We stand at one of the great turning points in American history, and who knows how we shall find our way out. Perhaps the first and best thing we can all do is to see what is right before our eyes, speak the truth to our neighbors, and keep on speaking it. Light a little candle in the darkness, if you can do no more, and keep it burning - we Americans will not go silent and unresisting into the night, will we?
1. Kudos to my trucklady friend June over at The Wounded Bird, who struck a blow for democracy way down in the bayous this week, and justly earned her 15 minutes of fame by breaking into a Senator's self-serving speech:
2. CNN's Jake Tapper on the "un-American" White House, which barred the nation's leading news media from a press conference yesterday:
3. Why some former Obama voters voted for Trump; notice that these folks-next-door have no fangs and horns, but are sadly misguided:
4. At CPAC this week, Trump's ghastly eminence gris Steve Bannon admitted that the goal of this administration is to "destroy the administrative state" - which your Head Trucker would translate as "destroy democracy" - in other words, replacing our system of government with the Will of Trump alone - is this not a blueprint for dictatorship? Yes it is. Also high treason. Daily Kos reports:
Atop Trump’s agenda, Bannon said, was the “deconstruction of the administrative state” — meaning a system of taxes, regulations and trade pacts that the president and his advisers believe stymie economic growth and infringe upon one’s sovereignty.
“If you look at these Cabinet nominees, they were selected for a reason, and that is deconstruction,” Bannon said. He posited that Trump’s announcement withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership was “one of the most pivotal moments in modern American history.”
The crippling or wholesale elimination of Federal agencies that ensure we receive such things as clean air, clean water, fair labor laws, fair housing standards, anti-discrimination laws, financial protections, food and drug safety, national education standards and the like, has been a goal of far-right “thinkers" for decades. Their rationale, propagated by corporate and industry-funded think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation, has always been that that the existence of these “unelected" agencies represents a mortal threat to American “sovereignty and self-government." This is exactly the line Bannon was peddling at CPAC today. It is delusional, right-wing garbage.
5. A Republican state judge in Ohio wrote a blistering editorial for the Cincinnati paper, excerpt:
The leader of the band of Mad Hatters occupying the White House has already insulted allied world leaders, issued illegal and badly written orders, impugned a “so-called” judge appointed by his own party, and appointed the least-qualified cabinet ever. The first secretary of state was Thomas Jefferson. Trump appointed a big-oil executive with close ties to Russia. The first treasury secretary was Alexander Hamilton. Trump appointed a former Goldman Sachs exec who got rich foreclosing on homeowners. The national security advisor lasted 24 days.
And all that’s just at the time I write this. Who knows what happens next. Each new day is a new nightmare. We are still trying to digest one breathtaking assault on America when another is signed, issued, or Tweeted. All this amid constant lies. Constant. Lies.
I am a lifelong Republican. I voted for every Republican presidential candidate from 1968 to 2004. But I have watched what once was a sane, center-right party go off the rails, first to the extreme right, then to wherever Trump is, which is in another universe.
It’s tough, but we must end this dangerous presidency. Trump must be impeached and removed with all haste. But only Congress can initiate the process. . . .
Basic American values – free speech, the rule of law, separation of powers, even common decency – are unknown in this White House. We now have a president who has no concept of separation of powers, or why we have three branches of government. If he knew anything about the Constitution, he would know the framers envisioned just the situation we have now – a would-be dictator. They provided checks and balances – such as an independent judiciary to protect us from presidential tyranny. . . .
All the above bothers me and should appall all Americans. We must admit we have elected a president who has immediately proved himself to be a grifter, a pathological liar, a mean-spirited bully and dangerous to American values. This not-ready-for-prime-time show is too dangerous to continue. America is at stake.
6. Dan Rather, one of the elder statesmen of journalism, sounded the emergency alarm on his Facebook page:
The time for normalizing, dissembling, and explaining away Donald Trump has long since passed. The barring of respected journalistic outlets from the White House briefing is so far beyond the norms and traditions that have governed this republic for generations, that they must be seen as a real and present threat to our democracy. These are the dangers presidents are supposed to protect against, not create.
For all who excused Mr. Trump's rhetoric in the campaign as just talk, the reckoning has come. I hope it isn't true, but I fear Mr. Trump is nearing or perhaps already beyond any hope of redemption. And now the question is will enough pressure be turned to all those who enable his antics with their tacit encouragement. There has been a wall of unbending support from virtually every Republican in Congress, and even some Democrats. Among many people, this will be seen as anything approaching acceptable. And mind you, talk is cheap. No one needs to hear how you don't agree with the President. What are you going to do about it? Do you maintain that an Administration that seeks to subvert the protections of our Constitution is fit to rule unchecked? Or fit to rule at all?
This is an emergency that can no longer be placed solely at the feet of President Trump, or even the Trump Administration. This is a moment of judgement for everyone who willingly remains silent. It is gut check time, for those in a position of power, and for the nation.
7. Look into the crystal ball - is a military coup in our future? Patrick Granfield's Politico essay, "The Generals Guarding American Democracy," implies a hitherto unthinkable thought.
Bonus: The New Yorker slyly captures the essence of the moment on its annual Eustace Tilley cover: