Archive for the ‘War on Constitution’ Category

I mean, yeah, people are upset that all this elections data is going to be in one place where it could comprise a massive invasion of privacy, but it isn’t as if the White House would ever release sensitive personal information about voters.

Except they did. Oops.

Yeah, I’m glad I live in a state (California) where the state government says “Over my dead body” to that massive invasion of privacy…

– Badtux the “Ooops!” Penguin

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Basically our system of checks and balances depends upon having a President who isn’t willing to upset the system because he’s been part of the system for so many years. Between Abraham Lincoln, FDR, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan, the power of the Presidency has risen to the point where if a President *did* want to seize absolute power, there are few institutions that could stop him. If Congress is terrified of his supporters, for example, like the Republican politician in one Forbes article who said (anonymously) that he wouldn’t ever publically opposed Trump because he lived in the middle of Trump Country and “they’d shoot me”…

If Trump simply issued presidential edicts, ignoring Congress and the law, brought in the 101st Airborne to enforce martial law in Washington D.C. in contravention of the Posse Comitatus Act, etc., who would stop him? Let’s say that he has all Democratic members of Congress arrested for treason and their lawyers all file habeas corpus petitions to the district court in D.C., and the district court orders them released and Trump refuses to do so. What then? Yes, he would be in contempt of court, but the 101st Airborne is protecting him and he has the entire executive department apparatus working for him from prosecutors to the FBI and Secret Service, how would the contempt citation be enforced? If you’re hanging your hat on a military coup, you’re hanging your hat on a narrow pole indeed. People in Turkey thought the military would keep Erdogan from seizing absolute power. They were wrong — Erdogan purged the military, put his supporters in charge, and staged a fake coup to weed out any who weren’t loyal. Now the Army is one of his biggest power bases for his dictatorship.

Right now, the only thing that prevents scenarios like this from working out this way is tradition. By the time politicians arrive at the presidential level of politics, they’re so invested in tradition and “the system” that they don’t even think of stepping outside the system into blatant authoritarianism, Nixon’s “it’s not illegal if you’re the President” being the most extreme to happen in the recent times and it got him forced out office by his own party. But tradition is a damn thin rack to hang a hat upon if you have someone with authoritarian tendencies in power, and a Congress that is terrified to death of him and his supporters. That’s the problem with someone from outside of the system achieving the Presidency. He’s not part of the system. He doesn’t have that indoctrination in the system that a traditional politician who came up through state offices, governorships, legislative offices has. Especially if he’s from the business world, where he can fire someone for almost any reason (at-will doctrine), and order his people to do almost anything (though if he orders them to do something illegal, they might turn him in if he makes it too obvious). Put him behind all the levers of power that the modern President possesses, and what’s to stop him from becoming an authoritarian who rules by fiat?

*Will* it happen? I hope not. *Can* it happen? I don’t see anything in our currently crippled system of government that could stop it, other than perhaps a military rebellion, and Erdogan in Turkey already laid out the template for how to handle that one. Just corrupt the officer corps, and the rest will go along. And as we already saw with CBP enforcing a blatantly illegal order, there’s hella lot of authoritarians inside the government who’d be right there with the notion of having a God-Emperor Trump.

– Badtux the Fascism-smellin’ Penguin

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The order that God-Emperor Donald the Trump just issued blocking legal visa holders from entering the US is literally illegal.

Immigration law does not allow a President to strip a visa from a legal immigrant upon a whim. Immigration law sets out a set of actions on the part of a visa holder that can result in loss of a visa, from being arrested for a crime to being tagged as part of a terrorist group by the FBI. Merely being Muslim is not one of them.

In short, God-Emperor Trump has no right under the law to simply strip a visa from a legal immigrant who is in full compliance with all visa requirements, and stripping or granting a visa based upon religion literally violates a thousand laws passed by Congress over the past 50 years as well as violates the 1st Amendment of the Constitution. Yet he has ordered thousands of people to have their valid visas seized at the border based upon their religion and basically said to everybody saying, “that’s illegal”, “I’m the President and if the President does it, it’s not illegal.”

This is not the action of a President. This is the action of a dictator who believes he is above the law and above the Constitution. And CBP jumped right on it when it came to enforcing this illegal order. No bureaucratic delays, no nothing, just eager, gleeful enforcement of a blatantly illegal order.

This is dangerous. This could possibly be disastrously dangerous. A President hasn’t so blatantly violated the Constitution since Andrew Jackson told the Supreme Court, “you have issued your order, now enforce it.” when they said he couldn’t remove the Cherokee to Oklahoma under the Constitution. I will discuss this further in my next post.

– Badtux the Totalitarian-smellin’ Penguin

Update: The lawsuits have been filed. The question is whether God-Emperor Trump will obey the orders of the courts when said orders are served. We shall see.

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