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Now We Know Why Trump Admires Putin, Kim, And The Chinese Regime

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Now We Know Why Trump Admires Putin, Kim, And The Chinese Regime

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Now at last we know why Donald Trump so greatly admires Vladimir Putin. The Russian authoritarian doesn’t just talk about putting his political adversaries in prison. Putin has actually jailed the opposition — and that is an expression of power Trump would like to emulate. Last night, in the darkest moment of an angry and sometimes ugly performance, the belligerent billionaire uttered a threat never before heard in an American presidential debate.

“If I win,” spat Trump, “I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation,” referring to the email investigation closed earlier this year by FBI director James Comey.

When Clinton replied that this thuggish outburst showed why we should be glad that someone with his temperament is not in charge of this country’s law enforcement, he retorted, “Because you would be in jail.”

So not only would President Trump — just like his role model President Putin — pervert the justice system to pursue a political vendetta, by appointing a prosecutor to investigate his opponent, but he already knows how the investigation and trial would conclude — just like in Putin’s Russia.

So now we understand exactly why Trump would tell us that Putin is “a strong leader,” why he would praise the “strength” of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and the Chinese Communist bosses who massacred students at Tienanmen Square, and why he would approvingly tweet a tough-guy quote from Benito Mussolini.

As Trump is surely aware, there is a long list of Russian journalists, opposition figures, businessmen, and human rights activists who have been imprisoned under suspicious circumstances or simply gunned down on the street. There is a violent undercurrent in Russian political culture, encouraged by the Kremlin, that suppresses opposition to the regime.

That menacing tone has been visible for months at Trump’s rallies, in the spectacle of his supporters screaming “jail her” or worse about Clinton, in the death threats against Trump critics on the left and right, and in his own language and attitude — culminating in the threat he uttered against her tonight while hulking around the stage.

The mistake made by commentators in their immediate analysis of the debate was to suggest that Trump’s onstage aggression might somehow eclipse that disgusting tape released last Friday and his disgusting remarks about assaulting women with impunity because he is a “star.” He couldn’t even force himself to express honest remorse about the tape, because he doesn’t see anything repugnant in that “locker room banter.”

But the violent misogynist attitude he expressed on that tape is fully consistent with the politically abusive attitude he voiced in the debate. Both represent the mindset of a vulgar authoritarian who respects no traditional boundaries of taste, decency, morality, or constitutional legality.

In August 2015, when I first used the word “fascist” to describe Trump’s style, he had not yet fully revealed himself. Now we can see him not only as the menacing clown he is, but as the dictatorial gangster he wishes to be.

If Trump is somehow elected president — perhaps with the help of his Russian friends — he would be a law unto himself and a mortal danger to democracy.

We can never say he didn’t warn us.

IMAGE: Artist Pyotr Pavlensky sits inside a defendants’ cage before a court hearing, in Moscow, Russia, June 8, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

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Joe Conason

A highly experienced journalist, author and editor, Joe Conason is the editor-in-chief of The National Memo, founded in July 2011. He was formerly the executive editor of the New York Observer, where he wrote a popular political column for many years. His columns are distributed by Creators Syndicate and his reporting and writing have appeared in many publications around the world, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Nation, and Harpers.

Since November 2006, he has served as editor of The Investigative Fund, a nonprofit journalism center, where he has assigned and edited dozens of award-winning articles and broadcasts. He is also the author of two New York Times bestselling books, The Hunting of the President (St. Martins Press, 2000) and Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth (St. Martins Press, 2003).

Currently he is working on a new book about former President Bill Clinton's life and work since leaving the White House in 2001. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, including MSNBC's Morning Joe, and lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

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41 Comments

  1. Eleanore Whitaker October 10, 2016

    In last night’s debate, Trump stated, “I don’t know Putin. I have never done business in Russia and I don’t know Russia.” He is full of “it.” Then, toward the end of the debate, he went on to say he admires Putin. If you don’t know someone, how do you form the opinion you admire them? This guy is nuttier than a fruitcake.

    The GOP knows it cannot win this election if Trump stays in. Last night, he was doing the penitent soul act and trying to cleanse the stain of his world class filthy mouth and mind. Didn’t work Donnie Boy…too many women know that act all too well.

    Reply
    1. patrick g van meter October 10, 2016

      You form an opinion by learning as much as you can. Good and bad. You have to read everything you can find regardless of any preconceived opinions or beliefs learned from the MSM. My opinion of Trump is based on his history and actions that are readily available to everyone. I can’t stand the guy and these last two debates have made it worse. I still don’t know him. That said, he is correct on Putin. Putin should be admired. I don’t know Putin either but if you listen to the presstitutes in Washington and for the most part, the MSM, I doubt you will hear anything that resembles the truth about Putin. The people in power can’t wait to go to war with Russia. I would take HRC over Trump any day but she is wrong on Russia. I hope all of us don’t have to suffer because this.

      1. dbtheonly October 10, 2016

        No one wants war.

        But Putin’s Russia has invaded Georgia. It has invaded Ukraine. It’s threatened the Baltic Countries.

        At some point someone has to stand up to Putin. Right now, the French are leading.

        1. patrick g van meter October 10, 2016

          No one except the US. Maybe Russia is trying to catch up with the US. With some where in the neigborhood of 900 military bases around the world and getting closer and closer to Russia with nuclear war heads pointed at Russia, maybe some one should stop the US. I know we didn’t like it to much when the Soviet Union was in Cuba with weapons pointed at us. It is fairly obvious what the US is up to. IMO. Like Chomsky says, It is ok as long as we are the ones doing it.

          1. dbtheonly October 10, 2016

            Tell it to the Ukranians.

            Tell it to the, now free, peoples of Eastern Europe threatened by the Russians. They’re asking for NATO membership.

            US bases are on site at the request of the foreign countries.

          2. patrick g van meter October 10, 2016

            The US is trying to force these countries into NATO and Putin knows it. The US is out of line to even be in that part of the world. NATO or not.

          3. dbtheonly October 10, 2016

            How much are the Russians paying you? Isn’t it interesting to use a “nom de blog” that looks American?

            The US is out of line to help defend those asking for assistance?

            Next you’ll be telling us that the Poles attacked the Soviet Union in 1939.

          4. patrick g van meter October 11, 2016

            What ever you do, don’t question authority. We don’t seem to mind giving assistance to everyone based on our MIC budget. As long as they realize what they have to give away to receive that assistance. I often wonder what that money could have done here with education, healthcare and rebuilding our antiquated dilapidated infrastructure.

            I do appreciate your words. They will help me work even harder to change things. Thanks

          5. dbtheonly October 11, 2016

            Changing Russian support for the brutal dictator Assad in Syria would be a start.

      2. A. D. Reed October 10, 2016

        “Putin should be admired.”

        Putin is admired, by 82% of the “respondents” in Russian polls. Of course, the other 18% are either in prison, exile, or graves.

        No, Patrick, Putin should not be admired. He should be feared and opposed at every level. He is a KGB thug who fancies himself tsar of the new Russian empire. If you admire him, I truly wonder what is wrong with you. And, though I don’t know you, I’m already forming an opinion of you.

        1. patrick g van meter October 10, 2016

          The fact is the US has more people in prison than any other country on earth. Don’t concern yourself with me. You should do a little research on Putin. You have been brainwashed by the MSM. Why do you fear Putin? Putin isn’t trying to police the world, we are.

          1. A. D. Reed October 10, 2016

            The US has more people in prison per capita because of the drug war originated by Republican Richard Nixon and intensified by Reagan and the Bushes. i don’t defend our awful record of incarceration.

            However, that has nothing to do with Putin’s having political opponents and journalists arrested, exiled, and murdered. I have three friends with family members living and working in Russia, and I read widely on what goes on there. I’m not brainwashed, just aware. As a paid troll for him, you really should know better than to try to convince patriotic Americans that Putin is a good guy whom we should admire and respect.

            Whether or not I subscribe to the “world’s policeman” role for the US, I do know that since I was born in 1953 we have done more to bring freedom to more people around the globe than any other nation, and the former USSR, and today’s tsarist Russia, have done the least.

          2. patrick g van meter October 11, 2016

            People like you amaze me. I was born in 41 and have watched what the US has done around the world while ignoring the problems in the US. Did you notice the percentage of blacks that are incarcerated as opposed to whites? I doubt it.

            I don’t believe it is the US responsibility to to change regimes around the world to suit what we think it should be. We have enough problems without getting involved in everyone elses.

            I wouldn’t spend any of my valuable time trying to convince anyone to do anything. I just voice my opinion based on my observations. Keep in mind the country was formed by people that didn’t agree with the status quo. Not patriots. I have the right to state my opinion whether you like it or not. I don’t have to be paid.

          3. A. D. Reed October 11, 2016

            You’re welcome to your opinion. It was the opinion that isolationists used to try to keep us out of World War II because “it’s not the US responsibility” to challenge Hitler, or support our allies (the Republican isolationists opposed Lend-Lease), or offend our trading partners (the Bush family were very close to the Krupps of Germany).

            Indeed I am very aware of the disparity in incarceration, probably from a far closer viewpoint than you can bring to bear. I work for a black-owned media business, I have been incarcerated myself, I have been deeply involved in civil rights activism for a quarter of a century. We do indeed have problems in this country. We also have the wherewithal to deal with more than one problem at once. When we work together as one nation there is very little we can’t accomplish. When we allow certain groups — isolationists, industrialists, Wall Streeters, bigots, other special interests like the for-profit prison system and the charter schools industry — to block consensus, buy powerful opposition, and divide the country, it becomes almost impossible to achieve the great goals.

            I remember the “space race” and the decision to “put a man on the moon” in eight years. We did it. Before my memories begin we went to Europe and Asia and defeated the Axis, saving millions of lives and liberating hundreds of millions from tyranny. Eisenhower got the country to invest in the Interstate highway system. And locally, my community has accomplished incredible things over the decades, coming back from the dead in the 1980s to being one of the most-sought vacation spots in the country, as well as an internationally known center for climate research, honeybee research, sustainable agriculture, brewing, education, etc.

            Fifty years ago our state (NC) decided to break from the pattern of its neighbors and become “the New South”; both Democrats and Republicans worked together to build the Research Triangle Park, create hundreds of thousands of jobs, make progress in civil rights, educate our children … until the Republicans took over in 2010 and have tried to turn it into Alabama by dividing the electorate.

            You seem to be one of those who has given up on America’s promise and its future. I have not.

          4. patrick g van meter October 11, 2016

            I’m more concerned about the future of man-kind. I wish the US was. Good on you and the people of NC for attempting to change things for the better of everyone. If nothing else, it proves it is possible.

            At this point I am an isolationist because I think it is time. WW11 is not a good example at this point IMO because of the nuclear threat and climate change that exists today. Never, have human beings been closer to destroying ourselves than we are today. Now with the rise of China and their partnership with Russia, it is a no win situation. I’m hoping diplomacy can work because the end game includes everyone. That said, your right, I’m not optimistic.

            Hope you fared well through the hurricane.

          5. A. D. Reed October 11, 2016

            That’s a valid concern, but it seems to me that the U.S. will address climate change far more aggressively under a Clinton presidency and with Democrats controlling Congress than it would if the Republicans or a libertarian like Johnson were in charge. Trump’s infatuation with Putin makes me doubt he’d do a thing about climate change, and Pence is a denier! So just in terms of what we can do and will do, isolationism is the worst imaginable position to take on a problem that has global origins and is only susceptible to global, i.e., international cooperation. The same is true of the nuclear threat.

            So let’s get back to the conversation we started with: how can any thinking person — and you clearly are one — believe that Trump or Putin has any interest at all in combating climate change? If anything, Putin will try to use it for his own political purposes, exploiting the availability of fresh water, for example from Baikal and the arctic regions, to sell to nations where salinity of the water supply is a huge danger. There are already companies, many owned by hedge-fund managers, that are buying up freshwater rights around the globe, and even buying them in California to ship the fresh water overseas for a profit. This kind of privatization of the one essential to life on earth — fresh water — must be stopped by international cooperation and complete repudiation of the moves that Putin will make through his oligarchs. How can the U.S. do that as an isolationist nation? Just doesn’t make sense, Patrick.

            I appreciate your concern: I’m in the western NC mountains, so we got only a small amount of rain and some 30-mph winds. We’re fine here, thanks.

          6. patrick g van meter October 12, 2016

            I said I thought Trump was correct when he spoke about Putin. By that I mean at least having dialogue with Putin. That doesn’t mean I support Trump. I have never cared for the guy. Don’t care much for HRC either. This is another conversation but I wanted to be very clear that I wouldn’t even consider a vote for Trump for many reasons. Climate change would be one of those reasons. IMO climate change will be addressed even by deniers. The time will come when everyone will have to be on board all though I realize the sooner the better.

            I have lived in Baja Ca. Mexico for over 20 years. Most of the small towns on the Pacific side are and have been in a drought for many years. Desalinization plants have supplied water to these people for many years. There is a huge plant being built to supply water to Ensenada. This is a very large city. This is just one solution among many.

            Putin and his oligarchs are no different than the oligarchs we have here. Whether it is solar power or pharmacueticals, they are always looking for a way to make more money. When they figure out how to make money off solar power, they will gouge us some more. Your point is well taken as far as isolation is concerned. At this stage of the game, I doubt it is possible even if we tryed.

        2. dbtheonly October 10, 2016

          Isn’t encouraging to see that the Russkies think enough of us and our opinion to put one of their paid operatives on the site to tell us of the glories of Russia under Putin?

          I wonder if hacking into the DNC and our voting machines is in the same building?

    2. Dan S October 10, 2016

      Nuttier than a fruitcake pretty much sums up his mental state. Even Nixon on his worst day seemed in more control if that’s possible than Trump has been. And he wants to call himself the law & order candidate ????

  2. charleo1 October 10, 2016

    If I happened to see an obviously deranged person skulking, and lurking around like Trump did at the Town Hall debate, I’d call the Police! There is something that has gone seriously wrong with this man that should be looked into by his family.

    Reply
    1. Mama Bear October 10, 2016

      I was expecting him to physically attack her any second. He looked like a madman and you are right, I would call the police if I saw someone acting like that.

      1. Dan S October 10, 2016

        Thank you for saying that. Those were my thoughts too. It doesn’t take a licensed therapist to know that he is seriously unstable & maybe after the election he might get the help he needs. America doesn’t need a loose cannon with mental issues leading this great country of ours

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    2. Karen October 10, 2016

      If body language means anything, his said a lot. The first thing I saw was a man boy hiding behind his chair. Then it got even more uncomfortable as he looked like a boxer who had already gone too many rounds trying to stay on his feet.

      1. Dan S October 10, 2016

        He was pretty creepy as he hovered over Mrs. Clinton throughout the debate looking menacing. He’s a wounded animal who’s become very unpredictable & we’re in uncharted territory with this person & have no idea what he’s capable of doing

    3. dpaano October 11, 2016

      Actually, both his sons are pretty much the same…..he’s trained them well!

      1. charleo1 October 11, 2016

        It’s obvious the apples didn’t fall far from the tree. Bill Maher calls them Uday & Qusay…

      2. Anna Maria Yoakum October 12, 2016

        Sadly true. Like father, like son.

  3. That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.
    ~~H.P. Lovecraft

    Strange, how Fascism has risen, unbidden, from the grave. How very Halloween.

    Reply
    1. dbtheonly October 10, 2016

      Fascism never died. It merely slept, awaiting the proper alignment to return.

      In drowned Berlin, Fascism lies dreaming.

  4. opinioned1 October 10, 2016

    Trump is an embarrassment to every American citizens who values the words in our Constitution. He has no place even being in the same debate as Hillary. Trump came across as a gd bully who thinks only his words and actions matter. I can`t think of even one question he was asked that got a straight answer. Unfit to ever set in the WH.

    My early vote was cast for the right person, the next and first female POTUS, and against all the 24/7 republican obstructionist on the ticket. The only thing last nights hate fest proved to me-Trumps deplorable`s are still deplorable, and he`s still a sexual predator.

    Reply
    1. Dan S October 10, 2016

      Amen to that. Even before that nut job declared his candidacy I never liked him. Nor did I ever even once watch The Apprentice. He’s so toxic that his replacement on the show Arnold who’s had a sordid past himself with women won’t vote for him. Now that’s gotta hurt ????

    2. Daniel Jones October 10, 2016

      Trump should be banned from the White House Tour and the Smithsonian. (He is such an affront to truth we cannot trust him near the exhibits!)

  5. yabbed October 10, 2016

    Trump is making a laughingstock of our great country.

    Reply
    1. Dan S October 10, 2016

      Fortunately Americans when we vote will know & recognize the old fool he is. He’ll never ever see the inside of the White House. World markets are up today including Wall Street recognizing Secretary Clinton will soon be Madame President

  6. Dan S October 10, 2016

    Thanks to Trump every American not only knows what fascism means now but can see up close who they are. Threatening imprisonment to his political rival is unprecedented in US politics. I’m just flabbergasted that there are some who will not waver in their support for this individual. He’s certainly not a real man. Real men treat not only women but everyone they encounter with a certain amount of decorum & respect. Trash talking is used in school but when when you graduate you need to grow up. Unfortunately Trump never has he’s just grown into a leachorous old man

    Reply
    1. Daniel Jones October 10, 2016

      Worse, a senile, psychotic man-child. God knows I am about 10 years less mature emotionally than my age, but as I am pushing the half-century mark, who cares?

      He’s five, he’s always five, and not in any kind of good way.

  7. Jon October 10, 2016

    Every time Trump talks and acts out he shows the world what a dangerous psychopath he is. He thinks and acts like an unhinged dictator who would destroy America to satisfy his personal goals. Trump has always been for Trump 1st, and, and last. No one else and nothing else has ever mattered to him. He continues to prove it daily.

    Reply
    1. Daniel Jones October 10, 2016

      No, man, he *is* one, that’s how he’s run his businesses (into the ground), run his recruitment (and indoctrination), and intends to ru(i)n this country.

      1. Jon October 10, 2016

        Reality has no place in Trumpworld. Black is white. Up is down. Left is right. True is false. Opinions and feelings are facts.

  8. A. D. Reed October 10, 2016

    “When a person shows you who he is, believe him.”
    Maya Angelou

    Reply

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