Trump’s Candidate For Homeland Security Chief Calls For Suppression Of Anti-Trump Protests

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Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke has unleashed a series of tweets calling for a “state of emergency” to be declared and for the ongoing anti-Trump protests to be violently “quelled” by the military.

On Friday, Clarke wrote on Twitter: “How to stop riots. 1) Declare state of emergency. 2) Impose early curfew. 3) Mobilize Nat Guard. 4) Authorize ALL non lethal force. 5) Tear gas [sic].”

The significance of this rant is relatively plain. This is a proposal for the imposition of martial law and the complete lockdown of American cities in which anti-Trump protests continue to take place. Clarke’s language recalls the extraordinary Boston lockdown of 2013, in which the population was ordered to “shelter in place” while militarized police units conducted house-to-house searches. Curfews were also used as part of efforts to suppress the protests against police brutality in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, following the killing of Michael Brown.

The phrase “ALL non-lethal force” (and the capitalization for emphasis) signifies a bloodthirsty eagerness to inflict violence against anti-Trump protests: rubber bullets, pepper spray, tear gas, sound cannons, tasers, punches, kicks, and baton strikes.

Clarke is a celebrity sheriff known for taking provocative far-right positions while posturing, strutting, and preening for the cameras in his police uniform. He is one of two candidates being considered for the post of director of the Department of Homeland Security in the Trump administration, according to Politico. The post is currently occupied by Jeh Johnson.

The other candidate named by Politico is also a celebrity sheriff: Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who made a name for himself through the flagrantly racist and discriminatory treatment of immigrants and provocative defiance of court orders to stop.

Many people in the US were introduced to Clarke for the first time when he delivered a fascistic rant—in a black uniform, decorated with various badges and ribbons—at Trump’s Republican National Convention in July.

This speech featured Clarke shouting “Blue lives matter in America” into the microphone, while the audience chanted “U-S-A, U-S-A.” Clarke went on to define Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street protests as illegal and illegitimate, describing them as “anarchy.”

On November 9, Clarke wrote on Twitter: “These temper tantrums from these radical anarchists must be quelled. There is no legitimate reason to protest the will of the people.” The irony of the phrase “the will of the people” is lost on Clarke, under conditions where Trump received roughly a quarter of the votes of eligible voters and lost the popular vote.

On November 11, Clarke wrote: “These riots are not protest [sic] and should be quelled quickly. These goon anarchists do not believe in the US Constitution or the rule of law.”

This drivel is coming from the supposed chief “law enforcement officer” of an entire county, who is being considered for a senior position in the Trump administration. It provides a glimpse of the pseudo-legal categories that will be invoked to suppress opposition once president-elect Donald Trump takes office. Demonstrations are labeled “riots.” Protesters are labeled “goon anarchists.” The “rule of law” is redefined as “the majesty of Trump,” such that anyone who does not “believe in” it is not entitled to democratic rights.

One hesitates to engage in any serious legal analysis of the positions of celebrity provocateurs like Clarke, but it must be said all the same that Clarke’s conception of the “rule of law” turns the classical idea into its opposite. From a democratic legal standpoint, protests are entirely consistent with the “rule of law” and are protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which expressly prohibits any restriction on “the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” If anything, it is figures like Clarke that “do not believe in the US Constitution or the rule of law.”

The use of a unilaterally declared “state of emergency” to suppress protests is a tactic familiar to anyone who has studied the history of the 20th century’s most authoritarian regimes. The essential formulation of this doctrine was provided by Nazi “crown jurist” Carl Schmitt (1888-1985). Under Schmitt’s infamous “state of exception” (Ausnahmezustand) doctrine, the government can invoke a national emergency to override all democratic rights and disregard the rule of law. More recently, this formula has been invoked in France to crack down on all expressions of oppositional political sentiment. (See: “The state of emergency and the collapse of French democracy”)

With respect to Clarke’s proposal to call in the National Guard, as a historical and legal matter, the use of the national military to suppress domestic protests is illegal. While examples can be provided of its violation by a long line presidents, this principle dates back to the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 and nominally remains in effect.

It is worth noting that in 2007, the federal legislature attempted to legalize the suppression of protests using the military. Section 1076 of the 2007 Defense Authorization Bill, titled “Use of the Armed Forces in major public emergencies,” included the following language:

“The President may employ the armed forces … to… restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when … the President determines that … domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order… or [to] suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy if such … a condition … so hinders the execution of the laws … that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law … or opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws.”

This language was repealed in 2008, to be replaced in 2011 with the Obama administration’s vague and equally ominous formulation that the military can be used domestically to target any “person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.”

Clarke’s Twitter rants are so full of legal non-sequiturs that one does not know where to begin or end. Under existing law, the police are only authorized to use force in self-defense or when it is reasonably necessary under the circumstances to overcome resistance to lawful objectives. Therefore, it makes no sense to employ the phrase, “Authorize ALL non lethal force.” Even within the existing American legal system—which is already weighted dramatically in favor of the police—a government official cannot “authorize” a violent attack on a protest.

While Clarke rants now about the “goons” who have no respect for the “rule of law,” he struck a different tone when Trump appeared to be down in the polls. On October 15, three weeks before the election, he wrote: “It’s incredible that our institutions of gov, WH, Congress, DOJ, and big media are corrupt & all we do is bitch. Pitchforks and torches time [sic].”

So much for the rule of law!

Clarke’s response to the election of Trump was an effusive series of tweets like the following: “God truly does love America to not have allowed evil to triumph over good. Our prayers have been answered!” And: “Ding, dong the witch DEAD! President elect Donald Trump has prevailed!”

Clarke’s twitter feed is a relentless parade of right-wing nostrums, amalgams, and provocations. In one tweet, he wrote, “Black Lies [sic] Matter will join forces with ISIS to being [sic] down our legal constituted republic [sic].” In another, he described the protests against police brutality in Ferguson, Missouri as “vultures on a rotting carcass.” One wonders how much time Clarke actually spends on his official duties versus on his Twitter account. It is a scandal that he has been permitted to collect a sheriff’s salary for so long while basically functioning as a professional internet troll.

In the final analysis, Clarke’s eagerness to inflict violence on anti-Trump protesters—and the fact that he is nevertheless being considered for a post in the Trump administration—reflects the homicidal class hostility with which the political establishment views any form of opposition to its policies or its rule. It confirms the analysis made by the World Socialist Web Site that the so-called “war on terror,” together with the militarization of the police, were never about protecting the American population from harm. Instead, these policies—implemented relentlessly through both the Bush and Obama administrations—were designed to build up the framework of a police state and abrogate democratic obstacles to authoritarian rule. These are tools the incoming Trump regime is now itching to deploy against any opposition to its unpopular policies.

  • Despite my enormous respect for the World Socialist Web Site, I suspect Mr. Carter is loathe to acknowledge the lethal magnitude of the horror that will descend on us on 21 January 2017.

    It will be, in fact, a new Holocaust.

    Given that Obama has methodically destroyed all remaining Constitutional restraints on the USian government, Trump and his henchmen are literally as powerful as Hitler and his entourage at the apex of their tyranny. .

    Moreover, given present-day technologies of surveillance and death, Trump possess all the truly godlike omnipotence Hitler desired but could never achieve as long as there was a Red Army.

    (Not coincidentally, that omnipotence is a perfect expression of the sadism, misogyny, hatred of nature and genocidal malevolence that are the defining characteristics of the god of the Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.)

    The point though is what we are facing is indeed the Nazi USia, the Fourth Reich, complete with a bottomless brutality no USian-born person can possibly imagine. Indeed the only people who can imagine it are the few remaining survivors of the original Holocaust (a small number of whom I have known personally).

    Meanwhile neither the USian Left nor any other group in the imperial homeland is prepared — whether physically, psychologically or ideologically, — to offer today’s Nazis adequate resistance.

    The secret of non-violence is that it succeeds only when it is backed by the threat of violence, and with the Soviet Union gone, any such threat has vanished from the earth, in all probability forever.

    Which is precisely why the USian One Percent, which has sought since the 1934 Bankers’ Plot to turn the U.S. into a Nazi nation, is now, in the carefully orchestrated rise of Trump, fulfilling the ultimate goal of capitalism.

  • DHFabian

    Milwaukee Co. Sheriff David Clark (who, incidentally, is black) is noted for his tendency toward drama, with Clark as the star of the show. Thousands did, indeed, exercise their right to assemble and protest in Madison and Milwaukee. Always, there were some attempts to provoke those who were marching. Neither city burned, neither was trashed, and Monday morning arrived as usual.

    The leading local news story on the Monday noon news was about a strike at the airport.

  • DHFabian

    The racist anti-white rants, based on the ugliest stereotypes that fit few, have only increased tensions. I agree overall that we seem to be in the final stages of this country, and everything is on the brink of flying out of control. Still, we’ve actually remained on a course set as far back as the 1980s.

    One aspect that liberals have consistently overlooked is that this country actually HAS been implementing fascism (by definition) for years, from the bottom up. Because the US itself is an economic entity, ours is a class-based form of fascism. Our government has quietly stripped our poor of a list of fundamental civil and human rights. (Today’s liberals seem to have fallen for the myth that our deregulated capitalism is so successful, that everyone is able to work, there are jobs for all, therefore no need for poverty relief.) Overall, years of work went into dividing us up into distinct categories by class, race, etc., pitting us against each other. This ensures that this time, as the hard right take power over the country, the proverbial masses won’t unite to push back.

  • Three points:

    (1)-As to the ubiquitousness of USian white racism, note that 77 percent of the homeland’s Caucasian population denied there was any racism in the Bush II regime’s genocidal abandonment of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. This is a Pew Poll result, hence presumably accurate. It was also the basis of my prediction Trump would win the election. Google Pew Research Center, “Two in Three Critical of Bush Relief Effort.” (Sorry no URL provided as under Discus rules it will delay the appearance of this post by hours if not days.)

    (2)-You are correct “this country…has been implementing fascism…for years,” but incorrect as to the dates. Actually the process began when the One Percent turned the U.S. into a sanctuary for Nazi war criminals at the end of World War II. From the very beginning of their presence here, the highest-ranking of those criminals urged the USian Ruling Class to turn this nation into the Fourth Reich, and their hosts listened carefully. Hence (A)-the vicious anti-Communist, anti-socialist, anti-intellectual, anti-humanitarian purge that began literally the moment the war ended; hence too (B)-the first major fascist political victory, the union-destroying Taft-Hartley Act of 1947. Thus the process of Nazification has continued ever since. My father, a Communist during the 1930s and a Marxian for the remainder of his life, saw the eventual emergence of an USian Hitler as inevitable. Though he knew the Soviet Union was never the “workers paradise” it claimed to be, he also believed the USSR would again save the world from fascism as it did c. 1941-1945. But now there is no such rescue-force anywhere on this planet, which denies our species one of the four historical prerequisites to successful revolution. The prognosis is therefore unspeakably grim: based on the fact the post-Roman age of feudal tyranny lasted 1441 years (476-1917), I suspect we the people are in for a seeming eternity of subjugation. Martin Luther King Jr.’s notion “the arc of the universe bends toward justice” is utter nonsense; anyone who genuinely knows history knows the opposite is true — and has been true at least since the advent of patriarchy about 6000 years ago.

    (3)-You are likewise correct that “today’s liberals” — that is, the Democratic (sic) Party — “have fallen for the myth our deregulated capitalism is…successful,” but it is not because they believe “there are jobs for all.” Their indifference to the ever-worsening reality of USian poverty — that capitalism has already reduced fully half this nation’s population to officially low-income wretchedness — is not a manifestation of ignorance or willful blindness but is instead an expression of the malevolence that is the deliberate byproduct of the Ayn Rand me-first moral imbecility in which all USians are now methodically conditioned from birth. Let us not forget, Rand’s novels — required reading in virtually all USian public high schools — are nothing more than clever fictionalizations of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Also there is the fact the ever-more-deadly destruction of the socioeconomic safety net — a process in which liberals and conservatives are equally complicit — is the deliberately genocidal means by which the capitalist Ruling Class is methodically reducing what it considers “surplus population”: those of us who are too old, disabled or chronically impoverished to be exploitable for profit. In this context, effective resistance (even if determinedly nonviolent) will merely further the Ruling Class purpose of exterminating as many of us as quickly as possible: note the example of Sheriff Clark. This does not mean we should submit to Nazism; but it does mean is we should awaken to the fact that for many of us — indeed perhaps for most of us — resistance to USian Nazism will mean death, just as it did to the White Rose Society under German Nazism. Yes, by Trump’s appointments we can already see this new Fourth Reich regime will be at least as savage as its Third Reich predecessor. Such is the one true path — indeed the only path — implicit in capitalism. .

    To rephrase a point I have been making since the aftermath of Katrina, most of us who are white — the 77 percent I cited above — cannot bear to acknowledge the lethal challenge the looming Nazi horror poses to our sense of self-omnipotence. Yet until we transcend the morally imbecilic egotism in which we have been so thoroughly conditioned and, simultaneously, cast off the blinders of obstructive optimism (which include the oft-unspoken belief in Caucasian superiority), we will remain unable to evolve an adequate resistance to the Nazi (i.e.,capitalist) agenda. .

  • George Costanza

    will prob declare martial law like dubya did (first in US history) and a new low. we temporarily regained our senses and elected a progressive but ultimately it seems a LOT of citizens want to be sheep herded to their sl8aughter and trump will GLADLY assist lying directly to your face the whole way as well will his fellow s!eaze pence..trump is daily appointing to cabinet positions other ideologues and sycophants whose sole criteria is get in line and dont embarrass the thin skinned trump (how the f(*Ck is he not EXACTLY like h!tler? except RW dont “LIKE” the apt comparison???)…it is a slow moving d!saster….hope trump id!Ots got what they wanted.

  • George Costanza

    “The racist anti-white rants” is what orig h!tler also used to rationalize his ev!l like trump is doing now…it is called nationalism. it appeals to lowest sc&Um as trump did. and to your lowest base impulse and tribalism and id. and basically p!ts poor against poor. as trump did. it is almost exactly repeating sord!d history..hopefully elon was right and this is a simulation!!!!! there is a bug in the software making us do the same stup!d things over and over and over.

  • Leon Foonman

    You Voted for Trump, so don’t go blaming Obama cuz YOU are an idiot who wasted his vote on Jill Stein (which IS a vote for Trump). Just Shut Up cuz we hold morons like YOU 100% responsible for Trump and teh takeover of this country be morons.

  • Thank you, Mr. Foonman, for so perfectly illustrating my point. The pseudo-Left’s near-total refusal to acknowledge Obama the Orator’s shape-shift into Barack the Betrayer — not to mention the fact the sources of his 2008 campaign financing prove he was never more than a false-flag candidate, (literally a Nazi-enabler in blackface) — is precisely why the USian Empire is at its present denouement.

    As to your accusation I “wasted” my vote on Ms. Stein, are you suggesting that Hillary’s brand of Nazism would have been the better choice? It is certainly more closeted than Trump’s, i.e., more politically correct, but with her Hitlerite/Goldwater Girl ambition to be the first-ever conqueror of Russia, it is far more definitively apocalyptic as well.

    Trump is potentially survivable, particularly given the nonviolent revolution evolving at Standing Rock. But with Hillary, the only survivors will be the One Percenters and their vassals — those obscenely wealthy enough to build and stock the rumored subterranean shelters that will presumably enable them to survive 25 years of nuclear winter, then emerge (with their carefully-bred slaves) to rule forever a fully “cleansed,” fully Nazified planet.

    Again, Mr. Foonman, thank you for showing us which side you are on.

  • Two Americas

    Excellent posts on this thread, Loren. Thank you.

  • Mr. Z

    Wow. I need a cold shower after this one, Loren.
    Well done.