Sunday, May 29, 2016

Slobodan Trump

People keep trying to pin down the right historical parallel for Trump. We know he's not Hitler, of course. He might be Mussolini. But to one refugee from the Balkan wars, the obvious model is Slobodan Milosevic:
Slobodan Milosevic hated Muslims. Slobodan Milosevic hated Bosnians. Slobodan Milosevic hated anyone who wasn't a "pure" Christian Serb. He used his power as the leader of Yugoslavia to get on TV, radio, in the papers, anywhere you could think of and talk about the horrible effects these people were having on our beloved Yugoslavia. The Bosnians? They're a threat to everything we stand for! The Muslims? They'll ruin us! We must band together against these people before they destroy us - and they will destroy us. We have to strike first! Slobodan Milosevic brought people together against one common enemy. He made them feel like they were part of something. He made them believe that if they followed him and everything he stood for, they would be on their way to a better Yugoslavia. Make Yugoslavia great again.

I remember hearing my first bomb when I was three years old. I was sitting in the kitchen with my mom in our high rise apartment eating crepes when it happened. She immediately scooped me into her arms and ran into the hallway, covering my head with her hands, kissing me repeatedly.

"What was that noise?" I asked.

"Oh, they're just testing some stuff," she responded, cradling me back and forth, still kissing me....

I remember piling into a car with all my cousins trying to escape the attacks, only to be stopped by Serbian soldiers and forced at gunpoint to spend the night on a gym floor with hundreds of other Bosnian refugees. We were piled in like cattle.

How cool! I thought, as I ran around the gym with my brother. It was like a fun sleepover with my cousins and him. When I was much older I found out that every single one of us in that gym was supposed to be sent to a concentration camp or killed. No one knows why they let us go. Does it even matter?

It took us over two years to finally get to the U.S. You read that right. It took my refugee family and I over two years to finally be admitted into the United States of America....

I don't know much about Donald Trump's policies or political agenda and I'm not even going to pretend to know. But I do know enough abut Donald Trump. Donald Trump is Slobodan Milosevic. He is a rich, old, white man in power who uses his money and absurdly large media platform to instill fear, hate, and separation with the promise to fix it. Make America great again.

People think things like war and genocide and concentration camps can't happen in the U.S. We're too evolved. We're too rich. We're too powerful. We're too something. We're too everything. Look around. Look at the wedge this man, this election, has created between people. Look at the things he spews from his mouth, the fear he has instilled....

Thoughts turn into words turn into actions turn into how did we get here?
I'm not inclined to alarmism, and I don't think a Trump presidency would mean civil war. But I do think it would be ugly beyond what we can imagine today, and I do think we should listen carefully to those who have experienced his kind before.

(Hat tip: James Fallows)


Buford said...

Fight Fascism now, or Fight Trump later...either way, there is only one path we can choose...trump has clarified his threat to our nation, well, as clearly as trump can be...we should start treating Trump like the existential threat he and his supporters are...

Ten Bears said...

In as much as half the 'Murikan population have embraced Fascism, it seems to me that the problem is bigger than Donald T "Big Hands" Rump. He's naught but the lipstick on the pig.

'Course, 'Murikans have always had a love affair with NAZIs, with convicted Trading With Enemies felon Prescott Bush, the Fords, Rockefellers and Rodhams bankrolling both Hitler's War machine and an attempted overthrow - a coup - of the Roosevelt Administration. But for the Principles of the most highly decorated Marine in the history of the Marine Corp, we would be much further down that road than we are today.

History only repeats to those paying attention. If any have interest, there is more at my place under the headline(s) The Playbook is (seventy, seventy-five, eighty) Years Old. See also the Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism. Number fourteen, Fraudulent Elections, is quite timely.

Jim Snyder said...

I read:

"I am not inclined to alarmism" and thought, "WTF?!?"

And then, just below that para, "Tom Hilton".

er, so ... never mind.

I am somewhat reassured by Jaime Boulle's article over at Slate:

Plus the comment to that article (; shorter: Trump's win was highly contingent.

The two arguments are not mutually exclusive.

Plus the fact that Trump has offended so many segments of the electorate that it's really difficult to see a path to a win in November that don't involve Hillary choking on a pretzel in September.

The man isn't running a calculated campaign. He isn't a coldly rational sociopath.

A coldly rational sociopath wouldn't have insulted Governor Martinez.

A coldly rational sociopath wouldn't have insulted the judge presiding over the Trump University trial.

That's not to say Trump isn't a sociopath; as another commenter at that Slate article says:

My greatest fear is Trump pushing the launch buttons for each and every nuclear missile while laughing, "You're fired! You're fired!"

But Trump seems to be doing everything he can to sabotage his chances in November... his campaign staff is in chaos, the Trump campaign is reported to be way underfunded.

I'm kinda thinking "reached his level of incompetence".

None of which takes away from the power of the cited post (

Victor said...

Ten Bears,
Yes, thank the great FSM for General Smedley Butler!

Also too:
And we dodged a big one, when Charles Lindbergh decided NOT to run for POTUS!

He was popular enough to win - especially after his son's tragic kidnapping - and he loved the pomp and circumstances that came with Fascism.

Ten Bears said...

When we read beyond the corporate narrative, we find there was no kidnapping. The child was murdered by Lindbergh's insane sister for reasons never determined. Because Lindy was being groomed by the corporate Robber Barons for the presidency, it was felt that a scandal involving interacine infantacide was more than the "electorate" could handle, so the kidnapping murder story was cooked up while the sister was shuffled off to a sanatorium for the rest of her life.

Indeed Jim, he' doing everything he can to lose. And folks wonder why I'm still not at all unconvinced he's not "campaigning" for Clinton. It has long been my contention the Retards threw the ought-eight and twelve elections to Obama, as they are now throwing it to Clinton. All I want to know is why?

Dark Avenger said...

The 2012 campaign was marred by their technological ineptitude:

It was supposed to be a "killer app," but a system deployed to volunteers by Mitt Romney's presidential campaign may have done more harm to Romney's chances on Election Day—largely because of a failure to follow basic best practices for IT projects.

Called "Orca," the effort was supposed to give the Romney campaign its own analytics on what was happening at polling places and to help the campaign direct get-out-the-vote efforts in the key battleground states of Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Colorado.

Instead, volunteers couldn't get the system to work from the field in many states—in some cases because they had been given the wrong login information. The system crashed repeatedly. At one point, the network connection to the Romney campaign's headquarters went down because Internet provider Comcast reportedly thought the traffic was caused by a denial of service attack.

Victor said...

Ten Bears,
Yeah, I know the guys who were executed were innocent.
But it was a long and convoluted story that I really didn't want to get into on a 3-day weekend.
Thanks for doing the heavy lifting! ☺.

The New York Crank said...

Ten Bears,

Don't go into the story, but for the love of sanity, give me the source. This is a tale I've never heard before.

I wanna know where you got this. I wanna know. I wanna.

Crankily yours,
The New York Crank

Jim Snyder said...

@Ten Bears @Victor @New York Crank:

do tell! I've yet to see compelling arguments about this.

Jim Snyder said...

@Ten Bears:

Can't find a definitive phrasing, but "incompetence is always preferred to conspiracy" ...

... except when it's not.

I find narcissism under every rock ("where will a bunny, find a home?"), but having, uh, engaged with multiple "extreme narcissists" in my life and career, I don't see the Trumpenfuhrer as exceptional. Recommending the article in the Jan-Feb 2013 issue of The Atlantic for an edicational discussion of Lance Armstrong and narcissistic personality disorder).

So the "why" could be as simple as "Trump does Trump".

OTOH, one of my more technically inclined buds pointed me to a post in dKos a year ago (sorry, no link, +/- 6 months ... if it's important to you I'll try to find the post) which posited that we're all labrats in a sim, and the Trumpenfuhrer is the sim operator toying with us.

How would we know?

But a more parsimonious explanation is that the Trumpenfuhrer is not a rational actor.

M. Bouffant said...

My guess is the civil war won't start until the impeachment proceedings against Trump are finally underway.

Jim Snyder said...


I'm not a mind reader.

And most likely I'm not too bright, but that's not for me to decide.

Could you state your point a bit less obliquely?

Ten Bears said...

Well Crank, it might have been Zinn. Or perhaps Loudan, or Marrs. They all wrote about it. It may, on the other hand, have been Holbrooke, who actually reported on it. I don't know, it could have been something I came across when I digitized a law library a few years back. Or a wiki page I may have edited back when I still did that sort of thing. It's not uncommon knowledge.

Cranky becomes you, mockery does not.

Jim Snyder said...

@Ten Bears:

er, ah ...

But surely you can point us to evidence?

Because not all of use know what you know, and evidence helps drive home the point.