My main computer with my blogging software, MarsEdit, is out of commission temporarily, so I’m posting this, uncharacteristically, on Micro.blog, which I usually use for shorter stuff.
The topic, of course, is why my kid brother will never forget his 70th birthday, 1/6/21, no matter how hard he tries.
Trump the Man (and his sycophants)
Donald Trump has been deformed and deranged for much of his life. It has been the pattern of his life to lie and to cheat, to intimidate and hurt others, to act without conscience, to show no remorse, and to make everything about himself. None of this was a secret when he ran for president, and certainly none of it was a secret once he became president. His viciousness, volatility, and nihilism were on display almost from the moment he took office. As president, he has acted just as one would have expected. He has never deviated from who he is.
There is no excuse for political violence, and Trump, admittedly, did not ask anyone to engage in violence. However, if you tell people that their votes didn’t count, that the election was a sham, that the election you lost wasn’t even close but in fact a landslide in your favor, it’s only natural to expect that some people will be inclined to resort to violence, because the whole point of elections is to settle political matters without violence. If the election process is a total fraud, then violence is to be expected.
Even in the face of the violence yesterday, Trump, while telling the rioters to go home, also continued to insist that he really won in a landslide, thus continuing to foment violence. He is unfit to be president.
David French @DavidAFrench
Tell me again that character doesn’t matter.
Tell me again that the only concern about Trump is with his “manners.”
You monumental hypocrites and cowards. Look what you’ve done.
I won’t try to summarize Alan Jacobs’ frivolity, partly because it seems to be growing with Updates. But I’ll say that because he’s a literary guy, he opens with a paragraph about Dostoyevsky’s Demons, a major figure in which is guilty of frivolity, as is Sen. Josh Hawley, a self-shipwreck who hasn’t yet sunk from sight.
When challenged on Fox News on Monday that under the Constitution, the Electoral College result would have to stand, Hawley said: “My constituents expect me to have the right to say ‘I have a problem’” with the claims of electoral fraud.
- My constituents expect me to
- have the right to say
- ‘I have a problem’” with
- the claims of electoral fraud.
Pardon me, Senator Emptysuit: What [epithets omitted] is that supposed to mean?
- That your recklessness is the fault of you constituents?
- That someone has denied you your right of free speech? Who?
- That you disbelieve (“have a problem with”) the claims of election fraud (but want to muddy the waters to make it sound as if you believe them), or
- that you believe there was election fraud (i.e., you lie)?
The only part I can agree with is that you’ve got a problem. The rest of it is unintelligible. And when cheap, manipulative politicians start talking nonsense, I check the security of my wallet.
The Events of January 6
Trump goosed his own mob of supporters in DC this morning, saying in a speech:
“All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by emboldened radical Democrats. We will never give up. We will never concede. It will never happen. You don’t concede when there’s death involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore.”
He said: “We will never take back our country with weakness.”
And then they went in and invaded the Capitol …
Rod Dreher, Trump’s Weimar America
Unlike so many other disturbances over the years, the events at the Capitol yesterday did not represent a policy dispute, a disagreement about a foreign war or the behavior of police. They were part of an argument over the validity of democracy itself: A violent mob declared that it should decide who becomes the next president, and Trump encouraged its members. So did his allies in Congress, and so did the far-right propagandists who support him. For a few hours, they prevailed.
What was wrong about what happened?
18 USC §2384—Seditious Conspiracy
If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.(Emphases added)
This was not simple trespass. Some of those people need the full 20 years, starting with Q Shaman, a QAnon leader/celebrity.
The problem here is that it’s Trump’s job to prevent and stop rioting, especially rioting against federal institutions. He’s supposed to prevent and stop such behavior even when it’s promoted by total strangers to him. He has a special responsibility to prevent and stop such behavior by people who are on his side, since those are the ones whom he can most effectively try to calm even when they’re already in a rioting mood.
He most certainly isn’t supposed to say things—even constitutionally protected things—that are pretty likely to cause harms of the sort that we hired him to stop. The incitement test, which applies equally to all speakers, doesn’t capture this factor, nor should it. This factor is all about the special responsibilities of government officials (Presidents, governors, mayors, police chiefs, legislators, and the like). Such officials are supposed to be politically savvy enough to know what’s likely to produce (even contrary to their intentions) criminal conduct, and are supposed to organize their speech and action in a way that minimizes this, rather than making it especially likely.
Trump’s failure was a failure not as a speaker, of the sort that strips speakers of First Amendment protection. It was a failure, a massive and unjustifiable failure, as a public servant.
Especially shameful by Trump and his little leg-humpin’ friends:
- Trump immediately went after the most loyal ally he’s had the past four years: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.” Marc Short, a top aide to Pence, confirmed that he was denied entry into the White House last night because Trump blamed him for Pence’s “betrayal.”
- These walkbacks are, without question, a welcome development. But they are also evidence that the legislators’ planned objections were never really about correcting widespread voter fraud—they were about political expediency. Theoretically, nothing that transpired on Wednesday should have changed anybody’s mind about the existence of voter fraud. But it sure heightened the political ramifications of continuing to go along with the mob.
The Morning Dispatch: A Dark Day on Capitol Hill (emphasis added)
What does this say about America?
“This isn’t who we are as Americans,” the president-elect insisted. Yes, old men are entitled to their delusions, but the rest of us are not obliged to share them. Biden could not be any more wrong: This is exactly who we are.
“We must not normalize Donald Trump!” A hundred thousand variations on that sentence have been published in the past four years. It is a stupid sentence. Donald Trump does not require normalization. He is as normal as diabetes, as all-American as shooting up your high school.
The Trump presidency began in shame and dishonesty. It ends in shame, dishonesty, cowardice, and rebellion against the Constitution. For the past few weeks, the right-wing media, including the big talk-radio shows, has been coyly calling for a revolution. Of course they never thought they’d actually get one: That kind of talk is good for business — keep the rubes riled up and they won’t change the channel when the commercials come around on the half-hour. I never had much hope for the likes of Sean Hannity, tragically born too late to be a 1970s game-show host, but to watch Senator Ted Cruz descend into this kind of dangerous demagoguery as he jockeys to get out in front of the Trump parade as its new grand marshal has induced despair.
On May 4, 2016, I posted a little note to the Corner, headlined: “Pre-Planning My ‘I Told You So.’” It reads, in part: “Republicans, remember: You asked for this.” The path that the Republican Party and the conservative movement have taken in the past four years is not one that was forced on them — it is the product of choices that were made and of compromises that were entered into too willingly by self-interested men and women seeking money, celebrity, and power.
Of course it ends in violence — this is, after all, America.
Matthew Continetti nails to core flaw of the moral idiots who want to excuse Trump because of a couple of his accomplishments (and re-elect him in hopes of more):
None of his policy achievements outweigh the paranoid extremism he has directed like a missile at the constitutional order. Pointing to his “enemies” does not excuse his behavior.
In other words, we’ve become a bunch of damned ideologues who can’t see past our issue checklists to meta-issues, such as “this candidate ticks all the right boxes, but he’s a toxic narcissist and lifelong philanderer and con man. Pass.”
UPDATE 10: John Podhoretz, just now in Commentary:
Fully endorse. Do it now. This has to end. This Trump garbage not only has to end, it has to be utterly and decisively repudiated by Congress. This is for history.
These MAGA idiots just handed the Left a gift that it could not possibly have earned on its own. A political scientist friend says that the Georgia vote gave Democrats control of Washington, and the MAGA riots gave Democrats a mandate.
There will be time to sort through the wreckage of the conservative movement and the Republican Party. There is not as much time — a little less than 14 days — to constrain the president before he plunges the nation’s capital into havoc again. Incitement to trespass, harassment, and destruction cannot go unanswered. The Constitution offers remedies. Pursue them — for no other reason than to deter the president from escalation. There must be a costS for reckless endangerment of the United States government. Trump must pay.
Matthew Continetti, Capitol Hill Protests: Trump Must Pay | National Review
Unfortunately, Donald Trump has been playing with fire ever since he launched his first presidential campaign. Since he lost his bid for reelection, he has only intensified his efforts to subvert American democracy. The events of today are both shocking and yet all-too-foreseeable, and the president bears substantial responsibility for what has transpired. Moreover, he has shown no leadership since the attack on the capitol. His behavior is disgraceful. What is more, it is conduct completely incompatible with the duties and responsibilities of the office of the presidency. The president should resign in disgrace, but of course he will not.
The House should impeach the president for high crimes and misdemeanors as soon as is practical. The Senate should hold a trial and vote to impeach and remove the president from office as expeditiously as possible. The House should request that the Senate bar the president from holding future federal office, and the Senate should vote to apply that constitutional penalty upon conviction.
This need not be a lengthy process. The evidence of the president’s actions are clear and available to all. The House does not need an elaborate inquiry. The Senate does not need a lengthy trial. House and Senate members need only determine whether they believe that the president’s words and actions rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors and whether Donald Trump can be safely left to exercise the powers of the presidency until the scheduled inauguration of his elected successor. That does not seem like a difficult question, and the members of Congress should go on record with an answer to it.
Keith Whittington, Impeach and Remove – Reason.com
Nancy Pelosi apparently intends to impeach if Pence doesn’t pull the 25th Amendment trigger.
This attack wasn’t just foreseeable, it was foreseen. At The Dispatch, we have been warning about the possibility of serious political violence for months. The president and many of his supporters have falsely claimed that the presidential election was stolen and have trafficked in transparently ridiculous conspiracy theories. They have told bizarre tales about false and even impossible schemes to corrupt the vote. And they’ve done this while speaking in apocalyptic terms about the fate of the nation.
Impeach Donald Trump, Remove Him, and Bar Him From Holding Office Ever Again - The Dispatch. Note the “bar him from holding office again” part.
This is from a conservative publication whose purpose is not “Never Trump” but whose sanity and decency has pretty well rooted it in that camp even as it casts its issue nets more widely.
One group of demonstrators carried an ecumenical Christian flag with a sign quoting Ben Franklin: “We have a republic if we can keep it. Let’s make sure we keep it!”
For the record, I wasn’t familiar with any “ecumenical Christian flag.” Further inquire discloses that they’re referring to a confection I’ve never seen other than in an Evangelical Church, though it appears that others have been known to touch it. For decades now, I probably would have walked out of any Church that insisted on displaying it.
In the past eight months, two Capitol Hills have fallen. Two shocking events symbolize the abdication of authority by America’s ruling class, an abdication that has led to what can be described, not without exaggeration, as the slow-motion disintegration of the United States of America in its present form.
The first occurred on June 8, 2020, when the Seattle police evacuated their East Precinct building in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Left-wing rioters stormed the police headquarters and looted it. For 24 days, Seattle’s government allowed would-be revolutionaries to create an anarchist commune, acting out the fantasy of “abolishing the police” embraced by much of the American left as well as liberals who should have known better. This anarchist commune, created in the midst of nationwide protests against the death on May 25 of a Black Minnesotan, George Floyd, in police custody, was the scene of the fatal shootings of two Black men before the police finally shut it down on July 1.
On Jan. 6, 2021, America’s elite abandoned another Capitol Hill to rioters. After President Donald Trump stirred them up in an incendiary address in which he claimed that Joe Biden had stolen the presidency from him, a mob of right-wing radicals broke into the United States Capitol, where the certification of the results of last November’s election results was taking place. Like the leaders of Seattle in June, America’s congressional leaders abandoned their posts and fled. In the ensuing chaos, the Trumpist rioters, mostly men wearing MAGA hats or more exotic outfits, posed for selfies in the well of the House chamber or in the legislative offices they broke into. A police officer killed a female rioter. Three others died as a result of “medical emergencies.” As in Seattle’s Capitol Hill, so in America’s: The forces of legitimate authority and coercive order for a period were nowhere to be seen.
What is the meaning of these dystopian scenes? Many Democrats claim that Republicans are destroying the republic. Many Republicans claim the reverse. They are both correct.
The leaders of both parties have weaponized anarchic mobs against their rivals ….
Mike Pence is surely correct that he lacked the power to disregard certified electoral votes.
But I’m going to play Devil’s Advocate here. How about primaries? Why do we activate the machinery of government to help an extralegal political duopoly pick its respective standard-bearers? Why, especially after one of them got boxed in by primary voters to Donald Trump (and the other has twice flirted with Bernie Sanders, not even a member of the party), don’t we tell them to take their private business back to some private place - even a smoke-filled room?
Could they have done worse than Trump if they’d done that?