David Frum on Trump’s Authoritarian Tendencies

Recorded on February 1st, 2017

If you think David Frum is being alarmist or hysterical about authoritarianism, ask yourself this: If this weren’t Trump and we were talking about some other would-be authoritarian who had the goal of seizing control of the U.S. government for their own enrichment, how would their maneuvers look different than what Trump and his advisors have orchestrated over the past few months, weeks and days?

Do not be lulled into apathy or fatigued by the series of shock-and-awe distractions of this administration. This is real.

Why Protest Every Little Thing?

Recorded on January 30th, 2017

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As I stood in the crowd tonight at the ICE Out of RVA/sanctuary city protest outside the Richmond Federal Court House, I kept coming back to the question of what I was protesting exactly, and why I was there. I’m no expert on immigration or vetting or knowing precisely how dangerous a person must be before they should be denied entry into the US. All I have to go on is what little I can read in the free press, and what smarter people than me have figured out.

I’ve read arguments from said smart people that say: it’s not a Muslim ban/that’s not what the law says; it’s not necessarily all bad, it’s just that it was executed badly; it’s no worse than when Obama kept Iraqis out in 2011; it’s immoral/we should let everyone in, especially refugees; this is exactly what ISIS wants; the rest of the world hates us worse now; Germany has had it with us; this punishes the wrong people, etc.

After digesting those varied thoughts, the one constant underneath it all for me is: this executive order cannot be judged on its own. It is one more in a series of rushed, ill-conceived commandments handed down from a White House of deplorables, with the express purpose of exciting Trump’s base, inciting anger, and stoking chaos. Any calm talk and benefits-of-the-doubt about how necessary and effective it is go out the window, because Trump squandered any remaining cache of goodwill long before election night and he has only turned up the volume since. Now we also know how he and Bannon and Sessions intentionally rammed this through, secretly, and did an end-run around the key people who should have been consulted first and could have helped it go more smoothly (even though it’s still flat-out wrong). And they piled on lie after lie to attempt to make the ban sound more benign.

We must protest the ban immediately and continuously in order to shut it down as fast as possible, as we should do with almost every initiative Trump has in store. I want his cabinet appointments and executive orders and Supreme Court justices to fail — spectacularly. I want to wear him out so he gets tired and throws up his hands and gives in. We must put ourselves out there at these protests so we can be seen as often as possible, spreading the message that we reject all of this. All of it, because none of it is good.

As @sarahkendzior said,

They are not fighting for you. They are not fighting for the US. They are white supremacist kleptocrats who revel in sadism for its own sake

Trumpcast — Not the New Normal: How the Media Should Cover the Trump Presidency (Live Edition)

Recorded on January 30th, 2017

I do wish they had just used the phrase “free press” every time instead of “media”, but there’s good stuff in this episode of Trumpcast:

Live from the Skirball Center at New York University – A handful of New York’s top editors talk about how journalists and the media at large can play a bigger role in making sure that fact prevails over fiction in the coming months and years under a Trump administration.

This conversation was moderated by CNN’s Brian Stelter.

And the panel included: Jacob Weisberg, Chairman of The Slate Group and host/creator of Trumpcast, Lydia Polgreen, Huffington Post Borja Echevarría, VP and Editor in Chief, Univision Digital and David Remnick, Editor, The New Yorker

Profits from this event went to benefit the Committee to Protect Journalists.