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Trump’s Potential Fatal Errors Part 2: Martial law

In part 2, I am going to veer from talk of deficits and crash into the border wall. I will tie it all up in part 3.

Well, it’s this or martial law.

I said last time that the Trump administration could pose a much greater danger to our country long term, than anything this tariff nonsense might pose. We are careening toward a very ominous deadline agreed to by all parties, at which time we will have border wall funding or we won’t. If we arrive at the latter, one of two threats will emerge; another shutdown or a declaration of a national emergency (cover to build the wall against the will of congress).

I would contend the lesser of these two evils, hands down, would be another shutdown. I’ll break it down in small bites.

Oh, but the shutdown will permanently damage the economy!

 No, it won’t.

In the course of the previous shutdown (all of it theater, by the way) we heard constantly of the poor people affected by it. The same people balling woefully about the non-essential workers being…well…non-essential, have remained intentionally obtuse about the people injured by the issue this whole dust-up is about, illegal immigration.

Further, we have been bombarded by false reports about how the slightly wider economy (those businesses effected by the 800,000 non-essential workers who are not “working”) will never recover from the damage incurred by the shutdown.

This is, of course, bullshit. From day one of the government re-opening they immediately started to recover. And for as long as the government remains open, the recovery will glide along nicely.

How do we know this?

If you look at economic demographics you will find that more than half of the country can’t absorb a $1000 emergency. Fewer still, I believe below 20%, have enough savings to get them through 90 days of unemployment. As few as 12% are doing anything serious to prepare for retirement.

What does that mean? It means that, on the whole, we spend like drunken sailors. These non-essential government employees, many of whom are VERY well-paid, being by and large average Americans, spend a tremendous amount of money. It should also be noted that during the 15 years I was a contractor for the Department of Defense, my government counterparts received substantial pay raises in 13 of those years.

Yes, the deli and dry cleaner across the street from these non-essential offices lost SOME money during the shut down. The restaurants favored by those employees saw slightly fewer dinners eaten during this time. Many workers may have been on the verge of house hunting or buying a new car or washing machine when the shutdown started. Oops. Gotta put that off.

Being average Americans, do you think these same employees, who know their jobs are safer than ANY private sector jobs, got back to work last week and said, “Boy, that was close! I better start hording my money for these emergencies!” A few very bright ones may have. But as a group you know the answer is NO.

Why? Because they know they will get full back pay on the other end of these events!

As for the wider economy, there is a slingshot effect. Flush with more cash than they normally have and interested in doing what they intended to do beforehand, these non-essential workers will be pouring into their favorite restaurants, dry cleaners, movie theaters, etc. They will eat out perhaps one or two more nights than normal, after all it’s been a month during which only some of them tightened their belts, while others just lived on credit, knowing they would get their back pay. Many may be looking at the next three weeks and waiting to see if they can buy the car or the house, but when it is all finally over, there will be that many more people shopping big ticket than there would be normally.

Again, it’s all theater. Most damage IS NOT permanent and life continues apace. The only folks who will see permanent damage will be contractors whose companies didn’t figure loss of time into their contracts. That sucks, but it is part of the risk.

So another round of shutdown theater with the obligatory, mind-numbing media commentary throughout is much preferable to the alternative: “National Emergency”.

It’s Just a Little Bit of Martial Law!

 Fortunately for Harry Truman, when he declared Martial Law, for which “national emergency” is just a euphemism, there wasn’t, at the time, a party of 12 year-olds waiting, who would use the declaration as a precedent for EVERTYTHING.

In the 50s and 60s, even into the 70s we had politicians who were, yes, corrupt. They were nakedly opportunistic. But by and large they were adults who understood the concept of overreach. When it really counted, they could set aside the rancor for a short time and give whomever had the upper hand some running room to do what they thought they should do. They also were not wussies over the results of an election. Their attitude was correctly, we’ll whoop ya next time.

So, Truman declared a national emergency and essentially took over the steel industry. Eisenhower didn’t then say, oh, highways are important, so I am going to declare a national emergency to get my signature project through without having to pay union scale, because, wah, Harry did it. That would have been seen as monumentally childish and unseemly; at the risk of sounding sexist, unmanly.

But times have changed we have adolescents running the halls of congress calling the word “No” a negotiation. These children are also calling for Medicare for all and a “green new deal”. We are talking about seriously disingenuous, ignorant children.

If Trump declares a “National Emergency” to deal with a problem we’ve had for the last 60 years he will set the stage for everything these children stand for being pushed through in Stalinist fashion for decades to come.

DC politicians have thwarted the Constitution at every opportunity, but with Trump’s declaration, we will see the utter undoing of everything left of our republic. You don’t think so? Look at the vapors we’ve witnessed over Russia’s use of Facebook to spread false information.

I would argue that we are responsible to check our facts and make good decisions. The Russian efforts were shown to be amateurish. And they spent only $40,000 in the effort. Anyone who got their news from or, or whatever, through FB is an idiot.


They meddled in our elections! We must take control of social media and get rid of this pesky electoral college thingy. Foreign meddling is a “national emergency”. Mark my words if Trump declares a little bit of Martial Law, the above scenario will pan out over multiple issues. Congress is that corrupt, that immature, that bereft of clear reason. And we are in deep, deep trouble.

And Yes, Trump Fans, it Would be Martial Law.

 What Truman did was to nationalize the steel industry. The Supreme Court handed him his ass for trying. But he used the term “national emergency” to justify the ham-handed move. But it was an act of Martial Law. I have heard apologists say that it was, well, very limited Martial Law.


While I have watched Trump cheerleaders like Lou Dobbs salivate at the idea of an emergency declaration, believe me, for the reasons stated above, you don’t want Trump to set this precedent. Hell, he and the Administration may have already talked too much of it! That alone may give the socialists in our government the impetus they need to turn us into a police state, should they ever get the White House back.

So you should be real careful about what stupid move you might wish for. It just might happen.

And yeah, about the damn wall…

 There isn’t going to be a wall. There never was going to be. For a year Trump et al have been walking back the actual WALL Trump promised during the election; a big, beautiful wall across our southern border. And it will have a door in it so you can come through legally. His words.

Now they are talking about 127 miles of fencing. Most of that will never happen either. And fences are only as effective as the number of people you have waiting directly on the other side from those going over, under or through it.

Even if Trump gets his $5 billion, it won’t pay for 127 miles of triple fence with barbed wire and sensors. What fence/wall it would pay for will require years in court with activists and land owners for every 10 miles of fence.

A section of “the wall” at the coast. Boy, you could never get around that, huh?

It will not happen. AND IT DOESN’T HAVE TO!

Sadly, what does need to happen, what should happen, is just as unlikely. We need Congress to enforce existing laws. But corrupt cowards that they are, they won’t. The Dems want to push illegals toward the vote. California isn’t waiting to do that. And the GOP wants the slave labor. But if they ever decided to do their jobs and make being an illegal uncomfortable, there would be no illegal immigration problem.  A cop at a traffic stop wouldn’t care if you had a Hispanic or Eastern European accent.

It won’t happen, and that is our fault. As a group we can’t see past the ends of our noses when it comes to whom we vote for or why.

If you are against illegal immigration but don’t want to put some seriously dangerous wheels in motion, perhaps you should email the White House HERE and tell them if it comes to it, they should weather another shut down and not get stupid.

Or you can contact congress HERE and HERE. And tell them to do their damn jobs!



Photo Credit: Dane Van Flickr via Compfight cc

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