While we were distracted by sex scandals, ...

While we were distracted by sexual-harassment accusations against various people, the Trump administration was quietly engaging in thought control through language control (like in George Orwell’s 1984). According to Snopes and the Washington Post, the administration has implemented a policy forbidding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using seven banned words:

  • Vulnerable
  • Entitlement
  • Diversity
  • Transgender
  • Fetus
  • Evidence-based
  • Science-based

(Apologies for the long blogging hiatus.)

“Enemy of the people” ...

... 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.

Trump’s lawyers argue for dictatorial power

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.

The regime (not administration) in action today

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:

Just three items. I could go on and on. But you get the idea. They want obedience. And they want tribute.

KKK can trade in white robes for brown shirts.

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:

  1. The administration doesn’t care about combating right-wing extremists. They can do whatever they do; that’s okay.
  2. 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.

Pros out, nut-job in at the NSC, and — whoa!, wait a minute.

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. 

Fascism is already here.

 Trita Parsi

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”?

No Muslim immigrants, except ...

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.

How to discourage law professors’ freedom of speech

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.