But what if he's not. What if all of this success is not accidental. What if he actually knows what he's doing, and all of this chaos is actually part of his plan. Yonatan Zunger, a principal engineer (and former theoretical physicist) at Google, has written a thorough, sober and well-researched essay exploring that question, and the conclusion he reaches is really scary.
I see a few key patterns here. First, the decision to first block, and then allow, green card holders was meant to create chaos and pull out opposition; they never intended to hold it for too long. It wouldn’t surprise me if the goal is to create “resistance fatigue,” to get Americans to the point where they’re more likely to say “Oh, another protest? Don’t you guys ever stop?” relatively quickly.
Note also the most frightening escalation last night was that the DHS made it fairly clear that they did not feel bound to obey any court orders. CBP continued to deny all access to counsel, detain people, and deport them in direct contravention to the court’s order, citing “upper management,” and the DHS made a formal (but confusing) statement that they would continue to follow the President’s orders. (See my updates from yesterday, and the various links there, for details) Significant in today’s updates is any lack of suggestion that the courts’ authority played a role in the decision.
That is to say, the administration is testing the extent to which the DHS (and other executive agencies) can act and ignore orders from the other branches of government. This is as serious as it can possibly get: all of the arguments about whether order X or Y is unconstitutional mean nothing if elements of the government are executing them and the courts are being ignored.Worth reading the whole thing.
There are at least two more ominous developments today. The first is the deliberate failure to mention Jews or anti-semitism in Trump's statement for International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, defended the language in a Sunday interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” telling the host, Chuck Todd, “I don’t regret the words.”
Mr. Priebus continued, “I mean, everyone’s suffering in the Holocaust including obviously, all of the Jewish people affected and the miserable genocide that occurred — it’s something that we consider to be extraordinarily sad.”This is the same ploy that the right used to defuse the Black Lives Matter movement by deploying the aphorism, "All lives matter." Yes, that's true, but it misses the point rather badly.
The second ominous development was Trump's unprecedented appointment of far-right-wing (and well-known anti-semite) Steve Bannon to head the national security council.
President Donald Trump has reorganized the National Security Council—elevating his chief political strategist, Steve Bannon, and demoting the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Bannon will join the NSC’s principals committee, the top inter-agency group advising the president on national security.
Meanwhile, the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will now attend meetings only when “issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed,” according to the presidential memorandum issued Saturday.If you were pinning your hopes on the possibility that cooler heads would prevail, you should be very afraid now. All of the cooler heads are being systematically and expeditiously dispatched.