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Posts Tagged ‘BATTLE OF BRITAIN’

THWARTING A TRUMP COUP

In Bureaucracy, History, Military, Politics, Social commentary on July 20, 2021 at 12:06 am

On August 2, 1934, German President Paul von Hindenburg died.

Adolf Hitler was then serving as Reich Chancellor—the equivalent of prime minister. Within hours, the Nazi Reichstag [parliament] announced the following law, back-dated to August 1st:

“The office of Reich President will be combined with that of Reich Chancellor. The existing authority of the Reich President will consequently be transferred to the Führer and Reich Chancellor, Adolf Hitler.” 

Immediately following the announcement of the new Führer law, the German officer corps and every individual soldier in the German Army [Wehrmacht] was made to swear a new oath of allegiance:

“I swear by God this holy oath, that I will render to Adolf Hitler, Führer of the German Reich and People, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, unconditional obedience, and that I am ready, as a brave soldier, to risk my life at any time for this oath.” 

Related image

Soldiers swearing the Fuhrer Oath

For Germans—especially officers of the Wehrmacht—taking an oath was a holy act. Previously they had sworn obedience to the German state. Now they swore personal allegiance to Adolf Hitler.

President Donald Trump wanted to resurrect “the German experiment.”

On February 5, 2020, Republicans refused to impeach Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Trump quickly began purging independent officials throughout government—and appointing political loyalists in their places. 

On May 6, 2000, Foreign Policy magazine carried an alarming story under the headline: “Trump Taps Point Man to Remove Pentagon Officials Seen as Disloyal.” 

Specifically: “Michael Cutrone, who has been detailed as Vice President Mike Pence’s top national security aide for South Asia, is set to arrive at the Pentagon to serve in a behind-the-scenes role vetting Defense Department officials for loyalty to the president, according to two current administration officials.” 

Veteran Pentagon officials feared that the few remaining professional appointees who could resist illegal or irrational  policy ideas would be removed from their posts or undermined. This would ensure far tighter White House control than had been the case under Defense Secretary James Mattis.

Their fears reached a crescendo during the months after Trump lost the 2020 Presidential election—from November 3, 2020 to January 20, 2021.  

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley feared that Trump and his allies might attempt a coup or take other dangerous or illegal measures. He and the other Joint Chiefs planned to resign, one-by-one, rather than carry out orders from Trump that they considered to be illegal, dangerous or ill-advised.

General Mark A. Milley.jpg

Mark Milley

Milley shared his fears of a coup with friends, lawmakers and colleagues.

“They may try, but they’re not going to fucking succeed,” Milley told his deputies. “You can’t do this without the military. You can’t do this without the CIA and the FBI. We’re the guys with the guns.”

In the days leading up to the January 6 attack on the Capitol Building, Milley told his staff that he believed Trump was stoking unrest, possibly in hopes of an excuse to invoke the Insurrection Act and call out the military.

Milley saw Trump as the classic authoritarian leader with nothing to lose.

“This is a Reichstag moment,” Milley told aides—referring to the February 27, 1933 arson of Germany’s parliament building which enabled Adolf Hitler to assume dictatorial powers.

The military’s plans to thwart a Trump coup are revealed in the new book I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year, by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker. 

In a July 15 statement, Trump attacked Milley: “I never threatened, or spoke about, to anyone, a coup of our Government. So ridiculous!

“Sorry to inform you, but an Election is my form of ‘coup,’ and if I was going to do a coup, one of the last people I would want to do it with is General Mark Milley.”

Which implies he would choose some other general to plot a coup.

William Kristol—a Right-wing political analyst—has been dubbed “the godfather of neoconservatism.” And with good reason. 

Immediately following the 9/11 attacks, Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard, was one of the leading instigators of the 2003 war with Iraq.

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Bill Kristol

But on February 15, 2019, Kristol posted on Twitter: 

“Members of Congress take this oath of office (see Title 5, Section 3331 of the United States Code): I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.'”

On May 7, 2019, he posted “the new GOP Congressional oath”:

“I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend Donald Trump against all oversight; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to him; that I take this obligation despite mental reservation and in the spirit of evasion of duty. So help me God.”

No doubt Kristol, who considers himself a dyed-in-the-wool conservative, remembers all too well the fate of those who took a similar oath to Adolf Hitler.

TRUMP: RESURRECTING “THE GERMAN EXPERIMENT”

In Bureaucracy, History, Military, Politics, Social commentary on May 12, 2020 at 12:10 am

On August 2, 1934, German President Paul von Hindenburg died. Adolf Hitler was then serving as Reich Chancellor—the equivalent of attorney general. Within hours, the Nazi Reichstag [parliament] announced the following law, back-dated to August 1st:

“The office of Reich President will be combined with that of Reich Chancellor. The existing authority of the Reich President will consequently be transferred to the Führer and Reich Chancellor, Adolf Hitler.” 

Immediately following the announcement of the new Führer law, the German officer corps and every individual soldier in the German Army was made to swear a new oath of allegiance:

“I swear by God this holy oath, that I will render to Adolf Hitler, Führer of the German Reich and People, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, unconditional obedience, and that I am ready, as a brave soldier, to risk my life at any time for this oath.” 

Related image

Soldiers swearing the Fuhrer Oath

For Germans—especially officers of the Wehrmacht—taking an oath was a holy act. Previously they had sworn obedience to the German state. Now they swore personal allegiance to Adolf Hitler.

On September 1,1939, Hitler ordered the invasion of Poland—and unintentionally ignited World War II. By 1943, the war had gone increasingly badly for Nazi Germany. And growing numbers of military officers felt torn between the oath they had taken to Hitler and the obligation they felt to save their Fatherland from total destruction. 

Now President Donald Trump wants to resurrect “the German experiment.”

On May 6, Foreign Policy magazine carried an alarming story under the headline: “Trump Taps Point Man to Remove Pentagon Officials Seen as Disloyal.” 

Specifically: “Michael Cutrone, who has been detailed as Vice President Mike Pence’s top national security aide for South Asia, is set to arrive at the Pentagon to serve in a behind-the-scenes role vetting Defense Department officials for loyalty to the president, according to two current administration officials.” 

An anonymous Defense official said of Cutroone: “He is pushing to replace and remove civilians in OSD [Office of the Secretary of Defense] that are not aligned with the White House. [Secretary of Defense Mark] Esper has no say in who the key people are going into senior positions.”

Cutrone is reportedly now serving as a CIA analyst. 

Veteran Pentagon officials fear that the few remaining professional appointees who can resist illegal or irrational  policy ideas will be removed from their posts or undermined. This will ensure far tighter White House control than had been the case under Defense Secretary James Mattis,

In February, Republicans refused to hold Trump accountable via impeachment for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Since then, the President has purged independent officials throughout government—and appointed political loyalists in their places. 

One such ousted official was Michael Atkinson, the Intelligence community’s top oversight official. Atkinson had enraged Trump by telling Congress the truth: That a whistleblower had filed a complaint about Trump’s attempted extortion of the president of Ukraine in return for his smearing former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic Presidential rival in the 2020 election.

In 1935, Adolf Hitler appointed his crony, Hermann Goring, as Reichsmarshall of the Luftwaffe, the German air force. In December, 1941, he promoted himself Commander-in-Chief of the Wehrmacht, the German army. 

Adolf Hitler

Both appointments proved disastrous.

Goring, a World War 1 fighter pilot, lost more than 1,700 planes in his attempt to conquer England in the battle of Britain (August – October, 1940). Many of the 2,662 casualties were experienced pilots, and the Luftwaffe never fully recovered.

Similarly, Hitler, a corporal during World War 1, presided over a succession of German defeats that ultimately led to the Red Army storming Berlin in 1945.

William Kristol—a Right-wing political analyst—has been dubbed “the godfather of neoconservatism.” And with good reason. 

Immediately following the 9/11 attacks, Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard, was one of the leading instigators of the 2003 war with Iraq.

Related image

Bill Kristol

But on February 15, 2019, Kristol posted on Twitter: 

“Members of Congress take this oath of office (see Title 5, Section 3331 of the United States Code): ‘I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.'”

On May 7, in a blistering attack on his fellow Republicans, he posted “the new GOP Congressional oath”:

“I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend Donald Trump against all oversight; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to him; that I take this obligation despite mental reservation and in the spirit of evasion of duty. So help me God.”

No doubt Kristol, who considers himself a dyed-in-the-wool conservative, remembers all too well the fate of those who took a similar oath to Adolf Hitler.

The lucky ones were sent to concentration camps. The unlucky ones wound up on meat hooks.

THEY LOSE, WE WIN

In History, Politics on February 2, 2012 at 8:43 am

Sometimes, democracies are saved through the sheer pride and stupidity of their worst enemies.

In 1940, Great Britain faced eventual defeat and enslavement at the hands of the German Luftwaffe (Air Force).

British cities were being fire-bombed.  Thousands of civilians were being injured, killed or left homeless.

If the Germans gained air supremacy, they could destroy the Royal Navy–the last line in British defenses before invasion.

Meanwhile, German planes were being shot down by the score.   But others were gradually wiping out Britain’s elaborate system of radar stations, which gave England a “head’s-up” on where attacking German planes were headed.

Then fate–or Providence–intervened.

Two German bombers accidentally dropped bombs on London–a target that Adolf Hitler, Germany’s Fuehrer, had ruled off-limits.  He had feared that the sight of London going up in flames might lead America to enter the war against him.

It didn’t.  But it did lead Britain to retaliate with raids against Berlin, the capitol of Nazi Germany.

The Germans were stunned: They had been told it would be impossible for anyone to bomb their cities.

Hitler was enraged.  He directed the Luftwaffe to stop attacking British radar stations and concentrate on bombing London.

The city suffered horribly–while the British frantically repaired their damaged radar stations.

And then the British got a second and even greater reprieve: Hitler, frustrated at not being able to conquer England, turned his legions against his supposed ally, the Soviet Union.

This colossal blunder sealed the fate of Hitler and his Third Reich.  So did his equally colossal one of declaring war on the United States after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

History just might be repeating itself in our own lifetimes.

Now Americans are being treated to another equally brutal struggle: The no-holds-barred conflict between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination for President.

Gingrich, who perfected the Joe McCarthy art of political slander, has labeled Romney a “pro-abortion, pro-gun-control,  pro-tax-increase liberal.”

Among Republicans, those are the ultimate in fighting words.  The only worse charge that Gingrich could hurl would be that Romney is a Communist.  And if the Soviet Union still existed, he would hurl it.

With Romney the victor in the Florida primary, Gingrich has become increasingly desperate–and angry.

He had racked up a badly-needed victory in South Carolina.  He’s lusted for the Presidency all his life.  And now he’s 68, so this has to be his last hurrah.

Romney, a multi-millionaire, has charged Gingrich with influence peddling and being “erratic”–a polite way of saying he’s insane.  And his wealthy PAC doners have trashed Gingrich as a serial adulterer and traitor to the “Ronald Reagan legacy.”

Gingrich has threatened to continue his candidacy for the Republican nomination “all the way to the convention” in August.

In their final TV appearance before the January 31 Florida primary, Gingrich and Romney outlined what each would do during his first month in the White House:

  • Both said they would repeal President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law, which ensures medical care for all Americans, and not just the wealthy.
  • Gingrich said he would ask Congress to repeal the Dodd-Frank overhaul of the financial services industry.  This was passed to prevent a repeat of the 2008 Wall Street “meltdown.”
  • Gingrich said he would also try to repeal the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate governance law, which aims to prevent major corporate and accounting scandals.
  • Romney said he would give licenses to companies that have been approved for drilling for gas and oil on federal lands.

Make no mistake: Democracy as we know it is being seriously threatened.

Both Romney and Gingrich hate Obama and lust to destroy him–politically, if not literally. And one of them will get the chance to do so when the Republicans finally choose a Presidential nominee in August.

But first, one of them has to rack up enough votes to persuade convention delegates to choose him as the nominee.

Until that happens, Romney and Gingrich will almost certainly remain locked in a death-struggle for power.

Right now, the smart money seems to be on Romney.  He has a nationwide organization and the support of corporate backers willing to spend millions of dollars on his behalf.   And right now, they’re spending those monies on trashing Gingrich.

Gingrich doesn’t have as many wealthy donors as Romney.  But he has the self-righteous conviction that he deserves to be President.  And he realizes that if anyone is to deny him that office, it will be Romney, not Obama.

So if he can’t have it, he will do his utmost to guarantee that Romney doesn’t get it, either.  If that means splitting the Republican vote and thus giving Obama another four years, so be it.

Thus, democracy may yet again be saved through the pride and stupidity of its worst enemies.

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