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Democracy on the Decline

by Ron Holdraker
January 27, 2024

This year there are about 50 countries around the world holding national elections. Most have their eyes on the contest in the United States and how it will affect such dynamics as treaties, economics, trade and alliances.

For instance, Sweden, a country with 75 past years of neutrality is about to join NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). Why? Because they fear what Russia is doing in Ukraine. With a 750 mile border with Russia and Putin’s desire to spread back to and beyond Soviet Union days, Sweden neutrality will mean little to the Russian Premier.

Norway also joined the group  comprised of North American and European nations in an effort to check communist aggression.

Now, allies and NATO members are wondering if ,in the near future, the U.S. will abandon NATO and other treaties and alliances as too many voters opt to loosen a democratic past.

If the November elections go Republican, President Trump’s worship of Russia’s leader Putin will almost sink Ukraine’s  chance of victory with Russia in the current war.

Remember, this: Former President Donald Trump described Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine as “genius” and “savvy,” praising his onetime counterpart for a move that has spurred sanctions and universal condemnation from the U.S. government and its trans-Atlantic allies.

Over the past decade South American countries with social and economic waves have seen democratic nations fall into the strong rhetoric, leaders do away with term limits and citizen rights.

Even the elected President of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, swept into office with promises of economic and changes in gang warfare and crime has slipped into a less than freedom- based system. First, he decided to do way with the county’s currency plans by adopting a bit coin economy. Yeah that hasn’t worked out so well. Then he ordered the round-up of gang members and potential gang participants, jailing them without charges and trials. Even with the less than democratic moves, a poll of El Salvador voters 81.9% overwhelming approve of his actions.

I need not mention Venezuela, Colombia, Cuba, Bolivia and, to a degree, even Mexico in the acceptance of violating human rights.

Yes, all eyes are on what is happening in the U.S. This November there is a chance that obscene rhetoric and social media muffs could lead to a Republican dominance in the White House and both the Senate and Congress.

Even European countries like Hungary have turned their backs on Democracy.

In his fiery speeches, former President Trump and leading Republican choice for the top office in 2024 has already...

• Called for shoplifters to be shot.

• Those who have a long memory about Trump will recall his full-page ads in New York newspapers 34 years ago calling for the death penalty after the Central Park rape that wrongfully sent Black and Brown men to prison.

• Trump’s unprecedented campaign pitch: Elect me to get revenge on the government.

• Trump’s recent threats to use federal troops to tamp down violence in cities, if reelected.

• Trump Warns He Could ‘Certainly’ Indict Political Opponents if He’s Reelected

• In his comeback bid for the White House, the former president -- twice impeached but twice acquitted and now multi-indicted -- has vowed that , if reelected, he will wield his power to personally remake parts of the federal government to a degree that historian Mark Updegrove said was unprecedented. Trump has promised to hamstring perceived enemies, including the Department of Justice, which is currently investigating him, and target Republican bogeymen like President Joe Biden.

• He swore in June to appoint a special prosecutor to "go after" the Bidens and that he would "totally obliterate the deep state," referring to a conspiratorial view of how the government operates.

"This is the final battle. ... Either they win or we win," he said in March. This, without an ounce of truth of government conspiracy, or a deep state. Still, his  followers believe all this false rhetoric.

• He has consistently claimed the 2020 election was rigged, even after all the Republican and Trump  associates have failed in every court challenge, including those in heavily Red States, or with appointed Republican judges.

• He has lied about the true citizenship of President Obama and did likewise with Republican challenger Nikki Haley.

• A Reagan Republican-appointed federal judge who has served on the bench for 37 years slammed prominent politicians for their "preposterous" claims about how the courts have handled Jan. 6 cases and their attempts to "rewrite history" about the U.S. Capitol attack, saying such rhetoric could foreshadow future far-right violence.

• Trump has promised to pardon all far right rioters convicted crimes from the January 6th insurrection, referring to them as "hostages". The terminology worries some experts who see it as explicitly undermining the US legal system by saying its treatment of Trump supporters is illegitimate – something he has repeatedly tried to do while he faces a multitude of prosecutions himself.

• At rallies and television interviews, Trump and Republican House Minority leader Elise Stefanik have also pitched a novel history of January 6 that requires anyone aware of the events that day to ignore or forget what they witnessed and read. She also referred to participants storming the Capital Building, arrested and convicted as "hostages".

Rather than engaging in a storming of the seat of US democracy that left 140 police officers injured and four people dead, people that day acted “peacefully and patriotically”, Trump said in a recent speech in Iowa. He referred to January 6th as “A beautiful day,” Trump has called it, which featured “great, great patriots”.

• On January 6th, he isolated himself for hours as both Republicans and Democrats scurried through the U.S. capital Building that was subsequently damaged as many of his Republican backers called for him to stop the insanity.

Still, The Republican Party is ignoring their own words following the January 6th Insurrection and lining up behind Trump’s grab at returning to power.

Please note: Hours after the Times  hit the newsstands  and internet on Saturday morning, I received a call from the 24th District Congresswoman’s Tenney’s camp.

They were not happy with my criticism of the proposed Unborn Child Support Act. In my editorial I did indeed state this was an obtrusive, money-costing government program. They asserted that no government money would be used for the support payments to the pregnant mothers. But wait! If that was the case, wouldn’t the government and courts be used in securing and enforcing these support payments from the supposed fathers?  What if the supposed father refuses to make these payments? COSTS?

The "Act" is supported by all-Republican cosponsors of the legislation including U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Katie Britt (R-AL), Steve Daines (R-MT), John Hoeven (R-ND), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), James Lankford (R-OK), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and U.S. Representatives Jim Banks (R-IN-03), Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05), Ben Cline (R-VA-06), Bob Good (R-VA-05), Clay Higgins (R-LA-03), Nick Langworthy (R-NY-23), Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL-13) and John Moolenaar (R-MI-02). 

I  firmly believe this Republican bill would use this program to quell outcries from middle class and poorer pregnant women, with Republican thinking that  if there is a financial advantage to them from the sperm participant, women would therefore be enticed away from getting an abortion.

In Tenney’s own words: “The Unborn Child Support Act provides mothers with the opportunity to access child support payments during pregnancy while giving them the flexibility to deny these payments, should they choose. I am honored to lead this bicameral legislation in the House and will continue to work to ensure mothers and their unborn children have the support they deserve from conception.” 

Specifically, this bill allows the courts, in consultation with the mother, to grant child support payments during the prenatal period, extending retroactively to the physician-determined point of conception. 

Additionally, it provides flexibility for mothers who seek to avoid the involvement of the father by offering discretion as to whether those mothers receive child support... Can you say bullshit!

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