Only public trials and humiliation can save the American experiment from the Trump/GOP coup attempt

Thom plus logo The pharmacist in Wisconsin who destroyed 500 doses of coronavirus vaccine did so because he believed they would "alter human DNA," reflecting a popular conspiracy theory on Facebook that has absolutely no basis in fact.

Science, religion, and conspiracy theories are all, essentially the same thing: systems or attempts to explain the unknown, to make sense out of things beyond our senses or immediate, touchable reality. Thus, our vulnerability to conspiracy theories and con artists like Trump.

It's impossible for any individual to know or understand everything. We believe electrons make our computers work, but for all but a few scientists who've actually seen and measured electrons, it's only a belief. We must trust their word.

This is why trust is central to science, and why scientific norms and institutions require multiple layers and dimensions of confirmation before things are asserted as true or even probable.

It's also why trust is so vital for religion, and why we're so horrified by situations like Jim Jones, Jerry Falwell Jr., and child-abusing priests. To commit to a religion or existential belief system requires trust, and these are all examples of betrayal of that trust.

This is why we're so vulnerable to con artists like Trump and corrupted institutions like the GOP. Based on trust built by past "good faith" politicians like Eisenhower, in 1980 Reagan began pushing scams like trickle-down and the "voter fraud" excuse for voter suppression. He betrayed our trust.

The average person has no way of knowing if "voter fraud" is real; science says it's so rare it's inconsequential. But for 40 years the GOP has pushed this conspiracy theory to justify blocking tens of millions of Americans' right to vote. They betray the people's trust.

The average person can't confirm the reality of climate change through their own senses, so the GOP has, for 40 years, asserted that this solid but relatively complex and multi-factored science is simply a conspiracy theory itself. They betray the people's trust.

Observational economics, a science, shows higher minimum wages, high taxes on corporations and the very rich, and worker protections all strengthen an economy (like 1950-1980). But for 40 years the GOP pushed "supply side economics," a fantasy that is easily disproven as economic science. They betray the public's trust.

News was once more like science: observations and data points, multiple confirmations, answers to skeptical challenges. Now there's an entire ecosystem pushing rightwing lies and calling them truth, from Fox News to rightwing radio to political operatives on Facebook. They betray the public's trust.

Americans are used to believing that our Presidents speak truth. Ronald Reagan, both George Bush's and Donald Trump have all lied to use that trust to enrich themselves and their billionaire friends, poison our planet, and enhance their party's power by turning us against each other. Reagan and both Bush's even lied us into unnecessary wars. They betrayed the people's trust.

Most things in our lives rely on trust, from relationships to taking medication to relying on our car's gas gauge. Trump and the Republican party have exploited our innate instinct and need to trust and turned it against us.

Those like the Wisconsin pharmacist who believed these conspiracy theories are victims just as much as the rest of us who must rely on our nation's political, economic and social systems. Without trust, none of these systems can work effectively or efficiently for all.

Corrupting these systems, Republicans betrayed our trust and have brought our democratic republic to the verge of authoritarian oligarchy. America is not yet irredeemable, but history tells us that conspiracy theories, like Hitler's "We were stabbed in the back," often lead countries to terrible ends when they're widely believed.

More than even science or religion, a democratic republican form of government cannot exist without trust.

Every democratic republic that has fallen in the last two thousand years, including the Roman Republic, was first weakened by demagogic politicians sowing distrust in government itself the way Trump and his collaborators within the GOP are doing right now. This is how republics die.

If America doesn't call this out clearly and without compromise, and impose severe consequences on these seditious traitors, the next Republican president will be even worse.

This is why it's so important not just to hold Trump to account for his criminal activities prior to the presidency, but for all the lies he and his collaborators have told since he became president.

As we saw after World War II with the Nuremberg trials, and as South Africa showed the world, until there is accountability there is not a widespread and shared understanding of reality. Accountability restores trust.

America has been attacked from within. The values on which this country was established have been twisted, perverted and turned against its people with everything from voter fraud lies to climate change lies to, now, coronavirus lies. The result has been more American deaths then in World War II, and a dramatic weakening of our civic institutions.

Today, the biggest betrayal of Americans' trust since the Civil War, Donald Trump and his co-conspirators are attempting to reverse the outcome of our 2020 presidential election.

The only way to restore public trust is to hold Trump, his funders, and the media companies that have knowingly amplified provable lies to account.

Whether America decides to do this through a truth and reconciliation commission, public trials, congressional investigations, or all three, it must be done.

If Trump and his allies get away with their many attempts to damage or destroy the American republic, and this current attempt to overthrow the outcome of a national national election, the next coup - probably leading to the end of the American experiment - is inevitable.


Originally posted at


DrRichard 3 years 24 weeks ago

Of course science isn't really trust so much as peer reviewed work, hypothesis testing, and statistical studies of what nature seems to be doing. Also, it can't prove a negative (maybe there's a way of going faster than light that no one has ever found, but until they do it's a reasonable assumption that we can't do that).

All this requires logic, a basic understanding of nature, and clear thinking no matter where it takes you. Not that much of these ways of seeing the world seem to be well taught in many American schools, Newscasters take differences like Darwin vs. Creationism as a football match between two equal "teams", or climate change as not connected to natural disasters, and politicians rarely have deep understanding of these issues.

So naturally the public is often suspicious of what it doesn't understand and what thus seems frightening, and too many members will retreat to conspiracy theories or fantasy beliefs. Magical thinking is Trump's stock in trade, and when you aren't using logic it's easy to buy into that. Good luck having a functioning democracy under these circumstances.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 3 years 24 weeks ago

It seems to me that peer reviewing is what provides the trust.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 3 years 24 weeks ago

I hope Thom takes our guys (Mark Pocan and Ro Kahanna) in the back room and gives them some lessons. Ro said why bother putting those seditious repugs on trial, because they will just be replaced by worse representatives. Thom's callers tried to straighten him out, However, no one pointed out what great theater it would make.

Mark Pocan did not even seem to know what judicial review was all about. He deferred to Thom. Since I think the best way to overcome the autocrats of SCOTUS is for congress everyday to open their session with a reading of Article 3, Section 2, I was sorely disappointed.

Riverplunge's picture
Riverplunge 3 years 24 weeks ago

So it's ok to break medicine, eh?

(Face Palm)

stopgap's picture
stopgap 3 years 24 weeks ago

I’ve been saying over and over for years that Obama’s biggest mistake was not holding the Bush administration and Wall Street and the mortgage bankers accountable for their crimes and excesses.

No matter how much good you do during your presidency, the most important thing is to ensue that it what not be undone and that you are not leaving the door open for the likes of Trump.

As one wise pundit said, “politicians are rarely rewarded by the voters for the good that they do." For Democrats to win, they have to expose Republicans for the corrupt greedy bigots that they are. And that is done by as Thom says, “public trials and humiliation."

The lesson from this should be accountability, accountability, accountability. If Republicans are not held accountable, it will all be a disasterous waste of time.

rostasi 3 years 24 weeks ago

I'm pretty much with Dr. Richard on this.
The importance of education rather than purely trust has to be emphasized here.
We have had an ongoing purposeful dumbing down in the classroom for the last
40+ years and the idea of "trust" being the decisive factor in decision making is
an idea that has heavy roots in the generation of people who grew up in the 1950s.
Trust your doctor, trust your dentist, trust your accountant, etc. stems from this
ancient and foolhardy antiquated notion. Of course, people can't know everything
(learning and curiosity made difficult by keeping the populous busy working multiple
jobs), but the ability to use reason and even the simplest of analytical deduction is not
only not taught, but is actually frowned upon by those that disparage others who show
even a simple aptitude at deductive reasoning. It's needed more than ever now.
Scandinavian countries teach this to grade school kids. We should be doing this here.

jollyjaws's picture
jollyjaws 3 years 24 weeks ago

Eliminating dissenting opinion is the road to authoritarianism.
Thin makes a nice point about what the Republicans have done to destroy trust. They certainly have.
Creating fantasy phantoms and that people will accept them is part of human nature.
What is not suggested here is that we trust what we're told.
when your propagandized over and over and over again you will believe what you're told it works it worked in Germany it's working again.
Science is not infallible. We trust in it also and some of the trust we have is faulty. It is not the end all we have made it the end all.
let's take into consideration that our government is totally corrupt on both sides. Let's add into the equation that our government that we trust in so well after world war II brought the Nazis over and put them in our system.
It's called Operation paperclip and it's well verified.
So, when every aspect of the truth is not revealed then we can only see the surface that we're given and we readily accept it.
We are living in a matrix that's controlled by the controllers at the top. We don't see the controllers so we don't even know they exist. They are there pulling the strings on the chessboard and we are the pawns.
The goal is world order and the enslavement of the world.
when we only deal with the surface issues we're never going to get to the secrets that are being done and the lies and the moving us toward the cliff.
We are going to stay at the lower level and only see what they want us to see.
The Rothschilds own half the world's wealth.
There is a group of man meeting in Switzerland for global reset.
People need to get their heads out of their asses and realize they're in a losing battle because they only see what's in front of them. Everything that's happening is being manipulated. Members of both parties are on the team.
There can't be freedom in world order. The people who were involved in Germany's downfall just came over here and started doing it again. go underground and come back up and start diseasing the next society that stopped you last time.
it's not just the Republican party that's the first problem we're dealing with is it again we're dealing with only one part of the whole big rabbit hole we're in.
The enemy that is destroying us works secretly and covertly and they're on both teams. When you're on both teams you can corrupt in two different ways and still have your goal met. It's the hegelian dialect and it's been used for centuries against humans.
It was used at 9/11 to bring Patriot act Homeland security and watching us on every form of technology we have.
Are the Democrats trying to stop that no.
Did they keep re-upping Patriot act yes.
The system we live under is going to sink because people will not read they will not question they will not critically think.
When Tom suggests that there are things that are said in stone he's absolutely mistaken.
If you control the money and the media you control the behavior of its citizens. If you keep telling lies and over and over and over again you can make people believe what you tell them especially when you try to back it up with science which in itself is a fallable system.
The powers on the planet that control know this and that is why daily we are bombarded with virus and fear.
Daily we are bombarded with election fraud.
You do it long enough and you create chaos and then you can come in and take over.
I'm sorry that people think that it's only the Republicans that are harming us. We live in a complete facade and we've gone to customs to it and are comfortable with it. We are living in insanity and we believe that this is normal.
we have government agencies robbing us of billions and trillions of dollars.
We have the government giving us free stimulus checks and we're 26 trillion plus in debt.
Does anyone believe that the country can stay afloat with this madness.
Here's a scenario. If the world leaders decided that a virus would make people bend over and that the United States would have the majority of the cases involvedand you stole people's liberty in the guise of a virus would you still be wearing your masks like obedient sheep!!

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 3 years 24 weeks ago

It would be nice if you would give some examples where I didn't have to do a bunch of research.

It seems to me our only problem is republicans who appointed Lewis Powell to SCOTUS (he is best known as Richard Nixon).

deepspace's picture
deepspace 3 years 24 weeks ago

jollyjaws: "...the whole big rabbit hole we're in."

Ah, that's your rabbit hole. "We" have been mercifully spared by The Overlord of the Universe.

alis volat's picture
alis volat 3 years 24 weeks ago

And indeed what a deep rabbit hole it is!

Here's a suggestion. If you want to see how the sausage is made, tune into C-Span. You can go to their website to watch the video record at your convenience as well. Actually listen to our senators and representatives. You would find out who is fighting for civil rights, affordable health care, decent wages for folks doing the real work, privacy, and much more.

I live in a state with a smallish population. I have been lucky enough to meet my senators and representative. They are good decent people who fight for what I mentioned. I am not rich or connected. They simply do town halls and come to my area every year. I am involved and an activist. Our state and local decision makers are also very accessible.

I get the dismay over Bilderberg, Davos and even the think-tanks, but giving up because it seems we are out gunned assures defeat. Equivocating is a false narrative used to discourage participation. Choose to fight for what is right. That is what Thom is asking in today's blog. Hold them accountable, investigate and prosecute. We need to be accountable for getting our officials to do just that.

geohorse's picture
geohorse 3 years 24 weeks ago

I lived with a Russian who had escaped Stalin's gulag when a teen with his Dad and Uncle. They led the white Russian resistance from abroad and his mother was killed by Stalin's KGB. He always said that American's should not be so complacent in thinking that "it couldn't happen here". He explained disinformation to me in graphic terms as to how it permeated society including the arts world of which he was a part.

Reading Orwell was very instructive, as he advised me to read it to understand Russia's plight.

I'm so glad he and his wife did not live to see the horrendus mess that their beloved adopted country has turned into,

Legend 3 years 24 weeks ago

Almost a billion $ spent in the 2 Senate races in GA in 2020. Republicans spent the most by a lot. Looks like we will win both races. Ossoff has not been called yet. Both races extremely close. If Ossoff is declared we have 2 good years in the Senate. The biggest victory is Republicans are blaming Trump. Less than 2 years until next elections.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 3 years 24 weeks ago

When it comes to helping the little people instead of the wealthy donor class, penny-pinching Moscow Mitch deserves a lot of the blame for losing the Senate (if Ossoff's lead holds). Blocking higher stimulus checks, refusing to negotiate for nine months until the last minute when it was too late to have any reasonable debate, and coldly ignoring those suffering under his charge, the fabled Senate strategist, in the end, proved he was nothing but a clueless loser no shrewder than Trump the Loser, the failed dictator he enabled.

vetinla's picture
vetinla 3 years 23 weeks ago

Good rant @ 7, but The answer is simple, and the most us peons can do, is get envolved as best we can, and, above all, support the people and issues we believe in. That might require a monetary contribution. This is how the rich getter' done.

Above all, if people understood how voters are registered and vetted. they might not believe the "big lie," that the election was stolen. Which, IMO, is the essence of our latest "big lie", spun by DJT.

We NEED electoral reform and explanation....

Pass HR1...

vetinla's picture
vetinla 3 years 23 weeks ago

P.S. And, after all the BS from wherever, will whoever we "elect", actually speak for the interests of the majority, or their donors?

vetinla's picture
vetinla 3 years 23 weeks ago

A further thought; Ironic, but, we spend 750 billion a year to export Coups around the globe simply to enhance the profits of our multi-national corps.

"What goes around, comes around."

Let Biden and Harris change that reality....

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