THE SENATE REPUBLICANS – VOTE THEM OUT!

The Senate Republicans are all scoundrels. Some support Trump in their fanatical hearts, others know he’s a menace but are too cowardly to speak out. They have all violated their oaths to uphold the Constitution.

Compare them to Winston Churchill, who spoke repeatedly, as a Conservative MP in the British Parliament, against Chamberlain’s 1938 Munich Agreement with Hitler. Unlike the ilk of Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell, Churchill and his small following (precursors of the Lincoln Project) stood tall against the danger to democracy. Here’s an excerpt from a March 1939 Churchill speech:

“[W]ho are these people who go about saying that even if it were true [that Munich was a disaster], why state the facts? I reply, why mislead the nation? What is the use of Parliament if it is not the place where true statements can be brought before the people? What is the use of sending Members to the House of Commons who just say the popular things of the moment, and merely endeavor to give satisfaction to the Government Whips by cheering loudly every Ministerial platitude, and by walking through the Lobbies oblivious of the criticisms they hear? People talk about our Parliamentary institutions and Parliamentary democracy; but if these are to survive, it will not be because the Constituencies return tame, docile, subservient Members, and try to stamp out every form of independent judgment.”—Churchill, “The Fruits of Munich,” from Blood, Sweat, and Tears, 1941.

QUESTIONS ABOUT JUDGE BARRETT AND HER CHILDREN THAT STILL NEED ANSWERS

By Dennis King

1. Why couldn’t Judge Amy Coney Barrett understand that the Rose Garden on Sept. 26 would be an unsafe place for parading around her children without face masks?

President Trump presented Judge Barrett as his nominee for the Supreme Court at an outdoor Rose Garden ceremony on Sept. 26 attended by more than 200 people. Few wore facemasks and there was no social distancing—the chairs and rows were crammed close together.

Showing off the kids, all without masks.

Judge Barrett and her husband, Jesse, brought their seven children: one daughter 19, two daughters 16, three sons between 8 and 13, and a 9-year old daughter. None of them wore masks at the event.

According to the Washington Post (Oct. 2), Judge Barrett had tested positive for the Covid-19 virus during the summer and had experienced mild symptoms. CNN reported that her husband had also tested positive but had been asymptomatic. No evidence has emerged that any of their children had tested positive during the summer, but given the parents’ experiences alone, it is certainly odd that the family would disregard normal safety precautions.

Videos from C-SPAN and the Washington Post show President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, both mask-free, escorting the Barrett family–to the tune of “Hail to the Chief”–out of the White House and down the steps to the podium facing the Rose Garden audience. The family poses briefly with the President, and the First Lady then leads Mr. Barrett and the children around to the far end of the front row which they proceed to fill. (The presence of all seven on that row is confirmed by a New York Times photo in which the First Lady is shown seated beside the central aisle with three of the younger children to her left, followed by their father, the three older girls, the special-needs youngest child, and a babysitter.)

President Trump announced on Oct. 2 that both he and the First Lady had tested positive for Covid-19. Later that day, former Trump aide Kellyanne Conway, who had been seated directly behind the First Lady at the Rose Garden event and thus in close proximity to three of the youngest Barrett children, would confirm that she too had tested positive.

The NYT photo identifies more attendees on the same side of the aisle as the children, and on rows very close to them, who tested positive. These include Riverside, CA pastor Greg Laurie and Notre Dame University president John I. Jenkins (both two rows behind the children) and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie (three rows behind).

Seated on the second row directly behind the Barrett family was Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia and his wife Patricia; the Labor Department would announce on Oct. 12 that Patricia (first seat to Ms. Conway’s left) had tested positive for the virus. (Her husband tested negative but announced he would be working from home.) Since the White House blocked contact tracing of the Rose Garden event and the Administration has been less than forthcoming about the timing of relevant positive and negative tests (including whether or not the President tested positive before his first debate with Joe Biden on Sept. 29), it is unclear if Patricia Scalia’s positive test is related to the Rose Garden event.

In the seating area across the aisle (to the First Lady’s right) the soon-to-be positives included Senator Mike Lee (UT) (seated in the second row aisle seat directly across from Ms. Conway, with his wife Sharon beside him), and Senator Thom Tillis (NC) (in the middle of the second row across from Ms. Conway and four seats to the right of Senator Lee). Also on that side was another positive, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, in the fourth row aisle seat. Two McEnany aides, who would also test positive, were much farther back in the audience.

Five adults (four without masks) who would soon test positive can be seen in this picture along with three of the youngest of the Barrett children}.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top authority on infectious disease, would describe the Rose Garden ceremony as a Covid-19 “super spreader event” and the number of infected at the White House would rise to almost three dozen with at least 11 linked to the ceremony, which was basically a Trump campaign event using Barrett and her family as the pretext.

After the ceremony the children were escorted back to the podium, close to the President; then, the President and the First Lady escorted the family back inside the White House.

Thus we can see from the videos that the Barrett children were inside the toxic White House environment before the event and again afterwards. Did any of them wear masks inside? How long were they there, both before and after? Did anyone else wear masks inside? Who did the children interact with inside? How close did they get to the President and First Lady while inside? Did any of them interact with Barron Trump, the 14-year-old son of the Trumps, who testified positive for the virus at about the same time as his parents but whose condition was not reported to the public until Oct. 14?

And what was going through the head of Judge Barrett while this was going on? Apparently she was not thinking much about the risk that would have been obvious to any parent who accepted the consensus of the world scientific community about the virus. Indeed, from the viewpoint of infectious disease and public health experts, her decisions about the events of Sept. 26—both in the Rose Garden and inside the White House—can only be described as reckless.

According to CNN on Oct. 4, a reception was held after the Rose Garden Event in the Diplomatic Reception Room “and the adjoining hallway” and included “dozens” of ceremony attendees without masks or social distancing.

The New York Times had photographers at the reception and participating in the Oval Office photo op. The NYT article accompanying the pictures stated:

Experts say the more risky time spent that day was at a reception inside the White House, where President Trump met with a smaller group of guests.

There, Mr. Trump mingled with Judge Barrett, her family and prominent Republicans in the Oval Office and in the Diplomatic Room. Research has shown that transmission of the virus tends to happen indoors, and gatherings where guests are maskless and in tight quarters can be a recipe for “super spreader” events.

In the photos described below, no one is wearing a mask. The identification of individuals as “P” designates that they would test positive for the virus later. There is no evidence at this point that any of them knew they were positive at the time of the Rose Garden event, although they should have known that their behavior carried risks for themselves and others.

One photo shows the Barrett couple’s nine-year-old daughter standing about two feet away from Trump, who is apparently introducing her to several women, including Patricia Scalia (P), who is shown in Rose Garden photos as sitting next to Ms. Conway (P) and thus in very close proximity to three younger Barrett children seated between the First Lady (P) and their father Jesse.

A second photo shows Judge Barrett and her 11-year-old boy talking to Chris Christie (P), who was very close to them.

A third photo shows her eleven year old sitting beside Senator Tillis (P) with about a foot separating their faces. Although Tillis had worn a mask at the outdoor event, he did not do so when photographed at the reception. He would later acknowledge in an interview with WRAL-TV that this had been a mistake: “I let my guard down because we’d all been tested two hours before the event. It’s just another experience that tells me, even when you think you’re in a safe setting, you should always wear a mask.”

A fourth photo shows Judge Barrett, with her eleven year old beside her, talking with Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services. Azar, supposedly a major figures in fighting against the pandemic, is not wearing a mask and his distance from the boy is much less than the CDC guideline of six feet. Attorney General Bill Barr is also part of the maskless conversation. Barr had earlier spent several minutes talking up close with Ms. Conway (P) in the Rose Garden.

A fifth photo shows Judge Barrett talking with Senator Tillis without any of her children in the picture. Standing near them and apparently following their conversation, is Maureen Scalia, widow of the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Ms. Scalia, who appears to be close to or in her eighties, is not wearing a mask. It is universally known that seniors are at special risk—even Trump doesn’t dispute that. So why didn’t Barrett, who makes so much of her background as a law clerk for Justice Scalia, do something? Why did Maureen Scalia’s son, Secretary Scalia, with whom she sat in the Rose Garden, allow her to stroll into this indoor event without a mask? Why didn’t her daughter-in-law, Patricia, also in the room (in the blue dress), take action? Why didn’t Tillis or anyone else in the room do anything? Nothing could better show the collective psychosis in the circles around Donald Trump. No wonder that Barrett wasn’t doing more to protect her children.

A sixth photo shows Senator Lee (P) and Sharon Lee talking with Judge Barrett but without any of the Barrett children in the picture. The photo suggests that Sen. Lee was getting too close and making Barrett uncomfortable.

CNN and others posted pictures taken at the Oval Office photo op session, also mask free, where the President and First Lady posed with six of Barrett’s seven children as well as the parents. In the most formal picture posted, the nine-year-old daughter is positioned in front of her mother and directly beside Trump. At the end of the row on Trump’s right are White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, who are both in constant close contact with the President. Pictures were taken from different angles as the President chatted with the children.

The White House blocked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from doing contact tracing after the Sept. 26 events, putting the White House Medical Unit in charge although it has neither the expertise nor the resources to perform this task. The unit, which has been evasive about the President’s medical condition ever since he took office (and most recently about his Covid-19 status), made no attempt to do contact tracing about the White House events of that day. We have only limited information, largely that gathered by the media, about the number of people infected, especially the invitees from outside the DC area who flew home immediately afterwards.

2. Does Judge Barrett support Trump’s ignorant, irrational and totally unscientific approach to the pandemic?

Trump’s viewpoint, discredited by experts on the pandemic throughout the world, is that the virus is not all that dangerous (except to elderly persons with special conditions), that face masks and social distancing are not necessary, that mass testing and contact tracing are a waste of time, that children don’t get the virus, and that letting the virus run its course without countermeasures will create “herd immunity” over time.

Some of the most extreme of Trump’s views come from Dr. Scott Atlas, a physician with no background in infectious disease or public health. Atlas appears on Fox News as an opponent of the Affordable Care Act. In August, Trump appointed Atlas as his new Covid-19 advisor; the result was an increase in White House censorship of the CDC and new efforts to keep Dr. Fauci out of the loop.

Trump’s crank views on the virus, as translated into official government policy and carried out in Red states by governors loyal to the President, have resulted in over 220,000 deaths in the U.S., the worse record in the world. And experts with decades of experience in immunology, infectious disease and public health have pointed out again and again:

Children do get the virus (almost 700,000 in the U.S., although the number of deaths has been small so far).

Although “herd” immunity can be achieved through vaccination, there are no cases in which in which it has been achieved by allowing natural infection with a novel virus to simply run its course; attempts to use this passive strategy would lead to catastrophic loss of life (millions of Americans) with no guarantee of any success. In addition, there is very scary evidence that people who have recovered from the virus can get re-infected.

Facemasks, social distancing, bans on large public gatherings, mass testing and contact tracing have been proven worldwide to be our best weapons against the virus until a vaccine is developed—and premature abandonment of these measures has only caused new outbreaks.

It may be difficult to believe that Judge Barrett would bring her children unprotected into a Trump event organized on a no-protection-needed basis unless she believed Trump’s claims, including his assurances that children are immune to the virus. If she does believe him, we must conclude that she has little respect for science, and that this will affect her future decisions relating to government policy on pandemics—and also on decisions about global warming and the need for environmental regulations to halt the use of cancer-causing chemicals. An anti-science bias so extreme that it is displayed even in regard to the safety of one’s own children should disqualify any nominee from appointment to the Supreme Court.

3. Did Judge Barrett bring her children to the outdoor and indoor White House events of Sept. 26 with the knowledge or strong suspicion that it was not safe to do so?

It would appear that Trump was doing what he usually does—offer someone a job that comes with a catch: they must show their loyalty to him by doing something that deeply compromises them. Just consider the many White House employees and cabinet members who, since the pandemic began, have knowingly put themselves, and their loved ones at home, in peril by not wearing masks in crowded White House offices and conference rooms because to wear a mask would (a) offend Trump, (b) call into question Trump’s infallibility, (c) result in ridicule of the mask wearer by Trump and his toadies, and (d) reduce the mask wearer’s chance of any promotion because of suspicions about his or her loyalty.

Did Judge Barrett decide that putting her children at risk (no masks, no social distancing, seats on the front row to give Trump a stage prop) was necessary to show gratitude to him and to assure him that she would remain loyal when and if legal challenges to the outcome of the November election are heard by the Supreme Court?

Showing one’s children to the public is something that any candidate for high appointment or election to public office might justifiably do, but under pandemic circumstances Barrett should have found a safe way to do it. That she didn’t, suggests she knew that any hesitation in accepting the family-as-performing-seals celebration in the manner Trump needed for his own virus-defying macho campaign purposes might have become a deal breaker on her nomination, and that she put her children in jeopardy in order to reassure Trump as to her pliability and loyalty. Does anyone think that if she’d said, “no, sir, I will not bring my children to this event unless it mandates facemasks and social distancing for all participants, including yourself,” Trump would not have withdrawn her nomination and found another candidate?

Barrett’s acquiescence in putting her children, especially her four underage children, in a crowded and mostly mask-free gathering of over 200 adults (an event that any real expert on infectious disease would describe as bonkers) and into an even more dangerous indoor event can’t be explained away. If not simply a matter of scientific ignorance (itself a cause for rejection of a nomination), it reveals a lack of moral judgment that would prevent her from ruling on the side of science whenever it clashes with corporate or Republican Party interests—yet another reason for the U.S. Senate to vote her down.

He puts some kids in cages; others, he uses for photo ops to show how child-friendly he is.

On the first day of Barrett’s confirmation hearing on Oct. 12, her husband and six out of seven of their children were present. In the wake of the Rose Garden debacle they were predictably wearing masks. The positive-testing Senator Lee was present in person. He praised the judge for having a large family but then chose a less than respectful attitude toward the family by  addressing the committee without his mask and also by his provocatively inconsistent wearing of it otherwise (even committee chair Lindsey Graham was seen to whip out a mask defensively when Lee came near). Meanwhile, Senator Joni Ernst (IA) waxed eloquent about Judge Barrett’s “precious family” but did not see fit to tell Senator Lee to drop his stupid posturing.

Judge Barrett herself could have insisted that Lee keep his mask on while speaking in the presence of her children, and also could have stated that she and her children would leave the room unless he either did what she requested or agreed to participate electronically from outside the room. Lee would have had to comply, especially since Sen. Ted Cruz was participating electronically that day while in self-isolation because of his own contacts with Lee. But Judge Barrett didn’t do what would have been so easy; she chose to let Lee, who had pranced around the Rose Garden after the Sept. 26 ceremony trying to hug and kiss people, use the hearing to show his ongoing Trumpian disdain for masks and for the safety of both children and adults.

Conclusion:

I find it both bizarre and sinister that Barrett, presented by Trump and the Republicans as an all-American poster mom, has been so willing—in the midst of the worst pandemic in U.S. history—to let her children be used as pawns of a cynical campaign to put her on the Supreme Court so she can vote to take away health care from millions of other people’s children.

COUNTDOWN TO NOVEMBER

By Patty Friend and Jason Sibert

The results of the 2020 election will have an impact not only on our country but also on our way of life as a democratic republic. 

The right-wing populism of Donald Trump has counterparts in leaders such as Recep Erdogan in Turkey, Viktor Orban in Hungry, Andrzej Duda in Poland, Narendra Modi in India, Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, and Vladimir Putin in Russia. The People’s Republic of China under Xi Jinping represents an even more strident form of authoritarianism. Authoritarian leaders don’t want democracies to succeed in other parts of the world because they don’t want a swell of opinion favorable to democracy in their own countries. Some, such as Trump, Putin and Netanyahu, take a more active role in supporting authoritarian parties and leaders around the world to prevent more positive examples of democracy elsewhere.  

Social democrats believe in the validity of elections, the separation of powers, civil liberties, and anything else associated with the democratic way of life. Authoritarianism militates against all of these concepts. Social democrats also believe in expanding the democratic promise into the economic realm through the promotion of social insurance, social welfare programs, the right to form a labor union, regulation of business, and the efficient delivery of public services. This vision is also threatened if the democratic experiment goes by the wayside.  

Support for the Joe Biden/Kamala Harris ticket is a necessary precondition for social democrats. Social Democrats USA has endorsed the ticket. While parts Joe Biden’s record is problematic for us, he certainly does not represent a core threat to our democratic republic like a second Trump Administration. In a democratic republic, we would have the right to push Biden to fulfill some of his progressive campaign promises like expanding Medicare coverage down to 60 years-of-age, expanding Medicaid, raising the minimum wage, and expanding collective bargaining rights. If he fails to work on those promises, then we can take action. 

But in the meantime, there are actions on these related matters that can taken before Election Day:

THE CENSUS: With all of the media attention on November’s election, it’s easy to forget how important the census really is.  The 2020 census will impact congressional districting. Heavily populated areas must be counted correctly if we are to be a true democratic republic. A correct count on the census will ensure that both urban and rural areas are counted. The Republican Party has been playing the gerrymandering game for some time and ensuring that those who live in urban areas are not correctly represented. The Democrats would have a larger majority in the House of Representatives if it were not for gerrymandering.  

Social Democrats USA supports the census and encourages everyone to sign up and be counted. As the name suggests, social democrats believe in a social form of democracy. We believe in the right to vote, be represented, as well as a wide variety of civil liberties, but social democrats also believe the free market should be tamed by quality delivery of public services, social insurance, social welfare programs, the right to unionize, and quality regulation of business.  

Social democratic ideas poll well with the public in general, but there is much support for these ideas in urban areas. Therefore, it’s important that as many people as possible register for the census as possible. We support the effort to extend the census field operation all over the country through Oct. 31 in opposition to the Donald Trump Administration’s efforts to cut it short. EVERYONE, DO YOUR DUTY TO GET COUNTED AND CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AND DEMAND THE EXTENSION OF THE CENSUS FIELD OPERATION TO OCT. 31.  

THE SUPREME COURT: The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has received much media attention and generated a lot of political fallout. Ginsburg was a supporter of abortion rights and gender equality. As of the writing of this story, President Donald Trump will nominate Amy Coney Barrett, an opponent of abortion rights. However, it doesn’t really matter if it’s Barrett or anyone else – Trump will appoint a reactionary judge. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is determined to put a judge on the seat, despite blocking the nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016.  

Social democrats should be proactive in this fight. McConnell has the legal right to nominate a justice, and we have the right to oppose that nominee! Social democrats care about the right to choice, civil rights for people of color, the GLBTQ community, voting rights, the right to form a union, and several other issues. Barrett will be opposed on those issues we care about. Social Democrats USA urges putting off the naming of a new justice until after the election.  

SDUSA members, and others who enjoy the media produced by our organization, should consider it a duty to vote for Biden/Harris in November.  This is a team effort!

Patty Friend is the National Chair of Social Democrats USA.

Jason Sibert is the Executive Director of the Peace Economy Project in St Louis.  

IN KANSAS, A VOTE FOR CHOICE

By Michael Mottern

The untimely death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the swift nomination of anti-choice jurist Amy Coney Barrett by President Trump to replace Ginsburg has endangered Roe v Wade as never before. If Barrett is confirmed prior to Election Day, as is likely, she will be the decisive vote on the Supreme Court needed to overturn Wade, thereby ending the constitutional right that women have had since 1973 to terminate their pregnancies in consultation with their physicians.

Places in the US that have been starving for pro-choice representation will be especially hard hit. For instance, the constituents of Kansas’ 37th State House District have been poorly served by seven-term incumbent Stan Frownfelter, an adamantly anti-abortion neo-liberal Democrat who has used his stature as the #2 State House Democrat to campaign successfully against reproductive freedom for women.  Last April, Aaron Coleman declared his candidacy in the Democratic primary against Frownfelter. As a dishwasher and a student at Johnson County Community College, Coleman reflects the working class constituency of his district. He is a pro-choice Democrat and a Berniecrat. Among other reasons, that is why Social Democrats USA (SDUSA) endorsed him to better represent the 37th District.  And, as it turns out, he won the primary in a close race.

But then, the contest took an unusual turn which caused it to gain a national spotlight. It emerged in the press that Coleman had endured a difficult family life – one brother had committed suicide; he himself had been diagnosed with PTSD as a child – but also that, as a young teenager,  he had subjected three girls in middle school to various forms of cyberbullying (phone stalking, fat shaming, revenge porn). While he had apologized to them and offered to make amends at that time, the new publicity plus his father’s being admitted to the hospital compelled him to drop out of the race.

Coleman urged anyone in his district with a platform identical to his to take up the fight against Frownfelter, but two days passed and no one seriously took up the challenge. To his surprise, several women who had voted for him urged him to get back into the race, and he did just that. But what would prompt these women to push for Coleman like that, knowing what he did to those girls years earlier? Because, while 13 is an unlucky number, Stan Frownfelter has elevated that to an art form. Since 2007, he has taken these 13 actions on the following anti-abortion bills in Kansas, all of which passed:

  • Voted for HB 2006 (2007) Legal Status of an Unborn Child/Fetus
  • Voted for the Mah Amendment (2008) Abortion Reporting Requirements
  • Voted for SB 389 (2008) Partial Birth / Late-Term Abortion Law Amendments
  • Voted for SB 238 (2009) Pre-Abortion Notification Requirement Amendment
  • Voted for HB 2206 (2009) Partial Birth / Late Term Abortion Reporting Requirements
  • Voted for SB 218 (2009) Partial-Birth / Late-Term Abortion Law Amendments
  • Voted for HB 2115 (2010) Late-term / Partial Birth Abortion Reporting Requirements
  • Voted for HB 2218 (2011) Abortion Requirements
  • Voted for HB 2035 (2011) Amending Statures Regulating Abortion
  • Voted for SB 36 (2011) Licensing of Abortion Clinics
  • Voted for HB 2075 (2011) Prohibiting insurance coverage of abortion.
  • Voted for SB 95 (2015) Prohibiting D & E abortion.
  • Has not apologized for or made amends for any of the above votes.

Given the instincts of his female supporters and what is at stake nationally, Social Democrats USA endorses Democratic nominee Aaron Coleman for the Kansas State House of Representatives, District 37 on November 3. While his political record of achievement is scant – he just turned 20 – it is promising. Last January, Coleman was named precinct committeeman for his district and was formally elected to a two-year term in August.  In that time, he has appointed four pro-choice Democrats to his precinct committee. He has enthusiastically endorsed the Biden/Harris presidential ticket while Frownfelter, now running against Coleman as a write-in candidate supported by the Kansas Democratic political establishment, has not endorsed the ticket, even at this late date.        

Aaron Coleman is a member of SDUSA. So, some advice for Comrade Coleman: if you are elected, you don’t have to reach out, but as a statesmanlike gesture, you should convene an atonement summit to which the women that you cyberbullied as teenagers would be invited. They could introduce constructive proposals that you could act on in your capacity as State House representative, the fulfillment of which would demonstrate that your apologies to them were sincere and that you have indeed made amends. 

Michael Mottern is Vice-Chair of Social Democrats USA.

THE MORAL COLLAPSE OF GENERAL H.R. McMASTER

I listened on Thursday (Sept. 24) to Trump’s former national security advisor, retired Lt. General H.R. McMaster, being interviewed by Andrea Mitchell about his new book, which in its very title Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World, diverts attention away from the mortal threat to our democracy represented at home as well as abroad by Donald Trump.

McMaster told Mitchell that retired military officers should not takes sides between Biden and Trump because it would set a dangerous precedent. This was right after Trump had stepped up his statements about not agreeing to a peaceful transfer of power and continuing to show a willingness to send troops into Democratic cities to supposedly restore law and order. All while his white supremacist supporters chant at rallies: “12 more years!”

McMaster’s craven statement of neutrality came right after 489 military and civilian national security experts–including Gen. Paul Selva (USAF, Ret.), former vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Trump–announced their support for Joe Biden because of the unprecedented threat that Putin’s man in the White House [my phrase, not theirs] represents.

As to the foreign policy situation, McMaster portrayed Trump’s hooray-for-dictators mistakes as no worse than those he believes Obama made.

McMaster claimed that the Trump administration had taken, while he was part of it, a strong stand against Russia, citing actions widely recognized at the time as being mostly for show. He dismissed Trump’s pro-Putin remarks as surface stuff belied by what was supposedly happening behind the scenes.

He gave the impression to my ears that he believes this is still the case. Yet over the course of the Trump administration, regardless of who the national security advisor was or is, Putin’s international influence has grown and the U.S. has become weaker and weaker, with Trump’s Defense Department withdrawing troops from Germany. Trump is seen throughout the world as a President unnaturally bound to the Russian dictator, and the U.S. as a country no longer to be trusted.

In his book McMaster dismisses the Mueller report as chiefly just showing that Russia sought to place American elections “under a cloud.” He claims that his book’s purpose is to “transcend the vitriol of partisan political discourse,” thus suggesting (in a curious inversion of the viewpoint of much of the U.S. left) that there is no real difference between Biden and Trump, and nothing existential about the upcoming elections.

It would appear that McMaster is willing to sit back and let Trump install an authoritarian (i.e., fascist in all but name) dictatorship in this country. I don’t see all that much difference between his stance and that of General Flynn, who was a stalwart supporter of Trump (leading Lock Her Up chants against Clinton in Trump rallies in 2016). Well, at least McMaster, unlike Flynn, never took money from the Russians.

I was appalled that  Andrea Mitchell did nothing to challenge McMaster’s inconsistency and hypocrisy. Perhaps one of MSNBC’s evening hosts could take on the job?

Dennis King is the author of Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism.