“A republic madam, if you can keep it.”*
— Benjamin Franklin, upon being asked what type of government had been created by the Continental Congress.
Donald Trump has no ideological center. He is authoritarian by temperament but he is not driven by ideological fervor. He is not Mussolini, or Hitler, nor is he Franco or Pinochet. He is not even the Shah despite the fixation with tawdry displays of opulence.
Trump is driven by a set of fairly banal pathologies ranging from feelings of inadequacy, narcissism and petty jealousies as well as a set of significant early childhood traumas manifesting as a set of impulses towards obsessive compulsive cleaning, assorted psycho-sexual rituals, and other complexes.
These push him towards uncontrolled rage, misogyny, racism, and megalomania, among other displays.
But unlike a textbook fascist, Trump has no vision for tribalism, Volk, nationalism, or grandiose theories about reshaping the economy, the education system or the family as instruments of building and maintaining a single party apparatus with him at the center based on a cult of personality. Trump pays lip service to these issues, entertaining the Volk-fetish fantasies of neo-fascists like Steve Bannon, but is prone to just as quickly dismissing them as he is to embrace them; invoking whim, sadistic caprice, and illogical twists and turns sparked by uncontrollable pathologies.
However, with his assault on the Special Council, Robert Mueller, and specifically by calling Mueller’s seizer of Trump’s attorney’s records, “an attack on the nation”, it no longer matters because Trump has stumbled into being a fascist.
While it is clear that Mueller’s tenure as head of the FBI under the Cheney Bush junta marks him as suspect, and that under his authority through the unconstitutional Patriot Act, gross violations of civil liberties occurred, and that those violations warrant (sic!) a proper legal investigation, Trump’s rhetoric has crossed the line from unpleasant and potentially dangerous to fascistic and manifestly a threat to the national security of the country.
Needless to say with multiple crisis including an ill-advised and reckless trade war with China while engaging in direct talks with China’s client state, North Korea, the ongoing catastrophe of Syria and the potential for confrontations with Iran and Russia, it is essential that Trump be removed from office.(2)
Needless to say as well, the spineless and assorted neo-fascists in what used to be the republican party, (but is now a tattered collection of shifting power arrangements that run the spectrum from weak “centrists” like Jeff Flake to Ayn Randian goons like Paul Ryan), offer no sense of security and one must therefore, look elsewhere for leadership, courage and a sense of grace under pressure.
There is of course no point in discussing the democrats as they remain leaderless and instead of a captain to follow they have human political blow-up dolls in the form of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
As we have detailed previously the country ceased to be a republic some time ago and with the appointment of the military junta (Kelly, McMaster and Matis) we slipped definitively into being a banana republic.
With McMaster out and replaced by lunatic Strangelove-esque and brown-shirt curious John Bolton, and with Mueller closing in on Trump, we are faced with an acute phase of the ongoing crisis. And by crisis we are mindful of the various media constructions that have lamented and gnashed teeth at the idea that a constitutional crisis was looming but not yet arrived and would arrive if Trump fired Mueller.
On the contrary we say that Trump’s installment as president was the beginning of the constitutional crisis (notwithstanding that one could accurately pinpoint the beginning of the crisis at the moment George W. Bush was installed as the public face of a private corporate junta by the will of a judicial coup) and that it has now reached a new and potentially lethal phase.
Mueller’s seizer of Trump’s lawyer’s documents and computers had to be based on the presentation of significant evidence that persuaded a judge to allow for the breaching of attorney client privilege, and with the full knowledge that as the attorney in question had as a client, the president of the United States, and that Trump is insane and combustible under even the best or calmest of circumstances, that the evidence must have been damning.
But regardless of what Mueller believed he would find (and under a variation of the well-known legal truism that a lawyer never asks a question for which they do not already know the answer, Mueller clearly knew a priori, that Trump’s lawyer was guilty of various crimes and as Trump’s lawyer it is inevitable that those crimes will either directly or indirectly implicate Trump) what matters now is that Trump is threatening his own version of the Rhiestaag Fire.
To call the legal actions of a legally mandated investigation an attack on the country is the rhetoric of a dictator. It is the rhetoric of a dictator who is both ginning up his base as a call to action(3), and it is a political version of a snake rattle just before the snake aims to bite and inject poison into its victim.
As we have said previously, Trump will not go down quietly observing the rules of the system. He will aim to destroy everything or destroy his enemies and emerge as a fascist thug above the law.
History has its own designs. The idea that forces beyond human will have the ability to shape events is anathema to Anglo-Saxon logic, and the pull yourself up by your bootstraps inherent in the myths of American exceptionalism (itself a shabby myth) and the soulless mental gymnastics of the simpletons on Capitol Hill. Their plan, such as it is, was to wait patiently for the midterms and the regaining of the House. This would then lead to a Pelosi restoration and the slow and steady emasculation of Trump trough hearings and threats of impeachment without having to do the actual work of impeachment.
The dilemma of course is that events have now and are continuing to conspire to force action. Since the democrats are congenitally incapable of action, and because Trump is racing towards a confrontation that will if he is successful, suspend any remaining pretense that we live in a constitutional republic, the role of savior falls to the professional thugs of the intelligence agencies, the professional warriors of the military, and a loose affiliation of millionaires and billionaires who will, out of self-preservation if nothing else, be forced to apply pressure to key imitation humans in the House and the Senate and force Trump to surrender. These range from Scarlett O’Hara-esque Lindsey Graham to the libertarian centerfold, Rand Paul. Neither of whom will ever be confused with Thomas Paine.
But there are no guarantees that anyone will do much of anything, let alone the dangerous work of what is essential.
With the military-intelligence forces preoccupied generally and increasingly preoccupied specifically, with North Korea, Syria-Iran-Russia-Israel-Hezbollah, and having to keep and eye on China as well as Russia’s potential for action in Europe, there may not be either the will or the resources available to stop Trump.
It is worth noting that media reports have suggested that Israel recently conducted large military exercises that were based on a scenario in which Russia had commenced to fight on multiple fronts simultaneously. It is not hard to imagine an escalation in Syria and at the same time a re-escalation of the simmering fight in the Ukraine and disruptions in the Baltics in conjunction with similar actions in key sectors of Western Europe, designed to create the spectre of escalation without having to commit to anything as blunt as boots on the ground.
The danger posed by Trump’s complete lack of ability, his complete absence of experience, his being a slave to his psychosis, and the power vacuum in America’s leadership are as potentially a fatal mixture as uranium and a detonator being juggled by a serial killer or a fool.
It is possible that some combination of powers acting in concert may talk Trump down from the ledge. But it is also possible that he is, psychologically, at a kind of failsafe.
Mueller’s seizure terrifies Trump because of course, imbecile that he is, it never occurred to Trump that his lawyer’s crimes could become a pretext for having his filthy secrets exposed. And exposure is a crisis for Trump. His obsessions with cleanliness, and filth, and the matrix of those issues in connection to his need to assert power and dominance and to be seen doing it, point to an extraordinarily fragile identity. The more fragile, the more prone it is to rage in an effort to prevent exposure.
The results have been predictable. Trump has lashed out in a fever of insane, dangerous and fascistic rhetoric associating a threat to his power (and for a pathological narsacist like Trump power is synonymous with identity) with a threat to the country. That of course is fascism 101 – the great leader is all things at all times – tribal father, avuncular uncle, showman, con-artist, wrathful god with thunderbolts in one hand and paternal love in the other.
And we hasten to add that impending military action in Syria is not a wag the dog scenario. The gas attack and the response were in motion separately from Mueller’s legal blitzkrieg.
But the danger is real and the threat to what little stability remains is genuine.
It is also crucial to remember that Trump did not arrive deus ex machina and he did not arrive without help. As venal and awful as he is, and as much of a danger as he poses, it is crucial that the rest of the gangsters not be left off the hook.
The hollowed out soul of the democratic party, the centrist contortionists, the neo-liberal jaw shattering blow job to Wall Street, the craven surrender to the Cheney Bush junta on the twin issues of domestic mass surveillance and foreign adventurism resulting in catastrophes (for which we are still paying and that will generate a new set of political disasters that we will have to pay still more to appease and settle) are the butcher’s bill of our time and the guilty are legion. The corrupt feckless facile corporate media, that now, after years, servile and on its knees, claims to be a bastion of freedom in the face of tyranny, the intellectuals who have kept their mouths shut while the Orwellian panopticon extended its reach into every corner of the national soul, the complicit clergy, the faux radicals with their infantile, disorganized rages, the soul crushing entertainment empires feeding off of the nation’s lethargy and moral sonombulence, (which itself was spoon fed to the exhausted wage slaves of the empire the same way cheap gin was served in Gin Lane in the 17th century) and a corporate empire committed to a system of wage slavery and the desiccation of the nation’s industrial core, are all to blame.
But Trump is a monster. He must be defeated and it must be a complete and unambiguous defeat and it must happen sooner rather than later.
The crisis of our history is again upon us. But one is mindful of a statement attributed to the great bad man, Winston Churchill who said: You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after having first exhausted all other options.
We are out of options and the list of poor choices grows longer by the hour, and what is right, and essential, and necessary, hangs by a thread.
*Variations of the famous quote are available.
2. And we take note of the fact that there have been a series of moments where it became clear that Trump should be removed, each as ugly and threatening as the other but while for example, his disgusting attempts to appease the fascists after the murder of Heather Hyer was worthy of his removal, the rhetoric he is now employing, in the context of the stakes being raised by Mueller’s seizure of the records, and in conjunction with the ongoing international issues makes this a moment of extreme danger and crisis.
3. By “call to action” we are not speaking euphemistically but mean directly, that Trump is calling on the neo-fascist armed militias to be ready. This must be taken seriously and understood as a potentially disastrous spark.
We also want to clarify that we are not advocating a coup by the intelligence agencies and the military but, rather are highlighting that with the breakdown of constitutional norms, the inevitability of a coup (one in a series of such actions) is the subject.
For an overview of these issues see the following:
There is some confusion as to whether or not the warrant was issued based on a request from Mueller or was based on a referral from Mueller to the federal prosecutor in New York. While there are not insignificant legal nuances involved in the distinction, the facts remain as described.
For a look at some of the potential legal strategies and the implications stemming from their use, see the following: