This Really is Happening

In less than 72 hours, launch codes of the world’s most potent nuclear arsenal will be handed over to a narcissist who spends his time slamming comedy shows, his critics and Hollywood actors via Twitter. And who’s also prone to making typos.

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Today’s Pic du Jour, the site’s 1,110th straight and snapped in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on 11 January 2014, reminded me of Trump’s press conference last week, his first as President-elect and first in five months. That performance was widely panned, slammed and criticized, too.

One of the better critiques was this one by Juan Cole, who characterized it as “unpleasantly reminiscent” of “authoritarian publicity techniques” utilized by tin-pot dictators he’s lived under in the past in the developing world. That’s not a stretch; that’s very much how he behaved. This is already our new reality.

From filling the room with a cheering crowd who also jeered at some reporters, to using fake props and condemning criticisms as fake news, he set a dark uncomfortable tone. And that was only the initial portion that I was able to stomach and watch.

Cole broke his piece down to five points. I’m most concerned with the second, describing Trump’s attempt to browbeat journalists he deems “unfriendly”.

2. Divide and rule. Trump tried to single out Buzzfeed for publishing the document and CNN for reporting that it was part of the intelligence community’s report by denouncing them as “fake news” and refusing them the opportunity to question him. He instead allowed the white supremacist Breitbart (a chief producer of fake news from its inception) to toss him a softball. Creating disfavored and favored news outlets is a typical authoritarian move. Trump is punishing CNN to create an incentive for other news outlets to treat him with kid gloves, and he is hoping the other reporters will climb over the prostrate bodies of the Buzzfeed and CNN journalists on their way up to White House access. The reporters and news organizations will have to stick together to overcome this tactic. Trump is also trying to legitimize his buddy Steve Bannon’s Neofascist monstrosity, Breitbart, by favoring it over CNN in public. (The Breitbart reporter suggested that Trump crack down on all those mainstream ‘fake news’ outlets, which is sort of like a wine-seller arguing for prohibition).

It’s a routine Trump tactic. And it will work. Most horrendous was the way he legitimized Breitbart, the outfit that put a capital ‘F’ on the term Fake News, on a global stage. That’s an ugly genie that won’t go back into its Neofascist bottle.

 

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  1. It’s always good to see the USA through foreign eyes, and here in Ecuador I visit with many people from various countries; their feedback is much harsher and more critical than yours!!! The world is worried, and we’re in trouble if don’t or cannot speak about uncomfortable topics.

      1. If only it were that ‘simple’ – that the other one temporarily slipped over into this one.. and we awaken to find it was a disturbing dream…. friends and i were talking about the concept of parallel universe today! it’s an easy way to excuse that one misplaced keys (i put them elsewhere in that parallel world.. etc.)

        Ecuador’s candidates are upping their campaign messages, honking-car parades, etc… many people are concerned about what’s next for Ecuador as well..

        1. I haven’t been following Ecuadorean politics too closely over the past six months. Election is next month, no? Do you think Alianza PAIS will hold on? Or is change a prevailing theme there as well?

    1. I wish I could share your upbeat attitude. That would take much of congress turning against him; at the moment there isn’t much to suggest that will happen. They seem to be letting him write and rewrite rules as he goes along.

  2. I am horrified here in Seattle and refuse to take this silently. We will be marching Saturday and are proud members of the 65,844,954 who voted for Hillary. 2.8 million more votes than for Donald Trump…

    1. Excellent – I know of dozens of others who’ll be marching this weekend as well. Post some photos, would love to see them. It’s disconcerting, if predictable to see how he and the GOP are treating this election result as some sort of strong mandate. The numbers don’t support that.

      1. No they really don’t. I think the first 100 days are going to be rocky as they rush to push everything through before their slim support collapses but sitting at a 37% approval rating right now is proof of how most of the country really sees him.

  3. it is scary… Let’s hope the US survive those 4 years and don’t fall lower… It’s going to be hard on all of us, everywhere around the globe… Fingers crossed some peace of mind will come to many and hate will hit the wall soon enough.

  4. Yeah, it sucks. Only encouraging thing right now is the groundswell against repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Combined with Trump’s policy incoherence, it puts the Congressional repubs in a real trick box.

  5. As an American living outside of Washington, it sickens me to see all the hubbub around the inauguration. It’s almost as the sheep are following their arrogant and distinctly unqualified leader blindly over the cliff. I will have my TVs turned to anything but the inauguration, in hopes of producing low ratings numbers. That and the women’s march on Saturday will really get under our thin-skinned leader’s skin. I dread watching the destruction of everything we hold dear over the next four years.

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