The Playbook

The favorite playbook of authoritarian governments, dictators, and despots, is remarkably consistent.

First, you disparage the media and use it to spread your own “truth.” In Nazi Germany, this campaign was spearheaded Joseph Goebbels, who directed the government to seize control of all forms of communication: newspapers, magazines, books, public meetings, rallies, art, music, movies, and radio. Viewpoints in any way threatening to Nazi beliefs or to the regime were censored or eliminated from all media.

We can see evidence of this in trump’s constant and continual assault on the press as “fake news,” on the Mueller probe as a “witch hunt,” on intelligence personnel who criticize him. We see it in his wall rhetoric. His enemy list is  similar to what Nixon had in his final days.

In Nazi Germany, books were burned. During the spring of 1933, Nazi student organizations, professors, and librarians made up long lists of books they thought should not be read by Germans. On the night of May 10, 1933, Nazi raids on libraries and bookstores resulted in the burning of 25,000 books that included the works of Jewish writers Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud, but also books by Hemingway, Jack London, Sinclair Lewis and even Helen Keller.

Trump hasn’t ordered book burnings yet, but he tried to stop the publication of Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury and of Omarosa’s book Unhinged. His attempts backfired spectacularly. Wolff’s book, published in January 2018, sold million of copies, has nearly 10,000 reviews and still comes in at 4 stars, and remains highly ranked on Amazon. Omarosa’s book, released on August 14, 2018  has 710  reviews as of today, January 28, and the reviews are still 4 stars. He has tweeted his rage against celebrities who have criticized him, against NFL players, against anyone and everyone who calls him out. He hasn’t started interment camps, unless you include the camps for children of immigrants at the border who are ripped away from their parents.

In Chile, under the regime of Augusto Pinochet, more than 3200 people were murdered by the state, more than 1,000 were disappeared, tens of thousands were tortured and hundreds of thousand fled into political exile. These figures are from an article in Nation.

In Venezuela, the names Chavez and Maduro are synonymous with the ruin of a country once flush and rich with natural resources – namely, oil. The other day at the dog park, we were sitting with a Venezuelan who had just pulled his 80-year-old mother out of the country because things have gotten so bad “there’s not even enough in the garbage to feed people.” I told him I’d lived in the country during the regime of Perez Jimenez, another brutal dictator who ruled in the 1950s with the same despotic playbook.

On the night Jimenez fled in 1958, with $250 million from the country’s coffers, my parents, sister and I watched his flight from our front porch, a trail of limos racing down mountain roads, headlights blazing in the dark. He ended up in the Dominican Republic, then Spain, then in Miami Beach, where he lived like a king.

Naomi Klein, whose book The Shock Doctrine, revealed the most egregious agenda of the Bush administration, certainly applies to the trump administration. Here she is, discussing trump as symptomatic of a larger problem.


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9 Responses to The Playbook

  1. blah says:

    maybe what is wanted most from the populous is for them to be on Edge….

  2. Syndey says:

    We have a saying here on the conservative side: “If you want to know what the left is thinking, just listen to what they accuse you of”

    People on the left say Trump is authoritarian, yet the same people try to shut down and silence anyone who doesn’t believe what they believe

    People on the left say Trump is a racist, yet the same people who claim to be “color blind” are the first to call out my “white privilege” whenever we disagree on anything (whether or not it has anything to do with race)

    People on the left say Trump is dividing the nation, yet those same people have built a wall between themselves and anyone who doesn’t believe what they believe

    People on the left say Trump sows hate and incites violence, yet those same people unleash vile insults and even physical attacks on anyone who doesn’t believe what they believe

    We sat quietly while Barack Obama systematically destroyed everything we believe in. We sat quietly because we believe in the constitution and he was our duly elected president whether we liked it or not. Now it’s our turn, and you people are showing just how weak you are. Bend over and take it like we did.

    • Trish and Rob says:

      The right wasn’t quiet when Obama was in office. And what did he destroy, exactly?

    • Trish and Rob says:

      Sydney, you are heavily into duality. Step back from all this shit you’re saying. It’s an illusion. Realize that a deeper level of consciousness there is no duality. We’re all interconnected. I know it doesn’t look that way to you now, but consider learning to meditate, find your true self, the observer, and step back from this right-left BS. It’s an illusion. In the big picture, it doesn’t matter. Don’t waste your time looking for enemies, we’re all on the same boat.

  3. Wonderfully enlightening post, as usual; Naomi Klein is brilliantly informative. How interesting about FB’s censorship. They obviously don’t bother to read what they’re censoring.

  4. Trish says:

    I put the above image on Facebook, with a link to this post. Facebook deleted it as a violation of “community standards.” Seems like they’re moving in the wrong direction. I’m not a Russian bot!

    • Trish and Rob says:

      Apparently FB blocks any post with the word Hitler.

    • Trish and Rob says:

      Our friend Melissa, just texted this:
      FB wouldn’t let me send a private message the other day because it violated community standards. It was about nail polish.

      Is FB becoming a censorship machine?