The Donald Chronicles, #9 – Jan. 29, 2017


The carnage continues. Two things in particular stand out.

1. Most ominously, Trump has installed his alt-right advisor, Steve Bannon, on the National Security Council, while removing the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the Director of  National Intelligence. Here’s a post on that subject, written (or re-posted) by Dawn Hollier:”This post concerns Donald Trump’s elevation of Bannon to leading roles within the National Security Council. To review: the National Security Council (NSC) comprises important high-level government officials including the President, Vice President, Secretary of State, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Director of National Intelligence. Its main job is to use this broad expertise to advise the President on national security matters and assist in carrying out security directives. Yesterday (January 28 2017) the President removed the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence from the NSC. He replaced them with Steve Bannon. Bannon has no government, intelligence, or high-level military experience; his experience is leading a propaganda outlet (Breitbart News) that peddles nationalist and white nationalist viewpoints.This would be deeply concerning in and of itself. But one of the jobs of the NSC is to oversee a secret panel that authorizes the assassination of “enemies of the United States Government” – including American citizens. These targeted killings are fully authorized by law under the Congressional military authorization act following 9/11. There is no trial, no due process, and no public record of the decision or the assassination itself.
Just to recap the absurdity: the President of the United States has appointed a known propagandist, nationalist, and white supremacist to replace the highest military adviser in the country on a council that authorizes secret, legal, targeted killings of American citizens (and others) without due process.”

Bernie Sanders: Very dangerous and unprecedented. It appears that Trump’s foreign and military policy, issues that involve war and peace and the lives of American men and women in the military, will be determined by politics and not the needs of the American people. We do not need an extreme right-wing political operative on the National Security Council. We need smart and experienced people who will do everything possible to protect our country and create a world of peace and justice. Steve Bannon must be removed from the National Security Council.

President Donald Trump signed memorandums on Saturday that kicked the nation’s top military and intelligence advisers off the National Security Council’s (NSC) Principals Committee and elevated his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, in their place.
COMMONDREAMS.ORG

2. Trump’s anti-Muslim ban went into effect yesterday, which banned travelers from 7 predominantly Muslim countries. But not from Saudia Arabia, of course, even though 15 of the 9/11 bombers were from Saudi Arabia. Next to North Korea, the Saudi Arabian government is the most repressive in the world … but generally does our bidding in the region, beside buying billions of dollars of arms from us. The ban was protested as unconstitutional in a number of airports across the country, and was then partially stayed by two federal judges.

Traffic shut down at LAX. Photo by Andrew Miller.

 

Pertinent to both the above items is this excerpt from The Daily Beast, entitled:

“How the Nazis Took Control of Germany

Hitler was not that popular when he first took office, but the Nazis quickly changed that, for the simple reason that power magnifies the ideas of those who hold it.

PETER HAYES

01.26.17 11:00 PM ET

 … The key to understanding the transformation of Germans’ behavior is straightforward: power magnifies the ideas of those who hold it. Power enabled the Nazi regime to unleash the haters, to intimidate the squeamish, and to change the moral valence of prejudice from something frowned upon to something glorified as patriotic. Once that happened, individual self-interest took care of the rest.

Above all, power enabled the propagandists (emphasis added) for Nazism to divide the world relentlessly into Us vs. Them and to shut down more nuanced perspectives. To Germans, the world became a perpetual struggle between poor, virtuous, and victimized Us, and malevolent, conspiratorial, and implacable Them. In such an unforgiving environment, all means of self-defense were justified, including preemptively striking Them—taking their rights away, concentrating them in camps and ghettos, wiping them out—before they supposedly had a chance to do their worst.

Demonization of “Them” is always the first step toward persecution and genocide. And an essential prerequisite for demonization is its proponents’ sense of victimization, of having been or being about to be robbed of a birthright. The adherents of modern anti-semitism, not only in Germany but elsewhere in Europe, were people displaced and diminished by the Industrial Revolution and threatened by the specter of communism. In our own day, the devotees of nativist populism, not only in the U.S. but also in Europe, are people declassed and disoriented by the digital revolution and alarmed by the rise of Islamism.

Will they go the way of the Nazis toward ever escalating paranoia and persecution? Only if governments help them. Populist movements, on their own, can’t make persecuting societies or generate genocides. These phenomena need office-holders to countenance, stimulate, and implement hatred. Only when powerful leaders choose to let discrimination and violence take hold, and then to accelerate these lusts, does systematic degradation, let alone mass murder, result. That is the challenge the Holocaust poses all these years later: Which way will political leaders go? Toward feeding angry and vengeful segments of public opinion or toward promoting pluralism and progress? Because the prospects look chancy right now, we should all recall the words of another German proverb—“Beware the Beginnings”—and be ready to act on it.”

So … #1 above concerns the increasing power being given to a professional propagandist whose white nationalist agenda is well-known, and #2 concerns the demonization of Islam; two elements cited above that were instrumental in bringing Germany under the control of the Nazis. To reiterate:  “’Beware the Beginnings’”— and be ready to act on it.”

About believesteve

I am a photographer and have published a book of photography and accompanying text on running the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The first (print) edition is out of print, but a second edition is available as an iBook (eBook) through the iTunes bookstore. All Grand Canyon, river and nature lovers will enjoy my book: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-grand/id672492447?ls=1
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