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A Note From Juan Cole

Posted on March 27th, 2017 in Politics by Robert Miller

This was entirely copied from Juan Cole’s web site which you can view HERE.

True, Trump hasn’t Criticized Putin for Navalny Arrest; but Navalny is more like Trump




By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

The meme du jour about the protests in Russia on Sunday is that Donald Trump did not criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin for arresting the protesters, including their leader, Alexei Navalny.

Apparently the pressure on the State Department from Russia hawks in Congress was so great that State issued a brief statement condemning the arrest of protesters.

But Trump was uncharacteristically quiet.

It is a fair point, and signals Trump’s double standards.

But the irony is that Navalny is even more like Trump than Putin is, and in fact is a little scary.

Navalny is a nationalist, who has been seen at far-right, ultra-nationalist events. His platform not only attacks corruption but also calls for deportation of undocumented workers.

Navalny accused Russian prime minister Dimitry Medvedev of embezzling so much money he has become a billionaire. He has a Non-Governmental organization intended to track corruption in Russia’s elite.

Medvedev may well be extremely corrupt. But this campaign against him looks like Trump’s demands that Hillary Clinton be locked up without trial.

Navalny was behind the demonstrations throughout Russia, in 80 cities, on Sunday, and was detained after they broke out.

BBC Monitoring translated his and his supporters’ tweets to the effect that all the employees of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation were arrested on Sunday:

“Moscow police have detained all employees present at the headquarters of opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), according to Navalny himself.

“All employees of the Anti-Corruption Foundation have been detained. This is the best possible appraisal of their work. The FBK will not allow thieves a quiet life,” Navalny wrote on Twitter on 26 March (bit.ly/2n6O4N7).

FBK staff had been broadcasting live footage of anti-corruption protests taking place in Moscow and other cities around Russia. According to Navalny ally Leonid Volkov, who had been presenting the live feed, during his detention he was asked by police whether the broadcast had been sanctioned by the authorities (bit.ly/2ojF3AP).

Earlier, Navalny himself was detained at the beginning of the protest on Moscow’s central Tverskaya street. He later tweeted, urging his supporters to continue marching without him.”

But Navalny’s agenda goes beyond corruption. The Atlantic writes,

“In an interview in January, Navalny laid out the main points of the so-called nationalist agenda, including combating illegal immigration and ethnically based organized-crime groups; protecting ethnic Russians abroad; and bringing order to the North Caucasus, which he has called a de facto lawless “off-shore zone.” ”

He has also demanded that all Federal funding for the Caucasus be suspended.

So the Caucasus is to Navalny as Mexico is to Trump.

In Moscow authorities appear to have asked Navalny and his protesters to move somewhere quieter, rather as George W. Bush (unconstitutionally) proposed “protest zones” for those unhappy with his Iraq War.

This is not the liberal opposition in Russia, but something dark and even to Putin’s right. While Navalny’s followers should have the right to demonstrate freely, there is no particular point in demanding that Trump swing around and blindly support Navalny just because he isn’t Putin.


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Donald Trump, the Man Who Would prefer to be a Dictator

Posted on March 21st, 2017 in Capitalism by Robert Miller

We have now witnessed nearly three months of the President Trump: it seems likely we are for a daily  roller-coaster ride, but we should all be glad it’s not something more serious. I am sure that many of you can’t wait to read the morning paper to see what else President Trump has screwed up, with his twice failed travel bans and his quixotic budget and his wire tapping charge against President Obama, and terrorism in Sweden. These all have the earmarks of an early failed presidency. He doesn’t seem to be capable of righting his own ship.

But let me leap ahead to the most serious problem we face with President Trump: he wants to be a dictator, the first ever for our relatively new nation. He believes  that by invoking a high level of fear and anxiety in American public he can move closer to his goal of becoming the dictator he wants to be. Make no mistake about it, this is Steve Bannon talking to Donald Trump, and if we listened to him, he will go a long ways to accomplish his ultimate goal and lead us into a nation we won’t recognize. Donald Trump himself, with Steve Bannon pulling the strings from behind will lead us to a place we’d never seen before. It should be obvious to all of us now, that Donald Trump wants to make a hard right turn and in the process destroy our democracy, which, I now believe, is now on life support. Right now I don’t think there is a chance in Hell that he’ll will get away with his plans for America, his poll numbers are too low; today the public reaction to him is that he is too clownish to be respectable president, but he is in a dark and sinister place, and we can’t let him get away with his plans for a darker America. But because we are uncertain about the degree of national support he now receives, we are uncertain whether some at sometime in the future, he might become a more serious threat than we judge him now to be. The problem of course is the Republican party, they seemed to have abandoned their plans to be fiscally conservative (of course that was OK when Obama was president, but now that he is out of office, they can safely retreat to spending like money is going out of style, it is unnatural  and it is not normally in DNA of Republicans. But perhaps this spending spree is due to all of the pent-up desires to spend money for Trump that they wouldn’t spend for Obama when he was President. Suddenly the size of the national  debt is no longer of concern to them. Of course no money has been spent yet; everyone is waiting for the Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act. And when that is achieved, all Hell will break loose, and then we might go seriously into debt.

The Donald

President Donald Trump

Being a Dictator is something that comes naturally to President Trump; that’s how he built his empire, you have only to look at his subservient children to realize that’s the way he behaves in real life.

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