It's an insurrection, no longer just protests
The Republic is in the greatest peril since the Civil War. A grand coalition of its enemies is taking advantage of the weakness and frustration created by the lockdown of the economy and ordinary life, the protests triggered by video of lethal barbaric cruelty of a then–police officer, and the economic desperation and frustration that have multiplied over a quarter-century of de-industrialization and widening class divisions as globalization has transformed our economy.
Heather Mac Donald, one of the wisest and best informed commentators on our law and justice systems, sees the breakdown in the rule of law that threatens us with anarchy:
Savagery is spreading with lightning speed across the United States, with murderous assaults on police officers and civilians and the ecstatic annihilation of businesses and symbols of the state. Welcome to a real civilization-destroying pandemic, one that makes the recent saccharine exhortations to "stay safe" and the deployment of police officers to enforce outdoor mask-wearing seem like decadent bagatelles.
The key moment was when the mayor of Minneapolis surrendered the city's third precinct police station to the mob. It was as much a signal to the mob as the storming of the Bastille was to the French revolutionaries:
This particular form of viral chaos was inevitable, given the failure of Minneapolis's leaders to quell the city's growing mayhem. The violence began on Tuesday, May 26, the day after the horrifying arrest and subsequent death of George Floyd. On the night of Thursday, May 28, Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey ordered the city's Third Police Precinct evacuated as the forces of hatred, distinct from legitimate forms of protest, descended upon it for a third day in a row. The building was promptly torched, sending a powerful sign that society would not defend its most fundamental institutions of law and order.
The opportunity for "free stuff" is irresistible to a large number of people all over the country, seeing opportunity in the inability of law enforcement, even when supplemented by National Guard troops, to apprehend looters. Luxury goods providers are now being targeted, from Louis Vuitton to Apple Stores being cleaned out by mobs who want the same stuff they see the affluent classes enjoying without the bother of working and saving for acquisition by legitimate means.
Washington, D.C. Apple Store completely cleaned out.
Photo credit: YouTube screen grab (cropped).
One can only hope the Silicon Valley oligarchy starts to realize that it, too, has a stake in law and order.
The New York Times tweeted out the extent of the insurrection, though insisting on calling the widespread looting and arson "protests."
Twitter screen grab.
President Trump employed Twitter to declare Antifa a terror group, sparking predictable claims from the New York Times and ACLU, among other leftist activists that he lacks the authority to do so. Perhaps they fear that President Trump will do something far more consequential and invoke the Insurrection Act, enabling him to bypass the limitations imposed in ordinary circumstances on the domestic use of the U.S. military by the Posse Comitatus Act.
Under the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, Congress has limited the president's ability to use the federal (title 10) military in domestic law enforcement operations such as searches, seizures, and arrests. A criminal statute, the Posse Comitatus Act makes it unlawful for the Army or Air Force to "execute the laws ... except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress." So, the president cannot simply call in federal military forces or nationalize the Minnesota National Guard to quell the civil disturbance in Minneapolis without pointing to a Posse Comitatus Act exception.
The Insurrection Act is, by far, the Posse Comitatus Act's most important exception. This is the legal key that unlocks the door to use federal military forces — whether through federalizing the National Guard or calling in "title 10 forces" to quell civil unrest.
Without question, invocation of the Insurrection Act, first enacted in 1807 and subsequently modified and renumbered to 10 USC, Chapter 13, §§ 251–255,would spark outrage on the left and lawsuits in jurisdictions where a lone left-wing federal judge would declare it unconstitutional and issue a nationwide injunction, sparking a true constitutional crisis. There would be extreme violence and likely major casualties if military forces were deployed and attacked.
Meanwhile, Xi Jinping, ISIS, Antifa, and other enemies would be tempted to launch attacks that would take advantage of the crisis and the perceived inability of the United States to respond. Moves against Hong Kong and Taiwan are not out of the question.
It may require the ruling class and media elitists being personally threatened, as was ESPN's Chris Palmer, for them to realize they, like all of us, have a deep personal stake in the suppression of an insurrection. Maybe it will take mobs moving on to Beverly Hills and the Upper East Side of Manhattan, invading homes and apartments — as they are promising to do — to wake them up.