by 2 police agencies, a coroner, 2 independent counsels, and 2 Congressional Committees. All said his death was a suicide. But all this was nothing beside the fax that was sent to Rush Limbaugh.  The implication was clear—Clintons were murderers!  This brought polarization into American politics at a whole new level of extremism.  And Limbaugh was proud of his efforts.

Of course, there were many right-wing conspiracies about Foster. One of those was that Foster was assassinated to keep him from testifying against the Clintons. Or that he had been blackmailed by Israel over a secret Swiss bank account. Or that his death was the consequence of a secret tryst with—you got it—Hillary Clinton. Who else? Once more there was no evidence to support this. It was all lies manufactured somewhere on the right where these things are spawned. (and I am not denying that there have been lies on the left as well)

Rush Limbaugh helped embed conspiracy theories permanently inside the Republican party. Conspiracies were there to stay. They are still there in abundance. And he had gone a long way toward convincing American conservatives that their president and a future presidential candidate were murderers who would stop at nothing to get their political way.  This was a religious crusade. And religious crusades always end badly.

The crusade against the Clintons has been a remarkable phenomenon in American politics for about 2 decades.  And it is not ending any time soon.  Crusades can do that. American right-wing talk radio has been a big part of that.  Now I do not claim the Clinton’s were entirely innocent political actors.  I am saying though that they have been the object of an unprecedented massive campaign of lies that has been building for decades. Such a mountain of lies would be difficult for a saint to overcome, and for the Clintons it was impossible. They are not saints. Many of us did not appreciate this when Hillary ran for the presidency in 2016. No matter how absurd the lies accumulated and had tremendous effect.  After all, how can she combat a campaign that painted her as the leader of cabal of pedophiles operating out of the non-existent  basement of a pizza restaurant basement in Washington D.C.?  No possible evidence could refute such a massive lie.

Rush Limbaugh played an important role in manufacturing, spreading, and solidifying this campaign of lies.

As Justin Ling said in his podcast series the Flamethrowers,

“The conspiracy theory was here to stay, thanks in large part to Rush Limbaugh. No longer were the Clintons conventional political villains. They were murderers! But whether or not the Vince Foster story really took hold in the minds of Limbaugh was leading a political crusade—and he was winning.”



The result was what one political commentator called “a seismic shift to the right tonight in American political thinking. It is measuring 10.0 on the political Richter scale.” It was massive; it was powerful; and it was created by Rush Limbaugh and his revolutionary cabal of right-wing radio commentators around the country.


It was intensely visible in 1998 in the American mid-term elections. The Republicans took control of the House of Representatives for the first time since 1954. They picked up 54 seats in the House and enough seats to claim the Senate as well. It was the worst loss suffered by a sitting President in 50 years.

The lesson: Conspiracy theories work.


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.


Do Americans care about democracy?


It turns out Bill Maher was wrong. Democracy in America is not dead. It is clinging to life by its fingernails. I hope people don’t think the issue has gone away.

Benjamin Franklin said America had a republic, if it could keep it.

According to Bill Maher

 “They can’t. They don’t want it. They want theology instead…Democracy is on the ballot on Tuesday and unfortunately it’s going to lose. And once it’s gone it’s gone. It’s not something you can change your mind about and reverse.  That’s gender.”

Thank goodness is seem Maher was wrong. For now.

Some of Donald Trump’s anti-democratic partners appear to have lost their bids for election yesterday. Others seem to have won. Some results are uncertain. Some of the luster of Donald Trump seems to have fallen down. There is hope, but democracy must be struggled for.

Many people point out truthfully that America has been in highly divisive  spots before. And they have survived. Americans are nothing if not resilient. But there are 2 differences that I see now.

One is the incredibly corrosive power of the Internet and how rapidly lies can travel on that medium. Much faster than truth. Lies and hate feed the Internet because they are immensely profitable. How does anyone fight that?

Secondly, many Americans, but thankfully not all,  seem to have given up on democracy. They literally  don’t seem to care any more if they have a democracy of not. And that is a very large group. They just care if their side wins. That is all that matters. How does anyone fight that?

The problem is that many people in America have demonstrated they don’t care about democracy. The Republican who was up for election  as governor in Wisconsin said ““Republicans will never lose another election in Wisconsin after I’m elected governor.” But he appears to have lost. But he lost narrowly. He got more than a million votes, less than 100,000 votes behind the winner.

Maher made another very important point about how democracies can be lost if we are not vigilant:

“This is how it happens. Hitler was elected. So was Mussolini. Putin. Erdogan. Viktor Orban.”

That has not happened.  I would say today it looks more like it won’t happen then yesterday. There is hope. But there is not certainty.