Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Dude, Where's My Coup?

 (By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
In probably the best line ever written by Australian thriller novelist Michael Robotham, he made a passing reference to George W. Bush in The Suspect, one of his Joe O'Loughlin novels. Robotham brilliantly observed that the sight of George W. Bush in front of the White House was an unnatural one, "like seeing Bill Gates in board shorts. It just didn't look right."
    I'm sure many of us got that déjà vu feeling after 2016 when, after some serious electoral buttfuckery, Donald John Trump was shoehorned into the White House. It just didn't look right. Manifestly unqualified for the highest, most demanding office in the land, showing complete disdain for most presidential traditions, lacking in even the most rudimentary social graces (Hanging up on the Australian Prime Minister, walking in front of the Queen of England, trying to extort the president of Ukraine, et al), I think I speak for tens of millions of us when I say I had a queasy but still-comfortable feeling Trump would only be squatting in the West Wing for four years.
     Then the Select Committee announced yesterday afternoon that there would be one more hearing in June, not July as Chairman Bennie Thompson had predicted. Just like with Anonymous (who turned out to be Miles Taylor), the Washington press corp and Beltway insiders had a field day trying to guess and discover who the witness was. Last night, we'd learned it was Cassidy Hutchinson, a top aide to Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
     We knew that Hutchinson had delivered about 20 hours of testimony to the January 6 Committee but few if any of us knew she'd be the witness to deliver testimony that had made all the committee members race back from their home districts just days before the July 4th recess. It was quite odd. Why was this information so time-sensitive? Was the witness about to go to prison, was it a health issue? No and no.  Ms. Hutchinson is a young, healthy woman in her 20s who did nothing illegal.
     The simple reason Chairman Thompson felt the need to hold this hearing so abruptly is because it was so shocking and that the American people needed to know that their Commander in Chief on January 6, 2021 was a raving, foaming at the mouth psychopath to the point where he'd actually assaulted one of his own Secret Service bodyguards. Do I exaggerate?
     Hardly. Play the video if you haven't already seen the testimony.
    After the speech at the Ellipse, Trump really did want to go to the Capitol and egg the rioters on. Disregard what Mark Meadows said in his Tell-Nothing book in which Trump told him that he was only speaking metaphorically (One doubts Trump even knows how to pronounce the word much less what it means). No, Trump wanted to march to the Capitol or at least be driven there in the Beast. The Secret Service actually tried to hastily arrange a route for Trump before deciding it would be too risky.
     According to the second-hand account told to Hutchinson by Rob Engle, the head of Trump's Secret Service protective detail, Trump didn't know until after he'd gotten in the car that they were heading to the West Wing. As Engle told it to Hutchinson, Trump became enraged and actually lunged for the steering wheel, essentially trying to carjack his own limousine. Fearing an accident, Engle put his hand on Trump's arm and told him to let go then Trump used his free arm to try to choke Engle.
     That was just one of the revelations that proved or should have proved to the American people that their leader, their Commander in Chief, the guy with the nuclear codes, was having a tantrum and had all the impulse control of a spoiled three year-old who was denied that trip to Chuck E. Cheese. And that was just the beginning.

"She is bad news!"
In keeping with his sociopathy, Trump couldn't wait to squirt sewage at Ms. Hutchinson and paint her as a disgruntled ex employee. In calling her a "leaker" (An ironic charge for Trump to make at anyone considering he gave away Israeli intelligence secrets to the Russians and gave a British documentarian access to the First Family on and around January 6th), he'd made a tacit confession. By calling Hutchinson "a leaker", he's not denying a single word she'd said to the Select Committee either today or in prior testimony.
   He's also continuing to propagate the belief that anyone he doesn't personally know isn't worth listening to, especially if they say highly damaging things about him.
    Yeah, Cassidy Hutchinson is bad news, alright, for Trump, Meadows, Jim Jordan, Scott Perry and others. She essentially threw the entire administration under the wheels of the Beast regardless of whose hands were on the wheel. But the revelation of Trump trying to carjack his own car then assaulting the head of his security detail wasn't all she'd divulged.
     She recalled getting summoned to the dining room on December 1st and seeing someone resetting the tablecloth. She looked at the wall where the TV was mounted and noted ketchup dripping down and broken crockery beneath it. She asked what happened and was told that when Trump heard Bill Barr say to the AP that there was no widespread fraud in the election, Trump threw his lunch at the wall. Hutchinson went on to add that it wasn't the first time she'd heard of Trump breaking crockery by yanking on the tablecloth.
     Nearly four weeks later, she was in the tent with Trump, his family and several top aides behind the stage at the Ellipse. Trump was, of course, aggrieved that his crowd wasn't big enough and asked why. The Secret Service told him about all the people, presumably armed, who refused to pass through the metal detectors. Trump said, "They're not here to hurt me," and demanded the metal detectors be removed.
    So, who were they there to hurt? Nobody Trump cared about, which is anyone and everyone not named Donald Trump. No wonder Officer Daniel Hodges, the cop infamously crushed in the doorway, said that Trump set them up. That also would go for his own Secret Service detail, whose own chief he'd soon assault.
     And this was all just in the first hour.
    He knew, or assumed, he'd have Secret Service protection at the Capitol and then tried to, to quote Alexander Hamilton, "ride the storm and direct the whirlwind." In fact, according to Hutchinson, Trump's grand idea was not just to walk to the Capitol, he wanted to walk into the House chamber and scream God only knows what. In other words, he wanted to become one of the rioters.
     Alternative Facts
Now, even though it would read like something out of a dystopian alternate reality science fiction novel, let's extrapolate from today's testimony what likely would've happened if Trump had gotten his way on January 6th:
    Trump grabs the steering wheel of the Beast and somehow wrestles control from the Secret Service driver. The heavily-armored vehicle then hits and kills any number of Trump's supporters (later written off as "collateral damage" and disingenuously eulogized, thereby creating martyrs). The armored limousine then careens in front of the Capitol and Trump exits.
     That sacred building has already been breached and Trump marches up the steps, his terrified Secret Service detail frantically scrambling to protect him from the howling mob. As red-toothed and enraged as they were in reality, seeing Trump would have the effect of pouring buckets of blood on a Great White in a chum line.
     He invokes the Insurrection Act from Twitter while still in the car then marches up the steps. Stewart Rhodes and his Oath Keepers, quivering to hear that, race back to their Virginia hotels where they've set up ammo dumps and weapons caches then they race back to the Capitol. The Proud Boys and Three Percenters do something similar.
    Trump now has not a mob but an army at his back as he walks up the Capitol steps and marches straight to the House of Representatives' main chamber. The counting of the Electors' votes is continuing. He looks up at his vice president, who's astonished to see his boss there. Trump does nothing while his spittle-flecked supporters race toward Mike Pence and overwhelm his protective detail.
     He still does nothing as the mob drags Pence outside and hangs him on the gallows that somebody had set up. We know he'd do nothing because in real life, according to Hutchinson and others, Trump said Pence should be hung and that the mob had "the right idea". The police are quickly overwhelmed, the Secret Service swept aside, shots are fired, people are killed and that further enrages the mob. Mass executions follow in reprisal. Cops are killed en masse.
     Pence is now dead, Pelosi is dead, Schumer is dead. Most if not the entire Cabinet resigns in greater numbers than in reality and, with no Cabinet and no vice president, there is no one left alive to pull the trigger on the 25th amendment. There is no legal mechanism to remove Trump from power. Joe Biden's win never gets certified. Pence is dead and cannot call out the National Guard as he actually had.
   January 6th would've been that bad and worse. We would have officially turned into a banana republic. Trump would still likely be in office and Jeffrey Clark would be the Attorney General. With so much chaos at the US Capitol, state Republican lawmakers would've felt pressured or emboldened to empanel their slates of fake electors. Our once sacred electoral system is now compromised beyond repair and the "winners", just as in Russia and other dictatorships, get to control the results.
    This is how close we'd come to losing our democracy. This is not fear-mongering, this is not hyperbole. This is the truth as closely as we can extrapolate it. This is what Trump wanted. It's what a frighteningly large number of Republicans still want. Only the rioters' failure drove them back into the shadows and to ask for pardons and to lie and distance themselves from their own actions.
    This is the party to whom, as far as the press is concerned, we're about to hand back control of Congress? Think, people. For God's sake, think of what you're about to do. Because if we had a Reichstag, it would already be in flames.


At July 2, 2022 at 4:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading your article, had the same thoughts as soon as I heard “ their not here to hurt me “
I think the weapons would be delivered quickly by people waiting for the signal sent by tweet. If you had a mask on in the chamber you are a democrat and quick target.
I really believe they had intended to take over the government and end democracy.


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