Friday, February 15, 2019

Random Thoughts on the Current Threat to the American Republic from Within

I’ve really been trying to avoid writing about politics lately, as it just enrages me to see the United States sunk into the bottomless abyss of stupidity, lawlessness, and immorality by its current administration – and even more so by the sycophantic support this administration gets from its base and from its partisan Quislings in Congress – but sometimes you just have to point a few things out for your own sanity.


1. There is no national emergency.  Illegal immigration has been declining for decades.  There are no hordes of drug dealers racing across the unguarded borders.  Not a single Congressional Representative of either party whose district touches the border thinks this is a good idea, and a number of Texas sheriffs are on public record as saying it’s nonsense.  It is a vortex of stupidity, as one recent headline had it, and it only appeals to the ignorant and the foolish.  There is no emergency.  There is only panic at the thought of poor people entering the US and working for a better life.  That’s not an emergency – that’s what the United States is designed to do.

2. The wall will not stop illegal immigration.  It will not even slow it down.  It will only divert scarce resources away from real concerns, up to and including actual border security.

3. There are a lot of bad analogies to Nazis floating around these days, but declaring a fake emergency in order to grab executive power that the nation’s foundational document explicitly says doesn’t belong to the executive is literally how Hitler turned his government into a dictatorship.  If the GOP wants people to stop comparing them to Nazis they should stop doing the things the Nazis did.

4. This is a deeply dangerous assault on the US Constitution.  Article 1, Section 9, Paragraph 7 explicitly reserves the power of the purse to Congress and it does so for a reason.  The Founders feared tyranny more than any other form of governmental breakdown, and separating the power of the purse from the executive was one of the critical ways they sought to avoid a tyrant in the United States.  Der Sturmtrumper would have been taken out back and horsewhipped as a subversive by the Founding Fathers.

5. The fact that there are so many Americans who see nothing wrong with this is a damning indictment of American culture and politics.  You are what you do when it matters, and if you support tyranny then you don’t deserve liberty.

6. Can we all just agree that this wall is a rhetorical device and will never actually happen?  Even if everyone magically decided that it was the Best Idea Ever and allocated the nearly unlimited amount of money that will need to be spent to make it happen, the fact is that you’re talking about several hundred miles of largely unsurveyed and extremely varied land – most of it private property owned by Americans who will take you to court before they let you seize it out from under them (and whatever happened to the idea that conservatives are all about small government and the free market?  just asking...) – that will have to be analyzed, charted, and prepared before the first shovel can be dug into the earth.  Meanwhile any putative wall will have to be designed, bid out, and contracted – a process that will take years unless they’re so desperate to do this that they’ll put up the first thing that comes to mind only to watch it fall over in the first rainstorm.  This isn’t a wall.  It’s a ploy to keep the rabid base happy and frightened enough to support der Sturmtrumper as he edges closer and closer to legal collapse.

7. It’s astonishing how poorly der Sturmtrumper thought this through.  He could have had billions for this stupid idea if he had agreed to provide a path to citizenship for the Dreamers back in early 2018, but that would have meant Brown People In America and by god neither he nor his base could have that.  He could have had $1.6 billion for the wall in the bill that was overwhelmingly approved by both houses of Congress last December, but President Coulter objected so we got a month-long government shut down that proved once and for all what a lousy businessman der Sturmtrumper really is, since all Congress authorized for this cockamamie project after the shutdown is $1.3 billion, rather less than the original deal.  Now he’s left with this totalitarian power grab that will in all likelihood fail in the courts even before the clock runs out on it.

8. The fact that der Sturmtrumper openly admitted that he didn’t need to take this action DURING HIS PRESS CONFERENCE ANNOUNCING IT is going to be the lead in every lawsuit filed against this illegal, unconstitutional, immoral, and totalitarian action.  Seriously – this guy can’t even seize dictatorial power right.

9. Which doesn’t reduce the seriousness of the fundamental threat this action represents to the American republic.  This is our Reichstag Fire moment, folks.  How do you plan to respond?


Ewan said...

Give yet more to the ACLU?!

David said...

Every bit helps!

They fight the good fight to protect the rest of us.

LucyInDisguise said...

Before we start … “Quislings” rates a 10.75 on a scale of 1 to 5.

1. Yes there is a National Emergency. Face it, Ann Coulter is a damaged Human Being, and in lo, these many years, not but one thing has come from that woman that I could listen to, let alone agree with - until yesterday.

“The only ‘National Emergency’ is that our president is an idiot.” — Ann Coulter, KABC 790 Radio Interview, 2/15/19.

There you have it. She actually said that. All the rest is just smoke and mirrors for the rethuglican base.

3. It can happen here, people, it can happen here!

4. The single most difficult thing to accomplish in the world is convincing right wingers that if they are unhappy about deficit spending, or anything else about the national budget, they need to look to their Congressional Representative. The President may ask, the Senate may ask, but the House holds the checkbook, and is the only authorized signatory on that account. “Oh, but Obama spent …” NO! He did not.

6. No, no agreement here, at least on the rhetorical bit. It is a lot of things that are not actually rhetorical: “the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.” Just plain stupid, or asinine leap to mind. Racist, foolhardy, broken campaign promise. I could go on, but then i’d start sounding like the resident idiot.

As to never being built - never underestimate the power of a herd of determined radical racist assholes.

7. You’re making this way to easy. There is nothing that der Sturmtrumper does poorly that is astonishing. At least, not any more …

8. See #7 above.

9. This is one where an external link is definitely warranted:

And what Ewan said. And a carefully worded letter to my Congressional Representative and both of my Senators. And some phone calls. Because this cannot stand unchallenged.

May Odin smile upon us, and send Thor to wield His mighty hammer against the unrighteous. Or the republicans, which ever is worse.*


* No contest …

LucyInDisguise said...

Actually, I intended to post this link:

Not the trailer. Full short film is just over 7 minutes - and is worth the investment.

And a note, the Smithsonian article is worth the time. It really is.


David said...

Hi Lucy!

1. It makes me deeply uneasy to find myself agreeing with President Coulter on anything, but you do have to hand it to her on that observation. I believe she also followed it up with a comment to the effect that this emergency declaration was simply pandering to the stupidest part of der Sturmtrumper's base, which again ... she's not wrong...

How bad have things gotten when Ann Freaking Coulter is the voice of sanity on the right?

3. Oh it definitely can happen here. It is happening here.

I will have to look at that video, but I know a fair amount about that topic already. One of the greatest educational experiences of my life was taking a course called "The Rise and Fall of Nazi Germany" with Thomas Childers when I was an undergraduate. The man was astonishingly good. And the subject just keeps getting more and more relevant.

4. Well, in my experience The Party of Personal Responsibility is not actually very good at taking responsibility for its own actions.

6. Rhetoric doesn't necessarily have to be effective or persuasive - I'm using the word phrase "rhetorical device" to mean, more or less, "figure of speech," or "slogan." It's good for riling up the stupid and turning out the racist vote, but as an actual wall not so much.

I'm sure they're determined and I don't doubt that they can cause a tremendous amount of damage, both physical and moral, with their attempts to build this catastrophically stupid wall, but as for an actual structure? I have my doubts.

So does the Cato Institute, one of the most right-wing organizations in America.

So does this structural engineer.

So does this lawyer.

I'm going to go with them. I could always be wrong, of course. But I suspect that if the Trumpsters go ahead and build their wall in the face of this, it will fall over in the first gentle breeze.

7. Yeah, but wasn't he supposed to be the great businessman? Versed in the Art of the Deal?

Oh, right, the guy who went bankrupt trying to sell gambling, red meat, and booze to the American people. That guy. Okay, point taken, you win...

I'll definitely be yelling at the appropriate people, fat lot of good it will do me (I have two Senators, one already on my side and the other irredeemably stupid even on normal days, and one Representative who is more of a right-wing extremist than der Sturmtrumper) but yelling must happen anyway. And further contributions to organizations that are on the side of the republic, the Constitution, and simple human decency, starting with the ACLU.

LucyInDisguise said...

Welcome back to the arena.

1. Ann is not a voice of reason. As, noted she is damaged goods, but even that broken coo-coo clock managed to be right twice on one day.

3. The video is only 7 minutes long, including the credits, made up entirely of newsreel footage. Stark newsreel footage. Mind-boggeling stark. Soul-shakingly stark. 'I'm not equiped with enough descriptors' stark.

6. Maybe I need to get better at remembering that Blogger's snark/irony fonts don't render well (or at all, for that matter) and remember to insert the appropriate tags? [/s] 'Cause your snark/irony detector is obviously broken. [/s]



David said...

Yeah, I suspect my irony detector has plumb wore out these days. Sigh.

Ann Coulter is a venomous right-wing extremist whose only function is to rile the stupid and defame anyone with more than six functioning brain cells. There is some question as to whether she truly believes the things she says (in which case she's a vicious and immoral fool) or whether it's a persona she's created to make money (in which case see above). There are no circumstances under which such a person should be the voice of reason, even accidentally. And yet here we are.

I don't know what was more horrifying about that video - the little boy dancing with glee as the Nazis beat the protester on stage at about 4:23, or the comments below the video. Perhaps I don't have to choose.

It can happen here. It is happening here. And too many assholes are applauding.

LucyInDisguise said...


Sine dubio.

The dancing boy happened in 1939. The other is happening now. In real time.