The Second US Civil War
Instigators of chaos are creating huge risks within the US.
Chaos is building quickly for the US in wars abroad and in the US. The Houthis managed to route a US military ship that was escorting two Maersk ships to turn and skedaddle further out to sea, showing the little Houthis still have the upper hand. The US ship shot down two Houthi missiles but apparently failed to get a third, which hit the water and maybe exploded right beside one of the Maersk ships. (Accounts are by the military’s intention a little vague.)
US on the brink of another civil war?
That war, however, might not compare for chaos with the momentum at which the US appears to be hurtling toward civil war as the often-threatening-to-secede state that is proud of its lone-star (national) status assembles volunteer mercenaries to battle the feds.
Texas has continued to defy President Joe Biden on the border issue and is offering cash for Texas Military Department members to man the border. The Lone Star State is seeking "to deploy border security assets to high threat areas to deny criminal organizations the ability to illegally move drugs and people into Texas,"
I’m not exactly sure what the Texas Military Department is, as I haven’t known states to generally run their own military, outside of the National Guard, which runs under an unusual combination of Federal and State control.
While the Supreme Court has made it clear that the state of Texas has no constitutional right to get in the way of the federal government’s enforcement of the US border, Texas is determined to push the limits, and we seem to live in a day when even conservatives say, “Constitution be damned” if the government isn’t doing what they want (and, of course, it isn’t). Biden’s government is far from doing anything reasonable on the border.
The volunteers must already be members of the TMD in an initiative that is part of Abbott's Operation Lone Star to combat the rise in illegal immigration.
It sounds like Texas is pulling together a volunteer mercenary force to defend the border. Please understand that I think Biden is doing a horrible job of defending the border … as in is not defending it at all. His inattention and ineptitude places a massive burden and security risk on the State of Texas and its people. So, situations like the present one are what happens when the US government fails in such an egregious manner to defend itself and to carry out its own border obligations. I am in total solidarity with those concerns.
That said, a state enlisting its own military force to do the job brings a whole new level of risk to this situation and is starting to look an awful lot like a state military facing off with the federal government and, potentially, the US Border Patrol and maybe even US military if the Border Patrol are threatened.
The call for more volunteers is part of a showdown between the state and the Biden administration over the issue of the border….
[Texas Governor] Abbott … has slammed "Biden's reckless open-border policies," and tweeted after the Supreme Court's decision that the wire is an "effective deterrent against the illegal border crossings."
In apparent defiance of the court's decision, he said: "We continue to deploy this razor wire to repel illegal immigration."
So, the most conservative Supreme Court the nation has had in decades rendered its decision that prevented Texas from getting in the way of the federal government’s enforcement of border security (joke that said enforcement is) and the Texas governor responded by essentially flipping them off and saying, “We’re going to do whatever we want, how we want!”
The absence of razor wire and other deterrence strategies encourages migrants to make unsafe and illegal crossings between ports of entry, while making the job of Texas National Guard soldiers and DPS troopers more dangerous and difficult. This case is ongoing, and Governor Abbott will continue fighting to defend Texas' property and its constitutional authority to secure the border."
With the Gov. lining up a volunteer state militia, it sounds like the fighting is quite literal. In the “Year of Chaos,” it’s looking like we may have a stand-off between the US military, which could easily be called up in a situation like this, and the Texas military.
In May last year, Texas Republicans tried to create another 'Border Protection Unit' that caused non-governmental organizations to raise fears of vigilante groups.
This is far more significant than vigilantes groups. This is military people hired to form a militia by the state’s governor and the governor deciding over the head of the US commander-in-chief how the border should be defended as well as over the US Supreme Court. This could easily blow up into a Constitutional Crisis.
No doubt Biden has done his best to create the environment for such a crisis by doing such a terrible job of protecting the border and protecting the people of Texas from the risks of drug traffic and risk of terrorists slipping in among Mexicans and Central and South Americans advancing across the US border. His indifference to the struggles of those states and his refusal to seriously enforce existing US immigration laws pressures states to take their own actions. However, amping up those actions with a state-run militia made of state-paid, US military personnel sets up a seriously risky situation. Between the state and the United States approaching the border with very different agenda, driven by a governor opposing a president, this teeters close to civil war with the governor of Texas acting as commander-in-chief of his own militia on the Texas side.
(The article being quoted here gives some of the details of how this situation came about. You can also read about the Texas Military here.)
When Abbott was just pumping immigrants by the busload into liberal sanctuary cities, I’d say “Give them all they deserve.” That was a creative, non-violent solution. However, the present situation is loaded in much riskier manner that places US National Guardsmen to defend the US border in a manner assured of being directly contradictory to what the president of the United States will want (wrong as his way of doing things is), potentially placing the National Guard in a situation of conflict with the US president, their ultimate, legal, constitutional commander-in-chief.
Article II Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the Commander in Chief clause, states that "[t]he President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States."
The president can seize the reins here by calling on those same National Guardsmen to act under service of the United States, and not under service of Texas. That makes this a constitutional crisis if a state governor commands military personnel trained by the US government and normally funded by the US government to operate against the orders of the US commander-in-chief who is also designated by the constitution to control and secure the US border (inept as he is is at doing it).
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government—not Texas—had authority over the border, and that Border Control could cut down the razor wire.
I am not saying we are fully in that extreme conflict of interests between the Guard being commanded by the governor under normal situations and it being commanded ultimately by the president if he orders it to serve the United State’s government’s authority over the US border under his command, but we are rapidly running into it.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wrote a letter accusing the federal government of “breaking its compact between the United States and the States.”
No doubt Biden has broken it, and apparently Gov. Abbott has decided to risk war over it if that is what it takes.
At least 16 Republican governors say they support him, as Biden faces calls from some Democrats to “federalize” the Texas national guard, which would remove it from Abbott’s command.
That would be that action authorized in the US Constitution wherein the president of the United States can call the National Guard to serve at the US border under his command.
The National Guard works as a US-funded military placed under the control of state governors in normal times to defend and aid states in time of crisis. Apparently, it never occurred to anyone that someday we might have a governor who would be willing to turn the US National Guard against the US government.
That razor wire was erected by the Texas National Guard, placing the National Guard, under the governor’s orders, in direct legal conflict with the US president, which is why the US Supreme Court just weighed in on the matter. Though the court limited its ruling to this specific situation, it is not hard to see from the ruling how the court would lean in similar situations regarding the US president’s ultimate authority in defending the US border as well as what the constitution says about who has ultimate authority over the National Guard (state’s militia), should he call them to serve the United States under his command.
And it gets even more chaotic:
The citizens’ cavalry is on the way
Meanwhile, the vigilantes are coming to add their reinforcement anyway, and they call themselves “God’s Army.” So, this is also becoming a holy war.
Experts say that the Christian nationalist rhetoric adds a dangerous dimension to the standoff between Texas and the Federal Government.
A trucker convoy of “patriots” is heading to the U.S. border with Mexico next week, as the standoff between Texas and the federal government intensifies.
The organizers of the “Take Our Border Back” convoy have called themselves “God’s army” and say they’re on a mission to stand up against the “globalists” who they claim are conspiring to keep U.S. borders open and destroy the country.
Few things are more dangerous than people who genuinely believe they have the right to speak for God and believe God is behind their mission, especially if that mission is armed. Some of the worst wars in the world have been religious wars fought by the Catholic Church against Protestants and Muslims, Protestants against the Catholic Church in Ireland, Muslims against all kinds of nations, and secular leaders who raised the banner of the church to legitimate and empower their causes, etc. So the potential for the serious chaos of a civil war intensifies when people claim God is on their side, instead of worrying about whether they’re on his:
“This is a biblical, monumental moment that’s been put together by God,” one convoy organizer said on a recent planning call. “We are besieged on all sides by dark forces of evil,” said another. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God. It is time for the remnant to rise.” (The remnant, from the Book of Revelation, are the ones who remain faithful to Jesus Christ in times of crisis).
Odd, that they consider themselves a peacekeeping force because historically people who have wrapped their wars in the garb of religions have brought anything but peace. Nor is the sword Jesus’ way of spreading his truth, for he warned his own disciples, in what became a famous saying, “Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.” That was to get Peter to stand down from defending him. That was because his truth was never intended to be forced on the world by military power. It was to come by individual choice as the truth was told. Forcing a kingdom into existence was Rome’s way, not Jesus’. Instead, he assured that “the meek shall inherit the earth.” It was he who also said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.”
Apparently, “God’s Army” didn’t get the memo.
We’re heading into some possibly very bloody conflict. Better heads may prevail, and without a doubt President Biden’s (and Democrat’s in general) failure to seriously enforce US immigration and border laws is the heat that got all of this stirred up. It is what happens when you pretend to govern something while actually you refuse to do it. Now, however, the fires may be creating their own weather.
Biden’s impoverished ideas of how to enforce a border do not make this response good or legitimate. Civil wars can become the bloodiest of all wars, pitting brother against brother, sister against sister, and a nation against itself. Everyone loses, even the winning side! It hasn’t come to that yet, but people are lighting a lot of matches inside the dynamite shed right now.
Experts say that the Christian nationalist overtones in this rhetoric adds a dangerous dimension to an already fraught situation.
“When people believe that they are working on behalf of God, they might be willing to resort to relatively extreme measures,” said Ruth Braunstein, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut and author of “Prophets and Patriots: Faith in Democracy Across the Political Divide.” “And so you have a politically volatile situation that could become much more so, in part because of this rhetoric.”
I think it is likely more than rhetoric. This group and others like it have been preparing themselves for a citizen’s insurrection as a “the citizens’ militia” for a long time.
A group of six patriot-world influencers, including Kim Yeater, who runs a self-empowerment self-help group and an anti-voter fraud group, started organizing the convoy around a month ago. “God’s army is rising up,” she said on the planning call. “We all have been chosen for this time….”
Those are scary words.
These latest developments have aroused civil war fantasies on fringe forums, as well as on the social media accounts of GOP lawmakers and right-wing political commentators. On Thursday, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and Newsmax host Carl Rigbie mused about the possibility of a “force-on-force conflict” erupting between the federal government and the Texas National Guard….
It’s hard not to “muse” on that because that is exactly what this armed, enlisted, paid group of mercenary soldiers makes “hold the line” sound like.
“Once willing to die defending this country, now willing to die protecting my family from what this country has become,” said one donor, who identified himself as a Navy vet. “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes,” wrote another.
Protecting your family? Or getting it killed in a bloody civil war because those tend to be the bloodiest.
As one who has written on biblical prophecy and how it has been used and sometimes abused over the millennia, I think there are none more dangerous than those willing to commit violence in the name of God. They should never presume to speak on the behalf of God. Their beliefs embolden them to go to extremes and not care what the cost is because, if God has ordained it, personal loss doesn’t matter. If you doubt that, consider Muslim suicide bombers. It has been no better in history when Christians (or those claiming to be Christians who apparently don’t understand Jesus too well) arm themselves and believe and claim God wants them to fight a literal military war against evil forces in his name.
One can hope calmer heads prevail. It was at the very start of this year that I predicted 2024 would be the “Year of Chaos,” but this could put chaos on steroids, depending on whether real peacemakers can talk sense into people. In a civil war, we all lose. The nation loses. Sides start the war, certain that God or righteous cause is behind them. In the end, they wind up with their families dead, the families around them dead, and often their nation ripped to shreds, impoverished, and good for no one.
Infowars’ Alex Jones interviewed one of the organizers, Pete Chambers, a former military commander who says he was a green beret. “There’s a war literally happening now for America,” Jones said.
So, they’re talking “literal” war over who controls America and how. They don’t care that the US army massively outguns them because …
He later drew a comparison with the Biblical story of Gideon’s Army; in the Book of Judges, the army’s faith in God allowed them to prevail over their enemy despite being vastly outnumbered.
The belief that miracles will happen because they are on God’s side emboldens people to take extreme risks. If they die, they will get their seventy virgins or their cloud and a harp.
In an interview with VICE News, organizer Scotty Saks, who is the host of “Sovereign Radio,” said the convoy has nothing to do with the ongoing fight between Texas and the feds. “We’re not really focused on that,” said Saks. “We’re staying the course about making this peaceful assembly as large as we can make it, to make a statement to federal, state, local officials that we don’t want open borders.”
Let’s hope so, but things like this, charged with large doses of military enthusiasm and rhetoric have potential to run way out of control as the anger builds, especially when coupled with the belief that God is directing them on this mission. There is also one orange hot-head who is willing to burn down America to save himself from being a loser who clearly wants this to turn into real armed war between a state militia and the US army:
Donald Trump weighed in, calling on “all willing states to deploy their guards to Texas to prevent the entry of illegals.”
So, we have a former president calling on other states to deploy their own US-funded national guard by the call of their governors to join in what would essentially be a confederacy of states to defend the border in a manner that runs counter to the US president, who has the ultimate constitutional authority to take full control over the National Guard.
Trump is risking creating civil war because the US Border Patrol will also be caught in the fray and certainly will be tasked with making sure border security happens the president’s way (derelict as that way may be) as the Supreme Court just decided is the US government’s right in the recent situation where the National Guard placed razor wire on the border under the governor’s orders; so, this could easily turn into a battle against the government in Washington, D.C. over a matter of states’ rights.
Biden, after all, is likely to defend his power and Supreme-Court reinforced authority to enforce the border in the way he choses (wrong as he may be in how he enforces it—or doesn’t), thus pointing US military guns or other US agency guns toward National Guard guns.
Trump, who always loves a good fight, appears perfectly comfortable doing all he can to push those armed forces toward each other.
With all this happening in the background, Saks, who is running PR for the convoy, may struggle to keep the demonstration contained and on message. Word of the convoy is spreading online—not as a straightforward border protest, but a massive show of support for Abbott. “Freedom Convoy to Aid Texas in Border Security as Abbott Defies Feds” declared conservative blog Headline USA. “Truckers Convoy Heads to Texas to Put a Stop to Biden’s Border Madness” wrote another right-wing blog.
And what if Biden refuses to be stopped because he is president (much as I wish he weren’t), and the Supreme Court has made his authority over the US border quite clear. Presidents have a tendency not to let their power be usurped by others.
Saks stressed that the convoy and rallies are supposed to be peaceful demonstrations, but acknowledged that not everyone coming may be on the same page.
Exactly, and of course many won’t be. Just today, in another story below, one of those who was sentenced for his role in stopping congress temporarily from performing its constitutional duty as congress saw fit (not as protestors saw fit) stated in court that his sentence was meaningless to him. He’d do the same thing all over again in a heart beat if given the opportunity.
“We realize we may have infiltrators. There may be some people who try to subvert us, who jump in the convoy—provocateurs. We may have some, and they’re going to have to deal with our security team, they'll be asked to leave,” Saks told VICE News. “We won’t tolerate anyone brandishing a weapon or starting trouble, or making this more than what it’s supposed to be.”
So, you think, but you may just be a fool playing with dynamite who has nowhere near the ability he thinks he has to keep “God’s Army” from acting like those who join an army expect to act. It is not as if Saks has any legal authority over any of them. And then here is the tell:
“It's only a call to arms if the people around us make it a call to arms.”
Would that be Biden’s people? If they don’t do as you demand and they try to push you aside to cut some razor wire, does that establish the “call to arms” you are talking about? What others could do that might make a “call to arms” necessary in this person’s mind is far from clear — probably even far from clear to him as citizens pulling together armies for God are often less clever and less in control than they think they are.
The narratives inherent to Christian nationalism offer moral justification for engaging in violence, says Braunstein, and in the context of the escalating drama over the border, that makes some of the organizers’ rhetoric concerning. Braunstein cited polling by Public Religion Research Institute finding that nearly a third of Republicans believe that “true American patriots may have to resort to violence to save the country.”
The color orange
Meanwhile, the orange man who would be king (or, at least, dictator for a day by his own admission) has clearly decided that having the border as his major campaign issue is more important than the peace and cohesion of the nation because he has not only called on all willing states to join their National Guards to common cause with the State of Texas, but he has asked Republicans in congress to make sure they do not pass a border agreement with the Democrats that would result in Biden having resolved the issue.
Apparently, God forbid that it gets solved before Trump can be the one to solve it as that would also prevent him from being able to use it to bash Biden over the head in the months between now and November. Better the nation struggle into greater conflict until Trump can be the savior.
In Washington, Republican senators are working furiously to salvage a bipartisan border security package that Trump opposes because it could undermine one of his most potent campaign themes….
The Senate devolved into chaos after GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reportedly cast doubt on the pathway for a border deal in a closed-door meeting Wednesday….
We don't want to do anything to undermine" Trump, Punchbowl News quoted McConnell as saying….
"The fact that [Trump] would communicate to Republican senators and congresspeople that he doesn't want us to solve the border problem because he wants to blame Biden for it is really appalling," Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) told CNN….
Some senators said the coverage of McConnell's comments was overblown and misleading, and the GOP leader clarified his support for the negotiations in a conference meeting Thursday….
Romney told reporters after the meeting that McConnell is "fully behind the border bill" and "is not going to let political considerations of any campaign stand in the way of his support."
Sounds like there is a little chaos there as to what is really happening.
In another article, we read,
Former President Trump’s push to kill the border deal in order to deny President Biden a legislative win is upsetting members on both sides of the aisle as negotiators hope to wrap up work on an agreement within days.
Romney (also not a Republican I care for because he caters only to big money), had more to say:
“But the reality is that we have a crisis at the border, the American people are suffering as a result of what’s happening at the border, and someone running for president ought to try to get the problem solved as opposed to saying, ‘Hey, save that problem. Don’t solve it. Let me take credit for solving it later,’” he told CNN’s Manu Raju.
The legislation that is moving through congress (or not) may be a lousy deal, at least, to someone like me because I favor really tough border control. However, I favor it ONLY being done by the president and congress through constitutional means. I’m sure we won’t get that from this congress, but the way to deal with that is to get Biden repealed and replaced with someone who can do the job in a legal manner.
I don’t think someone calling on other states to confederate around the state of Texas with their own guardsman reveals that someone as capable of working in the nation’s best interest. I think he is only working in his own interest and now shows the extreme perils into which he is willing to shove this nation with his own persuasion over his own followers.
I am fine with the border package dying in congress over getting a bad package, but that does not take conscription of the National Guard into a Texan border war. You do that through persuasion of congress; and, if that fails, you elect your guy to carry it out in the next congress, not with the National Guard.
This is an extreme move on Trump’s part—one in which there can be only losers because the US president is not going to back down and let the National Guards of various states go in and take over border enforcement or potentially “hold the line,” not against illegal border crossers but against US border agents. The simple fact that Trump is willing to press for the Guard’s deployment with US Border Patrol between them and the border crossers, says his niece, Mary Trump, was right when she said Trump would destroy the nation before he’d ever let himself be the loser.
Chaos in congress appears to be building over this, and Trump is doing whatever he can to enhance and use the chaos to what he believes will be his own advantage. Knowing he will do that with all things during this year is one more reason I’ve said this will be the most chaotic year most of us have ever seen.
If the Texas situation goes out of control and ignites that civil war many have warned could be coming, consider that over 600,000 people are generally believed to have died on both sides of the last US Civil War. If we have another one because of people who would rather divide than unite, just know a good number of those who die will be your extended family members and maybe your own household. That is how it went for almost everyone last time. There is no reason to believe it would be different this time.
It’s one thing to talk about a civil war. Quite another thing to foment one and then watch many of your loved ones die in a cause that most likely you don’t even win in the end. (The DC government has far bigger weapons now, if a real civil war breaks out, than it did in the last civil war.) The US military will outgun US states if they have to, but all sides still lose. No citizen wins when his or her nation fights itself and destroys itself.
Are you willing to die for the color orange or destroy what is left of your country for it? Whether Trump would take things that far or not, he’s clearly willing to crowd the risks in that direction for his own political benefit. If he’s not willing to push things that far, he’s oblivious to how far things can get out control, just as he claims he was to how far January 6th would go.
It sounds like many are willing to push that far, even if Trump is not, and that would make this the worst “Year of Chaos” since the years of the Civil War. I’d rather not find my prediction of chaos for this year becoming that accurate. A nation with an already fractured economy wouldn’t survive in sound shape. So, we’d all lose. Individual people by the hundreds of thousands might not survive at all. That is the kind of fire Trump is now showing himself willing to play with in order to win, even if he doesn’t intend to take it that far.
Trump claimed he didn’t intend to take January 6th as far as it went. His defense has run along the lines of “How could I help it if some were so angry that the election was stolen that it went a little too far for some? I didn’t encourage them to stop congress or break into the Capitol. People shouldn’t have made them that angry.” Others say Trump lit the fire, fueled the rage and made the call to arms on purpose. People died in that “peaceful protest.” This rhetoric today (if that is all it is) goes far beyond that and plays with a climate of dangerous rage that already exits and with armed forces, and potentially even pits states against states.
Anything to win an election I guess. Just remember that those who went to “stop the steal” on January 6 did not win what they believed they could. January 7th was a much different day than the outcome they had hoped for.
One other thing that Jesus taught, which was quoted by Abraham Lincoln going into the First Civil War, was that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” We stand on the brink of such civil self-destruction now that we are playing with armies in a battle between some states and the US government. The most likely outcome when a nation fights itself is that everyone in that nation loses.
(I’ll be covering the mysteries of higher-than-anticipated GDP growth and supposedly improving inflation in my weekend Deeper Dive, available to paid subscribers.)