Living Large In Carson City: There Is No Honor Among Thieves Edition

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“You put the small thief in prison, but the big thief lives in a palace.” 
― Graham Greene, Orient Express

In early May Jerry Falwell. Jr., son of the legendary televangelist Jerry Falwell, Sr., president of Liberty University, and over-the-top evangelical Trump supporter, tweeted the cockamamie idea that Trump should get a two year “do over”. This would be as payback for the time lost in his first term due to the “failed corrupt coup” of Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into wrong doings of the Trump election committee in the 2016 presidential race. Plagued by his own shady past due to the revelation by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer, of the existence (possibly destroyed) of incriminating sex photos, Falwell’s credibility is somewhat sketchy at best these days. Of course, Trump loved the idea.

This was not the first time Trump pined for special treatment in his presidency. All of America remembers his off the cuff,  pseudo-joking remark about China’s leader,  Xi Jinping, when he heard the China strongman had been designated”president for life”,

 President Trump told donors on Saturday that China’s president, Xi Jinping, was now “president for life,” and added: “I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll want to give that a shot someday.” NYTimes

Trump’s reckless penchant to grab as much power for himself as possible can be seen  played out on a number of fronts as the 2020 campaign begins in earnest. His administration, under his guidance, has consistently tried to weaken Congress’s power for oversight over the past several months. By telling present and former employees that they shouldn’t appear and/or testify before Congressional committees, some in the face of federal subpoenas, he has set himself above an important branch of the government. The fight will resume in the third branch , the Judiciary, for the remainder of his last two years in office.

Americans, most notably Trump supporters, have to face the facts and come to grips with Trump’s current stumble toward dictatorship. The country has never seen a president with such a corrupt nature who gleefully thumbs his nose at the conventions of American Democracy and places all of the world in serious danger. His shameless performance this past weekend in Japan is a case in point. In remarks to reporters, he sided with the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un, who bashed Trump’s presidential rival candidate, Joe Biden. These are only symptoms of a much larger and darker threat to the American way of life. Here is a sample,

“Kim Jong-Un made a statement that Joe Biden is a low IQ individual. He probably is based on his record. I think I agree with him on that,” Trump said. ABC News

Regardless of the veracity of the statement, true or not, cheap shots are beneath the office of the presidency as Biden made clear in his response to the attack. Yet, Trump acts as if there are no rules that apply to him in the way he conducts his presidency. When called out on audacious comments or actions, he simply lies and moves on to the next embarrassing blunder de jour.

So, America has to ask is Trump sliding toward dictatorship in slow motion, rather than through a violent coup. Some officials in government and in the news media believe the worst is inevitable if 2020 does not turn out to his liking and his supporters rise up to keep him in power. Americans have seen Trump’s idea of an ideal administration played out through the excesses of his dismal choices for important offices in government. How many partisan hacks have left under dubious circumstances over the past two years or have been indicted and convicted and are serving sentences in prison. Regardless, Trump seems to be operating as if he and his minions are above the law. In an article in The Atlantic, David Frum summed up Trump’s action with a quote from a colleague when he wrote,

As one shrewd observer told me on a recent visit, “The benefit of controlling a modern state is less the power to persecute the innocent, more the power to protect the guilty.” The Atlantic

Or as Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un’s father, said to justify the scathing remarks of leaders worldwide who took exception to his erratic behavior,

I’m the object of criticism around the world, but I think that since I am being discussed, I am on the right track.

Turing again to the Japan fiasco, this headline came across the wire this morning, White House Wanted USS John McCain ‘Out of Sight’ During Trump Japan Visit: U.S. military officials worked to ensure President Trump wouldn’t see the warship that bears the name of the late senator, a frequent target of the president’s ire from the less than liberal Wall Street Journal. Trump denied any involvement in the story, but the WSJ points to copies of emails sent to Naval commanders before Trump’s inspection of the fleet moored at a port outside Tokyo. Even if Trump was completely out of the loop, the incident raises serious questions about the fragility of Trump’s ego if his administration took preemptive steps,

“. . . to avoid offending an unpredictable president known for holding a grudge, including a particularly bitter one against McCain.”  Wall Street Journal

Such drastic measures should only be used to placate a madman, or more appropriately, a dictator who cannot face criticism or any act that undermines their projected abject authority over their fiefdom. It is becoming increasingly apparent that Trump sees himself and his presidency as above the law and not subject to restraints that other presidents who came before him endured.

The thing that is truly incomprehensible to me is the Republican enablers that are willing to turn a blind eye to Trump’s disregard for the Constitution, rule of law, the sanctity of the office of the presidency, and a whole raft of other transgressions he commits on a daily basis. Is the hunger for power and the need to keep American white men in control so alluring that they are willing to dismantle the government and cede American exceptionalism on the world stage and American’s freedoms at home? To anyone paying attention, Trump’s administration is little more than a sham. One that exploits, not the Democrats, but the clueless followers that represent his basket of deplorables.

In WWII the Germans favored a military strategy called blitzkrieg. The term means a quick and surprising attack meant to gain immediate success. Americans have seen the political equivalent of this tactic throughout Trump’s presidency since day one. It began with the election outcome when Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by a margin of 300,000 votes and Trump’s claim it was it was due to voter fraud. Or who can forget Sean Spicer’s dubious parroting of his bosses assertion of the inauguration crowd size as,

“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period,” Spicer said.

Since those early heady days of this administration, it has been one thing after another. Remember Trump and his dark prince, Stephen Miller’s, first travel ban? Or his accusation that the press is the enemy of the people? Or Trump’s incessant campaign rallies which have become little more than blazing conflagrations that he gleefully pours gasoline on to gin up his followers ire? All of his attacks, both political and personal, are meant to keep his opponents’ attention scattered and unfocused, while behind the scenes, he has methodically dismantled our Constitution and historical way of life.

These are the acts of a madman or dictator, or both. One leader, a metaphorical political fellow traveler of Trump’s, Saddam Hussein, put it this way,

“Politics is when you say you are going to do one thing while intending to do another. Then you do neither what you said nor what you intended.”

Let freedom ring.