... is that the regime has taken the first step toward eliminating a free press. If you voted for this regime, how do you like them apples?
... is not just a play by Henrik Ibsen. In a recent tweet, the president referred to the New York Times and just about all major broadcast media as “the enemy of the American People!” (Exclamation point by Mr. Trump.) Let that sink in. He is branding every news outlet that questions his grip on facts as not just his enemy, but America’s enemy. And not just any enemy, but the enemy of America. (Whatever happened to terrorism as Enemy # 1?)
A free press is an essential ingredient for any self-ruled society. Trump has declared the free press as “the enemy.” The only conclusion is that Mr. Didn’t-Win-the-Popular-Vote has a problem with self-government. He labels as “the enemy” an institution vital to self-government.
So said his propaganda minister Josef Goebbels Stephen Miller. So much for dissent. So much for checks and balances. (He does kind of resemble Goebbels, doesn’t he?)
I finally had time this evening to read the Ninth Circuit’s decision rendered yesterday in Washington v. Trump. The decision denied the Trump regime’s request for a stay of the district court’s order barring enforcement of the Muslim travel ban (Executive Order 13769). What grabbed my attention (and prompted the headline above) is this passage, beginning on page 13, describing the regime’s argument that its actions are beyond judicial review:
The Government contends that the district court lacked authority to enjoin enforcement of the Executive Order because the President has “unreviewable authority to suspend the admission of any class of aliens.” The Government does not merely argue that courts owe substantial deference to the immigration and national security policy determinations of the political branches—an uncontroversial principle that is well-grounded in our jurisprudence.... Instead, the Government has taken the position that the President’s decisions about immigration policy, particularly when motivated by national security concerns, are unreviewable, even if those actions potentially contravene constitutional rights and protections. The Government indeed asserts that it violates separation of powers for the judiciary to entertain a constitutional challenge to executive actions such as this one.
There is no precedent to support this claimed unreviewability, which runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy.
Let that sink in for a moment. The Trump regime’s lawyers argued that Trump has “unreviewable” power to do anything he wants in the area of immigration policy, and that the courts are powerless to decide whether his actions comply with the U.S. Constitution. As the Ninth Circuit said, “There is no precedent” to support this claim, “which runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy.”
Short version: This isn’t just about immigrants from predominately Muslim countries. It’s about a president pushing to become a dictator, above the law, immune from judicial review.
What occupies the White House cannot be called an “administration.” They have made it clear that they are a regime. The signs are so numerous that it’s hard to catalog them all. Here are just a few items:
- The regime attacked Nordstrom’s for terminating its private business dealings with the president’s daughter. An administration would take no public position in something like this. A regime, on the other hand, expects payments to be made.
- Lawyers for the regime filed a lawsuit claiming that the First Lady has a right to profiteer from her public position as First Lady.
- The regime’s minions in the Senate stifled a senator for reading a decades-old letter by Coretta Scott King because the letter opposed the regime’s nominee for attorney general.
Just three items. I could go on and on. But you get the idea. They want obedience. And they want tribute.
Reuters reports that a U.S. government program to battle all violent extremists will be renamed and repurposed to battle only Islamic extremists. Right-wing extremists will no longer be targeted. Let’s get the implications of this straight:
- The administration doesn’t care about combating right-wing extremists. They can do whatever they do; that’s okay.
- The administration’s policy is to identify terrorism with Islam.
In one stroke, they are encouraging right-wing terrorists while branding a religious minority as a bunch of terrorists. So the KKK can trade those white robes in for some brown shirts.
Stuff happens so fast that it’s hard to keep up with. For instance, while doing some quick Internet research for a link about the headline topic, I learned that Trump fired the acting attorney general for having a conscience. Seems that she—a lawyer, mind you—decided that the travel ban on Muslims is legally and morally indefensible.
What I started to write about, and will now return to, is the transformation of the National Security Council into Trump’s private echo chamber. Gone are the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence. In: Steve “Racist” Bannon, enabler of the right-wing lunatic fringe.
For anyone still unconvinced that the Electoral College elected a fascist regime, here is one of Trump’s propaganda ministers calling for the firing of journalists who have criticized him.
As I've been saying. Except that it's not just that we’re headed toward fascism. We’re already there. The rapidity of these moves is another borrow from 1930s Germany. It’s called “blitzkrieg.” What happens to our constitutional checks and balances when the president decides to blow off the judiciary and Congress just stands around going “duh”?
According to Bloomberg, Trump’s executive order against immigration from majority Muslim countries does not apply to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, or the UAE. The supposed purpose of this ban is to prevent terrorists from immigrating into the U.S.
According to history, most of the 9/11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia. A couple were from the UAE. The ringleader was from Egypt. Not a single one was from a country subject to Trump’s executive order.
Damn, it’s hard to keep up with all the fascist moves of the new administration. This one item sums up a good bit of it. Racist Bannon says that the news media should “keep its mouth shut” and accept Trump as king — oops, president. He also says that the news media—our eyes and ears—are “the opposition.” He must not have paid attention to the popular vote.
If a law professor (or, for that matter, any other government employee) dares to speak out against the administration, here’s a good way to discourage that. Just have some lapdog make a public-records request for all of their e-mails. That’ll make them think twice before being so bold as to sign a petition or an open letter. Intimidate them into remaining silent. Hello, fascism. We’ve made up a room for you. Actually the presidential suite.
Two op-eds from legitimate news sources:
CNN points out Trump’s following the authoritarian playbook. Folks, the means never justify the ends. The means are the ends.
Meanwhile, the good folks at NPR take Trump to task for trying to bully journalists for doing their job. Trump wants obedient news media—a must-have for any fascist regime.
“And at that terrifying first press conference of Trump’s, on Wednesday, we saw the looming face of pure authoritarianism. Rewards are promised to the obedient: those good states that voted the right way, the “responsible” press. Punishments are threatened to the bad: “They’re going to suffer the consequences!” Intimidation is the greeting to any critic.” —Adam Gopnik, The Music Donald Trump Can’t Hear, The New Yorker (Jan. 13, 2017).