Trump and Fascism

Trump and Fascism

This page is a data dump of articles about Donald Trump, those working with Trump and historical articles about fascism. Fascism uses different types of mind control to control people. Donald Trump has been accused of using propaganda and mind control techniques to win the election, to control people’s opinions of him and to control their opinions of other topics. This page contains excerpts from articles related to this topic.


“America Belongs to White Men,” Alt-Right Founder Says December 8, 2016
There were no Nazi salutes this time, at least. But Richard Spencer, the white supremacist Trump supporter trying to make racism cool by rebranding it “alt-right,” gave another rabble-rousing speech on Tuesday night, this time at Texas A&M University.

In case there was any ambiguity about his message, video posted on Twitter by Josef Winkler, a college sophomore who was repulsed by Spencer’s statements, showed him boasting that, because of the conquest of North America by European invaders, “America belongs to white men.”

“We won. America belongs to white men.” – Richard Spencer

Another clip recorded by Winkler — and a live stream of the entire event posted online by the school’s student newspaper, The Battalion — shows that Spencer went on to praise Donald Trump as “an alt-right hero” for reminding white Americans of what, he said, “makes the white race truly unique and truly wonderful.”
Richard Spencer praises Donald Trump as an alt-right hero
https://theintercept.com/2016/12/07/america-belongs-white-men-alt-right-founder-says/


No country with a McDonald’s can remain a democracy
George Monbiot

The best way to combat the likes of Trump, Le Pen and Farage and the politics they represent is to rescue power from the grip of transnational corporations

In 1938 President Roosevelt warned that “the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism.” The Democrats saw concentrated corporate power as a form of dictatorship. They broke up giant banks and businesses and chained the chainstores. What Roosevelt, Brandeis and Patman knew has been forgotten by those in power, including powerful journalists. But not by the victims of this system.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/06/mcdonalds-democracy-corporate-globalisation-trump-le-pen-farage


Donald Trump just insulted a union leader on Twitter. Then the phone started to ring.
By Danielle Paquette December 7 at 10:15 PM

Chuck Jones uses a flip phone, so he didn’t see the tweet. His friend of 36 years called him Wednesday night and said: The president-elect is smearing you on Twitter.

Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2016

If United Steelworkers 1999 was any good, they would have kept those jobs in Indiana. Spend more time working-less time talking. Reduce dues
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2016

Jones, a union leader in Indianapolis, represents the Carrier workers whose jobs Donald Trump has pledged to save. He said the sudden attention from the country’s next leader didn’t feel real.
“My first thought was, ‘Well, that’s not very nice,’ ” he told The Washington Post on Wednesday night. “Then, ‘Well, I might not sleep much tonight.’ ”
Jones, president of the United Steelworkers Local 1999, told The Post on Tuesday that he believed Trump had lied to the Carrier workers last week when he visited the Indianapolis plant. On a makeshift stage in a conference room, Trump had applauded United Technologies, Carrier’s parent company, for cutting a deal with him and agreeing to keep 1,100 jobs that were slated to move to Mexico in America’s heartland.
Jones said Trump got that figure wrong.

Carrier, he said, had agreed to preserve 800 production jobs in Indiana. (Carrier confirmed that number.) The union leader said Trump appeared to be taking credit for rescuing 350 engineering positions that were never scheduled to leave. Five hundred and fifty of his members, he said, were still losing their jobs. And the company was still collecting millions of dollars in tax breaks.

In return for downsizing its move south of the border, United Technologies would receive $7 million in tax credits from Indiana, to be paid in $700,000 installments each year for 10. Carrier, on top of that, has agreed to invest $16 million in its Indiana operation. United Technologies, meanwhile, still plans to shuttle 700 factory jobs from Huntington, Ind., to Monterrey, Mexico.

Half an hour after Trump tweeted about Jones on Wednesday, the union leader’s phone began to ring and kept ringing, he said. One voice asked: What kind of car do you drive? Another said: We’re coming for you.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/12/07/donald-trump-retaliated-against-a-union-leader-on-twitter-then-his-phone-started-to-ring/


Time Magazine accused of giving Donald Trump devil horns and likening him to Hitler with Person of the Year cover

Donald Trump was declared Time Magazine ‘Person of the Year’ on Wednesday
Twitter users quickly suggested his cover photo made him look like the devil
Others drew similarities between Trump’s image and a cover shot of Adolf Hitler
Time has been critical of Trump many times over the course of the past year

Time editor-in-chief Nancy Gibbs said it was the easiest decision the magazine has ever made for the honor.
They cited the upheaval in American politics brought about by his election campaign and victory.
‘It’s hard to measure the scale of his disruption,’ Time said in its announcement.
Time makes its annual choice based on the impact a person has on world events – good or bad. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was chosen last year. Previous winners ranged from Gandhi to Hitler.
This was the second year in a row that Trump had been a finalist of the accolade.
‘To be on the cover of Time as Person of the Year is a tremendous honor,’ Trump said.
He rejected Time’s characterization of the country as fractured after the magazine’s called him the ‘president of the divided states of America’ on the cover.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4011358/Time-Magazine-accused-giving-Donald-Trump-devil-horns-likening-Hitler-Person-Year-cover.html


One Scholar On Similarities, Substantial Differences Between Trump And Hitler
Even before the election, critics had been drawing comparisons between Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler.

They’ve pointed to Trump’s promise to ban Muslims, deport millions of immigrants, crack down on the press and “make America great again.”
Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks with Daniel Ziblatt , professor of government at Harvard University and author of the forthcoming book “Conservative Parties and the Birth of Modern Democracy in Europe,” about Hitler’s rise to power in 1930s Germany, and whether the comparisons between Trump and Hitler are fair or unnecessarily inflammatory.
http://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2016/12/07/trump-hitler-comparisons

Michael Flynn is Donald Trump’s most terrifying appointment December 7, 2016
http://www.theage.com.au/world/michael-flynn-is-donald-trumps-most-terrifying-appointment-20161206-gt5ivp.html
There may be no more dangerous choice Trump has made so far than picking Michael Flynn to be his national security adviser. There are few more important positions in the White House, and few where the wrong choice could have consequences quite as catastrophic. If we contemplate how President Trump might handle an international crisis – which he will face, probably before long – we see just how troubling Flynn’s appointment is.


Michael Flynn is Donald Trump’s most terrifying appointment
Paul Waldman
Donald Trump has gone about picking his Cabinet and senior advisers in much the way one might have predicted. Instead of looking for people with the highest levels of experience, expertise, and competence, he seems to be making his choices based on criteria like who he’s seen on Fox News, or who praised him effusively, or who has a cool nickname.
There may be no more dangerous choice Trump has made so far than picking Michael Flynn to be his national security adviser. There are few more important positions in the White House, and few where the wrong choice could have consequences quite as catastrophic. If we contemplate how President Trump might handle an international crisis – which he will face, probably before long – we see just how troubling Flynn’s appointment is.
The year that saw underdog triumphs, power shifts, and the unimaginable come to pass.

It’s no mystery why Trump chose Flynn for this position. Trump is simultaneously contemptuous of military leaders (you’ll recall how often he said during the campaign that he knew more than them) and enamoured of them; his Cabinet is likely to contain multiple retired generals. Early on, Flynn was one of the only former military leaders who endorsed Trump and campaigned with him. He quickly became Trump’s closest adviser on national security.

Let’s do a quick rundown. Flynn, who was head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, was fired by President Barack Obama for a number of reasons, including mismanagement. His staff got so used to him believing things that were obviously false that they began referring to them as “Flynn Facts.” Nevertheless, he had a complete certainty in his own rightness.

At one meeting, reports the New York Times, “Mr Flynn said that the first thing everyone needed to know was that he was always right. His staff would know they were right, he said, when their views melded to his.” Furthermore, “Some also described him as a Captain Queeg-like character, paranoid that his staff members were undercutting him and credulous of conspiracy theories.”

You can see it in his statements and writings since his retirement. Flynn believes that Islam is “a malignant cancer” that is actually “a political ideology” that “hides behind this notion of it being a religion.” He has tweeted that “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL” while posting an anti-Islamic video and asking people to “please forward this to others.” On his Twitter feed, he has a propensity for spreading fake news stories from the right-wing fever swamps. As Bryan Bender and Andrew Hanna reported for Politico:

“But Flynn himself has used social media to promote a series of outrageous conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama and their inner circles in recent months – pushing dubious factoids at least 16 times since Aug. 9, according to a POLITICO review of his Twitter posts.
“Flynn, who has 106,000 Twitter followers, has used the platform to retweet accusations that Clinton is involved with child sex trafficking and has “secretly waged war” on the Catholic Church, as well as charges that Obama is a “jihadi” who “laundered” money for Muslim terrorists.”

Some of the looniest conspiracy theories Flynn has propagated have to do with stolen emails from John Podesta, the chair of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Right-wing conspiracy-mongers took a word here or there from some of the emails and spun them into allegations that Clinton and Podesta were involved in a Satanic cult and were running a child sex slavery ring out of a Washington pizza parlour. That might be funny, were it not for the fact that the restaurant and nearby establishments have been deluged with death threats and one guy took it seriously enough to drive to DC with his assault rifle over the weekend in an attempt to “rescue” the children he thought were being held in the restaurant’s basement.


Muslims respond to hate letters: “You’re not going to scare us”
(CNN)The author addressed the letter “to the children of Satan” and called Muslims “a vile and filthy people.”
“There’s a new sheriff in town,” the letter said, “President Donald Trump.”

An anonymous group calling itself “Americans for a Better Way” has sent a letter to at least five California mosques and another one in Georgia, according to the Council for Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim advocacy group.
“He’s going to do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the jews [sic],” the letter said. “You muslims [sic] would be wise to pack your bags and get out of Dodge.”
http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/28/us/mosques-receive-hate-letters/index.html


Like Americans and Trump, Some Germans Weren’t Fooled by Hitler’s Populism Either

Like Americans and Trump, Some Germans Weren’t Fooled by Hitler’s Populism Either



As you can see from the 1932 photo montage above, not all Germans were fooled by Hitler. The caption reads, at the top, “The Meaning of the Hitler Salute,” and if you travel down the page, below the image representing big corporations handing Hitler “millions” it says, “Millions Stand Behind Me!” Below that, “Little man asks for big gifts.”
Well. We’re all familiar with that, aren’t we? We’re seeing it right now in the forming Trump administration. Hitler, like Trump, was the choice of his nation’s 1 Percent. Industrial magnate Fritz Thiessen (you may have ridden in his company’s elevators) was an early donor. So was Krupp, whose name is found in those same elevators (the companies merged in 1999).
It hardly matters that these 1 percenters thought to use Hitler, or that he ended up using them instead. The point is that Hitler, like Trump, used populism to gain power while being funded and supported by the corporate power structure that has for so long suppressed the little guy. It is no coincidence that Trump, like Hitler, dislikes labor unions.


Noam Chomsky: Trump’s Victory Recalls Memories of Hitler & Fascism’s Spread Across Europe
https://www.democracynow.org/2016/12/6/noam_chomsky_trumps_victory_recalls_memories
Trump isn’t Hitler. But the United States could be another Germany.
Here’s what President-elect Donald Trump has been doing after the election
Still, the reference to Weimar is apt, not because Trump is another Hitler but because the United States might be another Germany.
Weimar is the charming German city that gave its name to the parliamentary democracy that was created following World War I and which Hitler crushed in 1933. It was never a robust democracy, but it nevertheless was the government of Europe’s most important — and, in many ways, advanced — country. Berlin in the early 1930s was a tolerant and liberal city. Many a Hollywood filmmaker got a start in Berlin. I cite Billy Wilder — “Some Like It Hot,” “Double Indemnity,” “Sunset Boulevard” — for one.

In a relative snap of the fingers, all that changed. Weimar’s intellectuals, artists, actors, writers, architects (Bauhaus) and others fled. The precipitating event was, of course, Hitler’s appointment as German chancellor. That was Jan. 30, 1933. Almost exactly a month later, the German parliament building, the Reichstag, was consumed by fire. A Dutch communist, Marinus van der Lubbe, was accused of setting it. (He was subsequently guillotined.) Hitler, declaring a vast communist threat, asked President Paul von Hindenburg for emergency powers. He got them. He kept them until he died.

Here is the relevance of Weimar. Trump has shown a daunting disregard or ignorance of the Constitution and of law. Regarding the use of torture, he has said that the military must follow his orders — even if they are illegal. More recently, he declared that flag-burning should be a crime and that flag burners be punished by “perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail.” The remark was one of his off-the-cuff inanities — since 1989, flag-burning has been protected political speech, and citizenship, we’d like to think, is forever. The tweet — so few words, so much meaning — spoke to Trump’s abysmal lack of knowledge but, more important, contained an emotional truth. Trump despises dissent and often reacts emotionally to setbacks or challenges.

Last week on MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes,” a guest mentioned the new unmentionable: Weimar. The guest was Bob Garfield, a liberal media critic, and he was discussing Donald Trump. Hayes was mildly disapproving of the reference. “I tend to stay away from Weimar comparisons for a variety of reasons,” he said. That would make sense if only Trump himself did not constantly bring them to mind.

I must stop right here to emphasize what I will not be saying. I will not be calling Trump a fascist. I will not be saying he’s an anti-Semite because, manifestly, he is not. I will not be smearing him with the clear bigotry of some of his supporters, although I fault him for not slapping down the haters with more energy. Still, the reference to Weimar is apt, not because Trump is another Hitler but because the United States might be another Germany.

Weimar is the charming German city that gave its name to the parliamentary democracy that was created following World War I and which Hitler crushed in 1933. It was never a robust democracy, but it nevertheless was the government of Europe’s most important — and, in many ways, advanced — country. Berlin in the early 1930s was a tolerant and liberal city. Many a Hollywood filmmaker got a start in Berlin. I cite Billy Wilder — “Some Like It Hot,” “Double Indemnity,” “Sunset Boulevard” — for one.

[Trump is the Old Faithful of fake news, and that can cause real damage]

In a relative snap of the fingers, all that changed. Weimar’s intellectuals, artists, actors, writers, architects (Bauhaus) and others fled. The precipitating event was, of course, Hitler’s appointment as German chancellor. That was Jan. 30, 1933. Almost exactly a month later, the German parliament building, the Reichstag, was consumed by fire. A Dutch communist, Marinus van der Lubbe, was accused of setting it. (He was subsequently guillotined.) Hitler, declaring a vast communist threat, asked President Paul von Hindenburg for emergency powers. He got them. He kept them until he died.

Here is the relevance of Weimar. Trump has shown a daunting disregard or ignorance of the Constitution and of law. Regarding the use of torture, he has said that the military must follow his orders — even if they are illegal. More recently, he declared that flag-burning should be a crime and that flag burners be punished by “perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail.” The remark was one of his off-the-cuff inanities — since 1989, flag-burning has been protected political speech, and citizenship, we’d like to think, is forever. The tweet — so few words, so much meaning — spoke to Trump’s abysmal lack of knowledge but, more important, contained an emotional truth. Trump despises dissent and often reacts emotionally to setbacks or challenges.

Now, ask yourself what might happen if there were a huge terrorist incident on American soil. Might this man of little knowledge and no restraint attempt to suspend civil liberties? (After all, even Abraham Lincoln did.) His instinctive reaction to flag-burning was all wrong. In addition, he holds the Nixonian view that the law is what he says it is. The courts have time and time again ruled otherwise.

Yet, I wonder if a compliant Congress and an even more compliant American people would balk at giving Trump any emergency power he seeks. His election was a stunner — an eruption of anger and resentment that is putting an epochally unqualified man in the White House. So great was the urge to trash the status quo that Trump’s lying, bragging, cheating, insulting and breathtaking ignorance did not disqualify him. Indeed, his very unsuitableness for the presidency immensely credentialed him. He is loved by many because he is loathed by others.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-isnt-hitler-but-the-united-states-could-be-another-germany/2016/12/05/9f026004-bb15-11e6-91ee-1adddfe36cbe_story.html


Alt-Right Exults in Donald Trump’s Election With a Salute: ‘Heil Victory’
www.nytimes.com/2016/11/21/us/alt-right-salutes-donald-trump.html

But now his tone changed as he began to tell the audience of more than 200 people, mostly young men, what they had been waiting to hear. He railed against Jews and, with a smile, quoted Nazi propaganda in the original German. America, he said, belonged to white people, whom he called the “children of the sun,” a race of conquerors and creators who had been marginalized but now, in the era of President-elect Donald J. Trump, were “awakening to their own identity.”
As he finished, several audience members had their arms outstretched in a Nazi salute. When Mr. Spencer, or perhaps another person standing near him at the front of the room — it was not clear who — shouted, “Heil the people! Heil victory,” the room shouted it back.
These are exultant times for the alt-right movement, which was little known until this year, when it embraced Mr. Trump’s campaign and he appeared to embrace it back. He chose as his campaign chairman Stephen K. Bannon, the media executive who ran the alt-right’s most prominent platform, Breitbart News, and then named him as a senior adviser and chief strategist….
“America was, until this last generation, a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity,” Mr. Spencer thundered. “It is our creation, it is our inheritance, and it belongs to us.”


Swedish Nazi group hails Trump in largest demo yet
http://www.thelocal.se/20161112/swedish-nazis-hail-trump-in-largest-ever-demonstration

Congress Has Removed a Ban on Funding Neo-Nazis From Its Year-End Spending Bill
Under pressure from the Pentagon, Congress has stripped the spending bill of an amendment that prevented funds from falling into the hands of Ukrainian neo-fascist groups.
https://www.thenation.com/article/congress-has-removed-a-ban-on-funding-neo-nazis-from-its-year-end-spending-bill/


We Demand by Joseph Goebbels “Therefore we demand homes for German soldiers and workers. If there is not enough money to build them, drive the foreigners out so that Germans can live on German soil.” “Germany for the Germans!”
http://research.calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/angrif05.htm
“We will stop apologising for America, and we will start celebrating America.” Donald Trump “anti-immigration speech”
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/01/donald-trump-american-patriotism-schools-immigration


Goodbye, American neoliberalism. A new era is here
Cornel West
Trump’s election was enabled by the policies that overlooked the plight of our most vulnerable citizens. We gird ourselves for a frightening future
The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang. The political triumph of Donald Trump shattered the establishments in the Democratic and Republican parties – both wedded to the rule of Big Money and to the reign of meretricious politicians.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/17/american-neoliberalism-cornel-west-2016-election

Europe’s Darkening Hour? Populist Movement Smacks of Fascist Past
http://www.newsweek.com/europe-populist-movement-smacks-fascist-past-523093

How Hitler Tackled Unemployment And Revived Germany’s Economy
http://www.ihr.org/other/economyhitler2011.html repression, destruction of unions,concentration camp


“The racist, fascist extreme right is represented footsteps from the Oval Office”: Republicans warn of Trump presidency
http://www.salon.com/2016/11/15/the-racist-fascist-extreme-right-is-represented-footsteps-from-the-oval-office-republicans-warn-of-trump-presidency/
http://www.salon.com/2016/11/14/steve-bannon-runs-an-anti-semitic-website-is-a-misogynist-and-will-be-one-of-donald-trumps-senior-advisors/

Anti-Defamation League: Trump Ad Invokes Anti-Semitic Tropes
http://www.nbcnews.com/card/anti-defamation-league-trump-ad-invokes-anti-semitic-tropes-n678686

Steve Bannon: appointment of ‘white nationalist’ must be reversed, critics declare https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/14/steve-bannon-white-house-racism-fear

How Donald Trump’s New Campaign Chief Created an Online Haven for White Nationalists
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/08/stephen-bannon-donald-trump-alt-right-breitbart-news

Trump Foundation Took Donations From Controversial Ukrainian Clinton Donor
http://abcnews.go.com/Business/trump-foundation-donations-controversial-ukrainian-clinton-donor/story?id=43728278

 

Steve Bannon Will Lead Trump’s White House November 26, 2016
http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/steve-bannon-will-lead-trumps-white-house

When Bannon has been asked about these racist and anti-Semitic appeals, he has insisted, implausibly, that he favors nationalism, not white nationalism. “If you look at the identity movements over there in Europe, I think a lot of [them] are really ‘Polish identity’ or ‘German identity,’ not racial identity,” he told Posner. “It’s more identity toward a nation-state or their people as a nation.” Bannon sees those European movements as allies, and has cultivated ties with far-right parties in the U.K., France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy. The first foreign political leader who President-elect Trump met with was Nigel Farage, a friend of Bannon who attended the Republican National Convention and campaigned with Trump in Mississippi, in July. Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front, who is running for President, has already cited Trump’s victory as a harbinger of her own. Her niece, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, a member of the French parliament, tweeted, “I answer yes to the invitation of Stephen Bannon, CEO of @realDonaldTrump presidential campaign, to work together.”

The elevation of Bannon to a powerful position in the White House is an epochal event in American politics, one that has been condemned by the N.A.A.C.P., the A.D.L., and many Democratic leaders, including Harry Reid, whose spokesman said in a statement, “President-elect Trump’s choice of Steve Bannon as his top aide signals that White Supremacists will be represented at the highest levels in Trump’s White House.” The Republican consultant John Weaver, who advises Ohio Governor John Kasich, tweeted, “Just to be clear news media, the next president named a racist, anti-semite as the co-equal of the chief of staff.” Weaver also wrote, “The racist, fascist extreme right is represented footsteps from the Oval Office. Be very vigilant America.” William Kristol, the editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, asked on Twitter, “Is there precedent for such a disreputable & unstable extremist in [White House] senior ranks before Bannon?”


I Was Raised In A Cult. Here’s My Advice For Trump’s New World.
For the past half-year, I’ve watched some of the scariest parts of my childhood reality play out.
….I grew up in a dogmatic, narrow-minded world that hated outsiders. My fundamentalist group called itself “The Church.” Everyone outside us was in “The World.”
Our new president’s campaign said anyone who disagrees with him is “bad.” In the, apparent “better world” he was offering, at least pre-election, his opponents should be put in prison and “bad hombres”— based on his determination of who that is — should be shipped out. Guantanamo should be kept open and anyone “not a good guy, trust me,” again, according to him, should be tossed in.
Just like back in my fundamentalist group.
But as a former member of an extremist mindset, let me tell you: Your leader reminds me of my own former one, and he was a dangerous fraud. He didn’t bring about the change you are rooting for. He did not make our lives better.He was lying. He was using us. Your leader might also endanger you, us, and every freedom our collective constitution, left or right, Christian or Muslim, black or white is built on, while telling you that he is honoring that very same….
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/i-was-raised-in-a-cult-like-trumps-heres-my-advice-for-a-new-world_us_583c7ab9e4b0c2ab94436c31


Hate Crimes Are Rising But Don’t Expect Them to be Prosecuted
Most aren’t even reported to law enforcement.
Last week, the FBI announced there were 5,850 hate crimes in 2015—a 7 percent increase over the year before.
Brian Levin is concerned that federal enforcement of the hate crimes act could weaken during a Trump administration, with his nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) for attorney general. “I think it remains a legitimate question as to how vigorous Mr. Sessions will be in prosecuting a statute that he was one of the chief opponents of,” Levin says.
Sessions’ nomination has already been contested by civil rights groups because of a series of racist comments he reportedly made early in his career. He was also a strong opponent of the federal hate crimes act. .
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/11/heres-why-hate-crimes-are-so-hard-prosecute


After the Election, Trump Maintains His Bizarre Relationship with Conspiracy-Pushing Website
His claim of millions of illegal votes is straight from the 9/11 truthers of “Infowars.”
On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, as part of a multi-tweet rant against Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s recount effort in Wisconsin (and perhaps Michigan and Pennsylvania), President-elect Donald Trump questioned the integrity of the 2016 election.
In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2016

Trump won 306 Electoral College votes to Clinton’s 232 (Michigan’s 16 were called for him today); so his victory was not exactly a landslide. But the bigger lie was that “millions” of people voted illegally, for which there is no evidence. Clinton’s lead of more than 2 million votes in the popular vote, and her campaign’s recent announcement that it would participate in the recount organized by Stein, seemed to have inspired yesterday’s tweet. But its origins trace back to a right-wing conspiracy theory that began to take hold shortly after the election.
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/11/trump-alex-jones-conspiracy-illegal-votes


‘Make America White Again’: Hate speech and crimes post-election
Fears of heightened bigotry and hate crimes have turned into reality for some Americans after Donald Trump’s presidential win. And the list of incidents keeps growing.
The Southern Poverty Law Center counted more than 700 cases of hateful harassment or intimidation in the United States between November 9 and November 16.
http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/10/us/post-election-hate-crimes-and-fears-trnd/


Both The US And UK Have Made It A Lot Easier Now To Spy On Their Own Citizens A rule is set to go into effect in the US on Thursday that would give the government vast hacking powers, while the British government just passed legislation that legalized mass surveillance.
https://www.buzzfeed.com/sheerafrenkel/both-the-us-and-uk-have-made-it-a-lot-easier-now-to-spy-on-t


Rule 41, officially known as the Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41, goes into effect on Dec. 1 unless a last-ditch effort by Senators Wyden, Coons, and Daines on Wednesday succeeds in delaying the bill by three months. The senators, who were part of earlier efforts to delay the bill, have warned that the proposed changes to Rule 41 by the Supreme Court would broaden the government’s ability to hack into personal devices such as computers or smartphones.


“This rule change would give the government unprecedented authority to hack into Americans’ personal devices. This was an alarming proposition before the election,” Senator Ron Wyden said in an emailed statement to BuzzFeed News. “Today, Congress needs to think long and hard about whether to hand this power to [FBI Director] James Comey and the administration of someone who openly said he wants the power to hack his political opponents the same way Russia does.”


Turnkey Tyranny
http://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2016/11/the-snowden-movie-illustrates-why-im-so-pessimistic-about-the-future/

What is troubling is that for all of Trump’s incoherent campaign promises, the one thing that he is fairly consistent on is that he does not appear to respect the norms of democracy, and that he has, at the very least, some authoritarian tendencies that could threaten the foundations of western democracy.
Snowden did the world a great service by revealing the extent of American surveillance apparatus – and yet the reaction of politicians both in America and abroad has been to continue on with business as usual. In the UK, as GCHQ’s role in bulk surveillance was exposed by Snowden, MPs voted to legitimate it rather than dismantle it.
President Obama has given no indication that he thinks there should be any reforms and just the other day, he implied that he won’t pardon Snowden before he leaves office. And despite the political earthquake Trump’s victory has caused, despite the hopes of fellow whistleblower Bill Binney, this appears to be one area where the status quo will remain, if not get worse. Trump’s pick for a new CIA director has previously suggested that Snowden should be executed. I do not expect Trump to turn out to have secretly been a liberal all along.
I’d love to end on a positive note but sadly, I’m struggling to see any. A man who does not accept democratic norms is about to take the reins of the most powerful surveillance apparatus ever constructed. Politicians don’t seem to care. And there are now seemingly only trivial checks and balances on what he could do with the system.


Trump: The Choice We Face
Masha Gessen
https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2016/11/27/trump-realism-vs-moral-politics-choice-we-face/


I grew up knowing that my great-grandfather smuggled guns into the Bialystok ghetto for the resistance, which staged an armed uprising there in August 1943. As an adult, researching a book about collaboration and resistance, using my own family history, I found out why my great-grandfather had been in a position to arm the resistance: he was one of the leaders of the Bialystok Judenrat, the Nazi-appointed Jewish council that ran the ghetto.


My great-grandfather’s story was at once an extreme and a typical example. Criminal regimes function in part by forcing the maximum number of subjects to participate in the atrocities. For nearly a century, individuals in various parts of the Western world have struggled with the question of how, and how much, we should engage politically and personally with governments that we find morally abhorrent.


With the election of Donald Trump—a candidate who has lied his way into power, openly embraced racist discourse and violence, toyed with the idea of jailing his opponents, boasted of his assaults on women and his avoidance of taxes, and denigrated the traditional checks and balances of government—this question has confronted us as urgently as ever. After I wrote a piece about surviving autocracy, a great many people have asked me about one of my proposed rules: “Do not compromise.” What constitutes compromise? How is it possible to avoid it? Why should one not compromise?….


Realism is predicated on predictability: it assumes that parties have clear interests and will act rationally to achieve them. This is rarely true anywhere, and it is patently untrue in the case of Trump. He ran a campaign unlike any in memory, has won an election unlike any in memory, and has so far appointed a cabinet unlike any in memory: racists, Islamophobes, and homophobes, many of whom have no experience relevant to their new jobs. Patterns of behavior characteristic of former presidents will not help predict Trump’s behavior. As for his own patterns, inconsistency and unreliability are among his chief characteristics….


Frightened by Donald Trump? You don’t know the half of it
Many of his staffers are from an opaque corporate misinformation network. We must understand this if we are to have any hope of fighting back against them
Wednesday 30 November 2016


Yes, Donald Trump’s politics are incoherent. But those who surround him know just what they want, and his lack of clarity enhances their power. To understand what is coming, we need to understand who they are. I know all too well, because I have spent the past 15 years fighting them.
Trump’s climate denial is just one of the forces that point towards war
Over this time, I have watched as tobacco, coal, oil, chemicals and biotech companies have poured billions of dollars into an international misinformation machine composed of thinktanks, bloggers and fake citizens’ groups. Its purpose is to portray the interests of billionaires as the interests of the common people, to wage war against trade unions and beat down attempts to regulate business and tax the very rich. Now the people who helped run this machine are shaping the government.


I first encountered the machine when writing about climate change. The fury and loathing directed at climate scientists and campaigners seemed incomprehensible until I realised they were fake: the hatred had been paid for. The bloggers and institutes whipping up this anger were funded by oil and coal companies….
Charles and David Koch – who for years have funded extreme pro-corporate politics – might not have been enthusiasts for Trump’s candidacy, but their people were all over his campaign. Until June, Trump’s campaign manager was Corey Lewandowski, who like other members of Trump’s team came from a group called Americans for Prosperity (AFP).
This purports to be a grassroots campaign, but it was founded and funded by the Koch brothers. It set up the first Tea Party Facebook page and organised the first Tea Party events. With a budget of hundreds of millions of dollars, AFP has campaigned ferociously on issues that coincide with the Koch brothers’ commercial interests in oil, gas, minerals, timber and chemicals.


In Michigan, it helped force through the “right to work bill”, in pursuit of what AFP’s local director called “taking the unions out at the knees”. It has campaigned nationwide against action on climate change. It has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into unseating the politicians who won’t do its bidding and replacing them with those who will.
I could fill this newspaper with the names of Trump staffers who have emerged from such groups: people such as Doug Domenech, from the Texas Public Policy Foundation, funded among others by the Koch brothers, Exxon and the Donors Trust; Barry Bennett, whose Alliance for America’s Future (now called One Nation) refused to disclose its donors when challenged; and Thomas Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance, funded by Exxon and others. This is to say nothing of Trump’s own crashing conflicts of interest. Trump promised to “drain the swamp” of the lobbyists and corporate stooges working in Washington. But it looks as if the only swamps he’ll drain will be real ones, as his team launches its war on the natural world….
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/30/donald-trump-george-monbiot-misinformation


Should we even go there? Historians on comparing fascism to Trumpism
Recent events around the world have prompted debate about the historical parallels between our times and the period preceding the second world war
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/01/comparing-fascism-donald-trump-historians-trumpism
Last Thursday, an 89-year-old Auschwitz survivor recorded a video which promptly went viral. She compared “the humiliation, the demonization of others” and “the attempt to bring out the worst traits in people” in contemporary Austrian politics to her own experience of fascism. Gertrude – her last name has been withheld – lost her entire family in the Holocaust. Her testimony has now been watched more than three million times.


On Sunday, Gertrude’s compatriots will vote for their next president. Norbert Hofer, the far-right candidate whose anti-immigration party was set up by a former SS officer, looks set to win.
Across Europe, a wave of hyper-nationalist politicians is threatening to splinter the European Union, with Geert Wilders in the Netherlands and Marine Le Pen in France waiting in the wings. In the US, many Americans are still figuring out how they’re going to face the next four years of a president elected after a campaign built on racism, anti-intellectualism, misogyny and truth distortion; his suggestion of a register for Muslims horrified many. It also prompted comparisons – some of them lazy, some of them astute – between the 1930s and now.
Against this backdrop, Volker Ullrich’s timely recent account of Hitler’s rise to power, Hitler: Ascent 1889-1939, has received critical acclaim and prompted considerable debate about the historical parallels between our times and that of the pre-war period. It also raises questions about whether history can teach us how to rewrite our own script….


Making Germany great again

“There are certain traits you can recognize that Hitler and Trump have in common,” Ullrich says. “I would say the egomania, the total egocentricity of both men, and the inclination to mix lies and truth – that was very characteristic of Hitler.”
Like Trump, “Hitler exploited peoples’ feelings of resentment towards the ruling elite.” He also said he would make Germany great again. Ullrich also notes both men’s talent at playing the media, making use of new technology and their propensity for stage effects.
Ullrich, however, is keen to highlight how they differ. “I think the differences are still greater than the similarities,” he says….


Trump was also democratically elected, while Hitler never had a majority vote. “He was appointed by the president of the German Reich.” Then there’s the fact that Trump does not lead a party “which is unconditionally committed to him”.
“A further obvious difference is that Trump doesn’t have a private militia, as Hitler did with the SA, which he used in his first months after coming to power to settle scores with his opponents, like the Communists and Social Democrats. You can’t possibly imagine something similar with Trump – that he’ll be locking Democrats up into concentration camps. Even Hillary Clinton, who he threatened to send to prison – that was just an empty threat, he’s not going to do that.”….


“Hitler profited from the fact that his opponents always underestimated him,” Ullrich explains. “His conservative allies in government assumed they could tame or ‘civilise’ him – that once he became chancellor he’d become vernünftig (meaning sensible, reasonable). Very quickly it became clear that was an illusion.”….
At the same time, Hitler’s ascent was no mere fluke. “There were powerful forces in the big industries, but also in the landowning class and the armed forces, which approved of a fascist solution to the crisis.”….
Schama is clear: Trump is obviously not Hitler. “But, you know, if you like, he’s an entertainment fascist, which may be less sinister but is actually in the end more dangerous. If you’re not looking for jackboots and swastikas – although swastikas are indeed appearing – there’s a kind of laundry list of things which are truly sinister and authoritarian and not business as usual.”….


Schama also points to deeply worrying messaging, such as “the parallel universe of lies which are habitual, massive, cumulative”; the criminalization of political opponents; the threat to change the libel laws against the press and the demonization of different racial and ethnic groups, going as far as proposing a Muslim registry.
“What is that if it’s not racially authoritarian?” asks Schama. “If you want to call it fascist, fine. I don’t really care if it’s called that or not. It’s authoritarian, you know, ferociously authoritarian.”….


Don’t ignore what people vote for
If you’re of German heritage, it’s hard to understand how so many people could have bought Mein Kampf and gone on to vote for Hitler. Maybe no one really read it, or got beyond the first few pages of bluster, or took antisemitism seriously, you tell yourself….
“I think one of the mistakes this time around would be not to think that the people who voted for Trump were serious. They may have been serious for different reasons, but it would be a big mistake not to try and figure out what their reasons were.”….


Beware the rise of the surveillance state
“The Gestapo was piddling compared with the size and reach of surveillance equipment and operations today,” says Mazower.
“Very belatedly, everyone is waking up to the fact that there was a general assumption that no government in the west would fall into the wrong hands, that it was safe to acquiesce in this huge expansion of surveillance capabilities, and the debate wasn’t as vigorous as it could have been.”
“Now, there is a lot of discussion about allowing this kind of surveillance apparatus in the wrong hands,” he adds. “And we’ve woken up to this a bit late in the day.”….


Ullrich calls crises, “the elixir of rightwing populists”, and urges that politicians “do everything they can to correct the inequalities and social injustice which have arisen in the course of extreme financial capitalism in western countries”…..


Don’t normalize fear, intimidation and self-censorship
Paranoia, bullying and intimidation are a hallmark of authoritarian regimes. They are also alive and well in our culture today, where online trolls, violent thugs at rallies, threats of expensive libel action and of course terrorist acts are equally effective in getting individuals and the press to self-censor.
“You just have to call this out,” says Schama. “It requires government. Trump should have repudiated the Ku Klux Klan. Not just left it out there. It requires responsible, moral, aggressive repudiation….


Trump and Fascism. A View from the Past

http://www.historyworkshop.org.uk/ trump-and-fascism-a-view-from-the-past/
Is Trump a fascist? Let’s start with another question: why do we want to know? Is it simply to stick him with the most damning political label available? Or is it because his ideas, his actions, his support really put him in the same genus as the fascist movements and regimes of interwar Europe?


For months, historians of the twentieth century have been looking nervously at Trump and asking what tools we have to understand the man, his popular appeal and his backers – and to measure the danger he represents. Against my own better judgment, I have been spotting Mussolini in this gesture or turn of phrase, Hitler in that one; I have been watching the manipulated interactions of speaker with audience, the hyperbolic political emotions, the narcissistic masculinity, the unbridled threats, the conversion of facile fantasies and malignant bigotries into eternal verities, the vast, empty promises, the breath-taking lies. A whole repertoire seems to have returned us to the fascisms of interwar Europe, acted out by a man whose vanity is equalled only by his ignorance. But has it?….


The poster-child for political and constitutional manipulations was Germany in 1933. There the 1919 constitution provided emergency powers for rule by decree that had become familiar by use and misuse in the 1920s and early 1930s. When the Nazi seizure of power began in 1933, the weapons of the constitution were too easily turned against itself. It was decommissioned in all but name, taking all political and civil rights with it and turning power over to an unfettered executive.


In America, the constitution may be more robust, but it has already given away some of its protections. The leading edge of tyranny is the 2001 Patriot Act (twice reauthorized under Obama) which, among other things, authorizes the indefinite detention of immigrants suspected of terrorism and provides for the immunity of some FBI actions from judicial review. Reliance on the power of the constitution will not be enough to guide strategies of defence against tyranny. And one other point. The chaos of the transition suggests that this highly personalized movement, having turned its back on political convention, will introduce a dynamic disorganization into government that will put orderly decision-making at risk. Competing centres of power and distorted chains of command were endemic to fascist regimes, exposing unregulated spaces for radical forces to exploit….


Cornel West on Donald Trump: This is What Neo-Fascism Looks Like
AMY GOODMAN: Well, your response to the election of Donald Trump and now the cabinet he is appointing around him?


CORNEL WEST: Well, I think he’s already betrayed working people in terms of making sure, in his view, that Wall Street is in the driver’s seat. And what I mean by that is that in an emerging neofascist moment, you have the rule of big business, which is big banks and big corporations. You scapegoat the most vulnerable. It could be Muslims, Mexicans, gay brothers, lesbian sisters, indigenous peoples, black peoples, jews, and so on. And then you also have militaristic orientations around the world. And so, you see the extension of the repressive apparatus, as those of us who hit the streets, those of us who will be — are willing to go to jail, we’ve had to recognize we’ll have more coming at us under Trump administration. But, the crucial thing is, is that he had talked about his connection with working people. And it’s clear that the one percent are still running things.


NERMEEN SHAIKH: But, you’ve also said, Dr. West, you just said that his administration will be neofascist. Could you explain? What do you mean by that, neofascist as opposed to fascist, and what the two mean?


CORNEL WEST: What neofascist — it’s an American style form of fascism. What I mean by that is we’ve had neoliberal rule from Carter to Obama. That neoliberal rule left in place a national security state. It left in place massive surveillance. It left in place the ability of the president to kill an American citizen with no due process. That’s Obama. That was the culmination of the neoliberal era. Now you get someone who is narcissistic — which is to say out of control psychologically — who is ideologically confused — which is to say, in over his head — and who does he choose? The most right wing reactionary zealots which lead toward the arbitrary deployment of law, which is what neofascism is, but to reinforce corporate interests, big bank interest, and to keep track of those of us who are cast as peoples of color, women, jews, Arabs, Muslims, Mexicans, and so forth, and so — So, this is one of the most frightening moments in the history of this very fragile empire and fragile republic.
https://www.democracynow.org/2016/12/1/cornel_west_on_donald_trump_this


Donald Trump to nominate James Mattis for secretary of defense
http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/01/politics/james-mattis-trump-secretary-of-defense/

“We are going to appoint ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis as our secretary of defense.
But he attracted controversy in 2005 when he said “it’s fun to shoot some people” while addressing service members in San Diego.
“General Mattis is a listrong, highly dignified man. I met with him at length and I asked him that question. I said, ‘What do you think of waterboarding?'” Trump told The New York Times. “He said — I was surprised — he said, ‘I’ve never found it to be useful.’ He said,
‘I’ve always found, give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers and I do better with that than I do with torture.'”
“I’m not saying it changed my mind. Look, we have people that are chopping off heads and drowning people in steel cages and we’re not allowed to waterboard,” Trump said. But I’ll tell you what, I was impressed by that answer.”


Green Beret war hero accuses Trump pick Gen. James Mattis of ‘leaving my men to die’

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/green-beret-accuses-gen-mattis-leaving-men-die-article-1.2896433

A green beret war hero says that Donald Trump’s pick for defense secretary, James Mattis, left his men to die after they were hit by friendly fire in Afghanistan.
Mattis’ mouth has gotten him into trouble in the past.
“You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them,” he said in 2005, comments that drew a public rebuke from his commander.


Democrats will botch the resistance against Trump
Liberalism is not built for moments like these.
https://thinkprogress.org/democrats-will-botch-the-resistance-against-trump-1f8c211c7b68


“If Hitler teaches us anything, it’s how swiftly democracy can be dismantled.”

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/10/hitler-trump-putin-duterte/504545/
“If the case of Hitler teaches us anything,” he added, “it’s how swiftly democracy can be dismantled, when political institutions fail and civil society is too weak to compensate. The results can be catastrophic.”


Consider Ullrich’s view of the Trump-Hitler comparison. “There are certainly several character traits shared by Trump and Hitler,” Ullrich told me. “They include egotism, the tendency to confuse truth and falsehood, resentment of established elites, and their mutual talk of restoring the greatness of their respective countries. By the way, Hitler was also a multi-millionaire who successfully avoided paying taxes.”


Among the numerous differences, however, “Hitler was not only more intelligent. He had a lot more political tricks than Trump. Depending on the situation and social context, he knew how to don various masks and play various roles. He was not just an effective mass speaker, but also a very talented actor. That allowed him to win over various segments of society—not just the insecure middle classes, but parts of the working classes, wealthy bourgeois, and the aristocracy as well.”


Talking About Fascism Might Make You Sound Hysterical. Do It Anyway.
http://www.thefader.com/2016/11/29/trump-hitler-fascism
A popular politician with the burgeoning NSDAP (known now as the Nazi Party), Hitler was appointed, not elected, to Chancellor. He was brought in to lead as part of a right-wing coalition that believed it could control his violent, virulent urges. The coalition partners were something along the line of opportunistic racists, Rosenfeld explained, who normalized anti-Semitism in order to gain voters “in a way that people are afraid that Steve Bannon is doing now.” But the conservative coalition never intended on letting Hitler run his agenda in full.


Amazingly quickly, though, all governmental checks on Hitler’s control fell away. In February of 1933, the governmental Reichstag building was burned down, most likely by a young Dutch communist. It was used as a pretext. Press outlets adversarial to the Nazis were shuttered, political opponents were thrown in makeshift concentration camps. “These were factory barracks, abandoned housing complexes,” Rosenfeld said. “The later organized concentration camps grew out of these improvised ones.”


Hitler’s next coup was pushing the Enabling Act through parliament in March. It gave him a four year dictatorial term, and effectively abolished the parliament.
“You can suspend all kind of civil liberties for the sake of national security,” Rosenfeld said. “Stripping people of certain rights is always a threat. That’s why people were so afraid of the Patriot Act. And after the Reichstag fire, there was a feeling that ‘we’re under assault.’”


Kurt Weill – Berthold Brecht – Die Dreigroschenoper original 1930
https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=TF_jtz0kP9s


Although Weill’s operas continued to be popular successes, Nazi protests frequently interfered with performances, and the pressure of working under such conditions was destroying his marriage as well. Theatre directors became ever more reluctant to stage his work.
Like many other artists in his situation, Weill repeatedly misread political developments, believing that things were bound to get better. Eventually he learned that he and his wife were officially on the Nazi blacklist and were due to be arrested, so in March 1933 he crossed the border to France, still hoping that his stay in Paris would be temporary. Weill’s continued collaboration with Brecht while in Paris was relatively unsuccessful, and soon after his marriage ended in divorce. He then left for the USA, where he hoped to rebuild his career. There, he was also re-united with his ex-wife Lenya.


Weill produced important works critiquing US optimism and the ‘American way of life’, and tackling such issues as the unequal distribution of wealth, segregation, and the effect of industrialisation on families.
http://holocaustmusic.ort.org/politics-and-propaganda/third-reich/weill-kurt/


The Horrifying American Roots of Nazi Eugenics
http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/1796
Hitler and his henchmen victimized an entire continent and exterminated millions in his quest for a co-called “Master Race.”


But the concept of a white, blond-haired, blue-eyed master Nordic race didn’t originate with Hitler. The idea was created in the United States, and cultivated in California, decades before Hitler came to power. California eugenicists played an important, although little known, role in the American eugenics movement’s campaign for ethnic cleansing.


Eugenics was the racist pseudoscience determined to wipe away all human beings deemed “unfit,” preserving only those who conformed to a Nordic stereotype. Elements of the philosophy were enshrined as national policy by forced sterilization and segregation laws, as well as marriage restrictions, enacted in twenty-seven states. In 1909, California became the third state to adopt such laws. Ultimately, eugenics practitioners coercively sterilized some 60,000 Americans, barred the marriage of thousands, forcibly segregated thousands in “colonies,” and persecuted untold numbers in ways we are just learning. Before World War II, nearly half of coercive sterilizations were done in California, and even after the war, the state accounted for a third of all such surgeries.


Donald Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon wanted to limit vote to property owners
Senior aide allegedly said it would be ‘not such a bad thing’ if millions of African-Americans lost right to vote
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/steve-bannon-donald-trump-chief-strategist-limit-vote-property-owners-a7463166.html


Donald Trump’s new chief strategist once suggested only property owners should be allowed to vote in US elections, according to reports.
Steve Bannon, who was appointed the President-elect’s senior adviser and chief strategist last month, also told former colleagues he believed some people were genetically superior, according to an interview in the New York Times.
A change to allow only homeowners to vote would mean millions of African-Americans and other ethnic minorities would lose the right to cast their ballot – something Mr Bannon allegedly said was not a bad thing.


Donald Trump is actually a fascist
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/donald-trump-is-actually-a-fascist/2016/12/09/e193a2b6-bd77-11e6-94ac-3d324840106c_story.html

But now that we’ve seen a bit of him in action, it seems that Trump actually does have a recognizable agenda that explains how he simultaneously can pander to big business generally while “strong-arming” (the words of a Post editorial Friday) an air conditioning manufacturer to save a few hundred jobs for a while. Or how he can make nice with the authoritarian Vladimir Putin while making bellicose foreign policy noises in general. Or how he can blithely upset with a phone call the absurdly delicate balance of our relations with China and Taiwan. All this seemingly erratic behavior can be explained — if not justified — by thinking of Trump as a fascist. Not in the sense of an all-purpose bad guy, but in the sense of somebody who sincerely believes that the toxic combination of strong government and strong corporations should run the nation and the world. He spent his previous career negotiating with the government on behalf of corporations; now he has switched teams. But it’s the same game.


The game has several names: “Corporate statism” is one. In Europe, they call it “dirigisme.” Those two other words for it — “Nazism” and “fascism” — are now beyond all respectability. It means, roughly, combining the power of the state with the power of corporations. At its mildest, it is intrusive regulations on business about parental leave and such. At its most toxic, it is concentration camps. In the 1930s, a few Americans (including a few liberals) bought into it. Pearl Harbor ended that argument. Even for Trump, “fascism” itself now is a dirty word, not just a policy choice. Even Trump would not use it — least of all about himself….


Now he plans to negotiate more “deals” and he thinks — because he can outfox some midlevel IRS auditors — that he can outfox the political and business leaders of the world. “The Art of the Deal” is not “Mein Kampf,” although “not ‘Mein Kampf’ ” isn’t much of an endorsement.
Just to be clear: If I’m correct that Trump actually has a governing philosophy, that’s a bad thing, not a good thing. If he actually has principles to guide him through those famous swamps he plans to drain, that’s alarming, not reassuring. Bad principles are not a good substitute for no principles. Four or eight years of bad principles may make no principles look pretty good.


Trump is an eerily perfect match with this famous 14-point guide to fascism
https://www.rawstory.com/2016/12/trump-is-an-eerily-perfect-match-with-this-famous-14-point-guide-to-fascism/


In 1995, Umberto Eco, the late Italian intellectual giant and novelist most famous for The Name of the Rose, wrote a guide describing the primary features of fascism. As a child, Eco was a loyalist of Mussolini, an experience that made him quick to detect the markers of fascism later in life, when he became a revered public intellectual and political voice. Eco noted that fascism looks different in each incarnation, morphing with time and leadership, as “it would be difficult for [it] to reappear in the same form in different historical circumstances.” It is a movement without “quintessence.” Instead, it’s a sort of “fuzzy totalitarianism, a collage of different philosophical and political ideas, a beehive of contradictions,” he wrote.
Eco’s famous 14-point list outlines what the author dubbed “Ur-Fascism, or Eternal Fascism”—and it fits hand in glove the political persona created by Donald Trump. Hours after 60 million Americans voted to give the presidency….


1. The cult of tradition.
Remind me when America was great, again? Was it during the eras of native people genocide, slavery, black lynchings as white entertainment, Japanese-American internment, or Jim Crow?
Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” is an expression of longing for an America in which black folks knew their place and gay people didn’t dare leave the closet….


2. Rejection of modernism.
Eco points out that this is not a rejection of modern technology, as much as modern ideas and thinking. “The Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, is seen as the beginning of modern depravity,” Eco writes. “In this sense Ur-Fascism can be defined as irrationalism.”
Trump denies the scientific truth of climate change, once tweeting it was “created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”


3. The cult of action for action’s sake.
Eco writes that “action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, any previous reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation.” This attitude goes hand in hand with “distrust of the intellectual world.” He continues, “The official Fascist intellectuals were mainly engaged in attacking modern culture and the liberal intelligentsia for having betrayed traditional values.”


4. Opposition to analytical criticism; disagreement is treason.
Trump attempts to quell the slightest criticism or dissent with vitriol and calls for violence. On the campaign trail, Trump encouraged his base’s mob mentality, promising to “pay for the legal fees” if they would “knock the crap” out of protesters.


5. Exploiting and exacerbating the natural fear of difference.


“The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders,” Eco notes. “Thus Ur-Fascism is racist by definition.”
Before he officially threw his hat into the ring, Trump courted bigots and racists furious about Obama’s wins by pushing the birther lie and attempting to delegitimize the first black president. The only coherent policy proposals Trump made during his run were those that appealed to white racial resentments, promising to end Muslim immigration, build a wall along the southern border to keep Mexicans out and retweeting white nationalists’ made-up statistics about black criminality. The cornerstone of Trump’s campaign was fear and bigotry, making him the preferred candidate of the KKK, David Duke and the white nationalist “alt-right.” Trump supporters have repeatedly denied that racism and xenophobia motivated their votes, but more than 900 hate crimes documented since the election suggest some correlation. So does the frequency with which Trump’s name appears in racist graffiti and is shouted by perpetrators of hate crimes.


6. Appeal to a frustrated middle class.
Eco writes that fascism reaches out to “a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups.”
Economic anxiety played a far smaller role in the election than the media has suggested; in fact, middle and upper-class white voters put Trump over the top. That said, Trump made overt appeals to whites who believe the American Dream is not so much slipping from their grasp as being snatched away by undeserving immigrants and other perceived outsiders. Trump made impossible promises to return manufacturing jobs and restore class and social mobility to a group of people nervous about falling down rungs on the ladder.
Trump, who immediately began hiring entrenched members of the Wall Street and Washington establishments he ran against and whose policies will largely benefit the very wealthy, took a page out of a Democrat’s book with this approach: “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket,” President Lyndon B. Johnson famously stated. “Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”


7. Obsession with a plot, possibly an international one.
“To people who feel deprived of a clear social identity,” Eco writes, “their only privilege is the most common one, to be born in the same country. This is the origin of nationalism. Besides, the only ones who can provide an identity to the nation are its enemies. Thus at the root of the Ur-Fascist psychology there is the obsession with a plot, possibly an international one.”
Trump obviously appealed to racial and religious nationalist sentiments among a majority of white Americans by scapegoating Mexican and Muslim immigrants on issues of crime, job losses and terrorism. He pushed the idea that he would “put America first,” suggesting that Hillary Clinton would favor other nations over the U.S.


8. Followers must feel humiliated by the ostentatious wealth and force of their enemies.
Trump conjured up a vision of America in a downward spiral, a nation fallen from its lofty position in the world to one deserving of shame and ridicule. He spent much of the campaign telling Americans they weren’t just losing, but had become the butt of an embarrassing worldwide joke.

9. Pacifism is trafficking with the enemy. It is bad because life is permanent warfare.
For Trump, this holds true in both his personal and political lives. “If you look at wars over the years—and I study wars—my life is war,” Trump told Bill O’Reilly in an interview last year. It’s an odd view for someone who was given five draft deferments during the Vietnam War, but it jibes with Eco’s point.
Fellow billionaire Richard Branson recounts a story in which Trump said he would “spend the rest of his life destroying the lives” of people he felt had betrayed him. In The Art of the Deal, Trump bragged, “I love getting even.”

10. Popular elitism.
Eco writes that under Ur-Fascism, “Every citizen belongs to the best people of the world, the members of the party are the best among the citizens…Since the group is hierarchically organized (according to a military model), every subordinate leader despises his own underlings, and each of them despises his inferiors. This reinforces the sense of mass elitism.”

12. Transfer of will to power to sexual matters.
“This is the origin of machismo (which implies both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality),” Eco writes.
We are well acquainted with Trump’s machismo, which like all machismo, is inseparable from his loudly broadcast misogyny. This is a man who defended the size of his penis in the middle of a nationally televised political debate.

13. Selective populism.
“Since no large quantity of human beings can have a common will,” Eco writes, “the Leader pretends to be their interpreter…There is in our future a TV or internet populism, in which the emotional response of a selected group of citizens can be presented and accepted as the Voice of the People.”
Eco’s two-decade-old prediction is uncanny. Trump, a fixture on social media and reality television, has mastered a kind of TV and internet populism that makes his voice one with the angry masses of his base. At the Republican National Convention, after a rant about the terrible, dystopian shape of the country, he designated himself the nation’s sole savior.
“I am your voice,” Trump said. “No one knows the system better than me. Which is why I alone can fix it.”

14. The use of Newspeak.

“All the Nazi or Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary, and an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for complex and critical reasoning,” Eco writes. “But we must be ready to identify other kinds of Newspeak, even if they take the apparently innocent form of a popular talk show.”
From the beginning, Trump’s supporters praised him as a “straight shooter” who “tells it like it is.” He sprinkled his rally speeches with swear words and rambled instead of sticking to a script or following a teleprompter. Within months, his Republican opponents were trying to follow his lead, but without the same wholesale disregard for gentility or convention. Trump picked up followers who equated his unpreparedness and empty rhetoric with authenticity.
“There is a defiance in the language which is part of his schtick,” Allan Louden, a Wake Forest University professor of political communication told the Toronto Star. “Less formal language signals one is an ‘outsider’ from the ones cussed out, an attribute golden in this election cycle.”
Trump also kept his sentences short and his words to as few syllables as possible. He repeated words he wanted to drive home, and punctuated his speech with phrases meant to have maximum effect. In lots of cases, a single quote contained multiple contradictory statements. The takeaway from a Trump speech was whatever the listener wanted to hear, which turned out to be a winning strategy.

‘Rhetoric of fascism’ is rising in U.S. and Europe, says U.N. rights chief

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/12/09/rhetoric-of-fascism-is-rising-in-u-s-and-europe-says-u-n-rights-chief/
“In some parts of Europe, and in the United States, anti-foreigner rhetoric full of unbridled vitriol and hatred, is proliferating to a frightening degree, and is increasingly unchallenged,” he said, adding that “the rhetoric of fascism is no longer confined to a secret underworld of fascists, meeting in ill-lit clubs or on the ‘Deep Net.’ It is becoming part of normal daily discourse.”
This includes President-elect Donald Trump’s divisive campaign, which defied the predictions of pundits and polls while surfacing the enthusiastic support of a coterie of American neo-fascists, nativists and white supremacists who would otherwise remain in the obscure fringe of national politics.
Zeid fears that the right-wing mood of the moment in Europe and the United States, anchored in anger at the established liberal world order, threatens to unravel international norms that have guaranteed much of the peace and stability of the past century. Numerous European politicians have balked at aiding refugees, while figures within the Trump transition team have pushed policies on torture that flout the Geneva conventions.
“If the growing erosion of the carefully constructed system of human rights and rule of law continues to gather momentum, ultimately everyone will suffer,” said Zeid.

The architect behind the CIA’s torture program blames ‘political correctness’ for why the US doesn’t torture anymore

The United States’ ban on waterboarding and other forms of torture qualifies as “political correctness,” according to James Mitchell, a key figure behind the CIA’s torture program.
To avoid catastrophe, Mitchell said, people have to make “hard decisions,” and he condemned his critics for what he characterized as the hypocrisy of censuring enhanced interrogation methods while asking intelligence officers to keep Americans safe using whatever means necessary.
Mitchell has been harshly criticized by human rights advocates and the American Psychological Association for the tactics he and other interrogators employed while attempting to elicit information from suspected terrorists.
A 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA’s torture program found that in addition to waterboarding, interrogators implemented rectal feeding, made threats of rape and murder against the families and children of terrorists, killed at least one prisoner by hypothermia, and forced some prisoners to play Russian Roulette. The report found that the tactics used had ultimately proved ineffective.
President-elect Donald Trump has said in the past that he would like to implement waterboarding and “a hell of a lot worse” because “torture works.” Trump indicated in November that his pick for Secretary of Defense, Marine Gen. James Mattis, convinced him to rethink his stance on waterboarding.
http://www.aol.com/article/news/2016/12/10/the-architect-behind-the-cia-s-torture-program-blames-political/21624620/

Women’s March on Washington Won’t Be Happening at the Lincoln Memorial

The national monument has long been the site of historic protests
time.com/4595399/women-march-washington-lincoln-memorial
The Lincoln Memorial has been the site for many of the United States’ most historic rallies, from the civil rights and anti-Vietnam protests of the 1960s to the Million Man March in 1995. However, for the thousands of women planning to march on Washington following Donald Trump’s inauguration, the landmark won’t be available for rallying.
The National Park Service, on behalf of the Presidential Inauguration Committee, months ago reserved access to the landmark by filing a “massive omnibus blocking permit.” Permits for inaugural events have traditionally reserved most of the National Mall, Pennsylvania Avenue, the Washington Monument, and of course, the Lincoln Memorial, for days and weeks before, during, and after the inauguration, which will take place on Jan. 20, 2017.


http://www.teenvogue.com/story/donald-trump-is-gaslighting-america
In this scorched-earth op-ed, Lauren Duca takes on Trump’s systematic attempts to destabilize the truth and weaken the foundation of American freedom.
Trump won the Presidency by gas light. His rise to power has awakened a force of bigotry by condoning and encouraging hatred, but also by normalizing deception. Civil rights are now on trial, though before we can fight to reassert the march toward equality, we must regain control of the truth.
There is a long list of receipts when it comes to Trump’s lies. With the help of PolitiFact, clear-cut examples of deception include Trump saying that he watched thousands of people cheering on 9/11 in Jersey City (police say there’s no evidence of this), that the Mexican government forces immigrants into the U.S. (no evidence), that there are “30 or 34 million” immigrants in this country (there are 10 or 11 million), that he never supported the Iraq War (he told Howard Stern he did), that the unemployment rate is as high as “42 percent” (the highest reported rate is 16.4 percent), that the U.S. is the highest taxed country in the world (not true based on any metric of consideration), that crime is on the rise (it’s falling, and has been for decades), and too many other things to list here
Trump has repeatedly attempted to undermine the press, including such well-respected publications as the New York Times. He has disseminated a wealth of unsubstantiated attacks on the media, though this baseless tweet from April pretty much sums it all up, “How bad is the New York Times — the most inaccurate coverage constantly. Always trying to belittle. Paper has lost its way!”
As a candidate, Trump’s gas lighting was manipulative, as President-elect it is a deliberate attempt to destabilize journalism as a check on the power of government.

“The Big Lie”: How Trump Uses Classic Authoritarian Propaganda Techniques
http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/37455-the-big-lie-how-trump-uses-classic-authoritarian-propaganda-techniques
It is clear that Trump, like Hitler, has organized a fervent mass movement outside of the conventional political party apparatuses. Like followers of European fascism in the 1930s, Trump’s supporters over the years have suffered economic deprivation, political alienation, humiliation and a variety of hard times, and they appear to be looking for a political savior to help them out with their problems and to address their grievances.

Certainly, Trump is not Hitler and his followers are not technically fascists, but I believe that the terms authoritarian populism and neofascism accurately describe Trump and his supporters. I have found that the theories of Erich Fromm and his fellow German-Jewish refugees known as the “Frankfurt School” provide an analysis of authoritarian populism that helps explicate Trump’s character and his appeal to his followers. Authoritarian movements ranging from German and Italian fascism to the movement led by Franco in Spain to other dictatorships in Latin America and throughout the world have all featured authoritarian leaders and followers ready to submit to their demands. A closer look at Donald Trump reveals that he is similarly an authoritarian leader who has mobilized an authoritarian populist movement.

Trump thus presents himself as a superhero who will magically restore the US to greatness, provide jobs and create incredible wealth, and restore the US to its rightful place as the world’s superpower. In this fairy tale, the billionaire king will fight and destroy all the nation’s domestic and foreign enemies and the superman will triumph and provide a happy ending for people in the US.

While Trump plays the role of the Ubermensch (superman or higher man) celebrated by the Nazis and embodies their Fuhrerprinzip (leadership principle), Trump is a very American form of the superhero and lacks the party apparatus, advanced military forces and disciplined cadres that the Nazis used to seize and hold power. Like other right wing American populists, Trump bashes the Federal Reserve, the US monetary system, Wall Street hedge fund billionaires and neoliberal globalization, in the same fashion as Hitler who attacked German monopoly capitalism. But even as he ranted against monopoly capitalists, Hitler accepted big donations from German industrialists

Yet, unlike classic dictators who are highly disciplined with a fixed ideology and party apparatus, Trump is chaotic and undisciplined, viciously attacking whoever dares criticize him in his daily Twitter feed or speeches, thus dominating the daily news cycles with his outrageous attacks on Mexicans, Muslims and immigrants, or politicians of both parties who dare to criticize him. Trump effectively used the broadcast media and social media to play the powerful demagogue who preys on his followers’ rage, alienation and fears. Indeed, by March 2015 media companies estimated that Trump received far more media coverage than his Republican Party contenders, and by June, MarketWatch estimated that he had received $3 billion worth of free media coverage. Yet, at his whim, Trump bans news media from his rallies, including The Washington Post, if they publish criticisms that he doesn’t like.

Like followers of European fascism, Trump’s authoritarian populist supporters are driven by rage: they are really angry at the political establishment and system, the media, economic elites and other elites. They are eager to support an anti-establishment candidate who claims to be an outsider (which is only partly true as Trump has been a member of the capitalist real estate industry for decades, following his father and has other businesses as well, many of which have failed). Trump provokes their rage with classic authoritarian propaganda techniques like the “big lie,” when he repeats over and over that immigrants are pouring across the border and committing crime, that all his primary opponents, the media and Hillary Clinton are “big liars,” and that he, Donald Trump is the only one telling the truth — clearly the biggest lie of all.

Is Donald Trump a Threat to Democracy?
By STEVEN LEVITSKY and DANIEL ZIBLATT DEC. 16, 2016
www.nytimes.com/2016/12/16/opinion/sunday/is-donald-trump-a-threat-to-democracy.html

The clearest warning sign is the ascent of anti-democratic politicians into mainstream politics. Drawing on a close study of democracy’s demise in 1930s Europe, the eminent political scientist Juan J. Linz designed a “litmus test” to identify anti-democratic politicians. His indicators include a failure to reject violence unambiguously, a readiness to curtail rivals’ civil liberties, and the denial of the legitimacy of elected governments.
Mr. Trump tests positive. In the campaign, he encouraged violence among supporters; pledged to prosecute Hillary Clinton; threatened legal action against unfriendly media; and suggested that he might not accept the election results.
It depends on how much of a backbone that the Republican congress can muster to determine whether or not Trump and his poorly educated…
Add to this Trump’s cozy views of Putin. Through their partisanship and refrain, Trump has successfully enlisted Republicans in the House…

This anti-democratic behavior has continued since the election. With the false claim that he lost the popular vote because of “millions of people who voted illegally,” Mr. Trump openly challenged the legitimacy of the electoral process. At the same time, he has been remarkably dismissive of United States intelligence agencies’ reports of Russian hacking to tilt the election in his favor.

Mr. Trump is not the first American politician with authoritarian tendencies. (Other notable authoritarians include Gov. Huey Long of Louisiana and Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin.) But he is the first in modern American history to be elected president. This is not necessarily because Americans have grown more authoritarian (the United States electorate has always had an authoritarian streak). Rather it’s because the institutional filters that we assumed would protect us from extremists, like the party nomination system and the news media, failed.
Many Americans are not overly concerned about Mr. Trump’s authoritarian inclinations because they trust our system of constitutional checks and balances to constrain him.

Yet the institutional safeguards protecting our democracy may be less effective than we think. A well-designed constitution is not enough to ensure a stable democracy — a lesson many Latin American independence leaders learned when they borrowed the American constitutional model in the early 19th century, only to see their countries plunge into chaos.
American democracy is not in imminent danger of collapse. If ordinary circumstances prevail, our institutions will most likely muddle through a Trump presidency. It is less clear, however, how democracy would fare in a crisis. In the event of a war, a major terrorist attack or large-scale riots or protests — all of which are entirely possible — a president with authoritarian tendencies and institutions that have come unmoored could pose a serious threat to American democracy. We must be vigilant. The warning signs are real.

‘THE WARNING SIGNS ARE REAL’: New York Times column questions whether American democracy can survive Trump
http://www.businessinsider.com/can-american-democracy-survive-trump-presidency-2016-12
Writers Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt laid out a particularly sobering assessment of the incoming president’s authoritarian temperament and dismissal of political and social norms.
They arrived at this conclusion: “Mr. Trump is not the first American politician with authoritarian tendencies. … But he is the first in modern American history to be elected president.”
The authors attributed the rise of Trump to a decades-long breakdown of civility among America’s elected officials. They cited legislative obstruction and “the decline of partisan restraint” as cracks that have weakened America’s democratic foundation.
Comparing Trump to other authoritarian figures like former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, the late Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, The Times called Trump a “serial norm-breaker” who, among other things, routinely sidesteps journalists and news organizations whose job it is to publicly hold him to account.
The Times also described as potentially troubling Trump’s penchant for delegitimizing anyone he perceives as a threat — including respected lawmakers who criticize him and US institutions he disagrees with. Trump often labeled his rivals as crooked, corrupt, and criminal while routinely sowing doubt in the election process itself. “Such extremism, once confined to the political fringes, has now moved into the mainstream,” Levitsky and Ziblatt said.

A new poll shows an astonishing 52% of Republicans incorrectly think Trump won the popular vote

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/12/18/a-new-poll-shows-an-astonishing-52-of-republicans-think-trump-won-the-popular-vote/

Amid the speculation on whether the electoral college will refuse to make Donald Trump president, many Trump opponents are pinning their hopes on one glaring fact: Hillary Clinton’s sizable win in the popular vote.
Clinton’s lead now exceeds 2.8 million votes (more than 2.1 percent of the total vote) and continues to grow. Many Democrats hope this fact alone might persuade Republican electors to reject Trump in favor of some alternative.
But this hope faces a serious challenge: Half of all Republicans actually think Trump won the popular vote.
In a nationally representative online survey of 1,011 Americans conducted by Qualtrics between Dec. 6 and 12, we asked respondents, “In last month’s election, Donald Trump won the majority of votes in the electoral college. Who do you think won the most popular votes?”
Twenty-nine percent said Donald Trump won the popular vote. This is a slightly larger proportion than in a recent Pew survey in which 19 percent said Trump won the popular vote.
Respondents’ correct understanding of the popular vote depended a great deal on partisanship. A large fraction of Republicans — 52 percent — said Trump won the popular vote, compared with only 7 percent of Democrats and 24 percent of independents. Among Republicans without any college education, the share was even larger: 60 percent, compared with 37 percent of Republicans with a college degree.
people tended to overestimate the size of these groups: On average, respondents think 27 percent of Americans are black and 28 percent are Latino. (The correct answers as of 2015 are 13.3 percent and 17.6 percent.)

Trump adds yet another billionaire to his team

President-elect Donald Trump’s band of billionaires keeps growing.
The latest addition to his team of ultra-rich administration officials is Vincent Viola, a New York businessman and NHL owner who was announced Monday as Trump’s pick for secretary of the Army.
The civilian post serves under the defense secretary and is subject to Senate confirmation.
Viola’s military bona fides include a degree from West Point and service as an infantry officer in the 101st Airborne Division. He joined the U.S. Army Reserve after active duty.
But he’s better known for his time on Wall Street, where he amassed a fortune valued by Forbes at $1.8 billion.
http://money.cnn.com/2016/12/19/news/vinnie-viola-trump-billionaires/index.html

Trump adds yet another billionaire to his team
President-elect Donald Trump, who raged against the elite as a candidate, is populating his administration with the ultra-rich.
On Wednesday, he named billionaire Wilbur Ross, who has made a fortune cobbling together dying companies, as his commerce secretary, and Todd Ricketts, part of the billionaire family that owns the Chicago Cubs, as deputy commerce secretary.
Another billionaire, Betsy DeVos, is his pick for education secretary. By comparison, the vast wealth of millionaires Steven Mnuchin, the ex-banker tapped for Treasury secretary, and Mitt Romney, whom Trump is considering for secretary of state, looks almost paltry.
Unlike the boss, who as president will be exempt from most conflict of interest laws, these top administration figures will need to reckon with their financial entanglements before taking office. Federal law requires them to dump problematic assets or recuse themselves from certain matters.
money.cnn.com/2016/11/30/news/trump-cabinet-conflicts/

World War Three, by Mistake
Harsh political rhetoric, combined with the vulnerability of the nuclear command-and-control system, has made the risk of global catastrophe greater than ever.
http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/world-war-three-by-mistake

On June 3, 1980, at about two-thirty in the morning, computers at the National Military Command Center, beneath the Pentagon, at the headquarters of the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD), deep within Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, and at Site R, the Pentagon’s alternate command post center hidden inside Raven Rock Mountain, Pennsylvania, issued an urgent warning: the Soviet Union had just launched a nuclear attack on the United States. The Soviets had recently invaded Afghanistan, and the animosity between the two superpowers was greater than at any other time since the Cuban Missile Crisis.
U.S. Air Force ballistic-missile crews removed their launch keys from the safes, bomber crews ran to their planes, fighter planes took off to search the skies, and the Federal Aviation Administration prepared to order every airborne commercial airliner to land.
President Jimmy Carter’s national-security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was asleep in Washington, D.C., when the phone rang. His military aide, General William Odom, was calling to inform him that two hundred and twenty missiles launched from Soviet submarines were heading toward the United States. Brzezinski told Odom to get confirmation of the attack. A retaliatory strike would have to be ordered quickly; Washington might be destroyed within minutes. Odom called back and offered a correction: twenty-two hundred Soviet missiles had been launched.
Brzezinski decided not to wake up his wife, preferring that she die in her sleep. As he prepared to call Carter and recommend an American counterattack, the phone rang for a third time. Odom apologized—it was a false alarm. An investigation later found that a defective computer chip in a communications device at NORAD headquarters had generated the erroneous warning. The chip cost forty-six cents.


Donald Trump believes he has superior genes, biographer claims
Republican nominee follows ‘racehorse theory’ of genetics
Caroline Mortimer Friday 30 September 2016
Donald Trump has been accused of believing in the “racehorse theory” of genetics, which claims some people are genetically superior to others.
In an interview for US TV channel PBS, the Republican presidential nominee’s biographer Michael D’Antonio claimed the candidate’s father, Fred Trump, had taught him that the family’s success was genetic.
He said: “The family subscribes to a racehorse theory of human development.
“They believe that there are superior people and that if you put together the genes of a superior woman and a superior man, you get a superior offspring.”
The theory, known as eugenics, first emerged during the 19th century and was used as a pretext for the sterilisation of disabled people until the practice was discredited after the Second World War.
Adolf Hitler’s justification for the Holocaust – in which 11 million people were killed, 6 million of them Jewish – was based on a similar theory of racial hierarchy.
The PBS documentary featured clips of Mr Trump on the campaign trial claiming that he “believes in the gene thing” and saying he had a “very high aptitude”….
He said: “Well I think I was born with the drive for success because I have a certain gene.
“I’m a gene believer… Hey, when you connect two race horses, you usually end up with a fast horse.
“I had a good gene pool from the standpoint of that, so I was pretty much driven.”…
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-president-superior-genes-pbs-documentary-eugenics-a7338821.html


This May Be The Most Horrible Thing That Donald Trump Believes
And it just may be the master key to unlocking how he thinks.
09/28/2016
Marina Fang Associate Politics Editor, The Huffington Post
JM Rieger Producer, The Huffington Post
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has offered a litany of racist comments, which it turns out may be rooted in his deeper belief in the inherent superiority of some people ? and not others.
The Frontline documentary “The Choice,” which premiered this week on PBS, reveals that Trump agrees with the dangerous and abusive theory of eugenics.
Trump’s father instilled in him the idea that their family’s success was genetic, according to Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio.
“The family subscribes to a racehorse theory of human development,” D’Antonio says in the documentary. “They believe that there are superior people and that if you put together the genes of a superior woman and a superior man, you get a superior offspring.”
The Huffington Post dug back through the archives and found numerous examples of Trump suggesting that intellect and success are purely genetic qualities and that having “the right genes” gave him his “very good brain.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-eugenics_us_57ec4cc2e4b024a52d2cc7f9


Trump: I could ‘shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters’
By Jeremy Diamond, CNN Sun January 24, 2016
Sioux Center, Iowa (CNN)Donald Trump boasted Saturday that support for his presidential campaign would not decline even if he shot someone in the middle of a crowded street.
“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” Trump said at a campaign rally here.
After the event, Trump declined to answer when asked by CNN to clarify his comments.
The GOP front-runner has repeatedly pointed to the loyalty of his supporters, many of whom tell reporters and pollsters that almost nothing could make them change their mind about voting for Trump in the presidential race. http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/23/politics/donald-trump-shoot-somebody-support/

Donald Trump has said he will rip up America’s commitments to the fight against climate change. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/climate-change-game-over-global-warming-climate-sensitivity-seven-degrees-a7407881.html

Obama’s Christmas Gift to Trump: a Ministry of Truth
US president Barack Obama signed the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.
CFDAPA sets aside $160 million over two years to, among other things, “support local independent media to refute foreign disinformation and manipulation in their communities.” That is, to bribe local media to publish Washington’s disinformation and propaganda instead of disinformation and propaganda from foreign sources. Not an entirely new project — the Office of National Drug Control Policy has been paying Hollywood to lie to us about marijuana for decades now.
The CFDAPA’s purpose is to set the federal government up as the plenary arbiter of truth and to marginalize any and all narratives that don’t accord with whatever line gets pushed out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It’s Orwell’s Ministry of Truth in drag.
Overt censorship might not be far behind. Facebook and Twitter are already cooperating with the US government in “countering Islamic State Disinformation and Propaganda.” And remember that only a only a year ago, Donald Trump publicly called for “closing” parts of the Internet used for recruitment by the Islamic State. CFDAPA isn’t just bad on its own merits — it’s also tailor-made for abusive expansion by an unbridled chief executive.

Obama’s Christmas Gift to Trump: a Ministry of Truth



Donald Trump’s Authoritarian Politics of Memory
Driven by opportunism, pragmatism, or fear, many begin to forget that they used to think certain things were unacceptable.

Ruth Ben-Ghiat Jan 22, 2017
President Donald Trump’s journey to the pinnacle of American power has offered the opportunity to study these processes in real time. Although we cannot yet know what kind of president he will be, from his June 2015 declaration of candidacy to his January 2017 inauguration, Trump has undertaken two parallel projects aimed at unsettling the mental habits and moral foundations of American democracy. First, he has cultivated a political persona that inspires adulation and unquestioning loyalty that can be mobilized for action on his behalf. Second, he has initiated Americans into a culture of threat that not only desensitizes them to the effects of bigotry but also raises the possibility of violence without consequence.
The founding moment of this era came one year ago, when Trump declared at a rally, “I could stand on Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and not lose any voters.” Trump signaled that rhetorical and actual violence might have a different place in America of the future, perhaps becoming something ordinary or unmemorable. During 2016, public hatred became part of everyday reality for many Americans: those who identify with the white supremacist alt-right like Richard Spencer openly hold rallies; elected officials feel emboldened to call for political opponents to be shot (as did New Hampshire and Oklahoma State Representatives Al Baldasaro and John Bennett, among others); journalists reporting on Trump and hijab-wearing women seek protection protocols and escorts. The bureaucratic-sounding term many use for this, “normalization,” does not fully render the operations of memory that make it possible. Driven by opportunism, pragmatism, or fear, many begin to forget that they used to think certain things were unacceptable.
The risk is that the parameters of thought and action will be nudged to align with those of the leader, easing the retrofitting of history to suit his personalization of the land’s highest office. Trump’s success at this in a country known for individualism, and with no history of living under an authoritarian ruler, shows how susceptible people are to such approaches….
Authoritarianism needs that predator edge; that shared understanding that the leader’s body carries within it the potential for violence– and the power to make it difficult to prosecute him. Trump’s attacks on women; his targeting of Muslims, Mexicans, immigrants, and others as dangers to the nation; and the threats from his supporters against the lives of ordinary citizens that follow his criticisms of them on Twitter (such as the union leader Chuck Jones and the college student Lauren Batchelder) all go into the category of things it’s safer not to talk about. Normalization is actually decriminalization, a willingness to forget that such things were once thought of as lawless behavior….
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/01/donald-trumps-authoritarian-politics-of-memory/514004/

January 27, 2017
Donald Trump Supporters Are Using a Nazi Word to Attack Journalists
http://time.com/4544562/donald-trump-supporters-lugenpresse/
Supporters of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump have begun to use an old German word—once invoked by Nazis and now currently in vogue with far-right political activists in Germany—to attack American media covering his campaign.
The phrase is “Lügenpresse,” which means “lying press.” The phrase rose to infamy during the Nazi era and was resurrected in 2014 as a watchword with Germany’s anti-immigrant activists who wanted the media to “tell the truth” about refugees in their country—most of whom were Muslim refugees fleeing from war-torn areas caught in the middle of the ISIS conflict.
Now, Lügenpresse has traveled across the ocean to Trump rallies and social media posts from Trump’s legion of alt right supporters, and it’s being aimed at both the media and the presidential campaign of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Hitler’s control of the press https://books.google.com/books?id=n4NsBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA38 …

How Hitler Won Over the German People
There were still many Germans who were skeptical of Hitler when he became chancellor in 1933. But Führer propaganda and military success soon turned him into an idol. The adulation helped make the Third Reich catastrophe possible.
http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/the-fuehrer-myth-how-hitler-won-over-the-german-people-a-531909.html

The Many Scandals of Donald Trump: A Cheat Sheet
The 2016 presidential campaign saw a long string of stories showing scandals involving Trump, both large and small—from questionable business dealings to allegations of sexual assault. While they did not derail his presidential hopes, many of them remain live issues as Trump begins his transition to the White House.
The breadth of Trump’s controversies is truly yuge, ranging from allegations of mafia ties to unscrupulous business dealings, and from racial discrimination to alleged marital rape. They stretch over more than four decades, from the mid-1970s to the present day. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/01/donald-trump-scandals/474726/

Trump Team Considering Cuts to Federal Violence Against Women Program: Report
President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming administration is working on plans to make “dramatic cuts” in funding for initiatives to end violence against women, as well as for federal arts and humanities programs, according to a report from The Hill published on Thursday morning.
http://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-violence-against-women-federal-funding-budget-cuts-544710

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,”
Emma Lazarus – The New Colossus
http://www.libertystatepark.com/emma.htm

Trump signs executive order for ‘extreme vetting’ of refugees
President Trump on Friday continued his crackdown on illegal immigration, signing sweeping new orders that tighten the country’s refugee and visa policies –suspending almost all refugee admissions for four months and indefinitely barring entry for some Syrians.
The executive order also suspends visa entry into the U.S. from seven countries that have predominately Muslim populations. They include: Syria, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Sudan and Yemen.
The order also creates an “extreme vetting” process for any and all immigrants and visitors to the U.S.
American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Anthony Romero blasted Trump’s plan as unconstitutional.
“‘Extreme vetting’ is just a euphemism for discriminating against Muslims,” Romero said in a statement issued moments after the signing. “Identifying specific countries with Muslim majorities and carving out exceptions for minority religions flies in the face of the constitutional principle that bans the government from either favoring or discriminating against particular religions.”
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/01/27/trump-signs-executive-order-for-extreme-vetting-refugees.html

Contrary to Trump’s Claims, Immigrants Are Less Likely to Commit Crimes
https://www.nytimes.com/ 2017/01/26/us/trump-illegal-immigrants-crime.html

Trump Will Publish List Of Crimes Committed By Immigrants, In Reflection Of Nazi-Era Policy

The weekly report from the Homeland Security bears a resemblance to the mandate of the Nazi Institute for Research on the Jewish Question.
http://www.thefader.com/2017/01/26/trump-crimes-committed-immigrants-nazi
Author Andrea Pitzer noticed a similarity between Trump’s executive order and a function of the Nazi Institute for Research on the Jewish Question, a political research operation of the Nazi Party opened in 1941. “Worth remembering that Nazi Institute for Research on the Jewish Question kept files on “crimes committed by Jews,” she tweeted. This material both reflected and bolstered academic debate — and stoked public fears — about the “criminality” of Jews.
Studying the Jew: Scholarly Antisemitism in Nazi Germany by Alan E Steinweis revealed what was inside the Nazi’s files: “In the files about crimes committed by Jews kept by the Institute for Research on the Jewish Question, ‘racial defilement’ constituted the single largest cluster of materials. Also included were files on Jewish responsibility for ‘crimes against morality’ (Sittlichkeitsverbrechen), abortion, and prostitution.”


Anne Frank and her family were also denied entry as refugees to the U.S.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/11/24/anne-frank-and-her-family-were-also-denied-entry-as-refugees-to-the-u-s/?utm_term=.36b60c62dba2
Many have noted the historical parallels between the current debate over Syrians seeking refuge in the United States and the plight of European Jews fleeing German-occupied territories on the eve of World War II.
Among the many who tried — and failed — to escape Nazi persecution: Otto Frank and his family, which included wife, Edith, and his daughters, Margot and Anne. And while the story of the family’s desperate attempts ending in futility may seem remarkable today, it’s emblematic of what a number of other Jews fleeing German-occupied territories experienced, American University history professor Richard Breitman wrote in 2007 upon the discovery of documents chronicling the Franks’ struggle to get U.S. visas.
“Otto Frank’s efforts to get his family to the United States ran afoul of restrictive American immigration policies designed to protect national security and guard against an influx of foreigners during time of war,” Breitman wrote.
President Donald Trump to publish weekly list of crimes committed by immigrants
Republican plans to publicise ‘criminal actions committed by aliens’ and crack down on ‘sanctuary’ cities that protect migrants from being deported
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-publish-weekly-list-crimes-immigrants-commit-refugees-aliens-executive-order-us-a7546826.html

Hours after Trump signs Muslim ban, Texas mosque goes up in flames
https://thinkprogress.org/islamic-center-of-victoria-fire-8a683f632a7a#.evyto28hu
Since the election in November, there has been an increase in hate crimes across the country. In the one month following the election, the Southern Poverty Law Center found over 1,000 reports of hate incidents. ThinkProgress is keeping a stricter record of targeted incidents, and we have still found almost 250 incidents of hate. A significant number of these are anti-Islam in nature.
The fire in Victoria comes just three weeks after an Islamic Center under construction in Austin was set on fire and destroyed.

Quebec City mosque attack suspect known as online troll inspired by French far-right

https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/quebec-city-mosque-attack-suspect-known-for-right-wing-online-posts/article33833044/
The suspect in the deadly attack on a Quebec City mosque was known in the city’s activist circles as an online troll who was inspired by extreme right-wing French nationalists, stood up for U.S. President Donald Trump and was against immigration to Quebec – especially by Muslims.
Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, a student at Laval University, grew up on a quiet crescent in the Cap-Rouge suburb of Quebec City and lived in an apartment a few kilometres away.
His online profile and school friendships revealed little interest in extremist politics until last March, when France’s far-right National Front Leader Marine Le Pen visited Quebec City, inspiring Mr. Bissonnette to vocal extreme online activism, according to people who clashed with him starting around this time.

Sens. McCain, Graham: Trump’s Order Could Become ‘Self-Inflicted Wound’ In Terror Fight
It “sends a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into our country,” they said.
Republican opposition to President Donald Trump’s executive order targeting Muslims and refugees gathered pace on Sunday as Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) attacked the haste with which the order was done and its possible repercussions.
“It is clear from the confusion at our airports across the nation that President Trump’s executive order was not properly vetted,” they said Sunday in a joint statement. “We are particularly concerned by reports that this order went into effect with little to no consultation with the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security.”
They went on to defend the United States’ role as a leader in welcoming immigrants and refugees.
“We should not stop green-card holders from returning to the country they call home,” they said. “We should not stop those who have served as interpreters for our military and diplomats from seeking refuge in the country they risked their lives to help. And we should not turn our backs on those refugees who have been shown through extensive vetting to pose no demonstrable threat to our nation, and who have suffered unspeakable horrors, most of them women and children.”
They also warned that this order could end up being “a self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism” since it would ban Iraqi pilots from coming to military bases in the U.S.
“This executive order sends a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into our country,” they said. “That is why we fear this executive order may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security.”
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) also said he thought the order itself was not properly vetted on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/john-mccain-lindsey-graham-executive-order-self-inflicted-wound_us_588e362fe4b0b065cbbcab44

GOP Senator: Trump’s Immigration Order ‘Was Not Properly Vetted’
“We ought to take a deep breath and come up with something that makes sense.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/rob-portman-trump-executive-order_us_588dfce3e4b08a14f7e6865f
WASHINGTON Republican Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio) criticized President Donald Trump on cable news Sunday for leaving Congress out of the loop in his decision to temporarily bar entry to all refugees and individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries.
“I think [the executive order] was not properly vetted, so you have an extreme vetting proposal that didn’t get the vetting it should have had, and as a result, we’re seeing some problems,” Portman told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Late Saturday night, as protests erupted at several major U.S. airports where immigrants were being detained, a federal judge in Brooklyn, New York, temporarily blocked parts of Trump’s sweeping executive order. U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly said the petitioners ? represented by the American Civil Liberties Union ? “have a strong likelihood of success in establishing that the removal of the petitioners and others similarly situated violates the rights to Due Process and Equal Protection guaranteed by the United States Constitution.”
Portman, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he is “OK with the stay” on Trump’s immigration order. “We ought to take a deep breath and come up with something that makes sense,” he said.
The travel ban has divided Republicans in Congress. Five Republican members ? Sens. Ben Sasse (Neb.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.) and Susan Collins (Maine), along with Reps. Charlie Dent (Pa.) and Justin Amash (Mich.) ? came out against Trump’s executive order this week.
“If we send a signal to the Middle East that the U.S. sees all Muslims as jihadis, the terrorist recruiters win by telling kids that America is banning Muslims and that this is America versus one religion,” Sasse said in a statement.

Fred Korematsu fought against internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. Roosevelt ordered the internment in 1942 www.cnn.com/2017/01/30/us/fred-korimatso-google-doodle-trnd/index.html

Donald Trump Approval Rating: After Muslim Ban, He Is The Most Unpopular President Ever, Gallup Poll Finds http://www.ibtimes.com/donald-trump-approval-rating-after-muslim-ban-he-most-unpopular-president-ever-gallup-2483299

Why Wasn’t Saudi Arabia On Trump’s Travel Ban List? Kingdom Was Home To 15 Of The 9/11 Hijackers’
President Trump’s sprawling business interests in Saudia Arabia may have influenced his decision, presenting a possible conflict of interest. Recent financial disclosures have shown that Saudi Arabia is home to several limited-liability Trump corporations, the New York Times reported. The Times also reported that Trump had done business in two other countries that produced 9/11 terrorists yet were excluded from the ban: the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.
http://www.ibtimes.com/why-wasnt-saudi-arabia-trumps-travel-ban-list-kingdom-was-home-15-911-hijackers-2483416

Who Hasn’t Trump Banned? People From Places Where He’s Done Business
President Trump omitted from his ban a number of other predominantly Muslim nations where his company has done business. This adds further illegitimacy to one of the most arbitrary executive actions in our recent history, and raises significant constitutional questions.
https://www.nytimes.com/ 2017/01/29/opinion/who-hasnt-trump-banned-people-from-places-where-hes-made-money.html

Bannon May Need Senate Confirmation for NSC Role
Bannon’s appointment is so unusual that experts disagree on how the statute should be applied.
Bannon is the former executive director of Breitbart News – an outlet he once described as a “platform of the alt-right” – and his appointment as Trump’s chief adviser prompted harsh rebukes from groups such as the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, as well as top Democrats, who called Bannon an unacceptable choice. The alt-right movement is a loosely organized group that developed in response to mainstream conservatism and has been associated with white nationalism and anti-Semitism.
“Steve Bannon sitting on the National Security Council is dangerous and unprecedented. He must be removed,” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted Monday. “We need experienced people who will protect our country on the National Security Council, not an extreme right-wing political operative.”
http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2017-01-31/steve-bannon-on-national-security-council-may-require-senate-confirmation

Steve Bannon Is Making Sure There’s No White House Paper Trail, Says Intel Source
The Trump administration’s chief strategist has already taken control of both policy and process on national security.
If there was any question about who is largely in charge of national security behind the scenes at the White House, the answer is becoming increasingly clear: Steve Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News, a far-right media outlet, and now White House advisor.

Even before he was given a formal seat on the National Security Council’s “principals committee” this weekend by President Donald Trump, Bannon was calling the shots and doing so with little to no input from the National Security Council staff, according to an intelligence official who asked not to be named out of fear of retribution.
“They ran all of these executive orders outside of the normal construct,” he said, referring to last week’s flurry of draft executive orders on everything from immigration to the return of CIA “black sites.”
Steve Bannon Is Making Sure There’s No White House Paper Trail, Says Intel Source

Trump Poised to Lift Ban on C.I.A. ‘Black Site’ Prisons
The Trump administration is preparing a sweeping executive order that would clear the way for the C.I.A. to reopen overseas “black site” prisons, like those where it detained and tortured terrorism suspects before former President Barack Obama shut them down.
President Trump’s three-page draft order, titled “Detention and Interrogation of Enemy Combatants” and obtained by The New York Times, would also undo many of the other restrictions on handling detainees that Mr. Obama put in place in response to policies of the George W. Bush administration.
If Mr. Trump signs the draft order, he would also revoke Mr. Obama’s directive to give the International Committee of the Red Cross access to all detainees in American custody. That would be another step toward reopening secret prisons outside of the normal wartime rules established by the Geneva Conventions, although statutory obstacles would remain.

White Nationalists Are Positively Overjoyed with Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban
David Duke can barely contain himself.

White nationalists are “ecstatic” and “feel like crying” with joy over President Donald Trump’s executive order banning people from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States. These virulently racist writers are praising Trump for stopping “these disgusting animals” and “sneaky sand-people” from entering the country and are also calling on Trump to arrest or impeach federal judges who oppose the ban. A neo-Nazi writer even suggested killing those protesting the ban.
Members of the white nationalist movement heavily supported Trump’s campaign, and the candidate, his family, and his political team courted members of the movement, including making appearances in white nationalist media, refusing to denounce them, and retweeting their messages. White nationalists celebrated when Stephen Bannon — who made Breitbart.com “the platform for the” white nationalist “alt-right” movement — was appointed to a senior White House role.
http://www.alternet.org/right-wing/white-nationalists-are-positively-overjoyed-donald-trumps-muslim-ban


4 women judges led the way in opposing Donald Trump’s travel ban

http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2017/01/30/4-women-judges-led-the-way-in-opposing-donald-trumps-travel-ban/

Fascism is the marriage of state and capital using an internal or external enemy as a straw man.

Exclusive: Trump to focus counter-extremism program solely on Islam – sources

The Trump administration wants to revamp and rename a U.S. government program designed to counter all violent ideologies so that it focuses solely on Islamist extremism, five people briefed on the matter told Reuters.
The program, “Countering Violent Extremism,” or CVE, would be changed to “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism,” the sources said, and would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States.
Such a change would reflect Trump’s election campaign rhetoric and criticism of former President Barack Obama for being weak in the fight against Islamic State and for refusing to use the phrase “radical Islam” in describing it. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for attacks on civilians in several countries.
www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-extremists-program-exclusiv-idUSKBN15G5VO

Plans to Legalize Discrimination
If signed, the order would create wholesale exemptions for people and organizations who claim religious objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity. By Sarah Posner leaked copy of a draft executive order titled “Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom,” obtained by The Investigative Fund and The Nation, reveals sweeping plans by the Trump administration to legalize discrimination.
This article was reported in partnership with the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute.
The four-page draft order, a copy of which is currently circulating among federal staff and advocacy organizations, construes religious organizations so broadly that it covers “any organization, including closely held for-profit corporations,” and protects “religious freedom” in every walk of life: “when providing social services, education, or healthcare; earning a living, seeking a job, or employing others; receiving government grants or contracts; or otherwise participating in the marketplace, the public square, or interfacing with Federal, State or local governments.”

The draft order seeks to create wholesale exemptions for people and organizations who claim religious or moral objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity, and it seeks to curtail women’s access to contraception and abortion through the Affordable Care Act. The White House did not respond to requests for comment, but when asked Monday about whether a religious freedom executive order was in the works, White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters, “I’m not getting ahead of the executive orders that we may or may not issue. There is a lot of executive orders, a lot of things that the president has talked about and will continue to fulfill, but we have nothing on that front now.”
https://www.thenation.com/article/leaked-draft-of-trumps-religious-freedom-order-reveals-sweeping-plans-to-legalize-discrimination/

A Welcome Setback for Donald Trump
By John Cassidy January 30, 2017
Americans severely misjudged the authoritarians,” Umair Haque, a consultant and social-media maven, commented on Twitter on Saturday night. “But the authoritarians, it seems, also severely misjudged Americans.” Yes, they did, and this weekend’s events offered a bit of hope to everybody alarmed by Donald Trump. Saving America from the most unhinged and least qualified figure ever to occupy the Oval Office may well require a long and bitter fight. But a couple of early markers have been put down. The new President is not beyond the law. And many Americans will not stand by quietly as he traduces their country’s values, threatens its democracy, and destroys its reputation around the world.
Clearly intent on giving the impression that he is a man of action, Trump spent his first week on the job issuing a stream of Presidential edicts: reining in regulations, approving oil pipelines, undermining the Affordable Care Act, freezing federal hiring, and pledging not to sign any more multilateral treaties. Every day seemed to bring a new display of chauvinism. But it was his executive order suspending entry to the United States for refugees and people from seven predominantly Muslim countries that provoked, for the second weekend in a row, a huge demonstration of opposition to his Presidency and all it stands for.

As news broke of U.S. border agents detaining people—refugees who had worked for the U.S. military in Iraq; Ivy League academics returning to their jobs; other blameless individuals—thousands of people headed out to major airports. Most were going to protest. Others, including immigration lawyers and public defenders, were going to offer their professional services. (My colleague Nathan Heller reported on the scene at J.F.K., in New York City.)
As the number of demonstrators mounted, they received some encouraging news from the Federal District Court in Brooklyn. At about nine on Saturday night, in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Judge Ann M. Donnelly issued an emergency stay on part of the new policy, ordering that the U.S. government couldn’t deport people who had arrived with valid visas or refugee status. Minutes later, at the Federal District Court in Virginia, a second judge issued an order preventing the government from deporting any green-card holders who had been detained at Dulles, and ordering border agents to give immigration lawyers access to them.

On Sunday, the demonstrations expanded to other cities and got larger. At New York’s Battery Park and in Boston’s Copley Square, tens of thousands gathered to protest against what they regarded as a ban on Muslims. By then, some of Trump’s lackeys had given weaselly statements in the press suggesting that some sort of modification was in the works. On Sunday evening, the Department of Homeland Security announced that “absent . . . information indicating a serious threat” legal residents of the United States—i.e., holders of green cards—would be exempted from the bans.
In the scheme of things, it was a small reversal. The indefinite ban on refugees from Syria was still in place, as were the hundred-and-twenty-day ban on refugees from other countries and the ninety-day ban on visitors from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. All three bans are senseless and arbitrary, and the two that apply to Muslim countries are clearly discriminatory (despite Trump’s claim, in a statement on Sunday, that “this is not about religion—this is about terror and keeping our country safe”).
http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/a-welcome-setback-for-donald-trump

EXCLUSIVE: Trump’s Supreme Court pick founded and led club called ‘Fascism Forever’ at his elite all-boys Washington prep school
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4182852/amp/Trump-s-SCOTUS-pick-founded-club-called-Fascism-Forever.html
The yearbook described the ‘Fascism Forever Club’ as an anti-faculty student group that battled against the ‘liberal’ views of the school administration.
‘In political circles, our tireless President Gorsuch’s “Fascism Forever Club” happily jerked its knees against the increasingly “left-wing” tendencies of the faculty,’ said the yearbook.
It is not the only example of Gorsuch’s early conservative political views. One yearbook photo showed the high school senior kicking back in a chair in a button-down shirt and tie while reading William F. Buckley’s 1959 book ‘Up from Liberalism’, a key text of the conservative movement.
Another photo shows Gorsuch leaning over a railing with his tie undone while sticking his tongue out at the camera.
Gorsuch’s conservative credentials are well-established and he was included on a list of potential Supreme Court picks approved by the Heritage Foundation

Kellyanne Conway makes up ‘Bowling Green massacre’ to defend President Trump’s immigration ban
www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/conway-bowling-green-massacre-defend-trump-ban-article-1.2963116

Trump’s not Orwellian. He’s the distracter-in-chief.
But Orwell’s dark prophecy isn’t actually the one that best explains the moment we’re living through right now. And to the extent that we focus on fears of statist mind control and mass disinformation, we may miss the subtler thing that’s really going on.
Here I turn again to the late Neil Postman, whose classic critique of mid-’80s culture, “Amusing Ourselves to Death,” is as relevant today as it was then. In his foreword, Postman compared Orwell’s vision of fascist repression with the trivial, substanceless society envisioned by Aldous Huxley in his 1932 novel “Brave New World.”
In Huxley’s vision, Postman wrote, “no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.”
It’s worth hearing a bit more of Postman’s comparison: “What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. … Orwell feared that truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared that truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.”
As it happens, in 1949, just after the publication of “1984,” Huxley drew much the same contrast in a letter to his countryman Orwell. Much as he liked Orwell’s book, he suggested that tyrannical governments would soon abandon “boot-on-the-face” tactics in favor of “animal magnetism and hypnotism.” Cable TV had yet to be invented….
In some ways, though, Trump is the perfect embodiment of a Huxleyan culture, endlessly distracted by the superficial or the spectacular. He doesn’t want to control what you think — only what you think about, which is him. He cares that you’re watching the performance, and it doesn’t matter whether you watch because you love it or because you find it too grossly compelling to look away.
I’ve written before that Trump is an emotional extremist, not an ideological one. His gift is for channeling the passion in an audience, for provoking adoration or outrage or whatever’s most visceral….
And the danger here is that the constant trivia can too easily distract us from decisions that have deadly serious consequences. Like Huxley’s Alphas and Betas, we can be lulled into thinking that the ephemeral is all there is….
It’s not as if the immigration ban and a seat on the high court aren’t important — they really are. But at the same time, the public is less focused on Trump’s decision, made with no theatrical flourish, to give Steve Bannon, his liaison to the world of white nationalists, a permanent seat on the National Security Council’s principals committee — rather than allotting it to, say, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
There’s not so much discussion about Trump’s prompt withdrawal from the Asian trade pact, which a lot of Democrats applauded but which has grave implications for our economic power in the region. Likewise on Trump’s proposed tariffs on exports, which could lead us quickly into an all-out trade war.
There’s not much focus on what’s happening now in the Middle East, where Israel, emboldened by Trump’s rhetoric, is about to vastly accelerate settlements in the occupied territories. The public isn’t buzzing about the imminent dismantling of the EPA….
https://www.yahoo.com/news/trumps-not-orwellian-hes-the-distracter-in-chief-100035222.html

Schneider: Media keep falling for Trump’s mind control tricks
Christian Schneider , Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Published Jan. 27, 2017
….But in Trump’s version, it is he who is controlling other peoples’ brains — most specifically, he is directing the hive mind of the American media, bamboozling them into covering superfluous nonsense while his actual policies evade proper scrutiny.
His detractors often chalk up Trump’s erratic behavior to lack of impulse control and a shortage of maturity. And sure, it is hard to deny Trump exhibits those traits — there are likely plenty of 1980s comedy writers who are shocked to find their rejected “Kid President” scripts have become a documentary….
But when journalists wail about Trump’s wild misstatements, they are getting the “story” but missing the “news.” Certainly, Trump’s mistaken belief that between 3 million and 5 million people voted illegally is worth covering, as it indicates the president might be living in a world of delusion — but it very well could be a smokescreen to obscure other actions that actually matter far more….
http://www.jsonline.com/story/opinion/columnists/christian-schneider/2017/01/27/schneider-media-keep-falling-trumps-mind-control-tricks/97141590/


After 2 Weeks In Office, Trump Faces More Than 50 Lawsuits
http://www.npr.org/2017/02/02/513045408/after-2-weeks-in-office-trump-faces-more-than-50-lawsuits
Donald Trump has been president for two weeks, and he is already facing dozens of lawsuits over White House policies and his personal business dealings. That’s far more than his predecessors faced in their first days on the job. The lawsuits started on Inauguration Day, and they haven’t let up.
Most of the 50-plus lawsuits filed so far relate to the travel ban on refugees and nationals from seven mostly-Muslim countries that Trump ordered on Jan. 27.

Judge issues broad block against Trump’s travel ban

Seattle jurist’s sweeping order comes hours after Boston court seemed to bless president’ s anti-terror immigration halt.
http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/trump-travel-ban-legal-win-234634

Steve Bannon: ‘We’re going to war in the South China Sea.. no doubt’ months ago Donald Trump’s chief strategisthttps://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/02/steve-bannon-donald-trump-war-south-china-sea-no-doubt

Trump Is Violating the Constitution

Donald J. Trump, who became the forty-fifth president on January 20, has taken a different approach. He comes to office having repeatedly refused to release his tax returns, even after a leak indicated that he may have paid no taxes for eighteen years. He has cited an ongoing IRS audit as his reason for not disclosing his returns, but the IRS itself has refuted that claim, saying that “nothing prevents individuals from sharing their own tax information.”
Two days after inauguration, his administration announced that Trump would not release the returns even if an audit were complete. Trump has somewhat gleefully asserted that the conflict-of-interest rules don’t apply to the president. He mixed together personal business and official diplomacy during several meetings and conversations with foreign officials during the transition. And despite his widespread private holdings in commercial real estate, condominiums, hotels, and golf courses here and around the world, he has refused to follow the lead of his predecessors by selling his assets and placing the proceeds in a blind trust. Instead, he has transferred management, but not ownership, of the Trump Organization. He retains his ownership in full. And he has assigned operational responsibility not to an independent arm’s-length trustee, but to his sons, Eric and Donald Jr.
As a result, President Trump almost certainly began violating the Constitution the moment he took the oath of office. It’s true that conflict-of-interest statutes don’t cover the president—not because we don’t care about compromised presidents, but because such statutes generally require officeholders to recuse themselves from decisions in which they have a personal financial stake, and in the president’s case, recusal is rarely a workable option, since there is no alternative decision-maker.

Trump Is Violating the Constitution



Can American Fascism Be Stopped?
Trump’s win was both a perfect storm and the culmination of long-term trends.
It is hard to contemplate the new administration without experiencing alarm bordering on despair: Alarm about the risks of war, the fate of constitutional democracy, the devastation of a century of social progress. Trump’s populism was a total fraud. Every single Trump appointment has come from the pool of far-right conservatives, crackpots, and billionaire kleptocrats.
http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/can-american-fascism-be-stopped

The Rise and Fall of Italy
Thereupon Mussolini founded his own newspaper, enlisted in the Italian army, was wounded, and returned to run the paper. He made it into the voice of all the elements—the veterans, the unemployed, the renegade socialists, the nationalists, and so forth—who were discontented and disillusioned with democracy.
Around Mussolini’s banner there rapidly grew up an army of followers—from gangsters to sincere patriots. Some of them were organized into strong-arm squads, armed and uniformed as “Blackshirt Militia.” The money for this came from alarmed industrialists and others of wealth who saw in the Mussolini movement a tool to suppress the radical revolution they feared and that Mussolini kept assuring them was on the way.
The proclaimed aims and principles of the fascist movement are perhaps of little consequence now. It promised almost every thing, from extreme radicalism in 1919 to extreme conservatism in 1922. In the main its program was centered on the idea of action, but in reality it meant for Italy naked personal power, achieved and maintained through violence.
The Fascists put up candidates in the parliamentary elections of 1921. They were not very successful, despite undercover support from some elements of the government. Altogether they received only about 5 percent of the total popular vote. But they succeeded in planting the impression that they had the solution to all of Italy’s postwar ills. The existing government had none, and so the March on Rome—a Colossal bluff—turned out a colossal success.
The early mask falls away
When the king called on Mussolini to form a government in October 1922, very few people in the world had any idea of what was meant by a totalitarian form of government. Mussolini himself probably did not know what he was going to do—except stay in power. A parliamentary majority backed the fascist government at the beginning, and most of the people thought fascism was a temporary interlude. They thought Italy could later return to freedom, and in the meantime fascism could take care of the crisis.
When Mussolini stepped into power, fascism had none of the superior-race, blood-and-soil trappings that came to Germany with Hitlerism. All the other elements of fascism were there, however: belief in violence, disbelief in legal processes, rabid nationalism, and so on. But the regime was not totalitarian in its first three years. Opposition parties were still legal, a strong opposition press operated under difficulties, and Mussolini kept talking about a return to normalcy.

It was only in 1925 that fascism fully threw off the mash. The murder of a socialist leader by the name of Matteotti, a fearless parliamentary opponent of fascism, was the signal. Through every device of open violence and concealed trickery the totalitarian machine was built up.
This meant complete state control of every phase of human activity. It meant fostering the idea that the Fascist party and the Italian state were one and the same. It meant deifying the nation and the leader. It meant the nourishing of nationalistic and warlike passions. It meant, in the end, alliance with the other great totalitarian power in Europe, acceptance of the debased and debasing theories of Nazism, and finally, active participation in the war.
https://www.historians.org/about-aha-and-membership/aha-history-and-archives/gi-roundtable-series/pamphlets/what-is-the-future-of-italy/the-rise-and-fall-of-fascism

Is Steve Bannon the Second Most Powerful Man in the World?
http://time.com/4657665/steve-bannon-donald-trump/
Most modern Presidents chart their opening moves with the help of a friendly think tank or a set of long-held beliefs.
Donald Trump’s first steps had the feel of a documentary film made by his chief strategist and alter ego Stephen K. Bannon, a director who deploys ravenous sharks, shrieking tornadoes and mushroom clouds as reliably as John Ford shot Monument Valley.
Act I of the Trump presidency has been filled with disruption, as promised by Trump and programmed by Bannon, with plenty of resistance in reply, from both inside and outside the government. Perhaps this should not be surprising. Trump told America many times in 2016 that his would be no ordinary Administration. Having launched his campaign as a can-do chief executive, he came to see himself as the leader of a movement–and no movement is complete without its commissar. Bannon is the one who keeps the doctrine pure, the true believer, who is in it not for money or position, but to change history. “What we are witnessing now is the birth of a new political order,” Bannon wrote in an email to the Washington Post.
Yet Bannon’s prominence in the first 10 days of the Administration–and the scenes of confusion and disorder that are his disruptive hallmark–has rattled the West Wing and perhaps even dismayed the President. According to senior Administration officials, Trump hauled in some half-dozen of his key advisers for a brisk dressing-down. Everything goes through chief of staff Reince Priebus, he directed. Nothing flows that hasn’t been scheduled by his deputy Katie Walsh. “You’re going to see probably a slower, more deliberative process,” one official told TIME.
Still, Bannon possesses that dearest of Washington currencies: walk-in privileges for the Oval Office. And he is the one who has been most successful in focusing Trump on a winning message. While other advisers have tried to change Trump, Bannon has urged him to step on the gas.
Both of these images, the orderly office and the glorious crusade, have genuine appeal for the President. And they will likely continue to pull him in opposite directions. By marking Trump’s first days so vividly, Bannon has put the accent on Trump the disrupter. In that sense, as one veteran Republican said, “It’s already over, and Bannon won.”
Bannon’s background at Breitbart taught him the same lessons. Founded as an alternative to mainstream media by the late Andrew Breitbart, the website was an immediate disruptive force in U.S. politics. Ask Anthony Weiner. In 2011, the New York Congressman was a darling of the Democratic grassroots with sky-high ambitions. Then Breitbart published a screen grab from Weiner’s Twitter feed that opened a door on his late-night sexting habits. Social media did the rest. The sudden death of the founder in 2012 placed his friend Bannon in command. As the site ramped up its video, radio and merchandising and opened several bureaus overseas, Breitbart honed the art of the inflammatory headline and offered a home to the bullyboys of the so-called alt right, including those determined to elevate the abhorrent ideals of white nationalism.

Legal battles to test Trump and his travel ban

President Donald Trump’s temporary immigration ban faces crucial legal hurdles this week that could determine whether he is able to push through the most far-reaching and controversial policy of his first two weeks in office.
On Monday, the government has a deadline to justify the executive order temporarily barring immigrants from seven mostly Muslim countries and the entry of refugees after a federal judge in Seattle blocked it with a temporary restraining order on Friday.
The uncertainty caused by a judge’s stay of the ban has opened a window for travelers from the seven affected countries to enter the United States.
Trump has reacted with attacks on the federal judge and then the wider court system which he blames for styming his efforts to restrict immigration, a central promise of the Republican’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Democrats, meanwhile, sought to use Trump’s attacks on the judiciary to raise questions about the independence of his Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco over the weekend denied the Trump administration’s request for an immediate stay of the federal judge’s temporary restraining order that blocked nationwide the implementation of key parts of the travel ban.
But the court said it would reconsider the government’s request after receiving more information.

The government has until 5 p.m. PST on Monday to submit additional legal briefs to the appeals court justifying Trump’s executive order. Following that the court is expected to act quickly, and a decision either way may ultimately result in the case reaching the U.S. Supreme Court.
Several technology giants were expected to file a legal brief in the 9th Circuit late on Sunday opposing Trump’s immigration order, a source said. Twitter Inc confirmed that it would participate.
Trump, who during his campaign called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States, has repeatedly vowed to reinstate the Jan. 27 travel ban on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and a 120-day bar on all refugees in the name of protecting the United States from Islamist militants.
His critics have said the measures are discriminatory, unhelpful and legally dubious.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-immigration-idUSKBN15L0GC

With All Eyes on Trump, Republicans Are Planning to Break Unions for Good
A so-called “right to work” bill going through Congress will starve unions of funding, leaving workers at the mercy of their bosses and politicians.
One of the most successful lies in modern US politics has been that of “right to work” laws, which break unions under the guise of protecting workers, one of which was introduced in Congress on Wednesday afternoon and will probably break unions in the country for good.
A national right to work law has been a pipe dream of corporate lobbyists, the chamber of commerce, the Koch brothers, and the politicians on their payroll for decades, and is about to become a reality. Right to work laws already exist in more than half the states in the country, where unions are weak or nonexistent, wages are correspondingly low, and workers are correspondingly disposable. In theory, these laws are about guaranteeing workers’ freedom of association. In practice, they’re about keeping workers from forming unions, by making unions financially unsustainable.
www.alternet.org/labor/trump-gutting-labor-unions-advancing-right-work

Legal Scholars: Why Congress Should Impeach Donald Trump

It has been widely acknowledged that, upon swearing the Oath of Office, President Donald Trump would be in direct violation of the foreign-emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Never heard of the foreign-emoluments clause? You’re not alone. It’s tucked away in Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution. It’s clause number 8. It states, in pertinent part: “… no person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office or Title of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.”
This clause was included in the Articles of Confederation and, later, in the Constitution itself. It was borne out of the Framers’ obsession with preventing in the newly minted United States the sort of corruption that dominated 17th and 18th century foreign politics and governments — characterized by gift-giving, back-scratching, foreign interference in other countries and transactions that might not lead to corruption but, nonetheless, could give the appearance of impropriety.
Where Trump runs afoul of the foreign-emoluments clause is that, first and foremost, he is a businessman with significant financial interests and governmental entanglements all over the globe. Indeed, as Norman Eisen, Richard Painter and Laurence Tribe stated at the Brookings Institution, “Never in American history has a [President] presented more conflict of interest questions and foreign entanglements than Donald Trump.” Moreover, Trump’s businesses dealings are veiled in complicated corporate technicalities and lack transparency.
The Trump Organization does or has done business in Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Panama, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, St. Martin, St. Vincent, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and Uruguay. And, while serving as President, Trump, through his interest in the Trump Organization, will continue to receive monetary and other benefits from these foreign powers and their agents.

Worse, taking the position that the foreign-emoluments clause doesn’t even apply to him, Trump has stated that: “I can be President of the United States and run my business 100 percent, sign checks on my business.” And: “The law is totally on my side, meaning, the president can’t have a conflict of interest.”
To address this unprecedented corruption of the Oval Office and this threat to our Constitution and our democracy, we believe Congress must move forward now with an impeachment investigation of President Trump. More than 575,000 people from across the country have already called for this, joining a new campaign launched moments after President Trump took the Oath of Office. The President’s possible conflicts of interest have become increasingly apparent.
http://time.com/4658633/impeach-donald-trump-congress/

White House turmoil rankles Washington more than Trump
Washington (CNN)As President Donald Trump’s White House attempts to embark on a period of order and discipline, many in Washington are greeting the news with a collective eye roll.
At the start of Trump’s third week in office, top advisers are trying to move beyond the infighting and feuds inside the West Wing, which have alarmed Republicans and official Washington far more than the President himself.
White House chief of staff Reince Priebus is asserting more authority to run things, administration officials say, in hopes of trying to “keep things running smoothly” after a rocky — and active — first two weeks.
The administration has privately pledged to do a better job of keeping relevant government agencies and congressional allies in the loop when rolling out executive actions and legislative priorities — a far cry from the sloppy implementation of Trump’s travel ban. That experience left aides cringing at the public beating they were taking, and personally irritated Trump.
Within the White House, Trump’s team has been more intent on quashing stories about turf wars and internal conflict than actually resolving them, said a top Republican close to the administration.
This Republican, who spoke on condition of anonymity to frankly discuss internal workings of the administration, said any suggestion that all conflicts between Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon have been eliminated are mistaken.
http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/06/politics/white-house-turmoil-trump/

California is not ‘out of control,’ leaders tell Trump

California leaders pushed back on Monday against President Donald Trump’s claim that the state is “out of control,” pointing to its balanced budget and high jobs numbers in the latest dustup between the populist Republican and the progressive state.
The state’s top Democrats called Trump cruel and his proposals unconstitutional after the businessman-turned-politician threatened to withhold federal funding from the most populous U.S. state if lawmakers passed a so-called sanctuary bill aimed at protecting undocumented immigrants.
“President Trump’s threat to weaponize federal funding is not only unconstitutional but emblematic of the cruelty he seeks to impose on our most vulnerable communities,” state Senate Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, a Democrat from Los Angeles, said in a statement on Monday.
State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, an L.A.-area Democrat, said the state has the most manufacturing jobs in the nation, and produces a quarter of the country’s food.
“If this is what Donald Trump thinks is ‘out of control,’ I’d suggest other states should be more like us,” Rendon said.
The latest war of words between Trump and Democratic leaders in California, where voters chose his opponent, Hillary Clinton, two-to-one in November’s election, began Sunday, in an interview between Trump and Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-california-idUSKBN15M01V

Democrats question independence of Trump Supreme Court nominee


Democratic U.S. senators on Monday sharpened a potential line of attack against Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court by questioning whether he would be sufficiently independent as a justice in light of President Donald Trump’s vigorous use of unilateral presidential power including his travel ban.
Their comments came after Trump criticized James Robart, the U.S. district court judge who put on hold the Republican president’s Jan. 27 order temporarily barring entry into the United States of people from seven Muslim-majority nations and halting the U.S. refugee program. Trump called Robart a “so-called judge” who made a “ridiculous” decision.
Democrats have expressed worry that Gorsuch, nominated by Trump last week, could act as a rubber stamp for the Republican president’s policies on a nine-seat Supreme Court poised to revert to a conservative majority.
“It’s a serious concern with a president who attacks the judiciary and seems to not respect the rule of law and the Constitution that you have a really independent justice,” Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, set to meet with Gorsuch on Tuesday, told Reuters.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-gorsuch-idUSKBN15M01N

U.S. tech titans lead legal brief against Trump travel ban
More than 100 companies, including most of high-tech’s biggest names, joined a legal brief opposing President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban, arguing that it would give companies strong incentives to move jobs outside the United States.
The companies – including Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Google Inc (GOOGL.O) and Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) – banded together late on Sunday to file a “friend-of-the-court” brief with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
They argued that the executive order temporarily banning citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries and all refugees “inflicts significant harm on American business.”
Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) and SpaceX were among other companies signing onto the brief on Monday, raising the number of signatories to 127.
Musk is among the few tech executives on Trump’s business advisory council. He has been forced to defend his participation in recent days, particularly since Uber Technologies Inc’s [UBER.UL] chief executive, Travis Kalanick, quit the group on Thursday following the travel ban.
The new Republican president’s Jan. 27 executive order sparked protests and chaos at U.S. and overseas airports in the weekend that followed. Trump has defended the ban as necessary to ensure tougher vetting of people coming into the United States and better protect the country from the threat of terror attacks.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-immgration-tech-idUSKBN15L0IY

A German Historian’s Thoughts On Trump, Bannon, Fascism & America

I expected them to move very quickly, and they did, but there were a number of things I did not expect and one of them is the elevation of Steve Bannon, who is the closest thing to a genuine fascist that I’ve seen ever in American government—and the removal in the National Security Council of the military leaders. That’s extraordinary and unprecedented.
Bannon is not a security expert. He’s not an expert in government at all. That’s one thing. The second thing is the fact that the Trump Administration didn’t engage in a transition. They were uninterested in both the documents prepared by the Obama administration and in meeting with the heads of the various divisions of government. The third thing is the purge of the senior-most officials in the State Department. The fourth thing is the order banning Muslims—and that’s what it is—the manner in which that happened, the process, which is to say a small group of advisers with no government experience keeping it secret and then launching it. That’s also unprecedented.

The lack of that transition, the purge of the people in the State Department, an order clearly going out to Homeland Security not to follow court orders—that’s all pretty remarkable and it indicates that these people want to remove the normal functioning of government and to replace the adepts at government—the people with experience and knowledge—with toadies who will do whatever they tell them to do.
And the fact that there is not a spine to be found among the Republicans, with the possible exception of maybe McCain and maybe Lindsay Graham and possibly Collins, this stuff is going to roll over. There are no checks and balances left. I think most of us have thought that the government itself would be able to prevent some of the worst possible things, both in terms of the content of policy, but also in the manner in which policy is made and put into effect.
And it appears that they’re trying very, very hard to get around that one last barrier to complete destruction of the legal status quo.

How does this compare to what was seen with European fascism in the 1920s and 30s?

The place that I know best is the end of the Weimar Republic and the beginning of National Socialism. In fact, the purge that occurred there in government occurred primarily in Prussia, which was the largest and the most progressive state. The purge began in mid-1932 and in the end it wasn’t necessary to purge all that many people to bring the government apparatus into line.
I think that the purges in the United States are going to have to be greater—if they’re actually going to do this kind of thing. But the real question, historically, that I’ve been thinking about is whether it’s 1930 that we’re in or 1933. And the 1930 thing is interesting to contemplate because Hitler was not in power—it was Heinrich Brüning and other merely authoritarians.
What they did was to eviscerate the legal operation of the Weimar Republic and destroy parliamentary government, and that’s the thing that provided the opportunity for a really organized and ideologically driven party to take over.
http://gothamist.com/2017/02/06/trump_bannon_german_history.php

Trump BANNED from giving historic address in British Parliament’s hall slammed the President’s “racism and sexism”


John Bercow slammed Trump for “racism and sexism”, his undermining of judges and his migrant ban.
He added that although he does not have as much say over a speech in the glittering Royal Gallery in the House of Lords, “I would not wish to issue an invitation”.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: “Well said John Bercow. We must stand up for our country’s values. Trump’s State Visit should not go ahead.”
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/donald-trump-banned-giving-historic-9768931