“He was witnessing an insane relay race in which each contestant ran faster and longer than the last, arriving nowhere but his own destruction”
— John le Carre, The Looking Glass War
“They were given the choice of becoming kings or the kings’ messengers. As is the way with children, they all wanted to be messengers. That is why there are only messengers, racing through the world and, since there are no kings, calling out to each other the messages that have now become meaningless. They would gladly put an end to their miserable life, but they do not dare to do so because of their oath of loyalty.”
— Franz Kafka, The Blue Notebook
We began by saying Trump is a professional demagogue and an amateur fascist. We later amended that to say it had reached a point where it was a distinction without a difference.
Now as Trump morphs into a full on would-be dictator what matters is that if he is successful (and we will define “success” below) any pretense of this being a democratic republic (and it has been more pretense than truth for a long time) will vanish.
Trump’s Hand, William Barr, the clearly sociopathic chief roach from the vast roach motel of the refined right corner of the extreme right of the Conservatives (think William F. Buckley aligned with sadistic Jesuits in a barbershop quartet – in togas and leather) is on a mission to enshrine his boss as Trump the First – suspending the election either indirectly through the subversion of the impeachment process and/or directly by declaring some sort of “emergency.” – which amounts to the same thing.
Here’s where this situation stands right now:
In a clearly, blatantly political move, Trump Inc. has ordered Barr to order a US Attorney to begin a criminal probe of the investigation by the Hoovers into Trump’s campaign.
This may or may not be illegal – we are not a lawyer so we can’t say.
However, first thing’s first.
The purpose of the move is to give Trump the ability to shut down the impeachment process, and to create an atmosphere where it becomes impossible for the legislative branch to be co-equal with the executive and conduct oversight.
By opening a criminal investigation Trump/Barr is empowering their own government lawyer to hold grand juries, bring people in for depositions, and declare information to be secret – and to create a media shit show in which each side hurls rhetorical mud.
The problem(s) of course is that federal law trumps (pun intended) state law and the House holds the national wallet including the budget for the Department of Justice.
And just as there is precedent about indicting a sitting president there no doubt are rules and traditions regarding investigating a House committee or its agents while they are in the process of investigating the president or anyone else.
One can imagine Schiff or Nadler or Pelosi et al, wielding the budget as a cudgel and/or any number of other things in order to prevent Trump/Barr from disrupting the process or setting what remains of the constitution on fire.
One can imagine them declaring the move evidence of obstruction of justice and thus further evidence of impeachable acts.
One assumes that since Barr while insane is still smarter than Trump, and an actual lawyer versus the collection of stale gum and spit that is Giuliani, he knows this.
Which suggests he either figures who cares it will, like Major King Kong, be a great ride, or he has reason to believe he can do some serious damage.
Which brings us to the second issue.
Since the Constitution and the Bill of Rights have been essentially on life support for some time, the issue is not Trump as dictator, per se (as awful as that would be) but rather the next layer beyond using Barr as a guided munition aimed at impeachment.
The FBI investigation of Trump either directly or in modified form, made use of the utterly radioactively unconstitutional provisions of the Patriot Act.
Rut row, holy circular firing squad Batman.
Except of course it’s only illegal if it sees the light of day.
Which is just what Barr may be aiming at.
And even if there are a stack of get out of jail free cards the damage to image, and the ensuing political fatberg will be enough to quite possibly tip the system into paralysis.
Revolutionary crisis don’t come in tidy packages with engraved invitations (except in Pynchon novels and even then the nesting doll is chaotic).
They arrive more like a stroke or a bout of the Delirium Tremens.
You saw how much was being imbibed and you saw the three packs of smokes a day habit but when the brain blows up it’s still shocking and the fact remains, the system collapses.
Hoisted on their own petards the lizard people; the creatures of the system who have been mortgaging their souls for decades (at least since Truman said while agreeing to the establishment of the National Security State, that he was afraid he was authorizing the Gestapo) now find themselves inching to the edge of the abyss.
Trump has no ideological center beyond power and narcissism.
Barr however is a Christian fascist who believes in locking up everyone he hates and he surely hates a lot of people.
To put it another way, Barr is the type who doesn’t view The Handmaid’s Tale as a dire warning but as a how to manual.
If he has to use Trump to set fire to what remains of the system in order to install Pence, that’s fine by him.
To make it all the more awful it’s crucial to keep in mind that while “in time of war the law falls silent” what matters is that it falls silent because it’s got a great big federal boot up its ass and a mailed fist down its throat.
The number of things the government is guilty of could stun a heard of elephants.
The number of things its done that while legal are so morally dubious and sketchy as fuck it wont matter if they were legal because the only thing people will hear is – you hired a troop of midgets to do what?!? – is enough to give a Medici Pope a hard on.
And so, after decades of x-files level insanity, the system is cannibalizing itself.
No one will ever go broke underestimating the intelligence of the establishment media so of course there has been essentially no serious effort to excavate how we arrived here.
Instead you get the binary mutual mud bath where the same media goons yell at each other – it’s all because of Hillary! No it’s all because of the Russians! No it’s because Trump speaks for angry White people!
Yada, yada, yada.
These are the type of people you can count on to tell you Moby Dick is a long boring book about a long boring fishing trip.
Trump as an American Thermidor (minus the military as he has contempt for them and they believe he is a pile of radioactive shit) is far too complex and requires too much bandwidth for the establishment hacks to contemplate.
That he was always there, and is a nexus between the neo-liberals and the Wall Street conservatives and proves Gore Vidal correct when he said: There is one political party in America – the property party and it has a conservative and a liberal wing – is just too much truth.
The Democrats were fucked because they kept running versions of George McGovern.
First you have to win, said Bill Clinton.
And he did and it was ugly.
And part of that ugly was covertly via dog whistle rhetoric, courting the fringe of the increasingly angry white middle class.
Clinton’s “Sistah souljha” moment was a lighter shade of dark that resonated with people who, thirty years later, voted for Obama, and then voted for Trump.
Along with making nice with Wall Street Clinton’s mandate was to offer at least something to the liberals while also getting into bed with the people who were out to destroy the middle class.
It was a bespoke (Americanized) form of socialism-lite.
And after eight years of counter-revolutionary corporate tyranny under Reagan, it made sense.
Which should not be confused with being ethical.
The Republicans were and remain not much different.
They’ve had Trump in the basement since back in the day when they were screaming that FDR was a Bolshevik.
Like everyone else they eventually ran out of runway and skidded off the tarmac into the water.
Way back in 1903, at the party conference, a then young relatively junior figure who went by Trotsky, kept heckling the boss.
Lenin, growing irritated called for a break.
Outside, over a smoke, he said to young Lev: listen pal, what the fuck.
And Trotsky said: the fuck is this: you replace the people with the party, and replace the party with a gang, you guarantee a strong man from the right will come along and, backed by the army, kill everyone.
Don’t be stupid, said Vlad, I’ve got it all figured out.
And so, after decades of everyone bending the knee to Wall Street, and Wall Street using Murder Incorporated to enforce its will, we arrive at a political Caligula, surrounded by dangerous morons and sinister political thugs willing to do anything to maintain and expand their power.
No one is clean.
Anyone who is against Trump but is part of the system, is a criminal who just happens to be a criminal temporarily on your side.
Or as FDR said, in a slightly different context: Yes he’s a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.
To go back further to someone in an equally impossible jam, recall Danton, some time before receiving a national haircut, saying: let us be terrible to prevent the people from being terrible.
Or as a modern philosopher said:
What me worry.
For a cursory look at the issue: