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Hiding in Plain Sight: The Invention of Donald Trump and the Erosion of…

de Sarah Kendzior

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
1696125,736 (4.18)8
"From New York Times bestselling author Sarah Kendzior comes the bitingly honest examination of the calculated rise to power of Donald Trump since the 1980s and the erosion of American liberty. The story of Donald Trump's rise to power is the story of a buried American history - buried because people in power liked it that way. It was visible without being seen, influential without being named, ubiquitous without being overt. Sarah Kendzior's Hiding in Plain Sight pulls back the veil on a history spanning decades, a history of an American autocrat in the making. In doing so, she reveals the inherent fragility of American democracy - how our continual loss of freedom, the rise of consolidated corruption, and the secrets behind a burgeoning autocratic United States have been hiding in plain sight for decades. In Kendzior's signature and celebrated style, she expertly outlines Trump's meteoric rise from the 1980s until today, interlinking key moments of his life with the degradation of the American political system and the continual erosion of our civil liberties by foreign powers. Kendzior also offers a never-before-seen look at her lifelong tendency to be in the wrong place at the wrong time - living in New York through 9/11 and in St. Louis during the Ferguson uprising, and researching media and authoritarianism when Trump emerged using the same tactics as the post-Soviet dictatorships she had long studied. It is a terrible feeling to sense a threat coming, but it is worse when we let apathy, doubt, and fear prevent us from preparing ourselves. Hiding in Plain Sight confronts the injustice we have too long ignored because the truth is the only way forward"--… (més)
2020 (9)
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» Mira també 8 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 6 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Depressing as shit. I'm Canadian and I can only wonder how much of this is going on in our country as well. Kendzior lays out the (already long-documented!) evidence really clearly, decade by decade, for Trump's organized crime ties while sharing her own life experiences of autocracies and family. Her central thesis is that the USA is/was experiencing it's first autocratic/kleptocratic government and it remains to be seen if all the work Trump did dismantling the government can ever be repaired. Through no fault of the author's own, the book becomes repetitive towards the end because the crimes simply repeat themselves; the same names appear again and again. In hindsight, from 2021, it can only make my heart ache how many times there were opportunities for someone to say something, do something, and didn't. We continue to live that reality of cowardice and greed and fear (much of it justified).

Those who have no interest/belief in "the Russian conspiracy" will not like this book and likely accuse it of having "an agenda", as if there is such a thing as unbiased reporting. There are a mountain of notes and citations, read them and draw your own conclusions. However, if you were lukewarm in favour of Trump, disappointed by his tenure as President, too young to have been paying attention to US news in the 80s-00s, or believe he was a entrepreneur businessman just in over his head, this book will definitely be enlightening. Reading level is high level high school. ( )
  collingsruth | Mar 31, 2021 |
A lot of (good) rhetoric but not a lot of facts per page about American corruption and its (I hope) apotheosis in Donald Trump. Her editorials and her earlier book, The View from Flyover Country, would be better reads in terms of forcing us to confront harsh truths about the criminals who have flourished over the past few decades. ( )
  rivkat | Mar 29, 2021 |
You are welcome to take this review with a grain of salt. It could easily be argued that this book was not intended for me. I would argue it was aimed at people who have not been following the author's writings and talks fairly religiously for the past four or five years -- as I have been doing. What I learned new in this book was more about personal things about the author's life, not about what she believes and why she believes it. No, this book is more a rally-the-troops book for those already leaning her direction. It is decidedly not the best book for learning the base points she makes. I would point to Jane Meyer's Dark Money or Timothy Snyder's The Road to Unfreedom, for much more comprehensive and thorough insights into the main points the author emphasizes in this book. Even Steven Levitsky's and Daniel Ziblatt's book, How Democracy Dies is a better choice in my opinion. This not to say reading it was a waste of time for me or that it would be for anyone else. It's just not a "Why we're here" book, but more a "What are we going to do about it" book, even if quite a few of us still don't quite grasp where we are or how we got here, making it a problem much more difficult to solve. ( )
  larryerick | Jan 30, 2021 |
The author of this book is a scholar of authoritarian regimes who lives in Middle America (St. Louis). In this book, she details the changes that have occurred in America over her lifetime, from the 1980's to the present day, which led to the election of Trump. Her primary thesis is that the Russian Mafia has taken over and that American democracy has been severely eroded. She details the corruption and abuses of power that occur daily with no consequences (and have been occurring for years). In the author's view, Trump's admiration of Russia is not mere circumstantial behavior, but hides a long dark money trail of reliance on oligarchs and mobsters. She views Trump as part of an illicit network of individuals from Russia, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the UK who are loyal to no country, only to themselves and their money. She states: "It would be bad enough had Trump merely emerged as a bigoted demagogue, but add long-standing ties to a transnational crime syndicate affiliated with the Kremlin and one ends up with a human road map to an American kleptocracy."

The book is full of facts to support her underlying arguments. Bill Barr features prominently (i.e. securing pardons for those convicted in the Iran Contra deal), even though the book was written before some of his more recent controversial actions. Relationships among many of the members of the Trump administration and family members are also detailed--these people are all interconnected in ways that are not entirely above-board.

The book ends with the question: How do we continue to allow a president to commit impeachable offenses on a weekly basis? It's even worse now, with covid, and Trump's overt and despicable attempts to suppress the vote and steal the election by destroying the Post Office. I, for one, am terrified by what may happen in November.

3 stars ( )
  arubabookwoman | Aug 23, 2020 |
In HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT, Sarah Kedzior frequently mentions the plan of those trying to destroy our democracy is “Strip America down and sell it for its parts.” While she doesn’t present examples, they are obvious to anyone following the actions of the Trump administration including selling mining rights on public, protected land to destroying the United States Postal Service because he fears mail-in voting will hurt his chance of reelection.
The book, divided by decades and the Trump years, points out that the political problems that the US is facing today have been around for decades. Those who were intent on destroying our democracy have been carefully laying the groundwork towards accomplishing their goal of creating an autocracy. In the eyes of autocrats and plutocrats, the future is not a right but a commodity . “The last four decades have led to the hoarding of Resources on a heretofore unimaginable scale by people who have neither baseline respect or human life nor a traditional sense of the future.”
The income gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else has exploded since 1980. Worker productivity continued to rise 70.3% from 1979-2017 but wages fell 11.1% since the early 1980s because of union busting and changes to laws that greatly reduce the percentage of income taxed. With the additional available funds that people could accumulate, the wealthy bought personal goods and influence. In politics, elections became more expensive. The Supreme Court decision on Citizens United allowed organizations to donate money to candidates in unlimited amounts from people and companies that did not have to disclose the donors. Money from foreign countries also entered the stream.
Trump’s relationship with Russia began in the 1980s. Sarah Kendzior exposes the various steps taken during those crucial years. The actions were not hidden. The media, who Trump calls fake and his enemy, were key players. In 2016, they gave him more attention to him and his activities than they did to Hillary Clinton. His rallies were broadcast, as were his speeches. The lies were never questioned. In fact, it is just recently, in late summer 2020, that journalists are willing to expose them during his conferences. As a result, he is walking out of them.
In 1987, he took out full page ads condemning US policies. That October he called America a failure. Newsweek ran a story on his Presidential ambitions saying “He’d love to be president, but only if he were appointed.“ In early 2014, on a Fox interview, Trump defended Russia. He said, “When the economy crashes, when the country goes to total hell, and everything is a disaster. Then you’ll have...riots to go back to where we used to be when we were great .” Welcome to 2020!
Under the Trump administration, the three separate but equal branches of government have been seriously damaged. Earlier, GOP gerrymandering allowed them to take control of the House of Representatives. The Senate, under Mitch McConnell, has done everything it could to block any compromise. (This started decades ago with the Tea Party movement.) Now, GOP members who didn’t support Trump before he won the nomination vote for anything and anyone he wants almost all the time. With the acquiescence of the Senate, the federal courts have been packed with conservatives, many of whom are extremely to the right and several who have been deemed “unqualified” by the ABA.
Kendzior calls the Mueller investigation “timid and plodding” and blames the “cowardice” of Congress that refused to act upon his findings. She does not mention that the House impeached him but the GOP Senate, headed by McConnell refused to follow through. She believes that impeachment should have started earlier, as early as 2017 because of issues that weren’t part of the probe (e.g., emoluments violations, abuse of migrants, abuse of pardon power) and quotes Nancy Pelosi as saying “Not worth it.” She doesn’t explain Pelosi’s reasoning.
During the Bush & Obama eras, two former heads of the FBI, William Sessions and Louis Freeh, began working as attorneys for the Russian mafia they used to fight. According to other reports, they were sent there to work together to fight organized crime that spread from Russia to the US.
This could have been an outstanding political assessment, but Kendzior, who used to write for Al Jazerra, has one major problem: She blames the problems on Russia, the Ukraine, and Israel. She notes that “Hostile states used digital technology not only to attack their own citizens but to attempt to transform foreign democracies into dictatorships.” China is not mentioned.
Referring to 2014, she equates “the Syrian war, the rise of ISIS, Ebola, Russia invading and annexing Crimea, the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370, the shooting down of a passenger airliner in Ukraine by Russia, the kidnapping of girls by Boko Haram in Nigeria, and the Israeli massacres of Palestinian citizens in Gaza.” She doesn’t mention the thousands of rockets and missiles lobbed from Gaza to innocent Israeli citizens from civilian areas which finally forced Israel to respond to protect its citizens.
When Jews were permitted to leave Russia, many went to Israel under the Law of Return which grants every Jew the right to move to Israel and become a citizen. (In Russia, previously, Jews were not allowed to practice their religion.) According to Kendzior, some the those who managed to escape were associated with the “transnational criminal networks.” They quickly left Israel and came to the US, determined to destroy our democracy. Her antagonism goes beyond Israel, however, almost every time she mentions a person, including Americans, who are Jewish, she indicates that either by saying it directly or pointing out a Jewish organization, including synagogues, with whom they are associated. She does this with no other people. She equates the NRA, which has worked hard to get military weapons into the hands of American civilians, to AIPAC, which lobbies to support the interests of Israel, an American ally.
Near the end of the book, she voices concern over the lose of freedom and the rise of anti-Semitism in Hungary
Because of this, I must give this book a low rating. ( )
  Judiex | Aug 13, 2020 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 6 (següent | mostra-les totes)
A chilling account of how the media, government, and public have failed to hold Trump accountable, and how this has significantly impacted U.S. democracy. Recommended for readers curious about the intersection of politics and media.
afegit per Lemeritus | editaLibrary Journal, Rebekah Mar 13 Kati (Web de pagament) (Mar 13, 2020)
 
A scathing indictment of Donald Trump ... A passionate call for immediate action against the 'transnational crime syndicate' that has supplanted the U.S.
afegit per Lemeritus | editaKirkus Reviews (Jan 5, 2020)
 
Political junkies will be familiar with much of Kendzior’s claims, but she offers a few surprises and many valuable insights into the president’s psychological motivations and methods of manipulation. This comprehensive, page-turning account presents a stark and uncompromising indictment of the Trump presidency as the culmination of a 'decades-long erosion of American stability, integrity, and democracy.'
afegit per Lemeritus | editaPublishers Weekly (Dec 23, 2019)
 
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Introduction: The story of Donald Trump's rise to power is the story of a buried American history - buried because powerful people liked it that way.
Chapter 1: I live in Missouri, a state in the center of America, a state that sits halfway down the Mississippi River and whose northern border parallels the Mason-Dixon line.
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The Trump administration is like a reality show featuring villains from every major political scandal of the past forty years—Watergate, Iran-Contra, 9/11, the Iraq War, the 2008 financial collapse—in recurring roles and revivals, despite the widespread desire of the public for the show to be canceled. From Roger Stone to Paul Manafort to William Barr, it is a Celebrity Apprentice of federal felons and disgraced operatives dragged out of the shadows and thrust back into the spotlight—with Donald Trump, yet again, at the helm. The crises of political corruption, organized crime, and endemic racism are all connected, and they shape everyday American life. But in addition to these structural problems, we contend with specific powerful individuals who have acted against the public good for their entire careers. We see the same old men, again and again, vampires feeding on a nation and draining the lifeblood from words like “treason” and “trauma” and “tragedy.” They are buffered by backers who prefer to operate in silence, free from the consequences of scrutiny. There is a reason they call it a criminal underground: you walk over it every day, unaware it exists until the earth shakes below your feet. In the eyes of autocrats and plutocrats, the future is not a right but a commodity. As climate change brings unparalleled crises, the future becomes a rare asset, meant to be hoarded like diamonds or gold. To millionaire elites, many of whom already had an apocalyptic bent, a depopulated world is not a tragedy but an opportunity—and certainly easier to manage as they insulate themselves from the ravages of a literally scorched earth. The last four decades have led to the hoarding of resources on a heretofore unimaginable scale by people who have neither baseline respect for human life nor a traditional sense of the future. Their destructive actions have programmed a desperate generation to settle for scraps instead of settling the score.
His desire to dismantle democracy was out in the open. He did not bother to hide his goals because he knew few believed he could achieve them. That sort of thing does not happen here, commentators scoffed, citing checks and balances and centuries of democratic stability. American exceptionalism—the widespread belief that America is unique among nations and impervious to autocracy—is the delusion that paved Trump’s path to victory. The only honest line of Trump’s campaign was that America was broken. Trump would know: he helped break it, and now he and his backers sought to capitalize off the wreckage.
Once an autocrat gets into office, it is very hard to get them out. They will disregard term limits, they will purge the agencies that enforce accountability, they will rewrite the law so that they are no longer breaking it. They will take your money, they will steal your freedom, and if they are clever, they will eliminate any structural protections you had before the majority realizes the extent of the damage.
Trump is part of a complex illicit network including individuals from Russia, Saudi Arabia, Israel, the United Kingdom, the United States, and more—some of whom do not have loyalty to any particular country. Their loyalty is to themselves and their money. Many are criminals without borders who have moved from hijacking businesses to hijacking nations. Some call them fascists; I avoid this term because being a fascist requires an allegiance to the state. To these operatives, the state is just something to sell.
The election of the first anti-American president was caused neither by electoral whim nor by the good fortune of a charismatic madman. His rise was made possible by a coterie of criminals who do not want to be punished but delight in being caught. Flaunting their criminal impunity is part of the thrill. Their belief that they would never be held accountable is logical since they had never faced serious consequences despite spending decades committing illegal acts. In fact, they had reaped ample rewards. Now, finally, they had the greatest reward of all: the power to rewrite law itself.
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"From New York Times bestselling author Sarah Kendzior comes the bitingly honest examination of the calculated rise to power of Donald Trump since the 1980s and the erosion of American liberty. The story of Donald Trump's rise to power is the story of a buried American history - buried because people in power liked it that way. It was visible without being seen, influential without being named, ubiquitous without being overt. Sarah Kendzior's Hiding in Plain Sight pulls back the veil on a history spanning decades, a history of an American autocrat in the making. In doing so, she reveals the inherent fragility of American democracy - how our continual loss of freedom, the rise of consolidated corruption, and the secrets behind a burgeoning autocratic United States have been hiding in plain sight for decades. In Kendzior's signature and celebrated style, she expertly outlines Trump's meteoric rise from the 1980s until today, interlinking key moments of his life with the degradation of the American political system and the continual erosion of our civil liberties by foreign powers. Kendzior also offers a never-before-seen look at her lifelong tendency to be in the wrong place at the wrong time - living in New York through 9/11 and in St. Louis during the Ferguson uprising, and researching media and authoritarianism when Trump emerged using the same tactics as the post-Soviet dictatorships she had long studied. It is a terrible feeling to sense a threat coming, but it is worse when we let apathy, doubt, and fear prevent us from preparing ourselves. Hiding in Plain Sight confronts the injustice we have too long ignored because the truth is the only way forward"--

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