Posting full Opinion here @Windthin since it is very a strong criticism particularly from an Admiral Mike Mullen and military, who rarely speak out.
It sickened me yesterday to see security personnel—including members of the National Guard—forcibly and violently clear a path through Lafayette Square to accommodate the president’s visit outside St. John’s Church. I have to date been reticent to speak out on issues surrounding President Trump’s leadership, but we are at an inflection point, and the events of the past few weeks have made it impossible to remain silent.
Whatever Trump’s goal in conducting his visit, he laid bare his disdain for the rights of peaceful protest in this country, gave succor to the leaders of other countries who take comfort in our domestic strife, and risked further politicizing the men and women of our armed forces.
There was little good in the stunt.
While no one should ever condone the violence, vandalism, and looting that has exploded across our city streets, neither should anyone lose sight of the larger and deeper concerns about institutional racism that have ignited this rage.
As a white man, I cannot claim perfect understanding of the fear and anger that African Americans feel today. But as someone who has been around for a while, I know enough—and I’ve seen enough—to understand that those feelings are real and that they are all too painfully founded.
We must, as citizens, address head-on the issue of police brutality and sustained injustices against the African American community. We must, as citizens, support and defend the right—indeed, the solemn obligation—to peacefully assemble and to be heard. These are not mutually exclusive pursuits.
And neither of these pursuits will be made easier or safer by an overly aggressive use of our military, active duty or National Guard. The United States has a long and, to be fair, sometimes troubled history of using the armed forces to enforce domestic laws. The issue for us today is not whether this authority exists, but whether it will be wisely administered.
I remain confident in the professionalism of our men and women in uniform. They will serve with skill and with compassion. They will obey lawful orders. But I am less confident in the soundness of the orders they will be given by this commander in chief, and I am not convinced that the conditions on our streets, as bad as they are, have risen to the level that justifies a heavy reliance on military troops. Certainly, we have not crossed the threshold that would make it appropriate to invoke the provisions of the Insurrection Act.
Furthermore, I am deeply worried that as they execute their orders, the members of our military will be co-opted for political purposes.
Even in the midst of the carnage we are witnessing, we must endeavor to see American cities and towns as our homes and our neighborhoods. They are not “battle spaces” to be dominated, and must never become so.
We must ensure that African Americans—indeed, all Americans—are given the same rights under the Constitution, the same justice under the law, and the same consideration we give to members of our own family. Our fellow citizens are not the enemy, and must never become so.
Too many foreign and domestic policy choices have become militarized; too many military missions have become politicized.
This is not the time for stunts. This is the time for leadership.
What they’re saying: "Justice for black Americans in the face of unjust violence, and peace for our country in the face of looting, riots, and domestic terror. Those are the two issues Americans want addressed," McConnell said on the Senate floor.
“Unfortunately, this resolution from my friend the Democratic leader does not address either one of them. Instead, it just indulges in the myopic obsession with President Trump that has come to define the Democratic side of the aisle.”
“Outside of the Washington, D.C., bubble, there is no universe where Americans think Democrats’ obsession with condemning President Trump is a more urgent priority than ending the riots or advancing racial justice.”
The other side: The resolution that Schumer introduced also affirmed the constitutional rights of peaceful protesters and condemned violence and looting.
“It’s very simple why the Republican leader objected to our resolution and offered this one instead,” Schumer said, after objecting to a counter-resolution from McConnell that stripped out references to Trump.
“It’s because they do not want to condemn what the president did, though every fair minded American of any political party would. We certainly should condemn violence — let me repeat, this resolution condemns violence — but it is insufficient in light of what happened just to condemn violence, and not condemn what the president did as well.”
Details: Schumer’s proposed resolution affirmed the following …
"The constitutional rights of Americans to peaceably assemble, exercise freedom of speech, and petition the government for redress of grievances must be respected;
That violence and looting are unlawful, unacceptable and contrary to the purpose of peaceful protests; and
That Congress condemns the President of the United States for ordering federal officers to use gas and rubber bullets against the Americans who were peaceably protesting in Lafayette Square in Washington, DC on the night of June 1, 2020, thereby violating the constitutional rights of those peaceful protesters."
George W. Bush breaks silence on George Floyd - Axios
Former President George W. Bush ® wrote in a statement Tuesday that he and his wife, Laura, are “anguished” by the death of George Floyd, and said that “it is time for America to examine our tragic failures.”
Why it matters: It’s a stark juxtaposition when compared to fellow Republican President Trump’s response to current civil unrest. While Trump has called for justice in Floyd’s death, he’s also condemned violent protestors and threatened to deploy military personnel if demonstrations continue.
The former president, however, made no mention of the current administration in his statement.
Bush writes that he and his wife over the past week actively “resisted the urge to speak out, because this is not the time for us to lecture. It is time for us to listen.”
What he’s saying: Bush argued Americans best serve their neighbors when they “try to understand their experience.”
“It remains a shocking failure that many African Americans, especially young African American men, are harassed and threatened in their own country…,” Bush wrote.
“How do we end systemic racism in our society? The only way to see ourselves in a true light is to listen to the voices of so many who are hurting and grieving. Those who set out to silence those voices do not understand the meaning of America — or how it becomes a better place,” he added.
The bottom line: Bush said “lasting justice will only come by peaceful means,” condemning looting and destruction that’s occurred in some demonstrations.
But "we also know that lasting peace in our communities requires truly equal justice. The rule of law ultimately depends on the fairness and legitimacy of the legal system."
Full statement is wiyhin the body of Axios article
I just read this account of yesterday’s Trumpmare/photo op. This was on FB from a priest from St. John’s church who was passing out water and snacks and they was tear gassed.
In case you don’t fully understand what happened this evening at the White House:
From Gina Gerbesi, a priest at St John’s Episcopal, Lafayette Square, this horrible account:
“Friends, I am ok, but I am, frankly, shaken. I was at St. John’s, Lafayette Square, most of the afternoon, with fellow clergy and laypeople – and clergy from some other denominations too. We were passing out water and snacks, and helping the patio area at St. John’s, Lafayette Square, to be a place of respite and peace. All was well – with a few little tense moments – until about 6:15 or so. By then, I had connected with the Black Lives Matter medic team, which was headed by an EMT. Those people were AMAZING. They had been on the patio all day, and thankfully had not had to use much of the eyewash they had made.
Around 6:15 or 6:30, the police started really pushing protestors off of H Street (the street between the church and Lafayette Park, and ultimately, the White House. They started using tear gas and folks were running at us for eyewashes or water or wet paper towels. At this point, Julia, one of our seminarians for next year (who is a trauma nurse), and I looked at each other in disbelief. I was coughing, her eyes were watering, and we were trying to help people as the police – in full riot gear – drove people toward us. Julia and her classmates left, and I stayed with the BLM folks trying to help people. Suddenly, around 6:30, there was more tear gas, more concussion grenades, and I think I saw someone hit by a rubber bullet – he was grasping his stomach and there was a mark on his shirt. The police in their riot gear were literally walking onto the St. John’s, Lafayette Square, patio with these metal shields, pushing people off the patio and driving them back. People were running at us as the police advanced toward us from the other side of the patio. We had to try to pick up what we could. The BLM medic folks were obviously well practiced. They picked up boxes and ran. I was so stunned I only got a few water bottles and my spray bottle of eyewash. We were literally DRIVEN OFF of the St. John’s, Lafayette Square, patio with tear gas and concussion grenades and police in full riot gear. We were pushed back 20 feet, and then eventually – with SO MANY concussion grenades – back to K street. By the time I got back to my car around 7, I was getting texts from people saying that Trump was outside of St. John’s, Lafayette Square.
I literally COULD NOT believe it. WE WERE DRIVEN OFF OF THE PATIO AT ST. JOHN’S – a place of peace and respite and medical care throughout the day – SO THAT MAN COULD HAVE A PHOTO OPPORTUNITY IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH!!! PEOPLE WERE HURT SO THAT HE COULD POSE IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH WITH A BIBLE! HE WOULD HAVE HAD TO STEP OVER THE MEDICAL SUPPLIES WE LEFT BEHIND BECAUSE WE WERE BEING TEAR GASSED!!!
I am deeply shaken. I did not see any protestors throw anything until the tear gas and concussion grenades started, and then it was mostly water bottles. I am shaken, not so much by the taste of tear gas and the bit of a cough I still have, but by the fact that that show of force was for a PHOTO OPPORTUNITY. The patio of St. John’s, Lafayette Square, had been HOLY GROUND today, a place of respite and laughter and water and granola bars and fruit snacks. But that man turned it into a BATTLE GROUND first, and a cheap political stunt second. I am DEEPLY OFFENDED on behalf of every protestor, every Christian, the people of St. John’s, Lafayette Square, every decent person there, and the BLM medics who stayed with just a single box of supplies and a backpack, even when I got too scared and had to leave. I am ok. But I am now a force to be reckoned with."
ATTORNEY GENERAL William P. Barr on Monday ordered federal police and National Guard forces to disperse protesters who were peacefully gathered in front of the White House. As flash munitions exploded and tear gas swirled, President Trump delivered a Rose Garden rant denouncing “acts of domestic terror” he said had taken place in Washington and other U.S. cities, and threatened to “deploy the United States military” to those that fail to “dominate the streets.”
The president then walked across Lafayette Square to pose with a Bible in front of a church. The clearing of the square — carried out without the involvement of D.C. police, who were not told about it until moments before it occurred — enabled this cheap political theater, and we suspect the same term can be applied to Mr. Trump’s vow to deploy active-duty Army units. But military and congressional leaders ought to be telling him that any such action would be unacceptable.
As it is, Mr. Trump appears to be mobilizing federal forces to Washington, where he has the authority to take over the National Guard and deploy other troops without consulting local authorities. According to the New York Times, the Army has been ordered to transfer a military police unit from Fort Bragg, N.C., and 600 to 800 National Guard troops from other states will reinforce the 1,200-member D.C. National Guard. One military official told the Times Mr. Trump was creating his own “palace guard.” Mr. Trump said he was “dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel and law enforcement officers” to the District “to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults and wanton destruction of property.”
There has been vandalism and some looting in the District — often carried out, as The Post reported, by mostly white extremists and criminals who have nothing to do with the thousands who have peacefully and justifiably demonstrated for racial justice. But calling the smashing of shop windows “domestic terror” is cynical hyperbole designed to cast Mr. Trump as a “president of law and order,” as he put it. D.C. police are capable of containing the disturbances without interference by “heavily armed soldiers.”
The deployment of regular military forces to Washington or any other city would be still more counterproductive. Army units are trained to fight foreign enemies, not patrol domestic streets; other than military police, they are not trained in law enforcement. Though several thousand soldiers were dispatched by President George H.W. Bush to Los Angeles following riots in 1992, that was done at the request of California’s governor. To do so now, especially over the objections of local elected officials, would be, as Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) put it, “unsustainable militarily” and “unsustainable socially because it’s the antithesis of how we live.”
Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, surely know this. Yet they allowed themselves to be used as props in Mr. Trump’s march across Lafayette Square and participated in a phone call Monday in which the president demanded that governors use the National Guard to suppress protests. Mr. Esper even spoke of U.S. cities as “the battlespace.” In enabling his incitement, Mr. Trump’s aides are helping him to push the country closer not to order but to anarchy.
June 2, 2020 at 7:13 p.m. PDT
Televangelist Pat Robertson joined the religious leaders criticizing President Trump for his “law and order” response to the nationwide unrest following the killing of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police.
Robertson, a onetime GOP presidential candidate, has been generally supportive of Trump during his administration, but he blasted the president’s approach to the protests in the opening remarks of his television show “The 700 Club” on Tuesday.
“It seems like now is the time to say, ‘I understand your pain, I want to comfort you, I think it’s time we love each other,’ ” said Robertson, 90. “But the president took a different course. He said, ‘I am the president of law and order,’ and he issued a heads-up.”
Robertson took issue with Trump’s remarks Monday on a conference call with U.S. governors, telling them they were weak.
“[The president] said, ‘I’m ready to send in military troops if the nation’s governors don’t act to quell the violence that has rocked American cities.’ In a matter of fact, he spoke of [the governors] as being jerks,” Robertson said. “You just don’t do that, Mr. President. It isn’t cool!”
Does the president have the authority to call out the troops, Robertson asked his listeners, rhetorically. You have to go back to pre-Civil War days to find an ordinance to grant him that authority, he answered.
“We are all one race, and we need to love each other,” Robertson said, addressing the protests. He also warned that the mass gatherings could risk spreading the novel coronavirus.
Trump outraged major Catholic and Episcopal leaders Monday and Tuesday for staging photo opportunities in front St. John’s Episcopal Church, across from the White House, and at a shrine to Pope John Paul II a few miles away in Northeast Washington. Most of his evangelical Christian backers, aside from Robertson, have continued to stand by him.
All of us at Ben & Jerry’s are outraged about the murder of another Black person by Minneapolis police officers last week and the continued violent response by police against protestors. We have to speak out. We have to stand together with the victims of murder, marginalization, and repression because of their skin color, and with those who seek justice through protests across our country. We have to say his name: George Floyd.
George Floyd was a son, a brother, a father, and a friend. The police officer who put his knee on George Floyd’s neck and the police officers who stood by and watched didn’t just murder George Floyd, they stole him. They stole him from his family and his friends, his church and his community, and from his own future.
The murder of George Floyd was the result of inhumane police brutality that is perpetuated by a culture of white supremacy. What happened to George Floyd was not the result of a bad apple; it was the predictable consequence of a racist and prejudiced system and culture that has treated Black bodies as the enemy from the beginning. What happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis is the fruit borne of toxic seeds planted on the shores of our country in Jamestown in 1619, when the first enslaved men and women arrived on this continent. Floyd is the latest in a long list of names that stretches back to that time and that shore. Some of those names we know — Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Emmett Till, Martin Luther King, Jr. — most we don’t.
The officers who murdered George Floyd, who stole him from those who loved him, must be brought to justice. At the same time, we must embark on the more complicated work of delivering justice for all the victims of state sponsored violence and racism.
Four years ago, we publicly stated our support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Today, we want to be even more clear about the urgent need to take concrete steps to dismantle white supremacy in all its forms. To do that, we are calling for four things:
First , we call upon President Trump, elected officials, and political parties to commit our nation to a formal process of healing and reconciliation. Instead of calling for the use of aggressive tactics on protestors, the President must take the first step by disavowing white supremacists and nationalist groups that overtly support him, and by not using his Twitter feed to promote and normalize their ideas and agendas. The world is watching America’s response.
Second , we call upon the Congress to pass H.R. 40, legislation that would create a commission to study the effects of slavery and discrimination from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies. We cannot move forward together as a nation until we begin to grapple with the sins of our past. Slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation were systems of legalized and monetized white supremacy for which generations of Black and Brown people paid an immeasurable price. That cost must be acknowledged and the privilege that accrued to some at the expense of others must be reckoned with and redressed.
Third , we support Floyd’s family’s call to create a national task force that would draft bipartisan legislation aimed at ending racial violence and increasing police accountability. We can’t continue to fund a criminal justice system that perpetuates mass incarceration while at the same time threatens the lives of a whole segment of the population.
And finally , we call on the Department of Justice to reinvigorate its Civil Rights Division as a staunch defender of the rights of Black and Brown people. The DOJ must also reinstate policies rolled back under the Trump Administration, such as consent decrees to curb police abuses.
Unless and until white America is willing to collectively acknowledge its privilege, take responsibility for its past and the impact it has on the present, and commit to creating a future steeped in justice, the list of names that George Floyd has been added to will never end. We have to use this moment to accelerate our nation’s long journey towards justice and a more perfect union.