There’s mounting dread about wannabe dictator Trump, post-election

It’s rigged!

Tuesday’s election is looking good for Joe Biden while there’s mounting dread about how Wannabe Dictator Trump will behave after a defeat. After all, Trump is a sociopathic narcissist with no emotional control and he lives in mortal terror of being viewed as a loser. He’s already made clear that he will refuse to concede, no matter what, and he’s grasping desperately for any way to get legal ballots thrown out so he can steal the election.

No wonder people are afraid Trump will go completely apeshit if his efforts to steal this fail and he actually loses. Psychologists worry that the narcissistic injury to Trump will result in him lashing out in his vindictive rage to punish an America which he may believe has consigned him to ‘loser’ status.

Some two dozen officials and aides, several of whom are still serving in the Trump administration, are worried that Trump could use the power of the government to lash out at enemies, try to steal the election or otherwise wreak havoc on the nation.

Trump could do real damage to the country, his successor or presidential traditions, there’s reason to wonder if a Trump transition might actually be the start of the wildest chapter of an already controversial presidency. We May Need the Twenty-Fifth Amendment if Trump Loses,” blares a headline at the New Yorker.

Of course, we should be worried that Trump, a vindictive man whose only true pleasures come from sadism, will abuse his power to punish Americans if he loses.

But let’s be honest: He’s also going to do that even if he wins.

Win or lose — Trump is about to unleash hell

Edited from Salon story by Amanda Marcotte

Think Trump can’t sink even lower? Check out this evil shit

Transition for Tongass - American Forests
Tongass

Despicable Trump just opened up all 16.7 million acres of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest to logging and other forms of development, according to a notice posted 10-28-2020, stripping protections that had safeguarded one of the world’s largest intact temperate rainforests for nearly two decades.

As of Thursday, it will be legal for logging companies to build roads and cut and remove timber throughout more than 9.3 million acres of forest — featuring old-growth stands of red and yellow cedar, Sitka spruce and Western hemlock. The relatively-pristine expanse is also home to plentiful salmon runs and imposing fjords. The decision, which will be published in the Federal Register, reverses protections President Bill Clinton put in place in 2001 and is one of the most sweeping public lands rollbacks Trump has enacted.

For years, federal and academic scientists have identified Tongass as an ecological oasis that serves as a massive carbon sink while providing key habitat for wild Pacific salmon and trout, Sitka black-tailed deer and myriad other species. It boasts the highest density of brown bears in North America, and its trees — some of which are between 300 and 1,000 years old — absorb at least 8 percent of all the carbon stored in the entire Lower 48′s forests combined.

While tropical rainforests are the lungs of the planet, the Tongass is the lungs of North America,” Dominick DellaSala, chief scientist with the Earth Island Institute’s Wild Heritage project, said in an interview. “It’s America’s last climate sanctuary.”

While Trump has repeatedly touted his commitment to planting trees through the One Trillion Tree initiative, invoking it as recently as last week, his administration has sought to expand logging in Alaska and in the Pacific Northwest throughout his presidency. Federal judges have blocked several of these plans as illegal: Last week, the administration abandoned its appeal of a ruling that struck down a 1.8 million-acre timber sale on the Tongass’s Prince of Wales Island.

Alaska Republicans — including Gov. Mike Dunleavy and Sen. Dan Sullivan, who is locked in a tight reelection race — lobbied Trump to exempt the state from the roadless rule on the grounds that it could help the economy in Alaska’s southeast. Fishing and tourism account for 26 percent of regional employment, according to the Southeast Conference, a regional business group, compared with timber’s 1 percent.

When Sullivan briefed Trump on the Tongass earlier this year, according to an individual familiar with the conversation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly, Trump asked him, “How the [expletive] do you have an economy without roads?”

Asked about the exchange, the White House declined to comment.

Southeast Alaska’s economy has taken an enormous hit during the pandemic. Robert Venables, the executive director of the Southeast Conference, said in an interview that though 1.4 million cruise passengers typically visit the region each summer, that number dropped to just 48 this summer. The area’s fisheries also have suffered because of climate change, and the global economic crisis hurt seafood prices.

“The economy is collapsing,” he said, adding that the Trump administration’s action might allow loggers to extract timber from some relatively accessible old-growth stands. “There’s some common-sense, near-term relief.”

But even Venables criticized the administration as going too far and predicted that the decision probably would be reversed next year if Democrats won the White House.

“It seems like the ball’s being punted from one end to the other,” he said. “The real disappointment here is a compromise could not be found that could create a more lasting peace.”

Logging in Alaska costs U.S. taxpayers millions each year, because of a long-standing federal mandate that companies profit from any timber sale. This means the Forest Service often covers harvesters’ costs, including road building. According to a Taxpayer for Common Sense analysis of the Forest Service’s accounts, the Tongass timber program has lost roughly $1.7 billion over the last 40 years.

After Taxpayers for Common Sense commented during the federal environmental review that it would be more economically efficient to hold timber sales in parts of the forest that already have roads, the Forest Service acknowledged that that was true.

The agency said its plan “reflects a different policy perspective on the roadless management issue rather than a change in the underlying facts and circumstances,” adding that the Trump administration believes “that overall reduction in federal regulations is good for the American public due to reduced burden to the taxpayer and reduced burden to business.”

Ninety-six percent of the comments during the U.S. Forest Service’s environmental review opposed lifting the existing safeguards, while 1 percent supported it. In a sign of how unpopular the administration’s push to lift roadless restrictions has become, all five Alaska Native tribal nations withdrew as cooperating agencies in the process two weeks ago, after the Forest Service published its blueprint for opening up the entire Tongass to development.

“We refuse to allow legitimacy upon a process that has disregarded our input at every turn,” the tribal leaders wrote.

Some of these tribes had conducted clear cuts decades ago, when they gained legal control over their ancestral lands. Marina Anderson, the tribal administrator for the Organized Village of Kasaan on Prince of Wales Island, recalled in a phone interview that her late father was a logger and said that the entire village had suffered the consequences of felling so many trees. A landslide occurred Monday morning; while Anderson was speaking on the phone, a second landslide occurred.

“These landslides happen on clear-cut lands. This morning I said, ‘It’s landslide day,” she said, noting there had been heavy rain. “I’ve grown up seeing these mudslides my whole life. As a culture committed to balance, it’s my responsibility to bring back that balance from what [my father] had done.”

The roughly 60 residents in the village, which does not have a grocery store, rely heavily on salmon, berries and other staples they can harvest from the forest. “Climate change is hitting us pretty hard,” Anderson said, adding that tribal officials oppose extensive logging because old-growth trees help lower stream temperatures and provide key wildlife habitat.

Referring to the new plan, she said, “It will only devastate even more what is already in progress.”

Environmentalists, who have successfully blocked a slew of timber sales on the Tongass since the early 1970s, said they will challenge the repeal of protections in court.

“We’ve been protecting the Tongass for many years. We’ve done it through  Reagan’s Interior Secretary James Watt, we’ve done it through Republican administrations and we’ve done it through hostile Supreme Courts,” Sam Sankar, vice president for programs at Earthjustice, said in an interview. “There’s never been a strong economic argument for logging, and neither has there been a strong biological or cultural argument. And we’re confident we’ll continue to prevail in the courts.”

Still some experts said they worried the decision could greenlight timber sales that would release more carbon into the atmosphere. DellaSala, who estimated that clear cutting 160,000 acres of old growth would be equivalent to putting 10 million cars on Alaska’s roads, noted that last month he had to evacuate from his home near Talent, Ore., because of a massive blaze nearby.

“It’s personal for me,” he said, adding that his home survived but that many others nearby did not. “We don’t have a lot of time to get this right, and we are heading in the wrong direction.”

edited from Washington Post

General “mad dog” Mattis tears Trump a new one

Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis issued an extraordinary criticism of wannabe dictator Trump’s leadership in a statement published in The Atlantic on Thursday.

Here is the full text of the retired Marine general’s statement:

IN UNION THERE IS STRENGTH

I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled. The words “Equal Justice Under Law” are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation.

When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.

We must reject any thinking of our cities as a “battlespace” that our uniformed military is called upon to “dominate.” At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors. Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict—a false conflict—between the military and civilian society. It erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect, and of which they themselves are a part. Keeping public order rests with civilian state and local leaders who best understand their communities and are answerable to them.

James Madison wrote in Federalist 14 that “America united with a handful of troops, or without a single soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited, with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat.” We do not need to militarize our response to protests. We need to unite around a common purpose. And it starts by guaranteeing that all of us are equal before the law.

Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that “The Nazi slogan for destroying us…was ‘Divide and Conquer.’ Our American answer is ‘In Union there is Strength.'” We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics.

Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.

We can come through this trying time stronger, and with a renewed sense of purpose and respect for one another. The pandemic has shown us that it is not only our troops who are willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of the community. Americans in hospitals, grocery stores, post offices, and elsewhere have put their lives on the line in order to serve their fellow citizens and their country. We know that we are better than the abuse of executive authority that we witnessed in Lafayette Square. We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution. At the same time, we must remember Lincoln’s “better angels,” and listen to them, as we work to unite.

Only by adopting a new path—which means, in truth, returning to the original path of our founding ideals—will we again be a country admired and respected at home and abroad.

From the Atlantic 

Ten years after: grim and getting worse

Ten years ago, in January 2010, the Supreme Court released its disastrous Citizens United decision. The court, either through remarkable naivety or sheer malevolence, essentially married the terrible idea that “money is speech” to the terrible idea that “corporations are people.”

The ruling put a for sale sign on our democracy, opening up a flood of corporate, special interest, and even foreign money into our politics.

Through Citizens United and related decisions, the Court made a bad situation worse. We saw the proliferation of super PACs, which can accept and spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, and the rise of dark money, which is undisclosed political spending that can come from any special interest, including foreign countries.

In the 10 years since the decision, there’s been $4.5 billion in political spending by outside interest groups, compared to $750 million spent in the 20 years prior to the case.

From 2000-2008, there were only 15 federal races where outside spending exceeded candidate spending. In the same amount of time following Citizens United, this occurred in 126 races. Now, almost half of all outside spending is dark money that has no or limited disclosure of its donors.

That money isn’t coming from the farmers suffering through Donald Trump’s trade war or the fast-food workers fighting for a living wage. It’s coming from the wealthiest donors, people often with very different priorities than the majority of Americans. In fact, a full one-fifth of all super PAC donations in the past 10 years have come from just 11 people.

This has led to an unresponsive and dysfunctional government. With so many politicians in the pockets of their big donors, it’s been even harder to make progress on issues like gun safety, health care costs, or climate change.

Not to mention, we’re left with the most corrupt president in American history, who’s embroiled in a series of scandals that threaten our prosperity, safety, and security.

To name just a few of these scandals: Trump urged a foreign country to investigate his political opponents. His lawyer’s “associates” funneled money into Trump’s super PAC through a sham corporation. The National Rifle Association spent tens of millions of dollars in unreported “dark” money to elect him while allegedly serving as a Russian asset.

Trump and his accomplices should be held accountable, through congressional impeachment, the judicial process, or both. But we also need meaningful anti-corruption reforms.

Thanks to a class of reformers elected in 2018, we’ve already begun that process. Last year, the House of Representatives passed the For the People Act (H.R. 1).

H.R. 1 would strengthen ethics rules and enforcement; reduce the influence of big money while empowering individual, small-dollar donors; and, along with a bill to restore the Voting Rights Act, protect every American’s right to vote. It also calls for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

Sadly, this bill is being blocked by Mitch McConnell in the Senate.

These reforms are all popular with the American people. We can unrig the system and restore that faith by fighting for these priorities, and by pressuring elected officials to act. Join groups like End Citizens United or Let America Vote to push back against our rigged system and put people ahead of corporate special interests.

Together, we can restore trust in government, prevent corruption, strengthen our national security, and ensure Washington truly works for the people.

 

 

from Times-Standard by Tiffany Muller
Tiffany Muller is the president of End Citizens United. Follow her at @Tiffany_Muller. 

 

Trump is a bigger threat than Kim, Putin, Khamenei and Xi combined???

Germans believe that Donald Trump is a bigger threat to global peace than several world leaders accused of regularly violating the human rights of those within their own borders, according to the results of a new poll.

The survey, conducted by YouGov, reveals that Germans believe Trump poses a significantly bigger threat to world peace than North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Some 41 percent of Germans think Trump is the most dangerous, followed by Kim at 17 percent, Khamenei and Putin at 8 percent and Xi at 7 percent.

The latest results are similar to those reported in past polls. In a similar YouGov survey conducted last year, 48 percent of Germans surveyed said Trump presented the greatest hurdle to global peace, followed by Kim and Putin. That poll, notably, did not include Xi or Khamenei as options.

Earlier this year, YouGov posed a similar question to Americans of all ages:
Who do you think is more dangerous — Trump, Kim, Putin, Xi  or Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro? Though voters ages 18 to 91, including Gen Z, millennials, Gen X, baby boomers, and the Silent Generation, tend to vote differently, the poll found that voters across every generation considered Trump to be the biggest threat to world peace over Kim, Putin, Xi or Maduro.

The most recent poll surveyed 2,000 people between Dec. 16-18. It comes three weeks after Trump found himself as the laughing stock of his peers. A widely-circulated video showed several world leaders — including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson — mocking him at the NATO summit in London.

 

Raw Story: This article was originally published at Salon

 

All fascist are not the same

Frame from Trump’s MAGA murder video

Donald Trump is not a “friendly fascist.” Unlike Ronald Reagan, the prototype for that concept, Trump does not pretend to be harmless. He does not offer up fake smiles and a cheerful nature, or display empathy and human concern for others, feigned or otherwise.

Donald Trump is direct, obvious and public in his threats against democracy, the Constitution and the rule of law. Trump and his movement are working to destroy America’s multiracial democracy through appeals to a mythic past that will “Make America Great Again.” In practice, this means undoing all the social progress and democratic reforms of the last century or more and returning to a society where white people — rich white male Christians, in particular — are fully in control over all aspects of American society for all time.

And of course, Donald Trump — the not-so-friendly fascist — embraces violence as a means of achieving his goals. When Trump said famously during the 2016 presidential campaign that he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue without losing his voters, it was both a threat and a promise.

“Friendly fascism” and traditional fascism are more alike than they are different. Writing in his 1980 book “Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America” Bertram Gross explained this:

“In each, a powerful oligarchy operates outside of, as well as through, the state. Each subverts constitutional government. Each suppresses rising demands for wider participation in decision making, the enforcement, and enlargement of human rights, and genuine democracy. Each uses informational control and ideological flimflam to get lower and middle-class support for plans to expand the capital and power of the oligarchy and provide suitable rewards for political, professional, scientific, and cultural supporters.

A major difference is that under friendly fascism Big Government would do less pillaging of, and more pillaging for, Big Business.”

It is true that both Trump and Reagan are TV presidents: products of the worst aspects of American popular culture and its superficiality, the emphasis on the impulsive versus the meditative and contemplative. It is also true that the results of Trump’s and Reagan’s policies for the poor, the working class, the vulnerable and other marginalized groups are very similar. And it is true that Trumpism is like the venerable right-wing lie about “trickle-down economics,” dosed on meth, crack and steroids.

[T]he differences between Reagan and Trump were as important as their similarities. Reagan was an actor; Trump was a reality-TV star. Reagan came from the world of fiction; Trump came from nonfiction-based entertainment. Reagan played characters; Trump played an amplified version of himself. Reagan’s job was acting; Trump’s job was acting out.

Reagan’s preparation for being president, in other words, was years of imagining himself in the heads of other people …. Reality TV did not require you to do that. You needed to understand other people as obstacles, or as creatures who would react to stimuli, but not necessarily as full human beings with the same complexities as you. If anything, too much empathy was a liability. It was noise that kept you from being your fullest you …. This is a frightening attribute for a person who has power and responsibility for others.

Trump’s performance is seductive and beguiling for his audience. They don’t want friendly fascism — it does not satisfy their emotional needs. Trumpists want and need a “strongman,” a bully and political thug who “doesn’t take any crap.” This is projection and wish-fulfillment; Trump is their hero and an imagined cure for their own emotional ailments. In that way, Donald Trump the political cult leader is poison medicine for his followers.

Trump’s supporters are bound to him by violence, both real and imagined. This was shown yet again through the fantasy mass murder video that was shown last weekend at an event hosted by the pro-Trump group American Priority at the president’s resort in Miami. In the video, an edited scene from the 2014 movie “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” an imaginary Trump guns down numerous symbolic figures: Democratic politicians, the news media, the Black Lives Matter movement, and other perceived enemies. Donald Trump Jr. and former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders were featured speakers at the American Priority Conference.

Such fantasies of political violence are a defining feature of fascism and a sign of a failing democracy.

That video was shown at the American Priority conference as part of a presentation on political memes. A meme is a message that circulates rapidly, in an uncontrolled fashion, with the goal of changing how its targets think and behave. As such, the goal of the Trump mass-murder video is to encourage Trump supporters to support violence (literal or otherwise) against the president’s adversaries.

Trump himself has also shared videos and other messages on Twitter that encourage violence against the news media if they do not do his bidding.

Moreover, because violence is a core strategy and tactic of authoritarian leadership, he has suggested that Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and other leading Democrats — as well, again, members of the news media who dare to criticize him — should be executed for treason.

Trump is a racial authoritarian. Racism is a form of violence.

Trump and his allies obsessively direct their violent threats and other attacks against nonwhite people as a group — notably, but not exclusively, nonwhite immigrants and migrants from Latin and South America. Trump has focused many of his most toxic attacks on prominent nonwhite Democratic elected officials such as Maxine Waters, Elijah Cummings, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, all duly elected members of Congress.

Donald Trump, the Republican Party, conservatives and their media allies are masters of stochastic terrorism. This has resulted in lethal political violence in the form of mass shootings, white supremacist riots and attacks, bombings, and hundreds of other documented hate crimes and other attacks by Trump’s supporters and those others who share his beliefs, across the United States and the world.

Predictably, Trump and his enablers have officially “condemned” the (most recent) Trump mass murder video. This supposed “condemnation” is a function of the plausible deniability which is a feature of stochastic terrorism. Trump’s defenders, including the hosts of the American Priority event claim that the video is a “parody” and a “joke.” So-called humor has long been a way of encouraging violence against a perceived enemy group, because it dehumanizes the targeted individuals and groups in a supposedly harmless context, lowering the social inhibitions on committing violence against them.

Of course, there is the hypocrisy, which is always at the heart of fascism and authoritarianism.

Comedian Kathy Griffin was pilloried by conservatives when in 2017 she posed with a fake severed head of Donald Trump.

Republicans and other gun obsessives constantly claim that video games and other violent forms of popular culture lead to mass shootings. Yet somehow a video showing the president of the United States slaughtering his “enemies” is harmless fun.

If Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, as president, were featured in such a video at an event hosted by their supporters, at a property either of them owned, the right-wing news media would create an enormous public panic that might well end with their impeachment and removal from office.

Ultimately, the Donald Trump murder video is but another example of how fascism has been normalized in America. In total, Trump’s presidency has unleashed, encouraged, spawned and permitted a long, nasty smear of political scatology across American politics and American life.

It’s true that the Democrats and other decent Americans have finally become mobilized to remove Trump, either through impeachment or the ballot box. But we must not overlook the fact that Trump and his movement’s rise to power is both a problem in itself and also a symptom of a much deeper set of political and social crises.

What we are witnessing in the Age of Trump is a behemoth of broken democracy and governance in a society that has become much too rapidly accustomed to a state of malignant normality and moral inversion.

In his brilliant book “Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism,” political theorist Sheldon Wolin signaled to the rise of Trump and how that regime would wield power:

Anti democracy, executive predominance, and elite rule are basic elements of inverted totalitarianism. Anti democracy does not take the form of overt attacks upon the idea of government by the people. Instead, politically it means encouraging what I have earlier dubbed “civic demobilization,” conditioning an electorate to being aroused for a brief spell, controlling its attention span, and then encouraging distraction or apathy.

What comes next?

There will be (more) blood.

The Trump murder video is a script. When it is followed (again) will Donald Trump and his movement suffer any consequences? No. Instead, Trump and his mouthpieces will issue their obligatory “thoughts and prayers” and “concerns” about right-wing political violence. Trump’s supporters will understand the real message behind such false proclamations. Trump’s condemnations of violence by his supporters and others acting in his name are really not-so-subtle winks of encouragement toward even more heinous actions.

 

 

Salon by way of Raw Story

We’ve seen this before; Don’t forget the lessons of history

EXPERT WITNESS MADELEINE ALBRIGHT:

Albright Knows Fascism When She Sees It. The former secretary of state endured Nazi and Communist regimes as a child, so she doesn’t toss the word ‘fascism’ around lightly. And she thinks America should be worried.

Madeleine Albright can easily spot totalitarian regimes, the former UN ambassador and Secretary of State was only a toddler when Nazi storm troopers invaded her native Czechoslovakia, forcing her family to flee to London. Then, having resettled back home after the war, the family was forced to flee again when the Communists took control of the country.

National Fascist Party leader Benito Mussolini  “you pluck the chicken one feather at a time and the people don’t really notice”

Albright’s new book, Fascism: A Warning, is the work of a woman who knows authoritarianism when she sees it. And she sees the seeds of it not only in a slew of leaders hell-bent on subverting democratic norms—Turkey’s Erdoğan, Venezuela’s Maduro, Hungary’s Orbán, and others—but also in Donald Trump, whom she calls in the book “the first antidemocratic president in modern U.S. history. On too many days, beginning at dawn, he exhibits his disdain for democratic institutions, the ideals of equality and social justice, civil discourse, civic virtues, and America itself.”

“I do not call Trump a fascist,”(yet) she said in an interview with The Daily Beast. But ever since she wrote the book, Albright says POTUS has gone “beyond what I thought was possible in terms of disrespect for the rule of law and that nobody is above the law.”

Trump may be the reason Albright decided to write Fascism, but the book’s subjects range far beyond the orange-haired one. Essentially a history of 20th-century fascism and authoritarianism, the work opens by discussing the original goose-stepping bad boys, Hitler and Mussolini, and how they came to power, thanks to a combination of rising nationalism, technology-driven angst, and revulsion at governments that appeared corrupt.

Sound a bit familiar? Albright told The Daily Beast that when it comes to similarities between the ’30s and today, “In the United States there are people who are feeling left out economically. Also, there’s the sense that America is better off not being involved in international relations, that people around the world haven’t appreciated America enough.”

Fascism is particularly valuable for its analysis of how democratic regimes can slowly descend into authoritarianism and then fascism. “The tipping point is when there has been a systematic attempt to undermine the rule of law, to have the judiciary be a proponent of one point of view,” she said in the interview. “Also, when freedom of the press is subverted, and there is a sense that all the vehicles of information are identified with the leader and his policies. The absolute tipping point [toward fascism] is violence when the military is being used to control people.”

“The interesting regimes to watch are those who have just had their elections,” said Albright, who pointed to Russia and Hungary as countries where re-elected autocrats might take steps to further subvert democracy.

Here in the U.S., Albright, who describes herself in the book as “an optimist who worries a lot,” describes a whole checklist of Trumpian horrors. He likes strongmen. He speaks with scorn about U.S. institutions. His analysis of events is full of exaggerations unsupported by facts, which are designed to exploit insecurities and stir up resentment (Think: Mexicans as rapists). He threatens to lock up political rivals, denigrates the press, and nurtures bigotry toward Islam.

“Albright admitted that like many people, she is dumbfounded that given his failures, GOP leaders have not denounced Trump.”

Six-star generalissimo Donald J. Trump

Even more frightening, the book draws distinct parallels between Trump and Hitler (the powers-that-be underestimated both men initially, thought they were in over their heads), Trump and Mussolini (a belief in their own infallibility, a poor judge of individuals) and Trump and Sen. Joseph McCarthy (political leaders uncomfortable with their bullying tactics but afraid to call their bluff).

Not that there hasn’t been a little bit of a learning curve since Trump was elected. “As far as North Korea is concerned, he has begun to understand the importance of diplomacy,” said Albright. But with the hollowing out of the State Department under former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, “we don’t have a lot of diplomats,” she said, “and any meeting like this involves a lot of preparation.”

Plus, when it comes to brand new national security adviser and super-hawk John Bolton, Albright isn’t really all that sanguine about the foreign relations situation. “I am very nervous about Bolton,” she said. “If you look at what he has said in the past, it makes me very nervous. He is a hard-liner and doctrinaire in a job that requires collegiality.”

Albright admitted that like many people, she is dumbfounded that given his failures, GOP leaders have not denounced Trump. “I don’t know why,” she said, “I’ve been surprised they haven’t. When they look at the cliff they are about to go over in the midterms, well, I am fascinated by the number of retirements taking place.”

She also seems perplexed by the total commitment of the president’s supporters. “I try very hard to be careful about not denigrating those who voted for Trump,” she said. “Is it that they are enamored of reality TV? It’s entertaining, it’s something outrageous.”

former FBI Director James Comey said trump reminded him of mobster ‘Sammy the Bull’ Gravano  former leader of the Gambino crime family

From Daily Beast https://www.thedailybeast.com