Friday, May 29, 2020

May 29, 2020

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States... (Section 2, Clause 1, Constitution of the United States of America)

December 7, 1941, a day that will live in infamy.  August 29 (or September 5), 1967, the day the running stopped.. One was catastrophic, the other fictional yet poignant.

And now we have May 29, 2020. That's 5/29/20, when as most normal people were sleeping

Don't be distracted, as was Twitter, which

later placed warnings on Trump’s tweets, saying that the messages violated the social media giant’s rules against glorifying violence.

“This Tweet violates our policies regarding the glorification of violence based on the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence, and the risk it could inspire similar actions today,” the site shared.

Trump's tweets were not primarily about violence. The key word in the first tweet was "I," as in "I will send in the National Guard...."  Similarly, in the second tweet the key words are "Military" and "we will assume control." National Guard troops can be "folded into the regularly Army" (here inapplicable) or federalized by the President so "they can be used in domestic emergencies much like they are used in state emergencies." Minnesota Governor Walz has activated National Guard soldiers, a wise decision in part because it virtually eliminates any excuse for the President to nationalize them.

There is, however, no doubt about "the Military." The President is commander in chief of the military and any failure on its part to disobey or disregard his orders can bring swift disciplinary action.

When Donald Trump invokes the threat of using the "military," it can mean only one thing. Were he to do so, those forces, under control of the President, would be unlikely to be removed once the crisis were resolved.  They would remain there, and they would remain under control of President Donald J. Trump.

The misunderstanding of Trump's motives extended to the extraordinary news of this Friday morning when

A CNN crew was arrested while giving a live television report Friday morning in Minneapolis -- and then released about an hour later -- as the crew covered ongoing protests over the death in police custody of George Floyd.

State police detained CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez, his producer and his photojournalist shortly after 5 a.m. CT (6 a.m. ET) as Jimenez was reporting live from a street south of downtown, near where a police precinct was earlier set ablaze.

Jimenez could be seen holding his CNN badge while reporting, identifying himself as a reporter, and telling the officers the crew would move wherever officers needed them to. An officer gripped his arm as Jimenez talked, then put him in handcuffs.

"We can move back to where you like. We are live on the air here. ... Put us back where you want us. We are getting out of your way -- wherever you want us (we'll) get out of your way," Jimenez said to police before he was led away.

"We were just getting out of your way when you were advancing through the intersection," Jimenez continued.

Police told the crew they were being detained because they were told to move and didn't, one member of the CNN crew relayed to the network.

That claim is almost certainly false. Much more credible, however, is the remark Jiminez, back in the streets, made to the CNN audience after he was released. The officer stated (at 2:45 of the video below) that he had made the arrest because he was "just following orders."

Assuming that Jiminez is being truthful- a near-certainty- and that the officer was telling the truth- not as certain but very likely- this is a critically important element.

CNN's Josh Campbell was not arrested and network pundit Bakari Sellers stated "We have a white reporter on the ground, and we have a brown reporter on the ground. They are a block
apart. The brown reporter is arrested and the white reporter is telling us what's happening."

While as an observation that is accurate, as an opinion it is misguided. Although ethnicity may have been a factor, it was not the prime motive of whomever in the state police ordered or encouraged the arrest.

The most relevant aspect was that the individual arrested was a reporter- and for extra points, one representing CNN.  In an interview in the Oval Office last June, a reporter from TIME magazine

reminds Mr Trump that some of his aides had "testified under oath, under threat of prison time" that the president had tried to influence the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mr Trump snaps back: "Excuse me... Well, you can go to prison instead, because if you use, if you use the photograph you took of the letter that I gave you confidentially.

"I didn't give it to you to take photographs of it - So don't play that game with me."

Only five weeks ago, the President admonished CNN as he often has in the past:

It's hard to believe that anyone can do more damage to the country than President Trump has done in his first term.  But the rule of law, freedom of speech, and other cornerstones of American representative democracy are on the line on November 4, 2020.  And this time Donald Trump is making sure everyone hears his threat loud and clear.

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