Sunday, August 14, 2022

Setting It Off as trump's Followers Cross One More Line (w/ Update)

Update 8/16: Many thanks again to Tengrain for including this article in Crooks & Liars' Mike's Blog Round-Up! Please take some time to review the other stuff that's got me ranting all week long...

Just noting for the record, I feel sympathy for the poor guy who has to manage the Wikipedia page on donald trump's ongoing civil matters. It is interesting to note the web encyclopedia made all the criminal investigations into separate pages, but still at any moment the way things are going there's bound to be two to three new civil court filings by now.

Speaking of, if you're looking for the stuff on "trump espionage" it's actually under "FBI Search of Mar-A-Lago," have fun.

In the meanwhile, this weekend post-warranted search has seen a bit of uneasy response from the Far Right regarding donald trump's pending troubles involving the theft of Presidential Records (18 USC 2071), destruction / obstruction of records involving federal investigations (18 USC 1519), and possible espionage (18 USC 793).

In that acts of violence took place, committed by likely MAGA true believers triggered by the news that their Lord and Savior donald trump is facing serious legal trouble he can't lie his way out of.

On Thursday, a gunman attacked the FBI field office in Cincinnati with both a nail gun and an AR-15 rifle, then fled the scene and chased into another county before one last shootout killed him. More details from Elisha Fieldstadt, Ken Dilanian, Tim Stelloh and Ryan J. Reilly at NBC News:

Officers fatally shot the suspect (Walter Shiffer) after failing to negotiate with him, an Ohio State Highway Patrol spokesman, Lt. Nathan Dennis, told reporters.

The man raised a gun and officers opened fire, Dennis said.

It wasn't clear whether he fired, Dennis said, nor was it clear who fired the fatal shot. The man was pronounced dead at the scene, which Dennis described as a rural area off Interstate 71.

No officers were injured, and a motive is still under investigation, Dennis said.

The two officials said Shiffer appeared to have posted in recent days about his desire to kill FBI agents after former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence was searched...

Shiffer was seen at the Capitol on Jan. 6, although it's unclear whether he breached the building, said three people aiding law enforcement who saw him in photos. Shiffer frequently posted about going to the Capitol on social media.

In the days after the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago, Trump's compound in Palm Beach, Florida, he appeared to post multiple times on Trump's social media platform, Truth Social.

In one comment, he appeared to call on people to prepare for "combat." In another, his apparent account said users should kill FBI agents "on sight..."

Brian Murphy, a former official at the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI who’s now an executive at the open source intelligence firm Logically, said Wednesday that his company has observed a big rise in threats against FBI personnel and facilities on social media platforms since the FBI searched Trump's home...

And there's the doxxing attempts by media agitators especially Breitbart's media outlet - which received an unredacted copy of the search warrant from trump's people that included the names of the FBI agents overseeing the search - and a former aide to trump Garrett Ziegler who named those agents and issued threats bad enough that trump's own version of Twitter (Truth Social) had to delete his posts (via Alia Shoaib at Business Insider):

"This is one of the two feds who signed the 'Receipt for Property' form, which detailed—at a very high level—the fishing expedition that the FBI performed at Mar-a-Lago," Ziegler wrote on both Truth Social and Telegram, per the outlet.

Along with the message, Ziegler shared the FBI agents' date of birth, work emails, and supposed links to family members' social media accounts, according to the outlet...

As anyone who pays attention to domestic terrorism activity, what Ziegler did crosses into the threshold of stochastic terrorism. Ziegler claims he's providing "transparency" about "illegal FBI actions" but why the hell drag those agents' families into this mess?

(Saturday night, there was a suicidal car driver who slammed into a Capitol building barricade and shot himself as his car burst into flames. Until the police can find out if the guy had a motive, this is as much as should be said about it)

Not to mention the armed people protesting outside of an Arizona FBI field office on Saturday.

Also: Kind of need to mention the reports of how "The Dark Web" of Far Right secret Internet servers are on fire with talk of civil war.

In short: Yeah, the pro-trump violence is ticking upward.

I almost saw this coming, barely a month ago. I wrote back then the reality we're in the early stages of a second civil war. I knew it was going to be something involving trump getting held to account for any number of his misdeeds surrounding the 2020 elections, the January 6th insurrection, or maybe even one of the big civil lawsuits like the one in New York (where trump had to testify in person and ended up pleading the Fifth Amendment over 440 times). Here's what I wrote:

You can feel it: We are one final step from the "Cannons Firing on Fort Sumter" point of no return. The battle lines are drawn over the January 6th Insurrection and the recent extremist Supreme Court rulings. All it's going to take is one more nudge from the goddamn wingnuts and we will be quoting Fred Thompson's "We will be lucky to live through it" line until the shooting stops, and either the United States remains intact but with the conservatives shattered for 100 years or with the nation broken under an authoritarian bootheel...

I'd bet good money - okay, 50 bucks, I'm a librarian I'm not rich - it's going to involve donald trump freaking out in some way, and most likely over criminal charges that would interfere with his plans to retake the White House in 2024. Thing is, there's a number of separate criminal charges he's still facing...

In that article, I gambled on the likely trigger being the Georgia grand jury investigation into trump's attempt to bully the state's Secretary of State - who oversaw the election results - into throwing the votes out for Biden and giving trump (falsely) the state's Electoral votes.

I honestly didn't even think about the simmering situation surrounding trump's failure to turn over Presidential Records until this February as the possible trigger. To be fair, the Justice Department had kept a tight lid on their investigations into - even in June when they pursued the remaining boxes of classified materials trump STILL hadn't turned over - the possibility trump violated the Presidential Records Act.

Who knew - other than the DOJ - that the case would also involve even more serious allegations of espionage?

As it stands, among all the other possible criminal matters trump is facing - in Georgia, in Arizona and Wisconsin involving "fake electors", with the January 6th investigations into various legal violations the House Committee has already uncovered - this one right here revolving around trump's illicit hoarding of national security/classified documents could well be the first big criminal charge trump will face between now and the end of the year.

And as I noted in my previous article, the minute trump gets charged with actual criminal felonies, his followers will erupt in violent madness. As Zach Beauchamp notes at Vox:

What we are seeing is shocking, but it’s part of an established pattern. Trump engages in some kind of egregious misbehavior, prompting official scrutiny and condemnation of his actions. He treats these actions as unjustified persecution, proof that the “deep state” is out to get him, a claim that the Republican Party and conservative press dutifully echo. His most radical supporters become even more radical, even contemplating violence.

None of these investigations is a witch hunt. In each case, there are serious reasons to believe that the president violated the law. If prosecutors chose not to even investigate Trump, that itself would be politically motivated — a tacit admission that if a political figure is popular enough, he is above the law.

But the result of prosecutors doing their job is predictable: Trump reacts by casting it as proof that he is under attack by nefarious forces...

The litany of grievances, the sense that Trump has been forever persecuted by the government, the unfounded implication that the FBI was “planting information” at his house — all of it screams victimization, that Trump is the target of a vast and shadowy conspiracy pulling the FBI’s strings.

The fact that a Truth Social user had just been radicalized by such talk — posting violent threats on the site before attempting an armed breach of an FBI building — isn’t deterring Trump at all. He is, as the political scientist Julia Azari puts it, a nationalist who has no concept of a nation; a narcissist who abuses the language of patriotism without any commitment to the underlying idea that he has some responsibility to preserve order and cohesion in the polity. In fact, he does the opposite — sowing division and stoking violent distrust if it helps him.

Perhaps Trump’s talk wouldn’t be so dangerous if the rest of the GOP would work to tamp it down. Yet it’s become excruciatingly clear in the wake of his emergence as the GOP’s standard-bearer that Republicans are not taking Trump’s transgressions and troubles as opportunities to dump him, but rather to dig in, right by his side, in similarly radical terms...

The Far Right cannot cut themselves off from trump because trump has given the Far Right everything they've ever wanted and still left them angry and violent for more.

If there's any good news, it's that the rabid trumpian fanbase won't attack the rest of America in large numbers. For all the millions of "true Americans" they think have their back, most Americans - even among the 74 million who voted for trump in 2020 - will not rise to violence when the call goes out. The simple fact is that a lot of them - even the ones yelling and screaming the most - have obligations in the real world that would not allow them to go off and live out the militant cosplay some of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers revel in. Most people are not that violent.

The bad news, obviously, is that in this day it doesn't take a lot of people to commit enough violence to cause grief. Even one gun nut with an AR-15 and MAGA outrage can ruin a small town's entire day.

Like it or not, we're facing dark days ahead. If the Justice Department pursues criminal charges on trump, it will escalate the current civil strife we're in to the next level of open warfare. If Justice is not pursued, all it will do is encourage trump to keep violating more laws, safe with the knowledge his mob rule overrides the rule of law.

Best to hold trump accountable. Let justice be done though the heavens fall. Best to face facts: trump is proving himself a clear and present danger to the safety of the United States itself, and the sooner he faces jail for his crimes the better it will be... in spite of the violence his followers will unleash on the rest of us.

Just be ready for when the day comes, America.


dinthebeast said...

We have a ridiculously over-resourced apparatus in place to deal with the violent misbehavior of Fergus' disgruntled fans. Yes, it may well be bloody and annoying to ordinary citizens.
What we don't have is any reliable method to fix the unraveling of the civic norms and order that Fergus is still taking a meat-axe to on a daily basis.
Crimes are crimes. It matters not how popular the criminal is among certain segments of society, they still have to pay for the damage they do. Or that's the way it's supposed to play out.
Having a lot of money does shield one from many consequences of bad behavior, but only to a point, and for Fergus that point has to be the point when he decided to run for president, a role that has to be held to a higher standard than that of corrupt real estate developer or reality TV host.

-Doug in Sugar Pine

Unknown said...

Crimes are crimes, my friend! Please pass me that joint.
One must always be cautious when treating a fever lest we risk masking the disease.