Monday, July 31, 2023

First Term a Dry Run



The key word is "military." Miles "Anonymous" Taylor makes a good point, then a very important one when he remarks

Post 9/11, we got really, really good at counterterrorism. What do I mean by that?

Watch-listing bad guys, going after them with lethal force and tacking them. And we wanted to use tools against migrants. And so I had people telling me about how in a second term, Trump would designate migrant groups as foreign terrorist organizations. he would deploy the military and give them authorization to use lethal force. Really shocking things that again, I have to be clear are not legal for President of the United States to do.

That doesn't line up well with  the Constitution, statutes, or tradition  As Miles continues, the key word is "forces." 

But beyond the border, a number of officials who were there until the end of the Administration, long after I had left, said that Trump had an interest in deploying US counterterrorism forces into US cities, especially Democratic cities, to exert control. 

We saw a sample of that in Portland during the riots in Portland. But I had one official tell me in a second term that Donald Trump would deploy DHS forces to the polls during elections to try to intimidate voters- in other words to scare Democratic voters away from the polls. And we've seen a sample of that with so-called poll watchers in places like Arizona, showing up with weapons.

When Donald Trump talks about the "Deep State," he's projecting onto others his own plans: the military against migrants; Department of Homeland Security officers to ensure no Democrat gets elected to any significant position, including a potential third Trump term (whatever the Constitution proscribes).  

It's not as if Trump hasn't given much thought to this. Thom Hartmann has written of

Trump’s first run at following in his mentor (and possibly owner) Vladimir Putin’s footsteps and becoming America’s first dictator involved corrupting the Department of Justice, gaining the loyalty of the nation’s oligarchs with a massive tax cut and numerous corrupt government no-bid contracts, and gutting federal regulatory agencies.

But then there is the military. Trump

succeeded in getting his “acting” defense secretary, Chris Miller, to turn down the acting Secretary of the Army’s (Ryan McCarthy) request for National Guard troops to protect the US Capitol against the violent mob McCarthy’s intelligence people saw forming on social media in the weeks between Trump’s December tweet and January 6....

Trump’s first run at following in his mentor (and possibly owner) Vladimir Putin’s footsteps and becoming America’s first dictator involved corrupting the Department of Justice, gaining the loyalty of the nation’s oligarchs with a massive tax cut and numerous corrupt government no-bid contracts, and gutting federal regulatory agencies.

What he hadn’t counted on was that the military would stop him.

He succeeded in getting his “acting” defense secretary, Chris Miller, to turn down the acting Secretary of the Army’s (Ryan McCarthy) request for National Guard troops to protect the US Capitol against the violent mob McCarthy’s intelligence people saw forming on social media in the weeks between Trump’s December tweet and January 6.

At the possible request of the White House or his assistant, Kash Patel, Miller issued a memo explicitly saying the Guard, for January 5-6 only, was:

— Not authorized to be issued weapons, ammunition, bayonets, batons, or ballistic protection equipment such as helmets and body armor.

— Not to interact physically with protestors, except when necessary in self-defense or defense of others.

— Not to employ any riot control agents.

— Not to share equipment with law enforcement agencies.

— Not authorized to use Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) assets or to conduct ISR or Incident, Awareness, and Assessment activities in assistance to Capitol Police.

— Not allowed to employ helicopters or any other air assets.

— Not to conduct searches, seizures, arrests, or other similar direct law enforcement activity.

— Not authorized to seek support from any non-DC National Guard units.

As a result, Trump nearly succeeded in decapitating the federal government by having Vice President Pence and House Speaker Pelosi assassinated by his militia buddies. Combined with a proclamation of a state of emergency, allowing him to completely repudiate Posse Comitatus, Trump could have become America’s Putin in a matter of hours.

What prevented him was resistance from the military itself, which appears to be why Trump was trash-talking Joint Chiefs’ head General Milley when he was showing off top-secret Iran war plans to reporters at Bedminster. He knows how close he came to overthrowing our democracy, and is still bitter and angry that Milley refused to go along with him.

Next time he won’t make that mistake. His first step in office will be to replace the Joint Chiefs and secretaries of the military branches with “acting” (no Senate confirmation) men who will do his bidding, no questions asked.

He’s already telling us this: six months after he left office he was still calling for Milley’s head.

His second step will be to follow through on what General Michael Flynn was pretty much begging him to do on January 6: declare a national state of emergency, freeze government functions, and suspend elections.

And then in what is ostensibly about abortion policy in the military

Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville is waging an unprecedented campaign to try to change Pentagon abortion policy by holding up hundreds of military nominations and promotions, forcing less experienced leaders into top jobs and raising concerns at the Pentagon about military readiness....

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said that holding up the promotion of military leaders, most of whom have dedicated their lives to protecting the country, “is one of the most abominable and outrageous things I have ever seen in this chamber, witnessed by the fact that no one has ever had the temerity, the gall to do this before.”

This is about abortion, but it's also about the military. The more promotions held up, the more promotions the next President- who could be Donald Trump- will be able to make. At the very least, Tuberville is showing Republicans a way in which a President Trump can fill more vacancies. And if there are enough military officials who, unlike General Milley, will not question an order from the President of the USA,  

If likely Republican nominee Donald Trump becomes President again, there probably will be no need for an attempted coup or insurrection as was seen on January 6, 2021. Local, state, and federal law enforcement will do as expected and the military will play a prominent role. It's what Trump planned to do if re-elected in 2020, and he won't waste any time establishing authoritarian rule.



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