Proud Boys

OCTOBER 2, 2020

Trump and Biden meet face to face in first televised debate, Trump’s tax records go public, and the world reaches a somber milestone as the President and First Lady contract Covid-19.

via NPR

President Donald Trump, who played down the threat of the coronavirus pandemic for months, said today that he and the First Lady have tested positive for COVID-19 and were going into quarantine, upending the historic race for the White House. “We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately," the president said in a tweet early on Friday morning.

Trump, 74, is at high risk with the deadly virus both because of his age and obesity. The president does not exercise regularly, follow a healthy diet, and suffers from hypertension. The combined factors put his health at high to extreme risk from the deadly virus, according to the CDC.

Trump both understood and understated the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak in its early stages, and has repeatedly predicted it would go away. On Thursday night he said the end of the pandemic was in sight. He rarely wears a mask and criticizes people, including Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who do. Today, over 212,000 have perished from Covid-19 in the United States.

Coronavirus: Global Death Toll Reaches Somber Milestone.

The coronavirus pandemic has now claimed one million lives around the globe, with more than 34 million cases. The somber milestone was passed on Monday.

By Friday, 1,028,551 people had died according to Worldometer, which gathers totals from sources including the World Health Organization and from independent nations throughout the world.

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An Epic Moment of National Shame

When moderator Chris Wallace asked President Donald Trump to denounce white supremacists and militia groups at the first presidential debate on Tuesday the President replied: "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by."

The Proud Boys — a far-right, neo-fascist, male-only organization that promotes and engages in political violence — celebrated the response online and are now using the U.S. presidents own words as part of their new logo.

The debate amidst 90 minutes of — insults, interruptions, and incomplete thought and sentences on both sides — was revelatory. It was a dismal portrait of democracy.

Trump Being Investigated for Tax Fraud, says D.A.

President Donald Trump and his business are officially facing a criminal tax probe by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, the public prosecutor’s office revealed on Monday.

The filings state that “if misstatements about business properties were conveyed from the Trump Organization’s headquarters in New York to business partners, insurers, potential lenders, or tax authorities,” that laws including, but not limited to, “scheme to defraud, falsification of business records, insurance fraud, and criminal tax fraud,” must be swiftly prosecuted.

Donald Trump’s tax records were subpoenaed by a grand jury last year, seeking eight years of Trump’s tax returns and other records from the president’s accountants. Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, also made public claims last week about his former client alleging “misstatements to insurers and tax authorities throughout the years.”

A New York Times investigation this week detailed two decades worth of President Trump’s tax records and financial dealings. The bombshell Times report said that Trump paid a total of $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017. The documents also revealed that Trump paid no federal income taxes in 10 of 15 years.

The Supreme Court rejected Trump’s claim of immunity in July. As the criminal tax probe proceeds in Manhattan, and develops into formal charges in the Southern District of New York, Donald Trump is certain to face prosecution. If re-elected, he'll be the first sitting president to face criminal trial in the history of the United States.

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Democratic Backsliding

Finally, in political science, Democratic Backsliding is a gradual decline in the quality of democracy. The decline is caused by the state-led weakening of political institutions that sustain the democratic system. These include:

  • The peaceful transition of power
  • Voter intimidation
  • Free and fair elections
  • Freedom of speech is marshaled, impairing the ability of the political opposition to challenge the government, hold it to account, and propose alternatives to the current regime
  • The rule of law (i.e., judicial and bureaucratic restraints on the government) is weakened, such as when the independence of the judiciary is threatened, or when civil service tenure protections are weakened or eliminated.
  • The government overemphasizes a national security threat to create "a sense of crisis" that allows the government "to malign critics as weak-willed or unpatriotic" and to depict defenders of democratic institutions "as representatives of a tired, insulated elite.

In an 1807 essay, John Adams cautioned the aspirations of men. According to Adams, democracy allowed men to satiate their base and unjust desires at the expense of the masses. He didn't believe the government could control men that had already been corrupted. He wrote:

"Democracy, will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes, and no man's life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure and every one of these will soon mold itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues, and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit, and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few."

The statesman concluded "Liberty, once lost, is lost forever."

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