Category Archives: Germany

January 30, 1933

Yesterday in 1933, Adolf Hitler was made chancellor of Germany.

Although he hasn’t killed any Jews or started any wars yet, Trump-Bannon are very much cut from the same mold – not only fascists, but racist fascists to boot. Another word for a racist fascist is a National Socialist or Nazi.

So yeah, this time the Godwin Rule actually makes some sense.

Have fun with your dictatorship, Trumpsterfires, or Cum Trumpsters. Which is better,  Cum Trumpsters, Trumpsters, or Trumpsterfires?

I rather like Cum Trumpsters. Reminds me of Teabaggers. Similar acts, both associated with fellatio. And boy are the Trumpsters fellating Herr Donald! Whew. If they don’t come up for air soon, they may suffocate. Wait. This is bad?

4 Comments

Filed under Europe, European, Fascism, Germany, History, Humor, Modern, National Socialism, Nazism, Political Science, Politics, Racism, Regional, Republicans, US Politics, White Racism

Excellent Evidence that the 2016 Election Was Stolen by Donald Trump and the Republicans via Hacking of Voting Machines

We do not have a democracy in the US anymore, if we ever had one in the first place. We now officially have a dictatorship now that we have solid proof that Donald Trump stole the Presidency via hacking of voting machines that are used to count the votes in many states.

Two Senators in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania also stole their seats with those machines.

The machines were used to steal the vote for Trump in Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. The Republicans have been stealing elections for a long time with these machines.

Even the Democratic wins were actually far greater than what they ended up with. Clinton won one of his elections by 15-20 points, but the machines whittled it way down to half that size or less. They have also been using those damned machines to steal elections in the mid-year. Many seats were stolen in the 2006 midyear elections. I am wondering how many of those state Legislature and Senate seats and governorships have been stolen? The GOP has been on a roll for some time now, especially since Obama came in with many state Legislatures, Senates and Governorships going Republican. In part this is due to many states simply turning redder, but I suspect that in part it may also have been due to fraud with those machines.

You might also be interested to note that Hillary Clinton stole a number of primaries from Bernie Sanders with those same machines.

And in this fake democracy, we can’t even do recounts of stolen elections! There was no proper recount done in Pennsylvania, Michigan or Wisconsin. And the media lied and said the recounts did not uncover any fraud. Recounts done by the states themselves prior to the official recount found 26,000 fake votes for Trump in Pennsylvania, 5,000 fake votes for Trump in Wisconsin and 2,000 fake votes for Trump in Michigan. In Detroit and the surrounding area alone, there were 80,000 undervotes for President. This is unprecedented. In a typical election, there should be maybe 20,000 undervotes in the whole state.

Most of the stolen votes in Michigan were deemed unrecountable based on an insane Michigan law that says were a fraudulent election is suspected (where voter sign-in numbers do not match ballot numbers) the vote in that precinct is “unrecountable.” So we have evidence of possible fraud, that means we can’t recount the votes! 100% of pre-election polls in Michigan predicted a Hillary win by ~3%. There is no way that all of the pre election polls in Michigan were wrong. It’s just not possible.

In Wisconsin the votes in the Democratic-heavy cities were not even recounted. They were just run through the same machines that probably miscounted them in the first place. Running them through the machines again is not a recount. The only valid recount is by hand.

There was no recount in Pennsylvania because all votes in Pennsylvania are unrecountable! They are counted by optical scan machines and there is no paper trail afterwards. There’s nothing to count!

The Trump win in Florida was statistically impossible. Hillary was running ~65% in the early voting, even capturing 28% of Republican women. In order for Trump to surpass that huge early lead there would have to be such a massive turnout of Trump supporters on election day such that would never happen. And there’s no reason why only Hillary voters and not Trump voters would vote early.

A similar scenario occurred in North Carolina. Hillary was up 65% in early voting again with I believe 50% of the vote counted. The Trump win there,  while statistically possible, is highly unlikely as it would rest upon the notion that a huge number of Hillary voters voted early and then never showed up on Election Day and hardly any Trump voters voted early and the vast majority of them voted on Election Day. It’s absurd.

If those elections in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan were so clean, why did the Republicans go crazy trying to stop the recounts? If the election is fair, a recount is nothing to worry about. In this sick joke of a fake democracy, it appears that no Presidential election can ever be recounted no matter how much evidence of fraud. It’s incredible!

Remember when Trump kept saying that the election was going to be rigged? Trump has a habit of projecting and accusing his opponents of doing exactly what he does. Trump was saying that because the election was going to be rigged, by him! In the last few days before the election, Trump and his campaign chair and Giuliani were all extremely confident that Trump would carry Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Everyone else was shaking their heads because Hillary had been leading in almost all polls in those states for some time.

The day before the election, Paul Manafort, Trump’s man with deep connections to Putin’s Russia, told Trump to go to Michigan, despite being behind in all polls there for a long time. Did Manafort know something we do not know? Were the Russians in on the hacking of the election? I would not put it past them, as Putin stole an election in Ukraine a decade ago by hacking the voting machines. Also Russia was caught hacking into a voter registration database of a company in Florida five weeks before the election. That company ran the voter registration database for North Carolina. No one knows what was done in that hack.

The last time election polls were off by this much as in Dewey vs. Truman and polling was in its infancy back then. There is no way on Earth that all of the pollsters got this election wrong. The average of all of the polls was way off in this election. It simply not statistically possible for that to occur in the US. It can’t happen. So none of the pollsters were off. The pollsters were right like they always are. Hillary did win the election except Trump stole it by fraud. Polls cannot predict the outcome of a fraudulent election.

We also know that two Senate seats were stolen this year, one in Wisconsin and one in Pennsylvania.

it is not only Republicans who are stealing elections. This year for the first time, it appears that the Democrats were stealing elections. Of course it was the corporate Democrats around Hillary and the DNC who are the suspects. Hillary appears to have stolen a number of those primaries from Sanders and reduced his lead in others. It looks like the voting machines were used to do this. I would not put it past Hillary to do this. I think she is almost a sociopath.

The voting machines have been being made from Day One by three large corporations. The heads of these corporations are all far rightwing partisans. As soon as those machines got put in, we started seeing a lot of stolen elections for the first time in a long time in the US. Also the software used to count the ballots is proprietary and no one is allowed to look at it. So the elections of the USA are being counted by machines made by a private corporation with proprietary code that no one can look at! Incredible.

This whole thing looks like a Republican plot from the very beginning. Soon after the 2000 debacle which was actually won by Al Gore because Gore actually did win in Florida, Karl Rove and Jack Abramson, the convicted criminal wrote a bill mandating that all states use voting machines in coming elections. Many states then went over to the machines. After these machines were put in in many places, we started seeing a startling number of fraudulent elections. So it looks like that law by Rove and Abramson was written with the knowledge that the Republicans were going to use the machines to steal elections. Computerized voting machines were not in use in 1988, but there is good evidence that Dukakis actually won that election and that Bush Sr. stole it. The votes were being counted by large tallying machines somewhat like the machines that count time cards.

These computerized voting machines have been declared illegal in most of the EU. As usual, the Europeans are far behind us American primitives. In addition, recounts are held regularly in European elections. I believe in Germany now, all major elections go through an automatic hand recount as a matter of course. Now that’s democracy! While democracy blooms in civilized Europe, dictatorship looms in barbarian America.

The mass media refuses to believe that elections are being stolen via these machines. They just will not buy it. I am unsure why this is. The Democratic Party also will not believe that these elections are being stolen, even though they are being stolen right from their own party. I am not sure why that is.

Until we get rid of these damned voting machines, we will never have a democracy in America.

I would also like to point out that the Republican gerrymandering of districts is outrageous and profoundly undemocratic. They have set it up so that no matter what we do, the House of Representatives will be Republican until 2028. There is simply nothing at all we can do to change that. That’s not democracy. That’s dicatorship. Partisan gerrymandering should be illegal. Gerrymandering if it must be done should be done by panels of nonpartisan judges. Studies have shown that nonpartisan gerrymandering results in districts that are much fairer than the partisan ones we have now.

There is no democracy in this country anyway. I don’t think we have had one day of democracy in this country from the very start. The government was set up to be a government of the rich and the elite, and it’s been that way ever since. The people who run this country do not believe democracy. Wealthy elites the world over always hate democracy. Rule by wealthy elites in most places on Earth is dependent on undemocratic means to stay in power. There are just not enough regular working people who are stupid enough to vote for the parties of the rich.

4 Comments

Filed under Conservatism, Conspiracies, Corruption, Democrats, Europe, Florida, Germany, Government, Journalism, Law, Michigan, Midwest, North Carolina, Northeast, Political Science, Politics, Regional, Republicans, Russia, South, US Politics, USA, Wisconsin

Alt Left on Donald Trump: Oppose Completely

Below is a list of Donald Trump’s positions on many issues taken from his Wikipedia site. Each position is marked Yes, No, or Neutral depending on whether or not I agree with it. Note that I am conflating my opinions on Trump’s positions with the Alt Left’s, but that’s not so strange.

The results were:

No:      282

Yes:     97

Neutral: 9

So the Alt Left opposes Trump on 282 issues, supports him on 97 issues and is neutral on nine issues.

We oppose Trump on 77% of the issues, support him on 25% of the issues and are neutral on 2% of the issues. That’s pretty bad. I do not see how the Alt Left can support Donald Trump at all based  on this survey. I suppose you could support him on accelerationist grounds, but that’s about it. No Alt Left person should support Trump, and the movement must oppose and renounce him thoroughly. The way I see it is that Trump is one of the enemies of the Alt Left. I realize that one Alt Left faction, the Left Wing of the Alt Right, went heavily for Trump, but they are being renounced by a number of Alt Leftists for various reasons. Personally I renounce them simply based on their support for Trump. If this faction ever wants to stop supporting Trump maybe I will see about revoking that renunciation.

It would be nice to do a similar survey of Hillary Clinton to see the Alt Left’s position on her positions on the issues, but that will take a lot of time and I am not sure if I am up for it.

On August 8, 2016, Trump outlined a new economic plan that involved significant income tax cuts at all levels of income. NO

He proposed to reduce the number of tax brackets from seven to three, and replace the rates ranging from 10% to 39.6% with 12%, 25% and 33%. NO

He proposed to cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%. NO

He proposed to repeal the estate tax, which applies to inheritance for estates valued at $5.45 million for individuals and $10.9 million for couples, or roughly the wealthiest 0.2 percent of Americans. NO

Trump also said he would eliminate the carried interest loophole. YES

Trump’s plan would also “eliminate the alternative minimum tax and the 3.8 percent net investment income tax, which was levied on high-income households to help fund Medicare expansion under the Affordable Care Act.” NO

An analysis by Lily L. Batchelder of New York University School of Law estimated that Trump’s new tax plan would cost more than $5 trillion over ten years and would raise taxes for lower and middle income families with children. NO

According to the Tax Policy Center, Trump’s economic plan would raise taxes on many families. NO

For instance, families with head-of-household filing status making between $20,000 and $200,000, including many single parents, would pay more under Trump’s plan than under current tax law. NO

However, in the September 2016 presidential debate, Trump said that using loopholes to avoid paying income taxes in the 1970s “makes me smart.” NO

Last fall Mr. Trump suggested that he would break with Republican orthodoxy by raising taxes on the wealthy. But then he unveiled a tax plan that would, in fact, lavish huge tax on the rich. And it would also, according to non-partisan analyses, cause deficits to explode, adding around $10 trillion to the national debt over a decade.” NO

Economist Mark Zandi estimated that if Trump’s tax cuts and spending increases were fully implemented as proposed, the national debt trajectory would worsen considerably, with debt held by the public rising from 76% GDP in 2016 to 135% GDP in 2026, considerably above a current policy baseline that rises to 86% GDP in 2026. If only some of Trump’s policies were implemented under an alternative scenario of more moderate changes, the debt figure would rise to 111% GDP by 2026.[72] In May 2016, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget placed the 2026 debt figure under Trump’s policies between 111% GDP and 141% GDP, versus 86% under the current policy baseline. NO

Trump has called for allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with prescription-drug companies to get lower prices for the Medicare Part D prescription-drug benefit, something currently prohibited by law. NO

Trump has called for allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with prescription-drug companies to get lower prices for the Medicare Part D prescription-drug benefit, something currently prohibited by law. YES

Unlike his rivals in the 2016 Republican primary race, Trump opposes cuts in Social Security and Medicare benefits. YES

Trump supports proposals that would grant Congress the ability to audit the Federal Reserve’s decision-making and take power away from the Federal Reserve. NO

Trump favors returning to the gold standard. NO

Trump supported the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), a $700 billion emergency bailout fund that rescued banks after the sub-prime mortgage crisis. YES

In May 2016, Trump said that if elected president he would dismantle “nearly all” of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, a financial regulation package enacted after the financial crisis. NO

Trump promised to roll back existing regulations and impose a moratorium on new regulations, with a specific focus on undoing environmental rules that he said curtail job creation. NO

In October 2016, Trump proposed to eliminate as many as 70 percent of federal agency regulations. NO

However, In May 2016 Trump’s campaign co-chair, Sam Clovis stated that the ideas being prepared by the campaign included getting government out of student lending; requiring colleges to share in risk of loans; discouraging borrowing by liberal arts majors; and moving the Office of Civil Rights from the Education Department to Justice Department. NO

In an October 2016 speech, Trump said that he favored having student loans repayment capped at 12.5 percent of borrowers’ income, with forgiveness of any remaining debt after fifteen years of payments. YES

Trump has criticized the federal government for earning a profit from federal student loans. YES

The campaign does opposes Hillary Clinton’s proposal for debt-free public higher education, Bernie Sanders’s plan for free public higher education and President Obama’s proposals for a state-federal partnership to make community college free for new high school graduates, citing federal budget concerns. NO

Trump supports investment in American infrastructure to help create jobs.He wrote in his 2015 book Crippled America that “Our airports, bridges, water tunnels, power grids, rail systems – our nation’s entire infrastructure is crumbling, and we aren’t doing anything about it.” Trump noted that infrastructure improvements would stimulate economic growth while acknowledging “on the federal level, this is going to be an expensive investment, no question about that.”In an October 2015 interview with the Guardian, Trump stated: “We have to spend money on mass transit. We have to fix our airports, fix our roads also in addition to mass transit, but we have to spend a lot of money.” YES

Trump said: “We’ve spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people. If we could’ve spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges and all of the other problems—our airports and all of the other problems we’ve had—we would’ve been a lot better off.” YES

Trump has expressed support for high-speed rail, calling the U.S.’s current rail network inferior to foreign countries’ systems. YES

When Trump was asked on Fox & Friends about supporting Russia’s idea on a Bering Strait tunnel project, he replied: “I wouldn’t be opposed to any idea that can create jobs.” YES

Asked if the federal government should set a floor (a national minimum wage), Trump replied: “No, I’d rather have the states go out and do what they have to do. NO

In February 2016, Trump said on a radio program: “My position on unions is fine, but I like right to work. My position on right to work is 100 percent.” NO

Trump has frequently spoken in favor of deregulation, and if elected president is viewed as likely to oversee an Occupational Safety and Health Administration that conducts “less enforcement and practically no rulemaking” on issues of workplace safety and health. NO

Trump first addressed childcare costs on August 8, 2016, where he said he would “[allow] parents to fully deduct the average cost of childcare spending from their taxes.” NO

According to a report by the RAND Corporation, Trump’s proposed health-care policies would result in 19.7 million more people without insurance and widen the federal deficit by $33.1 billion in 2018. NO! Way to go, morans!

As the 2016 campaign unfolded, Trump stated that he favors repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”) – which Trump refers to as a “complete disaster”- and replacing it with a “free-market system.” NO

Trump’s campaign has insisted that the candidate has “never supported socialized medicine.” NO

In March 2016, Trump reversed himself, saying that “Our elected representatives must eliminate the individual mandate. No person should be required to buy insurance unless he or she wants to.” NO

In March 2016 Trump released his health care plan, which called for allowing health-insurance companies to compete across state lines and for making Medicaid into a block grant system for the states. NO

He also called for elimination of the individual mandate for health insurance, for allowing health insurance premiums to be deducted on tax returns. NO

…and for international competition in the drug market. YES

Trump acknowledged that mental health care in the U.S. is often inadequate but offered no immediate solution to the problem, instead stating that “there are promising reforms being developed in Congress.” NO

Trump also emphasized the removal of market entry barriers for drug providers and improved access to imported medication corresponding to safety standards. NO

Though he characterized the Canadian health-care system as “catastrophic in certain ways” in October 2016. NO

Trump identifies himself as a “free trader.” NO

…but has been widely identified as a “protectionist” YES

Trump has described supporters of international trade as “blood suckers.” YES

According to the New York Times, since at least the 1980s, Trump has advanced mercantilist views, “describing trade as a zero-sum game in which countries lose by paying for imports.” YES

On the campaign trail in 2015 and 2016, Trump has decried the U.S.-China trade imbalance—calling it “the greatest theft in the history of the world”—and regularly advocates tariffs. YES

In a 60 Minutes interview in September 2015, Trump condemned the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), saying that if elected president, “We will either renegotiate it, or we will break it.” YES

In January 2016, Trump proposed a 45 percent tariff on Chinese exports to the United States to give “American workers a level playing field.” YES

Trump has vowed to label China as a currency manipulator on his first day in office. YES

Trump has pledged “swift, robust and unequivocal” action against Chinese piracy, counterfeit American goods, and theft of U.S. trade secrets and intellectual property; and has condemned China’s “illegal export subsidies and lax labor and environmental standards.” YES

In a May 2016 speech, Trump responded to concerns regarding a potential trade war with “We’re losing $500 billion in trade with China. Who the hell cares if there’s a trade war?” YES

Trump has vowed to impose tariffs – in the range of 15 to 35 percent – on companies that move their operations to Mexico. He has specifically criticized the Ford Motor Co., Carrier Corporation, and Mondelez International. YES

Trump has pledged a 35% tariff on “every car, every truck and every part manufactured in [Ford’s Mexico plant] that comes across the border.” YES

n August 2015, in response to Oreo maker Mondelez International’s announcement that it would move manufacturing to Mexico, Trump said that he would boycott Oreos. YES

Trump opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, saying “The deal is insanity. That deal should not be supported and it should not be allowed to happen … We are giving away what ultimately is going to be a back door for China.”Trump has asserted that the TPP will “be even worse than… NAFTA… We will lose jobs, we will lose employment, we will lose taxes, we will lose everything. We will lose our country.” YES

Trump has called the World Trade Organization (WTO) a “disaster”. YES

When informed that tariffs in the range of 15 to 35 percent would be contrary to the rules of the WTO, he answered “even better. Then we’re going to renegotiate or we’re going to pull out.” YES

Trump has also expressed support for a variety of “limits on legal immigration and guest-worker visas,” including a “pause” on granting green cards, which Trump says will “allow record immigration levels to subside to more moderate historical averages.” YES

Trump’s proposals regarding H-1B visas have frequently changed throughout his presidential campaign, but as of late July 2016, he appears to oppose to the H-1B visa program. YES

Trump opposes birthright citizenship (the legal principle set forth by the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution that all persons born on U.S. soil are citizens). Trump has asserted that the Fourteenth Amendment does not apply to children of illegal immigrants (whom Trump refers to as “anchor babies”). YES

The Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States. YES

The largest suppliers of heroin, cocaine and other illicit drugs are Mexican cartels that arrange to have Mexican immigrants trying to cross the borders and smuggle in the drugs. The Border Patrol knows this. YES

Likewise, tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border. NO

In addition to his proposals to construct a border wall (see below), Trump has called for tripling the number of Border Patrol agents. NO

Trump has repeatedly pledged to build a wall along the U.S.’s southern border, and has said that Mexico would pay for its construction through increased border-crossing fees and NAFTA tariffs. NO

Experts also note that on federally protected wilderness areas and Native American reservations, the Department of Homeland Security may have only limited construction authority, and a wall could cause environmental damage. NO

Trump has proposed the mass deportation of illegal immigrants.During his first town hall campaign meeting in Derry, New Hampshire, Trump said that if he were to win the election, then on “day 1 of my presidency, illegal immigrants are getting out and getting out fast.” YES

Trump has proposed a “Deportation Force” to carry out this plan, modeled after the 1950s-era “Operation Wetback” program during the Eisenhower administration. YES

However, on August 31, 2016, Trump reiterated that all illegal immigrants are “subject to deportation” and all those seeking legalization would have to go home and re-enter the country legally. NO

According to analysts, Trump’s mass-deportation plan would encounter legal and logistical difficulties, since U.S. immigration courts already face large backlogs. NO

However, in a major speech on August 31, Trump laid out a 10-step plan reaffirming his hardline positions, including the deportation of “anyone who has entered the United States illegally,” with priority given to undocumented immigrants who have committed significant crimes and those who have overstayed visas. He also repeated his proposal for a deportation task force. According to a Washington Post analysis, if Trump’s criteria for immediate deportation as of September 2016 are met, the number of individuals prioritized for removal by ICE agents would range between about 5.0 and 6.5 million. YES

In August 2016, Trump suggested that “extreme views” would be grounds to be thrown out of the U.S., saying he would deport Seddique Mateen, the father of Omar Mateen (the gunman in the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting), who has expressed support for the Taliban. NO

Specifically, Trump stated, “When I am elected, I will suspend immigration from areas of the world when there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe, or our allies, until we understand how to end these threats.” Trump later referred to the reformulation as “extreme vetting”. YES

Trump has proposed making it more difficult for asylum-seekers and refugees to enter the United States… YES

…and making the e-Verify system mandatory for employers. YES

Trump has on several occasions expressed opposition to allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S. – saying they could be the “ultimate Trojan horse” – and has proposed deporting back to Syria refugees settled in the U.S. By September 2015, Trump had expressed support for taking in some Syrian refugees and praised Germany’s decision to take in Syrian refugees. YES

While campaigning for the presidency in 2016, Trump stated “I’m pro-life and I’ve been pro-life a long time” and acknowledged that he had “evolved” on the issue. NO

In August 2015, Trump said that he supported a government shutdown over federal funding for Planned Parenthood. NO

In an interview later that month, Trump acknowledged that there must be “some form” of punishment for women if abortion were made illegal in the U.S. Trump issued a statement later that day reversing his position from earlier by saying, “the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman.” NO

Trump has said that abortion should be legal in cases involving “rape, incest or the life of the mother being at risk.” NO

In May 2016, when asked if he would appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, Trump stated: “Well, they’ll be pro-life. And we’ll see about overturning, but I will appoint judges that will be pro-life.” In the same interview, Trump stated of the anti-abortion cause: “I will protect it, and the biggest way you can protect is through the Supreme Court.” The Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group, praised Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees as “exceptionally strong,” while the abortion-rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America called the candidates on the list “a woman’s worst nightmare.” NO

Short of overturning Roe v. Wade, Trump has pledged to sign legislation from Congress banning abortion at the 20-week mark (Roe v. Wade protects a woman’s right to an abortion before a fetus is viable, which anti-abortion activists have argued is at the 20-week mark). NO

Trump chose leading anti-abortion advocate Marjorie Dannenfelser, who opposes abortion even in cases of rape and has said that contraception increases the rate of abortion, to lead his campaign’s “Pro-Life Coalition.” NO

Trump has on several occasions suggested that Christians are being discriminated against, for instance, stating that “Christianity is under tremendous siege.” NO

He has vowed to end an IRS rule that prohibits tax-exempted non-profits from campaigning on behalf of candidates, believing the rule undermines Christian influence in U.S. politics. NO

Trump has suggested that he is being audited by the IRS “maybe because of the fact that I’m a strong Christian.” NO

He has suggested that he would have an easier time getting a ban on Christian immigrants passed than one on Muslims. NO

Trump has been critical of department stores that do not greet their customers with “Merry Christmas” anymore, stating that things will change if he gets elected president: “I’ll tell you one thing: I get elected president, we’re going to be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again. Just remember that.” NO

Trump has said that if elected, he would loosen defamation laws so that when journalists write “purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.” NO

In a 1989 interview with Larry King, Trump stated: “The problem with our society is the victim has absolutely no rights and the criminal has unbelievable rights” and that “maybe hate is what we need if we’re gonna get something done.” NO

In 2016, Trump decried the fact that Ahmad Khan Rahami, a U.S. citizen charged in connection with the bombings in New York and New Jersey, would be provided with medical treatment and the right to counsel, calling this “sad.” NO

At the second presidential debate, which took place in October 2016, Trump said that if he was “in charge of the law of our country,” rival presidential contender Hillary Clinton would “be in jail. In the same debate, Trump also pledged that if elected, he would direct his attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor to “look into” Clinton. Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook called the remark “chilling” and said: “Trump thinks that the presidency is like some banana republic dictatorship where you can lock up your political opponents.” The remark was viewed as part of “a litany of statements [Trump] has made during the campaign that many legal specialists have portrayed as a threat to the rule of law.” Later that October, Trump spoke fondly of the “Lock her up” chants at his rally, saying “Lock her up is right.” He also said that Clinton’s legal representatives “have to go to jail”. NO

In August 2016, Trump said that he “would be fine” with trying U.S. citizens accused of terrorism in military tribunals at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. NO

Trump has offered qualified support for the First Amendment Defense Act, which aims to protect those who oppose same-sex marriage based on their religious beliefs from action by the federal government, such as revocation of tax-exempt status, grants, loans, benefits, or employment. Trump said, “If Congress considers the First Amendment Defense Act a priority, then I will do all I can to make sure it comes to my desk for signatures and enactment.” NO

In July 2016, Trump expressed support for North Carolina House Bill 2, which eliminates anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people… NO

…and legislates that in government buildings, individuals may only use restrooms and changing facilities that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates. NEUTRAL

In a February 2000 interview with The Advocate, Trump stated in response to the murder of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd that he wanted a more “tolerant society” and he would “absolutely” support hate crime legislation on the basis of their race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. NO

Trump is the first Republican nominee to mention the LGBT community in a GOP nomination address, saying in his acceptance speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016: “As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.” YES

In an October 1999 appearance on Meet the Press, Trump said gays openly serving in the military was “not something that would disturb me.” YES

Regarding whether gay couples should have the same access the same benefits as married couples, Trump said that his “attitude on it has not been fully formed.” The Advocate, an American LGBT-interest magazine, characterized Trump’s Supreme Court picks as “LGBT-unfriendly,” noting that “not all have ruled in LGBT rights cases, but those who have are largely unsympathetic, and some have the backing of anti-LGBT activists. NO

Trump signed a pledge in July 2016 that he would work to combat both legal pornography and illegal pornography, such as child pornography. In the pledge, he promised to “give serious consideration to appointing a Presidential Commission to examine the harmful public health impact of Internet pornography on youth, families and the American culture and the prevention of the sexual exploitation of children in the digital age.” NO

Trump has criticized the Black Lives Matter movement and accuses President Obama of “dividing America.” NO

Trump has said that if elected president, he might direct his Attorney General to look into the Black Lives Matter movement. NO

When asked if he believes there to be a racial divide in America, Trump answered, “Sadly, there would seem to be…and it’s probably not been much worse at any time.” NEUTRAL

When asked if he believes police treat African Americans differently than whites, Trump answered, “It could be.” NEUTRAL

Trump describes the police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile as “tough to watch” and criticized the “terrible, disgusting performance” by police. NO

Trump said that he could relate to the systemic bias African Americans faced against whites, saying, “even against me the system is rigged when I ran … for president. NO

When asked if he could understand the experience of being African American, Trump replied, “I would like to say yes, but you really can’t unless you are African American. You can’t truly understand what’s going on unless you are African American. I would like to say yes, however.” NEUTRAL

On November 19, 2015, a week after the November 2015 Paris attacks, when asked if he would implement a database system to track Muslims in the United States, Trump said: “I would certainly implement that. Absolutely. There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases. We should have a lot of systems.” NO

On November 21, Trump expanded on his stance, saying that he would order “surveillance of certain mosques” to combat “Islamic extremism” after the Paris attacks. YES

Trump justified his proposals by repeatedly saying that he recalled “thousands and thousands of people … cheering” in Jersey City, New Jersey, when the World Trade Center towers fell on September 11, 2001. NO

On National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance, Trump says that he “tends to err on the side of security” over privacy. Trump supports bringing back now-expired provisions of the Patriot Act to allow for the NSA to collect and store bulk telephone metadata. Trump said: “I assume that when I pick up my telephone, people are listening to my conversations anyway.” NO

In February 2016, Trump urged his supporters to boycott Apple Inc. unless the company agrees to build a custom backdoor for the FBI to unlock the password-protected iPhone connected to one of the perpetrators of the 2015 San Bernardino shooting, a move that Apple argues would threaten the security and privacy of its users.[386] Trump himself still uses his iPhone to send out tweets. NO

Trump opposes same-day voter registration… NO

…supports voter identification laws… NO

…asserted that Obama won in 2012 due to voter fraud… NO

…has charged that the election system will be rigged against him in the 2016 race… NO

…and has equivocated on whether he would accept the outcome of the 2016 election. NO

In the September 2016 presidential debate, when asked if he would honor the outcome of the election, Trump said that he “absolutely” would. Four days later, Trump appeared to have reconsidered his statement from the debate, saying “We’re going to have to see. We’re going to see what happens. We’re going to have to see.”In early- and mid-October 2016, Trump repeatedly claimed that the election was rigged, alleging media coordination with the Clinton campaign, citing Saturday Night Live as an example of the aforementioned rigged media, and alleging that “The election is absolutely being rigged… at many polling places” even though no polling places had opened. NO

That same month, Trump asserted that the federal government was allowing illegal immigrants to come into the U.S. so they can vote. NO

Trump has claimed that “dead people voted for President Obama” and that “dead voters… helped get President Obama elected.” On election night 2012, Trump expressed skepticism about Obama’s victory, saying, among other things, “This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy!” NO

In August 2015, Trump said he would support women in combat roles “because they’re really into it and some of them are really, really good. YES

While Trump has repeatedly expressed support for “the idea of campaign finance reform…” YES

…He has not outlined specifics of his actual views on campaign-finance regulation. For example, Trump has not said whether he favors public financing of elections or caps on expenditures of campaigns, outside groups, and individuals. NEUTRAL

According to Chris Christie (leader of Trump’s White House transition team), Trump would, if elected President, seek to purge the federal government of officials appointed by Obama…NO

…and could ask Congress to pass legislation making it easier to fire public workers. NO

Trump has provided “little detail regarding his positions on disability-related policies,” and his campaign website makes no mention of disabled people. As of June 1, 2016, Trump had not responded to the issue questionnaire of the nonpartisan disability group RespectAbility. NEUTRAL

Trump attracted criticism for mocking the physical disability of New York Times investigative reporter Serge Kovaleski, who suffers from arthrogryposis. NO

In an interview with the Washington Post in March 2016, Trump said that though he didn’t yet have a position on statehood, it would be something that “I don’t think I’d be inclined to do”. NO

He also said that “having representation would be okay…” YES

Trump has stated his support for school choice and local control for primary and secondary schools. On school choice he’s commented, “Our public schools are capable of providing a more competitive product than they do today. Look at some of the high school tests from earlier in this century and you’ll wonder if they weren’t college-level tests. And we’ve got to bring on the competition—open the schoolhouse doors and let parents choose the best school for their children. Education reformers call this school choice, charter schools, vouchers, even opportunity scholarships. I call it competition – the American way. NO

Trump has blasted the Common Core State Standards Initiative, calling it a “total disaster”. Trump has asserted that Common Core is “education through Washington D.C.”, a claim which Politifact and other journalists have rated “false”, since the adoption and implementation of Common Core is a state choice, not a federal one. NO

Trump has stated that Ben Carson will be “very much involved in education” under a Trump presidency. NO

Carson rejects the theory of evolution…NO

…believes that “home-schoolers do the best, private schoolers next best, charter schoolers next best, and public schoolers worst”… NO

…and wants to “take the federal bureaucracy out of education. NO

Trump has proposed redirecting $20 billion in existing federal spending to block grants to states to give poor children vouchers to attend a school of their family’s choice (including a charter school, private school, or online school). Trump did not explain where the $20 billion in the federal budget would come from. Trump stated that “Distribution of this grant will favor states that have private school choice and charter laws.” NO

Trump has called eminent domain “wonderful” and repeatedly asked the government to invoke it on his behalf during past development projects. YES

In October 2015, Trump stated that “you have to be careful with” paid family leave as it could impact keeping “our country very competitive”. NO

In September 2016, Trump posted a list on his web site of regulations that he would eliminate. The list included what it called the “FDA Food Police” and mentioned the Food and Drug Administration’s rules governing “farm and food production hygiene” and “food temperatures”. The factsheet provided by Trump mirrored a May report by the conservative Heritage Foundation. NO

According to the Chicago Tribune, Trump has not addressed the gender pay gap in his 2016 presidential bid (as of July 2016). NEUTRAL

“Trump’s past statements on women in the workplace have included calling pregnancy “an inconvenience.” NO

…telling a voter in New Hampshire last year that women will receive the same pay as men “if they do as good a job.” NO

Colman McCarthy of the Washington Post wrote in 1993 that in testimony given that year to the House Natural Resources subcommittee on Native American Affairs, Trump “devoted much of his testimony to bad-mouthing Indians and their casinos,” asserted that “organized crime is rampant on Indian reservations” and that “if it continues, it will be the biggest scandal ever.” Trump offered no evidence in support of his claim, and testimony from the FBI’s organized crime division, the Justice Department’s criminal division, and the IRS’s criminal investigation division did not support Trump’s assertion. Representative George Miller, a Democrat who was the chairman of the Natural Resources Committee at the time, stated: “In my 19 years in Congress, I’ve never heard more irresponsible testimony.” NO

Trump bankrolled in 2000 a set of anti-Indian gaming ads in upstate New York that featured “a dark photograph showing hypodermic needles and drug paraphernalia,” a warning that “violent criminals were coming to town,” and an accusation that the St. Regis Mohawks had a “record of criminal activity.” The ad—aimed at stopping the construction of a casino in the Catskills that might hurt Trump’s own Atlantic City casinos was viewed as “incendiary” and racially charged, and at the time local tribal leaders, in response, bought a newspaper ad of their own to denounce the “smear” and “racist and inflammatory rhetoric” of the earlier ad. NO

The ads attracted the attention of the New York Temporary State Commission on Lobbying because they failed to disclose Trump’s sponsorship as required by state lobbying rules. Trump acknowledged that he sponsored the ads and reached a settlement with the state in which he and his associates agreed to issue a public apology and pay $250,000 (the largest civil penalty ever levied by the commission) for evading state disclosure rules. NO

In 2015, Trump defended the controversial team name and mascot of the Washington Redskins, saying that the NFL team should not change its name and he did not find the term to be offensive. The “Change the Mascot” campaign, led by the Oneida Indian Nation and National Congress of American Indians, condemned Trump’s stance. NEUTRAL

While campaigning in 2016, Trump has repeatedly belittled Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts by calling her “Pocahontas” (a reference to Warren’s claim, based on family lore, of Native American ancestry, which she has been unable to document). Trump’s comments were criticized by a number of public figures as racist and inappropriate. Gyasi Ross of the Blackfeet Nation, a Native American activist and author, criticized Trump’s “badgering of Elizabeth Warren as ‘Pocahontas'” as “simply the continuation of his pattern of racist bullying. NO

Trump has espoused Barack Obama citizenship (“birther”) conspiracy theories over time. NO

He falsely accused Hillary Clinton of having started the “Birther” movement. NO

Trump has been critical of the ways in which veterans are treated in the United States, saying “the vets are horribly treated in this country… they are living in hell.” YES

In a statement, he said he believes that Veterans Affairs facilities need to be upgraded with recent technology, hire more veterans to treat other veterans, increase support of female veterans, and create satellite clinics within hospitals in rural areas. YES

Trump’s proposed plan for reforming the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs includes provisions for allowing veterans to obtain care at any doctor or facility that accepts Medicare, increasing funding for PTSD and suicide prevention services, and providing ob/gyn services at every VA hospital. Trump’s plan calls for greater privatization of veterans’ care. YES

Trump’s plan makes no reference directly to letting veterans get health care outside the VA system but Trump adviser Sam Clovis in May said the candidate was looking into such plans. NO

Trump’s plan calls “for legislation making it easier to fire underperforming employees…NEUTRAL

…increasing mental-health resources and adding a White House hotline so veterans can bypass the VA and bring problems directly to the president.” YES

Trump opposes the current G.I. Bill. NO

Trump skipped a televised Republican debate in January 2016 to host a rally to raise money for veterans. In early February, the Wall Street Journal reported that many veterans’ groups began to get their checks only after the Journal asked the Trump campaign why they had not. NO

In April, the Journal reported that the funds had yet to be fully distributed. NO

Trump caused a stir in July 2015 when he charged that Senator John McCain with having “done nothing to help the vets…” NO

Trump added that McCain is “not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” NO

At a rally on August 9, 2016, Trump accused his opponent of wanting to “essentially abolish the Second Amendment…” NO

By the way, and if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.” NO

Trump supports barring people on the government’s terrorist watch list from purchasing weapons, saying in 2015: “If somebody is on a watch list and an enemy of state and we know it’s an enemy of state, I would keep them away, absolutely.” YES

In January 2016, Trump said: “I will get rid of gun-free zones on schools, and – you have to – and on military bases… My first day, it gets signed, okay? My first day. There’s no more gun-free zones.” NO

n May 2016, Trump made ambiguous comments on guns in classrooms, saying: “I don’t want to have guns in classrooms. Although, in some cases, teachers should have guns in classrooms.” NO

In June 2016, Trump stated that, “it would have been a beautiful, beautiful sight” to see Omar Mateen shot in the head by an armed patron in the Pulse nightclub shooting, reiterating his stance that more people should be armed in public places. NO

Trump has asserted that the presence of more guns in schools and public places could have stopped mass shootings such as those in Paris, San Bernardino, California, and Umpqua Community College. NO

On the campaign trail, Trump has praised the National Rifle Association (NRA),[493] and received the group’s endorsement after becoming the presumptive Republican nominee. NO

Trump has described himself as a staunch advocate of the Second Amendment. NO

Trump has said that concealed carry “is a right, not a privilege.” NO

He has called for an overhaul of the current federal background check system, arguing that “Too many states are failing to put criminal and mental health records into the system.” YES

…while campaigning for the presidency in 2015 and 2016 has called for the expansion of gun rights. NO

…rump has proposed eliminating prohibitions on assault weapons, military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines (which Trump described as “scary sounding phrases” used by gun control advocates “to confuse people”)…NO

…as well as making concealed carry permits valid nationwide, rather than on the current state-to-state basis. NO

According to the New York Times, many of Trump’s statements on legal topics are “extemporaneous and resist conventional legal analysis,” with some appearing “to betray ignorance of fundamental legal concepts.” NO

Trump has stated that he wants to replace Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court with “a person of similar views and principles”. He has released a list of eleven potential picks to replace Scalia. The jurists are widely considered to be conservative. All are white, and eight of the eleven are men. The list includes five out of the eight individuals recommended by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.Trump had previously insisted that he would seek guidance from conservative groups such as the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation when it came to picking Supreme Court candidates. NO

Several of the judges listed by Trump have questioned abortion rights. NO

Trump has claimed that he “would probably appoint” justices to the Supreme Court who “would look very seriously” at the Hillary Clinton email controversy “because it’s a criminal activity.” NO

Trump has criticized Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts, a George W. Bush appointee, as a “nightmare for conservatives,” citing Roberts’ vote in the 2015 decision in King v. Burwell, which upheld provisions of the Affordable Care Act. NO

He has also blamed Roberts for the June 2015 Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. NO

In February 2016, Trump called on the Senate to stop Obama from filling the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. NO

An analysis by FiveThirtyEight shows that, under the assumption that Scalia’s vacant seat on the Court will not be filled, and taking account of the advanced age of three of the sitting justices, that a Trump presidency would move the Supreme Court “rightward toward its most conservative position in recent memory”. NO

Trump has long advocated for capital punishment in the United States. NO

In May 1989, shortly after the Central Park jogger case received widespread media attention, Trump purchased a full-page ad in four New York City newspapers with the title “BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY!” NO

Five defendants (the “Central Park Five”) were wrongfully convicted in the case and were subsequently exonerated. By October 2016, Trump still maintained that “Central Park Five” were guilty.  NO

In December 2015, in a speech accepting the endorsement of the New England Police Benevolent Association, Trump said that “One of the first things I do [if elected President] in terms of executive order if I win will be to sign a strong, strong statement that will go out to the country, out to the world, that … anybody killing a police officer—death penalty. It’s going to happen, O.K.?” NO

However, under the current U.S. legal system, these prosecutions usually take place in state court under state law, and the president has no authority over such cases.Furthermore, 19 states have abolished the death penalty, and mandatory death sentences are unconstitutional, as held by the Supreme Court in Woodson v. North Carolina (1976). NO

Trump has stated that he would be “tough on crime” and criticized Barack Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s criminal justice reform proposals. NO

In January 2016, Trump said that along with veterans, “the most mistreated people in this country are police.” NO

Trump supports the use of “stop and frisk” tactics, of the kind once used in New York City. NO

In 2000, Trump also rejected as elitist and naive the arguments of criminal justice reformers that the U.S. criminal justice system puts too many criminals in jail. NO

Trump is in favor of at least one mandatory sentence, where using a gun to commit a crime results in a five-year sentence. NO

Trump has on several occasions asserted that crime is rising in the United States. Trump’s assertion that crime is rising is false; in fact, both violent crime and property crime have been consistently declining in the U.S. since the early 1990s.[540] Trump’s claim that “inner-city crime is reaching record levels” received a “pants-on-fire” rating from PolitiFactNO

On November 22, 2015, Trump retweeted a graphic with purported statistics—cited to a nonexistent group—which claimed that African Americans were responsible for 81% of the homicides of White Americans and that police were responsible for 1% of black homicides compared to 4% of white homicides. Trump’s retweet earned PolitiFact’s “Pants on Fire” rating and was called “grossly inaccurate” by FactCheck.org the next day. PolitiFact wrote: “Trump cast blacks as the primary killers of whites, but the exact opposite is true.” NO

Blacks were responsible for 15% of white homicides according to FBI data for 2014. The breakdown of the racial differences in police killings in Trump’s retweet was also inaccurate. Based on the percentages, the number of whites killed by police would be almost 4 times greater than the number of blacks. Data from the Washington Post for 2009 to 2013 showed a ratio of 1.5 white deaths by police for each black death. A separate estimate by Peter Moskos, associate professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice attributed 10% of white homicides to police and 4% to police for blacks. When asked about the statistics, Trump maintained that the statistics came “from sources that are very credible. NO

In his campaign for the presidency in 2015 and 2016, however, Trump adopted “drug warrior” positions and has sought advice on the issue from William J. Bennett, who served as the U.S. first “drug czar” in the 1980s “and has remained a proponent of harsh 1980s-style drug war tactics.” NO

Trump has voiced his opposition to video game violence. After it was reported that the Sandy Hook shooter frequently played violent video games, Trump tweeted, “Video game violence & glorification must be stopped—it is creating monsters!” NO

Trump said that he would push for a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on members of Congress, so that members of the House of Representatives could serve for a maximum of six years and Senators for a maximum of twelve years. NO

Trump also pledged to re-institute a ban on executive branch officials from lobbying for five years after leaving government service. YES

…and said that he supported Congress instituting a similar five-year lobbying ban of its own, applicable to former members and staffYES

A 2016 report in Scientific American graded Trump and three other top presidential candidates—Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson, and Jill Stein—on science policy, based on their responses to a twenty-question ScienceDebate.org survey. Trump “came in last on all counts” in grading, with scientists and researchers faulting him for a lack of knowledge or appreciation of scientific issues. NO

Trump is opposed to net neutrality, asserting that it is “Obama’s attack on the Internet” and saying that it “will target the conservative media.” NO

The Free Press Action Fund, a group of tech policy activists, rated Trump the worst 2016 presidential candidate for “citizens’ digital lives,” citing his positions opposing reforming the Patriot Act, favoring Internet censorship, and opposing net neutrality. NO

In 2014, after a New York physician returned from treating Ebola patients in West Africa and showed symptoms of the disease, Trump tweeted that if the doctor had Ebola, “Obama should apologize to the American people & resign!” When the doctor was later confirmed to have developed Ebola in New York, Trump tweeted that it was “Obama’s fault” and “I have been saying for weeks for President Obama to stop the flights from West Africa. So simple, but he refused. A TOTAL incompetent!” NO

Trump also criticized President Obama’s decision to send 3,000 U.S. troops to affected regions to help combat the outbreak. NO

As Dr. Kent Brantly returned to the U.S. for treatment, Trump tweeted that U.S. doctors who went abroad to treat Ebola were “great” but “must suffer the consequences” if they became infected and insisted that “the U.S. must immediately stop all flights from EBOLA infected countries or the plague will start and spread inside our ‘borders.'” NO

When an Ebola patient was scheduled to come to the U.S. for treatment, Trump tweeted, “now I know for sure that our leaders are incompetent. KEEP THEM OUT OF HERE!” NO

On August 11, 2016, Trump said that he was in favor of Congress setting aside money to combat the Zika virus. YES

Trump believes that childhood vaccinations are related to autism, a hypothesis which has been repeatedly debunked. NO

In May 2016, Trump asked U.S. Representative Kevin Cramer, Republican of North Dakota – described by Reuters as “one of America’s most ardent drilling advocates and climate change skeptics” -to draft Trump’s energy policy. NO

According to Reuters, four sources close to Trump’s campaign say that Trump is considering nominating Oklahoma oil and gas mogul Harold Hamm as energy secretary if elected President. According to Reuters, Hamm would be the first-ever U.S. Secretary of Energy “drawn directly from the oil and gas industry.” Hamm has called for expanded drilling, criticized environmental regulations for limiting oil production, and called for less dependence on Middle Eastern oil producers. NO

On May 2016, Trump said that he could solve the water crisis in CaliforniaNO

He declared that “there is no drought,” a statement which the Associated Press noted is incorrect. NO

Trump accused California state officials of denying farmers of water so they can send it out to sea “to protect a certain kind of three-inch fish.” NO

Trump rejects the scientific consensus on climate changeNO

He has said that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive..” NO

Trump criticized President Obama’s description of climate change as “the greatest threat to future generations” for being “naive” and “one of the dumbest statements I’ve ever heard.” NO

According to a report by the Sierra Club, Trump would, if elected President, be the only head of state in the world to contend that climate change is a hoax. NO

In May 2016, during his presidential campaign, Trump issued an energy plan focused on promoting fossil fuels and weakening environmental regulation. NO

Trump promised to “rescind” in his first 100 days in office a variety of Environmental Protection Agency regulations established during the Obama administration to limit carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, which contribute to a warming global climate. NO

Trump has specifically pledged to revoke the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the United States rule, which he characterizes as two “job-destroying Obama executive actions.” NO

Trump has said “we’re practically not allowed to use coal any more,” a statement rated “mostly false” by PolitiFact. Trump has criticized the Obama administration’s coal policies, describing the administration’s moves to phase out the use of coal-fired power plants are “stupid.” NO

Trump has criticized the Obama administration for prohibiting “coal production on federal land”…Trump has vowed to revive the U.S. coal economy. NO

Trump wrote in his 2011 book that he opposed a cap-and-trade system to control carbon emissions. NO

At a rally in May 2016, “Trump implied that the regulations on hairspray and coal mining are both unwarranted” and incorrectly asserted that hairspray use in a “sealed” apartment prevents the spray’s ozone-depleting substances from reaching the atmosphere. NO

Trump pledged in his May 2016 speech on energy policy to “cancel the Paris climate agreement” adopted at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (in which 170 countries committed to reductions in carbon emissions)…A U.S. move to withdraw from the Paris Agreement as Trump proposes is viewed as likely to unravel the agreement; according to Reuters, such a move would spell “potential doom for an agreement many view as a last chance to turn the tide on global warming. NO

In Trump’s May 2016 speech on energy policy, he declared that if elected president, he would “stop all payment of U.S. tax dollars to global warming.” This would be a reversal of the U.S. pledge to commit funds to developing countries to assist in climate change mitigation and could undermine the willingness of other countries to take action against climate change.programs.” NO

In his May 2016 speech on energy policy, Trump stated : “Under my presidency, we will accomplish complete American energy independence. We will become totally independent of the need to import energy from the oil cartel or any nation hostile to our interest.” The New York Times reported that “experts say that such remarks display a basic ignorance of the workings of the global oil markets.” NO

In January 2016, Trump vowed “tremendous cutting” of the budget for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency if elected. NO

Trump has charged that the “U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service abuses the Endangered Species Act to restrict oil and gas exploration.” NO

In 2011, Trump said that would permit drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern AlaskaNO

In July 2016, Trump suggested that he was in favor of state and local bans on hydraulic fracturing (fracking), saying, “I’m in favor of fracking, but I think that voters should have a big say in it. I mean, there’s some areas, maybe, they don’t want to have fracking. And I think if the voters are voting for it, that’s up to them… if a municipality or a state wants to ban fracking, I can understand that.” NO

Trump has promised to construct the Keystone XL pipeline, a proposed project to bring Canadian petroleum to the U.S. NO

Trump has financial ties to Energy Transfer Partners and Phillips 66 who are both directly involved in the Dakota Access Pipeline. The CEO of Energy Transfer Partners is a campaign donor for Donald Trump. NO

In his 2015 book Crippled America, Trump is highly critical of the “big push” to develop renewable energy, arguing that the push is based on a mistaken belief that greenhouse gases contribute to climate change. NO

Despite criticizing wind farms in the past (calling them “ugly”)…Trump has criticized wind energy for being expensive and for not working without “massive subsidies”. He added, “windmills are killing hundreds and hundreds of eagles. One of the most beautiful, one of the most treasured birds — and they’re killing them by the hundreds and nothing happens. NO

Trump has said that he does not oppose the wind production tax credit, saying: “I’m okay with subsidies, to an extent.” NO

In his official platform, Trump claims that he will reduce bureaucracy which would then lead to greater innovation. NO

His platform mentions “renewable energies”, including “nuclear, wind and solar energy” in that regard but adds that he would not support those “to the exclusion of other energy”. NO

Trump supports a higher ethanol mandate (the amount of ethanol required by federal regulation to be blended into the U.S. gasoline supply)…Trump vowed to protect the government’s Renewable Fuel Standard and the corn-based ethanol. NO

In October 2016, the Humane Society denounced Trump’s campaign, saying that a “Trump presidency would be a threat to animals everywhere” and that he has “a team of advisors and financial supporters tied in with trophy hunting, puppy mills, factory farming, horse slaughter, and other abusive industries” NO

In a New York Times interview in July 2016, Trump “repeatedly defined American global interests almost purely in economic terms,” with the nation’s “roles as a peacekeeper, as a provider of a nuclear deterrent against adversaries like North Korea, as an advocate of human rights and as a guarantor of allies’ borders” being “quickly reduced to questions of economic benefit to the United States.” NO

Two of the advisors on the list “view Islamic Sharia law within the U.S. as a dire threat. NO

One of the advisors “has accused the State Department’s top official for Ukraine and Russia, Victoria Nuland, of “fomenting” the 2014 revolution that overthrew Ukraine’s government.” YES

However, like Trump, Flynn has been a critic of the U.S.’s military involvement in Iraq and Libya as well as its support for the Syrian opposition, and has advocated for closer ties with Russia. YES

Previously when asked about who he was consulting with on foreign policy during an interview on MSNBC‘s Morning Joe, Trump responded with “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.” NO

Some of Trump’s foreign policy ideas have been met with opposition by the GOP foreign policy establishment. YES

The Economist Intelligence Unit placed a Trump victory in the presidential election fifth in their list of ten global risks for 2016, citing his foreign policy positions which increase the risk of trade war, him being used as a potent recruitment tool for jihadi group and weakened efforts to contain Russia’s expansionist tendencies. YES

Trump stated in a December 2015 Republican primary debate that “Our military is a disaster,” and in a July 2016 radio appearance described the U.S. military as “depleted and in horrible shape.” NO

In July 2016, retired U.S. Marine Corps General John R. Allen, who supports Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton gave a forceful speech against Trump at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Trump responded by calling the four-star military leader “a failed general” and saying that he had never met him. YES

Trump has stated on a number of occasions that if elected president, he “would increase [spending] on the military.”Trump claims that the U.S. military will be “funded beautifully” if elected President. While Trump has not offered specifics on defense spending under a Trump presidency, he has repeatedly called for a U.S. military buildup and has criticized President Obama’s military spending strategy.Trump has criticized the decline in the numbers of active-duty armed forces, Navy ships and Air Force planes since the end of the Cold WarNO

Trump has pledged to rein in wasteful spending in the military. LIE!

Trump has stated his intention to provide presidential leadership with strong diplomacy to restore “respect” for the United States around the world and he supports a robust national defense. YES

Trump has stated, “We Americans are laughed at around the world for losing a hundred and fifty billion dollars year after year, for defending wealthy nations for nothing, nations that would be wiped off the face of the earth in about 15 minutes if it weren’t for us. Our ‘allies’ are making billions screwing us.” Trump has called for allied countries, including Germany, Israel, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea to pay the United States for helping protect their nations. YES

In an interview, Trump stated “You have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. … When they say they don’t care about their lives, you have to take out their families.” When pressed on what “take out” meant, Trump said the U.S. should “wipe out their homes” and “where they came from.” NO 

Later, in August 2011, Trump criticized the Obama administration for not helping former Mubarak keep power, citing Mubarak’s positive relationship with Israel and the negative effect that Mubarak’s removal would have on other allies’ faith in the United States. In 2012, Trump reiterated his criticisms of the Obama administration’s handling of Mubarak and asserted that “Egypt is now our enemy” and that “Israel is in trouble.” NO

In September 2016, Trump described the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, as a “fantastic guy”, praising his handling of the 2013 anti-Morsi uprising that led to the removal of then-president Mohamed Morsi from power. Trump said that there was a “good feeling between [them]”. NO

In June 2016, Trump maintained that “Iran is now the dominant Islamic power in the Middle East and on the road to nuclear weapons.” NO

Trump opposes the international nuclear agreement with Iran (negotiated with the U.S. and five other world powers) that was made in 2015, calling it “terrible” and saying that the Obama administration negotiated the agreement “from desperation.” NO

Trump opposed the sanctions relief in the agreement, saying: “We’re giving them billions of dollars in this deal, which we shouldn’t have given them. We should have kept the money.” NO

Trump has claimed that “when those restrictions expire (in the Iran nuclear deal), Iran will have an industrial-size military nuclear capability ready to go…” NO

Trump was critical of State Department officials as they negotiated the Iran deal, saying that “It’s a one-day deal. This whole thing should have taken a day.” NO

In July 2015, when explaining his opposition to the Iran agreement, Trump cited four American prisoners being held prisoner in the country. NO

In September 2015, Trump told CNN that he believed the agreement would compel the U.S. to side with Iran in the event of war: “There’s something in the Iran deal that people I don’t think really understand or know about, and nobody’s able to explain it, that if somebody attacks Iran, we have to come to their defense. So if Israel attacks Iran, according to that deal, I believe the way it reads […] that we have to fight with Iran against Israel.” NO

According to Trump, nuclear weapons, not global warming, is the world’s biggest problem. NO

Trump said that any deal with Iran should stipulate that inspectors have 24-hour-a-day access immediately to all nuclear sites and made reference to U.S. nationals imprisoned the country. NO

In the September 2016 Presidential Debate, Trump said that the Iran deal should have contained provisions that Iran “do something with respect to North Korea. And they should have done something with respect to Yemen and all these other places.” NO

In October 2016, it was reported that despite Trump’s denouncement of Iran as a “big enemy” and assertions that donations from foreign governments to the Clinton Foundation charity amounted to evidence of corruption, the Trump Organization did business with one of Iran’s largest state-controlled banks from 1998 to 2003. NO

Trump’s positions on defeating ISIL have frequently changed throughout his presidential campaign. Trump has claimed that he would “bomb the hell” out of Iraqi oil fields controlled by ISIL. NO

In the aftermath of the November 13, 2015, terrorist attacks in Paris, which were committed by ISIL, Trump reiterated his statements about ISIL from November 12, 2015, when he stated he would “bomb the shit out of ’em” and said “I’d blow up the [oil] pipes, I’d blow up the refineries, and you know what, you’ll get Exxon to come in there in two months… and I’d take the oil.” NO

Trump said in an interview with Anderson Cooper “There is no Iraq. Their leaders are corrupt.” NO

In 2015, when asked how he would deal with Iraq’s condemnation of strikes on their oil fields, Trump replied that Iraq is a corrupt country that is not deserving of his respect. NO

Trump said he “got to know [Vladimir Putin] very well because we were both on ’60 Minutes’, we were stable mates, we did well that night.” NO

Trump said he approved of Russia’s intervention in Syria, stating: “If Putin wants to knock the hell out of ISIS, I’m all for it 100 percent and I can’t understand how anybody would be against that … He’s going in and we can go in and everybody should go in.” During his speech at the Oklahoma State Fair, Trump accused his opponents of wanting to “start World War III over Syria.” YES

Trump stated in November 2015, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me.” NO

In June 2016, Trump stated that he “[likes] the idea of using NATO and also neighbors that aren’t in NATO” to “take [ISIL] out” and that “it’s very possible that we should use NATO” to fight ISIL. YES

Jonathan Russell, head of policy for the anti-radicalization think tank Quilliam, warned that Trump’s “anti-Muslim rhetoric” helps ISIL’s narrative, saying “Trump will contribute to Islamist radicalization. NO

In the aftermath of the Orlando nightclub shooting (June 2016), Trump accused the Obama administration has actively “supported” the Islamic extremist group that became ISIL. NO

In August 2016, Trump repeatedly and falsely asserted that President Obama was the “founder” of ISIL. YES

Trump responded to Hewitt’s attempt to reframe Trump’s comment as one that said Obama’s foreign policy created the conditions in Iraq and Syria that allowed ISIL to thrive, by saying “No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS. I do….He was the founder. The way he got out of Iraq — that was the founding of ISIS, OK?” NO

Regarding the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, Trump said in a July 2016 interview, “I give great credit to [Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] for being able to turn that around.” When asked if Erdoğan was exploiting the coup attempt to purge his political enemies, Trump did not call for the Turkish leader to observe the rule of law, or offer other cautions for restraint. NO

Trump stated in the July 2016 interview that he believed he could persuade Erdoğan to step up efforts against ISIL. NO

When asked how he would solve the problem of Turkish attacks on Kurds who are fighting ISIL, Trump said “Meetings.” NO

On September 11, 2002, when asked by radio talk-show host Howard Stern if he supported an invasion of Iraq, Trump responded, “Yeah, I guess so. I wish the first time it was done correctly.” NO

On March 21, 2003, one day into the Iraq War, Trump was interviewed by Fox NewsNeil Cavuto. Trump said that the war appeared to be “a tremendous success from a military standpoint”, and expressed hope that it would continue to be so. NO

Later that week he publicly called the war a “mess”. Later, Trump publicly and explicitly criticized the war in an interview published in Esquire in August 2004, sixteen months after the invasion. Trump said: “Look at the war in Iraq and the mess that we’re in,” criticized the George W. Bush administration’s handling of the war, dismissed the idea of Iraq becoming functionally democratic, and predicted that “Two minutes after we leave, there’s going to be a revolution, and the meanest, toughest, smartest, most vicious guy will take over. And he’ll have weapons of mass destruction, which Saddam didn’t have.” YES

Trump has been highly critical of the Obama administration’s treatment of Israel, stating that “Israel has been totally mistreated.” NO

Trump lent his personal jet to New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani so that the latter could show solidarity for terror victims in Israel in 2001…NO

..and he was the grand marshal of the Celebrate Israel Parade in New York in 2004. NO

Speaking in 2006, Trump said that Israel was one of his favorite countries, adding: “I know that you’ve been through a lot recently… I believe Israel is a great country.” NO

Trump released a video endorsing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the 2013 Israeli electionsNO

In 2015, when Trump won the Liberty Award at the Second Annual Algemeiner Jewish 100 Gala in honor of his positive contributions to Israel–United States relations, he stated: “We love Israel, we will fight for Israel 100 percent, 1000 percent, it will be there forever”. NO

In December 2015, Trump told the Associated Press that an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord would depend very much upon Israel, remarking: “I have a real question as to whether or not both sides want to,” come to a peace accord. “A lot will have to do with Israel and whether or not Israel wants to make the deal – whether or not Israel’s willing to sacrifice certain things.” YES

…a day later, Trump postponed his visit to Israel until “a later date after I become President of the U.S.”, stating that he did not want to put Netanyahu “under pressure”. NO

Trump said that he would not take sides in any Israeli-Palestinian agreement in order to be a neutral negotiator in the peace talks…LIE

…despite also adding that he is “totally pro-Israel”. NO

At a press conference in March 2016, Trump said that as president, he would require nations to re-compensate for the foreign aid that they have received. YES

When specifically asked whether his previously stated stance on charging U.S allies for defense spending would extend to Israel, he replied, “I think Israel would do that also. There are many countries that can pay, and they can pay big-league.” However, immediately after the press conference, Trump reversed himself on that position of aid to Israel, adding, “They [Israel] help us greatly.” NO

However, immediately after the press conference, Trump reversed himself on that position of aid to Israel, adding, “They [Israel] help us greatly.” NO

Trump has said on more than one occasion that if elected president he will move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which he described as the “eternal capital of the Jewish people”… NO

Trump has vowed that as president he will veto a UN imposed Israel-Palestine peace agreement, stating: “When I’m president, believe me, I will veto any attempt by the U.N. to impose its will on the Jewish state. It will be vetoed 100 percent.” NO

He added that “The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is absolutely, totally unbreakable.” NO

Trump has criticized the Palestinian Authority for the absence of peace, saying: “the Palestinian Authority has to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. …[and they] have to stop the terror, stop the attacks, stop the teaching of hatred… They have to stop the teaching of children to aspire to grow up as terrorists, which is a real problem. Of course, the recognition of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is also a major sticking point, with the current Palestinian leadership repeatedly refusing to meet that basic condition.” NO

However, Trump breaks with long-standing bipartisan U.S. policy, by supporting continued Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, saying that Israel ‘has to keep going’ and that ‘there shouldn’t be a pause’ with the settlement construction. If elected, Trump’s seemingly broad support of Israeli settlement development would constitute a significant shift in US policy, as previous US administrations, Republican and Democrat, have described such West Bank construction as illegal. NO

Meeting with Netanyahu in September 2016, Trump’s statement said “under a Trump administration, [we] will finally accept the long-standing Congressional mandate to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel.” NO

In 2009, Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi rented space through intermediaries on Trump’s Seven Springs estate in the suburb of Bedford, New York. (Gaddafi rented Trump’s land to camp in a “Bedouin-style” tent while in the U.S. to attend the UN General Assembly.) The situation created controversy when the tents were raised on the property, and Trump forced Gaddafi off the property saying that he was unaware of the arrangement. In 2011, Trump told Fox News that he had “screwed” Gaddafi on the deal, touting the affair as evidence of foreign-policy experience. NO

Trump was a strong supporter of the 2011 military intervention in Libya, arguing “fervently” on a number of occasions that U.S. military intervention was necessary to advert humanitarian disaster in Libya and warning that it would be “a major, major black eye for this country [the U.S.]” if it failed to depose Gaddafi. In a February 2011 video blog, Trump said: “I can’t believe what our country is doing. Qaddafi in Libya is killing thousands of people, nobody knows how bad it is, and we’re sitting around we have soldiers all have the Middle East, and we’re not bringing them in to stop this horrible carnage … Now we should go in, we should stop this guy, which would be very easy and very quick.” Trump made similar comments in a March 2011 appearance on Piers MorganNO

In 2011, Trump also advocated U.S. seizure of Libyan oil. NO

While campaigning for the presidency in 2016, Trump reversed his earlier position, stating on several occasions that the U.S. would be “so much better off” or “100% better off” if Gaddafi remained in charge of Libya. YES

In June 2016, Trump again reversed course, saying on CBSFace the Nation that he would have supported “surgical” bombing, against Gaddafi in particular. NO

In December 2015, Trump said that the days of the Saudi Royal Family buying off American politicians will end if he is elected President. YES

In February 2016, Trump blamed Saudi Arabia for the September 11 attacks, saying: “Who blew up the World Trade Center? It wasn’t the Iraqis, it was Saudi – take a look at Saudi Arabia, open the documents.” YES

Trump has called for Saudi Arabia to pay for the costs of American troops stationed there: “They should pay us. … The primary reason we’re with Saudi Arabia is because we need the oil. Now we don’t need the oil so much …” YES

Regarding the Chinese, Trump stated in 2011, “I don’t think they’re friends. I think they’re enemies.” NO

In 2011, Trump stated that he would “send [China] a bill for the value of the secrets that they’ve stolen,” referring to alleged Chinese theft of U.S. stealth technology. YES

Trump has criticized China’s inclusion in the World Trade Organization, alleging that it caused job losses in the United States. YES

Trump has been critical of Chinese intellectual property theft, alleging that “they [the Chinese] are stealing billions and billions of dollars of our intellectual property.” YES

Trump has spoken favorably of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and of closer alliance with IndiaNO

…has said that he would be willing to meet North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un, saying that he would have “no problem” doing so. YES

Trump described Kim as a “maniac” but also claimed that Kim deserves “credit” for being able to overcome his rivals in order to succeed his father. YES

Trump has advocated placing greater pressure on China, including through restrictions on trade, to rein in its ally North Korea in the wake of the January 2016 North Korean nuclear test, saying that China has “total control” over North Korea and the U.S. has “tremendous” economic power over China. NO

He also argued that the Iran nuclear deal should have included a component about Iran-North Korea relations. NO

In September 2016, Trump expressed his opposition to the restoration of full diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba achieved in July 2015. NO

Trump said that he would only restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba if the Cuban regime met his demands to restore political freedoms and free political prisoners. NO

In February 2016, Trump said that he opposed the Cuban Adjustment Act, which allows any Cuban who reaches U.S. soil to remain in the country legally and apply for residency. YES

On the first day of his presidential campaign for the 2000 election, Trump held an event in Miami where he vowed to maintain the embargo on Cuba and never spend his or his companies’ money in Cuba until Fidel Castro was removed from power. However, according to reporting by Newsweek in September 2016, Trump had conducted business in Cuba in violation of the embargo seven months before his vow. NO

In a July 2016 interview, Trump said of the European Union, “the reason that it got together was like a consortium so that it could compete with the United States.” YES

Trump has been critical of German chancellor Angela Merkel and her handling of the European migrant crisis, saying “Everyone thought she was a really great leader, and now she’s turned out to be this catastrophic leader. And she’ll be out if they don’t have a revolution.” YES

In July 2016, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier stated that he was concerned about what he sees as Trump’s contradictory promises to “make America strong again” while simultaneously reducing involvement overseas. Steinmeier said that Trump’s proposed policies “would be dangerous not only for the United States, but for Europe and the rest of the world as well”. YES

In regards to British voters voting to leave the European Union, Trump stated, “I think it’s a great thing that happened… Basically they took back their country. That’s a good thing.” YES

One reason that Trump was enthusiastic about the outcome of the vote was that it lowered the value of the British pound, which was good for business at his golf course in ScotlandNO

In his 2000 book, The America We Deserve, Trump argued that European countries used NATO as a pathway to place the burden of international responsibility on the United States while “their conflicts are not worth American lives. Pulling back from Europe would save this country millions of dollars annually.” YES

In a July 2016 interview, Trump “explicitly raised new questions about his commitment to automatically defend NATO allies,” questioning whether he, as president, would automatically extend security guarantees to NATO members. YES

In a July 2016 interview, Trump stated that he would consider recognizing Crimea as Russian territory and lifting sanctions on Russia that were imposed after Russia began aiding self-proclaimed separatist republics in eastern Ukraine seeking to undermine the new, pro-Western Ukrainian government. YES

He added that Russia could help the United States in fighting ISIS terror organization. YES

Also in July 2016 Trump referred to a recent leak of Democratic National Committee email leaks, thought to be connected to a cyberattack widely thought to have been carried out by Russian intelligence services. Trump stated that he hoped Russia had hacked Hillary Clinton’s email, saying: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” NO

Trump has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin over a series of years, developing what CNN called a “long-established track record of…fondness for the autocratic Russian leader.” YES

In response to a question in October 2015 about the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shootdown and the U.S. intelligence community’s “confident” assessment that pro-Russian separatists shot it down, Trump responded, “Putin and Russia say they didn’t do it, the other side said they did, no one really knows who did it, probably Putin knows who did it. Possibly it was Russia but they are totally denying it.” YES

Trump has stated that the U.S. should open fire on Russian planes if Russia rejects calls to stop the approaches. NO

Trump criticized former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev as not having “a firm enough hand” controlling Russia… YES

…mentioning China for effectively handling the situation during the Tiananmen Square massacre, saying: “they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength.” NO

At the Conservative Political Action Conference in March 2014, Trump stated that Putin was taking “the heart and soul” of Ukraine because he believed Crimea was “where all the money is” and went on to predict “the rest of Ukraine will fall, and it’s predicted to fall fairly quickly.” Later that month, Trump stated that the Russian takeover of Crimea “should never have happened.” NO

In July 2015 Trump opposed U.S. involvement in the Ukrainian crisis (in a rally in July 2016 he implied that this could have led to World War III), describing Crimea as “Europe’s problem.” YES

In July 2016, Trump stated that he would “look into” recognizing Crimea as Russian territory. YES

In August 2015 Trump stated he “did not care” about Ukrainian membership in NATO, saying that both membership and non-membership would be “great.” NO

Speaking to the Yalta European Strategy conference in September 2015, Trump criticized Germany and other European countries for not doing enough to support Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, saying, Ukrainians are “not being treated right.” NO

Trump has expressed support for South Korea and Japan having nuclear weapons if they would be unwilling to pay the United States for security. NO

In March 2016, Anderson Cooper asked, “Saudi Arabia, nuclear weapons?” Trump answered: “Saudi Arabia, absolutely.” NO

Trump has been critical of Pakistan, comparing it to North Korea, calling it “probably the most dangerous country” in the world, and claiming that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons posed a “serious problem.” YES

He has advocated improving relations with India as a supposed “check” to Pakistan. NO

Trump said in a December 2015 rally, “We have to see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what’s happening. We have to talk to them about, maybe in certain areas, closing that Internet up in some ways. Somebody will say, ‘Oh freedom of speech, freedom of speech.’ These are foolish people.” NO

Trump said that the Internet should be shut off to countries that have a majority of their territory controlled by terrorist organizations. NO

In his announcement speech, Trump said that the U.S.’s control is getting weaker and that its nuclear arsenal is old and does not work… NO

During 2016, Trump has called for the resumption of waterboarding, and has repeatedly expressed support for the use of torture by the U.S. for the purpose of trying to get information from terrorists, if Congress allows it. NO

On one occasion, Trump has called waterboarding “your minimal form of torture”; on another occasion he has said, “Nobody knows if it’s torture”. NO

On the effectiveness of torture, Trump has said: “Don’t tell me it doesn’t work – torture works”… NO

Trump referred to those who “came up with this international law” as “eggheads“… NO

At a Republican primary debate in March 2016, when asked whether the U.S. military would obey orders to torture in violation of international law, Trump stated: “Frankly, when I say they’ll do as I tell them, they’ll do as I tell them”. NO

In October 2013, Trump wrote in a Twitter message that NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden “is a spy who should be executed… NO

On November 19, 2015, a week after the November 2015 Paris attacks, when asked if he would implement a database system to track Muslims in the United States, Trump said: “I would certainly implement that. Absolutely. There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases. We should have a lot of systems.” NO

Trump justified his proposals by repeatedly saying that he recalled “thousands and thousands of people … cheering” in Jersey City, New Jersey, when the World Trade Center towers fell on September 11, 2001NO

In 1999 Trump proposed a massive one-time “net worth tax” on the rich to wipe out the national debt. YES

But then he unveiled a tax plan that would, in fact, lavish huge tax cuts on the rich. And it would also, according to non-partisan analyses, cause deficits to explode, adding around $10 trillion to the national debt over a decade.” NO

In 2011 Trump called for a balanced budget amendment… NO

Economist Mark Zandi estimated that if Trump’s tax cuts and spending increases were fully implemented as proposed, the national debt trajectory would worsen considerably, with debt held by the public rising from 76% GDP in 2016 to 135% GDP in 2026, considerably above a current policy baseline that rises to 86% GDP in 2026. If only some of Trump’s policies were implemented under an alternative scenario of more moderate changes, the debt figure would rise to 111% GDP by 2026. In May 2016, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget placed the 2026 debt figure under Trump’s policies between 111% GDP and 141% GDP, versus 86% under the current policy baseline. NO

In two interviews in May 2016, Trump suggested that he would “refinance” the U.S. federal debt as a means to relieve the debt. Trump said that he would not seek to renegotiate the bonds, but rather would seek to buy the bonds back at a discount. NO

Trump has called for allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with prescription-drug companies to get lower prices for the Medicare Part D prescription-drug benefit, something currently prohibited by law. YES

Trump supports proposals that would grant Congress the ability to audit the Federal Reserve’s decisionmaking and take power away from the Federal Reserve. NO

He reiterated the critique of the Federal Reserve as an arm of the Democratic Party… NO

In September 2016, Trump said: “We reject the pessimism that says our standard of living can no longer rise, and that all that’s left to do is divide up and redistribute our shrinking resources.” NO

Economist Mark Zandi wrote in June 2016 that due to the sizable income tax cuts, “[t]he tax code under Mr. Trump’s plan will thus be much less progressive than the current tax code.” NO

In August 2015, in a televised interview, Trump said “Having a low minimum wage is not a bad thing for this country.” NO

On November 10, 2015, speaking at a Republican debate, Trump said he opposed increasing the U.S. minimum wage, saying that doing so would hurt America’s economic competitiveness. At the same debate, Trump said in response to a question about the minimum wage and the economy as a whole: “…taxes too high, wages too high, we’re not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is.” NO

Trump has expressed support for adopting English-style defamation laws in the U.S.; under UK law, it is easier for plaintiffs to sue newspapers and other media outlets. NO

Trump has called for police to arrest those who protest at his rallies, saying that fear of an “arrest mark” that would “ruin the rest of their lives” would be a deterrent and that then “we’re not going to have any more protesters, folks.” NO

On the campaign trail in 2015 and 2016, Trump has frequently “railed against” the press, referring to the media as “the most dishonest people” and “absolute scum.” The Trump campaign has barred reporters (from Politico,The New York Times, The Des Moines Register, The Huffington Post, and Univision, among others) from its campaign events, “often in the wake of critical coverage.” In October 2016, NBC News reportedly held off on airing a video of Trump making lewd and disparaging remarks about women due to concerns that Trump would sue the network. NO

In a February 2000 interview with The Advocate, Trump said he supported amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include the category of sexual orientation and supported federal hate crime legislation that would cover sexual orientation. YES

7 Comments

Filed under Africa, Americas, Amerindians, Animals, Asia, Blacks, Britain, Caribbean, Child Porn, China, Christianity, Conservatism, Conspiracy Theories, Crime, Cuba, Democrats, Economics, Education, Egypt, Endangered Species, Environmentalism, Eurasia, Europe, Fake Guest Workers, Feminism, Geopolitics, Germany, Global Warming, Government, Health, Homosexuality, Illegal, Illness, Immigration, India, Intoxicants, Iran, Iraq, Iraq War, Islam, Israel, Israel-Palestine Conflict, Japan, Journalism, Kurdistan, Labor, Latin America, Law, Law enforcement, Left, Legal, Libya, Medicine, Mexico, Middle East, Military Doctrine, NE Asia, Neoliberalism, North Africa, North Korea, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Obama Birther Whackjobs, Pakistan, Palestine, Political Science, Politics, Pollution, Pornography, Public Health, Race Relations, Race/Ethnicity, Radical Islam, Regional, Religion, Republicans, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sex, Social Problems, Sociology, South Asia, South Korea, Sports, Syria, Terrorism, Turkey, Ukraine, US Politics, USA, USSR, War, West Africa, Whites

Western Europe: What Native Languages Are Spoken in Germany?

Montleek:  Robert, is it possible that in Western Europe, the regional lects have been preserved better, while in eastern Europe are preserved worse? There was communism/socialism in Eastern Europe, therefore more tendency not to continue speaking with regional lect.

Germany is a very chaotic situation with a dialect in every town or village.

Dutch is actually spoken up near the Dutch border, but the form is not intelligible at all with Dutch across the border. You get into the different dialect in every town here.

Danish spoken a bit up by the Danish border.

Sorbian is spoken in the central east.

Frisian is spoken in the northwest and in the far north.

There are up to 138 separate languages within German by my calculation and splitting down to dialects, there must be many more, surely hundreds and maybe over a thousand. There are 3-4 languages within the Macro-Dutch spoken on the border and a dialect in every town. The Danish spoken in the north is not very dialectally diverse. Frisian is spoken as North Frisian and Saterland Frisian, but there may be up to five languages inside North Frisian. Sorbian is spoken in two forms, Upper Sorbian and Lower Sorbian, and both are separate languages.

4 Comments

Filed under Balto-Slavic-Germanic, Danish, Dialectology, Dutch, Europe, Frisian, German, Germanic, Germany, Indo-European, Indo-Hittite, Language Families, Linguistics, Regional, Sociolinguistics

A Dark and Ominous Phoenix Rises from the Past

A Black Bird Rises in the West

My understanding is that in 1932, Jews were 1%* of the population of Germany. At that time, the Jews reportedly had 32%* of the wealth in the Germany.

The very next year, in 1933, Adolf Hitler of the Nazi Party was elected to rule German democracy. They quickly did away with that pesky democratic part of the state and imposed a dictatorship on a shocked but quite willing populace. This party had been trafficking in toxic anti-Semitism since its birth in German beer halls in the early 1920’s. Almost all of the leaders of this movement were very racist White men. All were White Supremacists and anti-Semites.

They preached ethnic ultranationalism and taking back the nation from the (((liberal and decadent cosmopolitan Establishment))) that had run Germany into the ground in the previous decade. It was time to take the country back from these (((liberals usurpers))) and make Germany great again. A vicious antisemitism was imposed very early on and quickly assumed savage and even homicidal proportions. Several years afterwards, those homicidal tendencies detonated into a full-blown genocidal project targeting not only Jews but also many other hated peoples such as Slavs and Gypsies. For four short years, this unstable and deranged party set the world on fire worse than it had ever been lit up. The fading remnants of that darkly incandescent blazing inferno leave traces that to reverberate among us to this day.

Of course I opposed (to put it very mildly) the Holocaust, the whole Nazi antisemitic project and the German/Japanese alliance in World War 2. It was as if a dual headed Satanic hydra had simulatenously risen in both the West and the East to menace all of mankind itself.

But then I look at that figure. Jews were 1% of the population and they controlled 32% of the wealth in a nation with an increasingly immiserated, disenfranchised and enraged majority.

I look at that figure. 1% of the population controlled 32% of the wealth. And I think, “You know what? There’s not too many countries in the world where people would put up with that for very long. At some point, the majority is going to rise up and try to take back a lot of that money from that tiny group that is monopolizing it.

In Another Century in Another Land…

In 2016, Jews are 2% of the US population. At this time, they reportedly have 28% of the wealth of the nation in a nation with an increasingly, immiserated, disenfranchised and enraged majority.

That same year, a fascist-like movement was elected to rule American democracy. They planned to quickly do away with some of the pesky democratic part of the state and impose an authoritarian government on a shocked but significantly willing populace. This party had been trafficking in increasingly toxic racism since its rebirth in the orange groves of the nation in the early 1980’s. A significant number of the leaders of this movement were quite racist White men. A few were White Supremacists and antisemites.

This movement preached an increasingly ethnic form of hyper-nationalism and taking back the nation from the (((liberal and decadent cosmopolitan Establishment))) that had been running America for most of the previous two decades. It was time to take the country back from these (((liberal usurpers))) and make America great again. A vicious racism loomed very early on. No one knew if this unstable and deranged party would set the world on fire in the next four years.

Let’s look at these two paragraphs again.

In 1932, Jews were 1% of the German population. At this time, they reportedly had  32% of the wealth of a nation with an increasingly immiserated, disenfranchised and enraged majority.

In 2016, Jews are 2% of the US population. At this time, they reportedly have 28% of the wealth of a nation with an increasingly, immiserated, disenfranchised and enraged majority.

I suppose my position would be that if the Jews, 2% of America, really do have 28% of my country’s wealth, I would say that not many countries in the world would put up with that for very long. I would also say that being 2% of the country and having 28% of the wealth is definitely not good for the Jews. Of course I don’t always support what is good for the Jews (Why should I?) but in this case, I definitely would, out of worry, fear, alarm and compassion for my fellow man alone.

37 Comments

Filed under Anti-Semitism, East Indians, Economics, Ethnic Nationalism, Europe, European, Fascism, Germany, History, Jews, Liberalism, Modern, National Socialism, Nationalism, Nazism, Political Science, Politics, Race/Ethnicity, Racism, Regional, Roma, The Jewish Question, Ultranationalism, USA, War, White Racism, World War 2

The Democratic Party Is the Suicide Left and It Deserves to Lose

The Israeli Right calls the Israeli Left “the Suicide Left.” Now I happen to like the Israeli Left a lot, but they may have a point. Their point is that the Israeli Left is trying to get us killed. So if the option is vote Left and get killed or vote for some fash like Sharon or Netanyahu and stay alive, a lot of basically decent people will vote fash. This is how a lot of non-fascists vote for fascist-type parties and leaders. Hell, if voting fash meant saving my life, I might just vote fascist myself, and I hate fascists!

I now believe that the US Democratic Party is the “Suicide Left” of America. They just don’t get it. I think what is going on here is that the party has been taken over by wealthy and upper middle class professionals on both coasts. The Republican Party is also represented by these types, among others. The Left and Right upper middle class professionals on the coast claim to hate each other, but they share the same class interests. Both are utterly out of touch with the working classes. These Democrats are well-to-do suit and tie types who only talk to others of their class and ilk. Incredibly, when a well-known liberal columnist interviewed a White working class Trump voter to see how he felt, he had to make up an imaginary person because apparently he didn’t know any actual working class people!

In other words, the Democratic Party is completely out of touch. Sure, the TPP was going to royally screw 90% of the country, but 10% were going to make out great. Guess who those 10% were? Those well to do upper middle class professionals on the coasts, including the entire leadership of the Democratic Party! Of course they push these crappy trade deals. They’re making lots of money off of them. What about the other 90% of Americans? Well, the Hell with them. If it’s not your ox getting gored, most people could care less what happens to you.

The entire Democratic Party has been sold on free trade madness. Go over to Daily Kos, the home of the left wing of the Democratic Party (the base). There’s article after article about how this election proves how racist and sexist and homophobic and transphobic and awful White people, oops I mean Americans, are. That’s what this whole election was all about. White Supremacy. White folks bein’ raciss again. Were there any other issues at play? Of course not.

Please understand that Kos is 100% free trader as far as I can tell. The left wing of the Democratic Party is hardcore freetrader! They never met a trade deal they didn’t love. There’s not one single article on trade over there right now, and I’m not sure when or if you will see another one. It is just not discussed. Occasionally in the comments someone will remark about these lousy trade deals, and “liberal Democrats” will rush over and bombard this person with attacks. According to them, the trade deals had nothing to do with working class job losses in Middle America. It was all automation! This is a complete lie, and actually, that is a very neoliberal, freemarketeer line. So the left wing of the Democratic Party is made up of neoliberals, freemarketeers and freetraders.

Every now and then you see tiny bits about trade. All they say is that Trump’s anti-free trade plans are going to be horrible for US workers. Like those Carrier Air Conditioning folks. Trump’s anti-free trade policies are going to throw millions of people like that out of work. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like crap to me. In other words, we cannot go back on free trade. Not one step back. In another article, it said that US trade policy definitely needed some tweaks (Like what?), but we cannot succumb to protectionism.

It ought to be clear now that Americans have had it up to here with mass immigration in all forms, legal, illegal, and all of the myriad fake guest worker programs. On Daily Kos, if you criticize illegal immigration even one time, you are banned forever. We cannot criticize those Holy illegal aliens, Gods among men!

The other day I saw a comment that said something like, “Hey look, don’t you think we need to do something about mass immigration, illegal immigration and especially these fake guest workers like H-1B’s?” They piled all over him, beating the crap out of him. On Daily Kos, apparently even attacking guest worker scab programs is verboten. Sure, they throw Americans out of high paying jobs and give them to job-stealing 3rd World scabs, but so what? Don’t you realize that these guest workers are those wonderful people called immigrants? All immigrants are Holy People! They are Godlike! We must worship at their feet!

The Democratic Party just doesn’t get it. They are dead-set on free trade crap and neoliberal economics. They’re free-trading freemarketeers. And they will not budge one inch on the insane immigration issue because muh racism. What they offer in place of any pro-worker project is endless Identity Politics screeds. Go to Daily Kos and scroll down the page. It’s: Racism! Sexism! Homophobia! Transphobia! Stop White Supremacy! Black Lives Matter! Up with Black People! Up with Mexicans! Down with Whites! White People Suck!

The Democratic Party is the goddamned Suicide Left. The reactionaries under Trump will completely destroy the country, but it will in part be the fault of the Suicide Left who handed it over to them. The same thing happened in the 1920’s and 1930’s when the German Communist Party attacked the German Social Democratic Party, calling them “social fascists,” sort of like how the SJW’s attack everyone not Cultural Left enough, calling them reactionaries and fascists. This idiotic infighting played a strong role in handing the country to the Nazis. And once again, we see an insane, tone-deaf, suicidal Left playing a a major role in handing the country over to a fascist movement.

The Democratic Party is the Suicide Left. They deserve to lose!

16 Comments

Filed under Conservatism, Cultural Marxists, Democrats, Economics, Europe, European, Fake Guest Workers, Fascism, Germany, History, Illegal, Immigration, Israel, Labor, Left, Legal, Liberalism, Middle East, National Socialism, Nazism, Neoliberalism, Political Science, Politics, Race/Ethnicity, Regional, Republicans, Scum, US Politics, Whites

Open Borders, Free Trade, Globalization, and the End of Democracy

From Ian Welsh‘s fantastic site. Check it out if you never have. He’s just about Alternative Left himself I believe.

Ever get tired of reading media lies all the time? Well then, come on over to Beyond Highbrow, where our motto is “We will never lie to you.” And if you want a dose of honesty as anti-venom for the lies you are force-fed every day, just read the piece below. Everything you will in that piece is 100% true. There is not a single false sentence in there. Read it and digest it.

Bottom line is you can either have open borders, free trade and globalization or you can have democracy, but you can’t have both. In other words, open borders, free trade and globalization will always be voted down by any sane populace and any attempt to implement these projects will involve not only massive amounts of lying and propaganda and but also probably some sort of authoritarian, anti-democratic or even dictatorial rule.

Sort of like what Milton Friedman said about how the masses will never vote for his radical Libertarian neoliberal ultra-laissez faire project, hence the need to for a dictatorship to impose Friedmanism. This is why Friedman loved Pinochet so much. Friedman freely admitted that a dicatorship was necessary to implement his own project, as no self-aware population would ever vote for it. If you have ever wondered why the US is always overthrowing democratic governments and fomenting rightwing military and legislative coups to overthrow anti-neoliberal governments, there’s your answer. We’ve always loved rightwing dictatorships. Anyone knows rightwing dictatorships are great for business. None of that messy democracy stuff to fool around with.

I like this guy. He’s really got a way with words.

My problem with the EU’s Four Freedoms and the Euro project, as with NAFTA and its successor treaties, now being debated, is that they enshrine the democratic deficit at the core of the legal order of the nations party to the relevant agreements.

One may argue over the details of the legislative procedures by which all of the agreements were adopted, ratified, whatever – and the respective statuses of different agreements and mechanisms – but it seems intuitively obvious to me that, had proponents of these treaties openly discussed both what they entailed as a matter of law and what was likely to ensue, practically, upon their implementation, public disapproval would have been overwhelming.

Such agreements have always been sold to the public as reforms that will bring about a state of comity between nations, increase general prosperity, and basically result in every child having both a puppy and a pony. The realities of hot, speculative capital flows, regulatory arbitrage in some areas, convergence in others, mass immigration, the destruction of whole sectors of national economies, and the resultant marginalization of whole classes – even generations, in some societies – were not only not mentioned, even as possible consequences, but denied, either openly or implicitly.

To make matters still worse, when folks began to voice their objections to the new regime and its consequences for their lives, they were first dismissed as rubes and bigots (and sometimes, they were), and eventually informed that their objections were misplaced because the immiseration of one section of the population, by the destruction of its employment, had made possible X% gains in well-being for Y millions in countries A-G, thus returning through the back door the very “zero-sum”, some will have to sacrifice argument that was explicitly rejected by the initial apologetic for the reforms. So, in the end, it is Who? Whom? Just as the critics alleged in the early 90s, say.

In fine, the reason for the rancor and distrust is not merely that there is bigotry rife within the masses of mankind, but that whole swathes of the populace were betrayed, rooked, and then mocked and degraded for the amusement of those who did they betraying and rooking.

If one extends the benefit of the doubt to the constructors of the European project, and of NAFTA, etc., and assumes that they were all enlightened social democrats of the most impeccable convictions and intentions (which is, of course, far too generous by several orders of magnitude), it still remains that what they proposed was a multi-step process, with immense possibilities for slippage as one negotiated each transition.

There never was a guarantee that, when the reforms were implemented, and whole communities and economic sectors were obliterated, the political system would bestir itself to redress the dislocations in precisely the correct manner. There are always too many contingencies in politics for that, even granting the best of intentions.

However, the projects of globalization have always had a clear class valence: they are clearly in the interests of the elites and the professional classes who simultaneously serve elite interests and operations and aspire to ascend to the elite plane in the social hierarchy.

Once one accounts for objective class interests in the unfolding of political ‘reform’ movements, it becomes rather difficult to assume as possible, to say nothing of probable, that the classes benefiting from the reforms will, having increased their wealth and power precisely by disempowering and immiserating the working classes, will immediately turn round and say, “Well, boys, now we have free trade and freedom of capital movement, what do say we tax ourselves a lot more to provide for the sort of social democracy that will cushion the lives of the workers?” The entire logic of the projects is the gradual attenuation of social democracy.

And thus, the democratic deficit. It’s not that one could have expected the advocates of these policies to be honest with their electorates, admitting to them that most of them would suffer stagnant or declining living standards, all so that the professional classes could grab larger shares of a larger pie. No, it’s that the very proposal of such reforms, absent any binding mechanism to build social democracy concurrently with them, was a case of the elite hiving itself off from the rest of society, no longer professing to represent the people and their interests, at best implicitly claiming an identity of their class interests with the national/continental/international interest, and in practice governing strictly in their own interests.

As the US could not – and still cannot, really – claim the mantle of democracy while maintaining Jim Crow, so the neoliberal elite cannot claim that mantle while deliberately, knowingly marginalizing and rubbishing large swathes of the societies they (mis)rule. Unless, of course, democracy is nothing more than the bare formalism of the ritual plebiscite, one of the formal freedoms of bourgeois society.

In closing, since I have droned on a bit, I am dubious that integration can proceed beyond any horizon, wholly without limit – to take but one of the issues raised by the populist discontentments. The most tolerant and generous societies we’ve yet known, in Northern Europe, are now experiencing some of the same discontents that we witness in France, Germany, and the UK.

While the ideational structures and symbols that transcend discrete tribes can mediate a common culture to diverse groups, or mediate multiple cultures to each other, it is not obvious that this process can or will continue indefinitely, either temporally or in terms of effectuating the union of cultures and tribes. There are always potential sources of friction and resistance. In fact, I’m not certain that wholly open labor/migration flows could ever be managed save by a combination of undemocratic policy-making and illiberal tutelary policies. People can be more tolerant than they are, this is certain. I don’t believe that large groups will ever be as tolerant as neoliberalism requires that they be.

37 Comments

Filed under Britain, Conservatism, Economics, Europe, France, Geopolitics, Germany, Government, Immigration, Journalism, Labor, Left, Libertarianism, Neoliberalism, Open Borders, Political Science, Politics, Regional, Sociology, Traitors

Turkey – The Sick Man of Europe, a 100 Year Running Joke

The Turks make up a single race – Turkic-Armenian-Kurdish-Ashkenazi Jewish. The Turks tried to turn most of these people into Turks by eliminating their ethnic identity via abandoning their religion and language. The Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians refused to give up their languages but most importantly their religion, so the Turks killed over 2 million of them for that sin. The Kurds continue to see themselves as a distinct ethnic, cultural and linguistic group from the Turks. The Turks wish to eliminate the Kurdish language, culture and even ethnicity. and that is why the Kurds are slaughtered like flies over there.

Turks are a profoundly backwards people, and they like it that way just fine. In fact, it infuriates them that anyone demands that they act civilized. Turks don’t exactly have European Enlightenment values – in fact, they have exactly the opposite. Erdogan is an Ottoman imperial Sultan and Caliph combined with a murderous Young Turk mixed with an Ataturkist ethnic ultranationalist. He’s literally one of the worst human beings on Earth, and the Turks worship this man like a God.

The Turks are enraged that Europe sees Turkey for the Sick Man it is. Hence they refuse to let them into the EU.

Letting Turkey into the EU would be catastrophic.

First of all, Turkey is incapable of abiding by the EU’s European White Christian Enlightenment values which now verge on Culture Left parody. The Turks don’t even believe in the Renaissance. Why would they believe in the PC SJW Left? Get real.

In order to join the EU, one must do a minimum number of things, including have a minimal base of European civilized Enlightenment values. These include basic human rights, limits on corruption, basic rights for minority groups and their languages, religions and cultures, etc. Turkey fails as miserably on all of those counts as they did a century ago when the Young Turks unleashed their Shoah/Islamic Jihad.

Turkey is a land frozen in time or worse where clocks actually run backwards instead of forwards like they do everywhere else. An example of this is how Erdogan has recreated 19th Century Turkey as the new imperial Sultan/Caliph.

A good guess of how backwards a nation is is whether or not the Left has been driven to such desperation and exasperated rage that they have take up arms. Nowadays, the Left only takes up arms in the most reactionary of holes. The Turkish Left has been so abused that they have been armed for decades. They carry out regular bombings and assassinations. Turkey is the Colombia of Europe, the India of the Near East.

The only way to let Turkey in would be to so weaken these EU ultra-liberal laws to the extent that they barely existed anymore. Further, poorer Turks would flood all through Christian Europe, further Islamicizing an already badly Islamicizing Europe. Even with only a few Muslims, they are causing havoc and chaos all through Europe. Imagine 10’s of millions of Turks given free reign to move to any part of Europe that they wish.

Turks have moved to Germany in large numbers and they have assimilated very poorly. Many of them hate Christian Germans, both their culture and their religion. They stage regular riots calling for the death of Jews, etc. Many are sympathetic to radical Islam. In Germany, many Turks have turned to street crime. Honor killings continue.

There are already far too many Turks in Christian Europe. Let’s not let 10’s of millions more in please.

There is of course a minority of more or less progressive Turks often working in and around academia, the opposition parties and the media. There are good people in the opposition, even in Parliament and there are many fine journalists, including some of the bravest and most daring investigative journalists. I work with a lot of Turks like this now. They bear no resemblance to what I just wrote above other than perhaps denial of their land’s backwardness. These are finest sons and daughters of the land.

Sadly the more forward-looking Turks have long been a minority, though they may make up 20-30% of the population. That’s enough to cause a lot of rowdy (and often violent) street protests, but it’s not enough to win an election.

Like the Colombians, every four years, the Turks march off to the polls to vote for another reactionary ultranationalist nut.

I would say that Turkey is hopeless. 20-30% is not enough to turn a land around, and Turkey has hurdled horribly backwards since Sultan Erdogan assumed the throne and crowned himself Caliph. He has emboldened all of the worst aspect of the Turkish soul in the same way that Trump is doing in the US. Perhaps Turkey can move forwards, but I will not see it in my lifetime.

There is nothing a Turk hates more than a mirror. It’s like a cross to a vampire. Turks refuse to look in a reflection and see what its really there. Instead they wrap themselves up in Rube Goldbergian fortresses of psychological defense because the truth is too ugly to bear. You can’t begin to cure an illness until you diagnose it, and until Turkey looks deeply into the illness of its body politic, it will remain, as always, the Sick Man of Europe, first as harsh truth a century ago, now as pitiful caricature and running twisted joke a century later.

He who is not busy growing is busy dying.

– Bob Dylan

To thine own self be true.

First of all, know yourself.

– famous aphorisms

 

18 Comments

Filed under Armenians, Assyrians, Christianity, Crime, Culture, Europe, European, Europeans, Germany, Greeks, History, Immigration, Imperialism, Islam, Islamic, Jews, Journalism, Kurds, Left, Modern, Nationalism, Near Easterners, Political Science, Politics, Race/Ethnicity, Radical Islam, Regional, Religion, Social Problems, Sociology, Turkey, Turks, Ultranationalism

The Hell with the Pentagon

As the agency which enforces US foreign policy at gunpoint, the Pentagon has always blown.

First of all, there is no such thing as the Defense Department. When has the Pentagon ever defended the country? Pearl Harbor? They did a fine job there, huh?

Obviously the task of the Pentagon is not to defend the US mainland, which is all it ever ought to do anyway.

Its task is to running around the world starting wars and killing people in other countries. Leaving aside whether that is sometimes a good idea (and I think it is,) what’s so defensive about that?

The real name of the Pentagon is the War Department.That’s what it was always called until World War 2, which the War Department won. After that in a spate of Orwellian frenzy, we named an army of aggression an army of self-defense and comically renamed its branch the Defense Department.

It’s like calling cops peace officers. You see anything peaceful about what a cop does in a typical day? Neither do I?

There was a brief glimmer of hope there in WW2 when we finally starting killing fascists and rightwingers instead of sleeping with them, but the ink was barely dry on the agreements before we were setting up the Gladio fascists, overthrowing Greek elections and slaughtering Greek peasants like ants.

Meanwhile it was scarcely a year after 1945 when the US once again started a torrid love affair with fascism and rightwing dictators like we have always done. We were smooching it up right quick with Europe’s fascists, in this case the former Nazis of Germany (who became the West German elite), Greek killer colonels, Mussolini’s heirs, actual Nazis in Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, Jew-Nazis in Palestine, Franco (who we never stopped sleeping with anyway), Salazar, the malign Mr. Churchill, the true repulsive Dutch royalty and disgusting European colonists the world over, who we showered with guns and bombs to massacre the colonized.

In 1945, a war against fascism, reaction, Nazism and malign colonialism had ended, and for some reason America had fought against these things instead of supporting them as usual.

1946, and we were back in old style again, hiring Nazis by the busload for the CIA, overthrowing democratic governments and putting in genocidal dictatorships, becoming butt buddies with fascist swine everywhere.

So you see we have always pretty much sucked. World War 1 was fought amidst one of the most dishonest propaganda campaigns the world had ever seen, the Korean War was a Godawful mess where we turned North Korea to flaming rubble with the population cowering in caves while slaughtering 3 million North Koreans.

The horrific catastrophe called the Indochinese Wars, such as the Vietnam War, the Secret War in Laos and the Cambodian Massacre, where we genocided 500,000 Cambodians with bombs, driving the whole place crazy and creating the Khmer Rogue.

Panama and Grenada were pitiful jokes, malign, raw, naked imperialism at its worst.

The Gulf War was a brief return to sanity but turkey shoots are sickening.

Of course that followed on with the most evil war in US history, the Nazi-like war on aggression called The War on the Iraqi People (usually called the Iraq War), the Afghan rabbit hole which started out sensibly enough but turned into another Vietnam style Great Big Mess.

I suppose it is ok that we are killing Al Qaeda guys and I give a shout out to our boys over there fighting ISIS or the Taliban and Al Qaeda in South-Central Asia, Somalia and Yemen. Some people need killing.

But I sure don’t feel that way about their superiors, the US officers who fund and direct ISIS, Al Qaeda, etc. out of an Operations Center in Jordan with Jordanian, Israeli (!), Saudi, UAE, and Qatari officers.

And it was very thoughtful of the Pentagon to cover up the Ukrainian Air Force shootdown of the jetliner which we saw on the radar of our ships in Black Sea.

And it was nice of the US to relay the flight path of the Russian jet to the Turks 24 hours in advance so they could shoot down that Russian jet and kill that pilot.

One hand giveth and the other taketh away. For every good thing we do in Syria and Iraq, we do 10 or 20 bad things. Pretty much the story of the Pentagon.

Sure if you fought in WW2 or one of the few other decent wars, you have something to be proud of, and I can even say, “Thank you for your service,” but the main thing is that you signed up for the rightwing army of the rich that is dead set against the people and popular rule everywhere on Earth. Sure, it’s a great army, professional, super-competent and deadly, but it’s generally tasked with doing lousy things. Why anyone would sign up for that reactionary nightmare of an institution is beyond me. America needs to level the Pentagon and put in a true People’s Army instead. Like that would ever happen.

9 Comments

Filed under Africa, Americas, Asia, Britain, Cambodia, Caribbean, Central America, Cold War, Colonialism, Conservatism, East Africa, Eurasia, Europe, Fascism, Geopolitics, Germany, Government, Greece, History, Imperialism, Iraq War, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Laos, Latin America, Lithuania, Middle East, Military Doctrine, Modern, National Socialism, Nazism, NE Asia, Netherlands, North Korea, Palestine, Panama, Political Science, Radical Islam, Regional, Religion, Russia, Saudi Arabia, SE Asia, Somalia, Spain, Syria, Ukraine, US, US War in Afghanistan, USA, Vietnam, Vietnam War, War, World War 1, World War 2, Yemen

Was Joseph Conrad a Neoliberal? Are We? A Contemporary Reading of Victory

I participated in a session with this fellow on Academia.edu. I believe the author is a professor at a university somewhere in the UK. I really liked this paper a lot. It’s a bit hard to understand, but if you concentrate, you should be able to understand. If I can understand it, at least some of you guys can too. It is an excellent overview of what exactly neoliberalism is and the effects it has on all of us all the way down to the anthropological, sociological and psychological.

Was Joseph Conrad a Neoliberal? Are We? A Contemporary Reading of Victory

by Simon During

Over the past decade or so “neoliberalism” has become a word to conjure with. It is easy to have reservations about its popularity since it seems to name both a general object — roughly, capitalist governmentality as we know it today — and a particular set of ideas that now have a well-researched intellectual history.

It also implies a judgment: few use the term except pejoratively. I myself do not share these worries however, since I think that using the word performs sterling analytic work on its own account even as it probably accentuates its concept’s rather blob-like qualities. Nonetheless in this talk I want somewhat to accede to those who resist neoliberalism’s analytic appeal by thinking about it quite narrowly — that is to say, in literary and intellectual historical terms.

I begin from the position, first, that neoliberalism is an offshoot of liberalism thought more generally; and second, that we in the academic humanities are ourselves inhabited by an occluded or displaced neoliberalism to which we need critically to adjust.1 Thus, writing as a
literary critic in particular, I want to follow one of my own discipline’s original protocols, namely to be sensitive to the ways in which the literary “tradition” changes as the present changes, in this case, as it is reshaped under that neoliberalism which abuts and inhabits us.2

To this end I want to present a reading of Joseph Conrad’s Victory (1916). To do this is not just to help preserve the received literary canon, and as such is, I like to think, a tiny act of resistance to neoliberalism on the grounds that neoliberalism is diminishing our capacity to affirm a canon at all. By maintaining a canon in the act of locating neoliberalism where it is not usually found, I’m trying to operate both inside and outside capitalism’s latest form.

***

1 Daniel Stedman-Jones, Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics, Princeton: Princeton University Press 2014, p. 17.
2 This argument is made of course in T.S. Eliot’s seminal essay, “Tradition and the Individual Talent” (1921).
Let me begin with a brief and sweeping overview of liberalism’s longue durée.3 For our purposes we can fix on liberalism by noting that it has two central struts, one theoretical, the other historical. As generations of theorists have noted, the first strut is methodological individualism: liberal analysis begins with, and is addressed to, the autonomous individual rather than communities or histories.4

Methodological individualism of this kind is, for instance, what allowed Leo Strauss and J.P Macpherson to call even Thomas Hobbes a founder of liberalism.5 Liberalism’s second strut is the emphasis on freedom as the right to express and enact private beliefs with a minimum of state intervention. This view of freedom emerged in the seventeenth century among those who recommended that the sovereign state “tolerate” religious differences.

It marked a conceptual break in freedom’s history since freedom was now conceived of as an individual possession and right rather than as a condition proper to “civil associations” and bound to obligations.6 We need to remember, however, that methodological individualism does not imply liberal freedom, or vice versa. Indeed neoliberalism exposes the weakness of that association.

Early in the nineteenth century, liberalism became a progressivist political movement linked to enlightened values. But after about 1850, non-progressive or conservative liberalisms also appeared. Thus, as Jeffrey Church has argued, Arthur Schopenhauer, the post-Kantian
philosopher who arguably broke most spectacularly with enlightened humanist progressivism,

3 Among the library of works on liberalism’s history I have found two to be particularly useful for my purposes here: Domenico Losurdo’s Liberalism: a Counter-History, trans. Gregory Elliot. London: Verso 2014, and Amanda Anderson’s forthcoming Bleak Liberalism, Chicago, University of Chicago Press 2016.
4 Milan Zafirovski, Liberal Modernity and Its Adversaries: Freedom, Liberalism and Anti-Liberalism in the 21st Century, Amsterdam: Brill 2007, p. 116.
5 Van Mobley, “Two Liberalisms: the Contrasting Visions of Hobbes and Locke,” Humanitas, IX 1997: 6-34.
6 Quentin Skinner, Liberty before Liberalism, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1998, p. 23.

can be associated with liberalism.7

Likewise Schopenhauer’s sometime disciple, Friedrich Nietzsche, no progressivist, was, as Hugo Drochon has recently argued, also an antistatist who prophesied that in the future “private companies” will take over state business so as to protect private persons from one another.8 Liberalism’s conservative turn was, however, largely a result of socialism’s emergence as a political force after 1848, which enabled some left liberal fractions to dilute their individualism by accepting that “a thoroughly consistent individualism can work in harmony with socialism,” as Leonard Hobhouse put it.9

Conrad himself belonged to this moment. As a young man, for instance, he was appalled by the results of the 1885 election, the first in which both the British working class and the socialists participated.10 That election was contested not just by the Marxist Socialist Democratic Federation, but by radical Liberals who had allied themselves to the emergent socialist movement (not least Joseph Chamberlain who, as mayor of Birmingham, was developing so-called “municipal socialism” and who haunts Conrad’s work).11

The election went well for the Liberals who prevented the Tories from securing a clear Parliamentary majority. After learning this, Conrad, himself the son of a famous Polish liberal revolutionary, wrote to a friend, “the International Socialist Association are triumphant, and every
disreputable ragamuffin in Europe, feels that the day of universal brotherhood, despoliation and disorder is coming apace…Socialism must inevitably end in Caesarism.”12 That prophecy will resonate politically for the next century, splitting liberalism in two. As I say: on the one side, a

7 Jeffrey Church, Nietzsche’s Culture of Humanity: Beyond Aristocracy and Democracy in the Early Period, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2015, p. 226.
8 Hugo Drochon, Nietzsche’s Great Politics, Princeton: Princeton University Press 2016, p. 9.
9 L. T. Hobhouse, Liberalism, London: Williams and Norgate, 1911, p. 99.
10 It was at this point that one of neoliberalism’s almost forgotten ur-texts was written,Herbert Spencer’s Man against the State (1884).
11 For instance, he plays an important role in Conrad and Ford Madox Ford’s The Inheritors.
12 Joseph Conrad, The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad, vol 1., ed. Frederick Karl and Laurence Davis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1983, p. 16.

 

progressivist, collectivist liberalism. On the other, an individualist liberalism of which neoliberalism is a continuation.

By around 1900, liberalism’s fusion with socialism was often (although not quite accurately) associated with Bismark’s Germany, which gave anti-socialist liberalism a geographical inflection. Against this, individualistic liberalism was associated with Britain. But this received British liberalism looked back less to Locke’s religiously tolerant Britain than to Richard Cobden’s Britain of maritime/imperial dominance and free trade.

Which is to say that liberalism’s fusion with socialism pushed socialism’s liberal enemies increasingly to think of freedom economically rather than politically — as in Ludwig von Mises influential 1922 book on socialism, which can be understood as a neoliberal urtext.13 By that point, too, individuals were already being positioned to become what Foucault calls “consumers of freedom.” 14

They were now less understood less as possessing a fundamental claim to freedom than as creating and participating in those institutions which enabled freedom in practice. Crucially after the first world war, in the work of von Mises and the so-called “Austrian school”, freedom was increasingly assigned to individual relations with an efficient market as equilibrium theory viewed markets. This turn to the market as freedom’s basis marked another significant historical departure: it is the condition of contemporary neoliberalism’s emergence.

Neoliberalism organized itself internationally as a movement only after world war two, and did so against both Keynesian economics and the welfare state. 15 It was still mainly ideologically motivated by a refusal to discriminate between welfarism and totalitarianism — a line of thought already apparent in Conrad’s equation of socialism with Caesarism of course. As
13 See Ludwig von Mises, Socialism: an Economic and Sociological Analysis, trans. J. Kahane. New Haven: Yale University Press 1951.
14 Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics, p. 63. One key sign of this spread of this new freedom is Oliver Wendell Holmes’s famous appeal to the “free trade in ideas” in his 1919 dissent in Abrams v. the US, a judgment which joins together the market, intellectual expression and the juridical.
15 See Philip Mirowski and Dieter Plehwe (eds.), The Road from Mont Pèlerin, Cambridge: Harvard University Press 2009.

 

Friedrich Hayek urged: once states begin to intervene on free markets totalitarianism looms because the people’s psychological character changes: they become dependent.16 For thirty years (in part as confined by this argument), neoliberalism remained a minority movement, but
in the 1970s it began its quick ascent to ideological and economic dominance.

Cutting across a complex and unsettled debate, let me suggest that neoliberalism became powerful then because it provided implementable policy settings for Keynesianism’s (perceived) impasse in view the stagnation and instability of post-war, first-world welfarist, full-employment economies after 1) the Vietnam War, 2) the collapse of the Bretton Woods agreement; 3) OPEC’s cartelization, and 4) the postcolonial or “globalizing” opening up of world markets on the back of new transportation and computing technologies.17

In the global north neoliberalism was first implemented governmentally by parties on the left, led by James Callaghan in the UK, Jimmy Carter in the US, Bob Hawke and Paul Keating in Australia, and leading the way, David Lange and Roger Douglas in New Zealand.18 At this time, at the level of policy, it was urged more by economists than by ideologues insofar as these can be separated (and Hayek and Mises were both of course).

As we know, neoliberals then introduced policies to implement competition, deregulation, monetarism, privatization, tax reduction, a relative high level of unemployment, the winding back of the state’s participation in the economy and so on. This agenda quickly became captured by private

 

16 Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, p. 48.
17 This history is open to lively differences of opinion. The major books in the literature are: Michel Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the College de France 1978-1979, London: Picador 2010; Philip Mirowski, Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown, London: Verso 2014; Stedman-Jones, Masters of the Universe; Joseph Vogl, The Spectre of Capital, Stanford: Stanford University Press 2014; David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2007. My own understanding of this moment is informed by Stedman-Jones’s account in particular.
18 It is worth noting in this context that the left had itself long been a hatchery of neoliberal economic ideas just because liberalism’s absorption of socialism was matched by socialism’s absorption of liberalism. See Johanna Brockman, Markets in the name of Socialism: the Left-wing Origins of Neoliberalism, Stanford: Stanford University Press 2011 on the intellectual-historical side of this connection.

6
interests, and from the eighties on, it was woven into new, highly surveilled and privatized, computing and media ecologies, indeed into what some optimists today call “cognitive capitalism”.19

In this situation, more or less unintended consequences proliferated, most obviously a rapid increase in economic inequality and the enforced insertion of internal markets and corporate structures in non-commercial institutions from hospitals to universities. Indeed, in winding back the welfare state, renouncing Keynesian and redistributionist economic policies, it lost its classical liberal flavor and was firmly absorbed into conservatism — a transformation which had been prepared for by Schopenhauer and Nietzsche.20

But two more concrete conceptual shifts also helped animate this particular fusion of conservatism and liberalism. First, postwar neoliberalism was aimed more at the enterprise than at the individual.21

Largely on the basis of van Mises’s Human Action (1940) as popularized by Gary Becker, the free, independent individual was refigured as “human capital” and thereby exposed instead to management and “leadership.” At the same time, via Peter Drucker’s concept of “knowledge worker,” which emphasized the importance of conceptual and communication skills to
economic production, postsecular management theories for which corporations were hierarchical but organic communities also gained entry into many neoliberal mindsets.22 At that

 

19 Yann Moulier Boutang, Cognitive Capitalism, trans. Ed Emery. Cambridge: Polity Press 2012.
20 Nietzsche and Schopenhauer’s influence is no doubt part of why neoliberalism emerged in Austria. Indeed the Austrian context in which contemporary neoliberalism emerged is worth understanding in more detail. In their early work, Hayek and Mises in particular were responding to “red Vienna” not just in relation to Otto Bauer’s Austromarxism but also in relation to its version of guild socialism associated with Hungarians like Karl Polanyi, with whom both Hayek and Mises entered into debate. See Lee Congdon, “The Sovereignty of Society: Karl Polanyi in Vienna,” in The Life and Work of Karl Polanyi, ed. Kari Polanyi-Levitt. Montreal: Black Rose Books 1990, 78-85.
21 Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics, p. 225.
22 Drucker was another Austrian refugee who turned to capitalism against totalitarianism in the late thirties and his profoundly influential work on corporate management shadows neoliberal theory up until the 1970s.

 

7
point, neoliberalism also became a quest to reshape as many institutions as possible as corporations.

At this point too Foucault’s consumers of freedom were becoming consumers full stop. To state this more carefully: at the level of ideology, to be free was now first and foremost deemed to be capable of enacting one’s preferences in consumer and labour markets. It would seem that preferences of this kind increasingly determined social status too, and, more invasively, they now increasingly shaped personalities just because practices of self were bound less and less to filiations and affiliations than to acts of choice.

This helped the market to subsume older gradated social and cultural structures of identity-formation, class difference and cultural capital. At this juncture, we encounter another significant unexpected consequence
within liberalism’s longue durée: i.e. the sixties cultural revolution’s reinforcement of neoliberalism.

This is a complex and controversial topic so let me just say here that, from the late seventies, neoliberal subjects who were individualized via their entrepreneurial disposition and economic and labour choices, encounters the subject of post-68 identity politics who had been emancipated from received social hierarchies and prejudices, and was now attached to a particular ethnicity, gender or sexuality as chosen or embraced by themselves as individuals. These two subject formations animated each other to the degree that both had, in their different ways, sloughed off older communal forms, hierarchies and values.

Governing this ménage of hedonism, productivity, insecurity and corporatization, neoliberalism today seems to have become insurmountable, and is, as I say, blob-like, merging out into institutions and practices generally, including those of our discipline. And it has done
this as a turn within liberal modernity’s longer political, intellectual and social genealogies and structures rather than as a break from them.

Nonetheless, three core, somewhat technical, propositions distinguish neoliberalism from liberalism more generally:

  1. First the claim, which belongs to the sociology of knowledge, that no individual or group can know the true value of anything at all.23 For neoliberals, that value — true or not — can only be assessed, where it can be assessed at all, under particular conditions: namely when it is available in a competitive and free market open to all individuals in a society based on private property. This is an argument against all elite and expert claims to superior knowledge and judgment: without prices, all assessments of value are mere opinion. In that way, market justice (i.e. the effects of competing in the market) can trump social justice. And in that way, for instance, neoliberalism finds an echo not just in negations of cultural authority and canonicity but in the idea that literary and aesthetic judgments are matters of private choice and opinion. In short, neoliberalism inhabits cultural democracy and vice versa. By the same stroke, it posits an absence — a mere structure of exchange—at society’s normative center.
  2. There is a direct relationship between the competitive market and freedom. Any attempt to limit free markets reduces freedom because it imposes upon all individuals a partial opinion about what is valuable. This particular understanding of freedom rests on the notion of the market as a spontaneous order — its being resistant to control and planning, its being embedded in a society which “no individual can completely survey” as Hayek put it.24 Not that this notion is itself original to neoliberalism: Foucault’s historiography of liberalism shows that, in the mid eighteenth century, this property of markets was thought of as “natural” and therefore needed to be protected
    from sovereign authority’s interference.25 But as Foucault and others have argued, neoliberalism emerges after World War 2 when the spontaneous market conditions of freedom are no longer viewed as natural (even if they remain immanently lawbound) but as governmentally produced.26
  3. Neoliberalism has specific ethical dimensions too. While it generally insists that individuals should be free to “follow their own values and preferences” (as Hayek put it) at least within the limits set by those rules and institutions which secure market stability, in fact individuals’ independence as well as their relation to market risk, provides the necessary condition for specific virtues and capacities. Most notably, in Hayek’s formulation, a neoliberal regime secures individuals’ self-sufficiency, honor and dignity and does so by the willingness of some to accept “material sacrifice,” or to “live dangerously” as Foucault put it, in a phrase he declared to be liberalism’s “motto”.27 This mix of risk-seeking existentialism and civic republicanism not only rebukes and prevents the kind of de-individualization supposedly associated with socialisms of the left and right, it is where neoliberalism and an older “Nietzschean” liberalism meet—with Michael Oakeshott’s work bearing special weight in this context.28 But as soon as neoliberalism itself becomes hegemonic in part by fusing with the spirit of 1968, this original ascetic, masculinist neoliberal ethic of freedom and risk comes to be supplemented and displaced by one based more on creativity, consumerist hedonism and entrepreneurialism aimed at augmenting choice.29

***

23 See Mirowski, Never Let a Serious Crisis, p. 55.
24 Friedrich von Hayek, The Road to Serfdom: Texts and Documents. The Definitive Edition, ed. Bruce Caldwell. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007, p. 212.

25 Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics, p. 19.
26 This is argued in Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval’s The New Way of the World: on Neoliberal Society, London: Verso 2014. For the immanent lawboundedness in Hayek, see Miguel Vatter, The Republic of the Living: Biopolitics and the Critique of Civil Society, New York: Fordham University Press 2014: pps. 195-220. Vatter’s chapter “Free Markets and Republican
Constitutions in Hayek and Foucault” is excellent on how law is treated in neoliberal thought.
27 Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, p. 130. Foucault, The Birth of Biopolitics, p. 66.
28 See Andrew Norris’s forthcoming essay in Political Theory, “Michael Oakeshott’s Postulates of Individuality” for this. We might recall, too, that Foucault argues for similarities between the Frankfurt school and the early neoliberals on the grounds of their resistance to standardization, spectacle and so on. See The Birth of Biopolitics, p. 105.

 

I have indicated that Conrad belongs to the moment when socialist parties first contested democratic elections and which thus split liberalism, allowing one, then beleaguered, liberal fraction to begin to attach to conservatism. In this way then, he belongs to neoliberalism’s deep past (which is not to say, of course, that he should be understand as a proto-neoliberal himself). Let us now think about his novel Victory in this light.

The novel is set in late nineteenth-century Indonesia mainly among European settlers and entrepreneurs. Indonesia was then a Dutch colony itself undergoing a formal economic deregulation program, which would increase not just Dutch imperial profits but, among indigenous peoples, also trigger what was arguably human history’s most explosive population growth to date.30

Victory belongs to this world where imperialism encountered vibrant commercial activity driven by entrepreneurial interests, competition and risk. Thus, for instance, its central character, the nomadic, cosmopolitan, aristocratic Swedish intellectual, Axel Heyst, establishes a business— a coal mine — along with a ship-owning partner, while other characters manage hotels, orchestras and trading vessels. Victory is a novel about enterprises as well as about individuals.

But Conrad’s Indonesia is other to Europe as a realm of freedom. Importantly, however, its freedom is not quite liberal or neoliberal: it is also the freedom of a particular space. More precisely, it is the freedom of the sea: here, in effect Indonesia is oceanic. This formulation draws on Carl Schmitt’s post-war work on international law, which was implicitly

 

29 The history of that displacement is explored in Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello’s The New Spirit of Capitalism, trans. Gregory Elliott. London: Verso 2005.
30 Bram Peper, “Population Growth in Java in the 19th Century”, Population Studies, 24/1 (1970): 71-84.

 

11
positioned against liberal and neoliberal theory. In his monograph The Nomos of the Earth (1950), Schmitt drew attention to the sea as a space of freedom just because national sovereignties and laws did not hold there.

But Schmitt’s implicit point was that liberal freedom needs to be thought about not just in terms of tolerance, recognition, rights or markets, but
geographically and historically inside the long history of violent sovereign appropriation of the globe’s land masses so that elemental freedom was enacted on the oceans where law and sovereignty had no reach. From this perspective, piracy, for instance, plays an important role in freedom’s history. And from this perspective the claim to reconcile radical freedom to the lawbound state is false: such freedom exists only where laws do not.

The sea, thought Schmitt’s way, is key to Conrad’s work. But, for him, the sea is also the home of economic liberalism, free-trade and the merchant marines by whom he had, of course, once been employed, and whose values he admired.31 Victory is a maritime tale set on waters which harbor such free trade at the same time as they form a Schmittean realm of freedom — and violence and risk — which effectively remains beyond the reach of sovereign law.

Let me step back at this point to sketch the novel’s plot. Victory’s central character Heyst is the son of an intellectual who late in life was converted from progressivism to a mode of weak Schopenhauerianism or what was then call pessimism.32 Heyst lives his father’s pessimism out: he is a disabused conservative liberal: “he claimed for mankind that right to
absolute moral and intellectual liberty of which he no longer believed them worthy.”33

Believing this, Heyst leaves Europe to “drift”— circulating through Burma, New Guinea, Timor and the Indonesian archipelagoes, simply gathering facts and observing. But, on an

 

31 For Conrad and trade in this region, see Andrew Francis, Culture and Commerce in Conrad’s Asian Fiction, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2015. For Conrad’s affiliations to free trade proper see my unpublished paper, “Democracy, Empire and the Politics of the Future in
Conrad’s Heart of Darkness”. This is available on this url.
32 Joseph Conrad, Victory, London: Methuen 1916, p. 197.
33 Conrad, Victory, pps. 92-93

 

12
impulse, while drifting through Timor he rescues a shipowner, Morrison, whose ship has been impounded by unscrupulous Portuguese authorities, and through that act of spontaneous generosity, becomes obligated to Morrison.

The two men end up establishing a coalmine in the remote Indonesian island of Samburan, backed by local Chinese as well as by European capital. The company soon collapses. Morison dies. And, living out his Schopenhauerian renunciation of the world, Heyst, the detached man, decides to stay on at the island alone except for one Chinese servant.

He does, however, sometimes visit the nearest Indonesian town, Surabaya, and it is while staying there in a hotel owned by Schomberg, a malicious, gossipy German, that he makes another spontaneous rescue. This time he saves a young woman, Lena, a member of a traveling “ladies orchestra,” who is being bullied by her bosses and in danger of abduction by Schomberg himself.

Heyst and Lena secretly escape back to his island, causing Schomberg to harbor a venomous resentment against Heyst. At this point Schomberg’s hotel is visited by a trio of sinister criminals: Jones, Ricardo and their servant Pedro. Taking advantage of Schomberg’s rage, they establish an illegal casino in his hotel. To rid himself of this risky enterprise, Schomberg advises them to go after Heyst in his island, falsely telling them that Heyst has hidden a fortune there. Jones and his gang take Schomberg’s advice but disaster awaits them.

The novel ends with Jones, Ricardo, Heyst, Lena all dead on Heyst’s island.
The novel, which hovers between commercial adventure romance and experimental modernism, is bound to neoliberalism’s trajectory in two main ways. First, it adheres to neoliberalism’s sociology of knowledge: here too there is no knowing center, no hierarchy of expertise, no possibility of detached holistic survey and calculation through which truth might command action. Heyst’s drifting, inconsequential fact-gathering, itself appears to illustrate that absence. As do the gossip and rumors which circulate in the place of informed knowledge, and which lead to disaster. Individuals and enterprises are, as it were, on their
13
own, beyond any centralized and delimited social body that might secure stability and grounded understandings. They are bound, rather, to self-interest and spontaneity.

This matters formally not simply because, in an approximately Jamesian mode, the narrative involves a series of points of view in which various characters’ perceptions, moods and interests intersect, but because the narration itself is told in a first person voice without being enunciated by a diegetical character.

That first person, then, functions as the shadow representative of a decentered community, largely focused on money, that is barely able to confer identity at all, a community, too, without known geographical or ideological limits just because the narrator, its implicit representative, has no location or substance. This narratorial indeterminacy can be understood as an index of liberalism at this globalizing historical juncture: a liberalism divesting itself of its own progressive histories, emancipatory hopes and institutions. A bare liberalism about to become neoliberalism, as we can proleptically say.

More importantly, the novel speaks to contemporary neoliberalism because it is about freedom. As we have begun to see, Heyst is committed to a freedom which is both the freedom of the sea, and a metaphysical condition which has detached itself, as far as is possible, from connections, obligations, determinations. This structures the remarkable formal
relationship around which the novel turns — i.e. Heyst’s being positioned as Jones’s double.

The generous Schopenhauerian is not just the demonic criminal’s opposite: he is also his twin. Both men are wandering, residual “gentlemen” detached from the European order, and thrown into, or committed to, a radical freedom which, on the one side, is a function of free trade, on the other, a condition of life lived beyond the legal and political institutions that order European societies, but also, importantly, are philosophical and ethical — a renunciation of the established ideological order for independence, courage and nomadism.

To put this rather differently: Heyst and Jones’s efforts to live in freedom — to comport themselves as free individuals — combines economic freedom — a freedom of exchange, competition and

 

14
entrepreneurial possibilities— with a state of nature as a line of flight (or emancipation) from received continental laws, values and social structures. Freedom, that is, which combines that which Carl Schmitt and the early neoliberals imagined, each in their own way.

The novel’s main point is that there is, in fact, nothing in this freedom to sustain true ethical substance. It is as if Schmittean freedom has smashed both liberal freedom and pessimistic asceticism, along with their ethical groundings. Or to come at the novel’s basic point from another direction: it is as if the absence at the heart of a free society has transmigrated into these characters’ selves. It is at that level that individual freedom cannot be separated from violence and risk and good from evil.

Without an instituted social structure, Heyst cannot stay true to himself: his commitment to freedom and renunciation is compromised because of his spontaneous acts of generosity and sympathy which lead to his and Lena’s death. On the other side, Jones, a homosexual shunned by respectable society, is afflicted by those key nineteenth-century affects, resentment and boredom as well as a quasi-Nietzschean contempt for “tameness”, which drive him towards living outside of society, at contigency’s mercy, and towards reckless, malevolent violence.

Heyst and Jones die together almost by accident, in deaths that reveal them not just as entangled with one another at existence’s threshold, but as both attuned to death, even in life. It now look as if while they lived they wanted to die. In that way, the novel makes it clear that the risk, disorder and emptiness which inhabit their striving for a radically liberal practice of life corrode distinctions not just between violence and renunciation, not just between good and evil, but also between life and death.

We can put it like this: the freedom that these characters claim and the risks that it entails and which bind them together are inclined more towards death than towards life, just on account of freedom’s own conditions of possibility, namely radical autonomy, absence of sovereign power, and maximum choice.

***

15
As I say, this is a reading of the novel which, at least in principle, helps to canonize Victory just because it claims that its form, plot and characters address versions of our current neoliberal social condition, and does so in metaphysically ambitious terms. Victory is a critique of freedom, I think.

Conrad is insisting that even in a liberal society devoted to free trade,
enterprises and markets, the law — and the sovereign state — comes first. It is, if one likes, beginning the work of detaching liberalism from freedom. To say this, however, is to ignore the most pressing question that this reading raises: to what degree should we today actually accede to Conrad’s ambivalent, pessimistic and conservative imagination of radical freedom?

How to judge that freedom’s renunciation of established hierarchies, collectivities and values whether for adventure, risk and spontaneity or for violence and death? It is a condition of the discipline’s neoliberal state that the only answer we can give to that question is that we can, each of us, answer that question any way that we choose.

1 Comment

Filed under Asia, Australia, Austria, Britain, Capitalism, Colonialism, Conservatism, Economics, Ethics, Europe, European, Germany, Government, History, Imperialism, Indonesia, Law, Left, Liberalism, Literature, Modern, Neoliberalism, Netherlands, Novel, Philosophy, Political Science, Politics, Regional, SE Asia, Socialism, USA, Vietnam War, War