A Wave of Oppression Under the Banner of a Domestic War on Terror Is in the Offing
Bretton Woods Research
Domestic Market Report
Trump’s Exit & McConnell’s Gambit
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Earlier today outgoing Majority Leader Mitch McConnell laid on President Trump part of the blame for the January 6 storming of Capitol Hill by protestors. As McConnell put it, “The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people.” For his part, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer added Trump “is a threat to our constitutional order whether he is in or out of office.”
This much is clear, the Beltway Establishment cannot wait to be rid of Trump and the GOP Establishment may be ready to purge a good portion of its own seated representatives. We should also note that McConnell`s lip service comes a day after CNN reported ongoing talks between him and Schumer on a power-sharing agreement in the Senate, where Democrats might enjoy committee chairmanships and set the agenda. Even deadlocked bills in committee might still make it to the Senate floor. Such procedures would need to be ratified by the full chamber once Schumer and McConnell reach a final agreement. But this is such a setup in which we could see McConnell winning preservation of the filibuster.
Creating some public distance from Trump may be part of the gambit.
As we said last week, we don`t believe the current impeachment proceeding will succeed. We agree with Harvard legal scholar Alan Dershowitz that impeaching citizen Trump would be unconstitutional and completely distort the power of impeachment in the hands of any partisan legislative majority. Ultimately, we don`t see 17 Republican Senators voting to convict Trump of “inciting insurrection.”
Still, Trump`s political career has likely met its Waterloo.
We imagine 200 years ago a battle-beaten Trump might have been exiled to some remote island in the south Atlantic to be slowly poisoned with arsenic until his last breath. Today, Mar-a-Lago might emerge as his permanent residence in exile as his political career ends by less sinister means: a procedural vote in Congress.
Specifically, using Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to censure Trump would bar him from ever holding state or federal office for allegedly “inciting insurrection” on January 6. It would be a bloodless way of ending the Establishment`s most formidable challenge to it in generations.
It`s easy on paper. Censure requires only a simple majority in both chambers to accomplish, along with Biden`s approval. It could take place at any time between Biden`s swearing in and the 2024 election. Also, it would take two thirds majorities in both chambers to undo. Such action against Trump, might be appealed to the Supreme Court. Certainly, it`s not hard to see Republicans rallying to Trump on this procedural maneuver to prevent his return. It could prove to be a major headache for Democrats.
It`s possible some Congressional Democrats might press on and use the procedure on Republicans who objected to certifying the Electoral College results of December 14. They number 139 GOP representatives and six senators, including outspoken figures such as Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley. It could threaten a legislative majority for the Democrats going into 2022 and beyond. Thus far, California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein seemed to reject punishment for Republican Senators, saying today, “I think the Senate is a place of freedom, and people come here to speak their piece.” It`s still an open question for wild-eyed populists in the House GOP.
Friends on the right suggest perhaps the best future for the GOP is to adopt Trumpism, without Trump.
We may or may not get that given the Stalinistic crackdown we`re witnessing on Trump`s ability to communicate to citizens.
Trump`s Facebook account has been suspended. His YouTube channel has banned uploads. Twitter has permanently deleted his personal account. His megaphone (capable of reaching ~89 million followers) has been stripped from him.
Trump will leave tomorrow early before Biden`s swearing in, while at least 20,000 National Guard troops sit in and around the Capitol. With razor-edged barbed wire, barricades and armed troops, Washington, D.C. looks more as if it is preparing for a new military junta than the swearing in of a democratically elected president, who putatively won the election with the greatest popular vote in US history.
For his part, Biden is expected to deliver a speech on “unity,” an appropriate theme aimed at healing the national divide.
Of course, we note another ominous development that has been emerging in the lead up to the peaceful transfer of power: the effective canceling of alternative social media apps and “influencers,” given the increasing censorship of political speech by BigTech. The collusion between Twitter, Amazon and Apple to put the screws to Twitter rival Parler is but one example of the growing, unchecked power of BigTech on free speech.
Constitutional lawyer and journalist Glenn Greenwald noted in his column today there is likely a wave of repression – under the banner of a domestic “war on terror” – in the offing. For now, it is directed at Trump and his activist followers, but it could easily target the left during the next two years. It is authoritarian in nature and bent on eliminating dissent.
The neoliberal imperialists now eager to employ this strategy, Greenwald suggests, “care only about one thing: disempowering and crushing anyone who dissents from and threatens their hegemony. They care about stopping dissidents. All the weapons they build and institutions they assemble — the FBI, the DOJ, the CIA, the NSA, oligarchical power — exist for that sole and exclusive purpose, to fortify their power by rewarding those who accede to their pieties and crushing those who do not.”
Trump was a threat to that hegemonic patronage system. But with his exit and, perhaps, permanent political exile, Republican populists might soon discover how far the authoritarian leanings of a Biden Administration might be.
One lunatic acting out might be all it takes for gun shops to be locked down nationwide, indefinitely under Executive Order.
Such an incident might confirm the Establishment`s new drive to exclude from political discourse any populist ideology on the right, such as “Trumpism,” which basically translates into – cutting taxes to spur economic growth, ending open borders, enforcing reciprocity with trade and ending Endless Wars.
As Greenwald concludes:
That a new War on Terror is coming is not a question of speculation and it is not in doubt. Those who now wield power are saying it explicitly. The only thing that is in doubt is how much opposition they will encounter from those who value basic civic rights more than the fears of one another being deliberately cultivated within us.
For now, markets are buoyed by confidence of progress against the virus, combined with the Fed`s “Endless Pause.” Biden is playing down expectations of a quick victory over the virus, while promising tax increases on incomes and capital, plus a $15/hr national minimum wage. Those planks form part of that “wall of worry” investors can climb in a bull market setting, confident the worst of Biden`s plans will be whittled down in a more collegial Senate.
Still, we worry the high drama about to engulf D.C. could upset the delicate balance now evidently in play in a very evenly divided Senate.
Bretton Woods Research
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