An ‘October surprise’ is coming. Trump is making sure of that

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death was not the only electoral upset we’ll see in the coming weeks. And one particular surprise might be delivered by the very people Trump made sure got seats in the Supreme Court

No, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death was not the “October surprise” of this presidential election cycle. It’s true that the late justice’s passing, removing a liberal vote from the dais that soon will be replaced for decades by a conservative one, already has changed the conversation. But by how much, really?

One poll found 12 percent of Democratic voters are more motivated to vote now than they were before the possibility of a 6-3 rightward bend on the highest court in the land became a virtual lock. Despite some breathless reports about Democrats being more fired up, look at that number again.

Twelve is only 3 percent higher than the result being a single-digit motivation increase, and this correspondent always adjusts polls to factor in the margin or error, which typically lands around the 3 percent mark.

So when this cynic, no realist, examined that survey, my first reaction was: “That’s all? Twelve percent?”

There has been an outpouring of grief and sadness since the Brooklyn-born justice passed away, tributes befitting a true political and cultural icon who helped create more equitable workplaces for women, among other achievements. But one could assume her death will have a larger cultural impact than a political one, at least in our current climate.

Allow me to be more clear: In this Donald Trump-centric climate, everything is about the president. If it isn’t right now, wait five minutes for him to tweet about it. Or get ready for “Chopper Talk” as he shouts answers to masked reporters’ muffled questions over the hum of Marine One’s idling engines on the White House’s South Lawn. Or buckle up for his next evening “coronavirus briefing” or campaign rally. No topic or individual or group is ever truly safe from Trump.

There were ample warning signs that Ginsburg had again fallen ill. A body can only take so much, no matter the fighting spirit and still-sharp intellect of the mind inside. There were reasons to suspect, after warding off so many serious health scares, her latest at 87 might be the final straw.

But, make no mistake, the single reason Ginsburg’s passing is not the 2020 “October surprise” is Donald John Trump. Period

He showed us why on Tuesday evening, when Playboy magazine White House correspondent and columnist Brian Karem asked the president, should he lose to Democratic nominee Joe Biden, if he would accept the results of November’s election and ensure a peaceful transition to the 46th commander-in-chief.

“Well,” Trump said, “we’re going to have to see what happens.”

“I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster and…” he continued until Karem tried again.

“We want to have… Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very trans…” Trump said, appearing to catch himself before he did something he almost never does: Admit he might lose. That’s not a The Donald thing to do — it shows weakness to his base. And if Trump has a superpower or true gift, it is the mindset he has nurtured among his core supporters: To them, he is the strongest and most righteous American leader since Ronald Reagan, and maybe even “The Gipper” was a wilting flower compared to “Mr America First.”

“We’ll have a very peaceful…” he stopped again, unable to say the words. “There won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation. The ballots are out of control.”

The sitting President of the United States is attacking the integrity of the election, and all evidence suggests he is preparing to legally challenge ballots in key swing states that are mailed in as a result of the coronavirus pandemic he could have done more to stifle and defeat.

With state and local officials about to send out ballots that, unlike the absentee ballot process, do not require any verification, Trump’s Tuesday night comments amounted to telegraphing his plan. But whatever action he takes would come after November 3rd, which is after October has come and gone.

With the president speaking more and more into live microphones as he ramps up his campaign stops at regional airports in those handful of ultra-competitive states, he showed us Tuesday night there could be many October surprises.

But don’t expect the campaigner-in-chief to light the fuses of those potentially election-changing bombs while speaking to a rowdy crowd of loyalists closely packed around a stage at an airport barely big enough for the small version of Air Force One.

Trump ignored and shunned the James Brady Briefing Room just steps from the Oval Office for three years. Then so did two of his press secretaries, Stephanie Grisham and Sarah Huckabee Sanders. It became an odd hybrid of media storage area and makeshift workspace. It smelled of sweat, lunch and coffee many days. Then came the coronavirus, and a need for him to look and sound presidential.

But the room has become his kryptonite. It’s not the room, though, of course: It’s the questions. He can’t resist stoking tensions and saying anything he can to signal that perceived strength to his base – if he is fighting a media they believe is in bed with Democrats, he calculates they are more likely to go vote in swing states where he needs a large conservative turnout.

The dynamic between Trump and his loyalists resembles a bad relationship on its best days and a toxic one on its worst. He has to take the most extreme positions, including raising the prospect – once you play out the scenario he created Tuesday night – that a President Joe Biden’s first order could be to remove a trespassing Citizen Donald Trump from the executive mansion. Or arrest him if he won’t leave.

But a Trump-uttered October surprise might be of his own making, a gaffe so large that is again raises questions about his fitness for the highest office in the land. Remember the night he advised Americans to inject household cleaners into their bodies to kill or protect them from Covid-19 while standing behind the room’s lectern?

As the band Green Day once sang, “wake me up when September ends.” That is when we could get a string of October surprises from a president who knows he cannot secure a second term without talking. Some have suggested his political career is a New York con-job. Whatever you call it, it is based on him talking. And when he does in the presence of the White House press corps, expect a surprise. Then another. Then another.

His repeated bombshells and chaos-making only further desensitizes us all. It rounds out our formerly shocked edges, and helps make the boundary-pushing actions that sometimes follow seem almost in bounds. This has been his approach for five years. And he’s trying to do it again to challenge what should be a very close election.

Remember that two of the conservative justices Trump put on the Supreme Court (Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh) – which he predicted Thursday likely will have to decide the election – have bucked him this year on high-profile cases. Chief Justice John Roberts, also appointed by a GOP president, has done so several times. Perhaps the election’s real surprise will come in November or December. And perhaps it is those “Trump justices” who will deliver it.  

The Warning Signs of a Combustible Presidential Transition

This summer may provide a grim preview of what the post-election period will be like.

LATROBE, Pennsylvania—President Donald Trump has long signaled that if he loses reelection, it would surely be illegitimate. With his base primed to believe that victory is the only acceptable outcome, the post-election period could be the most combustible in memory. This wrenching summer—and the Trump rally I attended here yesterday—provides a grim preview of what the weeks after the November 3 vote could look like, with a subset of Trump’s supporters already showing that they’re prepared to advance his interests in the streets.

When I asked Leo Walker, a 68-year-old retiree at the rally, whether the president’s backers would publicly protest a Biden victory, he said, “They’ll do more than that. They will take the country back.” By force? “They will take the country back. There’s no doubt in my mind.” Trump, Walker said, “can do no wrong.”

The weeks after the election could be “a very dangerous period” for the country, says Miles Taylor, a former senior official in the Homeland Security Department, whose agents were deployed to quell recent police-violence protests in Portland, Oregon, against the wishes of the state’s leadership. Taylor left the agency last year and has since emerged as an outspoken critic of the president. “I talk to law-enforcement officials all the time who I used to serve with, and they’re nervous about November and December,” he continued. “We’re seeing an historic spike in gun sales. There’s some of the worst polarization in United States history. This is beyond a powder keg. This is the Titanic with powder kegs filled all the way to the hull.”

Faced with civil unrest, a president’s job at the most basic level is to calm things down. That’s not Trump’s style. He’s called the Black Lives Matter movement a “Marxist group,” ignoring its role in fighting racism. He defended 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse after he was charged with killing two people during demonstrations in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last week. On the opening night of their presidential-nominating convention, Republicans gave a speaking role to Patricia and Mark McCloskey, the wealthy white homeowners who pointed guns at Black Lives Matter protesters who marched past their St. Louis property. On Twitter, Trump cheered the arrival of his supporters who showed up in Portland to counter prolonged protests there.

The president has also stoked confrontation beyond the demonstrations over police violence and systemic racism. In the spring, he tweeted a demand to “liberate” Michigan, Virginia, and Minnesota, three states with Democratic governors who’d imposed measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. Armed protesters showed up at Michigan’s state capitol in May objecting to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home orders. They’ve also turned up in Texas to defend businesses that have opened in spite of the orders.

“It’s absolutely terrifying,” says Rosa Brooks, a former Pentagon official in the Obama administration who’s been running war-games-style exercises about the election outcome. “People who study political violence have been warning for a long time that conditions that we’re seeing in the United States resemble those that you see in countries that slide all the way down into civil conflict. We’re only going further down that chute.”

Should the election drag on or should their candidate lose, Trump’s most aggressive supporters might consider it a patriotic act to publicly contest what they see as a fraudulent election. That’s one scenario Brooks has been weighing through her work with the Transition Integrity Project, which includes dozens of former government officials and political strategists from both parties. After holding exercises to game out a potential post-election crisis, one conclusion the group reached was that “President Trump and his more fervent supporters have every incentive to try to turn peaceful pro-Biden (or anti-Trump) protests violent in order to generate evidence that a Democratic victory is tantamount to ‘mob rule,’” as was described in a recent report. (Atlantic staff writer David Frum is a participant in the project.)

In interviews at the rally here yesterday afternoon, Trump supporters told me a Biden victory is so implausible that it could come about only through corrupt means. Latrobe sits in a county where Trump defeated Hillary Clinton four years ago by a 2–1 margin, and no one I spoke with thought Trump was in any real danger of losing this race either.

Walker spoke of a potential “revolution” were that to happen. “He ain’t got a prayer,” Walker said of Biden. “He can only win with fraud.

“That’s the only prayer, and that will cause the third and final revolution in this country,” he added, citing the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.

Before I entered the airplane hangar where the rally was held, I spoke with John and Michele Urban, a couple from Latrobe, as they waited in line to get inside. “Either way, there’s going to be turmoil,” Michele Urban said. “A revolution. I’d never thought I’d live to see it. I’m 66 years old.” Her husband, 68, told me: “Democrats have sealed their own fate. They’ve proven they’re not true Americans. They’re not for this country, and they’re not for our freedom. We’re just not going to take it any more. Trump is a godsend.”

Why Trump Supporters Can’t Admit Who He Really Is

Nothing bonds a group more tightly than a common enemy that is perceived as a mortal threat.

To understand the corruption, chaos, and general insanity that is continuing to engulf the Trump campaign and much of the Republican Party right now, it helps to understand the predicate embraced by many Trump supporters: If Joseph R. Biden Jr. wins the presidency, America dies.

During last week’s Republican National Convention, speaker after speaker insisted that life under a Biden presidency would be dystopian. Charlie Kirk, the young Trump acolyte who opened the proceedings, declared, “I am here tonight to tell you—to warn you—that this election is a decision between preserving America as we know it and eliminating everything that we love.” President Trump, who closed the proceedings, said, “Your vote will decide

“They’re not satisfied with spreading the chaos and violence into our communities. They want to abolish the suburbs altogether,” a St. Louis couple who had brandished weapons against demonstrators outside their home, told viewers. “Make no mistake, no matter where you live, your family will not be safe in the radical Democrats’ America.”

One does not have to be a champion of the Democratic Party to know this chthonic portrait is absurd. But it is also essential, because it allows Trump and his followers to tolerate and justify pretty much anything in order to win. And “anything” turns out to be quite a lot.
In just the past two weeks, the president has praised supporters of the right-wing conspiracy theory

This is just the latest installment in a four-year record of shame, indecency, incompetence, and malfeasance. And yet, for tens of millions of Trump’s supporters, none of it matters. None of it even breaks through. At this point, it appears, Donald Trump really could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose his voters.

This phenomenon has no shortage of explanations, but perhaps the most convincing is the terror the president’s backers feel. Time and again, I’ve had conversations with Trump supporters who believe the president is all that stands between them and cultural revolution. Trump and his advisers know it, which is why the through line of the RNC was portraying Joe Biden as a Jacobin.

Republicans chose that theme despite the fact that during his almost 50 years in politics, Biden hasn’t left any discernible ideological imprint on either the nation or his own party. Indeed, Biden is notable for his success over the course of his political career in forging alliances with many Republicans. I worked at the Office of National Drug Control Policy in the early 1990s when William Bennett was its director and George H. W. Bush was president. Biden was then chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee; he and his staff were supportive of our work, and not in the least ideological. There will be no remaking of the calendar if Joe Biden becomes president.

Still, in the minds of Trump’s supporters lingers the belief that a Biden presidency would usher in a reign of terror. Many of them simply have to believe that. Justifying their fealty to a man who is so obviously a moral wreck requires them to turn Joe Biden and the Democratic Party into an existential threat. The narrative is set; the actual identity of the nominee is almost incidental.
A powerful tribal identity bonds the president to his supporters. As Amy Chua, the author of Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations, has argued, the tribal instinct is not just to belong, but also to exclude and to attack. “When groups feel threatened,” Chua writes, “they retreat into tribalism. They close ranks and become more insular, more defensive, more punitive, more us-versus-them.”

That works both ways. Fear strengthens tribalistic instincts, and tribalistic instincts amplify fear. Nothing bonds a group more tightly than a common enemy that is perceived as a mortal threat. In the presence of such an enemy, members of tribal groups look outward rather than inward, at others and never at themselves or their own kind.

The danger of this mindset—in which the means, however unethical, justify the ends of survival—is obvious. And so in this case, Trump supporters will tolerate everything he does, from

  • making hush-money payments to porn stars and
  • engaging in sexually predatory behavior, to
  • inviting America’s adversaries to intervene in our elections, to
  • pressuring American allies to dig up dirt on the president’s opponent, to
  • cozying up to some of the worst dictators in the world, to
  • peddling crazed conspiracy theories, to
  • mishandling a pandemic at the cost of untold lives, to
  • countless other ethical and governing transgressions.

Trump is given carte blanche by his supporters because they perceive him as their protector, transforming his ruthlessness from a vice into a virtue.

In my experience, if Trump supporters are asked to turn their gaze away from their perceived opponents, and instead to focus and reflect on him and on his failures, they respond in a couple of consistent ways. Many shift the topic immediately back to Democrats, because offering a vigorous moral defense of Donald Trump isn’t an easy task. It’s like asking people to stare directly into the sun; they might do it for an instant, but then they look away. But if you do succeed in keeping the topic on Trump, they often twist themselves into knots in order to defend him, and in some cases they simply deny reality.

“Motivation conditions cognition,” Jonathan Rauch, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a contributing writer at The Atlantic, wisely told me. Very few Trump supporters I know are able to offer an honest appraisal of the man. To do so creates too much cognitive dissonance.

That they are defending a person who is fundamentally malicious, even if he makes judicial appointments of which they approve, is too painful for them to admit. They are similarly unable to admit they are defending an ethic that is at odds with what they have long championed. They have accepted, excused, and applauded Trump’s behavior and tactics, allowing his ends to justify his means. In important respects, this is antithetical to a virtue ethic. So once again, it’s easier for them to look away or engage in self-deception; to convince themselves that Donald Trump is not who he so clearly is.
These reactions aren’t confined to Trump supporters; people across the political spectrum struggle with confirmation bias and motivated reasoning, in giving too much benefit of the doubt to those with whom we agree and judging too harshly and unfairly those with whom we disagree. That is part of the human condition. The degree to which Democrats, including feminists, overlooked or accepted Bill Clinton’s sexually predatory behavior—including his campaign’s effort to smear his accusers and its use of a private investigator to destroy Gennifer Flowers’s reputationbeyond all recognition”—is an illustration of this. So Flowers was branded a “bimbo” and a “pathological liar,” even though Clinton later, under oath, admitted to having an affair with her.

“If you drag a $100 bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find,” James Carville said in response to Paula Jones’s claim that Clinton sexually harassed her. In defending President Clinton against the charges of sexual harassment made by Kathleen Willey, who accused Clinton of groping her without her consent, Gloria Steinem wrote, “The truth is that even if the allegations are true, the President is not guilty of sexual harassment. He is accused of having made a gross, dumb and reckless pass at a supporter during a low point in her life. She pushed him away, she said, and it never happened again. In other words, President Clinton took ‘no’ for an answer.” And Nina Burleigh, who covered the White House for Time magazine, said, “I’d be happy to give him a blowjob just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be lining up with their presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs.” So Democrats should be careful about looking down at others for accommodating themselves to unsavory and even repulsive characters for the sake of partisanship.

But what’s different in this case is that Trump, because of the corruption that seems to pervade every area of his life and his damaged psychological and emotional state, has shown us just how much people will accept in their leaders as a result of “negative partisanship,” the force that binds parties together less in common purpose than in opposition to a shared opponent. As the conservative writer David French has put it, with Donald Trump and his supporters we are seeing “negative partisanship in its near-pure form, and it’s the best way to explain Trump’s current appeal to the Republican party.” His ideology is almost entirely beside the point, according to French: “His identity matters more, and his identity is clear—the Republican champion against the hated Democratic foe.”

I know plenty of Trump supporters, and I know many of them to be people of integrity in important areas of their lives. Indeed, some are friends I cherish. But if there is a line Donald Trump could cross that would forfeit the loyalty of his core supporters—including, and in some respects especially, white evangelical Christians—I can’t imagine what it would be. And that is a rather depressing thing to admit.

Polarization and political tribalism are not new to America; fear and hatred for our fellow citizens have been increasing for decades. We’ve had plenty of presidents who have failed us, in ways large and small. But this moment is different because Donald Trump is different, and because Donald Trump is president. His relentless assault on truth and the institutions of democracy—his provocations and abuse of power, his psychological instability and his emotional volatility, his delusions and his incompetence—are unlike anything we’ve seen before. He needs to be stopped. And his supporters can’t say, as they did in 2016, that they just didn’t know. Now we know. It’s not too late—it’s never too late—to do the right thing.

 

 

Jason Stanley, “How Fascism Works”

Jason Stanley discusses his book, “How Fascism Works”, at Politics and Prose on 9/25/18.

In this clear and direct primer, Stanley, the award-winning author of How Propaganda Works, draws on a wide range of history, philosophy, sociology, and critical race theory to define fascism, explain its mechanisms, and help people identify its red flags. At its most basic level, fascism is simply a movement that achieves power by dividing a population. A country can have fascist strains without actually being fascistic, Stanley says, and he identifies myriad seeds of authoritarianism in U.S. history, from the Confederacy and the Jim Crow South—which inspired Hitler—to the more recent birther movement and the rise of Trump. More generally he cites ten hallmarks of fascism, such as the mythic past, propaganda, anti-intellectualism, and unreality; on the rise today, these must be resisted if we are to stop fascism from gaining hold here.

https://www.politics-prose.com/book/9…

Jason Stanley is the Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. Before coming to Yale in 2013, he was Distinguished Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Rutgers University. Stanley is the author of Know How; Languages in Context; Knowledge and Practical Interests, which won the American Philosophical Association book prize; and How Propaganda Works, which won the PROSE Award for Philosophy from the Association of American Publishers. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Review, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, among other publications. Stanley lives in New Haven, Connecticut, with his family.

21:00
so I you always hear to set it up you
always you I always hear people saying
well when when presidents a president
Trump take an example when his
supporters don’t realize they’re not
getting the material benefits they
expected they will throw you know he’ll
lose their support unfortunately that is
not how this kind of politics works it’s
not a politics of material benefit
it’s a politics of loyalty fascism is
about loyalty and power it replaces
material interests it replaces truth and
reality by loyalty and power ah as
Arendt says the fascists resemble Mafia
bosses they stock their administrations
with with family members and and and
people from their businesses because of
loyalty and that’s
Sisseton so I don’t look at people who
21:52
do that and say they’re being
21:52
inconsistent I say no good you’re being
21:54
consistent because loyalty is your thing
21:56
so uh so so what you what what in that
22:04
chapter I believe in him klemper is
22:06
talking about how much the psychological
22:09
wages of German as’ tied your tied
22:12
Germans to Hitler even well beyond the
22:16
point at which they should of April 1945
22:19
the Red Army is in the gates of Berlin
22:21
and clampers trudging through the woods
22:24
with a soldier missing an arm and he
22:27
says to the soldier I guess it’s time to
22:29
give up and the soldier says what do you
22:32
mean Hitler’s got them trapped and
22:35
klemper says what what the soldiers a
22:37
young man he’s lost his arm you know
22:39
what is he and Klemperer says uh and the
22:44
soldier says yeah it’s Hitler’s
22:45
birthday’s coming up and Hitler just
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meant to suck the Red Army in and trap
22:50
them he’s never lied to us yet and
22:53
klemper says he’d been lying
22:55
consistently year after year after year
22:58
after year I mean literally people would
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till the last moment I mean I’ve spent
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years of my life in Germany and I’ve met
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people who still believed in him so so
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you know the bond of loyalty
23:11
what fascist politics tries to do is it
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tries to break down your any of your
23:16
connection to your material interest and
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say well what you have is you have you
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national identity your ethnic identity
23:22
and your bond with the leader and that’s
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why and and that bond is so powerful and
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so meaningful to people that they will
23:30
you know they will just to see that they
23:33
will like it will last through great
23:36
trial and tribulation it will last you
23:39
certainly the loss of their material
23:41
interests and if you look at countries
23:42
that suffer from fascist politics I
23:45
would say Russia right now is one uh you
23:48
can see that the leader becomes very
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popular even as people’s economic
23:53
situation becomes worse so you can’t
23:56
like wait around for oh you know when
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their health insurance gets taken away
24:00
though no it doesn’t work like that I
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mean
24:03
these are you know air Dewan in Turkey I
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mean these are leaders who win elections
24:08
and they win elections by a politics of
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loyalty they win elections by lying so
24:14
so so I’ll talk for five more minutes
24:19
and then and then take questions so I’m
24:23
going through so what I do in my book is
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I give you a template I give you a
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template of of sides I used to be I am
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an analytic philosopher but I’m not just
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one of the many things I am but I sort
24:38
of like militantly did not pay attention
24:40
to the world as my stepmother and my
24:44
father would always remind me and so
until birtherism so my first New York
Times piece in 2011 was about birtherism
because I had read enough Arendt to
realize that was weird that shouldn’t
happen in a democracy and I recognized
the trap the trap is something that’s
familiar from the protocols of the
Elders design and my family both my
parents are Holocaust survivors my
mother and father two of my three
parents are Holocaust survivors and and
so obviously protocols the other design
is something you talk about in when
you’re very young and some advantages so
so so this trap of you know Hitler said
the the lying press the press is owned
by the Jews and you can tell because
they never talk about the prosperous so
very familiar I recognized it
immediately I mean it was like maybe I
should write something not on the left
parenthesis so so so in 2011 I wrote my
25:53
first New York Times piece about that
the trap always works like this mr.
Trump President Trump when he came to
political consciousness he went on an
interview in Fox News and he said CNN is
controlled by the leftists and Obama you
can tell because they’re not talking
about birtherism that’s the same move
was made in the 30s the delusion plasa
the mainstream press you
they’re controlled by the Jews because
they don’t say they’re controlled by the
Jews law and justice party in uh in
Poland the hilariously miss named law
and justice party comes to power in 2015
in a country that had been whose
economic whose GDP had been going up
26:36
Civic Platform has done very well so it
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wasn’t economic anxiety it’s not
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economic anxiety in Bavaria either but
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they came they did this move to I’m
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emphasizing this because comic pizza is
26:50
right here uh so I can’t not talk about
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the conspiracy theories as a sign so so
26:56
so what Piz did what law and justice did
27:00
is there was a Smolensk disaster when
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which was admittedly horrific when a
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plane carrying all of Poland’s political
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leaders and business leaders and
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military leaders crashed and and and
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everyone was killed and there were about
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between 20 and 25 conspiracy theories
27:22
about that crash it was pilot error
27:24
it was pilot error but admittedly it was
27:27
hard to believe it was pilot error so so
27:30
law and justice Road that to power you
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know it was all about the conspiracy and
27:37
it was the Communists and it was
27:39
d’Arnaud communists in Poland but it was
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the car just like there were no comic
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very no communists very few communists
27:44
in the American South but the KKK still
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acted like there were it was the
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Communists it was the Russians
27:52
it was the Liberals who were who were
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hiding out hiding the real facts of who
27:57
brought that plane down and you could
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tell that the newspapers were owned by
28:00
the people who did it because they
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didn’t report on it and when I saw
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birtherism I was like oh yeah that’s
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familiar and conspiracy theories work in
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a weird way and I’ll end with us only in
deference to comet pizza conspiracy
theories function they functioned to
break down the epistemological spaces
they functioned to break down to their
their simple narratives that make sense
of of panic fear in Poland’s case
– and loss paranoia they’re not meant to
be taken at face value so Edgar Madison

Welch when he walked in so this is a
point that my colleague at UConn Michael
Lynch had made which I think is very
powerful he pointed out that when Edgar
Madison Welch walked in and and fired
three shots in that restaurant um three
or four shots I’m not exactly sure how
many uh I he was acting rationally right
if you thought that the Democratic Party
was running a child sex ring in the
basement of commet pizza by all means go
and free the child the children but he
was immediately denounced by Alex Jones
and everybody else as a spy for the
Democratic Party
so Michael Lynch makes this point to
point out conspiracy theories you’re
doing the wrong thing if you believe
them
they’re just supposed to make you you
know hate the target more they’re just
supposed to make you hate the target
more they’re not supposed to be believed
like that so what I do in my book is I
give you ten properties of fascist
politics the book is not about fascist
government I’m not saying you know you
could it’s about fascist and key and and
the difference being fascist government
fascist politics is tricky anyway
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because fascism is our power so fascism
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is a method to come to power people are
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always like well do you really believe
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that that does do do such and such
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people like President Trump do do they
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really believe you really believe he
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believes the things that other fascist
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movements uh believe uh and my response
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is it doesn’t matter because fascism
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isn’t about belief it’s about power so
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it doesn’t matter like its first hit me
30:20
when I was reading Richard Grune burgers
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1975 work on fat banks thanks to my
30:25
father’s library I have a rich
30:26
collection of history sociology
30:28
philosophy and psychology of the Nazis
30:30
so much else but uh but he says many
people think of the Nazis as morally
pure anti-semites they were devoted you
know devoted to killing Jews and
definitely
believed in it and got up and were very
neat and but actually a lot of them were
just thugs
they were just mafia gangsters and they
didn’t care about killing Jews they
cared about money they cared about
Jewish art and property but they were
doing the devoted anti-semitism thing
they didn’t care about it what they
cared about was the profits they got
from it and that’s I think what we need
to focus on when we think about fascism
it’s a tactic it’s a way to delude us to
seize power and retain power and and and
it has it like the history in our own
31:23
country thank you right he did he
31:33
started his campaign in the in that in
31:38
that county for the missus what was it
31:41
Philadelphia Mississippi right then I
31:44
forgot the name of the County Fair um
31:45
but but we’re good we’re good men and
31:49
Chaney were near we’re on a journey and
31:52
certainly we have the welfare clean
31:54
trope that you know the racial coding
31:58
now I think that one thing you get so
32:02
you have these really tripling down on
32:07
on America’s racial history on America
32:12
ground American racism in that camp in
32:14
those campaigns you have militarism and
32:17
you have and you have the and you have
32:20
the aspect and you have something that
32:24
is last chapter of my book social
32:27
Darwinism which is connected in certain
32:30
ways to economic libertarianism although
32:33
it’s inconsistent in various ways but
32:34
the idea is I talk about Hitler’s speech
the industrialists you know fascists
talk about winners and losers makers and
takers it’s all about you know who wins
has value who loses has no value so that
whole way of going on the other hand
Reagan does not explicitly you know
fascists are harshly on to
anti-democratic you don’t
32:58
the enemy of the state you you have you
33:01
okay to go on the Reagan I mean look
33:03
there’s gonna be a lot of overlaps
33:05
between social conservatives between
33:07
various forms of conservativism and
33:09
fascist politics but we can’t condemn
33:12
everybody we can’t say it’s a spectrum
33:15
fascist politics is a spectrum and and
33:18
our familiar conservatives are gonna be
33:21
on that spectrum just like just like
33:23
Bernie Sanders is gonna be on the
33:25
spectrum to something much more extreme
33:27
I mean he’s on the spectrum to Denmark
33:29
but yeah there are certain things he
33:31
says that are too bad leftist
33:33
authoritarianism so there is this
33:35
spectrum and and I don’t mean to and we
33:39
have in a liberal democracy we have to
33:42
have social conservatives we have to
33:44
have libertarians we have to have we
33:47
have to have progressives and socialists
33:49
we have to have this spectrum we’re
33:51
gonna have this spectrum but what
33:52
happens when you get something really
33:54
worrisome which I don’t think you quite
33:56
had you didn’t have with Reagan is when
34:00
you have these different things I mean
34:01
look at Reagan on immigration for
34:03
instance I mean he isn’t demagoguing on
34:05
immigration
34:06
he isn’t when you have these overlaps
34:09
when you have you know social
34:11
conservatives business and corporate
34:13
elites libertarians all coming together
34:17
and nationalists coming together and
34:19
saying let’s have a group you know a
34:22
constellation and we might disagree on
34:25
certain things but let’s unify and then
34:28
you can get fascist constellations there
34:30
but I I think you know I think Reagan
34:34
had elements that are there like but
34:38
also we have to remember that lots of
34:40
Canuck just like you know you wouldn’t
34:42
want to say that oh very socially
34:46
progressive policies just because they
34:47
do that in communist countries that’s
34:49
communist
34:50
so I wouldn’t want to paint Reagan as
34:53
engaging in fascist politics he’s not
34:55
harshly anti-democratic in the way that
34:58
you you find with just respond really
35:02
quickly I guess my my thing was the
35:04
militarism and really the dangerous
35:06
militarism during his empire is yeah
35:09
but really the building of the empire
35:11
and like the really the strong anti on
35:14
this strong racist tone of things is
35:16
really right and the and though and and
35:18
those are overlaps and and i think a dis
35:21
analogy now is you don’t find President
35:23
Trump actually being as Empire oriented
35:28
I mean it’s tricky there people will say
35:30
I think now people use fascist politics
35:32
they used to use it in in the 30s it was
35:35
used to mobilize people for war
35:38
now it’s used to demobilize people so
35:41
it’s a tech it’s a set of techniques and
35:43
you know and it overlaps with techniques
35:45
and and and you know and people use some
35:48
of them you know there’s a spectrum
35:53
there’s a spectrum and and yeah I want
35:58
to thank you I think this is a very
35:59
important discussion and I’m from the
36:01
Caribbean grew up in the Netherlands and
36:04
it’s been a quite a significant amount
36:06
of time they’re in a different type of
36:08
Netherlands then it has become sadly
36:10
enough right when I was the Netherlands
36:11
if you had told him that characters I
36:15
mean these guys would be twenty to
36:17
thirty percent of the population
36:18
literally people would lock you up and
36:19
put you in a psychiatric institution say
36:21
thinking too much you literally are you
36:22
kind of lost it you know this is not
36:24
what the Netherlands about we are you
36:25
know civilized decent people although
36:27
you know they have a very we have a very
36:30
horrific history of colonialism which is
36:34
not talked about at home but the issue
36:36
is a few questions and these questions I
36:39
think are provoked by some of the things
36:43
you said I think you wanted something
36:45
quite profound when you said that what
36:47
we are dealing with now is a demobilized
36:50
depoliticize and the ideologized pop
36:54
population populations not only in
36:56
America see if this was only happening
36:58
in the United States okay okay but I’m
37:02
so called fringe Dutch I mean between
37:03
brackets right I’m from the Caribbean
37:05
but so-called French Dutch um this
37:09
France right the last elections right
37:11
people were panicked that marine lepen
37:13
walks into the White House right and we
37:15
know if she walks there what is going to
37:17
happen she’s not made she made it very
37:19
clear from well you know one of the big
37:21
problems I see is that in you
potentially the Muslims become the new
Jews absolutely you know the Muslims we
come to new Jews right
but the issue it at that I want to deal
37:30
with here is a more profound issue that
37:33
this type of fascism is indeed to
37:34
mobilize the demobilize in essence what
37:37
you have a mass talks about legitimize
37:39
the crisis of the West right and the big
37:40
problem is when you have a legitimate
37:41
Christ is not taking place on one level
37:43
alone right economic social political
37:45
legal right moral ethical domestic
37:48
international on all different levels
37:50
the white West and not is facing crisis
37:53
on crisis and crisis that are feeding
37:55
back in and creating problems another
37:57
problem that you have in a Western I
37:59
think this is a major problem me and I
38:01
didn’t think you touch on it is that if
38:03
you look at the populations here right
38:04
populations that are so-called
38:05
Democratic you know I mean I’m glad you
38:09
began claiming that the democracy always
38:11
never much of anything at all it was
38:13
much more a job to fool people and then
38:15
in democracy the issue is that in these
38:18
populations a long time twenty to thirty
38:20
percent of the population remain quite
38:22
fanatically right even look what
38:25
happened to Communist Party in France
38:26
right the communists moved move over to
38:28
the fascists they didn’t tell you how
38:35
how strong the Communist identity of
38:39
brotherhood and sisterhood of rattle and
38:41
stuff like that so I mean how do you see
38:44
and the big problem of your face is that
38:46
often these fascistic parties tend to be
38:49
the most mobilized part of the
38:50
population right right
38:51
why well well well the majority of the
38:54
party although somewhat against I mean
38:55
Hitler never got a majority he always
38:57
got forty percent but but they are
38:59
highly mobilized and you only need forty
39:01
in a small
39:03
organized minority to create have
39:05
everyone is scared I mean everybody’s
39:07
killed so how do you see and do you see
39:10
anywhere in the West at this point in
39:12
time really
39:13
they since the average trade unions are
39:16
gone the socialist and communist party
39:17
out are we and very few intellectuals in
39:20
academics are really really speaking out
39:22
as a really standing up here and say
39:24
wait a minute here guys right you people
39:26
in the Western or not you white people
39:27
in a western or not right now I’m saying
39:29
that’s kind of provocative because my
39:31
part you know your apps a most European
39:33
a most of the European descent but the
39:36
issue is you
39:37
white people in to not be very careful
what you’re doing right because you are
facing a massive influx of black and
brown people here because of global
warming what do you do when you across
that when you look at the Mediterranean
50 60 million Africans are about to come
genocide you fall back the default
position of genocide let me hear what
you guys said yeah let me just say one
39:57
quick thing I’m gonna get another
39:58
question there was a great series of
points that you raise the climate change
point Timothy Snyder talks about that at
the end of black earth he warns that
that’s our big and I talked about that
in my book as well picking up on Tim’s
on Snyder’s points that you know climate
change is gonna lead to immigration
crises that you know crises immigrant to
massive immigration that we’re gonna
have to deal with but let me say
something about the point of oh you know
40:27
the majority minority point that oh soon
40:29
the countries give me a
40:30
majority-minority president Trump and
40:32
his campaign always emphasized that you
40:36
know uh my colleague Jen Richardson the
40:39
great social psychologist she she has
40:42
done this experiment she’s on a number
40:44
of experiments on the on this she showed
40:46
she when you get she presents white
40:48
Americans with three three questions
40:52
three different groups of white
40:53
Americans the first she says in 2042 the
40:56
Netherlands will become majority
40:58
minority the second group she says in
41:00
2042 the United States will become
41:03
majority senior citizen and the third
41:06
group she says in 2042 the United States
41:09
will become majority minority and then
41:13
she asked him a series of political
41:15
questions the first two groups don’t
41:17
change their MA they did they their
41:19
politics doesn’t change that she gets a
41:21
test of them before what their political
41:23
leanings are the third group of white
41:25
Americans that’s presented with the
41:27
information in the United States is
41:28
gonna become majority minority becomes
41:30
more becomes again more against the firm
41:33
ative action more against the air for
41:35
immigration and interestingly because
41:38
Jen Richardson is a genius she added
41:40
this they become much more in favor of
41:43
increased defense spending so so that oh
41:47
we’re going to become majority minority
41:50
it it enables right-wing politics or a
41:55
certain kind of politics maybe not right
41:57
wing but that could you talk a little
41:59
bit more about what appears to be
42:02
increased white anxiety and white
42:05
feelings of white victimization and how
42:08
does how to talk a little bit about
42:10
Trump’s role is he a symptom of
42:15
something that’s going to continue after
42:17
him or what happens to fascist movements
42:20
when leaders disappear ah
42:22
you know that’s that’s that’s re they
42:25
always have succession crises but I but
42:27
I’d you know we have more Trump’s so
42:30
there so but he is an expert a real
skilled expert at milking white anxiety
there was that quote that he that he and
and the psychological wages of whiteness
point like remember that thing he said I
remember I don’t remember when he said
42:46
it but you know he said something about
42:48
poor white trash and someone someone
42:49
said what is that he said like me except
poor so that connect he’s I have great
respect for his rhetorical political
abilities
we’re always it we always have this
43:01
nascent the dominant group
I mean think of the men’s rights
movement I mean is there any more
aggrieved group on earth than men when
their representation in the Senate goes
from 98 to like 83 or whatever 75 you
know you know just look at how men act
and you know and you know and that’s
what’s going on and that’s what happens
it’s all look at France the example of
France there’s a good example you know
43:30
the the aggrieved the you know we’re
43:34
losing our culture we’re losing our so
that’s a big one chapter in my book is
called victimhood and it’s all about
this it’s a whole chapter just about
this could you wouldn’t would you agree
that an important benchmark for
43:49
authoritarian is in this country might
43:52
have its roots in Eisenhower’s farewell
43:55
address in 1960 I guess in which the
44:00
leading General in the world
44:01
representing the strongest country in
44:03
the world
44:03
I spoke about this fear and then
44:06
subsequent to that you had three of our
44:09
foremost civil rights leaders slain
44:11
under dubious circumstances the official
44:13
narrative which only thirty and thirty
44:15
percent of Americans believe and then
44:17
you had this Vietnam War and there were
44:20
protests all over the country or there
44:22
were cities burning there were people
44:24
killed at Kent State and now we have
44:29
multiple Wars and nobody says a word so
44:33
what’s your take on this so I have a lot
44:35
in my book on Nixon
44:36
so I’m when I talk give talks on that
44:39
people because Nixon is a model for
44:41
Trump President Trump of course I mean
44:44
law and order politics you know Nixon
misses miss rep you know there’s a whole
protest misrepresented as riots think of
Baltimore 2015 so I talk in my book
about how Fox News described uses the
word riot use the word riot seven out of
every 1000 words
in describing Baltimore what happened in
Baltimore and protests only two words
out of 1000 CNN used them roughly
equally around three and a half words
per 1000 riot and protest and MSNBC used
riot two words out of 1,000 and protests
almost four words out of 1000 to
describe Baltimore to this radical
partisan difference in descriptions of
political protests the sixties you
really saw that you know so much so that
someone of my age I’ve been 36 for 12
years ah is I can’t even say Detroit
protests cuz it doesn’t come out of my
mouth because I was raised in schools
that just taught me Detroit riots you
know but then you you have Kathryn
Bigelow’s movie then you realize an
actual history they were protests and
you know you just focused on like one
you know a few people doing bad things
and you paint them a certain way so the
sixties Nixon’s campaign you know again
my books not about fascist government is
about fascist politics I think you see
with Nixon a lot of use of fascist
politics and I’m sure you couldn’t go
back because as I’ve been saying this is
us it’s not them do
you think the history of the the take on
Lyndon Johnson Lyndon Johnson might get
a more critical view because he kind of
laid the groundwork for Nixon and and
his involvement in the war his refusal
46:29
to get out of it the pressures that kept
46:32
in a minute so so in in in in a week in
46:35
October 12th at Harvard bookstore I’ll
46:37
be in discussion with Elizabeth Hinton
46:38
who’s who has written the greatest book
46:41
about the domestic policies of job
46:44
Johnson and and Nixon from the war on
46:48
poverty the war on crime the making a
46:50
mass incarceration in America and that’s
46:52
about the domestic policies so it’s a
46:54
different point you’re asking about the
46:55
foreign policy but I think on domestic
46:57
policy you know there are some issues
47:00
with Johnson that lead to Nixon as well
47:04
I mean John a lot of Johnson’s projects
47:07
in the in in cities were with minority
47:13
populations we’re sort of like here’s
47:15
how to learn to pull off here’s how to
47:17
act like someone with a job or something
47:19
like that rather than providing people
47:21
jobs you know which is like you know
47:24
trumpet was smart and you know could you
47:26
imagine Trump going to like rural
47:27
Michigan and being like I’m going to
47:29
teach you how to act like bankers no he
47:32
wasn’t doing that
47:34
so so right so so I Nixon I talk and so
47:38
those are interesting questions in the
47:39
Hinton book I think talks about the
47:42
hints of Nixon and Johnson while giving
47:45
him credit for certain things so first I
47:49
just want to say thank you for coming to
47:50
talk tonight who’s really interesting
47:52
and so my question is or first I’ll just
47:56
say on you mentioned that a key tactic
47:59
of fascists is to caricature the
48:01
center-left has been communists but I
48:05
feel like it seemed to me that you made
48:08
that same mistake when you talked about
48:10
how when you talked about opposition to
48:14
unions because that seems like a pretty
48:17
mainstream right dumb view to be opposed
48:20
to unions right I didn’t mean to I I
48:22
don’t mean to say that each so there’s
48:25
ten different aspects to fascism each
48:27
one of those aspects is going to be
48:29
familiar
48:30
from ordinary conservative father’s okay
48:31
it’s the combination but it just didn’t
48:35
occur to me that opposition to labor
48:37
unions is a uniform feature of all
48:40
fascism I learned that in doing the
48:42
research for my book so no you can have
48:45
good sound economic reasons you know
48:47
there are good for each of these things
48:49
you know for each of these properties
48:51
for you can be I mean some of the
48:55
hierarchy some of the chapters about
48:57
racial hierarchies okay that’s pretty
48:59
fascist but but you know as I say in my
49:02
book economic libertarianism overlaps
with fascism on social Darwinism like
winners have value losers don’t but
they’re different in other ways like
consistent libertarian will never
generalize to groups and say you know
white people have more value than
non-whites because they work harder and
win more you know so so there are these
overlaps and you know I just think it so
screams out from you from the literature
it’s just universal that’s you know you
go to Portugal and you go to their
49:33
Museum and Lisbon and they talk about
49:35
the attack and labor unions and you know
49:38
it’s so universal and you has to be
49:40
mentioned but of course you can
49:42
criticize labor unions and not be a
49:43
factor yeah thank you and for each of
49:45
these thank you we are your parents uh
49:50
well my stepmother is here and she
49:55
helped a lot with the book she gave me
49:59
she gave me and my brother-in-law’s is
50:01
there where you are profound and you are
50:04
brilliant and I think your parents your
50:07
family should and friend should be very
50:08
very proud of you
50:10
now I’m well read on reconstruction but
50:14
the issue that you spoke about with
50:16
respect to anti unions and wealthy
50:21
whites in the north coming down that I
50:25
have not read about and do not know
50:27
about I knew you know certainly with
50:29
Rutherford putting the nail in the
50:30
casket and you know wanting to a peace
50:34
to south and pulling the troops all
50:35
right so that he could win the election
50:37
I want you to talk a little bit more
50:39
about the north in
50:42
you know coming against the the labor
50:45
unions and I wanted to get your take on
50:49
what happened in Charleston with the
50:52
massacre at you know mother Emanuel
50:57
Church as well as what happened in
50:59
Charlottesville
51:00
because after listening to you you do
51:03
see a theme and when you know Trump come
51:06
you could say the most horrible thing
51:08
about McCain
51:09
I prefer winners in people who don’t get
51:12
duh you know yeah so so I’ve been
51:19
spending more time lately for my sins
51:22
with former members of Nazi parties and
51:26
I mean I was a so a friend of mine is
51:29
Tony Mack Lear the director of like
51:31
executive director of life after hate he
51:33
spent 20 or so years as a Nazi and
remarkable man and he’s very clear that
the law I mean I think we all know this
from David Duke the long-term goal of
the American Nazi Party was to to be
respectable and for that they had to
have people who were not respectable
so Tony Mack Lear said at one talk I won
symposium we’re out together he said the
first time I was on Montel Williams I
was a skinhead with combat boots and
tattoos the second time I wore a suit
and he explains that you need the
killers the radicals out there to say
that’s not us you’re seeing this all
over you’re up now you know the Austrian
Kurt Sebastian Kurtz all what happens is
that the right wing parties are like
we’re not not white supremacists the
white supremacists are the ones actually
killing people the ones marching on the
streets were respectable we’re in
government were in and but they need
each other so the in order for the for
the people in power who are pushing
white supremacy to plausibly deny that
they’re white supremacists they need
Charlotte’s VLEs because they need to
say no no those are
supremacists and Tony McLaren explain
that this is long been the strategy I
know of of the American Nazi Party and
it’s and and David black the former the
the son of the storm front founder is
also very clear about this he’s like he
says what we hear from our leadership is
the kind of things that we always he
said our target audience was always the
person who said I’m not a racist but dot
dot dot so you need you need the
charlottesville and the horror of
Charleston which is unspeakable horror
of Charleston because those provide
plausible deniability to white supremacy
and power and and we know those of us
who study history and and who are a
woman of color as I am and a descendent
of people who were enslaved both or
53:50
maternal returns so we always knew in
53:52
the communities and certainly in the
53:53
South when people when the KKK took off
53:56
those hoods they were your local doctor
53:58
you’ll put your Sheriff your policemen
54:01
your store owners you know not all of
54:04
them but these were the respectable
54:07
people and it was the hood that allowed
54:10
them to to you know to really crucify
54:14
and you know and hang people and uh so
54:17
we I mean the wisdom of the black
54:19
American tradition guides me in my book
54:21
I mean I to be wells oh absolutely
54:25
that’s Du Bois obviously I probably owe
54:30
boys today but it’s he earned yes so so
54:38
because that those it’s that literature
54:43
that you get the insight into the form
54:46
fascism takes here and so someone from
54:49
like me who’s from Europe the certain
54:52
sort of particular masks fascism wears
54:57
here that’s something you really need
54:59
the black American literature to
55:01
understand but thank you for your work
55:03
and thank your parents
55:07
and my brother finds out it earlier this
55:16
year I read another book by a
55:17
psychologist named Steven Pinker called
55:20
enlightenment now staring me in the face
55:22
right over there and in the book he
55:26
argues that the world is getting better
55:30
and better and this is the best time to
55:33
be alive the best time to be born and he
55:36
extolled the virtues of of the future
55:38
and so I want to you know ask you what
55:43
what you feel about that how what’s your
55:45
response to that and are you optimistic
55:48
about the future I mean you’re talking
55:49
about possible fascism in this country
55:52
so let me quote my my father’s book the
55:54
technological conscience where he says
55:58
pessimism is very much the humanistic
56:01
view he says I am a pessimist pessimism
56:04
is very much the humanistic view so so
56:09
that’s just to say that I think that I
56:12
think Pinker I mean we could go on about
56:14
Pinker I’m not going to I think that
56:16
when you count you know says err already
56:19
does a takedown of Pinker a long time in
56:23
in famiiy this is that what’s this is
56:29
our book I’m just blanking
56:31
well discourse on Colonials do you thank
56:34
you so uh so and discourse and
56:36
colonialism where he’s like you know you
56:37
count you tell us about the diseases
56:41
you’ve cured you tell us about the you
56:44
know the new food that we access from
56:46
Europe and yet what about the religion
56:49
you destroyed what about you know the
56:51
traditions you eliminated what about the
56:54
ways of life you laid waste to can you
56:57
count those you know so Pinker it’s just
57:01
like no it only matters if you can count
57:02
it dignity doesn’t count you can’t count
57:04
dignity so you’ll also find me
57:07
criticizing Pinker in recent years
57:09
Pinker is very as a Pinker has not all
57:12
to write himself but Pinker does have a
57:15
lot of all right fans if you look at
57:17
Pinker’s views about the IQ debate their
57:19
problem i mean
57:20
as you’ll find some stuff on Pinker
57:22
there um you know this idea of we have
57:26
to face you know we have to face the
57:28
facts of difference nature I mean I
57:31
think he’s right that you know I’m not
57:33
for banning discussions but the
57:35
fascination that he has with the IQ
57:37
debate is something that I think is kind
57:39
of worrisome so and I’m worried about
57:42
the sort of technocratic way of
57:44
measuring human value that said in any
57:47
country that had the civil rights
57:49
movement and I mean if I did had to do
57:52
the civil rights movement I definitely
57:53
would have done it in Vermont but they
57:55
chose like Alabama and Mississippi so
57:57
given that I feel quite safe in the
58:00
United States ultimately I feel
58:02
optimistic because this is a country
58:04
that did that so the labor movement you
58:09
know Jane Addams I just wanted to make
58:14
two brief comments one about giving
58:18
value to things and if we really just
58:21
take a quick scan of history going back
58:25
to as far as we can go back it seems
58:28
like human life does not have a lot of
58:30
value it in just that’s just a general
58:36
comment and if we look at capitalism and
58:42
the globalization of everything and all
58:46
these wars and like you said there’s two
58:49
wars going on Noma and I’ve said this to
58:51
myself why is no one talking about our
58:54
troops that we still have in Afghanistan
58:56
and Iraq and in these places then
58:59
they’re still getting blown to pieces
59:00
and I know because my first job out of
59:04
college I worked at the VA hospital in
59:06
the 70s when the guys were first coming
59:08
back from Vietnam so that’s just what I
59:13
want to say about the value of human
59:15
life now on a lighter side I would like
59:19
to say which you which you said about
59:23
Dubois and then you said about the new
59:27
push for Black Studies in colleges and
59:31
that it was going to replace Shakespeare
59:34
yeah yeah I know it’s just it’s just a
59:37
joke but I just wanted to play on that
59:40
because it from my experience and having
59:45
done like studies and everything else
59:50
there’s a lot of credit and study given
59:55
to Shakespeare people who write Ln Locke
59:59
Dubois a little bit too much yeah and
60:03
also I wanted to say that most of our
60:07
most appreciated african-american actors
60:12
studied Shakespeare to the hilt
60:16
you know the most excellent Shakespeare
60:21
no I mean I mean that God is ultimately
60:23
you know I mean the great Jeffrey
60:25
Stewart Alain Locke biography talks
60:28
about I mean Locke won the sort of
60:30
literary prize at Harvard for for
60:32
something on its hat on Irish Irish
60:35
poetry and he gave a talk in a black
60:37
church in Cambridge saying look the
60:40
Irish created the greatest were were
60:42
colonized and oppressed and their
60:44
revenge was to create the greatest
60:46
English language literature and poetry
60:48
and he’s obviously encouraging taking
60:51
that as a speaking Paul Dunlop I think
60:54
it was also electrode and Dunlop right
60:56
absolutely so right and of course Dubois
60:59
sort of takes that to extreme the
61:00
extreme with the talented tenth so I I
61:03
don’t mean to by the way Pinker is a
61:05
liberal Pinker and I have family
61:07
disputes ultimately he’s a technocratic
61:09
liberal of a certain kind I have family
61:11
disputes with him but he’s obviously
61:14
gent in some general sense on my side
61:18
what he’s all right he’s all tracked
61:23
know the alt are certain aspects of
61:25
Pinker that the alt-right pick up on
61:29
that you know the the stuff which is a
61:32
danger of the messaging so I’m not he’s
61:35
definitely not all right he’s it’s that
61:37
you got to be careful I mean one should
61:41
be sensitive to the messages that like
61:45
Pinker said recently
61:47
I think it was in Davos and a panel
61:50
where he said you know the alt-right are
61:52
really bright tech-savvy people who come
61:55
to college and realize there are certain
61:57
topics that you’re not allowed to talk
61:59
about and then they feel shocked and
62:02
then they become all trite that’s the
62:05
kind of I think that was an
62:06
irresponsible comment of course he’s on
62:08
my side but I just think that’s an
62:10
irresponsible comment of course that’s a
62:11
comment that makes some people you know
62:14
that he does not agree with it puts them
62:17
in so that’s that’s that’s that’s all
62:20
I’m saying ultimately we can’t have
62:22
these family disputes between different
62:24
stripes of liberals and so I don’t want
62:27
to do that though I do want to say I
62:29
don’t think that’s why people become
62:30
alright we are unfortunately out of time
62:36
for questions although if you want to
62:38
make a brief question make it really
62:40
quick them we can fit it in the question
62:46
is for you to elaborate maybe we don’t
62:48
have time for any more elaboration on
62:51
anti-intellectualism which was one of
62:53
the 10 I guess that you have and you
62:55
didn’t really say much about it and it’s
62:57
a case that I see certain parallels with
63:00
the sort of the were the Left
63:05
philosophies of I don’t know class
63:08
warfare and I mean I think it seems like
63:11
now was an anti-intellectual yeah many
63:14
respects yeah I mean I think I think
63:17
that I what you get in fascist ideology
63:23
is is like the straightforward fascist
63:28
ideology is about appealing to emotion
63:34
not that there’s some emotions can be
63:37
perfectly rational as Martha respond
63:38
others as many philosophers would tell
63:40
you but the idea is to cut off reasoning
63:44
by you know fear panic and and and just
63:47
and then just replace and show you and
63:50
then present yourself as like the
63:51
solution you got this very explicitly
63:54
discussing you know in in meine Kampf
63:56
Hitler talks about you know propaganda
63:58
should appeal to you know the least
64:00
educated
64:01
so you know the idea that it’s the least
64:03
educated your who’s your who your
64:06
audience or no talk you know essentially
64:08
that’s what you want to appeal to Bannen
64:10
said you know we want unlock her up
64:13
build a wall you know we won on that but
64:16
there’s a kind what why I talk about me
64:19
anti-intellectual chapter is this all
64:22
across the world right now we’re seeing
64:24
in these condo countries I discuss
64:26
attacks on universities for being
64:28
bastions of liberalism feminism European
64:33
University of st. Petersburg was closed
64:35
down because of gender studies Central
64:38
European University was was attacked
64:42
because they’re spreading liberalism so
64:45
this kind of thing when you find
64:46
universities harshly targeted as
64:48
bastions of leftism and you know now of
64:52
course sometimes they are not Yale but
64:55
the the yell is a great place it’s not
64:59
that but you know when you find this
65:03
hysteria about this area about communism
65:05
being being directed at universities and
65:10
the media you know and fanned now it
65:13
takes the form of Gender Studies panic
65:15
about Gender Studies because that’s just
65:18
like Masha Gessen is clear about that in
65:20
her 2017 book that Gender Studies just
65:24
seems to be and and you know Pat McCrory
65:26
in North Carolina did that he said we’re
65:29
not gonna have this tax governor in
65:30
North Carolina said they were not gonna
65:31
be taxpayers paying for gender studies
65:34
or Swahili so so the idea is is you know
65:41
so you target universities in your
65:43
politics now all authoritarians target
as you say target universities in our
politics because universities are places
where young people protest against older
people and so that’s gonna be something
65:56
that that as I get older I recognize the
65:59
wisdom of seeing that as a problem but
66:03
yeah thank you
66:05
[Applause]
66:20
you

Lie Witness News – Trump Watergate Edition

A new tell-all book called ‘A Warning,’ written by an anonymous Senior White House Official, was released today. The saddest part about the book and these impeachment proceedings, is that Trump’s hardcore supporters don’t want to know what he has done wrong. They will support him no matter what. So to prove it, we went out on the street, found people who are fans of Donald Trump, and we asked them how they felt about a bunch of stuff Trump has done. Except none of it was stuff Trump has done, all of the events we described were about Watergate and Richard Nixon.

Let Me Explain Why Trump’s Core White Supporters Won’t EVER Turn Against Him

Better arguments will not win the day because they believe that Trump is part of an Apocalyptic narrative.

00:00
hi my name is Frank Schaefer I am a
writer and a painter sitting in my
studio in my bathrobe having just
finished painting this morning I tend to
work in the morning and getting ready to
take a walk with three of my my five
grandchildren but before I get up and
shower and shave and go out I just
wanted to share something with you and
that is that I’ve been talking to people
in the media and other folks who are in
politics and they all asked me the same
question and it goes something like this
Frank your background was in the
religious right your father was a
religious right leader can you explain
to us why
Trump’s most unwavering support comes
from evangelical Christians who say they
follow Jesus who’s teaching seems to go
across everything Trump is from his
arrogance to his lies to his
divisiveness and all the rest of it and
question mark close quotes and I think
it’s instructive to point out a couple
of things first of all it’s pretty much
beyond debate that Trump is mentally
unstable and unfit to be President as
such it’s also beyond debate that his
own lifestyle of philandering groping
women sexual assault bragging about it
three marriages immense amounts of
womanizing that he bragged about on
shows like Howard Stern’s radio show
would all be dismissed as filthy living
and satanic by evangelicals when it
would involve anybody else say their own
pastor who they would fire instantly if
he was caught doing a tenth of these
things and then you come to the racial
divisiveness and the outright support
for the KKK neo-nazis white supremacist
and others that’s easier to explain
because a lot of white evangelicals are
racists they come from a movement that
was in the forefront of segregation was
in the forefront of starting white
schools to get around integration of
public schools and so forth but that
said there are millions of white
evangelicals who are not racists and who
welcome people of other
is to our midst for instance their
brothers and sisters in Christ who are
Hispanic in the Pentecostal movement so
that begs the question why out of that
eighty-one percent vote from white
evangelicals are the core of the core
still hanging in with him and I think
what a lot of secular people who
question me don’t understand is that if
Trump is delusional it’s no accident
that his core support are the most
delusional and mentally unfit people in
America and that is religious fanatics
of all stripes fundamentalists of all
kinds this kind of fundamentalism isn’t
limited to America and India for
instance there are fundamentalist
nationalist Hindus murdering Muslims
because they say that some Muslim ate
some beef or killed a cow and in Israel
the the fundamentalist Orthodox Jews
there are circling the wagon and
essentially trying to turn that state
into a kind of an apartheid state where
Palestinians are treated to second-class
citizens and as someone who lived in
South Africa for a year while I was
making a movie there back in the mid
1980s I can say that when I visit the
State of Israel looks more and more like
apartheid South Africa so the phenomena
of the rise of delusional xenophobic
conspiracy theory Laden movements with
religious spin to them is universal it’s
what Iran is about it’s what Saudi
Arabia and the Islamists that it backed
all over the world through its Wahhabism
exporting radical violent Islam which
continues to do to this day is all about
so we’re part of a global phenomena but
that said the evangelical white group of
voters who supported Trump are his core
of his core support people talk about
hillbilly elegy and this sort of theory
of working-class America and blue-collar
America being left behind and yeah
that’s a contributing factor as is
racism and the rest of it but the core
of his support is delusional white
evangelical Christianity so what I have
to explain to my
questioners in the secular media and
often political operatives as well who
want to have my opinion because I’ve
been around the block I knew people like
President Reagan and Jack Kemp and the
Bush family and all the rest when I was
a religious right activists myself is
why as their support someone shakable so
let me explain very briefly here it’s
simple it’s not political support it is
support for a religious worldview they
have made Trump into a theological issue
about the return of Christ
there is a
group of evangelicals in the Pentecostal
movement and elsewhere who believe that
Trump somehow fulfills prophecy of being
perhaps an unjust King perhaps a wicked
man but very much like some of the kings
in the Old Testament stories has been
raised up nevertheless by God to do a
job and that is to purify America from
whether it’s transgenders or gay people
or purify America by appointing Supreme
Court justices that will overturn roe v
wade this prepares the way for the
return of Christ so showing them better
facts or that he’s told a thousand
verifiable lies at this point literally
or showing them that a $15 an hour
minimum wage is something that’s good or
that universal health care is what
Americans want or that college debt is
crushing the millennial generation and
that relief of college debt would be so
wonderful or that we really need a
genuine infrastructure program none of
this matters because the certainty
addiction brain of all fundamentalists
is delusional it changes in the same way
that drug addicts on opioid abuse change
it isn’t a question of choice it’s the
actual neural pathways in our brain
our
reshaped by belief sometime to the point
where you have this kind of epigenetic
inheritance among evangelical groups
where with their mother’s milk
evangelical children are taught to
reject the world’s wisdom ie science and
facts as fake news the real news is in
the Bible whether it’s about creation or
Genesis or the fact Noah’s Ark really
existed or whatever
be male female sexual relationships and
so forth so having set up a totally
alternative universe you have to
understand that evangelical Christianity
itself is like birtherism it is a
conspiracy theory that believes the
whole world it’s science its facts its
scholarship it’s academic elites the
media common-sense all of this is
somehow a conspiracy of Satan
to
distract real believers on track to get
to heaven when they die to receive Jesus
when he comes back to a more perfect
world where women’s rights have been
stripped away where gays are back in the
closet are dead where for a lot of them
it’s a white Protestant middle class
culture so get it through your heads
everybody better arguments are not going
to win the day
what is going to win is if we can
convince people that these religiously
fanatical certainty addicts are
dangerous and Trump is unleashing them
if you want to know where they’d like to
take America watch Handmaid’s Tale there
may be details in that that are wrong
but that’s their idea of a theocratic
heaven on earth logic has nothing to do
with it what we need to do is talk to
independent voters people who think both
parties are the same which is utter
nonsense and get there a pathetic
distance from the political process
cured by showing them who these
evangelical voters really are they’re
delusional fanatics there is delusional
and fanatical and demented as Donald
Trump they like him because he is an
image a secular image
albeit a
philandering image or beard but an image
of delusional delusional worldview and
so they look to him as a fellow
delusional conspiracy theorist
who
marches to the same drummer they do
which is alternative fact delusion lies
accepted as truth evangelicals think
from God Donald Trump thinks from his
own ego which is all
cares about he worships himself
but the
delusion cuts across both Trump and his
core followers they are deluded they are
in fact crazy thank you my name is Frank
Schaeffer

Trump’s Most Loyal Allies Are Putting Him on the Path to Impeachment

I don’t think it’s possible to fully grasp the Ukraine scandal without understanding the dynamic outlined by former homeland security adviser Thomas Bossert last weekend. Recall that he told ABC News and the New York Times that a pernicious cycle had taken hold in the White House — even as aides debunked 2016 conspiracy theories, Trump allies (including Rudy Giuliani) would sell the president once again on wild talesHere’s the Times report on Bossert:

“It is completely debunked,” Mr. Bossert said of the Ukraine theory on ABC. Speaking with George Stephanopoulos, Mr. Bossert blamed Mr. Giuliani for filling the president’s head with misinformation. “I am deeply frustrated with what he and the legal team is doing and repeating that debunked theory to the president. It sticks in his mind when he hears it over and over again, and for clarity here, George, let me just again repeat that it has no validity.”

And:

Other former aides said separately on Sunday that the president had a particular weakness for conspiracy theories involving Ukraine, which in the past three years has become the focus of far-right media outlets and political figures. Mr. Trump was more willing to listen to outside advisers like Mr. Giuliani than his own national security team.

I’ve heard many of these conspiracy theories, and — like many conspiracies — they can use a base of troubling truth as a launching pad for the most bizarre of claims. For example,

  • the origin of the Steele Dossier is troubling and worth investigating.
  • The Carter Page FISA applications should also be closely examined. It is not at all uncommon (sadly) for to find examples of overreach or abuse in any far-flung and complex investigation — that’s one reason why defense lawyers often spend so much time on suppression motions before trials.

But the theories floating around online Trumpworld go far, far beyond any discernible connection to logic or evidence.

But here’s the problem — the wildest theories are floated in the quarters that are most fiercely devoted to the president.  They’re the ones who constantly to refer to the “real collusion” as the connection between Democrats and the Ukrainian government. They’re the ones who cast doubt on the very idea that Russia interfered in the election at all, much less on Trump’s behalf. They’re the ones constantly using absurd words like “coup” to describe constitutional and legal processes that are adverse to Trump. And, based on the transcript of the call with Volodymyr Zelensky, it seems as if Trump is drinking deeply of their conspiratorial Kool-Aid.

In their click-bait zeal to curry favor with the world’s most powerful man, they are feeding Trump’s worst instincts, and now we know that he’s warped American diplomacy in one of the world’s most dangerous neighborhoods as a result.

In an interview earlier today, I described the scandal as one part corruption, one part fitness. Yes, it’s venal and corrupt to depart from any conventional legal process to urge a dependent foreign government (or a hostile foreign government, like China) to investigate a domestic political rival — especially in the absence of evidence of criminal wrongdoing. But the willingness to believe in conspiracy theories and conduct diplomacy accordingly also speaks less to Trump’s corruption than whether he has the character, knowledge, and temperament to be president. In fact, I’m starting to believe that the fitness aspect of this controversy may well be dominant.

Trump’s most extreme allies have built a large media following, but the most important person in that audience is the current occupant of the Oval Office. They’ve succeeded in convincing the most powerful man in the world that their theories are right. They’re influencing diplomacy at the highest levels. But they just might be planting the seeds of Trump’s political destruction. They’ve helped put their beloved president on the path to impeachment.