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What Would Nellis Say?

How Quickly We Forget - May 2024

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Painting by Sheridan

How Quickly We Forget

By Rick Stiller

 

With Donald Trump’s triumphant crusade to transform the Republican Party into a MAGA cult and his ascendency to become their nominee for the presidency without any real opposition, right-wing media is touting how wonderful and secure things were during Trump’s presidency. 

 

Their foggy-misinformation propaganda consistently refuses to include 2020, the final disastrous year of his administration, when his incessant lies and complete incompetence in dealing with the Covid crisis resulted in more than a million deaths. A partial tally of his other failures includes:

            

            2,876,000 jobs were lost.

            Manufacturing employment decreased by 154,000.

            Economic growth rate declined by 3.4%.

            Trade deficit rose by 40.5%.

Home prices increased by 27.5%.

Federal debt owned by the public rose by 50%.

Federal deficit rose by 25% during his four years in office, the largest increase in           history.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 10,000 points in the first three months of         2020.

The entire population lived in virtual lock-down for more than a year and school           children lost a year of education and socialization.

Handgun production rose by 12.5%, the murder rate surged by more than 30%            across the country - the largest single-year escalation in more than a century,          and gun violence became the number-one cause of death of children.

 

While the country suffered through the pandemic, Trump personally pocketed $7.2 million in profits from foreign governments through their patronage of his hotels and resorts. Numerous reports suggest that hundreds of rooms were rented but never occupied by Saudi and Chinese patrons. Many of the new Saudi LIV golf tournaments are being held at Trump golf courses and resorts, adding another more current layer to the financial entanglement and obligation that started long before his first foreign trip as president to Riyadh.

 

Shortly after Trump’s term ended, son-in-law and former presidential advisor Jared Kushner’s firm Affinity Partners received $2 billion in financing from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, who benefitted from Kushner’s friendship and support when the prince was implicated in ordering the murder and dismemberment of opposition journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 

 

Funds from The Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund will finance Affinity’s recently announced major development projects in Albania, Serbia, and Oman (with addition financial commitments from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, which also enjoyed cordial relations with Kushner).

 

 

While working as an unpaid Senior Advisor to her father, Ivanka Trump received 18 Chinese trademarks to protect her fashion and accessories line, which was manufactured in China until being shut down when retailers across the country refused to carry her brand. 

 

Trump’s corruption blossomed into months of scheming to overturn an election he knew he was going to lose. When fake electors and strong arm shakedowns of Secretaries of State, who refused to falsify or discard voting results in seven purple states, failed and more than sixty lawsuits were thrown out of court for lack of evidence to back his assertions of voter fraud, he sent an armed mob of thousands to invade the Capitol in a desperate ploy to stop the certification of the election by capturing and lynching his vice-president Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

 

The Republican Party boasts about their support for law and order but five people died in the melee, several police officers committed suicide in the weeks following the riot, and more than one-hundred and fifty others required treatment at local hospitals. Many will never recover from the trauma they endured at the hands of Trump’s thugs. 

 

Later that evening, after hours hiding from the mob, the House reconvened to finish certifying the election. Representative Mike Johnson (our current Speaker of House) organized 147 of his Republican colleagues to vote against the will of the American people. In the days immediately following the violence, terrified Republicans lined up to denounce the former president but, one by one, party leaders trooped to Mar-a-Lago to take a knee, kiss the ring, and pledge fidelity to Trump’s power. 

 

The insurrection was a warmup for the white-nationalist violence that he will unleash when he loses the next election. Trump and his allies have had four years to develop plans to ensure that the next insurrection will not fail. Months ahead of party conventions or actual voting, he is already laying the groundwork by claiming that the 2024 election is going to be rigged against him.

 

He has boasted publicly that he has no intention of preserving, protecting, or defending the Constitution or any of the entitlements granted in the Bill of Rights or laws passed to protect women and minorities over the past century. By ignoring current regulations, he will solidify his grasp of power without restrictions or oversight. His speeches bare his true intentions of becoming a dictator from day one to consolidate his authority over the entire executive branch by firing 50,000 civil servants and replacing them with allegiant supplicants who are currently being interviewed for positions that will allow the destruction of the government from within after a one-question interview, “Was the 2020 election stolen from Donald Trump?”

 

These plans, as laid out in a thousand- page document produced by the ultra-right- wing Koch- financed Heritage Foundation called Project 2025, include weaponizing the Department of Justice and the FBI to indict and prosecute his enemies and instituting the Insurrection Act on Inauguration Day to justify sending troops into the streets to quell expected protests or rallies against his regime. 

 

He promises a new Muslim ban and will direct the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to round up millions of “suspected” illegal aliens (think people of color) who will be incarcerated in massive concentration camps until they can be flushed through a kangaroo court and deported. His administration will target legal immigrants who might be suspected of being sympathetic to “jihadist” ideas or idiologiesideologies and revoke student visas for those who might have anti-American or anti-Semitic beliefs.

 

Trump wants to end birthright citizenship for the children of undocumented migrants and make them ineligible for passports, Social Security numbers, and other benefits. He has bragged about his plans to end support for Ukraine, handing his mentor, Vladimir Putin, an invitation to invade European Union countries by “re-evaluating” membership in NATO. He also wants to renegotiate all of our treaties, alliances, and trade agreements and impose reciprocal tariffs on any country that has tariffs on goods sold in the United States, which punishes U.S. citizens rather than the producers with the increased costs. not the producers.

 

He would promote oil drilling on our most treasured public lands and tax breaks for the petroleum industry, reverse limits on pollution, end subsidies for wind and solar power projects, cut support for manufacturing electric vehicles, and end our participation in the Paris Climate Accords (again) following the ten hottest years on record, which occurred during the past decade.

 

A champion of the MAGA/Evangelical war on the LGBTQ community, he will propose legislation to end therapeutic treatment of transgender minors and outlaw gay marriage. The Supreme Court’s decision to end Roe vs Wade, which allowed individual states to write and adopt draconian legislation to outlaw and criminalize abortion, will be expanded to a national mandate. Republicans have made no secret of their intention to eliminate birth control, women’s and minority voting rights, and restrictions on gun ownership.

 

The Department of Education will be terminated in favor of encouraging states and local school districts to institute “patriotic” education that will ignore historical and scientific facts in favor of “Christian” values that include the glorification of “white” achievements. The “nuclear” family will be promoted, and teachers are already forbidden to discuss alternative gender roles in many red states. The Department of Commerce will be eliminated to allow the richest few to take control of every industry without restrictions or oversight.

 

Trump’s motivation in running for president for a third time is driven by the belief that, once in office, he will be immune from prosecution for the eighty-eight indictments against him, the civil lawsuits, a crumbling empire, and the half-billion dollar bond to pay the fines he owed the State of New York and could not cover without a gargantuan loan guarantee from Don Hankey, whose companies make high-interest sub-prime loans to desperate customers. There can be no doubt that Trump will be in Hankey’s debt should he succeed in retaking the presidency. He now spends every day scowling in a New York Courtroom for the trial of his violations of campaign finance lawsth.

 

He has installed his daughter-in-law as co-chair of the Republian Nation Committee, evicted most of the administration and replaced them with loyalists, commandeered Republican Party finances, and installed a system that assigns a large portion of every contribution to pay for his legal fees. Down ballot candidates who use his name or likeness in the campaign promotions will be forced to contribute at least five percent of every donation to his Super PAC,  and Republican campaign committees are being starved of financial support.

 

His unhinged rallies now begin with a recording of his choir of convicted and imprisoned insurrectionists singing the National Anthem and ends with a half-hour of cult adoration. He presents himself as the second coming of Christ who is enduring attacks from the courts and his enemies to save this ignorant followers from similar persecution. He vows retribution against anyone who does not pledge loyalty, everyone who has ever opposed his will, and every minority that might threaten the sanctity of white evangelical supremacy or Christian Nationalism.

 

Themes of revenge and retribution from his screeds leave no doubt that this country should be prepared for a “bloodbath” if he loses the coming election. Immigrants are “animals” who have been released from prisons and insane asylums in their home countries and “In some cases they’re not people, in my opinion, and they’re poisoning the blood of our country.” (This slogan has been used against every wave of immigrants for more than one-hundred years by white nationalists like the MAGA media that supports his candidacy.).  His enemies are “vermin” and we are a “country in decline.” His loyal followers are gobbling up his sixty-dollar Bibles (that can be purchased for twenty on the internet) after every event and orders for his $300 gaudy gold high-top sneakers have yet to be fulfilled.

 

If you support the bigotry, lies, corruption, hate, and the million senseless deaths that framed the first Trump administration and have no respect for the freedoms and benefits that we all share, you will probably vote to resurrect his insanity and continue the chaos and divisive political theater that is the MAGA Republican mantra.

 

If, on the other hand, you accept the fact that our economy is chugging along with unemployment at a fifty-year low, wages increasing rapidly, the FED announcing that they will begin to cut interest rates as inflation continues to drop, the stock market climbing, manufacturing accelerating, America exporting far more oil and gas than any other country in the world, hundreds of thousands of new jobs being created every month, and you value our democracy over a theocratic dictatorship that will ignore and eliminate your rights, you must deny Trump and every MAGA candidate running for every office from your school board to the presidency the opportunity to destroy the country.

 

That is not a difficult decision, if you value real democracy and the freedoms you enjoy.

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