Saturday, September 8, 2018

Inside the House of Horrors

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.

William Shakespeare

Authoritarian leadership includes suppression of a free press, imprisonment of dissidents,  police state tactics, and the perversion of law enforcement agencies, jailing or poisoning reporters and opposition government officials.  Our current president espouses these principles as his idea of statecraft and admires those who can actually do those malevolences.

American institutions are strong, but numerous books, including the Road to Unfreedom by the noted Yale scholar Timothy Snyder, enumerate the steps in history that lead to dystopian or autocratic governments.  George Orwell often pointed out that lies told often enough become an alternate reality to those who have no other source of information.   People stuck on Fox News, for example, hear very little about the current madness at the White House, including an anonymous high level inside editorialist reflecting upon the “Crazytown” fulminations of President Trump.  In his new book, “Fear,” Bob Woodward, the scrupulous journalist has compiled eyewitness, recorded documentation of the inherent agony of  working in a crucible of disinformation, lies and alternative reality, with a president who does not have the patience to understand policy, empathize with others, or discern anything other than his own self-interest. 

The people there are either saints or devils, struggling to inform America what may be coming next.  A 25th Amendment removal around the corner?  Is that what the NewYorkTimes op-ed was hinting?  Impeachment beginning as early as the new congress takes office, not that long away, assuming a Democratic victory?  And maybe  Republicans will wake up if there is a wave election and their constituents push them to control the hurricane.  

If the Democrats win the House of Representatives, there will be a parade of witnesses, subpoenas, hearings, bills protecting special counsel Muller, to name a few of the television treats for CNN, MSNBC, and FOX keeping their ratings stratospheric.   We will have a show far worse than Watergate.  Even Nixon respected the dignity of the Presidency and did not conduct Nurnberg type rallies to fire up his base, consisting of white people fearing brown and yellow people, stoked by Trump’s continuing divisive con.  America’s racism is on steady display and Trump’s demagoguery  is fueling the inferno.

None of us have any idea, though, what will happen.  Pundits on CNN decry the crisis,  pundits on FOX say Trump is delivering for the American people. All manner of civility has disappeared from the national dialog. Tax cuts, trade deals, military expenditures to make us strong, they argue.   But is Trump really doing that or he a stooge for Putin, or the subject of Kompromat?  Will the Republicans in congress put country above party?  Are the Democrats sensing blood? How far should partisanship be carried?  Becoming increasingly clear is that the Trump Organization has operated for many years as a gigantic money laundry for Russian oligarchs and probably Vladimir Putin.  One can be sure that Muller has all this information, including the surreptitious tax returns of the President.  It is quite possible that following the money will be far larger than any “Russian collusion.”

Trump calls the anonymous New York Times op-ed cowardly; he may be right.  The author should perhaps have the courage to identify himself and then resign.  If it is a cabal of more than one, (A Murder on the Orient Express scenario ) then they all should resign en masse to protest what they consider to be unfitness of the President to lead our country.  The notion that they are staying on to protect the Republic because there are “adults” still in the room rings hollow. Moreover, they have not been elected to a regency.  No one voted for them.  Stealing papers off the President’s desk so he will not do something impulsive or rash seems like a de facto coup d’etat.  It is almost like a three year old being fenced in to keep him away from the swimming pool or a dog put in what politically correct owners say is a crate, but is really a cage,  preventing Fido from peeing on the rug.

On the other hand, some argue that they are working in the interest of the country by putting a leash on the president.  But there are constitutional methods to remove the president.  Impeachment is an unwieldy, long vote of no confidence.  In the UK for example, if the Prime Minister were insane, his party or Parliament could remove him with a vote of no confidence.

Clearly, our electoral system is broken, the Constitution not functioning very well, the Republican Party, hijacked by a gerrymandered congress and a minority president, laying waste to what Lindsay Graham says is that if you want to appoint supreme court justices, you must win elections.  The thing is that our system has effectively disenfranchised more than 3,000,000 Americans and the prospect very dim that Trump will be ousted by his own party, were they interested in more than tax cuts and corporate profits.  And asserting as Senator Graham disingenuously  has done undermines democracy.

People do fear that the nation is in danger, however.  But still, Trump has done nothing as destructive as invading the wrong country (Iraq) or torturing enemy combatants as was done under the Bush administration.

Trump says Jeff Sessions, the attorney general of the United States has an obligation to  protect Trump, as if he were his own personal lawyer.  But he is not.  He is a member of the cabinet, the people’s lawyer.  Trump thinks that Sessions should be doing what Michael Cohen did, who now will be disbarred and don an orange jump suit.  Sessions, as deplorable as is his policies, did the only thing he could do—recuse himself from the Russia investigation. 

Democrats need a  plan to unseat him.  They need a candidate who can debate Trump and make him look like the foolish knave that he is.  Political correctness unseated Al Franken, and that is semi tragic, because he could beat Trump at his own game—by mocking him.  And even if women think he is another Harvey Weinstein, he is not.  He is a warrior for woman’s rights and the anti Trump. Franken is Trump’s Kryptonite.  He is the anti Trump.  Other Democratic candidates do not immediately come to mind, but perhaps one will emerge.

And now, we are entering a more pronounced phase of insanity, as the walls close in on an unhinged, cornered man whose paranoia is overwhelming him.

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