Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The Donald Trump Phenomenon

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Thursday, February 20, 2020
The Donald Trump Phenomenon: The Drift towards an Autocratic Presidency in the United States
By Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay

Experience shows us that every man invested with power is apt to abuse it, and to carry his authority as far as it will go”. —Montesquieu (1689-1755), 1748.

Where you have a concentration of power in a few hands —all too frequently —men with the mentality of gangsters get control.” —Lord Acton (1834-1902), 1866.

 The totalitarian mass leaders based their propaganda on the correct psychological 
assumption that, under such conditions, one could make people believe the most fantastic 
statements one day, and trust if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their 
falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting the leaders who had lied 
to them, they would protest that they had known all along the statement was a lie and would 
admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.“ 
Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), (in ‘The Origins of Totalitarianism’, 1951, Part 3, Ch. 2, p. 80).
If this [U.S.] government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know.“
Frank Church (1924-1984), American lawyer and U.S. Senator, chairman of the Church Senate Committee, (in an interview with TV program ‘Meet The Press’, Aug. 17, 1975)

When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” —Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951), American author (in ‘It Can't Happen Here’, 1935, a novel about the election of a fascist to the American presidency).


Wednesday, February 5, 2020 will come to be remembered as a date of historic significance for the United States. Indeed, this is the date when a Senate majority of 52 Republican Senators (with the notable exception of Sen. Mitt Romney), voted against convicting President Donald Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of justice, in the impeachment trial of the latter. That is also the date when Donald Trump interpreted such exoneration as a blank check to move towards a fully autocratic presidency.

Thus, in open defiance of the American Constitution and of America’s checks-and-balances system, Trump’s Republican enablers have placed the American people before a fait accompli and the only question now is to see if this dangerous drift toward autocracy will be condoned or reversed in the next presidential election of November 3rd.

• How far will Donald Trump push the United States towards autocracy?

According to the well-known duck test, “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck“!

President Donald Trump is a most excessive person in anything he does or says. For example, he likes to take the so-called authoritarian Mussolini pose”. he also likes to embark on totalitarian style “purges” of persons working for the United States government who do not heel to his commands, —persons he considers his “enemies”.

he surrounds himself with hard-core sycophants, lackeys and puppets, who are expected to give him a loyalty pledge, not a pledge to the U.S. Constitution or to the American people. Consequently, it is said that the U.S. under Trump is turning into a “banana republic”!

Donald Trump, the law and the privatization of the U.S. government

Mr. Donald Trump has often used the courts to his personal advantage. He has arbitrarily and unprecedentedly attacked the courts and about everybody else who stands in his way. He has second-guessed prosecutors and contested judges’ decisions, and he has expected favors to help his felonfriends” receive reduced sentences. This is showing an elevated level of disrespect and contempt for the rule of law, and it is undermining the American legal system in a big way.

Mr. Trump has also declared that the Secretary of the Department of Justice should de facto work as his own personal attorney, and not be the independent chief lawyer of the federal government of the United States. This could have the effect of destroying the integrity and independence of the Justice Department and its reputation.

Indeed, it is to be feared that the DOJ under William Barr is going to be Mr. Trump’s weapon of choice against his so-called “enemies”. What Trump is doing is privatizing the U.S. Department of Justice for his own personal benefits. Fearing the worst, more than 1,100 former U.S. federal prosecutors and officials have pressed Mr. Barr to resign.

Donald Trump is also showing a profound lack of judgment when he does not hesitate to tweet about pending criminal cases before the courts. Donald Trump seems to really believe that because he is president, he is above the law. Do Americans accept that? They did not accept it when Richard Nixon said, “if the President does it, it’s legal”! Would they do it now?

The current American president constantly attacks the freedom of the press, which is protected by the U.S. Constitution, calling journalists “enemies of the people” —an expression used in Nazi Germany. Donald Trump also shamelessly befriends other countries’ dictators and autocrats, while making fun of democratic leaders. And, to top it all, Trump has used in public the hubristic Nazi slogan of “God is on our side”, (‘Gott mit uns’), … etc.

—Well. One gets the picture, if one is not totally blind by partisanship or embroiled in his emotional cult of personality. Ever since he took the oath of office, with his inappropriate daily tweets and reprehensible pronouncements, Donald Trump has been a daily scandal in American politics, and his behavior is going from bad to worse.

As an authoritarian, Donald Trump is going further and further toward turning the USA into a one-man government, with himself as an intolerant, ultra nationalist tin pot dictator-in-the-making, who openly yearns for unchecked, and if possible, absolute power. His plan, notwithstanding the U.S. constitution and its founding principles, is to transform the USA into a militaristic and neo-fascist state, with all the trappings, under his control, and with as few constraints as possible.

Donald Trump can be seen as some sort of a deadly political virus, which was introduced accidently into the American body politic in 2016. He is, by far, the most unprincipled and the most dangerous occupant of the White House that the United States ever had. He has no qualms in bulldozing American institutions if he feels such institutions are an impediment to him exercising full powers. In this post-impeachment era, Mr. Trump feels unleashed and he thinks that he can do whatever he wants, including meddling in the functioning of the justice system of the United States.


As the duck test above wisely teaches, “if a politician thinks, talks and acts like an autocrat, that is probably because he is an autocrat”!

Such a politician can be expected to undermine the very democratic institutions (Congress, the courts, the press, etc.) that stand in his way. Maine Republican senator Susan Collins has been much chastised for claiming, after the Senate impeachment trial, that Donald Trump "has learned from this case ... a pretty big lesson … I believe that he will be much more cautious in the future." She should have known better, i.e. that after a personal setback, Donald Trump always doubles down and that, in fact, he would get much worse as time goes by.

Therefore, it is time for Americans to hear a wake up call before it is too late. When constitutional democracy is dying under one’s very eyes, the least a concerned citizen can do is to stand up and denounce the forces whose aim is to destroy democracy and replace it with an authoritarian regime. Please keep in mind that the Second World War (1939-1945) was fought at very high costs to defend the principles of democracy and liberty. How could one accept that these principles could be undermined from within?

If one is comfortable with corruption, abuse of power and amorality in politics, if one accepts that the U.S. Congress could be by-stepped and the courts compromised, and if one does not mind if an autocratic politician wants to be a one-man government and if he shows disrespect for the constitution and its core principle of division of power, he or she may be tempted to vote for such an autocratic candidate.

Yes, I know. The stock market is up and unemployment is low. As an economist, let me tell you something. First, one should not get obsessed with the stock market. The current stock market bubble is largely the artificial result of huge tax cuts to corporations. The latter are buying back their shares with public money, while the government is going deep into debt. Add to that artificially low, sometimes negative, interest rates pushed down by central banks in a panic over debt levels, and you have the result that you see.

Secondly, the current low unemployment rates are mainly the demographic result of baby-boomer workers going into retirement in droves, thus creating a shortfall in the supply of labor in many professions and trades. —Don’t be fooled by these mirages and slight of hand.

Yes, I know also how clumsy and amateurish the retrenched Democratic establishment is. One has only to see the complex rules, based on proportional representation, chosen to select a Democratic presidential candidate in 2020. Such rules seem to have been designed to divide the democratic electorate and weaken the Democratic presidential candidate to the utmost.

Nevertheless, if a citizen values democracy, liberty and freedom, for the present as well as for the future, he or she should think twice before giving Mr. Trump a second chance. Otherwise, this would be like playing dangerously with fire.

Indeed, as Hannah Arendt wrote, "If someone cannot be mobilized when freedom is threatened, it is because nothing can mobilize him."
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 International economist Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is the author of the book “The Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles”, of the book “The New American Empire, and the recent book, in French « La régression tranquille du Québec, 1980-2018 ».

Please visit Dr. Tremblay’s site:

Posted Thursday, February 20, 2020, at 8:30 am.

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© 2020 by Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

An American drama: Republican Senators Sabotaged Donald Trump’s Impeachment Trial

By Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay

Reminder and chronology of events:

U.S. Constitution:
- Article One of the U.S. Constitution gives the House of Representatives the sole power of impeachment and the Senate the sole power to try impeachments of officers of the U.S. federal government. 

- The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. [Article II, Section 4.]

- The impeachment of Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States, occurred on December 18, 2019, when the House of Representatives approved two articles of impeachment on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
-Articles of impeachment:
The first article charges Donald Trump with abuse of power for withholding foreign aid to Ukraine in order to pressure the government of Ukraine to assist him in his re-election campaign by damaging Democratic rivals.
The second article charges Donald Trump with obstruction of Congress for blocking testimony and refusing to provide documents in response to House subpoenas in the impeachment inquiry.
- On January 31, 2020, a Senate majority of 51 Republican Senators voted against calling any witnesses for the impeachment trial of Donald Trump.
- On Wednesday, February 5, 2020, in a trial requiring a two-thirds majority to convict the president, a Senate majority of 52 Republican Senators, with the notable exception of Senator Mitt Romney, a former Mormon missionary, voted against convicting Donald Trump.

The die is cast. —History will record that Republican senators in the U.S. Senate used their majority to sabotage the impeachment trial of Donald Trump and, in so doing, de facto exonerated him of abuse of power and of obstruction of Congress.

History will undoubtedly record that the January 2020 Senate trial for the impeachment of Donald Trump was not a “fair and impartial” trial, but was exclusively a preset trial, along partisan lines. The obvious objective of the Republican Senate majority, from the beginning, was clearly not to proceed with a ‘fair trial’, but it was rather to exonerate by any means the accused. It was done without giving the House of Representatives’ managers and lawyers a fair chance to prove their accusations levied against Donald Trump by calling for the depositions of knowledgeable witnesses and presenting incriminating documents.

Indeed, Republican senators, under the leadership of Trump’s leading enabler Sen. Mitch McConnell, have blocked all attempts to have important witnesses, some of them with new damaging direct evidence against the accused, to testify. All of this was done with an open and active collaboration between the Senate Republican leadership and Donald Trump’s personal lawyers, notwithstanding the oath that every senator had taken at the beginning to be “fair and impartial”.

For example, the Republican Senate majority inexplicably refused to hear John Bolton, former Security advisor to Donald Trump and author of a book in which he called Trump’s request to the Ukrainian government to investigate his political opponent, a “drug deal”. Similarly, the Republican senators also refused to hear Mick Mulvaney, the acting Chief of Staff to Donald Trump who confirmed that his boss did ask for a personal political favor from the Ukrainian government in exchange for lifting a freeze of foreign aid to that country.

In fact, the Republican Senate majority did not want to hear any witness who had first-hand information on the numerous abuses of power, numerous instances of corruption, and the numerous obstructions made by the President to the American Congress, thus negating the latter’s constitutional prerogatives.

Therefore, it can be said that there has not been even the appearance of a genuine and fair trial to remove the current American president from office. Indeed, a trial without key witnesses and without relevant documents, especially dealing with important and crucial information about the case, can be seen as a farce, as the Washington Post wrote in its editorial of January 27, 2020, and a sham —in fact, a cover-up of the crimes committed by a president of their own party.

Historians will undoubtedly stress the fact that this was the first impeachment case in the history of the United States in which no witnesses and no documents were permitted to be considered by the jury of senators.

Donald Trump vs. the Constitution and his Republican Accomplices in the U.S. Senate

Every American president before taking office must take an inaugural oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution”. In Mr. Trump’s case, he has de facto, through his actions and his pronouncements, rejected two basic principles of the U.S. Constitution, i.e. the separation of powers and the existence of co-equal branches of government. He has also rejected the most important principle of democracy, which stipulates that no citizen is above the law. In Mr. Trump’s case, even if he took an oath to that effect, it would seem obvious that he never had any intention to abide by the U.S. Constitution, let alone to preserve, protect and defend” it!

The House of Representatives’ Articles of impeachment were well documented and well presented. That the majority of Republican Senators dismissed them out of hand without calling for known relevant witnesses and without asking for incriminating documents, while relying on spurious and bad-faith legal arguments, make them historical accomplices of the accused president. They put their own political fortunes ahead of their country’s interests in protecting the letter and the spirit of the U.S. Constitution.

Indeed, if the current president or if any future American president decides to flout the U.S. Constitution with impunity and becomes unaccountable, the Republican senators who have refused to take seriously the charges of impeachment of Donald Trump brought to them by the House of Representatives, will have to be held responsible. Mind you, Donald Trump can already be considered a rogue American president. How low can he go and how far are the Republicans willing to go down with him. That is the question.


Since the Republican Senators have not respected the oath that all senators took to have a “fair and impartial” trial of impeachment, it will fall upon the U.S. electorate to take that responsibility in November. It remains to be seen if the Senate’s abdication of responsibility will be redressed or not by the American people.

International economist Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is the author of the book The Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles, of the book The New American Empireand the recent book, in French « La régression tranquille du Québec, 1980-2018 ».

Please visit Dr. Tremblay’s site:

Posted, Wednesday, February 5, 2020, at 4:30 pm

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© 2020 by Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay