There’s Something Happening Here, and It Is Terrifyingly Clear

First we marched for and with women; then we stormed airports in support of Muslims; soon we will be dismantling a wall, but we may not be seeing the real threat. Trial Balloon for a Coup points to what may be really going on and a NY Times piece provides more evidence of how we fight injustice.

concentrated-powerThe day after the election, I wrote a blog about being visited by a hawk and an owl, and a conclusion that we as a people need to spend some time listening and thinking. Click here to review that post. After reading the article referenced below, I ask you to do the same thing today. There is not a single event posted in today’s blog, but if you do want to review coming actions and opportunities, click here. But before pondering what to do next, I ask that you read, share, listen, and think. I invite comment to this post below and as always, all comments will be accepted. And I encourage you to share this blog with many, many others, because if this article is correct, our challenge could be far greater than we ever imagined. And while the challenge may be greater than we thought, as the end of this post describes, there is another side of America the one that sees injustice, is astonished, gets angry, and acts. Read on.

Our sense of justice is offended by a government and corporatocracy that:

  • Imposes a glass ceiling that has limited women’s earning power.
  • Eliminates women’s access to reproductive health care;
  • Builds a wall and has the hubris to coerce another country to pay for it;
  • Slams the door on refugees fleeing oppression that in most cases we have caused;
  • Feels it can expropriate land and violate the rights of indigenous people at will.

And so we have marched, rallied, and stormed airports, and soon we will try to dismantle a wall.

fascism2But before we get too focused on these issues, we badly need to examine what is going on behind the scenes. Behind closed doors, Donald Trump is restoring the “democracy” that was established in 1776, a democracy by and for white males, that enjoyed the fruits of slavery, and that over a period of 150 years used largely poor, white enlisted soldiers to plunder an entire indigenous nation. Manifest destiny was the call back then. Today we are making America great again, just like it used to be when white men could plunder at will. Behind the scenes, Donald Trump is pulling the strings to concentrate power in ways that are almost inconceivable.

Last night, I read Trial Balloon for a Coup an article by Yonatan Zunger. It is an 8 minute read if you do not click the numerous links to all the sources he references. His well developed premise: much of what Trump is doing now is testing the waters: How much can I get away with? Can I really ignore the few checks and balances upon which what remains of our democracy depends? — the slim threads of what little democracy has not already been purchased by the corporatocracy and the 1%? And Zunger’s well-documented tale is chilling. First, he writes about the recent Muslim ban:

“CNN has a detailed story (heavily sourced) about the process by which this ban was created and announced. Notable in this is that the DHS’ lawyers objected to the order, specifically its exclusion of green card holders, as illegal, and also pressed for there to be a grace period so that people currently out of the country wouldn’t be stranded — and they were personally overruled by Bannon and Stephen Miller. Also notable is that career DHS staff, up to and including the head of Customs & Border Patrol, were kept entirely out of the loop until the order was signed.”

Why would they intentionally include the green card ban when they knew it was illegal? The answer to this question is found in Zunger’s larger point: What is really going on is that Trump is using the Muslim ban to see how far he can go. Can he ignore entirely the advice of DHS attorneys who opposed the ban and of the courts that are now attempting to block it?

“Note also the most frightening escalation last night [Saturday] was that the DHS made it fairly clear that they did not feel bound to obey any court orders. Customs and Border Patrol, CBP, continued to deny all access to counsel, detain people, and deport them in direct contravention to the court’s order, citing “upper management.” But this article was written on Saturday and what the author could not have seen: Sunday. Nonetheless our challenge is very clear.

“There appears to be a very tight “inner circle,” containing at least Trump, Bannon, Miller, Priebus, Kushner, and possibly Flynn, which is making all of the decisions. Other departments and appointees have been deliberately hobbled, with key orders announced to them only after the fact, staff gutted, and so on.”  Zunger concludes with this chilling summary:

“Combining all of these facts, we have a fairly clear picture in play.

  1. Trump was, indeed, perfectly honest during the campaign; he intends to do everything he said, and more. This should not be reassuring to you.
  2. The regime’s main organizational goal right now is to transfer all effective power to a tight inner circle, eliminating any possible checks from either the Federal bureaucracy, Congress, or the Courts. Departments are being reorganized or purged to effect this.
  3. The inner circle is actively probing the means by which they can seize unchallenged power; yesterday’s (Saturday) moves should be read as the first part of that.
  4. The aims of crushing various groups — Muslims, Latinos, the black and trans communities, academics, the press — are very much primary aims of the regime, and are likely to be acted on with much greater speed than was earlier suspected. The secondary aim of personal enrichment is also very much in play, and clever people will find ways to play these two goals off each other.”

Click here to review the entire article which includes far more evidence about what Trump is up to.

But before you dive under the covers, there is this article from the NY Times. The article describes the other side of America, the side that sees injustice, gets outraged and acts:

activist-slogan-1First a small group took action. At 10pm Friday a small group of Yale attorneys and law students began exchanging emails about an Iraqi refugee being detained at JFK. They worked all night long to prepare first a legal complaint on behalf of this one and then a class action suit on behalf of all those being detained. Ultimately ACLU attorneys argued the suit

Our core progressive institutions take action. in early January, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law convened a private meeting of about two dozen civil rights groups to strategize about coming voting rights and other civil rights fights, participants said. And last week, the American Constitution Society and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund co-sponsored a similar two-day private conference to discuss coordination of legal challenges. “We are clearly in a moment in which civil rights organizations face unprecedented challenges and will need to mount new and more aggressive strategies,” said Kristen Clarke, the president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee. “You’ve never seen it at this intensity and across all these different issues — freedom of speech, Muslim rights, immigrants’ rights, abortion rights,” said Anthony D. Romero, the executive director of the A.C.L.U. “All the pots have been put on a boil.”

And then the people take action. As reported in the Times article, “In each of the past three years, the ACLU’s website took in about $5 million in donations from its 20,000 members. But just since Election Day, the A.C.L.U. has surged to more than a million members and — as of 5 p.m. Monday — it had taken in $71.3 million from 921,304 online donations; $31.5 million of that came from 456,714 since Friday, when Mr. Trump signed the travel ban. The money will fund many more lawyers at both the federal and state level, he said. The entire article, inspiring as all hell, is offered as a pdf for those without subscriptions, click:  liberal-lawyers-wave-of-resistance.

The same lesson as from the Women’s March, from the airport rallies and now from our legal community: a few are astonished and offended by injustice, a few take action inspiring others and then the wave begins. It is about justice, people, and justice will not be denied. Keep the faith, but as importantly every single day put time into this. Share this post and other posts with many, many people. Those Yale students and lawyers were up all night to defend one man and it is our job to put that kind of effort to defend justice.

In Solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

Categories: Actions, Civil Disobedience, Immigrant Rights, Women's Rights

Tags: ,

11 replies

  1. “How much can I get away with?” – basics of Psych course; “Angry Baby Megalomaniac 101” – has anyone really been surprised?

  2. Paul and Roxanne,

    I am so aligned with your post and linkage to Zunger’s post. At the risk of repeating myself, one can argue with how far this delusional child may go in totally breaking our democracy just as one can argue with how bad global warming may be for our planet and therefore ourselves. However, that does not excuse any of us for not taking action with the worst possible outcome in mind rather than hoping that other people having more power will intercede and stop the “Angry Baby Megalomaniac”. I too want to appeal to those in a better position to block this coup. In addition to those in federal government who claim to be democrats I hope to reach those republicans who claim to be patriots. We don’t wish to instill fear or violence since that only plays into the hands of those behind the coup. We do wish to instill the best of what it means to be American, including courageous resistance, and not what the conservatives have framed it to be.

    Thanks again, and I will ask my network to read today’s blog.


  3. I have tried to access the article through a variety of links, and I can’t find it anymore; it’s like it has been taken off the internet.

  4. is calling for protest of Trumps pick for Supreme Court tonite at 7pm EST (5pm MST) at every local federal courthouse. Can someone alert local media and mobilize Santa Feans? Will watch the website for a reply.

  5. Common Dreams also posting protest call. Will notify as many media as I can; all FB posts helpful!

  6. Hey paul. Just spoke with a very pleasant young man today, about 30, sharp and well spoken, who, when i showed him a photo of a 5 yr. old girl handcuffed and standing all alone against a wall at an airport, uttered he could not understand how-why this could happen. I have seen this trainwreck coming for decades, and have drawn the ire and rebuke of thousands for pointing this out.

    The cognitive dissonance at work in this population is pandemic, from every quarter, and the roots of the disfunction spread wide and deep.

    Much worse than we thought? Have most been in la la land? Yup. The karma of a ‘me first’ and ‘ l’m free’ brainwashing.

    Loren Eisley said it long ago, as did T.S. Elliot – humanity refuses to evolve out of slime mold mentality, and so things will not end with a bang, but a whimper.

    Everyone – yes, everyone, best drain their own swamp and hunker down for the hell unleashed to reach their dreams. We all will soon know what it feels like to be cattle singing their death song in the stockyard next to the slaughterhouse. I doubt any but the offspring of the monsters will be spared.

    I was once convinced most had seen the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Guess it failed as allegory. But what will ensue will most certainly be gory.

    • Lets respond to this possible scenario with all our courage and heart. It is up to us to to summon our better angels rather than allowing their primitive behavior to encourage us to sink back into our primordial slime. That in no way means to be weak or timid like sheep or cattle. I have always had a view that there are wolves, sheep and sheep dogs. I no longer see the world that simple way. But still I love dogs and will always lean to identifying with sheep dogs. Courage my fellow Americans!

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