Friday, January 18, 2019


My next newspaper column:
FBI worried. Turkey threats. Secret meetings, missing transcripts. Racism gestures. Removing sanctions. William Barr. A weekly columnist must cull the heard. So here’s but unum e pluribus: 
If that meeting between Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, and Trump was as described, one wishes the Speaker had replied differently to Individual-1. It’s reported he asked whether, if he reopened the government, Speaker Pelosi would fund his wall. No, was her answer. If she’d said, “Donald, I haven’t read Art of the Deal, because I don’t have time for fiction. But I doubt it recommends laying down your cards at the start of negotiations,” would he have still made a show of walking out? Probably.  
Ever unreliable, Trump had agreed, only days earlier, to sign funding legislation without the wall. Then came marching orders from Fox “news” and that was, and still is, that. Did Putin pipe a tune, too?  Our chaos is his fortune. Also, Trump had promised to accept “the mantle” and not blame Democrats. Trump’s promises: good as fools’ gold. By a margin of nearly two to one, though, Americans blame Trump and Republicans for the shutdown.  
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is Trump’s perfect antagonist: a smart, savvy, tough woman, unfazed by his fact-free bullying. Neither wants to cave to the other: Trump, because he knows it’d reveal his tough-guy fakery; Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi because she knows she can expose his tough-guy fakery. She’s playing chess to his tic-tac-toe, leaving him only one way to avoid humiliation: declaring a national emergency. Checkmate.  
Consider the implications: egged on by such mental masterpieces as Sean Hannity and righteous lip-quiverer Lindsey Graham, Individual-1 would execute exactly the sort of power-grab haters of President Barack Obama claimed would happen tomorrow, every day of his presidency. If Republicans excuse it, when there’s clearly no emergency, on what basis could they complain when a Democratic president declares an entirely justifiable national emergency due to climate change? (They would, of course.) If the number of violent crimes committed by illegal immigrants triggers a national emergency, why not the tens of thousands of Americans killed yearly by guns? 
Giving any president unlimited rights to declare a national emergency is a prelude to dictatorship. Or is it only when a president is of the other party?  
If presidents should have the authority to declare a national emergency, mustn’t it be limited to when circumventing normal legislative processes is necessitated by the need for immediate action? For reasons obvious to everyone but the contentedly deluded, building a wall, or a sawable series of slats, to address a situation ongoing for decades, steadily becoming less of a problem, which will take years, and which, notwithstanding Bill Barr’s lie, won’t impede illegal drug importation at all, falls outside that category. And taking the Jade Helm of our military to accomplish it? Would our patriotic militiamen, so vocally virile not long ago, rush to oppose the tyrant?  
Among the kinds of Trump supporters from whom I hear regularly, his declaring an emergency would be welcomed with cheers and chants of “Lock (we’re-not-sure-who-anymore) up.” But maybe Speaker Pelosi figures it’d be the catalyst that causes a handful of Republican lawmakers at last to find their missing integrity. It’s a gamble. But if assuming unrestrained power by deception wouldn’t do it, the Constitution, and governance by and for the people, become moot; so let’s get it over with and take to the barricades. Are you with us, Sovereign Citizens?  
After three years of telling his crowds Mexico would pay for his beautiful concrete wall, Invididual-1 denied ever saying so. Then he clarified: he never said they’d write a check. But he did. Both. Google it. Imagine: a liar of that magnitude essentially declaring martial law. There’s no way in hell Trumpists would stand for it in a Democrat, yet they’re all but drooling over it now. 
At this point, besides wondering what Putin has on Trump, one must consider what Trump has on servile Mitch McConnell and fawning Lindsey Graham that explains such dereliction. Incriminating tapes? Horse head in their beds? Lindsey has flipped like a flounder, and Mitch knows the original funding bill passed unanimously. The votes are there for overriding a veto; if was right then, why not now? It’s how checks and balances are supposed to work. 
In the dimness of receding time, they once did.
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