Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Is the world watching the Fourth Reich being born?

Remembering the lessons of Germany.......

Remember when German bureaucrats and defence personnel decided to agree that their oath of allegiance was to Chancellor of Germany and Führer Adolf Hitler and not to their country or the Bundestag?

Is something similar happening in the U.S.A. today?

It wasn't until the sixth restraining order was imposed by a federal judge that the Trump Administration fully complied, as is evidenced by these reports.

Release Date: January 29, 2017
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

WASHINGTON - Upon issuance of the court orders yesterday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) immediately began taking steps to comply with the orders. Concurrently, the Department of Homeland Security continues to work with our partners in the Departments of Justice and State to implement President Trump's executive order on protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States.

We are committed to ensuring that all individuals affected by the executive orders, including those affected by the court orders, are being provided all rights afforded under the law.  We are also working closely with airline partners to prevent travelers who would not be granted entry under the executive orders from boarding international flights to the U.S. Therefore, we do not anticipate that further individuals traveling by air to the United States will be affected.

As Secretary Kelly previously stated, in applying the provisions of the president's executive order, the entry of lawful permanent residents is in the national interest. Accordingly, absent significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, lawful permanent resident status will be a dispositive factor in our case-by-case determinations.
We are and will remain in compliance with judicial orders. We are and will continue to enforce President Trump's executive order humanely and with professionalism. DHS will continue to protect the homeland.

# # #
Rep. Don Beyer @RepDonBeyer  24 hours ago
We have a constitutional crisis today. Four Members of Congress asked CBP officials to enforce a federal court order and were turned away.

Christopher Hayes @chrislhayes  Jan 30
This is stunning. The executive branch is straight up defying a court order right now.

Christopher Hayes added,
Damon Silvers @DamonSilvers
Attys at Dulles with a fed court order entitling them to see detainees told by CBP "it's not going to happen" Attys seeking contempt order

1. Pursuant to an Executive Order signed by President Donald Trump on January 27, 2016, the U.S. government banned entry into the United States by all non-citizens from seven listed countries, subject to an undefined waiver process. This ban, when first promulgated, included individuals on immigrant visas and returning lawful permanent residents.

2. The Immigration and Nationality Act provides no way to legally effectuate such a ban against this category of immigrants. As a result, upon information and belief, Department of Homeland Security officials have been effectuating the ban by bullying these arriving immigrants into “voluntarily” relinquishing their claims to lawful permanent residence into the United States.

3. On information and belief, respondents (through their agents and employees) lied to immigrants arriving after the Executive Order was signed, falsely telling them that if they did not sign a relinquishment of their legal rights, they would be formally ordered removed from the United States, which would bring legal consequences including a five-year bar for reentry to the United States. Because respondents knew that there was no valid, legal basis to remove these individuals from the United States, these were material, false representations.

4. Throughout this time, respondents denied arriving immigrants access to legal counsel.

5. On information and belief, these acts occurred nationwide, including but not limited to Washington-Dulles International Airport. During the first 24 to 48 hours that the ban was in place, Customs & Border Protection reports that it denied entry to at least 109 individuals. Many of these individuals were unlawfully compelled to “voluntarily” renounce their U.S. immigration status.

Trump himself remains defiant in the face of the federal court order in State of Washington et al v Donald J Trump et al and continues to rail the U.S. judicial system:

One can almost see down the road to where this is leading.

At first the people who supported Donald Trump's election will enthusiastically and uncritically support his actions as U.S. President.
Although some will blindly remain fervent adherents of the Cult of Donald, many will become quietly concerned when these actions begin to impinge on their daily lives.
By the time he plunges America into a severe financial crisis or a war these same people will become alarmed and begin to look more closely at what state agencies and public institutions have become under the Trump regime – but by then they will be too afraid to speak out.

After I finished writing the paragraphs above I came across an article in Jurist which with more elegance and erudition canvasses the same subject, so I've included an excerpt here.

First they came for the Muslims.................

Professor David M. Crane writing in Jurist on 3 February 2017 - First It's the Muslims: An Evolution to Dictatorship:

The intellectual elite of Germany and much of the middle class at first stood back, amused, embarrassed, disbelieving that this proud nation of culture, of tolerance, of openness would elect this small little man who ranted and raved about a great German nation, a Reich that would last a thousand years. They could not believe that he would last long politically and stood aside in the early years thinking that the political system in place would cause his demise. By the time they realized the shift of almost complete power to one man had actually happened, it was too late. They had only one choice: swear allegiance or leave. Some left when they still could, but most stayed and accepted their national fate.
I have faced down dictators most of my professional life. To understand my adversary I have studied the twentieth century's dictators, how they came to power, their psyche, and their methods of destroying their own citizens. There are patterns, similarities, regarding despots, dictators, and thugs who rise to and hold power in their countries. Their track record is horrific with the destruction of over 95 million human beings at the hands of these dictators in the last century.
Understanding the similar conduct of largely ordinary men rising to absolute power can help us in many ways: from investigating and prosecuting them for violations of domestic and international crimes, identifying those politicians or political movements trending toward despotism, to prevention and counter measures to blunt their move to power. Liberal democracies today need to understand the past, the present trends, to protect our futures. The consideration of these traits are instructive today in the United States and elsewhere.
So what are those similarities among despots and dictators? First in a country where a dictator comes to power, there is an anger towards the establishment, a long term disappointment and lack of trust in their government. They use this loss of faith in the centralized government to start building a political base to gain power. Dictators want to "drain the swamp," to clean house, to start over.
Second, the rising dictator uses fear to shift that frustration away from their policies to what is called "a boogey man." Dictators for a century all used a "boogey man" to focus their citizenry away from their absolute power to a threat outside the country. The Three Pashas in Turkey blamed the Christian Armenians for the loss of the Ottoman Empire; Adolf Hitler blamed the Jews for weakening Germany; Joseph Stalin and Mao Tse-tung focused on Western capitalism; and the Ayatollah of Iran blamed the Great Satan of America for their economic problems. Outsiders who were different, who had a different religion became an internal and external threat and were either accounted for and interned or deported. Those who sought admission to their country were banned for who or what they were.
Third, dictators view the press as their enemy and initially seek to limit press access to their regimes, then ban or control the press entirely. They consider the press an enemy of the state and take appropriate action. The liberal press is blamed for factual distortions. The dictator declares they are not using real facts and fashion their own truths, what you would call today "alternative facts." Joseph Goebbels stated that "if you lie to the people long enough, they will believe it as the truth." In a dictatorship the truth is the first casualty.
Fourth, a dictator surrounds himself (yes, they are all men) with only those people who tell him what he wants to hear, not what he needs to hear. The truth becomes dangerous to the government and to those who know it. The dictator does not want to know the truth, they fear the truth and those who work with and for the dictator fear knowing and telling them the truth. They could lose their influence, power, jobs, even their lives, as well as their family's lives if they are truthful. It's a downward paranoid spiral.
Fifth, the dictators of the twentieth century also suffered from some type of psychological disease or defect. From paranoia, schizophrenia, depression, and narcissism these men slipped farther and farther away from reality the longer they stayed in power. A perfect illustration is when Joseph Stalin fell dying on the floor in his bedroom and laid there for fourteen hours, the doctors and handlers were too afraid to declare him dead in fear of the repercussions of even saying, let alone knowing that he had died.
Sixth, dictators over time consider the law only as a guide, to be broken, modified, or ignored. The longer in power the more they feel they are above the law and take action according to their own whims. A political cult develops around them. They become above all men. Society is what the dictator says it is. The national identity becomes the dictator. Where once government workers or members of the armed forces swore allegiance to the law, they now must swear allegiance to the dictator himself without question. The refusal to do so is expulsion or death.
In the United States we now have a President who fits several of these traits and has acted accordingly — all within two short weeks as President. The surprising thing is how easily he has been able to do this without any institutional resistance. America is not used to someone of this caliber. We sit back stunned, cowed, or in quiet glee as this new President begins to "make America great again." Is he becoming America's first "dictator"? This remains to be seen.
Our only counter to this "new type" of President is the Constitution of the United States. The founders of this nation contemplated a Trump and put in the necessary checks and balances to ensure that America did not create a king or dictator. The power was reserved to the people, us; and all those elected answer to that people, not the other way around. The other two branches of government will be critical to our republic with this power grabbing new President. They must do their constitutional duty and pay heed to the law and to the people to counter his seeking absolute power.
David M. Crane is a Professor of Law at the Syracuse University College of Law. He is the former Chief Prosecutor, Special Court for Sierra Leone, 2002-2005. He is also the founder of Impunity Watch, the Syrian Accountability Project and the IamSyria Campaign.

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