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Saturday, January 21, 2017

A Tale of Two Bibles, or: What is that other book Trump is swearing on?

Donald J. Trump took the oath of office yesterday on two Bibles: one the Bible given to him by his mother, the other the one Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office on in 1861.
But on the basis of his subsequent Inaugural Speech, could it be that he took along the only book he is known to have kept in his bedside cabinet?

For too long, a small group in our nation's capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth.
Politicians prospered, but the jobs left, and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation's capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
All the promises made by the men of November 1918 proved to be, if not acts of intentional deception, then no less damnable illusions. The “achievements of the Revolution” were, taken in their entirety, agreeable for only the smallest of fractions of our Volk, but for the overwhelming majority, at least insofar as these people were forced to earn their daily bread by honest work, they were infinitely sad. It is understandable that the survival instinct of those parties and men guilty of this development invents a thousand euphemisms and excuses. An objective comparison of the average outcome of the last fourteen years with the promises once proclaimed is a crushing indictment of the responsible architects of this crime unparalleled in German history.
Jan. 20, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. Now…[the National Government] has eliminated the powers which have been ruling since November 1918 within a few short weeks and, by means of a revolution, transferred public authority to the hands of the National Government. On March 5, the German Volk gave its approval to this action.
Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge; and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.
This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.
In the course of the past fourteen years, our Volk has suffered deterioration in all sectors of life, which could inconceivably have been greater. The question as to what, if anything, could have been worse than in these times is a question which cannot be answered in light of the basic values of our German Volk as well as the political and economic inheritance which once existed.
At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Here all action shall be governed by one law: the Volk does not live for the economy, and the economy does not exist for capital, but capital serves the economy and the economy serves the Volk!
For many decades we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military. For years, Germany has been compelled to perform services [to foreigners] without receiving counter-services.
We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American. We know that the geographic position of Germany, with her lack of raw materials, does not fully permit Autarkie for our Reich… nothing is further from the Reich Government’s mind than hostility to exporting. We know that we need this connection with the world and that the sale of German goods in the world represents the livelihood of many millions of German Volksgenossen.
We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones — and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth. It will be the utmost goal of the National Government to stamp out and eliminate every trace of this phenomenon [Communism], not only in the interest of Germany, but in the interest of the rest of Europe.
Left: Excerpts from Donald J. Trump’s Inaugural Speech, Jan. 20, 2017. Right: Excerpts from Adolf Hitler’s Speech to the Reichstag on the Enabling Act, March 23, 1933.

But what was that mysterious book in his bedside cabinet?
From a profile of Trump in Vanity Fair by Marie Brenner in 1990 we know that
Ivana Trump told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that from time to time her husband reads a book of Hitler’s collected speeches, My New Order, which he keeps in a cabinet by his bed. Kennedy now guards a copy of My New Order in a closet at his office, as if it were a grenade. Hitler’s speeches, from his earliest days up through the Phony War of 1939, reveal his extraordinary ability as a master propagandist.
“Did your cousin John give you the Hitler speeches?” I asked Trump.
Trump hesitated. “Who told you that?”
“I don’t remember,” I said.
“Actually, it was my friend Marty Davis from Paramount who gave me a copy of Mein Kampf, and he’s a Jew.” (“I did give him a book about Hitler,” Marty Davis said. “But it was My New Order, Hitler’s speeches, not Mein Kampf. I thought he would find it interesting. I am his friend, but I’m not Jewish.”)
Later, Trump returned to this subject. “If I had these speeches, and I am not saying that I do, I would never read them.”

Did Trump read these speeches after all, and brought the book along just in case he forgot anything?
If he had, he forgot that even Hitler knew that Nazi Germany was still dependent on international trade (“does not fully permit Autarkie”). And could it be that in all of the inaugural excitement he also mixed up his family Bible with his bedroom one?

Which Bible will it be under Trump: Adolf or Abe?

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