By Robert A. Vella
During his seizure of the GOP, Donald Trump employed typical authoritarian tactics to compel obedience and loyalty among its ranks. Trump used a combination of overt declarations and subtle messaging to warn Republicans that they were either for him or against him and that there was no safe space in between. Those who did resist were subsequently purged from positions of power like former Arizona senator Jeff Flake. Although Trump’s tyrannical takeover of the GOP guaranteed its complicity in his numerous abuses of presidential authority as well as a myriad of other transgressions, the consequential effects both shrunk down the size and appeal of the party and put Republican politicians in a very tight box. No longer could they equivocate on controversial issues. No longer could they show any sign of independence either out of self-interest or out of a personal sense of ethics and morality.
But, Republicans are learning a hard lesson in the midst of a deadly pandemic, convulsive protests over racial injustice, and an election campaign season being dominated by public outrage. There are no limits to tyranny. When following a despot, you might very well be led off a steep cliff.
Today, the despicable megalomaniacal image of Donald Trump is on full display. He’s not even hiding it anymore. Trump is defending the Confederacy which had plunged America into its bloody Civil War. He is reveling in Nazi symbolism which spurred the global catastrophe of World War II. He is blatantly pandering to white supremacy. It matters not what meanders through the twisted contours of a demented mind. Actions speak louder than words. Trump is unequivocally a fascist, a racist, and a traitor to his own country; and, that is the image now confronting the Republican Party.
As public opinion continues to move sharply against Trump and the GOP, he is absurdly asserting that the dismal numbers are a result of a conspiracy by pollsters to damage his reelection chances. In defiance, Trump has announced that his first campaign rally will be held in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 19th. Tulsa happens to be the site of an infamous racial attack by armed white men on the city’s thriving black community in 1921 which was probably the worst such incident in U.S. history (see: Tulsa race massacre). The date, known as Juneteenth, happens to be the celebrated anniversary of Emancipation Day in Texas (see: Trump is restarting his campaign rallies. The first will be on Juneteenth in Tulsa — the site of the Tulsa race massacre.).
Here are those stories plus much more news:
From: ‘That Really Just Happened’: President Trump Congratulates the ‘S.S.’ for Doing a ‘Great Job’ [clarification by The Secular Jurist]
President Donald Trump on Thursday morning called the United States Secret Service the “S.S.” in a tweet which praising multiple law enforcement agencies for doing a “great job” handling “protesters, agitators” and “anarchists,” including “ANTIFA,” around the White House.
The Secret Service’s appropriate abbreviation is “U.S.S.S.” The agency generally calls itself the “U.S. Secret Service” in press releases.
The “S.S.” reference immediately conjured links to the Nazi Schutzstaffel, which translates to English as “protection squadron” and which is abbreviated “SS.” The Nazi SS under Adolf Hitler [and headed by Heinrich Himmler] is considered one of the most terroristic paramilitary groups of the World War II era.
The Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday voted to require the Pentagon to rename military bases and other assets named after Confederate generals, a move that puts the Republican-led panel on a collision course with the White House.
The committee adopted an amendment to the annual Pentagon policy bill that gives the Defense Department three years to remove the names of Confederate generals from U.S. military assets, according to a source familiar with the closed-door proceedings.
The language, adopted by voice vote as President Donald Trump preemptively threatened to veto any defense bill that did just that, affects massive bases like Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Benning in Georgia. But it also goes further and includes everything from ships to streets on Defense Department property.
Republican Group Says Trump Just Became The ‘Confederacy’s Second President’ – The president is honoring those who fought “to preserve slavery and uphold white supremacy,” the Lincoln Project says.
The Senate Armed Services Committee has approved an amendment aimed at blocking President Trump from deploying active-duty troops against protesters.
The amendment, from Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), was approved in a voice vote during the committee’s closed-door markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Wednesday, the senator’s office said Thursday.
Kaine announced last week he would offer the amendment after Trump threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act, an 1807 law that creates an exception to the general prohibition on using the U.S. military to enforce domestic laws.
WASHINGTON — Army Gen. Mark Milley, the nation’s top military officer, said Thursday he was wrong to accompany President Donald Trump on a walk through Lafayette Square that ended in a photo op at a church. He said his presence “created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics.”
“I should not have been there,” the Joint Chiefs chairman said in remarks to a National Defense University commencement ceremony.
WASHINGTON — A white National Guard commander called the standoff in Lafayette Square “the Alamo,” implying that the White House was under siege. Black members of the D.C. Guard objected to turning on their neighbors. Army leaders told pilots to “flood the box with everything we have” as two helicopters buzzed protesters in the streets.
The National Guard is now engaged in an investigation of the havoc a week ago Monday in downtown Washington, similar to after-the-fact examinations more common to battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan. There will be questions, interviews and competing narratives.
But on one point everyone is agreed: The first days of June, a calamitous period for the Trump presidency, have been a debacle for the National Guard.
In the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers last month, questions about whether police officers treat black people differently than their white counterparts have taken on a new urgency.
An analysis of arrest data voluntarily reported to the FBI by thousands of city and county police departments around the country reveals that, in 800 jurisdictions, black people were arrested at a rate five times higher than white people in 2018, after accounting for the demographics of the cities and counties those police departments serve.
The Justice Department’s handling of former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn’s case is a “gross abuse of prosecutorial power,” a court-appointed attorney and former judge wrote in a searing 82-page analysis on Wednesday.
The court-appointed lawyer John Gleeson also argued that Flynn should be sentenced for lying, including for perjuring himself in court for admitting his crimes then disavowing them.
Gleeson, looking at Flynn’s full case record, reasoned that the Justice Department’s recent support of Flynn is so politically advantageous to President Donald Trump and atypical for prosecutors, it’s undermined the public’s trust in the rule of law.
“The facts surrounding the filing of the Government’s motion constitute clear evidence of gross prosecutorial abuse. They reveal an unconvincing effort to disguise as legitimate a decision to dismiss that is based solely on the fact that Flynn is a political ally of President Trump,” Gleeson wrote to US District Judge Emmet Sullivan on Wednesday.
The Justice Department “abdicated that responsibility” to prosecute defendants without fear or favor, Gleeson wrote, by “attempting to provide special treatment to a favored friend and political ally of the President of the United States,” capturing what many critics of Attorney General William Barr and Trump, especially in the legal community, have alleged.