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Assessing the transition to fascism

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by quikkag, Apr 10, 2020.

  1. quikkag

    quikkag Contributing Member

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    From Walter Shaub (former director of the Office for Government Ethics)
    @waltshaub

    Apr 7th 2020

    Trump's assault on Inspectors General is late-stage corruption. The canary in the coal mine was the government ethics program, which began engaging with the Trump team long before the election. The general public got it, but too many people in positions of influence missed it.

    Then, there was the open presidential profiteering and clues that hard-to-prove conflicts of interest were significantly influencing policy. But Republicans in Congress ensured that no one could dig too deeply into those, and they enabled it by refusing to conduct oversight.

    Next came Trump's tests of the enforceability of laws--a little push against the tent wall here and a big jab against it there, followed by even bigger tests and a growing awareness that many laws don't have teeth or depend upon the executive branch to enforce them.

    Along the way came the firings of the two most critical law enforcement officials precisely because they permitted investigations of Trump. The Attorney General's firing should have triggered his removal from office. But wild-eyed Senators were hot on the trail of more judges.

    This emboldened Trump and taught him a lesson. He had come into government unaware that "personnel is policy." Now he both understood that and knew the Senate would let him treat the government like The Apprentice: only the most slavishly obedient appointees would survive.

    Ordinarily, the game of musical appointees would have concerned members of Congress, particularly as Trump began to find replacements who didn't care about their oaths of office. But those judges continued to excite Republican Senators, and Trump's base made them nervous.

    Oversight began only after the Democrats took the House. But Trump's hold on the Senate was absolute. We don't know what assurances he received behind the scenes, but we saw even longtime Republican Senators abandon previously espoused principles to protect him in plain sight.

    With that protection, Trump engaged in a previously unthinkable level of resistance to congressional oversight. The collapse of this Constitutional safeguard was a potentially mortal wound. It didn't go down without a fight, the House included "obstruction" in his impeachment.

    But the Senate has the final say. With one exception, Republican Senators didn't even maintain a pretense of honoring their oaths. They ended the sham impeachment trial quickly. The failure of this second constitutional safeguard, moved the republic into a life-or-death crisis.

    What remained was the hope that whistleblowers and witnesses could still come forward. Maybe the people could demand action—if they knew the facts. But Republicans in Congress and their staffs, aided by fringe media outlets, worked to terrorize a suspected whistleblower.

    Witnesses faired no better. Even some Senators who had spent their careers professing support for witnesses, gave Trump free rein to retaliate against them too. The stakes became high enough that whistleblowers and witnesses would henceforth think twice about coming forward.

    But Trump wasn't done. The White House began to speak of expanding its purge beyond political appointees to include career Feds, whose due process rights exist to prevent politicians from harnessing them for corrupt aims or, at least, silence any who might report wrongdoing.

    The head of the Office of Special Counsel, which protects career Feds from political retaliation, remained silent—as did Republican Senators. Whether or not Trump follows through, the mere threat pressures career Feds to put loyalty to Trump above loyalty to the Constitution.

    Individual government officials may have the moral fiber and ethics to resist the pressure. But the legal safeguards that help the federal workforce as a whole remain loyal to the American people and the rule of law over a rogue politician have been weakened. That's dangerous.

    A last line of defense in this war on ethics and law is the Inspector General community. They're the eyes of the American people, objective investigators traditionally freed to pursue accountability by the safeguard of bipartisan congressional protection.

    But the Trump era is a bad time for safeguards. Trump's eye has turned to the IGs, and Republican Senators have forsaken them—no hearings, no media blitz, only a few meek chirps of mild concern. Even the self-anointed patron saint of IGs, Chuck Grassley, has abandoned them.

    What began with the fall of the ethics program is entering the end game with the potential fall of the Inspector General community. The government is failing us, safeguards that took two centuries to build have crumbled, and fascism is eyeing this republic like lunch.

    It's down to the people. There is a chance in November to reclaim this land for democracy and reject fascism. But the obstacles are tremendous. Trump has the advantage of incumbency, decades of Republican voter suppression, and a third branch that increasingly seems political.

    A sign of things to come, the Supreme Court ramped up the voter suppression by sending Wisconsin voters into a war zone in our species' fight against an ancient enemy, disease. A global pandemic has ground America to a halt, complicating the upcoming presidential election.

    Republican Senators are trotting out their Hillary Clinton playbook, hoping to abuse their authority again and wound Trump's leading political rival by Benghazi-Uranium-One-But-Her-Emailsing him. And they've given Trump their blessing for him to solicit foreign interference.

    Trump's Attorney General has even opened a special channel for Trump's private attorney to funnel information from abroad to the Justice Department. Fascism is having a hell of a day in America, and things will get much worse before November.

    All is not lost. The American people are fired up. But it'll be hard and the outcome's uncertain. That's why I want you to understand how big a deal it is that Trump is going after Inspectors General. This is a late-stage move in an authoritarian coup against the rule of law.
     
    #1 quikkag, Apr 10, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2020
  2. Trader_Jorge

    Trader_Jorge King of the D&D, The Legend, #1 Ranking

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    Dumb article. The IG's abandoned their integrity to pursue political games. Similar to what Comey did to the FBI, Brennan did to the CIA, and Clapper did as DNI. Liberals who took previously-revered institutions, used them to pursue political goals, and then hid behind those institutions' previously-sterling reputations as they clutched their pearls and expressed shock at how someone could attack their integrity. Thankfully Trump came along and ripped the mask off regarding this type of corrupt activity. He took their best punch (Mueller + Impeachment), survived, thrived, and exposed them as corrupt, political actors.
     
    bigtexxx likes this.
  3. adoo

    adoo Member

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    traitor george projecting his willful ignorance
     
  4. Rashmon

    Rashmon Contributing Member

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    A sad and sobering read...even someone as astute as Trader George has been bamboozled.
     
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  5. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    The worst part about this is that this is being done by a minority government. I'm not sure Republicans both in presidential and midterm elections have won a majority of the total actual votes in the country in ten years. I understand the Constitution was written to protect the minority and prevent large state from running over smaller states but I don't think minority rule was meant to be the norm. The Constitution was meant to force compromise and instead we've seen things like McConnell not even give a President a hearing on a judicial nominee.
     
    #5 rocketsjudoka, Apr 10, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2020
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  6. ThatBoyNick

    ThatBoyNick Member

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    Trump legitimately speaks like a dictator at times, I know we all see him as mostly a complete joke, but it is a bit scary at times to hear someone who is president of the unites states talk and act as he does.

    It's funny, the right saw Bernie who's extremely democratic, but supports extensive social welfare, they scream authoritarian communism, but when Trump quite literally acts like a dictator and then throws trillions of gov spending into what is supposed to be social welfare... crickets.
     
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  7. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Insider Newsletter™ 2X Diamond Member

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    How big of a jump is fascism away from klepto-oligarchy?

    Probably when the Fed can't game the global financial system the US put in place after WWII.

    Founding Fathers mostly agreed to have the country run by elitists and dilute the power of rabble as much as possible. They deliberately wrote that American voters didn't elect senators and put in the Electoral College college system to elect the POTUS.

    Understanding this system is how Republicans were able to survive as the party of No into a minority party with deep controls over all three branches of government across state and federal levels.
     
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  8. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    There is no debate among Democrats about what Trump is doing to this country. Democrats aren't the ones who need to hear this message. The people who need to hear this are those Republicans who still express belief in Constitutional principles. The people who need to really heed this are the Lisa Murkowskis, Will Hurds, Marco Rubios and Ben Sasses.. Justin Amash and Mitt Romney who are no Democrats understand this and acted appropriately. Justin Amash was a member of the Freedom Caucus but after seeing the evidence laid out before him in the Mueller Report recognized the threat to Constitutional principles Trump is. Anytime a Republican like Mike Lee complains about how Trump is deceiving Congress or a Matt Gaetz that Trump is violating the separation of powers they need to understand that they are the ones empowering to do so. That they have undermined and surrendered the power of Congress as a co-equal branch and check on the Executive.
     
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  9. Sweet Lou 4 2

    Sweet Lou 4 2 Contributing Member

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    When you have to claim everyone is corrupt but Trump to defend your position, it's time to stop posting.
     
  10. Sweet Lou 4 2

    Sweet Lou 4 2 Contributing Member

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    I've stated this before, once impeachment failed and Trump realized there is no circumstance in which he will be impeached, he becomes a dictator and will simply continue to take more and more power.

    The only thing stopping him now are the state gov't. If the election was run by the feds, it would be game over.
     
  11. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    True the founders distrusted direct democracy and Trump is pretty much an example of why they distrusted direct democracy. A demagogue who would seize upon the discontent of the masses to come to power. In fact the ancient Greeks had a word for that type of individual, tyrant.

    The Founders were certainly elitist but they understood that there wouldn't always be agreement and the Constitution is designed to mediate for disagreement. At the time of the writing of the Constitution the Founders were already splitting into parties of Federalist and Democrats. Partisanship was something they worried about and the idea that between the states, the branches of government parties would need to negotiate to get things done.

    It is true that the Republicans have a deep understanding of the system and I've often criticized Democrats for not. What we're seeing now though is unprecedented. The possibility that a President could do these type of things with a Congress and court as complicit was there but it never happened either because a party hasn't dominated as much (the Democrats came close a few times) or the people in those positions didn't go along, such as when FDR tried to pack the USSC. As I mentioned in the Bill Maher Hypothetical thread the institutions of the US depend on tradition in precedent. What we're seeing now is tradition and precedent being thrown out the window.
     
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  12. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Insider Newsletter™ 2X Diamond Member

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    Politics is becoming more polarized. IMO, the nation will likely fragment than be held by a singular leader. Rich states don't have to put up with this BS but could stay longer if their ultra-wealthy benefit from it.

    I think Southern Conservatives are afraid demographic shifts will doom their party, and the kleptocrats are taking the opportunity to exploit the situation.

    We have a lot of debt, inequality, and an uncertain future in our global position in the world. There are too many parallels between now and the Roarin 20s (the last one) for the rich not to pay attention.

    Cons learned fairly well during the 60's Culture Wars (because they lost), which provided a quicker and swifter reaction against protestors and impediments to the Second Iraq war (by retroactively declaring Vietnam "a war we would've won without..."), the "Federal Judge situation" (Burger Court decisions...notably Roe V Wade...directly winning the battles at the appeals level), and not letting Trump become another Nixon (by labeling the Republican Senators then as "traitors").

    I joke about them exploiting the land cuz they have nothing to lose if they "Believe" the world is ending. It's more like their base is dying and they think millennials/future generations will re up the tax rate and "redistribute all the wealth away"...that's just code for post WWII tax levels against the wealthy and corporate elites.

    Those points make me think Trump isn't their Tyrant of choice. Too old and too idologically inconsistent. They're afraid terrified of the pendulum shift. If/when it does shift, they're more likely to cry and act against a Tyrant. They'll be the first ones to threaten secession because they need that card to draw more concessions.

    And if they think taking all the power is their only resort, they'll need to tear up the constitution and fragment their own coalition to do so.
     
    #12 Invisible Fan, Apr 10, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2020
  13. peleincubus

    peleincubus Member

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    Damn bro. Calm down there.
     
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  14. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Insider Newsletter™ 2X Diamond Member

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    It might've been the extra 8.3 trillion we tacked on under the Party of Fiscal Responsibility that's behind the tone. The stove is burning and we're fighting over who gets to change the channel.

    Just questioning the changes in "roles" and why fairly consistent Republicans broke their principles to roll over for That Guy. You need powerful motivators to break your own concepts of dignity, trust and respect for yourself, others and what you want to pass to your children. At least I do, but I know I have a price or breaking point.

    But thanks for the concern. This forum is the only place where I share these rays of sunshine. :cool:
     
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  15. peleincubus

    peleincubus Member

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    It’s the same reasons I told Mr premium post TJ. They just can not see passed their own team to become transparent hypocrites.

    a recent example of Alyssa Milano. She asked for due process for Joe Biden. This is the same person that was at the Beer guys Supreme Court interview looking angry in the background.

    Some people can not look at things objectively. It’s been said a million times over. If Obama would have conducted himself like Trump has. I mean lol there perhaps really would have been a civil war.
     
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  16. smoothie_king

    smoothie_king Member

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    The war powers act and chapter of high school government might have been skipped by quite a few posters!
     
  17. biina

    biina Member

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    Did congress approve the strike to kill Soleimani?
     
  18. smoothie_king

    smoothie_king Member

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    Iraq is a dangerous place.

    The people over there are completely nuts!
     
  19. txtony

    txtony Member

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    If you truly believe he will become a dictator, you would want to starve the fed gov of power. This crisis has given him more spending power in the first stimulus bill and a national stock pile to play with - do this for me and you get this.

    The states need to bound together and fix this mess on their own while choosing wisely who to work with in the fed gov (cdc). Don’t depend on a fed gov that is a shell of itself run by yes man and is a toolset played by a dictator wanna be or by a complete incompetent show off at best for his benefit. Solve this problem with a clear goal of stable election in nov. Without a stable safe environment to vote in nov, the law breaker and cheater will take full adv of it... we already saw a preview in WI.
     
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  20. sirbaihu

    sirbaihu Member

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    The threat is not Trump. The threat is that we the people are totally f'ing helpless. We're hanging on the tit of the government and can't get off.

    All these people out of work right now . . . powerless.

    Our economy is F'ed. The American people are not standing tall, they are on their knees, at this moment. It's not Trump's fault. It's the fault of the economy that makes him powerful and makes us infants on the tit.

    You think Trump's a dictator? What are YOU going to do about it? We accept that we are powerless. That's the problem.

    If Trump and all these rich cool dudes don't wanna wake up, they will realize: we have muscle power. That's called "violence."

    I'll gladly have a physical fight to the death with a random billionaire, name picked out of a hat, no weapons. Televise it for coronavirus! Who's with me?
     
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