Thursday, November 9, 2017

Trump's Big CON: Using Fear, Anger and Hatred for Political Purposes

UPDATE II:  "The terrorists behind the attack, he said, need to be “rubbed out.” “Law and order” must be preserved. The courts are “against the country” and “the media should not have unlimited freedom.” “I will allow the military to try you,” the president warned terrorists, “and put you to death.”

You could be forgiven for thinking these were the words of President Trump reacting to Tuesday’s terrorist attack in New York City that killed eight and wounded 12. It’s all there: The familiar Trump bravado. The call for swift justice. The indictment of other institutions — the courts, the press — that are said to be too weak or unwilling to help safeguard the nation.

But each of the quotes above are from authoritarians who have exploited terrorist attacks to undermine rule of law in their own countries and for whom Trump has breathlessly professed admiration. And this week, he has also sought to emulate them. . .

[Terrorist] groups like the Islamic State and al-Qaeda seek to do more than kill. With each attack, they hope to provoke divisions in our society and undermine confidence in the institutions and diversity that define our Republic.

This week, we saw that they have an enabler at the highest level — an unpopular, impulsive, ineffective and increasingly isolated president who in attempting to project a strongman image reveals his fundamental weakness as a leader. Trump has once again succumbed to his worst impulses. They question for the rest of us is, which is stronger — the demagogue or our democracy?"

Read the Washington Post, President Trump is responding to terrorism the way demagogues and dictators do

UPDATE:  "[E]ven when we take reasonable, effective actions against Islamist terrorism, we do not guarantee that these incidents will stop. We are defeating the Islamic State and destroying its caliphate, and yet Islamist fundamentalism may still inspire murderous rampages. We can authorize and reauthorize National Security Agency surveillance programs, but a single killer need not communicate with anyone overseas to launch a plot. We can interdict money flowing to terrorism, but all this attack cost was the rental fee for a truck. . .

So what do we do? Do we learn to 'live with' these low-level attacks? Let’s begin with what we should not do — demonize an entire religion, assail our own democratic institutions, demean our intelligence community or politicize every corner of government. . .

Beyond that, we should continue to do the big things (destroy the Islamic State’s territorial haven) and the not-so-big-but-critically-important things (more extensive use of barriers, improved police relations with Muslim communities). We control what we can, and we understand that we cannot eliminate every threat, of every size, of every origin. That is how Israel has survived since its inception; that is how we address ordinary, domestic crime.

This should not be confused with complacency or fatalism. To the contrary, we should remain determined to do whatever is in our power to halt the scourge of Islamist terrorism, but in doing so, we should stop doing silly, time-wasting, counterproductive things for political reasons. We should stop stoke fear of our fellow Americans and of foreigners. Focus on what’s doable and avoid idiotic stunts that make us no safer and that do great damage to the fabric of our democracy. In short, stop Trump from being Trump."

Read the Washington Post, The right and wrong ways to respond to the NYC attack.

"October was bookended by tragedy.

On Halloween, a man who authorities say emigrated from Uzbekistan seven years ago, drove a rented pickup truck down a bike path, killing eight people and injuring 11 before being shot and subdued. On Oct. 1, a man shooting from the windows of a hotel on the Las Vegas Strip killed 58 and wounded 546. . .

Trump’s response to the attack in New York on Tuesday was immediately different. Since the attack, at about 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Trump has tweeted (as of writing) six times about it and about the need for policy changes to address it.

Donald J. Trump

My thoughts, condolences and prayers to the victims and families of the New York City terrorist attack. God and your country are with you!
5:57 PM - Oct 31, 2017

Donald J. Trump

I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!
8:26 PM - Oct 31, 2017

 Donald J. Trump

The terrorist came into our country through what is called the "Diversity Visa Lottery Program," a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based.
6:24 AM - Nov 1, 2017

And so on.

This is not a new pattern for Trump. He’s regularly raced to link terrorist attacks (and things that turned out not to be terrorist attacks) to the need to crack down on immigration. It’s of a piece with his campaign, during which he promoted the risks posed by immigrants as a central concern for the public and his own policies as the only way of addressing them.

Contrasting the two incidents in October mirrors the overall difference between gun violence and terrorism. Since Trump was inaugurated, there have been 283 incidents in the United States in which four or more people were shot. The death toll from those incidents, excluding Vegas, is 224. There have been a handful of terrorist attacks, perhaps only two of which involve a Muslim or an immigrant (though it’s not clear). In those two incidents, two people were killed. . .

[These two incidents show how The Donald uses fear, anger and hatred for political purposes,] how Trump considers people like Paddock versus how he considers people like Saipov. Saipov’s actions are inseparable from his status as an immigrant, as Trump’s tweets make clear: What he did is a reflection of all immigrants and therefore immigration laws need to change. Paddock — older, white — was just a guy with a broken brain. What can you possibly do about that?
So, with Saipov, Trump is quick to weigh in on policy proposals meant to address the perceived threat posed by immigrants — even if those proposals are not necessarily rooted in an accurate understanding of the issue."

Read the Washington Post, For Trump, October’s two mass killings lead to very different responses.

Read also the Washington Post, Trump responds to terror attack with petty tweets and demagoguery.

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