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/
  10. [10]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]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
  12. [12]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; 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/; 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
  13. [13]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
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  15. [15]Mark Zuckerberg, quoted in 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
  16. [16]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
  17. [17]Devlin Barrett, “Trump’s remarks before Capitol riot may be investigated, says acting U.S. attorney in D.C.,” Washington Post, January 7, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/federal-investigation-capitol-riot-trump/2021/01/07/178d71ac-512c-11eb-83e3-322644d82356_story.html
  18. [18]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/
  19. [19]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
  20. [20]Mark Berman et al., “Protests spread over police shootings. Police promised reforms. Every year, they still shoot and kill nearly 1,000 people,” Washington Post, June 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/protests-spread-over-police-shootings-police-promised-reforms-every-year-they-still-shoot-nearly-1000-people/2020/06/08/5c204f0c-a67c-11ea-b473-04905b1af82b_story.html; James Downie, “Time to toss the ‘bad apples’ excuse,” Washington Post, May 31, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/05/31/time-toss-bad-apples-excuse/; 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; Wesley Lowery, “Aren’t more white people than black people killed by police? Yes, but no,” Washington Post, July 11, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/07/11/arent-more-white-people-than-black-people-killed-by-police-yes-but-no/; Brentin Mock, “What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings,” CityLab, August 6, 2019, https://www.citylab.com/equity/2019/08/police-officer-shootings-gun-violence-racial-bias-crime-data/595528/; Elie Mystal, “There’s Only One Possible Conclusion: White America Likes Its Killer Cops,” Nation, May 27, 2020, https://www.thenation.com/article/society/white-america-cops/; Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, “How Do We Change America?” New Yorker, June 8, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/how-do-we-change-america
  21. [21]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; Leo Shane, III, “Signs of white supremacy, extremism up again in poll of active-duty troops,” Military Times, February 6, 2020, https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2020/02/06/signs-of-white-supremacy-extremism-up-again-in-poll-of-active-duty-troops/
  22. [22]Meagan Flynn and Fenit Nirappil, “Democratic control of Senate — and Capitol breach — put D.C. statehood front and center,” Washington Post, January 7, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/dc-statehood-bowser/2021/01/07/91eeacae-511d-11eb-83e3-322644d82356_story.html
  23. [23]Michael Lind, “The ZIP Codes That Rule America,” Tablet, December 16, 2020, https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/the-zip-codes-that-rule-america
  24. [24]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/
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  26. [26]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
  27. [27]Dan Alexander, “Trump Will Have $900 Million Of Loans Coming Due In His Second Term If He’s Reelected,” Forbes, October 19, 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/danalexander/2020/10/19/trump-will-have-900-million-of-loans-coming-due-in-his-second-term-if-hes-reelected/; Jane Mayer, “Why Trump Can’t Afford to Lose,” New Yorker, November 1, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/11/09/why-trump-cant-afford-to-lose
  28. [28]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; 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
  29. [29]Mark Berman et al., “Protests spread over police shootings. Police promised reforms. Every year, they still shoot and kill nearly 1,000 people,” Washington Post, June 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/protests-spread-over-police-shootings-police-promised-reforms-every-year-they-still-shoot-nearly-1000-people/2020/06/08/5c204f0c-a67c-11ea-b473-04905b1af82b_story.html; 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; James Downie, “Time to toss the ‘bad apples’ excuse,” Washington Post, May 31, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/05/31/time-toss-bad-apples-excuse/; 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; Wesley Lowery, “Aren’t more white people than black people killed by police? Yes, but no,” Washington Post, July 11, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/07/11/arent-more-white-people-than-black-people-killed-by-police-yes-but-no/; Brentin Mock, “What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings,” CityLab, August 6, 2019, https://www.citylab.com/equity/2019/08/police-officer-shootings-gun-violence-racial-bias-crime-data/595528/; Elie Mystal, “There’s Only One Possible Conclusion: White America Likes Its Killer Cops,” Nation, May 27, 2020, https://www.thenation.com/article/society/white-america-cops/; Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, “How Do We Change America?” New Yorker, June 8, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/how-do-we-change-america;
  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
  38. [38]Ashton Carter et al., “All 10 living former defense secretaries: Involving the military in election disputes would cross into dangerous territory,” Washington Post, January 3, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/10-former-defense-secretaries-military-peaceful-transfer-of-power/2021/01/03/2a23d52e-4c4d-11eb-a9f4-0e668b9772ba_story.html
  39. [39]David Benfell, “The least violent solution,” Not Housebroken, August 30, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/16/the-least-violent-solution/; David Benfell, “Bloody November,” Not Housebroken, October 13, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/08/bloody-november/; David Benfell, “Donald Trump’s ‘brown shirts,’” Not Housebroken, October 16, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/08/30/donald-trumps-brown-shirts/; David Benfell, “The very scary way to four more years,” Not Housebroken, October 16, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/25/the-very-scary-way-to-four-more-years/; David Benfell, “When the legitimacy of the system itself is threatened,” Not Housebroken, October 31, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/10/31/when-the-legitimacy-of-the-system-itself-is-threatened/; David Benfell, “When it’s over but it isn’t,” Not Housebroken, December 21, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/11/27/when-its-over-but-it-isnt/; David Benfell, “Underestimating the gravity of the situation, as Donald Trump faces a White House exit,” Not Housebroken, December 29, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/12/21/underestimating-the-gravity-of-the-situation-as-donald-trump-faces-a-white-house-exit/
  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

Donald Trump’s criminally insane telephone call (Update #2)

Updates

  1. Originally published, January 3, 2021, 10:05 pm.
  2. January 3, 2021, 11:18 pm:

Donald Trump

The phone call to Georgia’s secretary of state that the Washington Post has obtained a recording of[1] is apparently a different call from the one Donald Trump previously made to Georgia’s governor.[2] I don’t know how you interpret this latest reported call, attempting to reverse the election results,[3] as indicating anything other than criminal insanity.[4] Trump can’t possibly be in his right mind, he can’t possibly understand what he is doing, he obviously doesn’t understand that what he’s doing is wrong, and there can no longer be any question that Mike Pence should move to remove Trump from office under the 25th amendment.[5]

Meanwhile, all living former defense secretaries signed on to an op-ed in the Washington Post opposing any use of the military,[6] as with the Insurrection Act,[7] to overturn the election results. But we have a criminally insane[8] president surrounded by sycophants[9] (who are, of course, the very reason Trump has not already been deposed via the 25th amendment). Make sure that Insurrection Act invocation is on your 2021 Bingo card.

Ashton Carter et al., “All 10 living former defense secretaries: Involving the military in election disputes would cross into dangerous territory,” Washington Post, January 3, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/10-former-defense-secretaries-military-peaceful-transfer-of-power/2021/01/03/2a23d52e-4c4d-11eb-a9f4-0e668b9772ba_story.html

Amy Gardner, “‘I just want to find 11,780 votes’: In extraordinary hour-long call, Trump pressures Georgia secretary of state to recalculate the vote in his favor,” Washington Post, January 3, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-raffensperger-call-georgia-vote/2021/01/03/d45acb92-4dc4-11eb-bda4-615aaefd0555_story.html


  1. [1]Amy Gardner, “‘I just want to find 11,780 votes’: In extraordinary hour-long call, Trump pressures Georgia secretary of state to recalculate the vote in his favor,” Washington Post, January 3, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-raffensperger-call-georgia-vote/2021/01/03/d45acb92-4dc4-11eb-bda4-615aaefd0555_story.html
  2. [2]Kristen Holmes and Veronica Stracqualursi, “Trump pressured Georgia governor in call to help overturn Biden’s win in state,” CNN, December 5, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/05/politics/trump-georgia-brian-kemp-phone-call/index.html
  3. [3]Amy Gardner, “‘I just want to find 11,780 votes’: In extraordinary hour-long call, Trump pressures Georgia secretary of state to recalculate the vote in his favor,” Washington Post, January 3, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-raffensperger-call-georgia-vote/2021/01/03/d45acb92-4dc4-11eb-bda4-615aaefd0555_story.html
  4. [4]Legal Information Institute, “Criminal Insanity,” May 2020, https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/criminal_insanity
  5. [5]Paul Campos, “Pence Should Remove Trump From Office on Sunday,” New York, December 23, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/12/if-trump-uses-martial-law-pence-should-use-25th-amendment.html
  6. [6]Ashton Carter et al., “All 10 living former defense secretaries: Involving the military in election disputes would cross into dangerous territory,” Washington Post, January 3, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/10-former-defense-secretaries-military-peaceful-transfer-of-power/2021/01/03/2a23d52e-4c4d-11eb-a9f4-0e668b9772ba_story.html
  7. [7]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
  8. [8]Legal Information Institute, “Criminal Insanity,” May 2020, https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/criminal_insanity
  9. [9]Amy Gardner, “‘I just want to find 11,780 votes’: In extraordinary hour-long call, Trump pressures Georgia secretary of state to recalculate the vote in his favor,” Washington Post, January 3, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-raffensperger-call-georgia-vote/2021/01/03/d45acb92-4dc4-11eb-bda4-615aaefd0555_story.html

The right place in line

Pandemic

Folks who know me, know I’ve been concerned about finding the right place in line to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Because of my history, I have pretty good reason to suspect I have T-cell immunity,[1] which would mean I wouldn’t need the vaccine at all.

In that case and given a shortage of doses, others would surely benefit more from the vaccine and, by receiving it, would do more to limit the spread of the disease. Hence my ethical dilemma.

The downside, of course, is if I’m wrong. Then other risk factors come into play: mainly my weight and my age. And short of actually being tested for T-cell reactivity, the way I find out one way or another is if I am indeed wrong and I come down with a serious enough case to be diagnosed.

But most who hesitate do so for other reasons. I haven’t been hearing a lot of conspiracy theories lately, probably because I’ve posted signs for passengers in the back seat to see (figure 1):

Fig. 1. Sign posted for Uber passengers in the author’s car, by author, October 30, 2020.

Among other things, without even saying so, it’s pretty clear I’m not going to be sympathetic to Trumpster conspiracy theories. So I haven’t been hearing a lot of conspiracy theories lately, let alone about the COVID-19 vaccines.

But before I posted that sign (figure 1), I heard a number of my passengers say they distrust the vaccine. It was the usual conspiracy theorizing about every aspect of the pandemic that, at this point, I’m really sick of hearing. And apparently it reflects a widely held view around the county,[2] including among health care workers.[3]

As an Uber driver (Lyft has been stupid lately so I haven’t been driving for them), possibly covered as a “public transit worker,” I may well be eligible for the vaccine in phase 1b.[4] That should be coming up soon and I have to think a lot of people in this category will be at least as hesitant as health care workers. Which will mean the shortage of doses will be less acute and I might as well just go ahead and get it.

Christopher Dean Hopkins and Ashish Valentine, “Some Health Care Workers Are Hesitant About Getting COVID-19 Vaccines,” National Public Radio, January 1, 2021, https://www.npr.org/2021/01/01/952716705/some-health-care-workers-are-hesitant-about-getting-covid-19-vaccines


Donald Trump

In the last installment, a judge had thrown out[5] Louie Gohmert’s challenge to the Electoral Count Act, an attempt to allow Mike Pence to pick and choose which electoral college delegations to count.[6]

So guess what Gohmert is doing now? Threatening violence, but that seems to be par for the course with the man.[7] He’s also not alone:

(Actually, to the extent the order of succession applies, it would likely be Nancy Pelosi who would succeed Mike Pence as vice president to preside over the count. Some will recall Alexander Haig’s confusion on this point when he was secretary of state.[8])

At least a dozen U.S. senators plan to support Republican members of the House of Representatives in objecting to the count[9] that Gohmert sued over, which will drag out the process, but is not expected to alter the result.[10]

St. 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

Elizabeth Thompson, “Texas congressman suggests street violence after judge rejects his legal effort to overturn election,” Chicago Tribune, January 2, 2021, https://www.chicagotribune.com/election-2020/ct-louie-gohmert-violence-20210102-yozij4rzhffkhn3e4epyrrsa7m-story.html


  1. [1]Sanjay Gupta and Andrea Kane, “Do some people have protection against the coronavirus?” CNN, August 2, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/02/health/gupta-coronavirus-t-cell-cross-reactivity-immunity-wellness/index.html
  2. [2]Elizabeth Dwoskin, “Facebook steps up campaign to ban false information about coronavirus vaccines,” Washington Post, December 3, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/12/03/facebook-covid-vaccine/; Tom McCarthy, “US public increasingly skeptical of Covid-19 death toll, poll finds,” Guardian, July 21, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/21/us-coronavirus-death-toll-public-opinion-poll-accuracy; Mark Scott and Steven Overly, “‘Conspiracy bingo’: Trans-Atlantic extremists seize on the pandemic,” Politico, May 12, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/05/12/trans-atlantic-conspiracy-coronavirus-251325; Hannah Wiley, “‘No masks. No vaccines.’ Battle is brewing over coronavirus immunizations in California,” Sacramento Bee, June 26, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article243381501.html
  3. [3]Christopher Dean Hopkins and Ashish Valentine, “Some Health Care Workers Are Hesitant About Getting COVID-19 Vaccines,” National Public Radio, January 1, 2021, https://www.npr.org/2021/01/01/952716705/some-health-care-workers-are-hesitant-about-getting-covid-19-vaccines
  4. [4]Ryan W. Miller, “How will you know when it’s your turn for a COVID vaccine? It’s complicated,” South Bend Tribune, December 28, 2020, https://www.southbendtribune.com/news/local/how-will-you-know-when-its-your-turn-for-a-covid-vaccine-its-complicated/article_12040b2e-460f-11eb-ac18-df7117a159f5.html
  5. [5]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
  6. [6]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
  7. [7]Elizabeth Thompson, “Texas congressman suggests street violence after judge rejects his legal effort to overturn election,” Chicago Tribune, January 2, 2021, https://www.chicagotribune.com/election-2020/ct-louie-gohmert-violence-20210102-yozij4rzhffkhn3e4epyrrsa7m-story.html
  8. [8]Lou Cannon, President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime (New York: Public Affairs, 1991).
  9. [9]St. 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
  10. [10]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; 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

Mike Pence says he’s the wrong person to sue (Update #3)

Updates

  1. Originally published, December 31, 2020, at 10:38 pm.
  2. January 1, 2021, 11:57 am:
  3. January 1, 2021, 9:30 pm:
    • The judge dismissed Louie Gohmert’s lawsuit seeking to overturn the Electoral Count Act, “saying neither the congressman nor his allies have legal standing to pursue the case.”[1]

Previously, Louie Gohmert sued Mike Pence seeking to overturn the Electoral Count Act in a bid to allow Pence to pick and choose which electoral college votes to accept.[2] Pence has moved for dismissal, claiming that Gohmert should sue Congress instead and that the suit is anyway problematic:[3]

To win a lawsuit, a plaintiff must convince a judge that the interests of the person they are suing are opposed to their own — there must be some controversy or conflict between them that could be resolved through the litigation.

In this case, a Justice Department lawyer, writing on Pence’s behalf, wrote that the interests of Gohmert and the other plaintiffs were not sufficiently opposed to Pence’s own — since they were seeking to expand his power — to justify a suit.

“The Vice President is not the proper defendant to this lawsuit,” wrote Deputy Assistant Attorney General John V. Coghlan.

“The Vice President — the only defendant in this case — is ironically the very person whose power they seek to promote,” he added. “A suit to establish that the Vice President has discretion over the count, filed against the Vice President, is a walking legal contradiction.”

Instead, Coghlan wrote that Congress was the proper defendant for such a suit.

Coghlan wrote that the lawsuit has other problems, too, and that, as a result, the judge should reject the suit, particularly given the limited timeline before next week’s vote, without trying to weigh difficult and never-before-tested constitutional issues.[4]

I’m not a lawyer. But I have heard of a ‘friendly’ lawsuit, but that was under very sketchy circumstances. I have also heard that there’s no such thing as a ‘friendly’ lawsuit. The Justice Department lawyer appears to be arguing the latter on behalf of Pence.[5] I guess we’ll see what the judge says.

Rosalind S. Helderman and John Wagner, “Pence seeks rejection of lawsuit that aimed to expand his power to overturn the election,” Washington Post, December 31, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/sasse-letter-electoral-college-ploy/2020/12/31/44da8dba-4b65-11eb-a9d9-1e3ec4a928b9_story.html

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


  1. [1]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
  2. [2]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
  3. [3]Rosalind S. Helderman and John Wagner, “Pence seeks rejection of lawsuit that aimed to expand his power to overturn the election,” Washington Post, December 31, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/sasse-letter-electoral-college-ploy/2020/12/31/44da8dba-4b65-11eb-a9d9-1e3ec4a928b9_story.html
  4. [4]Rosalind S. Helderman and John Wagner, “Pence seeks rejection of lawsuit that aimed to expand his power to overturn the election,” Washington Post, December 31, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/sasse-letter-electoral-college-ploy/2020/12/31/44da8dba-4b65-11eb-a9d9-1e3ec4a928b9_story.html
  5. [5]Rosalind S. Helderman and John Wagner, “Pence seeks rejection of lawsuit that aimed to expand his power to overturn the election,” Washington Post, December 31, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/sasse-letter-electoral-college-ploy/2020/12/31/44da8dba-4b65-11eb-a9d9-1e3ec4a928b9_story.html

Mitch McConnell might not want a deal (Update #3)

Updates

  1. Originally published, December 29, 2020, 10:00 pm.

  2. December 30, 2020, 9:20 am, revised 11:50 am:

    • Mitch McConnell’s attempt to combine an increase in stimulus payments to $2,000 with a Section 230 repeal and election fraud commission has, according to Politico, “no chance of becoming law.” Some, apparently including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, see the effort as a move to kill the increase entirely,[1] as the payment increase cannot be split off from McConnell’s bill and the House of Representatives would have to come back into session—not impossible—to approve any changes.[2]

      There is still, evidently, a chance that $2,000 checks will become law. But it is also possible that neoliberals among the Democrats figured they could rely on McConnell to kill it.

  3. December 30, 2020, 10:00 pm:

    • David Wallace-Wells does not approve of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution effort.[3] Actually, that’d be putting it mildly:

      Within hours of receiving WHO guidance on January 13, scientists in Thailand began deploying a COVID-19 test, as the Washington Post recently recounted; it took the CDC 46 days to produce one that worked. By March 1, South Korea was administering 11,000 tests per day, a rapidly growing figure; in the U.S., a country about seven times larger, the number was 183. Early, low-end estimates suggested 500,000 to 700,000 tests each day were necessary to slow the spread of the disease, and high-end estimates ran to 3 million per day; the U.S. didn’t reach 700,000 daily tests until mid-June, and still hasn’t reached that threshold of 3 million per day. As recently as August, lab delays caused by pent-up demand meant it was taking so long to deliver results that the tests themselves were effectively meaningless.

      That is just the story of testing, but contact tracing and isolation were bungled just as badly. Early estimates for the number of contact tracers needed ran between 100,000 and 300,000 people working, nationwide, to alert the contacts of positive cases to encourage them to isolate. As of May, the number was under 8,000. Today, it is still just 70,000, and those who are reached by those tracers are overwhelmingly not responding. There has also been hopelessly inadequate support for those hoping to isolate, or quarantine, during periods of risk — not to mention insufficient protections for those who had to miss work to do so.

      And now here we are, nearly a year into the pandemic, making precisely the same mistake with the vaccine.[4]

    • Mitch McConnell has made it clear he does not approve of the Democrats’ bill, passed by the House of Representatives, to raise the economic stimulus payout from $600 to $2,000.[5]

      [Mitch] McConnell said he opposed the House-passed measure out of a belief it would greatly inflate the U.S. debt and benefit some families who are not in need of financial assistance. Some of the people who would qualify for the payments belong to households earning up to $300,000, the GOP leader contended, adding that many of them had not been disadvantaged by the pandemic.[6]

      McConnell reiterated his intention to bundle it with a Section 230 repeal and the establishment of an election fraud commission. Even as the Democrats characterize these other provisions as ‘poison pills’ meant to kill the increase,[7] I continue to rather strongly suspect that this is precisely what they expected him to do, enabling them to pretend to care about people being pushed into poverty[8] and homelessness,[9] but breathing a sigh of relief as neoliberal dogma is upheld, yet again.


Depression

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell prevented an immediate vote on a bill already passed by the House of Representatives to raise the stimulus payments to $2,000.[10]

As the legislative jockeying continued Tuesday, [Donald] Trump escalated his blistering attacks on GOP leaders for their inaction so far.

“WE NEED NEW & ENERGETIC REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP,” he wrote.

He also said there would be consequences for his political party if they didn’t act.

“Unless Republicans have a death wish, and it is also the right thing to do, they must approve the $2000 payments ASAP,” Trump wrote. “$600 IS NOT ENOUGH! Also, get rid of Section 230 – Don’t let Big Tech steal our Country, and don’t let the Democrats steal the Presidential Election. Get tough!”[11]

Democrats object but it appears McConnell is actually trying to give Trump all of these things:

[Mitch] McConnell’s moves on Tuesday appeared to mirror demands that [Donald] Trump laid out on Sunday. In a statement released after he signed the $900 billion stimulus bill into law, he said the Senate would “start the process for a vote that increases checks to $2,000, repeals Section 230, and starts an investigation into voter fraud.” Those are the three provisions McConnell has attempted to package into one piece of legislation despite objections from Democrats.

“Section 230” is a reference to a 1996 federal law that broadly indemnifies tech platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google for the actions of their users. Trump has railed against the tech companies as they have started to crack down on his unfounded postings alleging voter fraud in the November election, as well as much more aggressive actions targeting postings made by his supporters containing threats and disinformation.[12]

Mike DeBonis and Tony Romm, “McConnell blocks Democrats’ attempt to quickly approve $2,000 stimulus checks amid pressure on GOP to act,” Washington Post, December 29, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/stimulus-checks-senate/2020/12/29/344fa850-49d9-11eb-839a-cf4ba7b7c48c_story.html

Burgess Everett, “Trump leans on McConnell for $2,000 checks amid GOP resistance,” Politico, December 29, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/29/2-000-checks-sputter-mcconnell-blocks-dems-451918

Mike DeBonis, [Twitter thread], Thread Reader App, December 30, 2020, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1344103713741402112.html


Pandemic

David Wallace-Wells, “America’s Vaccine Rollout Is Already a Disaster,” New York, December 30, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/americas-vaccine-rollout-disaster.html


  1. [1]Burgess Everett, “Trump leans on McConnell for $2,000 checks amid GOP resistance,” Politico, December 29, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/29/2-000-checks-sputter-mcconnell-blocks-dems-451918
  2. [2]Mike DeBonis, [Twitter thread], Thread Reader App, December 30, 2020, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1344103713741402112.html
  3. [3]David Wallace-Wells, “America’s Vaccine Rollout Is Already a Disaster,” New York, December 30, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/americas-vaccine-rollout-disaster.html
  4. [4]David Wallace-Wells, “America’s Vaccine Rollout Is Already a Disaster,” New York, December 30, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/americas-vaccine-rollout-disaster.html
  5. [5]Tony Romm and Karoun Demirjian, “McConnell says push by Democrats, Trump for $2,000 stimulus checks has ‘no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate,’” Washington Post, December 30, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/12/30/stimulus-checks-senate/
  6. [6]Tony Romm and Karoun Demirjian, “McConnell says push by Democrats, Trump for $2,000 stimulus checks has ‘no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate,’” Washington Post, December 30, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/12/30/stimulus-checks-senate/
  7. [7]Tony Romm and Karoun Demirjian, “McConnell says push by Democrats, Trump for $2,000 stimulus checks has ‘no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate,’” Washington Post, December 30, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/12/30/stimulus-checks-senate/,
  8. [8]Heather Long, “Nearly 8 million Americans have fallen into poverty since the summer,” Washington Post, December 16, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/16/poverty-rising/
  9. [9]Heather Long, “Millions of Americans are heading into the holidays unemployed and over $5,000 behind on rent,” Washington Post, December 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/07/unemployed-debt-rent-utilities/
  10. [10]Mike DeBonis and Tony Romm, “McConnell blocks Democrats’ attempt to quickly approve $2,000 stimulus checks amid pressure on GOP to act,” Washington Post, December 29, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/stimulus-checks-senate/2020/12/29/344fa850-49d9-11eb-839a-cf4ba7b7c48c_story.html
  11. [11]Mike DeBonis and Tony Romm, “McConnell blocks Democrats’ attempt to quickly approve $2,000 stimulus checks amid pressure on GOP to act,” Washington Post, December 29, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/stimulus-checks-senate/2020/12/29/344fa850-49d9-11eb-839a-cf4ba7b7c48c_story.html
  12. [12]Mike DeBonis and Tony Romm, “McConnell blocks Democrats’ attempt to quickly approve $2,000 stimulus checks amid pressure on GOP to act,” Washington Post, December 29, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/stimulus-checks-senate/2020/12/29/344fa850-49d9-11eb-839a-cf4ba7b7c48c_story.html

Where the uncouth would determine who is worthy

Donald Trump

There is a new blog post entitled, “Who shall determine our fate?.”

Oh yeah, Mike Pence did not, as suggested,[1] remove Donald Trump from office on Sunday.

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


Pandemic


  1. [1]Paul Campos, “Pence Should Remove Trump From Office on Sunday,” New York, December 23, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/12/if-trump-uses-martial-law-pence-should-use-25th-amendment.html

The queue, Phase One

Pandemic

It’s not quite explicit, but I would expect that taxi, Uber, and Lyft drivers would be included with “public transit workers” in Phase 1B of the vaccine rollout.[1] Uber had earlier requested early access for its drivers.[2]

Ryan W. Miller, “How will you know when it’s your turn for a COVID vaccine? It’s complicated,” South Bend Tribune, December 28, 2020, https://www.southbendtribune.com/news/local/how-will-you-know-when-its-your-turn-for-a-covid-vaccine-its-complicated/article_12040b2e-460f-11eb-ac18-df7117a159f5.html


  1. [1]Ryan W. Miller, “How will you know when it’s your turn for a COVID vaccine? It’s complicated,” South Bend Tribune, December 28, 2020, https://www.southbendtribune.com/news/local/how-will-you-know-when-its-your-turn-for-a-covid-vaccine-its-complicated/article_12040b2e-460f-11eb-ac18-df7117a159f5.html
  2. [2]Reuters, “Uber asks U.S. CDC to consider ride-hail drivers essential for Covid vaccine distribution,” CNBC, December 4, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/04/uber-asks-us-cdc-to-consider-ride-hail-drivers-essential-for-covid-vaccine-distribution.html

On the second day after Christmas (Update #2)

Updates

  1. Originally published, December 27, 2020, at 11:14 am.

  2. December 27, 2020, 11:12 pm:

    • Clearly, I am not the only one peeved about the snow plowing in Pittsburgh, as a council member, whose district includes Carrick, is raising Cain, in response, he says, to complaints.[1]

      That said, the roads were generally a whole lot better today, except in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Carrick and in the City of McKeesport. I was wondering if the fact that the temperature had risen to over forty degrees had something to do with it, but then saw the streets in Carrick, and figured I knew who was on the snow plowing shit list.

      I saw one snow plow today, parked with its lights going in the South Side, where there was no need for plowing (although I didn’t go through the South Side Slopes, a steep neighborhood with some excruciatingly narrow streets, one of which I got into trouble on yesterday). I am charitably presuming the operator was taking a break. And I am deeply suspicious that I might be being much too charitable.

      Then I got home and saw the snow, which had been several inches deep, had melted completely off in places with a southern exposure and not just in places where kids might be snowboarding downhill. So I don’t know.

      Whatever the explanation, the fact that you could cross the city limits in any direction and find roads in generally better shape even when the blizzard was in full force has to raise some questions.

    • Donald Trump reportedly signed the COVID-19 economic relief bill[2] he had earlier criticized,[3] but not before additional unemployment benefits had lapsed.[4] Whether Trump gets the $2,000 direct payment, rather than the $600, remains to be seen.[5]


Depression

The additional unemployment benefits that boosted payments and also helped the usually unassisted self-employed that were included with an earlier COVID-19 relief bill[6] have now expired,[7] and the finger pointing has begun:

But both parties dithered for months[8] because there are exactly two real goals here:

  1. Uphold neoliberal dogma so as to protect the rich (the “donor” class).[9]
  2. Blame the other party for upholding or for allegedly but not really failing to uphold neoliberal dogma.

Meanwhile, millions face homelessness.[10] Millions have been pushed into poverty.[11]

Natalie Andrews and Andrew Restuccia, “Trump Signs Covid-19 Aid Bill Averting Government Shutdown,” Wall Street Journal, December 27, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-signs-covid-19-aid-bill-averting-government-shutdown-11609117841

Tami Luhby, Sarah Westwood, and Nikki Carvajal, “Unemployment benefits lapse for jobless Americans as Trump holds out on signing relief bill,” CNN, December 27, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/26/politics/unemployment-benefits-stimulus-relief-bill/index.html


Pittsburgh

KDKA Television, “Pittsburgh Councilman Publicly Criticizes ‘Unacceptable’ State Of Roads After Snowfall,” December 27, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/12/27/pittsburgh-councilman-publicly-criticizes-unacceptable-state-of-roads-after-snowfall/


  1. [1]KDKA Television, “Pittsburgh Councilman Publicly Criticizes ‘Unacceptable’ State Of Roads After Snowfall,” December 27, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/12/27/pittsburgh-councilman-publicly-criticizes-unacceptable-state-of-roads-after-snowfall/
  2. [2]Natalie Andrews and Andrew Restuccia, “Trump Signs Covid-19 Aid Bill Averting Government Shutdown,” Wall Street Journal, December 27, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-signs-covid-19-aid-bill-averting-government-shutdown-11609117841
  3. [3]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
  4. [4]Natalie Andrews and Andrew Restuccia, “Trump Signs Covid-19 Aid Bill Averting Government Shutdown,” Wall Street Journal, December 27, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-signs-covid-19-aid-bill-averting-government-shutdown-11609117841; Tami Luhby, Sarah Westwood, and Nikki Carvajal, “Unemployment benefits lapse for jobless Americans as Trump holds out on signing relief bill,” CNN, December 27, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/26/politics/unemployment-benefits-stimulus-relief-bill/index.html
  5. [5]Suzanne Malveaux, Phil Mattingly, and Clare Foran, “House fails to pass measure to increase stimulus checks to $2,000,” CNN, December 24, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/24/politics/house-vote-stimulus-checks-government/index.html
  6. [6]Sarah Ferris et al., “House passes sweeping coronavirus response package,” Politico, March 14, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/13/congress-coronavirus-stimulus-package-deal-friday-128140; Tami Luhby, Sarah Westwood, and Nikki Carvajal, “Unemployment benefits lapse for jobless Americans as Trump holds out on signing relief bill,” CNN, December 27, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/26/politics/unemployment-benefits-stimulus-relief-bill/index.html; Michael Hirsh, “Is $2 Trillion Too Little, Too Late?” Foreign Policy, March 25, 2020, https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/03/24/us-congress-2-trillion-rescue-package-too-little-too-late/; Manu Raju et al., “White House, Senate reach historic $2 trillion stimulus deal amid growing coronavirus fears,” CNN, March 25, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/25/politics/stimulus-senate-action-coronavirus/index.html; Jeff Stein et al., “Senate Republicans release massive economic stimulus bill for coronavirus response,” Washington Post, March 19, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/03/19/trump-coronavirus-economic-plan-stimulus/; Jim Tankersley and Ben Casselman, “Washington Weighs Big Bailouts to Help U.S. Economy Survive Coronavirus,” New York Times, March 18, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/18/business/bailout-economy-coronavirus.html; Erica Werner, Mike DeBonis, and Paul Kane, “Senate passes $2 trillion bill to blunt coronavirus pandemic’s economic impact, as households and businesses gasp for relief,” Washington Post, March 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/03/26/senate-trump-coronavirus-economic-stimulus-2-trillion/; Erica Werner, Paul Kane, and Mike DeBonis, “Trump signs $2 trillion coronavirus bill into law as companies and households brace for more economic pain,” Washington Post, March 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2020/03/27/congress-coronavirus-house-vote/
  7. [7]Tami Luhby, Sarah Westwood, and Nikki Carvajal, “Unemployment benefits lapse for jobless Americans as Trump holds out on signing relief bill,” CNN, December 27, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/26/politics/unemployment-benefits-stimulus-relief-bill/index.html; Suzanne Malveaux, Phil Mattingly, and Clare Foran, “House fails to pass measure to increase stimulus checks to $2,000,” CNN, December 24, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/24/politics/house-vote-stimulus-checks-government/index.html
  8. [8]Paul Kane, “Congress deeply unpopular again as gridlock on coronavirus relief has real-life consequences,” Washington Post, August 1, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/congress-deeply-unpopular-again-as-gridlock-on-coronavirus-relief-has-real-life-consequences/2020/07/31/6d2f10c4-d36a-11ea-8c55-61e7fa5e82ab_story.html
  9. [9]David Benfell, “A piper needs paying,” Not Housebroken, December 24, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/12/19/a-piper-needs-paying/
  10. [10]Heather Long, “Millions of Americans are heading into the holidays unemployed and over $5,000 behind on rent,” Washington Post, December 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/07/unemployed-debt-rent-utilities/
  11. [11]Heather Long, “Nearly 8 million Americans have fallen into poverty since the summer,” Washington Post, December 16, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/12/16/poverty-rising/

Pennsyltexas? (Update #2)

Updates

  1. Originally published, December 26, 2020, at 11:23 am.
  2. December 26, 2020, 11:06 pm:
    • Pittsburgh apparently expects tire friction, engine and exhaust heat to clear its streets. They still aren’t clear, although I did see a snow plow dispensing salt along Pioneer Avenue in the Brookline neighborhood. That was a very rare exception. Also on the appalling list: McKeesport and, to a much lesser extent, Braddock.

Pennsylvania

So one of the things that absolutely amazed me upon arrival in Pennsylvania was the speeding. Driving about five miles per mile above the speed limit is normal and expected in most places. On many roads in southwest Pennsylvania, you’ll often be harassed by other drivers if you’re going anything less than ten, twenty, even twenty-five miles per hour over or more (where I come from, twenty-five over is reckless driving).

It turns out that part of the story is that local police in Pennsylvania don’t have RADAR. A bill was introduced to allow them to use it but, as far as I’ve seen, nothing came of it. So only the state troopers have it.[1] The troopers seem similarly tolerant of speeding, which of course means you’re a lot more likely to be pulled over if you’re Black.[2]

Here’s another oddity: Police need a warrant to search your vehicle, which apparently means that if they want to search your vehicle, they’ll tow it at your expense and deprive you of it for a day or two while they get the paperwork. I actually have driven past scenes where searches were clearly taking place, but this seems to have been during an interregnum when such searches were permitted, in a decision the state Supreme Court has now reversed.[3]

James Carville allegedly described Pennsylvania as “Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in between.”[4] I’ve also been welcomed to “Pennsyltucky,” referring to:

Rural parts of Pennsylvania with large concentrations of country folk, noted for interest in Hunting, Country Music, NASCAR, trailer life, Wal-Mart and working at the plant. Often spotted wearing camouflage with full grown beards or unkept caveman appearance driving pickup trucks with gun racks. Note: PA has the largest Rural population of any state, not everyone who lives or is from these regions is a red neck, hick or country bumpkin and most who don’t dislike the reference “Pennsyltuckey” and find it insulting.[5]

(“Pennsyltuckey” refers to a different, but culturally similar definition in the Urban Dictionary.[6])

But you know what? This capitalist libertarian streak, also seen with a federal court decision (later overturned[7]) blocking Governor Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 lockdown orders,[8] has me thinking Texas, as in Pennsyltexas.

The headline is wrong on Sarah Gisriel’s article: It wasn’t the state legislature that mandated the change, but rather the state Supreme Court reversing itself.[9]

Sarah Gisriel, “State lawmakers once again mandate vehicle warrants, raises questions for recent cases,” WHTM, December 25, 2020, https://www.abc27.com/news/pennsylvania/the-pa-police-are-dead-in-their-tracks-as-state-lawmakers-once-again-mandate-vehicle-warrants/


  1. [1]Anne Shannon, “Proposed legislation could make Pennsylvania last state to allow local police to use radar,” WGAL, February 14, 2020, https://www.wgal.com/article/proposed-legislation-could-make-pennsylvania-last-state-to-allow-local-police-to-use-radar/30799636
  2. [2]Actual evidence is not available for many Pennsylvania police departments, but in those for which statistics are available, some racial discrepancies do appear, including in Harrisburg where more out of town white drivers get pulled over for speeding. Usually, however, minority drivers are most at risk: Ivey DeJesus, “Does a driver’s race factor into traffic stops by Pa. police? It’s nearly impossible to tell,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, December 9, 2019, https://www.pennlive.com/news/2019/12/tracking-race-in-police-traffic-stops-across-central-pa.html
  3. [3]Sarah Gisriel, “State lawmakers once again mandate vehicle warrants, raises questions for recent cases,” WHTM, December 25, 2020, https://www.abc27.com/news/pennsylvania/the-pa-police-are-dead-in-their-tracks-as-state-lawmakers-once-again-mandate-vehicle-warrants/
  4. [4]Your Dictionary, “James Carville Quotes,” n.d., https://quotes.yourdictionary.com/author/james-carville/35910
  5. [5]Brian Lauskies, “Pennsyltucky,” Urban Dictionary, September 26, 2006, https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Pennsyltucky
  6. [6]Sherman, “Pennsyltuckey,” Urban Dictionary, February 9, 2005, https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Pennsyltuckey
  7. [7]Greg Stohr, “Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Pennsylvania Shutdown Order,” Bloomberg, October 5, 2020, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-05/supreme-court-rejects-challenge-to-pennsylvania-shutdown-order; Paula Reed Ward, “Appeals court allows Gov. Tom Wolf, state to restore covid crowd restrictions,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 1, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/appeals-court-allows-pennsylvania-to-restrict-crowd-size/
  8. [8]Paula Reed Ward, “Federal judge rules Gov. Wolf’s shutdown orders were unconstitutional,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 14, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/regional/federal-judge-rules-gov-wolfs-shutdown-orders-were-unconstitutional/
  9. [9]Sarah Gisriel, “State lawmakers once again mandate vehicle warrants, raises questions for recent cases,” WHTM, December 25, 2020, https://www.abc27.com/news/pennsylvania/the-pa-police-are-dead-in-their-tracks-as-state-lawmakers-once-again-mandate-vehicle-warrants/