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Another Thing Trump Killed And Buried: Godwin's Law


3 fascist rats by Nancy Ohanian

There was once so much pushback and squawking when anyone compared Trump to Hitler, that it discouraged the practice. Who even remembers that or even the now discarded “Godwin’s Law” itself? Now, because no one can deny Trump’s authoritarian nature, his disdain for the rule of law and his overall disregard for democratic norms, comparing Trump to Hitler is an utterly uncontroversial occurrence. Like Hitler’s, Trump's rhetoric includes ugly nationalist themes, purposeful divisiveness, scapegoating and appeals to hollow populism. Trump’s tactics— challenging the legitimacy of elections, refusing to commit to peaceful transfers of power, encouraging political violence— are eroding democracy much the same way Hitler did everything in his power to dismantle the Weimar Republic.


What got me going down this road today was a post on Public Notice by Stephen Robinson, Don't be gaslit: Trump's corruption is unparalleled in which he talked about the unprecedented corruption at the heart of Trump’s first term and how Trump tries projecting that onto Biden. What caught my attention was his discussion of Trump’s refusal, soon after he was declared the winner, despite losing the popular vote, to divest from his personal business interests. “Before 2016,” wrote Robinson, “it was standard procedure for presidents to divest from their business interests before taking office… Trump made mouth noises about following precedent, pledging he would leave ‘my great business’ during his time in the White House. ‘While I am not mandated to do this under the law, I feel it is visually important, as President, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses,’ Trump tweeted on November 30, 2016. It quickly became clear, however, that Trump’s divestment plan was a joke: He merely turned over active control to his two sons, Don Jr. and Eric, which hardly satisfied ethics experts. For instance, Richard Painter, former ethics counsel to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, argued that Trump should ‘put all his conflict-generating assets in a true blind trust run by an independent trustee.’ Trump held a press conference a week before his inauguration that was supposed to clarify how he planned to hand the family business over to his sons. However, the documents placed next to him as evidence of his complex financial preparations were just props, binders filled with blank paper.”


Trump’s whole family got in on the act. Lara Trump claimed her family was “not going to do any more international business deals,” but that was a lie. The nonprofit government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington concluded based on an analysis of tax returns made available only after Trump left office that he made up to $160 million from international business dealings during his presidency.
…When Trump announced he wouldn’t divest from his business, he tried to throw people off the scent by vowing he wouldn’t take actions as president that would benefit him personally. That claim was almost immediately proven false. As president-elect, he met at Trump Tower with Indian business partners who were constructing a Trump-branded luxury apartment complex south of Mumbai. Don Jr. furthered the family’s interests in India and he had no problem learning his father’s ‘brand’ during negotiations, a brand significantly more valuable now that his dad was president.
…Perhaps most egregiously, in 2019, Trump selected his Doral resort as the site where world leaders would gather for the G7 summit.
That proved too much even for some Republicans to swallow, and Trump ultimately backed down. It was one of the few times his self-dealing knew any limits.


That immediately made me think of Hitler’s military reoccupation of the demilitarized Rhineland in 1936, when the German military was not fully prepared for a significant conflict. The forces that Hitler sent into the Rhineland were relatively small and lightly armed. If France and Britain had responded with military force, history would have been very different. Hitler himself described the move as a gamble, acknowledging that if the French had marched into the Rhineland, the German forces would have had to retreat and this would likely have led to his fall from power!

 

But they let him get away with it, despite knowledge that much of the German military, including Ludwig Beck, opposed it. William Shirer, in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, noted that Hitler was apprehensive about the possibility of a French military intervention and the potential for his own downfall if the reoccupation failed. Bad the French and British pushed back, there probably would have been a military coup but even if there wasn’t, there wouldn’t have been a Sudetenland crisis two years hence. 


I can’t say that Trump learned this kind of boundary-testing from Hitler. But because he didn’t face tangible repercussions  forms violation of the Emoluments Clause, a precedent was immediately set and the Roy Cohn-trained gangster learned he could get away with pushing on boundaries and violating norms. His time in teh White House was marred by endless instances where he tested the limits of legal and ethical norms and nearly always got away with it— although he was impeached twice (and protected by GOP senators both times) and forced to face criminal investigations still pending which could be upended by the partisan and corrupt Supreme Court—or land him in prison. 


No one can deny that the absence of accountability encourages boundary-pushing behavior and bullying. If initial transgressions are met with minimal or no consequences— normalization of deviance and, in Trump’s case moral disengagement— it will invariably create a sense of impunity in people like Hitler and Trump. And not just history but psychological studies suggest that individuals in positions of power who successfully evade accountability for minor infractions are more likely to commit more significant violations. The absence of immediate and firm checks always lead to an escalation in risky behavior. We see the slippery slope in action— a kind of incrementalism and gradual process of becoming accustomed to unethical behavior. Small steps that seemed insignificant at first led to larger ethical breaches as Trump became confident and in many ways, desensitized. Psychological research has shown that power corrupts— and “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

 

“The way Trump and his political and media enablers are trying to gaslight people,” wrote Robinson, “was demonstrated last week when Republican National Committee Co-Chair Lara Trump went on Sean Hannity’s show and made a case that her father-in-law is a model of ethics in comparison with Biden. ‘It’s not just criminality we’re worried about with the Biden family. It’s national security,’ Lara said, despite the fact that her father-in-law is a convicted felon who’s charged with stealing classified documents in a separate case. ‘We need to know as American citizens, that when Joe Biden, as president of the United States, is making decisions for this country, he’s made decisions based on what’s best for the American people and not what’s best for the bank account of the Biden family,’ she added.” Any rational person would notice that she had just described Trump to a “t.”




2 comentarios


Invitado
24 jun

godwin's law is an example of putting arbitrary limits on free (accurate) speech. It should have been flushed no later than 2000 but I would argue that reagan began the nazi revival in earnest after nixon first began it by running on racist tropes in 1968.


It is also relevant to observe that neither should have been allowed to run because they both should have been in prison or dead by firing squad for treason. But you elect democraps. So treason is, de-facto, legal.

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Invitado
22 jun

Here you are blaming the debilitating pain for the cancer again.


trump isn't a cause of anything bad. he and everything he IS ALLOWED TO DO to society is but a symptom of:

  1. colossally evil nazi voters

  2. colossally stupid democrap voters who refuse to vote for good and always settle for just a tiny bit less evil than the nazis. for almost 60 years and counting.

  3. colossally indifferent voters who never vote


note: the number of voters in each of the 3 categories is about equal. So, IN A FUCKING DEMOCRACY, 2 out of 3 "voters" cannot and will never defeat the 1 in 3 nazi voters. Because either they flush their votes on pure shit or they have noth…


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