Wanted to share this really great interview with Sarah Kendzior, a scholar of authoritarianism who has written an excellent book recently about Donald Trump, which frames him correctly not as a “corrupt politician” but as the head of an international crime syndicate.
Just take the 5 to 10 minutes to read the interview, but wanted to highlight some especially important points not only to her explanation of how Donald Trump’s worldview is less “fascist” and more about trying to exploit the wealth of the United States, consequences be damned. It’s also relevant since the failed systems in the US she discusses are one of the reasons we’re leaving regardless of the results of the election in November.
Put simply — the United States is a failed state and will likely continue to be for the foreseeable future. I don’t feel like I can effect some positive change in that regard, so we’re making the decision we need to make for our finances, for our sanity and for our overall well-being. Your decisions and needs may vary, but we have to go.
About the recent bombshell NY Times piece that showed that Trump has paid virtually no US income taxes for the last 15 years at least:
As for the debt and other information revealed in the NYT piece, none of this is surprising, but people need to learn how to interpret it. People should review his mentor Roy Cohn — Trump’s tax-dodging, mobbed-up, media-savvy lawyer who was the biggest influence in his life. Cohn dreamed of dying owing the US government enormous amount of money, and in 1986, he did. Acquisition of wealth is not the goal for either Trump or Cohn; debt is not a problem for them. A luxurious lifestyle, powered by fraud and threat and untouchable by law, is the goal. People need to examine not only Cohn and Trump’s crimes but the complicit actors that enabled them, which in this case includes the I.R.S., the Department of the Treasury and other broken U.S. institutions. Trump and Cohn are symptoms of a broader disease.
About Trump’s autocratic tendencies:
Every country that becomes a dictatorship started with a chorus of people saying, “It can’t happen here.” It can happen anywhere. And in 2015, the U.S. was extremely vulnerable to autocracy. We had experienced fourteen years of eroded institutional trust due to 9/11 and the illegal wars in its aftermath, we had endured unremedied economic hardship, and we were also contending with hyper-partisanship, a rise in racist violence, and the upheaval of digital technology. Those are the conditions where demagogues emerge, and Trump launched his campaign by calling Mexicans rapists and murderers. It was obvious he was going to campaign as a demagogue to rule as an autocrat...
But I’ve largely called him an authoritarian or autocrat instead of a fascist because “fascist” implies loyalty to the state. A fascist wants to embody and expand the state and usually has imperial ambitions. Whereas Trump wants to destroy the U.S.: he wants to strip it down and sell it off for parts to both domestic and foreign backers. His cohort’s ambitions are similar to what oligarchs and other hyper-capitalists did to the U.S.S.R. after its collapse — which is not surprising because the Kremlin and an associated network of plutocrats and oligarchs are the prime backers of this operation.
Like I said, a really interesting illuminating interview. Be sure to check it out.