A coup doesn’t have to follow a “Seven Days in May” script or a bloody banana republic model. The one attempted at the Capitol on Jan. 6 was a conspiratorial amalgam of Trump allies—from Proud Boys and Oath Keepers to Congressional lackeys and an inebriated Rudy Giuliani—to violently subvert the 2020 election and overturn the constitutional order. Former Attorney General William Barr labeled Trump claims of voter fraud “bullsh*t.” Periodic encouragement from Trump—whether via text, Ellipse exhortation or insufferable indifference during the deadly siege—underscored his demander-in-chief status and lit the fuse. This was no spontaneous “riot;” violence was no accident.
This was a brutal and deadly insurrection—in many ways worst than what the Brits did in Washington in 1814. That’s because the enemy–inspired by a false-narrative-promoting Trump to stop the peaceful, constitutional transfer of power–was seditiously within.
While we focus as a country and a democracy on the implications of the Capitol insurrection, there’s a critically important institution going through a credibility crisis at the same time: the Supreme Court of the U.S. A third of the Court is Trump appointed, there was a mole who released Samuel Alito’s opinion draft of Roe v. Wade, and the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, Ginni Thomas, has been a high-profile advocate and activist for overturning the 2020 election. Where’s John Roberts?
We know the Founding Fathers did their best under trying circumstances that reflected democratic ideals as well as societal inequities. Context matters—as we keep being reminded by those who lionize the Second Amendment in the 21st century world of AR-15 retail sales.
But one 18th century outlook, a holdover from colonial rule, still makes sense today—especially when it involves the purchase of firearms. The legal age of adulthood was 21 for several centuries.
* The U.S. made sure Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela were not invited to the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles. As a result, the leaders of Mexico, Guatamala, El Salvador and Honduras opted out. If the United Nations can include blatant non-democracies, so can the Summit of the Americas. That’s because, when possible, you should talk to your adversaries. Especially when they’re in your own hemisphere. Especially when it’s in the enlightened self-interest of the U.S. to gather all the regional players variously impacted by migration and humanitarian crises.
* Neither President Biden nor ex-President Trump seem likely to announce candidacies for 2024 until after the mid-terms. Most Dems don’t expect the octogenarian incumbent to run again, but saying it now only formalizes his lame-duck status earlier than necessary. A number of Republican donors feel a Trump announcement to run could help Democrats in November.
* “I will not pressure the Ukrainian government—in private or public—to make any territorial concessions.”–President Joe Biden. Begged question: What’s meant by “pressure”?
* Inflation rate in May: 8.6 percent; in April: 8.3 percent.
* “Biden doesn’t get the credit he deserves for steering the country through the worst of the pandemic, passing historic legislation, pulling the NATO alliance together against Russian aggression and restoring decency and decorum to the White House. And part of the reason he doesn’t is performative. He looks his age and isn’t as agile in front of the camera as he once was, and this had fed a narrative about competence that isn’t rooted in reality.”–Democratic strategist David Axelrod.
* The CDC is recommending all South Florida residents, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask indoors in public and on public transportation.
* According to Politico, Ron DeSantis won the presidential straw poll at the recent Western Conservative Summit in Denver. Trump finished second.
* “I would be much more concerned with my press secretary if the Washington Post was writing puff pieces about her.”–Gov. DeSantis’ reaction to a WaPo report that his press secretary, Christina Pushaw, has registered as a foreign agent because of previous work for the former president of Georgia.
* Val Demings’ U.S. Senate campaign has released its first TV ad. It highlights her 27-year career in law enforcement. The ad, which runs across platforms in English and Spanish, is the first statewide media buy from a Florida Senate candidate.
* The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released a report estimating that Florida citrus growers will fill 44.75 million boxes this season, a decrease of more than 22 percent from last season. It’s also the lowest count since the 1939-40 season.
* Since the beginning of the year, Tampa police have investigated reports of 78 guns stolen from unlocked vehicles.
* “We want to bring a lot of baseball fans to Tampa.”–Bob O’Malley, BrightLine’s vice president of governmental affairs.
* “Alcaldesa”: That’s the name of Jane Castor’s dog. It means “female mayor” in Spanish.
* “It’s obvious that Russia is determined to wear down the West and is now building its strategy on the assumption that Western countries will get tired and gradually begin to change their militant rhetoric to a more accommodating one.”–Volodymyr Fesenko, political analyst with the Penta Center think tank.
* The first book written by a sitting president: “Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation” by Ronald Reagan in 1983.
* “So, will we be out of print (newspapers) sometime in the future? I don’t know the answer to that. … That issue has come upon us. We see it in publications across the country where printing and delivering seven days a week is becoming harder and harder.”–Conan Gallaty, the incoming chairman and CEO of the Tampa Bay Times.
* “It’s deranged, and we’re not playing along.”–Tucker Carlson’s take on why Fox News didn’t carry the prime-time House Select Committee hearing on the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.
* ESPN averaged more than 2 million viewers per game in the Lightning-Rangers series. That’s a 71 percent increase from last year’s Eastern Conference finals.
* Sobering social media reality. One of Meta’s executive positions: the head of DOIP—or the Dangerous Organizations and Individuals Policy.
* Civil war: Isn’t that an oxymoron?
* Societal priorities: SCOTUS justices make $274,200 a year. The chief justice, John Roberts, pulls in $286,700. Minimum salary for NFL players: $660,000.
* Funny how there’s a Burger King but no Borscht Czar. After all, people who eat fast food are in a hurry … always Russian around somewhere.