Is Trump a Neo-Nazi?

I had a good friend send me this article today that draws a direct line between Trump’s messaging on immigration and the rhetoric of the most notorious neo-Nazi and white supremacist websites. After reading it he asked me:

Could the candidate truly be neo Nazi and not know it? That would confirm the power of delusion and clinical megalomania… But do we really believe he’s actually unhinged?

My response was essentially this:

Without doubt, there is sufficient semblance between Mr. Trump’s rhetoric, tactics, and mannerisms and those of the Adolf Hitler to trouble anyone familiar with the German elections of 1933. But pegging Trump as a neo-Nazi seems to be going a bit far. Several analysts, many even more disenchanted with Mr. Trump than I, have explained in detail why Trump is neither a fascist nor an American Schicklgruber. Instead, they say, we should see Trump as an American Marie Le Pen or Frauke Petry rather than old Adolf: they are shrill, they play to a small yet fanatical audience, and lack a Dr. Goebbels to help them.

So these nationalists are not yet a Nazi-like threat – not yet, anyway, if polling is any indication. Fourteen days before the US election it seems that the only thing that could change that anytime soon would be election fraud on an unprecedented scale.

Still, the right-wing populists are accelerants for the thuggish undercurrents that too often surface when nominally civilized societies are wracked by change. For Europe and America, Islamism is today what communism was for much of the 20th century: a force threatening to upend the social order and political institutions upon which the West is rooted. Hunting’s clash of civilizations is upon us, but it is playing out in our cities rather than across remote global geopolitical fault-lines.

That issue is real, and it terrifies people. The right is riding that fear, and addressing it in the most rodent-level manner possible. But the blame is shared. The populism of the right is abetted by the haplessness of the Left. Liberal admonishments to tolerate Islam and sympathize with the refugees are no substitute for policies that could address the real security challenges accompanying a wave of migration from West Asia or the integration of groups who live according to rules that challenge the precepts of liberal democracy.

Until the left – and in America, I mean the full spectrum from Hillary to Bernie – acknowledges the threat of Islamism to free societies even as they underscore that Islamism is not Islam, you’ll have people voting for the Trumps and Le Pens of the world who are smart enough to know better but too scared to care.

And if the left does not, and if the right continues to cleave to white supremacy and xenophobia as guiding principles, then it will fall to those of us at the center to craft a wiser path to the future.

Jeff Immelt and Bernie Sanders

Sanders says that he is upset about GE’s operations abroad — as though a company that has customers in more than 180 countries should have no presence in any of them. He never mentions that we are one of the United States’ prime exporters, annually selling in excess of $20 billion worth of American-made goods to the world. Nor does he mention that our sales around the world support our manufacturing base here at home, along with the thousands of U.S. companies in our supply chain. You want to cause big problems for our suppliers — many of whom are small and medium-size businesses — and their workers? The surest way would be to pull out of those countries and lose those customers.

Source: GE CEO: Bernie Sanders says we’re ‘destroying the moral fabric’ of America. He’s wrong. – The Washington Post

While the op-ed in the Washington Post is an obvious creation of some deft public relations folks, I applaud Mr. Immelt for engaging in the debate.

At the same time, Mr. Immelt should not be disingenuous. He must grant that he has been among the most determined in his efforts to draw subsidies and assistance from the government, and that this puts him – and his company – in the crosshairs of a growing bipartisan movement to put an end to government subsidy and commercial favoritism.

The rest of us must grant that, as a company, GE has done the good things that Mr. Immelt enumerates, most notably employing lots of Americans, building new factories in the USA, making stuff that extends human life, cutting greenhouse emissions, making transportation more efficient, and exporting $20 billion of American products each year, all in the face of competition from places like China where the government coffers are wide open to local companies seeking to squash GE and firms like it.

Thus GE’s challenge is not the Senator from Vermont. It is to accept that it is operating in a new era, one in which it must face and defeat global competitors without the aid of subsidies from the American people.

Our greatest challenge is not GE – we can end corporate welfare with unity, determination, and the stroke of a pen, as we must and as we will. Our real challenge is going to be facing the onslaught of companies from places like China, companies who service a dream of a planet humbled and answerable to Beijing.

Susan Sarandon would take Trump over Clinton

If Bernie Sanders fails to get the Democratic nomination, Susan Sarandon isn’t sure she’ll vote for Hillary Clinton. She even said Monday that Trump could be the better option.

Source: Susan Sarandon: Trump Might Be Better for America Than Hillary Clinton – The Daily Beast

I have always believed that when you point a finger at the other guy to blame him, you point three fingers right back at yourself. Thus, as a conservative, I have aimed a disproportionate share of my criticism in this forum at the Right in an effort to provoke reflection, self-awareness, and change that will make us once again the source of practical, intelligent governance and progress.

There has been no greater barrier to governance in the past eight years than ideology. It so happens that ideologically-based obstruction has been a greater factor on the Right during a Democratic administration.

But this election cycle should make clear to every thinking individual on both sides of the political spectrum that the Right has no monopoly on obstructive orthodoxy. Case in point: Susan Sarandon. To suggest that “Trump might be a better option

Goldberg Misses the Real Problem 

The White House’s relationship with the press is more complicated than the story suggests.

Source: What the Times’s Ben Rhodes Profile Got Wrong – The Atlantic

Jeffrey Goldberg goes to great lengths to prove that no, David Samuels, is wrong: Goldberg is not a sock-puppet for the Obama administration.

Did I mention great lengths? Goldberg goes on in intricate detail about his battle to get The New York Times to issue a retraction of a Samuels’ assertion, while making an impassioned case that no, Goldberg is not biased in favor of the Obama administration or for the Iran deal.

But if Rhodes believed Goldberg to be a member of the press corps rather more willing to defend POTUS’ position than others, has there not been ample evidence over the past eight years to support that conclusion?

The problem here is not Rhodes. The problem here is not Goldberg, or Samuels (or published score-settling between the two in The Atlantic and Tablet.)

The problem is that, once again, the White House press corps has manipulated the media, and the media has failed in its job as watchdog. The question that persists is how the media can continue to strike a balance between doing what is necessary to gain and sustain access to the administration, and serving the interests of the nation. It seems that the answer continues to be that the journalist puts his story/career ahead of the need to tell the truth either to power or the American people.

If the White House press corps is to do its job, it must learn to better draw the line between self-interest and the public good. Otherwise, what good is it?

Jon Stewart: Trump is the Child of both Dems and GOP

Source: Jon Stewart Pops Up To Deliver Epic Anti-Trump Rant | GOOD

Fascinating. Stewart does offer some amusing and pointed vignettes that summarize the infantilism of Trump. Pointedly, though, he notes that the blame for the emergence of Trumpism cannot be laid at the feet of the GOP alone: the Democrats share a degree of culpability.

The real fun begins at around the 36 minute mark, when Stewart starts truth-telling about the Democrats and the Obama administration, and David Axelrod offers a remarkably lame defense of his former boss and his record.

When historians begin to delve beyond the poisonous rhetoric of the past eight years, past the spew of birthers, the racists and the obstructionists on the one hand and the starry-eyed apologists on the other to try and reveal the reality of this administration and the man at its center, David Axelrod, Ben Rhodes, and John Kerry will offer the most compelling points of entry.

The Closing of the Collegiate Mind

Perhaps the most nerve-racking duty of a senior class president at Scripps College in Claremont is securing a speaker for commencement. And Jennie Xu thought she had nailed it by booking Madeleine Albright , the first woman to serve as U.S. secretary of State.

Source: War criminal or role model? Madeline Albright as Scripps College commencement speaker hits a nerve – LA Times

I am sorry to say that I have lost whatever respect I had for Scripps, a once-outstanding example of what makes higher education in California so special. Today, it appears that their students are utterly incapable of entertaining – or even hearing – a political viewpoint that strays even a bit from their narrow band of correctness, whether from Madeline Albright or George Will.

What is so wrong with Madeline Albright? Whatever is wrong with George Will? Or Noam Chomsky? Or any controversial figure with a point of view? In my time in school – as not only a conservative but an officer of my College Republicans chapter – I paid to go see Angela Davis, Hunter Thompson, and a host of other somewhat lesser lights who held views I found objectionable, misguided, or repugnant, but who forced me to question my cherished values. There is nothing that all of us – scholars especially – need more than a regular forced excursion outside of one’s cloistered political echo-chamber.

If the students and faculty of Scripps are trying to send a message, the only message that is getting through is that they would prefer willful ignorance over the specter of cognitive dissonance. As a result, Scripps is in danger of downgrading itself from a respected tertiary institution to a finishing school with books, and the students and faculty will share the blame if that happens.