Lazy Saturday ReadsPosted: December 12, 2015 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Donald Trump, fascism 11 Comments
I should probably stop focusing on Donald Trump, but I just can’t avert my eyes to the damage he’s doing to my country. I truly believe this man is dangerous–perhaps even more so because he’s doesn’t have any real political ideology. He simply opens his mouth and spews out the ugliness inside him.
I read a riveting and horrifying article in Vanity Fair yesterday by Mark Bowden, a writer who spent a significant amount of time with Trump years ago while doing an interview for Playboy Magazine. I consider the whole thing must-read, but I’ll give you some excerpts.
Donald Trump Really Doesn’t Want Me to Tell You This, But …
He was like one of those characters in an 18th-century comedy meant to embody a particular flavor of human folly. Trump struck me as adolescent, hilariously ostentatious, arbitrary, unkind, profane, dishonest, loudly opinionated, and consistently wrong. He remains the most vain man I have ever met. And he was trying to make a good impression. Who could have predicted that those very traits, now on prominent daily display, would turn him into the leading G.O.P. candidate for president of the United States? [….]
With Trump, what you see is what you get. His behavior was cringe-worthy. He showed off the gilded interior of his plane—calling me over to inspect a Renoir on its walls, beckoning me to lean in closely to see . . . what? The luminosity of the brush strokes? The masterly use of color? No. The signature. “Worth $10 million,” he told me….
It was hard to watch the way he treated those around him, issuing peremptory orders—“Polish this, Tony. Today.” He met with the lady who selected his drapery for the Florida estate—“The best! The best! She’s a genius!”—who had selected a sampling of fabrics for him to choose from, all different shades of gold. He left the choice to her, saying only, “I want it really rich. Rich, rich, elegant, incredible.” Then, “Don’t disappoint me.” It was a pattern. Trump did not make decisions. He surrounded himself with “geniuses” and delegated. So long as you did not “disappoint” him—and it was never clear how to avoid doing so—you were gold.
Trump was often “disappointed,” and then he viciously attacked people who worked for him. And example:
I watched as Trump strutted around the beautifully groomed clay tennis courts on his estate, managed by noted tennis proAnthony Boulle.The courts had been prepped meticulously for a full day of scheduled matches. Trump took exception to the design of the spaces between courts. In particular, he didn’t like a small metal box—a pump and cooler for the water fountain alongside—which he thought looked ugly. He first questioned its placement, then crudely disparaged it, then kicked the box, which didn’t budge, and then stooped—red-faced and fuming—to tear it loose from its moorings, rupturing a water line and sending a geyser to soak the courts. Boulle looked horrified, a weekend of tennis abruptly drowned.
Bowden characterizes Trump as an “adolescent” and a “teenager.” I’m not sure if he’s not even more childish than that. But he has access to unlimited coverage from the media and he has brought the crazies out of the woodwork to cheer him on. No matter how hard “mainstream” Republicans work to stop him, he could still end up being their nominee; and so far they are still saying they would support him.
Timothy Egan at The New York Times: Goose-steppers in the GOP.
Well, he’s got the Hitler vote. The neo-Nazi website, Daily Stormer, was out and proud earlier this week: “Heil Donald Trump — the Ultimate Savior.” After endorsing the Republican presidential front-runner earlier this year for his call to deport 11 million Mexican immigrants, the fomenters of American fascism have now added an apt twist to his slogan, one not far from the truth of the campaign: “Make America White Again.”
Nazis — I hate these guys. Oh, but they’re a tiny minority of pink-faced malcontents living in basements with the windows taped up. Everybody hates them. Add to that supporters of the Ku Klux Klan, who’ve thrown in with Trump as well. David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Klan, liked everything he heard from Trump this week, embracing him for standing up for white nationalism.
And sure, all the little Hitlers probably don’t amount to a hill of beans. But what about the 35 percent of Republican voters, in the New York Times/CBS News poll, who say they’re all in with the man sieg heiled by aspiring brownshirts and men in white sheets?
It’s a very ugly political moment, but there it is: The Republican Party is now home to millions of people who would throw out the Constitution, welcome a police state against Latinos and Muslims, and enforce a religious test for entry into a country built by people fleeing religious persecution. This stuff polls well in their party, even if the Bill of Rights does not.
Paul Farhi at The Washington Post: Thanks to Trump, fringe news enters the mainstream.
Alex Jones may be America’s most successful conspiracy theorist. On his website, Infowars.com, and his daily radio program heard on more than 100 stations nationwide, Jones regularly promotes a variety of beyond-the- fringe ideas: alleged government conspiracies in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001; fluoride-in-the-water health scares; suspicions that the moon landings were faked; doubts about President Obama’s place of birth and birth certificate….
The ranting radio host and the leading Republican candidate shared a microphone, and some common ground, last week in what may have been a dubious first — the first time a leading presidential candidate has been interviewed by a media figure from the far extremes. “Your reputation is amazing,” Trump assured Jones, after Jones assured Trump that most of his listeners supported his candidacy. “I will not let you down.”
Trump finding common ground with Jones is in keeping with Trump’s own rocky relationship with facts and credible information during the campaign. Many of Trump’s more controversial assertions since he declared for president have come from the murky swamp of right-wing, libertarian and flat-out paranoid sources that have proliferated and thrived as the Internet and social media have grown.
Maybe not a leading candidate, but Ron Paul has appeared on Alex Jones’ show many times. So has Paul’s son Rand, who is currently running for president as a Republican. Back to the WaPo article:
Once a small fringe, this “alternative” information ecosystem now includes websites, talk-radio programs, newsletters, conferences and “citizen journalists” who promote, debate and inflate such questionable causes asvaccine denial, climate-change skepticism , and the supposedly imminent imposition of sharia law in America. The fringe nowadays often injects its ideas into the mainstream by gaining the attention of sources broadly popular among conservatives, such as Fox News and the Drudge Report, which devoted attention to rumors that the Operation Jade Helm military exercises this summer in the Southwest were a prelude to a crackdown on civil liberties.
“There’s an information-age tsunami out there that just keeps getting bigger and bigger,” said Steve Smith, a veteran newspaper editor who teaches journalism at the University of Idaho. “When you combine this digital tsunami with the loss of quality and quantity in American journalism [due to cutbacks and economic woes] over the years . . . journalists just don’t have the ability to keep up once a false narrative gains speed.”
Some reporters may be trying to stem the tide, but the big media honchos apparently love Trump. From Common Dreams via Truthdig: Hear a Network CEO Revel in the Amazing Profits of Candidates ‘Throwing Crap at Each Other’ (Audio).
Even as large swaths of the populationcall for media outletsto do their part in stemming the “dangerous tide of hatred, violence, and suspicion” taking hold in the United States, corporate media—which stands to benefit nicely from the $5 billion 2016 presidential election—is egging on that same divisive rhetoric.
“Go Donald! Keep getting out there!” CBS Corporation chief executive Les Moonvesreportedlysaid during an investor presentation Monday.
Trumpeting the advertising dollars already flowing CBS’s way as a result of the crowded 2016 GOP presidential primary, Moonves said: “We love having all 16 Republicans candidates throwing crap at each other — it’s great. The more they spend, the better it is for us.”
“And, you know, this is fun, watching this, let them spend money on us, and we love having them in there,” he declared. “We’re looking forward to a very exciting political year in ’16.”
So much for the “media watchdogs” who are expected to inform the American people.
In other news:
The LA Times: Person detained in fire at Coachella mosque; concern over shooting backlash mounts.
Channel 10 News Tampa Sarasota: Two Muslim Women Attacked in Tampa.
Buzzfeed: Lindsey Graham: Trump Leading Because 40% Of GOP Voters Think Obama Is Kenyan Muslim.
Truthout: Henry A. Giroux | Fascism in Donald Trump’s United States.
The New York Times: Discrimination by Airbnb Hosts is Widespread, Report Says.
The Christian Science Monitor: Guilty verdict for Oklahoma cop in serial rape trial: A national problem.
Wall Street Journal: Citigroup Funded Loan to Syed Farook Made Through Prosper Marketplace.
BBC News: Saudi Arabia’s women vote in election for first time.
What stories are you following today?
I think I threw up a bit….
BB, your post on Trump have been great…horrifying….but you know, informative.
Thanks. Cruz is actually scarier than Trump in some ways.
Be afraid, be very afraid.
That’s hilarious. How are you doing Beata? It’s great to see you.
Yes, you got that right!
They caught the arsonist in CA. LA Times:
Man arrested on hate crime and arson charges in fire at Coachella Valley mosque
Someone needs to ask Bernie Sanders about this:
Gun linked to Paris attacks traced back to Florida arms dealer implicated in Iran-Contra scandal
Excellent story which traces all of the firearms trading to it’s ultimate, deadly destination. All the way back to the Gipper.
Dammit. *Its, not it’s.