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FTR #928 The Trumpenkampfverbande, Part 7: Locker Room Eclipse, Part 2

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thinkbignkickassMeinKampfIntroduction: Continuing discussion and analysis from our last program, we note that the focus on Donald Trump’s abusive attitude and behavior toward women has eclipsed other, more far-reaching considerations. As the number of female accusers of Trump has grown and received increased media play, Trump countered with a thinly-veiled nod to the “international Jewish conspiracy” meme, accusing Hillary Clinton of being allied with “bankers,” the “media establishment” and “elites.” ” . . . . The speech was hinged to the original purpose of his campaign: to trade on the resentments of a restive remnant of white America—angry white men and the women who love them—and set the stage for mayhem in the wake of his likely electoral defeat. This was not your standard, off-the-cuff Trump rant. This was a scripted speech, delivered with a teleprompter. It was crafted. It featured the key words of right-wing complaints: “sovereign,” “global bankers” and “slander.” Really, it came right out of a Nazi propaganda playbook. And when one considers the themes common between Nazi propaganda films and the films made by top Trump campaign staffers Stephen K. Bannon and David Bossie (as analyzed by AlterNet), we should hardly be surprised. . . . The agenda of the “media establishment,” Trump said, was to elect “crooked” Hillary Clinton, in the service of “special global interests rigging the system.” There are a lot of ways in the land of Wingnuttia to telegraph that your target is Jews, and these are two of them. Remember them: You’ll be hearing a lot in coming days about the “media establishment,” “global special interests,” oh, and “bankers.” . . . .”

The New York Times featured one news analysis piece and one op-ed column on the same day (10/15/2016) that noted the thinly-veiled, Hitlerian anti-Semitism contained in Trump’s rhetoric.

As we have noted in the past, the Trumpenkampfverbande is the manifestation of the Underground Reich as a broad-based, mass movement. Regaling his followers with statements about the election being rigged, Trump is setting the stage for the movement that has coalesced around him to move forward. ” . . . . But to date, the ‘voter fraud’ scam has never been fully weaponized as a way to delegitimize and even resist a specific election, certainly not a national election. As Rick Hasen explains here, Donald Trump is doing that now. And he is succeeding in as much as he’s convinced substantial numbers of his supporters that if he loses it will be because the election was stolen. . . .”

Going forward, the Trumpenkampfverbande will be propelled, in part, by what we feel will be an accelerating program of “lone-wolf,” leaderless-resistance acts of violence and terror. In effect, the Trumpenkampfverbande is setting the stage for ongoing warfare in this country. Trump has been “dog-whistle” “mainstreaming” the sovereign citizens movement as well. “ . . . . I watched his speech Thursday, and if I closed my eyes, I could smell the campfire smoke at the Malheur refuge and feel the Oregon winter wind on my face. Here were the conspiracies, the references to the shadowy international cabals, the whispers about the illegitimacy of the Department of Justice and the Trilateralist coopting of the FBI. It was like listening to an immodest Ammon Bundy. We have to protect ourselves from not just the government (because it is only a pawn) but from the people who really run it. We should be watchful, resilient, ready—and though he is reluctant, he will sacrifice himself, for he is the only one who can save us from the terror. Donald Trump shouted out every fevered dystopian fantasy I heard on the refuge . . . . I was outraged by Trump before. But now I am worried. . . . Thursday, Donald Trump traveled a step further down the path of militant right-wing revolution. It wasn’t a call to arms, exactly. But it was far past the point of comfort. . . .”

It remains to be seen what happens after the election, but some have already moved in the direction of terror: ” . . . . The feds arrested three members of a right wing militia for allegedly planning to detonate explosives at an apartment complex in Garden City, Kansas, with Somali Muslims specifically the target, law enforcement announced at Friday. . . . The attack was allegedly planned for the day after Election Day, law enforcement said at a press conference. . . .”

Ironically, even as Trump accuses Hillary Clinton of being a pawn of “elites,” his deputy campaign–David Bossie–chairman is the head of Citizens United. It was that organization that filed the lawsuit paving the way for the Supreme Court decision permitting the ultra-rich to donate virtually unlimited amounts of money to political campaigns in the U.S. Bossie and Trump campaign chairman Steven K. Bannon have channeled Hitler, Goebbels and Leni Riefenstahl: ” . . . . The late Andrew Breitbart, founder of the website Bannon went on to lead, called Bannon the “Leni Riefenstahl of the Tea Party movement”—a reference to the infamous creator of Nazi propaganda films. While insisting to a Wall Street Journal reporter in 2011 that his work isn’t propaganda, Bannon went on to cite Riefenstahl among his main influences. . .. Ivana Trump, the candidate’s first wife, told Vanity Fair in 1990 that her husband kept a copy of Adolf Hitler’s My New Order, a collection of speeches that display the Nazi dictator’s exceptional ability to manipulate reality, in a cabinet near his bed. . . . . The Nazi regime produced a massive amount of propaganda; it had an entire Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, headed by Joseph Goebbels. A central technique of Nazi propagandists, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, was to cast Jews as outsiders and dangerous enemies of the Reich, ‘‘subhuman’ creatures infiltrating Aryan society.’ . . . In her analysis of Riefenstahl’s ‘Triumph of the Will,’ Price noted that ‘perhaps most critically, Germany’s comeback is portrayed as well underway; the viewer need only jump aboard. What is being said implicitly is that there is no alternative.’ In ‘Battle for America,’ Bannon and Bossie follow the same formula, positing the Tea Party movement as the bandwagon to jump on. But the formula isn’t the only thing about the film that carries echoes of Goebbels: a researcher and counsel for the film was white nationalist Robert Vandervoort. . . .”

In our next program, we will be looking at some of those abroad who are allied with Trump, as well as returning to the subject of his benign public posture toward Putin/Russia/Ukraine/Crimea. Some of those subjects are touched on in the latter part of this broadcast.

Program Highlights Include:

  • An endorsement from Russian “ultra-nationalist’ Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
  • Zhirinovsky’s funding by Gerhard Frey, a German Nazi and head of the DVU.
  • Gerhard Frey’s networking with Nazi spy chief Reinhard Gehlen.
  • Frey’s “disclosure” of the disinformation that Lee Harvey Oswald fired at Major Edwin Walker.
  • The support given Trump by Nigel Farage, a primary architect of the Brexit.
  • Farage’s German wife, seen in the context of her being a possible case officer/paymaster.
  • The possibility that Farage may have sought (and received?) German citizenship in the wake of his shepherding of the Brexit campaign.
  • Brief discussion of Britain’s exit from the EU as the removal of an obstacle to the formation of a German-dominated all-EU army and military force.
  • Trump’s association with the Steuben Society.

1a. Whereas most of Donald Trump’s Nazi dog-whistling has been tweeting, some of it in the wee hours of the morning, his recent speech accusing Hillary Clinton of being a co-conspirator of “international bankers” and “the media establishment” was read from a teleprompter.

The deliberate nature of the talk is significant, given that Trump is channeling Hitler and communicating thinly-veiled anti-Semitic themes to his supporters.

“In Nazi-Like Speech, Trump Responds to Sexual Assault Claims With Broad Conspiracy Theory Designed to Foment Mayhem” by Adele M. Stan; AlterNet; 10/13/2016.

It would be tempting to label as “unhinged” the speech Donald Trump delivered in West Palm Beach on Thursday—a speech in which he dog-whistled a worldwide conspiracy against him (without actually uttering the word “Jews”) and disparaged the appearance of women who have accused him of sexual assault and transgressions.

But it was not unhinged. The speech was hinged to the original purpose of his campaign: to trade on the resentments of a restive remnant of white America—angry white men and the women who love them—and set the stage for mayhem in the wake of his likely electoral defeat.

This was not your standard, off-the-cuff Trump rant. This was a scripted speech, delivered with a teleprompter. It was crafted. It featured the key words of right-wing complaints: “sovereign,” “global bankers” and “slander.” Really, it came right out of a Nazi propaganda playbook. And when one considers the themes common between Nazi propaganda films and the films made by top Trump campaign staffers Stephen K. Bannon and David Bossie (as analyzed by AlterNet), we should hardly be surprised.

Trump began with an attack on the New York Times (whose majority owners are a Jewish family), which he said was engaged in a conspiracy of global proportions with the Clintons, international bankers and major corporations, all to stop him from winning the presidency.

“For those who control the levers of power in Washington and for the global special interests, they partner with these people that don’t have your good in mind. Our campaign represents a true existential threat, like they haven’t seen before. This is not simply another four-year election. This is a crossroads in the history of our civilization that will determine whether or not we, the people, reclaim control over our government,” Trump told a cheering crowd. A few beats later, he said, “We’ve seen this firsthand in the WikiLeaks documents in which Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends and her donors.”

He then went on, at great length, describing what he alleged was coordination between the New York Times and the Clinton campaign, noting the newspaper’s Wednesday night report detailing allegations by two women who said Trump had sexually accosted them. Of course, he contended the women were liars. He also offered a disquisition on previous New York Times pieces about his behavior with women. It was all a grand conspiracy, he said, not just against him, but against the United States of America.

The agenda of the “media establishment,” Trump said, was to elect “crooked” Hillary Clinton, in the service of “special global interests rigging the system.” There are a lot of ways in the land of Wingnuttia to telegraph that your target is Jews, and these are two of them. Remember them: You’ll be hearing a lot in coming days about the “media establishment,” “global special interests,” oh, and “bankers.”

“Anyone who challenges their control,” Trump continued, “is deemed a sexist, rapist, xenophobe and morally deformed. They will attack you. They will slander you. They will seek to destroy your career and your family. They will seek to destroy everything about you, including your reputation. They will lie, lie, lie, and then again they will do worse than that. They will do whatever is necessary. The Clintons are criminals. Remember that, they’re criminals.”

When the crowd began chanting, “Lock her up!” Trump chimed in, “So true. Honestly, she should be locked up. She should be. Should be locked up.”

Of his accusers, Trump told his audience to have a good look at them, implying they weren’t good-looking enough to have attracted his attention. Of the women interviewed by the New York Times, Trump said, “You take a look at these people. You study these people and you’ll understand also. The claims are preposterous, ludicrous, and defy truth, common sense and logic.”

Speaking of Natasha Stoynoff, the People magazine writer who Wednesday night published an article detailing what she said was an assault by Trump against her at his Mar-a-Lago home, Trump said, “Take a look. You look at her. Look at her words,” he said. “You tell me what you think. I don’t think so. I don’t think so.”

Trump went on to say he has evidence to refute the claims made against him in the New York Times report, evidence he would reveal “at an appropriate time.” He also promised to take down the Times—put it out of business—with a lawsuit he is preparing against the newspaper. It is telling that one of his big supporters is Peter Thiel, who took down Gawker by backing Hulk Hogan’s privacy-violation lawsuit against the website.

Perhaps most chilling in all of the hate-stoking and conspiracy-mongering Trump demonstrated Thursday is his assertion that “this is war”—that the “media establishment” and the Clintons are engaged in a conspiracy that is making war on the American people “no matter how many lives they destroy.”

“For them, it’s a war,” Trump said. “And for them, nothing at all is out of bounds. This is a struggle for the survival of our nation.”

Trump has learned well from his white nationalist friends. After all, the guy who likely wrote Thursday’s script—Trump campaign CEO Stephen K. Bannon—is the one who boasted of providing “the platform for the alt-right,” that anti-Semitic, misogynist movement from which Trump has derived such succor.

With Thursday’s speech, Trump has baldly laid out his true agenda: a post-election insurrection.

1b. Two separate columns in the same edition of The New York Times (10/15/2016) noted the Hitlerian, anti-Semitic code-words used by Trump.

“Trump’s Barrage of Heated Speech Has Little Precedent” by Jonathan Martin; The New York Times; 10/15/2016.

. . . . “Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends and her donors.”

— Mr. Trump at a rally on Thursday in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Mr. Trump veers dangerously close to the territory of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a fabricated anti-Semitic text, in discussing the WikiLeaks hacks that revealed some of Mrs. Clinton’s speeches to financial institutions. . . .

1c. From the same New York Times (10/15/2016) edition as the above analysis by Jonathan Martin:

“How Dictatorships Are Born” by Roger Cohen; The New York Times; 10/15/2016.

. . . . Just to make his pedigree clear, Donald Trump is now suggesting that Hillary Clinton “meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty, in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends, and her donors.”

What was it the Nazis called the Jews? Oh, yes, “rootless parasites,” that’s it. . . .

2a. Trump is positioning what we have termed “The Trumpenkampfverbande” to continue after election day as a broad-based, fascist insurrection:

“Donald Trump Is Setting the Stage to Never Concede the 2016 Election” by Chris Cillizza; The Washington Post; 10/14/2016.

Donald Trump never accepted losing in his business life. Even when he very clearly lost. He simply declared victory and moved on. (If you don’t believe me, watch PBS’s terrific “The Choice 2016.”)

His rhetoric over the last 10 days suggests he is preparing to follow that very blueprint in November. Over and over again of late, Trump has indulged in the idea of a broad-scale global conspiracy being organized to keep him from being elected. And he has repeatedly used language describing the election as “rigged” by a Democratic Party and complicit media playing dirty pool.

At a rally on Friday in Greensboro, N.C., Trump leaned into his “rigged” premise.

“This whole election is being rigged,” Trump told the roaring crowd. “The whole thing is one big fix. One big ugly lie. It’s one big fix.”

Given that rhetoric, it’s difficult for me to imagine that in 25 days time, if he comes up short to Hillary Clinton, Trump will simply concede the election. He is actively fomenting the idea that the results on Nov. 8 will be invalid no matter what they say because of the “rigged” nature of the whole process. He is priming the pump among his supporters to never accept that he actually lost but instead had it stolen from him by the Democratic-media complex, which couldn’t deal with the truths he was telling.

Trump, despite the hopes of many Republicans, isn’t going to simply disappear on Nov. 9. This is someone whose entire life has been in pursuit of an ever-bigger spotlight. Trump now has the biggest spotlight in the world on him. He isn’t the sort to willingly walk off the stage at the moment he has achieved what he’s always wanted. And so, whether or not Trump actually believes the election is rigged against him (it’s not!), he has several self-serving reasons to continue to push the idea to and through Election Day.

Trump, I think, has two options for his future in politics, assuming he loses this fall. The first is that he works to keep his bloc of voters together post-election and forms some sort of conservative alternative third party that aims to bash Republicans and Democrats in roughly equal measure. The other is that he starts a conservative media/broadcasting company in an attempt to monetize the loyalty his supporters have for him and the anti-elites, anti-party message he has been pushing throughout the campaign.

Neither of those options is served by acknowledging defeat at the hands of Clinton and shuffling off. Both are made more appealing — from a commercial perspective — by never conceding, by insisting that the race wasn’t lost, it was taken.

Trump has shown that he is a master of grievance politics in this race. He now seems to be setting up the greatest grievance of all for the voters who support him: that their votes don’t matter because Hillary Clinton and all of her media enablers have already determined the outcome of this election.

2b. There has been a considerable amount of coverage of Donald Trump’s thinly veiled exhortation for his pro-2nd Amendment followers to shoot Hillary Clinton. Trump is also encouraging his followers to show up at polling places to guard against the [fraudulent] prospect of voter fraud. Many see this as an exhortation to violently intimidate minority voters. If Trump loses, it will be interesting to see how those followers who have been regaled that the election is “rigged,” will act.

The betting money, here, is that we will see a significant uptick in rightwing terror and murder, much of it the “lone-wolf/leaderless resistance” variety for which Glenn Greenwald ran legal interference.

Again, the point is that the Trumpenkampfverbande is not going away. Whether led by a Donald Trump, Jr., who eschews his father’s locker-room banter, or someone else, the Underground Reich is moving above ground.

“Danger on November 9th” by Josh Marshall; Talking Points Memo Editor’s Blog; 10/12/2016.

I’ve been wanting to discuss this. But so much has been happening it keeps getting pushed back to the next day or the next post. Quite simply, everybody needs to be paying close attention to what happens on November 9th.

It now seems quite likely that Hillary Clinton will win the November election and become the next President of the United States. But Donald Trump has been for months pushing the idea that the election may be stolen from him by some mix of voter fraud (by racial and ethnic minorities) or more systemic election rigging by persons unknown. Polls show that large numbers of his supporters believe this.

Now, here at TPM we’ve been writing and reporting about the GOP’s ‘vote fraud’ scam going back almost 15 years. It’s a hugely important issue. But to date it has mainly been used to heat up Republican voters and drive state-based voter suppression measures. After a decade-plus pushing the idea, Republicans passed various voter suppression measures in numerous states after the 2010 midterm election. But to date, the ‘voter fraud’ scam has never been fully weaponized as a way to delegitimize and even resist a specific election, certainly not a national election. As Rick Hasen explains here, Donald Trump is doing that now. And he is succeeding in as much as he’s convinced substantial numbers of his supporters that if he loses it will be because the election was stolen.

It is a very, very dangerous step when a presidential nominee openly threatens to jail his opponent if he wins. It’s no less dangerous when a candidate pushes the idea that an election will be stolen and lays the groundwork for resisting the result. That’s happening. It is difficult to overstate the societal benefit of being able to take it almost as an absolute given and assumption that no matter how intense and close-fought an election gets, virtually everyone will accept the result the day after. Undermining that assumption is of a piece with introducing into the political arena the idea that people who lose election might lose more than the election: loss of money, freedom, or worse etc.

I’ll put a pin in the discussion for now. But this is something to watch very closely as the next thirty days unfold. It is a very, very big deal. Trump has been making this argument explicitly for weeks. As I said, we’re had the voter fraud racket for years. It’s never been weaponized like this. As the pressure on him grows and his own anger mounts there’s every reason to think he’ll keep upping the ante.

3. Now that Donald Trump has formally incorporated “international banker” conspiracies against him and the America people into the daily Alt-Right narrative that fuels his campaign and repeatedly asserted that the election is all rigged by these elites and maybe the outcome shouldn’t be respected, here’s a reminder he’s not just mainstreaming the Alt-Right/neo-Nazi worldview. Given the enormous amount of overlap between the Alt-Right’s far-right foundations and those of the sovereign citizen movements, Trump is also mainstreaming Cliven Bundy:

Like Trump, sovereign citizens want “law and order” too. Remember the ‘citizen committees’ set up to try and hang public officials. That’s sovereign citizen “law and order.” Increasingly, it is Trumpian “law and order,” as well.

“Trump’s Speech: Dog Whistles to the Sovereign-Citizen Set” by Linda Tirado; The Daily Beast; 10/13/2016.

Trump’s Thursday speech marked a turning point. There is now no scenario in which this country repudiates him and merely goes about its business.

It’s easy to forget how silly most people thought Donald Trump was, all the way back in January. It was before any primaries or caucuses. Trump led in most polls, but people still couldn’t really quite believe that people were actually going to vote for him.

I spent much of that month at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, reporting for The Daily Beast on the militants who had taken it over. In the intervening months, Trump has morphed from a vague joke or a thumb in the eye of the establishment, depending on your point of view, to a fascist megalomaniacal wreck of a candidate who is unlikely to be elected because he is fundamentally incapable of seeing past his own nose.

I watched his speech Thursday, and if I closed my eyes, I could smell the campfire smoke at the Malheur refuge and feel the Oregon winter wind on my face. Here were the conspiracies, the references to the shadowy international cabals, the whispers about the illegitimacy of the Department of Justice and the Trilateralist coopting of the FBI.

It was like listening to an immodest Ammon Bundy. We have to protect ourselves from not just the government (because it is only a pawn) but from the people who really run it. We should be watchful, resilient, ready—and though he is reluctant, he will sacrifice himself, for he is the only one who can save us from the terror.

Donald Trump shouted out every fevered dystopian fantasy I heard on the refuge, with the exceptions of Agenda 21 and abortion as population control. “They control the Department of Justice,” he said. “They have essentially corrupted the director of the FBI.” “This is a conspiracy against you, the American people, and we cannot let this happen or continue. This is our moment of reckoning.” This is precisely the logic that led a few hundred people to take up arms against the government in Oregon, though at least Ammon Bundy started with a reasonably legitimate premise. Donald Trump doesn’t even have two Americans jailed twice for the same crime to legitimize his quest.

What he has is a small but growing fringe that talks about We the People instead of Americans. We have already seen the violence at his rallies, we have seen the vicious street attacks, we have worried about the rise of the right. What I have not until Thursday heard was something that spiked my nativist upbringing, words delivered in a very particular order that made me want to go buy another rifle and check my food storage.

I was raised among white people, sent to an elementary school in which there were no black kids, and then moved to the mountains of Utah for high school, where the neo-Nazis recruited at illicit drinking parties because kids who would have a beer were already disaffected in an overwhelmingly Mormon culture. There is a part of me that remembers the coding, the tones, remembers the fear that the government might come and massacre us again as they had in times not that long ago. I reject it violently, but you don’t ever forget what you were raised to believe even if you learn better.

It would take a linguist to comb through that speech and parse out which words came from where. I am only a writer steeped in the language of right-wing revolution. I was outraged by Trump before. But now I am worried. There is no scenario in which this country repudiates him and then goes about its business; we allowed his rise and we have emboldened the people that we ignored for so long. We have three weeks to go yet, more scandals and reactions and fear and terror, and at the end of it, we will have an unknowable number of people who will absolutely and without question think that Hillary Clinton’s election is an unmistakable sign that it is time for the governed to withdraw their consent.

Not a majority; not even many, compared to the millions of people who live in America. But enough. Thursday, Donald Trump traveled a step further down the path of militant right-wing revolution. It wasn’t a call to arms, exactly. But it was far past the point of comfort.

4. It is noteworthy that a Kansas militia was caught planning attacks on a local Somali community, and anyone supportive of that community, the attack for the day after election day:

“Feds: Right Wing Militia Plotted Nov. 9 Attack On Somali Immigrants In Kansas” by Tierney Sneed; Talking Points Memo Livewire; 10/14/2016.

The feds arrested three members of a right wing militia for allegedly planning to detonate explosives at an apartment complex in Garden City, Kansas, with Somali Muslims specifically the target, law enforcement announced at Friday.

The men were Curtis Allen and Gavin Wright, both 49, and of Liberal, Kansas, and Patrick Eugene Stein, 47, of Wright, Kansas, according to a Department of Justice press release. Their arrests Friday morning were first reported by CBS News.

The attack was allegedly planned for the day after Election Day, law enforcement said at a press conference.

They are facing domestic terrorism charges, which, if they are convicted, could result in a maximum sentence of life in federal prison, law enforcement said.

“These charges are based on eight months of investigation by the FBI that is alleged to have taken the investigators deep into a hidden culture of hatred and violence,” Tom Beall, the acting U.S. Attorney for Kansas, said. “Many Kansans may find it as startling as I have that such things could happen here.”

The investigation uncovered stockpiles of firearms and explosive materials, as well as a manifesto, Beall said.

“One of them said, ‘The bombing would wake people up,’” Beall said.

The suspects allegedly planned to attack the housing complex, where approximately 120 people live and where one of the apartments was used as a mosque, the officials said. They were part of a militia group that called itself The Crusaders, according to law enforcement.

They also considered targeting churches and public officials who supported the Somali community, as well as the landlords that rented to the immigrants, the officials said.

5. An Alternet piece compares movies made by the chairman and deputy chairman of Trump’s campaign to Nazi propaganda films, those of Leni Riefenstahl, in particular. It is noteworthy that David Bossie, the deputy chairman of Trump’s campaign is the president and chairman of Citizens United, the organization whose lawsuit opened the door to the virtually unlimited funding of American elections by the ultra-rich.

How altogether ironic that Trump is pointing the accusing finger at Hillary Clinton for being a tool of the monied interests, when he has Bossie as the number 2 man on his campaign!

“Trump Campaign Leaders Made Movies Comparable to Nazi Propaganda” by Alex Kotch; Alternet; 10/06/2016.

. . . . .Early on, Trump courted the far right, retweeting posts from the Twitter accounts of white supremacists. He also received support from some he apparently didn’t court, winning praise from the likes of former KKK leader David Duke, and even made the California ballot as the nominee of a racist political party.

Seeing how Steve Bannon had crafted Breitbart News, the right-wing website he ran, into a hub for young white nationalists (the “alt-right”) to bat around conspiracy theories, Trump tapped Bannon on August 17 to be his campaign CEO. As executive chairman of Breitbart, Bannon published deceptive and manufactured stories to aid the right wing, and in the presidential campaign treated his media company as a surrogate for Trump.

On September 1, Trump chose David Bossie, president and chairman of the right-wing nonprofit Citizens United, as his deputy campaign manager. Bossie has produced 25 films with Citizens United Productions. Some of these films feature Bannon as writer, director and executive producer.

It was Bossie’s group whose name came to define the unlimited flow of corporate and union cash into elections, thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision in the 2010 case Citizens United brought against the Federal Election Commission. At issue was an anti-Clinton Citizens United production called Hillary: The Movie, which the FEC had deemed a campaign advertisement subject to regulation based on campaign finance law. (The movie was produced for airing in the 2008 presidential election, when many expected Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic nominee.) Now Bossie has joined Bannon, his longtime teammate, to run Trump’s campaign of lies and fear-mongering against Clinton.

According to the Washington Post, Bossie’s job in Trump World is “crafting attacks against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, mining past controversies involving her and former president Bill Clinton, and cultivating Trump’s bond with conservative activists.” Bossie has hounded the Clintons for decades, beginning in the early 1990s, when he dug up dirt about Bill Clinton when he was still governor of Arkansas. A few years later, U.S. Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) hired Bossie to investigate Clinton’s 1996 campaign fundraising, a post he was later forced to resign. Bossie went on to write a book that blamed the Clinton administration for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and to produce Hillary: The Movie with Citizens United. This year, the group sued the State Department for emails and other records of those who served as aides to Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state. Bossie is taking a leave of absence from Citizens United during the campaign, and also retiring from the Defeat Crooked Hillary super PAC, which he founded this June.

Bossie and Trump are no strangers; in 2014, Trump’s foundation donated $100,000 to the Citizens United Foundation, the same year that the group filed a lawsuit against New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who was suing Trump over the fraudulent practices of Trump University.

Some have wagered that Trump, along with Bannon and former Fox News chief Roger Ailes, is planning a new, post-election media empire, which could help his brand whether he wins or loses. Some think Trump doesn’t want to win the election, but the hiring of Bannon and Bossie may show that Trump, one of the world’s loudest egomaniacs, thinks he deserves the White House and knows the only way to win it is through propaganda that reinforces his giant mountain of fabrications, conspiracies, racism and sexism.

The late Andrew Breitbart, founder of the website Bannon went on to lead, called Bannon the “Leni Riefenstahl of the Tea Party movement”—a reference to the infamous creator of Nazi propaganda films. While insisting to a Wall Street Journal reporter in 2011 that his work isn’t propaganda, Bannon went on to cite Riefenstahl among his main influences, along with Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein and progressive documentarian Michael Moore.

Ivana Trump, the candidate’s first wife, told Vanity Fair in 1990 that her husband kept a copy of Adolf Hitler’s My New Order, a collection of speeches that display the Nazi dictator’s exceptional ability to manipulate reality, in a cabinet near his bed. “Perhaps his possession of Hitler’s speeches merely indicates an interest in Hitler’s genius at propaganda,” mused Marie Brenner, author of the article.

The Nazi regime produced a massive amount of propaganda; it had an entire Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, headed by Joseph Goebbels. A central technique of Nazi propagandists, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, was to cast Jews as outsiders and dangerous enemies of the Reich, “‘subhuman’ creatures infiltrating Aryan society.”

Karen Elizabeth Price, a filmmaker who teaches courses on documentary film at Duke University, told AlterNet via email that “most successful propaganda films appeal to something that already exists in the viewer—perhaps only as a feeling or germ of an idea—and help to ‘fill in the blanks.’” After Germany had to concede territories and accept blame for World War I and then was hit by the Great Depression, people felt wounded and demoralized. In Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will, which some regard as the greatest propaganda film of all time, “a solution to that despair is presented in the form of a patriotic savior [in this case, Adolf Hitler] already hard at work, promising to restore Germany to its former power and glory,” said Price.

To explore, in the context of propaganda-making, the kinds of election narratives we’re getting from Trump and his latest campaign roster, I suffered my way through three movies produced by Citizens United: Border War: The Battle Over Illegal Immigration (2006), which had Bannon and Bossie as executive producers; Battle for America (2010), with Bannon as writer, director and producer and Bossie as executive producer; and Occupy Unmasked (2012), written and directed by Bannon with Bossie as executive producer and featuring Andrew Breitbart.

All three Bannon/Bossie films center on an enemy, either “illegal” immigrants, “radical liberals” (a category that in these films includes Obama and the Clintons), or the Occupy Wall Street protesters. To exaggerate the danger of these purported enemies and garner support for those the movies present as America’s defenders, each film uses various propaganda techniques including omissions, juxtaposition, false associations, deceptively edited footage, stereotyping and repetition, all to appeal to viewers’ fear and prejudice. In two of them, the film’s heroes are framed as battling a corrupt or inept political establishment.

‘Border War: The Battle Over Illegal Immigration’

The purpose of “Border War” is clearly to cast undocumented immigrants as threats to American citizens. The film, from 2006, takes us to Nogales, Arizona (a town on the Mexican border), and Southern California, following five characters, four of whom have antipathy for undocumented immigrants: a border patrol agent whose parents emigrated legally from Mexico; a congressman who wrote a bill to build a wall across the U.S.-Mexico border and station guards all along it; a woman whose husband, a sheriff’s deputy, was killed by an undocumented immigrant he had stopped; a Mexican-American woman who was molested by undocumented immigrants and whose nephew was killed by one. In an attempt to feign balance, also included is an organizer for immigration reform who founded a group that provides water and food to immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

The selection of these subjects alone makes clear the film is hardly a documentary but more a selective argument against undocumented immigrants. From the beginning, border crossers are depicted as dangerous; an early scene contains footage of the aftermath of a shootout between “rival gangs of coyotes,” or people whom aspiring immigrants pay to shepherd them across the border. Blood pools beneath a dead trafficker, wrecked cars lie in ditches, and U.S. Rep. J.D. Hayworth refers to those involved in the incident as “illegals,” while threatening music underscores his comments.

Throughout the film, efforts to brand undocumented immigrants as criminals abound. A ranch owner near the border recounts many undocumented immigrants leaving trash, which he says cattle eat and die from, on his land. Once some migrants “butchered a young calf,” he says. A woman says her hospital in Douglass, Arizona, closed because it lost money treating undocumented immigrants who couldn’t pay. A news broadcast details a drug-smuggling tunnel that runs from Agua Prieta, Mexico to Douglass, Arizona.

Lupe Moreno, whose nephew was killed by an undocumented immigrant, is part of a group called Minuteman, a cadre of vigilante border patrollers labeled a “nativist extremist group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The film doesn’t bother to explain much about the group because if they did, they’d have to acknowledge its disturbing history and ties to neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

One scene shows competing rallies, one in favor of rights for the undocumented and another for strict immigration enforcement. At the latter rally, Minuteman co-founder Jim Gilchrist, who was running for Congress at the time, spoke. In an interview there, Gilchrist claims that at the other rally, “[t]here’s not one American flag out there;” however, he says that in the pro-immigrant demonstration, a “communist flag” and an anarchist flag flew. Gilchrist was running for office as a member of the American Independent Party, the segregationist party of George Wallace. This party, based in California, has actually put Trump on the presidential ballot in that state this year.

On his 2006 campaign website, Gilchrist claimed, “Although some [illegal immigrants from Mexico] presumably have good intentions, at least twenty percent (20%) of southern border-crossers are known criminals, drug dealers, sex traffickers, and gang lords.”

Chris Simcox, Minuteman co-founder, makes an appearance. He’s now in jailfor child molestation.

Footage of protesters with bandanas covering their faces appears, some wearing all black, some yelling at mounted police, over brooding music that pervades the film.

“We are in a battle right now,” says Moreno. “We’re in a battle for this nation.”

Moreno met with Trump last year, and Breitbart News was happy to spread the word. Unsurprisingly, Gilchrist endorsed Trump in 2015.

The film features many interviews but few facts. In one of the only scenes to include a statistic, an unidentified agent from California’s Los Angeles County tells a crowd gathered for what appears to be a law enforcement memorial for a sheriff’s deputy shot to death by an undocumented immigrant: “There are 801,000 situations where people have been murdered in the state of California.” It’s unclear what kind of situations he’s talking about and over what period of time, but even so, that’s an insanely high figure for any record of murders in the state. Then he says: “Add up the other border states, now we’re up to 3,000.” If perchance he multiplied the real stat for California by 100,000, Citizens United didn’t bother to clarify or fix his error.

No journalists or researchers were interviewed for “Border War.” Ten years after the film was made, the anti-establishment and “law-and-order candidate” Trump has made a promise to build that wall a signature talking point.

‘Battle for America’

“Battle for America,” a 2010 ode to the then-nascent Tea Party, is more overtly propagandistic than “Border War.” The film devotes 30 minutes to establishing the enemy (the “radical left,” purportedly led by Obama), another 20 minutes to the nation’s problems (ostensibly caused by America’s impending “European socialist model,” the poor economy and international relations and terror threats) and the final half hour to the celebrated bravery of Tea Party activists and the crucial 2010 elections. It’s all narrated by a host of right-wing ideologues including Dick Morris (also host of “Hillary: The Movie”), Lou Dobbs, Ann Coulter and founding Breitbart News editor Michael Flynn.

“We’re being asked to choose right now whether or not the United States is going to continue to be a culture of free enterprise envisioned by our founding fathers or whether or not we’re choosing a new culture, a European-style culture of social democracy,” says Arthur Brooks, president of the Koch brothers-funded American Enterprise Institute.

Employing a repetitive, synthesized and dramatic orchestral score and a remarkable amount of stock footage, the film often flutters between what Bannon and Bossie see as good and evil: for instance, footage of Muslims praying as former Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) warns of “terrorists out there that want to kill us,” then the Statue of Liberty; a Palestinian rally and 9/11 wreckage followed by images of the flowing American flag and U.S. troops on the march.

The movie doesn’t hold back from race-baiting, often showing clips of black people characterized as having bad intentions. Besides Obama, the film depicts as the enemy New York Rep. Charlie Rangel, California Rep. Maxine Waters, Michigan Rep. John Conyers, South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson (“a radical if there ever was one,” says Morris), activist Van Jones—and even Harvard’s Henry Louis Gates (shown having a beer with Obama, Joe Biden and the police sergeant who arrested him at his own home). There’s even a clip of a young black woman rejoicing at Obama’s inauguration; it’s clear that the filmmakers do not intend the viewer to share in her jubilation.

Listing the many problems they have with America under Obama, the far-right narrators bemoan what they claim is Americans’ dependence on government, the failed stimulus and the president’s purported “apology tour”—replete with footage of burning flags; Muslims in traditional dress; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, then president of Iran; the socialist Hugo Chávez, then president of Venezuela; and aged video of Fascist troops marching in perfect synchrony. Amidst the sea of mostly unrelated footage, the hosts make absurd claims; for example, one asserts that expanding Medicaid would “move primary care into the emergency room,” when the reality is just the opposite.

In the final third of the film, Bannon lauds the Tea Party, introducing uplifting, trumpet-heavy music and shots of seemingly all-white Tea Party rallies where so-called patriots smile, cheer and wave flags, characterized as standing against socialism and fighting for freedom. In the last segment, “How We Win,” the music shifts, and Newt Gingrich, Dobbs, Coulter and others talk about “an unchecked, unstopped, unlimited Obama radicalism” and how “the last, best hope of the world is at stake” in the 2010 elections, over images of the doomed Titanic, burning forests and collapsing icebergs. Only the Tea Party patriots can save America, “where freedom can flourish,” by voting for liberty-loving conservatives.

In her analysis of Riefenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will,” Price noted that “perhaps most critically, Germany’s comeback is portrayed as well underway; the viewer need only jump aboard. What is being said implicitly is that there is no alternative.” In “Battle for America,” Bannon and Bossie follow the same formula, positing the Tea Party movement as the bandwagon to jump on. But the formula isn’t the only thing about the film that carries echoes of Goebbels: a researcher and counsel for the film was white nationalist Robert Vandervoort.

‘Occupy Unmasked’

Just two years after making a film lionizing the “grassroots” Tea Party, Bannon and Bossie made a hit piece on another protest movement, this one composed of people concerned about income inequality and angry at the big banks that wrecked the global economy.

Naturally, the propaganda duo resorted to its go-to method when making “Occupy Unmasked”: depicting a war between a vicious enemy and strong, patriotic Americans. It’s a brash film with one obvious goal: to discredit the Occupy Wall Street movement and thus prevent conservatives from caring about the country’s massive wealth disparity.

The film opens with a succession of TV news clips about the national debt, splicing selected segments together over a suspenseful soundtrack in order to dramatize the “debt crisis.” We see an image of Obama with the words “an organizer” floating next to him. Liberals, as in “Battle for America,” are labeled as radicals ready to destroy America as we know it. In fact, the movie has three acts, named after Bannon’s characterization of strategies in Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals,” a guide for community organizers hailed by the left and scorned by the right. (Ironically, however, Tea Party organizer Dick Armey and other conservatives used some of Alinsky’s tactics.) Bannon frames Occupy as an anarchist group—even the “a” in “Occupy Unmasked” is the anarchist symbol—representing “the organized left,” which is said to be set on securing government handouts.

The late Breitbart himself is the narrator, establishing this war as “the battle for the soul of America.”

“Occupy Unmasked,” like Bannon and Bossie’s other films, uses strange, unrelated footage, often involving people of color, and sets up black people as a representation of evil. While defaming Occupy in an extended opening of the film, they intersperse news clips and footage of protesters with unrelated clips of a dark-skinned snake charmer, all while splicing in clips of “radicals” including Van Jones (“of the far left group, Color of Change”), Princeton professor Cornel West and actor Whoopi Goldberg.

Next comes another common propaganda tactic: using anecdotes to make a general argument. Bannon shows an interview with one Occupy protester who mentions drugs; he extrapolates that the Occupiers only wanted to “create their own Woodstock” with widespread drug use and sex. One woman says that sexual assault occurred, so Bannon portrays Occupy campers as a mob of rapists. “There’s raping and there’s pillaging and there’s pooping,” spouts Breitbart.

While “black bloc” anarchists were a presence at Occupy, they by no means represented the movement as a whole, and progressives criticized them. But Bannon shows countless clips of protesters wearing all black and covering their faces, clashing with police, committing vandalism or marching while holding black flags. Breitbart says the protesters are socialists who want to overthrow the government and create tension with the police.

No one interviewed on camera is a nonpartisan journalist or researcher, yet Bannon and Bossie present their commentators as authorities, failing to disclose their ties to Breitbart News. Pam Key, who worked at Glenn Beck’s The Blaze (she now writes for Breitbart News) and is known for making misleading videos, says, “These people have set off a powder keg, and what is gonna happen, nobody knows … It has the potential of becoming incredibly violent.” She claims Occupiers planned their violence “in tents at night with drugs and weapons.”

Other guests include Mandy Nagy, known online as Liberty Chick, who was a writer and researcher for Breitbart News; Brandon Darby, who once served as an informant for the FBI on left-wing protesters (he now manages Breitbart’s Texas vertical); Christian Hartsock, a Breitbart columnist who has worked with James O’Keefe on misleading sting videos against ACORN and teachers’ unions; and David Horowitz, an author and speaker whom the Southern Poverty Law Center considers an anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim extremist and who frequently writes for Breitbart.

Breitbart himself takes aim at the very concept of community organizing, painting it as the dark province of bad people. “Community organizing is not the American people getting together to help your next door neighbor put food into the cupboard,” he fumes. “Community organiz[ers] are radicals, anarchists, socialists, communists, public sector unions who are hell-bent on a nihilistic destruction of everything that people in American care for.”

In the second segment, “The Issue Is Never the Issue,” Darby and Horowitz relate Occupy to communism and socialism as the movie shows a flurry of clips of Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin, Fidel Castro, the Black Panthers—and images of dead and starving people. “People who were in the left, like the Panthers, could be killers, and they would be protected by the rest of the left,” states Horowitz.

The film then plunges into full-on conspiracy theories, claiming there was a “secret council” leading Occupy that no one knew about; that Hillary Clinton and Obama are out to destroy America because of the “direct line” from Alinsky to both of them.

The finale, featuring a mix of cliché Hollywood orchestral film music and electronically produced industrial metal, somehow ratchets up the alleged danger of Occupy, even throwing in scenes of Greek protesters hurling bombs in Athens, because, hey, why not? “There’s definitely a massive desire to sort of bring the violence of Europe over to America,” claims Key.

Unlike many propaganda films, this one doesn’t offer a glimpse of an America freed from evil, or a distinct entity that will fight them and win, except perhaps Breitbart himself, shown yelling at protesters, “Behave yourself!” and “Stop raping people!”

Now, Bannon and Bossie, this estimable pair of propaganda purveyors, are Trump’s best hope in his deceptive media campaign. Trump’s campaign ads, as well as the conspiracy theories he and his surrogates peddle, would seem to bear their imprint.

What an alliance: A candidate—the original birther, known for creating baseless conspiracy theories, as well as business fraud, pay-to-play politics and using his “charitable” foundation stocked with other people’s money to pay off his company’s court settlements—and the masterminds behind some of the nation’s most shameless far-right propaganda. They’re all working together to put a sociopath in the White House.

6a. The concluding portion of the program introduces points of information that will be discussed at greater length and in greater detail in the next program.

One of Trump’s most vocal and visible supporters abroad has been Nigel Farage head of the UK Independence Party and a primary architect of the “Brexit.”

“Obscene Donald Trump Comments ‘Alpha Male Boasting;” BBC; 10/09/2016.

Obscene remarks made about women by US presidential candidate Donald Trump were no more than “alpha male boasting”, Nigel Farage has said.

The UKIP interim leader told Fox News the remarks were “ugly” but something “if we are being honest that men do”.

Mr Trump’s remarks, made 11 years ago, have led at least 33 senior Republicans to withdraw their support from his presidential bid. . . .

6b. Interesting, and possibly significant, is the fact that Farage has a German wife. In other circumstances, this might well be insignificant. In the world of clandestine operations, however, a wife or paramour can be a case officer and/or paymaster.

In this context, we note that Britain’s unwillingness to contribute forces to a German-dominated, all-EU military structure that was a significant element in generating sympathy for the Brexit in British power elite circles.

We wonder if Farage may have been carrying water for the Germans in this regard. Certainly, the Brexit removed a significant obstacle to the all-EU army. The Brexit figures to damage Britain in the years to come. Was the intent of Farage’s movement to deal a significant blow to one of Germany’s most effective opponents in the Second World War?

“Alleged Sighting of Farage at German Embassy Sparks Citizenship Speculation” by John Henley; The Guardian; 8/16/2016.

A reported sighting of Nigel Farage queuing at the German embassy has prompted fevered, but probably inaccurate, speculation on social media that the Eurosceptic former Ukip leader could be applying for dual citizenship.
A spokesman said he could not contact Farage – whose wife, Kirsten Mehr, is German – so was unable to confirm whether he had even been at the embassy on Monday when a Facebook user reported seeing him.
“There is absolutely nothing at this point to corroborate that he was actually there,” the spokesman said. “So far, all there is to suggest this is one Facebook post. Since when does one Facebook post make a story?”
Sources close to Farage subsequently said the suggestion he might be applying for dual nationality was not true. . . . .

 

7a. Trump has also received the support of the mercurial, bombastic Russian fascist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, whose political career was launched with the financial assistance of Gerhard Frey, a prominent German Nazi.

“Putin Ally Tells Americans: Vote for Trump or Face Nuclear War” by Andrew Osborn; Reuters; 10/12/2016.

Americans should vote for Donald Trump as president next month or risk being dragged into a nuclear war, according to a Russian ultra-nationalist ally of President Vladimir Putin who likes to compare himself to the U.S. Republican candidate.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a flamboyant veteran lawmaker known for his fiery rhetoric, told Reuters in an interview that Trump was the only person able to de-escalate dangerous tensions between Moscow and Washington.

By contrast, Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton could spark World War Three, said Zhirinovsky, who received a top state award from Putin after his pro-Kremlin Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) came third in Russia’s parliamentary election last month.

Many Russians regard Zhirinovsky as a clownish figure who makes outspoken statements to grab attention but he is also widely viewed as a faithful servant of Kremlin policy, sometimes used to float radical opinions to test public reaction. . . .
. . . . Zhirinovsky likes to shock liberal public opinion and he has frequently heaped scorn on the West, which he and other Russian nationalists regard as decadent, hypocritical and corrupted by political correctness.

His combative style, reminiscent of Trump’s, ensures him plenty of television air time and millions of votes in Russian elections, often from the kind of blue-collar workers who are the bedrock of the U.S. Republican candidate’s support.

Zhirinovsky once proposed blocking off mostly Muslim southern Russia with a barbed wire fence, echoing Trump’s call for a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

Zhirinovsky, who said he met Trump in New York in 2002, revels in his similarities with the American businessman – they are the same age, favor coarse, sometimes misogynistic language and boast about putting their own country first. Zhirinovsky has even said he wants a DNA test to see if he is related to Trump. . . .
. . . .In other comments that have delighted Moscow, Trump has questioned the value of NATO for Washington, has spoken ambiguously about Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea and suggested that the United States under his leadership would adopt a more isolationist foreign policy. . . .

7b. In an excerpt from FTR #94 (recorded on 5/05/1998), we note that Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s political career received funding from Gerhard Frey, who was very close to Reinhard Gehlen and whose anti-U.S./anti-NATO political stance resonates with Donald Trump’s rhetoric. It was Frey whose Deutsche National Zeitung and Soldaten Zeitung first published the disinformation that Lee Harvey Oswald fired at Major General Edwin Walker. (Supposedly this was first disclosed to the Warren Commission in early December of 1963. Frey published it in his paper on 11/29/1963!

Note that Frey’s anti-American and anti-NATO views dovetail with the geopolitical goals articulated in the Buerger Zeitung’s “Open Letter to Stalin,” highlighted in FTR #918.

8a. Again, in FTR #’s 918 and 919, we explored the Buerger Zeitung’s “Open Letter to Stalin,” a gambit that we feel corresponds well to Donald Trump’s relatively benign comments bout Putin/Ukraine/Crimea etc. In addition to the “all things Steuben” orientation of Trump advisor Joseph E. Schmitz, we note Donald Trump’s links to the Steuben Society milieu.

“Donald Trump;” wikipedia.

. . . . Trump has said that he is proud of his German heritage; he served as grand marshal of the 1999 German-American Steuben Parade in New York City.[12][nb 1]. . . . .

8b. More about the contemporary Trump/Steuben Society connection:

“NY Restaurant Takes Down Trump Photo Amid Yelp Complaints” by Sarah Tisinger; WQAD.com; 8/5/2016.

. . . . “He is also very involved with the Steuben association and wished us luck when we opened the restaurant 8 years ago with that picture. Does not mean we support his views. . . .

 

Discussion

8 comments for “FTR #928 The Trumpenkampfverbande, Part 7: Locker Room Eclipse, Part 2”

  1. It’s looking increasingly like the primary message of Donald Trump’s ‘closing argument’ in the final couple of weeks is basically going to be “I’m actually winning, and all those polls showing me not winning are from a lying media that’s trying to make me lose”. Or something like that:

    The Guardian

    ‘Thieves and crooks’: Trump persists with attacks on media and polls

    Republican nominee appears in Florida to deride US media and falsely claim hacked emails of Hillary Clinton campaign chair show poll rigging

    Ben Jacobs in Washington

    Monday 24 October 2016 17.01 EDT

    Donald Trump escalated his rhetoric against the media and against pollsters on Monday, alleging that both were part of a “rigged system” trying to undermine his candidacy.

    Speaking in a rally in St Augustine, Florida, Trump falsely claimed that hacked emails of John Podesta showed that the Clinton campaign chair was “rigging the polls by oversampling Democrats”.

    The Republican nominee, whose campaign is managed by the pollster Kellyanne Conway, called this “a voter suppression technique”. Oversampling is a method used by pollsters to get better measurements of specific sub-groups and is entirely normal in polling.

    The statement followed a tweet from the Republican on Monday morning in which he claimed: “Major story that the Dems are making up phony polls in order to suppress the the Trump [sic]. We are going to WIN!” Almost every independent poll has consistently shown a steady lead for Clinton since late July and Conway has repeatedly conceded in recent days that Trump is behind.

    Trump also escalated his attacks on media. He said the press, which he described as being composed of “thieves and crooks”, may be even more corrupt than the rival whom he has repeatedly derided as “Crooked Hillary”. The Ivy League-educated Trump, who lives in an ornate penthouse on Fifth Avenue in New York, also slammed journalists as being out of touch with working Americans, saying: “The media is entitled, condescending and even contemptuous of people who don’t share their elitist views.” He warned vaguely of those who “rig the media” and said: “They can wield absolute power over your life, your economy, and your country.”

    In addition, Trump complained at his rally, which was broadcast live on cable news: “Sometimes I’ll have these great events and it isn’t covered.”

    “The Republican nominee, whose campaign is managed by the pollster Kellyanne Conway, called this “a voter suppression technique”. Oversampling is a method used by pollsters to get better measurements of specific sub-groups and is entirely normal in polling.”

    Yes, the latest evidence of mass cheating with the polls is apparently a Wikileaks leak showing a hacked 2008 email to John Podesta where Podesta calls for oversampling of certain groups in upcoming polls by the campaign. And, yes, oversampling is a standard technique pollsters use to learn more about specific demographics and in no way “rigs” a polls unless the pollster is specifically not accounting for the oversampling.

    So that’s an example of Trump’s ‘closing argument’: He’s actually winning and the only reason this isn’t obvious is because everyone, including pollsters, are cheating.

    And if you see any news articles about how Trump apparently doesn’t understanding how oversampling works in polling, it’s because those reporters are a bunch of Nazis. That another meme that’s emerged, brought to you by Nazis for Trump:

    BuzzFeed

    The Alt-Right Has Adopted An Old Nazi Term For Reporters

    “A sly reference,” says a white nationalist leader.

    posted on Oct. 24, 2016, at 8:52 a.m.

    Rosie Gray
    BuzzFeed News Reporter

    It’s become a familiar routine by now: Trump supporters haranguing the press at rallies, booing them and screaming at them.

    “Tell the truth!” and “CNN sucks!” have become staples at nearly every Trump rally. On Saturday night, a new and foreign accusation came to the fore: “Lügenpresse!”

    The term, which means “lying press” in German, has a history dating back to the mid-1800s and was used by the Nazis to discredit the media. In recent years, it has been revived by German far-right anti-immigrant groups. And on Saturday, it made an appearance at a Trump rally in Cleveland, Ohio.

    After the rally finished, one man approached the press pen and shouted insults, accusing the media of being in the tank for the Clintons and being “bought and paid for.” Another man, wearing a Make America Great Again hat and holding a sign with the same slogan, walked up beside him and began yelling at the press that we were “lügenpresse,” adding that the phrase means “lying press” in German. The first man started shouting it too, then turned to the second and made a self-deprecating remark about not pronouncing it right.

    Friendly interaction outside the press pen. "Lugenpresse!" pic.twitter.com/MWUZynJ8jx— Rosie Gray (@RosieGray) October 23, 2016

    The traveling press was quickly hustled out of the venue and on toward the next rally; I didn’t have a chance to ask the man his name, or how he came across this term. I tweeted the video I shot of the two men and left it at that, not realizing how quickly and widely the moment would be circulated.

    Richard Spencer, the white nationalist leader who is considered one of the leaders of the alt-right, was able to shed some light on this for me.

    “I see ‘lying press’ and ‘Lügenpresse’ all over the place,” Spencer said in an email. “It’s typical Alt Right: serious… ironic… and with a sly reference to boot.”

    Spencer said the term had been in use in American alt-right circles for “a year, at the least.”

    The website Occidental Dissent, one of the nodes of alt-right online commentary, frequently uses the term, and the #lugenpresse hashtag on Twitter is fairly active and largely used by alt-right Twitter accounts:

    I look forward to the harsh crackdown on @CNN and other #LyingPress #Lugenpresse organizations when DJT takes office.— The Radical Saxon (@Loyal_Laddie) October 13, 2016

    It funny how stupid the MSM is. Time after time they attack Trump, only to later find out that it made him stronger. #lugenpresse pic.twitter.com/S8deHgGU3c— Neil Turner ?? (@NeilTurner_) October 13, 2016

    With the internet, the Citizens can see how much the media lies and distorts. #Lugenpresse https://t.co/IyiMOi5AKF— #FreeRicky Viking ?? (@thebasedviking) September 20, 2016

    Breitbart News reported favorably on the term in an interview earlier this year with the leader of the German far-right group PEGIDA, writing, “It will come as no surprise to many that the mainstream media would lash out against a word that highlights their own, intentional failings. But [Lutz] Bachmann’s PEGIDA has popularized the term to the point where it has become a pillar — even a rallying cry — for the nationalist, populist movements across the continent.”

    A panel of German linguists, in response, named “Lügenpresse” the worst word of 2014.

    The alt-right has been emboldened this year by Trump’s rise; the chairman of Breitbart News, who has spoken of his website being a home for the alt-right, is now Trump’s campaign CEO, and Hillary Clinton’s speech tying Trump to the alt-right launched the movement to new heights of notoriety. The embrace of a term like “lügenpresse” is, as Spencer says, classic alt-right; the proud “shitlords” of the movement take pride in embracing edgy terminology, the more anti-PC the better.

    Meanwhile, the hatred toward the press among the larger population of Trump supporters grows increasingly pronounced nearly every day. In these final weeks of the campaign, at nearly every rally, Trump riles up his audience against the press as reporters sit in the media pen, easy targets for vitriol. Reporters disembarking the press bus at Trump’s rally in Naples, Florida, on Sunday, the day after the “lügenpresse” incident, were immediately greeted by boos and shouts of “Tell the truth!”

    Meanwhile, the hatred toward the press among the larger population of Trump supporters grows increasingly pronounced nearly every day. In these final weeks of the campaign, at nearly every rally, Trump riles up his audience against the press as reporters sit in the media pen, easy targets for vitriol. Reporters disembarking the press bus at Trump’s rally in Naples, Florida, on Sunday, the day after the “lügenpresse” incident, were immediately greeted by boos and shouts of “Tell the truth!””

    So there we have it: Trump is winning and the only reason this isn’t being reflected in the polls is the crooked media that keeps making Trump look bad and doesn’t focus on all the great polls showing Trump winning. And if there are no polls showing Trump winning it’s because of cheating pollsters. And if comes up short with actual votes that will be due to the rampant voter fraud the Roger Stone/Alex Jones poll watchers are going to uncover. That’s the narrative and the Trump team has got to “red pill” as many people as possible with that narrative and convince them that everything other than the Trump movement is a lie designed to steer them away from Trump’s Truths if the “everyone is lying to you but Donald Trump” scheme is going to work.

    So get ready. There’s still two weeks left. That’s plenty of time for things to get extra weird.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 24, 2016, 2:39 pm
  2. Here’s a story worth keeping in mind given Donald Trump’s vows to dramatically strengthen libel laws: The American Bar Associated commissioned a report examining Trump’s use of libel laws to silence and punish his critics. And such a report labeling Trump a “libel bully” was indeed produced. But it wasn’t published. Why? Take a guess. A very ironic guess:

    The New York Times

    Fearing Trump, Bar Association Stifles Report Calling Him a ‘Libel Bully’

    By ADAM LIPTAK
    OCT. 24, 2016

    WASHINGTON — Alarmed by Donald J. Trump’s record of filing lawsuits to punish and silence his critics, a committee of media lawyers at the American Bar Association commissioned a report on Mr. Trump’s litigation history. The report concluded that Mr. Trump was a “libel bully” who had filed many meritless suits attacking his opponents and had never won in court.

    But the bar association refused to publish the report, citing “the risk of the A.B.A. being sued by Mr. Trump.”

    David J. Bodney, a former chairman of the media-law committee, said he was baffled by the bar association’s interference in the committee’s journal.

    “It is more than a little ironic,” he said, “that a publication dedicated to the exploration of First Amendment issues is subjected to censorship when it seeks to publish an article about threats to free speech.”

    In internal communications, the bar association’s leadership, including its general counsel’s office and public relations staff, did not appear to dispute the report’s conclusions.

    But James Dimos, the association’s deputy executive director, objected to the term “libel bully” and other sharp language in the report, saying in an Oct. 19 email that the changes were needed to address “the legitimately held views of A.B.A. staff who are charged with managing the reputational and financial risk to the association.”

    “While we do not believe that such a lawsuit has merit, it is certainly reasonable to attempt to reduce such a likelihood by removing inflammatory language that is unnecessary to further the article’s thesis,” Mr. Dimos wrote. “Honestly, it is the same advice members of the forum would provide to their own clients.”

    Mr. Trump has made frequent threats in recent weeks to file more lawsuits, including ones against The New York Times for publishing parts of his tax returns and accounts of women accusing him of sexual misconduct.. On Saturday, he threatened to sue the women themselves.

    Members of the committee expressed dismay with the bar association’s actions.

    “It’s colossally inappropriate for the A.B.A. to sponsor a group of lawyers to study free speech issues and at the same time censor their free speech,” said Charles D. Tobin, another former chairman of the committee.

    Mr. Dimos did not respond to a request for comment. Carol Stevens, an A.B.A. spokeswoman and a former managing editor of USA Today, said the association had only minor and routine objections to the article’s tone.

    “We thought it was an insightful article, and we asked them to consider minor edits,” she said.

    George Freeman, a third former chairman of the forum, disputed that characterization.

    “I don’t think it’s fair to say ‘minor edits,’ ” he said. “Among the edits they wanted to make were the title and the lede,” he said, using newspaper jargon for the article’s opening passage.

    The article was titled “Donald J. Trump Is a Libel Bully but Also a Libel Loser.” The bar association’s proposed title was “Presidential Election Demonstrates Need for Anti-Slapp Laws.” The acronym stands for Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. In states with such laws, defendants can sometimes seek early dismissal of libel and similar suits and recover their legal fees.

    Mr. Freeman, a former lawyer at The New York Times Company, is executive director of the Media Law Resource Center, a trade association of law firms and media companies. On Friday, the center posted the report on its site.

    Ms. Stevens, the bar association spokeswoman, emphatically denied that the fear of a libel suit had played any role in the association’s objections. Ms. Stevens declined to comment when she was read passages from Mr. Dimos’s email. “I’m not a lawyer,” she said, “and that wasn’t my fear.”

    Presented with the email, which indicated that she had received it at the time, she pointed to a passage in it that raised another criticism of the study. “Mr. Dimos’s primary concern was the use of partisan language,” Ms. Stevens said. “By policy, the A.B.A. is strictly nonpartisan.”

    The study was prepared by Susan E. Seager, a former journalist, a Yale Law School graduate and a longtime First Amendment lawyer. She found seven free speech-related lawsuits filed by Mr. Trump and his companies. They included ones against an architecture critic and his newspaper; a book author and his publisher; a political commentator; a former student at Trump University; two labor unions; a network executive; and a beauty contest contestant.

    “It’s based on court records, all of it,” Ms. Seager said in an interview. The report includes 81 footnotes.

    The report concluded that Mr. Trump had lost four suits, withdrawn two and obtained one default judgment in a private arbitration when a former Miss Pennsylvania failed to appear to contest the matter.

    “Donald J. Trump is a libel bully,” the report concluded. “Like most bullies, he’s also a loser, to borrow from Trump’s vocabulary.”

    The bar association sought to eliminate that conclusion, which Ms. Seager said was the point of her report.

    “I wanted to alert media lawyers that a lot of these threats are very hollow,” she said.

    Ms. Seager said the bar association’s action showed that Mr. Trump’s threats work. “The A.B.A. took out every word that was slightly critical of Donald Trump,” she said. “It proved my point.”

    Mr. Tobin said the media law committee, the Forum on Communications Law, had been prepared to publish the report without changes.

    Mr. Bodney said the country’s finest media lawyers had been ready to defend the bar association without charge had Mr. Trump chosen to sue.

    “If push came to shove, as I recently told an A.B.A. representative, one could surely imagine top-notch libel lawyers standing in line to defend this article against a defamation lawsuit on a pro bono basis,” he said. “Evidently, that wasn’t assurance enough.”

    “Ms. Seager said the bar association’s action showed that Mr. Trump’s threats work. “The A.B.A. took out every word that was slightly critical of Donald Trump,” she said. “It proved my point.””

    Yep, by eventually issuing a watered-down report, the A.B.A. quite possibly made the strongest case it could have regarding Trump’s status as a “libel bully”. The original report using stronger language like “libel bully” would have no doubt made a powerful case given the abundance of available evidence. But having that report defanged like this over fears of a Trump lawsuit, and then having the media report on it and dissect the forced edits, is just about the most devastating report the A.B.A. could make.

    Now we get to see if Trump is going to sue the A.B.A. for ironically making him look like an even bigger libel bully by preemptively succumbing to his predictive bullying. He obviously wouldn’t have a very good libel case, but that’s half the point of the whole report: Trump wages libel lawsuits that have no basis. Over and over. And loses because it was a stupid case. So we’ll see!

    And in other Trump-related libel news…

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 25, 2016, 2:47 pm
  3. The Huffington Post has a piece revealing a rather odd aspect to Roger Stone’s plans to unleash an army of “vote protectors” in inner cities on election day to conduct what they are calling “exit polls” and watch for signs of voter fraud: Roger Stone’s website set up specifically to recruit and instruct people for this scheme contains some rather controversial instructions. Anyone can sign up at the website and join, which is exactly what the Huffington Post’s reporters did to learn more about Stone’s plans after he declined to answer their questions. And when the Huffington Post followed up with Stone with question about all the instructions for Stone’s volunteer army that they found on website – instructions like creating official-looking “Vote Protector” badges to add an authentic feel to the operation and instructions on how to video record people at the polls and upload them to the website – Stone denied any knowledge of those plans, and told the reporters he didn’t approve of those plans and had them removed from the website. Also, he asserted that his anti-voter-fraud group is ‘Stop the Steal”, which is merely working with “Vote Protectors” and his vote watchers had no such plans in mind (note that the ‘Vote Protectors” website explicitly states that it’s paid for by “Stop the Steal”) .

    So Roger Stone’s group was basically planning on doing things on election day that the group couldn’t actually get caught planning to do before the election because that would look really bad and possibly be illegal and the only thing that could thwart this plan is some intrepid reporter volunteer for Stone’s group and exposing it. So while Stone’s plans for convincing Trump’s base that the election was all rigged is probably very devious from a psychological warfare perspective, there appears to be some holes in the plan:

    The Huffington Post

    Trump Loyalists Planned Voter Intimidation Using Fake ID Badges, Fake Exit Polling — Until HuffPost Asked Them About It
    The “Vote Protectors” are affiliated with Trump adviser Roger Stone.

    Christina Wilkie
    National Political Reporter

    10/25/2016 11:03 pm ET | Updated 7 hours ago

    Vote Protectors, the anti-voter-fraud group hosted by Donald Trump ally and political dirty trickster Roger Stone, plans to send volunteers to monitor polling places in nine cities with high minority populations on Election Day, Stone said last week. Untrained poll-watchers have intimidated voters in previous elections. But Vote Protectors is going further than its predecessors.

    Stone’s group created an official-looking ID badge for its volunteers to wear, and its volunteers planned to videotape voters and conduct fake “exit polls,” efforts that election experts say risks intimidating and confusing voters. Or at least that’s what the group was planning to do before The Huffington Post asked Stone about it on Tuesday. The controversial Trump ally, long known for his bare-knuckled political tactics, said that key proposals on his group’s websites were there without his knowledge, and assured HuffPost that he would operate within the confines of election law.

    Stone had initially refused to explain just how Vote Protectors planned to accomplish its goals. So on Monday, The Huffington Post responded to the group’s request for additional volunteers to work as “Exit Pollers and Citizen Journalists.”

    Once registered, HuffPost used the site’s “I.D. Badge Generator” to create this badge, which could pass for an official credential to people unfamiliar with polling signage and rules.

    [see image of example “Vote Protectors” badge]

    HuffPost also created a few more badges, like the one below. There was nothing to keep us from creating unlimited ID badges.

    Vote Protectors’ volunteers “commit to go out in November and post their YouTube and Periscope streams to the [Vote Protectors] website, organized by state and district, as well as enter actual exit poll survey responses,” the group’s “members only” page reads.

    To help volunteers broadcast their videos directly to the web, Vote Protectors offers detailed instructions on how to load livestream video software onto a smartphone and how to post videos to the Vote Protectors site.

    By contrast, there appears to be very little information on how Vote Protectors are supposed to conduct “exit polls.” The video below, illustrating how to get started as a volunteer with the group, contains little information on how to conduct exit polls but plenty of information on how to stream videos of voters to the web.

    Still, anyone registered as a volunteer with Vote Protectors can tally up votes at any time, for Trump or any other candidate, in what the site calls its “exit poll.” HuffPost accidentally logged two votes for Trump on Monday, visible below, despite having never entered an electoral precinct, and using a fake name.

    Reached for comment on Tuesday, Stone told HuffPost he was “working with StopTheSteal.com to conduct exit polls for the purpose of comparing the results to the actual reported results on a precinct by precinct basis.” He noted that this effort “is independent of the Trump campaign,” adding, “I don’t know what their election day plans are.”

    When HuffPost asked Stone specifically about the badges and the videotaping, however, he became defensive. “I know nothing about badges or videotaping,” he wrote, adding, “Where do you get this from?”

    Even before Stone responded, the “I.D. Badge Generator” page had been removed from the Vote Protectors website. When HuffPost sent Stone images from the site showing the instructions for badges and livestreams, Stone did not respond.

    A few hours later, Stone emailed HuffPost. “I have ordered them taken down. Bad idea, as is video taping. First I have heard of it. I am only interested in a valid, scientifically conducted exit poll.” Stone later noted that Vote Protectors was collaborating with his group, Stop the Steal, but he said they were not one and the same.

    Stone said that unlike the model currently run by Vote Protectors, his group would “ask each poll worker to sign a sworn affidavit that the information they turn in for tabulation is true based on interviews.”

    These affidavits, Stone told radio host Alex Jones Tuesday, could then be used by the Trump campaign to contest the election results.

    The goal of Vote Protectors is to crack down on what Trump and his supporters call “voter fraud,” a statistically nonexistent phenomenon that the nominee has nonetheless used to whip up fear among his supporters and delegitimize the coming presidential election.

    The idea that Trump, who in some polls trails Democrat Hillary Clinton by double digits, might lose the presidential election because of voter fraud is incredibly far-fetched. Still, he has peddled false theories about how the election will be “stolen” from him because the American voting system is “rigged.” And his calls to his supporters to watch certain polling locations has left election watchdogs increasingly on edge.

    For Danielle Lang, the deputy director of voting rights at the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center, the Vote Protectors’ emphasis on posting livestream video of voters to the internet is especially disturbing. “It’s inherently intimidating and an invasion of privacy” to videotape private citizens at the polls without their consent, Lang told HuffPost. “When that’s being livestreamed to the internet, it amplifies the potentially intimidating aspect of it, and violates a sense of security and privacy people have a right to enjoy at the polls.”

    Lang noted that while each state has different rules about how many feet from a polling place political groups and campaign workers can set up, “Objectively, intimidating voters is unlawful, no matter where you do it.”

    But intimidating voters is precisely what 61-year-old Trump supporter Steve Webb of Ohio plans to do. Webb said he plans to patrol his local polling stations to look for, “Well, it’s called racial profiling. Mexicans. Syrians. People who can’t speak American,” he told The Boston Globe. “I’m going to go right up behind them. I’ll do everything legally. I want to see if they are accountable. I’m not going to do anything illegal. I’m going to make them a little bit nervous.”

    So far, the Vote Protectors appear to have recruited just a few hundred volunteers. But Stone told HuffPost that volunteers are being recruited “from several sources,” and Stone seems to have ramped up his pitch for new recruits in recent days.

    “We’re going to have to assess the situation immediately after the election, and make a presentation to Donald Trump of exactly what we have found, [with] sworn affidavits from each of the volunteers,” Stone told Jones Tuesday, during the third hour of Jones’ radio broadcast.

    “What we need right now, more than anything, is people,” Stone said. “We will train you, we will assign you, and we will help you through the process, but we … need an army of InfoWars warriors to help us with this project,” he said, referring to Jones’ conspiracy website, Infowars.com.

    “They have George Soros and his millions,” Stone said. “We have the blood sweat and toil of the American people.”

    ““What we need right now, more than anything, is people,” Stone said. “We will train you, we will assign you, and we will help you through the process, but we … need an army of InfoWars warriors to help us with this project,” he said, referring to Jones’ conspiracy website, Infowars.com.

    An army of InfoWars warriors is being raised by Roger Stone for election day. What could possibly go wrong? Well, according to Roger, because they’re all going to sign sworn affidavits that everything they submit is true. So nothing could go wrong:

    When HuffPost asked Stone specifically about the badges and the videotaping, however, he became defensive. “I know nothing about badges or videotaping,” he wrote, adding, “Where do you get this from?”

    Even before Stone responded, the “I.D. Badge Generator” page had been removed from the Vote Protectors website. When HuffPost sent Stone images from the site showing the instructions for badges and livestreams, Stone did not respond.

    A few hours later, Stone emailed HuffPost. “I have ordered them taken down. Bad idea, as is video taping. First I have heard of it. I am only interested in a valid, scientifically conducted exit poll.” Stone later noted that Vote Protectors was collaborating with his group, Stop the Steal, but he said they were not one and the same.

    Stone said that unlike the model currently run by Vote Protectors, his group would “ask each poll worker to sign a sworn affidavit that the information they turn in for tabulation is true based on interviews.”

    These affidavits, Stone told radio host Alex Jones Tuesday, could then be used by the Trump campaign to contest the election results.

    Yes, yes, Roger Stone had no idea about the Vote Protectors’ plans. Plus, his group is “Stop the Steal”, not Vote Protectors (again, Vote Protectors states in its disclaimers that Stop the Steal is paying for it), so this isn’t really his problem. So don’t worry, Roger assures us, his army of Infowarrior poll watchers have no such plans to video tape people and conduct bogus exit polls. No, they will instead sign sworn affidavits that the information they turn in is true to ensure that Stop the Steal’s findings can be used by the Trump campaign to contest the election results. See, nothing to worry about! At least for the GOP. Maybe.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 26, 2016, 6:06 pm
  4. Here’s the latest group to call for volunteers for election day poll watching: the Oath Keepers. Of course. Although unlike Roger Stone’s poll watching groups – which have already had their plans for aggressive video recording and non-scientific exit polling exposed using fake “Vote Protector” ID badges – the Oath Keepers appear to be the opposite approach and encouraging their members to show up “incognito” and just covertly video tape any suspicious anomalies they might observe. Suspicious anomalies like people showing up on buses:

    The Huffington Post

    Oath Keepers Founder Says ‘Undercover’ Poll Watching Effort Won’t Intimidate Voters
    The right-wing group will be looking out for “busloads” of voters to make sure the election isn’t “stolen.”

    Ryan J. Reilly Senior Justice Reporter,
    10/27/2016 03:55 pm ET | Updated

    WASHINGTON – The founder of a fringe right-wing group issued a “call to action” this week asking members of the organization to go undercover to watch for voter fraud and voter intimidation at polling places on Election Day.

    Stewart Rhodes posted his call to action on the Oath Keepers website this week on “Operation Sabot 2016,” to “help police ensure the free and fair election process is not stolen from the citizens of the United States of America.”

    In an interview with The Huffington Post, Rhodes said Oath Keepers wouldn’t intimidate any voters because they are not going to be wearing any gear that would indicate they are a member of the organization. Rhodes’ post encouraged volunteers not to wear any Oath Keepers gear, and encouraged them to go “incognito,” dressed to “blend in” with the public.

    “You won’t even know they’re there,” Rhodes said in the interview. “If someone is just going about their business, have a nice day. But if it looks like they’re doing something illegal, we’re going to record it.”

    “The ideal would be to catch somebody – you know, a carload or a busload or a vanload – of people going from one polling place to another,” Rhodes said. “That is obviously a smoking gun video we’d like to have, but clearly us being out there is hopefully going to put a damper on those kinds of activities. So if nothing happens, then great, we have a boring day and just walk around and enjoy the outdoors.”

    In-person voter fraud in the United States is very rare. Justin Levitt, a former professor at Loyola Law School who now serves as a top voting rights official in the Justice Department, found just 31 credible accusations of voter impersonation fraud out of one billion ballots cast over several elections.

    Rhodes’ post encouraged members to dress “to NOT impress” and in a way that would allow them to be “overlooked and forgotten” outside of polling stations. He suggested they wear clothing that would let them fade into their surroundings.

    “That may mean wearing a Bob Marley, pot leaf, tie-die peace symbol, or ‘Che’ Guevara T -Shirt, etc. (we have plenty of long-haired, former ‘Hippy’ Vietnam Veterans, for example, who can easily do that), or it may mean wearing working-man Carhartt pants and a plaid shirt,” he wrote. “Dress in whatever manner you think will help you blend in, depending on where you live and your local social environment. But please don’t dress in cammo pants or shirt, like a wanna-be militia member.”

    In an Oath Keepers video, Louisiana Oath Keepers State Coordinator Duncan Simmons said they did not want to be viewed as infringing on the rights of voters. “We’re there to document, not to interfere,” Simmons said.

    “If you start seeing busloads of people get off at one poll … just to get off the bus at another poll, report that to your local law enforcement,” Greg McWhirter, identified as a member of the national board of directors, said in the video. He encouraged volunteers to be “friendly” and non-confrontational.

    “Also, don’t be armed,” McWhirter added.

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has been warning about voter fraud over the past several months, and has recently been increasing his rhetoric as polls show him severely trailing in the polls ahead of Election Day. Trump has been warning of a “rigged” election process, and an anti-fraud group linked to his campaign has been encouraging citizens to create ID badges and question voters outside of polling stations.

    But in his post, Rhodes encourages Oath Keeper members to “covertly” observe and record, and to avoid filming in an obvious manner.

    “When in close proximity to people, or when you need to get closer to catch audio, one way is to use your cell phone camera by having your cell phone tucked inconspicuously into a shirt or pants pocket, with the camera lens barely visible above the top of the pocket, so that it acts as a low-profile body-camera, or use a well placed Go-Pro, or a pen camera, or other hidden camera,” Rhodes wrote.

    “Be sure your local police know that your intent is to NOT be a vigilante,” he wrote.

    The Southern Poverty Law Center considers the Oath Keepers an “extremist” antigovernment group that subscribes to “paranoid conspiracy theories.” Members of the organization were involved in the Cliven Bundy standoff, and also showed up during the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, following the death of Michael Brown in August 2014. The organization is open to current and former members of the military, law enforcement and first responder organizations.

    Rhodes told HuffPost that their operation was inspired by an undercover video published by James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas. A video put out by the organization earlier this month features a Democratic operative talking theoretically about how a voter fraud operation might work. That video was a “smoking gun,” Rhodes said.

    “I think its an indicator of what they’ve been doing for a long time,” he added.

    HuffPost asked Rhodes whether he worried that members of his organization might be inexperienced with poll watching, pointing to a recent Wall Street Journal story in which a Republican poll watcher indicates that voters not speaking English could be a sign that something is amiss. (Plenty of U.S. citizens who are eligible to vote do not speak English, and in fact there are specific sections of the Voting Rights Act that protect non-English speaking voters.)

    “We don’t have idiots like that in our organization,” Rhodes said. “They will be led by experienced police officers who’ve worked undercover.” He said reports would be properly vetted before they were sent to police to make sure that lawful activities weren’t being reported to the authorities.

    “I don’t think the sky is going to fall,” Rhodes said. “The last thing we want to do is have false alarms and false reports that get the police doing stupid crap instead of focusing on the actual crimes.”

    The ideal would be to catch somebody – you know, a carload or a busload or a vanload – of people going from one polling place to another…That is obviously a smoking gun video we’d like to have, but clearly us being out there is hopefully going to put a damper on those kinds of activities. So if nothing happens, then great, we have a boring day and just walk around and enjoy the outdoors.”

    And that, right there, is probably one of the main the right-wing narratives we’re going to start hearing on election day: “Look! We found the same bus with the same people at multiple locations!” Or, if there are no identical buses found, the narrative will be “our intrepid efforts clearly forced the Democrats to skip the buses this year!” And whether or not they do find any suspicious buses, you can also be sure that someone is going to be watching all this video of people getting off buses to find any instances where you have two similar looking people at two polling location. So also get ready to be inundated with videos showing what might be the same person getting off a bus at two different locations. Lots of videos like that.

    But, hey, if there really is a secret Democratic voter-fraud busing operation, having all these right-wing groups with video cameras should presumably provide evidence it. And that’s part of what’s going to make the GOP’s massive poll watching schemes so interesting this year: it’s going to be a lot harder to cry wolf without providing evidence, not that this stopped them in 2012:

    The New York Times

    Looking, Very Closely, for Voter Fraud
    Conservative Groups Focus on Registration in Swing States

    By STEPHANIE SAUL
    SEPT. 16, 2012

    It might as well be Harry Potter’s invisible Knight Bus, because no one can prove it exists.

    The bus has been repeatedly cited by True the Vote, a national group focused on voter fraud. Catherine Engelbrecht, the group’s leader, told a gathering in July about buses carrying dozens of voters showing up at polling places during the recent Wisconsin recall election.

    “Magically, all of them needed to register and vote at the same time,” Ms. Engelbrecht said. “Do you think maybe they registered falsely under false pretenses? Probably so.”

    Weeks later, another True the Vote representative told a meeting of conservative women about a bus seen at a San Diego polling place in 2010 offloading people “who did not appear to be from this country.”

    Officials in both San Diego and Wisconsin said they had no evidence that the buses were real. “It’s so stealthy that no one is ever able to get a picture and no one is able to get a license plate,” said Reid Magney, a spokesman for the Wisconsin agency that oversees elections. In some versions the bus is from an Indian reservation; in others it is full of voters from Chicago or Detroit. “Pick your minority group,” he said.

    The buses are part of the election fraud gospel according to True the Vote, which is mobilizing a small army of volunteers to combat what it sees as a force out to subvert elections. Ms. Engelbrecht’s July speech in Montana was titled “Voter Fraud: The Plot to Undermine American Democracy.”

    True the Vote’s plan is to scrutinize the validity of voter registration rolls and voters who appear at the polls. Among those in their cross hairs: noncitizens who are registered to vote, those without proper identification, others who may be registered twice, and dead people. In Ohio and Indiana, True the Vote recently filed lawsuits to force officials to clean up voter rolls.

    Efforts to tighten voter requirements have become a major issue in the presidential election. Over the last few years, many states have passed voter identification laws, and many of those are being challenged in court.

    Now, a network of conservative groups is waging an aggressive campaign on the ground. In a report this month, the liberal-leaning organizations Common Cause and Demos cited True the Vote as the central player in this effort, which it called a threat to the fundamental right to vote.

    “It is not about party or politics; it is about principle,” Ms. Engelbrecht said.

    While she portrays True the Vote as nonpartisan, it grew out of a Tea Party group, King Street Patriots, that she founded in Texas. An examination shows that it has worked closely with a variety of well-financed organizations, many unabashed in their desire to defeat President Obama.

    A polished and provocative video, circulating among Tea Party activists, seeks to raise a “cavalry” to march on swing states and identifies True the Vote as a participant in the effort, called Code Red USA.

    In the past year, Americans for Prosperity, an organization founded by the billionaire Koch brothers, and other Republican-leaning independent groups have sponsored meetings featuring Ms. Engelbrecht and other True the Vote speakers. A spokesman for Americans for Prosperity said that the group had hosted events including True the Vote speakers but that election integrity was not a focus of his group.

    Election integrity has become a focus for other activists, including James E. O’Keefe III, a video producer known for his undercover stings of the now defunct community organizing group Acorn. He recently aimed his camera on North Carolina voters in what turned out to be a botched attempt to show that foreigners had registered.

    Voter registration has occupied a contentious corner of American history for decades. The perception that voting is ripe for fraud stems in part from the condition of voter rolls in many jurisdictions. The Pew Center on the States issued a report in February finding that more than 1.8 million dead people remained on voter rolls and that about 2.8 million people were registered in more than one state. Another 12 million registrations contained flawed addresses, it said.

    Even so, there have been few cases of widespread fraud, according to the Justice Department. A bipartisan commission in 2005 found little evidence of extensive fraud, even while recommending the use of voter identification.

    While there have been some recent criminal cases involving local elections, the Justice Department said in a statement that the record has not shown that significant “voter impersonation fraud — the type of fraud that many states claim their voter ID laws are aimed to prevent — actually exists.”

    But Ms. Engelbrecht said, “Anyone who tells you that election integrity efforts are a solution looking for a problem is way misinformed.”

    True the Vote is now using proprietary software to accelerate the process of challenging voter registrations. It says its databases will ultimately contain all voter rolls in the country. Using computers, volunteers can check those rolls against driver’s license records, property records and other databases, turning the process into an assembly line production.

    But when True the Vote vetted petition signatures in Wisconsin’s recall election, the state’s Government Accountability Board reported that the process was “at best flawed.” The group raised questions about thousands of signatures that the board deemed valid.

    Roots of a Cause

    Ms. Engelbrecht, who at 42 is younger than most of the Tea Party members she addresses around the country, said that until four years ago she was apolitical, a churchgoing mother of two who ran a successful oil field machinery business with her husband in Fort Bend County, Tex.

    “Then in 2008, I don’t know, something clicked,” she said. “I saw our country headed in a direction that, for whatever reason — it didn’t hit me until 2008 — this really threatens the future of our children.”

    The epiphany prompted Ms. Engelbrecht to work as a poll watcher in the 2009 local elections along with others in the King Street Patriots, the Tea Party group she founded. It was supposed to be a one-day assignment, but it crystallized the concerns of Ms. Engelbrecht and her fellow volunteers, who said they saw shenanigans including outright fraud. The group felt duty bound to continue its activities.

    In Houston, the group targeted the Congressional district represented by Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat who is black. Ms. Engelbrecht said the group settled on Ms. Lee’s district because thousands of addresses there housed six or more registered voters, which it took as an indication of inaccurate registrations. The methodology, which the group still uses, could disproportionately affect lower income families.

    Volunteers spent five months analyzing 3,800 registrations in Ms. Lee’s district, discovering more than 500 voters that the group said were problematic. More than 200 voters were registered at vacant lots, prompting Ms. Engelbrecht to later remark that those voters had a “Lord of the Rings Middle Earth sort of thing going on.”

    The reality was far less interesting.

    “They had one particular case I remember very well,” said Douglas Ray, the Harris County assistant attorney who represents the election registrar. “They had identified an address where eight or 10 people were registered to vote. There was no building there.” Mr. Ray found out that the building had been torn down and that the people simply moved.

    As a result of the organization’s work in 2010, 400 to 500 voters were put on “suspense,” forcing them to provide additional information verifying their addresses. By the fall 2010 election, volunteers again appeared to focus on minority neighborhoods, this time as election observers, Mr. Ray said.

    “The first day of early voting, at many of the 37 locations, primarily in minority neighborhoods, dozens of poll watchers showed up sent by King Street Patriots,” Mr. Ray said.

    The influx of white election observers in black neighborhoods caused friction with voters and poll workers, bringing back memories of a time when racial intimidation at the polls was commonplace in the South, said Gerald M. Birnberg, a lawyer and former chairman of the Harris County Democratic Party. True the Vote has strongly denied that it has engaged in voter suppression.

    “Whether that was the intention or just born of some innate paranoia is largely irrelevant,” Mr. Birnberg said. “That’s how it was perceived by people at the polls.”

    Working in Wisconsin

    The boiling political caldron of Wisconsin was the next stop for True the Vote. It teamed up with two Tea Party organizations to review nearly one million signatures on petitions demanding the recall of Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican. The partnership called itself Verify the Recall.

    “We have been hearing reports of duplicate signatures, questionable practices and downright fraud in the gubernatorial recall effort,” Verify the Recall said in a pitch to volunteers. “The integrity of Wisconsin’s elections and associated processes are at stake; free and honest elections — the cornerstone of our political process — are being threatened.”

    True the Vote began working in Wisconsin in 2011, the same year it received a $35,000 grant from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which is based in Wisconsin and is a major backer of conservative causes, including Americans for Prosperity. The foundation’s president and chief executive, Michael Grebe, was Mr. Walker’s campaign chairman for his 2010 campaign and for the recall election, which he won.

    Mr. Grebe said in an interview that the grant was for activities unrelated to the recall. He said the donation was ultimately returned because it was given on the premise that True the Vote would be granted tax-exempt status by the I.R.S., which Ms. Engelbrecht said has not happened despite several attempts.

    Ms. Engelbrecht has said her goal was not to stop the recall election, which had been backed by labor unions, but to prove to those behind it “that unions cannot strong-arm America.” She said thousands of volunteers helped enter petition signatures into a database, which was then analyzed by the group’s software. Of the one million signatures, True the Vote said 63,038 were ineligible, 212,628 required further investigation and 584,489 were valid.

    The accountability board concluded that about 900,000 signatures were valid and, in a memorandum reviewing True the Vote’s work, criticized its methods.

    For example: Mary Lee Smith signed her name Mary L. Smith and was deemed ineligible by the group.

    Signatures deemed “out of state” included 13 from Milwaukee and three from Madison.

    The group’s software would not recognize abbreviations, so Wisconsin addresses like Stevens Point were flagged if “Pt.” was used on the petition.

    Signatures were struck for lack of a ZIP code.

    While the board commended the group for encouraging “a strong level of civic engagement,” it found that True the Vote’s results “were significantly less accurate, complete and reliable than the review and analysis completed by the G.A.B.”

    On Election Day, poll watchers appeared to have slowed voting to a crawl at Lawrence University in Appleton, where some students were attempting to register and vote on the same day.

    Charlene Peterson, the city clerk in Appleton, said three election observers, including one from True the Vote, were so disruptive that she gave them two warnings.

    “They were making challenges of certain kinds and just kind of in physical contact with some of the poll workers, leaning over them, checking and looking,” said John Lepinski, a poll watcher and former Democratic Party chairman for Outagamie County.

    He said that as a result of the scrutiny, the line to register moved slowly. Finally, he said, some students gave up and left.

    Ms. Engelbrecht said the True the Vote observer at Lawrence University believed that students were being permitted to register and vote without proper identification.

    In Racine, conservative poll watchers also alleged fraud, including a claim that a busload of union members from Michigan had come to Wisconsin to vote illegally. The Racine County Sheriff’s Department determined that the accusation had been based on an anonymous call to a radio station.

    “There is no evidence this bus convoy existed or ever arrived in Racine County,” the Sheriff’s Office said.

    As for the buses her organization saw in Wisconsin, Ms. Engelbrecht could not provide details. “It was reported to us that this had occurred,” she said. “I know these sightings were also being reported on the radio.”

    “Officials in both San Diego and Wisconsin said they had no evidence that the buses were real. “It’s so stealthy that no one is ever able to get a picture and no one is able to get a license plate,” said Reid Magney, a spokesman for the Wisconsin agency that oversees elections. In some versions the bus is from an Indian reservation; in others it is full of voters from Chicago or Detroit. “Pick your minority group,” he said.

    The Democrats have stealth buses with shape-shifting voters! And that was back in 2012. Just think of how much more sophisticated it’s going to be this year. We’ll see if the Oath Keepers are up to the task of capturing these mystery stealth buses on video, but since they’re stealthy someone might want to let the Oath Keepers know that they can actually get infrared cameras for their smartphones now. Hopefully that will capture the buses in stealth mode. And the zombie voters with their lower body temperatures. Because there’s definitely going to be zombies voting Democrat too. Presumably in stealth mode.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 27, 2016, 3:18 pm
  5. One hell of a German Day of Destiny. I hate to say it, but Dave Emory has been right about fascism for forty years.

    Posted by gk | November 9, 2016, 9:08 pm
  6. The following article shows how quickly the EU, which is dominated ed by German interests, is moving towards having its own army. This is to avoid problems with the Treaty that after WWII Germany could not have a military. This has occured after Brexit. Britain was formerly a force to check on German power and to be an antagonist against a European army. Now the “need” for a European army for “self protection” argument is strengthened once Trump won the presidency because Trump has voiced his concern that we spend too much money on NATO.

    Article: Daily Mail November 10, 2016:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3923068/EU-chief-mounts-fresh-call-European-army-claiming-Americans-won-t-protect-forever.html

    EU chief mounts fresh call for European army

    Donald Trump’s election as US President has sparked fresh call for an EU army, amid a warning that the continent will not always be able to rely on American protection.

    The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, voiced his concerns after the Republican’s surprise victory was announced.

    He said a ‘community of defence’ is required.

    Juncker said: ‘We need more security in Europe, and I do not mean just the anti-terror fight.

    ‘Talking about security we need a different way of organizing a European defense.’

    He said that the French National Assembly prevented a proposed European community of defence being created in 1954 – a move that could have seen an army created, but was rejected amid concerns about national sovereignty.

    Juncker said: ‘We need it now. The idea that the Americans will eternally see to… European security is not true.

    ‘Independent of the outcome of the US election, the Americans will not see to Europe’s security forever. We have to do it ourselves.

    ‘And this is why we need a new approach to the European community of defense, including a European army.’

    In July, Trump cast doubts over his commitment to Nato agreements, telling the New York Times: ‘We have many Nato members that aren’t paying their bills.’

    And he added: ‘You can’t forget the bills. They have an obligation to make payments.

    ‘Many NATO nations are not making payments, are not making what they’re supposed to make. That’s a big thing. You can’t say forget that.’

    His comments echo remarks made by German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who has called on the EU should match Nato.

    She declared she was in ‘deep shock’ after Trump’s win, saying the President-elect has cast doubt on Nato’s mutual defence pact.

    Mrs von der Layen said the continent must now be prepared to stand for itself in security matters.

    Last week she said: ‘We have seen an enormous modernisation drive by Nato over the past three years because of the Kremlin’s behaviour.

    ‘That was correct and important, but I believe that we must invest at least the same energy into a modernisation of the European security and defence union.’

    However, she claimed the increase should occur ‘knowing that one cannot build up competition between the two bodies, but that they should work in a complementary fashion’.

    For instance, she said, the EU had a clear mission in working with Africa to stem the steady flow of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea.

    British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon rubbished the idea of a shared European army last month, stating: ‘We continue to oppose any new military structure that would introduce a second layer of command and control. Command and control is a matter for the military, it is a matter for Nato.

    ‘When it was last discussed by EU defence ministers, there was very strong opposition to any kind of EU military command headquarters from Sweden, Poland, the Baltic states, even from the Netherlands, which is sometimes sympathetic to some of these EU proposals, they very strongly opposed that kind of duplication.

    ‘So this is not simply Britain, there is widespread EU concern about any duplication.’

    Posted by Anonymous | November 10, 2016, 7:53 pm
  7. With all the concern about fake news and misinformation flooding the collective psyche of the American electorate, in particular the right-wing electorate, here’s some good news from Donald Trump’s CNN media-proxy Scottie Nell Hughes: there are no facts anymore. Everything is just opinion. Sometimes conflicting opinions, but everything is really just an opinion…even those things you may have mistakenly thought of as facts. Phew! That means we don’t have to worry about fake news anymore because nothing is real anyways and everything is true:

    Raw Story

    Trump booster Scottie Nell Hughes gets blasted on NPR after saying ‘there’s no such thing as facts’

    David Ferguson
    01 Dec 2016 at 13:08 ET

    In an appearance on NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show on Wednesday, Trump spokesperson Scottie Nell Hughes asserted that in today’s information landscape, “There are no such things as facts.”

    She was appearing alongside Atlantic editor James Fallows, Politico‘s Glenn Thrush and Margaret Sullivan of the Washington Post in a discussion of the role of journalists in a prospective Donald Trump presidency.

    Host Diane Rehm asked Hughes how she feels about pundits and media watchers calling out Trump’s fabrications and lies.

    “Well, I think it’s also an idea of an opinion. And that’s — on one hand I hear half the media saying that these are lies, but on the other half there are many people that go, no, it’s true,” Hughes said. “And so one thing that has been interesting this entire campaign season to watch is that people that say facts are facts, they’re not really facts.”

    She went on, “There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore of facts. And so Mr. Trump’s tweet amongst a certain crowd, a large — a large part of the population, are truth. When he says that millions of people illegally voted, he has some — in his — amongst him and his supporters, and people believe they have facts to back that up. Those that do not like Mr. Trump, they say that those are lies, and there’s no facts to back it up.”

    Thrush responded, “First I’ve got to pick my jaw up off the floor here. There are no objective facts? I mean, that is — that is an absolutely outrageous assertion. Of course there are facts. There is no widespread proof that three million people voted illegally. It’s been checked over and over again. We had a Pew study that took place over 15 years that showed people had more likelihood of being struck by lightning than voting illegally in an election.”

    ““Well, I think it’s also an idea of an opinion. And that’s — on one hand I hear half the media saying that these are lies, but on the other half there are many people that go, no, it’s true,” Hughes said. “And so one thing that has been interesting this entire campaign season to watch is that people that say facts are facts, they’re not really facts.”

    Well, that settles that! In that nothing can apparently be settled because reality is determined by what people believe.

    Also note that if you listen to the entire exchange, Hughes then goes on to reference the debunked Old Dominion 2014 study that keeps getting cited by the right-wing to back up her assertion that millions of people voted illegally:


    HUGHES: Hold on, hold on one second. Let me respond back to Glenn Thrush on this.
    10:24:46

    REHM: Sure, go ahead.
    10:24:46

    HUGHES: Now that I know that Glenn is listening. Actually what you said was wrong. Let’s look at 2014 electoral studies. The journal showed that in ’08 and 2010, illegal immigrants were higher — and this was done by — illegal immigrants were actually voting in it. These were done by four professors at Old Dominion.
    10:25:04

    THRUSHCan you give me the numbers? Just a — yeah, sorry.
    10:25:06

    HUGHES: As many as 2.8 million that these four professors at Old Dominion and George Mason came out and proved and said 2.8. Pew research poll, that same poll you cited, actually 53 percent of Democrats, Democratic Party, support letting illegals vote. These are people that actually monitor those polls. So this is why if anything we should have stronger voter ID laws in all of these states to make sure that we don’t have this type of conversation going forward.
    10:25:35

    REHM: All right.
    10:25:36

    HUGHES: But because in many states you can mail things in, those were — so yes, there is facts to back up what I said and why Trump supporters believe it. You are wrong, sir.

    “…so yes, there is facts to back up what I said and why Trump supporters believe it. You are wrong, sir.”

    And that’s where we are: one of the president-elect’s top media proxies is arguing that there are no facts and everything is a he-said-she-said situation. And then she cites a debunked study to back up her baseless assertion about millions of illegal voters, declaring, “so yes, there is facts to back up what I said and why Trump supporters believe it. You are wrong, sir.”

    So get ready for a world where nothing is real, because everything is real:

    Salon

    WATCH: CNN anchor debunks Fox report in which Donald Trump voter repeats fraud myth
    CNN’s Alysin Camerota did a literal facepalm after 1 Trump voter falsely cited 3 million illegal votes

    Sophia Tesfaye
    Thursday, Dec 1, 2016 10:35 AM CST

    The misinformation rampantly spread across a highly segmented media landscape has received increased attention since the propagation of so-called fake news has been widely credited with helping New York businessman and political neophyte Donald Trump win the White House. The problem has now become so obvious and widespread that a former Fox News host now at CNN felt compelled to debunk a false report from her former employer’s parent company while interviewing a Trump voter.

    CNN’s Alysin Camerota sat down with several long-time Trump supporters for a focus group-style interview on Thursday’s “New Day” and pressed them for their thoughts on the president-elect’s transition and postelection performance.

    “How do you feel about the ‘white nationalist movement,’ the alt-right, some neo-Nazi salutes that we’ve seen? What are we to make of what feels like a groundswell of that with the Steve Bannon-Breitbart connection,” Camerota asked the group after one participant claimed people “that Trump has appointed or nominated have all been top of the class, No. 1 in their field, extremely talented, great leaders on their own.”

    “That’s been around forever,” Paula Johnson, co-chair of the New Hampshire-based Women for Trump, pushed back against Camerota’s questioning. “You know, if you keep reporting on it, it’s going to grow like a cancer. If you forget about it then it’s probably going to go away.” Using a favorite rhetorical device of her candidate, media bashing, she added, “The media has to harp on everything. And it’s wrong.”

    Johnson continued that many anti-Trump voters had little room to complain if they failed to vote in the election. “Voting is a privilege in this country,” Johnson said before adding, “And you need to be legal not like [in] California where 3 million illegals voted.”

    A confused Camerota asked Johnson, “Where are you getting your information?”

    “From the media!” Johnson insisted. “Some of them were CNN, I believe.”

    An incredulous Camerota asked, “CNN said that 3 million illegal people voted in California?”

    Johnson then decided to source her false report with President Barack Obama.

    “I think there was a good amount because the president told people that they could vote,” Johnson claimed. “They said, ‘The president said I could vote. I’m here illegally.’”

    To her credit, Camerota kept up her line of questioning while seeming to hold back laughter.

    “Did you hear President Obama said that illegal people could vote?” asked Camerota, to which nearly all the participants nodded their heads and replied, “Yes.”

    “Tell me, where?” Camerota demanded.

    At that point, another Trump voter directed Camerota, “Google it. You could find it on Facebook.” So she did.

    Camerota, a former long-time Fox News host, then read aloud a recent Mediate headline to the group: “Fox deceptively edits Obama interview to falsely claim he told illegal immigrants to vote.”

    The Mediate story referred to a Fox Business Network segment on which its host, Stuart Varney, falsely claimed Obama “appears to encourage illegals to vote and he promises no repercussions if they do.”

    The Fox Business segment, above, was selectively edited to conflate Obama’s urging of Latinos to vote with his response to a question about undocumented immigrants. The Fox segment fails to acknowledge that the president’s remarks were greatly edited and leaves out his explicit statement that undocumented immigrants can’t vote. The net effect is that it appears that the president urged undocumented immigrants to vote.

    Despite Camerota’s sharing of the Mediate story critiquing the Fox Business Network segment, the Trump voters on CNN remained wedded to the misinformation nearly a month after the election.

    “You, as you sit here today, think that millions of illegal people voted in this country and you believe that there was widespread voting abuse — in the millions of people?” a clearly exasperated Camerota continued to challenge the Trump voters.

    “California allows it,” Johnson said.

    “They do not allow illegals — you mean voter fraud, California allows?” asked a dumbfounded Camerota.

    “I believe there was voter fraud in this country,” Johson insisted, remaining steadfast to her false belief.

    And that is how a misinformation campaign can propel to the White House a con man who lost the popular vote, while his supporters continue to believe that they were somehow cheated.

    “Despite Camerota’s sharing of the Mediate story critiquing the Fox Business Network segment, the Trump voters on CNN remained wedded to the misinformation nearly a month after the election.”

    As we can see, the far-right’s endless ‘Triumph of the Will’ assault on our understanding of reality has finally triumphed and the ‘Trump of the Will’ era is here. Or maybe not. It’s a matter of opinion. Along with everything else.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 1, 2016, 4:08 pm
  8. Well, that was quite a whirlwind of red flags: First, in case you were curious if the White House statement just happened to accidentally leave out any mention of Jews in its International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement, here’s your answer:

    CNN

    WH: No mention of Jews on Holocaust Remembrance Day because others were killed too

    By Jake Tapper, Anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent

    Updated 7:40 PM ET, Sat January 28, 2017

    Washington (CNN)The White House statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day didn’t mention Jews or anti-Semitism because “despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered,” administration spokeswoman Hope Hicks told CNN on Saturday.

    Hicks provided a link to a Huffington Post UK story noting that while 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis, 5 million others were also slaughtered during Adolf Hitler’s genocide, including “priests, gypsies, people with mental or physical disabilities, communists, trade unionists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, anarchists, Poles and other Slavic peoples, and resistance fighters.”

    Asked if the White House was suggesting President Donald Trump didn’t mention Jews as victims of the Holocaust because he didn’t want to offend the other people the Nazis targeted and killed, Hicks replied, “it was our honor to issue a statement in remembrance of this important day.”

    The presidential reference to the “innocent people” victimized by the Nazis without a mention of Jews or anti-Semitism by the White House on International Holocaust Remembrance Day was a stark contrast to statements by former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

    Anti-Defamation League Director Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted that the “@WhiteHouse statement on #HolocaustMemorialDay, misses that it was six million Jews who perished, not just ‘innocent people'” and “Puzzling and troubling @WhiteHouse #HolocaustMemorialDay stmt has no mention of Jews. GOP and Dem. presidents have done so in the past.”

    Asked about the White House explanation that the President didn’t want to exclude any of the other groups Nazis killed by specifically mentioning Jews, Greenblatt told CNN that the United Nations established International Holocaust Remembrance Day not only because of Holocaust denial but also because so many countries — Iran, Russia, Poland, and Hungary, for example — specifically refuse to acknowledge Hitler’s attempt to exterminate Jews, “opting instead to talk about generic suffering rather than recognizing this catastrophic incident for what is was: the intended genocide of the Jewish people.”

    Downplaying or disregarding the degree to which Jews were targeted for elimination during the Holocaust is a common theme of nationalist movements like those seen in Russia and Eastern Europe, Greenblatt said.

    “Asked if the White House was suggesting President Donald Trump didn’t mention Jews as victims of the Holocaust because he didn’t want to offend the other people the Nazis targeted and killed, Hicks replied, “it was our honor to issue a statement in remembrance of this important day.””

    Classy. You can’t say the Trump adminstration isn’t sensitive. Specifically, sensitive to all the groups that would have been offended by the mention of Jews during International Holocaust Remembrance Day. More specifically, sensitive to Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites. They were in fact so sensitive to these groups that White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus later doubled down on the language, arguing that they were commemorating “everyone’s suffering” during the Holocaust.

    So that’s one big shiny red flag: Team Trump just went out of its way to leave any mention of Jews out of its International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

    And, of course, this was the same day the Trump administration pulled a surprise immediate travel ban for everyone arriving in the US from seven Muslim-majority countries…especially Syrian refugees…and without DHS having the time to review the order. And with Steve Bannon calling the shots:

    CNN

    Inside the confusion of the Trump executive order and travel ban

    By Evan Perez, Pamela Brown and Kevin Liptak

    Updated 11:29 AM ET, Mon January 30, 2017

    Washington (CNN)When President Donald Trump declared at the Pentagon Friday he was enacting strict new measures to prevent domestic terror attacks, there were few within his government who knew exactly what he meant.

    Administration officials weren’t immediately sure which countries’ citizens would be barred from entering the United States. The Department of Homeland Security was left making a legal analysis on the order after Trump signed it. A Border Patrol agent, confronted with arriving refugees, referred questions only to the President himself, according to court filings.

    Saturday night, a federal judge granted an emergency stay for citizens of the affected countries who had already arrived in the US and those who are in transit and hold valid visas, ruling they can legally enter the US.

    Trump’s unilateral moves, which have drawn the ire of human rights groups and prompted protests at US airports, reflect the President’s desire to quickly make good on his campaign promises. But they also encapsulate the pitfalls of an administration largely operated by officials with scant federal experience.

    It wasn’t until Friday — the day Trump signed the order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and suspending all refugee admission for 120 days — that career homeland security staff were allowed to see the final details of the order, a person familiar with the matter said.

    The result was widespread confusion across the country on Saturday as airports struggled to adjust to the new directives. In New York, two Iraqi nationals sued the federal government after they were detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport, and 10 others were detained as well.

    In Philadelphia, a Syrian family of six who had a visa through a family connection in the US was placed on a return flight to Doha, Qatar, and Department of Homeland Security officials said others who were in the air would be detained upon arrival and put back on a plane to their home country.

    Asked during a photo opportunity in the Oval Office Saturday afternoon about the rollout, Trump said his government was “totally prepared.”
    “It’s working out very nicely,” Trump told reporters. “You see it at the airports. You see it all over. It’s working out very nicely and we’re going to have a very, very strict ban, and we’re going to have extreme vetting, which we should have had in this country for many years.”

    The policy team at the White House developed the executive order on refugees and visas, and largely avoided the traditional interagency process that would have allowed the Justice Department and homeland security agencies to provide operational guidance, according to numerous officials who spoke to CNN on Saturday.

    Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Department of Homeland Security leadership saw the final details shortly before the order was finalized, government officials said.

    Friday night, DHS arrived at the legal interpretation that the executive order restrictions applying to seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen — did not apply to people with lawful permanent residence, generally referred to as green card holders.

    The White House overruled that guidance overnight, according to officials familiar with the rollout. That order came from the President’s inner circle, led by Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon. Their decision held that, on a case by case basis, DHS could allow green card holders to enter the US.

    There had been some debate whether green card holders should be even allowed to board international flights. It was decided by the Department of Homeland Security they could fly to the US and would be considered on a case-by-case basis after passing a secondary screening.

    But the guidance sent to airlines on Friday night, obtained by CNN, said clearly, “lawful permanent residents are not included and may continue to travel to the USA.”

    As of Saturday afternoon, Customs and Border Protection continued to issue the same guidance to airlines as it did Friday, telling airlines that fly to the US that green card holders can board planes to the US but they may get extra scrutiny on arrival, according to an airline official.

    Before the President issued the order, the White House did not seek the legal guidance of the Office of Legal Counsel, the Justice Department office that interprets the law for the executive branch, according to a source familiar with the process.

    White House officials disputed that Sunday morning, saying that OLC signed off and agency review was performed.

    A source said the creation of the executive order did not follow the standard agency review process that’s typically overseen by the National Security Council

    Separately, a person familiar with the matter said career officials in charge of enforcing the executive order were not fully briefed on the specifics until Friday. The officials were caught off guard by some of the specifics and raised questions about how to handle the new banned passengers on US-bound planes.

    Regarding the green card holders and some of the confusion about whether they were impacted, the person familiar with the matter said if career officials had known more about the executive order earlier, some of the confusion could have been avoided and a better plan could be in place.

    Administration officials also defended the process Saturday. They said the people who needed to be briefed ahead of time on the plane were briefed and that people at the State Department and DHS who were involved in the process were able to make decisions about who to talk and inform about this.

    Bannon and Miller were running point on this order and giving directives regarding green cards, according to a Republican close to the White House.

    But even after the Friday afternoon announcement, administration officials at the White House took several hours to produce text of the action until several hours after it was signed. Adviser Kellyanne Conway even said at one point it was not going to be released before eventually it did get sent out.

    “Bannon and Miller were running point on this order and giving directives regarding green cards, according to a Republican close to the White House.”

    Yep, Bannon and Miller are already calling the shots. And when the shot they called led to immediate legal ambiguity that DHS had to resolve (like letting green card holders travel to the US), Bannon and Miller overruled them:

    The policy team at the White House developed the executive order on refugees and visas, and largely avoided the traditional interagency process that would have allowed the Justice Department and homeland security agencies to provide operational guidance, according to numerous officials who spoke to CNN on Saturday.

    Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Department of Homeland Security leadership saw the final details shortly before the order was finalized, government officials said.

    Friday night, DHS arrived at the legal interpretation that the executive order restrictions applying to seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen — did not apply to people with lawful permanent residence, generally referred to as green card holders.

    The White House overruled that guidance overnight, according to officials familiar with the rollout. That order came from the President’s inner circle, led by Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon. Their decision held that, on a case by case basis, DHS could allow green card holders to enter the US.

    “The White House overruled that guidance overnight, according to officials familiar with the rollout. That order came from the President’s inner circle, led by Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon. Their decision held that, on a case by case basis, DHS could allow green card holders to enter the US.”

    Oh look, another bright shiny red flag! Steve Bannon is running point on hyper-polarizing surprise political stunts seemingly designed to defame the US and permanently damage its reputation), and when agencies like DHS arrive a legal interpretation to implement this stunt, Bannon overrules them to ensure DHS interprets it in an extra-dickish way.

    And in case it wasn’t clear that Bannon & company knew that they were treading on constitionally dubious ground with their travel ban stunt that’s clearly intended to be a Muslim ban, serial Trump-crony blabbermouth extraordinaire Rudy Giulianicleared that up for us:

    The Washington Post

    Trump asked for a ‘Muslim ban,’ Giuliani says — and ordered a commission to do it ‘legally’

    By Amy B Wang
    January 29, 2017 at 3:32 PM

    Former New York mayor Rudy W. Giuliani said President Trump wanted a “Muslim ban” and requested he assemble a commission to show him “the right way to do it legally.”

    Giuliani, an early Trump supporter who once had been rumored for a Cabinet position in the new administration, appeared on Fox News late Saturday night to describe how Trump’s executive order temporarily banning refugees came together.

    Trump signed orders on Friday not only to suspend admission of all refugees into the United States for 120 days but also to implement “new vetting measures” to screen out “radical Islamic terrorists.” Refugee entry from Syria, however, would be suspended indefinitely, and all travel from Syria and six other nations — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen — is suspended for 90 days. Trump also said he would give priority to Christian refugees over those of other religions, according to the Christian Broadcasting Network.

    Fox News host Jeanine Pirro asked Giuliani whether the ban had anything to do with religion.

    “How did the president decide the seven countries?” she asked. “Okay, talk to me.”

    “I’ll tell you the whole history of it,” Giuliani responded eagerly. “So when [Trump] first announced it, he said, ‘Muslim ban.’ He called me up. He said, ‘Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.’ ”

    Giuliani said he assembled a “whole group of other very expert lawyers on this,” including former U.S. attorney general Michael Mukasey, Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Tex.) and Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.).

    “And what we did was, we focused on, instead of religion, danger — the areas of the world that create danger for us,” Giuliani told Pirro. “Which is a factual basis, not a religious basis. Perfectly legal, perfectly sensible. And that’s what the ban is based on. It’s not based on religion. It’s based on places where there are substantial evidence that people are sending terrorists into our country.”

    It was unclear when the phone call Giuliani took place and when the commission began working. An email to the White House press office was not immediately returned Sunday.

    Clips of the exchange between Giuliani and Pirro quickly went viral Saturday night, with some claiming that Giuliani’s statement amounted to admitting Trump’s intent had been to institute a ban based on religion.

    Others, including Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, have insisted it is not a ban on Muslims, but rather one based on countries from which travel was already restricted under Barack Obama’s administration.

    Priebus appeared on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday morning to say it was possible Trump would expand the list of countries included in the travel ban.

    “You can point to other countries that have similar problems, like Pakistan and others,” Priebus told host John Dickerson. “Perhaps we need to take it further.”

    Priebus also said there had been weeks of work and “plenty of communication” between the White House, the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security regarding the ban.

    “We didn’t just type this thing up in an office and sign up,” he told Dickerson.

    Later on the same program, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) called out Giuliani’s interview with Pirro from the night before.

    “They can’t deny that this is a Muslim ban,” Ellison told Dickerson. “On the campaign trail, [Trump] said he wanted a Muslim ban. … Rudolph W. Giuliani who helped him write it said that they started out with the intention of a Muslim ban and then they sort of ‘languaged’ it up so to try to avoid that label, but it is a religiously based ban.”

    Senate Democrats vowed to draft legislation to block the travel ban.

    “We’re demanding the president reverse these executive orders that go against what we are, everything we have always stood for,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a news conference Sunday morning, noting later that his middle name, Ellis, was originally inspired by Ellis Island.

    “It was implemented in a way that created chaos and confusion across the country, and it will only serve to embolden and inspire those around the globe those that will do us harm,” Schumer added of the ban. “It must be reversed immediately.”

    Trump’s executive order sparked massive protests at airports around the country Friday and Saturday, as reports surfaced that dozens of travelers from the affected countries, including green-card holders, were being detained.

    The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Saturday morning challenging Trump’s order after two Iraqi men with immigrant visas were barred from entering the United States at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

    As Giuliani was speaking, Fox News simultaneously aired an alert that noted federal judge Ann M. Donnelly had issued a stay to stop the deportations nationwide.

    Donnelly wrote that there was a strong likelihood the order had violated the petitioners’ rights to due process and equal protection by the Constitution.

    “There is imminent danger that, absent the stay of removal, there will be substantial and irreparable injury to refugees, visa-holders, and other individuals from nations subject to the January 27, 2017 Executive Order,” Donnelly wrote.

    The ACLU hailed the victory.

    “Clearly the judge understood the possibility for irreparable harm to hundreds of immigrants and lawful visitors to this country,” ACLU executive director Anthony D. Romero said in a statement. “Our courts today worked as they should as bulwarks against government abuse or unconstitutional policies and orders. On week one, Donald Trump suffered his first loss in court.”

    On Sunday, the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement saying it did not plan to back off enforcing Trump’s orders.

    “President Trump’s Executive Orders remain in place — prohibited travel will remain prohibited, and the U.S. government retains its right to revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety,” the statement read. “President Trump’s Executive Order affects a minor portion of international travelers, and is a first step towards reestablishing control over America’s borders and national security.”

    The department said that less than 1 percent of daily international air travelers to the United States had been “inconvenienced” on Saturday.

    “Trump signed orders on Friday not only to suspend admission of all refugees into the United States for 120 days but also to implement “new vetting measures” to screen out “radical Islamic terrorists.” Refugee entry from Syria, however, would be suspended indefinitely, and all travel from Syria and six other nations — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen — is suspended for 90 days. Trump also said he would give priority to Christian refugees over those of other religions, according to the Christian Broadcasting Network.

    That sure sounds like a Muslim ban. Oh, wait, a ‘danger’ ban. Yeah, that’s the ticket:

    “I’ll tell you the whole history of it,” Giuliani responded eagerly. “So when [Trump] first announced it, he said, ‘Muslim ban.’ He called me up. He said, ‘Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.’ “

    Giuliani said he assembled a “whole group of other very expert lawyers on this,” including former U.S. attorney general Michael Mukasey, Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Tex.) and Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.).

    “And what we did was, we focused on, instead of religion, danger — the areas of the world that create danger for us,” Giuliani told Pirro. “Which is a factual basis, not a religious basis. Perfectly legal, perfectly sensible. And that’s what the ban is based on. It’s not based on religion. It’s based on places where there are substantial evidence that people are sending terrorists into our country.”

    Oh isn’t that cute. So according to Rudy Giuliani, Trump comes to him want a Muslim ban that wouldn’t technically be a Muslim ban. So Giuliani puts a commission together and they figure out a way to frame their Muslim ban as a ‘danger’ ban. Voila! Problem solved. Apparently. Although apparently not since a federal judge issued a stay on the order right when Rudy was on Fox News blabbing about how he helped Trump come up with his Muslim ban:

    As Giuliani was speaking, Fox News simultaneously aired an alert that noted federal judge Ann M. Donnelly had issued a stay to stop the deportations nationwide.

    Donnelly wrote that there was a strong likelihood the order had violated the petitioners’ rights to due process and equal protection by the Constitution.

    “There is imminent danger that, absent the stay of removal, there will be substantial and irreparable injury to refugees, visa-holders, and other individuals from nations subject to the January 27, 2017 Executive Order,” Donnelly wrote.

    So is that the end of Steve Bannon’s surprise Muslim ban that was issued on International Holocaust Remembrance Day? At least until it gets worked out in the courts? Well, not if you listen to the DHS:


    On Sunday, the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement saying it did not plan to back off enforcing Trump’s orders.

    “President Trump’s Executive Orders remain in place — prohibited travel will remain prohibited, and the U.S. government retains its right to revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety,” the statement read. “President Trump’s Executive Order affects a minor portion of international travelers, and is a first step towards reestablishing control over America’s borders and national security.”

    The department said that less than 1 percent of daily international air travelers to the United States had been “inconvenienced” on Saturday.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/01/13/as-inspector-general-launches-review-rudy-giuliani-again-insists-he-received-no-fbi-leaks/?utm_term=.4401015851e7
    “On Sunday, the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement saying it did not plan to back off enforcing Trump’s orders.”

    So that happened. That seems like that warrants its own shiny Red Flag right there. But before that happened on Sunday, this happened on Saturday:

    The New York Times

    Bannon Is Given Security Role Usually Held for Generals

    By GLENN THRUSH and MAGGIE HABERMAN
    JAN. 29, 2017

    WASHINGTON — The whirlwind first week of Donald J. Trump’s presidency had all the bravura hallmarks of a Stephen K. Bannon production.

    It started with the doom-hued inauguration homily to “American carnage” in United States cities co-written by Mr. Bannon, followed a few days later by his “shut up” message to the news media. The week culminated with a blizzard of executive orders, mostly hatched by Mr. Bannon’s team and the White House policy adviser, Stephen Miller, aimed at disorienting the “enemy,” fulfilling campaign promises and distracting attention from Mr. Trump’s less than flawless debut.

    But the defining moment for Mr. Bannon came Saturday night in the form of an executive order giving the rumpled right-wing agitator a full seat on the “principals committee” of the National Security Council — while downgrading the roles of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of national intelligence, who will now attend only when the council is considering issues in their direct areas of responsibilities. It is a startling elevation of a political adviser, to a status alongside the secretaries of state and defense, and over the president’s top military and intelligence advisers.

    In theory, the move put Mr. Bannon, a former Navy surface warfare officer, admiral’s aide, investment banker, Hollywood producer and Breitbart News firebrand, on the same level as his friend, Michael T. Flynn, the national security adviser, a former Pentagon intelligence chief who was Mr. Trump’s top adviser on national security issues before a series of missteps reduced his influence.

    But in terms of real influence, Mr. Bannon looms above almost everyone except the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in the Trumpian pecking order, according to interviews with two dozen Trump insiders and current and former national security officials. The move involving Mr. Bannon, as well as the boost in status to the White House homeland security adviser, Thomas P. Bossert, and Mr. Trump’s relationships with cabinet appointees like Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, have essentially layered over Mr. Flynn.

    Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, said Mr. Bannon — whose Breitbart website was a magnet for white nationalists, antiglobalists and conspiracy theorists — always planned to participate in national security. Mr. Flynn welcomed his participation, Mr. Spicer said, but the general “led the reorganization of the N.S.C.” in order to streamline an antiquated and bloated bureaucracy.

    Former White House officials in both parties were shocked by the move.

    “The last place you want to put somebody who worries about politics is in a room where they’re talking about national security,” said Leon E. Panetta, a former White House chief of staff, defense secretary and C.I.A. director in two Democratic administrations.

    “I’ve never seen that happen, and it shouldn’t happen. It’s not like he has broad experience in foreign policy and national security issues. He doesn’t. His primary role is to control or guide the president’s conscience based on his campaign promises. That’s not what the National Security Council is supposed to be about.”

    That opinion was shared by President George W. Bush’s last chief of staff, Josh Bolten, who barred Karl Rove, Mr. Bush’s political adviser, from N.S.C. meetings. A president’s decisions made with those advisers, he told a conference audience in September, “involve life and death for the people in uniform” and should “not be tainted by any political decisions.”

    Susan E. Rice, President Barack Obama’s last national security adviser, called the arrangement “stone cold crazy” in a tweet posted Sunday.

    Mr. Spicer said the language the Trump White House used in its N.S.C. executive order is, with the exception of Mr. Bannon’s position — which was created during the transition — almost identical in content to one the Bush administration drafted in 2001. And Mr. Obama’s top political operative, David Axelrod, sat in on some N.S.C. meetings, he added.

    There were key differences. Mr. Axelrod never served as a permanent member as Mr. Bannon will now, though he sat in on some critical meetings, especially as Mr. Obama debated strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. “It’s a profound shift,” Mr. Axelrod said. “I don’t know what his bona fides are to be the principal foreign policy adviser to the president.”
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-donald-trump-muslim-ban-immigration-iraq-iran-restrictions-travel-islamic-state-us-visa-a7552856.html
    But Mr. Bannon’s elevation does not merely reflect his growing influence on national security. It is emblematic of Mr. Trump’s trust on a range of political and ideological issues.

    During the campaign, the sly and provocative Mr. Bannon played a paradoxical role — calming the easily agitated candidate during his frequent rough patches and egging him on when he felt Mr. Trump needed to fire up the white working-class base. The president respects Mr. Bannon because he is independently wealthy and therefore does not need the job, and both men ascribe to a shoot-the-prisoners credo when put on the defensive, according to the former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

    Mr. Bannon is a deft operator within the White House, and he has been praised by Republicans who view him skeptically as the most knowledgeable on policy around the president. But his stated preference for blowing things up — as opposed to putting them back together — may not translate to his new role.

    The hasty drafting of the immigration order, and its scattershot execution, brought a measure of Mr. Bannon’s chaotic and hyperaggressive political style to the more predictable administration of the federal government. Within hours of the edict, airport customs and border agents were detaining or blocking dozens of migrant families, some of whom had permanent resident status, until John F. Kelly, the new homeland security secretary, intervened.

    Mr. Kelly’s department had suggested green card holders be exempted from the order, but Mr. Bannon and Mr. Miller, a hard-liner on immigration, overruled him, according to two American officials.

    “But the defining moment for Mr. Bannon came Saturday night in the form of an executive order giving the rumpled right-wing agitator a full seat on the “principals committee” of the National Security Council — while downgrading the roles of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of national intelligence, who will now attend only when the council is considering issues in their direct areas of responsibilities. It is a startling elevation of a political adviser, to a status alongside the secretaries of state and defense, and over the president’s top military and intelligence advisers.”

    Yes, a day after Steve Bannon leads Trump’s now-infamous and constitutionally questionable Muslim ban fiasco he gets promotion to the “principals committee” on the National Security Countil at the same time Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of national intelligence both get knocked off that committee. The next day DHS announces it’s ignoring the federal judge’s order to halt the ban. And this was all kicked off on International Holocaust Remembrance Day with special attention made to the sensitivities of Holocaust deniers.

    Are we running out of red flags yet? Well, these are metaphorical red flags so we can’t run out of them, of course. But if we ignore those red flags we can certainly run out of something else that’s very real: time. Time do actually do anything about the situation.

    So, are we running out of time to respond to the red flags yet? Uh…

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 30, 2017, 4:19 pm

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