Tag Archives: Authoritarianism

An authoritarian vision of ‘law and order’

The Washington Post reports that Trump to restore program sending surplus military weapons to police:

Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 4.13.52 PMPresident Donald Trump plans to resume the transfer of surplus weapons, vehicles and other equipment from the nation’s military to its state and local law enforcement agencies, reviving a program that was sharply curtailed by President Barack Obama two years ago. The program launched in 1990 but was greatly limited after public reaction to images of heavily militarized police in the streets of Ferguson, Mo., and other sites of civil unrest.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the move Monday morning at the Fraternal Order of Police convention in Nashville, and said the president would do so by executive order. The police union had lobbied for the restoration of the program, and Trump said he would do so during his campaign.

“The decision to restore the flow of military weaponry to civilian law enforcement was the latest move by the Trump administration both to stake out a hard-line stance on law and order as they view it, and to undo actions by the Obama administration which were unpopular in some quarters of law enforcement.”

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Collaborators in Trumpism, the new American Fascism

A must-read column today from the New York Times‘ Paul Krugman on Fascism, American Style:

As sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., Joe Arpaio engaged in blatant racial discrimination. His officers systematically targeted Latinos, often arresting them on spurious charges and at least sometimes beating them up when they questioned those charges. Read the report from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and prepare to be horrified.

Once Latinos were arrested, bad things happened to them. Many were sent to Tent City, which Arpaio himself proudly called a “concentration camp,” where they lived under brutal conditions, with temperatures inside the tents sometimes rising to 145 degrees.

And when he received court orders to stop these practices, he simply ignored them, which led to his eventual conviction — after decades in office — for contempt of court. But he had friends in high places, indeed in the highest of places. We now know that Donald Trump tried to get the Justice Department to drop the case against Arpaio, Trump Asked Top Aides Months Ago if Arpaio Case Could Be Dropped, Officials Say, a clear case of attempted obstruction of justice. And when that ploy failed, Trump, who had already suggested that Arpaio was “convicted for doing his job,” pardoned him.

By the way, about “doing his job,” it turns out that Arpaio’s officers were too busy rounding up brown-skinned people and investigating President Barack Obama’s birth certificate to do other things, like investigate cases of sexually abused children. Priorities!

Let’s call things by their proper names here. Arpaio is, of course, a white supremacist. But he’s more than that. There’s a word for political regimes that round up members of minority groups and send them to concentration camps, while rejecting the rule of law: What Arpaio brought to Maricopa, and what the president of the United States has just endorsed, was fascism, American style.

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Trump undermines democratic institutions while in Poland

President Donald Trump gave a speech in Poland yesterday that contained all the white nationalist talking points of his alt-right advisers Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller. Trump cast the world as being in a clash of civilizations between Muslim terrorists and the West. Transcript:

This continent no longer confronts the specter of communism. But today, we’re in the West, and we have to say, there are dire threats to our security and to our way of life.

You see what’s happening out there. They are threats. We will confront them. We will win. But they are threats.

We are confronted by another oppressive ideology, one that seeks to export terrorism and extremism all around the globe.

America and others have suffered one terror attack after another. We’re going to get it to stop.

During a historic gathering in Saudi Arabia, I called on the leaders of more than 50 Muslim nations to join together to drive out this menace which threatens all of humanity. We must stand united against these shared enemies to strip them of their territory and their funding and their networks and any form of ideological support that they may have.

While we will always welcome new citizens who share our values and love our people, our borders will always be closed to terrorism and extremism of any kind.

We are fighting hard against radical Islamic terrorism. And we will prevail.

We cannot accept those who reject our values and who use hatred to justify violence against the innocent.

Today, the West is also confronted by the powers that seek to test our will, undermine our confidence and challenge our interests.

Then oddly, Trump identifies “government “bureaucracy” as enemies:

Finally, on both sides of the Atlantic, our citizens are confronted by yet another danger, one firmly within our control. This danger is invisible to some but familiar to the Poles: the steady creep of government bureaucracy that drains the vitality and wealth of the people.

The West became great, not because of paperwork and regulations, but because people were allowed to chase their dreams and pursue their destinies.

Americans, Poles and nations of Europe value freedom and sovereignty. We must work together to confront forces, whether they come inside or out, from the south or the east, that threaten over time to undermine these values and to erase the bonds of culture, faith and tradition that make us who we are.

If left unchecked, these forces will undermine our courage, sap our spirit and weaken our will to defend ourselves and our societies.

This is Doctor Stragelove‘s General Jack Ripper: “I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.”

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Trump is mentally and emotionally unfit to serve as president – invoke the 25th Amendment

There has never been any question that our always insecure egomaniacal Twitter-troll-in-chief is a serious head case. He is mentally and emotionally unfit to serve as president.

The one and only true statement that White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders made this past week was ‘America knew what they were getting’: Sarah Huckabee Sanders blames you for Trump’s despicable tweets.

Trump’s unhinged attacks on the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe over the past week, Lawmakers blast Trump’s ‘crude, false, and unpresidential’ CNN tweet, is just the latest skirmish in a war against the independent media and the First Amendment that he has been waging since announcing that he was a candidate for office.

The first thing that any autocratic authoritarian leader does is to silence the independent media, often having reporters arrested and jailed, or even killed. The authoritarian state establishes its own media as the sole voice of what is truth.

Donald Trump has repeatedly asserted that all independent media that is critical of him is “fake news.” Trump’s media team openly states that they are creating an “alternate reality” with “alternative facts” (i.e., propaganda). Trump regularly tells his sycophant supporters that only he can be believed — even though it is well documented that virtually everything he says is a demonstrable lie, Trump’s Lies, the Definitive List — and during his campaign he encouraged his supporters to engage in violence against reporters. Donald Trump Encourages Violence At His Rallies. His Fans Are Listening.

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Latest on the Trump-Putin campaign investigation

On Monday, the New York Times reported that Trump Grows Discontented With Attorney General Jeff Sessions:

Mr. Trump has grown sour on Mr. Sessions, now his attorney general, blaming him for various troubles that have plagued the White House.

The discontent was on display on Monday in a series of stark early-morning postings on Twitter in which the president faulted his own Justice Department for its defense of his travel ban on visitors from certain predominantly Muslim countries. Mr. Trump accused Mr. Sessions’s department of devising a “politically correct” version of the ban — as if the president had nothing to do with it.

In private, the president’s exasperation has been even sharper. He has intermittently fumed for months over Mr. Sessions’s decision to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s election, according to people close to Mr. Trump who insisted on anonymity to describe internal conversations. In Mr. Trump’s view, they said, it was that recusal that eventually led to the appointment of a special counsel who took over the investigation.

Let’s be clear, Department of Justice rules required Attorney General Sessions to recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation. It is ordinary protocol and was to be expected. Trump is angry at Sessions because he abided by Justice department rules, rather than create a protracted legal dispute over recusal, and he removed himself from the ability to exert influence over the direction of the investigation, which indicates that Trump intended to exert undue influence over the Attorney General to affect the course of the Trump-Russia investigation (otherwise known as obstruction of justice).

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Lies, damned lies, and Trump

The Washington Post provided editorial space to Donald Trump on Sunday for his alternative facts propaganda and egomaniacal self-aggrandizement. President Trump: In my first 100 days, I kept my promise to Americans.

This is no way close to being true.

Aaron Blake of the Washington Post again provides an annotated version of Trump’s op-ed to provide context and a healthy dose of reality. Trump’s glowing op-ed about his first 100 days, with some badly needed context. Click on the yellow highlight’s for Blake’s annotations.

The Washington Post fact checkers write, President Trump’s first 100 days: The fact check tally:

President Trump is the most fact-challenged politician that The Fact Checker has ever encountered. He earned 59 Four-Pinocchio ratings during his campaign as president. Since then, he’s earned 16 more Four-Pinocchio ratings.

But those numbers obscure the fact that the pace and volume of the president’s misstatements means that we cannot possibly keep up. The president’s speeches and interviews are so chock full of false and misleading claims that The Fact Checker often must resort to roundups that offer a brief summary of the facts that the president has gotten wrong.

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