#1391 The Road to Sedition (Transcript)

Air Date 1/10/2021

Full Episode Notes

Download PDF

Audio-Synced Transcript

JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: [00:00:00] Welcome to this episode of the award-winning Best of the Left Podcast.

 First though, to address the major news of the week, right up front: We are in fact marking our 15th anniversary since the launch of this show. I'll assume you're applauding. So thank you for that. For that reason, it seems particularly fitting that we would be marking the occasion with an episode in which we shall learn about the years and years of warning signs we have been highlighting since 2006 that collectively predict the armed insurrection against the government we have just witnessed as the natural endpoint for a radicalized, conspiratorial, white Christian supremacist, permanent minority of a political movement that has lost its ability to win power by legitimate means.

I will be your guide as we make our way through the years. And we will start with an interview with Chris Hedges from 2007 discussing the rise of Christian fascism.

American Fascists, Chris Hedges - Ring of Fire - Air Date 2-12-07

MIKE PAPANTONIO - HOST, RING OF FIRE: [00:00:59] He joins us now to talk about his new book American Fascist: the Christian Right and the War on America. Chris, on back of your book you say that a professor at Harvard Divinity School told you that when you became his age, you said in this excerpt he was 80 years old, but he told you when you were in Harvard Divinity School that when you became his age that you would be fighting something called Christian fascism.

Uh, have you found that to be -- you're not his age; you're half his age! But are you already seeing that start to develop? First of all, what is it? And do you believe that he was right? 

CHRIS HEDGES: [00:01:34] He was right. You know, at the time he warned us as seminarians . . .. It came -- this was about 25 years ago --  at the same moment that Pat Robertson and other radio and televangelists began speaking about this new political religion that would create a Christian nation and taken control of denominations of secular institutions and eventually of the government itself. And we've watched since James Luther Adams' warning over the past 25 years how this movement has migrated from the fringes of American society to the very centers of power.

MIKE PAPANTONIO - HOST, RING OF FIRE: [00:02:12] Yeah. The term we hear all the time of course is dominionist and  that has become the equivalent of what he was trying to say about Christian fascists, I suppose. Describe dominionist. 

CHRIS HEDGES: [00:02:22] A dominionist or Christian reconstructionist is someone who believes that they have been given a divine and moral right to create a Christian America, a Christian nation. And let me back up. When I use the term Christian, I look at these people as heretics. I come out of the Church. My father was a Presbyterian minister. I graduated from Harvard Divinity school as you mentioned. And they have created through the huge distortion and corruption of the Christian religion an ideological belief system that is essentially about bigotry and hatred and intolerance. And that has been a mutation within the evangelical tradition or within fundamentalist circles that is extremely important and very, very different from what we saw in the past. I mean, fundamentalists have always called on followers to remove themselves from the contaminants of secular society, not to be involved in politics. Evangelicals, and we won't get into the differences between fundamentalists and evangelicals, of which there are many . . . but they have also through traditional figures like Billy Graham called on their followers to be very wary of political power, and Graham himself of course got burned by Richard Nixon and ever since spent time warning evangelicals to stay out of the centers of power.

There's a difference between religion playing a part in political life and the political life of this nation, which it always has, and imposing a narrow, particular religious ideology on the rest of us. That's a huge difference. 

MIKE PAPANTONIO - HOST, RING OF FIRE: [00:03:58] One thing, I guess, that they like about it is that -- and again, we're not talking about all fundamentalists, I mean, all evangelicals -- we're talking about a small part of evangelicals which I call fundamentalists, and we know who they are. They're like this Ted Haggard that just -- now we find out the guy is preaching to 30 million people about how how we should live as Christians -- and then we find out that he has this bizarre lifestyle  that he was trying to say is unacceptable. But the point is this. That's what he . . . One word he'd say it's unacceptable. The other one is he would actually engage in it. But the point is, what has happened is as I look at it, as you have these fundamentalists who aren't willing to question authority, and that's something that Tyson Foods and Walmart has to really like.

CHRIS HEDGES: [00:04:49] Well, of course, and corporatism is a fundamental component of fascism. I mean, you know, corporatism was very much part of Mussolini's sort of fascist state, and many American industrialists flirted with corporatism. Fortune magazine put Mussolini on the cover of 1934 praising the Italian dictator for defanging labor unions and empowering industrialists at the expense of the workers.

There's always been . . . Robert L Paxton's great book Anatomy of Fascism writes that, unlike communism, that there is no such thing as a purely fascist movement. Fascists always make alliances and often very uneasy alliances with traditional conservative or corporate interests. And that's what we have, an uneasy alliance with corporate America, which of course cares only about profit, who see in these people who I think they probably sort of look at with a certain amount of disdain and maybe even ridicule as able at the grass roots to promote an agenda.

Jay's comments 1

JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: [00:05:50] For these next three clips, we'll be going back even further to 2006 to discuss threats of violence to, and political manipulation of, the judiciary, resulting in a stark warning of the path we were beginning to walk from former Supreme Court Justice -- appointed by Ronald Reagan -- Sandra Day O'Connor.

Ginsberg and O'Connor death threats - Rachel Maddow - Air Date 2006

RACHEL MADDOW - HOST, THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW: [00:06:11] Apparently Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice, gave a speech in South Africa last month in which she said that both she and Sandra Day O'Connor had death threats against them a year ago by someone who called on the internet for the immediate patriotic killing of them. Sandra Day O'Connor said last week during her speech at Georgetown Law School that the justices have received threats but this was kind of an unusual level of detail. Apparently at the speech in South Africa, Ruth Bader Ginsburg described very specifically what the death threat was. Now, this speech -- we don't have any audio of it -- they posted the text of it online earlier this month without an announcement and Legal Times wrote an article about it yesterday. So that's how it came to light.

Apparently what happened was in a website chat room around the time that Tom Feeney of Florida had written about legislation on his website basically to rein in the judiciary, someone on a website chat room wrote "Okay, commandos. Here is your first patriotic assignment, an easy one. Supreme Court Justices Ginsburg and O'Connor have publicly stated that they use foreign laws and rulings to decide how to rule on American cases. This is a huge threat to our republican constitutional freedom. If you are what you say you are and not armchair patriots, then those two justices will not live another week." That was the way the death threat was made manifested to the Supreme Court Justices. 

And in the speech that Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave, she tied the political attacks on justices. She tied the fact of that, for example, Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, had said that maybe the reason there have been increased attacks on judges is because judges make so many bad rulings these days, and patriotic Americans feel like, you feel like Americans ought to step up against judges who are making rulings they disagree with.

Those kinds of excuses for physical violence and physical threats against judges, those things encourage a radical fringe. And we've seen that happened in the abortion movement as well. Right? The people who shoot abortion doctors justify their rhetoric with people who are much closer into the mainstream who would nevertheless subtly justify abortion of . . .  rather justify violence against their opponents on abortion or any other issue.

O'Connor Decries Republican Attacks on Courts - NPR Morning Edition - Air Date: 3-10-2006

STEVE INSKEEP - HOST, NPR: [00:08:31] Supreme Court Justices keep many opinions private, but a former Justice is speaking out. Yesterday Sandra Day O'Connor criticized Republicans who criticized the courts. She said the critics challenged the independence of judges and the freedoms of all Americans. Her speech at Georgetown University was not available for broadcast, but NPR legal affairs correspondent, Nina Totenberg, was there.

NINA TOTENBERG - REPORTER, NPR: [00:08:53] In an unusually forceful and forthright speech, O'Connor said that attacks on the judiciary by some Republican leaders pose a direct threat to our constitutional freedoms. O'Connor began by conceding that courts do have the power to make presidents or the Congress or governors, as she put it, "really, really angry." But she continued, "If we don't make them mad some of the time, we probably aren't doing our jobs as judges and our effectiveness," she said, "is premised on the notion that we won't be subject to retaliation for our judicial acts. The nation's founders wrote repeatedly," she said, "that without an independent judiciary to protect individual rights from the other branches of government, those rights and privileges would amount to nothing. But," said O'Connor, "as the founding fathers knew ,statutes and constitutions don't protect judicial independence; people do." And then she took aim at former house GOP leader, Tom DeLay. She didn't name him, but she quoted his attacks on the courts at a meeting of the conservative Christian group Justice Sunday last year, when DeLay took out after the courts for rulings on abortion, prayer and the Terri Schiavo case. "This," said O'Connor, "was after the federal courts had applied Congress's one time only statute about Schiavo as it was written, not," said O'Connor, "as the Congressman might've wished it were written. The response to this flagrant display of judicial restraint," said O'Connor, her voice dripping with sarcasm, "was that the Congressman blasted the courts. It gets worse," she said, noting that death threats against judges are increasing. "It doesn't help," she said, "when a high profile senator suggests there may be a connection between violence against judges and decisions that the senator disagrees with." She didn't name him, but it was Texas Senator John Cornyn who made that statement after a Georgia judge was murdered in the courtroom and the family of a federal judge in Illinois murdered in the judge's home.

O'Connor observed that there have been a lot of suggestions lately for so-called judicial reforms, recommendations for the massive impeachment of judges, stripping the courts of jurisdiction and cutting judicial budgets to punish offending judges. "Any of these might be debatable," she said, "as long as they are not retaliation for decisions that political leaders disagree with. I," said, O'Connor, "am against judicial reforms driven by nakedly partisan reasoning." 

Pointing to the experiences of developing countries and former communist countries where interference with an independent judiciary has allowed dictatorship to flourish, O'Connor said, "We must be ever vigilant against those who would strongarm the judiciary into adopting their preferred policies. It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship," she said, "but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings."

 Nina Totenberg, NPR News, Washington. .

Avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings - The Young Turks - Air Date 3-22-2006

CENK UYGUR - HOST, THE YOUNG TURKS: [00:11:50] She says, "It takes a lot of degeneration before our country falls into dictatorship, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings." Now that is a powerful, powerful statement to be made from somebody who was on the Supreme Court and who is from the same party, appointed by Ronald Reagan and gave George Bush the presidency in that five-to-four decision. She's talking she's warning specifically about a dictatorship in this country and saying, by the way, exactly what we say on this show. We're not there. We're not at the end, but she said it a lot more eloquently than we did. We should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings.

Jay's comments 2

JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: [00:12:32] We could go deeper, but for the sake of time, we will now jump ahead a full 10 years to the 2016 presidential primary campaign.

Tim Wise on How Donald Trump Legitimizes Racist Ideas - @DavidPakmanShow - Air Date 01-07-16

DAVID PAKMAN - HOST, THE DAVID PAKMAN SHOW: [00:12:41] It's great to be joined once again by Tim Wise, anti-racist educator and author of six books, including White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son

Tim, we've been following with great interest the impact that Donald Trump's candidacy in the Republican primary has had on sort of coalescing and catalyzing the white supremacist movement. We've seen endorsements from people like David Duke, former KKK member. We've seen the white supremacist website Stormfront have to literally upgrade servers to account for the traffic that is coming to them as a result of the Trump presidency. Talk to us about your analysis of Trump and coalescing this racist vote.

TIM WISE: [00:13:25] This has been a long-term political project for the far right, going back really to the Wallace days in the late sixties. And certainly, extending through, let's say, the David Duke campaigns in Louisiana in '90 and '91 for US Senate and governor, which I was involved in defeating him at that time in an organization there.

And I think what the right's been trying to do is find a candidate who would do the same thing Duke did, and the same thing Wallace did, which is scapegoat people of color, scapegoat religious minorities, scapegoat poor folks, and the case of Donald Trump, scapegoat immigrants -- which is something Duke also did -- for problems that they did not create. Because part of the right wing backlash to the civil rights movement, the right wing backlash to the women's movement, the right wing backlash to just about every form of social progress in the past hundred years has been about doing that, has been about taking real legitimate economic problems that working class folks face, and then putting a face on those problems that is brown, that is Black, that is foreign. So it isn't just the overt white nationalists, though I'm sure they're very pleased to have someone like Trump, who never wore a swastika or a Klan robe and did not stand in the school house door like Wallace and say segregation forever, to be able to coalesce some of those views.

Having said that, it's also really galvanizing, not just those folks, but a larger mass of white folks who are gripped in nostalgia for an America that they look at very fondly because they can, because it worked for them, and they see change, they see cultural change, economic change, political change in part of the reactionary mind is a fear of ambiguity, of fear of uncertainty, fear of change. That's the thing I think we, as Americans have to get our heads around it. Isn't enough to talk about the connections to white nationalists and white supremacists. It's really about how Trump is galvanizing white anxiety in a way that the Tea Party a few years ago could only have dreamt up.

DAVID PAKMAN - HOST, THE DAVID PAKMAN SHOW: [00:15:21] This may be a sort of esoteric question and maybe there is no productive answer to it. But do you feel that the Trump ideas around these issues are working more out of fear and anxiety or out of anger? 

TIM WISE: [00:15:37] I think those things go together. I think we have a perfect storm of white anxiety in this country.

I wrote about that in my book, Dear White America, four years ago. And that perfect storm was created by four factors that were working together. One was the election of a president of color with the strange exotic name, who many didn't even view as American, and it challenged the idea of what the president should look like.

The second factor was the economic insecurity caused by the recession in '07 and '08, which was confronting white folks with double digit unemployment for the first time since the Great  Depression. Then you had the cultural change. Now we have a popular culture, thoroughly multicultural. So it's not in the hands of the same folks it always was. And then finally the demographic shift, whereby in 30 years, half of the country will be folks of color, half will be white. All of that was happening at the same time, which I think generated white anxiety. Now that anger comes from that anxiety, because if you have always been someone who was able to look at you and yours, and say we are Americans. We're what an American is. We're the prototype, the floor model of an American. And now you're confronted with a reality that you're going to have to share that designation with people who don't look like you, don't pray like you, have different customs than you. That can generate not only anxiety and fear, but also a lot of anger and hostility and the sense that you're being victimized, this white victimization which David Duke and white supremists have been playing upon with phony arguments and phony analysis and bad data for a long time is now become mainstream. So the problem, and we said this during the anti Duke campaigns in the early nineties, is not so much Duke as it was Duke-ism. Now it's not so much Trump as it is Trumpism.

Sasha Abramsky on what Trump supporters really think - Start Making Sense from @TheNation - Air Date 3-2-16

JON WIENER - HOST, START MAKING SENSE: [00:17:17] You reported recently in The Nation that Trump is "bringing out of the woodwork every crank and fanatic in the country." I know you talk to some of the cranks and fanatics. Where did you find them? And what did they tell you? 

SASHA ABRAMSKY: [00:17:33] You know, unfortunately, I didn't have to look very hard. 

I went to Sparks, just outside Reno in Nevada, to cover the caucus there. And I went to the First Baptist Church, which was a suburban church; seven precincts were caucusing there. And I just started asking people who are you going to vote for? And if they said they were voting for Trump, I started asking them very particular questions around immigration and around what they thought of Muslims.

And the reason I did that was Trump's obviously got a tremendous following, at least based in part on the fact that he plays a very demagogic game when it comes to the southern border with Mexico and when it comes to America's relationship with the Muslim world and with Muslims living in America.

So I started asking people what they thought. And not just a couple, but one after another, after another, the default position was all Muslims should be expelled from America, and a goodly number of the people I talked to said they should be given a choice of being executed or being deported. 

And you hear language like this, and it's the language of fascism. It's the language at the pogrom from out of the 1930s in Europe. It's the language of sort of the pre-Hitler years, when all of the certainties of Weimar democracy began crumbling, and you could start saying anything and thinking anything and doing anything, and the political structure had no ability in place to push back.

And what I saw in Nevada began to terrify me, because I think what has happened with the Trump campaign is he's given the okay to anybody and everybody who's angry to voice their bigotries in a way that it hasn't been okay to do for decades in this country. 

JON WIENER - HOST, START MAKING SENSE: [00:19:07] Tell us a little bit about the people that you talk to at the caucus who were Trump supporters. Did you find out anything about who they were or what they did? 

SASHA ABRAMSKY: [00:19:18] Well, several of them were retirees. And certainly the most extreme person I talked to was a man in his seventies. And he was a retired -- I believe he was a businessman of some sorts or a cop -- I can't remember. But he was absolutely adamant that the choice should be what he called "the trench" or deportation. And when I said, what do you mean by "the trench"? He said execution. 

I spoke to a young elementary school teacher. I spoke to a number of middle-aged people. The thing that I found was an awful lot of people I talked to were absolutely infuriated with the breakdown of the political system.

They were infuriated by the paralysis in DC; they were infuriated by the dysfunction of governing structures in this country. And all of that anger -- which could be channeled to progressive politics, it could be channeled to some kind of alternative, better vision -- at the moment because of the way the Republican primaries are playing out, at the moment all of that anger is giving momentum to a nativist populist bully who uses the language of the iron fisters. It'sthe most extraordinary moment in American politics. 

JON WIENER - HOST, START MAKING SENSE: [00:20:27] One more question about your interviews with Trump supporters in Nevada. What did they know about you? 

SASHA ABRAMSKY: [00:20:34] They knew that I was working for a magazine. And they knew nothing else. They did ask me, several did asked me, if I was Jewish based on my name. I've been asked that question before in settings in journalism, but it's always discomforting when somebody wants to know who you are ethnically before they start talking with you. It means that what they're trying to do is ferret out are you quote-unquote, one of us.

And that's the politics of absolute division. Now you've belatedly seen a few Republicans sort of in a sputtering kind of way start to critique this language. Mitt Romney started critiquing this language. Some of the governors have started and a few of the senators. But the overwhelming majority of elected officials in the Republican party and not using the language to call out Trump. What they're doing is  they're saying they don't like him. They're saying he is a bit of a buffoon or a clown. But they're not using the language that says this man is a fascist, that he's coddling the support of white supremacists. That he's not really disavowing the support of the KKK, or if he does so it's only after a firestorm of criticism, that he gets the support of the French fascist leader Jeanne-Marie LePen, and he doesn't disavow it. That he gets robocalls from one white supremacist group after another arguing on his behalf. And he hasn't disavowed that. That every step of the way he's playing this double game; he's saying to the Republicans "vote for me because I can create a broad coalition," but he's saying to the white supremacists in code "vote for me because I'll be sympathetic to your values."

Thirty Black People Booted From Trump Rally - @theyoungturks - Air Date 03-02-16

CENK UYGUR - HOST, THE YOUNG TURKS: [00:22:10] I'm going to switch to the next story here, because the Secret Service told me that they don't escort anybody out, they don't care, they're not trying to enforce what Donald Trump says. Really? Because there was a time reporter, at a different rally and his name is Christopher Morris. He's actually a very well known and let's take a look at what happened to him when he stepped out side of the pin the holding pin they have for the press. Just a little bit.

That was a secret service agent who picked up a member of the press by the neck and choke slammed. And that is confirmed by the other reporters. I know the video started rolling right as he was slamming him down. Other reporters at the scene said, yes, pick them up by the neck and threw them to the ground. And then you see the reporter kicking back a little bit. And then of course, the right wingers are like, "ah see he kicked him." What would you do if somebody slammed you to the ground like that? 

Wait, SecretService, I didn't think you threw out anybody. What happened? Now, understand why this is so important, why it's so scary. Before it was Donald Trump speaking like your fascist, then his supporters at rallies started assaulting protesters, and that was his Brownshirts acting like fascists. Now he's got the government working for him, acting like fascists, whether it's the local cops, it's the Secret Service in this case. Hey, you know what, let me show you the reporter after he got, body-slammed explaining why the Secret Service did this.

CROWD NOISE: [00:24:02] So you're just trying to go and cover the protest. 

REPORTER: [00:24:04] I stepped 18 inches out of the pin and he grabbed me by the neck and started choking me and he slammed me to the ground.

CENK UYGUR - HOST, THE YOUNG TURKS: [00:24:15] If you step it 18 inches out of the cage that they have for the press, now, the Secret Service is slamming you to the ground. And this is before he even wins. This is before he wins the Republican nomination or the Presidency. Imagine what happens if he wins the Presidency. How will you use this power? This is the tip of the iceberg. Imagine the fricking iceberg. Now Morris told CNN that he never touched the agent in the beginning and did not plan to press charges. No, no, no. For Christ's sake, press charges! Somebody's got to put an end to this. How many people have I seen assaulted at Trump rallies? How many videos have we shown you guys on people, brutally assaulted, thrown to the ground? And while people are chanting, you know, whether it's USA, USA, Trump, Trump, Trump, or in some cases, allusions to white power, et cetera. While Blacks are being assaulted, latinos are being assaulted. One time a woman was thrown to the ground. People are being removed. Now, members of the press. Somebody press charges! And cops, you're not on supposed to be on the side of the fascist, you're supposed to be protecting the citizens and the press. That's what our constitution demands. That's what your job is. You should do that job instead of being Trump's Brownshirts. Yes. I said it. It's true. Look at what they're doing. If you let them get away with this, what are they going to do to the press next? What are they going to do to you next? Young Turks.

CNN's morally bankrupt hiring of former Trump campaign staffer - CounterSpin (@FAIRmediawatch) - Air Date 7-1-16

JANINE JACKSON - HOST, COUNTERSPIN: [00:25:50] When CBS head Les Moonves chuckled that the mean-spirited myth-driven, racist and misogynist candidacy of Donald Trump "may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS. That's all I got to say," he was laying bare the lie that there's no relationship between corporate media's profit motive and the humanity of the conversation they encourage. Moonves said he wasn't taking any side, but he was. 

And that divide has been further exposed by CNN's recent hiring of Trump's fired campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Lewandowski's job involved enforcing Trump's blacklist of media he disliked and confining reporters to a pen during campaign events. He shoved and threatened to pull credentials from a CNN reporter who defied the edict, and he grabbed and restrained reporter Michelle Fields, which led to criminal charges that were later dropped. Not too surprising then to read accounts saying female and Latino reporters, especially within CNN, were protesting the hire. But Washington Post reporter Paul Farhi countered with comments from a prominent staffer who told him, "I get the argument that he was a bully. But I also get why we hired him. There aren't many people who know more than him about how Trump's campaign thinks and works. That could be very valuable to us over the next few months." Well, the problem with that is that Lewandowski has likely signed a non-disparagement agreement. He won't say whether he has or hasn't. "And it doesn't matter," say folks like former NPR ombud Alicia Shepherd whose op-ed in USA Today called the hire "a smart move for CNN, which is after all a business dependent on increasing viewership." This isn't rocket science. Shepherd says, "it's political theater, and you have to have big names to fill the seats. Lewandowski will do just that."

Well, maybe, but if that's all it is, why wouldn't CNN just go to an all explosion-and-naked-people schedule? Both of those have been known to draw in viewers.

 But wait, wait, there's more. Another CNN reporter told the Post putting Lewandowski on the payroll could improve CNN's access to Trump.

Trump hasn't been shy about interviews, and CNN hasn't been stingy in covering him, even airing empty podiums at which Trump was scheduled to speak over other candidates actually speaking. But still, the hire can't hurt with resolving issues with his campaign, the source says. So there you have it. Hiring someone for your news channel who is deeply, sometimes physically opposed to critical journalism is clever because it might help ensure you can continue to give his former boss a platform, a boss whose attitude toward the press is expressed in the statement, "I would never kill them, but I do hate them." 

It's worth noting that the same USA Today with Shepherd's column carried a piece by the paper's media columnist Rem Rieter, who unlike Shepherd sees meaning in Lewandowski's pronounced disdain for the enterprise he's now being paid to be part of. Rieter says the hire "encapsulates the utter bankruptcy, a practice that is awful, but nevertheless has become a widely accepted part of the scene."

Jay's comments 3

JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: [00:29:24] And with that, we move to the days immediately following the November election of 2016.

Trump Victory Inspires Acts Of Hate Against Minorities - @RingOfFireRadio - Air Date 11-11-16

FARRON COUSINS - HOST, RING OF FIRE: [00:29:30] Anyone who followed the 2016 election closely, specifically followed the work of the Southern Poverty Law Center, of people like David Neiwert, absolutely knew what would happen if Donald Trump won the election. Because those groups, those journalists explained in very clear detail, Chauncey Devega at Salon, another great friend of Ring of Fire, another person who warned us extensively about this, they told us if Donald Trump wins, it is going to embolden and empower racist bigots all across this country. And here we are just a couple of days past the election and you know, what's happening? Non-white children in schools across the United States are being verbally assaulted by white students who support, or I guess whose families support Donald Trump. And they're doing it in the name of Donald Trump. "This is Trump's America now," is what they're telling these kids. "Build the wall. Build the wall." chants like that have been heard in schools across this country. Muslims, adult Muslims on the street, have had their head wraps ripped off saying, "you're not welcome here anymore muslim." This is getting insane.

Donald Trump wants to take to Twitter and insult and try to strip away the rights of the people protesting his election. Why doesn't he get out there and say, "Listen supporters, drop it, let it go. You're not going to be an ass to other human beings, and you're sure as hell not going to be an ass to children in school." but he won't. He doesn't have that kind of courage. He doesn't have that kind of decency. He doesn't have that kind of foresight. He's just an ass himself who believes these things, but something has to be done. Even before the election, out of 5,000 educators polled across the United States, one third of them said that they had seen an uptick in verbal assaults, and even physical assaults at times, against students of color and Muslim students in the United States. One third of educators said that they had seen that and they attribute it to the rise of Donald Trump in the United States. 

And now that he is elected we're seeing graffiti pop up saying "This is Trump's America," "N-words," "Get Out," this isn't okay. This is stuff that happened a hundred years ago and we're reliving history. There is literally a parallel between what these Trump supporters are doing and what the Nazis did after Hitler first came to power. I mean, it's textbook! We've seen this before countless times folks. We have a fascist that is about to move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He doesn't care that his supporters are out there threatening people of color or Muslims or anyone that's not a white Christian. He doesn't care. He encourages it. He said as much during his campaign.

You Will Not Believe This Insane Antisemitic Email - @DavidPakmanShow - Air Date 11-14-16

DAVID PAKMAN - HOST, THE DAVID PAKMAN SHOW: [00:33:05] I received, in the wake of the Donald Trump Presidential election, the vilest hate mail that I believe I've ever received. And if you look at my hate mail folder, there are thousands upon thousands of emails in there. I'm going to show it to you in a second. The backstory of this entire situation is Donald Trump is one thing, but the violent and dangerous racists and xenophobes who have been emboldened by Donald Trump's election as President elect are another thing. They are very disturbing and a top concern for all sorts of civil rights groups across the country. 

We're going to get into some of the broader data, but I want to give you just this first data point. Case in point, this is the vilest hate mail I've probably ever received, and I receive a lot. And this is just one example of the many that have come in after Donald Trump was elected. This is very aggressive. I'm just warning you. We are going to put it up on the screen. Some viewers may find this very disturbing and I will read it to you. Let's take a look at it Pat. 

 (Content Worning: Ethinc Slurs) 

This was an email from somebody using the email address [email protected]. Probably a fake email address, these email addresses often just put in there as part of the entire thing. The subject: racist, anti-white kikes failed to stop Trump. And it was from someone calling themselves Kiki Kikestein. The message to me: you are nothing but an inbred kike gas chamber rat Pakman. No one listened to the SFJew media, this election, and no one ever will again. Everyone is now aware of you hikes, promoting white genocide. You are f-ing finished Jew boy. Enjoy your new president.

Also over the weekend, I was home in a Western Massachusetts, racist anti-Semitic pro-Trump graffiti appeared on a cliff side in Easthampton, Massachusetts on the cliff side on Mount Tom. Significant outrage from local residents, a bunch of my friends showed up and actually painted over it. It said everything from "gas the Jews", "kill all Black people" without using that word, "Trump 2016" and swastikas. Also some friends of mine in Greenfield, Massachusetts, this is a very liberal area where there were enclaves of Trump's support, but by and large a very liberal area, reporting that not far from - really right next to a synagogue in the Greenfield Massachusetts area - a swastika carved into the sidewalk. Department of Public Works reportedly came out and ground it down. 

So many people reaching out and expressing concern for 1 Jews, because it's very, very popular to just start blaming Jews, attacking Jews, et cetera, despite the fact, by the way, that for the, I think for the first time, we have members of the first family who will be Jewish under a Donald Trump administration. This proves again, it's only partially about Trump, but it's mostly about who's emboldened by Trump. And 2 concern for people in progressive media as well. A lot of people over the weekend, talking to me about that. I told you about the incident in Philadelphia at a Jewish owned business, something like "Heil Trump 2016" with swastikas on the glass window at the front. And there have been more than 200 incidents of hateful harassment or intimidation, which are anti-Semitic in nature reportedm, so far Pat, to the Southern Poverty Law Center. It's just been hours since Trump's election. This is very scary stuff.

A White Nationalist Will Be Advising Trump'��s Administration - @RingOfFireRadio - Air Date 11-14-16

FARRON COUSINS - HOST, RING OF FIRE: [00:36:36] So by now, I'm sure everybody watching this understands that Steve Bannon, the guy from Breitbart, is going to be Donald Trump's chief strategist and senior councillor in the White House and I’m sure most people watching this also understand that Steve Bannon is a huge anti-semite. A lot of folks are calling him a white nationalist. There’s a little debate about that, but there’s no question, this guy holds deeply racist views. He helped to push Breitbart in an incredibly racist and misogynistic direction, which then made Breitbart the haven for the alt right and Trump supporters to go on there and hate on Jewish people, on black people, on Muslims, on Latinas, Hispanics, whatever. They hated on all of them there. And it’s because of Steve Bannon.

But here’s the part of the story where things start to get a little screwy. You see, there’s a lot of people on the right -- and to be honest, there’s even some on the left -- who have said, ‘You know what, let’s take a step back, Donald Trump won. Maybe we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps all of this racism and misogyny that came out during the campaign was nothing more than a talking point to kind of get his base energized. Now that he’s elected maybe he won’t be so bad.’

Look, we are less than a week past the National election, and Donald Trump has already supported or promoted this anti-semite, borderline white nationalist, to be his chief strategist. This man is going to have significant influence over policy in the United States for the next four years. So if anyone out there still thinks that maybe we should have a “Wait and See” approach to Donald Trump, just look at Steve Bannon.

Jay's comments 4

JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: [00:38:34] Now, just a quick warning for the bone-chilling nature of what you're about to hear: I included the following horrifying clips in one of my first episodes after the 2016 election to give a glimpse into the perspective of gleeful white nationalists, celebrating the election.

How to fight our enemies, the blacks and jews - A real-life, alt-right podcast - Air Date 11-10-16

WARD CLEAVER (NOT REALLY): [00:38:54] Honestly, this is the problem you want to have. The problem you want to have is not being a powerless minority. It's how do we increase our majority and retain and build on the power that we now have. And so this is very different. We are in uncharted territory because like I said, if our opposition, meaning the Jews, meaning the Blacks,  like their special interest groups. This is, again, we're not referring to every single person in these groups. That's just not the way things work. But they're very well-financed and very well-organized and very experienced organizations. If they want to beat us now, they're going to have to both use some things that have worked in the past , like inculcating us with a sense of white guilt and things like that. But they're also going to have to try some other things because obviously what they tried to stop Trump with in the primary and in the general it didn't work.

It didn't stop us. It didn't lessen our enthusiasm at all. So I wonder what they'll try next. I would think that they're going to try to co-opt it. And that's one of my, one of my concerns that we need to prove that Trump does not get people around him who will get him to weaken and just give away things.

Make more babies and raise them right.

JUNE CLEAVER (NOT REALLY): [00:39:59] Right. Yeah. Raise them to be  . . . [inaudible crosstalk]

WARD CLEAVER (NOT REALLY): [00:40:04] . . . and seriously, like one of the big problems we have is that when you look at the younger demographic, we are a minority. When you look at children, Whites are a minority. So, even if not one single more immigrant comes in. Okay. So, we've got major work to do. We do need to have more children, and we do need to somehow make sure that there are fewer of the other, which  . . . I'm talking non-lethal means here. So, we're talking, go home. We're talking, wouldn't you be happier somewhere else?

JUNE CLEAVER (NOT REALLY): [00:40:38] Or you WILL be happier somewhere else.


WARD CLEAVER (NOT REALLY): [00:40:46] In February when we started the A.M. Gray Podcast, we would occasionally talk about the Trump campaign just because it was such a tremendous opportunity for us who are normal people.  

JUNE CLEAVER (NOT REALLY): [00:40:59] Yeah, well, it offered a lot of hope, too. 

WARD CLEAVER (NOT REALLY): [00:41:01] Yeah, exactly. It was like, wow! Somebody really in the limelight. Yeah!

They're talking about what we want to talk about. They're saying they're making me feel like I am okay! And that somebody, basically like my big brother or like my uncle, right? He's gonna stand up for us.

JUNE CLEAVER (NOT REALLY): [00:41:20] Like he's not right about absolutely everything, but he at least can see your point of view and takes it with gusto.

WARD CLEAVER (NOT REALLY): [00:41:28] We've got one last chance. [June interjecting: Yeah!] I mean, this is it folks. This is God saying, Okay. I will give you one more chance which you don't deserve. And more than that, this is one last chance under really nice conditions. We get the government to like us. [June: Oh yeah!] Like in the most extreme way it ever has in the last 50 years, at least. You know, I mean, Donald Trump is about as out there in terms of being supportive as any candidate we could have ever hoped for [June: let alone his son.]


JUNE CLEAVER (NOT REALLY): [00:42:05] Oh, Hey, hey, we might have a convert. 

WARD CLEAVER (NOT REALLY): [00:42:09] Yeah. We need to win Donald Trump, Jr. over to the cause, like out and out. He's already tweeting, like re-tweeting alt-right guys like Kevin McConnell and whatever. We've seriously got to get him to be like the first explicit alt-right major candidate. Dude should run for Senate, okay. Seriously, in a couple of years. 

JUNE CLEAVER (NOT REALLY): [00:42:27] He has politics in his future, doesn't he.

WARD CLEAVER (NOT REALLY): [00:42:29] Oh, absolutely. Please.

It can't happen here - Ideas from the CBC - Air Date 1-17-17ADAM GOPNIK: [00:42:32] Now we could ask, why is it that it's never before come this close to power? And that I think is a reasonable question. But I wish we could look at American history without seeing exactly this kind of demagogic right wing nationalism, but we can't. 

One of my favorite moments where you see it coming up, goes all the way back to Mark Twain's descriptions of America before the Civil War. If you read about, if you remember Huck Finn's Pap in the great novel Huckleberry Finn, you'll remember that Pap, the town drunk, was abusive and absurd. When he gets drunk enough, he launches into a screed about how this government ain't a government anymore. And why isn't it a government? It's because they allow free blacks to vote.

NARRATOR: [00:43:16] Oh yes, this is a wonderful government. Wonderful! Lookie here, there was a free [bleeped] from Ohio, a mulatto, 'most as white as a white man. He had the whitest shirt on you ever see too. 

ADAM GOPNIK: [00:43:37] And he picks on an uppity black man, uncannily like Barack Obama...

NARRATOR: [00:43:42] And the shiniest hat. And there ain't a man in that town's got as fine clothes as what he had. And he had a gold watch and chain and silver headed cane... 

ADAM GOPNIK: [00:43:51] who he saw being allowed to vote. And it just enraged him. 

NARRATOR: [00:43:55] They said he could vote. What is this country a-comin' to?

ADAM GOPNIK: [00:44:09] And it's quite clear that sense -- that there needs to be an underclass, that there needs to be people who are safely beneath embattled, white ethnics -- is a very powerful one in American history. So I don't think it is an entirely new thing. And the reasonable question is, how has it gotten so close to taking power?

And that I think is a good question. 

PAUL KENNEDY - HOST, IDEAS: [00:44:32] Donald Trump talks about deporting people based on their religion. That would have been inconceivable from a major national politician, and not that long ago. 

ADAM GOPNIK: [00:44:42] We were understandably and appropriately reluctant to use the word "fascism" too liberally, so to speak, because we understand that the consequences of fascism in Europe were so unimaginably dire that we don't want to stick  every populist authoritarian with that same label, but it's not wrong. I had the -- I didn't know whether to call the good fortune of the ill fortune -- to actually read Hitler's Mein Kampf a few months ago. It was being republished in German, and I read it in for the first time in English and in German, drawing on my graduate school German, which is none too good.

Nonetheless, one of the things that startling about it, to read it, is that we think of Hitler because of the ultimate consequences of Hitler as being above all an anti-Semite, and God knows he's an anti-Semite in Mein Kampf, but the theme of the book is "make Germany great again." That's what it's all about.

And it's exactly the notion that there's a conspiracy against the true volk, against the true ethnic core of Germany, against the real Germany as we have the real America, and that that conspiracy takes in both threatening outsiders, Muslims, or Mexicans who are going to come in against us, and simultaneously has already subverted the democratic institutions so that the people in Weimar Germany, the liberal democrats, were themselves tools of these conspiring outsiders. 

And we have exactly the same pattern with Trump and Trumpism. Obama is an alien outsider who's truly -- something's going on -- is Trump's formula. Meaning that he's really in league with the Muslim terrorists who are coming to get us. So that form not only of hyperextended nationalism, but of a nationalism that depends on a pervasive outside threat that has already taken over the institutions of the democracy. That's exactly the core ideology of what we properly call fascism.

Jay's comments 5

JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: [00:46:38] And now we move to the days immediately following Trump's inauguration.

The Attorney General Defied Trump's Muslim Ban. He Did One Thing He Knows How to Do He Fired Her - @DemocracyNow - Air Date 01-31-17

JUAN GONZALEZ: [00:46:42] President Donald Trump fired acting attorney general, Sally Yates on Monday night, just hours after she announced the justice department would not defend Trump's executive order temporarily banning all refugees. as well as citizens, from seven Muslim-majority nations. Yates had written a memo saying, quote, “I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right. I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful.” Yates had served in the Justice Department for 27 years.

AMY GOODMAN: [00:47:24] The White House issued a statement last night reading, “The acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States,” unquote. It went on to say, “Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration. It is time to get serious about protecting our country,” unquote. President Trump had asked Yates to serve as acting attorney general until the Senate confirms Senator Jeff Sessions, a close ally of Trump. Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer of New York praised Sally Yates for speaking out.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER: [00:48:01] So, Mr. President, we’ve had a number, a large number, of eloquent speeches about the president’s executive order. And while they were going on, of course, we had a Monday Night Massacre. Sally Yates, a person of great integrity, who follows the law, was fired by the president. She was fired because she would not enact, pursue the executive order, on the belief that it was illegal, perhaps unconstitutional. It was a profile in courage. It was a brave act and a right act. And I hope the president and his people who are in the White House learn something from this. … How can you run a country like this? How can you take a major order, major doing, and not check it out with your homeland security secretary with the justice department and the attorney general?

I would say Mr. President. If this continues, this country has big trouble. We cannot have a Twitter presidency.

Christiane Amanpour on the state of the media in a post fact-world - The Investigators with Diana Swain, CBC - Air Date 11-25-16

DIANA SWAIN - HOST, THE INVESTIGATORS: [00:49:15] Christiane, you recently gave a speech in which you said that it was important for journalists not to lose their nerve now in light of the backlash they're getting, but to recommit to real reporting. Why do you believe that's so imperative right now? 

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: [00:49:40] Well, for several reasons, Diana, good to be with you. Number one, the Donald Trump campaign suddenly put the fate and the safety and the freedom of American journalists right in the focus and people were being targeted at rallies with all sorts of hateful rhetoric, journalists being called by Donald Trump despicable and dishonest, the most lying people you'd ever met, et cetera, et cetera.

So this is something that's unacceptable. There is no first amendment right to threaten the safety and the freedom of American journalists. By contrast, there is a first amendment right for American journalists to operate in freedom and safety. So taking all that, we realize now that we have to actually fight to defend that space, not just our rights but the factual space. Because, Diana, what all this coincides with is this terrible tsunami, this virus of fake news otherwise known as lies, which are peddled across social media, places like Facebook with a massive wide distribution. So for all those reasons, we have to fight to defend facts right now in what's been described as a post-truth world.

DIANA SWAIN - HOST, THE INVESTIGATORS: [00:50:49] You cited a tweet sent out by Donald Trump, in fact right after his win, when there were still demonstrators in the streets, and he said they were professional protesters incited by the media. What about that concerned you? 

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: [00:51:03] Well, you know, my blood ran cold when I saw that. First and foremost, the idea of professional protestors has been debunked by the very fake news writer who wrote it and made it up.

But the second, most importantly chilling thing was to hear the words incited by the media. Those are the kinds of words that we hear in the non-democratic part of the world, if you like, in places where a authoritarian leaders blame the press, demonize the press, use the press as the organized opposition. They target the press and set the press up as an opposition to their government and they do it by subtly ratcheting up the accusations against the press. So inciting, sympathizing, associating, actually being terrorists and subversive. And as you know, journalists around the world are routinely locked up, put in jail, put on trial on phony charges. So, that's why that worried me very much, and I felt I had to push back on that and take a stand against that.

Antifa: A Look at the Antifascist Movement Confronting White Supremacists in the Streets - @DemocracyNow - Air Date 08-16-17

JUAN GONZALEZ: [00:52:08] President Trump is facing widespread criticism for his latest comments on the deadly white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia. Speaking at Trump tower Tuesday, Trump said the violence was in part caused by what he called the “alt-left.”

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: [00:52:21] OK, what about the “alt-left” that came charging at—excuse me. What about the “alt-left”? They came charging at the, as you say, the “alt-right”? Do they have any semblance of guilt? What—let me ask you this: What about the fact they came charging—that they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do. So, you know, as far as I’m concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day. Wait a minute, I’m not finished. I’m not finished, fake news. That was a horrible day.

REPORTER: [00:52:55] Mr. President, are you putting what you’re calling the “alt-left” and white supremacists on the same moral plane?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: [00:53:01] I’m not putting anybody on a moral plane. What I’m saying is this: You had a group on one side, and you had a group on the other, and they came at each other with clubs, and it was vicious, and it was horrible, and it was a horrible thing to watch. But there is another side. There was a group on this side—you can call them the left, you’ve just called them the left—that came violently attacking the other group. So you can say what you want, but that’s the way it is.

AMY GOODMAN: [00:53:25] President Trump's comments were widely decried. Former Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney tweeted: "No, not the same. One side is racist, bigoted Nazi, the other opposes racism and bigotry, morally different universes."

Jay's comments 6

JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: [00:53:40] A year later now in 2018, we more fully analyze, not just what kind of a president we feared Trump would be or what kind of following he would inspire, but have confirmed for us many of our worst fears.

Donald Trump Puts Our Democracy and Our Lives in Serious Danger - @Thom_Hartmann - Air Date 01-13-18

THOM HARTMANN - HOST, THE THOM HARTMANN PROGRAM: [00:53:55] A brilliant piece by Nicholas Kristof in today's New York Times. I strongly recommend you check this out. Or actually it was yesterday's Times; it's January 10th. It's titled "Trump's threat to democracy." It's on the front page of the digital New York Times right now. He points out a couple of political scientists. This is Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblott, both professors at Harvard. They just published a new book titled How Democracies Die. 

In that book, they said that there are four warning signs when you're looking at politician to indicate that that politician may become a Mussolini or a Hitler, that he or she may become an authoritarian destroyer of democracy.  And those four criteria -- now, actually, before I tell you these criteria, let me give you the kind of backstories of the two Harvard professors who wrote this book write: "a politician who meets even one of these criteria is cause for concern, with the exception of Richard Nixon, no major party presidential candidate -- not even presidents,  candidates! --  No major party presidential candidate met even one of these four criteria over the last century. So from 1900 till today, no presidential candidate with the exception of Richard Nixon met even one of these criteria and Nixon only met one of the four. 

Here's the criteria. Number one: the leader shows only a weak commitment to democratic rules. Well, that's Donald Trump, right? Flouting the rules. See what you can get away with. Break the law. Number two: he or she denies the legitimacy of opponents. Trump said Obama wasn't even born in the United States. He calls Hillary Clinton, a criminal,  crooked Hillary, all this stuff. Number three: he or she rather than respecting the opponents, which is something even Nixon did, number three: he or she tolerates violence. Trump's saying to people, Hey, you know, rough him up a little bit. And I'll pay your legal fees, or saying to a convention of police officers hey, stop putting your hands on people's heads when you put them in the car. Bang them around a little, or words to that effect. And number four: he or she  shows some willingness to curb civil liberties or the media. Did you catch Trump's speech yesterday about how he wants to "reform our nation's libel laws so that he can Michael Wolff who wrote this book?" I mean, that's what it's all about, right? These four criteria, the authors of this book say, again with the exception of Richard Nixon, no major party candidate met even one, Nixon met only one.

Unfortunately, Donald Trump meets them all. And they write in this book How Democracies Die that people who meet all four of these criteria are now ruling in Russia, the Philippines, Turkey, Venezuela, Ecuador, Hungary, Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Poland and Peru. And I would Myanmar to that list. And here we are. Is this the road we're going down?

Scott Crow on understanding conspiracy narratives required for fascist thinking - Revolutionary Left Radio - Air Date 2-19-18

SCOTT CROW: [00:56:59] You have to have it on some level. It's impossible to have fascist ideas without some kind of sense of conspiracy. There's a few primary things, right? The most obvious is antisemitic conspiracy theories about Jews controlling finance, the media, social systems, whatever - usually it's whatever the enemy of the day is, Jews control it according to them. That's the most obvious version of it, but in reality, it's all baked into conspiratorial worldview at its very  basic core. What fascists believe is that human beings are fundamentally unequal. They disregard 99% of modern science, of our understanding of technology, of social history, almost all of it, and then replace it with their own version. And for their version to be true, there has to be mass mass conspiracies basically hiding us from the reality of the world. 

A really good example is a focus on Egypt. And there's a lot of focus from White supremacists on Egypt and trying to prove that the ancient Egyptians were actually Europeans. Now there's no evidence that's actually accepted amongst the anthropologists that's true. It's just factually untrue. Yeah, if I was a Google search right now, I would find dozens, maybe hundreds of White supremacists websites "proving" the linkages, showing falsified documents saying that governments covering things up. It requires a mass, mass, global infrastructure of conspiracy to make what they think true. The same is true of race and IQ arguments. This stuff has been discredited for 70 years now, yet they keep drumming it up and saying that colleges, government, institutions, media figures are hiding the truth about race differences in intelligence. These are fundamentally untrue things, but it requires a conspiratorial worldview. 

I think with something like Alex Jones is he may drop the obvious racial connotations to the conspiracy, but he maintains the conspiracy infrastructure itself. So we see this a lot in conspiracy circles that try and claim that they're not racist. They'll essentially take an antisemitic conspiracy change Jews to bankers or to Rothschilds or something like that and continue the same logic that there's a cabal of people who use crypsis to control things for their interests and not our own. What it does is it stops us from looking at social systems. It's not capitalism, it's these people. If only these people are gone, we could take care of capitalism ourselves. But it also essentially  keeps that lie going that there's always some kind of secret group that's not just, for example, a capitalist class, but it is some other group that has some other interests that control things.

And frankly, as distrust in dominant institutions continues for obvious and correct reasons, conspiracy theories feed even bigger. And we see this anytime there's actually a resurgence of left populism that's driven into organizing, conspiracy theories is also grow.

Steve Schmidt President Donald Trump Is 'Stoking And Inciting' Worst Among Us - @allinwithchris Hayes - Air Date 10-29-18

STEVE SCHMIDT: [00:59:55] We have never had a President of the United States do with this president is doing. He is stoking a cold civil war in this country, and it has turned hot on the periphery. This man Bowers, what he said was when he went in, he said, "I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered, screw the optics, I'm going in." and he went in to kill Jews. The Jews, he believed that were financing the caravan. The invading army, like a Panzer division that is threatening the Southern border. An army that is racked and riddled with disease. The same type of rhetoric, the same type of propaganda that you would of seen in Germany in 1938. The dehumanization. Turning people into "infested vermin".

What Trump is doing is stoking and inciting, for the purposes of political power, the worst amongst us to take action in his name. We have a situation where, but by for the grace of God, the largest mass assassination attempt in American history was avoided, that targeted amongst them two former Presidents of the United States. Every one of those people was a target of Donald Trump's and this man, a fanatic who was radicalized by Fox News, by talk radio by a right wing propaganda machine. That is as sophisticated as it has turned deadly. 

CHRIS HAYES - HOST, ALL IN: [01:01:38] We end up in these situations sometimes, of this false equivalency, this sort of, it's hard to get your arms around the asymmetry in American political life of this moment, and I imagine you have lots of people - you spent a career in Republican politics, right? How do you communicate about the abnormality of what has formed on the right at this particular moment? Because people will say, "well, you know, the left, they've got this and that,". And sure you can criticize, we criticized Sheldon Adelson, there's all sorts of ways to criticize George Soros. There's all sorts of ways to make your contentions of American politics. It's rough and tumble. There's something distinct going on on the American right? How do you communicate that to people that exist on the American right?


STEVE SCHMIDT: [01:02:15] William F. Buckley's great contribution to America and to American conservatism was to kick the crazies out of the conservative movement. Probably a longer discussion than we have time for tonight, but unfortunately, looking back, that the word liberal became an epithet because liberalism, small L liberalism. Conservatism is a root branch of it and the Democratic parties and the Republican parties, both liberal parties compete. In the arena of ideas of the country to move the country forward. What we are seeing is the co-option of the conservative project, the Republican party, in a cult of personality, which is fundamentally unconservative, led by Donald Trump, that is authoritarian in nature, that is antithetical to the orthodoxies of the Republican party and the conservative movement as they have existed over the last 40 years, but it is something more. It is the incitement. Imagine after a bomb was sent to CNN, the president of the United States goes and says, the press, the free press is the enemies of the people. And then he says, the anger in the country is caused by the press who reports critically of him. What he is saying to the next sick person on the end of the transmission is if you take an action, it's because they deserve it. 

Let me ask 

CHRIS HAYES - HOST, ALL IN: [01:03:52] you this, final question. There's a memory holing that keeps happening. Everything you just said. There has been echoed in the past at different moments by Mitt Romney, by Lindsey Graham, by Marco Rubio by Rick Perry. I mean, on and on and on. Ben Shapiro wrote about this. There was times when the confrontation with Trumpism was new to conservatives, where they called it, what it was, they saw it for what it was, and then slowly but surely the Borg assimilates them. And what I find so unnerving is that you've watched one after another, after another, no longer able to muster the obvious clarity of that diagnosis. 

STEVE SCHMIDT: [01:04:28] All of these people were happy to stand and assert that they believed in the American idea and ideal when the American idea and ideal was not being tested. When it was not under assault, when it was not being contested. What we see is a crisis of profound cowardice, and what I would argue is the worst generation of political leadership the country may have ever had. We don't see very many Teddy Roosevelt Jrs. using his privilege to fight to be the first man off the first landing craft on D-Day to lead the man ashore.

We don't see very much of that in American life anymore. The capitulation to this, the cowardice in the face of the evil that we saw this past weekend, the willful blindness and ignorance about the threat that is growing. And the question this week isn't who is going to keep control of Congress or get control of Congress?, it's will there be more blood in this country this week heading to an election? And this is what we used to see around the world in banana republics, in emerging democracies, but not here. We don't settle our political disputes and elections with guns and knives. We don't have Presidents in this country until now who stoked the American people to be at each other's throats. And after two years of this, this is the deadly consequence.

Violent Extremism in the U.S. - NowThis World - Air Date 11-4-18

NARRATOR: [01:06:12] The U.S. has a problem with extremism, but it might not be the kind you're thinking of. In terms of sheer numbers of attacks in the U.S. over the last decade, one group in particular should stand out to you. "11 worshipers shot and killed in a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh by a man shouting antisemitic slurs", "14 pipe bombs at the doors of leading democratic politicians and donors and CNN", "Two Black customers shot in a grocery store in Kentucky by a White man after he failed to make it inside of predominantly Black church minutes before" all within the last two weeks. White supremacists and other forms of right-wing violence are currently the deadliest active domestic extremist movements in the U.S. according to data from several civil rights groups that track hate crimes and extremist violence. Southern Poverty Law Center is one of those groups. We spoke with the center's heidi Beirich, who has been following extremist movements for almost two decades, to help break it all down. 

Let's just start with the numbers. Over the last decade right-wing extremists committed more than 70% of extremist related murders, according to a report published earlier this year by the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism. The Government Accountability Office similarly reported in 2017 that right-wing extremists were responsible for 73% of fatal extremist incidents since 9/11. The most common groups victimized by these extremists are those who are Black, Hispanic, or part of a multiracial couple or family. It's important to note that right-wing domestic extremism is an umbrella term under which various right-wing ideologies fall in the U.S. Crimes committed by people who are anti-government, anti-Semitic, homophobic, Islamophobic, xenophobic, and fascist, among other things, also fall under this category. But of all of the subgroups that fall under right-wing, domestic extremism, White supremacists have committed the most attacks in recent years. Like the Charleston church shooting and the Charlottesville attack.

HEIDI BEIRICH: [01:08:16] When we talk about terrorism at the Southern Poverty Law Center, we're talking about White supremacy, and what I mean by that is somebody who believes the White race is literally better than all the other races. And these folks usually believe that the United States should be what they call a White ethno-state.

NARRATOR: [01:08:32] When it comes to racially motivated hate crimes, Black Americans are overwhelmingly targeted. They make up 66% of the victims of racially motivated  hate crime since 1995. A recent report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University San Bernardino shows that anti-Black hate crimes were among the most common of any in at least five of the ten largest U.S. cities in 2017. And when it comes to extremist ideologies, there have been incidents of attacks inspired by the so-called Islamic state, for example, the mass shootings at pulse nightclub in 2016 and a San Bernardino Health Center in 2015, but statistically White American men in the U.S. pose a bigger threat than foreigners committing acts of extremism. But you might not know that based on some of the coverage and political rhetoric surrounding extremism.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: [01:09:23] Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States. 

I think Islam hates us. 

I want surveillance of certain mosques, okay. 

NARRATOR: [01:09:37] Journalists have also been complicit in the narrative that often paints White perpetrators as quiet or lone wolves, rather than labeling them as terrorists as they're often quicker to do with nonwhite perpetrators. Extremist attacks committed by those who are Muslim receive on average 357% more U.S. press coverage than those committed by non-Muslims, according to a recent university study. 

HEIDI BEIRICH: [01:10:03] If all of the domestic terrorists who are White males were covered as heavily, and connected together in one story, we would have a different image that would come to our mind.

Jay's comments 7

JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: [01:10:13] Jumping ahead once again, now in 2020, things to begin to come to a boil as abuses of power become ever more outrageous and begin to threaten the legitimacy of the government itself.

Corruption of Department of Justice Sets Off Alarm Bells - Rachel Maddow Show - Air Date 2-12-20

RACHEL MADDOW - HOST, THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW: [01:10:25] So, in the middle of the New Hampshire primary yesterday, right? This very important moment for the Democratic party trying to pick their nominee to run against Donald Trump, we get this other story, right? This new milestone that we have hit in the Trump administration on rule-of-law issues. And it is a big enough story that it resulted in split front pages all around the country today. This was the front page of the New York Times this morning. On the right hand, you see there's the politics: "Sanders is Winner in New Hampshire." On the left side in all capital letters, JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ACTS TO EASE SENTENCE FOR TRUMP ALLY -- FOUR US PROSECUTORS QUIT STONE CASE AFTER BOSSES STEP IN TO OVERRULE THEM.  All the way across the country, here's the Los Angeles Times. And they're against the picture of Senator Sanders, the triumphant picture, and you see the headline on politics halfway down the front page, "Sanders Edges Buttegieg in New Hampshire Primary,". But then right underneath the masthead there at the top, the competing story, left two columns, Prosecutors Quit Over Bid to Lessen Stone's Sentence. "Here's The Hill newspaper in Washington, DC: "DOJ in chaos." Here's the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ,four column headline, all caps, bold headline, right? "ALL FOUR PROSECUTORS QUIT STONE CASE. Trump tweet spurs concerns of DOJ Interference." Here's the headline in the Minneapolis Star Tribune today. Yes, they've got full coverage of Sanders grabbing the win in New Hampshire and also on the front page today, hometown Senator Amy Klobuchar surging into third place in New Hampshire. We're going to be speaking live with Senator Klobuchar here in just a moment right here on this show. But look at what's on top of the whole front page: "DOJ Revolt Over Leniency for Trump Pal."

So, we are here. Believe them when they say who they are. Right?  We are at that moment that this President did in fact promise during the campaign. And everybody said at the time how outrageous it was, how much it  crossed a red line for him to say as a candidate that when he's president he'd instruct his attorney general to prosecute his political opponents.

He'd instruct his attorney general to pursue criminal cases on his presidential orders to serve his political needs, punish his enemies, protect his friends. When he said he would do that as a candidate, the outrage. But did you believe him? Well, here we are. Right. And all of the alarms are going off about this.

This is a front page thing, and it is as serious as you think it is. And here's a former senior Justice Department official who actually served well into the Trump administration, David Laufman, was head of the counterintelligence division at the Justice Department, calling this a break-glass-in-case-of-fire moment. Here's former Attorney General Eric Holder going right there as well, "Do not underestimate the danger of the situation. The political appointees in the DOJ are involving themselves in an inappropriate way in cases involving political allies of the President."  In a statement last night, Attorney General Holder saying "Actions such as these put at risk the perceived and real neutral enforcement of our laws and ultimately endanger the fabric of our democracy."

Trump Attacks Anti-Fascists But Is Silent on Boogaloo & Far-Right Groups Engaged in Deadly Violence - Democracy Now!  - Air Date 6-23-20

CASSIE MILLER: [01:13:36] We've seen president Trump completely ignore the violence on the far. Right. And that's something that we've seen for a long time. starting with the Charlottesville rally in 2017. You know, what we’re seeing is not terribly surprising. The far right has been attempting to demonize antifa and paint them as inherently violent for years now. And we know that that is simply not true. Antifa is a community-based movement that is fighting for a more just and equitable society, and fighting against fascism. And we know that in this country the far right holds a monopoly on political violence and that since September 11th, far-right extremists have killed far more people than members of any other ideology. So it’s not surprising to see it ignored by the president or to see that these violent attacks have taken place. We have been raising the alarm about the far right and the boogaloo movement for months, as have several of our partner organizations. But we haven’t seen a lot of movement from places like Facebook, where they’re congregating.

AMY GOODMAN: [01:14:48] I want to ask you about how they organize on Facebook. But first, this is not the first boogaloo arrest in the midst of the Black Lives Matter protests. Earlier this month, federal prosecutors in Las Vegas charged three men connected to the boogaloo movement, and have military experience, with inciting violence during the protests there over the killing of George Floyd, and also with conspiracy to commit terrorism. Andrew Lynam is an Army reservist; Stephen Parshall, formerly enlisted in the Navy; and William Loomis, formerly enlisted in the Air Force. Each currently faces two federal charges: conspiracy to damage and destroy by fire and explosives, and possession of unregistered firearms. In state court, they’ve been accused of felony conspiracy terrorism and explosives possession. So, that was in Nevada. Again, Trump has not tweeted about any of this or talked about the people who have been charged with not only conspiracy, but, in the case of Carrillo, murdering two law enforcement folks.

CASSIE MILLER: [01:15:54] Yeah. We haven’t seen any movement from that. Trump has repeatedly ignored the monopoly on violence on the far right and has instead used antifa as a distraction.

AMY GOODMAN: [01:16:07] And Facebook organizing, how do they do it?

CASSIE MILLER: [01:16:11] Yeah. On Facebook, we have seen the boogaloo movement congregating on Facebook for several months now. And we know that they’ve been organized really since the outbreak of the coronavirus, because this is a moment of kind of uncertainty and unrest, and for the members of this movement, they think this could be kind of the moment to spark civil unrest and this civil war. And we know that there are more than a hundred different Facebook groups that are actually dedicated to the boogaloo, some with thousands of members.

And a lot of the rhetoric on there violates Facebook’s own terms of service, so people actively advocating for killing law enforcement, talking about building weapons, talking about building bombs. But Facebook hasn’t done really anything about it. We have repeatedly warned them. Other researchers and journalists have repeatedly warned them. But there has been no movement, which is. Frankly sort of shocking at this point now that we know this has been linked to real-world violence and murders.

Marjorie Cohn on Portland Secret Police - CounterSpin - Air Date 7-24-20

JANINE JACKSON - HOST, COUNTERSPIN: [01:17:17] As we record this show on July 23rd, demonstrations in Portland, Oregon show no signs of slowing. Protestors, demanding an end to racist policing in the wake of and even before George Floyd's murder, had been met with what local activists described as "typical" aggression from Portland's police department, the indiscriminate firing of tear gas and other munitions into peaceful crowds, flash bang grenades, beatings with batons. 

But then came the footage.

A man dressed in black stands apparently alone on a darkened sidewalk when two heavily armed men in camouflage walk up on him, hustle him off into an unmarked van and drive off, refusing to identify themselves to observers. We've since learned this is part of an orchestrated effort by the Trump administration to deploy federal law enforcement agents to deal, SWAT style, with what they call violent anarchists. What's more, they plan to replay those nightmarish scenes from Portland wherever they see fit. As acting Homeland Security chief Chad Wolf says, "I don't need invitations." Wolf also subsequently described federal agents as arresting demonstrators "proactively."

Alarm seems appropriate. 

Here to help us think about what we're seeing is author and legal scholar, Marjorie Cohn. She's professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and a former president of the National Lawyers Guild. She joins us now by phone from San Diego. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Marjorie Cohn.

MARJORIE COHN: [01:18:58] Thanks for having me, Janine. 

JANINE JACKSON - HOST, COUNTERSPIN: [01:19:00] Well, these street pickups. When you first see it, you think it's a movie. As I understand it, the line is that these federal agents see someone, not necessarily anyone they've seen commit a crime. They say they want to talk to that person, have a consensual conversation with them. And then they, the agents, fear for their own safety. So they decide they want to have that conversation elsewhere, like the courthouse. And then, Oh, you're free to go. This wasn't even an arrest at all. Is that legal or constitutional? 

MARJORIE COHN: [01:19:40] No, it's not. In order to have a legal arrest, you need probable cause to believe that the person committed a crime. And these snatches by unidentified federal officials in unmarked vehicles, snatching peaceful protesters off the streets, transporting them to unknown locations without informing them of why they're being arrested and later releasing them with no record of their arrest, violates the law. And this proactive arrest that the Department of Homeland Security is intending to carry out violates the Fourth Amendment which requires that, as I said, an arrest be supported by probable cause. 

This reminds me of the movie Minority Report where they're trying to predict who's going to commit a crime. There is nothing in the law that allows proactive arrests. There have been lawsuits filed and they basically allege violations of the First Amendment, freedom of speech and press, the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures, the Fifth Amendment, right to due process, and the 10th Amendment, which says that power is not delegated to the feds are reserved to the States.

And this is what is being litigated now.

Jay's comments 8

JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: [01:21:02] And we conclude with a clear-eyed look at the movement within the Trump's base, which is morally and intellectually bankrupt, but also primed for violence like never before.

Trump Caravans and the Threat of Sectarian Violence Remix Part 1 - The Muckrake Podcast - Air Date 9-1-20

JARED YATES SEXTON - HOST, THE MUCKRAKE PODCAST: [01:21:13] Here is one of the hard truths that we have to talk about, which is what you're describing right now, this relationship between Trumpism and an ISIS or Al-Qaeda, we're talking about fundamentalism, is what we're talking about. We're talking about a group that says through like this conservative ideology or mythos. The idea that we need to go back into the past and we've somehow or another gone wrong. It is an apocalyptic conspiracy theory, which is what ISIS is all about. It's like, no, we have to go back into this place of caliphate, and we have to raise statues. And you either have to conform or you die or you're put into slavery or whatever.

These are like brethren. They're not going around killing people left and right the way that an ISIS or Al Qaeda had done, but that doesn't mean that they don't share a relationship in the way that they view the world. They do not see a pluralistic society. That's the whole point of what I've been warning about. These are not people who are like, "oh, we really want to have a good showing at the next election." That's not what they're worried about because they're losing elections. They do not have the numbers to win in elections. And when an institution realizes that it cannot win elections anymore, it throws out democracy. It throws out the concept of pluralism. 

They want to go in and take this over. They want to go in and intimidate people. They want to go out and strike violence against them. You said yourself, they're going into these cities and they're not - right now it's paintballs. Like right now with paintballs, but in other places, in places like Ferguson. In places like Minneapolis we saw people going in. In Kenosha, we saw people going in with actual weapons. I mean, one of these people who was loosely affiliated with them, again, was caught on a rooftop sniping people. Wasn't actually shooting, but was thinking about shooting; he was ready to shoot. 

The difference between a brutal counter protest, if we want to call it that, and blood in the streets is just a couple of seconds - everything is primed. And if you think that there weren't people who went into Portland or who went into Los Angeles and wherever these people are going to go, if you think that there weren't people in these "counter protesting caravans" who didn't go into this thing with the mindset of, "I might have to hurt somebody today. I might have to kill somebody today." They think that. That's the mindset because they believe that they're righteous. They believe that they have the universe and patriotism or whatever they want to claim today. There were people in this protest who were ready to carry out and mete out that kind of final violence. And we need to understand that the line between potential violence and violence is so thin, it can break it in any given moment. 

Donald Trump is running as a wartime president. He's not running on his record with COVID because it's not just embarrassing, it's been a national tragedy. He's not running on an economic record because he's completely cratered the economy. He's not running on any achievement because he really doesn't have any achievements. It's all been fake, chest puffery. There's nothing actually that Trump has done that he can hang his hat on. What he is telling his supporters is that they are engaged in a cold and sometimes hot civil war. And that they need a President who will be there and be on their side. That is the argument that Trump is making. And by the way, part of it is ludicrous. This whole thing where it's like scenes from America in 2020, like "this could be Joe Biden's America." Well, no, it's Trump's America. Because this is the only environment where he can succeed. 

And if you want to take a look at who he is, other Presidents would not do this. They simply wouldn't. And we've talked about this before. So much of politics is like business, it's willing to see how much risk you can take. And who's willing to push the envelope further than the next person. Trump doesn't care. Trump has never suffered consequences in his entire life. He will push the envelope until it's completely off the table while others are like, "oh my God, I don't want to do this." People would be mortified if they thought that their supporters were carrying out this type of violence or were capable of sectarian violence. Trump doesn't care. He's said over and over that people should be carried out of his rallies, that he would take care of the legal fees for anyone who beat up a protester or in the past we used to be a lot tougher, we need to be a lot tougher or whatever. You know, "knock the hell out of them", those types of things. He doesn't have a conscience with this. 

He's going to push this envelope. And I have to tell you, we still have months until this thing happens. Every single day is a new opportunity for a massive tragedy. You know and I know that one tragedy is going to beget another tragedy, which will beget another, and it'll just multiply. If the flood gates open, and there is a very real chance that they will open, we're looking at massive sectarian violence. We're looking at a massive, massive tragedy and Donald Trump would not blink about that. And I think what we saw in Kenosha shows us the Republican party is more than willing to embrace it. They're not going to shy away. They are in on this thing. They've got their chips in, there's no pulling it back at this point. They are in on whatever happens from this point on. 

HOST: [01:26:36] And you make a good point so I want to hammer at home. That he keeps describing what this country would be like under Joe Biden, meanwhile, it's what's happening right now because of Donald Trump, which is part of the reason why, we're talking about Joe Biden visiting in Kenosha. And I think what Joe Biden needs to do from now until the election is act like the President. I think he should be going to all of these places, touring them, just like the President would normally do, and act and look just like the President would be already. I think that would really help him because it would fill that void that we are missing right now. 

JARED YATES SEXTON - HOST, THE MUCKRAKE PODCAST: [01:27:09] You know, you saying that is just suddenly made me think about some really screwed up possibilities. So I'm working on another project and I'm looking at the history of the modern world. There are these weird moments where there are schisms in the Catholic Church where there were multiple Pope's. Where one group believes a guy's a Pope and the other one believes that this guy is the Pope and you'll actually have two or three Popes at any given time. And then all of a sudden you start thinking about, oh, I don't know, you think about Lincoln and Jefferson being Presidents at the same time with the Confederate States and the union or whatever you want to call it. 

This schism that you are describing between Trump and Biden feels so sickeningly familiar and so disturbingly familiar. This idea of these nations that sort of start to reach their conclusion or these states that start to reach their conclusion and there are two people with a claim to the throne, so to speak. And I mean, that is the root cause of every coup and every major sectarian or a civil war that we've ever seen. People need to understand that we're tiptoeing up onto the precipice of something really bad here.

Final comments to wrap up this anniversary episode

JAY TOMLINSON - HOST, BEST OF THE LEFT: [01:28:30] We've just heard clips from Ring of Fire, The Rachel Maddow Show, NPR, The Young Turks, The David Pakman Show, Start Making Sense, CounterSpin, a couple of white nationalists who don't have a show anymore, Ideas from the CBC, The Investigators, Democracy Now, The Tom Hartmann Program, Revolutionary Left Radio, All In with Chris Hayes, NowThis World Edition, and finally, The Muckrake Podcast

Thanks to all of those who called into the voicemail line or wrote their messages to be played as VoicedMails. If you would like to leave a comment or question of your own to be played on the show, you can record a message at (202) 999-3991, or write me a message to [email protected]. On a normal day, we would be hearing from you as well as maybe a few final comments of my own, but there isn't much normal about this week, it being our 15th anniversary and all, so we'll wrap things right here and try to pick up the pieces again next week. 

That is going to be it for today. Thanks to everyone for listening. Thanks to Deon Clark and Erin Clayton for their clutch research work that went into today's show. Thanks to the Monosyllabic Transcriptionists Trio, Ben, Dan, and Ken for their volunteer work, helping put our transcripts together and thanks to Amanda Hoffman for all of her work on our social media outlets, activism, segments, graphic design, web mastering, and on and on and on. And of course, thanks to those who support the show by becoming a member or purchasing gift memberships at bestoftheleft.com/support, as that is absolutely how the program survives. 

For details on the show itself, including links to all of the sources and music used in this and every episode, all that information can always be found in the show notes on the blog and likely right on the device you're using to listen. So coming to from far outside, the conventional wisdom of Washington, DC my name is Jay!, and this has been the Best of the Left Podcast coming to you twice weekly thanks entirely to the members and donors to the show from bestoftheleft.com.



Showing 1 reaction

  • Jay Tomlinson
    published this page in Transcripts 2021-01-10 15:03:54 -0500
Sign up for activism updates