A Video at the Bottom is the Closest Thing I Know Of to the Trump Rallies….We’ve all seen many Trump rallies from the campaign & as president. They are always a parade of lies getting the crowd all worked up. But you might not have seen a speech from a previous foreign leader in the video at the very bottom which is eerily similar. In the overall scheme of things, that link at the very bottom might be as important as any I’ve ever sent in these messages! We need to understand how easily a population can get caught up by a persuasive/powerful speaker. And how sometimes bold claims of a powerful nation/powerful people can sound so good, but wind up putting a nation on the road to ruin when their leader is possessed of an evil inhumanity.
But first, I know of some Trump supporters who’ve more or less tuned out the news altogether, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing based on their pattern of preferred messaging sources. If they were to stay plugged into Fox News or other such far-right echo outlets, they’d only be regularly lied to, with the real news headlines only being contorted or ignored by the echo. So rather than watching the hideously distorted Fox prime-time shows, TV watchers would become more politically astute watching reruns of Gilligan’s Island, since viewing no news is better than being duped by wrong news.
It is remarkable, in retrospect, how many and varied were the dictatorships of the past century. Murderous regimes — states that killed large numbers of their own citizens for political reasons — arose in every possible type of society. Communist, fascist and tribal ideologies evolved in places whose cultural histories, economic status and religious traditions had nothing in common. Wealthy Germany and impoverished Rwanda. Buddhist Cambodia and Orthodox Russia. Yet these different regimes did all have one thing in common. It was the obsession that one French scholar , writing of Cambodia, called the “mania for classification and elimination of different elements of society.” In each one of them, the groundwork for violence against a specific group — whether an ethnicity, an economic class or a political faction — was originally laid by a very particular way of using language.
In the first instance, inflammatory language was used to define an ethnic minority and to give it fictional characteristics and properties. In some cases, the targeted “tribe” was entirely fictional, created by rhetoric alone. In China, the regime sought to identify the enemy as “Blacks,” as opposed to the friendly “Reds.” The Russian Bolsheviks defined and blamed the “Enemies of the People.” The Khmer Rouge in Cambodia sought to eliminate the “75ers,” the people who had been expelled from cities in 1975. After the unwanted group had been defined, propaganda was used to demonize and dehumanize it. In the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin characterized Russia’s ex-rulers as “former people,” as if their humanity had somehow been dissolved by the revolution. Germany’s Adolf Hitler and Russia’s Joseph Stalin went further, describing unwanted categories of human beings as “vermin” or “parasites” or “poisonous weeds.” The Nazis even made posters, depicting Jews as lice. For the past half-century, memory of where it once led has made this kind of language taboo in Western democracies. Now it is undeniably back. I am not comparing President Trump or his European counterparts to Lenin or Hitler; even to do so gives all of them a significance they don’t deserve. But they have brought back the “mania for classification and elimination of different elements of society,” and this will have real consequences.
In all my years, I have never seen anything quite like this: a U.S. president who lies and demonizes at the drop of a hat. I don’t just mean President Trump makes statements that tend to be inaccurate or misleading or that he exaggerates, equivocates and, at times, shades the truth. No, this president repeatedly makes declarations that are flat-out at variance with established facts; assertions that on their face cannot be true. As The Post’s “Fact Checker” column noted this week, until Wednesday, when Trump signed an executive order ending the separation of migrant families at the Mexican border, his “administration was insisting that it didn’t have a policy of separating families (false), that several laws and court rulings were forcing these separations (false), that Democrats were to blame (false), that only Congress could stop family separations (false) and that an executive order wouldn’t get the job done.” No other words for it: Trump is a baldfaced liar.
Speaking to reporters on Air Force One, Trump said April 5 that he was unaware of a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election. A few weeks later, Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani revealed that the president reimbursed Cohen, his personal attorney, for the $130,000 he paid to Daniels. After Giuliani spilled the beans, Trump reversed his position, disclosing a sequence of tweets that Cohen had in fact received a monthly retainer “from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a . . . non-disclosure agreement” with Daniels. Then there’s the Justice Department inspector general report on the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails. Said Trump: “I think that the report . . . totally exonerates me. There was no collusion, there was no obstruction.” The truth? The report said no such things. As Justice officials told the Senate Judiciary Committee, the inspector general did not delve into questions of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia or whether he has obstructed justice in connection with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation. The report was about Clinton, not Trump.
The Post keeps track of Trump’s falsehoods. As of May 31, the president had made 3,251 false or misleading claims since taking office. And there are no signs of him slowing down. “Why does he lie?” is a question many have tackled. I don’t know the answer. To accumulate and hold his grip on power? To bamboozle his supporters? To wiggle out of tight spots? The impact, nonetheless, is destructive. James P. Pfiffner, a public policy professor at George Mason University, wrote in a Brookings Institution blog that “Trump’s refusal to admit the truth of widely accepted facts corrodes political discourse and is consistent with the practice of many authoritarian leaders.” Trump’s narcissistic and demonstrably false statements about politics and policy, Pfiffner said, strike “at the very heart of democracy.” No argument here. But there’s more: Trump’s lying is dragging the presidency through the mud. Through his incessant falsehoods, Trump has squandered the moral authority of his office. He cannot be believed. What did he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un really say to each other in their one-on-one in Singapore? The president of the United States cannot be trusted. Has America ever seen anything like this? Not in my lifetime. Donald Trump cannot go unanswered. He must be held accountable — by the law and at the polls. For America’s sake, nothing less will do.
TS Eliot didn’t get it quite right. The world doesn’t end with a whimper but a giggle, which reveals that cruelty and lies can pass unchallenged. What was once outrageous is now just a joke at the expense of humourless moralists who don’t understand how obsolete their scruples have become. If you’re from the old world, nothing could be less funny than the overmighty state tearing immigrant children from their parents and locking them in cages. The imprisonments were not a bureaucratic error but the result of a deliberate act by the Trump administration to create a “hostile environment”, as British conservatives would put it. Migrants would not think of coming to America if they knew that child snatchers would circle their kids. Such premeditated inhumanity demands honest reporting so that everyone, especially its supporters, understands the moral consequences.
If you want to see the authentic mentality of fascism old and new, watch the clip of Trump ideologue Ann Coulter asserting on Murdoch’s Fox News that the stolen toddlers sobbing “Daddy! Daddy!” were “child actors.” Lies bind a political or religious tribe together. Fox News viewers and perhaps Coulter herself might know what she is saying is not true. By acting as if they believe outrageous falsehoods, they announce they are so dedicated to the conservative cause they will believe anything its propagandists produce and so determined to insult Latinos they will endorse any lie told about them. The reaction of Fox’s host was more telling than standard self-deceit. Steve Hilton, a privately educated Englishman, considered challenging Coulter. He mumbled a few words as if he were about to protest. But then he pulled himself together and did something as shocking as the oppression Trump had enforced and the calumnies Coulter had advanced: the little creep giggled, made a lame joke, then called for the ad break.
Not that Hilton or even Murdoch have found power by attaching themselves to Trump. If Hilton had spoken out, Fox News viewers would have turned on him. I have heard wistful liberal Republicans say if only Murdoch and his sons would tell Fox to drop Trump, American conservatism could crawl out of its sewer. They do not understand how deep the rot has set. If the Murdoch family tried to change course, Fox would lose its audience, as surely as Republican politicians who challenged Trump have lost their seats. The iron law of autocracy is that the strongman rules and his courtiers, however grand, obey. All they can do is to fix a smile on their sagging faces and giggle.
You’ll remember Godwin’s law, which holds that the longer an online debate goes on, the likelier it is that someone will mention Hitler or the Nazis. It was an amusing observation and one that served a useful purpose, guarding against hyperbole and fatuous comparison. Except last August, as the American far right staged a torchlight parade in Charlottesville, Mike Godwin suspended his own law. “By all means, compare these shitheads to Nazis,” he tweeted. “Again and again. I’m with you.” Despite that dispensation, I’ve tended to abide by my own version of Godwin’s law. I try to avoid Nazi comparisons, chiefly because they’re almost always wrong and because, far from dramatising whatever horror is under way, they usually serve to minimise the one that killed millions in the 1940s. And yet, there’s a cost to such self-restraint. Because if the Nazi era is placed off limits, seen as so far outside the realm of regular human experience that it might as well have happened on a distant planet – Planet Auschwitz – then we risk failure to learn its lessons. That would be to squander the essential benefit offered by study of the Third Reich: an early warning system.
So yes, when Donald Trump ordered US government agents on the southern border to separate migrant children from their parents, to tear screaming toddlers from their fathers and even to pull a baby from its mother’s breast, he was not re-enacting the Holocaust. He was not ordering the eradication of an entire people or sending millions to their deaths. But there were echoes. And we must hear them. For one, there’s the elemental act of separation itself. If you interview survivors of the Holocaust, one thing you notice is that even those who’ve grown used to describing events of the most extraordinary cruelty, and who can do so without shedding a tear, often struggle when they recall the moment they were parted from a parent. Mostly now in their 80s or older, they are taken back to that moment of childhood terror, one that never leaves them. The parents ripped from those 2,300 children on the Mexican border were not led off to be murdered. But there are grounds to believe they may never again see their sons or daughters, some of whom were sent thousands of miles away. There is no system in place to reunite them. The children were not properly registered. How can a two-year-old who speaks no English explain who she is? Eighty years from now, perhaps, old men and women will sob as they recall the mother taken from them by uniformed agents of the US government, never to be seen again.
But the echoes don’t end there. The wire cages. The guards telling weeping children they are forbidden from hugging each other. And then this chilling detail, reported by Texas Monthly. It turns out that US border guards don’t always tell parents they’re taking their children away. “Instead, the officers say, ‘I’m going to take your child to get bathed.’ The child goes off, and in a half-hour, 20 minutes, the parent inquires, ‘Where is my five-year-old?’ ‘Where’s my seven-year-old?’ ‘This is a long bath.’ And [the officer says], ‘You won’t be seeing your child again.’” It’s not the same as telling Jews about to die they are merely taking a shower, but in the use of deception the echo is loud. And if the mechanics of this operation strike a familiar note, so too does the rhetoric and propaganda deployed by those behind it and defending it. You don’t have to go to back to 1930s Germany to know that the first step towards catastrophe is the dehumanisation of a reviled group. It happened that way in Rwanda and the Balkans in the 1990s, and it’s happening in today’s United States. “These aren’t people, these are animals,” the US president said last month. They want “to pour into and infest our country”, he tweeted this week. “Infest” is a word reserved for rats and insects. This is the language of those seeking to choke off human sympathy, by suggesting those suffering are not even human.
Trump’s defenders reinforce the message. It was a jolt to see Steve Hilton, onetime shoeless guru of David Cameron’s Downing Street, now reinvented as a Fox News host, grinning away as pundit Ann Coulter called the crying infants “child actors”. Her message was repeated on Fox by Nigel Farage, who similarly urged Trump not to be swayed by the “screams coming from the liberal media” and to “stay tough”. Farage is a reminder that this phenomenon is not confined to the US. Referring to refugees, Italy’s new interior minister, Matteo Salvini, has called for a purification, or perhaps a cleansing, of his country, “neighbourhood by neighbourhood, street by street”. His plan is to draw up a register of Roma living in Italy. Those with Italian citizenship, “we’ll have to keep, unfortunately”, he said. The signs are there, if only we can bear to look. Something is happening to our world. Others have noted the way the post-1945 global architecture is beginning to crumble, as Trump undermines the western alliance in favour of authoritarian tyrannies. But the postwar order is unravelling in another, more insidious way too.
Put starkly, the norms and taboos established after the world witnessed the Holocaust are eroding before our eyes. For 70-odd years, roughly the span of a human life, they endured, keeping the lid on the darker impulses that, we had seen, lurked within all of us. It steadily became taboo to voice undiluted racism and xenophobia. Those fears, those loathings of the stranger, never went away, of course. But they were held in check, partly by the knowledge of where such hatred, unrestrained, could lead. Now, in the US, Italy, Hungary, Poland and elsewhere, the restraints are off. There even seems to be a macho thrill in breaking the taboo, in echoing the words and deeds of that darkest era in human history. It’s as if the boundaries that were drawn after 1945, demarcating acceptable human behaviour, were mere lines in the sand – and now the tide is coming in. It doesn’t happen overnight. It happens bit by bit, word by word, each step taking us lower into the pit. It’s why every one of us has to fight today’s horror. Because if we don’t, who knows what terrors lie ahead?
Misc Warnings on Autocracy & Fake Echo Media
This type of strong-armed authoritarian rule is catching on around the world, partly due to the recognized leader of the free world tacitly endorsing these types of governments where freedoms & human rights are being abused: turkeys-autocratic-
I agree the far-right is coming off much more unhinged than the far-left (opinion/in-defense-of-
Evangelicals Worship the Wrong Leader?
I rarely put in print on these pages my own personal cultural/religious views, but I am a Christian & pro-life. I certainly don’t base my vote for president on just that one lone issue. As hideous of a procedure as abortion truly is, there is a counterargument that conservatives on the courts (not only the Supreme Court) are making horrible decisions to the point they might be offsetting the worthy fight against abortion. The aggregate of various decisions like favoring gerrymandering (rigged-supreme-court-upholds-
In this unique moment in our history, we can follow constructive policies without a party affiliation, much like we can follow Jesus without a church affiliation. But I choose to keep calling out organizations I’ve long been a part of, in the hopes a reawakening can precipitate a return to integrity & sanity. And I keep calling out Trump because he is truly terrifying: Cartoon-Official-