Dr. Errington Thompson is a critical care trauma surgeon, author, and talk show host. Listen to the Errington Thompson Show, available through Podcast and download at: www.whereistheoutrage.net

Coup D’état

The events of January 6 were NOT spontaneous. Instead, Trump and his allies had a several-pronged approach to try to keep Trump in power.

Dr. Errington Thompson is a critical care trauma surgeon, author, and talk show host. Listen to the Errington Thompson Show, available through Podcast and download at: www.whereistheoutrage.net
by Errington C. Thompson, MD –

Approximately 20 years ago, the Bush administration was trying to convince Americans that Saddam Hussein and Iraq were imminent threats to the American mainland.

We heard that Iraq was stockpiling nuclear weapons. They had obtained the special aluminum canisters that could only be used for nuclear weapons.

Turned out that this wasn’t true. The canisters were used for their medium-range conventional missiles.

We heard tales of mobile biological labs. We also heard that Saddam Hussein has been secretly meeting with al-Qaeda and helping to train the terrorists. We were told by Bush Administration officials that Iraq was buying “yellowcake uranium” for nuclear weapons.

None of these tall tales were true, either. The media was spoon-fed “scoop” after “scoop” by the Bush Administration, and the media bought it. They then, in turn, breathlessly shoveled this nonsense at the American people for us to feed on, and to fear.

There was almost no critical analysis; what analysis there was was buried on page 26.

Now, we have the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol. The New York Times and the Washington Post seemed to struggle to figure out how to cover this event. Nor was CNN much help. What exactly was it? How did the president play into the event? Why didn’t the president—who was watching the chaos live on TV, like the rest of us—do anything for hours?

We never got adequate answers to any of these questions. So, the mainstream media just quit talking about the attack. The final narrative was that it was a spontaneous event that got out of control.

Where was the investigative reporting? This is why we pay a subscription to the Times or the Post. Right? We want then to dig into stories. I wanted a narrative of what happened. Instead, it seemed that everyone went with Fox News’s zombie interpretation of events. “The riot was spontaneous.” “Trump was just using political rhetoric at the Ellipse.” “He really wasn’t calling for violence.”

The end. Now, let’s move on to something else.

Coup D’état

But fortunately, it wasn’t the end.

Over the last four weeks we have learned a lot from the bipartisan House of Representatives January 6 committee. The events of January 6 were NOT spontaneous. Instead, Trump and his allies had a several-pronged approach to try to keep Trump in power.

The first prong was the direct assault on the Capitol. The Proud Boys and Oath Keepers were agitators and disruptors. They worked on what they thought were Trump’s direct orders.

Because of their paramilitary background, they were perfect for the job. They understood confrontation. They scoped out the Capitol. They probed for weak spots. They embraced fighting, pushing, and shoving. They physically removed barriers in order for the crowd to be able to push forward.

Second Prong

The second prong was an attempt to influence the states. Trump and his allies worked tirelessly to overturn the election. Trump personally called leaders in Arizona, Michigan, and Georgia. He pressured state and local officials on multiple fronts.

There was the direct pressure on Georgia: “I just want to find 11,780 votes.” He wanted the leader of the Arizona House to call a special session, which the leader did not have the power to do by himself and declare that there was fraud and throw out the electors and replace them with Trump electors—an option that is not in the US Constitution or the Arizona state Constitution. John Eastman, a law professor at Chapman University School of Law (which forced him to resign a week after Jan. 6), simply dreamed this up this fake elector scheme out of thin air. (See Looking for Justice in All the Wrong Places, for more on this fake elector scheme.)

He did convince Arizona Senate President Karen Fann to waste millions of dollars in taxpayer money for a phony “audit,” which ended up increasing Joe Biden’s margin of victory in the state.

Third Prong

Finally, there was the consistent pressure on Vice President Pence to simply throw out the real electors at the Electoral College. According to Trump and Eastman, Pence had this power. I’m not sure where they read that the Vice President has the power to single-handedly overturn an election because he wants to.

Pence, for reasons only known to him and his God, stood his ground. If there was one person who consistently rolled over for the president, it was Pence, so why he stood his ground this time is unclear.

Pence is no hero. After Pence saw the lawlessness of January 6, and after he learned that Trump had egged on the terrorists to find Pence and kill him, several cabinet members came to Pence to see if he agreed that Trump was unfit to complete his term. Using the 25th Amendment, Trump could have and should have been removed from office. Pence declined. Again, we really do not know why.

What is truly clear now is that Donald J. Trump wanted to stay in power by any means necessary.

Period. Full Stop.

Let that sink in. Trump wanted to lead the mob up to the Capitol because he knew that he could push the mob to do whatever was necessary to get him and his followers into the Capitol. Once he was in the Capitol, he would follow disgraced General Michael Flynn’s advice to “declare martial law” and announce that he was in charge. Then the coup d’état would be complete.

Think about that for a second. Once Trump was standing on the floor of the House or the Senate, who was going to be the person or persons to remove him? The Capitol Police? I doubt it. The National Guard? Not a chance.

Would the military be forced to remove a president from the House chambers? Exactly how would that work? Would Pence call the military into action? If Pence wouldn’t act, then who had the authority? Now, we have a true constitutional crisis on our hands. It was only the secret service that prevented Trump from going to the Capitol because they thought it was too dangerous for his personal safety.

Some people are comparing January 6 to Watergate. That’s like comparing jaywalking to murder of innocent school children at Sandy Hook. There is no comparison. This is big. This is awful. This is truly a dark day for America in which right wing zealots tried to take over our government.

Jayland Walker—One of Too Many

It is important for us to go back to February 1999. It is a little after midnight. We are in New York City, the Bronx. Four plainclothes police officers are driving their unmarked car looking for suspicious activity. They see a man who looks “suspicious.” They get out of the car and approach him.

The man, Amadou Diallo, an immigrant from Guinea, was in front of his own apartment complex. As the officers approached, they began to shout commands. Exactly what Amadou Diallo heard and understood it is unclear. Diallo turned and walked into a vestibule toward the front door. He reached into his pocket for his wallet. Then he turned towards the officers and was faced with a hail of bullets. The four officers discharged 41 bullets at him; 19 of them hit Amadou Diallo. He was dead at the scene. He was unarmed. The officers were indicted in the Bronx, and, after a change of venue, acquitted in Albany, NY.

Just recently, on June 27, 2022, a 25-year-old young man, Jayland Walker, was shot and killed by police in Akron, Ohio after fleeing a routine traffic stop. The exact details of the traffic stop and the chase are unclear. Police officers stated that they saw Mr. Walker fire a gun out the window during the chase. The chase continued on foot. It is reported that police officers attempted to deploy tasers but were unsuccessful at stopping Mr. Walker. As Mr. Walker fled the scene, for some reason, officers open fire and killed Mr. Walker. Initial reports stated that Mr. Walker was shot 60 times or, at least, he had 60 wounds.

There is no excuse for killing this man. One would figure after the George Floyd’s protests, things would change. But it appears that they haven’t. It appears that over the last 20 years, nothing has changed. According to Rashawn Ray, director of the Lab for Applied Social Science Research at the University of Maryland, there has been no significant changes on the federal level with regard to police violence.

A scattering of state and local laws have been changed but for the most part, police departments are not held accountable. Now, when something terrible like this happens, the city pays a negotiated settlement to the family. That money does not come out of the police budget. And while there have been some high-profile trials, in which, officers have gone to jail, that’s not the norm. For the most part, officers get acquitted, and nothing further gets done. Over one thousand—1,000—Americans have been shot or killed by the police every year. This must change.

Pass ERA

In the 1970s, it looked like the Equal Rights Amendment was going to easily pass. There was tons of momentum. Then ultra-conservative Phyllis Schlafly mobilized a large group of women to oppose the amendment and it died.

Basically, the ERA says Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. One would figure that everyone in the US would support such an amendment but in this polarized environment, who knows? I think that another line should be added to the amendment just so we are all clear. All persons shall have autonomy over their own bodies, regardless of pregnancy status. That’s it. This would elevate women to have the same rights as men. Self-determination. The freedom to make their own decisions and choices. Same as any man. Anything less is wrong.

SCOTUS

Oh, and before I leave this topic, it is important that we, progressives, understand that we have a long fight ahead. We aren’t going to change the Supreme Court overnight. We must be focused. We can’t get distracted by nonsense proposals.

Impeach Clarence Thomas. This is a nonsense proposal. It will not happen. Remove Amy Coney Barrett. More nonsense.

Amy Coney Barrett did lie. She should not be on the Supreme Court, but she is there now. She should be impeached for true misconduct. Brett Kavanagh lied, under oath, in his Senate hearings. And everyone knows it—but impeachment is a waste of time.

We don’t need to burn down long-standing institutions like the Supreme Court. Instead, we want to save them! We want the Supreme Court to work for democracy. We need to harden the rules in the Senate. We probably need to think about amending the Constitution to write out exactly how Supreme Court Justices should be chosen. No vacancy should be left open for more than three months without a Senate vote. The Senate majority leader must bring the president’s nominee to the floor of the Senate for a vote—or the Senate Minority Leader is given the authority to lead the proceedings.

Beware, dark days are ahead. The Supreme Court has shown its willingness to throw out old, and even very recent, Supreme Court decisions. Why? Because they can. They believe not in the rule of law, but in the rule of the majority of six to three.

The idea of slow change that John Roberts supported has been run over by a conservative supermajority. The Supreme Court now has an opportunity that it has never had before, to paint all of America in conservative red.

Everything is now up for grabs. The Court will choose cases where they can have the most impact. The Court will work to limit the influence of government everywhere. They will favor big business over everything else. Environmental protection rules will be thrown in the toilet. Unions will be crushed. Individual rights will be suppressed in favor of corporate power. They may very well approve of Republican state legislatures’ taking away the right to vote—or, just as bad, the right to have their votes count—from anyone they dislike: Democrats, African Americans, students, even if they’re in the majority in a state.

There is simply nothing holding the conservative court back. Brace yourselves.

Unfortunately, there is not much that Biden and the Democrats can do in the short term. We must keep a majority in the House and see if we can turn more seats in the Senate in the fall election. But this is the bottom line:

We are in for a fight for the soul of America. I’m not talking about a physical fight—though given the Proud Boys, 3-Percenters, Oath Keepers, and other proto-fascist militias, that might happen, too. No, I’m talking about a fight of ideas. If we lose this fight, all the progress that we made in the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s will be lost.

Ask not what this country can do for you but what you can do for your country. It is time.

 


NOTE: The views and opinions expressed here, as well as assertions of facts, are those of the author. They do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of The Urban News.

Leave a Reply

Asheville
63°
Mostly Cloudy
6:51 am8:16 pm EDT
Feels like: 63°F
Wind: 0mph S
Humidity: 91%
Pressure: 30.01"Hg
UV index: 0
8h9h10h
64°F
66°F
68°F
FriSat
73/63°F
81/64°F