This is shaping up to be the most ugly election in U.S. history with fiery consequences. Could the nation be heading for civil war, a century and a half after the last one?
If we thought 2016 and the fallout of that election was bad, then 2020 promises to be dystopia on steroids.
The mix is explosive. Gun sales are breaking new records in a country where there are already more privately-held firearms than the number of citizens.
There are dozens of armed factions out on the streets across the U.S., some identifying with leftwing politics, but the greater majority being associated with far-right militia who are largely supportive of President Donald Trump.
Trump has taken sides with incendiary cynicism. The president never condemns far-right groups, not even white supremacist Neo-Nazis. Indeed, he has offered the highest praise from his Oval Office for “patriots” whom he claims are defending law and order. However, Trump and his followers have sought to portray America as being under wholesale assault from “leftwing anarchists” and “socialists”.
This is in spite of Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security assessing that the biggest threat of societal violence comes from white supremacist extremists.
Another study in association with Princeton University found that of the more than 10,000 public protests across the U.S. over recent months mostly against police brutality and racism, more than 95 per cent of the events were conducted peacefully. This is contrast to the picture projected by Trump and Republican supporters who depict the U.S. being torched by “antifa” and “leftwing anarchists”.
That being said, however, there are armed groups out there with radically opposing views. And with the dubious leadership that both Republicans and Democrats are expert in offering, the result is potentially combustible social violence.
Perhaps more important than objective facts, is subjective perception. And the perception – especially among the pro-Trump factions – is that the United States is being over-run by leftwing mobs and Black Lives Matter “domestic terrorists” funded by George Soros and other “liberal globalists”.
Trump, with consummate demagogic skill, is expertly winding up fears among his supporters of a “socialist” takeover of the U.S. This depiction of the Democrat party and its ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is absurd beyond words. But in Trump World, the facts don’t matter. All that matters is perception, and the Donald is nothing if not adept at ginning up perceptions.
The QAnon phenomenon is a good example. This conspiracy network among millions of Trump’s fans peddles ridiculous beliefs such as Trump being a savior of America’s moral soul from elitist cabals. And this president plays these delusions like a fiddle. There is no doubt that the U.S. is run by a deep-state establishment of corporate ruling class. But Trump, the corrupt oligarch, as savior? Give U.S. a break.
Besides, America lost its soul a long time ago after decades of criminal wars, oligarchic misrule, racist policing, capitalist plunder and other foul crimes, such as political assassination, the latter including a sitting president, John F Kennedy.
Former CIA chief William Casey once reputedly bragged that “we’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American people believe is false”.
We have reached that stage of political and social decomposition. Among the widespread confusion, the fear, the hatred and paranoia, perhaps the biggest expression is public distrust. The American public don’t have any trust in their system anymore, and who could blame them? They have been crossed and double-crossed so many times by their plutocrats and lying media, including by supposed “outsiders” like the Reality-TV conman currently in the White House.
In about two months an election result will be called which neither side will believe. Millions will believe that Trump cheated his way back into the White House if he wins. And if he doesn’t win, millions of his diehard supporters will believe that it was “all rigged”.
Trump has already condemned the forthcoming election as the “most fraudulent” in history. The sinister implication, in the event of losing, is that he is not willing to pack up for a peaceful transition of power. And Trump, “the QAnon savior”, will have plenty of gun-toting “patriots” to call upon to “defend democracy”.
The situation can only get more fraught if initial results show Trump winning the ballot, but then later votes tallied from “mail-in” electorate put Biden ahead. Given that Trump and Republicans are convinced that mail-in voting is a giant fraud (despite clear evidence to the contrary), the competing claims to the White House are set for a bitter long-drawn-out collision, which with rhetorical Molotovs from Trump could be incited deliberately, or even inadvertently, into civil war.
The popular distrust in the American political system is rampant. There are myriad causes for this baleful condition hollowing out the supposed integrity of American democracy. But all of those corrosive causes are American-made. The laughable irony is that Democrats, Republicans and U.S. media still talk about the bogey man of Russian interference which is said to be aimed at “sowing distrust in American democracy”. There is abundantly more than enough distrust in the U.S. among its citizens towards their government, institutions and themselves without any foreign input that could possibly make the slightest difference to the caldron of rancor that exists.
Trump’s Toxic Lies on ‘China Virus’ Collapse
U.S. President Donald Trump stands accused of “lying to the American people” over the coronavirus pandemic causing tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths. That’s because the president admits himself that he knew how deadly the viral disease was but instead deliberately “played it down”.
Furthermore, what the admission also reveals is that the months-long campaign by the Trump administration to blame China for the pandemic has been a cynical pile of lies. Lies which amount to reckless aggression risking a war with China.
The bombshell revelations this week come out of interviews conducted with Trump by veteran journalist Bob Woodward. Excerpts of those taped interviews have been widely published as news reports this week ahead of a new book by Woodward.
Most damning is Trump’s admission to Woodward on February 7 that he knew the new coronavirus and its Covid-19 disease to be “deadly” and more fatal than “your strenuous flu”. There is no doubt that Trump was being briefed at that early stage by his intelligence officials that a pandemic was coming and that it would lead to phenomenal death toll.
Yet Trump delayed for several weeks in calling for lockdown restrictions. Over several ensuing months, he also continually dismissed the severity of the public health risk in Tweets and statements in which he portrayed the coronavirus as less harmful than the common flu and which would “miraculously” go away soon. In one follow-up interview with Woodward on March 19, Trump actually told how he “wanted to play it down because I don’t want to create a panic”.
The scale of presidential criminality here is staggering. Trump knowingly misled the public about the disease and has continually frustrated his own health experts in their attempts to contain the pandemic – which has so far caused over 195,000 deaths in the U.S..
Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden has joined in the media chorus denouncing Trump for “lying to the American people”. More furor is yet to follow and the revelations this week could be the decisive inflection against Trump’s re-election bid in November.
However, one point seems to be overlooked in the media outcry. And that is how the Trump administration is exposed in its slanderous attempts to incriminate China over the Covid-19 pandemic. The tensions from Trump’s lies against Beijing have created a dangerous new Cold War with China, where strained relations could result in all-out military confrontation. (See our recent editorials at Strategic Culture Foundation on this unhinged U.S. policy towards China and international security.)
Scarcely picked up in media reporting of Trump’s admissions to Woodward is that the president acknowledges that he was personally warned by Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at an early stage about the gravity of the disease. That warning from President Xi to Trump came before February 7, according to the timeline of the interviews. Trump’s sombre description of the virus’ deadliness in the Woodward interview demonstrates that President Xi had clearly told Trump in no uncertain terms about the danger of the pandemic to public health.
Nonetheless, the public record from March through to the present shows that Trump and his administration embarked on a campaign of vilification against China, blaming Beijing and the “Chinese Communist Party” of a “cover-up”.
Trump has constantly insisted on calling the pandemic the “China flu” or the “Wuhan plague” after the city where it was first detected back in December 2019. Trump and his thuggish Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have repeatedly accused China of “unleashing” the disease to wreck the American economy. The Trump administration has provocatively threatened sanctions and retribution against China. These tensions have fed into other geopolitical strains over territorial disputes in the South China Sea and in relations over Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Washington’s ramped-up militaristic stand-off with Beijing, including the increased dispatch of American warships and warplanes near China’s territory in recent months, has been reinforced by the Trump administration’s highly provocative accusations of China’s culpability over the coronavirus pandemic. American public sentiment towards China has been poisoned by the relentless belligerent rhetoric spewed by Trump and his hawkish anti-China aides and rightwing media supporters.
The publicly documented timeline shows that the Chinese government and the World Health Organization were openly alerting the international community to the unfolding pandemic as early as January this year. The Chinese government and other nations took decisive action to contain the disease. And as of today, China’s death toll from Covid-19 stands at nearly 4,600 – or 2.3 per cent of the American death toll which is nearing 200,000.
President Trump’s cavalier attitude in public is responsible for massive death among Americans from Covid-19. What’s more, he knew full well in private what was coming but chose to “play it down” so as to avoid “panic”, meaning disruption to American capitalist profits.
As if that wanton criminality is not enough, Trump admits that he and his administration were made fully aware of the public danger by personal communications from China’s leadership at the earliest stage – perhaps as much as two months before Washington reluctantly ordered a half-baked lockdown to protect its citizens. And ever since, Trump and his goons have been lying to incriminate China, thus driving the world towards potential war.
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