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Month One of Donald Trump's Presidency:
Enriching His Private Business, Carrying Out a Corporate Takeover and Putting Profits Before People :Read:
February 20, 2017
By Rick Claypool, Research Director for Public Citizen

Read and weep....lots more of the same coming! Covers the month day-by-day with summary and footnotes. ::face.palm::
February 21, 2017 | Jonathan Z. Larsen

Trump: Bully For You

[Image: image04-2-700x470.jpg] Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump at swearing in ceremony for Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Photo credit: Jim Mattis / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Jonathan Z. Larsen has seen a lot.
He covered the 1968 police riots during the Chicago convention, the Charles Manson murders in LA, the implosion of the US Army at the end of the Vietnam War, and the slow decline of media beginning in the 1980s.
But he has never seen anything as depressing as the election of Donald J. Trump.
Below, in an excerpt from his forthcoming memoirs, he describes how it happened, and how the celebration of schlock and the tolerance of corporate corruption have brought American democracy to a defining moment.
(Larsen was Time magazine's Saigon bureau chief; he has been an editor for The Village Voice and New Times; a contributor to New York, Manhattan, Inc., New England Monthly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. He is a Nieman Fellow, Harvard University, a Clarion Awardee, Chairman of the Board at Sterling College, and was a 30-year Board member of Cambridge College. He is also on the Board of WhoWhatWhy.)
Introduction by WhoWhatWhy team.
"There never was a democracy, yet, that did not commit suicide." John Adams
From the beginning, the presidential campaign of 2016 had given me agita. I feared it was a convergence of ominous trends that had been developing for decades: the decline of mainstream media outlets; the corrosive effects of a celebrity culture on the American consciousness; and the growing resentments over an income inequality gap that seemed wider by the day. One watched in disbelief as the media, which had created the tabloid phenomenon Donald J. Trump over a matter of decades, now, alternately fawning and cowering, showcased Candidate Trump to the exclusion of all other candidates. It was a priceless gift of "air time" that he rode to the White House, all the while playing to the very voter resentment that billionaires like himself had done so much to create.
The media and this celebrity culture went hand in hand. The latter could not exist without the former; and the former could not enrich itself without the latter. It was an odious symbiotic relationship.
In 2001 I had spent the summer researching the last forty years of journalism for an anniversary issue of the Columbia Journalism Review. I handed my essay in on 9/11. I had concluded that the glory years of print journalism were more or less over as early as the 1980s. Meanwhile, the culture of the celebrity, which I had first experienced and been repelled by as a Time reporter covering Hollywood in the late 60s, had metastasized into something akin to a psychotic break from the real world. Too many people were now heavily invested in these tabloid fantasies. The increasing addiction to mind-numbing talk shows, game shows and "reality" shows, along with countless publications that followed People down the celebrity rabbit hole, had produced a culture mesmerized by people who were minor personalities at best. These were the opposite of heroes or role models. They were of interest precisely because of their bent narratives: their drug addictions, their divorces, their custody battles, their cratered careers and miraculous resurrections. The media and this celebrity culture went hand in hand. The latter could not exist without the former; and the former could not enrich itself without the latter. It was an odious symbiotic relationship.
In the words of Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Daniel Boorstin, our nation was now awash in "human pseudo-events" (his term for celebrities), pseudo stories, staged news events. The primary and presidential debates of 2016 were but a recent example. Where were the questions about Iraq and Afghanistan? Did anyone on the stage or in the audience know or care about the disastrous consequences of those wars? Did anyone have a plan to save Iraq from becoming another failed nation? Where were the questions about the battle of Mosul, which had started a few days before the final debate? What were the plans to fight ISIS? What would happen to payments on the national debt now that interest rates had begun to rise?
[Image: image02-4-1016x1024.jpg]Jonathan Z. Larsen Photo credit: Carolyn Bates

There was a belief at the end of World War II that capitalism was not only the world's most successful economic model but one that just might be self-correcting. One reason it had worked so well, Americans came to believe, was that they were honest in their dealings, and that corruption was something that happened in third-world countries. In the course of researching the family archives for a memoir, I came upon a speech my father, then the President of Time Inc., had given in New York in 1951, which had been printed up into an elegant pamphlet, 14 pages long, entitled "The New Free Enterprisers." It was a veritable manifesto calling out the abuses of the Robber Baron era and predicting a future of enlightened morality and ethics in business going forward.
The speech began with a long description of an advertisement that had run in Fortune magazine headlined "The Tycoon is Dead." The notion was that the bad old days of capitalism, a time of raw materials and rugged individualism, when the "tycoon" operated with few rules, was over. Father proclaimed a new order of "professional responsibility" in which corporate executives like himself would be measured more by what they did than by what they owned. As for the outsized industrialists with their flamboyance and notoriety, they were consigned to the dustbin of history. "The business celebrity has all but disappeared," he pronounced.
The journalist Michael Kinsley has famously said, "The scandal isn't what's illegal, the scandal is what's legal." In my view, the scandal is what goes on in the executive suites and boardrooms of the nation.
His speech went on in Utopian furor: "The Tycoon's mansions are being abandoned or torn down. The liveried servants have gone into the catering business, and the last of the great yachts, having finished their wartime service as auxiliary naval vessels, lie in scattered harbors like ghosts of our past."
Reading his speech, 65 years later, I realized how very personal and heartfelt it was. Father believed fervently in fair employment practices and wages, and used to tell us of his own private dream a time when the people who had the most interesting and intellectually rewarding jobs, such as judges, would be paid no more than those who performed equally essential but far less stimulating work, such as plumbers. At one point he even suggested to us that we become plumbers, and I doubt that he was kidding.
But his Utopian world never came to be. Instead, along came the Gordon Gekkos, and yes, the Donald Trumps of the world, scheming, pilfering, litigating their way to the top as they trampled hundreds and thousands of hard-working people below them. The country's capitalist model almost imperceptibly devolved into the very "kleptocracy" we accuse countries like Russia of being.
[Image: image03-5-1024x682.jpg]Photo credit: Steve Rhodes / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

I had always been fascinated by the subject of white-collar crime. I detested the fact that the already wealthy and well positioned would cheat their employees, their customers, their shareholders to gain even more advantage. In 1975 I ordered up a cover story in New Times on the new "Boardroom Bandits." The photo spread leading off the story showed myself and six other New Times staffers sitting around a table in suits with stockings over our heads. We ran a rogues gallery of those who had been sentenced to prison those were the days and tried to address the prickly issue of how to rein in future corruption. Harvard Law School's Alan Dershowitz framed the basic problem: "We are really stuck between two models of irrationality. On the one hand it makes no sense at all to imprison white-collar criminals because they don't need walls around them. On the other hand it is unthinkable to let them go free and simply subject them to fines as a license fee for criminality. Fines are not a stigmatizing event in our society." The year we ran our story the annual estimated price tag to the nation of such crime was $180 billion in current dollars. Today the estimates range as high as $600 billion.
The journalist Michael Kinsley has famously said, "The scandal isn't what's illegal, the scandal is what's legal." In my view, the scandal is what goes on in the executive suites and boardrooms of the nation. The divide between executive pay and the salaries those executives pay to their employees has grown to the point where it has become obscene. The George W. Bush tax cuts on the rich simply made the problem worse, as will the tax cuts to come from President Trump. Reforms through the years designed to fix the problem, such as rewarding top executives through stock options pegged to performance, failed miserably. Executives and their lawyers gamed their contracts to the point where, however badly their companies performed, their compensation "packages" continued to increase inexorably and exponentially. Indeed, there was now an incentive to grow profits by whatever means, and so by suppressing salaries and cutting benefits, these executives further enriched themselves while impoverishing their workers. When they want a truly stupendous payday, they simply sell their company and its employees to the highest bidder, pocketing the enormous bonus payment that is sure to be part of the deal.
Trump's campaign had been a fraud since day one. His political odyssey had begun, after all, with the bogus "birther movement," a monumental lie in which he challenged President Obama's citizenship and his very legitimacy to be president.
OxFam estimated in 2015 that 62 of the richest people in the world had as much wealth as the 3.6 billion people in the bottom half of the world's economy. A year later, those fortunes had grown so much that, shortly after the election, Oxfam announced that it now took only the eight richest people (six of them American) in the world to equal the bottom half.
White collar crime is one of the drivers of this divide, because it defrauds consumers, taxpayers and pensioners while enriching the privileged class. The effect of such crime is drawing closer to us every day, like enemy mortar rounds being "walked in" toward their targets. The name Ponzi was once something found in history books, or perhaps in a crossword puzzle. By the '90s Ponzi schemes were everywhere. At the time I lived in North Salem, New York, where the most respected man about town was a fellow named Paul Greenwood. I would regularly sit next to him at board meetings for the local library, where he served as chairman. Greenwood, we would eventually learn, had all the while been running a $900 million Ponzi scheme on the life savings of lesser mortals. Many of them were wiped out completely. Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, at least three of my relatives had been victimized by a $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme run by one of that city's more prominent businessmen, Tom Petters. They had been led into the fraud by one of my nephew's best friends.
In Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, where I chaired the board of a small liberal arts college, residents were recently shocked to learn that a much-ballyhooed development at two nearby ski resorts, Jay Peak and Burke Mountain, turned out to be a $200 million Ponzi scheme. At the heart of the scheme was an immigration visa policy called EB-5, under which foreign citizens who invested at least $500,000 in a US business would have a quick path to citizenship. The unsuspecting victims were all foreigners, including citizens of Saigon, now called Ho Chi Minh City, who had hoped to buy their way into the United States.
This new wave of white collar crime eventually washed up onto the farm in Fairfield, Connecticut, where I had grown up. I had had a small hand in the design of a new house my parents decided to build on one corner of the property, which they moved into in 1957. When my father died over 20 years later, his will left the house to the Connecticut Audubon Society to sell for profit my parents having already given the Audubon the surrounding property for a bird sanctuary.
I never learned the name of the couple who purchased our home until Madoff's Ponzi scheme was exposed. It turned out that no one had benefited more from the fraud not even Madoff than Jeffry and Barbara Picower, the couple who now lived in our house at 4900 Congress Street. Shortly after their role in the scheme came to light, Jeffry was found dead of a heart attack in the pool of their Florida home. Months later, Federal investigators came calling on Barbara, his widow. I have no evidence that negotiations took place in Fairfield, Connecticut, but I like to imagine them all sitting around gazing out at the duck pond where I used to float cardboard boats. Barbara Picower insisted to investigators that she knew nothing of Madoff's fraud or of her husband's involvement, but in the end agreed to turn over $7.2 billion dollars. Yes, you read that right. We're talking Billions. It was the largest single forfeiture recovery in US history.
It was this upside down moral universe that made it possible for Donald Trump to reach the White House. How else could a dodgy corporate executive, a man whose real estate business brought him into contact with mobsters in both the construction business and the gaming industry, be nominated by his party, let alone elected, even if it was by only 45% of the electorate? Donald Trump, best known to the public as the host of a fatuous TV "reality" show, was precisely the sort of "human pseudo-event" that Boorstin warned us about. His was a self-made fable of power, success and sexual escapade that had mesmerized tabloid journalists, and the public, for decades.
In the frenetic blur of campaign coverage, this essential fact got lost amidst the bluster: Trump's campaign had been a fraud since day one. His political odyssey had begun, after all, with the bogus "birther movement," a monumental lie in which he challenged President Obama's citizenship and his very legitimacy to be president. Four years later the fraud continued when Trump announced his presidential candidacy. There were throngs of enthusiastic supporters in the Trump Tower auditorium that day, cheering each and every trope of what would become Trump's stump speech: illegal Mexican immigrants are rapists, Muslims should be banned, the media is corrupt. The resulting TV coverage gave the impression of a spontaneous outpouring of support, with an attractive horde of supporters shouting and waving placards.
Most of the Donald J. Trump Foundation's money had not come from Trump, as the name strongly implied, but from suckers who thought they were giving to a legitimate enterprise engaged in good works. As for the six-foot Trump portrait, that was the small one; there was another portrait of Trump purchased with $20,000 in foundation funds that stood 20 feet tall.
No one questioned it at the time. But the scene struck David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning business reporter present for the occasion, as bizarre. Midtown Manhattan is "not exactly known for xenophobia or applause for racist tirades," he recalled thinking to himself. Johnston, whose book The Making of Donald Trump would be published the following summer, looked into the matter and discovered that all those cheering supporters were in fact Hollywood-type extras, the sort you rent by the busload for crowd scenes. They were paid $50 each.
The campaign ended in a far more serious fraud. Let's call it what it really was: white-collar crime. Throughout 2016 "Trump University" had been under investigation. I put the name in quotes because it was not in any sense a university and in fact was not even accredited to teach. In spite of all the promises of Trump's hands-on involvement, he had almost nothing to do with the enterprise other than pocketing the money that flowed in from the scam's victims. Just days after the election how convenient the Trump organization was fined $25 million for what was called a "fraud from beginning to end." The money was, in Dershowitz's phrase, "a license fee for criminality." But no one cared. As Dershowitz also said, "Fines are not a stigmatizing event in our society."
That was hardly the only revelation about Trump's business dealings. The Washington Post's David A. Fahrenthold discovered, after months of digging, that the Donald J. Trump Foundation turned out to be more of a fraud than the much maligned Clinton Foundation. Trump had brazenly used his organization to pay bills, settle claims on behalf of his for-profit business, and make political contributions. Such self-dealing is illegal under governing rules. "You want to debate foundations and charities?" Obama said during the campaign. "One candidate's family foundation has saved countless lives around the world. The other candidate's foundation took money other people gave to his charity and then bought a six-foot-tall painting of himself." Obama was correct. Most of the Donald J. Trump Foundation's money had not come from Trump, as the name strongly implied, but from suckers who thought they were giving to a legitimate enterprise engaged in good works. As for the six-foot Trump portrait, that was the small one; there was another portrait of Trump purchased with $20,000 in foundation funds that stood 20 feet tall. This too did not seem to matter.
Locally Trump was known for stiffing construction workers and contractors, browbeating partners, real estate agents, local politicians and journalists, all the while sowing lawsuits as broadly as handfuls of alfalfa seeds.
What transpired during the 17 months between Trump's announcement in front of Hollywood extras and his election will no doubt be the subject of much introspection among the media over the coming years. Cable television simply could not turn its Cyclopean eye away from this trained entertainer with his high recognition factor, his orange hair and his clownish behavior. A new insult or outrage from Trump captured each day's news cycle and held TV viewers in thrall, to the detriment of all other candidates. It was the fascination of the abomination. By the time the revivified Washington Post and The New York Times rose to the challenge, their worthy investigations were more or less lost in a tidal wave of populist fervor.
Still, the failure of the media to even slow Trump early on was mystifying. There were so many flashing red lights along the way: the fraudulent birther movement; the mind-boggling insults; the refusal to turn over his tax returns; the call to supporters to attack protestors; the Access Hollywood tape; the warnings of a legion of leading Republicans and commentators on the right.
Those of us who lived in New York had been reading in my case, publishing stories about his moral and ethical turpitude going back decades. Locally Trump was known for stiffing construction workers and contractors, browbeating partners, real estate agents, local politicians and journalists, all the while sowing lawsuits as broadly as handfuls of alfalfa seeds.
Back when I was editing the Voice, we published excerpts of Wayne Barrett's book, Trump: The Deals and the Downfall. The Voice's legendary city reporter, who died a day before the President was sworn in, Barrett had been covering Trump since 1979. His book detailed the ruthlessness and self-mythologizing of the future president, exposing among other lies Trump's claim that he was a self-made man. He was not only born with money but, when he managed to lose most of it, his father loaned him fresh funds and co-signed new loans to keep him afloat.
"Trump won't do a deal unless there is something extra a kind of moral larceny in it," one Manhattan developer told Barrett. "He's not satisfied with a profit. He has to take something more. Otherwise, there is no thrill." Just before the book came out Trump did his best to intimidate Barrett. "I really value my reputation and I don't hesitate to sue. I've sued twice for libel. Roy Cohn's been my attorney. I won once and the other case is pending."
More than any public figure in memory, Trump is obsessed by rankings and reputation. In his last season hosting "The Celebrity Apprentice," he appeared before a Television Critics Association panel and declared his show "the Number I show on television." Not quite. It finished the season in 67th place, befitting one of the most pathetic products ever put before the viewing public. Incredibly, Trump has insisted that he will remain executive producer for the show throughout his term in the White House.
One evening in 1993 Vanity Fair's Graydon Carter sat Trump next to the Swedish model Vendela Kirsebom at a small dinner party he was hosting. "After 45 minutes she came over to my table, almost in tears, and pleaded with me to move her," Graydon Carter would write. It seems that Trump had spent his entire time with Vendela assaying the tits' and legs of the other female guests…
Over time Trump began to speak of himself in the third person, like LeBron James, a habit on full display during his rallies. Apparently no one thought it odd. He was as much a brand as he was a person, and his wife and children, perfectly coiffed and dressed, brand extensions. He seemed to measure himself not by any admirable human attribute intellect, creativity, compassion, humility, moral example but by raw data: Nielsen ratings, the number of magazine covers, the number of newspaper column inches, the size of the crowd at his inauguration, the size of his fortune. In his moral obtuseness, Trump resembles no one more than Richard Nixon. Not long after I took over New Times, I assigned one of my favorite Harvard professors, Richard Poirier, to analyze the Watergate Tapes, just then being released. In our publisher's letter Poirier, who had gone on to become chairman of the English department at Rutgers University, observed of Nixon: "There is this absolute coldness about the nature of his own conduct. One can become obsessed with it because it is impossible to find any way to characterize him that will move him or his supporters. You exhaust the entire psychological and moral vocabulary available to you." Precisely such an obsession is now gripping many in the country who are trying to grapple with the reality of President Trump.
Gloria Steinem once wrote: "When Richard Nixon is alone in a room, is anyone really there?" This also seems an apt question about Trump. He is generally thought of exclusively in terms of his relationship to the outside world: the vindictiveness, the vitriol, the insults, the misogyny, the boorishness. Underneath the bravura show, who is Donald Trump, really? And why, now that he has attained his goal, has his seething anger and vindictiveness seem to have grown rather than abated in the White House?
His description of his own behavior in the now famous Access Hollywood videotape "I did try and f*ck her. She was married. And I moved on her very heavily" may well have been merely an expression of his fetid imagination, just the usual Trump braggadocio, as he insisted. After all, as David Cay Johnston reminds us in The Making of Donald Trump, the real estate developer has been known to lie about affairs with women he barely knew, such as Carla Bruni, the future wife of French President Nikolas Sarkozy. Johnston narrates how Trump has called journalists under a fake name and with a distorted voice to brag about how many women "Trump" was sleeping with. In a taped interview with a reporter for People, pretending to be one of his public relations representatives, Trump said of himself: "He is living with Marla and he's got three other girlfriends. When he makes the decision that will be a very lucky woman… competitively, it's tough. It was for Marla and it will be for Carla."
This astonishing bit of dialogue was just one more piece of evidence, if any were needed, that Trump's relationship to women is transactional and exploitive. In his binary world women seem to be either uplifting or ignoble objects. There is no average, no in between, no gray area. As for those women he deems worthy, he pits them against each other as if they were contestants on The Apprentice, or in one of the beauty contests he has run. He has even been known to turn to other women to help him make his picks. One evening in 1993 Vanity Fair's Graydon Carter sat Trump next to the Swedish model Vendela Kirsebom at a small dinner party he was hosting. "After 45 minutes she came over to my table, almost in tears, and pleaded with me to move her," Graydon Carter would write. It seems that Trump had spent his entire time with Vendela assaying the tits' and legs of the other female guests and asking how they measured up to those of other women, including his wife. The Swedish model told Carter: "He is the most vulgar man I have ever met."
[Image: image01-9-1024x682.jpg]Photo credit: Sam Chua / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Thinking about Donald Trump, his obsessions with judging women and his dystopian descriptions of our country, I recalled the Gary Shteyngart novel I had read some years before, Super Sad True Love Story, which is set in the indeterminate future, a time when America is deporting immigrants with weak credit (has that started yet?), and has invaded Venezuela with such disastrous results that street corners bristle with National Guard checkpoints. In Shteyngart's novel cell phones have become both more sophisticated and more sinister. Called äppäräts, they now include a "rate me" function that can tell you about everyone else in the room recent income figures, testosterone levels, virtually anything you want to know. The protagonist of Super Sad Love Story, who still reads books and appears to his co-workers to be of "a different, earlier version of our species," is criticized because he does not know how to rate people fast enough.
The feature Trump would like most about Shteyngart's äppärät is this: if you hold one near your heart and aim it at a woman across the room, it will instantly read her "Fuckability" quotient. Should you be interested, you can also capture her personality rating.
Back in the day, no one could possibly have conceived that Billionaire Trump would one day run for office as a populist, the voice of "forgotten" citizens, people he would likely call "losers" in an off-election year. It was equally difficult to imagine that the three-times-married business man with the wondering eye, wayward hands and foul language would become the flag bearer for the country's pro-life "moral majority," to say nothing of self-righteous evangelicals. With his Dickensian business ethics and his Roaring Twenties ostentation, Trump seems more like an updated version of the tycoon Father had pronounced dead shortly after World War II. Take away the Nineteenth Century props the cigar, the brandy, the homburg and the spittoon add a few private planes and a Twitter account, and Voila! You have the epitome of the modern Robber Baron.
Perhaps what will matter most as his presidency moves forward is Trump's stunning proclivity for lying. Tony Schwartz, my colleague at New Times, who wrote Trump's "autobiography" Art of the Deal, told Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, "Lying is second nature to him. More than anyone else I have ever met, Trump has the ability to convince himself that whatever he is saying at any given moment is true, or sort of true, or at least ought to be true."
Trump broadcasts toxic fictions and false narratives much as Typhoid Mary spread pestilence. It should have been a disqualifying characteristic for a candidate; as the leitmotif of a President it is beyond frightening. In his third week Trump made the astonishing claim that there were terrorist acts all across Europe that the media was refusing to report! The White House released a list of terrorists acts, most of which had been covered ad nauseam. (The list included no white racist terror attacks within our own country.) The claim furthered two of Trump's long-term objectives: scare the nation and discredit the media.
If President Trump gets his way…. Trump will be turning the country over to fossil-fuel polluters (read Koch brothers), open-carry gun advocates, private school entrepreneurs, anti-abortion protestors, Wall Street predators and plutocrats who resemble his cabinet.
The model seems to be: Trump will be the Liar-in-Chief, originating whatever fabulations might be convenient for the moment, often on Twitter, while those surrounding Trump will nod and beam and defend these falsehoods with their last breath. In our youth, my brother Chris and I went to many Ringling Brothers circuses, watching as the clowns, with their painted faces, bulbous noses, floppy shoes and oversized dustbins, followed behind the elephants to clean up their droppings, trying to make the chore seem normal if not even humorous. Now, one watches Trump's inner circle perform precisely the same function for the President as he puts before the public one stinking elephantine whopper after another.
Trump, who apparently does not read books, has asked his staff and cabinet to give him nothing longer to read than a single page. Richard Nixon was many things, but he was both interested in and knowledgeable about social policy, insisting that his staff brief him equally and fully on both sides of every issue that came before him. What information Trump does get seems to come from one direction only: conspiracy theorists, and discredited right-wing news sources and his own Twitter feed.
Now that Trump has attained the bully pulpit there is no telling how much more damage he will do to the nation's shared sense of truth, purpose and common narrative, with his extreme anti-American rhetoric delivered in the guise of patriotism.
In his inaugural address, Trump boasted that he was giving the country back to the people. He must have muttered "not" under his breath, because this will surely turn out to be the foundational lie of his presidency. Most American citizens are concerned about climate change and approve of environmental protection; seven out of ten Americans support the right to abortion in most cases and believe in family planning; the "people" support the country's education system and profess diminished interest in vouchers, charter schools and other private sector alternatives; by a clear majority, the "people" want stronger financial regulations on banks and more rather than less punishment for the predators of Wall Street. That very sentiment was the source of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders surprising popularity during the primaries. The "people" also want stricter gun controls.
If President Trump gets his way, the will of the majority is going to be overruled on every one of these issues. Instead, Trump will be turning the country over to fossil-fuel polluters (read Koch brothers), open-carry gun advocates, private school entrepreneurs, anti-abortion protestors, Wall Street predators and plutocrats who resemble his cabinet. A week after his election Trump and his family stole away to Manhattan's "21" Club, where the President-elect announced to the restaurant's surprised customers, "We'll get your taxes down. Don't worry about it."
"What we are witnessing now is the birth of a new political order, and the more frantic a handful of media elites become, the more powerful that new political order becomes itself." Steve Bannon
The German writer Goethe once observed, "Nothing is as frightening as ignorance in action." Once President Trump was ensconced in the White House, he set out to prove Goethe's maxim. Going for "shock and awe," he produced a bunch of provocative Executive Actions, with much sound and fury. They were about as well-thought through as was George W. Bush's "shock and awe" invasion of Iraq. When Obama had issued Executive Actions, Republicans invariably called him a "tyrant" who was operating outside the Constitution. These same Republicans now applauded not just the "overreach" but the hirsute display of mating plumage. In photo after photo one could see him surrounded by a cabal of clapping white males. It reminded me of President George W. Bush, swaggering about on the deck of the U.S. Abraham Lincoln with his flight helmet under his arm, declaring "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq just as the real fighting was getting underway.
Unlike Obama's carefully worded orders, Trump's had been rushed to the point that some were all but incomprehensible. But never mind. Each order was beautifully presented, with the new President working over his signature with the precision of a jeweler looking through his loop, then holding up the finished product for all to admire. It seems clear that Trump is almost as in love with his penmanship as he is with the man holding the pen.
As to the negative reaction and large protests around the country to Trump's "shock and awe," the ever-smiling Kellyanne Conway tweeted, "get used to it." Steve Bannon went further. He called The New York Times to announce that the media was the enemy and the Times should "shut up." Then he wrote the following email to the Washington Post: "What we are witnessing now is the birth of a new political order, and the more frantic a handful of media elites become, the more powerful that new political order becomes itself." That certainly seemed threatening. Not to mention that a new political order sounds uncomfortably close to "new world order," the fundamentalist Christian belief in the end times and the imminent arrival of the AntiChrist.
…finally, the whole dispute with the new host of the Apprentice might have been staged, like the fake wrestling matches Trump so admires, designed to lift flagging ratings.
In those first heady days, was anyone having buyer's remorse? Maureen Dowd, the Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist for The New York Times, had played footsie with Trump through much of election cycle, keeping an open mind almost to the end. They were friends, she explained. They could talk to each other. Her neutral position was driven in part by her oft-expressed loathing for both Bill and Hillary Clinton, but also by what seemed a genuine fondness for Trump's Bad-Boy persona. But after his very first week in the White House she apparently experienced some sort of epiphany. "Teetotaler Donald Trump," she wrote, "already seems drunk on power."
Day 14, February 2, 2017. President Trump is presiding over the annual National Prayer Breakfast when he launches into a stunningly inappropriate disquisition on his television show, The Apprentice, and its deformed spawn, Celebrity Apprentice. He clearly is still smarting over the painful decision to give up hosting the show, which had been both showcase and "blanky" for the last 14 years. After bragging about the "tremendous success" the show had enjoyed, President Trump laced into the decision to replace him with "a big, big movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger." He spread his arms very wide as he said this.
"We know how that turned out," the President continued, with considerable rancor in his voice. "The ratings went down the tubes." This was the second time in a month that Trump had trashed the former Republican governor of California. Mark Burnett, the originator and producer of The Apprentice, had introduced Trump and Barack Obama the year before. Trump continued, still talking about his show, "It's been a total disaster and Mark will never, ever bet against Trump again." Ouch! What was that about? At best this all seemed inside baseball. Then the President of the United States did something more even remarkable. He asked his devout audience to pray for Schwarzenegger and his TV ratings. Unsure how to respond, the audience laughed nervously.
Was this simply more "gaslighting" of America? Bewildered pundits threw out various theories. Being the vindictive person he is, Trump might have been settling scores with Schwarzenegger for not backing his presidential bid; at the same time Trump seemed to be exacting revenge on Mark Burnett himself, who had also been vocal in opposition; or, perhaps it was simply a diversion, with Trump tossing the dobermans in the press corps fresh meat to keep them from further tearing into his controversial ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries; finally, the whole dispute with the new host of the Apprentice might have been staged, like the fake wrestling matches Trump so admires, designed to lift flagging ratings. Trump, after all, remained a scheming businessman who was still the TV show's executive producer. Were any of these options appealing? Perhaps we should all pray for our country over breakfast, every day, for the next four years. If he lasts that long.
As Trump himself might have tweeted: What were the voters thinking? So sad.
Man deported yesterday from USA to Mexico under new draconian Trumpf deportation orders has committed suicide.
Eleven Jewish community centers across the country were hit by another wave of bomb threats on Monday. It was the fourth wave of nationwide bomb threats against JCCs in the last five weeks. In total, 69 threats have been reported against 54 JCCs. Meanwhile, at a cemetery in University City, Missouri, the gravesites of more than 100 Jews were vandalized over the weekend. The Southern Poverty Law Center has revealed the number of anti-Muslim groups in the United States tripled last year, from 34 in 2015 to 101 last year. The Southern Poverty Law Center and other groups have said hate groups have been energized by the candidacy and then the election of Donald Trump.
In recent weeks, Trump has faced increasing criticism for failing to denounce anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim threats. Well, on Tuesday, President Trump briefly addressed the recent wave of anti-Semitic threats, after tremendous public outcry that he hadn't. His comments came after he toured the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.
AMY GOODMAN: President Trump's reading of that statement came less than a week after he chastised Jewish reporter Jake Turx for asking about the recent bomb threats at President Trump's news conference.
JAKE TURX: What we are concerned about, and what we haven't really heard being addressed is an uptick in anti-Semitism and how the government is planning to take care of it. There has been a report out that 48 bomb threats have been made against Jewish centers all across the country in the last couple of weeks. There are people who are committing anti-Semitic acts or threatening to
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: You see, he said he was going to ask a very simple, easy question. And it's not.
JAKE TURX: It's an important one.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It's not. Not a simple question, not a fair question. OK, sit down. I understand the rest of your question.
So here's the story, folks. Number one, I am the least anti-Semitic person that you've ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racismthe least racist person. In fact, we did very well relative to other people running as a Republican.
JAKE TURX: [inaudible]
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Quiet, quiet, quiet. See, he lied abouthe was going to get up and ask a very straight, simple question. So, you know, welcome to the world of the media.
AMY GOODMAN: He was telling the Jewish reporter to be "quiet, quiet, quiet." Well, during a separate news conference, only days earlier, when he was standing with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Trump responded to a question from an Israeli reporter about the rise in anti-Semitic attacksby boasting about his election victory.
Well, for more, we're joined by two guests. Steven Goldstein, the executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect here in New York. The group posted a statement on Facebook: "Mr. President, Your Too Little, Too Late Acknowledgment of #Antisemitism Today is Not Enough." And in Montgomery, Alabama, we're joined by Mark Potok. He is senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center. He authored the group's year-end report, "Hate groups increase for second consecutive year as Trump electrifies radical right."
Steven Goldstein and Mark Potok, welcome to Democracy Now! Steven, let's begin with you. So you just heard that statement he read at the African American museum. Your response?
STEVEN GOLDSTEIN: Well, I actually thought the president lost it, if it was possible to think that he already hadn't lost it. His response was remarkable for its tin-eardom. This president said absolutely nothing over the weekend, when Jewish gravesites were desecrated. He said absolutely nothing about bomb threats. And he refused even to include Jews in the Holocaust. Then, all of a sudden
AMY GOODMAN: You mean theon World Holocaust Day
STEVEN GOLDSTEIN: The Holocaust remembrance, exactly.
AMY GOODMAN: he did not cite Jews as having to go
STEVEN GOLDSTEIN: Amy, astonishing, astonishing. Then, all of a sudden, he wakes up on a Tuesday, decides to give a speech, which, by the way, he read with all the sincerity of a bad method actor. And this is a president who really knows how to speak with passion when he wants to. And he expected our applause simply because he acknowledges anti-Semitism. And I have to ask: Are our nation's expectations so low that our president, merely by acknowledging anti-Semitism, something other presidents have now done for decades, should receive some applause? And worse yet, his spokesperson, Sean Spicer, yesterday chastised my organization for not applauding and be grateful for the president's remarks. It's unbelievable. It was as if little crumbs of condescension were being thrown my organization's way. Remarkable tin-eardom and remarkable prejudice coming from this administration.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to see if we have this clip of the reporter who asked the question yesterday. This is CBS News foreign affairs and White House correspondent Margaret Brennan questioning White House spokesperson Sean Spicer.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Sean, I want to give you a chance to respond to something, because I think that the president's remarks and your clarification about where he stands on anti-Semitism is clear. But after that statement was made by the president, the Anne Frank Center released a pretty strongly worded one
MARGARET BRENNAN: saying that these remarks, while well received, are "a Band-Aid on the cancer" within the Trump administration, saying that there is, whether blessed or otherwise, a sense of xenophobia within this administration.
MARGARET BRENNAN: How would you respond to that?
PRESS SECRETARY SEAN SPICER: Look, the president has made clear, since the day he was electedand, frankly, going back through the campaignthat he is someone who seeks to unite this country. He has brought a diverse group of folks into his administration, both in terms of actual positions and people that he has sought the advice of. And I think he has been very forceful with his denunciation of people who seek to attack people because of their hate, because ofexcuse me, because of their religion, because of their gender, because of the color of their skin. And it is something that he's going to continue to fight and make very, very clear that he has no place in this administration.
But I think that it's ironic that no matter how many times he talks about this, that it's never good enough. Today, I think, was an unbelievably forceful comment by the president, as far as his denunciation of the actions that are currently targeted towards Jewish community centers. But I think that he's been very clear previous to this that he wants to be someone that brings this country together and not divide people, especially in those areas.
So, I saw that statement. I wish that they had praised the president for his leadership in this area. And I think that, hopefully, as time continues to go by, they recognize his commitment to civil rights, to voting rights, to equality for all Americans.
AMY GOODMAN: So that was Sean Spicer at his White House press briefing. Steven Goldstein?
STEVEN GOLDSTEIN: That was insane. Sean Spicer is living in a parallel universe. First of all, admonishing us that we should praise the presidentare we supposed to salute this president? And as far as the words of the president being good enough, who says that to an oppressed community, that our words should be good enough? They simply cannot relate to anyone who looks like themselves. And as far as this president repeatedly calling out anti-Semitism, let alone Islamophobia, racism, sexism, he never speaks about it. So, I don't know what script Sean Spicer is reading from, but it was not a script from reality.

AMY GOODMAN: Also yesterday, our other guest's organization was raised, when the CBS News foreign affairs, White House correspondent Margaret Brennan also questioned Spicer on Tuesday.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Southern Poverty Law Center said that the number of anti-Muslim groups in the U.S. has tripled between 2015 and 2016, during the time of the campaign. Is this message within the administrationanti-Semitism is not allowed, xenophobia is not allowedanti-Muslim sentiment within the administration, has the president been forceful about that particular issue?
PRESS SECRETARY SEAN SPICER: Well, I don'tI think that the president, in terms of his desire to combat radical Islamic terrorism, he understands that people who want to express a peaceful position have every right in our Constitution. But if you come here or want to express views that areseek to do our country or our people harm, he is going to fight it aggressively, whether it's domestic acts that are going on here or attempts through people abroad to come into this country. So there's a big difference between preventing attacks and making sure that we keep this country safe so that there is no loss of life, and allowing people to express themselves in accordance with our First Amendment. Those are two very, very different, different, different things.
AMY GOODMAN: So that was White House spokesperson Sean Spicer. Mark Potok is with us, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, speaking to us from Montgomery, Alabama. Your response, Mark?
MARK POTOK: Well, I mean, I just have to agree: These comments, from Spicer, from Trump, are ludicrous in the extreme. I agree that they both seem to be living in another universe. I mean, let's get real about Trump. This ishe's the divider-in-chief. This is a guy who began his campaign describing Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug dealers. And he has gone on to denounce just about every minority out there. You know, it has just been an extraordinary thing to watch. I think that, you know, what has happened with Trump is that when he finally gets backed into a corner by reporters or other people, you know, he kind of says a few words, as was said by the other guest just now, with incredible insincerity about how terrible this anti-Semitism is and the Islamophobia and so on.
You know, I think that the truth is, is that Donald Trump has played footsie with the radical right from the very start of his campaign. He has studiously avoided denouncing or disavowing the extreme right again and again and again. I mean, let's remember how Trump claimed not to know who David Duke, the former Klan leader, is, therefore he couldn't disavow him. You know, that was simply a falsehood, a lie, to speak plainly. He knew perfectly well who Duke was. In fact, in 2000, Trump wrote an essay in The New York Times saying why he was dropping his bid for the presidency on the Reform Party ticket, because Duke was associated with the Reform Party and Trump couldn't have anything to do with him. So, this is all a word game, with an awful lot of falsehoods being sprinkled around.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, we're going to break. When we come back, I want to ask you about what you wrote: "The radical right was more successful in entering the political mainstream last year than in half a century." We are speaking with Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, as well as Steven Goldstein of the Anne Frank Center here in New York. Stay with us.
AMY GOODMAN: Yes, that music that you just heard is "T5," Swet Shop Boys. This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I'm Amy Goodman, as we continue with Steven Goldstein of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect and Mark Potok with the Southern Poverty Law Center. That, what you wrote, Mark, "The radical right [was] more successful in entering the political mainstream last year than in half a century," explain. And explain the findings of your report.
MARK POTOK: Well, even more than half a century. I mean, half a century ago, George Wallace made a run for the presidency in 1968. And it seemed at least imaginable at that point that the radical right would enter the mainstream. But it didn't. Of course, Wallace lost the election, you know, and things have gone in much the other direction for most of the last 50 years.
So, you know, basically, what we found in the report was that for the second straight year, the number of hate groups went up. But more important than the actual numbers, which actually are near historic highs in some 30 years of counting that we've done, is the fact that these groups are just electrified by Trump. They feel that they have a man in the White House. They feel that they have been given permission to say the things they really believe, that these are legitimate and normalized views. So, really, I think the effect of Donald Trump has been to unleash a kind of Pandora's box of hatreds on our country. And those are not easy things to get back in the box.
You know, the other thing we found, the other really remarkable thing, which you mentioned already, was a near tripling in the number of anti-Muslim hate groups. And I think this is not, you know, 100 percent due to Donald Trump. Certainly, part of it is a response to real-life atrocities from the Islamic State and related kinds of groups. But a huge part of it is due to Trump. Trump really unleashed this with his comments about Muslims not being good enough to be in our country, with his proposal for a Muslim registry, with his idea of surveilling mosques, and on and on and on.
So that, essentially, was our finding, that, you know, the radical right has come alive as a result of Trump. They have never feltand, in fact, never been, in anyone's memoryso close to real power. They're in a position right now to actually have an effect on national policy. A remarkable thing.
AMY GOODMAN: Deeply moving story out of Missouri, where the Jewish cemetery, perhaps hundreds of tombstones, were upended, and a Muslim group went online to raise money to help the Jewish community restore these tombstones. And they raisedI think at this point it's over $50,000, and said they would contribute this not only to help the cemetery, but othernow over $60,000, it's been going up by leaps and boundsbut to help Jewish groups around the country that are facing assault. Steven?
STEVEN GOLDSTEIN: Amy, that is the real America. And that's what Muslim Americans are like, and that's what Jewish Americans are like, and that's what all other Americans are likepeople with essential goodness, whom this president should not demonize, people who have greater morals than the president himself has ever had.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to go to some other news. On Tuesday, Milo Yiannopoulos resigned as Breitbart's editor. At a news conference in New York City, a reporter asked him about Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, who was formerly the head of Breitbart.
REPORTER: What's your relationship with Steve Bannon? When was the last time you spoke to him?
MILO YIANNOPOULOS: Steve Bannon brought me into Breitbart. Steve Bannon is one of the most formidable and brilliant political operatives of his generation. I have nothing but admiration for the guy. Not an easy person to work for, if you're a slacker. Not an easy person to work for, if you don't show up to work or if you don't really give everything your all. Fortunately, I'm not one of those people. I haven't spoken to Steve for a very long time, since before he took the job at the White House.
REPORTER: [inaudible]
MILO YIANNOPOULOS: Yeah, Steve Bannon, you know, has populated Breitbart with, you know, a disproportionately Jewish, ethnic minority and gay senior editorial team, you know, and we arewell, we were, I should say, far more diverse than any of the people criticizing Breitbart for alleged racism or God knows what it is thistoday.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Milo Yiannopoulos, who has just resigned from Breitbart, under allegations that he supported pedophilia. Mark Potok, the significance of Breitbart now represented in the White House, although Steve Bannon, of course, has supposedly left Breitbart for the time being?
MARK POTOK: Well, I mean, Steve Bannon is the person that the extreme right feels is their man in the White House. And they are not wrong. You know, as far as the Milo Yiannopoulos escapade, I think it shows that, much like Donald Trump himself, Milo Yiannopoulos was a bit of an unexploded grenade. You know, this was bound to happen. This is the man who is so, quote-unquote, "politically incorrect" that he is willing to say thingsyou know, forget political correctnessthat are outrageous and really awful. So, you know, I think that we've seen what happened with Yiannopoulos. He basically imploded. He's lost his book contract. He's lost his work. And hopefully we won't have to hear too much more about him. You know, unfortunately, that's not the case with Donald Trump. He's the same kind of character, this sort of explosive character. You don't know what's coming next. You know, and one thing that is certain, though, is that Donald Trump is certainly not the uniter-in-chief, as he claims. He's quite the opposite.

[Image: nazi_bannon_combo.jpg_1718483346.jpg]

16 February 2017

The "alt-right" network has brought together multiple currents, from neo-Nazis to men's rights activists, right-wing anarchists to neo-reactionaries.
The day after Donald Trump's upset electoral victory over Hillary Clinton, "alt-right" founder Richard Spencer declared that his movement was "the new Trumpian vanguard" offering ideological direction to Donald Trump's fuzzy-headed populism. Spencer and his comrades have generally supported President Trump's early measures but they want more a total ban on all immigration, for instance and instead of Trump's dog whistle appeals, they advocate an explicit politics of race. Some Alt-Rightists, in addition, have warned that they might "revolt" if the Trump administration doesn't follow their lead.
The Battle Against Trumpism and Specter of 21st Century Fascism
The alt-right (short for alternative right) a loose network of white nationalists, misogynists, and authoritarians who are as hostile to mainstream conservatives as they are to multicultural liberals offered vital help to Trump's presidential campaign through the skillful use of internet memes and online harassment of Trump opponents. But they have never seen Trump as truly one of their own or believed he would bring about the changes they wanted. Most alt-rightists hope that a Trump presidency will give them space to promote far more sweeping changes notably dismantling or seceding from the United States to establish a white "ethno-state."
The alt-right's attitude toward Trump highlights an important dividing line within the U.S. right the divide between those who accept the legitimacy of the existing political system, and those who don't. I reserve the term "far right" for forces that (1) regard human inequality as natural or inevitable and (2) reject the established political order on principle. The "system-loyal right," by contrast, includes those forces that want to make change through incremental measures. An analogy on the left is the difference between social democrats and communists, reformists and revolutionaries.
One of the biggest ways that far rightists make an impact is through collaboration and interchange with system-loyal rightists, such as alt-rightists helping to put Trump in the White House and using his campaign to increase their own visibility. Yet the two part company on whether to accept the U.S. political system or abandon it and sooner or later that is likely to lead to conflict.
Far-right movements, as I use the term, have risen periodically in U.S. history, starting with the original Ku Klux Klan in the years after the Civil War. Denouncing northern "military despotism," the Klan and similar vigilante groups waged a campaign of terror across the former Confederacy to disenfranchise African-Americans and destroy the Radical Reconstruction state governments in which black people played a leading role. By contrast, the second Klan, founded in 1915, was a system-loyal movement that vilified Catholics, Jews, and immigrants as well as Blacks, but found ample room to promote its supremacist politics within the political order of its day.
Today's far-right politics began forming in the 1970s and 80s as part of a broader rightist backlash against the progressive upheavals of the 1960s. The Black liberation movement and other social liberation forces not only challenged established hierarchies and transformed U.S. culture; they also brought about big changes in the U.S. government's role. Under pressure from the left, the federal government banned racial discrimination and protected Black people's right to vote, created new social programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, increased regulation of business in areas such as the environment and occupational health and safety, strengthened protections for criminal defendants and prisoners, and expanded women's reproductive rights.
Most of the rightist counterattack to these changes, such as the Reagan Revolution of the 1980s, was designed to shift the existing political system in a more conservative direction. But for the first time since World War II, a significant minority of rightists began to withdraw their loyalty from the U.S. government. In the 1960s, white supremacist groups such as the Klan had concentrated on defending Jim Crow segregation and keeping Black people from voting. After these efforts were decisively defeated, many white supremacists gravitated toward a new kind of revolutionary rightist politics, based on an unprecedented convergence of Klan and neo-Nazi forces.
By the 1980s, a resurgent white supremacist movement was pursuing multiple strategies. David Duke used an electoral strategy, masking his neo-Nazism behind a populist veneer, and pioneered campaign themes that system-loyal rightists such as Patrick Buchanan later emulated. Tom Metzger's White Aryan Resistance developed a militant, street-fighting presence, recruited heavily within the skinhead subculture, and promoted "Third Position" politics that blended racism with twisted anti-capitalism. Most dramatically, an underground cell known as The Order "declared war" on the U.S. government and embarked on a string of bank robberies, killings, and bombings before its members were rounded up or killed in shootouts with the police.

In the 1990s, a broader array of rightists including neo-Nazis, the Christian right's hardline theocratic wing, and some anti-environmentalists, gun rights activists and libertarians converged to form the Patriot movement, which grew explosively to include some 858 groups in 1996. The movement warned that globalist elites were plotting to overthrow the U.S. Constitution and impose a dictatorship. This claim involved wildly implausible conspiracy theories but was fueled by real acts of deadly state repression, notably federal assaults on the Weaver family home in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992 and the Waco, Texas, compound of the Branch Davidian religious cult in 1993. Patriot activists promoted hostility to the federal government and formed "militias" and "common law courts," which claimed to exercise governmental authority. Some of these groups rejected the federal government on principle, and a few planned or carried out physical attacks on federal institutions or personnel. The Patriot movement declined sharply in the late 1990s, partly due to increased government investigation following the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing by neo-Nazi Timothy McVeigh and others, which was widely but inaccurately blamed on Patriot groups. The movement rebounded after Obama was elected president.
Today, the alt-right is spearheading a new far-right upsurge. The movement has brought together multiple supremacist and authoritarian currents, from neo-Nazis to men's rights activists, from right-wing anarchists who envision Nietzschean supermen rising above the sheeplike masses to neo-reactionaries who think that popular sovereignty is a grave threat to civilization. Like other far-right movements before it, the alt-right has attracted system-loyal sympathizers and apologists known as the "alt-lite" who help spread a lot of its message without endorsing its full ideology or ethno-state goals. This alt-lite includes Steve Bannon, formerly Breitbart News head and now Trump's chief strategist, who stuck the alt-right label on his own brand of authoritarian nationalism in the same way he latched onto the Tea Party label a few years ago.
Unlike the Nazi-Klan movement of the 1980s or the Patriot movement of the 1990s, the alt-right mostly exists online. This means it is unlikely to take up armed struggle or organize militias, but it has powerful tools to continue its "metapolitical" strategy, to shift the parameters of political discourse as a first stage before transforming institutions. And unlike the previous two far-right upsurges, which were met by federal government crackdowns, the alt-right now faces a presidential administration that it helped to put in power. The alt-right's alliance with Trump could flounder on many issues from the president's "half measures" on border control to his strong support for the government of Israel but for the time being it offers unprecedented opportunities for far-right politics to grow and thrive.
Matthew N. Lyons is an independent scholar who blogs at Three Way Fight, and co-author with Chip Berlet of Right-Wing Populism in America (Guilford, 2000). This article is based on his forthcoming book, Insurgent Supremacists: The U.S. Far Right's Challenge to State and Empire
The level of inhumanity/hate being unleashed and shown/directed out of the White House is truly amazing. How much longer before they try death camps?....and I ask that seriously. This IS what fascism looks like! starts on the 'other'...and then it comes to you and everyone! If you are living in the United Snakes and are not a Native American, YOU are an illegal alien! Wake UP! :Hitler:

Quote:In Texas, ICE officers removed an undocumented immigrant asylum seeker from a hospital, where she was being treated for a brain tumor, and returned her to a detention center. Lawyers for the Salvadoran woman, who's identified only as Sara, say immigration agents cut off all communication with her family and attorneys, and bound her hands and ankles as they transferred her from the hospital to the for-profit Prairieland Detention Center near Dallas. The lawyers say Sara has been suffering convulsions, nosebleeds and severe headaches, and needs brain surgery if she's to survive.
AMY GOODMAN: Thousands of pages of newly released emails reveal how EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt closely collaborated with oil, coal and gas companies backed by the Koch brothers to roll back environmental regulations during his time as Oklahoma's attorney general. The documents were released just days after Pruitt was sworn in as the new head of the EPA, the agency tasked with curtailing pollution and safeguarding public health. Last week, Senate Democrats unsuccessfully attempted to postpone Pruitt's final confirmation until the emails were released, but Republicans pressed forward and confirmed him in a 52-to-46 vote, largely along party lines.
As Oklahoma attorney general, Pruitt sued the EPA 14 times. The trove of new documents show how energy companies drafted language for Pruitt's Attorney General Office to use to sue the EPA over environmental regulations. In an email from August 2013 from Matt Ball of the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity to Pruitt's communications director, Ball writes, quote, "Thank you to your respective bosses and all they are doing to push back against President Obama's EPA and its axis with liberal environmental groups to increase energy costs for Oklahomans and American families across the states. You both work for true champions of freedom and liberty!"
These documents were obtained by the media watchdog group the Center for Media and Democracy after a lengthy battle. The emails were released because a judge ordered them released.
For more, we go to Madison, Wisconsin, where we're joined by the group's executive director, Lisa Graves, also the publisher of and
Lisa, welcome back to Democracy Now! Explain what these emails show. You just got thousands of them in the last two days.
LISA GRAVES: Well, these emails help show the cozy relationship between Scott Pruitt and the industries that he was tasked with regulating as the Oklahoma attorney general. And so, what they reveal is more of that relationship, the way in which he was praised by the Koch brothers' operatives, the way in which he was urged by energy company lobbyists to just cut and paste from their materials and from other documents that they had jointly or worked on together to produce. And this is part of a longer investigation that we've been conducting about Scott Pruitt and about the Republican Attorneys General Association, where you can see, through the documentation we've obtained, how much these industries are paying to curry favor with these attorneys general. And in this instance, you have this man who now is the head of our Environmental Protection Agency and has such close relationships. And I think that the Republican senators, Senator McConnell and the White House were eager to rush his nomination through, because they feared that more information, more evidence, would come out about the closeness of those relationships. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. We know they're still stonewalling us. We know that there are many thousands more emails that they have failed to produce and that are part of our ongoing set of requests for information about Scott Pruitt and about the communications of his office with these industries, including Devon Energy, Koch Industries and more.
AMY GOODMAN: Let's go through some of the emails. In 2013, a lobbyist from the law firm Hunton & Williams, which represents major utility companies, sent Pruitt's deputy solicitor general a white paper and talking points. The lobbyist suggested the staffer should, quote, "cut and paste" from it when encouraging other states to file comments on an EPA protection aimed at addressing air pollution.
LISA GRAVES: Well, right. I mean, you have that, that email that just came out, as well as the emails that were discussed by Eric Lipton in his New York Times story that won a Pulitzer Prize back in 2014, 2015. What you can see from that is this ideathat email, other emailsthat maybe it'smaybe we should call him "Cut-and-Paste Pruitt," because, basically, the relationship between industry and industry groups or utilities and Pruitt's office was so close that there are numerous references to saying just cut and paste this, cut and paste that. You know, that's not what we expect of our attorneys general. That's not what we expect of the head of the EPA. These guys are not supposed to be doing the bidding of private industry. Private industry has its own lawyers. The lawyer who is the head of the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office is supposed to represent all the people and the public interest, just as the head of the EPA is supposed to represent all Americans, not just the corporations. And yet you have this man who has basically spent his life's work advancing the industry position, targeting and attacking efforts to regulate the toxin of mercury, other serious pollutants, trying to undermine efforts to address the harms to our climate and more. And so that email is just one of many that shows this pattern that we see of this cut-and-paste idea for Scott Pruitt and his team.
AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about the relationship that is exposed through these thousands of pages of emails that you got through a lawsuit, a judge ruling justwhat was it?last Thursday, last week, that these should be released immediately, and the Senate moving very quickly to confirm Pruitt before the emails were delivered to you.
LISA GRAVES: That's correct. The judge ordered that the first set of documentsthat order came down on Thursday afternoon, and there was plenty of time for the Senate to wait to get answers, in part because it wasn't just our requests that were unanswered, but also numerous requests by senators on the Environment and Public Works Committee, that Pruitt was stonewalling them, as well. But there was this rush to push him through. Why the rush? There was no need for him to be advanced so quickly to helm the EPA. The Senate is entitled to that information. More importantly, the American people are entitled to that information.
And what these emails show is a very friendly relationship between Pruitt's team and these energy companies. At one point, there's an email that talks about his chief of staff wanting to get a special tour, basically, to the top of Devon Tower, the biggest skyscraper in Oklahoma, you know, because of this relationship they've cultivated with these energy companies. But there's more. You know, there's more praise from these energy companies for the job he's doing. And beyond that, as part of our ongoing investigation, we've helped document how Scott Pruitt has done closed-door briefings with some hugesome of the hugest energy companies in the country, including Murray Energy, in which theyin which the panel was calling the Clean Power Plan dangerous, the idea that we should be taking measures to address carbon dangerous. These are extreme positions. They're the positions of industry. And you see it over and over again in these emails, the closeness, the coziness of these industry lobbyists, these lawyers and the office that Scott Pruitt was running in Oklahoma.
AMY GOODMAN: Last month, the EPA administrator nominee at the time, Pruitt, testified in front of the Senate during his confirmation hearings. Senator Jeff Merkley questioned Pruitt about a 2011 letter the Oklahoma attorney general sent to the EPA opposing regulations limiting emissions from the energy sector. Senator Merkley said much of the letter was largely written by the Oklahoma energy company Devon Energy.
SEN. JEFF MERKLEY: You used your office as a direct extension of an oil company, rather than a direct extension of the interests of the public health of the people of Oklahoma. Do you acknowledge that you presented a private oil company's position rather than a position developed by the people of Oklahoma?
SCOTT PRUITT: Senator, Iwith respect, I disagree. The efforts that I took as attorney general were representing the interests of the state of Oklahoma.
SEN. JEFF MERKLEY: Why do you need an outside oil company to draft a letter when you have 250 people working for you?
SCOTT PRUITT: Senator, as I've indicated, that was an effort that was protecting the state's interest and making sure that we made the voices of all Oklahomans heard on a very important industry to our state. There was concern
SEN. JEFF MERKLEY: You said all heard, but you only sent it on behalf of a single voice: the oil company. Thank you.
AMY GOODMAN: So, that was Senator Merkley questioning Scott Pruitt, who was just approved as EPA administrator. Your response, Lisa Graves?
LISA GRAVES: Well, Senator Merkley got that exactly right. It's really astonishing for someone in a position of public trust to give such special privilege to some of the richest corporations, the richest interests in our country, over the interests of ordinary Americans for cleaner water, cleaner air, for efforts to address harm to our climate. And I have to say, if the American people want to learn more about the swamp that Trump is drawing from, not draining, but the swamp that he's perpetuating and expanding, they can go listen to that C-SPAN debate all night last Thursday into Friday morning, where Senator Whitehouse, Senator Merkley, other senators were speaking out eloquently about the conflicts that Mr. Pruitt's actions represent, the concerns, the grave concerns, they have about what he will do to our environmental protections, and just the depth of his stonewalling of the Senate, and, more importantly, the American people, about the true extent of his relationships with these companies and how much he will use his office to do their bidding and not to advance the interests of all people. And that letter that Senator Merkley pointed out is a salutary example of how he perceives his role is to represent their interests. He thinks that that's basically representative government action. Those corporations don't have a right to vote. People do. The American people have a say in these measures, and these statutes are on the books to protect us, not to protect oil companies and energy companies, who have polluted our waters and our air and have harmed our climate.
Peter Lemkin Wrote:The level of inhumanity/hate being unleashed and shown/directed out of the White House is truly amazing. How much longer before they try death camps?....and I ask that seriously. This IS what fascism looks like! starts on the 'other'...and then it comes to you and everyone! If you are living in the United Snakes and are not a Native American, YOU are an illegal alien! Wake UP! :Hitler:

Quote:In Texas, ICE officers removed an undocumented immigrant asylum seeker from a hospital, where she was being treated for a brain tumor, and returned her to a detention center. Lawyers for the Salvadoran woman, who's identified only as Sara, say immigration agents cut off all communication with her family and attorneys, and bound her hands and ankles as they transferred her from the hospital to the for-profit Prairieland Detention Center near Dallas. The lawyers say Sara has been suffering convulsions, nosebleeds and severe headaches, and needs brain surgery if she's to survive.

That's really horrible and inhuman.
Michael Hudson, author of "J Is for Junk Economics," got it about the best I've heard anyone describe what the Trump Administration will be like. He said that just as the Big US Economic forces in and behind 'Wall Street' stripped the assets of Russia under Yelsen - and forced the privatization of everything there, this will now be done to the USA. Expect to see the sell-off of U.S. Government owned everything and give-aways to the big Corporations and Big Economic forces. Expect to see the same results as happened in Russia - lowered standard of living, decline in life expectancy, increase in crime - especially economic and hate crimes, higher suicide rate, a lot of the people moving out of the country, big decline in life quality for most people, etc. In other words - a Kleptocracy Orgy!


[Image: image01-2-700x470.jpg]Photo credit: Amanjeev / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Peter Dale Scott, is a former Canadian diplomat, Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley, co-founder of the Peace and Conflict Studies program at Berkeley, poet, and 2002 recipient of the Lannan Poetry Award.
His political books include Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (1993), The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America (2007), The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11 and the Deep Politics of War (2008), American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan (2010), The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil, and the Attack on U.S. Democracy (2014) and Dallas '63: The First Deep State Revolt Against the White House (2015). A complete bibliography can be found on his website at
The following is Part 2 of a two-part series, excerpted from The American Deep State: Big Money, Big Oil, and the Struggle for U.S. Democracy, Updated Edition (copyright 2017) (paperback); by Peter Dale Scott with permission of the publisher, Rowman & Littlefield. All rights reserved.
Please go here to see Part 1.

Trump and the International Deep State

The first charge against Trump was the CIA-backed claim that Russian intelligence agencies hacked organizations affiliated both with Hillary Clinton and with the Democratic Party, and that the hacks were apparently "designed to benefit Donald Trump's presidential aspirations in one fashion or another."[52] (Politico also reported that "Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office.")[53]
A second charge against Trump, closely related, was that
as major banks in America stopped lending him money following his many bankruptcies, the Trump organization was forced to seek financing from non-traditional institutions. Several had direct ties to Russian financial interests in ways that have raised eyebrows. What's more, several of Trump's senior advisors have business ties to Russia or its satellite politicians.[54]
In May 2016 the Washington Post and Buzzfeed charged specifically that
Trump's top adviser, Paul Manafort, has spent much of his recent career working for pro-Russian forces in Ukraine, and doing complex deals for an oligarch with close ties to Putin.… Manafort … has, according to court documents, managed tens of millions of dollars for Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch denied entry to the U.S. reportedly for ties to organized crime, but so close to Vladimir Putin that top Russian officials fought (unsuccessfully) to get him a visa.[55]
On the eve of the new Trump presidency The New York Times reported that
American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort… and Roger Stone.[56]
[Image: image03-1-1024x728.jpg]Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Photo credit: Disney | ABC Television Group / Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

In January 2017 Buzzfeed leaked the source of these charges: a private intelligence report transmitted by the CIA to Trump.[57] This report, by former British intelligence Christopher Steele, did not as released mention Deripaska at all, but contained instead an unexplained discussion of Deripaska's bankers, the Alfa Group, along with its founders Mikhail Fridman and Pyotr Aven.
Just before the election The New York Times reported that
For much of the summer, the F.B.I. … scrutinized advisers close to Donald J. Trump, looked for financial connections with Russian financial figures, … and even chased a lead which they ultimately came to doubt about a possible secret channel of email communication from the Trump Organization to a Russian bank….
F.B.I. officials spent weeks examining computer data showing an odd stream of activity to a Trump Organization server and Alfa Bank. … But the F.B.I. ultimately concluded that there could be an innocuous explanation, like a marketing email or spam, for the computer contacts.[58]
The next day the Jewish paper Forward raised a question, not yet answered, about Alfa Bank's principal owner, the philanthropist oligarch Mikhail Fridman, listed as #73 on the Forbes list of the world's billionaires in 2016 (once #20), and the second wealthiest Russian:
Is a Russian Jewish oligarch with Israeli citizenship and close ties to both Vladimir Putin and Benjamin Netanyahu running a secret cyber-communications channel between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and Russian authorities? [59]
The various speculations about the Trump link to Alfa and Fridman, whether innocuous or shady, justify a closer look at the charges about Alfa's influence two decades ago, when Alfa's dubious clout in Washington included protection from both senior Democrats like Richard Burt of Kissinger McLarty Associates and also senior Republicans like Dick Cheney.[60] As The Guardian reported in 2002, Alfa's 1990s clout in Washington was demonstrated when its oil company, Tyumen,
was loaned $489m in credits by the US Export-Import Bank after lobbying by Halliburton…. The [Clinton] White House and State Department tried to veto the Russian deal. But after intense lobbying by Halliburton the objections were overruled on Capitol Hill [which then was Republican controlled]…. The State Department's concerns were based on the fact that Tyumen was controlled by a holding conglomerate, the Alfa Group, that had been investigated in Russia for mafia connections.[61]
Veteran newsman Knut Royce (a major contributor to three Pulitzer Prize-winning stories) reported the details:
Under the guidance of Richard Cheney, a get-the-government-out-of-my-face conservative, Halliburton Company over the past five years has emerged as a corporate welfare hog, benefiting from at least $3.8 billion in federal contracts and taxpayer-insured loans.
One of these loans was approved in April by the U.S. Export-Import Bank. It guaranteed $489 million in credits to a Russian oil company [Tyumen, owned by Alfa] whose roots are imbedded in a legacy of KGB and Communist Party corruption, as well as drug trafficking and organized crime funds, according to Russian and U.S. sources and documents.
[Two reports, one by "a former U.S. intelligence officer," and one by the Russian FSB] claim that Alfa Bank, one of Russia's largest and most profitable, as well as Alfa Eko, a trading company, had been deeply involved in the early 1990s in laundering of Russian and Colombian drug money and in trafficking drugs from the Far East to Europe….
The FSB report, too, claimed that the Alfa Group's top executives, oligarchs Mikhail Fridman and Pyotr Aven, "allegedly participated in the transit of drugs from Southeast Asia through Russia and into Europe."[62]
This impression is reinforced by the statements and actions of Michael Flynn, Trump's new national security advisor. Flynn has made several appearances on Russia's RT network, where he has often argued "that the US and Russia should be working more closely together on issues like fighting ISIL and ending Syria's civil war." In June 2016 Flynn attended an RT gala dinner in Moscow, seated just two seats away from Putin.[63] And in December Flynn reportedly met with far-right Austrian political party leader Heinz-Christian Strache, whose Freedom Party had recently signed a cooperation deal with Putin's United Russia Party. [64]
[Image: image02-1024x682.jpg]President Vladimir Putin, Igor Sechin, Chairman of the Board of Rosneft (left) and Rex Tillerson, Chairman of ExxonMobil signed an agreement on joint development of petroleum reserves in Western Siberia, June 2012. Photo credit: President of Russia / Wikimedia (CC BY 3.0)

An even closer friend of Putin in Trump's team, ironically, is former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, his Secretary of State.[65] In fact Tillerson, through Exxon's development of Russian oilfields, "has deep ties to Russia, dating back to the Boris Yeltsin administration."[66] As Julian Borger told the Guardian,
Putin… bestowed the Order of Friendship on Tillerson in 2013. The Wall Street Journal reported: "Friends and associates said few US citizens are closer to Mr. Putin than Mr. Tillerson."[67] The 64-year-old Texas oilman spent much of his career working on Russian deals, including a 2011 agreement giving Exxon Mobil access to the huge resources under the Russian Arctic in return for giving the giant state-owned Russian oil company, OAO Rosneft, the opportunity to invest in Exxon Mobil's operations overseas. ….The 2011 Exxon-Rosneft agreement was frozen when sanctions were imposed on Russia in 2014, following the annexation of Crimea and covert military intervention in eastern Ukraine. Exxon Mobil estimated the sanctions cost it $1bn and Tillerson has argued strenuously for the measures to be lifted.[68]
The $500 billion Exxon-Rosneft exploration deal, allegedly "the biggest oil deal ever," was so huge that the Wall Street Journal reported in 2014 that its temporary cancellation "put Exxon at risk."[69]
Trump's criticisms of Obama's sanctions on Russia were one powerful reason for Exxon to prefer Trump in the 2016 election.[70] But Trump was also attractive for his promises of deregulation:
President Trump will "absolutely" be a boon to Exxon and the rest of the oil industry, Fadel Gheit, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co., said in a telephone interview. "The industry hasn't asked for a hand up from Washington, but instead has said, Get off our backs.' Less regulation means less burden" on oil explorers.[71]
And Trump clearly will continue Exxon's longtime history of opposition to measures to control global warming.[72] (When still CEO, Tillerson ended Exxon's two decades of strenuous climate change denial, and came out for a carbon tax. But skeptics, includingThe New York Times, suspected this was merely a skillful means of defeating the more viable "cap-and-trade" carbon proposals that were then being debated in Congress, and ultimately defeated.)[73]
My book The American Deep State documents the leading role played by Exxon behind the elections of the oil-friendly presidents Eisenhower in 1952, and Reagan in 1980 (below, pp. 18-20, 27-28). It is not surprising that Exxon in 2016 should have helped propel yet another former television performer into the White House.

The "Party of Davos" and the "New New International Order"

In short, the Trump team connections to the Russian state and deep state both overt (through Exxon) and covert (through Manafort and Alfa) would appear to link Trump to a shady larger network or networks connected also to the same Washington swamp he promised to drain. Such networks led me in the Preface to the French edition of this book to talk of
a supranational milieu of the super-rich, just eighty of whom are now said to own nearly as much as the 3.5 billion people who occupy the bottom half of the world's income scale.[74] Thanks to the enormous increase in global wealth in recent years, the "global power elite" who meet annually at Davos now have far more influence on how the world will be governed than those who meet annually at the United Nations General Assembly.
Those at Davos do not need to give instructions to the American deep state, which is already structured around responsiveness to the requirements of extreme wealth in Wall Street and elsewhere. And some of them are members of what have been called "shadow elites, those whose influence stems from illicit or unconventional means."[75]
[Image: image00-1-1024x682.jpg]"Diplomacy in an Era of Disruption" Conversation with Secretary John Kerry and Tom Friedman on the opening day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, 2017. Photo credit: US Embassy Bern, Switzerland / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Naomi Klein, ascribing Trump's victory to the neoliberalism of the Democrats and of Davos, has written of
the rise of the Davos class, a hyper-connected network of banking and tech billionaires, elected leaders who are awfully cosy with those interests (neoliberal policies), and Hollywood celebrities who make the whole thing seem unbearably glamorous.[76]
And before becoming the Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor in the Trump White House, Steve Bannon, while executive chair of Breitbart News, had said in a speech at the Vatican that working men and women in the world were "tired of being dictated to by what we call the party of Davos."[77]
Trump has just chosen an ambassador to the European Union, Ted Malloch, a professor "well-known for his pro-Brexit and anti-EU views," positions consistent "with Trump's longstanding anti-EU and anti-NATO biases." Reporting this, Salon notes also that "some American foreign policy watchers are concerned that he is also motivated by his close ties to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin."[78]
The Trump attack on the "party of Davos," the status quo of the world superclass, is likely to continue.[79] On January 26, Trump announced "he would strike numerous bilateral trade deals, as opposed to multilateral accords like the Trans-Pacific Partnership."[80]
This approach, which by itself could please China as well as Russia, seems to reflect a coherent effort to replace the old consensus of the "party of Davos", with what the right-wing Drudge Report approvingly called the "new, new world order".[81]
The "New, New World Order" may be said to represent the mavericks of the international deep state, eager to dispense with the regulations of the old insiders. But they are still part of the nexus of uncontrolled big money, even if drawn more from the under-reported shady underside of that superclass.
As I write after just one week of Trump in office, it already seems clear that we can expect a "Trump revolution," one that will almost certainly attempt to reflect and repeat the major features (deregulation, anti-abortion measures, a defense spending buildup, tax cuts for the rich, and deficit financing) of the Reagan revolution before it. And it should not be too surprising if the Trump revolution, just like the Reagan revolution before it, turns out to have been not just financed, but partly plotted, at the levels of the American and the international deep state.[82]

Personal Postscript

As I write this new Introduction in January 2017, the involuntary response to Trump's election from many of my friends in both political parties has been anger, hatred, or despair. Many, like Michael Kinsley in the Washington Post, have charged that "Donald Trump is a fascist."[83] From such alienation, millions of people protested worldwide, the day after Trump's inauguration, in what was perhaps the world's first global political action. This was a welcome step towards shaping a global active public opinion.
[Image: image05-1-1024x682.jpg]President Donald Trump, General Joe Dunford and Vice President Mike Pence observe the 58th Presidential Inauguration Parade at the White House reviewing stand in Washington D.C., Jan. 20, 2017. Photo credit: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

It is true that Trump, like Hitler, campaigned against big bankers while quietly taking money from them. But the infant Weimar Republic Hitler overthrew, jerry-built amid the ruins of post-war Germany, cannot be compared to the constitution and civil polity of America, among the oldest and hardiest in the world.
I say below (p.99) that America is also exceptional
for its percentage of citizens who are incarcerated, for its disparity in wealth and income between rich and poor (a ratio exceeded among large nations only by China), and for its indiscriminate use of lethal power abroad.
From the beginning, America has been embroiled in major divisions, arising chiefly from its amazing diversity. But it is also the leader among world powers in its ability to process and transcend, however imperfectly, these divisions.
As so many times before in US history, we are entering another period of divisions and protests. But a successful protest of the nonviolent kind I hope for in this book (see below, pp. 164, 181-90) must be one inspired by deeply critical love of this flawed country, not by hatred.


[52] "Donald Trump's Many, Many, Many, Many Ties to Russia." Time, August 16, 2016,

[53] Kenneth P. Vogel and David Stern, "Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire…. Kiev officials are scrambling to make amends with the president-elect after quietly working to boost Clinton," Politico, January 11, 2017, "A Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation. The Ukrainian efforts had an impact in the race, helping to force Manafort's resignation and advancing the narrative that Trump's campaign was deeply connected to Ukraine's foe to the east, Russia."

[54] Ibid.

[55] "Trump Adviser's Ties Raise Security Questions," BuzzfeedNews, May 6, 2016,, linking to "Inside Trump adviser Manafort's world of politics and global financial dealmaking" (Washington Post, April 26, 2016, These charges should not be confused with the more sensational Buzzfeed leak in January 2017 of a private intelligence report shown by the CIA to Trump ( This report, by former British intelligence Christopher Steele, did not as released mention Deripaska, but contained instead an unexplained discussion of the Alfa Group, whose connections to Halliburton when run by Dick Cheney are discussed by me in American War Machine, 187.

[56] "Intercepted Russian Communications Part of Inquiry Into Trump Associates," New York Times, January 19, 2017, For a critique of Manafort's and Stone's responses to the charges, see Joseph Cannon at In addition to the charge that Russian officials helped Trump, Politico has also claimed that "Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton" (Ukrainian Efforts to Sabotage Trump Backfire," Politico, January 11,2017,


[58] Eric Lichtblau and Steven Lee Myers, "Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia," New York Times, October 31, 2016, f. Geoffrey Smith, "Meet the Russian Bank with Ties to Donald Trump,"Fortune, November 2, 2016,

[59] Larry Cohler-Esses, "Is Jewish Oligarch the Cyber Link Between Donald Trump and Russia?" Forward, November 1, 2016,

[60] Scott, American War Machine, 187: "Diligence's chief transnational connection in Russia is Alfa Bank. The chairman of Diligence from 2001 to 2007 was former U.S. ambassador and arms negotiator Richard Burt, of Barbour, Griffith and Rogers and McLarty Kissinger Associates. Burt, a neoconservative who once called the SALT agreement "a favor to the Russians," is also on the Alfa Bank's Senior Advisory Board in Moscow.

[61] "Cheney Firm Won $3.8bn Contracts from Government," Observer, July 21, 2002,; quoted in Scott, American War Machine, 187. In 2003 the Alfa Group of investors formed a 50-50 joint venture with BP, called TNK-BP. A dispute in 2011 between Mikhail Fridman and BP led Rosneft, blocked in its plans to develop its Arctic oilfields with BP, to agree to a deal on the same Arctic acreage with ExxonMobil instead (Guy Chazan and John Thornhill, "Mikhail Fridman: The Alpha oligarch," Financial Times, March 5, 2015, See below.

[62] Knut Royce and Nathaniel Heller, "Cheney led Halliburton to feast at federal trough," Center for Public Integrity [CPI]. August 2, 2000 Updated: 12:19 pm, May 19, 2014; Alfa sued CPI for libel over the release of the Royce report, but in 2005 the suit was dismissed. Federal Judge John D. Bates wrote "No claim is made that the defendants fabricated the assertions in the CPI article. Nor are the allegations of organized mob ties and drug trafficking so inherently improbably [sic] that actual malice can be presumed" ("Libel case over mafia-Halliburton link dismissed," Reporters' Committee for Freedom of the Press, October 4, 2005,

[63] Michael Cowley, "The Kremlin's Candidate," Politico. May/June 2016,

[64] Natasha Bertrand, "A far-right Austrian leader who just signed a pact with Putin says he met with Trump's national security adviser in New York," Business Insider, December 20, 2016,

[65] I say "ironically," because Exxon, until the 1960s, joined the other big oil majors in plotting to exclude the Soviet Union from international oil markets. This change is characteristic of how increasing globalization has changed the international deep state.

[66] rex-tillerson-to-be-secretary-of-state/#46e49c726a55

[67] Cf. Bradley Olson, "Rex Tillerson, a Candidate for Secretary of State, Has Ties to Vladimir Putin," Wall Street Journal, December 6, 2016,

[68] Julian Borger, "Rex Tillerson: an appointment that confirms Putin's US election win," Guardian, December 13, 2016, .

[69] Daniel Gilbert, "Sanctions Over Ukraine Put Exxon at Risk: Deal With Russia's Rosneft to Drill in Arctic Is Crucial to Oil Company," Wall Street Journal, September 11, 2014, The deal was originally made by Rosneft with BP, but the BP deal was blocked by a successful legal challenge from a company controlled by Mikhail Fridman. See above.

[70] An Exxon link to the Trump campaign surfaced in June 1916, when Paul Manafort, then the campaign chairman, hired leading Exxon lobbyist Jim Murphy to be the campaign's national political director (Melissa Cronin, "This lobbyist denied climate change for ExxonMobil. Now he'll do it for Trump,", June 7, 2016,

[71] Joe Carroll, "Exxon CEO-in-Waiting to Inherit Rex Tillerson's Mixed Legacy." Bloomberg, December 12, 2016, 4:55 PM PST December 13, 2016,

[72] Farron Cousins, "Republican Attorneys General Met Secretly with Exxon Lobbyists to Stop Climate Change Investigations," Desmog, September 30, 2016,

[73] John Schwartz, "Tillerson Led Exxon's Shift on Climate Change; Some Say It Was All P.R.'", New York Times, December 28, 2016,

[74] Patricia Cohen, "Oxfam Study Finds Richest 1% Is Likely to Control Half of Global Wealth by 2016," New York Times, January 19, 2015. By an earlier estimate, "In 2010, the wealth of the world's eleven million super-rich individuals stood at $43 trillion, or 70 percent of global gross domestic product" (Financial Times, May 6, 2012, 4).

[75] David Rothkopf, Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009), 289; cf. xx.

[76] Naomi Klein, "It was the Democrats' embrace of neoliberalism that won it for Trump," Guardian, November 9, 2016, Cf. Andrew Ross Sorkin, "Dealbook: What to Make of the Davos Class' in the Trump Era," New York Times, January 16, 2017, "The World Economic Forum an annual gathering of global policy and business leaders… known as the Davos class.' It is this group of so-called plutocrats that largely failed to anticipate and may have even unconsciously generated the seeping anti-establishment movement across the globe.

[77] Matt Clinch, "The party of Davos' wakes up to the new, new world order," CNBC, Januaty 9, 2017

[78] Matthew Rozsa, "President Trump's United Nations, European Union ambassadors send early message, shock waves," Salon, January 27, 2017,

[79] The "party of Davos" is a target of a new book by Hugh Hewitt (The Fourth Way: The Conservative Playbook for a Lasting GOP Majority (New York: Simon & Schuster, January 2017).

[80] "Trump says plans lots of bilateral trade deals with quick termination clauses," Reuters, January 26, 2017,

[81] Clinch, "The party of Davos' wakes up to the new, new world order," CNBC, January 9, 2017.

[82] See Scott, The American Deep State, 10108.

[83] Michael Kinsley, "Donald Trump is actually a fascist," Washington Post, December 9, 2o16,