Thursday, February 2, 2017

Whose Coup d'etat is it? Trump's or Bannon's?

Trump's firing of Sally Yates acting attorney general because she would not evoke the travel ban  it triggered memories of what we used to call "the Saturday night massacre." In that time we went through several attorneys general in one night as each in turn refused to support Nixon on Watergate. He had fired Archibald Cox the special Prosecutor while under investigation. Then two Attorney's general in a row resigned in protest, Elliot Richardson,m then William Ruckelshaus.[1]
Those of us who lived in that time find this one reminiscent of that event.[2] The is that moment came toward the end of Nixon's second administration, this one is week two of Administration the first (hopefully the  only). The severity of the event and it's omens doppelganger may only be hints of things to come, 

We are in a more delicate time than most people are willing to admit. It's hard to say it because it almost requires a conspiracy theory to put across, There are clear danger signs, I wont try to unveil a full blown conspiracy but we should at least not be in denial  about the danger signs. I think at least coming clean about what I see in that regard is in order. The first such sign is the bogus allegations of voter fraud that Trump has been making. Kevin Drum Lays out the saga of the bgus claims in Mother Jones"I've managed to restrain myself from commenting on President Trump's idiotic claim that 3-5 million noncitizens voted in the 2016 election,1 but I have to admit that I've been entertained by the ever-changing cast of studies that have been trotted out to defend this claim:"
  1. Trump himself first cited a 2012 Pew study, and became angry when ABC's David Muir suggested he had misinterpreted it. But he had. The study in question was solely about inefficiencies in voter registration, not fraudulent voting. In fact, at the time the report was released the author specifically said that he had "not seen evidence" of any fraudulent voting.
  2. With that shot down, attention turned to a 2014 study by Jesse Richman and David Earnest. This one used survey responses to construct an estimate of fraudulent voting, and concluded that a maximum of 500 thousand to 1 million noncitizens might have voted in recent federal elections. This is far below Trump's claim, and anyway it's virtually certain that the study is massively flawed due to its tiny sample size. Once that's accounted for, the most likely conclusion from this study is that zero noncitizens voted.
  3. With two studies shot down, Trump tweeted today about an old favorite that he heard about again on CNN this morning. This time it's a guy named Greg Phillips, an old tea partier who's now a board member of True the Vote.Remember them from 2012? Phillips is also the author of a smartphone voter-fraud reporting app. I'm not joking about this. Phillips recruited a small army of folks who were worried about the election being rigged, and they all downloaded his app and then sent in reports of fishy-looking voters on Election Day. The app is, um, not very sophisticated.... That's the whole thing. Phillips combined these reports with his archive of "184 million voting records we've collected over time," and then applied an "enormous amount of analytic capability" to produce a final list of 3 million fraudulent votes. He claims that after everything is verified, which will take a few more months, he will release his full list along with the algorithm he used. You betcha. This is so ridiculous it's basically self-debunking.[3]
This may not be just the ravings of a mad man but a carefully orchestrated excuse to throw up roadblocks to minority votes, "Spicer also floated the idea that voter ID laws, which serve to suppress voter participation among minorities, young people, and the elderly, could be a solution to problems the investigation may find." [4] Of course it could be just talk but this fear of coup is being noised about across the political spectrum. On the left film maker and journalist Michael Moore is sounding the alarm  that it is happening now:
The filmmaker and journalist, who was one of the few famous people to publicly predict that Donald Trump would become President, has warned that the US state is being overthrown by Mr Trump and the people he has appointed to govern alongside him.Linking to a New York Times piece about the role of senior advisor Steve Bannon, he posted on Twitter: "If you're still trying to convince yourself that a 21st century coup is not underway, please, please snap out of it".
The article described how Mr Bannon, who until recently ran the far-right news site Breitbart News, had taken a major role in national security policy that usually would only be occupied by senior generals. That move was a major break with precedent and it and Mr Bannon himself have been credited with many of the extreme policy pronouncements coming from the White House in recent days.[5] 
While on the right the Koch brother's network is rife with such fears. 

“As recently as 1960, both the left and the right were united in general support for what was called the American creed. The American creed was the basics of individualism and freedom and opportunity,” Murray explained. “And what we discovered last year was that the proportion of the American electorate on the right that is still devoted to those American creedal principles is way smaller than I thought it was. I’m not talking about how many doctrinaire libertarians there are. I’m talking about the degree to which people buy into what we’ve always considered, ‘This is what America is all about.’”
During a panel discussion later in the afternoon, billionaire industrialist Charles Koch – who has been convening these twice-annual seminars since 2003 – reiterated Murray’s point. “We have a tremendous danger because we can go the authoritarian route,” he said, “or we can move toward a free and open society.”
If there is a coup goimgn on it;s Steve Bannon's coup. On Saturday night he was given a seat on then National security council and he replaced the joint chiefs on that council, Bannon and written Trump's major speeches and is clearly a motive force behind the administration,[7]

But in terms of real influence, Mr. Bannon looms above almost everyone except the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in the Trumpian pecking order, according to interviews with two dozen Trump insiders and current and former national security officials. The move involving Mr. Bannon, as well as the boost in status to the White House homeland security adviser, Thomas P. Bossert, and Mr. Trump’s relationships with cabinet appointees like Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, have essentially layered over Mr. Flynn.[8]
This is an ominous move because it politicizes the top intelligence and security jobs. that's the direct implication of makimng such an unprecedented move. Politicizing national security is the first step toward building av poultice state.

The council is no place for political creatures, many have argued. It is the place where the nation’s deepest intelligence secrets, its fluctuating hierarchy of national interests and its jockeying-for-power cabinet members combine as policy differences are hashed out. It is the forum where decisions about war, from Vietnam to Iraq; drone strikes in Pakistan; and conflicts in cyberspace have unfolded over endless hours of meetings.[9]
Trump administration seeks to remove white supremacy from anti-extremism watch list. This according to major news source Reuters:

The Trump administration wants to revamp and rename a U.S. government program designed to counter all violent ideologies so that it focuses solely on Islamist extremism, five people briefed on the matter told Reuters.The program, "Countering Violent Extremism," or CVE, would be changed to "Countering Islamic Extremism" or "Countering Radical Islamic Extremism," the sources said, and would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States.Such a change would reflect Trump's election campaign rhetoric and criticism of former President Barack Obama for being weak in the fight against Islamic State and for refusing to use the phrase "radical Islam" in describing it. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for attacks on civilians in several countries.[10]

Even if a major coup is in the works it seems clear starting out with moves Nixon didn't use until the end of his eight years. Along the way to making those moves Nixon spied on opponents,created the enemies list, covered up Watergate. It is not too far fetch to ask if has these kind of moves m store for us, It is clear we are dealing with an administrator that no real respect for democracy,


[1] Derek Hawkins, "Monday Night Massacre? After Firing Yates, NixonsSorded momemt Has been Repurposes for Trump," The Washington Post, (Jan 31,2017) online URL
(access 2/1/17)

[2]Steven Solis, "For Some, Sally Yates Firing resembles Saturday Night Massacre." USA Today (Jan 31, 2017) online version URL:  (access 2/1/17)

I thought o that event then found the article.

[3] Kevin Drum. "Here's the Entertaining Saga of Donald Trump's 3-5 Million Illegal Voters." Mother Jones, (Jan 27, 2017) On line version URL:  (access 2/1/17)

[4] Pema Levy, "Spicer Suggests Tighter Voting Restrictions as Solution to Nonexistant Voter Fraud," Mother Jones (Jan 25, 2017)
(access 2/1/17)

[5] Andre Griffin, "US in middle of coup by Donald Trump, Michael Moore warns." The Independent (February 1,2017) online version URL: (access 2/1/17)

[6] James Hohmann, Daily 202:Fear of Authoritarianism Pervades Koch Network...." Washington Post, (Jan 30, 017). online URL:  (access 2/1/17)

[7] Glenn Thrush and Maggie Habermann, "Bannon Is Given Security Role Usually Held for Generals," The New YorkTimes, (Jan 29,2017) Onlimne version URL:  (access 2/1/17)

[8] Ibid

[9] David E. Sanger and Mark Landler, "What Trump's changes mean for National Secuirity Council," The New York Times, (Jan 30, 2017) Online Version URL"
(access 2/1/17)

[10] Julia Edwards AinsleyDustin Volz and Kristina Cooke | WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO,
"Exclusive: Trump to focus counter-extremism program solely on Islam - sources" REUTERS

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