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Kiriakou writes: "In the 1950s, Americans allowed Senator Joe McCarthy to spout his hate unchallenged. He accused political enemies, liberals, and anybody else he didn't like of being communists, and thus threats to the national security, just as Trump is doing today. The result was the destruction of untold lives and livelihoods."

Donald Trump. (photo: AP)
Donald Trump. (photo: AP)


Donald Trump and the Legacy of Joe McCarthy

By John Kiriakou, Reader Supported News

25 November 15

 

can’t tell whether Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump really believes the nonsense he’s been spouting on the campaign trail or if he’s just having such a good time stirring the political pot that he doesn’t realize the damage he’s causing to the body politic. Trump has denounced Senator John McCain, a bona fide war hero who spent seven years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, as “not a hero” because “heroes don’t get caught.” He famously derided undocumented Mexican workers as “rapists and drug smugglers.” He called for the forced closure of mosques across the United States. And he advocated a database where Americans who happen to be Muslims would be forced to register, ignoring the United States’ ugly, racist, and illegal history of interning Japanese-Americans during World War II.

Trump’s foreign policy can be distilled to a speech he gave last week when he said, in response to the Paris terrorist attacks, “We need to bomb the shit out of these people.” That’s not a policy. That’s the musings of a demagogue who doesn’t understand the complexities of policy or of war, and who doesn’t care about the innocent people he would kill in the process.

Trump even backed the use of violence against a protestor at one of his recent rallies. When the man, a member of the Black Lives Matter movement, shouted something at a Trump rally in Alabama, Trump supporters beat him while Trump said, “Maybe he should have been roughed up. What he did (protesting Trump’s racist comments on the campaign trail) was disgusting.”

It’s easy to laugh at the lunacy of Trump’s positions on a wide variety of issues, many of which are patently unconstitutional. But Trump is attracting enough support that some pundits posit that he could actually win the Republican nomination for President. He’s vocalizing the hate of a sizeable chuck of the Republican Party’s right wing. There’s still time to send Trump packing, and there’s still time to smother his hate speech in its crib.

We’ve made the mistake of tolerating a demagogue in the past, when Americans danced with a populist hate-monger. We must not make the same mistake again. In the 1950s, Americans allowed Senator Joe McCarthy to spout his hate unchallenged. He accused political enemies, liberals, and anybody else he didn’t like of being communists, and thus threats to the national security, just as Trump is doing today. The result was the destruction of untold lives and livelihoods, a shameful “black list” of Hollywood writers, directors, producers, and actors, and even suicides.

Americans finally got wise to McCarthy, but not until he had left his black mark on history. We can, and should, kick Trump to the curb before he does any more damage.

Perhaps the most egregious and obvious reason to not support Trump is his unapologetic support of George W. Bush’s torture regime. Trump said only a week ago that he would bring back waterboarding and other forms of torture employed by the Bush administration. Completely ignoring the fact that the Federal Torture Act outlaws torture in the United States, the McCain-Feinstein Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act outlaws torture, and the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which the US not only signed, but authored, outlaws torture, Trump said, “Even if it doesn’t work, they deserve it anyway.”

What Trump is thus advocating is what the Constitution calls “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Torture is illegal in this country. If a President implements a policy that is illegal, he is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors and would then be subject to impeachment, trial, and conviction.

But for goodness sake, let’s not let it get to that point. Americans need to stop the Trump abomination now. Let’s not repeat the mistakes of the past. Trump has to go.



John Kiriakou is an associate fellow with the Institute for Policy Studies. He is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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+93 # RMDC 2015-11-25 14:08
Thank you for this. I don't very often listen to Trump but I saw a clip of one of his speeches last night and he was talking about waterboarding and he said something like "hell, yes I would water board. Are you kidding. I'd do a lot worse."

Water boarding is torture and it is prohibited by both US law and international law. It is really profound that we can have a candidate for president of the US who promises to commit felonies in office. Of course, Netanyahoo did the same thing; he got elected; and he's now committing felonies.

I guess the "rule of law" has completely broken down. Just think, Carson is running for office because he stabbed someone. Now Trump is promising to torture people.

I don't see the US lasting much longer. Sanders is the only candidate running for office who would pass a "sanity" test.
 
 
+30 # ericlipps 2015-11-25 19:01
Quoting RMDC:
Thank you for this. I don't very often listen to Trump but I saw a clip of one of his speeches last night and he was talking about waterboarding and he said something like "hell, yes I would water board. Are you kidding. I'd do a lot worse."

Water boarding is torture and it is prohibited by both US law and international law. It is really profound that we can have a candidate for president of the US who promises to commit felonies in office. Of course, Netanyahoo did the same thing; he got elected; and he's now committing felonies.

But are they felonies under Israeli law? That seems to be the only judicial standard Netanyahu cares about.

On the other hand, the Donald doesn't seem to care about ANYBODY'S judicial standards; he thinks his opinions Trump them all.
 
 
+14 # bullslam 2015-11-26 03:00
@ ericlipps
"On the other hand, the Donald doesn't seem to care about Anybody's judicial standards; he thinks his opinions Trump them all."

What is most creepy, though predictable, is that a very large portion of voters, aka Fox News Submissives savor his every word. And the more Fascistic Trump's rhetoric becomes, the more they love him!

These folks would joyfully put a brutal dictator into the Oval Office!

As Stanley Milgram demonstrated in his famous experiment, the vast majority of Americans are authoritarian submissives who are perfectly willing to kill their fellow human being as long as somebody else wearing a mantle of authority (like a lab coat,) assures them that he or she is willing to take responsibility. Milgram himself was shocked by the tiny percent of subjects who had the moxie to tell the people conducting the experiment to drop dead when ordered to push a button which would kill the person in another room. He was hoping a higher percent would revolt -- but most subjects did their best to please the guy wearing the Lab coat even though that person was a student who had no real credentials other than wearing a symbol of authority.

Conclusion: Most Americans tend to want to do as they are told.

Remedy: Question authority! As Noam Chomsky maintains, when questioned, authority is not able to justify itself.
 
 
+54 # Misterioso 2015-11-25 19:34
Remember, in 1932, Germans were laughing at Hitler.
 
 
+34 # harleysch 2015-11-25 20:57
There is an actual connection between Trump and Joe McCarthy -- Roy Cohen. Trump said that Cohn was a mentor to him. In addition to Cohn's role as a key operative working on McCarthy's staff, he was deeply imbedded in the seamy side of New York City politics, i.e., with the mob.

Cohn's mob connections proved to be quite useful for Trump, especially in his construction projects.
 
 
+21 # kath 2015-11-26 05:17
If it were just Trump, it would be fairly simple. But it's him, and Cruz (the true McCarthyite) and the large crowds that support them, not to mention the lapdog media that doesn't call them out. Truly, the GOP has gone insane.
 
 
+34 # Desiderata 2015-11-25 18:22
"I don't see the US lasting much longer. Sanders is the only candidate running for office who would pass a "sanity" test.[/quote

I had the impression awhile back that Trump was just on a joy ride.After all he doesn't need to be president .It seems that he is behaving as outrageously as he can just to stir things up. He is really beyond the pale.He is a mockery to everything that America supposedly represents. And he ups his ante almost daily. Yet he leads in the polls. Maybe he will call everyone's bluff , step down at the last minute and say ,"See ? See what we have become ? You were ready to vote me in you fools."
Then Hillary will win and reward him for her victory.
 
 
+47 # TJGeezer 2015-11-25 18:47
Trump, a classic schoolyard bully, vs Ben Carson, an MD with a God complex. What a great political party, Republicans.

Decent people can only stand up to a schoolyard bully. Things only get worse when the stupid 10-year-old bully never grows up.

Give 'em a spotlight instead of a hate-ectomy and they don't care how much hurt they inflict as they preen and strut. Hurting others is what gets them off. Did someone say "Trump"?
 
 
+37 # Art947 2015-11-25 19:13
When people "wised up" to Joe McCarthy his empire crumpled. Perhaps we will soon witness Donald Trump and his "empire" crumbling as well. This article has only touched the tip of Trump's disease. His destruction of many people's finances, his egomaniacal actions against the citizens of NY, his reprehensible behavior in a number of arena should now make more intelligent people aware of the fact that his name is now longer associated with quality, only ersatz glitz. It is time for him to go the way of a two-dollar suit.
 
 
+28 # Debbie.Grey 2015-11-25 19:14
"What Trump is thus advocating is what the Constitution calls “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Torture is illegal in this country. If a President implements a policy that is illegal, he is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors and would then be subject to impeachment, trial, and conviction."

Okay, so what law [if any] pertains when a citizen [who by virtue of his candidacy is no longer a "mere" citizen] advocates these policies in anticipation of his ability to implement them? Malice aforethought?
 
 
+11 # sinaj 2015-11-25 19:45
The USA is so bonkers it is almost a macabre satire, how can people live like this? God help Mexico with their drug problems and Canada, is that the only sane nation in North America, maybe they should emigrate to somewhere more sane?
 
 
+34 # NAVYVET 2015-11-25 19:54
One of McCarthy's victims was my high school Civics teacher when I was 14 or 15. His lectures sounded like a Taft Republican--I didn't even like him!--but he was accused of having attended one or two "communist" events back in college, before he was drafted into WWII. His real crime was flunking the school board president's lazy daughter. His firing resulted in the 1st poem of mine I considered worth saving, "Concerning Joe McCarthy", written at about age 15:

The seeking mind’s not only quite uncouth,
But shamelessly subversive, so they say;
It wastes the enterprising years of youth
On heresies. But who are they
That dictate to our splendid here-and-now
Their purse-lipped maunderings in the night?
Why, they’re the fanatic few. And we must bow
In servile homage to their frowning might.
It’s unanimity these days instead
Of honest doubt. Well, that’s the way of things
When fearful folk go off to desolate bed
And psychopaths exert the power of kings.
 
 
+7 # Anarchist 23 2015-11-27 13:39
Your poem is very good, very classical in form as well! It's time to use the 'F' word on Trump: Fascist!
 
 
+10 # Shades of gray matter 2015-11-25 20:08
NV: nice poem.
For goodness sakes, isn't John K just a bit late with this essay? 6 months late? 20+ years late if you count the radio and tv demagogues who set the stage for this? Dumbing down the kulture and heating up the hate and fear is not working out so well. And will get LOTS worse. Prepare ahead. Don't be caught flat footed. What will YOU say & do?
 
 
+17 # reiverpacific 2015-11-25 20:13
Might be an interesting -and revelatory- question to ask this galloping narcissist, if he remembers, or even knows about McCarthy and his "Un-American Activities" witch hunters.
Then enumerate, discuss and set against each other, the original "Founding Fathers" imperfect, clumsy attempts to make something of a young, struggling and fearful country of invaders ("Settlers") -perhaps more alike to his stunted understanding of how it "Should be".
And the fates of the original inhabitants of this continent for which sharing, not accumulation of material wealth, was paramount.
I'd love to be a member of a panel on THAT subject -if they'd let me!
 
 
+22 # cymricmorty 2015-11-25 20:18
Trump, Carson, repubs, Israel, the Ukraine, fascists, racists, ISIS, Syria, Palestine, more, everything seems like some kind of real-time horror flick. I feel like Alex in Clockwork Orange being forced to watch with eyes held open by toothpicks as it rolls on.
 
 
+34 # elkingo 2015-11-25 20:51
Poetry is "in play" now at good ol' RSN?

There was a young fellow called Trump
Who in the polls made quite a jump
As Republican masses
Kept their heads up their asses,
So now let's dump Trump on his rump!
 
 
+16 # reiverpacific 2015-11-25 22:41
Quoting elkingo:
Poetry is "in play" now at good ol' RSN?

There was a young fellow called Trump
Who in the polls made quite a jump
As Republican masses
Kept their heads up their asses,
So now let's dump Trump on his rump!


To all those who vote for this twit
Who for nobody gives a small fuck.
You'll reap what you sows
-as his ego grows,
Then he'll grind you down in the muck.
Tarra'-ching.
 
 
+2 # Anarchist 23 2015-11-27 13:40
Another classic!
 
 
+19 # xflowers 2015-11-25 21:34
John K. You're preaching to the converted. What will it take to change the minds of these Trump supporters? I don't have a clue. I think the fact that he has these supporters at all scars me more than Donald Trump. Maybe in the end the Repubs will realize they've birthed a monster and change their ways. I won't be holding my breath too long for that.
 
 
+3 # maverita 2015-11-26 07:30
maybe someone needs to release video of him saying something sensible back in the past, something that would chap repub arses. something that makes him look like a closet lefty? something like how he supports equal pay or raising min wage? didn't he used to say something sensible once in a while? are only the comedy stations able to do (and use) research anymore?
 
 
+6 # bmiluski 2015-11-26 12:08
Maverita...it's hard to release anything truthful about trump when the neo-con Rupert owns over 90% of the media outlets.
 
 
+13 # NVNan 2015-11-25 21:41
"What Trump is thus advocating is what the Constitution calls “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Torture is illegal in this country. If a President implements a policy that is illegal, he is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors and would then be subject to impeachment, trial, and conviction."
Yet, members of the Bush II administration were guilty of such crimes and they were granted procedural immunity... Immunity has been granted several times before that, so why would Donald think that he wouldn't get the same treatment? Break the law now, get immunity later.
 
 
+28 # oudihasan 2015-11-25 21:42
Many years ago in NYC I was speaking with an old Jewish gentleman who related listening to radio broadcasts in his native Poland in the 1930s, to speeches by Adolf Hitler. His friends and relatives would scoff at this incredulous fool, certain that such an idiot could never gain enough power to cause real trouble. "Little did we know," he told me.
 
 
+24 # jazzman633 2015-11-25 21:45
"Even if it doesn’t work, they deserve it anyway.” This is the black hatred that lurks in the heart of every torturer, probably since ancient times. And once again, Trump has given voice to humanity's darkest instincts and made them seem justifiable.
 
 
+10 # andyseles 2015-11-25 22:22
Right you are oudihasan and jazzman. And those dark instincts can be tapped into by anyone seeking control. In times of threat (often "manufactured" threat) these hoodlums will "ratchet" up discontent and always find a handy "other." Consider this from Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest:

McMurphy describes a "pecking party" as a situation in which chickens see blood on another chicken and start pecking at it like crazy until they’re all bloody, pecking at each other in a frenzy, and end up killing each other. McMurphy points out that Nurse Ratched’s Therapeutic Community meetings are pecking parties. Nurse Ratched gets one of the men to reveal his weakness, and then all of the patients follow her lead, "pecking" at the man. This starts off a chain reaction that hurts all of the men, sets them all against each other (instead of against Nurse Ratched), and keeps them all feeling weak (and emasculated). Thus the "therapeutic" meetings aren’t a time when patients can provide each other with mutual and beneficial help, but a time when they end up hurting each other and making it all worse. (http://www.shmoop.com/one-flew-over-cuckoos-nest/a-pecking-party-symbol.html)
 
 
+11 # bardphile 2015-11-25 22:26
It's distressing that someone like Trump can advance this far in politics. It's just as bad, even worse, that people like him can get rich. It doesn't have to be this way.
 
 
+17 # PABLO DIABLO 2015-11-25 23:02
The Republicans have been spewing racist bile since Reagan's "welfare queens". Now they have created a monster they can't control. If Trump wins the nomination, I hope that will drive more people out to vote for Bernie.
 
 
-6 # bmiluski 2015-11-26 12:09
Or Hillary.
 
 
+6 # vitobonespur 2015-11-26 01:08
"What Trump is thus advocating is what the Constitution calls “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Maybe we can impeach Trump before he even has a chance to be elected.
 
 
+13 # Littlebird 2015-11-26 02:26
Mr Trump reminds me of a smack down wrestler, who loves to show his meanest and dirtiest moves in order to get the cheers and applause from his audience. His mean face, his put downs, his large lies that he says with an earnest look, all are geared to the type of fan who will get up in their seats and yell for him to get meaner and more violent. The sad truth is that the contest is not a game. We have a huge ego maniac who is convincing or somehow able to cause mass insanity in his supporters. If his solutions to the problems we face as a nation are acceptable to the people of the United States, then our nation will no longer be a free country, with laws and a constitution, but another dictatorship, under another Hitler. It is laughable, but tragic at the same time that anyone who has any sense of what our nation stands for would even attend a Trump event or support him in any way. He is the type of person that we should reject and throw out as a candidate. We need someone to stand up and say "the Emperor has no clothes on". His naked lies, his hate speech and his so called solutions have no place in our society. Why are they being tolerated by the media, who will not call him out and expose him for a fake? I am appalled by the ignorance of voters who would stand and applaud this charlatan while he endorses violence, racism and bigotry, along with outrageous claims that he can make America great again.The America of Trump would be a tragic failure that might never recover.
 
 
+11 # Larry 2015-11-26 08:29
"He’s vocalizing the hate of a sizeable chuck of the Republican Party’s right wing."

Is there another wing? Trump, like all of his hate-mongering predecessors, is not the real problem. The problem is the growing number of ordinary people who are willing to listen to him. We spend too much time talking about Trump's latest morally repugnant Tweet, and too little talking about what has happened to the soul of this country, now officially MIA.
 
 
+7 # AUCHMANNOCH 2015-11-26 09:32
On election day it will indeed be the last trump if he becomes President.
 
 
+11 # kalpal 2015-11-26 10:27
America's RW totally believes that only violence can ever effectively solve any problems, national and international.
 
 
+9 # Blackjack 2015-11-26 14:11
So, where do we think this spiteful, hateful, foaming-at-the- mouth kind of rhetoric comes from? Could it have possibly been created after 9/11, when our head-in-the-san d President and his Sidekick Torturing Dickhead amassed all kinds of forms of "high crimes and misdemeanors" and were never held accountable for them? Hey, you can say/do this crap and it's OK, even if you hold the highest office in the land. Our people won't hold you responsible for that and moreover, our dumbed-down, corporate MSM will just pick up the rhetoric and keep spewing it because it makes careers and more money for the one per centers. When lawlessness is tolerated repeatedly, then it is repeated. Where were/are our watchdogs of democracy who advocate loudly for justice so that the perpetrators of evil are brought to accountability? They certainly don't reside in our three branches of government, nor in our fourth pillar--the press. Where then?
 
 
+9 # LtDan65 2015-11-26 14:24
TRUMP SUMMARY:
At first, trump seemed merely humorous and strange. Then he became ridiculous and pathetic. Now we see him in true light - as the hateful fascist bigot, who is truly dangerous to our entire way of life.
 
 
+8 # mrgaksi@gmail.com 2015-11-26 18:54
Has any reporter publicly asked him if as a child did he attend the KKK rallies with his father?
 
 
+1 # davehaze 2015-11-29 10:33
Ah, that good old LIE "objectivity" prevents journalist from doing anything but parroting what Tump spews. No follow up questions. And when the only journalist who demanded accountability from Trump was forcibly ejected from Trumps presence all of his felow journalists sat mutely and passively by. Disgraceful.

I do not listen or watch Trump anymore. I turn him off radio and TV the moment he comes on. Means I no longer watch the Trump channel MSNBC.
 

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