Category Archives: Authoritarianism

Is The Trump Regime Becoming Irrelevant?

Published / by stevec

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First of all Trump is a regime not a presidency and is especially authoritarian. But is the power of this regime becoming diminished?

According to Robert Reich Trump can be made irrelevant and it is starting to happen. Read on:

How to Remove Trump

 

Liberty and Justice For All

Published / by stevec

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Not under Trump. He panders to the alt-right and the domestic terrorism of the neo-nazis and white supremacists. In fact they are a significant part of his base.

Charlottesville and a Michael Lewis article, Why the Scariest Nuclear Treat May Be Coming from Inside the White House, has opened my eyes. This blog is no longer limited to exposing the false claims of fact and the illogic that underlie Trump’s actions.

Trump has shown his true colors. He panders to the above mentioned groups and criminal leaders like Vladimir Putin and  Rodrigo Duterte. He fails to recognize critical functions of national government — e.g., healthcare, environmental protection, and nuclear risks. These and other factors demonstrate that:

  1. he does not understand what public service means,
  2. does not stand for the greater good,
  3. lacks understanding of what our national government actually does,
  4. supports and condones the criminal activity of reprehensible groups and leaders,
  5. is clearly amoral and unfit to be president.

The Lawless Presidency

Published / by stevec

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David Leonhardt speaks to Trump’s disrespect for The Rule of Law in an editorial in today’s New York Times. Below are exerts:

Democracy isn’t possible without the rule of law — the idea that consistent principles, rather than a ruler’s whims, govern society. …Even amid bitter fights over what the law should say, both Democrats and Republicans have generally accepted the rule of law. President Trump does not. His rejection of it distinguishes him from any other modern American leader. He has instead flirted with Louis XIV’s notion of “L’état, c’est moi”: The state is me — and I’ll decide which laws to follow.

Let’s walk through the major themes:

LAW ENFORCEMENT, POLITICIZED. People in federal law enforcement take pride in trying to remain apart from politics. I’ve been talking lately with past Justice Department appointees, from both parties, and they speak in almost identical terms. …Trump has erased this distinction. …He pressured Comey to drop the investigation of Trump’s campaign and fired Comey when he refused. …The attorney general, Jeff Sessions, is part of the problem. He is supposed to be the nation’s head law-enforcement official, but acts as a Trump loyalist.

COURTS, UNDERMINED. Past administrations have respected the judiciary as having the final word on the law. Trump has tried to delegitimize almost any judge who disagrees with him.

TEAM TRUMP, ABOVE THE LAW. Foreign governments speed up trademark applications from Trump businesses. Foreign officials curry favor by staying at his hotel. A senior administration official urges people to buy Ivanka Trump’s clothing. The president violates bipartisan tradition by refusing to release his tax returns, thus shrouding his conflicts. …The behavior has no precedent. “Trump and his administration are flagrantly violating ethics laws,” the former top ethics advisers to George W. Bush and Barack Obama have written. …Their attitude is clear: If we’re doing it, it’s O.K.

CITIZENS, UNEQUAL. Trump and his circle treat themselves as having a privileged status under the law. And not everyone else is equal, either. In a frightening echo of despots, Trump has signaled that he accepts democracy only when it suits him. Remember when he said, “I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election — if I win”?

TRUTH, MONOPOLIZED. The consistent application of laws requires a consistent set of facts on which a society can agree. The Trump administration is trying to undermine the very idea of facts. It has harshly criticized one independent source of information after another. The Congressional Budget Office. The Bureau of Labor Statistics. The C.I.A. Scientists. And, of course, the news media.

What Motivates Trump

Published / by stevec

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What motivates trump? Certainty not ideology. The Trump strategy is driven by  Winning. “He believes in power and strength, and he believes in himself. So that becomes his philosophy,” Dan P. McAdams. Perhaps this is why he flips on issue after issue, NATO, China, Russia and Syria.

Months before the 2016 U.S. presidential election took place, Dan P. McAdams, a psychology professor at Northwestern University, set out to better understand Donald Trump. This was reported in The Altlantic January 29, 2017:  In his article “The Mind of Donald Trump,” McAdams concluded that the then-presidential hopeful is extremely extroverted, extremely disagreeable, narcissistic, and filled with anger.” McAdams suggested that Trump is a fighter, but that, apart from a desire to win, it is not clear what motivates him to fight. “It is as if Trump has invested so much of himself in developing and refining his socially dominant role that he has nothing left over to create a meaningful story for his life, or for the nation”

After Trump was elected McAdams, in an Atlanic interview,  made several observations, quoted here in part:

The first is that I would double down even more on the idea that what you see is what you get when it comes to Trump. … Now that Trump has won the election, we’re seeing this dynamic continue to play out. He’s still fighting, even though the election itself, and the battle that was the campaign is over. Most candidates want to win the election so that they can become president, but it seems like Donald Trump wanted to become president so that he could win the election. It’s all about winning, but even now that he’s won he can’t seem to let go of the fight.

The second thing I would emphasize more is the theme of authoritarianism. I think what we have seen in the last six months—and now that he is president—is that Trump really doesn’t know how, or want, to work within the typical institutional structures of democracy. Like an authoritarian leader, he wants to transcend that and connect directly to the people. He does that through Twitter, by going around the press, or by making it sound as though the world is an extraordinarily dangerous place and positioning himself as a sort of authoritarian leader, savior and strong man who will deliver the country from “carnage,” to use a word he used in his inaugural address.

[concerning a question about lying and deceit] The lying has gotten more extreme now that he’s in the Oval Office, and I didn’t think it would get this bad. I thought Trump utters falsehoods in order to promote some kind of agenda or for some specific strategic purpose, but now there are times when it seems like he just lies for the sake of lying.

[in my original piece] I may have underestimated the extent of Trump’s authoritarian leanings. When I think of an authoritarian I often think of someone who is a true believer in something. They take office and they have an agenda that they really believe in and Trump doesn’t seem to have much ideological conviction, so I thought, how can he be an authoritarian? But actually Trump does have principles. He believes in power and strength, and he believes in himself. So that becomes his philosophy.

I think it’s really important to try to understand who the president is. And when you learn that there isn’t much behind the mask except for these narcissistic goals and authoritarian values, that’s important to learn, and it helps you predict what kind of president he is going to be.

In Praise of Another Authoritarian

Published / by stevec

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From an Editorial in the NYTs:  Enabling Egypt’s President Sisi, an Enemy of Human Rights:

American presidents must sometimes deal with unsavory foreign leaders in pursuit of America’s national interest. But that doesn’t require inviting them to the White House and lavishing them with praise and promises of unconditional support.

Yet that’s what President Trump did on Monday in not just welcoming but celebrating one of the most authoritarian leaders in the Middle East, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, a man responsible for killing hundreds of Egyptians, jailing thousands of others and, in the process, running his country and its reputation into the ground.

The expressions of mutual admiration that permeated the Oval Office were borderline unctuous. Mr. Trump praised Mr. Sisi for doing a “fantastic job” and assured him he has a “great friend and ally in the United States and in me.”