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Michael D. Kennedy, Professor of Sociology and International and Public Affairs, Brown University

19 responses to “The looming Legitimation Crisis in Trump’s America”

  1. Johnnie

    “The crisis has its roots in the occasionally overt but always subliminally present resurgent whiteness and misogyny of Trump’s candidacy and early administration.”
    I’m not sure what you read, Michael, but your “analysis” is not even close.

    “Wake Up America”
    “Dennis Kucinich Says Intel Community Making ‘Unprecedented’ Effort to Upend Trump”

    “The so-called permanent government of Washington and its complicit mainstream media – what some call the Deep State – have taught Trump a lesson and have learned a lesson, too. They now can be expected to redouble their march toward war and more war, ironically with progressives and leftists in tow.”

    “Eavesdropping on Michael Flynn
    Did U.S. spooks have a court order to listen to his conversations? Why? – Wall Street Journal”

    “If Mr. Flynn was under U.S. intelligence surveillance, then Mr. Trump should know why, and at this point so should the American public. Maybe there’s an innocent explanation, but the Trump White House needs to know what’s going on with Mr. Flynn and U.S. spies.”

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  2. Greg Gerritt

    Jiohnnie, the Russian embassy is always bugged. Every embassy that contains spies is bugged. if Flynn talked to the Russian ambassador there is no doubt the CIA was listening as it always does.

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  3. Johnnie

    Greg: The viper’s nest of neocons and war hawks at the Washington Post and the NY Times are shaping the firing of Michael Flynn as if his communications with the Russian embassy were somehow illegal. They were not. Politicians, “dignitaries” and CEOs meet with the Russians all the time, we just don’t hear about it. The MSM is framing this as if Flynn was plotting with the Russians and working against the interests of the US. He was fired by Trump because he lied to Pence, but this has gotten lost by the manipulators of public opinion and the purveyors of fake news.

    The consensus among the ruling elite is for a new Cold War, and that the Russian people are our enemy and it is they we must fight. The Russian people are not my enemy, and neither are the Iraqis, Syrians, Iranians, Libyans, Afghans, Pakistanis, Sudanese, Somalians or Yemenis. In fact, my interests lie with the American people and the people of the world – and not the ruling class of any country – who want us to fight and die for them so they can feast and fatten themselves on the blood and bones of the people of the world.

    In the NYT today, Nicholas Kristof is asking : “What did Trump know, and when? “ And an editorial is declaring: “Time to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia.” They are going after Trump not because he is a fascist, but because he is challenging the accepted wisdom of the “Project for a New American Century—” the worldview that has been directing US foreign policy since the NATO bombing and balkanization of Yugoslavia. They have no problem with fascists, as long as they are acting in their interests. As long as they are generating wealth for them. As one gangster in “The Godfather” says: “I always made money for my partners.” That is all that ultimately matters.

    The US wants to create a crisis in Russia where the oligarchs remove Putin, but right now he is too popular among the Russian people. Their ultimate aim is the breakup of Russia as a nation state – through war or regime change. Trump is not acting according to plan; he was not the candidate and program they picked for us.

    To side with either of these imperialists is to strengthen both of them. The ruling elite are preparing us for another war, and only we can stop it. The only redeeming factor in a Trump presidency was his attempts at rapprochement with the Russians — but the deep state will have none of that.

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  4. Johnnie

    The Providence Journal has not published my letter to the editor because they need to create and control the narrative, just as the WaPo and the NYT. They are all on the same page because these wars work for them, certainly not for the people of the world.
    They even have the impudence and audacity to lecture us about accepting the refugees from the wars they wage, at least the ones who are fortunate enough to survive. If you understand them, you know that they would sacrifice millions of people— including Americans— and never lose a night of sleep.

    I am reposting the letter because it needs to be read and understood.

    U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), who recently went on a fact finding trip to Syria, was repeatedly asked why the U.S. is supporting and arming terrorists groups. Every place she visited ordinary Syrians would say without hesitation that there are “no moderate rebels,” and would naively ask why the U.S. is destroying their country when they had nothing to do with 9/11.

    Rep. Gabbard has introduced a bill called the “Stop Arming Terrorists Act,” which would prohibit the U.S. from supporting terrorist groups with money, weapons and intelligence. To quote her: “If you or I gave money, weapons and support to al-Qaeda or ISIS, we would be thrown in jail.”

    Neoconservative ideologues and a bipartisan Washington consensus thinks it’s acceptable to spread “liberal democracy” through military force and regime change. By laying waste to countries, the U.S. has sought to strategically control populations and regions by the destruction and de facto partitioning of nation states. Their program is to weaken and destroy the central authority of the state through the “controlled chaos” of civil war, using proxy armies to foment and stoke the fires of ancient ethnic and religious rivalries. The U.S.-led imperialists plan to balkanize the countries of the Greater Middle East and rule them along tribal, religious and sectarian lines.

    And as they recruit, indoctrinate and unleash these fanatical salafists/jihadis abroad, many of whom have been reduced to savages, they quietly put into place a militarized security and surveillance state at home. To “keep us safe.”

    As an aside, you need to read Russia’s take on the firing of comrade Michael Flynn. It’s funny. But I must warn those fearless and intrepid reporters who give us the real news— it is only a joke.

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  5. Johnnie

    Chelsea Manning was tried and put into prison for leaking classified information, a felony. The spinmeisters and purveyors of fake news are choosing to ignore the fact that the “intelligence” community is leaking classified information all over Washington, not to ferret out wrongdoing but to influence government policy with respect to Russia. Releasing classified information is a crime, but the corporate press is unconcerned. No one elected the NSA and CIA to shape government policy; they are apparently working for someone other than the President and the American people. But this is of little concern to those who frame the debate and manipulate public opinion.

    If Michael Flynn did something illegal or untoward, there are channels to communicate this to the President and the duly elected representatives of the American people. But this is not about Michael Flynn, this is about the very lucrative business of preparing and fighting wars against phantom enemies for empire and world hegemony.

    I believe that Donald Trump will self-destruct. Those who voted for him will begin to understand what he is and what he represents and will join the opposition to his administration. He will be forced to resign by the American people. What is happening now is the “deep state” is trying to orchestrate a very public coup d’etat, in conjunction with the “free press” and mainstream media — just as they do all over the world.

    Half of the American electorate voted for Trump, and they cannot be dismissed as simply ignorant fools. The actions and policies of Donald Trump will soon bring them to an understanding of what he is and what his program is really about. And they will join us. A coup d’etat with the very sick warmongers in charge is the last thing we want to see.

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  6. Nesi’s Notes: Feb. 18 | WPRI 12 Eyewitness News

    […] foreign policy. Brown University’s Michael Kennedy made an interesting point, which he also wrote about on RIFuture: “Trump might have legal authority, but will lack the cultural authority to exercise […]

  7. Johnnie

    “we need to anticipate that moment when Trump might have legal authority, but will lack the cultural authority to exercise it.”

    A “crisis of legitimacy” is being manufactured, and it is in effect an attempted coup d’etat. It is very dangerous. This is not unlike what happened to Yatsenyuk in the Ukraine and Rouseff in Brazil.

    “Cultural authority” does not lie with the NY Times, the Washington Post and the mainstream media— who represent one-tenth of the one percent. The results of this past election demonstrates that the real legitimation crisis lies with the corporate press and the Washington establishment, both Republicans and Democrats. Trump won despite being alternately and incessantly slammed and mocked by both parties, and the mainstream media. Does anyone seriously believe that his social base, and those who voted for him, have deserted him after 30 days? For what? .

    The stock market has set new records with the Trump administration. Do you think the monied interests have a problem with Trump and the extremists and loonies surrounding him? So what is this legitimation crisis really about? When will we start speaking to that? This is about the neocons and their privatization, free-market, “liberal interventionist” program to remake the world in their pathological image and worldview. This is an attempt to commodify people and all social relations to the demands and dictates of a world market, with these neocon warmongers and psychopaths at the top. I guarantee you that the elite will have absolutely no problem with the Christian fascist Mike Pence when he assumes the Presidency.

    I say to the fools who are siding with these coup plotters: be careful what you wish for.

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  8. Johnnie

    Democrats, Liberals Catch McCarthyistic Fever : “What’s the point of an opposition when it’s even more irresponsible than the party in power?”

    Daniel Lazare brings some evidence, sanity and truth to the debate — not conjecture which feeds a political agenda.

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  9. Johnnie

    Trump and the crisis of the meritocracy:
    “In the United States, the result has been Trump. In Britain, the result was Brexit. In both cases, the allegedly elite — who are supposed to be cool, considered, and above the vulgar passions of the masses — went more or less crazy. From conspiracy theories (it was the Russians!) to bizarre escape fantasies (A Brexit vote redo! A military coup to oust Trump!) the cognitive elite suddenly didn’t seem especially elite, or for that matter particularly cognitive.

    In fact, while America was losing wars abroad and jobs at home, elites seemed focused on things that were, well, faintly ridiculous. As Richard Fernandez tweeted: “The elites lost their mojo by becoming absurd. It happened on the road between cultural appropriation and transgender bathrooms.”

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  10. The conflicts and contradictions shaping Trump’s Legitimation Crisis

    […] all contradictions accompanying President Trump’s governance magnify the legitimation crisis increasingly apparent. Some merely reinforce the cultural conflicts that were apparent during the […]

  11. Johnnie

    I sent this letter to The Journal as a challenge to the elite media to stop peddling fake news with respect to alleged Russian meddling in the US presidential election. Any child who understands how to Google can verify these statements by Assange and Murray.

    WikiLeaks Julian Assange has publicly stated that he can say with 1000 percent certainty that Russia was not the source of the leaked John Podesta and Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails, which exposed Hillary Clinton’s attempts to favorably rig the Democratic primary and gain access to the questions in the debates.

    Craig Murray, a former British ambassador and Assange confidant, has written: “I know who leaked them (the emails), and I’ve met the person who leaked them, and they are certainly not Russian, it’s a [DNC] insider. It’s not a hack; the two are different things”.

    Are we to believe that Julian Assange and Craig Murray, who obtained and posted the emails on Wikileaks, have been collaborating and covering for the Russians as they manipulated the U.S. electorate into voting for Donald Trump?

    If the DNC emails were indeed hacked and not leaked, and the Russians interfered in the presidential election — as the government contends — cybersecurity and CIA officials would have to know exactly when and where the hack originated from and what evidence led them to conclude it was Russia. The elite media and “journalists” continue to repeat this Russian hacking story without corroboration and despite the complete absence of names, places or any demonstrable evidence or facts.

    Cybersecurity sleuths Senators Whitehouse and Graham will soon be holding committee hearings on the alleged “election manipulation” by the Russians. I’m sure they will dispel any notions we may have that this is little more than U.S. warmongering and “fake news.”

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  12. Barry Schiller

    I can’t see how anyone can be so sure (as Johnnie is) about the Russian role in this story, we’ll probably never know for sure. Much is a redacted, supposedly on national security grounds, and all the players – Republicans, Democrats, Russians, ideologs, the security services, have reason to lie and cannot be trusted, and this includes Assange who acted in effect as an agent of the fossil fuel barons and religious zealots to undermine Clinton and help Trump get elected.

    That said, I find it plausible that Russian leaders would have preferred Trump, like him they are authoritarian types, are fully invested in oil and gas, are OK with homophobia, nationalism, and religion in government. Perhaps they should have been more careful in what they wished for.

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    1. PinkHatLib

      “Did the Russians Really Hack the DNC?”

      The fact that many of the techniques used in the hack resembled, in varying degrees, past attacks attributed to Russia may not necessarily carry as much significance as we are led to believe. Once malware is deployed, it tends to be picked up by cybercriminals and offered for sale or trade on Deep Web black markets, where anyone can purchase it. Exploit kits are especially popular sellers. Quite often, the code is modified for specific uses. Security specialist Josh Pitts demonstrated how easy that process can be, downloading and modifying nine samples of the OnionDuke malware, which is thought to have first originated with the Russian government. Pitts reports that this exercise demonstrates “how easy it is to repurpose nation-state code/malware.”

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    2. Johnnie

      @Barry: I’m sure of one thing, that the DNC emails Assange posted were leaked and not hacked. Should I believe the CIA, the government and the press — absent any proof, and where duplicity and manipulation is the currency— or should I believe the people who obtained the leaked emails and released them to the public on the Internet?

      The Russians, and all governments, hack information and spy on each other all the time. But that has nothing to do with this fake news story. This is a disinformation campaign put out by the US intelligence services who have an agenda. The mainstream media is so incredibly corrupt that none of them will even suggest that there may be more to this story, they simply keep repeating the bullshit. The same applies to the way the US portrays the putsch in the Ukraine and Russia’s relationship to it and the ongoing civil war. And the same applies to coverage of US wars and foreign policy around the world, little more than than lies from top to bottom.

      And Barry, don’t attempt to muddy the waters with your own bullshit. A child could see through it. Please PROVIDE A REFERENCE to this upfront outrageous lie: “Assange who acted in effect as an agent of the fossil fuel barons and religious zealots to undermine Clinton and help Trump get elected.”

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      1. PinkHatLib

        Yeah, that’s a strange comment, almost Orwellian in that it’s completely opposite the reality of where the oil interests lie.
        Trump’s decision to normalize relations with Moscow poses a direct threat to Washington’s broader imperial strategy to control China’s growth, topple Putin, spread military bases across Central Asia, implement trade agreements that maintain the dominant role of western-owned mega-corporations, and derail attempts by Russia and China to link the wealthy EU to Asia by expanding the web of pipeline corridors and high-speed rail that will draw the continents closer together creating the largest and most populous free trade zone the world has ever seen.

        This is what the US foreign policy establishment and, by inclusion, the Times are trying to avoid at all cost. The economic integration of Asia and Europe must be blocked to preserve Washington’s hegemonic grip on world power. That’s the whole deal in a nutshell.

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        1. Johnnie

          Mike Whitney @ Counterpunch gets it.

          But imperialist rivalries and contention extend all over the world, it’s not limited to integration along a new “Silk Road” from Asia to Europe. One example, China has plans to integrate their markets and connect the world by building an 8000 mi. high-speed rail line through Russia, which crosses the Bering Straits into Alaska and Canada and down into the US and South America (Google it). The stuff of science fiction; the technology is there. But I don’t see any of this happening unless China wins the next war, and the earth is still habitable, or capitalism is defeated and dismantled worldwide.

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  13. Barry Schiller

    Obviously Assange helped Trump get elected. Who benefits from that? Fossil fuel interests obviously, they get their pipelines, Federal permits, (the new Sec of Transportation has already blocked badly needed electrification of the Caltrain commuter rail leaving it with slower more expensive to operate higher-emitting diesels)…. Who else benefits? All the religious zealots who want to destroy as much access to birth control and abortion as possible. Who else benefits? Employers, polluters, bankers, the wealthy who can expect tax breaks, weaker regulations, weaker unions… Who else? Those that hate or resent immigrants. Assange (and all the others who enabled Trump to win by undermining Clinton) served all those interests. Regardless of where the leaked or hacked e-mails came from, the results they helped get are hurting so many people. I think Assange is no hero for decent people.

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  14. The impending Legitimation Crisis in Trump’s America

    […] months ago I marked the looming legitimation crisis in Trump’s America. I subsequently argued that not all contradictions accompanying President […]

  15. Not Even the Art of the Fool: Trump’s the Tsar’s Dupe – Riot Material

    […] have previously discussed first the looming and more recently the impending legitimation crisis facing Trump. His attacks on immigrants and […]

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