A corrected pledge of allegiance (Update #2)

Updates

  1. Originally published, January 31, 2021, 12:35 pm.
  2. February 1, 2021, 8:11 pm:
    • I have been adding to the list of relevant blog posts for the corrected pledge of allegiance.

Pledge of Allegiance

If we were honest, this is what we’d have schoolchildren recite every morning:

Relevant blog posts:


The GameStop Squeeze

Cory Doctorow has an explanation for the rest of us.[1]

Cory Doctorow, “Understanding /r/wallstreetbets,” Pluralistic, January 28, 2021, https://pluralistic.net/2021/01/28/payment-for-order-flow/#wallstreetbets


  1. [1]Cory Doctorow, “Understanding /r/wallstreetbets,” Pluralistic, January 28, 2021, https://pluralistic.net/2021/01/28/payment-for-order-flow/#wallstreetbets

Allegheny County judge allows testimony from ‘expert’ conspiracy theorists (Update #2)

Updates

  1. Originally published, January 30, 2021, 9:56 am.
  2. January 30, 2021, 10:36 am:

Allegheny County

In the ongoing saga of the Crack’d Egg restaurant in Brentwood,[1] just a little over two miles from my apartment, a judge will rule next week on whether the establishment may remain open despite openly defying state and county COVID-19 mitigation orders. The restaurant argues that the orders exceed executive authority and, relying on so-called ‘experts’ who are nothing more than conspiracy theorists, that masks don’t work and that case counts are inflated. The judge allowed their testimony and the owner is determined not to violate her customers’ alleged ‘freedom’ to spread disease.[2]

Paula Reed Ward, “Judge to rule on Crack’d Egg restaurant closure order next week,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 29, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/judge-to-rule-on-crackd-egg-restaurant-closure-order-next-week/


GameStop Squeeze

It should be no surprise that while hedge funds shorting GameStop and some other targeted stocks took a bath, indeed to the tune of nearly $71 billion,[3] as “retail investors” motivated by the unfairness of capitalism[4] colluded to try to beat Wall Street at its own game,[5] a lot of other big Wall Street players have done quite well,[6] undermining the utility of this strategy as some sort of insurrection against the rich. But it might be interesting to see how they manage to realize their gains by selling without precipitating a crash in what are now likely[7] to be wildly overvalued shares.

Ross Kerber, “Analysis: How Wall Street gains from ‘populist’ trading movement,” Reuters, January 29, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-retail-trading-funds-analysis-idUSKBN29Y0I4

Zachary Warmbrodt, Kellie Mejdrich, and Victoria Guida, “Wall Street faces Washington crackdown after GameStop rollercoaster,” Politico, January 29, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/29/wall-street-washington-crackdown-gamestop-463935


Roman Catholics

Christopher Wells, “Pope Francis: Catechesis is the echo of the Word of God,” Vatican News, January 30, 2021, https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2021-01/pope-francis-catechesis-is-the-echo-of-the-word-of-god.html


  1. [1]Paula Reed Ward, “Crack’d Egg flouts shutdown as deputies quarantined for dining, taking photos with owner,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 14, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/crackd-egg-flouts-shutdown-as-deputies-quarantined-for-dining-taking-photos-with-owner/; Paula Reed Ward, “Allegheny County argues Crack’d Egg can’t hide from covid restrictions under bankruptcy filing,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 5, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/allegheny-county-argues-crackd-egg-cant-hide-from-covid-restrictions-under-bankruptcy-filing/; Paula Reed Ward, “Judge rules against Crack’d Egg, health department case can proceed,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 7, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/judge-rules-against-crackd-egg-health-department-case-can-proceed/; Paula Reed Ward, “Judge to rule on Crack’d Egg restaurant closure order next week,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 29, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/judge-to-rule-on-crackd-egg-restaurant-closure-order-next-week/
  2. [2]Paula Reed Ward, “Judge to rule on Crack’d Egg restaurant closure order next week,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 29, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/judge-to-rule-on-crackd-egg-restaurant-closure-order-next-week/
  3. [3]Sujata Rao, “Losses on short positions in U.S. firms top $70 billion – Ortex data,” Reuters, January 28, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-retail-trading-shortbets-idUSKBN29X1SW
  4. [4]David Benfell, “The GameStop Squeeze,” Not Housebroken, January 29, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/01/29/the-gamestop-squeeze/
  5. [5]Matt Phillips and Taylor Lorenz, “‘Dumb Money’ Is on GameStop, and It’s Beating Wall Street at Its Own Game,” New York Times, January 27, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/27/business/gamestop-wall-street-bets.html
  6. [6]Ross Kerber, “Analysis: How Wall Street gains from ‘populist’ trading movement,” Reuters, January 29, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-retail-trading-funds-analysis-idUSKBN29Y0I4
  7. [7]Kevin Stankiewicz, “Leon Cooperman on GameStop Reddit speculators: ‘I’m not damning them’ but it will ‘end in tears,’” CNBC, January 28, 2021, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/28/leon-cooperman-on-gamestop-reddit-speculators-im-not-damning-them-but-it-will-end-in-tears.html

Gambling with money you can’t afford to lose (Update #6)

Updates

  1. Originally published, January 28, 2021, 11:50 am.

  2. January 28, 2021, 9:48 pm:

    • Robinhood, a brokerage that supposedly “democratizes” trading in stocks is restricting trading[1] on stocks that were targeted by short-selling hedge funds and then in a countermove by retail investors to squeeze the hedge funds.[2] I saw plenty of shrieking about hypocrisy on my Twitter feed and it appears my tweeps actually have a point.[3]

  3. January 29, 2021, 3:41 am:

    • Short-sellers on targeted stocks in the GameStop squeeze lost an estimated nearly $71 billion.[4] Poor babies.

  4. January 29, 2021, 12:12 pm, revised 3:01 pm:

  5. January 29, 2021, 1:15 pm:

    • Robinhood has partly rescinded its freeze on GameStop squeeze transactions.[5]

  6. January 29, 2021, 3:01 pm:


Donald Trump

When paleoconservatives, the tendency of conservatism that includes neo-Nazis and white supremacists, say something like this, it’s “Blacks and browns” who pose the perceived threat:

Asked earlier by a recruit what to prepare for, [Jessica Marie] Watkins allegedly wrote in November that if [Joe] Biden became president, “our way of life as we know it is over. Our Republic would be over. Then it is our duty as Americans to fight, kill and die for our rights.”

“If Biden get the steal, none of us have a chance in my mind. We already have our neck in the noose. They just haven’t kicked the chair yet,” she said, according to the indictment.[6]

In this case, it’s Joe Biden or the government, which in my mind, brings it back to authoritarian populism. But it is a paleoconservative level of paranoia.

Spencer S. Hsu, Rachel Weiner, and Tom Jackman, “Self-styled militia members in three states began planning in November for recruits, weapons ahead of Capitol breach, U.S. alleges,” Washington Post, January 27, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/self-styled-militia-members-in-three-states-began-planning-in-novembe-for-recruits-weapons-ahead-of-capitol-breach-us-alleges/2021/01/27/f13b0bfc-60b9-11eb-9061-07abcc1f9229_story.html


Hedge funds

The picture I was getting on Twitter is largely consistent with the New York Times account of small “investors” deciding to stick it to hedge funds by buying shares in stocks that the funds had decided to “short,” running the value of those stocks up, “squeezing” the funds.[7]

The underlying sentiment is generally a lot like this:

In short, revenge against billionaires who’ve gotten a lot richer even before the pandemic,[8] but especially during the pandemic,[9] while a lot of people have lost their jobs and face poverty and eviction.[10] Some are parroting back the lines that victim-blamers have aimed at them:

And that’s pretty much how the New York Times has it:

Ben Patte, 16, a high school student in Wisconsin who said he made $750 off GameStop stock, said the campaign felt like vindication for himself and fellow young traders. “It’s a good opportunity to make money and stick it to the hedge funds,” he said. “By buying GameStop, it’s kind of like beating them at their own game.”

No one knows how this ends. Some analysts say the intense activity could eventually prompt a wider sell-off in the market by forcing hedge funds on the losing side of these trades to sell parts of their portfolios to raise cash to cover their losses. . . .

Justin Speak, 27, an evangelical pastor in California, and his wife, who recently left her job to raise their children, have made $1,700 off GameStop in the past week. Mr. Speak said that so far they had mainly put the money toward a new bed. He described a sense of frustration at how well those in the financial sector have done since the financial crisis of 2008.

“There’s a catharsis to actually making money off their pain a little bit,” he said of his modest earnings from GameStop. His wife put it more bluntly: “Eat the rich.”[11]

The risk of that wider sell-off[12] is, of course, there, and that ultimately hurts the folks pushing this. The rich are gambling with money they can afford to lose; these folks aren’t. Which means capitalism wins again, at least in the interim.

It’s probably also worth noting that Elon Musk, who is very much among the winners[13] in this pandemic-associated widening of social inequality,[14] and notorious for despising short-selling, helped publicize this effort.[15]

Matt Phillips and Taylor Lorenz, “‘Dumb Money’ Is on GameStop, and It’s Beating Wall Street at Its Own Game,” New York Times, January 27, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/27/business/gamestop-wall-street-bets.html

Eric Levitz, “Robinhood Banning GameStop Proves the Free Market Is a Lie,” New York, January 28, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/01/robinhood-ban-gamestop-share-price-explained.html

Sujata Rao, “Losses on short positions in U.S. firms top $70 billion – Ortex data,” Reuters, January 28, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-retail-trading-shortbets-idUSKBN29X1SW

Kevin Stankiewicz, “Leon Cooperman on GameStop Reddit speculators: ‘I’m not damning them’ but it will ‘end in tears,’” CNBC, January 28, 2021, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/28/leon-cooperman-on-gamestop-reddit-speculators-im-not-damning-them-but-it-will-end-in-tears.html

Hamza Shaban, “GameStop stock roars back after Robinhood lifts trading freeze,” Washington Post, January 29, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/01/29/gamestop-stocks-robinhood-reddit/


  1. [1]Eric Levitz, “Robinhood Banning GameStop Proves the Free Market Is a Lie,” New York, January 28, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/01/robinhood-ban-gamestop-share-price-explained.html
  2. [2]Matt Phillips and Taylor Lorenz, “‘Dumb Money’ Is on GameStop, and It’s Beating Wall Street at Its Own Game,” New York Times, January 27, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/27/business/gamestop-wall-street-bets.html
  3. [3]Eric Levitz, “Robinhood Banning GameStop Proves the Free Market Is a Lie,” New York, January 28, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/01/robinhood-ban-gamestop-share-price-explained.html
  4. [4]Sujata Rao, “Losses on short positions in U.S. firms top $70 billion – Ortex data,” Reuters, January 28, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-retail-trading-shortbets-idUSKBN29X1SW
  5. [5]Hamza Shaban, “GameStop stock roars back after Robinhood lifts trading freeze,” Washington Post, January 29, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/01/29/gamestop-stocks-robinhood-reddit/
  6. [6]Spencer S. Hsu, Rachel Weiner, and Tom Jackman, “Self-styled militia members in three states began planning in November for recruits, weapons ahead of Capitol breach, U.S. alleges,” Washington Post, January 27, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/self-styled-militia-members-in-three-states-began-planning-in-novembe-for-recruits-weapons-ahead-of-capitol-breach-us-alleges/2021/01/27/f13b0bfc-60b9-11eb-9061-07abcc1f9229_story.html
  7. [7]Matt Phillips and Taylor Lorenz, “‘Dumb Money’ Is on GameStop, and It’s Beating Wall Street at Its Own Game,” New York Times, January 27, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/27/business/gamestop-wall-street-bets.html
  8. [8]Nick Hanauer and David M. Rolf, “The Top 1% of Americans Have Taken $50 Trillion From the Bottom 90%—And That’s Made the U.S. Less Secure,” Time, September 14, 2020, https://time.com/5888024/50-trillion-income-inequality-america/
  9. [9]Charles Lane, “The rich got richer during the pandemic. We need to claw back their gains,” Washington Post, January 25, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-rich-got-richer-during-the-pandemic-we-need-to-claw-back-their-gains/2021/01/25/d17c8a44-5f32-11eb-9430-e7c77b5b0297_story.html
  10. [10]Associated Press, “Tenants Behind on Rent in Pandemic Face Harassment, Eviction,” U.S. News and World Report, June 14, 2020, https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/virginia/articles/2020-06-13/tenants-behind-on-rent-in-pandemic-face-harassment-eviction; Regina Garcia Cano and Michael Casey, “Wave of evictions expected as moratoriums end in many states,” Associated Press, August 4, 2020, copy in possession of author; Kriston Capps, “What Happens When the Eviction Bans End?” CityLab, May 29, 2020, https://www.citylab.com/equity/2020/05/pay-rent-eviction-ban-coronavirus-housing-crisis-landlord/612277/; Kriston Capps, “Landlords Challenge U.S. Eviction Ban and Continue to Oust Renters,” CityLab, October 22, 2020, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-22/landlords-launch-legal-attack-on-cdc-eviction-ban; Michelle Conlin and Christopher Walljasper, “Time’s up: After a reprieve, a wave of evictions expected across U.S.,” Reuters, October 19, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-housing-eviction-insight/times-up-after-a-reprieve-a-wave-of-evictions-expected-across-u-s-idUKKBN27415U; John Fritze and Nicholas Wu, “Trump administration announces nationwide eviction moratorium through end of the year,” USA Today, September 1, 2020, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/09/01/trump-imposes-eviction-moratorium-because-covid-19-pandemic/5686402002/; Sam Levin, “California landlords are locking out struggling tenants. A ‘tsunami of evictions’ may be next,” Guardian, July 30, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/30/california-covid-19-evictions-landlords-tenants; Eric Levitz, “This Recession Is a Bigger Housing Crisis Than 2008,” New York, July 13, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/07/coronavirus-recession-evictions-crisis-congress.html; Heather Long, “Millions of Americans are heading into the holidays unemployed and over $5,000 behind on rent,” Washington Post, December 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/07/unemployed-debt-rent-utilities/; Heather Long, “Nearly 8 million Americans have fallen into poverty since the summer,” Washington Post, December 16, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/16/poverty-rising/; Renae Merle, “Evictions are likely to skyrocket this summer as jobs remain scarce. Black renters will be hard hit,” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/06/eviction-moratoriums-starwood/; Gretchen Morgenson, “Large corporate landlords have filed 10,000 eviction actions in five states since September,” NBC News, October 26, 2020, https://www.nbcnews.com/business/personal-finance/large-corporate-landlords-have-filed-10-000-eviction-actions-five-n1244711; Will Parker, “Struggling Rental Market Could Usher in Next American Housing Crisis,” Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/struggling-rental-market-could-usher-in-next-american-housing-crisis-11603791000; Jenny Schuetz, “America’s inequitable housing system is completely unprepared for coronavirus,” Brookings, March 12, 2020, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2020/03/12/americas-inequitable-housing-system-is-completely-unprepared-for-coronavirus/; Kyle Swenson, “Renters thought a CDC order protected them from eviction. Then landlords found loopholes,” Washington Post, October 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2020/10/27/trump-cdc-eviction-moratorium-loopholes/
  11. [11]Matt Phillips and Taylor Lorenz, “‘Dumb Money’ Is on GameStop, and It’s Beating Wall Street at Its Own Game,” New York Times, January 27, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/27/business/gamestop-wall-street-bets.html
  12. [12]Matt Phillips and Taylor Lorenz, “‘Dumb Money’ Is on GameStop, and It’s Beating Wall Street at Its Own Game,” New York Times, January 27, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/27/business/gamestop-wall-street-bets.html
  13. [13]Charles Lane, “The rich got richer during the pandemic. We need to claw back their gains,” Washington Post, January 25, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-rich-got-richer-during-the-pandemic-we-need-to-claw-back-their-gains/2021/01/25/d17c8a44-5f32-11eb-9430-e7c77b5b0297_story.html
  14. [14]Heather Long, “The recession is over for the rich, but the working class is far from recovered,” Washington Post, August 13, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/08/13/recession-is-over-rich-working-class-is-far-recovered/
  15. [15]Matt Phillips and Taylor Lorenz, “‘Dumb Money’ Is on GameStop, and It’s Beating Wall Street at Its Own Game,” New York Times, January 27, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/27/business/gamestop-wall-street-bets.html

An intervention is urgently needed with the Conways (Update #3)

Updates

  1. Originally published, January 26, 2021, 12:48 pm

  2. January 26, 2021, 11:05 pm:

    • It was awfully, awfully convenient that, following an inappropriate deployment in support of Donald Trump’s propaganda effort, the Pentagon hobbled a National Guard response[1] to the U.S. Capitol coup[2] in an effort to guard against a repetition.[3]

    • source on threadreaderapp.com
      Archived at 2021-01-26 22:37:42

      PeopleOverProperty Profile picture

      PeopleOverProperty

      Follow @CommunistsEgirl

      Twitter logo

      26 Jan, 3 tweets, 1 min read

      If you say Claudia Conway is a grifter bc she documents her abuse FUCK YOU. It is the only way to prove you’re not crazy. When I could feel my ex bf was going to attack me I would put my phone on record and set it next to me to capture it. All to be told I must like drama.

      If you know he is going to hurt you why didn’t you just leave? Bc I was trapped. Bc you don’t understand the psychology behind being in an abusive relationship. I left so many times before finally really leaving. Claudia doesn’t even have the option of leaving.

      The fact I’ve seen the take of “she wants a reality show” 🤦🏻‍♀️ a show where she just gets abused verbally mentally physically all day. That makes sense to you? Not that she is scared and needs proof bc no one believes her.[4]

  3. January 27, 2021, 11:00 am:


Child abuse

So we’ve had to know all along that something really, really weird was going on with the Conways. The wife and mother, Kellyanne, worked in Donald Trump’s administration and was a resolute defender, even violating the Hatch Act on his behalf.[5] The husband, George, has been a persistent critic[6] and is a co-founder of the anti-Trump Lincoln Project.[7] Now this, involving a daughter, Claudia, from the editor of an anthology of psychiatric evaluations of Trump:[8]

An account appears in Variety[9] and has been updated with this:

UPDATE, 11:15 a.m. ET: In several TikTok videos posted Tuesday morning, Claudia Conway urged people to “stop calling authorities.” She said that she and her mother will be “taking a break from social media” and will work on their relationship. Claudia emphasized that making threats against her family also puts her in danger. “I know that my mom would never, ever post anything to hurt me like that intentionally, and I do believe she was hacked,” Claudia Conway said in one of the TikTok videos Tuesday.[10]

All this is outside my field, but I’m pretty sure that when a victim of abuse makes excuses for her abuser, it’s well past time to get the victim out of the abusive situation.

I’ll note further that Kellyanne’s appearance strikes me as too thin and, in photographs I’ve seen, her pupils appear dilated in a way I’ve seen with methadone users who have been my passengers; accordingly, based on what I’ve seen over many years of taxi and rideshare driving, I can’t help but suspect drug abuse in her past if not her present.

Todd Spangler, “Kellyanne Conway Accused of Posting Topless Photo of Her 16-Year-Old Daughter on Twitter,” Variety, January 26, 2021, https://variety.com/2021/digital/news/kellyanne-conway-accused-topless-photo-daughter-claudia-twitter-1234892220/


Donald Trump

Holly Otterbein, “Pennsylvania GOP pledges full allegiance to Trump,” Politico, January 26, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/26/pennsylvania-republican-party-trump-support-462843

Paul Sonne, “Pentagon restricted commander of D.C. Guard ahead of Capitol riot,” Washington Post, January 26, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/dc-guard-capitol-riots-william-walker-pentagon/2021/01/26/98879f44-5f69-11eb-ac8f-4ae05557196e_story.html


  1. [1]Paul Sonne, “Pentagon restricted commander of D.C. Guard ahead of Capitol riot,” Washington Post, January 26, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/dc-guard-capitol-riots-william-walker-pentagon/2021/01/26/98879f44-5f69-11eb-ac8f-4ae05557196e_story.html
  2. [2]Ted Barrett, Manu Raju, and Peter Nickeas, “US Capitol secured, woman dead after rioters stormed the halls of Congress to block Biden’s win,” CNN, January 6, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/06/politics/us-capitol-lockdown/index.html; Fiona Hill, “Yes, It Was a Coup. Here’s Why,” Politico, January 11, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/01/11/capitol-riot-self-coup-trump-fiona-hill-457549; Spencer S. Hsu, Tom Jackman, and Devlin Barrett, “Self-styled militia members planned on storming the U.S. Capitol days in advance of Jan. 6 attack, court documents say,” Washington Post, January 19, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/conspiracy-oath-keeper-arrest-capitol-riot/2021/01/19/fb84877a-5a4f-11eb-8bcf-3877871c819d_story.html; Talia Lavin, “The Violent Crescendo of the MAGA Conspiracies,” New Republic, January 6, 2021, https://newrepublic.com/article/160814/trump-protesters-attack-us-capital; Andrew G. McCabe and David C. Williams, “Trump’s New Criminal Problem,” Politico, January 11, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/01/11/trumps-new-criminal-problem-457298; Nicolás Rivero, “Is America experiencing a coup?” Quartz, January 6, 2021, https://qz.com/1953602/is-america-experiencing-a-coup/; Jonathan Stevenson, “Trump’s Lingering Menace,” New York Review of Books, January 9, 2021, https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2021/01/09/trumps-lingering-menace/; Rebecca Tan et al., “Trump supporters storm U.S. Capitol, with one woman killed and tear gas fired,” Washington Post, January 7, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trump-supporters-storm-capitol-dc/2021/01/06/58afc0b8-504b-11eb-83e3-322644d82356_story.html; Craig Timberg, Drew Harwell, and Marissa J. Lang, “Capitol siege was planned online. Trump supporters now planning the next one,” Washington Post, January 9, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/01/09/trump-twitter-protests/; Aruna Viswanatha, “Conspiracy Charges Filed Over Capitol Riot,” Wall Street Journal, January 19, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/first-conspiracy-charges-filed-over-capitol-riot-11611080191
  3. [3]Paul Sonne, “Pentagon restricted commander of D.C. Guard ahead of Capitol riot,” Washington Post, January 26, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/dc-guard-capitol-riots-william-walker-pentagon/2021/01/26/98879f44-5f69-11eb-ac8f-4ae05557196e_story.html
  4. [4]PeopleOverProperty [pseud.], [twitter thread], Thread Reader App, January 26, 2021, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1354085311945592832.html
  5. [5]Todd Spangler, “Kellyanne Conway Accused of Posting Topless Photo of Her 16-Year-Old Daughter on Twitter,” Variety, January 26, 2021, https://variety.com/2021/digital/news/kellyanne-conway-accused-topless-photo-daughter-claudia-twitter-1234892220/
  6. [6]George T. Conway, III, “I believe the president, and in the president,” Washington Post, February 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/02/05/george-conway-trump-i-believe/; George T. Conway, III, “I (still) believe the president, and in the president,” Washington Post, August 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/08/10/i-still-believe-president-president/; George T. Conway, III, “I believe in the president, now more than ever,” Washington Post, October 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/10/26/george-conway-i-believe-in-trump-more-than-ever/; George T. Conway, III, “Donald Trump’s new reality,” Washington Post, January 22, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/22/trump-charges-george-conway/
  7. [7]David Benfell, [Twitter thread], Thread Reader App, July 16, 2020, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1283796978221154317.html; Dan Pfeiffer, “The Lincoln Project: Friend, Foe, or Fraud?” Crooked, July 16, 2020, https://crooked.com/articles/lincoln-project-friend-fraud/; Roxanne Roberts, “The Lincoln Project’s plan for preserving the union: Drive Trump out of office by driving him nuts,” Washington Post, August 1, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/lincoln-project-george-conway-ads-trump/2020/07/31/e9542a6a-d278-11ea-9038-af089b63ac21_story.html; Richard Wolffe, “Could this anti-Trump Republican group take down the president?” Guardian, August 1, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/aug/01/lincoln-project-donald-trump-republicans-campaign-ads
  8. [8]Bandy Lee, ed., The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump (New York: Saint Martin’s, 2017).
  9. [9]Todd Spangler, “Kellyanne Conway Accused of Posting Topless Photo of Her 16-Year-Old Daughter on Twitter,” Variety, January 26, 2021, https://variety.com/2021/digital/news/kellyanne-conway-accused-topless-photo-daughter-claudia-twitter-1234892220/
  10. [10]Todd Spangler, “Kellyanne Conway Accused of Posting Topless Photo of Her 16-Year-Old Daughter on Twitter,” Variety, January 26, 2021, https://variety.com/2021/digital/news/kellyanne-conway-accused-topless-photo-daughter-claudia-twitter-1234892220/

So this one wasn’t on my false equivalency bingo card (Update #5)

Updates

  1. Originally published, January 22, 2021, 12:47 pm.

  2. January 22, 2021, 11:31 pm:

    • Megan Stack has a somber account of the scene in Washington, D.C., outside Joe Biden’s inauguration, where right wing militia were expected and didn’t show.[1]

  3. January 23, 10:30 pm:

    • Pennsylvania is dangerous. Don’t believe me? Check out what this Pennsylvania congressman tried to set up with Donald Trump and the Department of Justice.[2] I mean, seriously, if only it were true that Pennsylvania (Democratic) Governor Tom Wolf was a dictator;[3] we’d be safer.

    • All I need to know here:

      Jacob Chansley is the “QAnon Shaman” who appeared in fur and horns at the U.S. Capitol coup.

  4. January 24, 1:52 pm:

    • George Conway, III, lays out the case for prosecuting Donald Trump now that he’s out of office,[4] which I guess to many people will seem like a no-brainer.

      If law is to apply, after all, it should apply to the rich and powerful as it does the poor. But I’ve previously remarked on the problem of presidential immunity,[5] and a larger picture notes that Conway is a co-founder of the Lincoln Project, a project of a tendency of conservatism—neoconservatism—that has previously advocated the theory of the unitary executive,[6] the very and already extreme theory that Conway is really complaining about Trump taking to extreme.[7]

      Zooming out still further, prosecuting Trump seems too superficial an answer to the problem of justice itself in which we have a distinctly harsher and more criminal system for the poor, especially of color, and a distinctly more lenient and civil one for the rich, especially whites,[8] no answer at all to the question of why Trump was elected in the first place[9] to obtain the immunity he has now lost,[10] nor to the roots of endemic and systemic injustice itself.[11] Yes, I think Trump should be prosecuted, but to do so still feels facile.

  5. January 25, 2021, 3:03 pm:


Pittsburgh

In a previous post, I noted of Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto that “while I think Peduto means well, he is a jackass in the way that jackasses who have never faced existential crises in their lives is a jackass. A catalog of Peduto’s asinine tweets would be lengthy.”[12] To say I understated it would itself be an understatement of colossal magnitude:

My fucking god.

I am calling for Peduto to resign. This is completely unacceptable and there isn’t even the beginning of an excuse for it.

Lisa Cunningham, “Mayor Peduto, please stop equating Pittsburgh protesters with the ‘Radical Right,’” Pittsburgh City Paper, January 21, 2021, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/mayor-peduto-please-stop-equating-pittsburgh-protesters-with-the-radical-right/Content?oid=18780489

Tom Davidson, “Peduto challenger Ed Gainey: Fewer words, more action needed from next mayor of Pittsburgh,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 22, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/peduto-challenger-ed-gainey-fewer-words-more-action-needed-from-next-mayor-of-pittsburgh/


Donald Trump

Megan K. Stack, “The Week the Trump Supporters Disappeared,” New Yorker, January 22, 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/news/the-political-scene/the-week-the-trump-supporters-disappeared

Katie Benner and Catie Edmondson, “Pennsylvania Lawmaker Played Key Role in Trump’s Plot to Oust Acting Attorney General,” New York Times, January 23, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/23/us/politics/scott-perry-trump-justice-department-election.html


  1. [1]Megan K. Stack, “The Week the Trump Supporters Disappeared,” New Yorker, January 22, 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/news/the-political-scene/the-week-the-trump-supporters-disappeared
  2. [2]Katie Benner and Catie Edmondson, “Pennsylvania Lawmaker Played Key Role in Trump’s Plot to Oust Acting Attorney General,” New York Times, January 23, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/23/us/politics/scott-perry-trump-justice-department-election.html
  3. [3]John L. Micek, “W. Pa. Rep. Metcalfe files impeachment articles to ‘remove dictator Wolf’ over pandemic response,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, June 16, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/blog/w-pa-rep-metcalfe-files-impeachment-articles-to-remove-dictator-wolf-over-pandemic-response/
  4. [4]George T. Conway, III, “Donald Trump’s new reality,” Washington Post, January 22, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/22/trump-charges-george-conway/
  5. [5]David Benfell, “The problem of presidential immunity,” Hot Housebroken, November 1, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/11/01/the-problem-of-presidential-immunity/
  6. [6]Jonathan Stevenson, “Trump’s Lingering Menace,” New York Review of Books, January 9, 2021, https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2021/01/09/trumps-lingering-menace/
  7. [7]George T. Conway, III, “Donald Trump’s new reality,” Washington Post, January 22, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/22/trump-charges-george-conway/
  8. [8]Jeffrey Reiman, The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison, 7th ed. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2004).
  9. [9]David Benfell, “Why Donald Trump won,” Not Housebroken, November 9, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/2016/11/09/why-donald-trump-won/
  10. [10]Jane Mayer, “Why Trump Can’t Afford to Lose,” New Yorker, November 1, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/11/09/why-trump-cant-afford-to-lose
  11. [11]Wanda D. McCaslin and Denise C. Breton, “Justice as Healing: Going Outside the Colonizers’ Cage,” in Handbook of Critical and Indigenous Methodologies, eds. Norman K. Denzin, Yvonna S. Lincoln, and Linda Tuhiwai Smith (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2008), 511-529.
  12. [12]David Benfell, “The testosterone insurrection coup,” Irregular Bullshit, January 21, 2021, https://disunitedstates.com/2021/01/19/the-testosterone-insurrection/

What? Reasonable Republicans? Probably not

Joe Biden

Sensible people might think that after that coup attempt,[1] Republicans might understand that maybe, just maybe, they’ve pushed this partisanship thing too far. Where Democrats have been in power, however, Republicans have, over the past few decades, consistently been the party of obstruction; it’s been a winning strategy for Republicans,[2] and it’s given the Democrats an excuse for not actually accomplishing anything besides what Republicans want.

Nonetheless, Joe Biden has been pushing a different, delusional line, as if all that obstruction hadn’t been so persistent, and a few have noted that it seems nonsensical.[3] Perry Bacon, Jr., notes that the Republicans find an electoral advantage in obstruction but that where they can’t stop cabinet member or judge confirmations, they may choose to appear “reasonable” by voting for nominees who aren’t too far to the left (as if Biden would ever, in his life, nominate a true progressive for anything). Similarly, Biden has reasons to at least appear to attempt to work with Republicans. Bacon also notes that Biden appears to be preparing to push forward even without Republican support because they’ll be doing their usual thing.[4] It all seems silly to me: If Republicans are the party of obstruction, Democrats are the party of enabling Republicans.

I remain in despair, understanding the implications of neoliberalism, which Democrats have repeatedly demonstrated a commitment to, even beyond winning elections,[5] for my field, human science,[6] and therefore that my job prospects remain dismal.

Perry Bacon, Jr., “Does Biden Really Think Republicans Will Work With Him? And Could He Be Right?” FiveThirtyEight, January 19, 2021, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/does-biden-really-think-republicans-will-work-with-him-and-could-he-be-right/


  1. [1]Ted Barrett, Manu Raju, and Peter Nickeas, “US Capitol secured, woman dead after rioters stormed the halls of Congress to block Biden’s win,” CNN, January 6, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/06/politics/us-capitol-lockdown/index.html; Fiona Hill, “Yes, It Was a Coup. Here’s Why,” Politico, January 11, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/01/11/capitol-riot-self-coup-trump-fiona-hill-457549; Spencer S. Hsu, Tom Jackman, and Devlin Barrett, “Self-styled militia members planned on storming the U.S. Capitol days in advance of Jan. 6 attack, court documents say,” Washington Post, January 19, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/conspiracy-oath-keeper-arrest-capitol-riot/2021/01/19/fb84877a-5a4f-11eb-8bcf-3877871c819d_story.html; Talia Lavin, “The Violent Crescendo of the MAGA Conspiracies,” New Republic, January 6, 2021, https://newrepublic.com/article/160814/trump-protesters-attack-us-capital; Andrew G. McCabe and David C. Williams, “Trump’s New Criminal Problem,” Politico, January 11, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/01/11/trumps-new-criminal-problem-457298; Nicolás Rivero, “Is America experiencing a coup?” Quartz, January 6, 2021, https://qz.com/1953602/is-america-experiencing-a-coup/; Jonathan Stevenson, “Trump’s Lingering Menace,” New York Review of Books, January 9, 2021, https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2021/01/09/trumps-lingering-menace/; Rebecca Tan et al., “Trump supporters storm U.S. Capitol, with one woman killed and tear gas fired,” Washington Post, January 7, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trump-supporters-storm-capitol-dc/2021/01/06/58afc0b8-504b-11eb-83e3-322644d82356_story.html; Craig Timberg, Drew Harwell, and Marissa J. Lang, “Capitol siege was planned online. Trump supporters now planning the next one,” Washington Post, January 9, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/01/09/trump-twitter-protests/; Aruna Viswanatha, “Conspiracy Charges Filed Over Capitol Riot,” Wall Street Journal, January 19, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/first-conspiracy-charges-filed-over-capitol-riot-11611080191
  2. [2]Perry Bacon, Jr., “Does Biden Really Think Republicans Will Work With Him? And Could He Be Right?” FiveThirtyEight, January 19, 2021, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/does-biden-really-think-republicans-will-work-with-him-and-could-he-be-right/
  3. [3]Eric Bradner and Gregory Krieg, “Joe Biden predicts a post-Trump ‘epiphany’ for Republicans,” CNN, May 14, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/14/politics/joe-biden-republicans-trump-epiphany/index.html; Moira Donegan, “What does Biden have in common with Trump? Delusional nostalgia,” Guardian, June 21, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/21/joe-biden-trump-sexism-delusional-nostalgia; Matt Ford, “Someone Please Tell Joe Biden That Bipartisanship Is Dead,” New Republic, June 12, 2019, https://newrepublic.com/article/154183/someone-please-tell-joe-biden-bipartisanship-dead; Paul Waldman, “Joe Biden still hasn’t learned the lessons of the Obama presidency,” Washington Post, December 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/12/06/joe-biden-still-hasnt-learned-lessons-obama-presidency/
  4. [4]Perry Bacon, Jr., “Does Biden Really Think Republicans Will Work With Him? And Could He Be Right?” FiveThirtyEight, January 19, 2021, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/does-biden-really-think-republicans-will-work-with-him-and-could-he-be-right/
  5. [5]David Benfell, “How the neoliberal (usually known as Democratic) party may well lose in 2020,” Not Housebroken, December 7, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/07/how-the-neoliberal-usually-known-as-democratic-party-may-well-lose-in-2020/
  6. [6]David Benfell, “My fellow kook,” Not Housebroken, August 1, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/01/my-fellow-kook/

State Rep. Ed Gainey To Challenge Peduto In Mayoral Race

Chris Potter, “State Rep. Ed Gainey To Challenge Peduto In Mayoral Race,” WESA, January 19, 2021, https://www.wesa.fm/post/state-rep-ed-gainey-challenge-peduto-mayoral-race

Tom Davidson, “Peduto challenger Ed Gainey: Fewer words, more action needed from next mayor of Pittsburgh,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 22, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/peduto-challenger-ed-gainey-fewer-words-more-action-needed-from-next-mayor-of-pittsburgh/

Lisa Cunningham, “Mayor Peduto, please stop equating Pittsburgh protesters with the ‘Radical Right,’” Pittsburgh City Paper, January 21, 2021, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/mayor-peduto-please-stop-equating-pittsburgh-protesters-with-the-radical-right/Content?oid=18780489

Tom Davidson, “Ed Gainey floats plan to resume battle with UPMC as mayoral candidates tout endorsements,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 23, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/ed-gainey-floats-plan-to-resume-battle-with-upmc-as-mayoral-candidates-tout-endorsements/

Kim Lyons, “A Keystone Election: Meet the 2021 candidates for Pittsburgh mayor,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, April 21, 2021, https://www.penncapital-star.com/government-politics/a-keystone-election-meet-the-2021-candidates-for-pittsburgh-mayor/

Charlie Wolfson, “Gainey topples Peduto in primary, will be Pittsburgh’s first Black mayor barring a November challenge,” Public Source, May 18, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/gainey-topples-peduto-in-primary-on-course-as-first-black-pittsburgh-mayor/

Associated Press, “Pittsburgh votes out mayor in primary election,” Politico, May 18, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/05/18/pittsburgh-votes-out-mayor-in-primary-election-489542

Tom Davidson, “Pittsburgh, Allegheny County voters approve no-knock warrant ban, solitary confinement restrictions,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 19, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny-county-voters-approve-no-knock-warrant-ban-solitary-confinement-restrictions/

Tom Davidson and Megan Guza, “How did Peduto lose Pittsburgh mayoral primary? Experts offer insight,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 19, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/how-did-peduto-lose-the-pittsburgh-mayoral-primary-experts-offer-insight/

WTAE, “Retired police detective Tony Moreno has enough write-in votes to challenge Ed Gainey in race for Pittsburgh mayor in November,” May 25, 2021, https://www.wtae.com/article/tony-moreno-has-enough-write-in-votes-to-challenge-ed-gainey-in-mayoral-race/36536679

Charlie Wolfson and Rich Lord, “‘The rebel becomes the establishment’: Peduto and Gainey reflect on a historic election,” May 24, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/gainey-peduto-pittsburgh-mayor-election-police-affordable-housing-covid-politics/

Tom Davidson, “Tony Moreno re-enters Pittsburgh mayoral race as Republican,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 29, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/tony-moreno-re-enters-pittsburgh-mayoral-race-as-republican/

Charlie Wolfson, “Gainey shares thoughts on UPMC, vaccines and COVID relief as he awaits mayoral election,” Public Source, August 18, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/gainey-pittsburgh-mayor-election-upmc-vaccines-covid-relief/

Ryan Deto, “Pittsburgh City Council appears poised to exert more power ahead of new mayoral transition,” Pittsburgh City Paper, October 6, 2021, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/pittsburgh-city-council-appears-poised-to-exert-more-power-ahead-of-new-mayoral-transition/Content?oid=20317888

The testosterone insurrection coup (Update #7)

Updates

  1. Originally published, January 19, 2021, 5:55 am.

  2. January 19, 2021, 6:38 pm:

    • Based on Federal Bureau of Investigation allegations in court documents, it appears that at least 30-40 people executed a coordinated, planned attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.[1] They would have been using the rest of the mob more as a distraction than as a diversion. As I understand all this, and assuming the veracity of allegations that have obviously not yet been tested in court, this rises to the level of a coup.[2]

  3. January 19, 2021: 10:47 pm:

    • I guess I don’t quite know what to make of this Politico story on a Trump administration official who QAnon types think is ‘Q,’ that is, the mastermind behind “Q drops,” but who claims to have been fighting the good fight against the conspiracy theorizing cult.[3] I deeply distrust anyone who would work for Donald Trump and so I distrust this fellow. But it’s an interesting story and for those of us who haven’t been paying much attention, it’s a decent summary of what QAnon is about.

  4. January 20, 2021, 11:52 am:

    • Now that conspiracy charges have been filed in the January 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot, the Wall Street Journal has more specific details[4] about the coup plot.[5] While we’ve not yet heard from the defense, the evidence appears damning.

  5. January 20, 2021, 11:11 pm:

    • Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is up for reelection and has a primary challenger in Ed Gainey who presently represents the city’s eastern neighborhoods in the Pennsylvania legislature.[6] I wish Gainey well. Being resident in Balwin Borough and a registered Green Party voter, I cannot help him. But while I think Peduto means well, he is a jackass in the way that jackasses who have never faced existential crises in their lives is a jackass. A catalog of Peduto’s asinine tweets would be lengthy.

    • It appears that Joe Biden’s and Kamala Harris’ inauguration occurred without further physical violence. I haven’t archived further stories on this yet because I’m looking for something insightful. Right now, it looks like I might be waiting a while.

  6. January 21, 2021, 6:23 am:

    • It appears some right wing militia leaders felt the January 6, 2021, coup was ludicrous and were not interested in participating even at the time, let alone for Joe Biden’s inauguration, that some were discouraged by a dissonance between their self-image as on the side of “law and order” and a mob overrunning the U.S. Capitol, and that some others were following Donald Trump’s orders to stand down.[7] In the event, none of them showed up to interfere with the inauguration.[8]

  7. January 21, 2021, 12:49 pm:

    • Despite the absence of physical violence at Joe Biden’s heavily fortified inauguration,[9] a failed coup attempt two weeks before that led to that fortification,[10] and a looming second impeachment that might bar Donald Trump from future office,[11] the conspiracy theorist mass media continues to spew election disinformation.[12] While some right wing militia groups declined to participate in the coup attempt for various reasons, some right wing militia may have stood down apparently only because Trump told them to.[13]

      It’s hard to see where right wing militia will next have a significant opportunity to strike. What’s important to know is that they are still out there. The threat that they have always posed remains. And it has to be said, that significant portion of the U.S. population that continues to believe in Trump is also still there, even if Trump’s final sendoff from Joint Base Andrews was really rather dreary.[14]


Donald Trump

When arriving in Pittsburgh, I was almost immediately confronted by bullying, aggressive driving, mostly by people of a sort I’d seen before but much less often in California, in monster pickup trucks. So I came up with the language which I initially put in a crude sign I printed at home and taped to my back window, but which I later incorporated into a sticker design (figure 1) intending to exploit presumed homophobic tendencies of, and to shame, men driving what I started calling ‘testosterone trucks.’


Fig. 1. Window sticker design, meant to deter tailgaters, by author, October 10, 2020. It’s now on my rear window, at an angle most visible to people driving large vehicles.

Then I came across references to pickup trucks in connection with support for Donald Trump[15] and I knew I was on to something, a beyond-toxic masculinity manifesting in reckless driving, in reckless boat parades for Trump,[16] and, as it turns out, in the reckless U.S. Capitol insurrection on January 6, 2021, intended to keep Trump in power.[17]

Danielle Kurtzleben, “Macho Politics Defined Trump’s Presidency, Culminating With Capitol Riot,” National Public Radio, January 18, 2021, https://www.npr.org/2021/01/18/957617150/macho-politics-defined-trumps-presidency-culminating-with-capitol-riot

Josh Gerstein, “‘Are you QAnon?’: One Trump official’s brush with an internet cult gone horribly wrong,” Politico, January 19, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/19/qanon-trump-ezra-cohen-watnick-460520

Spencer S. Hsu, Tom Jackman, and Devlin Barrett, “Self-styled militia members planned on storming the U.S. Capitol days in advance of Jan. 6 attack, court documents say,” Washington Post, January 19, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/conspiracy-oath-keeper-arrest-capitol-riot/2021/01/19/fb84877a-5a4f-11eb-8bcf-3877871c819d_story.html

Jeremy W. Peters, “‘They Have Not Legitimately Won’: Pro-Trump Media Keeps the Disinformation Flowing,” New York Times, January 20, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/20/business/media/misinformation-trump-media.html

Amy Davidson Sorkin, “Trump Wanted a Big Sendoff—and Didn’t Get It,” New Yorker, January 21, 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/trump-wanted-a-big-sendoff-and-didnt-get-it


Pittsburgh

Chris Potter, “State Rep. Ed Gainey To Challenge Peduto In Mayoral Race,” WESA, January 19, 2021, https://www.wesa.fm/post/state-rep-ed-gainey-challenge-peduto-mayoral-race


  1. [1]Spencer S. Hsu, Tom Jackman, and Devlin Barrett, “Self-styled militia members planned on storming the U.S. Capitol days in advance of Jan. 6 attack, court documents say,” Washington Post, January 19, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/conspiracy-oath-keeper-arrest-capitol-riot/2021/01/19/fb84877a-5a4f-11eb-8bcf-3877871c819d_story.html
  2. [2]Nicolás Rivero, “Is America experiencing a coup?” Quartz, January 6, 2021, https://qz.com/1953602/is-america-experiencing-a-coup/
  3. [3]Josh Gerstein, “‘Are you QAnon?’: One Trump official’s brush with an internet cult gone horribly wrong,” Politico, January 19, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/19/qanon-trump-ezra-cohen-watnick-460520
  4. [4]Aruna Viswanatha, “Conspiracy Charges Filed Over Capitol Riot,” Wall Street Journal, January 19, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/first-conspiracy-charges-filed-over-capitol-riot-11611080191
  5. [5]David A. Graham, “We’re Just Finding Out How Bad the Riot Really Was,” Atlantic, January 16, 2021, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/01/it-was-much-worse-it-looked/617693/; Spencer S. Hsu, Tom Jackman, and Devlin Barrett, “Self-styled militia members planned on storming the U.S. Capitol days in advance of Jan. 6 attack, court documents say,” Washington Post, January 19, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/conspiracy-oath-keeper-arrest-capitol-riot/2021/01/19/fb84877a-5a4f-11eb-8bcf-3877871c819d_story.html
  6. [6]Chris Potter, “State Rep. Ed Gainey To Challenge Peduto In Mayoral Race,” WESA, January 19, 2021, https://www.wesa.fm/post/state-rep-ed-gainey-challenge-peduto-mayoral-race
  7. [7]Mike Giglio, “What’s Next for the Militias?” Intercept, January 20, 2021, https://theintercept.com/2021/01/20/capitol-riot-militias/
  8. [8]Jeff Seldin, “President Biden Takes Oath of Office Amid Heavy Security,” Global Security, January 20, 2021, https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2021/01/mil-210120-voa04.htm
  9. [9]Zachary Cohen and Geneva Sands, “20,000 National Guard troops expected in Washington for Biden’s inauguration,” CNN, January 13, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/13/politics/inauguration-security-us-secret-service-washington/index.html; Jeff Seldin, “President Biden Takes Oath of Office Amid Heavy Security,” Global Security, January 20, 2021, https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2021/01/mil-210120-voa04.htm
  10. [10]Ted Barrett, Manu Raju, and Peter Nickeas, “US Capitol secured, woman dead after rioters stormed the halls of Congress to block Biden’s win,” CNN, January 6, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/06/politics/us-capitol-lockdown/index.html; Fiona Hill, “Yes, It Was a Coup. Here’s Why,” Politico, January 11, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/01/11/capitol-riot-self-coup-trump-fiona-hill-457549; Spencer S. Hsu, Tom Jackman, and Devlin Barrett, “Self-styled militia members planned on storming the U.S. Capitol days in advance of Jan. 6 attack, court documents say,” Washington Post, January 19, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/conspiracy-oath-keeper-arrest-capitol-riot/2021/01/19/fb84877a-5a4f-11eb-8bcf-3877871c819d_story.html; Talia Lavin, “The Violent Crescendo of the MAGA Conspiracies,” New Republic, January 6, 2021, https://newrepublic.com/article/160814/trump-protesters-attack-us-capital; Andrew G. McCabe and David C. Williams, “Trump’s New Criminal Problem,” Politico, January 11, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/01/11/trumps-new-criminal-problem-457298; Nicolás Rivero, “Is America experiencing a coup?” Quartz, January 6, 2021, https://qz.com/1953602/is-america-experiencing-a-coup/; Jonathan Stevenson, “Trump’s Lingering Menace,” New York Review of Books, January 9, 2021, https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2021/01/09/trumps-lingering-menace/; Rebecca Tan et al., “Trump supporters storm U.S. Capitol, with one woman killed and tear gas fired,” Washington Post, January 7, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trump-supporters-storm-capitol-dc/2021/01/06/58afc0b8-504b-11eb-83e3-322644d82356_story.html; Craig Timberg, Drew Harwell, and Marissa J. Lang, “Capitol siege was planned online. Trump supporters now planning the next one,” Washington Post, January 9, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/01/09/trump-twitter-protests/; Aruna Viswanatha, “Conspiracy Charges Filed Over Capitol Riot,” Wall Street Journal, January 19, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/first-conspiracy-charges-filed-over-capitol-riot-11611080191
  11. [11]anet Hook and Jennifer Haberkorn, “House impeaches Trump for the second time, focus shifts to Senate trial,” Los Angeles Times, January 13, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2021-01-13/house-begins-final-push-to-make-trump-the-only-president-to-be-impeached-twice; Amy Davidson Sorkin, “Trump Wanted a Big Sendoff—and Didn’t Get It,” New Yorker, January 21, 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/trump-wanted-a-big-sendoff-and-didnt-get-it
  12. [12]Jeremy W. Peters, “‘They Have Not Legitimately Won’: Pro-Trump Media Keeps the Disinformation Flowing,” New York Times, January 20, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/20/business/media/misinformation-trump-media.html
  13. [13]Mike Giglio, “What’s Next for the Militias?” Intercept, January 20, 2021, https://theintercept.com/2021/01/20/capitol-riot-militias/
  14. [14]Amy Davidson Sorkin, “Trump Wanted a Big Sendoff—and Didn’t Get It,” New Yorker, January 21, 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/trump-wanted-a-big-sendoff-and-didnt-get-it
  15. [15]Luke Mogelson, “The Militias Against Masks,” New Yorker, August 17, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/08/24/the-militias-against-masks; Joshua Partlow, “Politics at the point of a gun,” Washington Post, July 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/07/28/conservative-armed-militias-protests-coronavirus/; Jason Togyer, “Will the sons of steelworkers see Trump’s COVID-19 behavior as strong, or reckless?” Columbia Journalism Review, October 6, 2020, https://www.cjr.org/special_report/year-of-fear-pennsylvania-steel-trump-masculinity-covid.php
  16. [16]Matthew S. Schwartz, “5 Boats Sink At Trump Boat Parade In Texas,” National Public Radio, September 6, 2020, https://www.npr.org/2020/09/06/910322916/5-boats-sink-at-trump-boat-parade-in-texas; Matt Stieb, “Boats Keep Sinking at the Trump Boat Parades,” New York, September 7, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/09/boats-keep-sinking-and-capsizing-at-the-trump-boat-parades.html
  17. [17]Jeremy Herb et al., “Congress completes electoral count, finalizing Biden’s win after violent delay from pro-Trump mob,” CNN, January 7, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/06/politics/2020-election-congress-electoral-college-vote-count/index.html; Danielle Kurtzleben, “Macho Politics Defined Trump’s Presidency, Culminating With Capitol Riot,” National Public Radio, January 18, 2021, https://www.npr.org/2021/01/18/957617150/macho-politics-defined-trumps-presidency-culminating-with-capitol-riot; Jonathan Stevenson, “Trump’s Lingering Menace,” New York Review of Books, January 9, 2021, https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2021/01/09/trumps-lingering-menace/; Craig Timberg, Drew Harwell, and Marissa J. Lang, “Capitol siege was planned online. Trump supporters now planning the next one,” Washington Post, January 9, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/01/09/trump-twitter-protests/

More like a coup than I thought (Update #2)

Updates

  1. Originally published, January 18, 2021, 2:45 pm.
  2. January 18, 2021, 10:54 pm:
    • I’ve added some relevant reading below.


Donald Trump

I remain inclined[1] to think the U.S. Capitol riot on January 6[2] falls short of a coup,[3] but evidence is accumulating that the rioters were better prepared than I initially understood.[4] Doubts about police preparation, particularly relative to those for Black Lives Matter Protests, persist,[5] but

[Police] weren’t just facing an unruly protest, and they weren’t just underprepared—they were in a battle against a more organized and coordinated force than they had realized. A stunning Washington Post report lays out the scene. “Everything they did was in a military fashion,” a D.C. police commander said. One officer was overcome by protesters and heard rioters shout, “We got one! We got one! Kill him with his own gun!” Brian Sicknick, the officer who died of injuries sustained in the attack, was reportedly beaten with a fire extinguisher. . . .

“I didn’t want to be the guy who starts shooting, because I knew they had guns—we had been seizing guns all day,” Daniel Hodges, a D.C. police officer, told the Post. “And the only reason I could think of that they weren’t shooting us was they were waiting for us to shoot first. And if it became a firefight between a couple hundred officers and a couple thousand demonstrators, we would have lost.”

Once inside, some putschists were prepared. They came with schematics and maps of the building, and set about their work with purpose. Some wore tactical gear and carried flex ties, which would have been useful for kidnapping and hostage-taking. If not for the quick thinking of the Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman, who drew a column away from the Senate floor, they might have walked through the unlocked doors and into a chamber still filled with lawmakers.

Only on Friday did it become clear how much danger [Mike] Pence had been in. Secret Service officers whisked Pence and his family to a hideaway in the Capitol—but just one minute before Goodman made his stand, and only about 100 feet from the stairs up which the officer was chased by the mob, according to the Post.[6]

The objection I’ve been raising is that even if more successful, this attack still would not have reversed the outcome. Nonetheless, it appears that the rioters actually believed they could compel such a result,[7] even if their plan for doing so was incoherent.

In truth, I don’t know if this is really a failing: Pretty consistently throughout my life, I have expected things to make more sense than they do and I have expected people to be more intelligent than they are. When my threshold is not met, I am dismissive. My evaluation of this riot would be another example.


Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter from a Birmingham Jail [King, Jr.],” University of Pennsylvania, April 16, 1963, http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html

Zaid Jilani, “Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrations Overlook His Critiques of Capitalism and Militarism,” Intercept, January 18, 2016, https://theintercept.com/2016/01/18/martin-luther-king-jr-celebrations-overlook-his-critiques-of-capitalism-and-militarism/


  1. [1]David Benfell, “Riot or insurrection? Lies or madness?” Not Housebroken, January 17, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/01/12/riot-or-insurrection-lies-or-madness/
  2. [2]Jeremy Herb et al., “Congress completes electoral count, finalizing Biden’s win after violent delay from pro-Trump mob,” CNN, January 7, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/06/politics/2020-election-congress-electoral-college-vote-count/index.html
  3. [3]Nicolás Rivero, “Is America experiencing a coup?” Quartz, January 6, 2021, https://qz.com/1953602/is-america-experiencing-a-coup/
  4. [4]David A. Graham, “We’re Just Finding Out How Bad the Riot Really Was,” Atlantic, January 16, 2021, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/01/it-was-much-worse-it-looked/617693/; Craig Timberg, Drew Harwell, and Marissa J. Lang, “Capitol siege was planned online. Trump supporters now planning the next one,” Washington Post, January 9, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/01/09/trump-twitter-protests/
  5. [5]Kyle Cheney, Sarah Ferris, and Laura Barrón-López, “‘Inside job’: House Dems ask if Capitol rioters had hidden help,” Politico, January 8, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/08/congress-democrats-capitol-riot-inside-job-456725; David A. Graham, “We’re Just Finding Out How Bad the Riot Really Was,” Atlantic, January 16, 2021, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/01/it-was-much-worse-it-looked/617693/; Maggie Koerth, “The Police’s Tepid Response To The Capitol Breach Wasn’t An Aberration,” FiveThirtyEight, January 7, 2021, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-polices-tepid-response-to-the-capitol-breach-wasnt-an-aberration/; Michael Kranish, Karoun Demirjian, and Devlin Barrett, “Democrats demand investigation of whether Republicans in Congress aided Capitol rioters,” Washington Post, January 13, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/republicans-capitol-rioters/2021/01/13/9737a336-55e2-11eb-a931-5b162d0d033d_story.html; Kurtis Lee, Jaweed Kaleem, and Laura King, “‘White supremacy was on full display.’ Double standard seen in police response to riot at Capitol,” Los Angeles Times, January 7, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2021-01-07/la-na-washington-capitol-police-attack-race; Jonathan Stevenson, “Trump’s Lingering Menace,” New York Review of Books, January 9, 2021, https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2021/01/09/trumps-lingering-menace/
  6. [6]David A. Graham, “We’re Just Finding Out How Bad the Riot Really Was,” Atlantic, January 16, 2021, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/01/it-was-much-worse-it-looked/617693/
  7. [7]David A. Graham, “We’re Just Finding Out How Bad the Riot Really Was,” Atlantic, January 16, 2021, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/01/it-was-much-worse-it-looked/617693/

Nonsense about unity

So a couple Twitter threads required a more comprehensive response than can reasonably be produced with 280-character length limited posts. I only quoted one of them in a new blog post entitled, “John Fetterman’s delusion,” but you get the idea. Basically, the nonsense is that Trumpsters aren’t enemies with the rest of us. And yeah, it’s nonsense.


White supremacist police

The weak police response to Trumpsters overrunning the U.S. Capitol unsurprisingly fits a pattern.[1]

Maggie Koerth, “The Police’s Tepid Response To The Capitol Breach Wasn’t An Aberration,” FiveThirtyEight, January 7, 2021, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-polices-tepid-response-to-the-capitol-breach-wasnt-an-aberration/


  1. [1]Maggie Koerth, “The Police’s Tepid Response To The Capitol Breach Wasn’t An Aberration,” FiveThirtyEight, January 7, 2021, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-polices-tepid-response-to-the-capitol-breach-wasnt-an-aberration/