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“Trump’s Apocalyptic Message”: Obama Just Ripped Into Donald Trump’s Nightmare Vision Of America. He’s Right

This afternoon President Obama offered his most detailed and comprehensive attack on Donald Trump, not just the particular things Trump proposes but his entire worldview. He was particularly contemptuous of the idea that once we speak the magical words “radical Islamic terror” the entire effort against terrorism will be transformed.

But for the moment I want to focus on this part of his critique of Trump, referencing Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from the country and his placing blame on all Muslims for individual acts of violence:

“We’ve gone through moments in our history before when we acted out of fear and we came to regret it. We’ve seen our government mistreat our fellow citizens, and it has been a shameful part of our history. This is a country founded on basic freedoms, including freedom of religion. We don’t have religious tests here. Our founders, our Constitution, our Bill of Rights are clear about that. And if we ever abandon those values, we would not only make it easier to radicalize people here and around the world, but we would have betrayed the very things we are trying to protect: the pluralism, and the openness, our rule of law, our civil liberties, the very things that make this country great. The very things that make us exceptional.”

Obama then went on to talk about how inspired he was by the cadets he saw at the Air Force Academy when we spoke at their commencement. “That’s the American military. That’s America. One team. One nation.”

There’s a formula presidents usually follow when they speak to the country after a tragedy, whether it’s a terrorist attack, a natural disaster, or an accident like a space shuttle blowing up. Express the sorrow and pain people are feeling. Praise those whose lives were lost. Emphasize the common purpose we all share (or ought to). Invoke fundamental American ideals that bind us together. And promise that out of the darkness we will become stronger, our future even brighter than our present or our past.

Some presidents weave those elements together more skillfully than others, but nearly all try to both mirror the public’s emotions and give them reason to hope. But not Donald Trump.

At moments like the Orlando shooting, we’re reminded of just how bleak and miserable Trump’s vision of America is, even when we haven’t just suffered a tragedy. It’s been said that presidential elections are usually won by the most optimistic candidate, and that will certainly be tested this year. That’s because there may never have been a candidate who sees America as such a dystopic nightmare of gloom and despair.

It’s not that Trump doesn’t say things will be great when he’s president, because he does. But his critique of the current state of the country goes far beyond what opposition candidates ordinarily say. A challenger will always argue that the party in power has been wrong about everything as they instituted disastrous policies. But Trump’s argument goes deeper, into the very heart of the nation as a whole. “When was the last time we’ve seen our country win at anything?” he says. “We don’t win anymore.”

Try to imagine, for instance, what would happen if Hillary Clinton said, “This country is a hellhole. We are going down fast.” It’s difficult to contemplate, because a careful politician like Clinton would never say such a thing in a million years. But Trump did, and he says similar things all the time. “America is being taken apart piece by piece,” he said a week ago. “We’re broke…Our infrastructure is a disaster. Our schools are failing. Crime is rising. People are scared.” And that was in a victory speech. Or as he’s said before, “Our country is going to hell.”

When he looks at a non-Trump future, he sees outright apocalypse. “If we don’t get tough, and we don’t get smart – and fast – we’re not going to have a country anymore,” he said in his speech yesterday on terrorism. “There will be nothing left.” What does that mean, “nothing left”? Are we all going to be dead? Will America itself cease to exist, wiped off the map like Yugoslavia? It’s hard to tell, but it sure won’t be good.

That’s not to mention that, like his assertion about crime (which is at historic lows), so much of what Trump says about the living nightmare that is America is just false. We’re not “the highest taxed nation in the world.” There are not “tens of thousands” of terrorists streaming into the country. GDP growth is not “essentially zero.” The unemployment rate is not “42 percent,” and we don’t have “93 million people out of work.”

And don’t forget that when he wrote his campaign book, instead of giving it a title like “Into the Future” or “America Ascending” or “Greatness Awaits,” Trump called it “Crippled America.”

That’s not to say that Trump’s apocalyptic message doesn’t resonate with some people. He has tapped into a vein of discontentment, particularly among those who feel like they’re being left behind by demographic changes and a modernizing, diverse society. If you feel profoundly unsettled when you hear two people speaking Spanish on the street, Trump is your guy. He regularly laments the fact that we don’t know “What the hell is going on” on some topic or other, often immigration or national security. That notion — of being confused and bewildered by a world that doesn’t seem to make sense in the way it did back when you were young — is obviously powerful for some voters.

Trump may promise that once we elect him we’ll find ourselves living in a paradise of winning-ness, where the most serious question that confronts each of us is which 20-something Slovenian supermodel we want to make our fourth or fifth spouse. But his unceasing descriptions of our nation’s allegedly endless suffering also says something profoundly miserable about not only our country but ourselves.

You might find the typical politician’s paeans to America’s optimistic spirit overdone or trite, but when someone like George W. Bush says that “Americans live on the sunrise side of the mountain,” even if you don’t agree with him politically, you want that to be true of yourself and your country. It’s part of a politician’s job to not only promise greatness, but to assure the country that we have it in us to reach it. When Donald Trump talks, on the other hand, he tells us that only he can change our ghastly condition, and we ourselves will have barely any part of it. “I will give you everything,” he promises. “I will give you what you’ve been looking for for 50 years. I’m the only one.”

The clear message is that if we don’t pick him, we won’t just be making the wrong choice, we’ll doom ourselves to sink further into the unending torment we’ve made for ourselves. And we’ll deserve it.

 

By: Paul Waldman, Senior Writer, The American Prospect; Contributor, The Plum Line Blog, The Washington Post, June 14, 2016

June 17, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Fearmongering, Orlando Shootings | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Just Too Many Guns”: The Terrorist Next Door To Me

Well, not quite next door. This fellow lives about three miles west of me in Rockland County, straight out Route 59 in the strip mall paradise of Nanuet, New York. A local news outlet charted his arrest, essentially on domestic terrorism charges, after making threats against various Democrats (Cuomo and Pelosi and Reid and Schumer and members of the Black Caucus, of course) and saying followers of Obama are traitors and should die.

This fine specimen of a human American, one Lawrence Mulqueen, is a follower of the right-wing Sovereign nation. He’s a veteran drunk driver with felonies in several locales, but still managed to illegally assemble an arsenal (see below). On his Facebook page he reportedly wrote, “I cannot wait to start killing the scum.… I want these scumbags DEAD!!!…. Death to them all.” Them being only Democrats and Obama fans.

When Mulqueen was taken into custody, with FBI and Secret Service help, the raid on the home found body armor, weapons and ammunition including (in the local news outlet’s list):

1 10.62×54 Bolt Action Rifle
1 Remington 35 Pump Action Rifle loaded with 6 rounds
1 Bulletproof Body Armor
Approximately 100 rounds of Ammunition, including 27 rounds of .50 caliber armor piercing bullets (tank buster)
2 Rifle bayonets
1 Rifle Scope
1 Sword
1 Metal Knuckle Knife

And the Sovereign Citizens Movement means business. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) estimates that approximately 100,000 Americans are “hard-core sovereign believers” with another 200,000 “just starting out by testing sovereign techniques for resisting everything from speeding tickets to drug charges.” The National Security Law Brief points out: “Both Terry Nichols, a co-conspirator in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, and Joe Stack, who in 2010 flew his plane into an IRS office in Austin, Texas, identified with the movement.”

Now, how have other media outlets covered it? From a CBS local site:

“I think what may have particularly gotten his ire in the past month or two were the various legislation enacted with respect to the rights to possess a firearm. I think that was particularly upsetting to him,” Sgt. Cummings told 1010 WINS. “One posting which was posted about a month ago said that if anybody ever came to take the arms, they would suffer the consequences.”

So far, no national media have picked this up, but they should: Mulqueen is a poster child not only for the rise of militia-like groups, right-wing paranoia and racism, but also the ease with which crazies and felons can not only get and keep their hands on one gun, but assemble a collection, along with deadly ammo.

 

By: Greg Mitchell, The Nation, February 22, 2013

February 24, 2013 Posted by | Gun Violence, Guns | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Not An Isolated Incident”: Todd Akin Tied To Religious Paramilitary Right-wing “Domestic Terrorist”

New documents show Missouri GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin donated to the political campaign of a violent antiabortion activist named Tim Dreste, whose ties to Akin we reported on earlier this week.

Dreste, as the Riverfront Times described him, was a “domestic terrorist, religious fanatic, [and] paramilitary right-wing nut.” In 1999, Dreste was convicted in federal court of making “true threats to kill, assault or do bodily harm” to abortion doctors. Before that, as we reported, Akin popped up in several groups led by Dreste, who was one of St. Louis’ most prominent pro-life activists until his conviction. Dreste was also chaplain in the militia that Akin praised in a letter just a few months before the Oklahoma City bombing.

Now, as it turns out, Akin was one of only a handful of contributors to Dreste’s 1993 run for the Missouri state House. Then-state Rep. Todd Akin’s campaign gave Dreste $200, according to campaign finance records, making him Dreste’s third largest contributor, tied with a pro-life PAC. The records were obtained by Progress Missouri from the secretary of state’s archives and provided to Salon.

Dreste’s campaign brought in only $2,325 in cash contributions that year, so Akin’s donation represents about 8.6 percent of his total haul. There are only seven other itemized donors (those who give under $100 don’t have to be listed individually), including two pro-life groups and two other candidate committees. Dreste ran for the state Legislature four times, but 1993, a special election, was his best showing, when he captured 35 percent of the vote.

Defenders of Akin — Akin spokesman Rick Tyler declined to comment for this story — might note that Dreste wasn’t convicted for another five years, so Akin couldn’t have known how radical he was in 1993. But Dreste was well known in Missouri at the time for his controversial stunts.

Akin’s contribution came in October of 1993, but in March, “Dreste was the talk of the anti-abortion and abortion-rights camps when, after the murder in 1993 of Dr. David Gunn in Florida, he carried a sign asking, ‘Do You Feel Under the Gunn?’” St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Jo Mannies wrote in 1995. Gunn’s murder was a watershed moment in the volatile abortion wars of the decade, but Dreste used it to make an implicit threat against other doctors. Specifically, he showed up outside the clinic of abortion provider Dr. Yogendra Shah with the sign: “Dr. Shah, do you feel under the Gunn?” Mannies also noted: “Wearing a hat adorned with shotgun shells, Tim Dreste is a familiar sight among the anti-abortion protesters who regularly picket the Hope Clinic for Women in Granite City.”

In May of ’93, the Post-Dispatch published a controversial letter to the editor from Dreste in which he accused gay people of spreading AIDS-infected blood. “Further, Operation Rescue’s leaders have continuously disavowed violence as a means to achieve their goals, while animal-rights groups destroy medical testing facilities and militant homosexuals invade church services and spread AIDS-infected blood in legislative chambers, all the while being cheered on by the left for standing up for their cause,” Dreste wrote.

He concluded: “As this area’s leader for Operation Rescue, I have only one response: Throw some extra bunks into Manuel Noriega’s and John Gotti’s cells; we’ll soon join them.” It turned out to be prescient.

Of course, it’s possible that Akin, a committed anti-choice activist who was arrested multiple times while protesting abortion clinics in the 1980s and defended a woman convicted of battery against an abortion nurse, somehow missed all of Dreste’s controversial activities. Sean Soendker Nicholson, the executive director of Progress Missouri, doesn’t think so. “This isn’t an isolated incident. No amount of threats of violence or extremism encouraged Akin to cut ties with Dreste.”

 

By: Alex Seitz-Wald, Salon, October 25, 2012

October 28, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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