fascist madness

Trump installs ex-general and anti-Islam bigot in top Pentagon post
Patrick Martin, WSWS, Aug 4 2020

In an action that combines authoritarian contempt for Congress and a direct appeal to racist and fascist sentiments, President Trump has installed retired Army General Anthony Tata in a top policy-making position in the Pentagon. Trump took the action after Tata withdrew his name Sunday from consideration for the post of Under-Sec Def for Policy, the #3 position in the DoD. Tata withdrew following the cancellation (with only an hour’s notice) of a Jul 30 confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. According to the Pentagon announcement:

General Tata has been designated as the Boxtop Performing the Duties of the Deputy Under-Sec Def for Policy, reporting to the Acting Under-Sec Def for Policy, Dr James Anderson.

Anderson had been named as a temporary fill-in for the post after the previous Under-Sec, John Rood, was forced out for opposing Trump’s action in withholding military aid to Ukraine, the decision that led to his impeachment last December. Under the thoroughly anti-democratic procedure employed by the White House with increasing frequency, when the Senate declines to confirm his nominee, Trump simply appoints the person to fill the position of top deputy to the vacant post, and the new “acting” deputy becomes a temporary replacement filling the vacancy more or less indefinitely. Trump applied the same technique last fall when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opposed the nomination of former Virginia state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for the #2 position in the DHS. Cuccinelli is now the Acting Deputy, serving under the Acting Sec, Chad Wolf, meaning that the huge department, with more than 240k employees, is entirely run by Trump nominees who have not been confirmed by the Senate.

Tata, former planning director of the 82nd Airborne Division and later deputy commander of the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan, was forced to retire as a brigadier general in 2009 after an investigation into allegations of adultery (considered a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice). He went on to hold several high-level positions in the Thug-run state government of North Carolina. His nomination for Pentagon policy chief was called into question after his record of Islamophobic remarks on Twitter came to light. Among other things, in tweets posted in 2018, Tata called Obama a “terrorist leader” and a Muslim who “did more to help Islamic countries than any president in history.” He also described Islam as the “most oppressive violent religion I know of.” A political supporter of President Trump, Tata was a regular commentator on Fox News before taking a position with the Pentagon as a senior adviser to Sec Def Esper. He at one point accused former DCI Brennan of having issued a coded order for the assassination of Trump, and urged Brennan to commit suicide rather than be prosecuted for treason. After Demagogs on the Senate Armed Service Committee called on Tata to withdraw, a Pentagon spox issued a disclaimer, saying:

The general himself has stated that he does not believe or support the comments he made. He issued a letter to the committee retracting those statements.

Tata’s letter dismissed his attacks on Obama and Islam as a “few misstatements,” which, “while grievous, are not indicative of who I am.” He deleted the remarks only after his nomination to the top Pentagon job led the media to dig up his social media history. Senator Jack Reed, a former paratrooper who is the ranking Democrat on the Armed Service Committee, condemned Trump’s appointment maneuver for undermining the military, saying:

The President’s goal is to hollow out, politicize and undermine the Pentagon the way he has the State Dept and Intelligence Community. This is an offensive, destabilizing move, an insult to our troops, professionals at the Pentagon, the Senate, and the Pindo sheeple. Clearly, President Trump wants people who will swear allegiance to him over the Constitution.

The other Demagogs on the committee (Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Mazie Hirono, Richard Blumenthal and Gary Peters) all backed Reed in opposing the nomination. Besides the Demagogs, at least two committee Thugs, Joni Ernst of Iowa and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, had indicated they were likely to oppose Tata’s confirmation. The installation of General Tata is part of a larger process in which Trump is seeking to fill positions in the national security apparatus with fascist-minded individuals completely loyal to him personally, while removing anyone with ties either to previous administrations or to his own former Sec Def, Gen (Retd) ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis. Four top Pentagon boxtops announced in late June that they were leaving the administration, including the two top technology boxtops, Michael Griffin and Lisa Porter, the top foreign policy boxtop, Kathryn Wheelbarger, and the acting comptroller, Elaine McCusker. Previous departures, according to an account in the NYT, included Esper’s CoS, Eric Chewning; Randall Schriver, ASD for Indo-Pacific affairs; and two Secs of the Navy, Thomas Modly and Richard Spencer. Trump has also installed an ultra-right figure, film-maker Michael Pack, a long-time associate of former Trump counselor Stephen Bannon, as head of the Pindo Agency for Global Media, which oversees VoA. Pack carried out a full-scale purge of all the agencies that broadcast Pindo government propaganda to the world, installing ultra-right figures loyal to Trump. VoA Director Amanda Bennett and Deputy Director Sandy Sugawara announced their resignations after Pack took over. He then dismissed the heads of Radio Free Asia, RFE/RL, Middle East Broadcasting Networks, the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, and the Open Technology Fund. Trump appointed another former Bannon associate, Sebastian Gorka, for a four-year term on the National Security Education Board, which oversees a program aimed at training Pindo citizens in foreign languages useful for the pursuit of the foreign policy interests of Pindo imperialism.

‘An insult to Muslims’: Rights group denounces Trump’s pick for top Pentagon post
Middle East Eye, Aug 3 2020

A leading Muslim rights group has called for the dismissal of a senior Pentagon official who reportedly has a history of making and promoting anti-Muslim comments on social media. The Senate Armed Services Committee abruptly cancelled a hearing on Anthony Tata’s nomination to be undersecretary of defence for policy at the Pentagon on Thursday, after senators and civil rights groups raised serious questions about his past record of anti-Muslim and anti-Black comments. On Sunday, Trump installed Tata into the position on a temporary basis without congressional approval. Senator Jack Reed, the Senate Armed Services Committee’s top Demagog, criticised the appointment, saying:

This is an insult to our troops, professionals at the Pentagon, the Senate, and the Pindo sheeple. If President Trump’s goal is to hollow out, politicise and undermine the Pentagon the way he has the State Department and intelligence community, then mission accomplished. This is an offensive, destabilising move.

Adam Smith, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, also slammed the decision, accusing Trump of evading congressional scrutiny. Smith said in a statement:

If an appointee cannot gain the support of the Senate, as is clearly the case with Tata, then the president should not put that person into an identical temporary role.

Tata has been widely criticised for his past comments, including remarks directed at Obama, whom he accused of secretly being Muslim and a “terrorist leader.” Rights groups had strongly opposed his nomination, with a coalition of more than 50 civil rights, faith, education and labour groups coming out in June against “his long record of bigotry.” In terms of anti-Muslim rhetoric, Tata, a retired army brigadier general, had also said that Islam was the “most oppressive violent religion” he knows of, and has written books invoking “Islamic gang rape” of white women, the groups noted. Tata has repeatedly attacked Black public figures with racial and religious epithets, such as calling Congresswoman Maxine Waters a “race-baiting racist” for her defence of Rodney King, who was severely beaten by police in 1991, sparking massive nationwide protests. As Wake County superintendent, Tata pushed for schools to be resegregated, with rights groups during his tenure accusing him of discrimination against Latino and disabled students. Muslim Advocates’ Public Advocacy Director Scott Simpson said in a news release on Monday:

Anthony Tata must resign. A position of leadership for him is an insult to Muslims, to Black people, to Latinos, to the military and to us all. He risks turning the Pentagon into a nest of dangerous conspiracy theories and partisan witch hunts. He should have no place in government, whether as ‘the official performing the duties of the deputy undersecretary of defence for policy’ or in any other position. No less than the credibility and safety of the military and the nation are at stake.

The Trump administration has on several occasions hired or attempted to hire officials who have made wildly anti-Muslim statements in the past.

In May, Mark Kevin Lloyd was appointed as USAID’s religious freedom adviser, despite having a history of making and promoting anti-Muslim comments on social media. Lloyd in two different tweets, made weeks apart in 2016, called Islam “a barbaric cult” and said that it was “violent in its doctrine and practice.” He also shared a meme on Facebook suggesting that people should be forced to eat bacon before being allowed to buy guns and said “those who understand Islam for what it is are gearing up for the fight.” Despite outrage by rights groups, Lloyd has kept his position at the agency.

Kayleigh McEnany, who became Trump’s latest press secretary in April, also has a history of defending anti-Muslim rhetoric. In 2014, McEnany sat on a Fox Business panel next to Gavin McInnes, the co-founder of the white nationalist group Proud Boys, appearing to support his claims that Muslims are “totally irrational” and genetically inferior because of “inbreeding.” She wrote on Twitter in 2016:

She didn’t mention that the Iraqi Christian population had dwindled largely due to sectarian violence and civil unrest ushered in by Bush 43’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. She said in 2014:

Pindo foreign policy has done a lot of good for the Muslim people. I think Bush 43 liberated 15m Muslims from the hands of dictators.

At the time, Robert McCaw, government affairs director for CAIR, told Middle East Eye:

Trump turns a blind eye when it comes to bigotry, particularly anti-Muslim hatred. Anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant hatred is not a disqualifier to serve in the Trump administration. In fact, it represents its twisted values.

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