Monday, October 22, 2018

The Big Lie

In my scheme of the German state, there will be no room for the alien, no use for the wastrel, for the usurer or speculator, or anyone incapable of productive work.
-- Adolf Hitler, Interview with George Sylvester Viereck, 1923


It was probably inevitable that we'd circle back 'round to this.

It is, after all, the perennial conservative boogeyman.

If you could point to the one thing that got Trump elected, the one thing that terrified both conservative voters and the Electoral College with equal revulsion, the one thing they feared more than a regulated and restrained Wall Street, more than universal healthcare, more than abortion, more than unions, more than teachers, more than empowered woman and uppity people of color, more than the wealthy and multi-billion dollar corporations being forced to pay their fair share, more than sane gun laws and gay marriage, more than peace, it would have to be this.



Oh, they'll tell you -- and in fact are telling me right now on my Twitter feed -- that's it's not immigration per se they're against, but rather illegal immigration. They'll say they're fine with lawful immigration, with immigrants who obey the law, who follow the rules.

They’re fine with that.


And that is true.

So far as it goes.

But it's also the worst kind of lie.

The Big Lie.

The kind of lie the Nazis told so well.

It’s the lie of fascists and of communists and all flavors totalitarianism, of abusers and tin-pot dictators the world over.

See, it’s not that we’re against all “those” people, it’s just that we want “those” people to follow the law. I mean, who doesn’t want a lawful society, right? That’s reasonable, isn’t it? That people follow the law?

Of course it is.

And then you change the law to make “those” people illegal.

And if anybody complains, well, they obviously have no respect for the law. They are, in fact, very likely criminals themselves, or criminal sympathizers.

And if the opposition becomes too vocal, well, you have an excuse to declare martial law and throw them into jail too.

Convenient, eh?


You think I’m wrong?

You think I’m an alarmist?

I am watching the Democrat Party led (because they want Open Borders and existing weak laws) assault on our country by Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, whose leaders are doing little to stop this large flow of people, INCLUDING MANY CRIMINALS, from entering Mexico to U.S. In addition to stopping all payments to these countries, which seem to have almost no control over their population, I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught - and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER! The assault on our country at our Southern Border, including the Criminal elements and DRUGS pouring in, is far more important to me, as President, than Trade or the USMCA. Hopefully Mexico will stop this onslaught at their Northern Border. All Democrats fault for weak laws!

Trump declares migrants and asylum seekers as criminals, as the enemy – even though the people he’s talking about haven’t as yet broken a single US law. Nor declared their intention to do so.

Not one.

Walking through Guatemala, through Honduras, though El Salvador and Mexico isn’t a crime under US law. Or even a crime under the laws of those nations.

US laws do not apply to the leaders (or the citizens) of foreign countries. International laws and agreements likewise don’t apply to this migration, and in fact, in most regards international laws prohibit governments from preventing migration and enjoin nations to provide aid and comfort to those in need.

Having defined migrants as criminals and a dire threat to America, Trump then declares his political opponents, Americans, as enemies of the country – because in Trump’s mind he is America and thus any opposition must therefore be treason. Criminal.

With the stage, set, Trump then declares this a matter of sovereignty, of national security, of law. He demands other nations control their populations, even though the US has no authority to do so, and threatens military action if they do not comply. Military action. Don’t take my word for it, read those of the American President for yourself, “I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!” That’s what he said. That’s what he said in a statement that is bookended by declaring Democrats as criminals and the enemies of America.

Is the hair standing up on the back of your neck yet? Because it should be.

Military action first on US soil and then an excuse to … invade the Sudetenland perhaps?

And if you still can’t see the parallels then you are a goddamned fool.


Ask yourself something: Why is it that every time Trump says something like this, foreign actors swarm to his defense?

Why is it that agencies under the control of totalitarian regimes such as Russia and China and North Korea think building walls and using the military to crack down on your own people sounds like a good idea?

“Invite them to stay at your house if you like them so much. You pay for their food, schools, health care and everything else they want”

That was a foreign troll responding to my comments on Twitter. A fake account, created for this sort of thing, anonymous, not even trying to disguise its origin. Because it doesn’t have to. Because the sentiments expressed by this foreign agency exactly mirror those right here in America. They are the very words shouted by Republicans, by conservatives, by Trump’s own base. By Trump himself. And it’s become impossible to tell whether this foreign xenophobia drives American bigotry or if it is a reflection instead. It doesn’t matter because it is become a self-reinforcing feedback loop.

What if we took them up on this challenge?

I’ll take in these refugees, pay for their food, schools, healthcare, if in return conservatives alone pay for Trump’s wall, for his tax giveaway to billionaires and Fortune 500 companies, for the wars Republicans start and can’t seem to finish…

Is it a deal?


No, I suppose not.


Once upon a time, the Nazis promised to make Germany great again. That was a large part of their message in the aftermath of World War I and the Great Depression.

And at first, Germany indeed had a roaring economy under Hitler, which is how they could afford that massive military and eventually the invasion of other countries – not to mention the mass murder of their own people.

I would submit to you that there is more to freedom, to liberty, to justice, to morality, to civilization, to life, than just a “roaring economy.”

Money. Wealth. Economic might. Military strength. Power. This is what matters to Trump, to Republicans, to conservatives.

That’s why this migration disgusts them so much. Poverty. The powerless. Weakness. Victims. Dirty. Subhuman. Needy. Diseased. Hungry. Criminal. The enemy. That’s what they see.

It’s the same old hate.

The same old call to arms.

That’s what they see, inferiority, just as the Nazis regarded the Jews.

Speaking of Nazis, back in World War II the United States intelligence community – specifically the Office of Strategic Services, the core of what would later become the Central Intelligence Agency – compiled a detailed psychological profile of Adolf Hitler. The report said, in part, that Hitler’s basic rules for maintaining power were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.

History would call this technique The Big Lie

Joseph Goebbels, the Nazis’ Minister of Propaganda is often credited with the idea, but it was Hitler who first outlined it in Mein Kampf in 1925.

Never allow the public to cool off.

Never admit a fault or wrong.

Never concede that there may be some good in your enemy.

Never leave room for alternatives.

Never accept blame.

Concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong.

Repeat the lie, over and over, until enough people believe it.

You see it, don’t you?

You see the parallels.


"Sadly, it looks like Mexico’s Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States."

Unable. Because, why?

Because the Mexican military is overwhelmed, out maneuvered and outgunned, by this horde of armed criminals and Middle Eastern types?


Is it not so much as unable as unwilling? Because it's less a military horde and more just a bunch of poor people, children mostly, looking for sanctuary, for a better life?

You note that Trump doesn’t tell you why.

Instead it’s Mexico’s fault. They’re weak. They’re unwilling. They’re unable. They can’t be trusted. They are not our friends. They are helping our enemies. That’s the implication here, isn’t it?

"Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in."

Criminals. Of course.

These must be criminals, by definition.

Trump switches between The Big Lie and the little ones with ease and somehow never seems to realize what he’s giving away.

For example: How do you know there are criminals? Rapists. Murders. Thieves. No, seriously, how do you know? Think about it. If this is true, how would the United States government know this? Where's the intelligence coming from? How are we getting it? Do we have intelligence assets embedded in this caravan?

Do we really?

Operating in ... Mexico?

On what pretext would these intelligence agents be operating on the soil of a sovereign foreign nation? An ally. What agency are these assets from? What operation is this part of? How was it funded? Is it a joint operation with foreign nations? Is Congress aware of this? What is the oversight? Is it a military operation? Civilian? Because there are some real legal implications here, implications that follow from Trump's statement "Criminals and Middle Easterners."

And speaking of “Middle Easterners,” Middle Easterners? That's not even an actual demographic. The Middle East is dozens of nations, some friendly to our interests, some hostile, many indifferent. Who are these so-called Middle Easterners? Where are they from? Again, how do you know?

How do you know if you don’t have intelligence assets directly embedded in the caravan?

Moreover, what the hell would somebody from the Middle East be doing in this migration? I mean, sure, Trump's insinuation, the dog whistle for his base, that's obvious, but pull the thread.

Ask the questions.

You see, if this is true, if Trump’s unspoken insinuation is true, if there are Middle Eastern terrorists in this caravan, then from a military and counterterrorism standpoint, if you know there are terrorists coming toward you, well, then doesn't that suggest an opportunity to you?

Doesn't it?


Because it should. It’s a rudimentary tactic used damned near every day by law enforcement and the military.

Welcome the caravan, process the asylum seekers, take the "Middle Easterners" into custody without a fight. Low risk. Non violent. They come to you, you don't have to find them. You don’t have to risk your troop’s lives humping through the brush, kicking in doors. The terrorists give themselves up willingly. Right? You don’t need million dollar drones and satellite coverage and an army. Minimal risk, minimal cost. Set up a welcome center, in-process the whole migration, separate out the bad actors and process the rest of the asylum seekers in accordance with US law – i.e. grant them asylum or send them back. Congratulations, you’ve caught a bunch of terrorists. And treated the real immigrants with dignity and respect. If you produce actual terrorists, you’re be proven right, you’ll have a media coup, and it’ll be damned impossible for the bleeding heart liberals to argue with that.

I mean, goddamn, doesn't that seem the obvious tactic to take this threat Trump describes out of play?

I used to do this sort of thing for a living. I would have killed, so to speak, for a counterterrorism opportunity like this.

Which makes me wonder where this "intelligence” is coming from. Are there any actually generals involved in this? Any actual law enforcement experts? Any counterterrorism agents? The FBI? The CIA? Who's running this operation, rank amateurs?

Unless, you know, nobody is actually running anything and it's all just some bullshit made up in Trump's mind. Again.

"I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National Emergy. [sic]"

A national emergency.

Really, an actual, no foolin’ national emergency? 

How? How is this a national emergency? You notice again that Trump never tells you the details.

Trump seems to think that if this "caravan" reaches the border, we, what? Just have to let them in? Border Patrol can't do anything because ... Democrats? What? Doesn’t our law already prevent this?

"Must change laws!"

What laws will stop illegal immigration?

Taking away their kids didn't stop them.

Throwing them in prison doesn't stop them.

Deporting them doesn't stop them.

Shooting them dead doesn't stop them.

Rape, murder, robbery, death in the desert and in the jungle, doesn't stop them.

A wall sure as hell doesn't stop people and never has.

So what are we talking about here? What laws?

What law is Trump talking about? Again – again – you notice he never actually tells you this? No details. No references. Just vague "laws." What law? What new law?

"Every time you see a Caravan, or people illegally coming, or attempting to come, into our Country illegally, think of and blame the Democrats for not giving us the votes to change our pathetic Immigration Laws!"

Never allow the public to cool off.

Never admit a fault or wrong.

Never concede that there may be some good in your enemy.

Never leave room for alternatives.

Never accept blame.

Concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong.

Repeat the lie, over and over, until enough people believe it.

Three times in the last decade, once under George W. Bush, twice under Obama, Congress reached bipartisan agreement on immigration reform. Each time, it was Republicans who shot it down. Republicans. Not Democrats, Republicans. Last time they did it just to spite John McCain.

It's funny isn't it?

According to Republicans, new laws won't stop gun violence, only punish lawful gun owners. Too many laws already, they say. But immigration? Whoa doggies, we need us some new laws! Lots and lots of new laws! Yes, Sir!

But again, I digress.

"Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the U.S."

Funny how Trump and his Republican base are suddenly all about big government -- so long as that big government is in other countries oppressing other people.

Just another example of the Republican motto: Fuck you, I got mine.

"We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them."

US Foreign aid to Guatemala: $249 million. Honduras: $127 million. El Salvador. $74 million

"Massive foreign aid."


In comparison, we give Israel about $5.4 BILLION in aid annually, but there I go digressing yet again.

You see it? You see it in context right?

Most of that paltry foreign aid to Central America never actually reaches the poor people of those countries. So, this threat is to the governments of those nations, to the wealthy of those nations, those in power. Crush the poor, pen them in, beat them down, or else we'll cut off your meal ticket. That’s the real message here. Brutalize your population or else. Get your people under control, that’s what Trump is telling them. 

Of course, this the same foreign policy we used with the Shah of Iran, the erstwhile President of the Philippines, the Batista government in Cuba, the current regime in Iraq, Africa, South America... Really paid off, didn’t it? Made us more secure, right? I mean, didn’t it?

Or did we create our own enemies?

And so, here we are.


Cut off foreign aid to impoverished Central American countries, take military action, making life there even more terrible for poor people and you expect this to some how stop those from attempting to flee in search of a better life? You expect this to make us safer? To somehow stave off the inevitable revolution and the creation of yet another enemy nation who hates our fucking guts?

Tell me again, what was the definition of insanity?

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

-- Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus