Rest In Piss (Update #2)

Updates

  1. Originally published, February 18, 2021, 3:32 pm.

  2. February 19, 2021, 12:48 am:

    • In one the very regrettable jokes of my childhood, Gomer Pyle, a goofy private in the Marine Corps in a very old television series, asks his girl friend for permission to put his finger in her belly button.

      After a pause, she says, “That’s not my belly button!”

      The punch line begins with Pyle using his signature line, “Surprise! Surprise!” He continues, “That isn’t my finger either!”

      Okay, so you probably saw that one coming a mile away and it shouldn’t be considered funny because we’re talking about nonconsensual sex.

      And how Pyle’s girl friend would feel, at least in the modern world when such behavior would constitute rape, is probably about how a lot of California Uber and Lyft drivers feel about California’s Proposition 22: They were screwed.[1] Even as other employers have been looking at the proposition and thinking to themselves what a wonderful idea this is so they, too, can get rid of employees, minimum wage, and benefits.[2]

      How about you all just admit you’d really like to get slavery back?

      I’m in Pennsylvania now, but at least so far this year, with the costs I’m facing, I’m not making any money at all.


Rush Limbaugh

Just so we know where Binyamin Netanyahu stands:


Seriously, this is right up there with that vegan restaurant, Fortuitea, in North Strabane, run by a Jewish family whose patriarch, I learned with his reaction to COVID-19 mitigation orders, gets his information from the same sources as blatantly anti-Semitic white supremacists. It had been my favorite restaurant, albeit a long ways out, in the Pittsburgh area, but some stuff you just can’t excuse.

Look, I know that not all Jews are like this. Consider, for example, Michael Lerner and many others I follow on Twitter, who criticize Israeli policies in the occupied territories. But just as whites need to reckon with white supremacy, Jews need to reckon with apartheid. And, frankly, white Jews need to reckon with both.

It’s not enough to quietly oppose racism, misogyny, and other forms of oppression with friends and colleagues. Silence is complicity. These attitudes cannot be excused, cannot be dismissed. They must be loudly repudiated. And we all must repudiate them.


I have a lot of reverence for my maternal grandfather. In a life full of trauma, being with him was the one place where I felt safe. It’s a factor that even now draws me back to Dormont, a suburb of Pittsburgh.

When I went to visit in my twenties, I remember my grandfather sitting at the dining room table, listening to talk radio. My mother tells me he became even more conservative as he aged, that he was racist. I know my grandmother was racist. She embarassed me by using the word colored on a trip to Pittsburgh’s Point State Park, explaining that “we” used to call them—she used the n-word. So I have little reason to doubt my mother’s account.

I don’t know if my grandfather ever heard Rush Limbaugh. But Limbaugh was certainly a part of the ecosystem from which the “Fox News Bubble” developed.[3] He was genuinely and inexcusably awful,[4] and he had an understanding of the authoritarian populist victimhood[5] that seems to drive the “Fuck Your Feelings” and “Make a Liberal Cry” Trumpster ethos.[6]


Texas

When the power came on amid rolling blackouts, Andrew Exum’s “wife—a tough woman, and a water and sanitation engineer by training—climbed under the house and thawed out a pipe with a blow-dryer.”[7]

Andrew Exum, “I’m Freezing Cold and Burning Mad in Texas,” Atlantic, February 17, 2021, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/02/freezing-cold-and-burning-mad-texas/618048/

Will Englund, Steven Mufson, and Dino Grandoni, “Texas, the go-it-alone state, is rattled by the failure to keep the lights on,” Washington Post, February 18, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/02/18/texas-electric-grid-failure/

Greg Sargent, “The latest GOP nonsense on Texas shows us the future Republicans want,” Washington Post, February 18, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/02/18/texas-republicans-abbott-power-shortages/


Genetics

In the category of how I’m weird, it turns out that my intolerance for physical exercise might be related to my relative tolerance for cold.[8]

Karolinska Institutet, “20% of People Have a Genetic Mutation That Provides Superior Resilience to Cold,” SciTechDaily, February 17, 2021, https://scitechdaily.com/20-of-people-have-a-genetic-mutation-that-provides-superior-resilience-to-cold/


Gig work

José Rodríguez, Jr., “The Aftermath Of Prop 22 Is Not As Happy As Big Tech Promised,” Jalopnik, February 18, 2021, https://jalopnik.com/the-aftermath-of-prop-22-is-not-as-happy-as-big-tech-pr-1846299686


  1. [1]José Rodríguez, Jr., “The Aftermath Of Prop 22 Is Not As Happy As Big Tech Promised,” Jalopnik, February 18, 2021, https://jalopnik.com/the-aftermath-of-prop-22-is-not-as-happy-as-big-tech-pr-1846299686
  2. [2]Alexander Sammon, “Prop 22 Is Here, and It’s Already Worse Than Expected,” American Prospect, January 15, 2021, https://prospect.org/labor/prop-22-is-here-already-worse-than-expected-california-gig-workers/
  3. [3]Matt Gertz, “Rush Limbaugh’s bigotry set the stage for Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party,” Media Matters for America, February 17, 2021, https://www.mediamatters.org/rush-limbaugh/rush-limbaughs-bigotry-set-stage-trumps-takeover-republican-party; Jeffrey P Jones, [tweet], February 17, 2021, https://twitter.com/DrJeffreyPJones/status/1362097963934302210
  4. [4]Bob Baker, “What’s the Rush?: Radio Loudmouth Rush Limbaugh Harangues Feminazis, Environmental Wackos and Commie-Libs While His Ratings Soar,” Los Angeles Times, January 20, 1991, https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1991-01-20-tm-836-story.html
  5. [5]Thomas Frank, What’s the Matter With Kansas? (New York: Holt, 2004); Thomas Frank, Pity the Billionaire (New York: Holt, 2012); Rush Limbaugh, “What Palin’s Trump Speech Says About the State of the Conservative Movement,” Rush Limbaugh Show, January 20, 2016, https://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2016/01/20/what_palin_s_trump_speech_says_about_the_state_of_the_conservative_movement/
  6. [6]David Benfell, “The Donald Trump supporters’ campaign message: Fuck Your Feelings,” Not Housebroken, December 11, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/08/26/the-donald-trump-supporters-campaign-message-fuck-your-feelings/
  7. [7]Andrew Exum, “I’m Freezing Cold and Burning Mad in Texas,” Atlantic, February 17, 2021, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/02/freezing-cold-and-burning-mad-texas/618048/
  8. [8]Karolinska Institutet, “20% of People Have a Genetic Mutation That Provides Superior Resilience to Cold,” SciTechDaily, February 17, 2021, https://scitechdaily.com/20-of-people-have-a-genetic-mutation-that-provides-superior-resilience-to-cold/

The GameStop Squeeze looks like a classic pump-and-dump scam

I am expecting to be stuck at home tomorrow. As I understand it, the storm that hit Texas is expected here and no, I’m not taking it on.


Allegheny County

To give you an idea what kind of an area I live in, and indeed, one reason I probably really should move, I remember driving down Brownsville Road, just off Pennsylvania Route 51, one day and seeing unmasked Trumpsters coming from every direction. They were walking to a restaurant across the street from the Giant Eagle, which has been making quite a name for itself. It’s only a couple miles away from my apartment.

Today, the judge in the case of the Crack’d Egg Restaurant refused[1] to stay his order requiring the restaurant to either comply with COVID-19 mitigation orders or shut down.[2] Refusing to require face masks, the owner shut the restaurant down[3] and sought a stay pending appeal.[4] The restaurant had previously sought to evade the case by filing bankruptcy, but, accepting Allegheny County’s argument,[5] the bankruptcy judge refused that ploy,[6] and the restaurant has asked to withdraw the filing.[7] Not only had local law enforcement refused to enforce the restrictions even as the restaurant had brazenly flouted them, but unmasked officers posed with the owner in photographs.[8]

Paula Reed Ward, “Judge rules against Crack’d Egg restaurant: ‘They’ve largely chosen their fate here,’” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 17, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/judge-rules-against-crackd-egg-restaurant-theyve-largely-chosen-their-fate-here/


GameStop Squeeze

The GameStop Squeeze is looking more and more like a classic pump-and-dump scam.[9] Some folks—and I don’t mean the hedge funds[10]—really got burned.[11] Keith Gill, a.k.a. “Roaring Kitty,” denies the allegation.[12]

Christian Berthelsen, “‘Roaring Kitty’ Sued for Securities Fraud Over GameStop Rise,” Bloomberg, February 17, 2021, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-02-17/-roaring-kitty-sued-for-securities-fraud-over-gamestop-rise


  1. [1]Paula Reed Ward, “Judge rules against Crack’d Egg restaurant: ‘They’ve largely chosen their fate here,’” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 17, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/judge-rules-against-crackd-egg-restaurant-theyve-largely-chosen-their-fate-here/
  2. [2]Paula Reed Ward, “Judge orders Crack’d Egg to follow covid rules or close,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 3, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/judge-orders-crackd-egg-to-follow-covid-rules-or-close/
  3. [3]Paul Martino, “After Defying Health Department, Crack’d Egg Follows Judge’s Ruling And Closes,” KDKA Television, February 4, 2021, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2021/02/04/crackd-egg-closes/
  4. [4]Paula Reed Ward, “Crack’d Egg seeks stay to injunction while appeal is heard,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 8, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/crackd-egg-seeks-stay-to-injunction-while-appeal-is-heard/
  5. [5]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/
  6. [6]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/
  7. [7]Paula Reed Ward, “Crack’d Egg restaurant asks to withdraw bankruptcy filing,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 2, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/crackd-egg-restaurant-asks-to-withdraw-bankruptcy-filing/
  8. [8]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/
  9. [9]Christian Berthelsen, “‘Roaring Kitty’ Sued for Securities Fraud Over GameStop Rise,” Bloomberg, February 17, 2021, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-02-17/-roaring-kitty-sued-for-securities-fraud-over-gamestop-rise
  10. [10]Cory Doctorow, “Understanding /r/wallstreetbets,” Pluralistic, January 28, 2021, https://pluralistic.net/2021/01/28/payment-for-order-flow/#wallstreetbets; 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; 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
  11. [11]Drew Harwell, “As GameStop stock crumbles, newbie traders reckon with heavy losses,” Washington Post, February 2, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/02/02/gamestop-stock-plunge-losers/
  12. [12]Christian Berthelsen, “‘Roaring Kitty’ Sued for Securities Fraud Over GameStop Rise,” Bloomberg, February 17, 2021, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-02-17/-roaring-kitty-sued-for-securities-fraud-over-gamestop-rise

Watch who you’re in that helicopter with (Update #22)

Updates

  1. Originally published, February 6, 2021, 10:46 am.

  2. February 6, 2021, 1:45 pm:

    • So I’d just pulled out of my garage and gotten out to close the garage door. I heard a crunch. A neighbor, pulling out of his parking space, had backed into my car (figure 1).


      Fig. 1. Photograph by author, February 6, 2021.

      I doubt this is a total loss. But I’m going to lose the car for at least a couple weeks. I’ll get a rental on Monday. But I obviously can’t use my car for Uber or Lyft until this is fixed.

  3. February 6, 2021, 10:53 pm:

  4. February 7, 2021, 5:44 pm:

    • Amy Davidson Sorkin reviews the case for Donald Trump’s impeachment.[1]

    • In a previous installment, I had begun reading Ezra Klein’s book, Why We’re Polarized,[2] and was perturbed both 1) by how he emphasized differences between the Democrats and Republicans at the expense of their similarities and 2) by how he lumped vast portions of the polity into two groups, overlooking the profound differences among each of those groups.[3]

      Because I’m now stuck at home, I’ve read a couple chapters further in now, probably more than half way through. Klein argues, probably more correctly than I’m really able to address, that our reasoning is governed more by our social circles than by rationality and further that whites generally feel threatened by demographic change in the country and therefore are shifting to the political right.[4]

      I have to grant that there’s truth to all of that. The paleoconservative claim is that “Blacks and browns” are out to get whites and social conservatism as we know it today develops from a perceived need to preserve white hegemony in response to a surge in immigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries;[5] Klein seems to believe that most whites shift to that view as they become aware of demographic changes that are, in fact, occurring,[6] and certainly this helps to account for my inclination since writing my dissertation to view the distinctions between authoritarian populists, paleoconservatives, and social conservatives as even blurrier.[7]

      The trouble for me is that the picture doesn’t seem to me to be nearly so neat, nearly so clear-cut.

      Certainly, I’ve had trouble recognizing white privilege when I can’t get a real job,[8] but as far back as 2011, when I was already bitter about a job hunt that had then already been a decade-long failure, I was noticing graffiti that confirmed my once-favorite professor’s claim that many Blacks feel a greater threat from police than from gangs[9] and I’ve come to see my white privilege more sharply since arriving in southwestern Pennsylvania.[10] My dissertation was sympathetic to migrants across the southern border.[11] As to borders themselves, I understand them as denying human beings on the ‘wrong’ side of those arbitrary lines rights and privileges available on the ‘right’ side,[12] and as marking divisions between territories, and between the people and resources within those territories, controlled by competing elites whose disputes lie behind most if not all war.[13] I’ve never been a xenophobe in the way that Klein seems to think I should be and my thinking has rarely aligned with the Left in precisely the way that Klein seems to think it should; his work so far fails to explain why.[14] And when I see that this isn’t just me, but people I encounter on Twitter, and people I encounter as Uber/Lyft passengers in the back of my car, even in southwestern Pennsylvania, Klein’s idea, which is apparently that we’re polarized because we’re conformists,[15] becomes a real problem for me.

  5. February 8, 2021, 9:09 am:

    • I’ve been reading on in Ezra Klein’s book, Why We’re Polarized, In the latter half of the book, he turns to, so far, how journalism tends to focus on and amplify outrage and how moderates have all but disappeared, leaving parties and candidates to focus on energizing their bases, which they do with outrage.[16] Again, my perception is somewhat different. While yes, among a lot of people, my theory of the morality of polarization applies, in which whatever a person on your side does is good, strictly by virtue of the fact s/he is on your side, and whatever a person on the other side does is evil, strictly by virtue of the fact s/he is on the other side is evil,[17] between Democrats and Republicans, it is Republicans who reject Democratic presidents and who refuse to acknowledge the latter as legitimate, going back at least as far as Bill Clinton[18] and, I strongly suspect, Jimmy Carter, but I really don’t see the same antipathy from Democrats toward Republicans. Albert Gore conceded to George W. Bush even after a Supreme Court fight over the Florida recount. Michelle Obama hugs Bush; he gives her candy. As president, her husband, Barack Obama embraced and extended Bush’s policies. Both parties embrace neoconservatism and its moral imperative, neoliberalism.[19] Hillary Clinton conceded to Donald Trump. Too late for Klein’s book, Donald Trump fought his election defeat every step of the way.[20] Certainly there was Democratic demonization of the Republican incumbent in 2020, but it took Trump to provoke cries of “Vote Blue, No Matter Who,” and then at least as much to suppress the candidacy of Bernie Sanders.[21]

      Yes, there’s polarization, but it’s among party activists and Republican politicians, but not among Democratic politicians, who often continue to insist upon “bipartisanship.” Klein is still making the same mistake he makes throughout his book so far, of sweeping much too broadly with his generalizations, neglecting the nuances that I see everywhere I turn.

    • I have updated my spreadsheet on U.S. military history, a timeline showing how the U.S. has been involved in killing expeditions in all but sixteen calendar years of its existence, based on the History Guy’s “American Military History Timeline.”[22]

    • It’s official:

      It will be mildly interesting to see how he does. He’s progressive in everything I’ve seen him say. The trouble, of course, is that he’s a Democrat, which means that if he wins, he’ll be co-opted by the national party.

  6. February 8, 2021, 1:30 pm:

    • John Fetterman has not endorsed a Green New Deal, saying “We can’t just throw [out] all of these union jobs and all these workers’ jobs and say, ‘Well, just go learn to code and maybe you can get on at Google or someplace.’”[23] I haven’t seen enough of Green New Deal thinking to know clearly exactly what its proponents advocate here, but my impression that it includes jobs like solar cell installation, not the high tech arrogance that “everyone should learn how to code.” The latter is just a bad, awful, utterly dehumanizing idea,[24] and it’s likely unfair of Fetterman to characterize the Green New Deal in this way.

      The entire point of the Green New Deal, as I understand it, is to recognize that previous environmental activism has too often been arrogant with regard to people’s need to earn livings and to move toward a sustainable economy.

  7. February 8, 2021, 9:34 pm:

    • As promised, the Crack’d Egg has requested a stay[25] of the order requiring it comply with Allegheny County and Pennsylvania COVID-19 mitigation measures or shut down.[26] The county health department had sued when the restaurant flouted the rules,[27] the Crack’d Egg tried and failed to evade the suit with a bankruptcy filing,[28] and has now asked to withdraw the bankruptcy filing.[29] In asking for the stay, the restaurant cites a federal court ruling[30] that invoked first and fourteenth amendment rights[31] which itself has been stayed[32] and faces long odds on appeal.[33]

      Which is all to say these guys aren’t just stretching; they’re really stretching. But that’s the power of ideology, in this case, capitalist libertarian ideology.

    • I have spoken with the insurance adjuster. Talking to these people is sometimes refreshing. They’re basically bureaucrats. They have rules. It’s all pretty cut and dried with them. And it’s happened a couple times now that they’ll tell me back my own story in a way that makes the question of culpability all crystal clear.

      Anyway, she says there isn’t even anything to investigate here. It’s the other guy’s fault. I guess the operative principle here is if somebody hits a stationary object—my car was parked—it’s their damn fault. Well, yeah, I guess when you put it that way. . . .

    • I have my rental car and my own car is now at the body shop. This repair will cost me my $500 deductible, assuming they don’t declare it a total loss. Yes, I could have filed directly with the other driver’s insurance company, but he’s got a company I’ve never even heard of. My history includes dealing with another driver’s insurance company and that’s an experience that’s worth $500 to avoid repeating.

      I’ve been losing sleep about that possibility they might declare it a total loss. It’s a 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid. These cars don’t hold their value like Priuses do. And that’s going to be at least a mighty expensive piece of plastic, plus any damage that I can’t see from the outside.

    • It looks like I’m not going to be able to drive with Uber with the rental car. They say I can, but the documentation I have from the rental car company doesn’t meet Uber’s requirements. I’m not even trying with Lyft.

      I tried going to what Uber used to call a Green Light center—I don’t know what they’re calling these places now—which is where you go when you have a problem you can’t resolve on line. But I found the space where the center had been vacant and available for lease.

      I’m not willing to fight this further. I want a real job[34] and the thought of fighting to be humiliated by these assholes is just more than I can bear. I’ll just hope my car gets fixed soon.

  8. February 9, 2021, 11:34 am:

    • There is yet another new blog post entitled, “On the ‘n-word.’ The idiocy of a single person and its ensuing human relations consequences is not an issue I generally take an interest in, but I gather from Twitter that there’s a controversy over a New York Times reporter using the ‘n-word.’ He shouldn’t have done it, even to discuss the word itself, and that he did do it demonstrates extremely poor judgment.

    • You and I might agree that, especially in light of the attempted coup on January 6, 2021, that various forms of right-wing extremism and white supremacy constitute a national security threat, that indeed, we could perceive such sympathies as giving aid and comfort to an enemy. If so, the military is not only having difficulty counting such subversives,[35] but even having difficulty identifying, even trying to understand what that enemy looks like within its own ranks, or what to do about these people when it finds them.[36]

  9. February 9, 2021, 12:32 pm:

    • I haven’t thought much about the Bundys since commenting on a discrepancy in the law enforcement response to a right-wing uprising on public land in Oregon in contrast to that to left-wing protests about five years ago.[37] Guess what? They’re back, trying to piggyback onto the anti-mask and COVID-19 denial movement.[38] Ick. Just ick. Ick. Ick. Ick.

  10. February 9, 2021, 5:42 pm:

    • Anytime anybody wants to explain why people do this (figure 2), well, that’d be just great.


      Fig. 2. Photograph by author, February 9, 2021.

      I had gone grocery shopping. Especially since the pandemic began, I’ve had to go grocery shopping at multiple stores, obviously increasing the risk of exposure. I was actually a bit more successful than usual at Whole Foods, though true to form,[39] I saw a lot of empty shelves, which, sorry, Jeff Bezos and John Mackey, doesn’t make me feel pampered even one little bit.

      Next was Giant Eagle’s Market District which was a lot less successful than I expected. But I managed to pick up a little bit of stuff and when I came out, I discovered somebody (license plate in figure 3 because I’m just not seeing why I should be nice about this shit) had gone to great care to touch his or her front bumper to my rental car’s rear bumper. No damage that I could see, but yeah, I took pictures just in case the rental car company finds something, because yeah, I’ve had that happen, too.


      Fig. 3. Photograph by author, February 9, 2021.

      My next stop was at a Home Depot for a snow shovel because while the management company at my apartment complex drives a snow plow down the middle of the driveways in the parking lots, they don’t do a damn thing about the snow drifts that accumulate at my garage door.

      As I found a parking space, I saw a cop with three store employees searching a Toyota Forerunner. They recovered a lot of merchandise and one of those devices for removing anti-shoplifting tags. It’s a sign of the times,[40] though it’s something I expect to see a bit less of around relatively prosperous Upper Saint Clair and Bethel Park.

      As I drove home, I saw a grocery give-away at a church adjacent to my apartment complex. The parking lot was full and I saw people walking with bags of groceries back into my complex, you know, the one that tried to evict a bunch of people.[41]

      But here’s Logan Mohtashami to tell us all how the economy is going to be just great![42]

    • Meanwhile, yet another reason I have for dissatisfaction with rideshare driving is that the same high technology arrogance that created Uber and Lyft[43] is actively seeking to put me out[44] of the only work I can find.[45] The truth is that self-driving technology is probably quite a long ways away,[46] as Uber’s spinoff of its self-driving technology unit to Aurora[47] suggests. But their optimism is richly funded. My pessimism, reinforced every time I see a self-driving car around Pittsburgh—there are a lot of them here—is not.

  11. February 9, 2021, 8:38 pm:

    • I’m just going to leave this here:

      I’m not sure how well this will work. You may need to go to the original tweet to see the video.

      Jamie Raskin is one of the House of Representatives’ impeachment managers[48] in the Senate trial of Donald Trump for inciting an insurrection on January 6, 2021.[49]

  12. February 10, 2021, 11:46 am:

    • I’m expecting to hear from the body shop today about my car. My insurance company has told me the damage is around $1,000; they’re thinking the work can be done this week.

    • Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 vaccine eligibility tool says I’m eligible, probably because I said I’m obese (not morbidly, but with a body mass index exceeding 30). There’s a huge difference between being eligible and actually securing the vaccine, especially in Allegheny County, which has a large number of health care workers. What I’m seeing so far is that while there is large number of vaccine providers in my area, none are offering appointments. I’m pondering what to do about that.

      The vaccine rollout has been a mess, it turns out, in part due to ethical concerns really not all that unlike those I have expressed. But it’s increasingly apparent the priority simply has to be to get shots in arms.

  13. February 10, 2021, 11:55 am:

    • I just heard from my claim adjuster. She said the other insurance company accepted 100 percent liability so my insurance company is waiving the $500 deductible. This is certainly unexpected good news.

  14. February 10, 2021, 1:15 pm:

    • There isn’t a lot of need for me to cover Donald Trump’s impeachment here, especially when the outcome seems preordained, despite his lawyers’ appalling performance yesterday.[50] But I archived Amy Davidson Sorkin’s article. Because yeah, I’m kinda keeping an eye on it. But what will really be interesting is if, improbably, Republicans start shifting towards conviction. We’re not seeing that yet.

  15. February 10, 2021, 8:44 pm:

    • The body shop says that contingent on getting the parts tomorrow, my car should be fixed on Friday. There’s a snowstorm coming in tonight, so we’re just not so sure about that.

    • Since my eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine seems to hinge on my obesity, I bought a bathroom scale, and checked it. Yup, 31.2, pretty normal for me over the last several years, which is to say, at least it hasn’t gotten worse.

  16. February 10, 2021, 9:53 pm:

  17. February 11, 2021, 5:15 am, updated 12:29 pm:

    • The body shop that’s repairing my car is in North Huntingdon (yes, with a “d,” not a “t,” and no, I don’t know why) Township, just across the line into Westmoreland County from North Versailles (nobody pronounces it correctly unless, like me, they’re not from here) Township and White Oak Borough in Allegheny County. The next town going east and a bit south, along U.S. Highway 30, is Irwin Borough, whose council has just decided it will meet in person, with no capacity limits, without a mask requirement, utterly disregarding state COVID-19 mitigation orders. Other than one council member labeling the state requirements “crap,” no coherent reason seems even to need be offered.[51]

      The body shop was the closest on my insurance company’s list and about a half hour away from my apartment. It’s not quite as close as some hardcore Trump places in Washington County, but Westmoreland County has struck me as more socially conservative (mostly evangelical Protestant). The anti-abortion movement is strong there and I guess they’re counting on their god to protect them from the coronavirus that they probably don’t even believe is real.

      The Irwin Borough Council’s denial of reality[52] merely mirrors that of Senate Republicans who still appear on course to acquit Donald Trump,[53] despite another visually spectacular performance by House of Representatives impeachment managers that revealed new information about how much danger lawmakers and then-Vice President Mike Pence had been in.[54] I’m not really hearing from these people directly these days. But the signs of their presence are all around.

  18. February 10, 2021, 12:29 pm, updated 6:25 pm:

    • I have to note that the discrepancy between Democrats’ performance in this impeachment[55] and its predecessor, which I called “[t]he stupidest impeachment ever, historically notable first for all the offenses it failed to charge Donald Trump with,[56] second for its utterly predictable futility, and third for its transparent (and apparently failed) attempt to protect Joe Biden,[57][58] is striking. For me, it shines a harsh light on the “comity,” for which, read complicity, with which Democrats have treated Republicans, but which Republicans have not reciprocated.[59] It is as if Democrats have suddenly realized that maybe, after all, Republicans aren’t really right, aren’t really morally superior.

      It won’t last, of course. The neoconservative consensus that has been in place since the fall of the Berlin Wall[60] and that treats neoliberalism as a moral imperative,[61] with all its attendant and intentional cruelty to workers and the poor,[62] a cruelty before which the events of the attempted coup on January 6, 2021, pale,[63] will surely reassert itself. But for this very briefest of moments, we are seeing, at very long last, what the Democrats might look like if they actually opposed Republicans.

      Ezra Klein denies drawing an equivalence between the two parties. His sympathies, he says, lie clearly with Democrats.[64] But this disparity between business as usual and business as conducted in this impeachment for me eviscerates his premise of polarization in the way he understands it.

    • Wow. Just wow. In 2013, it seems that, as Braddock’s mayor, current Lieutenant Governor and U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman, having heard gunshots, grabbed a shotgun, got in his pickup truck, and chased down a Black jogger, who had absolutely nothing to do with the gunfire, and held him at gunpoint. He refuses to apologize, even now. Yes, Braddock has a problem with guns. Yes, Braddock has a problem with crime. And yes, also, Blacks are a majority of Braddock’s population.[65] Which is to say that Fetterman, like far too many other whites, sees all Blacks interchangeably as potential, even probable, criminals. No, Mr. Fetterman, having a formerly unauthorized migrant for a wife[66] does not shield you from the charge of racism, which is precisely what you are.

      Look, I can see how, in younger days, I might have made a similar mistake. I also know that having made such a mistake, no apology could ever suffice. But, Mr. Fetterman, you refuse even this, even now.[67] This is not okay. You are a part of Pennsylvania’s problem, Pittsburgh’s problem.

    • So I’m putting a hypothesis to as best a test as I can manage. Dressed as I expect to be when weighed at a doctor’s office this afternoon but with a little residual moisture in my hair from my shower, I come in at 220.4 pounds. (I’m 5’10.5″ tall for you body mass index freaks.) We shall see what the scale there says.

      It’s 26° F out, down to 17° with wind chill, but I’m putting on sandals because I do not want to be fussing with my winter boots while there.

  19. February 11, 2021, 6:25 pm:

    • I have failed to confirm my hypothesis (see update at 12:29 pm). After wandering through the snow in my sandals to dump some trash, after wandering through the snow in my sandals to get into my garage, after shoveling the snow in my sandals in front of my garage, after wandering through the snow in my sandals to pump up the tire on my rental car that has a slow leak (the rental car company doesn’t have any alternative vehicles to put me into), and arriving at the doctor’s office, I weighed in at 219.4 pounds, down a full pound from the measurement I took in my bathroom this morning. I was expecting a larger discrepancy in the opposite direction.

      Sorry folks, just don’t know what to tell you about that.

    • John Fetterman has a reputation for being in shorts regardless of the weather. It’s one of his kinks. I don’t know what he does for footwear but he doesn’t look like a sandals kind of guy. I wasn’t in shorts, but I think I might have had him beat with my flip flops. Wimp.

    • I have to notice a distinct difference with my contacts with medical people here in Pittsburgh from that in California. These people are actually nice, really nice. I also was able to schedule an appointment with them the very next day. When I screwed up the appointment time, they still fit me in nearly immediately. This has been a good experience.

      It turns out my height is a half inch higher than I thought, which will mean my previously reported body mass income will be slightly off. I’m still clinically obese: The doctor has me at 31.04 (and yes, that’s good enough to be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine). Also I’ve corrected my height and enhanced the description of Fetterman in the previous update (12:29 pm).

    • It’s now well after business hours and I have not heard from the body shop that’s working on my car. They promised to call me if there was a delay in getting the parts due to the snowstorm. So I’m expecting to get my car back tomorrow, which is one less reason to worry about that slow leak in the right rear tire of the rental car.

    • A leader of the Oath Keepers was allegedly waiting for direction from Donald Trump before launching an attack on Joe Biden’s inauguration and believed that her group was responding to direction from Trump in the U.S. Capitol coup.[68]

      Five Proud Boys have also been charged with conspiracy in the attack.[69]

  20. February 12, 2021, 12:26 pm:

    • When it comes to fracking in southwestern Pennsylvania, mostly what I see are a bunch of signs offering to buy oil and gas rights and a few more signs regulating which roads trucks may use to access the wells. I haven’t actually seen a well. I certainly haven’t had any passengers going to fracking jobs. The only thing I’ve seen remotely related is the Shell Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex, an ethylene cracker plant under what my passengers have characterized as seemingly endless construction on the Ohio River in Beaver County that makes—or will make—microplastics.

      Ordinary folks in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia have gained little economically, if any, from the fracking boom in these states.[70]

      But John Fetterman says, “We can’t just throw [out] all of these union jobs and all these workers’ jobs and say, ‘Well, just go learn to code and maybe you can get on at Google or someplace.’”[71] So, um, what union jobs? Where the fuck are they?

    • At the Washington Post, Dan Balz is marveling at Republican senators’ obstinacy about voting to convict Donald Trump.[72] But here’s the thing: The very states where these senators come from are the same states where the militia groups that stormed the Capitol are strongest. This isn’t merely the threat of being primaried that Balz alludes to.[73] It’s a physical threat to themselves, their properties, and their loved ones.

    • Another positive from my experience at the doctor’s office yesterday (February 11) was that University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) actually had a lab on site at the office. The nurse practitioner prescribed some tests and when she was done with me, I walked over and somebody drew some blood. This morning, I have the results. No surprises, by the way.

      This is in sharp contrast to having had to make a separate appointment with Quest Diagnostics in Sebastopol and then to wait days for the results.

      This entire experience has been seriously impressive. Based on what I’m seeing, I have to think the medical care is orders of magnitude better here than in California.

    • My car is done. I’m on my way to get it.

  21. February 12, 2021, 9:48 pm:

    • I have my car back but not without an adventure.

      I had decided to return the car in North Huntingdon, near, I hoped, the body shop. I figured I’d call an Uber or a Lyft to get me between places.

      Except there weren’t any Ubers or Lyfts available. And the body shop was 1.7 miles away. A half hour walk, I figured.

      As a kid in San Francisco, I wouldn’t have thought anything at all of such a distance. But this was a busy highway (U.S. 30) with no sidewalks with several inches of snow on the ground. Oh yeah, and I’m not a kid anymore. It probably took me an hour of dodging traffic, navigating snow-covered landscaping, and parking lots, only some of which had been cleared. Over hill and over dale.

      At least I had my winter boots on.

      And I have my car with it’s wonderful sound system and its bright LED lights back. (I’m not supposed to be, but yeah, I’m occasionally that obnoxious asshole with the too bright lights. You try doing what I’m reduced to doing[74] without them.)

  22. February 13, 2021, 4:57 am:

    • As if there was any question whose side Donald Trump was on, even as his own vice president was in danger during the attempted coup on January 6, 2021, details have come to light of a phone call between Trump and California Republican and House of Representatives minority leader Kevin McCarthy, who begged Trump to call off the rioters.[75]

      The Republican members of Congress said the exchange showed Trump had no intention of calling off the rioters even as lawmakers were pleading with him to intervene. Several said it amounted to a dereliction of his presidential duty.

      “He is not a blameless observer, he was rooting for them,” a Republican member of Congress said. “On January 13, Kevin McCarthy said on the floor of the House that the President bears responsibility and he does.”

      Speaking to the President from inside the besieged Capitol, McCarthy pressed Trump to call off his supporters and engaged in a heated disagreement about who comprised the crowd. Trump’s comment about the would-be insurrectionists caring more about the election results than McCarthy did was first mentioned by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Republican from Washington state, in a town hall earlier this week, and was confirmed to CNN by Herrera Beutler and other Republicans briefed on the conversation.[76]

      The conventional wisdom remains that Senate Republicans will vote to acquit Trump, although there is no whip count.[77]

      Even as I understand that this really isn’t just about being primaried (see update, February 12, 2021, 12:26 pm), that there is a physical risk to senators voting to convict, I really can’t help but share Dan Balz’ perplexity at their refusal to do so.[78] It’s perhaps worth noting at this point that there has never been a successful impeachment of a president of the United States. Its failure in this case has to raise doubts about how meaningful a procedure it is.


Right-wing militia groups

There is a new blog post entitled, “‘Free’ helicopter rides.”

Christopher Ketcham, “What the Far-Right Fascination With Pinochet’s Death Squads Should Tell Us,” Intercept, February 4, 2021, https://theintercept.com/2021/02/04/pinochet-far-right-hoppean-snake/

Ed Pilkington, “Seditionaries: FBI net closes on Maga mob that stormed the Capitol,” Guardian, February 6, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/feb/06/us-capitol-insurrection-fbi-investigation

Richard Read, “Ammon Bundy, veteran of armed standoffs, builds militia network on COVID backlash,” Los Angeles Times, February 9, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2021-02-09/idaho-ammon-bundy

Missy Ryan, Paul Sonne, and Razzan Nakhlawi, “Seeking to combat extremists in ranks, the military struggles to answer a basic question: How many are there?” Washington Post, February 9, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/military-extremist-threat-lloyd-austin-/2021/02/09/198794c8-66f9-11eb-bf81-c618c88ed605_story.html

Katelyn Polantz, “Justice Department says an Oath Keepers leader waited for Trump’s direction before Capitol attack,” CNN, February 11, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/11/politics/oath-keeper-justice-trump-capitol/index.html

David Shortell, “Five people associated with Proud Boys arrested for Capitol riot on conspiracy charges,” CNN, February 11, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/11/politics/proud-boys-capitol-riot-arrest/index.html


San Francisco

Isaac Chotiner, “How San Francisco Renamed Its Schools,” New Yorker, February 6, 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/how-san-francisco-renamed-its-schools


Donald Trump

Amy Davidson Sorkin, “What’s at Stake in Trump’s Second Impeachment Trial,” New Yorker, February 7, 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/02/15/whats-at-stake-in-trumps-second-impeachment-trial

Amy Gardner et al., “House impeachment managers emphasize the danger to Pence and other top officials in harrowing retelling of Jan. 6 attack,” Washington Post, February 10, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/senate-impeachment-trial-trump/2021/02/10/17863674-6bbe-11eb-9f80-3d7646ce1bc0_story.html

Amy Davidson Sorkin, “Trump’s Impeachment-Trial Lawyers Refuse to Seriously Engage with the Constitutional Issues,” New Yorker, February 10, 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/trumps-impeachment-trial-lawyers-refuse-to-seriously-engage-with-the-constitutional-issues

Andrew Desiderio, Burgess Everett, and Marianne Levine, “Trump on path to acquittal despite stunning evidence,” Politico, February 11, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/10/trump-acquittal-despite-stunning-evidence-468540

Dan Balz, “All eyes on Republican senators after strong presentation by House managers,” Washington Post, February 12, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/balztake-impeachment-gop-trump/2021/02/11/7b910ee8-6cc0-11eb-9f80-3d7646ce1bc0_story.html

Burgess Everett and Marianne Levine, “Senate GOP gripped by conviction vote intrigue,” Politico, February 12, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/12/republicans-weighting-conviction-trump-impeachment-468862

Jamie Gangel et al., “New details about Trump-McCarthy shouting match show Trump refused to call off the rioters,” CNN, February 12, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/12/politics/trump-mccarthy-shouting-match-details/index.html


Depression

Logan Mohtashami, “The last stand for forbearance housing market crash bros?” Housing Wire, February 8, 2021, https://www.housingwire.com/articles/is-this-the-last-stand-for-forbearance-home-price-crash-bros/


Self-driving cars

Levi Sumagaysay, “Aurora, Toyota team up to bring self-driving cars to ride-hailing and the masses,” MarketWatch, February 9, 2021, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/aurora-toyota-team-up-to-bring-self-driving-cars-to-ride-hailing-and-the-masses-11612893367


Pennsylvania

Joe Napsha, “Irwin Council: Masks are optional at future meetings,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 10, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/irwin-council-masks-are-optional-at-future-meetings/


John Fetterman

Stephen Caruso, “Fetterman justifies — but does not apologize for — chasing down and brandishing shotgun at Black jogger while Braddock mayor,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, February 10, 2021, https://www.penncapital-star.com/blog/fetterman-justifies-but-does-not-apologize-for-chasing-down-and-brandishing-shotgun-at-black-jogger-while-braddock-mayor/


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  54. [54]Amy Gardner et al., “House impeachment managers emphasize the danger to Pence and other top officials in harrowing retelling of Jan. 6 attack,” Washington Post, February 10, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/senate-impeachment-trial-trump/2021/02/10/17863674-6bbe-11eb-9f80-3d7646ce1bc0_story.html
  55. [55]Andrew Desiderio, Burgess Everett, and Marianne Levine, “Trump on path to acquittal despite stunning evidence,” Politico, February 11, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/10/trump-acquittal-despite-stunning-evidence-468540; Amy Gardner et al., “House impeachment managers emphasize the danger to Pence and other top officials in harrowing retelling of Jan. 6 attack,” Washington Post, February 10, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/senate-impeachment-trial-trump/2021/02/10/17863674-6bbe-11eb-9f80-3d7646ce1bc0_story.html; Amy Davidson Sorkin, “Trump’s Impeachment-Trial Lawyers Refuse to Seriously Engage with the Constitutional Issues,” New Yorker, February 10, 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/trumps-impeachment-trial-lawyers-refuse-to-seriously-engage-with-the-constitutional-issues
  56. [56]David Benfell, “The whiteness of impeachment,” Not Housebroken, December 15, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/15/the-whiteness-of-impeachment/; see also Democracy Now, “Law Professor: Trump Could Also Have Been Impeached for War Crimes, Assassinations and Corruption,” January 24, 2020, https://www.democracynow.org/2020/1/24/donald_trump_senate_impeachment_trial
  57. [57]David Benfell, “It’s still a smoke-filled room,” Not Housebroken, December 6, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/06/its-still-a-smoke-filled-room/; 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/; David Benfell, “The whiteness of impeachment,” Not Housebroken, December 15, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/15/the-whiteness-of-impeachment/; David Benfell, “The least violent solution,” Not Housebroken, December 16, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/16/the-least-violent-solution/; David Benfell, “The sham (pick your partisan flavor) is on,” Not Housebroken, December 19, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/19/the-sham-pick-your-partisan-flavor-is-on/; David Benfell, “The asterisk,” Not Housebroken, December 21, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/21/the-asterisk/
  58. [58]David Benfell, “One farce down, one to go,” Irregular Bullshit, February 5, 2020, https://disunitedstates.com/2020/02/05/one-farce-down-one-to-go/
  59. [59]David Benfell, “Voting for complicity,” Not Housebroken, October 1, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/20/voting-for-complicity/; David Benfell, “On ‘vote shaming,’” Not Housebroken, October 27, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/21/on-vote-shaming/
  60. [60]Melvyn P. Leffler, “The Free Market Did Not Bring Down the Berlin Wall,” Foreign Policy, November 7, 2014, http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/11/07/berlin_wall_fall_25_anniversary_reagan_bush_germany_merkel_cold_war_free_market_capitalism
  61. [61]Gertrude Himmelfarb, “Irving Kristol’s Neoconservative Persuasion,” Commentary 132, no. 2 (February 2011), https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/gertrude-himmelfarb/irving-kristols-neoconservative-persuasion/
  62. [62]David Benfell, “A piper needs paying,” Not Housebroken, January 29, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/12/19/a-piper-needs-paying/
  63. [63]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
  64. [64]Ezra Klein, Why We’re Polarized (New York: Avid Reader, 2020).
  65. [65]Stephen Caruso, “Fetterman justifies — but does not apologize for — chasing down and brandishing shotgun at Black jogger while Braddock mayor,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, February 10, 2021, https://www.penncapital-star.com/blog/fetterman-justifies-but-does-not-apologize-for-chasing-down-and-brandishing-shotgun-at-black-jogger-while-braddock-mayor/
  66. [66]NEXTpittsburgh, “Why does Lt. Gov. John Fetterman want to run for Senate?” Public Source, January 15, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/why-does-lt-gov-john-fetterman-want-to-run-for-senate/
  67. [67]Stephen Caruso, “Fetterman justifies — but does not apologize for — chasing down and brandishing shotgun at Black jogger while Braddock mayor,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, February 10, 2021, https://www.penncapital-star.com/blog/fetterman-justifies-but-does-not-apologize-for-chasing-down-and-brandishing-shotgun-at-black-jogger-while-braddock-mayor/
  68. [68]Katelyn Polantz, “Justice Department says an Oath Keepers leader waited for Trump’s direction before Capitol attack,” CNN, February 11, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/11/politics/oath-keeper-justice-trump-capitol/index.html
  69. [69]David Shortell, “Five people associated with Proud Boys arrested for Capitol riot on conspiracy charges,” CNN, February 11, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/11/politics/proud-boys-capitol-riot-arrest/index.html
  70. [70]James Bruggers, “A Decade Into the Fracking Boom, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia Haven’t Gained Much, a Study Says,” Inside Climate News, February 11, 2021, https://insideclimatenews.org/news/11022021/fracking-boom-natural-gas-report/
  71. [71]John Fetterman, quoted in Holly Otterbein, “John Fetterman launches Senate bid in Pennsylvania,” Politico, February 8, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/08/fetterman-senate-pennsylvania-466932
  72. [72]Dan Balz, “All eyes on Republican senators after strong presentation by House managers,” Washington Post, February 12, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/balztake-impeachment-gop-trump/2021/02/11/7b910ee8-6cc0-11eb-9f80-3d7646ce1bc0_story.html
  73. [73]Dan Balz, “All eyes on Republican senators after strong presentation by House managers,” Washington Post, February 12, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/balztake-impeachment-gop-trump/2021/02/11/7b910ee8-6cc0-11eb-9f80-3d7646ce1bc0_story.html
  74. [74]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  75. [75]Jamie Gangel et al., “New details about Trump-McCarthy shouting match show Trump refused to call off the rioters,” CNN, February 12, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/12/politics/trump-mccarthy-shouting-match-details/index.html
  76. [76]Jamie Gangel et al., “New details about Trump-McCarthy shouting match show Trump refused to call off the rioters,” CNN, February 12, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/12/politics/trump-mccarthy-shouting-match-details/index.html
  77. [77]Burgess Everett and Marianne Levine, “Senate GOP gripped by conviction vote intrigue,” Politico, February 12, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/12/republicans-weighting-conviction-trump-impeachment-468862
  78. [78]Dan Balz, “All eyes on Republican senators after strong presentation by House managers,” Washington Post, February 12, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/balztake-impeachment-gop-trump/2021/02/11/7b910ee8-6cc0-11eb-9f80-3d7646ce1bc0_story.html

The GameStop Squeeze now squeezes its own (Update #2)

Updates

  1. Originally published, February 2, 2021, 5:07 pm.
  2. February 3, 2021, 12:50 am:

There is a new blog post entitled, “It’s time for real solutions.”


GameStop Squeeze

GameStop stock has plunged, wiping out many[1] who followed, among others, Elon Musk’s siren call.[2] From the description, the Reddit /r/wallstreetbets forum is a weird place, where many take pride in “loss porn,” screenshots of their losses.[3]

Drew Harwell, “As GameStop stock crumbles, newbie traders reckon with heavy losses,” Washington Post, February 2, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/02/02/gamestop-stock-plunge-losers/


  1. [1]Drew Harwell, “As GameStop stock crumbles, newbie traders reckon with heavy losses,” Washington Post, February 2, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/02/02/gamestop-stock-plunge-losers/
  2. [2]Cory Doctorow, “Understanding /r/wallstreetbets,” Pluralistic, January 28, 2021, https://pluralistic.net/2021/01/28/payment-for-order-flow/#wallstreetbets; 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]Drew Harwell, “As GameStop stock crumbles, newbie traders reckon with heavy losses,” Washington Post, February 2, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/02/02/gamestop-stock-plunge-losers/

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/

Racism and the January 6, 2021, insurrection

Donald Trump

Gerald Seib, at the Wall Street Journal, supports a narrative that blames ‘Trumpism’ on neoliberal trade policy and largely treats racism and white supremacy as an ancillary issue. He sees the January 6, 2021, riot as a culmination.[1] There is, of course, more to it, including a 1,000-year history,[2] but to my knowledge, no one, including me, seems to have explored well how all this came together.

It is only rarely the case that phenomena can be attributed to singular causes;[3] the tendency to do so generally should be regarded as a fallacy of linear causation.

One example in which the economic explanation comes up short is in the stark discrepancy between the law enforcement response to the January 6 riot and to Black Lives Matter protests.[4] This discrepancy only becomes starker when the Federal Bureau of Investigation had warned in advance of a possible attack on January 6[5] and indeed that the Capitol Police had also warned themselves.[6] These warnings clearly indicated a possibility of violence,[7] yet the failings on that date “could mean that there were inherent biases, where people discounted this, and just didn’t think a large group of White conservatives who generally ally with the police and the GOP lawmakers, who were also present there that day, would be violent.”[8]

In the New York Review of Books, Jonathan Freedland lays out a context and an account for the January 6 riot that seems much more intentional than what I had seen previously. The important aspect of Freedland’s account is that it requires neither intelligence nor sanity. In essence, Donald Trump was desperate to remain in power and having exhausted legal or regular military options for doing so, let loose a mob.[9] If you have access, his article is far more worthwhile than Fiona Hill’s, the latter of which requires Trump to possess both minimal intelligence and sanity, of why she thinks it was a coup.[10]

Freedland’s explanation also illuminates that Trump’s criminal exposure from inciting the insurrection[11] now likely constrains him from attempting a repeat for Joe Biden’s inauguration.[12]

Indeed, one problem with attempting to take power by force is that you need to succeed. Because when you fail, the full resources of the state may be deployed against you.

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/

Carol D. Leonnig, “Capitol Police intelligence report warned three days before attack that ‘Congress itself’ could be targeted,” Washington Post, January 15, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/capitol-police-intelligence-warning/2021/01/15/c8b50744-5742-11eb-a08b-f1381ef3d207_story.html

Gerald F. Seib, “Where Trump Came From—and Where Trumpism Is Going,” Wall Street Journal, January 15, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/where-trump-came-fromand-where-trumpism-is-going-11610726416


  1. [1]Gerald F. Seib, “Where Trump Came From—and Where Trumpism Is Going,” Wall Street Journal, January 15, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/where-trump-came-fromand-where-trumpism-is-going-11610726416
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Barack Obama asks, ‘Why is it that the folks that won the last election are so mad all the time?’ Not Housebroken, November 4, 2018, https://disunitedstates.org/2018/11/04/barack-obama-asks-why-is-it-that-the-folks-that-won-the-last-election-are-so-mad-all-the-time/
  3. [3]Fritjof Capra, The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems (New York: Anchor, 1996); Joanna Macy, Mutual Causality in Buddhism and General Systems Theory (Delhi, India: Sri Satguru, 1995); Edgar Morin, On Complexity (Cresskill, NJ: Hampton, 2008).
  4. [4]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; 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; Matt Stieb, “Capitol Police Suspends Cops for Allegedly Siding With Pro-Trump Mob,” New York, January 11, 2021, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/01/two-capitol-cops-suspended-for-actions-during-capitol-riot.html
  5. [5]Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky, “FBI report warned of ‘war’ at Capitol, contradicting claims there was no indication of looming violence,” Washington Post, January 12, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/capitol-riot-fbi-intelligence/2021/01/12/30d12748-546b-11eb-a817-e5e7f8a406d6_story.html
  6. [6]Carol D. Leonnig, “Capitol Police intelligence report warned three days before attack that ‘Congress itself’ could be targeted,” Washington Post, January 15, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/capitol-police-intelligence-warning/2021/01/15/c8b50744-5742-11eb-a08b-f1381ef3d207_story.html
  7. [7]Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky, “FBI report warned of ‘war’ at Capitol, contradicting claims there was no indication of looming violence,” Washington Post, January 12, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/capitol-riot-fbi-intelligence/2021/01/12/30d12748-546b-11eb-a817-e5e7f8a406d6_story.html; Carol D. Leonnig, “Capitol Police intelligence report warned three days before attack that ‘Congress itself’ could be targeted,” Washington Post, January 15, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/capitol-police-intelligence-warning/2021/01/15/c8b50744-5742-11eb-a08b-f1381ef3d207_story.html
  8. [8]Mary McCord, quoted in Carol D. Leonnig, “Capitol Police intelligence report warned three days before attack that ‘Congress itself’ could be targeted,” Washington Post, January 15, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/capitol-police-intelligence-warning/2021/01/15/c8b50744-5742-11eb-a08b-f1381ef3d207_story.html
  9. [9]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/
  10. [10]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
  11. [11]Jennifer Haberkorn, “Republicans block House resolution calling on Pence to remove Trump over Capitol riot,” Los Angeles Times, January 11, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2021-01-11/republicans-block-house-resolution-to-call-on-pence-to-remove-trump-over-capitol-riot; Ron Kampeas, “Biden: Capitol marauders are ‘thugs, insurrectionists and anti-Semites’ who should be prosecuted,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, January 8, 2021, https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/biden-capitol-marauders-are-thugs-insurrectionists-and-anti-semites-who-should-be-prosecuted; 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; Seren Morris, “What Does Insurrection or Sedition Mean? Definition of Words Used To Describe Capitol Riot,” Newsweek, January 7, 2021, https://www.newsweek.com/what-does-insurrection-sedition-mean-definition-capitol-riot-1559745
  12. [12]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/

The weirder and weirder story of an initially alleged plot to ‘capture and assassinate’ lawmakers

Donald Trump

Prosecutors first claimed,[1] then withdrew their claim,[2] that the Capitol rioters intended to capture and assassinate lawmakers in their insurrection on January 6, 2021.[3]

What I’m still not seeing here, even if the original claim is true, is an actual plan for keeping Donald Trump in office: Taking legislators hostage could 1) impair legislative bodies’ ability to reach a quorum (who would show up to risk being taken hostage or executed?) to take action and 2) result in a court overturning any action taken under such circumstances as being under duress and therefore invalid. Such a ‘plan’ further assumes that legislators have agency here, that they can indeed choose to overturn the election.

None of this made any sense even with the original allegation. But especially with claims accused rioters are making,[4] the story is only getting weirder. In any event, this is not planning, but rather delusion, even, as with the delusional raging narcissist-in-chief himself,[5] psychosis.[6]

Brad Heath and Sarah N. Lynch, “U.S. says Capitol rioters meant to ‘capture and assassinate’ officials – filing,” Reuters, January 15, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-capitol-arrests/u-s-says-capitol-rioters-meant-to-capture-and-assassinate-officials-filing-idUSKBN29K0K7

Katelyn Polantz, “US takes back its assertion that Capitol rioters wanted to ‘capture and assassinate’ officials,” CNN, January 15, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/15/politics/capitol-capture-assassinate-elected-officials/index.html


Iran

M. Reza Behnam, “Time Present and Time Past: CIA Coup in Iran,” Tikkun, January 14, 2021, https://www.tikkun.org/time-present-and-time-past-cia-coup-in-iran


  1. [1]Brad Heath and Sarah N. Lynch, “U.S. says Capitol rioters meant to ‘capture and assassinate’ officials – filing,” Reuters, January 15, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-capitol-arrests/u-s-says-capitol-rioters-meant-to-capture-and-assassinate-officials-filing-idUSKBN29K0K7
  2. [2]Katelyn Polantz, “US takes back its assertion that Capitol rioters wanted to ‘capture and assassinate’ officials,” CNN, January 15, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/15/politics/capitol-capture-assassinate-elected-officials/index.html
  3. [3]Brad Heath and Sarah N. Lynch, “U.S. says Capitol rioters meant to ‘capture and assassinate’ officials – filing,” Reuters, January 15, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-capitol-arrests/u-s-says-capitol-rioters-meant-to-capture-and-assassinate-officials-filing-idUSKBN29K0K7; Katelyn Polantz, “US takes back its assertion that Capitol rioters wanted to ‘capture and assassinate’ officials,” CNN, January 15, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/15/politics/capitol-capture-assassinate-elected-officials/index.html
  4. [4]Katelyn Polantz, “US takes back its assertion that Capitol rioters wanted to ‘capture and assassinate’ officials,” CNN, January 15, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/15/politics/capitol-capture-assassinate-elected-officials/index.html
  5. [5]David Benfell, “Riot or insurrection? Lies or madness?” Not Housebroken, January 12, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/01/12/riot-or-insurrection-lies-or-madness/
  6. [6]WebMD, “Psychosis and Psychotic Episodes,” July 13, 2019, https://www.webmd.com/schizophrenia/guide/what-is-psychosis#1

What was that that happened on January 6, 2021? (Update #4)

Updates

  1. Originally published, January 11, 2021, 2:28 pm.

  2. January 11, 2021, 11:27 pm:

    • I have understood the presence of right wing militia members in the military to include those who join, seeking training.[1] But it appears there is also a significant problem the other way around, that is, in which militia groups recruit police and military.[2] The Pentagon is apparently aware of a growing hate group problem in its ranks but seems not to be tracking it.[3]

  3. January 12, 2021, 5:32 am:

    • It’s just going completely nuts:

      The [Federal Bureau of Investigation] has intelligence that pro-Donald Trump supporters are planning armed protests in 50 state capitals around the time of Joe Biden’s inauguration, according to reports.

      The agency received information about an “identified armed group intending to travel to Washington DC on 16 January”, according to a briefing obtained by ABC News.

      Warning of a potential “uprising” if the president was removed from office prematurely, the FBI said groups were calling for the “storming” of state, local, and federal government courthouses and administrative buildings if Congress attempts to enact the 25th Amendment prior to Inauguration Day.

      Far-right social media users have discussed actions tied to January 20 for months, but the storming of the US Capitol “energised” the online chatter, said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League.[4]

      I’m not sure this can even realistically happen but “members of the House [of Representatives] Armed Services Committee have made an unusual request that the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command review the some 15,000 troops National Guard troops set to be deployed for the inauguration ‘to ensure that deployed members are not sympathetic to domestic terrorists.’”[5]

      In the past, right wing calls for massive demonstrations have resulted in somewhat less spectacular turnout. But as I’ve earlier explained, this time could be different.[6]

  4. January 12, 2021, 2:51 pm:

  5. January 12, 2021, 10:43 pm:

    • “As of 5 January 2021, FBI Norfolk received information indicating calls for violence in response to ‘unlawful lockdowns’ to begin on 6 January 2021 in Washington, D.C.,” the document says. “An online thread discussed specific calls for violence to include stating ‘Be ready to fight. Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Pantifa slave soldiers being spilled. Get violent. Stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our President or we die. NOTHING else will achieve this goal.”[7]

    • “We are looking at significant felony cases tied to sedition and conspiracy,” [Michael] Sherwin said at the Justice Department’s first televised news conference since the violent takeover of the Capitol last Wednesday [January 6, 2021].

      “Just yesterday [January 11], our office organized a strike force of very senior national security prosecutors and public corruption prosecutors,” he added. “Their only marching orders from me are to build seditious and conspiracy charges related to the most heinous acts that occurred in the Capitol.”

      Sherwin said that more than 70 people were already facing criminal charges and that he expected that number to grow “geometrically.”

      “I expect that number to grow into the hundreds,” the prosecutor said. “Just the gamut of cases we’re looking at is mind-blowing.”[8]


Donald Trump

There seems to be some question of how to refer to the January 6, 2021, riot in which a mix[9] of right-wing rioters overran the U.S. Capitol, seeking to disrupt a Congressional certification of Joe Biden’s November (2020) election victory.[10] As a scholar, I worry about terminology, partly because I want neither to sensationalize—my conclusions will often be judged sensational regardless[11]— or exaggerate, but particularly when I still think that a more serious uprising may yet occur,[12] and I wish not to minimize that possibility.

It seems not to be a coup, both because it is judged to have lacked sufficient planning and because the military was not involved. But the rejection of the dictionary definition that occurs with the word coup[13] seems not to be happening with the words insurrection and sedition[14] as an article of impeachment introduced in the House of Representatives, which seems likely to pass, indicts Donald Trump for inciting an insurrection.[15]

Bryan Bender, “The military has a hate group problem. But it doesn’t know how bad it’s gotten,” Politico, January 11, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/11/military-right-wing-extremism-457861

Jennifer Haberkorn, “Republicans block House resolution calling on Pence to remove Trump over Capitol riot,” Los Angeles Times, January 11, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2021-01-11/republicans-block-house-resolution-to-call-on-pence-to-remove-trump-over-capitol-riot

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

Colleen Long, Michael Balsamo, and Michael Kunzelman, “FBI warns of plans for nationwide armed protests next week,” Associated Press, January 11, 2021, copy in possession of author

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

Josie Ensor, “Fears for Biden inauguration as FBI warns of ‘armed uprising’ and pro-Trump protests in 50 state capitals,” Telegraph, January 12, 2021, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/01/11/fears-biden-inauguration-fbi-warns-armed-pro-trump-protests/

Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney, “DOJ probing sedition in connection with Capitol riot,” Politico, January 12, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/12/capitol-riot-sedition-charges-458309


  1. [1]Lois Beckett, “How the US military has failed to address white supremacy in its ranks,” Guardian, June 24, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/24/us-military-white-supremacy-extremist-plot
  2. [2]Mike Giglio, “A Pro-Trump Militant Group Has Recruited Thousands of Police, Soldiers, and Veterans,” Atlantic, November 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/11/right-wing-militias-civil-war/616473/
  3. [3]Bryan Bender, “The military has a hate group problem. But it doesn’t know how bad it’s gotten,” Politico, January 11, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/11/military-right-wing-extremism-457861
  4. [4]Josie Ensor, “Fears for Biden inauguration as FBI warns of ‘armed uprising’ and pro-Trump protests in 50 state capitals,” Telegraph, January 12, 2021, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/01/11/fears-biden-inauguration-fbi-warns-armed-pro-trump-protests/
  5. [5]Josie Ensor, “Fears for Biden inauguration as FBI warns of ‘armed uprising’ and pro-Trump protests in 50 state capitals,” Telegraph, January 12, 2021, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/01/11/fears-biden-inauguration-fbi-warns-armed-pro-trump-protests/
  6. [6]David Benfell, “The danger that remains,” Not Housebroken, January 11, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/01/07/the-danger-that-remains/
  7. [7]Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky, “FBI report warned of ‘war’ at Capitol, contradicting claims there was no indication of looming violence,” Washington Post, January 12, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/capitol-riot-fbi-intelligence/2021/01/12/30d12748-546b-11eb-a817-e5e7f8a406d6_story.html
  8. [8]Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney, “DOJ probing sedition in connection with Capitol riot,” Politico, January 12, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/12/capitol-riot-sedition-charges-458309
  9. [9]Laura E. Adkins and Emily Burack, “Neo-Nazis, QAnon and Camp Auschwitz: A guide to the hate symbols and signs on display at the Capitol riots,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, January 7, 2021, https://www.jta.org/2021/01/07/united-states/hate-on-display-your-guide-to-the-symbols-and-signs-on-display-at-the-stop-the-count-insurrection
  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; Talia Lavin, “The Violent Crescendo of the MAGA Conspiracies,” New Republic, January 6, 2021, https://newrepublic.com/article/160814/trump-protesters-attack-us-capital; 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
  11. [11]David Benfell, “Radicalism and pragmatism,” Not Housebroken, July 19, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/07/19/radicalism-and-pragmatism/
  12. [12]David Benfell, “The danger that remains,” Not Housebroken, January 9, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/01/07/the-danger-that-remains/
  13. [13]Nicolás Rivero, “Is America experiencing a coup?” Quartz, January 6, 2021, https://qz.com/1953602/is-america-experiencing-a-coup/
  14. [14]Ron Kampeas, “Biden: Capitol marauders are ‘thugs, insurrectionists and anti-Semites’ who should be prosecuted,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, January 8, 2021, https://www.jta.org/quick-reads/biden-capitol-marauders-are-thugs-insurrectionists-and-anti-semites-who-should-be-prosecuted; Seren Morris, “What Does Insurrection or Sedition Mean? Definition of Words Used To Describe Capitol Riot,” Newsweek, January 7, 2021, https://www.newsweek.com/what-does-insurrection-sedition-mean-definition-capitol-riot-1559745
  15. [15]Jennifer Haberkorn, “Republicans block House resolution calling on Pence to remove Trump over Capitol riot,” Los Angeles Times, January 11, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2021-01-11/republicans-block-house-resolution-to-call-on-pence-to-remove-trump-over-capitol-riot

Donald Trump’s last stand? Maybe not (Update #13)

Updates

  1. Originally published, January 6, 2021, 1:04 pm.
  2. January 6, 2021, 10:12 pm:
    • Unsurprisingly, there was violence as Trumpsters stormed the U.S. Capitol while Congress met to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the November election. At this writing, the Capitol building has been cleared of rioters and Congress is back in session.[1] Talia Lavin’s analysis[2] is especially worth reading.
    • More surprisingly, the Democrats captured both of Georgia’s U.S. Senate seats in a runoff election. The Wall Street Journal points to people moving to the state but Donald Trump’s loud refusal to accept his defeat in the November election is splitting the Republican Party.[3]
  3. January 6, 2021, 10:46 pm:
    • The riot in the Capitol may have dulled the appetite for objecting to the electoral college count, as an objection to the Arizona slate was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 93-6 and some senators say they do not expect further challenges.[4] With Donald Trump continuing to dispute the election results,[5] it seems unlikely this is over.
  4. January 6, 2021, 11:42 pm:
    • I’m headed to bed, but:
  5. January 7, 2021, 5:53 am:
    • A lot of folks think this is long overdue, but “Facebook, which owns Instagram, declared an ‘emergency situation’ and removed Mr Trump’s ability to post on both of its services, while Twitter revoked his special protections as an elected world leader and said it would ban him if he broke its rules again.”[6]
    • Oh yeah, Congress certified Joe Biden’s victory.[7]
    • And, damn, after throwing this temper tantrum, the delusional raging narcissist-in-chief has assented to an “orderly transfer of power.”[8] Some might say that horse has already left the barn.[9]
  6. January 7, 2021, 1:35 pm:
    • The Washington Post is back to actually writing stories again—as opposed to this “live update” crap—and now has a separate story of the violence at the Capitol yesterday. Donald Trump incited the riot; four are dead, including a Trump supporter shot by police.[10]

      “This is what we see in failing countries,” [Representative Abigail Spanberger, a former Central Intelligence Agency case officer] said. “This is what leads to a death of democracy.”[11]

      Donald Trump praised the protesters as he told them to go home.[12] Mitt Romney[13] and National Public Radio,[14] among others, labeled the riot an “insurrection.”

    • There is a new blog post entitled, “The danger that remains.” This post incorporates and modestly refines text that was originally in this post.
    • Facebook (with Instagram) has banned Donald Trump “indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.”[15] “Critics also noted that the moves by tech companies appeared politically expedient, coming as Democrats take full control of Congress and Trump prepares to depart the White House in 13 days.”[16]
  7. January 7, 2021, 10:33 pm:
    • The Department of Justice—lest we forget, a part of the executive branch—is investigating yesterday’s (January 6) riot and may well press charges, even against the delusional raging narcissist-in-chief who incited it all.[17]
    • A bankruptcy judge ruled that no, the Crack’d Egg in Brentwood cannot use bankruptcy proceedings to evade Allegheny County’s suit for failing to abide by COVID-19 restrictions.[18]
  8. January 8, 2021, 10:34 am:
    • Folks are noticing a discrepancy between the U.S. Capitol Police response to white supremacists and other mostly white Trumpsters overrunning the U.S. Capitol and the often much more aggressive police response to Black Lives Matters protests.[19] This episode reinforces an impression of police as in league with white supremacy.[20] This concern should extend as well to the military.[21]
  9. January 8, 2021, 12:30 pm:
    • I don’t know how likely this is, but the rampage at the U.S. Capitol has led to a new push for statehood for the District of Columbia and its over 700,000 residents. Statehood for Puerto Rico is also suggested as a sop to Republicans on a notion—really?—that the now-territory might flip red.[22] Michael Lind suggested statehood for Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa as a means of redressing the Republican advantage in the electoral college and the U.S. Senate.[23]
  10. January 8, 2021, 10:29 pm:
    • Twitter has banned Donald Trump permanently. The move affects @realDonaldTrump, but Twitter also took down tweets Trump issued on the official presidential account, @POTUS. Google had already removed or limited access to some of Trump’s videos on YouTube and has banned the Parler app, for a social network that right-wing extremists and conspiracy theorists have moved to to escape censorship on Facebook and Twitter, from its Play Store (this will not prevent Parler from distributing the app separately or users from installing it on their Android devices). Apple has threatened to do the same on its App Store (this would be much harder to bypass on iPhones, but not Macs).[24]
    • Though Donald Trump continues to claim that the election was stolen, he condemned his supporters’ violence in overrunning the Capitol and promised prosecution in “comments that perhaps reflected concern over mounting legal and political hazard rather than a newfound sense of contrition and integrity.” Some Trumpsters feel betrayed.[25] To which I say, what I said before, Dear Trumpsters: Fuck Your Feelings! Others, however, are dipping deeper into the conspiracy sauce, in which Trump allegedly moves in mysterious ways.[26] Okay then, but it might be worth remembering that Trump really couldn’t afford to lose,[27] and now he has.[28]
  11. January 9, 2021, 11:20 am:
    • Concern about white supremacist leanings among police[29] surely must increase as it appears the rioters who overran the U.S. Capitol[30] had help from among the very police tasked with protecting the building.[31]
  12. January 9, 2021, 11:06 pm:
    • So yeah, I was surprised when Georgia went for Joe Biden, but in the end, its electoral votes wouldn’t have been enough to reverse the result. Nonetheless, Donald Trump was obsessed with Georgia, reportedly making inappropriate calls (not counting failed attempts to contact the state’s secretary of state) to three different officials to try to reverse the result,[32] and compelling a U.S. attorney to resign for not seeking out the fraud that Trump is sure is there.[33] Obviously, our delusional raging narcissist-in-chief is out of his mind, but assuming, I think much too generously, that he isn’t, he must think he can pardon himself for violations of state law.
    • Amazon will no longer supply cloud services to Parler and Apple has removed the Parler app from its App Store. The companies say that Parler will not do enough to restrain threats of violence on its network.[34] As previously mentioned (see the update for January 8 at 10:29 pm), Parler is a social network that right-wing extremists and conspiracy theorists have migrated to to avoid censorship on Twitter and Facebook.[35]
  13. January 10, 12:57 pm:

Donald Trump

Donald Trump is believed certain to lose[36] in his final flailing effort to overturn the election results with the electoral vote count in Congress today.[37] And while some seem to infer from the extraordinary op-ed in the Washington Post urging against involving the military to fulfill Trump’s aim to remain in power[38] the very possibility that the military may indeed be drawn in, Trump in fact has one more card to play, a card with far less certain effect, the card I have worried about all along, even with the impeachment effort: right-wing militia, which are known to include members of the military and police forces.[39]

The expected protests on the streets of Washington, D.C., may well be violent,[40] but this cannot be assumed to be the end of the matter. See a new blog post entitled, “The danger that remains.”

Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni, “Pence Said to Have Told Trump He Lacks Power to Change Election Result,” New York Times, January 5, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/05/us/politics/pence-trump-election-results.html

David Nakamura, “With brazen assault on election, Trump prompts critics to warn of a coup,” Washington Post, January 5, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-election-coup/2021/01/05/26afcfc0-4f6c-11eb-bda4-615aaefd0555_story.html

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

Talia Lavin, “The Violent Crescendo of the MAGA Conspiracies,” New Republic, January 6, 2021, https://newrepublic.com/article/160814/trump-protesters-attack-us-capital

Richard M. Nixon [Justin Sherin], [Twitter thread], Thread Reader App, January 6, 2021, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1346876642204000266.html

Alana Wise, “Senate Rejects Objection To Arizona Election Results,” National Public Radio, January 6, 2021, https://www.npr.org/sections/congress-electoral-college-tally-live-updates/2021/01/06/954164654/congress-reconvenes-after-violent-rioters-breach-u-s-capitol

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

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

Allie Malloy and Veronica Stracqualursi, “Trump pledges ‘orderly’ transition after riot and Biden win certification,” CNN, January 7, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/07/politics/trump-biden-us-capitol-electoral-college-insurrection/index.html

Margi Murphy, “Facebook, Instagram and Twitter lock Donald Trump’s accounts after praise for Capitol Hill rioters,” Telegraph, January 7, 2021, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2021/01/06/calls-twitter-facebook-mute-donald-trump-violence-breaks-capitol/

Tony Romm and Elizabeth Dwoskin, “Trump banned from Facebook indefinitely, CEO Mark Zuckerberg says,” Washington Post, January 7, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-resignations-25th-amendment/2021/01/07/e131ce10-50a3-11eb-bda4-615aaefd0555_story.html

Philip Rucker et al., “Aides weigh resignations, removal options as Trump rages against perceived betrayals,” Washington Post, January 7, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-resignations-25th-amendment/2021/01/07/e131ce10-50a3-11eb-bda4-615aaefd0555_story.html

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

Peter Beaumont, “Donald Trump fans cry betrayal as he rebukes Capitol violence,” Guardian, January 8, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jan/08/trump-incites-anger-among-acolytes-let-down-by-lack-of-support

Nitasha Tiku, Tony Romm, and Craig Timberg, “Twitter bans Trump’s account, citing risk of further violence,” Washington Post, January 8, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/01/08/twitter-trump-dorsey/

Amy Gardner, “‘Find the fraud’: Trump pressured a Georgia elections investigator in a separate call legal experts say could amount to obstruction,” Washington Post, January 9, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-call-georgia-investigator/2021/01/09/7a55c7fa-51cf-11eb-83e3-322644d82356_story.html

Aruna Viswanatha, Sadie Gurman, and Cameron McWhirter, “White House Forced Georgia U.S. Attorney to Resign,” Wall Street Journal, January 9, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-forced-georgia-u-s-attorney-to-resign-11610225840


Allegheny County

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/


  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; Talia Lavin, “The Violent Crescendo of the MAGA Conspiracies,” New Republic, January 6, 2021, https://newrepublic.com/article/160814/trump-protesters-attack-us-capital
  2. [2]Talia Lavin, “The Violent Crescendo of the MAGA Conspiracies,” New Republic, January 6, 2021, https://newrepublic.com/article/160814/trump-protesters-attack-us-capital
  3. [3]Joshua Jamerson, Cameron McWhirter, and Valerie Bauerlein, “Georgia Senate Wins by Democrats Followed Years of Party Organizing,” Wall Street Journal, January 6, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/democrats-make-historic-gain-in-georgia-as-senate-control-hangs-in-balance-11609941722
  4. [4]Alana Wise, “Senate Rejects Objection To Arizona Election Results,” National Public Radio, January 6, 2021, https://www.npr.org/sections/congress-electoral-college-tally-live-updates/2021/01/06/954164654/congress-reconvenes-after-violent-rioters-breach-u-s-capitol
  5. [5]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
  6. [6]Margi Murphy, “Facebook, Instagram and Twitter lock Donald Trump’s accounts after praise for Capitol Hill rioters,” Telegraph, January 7, 2021, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2021/01/06/calls-twitter-facebook-mute-donald-trump-violence-breaks-capitol/
  7. [7]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
  8. [8]Allie Malloy and Veronica Stracqualursi, “Trump pledges ‘orderly’ transition after riot and Biden win certification,” CNN, January 7, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/07/politics/trump-biden-us-capitol-electoral-college-insurrection/index.html
  9. [9]Associated Press, “Gun-toting far-right protesters try to force their way into Oregon’s Capitol,” Los Angeles Times, December 22, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-12-22/tensions-rise-inside-and-outside-of-oregons-capitol; 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; Rod Dreher, “Eric Metaxas’s American Apocalypse,” American Conservative, December 10, 2020, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/eric-metaxas-trump-bloodshed-american-apocalypse-live-not-by-lies/; Peter Hermann, Marissa J. Lang, and Clarence Williams, “Pro-Trump rally descends into chaos as Proud Boys roam D.C. looking to fight,” Washington Post, December 13, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/proud-boys-protest-stabbing-arrest/2020/12/13/98c0f740-3d3f-11eb-8db8-395dedaaa036_story.html; Hannah Knowles, Annie Gowen, and Tom Hamburger, “‘A dark, empty place:’ Public officials face personal threats as tensions flare,” Washington Post, December 13, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/public-officials-threatened-covid-election/2020/12/13/680bd380-3be7-11eb-bc68-96af0daae728_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; Sophie Lewis, “Arizona Republican Party asks followers if they’re willing to die to overturn election results,” CBS News, December 10, 2020, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/arizona-republican-party-twitter-election-results-death-overturn/; Ciara O’Rourke, “How Oath Keepers Are Quietly Infiltrating Local Government,” Politico, December 9, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/09/oath-keepers-far-right-group-infiltrate-local-government-texas-443773; Katie Shepherd, “Armed protesters alleging voter fraud surrounded the home of Michigan’s secretary of state,” Washington Post, December 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/12/07/michigan-sos-benson-armed-protest/
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  30. [30]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; Talia Lavin, “The Violent Crescendo of the MAGA Conspiracies,” New Republic, January 6, 2021, https://newrepublic.com/article/160814/trump-protesters-attack-us-capital
  31. [31]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
  32. [32]Amy Gardner, “‘Find the fraud’: Trump pressured a Georgia elections investigator in a separate call legal experts say could amount to obstruction,” Washington Post, January 9, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-call-georgia-investigator/2021/01/09/7a55c7fa-51cf-11eb-83e3-322644d82356_story.html
  33. [33]Aruna Viswanatha, Sadie Gurman, and Cameron McWhirter, “White House Forced Georgia U.S. Attorney to Resign,” Wall Street Journal, January 9, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-forced-georgia-u-s-attorney-to-resign-11610225840
  34. [34]Tim Higgins and Keach Hagey, “Apple, Amazon Move to Marginalize Parler,” Wall Street Journal, January 9, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/apple-suspends-parler-from-app-store-11610241352
  35. [35]Tony Romm and Elizabeth Dwoskin, “Trump banned from Facebook indefinitely, CEO Mark Zuckerberg says,” Washington Post, January 7, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-resignations-25th-amendment/2021/01/07/e131ce10-50a3-11eb-bda4-615aaefd0555_story.html
  36. [36]Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni, “Pence Said to Have Told Trump He Lacks Power to Change Election Result,” New York Times, January 5, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/05/us/politics/pence-trump-election-results.html; David Nakamura, “With brazen assault on election, Trump prompts critics to warn of a coup,” Washington Post, January 5, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-election-coup/2021/01/05/26afcfc0-4f6c-11eb-bda4-615aaefd0555_story.html
  37. [37]Devlin Barrett, “Judge dismisses Gohmert lawsuit seeking to stymie Biden electoral college count,” Washington Post, January 1, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/gohmert-court-filing-claims-pence-is-not-a-glorified-envelope-opener/2021/01/01/eeb6b222-4c51-11eb-839a-cf4ba7b7c48c_story.html; Pamela Brown and Kevin Liptak, “Frustrated Trump met with Pence before holiday break,” CNN, December 24, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/24/politics/trump-pence-electoral-college/index.html; Kyle Cheney, “Gohmert suit may force Pence’s hand in effort to overturn Trump’s defeat,” Politico, December 28, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/28/gohmert-suit-pence-overturn-trumps-defeat-451485; Lauren Fox, Jeremy Herb, and Phil Mattingly, “Congressional GOP grapples with ‘unhinged’ Trump,” CNN, December 23, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/23/politics/congress-gop-trump-veto/index.html; Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, “At least 11 GOP senators will back Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley in voting to reject electors,” January 2, 2021, https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/nearly-a-dozen-gop-senators-announce-plans-to-join-josh-hawley-in-voting-against-counting/article_0ca10e21-fd10-5f51-83bf-b9d468534dbc.html; Seung Min Kim, Josh Dawsey, and Toluse Olorunnipa, “Republicans plunge into open battle over attempts to overturn Trump’s loss to Biden,” Washington Post, December 22, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-republicans-election-fight/2020/12/22/fa0c2744-446b-11eb-b0e4-0f182923a025_story.html
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  40. [40]David Nakamura, “With brazen assault on election, Trump prompts critics to warn of a coup,” Washington Post, January 5, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-election-coup/2021/01/05/26afcfc0-4f6c-11eb-bda4-615aaefd0555_story.html

Authoritarian populist secession talk (Update #4)

Updates

  1. Originally published, December 22, 2020, at 7:12 am.
  2. December 22, 2020, 4:09 pm:
    • Yesterday, I wrote,

      I would not take it as consolation that the crazy, such as Rudy Giuliani, in Donald Trump’s orbit are turning on the crazier, such as Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell. But if Trump appoints the conspiracy theorist Powell as special prosecutor to investigate election fraud,[1] take it as a sign that the crazier are prevailing. Trump is desperate,[2] so it just might happen (but probably not by outgoing Attorney General Bill Barr’s hand[3]), in which case, the prospect of an attempt to invoke the Insurrection Act might become very real.[4][5]

      We don’t have the level of confidence I was looking for there yet, but based on Jonathan Swan’s reporting, it sure looks like Donald Trump is tilting in favor of the crazier.[6] Richard Nixon was notorious for a Saturday Night Massacre, firing acting attorney general after attorney general to try to quash the Watergate investigation. Will it be a Christmas Eve massacre with Trump? Will it even take that long? And in the meantime, if indeed he’s pissing on all his erstwhile sycophants,[7] the same sycophants who previously made an invocation impossible, what about that 25th amendment?

  3. December 22, 2020, 8:57 pm:
    • For once, I agree with Donald Trump (actually, this has happened before, but it’s exceedingly rare). He doesn’t like[8] the COVID-19 relief measure agreed by Congress.[9] Not even one little bit. Too much, he says, has nothing to do with the pandemic and the checks are much too small. He wants $2,000.[10] But I’m also taking this as another sign that the craziers are prevailing over the merely crazy,[11] because this threatens to blow up a hard-won agreement that passed with overwhelming margins[12] (easily large enough, by the way, that so-called progressive congress members, you know, the ones who cover the neoliberals’ left flank, could vote against it without even the remotest fear of derailing its passage), at a time when it’s pretty clear that Trump’s stock with his own party is in decline.[13]
  4. December 23, 2020, 7:44 am:
    • I’m honestly not quite sure what all to make of Congressional Republican infighting over attempting to challenge the electoral college tallies and try to overturn the result. The thinking on one side seems to be that this is doomed, which it indeed almost certainly is, therefore they’ll look bad even trying.[14] But the failure to try further convinces Trumpsters that Republicans are not doing enough to “defend” Donald Trump, which, as I’ve previously noted, is a problem in the Georgia runoff.[15] The one thing that is clear is that not all Republicans, especially not in the Senate, are falling in line behind Trump, a reflection of a “lame duck” status that clearly stings our delusional raging narcissist-in-chief.[16]

Secession

Casey Michel argues that authoritarian populist talk of secession in the wake of Donald Trump’s defeat is really about seeking leverage to nullify or resist the policies of a federal government allegedly dominated by the Democrats.[17] As a practical matter, he’s likely right, but the historical precedent he cites culminated in the Civil War, which arguably failed to settle much of anything.[18]

Casey Michel, “What All the Secession Talk Really Means,” Politico, December 21, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/21/secession-donald-trump-449348


Donald Trump

Seung Min Kim, Josh Dawsey, and Toluse Olorunnipa, “Republicans plunge into open battle over attempts to overturn Trump’s loss to Biden,” Washington Post, December 22, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-republicans-election-fight/2020/12/22/fa0c2744-446b-11eb-b0e4-0f182923a025_story.html

Jonathan Swan, “Trump turns on everyone,” Axios, December 22, 2020, https://www.axios.com/trump-white-house-conspiracy-theories-d95450a4-c7a3-4579-a568-0473b18529c9.html


  1. [1]Jonathan Chait, “Trump Floats Coup Plan That’s So Wild Even Rudy Giuliani Is Terrified,” New York, December 19, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/12/trump-coup-sidney-powell-martial-law-michael-flynn-meltdown.html
  2. [2]Michael Kruse, “Is Trump Cracking Under the Weight of Losing?” Politico, December 20, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/12/20/trump-white-house-losing-448903
  3. [3]Matt Zapotosky, “Undercutting Trump, Barr says there’s no basis for seizing voting machines, using special counsels for election fraud, Hunter Biden,” Washington Post, December 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/barr-trump-special-counsel-voter-fraud-hunter-biden/2020/12/21/4d85f060-439c-11eb-b0e4-0f182923a025_story.html
  4. [4]Tina Nguyen, “MAGA leaders call for the troops to keep Trump in office,” Politico, December 18, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/18/trump-insurrection-act-presidency-447986; Felicia Sonmez et al., “A frustrated Trump redoubles efforts to challenge election result,” Washington Post, December 20, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/tuberville-electoral-challenge-trump-conversation/2020/12/20/1658573e-42db-11eb-b0e4-0f182923a025_story.html; Felicia Sonmez et al., “A frustrated Trump redoubles efforts to challenge election result,” Washington Post, December 20, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/tuberville-electoral-challenge-trump-conversation/2020/12/20/1658573e-42db-11eb-b0e4-0f182923a025_story.html
  5. [5]David Benfell, “Look out below! It’s a pigeon, not a partridge, in a pear tree,” Irregular Bullshit, December 21, 2020, https://disunitedstates.com/2020/12/20/look-out-below-its-a-pigeon-not-a-partridge-in-a-pear-tree/
  6. [6]Jonathan Swan, “Trump turns on everyone,” Axios, December 22, 2020, https://www.axios.com/trump-white-house-conspiracy-theories-d95450a4-c7a3-4579-a568-0473b18529c9.html
  7. [7]Jonathan Swan, “Trump turns on everyone,” Axios, December 22, 2020, https://www.axios.com/trump-white-house-conspiracy-theories-d95450a4-c7a3-4579-a568-0473b18529c9.html
  8. [8]Rebecca Ballhaus, “Trump Asks Congress to Amend Covid-19 Package, Boost Direct Payments,” Wall Street Journal, December 22, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-asks-congress-to-amend-covid-19-package-boost-direct-payments-11608684702
  9. [9]Jeff Stein, and Mike DeBonis, “Senate majority leader announces approximately $900 billion deal on emergency relief package,” Washington Post, December 20, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/12/20/stimulus-congress/
  10. [10]Rebecca Ballhaus, “Trump Asks Congress to Amend Covid-19 Package, Boost Direct Payments,” Wall Street Journal, December 22, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-asks-congress-to-amend-covid-19-package-boost-direct-payments-11608684702
  11. [11]Jonathan Chait, “Trump Floats Coup Plan That’s So Wild Even Rudy Giuliani Is Terrified,” New York, December 19, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/12/trump-coup-sidney-powell-martial-law-michael-flynn-meltdown.html; Jonathan Swan, “Trump turns on everyone,” Axios, December 22, 2020, https://www.axios.com/trump-white-house-conspiracy-theories-d95450a4-c7a3-4579-a568-0473b18529c9.html
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