Trump’s warning to the Left was a signal to his acolytes

Politics are messy in the best of times, and opposition politics, whether during elections or not, can be extremely messy – even in “civilized” societies like America used to be. In nations with tyrannical dictators, messy generally means violent and it can be life threatening to oppose the ruling party. Now, based on the threats and predictions of violence by white supremacists, evangelical extremists and now their messiah Donald Trump, opposition politics in America are leaning towards violence.

During a segment on Fox News when Trump was queried about his plan to bring the nation together, especially in light of opposition to his inhumane immigration policy, he sent a not-so-veiled threat to the opposition that they should fear his rabid supporters in the white supremacy and evangelical movements. Trump said:

I think some of the things that are said are terrible. And you know, it’s our people are so incredible — do you know, there’s probably never been a base in the history of politics in this country like my base. I hope the other side realizes that they better just take it easy. They better just take it easy because some of the language used, some of the words used, even some of the radical ideas I really think they are very bad for the country. I think they are actually very dangerous for the country.”

Obviously, Trump’s idea of bringing the nation together is threatening the opposition to either shut up and embrace his tyranny or face the wrath of his disgusting base. Trump’s remark was certainly a warning and a threat to the “opposition,” but it was also a very clear message to “his” base.

It is almost certain that Trump’s “threat” was as much a signal to “his base” to prepare for action against “the opposition” as it was a warning to said “opposition.” Of course this isn’t Trump first foray into inciting his racist and evangelical base to violence and it likely is not going to be the last.

Some Americans may recall that Trump sent another “not-so-subtle” message to his base shortly after one of his Nazi supporters drove a car into a crowd of protestors in Charlottesville Virginia killing Heather Heyer for “opposing” Trump’s revolting Nazi adherents.

The reason his “base” did not  lash out at or abandon him after he was eventually pressured to decry the violence in Charlottesville was because his first public statement signaled his steadfast support for the racists when he said they were “very fine people.” It is no coincidence that he sent the same signal when he said, “our people are so incredible” that the “other side better just take it easy.” It was a direct threat from the Oval Office that “saying things,” “using language, and words,” or promoting “ideas” that Trump doesn’t like are “very dangerous”’ and will incite “his base” to action.

If Americans and the world have learned anything since even before Trump’s poorly attended inauguration, it is that no matter the situation or who is involved, Trump’s first response is making threats – except against his most favored tyrant Vlad Putin. And just as religious extremists and racists follow a perceived messiah, Trump’s devotees are ready and willing to execute his threats in the worst possible way – bloodshed.

It is noteworthy that Trump did not create his incredible “base;”  he simply took advantage of his “birther” handiwork and then tapped into the same people as “his base.”  That base has longed for  bloodshed against the “opposition” since 2008 because it overwhelmingly elected an African American man to be their President. That thirst for civil war, or the so-called second revolution, only increased exponentially throughout President Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House. Trump did not have to do much more than embrace, and then incite, the racists and evangelical extremists during his particularly nasty campaign rallies.

Decent Americans should not underestimate the threat of violence from Trump’s “base.” Since the presidential campaign onward there have been honest-to-dog warnings that opposing Trump, or his policies, was courting danger in the form of violence. One member of Trump’s inner circle, Roger Stone, warned just a few months ago, and for the second time, that “blood will flow in the streets of America with an insurrection like you have never seen if President Trump is impeached.”

Stone specifically noted that any politician who joined the effort or called for removing Trump from the White House “would be endangering their own life.” Media Matters reported that Trump told conspiracy theorist Alex Jones that “he ‘really liked’ [Roger] Stone’s comment” negating any absurd claim that Trump’s “warning” was referring to his base as an electoral “threat.” He was sending a clear message to his supporters who have already threatened incredible bloodshed against the “opposition” if they think their messiah is in danger; it is precisely why Trump called the opposition “very dangerous for the country.”

There is nothing abnormal about Trump issuing threats against anyone he considers “the opposition,” it is just what bullies do as a matter of course. However, it is beyond the pale that the leader of the Executive Branch of government is issuing warnings against the opposition that “they just better take it easy” with their “words and ideas” or face the wrath of “his incredible base.

Unlike the dictators Trump wants to emulate, he is restrained from unleashing the military on “the opposition” for some extrajudicial justice; at least thus far. He has, in fact, promoted the idea that “due process” does not comport with his style of “governance.” So instead he will rely on his “incredible base” to do his dirty work against other Americans who dare to exercise their Constitutional right of free speech and condemn the dirty fascist in the White House.  As noted above, this is not the first time Trump sent his “base” a message regarding their craving for violence and bloodshed against other Americans. All because they refuse to submit to the corrupt and barbaric savage in the White House or the dictates of his racist and theocratic sycophants.

The State of the Union is Critical

No matter which side of the political spectrum any American resides, it is nearly impossible to claim America is in anything but a state of decline as a representative secular democracy. The nation’s state of decline is no accident for myriad reasons, but none more apparent than the population allowing a bloodless coup d’état to unfold right before their eyes with hardly a whimper of opposition. At this juncture, the problem is not just a corrupt tyrant occupying the nation’s highest office; it is an entire political party aiding and abetting a crooked celebrity and lawless fascist’s assault on America and the rule of law.

It is not entirely clear to this author, at least not yet, why so many Americans are ignorant about the extent of damage one fascist and his anti-American conservative cabal have already wrought on this nation. It cannot possibly be because more people are still mesmerized by the Trump’s social media activity than care about America’s survival as a democracy, or believe the Oval Office fascist’s claim that the free  press is fake news and the enemy of the people. The majority of Americans still trust the free press as honest and legitimate.

This curious state of the people is particularly mind boggling because most Americans are well-aware that anything Trump says is a dirty filthy lie and that everything congressional Republicans are doing is highly unpopular and deliberately devastating for the people and the nation. That millions of Americans are not rioting in the streets is evidence that if the nation was a person admitted to a hospital, it would be listed in critical condition with little hope of surviving; particularly after the unrelenting mortal wounds Republicans and Trump have, and still are, inflicting on it.

Just the newest reporting that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) assistant director is fleeing out of fear of Republicans and Trump, or that Trump blatantly violated the United States Constitution again  should have the nation reeling and rioting, but it is not.  Maybe Americans are unaware that by not imposing the congressional sanctions on Russia, Trump again violated Article 2 Section 3 of the Constitution. It is at least the second time he has violated that section of the Constitution and yet Republicans continue protecting the criminal conspirator despite he is flouting their legally-passed legislation.

That the Republican-controlled Congress is rejecting its duty of oversight in holding a flagrant criminal to account for violating the Constitution is, in and of itself, a sure sign that the rule of law is non-existent. Add to that horrific collusion with a criminal tyrant, Republicans are, and have been, in a war with the nation’s highest law enforcement agency for doing its due diligence. For dog’s sake, Republicans are part of Trump’s crusade against the legally-appointed Special Prosecutor because he is investigating what most Americans consider treason and obstruction of justice. The latest outrage is Trump considering calling on the nation’s attorney general to prosecute the Special Prosecutor for doing his job; it is likely corrupt Republicans are deeply involved in Trump’s attempt to criminalize the job of Special Prosecutor.

In fact, as proof many Republicans are guilty of violating the law to protect a fascist criminal, consider that Trump approached more than a couple of congressional Republicans to pressure them to obstruct justice by dropping congressional investigations into his administration’s collusion with a hostile foreign power. Pressing members of congressional investigations to stop is obstructing justice and an actual felony. According to 18 U.S. Code § 4 – Misprision of Felony:

Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”

It is noteworthy that no Republican made known to anyone in authority that Trump pressed them to drop an investigation into his administration any more than any Republican reported their suspicions that Trump “was being paid by Putin.”  If not for the “free press” Trump wants eliminated, Americans would be unaware that their elected Republican representatives willfully violated the law to protect a criminal because he is a Republican.

Of course there are more Trump abominations against the people of the United States than just flouting the rule of law and violating the “so help me god” oath he took to live in the White House. And regardless he is handing over the American people’s public land to corporations, many of them foreign, or creating the ultimate dark money PACsby giving churches freedom to campaign, or handing over social control of the population to evangelicals, his biggest crime is complete and utter disregard for the law of the land.

America might survive Trump and Republicans handing over the wealth of the nation to a few wealthy families and corporations; the people will surely suffer, the but nation will still exist. The agriculture industry might even stay afloat despite Trump’s ineptitude in international trade and his xenophobic excuse of an immigration policy. Women may not fare as well as equal citizens in the evangelical theocracy Trump and Republicans are creating, but they will likely be allowed to stay alive as birth machines. In fact, there will likely be an America despite Trump and Republicans, but it will be “America” in name only unless Trump decides to change the name.

It is easy to assign blame for America’s demise on Trump; he is the most visible villain and chief criminal. But without Republicans in Congress protecting the criminal he would likely be gone by now. The sad truth is that a fair majority of the American people are wholly responsible for America’s critical condition.

Remember, Putin may have helped Trump and congressional Republicans, in fact he did help Trump and congressional Republicans; but it was angry religious and racist Americans who voted for Trump and gave the criminal Republicans control of Congress. Now they are dismantling the government, creating a theocracy, and spending an inordinate amount of time and taxpayer dollars protecting a criminal in the White House;  including attacking the nation’s highest law enforcement agencies.

With a Republican-run Congress willfully violating the rule of law by not holding a treasonous fascist accountable for his crimes, and a fascist liar who openly denies the rule of law applies to him, the state of the Union is critical. America only survived for 242 years because it was effectively governed according to the rule of law in the U.S. Constitution; something Republicans and Trump now openly reject as a burden to their corruption and fascism.

Lurching Toward the First Constitutional Crisis Since the Civil War

 

A couple of days ago, Bill Moyers shared an email from “an old friend” of his and although it is likely too close to reality for comfort, it does accurately portray part of Trump’s motivation in pardoning the self-styled fascist Joe Arpaio. The quoted email was an introduction to an article suggesting that Trump was creating aconstitutional crisis;a term many Americans have heard far too many times since Trump’s sparsely attended inauguration. For perspective, one normally only hears the term “constitutional crisis”  in a university-level history class studying the Civil War.

The email Mr. Moyers shared was from “one of the country’s top trial lawyers.” It said, in part:

“I have underestimated Trump. He knows what is coming, including a variety of criminal charges and other impeachable offenses. He is not just arousing his base to anger, but to arms, some of them. There is no other way to explain the transgender ban, the Arpaio pardon, his Charlottesville remarks…”

Now everything one of the nation’s “top trial lawyers” wrote is true, and this author fundamentally said the same things in a couple of overly-wordy columns here and here. As Trump’s popularity, or lack thereof,  continues declining, he is going to get increasingly proactive and incite his white evangelical fascists to his defense; they are all he has left.

But there is another danger in Arpaio’s pardon and it does represent a constitutional crisis without a remedy because Republicans are too terrified of crossing Trump to put him out of the White House and out of the nation’s misery.

As the author of a book on France under fascism, Charles Kaiser asserted, what Americans are experiencing today is “exactly what incipient fascism looks like.” Most Americans comprehend that Trump’s unrelenting assault on the press, inflaming Nazis and heartening racists, and now pardoning an acknowledged serial civil rights abuser and brazen racist are indeed “acts of a man who is blatantly defying his sacred pledge to uphold the Constitution of the United States.” But those Americans likely don’t comprehend that Trump’s defiance of the Constitution portends the naked fascism lurking on the horizon.

Arpaio’s pardon is wrong on myriad levels; only racists, evangelicals, most Republicans, and Trump believe otherwise.  But it was deliberately “wrong” to send a very clear message that Trump has no regard for, and no intent to ever adhere to, the rule of law or the U.S. Constitution. It was bad enough when it was Arpaio violating the rule of law and the Constitution with impunity, but when it is the monster in the White House it is a constitutional crisis that Republicans show no willingness to thwart.

Look, Trump didn’t even wait for Arpaio to be sentenced, or go through the normal Justice Department channels necessary to petition for a presidential pardon; Trump just said Arpaio was treated “very unfairly” and was only punished for “doing his job.” It is tantamount to saying that refusing to adhere to a constitutional federal court order is legal if it comports with Trump law.

Of course the pardon is a signal to every racist law enforcement officer, and armed white supremacist vigilante, that rounding up innocents and abusing them is legal, and just their job. But more than that it is a message to America that Donald J. Trump is now the law of the land; it is fascism and the act of a tyrannical dictator that Republicans will not regulate. As Charles Kaiser rightly asserted, Trump pardoning Arpaio “is the latest and gravest step he has taken in his continuing efforts to undermine the rule of law.”

Mr. Kaiser is not the first legal expert to explain that although Trump reveled in inciting his racist supporters, “it is not the main reason for this heinous act.”  Kaiser and several other legal authorities expect that Trump is signaling to all of his current and former underlings and family members that they too are under no obligation to adhere to the law, or the Constitution, or a summons from Special Counsel Robert Mueller III. If they are held in contempt by Mr. Mueller or a congressional committee investigating Trump’s ties to Russia for not cooperating, they can ignore any risk or threat of jail time becauseTrump will pardon them.

America has been in a constitutional crisis since the day Trump was inaugurated and it is down to one simple fact; he was always intent on using the authority of the Oval Office solely to benefit himself. Whether it is profiting by keeping his “vast business empire” or keeping his friends out of jail, Trump has abused the federal government office he has no right holding.

By giving Arpaio a pardon, Trump showed Americans, Congress and the Judiciary that he will use his authority to keep a political ally, former underling, mafia friend, or family member out of jail no matter the severity of their crimes. What Trump accomplished in pardoning an evil monster was “obliterating any lines that remain between the chief executive [Branch] and an independent system of justice.

Trump is now the system of justice according to his executive authority and Republicans are complicit for accepting this atrocity as life in Trump’s America. Trump will certainly pursue neutering the legislative branch when the opportunity presents itself to consolidate all federal government power in his tiny little hands; it is what fascist dictators do as a matter of course.

In pardoning Arpaio, Trump incited his racist supporters to his defense, legalized civil rights abuses and detainees’ murders, and created a “class of citizens who are above the law;” including all of his administration’s cronies and particularly himself. It is what any semi-intelligent human being would call a fascist dictatorship. Americans will call it the first honest-to-dog “constitutional crisis” since the Civil War.

 

Americans’ Independence “Seems to Vanish in the Haze” of Fascism

It is a mystery why Americans make such a gargantuan deal out of the Fourth of July when very few of them understand why the Founders declared their independence from England. It wasn’t to blow off fireworks, wave flags or drink to excess. No, it was to escape a tyrannical monarchy, an overbearing religion, and taxation without representation; exactly what Americans find themselves facing today, 241 years after the Declaration of Independence.

Thomas Jefferson’s immortal document for the young nation was likely the impetus for Abraham Lincoln’s “borrowed statement” that America is “a government of the people, by the people, and for the people; something he said would never perish.

Abraham Lincoln, like Thomas Jefferson, probably never imagined Americans would cede their government, their democracy, and their independence to a tyrannical dictator and his equally tyrannical political party. But that is precisely what occurred last November when the tyrant who lost the people’s vote by a wide margin was installed in the White House by a hostile foreign government, vote suppressing Republicans, and emoprogs still crying for their pie-in-the-sky commie-loving con man (not Trump). Now all Americans are watching their democracy, and their independence “vanish in the haze” of fascism by Republican rule – not governance.

Every action of government is the people’s business. Every penny spent by government is the people’s money. From the courthouse to the statehouse to the White House, government belongs to the governed and not the governing.

Those statements, courtesy of Jim Zachary, are an introduction to an opinion piece explaining why a free press is crucial to democracy. Anyone with a functioning brain comprehends that democracy is part and parcel of independence from tyranny, and it has never been more prescient  a concept to grasp than today.

One of the reasons the Founding Fathers and Constitution’s Framers included freedom of the press in the First Amendment was their knowledge that “independent checks and balances are critical to our independence.” And those “independent checks and balances” are the purview of the Fourth Estate (the press, media etc), not any part of the government.

By now it should be glaringly apparent that the white trash in the White House, and Republicans as a movement, despise democracy as much as they hate Americans’ independence. If that were not the case congressional Republicans would not be pushing widely unpopular policies, religious dictates by government fiat, and terrible Trump would not be attacking the press as surrogates for Americans’ democracy and independence.

As Professor Robert Reich noted yesterday, when Trump put out a video of him knocking out CNN as surrogate for all independent media, he was attacking democracy, and Americans’ independence he intends on destroying. It’s what every tyrannical dictator does as a matter of course and dirty Don is, if nothing else, aspiring to be a tyrannical dictator.

Every student of American history should be aware that Founding Father and Constitution Framer Thomas Jefferson was not always a fan of a free press; no politician is for obvious reasons. However, Jefferson knew it was absolutely crucial to democracy and the people’s independence. In fact, in a 1787 letter to Edward Carrington, the young nation’s third President wrote about the importance of a free press.

And were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.”

Obviously, Donald Trump believes otherwise on more than one account. Trump does not want every American to be able to read, or think critically, or he would not have appointed an education secretary more devoted to using public schools to “advance god’s kingdom” than actually educating the next generation. And instead of at least accepting the Constitution’s guarantee of a free press, Trump has declared it, as a surrogate for democracy and independence “the enemy of the people.” Robert Reich could not have called it more accurately when he said that a fake video of white trash Trump “knocking out CNN” represented him “knocking out democracy,” and Americans’ independence.

Some may ask: how have Trump and Republicans acted to restrict Americans’ constitutionally-guaranteed independence? Of course there are too many examples to cite, but just a few are Republican attacks on Americans’ right to privacy, their right to protest, their right to determine when and how they start a family, right to free and fair elections, their right to freedom from religion, their basic human right to clean water and air, and their right to direct “their” government in how it spends “their” money. Republicans and Trump vehemently oppose each and every one of those rights which is partially why Trump said he does not like the U.S. Constitution any more that he likes that other critical aspect of democracy; an independent judiciary.

As many pundits, sociologists, and historians have noted, America is in jeopardy of becoming a fascist dictatorship and the people without a voice or even a semblance of independence. Republicans in Congress and state legislatures are just as guilty of destroying democracy as Trump is, and likely more so. However, while Republicans are working behind Trump’s distractions, he is putting out “increasingly incendiary messages that constitute an overt assault on freedom of the press; the cornerstone of America’s democracy and the people’s independence.

Hopefully today while Americans are waving flags, over-indulging in alcohol,  overeating and enjoying firework displays, they will take a moment to relish their independence like the dying commodity it really is. Because it, like their democracy, has never been as endangered as it is with Republicans and Trump dismantling their democracy and eliminating their independence.

Happy Independence Day!