Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Rise of Rollerball

Trump's amphibian brain computes getting elected as his license to swell with power. As a cold-blooded denizen of watery climes, he'll devour every sitting insect and a few flying ones too. In human terms, he's authoritarian, and you need to understand that word. It means "demanding blind obedience." Dissent is betrayal and resistance will be punished.

Social media joked about him way back in 2015 as "Trumpolini," a tin-horn, would-be dictator so amazed by his own brilliance that he couldn't see his muddy feet. Now he's president, with his election shaded by Russian interference and alleged "massive voter fraud," with a rising resistance all around his new house, and the ever-present poking, poking, poking of a press not inclined to "keep its mouth shut."

He's the "I Alone Can Fix It President," and we better stay out of his way, cause he's got a sidekick with a loaded gun ... Steve Bannon ... and a poolroom-tough little hussy singer in Kellyanne, who also packs heat. People will die.

Dissent Is Betrayal

The exact wording of Trump's written firing of Acting Attorney General Sally Yates last night claimed that Sally had "betrayed" the Justice Department because she said she didn't think Trump's Muslim ban was strictly legal, and she wouldn't defend it in court. Betrayed in the context of democratic government, let alone the context of Donald "Rollerball" Trump's presidency, means treason (and you know what treason leads to).

It's not the firing of Sally Yates that cuts deep. It's the firing for implied treason against the regime. Sally Yates took a stand on what she believed, based on a knowledge of federal law, and she paid the price. We all knew she'd be fired as soon as she issued the statement yesterday. But it's not the firing. It's the imperial hand.

No Republican leaders in Congress will now admit to having been consulted by Trump people about the surprise Muslim ban (though some of their staff consulted with Bannon or his deputy on the language for the ban). Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) was not consulted, nor was Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Tex.). “This is emblematic of a new, power-hungry White House staff flexing its muscles without consulting the public servants responsible for implementing their fiats. If this type of behavior continues, then this administration is going to lose all of its friends very quickly,” one Senate GOP aide said.

Resistance Will Be Punished

The US Department of State -- and it alone among all cabinet-level departments (?) -- established guaranteed protection for any foreign service officer who dissented from administration policy and who spoke up about it, directly to the Secretary of State. The Dissent Channel was set up during the Vietnam War era as a way for foreign service officers and civil servants to raise concerns with upper management about the direction of U.S. foreign policy, without fear of retribution. Those last four words are essential for the procedure to work.

"Dissent" cables are sent to the State Department's policy planning director, who distributes them to the secretary of state and other top officials, who must respond within 30 to 60 days. They can respond with an opposite argument, or they can reassure the dissenters they're being heard, or they can stall. But they must acknowledge the dissent with a paper trail. There are typically about four or five dissent channel messages each year. "Freedom from reprisal for Dissent Channel users is strictly enforced," according to the State Department.

So what happened yesterday when "dozens of career diplomats" all over the world -- dozens -- cabled their dissents to the Trump Muslim ban?

This happened: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stood in front of the press corps and sent a dark warning to State Department dissenters: “Either get with the program or they can go."

Resistance is futile.

A Dictator Demands a Compliant Press

Is there any doubt now that both Trump and Bannon (and that saloon moll Kellyanne too) mean to use the national press to invalidate any news against its actions? If everything critical of you is "fake," then you might be able to get away with anything.

If this isn't a constitutional crisis -- this whole presidency -- then I don't understand the term.

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