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

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.

 

Trump is an enemy of free speech, arguing in favor of laws that would help him sue the press and repeatedly declaring the press is the “Opposition Party” and “the enemy of the people.” But now, as his allies face consequences for spreading hate on social media, Trump is posturing as a free speech supporter.

In a series of tweets, Trump falsely claimed that “Social Media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices.” He said, “They are closing down the opinions of many people on the RIGHT, while at the same time doing nothing to others.”

He went on to write, “Too many voices are being destroyed, some good & some bad, and that cannot be allowed to happen.”

The new comments come about news reports that some social media services decided that they would finally ban several prominent hatemongers, who also happen to be Trump supporters and allies.

Most prominently, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was removed from Facebook, YouTube, and Apple’s iTunes.

Jones is the most well known “9/11 truther,” named for the absurd conspiracy that asserts that the U.S. government caused the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He has also promoted conspiracy theories that the Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax, which led to parental survivors being harassed by Jones fans.

Jones is also an ally of Trump’s. During the campaign, Trump appeared on Jones’ show and praised his “amazing reputation.” Jones has said that even since being elected, he and Trump have kept in touch and strategize on politics.

Trump’s long-time political adviser Roger Stone is deeply involved in Jones’ “Infowars” broadcasts and hosts programming on Jones’ streaming platform.

The Proud Boys, a pro-violence group led by media personality Gavin McInnes, have also been banned from social media. McInnes, like Jones, has promoted Trump as well. McInnes has furthered the conspiracy that “political correctness” contributes to suicide and promoted a fake sign trying to connect anti-racist protesters to pedophilia.

Social media has been widely criticized for dragging its feet in policing its networks for harmful and threatening content. The recent developments have largely only come about because the press has highlighted how social media companies have not followed their own guidelines for allowable conduct.

Trump is no free speech warrior. For years, Trump has crusaded against the press for exercising its First Amendment rights. And Trump has said he wants to “open up our libel laws” so he can sue outlets that report negative stories about him.

From the presidency, Trump decreed that the press is “the enemy of the people,” and his underlings amplify his attacks on reporters in this vein. As part of a cynical strategy to deflect from critical news stories, Trump calls those reports “fake news,” a term his supporters, like Jones, echo constantly.

Trump isn’t defending free speech — he’s always against it if it means people speaking out against him and exposing his abuses and lies.

Instead, he’s using his huge platform to make a disingenuous argument on behalf of his biggest fanboys. He will only defend free speech if it means helping out the cranks and bigots who support him the most.

Published with permission of The American Independent.

Many Democrats are getting nervous about the upcoming presidential election. Ominous, extensively reported articles by two of the best in the business—the New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin and The Atlantic's Barton Gellman—outline Boss Trump's plot to keep control of the White House in 2021 no matter how the American people vote.
Trump is hardly making a secret of it. He's pointedly refused to commit to "a peaceful transfer of power."

"Well, we're going to have to see what happens," is how he answered the question. He added that after we "get rid of the ballots"—presumably mail-in ballots he's been whining about for weeks--"there won't be a transfer, frankly. There'll be a continuation."

Of course, Trump himself has always voted by mail, but then brazen hypocrisy is his standard operating mode. If you haven't noticed, he also lies a lot. Without prevaricating, boasting, and bitching, he'd be mute. And even then, he'd still have Twitter. He recently tweeted that the winner "may NEVER BE ACCURATELY DETERMINED" because mail-in ballots make it a "RIGGED ELECTION in waiting."
Gellman gets this part exactly right in The Atlantic: "Let us not hedge about one thing. Donald Trump may win or lose, but he will never concede. Not under any circumstance. Not during the Interregnum and not afterward. If compelled in the end to vacate his office, Trump will insist from exile, as long as he draws breath, that the contest was rigged.
"Trump's invincible commitment to this stance will be the most important fact about the coming Interregnum. It will deform the proceedings from beginning to end. We have not experienced anything like it before."
No, we haven't. However, it's important to remember that Trump makes threats and promises almost daily that never happen. Remember that gigantic border wall Mexico was going to pay for? Trump has built exactly five miles of the fool thing, leaving roughly two thousand to go.
His brilliant cheaper, better health care plan? Non-existent.
On Labor Day, Boss Trump boasted of his unparalleled success in strong-arming Japan into building new auto-manufacturing plants. "They're being built in Ohio, they're being built in South Carolina, North Carolina, they're being built all over and expanded at a level that we've never seen before."
Not a word of that is true. Two new plants, one German, another Swedish have opened in South Carolina, but construction began before Trump took office. Auto industry investment during Barack Obama's second term far exceeded Trump's. His version is sheer make-believe.
But back to the GOP scheme to steal the election.
First, it's clear that even Trump understands that he has virtually no chance of winning the national popular vote. He's been polling in the low 40s, with no sign of change. To have any chance of prevailing in the Electoral College, he's got to do the electoral equivalent of drawing to an inside straight all over again—winning a half-dozen so-called battleground states where he defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016 by the narrowest of margins.
At this writing, that looks highly unlikely. The latest polling in must-win Pennsylvania, for example, shows Trump trailing Joe Biden by nine points. That's a landslide. Trump's down ten in Wisconsin, eight in Michigan. And so on.
So spare me the screeching emails in ALL CAPS, OK? Polls were actually quite accurate in 2016. Trump narrowly defeated the odds. It can happen. But he's in far worse shape this time. Furthermore, early voting turnout is very high, with Democrats outnumbering Republicans two to one.
Hence, The Atlantic reports, "Trump's state and national legal teams are already laying the groundwork for post-election maneuvers that would circumvent the results of the vote count in battleground states."
The plan is clear. Because more Democrats than Republicans are choosing mail-in voting during the COVID pandemic, Trump hopes to prevent those ballots from being counted. Assuming he'll have a narrow "swing state" lead on election night, he'll declare victory and start filing lawsuits. "The red mirage," some Democrats call it.
"As a result," Toobin writes, "the aftermath of the 2020 election has the potential to make 2000 look like a mere skirmish." With Trump in the White House urging armed militias to take to the street.
Mail-in votes take a long time to count. Things could definitely get crazy.
True, but filing a lawsuit to halt a Florida recount was one thing. Filing suits against a half dozen states to prevent votes from being counted at all is quite another. Public reaction would be strong. Also, winning such lawsuits requires serious evidence of fraud. Trumpian bluster ain't evidence.
The Atlantic reports that GOP-controlled state legislatures are thinking about sending Trumpist delegations to the Electoral College regardless of the popular vote winner—theoretically constitutional but currently illegal.
Fat chance. If that's the best they've got, they've got nothing.
Anyway, here's the answer: Vote early, and in person*.

[Editor's note: In some states, receiving an absentee ballot means that a voter can no longer vote in person* or may have to surrender the absentee ballot, including the envelope in which it arrived, at their polling place. Please check with your local election authorities.]