Archive for August, 2018

Trump’s Attack on Press Assaults Constitution

Posted in On Donald Trump with tags , , on August 8, 2018 by playthell
The untutored Mob Incited Against Reporters by Donald Trump

Devious Donald’s Anti-Media Campaign is a Menace to America!

It’s getting increasingly dangerous to be an honest reporter in the US nowadays. Of course, reporters in other countries have long been under fire from the forces of government and organized crime. Jouranalist in Latin America have been routinely menaced and murdered by the drug cartels and corrupt governments that they report on. Russian journalist are also imperiled by the super-Rich Oligarchs – who often run corporations with organic links to organized crime – that control the private sector.

And since the Russian government appears to be an autocratic kleptocracy run by Vladimir Putin, whom rumor has it is the richest man in the world, these criminal cowboy capitalists do their dirt with Putin’s blessings. Distinguished journalists have been persecuted and killed for reporting honestly on Putin’s perfidies. And if Dirty Devious Donnie continues to rant and rave against the free press, repeatedly calling us “enemies of the people,” we will see increasing acts of violence against reporters.

We have already witnessed it when Republican congressional  candidate Greg Gianforte body slammed Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs and told him to “get the hell outta here!”  Jacobs was simply questioning Gianforte about the speech he just presented; which is what reporters are supposed to do. Hence this reporter with a major international press organization was attacked and injured by an American politician for doing his job. A job which is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution, yet he was still elected to Congress by Republicans!

Many observers, including this writer, are convinced that the open hostility directed at the press by politicians when addressing their constituents, echoing the rancorous invective of the media basher in chief who presently befouls the White House and daily disgraces his high office, has so poisoned the atmosphere the it encourages violence against journalists and the assault on Ben Jacobs is a poignant example. “It was the strangest experience of my life as a reporter,” says Jacobs.

When he daily declares that the American Press are the purveyors of “Fake News” he is inciting the untutored mob to support outrageous acts against reporters, whom the President has assured them is their “enemy!” As I write there are 21 journalist imprisoned in other countries on the charge that they were publishing “Fake News.”

Trump’s attacks on the American media, in the country where freedom of the press was born, only encourages tyrants around the world who kill and imprison Journalists for reporting incompetence, crime and corruption in their governments.  Alas, Dangerous Devious Donald says he is “proud” that other leaders are following his example of calling out “fake news.”

Trump leaves no doubt that he covets the power of foreign autocrats to silence criticism their press. Yet due to the diligent work of reporters, the public has been presented with a treasure trove of evidence to support charges of “Obstruction of Justice” and “Treason”against Devious Donald. The evidence is so abundant a case can be convincingly made even without seeing the results of Special Prosecutor Bob Mueller’s investigation; which a host of former prosecuter’s, legal ethics lawyers, leading law professors, professional historians, et al believe will provide the final nails in Trump’s political coffin.

And Donnie Dimwit’s escalating attacks on the press provides compelling evidence for yet another charge of abusing his office, since he took an oath to “Defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.” This oath, which spells out his most sacred duty, is violated by Donald Trump every time he attacks the legitimacy of the press; which, like his job, is spelled out and protected in the Constitution!

When we listen to some of the things that Trump says about the nation’s best reporters there can be no question that he despises freedom of the press. The scurrilous rhetoric he employs when describing the function of reporters leaves no doubt about his seething hatred for these tribunes of the people who are leading the fight against tyranny by exposing his anti-democratic practices.

The hostile name calling and rabble rousing began during the presidential campaign, when he nearly incited crowds of supporters to violence on several occasions.   And it is something akin to a miracle that no has been assaulted, especially since Trump offered to pay the legal bills for the defense of anyone who attacked one of his critics!

Before he won Trump repeatedly claimed the election was “rigged,” and even announced that he would not accept the results if “I don’t win.”  Yet, despite the unanimous conclusion of the US intelligence agencies that Russian military intelligence conducted a widespread effort to sway the US presidential election to him, Trump continuously decries the investigation into Russian meddling as “a hoax.”

Since it is the press that has informed the American public of every development in the Russian cyber-invasion in a unceasing stream of revealing stories and insightful commentary, Dirty Donald continues to attack them like a guilty man fleeing the gallows. His comments at recent rallies reveals the extent to which he is coming unhinged. One of the psychiatrist from the “Duty to Warn” group, a coalition of mental health professionals who are alarmed by the President’s increasingly unstable mental condition, points to the following statements as evidence of the president’s rapidly deteriorating mental condition.

In an article by titled “Don’t Shrug Away Trump’s Media Attacks,” published in the Columbia Journalism Review, Pete Vernon points out that Trump reacted to US press coverage of his over hyped meeting with Korean autocrat Kim Jong Un – one of several “strong men” he has openly expressed admiration for – with a vicious attack on American journalists.

Turning to his favorite venue for presidential proclamations the twittering twit tweeted “So funny to watch the Fake News, especially NBC and CNN. Our country’s biggest enemy is the Fake News so easily promulgated by fools!” When we consider the fact that this criticism comes from a guy who once wondered aloud why the “National Inquirer” has never won a Pulitzer Prize, it would be hilarious if it were not coming from the US President.

Alas, NBC NEWS anchor Lester Holt, recently expressed concern that these kind of attacks will provoke violent assaults on journalists from unthinking fanatics who take this “Insane Clown President” – as Matt Taibbi has aptly identified him- seriously. Devious Donald repeated this kind of rancorous rhetoric at a series of recent rallies in the south and mid-west where he is immensely popular with the shit kicker crowd in the boonies who are bedazzled by the city slicker bunko artists selling bogus dreams. He has pointed out reporters at these rallys and called them “Disgusting dishonest people,” or worse and repeated the charge that they are “enemies” of America.”

In response to a story about growing tensions between him and White House Chief of Staff General Kelly Donnie Dumbass tweeted: “The Washington Post is far more fiction than fact. Story after story is made up garbage – more like a poorly written novel than good reporting. Always quoting sources (not names), many of which don’t exist. Story on John Kelly isn’t true, just another hit job!”

One wonders if Trump’s assault on the integrity of the Washington is partially due to his abysmal ignorance of the high quality product produced by this pillar of American journalism, or perhaps he is haunted by the memory that it was the post that exposed the Watergate scandal that brought an end to the presidency of Richard Nixon, a man far more qualified and immensely more popular than Dirty Donnie. Since his alleged conspiracy with Russian military intelligence agents to steal the presidential election from Hillary Clinton, whom three million Americans preferred to him, is a far graver crime than Watergate, I believe Trump is terrified of the fate that awaits him. This fear does much to explain his constant hostility toward the press, but I believe the causes lie even deeper.

Donald Trump is a supreme egotist who has lived an adult life running a family owned business and has never had to account to anyone for his decisions and actions. Unlike corporate presidents in publicly traded companies, who must report to a board of directors and shareholders, Trump has always been able to dictate commands and expect them to be followed without question upon fear of termination. In such an environment permanent lips to posterior is the preferred posture for employees. This is the attitude that Donnie Dimwit has brought to government; a position for which he is totally unsuited by training and temprement. Hence he finds a critical press constantly calling out his lies and bullshit intolerable, which is the hallmark of all autocrats.

Given his attitude it is a reasonable assumption that without the protection of the First Amendment Trump would destroy the free press much like Hitler, who also despised the independent press, did in Germany. In an article published in the Holocaust Encyclopedia titled “The Press in the Third Reich: Establishing Control of the Press,” we are told:

“When Adolf Hitler took power in 1933, the Nazis controlled less than three percent of Germany’s 4,700 papers. The elimination of the German multi-party political system not only brought about the demise of hundreds of newspapers produced by outlawed political parties; it also allowed the state to seize the printing plants and equipment of the Communist and Social Democratic Parties, which were often turned over directly to the Nazi Party. In the following months, the Nazis established control or exerted influence over independent press organs.

During the first weeks of 1933, the Nazi regime deployed the radio, press, and newsreels to stoke fears of a pending “Communist uprising,” then channeled popular anxieties into political measures that eradicated civil liberties and democracy. SA (storm troopers) and members of the Nazi elite paramilitary formation, the SS, took to the streets to brutalize or arrest political opponents and incarcerate them in hastily established detention centers and concentration camps. Nazi thugs broke into opposing political party offices, destroying printing presses and newspapers.

Sometimes using holding companies to disguise new ownership, executives of the Nazi Party-owned publishing house, Franz Eher, established a huge empire that drove out competition and purchased newspapers at below-market prices. Some independent newspapers, particularly conservative newspapers and non-political illustrated weeklies, accommodated to the regime through self-censorship or initiative in dealing with approved topics.”

Given his hatred for independent critical journalism such as is practiced by the major news organizations, who can seriously doubt that Trump would resort to any means necessary to destroy them if he were not restrained by the Constitution. I haven’t the slightest doubts about it! This seems especially plausible when we consider the similarities in the mindsets of the two authoritarians.

The head doctors have repeatedly drawn attention to the similarities between their diagnosis of “The Donald’s” dangerous mental maladies and the German Psychoanalyst Eric Fromm’s diagnosis of “Der Fuerer.” Both suffer from “Malignant Narcissism and Paranoia,” a condition that gives them feelings of omnipotence and infallibility, conflates their fate with the fate of the State and view all criticism as an attack by enemies.
Although the press avoids referencing the diagnoses of the doctors in Duty to Warn, which has been published in a book under this title, in deference to the outmoded “Goldwater Rule” – which was always based on political considerations rather than a scientific evidence – all one need do is look at the symptoms outlined by these mental health professionals and compare them to Trump’s actual behavior to see that they are right on the money. There is a reason why Neo-Nazis are attracted to Trump, as the old adage goes “It takes one to know one.” On more than one occasion Trump’s acolytes have used outright Nazi slogans in their demonstrations and protests. A poignant example is the torch bearing Nazi’s shouting “Blood and Soil” on their night march.

This slogan was employed by Nazi’s to define who was a “true German” and set the stage for the holocaust by calling for ethnic cleansing, or “racial hygiene” to purify the population of Germany of “undesirable aliens.” These ideas about race presently inform Trump’s attitude toward immigration policy. However they ideas whose roots are so deep in America’s racist history that they inspired the National Origins Act, which greatly restricted immigration to the US based on the country of origin, heavily favoring Northern and Western Europeans of “Teutonic” blood.  (See: “Is Trump a Racial Hygienist?” on this blog.) However, even more pertinent to the point of this essay is the use of the Nazi term for the independent press by Trump’s acolytes at his rallies.

Young white thugs, reminiscent of Hitler’s Brown Shirts, harassed and menaced reporters shouting the Nazi epithet “Lugenpresse!” Which means “Lying Press.” When video from the rally found it’s way onto the internet, those who understand the historical context in which the slur was created took notice. In an October 24, 2016 article in the Washington Post filed from Berlin by Nick Noack – “The ugly history of ‘Lügenpresse,’” we learn:

“When a video of two Donald Trump supporters shouting ‘Lügenpresse’ (lying press) started to circulate Sunday, viewers from Germany soon noted its explosive nature. The defamatory word was most frequently used in Nazi Germany….Its use across the Atlantic Ocean at a Trump rally has worried Germans who know about its origins all too well. Both the Nazi regime and the East German government made use of it, turning it into an anti-democracy slogan…“Lügenpresse” was branded a taboo word in Germany in 2015 by an academic panel after anti-Islam movements, such as Pegida, started using it more frequently in the presence of journalists. As in the United States, trust in mainstream media is on the decline in Germany.”

Alas, the proclamation of the German academics does not carry the weight of law, and contemporary Neo-fascists in Germany are continuing to revive it. And it has already begun to incite violence against working reporters trying to cover their rallys. Noaack reports: “The verbal attacks against journalists soon turned into physical violence in Germany. At times, media members were unable to cover the Pegida-organized protest marches without private security personnel. Some reporters who risked going in without bodyguards were beaten up. It is without doubt that the word ‘Lügenpresse’ has an extremely ugly meaning in modern-day Germany.”

The Washington Post article goes on to explore the horrid history of “Lugenpresse” and it is instructive about Trump’s attitude toward the American press. The term first appeared in a book released by the German Defense Ministry titled “The Lugenpresse of our Enemies,” during the First World War in 1918. It was coined by the writer Reinhold Anton to describe the propaganda of foreign enemies.

Hitler adopted it years later to attack the German press that criticized him and his NAZI Party. And now Trump’s has declared the American press to be: “Enemies of the people!” Hence Trump’s Neo-Nazi acolytes are just following his lead when they threateningly shout “Lugenpresse!” at reporters.  And what makes this bad situation immeasurably worse is that Devious Donald is closely following the Nazi Minister of Propaganda Dr. Joseph Goebbels’ axiom that a “Big Lie” repeated often enough will find believers.

Since Trump’s core supporters are mostly composed of the ignorant and the venal – whom Hillary Clinton accurately summed up as “Deplorables” – we can expect no corrective from them.  In fact, according to a report in the Daily Beast an opinion poll conducted by Ipsos found that 43% of Republicans thinks Trump should have the power to shut down news organizations that he deems to be purveyors of fake news!  This is how dictatorships began in democratic societies, fortunately for Americans our constitution guarantees freedom of the press.  However the position of these Republicans, who would grant a lying charlatan and buffoon like Donald Trump the power to silence the press is irrefutable proof that Thomas Jefferson was prescient when he warned: “A democracy cannot work with an ignorant electorate.”

Alas, that’s the best we are going to get from the Trumpanzees. But as for the rest of us, the salvation of our democracy – now seriously threatened with the specter of plutocracy – demands that we do everything in our power to get Devious Donnie’s crazy evil treasonous ass out of the White House and away from the nuclear button as soon as possible! And that process begins with the coming elections for control of Congress, because Impeachment is the fastest road to ridding ourselves of this looming menace to America and the world!

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Witness Trump’s Vicious Attacks on the Press

 

Watch Trump Argue for a Pulitzer Prize for National Inquirer