Thursday, January 7, 2021

An Attempted Autogolpe

Not an attempted coup d'etat, as many are saying in the media.

I must credit Juan Cole with making aware of this useful term, which apparently comes out of Latin America.  According to Cole, a coup attempt traditionally involves military and also is directed at overthrowing a leader in power.  What happened yesterday in the Capitol did no fit either of these criteria.

But it does fit an autogolpe very well.  This is a self-coup, if you well, a situation where a leader, especially one who is about to be removed from office, acts to overthrow the established rules to remain in power, usually assuming authoritarian power in doing so.  This certainly looks like what Trump was trying to do, but failed to achieve.  So it was an attempted autogolpe.

Barkley Rosser 


Jerry Brown said...

What is the difference?

Fred C. Dobbs said...

This is how other democracies have died

via @BostonGlobe - Stephen Knizer - January 7

Democratic political systems are an audacious rebellion against history. They survive only rarely. Since time immemorial, autocracy has been the preferred form of government. People’s attraction to mass movements and forceful leaders is far more visceral than their attachment to abstract principles like freedom and democracy.

So it is no surprise that today, country after country is returning to some form of strongman rule. Nor should it be shocking that substantial numbers of Americans, as evidenced this week, also long for that kind of rule.

Some interpreted the end of the Cold War as the “end of history” and predicted that all countries, except perhaps for a few outliers, would soon adopt American-style democratic capitalism. Things haven’t worked out that way. In the years after the Berlin Wall fell, I watched three very different countries — Nicaragua, India, and Turkey — surge toward democracy. All three have stumbled and fallen back into autocracy. Their stories are not exceptions but just three recent examples of how fragile and vulnerable democracy always is. They are full of meaning for Americans at a moment when our own institutions are being severely tested.

Many in Washington cheered when a pro-American candidate, Violeta Chamorro, won the presidency of Nicaragua in 1990. The defiant Sandinista incumbent, Daniel Ortega, proclaimed that he and his followers would “govern from below.” They obstructed government projects both politically and on the streets. Meanwhile, the United States pushed Chamorro’s “democratic” government to cut subsidies for the poor and fire thousands of public employees. Not surprisingly, many Nicaraguans decided they didn’t like democracy. In 2007 they put Ortega back into office. Once there, he corrupted Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Electoral Tribunal. They obligingly gave him the “legal” right to remain in office indefinitely.

Nicaragua’s experience teaches three lessons. First, democracy can be subverted by a president who loses an election but then sets out to destabilize the country instead of accepting the result. Second, democratic governments lose legitimacy when they ignore people’s needs. Third, courts and other institutions may seem to function normally even after they have been drained of their true democratic character. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Trump Finally Concedes Election Defeat

NY Times - January 7

... Ending a day of public silence, Mr. Trump posted a 2½-minute video on Twitter on Thursday evening denouncing the mob attack in a way that he had refused to do a day earlier. Reading dutifully from a script prepared by his staff, he declared himself “outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem” and told those who broke the law that “you will pay.”

While he did not give up his false claims of election fraud, he finally conceded defeat. “A new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20,” Mr. Trump acknowledged. “My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”

Mr. Trump initially resisted taping the video, agreeing to do it only after aides pressed him and he appeared to suddenly realize he could face legal risk for prodding the mob, coming shortly after the chief federal prosecutor for Washington left open the possibility of investigating the president for illegally inciting the attack by telling supporters to march on the Capitol and show strength.

Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel, had warned Mr. Trump of just that danger on Wednesday as aides frantically tried to get the president to intervene and publicly call off rioters, which he did only belatedly, reluctantly and halfheartedly. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Uh-oh: "Trump’s Twitter account was restored..."

The White House slips deeper into crisis in the final days of the Trump presidency

NY Times - January 8

What was already shaping up as a volatile final stretch to the Trump presidency took on an air of national emergency as the White House emptied out and some Republicans joined Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a cascade of Democrats calling for Mr. Trump to be removed from office without waiting the 13 days until the inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.

The prospect of actually short-circuiting Mr. Trump’s tenure in its last days appeared remote. Vice President Mike Pence privately ruled out invoking the disability clause of the 25th Amendment to sideline the president, as many had urged that he and the cabinet do, according to officials. ...

But the highly charged debate about Mr. Trump’s capacity to govern even for less than two weeks underscored the depth of anger and anxiety after the invasion of the Capitol that forced lawmakers to evacuate, halted the counting of the Electoral College votes for several hours and left people dead, including a Capitol Hill police officer who died Thursday night.

After Mr. Trump’s Twitter account was restored, he posted a 2½-minute video on Twitter on Thursday evening denouncing the mob attack in a way that he had refused to do a day earlier. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

... Mr. Trump’s Twitter account was suspended for part of the day on Thursday before being restored, temporarily depriving him of that platform. But Facebook and Instagram barred him from their sites for the remainder of his presidency.

Behind the scenes, Mr. Trump railed about Mr. Pence, who refused to use his position presiding over the electoral count to block it despite the president’s repeated demands.

The vice president, who for four years had remained loyal to Mr. Trump to the point of obsequiousness, was angry in return at the president’s public lashing. Senator James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma, told The Tulsa World that Mr. Pence privately expressed a sense of betrayal by Mr. Trump “after all the things I’ve done for him.”

Even when the vice president had to be evacuated during the siege on Wednesday, the president never checked with him personally to make sure he was OK. The Secret Service agents wanted the vice president to leave the building, but he refused and sheltered in the basement, according to two officials. Congressional leaders were whisked to Fort McNair for their safety, but the vice president later urged them to finish the count at the Capitol.

On Thursday, Mr. Pence did not go to the White House complex, instead working out of the vice-presidential residence, according to administration officials.

He was not the only one feeling betrayed by the president. In the White House, aides were exasperated and despondent, convinced that Mr. Trump had effectively nullified four years of work and ensured that his presidency would be defined in history by the image of him sending a mob to the Capitol in an assault on democracy.

Ms. Chao stepped down a day after her husband, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, forcefully repudiated Mr. Trump’s effort to overturn the election. “Yesterday, our country experienced a traumatic and entirely avoidable event as supporters of the president stormed the Capitol building following a rally he addressed,” she wrote in her resignation letter. “As I’m sure is the case with many of you, it has deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside.”

In her own letter, Ms. DeVos laid the responsibility for the mayhem directly at Mr. Trump’s feet. “There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me,” she wrote, just a couple weeks after Mr. Trump pardoned four security contractors convicted of war crimes in Iraq committed while working for her brother, Erik Prince. ... said...

I have misspelled it. Will fix later. The term is "Autogolpe."

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Murkowski Calls for Resignation; Twitter Suspends Trump Permanently

Senator Lisa Murkowski suggested she may leave the Republican Party
if it continued to align itself with President Trump: “I want him out.”

Twitter effectively cut the president off from his favorite megaphone,
citing “the risk of further incitement of violence.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi appealed to Republicans to join the push to force
out Mr. Trump. The House could vote on impeachment next week. Here’s the latest...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Facing Legal and Political Peril, Trump Is Turning On Even His Most Devoted Allies

Twenty-four hours after inciting a deadly riot on Capitol Hill, Donald Trump appeared to finally grasp the political peril and legal jeopardy sure to consume the waning days of his presidency and perhaps beyond. According to Republicans close to the White House, Trump posted the two-and-a-half-minute video Thursday night—during which he grudgingly acknowledged Joe Biden’s win for the first time—as an attempt to stave off prosecution or being removed from office via impeachment or the 25th Amendment. “He knows how bad things got. He knew he fucked up,” a 2020 campaign adviser told me. “This was the political Charlottesville,” a former West Wing official said.

According to one Republican briefed on internal conversations, Trump was swayed in part by Senator Lindsey Graham. The source said Graham called Trump yesterday and explained that there were enough Republican votes in the Senate to remove Trump from office unless he conceded the election and diffused tensions. “He told Trump that he had to say there would be a ‘peaceful transition.’ Those were the key words,” the Republican said. (In the video Trump said: “My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly, and seamless transition of power.”)

Graham did not respond to requests for comment. The White House did not respond for comment. ...


Trump briefly admits election defeat, clings to flailing legal strategy

WASHINGTON/WILMINGTON, Del. (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Sunday briefly acknowledged losing the U.S. election in a morning Twitter post but then backtracked, saying he concedes “nothing” and vowing to keep up a court fight that election-law experts say is unlikely to succeed. ...

Trump, pursuing long-shot litigation to contest election results in several states, made conflicting comments on Twitter. He initially appeared to admit for the first time publicly that Biden won, then reversed course. Trump also repeated unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud.

“He won because the Election was Rigged,” Trump wrote, not referring to Biden by name, adding a list of complaints about vote counting. About 90 minutes later, Trump wrote: “He only won in the eyes of the FAKE NEWS MEDIA. I concede NOTHING!” ...

Permanent suspension of @realDonaldTrump

Trump went 'ballistic' after being tossed off Twitter permanently

Trump supporters yell ‘traitor’ to Lindsey Graham at airport

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Trump Cabinet officers departing...

Ms. Chao stepped down a day after her husband, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, forcefully repudiated Mr. Trump’s effort to overturn the election. “Yesterday, our country experienced a traumatic and entirely avoidable event as supporters of the president stormed the Capitol building following a rally he addressed,” she wrote in her resignation letter. “As I’m sure is the case with many of you, it has deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside.”

In her own letter, Ms. DeVos laid the responsibility for the mayhem directly at Mr. Trump’s feet. “There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me,” she wrote ...

(It has been speculated that this reflects utter cowardice on the part of
any who could be called to vote to remove Trump under the 25th Amendment.

Presumably they both know they could not hold up under the abuse they
would take from Trump if they were to do so. And the lackeys who
replaced them would not vote Trump out anyway.)

Fred C. Dobbs said...

President Trump responds to Twitter account ban in tweet storm from @POTUS account

After Twitter took the major step Friday of permanently banning President Trump’s @realdonaldtrump Twitter account, the President aimed to get the last word in through his government account @POTUS which has a fraction of the Twitter followers but still offered the President a megaphone on the service to send out a few last tweets.

The tweets were deleted within minutes by Twitter which does not allow banned individuals to circumvent a full ban by tweeting under alternate accounts. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

All in all, not unlike post-election
period in 1860, after Lincoln's election.

The last straws: Dems win control of the Senate,
then insurrectionists assault the Congress.

Hopefully, it's all over but for the swearing-in.

The political pros who operate the Congress have
their jobs at stake, after all. Not to mention,
domestic tranquility

Congress reconvenes after pro-Trump mob swarms Capitol

via @BostonGlobe - January 6

WASHINGTON (AP) — A violent mob loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday and forced lawmakers into hiding, in a stunning attempt to overturn America’s presidential election, undercut the nation’s democracy and keep Democrat Joe Biden from replacing Trump in the White House.

The nation’s elected representatives scrambled to crouch under desks and don gas marks, while police futilely tried to barricade the building, one of the most jarring scenes ever to unfold in a seat of American political power. A woman was shot and killed inside the Capitol, and Washington’s mayor instituted an evening curfew in an attempt to contain the violence.

The rioters were egged on by Trump, who has spent weeks falsely attacking the integrity of the election and had urged his supporters to descend on Washington to protest Congress’ formal approval of Biden’s victory. Some Republican lawmakers were in the midst of raising objections to the results on his behalf when the proceedings were abruptly halted by the mob.

Together, the protests and the GOP election objections amounted to an almost unthinkable challenge to American democracy and exposed the depths of the divisions that have coursed through the country during Trump’s four years in office. Though the efforts to block Biden from being sworn in on Jan. 20 were sure to fail, the support Trump has received for his efforts to overturn the election results have badly strained the nation’s democratic guardrails. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Four days after a riot at the Capitol, the likelihood of the House’s impeaching Trump continues to grow

NY Times - January 10

... Senator Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, said on Saturday that Mr. Trump had “committed impeachable offenses,” a sign of growing anger over Mr. Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol building.

Mr. Toomey’s comment, on Fox News on Saturday, was the starkest yet among Republican lawmakers who appeared newly open to the idea. Earlier last week, Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska indicated he would be open to considering articles of impeachment at a trial, and Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has called on the president to resign.

“I want him out,” Ms. Murkowski told The Anchorage Daily News. “He has caused enough damage.”

But in a reflection of how unpopular the idea is even among Republicans who have criticized Mr. Trump’s role in the riot, seven House Republicans wrote to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Saturday and implored him to ask Speaker Nancy Pelosi to stop efforts to impeach Mr. Trump. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Police Reassess Security for Inauguration and Demonstrations After Capitol Attack

NY Times - January 10

Federal and local authorities across the country pressed their hunt this weekend for the members of the angry mob that stormed the Capitol building last Wednesday, as Washington’s mayor issued an urgent appeal to start preparing immediately for more potential violence before, during and after the inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Following one of the most stunning security lapses in the city’s history, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser sent a firmly worded letter on Saturday to the Department of Homeland Security, asking officials to move up to Monday the implementation of heightened security measures that are otherwise set to begin on Jan. 19, just one day before Mr. Biden’s swearing-in.

Ms. Bowser’s call to action, which came as law enforcement officers in several states made arrests related to the assault on the Capitol, was echoed Sunday by Senator Roy Blunt, the Missouri Republican who is charged with overseeing the planning of the inaugural celebration.

The Capitol complex, typically a hive of activity, remained cut off from its surroundings Sunday night by troop deployments and an imposing scrim of seven-foot-tall, unscalable fencing. Still in shock from the worst breach of the building in more than two centuries, lawmakers were expected to turn their attention this week to a second slate of impeachment charges against President Trump, who has said little about the rampage he helped incite — in part because social media companies, like Twitter and Facebook, have either banned him or severely limited his use of their platforms.

Security experts warned this weekend that some far-right extremist groups have now started to focus attention on Inauguration Day and are already discussing an assault similar to the one on the Capitol, which led to the sacking of congressional offices and the deaths of at least five people, including a Capitol Police officer.

As of Sunday, nearly 400 people had joined a private group online dedicated to what is being billed as the “Million Militia March,” an event scheduled to take place in Washington on Jan. 20. On Parler, a social media site popular on the far right that is in danger of being taken offline because of rampant talk of violence, commenters were debating what tools they should bring to the march, mentioning everything from baseball bats to body armor to assault rifles. ...