Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

State of Emergency

I'm not talking about the coronavirus. (For the record, and I may have more to say about this later, right now I think that situation is being seriously overblown. Hope I'm right.)

I'm talking about the death of democracy and the rule of law. Walter Shaub led the Office of Government ethnics before resigning in July 2017, specifically over the Resident's failure to divest from his various businesses. We now just accept that the federal government spends millions of dollars literally every month at properties he owns to rent hotel rooms and buy meals and even golf carts for the Secret Service to follow him around; as do foreign governments and businesses seeking to curry favor. That is literally forbidden by the Constitution but Congress won't do anything about it.

But now it's much worse. Having gotten away with trying to extort the government of Ukraine into ginning up a phony investigation against a political rival, he is now threatening the governor of New York to try to get him to pull the plug on civil suits against his organization. The New York Attorney General already shut down his fraudulent "charitable" foundation. And he is turning the U.S. Department of Justice into his personal tool for harassing and persecuting his enemies and protecting his friends from accountability for their crimes. As Shaub says:

One of the things that’s so alarming about what he’s done is it’s so closely related to what he did with Ukraine, and so open, that one of the dangers is he’s sending a message to the world: ‘I not only can but will do the very thing that I was impeached for because the Senate has blessed my use of governmental authority for my personal gain.’
It doesn’t matter whether it succeeds. It matters what message it sends and what it tells us about what he’s going to do next. And I wasn’t nearly as alarmed before the media and the public failed to react to it. And frankly, the relative silence in response to this conduct, which is on par with the Ukraine conduct, is the most terrifying thing that’s happened in the three-plus years that he’s been in power.
What is astonishing is the deafening silence of not only the Republicans in Congress, but the corporate media and even Democratic politicians. Nobody wants to say what is obvious: the office of President of the United States is being wielded as that of a kleptocratic dictator who has declared himself above the law and declared the law to be an instrument of his personal enrichment, aggrandizement, and vengeance, and nobody is doing anything about it.

Also, let me refer you to Lucian Truscott, who says it all very well. Trying to figure out why people would worship such a vile, repulsive, morally sick individual keeps me up at night. But then I realize they worship the God of the Old Testament, who is also a psychopath. Truscott:

The man who stands before those rallies and encourages such idolatry isn't merely running for president. He is calling, directly and without apology, for the kind of obedience and loyalty demanded by dictators. He is commanding worship and submission. It must be why he attracts so completely the support of evangelical Christians. He truly is the false idol their Bible warned them against. They have fallen for him in the same way the most conspicuously devout worshipers commit sins. The inevitability of Trump and his evangelical masses is jaw-dropping, and yes, biblical.


Don Quixote said...

I'm bewildered by the lack of comments to this blog.

In every situation I find myself in during the day--at work, at a meeting, out with my dogs, at home--I'm aware that our entire way of life IS changing, for the worse, in various, mind-boggling ways. Mar-a-Lago will be under water in thirty years or so ... our environment is being destroyed by capitalism and people are talking about how well the economy is doing--and it isn't! Consent is being manufactured willy-nilly, and people are consuming the "news" because they're afraid to look reality in the face.

So most of us seem ready to follow each other over the cliff, unable to reign in two or three people--McConnell, Shitler, Kavanaugh--throw in all of Fox Propaganda Netork--so that the rest of us may live. It's bizarre ... people are so deathly afraid of change. Most individuals and groups are unable or unwilling to change until the pain of continuing as they are becomes greater than the prospect of change.

roger said...

i have been reading bart for many years. we even collaborated on a blog. my constant comment would be "amen brother." he is more eloquent than i am.

Cervantes said...

I appreciate that but not so sure it's true. Hope you're doing well Rog, after your health scare. I should check out your blog again.