Finally Losing It All

Everyone knew this was coming one day. The first day of June was that day:

Declaring himself “your president of law and order,” President Donald Trump vowed Monday to return order to American streets using the military if widespread violence isn’t quelled, even as peaceful protesters just outside the White House gates were dispersed with tear gas, flash grenades and rubber bullets. It was all, apparently, so Trump could visit a nearby church.

This was the trifecta – he will use the military to force his own citizens to behave as he thinks they should behave, he offered an example of what happens to “peaceful” protesters that get in his way, and he scowled and sneered and waved the Holy Bible – this was God’s will, so shut the fuck up. And he timed it perfectly:

The episode, which amounted to one of the most highly charged and discordant moments in recent presidential history, came as nationwide unrest escalates and as Trump comes under pressure to demonstrate a modicum of conciliation for a country torn along racial, ideological and political lines.

He did not offer that on Monday, choosing instead to retrench. He called violent protests “domestic acts of terror” which law enforcement would “dominate the streets” to quell.

“If a city or state refuses to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them,” Trump said.

In striking terms, Trump said he would use his entire presidential prerogative – including threatening to invoke a rarely used law dating back to 1807 – to ensure violent protests end, declaring he would deploy “thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel and law enforcement officers” to bring order.

In short, this is his country and he’ll do what he wants. That’s what he does. The nation wants reconciliation and healing, or just one moment of calm? Screw that. He offers anger and severe white retribution for black looting. He doesn’t give a damn about who might be hurting here. Why should he? That’s not his problem, but he does offer irony:

With the constant sound of helicopter blades overhead and a steady succession of bangs from nearby Lafayette Park, Trump declared himself an “ally of all peaceful protesters.”

As he was speaking, peaceful protesters were being urgently dispersed outside the White House gates by police using rubber bullets, tear gas and flash bangs. Several protesters were seen pouring water into their eyes to ease the gas’s sting.

That was a nice touch, as was this:

Later, Trump walked across the park to St. John’s Episcopal Church, a house of worship used by American presidents for more than a century that was partially burned in a Sunday evening protest.

“We have the greatest country in the world,” Trump said in front of the church, holding a Bible and surrounded by aides, including national security adviser Robert O’Brien, Attorney General Bill Barr, senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, chief of staff Mark Meadows, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

He remained at the boarded-up building for a matter of minutes before returning inside the White House.

He had told Defense Secretary Esper to have his people draw up battle plans to wipe out the new enemy in the newest battlespace – American cities – the ones with mayors who are Democrats. Trump was angry. He had something to prove:

Trump himself was angered by coverage depicting him holed up in an underground bunker. He told aides on Monday he wanted to be seen outside the White House gates, according to a person familiar with the matter, which is part of what drove the decision to stage the photo-op at St. John’s Church.

Trump and his family were rushed to an underground bunker on the White House complex as protests raged outside the building on Friday evening. Trump wasn’t seen on Sunday and spent most of Monday behind closed doors – leading to concern even from his allies that he was absent at a moment of national crisis.

That was a bad look. This fixed that. He was and is a tough guy. He really is, honestly, he really is:

Over the weekend, some aides sought to convince Trump not to use violent rhetoric after he wrote on Twitter that “when the looting starts the shooting starts,” warning language like that could inflame an already combustible situation and would not appear presidential.

A senior White House aide said governors and mayors should be the ones responding to the destruction in their respective cities and states – a view at least partially shared by Trump, who has spent days going after local leaders for not calling the National Guard fast enough or cracking down on violence aggressively enough.

In a heated phone call with governors on Monday morning, Trump placed responsibility on the governors for resolving the national crisis and said some of them appeared “weak” in their responses so far.

So, just as that corona virus thing is their problem, not his, so it is with all these riots everywhere. They need to fix this. What the hell is wrong with these governors? It was an unpleasant call:

President Donald Trump on Monday lashed out at governors during a White House videoconference, telling them that “most of you are weak” after states grappled with another night of anger and unrest following the killing of George Floyd last week.

In audio of the call obtained by NBC News, Trump berated governors for their response to the protests, repeatedly criticizing New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, and urged law enforcement to crack down and make more arrests.

“You have to arrest people, you have to try people, you have to put them in jail for 10 years and you’ll never see this stuff again,” Trump said on the call.

Trump called the governors “fools” and expressed anger with Democratic mayors in particular over the protests and unrest ravaging cities nationwide. He was described by one person on the call as “losing it.”

Yes, he was finally losing it:

“You have to dominate. If you don’t dominate, you’re wasting your time, they’re gonna run over you, you’re gonna look like a bunch of jerks,” the president said.

The president also called the initial response in Minnesota “weak and pathetic” and called the state a “laughingstock all over the world.”

Trump also asked states to enact laws against flag burning saying the federal government would back them up if they did.

What did that have to do with anything at all? Everyone on the call was appalled. Even some of the Republican governors quietly admitted that.

But this was alarming, and Will Bunch wasn’t quiet:

The moment we’ve been dreading since that escalator ride down Trump Tower five years ago this month – that’s been slowly building brick by brick as Donald Trump tore down the rule of law, abused the presidency to enrich himself, and grabbed the bully pulpit of the White House to divide America with racism, sexism and xenophobia – finally came at 6:45 p.m. as the sun sank over Washington, D.C., on the night of June 1, 2020.

Backed into a corner after his incompetence and distrust in science was trampled by a virus that’s killed 105,000 Americans, compounded by 40 million unemployed and now massive, chaotic protests over the police brutality and racism that he has nurtured instead of combating, the president of the United States declared war on the American people.

That may be the only way to assess this:

Trump sounded almost like a satire of a tinhorn dictator as he vowed to “dominate the streets” while invoking an ancient law, the Insurrection Act of 1807, and threatening to use the U.S. military to end the nationwide protests and growing unrest over the killing of an unarmed 46-year-old black man, George Floyd, at the hands of four Minneapolis cops.

Except this was no satire, no joke. Less than two minutes before the president began his speech, military police and other law-enforcement officers mounted a violent assault on hundreds of seemingly law-abiding protesters across the street from the White House, firing tear gas and painful rubber bullets as the panicked crowd scattered in a shocking split-screen moment.

Yep, that’s a tinhorn dictator, but Bunch thinks that this may be worse than that:

It was hard to say what was worse about Trump’s brief speech to the nation, one that practically no one had asked him to give. It could have been one particularly odd thing he said – that he would “protect the rights of law abiding Americans, including your Second Amendment rights.” It seemed not so much a dog whistle as a siren blast to the president’s locked-and-loaded supporters, including the heavily armed “Boogaloo Bois,” to enter the fray on the combative streets.

Trump didn’t say grab your guns and shoot those young black looters. He just reminded his army of proud “deplorables” that they do have guns, but that’s not what appalls Will Bunch:

But arguably much worse was all of the things that the 45th president of the United States didn’t say to the American people – things that we know Donald Trump lacks the emotional intelligence or stability to say. That he understands the pain of the protesters isn’t only about the last minutes of George Floyd’s life but also the last 401 years of American racism. That the government will listen to the people’s grievances rather than drown them out with flash-bangs. That their president wants America to heal, not tear it violently in two as convoys of troops roll down our cities’ streets.

But there it is:

“We are teetering on the brink of dictatorship,” CNN commentator Don Lemon said, as alarmed pundits struggled to find the words for a 244-year American Experiment staring into the abyss. But frankly there were too many moments Monday when it felt like we were already over that edge.

Jennifer Rubin sees that too:

Nothing could be more representative of the dangerous narcissism of a president in over his head, resorting to threats of violence against a country he ostensibly is supposed to lead. The deliberate instigation of violence for his own photo op tells Americans how deeply twisted and deformed his character is.

In fact, it’s this twisted:

His stunt was designed to play to the most rabid white evangelicals, who inexplicably have always seen themselves – not African Americans – as the true victims. The invocation of a religious institution to justify an assault on peaceful protesters was as great an abuse of religious symbols as anything Trump has done. Surely, he never heard of the “Blessed are the peacemakers” passage from the Christian bible. He worships not peacemakers but instruments of brute force.

But of course it’s merely symbolic:

Any attempt to use the military against civilians in this fashion would almost certainly be illegal and unconstitutional. Even under the Insurrection Act, federal troops would have to be invited into the states to suppress an actual rebellion. For Trump, the threat of force, however unrealistic, is his go-to move when his manliness is called into question – as it was when he fled to the bunker at the White House over the weekend.

If anyone in America had any doubt as to his intentions – to foment violence, to increase racial animosity, to glorify himself at the expense of the national good – Tuesday’s events should silence them.

So that’s what this was about, but Dana Milbank sees this:

Donald Trump said it best himself. Sitting down four years ago at Washington’s Trump International Hotel with The Post’s Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, the TV personality reflected on the distress his presidential candidacy fomented.

“I bring rage out,” he said. “I always have.”

Today, 50 months later, America is burning. These are the wages of Trump’s hate-filled incumbency.

In his inaugural address, he vowed an end to “American carnage.” In his acceptance speech, he promised a fast end to the “violence in our streets and the chaos in our communities.”

This dark view of the country was largely a fabrication, a political device. Four years later, Trump has made real the apocalyptic vision of America he imagined then.

And that would be this:

Federal authorities attacked peaceful protesters outside the White House with tear gas, flash-bangs and rubber bullets, as Trump, with Orwellian gall, stood in the Rose Garden proclaiming himself “an ally of all peaceful protesters.” Trump threatened to mobilize federal troops against U.S. citizens on U.S. soil without permission from governors – an act associated with totalitarian countries – then walked across Lafayette Square to St. John’s Church where he held aloft a Bible. Peaceful protesters had been gassed and forcibly dispersed so Trump could have a photo op.

That sums up Trump’s America now. But that Bible isn’t his. The Washington Post’s Michelle Boorstein and Sarah Pulliam Bailey report this:

The Right Rev. Mariann Budde, the Episcopal bishop of Washington, was seething.

President Trump had just visited St. John’s Episcopal Church, which sits across from the White House. It was a day after a fire was set in the basement of the historic building amid protests over the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police.

Before heading to the church, where presidents have worshiped since the days of James Madison, Trump gave a speech at the White House emphasizing the importance of law and order. Federal officers then used force to clear a large crowd of peaceful demonstrators from the street between the White House and the church, apparently so Trump could make the visit.

“I am outraged,” Budde said in a telephone interview a short time later, pausing between words to emphasize her anger as her voice slightly trembled.

It’s the small stuff:

She said she had not been given any notice that Trump would be visiting the church, and did not approve of the manner in which the area was secured for his appearance.

“I am the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and was not given even a courtesy call, that they would be clearing [the area] with tear gas so they could use one of our churches as a prop,” Budde said.

It’s the big stuff:

She excoriated the president for standing in front of the church – its windows boarded up with plywood – holding up a Bible, which Budde said “declares that God is love.”

“Everything he has said and done is to inflame violence,” Budde of the president. “We need moral leadership, and he’s done everything to divide us.”

And she was not alone:

In a written statement, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, head of the Episcopal denomination, accused Trump of using “a church building and the Holy Bible for partisan political purposes.”

“This was done in a time of deep hurt and pain in our country, and his action did nothing to help us or to heal us,” Curry wrote.

“The prophet Micah taught that the Lord requires us to ‘do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God,'” he continued, calling on Trump and others in power to be moral. “For the sake of George Floyd, for all who have wrongly suffered, and for the sake of us all, we need leaders to help us to be ‘one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.’ “

This isn’t going to happen, and these two may not be Christians at all:

Budde and Curry are among the pantheon of progressive religious leaders who have long been critical of Trump’s political agenda. The Episcopal Church’s policies include supporting abortion rights, refugee resettlement, an expansion of health care and other issues that Trump has opposed or not embraced. According to the Pew Research Center, 49 percent of Episcopalians are Democrats or lean Democratic, compared with 39 percent of church members who are Republican or lean Republican.

Trump’s longtime religious allies, who are far more conservative on both domestic and foreign policy, saw his walk to St. John’s much differently. “What kind of church I need PERMISSION to attend,” tweeted Pastor Mark Burns of South Carolina after Budde and others said Trump should have let them know he was coming. “Jesus welcomes all!”

Food fight! South Carolina Republican pro-Trump hillbilly evangelicals versus the big-city old-money new-ideas social-justice Episcopalians! Cool, but there’s more to this:

Andrew Whitehead, a sociologist at Clemson University who studies Christian nationalism, said the president’s appearance was an attempt to promote the idea of America as a distinctly Christian nation after his Rose Garden speech.

“Going to the church, not going in it, not meeting with any clergy, holding up a Bible, but not quoting any scripture, after an authoritarian speech, was about using the religious symbolism for his ends,” Whitehead said.

“It was a signal to the people that embrace the idea of a Christian nation, that he will defend Christianity in the public sphere,” Whitehead said. “He said he’ll make America safe. That raised the question, for whom? It’s largely for white, mostly Protestant America.”

That was the dispute in the first place:

Budde – who spent 18 years in as a rector in Minneapolis before being elected bishop of the Washington diocese – said the Episcopal Church disassociates itself from the messages offered by the president.

“We hold the teachings of our sacred texts to be so grounding to our lives and everything we do,” she said. “It is about love of neighbor and sacrificial love and justice.”

That makes them suckers, but then, well, we’re all suckers now. It was always going to come to this. Trump, one day, would just lose it, and then have the military take care of all the citizens who had ever embarrassed him. So, he lost it. But the rest of us lost it all. The rest of us have lost everything.

About Alan

The editor is a former systems manager for a large California-based HMO, and a former senior systems manager for Northrop, Hughes-Raytheon, Computer Sciences Corporation, Perot Systems and other such organizations. One position was managing the financial and payroll systems for a large hospital chain. And somewhere in there was a two-year stint in Canada running the systems shop at a General Motors locomotive factory - in London, Ontario. That explains Canadian matters scattered through these pages. Otherwise, think large-scale HR, payroll, financial and manufacturing systems. A résumé is available if you wish. The editor has a graduate degree in Eighteenth-Century British Literature from Duke University where he was a National Woodrow Wilson Fellow, and taught English and music in upstate New York in the seventies, and then in the early eighties moved to California and left teaching. The editor currently resides in Hollywood California, a block north of the Sunset Strip.
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2 Responses to Finally Losing It All

  1. Rick says:

    Maybe he should have said, “I’m your president of ‘Law ad Order, Criminal Intent’”. After all, it’s hard to think of Donald Trump without also thinking of some sort of criminal intent. (Maybe he could follow that with, “Check local listings.”)

    And while it’s been characterized in the media as some sort of “photo-op” of him holding a bible in front of a church, I think it’s actually more than that. This should be taken in its entirety:

    * We start with one of his famous “no-questions-from-the-press,-please” press conferences, laying out the contention that governors and mayors are too weak to take care of business the way it needs to be taken care of, which includes a promise to send Federal troops, complete with sticks and shields to hit people with, into any state that refuses to voluntarily invite them in (or something like that), followed by…

    * A demonstration of how it’s done: Military guys and cops in various type of uniform, out in front of the White House, on split screen and without warning, start brutalizing nearby street protestors (“peaceful” protestors? “car-burning” protestors? Hey, for our purposes, no need to put too fine a point on that!), which then clears the way for…

    * Generalissimo Bonespurs, surrounded by a gaggle of self-satisfied goons and goonettes, to strut through the newly-emptied Lafayette Park, to the nearest boarded-up church they can find, where he can…

    * Okay, let’s pause here. He can do what? It didn’t look like they had fully thought this part through. Say something memorable? … although, right now, I forget what memorable thing he said. Okay, how about pose for a picture? But wait! Do it while holding up a Bible! But signifying what? Something about Jesus being on our side? Who knows! Let people use their imagination! Hey, how about the rest of you crowding into the picture here? Come on, don’t be shy!

    (Hey, maybe he was imagining how our boys felt when they liberated Paris! He’d always wondered, but was just too young to serve in whichever war that was.)

    So you see? That’s how it’s done! First, a bunch of friendly demonstrators were standing here, but then we had big men with sticks shove them out of the way, and now, WE’RE standing here! Easy as pie! Now all you weak governors, you go ahead and try it!

    The whole presentation had all the klutzy grace of a second-grade Thanksgiving pageant, minus the charm.

    Apparently he’s been feeling left out lately; first, nobody paying him any attention, and then he finally gets some ink, but it turns out to be the story about him and his family having been whisked off to a bunker, like scared bunny rabbits! They’re making him look like a fool, dammit! He needs to somehow get outside the building and make himself look tough!

    The staged theatrics of this, taken alone, were almost comical, in a really bizarre, scary-for-America sort of way. I’m thinking we may all someday ask each other where we were on June 1st, 2020, the day President Trump took his “Funny Walk” across the street.

    But is using the military in combat uniforms as part of his little “Passion Play” publicity stunt even legal?

    Who knows! Who cares!! It’s not a big deal! Maybe the reason America has gotten so flabby is because they think too much! They take everything sooo seriously!!

    Who knew back in the Framers’ day that the concept of what America is all about would end up being too complicated for one of its presidents to comprehend! He thinks our country is no different at its core from all those dictatorships he’s heard about and learned to envy, nasty countries that have mean men in gaudy uniforms, shoving their citizens around this way and that. If the writers of the Constitution were to wake up today and see what they’ve done, they’d scurry back into their graves, just to roll around.

    And it’s not that Trump had nothing to do with all the craziness going on in the country today. In fact, he had everything to do with it.

    First, starting with the easy stuff:

    It’s not that nobody warned him about the upcoming virus crisis; it’s just that Trump found it too boring and wouldn’t listen.

    Here’s a virus timeline, that includes a corresponding timeline for the rotten economy that sprang from it, from Robert Reich in the American Prospect:

    In 2018, he let the pandemic preparedness office in the National Security Council simply dissolve, and followed up with budget cuts to HHS and CDC this year. That team’s job was to follow a pandemic playbook written after global leaders fumbled their response to Ebola in 2014. Trump was briefed on the playbook’s existence in his first year…

    The initial outbreak of the coronavirus began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

    By mid-January 2020, the White House had intelligence reports that warned of a likely pandemic.

    On January 18, HHS Secretary Azar spoke with Trump to emphasize the threat of the virus just as U.S. diplomats were being evacuated from Wuhan.

    [On January 20], the virus was confirmed in both the U.S. and South Korea.

    That week, South Korean officials immediately drafted medical companies to develop test kits for mass production. The WHO declared a global health emergency. But Trump … did nothing.

    As Hubei province went on lockdown, Trump … barred entry of any foreigners coming from China … but took no additional steps to prepare for infection in the United States.

    He said, “We pretty much shut it down, coming in from China.” He didn’t ramp up production of test kits so we could begin isolating the virus.

    By February, the U.S. had 14 confirmed cases but the CDC test kits proved faulty; there weren’t enough of them, and they were restricted to only people showing symptoms. The U.S. pandemic response was already failing.

    Trump then began actively downplaying the crisis and baselessly predicting it would go away when the weather got warmer.

    Trump decided there was nothing to see here, and on February 24, took time out of his day to remind us that the stock markets were soaring.

    A day later, CDC officials sounded the alarm that daily life could be severely disrupted. The window to get ahead of the virus by testing and containment was closing.

    Trump’s next move: He compared coronavirus to the seasonal flu … and called the emerging crisis a hoax by the Democrats.

    With 100 cases in the U.S., Trump declined to call for a national emergency. Meanwhile, South Korea was now on its way to testing a quarter-million people, while the U.S. was testing 40 times slower.

    When a cruise ship containing Americans with coronavirus floated toward San Francisco, Trump said he didn’t want people coming off the ship to be tested because they’d make the numbers look bad.

    It wasn’t until the stock market reacted to the growing crisis and took a nosedive that Trump finally declared a national emergency.

    By this time, South Korea had been using an app for over a month that pulled government data to track cases and alert users to stay away from infected areas…

    Only when the stock market crashed did Trump finally begin to pay attention … and mostly to bailing out corporations in the form of a massive $500 billion slush fund, rather than to helping people. And then, with much of America finally and belatedly in lockdown, he said at a Fox News town hall that he would “love” to have the country “opened up, and just raring to go” by Easter.

    So as you may have heard:
    On May 3rd, there were 65,307 Covid-19 deaths reported in the United States, while, according to a Columbia University study, had social distancing started just one week earlier than it did, the estimated deaths on May 3rd would have been 29,410!

    That’s about 36,000 Americans, maybe even someone you know, who might have survived the pandemic had the delay not happened.

    And that brings us up to the Cops-Killing-Blacks crisis. (Yeah, that’s on him, too.)

    This used to be a hot political topic back before the 2016 election. Candidate Hillary Clinton campaigned on it, claiming that, while the police apparently were killing way too many black people, policing was a dangerous job and we need our cops to protect our towns and cities, so somehow, we needed to bring these two sides together and solve it.

    Trump, on the other hand, campaigned for the law enforcement vote, mostly ignoring whatever the other side had to say.

    By the way, do more blacks really get killed by the cops than whites in America?

    Oddly, not really. In fact:

    According to The [Washington] Post’s database of fatal police shootings, since 2015 police have shot and killed about twice as many white people as black people…

    Cops may shoot and kill twice as many white people as black, but there are about six times as many white people as black people in the United States. Proportionally, black people are much more likely to be shot and killed by cops.

    If we look at shooting deaths of unarmed people, cops have shot and killed about the same number of whites and blacks, which means an even wider racial disparity as a percentage of the population. This is probably because when interacting with black people, police officers seem more likely to see innocuous movements — or even efforts to comply with their orders — as threatening.

    So despite there being fewer blacks living in America than whites, African-Americans are, according to a 2015 study, 2.8 times more likely to be killed by police than whites.

    So, is there a problem here? Maybe so, but not if you ask Donald Trump. He never discusses it. Maybe he hasn’t heard about it on Fox News?

    And it was already a big problem when Colin Kaepernick tried to remind us about it in 2016, the year before Donald Trump came to office and started mocking Kaepernick, pretending that, by “taking a knee” during the national anthem, the football player was just trying to insult the American flag and American armed forces.

    So Donald Trump, who single-handedly ginned up a distraction, can’t claim he wasn’t aware of an important issue that demanded the attention of the American president, and one that finally came back around just this last week to bite him in his more than ample Scottish bahookie.

    I know, I know, there’s a tendency nowadays for people like me to trace every American mess back to our very own President Capone, but that’s because, let’s be honest, can you think of any evil anywhere on the planet today that isn’t somehow connected to this guy?

    Rick

  2. gtomkins says:

    There is a great deal of ruin in a nation, as Adam Smith replied to someone who declared that the defeat at Saratoga meant that Great Britain was ruined.

    We haven’t lost democratic governance in this country just because a demented person who happens to be president did and said things on Monday that, if actually carried out as a program, would indeed be the end of democratic governance in this country. Saratoga didn’t lead to the US Navy sailing up the Thames and disembarking an army that occupied London, and Monday’s events haven’t led to US cities being turned into battlespace to keep those urban voters down.

    it is certainly useful, even necessary, to point out that what this demented person said and did that day, if actually carried to its logical conclusion, would be treason, which is the making war on the Untied States. The president has vast powers, but also highly constricting duties that require him to use those powers strictly to defend the United States. His status as Commander-in-Chief, and the power to to use the military to suppress insurrection, also constrain him to use that power only to suppress insurrection, not to stage photo ops, and not to make the cities likely to vote him out in half a year into battlespace, and if the C-in-C steps beyond that legitimate use of his power to command military force, he commits treason against the US as surely as Antifa would, were there actually a plan and organization on their part to overthrow the govt of the US, if this notional Antifa actually were engaged in insurrection.

    Throwing a brick at a policeman, or looting a Target, may be crimes of some sort, but they’re not treason and insurrection unless they are part of an actual organized operation to overthrow the govt, and so these acts do not create any actual need to suppress insurrection. Making a fiery speech calling for the violent overthrow of the govt, even if done in the smoldering ruins of a Target over the dead body of a policeman, is not treason and insurrection unless these words are part of an actual ongoing operation involving an attempt to overthrow the govt so extensive and organized that it stands a non-trivial chance of success. Tear-gassing some protestors in Lafayette Square, and making a fiery speech threatening to turn US cities into battlespace isn’t treason and insurrection either.

    Of course this is not a case of both sides do it. The protestors, however many illegal acts some of them may commit, are obviously not nearly organized and extensive enough present the slightest threat of the violent overthrow of the US govt. The president, in contrast, is the C-in-C, in charge of ur huge military. He is also in charge of a vast network of federal police and security forces. He has this very extensive and very organized force at his command that he could order to make war on the US, and it is quite credible that a non-trivial segment of that vast force would indeed follow even clearly illegal orders from the president, and follow him in making war on the US.

    Call it that, treason. Identify the current crisis as a question of who is threatening insurrection and treason, that’s more useful than bemoaning our ruin. Many members of that vast military and security apparatus who might soon be faced with the choice of following or disobeying orders from the demented guy to make war on the US, will only be swayed against treason by the potential legal consequences for themselves of committing treason. The treason that Trump might order them to better prosper, or they will find themselves in prison or worse. The ruin of this nation did not begin with Trump. Many people hold a view of the presidency that makes the holder of that office the national sovereign in his person. The idea that a president could issue an illegal order that, if followed, would involve a soldier in treason, may be an actually novel idea to many who assume that, at least in his command of the military, the president has prerogatives that no one else can question. Let’s make sure everyone has that novel idea brought to their attention. Dare call it treason, as the best means at the moment to insure that it won’t prosper

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