Saturday, August 22, 2020

“Anything…and I mean anything.”

Before we proceed to today's post, we must acknowledge a bit of news: Donald Trump's sister Maryann (not to be confused with his niece) has confirmed that Donald Trump cheated his way into, and through, college. Maryanne, a judge, says that she did her brother's homework and that someone else sat for the entrance exams. She also says that Donald is a liar with "no principles." And it is all on tape.

This revelation -- which should surprise no-one -- functions as a perfect lead-in to today's guest post by David Jay Morris. He goes farther than anyone else has in his dark predictions. The words below the asterisks are his.

*  *  *

In a short excerpt from his upcoming book, former Trump fixer, attorney and dirty trickster Michael Cohen wrote, "Trump and his minions will do anything…and I mean anything," to cover up his crimes and misdeeds and keep himself in office. As Cohen and countless others have noted, Trump knows that he needs to do this because the day he leaves the White House is the day his trip to the big house inevitably begins.

Looking at Trump and his stooges’ hamstringing of the Post Office, his embrace of the recently minted Birtherism 2.0 attacks on Kamala Harris and his warm words for QAnon congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene – and that’s just in the last week – few would doubt that Cohen is telling it exactly as it is. Trump will do absolutely anything to maintain his hold on power, and if we want civilization as we know it to survive, we’d better be ready for it.

One of the biggest problems faced by those of us on the progressive side of the aisle, however, is that we tend to believe in the basic goodness of humanity and that the arc of history does indeed bend towards justice. We fail to recognize just how ruthless and amoral people like Trump and his enablers can actually be and are constantly caught off-guard and end up bringing butter knives to battles being fought by our foes with hand grenades and semi-automatic weapons.

To have any chance at all of derailing the Trump juggernaut of deceit and dirty dealing aimed at our electoral process, we need to put on our tin foil hats and imagine the unimaginable. Trump and his minions will do anything, absolutely anything, to pervert our governmental and civil institutions and if we are to beat them, we need to learn to think like them and be ready for whatever it is they are now planning to throw at us.

We’ve already seen that Trump is perfectly ready to destroy our postal system, call out federal troops and security forces on peaceful protestors and ask foreign governments to manufacture dirt on his foes, but what else is he capable of? Here are a few ideas. Please do add to the list!

False Flag Election Fraud

For years, Trump has been whining that the 2016 election – which he won – was somehow “rigged” against him, since he lost the popular vote. It should come as no surprise to anyone, therefore, that he is already warning that the 2020 balloting will be rife with fraud, especially since all the indications are that he would suffer a massive loss in a fair election.

The problem he has always faced, however, is that there has never been a shred of evidence for any of his – or other Republican – election fraud conspiracy theories.
But no worries – if no proof of your idiotic allegations actually exists, why not just have some manufactured for you? If you’ve got the full support of the Russian government and its intelligence services (and quite possibly those of the Israelis, Saudis, right-wing elements within our own security apparatus, and who knows who else), what could be easier?

Want to have your operatives hack the vote tabulation equipment in key battleground states and swing things in your favor? Why not have them do the same for Biden in a few non-important spots then “uncover” them on November 4th and scream that he’s the one who’s been cheating?

The same sort of thing could be done with ballots and voter rolls. And with Bill Barr in charge of any investigations into it, how is this likely to play out?

Destruction of Ballot Drop Boxes (and Ballots Themselves)

Donald Trump has made it clear that there is no line he will not cross when it comes to preventing as many people as possible from voting by mail. And why would there be? Universal or readily accessible mail-in ballots make it easier for everyone to vote without having to risk their lives waiting in line for hours on a working day at an over-crowded polling place (if you live in one of our inner cities or other minority majority areas, that is) in the middle of a deadly pandemic, thus ensuring a higher turnout of the kind of voters most likely not to cast their ballots for Trump. And what’s more, they create an instant verifiable paper trail – exactly what you don’t want if you are planning to mess around in any way with the voting systems.

Disregarding the fact that the tens of millions of veterans, retirees, disabled people, those self-isolating for Covid-19 and residents of rural areas depend on the Post Office for daily deliveries of life-saving medications, Social Security checks, and countless other essentials - especially in the face of a pandemic – Trump’s hand-picked minions have already taken a wrecking ball to it. Overtime and other work restrictions, removal and destruction of multi-million-dollar high speed sorting machines and even pulling mailboxes off the streets have already created chaos, but why should his cronies stop there? Since these are Trump cultists we’re talking about here, look out for QAnon types to start accosting postal workers on the streets or for Boogaloo Boyz to even start fire-bombing ballot drop boxes or make armed incursions anywhere ballots are stored.

Covid? What Covid?

Nothing threatens Donald Trump’s power now more than the coronavirus and the economic and societal chaos it has caused. In classic Trump form, however, rather than trying to listen to the experts and develop a national strategy that might actually minimize the damage and death, from the beginning, Donald’s strategy has been to deny, deflect, change the subject, blame others, avoid all responsibility and insist that he knows everything about every aspect of the issue better than anyone.

Unfortunately for Trump, the virus is a virus, and couldn’t care less about any of this. He is floundering – but his narcissism doesn’t allow him to admit this to himself and he shows every sign of becoming increasingly deranged. What to do?

Deny there’s a problem and try to bury the evidence, of course!

“Slow the testing down, please!” says Trump – and for reasons no one can seem to explain, that seems to be happening. “Our schools need to be open!” “We need to have our football!” Everything is on a good track, right? No one has done a better job than Trump. And the Trump vaccine will be ready (to announce that is...not actually to deliver) just in time for the election.

Look for this to continue through November 3rd…unless too many people in the red states are dying, however.

In which case...

Covid-19! Cancel the Election!

Can’t you just hear Trump in late October if things are going against him, “No one imagined that such a big second wave of the China virus would hit us this fall. It isn’t safe to go to the polls now, and everybody knows that mail-in voting is just a Democrat scam to steal the election. Since I care about the health and safety of the American people more than anything else, I have no choice but to postpone the election under my Article 2 powers until such time as the American people can safely go to the polls in person for a real election.”

Does he really have the power to do this?


Would it really stop the election?

Not in most states.

What it would likely do, however, is throw everything into total chaos, keep many of Trump’s voters away from the polls, and give him an excuse (in his mind, anyway) for declaring the whole exercise illegitimate.


Looking at the totally spineless way the Republicans in Congress have enabled Trump in the last three-and-a-half years, have you ever found yourself wondering, “What the hell does he have on these people?”

I have.

And with the full resources of Vladimir Putin’s intelligence services and Bill Barr’s “Justice” Department available – with the likely assistance of Russian organized crime and others – the answer could well be “a lot!”

Of course, this might include the expected range of sexual, financial and political wrongdoing, but might it also involve a potentially fatal threat to the Republican Party itself. As our host here at Cannonfire, Joseph Cannon and I have been saying since late 2016, one likely candidate for this would be proof positive of Republican tampering with actual election tabulations. Could this have been the thing that Russian intelligence uncovered with their 2016 probes into our election systems, voting rolls and voting equipment manufacturers? Read some of what Joseph has written on this recently and see what you think. It would explain a lot!

One can only imagine how such kompromat is now being deployed by Trump to keep his congressional enablers on side and try to undermine the opposition. Very little of this is likely to come to light…but the effects could be huge.

Character Assassination

This one is well-known and a total no-brainer. It’s been the go-to tactic of the Republican Party since at least the Clinton days (think Whitewater, Swift Boats, Benghazi, Hillary’s e-mail “scandal,” etc.) as well as Donald Trump’s stock in trade throughout his career. Listen to Trump and any of his minions, enablers or propogandists for more than a minute and it will be obvious that this effort to smear Joe Biden, and now Kamala Harris, is well underway.

To date, they have been surprisingly ineffective, due perhaps to Biden having been such a well-known figure for so long. Beware, however, the Trump/Republican slime machine is just getting warmed up. Between now and November 3rd, we’re guaranteed to see an unending – and increasingly nasty – stream of BS, lies, disinformation and outright slander coming from team Trump. We can hope that this time around a critical mass of the media and the electorate will recognize that not a word of it will be true…but can we really count on that?

One way we might be able to inoculate ourselves from the worst of the nonsense is to picture beforehand what it might be.

Forewarned is forearmed, so here are a few thoughts on what some of the main themes might be. Bear in mind that these will not be your grandfather’s smears and swiftboat attacks. We need to expect that the “best” of these will be truly state-of-the-art national intelligence service disinformation, likely to feature credible-seeming “witnesses” or “victims” (paid-off or blackmailed, of course), absolutely believable deep-fake videos and photos, and a trove of very convincing looking forged documents.

Fake Political Scandals

If you thought that being impeached for trying to extort the Ukrainian government into participating in a bogus political attack on Joe Biden and his son Hunter would give Trump second thoughts about trying to gin up any sort of fake political scandal that might help him bring Biden down to his own level, think again.

We already know that Bill Barr and John Durnham are on the case, trying to manufacture some sort of report on the origins of the Russia investigation that can drop just in time to influence the election (although at least one of Trumps’ recent tweets suggests that he might not be satisfied with their progress). Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson is also doing his bit by using his investigation as “a vehicle for laundering a foreign influence campaign,” according to Politico, and Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham hasn’t been shy about doing the same.

Who knows what’s next.?

Manufactured Financial Scandals

If you want to know what Trump is guilty of, look at what he projects onto others. If Trump has done it, you can be sure he’ll accuse someone else of the same thing. Talking about mail-in voting today, he just said, “I don’t want the election to be stolen.” Translation – I’m going to try to steal the election. And with 20,000 documented lies and counting, he wants us to believe that CNN and the New York Times are the “fake news.”

If we want to predict what kind of dirt Trump is going to throw at Biden over the next few months, one useful technique is to look at the worst of his suspected misdeeds and watch him try to concoct an equivalent hoax to throw at Uncle Joe.

One consistent theme in the work of everyone who has dug deeply into Trump’s shenanigans, from David Kay Johnson to Michael Cohen, is that he quite probably owes whatever wealth he actually now has to sweetheart deals – if not outright money laundering - with Russian oligarchs and similar characters.

We don’t know the details yet but be on the lookout for a charge about something of this sort to emerge from the “inquiries” of Messrs. Barr, Durnham, Johnson, Graham and their cronies.

One line of attack is expected to be Hunter Biden’s relations with the Ukrainian Oil firm, Barisma, but this really hasn’t stuck so far outside of the Trump/Fox universe, so look for something more hard-hitting. Personally, I’m expecting to see some manufactured evidence of money laundering – possibly with fake companies and accounts made (in Biden’s name) by Russian intelligence or their criminal allies and planted where they can be “discovered” when needed.

Biden as Beelzebub 

What to make of Trump using the military to clear protestors from Lafayette Square so he could lumber across the street and hold a bible upside down for the cameras? Or how about his recent bizarre statement about Biden - “no religion, no anything, hurt the Bible, hurt God." (And this from an amoral con-man whose son-in-law’s most prized building has “666” emblazoned on it in huge letters.) And let’s not forget QAnon – perhaps best described as a delusional mental disease spreading among the MAGA crowd faster than Covid-19 in an overcrowded prison. Its core “belief” is that Democrats and the “deep state” are, in fact, a cult of baby killers and pedophiles who murder children and drink their blood to magically prolong their lives…and that Trump is some quasi-divine messenger chosen God and a group of true patriots to save us from them. Needless to say, dear leader Donald is now warmly embracing the movement. After all, “They like me.”

Others ensorcelled by the right wing pseudo-Christian propaganda machine are convinced that Trump is a modern-day Cyrus the Great sent by the Almighty to save the real America from the Satanic left-wing hordes.

Since Trump is God’s chosen instrument of national salvation, it only stands to reason that his opponent – Joe Biden – must be an agent of the Devil…if not the Antichrist himself.

Totally wacko as all this may seem, look for it to be one of the main themes of the election in white nationalist “Christian” (an oxymoron if ever there was one) circles. And don’t be surprised if it becomes a staple feature of Fox News and other rightist media outlets which claim to be closer to the mainstream.

Fraudulent Sex Scandals 

Trump is widely believed to be an-out-and-out sexual predator, so of course he is going to try to patch together some sort of charge of serious sexual misconduct by the squeaky-clean (by Washington standards, anyway) Mr. Biden.

The exact form this will take is anybody’s guess, but Joseph Cannon, our host here on Cannonfire, has put out the most plausible scenario I’ve seen to date. Basically, Joseph’s theory goes that a plausible-seeming, weepy-eyed alleged “victim” of Jeffery Epstein will come forward sometime between now and election day claiming that Uncle Joe raped her when she was underage, possibly on one his vacation trips in the Virgin Islands. Of course, it will all be rubbish, but look for it to be supported by well-crafted deep fake photos and/or videos, forged documents and sworn testimony from Epstein cohort Ghislaine Maxwell (in return for a Trump pardon soon after the election, of course). Having died in his William Barr administered jail cell under mysterious circumstances, Epstein himself is no longer available to refute the charges – heck, Trump will probably try to pin that on Biden, too.

For a much more complete analysis of this potential threat, please do take a look at some of Joseph’s writing on the subject.


But why stop at character assassination? Given his long-time infatuation with mobsters and dictators, why would we possibly think that Trump would hesitate to employ one of their most basic go-to tactics – the actual killing of their opponents – if he thought he could get away with it.

Sleeping too well at night recently? Take a look at the recent poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny – one of Vladimir Putin’s biggest foes – and try to imagine how Trump might be thinking about it.

“Something is going to happen before the election, and he’s not even going to be on the ticket.” Has Judge Jeanine spilled the beans?

I do hope that Mr. Biden’s security detail is taking their job very seriously.

Lock him up!

Knowing full well that if he loses the election (and is successfully removed from the White House) it is highly likely to end up in prison before too long, is it really too hard to imagine that Trump might try to get a jump on things by having Barr concoct some sort of criminal charge against Biden in advance of the election. “Lock him up!” Trump would love it.

Guns in the Streets

One of the most disturbing – and dangerous – aspects of our current crisis is that many of the most deranged Trump cultists are armed to the teeth. As we saw in the anti-lockdown protests in Michigan’s State Capitol, they aren’t at all hesitant to don their body armor and military wannabe outfits, and show up with loaded AR-15s to intimidate anyone who dares to disagree with them. And that was with Trump just tweeting “Liberate Michigan!”

Imagine what it would be like if (or when) his back is well and truly up against the wall and he yells for his followers to get out on the streets with their weapons. What might we see then?

Attacks on Polling Places 

If Trump has told them that the election is being stolen from him and overtly exhorts them to do something about it, or even just hints that “Second Amendment solutions” might be needed, is it too much of a stretch to imagine some of them actually engaging in armed takeovers of polling places or tabulation centers, especially those where mail-in ballots are being processed?

Attacks on Demonstrations

We’ve already seen a few right-winger take pop-shots at BLM demonstrators. As Trumps claims that these demonstrations are nothing less than an organized insurrection against the American way of life become more and more deranged, would it really be such a shock to see these attacks to become more wide-spread, large-scale and organized? If Trump wants a good excuse to put troops (or other federal security forces if the military brass balks at the orders) in the streets, what would be better than firefights between Boogaloo Boyz and more radical protestors

Violence against voting rights activists

With Trump doing all he can to interfere with mail-in voting – and more normal registration likely to follow – a natural countermeasure will be for Democratic activists to try and activate as many people as possible to help people get their ballots in and/or get themselves registered and to the right polling place on time. If so, we can certainly expect Trump to start railing against them in one way or another. A predictable outcome of this would be for the QAnon and Boogaloo Bois types to do whatever they can to muck up the process…with armed attacks and/or intimidation quite likely to be a big part of the playbook.

Post-election chaos / Civil War 2.0.

Now try and imagine what the situation will be like if – in spite of all Trump’s efforts - we do somehow manage to hold enough of an election for it to be clear that a large majority of the American people want Joe Biden to be our next president and the electoral map supports it. Trump’s choices at that point are to – for once – put the interests of the country ahead of his own and graciously accept the result, or to scream fraud even more loudly and urge every armed member of his cult to get our on the streets with their guns.

Which choice to you think he will make?

Paranoid as you may be about this, you can take off your tin foil hat now. A bi-partisan group of security and constitutional law experts known as the Transition Integrity Project recently wargamed out the most likely post-election scenarios and found this one entirely plausible.

Have we ever been closer to a genuine Civil War 2.0?

In this case, what will the military, police, Secret Service and other security services do? Who will stand up for their oath to the Constitution, and who will side with Trump? Will we see armed conflict not only between armed civilian groups or between them and law enforcement officers, but also within the security community itself, or even between different branches of service?

With Trump, the worst of the worst nightmare scenarios cannot be ignored.

About the author: Now semi-retired, long-time believer in progressive causes David Jay Morris is a former international news editor and columnist for the Guam Daily Post and has worked for the New York Daily News and Long Island Business Review. Holding British-American dual nationality, he now lives in the UK with his wife and dogs and works part-time as an online educator, Japanese – English translator and editor.


Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Some of this is cause for concern, but in the age of Photoshop, how "convincing" and "believable" are any videos and photos any more?

fred said...

Trump is not going to show his hand until it's too late to stop the damage. Expect a new shocker scandal against Biden to roll up every two weeks starting six weeks before the election. Enough time to clog the airwaves and not enough time to debunk them. It will be a shock and awe campaign. In Victorian times they called narcissism the "moral" disease because the perpetrator is entirely empty of any feeling for others. Oh yes, this is one evil, sick fucker. Very dangerous.

John A. Broussard said...

Surely there is someone out there who knows Donald Trump personally, who also think he’s honest, reliable, morally sound. Maybe one of his many wives, or a niece, or a sister. There just has to be someone who knows Trump who can say a good word about him.
John Broussard

Anonymous said...

The problem is more general than photoshop and fake video.

The Whitehouse and the GOP lie all the time about everything. There was just a WH guy on the news saying that the tape of Trump’s sister is filled with lies; and that Trump reads so much that the guy talking has to read late into the night just to keep up with Trump.

The Dems, along with most normal people, have not really devised ways of dealing with this radical dishonesty.

A couple days ago, a commenter said that s/he is feeling hopeless. I think that such feelings are pretty much normal given our situation.

Kurt Anderson’s new book “Evil Geniuses” sounds like a valuable read right now.

Anonymous said...

@ John A. Broussard. You, Sir, are a master of irony.

The only people who speak favorably of Trump are either those whom he employs, or are in his administration (also other GOP members, who are, let’s be honest, employed by the backers of Trump.) Many who leave those jobs then become honest about their low assessments of the Trump character. Oh, there was one other, his dead brother, Robert.

The sad reality is not news, though it does continue to be rediscovered: Trump has no friends, and no normal human relationships.

Speaking as an oddball myself, books and reading form an important part of my relational world. Trump doesn’t read. TV and tweets are not a replacement for actually relating with other people.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

If there is an evil genius behind the Trump campaigns, no way is it Benedict Donald himself.

I'm guessing it would be Sith Tsar Putin himself, and/or one or more of his minions.

At least Mr. Morris actually mentioned The Elephant In The Room, which can't be beaten with the Miracle Plasma Treatment(tm), because there will not be enough donors to supply enough plasma, once the forced return to school and work spikes the cases upward.

Tiro said...

Lol. The Big banner ad on your site is a Trump ad aimed at Kamala Harris. Oh, dear.

Alessandro Machi said...

At some point, don't you tire at looking through the world from a Dem perspective? Trump win the 2016 Presidential election because voters wanted the construction of the wall. The costs of no wall are prohibitive.

Just in California alone there are 50,000 new born every from parents who are undocumented. Of course the kids are considered legal americans so they get access to ALL Entitlements and deporting the parents is considered cruel an inhuman.

Factor in that all those babies born to the poor inevitably will mean higher medical costs and an even larger drain on the broken healthcare system, a system in which Obama care punished those who were barely making it with higher healthcare costs so that all could be included, including the unending stream of the undocumented children.

Then schools become over crowded and the teachers demand huge increases in budgeting to try and reduce classroom sizes, States keep coming up with new ways to create stealth taxes.

I don't know why you left California but you may yourself be a victim of a system that siphons resources to the unending stream of undocumented.

Republican socialism is about working first, then being eligible for entitlements, Democrat socialism is about enticing as many newly arriving as possible with instant entitlements who will then vote Democrat for the next 30 years.

You seem to be so fixated on Trump's personal behavior you have lost sight of just how evil Democrat policies are towards harming Seniors by diverting their hard earned benefit to the newly arriving.

At which point labels like fascists and xenophobes get hurled at those who have paid into the system the longest and are being left behind.

Joseph Cannon said...

Tiro: I don't see ads on this site, due to the ad-blocker. I keep Google ads as part of the template in order to thank them for use of the service; I haven't received a check since 2010. (Didn't even send 'em my new address.)

In the age of Photoshop, we believe those photos which agree with our biases. I could put together a 'shop job of Bill Clinton murdering Marliyn Monroe, and the world would buy it.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Macchi:

A commenter a day or two ago mentioned, rather gently, that using the noun form “Democrat” when the adjective Democratic is meant has become an epithet used by right wingers. It is unbecoming in civil discussion.

It could be further observed that, while he was not the first to use it, a demented, paranoiac, nearly seething Bob Dole was one of the most memorable, when he referred to WW2 as a “Democrat War.” It did him no good. It hadn’t occurred to me at the time that the right wing preference could have been for Hitler.

Needless to say, time changes perspective.

As to your racist ramblings, well, they are basura. And that means garbage.

Also, it is lacking in sense to blame the poorest people for the widespread weakness in our once great and wealthy society. What happened?

For a quick and simple summary of what has gone wrong: the extremely wealthy have bribed the legislators to exempt them from taxation, and to make them immune to the legal system. The extremely wealthy reap almost all the benefits and pay almost none of the costs. They truly are the most worthless band of roving parasites, whose splendid banquets, private jets, luxury yachts and lunch will always be free.

If that seems unlikely, consider that some of those guys have gone on record as saying that Capitalism is coming under threat from Democracy, and must be saved.

That is how we come to have Trump, who did Not win, inhabiting, or infesting, the White House.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Would Mr. Machi like a complimentary platter of cheese with his whine?

Would anyone like to know who the REAL welfare bums are?

BTW, I am a cis-het white male native-born American citizen, just so everyone knows that.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

"In the age of Photoshop, we believe those photos which agree with our biases."

Exactly--so who will believe any smears against Biden, except the villains and dupes (mostly the latter, of course) who were going to vote for Benedict Donald anyway?

Plus, again, the Stupid White Folks of Real Amurka are going to have more pressing concerns this time, and you know what I mean by that phrase by now.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Ivory Bill, Some American Process Cheese Food Product for the gentleman with the whine. lol.

And a round of popcorn for the house as the Pool Boy story emerges.

As the cautious, sober Josh Marshall observes:
“Trump Owned Jerry and Jerry Knew it.”

And then recounts that michael Cohen, in those glory days, got involved with Mr. and Mrs. Fallwell as early as 2011-12, then again in 2015. Seems that they needed help hushing up some embarrassing photos of the Mrs.

Sadly, it’s behind a paywall.

Anonymous said...

It seems a striking coincidence that the sexual proclivities of Rev. Falwell, jr, his wife and the Pool Boy bear a strong similarity to those of Roger Stone and his wife. They advertised for swinging couples or solo well hung men.

It seems to me that Joseph has written here about the Stones, and an internet search returns many results.

What is it with those people?