- Spitfire List - http://spitfirelist.com -

FTR #938 The Trumpenkampfverbande, Part 12: Settling In, Part 2 (The Underground Reich Comes Into Plain View, Part 5)

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained HERE [1]. The new dri­ve is a 32-giga­byte dri­ve that is cur­rent as of the pro­grams and arti­cles post­ed by ear­ly win­ter of 2016. The new dri­ve (avail­able for a tax-deductible con­tri­bu­tion of $65.00 or more.) (The pre­vi­ous flash dri­ve was cur­rent through the end of May of 2012.)

WFMU-FM is pod­cast­ing For The Record–You can sub­scribe to the pod­cast HERE [2].

You can sub­scribe to e‑mail alerts from Spitfirelist.com HERE [3].

You can sub­scribe to RSS feed from Spitfirelist.com HERE [3].

You can sub­scribe to the com­ments made on pro­grams and posts–an excel­lent source of infor­ma­tion in, and of, itself HERE [4].

This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment [5].

making-of-trump [6]CIA Seal [7]Intro­duc­tion: This pro­gram con­tin­ues analy­sis of the “set­tling in” process of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, which we feel embod­ies the tran­si­tion of the Under­ground Reich into an above-ground, mass move­ment.

Aspects of this pro­gram and sig­nif­i­cant ele­ments of the next two broad­casts will devel­op our analy­sis of the devel­op­ment of the “bid­ding war” between Rus­sia and the Unit­ed States (to the ulti­mate ben­e­fit of Ger­many) that we intro­duced in FTR #‘s 918 [8] and 919 [9].

We note in pass­ing that sev­er­al of the top­ics of dis­cus­sion men­tioned at the top of the pro­gram are to be pre­sent­ed in the next broad­cast and were not in this pro­gram due to the lim­i­ta­tions of time.

In FTR #‘s 891 [10] and 895 [11], we high­light­ed the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors, a Con­gres­sion­al fig leaf insti­tut­ed to dilute the CIA con­trol over Amer­i­can for­eign broad­cast out­lets such as Radio Free Europe, Voice of Amer­i­ca and Radio Free Asia. In addi­tion to the broad­cast out­lets dis­cussed in the sto­ry that fol­lows, we note that the change from a “board of gov­er­nors” to a “CEO” [12] to be appoint­ed by Trump also gives the nom­i­nee pow­er over Radio Free Asi­a’s Open Tech­nol­o­gy Fund, devel­op­er of numer­ous apps and oth­er tech­no­log­i­cal method­olo­gies favored by the so-called “pri­va­cy advo­cates.”

The replace­ment of the gov­er­nors is seen as a poten­tial boon to the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. “ . . . . ‘There’s some fear among the folks here, that the fire­wall will get dimin­ished and attacked and this could fall vic­tim to pro­pa­gan­da,’ the Repub­li­can offi­cial said. ‘They will hire the per­son they want, the cur­rent CEO does not stand a chance. This will pop up on Steve Bannon’s radar quick­ly. They are going to put a friend­ly per­son in that job.’ . . . .

The change will affect domes­tic broad­cast media as well. ” . . . . Because of the mod­i­fi­ca­tion of the Smith-Mundt Act in 2013, the BBG can now broad­cast in the U.S., too. But the influ­ence on the domes­tic mar­ket could be even more sub­tle, the Repub­li­can offi­cial warned. A BBG CEO influ­enced by the admin­is­tra­tion could pen­e­trate estab­lished media out­lets with pack­ages, series or oth­er news prod­ucts pro­duced by the BBG’s net­works but picked up and aired by tra­di­tion­al media like Fox News or Bre­it­bart. Many U.S. out­lets cur­rent­ly use con­tent from VOA. ‘No mon­ey would even change hands, you’ve had no effect on the bud­get,’ the offi­cial said. ‘But it will den­i­grate the prod­uct. . . . ’ ”

In the con­text of the changes made to the BBG, we review the polit­i­cal incli­na­tions [13] of Ban­non:  ” . . . The late Andrew Bre­it­bart, founder of the web­site Ban­non went on to lead, called Ban­non the “Leni Riefen­stahl of the Tea Par­ty move­ment [14]”—a ref­er­ence to the infa­mous cre­ator of Nazi pro­pa­gan­da films. While insist­ing [15] to a Wall Street Jour­nal reporter in 2011 that his work isn’t pro­pa­gan­da, Ban­non went on to cite Riefen­stahl among his main influ­ences . . . ”

Next, we turn to the sub­ject of free trade, on which Trump has had much to say, bash­ing Chi­na and Mex­i­co as coun­tries the U.S. should “put right” in their trade rela­tions with the U.S. It’s worth not­ing we haven’t heard Trump men­tion a trade war with Ger­many despite all his tirades against Chi­na and Mex­i­co. It rais­es the ques­tion of why, since Germany’s unprece­dent­ed and dam­ag­ing sur­plus­es make it such an obvi­ous trade war tar­get [16].

” . . . . There is one poten­tial trade war, how­ev­er, that few peo­ple have so far noticed — but which could soon be his eas­i­est tar­get. Ger­many. Giv­en the size of its pop­u­la­tion, it runs a far larg­er trade sur­plus than Chi­na — and a mas­sive sur­plus with the U.S. in par­tic­u­lar. Even bet­ter, the indus­tries to pick off are rel­a­tive­ly sim­ple to iden­ti­fy, and would actu­al­ly have a chance of cre­at­ing well-paid Amer­i­can jobs. . . . 

“. . . . Germany’s trade sur­plus is absolute­ly mas­sive, and unprece­dent­ed in mod­ern indus­tri­al his­to­ry. Last year it hit 8.9% of gross domes­tic prod­uct, and it is like­ly to break through 9% before the end of 2016. Glob­al­ly, it is sec­ond in size only to China’s, but giv­en that Ger­many is a far small­er coun­try, it is only fair to mea­sure it on a per capi­ta basis — and when you look at it that way, Germany’s sur­plus is sev­en times big­ger than China’s. . . . Much of Germany’s trade sur­plus is clear­ly the result of cur­ren­cy manip­u­la­tion. The euro has depressed the real val­ue of the country’s exports, allow­ing it rack up those huge exports. You can argue about whether China’s cur­ren­cy is real­ly at its fair val­ue or not — but no one can real­ly dis­pute that Germany’s cur­ren­cy is way, way below what it would be if it still had the deutschemark. . . .”

Obvi­ous­ly, part of the answer lies in the fact that Deutsche Bank–a key ele­ment of the Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work and the Under­ground Reich–is owed hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars by Trump. Trump’s oth­er con­nec­tions run in the direc­tion of the Under­ground Reich as well. (The Trump/Deutsche Bank con­nec­tion is dis­cussed, in among oth­er pro­grams, FTR #‘s 920 [17], 921 [18], 922 [19] and 927 [20].)

We note in pass­ing that Ger­many is prepar­ing [21] for a trade war with the U.S.–we don’t think one will real­ly take place, but we may be treat­ed to Trumpian “fake news” and/or pro­pa­gan­da. Ger­many is assert­ing that the fac­tors behind its enor­mous trade sur­plus can not be altered, because it is due to nat­u­ral­ly occur­ring cir­cum­stances like a rapid­ly aging pop­u­la­tion.

” . . . There are plen­ty of rea­sons for that. Germany’s cur­rent account sur­plus has nev­er been as high as it is this year and nev­er before has that sur­plus rep­re­sent­ed such a sig­nif­i­cant share of the country’s gross domes­tic prod­uct. Mak­ing mat­ters worse is the fact that the US is the largest con­sumer of Ger­man exports. . . .

“. . . . As high as it is, though, the cur­rent sur­plus is like­ly to con­tin­ue grow­ing. The recent fall in the euro’s val­ue rel­a­tive to the dol­lar fol­low­ing Trump’s elec­tion makes Ger­man prod­ucts and ser­vices even more com­pet­i­tive. And many econ­o­mists believe that the val­ue of the dol­lar will con­tin­ue to climb, which means that the val­ue of the euro against the dol­lar will shrink cor­re­spond­ing­ly. Their pre­dic­tions are based on recent indi­ca­tions that Trump’s announced eco­nom­ic stim­u­lus poli­cies will push up both America’s sov­er­eign debt load and its inter­est rates. . . .”

The pro­gram con­cludes with analy­sis of how Trump’s con­tin­ued involve­ment in his busi­ness empire (through his chil­dren) leaves him open to manip­u­la­tion [22]. The Philip­pines is a good exam­ple: “ . . . . So, under the deal, Trump’s chil­dren will be paid mil­lions of dol­lars through­out their father’s pres­i­den­cy by Jose E.B. Anto­nio, the head of Cen­tu­ry Prop­er­ties.

“Duterte recent­ly named Anto­nio the spe­cial gov­ern­ment envoy to the Unit­ed States. The con­flicts here could not be more trou­bling or more bla­tant: Pres­i­dent Trump will be dis­cussing U.S. pol­i­cy in South­east Asia with one of his (or his children’s) busi­ness part­ners, a man who is the offi­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive of a for­eign leader who likens him­self to Hitler. Also note that the Trump fam­i­ly has an enor­mous finan­cial inter­est in Duterte’s dead­ly cam­paign: Root­ing out crime in the Philip­pines is good for the real estate val­ues. . . .  Duterte recent­ly named Anto­nio the spe­cial gov­ern­ment envoy to the Unit­ed States. The con­flicts here could not be more trou­bling or more bla­tant: Pres­i­dent Trump will be dis­cussing U.S. pol­i­cy in South­east Asia with one of his (or his children’s) busi­ness part­ners, a man who is the offi­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive of a for­eign leader who likens him­self to Hitler. Also note that the Trump fam­i­ly has an enor­mous finan­cial inter­est in Duterte’s dead­ly cam­paign: Root­ing out crime in the Philip­pines is good for the real estate val­ues. . . . .”

Pro­gram High­lights Include: 

1a. The bipar­ti­san Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors is about to get replaced with a Broad­cast­ing CEO thanks to the Nation­al Defense Autho­riza­tion Act passed last week. And under this new sys­tem, that CEO gets select­ed by the Pres­i­dent. Yes, the Trump admin­is­tra­tion is about to be the first admin­is­tra­tion to wield these new US pro­pa­gan­da pow­ers.

Some wags have observed that we should prob­a­bly get ready for Trump TV: the offi­cial unof­fi­cial voice of the US gov­ern­ment [12].  Stay tuned.

A Repub­li­can gov­ern­ment offi­cial famil­iar with the agency’s work warned that abol­ish­ing the board will make it sus­cep­ti­ble to the influ­ence of Trump’s allies, includ­ing his chief strate­gist, Steve Ban­non, who ran Bre­it­bart News before join­ing Trump’s cam­paign. . . . ‘There’s some fear among the folks here, that the fire­wall will get dimin­ished and attacked and this could fall vic­tim to pro­pa­gan­da,’ the Repub­li­can offi­cial said. ‘They will hire the per­son they want, the cur­rent CEO does not stand a chance. This will pop up on Steve Bannon’s radar quick­ly. They are going to put a friend­ly per­son in that job.’ . . . .

The change will affect domes­tic broad­cast media as well. ” . . . . Because of the mod­i­fi­ca­tion of the Smith-Mundt Act in 2013, the BBG can now broad­cast in the U.S., too. But the influ­ence on the domes­tic mar­ket could be even more sub­tle, the Repub­li­can offi­cial warned. A BBG CEO influ­enced by the admin­is­tra­tion could pen­e­trate estab­lished media out­lets with pack­ages, series or oth­er news prod­ucts pro­duced by the BBG’s net­works but picked up and aired by tra­di­tion­al media like Fox News or Bre­it­bart. Many U.S. out­lets cur­rent­ly use con­tent from VOA. ‘No mon­ey would even change hands, you’ve had no effect on the bud­get,’ the offi­cial said. ‘But it will den­i­grate the prod­uct. . . . ’ ”

Trump’s “Alt-Right”/white nation­al­ist chief strate­gist may well be shap­ing the agen­da, which will be for domes­tic audi­ences as well!

“Trump to Inher­it State-Run TV Net­work with Expand­ed Reach” by Tara PalmeriPoliti­co; 12/12/2016. [12]

A pro­vi­sion tucked into the defense bill guts the Voice of Amer­i­ca board, stok­ing fears that Trump could wield a pow­er­ful pro­pa­gan­da arm.

Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump is about to inher­it a new­ly empow­ered Voice of Amer­i­ca that some offi­cials fear could serve as an unfet­tered pro­pa­gan­da arm for the for­mer real­i­ty TV star who has flirt­ed for years with launch­ing his own net­work. Buried on page 1,404 of the Nation­al Defense Autho­riza­tion Act that passed last week is a pro­vi­sion that would dis­band the bipar­ti­san board of the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors, the inde­pen­dent U.S. agency that includes Voice of Amer­i­ca, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia and the Mid­dle East Broad­cast Net­works.

The move — pushed by House For­eign Affairs Chair­man Ed Royce as a way to stream­line the agency — con­cen­trates con­trol into a pow­er­ful CEO who is appoint­ed by the pres­i­dent.

That change, com­bined with a 2013 leg­isla­tive revi­sion that allows the net­work to legal­ly reach a U.S. audi­ence, which was once banned, could pave the way for Trump-approved con­tent cre­at­ed by the U.S. diplo­ma­cy arm, if he choos­es to exploit the oppor­tu­ni­ty.

Essen­tial­ly, Trump is final­ly get­ting his Trump TV — financed by tax­pay­ers to the tune of $800 mil­lion per year. And some of the few peo­ple in the know aren’t hap­py about it.

“Con­gress unwit­ting­ly just gave Pres­i­dent-elect Trump unchecked con­trol of all U.S. media out­lets,” said Michael Kemp­n­er, a Demo­c­ra­t­ic mem­ber of the board who was appoint­ed by Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma and was a Hillary Clin­ton donor. “No pres­i­dent, either Demo­c­rat or Repub­li­can, should have that kind of con­trol. It’s a pub­lic jew­el. It’s inde­pen­dence is what makes it so cred­i­ble.”

It’s unclear whether Trump is even aware about what he’s about to inher­it. Trump as recent­ly as Sep­tem­ber said he has “no inter­est in a media com­pa­ny,” but reports have emerged over the years of the bil­lion­aire explor­ing tele­vi­sion oppor­tu­ni­ties beyond Trump Pro­duc­tions LLC, his TV pro­duc­tion busi­ness whose pro­grams include “The Appren­tice” and the Miss USA and Miss Uni­verse pageants. Van­i­ty Fair report­ed in June that he was con­sid­er­ing launch­ing a “mini media con­glom­er­ate” if he lost the elec­tion.

Trump tran­si­tion spokes­peo­ple did not respond to requests for com­ment.

Now that Trump is get­ting for free a major media appa­ra­tus with loos­ened restric­tions, Demo­c­ra­t­ic and Repub­li­can mem­bers of the cur­rent board are alarmed.

The Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors is the largest pub­lic diplo­ma­cy pro­gram by the U.S. gov­ern­ment, reach­ing an audi­ence of 278 mil­lion by broad­cast­ing in 100 coun­tries and 61 lan­guages. The agency was cre­at­ed in 1942 dur­ing World War II to send pro-democ­ra­cy news across Europe, as it aimed to counter Nazi and Japan­ese pro­pa­gan­da. The agency has since evolved into a more tra­di­tion­al news oper­a­tion, while still push­ing out the virtues of democ­ra­cy world­wide.

To date, the nine-mem­ber board — which con­sists of four Repub­li­cans and four Democ­rats appoint­ed by the pres­i­dent, as well as the sec­re­tary of state — has been a part-time oper­a­tion, but it served as a fire­wall with the mis­sion of pre­serv­ing the integri­ty of the agency’s broad­casts. The organization’s char­ter calls for “accu­ra­cy, bal­ance, com­pre­hen­sive­ness, and objec­tiv­i­ty.”

A Repub­li­can gov­ern­ment offi­cial famil­iar with the agency’s work warned that abol­ish­ing the board will make it sus­cep­ti­ble to the influ­ence of Trump’s allies, includ­ing his chief strate­gist, Steve Ban­non, who ran Bre­it­bart News before join­ing Trump’s cam­paign.

“There’s some fear among the folks here, that the fire­wall will get dimin­ished and attacked and this could fall vic­tim to pro­pa­gan­da,” the Repub­li­can offi­cial said. “They will hire the per­son they want, the cur­rent CEO does not stand a chance. This will pop up on Steve Bannon’s radar quick­ly. They are going to put a friend­ly per­son in that job.”

Offi­cials in par­tic­u­lar fear that Trump and his allies could change the agency’s pos­ture toward Rus­sia, con­sid­er­ing how Trump has expressed a pos­i­tive view of Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin.

Mul­ti­ple media out­lets in the BBG fam­i­ly aim to counter Rus­sia pro­pa­gan­da, includ­ing Cur­rent­Time, which was intro­duced two years ago and broad­casts in Rus­sia accord­ing to the NPR mod­el, and Radio Free Europe. With Radio Free Asia, the U.S. also push­es back against China’s state mes­sages, and Trump and his allies could poten­tial­ly use the net­work to antag­o­nize the coun­try, which the pres­i­dent-elect already alarmed with his call with the Tai­wanese pres­i­dent.

Because of the mod­i­fi­ca­tion of the Smith-Mundt Act in 2013, the BBG can now broad­cast in the U.S., too. But the influ­ence on the domes­tic mar­ket could be even more sub­tle, the Repub­li­can offi­cial warned.

A BBG CEO influ­enced by the admin­is­tra­tion could pen­e­trate estab­lished media out­lets with pack­ages, series or oth­er news prod­ucts pro­duced by the BBG’s net­works but picked up and aired by tra­di­tion­al media like Fox News or Bre­it­bart. Many U.S. out­lets cur­rent­ly use con­tent from VOA.

“No mon­ey would even change hands, you’ve had no effect on the bud­get,” the offi­cial said. “But it will den­i­grate the prod­uct.”

The offi­cial added, “It’s extreme­ly trou­bling. It’s going to be bad for U.S. inter­na­tion­al broad­cast­ers and their cred­i­bil­i­ty.”

In a sign of how sig­nif­i­cant the changes are, Hillary Clinton’s tran­si­tion team set up a meet­ing to vis­it the stu­dios at 330 Inde­pen­dence Avenue the Wednes­day after the elec­tion, accord­ing to two sources. The meet­ing was can­celed after her loss, how­ev­er, and the Trump tran­si­tion team has not vis­it­ed the stu­dios.

But some top BBG offi­cials are more mea­sured in their reac­tion to Trump’s abil­i­ty to influ­ence the agency.

Jeff Shell, chair­man of BBG’s board and an Oba­ma appointee, said the changes to the agency’s struc­ture were long over­due. “To have part-time board mem­bers to man­age some­thing like this is com­plete­ly unre­al­is­tic, so I very much sup­port the empow­ered CEO than a board,” he said, adding, “There’s always a risk with any fed­er­al agency, whether this admin­is­tra­tion or anoth­er that they’re going to use the orga­ni­za­tion in a par­ti­san.”

Royce, who pushed the pro­vi­sion, has long blast­ed the board as “defunct” and has called the agency “bad­ly bro­ken.” For years, he has pushed broad reforms, insist­ing dra­mat­ic steps were nec­es­sary to make its inter­na­tion­al broad­casts more effec­tive. He also float­ed the idea of rebrand­ing the BBG as the “Free­dom News Net­work.”

“Our agen­cies that helped take down the Iron Cur­tain with accu­rate and time­ly broad­cast­ing have lost their edge,” Royce said in a state­ment after the bill was passed in the House ear­li­er this month.

“They must be revi­tal­ized to effec­tive­ly car­ry out their mis­sion in this age of viral ter­ror­ism and dig­i­tal pro­pa­gan­da. … My pro­vi­sion takes an impor­tant first step in this process by replac­ing the BBG’s part-time board with a per­ma­nent CEO to help bet­ter deliv­er real news to peo­ple in coun­tries where free press does not exist.”

The leg­is­la­tion also gives the pres­i­dent the pow­er to appoint an advi­so­ry board — which will con­sist of five mem­bers, includ­ing the sec­re­tary of state — but it has no statu­to­ry pow­er.

The pro­vi­sion does, how­ev­er, squeeze in a pro­vi­sion for an inspec­tor gen­er­al from the State Depart­ment who would “respect the jour­nal­is­tic integri­ty of all the broad­cast­ers cov­ered by this Act.”

The com­plaints about the agency have not been pure­ly par­ti­san. For­mer Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Clin­ton has in the past com­plained about the agency, call­ing the board inef­fec­tu­al and “defunct” in Jan­u­ary 2013. Lat­er that year, the BBG faced more con­tro­ver­sy when it was revealed that less than 1 per­cent of Cubans lis­tened to its expen­sive TV Martí ser­vice.

But in recent years, the agency took sig­nif­i­cant steps to clean up its act. After the crit­i­cism, the oper­a­tional board reor­ga­nized and appoint­ed a CEO, John F. Lans­ing, to over­see day-to-day strat­e­gy and oper­a­tions in late 2013. The result was a 23 per­cent increase in TV view­er­ship to 174 mil­lion and a 27 per­cent increase in radio audi­ence to 130 mil­lion in 2016. Dig­i­tal audi­ences also increased from 32 mil­lion in 2015 to 45 mil­lion. The over­all audi­ence went up from 226 mil­lion in 2015 to 278 mil­lion in 2016.

After the bill passed through the House, Lans­ing sent a memo to BBG staffers promis­ing that “the leg­is­la­tion makes NO change to the fire­wall between the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment and the jour­nal­ists of our five net­works.”

“As I stat­ed at the Town Hall on Tues­day, main­tain­ing our jour­nal­is­tic inde­pen­dence, and our cred­i­bil­i­ty world­wide, remains of the utmost impor­tance,” he wrote.

Karen Korn­bluh, a Demo­c­ra­t­ic mem­ber of the board appoint­ed by Oba­ma, rein­forced the idea that the orga­ni­za­tion would not auto­mat­i­cal­ly bend to any president’s will.

“Although I pre­ferred hav­ing the board because it’s always good to have checks and bal­ance, I am sure that the staff will con­tin­ue to report jour­nal­ism with ‘mus­cu­lar objec­tiv­i­ty,’” Korn­bluh said at the BBG’s last board meet­ing.

But some say this fire­wall is still not enough to pro­tect the orga­ni­za­tion from the pres­sure of some of Trump’s most media savvy advis­ers like Ban­non.

“On Jan. 21, we’ll have a wel­com­ing cer­e­mo­ny for our next CEO, who could be Steve Ban­non, or Lau­ra Ingra­ham or Ann Coul­ter,” said a senior Voice of Amer­i­ca staffer.


Because of the mod­i­fi­ca­tion of the Smith-Mundt Act in 2013, the BBG can now broad­cast in the U.S., too. But the influ­ence on the domes­tic mar­ket could be even more sub­tle, the Repub­li­can offi­cial warned.

A BBG CEO influ­enced by the admin­is­tra­tion could pen­e­trate estab­lished media out­lets with pack­ages, series or oth­er news prod­ucts pro­duced by the BBG’s net­works but picked up and aired by tra­di­tion­al media like Fox News or Bre­it­bart. Many U.S. out­lets cur­rent­ly use con­tent from VOA.

“No mon­ey would even change hands, you’ve had no effect on the bud­get,” the offi­cial said. “But it will den­i­grate the prod­uct.”

1b. An Alter­net piece com­pares movies made by the chair­man and deputy chair­man of Trump’s cam­paign to Nazi pro­pa­gan­da films, those of Leni Riefen­stahl, in par­tic­u­lar. It is note­wor­thy that David Bossie, the deputy chair­man of Trump’s cam­paign is the pres­i­dent and chair­man of Cit­i­zens Unit­ed, the orga­ni­za­tion whose law­suit opened the door to the vir­tu­al­ly unlim­it­ed fund­ing of Amer­i­can elec­tions by the ultra-rich.

“Trump Cam­paign Lead­ers Made Movies Com­pa­ra­ble to Nazi Pro­pa­gan­da” by Alex Kotch; Alter­net; 10/06/2016. [13]

. . . . . Ear­ly on, Trump court­ed the far right, retweet­ing posts from the Twit­ter accounts of white suprema­cists. He also received sup­port from some he appar­ent­ly didn’t court, win­ning praise from the likes of for­mer KKK leader David Duke, and even made the Cal­i­for­nia bal­lot as the nom­i­nee of a racist polit­i­cal par­ty [28].

See­ing how Steve Ban­non had craft­ed Bre­it­bart News, the right-wing web­site he ran, into a hub for young white nation­al­ists (the “alt-right”) to bat around con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, Trump tapped Ban­non on August 17 to be his cam­paign CEO. As exec­u­tive chair­man of Bre­it­bart, Ban­non pub­lished decep­tive [29] and man­u­fac­tured [30] sto­ries to aid the right wing, and in the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign treat­ed his media com­pa­ny as a sur­ro­gate for Trump.

On Sep­tem­ber 1, Trump chose David Bossie [31], pres­i­dent and chair­man of the right-wing non­prof­it Cit­i­zens Unit­ed, as his deputy cam­paign man­ag­er. Bossie has pro­duced 25 films with Cit­i­zens Unit­ed Pro­duc­tions. Some of these films fea­ture Ban­non as writer, direc­tor and exec­u­tive pro­duc­er.

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

Accord­ing to the Wash­ing­ton Post [31], Bossie’s job in Trump World is “craft­ing attacks against Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Hillary Clin­ton, min­ing past con­tro­ver­sies involv­ing her and for­mer pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton, and cul­ti­vat­ing Trump’s bond with con­ser­v­a­tive activists.” Bossie has hound­ed [32] the Clin­tons for decades, begin­ning in the ear­ly 1990s, when he dug up dirt about Bill Clin­ton when he was still gov­er­nor of Arkansas. A few years lat­er, U.S. Rep. Dan Bur­ton (R‑Ind.) hired Bossie to inves­ti­gate Clinton’s 1996 cam­paign fundrais­ing, a post he was lat­er forced to resign. Bossie went on to write a book that blamed the Clin­ton admin­is­tra­tion for the ter­ror­ist attacks of Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001, and to pro­duce Hillary: The Movie with Cit­i­zens Unit­ed. This year, the group sued the State Depart­ment for emails and oth­er records of those who served as aides to Hillary Clin­ton while she was sec­re­tary of state. Bossie is tak­ing a leave of absence from Cit­i­zens Unit­ed dur­ing the cam­paign, and also retir­ing from the Defeat Crooked Hillary super PAC, which he found­ed this June.

Bossie and Trump are no strangers; in 2014, Trump’s foun­da­tion donat­ed $100,000 [33] to the Cit­i­zens Unit­ed Foun­da­tion, the same year that the group filed a law­suit against New York Attor­ney Gen­er­al Eric Schnei­der­man, who was suing Trump over the fraud­u­lent prac­tices of Trump Uni­ver­si­ty.

Some have wagered that Trump, along with Ban­non and for­mer Fox News chief Roger Ailes, is plan­ning a new, post-elec­tion media empire [34], which could help his brand whether he wins or los­es. Some think Trump doesn’t want to win the elec­tion, but the hir­ing of Ban­non and Bossie may show that Trump, one of the world’s loud­est ego­ma­ni­acs, thinks he deserves the White House and knows the only way to win it is through pro­pa­gan­da that rein­forces his giant moun­tain of fab­ri­ca­tions, con­spir­a­cies, racism and sex­ism.

The late Andrew Bre­it­bart, founder of the web­site Ban­non went on to lead, called Ban­non the “Leni Riefen­stahl of the Tea Par­ty move­ment [14]”—a ref­er­ence to the infa­mous cre­ator of Nazi pro­pa­gan­da films. While insist­ing [15] to a Wall Street Jour­nal reporter in 2011 that his work isn’t pro­pa­gan­da, Ban­non went on to cite Riefen­stahl among his main influ­ences, along with Sovi­et film­mak­er Sergei Eisen­stein and pro­gres­sive doc­u­men­tar­i­an Michael Moore.

Ivana Trump, the candidate’s first wife, told Van­i­ty Fair in 1990 that her hus­band kept a copy of Adolf Hitler’s My New Order [35], a col­lec­tion of speech­es that dis­play the Nazi dictator’s excep­tion­al abil­i­ty to manip­u­late real­i­ty, in a cab­i­net near his bed. “Per­haps his pos­ses­sion of Hitler’s speech­es mere­ly indi­cates an inter­est in Hitler’s genius at pro­pa­gan­da,” mused Marie Bren­ner, author of the arti­cle.

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

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

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

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

‘Bor­der War: The Bat­tle Over Ille­gal Immi­gra­tion’

The pur­pose of “Bor­der War” is clear­ly to cast undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants as threats to Amer­i­can cit­i­zens. The film, from 2006, takes us to Nogales, Ari­zona (a town on the Mex­i­can bor­der), and South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, fol­low­ing five char­ac­ters, four of whom have antipa­thy for undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants: a bor­der patrol agent whose par­ents emi­grat­ed legal­ly from Mex­i­co; a con­gress­man who wrote a bill [36] to build a wall across the U.S.-Mexico bor­der and sta­tion guards all along it; a woman whose hus­band, a sheriff’s deputy, was killed by an undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grant he had stopped; a Mex­i­can-Amer­i­can woman who was molest­ed by undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants and whose nephew was killed by one. In an attempt to feign bal­ance, also includ­ed is an orga­niz­er for immi­gra­tion reform who found­ed a group that pro­vides water and food to immi­grants cross­ing the U.S.-Mexico bor­der.

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

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

Lupe Moreno, whose nephew was killed by an undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grant, is part of a group called Min­ute­man, a cadre of vig­i­lante bor­der patrollers labeled a “nativist extrem­ist group [37]” by the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter. The film doesn’t both­er to explain much about the group because if they did, they’d have to acknowl­edge its dis­turb­ing his­to­ry and ties to neo-Nazis [38] and white suprema­cists.

One scene shows com­pet­ing ral­lies, one in favor of rights for the undoc­u­ment­ed and anoth­er for strict immi­gra­tion enforce­ment. At the lat­ter ral­ly, Min­ute­man co-founder Jim Gilchrist, who was run­ning for Con­gress at the time, spoke. In an inter­view there, Gilchrist claims that at the oth­er ral­ly, “[t]here’s not one Amer­i­can flag out there;” how­ev­er, he says that in the pro-immi­grant demon­stra­tion, a “com­mu­nist flag” and an anar­chist flag flew. Gilchrist was run­ning for office as a mem­ber of the Amer­i­can Inde­pen­dent Par­ty, the seg­re­ga­tion­ist par­ty of George Wal­lace. This par­ty, based in Cal­i­for­nia, has actu­al­ly put Trump [28] on the pres­i­den­tial bal­lot in that state this year.

On his 2006 cam­paign web­site [39], Gilchrist claimed, “Although some [ille­gal immi­grants from Mex­i­co] pre­sum­ably have good inten­tions, at least twen­ty per­cent (20%) of south­ern bor­der-crossers are known crim­i­nals, drug deal­ers, sex traf­fick­ers, and gang lords.”

Chris Sim­cox, Min­ute­man co-founder, makes an appear­ance. He’s now in jail [40] for child molesta­tion.

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

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

Moreno met [41] with Trump last year, and Bre­it­bart News was hap­py to spread the word. Unsur­pris­ing­ly, Gilchrist endorsed Trump [42] in 2015.

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

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

‘Bat­tle for Amer­i­ca’

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

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

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

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

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

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

In her analy­sis of Riefenstahl’s “Tri­umph of the Will,” Price not­ed that “per­haps most crit­i­cal­ly, Germany’s come­back is por­trayed as well under­way; the view­er need only jump aboard. What is being said implic­it­ly is that there is no alter­na­tive.” In “Bat­tle for Amer­i­ca,” Ban­non and Bossie fol­low the same for­mu­la, posit­ing the Tea Par­ty move­ment as the band­wag­on to jump on. But the for­mu­la isn’t the only thing about the film that car­ries echoes of Goebbels: a researcher and coun­sel for the film was white nation­al­ist Robert Van­der­voort [43].

‘Occu­py Unmasked’

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

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

The film opens with a suc­ces­sion of TV news clips about the nation­al debt, splic­ing select­ed seg­ments togeth­er over a sus­pense­ful sound­track in order to dra­ma­tize the “debt cri­sis.” We see an image of Oba­ma with the words “an orga­niz­er” float­ing next to him. Lib­er­als, as in “Bat­tle for Amer­i­ca,” are labeled as rad­i­cals ready to destroy Amer­i­ca as we know it. In fact, the movie has three acts, named after Bannon’s char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of strate­gies in Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Rad­i­cals,” a guide for com­mu­ni­ty orga­niz­ers hailed by the left and scorned by the right. (Iron­i­cal­ly, how­ev­er, Tea Par­ty orga­niz­er Dick Armey and oth­er con­ser­v­a­tives used some of Alinsky’s tac­tics [44].) Ban­non frames Occu­py as an anar­chist group—even the “a” in “Occu­py Unmasked” is the anar­chist symbol—representing “the orga­nized left,” which is said to be set on secur­ing gov­ern­ment hand­outs.

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

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

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

While “black bloc” anar­chists were a pres­ence at Occu­py, they by no means rep­re­sent­ed the move­ment as a whole, and pro­gres­sives crit­i­cized [45] them. But Ban­non shows count­less clips of pro­test­ers wear­ing all black and cov­er­ing their faces, clash­ing with police, com­mit­ting van­dal­ism or march­ing while hold­ing black flags. Bre­it­bart says the pro­test­ers are social­ists who want to over­throw the gov­ern­ment and cre­ate ten­sion with the police.

No one inter­viewed on cam­era is a non­par­ti­san jour­nal­ist or researcher, yet Ban­non and Bossie present their com­men­ta­tors as author­i­ties, fail­ing to dis­close their ties to Bre­it­bart News. Pam Key, who worked at Glenn Beck’s The Blaze (she now writes for Bre­it­bart News) and is known for mak­ing mis­lead­ing videos [46], says, “These peo­ple have set off a pow­der keg, and what is gonna hap­pen, nobody knows … It has the poten­tial of becom­ing incred­i­bly vio­lent.” She claims Occu­piers planned their vio­lence “in tents at night with drugs and weapons.”

Oth­er guests include Mandy Nagy, known online as Lib­er­ty Chick, who was a writer and researcher for Bre­it­bart News; Bran­don Dar­by, who once served as an infor­mant for the FBI on left-wing pro­test­ers (he now man­ages Breitbart’s Texas ver­ti­cal); Chris­t­ian Hart­sock, a Bre­it­bart colum­nist who has worked with James O’Keefe on mis­lead­ing sting videos against ACORN and teach­ers’ unions; and David Horowitz, an author and speak­er whom the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter con­sid­ers an anti-immi­grant [47] and anti-Mus­lim extrem­ist and who fre­quent­ly writes for Bre­it­bart.

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

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

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

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

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

Now, Ban­non and Bossie, this estimable pair of pro­pa­gan­da pur­vey­ors, are Trump’s best hope in his decep­tive media cam­paign. Trump’s cam­paign ads [48], as well as the con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries [49] he and his sur­ro­gates ped­dle, would seem to bear their imprint.

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

2a. With big ques­tions loom­ing over how, or even if, a Trump admin­is­tra­tion will mod­i­fy the US’s var­i­ous trade agree­ments, it’s worth not­ing we haven’t heard Trump men­tion a trade war with Ger­many despite all his tirades against Chi­na and Mex­i­co. It rais­es the ques­tion of why, since Germany’s unprece­dent­ed and dam­ag­ing sur­plus­es make it such an obvi­ous trade war tar­get [16].

Obvi­ous­ly, part of the answer lies in the fact that Deutsche Bank–a key ele­ment of the Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work and the Under­ground Reich–is owed hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars by Trump. Trump’s oth­er con­nec­tions run in the direc­tion of the Under­ground Reich as well.

“Opin­ion: If Trump Wants A Trade War, Start­ing One with Ger­many Makes More Sense” by Matthew LynnMar­ket­Watch; 11/30/2016. [16]

Build­ing a wall along the bor­der with Mex­i­co. Launch­ing a trade war with Chi­na. Scrap­ping the Trans-Pacif­ic Part­ner­ship, and rethink­ing the involve­ment of the Unit­ed States in trade agree­ments around the world.

When he moves into the White House in Jan­u­ary, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump will have plen­ty of options for mak­ing good on his cam­paign promise to use tar­iff bar­ri­ers to rebuild Amer­i­can indus­try.

There is one poten­tial trade war, how­ev­er, that few peo­ple have so far noticed — but which could soon be his eas­i­est tar­get. Ger­many. Giv­en the size of its pop­u­la­tion, it runs a far larg­er trade sur­plus than Chi­na — and a mas­sive sur­plus with the U.S. in par­tic­u­lar. Even bet­ter, the indus­tries to pick off are rel­a­tive­ly sim­ple to iden­ti­fy, and would actu­al­ly have a chance of cre­at­ing well-paid Amer­i­can jobs.

Heck, Trump would even be set­tling a fam­i­ly score — the Ger­mans deport­ed his grand­fa­ther, Fred­er­ick Trump, [50] for draft-dodg­ing. They might be feel­ing ner­vous about Jan. 20, the day of Trump’s inau­gu­ra­tion, in Bei­jing and Mex­i­co City — but the place they should be feel­ing real­ly ner­vous is Berlin.

When Trump con­found­ed expec­ta­tions ear­li­er this month, and brushed aside Hillary Clin­ton to win the pres­i­den­cy, world lead­ers were not exact­ly falling over one anoth­er to con­grat­u­late them. Few had want­ed him to win. Even so, the mes­sage from Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel was espe­cial­ly chilly, mak­ing plen­ty of point­ed remarks about lib­er­al val­ues and shared respon­si­bil­i­ties.

To most com­men­ta­tors, that was a reflec­tion of Merkel’s com­mit­ment to tol­er­ance and open­ness, which are cer­tain­ly among her best qual­i­ties. But it may have reflect­ed some­thing else as well. Trump’s cam­paign rhetoric about rip­ping up free-trade agree­ments, and about pro­tect­ing Amer­i­can indus­try, must sound trou­bling to any­one who is aware of what keeps the Ger­man econ­o­my tick­ing.

In Ger­many, the threat its mas­sive trade sur­plus with Amer­i­ca has already been not­ed. The influ­en­tial and well-con­nect­ed mag­a­zine Der Spiegel ran an arti­cle in the wake of his vic­to­ry say­ing that Ger­many was prepar­ing itself for a trade war [51] with Trump’s Amer­i­ca. The country’s Eco­nom­ics Min­istry has, the mag­a­zine report­ed, been told to start putting togeth­er the counter-argu­ments against tar­iffs bar­ri­ers — point­ing out that it is the result of the country’s aging pop­u­la­tion and the struc­ture of its indus­tri­al base.

If there is to be a diplo­mat­ic war over the issue, Ger­many wants its ground to be well-pre­pared.

Is it right to be wor­ried?

It cer­tain­ly is.

Germany’s trade sur­plus is absolute­ly mas­sive, and unprece­dent­ed in mod­ern indus­tri­al his­to­ry.

Last year it hit 8.9% of gross domes­tic prod­uct, and it is like­ly to break through 9% before the end of 2016. Glob­al­ly, it is sec­ond in size only to China’s, but giv­en that Ger­many is a far small­er coun­try, it is only fair to mea­sure it on a per capi­ta basis — and when you look at it that way, Germany’s sur­plus is sev­en times big­ger than China’s.

Even worse, Chi­na is a devel­op­ing coun­try — and those are gen­er­al­ly expect­ed to run sur­plus­es as they build up indus­tries through exports. Over time, those sur­plus­es come down, as domes­tic demand grows, and that process already seems to be under­way in Chi­na. In con­trast, Ger­many is a mature indus­tri­al econ­o­my, and yet its sur­plus keeps on grow­ing relent­less­ly.

In truth, Ger­many has become a machine for dump­ing defla­tion on the rest of the world.

Its sur­plus with the U.S. is par­tic­u­lar­ly acute. Accord­ing to U.S. gov­ern­ment fig­ures [52], the coun­try ran a deficit with Ger­many of $74 bil­lion in 2015. Go back to 2006 and that was only $47 bil­lion — it has almost dou­bled in a decade, and keeps on grow­ing.

Out of the total deficit for 2015 of $531 bil­lion, Ger­many account­ed for 14% of it, an impres­sive achieve­ment giv­en that Ger­many only accounts for 4.6% of the glob­al econ­o­my. If you are sit­ting in the White House, think­ing that you want to do some­thing about the deficit, then it makes a lot more sense to con­cen­trate on Ger­many than Mex­i­co or Chi­na.

That is not all.

Much of Germany’s trade sur­plus is clear­ly the result of cur­ren­cy manip­u­la­tion. The euro has depressed the real val­ue of the country’s exports, allow­ing it rack up those huge exports. You can argue about whether China’s cur­ren­cy is real­ly at its fair val­ue or not — but no one can real­ly dis­pute that Germany’s cur­ren­cy is way, way below what it would be if it still had the deutschemark.

Even more sig­nif­i­cant­ly, there would be some real gains from tak­ing action. When Trump talks of bring­ing back well-paid man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs, it is hard to see how a trade war with Chi­na would help. Blue-col­lar work­ers in Michi­gan don’t real­ly want to assem­ble toys 12-hours a day on near-star­va­tion wages, which is what a lot of Chi­nese labor­ers do.

But Germany’s exports [53] to the U.S. are high-end goods such as auto­mo­biles, which account for 12% of its exports by them­selves, fol­lowed by vehi­cle parts, chem­i­cals and aero­space. Those are pre­cise­ly the kind of well-paid jobs that Trump vot­ers thought their man would deliv­er for them.

So could Trump launch a trade war with Ger­many?

Under World Trade Orga­ni­za­tion rules, it would not be easy. It is very hard to impose uni­lat­er­al tar­iffs on one coun­try with­out rip­ping up the entire net­work. But that doesn’t mean that he couldn’t find a way. Volkswagen’s diesel scan­dal, for exam­ple, might be the per­fect excuse to slap puni­tive restric­tions on the Ger­man car indus­try. Like­wise, its med­ical exports can always be deemed “unsafe.”

If Amer­i­cans had to ditch their BMWs for Cadil­lacs and Lin­colns, that would cer­tain­ly cre­ate a few decent­ly paid jobs.

A trade war between the Unit­ed Sates and Ger­many is prob­a­bly the last thing it needs. But if Trump wants to make good on some of his pledges, restric­tions on Ger­man exports are the eas­i­est way to do that — and that means it can’t be ruled out.

2b. It is impos­si­ble to argue that there isn’t sys­tem­at­ic cur­ren­cy manip­u­la­tion tak­ing place when a coun­try is part of a mas­sive cur­ren­cy union that per­ma­nent­ly low­ers the val­ue of its cur­ren­cy. Ger­many has also engaged in sys­tem­at­ic wage sup­pres­sion specif­i­cal­ly intend­ed to encour­age exports [54]. On a per capi­ta basis, Germany’s sur­plus is sev­en times larg­er than China’s and is cur­rent­ly only behind Chi­na and Japan (bare­ly) in the rank­ing of coun­tries run­ning sur­plus­es with the US [55].

The Ger­man gov­ern­ment is already hon­ing its coun­ter­ar­gu­ments against these crit­i­cism, and they basi­cal­ly amount to some­thing along the lines of ‘don’t blame us, all of the crit­i­cism aren’t real­ly very valid, and there noth­ing we can do about this…or intend to do about this’ [51]:

“Ger­many Pre­pares for Trade Con­flict with Trump” by Chris­t­ian Reier­mann; Der Spiegel Inter­na­tion­al ; 11/25/2016. [21]

Germany’s cur­rent account sur­plus is high­er than ever before and the coun­try is con­cerned that it could become a tar­get of US pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s ire as a result. Berlin is already mak­ing prepa­ra­tions for the pos­si­ble con­flict.

US pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump has long accused Chi­na of being a rogue state on the glob­al eco­nom­ic stage [56]. He has blast­ed the coun­try for alleged­ly destroy­ing huge num­bers of Amer­i­can jobs with its exports and he says he is plan­ning puni­tive tar­iffs in retal­i­a­tion.

This kind of trade pol­i­cy blus­ter com­ing from the new­ly elect­ed pres­i­dent is gen­er­at­ing unease in Berlin. The Ger­man gov­ern­ment is con­cerned that Ger­many could soon fall into Trump’s sights as well.

There are plen­ty of rea­sons for that. Germany’s cur­rent account sur­plus has nev­er been as high as it is this year and nev­er before has that sur­plus rep­re­sent­ed such a sig­nif­i­cant share of the country’s gross domes­tic prod­uct. Mak­ing mat­ters worse is the fact that the US is the largest con­sumer of Ger­man exports.

Accord­ing to Ger­man gov­ern­ment cal­cu­la­tions from Octo­ber, the cur­rent account sur­plus is set to climb to 8.9 per­cent this year, which would be larg­er than ever before and high­er even than China’s. Such a sur­plus comes about when a coun­try pro­duces more than it con­sumes and receives more rev­enues from over­seas than it invests.

As high as it is, though, the cur­rent sur­plus is like­ly to con­tin­ue grow­ing. The recent fall in the euro’s val­ue rel­a­tive to the dol­lar fol­low­ing Trump’s elec­tion makes Ger­man prod­ucts and ser­vices even more com­pet­i­tive. And many econ­o­mists believe that the val­ue of the dol­lar will con­tin­ue to climb, which means that the val­ue of the euro against the dol­lar will shrink cor­re­spond­ing­ly. Their pre­dic­tions are based on recent indi­ca­tions that Trump’s announced eco­nom­ic stim­u­lus poli­cies will push up both America’s sov­er­eign debt load and its inter­est rates.

Experts at Germany’s cen­tral bank, the Bun­des­bank, and at the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank have cal­cu­lat­ed an even high­er cur­rent account sur­plus for Ger­many in a fore­cast to be released in two weeks. Accord­ing­ly, Germany’s sur­plus will exceed 9 per­cent for this year — and per­haps by quite a lot.

Nev­er before has a large, mature and pros­per­ous econ­o­my like Germany’s pro­duced high­er sur­plus­es. Such val­ues tend to be seen in emerg­ing economies, which lever­age their com­pet­i­tive advan­tages — such as low wages — to achieve pros­per­i­ty via exports.

Ongo­ing Con­flict

It seems like­ly that Trump’s admin­is­tra­tion will ulti­mate­ly turn its ire on Berlin and experts in both the Finance Min­istry and the Eco­nom­ics Min­istry are prepar­ing for a pos­si­ble new trans-Atlantic front in what has been an ongo­ing con­flict with its Euro­pean neigh­bors.

Indeed, Ger­many has had plen­ty of oppor­tu­ni­ty in recent years to for­mu­late its coun­ter­ar­gu­ments. The Eco­nom­ics Min­istry, under the lead­er­ship of Merkel’s vice chan­cel­lor Sig­mar Gabriel, recent­ly pre­sent­ed a sweep­ing rejec­tion of the wide­spread crit­i­cism. The argu­ment holds that Germany’s sur­plus would be much low­er if both the euro and oil weren’t so cheap. Such tem­po­rary fac­tors “like­ly account for around a third of Germany’s pre­vail­ing cur­rent account sur­plus,” they wrote in a recent report. In oth­er words, once the euro gains strength and oil prices go up, the sur­plus will shrink on its own.

The Eco­nom­ics Min­istry report claims that con­ser­v­a­tive col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ments play less of a role. Rel­a­tive­ly low wages make Ger­man prod­ucts more afford­able in addi­tion to sup­press­ing domes­tic demand, which reduces the num­ber of import­ed prod­ucts sold in the coun­try. But the report says that con­ser­v­a­tive wages in the past “have rel­a­tive­ly lit­tle effect on the cur­rent account bal­ance.” Plus, the report con­tin­ues, such effects wane as wages climb, as has been the case more recent­ly.

Oth­er caus­es, by con­trast, are longer last­ing. The report notes that an aging soci­ety, like Germany’s, tends to focus more on sav­ing mon­ey for retire­ment, which damp­ens con­sump­tion. Up to 3 per­cent of Germany’s sur­plus can be traced back to that phe­nom­e­non, the report claims. Fur­ther­more, Ger­mans often invest their saved mon­ey in the US, thus mak­ing mon­ey avail­able to the Amer­i­cans with which they can buy Ger­man prod­ucts.

Such cap­i­tal exports con­tin­ue to increase the cur­rent account sur­plus in sub­se­quent years as well. The mon­ey from Ger­many tends to be invest­ed in long-term secu­ri­ties such as com­pa­ny or sov­er­eign bonds. Yields from these invest­ments are then wired to Ger­many, which increas­es the sur­plus fur­ther. Around 2 per­cent of Germany’s cur­rent sur­plus is attrib­ut­able to this effect, accord­ing to the report.

Only about 1 per­cent of Germany’s cur­rent account sur­plus, the Ger­man Eco­nom­ics Min­istry report posits, is the result of eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy deci­sions over which the gov­ern­ment in Berlin has con­trol — by invest­ing more mon­ey in the country’s infra­struc­ture, for exam­ple, or low­er­ing tax­es. The report arrives at the con­clu­sion “that the vast major­i­ty of Germany’s cur­rent account sur­plus is the prod­uct of mar­ket econ­o­my process­es and deci­sions of mar­ket par­tic­i­pants, both domes­ti­cal­ly and abroad.”

In oth­er words, Ger­man politi­cians can’t do much about it. The ques­tion, how­ev­er, is if Trump will agree.

3. A devel­op­ment that may fac­tor into American/German trade rela­tions is the call to insti­tute a Ger­man-led all-EU army in response to Trump’s benign state­ments about Rus­sia and iso­la­tion­ist incli­na­tions.

Ger­many is mov­ing in the direc­tion of pur­chas­ing Amer­i­can C‑130 car­go air­craft to bol­ster the EU mil­i­tary build-up. If this dynam­ic accel­er­ates and the new, Ger­man-led all EU mil­i­tary pur­chas­es much Amer­i­can-made equip­ment, this may sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduce Ger­many’s huge trade sur­plus with the U.S.

Anoth­er pos­si­bil­i­ty may be that, with the Trumpenkampfver­ban­de’s incli­na­tion toward dis­tort­ing or out­right fal­si­fy­ing the news, deals such as the C‑130 pur­chase will be “weaponized” as pro­pa­gan­da by the “Ban­non Amt”–the admin­is­tra­tion’s media attack machine.

The hyp­ing of such deals would per­mit Ger­many to con­tin­ue its trade pol­i­cy vis a vis the U.S. in large­ly unin­ter­rupt­ed fash­ion.

“Ger­many Floats Plan to Buy New Lock­heed Trans­port Planes” by Sabine Siebold and Andrea Sha­lal; Reuters; 10/25/2016. [21]

Ger­many is look­ing at buy­ing 4–6 new Lock­heed Mar­tin (LMT.N [57]) C‑130J mil­i­tary troop trans­port planes and oper­at­ing them joint­ly with France, plac­ing a fur­ther dent in plans for a ful­ly Euro­pean air­lift capa­bil­i­ty fol­low­ing the delayed A400M.

Ger­man Defence Min­is­ter Ursu­la von der Leyen and her French coun­ter­part, Jean-Yves Le Dri­an, signed an agree­ment in Paris late on Tues­day to study a joint tac­ti­cal air­lift pool of C‑130J air­craft, the Ger­man defence min­istry said.

The lat­est ini­tia­tive in Fran­co-Ger­man defence co-oper­a­tion comes against the back­drop of tough nego­ti­a­tions with Air­bus Mil­i­tary (AIR.PA [58]) over delays to the A400M, as well as grow­ing Euro­pean con­cerns over a pos­si­ble shift in UK defence pri­or­i­ties away from its con­ti­nen­tal part­ners fol­low­ing the Brex­it vote. . . .

4a.  Next, the pro­gram high­lights how Trump’s deci­sion to con­tin­ue his busi­ness under­tak­ings with his chil­dren as oper­a­tional sur­ro­gates fig­ures to affect for­eign and eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy.

In the Philip­pines, pres­i­dent Duterte has imple­ment­ed a well-doc­u­ment­ed vig­i­lante pro­gram, sum­mar­i­ly assas­si­nat­ing actu­al and accused drug traf­fick­ers with­out due process of law.

This pol­i­cy will help the val­ue of Trump’s invest­ment in the Philip­pines. In turn, the Philip­pines will affect Trump’s eco­nom­ic and diplo­mat­ic pol­i­cy toward Chi­na.

Pres­i­dent Duterte recent­ly named the pri­ma­ry Trump fam­i­ly busi­ness proxy in the nation (Jose E.B. Anto­nio), to be the spe­cial gov­ern­ment enjoy to the Unit­ed States.

“ . . . . So, under the deal, Trump’s chil­dren will be paid mil­lions of dol­lars through­out their father’s pres­i­den­cy by Jose E.B. Anto­nio, the head of Cen­tu­ry Prop­er­ties.

Duterte recent­ly named Anto­nio the spe­cial gov­ern­ment envoy to the Unit­ed States. The con­flicts here could not be more trou­bling or more bla­tant: Pres­i­dent Trump will be dis­cussing U.S. pol­i­cy in South­east Asia with one of his (or his children’s) busi­ness part­ners, a man who is the offi­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive of a for­eign leader who likens him­self to Hitler. Also note that the Trump fam­i­ly has an enor­mous finan­cial inter­est in Duterte’s dead­ly cam­paign: Root­ing out crime in the Philip­pines is good for the real estate val­ues. . . .  Duterte recent­ly named Anto­nio the spe­cial gov­ern­ment envoy to the Unit­ed States. The con­flicts here could not be more trou­bling or more bla­tant: Pres­i­dent Trump will be dis­cussing U.S. pol­i­cy in South­east Asia with one of his (or his children’s) busi­ness part­ners, a man who is the offi­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive of a for­eign leader who likens him­self to Hitler. Also note that the Trump fam­i­ly has an enor­mous finan­cial inter­est in Duterte’s dead­ly cam­paign: Root­ing out crime in the Philip­pines is good for the real estate val­ues. . . . .”

The devel­op­er of the Trump Tow­er of the Philip­pines was just appoint­ed as the spe­cial gov­ern­ment envoy to the Unit­ed States.

“How Don­ald Trump’s Busi­ness Ties Are Already Jeop­ar­diz­ing U.S. Inter­ests” by Kurt Eichen­wald; Newsweek; 12/13/2016. [22]

Don­ald Trump hasn’t been sworn in yet, but he is already mak­ing deci­sions and issu­ing state­ments to world lead­ers that rad­i­cal­ly depart from Amer­i­can for­eign pol­i­cy, all to the ben­e­fit of his family’s cor­po­rate empire. Because of this, the next pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States is already vul­ner­a­ble to undue influ­ence by oth­er nations, includ­ing through bribery and even black­mail.

Giv­en the vast scope of the clash­es between the Trumps’ exten­sive busi­ness deal­ings and the inter­ests of Amer­i­ca, the pres­i­dent-elect vowed dur­ing the cam­paign to elim­i­nate poten­tial con­flicts by sev­er­ing ties to his company—yet, with only weeks to go until he takes the oath of office, he hasn’t laid out a cred­i­ble plan. Trump’s sole sug­ges­tion to date—a “blind trust” run by his children—would not elim­i­nate the con­flicts, giv­en that the mon­ey gen­er­at­ed would still go to his fam­i­ly. More­over, such a trust would be any­thing but blind: If Trump Tow­er Moscow goes under con­struc­tion, Trump will see it while in Rus­sia and know that his kids are mak­ing mil­lions of dol­lars from it. That is why for­eign lead­ers hop­ing to cur­ry favor will do every­thing they can to help Trump’s fam­i­ly erect more build­ings, sell more jew­el­ry and make mon­ey through any means pos­si­ble. Even if the fam­i­ly steps away from its com­pa­ny while Trump is pres­i­dent, every nation on Earth will know that doing busi­ness with the Trump Orga­ni­za­tion will one day ben­e­fit the fam­i­ly. The only way to elim­i­nate the conflicts—sell the com­pa­ny, divvy up the proceeds—has been reject­ed by Trump, whose tran­si­tion team refused to respond to any ques­tions from Newsweek for this arti­cle.

Some of the most egre­gious con­flicts that have emerged involve coun­tries in Asia and its sub­re­gions, par­tic­u­lar­ly the Philip­pines. Glob­al pol­i­cy on the Philip­pines has been fraught with ten­sion since the elec­tion in May of Rodri­go Duterte as the country’s pres­i­dent. Duterte, who boast­ed to vot­ers dur­ing the cam­paign that he had shot a fel­low law school stu­dent for teas­ing him, has cham­pi­oned the killing of sus­pect­ed crim­i­nals and street chil­dren by vig­i­lante death squads. In 2015, he said that if he became pres­i­dent, up to 100,000 peo­ple sus­pect­ed of links to ille­gal drugs could be killed. Just months after his elec­tion, Duterte said he was eager to lead a geno­cide of up to 3 mil­lion drug addicts. “I’d be hap­py to slaugh­ter them,” he said. “At least if Ger­many had Hitler, the Philip­pines would have [me].” And in Sep­tem­ber, an admit­ted hit man tes­ti­fied to a Sen­ate com­mit­tee in the Philip­pines that Duterte presided over a killing cam­paign when he was may­or of Davao City.

As pres­i­dent, Duterte rapid­ly showed he was lit­tle con­cerned with the legal pro­tec­tions afford­ed to Fil­ipinos sus­pect­ed of crimes. Dur­ing his first three months in office, 850 Fil­ipinos were killed by death squads, appar­ent­ly on lit­tle more than the sus­pi­cion that they were drug users and deal­ers. Since then, the esti­mat­ed death toll has climbed to 4,500. The car­nage has been con­demned through­out the West­ern world; the Par­lia­ment of the Euro­pean Union and two Unit­ed Nations human rights experts have urged Duterte to end the mas­sacre. One of the experts even appeared to sug­gest that Duterte and his gov­ern­ment could be held legal­ly account­able for com­mit­ting mass mur­der in vio­la­tion of inter­na­tion­al law. “Claims to fight illic­it drug trade do not absolve the gov­ern­ment from its inter­na­tion­al legal oblig­a­tions and do not shield state actors or oth­ers from respon­si­bil­i­ty for ille­gal killings,” said Agnes Calla­mard, the U.N. spe­cial rap­por­teur on sum­ma­ry exe­cu­tions. In response to the denun­ci­a­tions, Duterte lashed out at the Unit­ed States, threat­en­ing to align his coun­try more with Chi­na.

Despite uni­ver­sal con­dem­na­tion of the ongo­ing slaugh­ter of Fil­ipinos, Trump sig­naled his approval of Duterte’s poli­cies dur­ing a phone call on Decem­ber 2. Accord­ing to Duterte—an account that has gone uncon­test­ed by Trump—the pres­i­dent-elect endorsed his tac­tics as “the right way.” Duterte added: “[Trump] was wish­ing me suc­cess in my cam­paign against the drug prob­lem.” (He also said Trump invit­ed him to the White House, a cour­tesy not yet extend­ed to There­sa May, the prime min­is­ter of Britain, America’s most impor­tant strate­gic ally.)

The Trump tran­si­tion team did not respond to Newsweek when asked if the pres­i­dent-elect had intend­ed to sig­nal his approval of the car­nage in the Philip­pines; did not believe the con­clu­sions of the U.N. and West­ern nations that Duterte ordered the killings; or sim­ply did not under­stand the mag­ni­tude of his com­ments. One thing, how­ev­er, is clear: The Trump fam­i­ly has an enor­mous finan­cial inter­est in keep­ing Duterte hap­py. Trump Tow­er at Cen­tu­ry City in Makati, Philip­pines, is on the verge of com­ple­tion, with poten­tial buy­ers hav­ing placed deposits on at least 94 per­cent of the con­do­mini­ums, accord­ing to Cen­tu­ry Prop­er­ties, the Trump Organization’s busi­ness part­ner there. Dur­ing the U.S. pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, Trump’s sons Don­ald Jr. and Eric trav­eled to Makati to shov­el some dirt in a cer­e­mo­ny to cel­e­brate the struc­tur­al com­ple­tion of the build­ing; a pho­to­graph of the two men shov­el­ing along­side top Cen­tu­ry Prop­er­ties exec­u­tives was post­ed on the building’s web­site. (On that same web­site, a line of jew­el­ry by Trump’s daugh­ter Ivan­ka is offered for sale, and it is expect­ed to be avail­able for pur­chase at the $150 mil­lion prop­er­ty.) As with almost every prop­er­ty with Trump’s name on it built over the past decade, his com­pa­ny is not the devel­op­er; it mere­ly sold its name to Cen­tu­ry Prop­er­ties to use on the build­ing. Although details of the trans­ac­tion are not pub­lic, con­tracts for oth­er Trump brand­ing deals reviewed by Newsweek show that they require a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar up-front pay­ment as well as up to 25 per­cent of the developer’s rev­enue, year after year. So, under the deal, Trump’s chil­dren will be paid mil­lions of dol­lars through­out their father’s pres­i­den­cy by Jose E.B. Anto­nio, the head of Cen­tu­ry Prop­er­ties.

Duterte recent­ly named Anto­nio the spe­cial gov­ern­ment envoy to the Unit­ed States. The con­flicts here could not be more trou­bling or more bla­tant: Pres­i­dent Trump will be dis­cussing U.S. pol­i­cy in South­east Asia with one of his (or his children’s) busi­ness part­ners, a man who is the offi­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive of a for­eign leader who likens him­self to Hitler. Also note that the Trump fam­i­ly has an enor­mous finan­cial inter­est in Duterte’s dead­ly cam­paign: Root­ing out crime in the Philip­pines is good for the real estate val­ues.

The Trump family’s deal­ings in the Philip­pines will set off a con­sti­tu­tion­al cri­sis on the first day of Trump’s pres­i­den­cy, if any­one in the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment decides to abide by the law. There is seri­ous debate as to whether Trump will be vio­lat­ing the Constitution’s Emol­u­ments Clause—which pro­hibits office hold­ers from accept­ing gifts from for­eign states—since the major­i­ty of his company’s busi­ness is with oth­er cor­po­ra­tions and devel­op­ers. That is not the case in the Philip­pines. The man writ­ing mil­lions of dol­lars’ worth of checks to the Trump fam­i­ly is the Duterte government’s spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the Unit­ed States. To argue that these pay­ments will be con­sti­tu­tion­al if they are paid to the Trump chil­dren, and not to Trump per­son­al­ly, is absurd. This con­flict demands con­gres­sion­al hear­ings, and could be an impeach­able offense.

This unyield­ing prin­ci­ple that for­eign pow­ers can­not be allowed to hold sway over a pres­i­dent dates back to the Found­ing Fathers. In Fed­er­al­ist 68, Alexan­der Hamil­ton wrote of the dan­gers of such a sce­nario. “Noth­ing was more to be desired than that every prac­ti­ca­ble obsta­cle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and cor­rup­tion,” he wrote in ref­er­ence to the pow­ers bestowed in the Con­sti­tu­tion. “These most dead­ly adver­saries of repub­li­can gov­ern­ment might nat­u­ral­ly have been expect­ed to make their approach­es from more than one quar­ter, but chiefly from the desire in for­eign pow­ers to gain an improp­er ascen­dant in our coun­cils.”

Trump’s con­flicts of inter­est in the Philip­pines can­not be resolved so long as any­one in his fam­i­ly has an inter­est in the build­ing there. Even if his busi­ness part­ner, Anto­nio, is removed as Duterte’s spe­cial envoy, Trump won’t sim­ply for­get that the Makati build­ing exists, that the author­i­tar­i­an Philip­pine pres­i­dent has the pow­er to dam­age the Trump family’s finan­cial inter­ests there and that the pro­tec­tion of what is now a high-pro­file tar­get for attacks is in Duterte’s hands. (In the past three years, there have been nine strikes in the Philip­pines. The most recent, in Sep­tem­ber, was a bomb­ing that killed 15 peo­ple and injured 70; in response, Duterte declared that the coun­try was in a “state of law­less­ness” and ordered police and the mil­i­tary to search all cars and cit­i­zens at check­points.)

The result of all this is that Duterte has extra­or­di­nary lever­age against Trump, and no one will know what impact that might have on the future president’s deci­sion-mak­ing. For exam­ple, will Trump ignore the promis­es he made dur­ing the cam­paign on immi­gra­tion when it comes to the Philip­pines, giv­en the dev­as­tat­ing impact it could have on the econ­o­my there?

A report by the research divi­sion of Nomu­ra Secu­ri­ties con­clud­ed that, under Trump’s declared poli­cies, “the Philip­pines’ econ­o­my stands to lose the most” of all coun­tries in South­east Asia. And because many Fil­ipino guest labor­ers in the Unit­ed States are undoc­u­ment­ed, the report said that a tight­en­ing of immi­gra­tion poli­cies could lead to few­er migrant work­ers from that coun­try. “This could impact remit­tances inflows back to the Philip­pines,” the report says. “The U.S. is host to 34.5 per­cent of the total over­seas Fil­ipino pop­u­la­tion, and we esti­mate accounts for about 31 per­cent of total work­er remit­tances.” Accord­ing to the Philip­pine Sta­tis­tics Author­i­ty, remit­tances from the Unit­ed States totaled almost $6 bil­lion in the first sev­en months of 2016. Trans­la­tion: Under Trump’s immi­gra­tion poli­cies, huge sup­ports for the Fil­ipino econ­o­my could col­lapse. On Novem­ber 15, Moody’s announced that Trump’s poli­cies would neg­a­tive­ly affect the Philippines’s cred­it rat­ing, which could thwart Duterte from keep­ing his cam­paign promis­es of tax cuts and greater spend­ing on infra­struc­ture. Duterte could eas­i­ly pun­ish Trump for under­min­ing his domes­tic agen­da in the Philip­pines by tak­ing actions against the family’s busi­ness inter­ests. And Trump knows that any­thing he does to alien­ate Duterte or harm the Philip­pine econ­o­my could threat­en his family’s wealth.

Fol­low the Falling Domi­noes

Trump also has seri­ous con­flicts of inter­est regard­ing Chi­na. Part of this, once again, traces from the Philip­pines. Trump has vowed to label Chi­na a “cur­ren­cy manip­u­la­tor” that arti­fi­cial­ly dri­ves down the val­ue of the ren­min­bi, which would make Chi­nese goods cheap­er to import. That would allow the Unit­ed States to impose duties on Chi­nese imports to off­set any cur­ren­cy manip­u­la­tion.

Chi­na is one of the top two export des­ti­na­tions for the Philip­pines, with about 55 per­cent of that trade com­ing from the elec­tron­ics busi­ness, accord­ing to the Philip­pines Sta­tis­tics Author­i­ty. Chi­na then uses a large por­tion of those Philip­pines imports for the man­u­fac­ture of prod­ucts sold to the Unit­ed States. Like an inter­na­tion­al trade ver­sion of top­pling domi­noes, Amer­i­can rules that decrease imports into the Unit­ed States will, in turn, slam the largest Philip­pines export busi­ness, roil­ing that country’s econ­o­my. The last domi­no hits Trump Tow­er at Cen­tu­ry City: The glob­al prop­er­ty con­sul­tan­cy ser­vices com­pa­ny CB Richard Ellis has attrib­uted increased demand for lux­u­ry con­do­mini­ums in the Philip­pines to the country’s grow­ing econ­o­my. Impose duties on Chi­nese imports to Amer­i­ca today and Trump Tow­er in the Philip­pines could fall into bank­rupt­cy soon after, cost­ing the president’s chil­dren mil­lions of dol­lars.

So if Trump revers­es his promise to have Chi­na declared a cur­ren­cy manip­u­la­tor on day one of his pres­i­den­cy, would it be because some­one explained to him that the ren­min­bi has been going up in val­ue over the past 12 months or because he now sees the pos­si­bly dire impli­ca­tions to the Amer­i­can econ­o­my from a trade war with Chi­na? Or would it be because he wants his kids’ busi­ness in the Philip­pines to pros­per? No one but Don­ald Trump will ever know the truth.

There’s a sim­i­lar­ly dis­turb­ing conun­drum in Tai­wan. On Decem­ber 2, Trump—with no con­sul­ta­tion with State Depart­ment spe­cial­ists on the del­i­cate rela­tions between Amer­i­can and China—upended almost 40 years of U.S. pol­i­cy by tak­ing a phone call from the pres­i­dent of Tai­wan, which broke away from the main­land in 1949. The ques­tion of whether Tai­wan is an inde­pen­dent coun­try or part of Chi­na proved to be a major diplo­mat­ic chal­lenge after U.S. Pres­i­dent Richard Nixon nor­mal­ized rela­tions with Chi­na. To avoid con­flict, the Unit­ed States adopt­ed what is called the “One Chi­na” pol­i­cy, under which the U.S. main­tains unof­fi­cial rela­tions with Tai­wan but does not con­sid­er it to be its own coun­try. Because Amer­i­ca does not rec­og­nize Tai­wan as its own polit­i­cal enti­ty, all Amer­i­can lead­ers since Ronald Rea­gan have refused to speak to its pres­i­dent. This month, Trump pushed his posi­tion even fur­ther, say­ing he saw no rea­son to be bound by the One Chi­na pol­i­cy that has smoothed Sino-Amer­i­can rela­tions and instead advo­cat­ing using it as a bar­gain­ing chip in trade and oth­er nego­ti­a­tions.

If Trump want­ed to reverse decades of pol­i­cy fol­lowed by both Repub­li­can and Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­dents, he should have wait­ed until after his inau­gu­ra­tion; pres­i­dents-elect are not sup­posed to inter­fere in for­eign pol­i­cy.

Why did he not wait? Only Trump knows, but alle­ga­tions have already emerged that the deci­sion may have been influ­enced by his family’s finan­cial inter­ests. Cheng Wen-tsan, may­or of Taoyuan, Tai­wan, told The Chi­na Times [59] that a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Trump’s com­pa­ny named Chen Sit­ing, who is also known as Char­lyne Chen, had vis­it­ed to express the family’s inter­est in build­ing a hotel near the city’s air­port. Accord­ing to the may­or, Chen also said that Eric Trump would be vis­it­ing the island by the end of the year. Since that report, the Trump Orga­ni­za­tion has stat­ed that no trips to Tai­wan were autho­rized for the hotels divi­sion and that no con­ver­sa­tions were under­way about such a project. How­ev­er, on Novem­ber 24, Chen told For­mosa Tele­vi­sion that she had assist­ed the Trump Orga­ni­za­tion in the past to sell some of its prop­er­ties in Las Vegas to buy­ers in Tai­wan and Shang­hai. As first report­ed in The New York Times, Anne-Marie Donoghue, who iden­ti­fies her­self on her Face­book page as a Trump Hotels Asia sales direc­tor, post­ed a pho­to from a vis­it to Tai­wan in Octo­ber, which she described as a “work trip”; this was one month after the may­or of Taoyuan said he met with Chen.

Final­ly, there is the ques­tion of whether the Trump Orga­ni­za­tion will attempt any deals in Chi­na dur­ing the next four years. In 2011, Eric Trump pub­licly stat­ed that the fam­i­ly com­pa­ny planned to expand its brand into Chi­na after the com­ple­tion of the Mani­la project. That build­ing is almost fin­ished, mean­ing the Chi­nese could well be expect­ing con­tacts from the Trump fam­i­ly soon. What Trump and his tran­si­tion team don’t seem to under­stand is that it does not mat­ter whether Siting’s trip was autho­rized, whether Donoghue was in atten­dance, whether there are dis­cus­sions going on now or whether con­tracts are about to be signed. Just the sus­pi­cion that Trump might re-estab­lish for­mal rela­tions with Tai­wan for the finan­cial ben­e­fit of his children—or might use it as a bar­gain­ing chip for land­ing the kind of devel­op­ment deals on the main­land that Eric Trump discussed—will now be part of the for­eign pol­i­cy cal­cu­la­tions in Bei­jing, as offi­cials there attempt to deal with the new U.S. pres­i­dent.

Extra­di­tion Swap?

The con­flicts between the com­mer­cial inter­ests of the Trump fam­i­ly and U.S. for­eign pol­i­cy extend beyond the many finan­cial ben­e­fits for the next pres­i­dent and his chil­dren. Already, there is a sit­u­a­tion in which the pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States could be black­mailed by a for­eign pow­er through pres­sure relat­ed to his family’s busi­ness entan­gle­ments.

In 2008, the Trump Orga­ni­za­tion struck a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar brand­ing deal with the Dogan Group, a large cor­po­ra­tion named after its influ­en­tial fam­i­ly, for a two-tow­er com­plex in Istan­bul. In 2012, Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan presided over the open­ing cer­e­monies and met with Trump. But in June of this year, Erdo­gan called for the Trump name to be removed from the com­plex because of his anti-Mus­lim rhetoric; the Turk­ish pres­i­dent also said pre­sid­ing over the ded­i­ca­tion had been a ter­ri­ble mis­take. Erdo­gan lat­er told asso­ciates he intend­ed to impede America’s use of a crit­i­cal Air Force base in Turkey should Trump win the pres­i­den­cy, a Mid­dle East­ern financier with con­tacts inside the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment told Newsweek. The financier spoke on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty to avoid jeop­ar­diz­ing rela­tions with his offi­cial con­tacts.

In July, mem­bers of the Turk­ish mil­i­tary attempt­ed a coup. Erdo­gan crushed the plot­ters, and his gov­ern­ment has arrest­ed more than 36,000 sus­pect­ed par­tic­i­pants and shut down 17 media out­lets. The pri­ma­ry cul­prit, Erdo­gan declared almost imme­di­ate­ly, was Fethul­lah Gülen, a 77-year-old Mus­lim spir­i­tu­al leader who has lived in Pennsylvania’s Poconos region for many years. Erdo­gan demand­ed that the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion extra­dite Gülen to face charges relat­ed to the coup.

Gülen and Erdo­gan were allies until 2013, the year a series of cor­rup­tion inves­ti­ga­tions erupt­ed regard­ing gov­ern­ment offi­cials accused of engag­ing in a “gas for gold” scheme with Iran; Erdo­gan claimed the man with whom he once shared com­mon goals was the dri­ving force behind the inquiries, which he called an attempt­ed “civil­ian coup.” Erdo­gan has placed Gülen on country’s list of most-want­ed ter­ror­ists, but the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion has not act­ed on the extra­di­tion request, and it has told the Turks they would have to pro­duce proof of Gülen’s involve­ment in the coup attempt before he could be sent to Ankara, the Turk­ish cap­i­tal.

Enter Don­ald Trump. The day of the U.S. elec­tion, the news site The Hill pub­lished an arti­cle by Lieu­tenant Gen­er­al Michael T. Fly­nn, who has since been named as Trump’s nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er. “The forces of rad­i­cal Islam derive their ide­ol­o­gy from rad­i­cal cler­ics like Gülen, who is run­ning a scam,” Fly­nn wrote. “We should not pro­vide him safe haven…. It is imper­a­tive that we remem­ber who our real friends are.” (Fly­nn, who runs a con­sult­ing firm hired by a com­pa­ny with links to the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment, seems unaware that rad­i­cal Islam­ic groups like the Islam­ic State, or ISIS, are more like­ly to decap­i­tate some­one like Gülen.)

That arti­cle, accord­ing to the financier with con­tacts in the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment, led Erdo­gan and his asso­ciates to believe a Trump admin­is­tra­tion would not demand more evi­dence to jus­ti­fy deport­ing Gülen. So, almost imme­di­ate­ly, Erdo­gan stopped con­demn­ing Trump and instead voiced sup­port for him. The day after the U.S. elec­tion, Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Binali Yildirim issued a state­ment direct­ly link­ing his country’s good wish­es for Trump with its desire to get Gülen back. “We con­grat­u­late Mr. Trump. I am open­ly call­ing on the new pres­i­dent from here about the urgent extra­di­tion of Fethul­lah Gülen, the mas­ter­mind, execu­tor and per­pe­tra­tor of the heinous July 15 coup attempt, who lives on U.S. soil.”

In a tele­phone call that same day with Erdo­gan, Trump passed on com­pli­ments to the Turk­ish pres­i­dent from a senior offi­cial with his company’s busi­ness part­ner on the Istan­bul project, whom the pres­i­dent-elect was report­ed to have called “a close friend.” The offi­cial, Mehmet Ali Yal­cindag, is the son-in-law of Dogan Hold­ing own­er Aydin Dogan and was instru­men­tal in the devel­op­ment of the Trump com­plex in Turkey. That Trump deliv­ered mes­sages from his busi­ness part­ner to Erdo­gan has been report­ed in numer­ous media out­lets in Turkey, includ­ing some close­ly tied to the gov­ern­ment, and has not been denied by Turk­ish offi­cials or the Trump tran­si­tion team.

Accord­ing to the Mid­dle East­ern financier with con­tacts in the Erdo­gan admin­is­tra­tion, Trump’s casu­al praise of a mem­ber of the Dogan fam­i­ly prompt­ed Erdo­gan to believe this rela­tion­ship might give him lever­age over the pres­i­dent-elect. In the past, Erdo­gan has placed enor­mous pres­sure on the Dogan Group, which owns media oper­a­tions that have been crit­i­cal of him, by impos­ing a $2.5 bil­lion tax fine and call­ing for sup­port­ers to boy­cott its news­pa­pers and tele­vi­sion sta­tions. Then, just weeks after hear­ing Trump’s kind words about his Dogan busi­ness part­ner, Erdo­gan lashed out at the Turk­ish com­pa­ny again.

On Decem­ber 1, author­i­ties detained Bar­baros Muratogl, a 28-year vet­er­an of Dogan who was the company’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive to Ankara. His alleged crime? Main­tain­ing links to the move­ment led by Gülen, thus con­nect­ing the Dogan exec­u­tive to the attempt­ed coup. In response, Dogan shares fell 8.6 per­cent. (The pur­port­ed evi­dence against Muratogl: pub­lic accu­sa­tions from an edi­tor at a news­pa­per owned by a com­pa­ny that com­petes with Dogan.)

Once again, fol­low the domi­noes as they tip over. Erdo­gan is frus­trat­ed in his efforts to grab Gülen; Trump prais­es a Turk­ish exec­u­tive who works with his busi­ness part­ner there, Dogan. A few weeks lat­er, a senior Dogan exec­u­tive is detained on thread­bare alle­ga­tions. If Erdogan’s gov­ern­ment puts more pres­sure on the com­pa­ny that’s pay­ing mil­lions of dol­lars to Trump and his chil­dren, rev­enue flow­ing from the tow­er com­plex in Istan­bul could be cut off. That means Erdo­gan has lever­age with Trump, who will soon have the pow­er to get Gülen extra­dit­ed. The financier with con­tacts in the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment explained the dynam­ic to Newsweek: “Erdo­gan has some­thing he believes Trump wants, and Trump has some­one Erdo­gan des­per­ate­ly wants.”

Who Dares Say No to Ivan­ka?

With U.S. secu­ri­ty and for­eign pol­i­cy already jeop­ar­dized by the president-elect’s con­flicts, a few hor­ri­fy­ing instances of poten­tial cor­rup­tion and abuse of pow­er seem quaint by com­par­i­son. For exam­ple, in a stun­ning breach of pro­to­col, Ivan­ka Trump—who sup­pos­ed­ly will be on the oth­er side of the divid­ing line between the Trump busi­ness­es and the Trump presidency—sat in on her father’s first meet­ing with Japan­ese Prime Min­is­ter Shin­zo Abe short­ly after the elec­tion. At the same time, offi­cials with her cloth­ing com­pa­ny were work­ing on a licens­ing agree­ment with Sanei Inter­na­tion­al. The largest share­hold­er of Sanei’s par­ent com­pa­ny is the Devel­op­ment Bank of Japan, which is whol­ly owned by the Japan­ese gov­ern­ment head­ed by Abe.

Giv­en the extra­or­di­nary pow­er Don­ald Trump now wields, it’s obvi­ous that for­eign gov­ern­ments and cor­po­ra­tions can eas­i­ly cur­ry favor, bribe or even black­mail him, which is why the Found­ing Fathers so feared out­side influ­ences on the Exec­u­tive Branch. Once he’s pres­i­dent, Trump does not need to ask for cash to be deliv­ered to his pock­ets or to those of his chil­dren to cross the line into illic­it activities—and pos­si­bly impeach­able offens­es. Macri of Argenti­na can­not know if his coun­try will be pun­ished by the Trump White House if the remain­ing per­mits for that Buenos Aires project are denied. Abe of Japan does not know if a gov­ern­ment holdup of Ivan­ka Trump’s deal with Sanei Inter­na­tion­al will lead her impul­sive father to call for an Amer­i­can mil­i­tary with­draw­al from his coun­try. Erdo­gan of Turkey has told asso­ciates he believes he must keep pres­sure on Trump’s busi­ness part­ner there to essen­tial­ly black­mail the pres­i­dent into extra­dit­ing a polit­i­cal ene­my. Duterte of the Philip­pines believes he has received approval from the pres­i­dent-elect to, at best, abide by or, at worst, con­tin­ue to autho­rize the fren­zied slaugh­ter of drug users and deal­ers, and knows he can harm the Trump fam­i­ly if the pres­i­dent ever angers him.

Amer­i­ca is on the precipice of an unprece­dent­ed threat, as allies and ene­mies alike cal­cu­late whether they are deal­ing with a pres­i­dent they can please mere­ly by enrich­ing his chil­dren. Pres­i­dent-elect Trump has a mon­u­men­tal choice before him: He can, as he promised dur­ing the cam­paign, pro­tect the sanc­ti­ty of the presidency—which he can do only by sell­ing his com­pa­ny. Or he can remain cor­rupt­ed by the con­flicts between his country’s future and his family’s for­tune.

On Decem­ber 1, author­i­ties detained Bar­baros Muratogl, a 28-year vet­er­an of Dogan who was the company’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive to Ankara. His alleged crime? Main­tain­ing links to the move­ment led by Gülen, thus con­nect­ing the Dogan exec­u­tive to the attempt­ed coup. In response, Dogan shares fell 8.6 per­cent. (The pur­port­ed evi­dence against Muratogl: pub­lic accu­sa­tions from an edi­tor at a news­pa­per owned by a com­pa­ny that com­petes with Dogan.)

Once again, fol­low the domi­noes as they tip over. Erdo­gan is frus­trat­ed in his efforts to grab Gülen; Trump prais­es a Turk­ish exec­u­tive who works with his busi­ness part­ner there, Dogan. A few weeks lat­er, a senior Dogan exec­u­tive is detained on thread­bare alle­ga­tions. If Erdogan’s gov­ern­ment puts more pres­sure on the com­pa­ny that’s pay­ing mil­lions of dol­lars to Trump and his chil­dren, rev­enue flow­ing from the tow­er com­plex in Istan­bul could be cut off. That means Erdo­gan has lever­age with Trump, who will soon have the pow­er to get Gülen extra­dit­ed. The financier with con­tacts in the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment explained the dynam­ic to Newsweek: “Erdo­gan has some­thing he believes Trump wants, and Trump has some­one Erdo­gan des­per­ate­ly wants.”

4b. In India, Trump’s busi­ness con­tacts encom­pass peo­ple from Naren­dara Mod­i’s BJP.

“World of Poten­tial Con­flict For a Devel­op­er Pres­i­dent” Richard C. Pad­dock, Eric Lip­ton, Ellen Bar­ry, Rod Nord­land, Dan­ny Hakim and Simon Romero; The New York Times ; 11/27/2016. [23]

. . . . Mr. Trump’s part­ner in the Trump Tow­er Mum­bai is the Lod­ha Group, found­ed by Man­gal Prab­hat Lod­ha, vice pres­i­dent of the Bharatiya Jana­ta Par­ty — cur­rent­ly the gov­ern­ing par­ty in Par­lia­ment — in Maha­rash­tra State. The Lod­ha Group has already nego­ti­at­ed with the Unit­ed States gov­ern­ment; it announced a land­mark pur­chase of a prop­er­ty, known as the Wash­ing­ton House, on tony Alta­mount Road, from the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment for 3.75 bil­lion rupees, almost $70 mil­lion.

His part­ner in an office com­plex in Gur­gaon, near New Del­hi, is IREO, whose man­ag­ing direc­tor, Lalit Goy­al, is the broth­er-in-law of a Bharatiya Jana­ta mem­ber of Par­lia­ment, Sud­han­shu Mit­tal. Mr. Mit­tal, in an inter­view, has denied hav­ing any con­nec­tion with the real estate com­pa­ny. . . .

4c. Some­one we will be exam­in­ing at great length in shows to come is Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Tul­si Gab­bard (D‑Hawaii). A major sup­port­er of Bernie Sanders dur­ing the cam­paign, Gab­bard was inter­viewed for a cab­i­net posi­tion.

Gab­bard is viewed pos­i­tive­ly by Steve Ban­non, Trump’s top advis­er and “Alt-Right” king­pin.

“Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep. Tul­si Gab­bard ‘Under Seri­ous Con­sid­er­a­tion’ for Trump Cab­i­net”; ABC News; 11/21/2016. [24]

. . . . Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep. Tul­si Gab­bard, a high-pro­file Bernie Sanders sup­port­er dur­ing the Demo­c­ra­t­ic pri­maries, is “under seri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion” for var­i­ous Cab­i­net posi­tions in Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s admin­is­tra­tion, accord­ing to a senior offi­cial on the tran­si­tion team.

Accord­ing to the offi­cial, the 35-year-old Hawaii con­gress­woman is being looked as a can­di­date for sec­re­tary of state, sec­re­tary of defense or Unit­ed Nations ambas­sador. If select­ed, Gab­bard will be the first woman as well as the youngest pick for Trump’s Cab­i­net.

She met with him this morn­ing in his New York City offices at Trump Tow­er. The Trump tran­si­tion source said that their sit-down was a ‘ter­rif­ic meet­ing’ and that the Trump team sees her as very impres­sive. . . .

4d. Tul­si Gab­bard met with Don­ald Trump to dis­cuss a pos­si­ble cab­i­net appoint­ment.

“Don­ald Trump Met with Bernie Sanders Sup­port­er Tul­si Gab­bard to Dis­cuss Syr­ia” by Alex Daugh­er­ty; McClatchy DC ; 11/21/2016. [25]

” . . . .  Stephen Ban­non, Trump’s chief strate­gist, report­ed­ly likes Gab­bard because of her stance on guns, refugees and Islam­ic extrem­ism along with her abil­i­ty to invoke strong anti-estab­lish­ment pop­ulist sen­ti­ment on the left. . . .”

4e. Tul­si Gab­bard is a sup­port­er of Modi, net­work­ing with Mod­i’s BJP and help­ing to plan Mod­i’s U.S. vis­it.

“Tul­si Gab­bard, US Con­gress­woman Calls on Modi” [IANS]; Times of India; 9/29/2014. [26]

. . . . Tul­si Gab­bard, the first Hin­du Amer­i­can in the US Con­gress, called on vis­it­ing Indi­an Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi [60] here Sun­day and pre­sent­ed him with a gin­ger flower gar­land from Hawaii.

Gab­bard, a strong sup­port­er of Modi, is a Demo­c­rat Con­gress­woman from Hawaii.

The 33-year-old Gab­bard is the first prac­tis­ing Hin­du Amer­i­can in the Con­gress who took her oath on the Bhag­wad Gita.

She had spo­ken to Modi after his vic­to­ry in the Indi­an gen­er­al elec­tions and con­grat­u­lat­ed him and the Bharatiya Jana­ta Par­ty (BJP) [61].

She has also been involved in the plan­ning of Modi’s US vis­it and had last month met two BJP lead­ers Vijay Jol­ly and MP Rajyavard­han Rathore in that con­nec­tion.

Gab­bard has always main­tained that it was a “great blun­der” by the US gov­ern­ment to have denied a visa to Modi in the wake of the 2002 Gujarat riots. . . .

4f. Gab­bard, it turns out, is also net­worked with the RSS, the fas­cist par­ty for which the BJP serves as a polit­i­cal catspaw.

“Tul­si Gab­bard, the First Hin­du in U.S. Con­gress, on Modi, Hin­duism, and Link­ing Islam to Ter­ror” by Manu Bal­achan­dran; Quartz (India); 3/02/2016. [27]

. . . . Speak­ing at a fundrais­ing event [62] for the BJP in August 2014 . . . Gab­bard said that Modi’s elec­tion vic­to­ry was only pos­si­ble because “peo­ple stood up, one by one by one by one, and said we will demand that this change occurs.” . . . Gab­bard was treat­ed as roy­al­ty on her vis­it to India last year. As she hob­nobbed with the Indi­an prime min­is­ter and for­eign min­is­ter among oth­ers, The Tele­graph, a Kolkata-based news­pa­per, called her [63] “the Sangh’s mas­cot” in the US. The Sangh, a moniker for the Rashtriya Swayam­se­vak Sangh (RSS), is a right-wing hin­dut­va organ­i­sa­tion and the ide­o­log­i­cal guardian of the BJP par­ty that rules India now. . . .