Trump & His Enablers Killed 300,000 Americans With The Pandemic-- A Violent Coup Will Kill Many More
As we noted earlier, Trumpists were out in force in DC and other cities yesterday to protest Trump's latest failed coup attempt. The NY Times reported that "in some places, angry confrontations between protesters and counterprotesters escalated into violence. There were a number of scuffles in the national capital, where four people were stabbed, and the police declared a riot in Olympia, Washington., where one person was shot." I'm sure it won't surprise you to read that the shooter was a Trumpist who has since been arrested.
Self-entitled, whiny racists say they refuse to recognize the results of the election. They're entitled to recognize or not recognize whatever they want in their Twilight Zone world but when they step into the real world and commit acts of violence, they should be-- must be-- shot down like the rabid dogs they've turned themselves into. I know many-- probably most-- DWT readers oppose the death penalty. I never have... and exactly for this kind of thing.
The Times highlighted one of the imbeciles: "Stephanie Lalich, 55, who traveled from Baltimore to join the protest in Washington, said that voting machines had been used for widespread electoral fraud-- a claim that has been proved false-- and that judges had not sided with Mr. Trump because they did not want to take on the issue." Fine, who cares? But then this:
"They don’t want to deal with this," Ms. Lalich said. "It’s going to have to go nuclear, using the Insurrection Act and bringing out the military." That's a signal to start paying attention to the mentally deranged.
Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys, a right-wing group known for inciting violence at protests, caused a stir earlier in the day when he posted a photograph taken at the North Portico of the White House and said he had received a “last minute invite.” Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, said Mr. Tarrio had been part of a public tour and that no one inside the building had invited him.
...Clashes also broke out between opposing groups in Washington, D.C., where videos showed people clad in Proud Boys gear punching and kicking counterprotesters who were wearing helmets. The police stepped in and sprayed mace at some of the men involved in the fighting. Another video showed anti-police protesters scuffling with officers and tossing what appeared to be a wooden stick at them.
At night, four people were stabbed near 11th Street and F Street Northwest, according to Douglas Buchanan, a spokesman for the city’s fire department. The mayor’s office said that the four were in critical condition, adding that two police officers also were hurt and taken to hospitals. The authorities did not provide any other details, including which groups of protesters the injured belonged to.
Yesterday, not one of the 17 states' attorneys general who were, in part, responsible for the sedition spread across the country, had the guts to be interviewed after the Supreme Court threw out their "Big One" case. Not even Ken Paxton, the crooked Texas AG who is hoping Trump will pardon him for a long list of crimes he committed before and after he was elected Attorney General.
Some of the seditious congressmembers who had signed onto the suit were still working to rile up the mob, particularly fringe neo-fascists like Jodey Arrington (R-TX), Ken Buck (R-CO) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL). Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) disagrees with how they're tearing the country apart:
But it may be too late to avoid more bloodshed, Trump having basically unleashed his army of sore losers across the country-- Republicans who failed to be elected, often in deep blue district landslides, but who are claiming the elections were rigged. David Siders: "Trump, it seems, isn’t the only dead-ender holding out more than a month after the election, refusing to acknowledge defeat. Even as Trump lost again in court on Friday, with the Supreme Court rejecting a long-shot effort to overturn the election, he remains a lodestar for denialists of the GOP... The down-ballot parroting of Trump’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud began right after the election. But in the weeks since, it has evolved into a self-sustaining phenomenon of its own. Republican candidates for House, legislative and gubernatorial races in more than half a dozen states are still refusing to concede. Echoing the president, these candidates are an early sign of what Republicans say will be a sustained, post-Trump effort to tighten voting restrictions and to reverse measures implemented in many states to make voting easier. 'Right now, it’s mostly kooks and crackpots,' said Mike Madrid, a Republican strategist and one of the founders of The Lincoln Project, a Republican group opposing Trump. 'But it’s pretty rapidly becoming mainstream Republican thought.' Likening refusals to concede with anti-mask rallies and militia marches on state capitols, Madrid said, 'There’s a very wide segment of the Republican electorate that is demonstrating self- and socially-destructive behavior … Democracy requires a willing winner and a willing loser. You can’t just say this was stolen because you lost when there was no evidence of it.'"
Scott Corey warns that Trump could get more serious about a coup in the coming weeks. He worries about something that has been bothering me as well: "Trump has moved personal loyalists into many senior positions and, oddly, continues to do so after the election. He fired his Defense Secretary and, less noticed, fired the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration. It is not every week that two officials with major oversight of the nuclear arsenal are replaced. In context with his refusal to recognize any election he does not win, should we be alarmed?
No need to psychologize the President about motivation. Mr. Trump certainly has motive for staying in office, because his immunity from prosecution expires when he leaves and he can expect to face criminal and civil charges. The strength of the case against him is seen in the sentencing memo for his former attorney, Michael Cohen, in which a co-conspirator is identified as, “Individual-1, who at that point had become the President of the United States.” A President can pardon others for federal offenses, but pardoning himself is unlikely to be upheld. He has no power over charges under state laws, and state investigations are well under way.
...Aside from motivation, one can question Mr. Trump’s personal capacity for such a program. By all accounts, he truly is as mercurial a person as he appears to be. His strengths are his audacity, deft operation of celebrity, and self-confidence. But there is some merit in the opposing view that he also has learned to use his erratic inclinations to advantage. Reinhart Bendix once observed, in his classic Kings or People, “Arbitrariness is an instrument of rule, for it provides the ruler with an effective test of instant obedience by large numbers of subordinates, even if it fails to accomplish any other end.” Through this mechanism, Mr. Trump has repeatedly found, and bound to himself, more long-range thinkers who are competent in navigating systems and people. Roger Stone, Michael Cohen, Steven Miller, Steve Bannon, and William Barr are past and current examples.
...[I]s there any tool or device that could change the probability of success in the face of such impressive counterweights? Historically, the most effective means to sweep away moderate resistance and loyalty is a well-timed atrocity....
While it is possible to provoke Iran, North Korea, or street protesters to provide an excuse, the novel factor here is that Mr. Trump is in a position to raise fear at a nuclear level. This leads back to the illegal appointments of Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security. He also fired the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, and eliminated that agency’s independent status. Even if all these new appointees are honest and loyal, they have only just arrived in their posts, and their tenure in them is uncommonly fragile and tentative. Their first instinct will be to believe and support, creating a shade of plausibility that could lead others to hesitate in the required manner.
Presidents do not actually need the upper hierarchy to launch on preset targets, though retargeting or use of tactical nuclear strikes is more involved. But the political usefulness of any violent outrage is not dependent upon the actual level of damage. Even a complete fabrication might work. What matters is the credibility of the accusation, and who can plausibly be blamed. Marcos was able to use the Plaza Miranda bombing to crackdown on the very party that had been attacked. But decades later, when he had opposition leader Benigno Aquino assassinated, no one believed that anyone but Marcos was responsible.
While the case for a coup is not conclusive, the risks are now too towering to ignore. And that is why this “connect the dots,” speculative essay is worth writing and worth reading at this moment-- before the planes hit the buildings, as it were. Exploiting outrages depends on credibility, autocoups depend upon hesitation of a system to insist upon its own survival, and Donald Trump depends upon repeatedly leaping two outrages beyond what anyone expected.
Not this time. We have seen it too many times now. By reading this, you are prepared to evaluate an act of terrorism, a nuclear lie, or even a nuclear crime, and understand who the criminal must be, if such a thing comes to pass. Your understanding is our defense.