The Military And January 20th

In passing, during their most recent New York Times “Conversation,” Gail Collins and Bret Stephens wondered whether the American military would remove Trump from the Oval Office if he loses but refuses to go. 

Stephens emphasized the importance of having a secretary of defense who puts the Constitution first, and dismissed the widespread belief that “the upper reaches of the armed forces are one uniform bloc of Trump voters.”

Most general officers I know are pretty moderate in their views and deeply committed to the idea of a depoliticized military and civilian control. I’m also guessing they weren’t exactly impressed by the bone spurs deferments.

Stephens also reminded Collins that most of the people who see Trump up close and personal come to really hate him, an observation supported most recently by the very public resignation of one Kyle Murphy from a position as a senior analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency. Murphy wrote about it for an industry publication, Just Security, “after experiencing firsthand the actions of U.S. government leaders to suppress nonviolent dissent during the recent nationwide protests for racial justice.”

But it was an open letter to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, written by John Nagl, a retired Army officer and veteran of both Iraq wars, and Paul Yingling, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who served three tours in Iraq, another in Bosnia, and a fifth in Operation Desert Storm that really displayed the commitment to the Constitution and civilian control that Stephens referenced.

That letter pulled no punches.

As chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, you are well aware of your duties in ordinary times: to serve as principal military advisor to the president of the United States, and to transmit the lawful orders of the president and Secretary of Defense to combatant commanders. In ordinary times, these duties are entirely consistent with your oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…” 

We do not live in ordinary times. The president of the United States is actively subverting our electoral system, threatening to remain in office in defiance of our Constitution. In a few months’ time, you may have to choose between defying a lawless president or betraying your Constitutional oath. We write to assist you in thinking clearly about that choice. If Donald Trump refuses to leave office at the expiration of his constitutional term, the United States military must remove him by force, and you must give that order. 

Due to a dangerous confluence of circumstances, the once-unthinkable scenario of authoritarian rule in the United States is now a very real possibility. First, as Mr. Trump faces near certain electoral defeat, he is vigorously undermining public confidence in our elections. Second, Mr. Trump’s defeat would result in his facing not merely political ignominy, but also criminal charges. Third, Mr. Trump is assembling a private army capable of thwarting not only the will of the electorate but also the capacities of ordinary law enforcement. When these forces collide on January 20, 2021, the U.S. military will be the only institution capable of upholding our Constitutional order.

The letter–which I urge you to click through and read in its entirety–then proceeds to list the President’s criminal behaviors and to enumerate his efforts to subvert the election.  Nagl and Yingling write that America’s political and legal institutions “have so atrophied that they are ill-prepared for this moment. Senate Republicans, already reduced to supplicant status, will remain silent and inert, as much to obscure their complicity as to retain their majority.”

At this moment of Constitutional crisis, only two options remain. Under the first, U.S. military forces escort the former president from the White House grounds. Trump’s little green men, so intimidating to lightly armed federal law enforcement agents, step aside and fade away, realizing they would not constitute a good morning’s work for a brigade of the 82nd Airborne. Under the second, the U.S. military remains inert while the Constitution dies. The succession of government is determined by extralegal violence between Trump’s private army and street protesters; Black Lives Matter Plaza becomes Tahrir Square….As the senior military officer of the United States, the choice between these two options lies with you. 

For 240 years, the United States has been spared the horror of violent political succession. Imperfect though it may be, our Union has been moving toward greater perfection, from one peaceful transfer of power to the next. The rule of law created by our Constitution has made this miracle possible. However, our Constitutional order is not self-sustaining. Throughout our history, Americans have laid down their lives so that this form of government may endure. Continuing the unfinished work for which these heroes fell now falls to you. 

When the rubber meets the road…..


  1. Thank you VERY MUCH for this information. It is a very hard thing to imagine but we are in such serious trouble now. I am glad that smart people are working through the options and making PLANS for the crazy that is almost sure to come. Thank You Prof K.

  2. Sheila,

    “When the rubber meets the road………”

    It’s already there. We have to move quickly and organize appropriately or we will have no chance at all. The Democratic Party is useless in this extraordinary situation.

  3. Have been thinking about this before today’s column. Here is what I don’t put past Trump: calling on those Second Amendment/militia people to come to DC and surround the White House to protect him and the government!

  4. If you have it already, please read the Newsweek piece on subverting the Electoral College process. It seems a much more likely scenario than simply refusing to leave the grounds of the White House.

  5. The military and police forces throughout this country seemed to stand beside Trump when he asked them to. Even the so-called powers assembled under the “Patriot Act” worked for Trump to break up protestors exercising their 1st amendment rights. According to some reports, even Erik Prince’s mercenaries were unleashed on peaceful demonstrators.

    I would not be surprised if the militia-types also volunteered their services to “protect Trump.”

    So, who will make the call to remove Trump so the senile old fart can occupy the WH?

    All the cries to save our “republic” or “democracy” or “democratic republic” are rather comical considering everything occurring in this country and the world. None of which is exclusively the fault of Trump.

    Even the calls on our “military heroes” to stop Trump is comical, seeing that there aren’t any heroes since the Viet Nam War. We aren’t defending the country from anybody, and the monies spent on our military are grossly inflated when you consider the need that all countries depend on globalization today.

    I wonder if the DNC endorsed Democrats will shrink the military to an appropriate size and shut off the FED spigot for Wall Street and corporate America.

    Who am I kidding? LOL

  6. Marv,

    Yep, the rubber has hit the road and the tire is flat as a pancake.

    Somehow, it seems everyone concerning the situation seems to be reactive instead of proactive!

    When they caught Eric Prince meeting with a Russian operative close to the Kremlin in the Seychelles and which was brokered by the UAE, one has to pay attention and not get lost in this forest of deception.

    Look at Jared Kushner trying to skirt Congress to sell F 35’s the UAE even over the objection of Israel! Eric Prince has the experience to be an insurgent, because he of course ran the disgraced ‘Blackwater program, an army of mercenaries.

    Eric Prince floated his idea of a private army under the control of the president exclusively. An army to do the dirty work supposedly. Really, an army of brownshirts, and army that would activate during America’s “Night Of The Long Knives” a tactic that Hitler used to eliminate the competition and stay in power.

    If, if we wait to be reactive, the horse will be out of the barn and long gone, there won’t be a chance to be proactive. Because the administration will have either eliminated or arrested all of the competition. The Boogaloo bois are spread throughout the country, they have ingratiated themselves to many police departments across the country, they even have been seen cozying up to BLM protesters supposedly agreeing with some of their policies and grievances.

    The Boogaloo bois are everywhere across the country, known by their trademark Hawaiian shirts and heavily armored apparel. I have no doubt that when activated, these embedded heavily armed activists will castrate law enforcement. This is a well thought out plan that can be activated with a single word from POTUS. This is something straight out of Adolf Hitler’s playbook! This is what I mean about not learning from history, history will constantly repeat itself, because evil suppression works, and those who want to be authoritarian and ruthless become students of history. Everyone else seems to be taking a nap.

    With all of the whipsaw action concerning this administration, people/watchdogs/officials, can become exhausted, so exhausted that they lose sight of that elephant standing smack dab in the middle of the room. Big mistake!

    Will there be blood? It’s looking more likely! Let’s face it, there’s already been a coup in this country, the government has already been taken over, it’s just, ” will it be temporary or permanent?”

    Major turmoil will always provide the cover of darkness to enact nefarious activity!

  7. First; I don’t believe “Trump faces near certain electoral defeat”, but IF that should happen I do believe it is highly possible he will refuse to leave the White House. He and his entire family are current squatters there. Dealing with that situation is not covered in the Constitution; the founding fathers couldn’t even consider the hatred and ignorance of future Americans would sink to that depth. Even if he remains on site, all of his access to the powers he has abused for four years are electronically ended by changing all access codes.

    My concerns are more with the situation Indianapolis City employees faced when Goldsmith moved into the Mayor’s Office and sent down his first order to destroy all files and paperwork from the sixteen years of Mayor Hudnut’s administration. Huge trash bins were rolled into all offices to accomplish this; how much of this was done by Trump as soon as he took residence in the White House? Using paper shredders rather than trash bins. I also fear that IF he is defeated on November 3rd, the destruction of incriminating files, E-mails and documents will begin; those which would have insured his impeachment and removal from office. The Germans under Hitler were notorious for keeping records and filming their atrocities and they began the destruction when they saw the end was coming. On the physical level, I believe cities need to be prepared for Trump’s White Nationalist public to bring blood in the streets; will those dignitaries in the inauguration be safe from them? Will those lining the streets for the post inaugural parade be safe from them?

    Will the military have the authority to lock down whatever remains of records from the Trump administration at 12:01 on January 20, 2021? We are in unknown territory now and it can only get worse as the election nears; neither military or police can take action until and unless the violence begins. IF Joe Biden is elected, our fears must not be abated; they must be ramped up, we must be prepared for the unknown and how do we do that in today’s world?

  8. John,

    ” Let’s face it, there’s already been a coup in this country, the government has already been taken over, it’s just, ” will it be temporary or permanent?”

    If we move right now, it will be TEMPORARY. The military still hasn’t chosen sides. Who knowingly backs a loser?

  9. Constitutionally, if there is no clear winner announced in the House of Representatives by January 20, 2021, the President’s term is at an end and the Speaker of the House will be the President.

    I have no doubt that the senior military officers are dedicated to the Constitution. I’m less certain of the rank and file. Will they follow orders to evict the squatter in chief? This is the best reason we could ever have for a blue tsunami. We must eliminate any doubt that 45 is no longer the President.

    BTW, if you want a reason to vote for Biden, check out the short speech by Brayden Harrington, a thirteen year old boy who stutters.

  10. As the daughter of a career Army officer, I was made aware by my dad of how all top-level officers are trained in the Constitution and how they tend to keep rigid ideologues out of the upper ranks. He pointed out that renegade Oliver North (the right-winger of Iran-Contra fame who operated out of the Reagan White House) never got above Lt. Col., the last rank before the big divide to the top tier. I believe they are fully prepared, not only to remove him on January 20 if necessary, but that they’ve likely already considered what illegal acts would cross their line and trigger an invocation of the 25th Amendment.

  11. The Emperor has no clothes. How long do you think Trump is going to run around “naked” before he tries to take full control? He’s an ass, but not that big of a one. He must try to take complete control now. That’s his only chance.

    Trump can’t exist under any form of democracy. He must move NOW, not LATER.

    Are we a bigger bunch of fools than he is? Maybe so.

  12. Marv,

    Per our conversation, I agree, and, my personal belief is that you are a man of integrity! I don’t use that term loosely, because as you know, The Hebrew terms relating to integrity (tom, tum·mahʹ, tam, ta·mimʹ) have the root meaning of that which is “complete” or “whole.”

    When a person has put it all on the line, and I’m not talking about fighting for the military, I’m talking about fighting for human civil rights, you’ve risked your life and sacrificed your family for the sake of your fellow man! Because I have empirical evidence that you have risked it all for others, I have an admiration. I like what you have to say, as you know.

    We followed different paths to the same endgame. I can’t count how many times I should not be here, just as you. So, you would have to think there is a reason for it. We always have to go back to our integrity.

    Integrity is not restricted to any one aspect of human conduct; it does not apply just to matters obviously “religious.” For righteous service it is a way of life in which the individual ‘walks,’ constantly searching and constantly sacrificing.

    Psalm 41:12
    12 As for me, you uphold me because of my integrity; You will keep me in your presence forever.

    Proverbs 28:10
    10 The one misleading the upright into an evil course will fall into his own pit, But the blameless will inherit what is good.

    Hebrews 4:15
    15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tested in all respects as we have, but without sin.

    2nd Thessalonians 3:1-2
    For the rest, pray for us, brothers, that the word of the Lord may speed on and show its gloriousness the same as it does with you, 2 and that we may be delivered from criminal and vicious men; for it is not everybody that has faith.

    Integrity, righteousness, faith, is something that can get a person through the darkest nights. Because all of these things are opposite of “self-righteousness” because self-righteousness is about “Self!”

    Empathy, compassion, civility, love, all emanate from integrity, righteousness, and faith!

    And, as John prophetically writes in Revelation, “And the One seated on the throne said: “Look! I am making all things new.” Also he says: “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

  13. As a former member of the military, I also took that oath. We all did. The generals staff STILL obeys that oath AND the Constitution. At 12 noon on 20 January 2021, Trump will no longer be President. If he’s surrounded himself with his “little green men”, there will be a brief skirmish and then Trump will be perp-walked into a police/Marshall’s van for his trip to jail. I’m guessing that the arrest warrants are already in final edit.


    Joe Biden is NOT a senile old fart. I’m older than he is and I dare you to label me that way. Your whining about this or that “worthless entity” is defeating the purpose of this blog which, I think, is to promote the forum for idea and comment exchanges that are rational and supported by facts and references.

  14. Marv. where ya been?
    as far as the Jan 20, marshall law is called,and we see. the senate shits its pants and waits to see what happens. while they make amens and letters such as Gen Milley,after the facist photo op, and his words, seems the genarals will see that trump is removed,after,said supreme court hears the arguments and and roberts ???? hold ur breath if its anything like a hanging chad,it will be sorted out,legally?. pence will pray for forgiveness,and trump will just deny he was involved..
    as far as i see it, wall street will be the hiring the thugs. they will not allow this 40 year game to come to a close. so close and yet so far eh? maduro will be celebrating and putin will ,er, you know in his pants..

  15. Vern,
    like you,i joined as enlisted, 1972 at 17,and from that point i grew to understand and respect the rules,the consitution and bill of rights,and why. that line above about who had fallen and why, brief,but very profound. as my talks with the trumpers, the god,guts and guns,group,, i tell em”you want to see all those who died and were disabled,to have fought for nothing,but your ignorance and greed..” i dont care if they trash me,ill stand this ground to the end, in person….

  16. The entire letter referenced in the article is truly chilling. That this letter was written at all lets us all know what dire straits we are in . And although I doubt he will read this, Todd’s remarks were snarky to say the least. If you can’t get behind the alternative, keep your mouth shut. Joe Biden is NOT senile. He is elderly; but elderly people, while slow in their general demeanor, are usually anything but slow upstairs. Joe will help heal the country, if only by being willing to listen thoughtfully and then letting his advisors help make decisions. That alone is 100% improvement over the shit show we are in now.

  17. JoAnn,
    trumps has left a paper trail beyond the stuff we dont know,even if the USAtty in Mannhatten has its way,hes off to jail for prior stuff. money laundering, fraud, and i hope they actully see some convictions and, well if were in luck he gets rikers island…along with bannon,julianni, kushner,mnuchin,,,hell i dont have enough spaces..

  18. Vernon,

    Todd is much younger than both of us. We don’t have that much longer to put up with this mess. I don’t blame him for is misgivings about Joe Biden and the Democratic Party. I’ll vote for Joe Biden, but his speech last night had little to do with reality. A reality that I probably won’t have to face, despite my present, exceptionally, good health.

  19. Joe has been realityized with the covid,and the working class being taken to task. hes come a long way in a few months to see the complete picture of 40 years of allowing the wall street gang to make decisions.though he hints,Harris will say so, we need change,and its long overdue,and needs to be carefully rethought. the working class is in the streets,those BLM protest,are full of not only race base protests,but the overall situation. media has again denied the BLM movement as nothing,and again they seem to ignore the whole issue in the street. these groups have come together,and the media isnt talking. paid ads and paid corp money again ,from the billionaires telling the millionaires(reporters) telling the people what they should only know,and how to think…

  20. I think that Trump will behave as he always has when faced with defeat. He’ll run. Just as he did with all of his bankruptcies and business failures. The spoiled brat in a man’s bloated body will turn around and leave early rather than behave graciously. On January 20th I’m betting he will not even be in DC. He’ll be playing golf at Mar A Largo. He’ll leave a mess in the White House just as he has made a mess of the country, and we will all sigh with relief and hopefully understand the lessons his reign of terror taught.

  21. There seem to be two groups competing for political power in the US which we traditionally identify as Democrats and Republicans which have been relatively innocuous descriptors. Entertainment media found it enormously profitable to focus on one group or the other and build stories about the other side because our need for bias confirmation created the most loyal audiences in the history of the business. We love to hate and blame apparently more so if we tend towards authoritarianism, the belief in a class that has earned the right to manage others. It’s apparently easier to monetize and weaponize entertainment media to this sort of person compared to people who believe that the natural order of things is, as liberal democracy promises, equality in the eyes of government.

    Now we, to borrow from Abe Lincoln, we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. So far anyway we have managed to blunt “war” into protests and ultimately democracy will be the battleground. That is progress in itself.

    I thought that Joe Biden did a great job last night putting the Constitution into phrases that were easy for everyone to relate to. He described liberal democracy in terms of its application to our society and more urgently to our times.

    Next week will be a similar appeal to authoritarians outlining why they deserve to manage others and dictate the terms of their lives.

    This election will be a referendum on Donald Trump, the ultimate authoritarian, and the job he actually did in the job of President for the last four years. The outcome by the polls is a foregone conclusion but authoritarianism apparently extends to supporting any means to the end of power.

    Of course we’ll eventually know the outcome but between now and then we need to work as hard as we can to, first make sure that we’ve patched all of the potential holes in the dike of democracy and second re-sold the Constitution as our contract with those who govern and third get as many Americans to the polls one way or the other to express their opinion on the sanctity of the Constitution versus the right of some to govern all.

  22. If Biden wins election, then the office of Potus leaves DJT on 1/20/21. Any subversive illegal actions he might take would carry a penalty that could be enforced. I don’t worry about SS or armed forces cooperating with his coup, but I’m concerned about his armed dis-gruntled fans who are biting at the bit to keep their sense of entitlement alive & kicking. #3 is setting the stage for a contested result and whistling for a call to arms. One thing for certain if he loses he won’t show up for Inauguration!

  23. Peggy and Carol have brought up an issue that needs to be taken very seriously. Trump and company have no use for constitutional limits when it comes to maintaining power. He believes he can win a second “legitimate” term via the electoral college, but if that fails, use his army of believers to take over the presidency via illegal means. If allowed to stay in office, absent military intervention, we are doomed as a nation, just as the Germans and Japanese were doomed by the takeovers of Hitler and Tojo. Will the military intervene? I too am of the opinion that our top generals and admirals will be true to their constitutional oath. The worry, as has been pointed out, is the lower ranks of officers and enlisted personnel, active and retired, many of whom are overt or closet Trump supporters, and anti-constitution by nature. A good example is the group of hothead officers under Tojo who were willing to defy the emperor in order to continue WWII. They are authoritarian to the core and believers in conspiracy theories. Police forces harbor many of the same type of officer. They may have taken an oath to defend the constitution, but they will have no problem breaking that oath for personal gain under a self-aggrandizing POTUS. In short, what does an ethical top brass mean if your lower ranks are riddled with traitors who won’t obey legitimate orders? I see one of two things in the future: Civil War II, or WWIII, in which the U.S. will be opposed by a large group of nations that could include both China and Russia, for the purpose of self-preservation.

  24. I agree in most part with Vern and especially Theresa. Generals through privates did not swear to keep a dictator in place; they swore an oath to the Constitution, as I did in 1944 before embarking to New Guinea. I think we underestimate their devotion to democracy, and I also think we don’t understand that even a presidential order will not be followed if for corrupt purpose. Accordingly, I think we overestimate the possibility of what our demented leader is spewing forth as he foresees the blow to his terminal narcissism come November 3. On January 20, 2021, at noon, he is not the president and becomes an ordinary citizen, whatever happens. Why? Because the Constitution says so.

    Prediction: He will go per Theresa per the Consitution (if not quietly) with the help of federal marshals if necessary, and if he files suit on grounds of a rigged election etc. the Supreme Court as a matter of original jurisdiction based on abundant case law will decline to hear the case on grounds that it is a political question – and that’s that.

    Our institutions have been under assault before and have held, and I have faith that they will hold again, especially with an institutionalist such as Chief Justice Roberts at the helm. When Trump loses in November he becomes a fatally wounded politician and what he has to say from that point on will be taken with a grain of salt, if slowly, even by his former backers, as reality sets in and the racists and militiamen, having had their day in the sun, retreat to their caves to lick their wounds.

  25. Marv,

    You can certainly try to persuade me to vote for Biden, but I live in the deep-red state of Indiana, which is gerrymandered beyond belief. I could vote for Biden, but it would be wasted. If I lived in a purple/battleground state, I would vote for Biden while grinding my teeth.

    If the Socialist Equality Party is on my ballot, I will vote for them. If not, but the Green Party is on my ballot, I will vote for them.

    The DNC platform doesn’t have anything I deem as valuable, especially since I have a four-decade-old history lesson (experience) with a party that puts forth one thing for voters than immediately turns their attention toward their Wall Street owners.

    Americans are confused because their lot in life is deteriorating and so they turn to one capitalist-controlled political party after another hoping for change. It’s a sucker’s play.

    Capitalism and its military IS the problem. As Einstein said, “The same level of consciousness which created the problem cannot also solve the problem.” Capitalism cannot fix capitalism. We must shift away to a higher form of organized society — one that is equipped to solve our internal problems and aligns better with global issues.

  26. The Trumpet is a personal Coward as are his adult children and Jared. He is not about to “fight until the last breath” down in bunker. His “private army” will not defend him. The private army are mercenaries. Mercenaries fight for money only if they know they might survive to spend it. I have no doubt he will leave the WH a trashed up mess, when he goes.

    His life after leaving will be as was before he arrived in the WH. Law suits, legal entanglements, appeals, etc., and try to run out the clock. Given the American Justice system’s glacial pace whenever U have the wealth to call time outs (appeals) etc., The Trumpet will strike out – Fake this, Fake that.

    He will at some point after leaving he will realize he can con and beguile his loyal army of Trumpter’s. He will devise some plan to fleece them – A GofundMe- Trump defense fund.

  27. I think it very possible you will see a violent clash as the January 20th date comes closer for the swearing in of President Biden.

    Trump is likely to lose (FiveThirtyEight gives him a 27% chance of winning which is a good estimate), but I guarantee you, if he does lose, he will say the election was rigged and refuse to concede. It doesn’t matter if Biden wins all 50 states. Trump’s cultish followers will believe Trump when he says he actually won the election.

    Imagine for a second that President Trump refuses to concede and says he is going to stay in office. As the 1/20/21 date approaches, you’re going to have very well-armed private militia types descend on the White House to prevent the forcible removal of Trump. Those people are already starting to show up at “Patriot” type events, such as protests against pandemic shutdowns of businesses and laws/executive orders requiring masks. They will clash with the military and federal law enforcement officers (assuming they stop taking orders from Trump). There is going to be a lot of blood shed.

  28. I think Biden perfectly understands the situation and knows that when the chips are down, the pluck of the majority of Americans will rise up in support of our Constitution and rule of law. He is a good “possible-ist” like many of us and has the weight of U.S. history behind him. Trump is done. It will likely be even uglier between now and January, but Trump and his minions don’t possess the collective where-with-all to perpetrate some nefarious scheme, even if they fantasize one. Come January the new administration will be left to pick up the pieces and reassemble our democracy. Our best times are ahead of us.

  29. If what you predict is accurate, Paul, what side of the divide will the police fall?

    And, who in the military will support Trump’s fantasy that a palace coup just took place?

    Both of these groups and other military-type personnel will have to make history-making decisions on who they will support. We’ve seen these types of choices having to be made in other countries after a USA led coup takes place against an elected leader.

  30. Joe Biden didn’t address policy in his speech last night. If you want to know why, I’d say it’s because MOST Americans don’t want to hear boring policy positions. If they did Elizabeth Warren would have run away with the primaries and I might add that Hillary Clinton would be the sitting President. We all say we want policy positions, just as we all say we don’t like dirty political ads. Meanwhile polling numbers say dirty ads work.

    At this moment in history what we need most is to stop the pandemic and begin to rebuild our economy. The latter will, of necessity, require changes that will make a progressive agenda far closer to reality than it has been at any time since 1932.

  31. We can only hope that the rank and file in all military and law enforcement remember that they have families and friends who will be profoundly impacted by any violent conflicts that might evolve from a President who refused to leave the WH. The WH is a building. It is a symbol, not a castle surrounded by a moat. The seat of power resides in the officeholder not the residence.

  32. “Will there be blood? It’s looking more likely! Let’s face it, there’s already been a coup in this country, the government has already been taken over, it’s just, ” will it be temporary or permanent?”- John Sorg

    “media has again denied the BLM movement as nothing,and again they seem to ignore the whole issue in the street. these groups have come together,and the media isnt talking. paid ads and paid corp money again ,from the billionaires telling the millionaires(reporters) telling the people what they should only know,and how to think…”- jack smith

    “as far as i see it, wall street will be the hiring the thugs. they will not allow this 40 year game to come to a close. so close and yet so far eh? maduro will be celebrating and putin will ,er, you know in his pants..”- jack smith

    John, as Jack Smith and Todd Smekens have stated, the “government… takeover” happened a long, long time ago. This country was CREATED by white landed gentry men of wealth of educational means. No women. No blacks or Mexicans. No white men, for that matter, who did not own land. It was founded by the 18th century version of The 1%!!! That is a FACT.

    What makes you think it has been different in the past 244 years??? IT HAS NOT. This government “of the people, by the people, for the people” has been, in fact, of the wealthy, by the wealthy, for the wealthy. Period.

    The Civil War was not about civilians fighting civilians, it was about the politically and economically wealthy in the South wanting to keep their slave based business operations making LOTS OF MONEY.

    Sure, there were a few brief nuances in that fact. Lord Maynard Keynes’ economic influence upon FDR and the rise of unions from 1930’s to Reagan. Teddy Roosevelt’s war against the monopolies. Frankly, I can’t think of any other economic detours of the status quo than that. Social reforms do not count as they rarely, if at all, evolve into an economic equality outcome. Again, nuanced, but, overall, a fact.

    I am shocked,frankly, that otherwise intelligent people on this blog can be so blind or ignorant of this basic fact of our government. This government was created and designed for business profit. Not much else.

    What we are seeing today in Trumpism, the protest in the streets, the collapse (once again) of an economic system based on primarily on exploitation of working people and resources for capitalist profit, etc, is the Confrontation of suffering masses under a government and an economy (hand and glove) that have been suppressing and oppressing the average person in this country.

    The MAJORITY of people in this country work paycheck to paycheck (well, they did before the virus). That has been fairly status quo for 40 years and counting. Who has taken over who???

    Our “culture” has played right along. Can you name a movie or song that is known among the majority of people as a normative and classic protest in the last 40 years??? They are few and far in between. One has to go back to the 60’s to find culture hitting back with any consequence. Religion in America is COMPLICIT in this perversion of government and money connected at the hip. Falwell-ism is an integral part of this perversion. Fact.

    I will vote Biden because he seems to have empathy and compassion where Trump has none. But that is about the only significant differences I see. Trump and Biden BOTH believe the government is there to support Wall Street, Big Banks (see TARP) and Corporations. HOW they support them may be nuanced in methodology and style, but, at its core, THE SAME.

    So it will be interesting if Biden (assumed elected on November 3, emphasis on assumed….) will make any REAL change in this Wealth/Power Government we have and the diseases it has spawned in massive inequality, the dying planet, money in/owning governing institutions, etc.

    I think I can predict the outcome (as I did with Trump’s election in 2016). I hope I am wrong, but I fear….

  33. Bradford,

    “[John] What makes you think it has been different in the past 244 years??? IT HAS NOT. This government “of the people, by the people, for the people” has been, in fact, of the wealthy, by the wealthy, for the wealthy. Period.”

    I understand where you’re coming from. But John and I aren’t that stupid. As a matter of fact, I purchased the URL:, seven days after Trump announced he was going to run for President. It is not about being early, John and I are REAL, REAL, EARLY! We’re hard to beat, don’t you agree?

  34. We ask for government by wealth by being complacent about campaign finance reform and not insisting on the return of the FCC Fairness Doctrine.

  35. It is easy to criticize history from afar (i.e., women’s rights, slavery, Dickensian workshops etc.) while ignoring the social norms of such day; just as 244 years from now our current system as it is evolving will (if anyone is around) be the subject of criticism. Thus when John Maynard Keynes was asked if there were ever such a depression as The Great Depresssion, he answered: “Yes. The Dark Ages. Four hundred years of it.” None of this makes what happened and didn’t but should have happened (such as slavery) right or just as judged in any era of history, but it is what happened, and is still happening. (See BLM, gross wage and wealth inequality, dictatorial rule etc.)

    If you think present day capitalism is bad, try the days of East India Tea where the Crown appointed East India as the sole instrument of commerce with India, taking (of course) a royal slice of the profits. No Sherman Anti-Trust nor Clayton Act need apply, and even that state sponsored capitalism was better than the lord-serf societal form that preceded it. Retrospect is handy to make one’s point today, but then isn’t today. Nor is tomorrow.

    Yes, slaveholders and property holders piously declared that all men are created equal while excluding women, slaves, and non-property holders, setting forth an ideal that we still have not reached, though all genders now can vote, slavery has been abolished, and one need not own real estate to enjoy such franchise. Athenian small d nirvana? Hardly, and perhaps it’s because the Greek ideal is a concept and not a reality and is never to be attained but strived for in bits and pieces. If it hadn’t been rich white men who held slaves in the south and rich Yankee shipbuilders in the north who met and bought Jefferson’s views of the Declaration and Constitution, it would have been someone else – but who? Tradesmen and frontiersmen had neither the time nor the understanding necessary to come up with such organic documents. We may now critcize Jefferson, Adam, and Madison, but again, now wasn’t then and we are stuck with the history time has given us, a history both ugly and uplifting.

    I think the main concern of some in this blog is that they want some form of socialism over the current practice of capitalism which involves socialism for the rich and brutal capitalism for the rest of us, and while I agree that capitalism as presently practiced is not working and will not work, I am willing to retain such system provided major changes are made in how it is practiced, starting with an end to wage and wealth inequality. Socialism? No, fair play in a recognition that all of us are involved in corporate and non-corporate enterprise, not just executives, shareholders and financiers. Won’t work? Let’s try it and see, and true to our brief tenure in history, remain open to further amendments to the existing order en route to the nirvana our Founders laid out but never achieved with their Athenian precepts.

    Perhaps any ism in the process of becoming is destined to be a failure until, with our agitation, it isn’t. Let’s strive for that fairer and more equitable distribution of the income and wealth of our economy to all participants in our search for the elusive small d nirvana we may never reach but are obligated to pursue during our stretch of history, starting today.

  36. “while I agree that capitalism as presently practiced is not working and will not work, I am willing to retain such system provided major changes are made in how it is practiced, starting with an end to wage and wealth inequality. Socialism? No, fair play in a recognition that all of us are involved in corporate and non-corporate enterprise, not just executives, shareholders and financiers.”- Gerald Stinson

    I agree with EVERYTHING you have said Gerry, except one thing. I am NOT talking about “Socialism.” I am talking about DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM. Democratic Socialism does EXACTLY what you allude to as a possible “fix” to crony Capitalism as it is practiced. It will put in place a democracy system on the work floor of every business and corporation. It will give the workers a fair equitable say in the business, how it competes, its weaknesses, its strengths, how it can improve, etc, etc.

    Democratic Socialism merely does what the Constitution promises: fair representation. bring democracy to the work place, not just in the political realm!!!

    As long as we think one man or woman and his/her “board of directors” can make fair decisions for all, NOTHING will change. Greed and selfishness will continue to be the rule of the day. Imagine a major city with no stop lights. It would be runaway chaos. We desperately need road blocks to greed and selfishness at the top and the only way that works decently (look to Northern Europe) is when democracy extends to the workers. It is not rocket science, and it is NOT “Socialism” and “Communism.”

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