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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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