Trump’s Reichstag Fire Drill

“I may declare a National Emergency, dependent on what’s going to happen over the next few days.”

President Trump has a track record of pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable. From his refusal to release his tax returns to his violations of the emoluments clause to his profiting from presidential visits to his own properties, the president tends to get what he wants by doing something outrageous, holding to his position, and before the issue can be reasonably addressed, doing something else outrageous to redirect people’s energy and attention.

Such incrementalism is noted at the Holocaust Museum as emblematic of how, in a remarkably short amount of time, Adolf Hitler took Germany from a democratic republic to a nation where the government rounded up groups of the country’s own citizens and exterminated them. The latter was not Hitler’s stated agenda initially, but bit by bit, he moved the nation to that place.

The largest catalyst for Hitler’s consolidation of power was an event called the Reichstag Fire. In the middle of the night on February 23, 1933, an arson fire started in the German Parliament. In response, the the next day, the German government passed the Reichstag Fire Decree, suspending many of the rights of the German citizenry on an emergency basis. The emergency decree remained in effect throughout World War II. This decree, and the accompanying claim of extraordinary circumstances requiring extraordinary measures, enabled Hilter to incrementally accomplish things that the Germany’s democracy would not otherwise have accepted.

The United States has its own equivalent of a Reichstag Fire Decree, ready to implement in the event of a national emergency. Once the President declares the United States to be in a “state of emergency,” a number of changes take place. Among them are:

(Courtesy of )

President Trump has suggested that if Congress does not require U.S. taxpayers to pay for the U.S.-Mexico border wall that he had promised that Mexico would pay for, he will accomplish the building of the wall by declaring the U.S.-Mexico border a “National Emergency.” The concept of border crossings – little changed in decades – suddenly being labelled a national emergency is laughable on its face, and hopefully will be met with swift and effective resistance from Congress,.

However, Trump’s suggestion should be of concern.

For him, declaring the border a National Emergency is yet another trial balloon, testing public reaction, and making it just a little more acceptable, expected, and “normal” when, for example, a terrorist attack occurs and he is able to more easily and successfully declare a National Emergency. At that point, he may get his way, and God help us all.

– rob rünt

3 thoughts on “Trump’s Reichstag Fire Drill

  1. I don’t want to exactly *like* what you said here. I don’t like it. There needs to be a rage emoji like in FB. Or even more specifically, a sobbing till my eyes explode or projectile vomit emoji. That would be more accurate and more fitting. What I’m terrified to find out is just how many of the slowly going broke federal employees are behind this guy. Maybe a lot of them weren’t, but could any of them be at this point?

    The way you phrase and suggest things is terrifyingly true. The slowly building, coming from around a corner somehow and not straight on (at least not in ALL cases) that we’re overlooking/ignoring/
    downplaying? We are like the frog slowly boiling in the pot. Part of me is sad when someone in the government has to say, “And then we’ll impeach the motherf*****,” but part of me is like, “YEAH!”

    Why not fall to his level? Don’t you have to fight fire with fire? You can’t fight a fire by speaking softly and being *polite* to it, right?!I don’t know anymore!

    And shame, by the way, on the reporter so blithely throwing that idea out there, “If you want to build the wall, why don’t you just declare a national emergency?” Gee, thanks. Thanks for not helping. Thanks for possibly speeding forward our doom. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was shocked that that reporter said that too. Like, “Sir, do you think that our train system could be repurposed to transport illegal immigrants to forced labor camps?” “Well, we’re looking into it, and looking into it very strongly. You know, we did slave labor in the past, and a lot of people didn’t like it, but it got our economy really moving, so we may have to do it – we’ll see.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You forgot to mention he burned the place himself it wouldn’t be difficult for one of the koolaid krew to make something go boom and shit I hate reruns


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