I was busy. I have words. Watch this space.
So. Furthering the conjecture and providing a little counterpoint, I believe that there are cogent issues raised but vital counterarguments left unasked. The author's analysis basically boils down to:
- The Trump administration deliberately gutted the State Department the same weekend they rolled out their Muslim ban in order to test the limits of executive power.
- They did this at the behest of Russia, which has sold of about a fifth of Rosneft without anybody really noticing.
- Trump has distanced himself from the American intelligence apparatus while also ramping up his personal security.
therefore, coup d'etat.
Did I miss anything?
All of this could be absolutely, 100% true and it does not support "therefore, coup d'etat." For example, sure: the Trump administration gutted the shit out of the State Department the same weekend they decided to write "ban all muslims" in crayon on a napkin and have Trump sign it. If you didn't want anyone from the State Department to tell you officially that it's a bad idea, unconstitutional and likely to cause unnecessary chaos for weeks/months/years, firing them all would be a great way to ensure your executive order gets rolled out how you want it.
If you wanted the State Department to lend legitimacy to what you're doing, it's exactly the wrong way to do it.
Right now, DHS is defying court orders and doing what Trump says. This is no doubt due to the fact that their lawyers looked over their charter and determined that they report to the Executive, not the Judicial, and that they're required to be goose-stepping thugs whether it's illegal or not. They are, no doubt, awaiting clarification or instruction from the chain of command their lawyers have determined they're bound by so that they can continue to do their jobs as charged.
But suppose Trump is literally Voldemort, Bannon is literally Skeletor, KellyAnn Conway is literally Cruella DeVille and RNCPRBS is literally Joseph Goebbels. DHS has a quarter million employees. You think they're all going along with this? Dunno about you, but at the airports I fly through they're mostly minorities and women. Shit, I've seen like a dozen in LA wearing hijabs. I've overheard them talking to each other in Seattle in Amharic.
I say this to celebrate it, not to denigrate it: we had two days of protests at ten different airports this weekend over 109 detained travelers.
A quote over the article:
It wouldn’t surprise me if the goal is to create “resistance fatigue,” to get Americans to the point where they’re more likely to say “Oh, another protest? Don’t you guys ever stop?” relatively quickly.
Supposes that the protestors represent the minority opinion. They do not. We're rapidly reaching not protest fatigue, but protest normalization. I dunno about your Trump-voting Facebook friends, but mine were pretty goddamn quiet this weekend. They were the only ones. Moving on, Russia:
I mean, sure. It's entirely possible that this is all at the behest of Russia. It's entirely possible that Trump is doing it to get a fifth of Rosneft, just like in the dossier, for lifting sanctions against Russia. But sanctions haven't been lifted yet. More than that, any sanctions lifted can be reimposed by Congress with a supermajority if I'm not mistaken. Finally, throwing the nation into turmoil at the behest of an enemy power for personal enrichment is treason and/or terrorism and/or espionage. You wanna talk impeachable offenses, each one of those is a federal capital offense. So if Trump's gonna take the money and run, he better run far.
But right - he's gonna take over the country:
Especially if combined with the DHS and the FBI, which appear to have remained loyal to the President throughout the recent transition, this creates the armature of a shadow government: intelligence and police services which are not accountable through any of the normal means, answerable only to the President.
Pretend none of those people are thinking, feeling human beings. Pretend they're orcs. There's 300,000 orcs willing to do Sauron's will. oh shit what will we do?
You might be interested to know that before you get dumb and talk army vs. fbi or any of that shit, there's about 800,000 cops in the United States, all of which have a long-standing interagency beef with everybody that isn't cops. Does the author really expect every other organization in the United States to roll over as the DHS attempts to consolidate power?
Does the author really think the Trump administation thinks that's going to happen?
Trump was, indeed, perfectly honest during the campaign; he intends to do everything he said, and more. This should not be reassuring to you.
The regime’s main organizational goal right now is to transfer all effective power to a tight inner circle, eliminating any possible checks from either the Federal bureaucracy, Congress, or the Courts. Departments are being reorganized or purged to effect this.
The inner circle is actively probing the means by which they can seize unchallenged power; yesterday’s moves should be read as the first part of that.
The aims of crushing various groups — Muslims, Latinos, the black and trans communities, academics, the press — are very much primary aims of the regime, and are likely to be acted on with much greater speed than was earlier suspected. The secondary aim of personal enrichment is also very much in play, and clever people will find ways to play these two goals off each other.
This can be absolutely, positively 100% true and still not matter. I don't know if you've been watching this administration. They aren't speaking like the Lords of Creation addressing the mortals from their seats in Valhalla. They're speaking like David Koresh from the basement. They don't answer, they lash out. They don't respond, they attack. The only support they've gotten - from anyone - comes in the form of "not objecting."
A source familiar with Booker’s exchange with CBP officials told The Daily Beast that officials with the agency refused to see him face to face. Instead, Booker wrote questions on a piece of paper which he handed to police officers, and those officers gave the paper—along with a copy of Brinkema’s ruling—to CBP officials. Those CBP officials then wrote out their answers to the senator’s questions, according to the source. The source described it as a half-written, half-spoken game of telephone.
Those are your goose-steppers, by the way. The shock troops at the front of the new totalitarian wave. Doing everything they can to not have their names attached to this travesty. The simple act of doing what they're told and throwing 100-odd people in secondary hold for the weekend has them hanging their heads and hiding under desks.
Do you really think they like this any better than you do?
Look. Putin came to power by killing 300 innocent people and blaming it on terrorism. Theoretically, Trump could do the same. After all, without the Reichstag we've got no 3rd Reich, right? Except Putin was already popular. And at the Reichstag fire Hitler and Hindenberg had 80% of the vote. Neither of them were under investigation for colluding with foreign powers.
And there's something... confounding about the dualism necessary in these discussions. Either Trump is a greedy manchild bent on personal enrichment or he's a Manchurian candidate idealistically bent on sweeping the Muslims into the gutter of history. He can't be both.
Mr. Bannon told a colleague in multiple conversations during the presidential campaign that he knew Mr. Trump was an “imperfect vessel” for the revolution he had in mind. But the upstart candidate and the media entrepreneur bonded anyway.
In August 2015, Mr. Bannon told Ms. Jones in an email that he had turned Breitbart, where employees called certain political stories “Bannon Specials,” into “Trump Central” and joked that he was the candidate’s hidden “campaign manager.” He hosted Mr. Trump for friendly radio interviews and offered tactful coaching. This August, with the Trump campaign foundering, Mr. Bannon took over as chief executive.
Somebody's being used here, and somebody's using. The author's argument is that the Trump administration is using us because the Russians are using them. But do we really believe that Putin has a tighter leash on Trump than the rest of us? That Bannon does?
Or are we looking at the thrashings of an insular, inexperienced administration attempting to ramrod through everything they can while deliberately avoiding anyone who can tell them no?
Look. Russia has already benefitted immeasurably. This was a triple grand slam for Putin. Anything that happens from now only puts them further ahead. They have no real risks to worry about. But they're not crazy. They know that an erratic puppet on the throne will cause chaos and discord. They also know that whenever you put someone divisive in charge, you aren't going to get a lot of unity.
Don't get me wrong. This is all crazy shit, and many of us, myself included, certainly didn't predict it'd get this dumb this quick. I'd argue that's because we overestimated the acumen of the Trump team, not underestimated.
They're shifting the transmission into reverse without putting in the clutch. Gears are grinding. Sparks are flying. And Donald J. Trump, the man who doesn't exist if he isn't on television, is being pilloried by nearly everyone. Do you think he likes that?
Reading all this doesn't make me think "how long have we got?" it makes me think
how long has Steve Bannon got?