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What Will Happen to The Trump Toadies? – New York Magazine

Posted By on January 14, 2020

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Irony, declared dead after 9/11, is alive and kicking in Trumps America. Its the concepts of truth and shame that are on life support. The definition of facts has been so thoroughly vandalized that Americans can no longer agree on what one is, and our president has barreled through so many crimes and misdemeanors with so few consequences that its impossible to gainsay his claim that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it. Donald Trump proves daily that there is no longer any penalty for doing wrong as long as you deny everything, never say youre sorry, and have co-conspirators stashed in powerful places to put the fix in.

No wonder so many fear that Trump will escape his current predicament scot-free, with a foregone acquittal at his impeachment trial in the GOP-controlled Senate and a pull-from-behind victory in November, buoyed by a booming economy, fractious Democrats, and a stacked Electoral College. The enablers and apologists who have facilitated his triumph over the rule of law happily agree. John Kennedy, the Louisiana senator who parrots Vladimir Putins talking points in his supine defense of Trump, acts as if there will never be a reckoning. While he has no relation to the president whose name he incongruously bears, his every craven statement bespeaks a confidence that history will count him among the knights of the buffet table in the gilded Mar-a-Lago renovation of Camelot. He is far from alone.

If we can extricate ourselves even briefly from our fatalistic fog, however, we might give some credence to a wider view. For all the damage inflicted since Inauguration Day 2017, America is still standing, a majority of Americans disapprove of Trump, and the laws of gravity, if not those of the nation, remain in full force. Moral gravity may well reassert its pull, too, with time. Rather than being the end of American history as we know it, the Trump presidency may prove merely a notorious chapter in that history. Heedless lapdogs like Kennedy, Devin Nunes, and Lindsey Graham are acting now as if there is no tomorrow, but tomorrow will come eventually, whatever happens in the near future, and Judgment Day could arrive sooner than they think. That judgment will be rendered by an ever-more demographically diverse America unlikely to be magnanimous toward cynical politicians who prioritized pandering to Trumps dwindling all-white base over the common good.

All cults come to an end, often abruptly, and Trumps Republican Party is nothing if not a cult. While cult leaders are generally incapable of remorse whether they be totalitarian rulers, sexual Svengalis, or the self-declared messiahs of crackpot religions their followers almost always pay a human and reputational price once the leader is toppled. We dont know how and when Donald Trump will exit, but under any scenario it wont be later than January 20, 2025. Even were he to be gone tomorrow, the legacy of his most powerful and servile collaborators is already indelibly bound to his.

Whether these enablers joined his administration in earnest, or aided and abetted it from elite perches in politics, Congress, the media, or the private sector, they will be remembered for cheering on a leader whose record in government (thus far) includes splitting up immigrant families and incarcerating their children in cages; encouraging a spike in racist, xenophobic, and anti-Semitic vigilantes; leveraging American power to promote ethnic cleansing abroad and punish political opponents at home; actively inciting climate change and environmental wreckage; and surrendering Americas national security to an international rogues gallery of despots.

That selective short list doesnt take into account any new White House felonies still to come, any future repercussions here and abroad of Trumps actions to date, or any previous foul deeds that have so far eluded public exposure. For all the technological quickening of the media pulse in this century, Trumps collaborators will one day be viewed through the long lens of history like Nixons collaborators before them and the various fools, opportunists, and cowards who tried to appease Hitler in America, England, and France before that. Once Trump has vacated the Oval Office, and possibly for decades thereafter, his government, like any other deposed strongmans, will be subjected to a forensic colonoscopy to root out buried crimes, whether against humanity or the rule of law or both. With time, everything will come out it always does. With time, the ultimate fates of those brutalized immigrant and refugee families will emerge in full. And Trumps collaborators, our Vichy Republicans, will own all of it whether they were active participants in the wrongdoing like Jared Kushner, Stephen Miller, Kirstjen Nielsen, Mike Pompeo, and William Barr, or the so-called adults in the room who stood idly by rather than sound public alarms for the good of the Republic (e.g., Gary Cohn, John Kelly, Rex Tillerson), or those elite allies beyond the White House gates who pretended not to notice administration criminality and moral atrocities in exchange for favors like tax cuts and judicial appointments (from Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan to Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell Jr.).

Such Trump collaborators are kidding themselves if they think that post-Trump image-laundering through good works or sheer historical amnesia will cleanse their names of the Trump taint as easily as his residential complexes in Manhattan have shed their Trump signage. A century of history and not just American history says otherwise.

To take two examples from the Nixon era, the White House criminals Charles Colson and Jeb Stuart Magruder both found God and dedicated themselves to ministries after doing time for Watergate-related crimes. (They were among 69 charged and 25 imprisoned.) But you wont find their ostentatious efforts at spiritual redemption at the top of their Wikipedia entries or referenced more than fleetingly in the vast Nixon-Watergate literature. Nixon lackeys who did nothing illegal generally fared no better: The New Jersey congressman Charles Sandman, a House Judiciary Committee impeachment holdout until a few days before Nixons resignation, lost a seat he had held since 1966 in the subsequent 1974 midterms (48 other GOP members of Congress were wiped out as well) and would wind up the decade dishing out steamed crabs at a joint on the Jersey shore and losing a jury trial on the charge of slandering a police officer. When a Senate counterpart, Ed Gurney of Florida, a vocal Nixon defender on Sam Ervins Watergate Committee, died in 1996, his family tried to keep his death a secret, presumably to avoid renewed attention to his past.

Some Nixon loyalists on Capitol Hill escaped oblivion most notably the Mississippi congressman Trent Lott, from a district that had voted 87 percent for Nixon in 1972 (Nixons strongest in the nation). So did some White House flacks well removed from Watergate like Pat Buchanan and Diane Sawyer. Others, prefiguring Sean Spicers debasement onDancing With the Stars,landed B-list (and lower) media gigs: The Watergate burglar G. Gordon Liddy appeared on televisionsMiami ViceandMacGyver,and a ditzy Jesuit speechwriter prominent in the White House spin offensive, John McLaughlin, found a secular throne for himself at an odious Beltway chatfest,The McLaughlin Group,after abandoning the priesthood. Like their Trump counterparts, countless Watergate principals wrote tell-all books, many of them best sellers, running the gamut from H.R. HaldemansThe Ends of Powerto John EhrlichmansWitness to Power.

But there arent any die-hard Nixon supporters in either chamber of Congress who are now remembered as patriots, no matter what else they did with their careers before, during, or after his presidency. The figures who live on are those like Ervin and Judge Sirica, who brought Nixon to justice, and, as the historian David Greenberg has noted, those loyalists who abandoned Nixon early, when it mattered.

HuffPost reported in 2017 that the Trump Justice Department took down the portrait of one of the few heroes who stood up to Nixons abuses of power from within his administration, Attorney General Elliot Richardson. Whether Richardsons deaccession was an act of denial, gallows humor, or a conscious or subconscious admission of guilt, it was an impotent gesture not least because Watergate has with time proved an inadequate analogy for Trumps metastasizing scandals. The stench of disrepute that will cling to Trumps collaborators is likely to exceed the posthumous punishment of Nixons dead-enders for the simple reason that Nixons White House horrors werent in the same league.

In both cases, impeachment was driven by the revelations of illegal efforts to sabotage a rival presidential candidate and the ensuing cover-ups. But the gravity of the specifics differ by several orders of magnitude. The cash that Nixon & Co.tapped to fund the break-in to the Democratic National Committee headquarters (and the subsequent hush money to the burglars) came from his own donors; Trump, by contrast, sought to bankroll his effort to dig up dirt on the Bidens by appropriating nearly $400 million in Congress-mandated foreign aid paid for by taxpayers. And while the Nixon White House hired freelance bumblers to spy on the Democrats, Trump commandeered a cabal of Cabinet officers, diplomats, and Rudy Giulianirecruited thugs to try to muscle the head of state of a foreign ally into doing his bidding.

The disproportionality between Trumps history and Nixons hardly ends there. Trump is not Hitler, but some of his actions, starting with his repeated, barely coded endorsements of white supremacists, suggest its not for want of trying. Nixon and his vice-president, Spiro Agnew, exploited racial resentments and backlash to the civil-rights movement to attract bigots to the GOP through a new southern strategy. Ugly as that was (and is), it pales next to Trump and his campaigns explicit alignment with those fine people who stir hate, bullying, and incendiary alt-right conspiracy theories into an inflammatory dark-web brew. However much Trumps courtiers try to compartmentalize, they cant separate themselves from his flirtations with neo-Nazis.

Nor can Trumps enablers escape the stain of his alliances with murderous neo-Hitlers and neo-Stalins in Russia, Syria, Turkey, Hungary, Brazil, and North Korea. Whatever else is to be said about Nixon, not for a second would he have favored the worldview and national interests of a strongman like Putin over that of America and its allies, or taken Putins word as a former KGB agent over that of Americas own intelligence agencies. Its this aspect of Trumpian rule that sinks to depths previously unfathomable for an American president and makes Trumps collaborators look less like the corrupt government bureaucrats and hacks ofAll the Presidents Menand more like the traitorous elites who wittingly or idiotically enabled Hitler in the 1930s.

The notion of Vichy Republicans is hardly hyperbole. Christopher R. Browning, an American historian of the Holocaust and World War IIera Europe,wrote in theNew York Review of Booksin 2018 that those who rationalized their original support for Trump on the grounds of Better Trump than Hillary and are now reupping for 2020 are channeling those on the right who proclaimed Better Hitler than Blum in France in the 1930s. Such Frenchmen, Browning writes, went so far as to empower their countrys traditional national enemy across the Rhine and its Nazi dictator rather than reelect the sitting prime minister, Lon Blum, a Jewish socialist who would have preserved French democracy. (In defeat, Blum would become an opponent of Vichy and end up in Buchenwald.)

Make no mistake: The current Better Trump than Warren (or Sanders) crowd is repeating this history. Their credo might as well be Better Putin, Erdogan, and Assad than Warren, for Trump is serving as an unabashed proxy for our present-day mini-Hitlers while simultaneously trying to transform American democracy into an Ultimate Fighting Championship ring of chaos, corruption, and dysfunction. Prominent Trump supporters like Kennedy, of course, fiercely deny that they are pro-Putin (even though the president himself never has), but that doesnt vitiate the real-world consequence that by standing with Trump, they are advancing the interests of Russia even as it conducts cyberwar against their own country and threatens some of the same American allies Hitler did.

You dont have to be a card-carrying fascist to collaborate with fascists and help them seize power; you just have to be morally bankrupt and self-serving. As the authoritative American historian of Vichy France, Robert O. Paxton, has pointed out, it was only a rather small minority of Frances wartime collaborators who were motivated by an actual ideological sympathy with Nazism and Fascism to go along with the Nazi puppet regime fronted by Marshal Philippe Ptain in Vichy. A more widespread incentive was personal gain. Others rationalized their complicity by persuading themselves they were acting in the national interest. It would be no surprise if that distribution of motivations persists among Trump collaborators today. Such backers as the financier Stephen Schwarzman and New York real-estate titans like Stephen Ross of Hudson Yards no doubt congratulate themselves on acting in the national interest while pocketing personal gains measured in either political influence or on a profit-and-loss statement.

In France, such ostensible moral distinctions among collaborators were rendered moot in the long-delayed and gruesome postwar reckoning. All roads led to the same destination: Starting in 1942, Vichy shipped some 76,000 Jews in mass deportations to their doom. The exiled were mostly foreign refugees, Paxton writes, who had previously relied upon traditional French hospitality. Their blood was on every collaborators hands. The collaborators common postwar defense that things would have been far worse if they had not been working on the inside was repurposed by the Trump official responsible for the brutal treatment of immigrants who had relied upon traditional American humanity. John F. Kelly Says His Tenure As Trumps Chief of Staff Is Best Measured by What the President Did Not Do read the headline of the exit interview he gave the Los Angeles Times. Good luck with that in the long-term court of public opinion. France wrestled with Vichys legacy for decades before 1995, when the French president Jacques Chirac abjured denial and officially confirmed his nations complicity in the wholesale deportation of Jews.

If you look backat the elite figures who lent their clout and prestige to clearing Hitlers path before or during World War II, its striking how such folly and inhumanity remains immutable across national boundaries and centuries. The amalgam of nationalism, isolationism, and nativism embraced by Trump shares its DNA not just with the Ptainists of France but Neville Chamberlains appeasement cohort in England and America First, the movement whose name Trump appropriated without (of course) knowing what it was. America First, though originating as a campus-centric peace campaign, was hijacked by a rancid mob of Hitler acolytes and peace-at-any-price dupes that included, most famously, Charles Lindbergh. Many of these Hitler enablers had elaborate rationalizations for their actions that mirror those of Trumps highest-profile shills today. Robert Taft, the hard-right isolationist senator from Ohio, wrote the script for Better Trump than Hillaryism nearly a century ago: America should not go to war with Germany, he argued, because there is a good deal more danger of the infiltration of totalitarian ideas from the New Deal circles in Washington than there will ever be from the activities of the Nazis.

Another parallel is exemplified by the Trump collaborator and donor Gordon Sondland, even now, somehow, still the ambassador to the European Union. Hes a zhlubby discount-rack answer to Joseph Kennedy, a far more successful and clever mogul who served as Franklin Roosevelts ambassador to the U.K. from 1937 to 1940. Until FDR shut him down, Kennedy tried to conduct a rogue foreign policy to advance Chamberlains appeasement efforts to the point of counseling the Nazis that they could get away with brutalizing Jews if they would just do so with less loud clamor. Much as Sondland, Trump, and Giuliani thought nothing of leaving Ukraine vulnerable to Putins aggression by holding back military aid, so Kennedy thought that Hitler should be free to conquer expendable smaller countries in Eastern Europe. I cant for the life of me understand why anybody would want to go to war to save the Czechs, he wrote in a draft of a speech before the White House nixed it. As went the Czechs then, so have gone the Ukrainians and Kurds today.

The antecedents for Trumpist enablers from the tycoon sector both within and outside the White House Cohn, Schwarzman, Steven Mnuchin, Wilbur Ross, et al. can be found in those now-vilified captains of 1930s American industry who were prime movers in various back-channel schemes to appease Hitler. The America First Committees members included Henry Ford, an unabashed anti-Semite who was name-checked admiringly inMein Kampf,and Avery Brundage, an Illinois construction magnate and president of the U.S. Olympic Committee who bent to Hitlers will by yanking the only two Jewish competitors on an American team in the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin. James Mooney, the General Motors overseas president in charge of its European operations and another America First committeeman, took it upon himself to do his own Giuliani-Sondland-like shadow diplomacy by securing face-to-face meetings with Hermann Gring as well as Hitler. He claimed to be seeking peace, but had he succeeded, he would have facilitated Germanys conquest of Europe much as Trump and his supplicants have been green-lighting the imperial designs of Russia and Turkey.

These businessmens machinations did not bring about peace in their time but did bring financial quid pro quos that fattened their bottom lines. Hitlers regime gave Brundages company the commission to build its new embassy in Washington. More than a half-century after V-E Day, researchers confirmed that Ford and GMs German operations had manufactured armaments for the Nazi war machine, sometimes with slave labor. Alfred P. Sloan, the longtime GM chairman, explained his philosophy: An international business operating throughout the world should conduct its operations in strictly business terms, without regard to the political beliefs of its management, or the political beliefs of the countries in which it is operating. Surely Jared Kushner, Mnuchin, and Schwarzman couldnt have put it any better as they cavorted with Mohammed bin Salman at his investment conference in Riyadh in October, a year after the murder and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi. As with Ford, Brundage, Mooney, and the rest, any loot they accrued in exchange for their pact with the Devil will be unearthed in good time.

While some Hitler appeasers faced swift retribution FDR shut down Joseph Kennedys personal political ambitions for good others would get their due later. In 1998, nearly four decades after his death, Mooney would at last face an accounting: Newly discovered documents, triggered in part by litigation on behalf of Holocaust survivors, would show, as the WashingtonPostput it, that in consultation with Gring, he was involved in the partial conversion of the principal GM automobile plant at Rsselsheim to production of engines and other parts for the Junker Wunderbomber, a key weapon in the German air force.

One imagines that high-toned Trump collaborators deplore Khashoggis murder (though not when in Saudi Arabia). And they may (privately) roll their eyes at Trumps palling around with bigots. For heavens sake, some of them are Jewish themselves, and so is the First Daughter! But America First also claimed to be foursquare against anti-Semitism, despite the fact that Lindbergh, Ford, and Mooney all received medals of appreciation from the Third Reich before the war. Like the Trump White House, the America First Committee deployed token Jews to try to deflect critics, including Florence Kahn, a former Republican congresswoman from California; it even hired a Jew as the first publicity director of its New York chapter. But such disingenuous stunts, like Trumps soporific teleprompter-scripted condemnation of racism, bigotry and white supremacy after mass shootings, didnt deter American Nazi wannabes from flocking to the organizations ranks, among them the followers of the unabashedly anti-Semitic radio priest Father Coughlin. Ivanka Trumps observance of the Sabbath has not stopped her father from retweeting anti-Semitic memes or prevented Jews Will Not Replace Us thugs from rallying around #MAGA.

InHitler in Los Angeles,his groundbreaking recent history of wartime Nazism in California, Steven J. Ross might as well have been writing about Charlottesville when he observes that America First enabled previously disreputable hate groups to move from the margins to the mainstream of American life and politics. The anti-Semitic dog whistles of Lindbergh and his prominent peers gave a pass to violent extremist groups of that time like the American Rangers and the Royal Order of American Defenders. The Trump GOP has revived the tradition: Not only did House members meet with Chuck Johnson, a Holocaust denier who raises money for the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website, but Floridas irrepressible freshman congressman Matt Gaetz invited him to cheer Trump at the 2018 State of the Union.

No one can predictposteritys judgments, but if the past is any guide at all, this is not going to end well for Trumps collaborators. The Reverend Sun Myung Moon, the Unification Church cult leader who was welcomed into the Oval Office by Nixon and whose brainwashed Moonies gathered en masse on the Capitol steps to pray and fast for three days during impeachment, may have found his farcical descendants in Trumps Christian stooges. Witness the offspring of Billy Graham and Jerry Falwell the Donald Trump Jr.s, if you will, of Americas pagan Evangelical racket. Franklin Graham has preached an Old Testament parallel between Trump and David, while Jerry Jr. is now fending off inquiries into his and his wifes antics, business or otherwise, with a pool boy they befriended at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. (For his part, Moon was eventually engulfed by repeated post-Watergate scandals, including a conviction for tax fraud and obstruction of justice that sent him to prison in 1982.) The rhetoric of Nixons and Trumps mad-dog defenders can be interchangeable, too. Theres more than a little of the degraded Lindsey Graham in the legendaryTodayshow appearance by Earl Landgrebe, a die-hard anti-impeachment vote on the House Judiciary Committee, the day before Nixon resigned in August 1974. Dont confuse me with the facts. Ive got a closed mind, he said. I will not vote for impeachment. Im going to stick with my president even if he and I have to be taken out of this building and shot. (The voters shot him soon enough; he received only 39 percent of the vote in his safe Indiana district three months later.)

But such similarities understate the case. The stakes are much higher when an American president is putting the nation, and its Constitution, in jeopardy by abusing his power to aid Americas foreign foes. Someone like Graham is less likely to be remembered as another Landgrebe than as another Burton Wheeler, a senator from Montana who began his career as a conventional New Deal Democrat and morphed into an America First Nazi appeaser. As Graham countenanced Trumps empowering of Putin and his assault on Ukraine, so Wheeler opposed aid to England and other American allies when war broke out in Europe. He is best known now and may be in perpetuity as the fascist vice-president to Lindberghs president in Philip Roths World War II counter-history,The Plot Against America.(David Simon is soon to bring out a television version.)

Mitch McConnell has led another, even graver reenactment of the Hitler-appeasers playbook by slow-walking or ignoring intelligence-agency alarms about Russian interference in our elections past, present, and future. His congressional antecedents did the same when Germany tried to sabotage the election of 1940. As the story is told by Susan Dunn, a historian at Williams College, in her 2013 book1940,the charg daffaires at the German Embassy in Washington, Hans Thomsen, wielded money, a cohort of isolationist congressmen, senators, and authors, and a bag of dirty tricks, hoping to realize goals tantamount to Putins ambitions: to convince Americans that fascist aggression posed no danger to them, to discourage them from pouring billions of dollars into national defense and military aid for the Allies, and, finally, to engineer Roosevelts defeat in 1940.

Even without social media in his arsenal, Thomsens dirty tricks uncannily anticipated Russias 21st-century disinformation tactics. He funneled financial aid to an isolationist Make Europe Pay War Debts Committee to rile up Americans against European allies, lent aid to ostensibly grassroots organizations with names like Paul Reveres Sentinels rallying against American entry into war with Germany, and clandestinely underwrote newspaper ads lobbying for the same. With a secret subsidy, he paid an isolationist congressman, Hamilton Fish of New York, to corral anti-interventionist colleagues before a GOP convention platform committee to push a resolution unequivocally opposing any American involvement in the war in Europe. Thomsen even helped engineer a fake news stunt worthy of Russias propaganda schemes on Facebook by using the isolationist Montana representative Jacob Thorkelson to slip a counterfeit Hitler interview into theCongressional Record.It had Hitler telling a reporter that American fears of him were flattering but grotesque and calling the idea of a German invasion of the United States stupid and fantastic.

Any historical parallels, alas, end there. Germanys attempted election sabotage failed in 1940. The Republicans nominated Wendell Willkie, an interventionist, as their presidential candidate, rather than an isolationist favored by the Nazis, and the reelected FDR led America to war. By contrast, Russia may have succeeded in moving the electoral needle in 2016, and may again in 2020, with the blessings of the Putin-admiring American president and his quisling of a secretary of State Pompeo, not to mention the pliant Moscow Mitch, the double-dealing Barr, and the rest of their collaborators in the executive branch and Congress.

Those who continue with Trump on this path, if they have any shred of conscience or patriotism left, would be advised to look at their historical predecessors of the appeasement era, not the more forgiving template of Watergate, if they wish to game out their future and that of family members who bear their names. They might recall that Lindbergh was among the most popular figures, if not the most popular, in the nation before lending his voice to America First. He had won the cheers of the world after piloting the first nonstop solo flight over the Atlantic and then its sympathy after his 20-month-old son was murdered in a sensational kidnapping case. More than a decade after V-E Day, when Hollywood decided it was at last safe to profitably resurrect that heroic young Lindbergh in an adulatory 1957 biopic,The Spirit of St. Louis,some theaters refused to book it despite the added halo of the most unimpeachable all-American star, Jimmy Stewart ofMr. Smith Goes to Washington.Jack Warner reputedly called it the most disastrous failure in the history of Warner Bros. In the following decade, Lindbergh inched back into the spotlight as a philanthropist campaigning for the World Wildlife Fund. I dont want history to record my generation as being responsible for the extermination of any form of life, he declared, prompting the popular syndicated columnist Max Lerner to respond, Where the hell was he when Hitler was trying to exterminate an entire race of human beings?

Some of Lindberghs fellow isolationists sought to reclaim their reputations after the war, too, but as the historian Geoffrey Perret wrote, they would generally be regarded for years to come as stupid, vicious, pro-Nazi reactionaries, or at least as people blind to the realities of a new day and a menace to their countrys safety. Taft, the rigidly isolationist senator who bore a White House lineage (William Howard Taft was his father), failed in two subsequent presidential runs after his first attempt imploded as France fell to the Germans in 1940. Once known as the towering Mr. Republican, he now is barely remembered even by Republicans.

A comparable figure in England was Lord Londonderry, n Charles Vane-Tempest-Stewart, a former Tory British air minister whose entanglement with Nazi leaders and push for Anglo-German friendship in the 1930s mirrors Trump, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, and their posses infatuated courtship of Putins Russia. As the English Hitler biographer Ian Kershaw writes inMaking Friends With Hitler,Londonderry spent his later years in a relentless, but fruitless, campaign for vindication. Was he, as his detractors claimed, a genuine Nazi sympathizer a Nazi Englishman as he was dubbed? Or was he merely a gullible, nave and misguided fellow-traveler of the Right? Though Londonderry had no truck with the fanatical fascists, or the wide-eyed cranks and mystics who fell for Hitler lock, stock and barrel, Kershaw concludes, in the end it didnt matter.His actions worked to Hitlers advantage, and his reputation was ruined. His fitting permanent memorial is Lord Darlington, the fictional English aristocrat whose outreach to the Nazis and ensuing downfall are observed with a certain sorrow and pity by his butler, Stevens, in Kazuo Ishiguros classic novelThe Remains of the Day.

No less a sage than Ted Cruz told friends while preparing his 2016 convention speech that history isnt kind to the man who holds Mussolinis jacket, according to the Politico journalist Tim Albertas account inAmerican Carnage.But so harsh was the bases blowback after he refused to endorse Trump in that address that he has been holding Mussolinis jacket ever since.

What are Cruz and all his peers afraid of? Every member of the French Resistance faced the strong possibility of torture, deportation, and death, wrote Charles Kaiser, whose bookThe Cost of Couragetells of one Resistance family during Vichy. The most a Republican senator risks from opposing a corrupt and racist president is a loss at the polls. And even at that, there can be rewards down the road. Larry Hogan, the current Republican governor of Maryland,recently reminisced to the New YorkTimesabout his father, Lawrence Hogan, who was the first Republican on the House Judiciary Committee to come out in favor of impeaching Nixon in 1974. He lost friends in Congress, the younger Hogan recalled. He lost the support of his constituents and he angered the White House. But history was kind to him. He was known as a courageous guy. I think its the thing he is most remembered for and the thing Im most proud of him for.

Trumps enablers and collaborators are more Londonderry than Hogan. It is too late for them to save their reputations. We must hope that it is not too late to save the country they have betrayed.


Some of Trumps most loyal supporters in Congress despise him in private. Veteran GOP strategist and early Never Trumper Rick Wilson has become a keeper of their secrets.

Illustration: Zohar Lazar

Trumps supporters in Congress call you to vent about how much they hate him. What are they hiding? Right after Trump was elected, there were a lot of guys who had this shocking moment. A friend of mine, a member of Congress, went home to a town-hall meeting, and a guy asks him, Are you going to be with Mr. Trump 100 percent of the time? And he goes, Well, look, I support Donald Trump and I want to help him, and we agree on many things. But I represent this district. If theres something the president wants to do and its good for us, were absolutely going to do it. If its something thats bad for our district, Im going to oppose it.

That, by the way, is the big tell. The people who call him Mr. Trump, you know theyre going to be a problem.

By the time he left the stage, his wife had death threats. His kids had death threats. Because he wouldnt say, Ill be with Trump no matter what. He called me two days later, and he said, I dont know what to do. Eventually he goes, Im going to keep my seat. He still privately bitches and moans, but hes still in Congress.

How do they express their fear to you? A few months ago, there was a Republican elected official at a party at my home. He gets there, and theres a conservative-leaning reporter. And the official absolutely loses his shit with me. Hes like, Oh my God, Im so fucked! Hes going to write about it.

I told him, No, these parties are always off the record. You know that. He goes, But theyre going to know they find out. If Im seen with you, the National Republican Congressional Committee will kill me.

And it just struck me, This is how they live every day? This fear that theyre going to get caught not even saying anything bad about the president but with somebody, or at a party at somebodys house, who is critical of the president.

What is it about Trump specifically that theyre upset by? Theres a good degree of it that is just the vulgar nature of Trump that hes not of a conservative mien or affect. The belittling of people, the way he goes after people that he perceives are inferior or vulnerable. The comments about John McCain actually affected a lot more Republicans than they let on. But theres also contempt that Trump doesnt understand any of this. He doesnt have any understanding of conservative economics or philosophy, but he is really great at playing the cop.

There were a lot of people around the time of the Charlottesville shooting who were generally appalled. When Trump doubled down and just kept digging, there was a moment where a lot of folks were like, Oh, now what do we do? We thought hed learn a lesson, or that he would take something from that disaster. But it didnt change anything. That was one of the peak moments of What the fuck do we do? among the party guys.

Theres also a general frustration about a lot of the things that conservatives would like to do on the policy side, in terms of entitlement reform and deregulation. The nut Ive tried hardest to crack is getting even the retired guys to go on the record.

How often are you having these conversations? Its dropped off since the midterms, but I still talk to somebody at least once a week. I spoke with someone who was at a White House event this spring, and this person stood there, did the whole stand behind the president, clap about his great accomplishments and was literally on the phone with me in the car on the way out.

Do you ever suggest that their silence is enabling Trump? Of course. And you know what they say? Youre absolutely right.

Photo credit (top): Mark Wilson/Getty (Mick Mulvaney); The Washington Post /Getty (Lindsay Graham); OLIVIER DOULIERY/Getty (William Barr); Win McNamee/Getty (David Nunes);Ethan Miller/Getty (Jerry Falwell Jr.); SOPA Images/Getty (Tom Cotton); JIM WATSON/Getty (Stephen Schwartzman); The Washington Post/Getty (Mark Meadows); Samuel Corum/Getty (Matt Gaetz); Bloomberg/Getty (Sarah Huckabee Sanders); Peter Summers/Getty (Mike Pence); Scott Olson/Getty (Rand Paul); Pacific Press/Getty (Nikki Haley); Anadolu Agency/Getty (Rick Perry); Noam Galai/Getty (Rudy Giuliani); Roy Rochlin/Getty (Tucker Carlson); Taylor Hill/Getty (Sean Hannity)Mark Wilson/Getty (Mick Mulvaney); The Washington Post /Getty (Lindsay Graham); OLIVIER DOULIERY/Getty (William Barr); Win McNamee/Getty (David Nunes);Ethan Miller/Getty (Jerry Falwell Jr.); SOPA Images/Getty (Tom Cotton); JIM WATSON/Getty (Stephen Schwartzman); The Washington Post/Getty (Mark Meadows); Samuel Corum/Getty (Matt Gaetz); Bloomberg/Getty (Sarah Huckabee Sanders); Peter Summers/Getty (Mike Pence); Scott Olson/Getty (Rand Paul); Pacific Press/Getty (Nikki Haley); Anadolu Agency/Getty (Rick Perry); Noam Galai/Getty (Rudy Giuliani); Roy Rochlin/Getty (Tucker Carlson); Taylor Hill/Getty (Sean Hannity)

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What Will Happen to The Trump Toadies? - New York Magazine

India and Israel should develop options in tech industry – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on January 14, 2020

Computer technology, one of the most dominant technologies of our times, is becoming faster, cheaper, smaller, more effective and more accessible with each passing year. To manage the dark side of these technologies and to balance their interventions in the entire ecosystem, a lot is going on in the cybertech space too.But at a time when digital and social media apps are becoming the new motivation tools of violent protests, apparently fueling those activities that cause severe damage to public property and life, providing influential virtual platforms to terrorist/radical elements, when shutting down the Internet has become the crucial measure to prevent violent escalation of an issue, and when the right to Internet or right to tweet/WhatsApp have become the new slogans of communist/Marxist marches, can we afford to see technology from purely technical and scientific perspectives anymore?The shift in the purpose of digital technologies from problem-solver to problem-creator to problem-accelerator, and its growing capability to impact overall social behavior and psychology, are a matter of concern. Instead of providing the vehicles of effective governance and human creativity, these social and digital tools are now becoming the new version of psychological weapons. In the last few years, several cases came to the surface in which the source of incitement, hatred and encouragement for violence were some popular tech products and their social media platforms. In the security reports on the brutal knife intifada attacks which Israeli people faced between 2015-2016 and the recently released data by Anti-Defamation League on the continuously growing number of antisemitic incidents in the USA (some 780 antisemitic incidents were recorded in the first six months of 2019 alone), the alarming patterns of radicalization through popular digital and social platforms are clearly visible. The role of media (print and electronic) in promoting the dictated propaganda of the terrorist elements is being long-discussed and thoroughly debated. Walter Laqueur once said, The media are the terrorists best friend. The terrorists act by itself is nothing; publicity is all. But the magnitude of the influence of todays popular tech products like Google, Facebook and Twitter, the ever-growing capabilities of the new generation of media (which they have developed) and its active role in disturbing the democratic environment are beyond all assumptions of the past. One of the most recent examples of these popular tech products experiments was seen in India, where on the issue of some amendments in the citizenship act, hundreds of people from the Muslim community, backed by Communist Party of India (CPI and CPI-M) and some opposition leaders put the lives and properties of the common people in danger. The ways these mobs (organized via social media apps) have terrorized the common people including school going kids, attacked public transportation/railways, burned several buses and private vehicles, and attacked the police and security agencies with stones and bricks in different locations is disturbing for all democratic societies. Earlier in April, a network of more than 100 Facebook and Instagram pages, run by the employees of the ISPR (Inter-Service Public Relations) wing of the Pakistani military was caught spreading anti-India propaganda and intense hate content. By disguising themselves as Kashmir activists voices these Facebook and Instagram pages/groups were involved in openly facilitating a coordinated strategy of the Pakistani Army. Some of these accounts were active from the last five to six years; they spent dollars on Facebook ads to promote aggressive content against India and were openly mobilizing the followers and support for their radical Islamist ideas but strangely remained unnoticed by the Facebook itself. It does not require any unique wisdom to identify whether a post/tweet or a video is posted by an ordinary citizen, political activists, some ideologically aligned intellectuals or terrorist/radical elements or groups, but these popular hi-tech products which claim to have most advanced behavioral data and predictive algorithms in-built in their apps, which frequently catch a persons choice of products and content, pop-up the ads and sorts the search content accordingly, suddenly turns innocent and ignorant when a matter affecting a countrys national security (in which they operate) found be affected. Business and technology are crucial for the economic growth, and the concept of freedom of expression is one of the essential ingredients of a healthy society. But at the same time, no business idea, activity or product should be allowed to disturb the foundational elements that bind a society and nation together, and can never be allowed to challenge national security goals.It is quite evident that the core purposes of these BIG tech products are not business and profit anymore, they have developed a kind of fantasy of controlling the minds through data and algorithms. By distributing the digital content as almost free opium, these rebranded socialist-cum-technocrats are attempting to develop a generation of blind supporters a blame which they always put on the other side. Their smart business model allows them to keep the information about their original customers in the shadows, which sometimes found to be the officials of the Hamas, which as reported recently can run an influential Facebook page from the Gaza Strip to support Jeremy Corbyn in London or can be the staff recruited by Pakistani military to create disturbance in India, or can also be the members of the Chinas People Liberation Army, which uses fake news to spread Chinese propaganda. One can debate its imperfections but the idea of democracy and a democratically elected government have contributed to the larger global growth, stability and peace more than any other system. It is the idea of a nation and its ideal and fundamental principles which generate unity and a sense of national feeling among its people. Now the question before vibrant democracies like India and Israel is how long these tech products can be allowed to challenge the idea of democracy, the idea of government and the idea of the nation itself. There is a need to ensure that the mob mentality fueled by these products should not become a part of the long-term social culture.One of the sources of the problem is the complete absence of alternatives and impressive options in the tech world. The monopoly of only a few tech tycoons is neither a good sign for the tech industry nor the economic growth of the world. When a user will have some options to choose from, the psychological effect of these tools will automatically get minimized, as after that the user will take the product as the product, not as some final universal truth. People have allowed themselves to be dominated by Googles perspective, YouTubes vision and Twitters trends because there are no other equally or more impressive options that exist. There is a need to work in that direction. Technology should encourage every individual to use his/her wisdom in determining the perspective on matters of national and global importance. India and Israel both have enormous conceptual assets. The young minds of both countries are smart and highly technical, and some of them are already playing a leading role in the success of these popular tech products.2020 should be the year when India and Israel start developing the options of these BIG tech products and initiate building the vision for the new Internet infrastructure Internet 2.0. The goal of the future Internet infrastructure should be the progress and happiness of individuals, societies and nations, which is crucial for the global good. The writer promotes advanced technologies, start-up ecosystem and the Indian governments business and technology-related initiatives.

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India and Israel should develop options in tech industry - The Jerusalem Post

Georgia Southern begins new semester with inclusivity in mind – WJCL News

Posted By on January 14, 2020

As Georgia Southern starts a new semester, the school is still recovering from two racially charged incidents late last year.The most recent one was a student giving a presentation about a white supremacist theory in class. The white nationalist thing- people's safety was kind of like shocked at that point for someone voicing that in such a public place, said student Elise Wells. A Georgia Southern student gave a presentation late last semester about the replacement theory in an English class for an assignment that allowed students to choose their topic.The theory is popular among white supremacist groups.It came on the heels of another incident last fall- the burning of a book by a New York Times contributor. The Latina author addressed white privilege & diversity.In a response to the presentation on replacement theory, the University says:It is our understanding this video emanated from a class assignment on a subject of the student's choosing. What he did with his assignment outside the classroom is beyond the control or reach of the University. While individuals are free to express their views, these views in no way align with the values and statements of diversity and inclusion at Georgia Southern University. While it is difficult to hear presentations with which we vehemently disagree, we must uphold the Constitution of the United States. It is even more reason why we at Georgia Southern University must continue our unwavering commitment to equity and inclusion."Its certainly disturbing to us to see language like that being shared while there is definitely a first amendment right to speech on college campuses, the classroom is not really an appropriate place for white nationalist recruitment," said David Hoffman with the Anti-Defamation League. Hoffman says incidents like this arent unique to Georgia Southern. He says theyve seen an increase in hate incidents on college campuses the past two years.He says its best for schools to take a proactive approach.Its the responsibility of the university and the professors to make a determination about how presentations and conversations in their courses are handled," said Hoffman.Some students say they think Georgia Southern has handled it well, standing behind first amendment principles regardless of content, but theres room for more discussion.Youre here to learn about cultures and diversity and stuff like that. Youre here to broaden your horizon," said Madisson Cassey. While others want them to step up .They can make it more diverse, and more acceptable of everybody where everybody is comfortable Theres some things that arent okay, and theres some things that are," said Wells. Last fall, the university released an inclusive excellence statement following the incidents. Georgia Southern will be hosting a series of town hall discussions this spring based on inclusivity.

As Georgia Southern starts a new semester, the school is still recovering from two racially charged incidents late last year.

The most recent one was a student giving a presentation about a white supremacist theory in class.

The white nationalist thing- people's safety was kind of like shocked at that point for someone voicing that in such a public place, said student Elise Wells.

A Georgia Southern student gave a presentation late last semester about the replacement theory in an English class for an assignment that allowed students to choose their topic.

The theory is popular among white supremacist groups.

It came on the heels of another incident last fall- the burning of a book by a New York Times contributor. The Latina author addressed white privilege & diversity.

In a response to the presentation on replacement theory, the University says:

It is our understanding this video emanated from a class assignment on a subject of the student's choosing. What he did with his assignment outside the classroom is beyond the control or reach of the University. While individuals are free to express their views, these views in no way align with the values and statements of diversity and inclusion at Georgia Southern University. While it is difficult to hear presentations with which we vehemently disagree, we must uphold the Constitution of the United States. It is even more reason why we at Georgia Southern University must continue our unwavering commitment to equity and inclusion."

Its certainly disturbing to us to see language like that being shared while there is definitely a first amendment right to speech on college campuses, the classroom is not really an appropriate place for white nationalist recruitment," said David Hoffman with the Anti-Defamation League.

Hoffman says incidents like this arent unique to Georgia Southern. He says theyve seen an increase in hate incidents on college campuses the past two years.

He says its best for schools to take a proactive approach.

Its the responsibility of the university and the professors to make a determination about how presentations and conversations in their courses are handled," said Hoffman.

Some students say they think Georgia Southern has handled it well, standing behind first amendment principles regardless of content, but theres room for more discussion.

Youre here to learn about cultures and diversity and stuff like that. Youre here to broaden your horizon," said Madisson Cassey.

While others want them to step up .

They can make it more diverse, and more acceptable of everybody where everybody is comfortable Theres some things that arent okay, and theres some things that are," said Wells.

Last fall, the university released an inclusive excellence statement following the incidents.

Georgia Southern will be hosting a series of town hall discussions this spring based on inclusivity.

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Georgia Southern begins new semester with inclusivity in mind - WJCL News

Organizers Hope This Gun Rally To Become The Next Charlottesville – The Dogwood

Posted By on January 14, 2020

Tens of thousands could gather in Richmond to oppose any new gun safety laws.

Organizers expect at least 30,000 people to show up next week for a pro-gun rally in Richmond, leading some to worry that the event could become the next Charlottesville.

Philip Van Cleave, the events lead organizer, tried to downplay any threats, saying the event is nothing more than a lobby day and pushed back against reports that his group was encouraging people to bring guns to the event.

But not all supporters of the rally have used such careful language. The right-wing YouTube user American Joe Show warned, without evidence, that the government would cut the power to deter protestors. And the Anti-Defamation League, which tracks extremist groups, says anti-government militias and white supremacist groups have glommed on to local efforts to oppose any new gun safety legislation.

Democrats have been clear in their plans to pass gun safety legislation under their new majority, leading to significant outcry from cnservative groups. In the past few months, cities and counties across Virginia have declared themselves Second Amendment Sanctuaries, saying they will not enforce any new gun safety laws passed in the state.

Conservative websites like Liberty Nation have also spread misinformation about Democrats agendas, saying that Gov. Ralph Northam is planning for a new team of anti-gun cops. The governor, who has been consistently outspoken about the need for gun safety legislation, met with the state police for over two hours last week to review threats made against him.

Van Cleave himself has used divisive language in the past. At a rally in December he said a majority of gun violence was the result of gangbangers killing gangbangers. Politifact couldnt find evidence backing that claim up and determined it was false.

And in an interview with the Washington Post earlier this month, Van Cleave said he hoped the rally would not be another Charlottesville, before blaming the police and government for any potential violence that could arise.

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Organizers Hope This Gun Rally To Become The Next Charlottesville - The Dogwood

Opinion | 10 Days in the Heroic Little Nation of Israel – University of Pittsburgh The Pitt News

Posted By on January 14, 2020

The sun sets on the hills of the Old City of Jerusalem as we are greeted with the singing of Am Yisrael Chai and the blowing of the shofar. It is a celebration marking our arrival to the heart and soul of the coveted land our ancestors could only dream of returning to throughout thousands of years of exile Israel, the lone Jew among the worlds nations.

We are a group of 33 Jewish students over the age of 18 on our winter breaks, primarily from universities in Pittsburgh and Denver, embarking on a rite of passage unlike bris and bnai mitzvah, which are ancient traditions. This rather new tradition established only 21 years ago is a trip through Birthright Israel, an organization which sponsors a free trip to the Holy Land as a way to strengthen Jewish identity and secure a vibrant future of the Jewish people.

For the majority of us, it is our first time visiting the State of Israel. We first learned of this country in Hebrew school while reading the Torah, in which this land is referred to as Gods everlasting possession. The sacred text says it was bestowed upon Abraham and his descendants, the Israelites a people to be as numerous as the stars in the sky through His covenant.

And now we are here, under the flag with the Star of David, which once was a marking sewn onto our clothes for identification and humiliation, but now is a symbol of our resilience. For 10 days we explore the land that gave birth to the most tenacious and brilliant people in history and every step feels familiar.

The first steps we take are in Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv named after the countrys first prime minister where we meet the eight Israeli soldiers accompanying us on the trip. Israeli men and women over the age of 18 are required to serve in the military, and the soldiers on our trip work in anything from the Iron Dome a missile defense system devised to intercept and destroy enemy rockets to identifying and demolishing underground tunnels constructed by Hamas, a terrorist organization.

Together we enjoy the holy and mystical city of Tzfat, the ancient fortress of Masada and the simple beauty of communal living on Kibbutz HaOn, located on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Then there is Tel Aviv, where Jewish life is expressed in high rises, bars and technological innovation, rather than synagogues, kosher restaurants and religious observance.

Jewish identity in that regard is a perplexing phenomenon for me, because many of us, including myself, believe that we are not just members of a religion, but a nation.

Theodor Herzl, along with many of the founders of the State of Israel, like Ben-Gurion and Golda Meir, were entirely secular, and they are no less Jewish than Moses or any other religious figure. For many of us, we are Jewish not just because of our religion and culture, though the two are indivisible, but because we are born of a Jewish ethnicity.

A lot of the participants on our trip are confronted with that realization at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, myself included. It is the sole remnant from the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE and the holiest site in the world for Jews. It is customary to place a written note or prayer in a crevice of the wall.

There are bound to be a range of emotions for Jews approaching the wall the presence of the Divine, a sense of awe for such an ancient structure, an appreciation for their heritage or, just as likely, nothing at all.

For me, it is an awareness of the responsibility I have to every Jew, especially those in my family, who cant stand before and place their hand on the Jerusalem stone wall that is central and emblematic to the Jewish people.

My Bubbe Yiddish for grandmother who passed away before I was born, was one of those Jews. Her name was Anne Segal, and she was an ardent defender and champion of the heroic little nation of Israel, as she called it in one of many letters to the editor she would write to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette or Pittsburgh Press. If there is any one thing I feel at the Kotel as the wall is called in Hebrew it is the immense and unapologetic pride she instilled in me, being a Jew, despite never meeting her.

But, the world is still at odds with the existence of Jews. Anti-Semtism remains an incurable disease in Europe, as is seen with the many Jews, especially French, fleeing to Israel. The United States, despite historically being a safe haven for Jews, is not immune to the ancient hatred either. There were 1,879 anti-Semitic incidents alone in 2018, including the Tree of Life massacre, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

Yad Vashem, the architecturally breathtaking memorial and museum of the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, is a reminder of that undying dilemna. Sitting on Mt. Herzl, the building penetrates the mountain from one side to the other, with both ends dramatically cantilevering into the open air, as described on the museums website.

After a museum tour chronicling the vicious and systematic slaughter of European Jewry, my trip participants are lead to a lookout into the open air presenting the landscape of the country of the brave diasporic people who would rise from the rubble of genocide and create new generations. Jews who will never have to know what it is like to be without a home for past generations know the cost of not having one.

We are told by our tour guide, Noam, that he hopes this trip leaves us with more questions than answers. With another wave of anti-Semitism penetrating the United States and Europe, you cant help but question your place in the world as a Jew where do we belong?

In Judaism, there are always more questions than answers, and if there is any one thing I cherish about being Jewish, it is that skepticism and questioning are encouraged.

As long as in the heart within, the Israeli national anthem goes, the Jewish soul yearns for the beautiful and inspiring Land of Israel that we can call home, where we can live free, where every step feels familiar because it is the very earth our ancestors wandered.

A land where we sing, Am Yisrael Chai the Jewish Nation Lives.

Aidan is a junior majoring in English Writing with a certificate in Jewish Studies. He primarily writes about film and Judaism. Write to Aidan at

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Opinion | 10 Days in the Heroic Little Nation of Israel - University of Pittsburgh The Pitt News

LETTER: Anti-Semitism and bigotry is once again on rise –

Posted By on January 14, 2020

The Standard-Times verifies and reviews all letters to the editor we receive. The letters represent the views of the letter writers, not those of The Standard-Times.

With the recent attack on Jews in Monsey, New York we have one more piece of evidence illustrating the growing hatred for Jews in the United States and the world. Why has anti-Semitism reemerged with such a vengeance? One need only look at the way minorities are being treated in this country to have an understanding of why anti-Semitism is growing again.

We are living in a toxic time, and strangers, those not part of the majority, are the targets. The Jews have been the embodiment of the outsider in history. As the canaries in the mine, Jews warn the world that intolerance and bigotry are on the rise. But make no mistake, other minorities have been the target of hate crimes; and we as Jews just represent a people never truly accepted and barely tolerated. We need to address the toxicity that causes such intolerance and hatred to emerge.

According to the Anti-Defamation League anti-Semitic attacks are on the rise around the country, leaving members of the Jewish community feeling frightened and unsafe. In New York City, anti-Semitic crimes have jumped 21% in the past year. According to the Anti-Defamation League, there were 1,879 incidents of anti-Semitism in the United States in 2018, including more than 1,000 instances of harassment. The 2018 total is 48% higher than the number of incidents in 2016 and 99% higher than in 2015.

The Jewish community of our area remains vigilant for any such outbreaks here. I am happy to say that the New Bedford Police Department, under the leadership of Chief Joseph C. Cordeiro, and Dartmouth Police Department, under the leadership of Chief Brian Levesque, have been proactive in monitoring such activity in our area. I appreciate the communication that both departments have taken to reach out to our community and help us upgrade our security. We know they stand ready to assist us. We appreciate the steps they have taken to protect our synagogue and the members of the Jewish community.

This planning has made the Jewish community in our area safer and more reassured of the commitment of law enforcement to make sure we are safe and secure. Let us hope that this remains the case. Let us all confront bigotry and minority hatred, no matter which minority group is under attack. United, and vigilant, we stand.

Rabbi Rafael Kanter is a resident of New Bedford.

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LETTER: Anti-Semitism and bigotry is once again on rise -

Trump says he stands with Iran protesters, but banned them from the US – Business Insider

Posted By on January 14, 2020

Less than two weeks after threatening to potentially commit a war crime by bombing Iranian "culture sites," President Donald Trump is portraying himself as a fierce defender of ordinary Iranians.

Trump has vowed to continue to "stand with" Iranians amid reports of crackdowns on ongoing anti-government protests, warning Tehran against killing demonstrators.

The president's expressions of solidarity with Iranian protesters, which have primarily come via Twitter (a platform that's officially banned in Iran) and included tweets in Farsi, appear to the president's critics as little more than empty posturing when juxtaposed with his administration's actual policies toward Iran.

As Trump offers his support to Iranians, for example, his administration's travel ban simultaneously blocks them (and people from six other countries) from coming to the US.

Along these lines, Brett McGurk, the former special envoy on the global coalition to defeat ISIS under both the Obama and Trump administrations, on Saturday tweeted: "The Iranian people are our allies. In the wake of this horrific airplane tragedy, why not lift Trump's useless travel ban against Iranian citizens? Encourage them to visit and see America. Seize all high ground away from Khamenei. Should be a bipartisan no brainer."

Since Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018 a move that many Iran watchers point to as the catalyst for the current tensions his administration has crippled Iran's economy with relentless sanctions as part of a "maximum pressure" campaign aimed at squeezing it into negotiating a new deal.

Regular Iranians have been hit hard in the process.

Iranians have said that the average person, and not the country's leaders, are hurting the most from the US-imposed economic sanctions. The unemployment rate in Iran is forecasted to go as high as 17.45% in 2020, CNBC recently reported.

Trump administration officials have said the sanctions are not meant to hurt the Iranian people, but have also hinted that they're hoping to cause enough frustration that it leads Iranians to "rise up" and "change the behavior of the regime."

Speaking on the maximum pressure campaign in February, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: "They're weaker. Their economy is a wreck. The Iranian people are very frustrated...Forty years after the revolution, things are much worse for the Iranian people, and we're convinced that will lead the Iranian people to rise up and change the behavior of the regime."

Nader Hashemi, an Iranian-Canadian political scientist director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver, over the weekend told Canada's CBC: "Ironically, Donald Trump's policy, I would argue, is actually bolstering the Islamic Republic and allowing its leaders to externalize its problems by pointing to the comprehensive crippling sanctions that have been imposed on Iran and the assassination of senior leaders like Soleimani."

"The best way of characterizing the mood of Iranian young people, the middle class, and people in urban settings is that they feel caught between a rock and a hard place between an authoritarian regime on the one hand that's deeply repressive, and then a Donald Trump on the outside that's sanctioning Iran to death," Hashemi added. "And so they're feeling a lack of hope, a lack of optimism, and then this tragedy compounds the pain and the misery."

The latest round of anti-government protests in Iran come after and in relation to Trump's controversial order for a drone strike that killed Iran's most important military leader, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, in early January.

Iran retaliated to Soleimani's killing with a missile attack aimed at US and coalition forces in Iraq. Shortly thereafter, Iran accidentally shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752. After initially denying any involvement in the deadly January 8 crash, the Iranian government said "human error" brought on by fears of a US military retaliation was to blame.

Tehran has taken a remorseful tone after acknowledging it was responsible for the incident, but that has not prevented waves of Iranians from flooding the streets to condemn the government. Of 176 people killed in the crash, 82 were Iranian.

Prior to Soleimani's killing and the plane crash, Iran had also been experiencing internal unrest in recent months linked to its struggling economy, in some cases resulting in the government killing demonstrators.

For a moment, Soleimani's death seemed to unite the country, with massive crowds paying their respects to the slain general while expressing animosity toward the US. In roughly a week, images of grief-stricken Iranians have morphed into images of Iranians enraged at their government.

The protesters have directed much of their anger at Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, with some reportedly chanting: "Death to the dictator!"

The Iranian government has denied reports that security forces have fired live ammunition at protesters, and alleged that Trump is shedding "crocodile tears"with his support for protesters, CBS News reported on Monday.

On Monday, Trump retweeted a fake image of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wearing a head scarf and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wearing a turban in front of an Iranian flag. This came as Trump and other Republicans have accused Democrats of sympathizing with the Iranian government and terrorists in response to criticism of the Soleimani strike and in the aftermath of the anti-government protests following the downing of Flight 752.

An image of a fake photo of Democratic leaders that President Donald Trump retweeted. Twitter

The Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned Trump over the retweet, stating it "mocks Islam" and "endangers American Muslims, Sikhs and members of other faiths who wear recognizable religious attire and are increasingly targeted by bigots nationwide."

Similarly, Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, tweeted: "It's outrageous that @realDonaldTrumpelevated such repulsive anti-Muslim bigotry. #Islamophobia is offensive & unbecoming of any leader, let alone@POTUS. When #hate & division are on the rise, this is the opposite of what we need from the President. An apology is in order ASAP."

Meanwhile, the Trump administration continues to offer an inconsistent series of defenses over Soleimani's killing with a Senate impeachment trial linked to the president's dealings with Ukraine on the horizon.

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Trump says he stands with Iran protesters, but banned them from the US - Business Insider

Stabbings, shootings, assaults weigh on US Jewish youth –

Posted By on January 14, 2020

NEW YORK (AP) When a man spewed anti-Semitic slurs and spat on her face, Shoshana Blum remembered her ancestors who survived the Holocaust, and instead of looking down she defiantly stared at him eye to eye.

The 20-year-old junior at City College of New York left the subway in tears. But months after the attack, she continues to wear proudly the same Star of David necklace she wore that day, and on Sunday, she joined thousands of people in a solidarity march against a rise in anti-Semitism and acts of hate.

Its important to stand strong in my Judaism, she said. If this is whats happening when were out being proud Jewish people, whats it going to be like if were afraid and in hiding?

Many young Jewish people in the United States say their generation is searching for ways to cope with an alarming string of recent anti-Semitic attacks across the country.

The No Hate, No Fear march on Sunday came as a response to anti-Semitic violence, including the targeting of a kosher grocery in Jersey City, New Jersey, and a knife attack that injured five people at a Hanukkah celebration north of New York City.

We thought that anti-Semitism was a thing of the past. We learned about it but never thought we would live in it, said Rabbi Jon Leener, 31, who runs Base BKLYN, a home-based ministry that aims to reach out to millennials and Jews of all backgrounds. He attended Sundays solidarity march and published a photo with his three-year-old son on his shoulders. They held a banner that read: I love being Jewish because I love Shabbat.

In the past five years, Leener and his wife, Faith, have welcomed thousands of people into their home-based ministry rooted in openness. Minutes before a class or a Shabbat dinner, he always walked to the front door and unlocked it because the couple believes in a Judaism where no door is shut or locked.

This is all changing now. After Pittsburgh, after Poway, after Halle (Germany), after Jersey City, after Monsey we no longer keep the door unlock(ed), he recently said on Facebook.

Visitors now must buzz in and Leener installed a security camera for the front door.

Im angry that this is our new reality. I hate that anti-Semitism is changing how I practice and share my Judaism to the world, he said.

Anti-Semitic attacks rose worldwide by 13% in 2018 compared to the previous year, according to a report by Tel Aviv Universitys Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary Jewry. The report recorded nearly 400 cases worldwide, with more than a quarter of the major violent cases taking place in the U.S.

The surge of violent attacks on the Jewish community, most recently in Monsey, New York, have caused consternation nationwide.

After the stabbing in Monsey, I told my mom, This is crazy. He was arrested less than a mile from here, while we were at Shul (synagogue) and celebrating Hanukkah, said Blum, who was raised in Chabad-Lubavitch, an Orthodox Jewish Hasidic movement.

The first time that Blum witnessed hate against Jews she was seven. The victim was her father, Rabbi Yonah Blum, who was the head of Columbia Universitys Chabad House for 23 years. As they walked from synagogue near the campus, a man came up behind him yelling anti-Semitic slurs and slapped his black fedora and his skullcap off his head.

Were very separated people when it comes to different topics ... but something that has been coming up since the (Monsey) attack, is that we all stand together, she said on a recent Friday as she prepared for the start of the Jewish Sabbath.

Since the Dec. 10 fatal shootings at a Jewish grocery store in Jersey City, there have been 33 anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S., including 26 in New York and New Jersey, according to the Anti-Defamation Leagues Tracker of Anti-Semitic Incidents.

During a recent trip to a conference of young Jewish leaders in New York City, Hezzy Segal, 16, sometimes tucked his yarmulke under his purple Minnesota Vikings snow hat.

Ive never been scared of being Jewish, but with the rise in anti-Semitism, I was more aware of it, said the Minnetonka, Minnesota teen. Its sad, its scary for all Jews.

Forty-five percent of teenagers feel that anti-Semitism is a problem for todays teens, according to the largest study of Jewish teens conducted in North America. The Jewish Education Projects GenZ Now Research Report included 18,000 respondents and was published in March 2019.

Ive already been on my guard a lot, said Thando Mlauzi, 25, a UCLA junior, who is majoring in English.

One of my hopes and dreams is that we live in a world, in a society, where it doesnt matter that Im black and Jewish, said Mlauzi, who converted to Judaism in 2018.

On a recent Friday, Alexandra Cohen, 29, chopped tomatoes before guests arrived for a Shabbat dinner in her studio apartment decorated with menorahs and flags of Israel.

Cohen said that her connection to Judaism grew stronger after someone put an anti-Semitic message on the door of her dorm at Johns Hopkins University, and later when she traveled to Israel. She said she is combating the negative environment by exposing the positive side of Jewish life.

The Anti-Defamation League has worked on initiatives, including its No Place for Hate anti-bias, anti-bullying initiative, which is in place in schools. Another includes working with juvenile offenders who are involved in some of the incidents.

Reformed neo-Nazi Shannon Foley Martinez helps people quit hate organizations. She feels she must spread the message that people can change their lives. She hopes her story is a warning to parents.

People have preconceived notions of who they think violent white supremacists are, said Martinez, who at 15 became a skinhead who spouted white supremacist rhetoric, gave stiff-armed Nazi salutes and tagged walls with swastikas.

I grew up in a family with two middle-class parents who have been married for 51 years, I was one of the smartest kids in my class, I was a championship athlete at one point of my life. I dont fit what peoples ideas are of who is vulnerable to radicalize into these ideas, she said.

My story is important because of that. We have to look at ourselves and our children and think: This could be my child. Am I actively and intentionally taking steps to not find resonance and find resistance to hate?

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Stabbings, shootings, assaults weigh on US Jewish youth -

On Spotify, hate streams unchecked as playlists praise Hitler, call to gas Jews – The Times of Israel

Posted By on January 14, 2020

Music-streaming giant Spotify is host to dozens of user-generated playlists with titles praising Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, mocking Holocaust victims, and featuring photos of swastikas and white nationalist hate symbols, The Times of Israel has found.

Among the anti-Semitic playlist titles are a variety of explicit calls to gas or kill Jews (Gas the Jews music; Jews gas chamber;Straight gas BURN THE JEWS; Gas Jews;Kill the Jews;GasOnThemJ3ws; burn the Jews), as well as Holocaust denial (The Holocaust was an exaggerated game of hide and seek; The Holocaust was a joke;Rocking the soccks [sic] off holocaust victims; Just found out the Holocaust was fake).

The playlists are created by users and dont necessarily have anti-Semitic content beyond the title and art. But they are searchable and available across the platform for any of the services over 200 million subscribers worldwide.

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Songs to snort Anne Franks ashes, reads one playlist title. Getting gassed with Anne Frank, says another, alongside a photo of the Jewish child Holocaust victim stamped with the words Straight Outta Auschwitz. (She died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp). Yet another playlist ridicules the young diarists Amsterdam hideout from Nazi persecution (Anne Franks hide and seek party playlist), while another, accompanied by a cover image of a syringe piercing a forearm, is simply called Gas Anne Frank.

Numerous others poke fun at the Auschwitz death camp, where over a million Jews were murdered. These publicly viewable playlists include: Auschwitz Train Sing Along, in reference to the mass deportations of European Jews by train to the death camp, and Auschwitz rave party (1943 colorized), which is accompanied by an image of Hitler wearing sunglasses and headphones. Auschwitz mixtape features the tagline: Almost as lit as the Jews in 1943.

Images of user-generated far-right playlists on Spotify (screen capture: Spotify)

Playlist Hitlers Mixtape features a photo of a Ku Klux Klan member giving a Heil Hitler salute, while several other titles justify the actions of the Nazi leader (Hitler did nothing wrong; Hitler was a sensitive man; Hitler was right; and more).

Other playlists, including The Fourth Reich, feature images of swastikas, while some 17 other lists are named for the Waffen SS. The far-right hate symbol Pepe the Frog graces the cover of music lineup The Holocaust is the best Fortnite event and others.

Images of user-generated far-right playlists on Spotify (screen capture: Spotify)

Nazi Germany marches and other playlists appear to feature German military tunes adopted by the Waffen-SS, while other playlist titles allude to conspiracy theories about Jews (9/11 did the jews; and RoThsChiLd Chillz, with a cover photo of Hitler wearing a swastika armband).

Over 110 publicly viewable profiles are also registered on Spotify under Adolf Hitler, with dozens of others listed under other variations on the Nazi leaders name.

In response to a query by The Times of Israel, Spotify said it removed hate content flagged by Germanys Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons and reviewed other complaints on a case-by-case basis.

Images of user-generated far-right playlists on Spotify (screen capture: Spotify)

We take this topic very seriously. Content (artists and music) listed by the BPjM in Germany (Bundesprfstelle fr jugendgefhrdende Medien/Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons) is proactively removed from our service. Were a global company, so we use the BPjM index as a global standard for these issues. Other potentially hateful or objectionable content that is flagged by users or others but not on the BPjM list is handled on a case-by-case basis, it said in a statement.

As of this publication, the content remains online.

Images of user-generated far-right playlists on Spotify (screen capture: Spotify)

In its policies on prohibited content, the company says: Hate content is content that expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics, including, race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability. We do not permit hate content on Spotify. When we are alerted to content that violates this standard, we will remove it from the platform.

The Anti-Defamation League said Wednesday it was reaching out to Spotify to press them, as we have other platforms, to adopt and enforce effective policies to combat online hate and anti-Semitism.

Anti-Semitic titles and mocking the Holocaust is never acceptable and a cursory search of Spotify playlists for Anne Frank finds not only the playlist mentioned, but also playlists with troubling titles such as gettin gassed with Anne Frank, noted ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt in an email.

Some of these playlists also feature hateful imagery, which is uploaded and are not the automatically generated images created by Spotify. It is deeply disturbing that Spotify has not removed the playlist in question since being informed of its existence, added Greenblatt.

Furthermore, all platforms should have policies that prohibit hateful content that target protected identities such as religion, race, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and national origin. At present, while Spotify has some policies in place to protect against abuse on the platform, it does not explicitly call out hate in these policies.

In 2017, Spotify removed white power and neo-Nazi bands from its service after Digital Music News identified 37 white supremacist artists readily available for streaming.That decision was announced shortly after the far-right Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which saw hundreds of neo-Nazis shout anti-Semitic slogans. One of the protesters drove into a crowd of counter-demonstrators, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring more than two dozen others.

Update: On Thursday evening, Spotify said it would remove the hate content. The user-generated content in question violates our policy and is in the process of being removed. Spotify prohibits any user content that is offensive, abusive, defamatory, pornographic, threatening, or obscene, a spokesperson said.

On Spotify, hate streams unchecked as playlists praise Hitler, call to gas Jews - The Times of Israel

THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK Comes to Main Street Theater – Broadway World

Posted By on January 14, 2020

Main Street Theater (MST) is presenting the timely classic, The Diary of Anne Frank based on the iconic book. "There were over a dozen Anti-Semitic violent incidents in the month of December alone," notes Vivienne M. St. John, MST Theater for Youth Artistic Director and director of the production. "It is now more important than ever to educate people about the dangers of history repeating itself. The Diary of Anne Frank is so impactful because it speaks to young people who will be the voice of our future and adults who have the power to create change immediately. Anne, while enduring unbearable abuse, spoke of love and hope for the future. By producing Anne Frank, we hope to instill a desire for others to be courageous, speak out and stand up against discrimination and hate." The production will run Sundays, January 26, February 9 & 16 at 2:30pm and February 9 at 7:00pm at MST's Midtown location, 3400 Main St. in Matchbox4. All tickets are on sale via phone at 713.524.6706 or online at Tickets are $16 - $26.

Main Street Theater offers Accommodations Performances. There is a Sensory-Friendly/Relaxed performance February 9 at 2:30pm. February 16 is an ASL interpreted performance and Audio Description is available as well (advance reservations required, 7 days minimum; email

MST has partnered with Holocaust Museum Houston, the Anti-Defamation League, Interfaith Ministries, and WITS for this production. January 26 after the 2:30pm performance is Past & Present Voices: Reflections and a Way Forward, a discussion with the Anti-Defamation League and Interfaith Ministries. February 9 after the 2:30pm performance is a discussion with Holocaust survivor Chaja Verveer in partnership with Holocaust Museum Houston.

The haunting, true story of two families forced to hide from the world in an attic with World War II raging around them - and the courageous people who risked their own lives to protect the very existence of those families. Recommended for 5th Grade and up. Children under the age of 3 (including sleeping babies) not allowed in the theater.

The production is directed by Vivienne M. St. John. The cast includes Marcella Alba as Anne, Carl Masterson as Otto Frank, Megan Jankovic as Margot Frank, Amy Barnes as Edith Frank, Bonnie Langthorn as Miep Gies, Jordi Viscarri as Peter van Daan, Chaney Moore as Mrs. van Daan, Shane Manning as Mr. van Daan, Jonathan Teverbaugh as Mr. Kraler, and Seth Cunningham as Mr. Dussel. The design team is Donna Southern Schmidt (costume design), Torsten Louis (set design), Bryan Ealey (lighting design), Shawn W. St. John (sound design), and Lauren Davis (props). Danielle Docwra is the production stage manager.

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THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK Comes to Main Street Theater - Broadway World

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