Trump Plays The 1807 Overture

Reopened October 2019 - includes archived threads from pre-2019

Trump Plays The 1807 Overture

Postby toucana on June 2nd, 2020, 4:07 am 

After a seventh night of curfews and riots in cities across the USA, President Trump has threatened to “ Call out the military across the USA to quickly solve the problem”

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/06/01/politics/donald-trump-national-address-race/index.html

The President made a brief appearance outside St John’s Episcopal Church near the White House last night. He was clutching a bible and surrounded by a heavy security presence who tear-gassed and bludgeoned peaceful protesters away from the vicinity of the church to enable the president and the WH press corps to make the short journey to the church which has traditionally been used by many presidents in the past.

"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 announced.


Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde who oversees the St John’s Episcopal Church later said she was outraged that a church within her diocese had been used without permission as a visual backdrop for delivering a political message that was antithetical to the teaching of Jesus.

Trump appears to be threatening to invoke a rarely used piece of federal legislation known as the Insurrection Act 1807. The problem is that he has no authority to do so nationwide on any unilateral basis.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insurrection_Act

The act in question specifically prevents a president from despatching active US military personnel on law enforcement missions unless state governors have petitioned him to do so, and only after exhausting all other resources.

President George W. Bush attempted to invoke the Insurrection Act in Louisiana during the 2006 Hurricane Katrina disaster, in spite of the governor refusing to countenance such a move because it was unconstitutional. The Bush administration then tried to alter the law by stealth, but all 50 state governors issued a joint statement against the legal changes, which were promptly repealed in 2008.
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Re: Trump Plays The 1807 Overture

Postby TheVat on June 2nd, 2020, 10:21 am 

As I wrote Mossling in the CV19 thread, having a building burned to the ground next door to where my father lived in his final years, peaceful protestors gassed and shot at in the town where my daughter lives, and a public extrajudicial killing in Minneapolis have put something of a cloud over things. And put me in the improbable position of writing: I sorta missed the good old days when all we had was corrupt governance, demented rage tweets, and viral pandemic. Add obliteration of our 1st Amendment - the one that specifically guarantees and protects the right to peacefully assemble.

This is all very reminiscent of Nixon's run for POTUS in 1968, with the same rants about crushing rioting, arresting dangerous anarchists, protecting property, and "law and order."

The phony Bible hugging would have been more comical, if it hadn't been achieved through the brutalizing of young people who embody what's best about America.
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Re: Trump Plays The 1807 Overture

Postby TheVat on June 2nd, 2020, 11:48 am 

Image

This a later edit, to point out that the Hitler photo is doctored, as was determined by fact checkers at Snopes and elsewhere. The actual photo shows Hitler raising his empty hand in the Nazi salute.
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Re: Trump Plays The 1807 Overture

Postby Serpent on June 2nd, 2020, 1:01 pm 

I'm trying to figure out how to feel, besides terrified. Since terror has been the default emotion since 2017, a rise or fall in its level hardly even registers anymore.
There is a deep reservoir, underneath that terror, of pity for all the casualties, past, present and future. And there will yet be many.
This morning, i added another layer of sympathy for our prime minister, who, in his daily address was asked to comment on Trump's actions. That very cool, disciplined professional, who has never yet flubbed a line or failed to recite a standard non-responsive formula for impossible question stood mute for 21 seconds, before deflecting to matters domestic. On reflection, that may have been the most eloquent answer.
I also gained yet another layer of disgust for those of my fellow humans who cheer Trump.

This was always going to happen: it's been either seething just beneath the surface or throwing up local eruptions ever since i can remember - and if i read history at all correctly, since anyone can remember. We just always kept hoping that somebody would work out a peaceful way to address the problems -- and so many good, smart, dedicated, hard-working people have been trying so hard! But the ruthless strategists have been even more successful at exploiting those problems, exacerbating them for power and profit.

Underneath all that is a still-alive ember of hope. Has he - at last, at last - made the fatal miscalculation of alienating the churches? Will the Republicans wake up to the stench of this albatross?
And a whole new fear: How does the military brass respond?
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Re: Trump Plays The 1807 Overture

Postby toucana on June 2nd, 2020, 1:16 pm 

Image


If you haven’t yet heard it, then may I recommend Rachel Maddow’s current three part audio blog series called ‘Bag Man”

https://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/uncanny-return-of-agnew-s-politics-the-basis-of-bag-man-podcast-1356462659692

It’s set right in that 1968 period mentioned by TheVat, and it focuses on the spectacular rise, and even more dramatic fall of Spiro Agnew, a Maryland politician who became president Nixon’s running-mate in 1968 and was re-elected in 1972 as his vice-president as well.

Rachel Maddow describes Spiro Agnew as “Long dead and long forgotten, and a politician who would barely inspire a Trivia question nowadays” - all of which is true. But in his day he was a notorious flame-thrower and lightning rod of a politician. He was also a dreadful harbinger of what was to come from the GOP. A vile populist and anti-semitic baiter of the press, and a trasher of first amendment rights who hid behind the shield of ‘Law and Order’.

It was said that Richard Nixon had chosen Spiro Agnew as running mate as a perverse form of life insurance, on the grounds that supposedly not even a nutcase would want Agnew elevated to the presidency by Nixon’s sudden demise.

Spiro Agnew however was something else as well - a career criminal on an astounding scale. It was an investigation by the US Attorney for the District of Maryland that began in 1972 which exposed Agnew’s involvement in a massive kickback and bribery scandal that dated from his days as chief executive of Baltimore and Governor of Maryland, and which extended all the way past his re-election as 39th Vice president in 1972.

The hammer fell on 1 August 1973, right in the middle of the Watergate scandal when DA George Beall disclosed that Spiro Agnew was under criminal investigation for corruption, and that an engineer called Lester Matz was prepared to testify he had given Agnew an envelope containing $10,000 in the White House itself.

(I remember this rather well because I was standing in the press room of a Washington daily when the story broke. The journalists watching the TV coverage on a small b/w set all told me that Agnew was finished).

Agnew angrily denied the story and said he would not resign as VP even if indicted. He pleaded nolo contendere to the charges and resigned three months later.
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Re: Trump Plays The 1807 Overture

Postby doogles on June 2nd, 2020, 6:34 pm 

I listened to the speech by Trump and was surprised when Toucana made the statement a couple of posts back that "The act in question specifically prevents a president from despatching active US military personnel on law enforcement missions unless state governors have petitioned him to do so, and only after exhausting all other resources."

Please don't take this comment about the Insurrection Act as being an endorsement by me of Trump's speech of intent, because I don't know enough first hand about the seriousness of the looting and vandalism in the USA to voice an opinion. Trump did base his intent on a desire to protect the constitutional rights of those citizens whose cars, properties, businesses and goods were being vandalised for the last week, and the impotency of State Law Enforcement bodies to be able to control the situations.

The Wikipedia link provided by Toucana did list three circumstances under which a President could act:
Purpose and content
The Act empowers the U.S. president to call into service the U.S. Armed Forces and the National Guard:
• when requested by a state's legislature, or governor if the legislature cannot be convened, to address an insurrection against that state (§ 251),
• to address an insurrection, in any state, which makes it impracticable to enforce the law (§ 252), or
• to address an insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination or conspiracy, in any state, which results in the deprivation of Constitutionally-secured rights, and where the state is unable, fails, or refuses to protect said rights (§ 253).

I decided to check on that Code 253.

10 U.S. Code § 253. Interference with State and Federal law
• U.S. Code
• Notes

The President, by using the militia or the armed forces, or both, or by any other means, shall take such measures as he considers necessary to suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy, if it—
(1)
so hinders the execution of the laws of that State, and of the United States within the State, that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law, and the constituted authorities of that State are unable, fail, or refuse to protect that right, privilege, or immunity, or to give that protection; or
(2)
opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws.
In any situation covered by clause (1), the State shall be considered to have denied the equal protection of the laws secured by the Constitution.
(Aug. 10, 1956, ch. 1041, 70A Stat. 15, § 333; Pub. L. 109–364, div. A, title X, § 1076(a)(1), Oct. 17, 2006, 120 Stat. 2404; Pub. L. 110–181, div. A, title X, § 1068(a)(1), Jan. 28, 2008, 122 Stat. 325; renumbered § 253, Pub. L. 114–328, div. A, title XII, § 1241(a)(2), Dec. 23, 2016, 130 Stat. 2497.)

As I said, I'm not in a position to say whether the circumstances are serious enough, but Code 253 suggests to me that a President could be within his rights to unilaterally call in troops without the consent of Governors.
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Re: Trump Plays The 1807 Overture

Postby toucana on June 2nd, 2020, 8:37 pm 

Doogles - You would also need to read something called the Posse Comitatus Act 1878

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posse_Comitatus_Act

This is intimately related to both the Insurrection Act 1807, and is also related to the Enforcement Acts which were three separate bills passed between 1870 and 1871. It was an exception to the Posse Comitatus Act under the terms of the Enforcement Acts for example that allowed president Eisenhower to send federal troops into Little Rock Arkansas during the 1957 School Desegregation crisis.

There was a segment on the MSNBC Rachel Maddow show last night where this entire topic was discussed in some detail with Jeh Johnson who was the former General Counsel of the Defense department, and also the Obama era Secretary of Homeland Security.

https://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show (Trump threat to send US military to cities misses key details)

Suffice to say that Secretary Johnson who was until recently the chief lawyer at the Pentagon flatly rejected the idea that Trump could invoke the Insurrection Act unilaterally in this way, unless the entire state level process of law, and the operation of courts had collapsed completely, which is very far from the case here.
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Re: Trump Plays The 1807 Overture

Postby Serpent on June 2nd, 2020, 9:01 pm 

There is a world of difference between "depriving citizens of their constitutional rights" - as a federal military occupation (a word he actually did use at one point) would do to all the citizens of a state thus occupied, which could be argued as an appropriate response to an attempt to overthrow the government*

and destruction of property - as every ordinary crime, such as arson, vandalism and theft, invariably does to some citizens - which is what the regular police are for (at least in theory) and the army is not.

* Overthrowing governments is generally approved by Americans when it happens in other countries to governments they don't like.
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Re: Trump Plays The 1807 Overture

Postby toucana on June 2nd, 2020, 9:14 pm 

Acccording to Dan Friedman who is a reporter for Mother Jones, many of the troops currently stationed on the streets of Washington DC do not have any identifying military insignia or unit badges displayed on their uniforms.

https://twitter.com/dfriedman33/status/1267936203522932738

Image

When asked to identify themselves, the soldiers declined to do so beyond saying they were "With the Justice Department'.

A number of observers have pointed out that these quasi military uniforms resemble those worn by Erik Prince's notorious Blackwater mercenaries, and that these units may not in fact be federal military personnel at all but private contractors.
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Re: Trump Plays The 1807 Overture

Postby Serpent on June 2nd, 2020, 9:51 pm 

My terror guage just jumped another notch up.
OTH, I've been watching live TV coverage of Brockton Mass. which is having the most peaceable riot I've ever witnessed. Police probably outnumber protesters three to one, and have not, so far, done anything rash.
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Re: Trump Plays The 1807 Overture

Postby Forest_Dump on June 2nd, 2020, 10:04 pm 

Never any shortage of irony with this Trump clown. One day he proclaims himself the law and order president and the next he appears to be bringing in mercenaries to protect the White House. I guess he figures they won't have ny constitutional qualms to worry about - their only alliegence is to the highest bidder and there are probably not many who could outbid Trump.
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Re: Trump Plays The 1807 Overture

Postby Serpent on June 2nd, 2020, 11:20 pm 

Gates could. Any Walton. Zuckerberg... two hundred-odd people in the US alone.
And it's not even tax-deductible.
But i bet there's an accountant, clinging to the underside of something damp, who can figure a way to access Covid-19 small business relief funds to cover it.
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Re: Trump Plays The 1807 Overture

Postby toucana on June 3rd, 2020, 5:34 am 

Newsweek have posted an update on the rather complex pattern of military mobilisations currently taking place in Washington DC:

https://www.newsweek.com/exclusive-president-trump-moves-military-forces-near-wartime-alert-level-washington-dc-1508130

And ABC11 have confirmed reports that combat troops from the 82nd Airborne have recently been shipped from Fort Bragg in North Carolina to the Washington DC area as of Monday night.

https://abc11.com/fort-bragg-soldiers-deployed-to-washington/6226757/

The Newsweek article joins other press sources in noting that president Trump's announcement that General Mark Milley has been appointed commander of Federal Forces is legally questionable, as Milley is chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. By law he is a military adviser to the president and has no role as a military commander.

The current chain of command in Washington DC is summarised as follows:
The D.C.-area troops fall under a little known command—Joint Task Force National Capital Region (JTF-NCR), which was originally activated in March to implement secret continuity of government and other emergency plans in response to coronavirus.

The Joint Task Force is commanded by Army Maj. Gen. Omar Jones. He reports to the "combatant commander" for North America, Air Force Gen. Terrence J. O'Shaunghnessy, the commander of U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), headquartered in Colorado Springs, CO. And Gen. O'Shaunghnessy reports to the president, through the secretary of defense.
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Re: Trump Plays The 1807 Overture

Postby doogles on June 3rd, 2020, 7:06 am 

toucana » Wed Jun 03, 2020 10:37 am wrote:Doogles - You would also need to read something called the Posse Comitatus Act 1878

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posse_Comitatus_Act

This is intimately related to both the Insurrection Act 1807, and is also related to the Enforcement Acts which were three separate bills passed between 1870 and 1871. It was an exception to the Posse Comitatus Act under the terms of the Enforcement Acts for example that allowed president Eisenhower to send federal troops into Little Rock Arkansas during the 1957 School Desegregation crisis.

There was a segment on the MSNBC Rachel Maddow show last night where this entire topic was discussed in some detail with Jeh Johnson who was the former General Counsel of the Defense department, and also the Obama era Secretary of Homeland Security.

https://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show (Trump threat to send US military to cities misses key details)

Suffice to say that Secretary Johnson who was until recently the chief lawyer at the Pentagon flatly rejected the idea that Trump could invoke the Insurrection Act unilaterally in this way, unless the entire state level process of law, and the operation of courts had collapsed completely, which is very far from the case here.


Thanks for the response Toucana. I had difficulty finding the Posse Comitatus Act itself and was dependent on a second-hand interpretation by Wikipedia on the site you cited -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posse_Comitatus_Act . It lists Exclusions and limitations[edit] of the Act.

There are a number of situations in which the Act does not apply apparently. These include:
• National Guard units, state defense forces, and naval militias[13] while under the authority of the governor of a state. However, only the National Guard can be federalized under 10 U.S.C. § 12406, which shifts control from the state governor to the President, making them subject to the PCA as well.
Federal troops used in accordance to the Insurrection Act, as was the case with the 1st Marine Division and 7th Infantry Division being sent to curtail the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
• Under 18 U.S.C. § 831, the Attorney General may request that the Secretary of Defense provide emergency assistance if domestic law enforcement is inadequate to address certain types of threats involving the release of nuclear materials, such as potential use of a nuclear or radiological weapon. Such assistance may be by any personnel under the authority of the Department of Defense, provided such assistance does not adversely affect U.S. military preparedness. The only exemption is the deployment of nuclear materials on the part of the United States Armed Forces.
• Support roles under the Joint Special Operations Command.
• Provide surveillance, intelligence gathering, observation, and equipment for domestic law enforcement on operations such as drug interdiction and counter-terrorism missions.

If the exclusion in red does exist, wouldn't this mean that the Insurrection Act holds sway?

Under the wording of Code 253 of the Insurrection Act, "The President, by using the militia or the armed forces, or both, or by any other means, shall take such measures as he considers necessary to suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy, if it— 1) so hinders the execution of the laws of that State, and of the United States within the State, that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law, and the constituted authorities of that State are unable, fail, or refuse to protect that right, privilege, or immunity, or to give that protection; or ... "

If that exclusion does exist in the Posse Comitatus Act, doesn't it gives any President (forget about Trump for this discussion) full right to "take such measures as he considers necessary" "using the militia or the armed forces or by any other means" etc etc?
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Re: Trump Plays The 1807 Overture

Postby TheVat on June 3rd, 2020, 9:38 am 

I'm quite sure, Doogles, that unlike our President, your concern for the Constitutional rights of black citizens greatly outweighs your concern for property. Most governors have expressed this priority, and are trying to protect the rights of peaceful protestors (most are peaceful, except for a small minority of opportunistic petty criminals and agents provocateur coming from other states) who are, like me and most Americans, horrified at the trampling of basic legal rights of black citizens and extrajudicial killings of unarmed blacks on our streets. Militarising local policing is generally seen as provocative, foments violence, and is at odds with historical precedents. Governors must request federal troops and the president is not the one to make the call on state situations unless federal law is seriously violated and it is quite dire. The Insurrection Act has been used primarily to protect civil rights, not to silence dissent. Many mayors, like New York's, have even asked that the suppression of vandalism and arson be left only to local police and have even turned down state troops.

Bear in mind that the Act is pertinent only when states are unable to safeguard the constitutional rights of their people or are obstructing federal law. This is not remotely the case here. If someone breaks the windows of my bakery, I call my insurance agent, not the United States Army.


Most Americans, unlike Trump, do not want peaceful citizens exercising First Amendment rights to be gassed and shot rubber bullets at in order that Trump could walk one block to St. John's Episcopal for a photo op. Unlike you, I live where this is happening, and have seen ample evidence that Trump has zero concern for the Constitution. This comment is based not on any partisan animus or clouded by emotion, but witnessing literally hundreds of well documented actions and comments from the president revealing his view of the Constitution as an impediment to his power.

Good luck furthering justice and equal rights in Australia, a nation on which you are undoubtedly well informed and empowered to contribute your insight and passion for the rule of law.
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Re: Trump Plays The 1807 Overture

Postby TheVat on June 3rd, 2020, 10:00 am 

These observations, from the Washington Post, may be relevant here. I've taken clips, since the Post is a paywall site.


Trump’s bellicose rhetoric often precedes actions that are less draconian than his initial language would suggest, but this time, his threats may not be empty. Just look at the actions of federalized D.C. National Guard units operating alongside U.S. Park Police on Monday. These guard troops and their law enforcement colleagues weren’t quelling a riot or preventing a violent assault; instead, they were ordered to clear Lafayette Square so Trump could pose for a photo op in front of historic St. John’s Church. They did so with little restraint, and on Attorney General William P. Barr’s orders, using tear gas, flash grenades and rubber bullets to clear a path for the president and his Bible.

The same evening, a military helicopter with U.S. Army markings flew down to street level in the District’s Chinatown neighborhood, forcing frightened protesters to disperse. Meanwhile, reports suggest that units from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division have already been activated and sent to the Washington area, along with units from the 10th Mountain Division and 1st Infantry Division....


No responsible citizens support looting or violence, regardless of the legitimacy of the underlying grievances — but deploying active-duty federal troops to American cities is still a stunning step. As former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey tweeted after Trump’s announcement: “America is not a battleground. Our fellow citizens are not the enemy.”

Worse, Trump appears to be deploying combat units, not soldiers with expertise in law enforcement or nonviolent crowd control. Placing soldiers more used to Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq on American streets filled with angry, distraught protesters is an incendiary move — and one likely to end in tragedy...


It’s a situation fraught with terrible ironies. Most obviously, here in America, the “land of the free,” we’re well accustomed to condemning repression when we see it abroad. For instance, when the Polish government responded to the emerging Solidarity movement with violent crackdowns, President Ronald Reagan spoke out: The Polish government, he wrote, has “answered the stirrings of liberty with brute force. … How can they possibly justify using naked force to crush a people who ask for nothing more than the right to lead their own lives in freedom and dignity?” In 2015, when Burmese police used batons and fists against student protesters, President Barack Obama’s State Department issued a statement “condemn[ing] the use of force against peaceful protesters.”


But there’s an even deeper and more painful irony. This isn’t the first time an American president has invoked the Insurrection Act over the strenuous objections of state and local officials — but the last time, the law was invoked to further the cause of racial justice, not hinder it.

In 1957, when nine black students attempted to enter an all-white school in Little Rock pursuant to a federal court order, then-Gov. Orville Faubus sent troops from the Arkansas National Guard to block them. With state troops under the command of a governor openly defying an order of the federal courts, writes legal historian William Banks, President Dwight D. Eisenhower scribbled his thoughts in a handwritten note: Standing by “in the face of organized or locally undeterred opposition by violence” would, he feared, cause “the entire court system [to] disintegrate” and lead to “the destruction of our form of gov’t.” Reluctantly, he invoked the Insurrection Act the next day, and soldiers from the Army’s 101st Airborne Division formed a protective cordon to allow the nine black students to walk safely to class....


DOOGLES, I hope this at least offers some sense of the pain many Americans are feeling right now, seeing the possibility that the IA could be used to a purpose so counter to its previous use, and so disproportionate.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/ ... ction-act/

This is the link. If I am not mistaken, the Post still gives you a couple of free reads before slamming down a paywall.
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Re: Trump Plays The 1807 Overture

Postby Serpent on June 3rd, 2020, 11:23 am 

So, he thinks he's going to lose the election and hasn't yet secured a third term; somebody in his whispering-chorus thinks this is is the best opportunity he'll ever get to declare martial law, just as they were contemplating, way back in 2017 when states wouldn't accept his egregious immigration policies.
IOW, attempt the military coup he's been dreaming about since he wore those tiny boots with the bone-spurs on.
Given the competency of this administration, the odds of foiling it are pretty fair.
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Re: Trump Plays The 1807 Overture

Postby TheVat on June 3rd, 2020, 11:44 am 

Even the secretary of defense he appointed has rejected the military option.


WASHINGTON (AP) — Breaking with President Donald Trump, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday he opposes using military forces for law enforcement in containing current street protests.

Esper said the Insurrection Act, which would allow Trump to use active-duty military for law enforcement in containing street protests, should be invoked in the United States “only in the most urgent and dire of situations.” He declared, “We are not in one of those situations now.”


https://apnews.com/41d80cc063a7199f75fb28cc34713f0c
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Re: Trump Plays The 1807 Overture

Postby doogles on June 3rd, 2020, 4:32 pm 

As I said in my first post in this thread, TheVat, I have no first hand knowledge of whether the looting and property destruction in the USA is serious enough on this occasion for Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act.

My point was that, contrary to Toucana's interpretation of the Insurrection Act and the Posse Comitatus Act, ANY President appears to have the legal right to invoke the Insurrection Act to "take such measures as he thinks necessary etc etc."

As for my personal stance on the problem, I dislike the opportunist vandalism that invariably seems to become uncontrollable in association with many 'peaceful' protests anywhere in the world.

I fully support free speech and peaceful protests up to the point where organisers of such events deliberately and repeatedly assemble at such times and places as to disrupt the normal flow of life of normal citizens eg stopping the flow of peak traffic in major cities.

But higher on my list of 'stances' is that I loathe racism of any kind. I sincerely hope that justice prevails in the case that triggered the current events in the USA.
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Re: Trump Plays The 1807 Overture

Postby toucana on June 3rd, 2020, 6:14 pm 

As of Wednesday, it would appear that even Mark Esper the US Defense Secretary does not support using active duty troops to quell the large-scale protests across the United States triggered by the death of George Floyd, and he now thinks those forces should only be used in a law enforcement role as a last resort.

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/06/03/politics/esper-insurrection-act-protests/index.html

There is a lengthy discussion of the exact legal relationship between the Insurrection Act 1807 and the Posse Comitatus Act 1878 in the excellent LawFare blog. You can read it here

https://www.lawfareblog.com/can-trump-use-insurrection-act-deploy-troops-american-streets

One of the more salient points would appear to be this one:
The president cannot invoke the Insurrection Act secretly or ambiguously. Before doing so, he is required to make a public proclamation directing “the insurgents to disperse and retire peaceably to their abodes within a limited time,” thereby providing anyone involved in the civil unrest an opportunity to retreat. Perhaps more importantly, this requirement ensures that the president publicly acknowledges and discloses his decision to invoke the Insurrection Act, allowing Congress and the public to respond accordingly.

The devil as always is in the detail. Everyone knows by now that president Trump routinely makes ridiculous statements that cannot possibly be followed up in reality. (Remember the magic COVID-19 tracking site that Google and Jared Kushner were supposed to be producing, or Trump’s more recent threats to shut down Twitter for daring to fact check two of his more deranged tweets ?)

Right now president Trump is only able to get away with poncing around Washington DC and pretending to be a military ‘hardman’ because it happens to be the one administrative district in the USA that doesn’t have a governor of its own to gainsay him. In practically every other state of the union, the governors can (and already have in some cases) told the president where he can shove it.
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Re: Trump Plays The 1807 Overture

Postby TheVat on June 3rd, 2020, 7:15 pm 

doogles » June 3rd, 2020, 1:32 pm wrote:I fully support free speech and peaceful protests up to the point where organisers of such events deliberately and repeatedly assemble at such times and places as to disrupt the normal flow of life of normal citizens eg stopping the flow of peak traffic in major cities.



Doogles, thanks for all the clarifications in that post which I have excerpted a part of. I think the question many Americans are facing is this: how are complacent citizens, blessed with the privileges (largely unseen and taken for granted) of being white, to be awakened to the suffering and fear of many fellow citizens WITHOUT some measures which disrupt "the normal flow of life"? If you look at my country's troubled history, you will find that many desperately needed social changes and advances in justice simply did not happen until a disruption of the normal flow raised public awareness. Massive and disruptive protests led to the Civil Rights Act of 1968, a landmark bill. Same with other advances in civil rights, including ending an apartheid system called segregation. The Vietnam War ended when millions took to the streets in a very disruptive manner. Reforms of urban police departments in greater Los Angeles and elsewhere happened in part thanks to massive disruption and, sadly, destruction. And there is still far to go, as anyone can see. (Find me someone who says "We can use any public drinking fountain now, so all these extrajudicial killings we'll just be polite about... ")

May I suggest that human history shows us to have poor listening skills when protests are tidy, decorous, and do not inconvenience the comfortable?
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Re: Trump Plays The 1807 Overture

Postby toucana on June 3rd, 2020, 8:41 pm 

According to Garrett Haake of NBC, some of the quasi-military personnel seen on the streets of Washington DC tonight are Federal Bureau of Prisons SORT team staff (special operations and response teams).

https://twitter.com/GarrettHaake/status/1268253194402103296

They may be part of a team from Texas according to some observers.
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Re: Trump Plays The 1807 Overture

Postby toucana on June 4th, 2020, 9:42 am 

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Re: Trump Plays The 1807 Overture

Postby toucana on June 4th, 2020, 5:53 pm 

A letter to The Atlantic by James Mattis, former Defense Secretary. 3 June 2020
I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled. The words “Equal Justice Under Law” are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation.

When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.

We must reject any thinking of our cities as a “battlespace” that our uniformed military is called upon to “dominate.” At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors. Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict—a false conflict—between the military and civilian society. It erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect, and of which they themselves are a part. Keeping public order rests with civilian state and local leaders who best understand their communities and are answerable to them.

James Madison wrote in Federalist 14 that “America united with a handful of troops, or without a single soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited, with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat.” We do not need to militarize our response to protests. We need to unite around a common purpose. And it starts by guaranteeing that all of us are equal before the law.

Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that “The Nazi slogan for destroying us…was ‘Divide and Conquer.’ Our American answer is ‘In Union there is Strength.’” We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics.

Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.

We can come through this trying time stronger, and with a renewed sense of purpose and respect for one another. The pandemic has shown us that it is not only our troops who are willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of the community. Americans in hospitals, grocery stores, post offices, and elsewhere have put their lives on the line in order to serve their fellow citizens and their country. We know that we are better than the abuse of executive authority that we witnessed in Lafayette Square. We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution. At the same time, we must remember Lincoln’s “better angels,” and listen to them, as we work to unite.

Only by adopting a new path—which means, in truth, returning to the original path of our founding ideals—will we again be a country admired and respected at home and abroad.


https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/06/james-mattis-denounces-trump-protests-militarization/612640/
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