MO Republican Calls for Military Coup, But Had No ‘Ill Intent’

A Republican official in Missouri, Jefferson County Recorder of Deeds Debbie Dunnegan, took to her Facebook page to ask those in the military why they had not yet undertaken a coup to remove President Obama — “our domestic enemy,” she called him — from office. But she totally didn’t have any “ill intent.”

“I have a question for all my friends who have served or are currently serving in our military … having not put on a uniform nor taken any type military oath, there has to be something that I am just not aware of. But I cannot and do not understand why no action is being taken against our domestic enemy. I know he is supposedly the commander in chief, but the constitution gives you the authority,” she wrote in the post. “What am I missing? Thank you for your bravery and may God keep you safe.”

Dunnegan, who is up for re-election in November, said that her question was taken out of context, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“Something innocent and simple got twisted into a disaster because it’s an election,” she said. “I meant no ill intent toward the president. I meant no ill intent toward anybody.”

Yeah, she called the president a “domestic enemy” who was so obviously a threat to the country that he should be removed from power by a military coup, but that isn’t evidence of “ill intent” or anything. What does that even mean?

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • gshelley

    Perhaps I lack imagination, but I can’t think of the context that wouldn’t make this sedition

  • Larry

    I guess out was out sick the day we studied the clause allowing the military the constutional authority to over throw a duly elected president. only on planet wingnuttia.

  • raven

    Is this treason or sedition? I always get those confused.

    Once again, for the hard of thinking GOPers, we in the USA do have a way to remove politicians from office.

    It’s called voting and democracy. While it isn’t as fast as a military coup d’etat, it does have some advantages. No blood and dead bodies lying around. No military dictatorship. No civil war.

    If you want another civil war, move to Iraq, Syria, or the Central African Republic.

  • raven

    I’m going to have to say it.

    Debby Dunnegan doesn’t seem too bright.

    Might be yet again another case of Fundie Xian Induced Cognitive Impairment.

  • raym

    Sedition:

    n. conduct or speech inciting rebellion against the authority of a state or monarch.

    She almost certainly doesn’t have the guts to perform a treasonous act, since that could mean placing herself in physical danger.

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com holytape

    I want the military to rise up, march down to the white house and take Obama out……. to diner.

  • Taz

    I admire our military for the remarkable restraint they show in not exercising their constitutional authority to arbitrarily choose the president.

  • otrame

    What I get tired of is the assumption that everyone in the military hates Obama. Sure there are plenty who do, but actually there are quite a few who like the guy a lot. Besides, most military people aren’t fucking traitors, whether they like the President or not.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Look, it was taken out of context. All she was asking was why the military hadn’t engaged in, and carried out, a conspiracy to commit a coup against the elected government of the United States, but you America and democracy-hating liberals had to twist it in to her asking why the military hadn’t engaged in, and carried out, a conspiracy to commit a coup against the elected government of the United States!

  • briandavis

    gshelley @1 said:

    Perhaps I lack imagination, but I can’t think of the context that wouldn’t make this sedition

    Using Wikipedia as my source…

    Seditious conspiracy (18 U.S.C. § 2384) is a crime under United States law. It is stated as follows:

    If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

    I don’t think her Facebook post meets the definition of seditious conspiracy.

    Then there’s The Alien Registration Act of 1940 which set criminal penalties for advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government. Her post might fall under this definition. However the Supreme Court in Yates v. United States threw out the convictions under this act of several Communist Party USA members. It said the 1st amendment protects speech that expresses a desire to overthrow the government as long as no real plan is hatched.

    We are thus faced with the question whether the Smith Act prohibits advocacy and teaching of forcible overthrow as an abstract principle, divorced from any effort to instigate action to that end, so long as such advocacy or teaching is engaged in with evil intent. We hold that it does not…. In failing to distinguish between advocacy of forcible overthrow as an abstract doctrine and advocacy of action to that end, the District Court appears to have been led astray by the holding in Dennis that advocacy of violent action to be taken at some future time was enough.

  • abb3w

    The relevant federal statute would appear § 2387(a) of Title 18:

    Whoever, with intent to interfere with, impair, or influence the loyalty, morale, or discipline of the military or naval forces of the United States:

    (1) advises, counsels, urges, or in any manner causes or attempts to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty by any member of the military or naval forces of the United States; or

    (2) distributes or attempts to distribute any written or printed matter which advises, counsels, or urges insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty by any member of the military or naval forces of the United States-

    Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.

    I don’t think even a Missouri jury would be willing to let a “just asking questions” defense fly; folk there are proverbially stubborn, not proverbially stupid. I suppose she could try a defense that she had no intent to have an actual impact on the military, but was merely trying to rile up voters to win her re-election — acting with reckless disregard, rather than knowingly or purposefully. While that might allow her an acquittal, it would seem likely to be a rather Pyrrhic one at best.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    briandavis “seditious conspiracy”

    Also a Harry Potter spell.

  • Artor

    What am I missing?

    I’m going out on a limb here, but I’ll take a shot; Intelligence? Respect for the law? Understanding of the Constitution? A sense of perspective? Connection with reality? The list could go on and on…

  • John Pieret

    Convictions for crimes generally require the defendant have sufficient mental capacity to understand the difference between right and wrong. She might just have a valid defense.

  • jaybee

    I was at Walgreens yesterday, waiting for a prescription to be filled. A 50-something woman was in line at the counter, and an early 20s guy was in line behind her. I’m not sure how it started, be she was complaining to the kid that “Obamacare is such a mess. I have to pay $750/month for insurance. I want to cancel it but there is a penalty. What a mess.” The kid says something like, “That sucks. Man, I recently had a back surgery and the bill was $280,000. Luckily I’m on my parent’s insurance until I’m 26, so I don’t have to worry about it.”

    I addressed myself to the kid, because he is simply ignorant, but hoped the lady would get my message too. “Lucky? You know that without Obamacare, you wouldn’t be on your parents’ insurance, and most likely you’d not have been able to afford your surgery? Sure there are problems with Obamare, but there were tons of problems with insurance before he ever showed up. I’ve got insurance through my employer and I pay $1000/month, and that hasn’t changed with Obamacare in place. Every couple of years the coverage terms and conditions change, and it was like that before Obamacare. ”

    The dog pooped on your rug ? “Thanks a lot, Obama.” That just about encapsulates how some people view everything associated with Obama.

  • eric

    she called the president a “domestic enemy” who was so obviously a threat to the country that he should be removed from power by a military coup, but that isn’t evidence of “ill intent” or anything. What does that even mean?

    Sometimes I think the best approach to these folks would just be to give them more rope. Forget criticizing them. Just put them in front of a camera and ask, very neutrally “okay Ms. Dunnegan, here is your chance to set the record straight. What did you mean to say? What message would you like to send to our men and women in uniform in regards to how they should treat Obama?” Because I can almost guarantee you, her second try will be even more ridiculous than her first.

    @15 – If a ’50s something woman standing in line for a prescription wants to cancel her health insurance, I fear she is innumerate as well as politically naive. Does she think her drugs would cost the same if she didn’t have insurance?

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    I guess out was out sick the day we studied the clause allowing the military the constutional authority to over throw a duly elected president.

    It’s next to the one allowing states to nullify federal laws they don’t like, and the one that says that winning the election and being inaugurated doesn’t actually make you the President.

  • jimmiraybob

    The County Recorder might want to revisit her own oath of office as an elected official:

    12.1.7. … Every Person who is elected or appointed to a County Office, before assuming the powers and duties of that County Office, must also orally swear or affirm before the County Clerk, and subscribe and file with the County Clerk the same written oath or affirmation, that he or she is qualified under this Charter to hold such County Office, that he or she will faithfully perform the duties of that office, and that he or she will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Missouri Constitution.

    Home Rule Charter of Jefferson County, Missouri > Elections: Minimum Qualifications; Vacancies

  • Jared James

    I’m from Missouri, and while I can hardly claim to be smarter than anyone else, she seems genuinely to be confused that this thought exercise hasn’t already been seriously considered by military minds greater than her own.

    Because obviously, military servicemembers spend much of their day looking for reasons they might be required by their oath to the Constitution to overthrow their civilian commander-in-chief, who was appointed commander-in-chief by…the Constitution.

  • Alverant

    Disgusting. If she heard someone say the same thing about W she’d have that person arrested. This is another case of right wing privilege.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Alverant, wrong. It’s not “right wing privilege”. She’s perfectly consistent, and would have said the same things about Dubya if he was a Democrat.

  • http://timgueguen.blogspot.com timgueguen

    It would be interesting if she thinks there’s ever been a military coup that’s been a good idea. Her answer would either be that she’s never actually read up on the subject, or she’d wax poetic about someone like Augusto Pinochet.

  • colnago80

    Re timgueguen @ #22

    IMHO, the military coup which unseated Egyptian president Morsi was a good idea as Morsi would have converted Egypt into a fundamentalist Muslim nation like Iran.

  • Silent Service

    Ms Dunnegan’s post does not even come close to sedition or treason. She asked why other people that she believes have some power or authority to do so have not. Asking other people why they have not done something that you believe that they can leagaly do is not sedition. In this particular case, the fact that she is completely wrong about what authority our military leaders have does prove that Debbie Dunnegan is too ignorant or stupid to be allowed to continue holding public office. Hopefully once removed from office in the Nov election Ms. Dunnegan will spend some time studying the Constitution and figure out why she sounds like an ignorant twit.

    I am not hopeful or optimistic about this though.

  • D. C. Sessions

    IMHO, the military coup which unseated Egyptian president Morsi was a good idea as Morsi would have converted Egypt into a fundamentalist Muslim nation like Iran.

    And likewise the coup that got rid of the socialist Allende, Mohammad Mosaddegh in favor of the Westernist Pahlavis, the attempted overthrow of Fidel Castro in Cuba, the attempt to overthow the Sandinistas, etc. We must remember that democracy should never stand in the way of our interests.

  • iangould

    @23 Yes, how fortunate the Egyptians are that the rapes, torture, detention without trial, extrajudicial killings, press censorship and so on are being down in the name of secularism not in the name of Islam.

  • lofgren

    I don’t know if it’s “our interests” so much as democracy does not always produce the greatest freedom. A fundamentalist Muslim state would have been very bad for many if not most of the people in Egypt, whether it was democratically voted for or not. It would be nice if there was some perfect process of government that always resulted in the best possible outcome for the people. Sadly this is not the case, or at least that process has not yet been discovered.

  • http://drx.typepad.com Dr X

    I didn’t read that as calling for a coup. She asked why there hasn’t been a coup and acknowledged that “there has to be something that I am just not aware of” and asked “what am I missing?”

    Well, as we know, she’s missing a whole lot because she incorrectly assumes the military has the constitutional authority to remove presidents that stupid people like her dislike. Obviously, she’s an ignorant rube who needs remedial education, but it was really a question. Misguided, inflammatory and profoundly ignorant, but a question.

    I didn’t check her facebook page, but it would have been helpful for one of her “friends” to answer her question by explaining that her premise is incorrect. Of course, for that to happen, she’d have to have a friend who isn’t a dumber than dirt T bagger. I wouldn’t automatically assume that she has such a friend.

  • iangould

    Finnegan should be detained without trial under the Patriot Act, shipped off to Guantanamo and water boarded until she identifies her coconspirators then summarily executed.

    I say that with no ill intent.

  • grumpyoldfart

    Innocent until proved guilty – and which prosecutor will have the courage to take on the case? None that I know of in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

  • Gvlgeologist, FCD

    In one respect, this is as meaningless as a couple of 15 year olds who have gotten into Mom and Dad’s liquor cabinet, then start saying things like, “Dude, wouldn’t it be cool if we had superpowers?”, “Dude, yeah, like if we could break through walls and steal money from banks”, “or if we could break into the CIA and find out what is really happening in the world”, … etc. It’s free association in a juvenile way.

    But in another way, it’s alarming, because what she’s really doing is just posting dog-whistle crap to rile up her base.

  • colnago80

    Re iangould @ #29

    1. All of these things were happening before either Morsi or Al-Sisi came to power. They can be criticized for not doing something about them.

    2. As bad as things are in Egypt, they pale into insignificance as to the goings on in Syria.

    In the Middle East, there aren’t any good guys. There are only bad guys and slightly less bad guys. Al-Sisi is a slightly less bad guy.

  • lofgren

    It comea down to whether or not you read her “Why hasn’t the military overthrown the president?” as rhetorical or honest. Like Ed I initially read it as rhetorical, feigning ignorance to spur action (note that feigning ignorance doesn’t necessarily mean that she isn’t also legitimately ignorant). Now that I have seen other people’s interpretations I could see it both ways, though, and I am slightly more inclined to believe it was an honest question.

  • eric

    It comea down to whether or not you read her “Why hasn’t the military overthrown the president?” as rhetorical or honest.

    I read it as sincere but stupid, or sincere but said without a lot of forethought. But, having said that, I also think this is a big gap to be crossed to get from ‘sincere’ and ‘criminal sedition.’ People vent. They speak without thinking. Unless we want to live in a police state, the reasonable thing to do is assess whether there’s any credible threat behind the words, and only take a legal/investigative interest in cases where there is. Being a blowhard does not make one a terrorist.

  • chilidog99

    If we have gotten to the point where our military takes orders from the Jefferson County recorder of deeds, then maybe we should have a revolution.

  • plutosdad

    Something “innocent” and simple?

    that’s just an innocent question I guess.

    @iangould you wrote that wrong, you should have written “Why hasn’t Finnegan been ….” since then you are asking a rhetorical question with no ill intent. Writing she “should be” may be considered a threat. I’m sure you meant only the first one since it’s just an innocent remark, like puppies are innocent.

  • dingojack

    isn’t ‘should be’ subjunctive? ‘Will’ be’ would indicative and hence closer to being a direct threat.

    Dingo

  • lofgren

    True. I meant whether or not she had “ill intent.” I think this probably could be called sedition in the same way that “I’m gonna shove my boot so far up your ass your grandkids will taste leather” is a threat of sodomy.

  • abb3w

    @34eric

    Unless we want to live in a police state, the reasonable thing to do is assess whether there’s any credible threat behind the words, and only take a legal/investigative interest in cases where there is.

    I’d agree with that… for private citizens.

    Contrariwise, I think members of the military, elected officials, and even candidates for elected office may be held to a higher standard in this matter without having danger of a slippery slope all the way to “police state” — such a threat is an inherently more credible danger when it is sourced from someone in those positions.

  • howardhershey

    And here I thought that the Constitution’s Second Amendment was designed specifically to avoid standing armies that might overthrow the government. But I am having trouble finding the clause that gives the military the power to overthrow the government, much less any reason why any Constitution not written by military dictators would envision a clause giving the military any role in governance.