Making Sense of Trump/Bannon: February 7, 2017

In which things don't look too good.

POLICIES/LEGISLATION:

Remember the Affordable Care Act? The one that got DT elected in the first place. He was gonna rip that sucker to pieces on day one. Etc. 

Not so much. Here's a solid run-down of the legislative realities.

[Good place to note the obvious: Any reasonably democratic form of government is slooooow. You want speed? You want it done NOW? Move to one of the world's many dictatorships. They specialize in speed. ]

 IMAge courtesy of university of california - san diego

IMAge courtesy of university of california - san diego

 

IMMIGRATION BAN/COURT CASES:

Enough to make a girl run from the room, screaming AIYEEE! 

As of today, Feb. 7, 2017: 

Here's a short, clear explanation of the legal mechanics that will unfold this week.

But remember: What happens this week is only the first step in a much longer process. One that has far-reaching consequences for the future of the United States' system of governance. 

This piece in the New York Times explains, in detail, the profound significance of the court wrangling over the immigration orders. Depressing as hell, but . . . . 

Here, by the way, is a nice primer on how Trump used previous orders (Obama's) to justify his specific ban. (Which, of course, is really the Bannon/Flynn order.) It's long, it's complicated -- but worth wading through if only to get a sense of just. how. complicated. it is to run a democratic society.

 

O, Congress:

Here's a short, even-handed take on why Congress is playing doormat

Too even-handed, in my opinion. NOTHING has left me more disheartened than the lack of integrity and patriotism among members of Congress. Every damn one of them. But Republicans in particular are putting self-interest above country, and, I might add, above the oaths they swore when they took office.

 

WE THE PEOPLE -- AND OUR THREE BRANCHES

Earlier, I mentioned the significance of the immigration orders' court case. In essence, those cases are about executive (ie, presidential) authority.

In the process of getting myself up to speed on this stuff, I ran across this USAToday piece from 2014 about the recent, perpetual "state of emergency" in the United States. Fascinating! (And terrifying: DT/SB really CAN suspend government simply by declaring an emergency.)

But I also recommend this, also from 2014. If only I'd been paying attention back then. Sigh. I am a bad citizen. 

Here's a long but useful piece about how Barack Obama learned to use executive authority in order to circumvent a Congress that refused, in any situation, to negotiate with him.

(And historians will, in fact, long note just how obstructive the "opposition" party was during Obama's eight years. We're in this mess in large measure because Congress spent the past eight years refusing to acknowledge Obama's presidency. Or so I believe.)

And so to my main point for the day: DT/SB are using rhetoric to prepare us for "crisis" and for "emergency." Over and over, they warn of dire dangers ahead. Consider these Trump tweets of just the past two, three days:

The threat from radical Islamic terrorism is very real, just look at what is happening in Europe and the Middle-East. Courts must act fast!

Somehow, suddenly, it's all the courts to solve this global crisis! And if they don't?

Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!

And this one:

The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!

A "so-called" judge (appointed by George Bush, for what it's worth). 

DANGER DANGER DANGER!

Here's a more nuanced take on the notion of danger/crisis/fear.

And it's filtering into every crevice and corner: The most discouraging thing I've read lately. Now "danger" comes from ordinary citizens.

As DT would say: Sad. Except it's dangerous. Not sad. Dangerous. Bannon is looking for any excuse to shut all of us down: Media, protests, congress, constitution. He wants it all gone. 

And speaking of Bannon.

BANNON:

This is the single strangest thing I've read by/about Steve Bannon. I admit: I don't understand it. No doubt it makes sense to him . . . but I'm still scratching my head.

And Bannon from a completely different angle. (He's Catholic.) 

Oh: And by the way: When DT signed the order adding SB to the National Security Council, apparently Trump didn't read the order.  Or, in proper journalese, he was not "properly briefed." I think it's safe to assume he's not reading any of them. 

 

LONG VIEW, BIG PICTURE:

Fabulous essay on the World-War-II-era political cartoons of Theodor Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss). 

And nothing whatsoever to do with Trump -- except, well, immigrants. We're all immigrants. Fantastic essay from a history grad student on Germans, immigration, beer, Super Bowl. 

Because: beer.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for taking time to become an educated citizen.