The Military Coup Against Donald Trump

 

 

(I posted this originally at The American Catholic, and I thought the conspiracy mavens of Almost Chosen People might enjoy it.)

 

 

Kurt Schlichter, columnist, attorney and retired Army Colonel, has written the first part of a fictional account of a military coup against President Trump in 2018:

But how would one pull off a coup d’etat in the United States? Most of the political hacks had no idea, while the military experts understood the massive challenge. Some answers were obvious – in the Third World, the first thing the plotters take control of are the radio and TV stations and the newspapers. In America, the media was already in the bag. Hell, they would cheerlead a coup. But the actual seizure of power? That was more complicated.

“You just send in some soldiers and take over everything,” said the younger and, astonishingly, stupider California senator. “You know, with guns. How hard can this Army stuff be?”

Retired – actually, fired by Trump – General Leonard Smith, who had been promoted by Obama after failing to win in Iraq and Afghanistan, but who successfully spearheaded the transsexuals in foxholes initiative, tried to explain.

“Look, it’s a matter of numbers. We take all our land forces in CONUS…”

“What’s CONUS?” asked a former Clinton Deputy Assistant Undersecretary of Defense.

“The continental United States,” the general replied, annoyed. “We have maybe 45 brigade combat teams total available, counting everything active and reserve, Marine and Army. Less than one per state. And a city takes a brigade to control – at least. New York would take ten. And that’s assuming they were all loyal to us. There’s police and federal law enforcement too, but we also have 100 million armed Americans who might object.”

“Ridiculous,” sniffed the senator. “How can a bunch of citizens armed with their deer rifles stop a modern army?” (more…)

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Published in: on August 17, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on The Military Coup Against Donald Trump  
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Donald Trump and Andrew Jackson

Our Federal Union! It must be preserved!

Toast offered by President Jackson, April 13, 1830

(I originally posted this at The American Catholic and I thought that the history mavens of Almost Chosen People would enjoy it.)

Another tale in the ongoing annals of Trump Derangement Syndrome.  Let me say at the outset that I doubt if Donald Trump knows all that much about Andrew Jackson.  Like most Americans, his knowledge of American history is superficial.  Most politicians fit into this category.  Certainly Obama, who didn’t know how to pronounce medical corpsman and Joe Biden who recalled television addresses by Franklin Delano Roosevelt were in that category.  I regret this, but such ignorance is not considered newsworthy unless the politician displaying ignorance is Donald Trump or some other Republican.

Trump in an interview with the Washington Examiner’s Salena Zito, mused that if Andrew Jackson had been born a little bit later perhaps he could have stopped the Civil War.  Go here to read about the interview.  In the interview Trump fully displays his limited knowledge of history especially in regard to the Civil War.  Trump finds the parallels between himself and Jackson flattering and was attempting to play up his knowledge of Jackson and fell on his face while doing so.   The media has been having a field day with this, hauling out historians to denounce Trump.  What has been missed is that Trump was correct on his main point.

Andrew Jackson, born in 1767 ,was a veteran of the American Revolution, something that marked him for life.  When the Declaration of Independence was issued, he was picked to read it aloud to his largely illiterate frontier community.  Both of Jackson’s brothers fought in the War and died in it.  He served in the militia and at the age of 13, as a POW, refused to shine a British officer’s boots and received a saber cut on his forehead for his defiance.  Like most Americans who fought in the Revolution, his service inspired in him a deep love for the new nation he had helped to create.  For all his days he was an ardent American patriot and a defender of the Union.  His steadfast stance against nullification during the Nullification Crisis of 1832 was completely in character as was his threat to lead an American army against South Carolina if it seceded and to hang every secessionist he could get his hands upon.  Although he was pro-slavery, I have no doubt that if he had been alive at the time of the Civil War he would likely have fought for the Union.  His state of Tennessee was divided during the war with East Tennessee being a hotbed of Union sentiment.  The man who considered himself the political heir of Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson, was the only Southern Senator to stand by the Union.  His admirers called him Young Hickory, and in that I think they were absolutely correct.  In his love for the Union he shared with Jackson a sentiment that would override all sectional allegiances.  Abraham Lincoln understood this aspect of Jackson.  He had spent his entire political life fighting the political party founded by Jackson, yet in his office during the Civil War, he had an engraved portrait of Jackson hanging over his fireplace.  If Jackson had been President in 1860 I have no doubt that he would have taken action to militarily quelch secession.  Whether he would have been successful is another question.  However if Jackson had been there secessionists dreaming of a peaceful withdrawal from the Union would have realized that this dream was a delusion. (more…)

Published in: on May 5, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Donald Trump and Andrew Jackson  
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Trump and Teddy?

Matter! Matter! Why, everybody’s gone crazy! What is the matter with all of you? Here’s this convention going headlong for Roosevelt for Vice President. Don’t any of you realize that there’s only one life between that madman and the Presidency? Platt and Quay are no better than idiots! What harm can he do as Governor of New York compared to the damage he will do as President if McKinley should die?

Ohio Senator Mark Hanna at the Republican Convention of 1900

 

 

I have been rolling around in my brain the thought that as President Donald Trump reminds me of Theodore Roosevelt.  At first glance the two New Yorkers seem entirely dissimilar with Roosevelt the scholar turned politician who led the charge up San Juan Hill having little in common with the blue collar billionaire.  However, in their shared endless energy, their desire to attack intractable problems, their appeal to restoring America greatness, their willingness to make enemies of the powers that be, etc. they do strike me as quite similar and unlike most other Presidents. Stephen Beale at The American Conservative makes the case for Trump being in the same mold as The Colonel:

Roosevelt—a career politician who sought military service, an avid outdoorsman who hunted elephants and explored the Amazon, and an intellectually curious historian who dabbled in anthropology and zoology—might seem an unlikely model for Trump.

But in terms of policy, the parallels are legion.  

On trade, Roosevelt was—like most Republicans then and Trump now—a proud protectionist. “Thank God I am not a free-trader. In this country pernicious indulgence in the doctrine of free trade seems inevitably to produce a fatty degeneration of the moral fibre,” Roosevelt wrote in an 1895 letter to his friend Senator Henry Cabot Lodge.

Roosevelt was also a committed immigration restrictionist. In 1903, after radical socialists had bombed Haymarket Square in Chicago and assassinated his predecessor, Roosevelt signed into law a ban on anarchists—including those who professed radical political views, even if they didn’t have any actual terrorist affiliation. Four years later, another law excluded “idiots, imbeciles, feeble-minded persons,” prostitutes, those with certain medical conditions, such as epileptics, and polygamists, or even those who believed in polygamy. Notably this last provision was wielded against Muslim immigrants.  

Roosevelt famously railed against “hyphenated Americanism” and declared that America was not a “mosaic of nationalities.” In language that rings as distinctly Trumpian today, Roosevelt demanded total allegiance and nothing else from American citizens, native and naturalized alike: “A square deal for all Americans means relentless attack on all men in this country who are not straight-out Americans and nothing else.”

Roosevelt built up the military, specifically the Navy, which he showed off to the world as the “Great White Fleet.” Both presidents have a defining public works project. For Trump, it’s the border wall. For Roosevelt, it was the Panama Canal. As with Trump, Roosevelt ruffled international feathers with his proposal, even sparking the secession of Panama from Columbia.

As an undergraduate student at Harvard, Roosevelt had fallen under the influence of Hegelian philosophy, which holds to an evolutionary view of history. He came to believe that the old view of a limited government entrusted with the protection of natural rights was outmoded. Instead, Roosevelt championed an exalted view of executive power that was limited only by what the Constitution explicitly said it could not do. As he put it in his autobiography:

I declined to adopt the view that what was imperatively necessary for the Nation could not be done by the President unless he could find some specific authorization to do it. My belief was that it was not only his right but his duty to do anything that the needs of the Nation demanded unless such action was forbidden by the Constitution or by the laws. Under this interpretation of executive power I did and caused to be done many things not previously done by the President and the heads of departments.

More than anyone since Lincoln, Roosevelt expanded executive power, laying the foundations for the modern presidency. He sought to govern by executive order as much as possible, issuing a whopping 1,081 orders—nearly six times as many as his predecessor and still the fourth highest overall in the history of the U.S. presidency. (His cousin FDR holds the record at 3,721. Woodrow Wilson and Calvin Coolidge rank second and third at 1,803, and 1,203, respectively.)

 

(more…)

Published in: on March 23, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Trump and Teddy?  
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Donald Trump and William Jennings Bryan

(I posted this at The American Catholic last year, and I decided the history Mavens of Almost Chosen People might enjoy it.)

 

 

 

Attempting to draw historical parallels is usually perilous, especially when the person doing so clearly does not understand the period he is seeking to draw a parallel with.  Such is the case with Arthur Levine in the New York Daily News:

On Election Day, the United States voted for the past over the future. In 1896, at the height of the Industrial Revolution, there was a comparable election. It was a time of transition in which clashing visions of America — one agrarian and waning and the other industrial and rising — battled for the soul of the nation. It was a period of dramatic demographic, economic and technological change, producing deep political and social divisions, growing concentrations of wealth and gridlock in government.

William Jennings Bryan, the defender of agrarian America, and William McKinley, the champion of industrialization, contested for the presidency. McKinley won.

In the 2016, presidential election, the reverse happened. Donald Trump, the contemporary Bryan, won.

The context is similar. Once again, America is in the midst of an economic, demographic, technological and global transformation as the country transitions from a national, analog industrial economy to a global, digital information economy.

As in 1896, the country is divided, pained and angry. The poor are poorer and the rich are richer. The number of have-nots is expanding and the number of haves is shrinking. The manufacturing and Industrial Age jobs, demanding no more than a high school diploma, that promised salaries, dreams and hopes sufficient to support a family, are vanishing.

In their stead, there are now knowledge-economy jobs, requiring the highest levels of education in history. The college education required to get those jobs leaves our children with massive student-loan debt.

At the same time, as in the previous transformation, the nation’s social institutions — government, education, media and the rest — appear to be part of the problem rather than the solution. Having been created for an Industrial Age, they are outdated and seem to be dysfunctional. They need to be redesigned for a global, digital, information economy.

As in 1896, the 2016 election gave Americans a choice of restoring what had been lost or building on the changes. It gave them a choice of attempting to repair the existing institutions or replacing them. The nation chose to restore the past and replace our leadership, electing for the first time a candidate who had never held political or military office. (more…)

Published in: on March 7, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Donald Trump and William Jennings Bryan  
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Seven Days in May Redux

 

 

 

(I posted this at The American Catholic and I thought the film mavens of Almost Chosen People might enjoy it.)

 

 

 

What is it with liberals and coups?  Recently several liberals, including entertainer? Sarah Silverman, and Obama era Pentagon bureaucrat Sarah Brooks, have  been calling for/predicting a military coup against the Trump administration.  Such fools have no concept of our military where the officers are trained from day one of their careers in the essential fact of civilian control of the military.  If the impossible ever happened and some rogue faction of the military ever did move against Trump, the shots fired in such a coup attempt would merely be the opening shots in Civil War II.  Liberals have often fantasized about a conservative military coup against the government of the United States, perhaps most famously in the novel and film of the Sixties entitled Seven Days in May.  From current calls for a military coup emanating from the portside of our politics, such concerns about a conservative coup apparently were a case of the left projecting upon the right what the left would be tempted to do if confronted by a civilian government they viewed as a menace.

Hard to believe that it is more than half a century since the film Seven Days in May (1964) was released.  Directed by John Frankenheimer with a screenplay by Rod Serling based on a novel published in 1962, the movie posits a failed coup attempt in the United States, with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force General James Mattoon Scott, played by Burt Lancaster, being the would be coup leader.  Kirk Douglas plays Scott’s aide Marine Corps Colonel Martin Casey who, while agreeing with Scott that President Jordan Lyman’s nuclear disarmament treaty with the Soviets is a disaster, is appalled when he learns of the proposed coup, and discloses it to the President, portrayed by Frederic March.

The film is an example of liberal paranoia in the early sixties and fears on the port side of our politics of a coup by some “right wing” general.  The film is unintentionally hilarious if one has served in our military, since the idea of numerous generals agreeing on a coup and keeping it secret, even from their own aides, is simply ludicrous.  Our military leaks like a sieve, and general officers almost always view each other as competitors for political favor, rather than as co-conspirators.

Ironies abound when the film is compared to reality: (more…)

Published in: on February 7, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Seven Days in May Redux  
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