Your Intrepid Reporter, dear reader, will preface this commentary, as he has done in the past, with the notice that it constitutes the opinion of one who has pled guilty to violating a Restraining Order, taken out by his wife. Each week I attend a Domestic Violence class, as a condition of my probation from Multnomah County Jail, where I spent July and half of August of last year.
Although this writer once considered himself eligible for political office, that collision with the Forces of Order has forever closed such an option. Take whatever is contained therein with that disqualifying preface in mind.
That said, let us look at what happens in a coup d’état, the possibility of which has become subject to discussion on the website Medium a couple of days ago. DHS means Department of Human Services; CBP means Customs and Border Protection.
Note also the most frightening escalation last night was that the DHS made it fairly clear that they did not feel bound to obey any court orders. CBP continued to deny all access to counsel, detain people, and deport them in direct contravention to the court’s order, citing “upper management,” and the DHS made a formal (but confusing) statement that they would continue to follow the President’s orders. (See my updates from yesterday, and the various links there, for details) Significant in today’s updates is any lack of suggestion that the courts’ authority played a role in the decision.
The behavior of the subaltern officials involved imitated that of their superiors in the Administration, who, as other observers noted, made no effort to work with the departments in question, but rather the opposite, to operate from the top without intervening layers of authority and responsibility. The immediate following words
That is to say, the administration is testing the extent to which the DHS (and other executive agencies) can act and ignore orders from the other branches of government. This is as serious as it can possibly get: all of the arguments about whether order X or Y is unconstitutional mean nothing if elements of the government are executing them and the courts are being ignored. [emphasis in original — MM]
Yesterday was the trial balloon for a coup d’état against the United States. It gave them useful information.
state that the preparations for a coup are being implemented.
The editor-in-chief of Reuters, a news agency headquartered in London and in business since 1851, has ordered his reporters to cover the Trump Administration in a manner similar to violent dictatorships: We don’t know yet how sharp the Trump administration’s attacks will be over time or to what extent those attacks will be accompanied by legal restrictions on our news-gathering.
Since the situation is fluid, I cannot say with any degree of assurance what is going to happen within the next few weeks, and indeed the fears, as shown, of a coup may be mistaken. They are not groundless, of course; but they might be erroneous. Put that to one side, for the purpose of this comment, however; what if there be a real prospect of the Congress and the federal court system being replaced by an dictatorship.
It is the case, that the Establishment organ Foreign Policy, published by the Council on Foreign Relations, offers
“The fourth possibility [to ‘get rid of’ Trump’] is one that until recently I would have said was unthinkable in the United States of America: a military coup, or at least a refusal by military leaders to obey certain orders” [Rosa Brooks, Foreign Policy].
Unsuccessful efforts at an overthrow of republican, or constitutional, but in any case legally circumscribed, government in favor of authoritarian rule fail, historically, because the police or military fail to shoot and kill the protest demonstrators. Two examples of recent events will be sufficient to establish this, I think: the 2011 Tahrir Square demonstrators spent days getting tear-gassed and shot before the troops just stopped killing; within a couple of days the President of Egypt had stepped down. By contrast, in the opposite direction, the Syrian military that same year was quite willing to keep killing demonstrators, non-violent or not, when given the order to do so. Al Jazeera notes:
In 2011, what became known as the “Arab Spring” revolts toppled Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
That March, peaceful protests erupted in Syria as well, after 15 boys were detained and tortured for having written graffiti in support of the Arab Spring. One of the boys, 13-year-old Hamza al-Khateeb , was killed after having been brutally tortured.
The Syrian government, led by President Bashar al-Assad, responded to the protests by killing hundreds of demonstrators and imprisoning many more. In July 2011, defectors from the military announced the formation of the Free Syrian Army, a rebel group aiming to overthrow the government, and Syria began to slide into civil war.
We are now living in a country where it is conceivable — it hasn’t happened, yet, but it is conceivable — that the Administration would prorogue Congress. At that point the main thing that would avert a dictatorship would be the unwillingness of the police and military to shoot and kill the demonstrators who protested.
That is why the Greens, as well as anyone else seriously interested in progressive change, would be inclined to foster good relations with military or police officials and personnel. Even if the troops shot and killed in DC, they might not do so in Portland, and then there would be a breakaway government which could reverse the course of events.