Alexander Bisley

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Trump Adviser Stephen Miller is one of the true ideologues of the Administration, a dweeb eager to encourage a demagogue’s worst impulses.

In a 2016 Politico profile by Julie Ioffe, Miller said of his liberal high school that “a number of students lacked basic English skills,” and commented about his alma mater Duke that “many professors had radical beliefs and engaged in outrageous behavior.”

Now he’s the willing marionette of an Administration in which most seem to lack basic English skills, have radical beliefs and engage in outrageous behavior–a Pinocchio to Gestapo-ish Geppettos.

What’s worst about the bald-faced lies he offers on TV news shows as he did over the weekend is they’re meant to confer upon the occupant of the Oval Office an unimpeachable authoritarian status. The President’s powers here are beyond question,” he commented in immigration on ABC’s This Week, trying to cut a path for the Simon Cowell-ish strongman to do what he pleases with no dissent brooked.

In a smart Vox interview conducted by Alexander Bisley, Garry Kasparov reminds that the “U.S. President shouldn’t need to speak like a tyrant.” He also offers tips on how to stop the birth of dictatorship in America based on Russia’s descent under Putin. An excerpt:

Alexander Bisley:

What can Trump opponents do?

Garry Kasparov:

You have to reinforce the institutions, steadily and legally, and work through them. If you go too far, and react violently, it will only play into the hands of the Trump administration, which is already portraying all opposition as paid agitators and other ridiculousness straight from Putin’s playbook. When I talk about these things on Twitter or Facebook, I immediately receive a bunch of “Here too!” responses from people living in other authoritarian regimes, from Venezuela to Vietnam.

Riots will only frighten the “moderate middle” you will need as allies sooner or later. If Trump convinces them with lies that the opposition is controlled by dangerous thugs, you’re going to have eight years of Trump and another of his kind to follow. Stick to the facts, repeat them boldly and frequently, so his supporters see the would-be emperor has no bathrobe!

The courts are important, but things won’t really change unless enough Republicans start to see Trump as a liability to their fundraising and reelection chances. That could be quite soon if he can’t fulfill his many campaign promises. Making him look like a loser is crucial. Either the GOP will turn on him or he will be chastened and more likely to compromise. If a demagogue succeeds in claiming credit for wins and scapegoating his enemies for losses, he’s very hard to stop.

Trump will continue to push the limits, to find the cracks in the system that constrains him. America is finding out the hard way that much of its government is based on tradition and the honor system, and not explicit laws. There will be a crisis every day.

Everyone must do what they can themselves and not wait for others to act. If you want change, you have to initiate action, even at a personal level that might seem insignificant. As the motto of Soviet dissidents went: “Do what you must, and so be it.”•

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It was a galling affront, even unfathomable, to Garry Kasparov when it was said that machines would one day conquer humans in chess. As World Champion, he considered it his responsibility to protect the species from this indignity. He was shocked when he failed.

I wonder if the retired Russian grandmaster is even more stunned about the recent global turn of events, as numerous countries have tried to retreat from globalization, reviving the natavistic, xenophobic and isolationist tendencies associated with the dark forces of World War II and the Cold War, though this time the reliably noble are also in retreat, as is liberal democracy itself. Russia has returned to autocracy and the U.S. may not be too far behind. And the Kremlin, with hacks and leaks, had a hand in that latter outcome.

In an excellent Playboy interview conducted by Alexander Bisley, Kasparov speaks about the ghosts of yesterday’s politics now haunting the twenty-first century, saying, “The past always returns in one form or another. There are periods in which the past even becomes the dominating factor in the present. Right now we are going through a moment like that because we don’t have a vision for the future.” He also discusses what he believes will happen to Russia at the time of Putin’s inevitable fall from power.

The opening:


After Trump’s election, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a state-run news agency that “there were contacts” with the Trump team, saying “Obviously, we know most of the people from his entourage.” Do you believe Russia is responsible for Trump’s election?

Garry Kasparov:

The whole story of the rise of Donald Trump is extraordinary. Putin believes that if you’re strong enough and if your opponent is not responding, you can go as far as you want. For Putin, who’s always looking for an opportunity to show his strength and militancy, attacking the American political system was the highest prize of all. Now, President Barack Obama is very much reaping the harvest of his weak foreign policy because Russia tried to demonstrate its political might by attacking the very foundation of American democracy. It’s a fact that Russia definitely helped Donald Trump to be elected by revealing all these emails that were hacked, stolen from John Podesta and the DNC. Maybe Russia went even beyond that.


Extraordinarily, the NSA Director Michael Rogers said that there was “a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.”

Garry Kasparov:

I agree that’s extraordinary. You have one of the top security chiefs of the United States pointing at Russia. Clearly it’s Russia. If this is correct, that means it comes as close as one can imagine to a declaration of war. The very mechanism of American democracy—the foundation of power—was in danger by interference of a hostile foreign power. And what did Obama do? Nothing.


Shouldn’t this be a bipartisan national security issue?

Garry Kasparov:

I’m surprised Chuck Schumer isn’t demanding a full-scale congressional investigation. Where are the Democrats?•

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