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Archive for November 22nd, 2019

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“Against legitimacy is arrayed usurpation; against modest,

single-minded, righteous, and brave resistance to encroachment

is arrayed boastful, double-tongued, selfish, and treacherous

ambition to possess. God defend the right!”

 

–Charlotte Bronte, Shirley and the Professor

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I am perhaps more nervous than at any point in the past three years of watching the slow motion collapse, or rather dissembling, of our democracy. We are at a point where there is either going to be a price to be paid by the one person* who has abused the vast powers of the highest office in this land. In the idealized future world that our founders imagined, our system of checks and balances will hold and he will face severe consequences and democracy, as we know it, will continue in a direction that we all recognize.

If not, if this person ( I am being generous in the use of that term) is not punished, does not face grave punishment for his actions, the future is much less certain. If you think the past three years have been crazy and divisive, brace yourself for a future with a person who will then, as he already does, see himself as an emperor, a divine and untouchable being who can, with the tremendous and now unchecked powers of the presidency, operate with impunity.

This would not be a benevolent tyrant. You all know that. You can see it in the vengeful and punitive nature he so readily displays. He is not familiar with the concepts of generosity, of justice or fairness. No one will be safe from the whims of his addled brain. Opponents will be severely treated as will those who are perceived as being disloyal to him. The treatment of immigrant children, while horrific now, may well get worse. Environmental regulations will continue to be stripped away. White supremacy will force its way even more into our public lives.

Justice will have a new face and the scales she holds will be even more rigged for those with power and wealth. Your power to defend yourself will be limited.

Truth will not be truth, it will be something altogether different, dictated by those in power.

The president* will use every possible thing at his disposal– and his position gives him tools that are unimaginable to most of us– to maintain power, to strip away any oversight and to enrich and insulate himself. And we are all going to pay for it in awful ways that most of us can’t see coming down the tracks. Even my most generous imagining of a future where this man* holds onto power is bleak.

Sorry to spoil your coffee this morning and sorry for not staying in my lane, as they say. But this is not a game, not the genial “my side is better than your side” of politics of times past. It is a serious and potentially deadly business and if we don’t engage and take whatever actions we can to stem the tide, there will be dire consequences.

And I am desperately worried that we may not be able to do enough to turn the tide.

And to those of you who somehow and inexplicably support this person*, I say: Be careful what you wish for.

Below is an essay from award winning journalist/author Kurt Eichenwald that appeared yesterday in the form of a Twitter feed that sets out one possible scenario that could take place if there are no consequences for corruption and illegality. It is well worth a read.

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“You could be next.”

The GOP has made it clear it has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Russia/Trump, and no amount of evidence is enough to justify removal of a corrupt president. They will not protect Americans.

So key message from Dems should be: “You could be next“…the President of the United States attempted to compel a foreign nation – one he claims is corrupt – to investigate and possibly jail an American citizen.

If Trump believed a crime had been committed, he would have turned to the FBI. Instead, he tried to outsource to a foreign nation. Even if you are irrational enough to believe that there was no pressure on Ukraine, no attempt at extortion or bribery, that action is undeniable. He was taking an act with the ultimate outcome potentially being an American citizen and political rival locked up in a foreign prison.

This is *exactly* the kind of action taken by dictators, except they do not have to hide their actions by trying to engage in them in secret by pressing a foreign nation. This alone without any other facts is an impeachable abuse of power and the GOP, Lindsey Graham, Devin Nunes et al have all made it very clear that they “do not care” if a president outsources criminal investigations of Americans to foreign states.

Worse, they “do not care* if this is set up for “announcement first, defense someday” when you have an outsourcing of investigations, corruption is inevitable. Next, it could be me. It could be you. Do you really want to live the rest of your life in a Russian or Ukrainian or Syrian prison cell, simply because you angered Trump?

The GOP will not care given their willingness to avoid all evidence, people like Lindsey Graham will shrug as the Trump Administration extradites Americans overseas to be tried in corrupt foreign courts as the result of investigations instigated in other countries by our president if Trump wins reelection, which he might, the GOP senate has made it clear that no action, no crime, no corruption is off the table.

Will Trump send troops into the offices of the New York Times, or Amazon, or any other company that angers him to arrest his “enemies” and then extradite them to Siberia, in an investigation he instigated? Will he send “critics” he despises? Will he go after democrats as a whole unit? If acquitted by a party refusing to look at evidence there will be no limit to what Trump can do without consequence, will it be safe to be a prominent Trump critic or political opponent, given he has been freed to do anything?

Next time, it could be you.” That needs to be the phrase the Democrats need to deliver in every Senate and House election we are truly at the verge of a collapse of all checks and balances, with an Administration that believe it can tell Congress and the courts to go to hell, knowing that the most corrupt party in American history will cheer him for it.

Once the “see no evil” party sends the “all-clear” for any act of corruption, anything is possible.

Sound far fetched? It has already been done by the Republicans. In the 2000s, Americans falsely concluded that a Canadian citizen was a terrorist and asked for evidence from Syrian government. The Syrians brutally tortured another Canadian they held before he falsely said, “Yes, this other Canadian is a terrorist.”

The man, Maher Arar, was headed home to Canada, was seized by American authorities at JFK Airport and, because we had no basis on which to hold him, the US outsourced the investigation to Syria, a place the man had never been. He was shipped there, beaten, burned, raped, tortured in every horrible way imaginable.

And only after this man was wrecked, did we say “Oh. Maybe we’re wrong.” The Canadian government had to pay $10 million settlement to Arar, US government refused to pay, claiming “national security.” And no Republican cared.

Outsourcing of criminal investigations by Trump is corruption of the highest order. It puts every American who might criticize Trump in danger.

And, just like they did before when we outsourced the torture of a Canadian citizen, Lindsey Graham, the RNC and the Devin Nunes of the world will go on Fox and declare that Trump was right to rob us of our rights, to submit us to any abuse by pushing foreign nations for corrupt criminal prosecutions of critics and opponents. There is not a single Republican who will stand up for our rights, who will protect us, so long as they get tax cuts.

We are all in danger.

Next time, it could be you

Every house race, every senate race, where a Republican has argued that there is nothing abusive about the President of the United States attempting to get an American citizen charged with a crime and locked up simply because they are his opponent, needs to focus on the power the GOP has granted Trump to violate our every right.

Want your guns? Not in lots of overseas nations, where you might be sent.

Want a lawyer? Sorry – you’re not in the US anymore.

“Next time, it could be you.” And GOP will not protect us.

They all must be voted out and if you are “well, I don’t like this dem or that dem” – always remember that those who supported the most left-wing candidate in Hitler’s first national German elections. The supporters – as well as the candidate – died in a concentration camp because they didn’t think the other candidate was progressive enough.

Now, I am not saying Trump is Hitler or that we are heading into Nazi Germany. I am saying that our rights are at stake, we have no defense, and failing to fight back at the ballot box could be disastrous.

People always say, “It can’t happen here.”

It can. The president tried to secretly get American citizens locked up in a foreign nation on the basis of a conspiracy theory. It can happen, & the GOP will do nothing to stop it.

And next time, it could be you.

Vote them all out.

—–Kurt Eichenwald, Twitter, November 21, 2019

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