Notes From Underground (Rathole Edition) – Updated with More Rats

After three weeks of posturing about The Wall, in a life-or-death fight to gain approximately one-quarter of the funding supposedly required to build this imaginary barrier, Donald Trump has signed a makeshift temporary end to the government shutdown which provides exactly zero funding for any walls, real or imagined. Naturally, the agreement was forged by his literal “right-hand man” — i.e., his puppet-master — Mitch McConnell. In other words, Trump let “the swamp,” which is to say the rats, set the terms of his surrender. As he always has. As he always will. And then he stages his capitulation speech as a victory parade, while the cult waxes moronic about strategy and chess.

The rat of the deal.

Speaking of swamp rats, even Washington politics can supply us with few uglier examples than Roger Stone, who, by sheer coincidence, happened to be a chief advisor and propagandist for Trump’s presidential campaign, before he departed from his official post within the organization, thereby allowing himself more leeway to do anything he needed to do to destroy Trump’s opposition, without his creepy behavior being directly pinned on Trump. (For example, he was the only source cited in the National Enquirer’s “five mistresses” story on Ted Cruz.)

Now, happily, Stone has been arrested and indicted on charges including witness tampering and obstruction of justice, related to Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election influence.


No, that’s not mockery, that’s a direct quote from the throne of the President himself, in response to this unfair treatment of one of the original creators of the Trump cult:

I’d love to know how Trump decides which words to capitalize, wouldn’t you? I never thought of Human Traffickers as a formal title. Anyway, the Greatest Witch Hunt in U.S. History is apparently a correct description, since it appears to be the first witch hunt, or Witch Hunt, to turn up some bona fide witches.

By the way, some are choosing to read Trump’s victory-framing of his utter defeat as a sign of strength, i.e., they are taking seriously his promise to “build the wall one way or the other” after this three-week hiatus in the shutdown. They are counting on the sincerity of Trump’s threat to use presidential emergency powers to build the wall without Congress. 

Given that he’s already wasted three weeks of everyone’s time to get no funding from Congress, and Nancy Pelosi has consistently promised there will be no funding forthcoming, one might ask why he wouldn’t just go ahead and use these emergency powers now.

Silly question. The answer, of course, is that if he declares a state of emergency now, most of the country will rebel against this assertion of extreme executive authority. The Democrats will say “Dictatorship!” Most Republicans will say “Dangerous precedent.” (The Trump cult, meanwhile, will say “Abolish Congress — Trump for Supreme God For Life!” Mark Levin has probably already recorded his rant in defense of this position.)

The problem with this state of emergency “solution,” in other words, is that Trump hasn’t convinced enough Americans that there is an emergency worthy of overriding normal procedures in favor of exerting emergency powers.

That, you see, is what the next three weeks are for. Trump, a reality TV star and supreme master of hot air, thinks he can use the State of the Union address and his friends at Fox News to drum up fear and desperation over the “border crisis,” which in turn will have Americans begging him to take extraordinary action to “protect them” from the waves of murderers and rapists crashing over the border every day. (Yes, there really are criminals who entered the U.S. illegally, and something should be done about this problem. That’s what the first two years of Trump’s presidency were supposed to be all about, when he had both houses of congress on his side, and he did exactly nothing.)

And why shouldn’t he believe he can be successful in this overt propaganda effort? He lives in a TV and social media bubble, and built an entire presidential campaign on drumming up this kind of fear, and then exploiting it by promising to protect everyone. That, after all, is what “The Wall” was all about from the beginning, as I have explained at length. There is no doubt he has endless confidence in his ability to sway the ignorant masses with his mantra-like rhetoric. He’ll stage a few rallies, reminiscent of his campaign style, and — so he imagines — that should do the trick: Either Pelosi and Schumer will collapse under the public outcry for a wall, or Trump’s star will shine brighter than ever as he declares a national emergency on Sunday, February 17th at 9:13pm Eastern Time, on all the major networks, vowing to ensure the safety of his beloved people against the invading hordes and the congressional traitors. 

This, if all goes according to plan, will be Trump’s Reichstag fire — the reality TV version, of course, with commercial breaks, Trump steaks, red MAGA caps for everyone.

Luckily, Trump is an idiot.

I mentioned above, a few hours ago, that Mark Levin will be in the “conga line” (one of his expressions) to join the Trump “pom-poms” (another of his) when and if Trump uses executive authority to fund the fake wall with real tax dollars by declaring a state of emergency.

So now, thanks to Right Scoop, I see that Levin is already greasing the wheels of that bandwagon:

Levin says if Trump goes for amnesty, “I’m out. I will be a critic.” 

That, as anyone who listened to Levin during the 2016 primaries knows, is Levinspeak for “If Lord Trump offers amnesty yet again, I’ll find yet another way to pretend he didn’t say it.”

But, he adds, “if the president is fighting to secure the wall, I’m prepared to wait three weeks and see what happens.”

But wait. What was Trump doing for the last three weeks if he wasn’t “fighting to secure the wall”? And yet there is no wall, nor any funding for any wall. Why would the next three weeks make any difference, given that Trump has already officially put the Democrats on notice that he is prepared to surrender on everything, as long as he is allowed to save face somehow?

Oh, right, Trump can use emergency powers to fund the wall without Congress. I have explained above how and why that is dangerous in the extreme, not to mention unconstitutional. 

Unconstitutional? What am I talking about? As Levin astutely argues, this National Emergencies Act, which allows the president to do things the Constitution doesn’t permit, was passed way back in 1976! And we all know that a law passed back in the halcyon days of Gerald Ford’s America must be purely and absolutely in line with the principles of the U.S. Constitution. The America of the 1976 Golden Age wouldn’t have had it any other way, which I guess is Levin’s implied point. 

In fact, as he goes on to observe, since the National Emergencies Act was passed, it has been invoked no less than forty-two times! That seals it, then. This law giving the president extraordinary and extra-constitutional power — the power to leap right over another “co-equal branch of government” — is legitimate, and Trump should feel free to use it for anything that will help him score an optics victory with his cult, since it has been used forty-two times already! And we all know politicians are not wont to use illegitimate powers once granted, so those forty-two previous uses obviously serve as proof of complete constitutional propriety. What was I thinking?

You tell ’em, Mark. And don’t worry, we know you’ve got three weeks to figure out how to pretend that an amnesty offer — which Trump made just last week, by the way, without losing your abject flunkeyism, I noticed — is not really an amnesty offer, and therefore doesn’t make you a hypocrite when you refuse to become “a critic.”

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