THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2020
Seven Days in November: Rather plainly, General Barry McCaffrey isn't a nut.
Also, Seven Days in May (1964) was a very convincing "attempted military takeover" film.
Before we try to show you what McCaffrey said to Brian Williams last night—MSNBC no longer makes such content available—let's review some other rumblings across the press landscape today.
Atop the front page of the hard-copy Washington Post, the headlines on the featured news report say this:
Efforts to thwart Biden's victory start taking shape
Lawyers lobby to delay certifying vote
Those headlines appear in the Post's print edition. Later, this headline appeared atop Margaret Sullivan's latest media column:
How to cover a coup—or whatever it is Trump is attempting
Say what? Is Donald J. Trump attempting a coup? Sullivan starts like this:
SULLIVAN (11/12/20): President Trump lost. The nation knows it. The world knows it. And, although he won’t admit it, he certainly knows it, too.
But because he is claiming otherwise—with his Republican enablers joining the chorus—this past week has presented the reality-based press with a strange and extremely important challenge.
How do you cover something that, at worst, lays the groundwork for a coup attempt and, at best, represents a brazen lie that could be deeply damaging to American democracy?
“You don’t want to fearmonger. You don’t want to underplay something this dangerous, either,” Noah Shachtman, editor of the Daily Beast, told me.
Is it possible that Donald J. Trump, and those around him, are trying to lay the groundwork for a coup attempt?
Sullivan isn't a national security reporter. On the other hand, concerning those efforts to delay certification of Biden's victory, Viebeck at al. report the following atop the Post's front page:
VIEBECK ET AL (11/12/20): Pressure mounted on state and local officials in battleground states to accept claims of ballot-counting irregularities and voter fraud in the election despite a lack of evidence, as Republicans sought new ways to block certification of Joe Biden’s clear victory in the presidential race.
In Michigan, Republican lawyers lobbied the Wayne County canvassing board to consider evidence of alleged improprieties before certifying the vote. In Pennsylvania, GOP lawmakers were the target of social media campaigns demanding the appointment of electors who favor President Trump. And in Georgia, the Republican secretary of state defended the election and announced a hand audit of the results, despite calls by the state’s Republican senators for him to resign over alleged problems.
While the Trump campaign’s lawsuits have so far been “summarily dismissed,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D) said Wednesday that she is concerned the GOP may try to use baseless claims about irregularities or vote tampering to disrupt the certification of Biden’s win, depriving him of the state’s 16 electoral votes.
“It appears as though that is the strategy they are pursuing,” Nessel said on a call with reporters held by the nonpartisan Voter Protection Project. “We will do everything we can possibly do in the state of Michigan to ensure that that does not occur and that the slate of electors accurately reflects whoever received the most votes.”
Nessel is nobody's dummy. Given the psychopathologies of the sitting president (and presumably of those around him), we find her words alarming.
That's the very term McCaffery used when he spoke with Williams last night. Unfortunately, in a very "Trumpy" cultural play, MSNBC no longer offers transcripts of its profit-seeking TV shows.
For that reason, it's hard to show you what McCaffrey said to Williams. To our ear, Williams showed little sign of hearing what had been said.
McCaffrey said that he's "alarmed" by the president's peculiar new firings and appointments. He said a coup was quite unlikely, but he left the door ajar.
Not long ago, a certain horrible corporate "news channel" stopped transcribing its TV shows. After 22 years of pointless effort, we don't plan to do their work for them today.
Beyond that, we can't link you to videotape of McCaffery's remarks. That said, he stressed his state of alarm on several occasions last night.
"Mark me down as alarmed over this whole thing," McCaffrey said, right out of the gate. He referred to "a plot in the White House that we might be able to declare this election null and void."
("I don't think it's going to work," the general said, but he didn't exactly say that it couldn't. Brian tried to change the subject two separate times during a very short segment.)
We assume that Trump is severely mentally ill. In typical fashion, the upper-end mainstream press has refused to discuss such possibilities.
We assume there's nothing this particular president wouldn't attempt to do. The press has taken a pass on discussing that possibility, but we assume that Donald J. Trump remains a dangerous man.
At one point, McCaffrey said this to Williams:
"You know, if I was a case officer in the CIA and I'd spent most of my life studying third world countries, and I looked at the pattern of behavior here, you'd have to conclude that the strongman is about to take control of the government and ignore an election."
General McCaffrey is very experienced, and he isn't a nut. And yes, that's one of the things he said to the unconcerned Brian.
We wish we could link you to a full transcript of the interview, or to the videotape. A certain horrible "cable news" entity decided, several months ago, that we can't have nice things.