How It Can Happen Here

A month or so ago, the New York Review of Books ran a lengthy essay by Christopher Browning, titled The Suffocation of Democracy.

Browning is a historian specializing in the Holocaust and Nazi Germany, and–as one might expect–the essay considers the parallels and differences between then in Germany and now in the United States. He notes several troubling similarities–and one equally troubling difference. After sketching U.S. policies in the run-up to World War Two, and emphasizing the importance of the post-war international agreements, he writes

Today, President Trump seems intent on withdrawing the US from the entire post–World War II structure of interlocking diplomatic, military, and economic agreements and organizations that have preserved peace, stability, and prosperity since 1945. His preference for bilateral relations, conceived as zero-sum rivalries in which he is the dominant player and “wins,” overlaps with the ideological preference of Steve Bannon and the so-called alt-right for the unfettered self-assertion of autonomous, xenophobic nation-states—in short, the pre-1914 international system. That “international anarchy” produced World War I, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Great Depression, the fascist dictatorships, World War II, and the Holocaust, precisely the sort of disasters that the post–World War II international system has for seven decades remarkably avoided.

In addition to the “agenda of withdrawal” parallels, he compares the political weakness of those in control of the Weimar Republic–weakness that led them to cast their lot with Hitler–to the shrinking American support for conservatism that led to the GOP’s embrace of Trump.

But Browning saves his most scathing–and accurate– criticism for Mitch McConnell, writing

If the US has someone whom historians will look back on as the gravedigger of American democracy, it is Mitch McConnell. He stoked the hyperpolarization of American politics to make the Obama presidency as dysfunctional and paralyzed as he possibly could. As with parliamentary gridlock in Weimar, congressional gridlock in the US has diminished respect for democratic norms, allowing McConnell to trample them even more. Nowhere is this vicious circle clearer than in the obliteration of traditional precedents concerning judicial appointments. Systematic obstruction of nominations in Obama’s first term provoked Democrats to scrap the filibuster for all but Supreme Court nominations. Then McConnell’s unprecedented blocking of the Merrick Garland nomination required him in turn to scrap the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations in order to complete the “steal” of Antonin Scalia’s seat and confirm Neil Gorsuch. The extreme politicization of the judicial nomination process is once again on display in the current Kavanaugh hearings….Like Hitler’s conservative allies, McConnell and the Republicans have prided themselves on the early returns on their investment in Trump.

The difference Browning identifies between then and now is equally unsettling. Hitler had to take overt actions to dissolve labor unions, to seize control of media and pursue other measures that consolidated his power. Browning says such actions are no longer necessary, because American democracy is being suffocated from within: the independence of the judiciary is being steadily eroded; the free press still exists, but has been neutered by a flood of propaganda and fake news; and systemic flaws like gerrymandering and the Electoral College have allowed the GOP to win elections despite garnering only minority support.

On these issues, often described as the guardrails of democracy against authoritarian encroachment, the Trump administration either has won or seems poised to win significant gains for illiberalism. Upon his appointment as chancellor, Hitler immediately created a new Ministry of People’s Enlightenment and Propaganda under Joseph Goebbels, who remained one of his closest political advisers.

In Trump’s presidency, those functions have effectively been privatized in the form of Fox News and Sean Hannity.

I think it was Mark Twain who said history doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.


  1. I don’t know why people do not remember: He (the drumpf) said when he won that night: “This one is for revenge!”… Now we have all seen his perverse sense of reality – what revenge? Because he can’t rip off anymore American Banks? And no one dares to stand up to him?
    I don’t believe it. Not for one damn minute – I don’t care what handle you give him and how many are in his ‘base’ (he was voted for by 26% of the VOTING POPULATION.) SCREW his base! I say Guantanimo is too good for him! He is not a king he is a wanna-be dictator and he deserves what every wanna-be dictator deserves – a cozy prison cell away from all other humans!
    We have to learn to stop making STUPID PEOPLE famous! It will be the death of us all…

  2. Difference between two despicable people, Goebbels and Hannity: Goebbels had a Ph.D. Hannity dropped out of college after attending classes at three different colleges a total of two years.

  3. “The difference Browning identifies between then and now is equally unsettling. Hitler had to take overt actions to dissolve labor unions, to seize control of media and pursue other measures that consolidated his power. Browning says such actions are no longer necessary, because American democracy is being suffocated from within: the independence of the judiciary is being steadily eroded; the free press still exists, but has been neutered by a flood of propaganda and fake news; and systemic flaws like gerrymandering and the Electoral College have allowed the GOP to win elections despite garnering only minority support.”

    “…U.S. policies in the run-up to World War Two, and emphasizing the importance of the post-war international agreements…”

    We can view similarities active today by looking back to 1939 and the voyage of the Luxury liner S.S. St. Louis as reported in “Voyage Of The Damned” by Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan Witts. With 937 Jews aboard, many who had been in concentration camps, the ship headed for Cuba where they believed they had purchased legal visas from Cuba. Midway between Hamburg, Germany and Havana, Cuba they were informed the President of Cuba had denied all visas. The U.S. then stated the Jews were welcome here but then repeatedly denied them entry at Miami, Florida. Not unlike the Muslims denied entry by Trump on his first action as President and his recent denial of asylum to Central Americans and separation from their children. The Jews spent from May 13, 1939 to June 17, 1939 floating between ports, running out of food, sterile conditions and medical supplies and with many of the ship staff belonging to the Nazi party. They were returned to Hamburg, Germany where most were sent to concentration camps where they died. Where are those original Muslims and the current asylum seekers here and their children? We are currently suffering a government shutdown only due to Trump’s ego and his personal Mexican standoff.

    I happened on an excellent movie two days ago; “Denial”, based on Deborah Lipstadt’s book, “History Denied: My Day In Court With A Holocaust Denier”. Mr. Irving’s freedom of speech denying the Holocaust and that Hitler never order the killing of Europe’s Jews, based on no fact or documentation is not unlike Trump’s more than 5,000 documented lies since his inauguration. Just as Trump continues his lies; Irving continues his. Both are dangerous men responsible for dangerous situations in this county and the world today. I have ordered Ms. Lipstadt’s books “History Denied…” and “Antisemitism: Here And Now”. Deborah Lipstadt, like Mr. Browning, is a historian specializing in the Holocaust and Nazi Germany. I expect to find additional similarities “here and now” within the Trump administration; spouted by Trump and upheld by McConnell with full support from SCOTUS through Citizens United, reported by Fox News and Sean Hannity.

    It appears to me that it IS HAPPENING HERE…and now.

  4. This is all been obvious since the day Trump announced his presidency.

    The issue now is can we do something about the transition to FASCISM. Probably not, since it would take personal risks, also known as CIVIC COURAGE or SKIN IN THE GAME, which appears from my perspective to be TOTALLY lacking in American society.

  5. Over the years I have read dozens of history books about Germany in the early Twentieth Century. Here is what I have learned.
    Nazi Germany rose from a foundation of anti-antisemitism stoked by a fascination with eugenics and a redefining of race and religion by the German people. By using a now debunked science to classify people by race and intelligence bigots got the upper hand and infiltrated every institution of German society. It was only a matter of time before a Hitler rose to power first drawing attention to the economic situation of Germany following WWI, and then having the now ready scapegoat to blame for all troubles… the Jews.

    As in all massive shifts of power, it is never just one thing that is the cause. It is always a number of things arising from changes in everyday economic health, world outlook, science and technology, and religious beliefs that merge to create such an unease in a society that otherwise rational people readily join radical movements to “take the country back” or “make the country great again” or “protect our freedom by denying others theirs”.

    Americans have an opportunity today to change that backward approach to change. The real question is, “Do we have the courage to do it and the understanding that it will take real sacrifice to hold onto our democracy?”

  6. The above should have read “announced his run for the presidency.”

    I’ve been fighting this problem for over 50 years, it has cost me custody of my daughter, my second marriage, my law practice, my reputation, most of my friends and more [such as coded threats of assassination in John Grisham’s “The Chamber”]. This retaliation has not been indirectly, but directly.

    Would anyone who is SANE like to join me in defense of our so-called American democracy? I doubt it, for I have yet to see it, other than with two outstanding democrats, with a little “d” who were terminally ill: Professor Harvey Wheeler and Tony Judt, Director of the Remarque Institute.

  7. Has anyone else noted the “high voter turnout” from the midterms? It has been reported as something great. It was approximately 50% of the electorate. Can it be that fully one half of all Americans don’t prefer democracy? If we lump in those supporting 45 by voting for Republicans, that number goes over the half way mark significantly.

    Is democracy a dream of the “elite?”

  8. I’ve recommended this book before: “Freedom for Sale: Why the World is Trading Democracy for Security” by John Kampfner (Basic Books, New York, 2010):

    From the front leaf of the cover: “In the last twenty years, nations including India, Russia, China, and the United Arab Emirates have disproved the idea that capitalism and democracy are inextricably linked. Emerging middle classes have proven themselves all too willing to sacrifice certain democratic rights—including free speech, an open media, and free elections—in exchange for prosperity. But they are not alone. We are all doing it. Alarmingly, Western democracy has adopted some of the attributes of that authoritarianism.

  9. The following is a quote from page three of “The Protestant Establishment: Aristocracy & Caste in America” by E. Digby Baltzell (Vintage Books, New York, 1964). Baltzell was a sociology professor at the University of Pennsylvania,
    and my first political mentor:

    “If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do, and how to do it.”
    ~Abraham Lincoln

  10. One person not mentioned in the article referenced or the blog, is Stephen Miller, Trump’s equivalent to Heinrich Himmler, the head of the infamous SS in Germany. He’s been a raving Nazi since he was in high school. So, naturally, Bannon/Mercer picked him to speak prejudice, fear and hate into Trump’s empty vessel, aka his brain.

    As with the beginning of our part in WW II, we must be shocked into action. As I predicted, the mid-term electoral turnout was less than 60%. We aren’t shocked enough, yet, to get rid of the wretched souls like McConnell, Mc Carthy, Trump (and his entire gang of criminals) and Pence.

    Bloggers can nibble away at the conflicting and damaging ideologies, but it remains the duty of the vast majority of the people to figure out how to govern themselves. Gorsuch and Kavanaugh are but two more symptoms of the fascist elements entering our government. Ironically, it might be John Roberts who ends up saving the SCOTUS from complete abdication to fascist capitalism.

  11. The arrest of Stone this morning suggests that we may have the wrong tense of the verb in describing Sheila’s book review, as in, it has already happened here and (having been numbed by propaganda and apathy) we are just learning that our democracy or what is left of it is in big trouble. The good news is that Mueller is closing in on the mafia and fascists from within, that they are going to be sent to a figurative Elba, and that we may rescue our democracy from ruin after all. It is unfortunate that the people of this country do not have the same fervor for democratic values and institutions as those who populate Trump’s cult. Perhaps this brush (assuming we survive) with dictatorship will ignite such fervor for democracy, our most important asset held in common.

  12. The future does not look promising….10M millennials did not vote in 2016; another 4M voted for 3rd/4th parties. Many of them say “you messed up this country; we are not going to vote now; when it falls apart, we will come in and make it right”. The innocence/arrogance of youth….

  13. Hey Marv —
    “The issue now is can we do something about the transition to FASCISM. Probably not, since it would take personal risks, also known as CIVIC COURAGE or SKIN IN THE GAME, which appears from my perspective to be TOTALLY lacking in American society.”
    Please be more specific about what you suggesting. What “personal risks” should I be taking here in South Carolina? I am sick to death about what is happening to our country & have protested in marches (including DC in 2017) as well as locally; written, called, FAXed & personally met with my congressional reps; donated to organizations like the ACLU and SPLC; gone to local government meetings to protest land grabs; etc.. I need to know specifics as to what the next steps are because all of the above seem to have 0 effect, especially with my GOP reps.
    I look forward to your “To Do” list.

  14. Browning makes it clear that that the imposition of authoritarian rule does not require soldiers or squads of thugs in brown or black shirts.

  15. Kathy – register voters, run for office, support candidates who want to restore democracy through cooperative problem solving rather than implement any ideological agenda or “perfect solutions”, support/do civic education from K-grave….

  16. From Professor Baltzell’s 1996 obituary in the UK’s “The Independent”:

    “Baltzell and his coinage of the word WASP have helped to
    draw attention to the dirty little secret that in a society that boasts of being classless, there is and always been an American aristocracy”

    add: “involving much more than just $$$$.”

  17. And this all plays into the DNC’s hands of “any Democrat is better than Trump.”

    Let me point out the obvious…if our billionaires were concerned with our floundering democracy, why haven’t they taken a stand against Trump and McConnell? Why are they silent? Don’t they like democracies?

    As Marv would say, they really don’t give a shit because Trump made them even richer with his tax giveaway and he’s kept the government from doing their job of regulating industry. What we’re learning is when Trump said, “I’m going to drain the swamp!”, what he meant was to eliminate government regulations.

    They were already lax because the government has been neutered like the press. Without checks and balances, there is no democratic state.

    The reason why 50% of registered voters don’t cast a ballot is that no matter how they’ve voted, nothing has improved. It’s the same shit whether D’s or R’s rule the land.

    Let’s see what the new congressional reps have in store for the Finance Industry. My guess, that was a ploy to shift donations from the GOP to DNC. Once the money flows into Nancy, she’ll neuter them on those committees.

    “All the worlds a stage…”

  18. The fact that the US is near the bottom in voter participation among its global peers is not new, by any means. There are imaginative ideas for working on this…make Election Day and Veterans Day the same day (automatic national holiday) with theme “vote and honor those who died so you can vote”; give financial incentive for voting (tax break? – know we can’t make voting mandatory due to 1st Amend); limit electioneering time (many countries do), require incumbents to hold town meetings, etc.

  19. As Todd has been pointing out for some time, the situation is almost impossible to change. We’re dealing with something akin to the Level 4: Ebola Virus. See “The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story” by Richard Preston (Anchor Books, New York, 1994) p. 62:

    “There aren’t any vaccines for Level 4 hot agents. A Level 4 hot agent is a lethal virus for which there is no vaccine and no [known] cure.” For Level 2 and 3 there are vaccinations available.

    In the U.S., We’re dealing with a highly dangerous Level 4: Virus of the mind. It’s a new strain of what has been called in the past, THE HITLER VIRUS. And there is no protection for a political epidemiologist who attempts to treat the political virus. A political virus that moves, for the most part, unforeseen, much like a Tsunami. See our website at

  20. we to many times refer to this problems as trump.. trump,trump, he only wishes he was so smart. if any one said it
    best, its the above piece. i was a kid, mid 1960s, 10/11 sat at the park in town,local people, they still had a public bowling green,park benches, people who loved keeping the park clean,and open. i listen to the men who played checkers,chess,dominos.all diffrent backgrounds, typical conversation.war.WW2/korea.. where they were,who was the victims,and the reason why. my grandfolks,grandad,bayone navy yard,carpenter, did decks for aircraft carriers,hulls for pt boats. grandmother,and related women,ammunition. talk was mainly,not political, but about fasicist. and why, and how they got there. the italians, hated mousse. germans,hated hitler,and so on. but the reason for thier joining the fight, because they were so close to the generation that boated here,for freedom. and they gave something,and some, as they say,gave all. at a age where i should have been reading call of the wild, or some fantasy, i went to my library,its on the corner half block away, my refuge. quiet. you can find it,on google, its now the city hall of east orange n.j. the refrence library was upstairs, and it was a place to be in awe. you counldnt check those out, but you could sit and read. many had pictures,and many had quotes. i worked there in the basement,putting pictures on cardboard pieces,so kids could do reports,and take a something in reference durring a book report to a class,or homework. by the time i was 12, i got a adult library card. by 12 i had bought William schiller,rise and fall of the third reich. damn nun at school took it from me,said i wasnt prepared in life to read it,her very words,at a catholic school. my aunt was a nun at a school, across town,teaching. evidently,she informed that nun, you should be so lucky,he wants to know whats going aunts words,from her. i never lost the fact, unless we really take time to look at the past, we never reconize what we see today…thanks, the above piece was in every W,Schiller,at his best…

  21. “The press is so powerful in its image-making role, it can make the criminal look like he’s a the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal. This is the press, an irresponsible press. It will make the criminal look like he’s the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal. If you aren’t careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” Malcolm X.

    I will dismiss Christopher Browning and his essay. He has this to say: “Today, President Trump seems intent on withdrawing the US from the entire post–World War II structure of interlocking diplomatic, military, and economic agreements and organizations that have preserved peace, stability, and prosperity since 1945.”

    Browning is the typical America the Exceptional Elitist who is provided an outlet that portrays America as this benign peace loving giant, spreading prosperity and democracy all over the world, when nothing could be further from the truth.

    Try telling the people of South East Asia we “preserved” the peace. Our Vietnam War killed around 3.5 million human beings and countless others were wounded and still missing. Try telling the people of Iraq we brought, “peace, stability, and prosperity” to them. Millions of Iraqis killed , wounded, missing or refugees. Try telling the Libyans and Syrians we brought “peace, stability, and prosperity” to those lands. If we do not bomb them we can always play the sanctions card. The Romans had Pax Romana, we have Pox Americana spreading death and destruction worldwide.

    As some else worded it on another blog: It is easy to pump up popular enthusiasm among the ill-educated electorate to go and “fight them over there rather than fight them here.” Never mind that “they” don’t want us to come here at all but wish to hell, “we” would just leave “them” alone.

    So Browning plays the Hitler card and people are scrambling about trying to find some correlation between Germany of the 1920’s and 1930’s with the USA today.

    How it can happen here, it already has happened. We have wealth concentrated at the top and that wealth insures the 1% can control our electoral process.

    By the way another hallmark of Fascism is a Militarism. Check out this map:

  22. While those who ignore history risk repeating it that is not a given but a possibility. The victims in history are those who ignored the warnings.

    We have a choice. It’s not too late in my book. It’s time.

    The ignorance, incompetence and corruption of the Trump regime has been exposed. It may be accompanied by copious fake news but most of us can tell the difference. Most of us remember. Those who don’t, the millenials, are largely on the side of common sense and preparing for the future not trying to avoid it.

    What will victimize us is fear and apathy and the belief that we have no choice. What I read here from many.

    Mueller and Ms Pelosi are a great start to recovery. We have numerous candidates for President that we have to pay attention to and sort out this year no matter the news from the front.

    The problem is not the country or our government it is the Republican Party.

  23. We are not yet at the point that the “1% can control elections”. The 2018 elections showed that, despite rampant partisan districting, people like Kendra Horn (OK) can be elected by “we, the people”…

  24. Kathy M.,

    Hey Marv,

    “I look forward to your “To Do” list.”

    #1 You need to understand the limitations of the “intelligence” that is being offered by Morris Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center. They only deal with the symptoms like the KKK, etc. They shy away from dealing with the systemic problems caused by Evangelical Christianity, the oligarchy, or comparisons with Nazi Germany, due to his/their long-time partnership with the Anti-Defamation League. The Jewish leadership has become totally impotent because of its long-standing modus vivendi or better, Black Swan, with the Southern Baptist Convention in order to continue the massive aid to Israel. That’s the reason the Tea Party has never had a countervailing challenge and its takeover of the Republican Party hasn’t been effectively challenged.

    Back in 1991, I watching the Tony Brown Show on TV. He was an important political personality, especially with the African-American community in Chicago. His guest was Morris Dees and one of his last
    questions was, “Morris what about the system? Dees answer, “We don’t get involved in ALL OF THAT.”

    ALL OF THAT has been killing our democracy. He has a “war chest” close to a billion dollars. His positions overwhelm any other pro-democracy voice.

    He must be challenged NOW, or all will be lost.

    I’m not the only one concerned, just check the valid sources on the internet who are also sounding the alarm.

  25. In the late ’80s, Bill Moyers attempted to communicate in a similar vein, what I just did, and his integrity was viciously attacked by “The New Republic Magazine,” then a strong and outward supporter of the Likud Party in Israel.

    Bill Moyers has CIVIC COURAGE; however, he learned many years ago what the cost was to activate it.

  26. Thank you Sheila for a very thought provoking post.

    Still another striking parallel between what is happening now in this country and that which happened almost 90 years ago in Germany in that the majority of the American people, in one way or another, mirror the rampaging apathy of all those “good” Germans that we have all either heard about or read about who after the Second World War I actually wandered what had befallen them. Like us, they were completely flummoxed by the rise of the National Socialists and their victory in the 1932 election. Virtually none of them thought that Hitler and his rabble would carry the day when, as it turned out, they did and then some, setting Germany on a straight course to oblivion.

    They stood back and watched things grow worse and worse, with many of their neighbors disappearing because of their ethnicities and religious particularities but did nothing nor did they say anything as well. They essentially took every day is it came being glad that their own individual lives remained the same in spite of the growing chaos and breaches of customary humanity they saw every day.

    This is essentially where we’re at right now where we see and hear things every day that we know are diametrically opposed to what most of us were brought up to think were traditional American values yet, other than ranting about them, we have done little else. It’s like we think that the page will turn and everything will get back to normal and that is clearly not going to happen, not as long as the people that are running this country right now are in office or have political and financial sway over our government and where they continually trying to impinge on our Bill of Rights.

    Many of us seemingly forget that our government is “by the people and for the people” and where we think someone else will do what needs to be done even though it’s perfectly obvious we’re in deep trouble. Sooner or later, very likely much sooner than later, we’re going to be facing a full blown catastrophe where we will face societal collapse here at home and the loss of our long held ability to influence events worldwide which will endanger us even more. When all of this comes down on us there will be many, many of us that will be wondering out loud as to how did this happen to us just as those “good” Germans did when they were picking themselves up out of the rubble of their cities. Many of them spent the rest of their lives trying to come up with excuses as to how they had nothing to do with the atrocities and other breaches of traditional human norms that the government that they allowed to come to power perpetrated on the entire human race. Theirs were errors of omission where they stood back, watched and did nothing.

    One could easily have thought that we would have learned this lesson by now given how much has been written about it yet it’s fairly obvious that we have not and that even know we see history basically repeating itself all these years later we have to live it ourselves in order to understand the same lesson where we will, in turn, make those same lame excuses to those that follow us

  27. Tom,
    Great! I’m sure you realize that we don’t have to lose this. Trump and his followers will lose this battle based on legitimate, warning intelligence, if only we would stand-up and not make the same mistake the German people made in the ’30s. They probably have an excuse, we won’t.

  28. I would strongly suggest, that SUCCESSFULLY revealing the modus vivendi between the Southern Baptist Convention and the Anti-Defamation League, will bring down Trump and his rabid followers by causing a CASCADING effect throughout the multi-layered systems of control that they are counting on. I’ve long had a favorable, expert opinion on the results of that scenario.

  29. An interesting post yesterday re the lack of knowledge of the Holocaust among Canadian citizens.

    It isn’t only the U.S. that has been willfully ignorant. Canadians gave their lives in WWII and have forgotten why.

    Talking with a friend in CA this morning, he pointed out that we are headed for a financial collapse sooner rather than later. His background is in finance. We are both worried that the complacency generated by “jobs”, indicative of self-interest and disregard for those “others” who are suffering, is very like the 1930s. With dire financial straits coupled with xenophobia and religious and racial bigotry, the only way out will be a world-wide conflict, only this time it will be nuclear.
    I remember reading Neville Shute’s then dystopic novel, “On the Beach” in my teens. More recently, I read McCarthy’s, “The Road”. Both of those books presented scenes in graphic detail describing the aftermath of a nuclear global conflict as it affects people on a personal level. Those authors do little to explain how we got there, but show the consequences that result when we “wonder how we got there” and stand silent while our neighbors and friends suffer and die.

    It may seem insignificant, but the disconnect with the wider world is glaringly obvious on a micro level when you see how many of your neighbors have no idea that trash collection is pushed forward a day in the week following a national holiday. It happens so frequently as to be a joke in our house. Sad.

  30. JD,

    “I remember reading Neville Shut’s then dystopic novel, “On the Beach” in my teens.”

    A few days ago, I remembered the movie, “On the Beach” with Gregory Peck, playing the romantic, male, submarine captain. I took a different take on the movie though while thinking about a female friend of mine, that even romantic love can prevail, as the world is being destroyed from a nuclear holocaust. Let’s stay positive as Pete has suggested.

  31. how fitting,we have a pres,(jerk) who just reconized the congress of Venezuela,over the standing president,of that country,and pompeo, just wet his pants, how fitting, our own president cant see the same damage,from his mouth…but supports a change that would probably do better here to..

  32. The AHC network has several series about WWII, including Hitler, Nazis, Moussad hunting down Nazis after WWII, the Nuremburg trials, and so forth. One of the best is the one that explains how Hitler was able to get otherwise-reasonable Germans to hate Jews and allow them to be placed in ghettos and then concentration camps. He began by attacking radio and newspapers that criticized him, calling them “luggepresse”, which literally means “fake news”. This is the tactic employed by Faux News, Coulter, Drudge and Limbaugh, and it is working to some extent. Next, Hitler took over these media and Nazis began spewing their anti-Semitic propaganda, blaming Jews for all of Germany’s problems, including WWI. Without a free press and radio to counter the lies, this tactic worked to a sufficient extent that enough Germans didn’t try to stop the Nazis. There were some who didn’t fall for it, but by then, Nazis were so powerful that they were afraid to openly oppose them for fear of the same fate befalling them. Then comes Krystallnacht, Ghettos and concentration camps, which were not open to the press. Elie Wiesel, in his book “Night” said that even Jews didn’t know what fate awaited them at concentration camps, but if they had known, there were enough of them on the train he was on to have overpowered the guards. He and others thought it was just going to be forced labor. After disembarking from the train, his mother and sisters were directed to go to the right, directly to the showers, and he never saw them again. We also have concentration camps in this country that aren’t open to the press: they are the tent camps and other places where migrants are being held. I’m not suggesting these people are being exterminated, but we the public should have the right to know what’s going on, especially with the children. We can all guess why the press isn’t allowed in.

    Trump is just plain ignorant of history and many other things and isn’t willing to learn because of his ego and lack of altruism. Yesterday, he claimed to know more about border security than anyone. Today he said that the TSA and other employees forced to work did so because they support him and his stance on the vainglory wall. Truth is, they did so because they were told they’d be fired if they didn’t report to work. Way too many Republicans are afraid to openly oppose him or even speak out against holding federal workers hostage in order to force American taxpayers to fulfill a campaign promise that was a lie to begin with. My question is: are there enough of us who do know better, and are willing to stop him, no matter the cost? The events since the shut-down encourage me. As others have pointed out, if Pelosi and Schumer let him have his way, the next likely target will be privatization of Social Security, which Bush tried to get done with a shut down, but failed.

    It isn’t just Trump trying to do away with NATO, alliances with allies that have prevented another war, his open support of Putin, and discounting of the murder of Jamal Kashoggi, but his attacks on the mainstream media, which is villianized daily on Fox News. Yes, Sheila, I do believe there is a risk that it could happen here.

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