Sunday, September 13, 2020

Enemy WITHIN the Gates

The film Enemy at the Gates came out nearly twenty years ago. I recall my initial reaction while watching the unbelievably hellish opening battle scene. "No matter how bad my life gets," I thought, "things will never be this bad."

I caught the first thirty minutes of that movie again yesterday. It no longer seemed to be a film about the past.

Fascism is here. The enemy is indeed at the gates. No: The enemy is within the gates.

And the enemy within has hatched a plan to end democracy.
Long-time Donald Trump confidant, and convicted felon, Roger Stone said that the president should declare “martial law” to seize power if he loses what Stone characterized as an already corrupt election.

The results will only be legitimate if the “real winner” — Trump — takes office, regardless of what the votes say, Stone declared. A loss would apparently be justification for Trump to use force to take over the nation.
In 2016, most pundits derided Stone as a clown. Many scoffed at my insistence that we must take him seriously.

Only a fool would scoff now. Roger Stone has made the all-too-familiar slide from libertarianism to fascism.
To safeguard Trump’s position, Stone called for federal authorities to seize ballots in Nevada, for FBI agents to physically block certain voters from casting their ballots, and for Trump to use his powers for widespread arrests to solidify his power, Media Matters first reported.

Under martial law and the Insurrection Act, Trump will have “the authority” to arrest Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook, “the Clintons” and “anybody else who can be proven to be involved in illegal activity,” Stone said. He also called for the immediate arrest of former defense secretary James Mattis for “sedition,” apparently because he feared Trump was unfit for office, according to Washington Post journalist’s to Bob Woodward’s upcoming book, “Rage.”

In addition, Stone warned, journalists also risk arrest. “If the Daily Beast is involved in provably seditious ... acts” in a new Trump future, their “entire staff can be taken into custody and their office can be shut down.” “They want to play war, this is war,” he added.

Stone demanded that “the ballots in Nevada on election night should be seized by federal marshals” and not counted, claiming with absolutely no evidence that “they are completely corrupted.”
This is no fantasy; this is a real-world plot -- an actual conspiracy against America. You are a fool if you don't believe that Stone has been talking to Trump, scheming with Trump. Stone himself, not The Daily Beast, is guilty of sedition. If, by some miracle, Joe Biden wins the presidency, the new administration should try Stone for try him for that crime -- or perhaps for the crime of treason.

Here is the law which Stone has (in my view) broken: 18 U.S.C. Section 2383.
Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.
Ten years? Doesn't seem like enough. A charge of treason could result in the death penalty. Can you honestly argue that Stone is not a traitor?

Trump is not ignorant of Stone's words. Believe me: They're in it together. Trump has made clear that he plans to use troops against the citizenry as he establishes dictatorial control.

What disheartens me is this response to the above tweet:
All more the reason to vote this dangerous dictator out. If that’s what he threatens to do when he loses, imagine what he would do, if he’s re-elected.
Oh, for the bloody tears of Mother Mary...! That's the standard prog response to everything, isn't it? "GOTV! GOTV! Get Out The Vote! GOTV!" Progressives chant "GOTV!" the way Nichiren Buddhists chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Wake up, fools: Trump and Stone have described a plot to install a dictatorship. By definition, a dictator is impervious to the vote. "GOTV" ain't gonna cut it. Crying "GOTV" is pathetic.

You need to plan for the worst. You need to start asking some hard questions.

1. If Trump loses but declares the election void, will the military support him? Although there is a strong fascist element within the military-intelligence complex -- after all, Michael Flynn did lead the DIA -- most of our officers support democracy. Trump, in his hubris, has pluperfectly pissed off many military leaders, and no small percentage of the rank and file. The greatest mistake a dictator (or a wanna-be dictator) can make is alienating the military. We should be grateful that Trump committed this classic blunder.

2. If Trump takes power after a lost election (or a transparently stolen election), will the military stage a coup? It's possible. And may God help us all.

3. If the military mounts a coup, should liberals and centrists support it? I never thought I would say these words, but -- yes. However, the military must offer assurances that a coup is only a temporary measure, designed to allow for the restoration of democracy and normalcy.

I say these words fully aware of the dangers. We all know what happened in Egypt in 2013, and in many other places and times. The Janissaries can be worse than the sultan.

4. If the military will not step in, what can the anti-Trump majority do? We can withhold our tax dollars. Money is not really green -- it's blue. The blue states fund the American government. I sometimes refer to the red states as leech states because most of them take more money from the government than they contribute in taxes. Without California and New York, there is no United States of America.

5. Wouldn't a blue-state tax revolt break up the union? That's possible. I hope things don't come to that pass, but if open fascism threatens, we must run the risk. Blue state citizens -- a.k.a., the non-leeches -- have to make one thing very clear: We will not tolerate a threat to our democratic norms. We will not tolerate Trump's continued presence in office if it is clear that the majority of voters wanted rid of him.

What I advocate is not sedition but its opposite. I advocate the restoration of democracy if democracy is supplanted by a dictator. If forty percent of the citizenry demand dictatorship, they will end the union, not us. We must stand with those who choose democracy.

6. But if the union shatters, hasn't Putin won? Yes. That is a sad fact. But what's the alternative? In the near future, we may be forced to choose between two unthinkable options: Disunion or dictatorship. Disunion horrifies me, but dictatorship is worse.

7. What if the other side speaks of a new Constitutional convention? No. NO NO NO NO!!!

If you've paid any attention at all to libertarian thinkers, you'll know that they have spent the past fifty or sixty years dreaming of a new Constitutional Convention. It's their version of der Tag. They want to make fundamentalist libertarianism inescapable. They want the works of Hayek and Rothbard to become the foundation of a brutal new plutocracy. Say goodbye to Social Security, to Medicare, to the EPA, to the FDA, to public schools, to antitrust laws, to Wall Street regulations, to anything that might protect the common man and woman -- even if those protections have popular support. The nation will be run by the kind of Randroid fanatics who poisoned the water of Flint, Michigan. Our motto will no longer be E Pluribus Unum but Pecuniate obediunt omnia.

Peter Thiel and other libertarians have advocated the abolition of democracy because free and fair elections allow working people to vote against the interests of the oligarchy. Mark my words: If a new Constitutional Convention opens its doors, zealots who think like Thiel (or Murray Rothbard) will force their way into the room. When that happens, it's all over.

I don't claim to have all the answers. Tomorrow, I may advocate positions varying from those outlined above. I offer these words to indicate how we must confront what will come. Think larger thoughts.

Very soon, we may be forced to stop speaking in terms of Democrat versus Republican or liberal versus conservative. We will have to address the fundamental question of democracy versus fascism.

You can't stop fascism by mindlessly chanting "GOTV! GOTV!" If you're walking down Fifth Avenue and Donald Trump suddenly points a gun at your forehead, do you really think that the mantra "GOTV! GOTV!" will shield you?

Of course you should vote -- but you must do far more. You must expand your view of the possible. Prepare for the worst.


fred said...

Trump on a purported antifa sympathizer who allegedly killed someone in Portland being killed by federal forces: "This guy was a violent criminal, and the US Marshals killed him. And I'll tell you something -- that's the way it has to be. There has to be retribution."

Michael Forest Reinoehl was unarmed and holding a cell phone when police shot him down. No warnings, no attempted arrest, just a summary execution.

In plain sight -- it's ok to kill your enemies, without trial, without charges. This is Trump, the murderous mob boss.

B said...

Joseph, start laying out the path which leads to civil war in the US. Oh wait, you just started to do that... Even in Biden were to win, Trump is going to go with establishing a counter power. It will look obvious about six months from now where this is headed.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Benedict Donald can't even stand to fire people himself; he makes underlings do it.

We're supposed to believe Donnie Two Scoops--this tired, half-crazed, Adderall-addled, probably ridden with minor strokes, old man--has the sand to make himself a dictator, rather than cutting and running to some foreign country which won't extradite him?