Sunday, February 05, 2017

11.1 - What we face

What we face

I had a regular show planned this week; I already had some Good News bits, an RIP, and a Clown Award all done when I decided to chuck it all and start over because there is something that needs to be said.

I am not going to mislead you. We are in for a lot of trouble. We are in for a long slog and a hard fight. Our democracy is literally at risk.

Now, I don't want to oversell this: We as a people survived the repression during World War I, we survived the Palmer Raids, we survived the McCarthy era, we survived the presidential coup of Watergate - and the fact is, on the whole our rights have actually expanded over that time. So we may well survive this, too.

But that doesn't change the fact that the present peril is real as we face moves to centralize all effective power in the hands of a shrinking number of reactionaries and corporatists who are cheered on by a mass of people who see in the very word "Trump" - not in any policy or practice or result but in the very image, the very concept, of "Trump" - the answer to their very real pain and distress and full justification for their bigotry.

What we are seeing, that is, is what increasingly looks like a slow-motion coup.

We have, for example, seen top officers of the State Dept. removed, leaving the department effectively devoid of experienced senior staff;

Steve Bannon
we have seen the Director of National Intelligence and the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff removed from being regular members of the National Security Council, replaced by notorious bigot and war monger Steve Bannon;

we have seen gag orders on science agencies, information on climate change, LGBTQ rights, and the Affordable Care Act removed from the White House website, along with other attacks on public access to information;

we have seen attempts to intimidate the press along with favoritism shown to right-wing outlets who will ask the questions the White House gangsters want to be asked;

we have seen them shut down the White House comments line, so uninterested are they in public input.

We have seen that TheRump's Muslim travel ban was the work of a small clique and was issued without the advice or knowledge of the State Dept., the Department for the Protection of the Fatherland, or the Congress; in fact we have seen that they poached staff from a member of Congress to help draft the ban and then had them sign non-disclosure agreements to keep their boss in the dark.

We have seem them openly defy federal court orders from New York, Virginia, Massachusetts, and others, which issued emergency stays blocking officials from removing people with valid visas and asylum claims only to have the DHS say that TheRump's "Executive Orders remain in place - prohibited travel will remain prohibited" and Customs and Border Patrol agents continued to enforce it, in some cases denying detained individuals access to legal counsel.

After dozens of US foreign service officers and diplomats used the State Department Dissent Channel, something specifically created to allow the expression of concerns, to object to the travel ban, we saw the administration tell those career diplomats to, literally in these words, "get with the program, or go."

It was enough that the Philadelphia Inquirer was moved to say in an editorial
From spreading bald lies to suppressing basic facts and information, the early days of the Trump administration are suggestive of a tin-pot dictatorship.
I would say that the days following the publication of that editorial have done nothing to change that impression - which, rather, has grown stronger.

So yes, we are in for hard times and a long slog as the White House gangsters look more and more like the fanatics that they are: not only unalterably focused on increasing their power but increasingly paranoid about any hint of opposition.

I could spend rest of show just going through the horrors of the last week. But I'm not going to do that. Instead, I am going to celebrate resistance.

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