Thursday, May 03, 2018

Old, And New, Propaganda

The President of the United States of America on Wednesday:

Upon further examination, that is odd (or Trump-like), for CNN reports

The three Americans -- Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak-song and Kim Sang Duk, also known as Tony Kim -- have been detained in North Korea for months. Kim Dong Chul has been in North Korean custody since before Trump was elected, and the other two detainees were arrested last spring, after Trump's inauguration and as tensions between Washington and Pyongyang were beginning to ramp up.

Tony Kim and Kim Hak-song, who were arrested in April and May of 2017 respectively, were both accused of carrying out "hostile acts" against the Kim regime. Both worked at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) which bills itself as the only privately run university in the North Korean capital.

Kim Dong Chul was arrested in 2015 for spying on behalf of South Korea, he told CNN in January 2016. The interview was conducted in the presence of North Korean officials, so CNN could not determine whether Kim's comments were made under duress.

Given that two of the individuals were not arrested before Donald Trump took office, the Obama administration would have had to be prescient, even psychic, to try to get them released. Also, impossible: Trump contends the "past administration" "has long been asking for three hostages to be released from a North Korean Labor camp."

That 's just another lie from Donald  J. Trump- or is it? In September, 1990 Marie Brenner of Vanity Fair described the then-faltering marriage (which later ended in divorce) between Ivana Trump and her husband. She wrote

Donald Trump appears to take aspects of his German background seriously. John Walter works for the Trump Organization, and when he visits Donald in his office, Ivana told a friend, he clicks his heels and says, “Heil Hitler,” possibly as a family joke.

Last April, perhaps in a surge of Czech nationalism, Ivana Trump told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that from time to time her husband reads a book of Hitler’s collected speeches, My New Order, which he keeps in a cabinet by his bed. Kennedy now guards a copy of My New Order in a closet at his office, as if it were a grenade. Hitler’s speeches, from his earliest days up through the Phony War of 1939, reveal his extraordinary ability as a master propagandist.

“Did your cousin John give you the Hitler speeches?” I asked Trump.

Trump hesitated. “Who told you that?”

“I don’t remember,” I said.

“Actually, it was my friend Marty Davis from Paramount who gave me a copy of Mein Kampf, and he’s a Jew.” (“I did give him a book about Hitler,” Marty Davis said. “But it was My New Order, Hitler’s speeches, not Mein Kampf. I thought he would find it interesting. I am his friend, but I’m not Jewish.”)

Later, Trump returned to this subject. “If I had these speeches, and I am not saying that I do, I would never read them.”

Is Ivana trying to convince her friends and lawyer that Trump is a crypto-Nazi? Trump is no reader or history buff. Perhaps his possession of Hitler’s speeches merely indicates an interest in Hitler’s genius at propaganda. The F├╝hrer often described his defeats at Stalingrad and in North Africa as great victories. Trump continues to endow his diminishing world with significance as well. “There’s nobody that has the cash flow that I have,” he told The Wall Street Journal long after he knew better. “I want to be king of cash.”

She remarked "Hitler’s speeches, from his earliest days up through the Phony War of 1939, reveal his extraordinary ability as a master propagandist" and speculated whether Donald Trump's "possesson of Hitler's speeches merely indicates an interest in Hitler's genius at propaganda."

It is 27 years later, and his interest in Hitler's genius at propaganda is clear (video below from 11/15). Trump kept a collection of Hitler's speeches by his bed and now claims Americans  to be released (probably through negotiations) by North Korea are individuals the prior Administration tried and failed to bring home. The implied- nay, assumed- precondition is that they were taken prisoner prior to Trump taking office. Worse yet, Trump does not even seem to be claiming or alleging the Obamites tried to get them released: "as everyody is aware..."

Like so much else Donald J. Trump claims, it is propaganda worthy of the Fuhrer who presided over the Third Reich three-quarters of a century ago.   Our President has learned well, and he continues to warn us.

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