Trump now accuses Obama of a crime, but won’t say what crime. (“You know what he did.”) If he can do it to a former president, he can do it to anyone. This is very dangerous behavior.
Also dangerous is Mitch McConnell saying Obama “should have kept his mouth shut” rather than criticize the administration’s COVID-19 response.
It’s pretty clear to me that Trump considers Obama’s crime to be just that criticism. Trump has long said he believes that any criticism of him or his policies should be illegal. He’s called for changes in the law to make it easier to charge someone with slander or libel. There’s been no such changes in the law, but that reality doesn’t seem to be a problem for him. What he can’t do in a court of law he can do with his supporters backing him up, acting as a jury.
It’s a pretty stupid jury that would say a defendant is guilty of a crime because the prosecutor said he was, even if the defendant was not ever charged with a crime.
Judge to defendant: “You have been charged with a crime. How do you plead?”
“I don’t know what crime I’m being charged with. No one has stated a charge.”
Judge: “You know what you did. Everyone here knows what you did.”
“OK, not guilty then.”
Judge: “You just perjured yourself. We all know you’re guilty.”
And so forth. This form of justice was very popular in the Inquisition. If it catches on, the U.S. is in for some pretty dark times.
In other scary news, Jared Kushner stunned most of the country last week by suggesting that he had some role to play in deciding whether or not November’s general election would be canceled, presumably because his father-in-law made him in charge of the coronavirus response.
Meanwhile, the president is spouting nonsense about how voting by mail is too liable to fraud, even though this state has been doing it for years without any serious problems.
But plenty of states are holding off from setting up voting by mail. So, as the general election approaches, Trump could be in a position to declare a national emergency calling for indefinite postponement on account of the coronavirus. Jared Kushner was probably in the room when the idea was floated.
The spike in COVID-19 deaths, almost sure to happen following the August primaries for federal legislators, will support the idea that the general election would be too dangerous.
Of course, there’s nothing at all in the constitution that grants the president the power to cancel federal elections, but this is the president who says the constitution says he can do anything he wants to.
Article 2, Section 1: “The executive Power, which is All the Power in the Whole Wide World, shall be vested in a President of the United States of America, whose name will be Donald J. Trump. But not before then, because Obama. Amen.”
The best news this week as far as I’m concerned is that Boston Dynamics shipped their robot dog Spot all the way to Singapore so he could roam Singapore’s parks, nagging people to practice social distancing.
When I lived in Switzerland for a year, way back when you couldn’t buy sliced bread and cow’s milk was only for calves, they had little old ladies to do all the nagging. One day I was walking in a park along Lake Zürich and I saw a big rock about three feet high and, having been walking all day, I sat upon it. Within seconds, a little old lady came up to me to say, “Don’t you know it’s forbidden to sit on rocks in the park?” except she said it in German, so I could pretend I didn’t understand. “Jaja, no hablo alemán.” (I didn’t say that. I got off the rock. This is just my fantasy now.)
It’s hard to argue with a little old lady saying “Weisst du nicht? Das ist verboten! Verboten!” But robot dogs don’t have that moral authority.
It seems most people regard robot dog Spot as a sign of the End Times, but I think he’s adorable. If a robot dog told me it was forbidden to sit on rocks in the park, I would pat his headless body where his head should be and say, “Oh, look at the good little doggy woggy. Isn’t he so precious!”
Or I’d say, “Hey, why aren’t you wearing a mask?”
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd. He can be reached at drwes (at) realchangenews (dot) org
Read more in the May 20-26, 2020 issue.