Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Enablers, The Rubber Stamps... The Violence They Are Doing To Our Constitutional Democracy


Best People by Chip Proser

Jonathan Freedland, in last week's New York Review of Books took a step away from his usual role of defending all things American. Trump has changed all that-- and probably for many more avid fans of America than Freedland. "We’ve seen hideous U.S. presidencies before," he wrote, "but what is happening under Trump goes further. The travel ban on Muslims and the separation of migrant children from their parents are disgusting in themselves, but they point to something larger than the ugly policy decisions of a specific administration that will, eventually, be gone. They suggest a fundamental weakness in the U.S, system itself. The flaw is that... the American system does, after all, allow for unified, centralized, and unchecked government with, at its apex, an executive authority, the president, able to exercise untrammeled power... So no one can claim to be surprised by a President Trump who, to give just three examples, refuses to divest himself of business interests affected by his conduct of U.S. foreign policy, appoints unqualified family members to senior posts, and demands the jailing of his political opponents. But they can justifiably be surprised by the failure of US institutions to restrain him on even one of those counts."
It now seems plausible that Special Counsel Robert Mueller could reveal the most damning case possible against Trump, there’d be a lot of noise for a few days, then some new outrage would explode for the media to talk about-- and Trump would stay comfortably in his post. When Trump joked that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and his backers would stick with him anyway, he was referring to his most loyal voters. Now we have good grounds to suspect that the same would be true of the supposedly co-equal branches of government, those whose duty is to resist such barbarism.

In other words, what the Trump presidency has confirmed is something I overlooked in 1998: that the Constitution may boast endlessly ingenious powers, but they count for nothing if the men and women charged with deploying those powers refuse to do their duty.

A similar oversight of mine relates to norms. Two decades ago, I loudly admired the American penchant for writing things down rather than relying on nebulous, unwritten conventions (which is the British way). U.S. citizens could point to their liberties and protections spelled out in black and white in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, while Britons relied on a haze of custom, interpreted by a select priesthood of experts, usually lawyers, scholars, or superannuated politicians, called upon to explain to the public the invisible rules of the game.

And yet, I see now that the U.S., too, has relied on a raft of norms and taboos to secure its liberal democracy. It might be the demand that candidates release their tax returns, or the parliamentary etiquette that used to insist that a president’s nominee for the Supreme Court at least get a hearing, but those customs have been shattered by a Republican Party willing to smash every convention that stands in its way. Today’s Republican Party, like its president, is utterly unfettered by the constraining power of shame. The result is that conventions once deemed immovable have been exposed as far weaker than we understood--cnot worth the paper they weren’t written on.
Mitch McConnell is the least admired, least popular and most disliked politician in America. You thought it was Nancy Pelosi? Nope. Pelosi is viewed favorably by 29% of Americans-- pretty poor, but largely manipulated in a concerted campaign by the GOP and their media allies. McConnell? 24%-- and almost entirely of his own making. He is, after all, the personification of what Freedland referred to as a "Republican Party willing to smash every convention that stands in its way... [and] like its president, utterly unfettered by the constraining power of shame." Thanks, Mitch. He's dragged American into the shitter with him and in November, American voters will give their judgment on that Republican Party. Alas, it almost doesn't matter who-- what kind of crap-- the Democrats nominate. Voters don't care. You won't find worse politicians than Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ), two easily bribable Blue Dogs, both of whom are almost sure to win their November races. That kind of stoopid is likely to lead to an undoing of the Democratic Party in the next midterm, 2022. But... that ship has largely sailed. Thank God there will be new members elected in November like Randy Bryce, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Kara Eastman and others who can make common group with reformers like Ro Khanna, Jamie Raskin, Ted Lieu, Pramila Jayapal and other reformers already in Congress. But, it really is the establishment power structure-- both parties-- that will need to be torn down. Ocasio took down Joe Crowley, the self-styled "next Speaker," and Bryce took down the current dreadful Speaker, Paul Ryan, who retired from the field of battle rather than be defeated by an iron worker.

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At 5:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the crux of my own diagnosis, albeit only half of it. I've been trying to get people to understand this since 1981, to no avail, clearly.

"...the Constitution may boast endlessly ingenious powers, but they count for nothing if the men and women charged with deploying those powers refuse to do their duty."

The implication by context is the "men and women..." are congress and the judiciary, which is absolutely true. But the UNimplied here is voters, who have also abdicated their duty to elect those who will rep them ably and with fidelity.
Congresswhores have absolutely abdicated all of their constitutional duties as a separate check against the exec and judiciary. Instead of that check, they have become a rubber stamp of whatever the (Nazi) exec does. Legislation is replaced by edict (exec. order). War declaration is an historical footnote as the exec can unilaterally conduct wars. And now, with the upcoming rubber stamp on trump's Nazi judge, the judiciary will be a rubber stamp for naziism to come.

Special note: The democraps here are far MORE to blame. They actually went along with the abdication after 9/11 eagerly. And when they had the opportunity to remedy some or all of these, they pointedly and quite daringly refused. They chose to ratify their own corruption rather than do one thing to return to constitutional norms.

In addition, when the supremes axed voting rights, the democraps (obamanation in the oval) did absolutely nothing.

And, again, voters have never insisted on anything returning to constitutional norms. never.

As I say often, when an electorate is THIS bad, an elected form of government cannot ever be any good. We reprove this every 2 years as we either elect Nazis because the democraps have been awful or ever worsening democraps because the Nazis are horrible.

when you convince yourself that the choice is always between awful and horrible... nothing can ever improve.

We have to insist on better. But we never do.

At 6:32 AM, Blogger bowtiejack said...

" . . . it really is the establishment power structure-- both parties-- that will need to be torn down."


At 6:35 AM, Blogger CNYOrange said...

Of course mcconnell will almost assuredly get re-elected and he knows it so he doesn't care what he does.

At 7:45 AM, Blogger Alice said...

State sponsored child abduction is a crime against humanity. We don't need Mueller, we can impeach Trump and Pence on this, and Pelosi would be president and make the next Supreme Court appointments.

Yes, I know everything has to break our way to give us control of the Senate, and even then we would not have 2/3 required, but the quality of revolutions is that things move very quickly. We might be able to pressure enough Republican Senators to convict. The ground is shifting very quickly and we need to think big.

At 10:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alice, you're hallucinating. No matter what is factually exposed, the Nazi 51 will easily overcome the 34 necessary to keep der fuhrer in the oval.

bowtiejack, also incorrect. There are 50 million or so white stupid racist Nazis who will always support white racist Nazi candidates. You cannot tear that down. What's more, this has been so forever. But only since 1966 has that demo been able to combine with the pro-money anti-tax brigade. It was during this year that the southern racists switched allegiances because their party, the democrats, passed civil rights and voting rights.

But the democraps COULD be torn down. There are another 50 million dedicated lefty voters who reflexively, if ignorantly, vote for democraps. That 50 million would just as reflexively vote for whatever left party or coalition exists.

There are 70 million independents who don't vote. Just a guess, but since all racists vote for the Nazis, these must be non-racists. So I think it stands to reason that most of them would gladly vote for decent leftists. Except none exist today.

If voters could force themselves to care, to repudiate the democraps and coalesce around a true left party, they'd be joined by 10s of millions of independents. Those would likely be permanent participants should that left majority show results.

Obamanation and that democrap congress had the potential to garner that permanent majority, but it was far more important to them to ca$h in on the anti-cheney windfall than to form a permanent coalition.
Bernie had an opening to go independent in '16 and lead the movement in that way. But Bernie proved to be NOT up to the task.

A pied piper to lead away from democraps is not likely to appear again. So it's up to voters to do it. Yet they are far too stupid and ignorant to do so, it appears.

At 10:53 PM, Blogger SipSip Titimo said...

You are truly a piece of shit you horses ass


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