Friday, May 29, 2020


This happened a little while ago:
A CNN crew was arrested by Minnesota state police Friday morning while giving a live television report in Minneapolis, where the crew was covering ongoing protests over the death of George Floyd....

The crew, including correspondent Omar Jimenez, were handcuffed and detained as Jimenez gave a live report on a Minneapolis street shortly after 5 a.m. CT (6 a.m. ET).

Police told the crew they were being detained because they were told to move, and didn't, one member of the CNN crew relayed to the network....

Jimenez could be seen holding his CNN badge while reporting, identifying himself as a reporter, and telling the officers the crew would move wherever officers needed them to. An officer gripped his arm as Jimenez talked, then put him in handcuffs.

"We can move back to where you like. We are live on the air here. ... Put us back where you want us. We are getting out of your way -- wherever you want us (we'll) get out of your way," Jimenez said before he was led away.

Prior to that, this happened:
Twitter said Friday morning that a tweet from President Trump in which he threatened shooting in response to civil unrest in Minneapolis violated the company's rules. The company said it was leaving the tweet up in the public interest.

It's widely assumed that Trump is promising violent reprisal, in the most inflammatory way possible. The New York Times says that "Trump threatened violence against those protesting a death in police custody." Walter Shaub, the former director of the federal Office of Government Ethics, tweeted:

But will he?

He might -- I'm not ruling it out. But the menace of Trumpism is tempered somewhat by the fact that he still sees himself as a guy yelling at the TV because he's angry at the people running things. He doesn't see himself, even now, as the guy running things.

Oh, sure, when he feels personally mistreated -- by the Russia investigators, by Twitter -- he orders his minions to do harm to the offenders. But in Minneapolis, our narcissist president isn't personally threatened, so he might do nothing besides tweet and grumble. At this moment, the cops in Minneapolis are worse authoritarians than Trump.

After three and a half years in office, a smarter, more determined authoritarian could have had the institutions that stood in his way fully dismantled or at least cowering his fear -- critical news outlets, dissenting states, maybe even a house of Congress. He could have arranged to turn the Proud Boys or some similar band of youths into a paramilitary thug army useful for intimidating, brutalizing, and possibly murdering critics. It could have happened here. I see nothing to suggest that Republicans in Congress or Trump's fan base would have objected.

Trump stacks the courts because Mitch McConnell and Leonard Leo want him to. Trump supports cutting rich people's taxes and corporate regulations because his rich friends and donors want him to. Trump brutalizes immigrants because Stephen Miller knows how to get that done.

Otherwise, Trump uses his power to serve his ego, at least so far. And then he complains on Twitter.

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