HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic


Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Monday, June 25, 2018

 
He's not joking, people. He means it.

by digby



My Salon column today:

There is a tendency in the punditocracy to dismiss President Trump's authoritarian rhetoric as nothing more than red meat for his worshipful base, passing twitter tantrums or hyperbolic salesmanship. He's been doing it from the moment he announced his run for president when he insulted Latino immigrants as rapists and continued through the campaign when he endorsed torture, summary executions and banning Muslims from the country. Needless to say, his ongoing paeans to ruthless dictators from Russia's Vladimir Putin to the Philippines' Rodrigo Duterte to his recent love fest with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un show a genuine admiration and respect for the most ruthless and violent tyrants on the planet.

He truly admires them for their willingness and ability to mercilessly rule their countries with an iron fist. His most recent comment about Kim Jong Un, for instance, even betrays a little envy:
“Hey, he is the head of a country, and I mean he is the strong head. Don't let anyone think anything different. He speaks, and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”
He later said he was kidding but it really didn't seem that way. After all he had absurdly stated just a couple of days before about Kim that "his country does love him, his people, you see the fervor. They have a great fervor" apparently unconcerned that the "fervor" is coerced under threat of imprisonment or death.

He plans to spend 30 million dollars to try to create some of that fervor for himself next fall:





He was said to have loved the North Korean state TV, commenting on how positive the female North Korean news anchor was about Kim Jong Un. He told former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee last week that US media criticism of his summit was "almost treasonous." That's not the first time he's said that failing to adequately praise him amounts to treason. When Democrats did not applaud his alleged achievements in the State of the Union he asked a rally crowd, "can we call that treason? Why not? They certainly didn't seem to love our country very much."

This is a man who insisted that everyone always call him "Mr Trump" when he was in business and insisted on strict formality even among his family members. As president he routinely gathers his cabinet and other members of the government to sit around the big table and robotically extol his virtues. Recall this little pageant from his first cabinet meeting:





Then there's the downright bizarre order to create a new branch of government called "The Space Force" (against the advice and opinion of every one of his military advisers) to single-handedly upending the international order with a fatuous "philosophy" that the US is some kind of protection racket and must be paid an ever increasing ransom by countries with whom we've been allied since World War Two. In these cases and many others,  he's making unilateral moves without regard to any previous understandings or agreements whether informal or subject to domestic and international law.

Over the last few months Trump has cast off anyone in the White House who might have attempted to rein in his worst impulses and is making decisions entirely by the seat of his pants. His authoritarian instincts are no longer  confined to the photo-ops.  People around him who share those instincts are growing in influence, particularly senior adviser Stephen Miller who drafted Trump's first Executive Order banning travelers from majority Muslim countries. Recall what he told John Dickerson on Face the Nation in February of 2017 when asked whether the White House had learned anything from the experience:
Well, I think that it's been an important reminder to all Americans that we have a judiciary that has taken far too much power and become, in many cases, a supreme branch of government. One unelected judge in Seattle cannot remake laws for the entire country. I mean this is just crazy, John, the idea that you have a judge in Seattle say that a foreign national living in Libya has an effective right to enter the United States is -- is -- is beyond anything we've ever seen before.

The end result of this, though, is that our opponents, the media and the whole world will soon see as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.
That too was laughed off at the time. He sounded like a North Korean General and no American could possibly take that seriously, right?

But after all the drama, all the turn-over, all the sturm und drang of the past year and half, Miller is still there at the right hand of the president. He's obviously been instrumental, along with his old boss Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Chief of Staff John Kelly, in the crafting of this abominable new "zero-tolerance" border policy with all that stems from it. And he's obviously whispering sweet somethings about that unfettered presidential power in Trump's ears.

On Sunday the president tweeted this, sending shock waves though the media and the political system:




This is more thought out than it seems. Over a month ago, Trump was telling Brian Kilmeade on Fox and friends that he wanted to eliminate due process at the border:
"How do you hire thousands of people to be a judge? So it's ridiculous, we're going to change the system. We have no choice for the good of our country. Other countries have what's called security people. People who stand there and say you can't come in. We have thousands of judges and they need thousands of more judges. The whole system is corrupt. It's horrible...Whoever heard of a system where you put people through trials? Where do these judges come from?"
There is the US Constitution, of course.And laws. And international treaties. And basic human decency. But Trump does not respect of those things. He is essentially proposing to allow the Border Patrol and ICE to deport anyone since the whole reason for due process is to adjudicate the government's assertion of guilt. If there's no due process there's no way of knowing if these "people who stand there and say you can't come in" are following the law themselves. Harvard professor of constitutional law Lawrence Tribe told the New York Times:
Trump is making the tyrannical claim that he has the right to serve as prosecutor, judge and jury with respect to all those who enter our country. That is a breathtaking assertion of unbounded power — power without any plausible limit.
That's what Kim Jong Un does and Trump would like to have that too. Stephen Miller believes he already has it and that we will all soon see that "it will not be questioned."  I don't think anyone should be laughing anymore. They aren't joking.

.