HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic


Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Friday, July 01, 2016

 
Donald is listening

by digby













I wrote about his approach to civil liberties today for Salon:

Last June before Trump entered the presidential race, there was a major debate about renewal of the Patriot Act in the congress. Trump was asked about it on his favorite morning show, Fox and Friends and this is part of what he said:
I think security has to preside, you know, be pre-eminent. I'm looking at security. I think if anyone wants to listen to my phone calls it's fine. They're going to be very boring, it's going to be a very boring conversation... I just hope the government knows what they're doing a lot better than they did with the Obamacare website and the rest. You know in the old days you had a certain confidence in government, you don't have that confidence anymore. 
Trump has said over and over again that he "errs on the side of security" which is his catch-all justification for banning immigration and profiling people on the basis of religion, "giving power back to the police because crime is rampant," allowing proliferation of guns everywhere in society, torture, summary execution and a variety of other "Putinesque" policies. He calls this attitude "anti-PC" and common sense. Others call it unAmerican.

But it's a mistake to think that Trump's authoritarian tendencies are in reaction to current events. They are his nature. Buzzfeed reported yesterday that staff members at Trump's upscale Florida resort, Mar-a-lago, said that Donald Trump had a personal "switchboard" in his lodgings which allowed him to eavesdrop on the staff and guests telephone calls. His campaign denies it but there are several people who confirm that he routinely listens in on phone calls. Others admit that he had the apparatus but only used it for convenience sake so he didn't have to go through the main switchboard to call his friends who were staying at the resort.

Needless to say, that explanation is absurd. One might chalk that up to either another of The Donald's quirks or some disgruntled staff saying things to get back at him. But it's not the first time we've heard that he has a penchant for spying. Recall this passing comment from the New York Times in an article about the disarray in the Trump campaign at the end of May:
A sense of paranoia is growing among his campaign staff members, including some who have told associates they believe that their Trump Tower offices in New York may be bugged, according to three people briefed on the conversations.
At the time both then campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and senior advisor Paul Manafort were asked about this by separate news organizations and both responded less than definitively. Manafort vamped to ABC News, "I don't know who said that. Certainly there are people probably would like to, because there's a lot of good work going on there and we've been able to develop a campaign that is cohesive, that's working together, and in a record time thanks to a great candidate who has got a vision and connected to the American people, put the campaign in a position to win the presidency." And Lewandowski danced on the head of a pin for Chris Wallace of Fox:
“I think that’s a lot of speculation. I don’t think that’s the case at all — I think we’re very happy with the way that our offices are set up.”
The New York Times report about campaign staffers being paranoid doesn't say specifically why they would think this, but the piece implies that they believed Trump (or someone) knew things he could only have known about by eavesdropping. Whether he spied on his guests at the resort is unknown but people who stay there in the future should probably exclusively use their cell phones just in case. And staff should hold their private discussions in the garage like Bob Woodward and Deep Throat.

This little revelation about Trump's nosy parker proclivities would not necessarily raise alarms since employers generally do have the right to spy on their employees, although the good ones don't do it. And spying on customers is part of the modern world if you consider the way companies track people' buying habits to be spying. But Trump bugging his campaign office, if true, would not be standard operating procedure. And the mere fact that his staffers suspect that he has done it is a sign of something very dark going on inside that campaign.

But this should not come as a surprise. This is a man whose mentor was notorious political henchman Roy Cohn and who seems to have gotten his political inspiration from Richard Nixon. There can be no doubt that putting the US Government's spying apparatus in his hands would lead to him using it to monitor and punish his political enemies.

And while it's doubtful that he would go as far as this with Paul Ryan or Chuck Schumer, Trump's attitude toward Edward Snowden makes it very clear to anyone who would blow the whistle on his bad behavior that it would not go well for them:
"I think Snowden is a terrible threat, I think he’s a terrible traitor, and you know what we used to do in the good old days when we were a strong country — you know what we used to do to traitors, right?” Trump said.

“Well, you killed them, Donald,” said fill-in host, Eric Bolling.
He's a big fan of summary execution for anyone he personally designates a traitor. And one could easily see a President Trump deciding, like President Nixon before him, that he needed to find all his traitors and deploy whatever government tools were at his disposal to do it. He makes it clear that his beef isn't with government power, per se. It's that this government uses its power ineffectually, which is not the same thing at all.

Trump does not recognize constitutional limitations or civil liberties. He's shown it repeatedly from national security issues like these, to domestic policing to his threats to "open up the libel laws" to stop the media from criticizing him. He said it most clearly in his infamous 1989 Central Park Five full page ad which said,  "CIVIL LIBERTIES END WHEN AN ATTACK ON OUR SAFETY BEGINS!” That's not actually how it works, but if Trump knows that, he almost certainly doesn't care.


.