Trump Not Even Waiting To Get Into Office Before Threatening The First Amendment, Press Freedoms

from the quick-on-the-draw dept

During the campaign and after his win, President Elect Donald Trump has been remarkably consistent on his calls for curtailing the rights afforded to the American people and our news organizations by the First Amendment. Between threatening lawsuits over campaign ads, suggesting that political protests ought to be stopped, and mocking free speech in more general terms, the soon-to-be President has positioned himself to be a challenger to long-held freedoms for which very real blood has been shed to protect.

But it seems the President Elect is not content to wait to enter office to try to begin this erosion of the First Amendment. Amidst a week of turmoil over the publication of comments about the classified briefing he, amongst others, received detailing intelligence findings about Russian involvement in the previous election cycle, Donald Trump has called upon Congress to investigate how this information was leaked to NBC News.

“I am asking the chairs of the House and Senate committees to investigate top secret intelligence shared with NBC prior to me seeing it,” he tweeted. “Before I, or anyone, saw the classified and/or highly confidential hacking intelligence report, it was leaked out to @NBCNews. So serious!” he added on Sunday.

We should note first the dissonance in Trump’s stance and the Inception-esque nature of NBC’s reporting. Essentially, NBC was reporting on a leak of a classified briefing that accused Russia of actively hacking, and then leaking, internal DNC communications. It’s a leak about intelligence of a leak, in other words. And the DNC leaks were prominent talking points by Trump during the campaign, at times being read verbatim by the candidate at rallies, while at other times he simply read to the crowd news reports of the leaks. Those leaks were kosher, it seems, yet the NBC reports deserve Congressional investigation.

Perhaps more importantly, the prospect of Congress hauling journalists before the government to answer questions about their sources for the leaks takes the country back to a time prior to the precedent of not doing this.

Congressional committees, including the House and Senate intelligence committees, do technically have the authority to investigate the leak and subpoena NBC News reporters. But they are not likely to do so, media attorney Mark Zaid told POLITICO.

“I’d say there is little to no chance that Congress would get involved with any kind of classified media leak investigation,” he said. “Could they? Sure. Do they? No.”

In fact, the last time Congress did something like this was back in the 1970s, when a CBS reporter, Daniel Schorr, got his hands on a classified report from the House intelligence committee about illegal conduct perpetrated by the CIA. Schorr refused to name his source for the document in front of Congress, risking imprisonment, a punishment that was never actually levied. Given that the document Schorr used in his reporting, and subsequently shared with other news organizations, detailed only internal CIA practices and the government’s assessments of them, returning to this kind of dangerous meddling by the government into news reporting over a document that deals with foreign spycraft would be strange indeed.

Strange, and dangerous, according to Joseph Califano, Jr., the man who represented Schorr during the ordeal.

Califano was dismayed after hearing about Trump’s tweet.

“That is a savage attack on the First Amendment,” he said. “We’ve been through this. Reporters have confidential sources. That’s become a hallowed part of the First Amendment and the ability of reporters to report. … These committees should not be getting into that.”

“If the government wants to find out who leaked and it’s somebody in the government, and if the intelligence community wants to find out who leaked, the Justice Department can go look at the CIA and look at all the national intelligence agencies,” he said. “Not the reporter. That’s the wrong way to do it. That is really a serious erosion of a freedom that is essential.”

But, as we’ve said, President Elect Trump has shown little regard for either the First Amendment or for the customs and norms of government action. Instead, he at times looks to wield government power as though it were his personal cudgel against his perceived political enemies. For anyone interested in a thriving and free America, whatever your political proclivities, whomever you may have voted for, the warning bells should be ringing loud and clear.

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Comments on “Trump Not Even Waiting To Get Into Office Before Threatening The First Amendment, Press Freedoms”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Extremely true, but I have to say that I disagree with Tim’s argument here: the issue isn’t about the content, but about the fact that top secret documentation which only a few people should have known about was leaked to a news agency before it was received by the intended recipients.

Sure, Trump had a part in that by batching up his reports, delaying the time until he actually saw the information. But this really is an issue. It basically means that Trump can’t trust any of the classification headers on his briefings, but must assume that someone in a trusted position is leaking information to those NOT in a trusted position.

If I were in this position, it would drastically change the way I conduct briefings, and possibly cause me to clean house of ALL those who had access to the material; directors, aides, etc. It’s the only way to be sure, and it’s not like Trump hasn’t shown that he’s got other people he feels are qualified to take over.

It’s not about the first amendment, and it’s not about press freedoms: it’s about trusting the people who brief you. The investigation doesn’t even have to include NBC; it has to include those who actually leaked the info.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

There is evidence that this happened — namely, the NBC report indicated that this was information about to be handed to Obama and Trump by the security agencies. It wasn’t just a case of NBC and BuzzFeed releasing the information; they had information about what was currently being done with it too. The original courier didn’t have that info.

Rapnel (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

It was a small reflection on a mind that puts karma, fake news and the left together to attempt to assert some sort of point. After typing “fake news” for the first time, ever, I was left wondering how news that is fake suddenly became the bogeyman. And now I type that and think to myself, in my best Sarah Palin voice (and undergarments), that gosh darn it, I just want to drill somethin’. So there you go, anything you can make for sense from that then have at it.

metalliqaz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

It’s not fake news. The news report was that a dossier was included in intelligence briefings. That is 100% true. CNN didn’t make it newsworthy, the intelligence officials did when they briefed the president elect.

You know what’s ACTUALLY fake news? That Obama was born in Kenya. Or that Cruz’s father helped assassinate JFK. Or any one of a hundred blatantly false things Trump said during the campaign, and continues to say now.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:


The racist conspiritards started making that claim in early 2008 when Obama was doing well in the primaries. As your link shows, the booklet wasn’t dredged up until 2012. By Breitbart, naturally.

By mid-2008 Obama’s birth certificate had been released and validated by Vital Statistics in Hawaii. His birth announcement had been found in two local papers – placed there by Vital Statistics, not the family. Only the most sub-moronic and delusional racist conspiritards were still making the claim in 2012. In other words, Breitbart’s core audience. Including Donald Trump.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Don’t forget, after they still demanded proof and the “long form” certificate, Obama actually produced it and they still whined that there wasn’t enough proof. The man’s lineage and birth circumstances had been vetted far more than any person holding the office in history, he provided even more, yet they still weren’t satisfied.

Their proof that he wasn’t born in the US? Nothing. They “felt” the documents might not be real, and they point to interview outtakes and book misprints stating that Obama was born in Kenya (which, he was – Barack Obama senior at least. There’s no evidence that Barack Obama Jr., his son and President of the United States was).

That’s why these people are usually referred to as racists. There is literally nothing approaching sanity that would make anyone even consider that he wasn’t born in the state of Hawaii – unless you really have a problem with something visibly different between him and previous office holders.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

He didn’t provide the “long form” certificate until 2011. He provided the “short form” in 2008. In all honesty, it may have been because the Hospital couldn’t find the long form in 2008. There is a backstory to the hospital’s record keeping, but I don’t think it’s relevant to this conversation.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

He provided his birth certificate in mid-2008. It was authenticated at the time by Vital Statistics in Hawaii. Full stop.

Make no mistake; this was THE birth certificate. The official record. If you were born in Hawaii at any time and requested a copy of your birth certificate, what the birthers mislabel as the "short form" is what you would receive. Regardless of the original format on file.

The original was still on file, and in 2008 the registrar stated that she had seen it. I think even the Republican governor of Hawaii stated that he had seen it.

But yes, not doubt there IS a back-story:

Consider Val McClatchey, who took the only known picture of the smoke cloud from the explosion of Flight 93 on 9/11. Because this contradicted the conspiritards, they’ve endlessly stalked and harassed her. The same happened to the 2008 registrar who authenticated Obama’s birth certificate. The same happens to parents of children killed in the Newtown Massacre.

And no doubt it would have happened to the retired doctor and registrar on the original birth certificate.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Hey man, I’m not arguing one way or the other. I don’t buy into any of this crap. I’m just doing a bit of research and sharing what I find.

“If you were born in Hawaii at any time and requested a copy of your birth certificate, what the birthers mislabel as the “short form” is what you would receive. Regardless of the original format on file.”

Don’t get mad at me for this, but this statement is not entirely correct. See statement below.

“But there are particular times when the long form is required, such as “for foreign adoptions or applications for dual citizenship,”

I will point out however, and I’ll assume we are in agreement on this, the long form IS NOT required to be supplied as proof to be the President, just the short. So once the short form was supplied, the conversation should have ended.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Now hang on. I don’t think the AC is a liar. The original promotional booklet ran with an incorrect birth place for Obama in 1991. It was a mistake in print, but no one really called it out or brought it to the forefront, as it probably didn’t matter, until the primaries. The “racist cosniritards” lol, dredged it up sure, but they didn’t invent the print they just pointed it out and used it as ammunition.

The AC didn’t say it was true, he just stated he thinks, and he said it as a matter of fact but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, that that is the reason people believed he was not born in the U.S. You think he’s a liar because of that?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

I think the AC was meaning it was part of the evidence used to support the Birthers claims. Maybe I’m giving him to much benefit of the doubt?

But look. I’m just pointing out the evidence and the time line that I’m finding in my research. I would like to also point out that the “birthers” that started this were Democrat, not Republican. The Republicans may have ran with it, but they didn’t start it.

If you want more sources, you can google it and see. I stopped at 2 as I don’t have much time to post right now.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:


A low-level local official in the Democratic Party down south made some claims at the beginning of 2008, which were quickly shot down and disproven. That does not begin to excuse the firehose of racist conspirtard wingnuttery coming from all over the right, from WorldNetDaily and Breitbart to the current president-elect.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I don’t buy into any of this crap, but I did read up on it a bit to see what all the hub-bub was about.

Politifact has a good history of this.

“There is no evidence that Clinton or her 2008 campaign ever floated the theory. While Clinton supporters circulated the allegations the last time she ran for president, they had no ties to either the candidate or her staff.”

The only thing I questions is the below statement. They say “Clinton supporters circulated the allegations”, then they say that “they had no ties to either candidate”.

So a rogue supporter did this maybe?


“Clinton supporters circulated the rumor in the last days of the 2008 Democratic primary and after Clinton had conceded to Obama. But the record does not show Clinton or her campaign ever promoting the birther theory, let alone starting it.”

So Clinton “supporters” circulated it? I think that is much different than Clinton personally starting it, but I can see where someone may think that.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“like all good lies, it started with the left”

But it takes a true right winger to pick it up and run with long after saner minds have considered it a non-issue and proven it not to be true. You’ll notice that they dropped the issue almost as soon as it was raised, whereas Palin’s supporters ran with it for years.

Nice deflection though – but you’re basically saying that even if you’re dumb enough to believe in the false dichotomy, “the right” can’t even come up with their own half-assed lies.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I don’t mind the difference between Right and Left views, sometimes one or the other manage to change my mind on specific issues. It’s the extremists that bug me. Either you think as they do, or your shit. Both sides have it bad, and neither side will ever change. Luckily, they are the minority, a vocal minority, but still a minority.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Trump took it and ran with it. No denying that. That it was fake didn’t stop him.

He’s been flinging shit around like a monkey with diarrhea. It was inevitable that he’d get some on himself at some point.

I’m laughing like hell at you, trying to defend this piss-poor (see what I did there?) excuse of a person.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

IT’s not fake news, though. But the Hate Machine have been using fake news for so long (Like, 2000, when Fox News went to the FL SC for their Constitutional right to not have to tell the truth as a news outlet) that anything that harms ‘their’ representatives must be fake news.

The fact that the President-elect decided to move int he same direction as Putin and Erdogan is telling of the nature of the character. And this is the person that not even 50% of the tallied votes voted for.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Oh we’re not crying about it. No, no, no no.

I’m laughing like hell at the irony.

Remember when Trump was saying Obama was born in Kenya?
Ted Cruz’s dad linked to the JFK assassin?
All I know is what’s on the Internet?

The chickens have come home to roost, and until I see proof otherwise, Trump likes piss games.

Yes karma’s a bitch and she has her eyes fixated on the PeeOTUS.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Talk about fake news

Nonsense. Even if the original dossier turns out to be fake, when REAL intelligence agencies are briefing the President-elect on it, reporting that they’re doing so is real news.

You know, just like the claims that Obama was born in Kenya. Sure, those claims from WorldNetDaily and others were fake news, repeated only by racist delusional conspiritards. But once those racist delusional conspiritards included someone prominent like Donald Trump, the existence of the claim was very much real news.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Talk about fake news

Even other news organizations turned down this story because it was so bad. But the Clinton News Network bought it hook, line and sinker. But hey, run an uncorroborated story and make yourself look stupid. So now CNN has lost credibility as a press reporter. Made for a great soundbite though when Trump called CNN fake news. 🙂

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Talk about fake news

The news organizations turned down the story months earlier because it was unverified.

But now government intelligence agencies have briefed the President, President-elect and senate leaders on the dossier. While that doesn’t verify the allegations, it makes them a real newsworthy story.

As for your CNN wingnuttery…

Back in 2007 news broke that Halliburton had lost $billions in government money shipped to Iraq. Entire cargo pallets of money disappeared. A major embarrassment for Bush’s administration, let alone former CEO and still stock-holder Dick Cheney.

And then Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith died.

Even the Daily Show – a comedy show – covered the Iraq money story and showed footage of Halliburton and military officials each giving their “I dunno…” in front of Congress. Foreign news services like The Guardian and BBC covered the story. But American news services ignored it.

CNN instead switched to 24-7 dead bimbo coverage for the week, and did not have room for the Iraq money story.

If anything they’re partisan towards the Republicans. They just don’t look it when compared to Fox News. But then you probably migrated to Breitbart years ago because Fox News was too lib’rul.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Talk about fake news

You go to great lengths to excuse the lies and fake news from the media and your candidates. No wonder you are losing so badly.

Tell me – if you knew he liked piss so much, would you still have voted for him?

Karma’s a bitch, isn’t it?

Chickens have come home to roost right on the PeeoTUS’s head.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Talk about fake news

The problem is that "fake news" doesn’t really have a clear definition. It’s a meaningless term.

Following the election, the term was popularized as a reference to sites designed to deliberately trick readers into thinking they were respected news sources, populated with entirely fictional stories.

That’s not the same thing as bad reporting, or false reporting, or reporting of unsubstantiated allegations.

And, not for nothin’, guys like Stewart, Colbert, and Oliver have been using the phrase "fake news" for some time to refer to satirical programming that apes the style of news programming, which is yet another different thing.

I think fake news is a bad, unclear, and often misleading term. There are clearer phrases you can use, instead of just parroting political talking points.

JMT says:

Re: Re: Talk about fake news

“The problem is that “fake news” doesn’t really have a clear definition. It’s a meaningless term.”


not genuine; imitation or counterfeit.
“she got on the plane with a fake passport”
synonyms: forgery, counterfeit, copy, sham, fraud, hoax, imitation, mock-up, dummy, reproduction, lookalike, likeness
antonyms: genuine

newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent events.
“I’ve got some good news for you”
a broadcast or published report of news.
plural noun: the news
‘He was back in the news again”
synonyms: report, announcement, story, account

The words are clearly defined so putting them together makes something also pretty clearly defined. What fake news is not is facts and opinions that someone doesn’t agree with or doesn’t want to believe, which is the definition that many, Trump supporters in particular, seem to be suddenly using. Intelligent people know exactly what fake news actually is, even if they’re deliberately abusing the term for their supposed benefit. Idiots may genuinely not understand the difference.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: Talk about fake news

synonyms: forgery, counterfeit, copy, sham, fraud, hoax, imitation, mock-up, dummy, reproduction, lookalike, likeness

In other words, anything from The Onion ("imitation") to a layout proof filled with lorem ipsum ("mock-up") to a site that just reposts other sites’ stories with an aggregator and misattributes them ("copy"). Because words have more than one meaning.

Intelligent people know exactly what fake news actually is, even if they’re deliberately abusing the term for their supposed benefit. Idiots may genuinely not understand the difference.

Yes, and this abuse and ignorance are possible because "fake news" is a nebulous, ambiguous term.

If you mean forgery or counterfeit, say forgery or counterfeit. It may not be as concise, but it’s a lot clearer.

This is the entirely predictable result of a poorly-chosen phrase.

JMT says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Talk about fake news

I don’t think it’s nebulous or ambiguous at all. The term fake news was originally applied quite literally; it was an item of news that was completely made up with little to no truthful substance. It’s been highjacked by dishonest assholes who try to discredit factual stories or opinion pieces they don’t like the content of. The definition only changes if you decide those people abusing it for their own dishonest purposes can get away with it. Saying the definition is nebulous or ambiguous is letting them win at the expense of the truth.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Talk about fake news

I don’t think it’s nebulous or ambiguous at all.

The thing about communication is it requires more than one person to engage in it. It’s not what you think that matters.

The term fake news was originally applied quite literally; it was an item of news that was completely made up with little to no truthful substance.

By "originally" you mean when the term entered heavy rotation this past November, right? As I said, Stewart and Colbert self-applied the term "fake news" for years prior to that. Colbert himself has expressed some annoyance at the phrase’s recent usage; I don’t remember his exact phrasing but it was something like, "Fake news is what we do. This is just lying."

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Talk about fake news

I thought fake news is rumor or counterfactual claims that are presented as genuine news.

The Onion might qualify as fake news if it’s not recognized as satire, though since The Onion does satire exclusively, and most readers recognize most Onion articles immediately as satire, it doesn’t qualify as fake news.

I’m not so sure about tabloid news. My impression is that many people who read it believe it.

A more classic term for fake news would be false propaganda which is to say, news releases that are intended to sway minds towards an ideology, where the details are counterfactual.

What seems important about fake news is not merely that it’s false, but it’s intended to sway minds how to vote and how to act. There’s a term for that…

Incitement? Instigation?

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Talk about fake news

“CNN running the fake Buzz Feed article is the very definition of fake news.”

CNN talked only about the existence of the documents Buzzfeed leaked and speculation on the credibility of those documents; it did so because those documents are newsworthy if they are legit (and no one has come forward with evidence to disprove them, including Trump). CNN neither mentioned details contained in the documents nor said that all the documents are completely factual. If anything, the way CNN reported on the documents is the “fair and balanced” or “objective” take on the matter that people complain does not exist in the press any more.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Talk about fake news

They would be newsworthy if they were legit and just a little investigative journalism, which is dead, would have shown they weren’t. They were had by 4chan because the left hates Trump so much they will believe anything they are told about him. But sure, keep telling yourself that your fake news would never lie to you. Good stuff. Good stuff.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Talk about fake news

“they will believe anything they are told about him.”

Wow, you so changed my mind – I’m convinced.
And those damn videos that someone faked, you know .. of donny bragging about grabbing womens crotches, and the video of donny making fun of that handicapped dude – all fake.

Wow, how dare those libtards lie to the american people like that, no wonder donny won the popular vote by so many millions.

But the one thing that is endearing about donny is the fact that he is straight forward in answering all questions succinctly and thoroughly. He never deflects, for example, he could simply respond to every question with a little tidbit about how horrible Hillary is, but he does not – he has the strength of ten bulls resisting the temptation to attack other like a child .. unlike Hillary!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Talk about fake news

“CNN running the fake Buzz Feed article”

Did CNN run an article purported to be from Buzz Feed but was actually fake? This is horrendous!

Is “the left” more or less worried than “the right” about the news, fake or not, that Donny likes golden showers?

Does Kellyanne Conway, Chief Deflection and Projection Manager, make up that bullshit all on her own or does she get help from elementary school children? It is rather impressive how she can come up with astonishing levels of bullshit seemingly on the spot. Scary but impressive.

Steve Marz says:

Guiliani to head Trumps Cybersecurity team. What does Gulliani know about Cybersecurity?

Please read this link

Techdirt, what does former NYC MAYOR RUDY GUILIANI know about Cybersecurity. I did not know Guilianni was a Cybersecurity expert? Can any Techdirt comment or answer this question? Thanks

Anonymous Coward says:

To date the missing piece of the Russian interference narrative has been the compelling evidence that there is more to any of this than angry anonymous person(s) whose candidate did not win the day. When the main stream media has run out of ammunition to the point that Pissgate stories, promptly rebutted by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper as not true, have to be floated to keep outrage alive it’s time to take a hard look at how far from credibility ‘journalism’ has ventured.

The over the top outrage being peddled has the effect of normalizing Trump. He becomes relatable when such outlandish claims are reported which are completely devoid of supporting documentation aside from repeating a claim with enough frequency as to become as annoying as “Head-on, Applied Directly to the Forehead”.

As a Democrat I’m frustrated. There are real issues and criticisms I want addressed that are dispersed and overwhelmed by all the pissing in the wind.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

considering Trump always lies, what he says is useless anyway.

More accurately: considering Trump’s reality continuously changes, what he says is useless anyway.

The press will need to start taking a more empirical approach to the presidency, ignoring what he telegraphs he’ll do for what orders he’s made, and what those orders mean (or could mean) on the context of prior, related orders.

It might be a good era for career hackers as well if they can intercept intra-office communications.

Considering the duplicitous nature of US national politics such a change may prove to be ultimately for the better. Pics or it didn’t happen: we believe the intents of our officials only when we see results.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: The US Two-party system hasn't worked for a while.

I broke my mouse mashing the insightful button. I voted for Trump. But ONLY because I loathed Hillary and her crookedness. I truly wish there was another major candidate that I could have vote for. Hell, I usually vote Repub., but I probably would have voted for the Bern. He’s a little to far left for me, but I believe he loves this country more than himself, and that would have been enough.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: The US Two-party system hasn't worked for a while.

It pissed me off that Clinton was handled with kid gloves when she fell under fire of the CFAA and Espionage acts while we have activists and whistleblowers who languish in prison for doing no more than she did.

But where Clinton was one of America’s elite and immune to the common law that oppresses the rest of us Trump is, by comparison, a monster. He loves only himself, and was happy to marginalize (if not outlaw) large blocs of Americans to win the election.

I worry that he is so addicted to winning and afraid of losing that he will scorch the earth, possibly literally, when his hour is done.

I came to terms with my distaste for Clinton’s position in the elite because it was a choice between a bandit and a demon from beyond the pale. At least the bandit could be negotiated with. At least she’d respond to activist pressure.

To be fair, though, I’ve not been able to trust the Republican party since Bush. He, too, was voted in with a majority and campaigned as a slightly-right moderate, a compassionate conservative, but once in office he went far right, and that was even before 9/11.

Since 2001, (more thanks to Tom Delay than bush) the GOP doesn’t compromise. They don’t negotiate across the line, and they prioritize partisanship over governance, so yeah, a Republican dominated regime has gone from inconvenient to outright hostile.

Anon says:

Re: Re: The US Two-party system hasn't worked for a while.

Trump isn’t, he didn’t even have the support of much of his own party. He ran one of the most frugal campaigns in recent memory, while slaying juggernauts in the primaries and then the Clinton behemoth. His victory should be celebrated as giving hope to underdog, anti-establishment candidates everywhere!

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: The US Two-party system hasn't worked for a while.

Except that he played on the marginalization of huge swaths of Americans in order to appeal to the proles and endorsed violence against anyone who spoke against him. Trump rallies were markedly similar to National Socialist rallies in the 1930s.

He is anti-establishment, but he’s not reform anti-establishment, he’s watch-the-world-burn anti-establishment, and I’m terrified we’re going to soon be regretting the loss of those parts of establishment that we liked.

Anon says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The US Two-party system hasn't worked for a while.

As a historian, I find it tragic that Mericans’ understanding of my favorite subject is limited to a caricature of one era thanks to deficient education and Hollywood. Idiocracy nailed it in the scene with battling American and Nazi T-Rex’s. I can only imagine how Germans visiting the States must feel when they see idiots obsessing over twelve years of their great past.

It is true that low-IQ Hillary voters did attack rallies in San Jose, Chicago, Albuquerque, etc., but they were egged on by her campaign, and probably her benefactors, that’s where the blame should be placed.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 The US Two-party system hasn't worked for a while.

Were there incidents in which Clinton offered to pay the legal fees of someone who committed assault at one of her rallies? Or something similar happened?

I may not be a professional historian, but considering the magnitude of the tragedy in Germany, it’s something certainly worth studying, if nothing else to understand how to prevent it from happening again.

And we are seeing a number of comparable symptoms today.

David says:

Re: Re:

As if it ever stopped. Hate, xenophobia, chauvinism are natural urges hardwired into our tribal natures. They are part of a successful survival strategy in a world we no longer live in.

We can manage seeing food on display without stuffing ourselves before the register, and we manage not tackling prospective members of the opposite sex on sight (well, some do, and others put them out of sight).

But this hate thing just doesn’t seem to be as obvious in the repertoire of things people need to internalize in order to count as members of civilization.

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