America as a boiling frog: Dangerous political changes go unrecognized by many

boiling frog cartoon image of a frog in a pot of water
A frog in a pot of water on a fire will adapt to changes in its surroundings, oblivious to the danger.

 

By MICHAEL W. DOMINOWSKI
goshawk headerYou don’t have to even be paying close attention to notice the fascist Trump regime is gradually solidifying its coup d’etat by ratcheting up its grip on America and its institutions. All three branches of government are in their hands and the obstacles between them and total authoritarian power are few and tenuous.

A lot of this is occurring just under the radar of even politically attentive and astute observers. A friend whose thinking I admire recently concluded that the fashioning of an authoritarian fascist regime has yet to happen and is not likely to be accomplished without the acquiescence of the other branches of government,  federal agencies, the military, the national security apparatus, the media and the American people. He doesn’t see that cooperation happening.

He went on to suggest that collusion by the Legislative branch alone would be insufficient to allow the fascists to accomplish their ends.

I wish I shared his optimism. But the fascist coup has already occurred and the consolidation of power is rapidly taking place.

America, once the nemesis of fascists, has fallen to them

Takeover is complete

The regime’s appointees now run the military and the national security apparatus. Even the National Security Council, an analytical body traditionally insulated from the whims and dictates of politics, now has a political commissar (remember the Soviet Union during the Cold War?) in the person of Donald Trump’s chief strategist – self-described “Leninist” and political vandal Steve Bannon.

Trump did not write – or even read – order appointing Bannon to NSC

It is an unprecedented and breathkingly alarming move that will enable the regime to enforce the ideological purity of the NSC’s recommendations.

This is not some cockeyed conspiracy hypothesis. It is real and it is happening now. Look around you and draw your own conclusions.

Fascism is, at its core, government in the service of commerce. Fascists have no respect for, and certainly no fear of, such social niceties as Constitutional guarantees and the rule of law. If they choose to ignore the law or abrogate the Constitution (or at least the parts they find inconvenient) they will unhesitatingly do so.

And who will stop them?

In Trump’s rise, the fall of American democracy

Supremacy of the billionaires

“This nation of the people, by the people and for the people …” and blah blah blah is now run by billionaires. Defense, foreign policy, environmental policy, natural resources, education… even the Internet… are among other key areas now controlled by wealthy corporate powers.

They are abetted by an extreme religious wing – mostly religious Dominionists – which will provide the facile explanations of why it is all OK. Think VP Mike Pence, AG Jeff Sessions, “Advisor” Franklin Graham, etc. Betsy DeVos is both billionaire and dominionist. Her task as Education Secretary will (according to her) be to undermine the secularity of America.

How Dominionists gained control of the Trump campaign

So while the fearful many are distracted by the regime leader with such noisy nonsense as border walls and immigration bans and belligerent threats of war with China and Iran and Mexico, the fascists are quickly solidifying their power. “We are moving big and we are moving fast,” Bannon recently told the New York Times. “We didn’t come here to do small things.”

So far we have seen only moves to protect and enhance the interests of the corporate fascists while reducing regulations. Who will be the beneficiaries of returning free rein to avaricious insurance companies? How does removing the fiduciary rule (making it easier for financial advisors to cheat you) help small investors like you? Who will profit from completion, against all sensible deliberation, the filthy Dakota Access Pipeline? “Privatizing” Social Security, public lands, and even the Postal Service (among other things) is to whose benefit?

Ever since the Supreme Court ruled that unlimited political bribery was not only legal but a form of constitutionally protected free speech (Citizens United), and that corporations are “people” in the eyss of the law, both houses of Congress, now solidly in fascist hands, have come to represent money interests, not public interests.

Legislating from the Oval Office

When President Barack Obama would infrequently issue a narrowly drawn executive order, the Republicans in Congress would deafeningly squeal and bellow about “executive overreach” and “power grab” and the “imperial presidency.”

Now, as the regime leader furiously legislates from the Oval Office, issuing a blizzard of orders he did not write or even read, the bobble-head GOP is approving or, for the most part, entirely silent.

image of donald trump twitter message disparaging a judge
When Donald Trump doesn’t like a judge’s ruling he attempts to undermine the judicial system.

Meanwhile the regime has been busily undermining the remaining checks and balances that have kept America free. We are told that courts and the judiciary system are damaging the country because judges insist on following the law.

We are told that, in the regime’s opinion, separation of church and state is unconstitutional and that religion – specifically Christianity – must become the guiding force in law and policy and public education.

image of Donald trump twitter message disparaging immigrants
When Donald Trump writes Twitter messages about “evil” he is usually dog-whistling immigrant groups he dislikes.

The Twitter-happy regime leader recently went so far as to darkly declare that “evil” (which is a Christian religious moral concept) must be kept out of our country. The purpose of this blast on his dog-whistle was to demonize dark-skinned immigrants and rally support for his wholly un-American attempt to simply ban many immigrants.

image of donald trump twitter message disparaging news media reports as fake.
The Trump regime likes to present itself as the only source of reliable information. Negative reports are disparaged as “fake news.”

White House propagandists assure us that they are the only source of accurate information and questioning the regime on any subject at any level amounts to lies by “crooked media.” The regime assures us it does not lie, it only presents “alternative facts” and goes so far as to claim there are no such things as facts anymore.

We are being conditioned to accept these Orwellian claims as sensible and normal.  The intended outcome is that we will be willing to meekly give up even more of our freedom in exchange for the empty promise of safety and security.

When, let’s say, a terrorist incident, manufactured or deliberately allowed, inevitably occurs, it will be met by the regime with an unrelenting appeal to fear and panic, along with a loud and unified demand  for more governmental power.

The boiling frog

This deliberate erosion of the American Republic is, for the moment, occurring slowly enough that many people either do not recognize it or hope against hope it will not continue to its logical (and wholly intended) conclusion. This sort of thinking is like the boiling frog that quietly adapts to slow changes in its surroundings and does not sense danger in the rising temperature of the water until it is too late.

The veneer of what we have come to regard as our representative democracy is thin indeed, and offers little protection from those who would dismantle it. The American Experiment only worked because wa all agreed it should. The Constitution has no power whatsoever, except that which it draws from the consent of the governed – the people.

So when those people, many of them dangerously inattentive to their own interests, allow their leaders to incrementally peel away protections and encroach on traditional guarantees, those protections and guarantees will eventually be gone.

Michael W. Dominowski is the editor of Not For Hire Media.

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