Now that Neil Gorsuch has taken the Supreme Court seat stolen from President Obama, let us put aside the fantasy that someday we will be able to get along with the Republican Party like we used to. We won’t. It will be self-defeating to try. When we are back in the majority, let’s plan on revising the Judiciary Act of 1869 to increase the number of Supreme Court Justices, and appoint Democratic nominees until the damage done by Trump is reversed. They will call it court packing (and for once they will be correct), they will call it unprecedented, they will call it unfair. And we should say nothing in response but “April 7, 2017.”
We are supposed to believe that Donald Trump has an aversion to civilian casualties in wartime.
Yesterday’s chemical attack, a chemical attack so horrific in Syria against innocent people including women, small children, and even beautiful little babies, their deaths was an affront to humanity.
That would be a perfectly normal response from a normal leader. But coming from the guy who falsely said this:
We have to stop the tremendous flow of Syrian refugees into the United States. We don’t know who they are. They have no documentation and we don’t know what they’re planning.
Not only was he not bothered by the deaths of 93,000 Syrian civilians during the six years of the Syrian civil war, he specifically called on President Obama to leave Syria alone, not once but more than a dozen times.
He encouraged people to hate when it suited his short term political needs. Now his short term political need is to go to war against Syria, so he pretends to care about babies long enough to launch the missiles.
Mr. Trump criticized media outlets, including The New York Times…while singling out Fox News and the host Bill O’Reilly for praise, despite reports this week that the veteran conservative commentator settled five lawsuits filed by women claiming sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior. The president then went on to defend Mr. O’Reilly, who has hosted him frequently over the years.
“I think he’s a person I know well — he is a good person,” said Mr. Trump, who during the interview was surrounded at his desk by a half-dozen of his highest-ranking aides, including the economic adviser Gary Cohn and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, along with Vice President Mike Pence.
“I think he shouldn’t have settled; personally I think he shouldn’t have settled,” said Mr. Trump. “Because you should have taken it all the way. I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.”
And this is only the first week of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
Someone, probably the Syrian government, launched an attack using both conventional and chemical weapons that killed at least 58 people, including 11 children. The Trump adminstration condemned the attack and called it “heinous” and “intolerable,” but then proceeded to blame the Obama administration’s “weakness and irresolution” for it.
To the extent that reality still matters, what Obama actually did was seek congressional authorization for a military offensive against the Assad regime — authorization that Spicer’s Republican allies in Congress refused to offer. A guy by the name of Donald J. Trump was especially vocal in his opposition to Obama attacking the Assad government in Syria.
From Boing Boing:
Under the Protecting Data at the Border Act, devices “belonging to or in the possession of a United States person” (a citizen or Green Card holder) could no longer be searched at the border without a warrant. Agents would no longer be able to deny US persons entry or exit on the basis of a refusal to allow such a search (but they could seize the equipment).
It doesn’t cover visitors or visa holders, but it does have bipartisan support in the Senate (Wyden D-OR; Paul R-KY) and the House (Polis D-CO; Farenthold R-TX).
The Customs and Border Protection agency conducted more warrantless device searches in Feb of 2017 than it did in all of 2015.
Rony Chavez Aguilar, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was held in ICE custody for nearly three weeks without being able to see a judge, and without knowing why he was being detained. His lawsuit states
ICE Chicago did not obtain a judicial warrant to arrest Plaintiff; has not provided a sworn, particularized statement of probable cause; has not promptly brought him before a detached and neutral judicial officer for a probable cause hearing; or has not brought him before a judge to understand the charges against him and receive important advisals regarding his due process rights, amongst other procedural protections.
It’s not a new problem since Trump’s inauguration, but I’m guessing we aren’t going to hear the President reading the Riot Act to the immigration cops any time soon.
Every Democrat should sign this petition. Tell DSCC Chair Van Hollen: No reelection funds for any Senate Democrat who votes or strikes a deal to advance the nomination of right-wing extremist Neil Gorsuch. You wouldn’t think there would be any Democratic Senators in that group, but there are, including Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, even Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who should know better.
If Senate Democrats are looking for good reasons to not just oppose Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, but to force Mitch McConnell to go nuclear to get him on the court, there’s plenty. Let’s start with the fact that this is a stolen seat. By all rights, the only person who should be considered for the court is Merrick Garland, President Obama’s highly qualified and completely noncontroversial nominee who was blockaded by Republicans in an unprecedented and unprincipled display of partisanship. You don’t like the idea that maybe it’s tit-for-tat and you don’t want to look petty. Get over it.
There are plenty of reasons based in Gorsuch’s person, however, if Democrats need them. Like the fact that Gorsuch is a right-wing extremist so bought-into right-wing extremism that he uses “Democrat” as an adjective. That’s an implicit tip-off to anyone paying attention that he is a supremely political actor and will be serving the far-right before serving the constitution. He’s an ideologue and will rule as one. There’s also little indication that Gorsuch will be an independent actor when—and it’s increasingly looking like it will be when and not if—the court has to weigh in on a constitutional crisis created by popular vote loser Donald Trump.
Further, any senator who is worried about justifying a filibuster vote to their constituents only needs one story to justify their vote—the story of Alphonse Maddin, the “frozen trucker.” Gorsuch actually ruled that Maddin was justifiably fired by his employer when he disobeyed an order so that he could save himself from freezing to death. Gorsuch was in the minority in that decision, because it was an extreme position to take, but that’s who Gorsuch is. Any senator will be able to relate that story to a constituent to justify his or her vote to block Gorsuch.
Sign up to tell Democrats: “Do everything you can to Resist Trump, or we will replace you with someone who will.” The form requires a mobile phone number, but you can supply a bogus one if you like.
This is what domestic terrorism looks like. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson ruled last week to block the latest Trump Muslim ban, citing “significant” evidence of “religious animus.” In a normal government, the administration would say they disagreed with the court and/or were disappointed in the ruling, perhaps say they would seek new legislation. But this is your new Republican government, and they’re not big fans of the separation of powers:
And just to review, the Republican Party officially stood behind Trump when he delegitimized the judicial branch of government. So why would anybody be surprised when the authoritarian followers start making death threats to judges? While U.S. Marshals guard Judge Watson around the clock, I’m sure other federal judges are getting the message loud and clear.
Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so.
A lot of people are making comparisons of President Trump to the fascist leaders of the 1930s. Is that fair? Well, first let’s consider what fascism is. This article, which I strongly recommend reading now, describes 14 features common to fascist governments. It wouldn’t be fair to throw the word “fascist” at Trump unless he matches all 14 items on that list. Here they are.
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Yes. This is the “Make America Great Again” guy, after all. Trump has repeated “America First” like a mantra, a phrase is not just nationalistic on its face, but was the slogan of some of the most prominent anti-Semites who opposed U.S. entry into World War II.
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Yes. Trump is unambiguously in favor of torture. He turns away refugees fleeing war zones, supports racist voter suppression, and rolled back protections for transgender children. He plans to have the Border Patrol separate children from their parents in detention, as a deterrent to illegal border crossing.
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – Yes. He tried to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. He wants to create a registry of Muslims, just like the Nazis did in the 1930s with Jews.
4. Supremacy of the Military – Yes. He proposed a $54 billion increase in military spending. He claims to have a secret plan to defeat ISIS (in 30 days, which expired a month ago at this writing). He has promised to deport immigrants in a “military operation,” a disturbing way to talk about domestic policing.
5. Rampant Sexism – Oh yes. He has already ordered cutbacks in U.S. funding of international family planning organizations. He has bragged of sexually assaulting women. Over and over again, he has referred to women as sexual objects, criticized women for their looks, and joked about dating underage girls.
6. Controlled Mass Media – Yes. He wants to make it easier to sue the press into submission, and has a media enemies list, and literally used the Stalinist phrase “enemy of the people” to describe the press. It wouldn’t be accurate to say he controls the media, in the present tense, but his desire to do so is not a secret.
7. Obsession with National Security – Hell yes. Fear is central to Trump’s appeal. We are told to be afraid of immigrants, afraid of African Americans, afraid of Chinese. We are told that police are under attack. We are told in ominous tones that something is going on. He has repeatedly claimed that the U.S. murder rate is the highest it has been in 47 years, when the opposite is true.
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Yes indeed. Trump has made no secret of his intention to prioritize Christian immigrants to the U.S. He has promised to lift the political restrictions on religious nonprofits, making it possible for churches to participate directly in political campaigns, with anonymous tax free money. He has promised to appoint antiabortion judges. He promised to get cashiers in stores to say “Merry Christmas.” He promised to bring back prayer in public schools.
9. Corporate Power is Protected – Yes. Trump promises to reduce taxes on corporations to zero, and cut regulations. He has the CEOs of many of the most powerful companies in the world attempting to curry favor with him. His cabinet is dominated by corporate executives.
10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Yes. Trump’s first pick for Secretary of Labor, Andrew Puzder, is a fast food CEO, with a long history of fighting against the $15 minimum wage, whose employees complain of wage theft and sexual harrassment. His current nominee, Alexander Acosta, refuses to say he’ll enforce current regulations that protect workers’ overtime pay. Trump has been overtly hostile to labor unions.
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Emphatically yes. Trump has taken anti-intellectualism to new levels. This is the guy who doesn’t need to read much because he has so much “common sense.” He literally stands opposed to the idea of the very existence of objective truth. He proposes eliminating the arts and humanities endowments. He has described art he dislikes as “degenerate,” a chilling choice of word that we have heard before, from actual Nazis.
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Yes. Trump favors the death penalty and asserts against the evidence that the death penalty deters crime. He thinks we have to give more power to police, including the power to stop and frisk people without suspicion, a practice already ruled unconstitutional in New York.
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – To an unprecedented level, yes. Trump has refused to put his assets into a blind trust, so anyone wishing to curry favor with the President of the United States can literally give him money, by staying at a Trump hotel, or playing at a Trump golf club, or just buying one of his many properties, in violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution. He will fill vacancies in the National Labor Relations Board, which will referee matters between Trump hotels and labor unions. He will fill vacancies in the General Services Administration, which will administer the lease of Trump International Hotel.
14. Fraudulent Elections – And…yes. We know that Russia intervened in the U.S. election, according to U.S. intelligence officials. There is evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians in that effort. On top of the Russian angle, Trump and the Republican Party have engaged in systematic voter suppression.
Perhaps this is why Trump has an actual sworn Nazi working for him as an adviser. Perhaps this is why the Nazi web site Daily Stormer celebrates Trump’s victory and calls him “our God Emperor.” Perhaps this is why the Ku Klux Klan’s official newspaper endorsed Trump. Perhaps this is why radical Serbian nationalists, who carried out actual genocide in the 1990s, support Trump.
“Fascist” isn’t a word that means “someone I don’t like.” It’s not a word to be thrown around lightly. It has a specific meaning. And if you’ve read this far, you can’t escape the conclusion: Donald Trump is, indeed, a fascist.