defrog: (onoes)
[personal profile] defrog
And so we’re one week into the Trump Dynasty and everyone is still basically freaking out.

Granted, Trump has given them a lot to freak out about. You can follow the action at FiveThirtyEight’s TrumpBeat, but a basic overview could be summed up thusly:

All that batshit stuff he promised to do that we were hoping was just campaign rhetoric to rally the rubes? Turns out he wasn’t kidding.

Anyway, his actions of the past week has created an awful lot of batshit across my social media newsfeeds about how Trump is literally Hitler and literally a dictator. Which he isn’t – not in the sense that Hitler was, anyway. To be that kind of dictator, you need a totalitarian government – and America is nowhere close to that point. Take it from me – I live a one-hour train ride from an honest-to-God totalitarian one-party state. If America was a dictatorship right now, those protesters wouldn’t be on the streets – they’d be in jail, a detention camp or a mass grave. And the press would uniformly be praising Trump’s actions and denouncing the protesters as traitors.

Meanwhile, this article on Medium is making the rounds, suggesting that Trump may be orchestrating an actual coup de tat of the US govt. The basic argument is this: Trump’s immigration order was stayed by a federal judge, but the DHS and CBP have apparently opted to ignore it and obey Trump’s order. Meanwhile, Trump has reportedly purged most of the State Department and is consolidating power within a tight inner circle that will tell the various departments what to do. And he put two loyalists on the National Security Council and promoted them above the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

Yonatan Zunger’s argument is that Team Trump is making a trial run for a coup, to see how far they can push the legal boundaries without breaking them. He’s vague on who might be responsible for this coup – maybe Trump, maybe Russia, who knows?

I don’t buy it. Here’s why:

1. First of all, on a semantic level this makes no sense. A coup is typically conducted by people who don't control the government and want to take over. Trump and the GOP already control all of it at the moment. But let’s go along with the terminology to smooth things along here.

2. I’ve heard this one before. Every POTUS from Clinton to Trump has been accused by fringe opponents and conspiracy theorists of planning a coup to take over America. It has never happened. It’s never even been attempted.

3. For the obvious response of “But Trump is different! We have EVIDENCE!” – well, no, we don’t, really. We mostly have a lot of unanswered questions (not least because of Trump’s lack of transparency in his business dealings, tax returns, etc) and suppositions. When you actually start trying to connect dots, it’s more suspicions and guesswork that actual smoking-gun evidence. These are questions we need answers to, but until we have them there’s no sense in panicking over what we don’t know.

4. I mention Russia because there’s a vague implication here that Russia is somehow connected with Trump in ways we don’t know about yet. That said, while it’s fairly certain Russia wants influence in how the US conducts its international affairs and isn’t above meddling in elections, I don’t know that Vlad Putin is interested in literally overthrowing the US govt. I’m sure he’d be happy to have a puppet installed, but I don’t think he’d want that puppet doing blatantly obvious stuff like turning the US into Russia.

5. Many of Trump’s actions can be explained as easily by gross incompetence and a failure to think things through rather than an actual plan for a coup.

6. On a related note, a coup of the kind this article suggests requires incredible attention to detail and relies on everything going exactly as planned and people responding exactly as planned. The more complex the plan, the more likely it is to fail. (And the more likely it is to leak to the media.) I seriously doubt Trump/Bannon/Giuliani/whoever et al have the intellectual chops to come up with such a plan, much less execute it. Team Putin might, but again, we have no solid evidence that Putin has anything to do with Trump’s actions.

7. As such, even if they WERE actually trying to plot a coup, odds are it will fail for the reasons given above. There’s just too many ways it could go wrong.

8. None of this means that a coup is impossible. Of course it is. The point is that it’s really, really hard to do in a country like the US, whether because of government structure, geography, ubiquitous media coverage (including social) and the simple fact that far too many people are invested in capitalism to see some yahoo billionaire come along and wreck it.

9. Also, none of this means Trump is not a bad president with bad ideas. He is. But I don’t see a coup – I see a doofus POTUS who lives in an alternate reality, has no idea what he’s doing or the consequences. He’s an authoritarian who seems to think he can run America the same way he runs his businesses – with a tightly controlled, loyal board of directors who will do whatever he says, and he can do anything he wants because he’s the CEO.

10. We had a POTUS like that once. His name was Richard Nixon. It didn’t work out so good for him in the end. I suspect Trump will meet a similar end if he keeps this up. If his admin is going to insist on defying the courts to enforce an order that is potentially illegal, sooner or later that’s going to backfire on him and he may just get himself impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors. And if it comes to that, there are suggestions that the GOP establishment won’t lift a finger to help him because who do you think they’d rather have as POTUS – Trump or Mike Pence?

11. Having said all that, the bigger worry for me isn't Trump but his hardcore fan base who have decided that everyone who disagrees with them is an enemy of the state – they won't take a Trump impeachment well. Which is no reason not to do it, but the fact remains. Equally worrisome is the fact that this is happening on the other side of the political spectrum as well. My worry is that we are headed for a point where the two-party system will become an either-or proposition with zero compromise and intolerance of dissenting views to the point that we won’t argue with people we disagree with anymore, we’ll just punch them in the face until they shut the fuck up. Take that far enough, and many people would welcome a coup – so long as it’s in their favor.

So basically, at this stage I’m not worried about a Trump coup because (1) I don’t think he’s planning one, (2) I don’t think he’s smart enough to plan one that would actually work, and (3) if it did work, it would only be because enough people in America would welcome it, in which case America’s days as a democracy were already numbered anyway.

Again, I don’t think we’re at that point yet. But we are headed there.

Talk about yr hostile takeovers,

This is dF

on 2017-02-01 05:39 am (UTC)
marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] marahmarie
You're forgetting about Bannon. This isn't all coming from Trump insomuch as parts of it are also coming from Bannon, the Nazi white supremacist Leninist who wants to blow up government, "shut up" the media, empty the State Department, install himself as head of the NSC, and so on.

Did you know that according to whitehouse.gov we no longer have a federal judicial branch? Google it. Bannon is, as a matter of course, a very dark (says he admires both Satan and Darth Vader because POWER) and pretty much unhinged sort of fellow, and my belief is he works on Trump (not with him) almost 24/7 (I'd be surprised if Bannon can let Trump get any sleep for all the bs he keeps wanting to filling his head up with) so that guy, thanks to Trump's own racism and power struggles against societal norms and conventions, is effectively President of the United States right now, not Trump.

Maybe you need to reframe this a little with Bannon calling most of the shots that Trump will merely carry out for him, as a "friend"...it's certainly not the other way around.

And yes, I read the so-called conspiracy theory article, too, late last night, long before seeing your post on it just now. I slept on it. I woke up worried about what it portended. I can't say how much the author suggests will come to pass but we need people like him to warn us how it *could* go down so at least we aren't all dying of shock at the same time that we need to quickly come up with some sort of new plans.

I'd send the damn article to every member of Congress and every governor across the land if I thought it'd make a difference, but should the worst happen, it's going to be people saying "it's all 20/20 in hindsight", and so on, so even trying to inform them of what could go wrong given the obvious power hungriness of both Bannon and Trump and the pure greed of Trump in particular isn't going to change that, since people hear what they want to hear.

I'm very sad for America right now.
Edited (typos, clarity) on 2017-02-01 05:41 am (UTC)

on 2017-02-02 10:38 am (UTC)
marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] marahmarie
But regardless of how much of what's coming out of the WH originates with Trump or Bannon, I think the same argument applies – I don't think it's a coup so much as unhinged incompetent conspiracy theorists who don't know what they're doing or how the real world works.

I think that's hilarious. So you think unhinged, incompetent conspiracy theorists are just rattling our cages. The truth is (and I'm thinking of writing a post to this effect, but as I'm not a political person who has already written a lot about politics to the clear detriment of other topics I would've loved to have been able to focus on, I'm hesitant to do so, because here I go again) that the White House is trolling us and is not going to stop.

The way the troll works, which was probably decided by Bannon long before the election, is Trump is the con/front man who spouts "jobs for whitey", which is the only message under all the racism and hate that this guy's really had. Trump has never believed he'd produce jobs for anyone (nor has he actually wanted to) but that's not the point. The point is the mere symbolism of saying so. Enough whites were racist enough to vote symbolism over progress to make this whole shitshow possible.

It's like how blacks loved Obama though they knew he'd never do a damn thing for them; whites are prepared to show Trump the same adoration merely for offering to help them instead of blacks. The fact that his offer came with a concurrent promise to hurt Mexicans and Muslims was just sugary frosting on a very tall cake. They ate it up and will continue licking that frosting off - yum yum! let's hate the browns and blacks together, so tasty! - for many years to come.

Now that they've bought in, Bannon's pre-election plan falls neatly into place: use Trump as the con/front man to keep doing the "jobs for whitey" jig to distract from everything going on behind the scenes at the exact same time, like them firing the entire State Department, him installing himself as the head of the NSC while telling the heads of the TJCoS and military branch to go get lost, and ensuring Trump keeps the public distracted by shaming him into following through on any/all of even his most his bizarre campaign promises, which Bannon insists he do not show Trump is honest, but solely to keep the public looking away from him while he consolidates power for himself.

That explains both the lightning speed of all the EOs in the last 11 days purportedly designed to fulfill campaign promises and the harshness and suddenness of the most recent big-deal one (the Muslim ban): keep the public looking at all the relatively unimportant shit Trump has going down while Bannon re-arranges deck chairs behind the scenes. Make the Muslim ban in particular look egregiously unfair (as it goes into effect immediately as people are boarding or disembarking from flights, completely fucking their lives up) and be real meanies about it (go after green card holders, passport holders, instruct DHS and other branches to ignore quickly issued court orders, even) so the Left pretty much melts down and stays all nice and soft and melty, which uh, we have. We played right into their hands - trolled.

This is what happens when you install the Youtube comments section as President of the United States. The trolls really do work.

If you're Bannon, you take advantage of the free time given by Trump's trolls to re-arrange deck chairs while everyone's still fighting over his trolls (the right: but jobs for whitey! Left: but human rights abuses!) so you can consolidate and use your newfound Vader/Satan powers as soon as possible. You think I'm kidding, right. But Bannon is seriously not well. His whole endgame is: put the con man/troll up front to distract, confuse, anger, and gladden the more evil hearts, so he has time to quietly re-arrange deck chairs without being much noticed or commented upon.

The whole endgame/long-term plan is to make money. This regime is not out to get "jobs for whitey" or anything else it promised its naive, easily led rabble. It's here to rape the US financially, keep the public confused, bickering with, and hating on each other, and to profit. That's it. This last point - the whole reason for the regime's existence as envisioned by Trump and Bannon a while ago - is more a part I'd delve into on my own blog, but basically, that's the whole raw skeletal outline of why we are here.

Divisiveness is exactly what this regime wants and the more we indulge it the further and faster we will fall as a nation. Unfortunately, divisiveness starts at the top, in this case with the regime itself, and is enforced by Congress, which happens to be all for it, because they're just looking to cash in. This will be the first time in American history a regime came into power merely to financially rape the land and move on (or not move on) like the cancer it is, but that's where we are.

And if it IS an attempt to burn the current system to the ground, it won't work because a successful coup requires a level of intelligence, cleverness and advance planning that I don't seriously believe Trump or Bannon have.

Trump is out to make money off his new job, enrich himself, those kids of his, and eventually move on. He's not a complicated, intellectual, or very deep kind of guy. He's an experienced con, though, so insomuch as he knows pretty much from lifelong muscle memory how to con, he'll do so. He's not smart enough to see Bannon conning him, he's just following the guy's orders thinking that's what he has to do to look like he's fulfilling campaign pledges, which Bannon has convinced him is important (maybe to get re-elected in 2020, something Trump has already filed paperwork to do and raised $7 million in order to accomplish) though we all know it's not.

Trump is never going to think it through much past that because he's too busy trying to suss out how to enrich himself, so Bannon can and will easily twist him into all sorts of contortions to distract the public away from what he's up to while Trump performs.

I'd never underestimate Bannon: he might be a crude, dirty looking guy with a huge beer belly and five day shadow who dresses like a bum and obviously gives not a shit about himself, but he cares about power, and he's there to to get it. Anyone who went from editor of a lying piece of shit blog like Breitbart to the Prez's right-hand man in the space of one summer deserves very careful study and for his mindset (which is not good) to be approached with an abundance of caution, if not with respect or any faith in his good conscience.

Whatever else Bannon is, he's no evil genius.

I'm not going to sit here and disagree, but I think he's already shown enough evil genius to prove most doubters kind of wrong. Until the day the shit really hits the fan, though, that's just a simple difference of opinion.

Also, just because whitehouse.gov deletes its page on the judicial branch

It's back. For now. Only thousands of us noticed it's absence, but I guess for the moment that was enough for them to decide to restore the damn thing. They are testing our limits, though, in all things great and small, including in things like that.

Just to solve the whole puzzle for you (and it's a puzzle, granted): the one person who makes it possible for this regime to serve itself financially will probably be Peter Thiel. He's the missing puzzle piece. He's working with a number of states that want a new Constitutional Convention held to get a date set for it (there are enough states willing to participate right now to make it possible).

Once him and like-minded business leaders (the Koch brothers are in on this, too) actually get the Constitution rewritten (with Trump's, Bannon's and Congress's overarching blessing, of course! Or at least their publicly consumed seeming indifference; either way it's the same result) to favor businesses over people, it's all over, and all the naive "jobs for whitey" folks will finally learn what they actually voted for, but too late, and scant sympathy from me. They can go fuck themselves at that point, because they set the stage to allow the entire country to be raped and pillaged by the rich and powerful, which certainly won't benefit any of us in the long run. Who's laughing then.

Of course, to pull off the Constitution getting rewritten we'll need much more jig-performing from the top on down to distract from the seriousness of such a thing, so watch as Trump concurrently deports 11 million people, imposes martial law over "terrorist attacks" his stupid Muslim ban just couldn't stop, sad!, offers to (or actually does) turn the Middle East into glass, closes down various branches of government and opens others dedicated to using race more openly to manipulate people's emotions, to warp their consciences and ruin their lives so they won't have the time or emotional energy to see what the regime is really up to (nor will they care) and so on.

And you thought the author we were discussing was a conspiracy theorist! Ha. Try me sometime. I had to tamp down the whole conspiracy theorist side of my personality for the scandal-free Obama presidency quite a bit, but I'm a latent conspiracy theorist to the hilt, and this regime is causing that side of my mind to positively just blossom again.

I sort of need to get on with my life, though, because I can pretty much see how and what this regime might do, so I'd rather just call it now and try to move on (again, I'm not a political writer, but here I am) until their actions actually stop me from living a normal life, rather than follow it day by day and keep quiet just because the great majority can't and won't even venture a guess as to what's really up. I will! If the regime turns out any better than I imagine then fine, I'll be glad to say, OK, I was so very wrong.

There's almost 0% chance of that, though; at its best this regime will deeply damage the American psyche in ways that will linger for generations to come. If Trump resigned or dropped dead of a heart attack tomorrow it would be too late: that much damage has already been done. And he's just getting started. Oh, well.
Edited (typos, clarity) on 2017-02-02 11:19 am (UTC)

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