Milo Yiannopoulos, bomb throwing Breitbart News editor, was disinvited by the Conservative Political Action Conference for comments condoning pedophilia. Simon and Schuster immediately cancelled his lucrative book deal. At last we’ve found the limit of what the Right will tolerate and accept in their Big White Tent. White nationalism, Islamaphobia, anti-Black hatred, anti-Semitism, male supremacy, anti-immigrant policies, attacks on transgendered people—none of these were a bridge too far for CPAC or S and S or the dozens of college Republican clubs who invited him. “Free Speech!” they cried. “We’re not politically correct!” they chanted. But now it’s become clear that free speech was just a convenient smokescreen for the neofascist, “alt-right” forces. White supremacy and nationalism is the glue that holds it all together. And that’s what we reject and fight.
Remember that the US Supreme Court upheld the internment orders in Korematsu v. US., convicting US citizen Fred Korematsu for refusing to comply with the order. The Korematsu decision has long been viewed as one of the “ante-canon” landmarks of constitutional law, along with Dred Scott and Plessy v Ferguson. But it has never been overruled by the Supreme Court, so in a sense it lies in wait…
Korematsu’s conviction was finally overturned in 1998 by a California federal court that found that the Supreme Court decision was based on a fraudulent military report, and Clinton gave him a presidential medal of honor. The dissent of Robert Jackson (former chief US prosecutor in Nuremberg) in Korematsu is worth revisiting today:
“But once a judicial opinion rationalizes such an order to show that it conforms to the Constitution, or rather rationalizes the Constitution to show that the Constitution sanctions such an order, the Court for all time has validated the principle of racial discrimination in criminal procedure and of transplanting American citizens. The principle then lies about like a loaded weapon, ready for the hand of any authority that can bring forward a plausible claim of an urgent need. Every repetition imbeds that principle more deeply in our law and thinking and expands it to new purposes. All who observe the work of courts are familiar with what Judge Cardozo described as “the tendency of a principle to expand itself to the limit of its logic.” [*] A military commander may overstep the bounds of constitutionality, and it is an incident. But if we review and approve, that passing incident becomes the doctrine of the Constitution. There it has a generative power of its own, and all that it creates will be in its own image. Nothing better illustrates this danger than does the Court’s opinion in this case.”
When Trump calls out the “lying media” he’s not offering a criticism of any kind concerning the many ways the bought, capitalist media distorts reality and spins a consistent narrative that is solidly pro-US empire, pro-war, and pro-Wall Street. Nothing of the kind. His message is the opposite, and it’s the cry of every autocrat and authoritarian who ever lived: I alone have access to the Truth! Listen to your Dear Leader and no one else! Kneel!
Donald Trump’s signature narcissism (as well as his excessive carnival barker personality) was on full display at his first solo press conference on February 16. It was an elaborate and colorful show—and yet, I refuse to be entertained. The Big Lies, the misdirection, the chaos, the doublethink were all present in every one of the 77 minutes His Highness held forth. But the response cannot simply be to point out the lies; we must remember that lying in public is a hallmark of authoritarian propaganda, and that the real message under every little lie is this: “I can lie in public, over and over again, and no one can stop me; you must bow before me because I’m the god who creates the world you live in—get used to it.” Here’s the autocrat pointing to a reporter who contradicted a relatively minor falsehood: “I would be your biggest fan in the world if you treated me right.” Ah, yes. Clarity.