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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Long ago and far away, I sometimes joked that I only look white: actually, I’m Irish. These days, people have no idea what you’re talking about. Courtesy of Ancestry.com, I’ve since learned that all the family stories are true: all eight of my great-grandparents were born in Ireland. Mayo and Cork, for the most part, counties where rebellion against centuries of English oppression ran strong.

As a lad, I was taught that being Irish took precedence over being American. There was a mandatory “Irish” view on damn near everything—although family members argued fiercely about what it was.

Often it was the women against the men. My father had friends of every ethnicity that he’d made in the Army and playing ball. “You’re no better than anybody else,” he’d often say. “And nobody’s better than you.”

My mother mistrusted anybody who wasn’t blood kin.

I thought that was nuts by third grade.

Anyway, what with Irish-surnamed lunkheads helping Trump spread his bigotry far and wide, it seems appropriate to remind people that from the 17th century onward, every racial slur that was ever used to describe black slaves was first applied to the native Irish.

Micks were routinely described as donkey strong, but stupid. They were good at music, dancing and prizefighting, but congenitally lazy and unreliable. The Irish were sexually promiscuous, dirty, foul-smelling drunks.

Irish satirist Jonathan Swift’s 1729 pamphlet “A Modest Proposal” remains a searing indictment of the colonialist mentality—as shocking now as then. Might impoverished asylum-seekers whose children are caged along the U.S.-Mexican border, for example, not turn a nice profit by offering them as a delicacy for rich men’s tables? “I rather recommend buying the children alive,” Swift wrote with savage irony “and dressing them hot from the knife, as we do roasting pigs.”

During the Irish Potato Famine from 1845 to 1850, more than a million of the native Irish died of starvation even as the island exported food to England. A million more emigrated, many on the aptly named “coffin ships” vividly described in Joseph O’Connor’s brilliant novel “Star of the Sea.” (The author is singer Sinead O’Connor’s older brother.) Not long ago, Canadian authorities recovered the bones of half-starved Irish children who died in an 1847 shipwreck on the Gaspe Peninsula.

And how did Americans react to the Irish diaspora? Pretty much the same way Trump supporters are reacting to Spanish-speaking asylum seekers on our southern border. The anti-immigrant party of the 1850s called itself the “Know-Nothings.” In 1855, Abraham Lincoln wrote a friend about them:

“I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can anyone who abhors the oppression of Negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we begin by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except Negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except Negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty—to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”

He could have written it last week.

Alas, we can’t urge Trump to go back where his family came from, because his big flapping mouth might land him in prison. Having had their fill of it under Adolph Hitler, the Germans have criminalized what they call “Volksverhetzung,” or “incitement of the people.”

In Germany, it’s illegal to urge “hatred against a national, racial, religious group or a group defined by their ethnic origins, against segments of the population or individuals because of their belonging to one of the aforementioned groups…or calls for violent or arbitrary measures against them.”

The penalty is three months to five years.

I much prefer First Amendment free speech protections, but you can’t say the Germans don’t know where these things can lead. The law has mainly been used to prosecute Holocaust deniers. Several European countries (Ireland included) have similar laws, although they are rarely invoked.

So anyway, that’s where I’m coming from as a direct descendant of refugees. What we have here is a perfect storm of Trumpism, equal parts ignorance and bigotry. Only Trump, (born in Queens) could tell Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, (born in The Bronx) to go back where she came from.

Sure, Ocasio-Cortez asked for trouble with her childish “women of color” gibe at Nancy Pelosi, of all people.

But if he has no idea what he’s talking about, Trump absolutely knows what he’s doing. No more pussy-footing. The 2020 presidential campaign is going to be the ugliest race-based, free-for-all any of us has ever seen.

And if it works, you can bend over and kiss America goodbye.

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Mark Meadows

Donald Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows wanted a presidential pardon. He had facilitated key stages of Trump’s attempted 2020 coup, linking the insurrectionists to the highest reaches of the White House and Congress.

But ultimately, Meadows failed to deliver what Trump most wanted, which was convincing others in government to overturn the 2020 election. And then his subordinates, White House security staff, thwarted Trump’s plan to march with a mob into the Capitol.

Meadows’ role has become clearer with each January 6 hearing. Earlier hearings traced how his attempted Justice Department takeover failed. The fake Electoral College slates that Meadows had pushed were not accepted by Congress. The calls by Trump to state officials that he had orchestrated to “find votes” did not work. Nor could Meadows convince Vice-President Mike Pence to ignore the official Electoral College results and count pro-Trump forgeries.

And as January 6 approached and the insurrection began, new and riveting details emerged about Meadow’s pivotal role at the eye of this storm, according to testimony on Tuesday by his top White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson.

Meadows had been repeatedly told that threats of violence were real. Yet he repeatedly ignored calls from the Secret Service, Capitol police, White House lawyers and military chiefs to protect the Capitol, Hutchinson told the committee under oath. And then Meadows, or, at least White House staff under him, failed Trump a final time – although in a surprising way.

After Trump told supporters at a January 6 rally that he would walk with them to the Capitol, Meadows’ staff, which oversaw Trump’s transportation, refused to drive him there. Trump was furious. He grabbed at the limousine’s steering wheel. He assaulted the Secret Service deputy, who was in the car, and had told Trump that it was not safe to go, Hutchinson testified.

“He said, ‘I’m the f-ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now,’” she said, describing what was told to her a short while later by those in the limousine. And Trump blamed Meadows.

“Later in the day, it had been relayed to me via Mark that the president wasn’t happy that Bobby [Engel, the driver] didn’t pull it off for him, and that Mark didn’t work hard enough to get the movement on the books [Trump’s schedule].”

Hutchinson’s testimony was the latest revelations to emerge from hearings that have traced in great detail how Trump and his allies plotted and intended to overturn the election. Her eye-witness account provided an unprecedented view of a raging president.

Hutchinson’s testimony was compared to John Dean, the star witness of the Watergate hearings a half-century ago that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon for his aides’ efforts to spy on and smear Democrats during the 1972 presidential campaign.

“She IS the John Dean of the hearings,” tweeted the Brooking Institution’s Norman Eisen, who has written legal analyses on prosecuting Trump. “Trump fighting with his security, throwing plates at the wall, but above all the WH knowing that violence was coming on 1/6. The plates & the fighting are not crimes, but they will color the prosecution devastatingly.”

Meadows’ presence has hovered over the coup plot and insurrection. Though he has refused to testify before the January 6 committee, his pivotal role increasingly has come into view.

Under oath, Hutchinson described links between Meadows and communication channels to the armed mob that had assembled. She was backstage at the Trump’s midday January 6 rally and described Trump’s anger that the crowd was not big enough. The Secret Service told him that many people were armed and did not want to go through security and give up their weapons.

Trump, she recounted, said “something to the effect of, ‘I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the mags [metal detectors] away. Let the people in. They can march to the Capitol from here.

As the day progressed and the Capitol was breached, Hutchison described the scene at the White House from her cubicle outside the Oval Office. She repeatedly went into Meadows’ office, where he had isolated himself. When Secret Service officials urged her to get Meadows to urge Trump to tell his supporters to stand down and leave, he sat listless.

“He [Meadows] needs to snap out of it,” she said that she told others who pressed her to get Meadows to act. Later, she heard Meadows repeatedly tell other White House officials that Trump “doesn’t think they [insurrectionists] are doing anything wrong.” Trump said Pence deserved to be hung as a traitor, she said.

Immediately after January 6, Hutchinson said that Trump’s cabinet discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove a sitting president but did not do so. She also said that Meadows sought a pardon for his January 6-related actions.

Today, Meadows is championing many of the same election falsehoods that he pushed for Trump as a senior partner at the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), a right-wing think tank whose 2021 annual report boasts of “changing the way conservatives fight.”

His colleagues include Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who pushed for Trump to use every means to overturn the election and leads CPI’s “election integrity network,” and other Republicans who have been attacking elections as illegitimate where their candidates lose.

Hutchinson’s testimony may impede Meadows’ future political role, as it exposes him to possible criminal prosecution. But the election-denying movement that he nurtured has not gone away. CPI said it is targeting elections in national battleground states for 2022’s midterms, including Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Trump did not give Meadows a pardon. But in July 2021, Trump’s “Save America” PAC gave CPI $1 million.

Steven Rosenfeld is the editor and chief correspondent of Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He has reported for National Public Radio, Marketplace, and Christian Science Monitor Radio, as well as a wide range of progressive publications including Salon, AlterNet, The American Prospect, and many others.

Tina Peters

YouTube Screenshot

A right-wing conspiracy theorist who was indicted in March on criminal charges of tampering with voting machines to try to prove former President Donald Trump's lies of a stolen 2020 presidential election on Tuesday lost the Republican primary to run for secretary of state of Colorado, the person who oversees its elections.

With 95 percent of the vote counted, Tina Peters, the clerk and recorder of Mesa County, Colorado, was in third place, trailing the winner, fellow Republican Pam Anderson, 43.2 percent to 28.3 percent.

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