June 2-July 22, 2020 updates
This posting is under constant revision and editing
This also serves as a running commentary as new developments occur. It is also laced with many sources that influenced my comments.. Feel free to use this as a resource.
July 22, 2020
From the Associated Press: Navy vet beaten: "They came out to fight"
July, 21, 2020
The protesters are not blameless, either. Some have fallen into the trap of being violent themselves, and killing their own message. I am supportive of the Black Lives Matter protests of police brutality. However, my support is serious so long as the MLK peaceful protest techniques are used. Those who turn it into violent confrontation do nothing but hurt their cause to stop police brutality toward minorities. This kind of action should be stopped by their leaders. All it does is provide an excuse for Trump to send in his "federal agents" to pour more gasoline on the fire and to stoke the passions of his core supporters.
June 2, 2020 America has a president who has fanned the violence of the flames over domestic tranquility. He has seized on the opportunity of the riots to proclaim himself as the champion of law and order, as he himself does not respect the law, and his form of order is the oppression of one racial group that only begets more violence and strife for years to come. Is this what our democracy has come to? Is this going to be our country torn apart for years to come in racial strife and race wars with cities occupied by the active military to suppress any opposition he views to be an insurrection?. This instability and turmoil is the future Donald Trump is offering us if he is re-elected. The contrast with Joe Biden's vision could not be starker. He presented it in an address on June 2. Biden offers the antidote to Trump's poisonous vision of violence, oppression, hate, and fear.
July 18, 2020 and an edited version of this is also a blog column(also posted separately July 18 as Portland, Oregon incident defines Trump meaning of "law and order" that should scare believers in democracy.
Per media reports July 17, battle gear bedecked, military-style federal agents, Trump ordered are "reportedly pulling protestors into unmarked vehicles" and firing rubber bullets into crowds of protestors. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jemimamcevoy/2020/07/17/trump-ordered-federal-agents-are-reportedly-pulling-protesters-into-unmarked-vehicles-drawing-outrage/
In this case in Portland, Oregon, Trump sent in the same kinds of forces that he used to clear Lafayette Park of peaceful demonstrators. There too, in face of generals refusing to allow the active military to clear the streets, he tried an end-run around them using unmarked military types trained and pulled from various federal agencies picked to do his bidding. In this Portland incident, he used his authority under the guise of "protecting federal property". Since these troops were positioned away from federal property, as well, it appeared they were there to intimidate and scare away the protestors. A young man armed with a boom box held high was shot in the head, and cracking his skull, was their rubber bullet victim...who was nowhere near federal property...nor was he a threat. Of course, it was all caught on cell phone video. Nearly every civil rights and a couple of laws you could name, or the same restraints courts had ordered local police to observe, were violated by these military-style and trained Federales (a term applied to federal police used by tin-pot Latin American dictators to quell the masses), but the best term more applicable came from the mouth of Sen. Wyden: "storm troopers". That one has roots in Hitler's rise to power and similar techniques he used to consolidate his power. Kidnapping, holding without charges and manhandling have been used in recent times by Putin in Russia and China., particularly in Hong Kong. Using unmarked thugs and secret police are common techniques used to subdue opposition by historical and modern dictatorships. What was peculiar about this incident in Portland, the intimidating actions by stormtroopers, was that it was apparently staged for the benefit of FOX and covered only by Trump's loyal media.at first,..but several days later, July 17, the outrage of the Oregon governor and the Portland Mayor and the emergence of a video of weapons firing seriously injuring someone and military types throwing demonstrators into unmarked cars brought it to mainstream media. Both had worked hard to keep the demonstrations peaceful and their concern was that such action would only bring more hardcore protestors to the scene, ready themselves to do violent battle with the stormtroopers. The incident is still playing out since the request of local officials to leave the Portland streets have been ignored.
The purpose was political, it appears since the incident coverage was engineered on Trump media. This is an indication that the purpose was political..to keep the favor of the cult-like followers of Trump, to whom the concept of democracy and civil rights seems to be considered a barrier to Trump's power rather than as some ideal worthy to protect. Trump was faced with polling showing his approval ratings had dropped to the high 30% due to his inept handling of the pandemic and the George Floyd protests. Raising the issue of "law and order" was certainly a diversion of attention from his tanking poll numbers. This kind of military action certainly appeals to the core of the only group of followers who still had the majority of their demographics favoring him: white men with no college education, per recent polling, and followers of the ideology of some of Trump's ardent advisors: dominate the streets with military and suppress demonstrators, peaceful or not. It was meant to send a message that Trump's law and Trump's techniques to force order would rule, but the message it sent to the majority of voters who are now not supportive of him was democracy has no place in Trumpland nor was any respect for civil rights or the rule of law. It was what we could expect in a Trump second term.
An ad run by a Trump PAC has also accused Biden of wanting to defund police. It was as close to a lie as any ad could be. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/biden-federal-aid-police-epartments-defunding/
"No, I don't support defunding the police," Biden told O'Donnell. "I support conditioning federal aid to police, based on whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency and honorableness. And, in fact, are able to demonstrate they can protect the community and everybody in the community."
Trumpism is our own brand of American fascism.:
Fascism is a form of governance, of authoritarianism, based on hyper-nationalism, totalitarian control of justice and domination of power over civilian life, the crushing of dissidents and press freedom, the end of any checks on executive power, ending the rule of law. while keeping and using private sector economic powers. All of those elements are what Trump has to some extent aspired to do in his statements.
Trump's usual response to being called a divisive racist or anything negative is to tag the accusers with the same brand. On July 4,he called "Black Lives Matter" a symbol of hate, totally ignoring the issue of police brutality in the murder of George Floyd and others like him. That is what spawned the protests.. When some call him a fascist, he tries to tag the violent demonstrators as "left-wing fascists" with no idea what a fascist is because what he promotes as the kind of government he wants is eerily similar to the ones who rose to power in the 1930s. Fascists arose from the extreme right using violence and manipulating democracies, yet teaming up with monied and industrial interests. Trump was the one who wanted active military "to dominate the streets". Street violence is an expression of a revolt against injustice.committed by the oppressed of any ideology and should not be condoned and is not protected by the Consitution that does protect peaceful protests.
Trump's militarization of DC was meant to be an example of how he wants to treat the 50 states and our civilian population.. This is his vision for America and his example of how he plans to govern if he is elected for a second term. This is how democracy and first amendment rights are trashed and discarded. Americans have a choice of the kind of a country we want to live in and we can vote our choice in November. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/06/05/89-former-defense-officials-military-must-never-be-used-violate-constitutional-rights/?fbclid=IwAR2AS7HM5YZ26ckmSfGJ-LhFWlTLq7IowLWt_L6wBgWeahQSNchkK8qNFf4
June 1 Trump called the George Floyd riots an insurrection so he can call in the active military to "dominate" cities and states like a tinpot dictator of a third world country, a threat that ignores constitutional provisions forbidding such action without requiring an invitation from a state's governor. He dotes on violence to contain violence if the violence is committed by Black people but white militias are invited to do their thing. and he winks as he says he is protecting their second amendment rights. He waves a bible as he sends the message that he is with the white evangelists and he did it in front of a historic church with its basement damaged by the rioters. He did not visit the church to pray for peace or to urge calm. He used it to threaten more violence. He gathered the ire of faith leaders of both his use of the Episcopal Church and laying a wreath at "a Catholic church statue oft Saint John Paul. II . https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/religious-leaders-lawmakers-outraged-over-trump-church-visit-n1221876
https://www.yahoo.com/news/41-cities-many-sources-false-121419070.html How false reports of Antifa spread. There is no evidence of Antifa activities in the George Floyd protests.
I have no sympathy for looters and vandals. They have lost their protection of First Amendment rights of the peaceful assembly when they became violent, and they should be treated as criminals, but to clear Trump's way for his church photo op, peaceful protestors in compliance with their First Amendment rights were cleared from the park in front of the church using v flashbangs, tear gas, and mounted police were despicable They then had the gall to lie about using chemicals, cutely and deceptively not calling what they did as tear gas, and later admitting it was pepper spray. It was not used by the police but by the Secret Service, Trump's bodyguards...which also gives a lie that the peaceful protestors clean out had nothing to do with the intent for Trump to do a photo op. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/secret-service-now-says-it-did-use-pepper-spray-clear-n1231022?fbclid=IwAR196erjZQObIxsw8eeOUbDYfE5dpquoTF4NXd6STJB4K5mUSAteT13vya4
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/trump-says-military-ready-willing-able-ready-deploy-minneapolis-amid-n1219656 Like hell they were. That photo op incident resulted in former military leaders and even Trump's Secretary of Defense coming out publicly to revolt with words. Per Gen. Mattis, who had served in Trump's White House...that the military was sworn to defend the Constitution and were not sworn to protect the president's political actions and that he was a danger to the Constitution as he exceeded his authority. The final blow to Trump's misuse of the military came from Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and a Trump appointee, when he apologized for wearing battle fatigues and walking across Pennsylvania Avenue to the church as part of the entourage for Trump's photo op after violently disbursing a peacefully demonstrating protest with pepper spray, and swinging batons, and mounted police. https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/11/politics/milley-trump-appearance-mistake/index.html
The opening phrase of the Constitution lists the reason for its establishment... the military, to provide for the common defense and justice. to provide for domestic tranquility. Use of the military to oppress and dominate its people, as Trump tried to assert, can nowhere be found. However, in the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 defined and limited the role of the active-duty military. It was not to be used to carry out civil law. That the use of the active military in a state needs the approval of that state. Per the Congressional Research Service, "The Constitution permits Congress to authorize the use of the militia “to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.” And it guarantees the protection of the state against invasion or usurpation of their “republican form of government,” and, upon the request of the state legislature, against “domestic violence.” These constitutional provisions are reflected in the Insurrection Acts, which have been invoked numerous" times both before and after the passage of the Posse Comitatus Act, 18 U.S.C. Section 1385, in 1878. Congress has also enacted a number" of other laws https://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R42659.pdf
Trump declared the George Floyd demonstrations to be an insurrection. Calling it does not make it one, particularly since the violence greatly diminished within a day or two of the demonstrations. Trump asserted the District of Columbia was not a state, but a federal district (true) so he could use active military to "dominate "the "insurrection" without having to ask permission. He did not count on the revolt of the military within his own administration, who found themselves misused to promote his political interests. They were not "his generals", as he liked to call them. They were sworn to protect the Constitution, not has contrived photo op in from of the church or use the active military support his political interests.
The immediate resolution to the violence will take two parties acting: the legitimate, peaceful demonstrators purging their ranks of the looters and vandals and a government who understands that
the complaints about police brutality have legitimacy and who attempts to govern and legislate accordingly to solve problems. The second party's actions will not happen if Trump gets a second term.
Trump's inflammatory tweets have urged deadly violence to fight violence. " When the looting starts, the shooting starts.", he exhorted, drawing on a 1967' statements by a racist Miami mayor, and advocating shooting the "thugs". https://www.npr.org/2020/05/29/864818368/the-history-behind-when-the-looting-starts-the-shooting-starts He even called for an insurrection by militants against Michigan and two other states not opening up quickly enough for business. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/04/17/liberate-michigan-trump-constitution/ ,
The outrage is that Trump and Trump's loyal attorney general Bill Barr says that only the leftist anarchists were involved as the instigator of violence in the protests, providing no evidence.https://www.businessinsider.com/fbi-no-intelligence-antifa-weekend-violence-george-floyd-protests-2020-6
In fact, right wing militants pose as Antifa to advocate violence while Trump seeks to designate Antifa as a terrorist organization. The FBI found no evidence of Antifa involvement in the violence.VXPWUic_srGifEojnJi9Crx7vXIWRcrlY6Hjs7qtS3c81qPq0a_sM https://www.click2houston.com/news/national/2020/06/02/white-supremacists-pose-as-antifa-online-call-for-violence/. It is the Trump racist play book, his ticket to a win in November. Fear works for him. Violence works for him.We do not know yet the identity of all of the perps of flame, looting and violence. However, there is evidence that right-wing militias and extremists groups like the Boogaloo Boys were also involved, wearing their identifying Hawaiian shirts. and other insignia. Boogaloo Boys say they are preparing for the next civil war. Boogaloo Boy members were charged with killing a federal agent and wounding another in an ambush during the Floyd demonstrations, as mentioned above.
Also seen were armed men. in pickup trucks bearing extremist militia insignia of the Three Percenters. . Barr also controls the FBI but we can also depend on other sources to confirm who was doing the infiltrating. Barr and Trump were contradicted by officials and witnesses on the ground. 20% arrested for arson, vandalism, violence were from out of state. and there were reports of people unknown to the local demonstrators. " Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington confirmed evidence of white supremacist groups trying to incite violence ;Many posted messages online that encouraged people to go loot in Minneapolis and cause mayhem". https://www.mprnews.org/story/2020/05/30/outsiders-extremists-are-among-those-fomenting-violence-in-twin-cities
The incriminating evidence of intent was their own social media summoning their fellow travelers to come and be violent.
Whether it is anarchists on the left or right, wherever they come from, they are enemies of democracy and civil society and they are not protected by the Constitution since they use criminal methods of violence, arson and vandalism. They are eager to destroy justice and civil society so they can realize their awful objectives. They are not for reforming police or justice systems.. They want to destroy both so their respective ilk can take over. and oppress others.. Some advocate starting a race war to upend democratic institutions so they can take charge.
Trump has failed to uphold the basic purposes of the Constitution. Instead of seeking justice, and promoting domestic tranquility, this President throws gasoline on the flames of angered voiceless. Instead of supporting justice and the rule of law fairly and equally applied to all, he praises those who advocate, and are demonstrating with threatening weapons.. .. He is one who just called armed militias invading a state capitol "good people", and marchers who have practiced violence and lynching as their preferred method of justice, neo-Nazis, some 'fine people". This tweet and so many of his others are a degradation of the purpose of our Constitution, justice, and support of domestic tranquility, He then set about dismantling all of the reforms on policing that Obama set in place.. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/trump-says-obama-didn-t-reform-policing-he-did-then-n1231200
Parts of Minneapolis were in flames because the rioters did not see justice being done. . They saw Trump even advocating treating suspects cruelly, lhttps://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-police-nice-suspects/story?id=48914504 , asking police officers in 2017, "please do not be nice to suspects", and letting them hit their heads entering police vehicles, for example. Trump's implication is "we have your backs".if you are brutal. The nation and the world is in shock having viewed what looks like a murder being committed by the police before their very TV eyes. Indeed, the next day the officer whose knee was on the victim's neck for 9 minutes (and nearly three minutes after Floyd was unresponsive) was charged with 3rd-degree murder and manslaughter, further angering those who thought the charges should be first-degree murder. The delay in arresting the officer and three of his cohorts. while deciding on the charge was infuriating for many. It aggravated those already who did not trust the administrators of justice. It appears prosecutors wanted to make sure the charges they file will stick and convince a jury of the guilty charge. The worst-case scenario would be if the defenders were found not guilty of a charge of first-degree murder which is difficult to win in a jury trial since it requires proof of intent and planning. If a mistake was made, it was the local prosecutor who indicated in a briefing that there was evidence a crime was not committed when the video looked to viewers that murder happened before their very eyes. That was the spark that lit the tinder of the riots.
The lessons of history which made Martin Luther King Jr. successful were his use and advocacy of civil disobedience instead of violence.,. King said "riots are socially destructive and self-defeating. ... But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard." Before he was assassinated, Rev. King commented that riots only helped George Wallace. 1968 saw riots and racial unrest which many think led for white voters to put "Law and Order" on the top of the political agenda, leading to the strong showing of racist George Wallace and the election of Richard Nixon in that November. June 1 Trump exhorts governors to allow police to use more force. Call in the military Trump demands because this is an insurrection as he calls for more violence. George Wallace would look mild mannered compared to this wannabe dictator of a President. Violence suits Trump. His heated promotion of violence aimed at minorities is vintage Trump. We should not expect anything else.
Peaceful protest marches kicked off the evenings, that last weekend in May into June, but they deteriorated into violence. Sympathy for the injustice millions saw committed was dimmed with universal condemnation of the rioters even by their own leaders striving for greater justice. The rioters were heard, but it was also self-defeating,, tempering the sympathy for Floyd, as Trump's media was quick to put blame on the demonstrators as "thugs", arsonists and looting miscreants, burying the demonstrators' protest messages about the lack of justice and equal treatment by police of African-Americans and the wrong done to George Floyd.
Continuing chaos is a political opportunity for extremist groups to repeat past successful strategies of winning elections by being the law and order candidates, bringing fake peace by oppression. It fueled the rise of fascists in Europe in the 1930s In the US in the 1960s, law, and order was a slogan that was a successful ticket to election wins.. However,it meant law and order for only some We should know by now that the application of the law is what must be equal and just if the government is to maintain domestic tranquility and order. Let us hope this country can keep its democracy together until November and replace this Trump administration with those who want to heal the nation, removing those who stoke racial divisions, chaos and violence and those using it as a political tool.
June 6 comments: protests are now mostly peaceful and increasingly multi racial with increasing participation of white Americans. Still fueling the protests is a realization that Trump and his administration are still talking up the use of US troops to dominate and suppress and they attempted to demonstrate that in DC, not a state and instead a federal entitiy. To do that they used US military police and a strange, unmarked cadre of unknown
persons. It appeared that they may have been prison guards from Texas under the direction of the Deparment of Justice headed by Bill Barr. This is disquieting. There are moments when I am reliving the early 1930's in Germany, when the population was at the cusp of wanting viiolent crackdown on ethnic and communist elements taking advantage of the failed Weimar goverment. A private army sworn to defend Hitler and carry out his commands had its origin and became the SS. https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/hitlers-private-army-was-more-terrifying-you-can-possibly-24818?fbclid=IwAR2tf6pWQyT3wCXydVXl8S7nakR0wU46cid9hWbTLbtsShwdYkK0RTs-yac
https://www.forbes.com/sites/sergeiklebnikov/2020/05/30/every-person-arrested-in-saint-paul-last-night-was-from-out-of-state-mayor-says/? and law enforcement fingered right wing groups: "
June 25 comments: I am ticked as heck at the comment posted on Facebook today that if you put a racial identity applied to a protester complaining about being discriminated against, you are a racist yourself. That is kin to those who say" all lives matter "as a way to put down "black lives matter." as a slogan. Twisting semantics by redefining the term while ignoring context are committed by those trying to rationalize their own racist attitudes.
There is a difference between one demographic group putting down another demographic group as inferior in order to rationalize treating them unfairly (that is racism) and being sensitive about a racial issue in order to fix the problem.. Recognition of victimization by one group over another requires naming which group is doing what to whom.
Fortunately, those who try to dismiss racism exist by denying discrimination and unfair treatment of the African American demographic are becoming a minority.