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May You Live in Interesting Times.Cory Booker vs.Trump.

Cory Booker, the democratic senator from New Jersey, is proposing that Trump’s SCOTUS pick should be on hold until the Mueller investigation is concluded.

The reasons put forth are that the Supreme Court may have to decide on several issues that could stem from Mueller’s conclusions. Those conclusions – ranging from obstruction of justice, to collusion, to money laundering – are in regards to a sitting president, not settled law. Each would require the Supreme Court to decide if a sitting president can be indicted let alone compelled to provide testimony if issued a subpoena.

Booker is claiming that these issues will “be on Trump’s mind” in regards to his pick for the court. This Booker says, rightly and obviously, will be a conflict of interest. Booker adds that Trump has made it clear that he views political appointees through the lense of their ability and willingness to pass a “loyalty test.”

Booker is teeing this up as a line of questioning during the looming confirmation hearings. The goal we assume, is that if they cannot get Trump to wait until after Mueller’s investigation ends, and if they cannot convince a few republican senators to agree, then at the very least Booker’s move will raise the issue of Trump’s pick having to recuse himself when the time comes. If he does not recuse himself (and really why would he?)* it may set up a host of reactions including some form of a “constitutional crisis” in which Trump is victorious and we have the establishment of a Trump dictatorship in which Trump and the presidency are above and beyond the law. However, if Trump’s pick is asked to recuse himself, but everyone knows it’s not going to happen, then one must ask what was the point of the confirmation hearing except, as a kind of theater in which the possibility of the court having to rule on Trump’s alleged crimes, while being compromised, is not only kicked down the road but the entire process of governance is turned into a kind of performance art.

Of course that not only suits Trump, for whom the idea of rules and the law are meaningless, but it works for reactionary aristocrats like Mitch McConnell who clearly only view the rules as those things that apply to everyone else. And lastly, it would suit the Ayn Randian neo-fascists, and the Handmaid’s Tale fascists, who would then be secure knowing that the Supreme Court had been turned into a rubber stamp.

For years various commentators have compared America to a banana republic. In a banana republic the constitutional norms are observed but they are hollow; stripped not just of substance but the mechanisms of that substance become arbitrary. The police and the intelligence agencies are empowered to act as they please. The people’s representatives become nothing but decadent figureheads devoid of anything except privilege and, if a member of the ruling clique, power. And then the cult of the leader replaces any semblance of civitates. At that point all of the dystopian nightmares become possible.


For a look at Booker’s argument and strategy, see the following:

*There is another inside baseball angle to the issue of recusal. While McConnell is clearly a Trump Quisling and a reactionary aristocrat with no regard for constitutional norms he does value his power. Letting Trump turn the Supreme Court into a joke may be a political bridge too far. The issue would hinge on whether or not the democrats take control of the House, and the Senate or, as is more likely, gain the House and push the needle in the Senate towards a one vote republican majority. In such a political landscape the democrats might be able to appoint another special counsel to investigate the possibility of a quid pro quo between Trump and his court appointee which would then force the regime to either host a Saturday Night Massacre and establish a true dictatorship with not only a castrated court but a politically compromised Justice Department. In such a scenario, McConnell will be on a tightrope with no net and Trump bouncing on his shoulders screaming to get the fuck over to the other side before they fall. None of which is to suggest Trump isn’t insane and a fascist and a moronic gangster all to willing to declare himself Trump The First. The issue is are the slithering republicans, the military and the intelligence agencies all willing to go off the cliff with him

As we said yesterday regarding Kennedy’s retirement – Welcome to Weimar.

10 comments on “May You Live in Interesting Times.Cory Booker vs.Trump.

  1. My greatest concern is the military and the intelligence agencies.

    It is the deep state that will be the deciding factor. They have the most power and the least scrutiny. If the deep state wanted to eliminate Trump, they could do so at any moment by numerous mechanisms and methods.

    That they haven’t done so makes one wonder. Is Trump really at war with the deep state? Or is he a useful idiot for their more ambitious plans and far-reaching agenda?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. rauldukeblog says:

      Excellent point and question(s)

      In his autobiography B.Clinton describes a post war in Yugoslavia meeting with the then president of China. This is after the US air force had dropped a bomb on the PRC embassy in Belgrade.

      The Chinese pres. said: Bill I don;t believe you gave an order to attack our embassy. I believe the CIA gave your air force the wrong coordinates and then you hit the embassy.

      And Clinton said: I could not tell him he was wrong.

      Needless to say, this has received zero media scrutiny. And needless to say this is the president saying the chain of command is at best a suggestion and at worst non-existent.

      One of the least discussed aspects of Clinton’s presidency was that he spent those 8 years in a bureaucratic tug of war with Langley over declassifying files.

      There’s a very good book called The Plutonium Files that describes the war over the release of the files about the secret radiation experiments from 45-to at least the 80s.

      It makes the x-files look quaint in comparison.

      Or consider this: digging through the Nixon transcripts I was stunned (though I shouldn’t have been) to discover that the joint chiefs had placed a spy inside Kissinger’s office.

      Obviously there is a Deep State but it’s not cohesive and is split by feuds and into factions.

      They have obviously intervened several times to leak stories/information but no rational person can rule out blunt intervention by the spooks or the military.

      I cannot rule out waking up one morning to a headline that there’s has been an “incident” and Trump has been moved to a “secure location” or even more blatantly tanks surrounding the WH.

      Trickster is on the loose and history is thick with examples of things that people previously dismissed as impossible and paranoid and so on.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am a bit paranoid, but I like to think for good reasons. I’ve come to sense that there is more to the deep state than meets the eyes. What if large parts of the “deep state” really are no longer part of the official state? Instead, what if they have gained varying degrees of autonomy in not only manipulating our government but numerous others by way of a global governance?

        The CIA, for example, may have morphed into something entirely new. It might be a front organization for a much larger network of front organizations, some posing as government agencies and others as private organizations and corporations. We know from leaks and investigations that the CIA has been involved in operating numerous front organizations, but the logical next step is for the CIA itself to become a front organization.

        What is stopping this from happening? Without transparency and accountability, absolutely nothing stops it. And how would we know this hasn’t already happened? We wouldn’t know.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. rauldukeblog says:

        You’ve hit the nail on the head.

        First per Heller in Catch 22: Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they;re not out to get you.

        And then there’s this: the privatization of surveillance and the outsourcing to paramilitary “private” corporations for actions previously the exclusive purview of the government has created a high tech version of the private armies in Germany during the 20s.

        There’s another parallel in the post Vietnam era. Think about the slew of films from the 70s in which vietnam vets returned to the states and formed small gangs to rob banks – all predicated on the idea that they were rootless men with advanced training courtesy of their time in the Big Muddy which was itself both a foreign policy crusade and a corporate raid in which the covert ops blurred the lines to such an extent that they became indistinguishable.

        I’m currently reading The Road Not Taken by Max Boot – a bio of Edward Lansdale. Google it.

        What you’re describing is not far fetched in the least.

        Another angle to your point is the vast cadres of x-spooks who go to work for the “private sector” and bring with them experience and technology.

        Consider Weinstein’s reported use of Israeli mercenaries. CIA, MI6, FSB, etc, etc these people are a floating army not dissimilar to the Ronin of late feudal Japan.

        At a certain point there are so many of them that you can’t really distinguish between the government and the private sector.

        At what point do Russian oligarchs end and the state begin?

        At what point is it the Bank of England and a billionaire in Qatar with a private army and a penthouse in Trump land in NYC?

        At what point does the Mossad cease to be the long arm of the Israeli government and a subcontractor for Wall Street or a billionaire with their own agenda and “interests” in “hot spots” around the world.

        Think about the film Argo. spin the narrative one way and it’s an adventure romp of good guys and bad guys but spin it another and the CIA is a TV company and a film production company.

        At a certain point those ops become so deeply embedded in the social net that they become real.

        As a result the “CIA” takes on a completely different meaning.

        Is it a government agency? Yes.

        Is it also a multinational corporation with its fingers up so many asses that where it ends and begins is both a labyrinth and a circle? Yes.

        It’s no way to run a “democratic republic” but it sure as fuck is a way to run an empire…right off a cliff.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I forget the title of a book I was looking at about a month or so ago. It was a recent book about “hearts and minds” and counterinsurgency. The author was making the argument that the methods honed in other countries were now being applied to the US population.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. rauldukeblog says:

        That’s fascinating and not surprising. The philosopher Paul Virilio suggested a few years ago that that gutting of resources has left the military as the only “agency” available to adequately respond to emergencies.

        That in turn makes emergencies dry runs for martial law or “states of emergency.”

        When Baltimore hosted the Grand Prix barriers went up that were identical to the sort one associates with internment camps. Cops from across the state were called in, many issued with semi-automatic rifles and streets were blocked off and so on.

        One can easily image the rest.

        And from the ridiculous to the sublime: I forgot to respond about your cat. 20 years is extraordinary. the oldest of my cats reached 17. The current one hopped a fence walked over to me, jumped into my lap and went to sleep.

        That’s how I was adopted.

        Good on you for yours.


      5. I just remembered it:

        The Counterrevolution: How Our Government Went to War Against Its Own Citizens
        by Bernard Harcourt

        As for my kitty, Stella, she is actually at least 21 years old now. We first met each other 20 years ago. She was already full grown and neutered. She had a health crisis recently, but she seems more or less fine for her age. She still walks about and seems to enjoy her feline existence.

        I’ve had her for half my life now, longer than I’ve had my present job with the city. When I moved into an apartment, she was living in the rafters of the old garage. She was a lithe kitty and amazingly athletic. She came with me after moving and she has been my loyal companion ever since.

        Back then, I was in the darkest depths of depression. And I was living below the poverty line. Much has changed, but she is still with me. There is comfort in that. My life so far has been divided between two main eras of cats. There was my childhood cat, Marmalade, who died a few years after I graduated high school. And then Stella came along shortly later.

        I’m not sure there will be another cat for another era. But cats do have a way of appearing.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. rauldukeblog says:

        Thanks for the tip on the book.

        Cats are like that – showing up and defining an era.

        20+ is amazing. A special cat. They;re all special but some have an extra dose of whatever “catness” is intrinsic.

        Among the things that are awful about poverty are the limitations it places on your actions and the anxiety. I have been in that boat a few times and it’s awful and as you say, depressing.

        When it all gets to be so absurd and depressing there’s always cat videos or animal videos in general though I can’t stomach the violent ones and the rescue ones have happy endings but I find the opening – dog/cat in distress – wears me out.

        Or I just talk to the orange philosopher with the long tail who always has something useful to say. Currently at his favorite window perch watching out for birds and MAGA hats:-)

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Ah, you have an orange kitty. I do have a fondness for orange tabbies. You may have noticed my icon is an orange tabby. And I’m sure you could guess that is the aforementioned Marmalade, the name also of my blog.

        Marmalade was my childhood mentor who taught me all the important things in life, such as the joys of lazing about in the grass, prowling in the woods and gnawing off the heads of entire bunny families. He was a great outdoorsman, another stray that entered my life. Strays are the best.

        Your cat definitely picked you. Marmalade was like that. He just wouldn’t go away as a kitten. It definitely was a situation where he adopted my family. And he was an awesome cat with a great personality, just an easygoing guy but who could take care of himself as needed. He was also a loyal friend and we would take long walks together, sometimes him leading and sometimes the other way around. It was the old story of the cat and his boy.

        I had another cat, Grimalkin, who died recently. He also liked to go for walks. He always wanted to go outside and we would go for walks for miles through the neighborhoods and he would trail along without a leash. He was a good buddy, as was my three-legged Agape who died young. Stella has outlasted all other animals I’ve had. She watches the world go by, watches other creatures come and go, and she keeps on keepin’ on.

        There is a lesson in that, I suppose. Cats do demonstrate the value of sitting still and observing, reserving one’s energy for when it’s most needed such as going for the kill. That is what cats are good at, efficiency, as they don’t tend to waste energy.

        I watched a documentary about the evolution of cats. All feline species around the world and for millions of years have maintained the same basic body structure because it is so highly effective. They have such immense muscle control that they can instantly freeze in any position and remain unmoving for long periods of time. And their back paws always step precisely where their front paws step. But the reason they don’t waste energy in running around berzerk like dogs is because that amazing muscle control requires tremendous energy.

        The positive side is that cats tend to age well because, even as they lose some muscle control, they still have more than the rest of us. And another positive side is the cats amazing ability at taking naps, a lesson I took to heart. Cats actually build muscles while they sleep, a talent I haven’t quite yet perfected but I’m working on it.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. rauldukeblog says:

        I read somewhere that all orange cats are descended from cats kept by the Vikings. Apparently they thought orange cats were special.

        Interesting about yours following you. I’m convinced cats think people are cats just larger and not as agile.

        Did not know that about the paw movement or the muscle density. Doesn’t surprise me. Their leaping ability, turning on a dime and ninja ability to hold perfectly still are all remarkable.

        I would never trust anyone who disliked cats. And I would be suspicious of anyone my cat did not trust.

        As to naps. One of life’s great pleasures and cats being truly wise souls know this.

        Liked by 1 person

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