Again, on display in the last half hour of 'Morning Joe' , was the incredible human capacity to embrace fancy, groundless hope, and baseless suppositions. This was when host Joe Scarborough was presented with multiple rational ways in which Trump, and his administration, could flout existing laws and the constitution with impunity. Joe, bless his Repuke heart, simply believes based on history that the constitution and "separation of powers" will protect us against any extreme Trump maneuvers.
But as his guest pointed out, that didn't stop Bush from using the Patriot act in various ways it was never intended (and is still on the books - to arrest protesters as "domestic terrorists") as well as undertaking NSA mass surveillance on scales that flout the 4th amendment of the Bill of Rights, specifically against warrantless searches.
Then we beheld honorary national "historian -in- chief"- actor Tom Hanks - at a recent confab at the Museum of Art in NYC imploring us all to "Calm down". Hanks, the same guy who three years ago wanted to save Americans from being "snookered" (by accepting Lee Oswald was set up as a decoy in the JFK hit), said we have "nothing to worry about" and "our Constitution will protect us".
For any who really believe that I suggest reading how Germans fared after Hitler got the Enabling Act passed in Germany, e.g.
Most true experts, not Hanks, are of the belief that under the right conditions - and especially with ALL branches of government (including Supreme Court) controlled by one party, it can happen here. Let's also register that millions implored Obama to remove the part of the (2006) Military Commissions Act repealing Habeas Corpus, to no avail. Obama repeatedly used the bromide that "there is nothing to fear" and no one would ever be locked up for no good reason. More sober minds, however, kept telling him 'yes, that's fine if you're there, but one day you won't be and a strong man type could take your place'.
Now that situation looms over us as a confirmed authoritarian narcissist - in many ways like Adolf Hitler- prepares to assume office on January 20th. This is even as many (even on the media left) pooh pooh Hitlerian comparisons as:"hysteria". But just yesterday, the bombastic buffoon issued a warning against those who used the First amendment for flag burning, tweeting:
"Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag, If they do, there must be consequences - perhaps loss of citizenship or a year in jail"
A year in jail for exercising first amendment rights? As I pointed out in a post from two years ago (July 24):
"in the case Texas v. Johnson (1989) flag burning was upheld as symbolic free speech which could not be curtailed under the 1st amendment. " This was upheld in a 1990 Supreme Court decision (7-3) ( United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 ) which declared an earlier opposing law impermissibly discriminated upon viewpoint .
Now Trump wants to tear that protection down, and I also suspect- inflated ego and thin skin that he has - he will also try to implement the earlier Patriot Act provisions against demonstrations and mass protests. Hell, he could even invoke the "continuity of government" provision introduced under Reagan.
Reagan’s Executive Order 12656, issued in 1988, stated that Continuity of Government procedures were called for in the event of "any occurrence, including natural disaster, military attack, technological emergency, or other emergency, that seriously degrades or seriously threatens the national security of the United States." In the 1980s COG planning was being handled by Louis Giuffrida. According to an article by Alfonso Chardy (‘Reagan Aides and the `Secret’ Government’, Miami Herald, July 5, 1987.) the stated plans included "suspension of the Constitution," along with detailed arrangements for the declaration of martial law.
Get that? Suspension of the Constitution. And if you don't believe Trump would resort to any ruse to implement it, to advance his own ends - including perhaps to remain in power (despite the 22nd amendment), you really are a political and historical Pollyanna.
Look, already this overgrown, authoritarian 'boss' baby is fulminating about the election recounts, and recklessly citing Infowars conspiracy BS that he really won the popular vote. The man is certifiably unstable just as Hitler was (though in the Fuhrer's case it likely was from syphilis). If he was the least bit rational, as well as temperamentally suited to be a true chief executive, he'd settle down and grasp that if he REALLY won - and didn't have the votes rigged for himself - he has nothing to fear. His outbursts merely show he's terrified of losing those 3 states and having his totalitarian agenda overturned.
His very active paranoia, as well as his carping about "rigging" during the campaign,. indicates to me that once in office he will essentially piss on amendment XXII and remain there using any ruse to justify it. "Terrorist threat?" Insurrection? Need for extended martial law?
Further, the Repukes themselves may well abet him in this, grasping there may be no other Republican who can win the presidency after four horrific years of Trump or worse, eight. In that case, they may wager better to repeal the 22nd amendment - or Trump does it via a specious executive order. And if you believe the Dems will be our saviors here you're also dreaming, because Trump may find some ruse to lock them up too.
According to the 9/11 Commission Report (p. 326; cf. p. 38), "Contingency plans for the continuity of government" were implemented on September 11, 2001. Those suspicious of what COG means today have pointed to a number of post 9/11 steps to facilitate the implementation of martial law, including the creation of a new military command (NORTHCOM) for the continental United States. They note also Homeland Security’s strategic plan “Endgame”, whose stated goal is the creation of detention camps designed to "remove all removable aliens," including "potential terrorists."
Even worse, later mutations of COG under the Bushites equated political dissent with treason. In regard to the last, the definition of "terrorist" was expanded to "domestic terrorist" by congress in 2001, to include:
"…activities that involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State; appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States"
According to the ACLU, “this definition is broad enough to encompass the activities of…prominent activists, campaigns and organizations.” It could also include opposition politicians, representatives if their words are interpreted as "sedition" - say under a new GOP-Trump passed law. Again, if this transpires the Constitution will become "just a piece of paper" as John McCloy once described it when he approved internment camps for Japanese Americans.
Clearly most COG plans are shrouded in extreme secrecy, effectively unregulated by Congress or the courts. But what ought to get the hackles of any sentient American up is their potential to be yoked to an overreaching surveillance state. All this is within Trump's purview, authoritarian that he clearly is.
Those who understand history and especially those who take George Santayana's quote seriously:
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. "
know it is stupid to dismiss Trump as just another clown. No, once he has the power of the office - and allies in his cabinet and congress- he becomes much more. He becomes a massive threat to every principle this nation holds dear. Those convinced the constitution will protect them may want to do more research into the continuity of government process as well as elimination of habeas corpus via the Military Commissions Act.
Once this narcissist authoritarian assumes office, there is no way his enormous ego will allow him to accept people want him gone, even in an election. And if (by his own words) he wouldn't accept the results of an election in this cycle, what makes you believe he'd accept them in a future one? A paranoid who is indispensable in his own mind is a dangerous leader indeed. Ask the Germans!
"Now, having spent a big chunk of my adult life as a journalist, I am familiar with the sin of hyperbole, so I don’t write this with a careless hand. But everything I have seen and heard to date about Trump and those he is surrounding himself with, I am quite certain we Americans face a choice not entirely dissimilar to what the French faced in 1940. And that the time has arrived for every American to make a choice: America, or Vichy-America?
Whether you make that choice explicitly or by inaction, that choice will be the most important decision you will make as a citizen and person. It will mark, forever, exactly who you are."