Democratic institutions under assault on both sides of the Atlantic

London and Washington

Unelected British Tory Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s move to prorogue Parliament, a decision that received pro forma royal assent from Queen Elizabeth II, is the first such move since King Charles I shut down Parliament in 1629. Charles’s army prevented MPs from entering Parliament. Charles ruled Britain without the legislature for a little over a decade, in what is known as the “11 Years’ Tyranny” or Charles’s “Personal Rule.” Eventually Charles was overthrown by the forces of Oliver Cromwell, who seized power from the monarchy after a bloody civil war ensued between Cromwell’s Roundheads and Charles’s Cavaliers. Cromwell proceeded to end the monarchy and declare a republic over England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.

Johnson decided to suspend parliament to eliminate legislative hindrance of his plan to force a “no-deal Brexit,” a unilateral British withdrawal from the European Union on October 31, 2019 without any advance agreements with Brussels. Johnson’s suspension of Parliament will last until October 14, when there will only be two weeks before the United Kingdom is no longer an EU member. That means the re-imposition of a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland

Donald Trump: It’s more than obvious that we are all living with a dementia sufferer

Washington

Anyone who has ever cared for a relative or a close friend suffering from dementia is well aware of the effects of this debilitating disease. Living with a dementia sufferer is as bad, if not worse, for the care giver as it is for the person afflicted. Obsessive compulsiveness, irrational outbursts such as inappropriate laughing, crying or yelling, insensitive bigoted comments, and voicing strange ideas are only a part of a dementia patient’s overall symptoms.

In actuality, every person on the planet within range of a television broadcast is living with a dementia patient. Anyone within earshot of a speech or comment by Donald Trump is witnessing the effects of dementia. And, for Trump, the symptoms are progressively becoming more frequent and severe. When the 25th Amendment to the Constitution was enacted in 1967, there was not very much known about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In those days, an elder who became feeble-minded was called “senile.” Enough was known about senility and mental disability for the framers of the 25th Amendment to include any form of incapacitation of the president — mental, as well as physical — as ample reason for the vice president to replace him …

Trump’s Nazi roots: the bitter truth

Queens, NY

Donald Trump has torn families apart at border crossings and sent children to caged internment camps with squalid living conditions. He has also expressed a desire to round up homeless people and dispatch them to guarded government facilities. This American with parents who were directly threatened by the scourge of Nazism and fascism does not need anyone defining life in an increasingly fascist state. We are living in one.

Trump has expressed admiration for Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini. He kept a book of Adolf Hitler’s speeches on his bed stand. Trump openly praised violent torch-bearing Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia as “fine people” and he has proudly stood by some of the world’s worst dictators. It would not be fair to liken Trump’s gangsterism to such outlaws as Al Capone. Capone opened up food kitchens in Chicago during the Great Depression and fed unemployed workers on his own dime. Meanwhile, in New York, Trump’s racist father, Fred Trump, Sr., had other interests, including membership in the Queens chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.

Also active in the New York-New Jersey region was the German American Bund or Amerikadeutscher Bund, an organization that supported …

Daddy Dearest: the weirdness of Donald Barr, the father of Trump’s mob lawyer Attorney General

Washington

Attorney General William Barr — who this editor’s former colleague, the late New York Times columnist William Safire called “Captain Cover-up” in his first term as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer — is in the news regarding his criminal conspiracy involving Donald Trump, Rudolph Giuliani, and Ukraine. It is highly relevant that the activities of Barr’s father, Donald Barr, a former Office of Strategic Services (OSS) officer during World War II and the headmaster of the Dalton School, be closely examined. Understanding the senior Barr, who was influential in hiring the late convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein as a teacher, may explain the actions of his scion in one of the worst constitutional crises to hit the United States since Watergate. Don Barr’s 1973 attempt at writing a science fiction novel, “Space Relations: A Slightly Gothic Interplanetary Tale,” hardly vaulted him into the company of such sci-fi luminaries as Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, or Frank Herbert.

In fact, a reading of the book indicates that Barr used the occasion to vent, through fiction, some of his own weird sexual peccadillos. Aside from this, Barr also conveys an admiration for …

The Dementia of Donald Trump

More and more informed observers in Washington, DC are beginning to take note of Donald Trump’s often inane comments. On two recent separate occasions, the 72-year-old Trump insisted that his father was born in Germany, which is not true according to New York state birth records. Trump’s father, Fred Trump, was born in The Bronx in 1905.

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Trump told visiting NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at a White House press gathering, “My father is German. Right. Was German. And born in a very wonderful place in Germany and so I have a great feeling for Germany.”

Trump’s insistence that his father was born in Germany was not the first error Trump has conveyed about his father’s birth status. In his book, “The Art of the Deal,” Trump wrote that his grandfather, Friedrich Trump, “came here from Sweden as a child.”  It was Trump’s grandfather who was born in Germany, specifically in Kallstadt in the then-Kingdom of Bavaria, in 1869. After an early career running restaurants and brothels in the Seattle area and Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory, Trump’s grandfather eventually landed in

The Rise of Trump’s Fourth Reich

Donald Trump’s “horse whisperer,” Steve Bannon, has traveled the speaking circuit throughout Europe, pushing for an alliance of far-right wing parties he calls “The Movement.” The idea for a “Fascist International” is nothing new. Central Intelligence Agency archives contain multiple references to a resurgent Nazi dream, cultivated in the rubble of World War II, to create a “European Reich” stretching from “Dublin to Vladivostok.” This Fourth Reich, unlike the Third Reich, was to be a corporate-controlled supranational entity.

The Third Reich would have never risen had it not been for the cult of personality wrapped around Germany Fuhrer Adolf Hitler. Thanks to Bannon’s relationship with Trump, the framing of Trump’s cult of personality as a unifying factor is how the former Trump campaign manager and White House strategist is attracting European far-right leaders and rank-and-file members to his “Movement.”

What is not known, at this point in time, is whether the CIA, under Trump appointee Gina Haspel, is actively or passively assisting Bannon and key European far-right figures in establishing The Movement The CIA has a rich history of assisting Nazi officials in escaping from Europe after World War II. It also helped nurture neo-Nazi groups in Europe and Latin …