Picking enemies

enimiesYears ago, when I was a college student, I watched a movie on the rise of Hitler in Germany. It was powerful, although I think it was art rather than fact. Hitler was shown debating with his confederates the best route to power. The suggestion that they attack communists was discarded–they were too powerful. Then Hitler is shown choosing to attack the Jews.

I believe this was fiction, because I understand that Hitler had long blamed Jews for Germany’s defeat in WWI–I think attacking Jews reflected a long term hatred rather than an arbitrary political decision. No matter, it was a memorable movie.

I think of this movie when President Trump is on the attack–non-cooperative Republicans, black athletes, anti-Klan protesters, black lives matter, North Korea’s Kim, Hillary Clinton, and many others. Do these reflect deep-seated resentments or political calculations, I wonder.



About whungerford

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14 Responses to Picking enemies

  1. whungerford says:

    I believe the movie showed Hitler debating in a Munich beer hall. Here is an anecdote. I went to the Hofbrau Haus in Munich with my friend Helmut. A group of young men shouted Helmut, Helmut! He took my hand and rushed me out of there. What’s wrong, I asked. Those are my friends Helmut answered; they want me to buy them a round.


  2. Carol says:

    Having read The Making of Donald Trump by investigative journalist David Cay Johnston, and having observed his behavior over the years, I would say that Trump harbors MANY deep-seated resentments. There is a family history of bigotry that was passed on by his father, who was apparently involved with the KKK. Both his father and Donald himself have refused to rent their properties to people of color. Poor Donald also resents the fact that as president, his money does not, cannot, and will not make people do what he wants. Thus he has to live with a high level of frustration.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. pystew says:

    Trumps uses hate speech to distract us away from more newsworthy events. We are not talking about why we sent bombers near the North Korea border. We are talking about football. Do get me wrong, I think freedom of speech is worth defending and am proud of the NFL Community’s reaction, but why are we trying to keep Kim Jong Um upset?

    I agree with Carol, but we can not leave out that using Hillary and others is also a political action.


  4. Steve Beikirch says:

    I have often thought that Trump looked at being president as just one more deal his money could buy. Just another accomplishment to shore up his insatiable ego. I’m sure he believed, and still does, that no one would dare tell a billionaire President of the United States what he could do or not do. He cannot accept being questioned. When it happens he retreats to the safety of his adoring fans at a rally somewhere. At these sanctuaries no one questions him. He feeds off of the crowds energy like a parasite feeds off its host. I think the closer Robert Mueller gets to him the more irrational he will become.


  5. Carol says:

    And re: Trump going after professional athletes, he once bought a football team that was in an alternate league and he got into legal battles with the NFL, eventually losing, thus the hot button around football. See The Making of Donald Trump by David Cay Johnston. Lots of Donald’s deep-seated resentments revealed in that book!


  6. Carol says:

    Well said, Steve Beikirch.


  7. whungerford says:

    Thanks for all the comments.

    Author Blaine Harden, writing in the Sept. 24 NYT, argues that Kim ought to know how the Korean War devastated his country. Hoping to live a long life as a despot, Kim should know enough to fear provoking a war. Harden writes that a North Korean strike is unlikely unless “the Kim regime is provoked, perhaps by a particularly warmongering early-morning tweet, into believing that its existence really is at risk.”

    Korean talk is clearly intended for domestic purposes as is President Trump’s. We might well fear that Trump, should he become increasingly irrational as Steve suggests, would be far too easily provoked by wild talk. There is a reason that diplomats carefully avoid giving offense.


  8. Arthur Ahrens says:

    Trump’s actions over his lifetime show that he is a bigot who cares only about money and notoriety. Nothing else.

    Trump is no Machavellian political genius. He has no long range strategy, other than his North Star — to make himself (in)famous and rich.

    His first nine months in office offer testament: what has he accomplished? He has managed to torpedo his promised repeal of Obamacare, his wall, and his muslim ban. He’s attacked everyone, including members of his staff and his own party (including chief sycophant Jeff Sessions for pity sakes). He has burnished his racist bonafides, most recently in his war with the NFL. He is utterly unpredictable except that he is no leader and he is dividing the country into tribes while failing in his role as a useful idiot for the Republicans. On the other hand–he is more (in)famous than ever, and a case can easily be made that his businesses are profiting bigly from his presidency.

    Trump is enabled by his tribe of 40% of Republican voters, who will, like lemmings, enthusiastically follow him wherever he goes. He is also abetted by the Republican party, which is also driven by ideology, and would deal with the devil himself to funnel money to the 1% while repealing programs that benefit most Americans, like the ACA.

    The most notable thing about the Obamacare repeal is not that McCain voted NO due to violation of process (no CBO score, no Committee Meetings, No public meeting, no bipartisanship). The most obvious and troubling fact is that 49 other Republican Senators are willing to vote for Obamacare Repeal without process. In other words, without knowing how their constituents will be effected.

    The way to deal with Trump is to neutralize his supporters.

    A good start would be to elect someone other than Tom Reed to NY 23.


  9. Joseph Urban says:

    The free press is the key enemy of any demagogue. I won’t bore you with an entire essay but here is a link to one I wrote back in January which may be relevant.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Rynstone says:

    pystew, Can you please provide me with some specific quotes, links, or video/audio of President Trump using “hate speech”?
    Who determines that Trump’s speech is “hate speech”?
    Who would determine what hate speech is?

    Do you think these are examples of hate speech?
    Mike Brown’s stepfather in Ferguson

    Kamau Kambon

    the late Khalid Muhammad


  11. Joseph Urban says:

    Rynstone. Let me first say that it is very easy to find examples of nutcases of all skin colors, political persuasions and genders. (See KKK rallies and “Lock Her Up” chants as examples) Those people are rejected by the overwhelming majority of human beings. In other words, your video posts are not relevant to the issue of Mr . Trump. Why? Because Mr. Trump is the president and as such he has not only massive political power, but also is a symbol of what a good American should act like. Not an official part of the job description, but a traditional role for the highest elected official in the USA.
    You ask a very good question. What, actually is “hate speech”? Does a person have to explicitly say:” I hate blacks”, or are there other ways to encode the message of hate without being blatantly explicit. This question was posed to Professor Michael Waltman at the University of NC at Chapel Hill.

    “…THE FIX: I think it might be helpful to define some things for readers. What is hate speech? Is there a way to reliably identify it — something that defines it or sets it apart from other efforts to express one’s ideas?

    WALTMAN: Hate speech is discourse designed to attack, demean, dehumanize a specific person (or group) based on that persons group membership (identity). We typically expect a group identity to be based on a person’s religion, ethnicity, race, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation. It is not unusual for someone to pursue persuasive, social or political goal(s) by manipulating people’s hatred of a group. This is hate speech.”…


    So, when Mr Trump calls Mexican immigrants “rapists” that is hate speech. When he suggests that an American judge whose ancestors were Mexican is not fit to judge a case, based solely on his perceived ethnicity, that is hate speech. When he congratulates a police chief who has been convicted of contempt of court by his refusal to stop violating the rights of American citizens who “look” Hispanic. That is hate speech. When he says that Specific Native Americans who are trying to build a casino in competition with him do not “look like Indians”. That is hate speech.
    Making assumptions about individuals or groups and proclaiming those false assumptions as fact is not only dangerously ignorant when coming from a person in power, it is also hate speech. When he suggests that adherence to one of the three major religions identifies a person as unworthy to come to the US as an immigrant or refugee, that is hate speech.

    He seeks to attack, demean and dehumanize, as the definition states.


  12. Carol says:

    Well said, Joseph. Calling Senator Elizabeth Warren Pocahantas is also hate speech. I could go on and on with more examples that we have been seeing both during the campaign and for the past 9 months.


  13. Arthur Ahrens says:

    Well Done Joseph!


  14. Rynstone says:

    I am offended by Hank Johnson’s presence in Congress and hate how he uses his position to waste taxpayer’s money.
    I ,and many others, hate just about everything this guy says. This has nothing to do with his race, sex or religion. It has everything to do with his intelligence, or lack of.
    But….. he still has the 1st Amendment Right to says these things !


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