"Trump/Russia" roars on apace. The more the President protests his innocence --- repeating "no collusion" and now adding to it "no obstruction" --- the more one is led to the conclusion that indeed there is a there there, perhaps a very big one. This conclusion is confirmed by the release of the now famous "Nunes Memo" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nunes_memo ). Among other things, Trump claims that it completely exonerates him, a conclusion denied by even such a Tea Party Republican, as the famous Benghazi/Clinton hunter, the soon-to-be retired Congressman Trey Gowdy.
But beyond the specifics of "The Memo," what is being done with it by the President and his political and media allies indicates that this nation is on the verge of taking a major step in the direction of the open imposition of the "Functional Fascism" (and perhaps then beyond it to the real thing). I have been writing about this subject in the previous four columns in this series. In this column, following this new introduction to the subject matters of the first four, I am re-publishing them as a set.
It is worthwhile noting that after I had written the first draft of the Introduction just below, President Trump (or is it Your Grand Leader Trump) labeled those Democrats in the Congress who gave a very tepid response to his State-of-the-Union message as "traitors." "Treason" is mentioned in Article III, Sect. 3 of the U.S. Constitution and has been defined as:
"The betrayal of one's own country by waging war against it or by consciously or purposely acting to aid its enemies."
In the United States it carries the death penalty. And Trump has applied the term to elected Democrats who did not agree with the message he was sending in his first SOTU. He apparently equilibrates that with "betrayal of country." My oh my. That certainly has a full fascist ring to it.
And then we go further with this analysis. In part, fascism, in the definition that I use is:
"A politico-economic system in which there is: total executive branch control of both the legislative and administrative powers of government; . . . no Constitution that embodies the Rule of Law standing above the people who control the government; . . . the massive and regular use of hate, fear, racial and religious prejudice, the Big Lie technique . . ."
Among the Constitutional Democracies that govern the advanced capitalist countries, the U.S. is fairly unique. The U.S. Constitution provides for a clear separation of the three powers/branches of any government: the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. In the parliamentary systems that govern most of these countries, the Executive and Legislative branches are co-mingled. The Party that has either a majority of the seats in the Parliament or is the leader of a party coalition that does the same, also runs the government. In the United States, however, on paper (of the Constitution) at least, those powers are separated.
This is not to say that the majority party in the Congress does not run its legislative program in cooperation with the Executive Branch, if they are of the same party. But it is very unusual that elements of the legislative branch are melded, for a common purpose and with clear elements of close coordination, with the Presidency, the chief position in the Executive Branch, for purposes other than advancing a legislative agenda. This is something new. The difference may appear to be a subtle one, but it is a difference. This is what has happened with the "Nunes Memo" and the run-up to it. Congressman Nunes developed and ran a campaign against major elements of the President's own Administration, with its directors appointed by the President, in clear, open, cooperation with the self-same President, for political, not legislative, purposes of the latter.
And of course, that purpose is to feed the clear, open, and unapologetic campaign by the President and his political/media allies to undermine the "Trump/Russia" investigation. What is now going on between the President and Congressman Nunes and his allies amounts to an attempt to exert "total executive branch control" of a "legislative power." That power is Congressman Nunes' the set of activities carried out openly for the political (and perhaps personal), not legislative, benefit of the President and certain of his allies (including members of his family), in relation to the Mueller Investigation. The latter of course deals in part at least with potentially criminal activities (see the guilty pleas and indictments already obtained).
And then, moving along the path to open fascism there is the use of "Big Lie" technique (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_lie). As Wikipedia puts it: "A big lie (German: große Luge) is a propaganda technique. The expression, which was coined by Adolf Hitler when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf, is about the use of a lie so 'colossal' that no one would believe that someone 'could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.' " It was used repeatedly by Hitler's Propaganda Minister, Josef Goebbels, who later developed his own modification of Hitler's original definition (which is why some authorities [correctly] attribute the concept first to Hitler while others do attribute it first to Goebbels.)
The "Nunes Memo" and its fore-runners charge that the obtaining of a FISA warrant on a man, Carter Page, who had been under FBI surveillance since 2013 for suspected connections with Russian Intelligence, and at the time the warrant was obtained was no longer working for the Trump campaign, shows that a conspiracy against the President exists, in the FBI. This is because, they claim, the 100+ page application for the FISA warrant mentioned in passing the "Steele Dossier" which had been funded in part by the Clinton Campaign (after it has first been funded by anti-Trump Republican operatives). According to the Trumpites this somehow indicated that the whole FBI operation in general and the Mueller investigation in particular are fraudulent and should be completely revamped on the one hand (presumably to be led by Trump loyalists, as he expressed to the former FBI Director James Comey, for example) and while on the other be shut down, as in the case of the Mueller Investigation.
This story has now been taken up by another element of 21st century "Functional Fascism" and blown up into a massive Big Lie, primarily by what can be termed the Trumpite Propaganda Ministry. In this case it is not part of the government. It is in fact Fox"News" (known by MSNBC's Chris Hayes as "Trump TV"). Its chief is in fact a right-wing radio/TV talker named Sean Hannity. Hannity has a false narrative about the Mueller Investigation and etc., which he repeats over and over again on his TV and radio shows, and has been doing so for months. (And yes, folks, I do force myself to listen to/watch Hannity on a regular basis. So, I do know directly what he is saying and what graphics he uses, repeatedly, on his TV show.) On top of that, a person, Hannity, not in the government, not confirmed by any Congressional committee, is, by all accounts, a major adviser to President Trump (https://www.thedailybeast.com/sean-hannity-has-been-advising-donald-trump-on-the-nunes-memo-because-of-course-he-has), all the while using the Big Lie technique (of which he has become a master).
(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).