BONFIRE OF HIS VANITIES
Herr Trump promises: “Civil Liberties End When an Attack on Our Safety Begins” * By Ilene Proctor Should America be forewarned of a false flag fire that might be on the horizon? We know desperate men do desperate things. When Herr Trump wrote in a full page advertisement in the Daily News from May 1, 1989 * very few paid attention. As PResident, everyone is listening and paying attention to everything he says, past and present. He might not read much, but what he reads, like Hitler’s Letters by his bedside,(according to ex-wife Ivana) says much about something, and that something is very scary. “The Reichstag Warning” is a short essay by Timothy Snyder just published in The New York Review of Books (NYRB). Snyder is the Housum Professor of History at Yale University. You might have read his widely shared post on 20 lessons from the 20th century on Facebook from November on how to resist the spread of fascism in Trump-ruled America. In his latest essay, Snyder warns about how terrorism will be used to destroy (“deconstruct” in Trump speak) our American democracy. He wrote: The Reichstag fire shows how quickly a modern republic can be transformed into an authoritarian regime. There is nothing new, to be sure, in the politics of exception. The American Founding Fathers knew that the democracy they were creating was vulnerable to an aspiring tyrant who might seize upon some dramatic event as grounds for the suspension of our rights. As James Madison nicely put it, tyranny arises “on some favorable emergency.” What changed with the Reichstag fire was the use of terrorism as a catalyst for regime change. In 1989, two centuries after our Constitution was promulgated, the man who is now our president wrote that “civil liberties end when an attack on our safety begins.” For much of the Western world, that was a moment when both security and liberty seemed to be expanding. 1989 was a year of liberation, as communist regimes came to an end in eastern Europe and new democracies were established. Yet that wave of democratization has since fallen under the glimmering shadow of the burning Reichstag. The aspiring tyrants of today have not forgotten the lesson of 1933: that acts of terror—real or fake, provoked or accidental—can provide the occasion to deal a death blow to democracy. Responding to terrorism is the proven justification that an “aspiring” tyrant will use to gain control and undo democracy. Hitler blamed terrorists in 1933 and seized control of Germany. Putin blamed terrorists in 1999 and seized control of Russia. Already, Trump and his cronies have weakened our national security with the point of inviting a terrorist attack. “If we know the history of terror manipulation, we can recognize the danger signs, and be prepared to react,” Synder wrote. . The five teenagers, four blacks and one Hispanic, that Trump falsely accused were exonerated when their convictions were vacated, but not after they were wrongfully convicted and having served between six and thirteen years in prison. Despite the evidence to the contrary, last year Trump told CNN the five are guilty. “They admitted they were guilty,” Trump said. “The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty. The fact that that case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous.” In his essay, Snyder references research that indicates the Nazis, themselves, set fire to the Reichstag and then notes that Trump’s mentor and puppet master, Vladimir Putin also used terrorism to secure his place at the head of the Russian state and to boost his rock bottom approval rating. A month after Putin was first elected: … bombs began to explode in apartment buildings in Moscow and several other Russian cities, killing hundreds of citizens and causing widespread fear. There were numerous indications that this was a campaign organized by the KGB’s heir, now known as the FSB. Some of its officers were caught red-handed (and then released) by their peers. Putin blamed Muslim terrorists and started a war in Chechnya, a Russian republic. The response boosted Putin’s popularity and he “exploited more terrorist attacks to consolidate his rule”. You don’t have to read tea leaves to understand Stephen Bannon, Trump’s resident white nationalist ideologue, promised an unending fight for “deconstruction of the administrative state.” The Trump cabinet was chosen because of the destruction they will unleash. Leaving America as we know it in ruins is their goal. Read Trump’s headline tantrums: of an authoritarian. Authoritarian rule book 101 turns the opposition into the enemy. The opposition is to be engaged and persuaded; the enemy is to be isolated and crushed. Like Hitler, Herr Trumph has his blind followers, as Omarosa Manigault, now Trump’s director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison, promised that “every critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump. It’s everyone who’s ever doubted Donald, whoever disagreed, whoever challenged him — it is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.” Be warned, Herr Trump has said “civil liberties end when an attack on our safety begins”. Believe him.