Trumpism 🐘 Newsbites
The CEO of a voting-systems company says politicians around the world are worried that Trump's conspiracy theories will be used to undermine their own elections
  • Antonio Mugica, the founder and CEO of voting-software company Smartmatic, has said that the conspiracy theories about his company shared by President Donald Trump and his allies are damaging his business.
  • He told The New York Times that foreign politicians are calling him concerned that Trump's election-fraud claims could be used to undermine faith in the integrity of their elections.
  • Mugica said Smartmatic is considering launching lawsuits against Fox News, Newsmax, and OANN for airing groundless conspiracy theories about his company.
In an interview with The New York Times, Antonio Mugica said that he was fielding calls from international politicians and governments that use his software, who were worried that Trump's attacks could — as The Times put it — "seep into their politics and turn a Smartmatic contract into a liability."

... Mugica also described the damage the allegations were having on his business, saying: "This potentially could destroy it all."

At the heart of Trump's bid to overturn the 2020 election results is the claim that the machines used to register votes across the US, made by Dominion Voting Systems, were compromised because of their use of Smartmatic software. Both companies have denied that they work together.

Allies and attorneys for the president have claimed — while producing no convincing evidence — that Smartmatic is involved in a plot with socialists in Venezuela and the antifa movement, and switched votes from Trump to President-elect Joe Biden.

... Last week, Smartmatic sent a legal threat demanding that Fox News retract groundless claims made about its software on the network. In response, Fox News created and aired a segment dedicated to debunking various inaccuracies and false statements made by pro-Trump network hosts and guests about the election.

But those groundless claims have already been echoed across conservative media outlets and, according to a December 10 Quinnipiac poll, 77% of Republicans now believe that the 2020 election was tainted by fraud.

Though conspiracy theorists have largely linked Smartmatic and Dominion to their election-fraud claims, the two companies are not connected to each other. In fact, they are competitors.

Mugica, who is Venezuelan, has no links to the socialist government of Venezuela, and his company is registered in the UK, with its US headquarters in Florida, according to Reuters.

Smartmatic provides election software for governments in Europe and South America, according to its website.

... Its software was only in one election the US in 2020, in a Las Vegas county, Mugica told The Times.

In the interview, Mugica was asked if he would settle for an apology from the networks.

"Is the apology going to reverse the false belief of tens of millions of people who believe in these lies?" he asked. "Then I could be satisfied."

Trump's talk of martial law could be taken by far-right groups as a violent call to action, former DHS official says
  • President Donald Trump has recently toyed with the idea of using the military to overturn the election results, according to multiple reports.
  • The idea alarmed many, including Elizabeth Neumann, a former official in the Trump-era Department of Homeland Security.
  • Neumann argued that the right-wing extremists could interpret such talk as a signal from Trump to enact violence.
  • Such groups "look at this as a dog whistle" she said on CNN.
  • Trump's enthusiasm for using his emergency powers to reverse his loss to Joe Biden has rattled even some of his usual allies.
"When they hear that the president is actually considering this, there are violent extremist groups that look at this as a dog whistle, an excuse to go out and create violence," she said.

In the interview, she referred to the "accelerationist" ideas of some white nationalist groups, which seek to hasten the collapse of liberal society and provoke a race war through acts of violence.

"So when they hear that the president is open to this idea of martial law, we may see certain groups mobilizing to commit acts that, in their minds, are justification for the use of the Insurrection Act," Neumann said.

Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee statue removed from the US Capitol
  • A statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee was removed from the US Capitol on Monday.
  • A Virginia state commission decided that Lee should no longer represent the commonwealth in the capitol, and a provision in the recently-passed National Defense Authorization Act allowed for it to be removed.
  • Military bases named after Confederate leaders can also be renamed under the provision.
  • A statue of civil rights leader Barbara Johns, who at 16 years old led a student strike for equal education at a Virginia high school, is set to replace Lee.
Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's statue was removed from the US Capitol on Monday as part of a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act passed last week by Congress.

The move comes after a more concerted push over the summer, when nationwide Black Lives Matter protests put pressure on lawmakers to rid of the US government's iconography honoring members of the Confederacy.

Lee led the pro-slavery separatist army in the Civil War after studying with his Union counterparts at West Point.

He represented Virginia in the US Capitol for 111 years, but an Old Dominion state commission decided in July that Lee should no longer retain that status.

President Donald Trump has been consistently supportive of keeping the names in place, promising to veto the NDAA if it kept the provision. However, the bill gained veto-proof majorities in both chambers upon passage.

There are 10 prominent military bases named after military officials in the Confederacy, all of which are in former Confederate states:
  • Camp Beauregard in Louisiana
  • Fort Polk in Louisiana
  • Fort Benning in Georgia
  • Fort Gordon in Georgia
  • Fort Bragg in North Carolina
  • Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia
  • Fort Hood in Texas
  • Fort Lee in Virginia
  • Fort Pickett in Virginia
  • Fort Rucker in Alabama

America is shattering in two
  • There are worrying signs that the US is heading towards a schism.
  • Trump is reportedly talking about imposing martial law, there are violent protests in the streets, and public officials are being threatened with violence.
  • Trump is fueling this break with inflamed rhetoric and a culture of untruths.
  • As the left becomes more active in protest, Trump continues to contest the result of the election, and the inauguration looms these conflicts seem to be only the beginning.
The slippery slope that led to our hyper-polarized tribal politics began well before the 2016 election. But there's no doubt that the election of Donald Trump and his four years in office stoked the flames of partisanship.

There are three interrelated factors playing into the heightened tensions and increased violence of the current moment.

First, the president and his allies have coaxed hate out of the dark corners of society where it had been relegated by social norms. Second, the Trump administration has cultivated a culture of untruths and alternative facts. And third, misinformed Americans have been emboldened to challenge the legitimacy of the US government and take up arms in the streets.

... Given the way he ran his 2016 campaign, no one should have been surprised that President Trump has spent his time in office publicly engaging in hate speech with personal attacks against women, people of color, elected officials, and anyone who disagreed with him. Thanks to social media, this information has been transmitted in an unfiltered way to his followers.

While previous leaders from both political parties have stood firm against hate, condemning acts of violence, the president has refused to censure such acts or even white supremacism generally. Back in Summer 2017, after peaceful counter protesters of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia were attacked, the President responded to the violence with his famous statement noting that "you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides."

More recently at the presidential debate in September, when asked to condemn white supremacy, the president responded by calling out the Proud Boys by name, encouraging them and enabling xenophobia. In his own words: "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what: Somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left."

These efforts to empower hate have been bolstered by Trump and his team's work to promote false narratives. As early as 2013, Donald Trump was publicly challenging the scientific consensus around climate change and calling it a hoax. Since then, challenging science and fact has been a hallmark of the Trump presidency.

... Four years of watching the president demolish the norms of political and civil discourse in our country has taken its toll; It has led us to this moment where civil unrest is becoming commonplace.

In contrast to the claims by the president, though, the unrest has not been driven by left-wing activists or the vague and undefined "Antifa."

... With the inauguration coming in five weeks and rumors of more efforts to challenge the transition of power, there is no doubt that opening the doors to hate and violence while promoting false narratives have led us to the current moment where peaceful protesters are not safe to march in the streets of the US without fear of being threatened or attacked. In other words, this may be only the beginning.

Barr Refutes Trump on Massive Hack Source: ‘Certainly Appears’ to be Russia
Outgoing Attorney General Bill Bar on Monday refuted President Donald Trump's assertion over the weekend about a massive hack into U.S. government computer systems, saying it was likely carried out by Russia.

Barr at a press conference to announce an unrelated Justice Department investigation, said Russia "certainly appears" to be responsible for the hack.

The comments, days before Barr plans to step down, followed an assertion from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week that Russian spy services almost certainly carried out the massive cyber intrusion into government networks

Bill Barr: No Need for Special Prosecutor in Hunter Biden, Election Fraud Probes
Attorney General Bill Barr said Monday that he doesn't believe there's a need to appoint special counsel to further investigate Hunter Biden or President Donald Trump's debunked claims about voter fraud in the 2020 election.

Barr's comments about his unwillingness to name special prosecutors for either matter are a break from Trump, who has reportedly sought one to investigate his loss to President-elect Joe Biden. The attorney general is expected to leave his post on Wednesday, and while Trump praised Barr for his tenure at the Justice Department and their "very good relationship," the outgoing president has both privately and publicly fumed about his AG's recent comments.

Trump vented frustration on Twitter over recent reports that Barr kept the Hunter Biden probe under wraps until after the November election. Barr also told The Associated Press in early December that DOJ hasn't found evidence of widespread voter fraud and not any of a magnitude that could change the outcome of the Nov. 3 race.

"I think to the extent that there's an investigation – I think that it's being handled responsibly and professionally currently within the department, and to this point I don't see a reason to appoint a special counsel and I have no plan to do so before I leave," Barr said at a Monday press conference, referring to the Biden probe. ... When asked by a reporter Monday if he had any concerns about whether a Biden-appointed attorney general would "scuttle" the Hunter Biden investigation or Durham probe, Barr only commented that he hopes his successor will handle the ongoing investigations "responsibly."

The Trump campaign is challenging Pennsylvania's voting laws at the Supreme Court more than a month after the election ended
  • President Donald Trump has filed a direct appeal with the US Supreme Court asking it to overturn three Pennsylvania Supreme Court decisions about counting ballots.
  • He lost the election to President-elect Joe Biden more than a month ago.
  • The Supreme Court has already rejected challenges to the election, and none of the 40 or so election lawsuits Trump and his allies have filed have succeeded.
Even in the unlikely event that Trump wins the case, he would not necessarily win the state of Pennsylvania. And even if he won Pennsylvania, he would not win the presidency. President-elect Joe Biden won 306 Electoral College votes, and losing Pennsylvania's 20 would still leave him with well more than the 270 he needed to win.

The lawsuit, announced Sunday night by the Trump campaign, asks that the US Supreme Court overturn three Pennsylvania Supreme Court rulings made in October and November, all of which concern technicalities of how absentee ballots are handled. The Trump campaign's lawsuit said the state Supreme Court erred in those rulings and that only the state Legislature has the power to adjust election rules.

Officials finally found a case of a dead person voting, accusing a Republican of pretending to be his dead mom to vote for Trump
  • Bruce Bartman, a 70-year-old from Delaware County, Pennsylvania, has been charged with voter fraud.
  • He pretended to be his dead mom to vote for President Donald Trump in the 2020 election and registered his dead mother-in-law to vote, prosecutors said.
  • Prosecutors said it was the only voter-fraud case they found after hundreds of tips.
  • Voter fraud is extremely rare in the US, but Republicans have claimed it's a major problem and sought to pass laws restricting voting.
Bartman was arraigned Friday and released on $100,000 bail, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. If convicted on all charges, the 70-year-old Bartman could spend up to 19 years in prison.

"This is the only known case of a 'dead person' voting in our county, conspiracy theories notwithstanding," Stollsteimer said in a statement. "Further, the prompt prosecution of this case shows that law enforcement will continue to uphold our election laws whenever presented with actual evidence of fraud and that we will continue to investigate every allegation that that comes our way."

Prosecutors said Bartman registered two dead people — his mother, Elizabeth Bartman, and his mother-in-law, Elizabeth Weihman — as Republican voters in August. He used the state's online voter-registration portal, which allows residents to register to vote using their driver's license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number, prosecutors said.

He used his mother-in-law's Social Security number to register, which was flagged in the state system as belonging to someone who is dead, prosecutors added, but the software sent a letter addressed to her to confirm whether she was alive. Bartman lied on the form and pretended to be Weihman, prosecutors said, but ultimately did not request an absentee ballot in her name.

Bartman also registered his dead mother to vote and ultimately successfully cast a ballot for Trump and other Republicans in her name, prosecutors said.

Pat Robertson says Trump lives in 'alternate reality' and Biden will be president
Televangelist media mogul Pat Robertson acknowledged on Monday that President-elect Joe Biden won the election, in conflict with President Trump, who continues to fight the outcome of the election even after the Electoral College confirmed the results.

... Christian Broadcasting Network correspondent George Thomas later asked Robertson if he thought Trump should run again in 2024, as reports have suggested he has said to allies privately.

"I think it will be a mistake," said Robertson. "My money would be on Nikki Haley. I think she'd make a tremendous candidate for the Republican candidate. You know, with all his talent and the ability to raise money and grow large crowds, the president still lives in an alternate reality. He really does."

"People say, 'Well, he lies about this, that,' but, no, he isn't lying. To him, that's the truth," Robertson said, referring to Trump's claims of having the largest inauguration crowd, having the highest approval ratings and saving NBC with his show "The Apprentice," which Robertson said "really aren't true."

Though still praising Trump, Robertson said the president's behavior had been "erratic," making note of the officials he has fired in the weeks since Election Day.

"It would be well to say, 'You've had your day. It's time to move on,'" Robertson said, addressing Trump.

Robertson had previously said in October that God had told him Trump would win the election, after which an asteroid would hit the Earth.

or Trump-ism

Trumpism refers to the nontraditional political philosophy and approach espoused by US President Donald Trump and his supporters. The term Trumpism can also be used to directly refer to an outrageous or idiosyncratic statement made by Donald Trump.

Trumpisms are Bushisms on steroids.