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For The Record  

FTR #931 The Trumpenkampfverbande, Part 10: Echoes From the Past, Visions of the Future

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This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Waffen SS-clad World War II reenactors, in original photo used by Trump

Waf­fen SS-clad World War II reen­ac­tors, in orig­i­nal pho­to used by Trump in a 2015 cam­paign ad

Intro­duc­tion: The first pro­gram record­ed after the elec­tion of Don­ald Trump, this broad­cast updates aspects of the Trumpenkampfver­bande cov­ered in past shows and looks ahead to the gath­er­ing storm.

(We note that, for a num­ber of weeks to come, we will be read­ing into the record much of a short, excel­lent biog­ra­phy of Trump by David Cay John­son. We can’t rec­om­mend the book strong­ly enough.)

Begin­ning with a clos­ing ad run by the Trump cam­paign, we note its anti-Semit­ic nature: “ . . . . From a tech­ni­cal and the­mat­ic per­spec­tive it’s a well made ad. It’s also packed with anti-Semit­ic dog whis­tles, anti-Semit­ic tropes and anti-Semit­ic vocab­u­lary. I’m not even sure whether it makes sense to call them dog whis­tles. The four read­i­ly iden­ti­fi­able Amer­i­can bad guys in the ad are Hillary Clin­ton, George Soros (Jew­ish financier), Janet Yellen (Jew­ish Fed Chair) and Lloyd Blank­fein (Jew­ish Gold­man Sachs CEO). . . . This is an anti-Semit­ic ad every bit as much as the infa­mous Jesse Helms ‘white hands’ ad or the Willie Hor­ton ad were anti-African-Amer­i­can racist ads. Which is to say, real­ly anti-Semit­ic. You could even argue that it’s more so, giv­en cer­tain lin­guis­tic sim­i­lar­i­ties with anti-Semit­ic pro­pa­gan­da from the 1930s. But it’s not a con­test. This is an ad intend­ed to appeal to anti-Semi­tes and spread anti-Semit­ic ideas. . .”

making-of-trumpThis comes as no sur­prise, as Trump’s cam­paign man­ag­er, Stephen K. Ban­non embod­ies the fas­cism dom­i­nant in the Trump cam­paign:  ” . . . . Trump has elec­tri­fied anti-Semi­tes and racist groups across the coun­try. His own cam­paign has repeat­ed­ly found itself speak­ing to anti-Semi­tes, tweet­ing their anti-Semit­ic memes, retweet­ing anti-Semi­tes. His cam­paign man­ag­er, Steven Ban­non, is an anti-Semi­te. . . .”

 Much of the pro­gram focus­es on the evo­lu­tion of these forces as a Trump admin­is­tra­tion takes form:

  • Pre­vi­ous­ly mar­gin­al­ized fas­cist and racist groups have moved into the over­ground, main­stream polit­i­cal are­na: “. . . . ‘Trump has shown that our mes­sage is healthy, nor­mal and organ­ic — and mil­lions of Amer­i­cans agree with us,’ said Matthew M. Heim­bach, a co-founder of the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Youth Net­work, a white nation­al­ist group that claims to sup­port the inter­ests of work­ing-class whites. It also advo­cates the sep­a­ra­tion of the races. . . . ‘For racists in this coun­try, this cam­paign has been a com­plete affir­ma­tion of their fears, wor­ries, dreams and hopes,’ said Ryan Lenz, the edi­tor of the Hate­watch blog at the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter, which tracks such groups from its head­quar­ters in Mont­gomery, Ala. ‘Most things they believe have been legit­imized, or have been giv­en the stamp of approval, by main­stream Amer­i­can pol­i­tics to the point now where it’s no longer shame­ful to be a racist.’ . . . .”
  • These groups are poised to move into a Trump admin­is­tra­tion” . . . . ‘I have been very sur­prised that we have not seen attrac­tive, well-spo­ken, racial­ly aware can­di­dates run­ning for local office,’ Jared Tay­lor, head of the white nation­al­ist Amer­i­can Renais­sance pub­li­ca­tion and annu­al con­fer­ence, told TPM in a Wednes­day phone call. ‘I think this will be inevitable, and I think that Trump will have encour­aged this. That our peo­ple will run for school board, city coun­cil, may­or, all that I antic­i­pate cer­tain­ly.’ . . . .”
  • Stephen K. Ban­non is being con­sid­ered for the posi­tion of White House Chief of Staff: Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump is strong­ly con­sid­er­ing nam­ing his cam­paign CEO Steve Ban­non to serve as his White House chief of staff, a source with knowl­edge of the sit­u­a­tion told CNN on Thurs­day. . . .”

Return­ing to sub­ject mate­r­i­al cov­ered in FTR #906, the pro­gram also updates cov­er­age of the FBI’s direct inter­fer­ence in the cam­paign and the sto­ry of the pro­pa­gan­da book Clin­ton Cash, writ­ten by Koch broth­ers pro­tege and Breitbart/Bannon asso­ciate Peter Schweiz­er.

The two focal points of that pro­gram have dovetailed–Comey’s last minute inter­fer­ence in the cam­paign may well have tipped the bal­ance in favor of Trump. Many of the agents serv­ing under Comey have been moti­vat­ed by the Schweiz­er text! ” . . . . In August the F.B.I. grap­pled with whether to issue sub­poe­nas in the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion case, which . . . was in its pre­lim­i­nary stages. The inves­ti­ga­tion, based in New York, had not devel­oped much evi­dence and was based most­ly on infor­ma­tion that had sur­faced in news sto­ries and the book “Clin­ton Cash,” accord­ing to sev­er­al law enforce­ment offi­cials briefed on the case. . . .”

Appar­ent­ly, the Trumpenkampfver­bande has pen­e­trat­ed the bureau to an alarm­ing extent: ” . . . . ‘The FBI is Trum­p­land,’ said one cur­rent agent. . . . The cur­rent­ly serv­ing FBI agent said Clin­ton is ‘the antichrist per­son­i­fied to a large swath of FBI per­son­nel,’ and that “the rea­son why they’re leak­ing is they’re pro-Trump.’ . . .”

Tak­en in con­junc­tion with the stun­ning acquit­tal of Ammon Bundy and com­pa­ny for their occu­pa­tion of the Mal­heur Nation­al Wildlife Refuge in Ore­gon, the fact of a major por­tion of the FBI work­ing for the Trumpenkampfver­bande should fright­en hon­est cit­i­zens.

Such anx­i­ety is par­tic­u­lar­ly well-found­ed since Trump is appar­ent­ly com­pil­ing an ene­mies list.

alfa-groupIn FTR #930, we exam­ined links between Alfa Bank and the Trump cam­paign. Far from being “Putin/Russia/Kremlin,” this is part and par­cel to the Ger­man Ost­poli­tik we dis­cussed in FTR #‘s 918 and 919. PLEASE exam­ine the pro­grams and descrip­tions to flesh out your under­stand­ing. Dis­missed as invalid by the FBI and the media, the Alfa/Trump con­nec­tion not only appears sol­id, but the links between Alfa and Marc Rich on the one hand, and James Comey’s inves­ti­ga­tions of Marc Rich and Bill Clin­ton’s par­don of Rich may well have influ­enced the FBI’s non-inves­ti­ga­tion of the Trump/Alfa link. Again some of the main con­sid­er­a­tions in this regard:

  • The unsuc­cess­ful attempt by Alfa sub­sidiary Crown Resources to buy Marc Rich’s com­modi­ties firm: ” . . .  A deal to sell the Swiss-based com­modi­ties oper­a­tion of for­mer U.S. fugi­tive financier Marc Rich to Rus­sia-owned ener­gy trad­ing group Crown Resources is off. . . . Crown is owned by the Alfa Group con­glom­er­ate. . . . .”
  • The sub­se­quent suc­cess­ful attempt by Alfa play­er Mikhail Frid­man to pur­chase the Marc Rich firm: ” . . . Mikhail Frid­man: ‘Defen­dant Mikhail Frid­man cur­rent­ly serves as Chair­man of the Board of Direc­tors of co-con­spir­a­tor Alfa Bank and as Chair­man of the Board of Direc­tors of Defen­dant Con­sor­tium Alfa Group. Frid­man fur­ther served on the Board of Vim­pel­Com, a NYSE com­pa­ny, and has con­trol over Gold­en Tele­com, a NASDAQ com­pa­ny ... pur­chased the Unit­ed States trad­ing firm owned by Amer­i­can, Mark Rich, the one time com­modi­ties baron par­doned by Pres­i­dent Clin­ton with much con­tro­ver­sy. . . .”
  • The FBI’s long-dor­mant Twit­ter account began tweet­ing files about Bill Clin­ton’s par­don of Marc Rich, short­ly after the offi­cial dis­missal of inves­ti­ga­tions into the Alfa/Trump link: ” . . . . Now, a new inter­a­gency mys­tery is rais­ing ques­tions about whether the F.B.I. has become politi­cized, just days before the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. On Sun­day, a long-dor­mant F.B.I. Twit­ter account sud­den­ly sprung to life, blast­ing out a series of links to case files that cast the Clin­tons in a decid­ed­ly neg­a­tive light. . . . Then, on Tues­day, the “FBI Records Vault” account—which had not tweet­ed at all between Octo­ber 2015 and Sunday—published a link to records relat­ed to the 15-year-old, long-closed inves­ti­ga­tion into for­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clinton’s par­don­ing of one­time com­modi­ties trad­er turned fugi­tive Marc Rich. The post, which was quick­ly retweet­ed thou­sands of times, links to a heav­i­ly redact­ed doc­u­ment that repeat­ed­ly ref­er­ences the agency’s “Pub­lic Cor­rup­tion” unit—less-than-ideal optics for Hillary Clin­ton, who has spent her entire cam­paign fight­ing her image as a cor­rupt politi­cian. . . .”
  • FBI Direc­tor James Comey was in charge of the orig­i­nal Marc Rich inves­ti­ga­tion and the par­don of Rich by Bill Clin­ton. Is there a con­nec­tion between the offi­cial dis­missal of the inves­ti­ga­tion into the Alfa/Trump link by the FBI, the tweet­ing by the FBI of the files on the Clin­ton par­don of Marc Rich and the fact that it was Comey who presided over the Marc Rich inves­ti­ga­tions? ” . . . . In 2002, Comey, then a fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tor, took over an inves­ti­ga­tion into Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton’s 2001 par­don of financier Marc Rich, who had been indict­ed on a laun­dry list of charges before flee­ing the coun­try. The deci­sion set off a polit­i­cal firestorm focused on accu­sa­tions that Rich’s ex-wife Denise made dona­tions to the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, the Clin­ton Library and Hillary Clin­ton’s 2000 Sen­ate cam­paign as part of a plan to get Rich off the hook. Comey ulti­mate­ly decid­ed not to pur­sue the case. The kick­er: Comey him­self had over­seen Rich’s pros­e­cu­tion between 1987 and 1993. . . .”

One won­ders if the Comey/Rich inves­ti­ga­tions link may have influ­enced James Comey’s uncon­scionable announce­ment days before the elec­tion about a new inves­ti­ga­tion of the Hillary Clin­ton e‑mail non-scan­dal?

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

  • For­mer State Depart­ment offi­cial Richard Burt’s links to the Alfa Bank.
  • Burt’s role as a for­eign pol­i­cy advi­sor to Don­ald Trump.
  • Burt’s role as a lob­by­ist for a nat­ur­al gas pipeline that had, until recent­ly, been financed in part by major Ger­man cor­po­ra­tions.
  • Burt’s pre­vi­ous posi­tion as Ronald Rea­gan’s ambas­sador to Ger­many in the run-up to Ger­man reuni­fi­ca­tion.

1a. Trump’s last major cam­paign ad was overt­ly anti-Semit­ic.

“ . . . . From a tech­ni­cal and the­mat­ic per­spec­tive it’s a well made ad. It’s also packed with anti-Semit­ic dog whis­tles, anti-Semit­ic tropes and anti-Semit­ic vocab­u­lary. I’m not even sure whether it makes sense to call them dog whis­tles. The four read­i­ly iden­ti­fi­able Amer­i­can bad guys in the ad are Hillary Clin­ton, George Soros (Jew­ish financier), Janet Yellen (Jew­ish Fed Chair) and Lloyd Blank­fein (Jew­ish Gold­man Sachs CEO). . . .

“Trump Rolls Out Anti-Semit­ic Clos­ing Ad” by Josh Mar­shall; Talk­ing Points Memo Editor’s Blog ; 11/5/2016.

Take a moment to look at this clos­ing ad from Don­ald Trump.

From a tech­ni­cal and the­mat­ic per­spec­tive it’s a well made ad. It’s also packed with anti-Semit­ic dog whis­tles, anti-Semit­ic tropes and anti-Semit­ic vocab­u­lary. I’m not even sure whether it makes sense to call them dog whis­tles. The four read­i­ly iden­ti­fi­able Amer­i­can bad guys in the ad are Hillary Clin­ton, George Soros (Jew­ish financier), Janet Yellen (Jew­ish Fed Chair) and Lloyd Blank­fein (Jew­ish Gold­man Sachs CEO).

The Trump nar­ra­tion imme­di­ate­ly pre­ced­ing Soros and Yellin pro­ceeds as fol­lows: “The estab­lish­ment has tril­lions of dol­lars at stake in this elec­tion. For those who con­trol the levers of pow­er in Wash­ing­ton [start Soros] and for the glob­al [start Yellen] spe­cial inter­ests [stop Yellen]. They part­ner with these peo­ple [start Clin­ton] who don’t have your good in mind.”

For Blank­fein: “It’s a glob­al pow­er struc­ture that is respon­si­ble for the eco­nom­ic deci­sions that have robbed our work­ing class, stripped our coun­try of its wealth and put that mon­ey into the [start Blankein] pock­ets of a hand­ful of large cor­po­ra­tions [stop Blank­fein] and polit­i­cal enti­ties.”

These are stan­dard anti-Semit­ic themes and sto­ry­lines, using estab­lished anti-Semit­ic vocab­u­lary lined up with high pro­file Jews as the only Amer­i­cans oth­er than Clin­ton who are appar­ent­ly rel­e­vant to the sto­ry. As you can see by my tran­scrip­tion, the Jews come up to punc­tu­ate spe­cif­ic key phras­es. Soros: “those who con­trol the levers of pow­er in Wash­ing­ton”; Yellen “glob­al spe­cial inter­ests”; Blank­fein “put mon­ey into the pock­ets of hand­ful of large cor­po­ra­tions.”

This is an anti-Semit­ic ad every bit as much as the infa­mous Jesse Helms ‘white hands’ ad or the Willie Hor­ton ad were anti-African-Amer­i­can racist ads. Which is to say, real­ly anti-Semit­ic. You could even argue that it’s more so, giv­en cer­tain lin­guis­tic sim­i­lar­i­ties with anti-Semit­ic pro­pa­gan­da from the 1930s. But it’s not a con­test. This is an ad intend­ed to appeal to anti-Semi­tes and spread anti-Semit­ic ideas. That’s the only stan­dard that real­ly mat­ters.

This is inten­tion­al and by design. It is no acci­dent.

Trump has elec­tri­fied anti-Semi­tes and racist groups across the coun­try. His own cam­paign has repeat­ed­ly found itself speak­ing to anti-Semi­tes, tweet­ing their anti-Semit­ic memes, retweet­ing anti-Semi­tes. His cam­paign man­ag­er, Steven Ban­non, is an anti-Semi­te. The Bre­it­bart News site he ran and will con­tin­ue run­ning after the cam­paign has become increas­ing­ly open in the last year with anti-Semit­ic attacks and pol­i­tics.

Beyond that, this shouldn’t sur­prise us for a broad­er rea­son. Author­i­tar­i­an, xeno­pho­bic polit­i­cal move­ments, which the Trump cam­paign unques­tion­ably is, are dri­ven by trib­al­ism and ‘us vs them’ exclu­sion of out­siders. This may begin with oth­er groups – Mex­i­can immi­grants, African-Amer­i­cans, Mus­lims. It almost always comes around to Jews.

1b. In our dis­cus­sion of the Trumpenkampfver­bande, we have not­ed that what we have called the Under­ground Reich is now com­ing into plain view and trans­formed into a mass move­ment. That move­ment has now tri­umphed. The New York Times had a few thoughts on Trump’s extrem­ist sup­port­ers.

“Even if Trump Los­es, His Can­di­da­cy Has Embold­ened Extrem­ist Sup­port­ers” by Jonathan Mahler and Julie Turke­witz; The New York Times; 11/7/2016.

. . . . “Trump has shown that our mes­sage is healthy, nor­mal and organ­ic — and mil­lions of Amer­i­cans agree with us,” said Matthew M. Heim­bach, a co-founder of the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Youth Net­work, a white nation­al­ist group that claims to sup­port the inter­ests of work­ing-class whites. It also advo­cates the sep­a­ra­tion of the races.

What­ev­er hap­pens on Nov. 8, Mr. Trump’s can­di­da­cy has brought groups like Mr. Heimbach’s out of the shad­ows, and they say they have no inten­tion of return­ing.

“For racists in this coun­try, this cam­paign has been a com­plete affir­ma­tion of their fears, wor­ries, dreams and hopes,” said Ryan Lenz, the edi­tor of the Hate­watch blog at the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter, which tracks such groups from its head­quar­ters in Mont­gomery, Ala. “Most things they believe have been legit­imized, or have been giv­en the stamp of approval, by main­stream Amer­i­can pol­i­tics to the point now where it’s no longer shame­ful to be a racist.”

The biggest ben­e­fi­cia­ry may well be the so-called alt-right, the once obscure and now ascen­dant white nation­al­ist move­ment with close ties to Bre­it­bart News, the web­site oper­at­ed by Mr. Trump’s cam­paign man­ag­er, Stephen K. Ban­non. . . .

. . . . In short, they say they believe that Mr. Trump’s cam­paign has turned them into a force that the Repub­li­can estab­lish­ment can­not ignore.

“What you can’t say is that we’re just a bunch of mar­gin­al loons,” Mr. Spencer said. “The truth is that we have a deep­er con­nec­tion with the Trumpian forces and Trumpian pop­ulism than the main­stream con­ser­v­a­tives do. They’re going to have to deal with us.” . . . .

. . . . To mem­bers of the alt-right, Mr. Trump is a trans­for­ma­tive fig­ure. It has been a long time since a main­stream politi­cian, let alone a pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, talked about the mass depor­ta­tion of undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants and warned about “inter­na­tion­al banks” plot­ting “the destruc­tion of U.S. sov­er­eign­ty.” Mr. Trump has giv­en them the legit­i­ma­cy they long craved. . . .

. . . . “I basi­cal­ly agree with every­thing Don­ald Trump advo­cates,” Mr. Anglin wrote in an email. He went on to say Mr. Trump has made it “social­ly accept­able” to talk about thing that were once off lim­its, such as “the glob­al­ist Jew­ish agen­da.” . . .

3a. Richard Burt is a mem­ber of Alfa’s senior advi­so­ry coun­cil. He’s also a lob­by­ist for the Nord Stream II pipeline, which will send nat­ur­al gas from Rus­sia to Ger­many via the Baltic Sea, bypass­ing Ukraine and Belarus. Burt is craft­ing Trump’s for­eign pol­i­cy.

In FTR #930, we exam­ined links between Alfa and the Trump cam­paign. Far from being “Putin/Russia/Kremlin,” this is part and par­cel to the Ger­man Ost­poli­tik we dis­cussed in FTR #‘s 918 and 919. PLEASE exam­ine the pro­grams and descrip­tions to flesh out your under­stand­ing.

“Trump and Rus­sia: All the Mogul’s Men” by James Miller; The Dai­ly Beast; 11/07/2016.

Why do so many of Trump’s cam­paign staffers have dodgy ties to Russ­ian ener­gy com­pa­nies or Russ­ian state clients? . . . .

THE BANKER

Richard Burt is the chair­man of the advi­so­ry coun­cil for The Nation­al Inter­est, the in-house jour­nal of the Cen­ter for the Nation­al Inter­est, where Trump deliv­ered his maid­en for­eign-pol­i­cy speech last April. He is also a mem­ber of the senior advi­so­ry board of Russia’s Alfa Bank, a major Moscow finan­cial insti­tu­tion which, thus far, has escaped West­ern sanc­tions over the war in Ukraine.

Burt was recruit­ed by Paul Man­afort to help the Trump cam­paign write a speech that tried to define his for­eign-pol­i­cy vision. Burt has also repeat­ed­ly defend­ed Trump’s for­eign-pol­i­cy ideas, includ­ing dur­ing peri­ods of time when Trump was under attack for not hav­ing enough sup­port from well-respect­ed for­eign-pol­i­cy experts.enough sup­port from well-respect­ed for­eign-pol­i­cy experts

On Oct. 31, reporter Franklin Foer broke the sto­ry that a group of cyber­se­cu­ri­ty experts had tracked reg­u­lar inter­net com­mu­ni­ca­tions between Don­ald Trump’s orga­ni­za­tion and Alfa Bank.

Accord­ing to experts inter­viewed by Foer, Trump’s orga­ni­za­tion reg­is­tered a serv­er in 2009 that was most­ly respon­si­ble for send­ing mass emails. Recent­ly, how­ev­er, the server’s traf­fic was reduced to a sus­pi­cious­ly small amount of data—smaller than what a sin­gle per­son would receive via email in a sin­gle day. The serv­er appears to have been designed to allow com­mu­ni­ca­tions only between Trump’s orga­ni­za­tion and two oth­er orga­ni­za­tions, with 87 per­cent of those com­mu­ni­ca­tions tak­ing place with one of two servers belong­ing to Alfa Bank.

Alarm­ing­ly, the com­mu­ni­ca­tions pat­terns appeared to many experts who spoke with Foer to be human-to-human com­mu­ni­ca­tion, rather than auto­mat­ed mail. But the fre­quen­cy of the mes­sages also seemed to cor­re­spond to the news cycle’s focus on the con­nec­tion between Trump and Rus­sia. Fur­ther­more, after jour­nal­ists con­tact­ed Alfa Bank, Trump’s serv­er was shut down, poten­tial­ly indi­cat­ing that Alfa warned Trump’s office that the serv­er was fac­ing scruti­ny. Four days lat­er, a new serv­er was set up by the Trump orga­ni­za­tion.

Both Alfa and the Trump cam­paign deny that Trump’s com­put­ers were in con­tact with the Russ­ian bank.

The FBI report­ed­ly spent weeks inves­ti­gat­ing these alle­ga­tions but con­clud­ed that there could be oth­er expla­na­tions for the com­mu­ni­ca­tions, includ­ing mass mar­ket­ing or spam emails. It remains unclear whether the FBI was able to use the exis­tence of these com­mu­ni­ca­tions to obtain a war­rant. It is pos­si­ble that this is noth­ing more than spam emails sent between two large finan­cial insti­tu­tions.

Burt, how­ev­er, has oth­er ties to the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment that are con­cern­ing.

Accord­ing to Politi­co, he was paid $365,000 in the first half of 2016 for work he did to lob­by for the build­ing of a new nat­ur­al-gas pipeline, Nord Stream II, which would sup­ply more gas to Europe while bypass­ing Ukraine and Belarus. The plan is opposed by the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion and the Pol­ish gov­ern­ment because it would allow Rus­sia to fur­ther inter­fere in the inter­nal domes­tic pol­i­tics of Ukraine with­out fear that Ukraine could cut off Russia’s gas sup­plies or take the gas for itself. At the start of 2016, the Russ­ian state ener­gy giant Gazprom owned 50 per­cent of the com­pa­ny that wants to build the pipeline, but since the Euro­pean part­ners have pulled out, Gazprom now owns 100 per­cent.

All in all, Burt’s major con­tri­bu­tion to the Trump cam­paign is evi­dent in that first major for­eign-pol­i­cy address, which set the stage for greater eco­nom­ic, polit­i­cal, and mil­i­tary coop­er­a­tion between the U.S. and Rus­sia.

3b. As not­ed above, one of Alfa’s senior advi­sors is the guy behind Trump’s for­eign pol­i­cy vision. He is also a lob­by­ist for a major Russian/German pipeline. The pipeline that is cur­rent­ly 100 per­cent owned by Gazprom, but was 50 per­cent owned by Euro­pean investors until they all pulled out of the project in August after a Pol­ish reg­u­la­to­ry agency raised antitrust ques­tions about the project. That’s an impor­tant point because, while the focus in on Burt’s ties to Rus­sia, he was lob­by­ing for Nord Stream II. In that ontext he was lob­by­ing for Euro­pean giants like BASF (for­mer­ly a mem­ber of I.G. Far­ben), E.ON, ENGIE, OMV, and Shell too.

It’s also with not­ing that Burt was a for­mer US ambas­sador to Ger­many:

“Lob­by­ist Advised Trump Cam­paign while Pro­mot­ing Russ­ian Pipeline” by Ben Schreckinger and Julia Ioffe; Politi­co; 10/07/2016.

Richard Burt helped shape the candidate’s first for­eign-pol­i­cy speech while lob­by­ing on behalf of a Moscow-con­trolled gas com­pa­ny.

A Repub­li­can lob­by­ist was earn­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars to pro­mote one of Vladimir Putin’s top geopo­lit­i­cal pri­or­i­ties at the same time he was help­ing to shape Don­ald Trump’s first major for­eign pol­i­cy speech.

In the first two quar­ters of 2016, the firm of for­mer Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial Richard Burt received $365,000 for work he and a col­league did to lob­by for a pro­posed nat­ur­al-gas pipeline owned by a firm con­trolled by the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment, accord­ing to con­gres­sion­al lob­by­ing dis­clo­sures reviewed by POLITICO. The pipeline, opposed by the Pol­ish gov­ern­ment and the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion, would com­ple­ment the orig­i­nal Nord Stream, allow­ing more Russ­ian gas to reach cen­tral and west­ern Euro­pean mar­kets while bypass­ing Ukraine and Belarus, extend­ing Putin’s lever­age over Europe.

Burt’s lob­by­ing work for New Euro­pean Pipeline AG, the com­pa­ny behind the pipeline known as Nord Stream II, began in Feb­ru­ary. At the time, the Russ­ian state-owned oil giant Gazprom owned a 50 per­cent stake in New Euro­pean Pipeline AG. In August, five Euro­pean part­ners pulled out and Gazprom now owns 100 per­cent.

This spring, Burt helped shape Trump’s first major for­eign pol­i­cy address, accord­ing to Burt and oth­er sources. Burt rec­om­mend­ed that Trump take a more “real­ist,” less inter­ven­tion­ist approach to world affairs, as first report­ed by Reuters. Trump’s April 27 speech sound­ed those themes and called for greater coop­er­a­tion with Rus­sia.

All the while, Burt con­tin­ued to be paid for his Nord Stream II lob­by­ing work, which is ongo­ing. Asked about the simul­ta­ne­ous lob­by­ing and advis­ing, both sides down­played the rela­tion­ship.

“We have no knowl­edge of this,” wrote Trump spokes­woman Hope Hicks in an email. “In fact, our team can­not ver­i­fy his self-pro­claimed con­tri­bu­tions to Mr. Trump’s speech and, I don’t believe Mr. Trump or our pol­i­cy staff has ever met Mr. Burt. To our knowl­edge he had no input in the speech and has had no con­tact with our pol­i­cy team.”

For his part, Burt, a for­mer Rea­gan State Depart­ment offi­cial and U.S. ambas­sador to Ger­many, said he does not con­sid­er him­self an advis­er to the cam­paign and that he would pro­vide Hillary Clin­ton with advice if asked. Burt said that while he has dis­cussed Trump with Russ­ian offi­cials, his work for Nord Stream II has only involved con­tact with the project’s Euro­pean staff in Zug, Switzer­land. He said his firm, McLar­ty Asso­ciates – head­ed by for­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clinton’s ex-chief of staff Mack McLar­ty – was referred the Nord Stream II work by a finan­cial PR firm in New York.

Accord­ing to con­gres­sion­al dis­clo­sures signed by Burt and anoth­er mem­ber of the firm, the lob­by­ing work con­sists of “mon­i­tor­ing and sup­ple­ment­ing Wash­ing­ton dis­cus­sion of EU ener­gy secu­ri­ty.”

Ini­tial­ly, when asked about his input on the Trump cam­paign, Burt said it was lim­it­ed to input on the April speech.

Burt’s con­nec­tions to Rus­sia go back many decades. In 1989, for­mer Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush appoint­ed Burt to nego­ti­ate the Strate­gic Arms Reduc­tion Treaty with the USSR, which was con­clud­ed in 1991. In recent years, the 69-year-old Burt said he has advised Russia’s Alfa Bank, and he con­tin­ues to work with the bank’s co-founder, Mikhail Frid­man. Burt has also reg­is­tered for recent lob­by­ing work on behalf of the Ukrain­ian con­struc­tion firm TMM, the Pol­ish gov­ern­ment-owned air­line LOTand the Cap­i­tal Bank of Jor­dan.

Russia’s incur­sions in Ukraine, as well as its stepped-up efforts to under­mine West­ern democ­ra­cies and the Euro­pean Union by fund­ing fringe nation­al­ist par­ties and dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns, have stiff­ened resis­tance to Nord Stream II. In Amer­i­can for­eign pol­i­cy cir­cles, Burt’s work on behalf of the pipeline is a source of con­ster­na­tion.

The pipeline would under­mine Poland’s hopes of devel­op­ing its own shale gas sec­tor, and it would strength­en Europe’s depen­dence on Rus­sia as its main provider of ener­gy. Unlike an exist­ing pipeline, Nord Stream II would bypass Ukraine and Belarus, two for­mer Sovi­et republics, thus dimin­ish­ing their impor­tance to Europe and help­ing to keep them with­in Moscow’s sphere of influ­ence.

Burt is not alone in his ties to Russia’s state oil giant. Carter Page, whom Trump named as a for­eign pol­i­cy advis­er in March, has said he advised Gazprom on some of its biggest deals from 2004 to 2007, when he lived in Moscow. In Sep­tem­ber, after months of scruti­ny from the press, Con­gress, and Amer­i­can intel­li­gence offi­cials, Page said he had final­ly divest­ed him­self of a stake he held in Gazprom.

In recent years, the Krem­lin has made influ­enc­ing West­ern think tanks a more promi­nent com­po­nent of its soft pow­er strat­e­gy. And in recent weeks, Burt has gone to work on the think tank cir­cuit, pitch­ing the pipeline in pri­vate ses­sions in Wash­ing­ton and Europe.

“He’s a tremen­dous­ly sophis­ti­cat­ed oper­a­tor. He comes across as a tremen­dous­ly pol­ished, knowl­edge­able doyen of the for­eign ser­vice,” said a per­son who wit­nessed Burt sell the pipeline at a meet­ing at the Atlantic Coun­cil last month and spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty because the ses­sion was meant to remain pri­vate. “There are huge holes in what he’s say­ing, but I can imag­ine that to many con­gress­men, sen­a­tors and offi­cials, it’s all very con­vinc­ing.”

Burt described his work on behalf of Nord Stream II as, “Mak­ing sure the client under­stands what’s going on in the debate here and pro­vid­ing infor­ma­tion to peo­ple in the admin­is­tra­tion on Nord Stream’s views.”

“If we want to speak to peo­ple in the Unit­ed States, he helps us set up meet­ings with peo­ple,” said Jens Mueller, a spokesman for the pipeline project, who said the meet­ings were with “the nor­mal stake­hold­ers involved in the debate: think tanks, embassies.” He said only Burt’s firm is work­ing on the pipeline’s behalf in the Unit­ed States.

3c. Note that the above arti­cle described Burt’s work as lob­by­ing Wash­ing­ton DC, pre­sum­ably because of US oppo­si­tion to the pipeline, and that, until the recent pull out of Euro­pean investors, the Ger­man gov­ern­ment had been a staunch defend­er of the pipeline over grow­ing crit­i­cism as ten­sions between the West and Rus­sia grew and sanc­tions were put in place. All in all, it’s not hard to see why he was cho­sen to be a Rus­sia-to-Ger­many nat­ur­al gas pipeline lob­by­ist. Burt was Reagan’s ambas­sador from 1985 to 1989, dur­ing the pre­lim­i­nary stages for Ger­man reuni­fi­ca­tion.

Sum­ming up: one of the fig­ures craft­ing Don­ald Trump’s for­eign pol­i­cy vision is Reagan’s for­mer ambas­sador to Ger­many, cur­rent­ly a senior advi­sor to Alfa and a lob­by­ist for a Rus­sia-to-Ger­many pipeline that, until recent­ly, had major Ger­many ener­gy com­pa­nies as investors and back­ing by the Ger­many gov­ern­ment.

Again, we see Trump as a her­ald of Ger­man Ost­poli­tik. He is not a “Russian/Kremlin/Putin” dupe/agent of any kind.

FTR #‘s 918, 919, 929 go into this at length.

“Richard R. Burt Senior Advis­er (Non-res­i­dent)”; Cen­ter for Strate­gic & Inter­na­tion­al Stud­ies

Richard Burt serves as senior advis­er to CSIS. He is chair­man of Inter­na­tion­al Equi­ty Part­ners, a Wash­ing­ton-based invest­ment bank­ing and advi­so­ry ser­vices firm focus­ing on devel­op­ment and con­sult­ing in major emerg­ing mar­kets. Before leav­ing gov­ern­ment, Burt served as ambas­sador and chief nego­tia­tor in the Strate­gic Arms Reduc­tion Talks (START) with the for­mer Sovi­et Union, and as U.S. ambas­sador to the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many from 1985 to 1989, dur­ing the pre­lim­i­nary stages of Ger­man reuni­fi­ca­tion. Before serv­ing in Ger­many, he was assis­tant sec­re­tary of state for Euro­pean and Cana­di­an affairs from 1983 to 1985. Burt has also worked as the nation­al secu­ri­ty cor­re­spon­dent for the New York Times and at the Inter­na­tion­al Insti­tute for Strate­gic Stud­ies in Lon­don.

3d. No soon­er was Trump elect­ed than Jean-Claude Junck­er, the head of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, renewed his call for an all-EU army. In FTR #‘s 918, 919, 929, we opined that this was a major goal of the Trumpehkampfver­bande. Nigel Farage’s “Brex­it” removed a major obsta­cle to the cre­ation of an EU army. Farage is also a sup­port­er of Trump and a col­league of Trump cam­paign chief Stephen K. Ban­non.

Note that Jean-Claude Junck­er has deep con­nec­tions to the Under­ground Reich, as dis­cussed in FTR #802.

“EU Chief Mounts Fresh Call for Euro­pean Army Claim­ing ‘Amer­i­cans Won’t Pro­tect Us For­ev­er” by Dave Burke; Dai­ly Mail; 11/10/2016.

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. . . .

. . . . 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.

4. In FTR #906, we not­ed the use of the book Clin­ton Cash to stoke the anti-Clin­ton media fires. We also not­ed FBI direc­tor James Comey’s par­ti­san func­tion as head of the FBI–Comey was a sup­port­er of Mitt Rom­ney in 2012.

It turns out the FBI field agents who have been aggres­sive­ly push­ing the FBI to inves­ti­gate the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion we’re bas­ing their sus­pi­cions on “Clin­ton Cash”, the dis­cred­it­ed book writ­ten by Breitbart’s edi­tor-at-large:

“FBI Takes a Page from Bre­it­bart: Far-right “Clin­ton Cash” Book Used in Foun­da­tion Inves­ti­ga­tion” by Gary Legum; Salon; 11/03/2016.

The New York Times report on the FBI’s Clin­ton Foun­da­tion inves­ti­ga­tion reveals a pret­ty sketchy infor­ma­tion source

The Fed­er­al Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion has gone full Bre­it­bart.

OK, not real­ly. But this nugget from a New York Times sto­ry on how the bureau kept two inves­ti­ga­tions under wraps this sum­mer so as not to appear to be med­dling in the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign could lead you to won­der.

In August . . . the F.B.I. grap­pled with whether to issue sub­poe­nas in the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion case, which . . . was in its pre­lim­i­nary stages. The inves­ti­ga­tion, based in New York, had not devel­oped much evi­dence and was based most­ly on infor­ma­tion that had sur­faced in news sto­ries and the book “Clin­ton Cash,” accord­ing to sev­er­al law enforce­ment offi­cials briefed on the case.

Oh, neat, “Clin­ton Cash,” the par­ti­san hit job pub­lished last year by Breitbart’s edi­tor-at-large, Peter Schweiz­er, and lat­er adapt­ed into a doc­u­men­tary that was exec­u­tive pro­duced by for­mer Bre­it­bart chair­man and cur­rent Trump cam­paign CEO Stephen Ban­non. Next the FBI will tell us that Roger Stone was the spe­cial agent in charge of the inves­ti­ga­tion.

If you have for­got­ten about “Clin­ton Cash,” Dig­by laid out a nice case against it and Schweiz­er. The short ver­sion is that the book was one in a long, long line of thin­ly sourced tales about the Clin­tons that have made mil­lions of dol­lars for var­i­ous right-wing writ­ers and pub­lish­ing hous­es since the ear­ly 1990s. For that mat­ter, these tales sold a lot of copies of the Times as well, when it went all in chas­ing White­wa­ter sto­ries ear­ly in Bill Clinton’s pres­i­den­cy.

“Clin­ton Cash,” pub­lished just as Hillary Clin­ton was announc­ing her own cam­paign for the pres­i­den­cy, is an obvi­ous effort to cash in ear­ly to what will like­ly be four to eight years’ worth of sala­cious and worth­less inves­ti­ga­tions of her upcom­ing admin­is­tra­tion. It imme­di­ate­ly ran into the same prob­lem that dozens of anti-Clin­ton books have encoun­tered over the years: It con­tained more bull­shit than a waste pond on a cat­tle ranch. The pub­lish­er had to make revi­sions to the book’s lat­er edi­tions. Schweiz­er was forced to admit in both inter­views and in the con­clu­sion of his book that he had not quite made the case he was try­ing to present.

Senior FBI and Jus­tice Depart­ment offi­cials came to the same con­clu­sion, much to the appar­ent dis­sat­is­fac­tion of some agents, as the Times report­ed:

In meet­ings, the Jus­tice Depart­ment and senior F.B.I. offi­cials agreed that mak­ing the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion inves­ti­ga­tion pub­lic could influ­ence the pres­i­den­tial race and sug­gest they were favor­ing Mr. Trump. . . . They agreed to keep the case open but wait until after the elec­tion to deter­mine their next steps. The move infu­ri­at­ed some agents, who thought that the F.B.I.’s lead­ers were rein­ing them in because of pol­i­tics.

And if it can’t get the GOP what it wants? Just this week Rep. Eli­jah Cum­mings, rank­ing Demo­c­rat on the House Over­sight Com­mit­tee, men­tioned the pres­sure that Repub­li­cans on the com­mit­tee have been putting on the FBI to turn up some­thing — any­thing — on Hillary Clin­ton regard­ing her pri­vate email serv­er and sug­gest­ed the GOP is going to start inves­ti­gat­ing the bureau and its direc­tor, James Comey, over the agency’s fail­ure.

This lat­est blowup is sim­ply the newest chap­ter in bet­ter than two decades of Repub­li­cans co-opt­ing the FBI and oth­er inves­tiga­tive agen­cies in ser­vice of chas­ing what­ev­er dark Clin­ton­ian shad­ows they can con­jure from the fever swamps of right-wing media and web­sites. No charge is too spu­ri­ous or absurd, which is how the nation wound up with the specter in the 1990s of a Repub­li­can con­gress­man shoot­ing can­taloupes in his back­yard to “prove” that Vince Fos­ter could not have com­mit­ted sui­cide.

It is not new, of course, for right-wing dem­a­gogues to use the FBI to chase down false and inflam­ma­to­ry garbage. But even with its his­to­ry, one of the ways the bureau main­tains legit­i­ma­cy as an insti­tu­tion is by giv­ing the appear­ance of a non­par­ti­san actor. If its agents are so deter­mined to base inves­ti­ga­tions on right-wing con jobs that their boss­es do have to rein them in, then it will lose what­ev­er moral author­i­ty it wants to claim.

5. The FBI is appar­ent­ly heav­i­ly pop­u­lat­ed with extreme par­ti­sans of the Trumpenkampfver­bande.

” . . . . The cur­rent­ly serv­ing FBI agent said Clin­ton is ‘the antichrist per­son­i­fied to a large swath of FBI per­son­nel,’ and that ‘the rea­son why they’re leak­ing is they’re pro-Trump.’ . . .”

 “‘The FBI is Trum­p­land’: Anti-Clin­ton Atmos­phere Spurred Leaks, Sources Say” by Spencer Ack­er­man; The Guardian ; 11/3/2016.

High­ly unfa­vor­able view of Hillary Clin­ton inten­si­fied after James Comey’s deci­sion not to rec­om­mend an indict­ment over her use of a pri­vate email serv­er

Thurs­day 3 Novem­ber 2016 14.02 EDT Last mod­i­fied on Thurs­day 3 Novem­ber 2016 16.26 EDT

Deep antipa­thy to Hillary Clin­ton exists with­in the FBI, mul­ti­ple bureau sources have told the Guardian, spurring a rapid series of leaks dam­ag­ing to her cam­paign just days before the elec­tion.

Cur­rent and for­mer FBI offi­cials, none of whom were will­ing or cleared to speak on the record, have described a chaot­ic inter­nal cli­mate that result­ed from out­rage over direc­tor James Comey’s July deci­sion not to rec­om­mend an indict­ment over Clinton’s main­te­nance of a pri­vate email serv­er on which clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion tran­sit­ed.

“The FBI is Trum­p­land,” said one cur­rent agent.

This atmos­phere rais­es major ques­tions about how Comey and the bureau he is slat­ed to run for the next sev­en years can work with Clin­ton should she win the White House.

The cur­rent­ly serv­ing FBI agent said Clin­ton is “the antichrist per­son­i­fied to a large swath of FBI per­son­nel,” and that “the rea­son why they’re leak­ing is they’re pro-Trump.”

The agent called the bureau “Trum­p­lan­dia”, with some col­leagues open­ly dis­cussing vot­ing for a GOP nom­i­nee who has gar­nered unprece­dent­ed con­dem­na­tion from the party’s nation­al secu­ri­ty wing and who has pledged to jail Clin­ton if elect­ed.

At the same time, oth­er sources dis­pute the depth of sup­port for Trump with­in the bureau, though they uni­form­ly stat­ed that Clin­ton is viewed high­ly unfa­vor­ably.

“There are lots of peo­ple who don’t think Trump is qual­i­fied, but also believe Clin­ton is cor­rupt. What you hear a lot is that it’s a bad choice, between an incom­pe­tent and a cor­rupt politi­cian,” said a for­mer FBI offi­cial.

Sources who dis­put­ed the depth of Trump’s inter­nal sup­port agreed that the FBI is now in par­lous polit­i­cal ter­ri­to­ry. Jus­tice depart­ment offi­cials – anoth­er cur­rent tar­get of FBI dis­sat­is­fac­tion – have said the bureau dis­re­gard­ed long­stand­ing rules against per­ceived or actu­al elec­toral inter­fer­ence when Comey wrote to Con­gress to say it was review­ing new­ly dis­cov­ered emails relat­ing to Clinton’s per­son­al serv­er.

Comey’s vague let­ter to Con­gress, prompt­ly leakedby Repub­li­can con­gress­man Jason Chaf­fetz, said the bureau would eval­u­ate com­mu­ni­ca­tions – sub­se­quent­ly iden­ti­fied as com­ing from a device used by dis­graced ex-con­gress­man Antho­ny Wein­er, whose estranged wife Huma Abe­din is a Clin­ton aide – for con­nec­tions to the Clin­ton serv­er. Comey’s allies say he was placed in an impos­si­ble posi­tion after pre­vi­ous­ly tes­ti­fy­ing to Con­gress it would take an extra­or­di­nary devel­op­ment for him to revis­it the Clin­ton issue. Through­out the sum­mer and fall, Trump has attacked the FBI as cor­rupt for not effec­tive­ly end­ing Clinton’s polit­i­cal career.

A polit­i­cal firestorm erupt­ed, with Comey and the bureau com­ing under with­er­ing crit­i­cism, includ­ing a rebuke on Wednes­day from Barack Oba­ma. Even some con­gres­sion­al Repub­li­cans, no friends to Clin­ton, have expressed dis­com­fortwith Comey’s last-minute inser­tion of the bureau into the elec­tion.

The rel­e­vance of the com­mu­ni­ca­tions to the Clin­ton inquiry has yet to be estab­lished, as Comey issued his let­ter before obtain­ing a war­rant to eval­u­ate them. Clin­ton sur­ro­gates con­tend that Comey has issued innu­en­do rather than evi­dence, pre­vent­ing them from mount­ing a pub­lic defense.

Some feel Comey needs to address the crit­i­cism and pro­vide reas­sur­ance that the bureau, with its wide-rang­ing inves­tiga­tive and sur­veil­lance pow­ers, will com­port itself in an apo­lit­i­cal man­ner. Yet since Fri­day, Comey has main­tained his silence, even as both Clin­ton and Trump have called for the bureau to dis­close more of what it knows.

Leaks, how­ev­er, have con­tin­ued. Fox News report­ed on Wednes­day that the FBI is inten­si­fy­ing an inves­ti­ga­tion into the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion over alle­ga­tions – which both the foun­da­tion and the Clin­ton camp deny – it trad­ed dona­tions for access to Hillary Clin­ton when she was sec­re­tary of state. The Wall Street Jour­nal report­ed that jus­tice depart­ment offi­cials con­sid­ered the alle­ga­tions flim­sy.

The leaks have not exclu­sive­ly cast asper­sions on Clin­ton. Paul Man­afort, Trump’s for­mer cam­paign man­ag­er, is the sub­ject of what is said to be a pre­lim­i­nary FBI inquiry into his busi­ness deal­ings in Rus­sia. Man­afort has denied any wrong­do­ing.

The Dai­ly Beast report­ed on Thurs­day on ties between Trump sur­ro­gate Rudy Giu­liani, the for­mer New York may­or, and the FBI’s New York field office, which report­ed­ly pressed the FBI to revis­it the Clin­ton serv­er inves­ti­ga­tion after begin­ning an inquiry into Weiner’s alleged sex­u­al tex­ting with a minor. The web­site report­ed that a for­mer New York field office chief, high­ly crit­i­cal of the non-indict­ment, runs a mil­i­tary char­i­ty that has received sig­nif­i­cant finan­cial dona­tions from Trump.

Comey’s deci­sion to tell the pub­lic in July that he was effec­tive­ly drop­ping the Clin­ton serv­er issue angered some with­in the bureau, par­tic­u­lar­ly giv­en the back­ground of ten­sions with the jus­tice depart­ment over the Clin­ton issue. A sig­nif­i­cant com­pli­ca­tion is the appear­ance of a con­flict of inter­est regard­ing Loret­ta Lynch, the attor­ney gen­er­al, who met with Bill Clin­ton this sum­mer ahead of Comey’s announce­ment, which she acknowl­edged had “cast a shad­ow” over the inquiry.

“Many FBI agents were upset at the direc­tor, not because he didn’t [rec­om­mend to] indict, but they believe he threw the FBI under the bus by tak­ing the heat away from DoJ [Depart­ment of Jus­tice],” the for­mer bureau offi­cial said.

All this has com­pound­ed pres­sure on Comey, with lit­tle end in sight.

Jim Wedick, who retired from the bureau in 2004 after 35 years, said that if Clin­ton is elect­ed, she and Comey would prob­a­bly find a way to work togeth­er out of a sense of prag­ma­tism. He recalled both his own occa­sion­al clash­es with fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors and Bill Clinton’s uneasy rela­tion­ship with his choice for FBI direc­tor, Louis Freeh.

“Each one will find a way to pick at the oth­er. It’s not going to be good and it’s not going to be pret­ty. But they’ll both have to work with each oth­er,” he said.

6. The par­ti­san­ship with­in the FBI should be viewed against the back­ground of the acquit­tal of Ammon Bun­day and com­pa­ny after their ille­gal occu­pa­tion of the Mal­heur Nation­al Wildlife Refuge.

“Anti-Gov’t Activists See Vin­di­ca­tion In Acquit­tal Of Ore­gon Occu­piers” by Alle­gra Kirk­landTalk­ing Points Memo Muck­rak­er; 10/28/2016.

Mili­tia groups and anti-gov­ern­ment activists rejoiced at the news that sev­en defen­dants charged in the armed occu­pa­tion ear­li­er this year of a remote fed­er­al wildlife refuge in Ore­gon were acquit­ted of all charges late Thurs­day.

The stun­ning ver­dict in the high-pro­file tri­al has con­vinced those who see it as their duty to take up arms against what they view as gov­ern­ment over­reach that their cru­sade is a just one.

“Tonight we have vin­di­ca­tion for the life, for­tune and sacred hon­or we all promised to give and for which many have giv­en already,” Cen­tral Ore­gon Con­sti­tu­tion­al Guard leader B.J. Sop­er wrote in a Face­book post, adding that he’d had tears in his eyes all night.

While the Oath Keep­ers, a so-called patri­ot group made up of cur­rent and for­mer mil­i­tary and law enforce­ment per­son­nel, crit­i­cized the occu­piers’ deci­sion to take over a fed­er­al build­ing, founder Stew­art Rhodes told TPM that the jury’s deci­sion rep­re­sent­ed “a vic­to­ry for due process.”

“In the big pic­ture, they’re right,” Stew­art Rhodes said of the occu­piers in a Fri­day phone call. “West­ern lands are being stolen from the Amer­i­can peo­ple. It’s not just white ranch­ers, it’s also the Native Amer­i­cans too. It’s hap­pen­ing right now at the pipeline. So it’s the entire west.” . . . .

7a. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, fas­cists are poised to move into both elect­ed and appoint­ed polit­i­cal office under Trump.

“Trump’s White Nation­al­ist Back­ers Train Their Eyes On Elect­ed Office, Admin Posts” by Alle­gra Kirk­land; Talk­ing Points Memo Muck­rak­er; 11/10/2016.

In the wake of Don­ald Trump’s upset pres­i­den­tial win, the small yet vocal cohort of white nation­al­ists who sup­port­ed his cam­paign are refo­cus­ing their efforts from trolling lib­er­als online to run­ning for elect­ed office.

Their rea­son­ing: If a can­di­date who appealed to the tide of anti-immi­grant, anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment surg­ing on the country’s right could win over vot­ers, why not one who is open­ly “pro-white”?

“I have been very sur­prised that we have not seen attrac­tive, well-spo­ken, racial­ly aware can­di­dates run­ning for local office,” Jared Tay­lor, head of the white nation­al­ist Amer­i­can Renais­sance pub­li­ca­tion and annu­al con­fer­ence, told TPM in a Wednes­day phone call. “I think this will be inevitable, and I think that Trump will have encour­aged this. That our peo­ple will run for school board, city coun­cil, may­or, all that I antic­i­pate cer­tain­ly.”

Oth­ers are think­ing in the short-term and train­ing their eyes, per­haps more quixot­i­cal­ly, on pos­si­ble posi­tions in a Trump admin­is­tra­tion.

William John­son arguably did the most to advo­cate for the real estate mogul’s cam­paign through tra­di­tion­al polit­i­cal chan­nels. The Los Ange­les-based lawyer and chair of the white nation­al­ist Amer­i­can Free­dom Par­ty found­ed the pro-Trump Amer­i­can Nation­al super PAC, bankrolled robo­calls on his behalf, and was list­ed to serve as a Trump del­e­gate at the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion until media out­cry forced the Trump cam­paign to remove his name and attribute his inclu­sion to a “data error.”

John­son told TPM his plan now is to “whee­dle my way into a Trump admin­is­tra­tion.” He said he’d love a posi­tion as ambas­sador to Japan or the Philip­pines, coun­tries home to many of his legal clients, or under sec­re­tary of Agri­cul­ture, as he runs a small per­sim­mon farm. These like­ly remain pipe dreams, giv­en that the Trump cam­paign has said in the past that it “strong­ly con­demns” Johnson’s rhetoric.

“Right now because the elec­tion is over and there’s going to be no elec­tion for anoth­er two years, we’re not focused on peo­ple run­ning for office,” John­son said. “We’re focused on get­ting peo­ple into the admin­is­tra­tion and work­ing with­in the sys­tem. But in anoth­er year or so when elec­tions start gear­ing up, we will put our can­di­dates into place.”

Mean­while, civ­il rights groups are keep­ing a wary eye on the slow creep of white nation­al­ists and the alt-right from mar­gin­al­ized con­fer­ences and online mes­sage boards into walk­ing, wak­ing polit­i­cal life. Oren Segal, direc­tor of the ADL’s Cen­ter on Extrem­ism, believes that the “big­otry and anti-Semi­tism and hatred” that vot­ers saw come out dur­ing the cam­paign was just the begin­ning. Trump’s extrem­ist sup­port­ers, he told TPM, “feel reward­ed for their bad behav­ior.”

“The alt-right in par­tic­u­lar which was this very loose­ly orga­nized online move­ment, we’re going to see if it tries to become more of a real world move­ment,” he added.

This nor­mal­iza­tion effort is already under­way. The alt-right held what amount­ed to a press con­fer­ence at the Willard Hotel in down­town Wash­ing­ton, D.C. in Sep­tem­ber, and Segal men­tioned an upcom­ing Nation­al Pol­i­cy Insti­tute event with “known anti-Semi­tes” like Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­si­ty pro­fes­sor Kevin Mac­Don­ald.

These in-per­son meet-ups in con­ven­tion­al set­tings, Segal said, “speak to a devel­op­ment from an online phe­nom­e­non to a real-world one.”

White nation­al­ists aspired to office even before Trump launched his cam­paign. For­mer Ku Klux Klan grand wiz­ard David Duke served one term in the Louisiana House in the late 1980s and made sev­er­al stabs at elect­ed office in the fol­low­ing years. This year, he launched a failed bid for a Louisiana Sen­ate seat and direct­ly tied him­self to a Trump tick­et.

The younger gen­er­a­tion has been known to take the same tack. A recent Wash­ing­ton Post pro­file of Derek Black, son of the founder of the white nation­al­ist Storm­front web­site and a dar­ling of the move­ment until he pub­licly broke away from it, explained the strat­e­gy Black employed when he was still part of that inner cir­cle.

“The way ahead is through pol­i­tics,” Black told atten­dees at a 2008 white nation­al­ist con­fer­ence, accord­ing to the Post. “We can infil­trate. We can take the coun­try back.”

He was 19 years old at the time and had already won a GOP com­mit­tee seat in Palm Beach Coun­ty, Flori­da.

Peter Brimelow, the edi­tor of anti-immi­gra­tion site Vir­ginia Dare, said Trump’s win would make main­stream politi­cians “see that these are win­ning issues.” Although Brimelow doubts that any self-described white nation­al­ists will “be allowed into pub­lic life,” he point­ed to politi­cians like Rep. David Brat (R‑VA) as “break­throughs” who he said share very sim­i­lar views to those of the white nation­al­ist com­mu­ni­ty.

Tay­lor, of Amer­i­can Renais­sance, point­ed to Sen. Jeff Ses­sions (R‑AL), Kansas Sec­re­tary of State Kris Kobach and for­mer New York City May­or Giuliani—all of whom are already work­ing close­ly with the Trump team—as the kind of offi­cials white nation­al­ists would like to see in the next admin­is­tra­tion.

Civ­il rights groups are close­ly mon­i­tor­ing which offi­cials Trump names to key admin­is­tra­tion posts, and these are the kinds of names that give them pause.

“When [Bre­it­bart Chair­man Steve] Ban­non is the CEO of your cam­paign and also some­one who has made a place for the alt-right, the prospects are scary,” said Richard Cohen, legal direc­tor for the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter. “On the immi­gra­tion front you’ve got peo­ple like Kobach, the archi­tect of the country’s harsh­est immi­gra­tion laws, SB1070 in Ari­zona and HB56 in Alaba­ma, on his tran­si­tion team for immi­gra­tion. You have peo­ple con­nect­ed to the Fam­i­ly Research Coun­cil, a hard-line anti-gay group, who are play­ing a role in his tran­si­tion team.”

“So far we haven’t seen any effort on his part to dis­tance him­self from the peo­ple who brought him to the par­ty,” Cohen added. “He’s still danc­ing with them.” . . .

7b. Trump is report­ed­ly strong­ly con­sid­er­ing Steve Ban­non to be his chief of staff!

“Trump Strong­ly Con­sid­er­ing Steve Ban­non for Chief of Staff” by Jere­my Dia­mond, Dana Bash and Evan Perez; CNN; 11/11/2016.

Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump is strong­ly con­sid­er­ing nam­ing his cam­paign CEO Steve Ban­non to serve as his White House chief of staff, a source with knowl­edge of the sit­u­a­tion told CNN on Thurs­day.

The White House chief of staff is typ­i­cal­ly tasked in large part with ensur­ing that all wheels are spin­ning in the com­plex White House orga­ni­za­tion, and the source said that some peo­ple in Trump’s orbit do not think Ban­non, the exec­u­tive chair­man of Bre­it­bart News who joined Trump’s cam­paign in August, is the best fit for that posi­tion.

Trump’s con­tem­pla­tion of Ban­non as chief of staff comes as his pres­i­den­tial tran­si­tion team is fever­ish­ly ramp­ing up its efforts to build out an admin­is­tra­tion after his sur­pris­ing win Tues­day. . . .

Ban­non has also been a major force behind some of Trump’s more con­tro­ver­sial stunts, includ­ing when Trump held an impromp­tu press event with women who had accused for­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton of sex­u­al assault and mis­con­duct. Ban­non was spot­ted in the back of the room smil­ing as reporters were led in for the debate night sur­prise.

8. The Trumpenkampfver­bande is already keep­ing an ene­mies list. a la Richard Nixon.

“If [Gra­ham] felt his inter­ests was with that can­di­date, God bless him,” Mani­gault remarked. “I would nev­er judge any­body for exer­cis­ing their right to and the free­dom to choose who they want. But let me just tell you, Mr. Trump has a long mem­o­ry and we’re keep­ing a list.

Omarosa Hints at a Don­ald Trump Ene­mies List: “It’s So Dreat Our Ene­mies Are Mak­ing Them­selves Clear” by Matthew Rozsa; Salon; 11/09/2016.

The Trump admin­is­tra­tion may be pret­ty vin­dic­tive

Fore­shad­ow­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty that the worst fears of Don­ald Trump’s crit­ics have mer­it, Omarosa Mani­gault — who met Trump while com­pet­ing on “The Appren­tice” and has cam­paigned for him in this elec­tion — has dis­cussed how the Repub­li­can vic­tor has been keep­ing an ene­mies list.

“It’s so great our ene­mies are mak­ing them­selves clear so that when we get in to the White House, we know where we stand,” Mani­gault told Inde­pen­dent Jour­nal Review at Trump’s elec­tion night par­ty on Wednes­day.

She also ref­er­enced a tweet sent by South Car­oli­na Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham on Tues­day after­noon.

I vot­ed @Evan_McMullin for Pres­i­dent. I appre­ci­ate his views on a strong Amer­i­ca and the need to rebuild our mil­i­tary. #3— Lind­sey Gra­ham (@LindseyGrahamSC) Novem­ber 8, 2016

“If [Gra­ham] felt his inter­ests was with that can­di­date, God bless him,” Mani­gault remarked. “I would nev­er judge any­body for exer­cis­ing their right to and the free­dom to choose who they want. But let me just tell you, Mr. Trump has a long mem­o­ry and we’re keep­ing a list.”

 

Discussion

19 comments for “FTR #931 The Trumpenkampfverbande, Part 10: Echoes From the Past, Visions of the Future”

  1. What is the best book on the alt-right that will allow a lay per­son to assess the var­i­ous con­stituents, strengths, and his­to­ry of this move­ment? Do present events seem sud­den or on slow sim­mer for some time? Can knowl­edge trans­late into peo­ple pow­er in these kinds of instances?

    Posted by Greg Brown | November 14, 2016, 6:19 am
  2. Well look at that: It turns out Steve Ban­non won’t be select­ed as Trump’s Chief of Staff. That task will go to Reince Priebus. No, Ban­non will be tak­ing a dif­fer­ent posi­tion in the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. A posi­tion that will allow him to engage is neo-Nazi schem­ing full time with­out need­ing to wor­ry about all those pesky staffing issues. Yes, Steve Ban­non is Don­ald Trump’s new Karl Rove. And guess who is super excit­ed about that:

    CNN

    White nation­al­ists see advo­cate in Steve Ban­non who will hold Trump to his cam­paign promis­es

    By Andrew Kaczyn­s­ki and Chris Massie, CNN

    Updat­ed 2:07 PM ET, Mon Novem­ber 14, 2016

    (CNN)White nation­al­ist lead­ers are prais­ing Don­ald Trump’s deci­sion to name for­mer Bre­it­bart exec­u­tive Steve Ban­non as his chief strate­gist, telling CNN in inter­views they view Ban­non as an advo­cate in the White House for poli­cies they favor.

    The lead­ers of the white nation­al­ist and so-called “alt-right” move­ment — all of whom vehe­ment­ly oppose mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism and share the belief in the suprema­cy of the white race and West­ern civ­i­liza­tion — pub­licly backed Trump dur­ing his cam­paign for his hard­line posi­tions on Mex­i­can immi­gra­tion, Mus­lims, and refugee reset­tle­ment. Trump has at times dis­avowed their sup­port. Ban­non’s hir­ing, they say, is a sig­nal that Trump will fol­low through on some of his more con­tro­ver­sial pol­i­cy posi­tions.

    “I think that’s excel­lent,” for­mer Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke told CNN’s KFile. “I think that any­one that helps com­plete the pro­gram and the poli­cies that Pres­i­dent-elect Trump has devel­oped dur­ing the cam­paign is a very good thing, obvi­ous­ly. So it’s good to see that he’s stick­ing to the issues and the ideas that he pro­posed as a can­di­date. Now he’s pres­i­dent-elect and he’s stick­ing to it and he’s reaf­firm­ing those issues.”

    Duke, who last week lost his long­shot bid for the US Sen­ate seat from Louisiana, said he plans on expand­ing his radio show and is hop­ing to launch a 24 hour online news show with a sim­i­lar approach to Com­e­dy Cen­tral’s Dai­ly Show. He argued Ban­non’s posi­tion was among the most impor­tant in the White House.

    “You have an indi­vid­ual, Mr. Ban­non, who’s basi­cal­ly cre­at­ing the ide­o­log­i­cal aspects of where we’re going,” added Duke. “And ide­ol­o­gy ulti­mate­ly is the most impor­tant aspect of any gov­ern­ment.”

    Ban­non, who was a Navy offi­cer and Gold­man Sachs invest­ment banker years before tak­ing over Bre­it­bart, has called the site “the plat­form for the alt-right.” Under Ban­non, Bre­it­bart has tak­en an increas­ing­ly hard­line tone on issues such as ter­ror­ism and immi­gra­tion, run­ning a head­line after the Paris attacks of Novem­ber 2015 say­ing, “Paris Streets Turned Into War­zone By Vio­lent Migrants.” It also ran a head­line in May 2016 call­ing anti-Trump, neo­con­ser­v­a­tive com­men­ta­tor Bill Kris­tol a “Rene­gade Jew.”

    Ban­non him­self was accused of anti-Semi­tism by his ex-wife, who alleged in a 2007 court dec­la­ra­tion that he did not want their daugh­ter to attend a Los Ange­les school because of the num­bers of Jews who went to school there. (Ban­non, through a spokesper­son, denied his wife’s accu­sa­tions.)

    Peter Brimelow, who runs the white nation­al­ist site VDARE, praised Ban­non’s hir­ing, say­ing it gives Trump a con­nec­tion to the alt-right move­ment online.

    “I think it’s amaz­ing,” Brimelow said of Trump’s deci­sion to tap Ban­non. “Can you imag­ine Mitt Rom­ney doing this? It’s almost like Trump cares about ideas! Espe­cial­ly amaz­ing because I would bet Trump does­n’t read online. Few plu­to­crats do, they have effi­cient sec­re­taries.”

    Brimelow added his site would con­tin­ue to focus sole­ly on their hard­line posi­tion on immi­gra­tion, say­ing he expects Amer­i­can whites to vote their inter­ests sim­i­lar to oth­er minor­i­ty groups.

    “To the extent that the ‘alt-right’ artic­u­lates that inter­est, it will con­tin­ue to grow,” Brimelow said.

    Brad Grif­fin, a blog­ger who runs the white nation­al­ist web­site Occi­den­tal Dis­sent using the pseu­do­nym “Hunter Wal­lace,” said he thought Ban­non’s hir­ing showed Trump would be held to his cam­paign promis­es.

    “It makes sense to me,” he said. “Reince [Priebus] can cer­tain­ly get more done on Capi­tol Hill. He will be an instru­ment of Trump’s will, not the oth­er way around. Ban­non is bet­ter suit­ed as chief strate­gist and look­ing at the big pic­ture. I think he will hold Trump to the promis­es he has already made dur­ing the cam­paign. We endorse many of those promis­es like build­ing the wall, depor­ta­tions, end­ing refugee reset­tle­ment, pre­serv­ing the Sec­ond Amend­ment, etc. There’s a lot of stuff in there on which almost every­one on the right agrees.”

    Grif­fin added, “We’re most excit­ed though about the for­eign pol­i­cy impli­ca­tions of Ban­non in the White House. We want to see our coun­ter­parts in Europe — start­ing in Aus­tria and France — win their upcom­ing elec­tions. We’re hear­ing reports that Bre­it­bart is expand­ing its oper­a­tions in con­ti­nen­tal Europe and that is where our focus will be in 2017.”

    Jared Tay­lor, who runs the site Amer­i­can Renais­sance, echoed those com­ments, say­ing Ban­non would help hold Trump to his cam­paign rhetoric.

    “There has been some waf­fling on some of can­di­date Trump’s sig­na­ture posi­tions: build the wall, deport ille­gals, end birth-right cit­i­zen­ship, take a hard look at Mus­lim immi­grants, etc,” he said. “I sus­pect one of Steve Ban­non’s impor­tant func­tions will be as an anti-waf­fler, who will encour­age Pres­i­dent Trump to keep his cam­paign promis­es.”

    Chair­man of the Amer­i­can Nazi Par­ty, Rocky J. Suhay­da, who wrote a post after Trump’s elec­tion night vic­to­ry cel­e­brat­ing it as a call to action, said he was sur­prised at the pick of Ban­non, but said it showed him Trump could fol­low through on his cam­paign promis­es.

    “I must admit that I was a wee bit sur­prised that Mr. Trump final­ly chose Mr. Ban­non, I thought that his sta­ble of Wash­ing­ton insid­ers would have object­ed too vocif­er­ous­ly,” Suhay­da wrote in an email. “Per­haps The Don­ald IS for ‘REAL’ and is not going to be anoth­er con­trolled pup­pet direct­ed by the usu­al ‘Wire Pullers,’ and does indeed intend to ROCK the BOAT? Time will tell.”

    Richard B. Spencer, the pres­i­dent of the white nation­al­ist Nation­al Pol­i­cy Insti­tute, wrote a series of tweets on Sun­day evening say­ing Ban­non had the best posi­tion as chief strate­gist, allow­ing him to not get lost in the weeds and could help Trump focus on the big pic­ture of set­ting up his agen­da.

    “Steve Ban­non might even push Trump in the right direc­tion. So that would be a won­der­ful thing,” he told CNN on Sun­day before the announce­ment, adding that he hopes to push Trump in an increas­ing­ly rad­i­cal direc­tion.”

    ...

    “I must admit that I was a wee bit sur­prised that Mr. Trump final­ly chose Mr. Ban­non, I thought that his sta­ble of Wash­ing­ton insid­ers would have object­ed too vocif­er­ous­ly...“Per­haps The Don­ald IS for ‘REAL’ and is not going to be anoth­er con­trolled pup­pet direct­ed by the usu­al ‘Wire Pullers,’ and does indeed intend to ROCK the BOAT? Time will tell.”

    Yes, the head of the Amer­i­can Nazi Par­ty is sur­prised. Pos­i­tive­ly sur­prised. Along with just about every oth­er white nation­al­ist group in the nation.

    So how about rest of the GOP? Do they have any thoughts about Steve Ban­non now that the leader and face of the par­ty has cho­sen an open white nation­al­ist as is chief strate­gist? Well, House Major­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy had a response. It was­n’t actu­al­ly a response to ques­tions of what he thinks about Trump choos­ing a white nation­al­ist for this key posi­tion. No, his response what that we should give Trump and his white nation­al­ist team time to gov­ern before judg­ing because “The pres­i­dent has a right to select who he thinks is best to be able to move through”:

    The Hill

    No. 2 GOP leader defends Trump’s Ban­non pick in com­bat­ive exchange with reporters

    By Scott Wong — 11/14/16 12:17 PM EST

    House Major­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy (R‑Calif.) dur­ing a com­bat­ive meet­ing with reporters on Mon­day repeat­ed­ly defend­ed Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s deci­sion to pick con­tro­ver­sial Bre­it­bart News exec­u­tive Steve Ban­non as his chief strate­gist in the White House.

    “The pres­i­dent-elect always gets to pick his team going for­ward,” McCarthy told a packed room of reporters after being read a series of racist and misog­y­nis­tic Bre­it­bart head­lines that appeared when Ban­non was lead­ing the con­ser­v­a­tive news site. Among them were: “Bill Kris­tol, Repub­li­can Spoil­er, Rene­gade Jew,” “Gab­by Gif­fords: The Gun Con­trol Move­men­t’s Human Shield,” and “Birth Con­trol Makes Women Unat­trac­tive and Crazy.”

    Ban­non has also made anti-Catholic com­ments about Speak­er Paul Ryan (R‑Wis.) on his radio show.

    “The pres­i­dent has a right to select who he thinks is best to be able to move through,” McCarthy, the No. 2 House GOP leader, said, adding that he had spo­ken to Ban­non Sun­day night but did­n’t know him well.

    But reporters weren’t sat­is­fied with that answer. McCarthy was pressed sev­er­al more times about Ban­non through­out the half-hour pen-and-pad brief­ing in the Capi­tol.

    ...

    Fox News’s Chad Per­gram did get a fol­low-up ques­tion: Are Repub­li­cans ced­ing “moral ground” by asso­ci­at­ing with peo­ple like Ban­non in order to pass con­ser­v­a­tive poli­cies?

    “We’re less than one week after this elec­tion. We’re just now com­ing back into ses­sion. The pres­i­dent-elect is putting togeth­er his team to go out there,” McCarthy replied.

    “A lot of peo­ple he’ll have to select will have to go through [Sen­ate] con­fir­ma­tion. Our job here is to get this econ­o­my mov­ing again.”

    “So it does seem like you are ced­ing that moral ground,” Per­gram said.

    “For one thing, don’t put words in my mouth,” McCarthy said. “I answered your ques­tion. The pres­i­dent has the right to select the team, just as I do in my office.”

    “Fox News’s Chad Per­gram did get a fol­low-up ques­tion: Are Repub­li­cans ced­ing “moral ground” by asso­ci­at­ing with peo­ple like Ban­non in order to pass con­ser­v­a­tive poli­cies?”

    Yikes. It does­n’t bode well for the GOP’s abil­i­ty to avoid all the neo-Nazi Trump taint that’s threat­ens to rede­fine the par­ty as an open­ly white nation­al­ist par­ty when House Major­i­ty leader could­n’t even han­dle a Fox News soft­ball ques­tion on the mat­ter:

    ...
    Fox News’s Chad Per­gram did get a fol­low-up ques­tion: Are Repub­li­cans ced­ing “moral ground” by asso­ci­at­ing with peo­ple like Ban­non in order to pass con­ser­v­a­tive poli­cies?

    “We’re less than one week after this elec­tion. We’re just now com­ing back into ses­sion. The pres­i­dent-elect is putting togeth­er his team to go out there,” McCarthy replied.

    “A lot of peo­ple he’ll have to select will have to go through [Sen­ate] con­fir­ma­tion. Our job here is to get this econ­o­my mov­ing again.”

    “So it does seem like you are ced­ing that moral ground,” Per­gram said.

    “For one thing, don’t put words in my mouth,” McCarthy said. “I answered your ques­tion. The pres­i­dent has the right to select the team, just as I do in my office.”

    “So it does seem like you are ced­ing that moral ground,” Per­gram said.

    So after Trump’s first round of key staffing deci­sions, even the Fox News reporter feels the GOP has already ced­ed the moral ground sim­ply for not being out­raged over Trump’s deci­sions. Ouch. It was always clear that a Trump pres­i­den­cy would shred what lit­tle remains for the GOP’s cred­i­bil­i­ty as a non-big­otry-based par­ty, but this is rather fast.

    So how about House Speak Paul Ryan? Sure­ly he must have some feel­ings on the top­ic. And indeed he does: Paul Ryan has no con­cerns about Ban­non because he trusts Don­ald Trump’s judge­ment:

    Bloomberg Pol­i­tics

    GOP Under Pres­sure to Defend Trump’s Appoint­ment of Ban­non

    Bil­ly House

    Novem­ber 14, 2016 — 1:20 PM CST
    Updat­ed on Novem­ber 14, 2016 — 1:54 PM CST

    * Pelosi blasts Trump for nam­ing ‘white nation­al­ist’ to top post
    * Repub­li­can major­i­ty leader pressed by reporters on Ban­non

    Con­gres­sion­al Repub­li­cans are already on the defen­sive about Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s deci­sion to give for­mer Bre­it­bart News chief Steve Ban­non a senior job in his White House.

    House Major­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy was pressed by reporters in Wash­ing­ton Mon­day on the appro­pri­ate­ness of Trump’s choice of some­one who has been a lead­ing fig­ure in the so-called alt-right con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment.

    “I will tell you, don’t pre­judge,” said McCarthy, who added that he didn’t know Ban­non.

    “I know peo­ple are try­ing to cre­ate this fear and every­thing else,” McCarthy of Cal­i­for­nia added lat­er. But he said, “We don’t have kings or queens.”

    Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Jeff Ses­sions of Alaba­ma, a Trump con­fi­dant, said Mon­day when asked by reporters about Ban­non, “I haven’t even seen what they’ve accused him of. He’s a Har­vard grad­u­ate, top of his class, a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man.”

    Told that Ban­non is being accused of being a racist and anti-Semi­te, Ses­sions said, “I don’t believe that’s so.”

    Democ­rats have blast­ed Trump’s appoint­ment of Ban­non to be his chief strate­gist, which was announced Sun­day. They point­ed to Bannon’s his­to­ry of allow­ing the Bre­it­bart site to become what crit­ics call a plat­form for anti-Semit­ic and white nation­al­is­tic views.

    “Bring­ing Steve Ban­non into the White House is an alarm­ing sig­nal that Pres­i­dent-elect Trump remains com­mit­ted to the hate­ful and divi­sive vision that defined his cam­paign,” House Minor­i­ty Leader Nan­cy Pelosi said Mon­day in a state­ment.

    ...

    House Speak­er Paul Ryan said Sun­day he doesn’t have any con­cerns about Ban­non being in the White House.

    “No, I don’t have con­cerns. I have nev­er met the guy. I don’t know Steve Ban­non, so I have no con­cerns,” Ryan said dur­ing an inter­view on CNN’s “State of the Union,” before the appoint­ment was made offi­cial.

    “I trust Donald’s judg­ment,” Ryan added.

    “I trust Donald’s judg­ment,” Ryan added.

    As we can see, Don­ald Trump’s first round of appoint­ments — Reince Priebus for chief of staff and Steve Ban­non as chief strate­gist — touched off a firestorm that is already destroy­ing the GOP’s image and the par­ty’s col­lec­tive response is basi­cal­ly what Paul Ryan said: “I trust Donald’s judg­ment”.

    So while it’s increas­ing­ly clear that we’re about to watch the US get devoured by an orgy of cor­rup­tion and fas­cist loot­ing, at least it also increas­ing­ly clear that the loot­ers aren’t real­ly going to have a good expla­na­tion for all the loot­ing. At least not yet. We’ll see what the par­ty’s strate­gists can come up with.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 14, 2016, 3:53 pm
  3. @Greg Brown–

    I don’t know of a sin­gle book, how­ev­er I rec­om­mend “The Beast Awak­ens” by Mar­tin A. Lee and “Dream­er of the Day” by Kevin Coogan, both dis­cussed at length in pro­grams on this web­site.

    Both writ­ten before the euphemism for fas­cism “alt.right” was coined.

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | November 14, 2016, 4:23 pm
  4. Now that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma is forced to basi­cal­ly vouch for Don­ald Trump and assure the world that a Trump admin­is­tra­tion won’t dis­solve NATO, it’s pret­ty clear that Europe is going to be in per­ma­nent nation­al-secu­ri­ty freak­out-mode for the next four years. And as the arti­cle below notes, with the US on the verge of pulling itself out of its long-stand­ing role as the secu­ri­ty guar­an­tor for Europe and also poten­tial­ly aban­don its lib­er­al val­ues, that means a whole lot of Euro­pean eyes are going to be turn­ing to Ger­many for both moral and mil­i­tary lead­er­ship:

    For­eign Pol­i­cy

    Argu­ment
    The Dawn of Pax Ger­man­i­ca

    Like it or not, Angela Merkel is now the main guardian of the norms, val­ues, and insti­tu­tions that make up the Atlantic alliance.

    By Paul Hockenos
    Novem­ber 14, 2016

    Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s mes­sage of con­grat­u­la­tions to a new­ly vic­to­ri­ous Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump was marked­ly unlike that of her Euro­pean coun­ter­parts. In it, she was nei­ther fawn­ing nor curt: “Ger­many and Amer­i­ca are bound by their val­ues,” she remind­ed the new pres­i­dent-elect dis­pas­sion­ate­ly, “democ­ra­cy, free­dom, the respect for the law and the dig­ni­ty of human beings, inde­pen­dent of their ori­gin, skin col­or, reli­gion, gen­der, sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion, or polit­i­cal con­vic­tion.” She con­tin­ued: “On the basis of these val­ues, I offer the future pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States, Don­ald Trump, close coop­er­a­tion.”

    The mes­sage was imme­di­ate­ly seized by some com­men­ta­tors as an admo­ni­tion on Merkel’s part — a sign that the Ger­man leader was sub­tly chastis­ing the incom­ing pres­i­dent for bad behav­ior on the cam­paign trail. But this is like­ly wrong. Insid­ers in the Ger­man gov­ern­ment say Merkel has no inten­tions of set­ting her­self up for a fight with Trump or to serve as some kind of moral foil. This, I was told, would be pure fol­ly — and not in Merkel’s cau­tious char­ac­ter.

    Rather, Merkel was mak­ing a strate­gic offer of coop­er­a­tion and delin­eat­ing the para­me­ters with­in which it could hap­pen. Main­tain­ing a good rela­tion­ship with Ger­many — and, by impli­ca­tion, all of Europe — she intoned, was straight­for­ward: It required uphold­ing the basic prin­ci­ples and val­ues espoused by the West.

    If this con­grats-with-a-caveat sounds famil­iar, it’s because the Unit­ed States once hand­ed out these sorts of mes­sages to unpre­dictable lead­ers with whom it nonethe­less hoped to have pro­duc­tive rela­tion­ships — back when it was the undis­put­ed heart of the com­mu­ni­ty of nations and val­ues known as the “Atlantic alliance.” Her words under­scored that Euro­peans are still very much inter­est­ed in work­ing close­ly with the Unit­ed States, in the North Atlantic and beyond, as long as that coop­er­a­tion takes a some­what famil­iar form. Merkel’s state­ment, in oth­er words, wasn’t an admo­ni­tion — it was an offer.

    The day after Trump’s vic­to­ry, Euro­peans, and espe­cial­ly Ger­mans, are look­ing at their world with new eyes, and — whol­ly unpre­pared for a Trump vic­to­ry — they’re com­plete­ly flum­moxed by what they see. Polit­i­cal insid­ers admit that like so many oth­ers around the world, they have no idea what to expect from a Trump admin­is­tra­tion and that they must be pre­pared for the worst. Berlin’s top diplo­mats say they don’t even know Trump’s for­eign-pol­i­cy advi­sors — an unprece­dent­ed state of affairs. “With Trump’s elec­tion, Ger­mans are stand­ing in front of a black hole,” opined Ste­fan Braun of the dai­ly Süd­deutsche Zeitung. “The world could change for Ger­many in a way greater even than it did with the fall of the Wall.” One com­men­ta­tor grim­ly called it the “end of the West.” Berthold Kohler, pub­lish­er of the Frank­furter All­ge­meine Zeitung news­pa­per, declared, “If Trump does in for­eign pol­i­cy what he promised in the cam­paign … then the already stressed Atlantic alliance and geopo­lit­i­cal struc­tures sys­tem of the West are fac­ing a rev­o­lu­tion.”

    What does seem like­ly is that Ger­many — and thus, Merkel, whether she likes it or not — will now be thrust to the fore­front of inter­na­tion­al affairs on Europe’s behalf, as the main pro­po­nent of the norms, val­ues, and insti­tu­tions that com­prise an alliance that has been the foun­da­tion of world order for the past sev­en decades. With her words on Wednes­day, Merkel sig­naled that she under­stands that the Unit­ed States now has oth­er options but that Ger­many remains com­mit­ted to the val­ues that Amer­i­ca taught it after World War II.

    The Atlantic alliance, formed in the wake of World War II as a bul­wark against Sovi­et expan­sion with the Unit­ed States at its cen­ter and Euro­pean coun­tries like (West) Ger­many loy­al­ly beside it, has shaped the world for the past sev­en decades. The alliance was based on shared inter­ests, such as free trade and col­lec­tive secu­ri­ty struc­tures, includ­ing, first and fore­most, NATO. But it was also based on a com­mit­ment to shared val­ues, includ­ing human rights, democ­ra­cy, the rule of law, and plu­ral­ism; it pro­mot­ed these val­ues at home, and selec­tive­ly abroad, with both soft and hard pow­er.

    Ger­many is not the new leader of the free world, and it’s far too soon to call the Unit­ed States a dan­ger­ous trans­gres­sor. But Europe now finds itself fac­ing the sud­den pos­si­bil­i­ty that a Pres­i­dent Trump makes good on his cam­paign promis­es to with­draw from world pol­i­tics and, as part of this neo-iso­la­tion­ist strat­e­gy, pull back from NATO, the alliance’s key­stone. Europe is a region cur­rent­ly beset by crises, includ­ing the increas­ing­ly author­i­tar­i­an regimes in Rus­sia and Turkey, EU acri­mo­ny, a weak French gov­ern­ment, and a Brex­it­ing Britain. Berlin is sud­den­ly much more impor­tant to main­tain­ing any sem­blance of the cur­rent order, for the sim­ple rea­son that there is no one else to take the wheel.

    Most Euro­peans rec­og­nized long ago that the post­war Atlantic alliance’s ambi­tions had shrunk since the Cold War. Dur­ing the two terms of George W. Bush, rela­tions between the Unit­ed States and its Euro­pean part­ners descend­ed into naked hos­til­i­ty over the Iraq War. Under Barack Oba­ma, the alliance’s promi­nence shrank fur­ther still, as the pres­i­dent made clear that his pri­or­i­ties lay not with Europe but with Asia and oth­er parts of the world.

    And yet, despite this, the con­ti­nent nev­er for­mu­lat­ed a Plan B. The EU, which has had aspi­ra­tions of joint for­eign and secu­ri­ty poli­cies for decades, has strug­gled — and large­ly failed — to pro­duce any­thing coher­ent and effec­tive. Europe’s ever deep­er divi­sions and the union’s deficits pre­vent­ed it from inte­grat­ing on the lev­el of for­eign affairs, with the excep­tion of trade, and today its prospects to do so look worse than ever.

    Nor did most Euro­pean coun­tries bol­ster their mil­i­tary spend­ing to meet NATO tar­gets, despite the express dis­ap­proval of the Unit­ed States. On the cam­paign, more than once Trump said U.S. sup­port for NATO depend­ed on coun­tries pay­ing up. This is sud­den­ly on the table in Ger­many and will prob­a­bly be across Europe, even though such a move has been polit­i­cal­ly unpop­u­lar in many coun­tries. (Ger­many, for its part, buck­led to pres­sure from Wash­ing­ton this year by declar­ing it would increase its defense spend­ing, although no pre­cise fig­ure was men­tioned.)

    The U.S. elec­tion has already altered the polit­i­cal cal­cu­lus on this issue in Europe. Due in part to its his­to­ry, Ger­many and Merkel will nev­er be able to ful­fill the role the Unit­ed States played in the alliance — that is, the mil­i­tary super­pow­er, pro­vid­ing the nuclear umbrel­la under which oth­er coun­tries found shel­ter. But what it may be able to do is steer the Euro­pean Union as a whole in a more self-reliant direc­tion when it comes to secu­ri­ty. “This could be a wake-up call. Euro­peans have to wake up and grow up fast,” says Michael Brön­ing, an inter­na­tion­al pol­i­tics spe­cial­ist at the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, a Ger­man think tank close to the country’s Social Democ­rats. “Hav­ing the U.K. out of the way has already giv­en inte­gra­tion some momen­tum.”

    Germany’s defense min­is­ter, Ursu­la von der Leyen, said Trump’s elec­tion could pro­vide an “impor­tant stim­u­lus” to upgrad­ing the EU’s mil­i­tary capac­i­ty and bol­ster­ing its struc­tures. “The defense of lib­er­al democ­ra­cy,” she said, “has become our high­est pri­or­i­ty.” This means that “the EU has to take over more respon­si­bil­i­ty in for­eign and mil­i­tary affairs.” EU Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Jean-Claude Junck­er has again brought up the pos­si­bil­i­ty of an “EU army,” an idea that has been peri­od­i­cal­ly rolled out and then quick­ly moth­balled in the past but could find more trac­tion under a Pres­i­dent Trump. EU for­eign min­is­ters met on Sun­day in Brus­sels to par­ley over the impli­ca­tions of a Trump pres­i­den­cy at a spe­cial din­ner, called for by Ger­many.

    And with illib­er­al forces gain­ing ground every­where, includ­ing with­in the EU itself in coun­tries like Poland and Hun­gary, Berlin could also play a role in set­ting the tone when it comes to val­ues in the alliance going for­ward.

    In many ways, Merkel is the anti-Trump, Brön­ing said. “In terms of tem­pera­ment, she’s very sober, ratio­nal, and con­trolled. She a physi­cist by pro­fes­sion and rarely shows emo­tion. And, on the oth­er hand, she has a strong moral approach to pol­i­tics, as you see on issues such as cli­mate change, migra­tion and bor­ders, and EU inte­gra­tion. At the root of her posi­tions are strong moral con­vic­tions,” he said.

    Accord­ing to Alan Posen­er, a colum­nist for the dai­ly Die Welt, Merkel’s con­grat­u­la­to­ry words to Trump were actu­al­ly meant for her fel­low Euro­peans, not for the U.S. pres­i­dent. “She was telling them: ‘Don’t aban­don our val­ues when mak­ing deals with Trump,’” he said. Europe’s com­mit­ment to Ukraine, for exam­ple, “can’t be trad­ed away, even if Trump decides to do a grand deal with Putin.” Posen­er argues that Merkel and the rest of Europe are going to have to learn to deal with a new U.S. pres­i­dent who thinks like a busi­ness­man: “They’re going to have to offer him some­thing to get some­thing. Like the Euro­peans final­ly beef up their mil­i­taries, and in exchange Trump sticks with NATO and doesn’t sell us down the riv­er to Putin.”

    Though not men­tioned explic­it­ly in her words to Trump, the specter of Rus­sia and the pos­si­bil­i­ty of clos­er U.S.-Russia rela­tions — to the exclu­sion of West­ern Europe and demo­c­ra­t­ic prin­ci­ples — hung over them. Merkel was under­scor­ing the choice that the new pres­i­dent will have and that break­ing with the sta­tus quo of the North Atlantic alliance will have enor­mous impli­ca­tions. The Euro­peans are extreme­ly ner­vous that an unde­mo­c­ra­t­ic Rus­sia embraced by a U.S. admin­is­tra­tion that itself flaunts lib­er­al val­ues will put Euro­pean democ­ra­cy under severe pres­sure. Oba­ma, who is due to vis­it Europe this week, is like­ly to find him­self besieged with urgent ques­tions about where his coun­try is head­ed.

    ...

    “Germany’s defense min­is­ter, Ursu­la von der Leyen, said Trump’s elec­tion could pro­vide an “impor­tant stim­u­lus” to upgrad­ing the EU’s mil­i­tary capac­i­ty and bol­ster­ing its struc­tures. “The defense of lib­er­al democ­ra­cy,” she said, “has become our high­est pri­or­i­ty.” This means that “the EU has to take over more respon­si­bil­i­ty in for­eign and mil­i­tary affairs.” EU Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Jean-Claude Junck­er has again brought up the pos­si­bil­i­ty of an “EU army,” an idea that has been peri­od­i­cal­ly rolled out and then quick­ly moth­balled in the past but could find more trac­tion under a Pres­i­dent Trump. EU for­eign min­is­ters met on Sun­day in Brus­sels to par­ley over the impli­ca­tions of a Trump pres­i­den­cy at a spe­cial din­ner, called for by Ger­many.”

    Get ready for Pax Ger­man­i­ca. You can thank Trump for that. And if you’re tempt­ed to assume, “oh good, Ger­many will be a much nicer mil­i­tary hege­mone than the US,” keep in mind that one of the pri­ma­ry dri­ving forces of the ris­ing far-right across the EU has been the socioe­co­nom­ic cat­a­stro­phes Berlin basi­cal­ly thrust upon the rest of the EU, in par­tic­u­lar the euro­zone, by insist­ing on Ordolib­er­al aus­ter­i­ty. That’s a real­ly bad sign for a ris­ing mil­i­tary pow­er. So if Pax Ger­man­i­ca’s role with­in the EU is any indi­ca­tion of what to expect with Pax Ger­man­i­ca leads a Euro­pean army, we prob­a­bly should­n’t expect the new EU mil­i­tary super-pow­er sta­tus to be super nice while engag­ing on its for­eign adven­tures.

    Also keep in mind that, while Trump might effec­tive­ly end the US’s sta­tus as a glob­al leader — in the sense that the US will have a hard time lead­ing the world if Trump con­fers on it pari­ah sta­tus — that does­n’t mean Trump is going to be gut­ting the US’s mil­i­tary capac­i­ty. Don’t for­get that he cam­paign on “rebuild­ing” the US mil­i­tary (although that was actu­al­ly a rever­sal of his pri­or posi­tions on defense spend­ing). So if Trump either ends up effec­tive­ly killing NATO or sim­ply scar­ing the Euro­peans so much that they end up build­ing their own shiny new EU army any­way, we aren’t going to see the EU replace the US’s mil­i­tary capac­i­ty. We’ll instead just have a much greater glob­al mil­i­tary capac­i­ty. Whooop­ie!

    Although, who knows, maybe if Trump revers­es his cam­paign stances and comes out strong­ly in favor of NATO we won’t see an EU army and the imme­di­ate rise of Pax Ger­man­i­ca. Because while Ger­many might want the whole EU to go on a giant mil­i­tary spend­ing spree, it’s not clear that the rest of the EU is as enthu­si­as­tic (espe­cial­ly since they’ll prob­a­bly just be forced to buy a bunch of Ger­man and French-made hard­ware). Who knows. We don’t, and won’t ever know what could have been, since the Trump team is promis­ing to take a hard-line on shift­ing towards a fee-for-ser­vice NATO mod­el:

    The Guardian

    Increase Nato pay­ments or face ‘con­se­quence’, Trump ally tells Europe

    Carl Paladino’s com­ments come as a for­mer sec­re­tary gen­er­al warns that Rus­sia would take advan­tage if the US pulled back

    Peter Walk­er

    Mon­day 14 Novem­ber 2016 05.12 EST

    One of Don­ald Trump’s key cam­paign allies has warned Nato coun­tries that there will be “a con­se­quence” for them if they do not con­tribute more towards the alliance.

    The com­ments by Carl Pal­adi­no, who ran the president-elect’s cam­paign in New York state, came as Anders Fogh Ras­mussen, the for­mer Nato sec­re­tary gen­er­al, said that if the US pulled back from pro­tect­ing Europe then Rus­sia would cer­tain­ly take advan­tage.

    “If the Unit­ed States were to with­draw from Europe then, with­out any doubt, Rus­sia would advance and exer­cise more assertive behav­iour in the east,” Ras­mussen told BBC Radio 4’s Today pro­gramme. “That would weak­en Euro­pean secu­ri­ty.”

    Trump’s some­times dis­mis­sive atti­tude dur­ing the elec­tion towards Nato has prompt­ed alarm in Europe. Also speak­ing on Today, Pal­adi­no argued that peo­ple should not believe every­thing Trump said on the cam­paign trail, but stressed the pres­i­dent-elect was seri­ous about chang­ing Nato.

    Asked what would hap­pen if Euro­pean Nato nations did not con­tribute more to the alliance’s bud­get, Pal­adi­no said: “I don’t think what hap­pens has been clear­ly defined.”

    He con­tin­ued: “I think you describe cor­rect­ly the offence which is, if you don’t pick up your part, as was agreed to many years ago, then there’s going to be a con­se­quence.

    “We don’t know what that con­se­quence will be, but I think most Amer­i­cans are in favour of that. They think every­body should pay their fair share. There’s no rea­son why the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca has to put up with the non­sense of car­ing for the defence and the secu­ri­ty of a coun­try that doesn’t pick up its fair share.”

    Asked if this meant a reduc­tion in Nato’s sta­tus or role, Pal­adi­no said: “I don’t think we’re chang­ing the sta­tus of Nato, we’re enforc­ing the agree­ment as it was orig­i­nal­ly drawn out. Enforc­ing the agree­ment is the intent.

    “It’s not to scare peo­ple. But they should, just as the Unit­ed States has accom­mo­da­tion for its defence bud­get, these oth­er coun­tries are going to have to start mak­ing accom­mo­da­tion them­selves. In oth­er words, times are chang­ing.”

    Pal­adi­no – who at one point in the inter­view appeared to accuse Barack Oba­ma of delib­er­ate­ly not inter­ven­ing to help Syr­i­ans in their own coun­try so as to “build the vot­ing base of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ty for the future by bring­ing in refugees” – said Trump should be judged by his actions after the elec­tion.

    “He’s my friend and I’ll tell you – the guy on the cam­paign trail is not the guy you’ve seen in the past five or six days. It’s not the guy who’s going to be run­ning this coun­try,” he said.

    “The guy who’s going to be run­ning the coun­try has an even tem­pera­ment. He’s going to keep his promis­es, he’s going to read­just a lot of things that are out of sync in the world, and he’s going to show Amer­i­ca can lead the world.”

    Ras­mussen, the for­mer Dan­ish prime min­is­ter who led Nato from 2009 to 2014, said there were wor­ries about Trump’s com­ments.

    “If Mr Trump were to car­ry out his cam­paign state­ment then it would def­i­nite­ly weak­en Nato,” Ras­mussen said.

    “But, as you indi­cat­ed, he has actu­al­ly made some more prag­mat­ic state­ments after his elec­tion. In order to ensure clar­i­ty, a Nato sum­mit should be called very soon, to send a very clear sig­nal to friends and foes alike that America’s com­mit­ment to defend­ing all allies is unchanged.”

    On Euro­pean nations pay­ing more, Ras­mussen said the Nato sum­mit two years ago com­mit­ted all mem­bers to spend at least 2% of their GDP on defence, some­thing that was being worked towards.

    “In that respect I actu­al­ly agree with not only Mr Trump but most Amer­i­cans that the Euro­peans should pay more,” he said.

    ...

    “Trump’s some­times dis­mis­sive atti­tude dur­ing the elec­tion towards Nato has prompt­ed alarm in Europe. Also speak­ing on Today, Pal­adi­no argued that peo­ple should not believe every­thing Trump said on the cam­paign trail, but stressed the pres­i­dent-elect was seri­ous about chang­ing Nato.

    Oh isn’t that reas­sur­ing: Don’t believe what Trump said on the cam­paign trail...except for the part about not full­fill­ing our NATO oblig­a­tions to mem­ber nations behind on their dues. That was the mes­sage from Trump sur­ro­gate Carl Pal­adi­no dur­ing an inter­view with ex-NATO chief Anders Fogh Ras­mussen. So, as we can see, desta­bi­liz­ing NATO as part of some sort of shake­down is very much on the Trumpian agen­da. Maybe. It sort of depends on how you inter­pret Carl Pal­adi­no’s inco­her­ence:

    ...

    “He’s my friend and I’ll tell you – the guy on the cam­paign trail is not the guy you’ve seen in the past five or six days. It’s not the guy who’s going to be run­ning this coun­try,” he said.

    “The guy who’s going to be run­ning the coun­try has an even tem­pera­ment. He’s going to keep his promis­es, he’s going to read­just a lot of things that are out of sync in the world, and he’s going to show Amer­i­ca can lead the world.”

    Ras­mussen, the for­mer Dan­ish prime min­is­ter who led Nato from 2009 to 2014, said there were wor­ries about Trump’s com­ments.

    “If Mr Trump were to car­ry out his cam­paign state­ment then it would def­i­nite­ly weak­en Nato,” Ras­mussen said.

    But, as you indi­cat­ed, he has actu­al­ly made some more prag­mat­ic state­ments after his elec­tion. In order to ensure clar­i­ty, a Nato sum­mit should be called very soon, to send a very clear sig­nal to friends and foes alike that America’s com­mit­ment to defend­ing all allies is unchanged.”

    ...

    Let’s try to parse that: So Carl Pal­adi­no says Trump is the kind of guy who keeps his promises...except for the promis­es he made on the cam­paign trail...although he’ll keep the fee-for-ser­vice NATO promise...but still don’t wor­ry because he’s much more prag­mat­ic now that he won the election...also, there needs to be a NATO sum­mit soon where Trump can send the mes­sage that noth­ing has changed...except for the fee-for-ser­vice part. That’s changed. Trump promis­es.

    So there we have it: while we don’t yet know what pre­cise­ly a Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s plans are for NATO, it’s already very clear a Trump admin­is­tra­tion is already desta­bi­liz­ing it sim­ply be being an inco­her­ent and unre­li­able mess that simul­ta­ne­ous­ly tries to threat­en and reas­sure. It rais­es the ques­tion of how many oth­er US allies around the globe are going to join­ing up with team Pax Ger­man­i­ca before our Trumpian night­mare ends.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 14, 2016, 7:48 pm
  5. This should do won­ders to quell the grow­ing fears that the incom­ing occu­pant of the White House is a White Suprema­cist: the Trump team has report­ed­ly decid­ed that Steve Ban­non isn’t going to be avail­able for inter­views. So the emerg­ing mes­sag­ing strat­e­gy from the Trump admin­is­tra­tion is 1. Don’t wor­ry about Ban­non, if you knew him like we all know him you would­n’t be con­cerned and 2. No inter­view­ing Ban­non:

    Politi­co

    Con­way: Keep­ing Ban­non from pub­lic a strate­gic deci­sion

    By Louis Nel­son

    11/15/16 08:28 AM EST

    Don­ald Trump’s cam­paign man­ag­er Kellyanne Con­way said Tues­day that the president-elect’s team has made a strate­gic deci­sion not to make incom­ing White House chief strate­gist Steve Ban­non avail­able for inter­views.

    While Trump has worked hard to present a uni­fy­ing mes­sage in the days since his his­toric elec­tion, his deci­sion to make Ban­non his chief strate­gist has raised alarm bells. Ban­non is the for­mer head of Bre­it­bart News, an alt-right web­site that has pub­lished arti­cles with racist, anti-Semit­ic and misog­y­nis­tic themes. Head­lines pub­lished by Bre­it­bart include “There’s no hir­ing bias against women in tech, they just suck at inter­views,” “birth con­trol makes women unat­trac­tive and crazy” and “Bill Kris­tol: Repub­li­can spoil­er, rene­gade Jew.”

    Trump’s team has rushed to Bannon’s defense in recent days, even as some oth­er Repub­li­cans have been hes­i­tant to do so, try­ing to reas­sure Amer­i­cans that the incom­ing chief strate­gist is not the man that his website’s head­lines would make him out to be. Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee Chair­man Reince Priebus, who will be Trump’s chief of staff, said Ban­non was “a force for good on this cam­paign,” a mes­sage Con­way echoed Tues­day on NBC’s “Today.”

    “I promise you he’s not as scary and he is as bril­liant a tac­ti­cian and our cam­paign gen­er­al, frankly, on the field, as every­one is also say­ing, Savan­nah. I know him well. I work hand-in-glove with him and I feel that these charges are very unfair,” Con­way told anchor Savan­nah Guthrie. “In terms of him being the pub­lic face of the cam­paign, I mean, that’s a deci­sion that we’ve made strate­gi­cal­ly. They put me out there all the time. I would love to share the stage with him and oth­ers, believe me.”

    “Not every­body wants to be a pub­lic face,” she added. “Not every­body is asked to do that on behalf of pres­i­dent-elect.”

    While Trump’s cam­paign has defend­ed Bannon’s appoint­ment, the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter has blamed Ban­non for mak­ing Bre­it­bart into a “white eth­no-nation­al­ist pro­pa­gan­da mill” and the CEO of the Anti-Defama­tion League said in a state­ment that “it is a sad day when a man who presided over the pre­mier web­site of the ‘alt-right’ — a loose-knit group of white nation­al­ists and unabashed anti-Semi­tes and racists — is slat­ed to be a senior staff mem­ber in the ‘people’s house.’”

    ...

    “Not every­body wants to be a pub­lic face...Not every­body is asked to do that on behalf of pres­i­dent-elect.”

    Yes, Don­ald Trump’s white nation­al­ist chief advi­sor has no inter­est­ing in all the has­sle of talk­ing to the pub­lic so why is every­one harass­ing him? Why can’t he be giv­en the ben­e­fit of the doubt. For­ev­er.

    So now, with the Trump Admin­stra­tion try­ing to turn Ban­non into the White House­’s per­se­cut­ed Boo Radley mys­tery fig­ure, now is prob­a­bly a good to time rec­og­nize that lots of non-Trump admin­is­tra­tion peo­ple also know Steve Ban­non and don’t have such won­der­ful things to say:

    Dai­ly Wire

    3 Thoughts On Steve Ban­non As White House ‘Chief Strate­gist’

    By: Ben Shapiro
    Novem­ber 14, 2016

    So, in a not-unex­pect­ed move, Don­ald Trump has ele­vat­ed for­mer Bre­it­bart News CEO Steve Ban­non to chief strate­gist of the White House.

    When I left Bre­it­bart back in March, I accused Ban­non of turn­ing Bre­it­bart News into Trump Prav­da; as I wrote, “Indeed, Bre­it­bart News, under the chair­man­ship of Steve Ban­non, has put a stake through the heart of Andrew’s lega­cy. In my opin­ion, Steve Ban­non is a bul­ly, and has sold out Andrew’s mis­sion in order to back anoth­er bul­ly, Don­ald Trump; he has shaped the com­pa­ny into Trump’s per­son­al Prav­da, to the extent that he aban­doned and under­cut his own reporter.”

    That deci­sion paid off for Ban­non – in August, he became Trump’s cam­paign “CEO.” At that point, I wrote this piece describ­ing who Ban­non was, and this one for The Wash­ing­ton Post describ­ing his prob­a­ble impact on the cam­paign.

    ...

    Is Ban­non Anti-Semit­ic And Racist? I have no evi­dence that Bannon’s a racist or that he’s an anti-Semi­te; the Huff­in­g­ton Post’s blar­ing head­line “WHITE NATIONALIST IN THE WHITE HOUSE” is over­stat­ed, at the very least. With that said, as I wrote at The Wash­ing­ton Post in August, Ban­non has open­ly embraced the racist and anti-Semit­ic alt-right – he called his Bre­it­bart “the plat­form of the alt-right.” Milo Yiannopou­los, the star writer at the site, is an alt-right pop­u­lar­iz­er, even as he con­tin­u­ous­ly declares with a wink that he’s not a mem­ber. The left’s oppo­si­tion to Trump, and their attempts to declare all Trump sup­port the alt-right have obfus­cat­ed what the move­ment is. The move­ment isn’t all Trump sup­port­ers. It’s not con­ser­v­a­tives unsat­is­fied with Paul Ryan, nor is it peo­ple angry at the media. Ban­non knows that. He’s a smart man, not an igno­rant one. The alt-right, in a nut­shell, believes that West­ern cul­ture is insep­a­ra­ble from Euro­pean eth­nic­i­ty. I have no evi­dence Ban­non believes that per­son­al­ly. But he’s hap­py to pan­der to those peo­ple and make com­mon cause with them in order to trans­form con­ser­vatism into Euro­pean far-right nation­al­ist pop­ulism. That means that the alt-right will cheer Ban­non along as he mar­bles Trump’s speech­es with talk of “glob­al­ism” – and that Ban­non won’t be push­ing Trump to dump the racists and anti-Semi­tes who sup­port Trump any­time soon. After all, they love Ban­non – actu­al white suprema­cists like Peter Brimelow called his August appoint­ment “great news,” and Richard Spencer explained, “Bre­it­bart has elec­tive affini­ties with the Alt Right, and the Alt Right has clear­ly influ­enced Bre­it­bart. In this way, Bre­it­bart has act­ed as a ‘gate­way’ to Alt Right ideas and writ­ers. I don’t think it has done this delib­er­ate­ly; again, it’s a mat­ter of elec­tive affini­ties.” That doesn’t mean Ban­non will push racist or anti-Semit­ic pol­i­cy, or that he’ll be anti-Israel him­self – unless it serves his inter­ests.

    What Does Bannon’s Acces­sion Mean? Ban­non has goals. One of those goals is max­i­miza­tion of per­son­al pow­er, which is why he spent the last decade and a half glom­ming onto pow­er­ful right-wing per­son­al­i­ties (Bach­mann, Mor­ris, Palin), kiss­ing their ass­es, and then mov­ing on up the chain. With Bre­it­bart and Trump, he picked two win­ners in a row – and that means he’s now at the pin­na­cle of Amer­i­can pow­er.

    So, what will he do with that pow­er? He’ll tar­get ene­mies. Ban­non is one of the most vicious peo­ple in pol­i­tics, which is why I’ve been jok­ing for months that should Trump win, I’d be expect­ing my IRS audit any moment. That wasn’t com­plete­ly a joke. He likes to destroy peo­ple.

    But more impor­tant­ly, Bannon’s inter­est­ed in turn­ing the Repub­li­can Par­ty into a far-right Euro­pean par­ty. Because Repub­li­cans will like some of the pol­i­cy that comes with that, it could hap­pen. Here’s what I wrote in March about the Trump move­ment:

    Trump is a Euro­pean-style response to the Euro­pean-style left­ism of Barack Oba­ma. He’s a soft Euro­pean-style pop­ulist, from his inter­ven­tion­ist eco­nom­ics to his closed-bor­ders for­eign pol­i­cy. As I wrote in Decem­ber, “Com­pare Trump’s plat­form with that of Marine Le Pen, whose French Nation­al Front pos­es a sig­nif­i­cant threat to the nation­al polit­i­cal estab­lish­ment. She calls for harsh­er penal­ties for crim­i­nals, sig­nif­i­cant restric­tions on Mus­lim immi­gra­tion to France, pro­tec­tion­ism on trade, a restora­tion of the Franc as the nation­al cur­ren­cy rather than the Euro, and big gov­ern­ment in terms of health care. This sounds a lot like Trump.” But the Euro­pean right is not the Amer­i­can right. The Amer­i­can right believes in Con­sti­tu­tion­al ideas about checks and bal­ances and fed­er­al­ism and neg­a­tive rights from gov­ern­ment. The Euro­pean right doesn’t believe any of these things. Should Trump win, we could watch Amer­i­can con­ser­vatism lose the only par­ty it has ever had.

    That’s the plan. Yes­ter­day, The Dai­ly Beast report­ed that Ban­non reached out to Le Pen for “glob­al ultra-right coali­tion.” Over the week­end Le Pen met with Nigel Farage of the UK Inde­pen­dent Par­ty. And Trump met with Farage short­ly after being elect­ed. Ban­non has always want­ed to burn down the GOP. That’s still his goal. He wants it replaced with an Amer­i­can Nation­al Front par­ty in fact if not in name.

    Which War Will Ban­non Lead? Ban­non con­sid­ers him­self a wartime con­sigliore – always at war. Always. So the only ques­tion left is this: what will Bannon’s actu­al role be? It’s dif­fi­cult to tell, since Trump announced the Ban­non hire at the same time he announced that for­mer RNC chair­man Reince Priebus as his chief of staff. What will their rela­tion­ship be like? Ed Mor­ris­sey of HotAir thinks that Ban­non will lead the anti-media fight, and Reince will coor­di­nate with Con­gress. That would be the best pos­si­ble sce­nario.

    Oth­ers have spec­u­lat­ed that Ban­non has been added to the team as a sop to the pop­ulist base, which would be angry at Trump hop­ping into bed with the most establishment‑y fel­low in Wash­ing­ton. That, too, would be fine.

    It’s hard to tell from the out­side what’s hap­pen­ing, but here’s a third the­o­ry: Reince is the bag­man for Trump, and Bannon’s whis­per­ing in Trump’s ear. That would fit the fact pat­tern here, giv­en Reince’s out­sized praise for Ban­non this morn­ing: “wise and smart…very, very smart, very tem­per­ate.” Ban­non is any­thing but tem­per­ate to those who dis­agree. He’s a con­sum­mate bul­ly to any­one who dis­agrees; he’s actu­al­ly malev­o­lent. Priebus may not have seen a lot of dis­agree­ment because he’s the one cater­ing to Bannon’s agen­da.

    If Bannon’s lead­ing and Reince is fol­low­ing, that bodes ill for the Repub­li­can agen­da. Ban­non oppos­es the Repub­li­can Par­ty, hates Paul Ryan – min­utes after the joint Bannon/Priebus announce­ment, Bre­it­bart News approv­ing­ly tweet­ed about a Con­gres­sion­al rebel­lion against Speak­er Ryan – and wants to watch it all “burn.” Ban­non loves the fire­fight. The only ques­tion is which direc­tion he’ll turn his fire.

    ” I have no evi­dence that Bannon’s a racist or that he’s an anti-Semi­te; the Huff­in­g­ton Post’s blar­ing head­line “WHITE NATIONALIST IN THE WHITE HOUSE” is over­stat­ed, at the very least. With that said, as I wrote at The Wash­ing­ton Post in August, Ban­non has open­ly embraced the racist and anti-Semit­ic alt-right – he called his Bre­it­bart “the plat­form of the alt-right.” Milo Yiannopou­los, the star writer at the site, is an alt-right pop­u­lar­iz­er, even as he con­tin­u­ous­ly declares with a wink that he’s not a mem­ber...”

    Well there we go...even Steve Ban­non’s for­mer co-work­ers and cur­rent ene­mies can’t say for sure that Ban­non him­self is a racist anti-Semi­te (Ban­non’s ex-wife might have some com­ments about that), although Shapiro notes that he’s clear­ly more than hap­py to court them. And that assess­ment is about as pos­i­tive a spin one could cred­i­bly put on the Ban­non sit­u­a­tion if one was to give Ban­non the com­plete and total ben­e­fit of the doubt. “There’s no evi­dence Ban­non him­self believes all those hor­ri­ble things peo­ple say he believes. Maybe he mere­ly has no prob­lem at all pro­mot­ing those hor­ri­ble beliefs if it ben­e­fits him and it just hap­pens to be cur­rent­ly very ben­e­fi­cial.”
    That’s basi­cal­ly as good as the spin can pos­si­bly get if we actu­al­ly look at the avail­able evi­dence.

    And yet we aren’t actu­al­ly see­ing any mean­ing­ful spin com­ing out of the Trump team at all. It’s just this weird bad joke response where implau­si­ble denials of Ban­non’s Alt-Right nature get fol­lowed up with new rules that Ban­non won’t get inter­viewed at all and we should all just drop the top­ic. It’s a rather odd lack of strat­e­gy con­sid­er­ing we’re talk­ing about a Trump team strat­e­gy to keep retain its lead strate­gist.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 15, 2016, 4:16 pm
  6. Dai­ly Mail UK Novem­ber, 16, 2016 by Khale­da Raman

    Teacher who com­pared Trump’s rise to Hitler is sus­pend­ed from high school to keep stu­dents ’emo­tion­al­ly safe’

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3932194/Holocaust-scholar-suspended-school-taught-40-years-comparing-Donald-Trump-Hitler-class.html

    A Cal­i­for­nia teacher has been sus­pend­ed with pay from the school he has worked at for 40 years for com­par­ing Don­ald Trump’s rise to pow­er to Adolf Hitler’s.

    Frank Navar­ro, a schol­ar of the Holo­caust, who has worked for decades at Moun­tain View High School said he taught his world stud­ies class the sim­i­lar­i­ties between Hitler’s rise to pow­er and Trump’s cam­paign.

    But after con­cerned par­ents began con­tact­ing the school, prin­ci­pal Dave Gris­som and super­in­ten­dent Jeff Hard­ing made the deci­sion to sus­pend Navar­ro.

    Navar­ro said the par­ent claims he called Trump and Hitler one and the same, but he says that’s not what hap­pened.

    ‘This par­ent said that I had said Don­ald Trump was Hitler, but I would nev­er say that. That’s slop­py his­tor­i­cal think­ing,’ Navar­ro told SF Gate.

    He says he did make com­par­isons about how the two rose to promi­nence and lead their respec­tive nations, includ­ing rhetoric about deport­ing for­eign­ers and restor­ing great­ness to the coun­try.
    ‘I think it makes sense. It’s fac­tu­al, it’s evi­dence-based. It reminds stu­dents that his­to­ry is real,’ Navar­ro said.

    But the school offi­cials said giv­en the cli­mate fol­low­ing the elec­tion, the les­son was inap­pro­pri­ate.

    ‘Regard­less of their polit­i­cal affil­i­a­tion, many of our stu­dents show signs of emo­tion­al stress,’ Gris­som told par­ents in a let­ter.

    He said the school has an oblig­a­tion to be an ’emo­tion­al­ly safe envi­ron­ment’ for stu­dents.

    But, Gris­som also said, the school must pro­tect teach­ers and staff when unsub­stan­ti­at­ed claims are made against them.

    Gris­som told SF Gate the sus­pen­sion is a ‘time out’ for Navar­ro.

    Navar­ro said it is his duty as a his­to­ry teacher to ensure stu­dents are aware of big­otry and to point it out, accord­ing to a Change.org petition.‘I feel strong­ly about this: to stand qui­et in the face of big­otry and to turn your eyes away from it is to back up the big­otry, and that’s not what I, or any his­to­ry teacher, should be doing in our work,’ Navar­ro said.

    Offi­cials said they would wrap up an inves­ti­ga­tion into the claims soon.

    After The Ora­cle, the stu­dent news­pa­per, wrote about the sus­pen­sion, out­raged par­ents and stu­dents began say­ing Navar­ro should not have been sus­pend­ed.

    ‘Emails start­ed flow­ing in to the prin­ci­pal late that night,’ Navar­ro told the paper.

    The Change.org peti­tion, which seeks to have an apol­o­gy made to Navar­ro and his sus­pen­sion lift­ed, received more than 7,600 sig­na­tures as of Sun­day after­noon.

    Navar­ro’s daugh­ter post­ed on the peti­tion, furi­ous about the sit­u­a­tion her father had been placed in.

    ‘What Moun­tain View High School has done to my father is wrong. Dis­cussing the con­nec­tion between Trump and Hitler is impor­tant and rel­e­vant to his­to­ry and the painful sit­u­a­tion we are in now in this coun­try,’ she wrote.

    She added that her father was set to retire in June and that the school will be los­ing a beloved teacher.

    Posted by Anonymous | November 19, 2016, 11:44 am
  7. Posted by Uncle Grody | November 21, 2016, 11:43 am
  8. This does­n’t bode well: The New York Times’s pub­lic edi­tor wrote a mea cul­pa yes­ter­day about its 2016 elec­tion cov­er­age. The big prob­lem with the cov­er­age? Some­thing about the sys­tem­at­ic mon­ster­ing and demo­niza­tion of Hillary Clin­ton over trumped up triv­i­al­i­ties? No, the New York Time’s edi­tors are appar­ent­ly lament­ing that the paper was too harsh on Trump vot­ers by lump­ing them in with Trump’s hate­ful rhetoric:

    Media Mat­ters

    NY Times Pub­lic Edi­tor Says Prob­lem With Paper’s Elec­tion Cov­er­age Is It Was Too Mean To Trump Sup­port­ers

    Blog ››› 11/21/2016 ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    In a strange move that bodes ill for the paper’s future cov­er­age, The New York Times’ pub­lic edi­tor devot­ed her review of the paper’s elec­tion work almost entire­ly to detail­ing ways in which she thought the paper hadn’t been under­stand­ing enough of Don­ald Trump’s sup­port­ers.

    Through­out the col­umn, pub­lic edi­tor Liz Spayd detailed how read­ers were upset about the newspaper’s elec­tion work and she quot­ed sev­er­al of them to prove the point. She stressed that read­er out­pour­ing from “around the coun­try” was extreme­ly high (“five times the nor­mal lev­el”), and that there was a “sear­ing lev­el of dis­sat­is­fac­tion out there with many aspects of the cov­er­age.”

    But Spayd’s hand-select­ed read­ers led inex­orably to her point that the Times had not been suf­fi­cient­ly char­i­ta­ble to Trump vot­ers. “Few could deny that if Trump’s more mod­er­ate sup­port­ers are feel­ing bruised right now, the blame lies part­ly with their can­di­date and his pen­chant for inflam­ma­to­ry rhetoric,” she wrote. “But the media is at fault too, for turn­ing his remarks into a grim car­i­ca­ture that it applied to those who backed him.” At every turn, the read­ers with whom Spayd choos­es to engage crit­i­cize the pur­port­ed lib­er­al­ism of the Times’ cov­er­age. The mes­sage the pub­lic edi­tor sends is clear: the paper should move to the right to quell read­er con­cerns.

    Yet not a sin­gle read­er whom Spayd chose to include in her post-cam­paign analy­sis expressed any con­cern about the daily’s Clin­ton cov­er­age. Nor did she fea­ture any com­plaints that the paper’s cov­er­age of Trump may have been insuf­fi­cient­ly rig­or­ous. Instead, crit­i­cism from the left of the paper’s gen­er­al elec­tion cov­er­age was entire­ly absent.

    The omis­sion and com­plete lack of intro­spec­tion is also strange sim­ply because the Times’ treat­ment of Clin­ton has been the top­ic of an ongo­ing media debate, as a wide array of writ­ers have detailed what they viewed as the paper’s patent­ly unfair treat­ment of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­nee. Even the Times’ for­mer exec­u­tive edi­tor, Jill Abram­son, agreed that the news­pa­per gives Clin­ton “an unfair” lev­el of scruti­ny.

    She was hard­ly alone this cam­paign, as numer­ous media observers and read­ers alike crit­i­cized the paper’s treat­ment of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­nee, call­ing the cov­er­age a “biased train wreck” that indi­cat­ed “a prob­lem cov­er­ing Hillary Clin­ton,” who was “always going to be pre­sumed guilty of some­thing.”

    Yet gaz­ing over all of that com­men­tary and all those detailed com­plaints, Spayd saw no rea­son to address pro­gres­sive crit­i­cism of the paper. It real­ly does appear that the Times-wide denial is com­plete.

    But so what about the Clin­ton treat­ment, some might say. What’s done is done and Trump is the press­ing media issue mov­ing for­ward. I agree. But I also see a direct con­nec­tion between the Times’ unfair and accusato­ry Clin­ton cov­er­age, and what appears to be its increas­ing­ly pas­sive report­ing on Pres­i­dent-elect Trump.

    And it stands to rea­son: If the main les­son the Times news­room is being taught from the elec­tion is that the paper was too tough on Trump, too mean to his sup­port­ers, and that read­ers think the paper’s “lib­er­al” bias is evi­dent, guess what kind of cov­er­age that pro­duces?

    It pro­duces the kind of cov­er­age where, one day after Trump’s attor­ney announced the new­ly elect­ed pres­i­dent was set­tling a huge $25 mil­lion con­sumer fraud law­suit filed against him (an unheard-of devel­op­ment in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics), the Times pub­lished a most­ly-upbeat, front-page Trump piece that por­trayed him as “con­fi­dent,” “focused,” “proud,” and “free­wheel­ing.” (To date, the Times has pub­lished exact­ly one news arti­cle about the Trump Uni­ver­si­ty fraud set­tle­ment.)

    Right below that arti­cle on the front page the same day appeared anoth­er puff piece, this one an admir­ing look at Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kush­n­er, described by the Times as a “steady­ing hand” with “dri­ving con­fi­dence” who might serve as a “mod­er­at­ing influ­ence” with Trump. This, just days after Trump appoint­ed a white nation­al­ist as his top advi­sor.

    Mean­while, the Times’ response to the ker­fuf­fle that recent­ly broke out when Vice Pres­i­dent-elect Mike Pence was booed by audi­ence mem­bers while attend­ing “Hamil­ton” on Broad­way was odd­ly pas­sive and defen­sive. At least two Times staffers, includ­ing one reporter cur­rent­ly cov­er­ing Trump for the news­room, seemed to denounce the boos as being dis­re­spect­ful. And in its news report on the inci­dent, the Times not­ed Trump tweet­ed about the boo­ing, but failed to inform read­ers that Trump’s tweet was com­plete­ly inac­cu­rate: Cast mem­bers were not “very rude” to Pence. (It was audi­ence mem­bers who booed, not the per­form­ers, who thanked Pence for attend­ing and asked that he work on behalf of all Amer­i­cans.)

    That’s not to say the Times hasn’t pub­lished any wor­thy news arti­cles dur­ing the ear­ly stages of the Trump tran­si­tion. On Novem­ber 19, the news­pa­per report­ed on the morass of loom­ing con­flicts for the new pres­i­dent:

    Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald J. Trump met in the last week in his office at Trump Tow­er with three Indi­an busi­ness part­ners who are build­ing a Trump-brand­ed lux­u­ry apart­ment com­plex south of Mum­bai, rais­ing new ques­tions about how he will sep­a­rate his busi­ness deal­ings from the work of the gov­ern­ment once he is in the White House.

    Where did the poten­tial­ly dam­ag­ing piece appear? On page 20.

    ...

    “But Spayd’s hand-select­ed read­ers led inex­orably to her point that the Times had not been suf­fi­cient­ly char­i­ta­ble to Trump vot­ers. “Few could deny that if Trump’s more mod­er­ate sup­port­ers are feel­ing bruised right now, the blame lies part­ly with their can­di­date and his pen­chant for inflam­ma­to­ry rhetoric,” she wrote. “But the media is at fault too, for turn­ing his remarks into a grim car­i­ca­ture that it applied to those who backed him.” At every turn, the read­ers with whom Spayd choos­es to engage crit­i­cize the pur­port­ed lib­er­al­ism of the Times’ cov­er­age. The mes­sage the pub­lic edi­tor sends is clear: the paper should move to the right to quell read­er con­cerns.

    So that’s a lit­tle pre­view of the Time’s cov­er­age for the next four years. Here’s anoth­er pre­view:

    ...
    But so what about the Clin­ton treat­ment, some might say. What’s done is done and Trump is the press­ing media issue mov­ing for­ward. I agree. But I also see a direct con­nec­tion between the Times’ unfair and accusato­ry Clin­ton cov­er­age, and what appears to be its increas­ing­ly pas­sive report­ing on Pres­i­dent-elect Trump.

    And it stands to rea­son: If the main les­son the Times news­room is being taught from the elec­tion is that the paper was too tough on Trump, too mean to his sup­port­ers, and that read­ers think the paper’s “lib­er­al” bias is evi­dent, guess what kind of cov­er­age that pro­duces?

    It pro­duces the kind of cov­er­age where, one day after Trump’s attor­ney announced the new­ly elect­ed pres­i­dent was set­tling a huge $25 mil­lion con­sumer fraud law­suit filed against him (an unheard-of devel­op­ment in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics), the Times pub­lished a most­ly-upbeat, front-page Trump piece that por­trayed him as “con­fi­dent,” “focused,” “proud,” and “free­wheel­ing.” (To date, the Times has pub­lished exact­ly one news arti­cle about the Trump Uni­ver­si­ty fraud set­tle­ment.)
    ...

    Yes, get ready for plen­ty of cov­er­age about what a “con­fi­dent”, “focused”, and “proud” pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump will be. Oh, and “free­wheel­ing”. He’s going to be a very free­wheel­ing pres­i­dent. In oth­er words, get ready for the media to do what it can to nor­mal­ize Trump.

    But that does­n’t mean the New York Times isn’t going to be cov­er­ing Trump’s white suprema­cist/Alt-Right ties entire­ly. For instance, check out anoth­er sto­ry that was pub­lished in the Times on the exact same day as the above col­umn from its pub­lic edi­tor: It’s a sto­ry about how the Alt-Right just held an open Nazi-style con­fer­ence to cel­e­brate Trump’s vic­to­ry as their own, com­plete with with Sieg Heils and all the rest. And while the Times points out that Trump’s team cer­tain­ly has a tan­gen­tial rela­tion­ship to the Alt-Right giv­en Trump’s selec­tion of Steve Ban­non as his cam­paign CEO and now chief strate­gist, the arti­cle also make pains to sug­gest that the ties between the Trump team and Alt Right are dif­fi­cult to define just as the Alt-Right itself can be dif­fi­cult to define (even though the founder of the Alt-Right explic­it­ly calls it a white-iden­ti­ty move­ment). Uh huh:

    The New York Times

    Alt-Right Exults in Don­ald Trump’s Elec­tion With a Salute: ‘Heil Vic­to­ry’

    By JOSEPH GOLDSTEIN
    NOV. 20, 2016

    WASHINGTON — By the time Richard B. Spencer, the lead­ing ide­o­logue of the alt-right move­ment and the final speak­er of the night, rose to address a gath­er­ing of his fol­low­ers on Sat­ur­day, the crowd was rest­less.

    In 11 hours of speech­es and pan­el dis­cus­sions in a fed­er­al build­ing named after Ronald Rea­gan a few blocks from the White House, a suc­ces­sion of speak­ers had laid out a harsh vision for the future, but had denounced vio­lence and said that His­pan­ic cit­i­zens and black Amer­i­cans had noth­ing to fear. Ear­li­er in the day, Mr. Spencer him­self had urged the group to start act­ing less like an under­ground orga­ni­za­tion and more like the estab­lish­ment.

    But now his tone changed as he began to tell the audi­ence of more than 200 peo­ple, most­ly young men, what they had been wait­ing to hear. He railed against Jews and, with a smile, quot­ed Nazi pro­pa­gan­da in the orig­i­nal Ger­man. Amer­i­ca, he said, belonged to white peo­ple, whom he called the “chil­dren of the sun,” a race of con­querors and cre­ators who had been mar­gin­al­ized but now, in the era of Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald J. Trump, were “awak­en­ing to their own iden­ti­ty.”

    As he fin­ished, sev­er­al audi­ence mem­bers had their arms out­stretched in a Nazi salute. When Mr. Spencer, or per­haps anoth­er per­son stand­ing near him at the front of the room — it was not clear who — shout­ed, “Heil the peo­ple! Heil vic­to­ry,” the room shout­ed it back.

    These are exul­tant times for the alt-right move­ment, which was lit­tle known until this year, when it embraced Mr. Trump’s cam­paign and he appeared to embrace it back. He chose as his cam­paign chair­man Stephen K. Ban­non, the media exec­u­tive who ran the alt-right’s most promi­nent plat­form, Bre­it­bart News, and then named him as a senior advis­er and chief strate­gist.

    Now the movement’s lead­ers hope to have, if not a seat at the table, at least the ear of the Trump White House.

    While many of its racist views are well known — that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma is, or may as well be, of for­eign birth; that the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment is anoth­er name for black race riot­ers; that even the Amer­i­can-born chil­dren of undoc­u­ment­ed His­pan­ic immi­grants should be deport­ed — the alt-right has been dif­fi­cult to define. Is it a name for right-wing polit­i­cal provo­ca­teurs in the inter­net era? Or is it a polit­i­cal move­ment defined by xeno­pho­bia and a dis­like for polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness?

    At the con­fer­ence on Sat­ur­day, Mr. Spencer, who said he had coined the term, defined the alt-right as a move­ment with white iden­ti­ty as its core idea.

    “We’ve crossed the Rubi­con in terms of recog­ni­tion,” Mr. Spencer said at the con­fer­ence, which was spon­sored by his orga­ni­za­tion, the Nation­al Pol­i­cy Insti­tute.

    And while much of the dis­course at the con­fer­ence was overt­ly racist and demean­ing toward minori­ties, for much of the day the sen­ti­ments were expressed in ways that seemed intend­ed to not sound too men­ac­ing. The focus was on how whites were mar­gin­al­ized and belea­guered.

    One speak­er, Peter Brimelow, the founder of Vdare.com, an anti-immi­gra­tion web­site, asked why, if His­pan­ics had the Nation­al Coun­cil of La Raza and Jews had the Anti-Defama­tion League, whites were reluc­tant to orga­nize for their rights. Some speak­ers made an effort to dis­tance them­selves from more noto­ri­ous white pow­er orga­ni­za­tions like the Ku Klux Klan.

    But as the night wore on and most reporters had gone home, the lan­guage changed.

    Mr. Spencer’s after-din­ner speech began with a polemic against the “main­stream media,” before he briefly paused. “Per­haps we should refer to them in the orig­i­nal Ger­man?” he said.

    The audi­ence imme­di­ate­ly screamed back, “Lügen­presse,” reviv­ing a Nazi-era word that means “lying press.”

    Mr. Spencer sug­gest­ed that the news media had been crit­i­cal of Mr. Trump through­out the cam­paign in order to pro­tect Jew­ish inter­ests. He mused about the polit­i­cal com­men­ta­tors who gave Mr. Trump lit­tle chance of win­ning.

    “One won­ders if these peo­ple are peo­ple at all, or instead soul­less golem,” he said, refer­ring to a Jew­ish fable about the golem, a clay giant that a rab­bi brings to life to pro­tect the Jews.

    Mr. Trump’s elec­tion, Mr. Spencer said, was “the vic­to­ry of will,” a phrase that echoed the title of the most famous Nazi-era pro­pa­gan­da film. But Mr. Spencer then men­tioned, with a smile, Theodor Her­zl, the Zion­ist leader who advo­cat­ed a Jew­ish home­land in Israel, quot­ing his famous pro­nounce­ment, “If we will it, it is no dream.”

    The Unit­ed States today, Mr. Spencer said, had been turned into “a sick, cor­rupt­ed soci­ety.” But it was not sup­posed to be that way.

    “Amer­i­ca was, until this last gen­er­a­tion, a white coun­try designed for our­selves and our pos­ter­i­ty,” Mr. Spencer thun­dered. “It is our cre­ation, it is our inher­i­tance, and it belongs to us.”

    But the white race, he added, is “a race that trav­els for­ev­er on an upward path.”

    “To be white is to be a cre­ator, an explor­er, a con­queror,” he said.

    More mem­bers of the audi­ence were on their feet as Mr. Spencer described the choice fac­ing white peo­ple as to “con­quer or die.”

    Of oth­er races, Mr. Spencer said: “We don’t exploit oth­er groups, we don’t gain any­thing from their pres­ence. They need us, and not the oth­er way around.”

    The ties between the alt-right move­ment and the Trump team are dif­fi­cult to define, even by mem­bers of the alt-right.

    Mr. Ban­non was the chief exec­u­tive of Bre­it­bart, an online news orga­ni­za­tion that has fed the lie that Mr. Oba­ma is a Kenyan-born Mus­lim. As recent­ly as last year, Bre­it­bart pub­lished an op-ed arti­cle urg­ing that “every tree, every rooftop, every pick­et fence, every tele­graph pole in the South should be fes­tooned with the Con­fed­er­ate bat­tle flag.”

    Mr. Ban­non told Moth­er Jones this year that Bre­it­bart was now “the plat­form for the alt-right.”

    But in an inter­view last week with The Wall Street Jour­nal, Mr. Ban­non said that the alt-right was only “a tiny part” of the view­point rep­re­sent­ed on Bre­it­bart.

    “Our def­i­n­i­tion of the alt-right is younger peo­ple who are anti-glob­al­ists, very nation­al­ist, ter­ri­bly anti-estab­lish­ment,” he told The Jour­nal, adding that the alt-right had “some racial and anti-Semit­ic over­tones.”

    When asked about Mr. Ban­non, the conference’s speak­ers said that they might have shak­en his hand on occa­sion, but that they did not know him well.

    Mr. Brimelow said that he had met “Mr. Ban­non once, ear­li­er this sum­mer, before he ascend­ed to Olym­pus.” He said he had told Mr. Ban­non that he was doing great work at Bre­it­bart. “He agreed,” Mr. Brimelow recalled to the audi­ence.

    As for Mr. Trump, Mr. Brimelow said he had met him about 30 years ago at a “con­ser­v­a­tive affin­i­ty meet­ing” in Man­hat­tan. But that was it.

    “Trump and Steve Ban­non are not alt-right peo­ple,” Mr. Brimelow said, adding that they had oppor­tunis­ti­cal­ly seized on two issues that the alt-right cares most about — stop­ping immi­gra­tion and fight­ing polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness — and used them to mobi­lize white vot­ers.

    Mr. Spencer said that while he did not think the pres­i­dent-elect should be con­sid­ered alt-right, “I do think we have a psy­chic con­nec­tion, or you can say a deep­er con­nec­tion, with Don­ald Trump in a way that we sim­ply do not have with most Repub­li­cans.”

    White iden­ti­ty, he said, is at the core of both the alt-right move­ment and the Trump move­ment, even if most vot­ers for Mr. Trump “aren’t will­ing to artic­u­late it as such.”

    ...

    For the alt-right, the most excit­ing thing about Mr. Trump was that he built a cam­paign around the issues that mat­tered most to them, and that white peo­ple had vot­ed for him in num­bers that left the polit­i­cal estab­lish­ments of both par­ties stunned. Now, Mr. Spencer said, it is up to the alt-right to for­mu­late the ideas and poli­cies to guide the new admin­is­tra­tion.

    “I think we can be the ones out in front, think­ing about those things he hasn’t quite grasped yet, who are putting for­ward poli­cies,” Mr. Spencer said, that “have a real­is­tic chance of being imple­ment­ed.”

    “As he fin­ished, sev­er­al audi­ence mem­bers had their arms out­stretched in a Nazi salute. When Mr. Spencer, or per­haps anoth­er per­son stand­ing near him at the front of the room — it was not clear who — shout­ed, “Heil the peo­ple! Heil vic­to­ry,” the room shout­ed it back.”

    Neo-Nazis who proud­ly make Nazi salutes. That’s clear­ly who the Alt-Right is, espe­cial­ly con­sid­er­ing the guy who put on this con­fer­ence is the one who start­ed the term “Alt-Right”. And the times makes this quite clear.

    At the same time, the arti­cle feels the need to ask que­tions like when it comes to the Trump team’s ties to the Alt-Right, sud­den­ly things get all hazy:

    ...

    The ties between the alt-right move­ment and the Trump team are dif­fi­cult to define, even by mem­bers of the alt-right.

    Mr. Ban­non was the chief exec­u­tive of Bre­it­bart, an online news orga­ni­za­tion that has fed the lie that Mr. Oba­ma is a Kenyan-born Mus­lim. As recent­ly as last year, Bre­it­bart pub­lished an op-ed arti­cle urg­ing that “every tree, every rooftop, every pick­et fence, every tele­graph pole in the South should be fes­tooned with the Con­fed­er­ate bat­tle flag.”

    Mr. Ban­non told Moth­er Jones this year that Bre­it­bart was now “the plat­form for the alt-right.”

    But in an inter­view last week with The Wall Street Jour­nal, Mr. Ban­non said that the alt-right was only “a tiny part” of the view­point rep­re­sent­ed on Bre­it­bart.

    “Our def­i­n­i­tion of the alt-right is younger peo­ple who are anti-glob­al­ists, very nation­al­ist, ter­ri­bly anti-estab­lish­ment,” he told The Jour­nal, adding that the alt-right had “some racial and anti-Semit­ic over­tones.”

    When asked about Mr. Ban­non, the conference’s speak­ers said that they might have shak­en his hand on occa­sion, but that they did not know him well.

    Mr. Brimelow said that he had met “Mr. Ban­non once, ear­li­er this sum­mer, before he ascend­ed to Olym­pus.” He said he had told Mr. Ban­non that he was doing great work at Bre­it­bart. “He agreed,” Mr. Brimelow recalled to the audi­ence.

    As for Mr. Trump, Mr. Brimelow said he had met him about 30 years ago at a “con­ser­v­a­tive affin­i­ty meet­ing” in Man­hat­tan. But that was it.

    ...

    Aha, so because Steve Ban­non rhetor­i­cal­ly backed away from the Alt-Right in an inter­view fol­low­ing Trump’s vic­to­ry, it’s sud­den­ly super hard to inter­pret the sit­u­a­tion. Maybe Steve Ban­non isn’t real­ly an Alt-Right true believe because now he says he’s not? And maybe Bre­it­bart did­n’t real­ly become the lead­ing Alt-Right pro­pa­gan­da out­let because now Steve Ban­non sug­gests it was only “a tiny part” of the view­points expressed? Hey maybe the Trump admin­is­tra­tion isn’t real­ly run by peo­ple with deep Alt-Right sym­pa­thies?

    These are the kinds of deplorable ques­tions that arti­cle appears to be try­ing to raise. An arti­cle that appeared on the same day the Time’s pub­lic edi­tor wrote a col­umn about how the paper was too hard on Trump’s sup­port­ers by sug­gest­ing that they might be com­plic­it in endors­ing Trump’s hate­ful, inflam­ma­to­ry Alt-Right-ish rhetoric. So while the New York Time’s edi­to­r­i­al staff appears to be feel­ing guilty over being too hard on Trump’s sup­port­ers for sup­port­ing a bla­tant­ly racist Alt-Right can­di­date, it’s also pret­ty clear that they’re feel­ing bad over being too hard on the Trump/Ban­non/Alt-Right alliance too. It’s all rather deplorable, but here we are!

    And in oth­er news-relat­ed news...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 21, 2016, 4:01 pm
  9. Read the fol­low­ing arti­cle quot­ing Trump’s top advi­sor, Steve Ban­non. When he made the fol­low­ing com­ments con­sid­er his veiled ref­er­ences. He uses the term “cer­tain ele­ments” instead of “Jews” and when he refers to the “1930’s” he is refer­ring to the time when Hitler ascend­ed to pow­er. I have insert­ed three stars *** before those spe­cif­ic para­graphs:

    By REENA FLORES CBS NEWS Novem­ber 19, 2016, 1:09 PM

    Steve Ban­non speaks out on white nation­al­ism, Don­ald Trump agen­da

    Steve Ban­non, the chief strate­gist and right-hand man to Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump, denied in an inter­view that he was an advo­cate of white nation­al­ism — and gave hints instead about how his brand of “eco­nom­ic” nation­al­ism will shake up Wash­ing­ton.

    In The Hol­ly­wood Reporter, Ban­non, the con­tro­ver­sial for­mer head of Bre­it­bart News who went on to chair Mr. Trump’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, dis­cussed why he believed his can­di­date won the elec­tion.

    “I’m not a white nation­al­ist, I’m a nation­al­ist. I’m an eco­nom­ic nation­al­ist,” Ban­non told the news out­let ear­li­er this week. “The glob­al­ists gut­ted the Amer­i­can work­ing class and cre­at­ed a mid­dle class in Asia. The issue now is about Amer­i­cans look­ing to not get f—ed over.”

    Bannon’s appoint­ment to the White House has drawn crit­i­cism from Democ­rats and sev­er­al civ­il lib­er­ties groups, in part because of his (and Breitbart’s) strong asso­ci­a­tion with the alt-right, a polit­i­cal move­ment with strains of white suprema­cy.

    In the past, the for­mer Bre­it­bart CEO has admit­ted the alt-right’s con­nec­tions to racist and anti-Semit­ic agen­das.

    ***“Look, are there some peo­ple that are white nation­al­ists that are attract­ed to some of the philoso­phies of the alt-right? Maybe,” Ban­non told Moth­er Jones in August. “Are there some peo­ple that are anti-Semit­ic that are attract­ed? Maybe. Right? Maybe some peo­ple are attract­ed to the alt-right that are homo­phobes, right? But that’s just like, there are cer­tain ele­ments of the pro­gres­sive left and the hard left that attract cer­tain ele­ments.”

    In the Reporter inter­view, Ban­non chal­lenged the notion that racial­ized over­tones dom­i­nat­ed the Trump cam­paign on the trail. He pre­dict­ed that if the admin­is­tra­tion deliv­ered on its elec­tion promis­es, “we’ll get 60 per­cent of the white vote, and 40 per­cent of the black and His­pan­ic vote and we’ll gov­ern for 50 years.”

    “It’s every­thing relat­ed to jobs,” Ban­non said and seem­ing­ly bragged about how he was going to dri­ve con­ser­v­a­tives “crazy” with his “tril­lion-dol­lar infra­struc­ture plan.”

    ***“With neg­a­tive inter­est rates through­out the world, it’s the great­est oppor­tu­ni­ty to rebuild every­thing. Ship yards, iron works, get them all jacked up,” he pro­posed. “We’re just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. It will be as excit­ing as the 1930s, greater than the Rea­gan rev­o­lu­tion — con­ser­v­a­tives, plus pop­ulists, in an eco­nom­ic nation­al­ist move­ment.”

    Ban­non, in the Reporter inter­view, also gave some insight into how he viewed his polit­i­cal foes (pre­sum­ably, lib­er­als and the media) — and the “dark­ness” he touts in fight­ing against them.

    “Dark­ness is good,” Ban­non said. “Dick Cheney. Darth Vad­er. Satan. That’s pow­er. It only helps us when they...get it wrong. When they’re blind to who we are and what we’re doing.”

    Posted by RM | November 21, 2016, 7:12 pm
  10. Whether via Ost­poli­tik or via the Shang­hai Coop­er­a­tion Org, I am of the opin­ion that the we are now wit­ness­ing the 4th Reich ris­ing in the East. The Reich is reach­ing out to Neo-Nazi / White Nation­al­ist / Alt-Right par­ties through­out the Europe and The Amer­i­c­as (and per­haps beyond) sup­port­ing can­di­dates like Trump. The goal is place­ment of mul­ti­ple Quis­ling regimes dur­ing the lead up to great war. From the per­spec­tive of The Reich, tak­ing out the US via Quis­ling trans­for­ma­tion is key. This removes the US implied nuclear deter­rent. The French and British deter­rents are insuf­fi­cient to stand off The Reich. The Reich would have an auto­mat­ic abil­i­ty to do nuclear black­mail if the US went Vichy.

    Posted by James at 48 | November 21, 2016, 7:43 pm
  11. @ James–

    It does­n’t come from the East, although the East will be incor­po­rat­ed into it.

    It comes from the West, the Under­ground Reich is the dri­ving force.

    Ulti­mate­ly, the whole world will be under its sway.

    The U.S. has already fall­en.

    best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | November 21, 2016, 9:59 pm
  12. With ques­tions and sig­nif­i­cant alarm over Don­ald Trump’s selec­tion of Steve Ban­non as chief strate­gist not going away any time soon (hope­ful­ly nev­er), here’s the lat­est exam­ple of Trump’s approach to deal­ing with these ques­tions: Trolling the nation by play­ing dumb. Implau­si­bly dumb:

    Slate

    Trump: I Nev­er Would Have Hired Ban­non If He Were “Alt-Right”

    By Jere­my Stahl
    Nov. 22 2016 5:37 PM

    Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump told the New York Times on Tues­day that he would nev­er even dreamed of hir­ing Stephen K. Ban­non if he thought the incom­ing chief White House strate­gist was an “alt-right” fig­ure.

    “If I thought he was a racist or alt-right or any of the things, the terms we could use, I wouldn’t even think about hir­ing him,” Trump said in a con­ver­sa­tion with the Times.

    So: Accord­ing to Trump, Ban­non is not “alt-right.” And if Ban­non were “alt-right,” he would nev­er have con­sid­ered hir­ing him.

    Here’s how Ban­non proud­ly defined his web site Breitbart.com in an inter­view with Moth­er Jones ear­li­er this year: “We’re the plat­form for the alt-right.”

    In that same inter­view, Ban­non fierce­ly defend­ed the “alt-right” from the main line crit­i­cism it faces: That it is just a rebrand­ing of white nation­al­ism by and for white suprema­cists.

    “Are there anti-Semit­ic peo­ple involved in the alt-right? Absolute­ly. Are there racist peo­ple involved in the alt-right? Absolute­ly,” Ban­non said at the time. “But I don’t believe that the move­ment over­all is anti-Semit­ic.”

    Why would any­one think that the “alt-right,” which Trump denies Ban­non is a part of even though Ban­non proud­ly embraced the label as recent­ly as July, is racist or anti-Semit­ic?

    Bannon’s site in March pro­mot­ed Richard Spencer as one of the movement’s lead­ing “intel­lec­tu­als.” Over the week­end, Spencer—who took cred­it for coin­ing the term “alt-right”—held an alt-right con­fer­ence. At the con­fer­ence, Spencer led a Nazi salute, say­ing: “Hail Trump, hail our peo­ple, hail vic­to­ry!” He used Nazi-era anti-Semit­ic terms to describe the main­stream media and talked of the Unit­ed States as a “white coun­try … [that] belongs to us.” “To be white is to be a cre­ator, an explor­er, a con­queror,” Spencer added. Of oth­er races, he com­ment­ed: “We don’t exploit oth­er groups, we don’t gain any­thing from their pres­ence. They need us, and not the oth­er way around.”

    Trump “dis­avowed” the “alt-right” con­fer­ence, but con­tin­ued to insist that Ban­non was an inno­cent vic­tim in all of this. “I think it’s very hard on him,” Trump told the Times. “I think he’s hav­ing a hard time with it. Because it’s not him.”

    “Bre­it­bart is just a pub­li­ca­tion,” he con­tin­ued to tell the gath­er­ing of Times edi­to­r­i­al staffers. “They cov­er sto­ries like you cov­er sto­ries. They are cer­tain­ly a much more con­ser­v­a­tive paper, to put it mild­ly, than The New York Times. But Bre­it­bart real­ly is a news orga­ni­za­tion that has become quite suc­cess­ful.”

    Here are a small sam­ple of Bre­it­bart head­lines when Ban­non was in charge to give you an idea of the main themes of the site Trump con­sid­ers to be just a more con­ser­v­a­tive ver­sion of the Times:

    * “Why White Peo­ple Seek Black Priv­i­lege”
    * “Black, Gay Reporter Mur­ders Straight, White Journalists—Media Blame the Gun”
    * “Arts Union Blasts Shake­speare Pro­duc­tion for Hav­ing White Actors and No Dis­abled Quo­ta”
    * “Black Judge Gives Black Home Invad­er Pro­ba­tion, Attacks White Fam­i­ly for Racism”
    * “Nobel Lau­re­ate: Girls Are Trou­ble In The Lab­o­ra­to­ry”
    * “Sor­ry, Girls! But The Smartest Peo­ple In The World Are All Men”
    * “Here’s Why There Ought to Be a Cap on Women Study­ing Sci­ence and Maths”

    How could this site, proud­ly declared by Ban­non as the plat­form for the alt-right, have become the plat­form for the alt-right, and why would they affil­i­ate them­selves with Don­ald Trump, who appoint­ed Steve Ban­non to a top posi­tion in his White House? The pres­i­dent-elect is at a loss.

    “It’s not a group I want to ener­gize,” Trump told the Times. “And if they are ener­gized, I want to look into it and find out why.”

    ...

    “If I thought he was a racist or alt-right or any of the things, the terms we could use, I wouldn’t even think about hir­ing him,”

    Bwah! He actu­al­ly said that. Pre­sum­ably with a straight face. And then he tried to get us to feel sor­ry for Steve, who appar­ent­ly just can’t imag­ine why peo­ple say such hor­ri­ble things about him:

    ...

    Trump “dis­avowed” the “alt-right” con­fer­ence, but con­tin­ued to insist that Ban­non was an inno­cent vic­tim in all of this. “I think it’s very hard on him,” Trump told the Times. “I think he’s hav­ing a hard time with it. Because it’s not him.”

    ...

    Yes, it must be so dis­tress­ing for a man like Ban­non who made it one of his mis­sions as the head of Bre­it­bart to main­stream the neo-Nazi ‘Alt-Right’ that now he’s the pres­i­dent-elec­t’s chief strate­gist and every­one is talk­ing about the Alt-Right. Poor Steve. Why can’t he main­stream neo-Nazis while advis­ing the pres­i­dent in peace with­out all these peo­ple asso­ci­at­ing him with neo-Nazis?

    So that’s Trump’s strat­e­gy: trolling the hell out of the nation. You have to won­der if this strat­e­gy is Ban­non’s idea or Trump came up with it on his own? Either way, it’s clear­ly a pop­u­lar strat­e­gy for ques­tions of this nature:

    NBC News

    White Nation­al­ist Alt-Righter Claims ‘Hail Trump’ Com­ments Were ‘Iron­ic’

    by Hal­lie Jack­son and Tim Stel­loh
    Nov 21 2016, 10:32 pm ET

    The white nation­al­ist who said “Hail Trump” and “hail our peo­ple” dur­ing a con­fer­ence in Wash­ing­ton D.C. on Sat­ur­day — and who received straight-armed Nazi-like salutes in response — told NBC News Mon­day that his com­ments were meant to be “cheeky,” “exu­ber­ant” and “iron­ic.”

    The remarks from Richard Spencer, whose Nation­al Pol­i­cy Insti­tute was described by the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter as one of the most influ­en­tial pur­vey­ors of aca­d­e­m­ic racism in the coun­try, were pub­lished in a video by the Atlantic on Mon­day.

    Spencer, 38, told NBC News that the con­fer­ence was the “next step” for the “alt-right,” a soft euphemism for the once-fringe net­work with ties to white nation­al­ism that vault­ed into the main­stream polit­i­cal scene with Don­ald Trump’s chief strate­gist, Steve Ban­non, and includes every­one from hard­core white suprema­cists and neo-Nazis to crit­ics of so-called “polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness.”

    “We need to take this next step in terms of pro­fes­sion­al­iza­tion and in terms of being able to influ­ence peo­ple,” he told NBC News, adding that he is “very will­ing to crit­i­cize” Trump and say “things that he’s not will­ing or able to say.”

    In a state­ment, the Trump tran­si­tion team said that the pres­i­dent-elect “has con­tin­ued to denounce racism of any kind and he was elect­ed because he will be a leader for every Amer­i­can. To think oth­er­wise is a com­plete mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the move­ment that unit­ed Amer­i­cans from all back­grounds.”

    In the video, Spencer appeared to raise a glass after say­ing, “Hail Trump, hail our peo­ple, hail vic­to­ry.”

    In response, some in the crowd, which had gath­ered at the Ronald Rea­gan Build­ing and which the Atlantic esti­mat­ed to be 200, salut­ed.

    “There’s an iron­ic exu­ber­ance to it all,” Spencer claimed. “I think that’s ... one of the things that makes the alt-right fun, is that we’re will­ing to do things that are a bit cheeky.”

    At oth­er points in his speech, Spencer used a term employed by the Nazis to attack the media — “Lügen­presse,” Ger­man for lying press — to describe the main­stream media.

    “It’s not just that many are gen­uine­ly stu­pid,” he said of reporters. “Indeed, one won­ders if these peo­ple are peo­ple at all.”

    One tac­tic of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime was to declare ene­mies inhu­man.

    Spencer spec­u­lat­ed that the media may be “soul­less golem,” a ref­er­ence to mag­i­cal­ly ani­mat­ed beings from Jew­ish folk­lore.

    ...

    “The white nation­al­ist who said “Hail Trump” and “hail our peo­ple” dur­ing a con­fer­ence in Wash­ing­ton D.C. on Sat­ur­day — and who received straight-armed Nazi-like salutes in response — told NBC News Mon­day that his com­ments were meant to be “cheeky,” “exu­ber­ant” and “iron­ic.”

    That’s right, when Richard Spencer led the room in straight-armed Nazi-like salutes at the end of his white pow­er speech that called for a whites-only state, he was just being cheeky! Also, the white pow­er speech was cheeky too. The whole thing was just a giant iron­ic joke. He’s not a real life neo-Nazi who would emu­late Hitler. Why would any­one assume such hor­ri­ble things about Richard?

    And that appears to be the cur­rent strat­e­gy of the Trump/Ban­non/Alt-Right alliance: Trump and Ban­non claim they no noth­ing about the Alt-Right, while Richard Spencer claims it’s all a big iron­ic joke and he’s not lead­ing a real Nazi move­ment. So as we watch the neo-Nazi under­world, now fused with the GOP, come into the main­stream and ‘drop the mask’, that process at this point is less ‘drop­ping the mask’ and more ‘replac­ing the mask with an evil clown mask as we grow our num­bers’. It’s a reminder that the scari­est evil clowns don’t where make­up. Although some do.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 22, 2016, 9:31 pm
  13. Giv­en that the Trump cam­paign, with the help of the dom­i­nant right-wing media estab­lish­ment, won the 2016 elec­tion in large part by suc­cess­ful­ly sell­ing the pub­lic on an alter­nate real­i­ty bub­ble of care­ful­ly craft­ed smears and dis­in­for­ma­tion designed almost exclu­sive­ly to simul­ta­ne­ous­ly cast Hillary Clin­ton as a super-vil­lain and Trump as a sav­ior with a secret plan to destroy ISIS and who would make every­one rich, one of the open ques­tions fac­ing a new Trump admin­is­tra­tion, and fac­ing every­one else, is what exact­ly is Trump’s world­view? Yes, we can be con­fi­dent that Trump’s team will large­ly adhere to the wish­es of the glob­al far-right oli­garchy and prob­a­bly do what­ev­er it can to make the glob­al super-rich rich­er while dis­em­pow­er­ing the rab­ble fur­ther, but it’s still not clear how exact­ly he’s going to accom­plish that goal oth­er than mas­sive tax cuts and mas­sive defense spend­ing. Although with the selec­tion of Lt. Gen­er­al Michael Fly­nn as his nation­al secu­ri­ty advi­sor it’s pret­ty clear that Trump’s for­eign pol­i­cy will like­ly involv­ing using a war on ISIS as a launch­pad for a war on Iran. In oth­er words, when it comes to for­eign pol­i­cy in the Mid­dle East Trump is a neo­con

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    Trump’s nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er says he’s ready to fight anoth­er world war
    Review of “The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Glob­al War Against Rad­i­cal Islam and its Allies” by Lt. Gen. Michael T. Fly­nn and Michael Ledeen

    By Car­los Loza­da
    Novem­ber 22, 2016

    THE FIELD OF FIGHT: How We Can Win the Glob­al War Against Rad­i­cal Islam and Its Allies

    By Lt. Gen. Michael T. Fly­nn and Michael Ledeen

    St. Martin’s Press. 194 pp. $26.99

    Late in the pres­i­den­tial race, Don­ald Trump warned that his oppo­nent would start a new world war. “You’re going to end up in World War III over Syr­ia if we lis­ten to Hillary Clin­ton,” he told Reuters.

    As it turns out, there was no need to wor­ry about Clinton’s hawk­ish­ness. The next world war is already here. It’s a reli­gious war. And the Unit­ed States is los­ing.

    Such is the vision of Lt. Gen. Michael T. Fly­nn, the retired Army three-star gen­er­al who is set to become White House nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er after Pres­i­dent-elect Trump takes the oath of office. Thus far, Fly­nn is best known for his fire-breath­ing speech at the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion in Cleve­land this sum­mer. But six days before lead­ing GOP del­e­gates in a fren­zy of “USA!” and “Lock her up!” chants, Fly­nn pub­lished a book detail­ing this new fight — in his telling, a mul­ti-gen­er­a­tional and civ­i­liza­tion­al con­flict against rad­i­cal Islam. “We’re in a world war,” he writes, “but very few Amer­i­cans rec­og­nize it, and few­er still have any idea how to win it.”

    “The Field of Fight,” co-authored with for­eign pol­i­cy writer Michael Ledeen, offers an apoc­a­lyp­tic vision of Islam and ter­ror­ism, rails in Trumpian tones against polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness, and assures read­ers of Flynn’s “mav­er­ick” cre­den­tials (even though call­ing your­self a mav­er­ick is pret­ty much the least mav­er­icky thing pos­si­ble). It also offers a tan­ta­liz­ing glimpse of the world­view Fly­nn may already be shar­ing with his new boss.

    Though he calls for “destroy­ing the jiha­di armies,” Fly­nn is as focused on ide­o­log­i­cal war­fare as he is on drone strikes or spe­cial oper­a­tors. While Trump has said he’ll pur­sue a clos­er rela­tion­ship with Rus­sia and Vladi­mir Putin, in his book Fly­nn regards Moscow as part of a world­wide “ene­my alliance” against the Unit­ed States and con­cludes that the Russ­ian pres­i­dent is an untrust­wor­thy part­ner in the fight against the Islam­ic State.

    Per­haps most reveal­ing, Fly­nn seems quite com­fort­able with the prospect of a reli­gious war. “This kind of war is not at all new. It cre­at­ed our world,” he writes, cit­ing the Protes­tant Ref­or­ma­tion. “The world bad­ly needs an Islam­ic Ref­or­ma­tion, and we should not be sur­prised if vio­lence is involved. It’s nor­mal.”

    In the par­lance of the day, one might say Trump’s nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er is nor­mal­iz­ing holy wars.

    A decades-long vet­er­an of mil­i­tary oper­a­tions from Grena­da to Afghanistan, Fly­nn made his name as an intel­li­gence offi­cer skilled in track­ing ter­ror­ist net­works, dis­tin­guish­ing him­self in par­tic­u­lar as part of the team that bat­tered al-Qae­da in Iraq. In 2012, Pres­i­dent Oba­ma appoint­ed him to run the Defense Intel­li­gence Agency, but in 2014 he was dis­missed because of con­cerns about his man­age­ment. That blem­ish notwith­stand­ing, Fly­nn high­lights his record. “I’ve fought in this war on phys­i­cal and bureau­crat­ic bat­tle­fields, from Afghanistan, Iraq, and African jun­gles, to the high­est lev­el of the Unit­ed States’ intel­li­gence and mil­i­tary estab­lish­ments,” he writes. “I know our ene­mies bet­ter than most ‘experts,’ and I’m plen­ty scared. We could lose. In fact, right now we’re los­ing.”

    Fly­nn spends a great deal of time urg­ing read­ers to define the ene­my and to say it out loud. “We’ve got to stop feel­ing the slight­est bit guilty about call­ing them by name and iden­ti­fy­ing them as fanat­i­cal killers act­ing on behalf of a failed civ­i­liza­tion,” he writes. He does so repeat­ed­ly him­self, call­ing jihadists a “trib­al cult” and declar­ing that “a glob­al war is being waged against us by all true Rad­i­cal Islamists in the name of Allah.”

    This obses­sion with nam­ing names echoes the 2016 cam­paign, when just about every GOP can­di­date had to thun­der about “rad­i­cal Islam” and decry Obama’s reluc­tance to do so. But for Fly­nn, the rhetoric is insep­a­ra­ble from the war effort. Dur­ing World War II and the Cold War, “the wars unleashed against us were waged in the names of our ene­mies’ doc­trines, just like jihad today,” he argues. “We can’t win this war by treat­ing Rad­i­cal Islam­ic ter­ror­ists as a hand­ful of cra­zies. ... The polit­i­cal and the­o­log­i­cal under­pin­nings of their immoral actions have to be demol­ished.”

    How to do so? He endors­es “dig­i­tal war­fare,” includ­ing code-break­ing and track­ing ter­ror­ist com­mu­ni­ca­tions, which are things that already hap­pen. He urges the tech indus­try to help, too, writ­ing that “we can’t pos­si­bly have an effec­tive cam­paign against Rad­i­cal Islam­ic ide­ol­o­gy with­out the coop­er­a­tion of the likes of Google, Face­book, and Twit­ter.” But he neglects to spec­i­fy much of what these com­pa­nies should actu­al­ly do, beyond pro­vid­ing “their own pos­i­tive mes­sag­ing cam­paign about the bet­ter­ment of humankind,” an approach only slight­ly more devel­oped than Trump’s thoughts on “the cyber.”

    Fly­nn also sug­gests that mil­i­tary oper­a­tions should fea­ture a sort of fol­low-up mock­ery. When U.S. forces suc­ceed in tak­ing down ter­ror­ist groups, we should go on “the ide­o­log­i­cal offen­sive, ask­ing whether the Almighty had changed sides in the holy war,” he sug­gests. “After all, if pre­vi­ous vic­to­ries were the result of divine bless­ing, were defeats not proof that their cause had been reject­ed on high?” It’s the sick-burn approach to coun­tert­er­ror­ism.

    Fly­nn dis­miss­es con­cerns about Islam­o­pho­bia, con­tend­ing instead that exces­sive “Islam­ophil­ia” (when “left­ists treat Mus­lims as chil­dren whose feath­ers should not be ruf­fled”) makes it hard for lead­ers and cit­i­zens to grasp the chal­lenge at hand. “If, as PC apol­o­gists tell us, there is no objec­tive basis for mem­bers of one cul­ture to crit­i­cize anoth­er, then it is very hard to see — and for­bid­den to write about or say — the exis­tence of an inter­na­tion­al alliance of evil coun­tries and move­ments that is work­ing to destroy us,” he writes.

    That alliance is where Rus­sia comes in. Though Fly­nn has tak­en heat for trav­el­ing to Moscow last year and sit­ting beside Putin at a gala for the Krem­lin-run news net­work RT, in “The Field of Fight” he assails Rus­sia and its auto­crat­ic ruler. Fly­nn brands Iran and Rus­sia as lead­ers of an ene­my alliance of nations, in league with anti-Amer­i­can forces, crime net­works and ter­ror­ist groups. “The Rus­sians and Ira­ni­ans have more in com­mon than a shared ene­my,” he writes. “There is also a shared con­tempt for democ­ra­cy and an agree­ment — by all the mem­bers of the ene­my alliance — that dic­ta­tor­ship is a supe­ri­or way to run a coun­try, an empire, or a caliphate.” (For the record, oth­er alliance mem­bers include North Korea, Chi­na, Syr­ia, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and even Bolivia.)

    Fly­nn crit­i­cizes Oba­ma for hav­ing “tip­toed around open crit­i­cism of Vladimir Putin’s many aggres­sive actions,” and despite Trump’s fre­quent state­ments that the Unit­ed States and Rus­sia can join forces against the Islam­ic State, Fly­nn express­es deep skep­ti­cism. “When it is said that Rus­sia would make an ide­al part­ner for fight­ing Rad­i­cal Islam, it behooves us to remem­ber that the Rus­sians haven’t been very effec­tive at fight­ing jihadis on their own ter­ri­to­ry, and are in cahoots with the Ira­ni­ans,” he writes. “In Syr­ia, the two allies have loud­ly pro­claimed they are wag­ing war against ISIS, but in real­i­ty the great bulk of their efforts are aimed at the oppo­nents of the Assad regime.” In addi­tion, he explains, “there is no rea­son to believe Putin would wel­come coop­er­a­tion with us; quite the con­trary, in fact.”

    A few weeks before the elec­tion, Fly­nn empha­sized that Trump knows “that when it comes to Rus­sia or any oth­er coun­try, the com­mon ene­my we all have is rad­i­cal Islam” — sug­gest­ing that any day­light between the two men is being elim­i­nat­ed. Indeed, while there is lit­tle in “The Field of Fight” to sug­gest that Fly­nn has some over­ar­ch­ing doc­trine to impart to the incom­ing com­man­der in chief, there are flash­es that sug­gest fur­ther dif­fer­ences: Where­as Trump has pledged to “get out of the nation-build­ing busi­ness,” for instance, Fly­nn prof­fers a vision rem­i­nis­cent of George W. Bush’s free­dom agen­da. “Remov­ing the sick­en­ing choke­hold of tyran­ny, dic­ta­tor­ships, and Rad­i­cal Islamist regimes must be some­thing our nation stands for when­ev­er free­dom-lov­ing peo­ple around the world need help,” Fly­nn writes. “If we don’t stand for this, we stand for noth­ing.” And though he says it is a “pipe dream” to believe that Wash­ing­ton can bring democ­ra­cy to the Mid­dle East, “we could cer­tain­ly bring order.”

    Trump’s agree­ment is all that counts; for Fly­nn, whether the Amer­i­can pub­lic is on board is incon­se­quen­tial. “The con­sen­sus that mat­ters is not the one that exists at the begin­ning of fight­ing, but the one at the end of the war,” he writes. “If we win, our lead­ers will be hailed, while if we lose, they will be despised.”

    When he attempts to sum up his rec­om­men­da­tions, how­ev­er, the result is a gener­ic jum­ble of buzz­words. “We must engage the vio­lent extrem­ists wher­ev­er they are, dri­ve them from their safe havens, and kill them or cap­ture them,” Fly­nn explains. “We have to orga­nize all our nation­al pow­er, from mil­i­tary and eco­nom­ic to intel­li­gence and tough-mind­ed diplo­ma­cy,” he lec­tures. (Reminder: Invok­ing diplo­ma­cy can come off as wussy, so always pref­ace it with “tough-mind­ed” or anoth­er macho hedge.) He warns that bat­tling reli­gious extrem­ists will be expen­sive, “and it’s prob­a­bly going to last through sev­er­al gen­er­a­tions.” And he lists the ele­ments of a “win­ning” strat­e­gy: “clear­ly define your ene­my; face real­i­ty — for politi­cians, this is nev­er an easy thing to do; under­stand the social con­text and fab­ric of the oper­a­tional envi­ron­ment; and rec­og­nize who’s in charge of the ene­my forces.”

    None of which sounds any more ground­break­ing than when Hillary Clin­ton went on about smart pow­er.

    ...

    “A few weeks before the elec­tion, Fly­nn empha­sized that Trump knows “that when it comes to Rus­sia or any oth­er coun­try, the com­mon ene­my we all have is rad­i­cal Islam” — sug­gest­ing that any day­light between the two men is being elim­i­nat­ed. Indeed, while there is lit­tle in “The Field of Fight” to sug­gest that Fly­nn has some over­ar­ch­ing doc­trine to impart to the incom­ing com­man­der in chief, there are flash­es that sug­gest fur­ther dif­fer­ences: Where­as Trump has pledged to “get out of the nation-build­ing busi­ness,” for instance, Fly­nn prof­fers a vision rem­i­nis­cent of George W. Bush’s free­dom agen­da. “Remov­ing the sick­en­ing choke­hold of tyran­ny, dic­ta­tor­ships, and Rad­i­cal Islamist regimes must be some­thing our nation stands for when­ev­er free­dom-lov­ing peo­ple around the world need help,” Fly­nn writes. “If we don’t stand for this, we stand for noth­ing.” And though he says it is a “pipe dream” to believe that Wash­ing­ton can bring democ­ra­cy to the Mid­dle East, “we could cer­tain­ly bring order.”

    Oh good­ie: With Michael Fly­nn, we’re get­ting the world­view of George W. Bush’s “Free­dom agen­da” of bring­ing democ­ra­cy through mil­i­tary action merged with a realpoli­tik cyn­i­cism that just ignores the bring­ing democ­ra­cy part. How inspi­ra­tional. That should have those extrem­ist Mus­lims who are already deeply wary of the West brim­ming with a new­found urge to bring about an Islam­ic Ref­or­ma­tion.

    And how is Fly­nn plan­ning on car­ry­ing Trump’s Free­dom agen­da? Well, from a tac­ti­cal lev­el it sound like the plan is basi­cal­ly the same ‘smart pow­er’ strat­e­gy the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion is already using...

    ...

    Trump’s agree­ment is all that counts; for Fly­nn, whether the Amer­i­can pub­lic is on board is incon­se­quen­tial. “The con­sen­sus that mat­ters is not the one that exists at the begin­ning of fight­ing, but the one at the end of the war,” he writes. “If we win, our lead­ers will be hailed, while if we lose, they will be despised.”

    When he attempts to sum up his rec­om­men­da­tions, how­ev­er, the result is a gener­ic jum­ble of buzz­words. “We must engage the vio­lent extrem­ists wher­ev­er they are, dri­ve them from their safe havens, and kill them or cap­ture them,” Fly­nn explains. “We have to orga­nize all our nation­al pow­er, from mil­i­tary and eco­nom­ic to intel­li­gence and tough-mind­ed diplo­ma­cy,” he lec­tures. (Reminder: Invok­ing diplo­ma­cy can come off as wussy, so always pref­ace it with “tough-mind­ed” or anoth­er macho hedge.) He warns that bat­tling reli­gious extrem­ists will be expen­sive, “and it’s prob­a­bly going to last through sev­er­al gen­er­a­tions.” And he lists the ele­ments of a “win­ning” strat­e­gy: “clear­ly define your ene­my; face real­i­ty — for politi­cians, this is nev­er an easy thing to do; under­stand the social con­text and fab­ric of the oper­a­tional envi­ron­ment; and rec­og­nize who’s in charge of the ene­my forces.”

    None of which sounds any more ground­break­ing than when Hillary Clin­ton went on about smart pow­er.

    ...

    None of which sounds any more ground­break­ing than when Hillary Clin­ton went on about smart pow­er.

    So the plan is appar­ent­ly apply the same ‘smart pow­er’ buzz­words, but in the con­text of Fly­n­n’s new Holy War refram­ing of ten­sions between Mus­lim world and the West. Let’s hope that’s actu­al­ly a smart appli­ca­tion of ‘smart pow­er’. It sure does­n’t seem like it. Maybe all the trolling will be what makes the dif­fer­ence...

    ...
    This obses­sion with nam­ing names echoes the 2016 cam­paign, when just about every GOP can­di­date had to thun­der about “rad­i­cal Islam” and decry Obama’s reluc­tance to do so. But for Fly­nn, the rhetoric is insep­a­ra­ble from the war effort. Dur­ing World War II and the Cold War, “the wars unleashed against us were waged in the names of our ene­mies’ doc­trines, just like jihad today,” he argues. “We can’t win this war by treat­ing Rad­i­cal Islam­ic ter­ror­ists as a hand­ful of cra­zies. ... The polit­i­cal and the­o­log­i­cal under­pin­nings of their immoral actions have to be demol­ished.”

    How to do so? He endors­es “dig­i­tal war­fare,” includ­ing code-break­ing and track­ing ter­ror­ist com­mu­ni­ca­tions, which are things that already hap­pen. He urges the tech indus­try to help, too, writ­ing that “we can’t pos­si­bly have an effec­tive cam­paign against Rad­i­cal Islam­ic ide­ol­o­gy with­out the coop­er­a­tion of the likes of Google, Face­book, and Twit­ter.” But he neglects to spec­i­fy much of what these com­pa­nies should actu­al­ly do, beyond pro­vid­ing “their own pos­i­tive mes­sag­ing cam­paign about the bet­ter­ment of humankind,” an approach only slight­ly more devel­oped than Trump’s thoughts on “the cyber.”

    Fly­nn also sug­gests that mil­i­tary oper­a­tions should fea­ture a sort of fol­low-up mock­ery. When U.S. forces suc­ceed in tak­ing down ter­ror­ist groups, we should go on “the ide­o­log­i­cal offen­sive, ask­ing whether the Almighty had changed sides in the holy war,” he sug­gests. “After all, if pre­vi­ous vic­to­ries were the result of divine bless­ing, were defeats not proof that their cause had been reject­ed on high?” It’s the sick-burn approach to coun­tert­er­ror­ism.

    ...

    “Fly­nn also sug­gests that mil­i­tary oper­a­tions should fea­ture a sort of fol­low-up mock­ery. When U.S. forces suc­ceed in tak­ing down ter­ror­ist groups, we should go on “the ide­o­log­i­cal offen­sive, ask­ing whether the Almighty had changed sides in the holy war,” he sug­gests. “After all, if pre­vi­ous vic­to­ries were the result of divine bless­ing, were defeats not proof that their cause had been reject­ed on high?” It’s the sick-burn approach to coun­tert­er­ror­ism.”

    Aha! It turns out the over­whelm­ing­ly dis­pro­por­tion­ate mil­i­tary loss­es incurred by the var­i­ous Mus­lim tar­gets at the hands of the West­ern mil­i­tary alliance since the start of the “War on Ter­ror” would trig­gered a mass Islam­ic Ref­or­ma­tion if only there had been more obvi­ous mock­ery after those defeats. Now we know.

    Oh, and re-declar­ing George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil” will also appar­ent­ly real­ly help:

    ...
    Fly­nn dis­miss­es con­cerns about Islam­o­pho­bia, con­tend­ing instead that exces­sive “Islam­ophil­ia” (when “left­ists treat Mus­lims as chil­dren whose feath­ers should not be ruf­fled”) makes it hard for lead­ers and cit­i­zens to grasp the chal­lenge at hand. “If, as PC apol­o­gists tell us, there is no objec­tive basis for mem­bers of one cul­ture to crit­i­cize anoth­er, then it is very hard to see — and for­bid­den to write about or say — the exis­tence of an inter­na­tion­al alliance of evil coun­tries and move­ments that is work­ing to destroy us,” he writes.
    ...

    Ok, so which coun­tries (not malev­o­lent self-inter­est­ed gov­ern­ment pow­er fac­tions, but entire evil coun­tries) are going to be part of the “inter­na­tion­al alliance of evil coun­tries and move­ments that is work­ing to destroy us?” Would that include the pri­ma­ry state spon­sors of groups like al Qae­da and ISIS like Sau­di Ara­bia, or Turkey? Well, it’s def­i­nite­ly not going to include Erodgan’s gov­ern­ment in Turkey since Fly­nn is a big Erdo­gan backer. No, in order to root out the sup­port struc­ture for groups like ISIS and al Qae­da, Fly­nn sug­gests we look to Iran:

    Amer­i­can Thinker

    A Con­ver­sa­tion with Michael Fly­nn

    By Elise Coop­er
    July 26, 2016

    Democ­rats and main­stream media crit­i­cized Don­ald Trump’s accep­tance speech as Doom and Gloom, but any­one look­ing at the recent events would call it real­i­ty. With­in the last few weeks five police offi­cers died in Dal­las, three in Baton Rogue; there have been jihadist ter­ror­ist attacks with over 80 dead in Nice, France, includ­ing Amer­i­cans, an axe attack by a migrant Afghan in Munich, and recent­ly a ter­ror­ist attack at a mall in Munich leav­ing at least nine dead. If that is not doom and gloom, then what is?

    The Field of Fight by Lt. Gen­er­al Michael Fly­nn delves into the world of ISIS. Amer­i­can Thinker had the priv­i­lege of inter­view­ing him.

    Hav­ing been at the Repub­li­can con­ven­tion, the gen­er­al told of his dis­may at those who con­cen­trat­ed on Mela­nia Trump’s speech while there are so many impor­tant mat­ters occur­ring in today’s world. He not­ed to Amer­i­can Thinker, “This shows you how pet­ty the media will go to dis­cred­it Don­ald Trump. Since I was the next speak­er, as I wait­ed in the wings, I heard a woman who spoke from the heart about her love for this coun­try and her hus­band. With all the com­plex­i­ties, threats, and chal­lenges that the U.S. faces, for the media to harp on that is just ridicu­lous.”

    The Democ­rats and media crit­i­cism empha­sized the impor­tance of words spo­ken in a cer­tain con­text. Yet, Pres­i­dent Oba­ma will nev­er utter the words Islam­ic Extrem­ist or Rad­i­cal Islam. Fly­nn points out the hypocrisy, “The pres­i­dent should clear­ly and unam­bigu­ous­ly define the ene­my that we face and the threat to our way of life. It is rad­i­cal Islam… ISIS is a very deter­mined ene­my who wants to estab­lish a glob­al Caliphate. This polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness of not nam­ing our ene­my is dan­ger­ous for the coun­try. I am con­fi­dent Amer­i­cans can take the truth.”

    Polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness has also inter­fered in the way the U.S. con­ducts the war against ter­ror­ism. Accord­ing to Fly­nn, “Using drones is a nar­row strat­e­gy. We have to be able to cap­ture guys and learn from them by get­ting the intel­li­gence we need. We are not cap­tur­ing any­one any more. Beyond that, appre­hend­ing indi­vid­u­als allows us to expose them instead of turn­ing them into a mar­tyr after being killed. By doing this we can show how their ide­ol­o­gy is a dis­ease that must by excised. The infor­ma­tion war­fare com­po­nent of bat­tle must dis­cred­it them. We show them as cow­ards and weak.” Expo­sure does seem to work if peo­ple think of how imbed­ded in their mem­o­ry are the pic­tures of Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Sad­dam Hus­sein after their cap­ture.

    Fly­nn also debunks Democ­rats and some Repub­li­can pun­dits who say ISIS is being defeat­ed. They point to the ter­ror­ist groups loss of land and that these recent attacks are acts of des­per­a­tion. He strong­ly dis­agrees with “those peo­ple because that is actu­al­ly false. We excised them from some vil­lage in Iraq like Fal­lu­jah, yet they are able to attack the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty in San Bernardi­no, Orlan­do, France, Ger­many, Bangladesh, and Turkey, all of these in recent months. The rea­son for this is that the ene­my has dou­bled in size and grown in a glob­al geo­graph­ic foot­print in the last six or so years.”

    The blame lies square­ly in the hands of the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion, includ­ing Hillary Clin­ton. In the book, Fly­nn gives high marks to Pres­i­dent Bush while lam­bast­ing Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, “He (Bush) real­ized the war was going bad­ly, that we were los­ing, and our entire strat­e­gy need­ed to change. The mere fact that he rec­og­nized this and pro­ceed­ed to make the dif­fi­cult deci­sions he even­tu­al­ly made is a lead­er­ship char­ac­ter­is­tic our cur­rent pres­i­dent lacks.”

    ...

    Although he out­lines exten­sive solu­tions, he sum­ma­rized it for Amer­i­can Thinker, “In order to beat this ene­my we need to dis­cred­it the ide­ol­o­gy. Mus­lims need to take a more pub­lic inter­na­tion­al stand. To do it they will have to be helped, prompt­ed, and pushed by the U.S., some­thing we are not doing now. We need to depend on Mid­dle East allies like Israel, Jor­dan, and Egypt. Final­ly, some­thing that I have been crit­i­cized for is to get Rus­sia involved. They should assume respon­si­bil­i­ty and pres­sure Iran to stop their proxy wars. As I show in the book the ties between the Iran­ian regime and al Qae­da have been a well-estab­lished fact.”

    Since ISIS is a byprod­uct of al Qae­da does that mean Iran has ties to them as well? Fly­nn respond­ed, “Dig deep down into the intel­li­gence and you will find ‘the ene­my of my ene­my is my friend.’ There are these fun­ny rela­tion­ships that exist. We have clear­ly seen with Iran and al Qae­da that a Shi­ite state nation and a Sun­ni orga­ni­za­tion have worked togeth­er. They do this because at the end of the day they hate the U.S. more than they hate each oth­er.”

    ...

    “Since ISIS is a byprod­uct of al Qae­da does that mean Iran has ties to them as well? Fly­nn respond­ed, “Dig deep down into the intel­li­gence and you will find ‘the ene­my of my ene­my is my friend.’ There are these fun­ny rela­tion­ships that exist. We have clear­ly seen with Iran and al Qae­da that a Shi­ite state nation and a Sun­ni orga­ni­za­tion have worked togeth­er. They do this because at the end of the day they hate the U.S. more than they hate each oth­er.””

    That’s right, for­get the exten­sive covert state-spon­sored sup­port for ISIS from the Sun­ni gov­ern­ments like Turkey and Sau­di Ara­bia. It’s Iran’s sup­port for ISIS that we real­ly need to wor­ry about! And don’t for­get that Fly­n­n’s co-author for The Field of Fight is none oth­er than uber-neo­con Michael Ledeen, one of the biggest cheer­lead­ers you’re ever going to find for war with Iran. So get ready for the next front in the US’s war against Sun­ni ter­ror­ist groups like ISIS and al Qae­da: war with Shia Iran. Because top­pling a sec­u­lar dic­ta­tor­ship in Iraq appar­ent­ly was­n’t enough.

    Now, while it’s true that Iran’s gov­ern­ment makes a mock­ery of mean­ing­ful spir­i­tu­al­i­ty by snuff­ing out reli­gious lib­er­ty and impos­ing a hor­rid theo­crat­ic night­mare on its peo­ple and the gov­ern­ment real­ly does have exten­sive ties with Shia ter­ror­ist groups and even some Sun­ni ones like Hamas, the idea that the US can sim­ply declare a “War on Rad­i­cal Islam” and basi­cal­ly force a mass Islam Ref­or­ma­tion of both Shias and Sun­nis while declar­ing war on both is about as far from a ‘smart pow­er’ a plan as one could imag­ine. Except, despite Fly­n­n’s calls about root­ing out the sources of con­tem­po­rary Islam­ic rad­i­cal­ism, Trump and Fly­nn show no real signs of address­ing actu­al sources of Sun­ni rad­i­cal­ism like the gov­ern­ment of Sau­di Ara­bia or the ide­ol­o­gy of Erdo­gan’s Mus­lim Broth­er­hood-ori­ent­ed world­view. Instead, based on this Bre­it­bart inter­view of Fly­nn, those Sun­ni gov­ern­ments like Sau­di Ara­bia will like­ly remain key US allies and lead­ers of the Islam­ic Ref­or­ma­tion:.

    Bre­it­bart

    Lt. Gen. Michael Fly­nn on ’28 Pages’ 9/11 Rev­e­la­tions: ‘This Is the Kind of Stuff That Gets Me Ner­vous, Scared’

    by John Hay­ward
    20 Jul 2016

    Retired Lt. Gen­er­al Michael Fly­nn joined Wednesday’s Bre­it­bart News Dai­ly to talk about his speech at the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion, which Sir­iusXM host Stephen K. Ban­non praised as a “method­i­cal, point­ed descrip­tion, a strate­gic assess­ment, of where we are, and how we can win” against Islamist ter­ror­ism.

    When Ban­non asked why he thinks “Left­ist heads are blow­ing up” because of his speech, Fly­nn replied, “I think it’s because in part of the speech, I also took to task one of the threats we’re fac­ing, which is the cor­rup­tion in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and the dis­hon­esty that we see out of our senior lead­ers right now in the cur­rent Admin­is­tra­tion, and that includes Hillary Clin­ton.”

    “The oth­er aspect of this speech is, I talked about America’s role in the world,” he con­tin­ued. “Num­ber One, if there is no Amer­i­ca, then the world will be a com­plete mess. What we have to do is, we have to make sure that our coun­try is as strong as it can be eco­nom­i­cal­ly, and from a defense stand­point. Our mil­i­tary is not as ready as it needs to be, and our readi­ness needs to be increased quite a bit.”

    “Amer­i­ca has to be the leader, and that big light on the hill, and that light today is not as bright as it used to be,” Fly­nn said.

    Ban­non not­ed that in his book The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Glob­al War Against Rad­i­cal Islam and Its Allies, Fly­nn makes the depress­ing argu­ment that this phase of the war, since the 9/11 attacks, is “longer than the com­bat his­to­ry of the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion, World War I, World War II, and the Civ­il War, com­bined.”

    “This is where we have to take a hard look at the way that deci­sions have been made in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.” said Fly­nn. “It is beyond con­vo­lut­ed, but it can be fixed… we can win this. The nation­al secu­ri­ty struc­ture with­in the gov­ern­ment right now is so bloat­ed, and it has prob­a­bly grown three or four times in just the last eight years. The deci­sion-mak­ing appa­ra­tus around the Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States, it’s every­body wants to get their lit­tle pet rock in to the Pres­i­dent, and that is so unhelp­ful.”

    “We lack strate­gic lead­ers who know how to solve prob­lems, who know how to make deci­sions, in a 21st Cen­tu­ry that’s mov­ing at the speed of light,” he said. “We lack prob­lem-solvers, strate­gic prob­lem-solvers and strate­gic think­ing. And I’m telling you, it’s all wrapped around the Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States.”

    He said this is why he has tak­en a stand “not just for Don­ald Trump, but real­ly for this coun­try,” warn­ing that if America’s course is not adjust­ed now, peo­ple “are not going to rec­og­nize this coun­try in four years, or eight more years.”

    “Between the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, and the peo­ple of this coun­try, there’s just a lack of trust, and that’s what we need to bring back,” Fly­nn urged.

    If that sense of trust is restored, along with America’s eco­nom­ic strength, he believes Amer­i­cans are “so resilient they’ll do what­ev­er they are asked to do, to start win­ning again on all counts, whether it’s in these con­flicts we’re involved in, or whether it’s in the job mar­ket.”

    Chang­ing course will involve “Num­ber One, acknowl­edg­ing that we are at war,” said Fly­nn. “Our ene­mies have declared war on us, and we have to take this on with all the resources that the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca can bring to bear.”

    “I think we need a dec­la­ra­tion of war, and then what the con­di­tions of that dec­la­ra­tion are, are real­ly super impor­tant, because when you declare war it’s not just declare war and you go out and do some­thing. This is a dec­la­ra­tion of war with a set of con­di­tions, and the Num­ber One con­di­tion is, what is it going to take to win?” he said, spec­i­fy­ing that it was impor­tant to go after “jiha­di armies” and cap­ture their lead­ers for inter­ro­ga­tion.

    He also called for “a new Twen­ty-First Cen­tu­ry alliance” inter­na­tion­al­ly, and a “war Cab­i­net” that would be “hon­est with the Amer­i­can pub­lic about what we’re fac­ing.”

    “We’ve got to put demands on the world, espe­cial­ly the Mus­lim nations around the world, who need lead­er­ship from the Unit­ed States to coa­lesce, or to become a coher­ent fight­ing force,” Fly­nn said of that new 21st Cen­tu­ry alliance. “These guys know that they have a prob­lem, and I’m talk­ing about Egypt, Sau­di Ara­bia, Kuwait, Oman, Yemen. Some of these coun­tries that still have a nation-state struc­ture, they know that they have a prob­lem inside their sys­tems. They’re look­ing for lead­er­ship to be able to help them bring the right resources togeth­er, bring the right capa­bil­i­ties togeth­er.”

    He stressed that he wasn’t advis­ing more Amer­i­can troop deploy­ments to the Mid­dle East, not­ing that “we already have 7,000 ‘boots on the ground’ right now in Iraq, from this Pres­i­dent.”

    “Had he fol­lowed the advice from his mil­i­tary and oth­er lead­ers, back in 2011, we’d be fine today We wouldn’t see the rise of this crazy ISIS ele­ment,” Fly­nn assert­ed. “We have to have about the right-sized force, which I believe is what we had ini­tial­ly, and then we’ve got to get the Mus­lim world involved. Lead­ers have to step up, they have to stand up and be count­ed. They have to be very vis­i­ble inter­na­tion­al­ly, to not only talk about this, to go after this crazy doc­trine of rad­i­cal Islam, but they also have to bring the resources to bear against this prob­lem.

    Fly­nn hoped that can­di­dates and vot­ers from all par­ties would con­sid­er the argu­ments laid out in his book, while allow­ing that he “real­ly, real­ly wants Don­ald Trump to win.”

    “I think he would be an extra­or­di­nary Pres­i­dent,” he said. “I think peo­ple have total­ly under­es­ti­mat­ed him. That’s why I’m here at the con­ven­tion, because I believe so strong­ly that we need strong lead­er­ship, tough lead­er­ship. We have to change our diplo­ma­cy from this soft, touchy-feely diplo­ma­cy, to real­ly much stronger, tougher diplo­ma­cy, and act like Amer­i­ca has always act­ed in the past — not like we’ve been act­ing late­ly, where we’re apol­o­giz­ing for every­thing.”

    Ban­non asked Fly­nn if he was “stunned” by the rev­e­la­tion of a Sau­di intel­li­gence appa­ra­tus in the Unit­ed States con­tained in the recent­ly declas­si­fied “28 Pages” of the 9/11 Com­mis­sion report.

    “I’m a guy that doesn’t scare very eas­i­ly, but this is the kind of stuff that gets me ner­vous, maybe scared,” Fly­nn replied, mea­sur­ing his own knowl­edge as a top mil­i­tary com­man­der against the facts not yet dis­closed to the Amer­i­can pub­lic. “This is why we need bru­tal hon­esty from our gov­ern­ment. The Amer­i­can pub­lic is not stu­pid. I think that our fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, and par­tic­u­lar­ly peo­ple around this Admin­is­tra­tion, treat the Amer­i­can pub­lic like they live under mush­rooms.”

    “Don’t preach to me about what you believe. I need to know the truth. I want hon­esty, and I can see a dis­hon­est per­son from a mile away” he said to the polit­i­cal elite. “What we need right now is brute-force hon­esty from our Pres­i­dent, and that’s where I think a guy like Don­ald Trump is that type of per­son.”

    ...

    ““We’ve got to put demands on the world, espe­cial­ly the Mus­lim nations around the world, who need lead­er­ship from the Unit­ed States to coa­lesce, or to become a coher­ent fight­ing force,” Fly­nn said of that new 21st Cen­tu­ry alliance. “These guys know that they have a prob­lem, and I’m talk­ing about Egypt, Sau­di Ara­bia, Kuwait, Oman, Yemen. Some of these coun­tries that still have a nation-state struc­ture, they know that they have a prob­lem inside their sys­tems. They’re look­ing for lead­er­ship to be able to help them bring the right resources togeth­er, bring the right capa­bil­i­ties togeth­er.”

    That’s right, the gov­ern­ments like Sau­di Ara­bia, Kuwait, and Oman are the kinds of nations Fly­nn sees as impor­tant allies in the new “21st Cen­tu­ry alliance” that will be ded­i­cat­ed to bring­ing about a grand Islam­ic Ref­or­ma­tion. Good luck with that!

    So, all in all, it’s look­ing a lot like Trump’s new nation­al secu­ri­ty advi­sor, Michael Fly­nn, is basi­cal­ly ped­dling the same strat­e­gy that the neo­cons like Michael Ledeen have been push­ing since Bush invad­ed Iraq: tak­ing the side of the Sun­ni pow­ers pro­mot­ing rad­i­cal Islamism and ter­ror while oppos­ing the Shia pow­ers pro­mot­ing rad­i­cal Islamism and ter­ror in what is essen­tial­ly a Sunni/Shia reli­gious civ­il war between oppos­ing sides of rad­i­cal Islamism and ter­ror. Whoop­iee!

    But, hey, if Trump and Fly­nn have some super secret plan that will some­how con­vince all of these Sun­ni soci­ety pow­er struc­tures to rapid­ly tran­si­tion away from the theo­crat­ic mod­el they rely on for their legit­i­ma­cy and grant the reli­gious free­doms that would allow for a gen­uine Islam­ic Ref­or­ma­tion to take root, great! That would be a real­ly pleas­ant sur­prise.

    But that’s also the prob­lem here: if Trump and Fly­nn actu­al­ly have a real plan to help ush­er in this Islam­ic Ref­or­ma­tion, based on all the Trump/Flynn plans we’ve heard thus far it must be a super secret plan we haven’t heard yet. Because so far it’s just the same neo­con plan for the WWIII. And trolling. Lots of trolling.

    World peace here we come.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 25, 2016, 5:49 pm
  14. Oh great, so it sounds like Don­ald Trump’s new nation­al secu­ri­ty advi­sor, lieu­tenant gen­er­al Michael Fly­nn, has a ten­den­cy to ‘go rogue’. As the arti­cle below describes, maybe that rogue behav­ior involved things like get­ting an inter­net con­nec­tion secret­ly installed in his Pen­ta­gon office when it was for­bid­den due to secu­ri­ty con­cerns or pass­ing clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion to NATO with­out approval. Or maybe it involves just mak­ing stuff up and repeat­ing it:

    The New York­er

    The Dis­rup­tive Career of Michael Fly­nn, Trump’s Nation­al-Secu­ri­ty Advis­er

    By Dana Priest , Novem­ber 23, 2016

    The first time I met Michael Fly­nn, whom Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump tapped last week to be his nation­al-secu­ri­ty advis­er, he was wear­ing the Army’s week­end uniform—a bag­gy polo shirt and kha­ki pants—and swing­ing his Black­ber­ry around like a cow­boy would his revolver. It was the late sum­mer of 2008, at a Wash­ing­ton cock­tail par­ty host­ed by Flynn’s boss, Admi­ral Michael Mullen, who was then the chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Fly­nn was Mullen’s top intel­li­gence guy.

    “Look at this!” Fly­nn said, hold­ing up his phone so that I could see the screen. At his request, his com­mu­ni­ca­tions staff would send him the dai­ly dis­patch­es pub­lished by trib­al media out­lets in Pakistan’s trou­ble­some north­west region. These arti­cles chron­i­cled skir­mish­es, feuds, and revenge killings—it was unfil­tered infor­ma­tion that any decent West­ern news stringer would know how to read, but that, sev­en years into the war in Afghanistan, the Amer­i­can mil­i­tary was still far from absorb­ing. Fly­nn got it, though. He was drawn to the lit­tle flecks of truth scat­tered on the ground.

    A lot of reporters and oth­er civil­ians found Mike, as every­one called him, refresh­ing. A plucky Irish Catholic kid from Rhode Island, he wasn’t impressed by rank. He told his junior offi­cers to chal­lenge him in brief­in­gs. “You’d hear them say, ‘Boss, that’s nuts,’ ” one for­mer col­league said. The col­league asked not to be named, as did oth­ers I talked to for this sto­ry, either because they want­ed to main­tain a pos­i­tive rela­tion­ship with Fly­nn or because they did not want to crit­i­cize the incom­ing Admin­is­tra­tion. “When he would walk in a room, they would look up like lit­tle dogs. They just loved him.”

    Fly­nn broke rules he thought were stu­pid. He once told me about a peri­od he spent assigned to a C.I.A. sta­tion in Iraq, when he would some­times sneak out of the com­pound with­out the “insane” required approval from C.I.A. head­quar­ters, in Lan­g­ley, Vir­ginia. He had tech­ni­cians secret­ly install an Inter­net con­nec­tion in his Pen­ta­gon office, even though it was for­bid­den. There was also the time he gave clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion to NATO allies with­out approval, an inci­dent which prompt­ed an inves­ti­ga­tion, and a warn­ing from supe­ri­ors. Dur­ing his stint as Mullen’s intel­li­gence chief, Fly­nn would often write “This is bull­shit!” in the mar­gins of clas­si­fied papers he was oblig­ed to pass on to his boss, some­one who saw these papers told me.

    The great­est accom­plish­ment of Flynn’s mil­i­tary career was rev­o­lu­tion­iz­ing the way that the clan­des­tine arm of the mil­i­tary, the Joint Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Com­mand (JSOC), under­took the killing and cap­ture of sus­pect­ed ter­ror­ists and insur­gents in war zones. Stan­ley McChrys­tal, Flynn’s men­tor, had tapped him for the job. They were both part of the self-described “Irish mafia” of offi­cers at the Fort Bragg Army base, in North Car­oli­na. In Afghanistan and Iraq, Fly­nn ordered JSOC com­man­dos to col­lect and cat­a­logue data from inter­ro­ga­tions, cap­tured elec­tron­ic equip­ment, pock­et trash—anything that could yield use­ful infor­ma­tion. By ana­lyz­ing these dis­parate scraps of intel­li­gence, they were able to dis­cov­er that Al Qae­da was not a hier­ar­chi­cal group after all but a dynam­ic net­work of cells and rela­tion­ships. As I learned while doing research for my book “Top Secret Amer­i­ca,” Fly­nn and McChrys­tal dra­mat­i­cal­ly increased the pace of JSOC attacks on ene­my hide­outs by devis­ing a sys­tem in which com­man­dos on mis­sions trans­ferred promis­ing data—cell-phone num­bers, meet­ing locations—to ana­lysts, who could then quick­ly point them to addi­tion­al tar­gets to hit. Mul­ti­ple raids a night became com­mon.

    McChrys­tal, who was appoint­ed to run JSOC in 2003, brought Fly­nn in as his intel­li­gence chief to help him shake up the orga­ni­za­tion. Fly­nn was one of the few high-rank­ing offi­cers who dis­dained the Army’s cul­ture of con­for­mi­ty. But McChrys­tal also knew he had to pro­tect Fly­nn from that same cul­ture. He “boxed him in,” some­one who had worked with both men told me last week, by encour­ag­ing Fly­nn to keep his out­bursts in check and sur­round­ing him with sub­or­di­nates who would chal­lenge the unsub­stan­ti­at­ed the­o­ries he tend­ed to indulge.

    ...

    In 2012, Fly­nn became direc­tor of the Defense Intel­li­gence Agency, in charge of all mil­i­tary attachés and defense-intel­li­gence col­lec­tion around the world. He ran into seri­ous trou­ble almost imme­di­ate­ly. I’ve spo­ken with some two dozen for­mer col­leagues who were close to Fly­nn then, mem­bers of the D.I.A. and the mil­i­tary, and some who worked with him in civil­ian roles. They all like Fly­nn per­son­al­ly. But they described how he lurched from one pri­or­i­ty to anoth­er and had trou­ble build­ing a loy­al team. “He made a lot of changes,” one close observ­er of Flynn’s time at the D.I.A. told me. “Not in a strate­gic way—A to Z—but back and forth.”

    Fly­nn also began to seek the Wash­ing­ton spot­light. But, with­out loy­al junior offi­cers at his side to vet his facts, he found even more trou­ble. His sub­or­di­nates start­ed a list of what they called “Fly­nn facts,” things he would say that weren’t true, like when he assert­ed that three-quar­ters of all new cell phones were bought by Africans or, lat­er, that Iran had killed more Amer­i­cans than Al Qae­da. In pri­vate, his staff tried to dis­suade him from repeat­ing these lines.

    Flynn’s tem­per also flared. He berat­ed peo­ple in front of col­leagues. Soon, accord­ing to for­mer asso­ciates, a par­al­lel pow­er struc­ture devel­oped with­in the D.I.A. to fence him in, and to keep the near­ly sev­en­teen-thou­sand-per­son agency work­ing. “He cre­at­ed mas­sive anti­bod­ies in the build­ing,” the for­mer col­league said.

    Fly­nn had been on the job just eigh­teen months when James Clap­per told him he had to go. Clap­per said that he could stay for anoth­er nine months, until his suc­ces­sor was vet­ted and con­firmed, accord­ing to two peo­ple famil­iar with their con­ver­sa­tion. Fly­nn was livid.

    After he left gov­ern­ment, Fly­nn fol­lowed the path of many oth­er retired gen­er­als and got on the tele­vi­sion and speak­ing cir­cuit. He wrote a book with Michael Ledeen, a con­tro­ver­sial neo­con­ser­v­a­tive for­eign-pol­i­cy ana­lyst, about defeat­ing ter­ror­ism. Islam is not a reli­gion, Fly­nn and Ledeen wrote, but a polit­i­cal ide­ol­o­gy bent on destroy­ing Judeo-Chris­t­ian civ­i­liza­tion. Fly­nn began say­ing that he had been fired because Pres­i­dent Oba­ma dis­agreed with his views on ter­ror­ism and want­ed to hide the growth of ISIS. I haven’t found any­one yet who heard him say this while he was still in the mil­i­tary. In the past, I’ve asked Fly­nn direct­ly about this claim; he has told me that he doesn’t have any proof—it’s just some­thing he feels was true. (Fly­nn did not respond to requests for com­ment for this arti­cle.)

    As Flynn’s pub­lic com­ments became more and more shrill, McChrys­tal, Mullen, and oth­ers called Fly­nn to urge him to “tone it down,” a per­son famil­iar with each attempt told me. But Fly­nn had found a new boss, Trump, who enlist­ed him in the fight against the Repub­li­can and Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty estab­lish­ments. Fly­nn was ready. At the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion, Fly­nn boiled over in front of an audi­ence of mil­lions. He led the crowd in chants of “Lock her up! Lock her up!” His for­mer col­leagues say they were shocked by what they saw.

    What Fly­nn saw was cor­rup­tion: Clin­ton, the media, the Jus­tice Depart­ment, the intel­li­gence community—they are all cor­rupt. I spoke to Fly­nn three months ago, while work­ing on a pro­file of him for the Wash­ing­ton Post. “Is this some kind of hatch­et job!” he roared into the phone when I asked why, exact­ly, he thought Clin­ton should be in jail.

    The life­long intel­li­gence offi­cer, who once val­ued tips gleaned from trib­al reporters, has become a ready tweet­er of hack­neyed con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries. He reposts the vit­ri­ol of anti-Semit­ic and anti-Mus­lim com­men­ta­tors. “Fear of Mus­lims is RATIONAL,” he tweet­ed in Feb­ru­ary, link­ing to a false claim that Islam wants eighty per cent of human­i­ty enslaved or exter­mi­nat­ed. “U decide,” he post­ed one week before the elec­tion, along with the head­line from a linked sto­ry that appeared on a Web site called True Pun­dit: “NYPD Blows Whis­tle on New Hillary Emails: Mon­ey Laun­der­ing, Sex Crimes w/Children, etc. . . . MUST READ!”

    Last week, Trump announced that Fly­nn would be his nation­al-secu­ri­ty advis­er, a job that requires strate­gic vision and con­sen­sus-seek­ing among com­pet­ing big-dog agen­cies. Mullen, this week, sug­gest­ed to me that Fly­nn would need to change in order to suc­ceed in his new role. “Mike Fly­nn was a ter­rif­ic intel offi­cer when he worked for me as a two-star and was both dynam­ic and often con­trar­i­an,” Mullen said. “Those qual­i­ties need to be tem­pered as nation­al-secu­ri­ty advis­er in order to serve the next Pres­i­dent as a thought­ful and strate­gic advis­er.” Whether Fly­nn now learns to bot­tle his rage, whether he reëm­braces fact over fic­tion, whether he’s capa­ble of play­ing the role of a con­tem­pla­tive coun­sel­lor, will deter­mine the out­come of his most dif­fi­cult and impor­tant mis­sion yet.

    “Fly­nn also began to seek the Wash­ing­ton spot­light. But, with­out loy­al junior offi­cers at his side to vet his facts, he found even more trou­ble. His sub­or­di­nates start­ed a list of what they called “Fly­nn facts,” things he would say that weren’t true, like when he assert­ed that three-quar­ters of all new cell phones were bought by Africans or, lat­er, that Iran had killed more Amer­i­cans than Al Qae­da. In pri­vate, his staff tried to dis­suade him from repeat­ing these lines.

    Our new nation­al secu­ri­ty advi­sor! He’s so qual­i­fied, his sub­or­di­nates start­ed com­pil­ing a list of “Fly­nn facts”. Oh, and he was push­ing the “Hillary Clin­ton is part of a Satan­ic child-sex ring” obvi­ous hoax just days before the elec­tion:

    ...

    The life­long intel­li­gence offi­cer, who once val­ued tips gleaned from trib­al reporters, has become a ready tweet­er of hack­neyed con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries. He reposts the vit­ri­ol of anti-Semit­ic and anti-Mus­lim com­men­ta­tors. “Fear of Mus­lims is RATIONAL,” he tweet­ed in Feb­ru­ary, link­ing to a false claim that Islam wants eighty per cent of human­i­ty enslaved or exter­mi­nat­ed. “U decide,” he post­ed one week before the elec­tion, along with the head­line from a linked sto­ry that appeared on a Web site called True Pun­dit: “NYPD Blows Whis­tle on New Hillary Emails: Mon­ey Laun­der­ing, Sex Crimes w/Children, etc. . . . MUST READ!”

    ...

    So, is Fly­nn just eas­i­ly fooled, or eas­i­ly inclined to do things that will dis­cred­it him­self and the can­di­date he was pro­mot­ing? It’s an alarm­ing­ly rel­e­vant ques­tion these days. It also rais­es the ques­tion of which web­sites he was perus­ing from his unau­tho­rized secret inter­net con­nec­tion. Maybe we could ask Fly­n­n’s Chief of Staff about that. Because if any­one would be famil­iar with whether or not Fly­nn is an avid con­sumer of Breitbart/Infowars junk news it would be his Chief of Staff/son:

    Won­kette

    Team Of Evils: Michael Flynn’s Son (And Chief Of Staff!) Very Con­cerned About Dat­ing Sites For White Peo­ple

    By Robyn Pen­nac­chia -
    Novem­ber 18, 2016 — 12:15pm

    Retired Gen­er­al Michael Fly­nn has been offered the posi­tion of Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advi­sor, which is… well, it’s fright­en­ing! Because that guy is bonkers! But you know who is even more bonkers? His son, Michael G. Fly­nn! Who is not only the fruit of his loins, but also his chief of staff!

    Fly­nn fils is — as it turns out — just as fond of ridicu­lous con­spir­a­cies as his father’s soon-to-be boss, and spends quite a lot of time tweet­ing and Face­book­ing all about how Huma Abe­din is in cahoots with the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, and Mar­co Rubio total­ly loves cocaine-fueled gay foam dance par­ties.

    [see image of tweet ref­er­enc­ing waynemadsenreport.com]

    He also enjoys retweet­ing peo­ple like Mike Cer­novich and Paul Joseph Wat­son, mouth­pieces of that Rebrand­ed White Nation­al­ism known as the “alt-right.” And HOO BOY, does he love him some Alex Jones and Infowars. So much so that he, for some rea­son, tagged them in his preg­nan­cy announce­ment…

    [see image of tweet to infowars.com]

    Like you do! I mean, I know if I got knocked up, I’d want Alex Jones to be the first to know. You know, in case the father were a lizard per­son or some­thing.

    He is also, as you might imag­ine, awful­ly con­cerned about the lack of, um, dat­ing sites just for white peo­ple.

    [see image of tweet bemoan­ing crit­i­cism of whites-only dat­ing site]

    Noth­ing more not-at-all-tired than the ol’ “BET exists so why can’t white peo­ple be weird­ly racist in this way in which I think it would be fun to be weird­ly racist?” argu­ment. Ooh! What’s next? “How can you say you are tol­er­ant if you don’t tol­er­ate my intol­er­ance, huh?” That is always a clas­sic! They’re just always so orig­i­nal, you know?

    And speak­ing of tol­er­ance! I, for one, par­tic­u­lar­ly enjoy this thing he post­ed on Face­book, from what is def­i­nite­ly a real per­son claim­ing that doc­tors should not treat Trump sup­port­ers for ill­ness­es.

    [see image of Face­book post respond­ing to obvi­ous fake post with clue­less­ly right­eous out­rage]

    Oh yeah, that is how we talk all of the time, right? This is so real­is­tic, and cer­tain­ly not some­thing that seems like it was made up by a Trump sup­port­er. Espe­cial­ly the “My under­stand­ing is that there are only 60 mil­lion of these peo­ple so as long as we stand unit­ed, we should be able to alien­ate them into sub­mis­sion” part of it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen peo­ple say things like that! Pret­ty much at least once dur­ing every Spir­it Cook­ing din­ner I’ve attend­ed.

    [see image of Face­book post pro­mot­ing bla­tant­ly fake ‘Hillary is a Satanist’ “Spir­it Cook­ing” sto­ry]

    Like, you know. “Hey, enjoy this tan­nis root smooth­ie! Also let’s not allow the chil­dren of Trump sup­port­ers to go to school! YAY SATAN!” The ush.

    ...

    “He also enjoys retweet­ing peo­ple like Mike Cer­novich and Paul Joseph Wat­son, mouth­pieces of that Rebrand­ed White Nation­al­ism known as the “alt-right.” And HOO BOY, does he love him some Alex Jones and Infowars. So much so that he, for some rea­son, tagged them in his preg­nan­cy announce­ment…”

    That’s Fly­n­n’s son...and his chief of staff: a guy who retweets Alt-Right neo-Nazis Mike Cer­novich and Infowars. So, at a min­i­mum, it’s pret­ty clear that the new nation­al secu­ri­ty advi­sor isn’t too upset about hav­ing a chief of staff who’s chum­my with Infowars and the Alt-Right. There’s prob­a­bly not going to be a short­age of new “Fly­nn facts” for the Trump admin­is­tra­tion to chew on.

    Giv­en all that, it’s worth ask­ing if there’s going to be any sort of sta­bi­liz­ing force on Fly­n­n’s team. Some­one who can whis­per things that aren’t Alt-Right/In­fowars talk­ing points into Trump’s when the den­si­ty of “Fly­nn facts” (or Steve Ban­non’s “Bri­et­bart facts”) becomes too over­whelm­ing. Or is it going to be an Alt-Real­i­ty, all the time nation­al secu­ri­ty team? And here’s our answer:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    Edi­tor’s Blog

    Hillz Heli­copters Spied on Me!

    By Josh Mar­shall
    Pub­lished Novem­ber 25, 2016, 12:49 PM EDT

    This morn­ing it was announced that KT McFar­land, a Fox News nation­al secu­ri­ty ana­lyst and Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial will serve as Don­ald Trump’s Deputy Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advi­sor. Well, she also tried to run against Hillary Clin­ton when Clin­ton ran for reelec­tion to the Sen­ate in 2006. She lost the GOP pri­ma­ry to John Spencer. But along the way she ... well, I don’t quite know what to call it. But in addi­tion to a seem­ing­ly life­long pen­chant for dubi­ous self-pro­mo­tion and resume infla­tion McFar­land claimed that Clin­ton was so wor­ried about her can­di­da­cy that she sent secret heli­copters to spy on her house in the Hamp­tons and also cased her apart­ment Man­hat­tan. “Hillary Clin­ton is real­ly wor­ried about me, and is so wor­ried, in fact, that she had heli­copters fly­ing over my house in Southamp­ton today tak­ing pic­tures.”

    McFar­land’s bio also says this: “Ms. McFar­land held nation­al secu­ri­ty posts in the Nixon, Ford and Rea­gan Admin­is­tra­tions: as an aide to Dr. Hen­ry Kissinger on the NSC Staff (1970–76);” McFar­land was born in 1951, mak­ing her either 18 or 19 when she went to work as an aide to Kissinger in 1970.

    “...But in addi­tion to a seem­ing­ly life­long pen­chant for dubi­ous self-pro­mo­tion and resume infla­tion McFar­land claimed that Clin­ton was so wor­ried about her can­di­da­cy that she sent secret heli­copters to spy on her house in the Hamp­tons and also cased her apart­ment Man­hat­tan. “Hillary Clin­ton is real­ly wor­ried about me, and is so wor­ried, in fact, that she had heli­copters fly­ing over my house in Southamp­ton today tak­ing pic­tures.”

    Yep! Michael Fly­n­n’s deputy nation­al secu­ri­ty advi­sor charged Hillary Clin­ton with send­ing secret heli­copters to spy on her when McFar­land was run­ning in the GOP’s Sen­ate pri­ma­ry a decade ago to even­tu­al­ly oppose Sen­a­tor Clin­ton. And she has a ten­den­cy to lie about her back­ground. That’s not alarm­ing at all!

    New York Post

    KOOKY KT’S SPY TALE; HILL’S HELICOPTERS WATCHING ME: RIVAL

    By Fredric U. Dick­er

    March 25, 2006 | 5:00am

    ALBANY – A Repub­li­can chal­lenger to Sen. Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton is bizarrely claim­ing that the for­mer first lady has been spy­ing in her bed­room win­dow and fly­ing heli­copters over her house in the Hamp­tons, wit­ness­es told The Post yes­ter­day.

    For­mer Rea­gan-era Pen­ta­gon offi­cial Kath­leen “KT” McFar­land stunned a crowd of Suf­folk Coun­ty Repub­li­cans on Thurs­day by say­ing:

    “Hillary Clin­ton is real­ly wor­ried about me, and is so wor­ried, in fact, that she had heli­copters fly­ing over my house in Southamp­ton today tak­ing pic­tures,” accord­ing to a promi­nent GOP activist who was at the event.

    “She wasn’t jok­ing, she was very, very seri­ous, and she also claimed that Clinton’s peo­ple were tak­ing pic­tures across the street from her house in Man­hat­tan, tak­ing pic­tures from an apart­ment across the street from her bed­room,” added the eye­wit­ness, who is not involved in the Sen­ate race.

    Suf­folk Coun­ty Repub­li­can Chair­man Har­ry With­ers, who host­ed the recep­tion in East Islip, con­firmed McFarland’s para­noid state­ments.

    “Yes, she said that,” With­ers told The Post.

    McFar­land spokesman William O’Reilly respond­ed that the GOP hope­ful was just kid­ding around with her far-fetched claims.

    “It was a joke, and peo­ple laughed,” O’Reilly insist­ed.

    But three wit­ness­es who were present said nobody in the audi­ence cracked a smile.

    “The whole room sort of went silent when she said it,” one per­son said.

    “You could see peo­ples’ jaws drop after she said it. A guy next to me just turned to me and said, ‘I guess she didn’t take her Xanax today,’ ” the wit­ness added.

    Clin­ton cam­paign spokesman Howard Wolf­son denied any spy­ing was going on.

    “We at the Hillary cam­paign wish Ms. McFar­land the best and hope she gets the rest she needs,” he said.

    ...

    McFarland’s Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry oppo­nent, for­mer Yonkers May­or John Spencer, was present at the event, and said he came away bewil­dered.

    “I’m stand­ing there, and I kind of put my head down and said, ‘I can’t believe I’m hear­ing this,’ ” Spencer said.

    McFar­land, a Park Avenue matron who has nev­er run for pub­lic office, has had a string of prob­lems since announc­ing her can­di­da­cy ear­li­er this month.

    The Post report­ed last week that she had failed to vote in numer­ous New York elec­tions and had even missed vot­ing for Pres­i­dent Ronald Rea­gan in 1984, when she claimed to be an impor­tant Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion offi­cial.

    The Post also dis­closed that McFar­land had occa­sion­al­ly vot­ed at both her Southamp­ton and Man­hat­tan address­es in vio­la­tion of the state Elec­tion Law, which allows bal­lots to be cast from only address.

    It was also revealed this week that there are sev­er­al dis­crep­an­cies in McFarland’s résumé and that she had false­ly claimed to be the high­est-rank­ing woman in the Pen­ta­gon at a time when two oth­er women held high­er-rank­ing posts.

    Ear­li­er this week, for­mer Repub­li­can U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato called McFarland’s cam­paign “a joke” and “a can­di­date in her own mind.”

    “Ear­li­er this week, for­mer Repub­li­can U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato called McFarland’s cam­paign “a joke” and “a can­di­date in her own mind.””

    Well, it looks like we should start prepar­ing for a pres­i­dent who will be con­vinced by his nation­al secu­ri­ty team that the gov­ern­ment black heli­copters are com­ing after him. That should be inter­est­ing. Hope­ful­ly Trump’s dai­ly intel­li­gence brief­ing will at least expose him to a broad­er set of intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty per­spec­tives so he’s not oper­at­ing exclu­sive­ly in the Bre­it­bart/Alt-Right/In­fowars real­i­ty bub­ble. Hope­ful­ly.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 26, 2016, 3:29 pm
  15. Here’s a sto­ry that’s about as sur­pris­ing as a sto­ry about Don­ald Trump going on an Alex Jones-inspired tweet-storm:
    The New York Times as a pro­file piece about Steven Ban­non that includes all sorts of per­son­al anec­dotes about Ban­non’s back­ground from lots of acquain­tances who try to paint him as a ‘con­tro­ver­sial’ and ‘com­bat­ive’ guy who might use the Alt-Right to fur­ther his own ambi­tious but is real­ly an ‘out­sider pop­ulist’ who tru­ly cares about the lit­tle guy. That appears to be the thrust of the piece, although if that’s the long-term plan for obscur­ing the real­i­ty that there’s a neo-Nazi chief advi­sor com­ing into the White House, they might need to do some­thing about the anec­dotes about Ban­non advo­cat­ing lim­it­ing vot­ing to prop­er­ty own­ers and remarks that it would­n’t be so bad if that dis­en­fran­chised a lot of African-Amer­i­cans:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    Livewire

    Col­league: Ban­non Said Curb­ing Black Vote Wouldn’t Be ‘Such A Bad Thing’

    By Alle­gra Kirk­land
    Pub­lished Novem­ber 28, 2016, 10:38 AM EDT

    The for­mer screen­writ­ing part­ner of Don­ald Trump’s senior aide Steve Ban­non said that he once mused that it might be ben­e­fi­cial to restrict African Amer­i­cans’ vot­ing access.

    Writer Julia Jones told the New York Times in an inter­view that Ban­non, who was recent­ly named as Trump’s chief White House strate­gist, would occa­sion­al­ly claim that some peo­ple were genet­i­cal­ly supe­ri­or and once sug­gest­ed that the vote should be lim­it­ed to prop­er­ty own­ers.

    Jones said she told Ban­non that such a pol­i­cy would “exclude a lot of African-Amer­i­cans.”

    Accord­ing to Jones, Ban­non replied, “Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.”

    Jones asked specif­i­cal­ly about his long­time exec­u­tive assis­tant Wendy Col­bert, who is black.

    “She’s dif­fer­ent. She’s fam­i­ly,” Jones said he replied.

    Before join­ing Trump’s team, Ban­non helped trans­form Bre­it­bart News into a “plat­form” for the alt-right, an amor­phous coali­tion of white nation­al­ists, anti-Semi­tes, and Islam­o­phobes. He also put out a num­ber of films boost­ing right-wing politi­cians, includ­ing the 2004 Ronald Rea­gan doc­u­men­tary “In the Face of Evil,” which he co-wrote with Jones.

    Jones, who described her­self to the Times as very lib­er­al, insist­ed that Ban­non was “not a racist” but instead “using the alt-right—using them for pow­er.”

    “Jones, who described her­self to the Times as very lib­er­al, insist­ed that Ban­non was “not a racist” but instead “using the alt-right—using them for pow­er.””

    So is this going to be argu­ment used for the next phase of the nor­mal­iza­tion of our incom­ing neo-Nazi admin­is­tra­tion chief strate­gist: The Trump admin­is­tra­tion isn’t being run by a neo-Nazi. It’s mere­ly being run by some­one who uses neo-Nazi move­ments for pow­er. Noth­ing to wor­ry about there. And sure, maybe Steven Ban­non proud­ly and aggres­sive­ly pro­mot­ed and main­streamed these neo-Naz­i/Alt-Right views right up to the point of join­ing the Trump cam­paign, and maybe he thinks only prop­er­ty own­ers should vote and maybe he has a fix­a­tion on genet­ic superiority...but that does­n’t mean we should assume he actu­al­ly holds Alt-Right/­neo-Nazi views. Why does every­one keep sug­gest Ban­non is a racist extrem­ist? Instead, how about we all focus on what a pop­ulist he is!

    Just ignore your lying eyes and bask in the ‘pop­ulist rev­o­lu­tion’ of Don­ald Trump. A giant col­lec­tive lobot­o­my appears to be the plan.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 28, 2016, 3:55 pm
  16. Here’s some­thing prob­a­bly worth con­sid­er­ing when pon­der­ing the pos­si­ble impact of a Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s ‘nation­al fire sale’ ener­gy pol­i­cy: Unless there’s some sort of major dis­rup­tion in the glob­al ener­gy mar­kets that trig­gers a mas­sive spike petro­le­um prices, it’s unclear how much inter­est there’s going to be in the ener­gy sec­tor for tak­ing advan­tage of Trump’s nation­al fire sale giv­en that ener­gy prices are already quite low and pro­ject­ed to stay low for the fore­see­able future:

    Reuters

    U.S. state bud­gets to face low ener­gy prices for years to come: Fitch

    By Rory Car­roll | SAN FRANCISCO
    Thu Dec 1, 2016 | 8:54pm EST

    Low oil, nat­ur­al gas and coal prices will con­tin­ue to put down­ward fis­cal pres­sure on states that rely on those resources to fund their bud­gets, rat­ings agency Fitch said on Thurs­day.

    While OPEC’s agree­ment to imple­ment pro­duc­tion quo­tas boost­ed oil prices this week, Fitch’s long-term base case price fore­cast remains $45 a bar­rel in 2017, $55 a bar­rel in 2018 and $65 a bar­rel in 2019, said Mar­cy Block, an ana­lyst at Fitch.

    U.S. crude oil prices are hov­er­ing around $50 per bar­rel com­pared with over $100 a few years ago.

    “Com­mod­i­ty prices will con­tin­ue to damp­en ener­gy states’ col­lec­tion of sev­er­ance tax­es and relat­ed rev­enue sources, while per­son­al income and sales tax col­lec­tions will remain sup­pressed, pro­long­ing fis­cal pres­sure,” she said.

    Neg­a­tive out­looks for Alas­ka, West Vir­ginia and Okla­homa were unchanged due to the states’ lack of income diver­si­fi­ca­tion.

    The out­look for large ener­gy pro­duc­ers like Texas and North Dako­ta remains sta­ble due to mul­ti­ple sources of state rev­enue.

    Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s pledge to roll back envi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tion will not be enough to spur sig­nif­i­cant fos­sil fuel pro­duc­tion in the face of a glut of crude oil, an inter­na­tion­al agree­ment to reduce coal use, and the increas­ing use of renew­ables, said Block.

    The plunge in oil, nat­ur­al gas and coal prices dur­ing the past two years has prompt­ed Fitch in 2016 to down­grade Alas­ka to ‘AA+’ from ‘AAA’; Louisiana to ‘AA-’ from ‘AA’; and West Vir­ginia to ‘AA’ from ‘AA+’.

    Oil pro­duc­tion will rise over the next two years, but that increased pro­duc­tion will add to excess inven­to­ries until demand accel­er­ates, which will keep prices below the 2014 highs, Fitch said.

    “Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s pledge to roll back envi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tion will not be enough to spur sig­nif­i­cant fos­sil fuel pro­duc­tion in the face of a glut of crude oil, an inter­na­tion­al agree­ment to reduce coal use, and the increas­ing use of renew­ables, said Block.”

    So is there going to be a tar­iff on ener­gy imports? Some­thing else, per­haps?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 2, 2016, 2:53 pm
  17. It looks like we’re get­ting a taste of what for­eign pol­i­cy is going to be like under a Trump admin­is­tra­tion now that that Don­ald Trump pulled a sur­prise stunt and tweet­ed to the world that he had tak­en a call from Tai­wan’s pres­i­dent, in vio­la­tion of the US’s long-stand­ing “One Chi­na” pol­i­cy, and then tweet­ed in response to the out­cry:

    Inter­est­ing how the U.S. sells Tai­wan bil­lions of dol­lars of mil­i­tary equip­ment but I should not accept a con­grat­u­la­to­ry call.— Don­ald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) Decem­ber 3, 2016

    Yes, break­ing taboos and ‘keep­ing it real’ to main­tain his ‘mav­er­icky’ cred is basi­cal­ly what we can expect since that’s straight out of the Trump play­book. At least that appears to be the the­atri­cal moti­va­tion behind the pub­lic face of Trump’s like­ly for­eign pol­i­cy.

    And it’s not hard to see why he would pre­fer this approach. ‘Keep­ing it real’ by blow­ing up del­i­cate diplo­mat­ic niceties is a great way to obscure the real­i­ty that Trump’s world­view and poli­cies are built on a foun­da­tion decep­tion and oli­garchic fan­tasies. To put it anoth­er way, when you have deeply trou­bled and com­plex world like ours run by and for oli­garchs like Trum­np, there’s inevitably going to be an abun­dance of low-hang­ing fruit in terms of exist­ing poli­cies with inter­nal con­tra­dic­tions or unad­dressed issues fac­ing the mass­es — like the US sell­ing weapons to Tai­wan while offi­cial­ly sup­port­ing a one-Chi­na pol­i­cy or the long-stand­ing eco­nom­ic plight of Amer­i­ca’s work­ing class — that some­one like Trump can come along and brand him­self a “Truth teller” sim­ply by pick­ing that fruit. And maybe he’ll ped­dle sim­ple solu­tions or sim­ply point out the con­tra­dic­tions, but he’ll nev­er have to pro­vide real solu­tions as long as he keeps pick­ing that fruit!

    So we should prob­a­bly expect a lot more “inci­dents” like what just took place. But that does­n’t mean they’re going to be total­ly ran­dom inci­dents that Trump comes up with on his own. There’s a method to the mad­ness, and as Josh Mar­shall notes below, that method is like­ly com­ing from Trump’s advi­sors. Trump’s mad neo­con advi­sors:

    Talk­ing points Memo
    Edi­tor’s Blog

    Thoughts on the Tai­wan Call

    By Josh Mar­shall
    Pub­lished Decem­ber 3, 2016, 2:49 PM EDT

    This morn­ing I had an email exchange with a friend who said maybe it’s not so bad that Trump got in the Chi­nese lead­ers’ faces, shook them up a bit and knocked them back on their heels. After all, Tai­wan is a demo­c­ra­t­ic poli­ty with free mar­kets and free labor and has been now for many years. Why main­tain the long­stand­ing diplo­mat cha­rade that we don’t rec­og­nize the Tai­wanese gov­ern­ment when in fact they are a major ally and trad­ing part­ner which we have armed for decades and to whom we extend what might be termed a con­tin­gent and inten­tion­al­ly ambigu­ous secu­ri­ty guar­an­tee?

    This is not as crazy as it sounds. Indeed, this has been the argu­ment of US Chi­na hawks for many years. Not every taboo or shib­bo­leth has to be respect­ed for­ev­er. Indeed, they should be inspect­ed with some reg­u­lar­i­ty. One of the nice things about being a great pow­er is that you have a lot of choic­es. But in each of these choic­es the ques­tion is not real­ly can we do it, or do we want to do it or do our val­ues dic­tate we do it so much as 1) have we accu­rate­ly thought through the poten­tial costs and 2) are the costs sus­tain­able in the face of the ben­e­fits we’re try­ing to achieve?

    In the late Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tion we had an arrange­ment with North Korea in which they had shut­tered their nuclear weapons pro­gram in exchange for reg­u­lar ship­ments of fuel oil, assis­tance with nuclear ener­gy tech­nol­o­gy which could not be used for nuclear weapons and var­i­ous oth­er induce­ments. This arguably also involved a con­tin­u­ous cat and mouse game with the North Kore­ans, peri­od­ic shake­downs for more assis­tance, var­i­ous care and feed­ing, etc. The incom­ing Bush admin­is­tra­tion viewed this deal as appease­ment and an exam­ple of Amer­i­can weak­ness and set about a cycle of con­fronta­tion that even­tu­al­ly cratered the deal. North Kore­an quick­ly pro­ceed­ed to become a nuclear state. What was termed the ‘Agreed Frame­work’ was unlove­ly and unsat­is­fac­to­ry in a num­ber of ways; the alter­na­tive we got was con­sid­er­ably worse.

    The key was that the Bush admin­is­tra­tion saw the Agreed Frame­work as appease­ment but they were not — though they some­times sug­gest­ed they would be — will­ing to adopt the like­ly alter­na­tive of mil­i­tary con­fronta­tion. (We could soon see a sim­i­lar set of events unfold­ed with Iran.) Thus the Bush White House was able to stand strong against appease­ment (with all the psy­cho­log­i­cal self-affir­ma­tion and self-sat­is­fac­tion that entails) at the cost of allow­ing North Korea to become a nuclear state, which it has now been for more than a decade.

    The hawks would claim the North Kore­ans were cheat­ing all along. Scut­tling the deal just brought that into the open a bit soon­er. There is lit­tle evi­dence that this is the case.

    Not sur­pris­ing­ly, the key dri­ver behind this more con­fronta­tion­al pol­i­cy was Vice Pres­i­dent Dick Cheney. Cheney’s top East Asia hand was a man named Stephen Yates, a fierce Chi­na hawk as aggres­sive and mil­i­taris­tic in his view of the role of Amer­i­can pow­er in the world as the par­al­lel folks in Cheney’s orbit, whose names you like­ly know bet­ter, who worked the Mid­dle East front.

    Today we learn the guy who arranged for Trump’s call with the Pres­i­dent of Tai­wan was none oth­er than Stephen Yates. He’s cur­rent­ly in Taipei and work­ing for the Trump tran­si­tion team. Yates has a post at The Her­itage Foun­da­tion while also run­ning his own inter­na­tion­al con­sul­tan­cy — a typ­i­cal arrange­ment for high lev­el for­eign pol­i­cy hands of both par­ties when their par­ty is out of pow­er.

    [Late Update: After I wrote this post but I think before I pushed the ‘pub­lish but­ton’, Yates has now denied reports that he arranged the call, while say­ing he thinks he was a great idea. I would sug­gest keep­ing an open mind about whether the orig­i­nal reports or the denial are more cred­i­ble. If it was­n’t this Yates, it was like­ly anoth­er.]

    For starters this leaves lit­tle doubt that this call was inten­tion­al — at least in the sense that Trump’s advi­sors put it togeth­er with a full under­stand­ing of the diplo­mat­ic impli­ca­tions. Just how much Trump under­stood this or under­stood the full ram­i­fi­ca­tions of tak­ing this call isn’t entire­ly clear. The fact that Trump’s twit­ter freak out pushed the point that the Tai­wanese Pres­i­dent had called him, not vice ver­sa, sug­gests an ele­ment of defen­sive­ness and incom­plete under­stand­ing of the sit­u­a­tion. The response itself gave Chi­na an open­ing to pres­sure Tai­wan, which was sim­ply unnec­es­sary, regard­less of what you think of the pol­i­cy lev­el deci­sion.

    Defen­sive­ness, igno­rance, impul­siv­i­ty, con­sid­ered aggres­sive behav­ior, on-going real estate nego­ti­a­tions? Not hav­ing a clear idea about which of these fac­tors is dri­ving deci­sions is and will be one of the joys of the Trump years.

    It is not as though any of this emerges against a back­drop of har­mo­nious US rela­tions with Chi­na. In addi­tion to the long-sim­mer­ing fric­tion over trade, the US and Chi­na are cur­rent­ly engaged in a com­plex and increas­ing­ly per­ilous strug­gle over which coun­try will be the dom­i­nant pow­er in the mar­itime water­ways of East Asia, through which a huge amount of the world’s trade flows. That was already plen­ty per­ilous under Oba­ma’s more con­sid­ered and delib­er­ate man­age­ment. It will unques­tion­ably become more unpre­dictable and per­ilous now. Trump was already plan­ning to heat up the trade equa­tion dra­mat­i­cal­ly. And now we have this — though it is impor­tant to real­ize that “this” real­ly can­not be sep­a­rat­ed from the emerg­ing dis­putes over trade and the South Chi­na Sea. Indeed, the staffers and advi­sors behind this move may see it as an aggres­sive move in one area where the US has more free­dom of action to counter Chi­nese actions in these oth­er two areas in which it has less.

    I men­tioned above that great pow­ers have the good for­tune and curse of hav­ing many options. The key pred­i­cate to wise action is under­stand­ing the range of poten­tial out­comes and costs of dif­fer­ent choic­es and whether you are ready and able to sus­tain them. One of the things I noticed ear­ly with the hawks in the Bush admin­is­tra­tion was a fre­quent will­ing­ness to com­mit lead­ers to future costs they may not ful­ly under­stand secure in the knowl­edge that once the actions are tak­en the leader will have to pay those costs whether they like it or not.

    ...

    Some peo­ple think Trump has no actu­al for­eign pol­i­cy. This is not true. He is extreme­ly igno­rant. But he has an instinc­tive and long­stand­ing way of think­ing about and approach­ing for­eign pol­i­cy ques­tions which goes back decades before he ran for Pres­i­dent. It is one that sees inter­na­tion­al rela­tions in zero-sum terms (for me to win, you have to lose), sees the US as being tak­en advan­tage of by allies (either through advan­ta­geous trade deals or expen­di­tures on defense). This is why you see eco­nom­ic nation­al­ism going back decades with Trump and either skep­ti­cism or hos­til­i­ty toward inter­na­tion­al treaty orga­ni­za­tions like NATO.

    Now, in prac­tice this can mean oppos­ing the Iraq War, sup­port­ing the Iraq War, depend­ing on how things are going at the moment and the state of pub­lic opin­ion. But this prism through which he sees the world (not unlike the way he approach­es busi­ness, polit­i­cal cam­paigns, etc.) is con­sis­tent over time. What you also have in Trump is some­one who is impul­sive and aggres­sive by nature — you see these qual­i­ties in pri­ma­ry col­ors in every­thing he does. These are high­ly dan­ger­ous qual­i­ties in a Pres­i­dent. They become mag­ni­fied when such a per­son is being advised by peo­ple who pro­vide an ide­o­log­i­cal pur­pose and jus­ti­fi­ca­tion to such impul­sive­ness and aggres­sion.

    That is where I fear and believe we are with Trump. Not every­thing in for­eign pol­i­cy is sacred. But here we have an impul­sive and igno­rant man whose com­fort zone is aggres­sion sur­round­ed by advi­sors with dan­ger­ous ideas. His instinc­tive aggres­sion makes many of their most dan­ger­ous ideas pos­si­ble; and their ide­o­log­i­cal for­mu­la­tions give his actions a ratio­nale and log­ic that tran­scends psy­cho­log­i­cal impuls­es and the anger of the moment. Even Pres­i­dent Bush had a coterie of more Real­ist-mind­ed and cau­tious advi­sors to bal­ance out the hot­heads. They lost most of the key debates — espe­cial­ly in the first term. But they pro­vid­ed a restrain­ing counter-bal­ance in numer­ous debates.

    At present there is no one like that around Trump at all.

    “That is where I fear and believe we are with Trump. Not every­thing in for­eign pol­i­cy is sacred. But here we have an impul­sive and igno­rant man whose com­fort zone is aggres­sion sur­round­ed by advi­sors with dan­ger­ous ideas. His instinc­tive aggres­sion makes many of their most dan­ger­ous ideas pos­si­ble; and their ide­o­log­i­cal for­mu­la­tions give his actions a ratio­nale and log­ic that tran­scends psy­cho­log­i­cal impuls­es and the anger of the moment. Even Pres­i­dent Bush had a coterie of more Real­ist-mind­ed and cau­tious advi­sors to bal­ance out the hot­heads. They lost most of the key debates — espe­cial­ly in the first term. But they pro­vid­ed a restrain­ing counter-bal­ance in numer­ous debates.”

    And that’s per­haps the scari­est aspect of this whole inci­dent: not that Trump sig­naled a shift in the US’s long-stand­ing pol­i­cy towards Chi­na, although that’s poten­tial­ly dis­turb­ing enough giv­en that it’s a sig­nal that he’s not just intent on estab­lish­ing his ‘mav­er­icky’ cred with a con­fronta­tion with Chi­na but like­ly also his ‘macho’ cred. No, the scari­est part of what this whole inci­dent is that it looks like Trump’s mavericky/macho schtick is being used as a cov­er to car­ry out the pol­i­cy wish­es of the Dick Cheney fac­tion of US for­eign pol­i­cy strate­gists:

    ...
    In the late Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tion we had an arrange­ment with North Korea in which they had shut­tered their nuclear weapons pro­gram in exchange for reg­u­lar ship­ments of fuel oil, assis­tance with nuclear ener­gy tech­nol­o­gy which could not be used for nuclear weapons and var­i­ous oth­er induce­ments. This arguably also involved a con­tin­u­ous cat and mouse game with the North Kore­ans, peri­od­ic shake­downs for more assis­tance, var­i­ous care and feed­ing, etc. The incom­ing Bush admin­is­tra­tion viewed this deal as appease­ment and an exam­ple of Amer­i­can weak­ness and set about a cycle of con­fronta­tion that even­tu­al­ly cratered the deal. North Kore­an quick­ly pro­ceed­ed to become a nuclear state. What was termed the ‘Agreed Frame­work’ was unlove­ly and unsat­is­fac­to­ry in a num­ber of ways; the alter­na­tive we got was con­sid­er­ably worse.

    The key was that the Bush admin­is­tra­tion saw the Agreed Frame­work as appease­ment but they were not — though they some­times sug­gest­ed they would be — will­ing to adopt the like­ly alter­na­tive of mil­i­tary con­fronta­tion. (We could soon see a sim­i­lar set of events unfold­ed with Iran.) Thus the Bush White House was able to stand strong against appease­ment (with all the psy­cho­log­i­cal self-affir­ma­tion and self-sat­is­fac­tion that entails) at the cost of allow­ing North Korea to become a nuclear state, which it has now been for more than a decade.

    The hawks would claim the North Kore­ans were cheat­ing all along. Scut­tling the deal just brought that into the open a bit soon­er. There is lit­tle evi­dence that this is the case.

    Not sur­pris­ing­ly, the key dri­ver behind this more con­fronta­tion­al pol­i­cy was Vice Pres­i­dent Dick Cheney. Cheney’s top East Asia hand was a man named Stephen Yates, a fierce Chi­na hawk as aggres­sive and mil­i­taris­tic in his view of the role of Amer­i­can pow­er in the world as the par­al­lel folks in Cheney’s orbit, whose names you like­ly know bet­ter, who worked the Mid­dle East front.
    ...

    And who do we find behind this now noto­ri­ous phone call? Well, it’s not actu­al­ly Dick Cheney’s top East Asia strate­gist Stephen Yates, who is now at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion:

    ...
    Today we learn the guy who arranged for Trump’s call with the Pres­i­dent of Tai­wan was none oth­er than Stephen Yates. He’s cur­rent­ly in Taipei and work­ing for the Trump tran­si­tion team. Yates has a post at The Her­itage Foun­da­tion while also run­ning his own inter­na­tion­al con­sul­tan­cy — a typ­i­cal arrange­ment for high lev­el for­eign pol­i­cy hands of both par­ties when their par­ty is out of pow­er.

    [Late Update: After I wrote this post but I think before I pushed the ‘pub­lish but­ton’, Yates has now denied reports that he arranged the call, while say­ing he thinks he was a great idea. I would sug­gest keep­ing an open mind about whether the orig­i­nal reports or the denial are more cred­i­ble. If it was­n’t this Yates, it was like­ly anoth­er.]
    ...

    No, it was­n’t a Her­itage Foun­da­tion fel­low like Yates. Instead it was long-time far-right orga­niz­er and strate­gist Ed Feul­ner, the founder of the Her­itage Foun­da­tion and a mem­ber of Trump’s team:

    South Chi­na Morn­ing Post

    Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-Wen ini­ti­at­ed phone call with Don­ald Trump, says island’s pres­i­den­tial spokesman

    Call marks first such con­ver­sa­tion between a Tai­wanese leader and any US pres­i­dent or pres­i­dent-elect since 1979

    Lawrence Chung

    PUBLISHED : Sat­ur­day, 03 Decem­ber, 2016, 3:23pm
    UPDATED : Sat­ur­day, 03 Decem­ber, 2016, 11:26pm

    It was Taiwan’s Pres­i­dent Tsai Ing-wen who ini­ti­at­ed the unprece­dent­ed phone con­ver­sa­tion with Unit­ed States pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump, fol­low­ing weeks of intense lob­by­ing from Taipei, the island’s pres­i­den­tial spokesman told the South Chi­na Morn­ing Post.

    The call last­ed slight­ly more than 10 min­utes, but it marked the first such con­ver­sa­tion between any US pres­i­dent or pres­i­dent-elect and a Tai­wanese leader since 1979, when Wash­ing­ton sev­ered for­mal diplo­mat­ic ties with Taipei.

    The move is set to rock Sino-US rela­tions and deeply anger Bei­jing.

    Alex Huang, the Tai­wan pres­i­den­tial spokesman, told the Post that the con­ver­sa­tion was arranged through “the usu­al chan­nel between Tai­wan and the Unit­ed States”.

    “The call was ini­ti­at­ed by Taipei through the liai­son and agree­ment chan­nels between our two sides,” he said in response to a Post ques­tion.

    Edwin Feul­ner, founder of the Wash­ing­ton-based Her­itage Foun­da­tion, played a key part in set­ting up the call, accord­ing to Taiwan’s Cen­tral News Agency, quot­ing a source famil­iar with the mat­ter.

    Feul­ner, who met Tsai dur­ing a vis­it to Taipei in Octo­ber, joined the Trump team in August.

    In Bei­jing, Chi­nese For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi said Taipei would not suc­ceed in chang­ing inter­na­tion­al recog­ni­tion of the one-Chi­na prin­ci­ple.

    ...

    The phone call was the first such con­tact with Tai­wan by a US pres­i­dent-elect or pres­i­dent since then pres­i­dent Jim­my Carter switched diplo­mat­ic recog­ni­tion from Taipei to Bei­jing in 1979, acknowl­edg­ing Tai­wan as part of “one Chi­na”.

    “Edwin Feul­ner, founder of the Wash­ing­ton-based Her­itage Foun­da­tion, played a key part in set­ting up the call, accord­ing to Taiwan’s Cen­tral News Agency, quot­ing a source famil­iar with the mat­ter.”

    Yes, Trump is basi­cal­ly fol­low­ing the lead of the founder of the Her­itage Foun­da­tion who also hap­pens to be a big fan of free-trade agree­ments. What a pop­ulist mav­er­ick! Sure­ly this is a sign he has the Amer­i­can work­ing-class in mind.

    So now that appears that Trump is fol­low­ing the advice of folks like Feul­ner, one of the next ques­tions is what the hell else is Feul­ner advis­ing Trump regard­ing that region of the world. Don’t for­get that there’s wide­spread expec­ta­tions that North Korea is going to “test” Trump ear­ly on with some­thing like a nuclear weapons test? Well, back in May, Feul­ner wrote a col­umn in the Wash­ing­ton Times with rec­om­men­da­tions for how to deal with Pyongyang’s nuclear ambi­tions. First, increase eco­nom­ic sanc­tions, which will require Bei­jing’s coop­er­a­tion. Next, set up a mis­sile defense shield, which will also require Bei­jing’s coop­er­a­tion or at least will seri­ous­ly piss off the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment. And third, sta­tion­ing an air­craft car­ri­er capa­ble of launch­ing dual use air­craft capa­ble of car­ry­ing nuclear weapons so that when­ev­er the US is send­ing flights over Sourth Korea the North Kore­ans won’t know if it’s armed with nukes or not.

    It’s a reminder that if Trump keeps fol­low­ing Feul­ner’s script, it’s look­ing like the US is going to be be set­ting up a show­down with Chi­na in par­al­lel with its ongo­ing show­down with Pyongyang:

    The Wash­ing­ton Times

    How to encour­age peace in Korea

    Stronger sanc­tions and mis­sile defense can keep Pyongyang in check

    By Ed Feul­ner — - Mon­day, May 2, 2016

    ANALYSIS/OPINION:

    SEOUL – Every Kore­an I know remains sad­dened by the divi­sion of the Kore­an peo­ple into a North and a South at the 38th par­al­lel. The Kore­an peo­ple still dream of reuni­fi­ca­tion, even as they tell me about their appre­ci­a­tion for the sac­ri­fices that their friends, the Amer­i­cans, made for Korea’s free­dom.

    When we talk about the sit­u­a­tion north of the demil­i­ta­rized zone, it’s with endur­ing con­cern. North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, is the son and the grand­son of North Korea’s for­mer dic­ta­tors. U.N. Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions have repeat­ed­ly con­demned North Kore­an nuclear activ­i­ties. A spe­cial inter­na­tion­al U.N. com­mit­tee has cen­sured human rights vio­la­tions by these dic­ta­tors. But they keep on going.

    Kim Jong-un has now det­o­nat­ed anoth­er nuclear test, fired sev­er­al test mis­siles includ­ing one from a sub­ma­rine, and reassert­ed his inten­tion that North Korea will become a per­ma­nent nuclear state.

    Deal­ing with Dic­ta­tor Kim, the youngest, is a chal­lenge not only to the South Kore­an gov­ern­ment, but also to Wash­ing­ton and to Bei­jing. In past meet­ings with Beijing’s polit­i­cal lead­ers, I have stressed the eco­nom­ic and finan­cial depen­dence of the North Kore­ans on Chi­na, which sup­plies more than 75 per­cent of their food sup­plies, and 90 per­cent of their ener­gy. Clear­ly, Chi­na can do more to bring the North into line as a mem­ber of the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty who doesn’t threat­en its neigh­bors.

    Chi­na final­ly rec­og­nizes this. They have snubbed the North Kore­an lead­er­ship at inter­na­tion­al meet­ings, and have now said that they sup­port the mild U.N. eco­nom­ic sanc­tions on the North.

    It’s not enough, but it’s a step in the right direc­tion.

    Mean­while, polit­i­cal change engulfs the true democ­ra­cy that is South Korea. Imme­di­ate­ly after last month’s South Kore­an Assem­bly elec­tions, media from across the polit­i­cal spec­trum began call­ing Pres­i­dent Park Geun hye a lame duck for the remain­ing 22 months of her term.

    I remind­ed my Kore­an friends that in a demo­c­ra­t­ic sys­tem, any nation “only has one pres­i­dent at a time,” so let’s do what we can under these cir­cum­stances.

    What can we do?

    We can strength­en our joint resolve and remind the North Kore­an dic­ta­tor that his actions have real con­se­quences.

    First, we must strength­en the eco­nom­ic sanc­tions on North Korea. Did you know that exist­ing sanc­tions still per­mit the Pyongyang regime to use the Soci­ety for World­wide Inter­bank Finan­cial Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions sys­tem of trans­fer­ring funds inter­na­tion­al­ly? Clear­ly, that loop­hole and oth­ers should be closed imme­di­ate­ly.

    Anoth­er step that we should agree on is the deploy­ment of a Ter­mi­nal High Alti­tude Area Defense (THAAD) mis­sile shield. It would pro­tect Seoul and oth­er cities from a pos­si­ble North Kore­an attack.

    When Ash Carter, our sec­re­tary of defense, sug­gest­ed this idea in Seoul recent­ly, Bei­jing object­ed that it would be desta­bi­liz­ing and provoca­tive.

    On the con­trary: It is North Korea that is desta­bi­liz­ing and provoca­tive with its nuclear build-out. Besides, THAAD is a defen­sive shield in the best Rea­gan tra­di­tion.

    So this is anoth­er area where we can advance our shared objec­tive of a stronger alliance and a safer penin­su­la.

    Anoth­er sug­ges­tion is the deploy­ment of dual-capa­ble air­craft. These U.S. Air Force planes are able to car­ry either con­ven­tion­al or nuclear weapons, which require spe­cial wiring and com­put­er capa­bil­i­ties. Thus, the Amer­i­can mil­i­tary com­man­der in Korea, the U.S. ambas­sador, and the defense min­is­ter of South Korea could announce the sta­tion­ing of dual-capa­ble air­craft at U.S. bases in South Korea.

    With these air­craft deployed to South Korea, every time one of them takes off or lands, the North Kore­an dic­ta­tor does not know whether it is car­ry­ing a con­ven­tion­al weapon or a nuclear weapon.

    And that uncer­tain­ty is a big plus when we are deal­ing with a third-gen­er­a­tion mad­man in charge of North Korea.

    It’s an idea that should be seri­ous­ly con­sid­ered by both our friends in Seoul and by our own Defense Depart­ment.

    ...

    “With these air­craft deployed to South Korea, every time one of them takes off or lands, the North Kore­an dic­ta­tor does not know whether it is car­ry­ing a con­ven­tion­al weapon or a nuclear weapon.”

    Well, let’s hope there aren’t any mechan­i­cal inci­dents to add to the polit­i­cal inci­dent. But also keep in mind that it’s not like fly­ing nuclear armed bombers over South Korea in a show of force is unprece­dent­ed. The US did exact­ly that in Sep­tem­ber fol­low­ing the North Kre­an nuclear test that month. But as we can see with Trump’s deci­sion to fol­low Feul­ner’s lead on antag­o­niz­ing Chi­na, future flights of that nature could be tak­ing place in an envi­ron­ment where US/Chinese rela­tions have plum­met­ed fol­low­ing a simul­ta­ne­ous show­down of Tai­wan. Pos­si­bly a mil­i­tary show­down giv­en the extreme Chi­nese sen­si­tiv­i­ties over even­tu­al reuni­fi­ca­tion.

    All in all, it’s look­ing like a com­bi­na­tion of pop­ulist iso­la­tion­ist talk, but also taboo-break­ing macho talk, for the domes­tic audi­ences is going to be cou­pled with with the kind of aggres­sive ‘Peace through Strength and break­ing stuff’-style neo­con for­eign pol­i­cy actions that Dick Cheney would be proud of is what we should prob­a­bly expect for the next four years. In oth­er words, Trump’s New World Order is going to be cre­at­ed via the appli­ca­tion of Trump’s ‘law and order’ instincts and a will­ing­ness to casu­al­ly take mas­sive risks, applied under neo­con guid­ance, and exe­cut­ed and with a mav­er­icky taboo-break­ing flair. So, you know, we prob­a­bly should­n’t be sur­prised if it’s not very ordered.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 3, 2016, 5:44 pm
  18. Here’s anoth­er sign of the times: It looks like “Piz­za­gate” — a hoax con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry about Hillary Clin­ton and John Podes­ta run­ning a child sex ring out of the Comet Ping Pong pizze­ria that was cooked up days before the 2016 elec­tion and aggres­sive spread on social media — is still going strong. At least some minds. Like the mind of the man who walked into the Comet Ping Pong pizze­ria yes­ter­day to “self-inves­ti­gate” the hoax claims with a rifle and end­ed up threat­en­ing the staff and fir­ing off a round.

    And now, in wake if this inci­dent, Michael G. Fly­nn, Jr., son and chief of staff of Don­ald Trump’s nation­al secu­ri­ty advi­sor Michael Fly­nn, is tak­ing to Twit­ter to defend his father over accu­sa­tions that Michael Fly­nn Sr. was pro­mot­ing the Piz­zgate hoax with poten­tial­ly dead­ly con­se­quences. Specif­i­cal­ly, Fly­nn Jr. is defend­ing his father by defend­ing the Piz­za­gate hoax itself, assert­ing that the hoax should be con­sid­ered a valid sto­ry until proven false.

    But as the arti­cle below points out that despite the fact that Fly­nn Jr. jumped to the defense of father by defend­ing Piz­za­gate, Fly­nn Sr. had nev­er actu­al­ly pro­mot­ed Piz­za­gate. No, instead what Fly­nn Sr was pro­mot­ing right before the elec­tion was the “Spir­it Cook­ing” hoax, a dif­fer­ent hoax that also pur­ports to tie Hillary Clin­ton to Satan­ic rit­u­als involv­ing chil­dren.

    So, to sum­ma­rize:
    1. A man just walked into a pizze­ria that was the tar­get of a “Hillary Clin­ton is part of a child sex ring” hoax and fired shots.
    2. Folks point­ed out that Michael Fly­nn Sr., Trump’s select­ed Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advi­sor, was push­ing sim­i­lar the­o­ries days before the elec­tion and there­fore val­i­dat­ing them in the minds of many.
    3. Michael G. Fly­nn, Jr. replied with a tweet defend­ing his dad by sug­gest­ing the Piz­za­gate hoax should be con­sid­ered a real sto­ry until proven false.
    4. And now we have to point out that Fly­nn Sr. was­n’t pro­mot­ing Piz­za­gate. No, he was pro­mot­ing “Spir­it Cook­ing”, a dif­fer­ent “Hillary Clin­ton is part of a child sex ring” hoax.

    So that’s where we are. In a place where there’s such an aggres­sive pro­mo­tion of far-right Fake News that we now have to take the pains to parse each of the sep­a­rate hoax­es in order to accu­rate­ly assess the pub­lic dam­age they’re doing. In oth­er words, we now have to under­stand all the far-right con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries just to under­stand how much mis­un­der­stand­ing is tak­ing root in our col­lec­tive psy­che and shap­ing real­i­ty:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    Michael Flynn’s tweet wasn’t actu­al­ly about #Piz­za­Gate, but his son is now defend­ing the base­less con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry

    By Aaron Blake
    Decem­ber 5, 2016 at 11:17 AM

    There are so many fake tales float­ing around about the 2016 elec­tion that they appear to be get­ting con­fused for one anoth­er.

    After a gun­man who cit­ed a Hillary Clin­ton-relat­ed con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry entered the Comet Ping Pong piz­za restau­rant in Wash­ing­ton on Sun­day and fired one or more shots, reports and tweets point­ed to Don­ald Trump’s pick for nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Fly­nn, hav­ing foment­ed the rumors that appar­ent­ly spurred the man.

    Here’s Fly­n­n’s tweet:

    U decide — NYPD Blows Whis­tle on New Hillary Emails: Mon­ey Laun­der­ing, Sex Crimes w Chil­dren, etc...MUST READ! https://t.co/O0bVJT3QDr— Gen­er­al Fly­nn (@GenFlynn) Novem­ber 3, 2016

    And here’s a sam­pling of the reac­tions:

    1. Gen Fly­nn tweets about Fake HRC Comet Piz­za con­spir­a­cy. 2. Comet gets threats. 3. Gun­man enters Comet today. https://t.co/vS3cv2F6ui— John Aravo­sis (@aravosis) Decem­ber 4, 2016

    That near-shoot­ing in Wash­ing­ton DC was inspired by a con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry advanced by .... Mike Fly­nn https://t.co/cCuxaXYDrx pic.twitter.com/3DudzOFiNX— Will Jor­dan (@williamjordann) Decem­ber 4, 2016

    Except Fly­nn does­n’t actu­al­ly appear to have tweet­ed some­thing about Comet Ping Pong — not specif­i­cal­ly.

    Fly­nn did tweet a link involv­ing dubi­ous claims about the Clin­tons and sex crimes, and his social media pres­ence is replete with fake news and con­tro­ver­sial com­ments about Mus­lims, which made it an easy con­clu­sion to draw.

    What’s more, his son Michael G. Fly­nn on Sun­day did sug­gest there could be some­thing to the Piz­za­Gate rumors, basi­cal­ly defend­ing his father as if he had tweet­ed about Comet Ping Pong and chal­leng­ing the media to dis­prove the base­less claims. The younger Fly­nn served as his father’s chief of staff — his top aide — mak­ing his tweets about this bogus the­o­ry par­tic­u­lar­ly sig­nif­i­cant.

    Until #Piz­za­gate proven to be false, it’ll remain a sto­ry. The left seems to for­get #PodestaE­mails and the many “coin­ci­dences” tied to it. https://t.co/8HA9y30Yfp— Michael G Fly­nn???? (@mflynnJR) Decem­ber 5, 2016

    Michael Fly­nn Jr. also tan­gled with CNN’s Jake Tap­per, who sent him direct mes­sages implor­ing him to stop breath­ing life into the rumors that appar­ent­ly led to vio­lence on Sun­day at Comet Ping Pong. Fly­nn Jr. glee­ful­ly tweet­ed and retweet­ed the mis­sives.

    Jake.Tapper..still.....DMing me....a shame he does­n’t argue this hard on his net­work. @Cernovich @bakedalaska @PrisonPlanet @JackPosobiec https://t.co/EQ8KmRYEBF— Michael G Fly­nn???? (@mflynnJR) Decem­ber 5, 2016

    Want evi­dence??? I must’ve real­ly hit a nerve @Cernovich @bakedalaska @JackPosobiec @PrisonPlanet @Rambobiggs @RealAlexJones pic.twitter.com/wRlPX8lrPy— Michael G Fly­nn???? (@mflynnJR) Decem­ber 5, 2016

    As for Michael Fly­nn Sr.‘s orig­i­nal tweet, the con­fu­sion stemmed from fact that there are actu­al­ly mul­ti­ple dubi­ous claims involv­ing the Clin­tons, human traf­fick­ing and sex crimes. One involves Comet Ping Pong — a the­o­ry which involves “dozens of made-up arti­cles about Mrs. Clin­ton kid­nap­ping, molest­ing and traf­fick­ing chil­dren” — and anoth­er involves bil­lion­aire donor and con­vict­ed pedophile Jef­frey Epstein’s ties to the Clin­tons.

    At least the lat­ter con­nec­tion isn’t entire­ly based in fan­ta­sy. Here’s our Fact Check­er’s sum­ma­ry:

    After leav­ing office, Bill Clin­ton was occa­sion­al­ly a pas­sen­ger on air­craft owned by con­vict­ed pedophile Jef­frey Epstein. (Epstein was also a reg­u­lar vis­i­tor to Don­ald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Flori­da, and Trump was a din­ner guest at Epstein’s home.) Gawk­er report­ed that flight logs show that Clin­ton, among oth­ers, trav­eled through Africa in 2002 on a jet with “an actress in soft-core porn movies whose name appears in Epstein’s address book under an entry for ‘mas­sages.’” Chauntae Davies, the actress, declined to dis­cuss why she was on the flight. Clin­ton has not com­ment­ed.

    The Epstein case isn’t a full-fledged con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry in and of itself, but it has result­ed in all man­ner of alle­ga­tions involv­ing the Clin­tons. An exam­ple from the New York Post: “ ‘Sex slave’ claims Bill Clin­ton vis­it­ed Epstein’s ‘orgy island.Here’s more, if you’re curi­ous. And as the Fact Check­er not­ed, Trump has his own very real ties to Epstein.

    The link that Fly­nn tweet­ed appears to refer not to alleged Clin­ton-relat­ed sex crimes at Comet Ping Pong but rather makes explic­it ref­er­ence to Epstein. After cit­ing anony­mous New York Police Depart­ment sources link­ing Clin­ton to “child exploita­tion” and “sex crimes with minors,” among oth­er crimes, the arti­cle from far-right web­site True Pun­dit points to the Epstein case:

    The new emails con­tain trav­el doc­u­ments and itin­er­aries indi­cat­ing Hillary Clin­ton, Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton, Wein­er and mul­ti­ple mem­bers of Con­gress and oth­er gov­ern­ment offi­cials accom­pa­nied con­vict­ed pedophile bil­lion­aire Jef­frey Epstein on his Boe­ing 727 on mul­ti­ple occa­sions to his pri­vate island in the U.S. Vir­gin Islands, sources said. Epstein’s island has also been dubbed Orgy Island or Sex Slave Island where Epstein alleged­ly pimps out under­age girls and boys to inter­na­tion­al dig­ni­taries.

    Both NYPD and FBI sources con­firm based on the new emails they now believe Hillary Clin­ton trav­eled as Epstein’s guest on at least six occa­sions, prob­a­bly more when all the evi­dence is combed, sources said. Bill Clin­ton, it has been con­firmed in media reports span­ning recent years, that he too trav­eled with Epstein over 20 times to the island.

    Comet Ping Pong is not ref­er­enced by True Pun­dit — either explic­it­ly or implic­it­ly. And in fact, the Red­dit post­ing that spawned what’s come to be known as “Piz­za­Gate” (the thread has now been tak­en down by Red­dit) is from Nov. 4, accord­ing to Snopes — two days after the True Pun­dit arti­cle post­ed on Nov. 2.

    The whole mat­ter is a near-per­fect micro­cosm of just how much fake news sto­ries have pen­e­trat­ed our polit­i­cal process — so much so that we can’t even keep them straight. And it’s like­ly to lead to those who embrace con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries or sim­ply dis­trust the main­stream media to believe Fly­nn was unfair­ly maligned for his tweet.

    But it’s also worth not­ing here the Fly­nns have traf­ficked in these kinds of bogus sto­ries many times before. And even as Fly­nn Sr. can’t be specif­i­cal­ly tied to foment­ing the Comet Ping Pong rumors before­hand, his deci­sion to pass along a base­less arti­cle about the Clin­tons and sex crimes makes con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries like Comet Ping Pong more believ­able. This stuff is becom­ing a scourge.

    In addi­tion, Fly­n­n’s son isn’t some­one who just hap­pens to be relat­ed to an appointee to a major post in the Trump Cab­i­net. He’s some­one who has advised his father at the high­est lev­el — mak­ing his embrace of base­less con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries a very legit­i­mate issue. (In oth­er words, this isn’t akin to a pres­i­den­t’s black-sheep broth­er with no real role in an admin­is­tra­tion doing some­thing objec­tion­able.)

    Update: CNN reports that Fly­nn Jr. now has a .gov email address, which sug­gests he’ll play a role in the Trump admin­is­tra­tion.

    ...

    But in this case, it is not fair to tie Fly­nn Sr. direct­ly to what hap­pened Sun­day after­noon in Wash­ing­ton. Crit­ics will argue this is a dis­tinc­tion with­out a dif­fer­ence — that Fly­nn foment­ed rumors that con­tributed to the per­cep­tion that the Clin­tons were involved in all man­ner of unholy things. But when it comes to com­bat­ing fake news, it’s worth being as spe­cif­ic and accu­rate as pos­si­ble.

    “The whole mat­ter is a near-per­fect micro­cosm of just how much fake news sto­ries have pen­e­trat­ed our polit­i­cal process — so much so that we can’t even keep them straight. And it’s like­ly to lead to those who embrace con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries or sim­ply dis­trust the main­stream media to believe Fly­nn was unfair­ly maligned for his tweet.”

    Well, that exact­ly does­n’t well. Unless hav­ing the next Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advi­sor, and his advi­sor and son, ped­dle garbage hap­pens to bode well:

    ...
    But it’s also worth not­ing here the Fly­nns have traf­ficked in these kinds of bogus sto­ries many times before. And even as Fly­nn Sr. can’t be specif­i­cal­ly tied to foment­ing the Comet Ping Pong rumors before­hand, his deci­sion to pass along a base­less arti­cle about the Clin­tons and sex crimes makes con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries like Comet Ping Pong more believ­able. This stuff is becom­ing a scourge.

    In addi­tion, Fly­n­n’s son isn’t some­one who just hap­pens to be relat­ed to an appointee to a major post in the Trump Cab­i­net. He’s some­one who has advised his father at the high­est lev­el — mak­ing his embrace of base­less con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries a very legit­i­mate issue. (In oth­er words, this isn’t akin to a pres­i­den­t’s black-sheep broth­er with no real role in an admin­is­tra­tion doing some­thing objec­tion­able.)

    Update: CNN reports that Fly­nn Jr. now has a .gov email address, which sug­gests he’ll play a role in the Trump admin­is­tra­tion.

    ...

    It’s prob­a­bly worth not­ing that the sto­ry Fly­nn Sr. was pro­mot­ing right before the elec­tion about the “Spir­it Cook­ing” meme was about a Bre­it­bart inter­view of Black Water founder Erik Prince and his asser­tion that arrests were going to hap­pen­ing soon (arrests that nev­er happened...big shock­er!)

    It’s prob­a­bly also worth not­ing that Prince is the broth­er of ....*drum roll*.....Trump’s choice for Edu­ca­tion Sec­re­tary, Bet­sy DeVos.

    So, yes, Don­ald Trump’s Edu­ca­tion Sec­re­tary is the sis­ter of the head mer­ce­nary who was push­ing a fake sto­ry about a Satan­ic sex abduc­tion ring that was tweet­ed about by Trump’s Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advi­sor. And when ques­tions were raised about the role this pro­mo­tion may have played in legit­imiz­ing a par­al­lel hoax sto­ry about Hillary Clin­ton and a child sex ring, Trump’s Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advi­sor’s chief advi­sor, who also hap­pens to be his son, defend­ed his dad/boss by tweet­ing a defense of the par­al­lel hoax sto­ry.

    In oth­er news, Jack Poso­biec, direc­tor of a some group called “Citizens4Trump the guy Michael Fly­nn Jr. linked to tweet­ed in his tweet about how Piz­za­gate should be treat­ed as real until proven false, is pret­ty sure that the guy who “self-inves­ti­gat­ed” the pizze­ria was a gov­ern­ment false-flag actor. So the guys push­ing these hoax­es are appar­ent­ly con­vinced that if some­one acts like they’re tak­ing the sto­ries seri­ous­ly they must be work­ing for the gov­ern­ment.

    And yet the guys about to run the gov­ern­ment do appear to actu­al­ly believe them. Or are at least act­ing like it.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 5, 2016, 4:34 pm
  19. Don’t under­es­ti­mate Trump or his vot­ers

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/opinion/article124589944.html

    Since Nov. 9, I have heard peo­ple label Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s vot­ers as stu­pid, unin­formed and cru­el. I have heard peo­ple claim that they no longer rec­og­nize their coun­try, that this Amer­i­ca is not their Amer­i­ca.

    And that is exact­ly why he won.

    Trump sup­port­ers can be split into four groups: the Nev­er Hillary camp, the par­ty loy­al­ists, the “I just care about the Supreme Court” folks, and true sup­port­ers. To those who won­der how on earth Trump won, the answer is sim­ple. Some peo­ple real­ly didn’t like Hillary Clin­ton, some felt oblig­ed to sup­port the par­ty, some want­ed a Repub­li­can to nom­i­nate the late Jus­tice Antonin Scalia’s replace­ment, and some felt utter­ly alien­at­ed from pop­u­lar polit­i­cal dis­course.

    It is the last group that pushed Trump over the edge, mak­ing his elec­tion a real­i­ty.

    They watched a steady stream of jobs exit Amer­i­ca and a steady stream of ille­gal immi­grants pour in. When they lis­tened to the radio or turned on the tele­vi­sion or opened a news­pa­per, they didn’t hear or see or read any­thing that sound­ed like them. They came to see politi­cians as cor­rupt, not to be trust­ed.

    They want­ed their grand­par­ents’ Amer­i­ca. It doesn’t mat­ter if they were right or wrong. What mat­ters is that that’s what they felt, and that’s what they said, but no one lis­tened.

    Those unhap­py with the results of the elec­tion — I’ll call them the #Not­MyPres­i­dent camp — claim to have lost trust in their fel­low Amer­i­cans, as if the action of check­ing the box next to Trump on their bal­lots instan­ta­neous­ly trans­formed gar­den-vari­ety Repub­li­cans and Inde­pen­dents into unpre­dictable beasts.

    But in real­i­ty, the claimants’ own lim­it­ed inter­ac­tion with peo­ple who hold dif­fer­ent views is to blame. They view this “oth­er” as unin­formed and objec­tive­ly wrong, an eval­u­a­tion sus­tained by ide­o­log­i­cal seg­re­ga­tion and, more broad­ly, a lack of empa­thy.

    For an exam­ple, look to the pop­u­lar mass media, which was so unable to under­stand why some­one would vote for Trump that it ignored signs point­ing to his vic­to­ry. Trump sup­port­ers didn’t spring from the post-elec­tion soil like mush­rooms overnight. They have been grow­ing slow­ly, qui­et­ly, for years.

    The #Not­MyPres­i­dent camp makes a mis­take in writ­ing off Trump and his vot­ers as stu­pid. First, not all Trump vot­ers are true sup­port­ers. The Nev­er Hillary, par­ty loy­al­ist, and the Supreme-Court crowds dif­fered from Trump on a num­ber of issues. A vote for Trump was not an endorse­ment of his entire polit­i­cal agen­da or, for that mat­ter, his offen­sive per­son­al com­ments on women and minori­ties.

    Sec­ond, we can no longer pre­tend that Trump is stu­pid. He’s not. He’s a busi­ness­man, and he just sold him­self to the Amer­i­can peo­ple. He saw what peo­ple want­ed to hear, what would dom­i­nate the news cycle. And he said it, regard­less of whether he believed it was true or whether he had any inten­tion of ful­fill­ing his promis­es.

    Fur­ther­more, he ran what has been described as the most sophis­ti­cat­ed social media adver­tis­ing cam­paign in his­to­ry. He accu­mu­lat­ed data on known sup­port­ers and used that data to iden­ti­fy poten­tial sup­port­ers. He lat­er did the same to iden­ti­fy poten­tial Clin­ton vot­ers. Both groups he tar­get­ed with Face­book “dark posts,” which are non­pub­lic paid posts revealed only to select­ed users.

    Poten­tial Trump vot­ers saw pro-Trump ads; poten­tial Clin­ton vot­ers saw a car­toon Clin­ton repeat­ing her 1996 com­ment liken­ing youth gangs, pre­sum­ably African-Amer­i­cans, to “super preda­tors.” This “depress the vote” cam­paign was large­ly suc­cess­ful; in key states like Michi­gan and Ohio, Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­er turnout was down from the 2012 and 2008 elec­tions.

    It is time we stop under­es­ti­mat­ing Trump, and it is time we stop ignor­ing the anti-Wash­ing­ton sen­ti­ments which led to his elec­tion. Instead of tweet­ing #Not­MyPres­i­dent, please go have a con­ver­sa­tion with a Trump vot­er.

    I promise the next four years will be eas­i­er if you respect Trump as you would any com­man­der in chief and if you offer up pol­i­cy pro­pos­als rather than insults.

    Eliza Jane Scha­ef­fer of Lex­ing­ton, Ken­tucky, is a fresh­man at Dart­mouth Col­lege. She wrote this for the Lex­ing­ton Her­ald Leader.

    Posted by Annonomous | January 6, 2017, 11:04 am

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