Tanks for the Memories

It’s June 5 in China as I type this late in the evening of June 4 in the U.S.

~ ~ ~

We’ve seen U.S. military personnel deployed to American cities which are not burning down and are not under siege; they’ve been deployed because Americans dared to exercise their First Amendment rights.

These are the same innate rights which founded this nation when colonists rebelled against the tyranny and oppression of an autocratic monarch, writing rebellious missives and tossing tea into Boston Harbor.

Troops and equipment were deployed on both coasts, to Washington D.C. and Los Angeles area.

Sen. Chris Murphy wants to know more about this aircraft also deployed:

Some of this military deployment was just plain stupid, sloppy, wasteful — flip-flopping resources from one place to another. I can’t imagine the military doing this; this is on Barr and Trump.

A federal riot team was dispatched to Miami for some reason. Perhaps it was because of Trump National Doral Miami golf course, or Mar-a-Lago, Trump National Golf Club Jupiter, and Trump International Golf Club West Palm Beach located an hour north. Perhaps it was because Miami-Dade County is only 15% non-Hispanic white and there would surely be protesting there. Maybe it was intended as an intimidation or voter suppression tactic which doesn’t appear to have occurred to Floridians.

The locals in Miami certainly didn’t know why.

With the news, a question hung in the air. Why Miami?

The answer is still shrouded in mystery, but the way the announcement was carried out has confused officials across different levels of government. Several law enforcement sources at both local and federal levels only learned about the team’s presence in Miami after reporters pointed them to statements from the Trump Administration.

Ultimately, the federal team is leaving Miami without being deployed.

Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis asked the National Guard to drop its work on COVID-19 support and take up patrol in Tampa because of protests there — but the protests have been relatively peaceful.

At least until police showed up.

There’s also the hyper-militarized police which can barely be distinguished from military. This one is particularly puzzling since Walnut Creek, California is a relatively wealthy and relatively white part of the state.

This tank-ish vehicle drew comparisons to tanks used in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

June 4, 1989, to be exact — 31 years ago.

It’s not just Americans who see a parallel; this is from a Canadian academic:

Some of my friends of Chinese heritage are disturbed by the comparison, suggesting Americans avoid it in no small part because many Chinese are still traumatized by the 1989 events. Others are concerned because China’s government still aggressively censors any mention of the 1989 protests, potentially removing users from social media. This is a serious punishment because all their identity, employment information, bill paying, credit scores are mediated through social media.

Other Chinese who don’t live in the mainland point to the comparison between 1989 and the US in 2020 and warn us not to end up like the Chinese — under an even more repressive state after hundreds of civilians’ deaths when the military put down the protests, squelching demands for a more democratic society.

It doesn’t seem possible that there could be more than a passing similarity between China in 1989 and the U.S. today, given the amount of freedoms many (straight white) Americans in this country possess.

We were reminded, though, the likely reason the military was called upon may have found inspiration in 1989.

Does Trump think this is just a noisy student uprising which can be put down with tanks? Do his bigoted, talentless minions likewise think police brutality is a nothing burger which can be squashed easily with a show of force?

It’s rather ridiculous what power has been called upon to protect the White House from the protesters who want police brutality against black Americans to end.

So much energy and resources wasted because Trump has a ridiculously shallow concept of power and how best to use it.

But even more ridiculous than all this overkill intended to suppress Americans’ First Amendment right to exercise free speech through protest is the Republican Party’s hypocrisy, from Sen. Tom Cotton’s obnoxious op-ed in The New York Times calling for military deployment against Americans, to this feckless gem from the House GOP caucus:

Utterly blind to their double standard — a president who uses the military to suppress constitutionally-protected speech in violation of his own oath of office is okay with them, but they threaten a totalitarian government which also suppressed speech with military force?

At least the Chinese show signs of breaking their suppression — in spite of attacks on Hong Kong’s freedoms — after their government’s initial handling of the COVID-19 pandemic cost the country valuable time to stop the disease from ravaging Wuhan’s population.

Free speech would have saved Chinese lives; it would have prevented President Xi Jinping’s and the Chinese Communist Party‘s loss of credibility caused by suppressing Dr. Li Wenliang’s warning about COVID-19

Somehow I doubt Trump will learn anything at all from China’s failure.

He certainly doesn’t seem able to learn from his own.

~ ~ ~

It’s now June 5 here in the U.S. as I finish typing this.

31 years ago, a lone man carrying bags in his hands as if he had just been shopping, stood in front of a line of tanks impeding their procession. The Chinese military had fired upon protesters, killing as many as 500 people in Tiananmen Square during the previous two days in an effort to put down the pro-democracy movement.

Tank Man, Tiananmen Square, 1989 - photo by Stuart Franklin
For a moment in time one man stood between the regime and an oppressive future.

I’d like to think there are more than one or two persons willing to stand up to systemic abuses and repression here, hold it in check longer than a moment in time.

The protesters in the streets over the last 10 days tell us there are.

The polls in November will tell us if there are enough.

What will our children say of this time in 31 years? What will they remember of us?


This is an open thread.

138 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    Military have been deployed elsewhere in the U.S. — Minneapolis, for one, and I think I saw Georgia. If you know of any other locations please share in comments.

    Today’s opening number:


    American carnage. We can ship troops anywhere and set up shop but we can’t get our act together on COVID-19 testing.

    • dude says:

      First of all, Rayne, thanks for the compilation. Events are moving so fast and yet you managed to rope it all together.

      • Rayne says:

        Took me 24 hours — I was losing tweets I meant to share faster than I could collect them. There’s one I still can’t find which had four photos of military personnel in LA I wish I’d snagged when I saw it. By the time I realized I’d needed it my timeline had already spewed massive amounts of new content.

    • vicks says:

      Speaking of the virus and people dying…
      Turns out that one of those a-holes that feels that wearing or not wearing a mask is a political statement is the orthopedic surgeon that is scheduled to do my mom’s hip replacement in less than 10 days.
      When I took her for her pre-admission appointments we started at the hospital where they made us put on fresh masks, told us where we had to sit while we were waiting and even put the pens we were using in a box to be sanitized,
      In the surgeon’s office the only person in the office wearing a mask (besides patients in the waiting room) was the very first person to see when you walk in.
      When they walked us to the tiny exam room there was a hallway where I saw at least 8 people in various sized groups with no masks, huddled over monitors, talking and laughing.
      One of those people from the crowded hallway, a woman, walked in our tiny room, with no mask, closed the door and sat down right next to my mom and started shuffling her papers.
      My mom is 79 years old, exceptionally high risk, has early signs of dementia which becomes problematic when she becomes anxious, and her pain, while waiting for the surgery has become incredible.
      To shorten the story, after explaining how much my mom has sacrificed to keep herself safe she left the room to get a mask.
      When the doctor came in he offered to wear a mask if she wanted him to, but explained that they did not work to protect people from the virus. My mom began to take her mask off as well.
      All I could think of to do was make it look as if he were joking and signal to him to put on the damn mask
      I never do well in battles with fools and my mom is already a hot mess, so it was not the time or place to let it rip.
      I don’t think my mom can emotionally handle putting off the surgery while we find another doctor, and it’s not unreasonable to consider that this window to have it done may be slammed shut very soon this doctor is considered one of the best, and since this is pure political bullshit I have no reason to believe that he doesn’t follow protocol in the operating room (which will be her next exposure to him)
      My conscience won’t let this go, so for now I am going the passive aggressive route by contacting the hospital, expressing my concerns and asking that anyone from his practice that may be in contact with her during her stay at the hospital be tested prior to exposure.
      There may not be any laws he is breaking, but my hope is that by going on record the hospital will be obligated to address the problem for me, best case would be demanding this arrogant pos start following whatever guidelines the hospital has in place, or lose privileges.
      We all have to make choices and this one is brutal.
      TMI I know, and I apologize if it’s too personal for this group, but you are a bunch of smart ones and any helpful ideas on how to deal with getting things right at this docs office without my mom becoming the victim of any fallout would be

      • Rayne says:

        My mom’s an 80-year-old retired nurse. She’d be out of that office to look for a new doctor so fast it’d make your head spin.

        Doctors who don’t believe in infection control really shouldn’t be seeing patients. That’s my unsolicited two cents. Best of luck to you and your mom.

          • Rayne says:

            You can tell your mom about my mom. I’m fortunate to have a health care professional in the family who will act as patient advocate. I am certain she would say if a doctor doesn’t believe in infection control with regards to masks, does he wear one in surgery? Does he wear face shields? Gloves? Does he take any other short cuts in infection control because he sees a political statement in them? Patient safety comes first.

            To help your mom’s recovery no matter what you two choose to do for surgeon, I recommend doing research into Enhanced Recovery After Surgery protocol. See https://www.med.unc.edu/anesthesiology/enhancedrecovery/overview/components-of-enhanced-recovery/

            Some practices have changed, like avoiding solid foods +12 hours before surgery. Research shows carbohydrate consumption to feed the body before surgery has proven beneficial to speeding recovery, but you’ll want to know what is optimum nutrition for your mom’s needs. Same for after surgery; it’s difficult for the body to heal if it’s not getting nutrition and fluids. Also want to have a negotiated stated goal for pain medication and inflammation management. Managing expectations will help your mom get her head in the right space before she enters the hospital.

  2. Tom says:

    The photo of Trump and Melania together in the church has got to be the weirdest variation of “American Gothic” that I’ve ever seen.

    Also, I wonder how well the WH has thought this out. Do they have an exit strategy for how this display of military force will play out, or do they intend to have troops in the street indefinitely? Or is the plan to hope that there will be violent incidents that will justify, in the administration’s eyes, the further display and use of force? I get a sense of desperation out of all this, as if Trump is thinking that he can only remain in power by the force of bayonets. How long will it be before razor wire is installed along the top of that new perimeter fence surrounding the White House. Not a good look for the Home of the Brave and the Land of the Free.

    My stay-at-home reading project this spring has been Carl Sandburg’s four volume “Abraham Lincoln: The War Years”. Needless to say, the contrast between Lincoln and the present occupant of the White House could not be greater and is evident on every page.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Trump never has an exit strategy, he wings it. The only one in his inner circle who would have one is Bill Barr. Not a quiet American, he’s more a quiet fundamentalist – and extreme authoritarian. To repurpose a phrase from the Twilight Zone, in order to honor his God, he would serve man.

      • FL Resister says:

        Yeah, gilded cheeseburgers on an altar before a scowling Trump and a sullen Melania facing the backside of a crucifix.
        Another image for the education secretary’s Insurrection Coloring Book to be produced with taxpayer funds and delivered to all of the elementary school students in the country.

        • bmaz says:

          Wait, is that the one that looks like the most pathetic American Gothic reenactment ever??

          If you have a handy link, post it!

          • vvv says:

            It’s up above in the article, and here:
            ht tps://twitter.com/clairecmc/status/1268227282390462465

  3. madwand says:

    I posted this link last night on the previous thread. It’s not quite Tiananmen Square but it is Buffalo Square, NY that is. A cop pushes a 75 year old who loses his footing and hits his head. Note the pool of blood gathering under his head. No one at least in the clip goes to his aid, they just march on by. It’s getting coverage on MSNBC this morning.


    • Rayne says:

      I’d appreciate it if folks put more effort into using original sources when possible. The camera person who caught this was with WBFO in Bufflo — an NPR public broadcasting affiliate, which makes it even more important their work is used and credited.

      Especially since Buffalo police were dicks to Mike Desmond-BFO.

      • P J Evans says:

        The Buffalo PD put the two cops on admin leave – the one who shoved him and the one, I think, who made the one leave that had stopped to check.

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          The Buffalo PD should have put every one who walked by the man on suspension and fired the one who pushed him, and the one who stopped the officer from helping and whoever originally released the lie that the man “tripped”.

          • Rugger9 says:

            Apparently the entire 57-person unit resigned in solidarity with the two suspended officers. If it were my call, I’d accept them resignations graciously and remind these jokers that unemployment relief is barred since they quit.

            And, then I would not let them back.

        • Rayne says:

          Mayor’s response was a joke.

  4. Duke says:

    I believe Barr is making his strategic move to overthrow the federal government. Not Trump. Always need the stooge in Trump. Excellent distraction. 24/7/365.

    As an uninformed civilian I ask, when does an American citizen have standing to bring action in court?

    What about Congress? Surely, the membership in the U. S. House has some standing in some forum.

    Regardless of legal concerns, strictly from epidemiology perspective, the protests will likely result in super-spreaders and an increase in seriousness of the Covid-19 impact on the younger age brackets which were potentially less severe. Social distancing goes to the back of the line in priorities when running from rioting police.

    The spread has shrunk in the population dense areas and has been gathering steam in “fly-over” America.

    If you think it was scary before…..

    One of the songs from Catholic school experience went something like, “They will know we are Christian by our Love”.

    Now, what passes for a hymn is from Frank Zappa, “Remember there’s a difference between kneeling down and bending over”.

    • John Lehman says:

      Someone better watch his back…praetorian guards and all that… “et tu brute”

    • vvv says:

      READ: Lawsuit over use of force against protesters at White House ahead of Trump’s church visit

      ht tps://www.cnn.com/2020/06/05/politics/aclu-lawsuit-washington-trump-document/index.html

  5. Alan Charbonneau says:

    I lived in Pleasant Hill, CA for six years until last October. It borders Walnut Creek.
    Walnut Creek is definitely an upper middle class city and mostly white. The images of police in riot gear are surreal. Maybe seeing this kind of police presence on Rodeo Dr would be more bizarre, but not much.

    • Rayne says:

      It’s incredibly expensive PR work.

      “Look at us, protecting well-to-do white people from the uprising against the white supremacy which underpins their economic system of Big Box stores and fast food franchises. Death to those who get in the way of Starbucks and Chick-Fil-A.”

      As for Rodeo Drive: LAPD kept protesters from getting too close. Can’t have tear gas too close to those designer retail stores.

      EDIT: Well, LAPD initially kept protesters out of the Rodeo Drive area —

      But LAPD must have been spread too thin to stay on top of protecting billionaires’ property because a few stores did get hit.

      Eat the Rich. LOL

  6. Rugger9 says:

    Digby as usual has hit the nail on the head. This is in many ways AG Barr’s doing and instead of Poppy in 1992 (who kept Barr on a leash) he has DJT who will egg him on to crack down, doubtlessly following Putin’s advice from over the phone. It cannot be overstated just how unusual and important the generals’ revolt is here, since the military brass will generally stay out of public politics. However, we have a growing parade of very senior commanders going public about their disgust and I’m pretty sure it’s a message to the active duty troops now: you don’t have to follow the WH. We’ll see how that plays out, but as bmaz noted “Seven Days in May” isn’t just Hollywood any longer. And, thanks to Rayne for catching the House GOP Caucus’ hypocrisy about Tienanmen Square in 1989. I was still in uniform then and we were watching that situation very closely.


  7. BobCon says:

    The Cotton op-ed debacle shows how comfortable the NYC elite are with the idea of the military smashing the streets clear of protest. DeBlasio is letting the police run wild because he and James Bennet and the rest of the club see everything that is happening as an academic exercise.

    The more I think about it, it seems clearer to me that the breakdown of order in the Times editorial suite is because they have a “friend of Jim” problem. Defenses of Bennet are trickling in about how he is a good guy and friend, which are the exactly the wrong attributes for a top editor. You want a guy who will shred the copy of his own kid if needed. But Cotton got the kid gloves treatment because he is obviously a favorite of Bennet.

    And so we get a de facto endorsement of the legitimacy of fantastic visions of sending in airborne divisions to take out imaginary radicals, because the boys in the club don’t see what’s wrong with anything.

    • Rayne says:

      First, DeBlasio sucks (and bears responsibility for many COVID-19 deaths), but he’s also been extorted. His daughter’s address was doxxed by the NYPD union. I hope the NYS AG goes after that.

      Second, Bennet isn’t just an elite; he’s a lousy manager who left an op-ed by a current senator on the most important topic this week in the hands of a 25-year-old editor AND BENNET NEVER READ THE OP-ED.

      Absolutely no fucking excuse for this gaping hole where actual editorial management should have been.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        That level of mismanagement implicates whomever put Bennett where he is. It is an indictment of the management of the most valuable newspaper real estate in America.

      • BobCon says:

        There is a running theme with Bennet’s time as editor. Guys he likes, such as Cotton, jump the line and get garbage run because they have access to him.

        Bret Stephens runs around complaining to the bosses of people who impugn him online, Bari Weiss tried to get people fired for having different opinions from her, and Bennet backs them up.

        The Times Opinion section is being run as a clique for the benefit of people with a complain to your manager mentality, and that is what is at the heart of his mismanagement. You will never get serious editing done in that atmosphere. Real editing gets in the way of what Bennet is after.

        And De Blasio’s screwups on police long predate the doxxing of his daughter. It’s just who he is.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Dan Froomkin has a nice analysis of the Bennet-Baquet problem at the NYT: the wrong men at the wrong time.

          To be blunt, one of the things they have in common is precisely what I think makes them entirely unsuited for their jobs…: a sense of moral and emotional detachment from the news at a time when democratic values are being challenged, when the very notion of truth is under attack and, now, when the ugly, festering wound of racism and police violence has once again been exposed.

          Their “don’t take sides” mantra ignores the times we live in, where one side argues with facts, the other with lies. It leads to normalizing Trump and publishing falsehoods in service to a false equivalence. Froomkin suggests how easy it would be for the NYT to correct its course: Sometimes you do take sides. “That doesn’t mean you become a partisan. It means you recognize that a lie is a lie.”

          A course correction would be easy, but it would require different hands on the wheel. This is the same crew, after all, that terminated its ombudsperson, because, so we were told, it would be more efficient to rely on public comment rather than the work of a talented experienced insider. The Cotton op-ed scandal demonstrates how wrong that decision was. With judgment – or excuses – like that, you could be president.


          • soothsayer says:

            I cannot highlight this part you stated right here, enough:

            Seriously, I agree and it is the underlying crux of why everything is becoming twisted and absurd.

            Yet, I think most of us would still agree, that all people around the world cannot escape the fact that societies are held together by the application of shared norms, ethics, values and laws, as well as equal fairness under the law, and ultimately a balance of goodness over coming our worse natures. What binds this all together is a bed of Truth.

            I mean, the crux of the declaration if independence, so states

            “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
            – Thomas Jefferson

            And also to add:

            “Truth will always be truth, regardless of lack of understanding, disbelief or ignorance.”
            – W Clement Stone

            Therefore, how much more can Truth itself be absent in the thoughts and speech in any group of people, without negative outcomes? Also, what and where would there be any tipping points due to untruths being spread and caused to be believed more? If consciously done, this in itself may be a war on Truth.

            As Winston Churchill stated. “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” This is why lies in and of themselves have such negative outcomes.

            It is also self evident on why General James Mattis himself sees this as such a threat to our constitution and democracy as he recently stated “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.”

            It is also important to take into account, that a lack of Trust leads to lying and deception, but this does not excuse it. Especially when there may be intent in lying so as to exacerbate division, which is why as Mattis so clearly stated recently that it is so important that each one of us summons unity and common cause, drawing on our strengths inherent in our civil society, and which I fondly appreciate him for mentioning that we owe it to past generations that defended this promise, and more importantly for our children and our fellow citizens (our neighbors).

            “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.” – General James Mattis

            God bless you sir, “Chaos”. Godspeed.

            Lastly, I agree with and share Mahatma Gandhis thoughts on Truth, which I hope I to try to emulate more in my speech to everyone I come across, that “Whenever you have truth it must be given with love, or the message and the messenger will be rejected”, as well as the most important statement on how I try to view how I should live my life, though I know I fail in it many times I still try and try again “For there are these three things that endure: Faith, Hope and Love, but the greatest of these is Love.”

            • soothsayer says:

              Hm, after my first sentence, I was referring to your “Their “don’t take sides” mantra ignores the times we live in, where one side argues with facts, the other with lies.”

              I know I posted it, bc it was in my notepad I typed and copied which I am clearly looking at right now. So where did it go? This, makes no sense O_o

              Anyways, I apologize for the confusion of what I am referring to, it is your eloquently stated piece “Their “don’t take sides” mantra ignores the times we live in, where one side argues with facts, the other with lies.”

      • ducktree says:

        Thank you, Molly – I enjoy getting a break from the terrible news were soaking in these days. Note the stack of books over Seth’s right shoulder: one of them is Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi in which she describes 300 plus years of the Dark Passage and the lives of several generations enduring the slave trade and continuing to the families of former African slaves in today’s America. Before the title page is a family tree branching those generations to guide the reader through the sagas.

        It’s a highly recommended read for everyone.

    • Raven Eye says:

      From Politico PM Playbook:

      COTTON/NYT LATEST — NYT’S @tripgabriel: “A.G. Sulzberger, NYT publisher, tells the staff the Cotton Op-Ed was ‘contemptuous’ in tone and should not have been published. In future, fact-checkers will be added to Op-Ed staff & fewer will be published.”

    • Savage Librarian says:

      A tank was parked half a block from my house in Kent in May 1970. Helicopters constantly flew back and forth overhead. It was friggin’ terrifying. And it only takes seconds for government officials to totally screw up and kill.

      It is obscene how the GOP House and Senate members committed dereliction of duty in the impeachment hearings. They have absolutely no respect for the Constitution and democracy.

      But at least one good thing is happening. DT’s polling numbers are plummeting. Sure is looking more and more like Nixon deja vu. If only DT was smart enough to follow the example.

      If the Senate was smart enough to follow the example of democracy, they could give impeachment a second try. Who knows, it might even save some of their seats. But it just looks like they’ll never have what it takes. Such losers!

  8. Peterr says:

    Mattis’ piece in The Atlantic is nice, as is John Kelly backing him up.

    But imagine what would happen if Mattis and Kelly approached a line of military folks on the streets of DC near the White House, all by themselves, and asked to see the unit commander. When the CO appears, they have a little chat. “I’m not your commander, and neither is he. I’m not anybody’s commander any more, and neither is he. We’re just two retired guys who know that you’ve been asked to support violating the constitution, which means you’ve got a tough call here. Ever heard of Major Hugh Thompson? If not, google it and then think about what is going on here. You can continue what you’re doing, “just following orders” as they used to say, or you can decide to do what’s right.”

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      I’m afraid that if they said the words “My Lai” to these young, anonymized men, they would take it as a statement. They do not exude historical awareness.

      • Peterr says:

        If they’re lacking in historical awareness, I’d guess they’d have to google “My Lai” too.

    • Tom says:

      I’ve wondered about the same thing. At what point to those soldiers standing guard on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and elsewhere start asking themselves, “What am I doing here? This isn’t what I signed up for. Who’s the real enemy here?” Maybe I’m being naive but that’s what’s been running through my mind.

      • dude says:

        The mayor of DC said last night on Maddow’s show that ALL the Fed security services were in the Capital to protect Federal assets and she had no control over that authority. She is painting the streets with “Black Lives Matter” large enough to be seen by drones and helicopters I note, but I don’t think the pilots and operators will be struck in the conscience by this.

      • Madwand says:

        They are probably thinking it already, they are not unaware and they will talk among themselves. My bet is “what is a lawful order” is the topic of the day. As long as they don’t get put up against the crunch that won’t come into play.

        • Peterr says:

          If Mattis strolled up to them to talk like this, they’re gonna feel the crunch.

          To have a 4 star say in essence “I’ve got your back, as best I can, if you stand up to unlawful orders,” that could put some steel in a few spines.

    • Jenny says:

      Kelly comes to the aid of Mattis; however let’s not forget Kelly supported a staffer who knew he abused his wife or wives. Plus he agreed to separating immigrant children from their parents. Kelly had an opportunity 2 years ago to speak up. He did not. Heinous administration – those who served and serve.

      • Rayne says:

        Have to wonder how very, VERY bad it is inside the White House that even these two compromised figures spoke out against Trump.

        • Rugger9 says:

          My thinking as well, perhaps we are seeing the beginning of the end here. I noted above how extraordinary it is to see all of these very senior military leaders speak out publicly as the parade gets longer. I’m sure this follows many telecons with GEN Milley along the lines of “what were you thinking” and “couldn’t you come up with a better explanation than that” in somewhat more fragrant language. It tells me only the ambitious brass back DJT now, but there are many of those, unfortunately.

        • Sonso says:

          And yet, no mea culpa from any of them, as it relates to their knowing willing service to, and support of, an anti-democratic, fascist, traitorous criminal. Take it for the minimalist heal-biting that Trumps knows it is.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Donald Trump’s rabid reaction to mild criticism exposes how jealous he is of his more overt soulmates: Pinochet, Stroessner, Batista, Papa Doc, Franco. (Good Catholics all, so Bill Barr’s support remains secure.)

    Lisa Murkowski – who voted against convicting Trump following his impeachment – gently chided him by approving Gen. Mattis’s op-ed. Trump’s response was to tell the Alaska GOP to get a replacement ready for 2022. He doesn’t care who it is, he’ll support them. As long as that replacement supports Trump more fulsomely than Lindsey Graham.


    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      She can use that tweet in her 2022 campaign. Double-edged sword, vengeance be thine.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Indeed even Mittens only voted for one of the articles, and the rest of the caucus voted in lockstep, even Sasse. So, Senator Collins, do you think DJT learned the correct lesson here?

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Donald Trump said yesterday, just after his funeral, “It’s a great day for George Floyd.”

    Trump must have missed the snark in Rick Blaine’s comment about those two German couriers: “They got a lucky break. Yesterday, they were just two German clerks. Today, they’re the Honored Dead.”

    I’d like to think that makes Donald Trump no longer recognizably human. But the list of dictators throughout Latin America, Asia, Africa, the pictures of the angry young neofascists in America, screaming for a place in their leader’s shadow, suggest that’s not true.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Trump said it today, in the context of a rambling speech (exceptional even for him) praising an unexpected drop in unemployment (likely an artifact of how they’re counted, not an actual drop in the number):

      “Hopefully, George is looking down right now and saying, ‘This is a great day for our country.’ This is a great day for him.”

      It’s always about Him, isn’t it.


      • madwand says:

        They are starting to question that number on cable, it sounded like an outlier to me.

      • Sandwichman says:

        Seems odd to me that no one — with the exception of yours truly — has highlighted the repetitiveness of Trump’s “looking down right now” formula. The last time he pulled it was February 28, 2017 and it worked like a charm. Van Jones famously swooned that in that moment he became president.

        “Ryan is looking down right now, and you know that, and he is very happy, because I think he just broke a record.”

        Trump had been in trouble over the failed Yemen raid, for which he characteristically deflected responsibility. General Flynn had urged him to order the raid because it would be a “game changer” that demonstrated the difference between Obama’s deliberation and Trump’s decisiveness.

        So Trump brought William “Ryan” Owens’s widow to his address to a joint session of Congress and read a stirring tribute to the deceased off the teleprompter, which was followed by a prolonged ovation from the Senators, Representatives and guests. The ovation was the “record” Ryan had just broken.

  11. civil says:

    The ACLU and some others have filed suit against Trump, Barr, and others for their actions against Lafayette Park protesters on Monday:
    “This case is about the President and Attorney General of the United States ordering the use of violence against peaceful demonstrators who were speaking out against discriminatory police brutality targeted at Black people. … Without provocation, Defendants directed their agents in the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Park Police, D.C. National Guard, and U.S. Military Police to fire tear gas, pepper spray capsules, rubber bullets and flash bombs into the crowd to shatter the peaceful gathering, forcing demonstrators to flee the area. Many peaceful demonstrators were injured, some severely, by this unprovoked attack. …”

    DC Mayor Muriel Bowser today: “I request that @realDonaldTrump withdraw all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence from our city.”
    Her full letter to Trump is appended to her tweet: https://twitter.com/MayorBowser/status/1268895206713307138

    They’re expecting especially large protests in DC tomorrow.

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This is a great shot of the street mural now painted on 16th St, NW, two blocks north of the White House: “Black Lives Matter.” A street sign saying the same thing was also put up on Lafayette Square. Obviously, the DC mayor approved this message.

    As the shot pans left to right, you can see St. John’s, Lafayette Square, the WH and the Washington Monument. (The viewpoint is probably from a city worker, as it would not normally be available to a civilian).


  13. MB says:

    Hmmm…it’s weird to discover from a re-posted tweet here that there are U.S. military personnel on the streets in Hollywood. I knew the National Guard was here, and I’ve seen news videos of protests in Hollywood but had absolutely no clue as to the presence of U.S. military here…until now.

    L.A. is such a geographically spread-out city (and county) that the other day we had 3 separate curfew rules in effect: 9 p.m. for Los Angeles, 6 p.m. for Santa Monica and 4 p.m. for Culver City. I might not have known this if I had figured out how to turn off the extremely loud and obnoxious amber-alert tone coming out of my cell phone for government alerts, which I managed to do only yesterday.

    The patchwork of curfew ordinances was further muddied by the stated exceptions to them: homeless people, people commuting home after work and people allowed to go to pharmacies to pick up medications. They’re only in effect anyway to make it easier for police to arrest violators in areas where protests are taking place. If I were able to manage the impossible, which means to not consume any news from any media source whatsoever, and merely go about my business locally, I wouldn’t have a clue that anything was amiss in my city.

    • P J Evans says:

      There was a demonstration on a corner near the supermarket I go to – AFAIK, it was completely peaceful, but the market had boarded up the visible outside doors (silly, because it’s easy to walk around them to get to the actual outside doors). Otherwise, there are no signs of anything going on.

  14. John Lehman says:

    OK, all together now, for the win…I’ll shout “sieg” and you all respond “heil”. Good, good…now could we all raise our hands…you know like that ancient Roman salute…ok, try again all together. Hey we’re almost ready for prime time.

    • John Lehman says:

      In Portland Oregon the Oregon governor and Portland mayor are locking horns about sending in the military.

  15. BobCon says:

    From the Times news side report, it sounds like Opinion has fingered a 25 year old for the blame, with Bennet and other top brass claiming they knew nothing.

    The idea that a 25 year old assistant editor has that kind of unsupervised pull is sketchy. He wasn’t acting alone, or if he was, Bennet ought to be fired for that.

    But also troubling is that the guy came to the Times straight out of the college conservative gravy train, with short prior stints at the Wall Street Journal editorial page and National Review. Bennet should not be enabling the quota system that puts unqualified hacks in top positions so that they can keep alive the conservative whining about what is wrong with minorities today.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        If true and it gets out, the Unsubscribe phone lines at the NYT will be busy non-stop for weeks. For good reason.

      • BobCon says:

        So they almost certainly are throwing the 25 year old out as a whipping boy. The process is most likely top brass comes up with the idea, sends the invite to Cotton or his press person, then stick the kid with the details to give themselves deniability.

        Meanwhile, it’s come out that Bret Stephens, who was a Bennet hire from the conservative news pipeline, is notorious among Times staffers for going over their heads with complaints about them:


        He, of course, is off limits to complaints. Meanwhile, editors don’t tell Stephens to go to hell, instead they issue warnings to the people he doesn’t like.

        The Times has been repeating the message that the worst media leadership has been making — at a time when reporters are being assaulted in the streets, management will most assuredly not have their backs.

        No wonder so many have been going public with their complaints.

        • BobCon says:

          Jennifer Barnett, former managing editor under Bennet at The Atlantic writes:

          “It’s really quite something to have left a career in journalism because of an abusive boss who violated journalistic ethics and see that man continue to hold great power, publicly screw up, yet never face any real consequences.”


    • harpie says:

      Bennett has RESIGNED, “effective immediately”

      4:08 PM · Jun 7, 2020

      The @nytimes announced today that James Bennet, Editorial Page Editor since May 2016, is resigning effective immediately. Katie Kingsbury, who joined The Times in 2017, has been named as acting Editorial Page Editor through the November election. [link]

  16. P J Evans says:

    Adam Klasfeld

    INBOX: @USCCRgov, the nation’s bipartisan civil rights watchdog, urges @TheJusticeDept
    to “engage in pattern and practice investigations of the police departments involved in the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Aubrey, and Breonna Taylor.”


    Haven’t they noticed yet that Barr isn’t into civil rights for anyone who isn’t a white male conservative?

  17. Raven Eye says:

    Barr has an authority that fits his philosophy and ambitions very well.

    In 1989 Hurricane Hugo hit Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Things went wonkers in the Virgin Islands, including reports that some members of the V.I. National Guard were on the loose and engaging in looting. A message came into the Coast Guard Crisis Action Center that the Attorney General (Janet Reno) had granted the FBI, U.S. Marshals, and the Coast Guard “extraordinary law enforcement authority” in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. That allowed them to enforce the laws unique to those two entities in addition to their normal federal LE authorities.

    There was a blink, blink moment in the CAC, and a quick check with the lawyers. The Coast Guard ended dispatching a Puerto Rico-based patrol boat to the V.I., and then sent an armed shore party ashore. Not quite as dramatic as the naval shore party from “The Wind and the Lion”, but the hooligans melted away.

    I’d be interested in seeing the paperwork that has dispatched all those federal LEOs onto the streets of D.C.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Re: curfews. My hackles have been raised since they were first invoked. They felt like an insult, an infantilization of the communities where they were enacted. Since then they have served almost exclusively as an excuse for beat-downs and other violent responses to protesters. Last night Masha Gessen referred to curfews on Chris Hayes’ show as “anti-democratic.” Gessen knows whereof she speaks. What is the argument for them in humanitarian terms?

  18. MB says:

    Since the pandemic has forced a lot of people to do their work from home, it has opened a window into a glimpse of the home life of media people, pundits and politicians. Who hasn’t seen a news report these days where a cat or dog is silently present in the background?

    This morning, I was watching Stephanie Ruhle of MSNBC standing in front of some National Guardsmen somewhere in NYC (and wearing a mask), interviewing Chuck Schumer at his home, about the surprising unemployment stats that were released this morning. Schumer is sitting in a room with 2 doorways behind him. One of the doorways is open showing another room (likely a study) with a ceiling fan whirring away. The other door is closed. Until…in the middle of responding to a question, the other door suddenly opens and Schumer’s black cleaning lady walks into the frame for a moment, before disappearing. All I can say is hooray for essential workers! Here’s a link to a screenshot of that moment:


    • Tom says:

      A lot of those journalists look considerably younger when they’re reporting from home as opposed to a TV studio. And when I saw Stephen Colbert the other night wearing what looked like a black shirt with the first couple buttons undone, he reminded me of Hugh Hefner.

    • Eureka says:

      Ruhle was broadcasting from Center City Philadelphia.

      She also interviewed Jeannine Cook, owner of Harriet’s Bookshop. Cook and her family were giving out free books at the peaceful protest last Saturday, before the riots and, later, that National Guard presence.

      Her bookstore is in Fishtown (NE Philly), where on Monday and Tuesday a bunch of white guys calling themselves “Old Fishtown” showed up with bats, shovels, sundry weapons — to include rifles in some reports, racial epithets in others, and a hatchet — to “protect” the neighborhood. She very briefly referred to that **shimmies hands** whole mess.

      Can’t find the thread I’m looking for of the producer from WHYY Radio Times (on which Marcy appeared last year IIRC, or was it 2018 — erg, these days are long lately) who they beat and bloodied.

      Harriett’s Bookshop‏ May 30, 2020:
      “We flooding the streets thanks to an anonymous donor. Free copies of Harriett Tubman & Autobiography of Malcolm X in downtown Philly. How you protest is the protest.
      http://harriettsbookshop.com [photo]”

  19. Tom says:

    Thinking of Trump’s walk over to St. John’s Church on Monday afternoon with his entourage and security detail, I wonder if part of the plan was to evoke the image of the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday striding down the streets of Tombstone towards their fateful encounter with the Cowboys at the O.K. Corral; or perhaps Pike, Dutch, and the Gorch brothers strapping on their guns and heading off to face General Mapache and his men at the climax of “The Wild Bunch”.

    • Raven Eye says:

      There might be a better scene in “Blazing Saddles”. Not “You’re sucking on my elbow”, but perhaps the hand car scene.

  20. Nehoa says:

    Nice to read that Esper is sending home the active military units, and telling NG troops to not carry firearms. Maybe a Pentagon signal to Barr that they will not support the coup he seems to be planning for this weekend.

  21. Quinn Norton says:

    I see so many things, from Covid 19 to military deployments tremendously weakening the union. That’s what I see in the news — a union that makes less and less sense to the people in it. Around SF these days we jokingly call him Prime Minister Newsom. Mostly joking. Maybe hedging our bets a little.

    This is a wonderful post, Rayne, I would love to tweet it out if I still had a Twitter account. :}

    • Eureka says:

      Aren’t you @quinnnorton? It is live. (I found @bmaz come back to life in mid of night once before, too.)

        • Eureka says:

          eehh (cringe) good luck with that giant bummer. Sounds like it could be more painful than trying to get unbanned.

  22. Eureka says:

    Morgan J. Freeman: “A biker gang brutally beat these protesters in Philly today. [video]” [Note: the event was June 1, 2020.]

    Updated article (separately, rumors of a coming “blue flu”):

    Notorious Philly cop, charged with beating Temple student, has a checkered and charmed past http://inquirer.com/news/philadelphia-police-beating-joseph-bologna-temple-student-evan-gorski-protest-20200605.html

    Thread with some historical links/discussion, by Wendy Ruderman — who, with Barbara Laker, wrote the Pulitzer Prize- winning 2010 “Tainted Justice” series @ PDN:

    Wendy Ruderman: “Bologna, then a Sgt, was in charged of this bodega “raid,” in which money and goods disappeared from Jose Duran’s store after narcotics cops cut video wires. Bologna was later promoted. Tainted Justice – security cam footage – register [link] via @YouTube”

  23. Ollie says:

    OMGOMGOMG I just did something that has my toes curled w/delicious, scheming joy. I just wrote to president trump using his new home address:


    I got the stupidest card out of my grandma box and told don that I look forward to him and his spawn vacating the WH after losing in Nov. 2020. I also told him to fuck off and that my greatest joy was writing this address to his racist ass. You can’t believe the giggles that just erupted out of my sour puss! It is so much fun and just think: if all of us………as many as possible…write to trump using his new address? OMG! So I’ve posted this idea on Reddit and Twitter. I don’t do ‘followers’ like I mean I don’t have but a few so if anyone feels so inclined? JOIN ME Plus Bonus? The USPS gets a major bump in mail and good practice for the upcoming ALL VOTE BY MAIL election in November. SO do it for practice! Thanks

    • soothsayer says:

      My wife just brought up this topic and we were just discussing it!
      It’s like you read our thoughts or overheard our convo Lol O_o

  24. Eureka says:

    re Rayne twitter on delayed Philadelphia vote counts: I’ve been meaning to comment on this issue — if PA matters to the 2020 general outcome, we won’t know who is POTUS for days (same, obvi, with House seats and our other races). This June 2nd primary election was the first one for which we had no-excuse absentee ballots / widespread mail ballots. Whole thing has had shitshow aspects. One county with many ballots ~ 1/8th inch too long to be scanned, had to be done manually. At least two counties with bungled instructions. Another noting **massive delays in the mail** — people not getting their requested ballots in anything like a timely manner. Multiple counties set up drop boxes for timely receipt; at least two had sued (and failed) to get extended deadlines (then after the riots, the ~ five counties who received National Guard assistance got an extension of sorts — postmarked by June 2nd, able to be counted if received up to a week after June 2nd). I could go on… and likely later will.

    • Eureka says:

      There’s also the case of a poll worker in a Phila ward who added votes in dem primaries in 2014, 2015, 2016. He pled in March (and the irregularities had been referred to law enforcement by the City at the time in the first place), but Trump ally USA McSwain only announced the case just before this election and right after some Trump claims about Dem voter fraud; details omitted, such as who he was helping, if outcomes were changed, etc. TL;DR reporters figured out some of the facts: he was paid by an operative associated with Abscam.

      I raise this now because Trump and pals will surely (continue to) amplify the case for 2020, given that they were trumpeting an outright conspiracy theory about Phila ‘voter fraud’ in 2016 (the whole ‘no votes for Romney in XX wards’ thing that has been covered extensively, including by Snopes).

      South Philly judge of elections admits he took bribes to stuff the ballot box for Democratic candidates

      Election fraud case sparks renewed accusations about ballot security in Philadelphia

      A South Philadelphia election judge’s March guilty plea to taking bribes to inflate votes for Democratic candidates was kept quiet by federal prosecutors until Thursday, a day after President Donald Trump was again making broad claims about Democratic voter fraud. He offered no evidence to back them up, and threatened to withhold money from states that make it easier to vote by mail.

      Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee seized on Domenick J. DeMuro’s plea Friday, calling it proof that “voter fraud exists” despite what they said was the news media’s reluctance to report on the issue.


      It was not clear why U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain, appointed by Trump in 2017, waited more than two months to make the DeMuro case public and did so just before an election. A spokesperson for McSwain declined to comment Friday.


      DeMuro, according to Board of Elections records, changed his voter registration from Democratic to Republican just before he pleaded guilty. Neither court records nor prosecutors have identified the political consultant who, according to charging documents, paid DeMuro to add votes for Democratic candidates running for the bench and other federal, state, and local offices.

      (internal links removed)

    • bmaz says:

      Jeebus Eureka. If Arizona can get vote by mail right on a widespread basis, and they have, PA can too!

    • Rayne says:

      “massive delays in the mail” is a warning, especially after the hijacking of BLM masks shipped by mail this past week.

      We should be conducting regular, local tests to check mail flow from now through Election Day.

        • Rayne says:

          I wasn’t surprised after that tangerine hellbeast changed management at the top of the USPS. Figured we wouldn’t see the problem until it was too late, in November.

          Now we know they are already screwing with us.

      • bmaz says:

        And apparently, the packages have been cleared and started to be delivered. But the question is, “how and why” did they get “seized” in the first place??

      • Eureka says:

        Yep — avid postmark watcher — and I should note that these mail delays (part of counties’ suits) have happened before*, and go above and beyond things like the snafu where the state online ballot request form dropped the “apartment” field from printing on the mailers, causing a bunch to be returned as undeliverable.

        *2016 delays in one blue county — one that in fact went extra blue for HRC, in a repudiation of Trump even before the midterms — are on my list of additive chips towards how Trump won PA. Of course there was much less volume of absentee/ mail-in ballots then vs 2020.

        5-county Phila Metro area = 1/3 of state’s registered voters, 22-23% statewide vote per AP analyses recent national elections

        • Rayne says:

          We need local programs in which we mail across counties at least 2x a month envelopes the same size as official ballots marked TEST or some other key word.

          Also packages clearly marked MASKS.

          Might be a benefit a la Bannon-esque “flooding the zone with shit,” to have so many packages moving around they can’t tell readily which ones to hijack without proving they are stealing/spying on U.S. mail.

          • Eureka says:

            I’m wondering, too, if someone has obtained access to the USPS scans of upcoming mail (besides the Trump installees at the top, of course).

            Adding: Also, people should mail a letter to themselves. Lots of folks live in places where mail transits different cities/gets postmarked differently than one’s local zip/post office.

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