Trump and the war for ‘Western Values’

US Politics
on 28 Comments

Donald Trump’s campaign inspired a rowdy, rock-throwing, freeway halting, cop-car-window-smashing protest against his message of division and hatred he was delivering in Orange County. Some of the hundreds of protesters carried Mexican and American flags, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Trump threatens Los Angeles and the Southwest by presenting a vision of the nation state which is one ruled by white men. He said as much in his foreign policy speech earlier this week, where he declared the United States must defend Western Values over Universal Values. By that, he means the Universal Values that get in his way, like laws against torture or mass deportation or “bombing the crap out of them,” whoever they might be.

With his talk of surveilling mosques, building walls and putting “America First” Trump promises to make the United States a lot more like Israel. In doing so, it shows how he thinks America is a “nation-state,” when it’s really a state full of fifty little quasi-nations. And, frankly, if this keeps up, I don’t see how we’re not going to see some really serious civil violence in the next five years. And that’s even if Clinton does win.

What Trump understands is what Hitler did, the fundamental flimsiness of democracy, and the legalized corruption behind it that he himself says he’s participated in.

“We have only to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down,” Hitler said.

That explains that dull pounding sound.

Trump gave money to Clinton, so she came to his wedding, he boasted months and months ago. So what’s confusing is how he lauds Western Values when clearly they’re so corrupted. Democracy itself is a sham, but the nation-state, now that’s a different story.

“The nation-state remains the true foundation for happiness and harmony,” Trump continued. That was kind of the scariest thing he said, and also the most indicative of his white, christian-ness trumping the constitution, a document designed in a secular spirit to defuse the deep religious rivalries between Europeans in the New World. It specifically prohibits religious tests, but one of Trump’s main platforms is the banning of Muslims from entering the country. Trump embraces Western values, but they’re the kind that put Westerners first and everyone else second.

Trump also said Thursday night in Orange County that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was “weak” for being squeamish about torturing people, something which the Constitution forbids and which America’s first president, George Washington, punished when he found out his soldiers had done it.

“He’s actually a very weak person, so he didn’t like it,” said Trump of his rival Cruz, whom the day before former House Speaker Republican John Boehner had called “Lucifer in the flesh.”

“I’d go many steps further than waterboarding,” Trump said to applause, the L.A. Times reports  “— many, many steps further.”

Trump’s statement also shows a deep misunderstanding of the United States and, as Ishaan Tharoor in the Washington Post pointed out, a startling similarity with both European right wingers who fear and despise immigrants, and China and Russia, which laud the supreme sovereignty of the nation state and bristle at U.S.-led attempts to expose their abysmal records on human rights. Trump doesn’t understand that the United States is not a nation-state. It would be, if it were a state bound to an ethnic or linguistic identity. Of course, that’s what Trump supporters think. When loud cheers from thousands of people came up at a Trump rally in Bethpage, Long Island after someone said English is our national language (it isn’t because we don’t have one) that was a bad vibe I’d never felt before in my own country. But that’s a face of Western Values, the instinct to purge people who don’t speak English. That’s what brought hundreds of protesters out to Orange County last night, many Latinos in their early 20s and teens to protest people who want to exclude them from American life.

I walked around the event in D.C., which was on klonopin compared to what happened last night in Los Angeles, and I found one of the D.C. Trump delegates standing outside the Mayflower hotel. She was born in D.C., but she refused to give her name. I got a picture. A white woman, she wore a black jacket with a Trump pin and a red baseball hat with big sunglasses, like a caricature of what a Washingtonian Republican looks like. She refused to give her name.

(Photo: Wilson Dizard)

(Photo: Wilson Dizard)

“I’m a D.C. Trump delegate,” she said. “These liberals are trying to degrade and destroy our country.”

She was born in D.C., and so was I. We gave each other a genteel smile.

“I’m a red brain, not a blue brain,” she added, whatever that means.

There was a crowd of gawkers from the National Funeral Director’s Association outside the Mayflower with their cell phones out, trying to get a glimpse of Trump. I asked one: “So are funeral directors bullish on Trump?”

The big guy just laughed and said “Haha, he’s disrupting our event.”

They were there for an advocacy meeting, swapping ideas about how to advocate for funerals in their communities. I’m not kidding.

It’s been said that Washington D.C. is Hollywood for ugly people, but it’s more than that. It’s Hollywood for morally ugly people, people who are ugly on the inside, like Trump. But whenever the president comes by, there’s a crowd of people with their cell phone cameras out. It’s disturbing to imagine what a Trump presidency could do to Washington D.C. Will Trump make an annual Cyber Monday trip to Politics & Prose — as Obama has? Will he sign copies of The Art of The Deal: White House Edition? Will he stop by Cactus Cantina for a Margarita afterwards, as Bill Clinton did? Will his biker gang follow him all over the city, alongside the Secret Service motorcade? Will they beat away protesters with big threatening chains or airhorns?

There were some orthodox kids milling about the Mayflower with one asking bystanders if Trump had come by yet. He had, at that point, flashing into the Mayflower as a protester, a blonde woman screamed, shaking with rage: “FUCK YOU TRUMP, YOU PIECE OF SHIT. YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE.”

The little boy, about ten, with what appeared to be his two sisters, scampered off after finding out they’d missed the celebrity candidate who counts among his most ardent supporters actual neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block, Director of Bend The Arc, a domestic policy Jewish lobbying and advocacy group (“we work on voting rights, we work on anti-racism”), was there holding a sign saying “Rabbis Against Trump” on one side and “Trump is Treyfl” (non-Kosher). He said that he was worried the initial shock of Trump’s racism had worn off, and that people were treating this election as business as usual. It’s not, he says.

“I think what he’s been saying is some of the most disturbing, outrageous racist and dangerous rhetoric we’ve seen, certainly in my lifetime,” the 43-year-old said. “He’s changing the terms of the conversation in the U.S. that is very dangerous. Six months ago, not a single Republican was talking about not allowing Muslims into the country. Now we see exit polls where 60 percent of Republican voters in certain states support this idea. So he’s moving the goal post…” he said

“So rapidly nobody realizes it?” I offered.

“Exactly,” Kimelman-Block said.

“This is fundamentally different. Not only is he, I think a demagogue, he’s anti-democratic and he has a lack of respect for basic institutions of democracy. He’s attacking institutions, like the press, that are fundamental to our country and society,” he said.

Exactly. Trump represents Western Values, but all the worst ones.

Then I met Sean Rafftery, 23, who made me remember why I don’t live in Washington D.C. Rafferty, an Irish-American, was there to offer his resume to Trump. He and other onlookers were kept away about 200 feet. Bad luck for Rafferty.

“I don’t really want to work for Trump, I’m just trying to pick a winner,” Rafftery, a tall, skinny pale bespectacled young man, he spoke in a soft, kind voice but said some of the most disturbing things I’ve ever heard someone say.

Kimelman-Block had said that he also worried about how some people are taking an a la carte, pick-and-choose approach to Trump. They don’t agree with everything, but they agree with some things.

“But what about his principles or policies?” I asked, training my camera lens on Trump and directing my tape recorder at the gingery opportunist.

“The scariest thing is he’s not wrong about everything,” Rafftery said. “You know he’s been talking about trade for decades. And I think the wall is a bit hyperbole, but immigration does need a stern looking at.”

Rafftery is from Connecticut, but went to a major Catholic university in D.C.

“Why is that?” I asked.

“Because there are 11 million people who are in the country illegally and is the answer to look the other way or to try to take action against that?” he said.

“What purpose would that serve?” I asked.

He ventured: “Well, isn’t law enforcement a good unto itself?”

Now we’re getting somewhere.

“I think the jury is kind of out. If law enforcement says everybody needs to wear duck pants on Saturdays or they get their heads chopped off, then maybe it’s debateable,” I said.

He replied: “Well..obviously that’s a ridiculous example.”

“There’s all kinds of ridiculous examples,” I said, “like people going to jail for unpaid parking tickets.”

Rafftery said he knew someone who was coming from Cuba who had waited “for years” for a visitation visa, and that undocumented people “are jumping ahead of that line.”

As for people brought to the U.S. as children, Dreamers, as they’re called, he had this to say:

“That’s tricky, I do think they are American citizens. It’s not ripping parents apart. Bill Clinton sent that kid back [Elian Gonzalez, who came from Cuba]. And they can come back when they’re 18. They are U.S. Citizens. That’s what the 14th Amendment is about,” Rafftery said, not understanding the problem. No, children born abroad and then brought to the U.S. as kids aren’t citizens, that’s the problem. This guy, however, didn’t get the basic premise.

“Rafftery, is that an Irish name?” I asked.

“It is a very Irish name,” he said.

“Do you think there are any parallels between anti-Irish sentiment and anti-undocumented sentiment?”

He replied: “I definitely see the parallels. It’s also not a one-to-one comparison because there’s a river between the two countries instead of an ocean.”

Astute, this one.

“Yeah, but there are still 30 million Irish people here and they didn’t necessarily all have papers when they came. In fact, the idea of passports and visas didn’t exist back then,” during the desperate, Parliament-induced famine that killed millions and sent millions more fleeing the island.

“But it was also a different economy back then,” he said.

“Yeah, it was an economy where people showed up and signs said ‘Irish Need Not Apply,’” I said.

A Hispanic man standing near us actually stifled laughter when I said that.

“But the country was industrializing. You need people to sweat it out in factories,” Rafftery said.

But I just said they couldn’t get jobs because they were Catholic foreigners. Also, Rafftery had a simplistic college student understanding of the course of history. The people “sweating it out in factories,” the Irish immigrants who, in addition to sweating, got blown to bits in coal mines or crushed by trains or burned by molten steel weren’t working for the end goal of “industrializing” the country. Nor were their bosses. They were participating, employers and employees, in a market for cheap, expendable labor. There was no grand design to it.

That conversation with Rafftery left me depressed, so I went to the National Zoo, a D.C. treasure. It was my first time in about 20 years. That’s where I saw a cheetah in a pen right next to a delicious zebra. It was in an exhibit called “Predators and Prey,” which abuts the cheetah exhibit with several other prey animals, like the scimitar horned oryx.

Whenever you wonder why politics is so full of fear, remember that humans spent most of their time evolving as prey for other bigger animals. Staying with the in-crowd was the only way to survive. Being cast away from the communal hearth, which keeps predators at bay, meant actual death. That helps answer the question for foolish loyalties.

Some high school kids came by and one said: “I wonder what would happen if that cheetah got that zebra? It’d be done in three seconds!”

There’s also that human urge to just let the cheetah lose on the defenseless Zebra, which can only run about 300 feet in any direction. Lucky for the Zebra and the Zoo’s human visitors, a strong and/or electrified fence and small moat discourage the lightening fast cat from escape attempts.

Immediately after discussing the potential for carnage, the teens turned to whether someone’s invite to a prom had been a joke or not. This person was apparently quite lame and/or dorky, so it could only have been a joke.

Then I stopped by the Giant Panda exhibit, where the Chinese visitor was only available on closed circuit surveillance feed.

Then I saw the elephants. A gaggle of Orthodox Jewish children speaking sprinted up and were extremely fascinated by these incredible creatures. I asked the Mom chaperoning them if they were from Brooklyn. She smiled.

“Is it that obvious?” she asked.

I said I live in Brooklyn now, but am from D.C. I told her to enjoy the zoo. It is a truly great zoo. And it helped me forget the sad reality of people like Rafftery. Luckily, Rafftery had just moved to Arlington, he told me. That’s in Virginia.

Finally, making my way down the hill into Rock Creek Park, minutes before the Zoo was due to close, I made it to the Great Ape house. I hadn’t been there since I was a kid. There are orangutans and gorillas to see.

An orangutan looks on at the National Zoo. (Photo: Will Dizard)

An orangutan looks on at the National Zoo. (Photo: Will Dizard)

The gorillas were just lying around, staring off into the distance, but the orangutans were putting on a show for the visitors by chewing up straw into a green paste and then depositing it in perfect circles on the glass window. The humans watching gasp and giggle. If I were an orangutan, I’d do the same thing.

Luckily, something the orangutan happened to help wipe the crude memory of Trump’s visit to D.C.

There was a severely disabled young woman in a wheelchair in the Great Ape House, being pushed in a wheelchair by a caregiver. She looked unable to speak or move except for her hand. Her caregiver rolled her up to an orangutan, an older-looking female, maybe Lucy. The orangutan looked the disabled young woman in the eye as the woman smiled wide and looked back. Both held each others’ left hands up to the glass to say hi.

It was a reminder that primates aren’t all hate-and-fear-filled beasts, but that sometimes we can make real, memorable connections with one another. This orangutan, with his lips pursed, looked genuinely concerned for this particular human, who appeared different [sitting rather than standing] from most who visit her, but similar to others in wheelchairs. These National Zoo orangutans are highly educated, spending time in a “Think Tank” (hilarious inside-the-beltway joke) where they fuss about with computers and brain teasers. The two parted having left an impression on each other.

About Wilson Dizard

Wilson Dizard is a freelance reporter and photojournalist covering politics, civil rights, drug policy and everything else. He lives in Brooklyn with his bicycle, camera and drum set.

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28 Responses

  1. just
    April 29, 2016, 6:11 pm

    Thanks Wilson Dizard~ glad you went to the zoo afterward to be with the civilized.

    How freaking depressing and frightening. Nixon, Reagan, Bush 1 & 2, now maybe Trump vs Cruz vs Kasich…

    For more heartburn: “‘Allies for Armegeddon’: The GOP candidates on Israel/Palestine” – See more at:

    Saw something this morning that was not too terribly hilarious (imho), but quite on topic and effective:

  2. Laurent Weppe
    April 29, 2016, 8:54 pm

    Trump doesn’t understand that the United States is not a nation-state. It would be, if it were a state bound to an ethnic or linguistic identity

    Actually, Nations are not bound to ethnic or linguistic identities. The modern concept of the Nation was conceived in opposition to regimes ruled by tiny clades of hereditary aristocrats: at its core lies the idea that the subjects of any given crown form a community of interest that supersedes any other identities. You may not like your compatriots, but more often than not, your prosperity will be more intrinsically intertwined with theirs than with people who share your religion, ideology, or esthetical preferences from the other side of the world.

    What Trump is doing is repeating an imposture propagated by european far-rightists: what they do is childishly simple: they take the herrenvolk regimes they want to establish, and call these “Nation States“: these regimes are as much “national” as the nomenklatura-ruled soviet-style dictatorships were “popular“, but sheer repetition is often sufficient to spread confusion about the far-right’s goal.

    If anything, Trump is simply another manifestation of something that has been taboo for many years: many white westerners hate the “Western Values” and the type of governments they spawned and would rather abolish them and come back to the pre-enlightenment despotic regimes where civilization itself existed only to cater to the whims and demands of a tiny parasitic aristocracy while the rest of society lived short and miserable lives toiling in the mud to sustain their lords and masters’ material comforts.

    Trump’s supporters, like the supporter of european far-right parties are not dupe about the actual goals of their champion: their folly lies in the fact that they are convinced that they will belong to the new aristocracy Trump wants to establish: they won’t, and most of them won’t even get the lackey’s preferential access to the nobility’s scraps.

  3. Another Dave
    April 29, 2016, 9:07 pm

    “We have only to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down,” Hitler said.

    He said that about the invasion of the USSR, he thought somewhat differently about the western democracies.

    The USA is a nation state. A nation state doesn’t mean that everyone in it is the same ‘race’, not anymore.

    As much as I loath Trump, I’m not very impressed by this. sorry

    • Citizen
      April 29, 2016, 10:39 pm

      Ditto here. Way too glib, righteous, and pontificating, this Dizard writer.

  4. Brewer
    April 30, 2016, 2:07 am

    I hesitate to comment, being a Kiwi watching from the sidelines, but my interest in justice for Palestine has drawn me into U.S. Politics which I now follow avidly.
    First let me state that, if all I read in the press about Trump were true, I wouldn’t want a bar of him. My close following of Israel/Palestine has taught me to be wary of the press however. I have seen Trump explain his utterances in context. Let me also state that Bernie seemed to be the man for me and, for a moment there, he looked like bringing off a major upset. Unfortunately that now looks less likely and we have to consider the strong possibility of a Clinton/Trump face-off.

    My reading of the blogs indicates that much of the Bernie vote is not transferable to Clinton. It is a reaction to her espousal of things abhorrent. I have seen serious polls that show Bernie beating Trump but Trump beating Hilary and I think Foreign Policy is the catalyst.

    Back to Trump. His Foreign Policy speech is fraught with howlers indicating a profound ignorance of the realities (which will change if he takes office) but his one consistent message has been America first. I am intrigued by the possibility that a Trump exposed to the inner workings of the lobbies might actually smell a rat, that he is a loose enough unit to recognize manipulation when he sees it. I don’t think he has much truck with neo-cons. I think they fear him.

    It is truly sad to contemplate a “least bad” scenario but please reflect. Clinton is the past, present and future of Israeli oppression and the assault on the Middle East.

    America has survived loony Presidents before. Goodness knows why, but Reagan (demented through much of his term) is lauded.

    Awful situation I admit but Trump might be the fall-back position.

  5. Boo
    April 30, 2016, 8:45 am

    I watched this speech livestreamed and was struck by how impossible it is for Drumpf to be anyone but Drumpf, or sound like anyone but Drumpf. This was purportedly a prepared speech and he used TelePrompTers, yet by five minutes into it he was already repeating himself using the same meaningless, empty phrases he spouts at every stump speech.

    Perhaps he believes everything he says, but his speeches are classic demagoguery. He panders to American voters’ worst instincts and would be a disastrous President. While I agree with Brewer that quite a few Sanders supporters may not have the stomach to vote for Clinton, in no sense is Drumpf a viable “fall-back position”.

    I simply cannot imagine this man with his stumpy fingers anywhere close to the Red Button.

  6. pabelmont
    April 30, 2016, 9:23 am

    Presidency is a big job, these days, not like in 1800’s, too big for one person. Needs a team. But team needs a boss (or bosses).

    With Clinton, the team will be chosen mostly by the bosses, that is, the Oligarchs. And BIG-ZION will contribute a share of neocons. And we will have more war and the destabilizing and destruction of the world (over there) and fewer jobs or other supports for ordinary people (over here). Oh yes, and big banks getting bigger and no CEOs going to jail, no matter what. So we know, or believe we know.

    With Trump we don’t know. I suspect Trump’s (probably big-money) cronies will have a lot of influence because they’re who he knows. But I have no idea. A real crap shoot. And, oh yes, unpleasantness for minorities. and women. Maybe even more “privatization” of national lands, more fabulous public-private partnerships, so rewarding to the private partner, a real bonus for exploitative businessmen. Unless, unlike tigers, Trump changes his stripes.

    With neither will we have any attempt to take big-money out of politics. With Clinton we may have some (some, I suspect not much) rational, perhaps even energetic. response to climate change.

    So, since I live in NY, I suppose I’ll “write-in” Bernie Sanders’s name on the ballot or vote Green. But I guess I’d prefer Clinton to Trump. A purely Republican government is too much for me to swallow. Climate change is the war we need to fight, not terrorism.


  7. Nicholas
    April 30, 2016, 2:22 pm

    Is Dizard working with the Anti Defamation League? They’ve just issued their own denunciation of Trump as being headed down the path of “anti-Semitism” for having used the phrase “America First”.

    Apparently, the ADL standards as to what constitutes a good American politician dictate that said politicians place American interests behind those of other countries around the globe, probably, and most specifically Israeli interests. With that in mind, Americans should be sure to vote for politicians that readily hand over all our blood and treasure to Israel so they might more conveniently continue upon their path of oppressing Palestinians. To do otherwise, is to be ‘anti-semitic’.

    Put me down with those who would question the Americanism of anyone thinking that anything other than America-First is good for those who consider themselves Americans. Constitutional government in this country dictates that the American government put the interests of the American Public before those of outsiders. As Thomas Jefferson stated, “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations-entangling alliances with none”, is a policy that remains true to America-First, without short-changing any other country around the globe.

    There are plenty of problems that need fixing in this country before the American government keeps going ‘ready, fire, aim’ around the globe, wasting trillions of dollars in the process, while Americans wonder as to where all our prosperity disappeared.

    • Mooser
      May 1, 2016, 11:56 am

      “They’ve just issued their own denunciation of Trump as being headed down the path of “anti-Semitism” for having used the phrase “America First”.”

      Gee, I’ve got a really stupid idea! Why not (just for laughs, of course) GOOGLE the phrase “America First” and see what its derivation and history is.

      What do people mean when they say that, America First?

      • jeff_davis
        May 2, 2016, 9:15 pm

        Perhaps, instead of googling some historical artifact, you might consider what Trump means when Trump says it. Oh, wait, that wouldn’t allow you to smear him, which is all you really want to do. How very honest of you.

        Let me help you.

        When Trump says “America first” he means that the government of the US should place the welfare of all the citizens of the US ahead of transnational corporations who, for the sake of profits, ship American jobs to countries with cheap labor. When Trump says “America first” he means the US is NOT the United States of Israel. When Trump says “America first” he means not “helping” — ie destroying the lives of — all those poor “unfortunate” foreign citizens, like the Iraqis, Libyans, and Syrians, who once lived in peaceful, stable countries that Israel wanted “liberated” by the US military, blood to be shed by US servicemen and women, and cost to be borne by the US taxpayer. When Trump says “America first” he means that the Europeans and East Asians should at the very least pay for their own defense if not just plain defend themselves.

        There is a “hate Trump” campaign going on in the US that feeds on a tortured and purposeful twisting of Trump’s rhetoric, and that has the feel of a fascistic pc lynch mob of spoiled, vulgar, petulant children.

      • Sibiriak
        May 3, 2016, 12:49 am

        Susan Sarandon: “I’m more afraid actually of Hillary Clinton’s war record and her hawkishness than I am of building a wall…


        GOP frontrunner Donald Trump lambasted the permanent political class for supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade deal […]

        “The deal is insanity,” he said. “That deal should not be supported and it should not be allowed to happen.”

        […]“The only people that are supporting it politically are people that are controlled by the lobbyists for certain companies that want this to happen because it’s to their advantage, not to the country’s advantage. So the lobbyists and the special interests are supporting it, and certain politicians are supporting it because they’re totally controlled by the lobbyists and the special interests.”


        ‘Today Marks the End of TTIP’: Greenpeace Leak Exposes Corporate Takeover

        The secret documents represent roughly two-thirds of the latest negotiating text, and in several cases expose for the first time the position of the U.S.

        Confirming that the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) amounts to “a huge transfer of power from people to big business,” Greenpeace Netherlands on Monday leaked 248 secret pages of the controversial trade deal between the U.S. and EU, exposing how environmental regulations, climate protections, and consumer rights are being “bartered away behind closed doors.


        In First, Trump Ekes Ahead of Clinton in New National Poll

        Latest Rasmussen survey finds that in Clinton-Trump matchup, GOP candidate would claim 15 percent of Democratic voters

  8. Bandolero
    April 30, 2016, 7:31 pm


    I find it interesting how different interpretations of the very same speech can be. I think it was a very fine foreign policy speech, which I think was likely written by Jeff Sessions and I understand why the neocons and their liberal interventionist sidekicks are screaming like hell.

    Trump said:

    “The nation-state remains the true foundation for happiness and harmony. I am skeptical of international unions that tie us up and bring America down, and will never enter America into any agreement that reduces our ability to control our own affairs.”

    So, I see that as a foreign policy statement and may read into this that the nation-state is the opposite of a global empire. It’s that idea of different nations coming together to get along together, that gave the UN it’s name: United Nations. Trump hinted he will leave WTO, NATO and NAFTA, if he cannot a better deal for the nation “United States of America” there. Fine.

    Trump also said:

    “Finally, I will work with our allies to reinvigorate Western values and institutions. Instead of trying to spread “universal values” that not everyone shares, we should understand that strengthening and promoting Western civilization and its accomplishments will do more to inspire positive reforms around the world than military interventions.”

    I read this as a foreign policy statement and may read it as that Trump wants that the US will lead in the world by setting a good example of living up to Western values in the U.S. and the western world instead of doing military interventions to spread universal values around the globe. That interpretation fits into waht Trump said a few minutes before these lines:

    “We went from mistakes in Iraq to Egypt to Libya, to President Obama’s line in the sand in Syria. Each of these actions have helped to throw the region into chaos, and gave ISIS the space it needs to grow and prosper.

    It all began with the dangerous idea that we could make Western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interest in becoming a Western Democracy.”

    I read into this that Trump is fine with other nations having no western values like democracy, freedom, capitalism, individualism, secular rule of law and so on. In Trump’s world it’s other nations own business if they want or want not to implement western values, the United States shall not push them to do so, and especially with military force when they don’t want. The only way Trump lines out to encourage other nations to do reforms in direction of more western values is by setting a good example and thereby show others how fine western values are. But the whole imperial US regime change business, democracy promotion and so on he wants gone.

    And finally, Trumps ultimate message in one sentence:

    “America First will be the major and overriding theme of my administration.”

    I bet the whole cabal of Israel-firsters in U.S. power circles and their echo chambers had almost dropped their coffee cups in panic for this statement.

    It sets the U.S. on a major confrontational course with Israel, because it’s a promise that “Israel first” policies no longer will be accepted. It’s just this way – putting the Nation State first – that allowed Russia and China to sideline the Israel lobby in their countries.

    And Jeff Sessions made in the Senate another point: when 83 Senators just wrote a letter to Obama, that he shall give even more aid to Israel than that what he planned as an increase, Jeff Sessions was one of only 3 Republican senators who didn’t sign the letter.

    • ritzl
      April 30, 2016, 8:26 pm


      I noticed that about Sessions. What’s up with him? He’s my Senator. I’ve met him a few times back when I was doing that stuff. I used to be friends with his DLA staffer at that time. He was the last person/the last office I thought would buck the system. I kinda gave up on both him and Shelby, so I thought his refusal to sign that letter was a fluke.

      This is an interesting development. I might have to re-investigate. What’s his motivation these days? Do you have a link handy? If not, no biggie.

      I guess it’s interesting because these kinds of 180° changes suggest some hidden yet pretty powerful forces are in play. It’s good to understand what they are and how they affect these changes, perchance that others might be encouraged to be similarly affected.


      • Bandolero
        April 30, 2016, 9:44 pm


        No, I have no link.

        My impression is that Jeff Sessions leads a southern insurgency against the whole US foreign policy establishment, especially the neocons and their liberal interventionist sidekicks – and Donald Trump is the frontman providing the insurgency with a liberal face more acceptable to northern & coastal voters.

        I just saw and analyzed Trump’s amazingly intelligent foreign policy speech – and came to the conclusion that Jeff Sessions is likely the brain behind that. If you know Jeff Sessions, do you agree that that could have been his speech?

        In general I tend to see in Trump’s campaign success far more than a lucky punch. Trump’s campaign looks to me like a very well planned, well funded and well organized insurgency – much, much smarter than what the eye meets at first glance. The dumb face Trump makes to that seemes to me a trick, like a message to the zionist media – like c’mon, deal me in, I can’t win anyway, I just want to give the Republican presidential race a bit colour & enhance my brand recognition, I got my knowledge on politics “from the shows” etc.

        Like we have here some skilled billard players coming to a table in a bar, pretending they don’t even know how to hold the cue stick, alcohol smells from their mouths, and then they say, c’mon, 100 or 200 bucks, I will take it as money for a lesson from you, etc. And whoever will fall for that trap and put a 100 or 200 bucks on the table has already lost, because in fact they are very, very skilled professionals, just playing dumb to find people to play against them. People only realize that after the game is over and they lost without a chance.

        Now see “dumb Trump” – he entered the race with at least two water carriers whose function was unknown to the rest of the field (Christie & Carson), he picked endorsements that mattered – like the one from Sessions in Alabama, he had Bush humiliated, Rubio punched out of the ring, he’s 400 delegates in front, Cruz is hardly standing anymore, Kasich just hanging on because not doing so would transfer his Ohio delegates to Trump – oh – and he wants people to believe he got his knowledge about politics “from the shows.”

      • ritzl
        May 1, 2016, 1:08 am

        Hi Bandolero. I hate to start out with a “lol” but “Is Sessions the brain behind it?” is a classic lol. :)

        He always seemed pretty “windblown” to me. Shelby’s staff at the time considered him a “picker of low hanging fruit” (literally said to me). No love lost there but they were pretty open and blunt about it to me, an accepted outsider but an outsider nonetheless, so I can only speculate how they “really” felt.

        That’s why I was surprised about this “change” (at least to my lapsed perceptions).

        I Bing-ed “jeff sessions Israel policy” and some of the legislative history results/articles showed him to be staunchly pro-israel, anti- foreign aid, anti-immigrant, and seemingly pro- working class.

        We’re a dirt poor state in DIRE financial straits so my lapsed but semi-knowledgeable guess (and a guess is all it is) is that those last three finally outweighed certainly increased but maybe even continued foreign aid to everyone, including Israel. I can see where the devastating economic conditions here would tip the politics in that direction. Even (maybe especially) “windblown” right-wing politics. The confluence is compelling.

        So back to brains, in Trump he seems to have found a national conduit for those compelling local political forces. Trump gives him national cover as well. Motive and opportunity. I can see where he would stick his neck out in that situation. He (Sessions) may be responding to pressing needs in a typically reflexive/myopic right-wing way and written that speech. The good news byproduct is that aid to Israel, as a giant source of cash, gets de-prioritized as an offset to working-class voter angst (our Alabama Medicaid system is so broke the state leg is talking about throwing thousands of desperately needy people off the eligibility list) in this specific current confluence of local needs and national opportunities.

        Is that “brains?” Maybe of a sort. But yeah he could well have pulled all this together. It’s all thematic Trump politics with a local backdrop that Sessions could easily and sorta factually provide.

        I mostly agree with you on the Trump hustle. The mostly is because I can only desperately hope it’s true because he’s likely our next President. I/nobody knows for sure except Trump’s inner circle. I’m much less certain about it than you. But given my modest past-life access described at the beginning of this comment, I’ve seen similar machinations (though DECIDEDLY less grand and impactful) form and play out. The hustle could be very real, but Trump could also be dragging all the rest of us tasty morsels behind the tiger he’s riding.

        Scary stuff. A crapshoot…with nukes.

        Clinton, “Vini. Vidi. Nuke-i!”, is no less a crapshoot. Her hustle is the inverse of Trump’s, imo. Nicey-nice with a sweaty itchy trigger finger.

        Good points. I hope I responded in kind. This is an election unlike any other, at least in my lifetime. I don’t have a clue whether that’s a good thing or bad thing or a brief prelude to Armageddon. I hope somebody does.

        FWIW (this and a dollar, and all that…).

      • ritzl
        May 1, 2016, 1:50 am


        Sorry to ramble on about this but there is perhaps an illustrating specific behind Sessions “brainstorm.”

        Back in 2007-8 Alabama was starting to make an unrepentant rightward fundy legislative shift (kinda like NC’s anti-LGBT law today). We have several foreign auto companies here providing $20/hr jobs plus ripples that we otherwise couldn’t/wouldn’t create for ourselves. Mercedes in particular started making noises that they might pull out if that shift continued. The shift was mitigated out of state self-interest.

        In current Trump-Sessions terms, those jobs are here because the state has doled out hundreds of $Ms in “incentives” to lure them here and keep them here. That is a huge drain on the state budget and will never be recovered through the proclaimed economic development that was supposed to result (some has, but it’s been a net loser). Sessions has to get money to subsidize working-class jobs from somewhere an foreign aid is a big bucket of money that can be tapped for that purpose. Call it “low hanging fruit.” Completely in his comfort zone to advocate despite his pro-Israel leaning.

        IDK. Sorry for all the chit chat. I just think these same local issues and forces are in play elsewhere and may become a broader, durable, and exploitable political influence in US politics wrt Israel. I think that dynamic may be exploitable by even by we little people with some “rabble-rousing” populist LTEs or something. The political receptivity to that or similar connections (on foreign aid at least) seems to be growing.

        Now if someone can combine Bernie’s campaign funding method with right wing designs on the foreign aid budget, maybe something changes substantially and/or for real, more to the benefit of the rest of us.


      • Bandolero
        May 1, 2016, 2:46 am


        Thank’s a lot for your assessment of Jeff Sessions. Your description does sound like I am dead wrong with Sessions being the brain behind Trump. And Im very sure you know much more about Sessions than I do. My basic assumption was that Jeff Sessions si Chairman of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces for about two decades, so – even if he would be dumb – he must have learned something about great power politics there. And the whole thinking behind Trump’s foreign policy speech would fit to me to a southener, nationalist military guy, who decided to rewrite US foreign policy dogma because the old ones badly failed.

        Then there seems to be, what I suspect a connection to hard rightwing southern movements, say Birchers, the Klan, you name it. As is well known, Trump’s father was once arrested for protesting for the Klan in New York – and now the former Klan chief is backing him. It also strikes me that the balance sheet of Trump’s business seems to be clean like a freshly pampered baby back. To me it looks like that someone has put lot’s of money into Trump’s business years ago to make it “clean” for a “self-funded” presidential bid today. I suspect some rightwing business tycoons from the south, be them Birchers, Klansmen or whatever, could have done this to mount a well-prepared insurgency against the “Wall Street Jews” for the control of America, could they?

        But then, there is also this strange situation that neither Adelson nor the Koch brothers seem to have donated big this year, so far. Hadn’t the Koch’s ties to the Birchers? It’s all quite dubious to me, who’s really behind the Trump campaign, but I do not a second believe his success is a lucky punch – I strongly believe, there is a lot of long term planning, strategy and money behind his bid.

        In the end I would not even be very much surprised, if, the day after he was elected president, Trump appears on stage with Adelson, the Koch brothers and Netanyahu, praising them as his most reliable associates for decades, and making clear that his apparent “insurgent” campaign was just a show to make unsatisfied voters pick a Republican president. Trump easily could do so: hasn’t he said he’s the greatest friend of Israel of all? And hasn’t Corey Lewandowski worked for the Koch’s before coming to Trump?

        It’s just all very intransparent with the Trump campaign, and I totally agree with you, unless you’re an absolute insider there’s no chance to know.

        However, what to expect from Hillary is clear: she never met a war she didn’t like and she’s fully owned and paid for by Wall Street.

      • MRW
        May 1, 2016, 5:22 am

        Bandolero April 30, 2016, 9:44 pm,

        I agree with your billiards analogy. I found Trump’s foreign policy speech far, far saner than the neocon-driven caterwauling about it, and the frenetic neocon-driven organizing against him. Further, Trump said things that Sanders should have been saying. The President’s job is foreign policy; it’s his bailiwick as Head of State. I was relieved to hear his stance on NATO, which is dancing dangerously close to provoking war with its unnecessary encroachment on Russia.

        I’m remaining circumspect, however. I was completely duped by Obama, and didn’t see the signs then–or refused to see them. I campaigned for him like a fanatic. I was dead wrong. So perhaps my judgment is just as poor now.

      • Frankie P
        May 1, 2016, 6:28 pm

        So, I’m wondering how you guys, just like all the pundits from the libertarian (Justin Raimondo) and small government paleos (Pat Buchanan), fail to see the glaring disconnect in Trump’s foreign policy speech, a disconnect that makes me doubtful about the good things that he DID say. That disconnect is, of course, his railing against Iran and Obama’s deal. So, to cut to the chase, let’s juxtapose these issues. 1) Trump vows to fight ISIS. 2) Trump vows to communicate and work together with Putin and Russia. 3) Trump vows to undo the deal with and put the screws to Iran, a country that he seems to want to put in the same basket as ISIS.

        I believe that Trump’s son-in-law is still running interference for him with AIPAC and the neocons, finding out the issues that they see as vital to Israel’s well-being, and then he is pushing all the buttons that they want pushed. Will this play out in reality if he becomes pretzeldent? I don’t know. I do know that he pushed a lot of the same buttons during the foreign policy speech that he did in the AIPAC speech regarding Iran, and I believe the reports that said his son-in-law was dealing with communication with the Israeli Ambassador before that speech.

        Frankie P

      • Mooser
        May 1, 2016, 11:41 pm

        “fail to see the glaring disconnect in Trump’s foreign policy speech”

        Well, it’s not unreasonable to look past a disconnect or two in a speech on foreign policy. But to see how a politician has acted, and most probably will act, and how effectively he can act, look at his record.

        We shouldn’t invest an empty toupee with our own hopes or fears. Look at his record.

      • Bandolero
        May 2, 2016, 5:32 pm


        What you call “the glaring disconnect” I’ld call room to maneuver. I called it “very fine foreign policy speech” because it allows Trump to really go anyway he likes.

        A case in point: look again what he said on Iran. Trump didn’t promise to cancel the Iran deal – he just said it was a bad deal. Remember, earlier he said it’s a bad deal, but it’s a deal what cannot just be undone, because Iran already got most of it’s benefit – the money unfreeze – and so he will enforce it, strictly. And then look what Trump promised in his foreign policy speech regarding Iran: he promised, repeatedly and in strong terms, he will not allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon. But that’s absolutely no problem for Iran, because Iran doesn’t build a nuke anyway. Than look what Trump didn’t speak about regarding Iran: missiles. Promises to prevent Iran strengthening it’s missile capabilities would have been the hot topic, the Israel lobby would have wanted to hear, and lot’s of trouble with Iran guaranteed because Iran won’t give up it’s missile programm – but Trump just “forgot” it. So, this is a case in point, regarding Iran Trump made a populist Republican speech, and of course he can go Israel’s way with this, but he didn’t let himself down to promises regarding Iran that would have him be boxed in by the Israel lobby.

        Another example: Syria. Trump just had no word for Assad, no bad one, no good one. But he had a lot of stuff in his speech regarding not using military force to spread democracy, radical Islam as the enemy, genocide against Christians, taking a hard look at some of these people there, standing to allies and making friends with old enemies. Trump can go anywhere from this: with this position, he could as President even claim – with good reason – that Putin, Assad, Hezbollah and Iran are the protectors of Christians against a genocide committed by Clinton-Saudi-Turkish backed Al Qaeda terrorists and make friends with Putin, Assad, Hezbollah and Iran to defeat them. And at least regarding Putin he promised he intends to try to do so. Of couse, he also could go Israel’s way instead.

        More revealing topics like Ukraine, Afghanistan and Yemen Trump just didn’t mention, so here he preserved room to maneuver, too.

        So, Trump made a populist speech, that of course included pandering to Israel, but in specifics of what he promised the Israel lobby nothing. Instead he specifically went after NATO and free trade – holy grails for the Israel lobby. It’s easy to see why the Israel lobby and their surrogates may be upset with that speech – it sounded in large parts like a declaration of war on core policies the Israel lobby prescribed America in the last decades.

        But as I said above, of course you could be right that it’s all a trick, and in the end Trump could turn out to be a man of the Israel lobby, and his tricky speeches just to be cleverly made to fool voters. It’s quite intransparent and Trump has no political record. That’s why I looked for more information about the record of his known prominent backer Senator Jeff Sessions.

  9. Qualtrough
    May 1, 2016, 2:21 am

    ritzl – Hillary’s take on veni, vidi, vici is “We came, we saw, he died”, followed by a cackle:

    • Frankie P
      May 1, 2016, 10:36 pm

      Hillary Clinton on Gaddafi: The mask came down and the face of evil inhumanity was shown. Many who glimped it will NEVER forget it and NEVER vote for Hillary. Those whose paychecks are dependent on a continuation of the clusterf*** that is the zeitgeist in the USA today will pretend that they didn’t see it, or were suffering from indigestion that influenced their vision, or some excuse.

  10. Stogumber
    May 1, 2016, 12:06 pm

    “Trump embraces Western values, but they’re the kind that put Westerners first and everyone else second. ” (Dizard)

    – Yes, but only in the West. If you live in the East, you can put Easterners first and cling to Eastern values.

    On the contrary, a Universalist demands that everyone on the world follows his values – and people are put first according to how far they follow his values.

    On the whole, I prefer a system where different regions and different values are possible.

  11. lysias
    May 2, 2016, 6:47 pm

    We should look at his record? He doesn’t have much of a record.

    • Mooser
      May 2, 2016, 7:11 pm

      “We should look at his record? He doesn’t have much of a record.”

      Well, if the Presidency is an entry-level job, I hope they do raise the minimum wage.

  12. lysias
    May 2, 2016, 7:03 pm

    “We have only to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down,” Hitler said.

    What Hitler said that about was the Soviet Union. How wrong he was!

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