Friday, March 03, 2017

The Donald J. Trump Regime-- Hostis Publicus, Ennemi Du Peuple, Vrag Naroda...


An Enemy of the People was an 1882 play by Henrik Ibsen that inspired a Steve McQueen film of the same name (1978), based on Arthur Miller's adaptation of Ibsen's original. In between the play and the film, we had Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, whose use of the term was a turn-around from the Roman Senate's very reasonable declaration in AD 68 that Nero was a hostis publicus... enemy of the people. The French Revolution revitalized the term-- ennemi du peuple-- and in 1793 Robespierre declared that the revolutionary government owed the Enemies of the People nothing but death, codified the following year and meted out to... Robespierre himself a few months later. In Russian the term is враг народа (pronounced vrag naroda) and it was a term Lenin used right from the beginning. But it really came into its own under Stalin, who used the term to deprive Russians of citizenship and to internally deport them to the gulags. The term faded from popular usage until February 17 of this year when Señor Trumpanzee, who probably had no idea of the historical context and was no doubt fed the term by either Comrade Bannon, Comrade Miller or Comrade Gorka, tweeted: "The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!" and then followed that up on February 24 during his CPAC speech: "A few days ago I called the fake news the enemy of the people and they are. They are the enemy of the people."

Last week PRI interviewed Nikita Khrushchev's great granddaughter, Nina Khrushcheva, a professor of international affairs at the New School in New York, and she explained why she finds Trump's use of the phrase "horrifying... It was used by Leon Trotsky, it was used by Vladimir Lenin, but it was really ratcheted up during Joseph Stalin. It became a very convenient political tool, so when you say so-and-so could be an enemy of the people, then you really don’t have to look into any context or any crimes. Somebody would report that you don’t wink the right way, and that would be enough to prosecute you. So that’s how gulags were created."
The term became so loaded that when Khrushcheva's grandfather, Nikita Khrushchev, came to power, he demanded that people stop using it.

That’s why Khrushcheva was startled to hear those words getting tossed around again, and this time, in the US.

“It does sound shocking that in the greatest democracy in the world, in American democracy, you can hear from the White House podium the language that even the Soviets, after the death of Joseph Stalin, actually dismissed,” she says, “because even for the Soviets that language was too divisive."

Khrushcheva doubts that Trump knows about the history of the phrase he adopted. “I’m not certain he understands what it means in larger global context,” she says.

But she still worries about the impact of resurrecting-- even unknowingly-- a phrase that caused so much anguish in the past.

“Those words,” she warns, “create an atmosphere that could lead to really horrible, very tragic consequences.”
Even with clowns like Ted Cruz, Orrin Hatch and Tom Cotton still (lamely) defending Sessions, by later yesterday afternoon, Sessions and Trump were tired of being beaten to a pulp over Sessions' contacts with the Russians during the campaign and the scandal growing around his perjury. He offered to recuse himself... when most people think he needs to resign and face a trial.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, facing a chorus of criticism over his contacts with the Russian ambassador, recused himself Thursday from any current or future investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. His conversations with the ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, came amid suspected Russian hacking directed at Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Mr. Sessions said he made the decision after meeting with senior career officials at the Justice Department. He said he would not take part in any investigations “related in any way to the campaigns for president of the United States.”

Mr. Sessions said “I don’t recall” whether Mr. Trump or the presidential election, which was then two months away, came up in the discussion with the ambassador.

The remarks by Mr. Sessions came not long after President Trump on Thursday expressed his support for Mr. Sessions and said he should not recuse himself from the investigation. Mr. Sessions was a key adviser and surrogate for Mr. Trump’s campaign.

...Sessions’s decision exposed rifts between the White House and the Justice Department not only over whether he should recuse himself-- President Trump said less than an hour earlier that he did not think he needed to do so-- but also on the president’s public assertions about the controversy.

Asked why the White House had frequently asserted that no one from the Trump campaign had any contact with the Russian government during the campaign, a Justice Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “That’s the White House’s answer. I don’t know.”

The clash was the latest escalation in the continuing fallout over what intelligence officials have concluded was Russian interference in the 2016 election to help President Trump, including by hacking Democratic emails and providing them to WikiLeaks for release.

F.B.I. officials have been scrutinizing contacts between people affiliated with the Trump campaign over communication with the Russian government. And last month, the national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, resigned after it emerged that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about a conversation with Mr. Kislyak.

Now, Mr. Sessions, formerly an Alabama senator, appears to be at risk of becoming caught in that same wave. He was the first senator to endorse Mr. Trump and became an architect of his populist campaign strategy who sharpened the candidate’s message on immigration and trade. Mr. Sessions became a trusted adviser and is seen as one of the power centers in the administration.

At the confirmation hearing for attorney general in January, Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, asked Mr. Sessions about a CNN report that intelligence briefers had told Barack Obama, then the president, and Mr. Trump, then the president-elect, that Russian operatives claimed to have compromising information about Mr. Trump.

Mr. Franken also noted that the report indicated that surrogates for Mr. Trump and intermediaries for the Russian government continued to exchange information during the campaign. He asked Mr. Sessions what he would do if that report proved true.

Mr. Sessions replied that he was “not aware of any of those activities.” He added: “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign, and I didn’t have-- did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.”

But the Justice Department acknowledged on Wednesday that Mr. Sessions had twice communicated with the Russian ambassador last year. The first time was in July, at the Republican National Convention, after he gave a speech at an event for ambassadors sponsored by the Heritage Foundation. The second time was a visit to his office by Mr. Kislyak in September.
Trump's hand in the coverup yesterday: "Jeff Sessions is an honest man. He did not say anything wrong. He could have stated his response more accurately, but it was clearly not intentional. This whole narrative is a way of saving face for Democrats losing an election that everyone thought they were supposed to win. The Democrats are overplaying their hand. They lost the election and now, they have lost their grip on reality. The real story is all of the illegal leaks of classified and other information. It is a total witch hunt!" Sounds definitive (not).

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At 6:39 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

It appears to me the focus of all this has been from the wrong angle and the big picture is continually pushed to the side. All of this administration's involvement and contacts with Russia, Trump's long history of financial connections with Russians (let alone sexual exploits of potential blackmail quality), ALL OF IT STINKS TO HIGH HELL. The main issue is not the contacts themselves, though of course these need to be investigated, but - Why? What were they about? What arrangements were they making? Obviously, these contacts were for a reason and had a purpose! It is not the cover up, IT IS THE CRIME that is primary.

Trump is the lead player in all of this - there is NO WAY any of his close entourage was in communication with the Russians without Trump being the PRIME PLAYER and motivator. Their efforts were because of him, not in spite of him! Only an idiot would see it differently. This all happened at his bequest, obviously. He picked these people, he put them in these positions, he knew what direction they were going in. THE BUCK STOPS WITH HIM. It is apparent that manipulation by a foreign power and collusion with it for financial and political gain are in play. This is what the founding fathers worried about. The extent of Trump's possible crimes and high treason is what this is all about, and those complicit with him. They all need to be put under a microscope and be held accountable and have consequences for their actions. Watergate conspirators, after all, went to prison. Putin gate has more serious implications that Watergate. Dan Rather was underestimating. This will be the biggest event yet in American democracy. At least, let's hope so for the sake of our country.

At 12:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As long as the Democrats revel in their role as the Castrati of the Congress, they can sing all the High C notes they want. NOTHING IS GOING TO BE DONE ABOUT THESE OUTRAGES.

At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Drumpf is an idiot. But he poses an opportunity for the American Nazis like bannon, miller and others. He's a like-"mind" who now, via profoundly stupid American voters and the profoundly corrupt and stupid DNC, has the power to be exploited by these more clever, if purely evil, Nazis.

I'm sure drumpf is ignorant of how hitler/Goebbels gained power and twisted a populace into the third reich. But among bannon, miller, sessions and others, there is certain to be someone who does -- it appears to be bannon.

This rhetoric is foundational to this recipe.

Even if drumpf is bannon's puppet, he's certainly an enthusiastic one. Just like the bushbaby was cheney's puppet. The brains and muscle belong to the arm up the ass of the puppet. It would just be nice to know whose arm it is.

The recipe that hitler used is being copied pretty faithfully... since 1980. We just hadn't yet had anyone with ignorance, delusional and irrational hate, malignant narcissism, opportunity *AND* ambition (cheney, evidently lacked only the latter). We now have bannon or miller or gorka or maybe even someone else (Pence) via der fuhrer.

And as with Hitler, there is no resistance to speak of. The opposition so-called "party" most often is an ally in the fascist coup happening since Reagan displayed a disturbing ignorance of basic math.


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