My upcoming newspaper column:
First came kakistocracy, as Trump drained thieves and incompetents into his government. Then, following in goosestep, oligarchy and, to facilitate it, prevariocracy. Finally, undisguised despotism, as Trump does everything he can to gain unfettered control of our government. If the following doesn’t cause alarm even among Trumpists, nothing will. (It won’t. Nothing will.)
Remember Eric Prince, brother of public education’s enemy number one, Betsy DeVos, former CEO of Blackwater, Bush’s private army in Iraq? Trump is, according to multiple reports, considering his proposal to establish a private intelligence agency, designed to counter the “deep state” actors in the CIA, working, in the minds of Trump, Hannity, Jones, and millions of paranoid denizens of the alt-universe, to “bring down” the Trump presidency. (In that world, “deep state” and “bring down” are terms to describe seekers of truth; people patriotic and brave enough to expose the anti-democratic, destructive activities of Trump and his swampizens.)
Taking care not to overheat your brain, think about it: our historically low-approval, popular-vote-losing, Nazi-excusing, dictator-admiring, political-opponent-threatening, promise-breaking, violence-promoting, prevaricator-in-chief of the USA, until recently considered the moral and economic leader of the world (America, that is, not the recidivist confabulator), would install for his own use a separate, privy spy agency, unconstrained, following its own rules, outside the oversight of Congress, to gather intelligence on anyone he chooses, answering only to him. A group headed by a man indicted for money-laundering and, along with four former executives of his company, for weapons violations and making criminally false statements while under investigation.
The sorts of people who claim Trump has never lied and is making America respected again, or who write letters asserting the mere promise of corporate tax breaks is stimulating our economy (ignoring the fact that such breaks are great for investors but neutral-to-bad for the economy) will see nothing worrisome in dismissing input from intelligence and law-enforcement agencies sworn to independence, and trying to get us to ignore it, too. One must hope actual (if theoretical) conservatives resistant to Foxolimjonesification are as horrified as those of us who recognize and warn of impending Trumpic danger. If not, we’re done for.
Adding ignorance to outrage, after which Richard Nixon sat up in his grave and said “I told you so,” Trump’s attorney just claimed a president can’t obstruct justice, by definition. He IS justice. And, by inference, sole arbiter of constitutionality (assuming the Constitution is, to them, more than a quaint set of unenforceable guidelines). A president who considers himself above the law and has the lawyer to prove it, would spawn a mechanism to spy on and take down anyone he deems a threat.
No one who loves America, no one who considers him- or herself a patriot (admittedly a word made devoid of meaning at the hands of the party of Gingrich, Rove, Cheney, and now Trump, Pence, McConnell, Moore…) should be okay with this. It’s safe to assume, though, that the thirty-three percent of Americans who still approve of and defend Trump are, and will be even if they wake up in Gitmo, mistakenly or otherwise. (Not unlike the Alabamans who’ve said they’ll vote for Supreme-Court-ignoring, twice-removed-from-office Roy Moore even if he did molest young girls.)
When will the putative Republicans among the sixty-plus percent who disapprove of Trump do more than answer opinion polls? When will they choose country over party and join those of us who are trying to arrest this steadily increasing threat? There’s not a lot of time left.
The FBI, which Donald described as “in tatters,” just foiled a right-wing American terrorist who, armed with five high-power rifles, planned mass murder at a Florida mosque. Because it doesn’t fit his fabricated narrative, Trump ignored it. It’s counter to his falsehoods about the FBI and about immediate origins of terrorism; claims intended to consolidate power.
Not satisfied with demeaning the FBI and CIA, Trump has gutted the State Department, whose counsel he rejects as well. It’s a terrifying trifecta: arrogance, megalomania, ignorance. As if we need more proof, Trump, unilaterally, against advice from all quarters, just pronounced Jerusalem the capital of Israel and intends to move the US Embassy there. Poof: US credibility as an honest broker disappears. It’s almost as if he WANTS the Middle East to blow up.
War, after all, is the trough at which dictators feed.[Image source]
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