By Robert A. Vella
Throughout history, the reign of dictators has been reliant upon a single asset. Tyrants, by their very nature, are generally unpopular leaders and the longer they stay in power the more unpopular they become. Unlike monarchs whose authority is bequeathed from royal lineages, and unlike democratically elected heads of government whose authority is granted by the will of the people, dictators are solely dependent upon support from the nation’s military. When that support erodes, even the mightiest of depots lose power and can meet a sudden and fateful demise. It is ironic that military coups d’état which typically empower dictators are often used against them. In the July Plot of 1944, German Army officers nearly succeeded in assassinating Adolf Hitler, and only nine months later he committed suicide in his Berlin bunker.
For President Donald Trump, a would-be dictator, that lesson is being learned. Although he has already captured one of the two major political parties, corrupted the rule of law, marginalized the U.S. Constitution, packed the judicial system with right-wing ideologues and lackeys, alienated America’s longstanding allies, and incited the most intense cultural polarization since the Civil War, Trump finally crossed a bridge too far when he tried to use military forces to brutally suppress the massive nationwide protests against racial injustices committed by police. After a parade of high-ranking military officers and defense officials resisted on constitutional grounds, Trump was forced to back down. His dictatorship-in-the-making could not continue without the backing of the military.
This setback doesn’t mean that Trump has reversed course, far from it. He is patently megalomaniacal, and his ultimate goals remain unchanged. But, for the time being, Trump is toning-down his bombastic behavior. With his overt actions blunted, and with public opinion solidly against him (see: The Latest Swing State Polls Look Good For Biden), Trump is attempting to repair his damaged image ahead of his reelection campaign. Here are several examples plus the rest of today’s news:
From: Trump says chokeholds sound ‘innocent and perfect’ and compares himself to Lincoln
In Friday’s Fox interview, Trump also said: “I think I’ve done more for the black community than any other president, and let’s take a pass on Abraham Lincoln because he did good, although it’s always questionable, you know, in other words, the end result.”
It was not clear if “end result” was referring to Lincoln’s assassination. Faulkner, who is black, interjected to say of Lincoln: “Well, we are free, Mr President, so he did pretty well.”
Trump has previously claimed that “nobody has ever done for the black community what President Trump has done”, which factcheckers rate as patently false.
[The Secular Jurist suspects that “end result” reveals Trump’s belief that the wrong side won the Civil War]
Trump’s Actions Rattle the Military World: ‘I Can’t Support the Man’
Trump hails military, sidesteps flashpoints in address to West Point grads
Trump moves his Tulsa rally from Juneteenth to June 20 ‘out of respect’
Trump says he will ‘do other things’ if he loses 2020 election
From: Minneapolis police officers pen open letter condemning former officer Derek Chauvin
“Derek Chauvin failed as a human and stripped George Floyd of his dignity and life. This is not who we are,” said the letter, signed by fourteen MPD officers. “We’re not the union or the administration,” the letter says.
“We stand ready to listen and embrace the calls for change, reform and rebuilding,” says the letter, which comes as powerful police unions across the country are digging in, preparing for a once-in-a-generation showdown over policing and new polls that indicate that most Americans now acknowledge that African Americans are more likely to be mistreated or even killed by police.
“There were many more willing to sign, but the group opted to showcase people from across the PD as well as male/female, black/white, straight/gay, leader/frontline, etc. Internally, this is sending a message” said Paul Omodt, a spokesperson for the officers who penned the open letter.
Most of the officers hold ranks of lieutenant or sergeant, according to Omodt.
Protests Continue For 17th Straight Day Amid Calls For Further Police Reforms
Several thousand rally in Paris anti-racism protest
Thousands attend Black Lives Matter protests across Australia
Judge orders Seattle to stop using tear gas during protests
N.Y. Gov. Cuomo Signs Sweeping Police Reforms Into Law, Says They’re ‘Long Overdue’
From: Florida fired its coronavirus data scientist. Now she’s publishing the statistics on her own.
Managers had wanted Rebekah Jones to make certain changes to the public-facing portal, she says. Jones had objected to — and sometimes refused to comply with — what she saw as unethical requests. She says the department offered to let her resign. Jones declined.
Weeks after she was fired in mid-May, Jones has now found a way to present the state’s coronavirus data exactly the way she wants it: She created a dashboard of her own.
White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx praised Florida’s official coronavirus dashboard in April as a beacon of transparency. But Jones has asserted that the site undercounts the state’s infection total and overcounts the number of people tested — with the official numbers bolstering the decision to start loosening restrictions on the economy in early May, when the state had not met federal guidelines for reopening.
See also: Burundi president becomes world’s first head of state to die of Covid confirm medics, despite government officials insisting death was due to heart attack
From: Activists cite tabulation flaw in mail-in ballots in Georgia
Faulty software or poorly calibrated vote-tabulation scanners used to count mailed-in ballots in this week’s chaotic Georgia primary may have prevented thousands of votes from being counted, election officials and voting integrity activists say.
The issue was identified in at least four counties, DeKalb, Morgan, Clarke and Cherokee, according to officials who discovered them, including activists who have sued the state for alleged election mismanagement.
“The fact that it is in multiple counties tells me that it’s probably systemic,” Richard DeMillo, a Georgia Tech computer scientist who has testified for the plaintiffs, because identical scanners and software were used to count all absentee ballots across the state. DeMillo said the only way to know for sure is through audits.
See also: Gov. Newsom’s election [vote by mail] order blocked [by California judge] after Republicans sue over his emergency powers [but state legislature will restore it by passing a law]
Trump finalizes rollback of LGBTQ patient protections [against discrimination]
East Wing rips book saying Melania Trump renegotiated prenup before moving to White House
Did you see him trying to walk down the ramp today?
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No, what happened?
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He can hardly do it. His motor skills are shot. I don’t know if its dementia or a stroke, but something is seriously wrong w2ith him. Might explain that mad dash to Walter Reed last year that still hasn’t been officially explained.
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Yeah, I watched the video this morning. He had trouble drinking a glass of water too.
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As we learned in Guyana under an autocratic leader, even military leaders can be bought. They exist. DT45* just hasn’t found them yet.
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Trump will need more than just a few military leaders. From my experience in the U.S. Army, I can tell you that getting soldiers to blindly follow unjust orders isn’t so easy. Many people resist and many more have severe misgivings. The U.S. Military is absolutely massive with longstanding traditions and protocols which transcend the usual chain of command.
It is much more likely that Trump could occasionally coerce specific individual units (like he did with the Park Police in Lafayette Square) to do his bidding. But, a wholesale takeover of the entirety of U.S. armed forces would be problematic at best.
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