Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Homegrown Hitler Chronicles: Our Trump in Washington

The march of our homegrown Hitler continues, in lockstep with his ally and America's adversary, Russia.  Trump gets his first national security briefing today, information that now seems likely to be passed on to the Russians.  In advance of the briefing, Eric Levitz reports, Trump told Faux News he doesn't trust US intelligence agencies and he's bringing his own advisor with him to the briefing:

"former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency Michael Flynn. “He’s been a real fan of mine and defender of mine and he’s a terrific guy, a terrific general — tough, smart,” Trump said of the Putin-friendly former general — who co-authored a book with America’s foremost defender of Italian fascism — in an interview with Fox News. “He wants to make sure the right people are coming into our country, not the people that we’re probably taking in right now.”

Frank Rich comments on recent revelations about Trump's campaign chief (who he just demoted) and his ugly and illegal ties to Russian oligarchs, and on Trump himself as a national security risk.  He faults Republican leaders for ignoring this tangible threat: "A party that during the Joe McCarthy era prided itself on rooting secret Communists (real or imagined) out of the federal government is now looking the other way when its own presidential candidate and one of his top operatives are in open, even proud, cahoots with a Kremlin hostile to America’s national interests."

Ed Kilgore at New York flags a reason that Trump's voter intimidation strategy may work, thanks to a Supreme Court decision: But as Julie Fernandes recently pointed out at Democracy, the decision also eliminated the basis for a separate Justice Department program providing for federal election observers in Section 4 jurisdictions. So there will not be any this November, for the first time in 50 years.

The main function of these federal observers was to deter by their presence and, if necessary, report on efforts to intimidate or otherwise discourage voting by minority citizens."

David Remnick in the New Yorker:

"You have to say this for the crooked demagogues and reactionary populists of the American past: they may have stirred the bitter soup of nativist resentment with as much zeal as Donald J. Trump, but their family counselors did not take time out from politics to cruise the Aegean on a plutocrat’s yacht; their rhetorical counselors did not attempt, for decades, to instill fear in their employees through the most squalid sort of sexual terror; and their political counselors never worked in the interest of Slavic autocrats. Oh, Father Coughlin, we hardly knew ye!

Day by day, news bulletin by news bulletin, the Trump campaign spirals to new depths of strategic confusion and moral chaos. On the escalators at Trump Tower, the direction is always down, down, down."

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