Monday, January 30, 2017

Would You Work For A Fascist Regime?


According to Gallup, Trump's disapproval numbers continue to tick upwards every day. Yesterday it was at the unprecedented-- for a new president-- high of 50%. Today it's at 51%. It took Bush 3 years to turn over half the country against him; it took Trump a week. In England, in just a few hours, nearly a million people signed a petition demanding the government cancel his state visit to their country. [UPDATE: After two days, the petition had nearly two million signatures. Brits hate Trump.] That's a lot more people than went to his failed inauguration. The petitioners' demands will now be debated in Parliament. They aren't calling for Trump to be barred from the country, only citing his "well documented misogyny and vulgarity" as reasons to keep him away from the Queen. "Donald Trump should be allowed to enter the UK in his capacity as head of the US Government," the petition reads, "but he should not be invited to make an official State Visit because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen. Donald Trump’s well documented misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received by Her Majesty the Queen or the Prince of Wales. Therefore during the term of his presidency Donald Trump should not be invited to the United Kingdom for an official State Visit."

Jeremy Corbyn has already called on Theresa May to put Trump's state visit on hold for as long as his horrific immigration and refugee executive orders are in place. Corbin's statement has had its intended affect and even May has reluctantly agreed that Trump's policies in these regards are horrible. "Immigration policy in the United States is a matter for the government of the United States, just the same as immigration policy for this country should be set by our government," she said. "But we do not agree with this kind of approach and it is not one we will be taking. We are studying this new executive order to see what it means and what the legal effects are, and in particular what the consequences are for UK nationals."

A thousand people/minute are adding their names to the petition. Preparations are underway to make sure that if Trump does visit London, he will be made to feel massively unwelcome-- even if Theresa May is still willing to hold President Snowflake's hand when he expresses fear of walking down a gentle incline. (Downing Street officials claimed the president’s phobia of stairs and slopes led him to grab the prime minister’s hand as they walked down a ramp at the White House.) And there's more than just the grassroots petitions and Jeremy Corbyn that are putting Trump's trip to London in jeopardy-- "an extraordinary diplomatic row with the Prince of Wales over climate change."
Members of Trump’s inner circle have warned officials and ministers that it would be counterproductive for Charles to “lecture” Trump on green issues and that he will “erupt” if pushed. They want the younger princes, William and Harry, to greet the president instead. Royal aides insist that he should meet Trump.

Senior government officials now believe Charles is one of the most serious “risk factors” for the visit.

Trump’s team is also concerned that he will face a wave of protests, with thousands of people taking to the streets to denounce him.

Trump has repeatedly branded climate change “a hoax” and a “money-making industry,” saying it was “created by and for the Chinese” to damage American manufacturing.

Hours after he took office, references to climate change were removed from the White House website. By contrast, Prince Charles has been an environmental campaigner for more than 40 years and has described climate change as “the wolf at the door.”

Trump wants to abandon the international deal to tackle climate change that was agreed at a summit in Paris in December 2015. Charles delivered a keynote speech at that meeting.

A source close to Trump said: “He won’t put up with being lectured by anyone, even a member of the royal family. Frankly, they should think twice about putting him and Prince Charles in the same room together.”

...Trump’s state visit has also sparked concerns that the president will betray the confidence of the Queen and tweet about their exchanges.

Tensions between Trump and the royals could be heightened by a series of off-colour comments the billionaire once made about Diana, Princess of Wales and the Duchess of Cambridge.

Asked by the radio shock jock Howard Stern whether he could have “nailed” Diana, Trump replied: “I think I could have.”

More recently, Trump tweeted about nude pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge saying: “Who wouldn’t take Kate’s picture and make lots of money if she does the nude sunbathing.”

While the visit is expected in the first week of June, it is possible Trump could come in October instead.

Or never. Closer to home, David Frum, writing for The Atlantic dealt with the sticky question about what normal people of good will do when they're asked to serve the fascist regime.
Some 40 people were indicted as a result of the Watergate scandal. Among those sentenced to prison: the attorney general of the United States, the White House counsel, and President Nixon’s two most senior White House aides. A dozen men were convicted or pled guilty to a range of charges after the Iran-Contra affair.

White Houses can be dangerous places under leadership that does not respect the law. When friends ask me, “Should I accept a job under President Trump?” it’s not merely a philosophical question. Answer the question wrong, and they may find themselves two or three years later facing a congressional investigation or possibly even a grand jury. Even those who never face charges-- let alone conviction-- can see their lives up-ended: As the saying goes, in Washington, the process is the punishment.

So how should a public-spirited person respond to an invitation to serve the country during the Trump years?

Let’s start by assessing the four basic risks:
1) This administration has begun its career by shredding post-Watergate ethical standards. Trump has not effectively severed his connections to his business interests. He will not release his tax returns. The Trump Organization seems-- at best-- indifferent to appearances of commercial exploitation of the presidency. Anybody in the vicinity of Trump's finances, or those of his family, stands in danger of being caught in some future scandal, including tax and corruption investigations.

2) There remain disturbing unanswered questions about the relationship between the Trump campaign and Russian spy services. The new national security adviser, Michael Flynn, accepted payments from RT, the Russian state propaganda network. (He has refused to disclose the amount.) The legal hazards presented by clandestine contacts with hostile foreign governments are even more alarming than those connected to financial wrongdoing.

3) This administration lies a lot. Lying by public officials is usually unethical, but not always illegal. As White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway said during the Trump transition: “Nobody on TV is ever under oath.”  But there are times when administration officials do speak under oath. Lying then becomes perjury. Lying to Congress is always illegal, whether under oath or not. People who habitually lie, lie habitually. Those who work with them can face trouble, even possibly obstruction of charges if they enable such lying: President Clinton’s White House counsel Bernie Nussbaum had to resign under fire in 1994 after other government officials alleged that his legal advice in the Whitewater matter amounted to the organization of a coverup.

4) Sometimes new administrations find themselves obliged to execute laws they disagree with. Changing the law can be slow. Ignoring the law takes much less time—but also opens the door to trouble. Ronald Reagan’s first EPA chief, Ann Gorsuch, entered history in 1982 as the first agency head to be cited for contempt of Congress. Gorsuch believed that the Carter administration had imposed excessive regulatory burdens. So she simply disregarded them. Convinced, for example, that the inherited rules on lead standards in gasoline were too onerous, she assured one refiner that she would leave the rule unenforced until such time as it could be amended. Gorsuch not only ended in disgrace herself, but embroiled two of her subordinates in perjury investigations.

So what is a patriotic American who’s been asked to serve to do? A few suggestions.

A law-abiding person will want to stay as far as possible from the personal service of President Trump. As demonstrated by the sad example of Press Secretary Sean Spicer spouting glaring lies on his first day on the job, this president will demand that his aides do improper things-- and the low standards of integrity in Trump's entourage create a culture of conformity to those demands.

A wise patriot might be wary of working directly for or near Flynn or anybody else tied to the Russian state, the entities it controls, or Russian business interests. The National Security Council staff has engorged itself to such an enormous size in recent years-- now some 400 people-- that there are many important roles to fill, safely firewalled away from Flynn.

...If confronted with an improper or unethical situation, nobody need rush into career martyrdom. One of the heroes of Watergate-- IRS Commissioner Johnnie Mac Walters-- was asked to investigate individuals on Nixon’s “enemies list.” Walters, and his boss George Shultz, refused. Good people can do the right thing even under pressure. But be aware: The pressure to do the wrong thing can be intense—and the closer one approaches to the center of presidential power and prestige, the more intense the pressure becomes. It’s easy to imagine that you’d emulate Walters when reading the book he wrote four decades after the fact. But in the moment? In the Oval Office? Face to face with the president of the United States?

So maybe the very first thing to consider, if the invitation comes, is this: How well do you know yourself? How sure are you that you indeed would say no?

And then humbly consider this second troubling question: If the Trump administration were as convinced as you are that you would do the right thing-- would they have asked you in the first place?
We all know, Hitler didn't carry out the Holocaust and wage World War II all by himself. He had plenty of help. Some hung, others went to prison or fled. No one came out the better for working for his government. And Trump already has his eager, vile little helpmates, doesn't he?

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At 9:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There have been many studies done, the first one that comes to mind is by Stanley Milgram I think, that prove that humans will go along with the prevailing social memes especially when authorities demand it.

And that includes carrying out orders that would result in killing others.

The usa is a Nazi-memed shithole right now. They won't have any trouble finding a white man to carry out any illegal, immoral and misanthropic order they care to give.
When (not if) this regime gets to the point of moving the scapegoat demographic (muslims, blacks, latins, lgbtqs... jews) into ghettos or camps (to keep the white American Christian men safe, of course), they won't have any trouble getting volunteers for the Sonderkommandos either.

At 11:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So how should a public-spirited person respond to an invitation to serve the country during the Trump years?"

A public-spirited person would refuse to work for an Administration which is clearly only focused on private profits. To do anything else only betrays the public.

At 10:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

EVERYONE who has worked for the federal government since 1980 has been working *IN* a fascist regime.

What's the federal payroll now... couple mil? and they ALL are supporting a rapidly regressing fascist regime.

It's easy to say you would refuse... but Psych studies all conclude that over 2 in 3 WOULD and would end up killing others if ordered to do so. Humans are total dipshits, especially under stress.

At 4:37 PM, Anonymous Hone said...

The times are tough, they have been before and they will be again. In our history, we have come out of such times for the better. Over the past centuries, we have made massive strides in a good direction. Let's give Americans some credit here. Masses and masses of Americans will not take this shit. The women's marches have already shown that people are aware and angry about what is being done to our country. Trump is a monster who must be stopped. He has brought all of the horrors since Nixon to the forefront. Complacency is OVER. We will see what we are really made of, won't we?

At 8:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hone, I'm afraid we SHALL see what we are made of. And I fear it's going to be steroidal fear, cowardice, stupidity and evil. I'm afraid the evil will be the biggest slice of that pie.

Maybe that's because I live in a city/county (in an open primary state) where not one single D was on the ballot for anything local. The top 2 winners in all primary races were all Rs.

Evidently everyone here is a billionaire... or pure evil.

At 12:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not clear how relevant is a analysis regarding "an invitation to serve the country during the Trump years?"

How many persons who have ever read this blog face the dilemma "Should I accept a job under President Trump?”

It sounds to me that Frum has received just such an offer and is doing his standard fraudulent "reformed" fascist asshole dance to ultimately justify his acceptance.

John Puma


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