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Is Trump Becoming a Dictator? Harvard Professor’s List Shows He’s More Than Halfway There



President Donald Trump may fail to qualify as a dictator, but it’s not for lack of trying.

In late 2016, Harvard University’s Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations Stephen M. Walt wrote a 10-point list for analyzing whether a president is a dictator.

Less than half-way through his first term, Trump has fulfilled seven of the 10 criteria.

Trump Systematically Attempts to Intimidate the Media

The president routinely bullies the press, creating environments that range from hostile to physically unsafe.

This began during the campaign and continues to this day, as Trump riles rally crowds against the press and repeatedly attacks them on social media.

“These people, they hate your guts,” he recently told a rally about the press.

The president reportedly told a reporter off-camera that he intentionally bullies the press to “demean” and “discredit” them.

Trump Politicizes Domestic Security Agencies

This requires little explanation, as the president attacks national security entities on a near-daily basis.

Trump repeatedly engages in outright conspiracy theories to sow distrust of national security entities among political allies.

The FBI is a favorite target. Trump has gone so far as to falsely claim the agency was illicitly spying on him during the 2016 election.

Trump Used State Power to Punish an Opponent

Since his election, the president has attacked nearly 20 corporations.

In one notable example, Trump cost Amazon “billions of dollars in market cap as investors sold off stock.” Trump did so by engaging in a public PR attack on the company through his Twitter account.

The president has also attacked the press by threatening to change libel laws. He considers journalists to be an opposition force, labeling major networks like CNN and NBC “fake news.”

Trump Stacked the Supreme Court

After Republicans denied a vote on President Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, they swiftly moved to install a Trump nominee following his swearing-in.

Trump took advantage of the GOP’s bad faith action, appointing Justice Neil Gorsuch rather than calling for a hearing of Obama-appointee Merrick Garland.

His decision to capitalize rather than correct the unethical move by his party is an unusual example of court-stacking.

Trump Regularly Fearmongers

Trump opened his campaign with a call to fear.

“They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists,” is among the most memorable linesfrom his opening campaign attacks on people of Mexican descent.

His policies as president reflect this xenophobia, including repeated attempts to ban travel from Muslim-majority countries.

Trump’s fixation on forcing Mexico to pay for a southern border wall to fight a nonexistent immigration crisis is yet another example of fear-mongering through isolationism.

Trump Demonizes the Opposition

The president has directly called critical media the “enemy of the American people,” to say nothing of the insults he regularly lobs at any political opponent who dares to stand in his way.

Trump’s ascent to the presidency was arguably birthed from the demonization of former President Barack Obama, who Trump portrayed as an illegitimate foreign invader who illegally took the oath of office.

He’s made a show of attacking black football players, by intentionally misrepresenting their protests against racial discrimination as attacks on the United States as a country.

Trump Engages in Selective Law Enforcement

The president has weaponized the power of the pardon as an opportunity for political gain and signaling.

His use of pardons to negate legal judgments against political allies, like Joe Arpaio and Dinesh D’Souza, represents a break from the norms of pardoning individuals as a form of corrective justice rather than erosion of the law.

Trump also claims that allies who break laws are treated “unfairly” when they face legal consequences for their actions.

This contrasts with his “law and order” rhetoric directed at immigrants, against whom he uses human rights violations and deportation as political weapons.

Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr and a CC license

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Watch: Trump Uses Slur At White House Event to Complain to LSU Football Champs About Being Impeached



President Donald Trump was extremely comfortable with the national championship players of LSU’s “Fighting Tigers” football team Friday, even laughing and lamenting abut his impeachment, while using a slur on-camera in their presence.

“It’s been there a long time, a lot of presidents, some good, some not so good,” he said, referring to the historic Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, a gift from Queen Victoria in 1880.

“But you got a good one now!” Trump bragged to the players, some of whom clearly appeared uncomfortable – and that was before he used profanity.

“Even though they’re trying to impeach the son of a bitch!” Trump said of himself. “Can you believe that? Got the greatest economy we’ve ever had. We got the greatest military, we rebuilt it, we took out those terrorists like your football team would have taken out those terrorists, right? We’re doing good.”

Some were stunned to hear the nation’s president swear, especially inside the White House, talking with college students, in video taken to play on national TV.

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The GOP Delves Into Anti-Irish Stereotypes for St. Patrick’s Day



GOP attacks Beto O'Rourke via tweet

While far from the worst thing Republicans have ever done. the GOP opted to “celebrate” St. Patrick’s Day with an attack on Beto O’Rourke, using a mugshot of the presidential contender, topped with a clip art Irish top hat, and a letter board in front of him that reads, “Please Drink Responsibly.”

The Tweet reads, “On this St. Paddy’s Day, a special message from noted Irishman Robert Francis O’Rourke.” 

One of the most common and frustrating stereotypes for Irish people is the assumption that the Irish are all rowdy drunkards: while Ireland does have a cultural history surrounding the consumption of alcohol, many of the stereotypes are borne out of racism against the Irish. 

Fueling these stereotypes by the GOP may feel like a slap in the face, even as the White House attempts to portray our bonds with Ireland: President Trump and Vice president Pence, for example, just hosted the Prime Minister of Ireland. 

The image of O’Rourke used by the GOP was a mugshot from a DWI arrest over 20 years ago. The arrest had been dismissed, but the mugshot lives on, appearing initially during O’Rourke’s run against Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

The use of Beto O’Rourke’s full name echoes the use of Barack Obama’s full name during the latter’s campaign and presidency, as an attempt to use the former president’s middle name, Hussein, to link him to the former Iraqi leader of the same name. 

Ted Cruz had attempted to smear O’Rourke over his use of “Beto” as a way of delegitimizing his Senatorial run, trying to paint his nickname as an attempt to pander to Hispanics. The move was seen as largely disingenuous, given that Cruz uses “Ted Cruz” rather than his own given name. “Rafael Edward Cruz.”

It is also in contract to attempts to paint Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez not being a minority by using a high school nickname of hers, “Sandy.” 

The GOP will undoubtedly portray their tweet as simply a joke, and claim those who were offended are simply too think skinned to appreciate their brand of humor. 

Image via screen capture from Twitter.

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Ex-Trump Fixer Michael Cohen on Prague Visit: ‘Mueller Knows Everything’



Longtime Donald Trump fixer Michael Cohen is denying reports he has ever been to Prague or the Czech Republic.

On Thursday, McClatchy reported that Eastern European intelligence discovered Cohen’s cell phone was in proximity to a cell phone tower in the Prague area. The salacious Steele Dossier on Donald Trump and Russia reported Cohen had visited the country during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Cohen, a convicted felon, denied ever being in the country.

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