Friday, January 13, 2017

Of Godwin, Goebbels, and Trump

Ex MI-6 spy, Christopher Steele - currently in hiding
Attorney Mike Godwin made an interesting observation a few years ago about conversations on the internet. He noted that if a conversation goes on long enough, eventually someone will at some point compare someone or something to Hitler. This has come to be known as Godwin’s Law.

Godwin correctly maintained that any comparison to Hitler made even as hyperbole is inappropriate and asked people to think about the Holocaust before using that word.

I mention this in light of the fact that many people on the left have used this kind of terminology when describing Donald Trump. No matter what anyone thinks of the man, that kind of terminology is inappropriate.

But the shoe has recently been placed on the other foot. President-elect Trump accused America’s intelligence agencies of Nazi-like tactics in leaking a damaging report that claimed Russia had compiled a dossier filled with embarrassing material that could be used to blackmail him during his Presidency. He was wrong in saying that. The CIA, FBI, NSA, and any other security agencies are never to be compared to Nazis. The people that work there are patriots that are only doing their jobs

So why the outrage by the President-elect? What brought him to make this comparison? In denying the events related in that dossier he compared it to what was done by  Nazi Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels to the Jewish people during the Holocaust. He created scandalous lies about us and used the media to spread them – famously saying that if you repeat a lie enough times, people will start believing it. He used Julius Streicher’s antisemtic propaganda rag, ‘Der Sturmer’ to further that end.

While Trump was out of line in making that comparison, likening it to the tactics of Goebbels should not be over-looked. Who was actually behind that leak is unclear. But it did happen and someone somewhere with access to it is responsible.

A 35 page dossier was published by a sensationalist ‘news’ outlet containing would be damaging information about Trump’s relationship with Russia – as a spy no less! …and stories salacious stories about sex parties there in which he allegedly participated. As well as other disgusting things that dossier contained.

This list was compiled by a former British MI-6 spy by the name of Christopher Steele. He was hired to get ‘dirt’ on Trump but an unidentified individual. He found a Russian ‘source’ that told him about all of these things. None of which was substantiated. 

So that all of this was based on the report of one individual who admitted that it could not be proven. And actually had the gall to say that all witnesses to these events had been paid off. So none of them would talk. Nonetheless, Steele put it all down on 25 sheets of paper which eventually made is way over to American intelligences agencies. They proceeded to reduce it to a 2 page classified summary given to the President and the President-elect.

To say that all of this sounds a bit suspicious is to put it mildly. Not an iota of proof. Not a single witness. And yet US intelligence agencies thought it worthwhile to attach it to a legitimate file containing information about Russian hacking of the DNC. And someone else thought it would be a good idea to make it all public.

This story has been repeated so many times in so much of the media that it has the makings of ‘the Big Lie’. Although most of the mainstream media was responsible and did not report on it for lack of verification, some, like Buzzfeed and CNN did.

So quickly did the news spread, that in just a few hours it was all over the internet, including some of the people that comment here. Even though the subject under discussion that day had nothing to do with the President-elect.

What is even more troubling is how many people believed it. Their bias actually led them to beleive that if the CIA  thought it worthy of a 2 page summary, there might be some truth to it. I’m not surprised by the reaction. The Trump haters hate him so much that they will grasp at straws to try and discredit him. They choose to believe a report made in such a mysterious if not nefarious way just because they are blinded by hate. No matter how that story came about or unsustainable the facts of the story are. Anything to destroy this man so that he will not be left to govern. 

As I keep saying. I did not support the man and voted for his opponent. I was just as shocked and dismayed that he won as anyone else. I still believe he is a embarrassment to this country. His rhetoric is unacceptable as are some of his policies. Even to someone that leans conservative like me. But this does not mean that the American voter should be denied the man they selected to be their leader for the next 4 years. Because that would change our form of government from democracy into a dictatorship. 

Just because one does not agree with him on some dearly held principles does not give anyone the right to force him out of office by ‘any means necessary’. Those ends do not justify those means. Half the country (that voted for Trump) might actually agree with Trump and not them. Those on the left claim their liberal views to be the more moral and ethical ones. But those on the right would say that the morals of the left are immoral.

Objective morality is in the hands of the beholder, I guess. Making morality very subjective. But I digress.

Back to the leaked dossier. Of course anything is possible. But I do not believe that story for a moment. And whoever leaked it deserves the strongest of rebukes. I can’t imagine how any human being would feel if a false story like that came out about them that was so damning! Multiply that tenfold to someone in the middle of putting together a team that will help him govern in just a few short days as the leader of the free world. It is a grossly unfair distraction based on what is almost certainly a lie. One that was no doubt orchestrated  by someone who wants to destroy his Presidency before it even begins.

So I can’t blame Trump for reacting the way he did. His comparison to Nazi propaganda is way out of line. It goes too far. But one can certainly understand why he made it