Donald Trump, the enthusiastic executioner
Today is "Donald Trump time" again, but unfortunately, it appears to be necessary. "The Donald" is systematically doing something which should be a "No Go" in a civilized democratic society, but for him, it is the recipe for success: He stimulates the "dark side" of his audience by starting to propose excessive plans for execution and torture, and I believe that we will hear more of that.
After inciting hatred for example against "Mexicans", Muslims and all kind of Asian countries (China and Japan in particular), his rhetoric against "ISIS" becomes more and more violent. Oblivious to the fact that we cannot fight war crimes and massacres with our very own war crimes and massacres, Trump is letting the world know that he wants the torturers to be tortured. In addition, his shocking announcements are not a coincidence, but they are an important plan of his campaign plan: It allows Trump to get more headlines and whip up his fans into a frenzy. This is Donald Trump's "Shock and Awe" campaign of 2016, and it appears to be far from over.
So on Friday in a speech in North Charleston, SC, Donald Trump's rhetoric got even more violent - the "Daily Mail" reports:
Donald Trump shared a story about the murder of 49 Muslim prisoners during a speech in South Carolina on Friday.
Trump told the audience about US Army General John Pershing and his killing of prisoners during the 'early 1900s.'
'He caught 50 terrorists that did tremendous damage and killed many people and he took the 50 terrorists and he took 50 men and he dipped 50 bullets in pig's blood, ' said Trump.
'And he had his men load his rifles, and he lined up the 50 people, and they shot 49 of those people, and the 50th person, he said; "You go back to your people and you tell them what happened,"' said Trump.
'And for 25 years, there wasn’t a problem. For 25 years there wasn’t a problem. All right? So we better start getting tough.'
Watch the clip (relevant part from about 33:00):
Not only is this story about the execution with bullets covered in pig's blood fake and never happened, but even more importantly, Donald Trump has no hesitation to further radicalize his already pretty extreme audience by telling them these outrageous murder fantasies. The Nazis used very, very similar rhetoric during their speeches, and it is also a fact the Nazis were the biggest believers in "fighting murder with murder." They imposed for example an automatic death penalty on people who fought in an "irregular" way against the Nazis in WWII, for example the "partisans" in Russia or the resistance in France. The main justification for the mass executions against those groups which were carried out by the Nazis was the fact that they were regarded by the Nazis as "criminals" and not regarded as regular soldiers.
This is very comparable to "ISIS", as these people are also usually regarded simply as terrorists, and not as a "regular army." While there is not controversy about the fact that "ISIS" should be beaten militarily, the question remains: Should we simply execute these people after capture? It appears to me that Donald Trump would have no difficulties in proposing such a solution, and he apparently would also be more than happy to use bullets covered in pig's blood for the executions.
The most unsettling thing about Trump’s aside isn’t that it’s false, though. It’s that he’s indulging an openly racist murder fantasy—in which an American military officer uses dead Muslims he had killed with bullets dipped in the blood of swine (an animal whose meat and other byproducts are considered impure, and thus forbidden from consumption, by the Qur’an) to terrorize many more Muslims—in order to convince South Carolinians to vote for him.
Presidential candidates are certainly not immune to promulgating fake Internet memes. Nor has Trump been friendly to Muslims, either: In the past few months alone, he’s endorsed preventing Muslims from entering the United States, shuttering a certain number of mosques (while placing the remainder under surveillance), and registering every practicing Muslim in a national database. In that sense, today’s utterance differed in degree, not kind: Trump will say anything, for any reason, if it benefits him. At the same time, this tale gives us a good sense of what kind of person Trump is pandering to, and what exactly such a person would believe.
Here is a very good example of how the Nazis manipulated their audience by openly suggesting violence against their "enemies." It is a very appropriate comparison to Trump's speeches, because it is an "early clip" from February 10, 1933, just several days after the Nazis came to power, and the Nazis still had to be a bit more careful at this point. But Joseph Goebbels was of course giving his audience what they wanted to hear, through his suggestive warnings.
Watch this short excerpt of the speech by Joseph Goebbels from February 10, 1933 (with English subitles):
The full text of this speech (English translation) can be found here.
The experience with the Nazis is the main reason why this type of manipulative, violent rhetoric today is an absolute "No-Go" in many democratic countries, and would even in many cases constitute "hate speech." But in the USA, with "hate speech" firmly protected by the courts, the boundaries are vague - and Donald Trump has no hesitation to exploit this fact.
Just yesterday, "Politico" published an extremely interesting article with the title"Trump’s Exceptionalism Explained." The author makes some very good points, but I also get the impression that the media still struggles to find the reasons for Trump's success.
Donald Trump doesn’t cross the line. He erases it.
Time and again Mr. Mouth Almighty has recklessly insulted, defamed, mocked and affronted his fellow citizens. He has instigated stupid feuds and is now quarreling with the pope. He has gaffed repeatedly on policy matters. He has indulged himself in nutty conspiracy theories. And—how to put this delicately?—he has lied like a con artist, and when caught has squirted ink into the water to obfuscate. Two weeks ago, he denied having called John McCain a “loser,” which he did in July 2015. This week, after getting busted for falsely claiming in the South Carolina debate that the George W. Bush administration lied to smooth the way for war in Iraq, Trump told the Today show, Bush “could have lied. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. I guess you’d have to ask him.”
What makes Trump immune to the political forces that routinely sink other candidates? What accounts for Trump exceptionalism? If I knew the answer I could sell it to his infuriated Republican opponents, or bottle the stuff and offer it to the Democratic Party’s nominee this summer. But I don’t know. All I can offer is a measure of conjecture—subject to refutation, of course—and that starts with amassing the many positives that have allowed Trump to slither his way past his critics and naysayers.
The secret to Trump’s campaign is his relentless optimism. It doesn’t matter than he has a deficit of real plans, genuine programs and identifiable advisers. Quite the opposite: These shortcoming are actually strengths. If he were better anchored to reality like some of the other candidates, all that accountability would weigh his balloon down. The ad hoc quality of his politics, the endless winging and self-contradiction, allow Trump access to all the tools we associate with a salesman or a con artist. Trump need only tell his supporters what he thinks they want to hear—that everyday will bring three extra hours of sunshine—and package it in the braggadocio that has served him so well in real estate, TV and the merchandising of this name.
The final conclusion of the author:
Trump’s exceptionalism looks less and less to me like a political phenomenon as the campaign progresses and lot more like a cult of personality, residing somewhere on the sliding scale between that of Mao Zedong and L. Ron Hubbard. This critique will never touch Trump, who must be having the time of his life, and probably has no chance of reaching his supporters, who have tuned to the other frequency. But let’s hope it does, because unlike a failing Trump company, a failing Trump presidency could not sneak away into the night by declaring bankruptcy.
Yes, this author is definitely correct, there is definitely a "cult of personality" surrounding Donald Trump. While this might be one of the reasons, I strongly believe that the main reason for his current success is the following: After having been told for so many decades by politicians and parts of the media, especially Fox News, that a liberal democracy is neither desirable nor effective, many citizens have started to believe that an authoritarian approach might be the better alternative. Whenever I read the comments of the many Trump-supporters on the internet, one thing is obvious: They want a "strong man" to clean up the "mess." They loath the "Washington establishment." They hate the "system." They hate "liberals." It is no surprise that they love Donald Trump. They would love to have him as an authoritarian ruler.
Which brings us to another interesting question: Would Donald Trump as US president actually be an authoritarian ruler, or not?
It is incredibly fascinating that this lingering question has recently been answered by none other than the leader of the American Nazi party, an old white man with the "not-so-aryan" name Rocky Suhayda. His opinion, and I believe that this man is actually absolutely correct: Donald Trump could only implement his proposals through "presidential decrees."
(...) He then got to the point, Trump’s plan would never happen. “Unless Trump plans on ruling by Presidential Decree, I don’t see how he would implement ANY of his ‘plans,’ the rest of the sold out ‘mainstream’ political whores would block his every move,” he said.
And, Suhayda pointed out, he doubted Trump’s sincerity.
“I seriously doubt if he even believes all what he says, but its nice to have someone like him saying it,” he said in an email.
Suhayda also pointed BuzzFeed News to past American Nazi Party reports where he had mentioned Trump. In one September report, the Nazi wrote that Trump’s statements showed the Nazi viewpoint wasn’t as unpopular as portrayed by the media.
“We have a wonderful OPPORTUNITY here folks, that may never come again, at the RIGHT time,” he wrote. “Donald Trump’s campaign statements, if nothing else, have SHOWN that ‘our views’ are NOT so ‘unpopular’ as the Political Correctness crowd have told everyone they are!”
“But, and here’s the kicker - so WHAT do we DO - sit back and heartily congratulate ourselves that our viewpoints are NOT the pariahs that we have been told that they are, and get all warm and fuzzy feeling,” he continued. “OR, do we FINALLY get SERIOUS about what we are supposed to be engaged in?”
Yes, exactly: There is absolutely no way that Donald Trump would obtain congressional approval for his outrageous plans, from building a huuuuge wall to Mexico, deporting 11 million illegal immigrants, banning Muslims from entering the USA to starting an even huuuuger new US torture program. The only way, as US Nazi-party leader Rocky Suhayda says, would be to implement these plans be via presidential decrees. I believe that this is exactly what Donald Trump would do. I am not sure, however, if the mainstream in the USA has realized this. Just because it hasn't been done for doesn't say that it cannot be done. Donald Trump would simply say that he has been elected to bring these plans to life, and he would try to bully everyone else into submission.
Finally, "Politico" published an excellent piece three weeks ago, titled "How Trump Did It."
This article is really important, as it totally destroys the myth that Trump's campaign was spontaneous and improvised. In fact, the campaign was planned for years, and Trump knows exactly what he needs to do in order to catch the attention of the media and of the right-wing audience:
What they heard as they ate deli sandwiches around Donald Trump’s hulking wooden conference table sounded like the businessman’s typical bravado. These 25 New York political operatives had come to ask him to run for governor. But Trump had another plan—a very specific plan—to run for president.
“You guys are going to be very helpful when I do the big thing,” he said, according to people who were in the room that day.
To the GOP county chairs and assemblymen there in Trump Tower’s glass-enclosed conference room overlooking Fifth Avenue and Central Park, Trump’s aspirations seemed far-fetched and the plan itself sounded downright implausible.
“He said, ‘I’m going to walk away with it and win it outright,’” a long-time New York political consultant recalled. “Trump told us, ‘I’m going to get in and all the polls are going to go crazy. I’m going to suck all the oxygen out of the room. I know how to work the media in a way that they will never take the lights off of me.’”
This gathering of New York’s political class was not held on the eve of Trump’s announcement. It was much earlier than that – 25 months ago, in the weeks before Christmas of 2013, a period well before most Americans and even many politicians were thinking about the 2016 presidential contest. Well before Trump would come to utterly dominate the GOP race from the very moment he declared himself a candidate.
In this meeting, Trump showed his cards, laying out the route he would take to tonight’s Iowa caucuses.
Notoriously frugal, Trump insisted he wouldn’t need to spend much money on paid advertising, drawing disbelief from the professionals gathered around his table.
“You can’t run for president on earned media,” one attendee recalled telling Trump.
The billionaire looked up, and paused for a long moment. “I think you’re wrong,” Trump said.
“Are you going to do all those little events at the Pizza Ranches?” another person asked, referring to the Iowa fast-food franchises that are a staple of presidential campaign stops.
“Maybe a little,” Trump replied. “But it’s really about the power of the mass audience.”
Yes, "the power of the mass audience." We already covered this above.
Donald Trump is serious, and fortunately, people are starting to wake up. It is quite easy to abuse a democratic system, if you are really serious about it. People will fall for your lies and your BS, if you only repeat it often enough. Find lots of enemies to blame for the troubles of the nation. Make your fans believe that you are the saviour of the nation.
The show will go on.