Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Trump, Fascism and Democracy

100 per cent agreement, he’s a fascist.

Is Trump a danger to democracy? From your point of view, maybe. But to his supporters, they finally have a politician who is doing what he said he would. Up until 1925, the Supreme Court had held that the Bill of Rights applied only to Federal actions. That year, in Gitlow v. New York, the Court began ruling that the Bill of Rights protections extended to state and local government. Up until then, reactionaries had complete control over local affairs. And they want it back. Now, for the first time in their lives, they have a real shot at it. From their perspective, Trump (and even more so, Pence, if Trump is removed) is a triumph of democracy. They always had to settle for the “least worst” alternatives. Now have finally gotten what they were voting for all these years.

Gotta say I have scant sympathy for liberals (and I voted Obama in 2012 and Clinton this time). The anger on the Right has been building for decades and there has been no shortage of commentary explaining it. Liberals never bothered reading it, and if a hard line conservative popped up on a site they did read, they blew him off as a troll or racist, and very likely flagged and banned him. None of that “free speech” or “challenge viewpoints” stuff here, thank you. Well, ignore a problem and it will go away. Then it will come up behind you and have you for lunch. So now you have Trump. Was it really worth going to court to get that Nativity scene out of the city park, or hassling that bakery that refused to do a gay wedding cake? How many Trump voters did you create? Well, now they’ve voted to smack you down. Oppression to you, democracy at its finest to them.

Hitler never received a majority of the vote. But he did get a large minority, from people who wanted what he was selling.

Remember Star Wars?. When Vader and Obi-Wan face off, Obi-Wan tells Vader “Strike me down and I will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” Now imagine the roles reversed and Vader saying it. Strike Trump down in court, but remember he has one Court vacancy to fill, and probably one or two more in the future. And he’ll have Sessions for AG. And he can play to his base. He won’t be politely critical like Obama (one of the things that infuriated Obama’s opponents was precisely his discipline). He’ll rage against the Liberal Machine. His supporters will change the voting rules in Congress (killing the filibuster is long overdue — it has has a shameful history of stifling constructive legislation — how ironic that Trump’s minions may kill it.) Look up something called “jurisdiction stripping.” He doesn’t feel any need to be deferential or reverent toward the courts. And his base will lap it up. They’ve been frustrated for years at seeing laws they support, and in many cases voted for as referenda, struck down by non-elected judges at the behest of a handful of opponents. Strike them down now, and they will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.

Trump’s hard core followers despise the courts. From their perspective, the courts rubber-stamp regulations on the responsible and productive, while protecting criminals, sociopaths and social deviants. You may be horrified, but they will be deliriously happy to see a President rip into the Supreme Court.

Three things you need to look up
  1. Barron v. Baltimore 1833. The Supreme Court ruling that ruled the Bill of Rights only applied to the Federal Government
  2. Incorporation Doctrine. The principle that the “rights and immunities” clause of the 14th amendment extended Bill of Rights protections to the State and local level. Not all at once, but only as relevant cases arose, because that’s how the legal system rolls.
  3. Jurisdiction stripping. The power granted by Article 3, Section 2 of the Constitution for Congress to limit jurisdiction of the courts. The most telling, to me, is the legislation authorizing the Alaska Pipeline that said, in effect, “We’ve reviewed this every which way. There will be no further litigation.”
The Constitution. Read it, people. Sheesh. It says what it says, not what you think it should say.

Don't Even Think About Going There

A piece on The Establishment is titled "Why Punching Nazis Is Not Only Ethical, But Imperative." They don't have a comments section, making me wonder how likely they will be to confront fascists physically if they don't dare confront them verbally. Anyway, the following is offered as a public service.

You. Do. Not. Want. To. Go. There. For reasons:
  1. History. When leftists and fascists mixed it up in 1930's Italy and Germany, who won all the fights? The only fascist I know of who got killed was Horst Wessel, who was actually killed by his girl friend's former(?) pimp. Fascists have a far greater psychological willingness to inflict violence.
  2. Who has all the guns? Not the ACLU or English professors with tweed jackets and patches on their sleeves. Much more likely they're owned by fascists and their wannabes. If attacking them becomes routine, expect them to bring guns to a fist fight.
  3. Stand Your Ground. If you sucker punch a fascist, and he comes back with far greater force, then claims self defense, well, two words: Treyvon Martin.
  4. It doesn't work in reverse. If you attack someone, and he retaliates, don't expect to claim self defense. You don't get to claim self defense if you provoke the fight, especially if he's done nothing to provoke it.