Tag: trump fascism
This Is How It Begins: Stephen Miller Planning Concentration Camps On The Border

This Is How It Begins: Stephen Miller Planning Concentration Camps On The Border

The first guy waited until he became Chancellor of Germany and used the Reichstag fire as a pretext to start rounding up enemies and building concentration camps. A front-page story in the New York Times tells us that our own Chancellor-in-Waiting, Donald J. Trump, isn’t waiting to be elected, or for a pretext. He has an SS team in place that is are already making plans to round up tens of millions of immigrants and house them in camps they plan on building “on open land in Texas near the border,” according to Stephen Miller, who Trump has appointed to be his own personal Heinrich Himmler to handle the matter of immigration if he is elected president next year.

I’ll get into the details of their plans in a minute, but what is remarkable about Trump’s blueprint for illegally rounding up immigrants and imprisoning them in concentration camps is that Stephen Miller and other close associates of Trump consented to be interviewed by the New York Times about the plans, Trump has apparently made a calculation that undocumented immigrants are sufficiently unpopular that he is running on this suff.

The use of concentration camps to intern undesirables and enemies of the state has a long and ugly history in the 20th Century. They were built by the German Empire in Southwest Africa during the Herero and Namaqua tribal genocide from 1904 to 1907. The German camps had a death rate of about 50 percent during that genocide. In 1915, Turkey used forced marches and concentration camps to kill more than a million Armenians who were considered an existential threat to the Ottoman Empire.

Hitler didn’t begin to build concentration camps until he became chancellor. In 1933, Hitler, feeling threatened by his political enemies, appointed Himmler to enact mass arrests and incarcerations of his political opponents in the German Communist and Social Democratic Parties. The first camp built on Himmler’s orders was Dachau, outside of Munich. From there, camps were built in Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald in 1936 and 1937. In 1938, new camps were constructed in Flossenburg, Ravensbruck, and Mauthausen. Himmler announced a roundup of nomadic Roma, the mentally ill, university professors, homosexuals, intellectuals, the homeless and unemployed, criminals, Freemasons, Jews, and what Himmler termed “asocials and organized elements of sub-humanity.” Czech and Austrian anti-Nazis were included after their countries were annexed by Nazi Germany.

You will no doubt note that Hitler and Himmler began their round-ups with unpopular elements of German society and expanded from there. One group after another became a target of Hitler’s plan to “cleanse” Germany of “vermin and undesirables.”

Trump got started in September, when he told a crowd at one of his rallies in Dubuque, Iowa, that if elected, he would “invoke immediately the Alien Enemies Act to remove all known or suspected gang members, the drug dealers, the cartel members from the United States, ending the scourge of illegal alien gang violence once and for all.” He also announced that he would “deny entry to all communists and Marxists to the United States.” He promised to expand his travel ban on citizens from Muslim countries to include other “undesirable” countries. He also promised to use a “massive shift” of law enforcement authorities from the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and Explosives to help with immigration enforcement.

Gangs, criminals, drug dealers, illegal aliens…sound familiar?

Trump then gave an interview to Univision, the Spanish-language TV network, in which he promised to weaponize the FBI and Department of Justice against his political opponents. Referring to the Biden administration, Trump said, “What they’ve done is they’ve released the genie out of the box.” Switching quickly and referring to himself, Trump continued, “You know, when you’re president and you’ve done a good job and you’re popular, you don’t go after them so you can win an election.” Switching yet again to refer to his opponents, “They have done something that allows the next party … if I happen to be president and I see somebody who’s doing well and beating me very badly, I say, ‘Go down and indict them.’ They’d be out of business. They’d be out of the election.”

I know, his verbiage is confusing, but the Washington Post reported last week that Trump has told aides that if elected, he will appoint a special prosecutor to “go after” Biden and his family, and he will order the Department of Justice to investigate others he considers traitors, such as his former chief of staff, John Kelly, and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, and former Attorney General William Barr. Trump also told Univision that he is considering the re-implementation the policy used early in his administration that separated immigrant parents from their children at the border. Stephen Miller, in his interview with the New York Times, also implied that a new Trump administration will separate families at the border.

Miller told the Times that a new Trump administration would attempt to overturn the Flores settlement, which set standards for the treatment, placement, and release of unaccompanied minors who are applying for legal status as asylum seekers. Miller said Trump will go after “Dreamers” and will seek to make deportations of any immigrants living within the borders of the U.S. “radically more quick and efficient,” by using what he called “the right kinds of attorneys and the right kinds of policy thinkers” to accomplish their goals. Miller said Trump will build “vast holding facilities” where immigrants will be held while awaiting deportation.

Miller bragged that the camps would be built using Homeland Security and Department of Defense money so that a new Trump administration will not have to go through the normal route of getting the Congress to appropriate money to cover their cost. Trump used a similar scam to get around the Congress when he took money intended for the military and built portions of his wall after he took office in 2017. Miller said that Trump will order that enforcement officials from agencies other than ICE be used to implement the planned round-ups of immigrants, including deputizing National Guard soldiers supplied by Republican states friendly to Trump and his aims.

The Guard troops would be deputized under the Insurrection Act, which allows for “temporary” suspension of the Posse Comitatus Act that makes it illegal for U.S. military personnel to be used for law enforcement purposes within the United States. In this scenario, active-duty U.S. soldiers would be used to arrest and detain immigrants in broad round-ups at workplaces, gathering places, and within businesses established by immigrant families.

The way Stephen Miller described the plans, according to the Times: “Bottom line, President Trump will do whatever it takes.”

It is incredible to contemplate that Donald Trump has put his political finger in the wind and made a determination that the plans outlined by Reichsfuhrer Miller are a winning issue for him in 2024. Even his decision to go on Univision to talk about elements of his plans is astounding. Apparently, Trump has made a calculation that he can split the Latin vote in the next election by separating Latino voters into haves and have-nots and going after the “have” vote.

But to me, the most incredible thing of all are Trump’s plans for concentration camps. In Germany in the mid 1950’s, my family was stationed about 50 miles from Dachau. Patton’s Third Army liberated Dachau at the end of the war in 1945, and after my grandfather relieved Patton of command of the Third Army, General Dwight Eisenhower put him in charge of caring for the Holocaust victims of Dachau and other camps who made their way to Bavaria to be housed in displaced persons camps that Grandpa established at former German military bases.

As a boy, I grew up with the history of Hitler’s concentration camps all around me. Grandpa had a huge photo album that was given to him by the Third Army at the conclusion of his command in 1946. It was full of photographs of what the Third Army had encountered when they liberated Dachau. Grandpa ordered the publication of a book called “Dachau Diary,” based on the writings of a Holocaust victim that were discovered scrawled on scraps of paper when Dachau was liberated. The diaries were translated into English and the book contained photos of the horrors of Dachau taken by the SS administration before the camp was liberated. Grandpa also ordered that the book be published in German so it could be distributed to German libraries and schools as a record of what the Nazis had done in the name of the German people.

Grandpa never talked about Dachau. He didn’t have to. We visited the camp near Munich, with its buildings and fences still standing. It wasn’t yet the monument to the horror of the Holocaust that it is today, but rather a living relic of Hitler’s aim to rid the German nation of Jews and anyone he declared an enemy or an undesirable. The Alien Enemies act of 1798, which Stephen Miller said Trump will invoke on the day he takes office, allows the deportation of anyone from a country with which the United States is at war. Miller told the Times the act will be used to deport “suspected members of drug cartels and criminal gangs without due process.”

When I read sentences like that in the New York Times, uttered by people who are known to be speaking for Donald Trump, I see in my mind’s eye the images of concentration camps I grew up learning about, and I see the expansion of Hitler’s list of enemies to include people considered to be mentally ill, the unemployed, the homeless, members of opposing political parties, university professors, journalists, intellectuals, homosexuals, Jews,

I see the list of Donald Trump’ enemies.

I see you and me and our loved ones.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

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Danziger Draws

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City and Vermont. He is a long time cartoonist for The Rutland Herald and is represented by Counterpoint Syndicate. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Fascism Unmasked -- With A Trump Trademark

Fascism Unmasked -- With A Trump Trademark

Nearly a year before he accepted the Republican nomination for president, Donald Trump's authoritarian impulses already were too obvious to be ignored. By then he was encouraging physical attacks on undocumented immigrants, demanding the deportation of millions more, and constantly appealing to hatred and bigotry. He bragged of being the "most militaristic" candidate and denigrated the free press. So extreme was his rhetoric during those months that prominent conservatives -- including several who now spinelessly truckle to him – warned of what his rise to power might portend.

His campaign reeked of an ideology that today can be named without hesitation. Trump has cultivated a constituency for fascism in America -- and his most fanatical followers may soon pose a real threat to the republic.

Having lost a fair election by millions of votes and an Electoral College margin that Trump himself has defined as a "landslide," he has mounted a campaign to discredit democracy with false allegations of fraud. Defeated repeatedly in courts and counting rooms run by Republicans, he has refused to desist from these debunked claims. Even as his followers threaten GOP election officials with mayhem, Trump has continued to stoke their rage. And now we are entering the darkest dimension of politics, as his henchmen predict "civil war" and demand that he impose "martial law."

Leading the calls for bloodshed in the weeks following Trump's defeat was his 2016 campaign chief Steve Bannon, who urged Americans to be prepared to fight and die to overturn the election. On his "War Room" podcast, Bannon hosted a Trump campaign lawyer from Georgia named Lin Wood whose plea to the president's supporters was that they must "do what our Founding Fathers did in 1776."

Across right-wing media those shrill, seditious messages were echoed and then amplified into an explicit demand for the overthrow of constitutional democracy and the inauguration of a Trump dictatorship. At the forefront were still more familiar faces, including a pair of criminals -- disgraced ex-general Michael Flynn and longtime Trump consigliere Roger Stone.

Both Flynn and Stone were recently granted corrupt pardons by Trump for hiding details of the Trump campaign's collusion with Russian agents in 2016. Both have always displayed borderline personalities that complement their authoritarian ideologies. Now those latent tendencies have erupted into furious fascist agitprop.

On Twitter, Flynn stolidly invokes the usual insincere appeals to "freedom," the flag, and God. Meanwhile, the more imaginative Stone weaves scenarios of North Korean and European plotting to steal the election, in tandem with the Venezuelans, George Soros, and perhaps some lizards from deep space (or the deep state).

The nascent campaign for dictatorship has emerged via an Ohio organization called "We The People Convention," which is evidently operated by a local Tea Party leader. Along with Lin Wood and Sidney Powell, the kooky lawyer dismissed from the Trump campaign, Flynn and his cohort are imploring the president to declare "limited martial law." Their scheme is to suspend civil liberties and normal legal processes, in order to conduct a new election under military control (which they expect would produce an outcome more to their liking).

For the moment, this political excrescence is a fringe phenomenon, like the upsurge of neo-Nazism that Trump's presidency has inspired. Cowardly as he is, Trump will disappoint these maniacs. He knows, even if they don't, that our country's military leaders might well respond to any such lawless order by arresting him. He has already said he will depart the White House on January 20, so we won't have the pleasure of watching him hustled out by the Secret Service.

The seditious babble of figures like Stone, Flynn, and Powell is protected by the First Amendment of the same Constitution that they have treated as toilet paper from the moment that Trump entered the White House. But they represent an armed constituency that rejects reason, despises law, and is attracted to violent solutions. And they aren't going away when Trump leaves office.