Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

A Long War?

by Frank Schnittger Fri Jan 8th, 2021 at 06:10:45 PM EST

Trump Says He Could 'Shoot Somebody' and Still Maintain Support

Donald Trump said Saturday that his supporters are so loyal that he would not lose backers even if he were to shoot someone in the middle of downtown Manhattan.


"I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, okay, and I wouldn't lose any voters, okay?" Trump said at a rally in Sioux Center, Iowa as the audience laughed. "It's, like, incredible."

Trump's whole Presidency can be seen as a political experiment to see how far he could push the boat out on political extremism and still retain political support.  Indeed his approval ratings have rarely slipped below 40%, and currently stand at 42.4%. Not enough to secure re-election, obviously, but enough to make it a contest. It is worth noting that his 74 Million votes in the General Election is the highest ever attained by any presidential candidate bar Joe Biden, who obtained 81 Million votes.

So what does this say about the state of the US polity...


Watching the horrified and aghast anchors on US news channels as the events on Capital Hill unfolded, I found it hard not to laugh. It is not that I doubted the seriousness of the situation, but that I wondered what aspects of the event they found surprising. Trump has been inciting crowds to anger and condoning violence since forever. He even told his rally supporters that he would meet them on Capital Hill. They could justifiably feel they were only carrying out his orders, or at least acting in accordance with his will.

As calls for Trump to broadcast to the nation and appeal for calm grew ever louder, Trump is reported to have been engrossed in the TV coverage, watching in approval, and of no mind to call on the protestors to cease and desist. Presumably he was hoping that the protestors would succeed in preventing the electoral college votes being certified, and somehow derail the transition process. No one had ever been able to stop him before, so why should he stop now?

And truth be told, the majority of Republican leaders have been more than happy to ride on his coat-tails to victory. There was no outrage against democratic norms that was a step too far for them. Even now, after the Capital Hill invasion, 8 Republican senators and 139 congressmen heeded his call to oppose the certification process. The undermining of US democracy cannot go far enough, as far as they are concerned.

So what further outrage awaits us in the last 12 days of his Presidency? A nuclear strike against Iran's uranium re-processing centres? A calling in the army to make life difficult for attendees at the inauguration ceremony and celebrations? A pre-emptive pardon for himself, his family, supporters, and those who invaded the capital buildings? It seems unlikely that Democratic calls for his impeachment or removal from Office under Article 25 of the constitution will succeed.

It is easy for those of us in Europe and with relatively little "skin in the game" to take a dispassionate and even Machiavellian approach to the next few days: Leave him to stew in his own juices, and keep the Republican party as divided as possible for the next few years. A Trump dominating conservative airwaves will skewer any attempts by other conservatives to move on and regain positions of influence in the Mid-terms and beyond. But this is perhaps to underestimate the damage he can continue to do in the next few days and years to come.

Those US citizens I have spoken to seem terrified at the damage he could yet do. Perhaps I underestimate the appetite for continued violence and extra-constitutional action by his support base. Perhaps I over-estimate the revulsion of a large majority of Americans at what happened on Capital Hill. Perhaps it is not the seminal moment I expect, discrediting Trump and Trumpism for the foreseeable future. Perhaps it will not so much divide conservatism as embolden it.

Many Democrats are determined to impeach Trump to disqualify him from future office and to prosecute all those who invaded Capital Hill. Their sense of justice and the integrity of the democratic process has been offended, and there is no doubt such actions are objectively justified. But is seeking to make Trump and his supporters a martyr politically wise, especially given the violent origins of the American Revolution which have been used to justify violence ever since?

Only time will tell. But viewed from afar, it is as easy to see the events of Capital Hill as the end of a far right insurrection, as the beginning, clearly marking out those who support democracy from those who support autocracy, and marginalising those who were once part of the far right mainstream. It may only have been one battle in a long war, but it is hard to see it as one which the far right and white supremacists have won.

The Georgia run-off senate elections indicate there has been a 2.7% shift from Republicans to Democrats between November 2020 and January 2021. This was before the events on Capital Hill, of course, but may reflect public reaction to Trump's refusal to accept the election result and the Republican split on the $2,000 pandemic payments. Compared to Nov. 2020, turnout was higher in Democrat majority areas, and in counties with higher proportions of Black and less educated voters. It may only be a straw in the wind, but Trump seems to be as good at mobilizing a majority of voters against him, as he is at mobilising his base. Long may that continue.

Display:
Patrick Gathara, the Kenyan cartoonist who has made a specialty of reporting about US and European events in the very same language the "western" media is reporting about "third world countries", agrees with you:

A very American riot - P.Gathara

The expressions of shock in media reports and international reactions say less about the US than about those expressing them. This, after all, is not the first time white mobs have invaded public buildings and sought to intimidate public officials in the US. In April, an armed mob invaded the state capitol building in the state of Michigan and there were armed groups of protesters targeting election officials after the November 3 vote. This is exactly what America, or at least a part of it, is.

The Trump era may be a norm-busting extreme but it remains resolutely and fundamentally American, going down the road that the US has been on for a long time. The widespread failure to acknowledge this reflects just how successful the country's propaganda efforts have been at perpetuating the myth of "the shining city on the hill" ordained by history to guide the rest of the world.

by Bernard on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 at 06:48:04 PM EST
Given the structural power in the Senate of the hayseeds and etc. in the ignorant hick bigot states plus the power of modern propaganda I don't expect much change to the underlying dynamic during my lifetime.  Even as I write this, tens of millions of Americans are being persuaded the recent event are a nefarious ploy by Antifa to discredit Trump & etc.  Going by past history, e.g., people spitting on Viet Nam vets, the hayseeds and ignorant hick bigots will be persuaded.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 at 07:05:23 PM EST
All very good points. Just a few quibbles:

Frank: It is worth noting that his 74 Million votes in the General Election is the highest ever attained by any presidential candidate bar Joe Biden, who obtained 81 Million votes.

No: it was worth only to Trump who's always been obsessed by Barack Obama who got more votes in 2008 (69 millions)and 2012 (66 millions) than Trump did in 2016 (63 millions).

But these comparisons are complete bull: almost every elected US president received more votes than their predecessor; this is due entirely to population growth. In 2008, US pop. was about 304 millions, in 2020 about 330 millions. So Obama's 69 million votes from 2008 would be equivalent to 75 millions with today's US population. Simple demography (and simple math). Trump is still a loser, sorry.

Frank: But is seeking to make Trump and his supporters a martyr politically wise, especially given the violent origins of the American Revolution which have been used to justify violence ever since?

Violence against the tyrannical power of an absolute monarch (American colonies 1776, France 1789 & 1848, Ireland 1920) is one thing. Rioting to overthrow the deliberations legally and democratically elected representatives of the people in a republic of laws is quite another: more like Franco 1936.

by Bernard on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 at 07:34:09 PM EST
Except that Franco wasn't an idiot. Trump is an idiot, and so his coup failed utterly. Someone with strategic skill and a grip on reality would have handled this (let's say...) rather differently.

Which is - luckily - incidental. The problem remains that the US is institutionally racist, and there's a mostly Southern base of angry white religious kooks and cultists who can be weaponised for profit and for political ends.

And given the former - and some of the latter - there are plenty of media outlets willing to pander to them and push them further and further into cultish delusion.

The media owners and their financial backers are the real enemies of democracy and of America. And they will be unaffected by this, because everyone is too busy focussing on the costume drama, and the pantomime villain who is fronting it.

But they are the guilty parties. And they are the ones promoting sedition and violence and hoping to end democracy. Trump is just their sockpuppet, and entirely expendable.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 at 07:48:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I still believe that Trump didn't expect the mob to storm the chambers and force the lawmakers to flee under police protection. At best, he was expecting that their raucous noise might coy Pence and the Senate Repubs to overcome the Electoral votes in his favor, however far fetched. At a minimum, to tar the Biden presidency with illegitimacy to weaken him from the get go, under the protests of the "real Americans".

Like the rest of us, he didn't expect the crowd to actually enter the building and start ransacking it. This is where he went too far and alienated the very Republicans like Pence and McConnell upon whom he depends to save his sorry ass come January 20. The proof is: he folded, rebuked the rioters, finally conceded that Biden would be President and has been lying low ever since.

by Bernard on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 at 08:55:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Who knows? The national guard was held back by Trump loyalists in the defense department. I don't know what he expected but he expected something when he sicked the dogs on Congress.

<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 at 09:04:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have you seen the video of Melanoma - I mean Melania - boogying while Trump watches the fray? Rumours are he was astounded that his advisers weren't as delighted by the tumult as he was.

He actively encouraged the crowd to fight. The plans were being laid for weeks. He even put some of them up at his hotel - although I doubt he lowered the rates.

What he didn't do was plan properly. That was the idiocy.

He thought a mob of peasants in fancy dress - estate agents, marketing consultants, micro-CEOs and other bottom feeders - would be able to stop the election certification process. He somehow expected this would be enough keep him in power.

But you can't stage a coup without the military onside. And there was enough dissent and opposition there to make success impossible.

So he was left with a media event. Which will lead to a backlash, and a prison sentence.

The polarisation won't go away, but "domestic terrorism" is now on the legislative table as a threat that needs to be dealt with. Biden may or may not be of a mind to do much about it, but the balance has now tilted away from the white supremacists.

They had their chance, they had their man at the top, but - luckily for the rest of us - they didn't have the organisation or the deep support to go all the way.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 at 09:19:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My take

Trump was pissed-off and banned chief-of-staff of VP Pence from the White House.

Trump makes war ... he'll fight and be strong ... not a LOSER.

This was a planned attack on the Legislative branch of U.S. Congress. The battle was announced via social media ... the incitement was direct and clearly understood by a mass in frenzie. I learned this in college Institute of Technology a course in Journalism and Propaganda. You need just a handful of instigators or agents provocateurs to move such a mass of people into an unruly mob.

Trump wanted to punish U.S. Congress where his fate would be sealed. VP Pence had told him it was not in his power nor by US Constitution to change the Vote of The People. Trump didn't agree ... he embodies the Executive and has all the might needed. From his exhibition walking through the MLB Demonstration to the Church from the White House for his photo-op holdin the Bible as a shield against all evil was already indicative of his insanity. For Bill Barr and the Staff of the Pentagon, this was a BIG MISTAKE ... once and never again!

Trump manipulated his followers to follow him when and if asked: "Stand back and Stand-by".

A very angry Lindsey Graham ...

With a powerful automatic rifle, multiple deaths could have been caused inside the Chamber, it could have been a bloodbath ... martial law would have followed with Trump staying in power.

"All I can say is count me out. Enough is enough. I've tried to be helpful'"

Graham on riots: "They could have killed us all"

Pointing to 2021 marking the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans, he asked how authorities could have "failed so miserably."

"Yesterday they could have blown the building up. They could have killed us all," he said. "People coming through the windows had backpacks, as big as my desk on the Senate. They should have been challenged, warning shots should have been fired and lethal force should have been used once they'd penetrated the seat of government. Those backpacks could have had bombs chemical agents, weapons. We dodged a major bullet yesterday. If this is not a wake up call, I do not know what it is. Is that a money problem? If it is we'll fix it. Is it a leadership problem? Obviously. Is it an Intel failure of the highest proportions? Absolutely."

by Oui on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 at 10:12:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Trump Mob Chases Lindsey Graham From Airport Terminal: 'Traitor!'

Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican senator who was an ardent critic of Donald Trump until the latter was elected president, was rushed away from an angry pro-Trump mob Friday, according to a video tweeted by Politico reporter Daniel Lippman.

The incident occurred at Washington, D.C.'s Reagan International Airport.

by Oui on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 at 11:21:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"I still believe that Trump didn't expect the mob to storm the chambers and force the lawmakers to flee under police protection."

Reports are that he was happy when he heard about the break-in and was confused about why nobody else around him was.

 

by asdf on Sat Jan 9th, 2021 at 12:54:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All good points: What was Trump expecting, really?

That Josh Hawley would greet the rioters at the door of the Senate to usher them in? That Ted Cruz would then take the chair over from Mike Pence, toss the Electoral College votes and declare Trump President For Life??

Speculating what Trump thinks is a futile endeavor and I've done way too much of that already, so I'll stop.

Sticking to the observable facts, the senior Republicans are obviously no longer "humoring him" - and they don't seem entirely happy to have been exfiltrated from the Capitol under police protection. Trump has been laying low ever since, sulking like a four-year old ground by his parents since he almost burned the family house down in his latest tantrum, while his toys (Twitter, Facebook, Insta) are taken away.

by Bernard on Sat Jan 9th, 2021 at 01:21:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Sat Jan 9th, 2021 at 02:05:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's plenty of historical examples of well organised minorities in cahoots with elites overthrowing the will of majorities and creating "facts on the ground" which make a return to majority rule difficult or impossible without major war or catastrophe. In that context 74 Million is actually quite an impressively sized minority, regardless of population growth.

Basically Trump convinced these 74 Million he would rule in their interests and ensure the other 81 Million would never get their hands on the levers of power. He did this by frightening them that liberal elites, who weren't their elites, would destroy their way of life.

The fact that he is the most unlikely champion of the underdog imaginable is actually par for the course. After all Hitler was most probably part-Jew. Trump presenting himself as the champion of ordinary Americans may be a case of the most extreme over-compensation, but it is common enough in history. Look at the "man of the people" Boris Johnson.

No doubt Franco and his followers also convinced themselves they were overthrowing an oppressive government in the name of real Spaniards and Spanish values. Tyranny is always what the other side do. The key to maintaining power is to maintain divisions at a fever pitch, so that the method that favours your group - violence rather than democratic elections - becomes the dominant method.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 at 09:09:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I got curious about the numbers and went to Wikipedia to have a look at participation rate.

Note that this has no bearing on the discussion of what the numbers mean, but I find interesting that the preliminary participation rate - 66,7% - is higher then any other election since suffrage was granted to women, native americans and african americans. In fact - and now we are comparing almost universal suffrage with a quite limited one - it is the highets participation rate since capital beat the populists in 1896 and 1900. Speaking of which, according to Thomas Frank 1896 was adjusted for inflation the highest spending election ever.

1896 being known as the election with the Cross of Gold speach and the last chance of bimetallism, it might be interesting to know that according to Late Vistorian Holocausts, the shifting to gold standard across the western world was important in undermining the economies of China and India (by making their silver currencies less vauable through the inflow of former bullion silver). Now, that had already happened in 1896, but Bryan wasn't wrong that gold standard was about "crucify mankind upon a cross of gold".

Of course, Bryan was an actual populist, while Trump only plays one on Twitter, so as I started with I don't have an actual point here.

by fjallstrom on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 at 10:08:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the point is that the high turn-out rates are remarkable given there is so much voter disenfranchisement, gerrymandering and voter suppression. What's the point in turning out and waiting in long lines when the outcome in so many Districts and States is a foregone conclusion. I only hope Biden doesn't disappoint his diverse base. It's going to be very difficult to maintain that high participation rate if Trump isn't around to energise both sides.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jan 9th, 2021 at 01:18:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I only hope Biden doesn't disappoint his diverse base.

Given that over half his base took him as no-good corporate democrat on the right side of Ronald Reagan even before voting for him, it's not easy to disappoint them. But he will try.

He's of the same cloth as Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton, both of which gave Trump to the world. Except where both at least promised to improve things, Biden's message was return to "normal" and that "nothing will change". If we accept this, and look at his political history, he is probably the worst possible person to alleviate the pain many Americans are experiencing.

On the other hand, soon Democrats will have all the three houses, and if when they fail to deliver any material benefits to the population, the party will destroy itself by 2022 since it will have no excuses left.

by pelgus on Sat Jan 9th, 2021 at 11:26:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Sat Jan 9th, 2021 at 02:44:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've refused to repeat the "5th Avenue" fantasy of Trmp since he said it because I believe Trmp, the Subliminal Man, as in the old SNL routine, meant it as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The vandalization of the Capitol was where this was always headed.  The people who voted for Trmp in 2016 voted to overturn the applecart, to kick government into a cocked hat.  

And there are good reasons to want to do so.  For decades, policies that have the support of 70% or more of the public never get enacted or even into the political discussion.  Government has devolved into a service for the super-rich and unending foreign wars, which may make me sound like Trmp but in this, at least, he is correct.  Not that he would ever do anything about it.

According to recent polls, over 40% of Republicans (Trmpublicans?) think the ransacking of the Capitol was OK.   Some Democrats want to unseat the Trmpublican Representatives and Senators who aided and abetted this "sedition."  I doubt that will go far but it is what is necessary and, unfortunately, unseating those Trmpublicans would send us miles down the road to real civil war.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Anyway, that's the way I see it from the comfort of my living room in isolation and quarantine lock down.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 at 08:16:50 PM EST
It's going down, I'm afraid. Nothing in the US is a sign of hope. Necessary constitutional changes to prevent a hard-right populist descent don't have a majority. It's only a question of time before somebody smarter turns up and goes all the way to autocracy. The end is on the horizon.

Is This How Greatness Ends? - Atlantic

The problem is that something is too obviously wrong. Too many diplomats and politicians on this side of the Atlantic now believe that the U.S. is simply too divided to stand alone in the world for much longer.

... This is what I think makes last night's scenes in Washington not simply pathetic, but also important. Something of the mystique has gone, even if the raw power remains.

... the sheen has come off. America no longer feels as special. The austere marble at the heart of imperial democracy is sprayed with graffiti. The institutions don't look as secure, nor does the stability of the system.

Outside of the US not many people would subscribe to the notion of American Greatness or exceptionalism. There is no exception. That country will destroy itself like many others before. Nothing special.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Fri Jan 8th, 2021 at 08:54:00 PM EST
It is simply the culmination of the GOP adopting the Southern Strategy. We will continue to fight the Civil War until we get rid of the Senate.
by asdf on Sat Jan 9th, 2021 at 12:55:57 AM EST
Why would the GOP want to get rid of the Senate when they have a natural advantage in winning it with so many small rural conservative states returning two GOP senators. WAPO has 30% of the population controlling two thirds of the Senate by 20140.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jan 9th, 2021 at 01:12:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then the logical strategy is -as some people have been saying- to "Move to the red states". Coastal blue states are getting ever more expensive to live in. More inland there is more space and they are more 'liberal' with their zoning. People are pushed further inside by finances. E.g. California refugees have already contributed to turning Arizona blue/purple. And so on with Colorado etc. NIMBYs are gonna save America!? Who would have thought?

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Sat Jan 9th, 2021 at 01:44:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Problem is when you go to check out the red states you see how nasty they are. Who wants to live in fancy new house in a rural town full of elderly racists in trailer houses when you can rent a one room apartment in San Francisco and live in San Francisco? Even college towns in the midwest are pretty grim.
by asdf on Sat Jan 9th, 2021 at 05:10:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Sat Jan 9th, 2021 at 04:45:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Sat Jan 9th, 2021 at 04:56:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It always comes down to a clear choice.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sat Jan 9th, 2021 at 05:01:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bernard on Sat Jan 9th, 2021 at 05:18:49 PM EST
by Bernard on Sat Jan 9th, 2021 at 05:22:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bernard on Sat Jan 9th, 2021 at 05:36:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]

There seems to be at least 15 state congresspeople among the rioters, plus two Seattle Police officers, probably more...

by Bernard on Sat Jan 9th, 2021 at 05:54:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bernard on Sat Jan 9th, 2021 at 06:28:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"He was always so quiet.  I never expected this."

Solar IS Civil Defense
by gmoke on Sat Jan 9th, 2021 at 07:52:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In case you may not be aware of modern US living arrangements, that is a typical "double wide" trailer house, the standard dwelling for Middle America. Comes to the property in two sections, then bolted together. The driveway, yard arrangement, and landscaping is also typical.
by asdf on Sun Jan 10th, 2021 at 01:54:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One in five voters - including 45% of Republicans - approve of the storming of the Capitol building - YouGov
by Bernard on Sat Jan 9th, 2021 at 09:10:26 PM EST
In the same "No, this is very much who we are" vein:

Wake Up, America. This Is Who We Are.

To believe that this is "not who we are" -- that our country has always respected democratic (small-d) processes and election outcomes -- one has to erase the first eight decades of the American experiment, when most African Americans were held as property and very few free Black people in the North were permitted to vote. One also has to discount the years between 1876 (at a minimum) and 1965, when in at least one-third of the country, people of color were violently forbidden to exercise the franchise. Women were uniformly denied the vote prior to 1920, of course.

But this is no longer a Southern problem. It is a national problem.

You can't have a democracy if only one party adheres to its principles and norms and the other party opts out of the rules. We don't need to look to other countries to know this is true. We only need to dust off an American history book to understand how high we've climbed, but also how low -- and how quickly -- we can fall.
by Bernard on Sun Jan 10th, 2021 at 11:52:35 AM EST
And another:

These Capitol riot pictures shouldn't surprise you. They show an American truth. | Opinion - Philly Enq.

To say "this is not America" suggests that Wednesday's events were an aberration or anomaly. But for those who have chronicled the president's supporters for the last few years, it was the unsurprising and even inevitable culmination of consistently violent, racist, and autocratic rhetoric.

[...]

Pictures are powerful not only because they provoke an emotional response, but also because they constitute a critical part of the historical record. They encourage society to reflect on, and remember, the events that cumulatively form the American experience. When you examine the photographs of Wednesday's insurrection alongside images of other historical events, you begin to realize, perhaps, that this is America.

This European was not familiar with past US events like the Battle of Liberty Place in NOLA in 1876 or the Wilmington Massacre of 1898, so I really did learn something.

by Bernard on Sun Jan 10th, 2021 at 05:34:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Capitol Rioters Weren't `Low Class' - The Atlantic
The notion that political violence simply emerges out of economic desperation, rather than ideology, is comforting. But it's false. Throughout American history, political violence has often been guided, initiated, and perpetrated by respectable people from educated middle- and upper-class backgrounds. The belief that only impoverished people engage in political violence--particularly right-wing political violence--is a misconception often cultivated by the very elites who benefit from that violence.

The members of the mob that attacked the Capitol and beat a police officer to death last week were not desperate. They were there because they believed they had been unjustly stripped of their inviolable right to rule. They believed that not only because of the third-generation real-estate tycoon who incited them, but also because of the wealthy Ivy Leaguers who encouraged them to think that the election had been stolen.

by Bernard on Tue Jan 12th, 2021 at 07:44:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A dispatch from Mitchell Prothero, whom was the most incisive reporter during Daesh's conquest of Iraq.

BusinessInsider | Some among America's military allies believe Trump deliberately attempted a coup and may have had help from federal law-enforcement officials

'Today I am briefing my government that we believe with a reasonable level of certainty that Donald Trump attempted a coup'

Someone that saw it all coming weeks ago:

Was it something that went too far? Or not far enough?

luis_de_sousa@mastodon.social

by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]protonmail[dot]ch) on Sun Jan 10th, 2021 at 01:05:29 PM EST
These Black Capitol Police Officers Describe Fighting Off "Racist Ass Terrorists" - Buzzfeed
The officer even described coming face to face with police officers from across the country in the mob. He said some of them flashed their badges, telling him to let them through, and trying to explain that this was all part of a movement that was supposed to help.

"You have the nerve to be holding a blue lives matter flag, and you are out there fucking us up," he told one group of protestors he encountered inside the Capitol. "[One guy] pulled out his badge and he said, `we're doing this for you.' Another guy had his badge. So I was like, `well, you gotta be kidding.'"

Another officer, a newer recruit, echoed these sentiments, saying that where he was on the steps to the rotunda on the east side of the Capitol, he was engaged in hand-to-hand battles trying to fight the attackers off. But he said they were outnumbered 10 to one, and described extraordinary scenes in which protesters holding Blue Lives Matter flags launched themselves at police officers.

by Bernard on Sun Jan 10th, 2021 at 05:40:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bernard on Mon Jan 11th, 2021 at 06:55:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Washington DC is a majority black city and this is the first time they have had a black police chief?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 11th, 2021 at 07:12:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's also majority female (52%) and this is the first time they have had a female police chief.....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Jan 11th, 2021 at 07:16:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Either you are joking or are seriously disconnected from US reality. Mississippi is 40% African American and has not had a black senator since 1881. Louisiana and Georgia, both more than 1/3 black, never have.
by asdf on Mon Jan 11th, 2021 at 11:34:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 12th, 2021 at 12:03:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BusinessInsider | Some among America's military allies believe Trump deliberately attempted a coup and may have had help from federal law-enforcement officials
Insider spoke with three officials on Thursday morning: a French police official responsible for public security in key section of central Paris and two intelligence officials from NATO countries who directly work in counter-terrorism and counter-intelligence operations involving the US, terrorism, and Russia.

They said the circumstantial evidence available pointed to what would be openly called a coup attempt in any other nation. None were willing to speak on the record because of the absolutely dire nature of the subject.

The French police official believes that an investigation will find that someone interfered with the deployment of additional federal law enforcement on the perimeter of the Capitol complex because the official has direct knowledge of the proper procedures for security of the facility. The security of Congress is entrusted to the US Capitol Police, a federal agency that answers to Congress.

It is routine for the Capitol Police to coordinate with the federal Secret Service and Park Police, and local District of Columbia police, prior to large demonstrations. The National Guard, commanded by the Department of Defense, are often on standby too.

On Wednesday, however, that coordination was late or absent.

by Bernard on Sun Jan 10th, 2021 at 06:05:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup, didn't see that one coming.

Former Federal Prosecutor Fears Trump Could Pardon Capitol Rioters - HuffPo

A former assistant U.S. attorney raised the unnerving possibility that Donald Trump could pardon his supporters who violently stormed the Capitol on Wednesday.

Five people, including a police officer, died related to the attack.

The chance of a Trump pardon -- including for himself -- is particularly jarring in this case because the president been accused of inciting the violence.

If he pardons people who directly attacked the democratic process, committing crimes while they were doing it, "how much more egregious, unjust, unfair, inappropriate does a presidential pardon get?" former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner said Friday on NBC 4 in Washington.

by Bernard on Sun Jan 10th, 2021 at 05:43:26 PM EST
House Floor Activity, 11 Jan, 2021, now adjourned until until 09:00, 12 Jan, 2021
by Cat on Mon Jan 11th, 2021 at 05:26:30 PM EST
I am a very remote observer of the US political scene, but it's been obvious to me that McConnell is the most powerful person in the US, because, unlike Trump, he knows how to execute on his plans (see: SCOTUS etc...).

McConnell believes impeachment push will help rid Trump from the GOP, but has not said if he will vote to convict - CNN

Another person with direct knowledge told CNN there's a reason McConnell has been silent on impeachment as other Republicans have pushed back: he's furious about last week's attack on the US Capitol by the President's supporters, even more so that Trump has shown no contrition. His silence has been deliberate as he leaves open the option of supporting impeachment.

[...]

While he knows they all aren't there with him, the Kentucky Republican believes the party needs to turn the page.
Several GOP sources said on Tuesday that if McConnell supports conviction, Trump almost certainly will be convicted by 67 senators in the impeachment trial.
"If Mitch is a yes, he's done," said one Senate GOP source who asked not to be named.

Feel the luv:

A source familiar with the relationship between the two men told CNN that McConnell is furious with Trump. The source said McConnell "hates" Trump for what he did last week following the attacks on the Capitol that left at least five people dead including a Capitol Hill police officer.

Also, speaking with a former colleague:

McConnell is also speaking with the President-elect about how the chamber should handle an impeachment trial against Trump.

by Bernard on Wed Jan 13th, 2021 at 06:40:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Solid demographic information on the composition of the US electorate by age group is not yet available for the 2020 election. Pew has only forecasts from 2019 at this time. But Generation Z accounted for 10% of the eligible voters, they turned out in record numbers and their numbers will increase by 2022. They are much more tolerant of different ethnicities than even the Millennials.

Hispanics now slightly outnumber Blacks among eligible voters and also turned out in high numbers. This was generally favorable to the Democrats except in Florida which has the greatest number of Cuban Americans and also large numbers of immigrants from Venezuela and Columbia, many of whom have a decided aversion to anything left of Batista or Somoza. Hispanics gave Nevada to Sanders in the primaries this year.

Asians accounted for about 5% of the electorate and voted heavily Democratic. And, for the first time, Native Americans, ~6% of the population, were the margin of victory in Arizona and New Mexico. Expect their participation to increase as politics is an existential matter for them, a fact to which they have awakened.

Voters over 65 favored the Democrats this year. Republican rhetoric regarding Medicare and Social Security was a wake up call with them.

So there is both promise and peril for 2022 and 2024. If Biden does manage to get the pandemic under control, increase (deficit) spending for renewable energy infrastructure and other steps to mitigate climate change, manages to increase taxes on those with incomes over $200K/year, expands medical coverage, even if it is via an expanded version of Obamacare, gets desperately needed financial support to small business and some recurring stimulus checks to all, Democrats just might increase their numbers in 2022. They might also manage to get statehood for D.C. and even Puerto Rico enacted.

The Republicans are now saddled with their Trump base, Abrams seems likely to become Governor in Georgia in 2022, Texas continues to turn purple, if not blue, with the odious Ted Cruz getting calls to resign from the Houston Chronicle and, perhaps Beto O'Rourke looking for a rematch in 2024. Without Georgia and Texas the Republican Party is doomed to be a rural white minority party forever. And Lisa Murkowski might switch her party affiliation to Independent and caucus with the Democrats, giving the Democrats a 51 seat majority without the vote of VP Harris.

Or the Democrats could be so respecting of traditions in D.C. that they get nothing accomplished and lose the House in 2022.

Promise and peril.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jan 12th, 2021 at 03:08:30 AM EST
Great analysis!

Would like to remark that both AfricanAmericans and the Hispanics are not progressive but right of center in the Democratic party.

The 8 years of Bush should show overal the Hispanic vote was Conservative based on religious values - Catholic faith - and pro-live. The Florida Cubans are motivated as you stated.

The Afro-Americans vote for the Democrats because he Republicans as a whole are racist what exploded under Trump due to his dog-whistles and White empowerment. Is endemic problem in the Red States and is part of their culture. It's carried over to their off-spring and enforced by their version of Bible and preachers.

The Bernie Sanders movement was stopped in 2016 by the DNC and establishment ... in 2020 by Rep. Jim Clyburn in SC primary.

Black At The Ballot

On the issues Sanders vs Biden.

Although I am a strong supporter of Bernie Sanders on the issues and his European values, I do realize only a right of center Joe Biden could gain the votes to beat a corrupt demagogue like Trump. America has lost its way with guns and violence part of the election equation. A moderate voice will not be heard.

by Oui on Tue Jan 12th, 2021 at 08:56:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, the Hispanic vote is hardly monolithic. After I posted the comment I realized that I should have also discussed the Rio Grande Valley where there is a split between those who don't want a wall on their property  and who do want freer access to Mexico for shopping and for visiting family and those Hispanics who resent illegals and fear inundation by an open border. I believe that the right candidates can finesse this dilemma with a compromise: no wall but also no free immigration and no demonization of Hispanic immigrants.

But there are also age differences in the views of Hispanics on these issues, with second and third generation younger Hispanics having much more nuanced veiws. This dynamic also favors the views of the young over time. The same is true for other ethnicities. Time may be on our side. A lot depends on how successful Biden and Congress can be between now and 2022.

I full well recognize that Biden is far more centrist than what we really need, but he is what we have and, to his credit, he realizes that a lot of progressive goals have to be implemented, not out of ideology, but because that is what the times and circumstances require. If Biden can manage to extend medical insurance coverage to more residents it does not matter that his approach will cost significantly more than would Medicare for All. It would help if more doctors, nurses and other medical professionals were available and that can and should be addressed. The need for a single payer can be addressed by his successor, if that be a Democrat.

A similar logic applies to cutting back on military expenditures - which MUST NOT be viewed as 'saving the taxpayers money', because, if those savings are not applied to other areas they will be contractionary and will lead to another recession. Overall spending by the government MUST go up. A good compromise might involve shifting money from acquisition of obsolete hardware to  further research via DARPA and increased government support to university research. It would also help to shift much of the development to newer, more innovative and efficient companies and cut back spending via Boeing, Martin Marietta, Raytheon, etc.  

The two most vital tasks are dealing effectively with the pandemic and getting the economy growing at a three percent or greater rate per year. That will end the oppressive burden of austerity which is driving so many to extremism.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jan 12th, 2021 at 04:18:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some thoughts on diversifying military expenditure:

  1. Make veterans facilities available to Medicare recipients where civil facilities are lacking and staff up accordingly.

  2. Declare drug dependency a national emergency and use military facilities and staff to provide treatment centres

  3. Declare US's lack of renewable energy self-sufficiency a national security emergency and mandate the military to address it by building wind and solar farms on their lands were suitable and by/lease other lands as required using military resources and skills.

  4. Declare the US's infrastructure deficit a national emergency and use military resources/skills to project manage remedial projects in cooperation with local communities/contractors.

  5. Declare a climate change emergency and use military resources to project manage defensive infrastructural projects like sea wall, irrigation projects, flood plain management systems etc.

  6. Promote hurricane/storm/earthquake resistant building standards and energy positive housing and office building standards at all military facilities to promote security and resilience and reduce carbon footprints to zero or positive where possible.

Basically use military budgets to promote positive peacetime public goods and to set standards for innovation in solar, wind, working and shelter building standards...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 12th, 2021 at 04:52:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The US Navy just released a new strategy document. Basically the plan is to gear up for re-fighting some combination of WW2 and the Cold War.
by asdf on Tue Jan 12th, 2021 at 08:20:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Generals and Admirals are always trying to re- fight the last war What I am proposing requires civilian (and Presidential) leadership. Re-assign 10% of military budgets to the purposes I propose. After that declare it's use it or lose it...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jan 14th, 2021 at 07:06:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Great comment, Worthy of a diary!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jan 12th, 2021 at 10:12:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I will think about it.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jan 12th, 2021 at 04:22:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Tue Jan 12th, 2021 at 02:50:26 PM EST
One should only say good things about the dead.

Abelson is dead.

Good.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Jan 12th, 2021 at 04:17:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jahweh has abandoned the Jewish people in their journey of four years in the Sands of Nevada within sight of the Citadel of the shining City ... Mozes aka D Trump had Promised a new Dawn ... alas the Darkness of Satan prevailed.

Hayom and Netanyahu are as Mary Magdalene at the scene of the crucifixion.

by Oui on Tue Jan 12th, 2021 at 04:18:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The `MAGA' Civil War has Begun - CJ Werleman - Byline Times
"To me, current conditions feel disturbingly similar to things I have seen in Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia and Cambodia," observes Dr David Kilcullen, a former soldier and diplomat who is widely considered the world's leading expert on counter-insurgency strategy.

He does not foresee a re-run of the American Civil War but rather "something more diffuse" and akin to the decades-long amorphous conflict that ravaged Colombia from 1948 to 1958

... To this end, Dr Kilcullen's comparison with 1950s Columbia looms large.

He notes: "Starting as rioting in Bogota - driven by pre-existing urban-rural, left-right, class and racial divisions - violence spread to the countryside as the two main political parties... mobilised rural supporters to attack each other's communities. Local governments weaponised police to kill or expel political opponents. Extremists joined in and `conflict entrepreneurs' emerged to prolong and profit from the violence."



Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Tue Jan 12th, 2021 at 05:38:32 PM EST
Domestic "revolutionaries" are outnumbered and outgunned by a well trained National Guard.

The problem arises once the guard splits-up in Red and Blue and join the Confederate rebels to overthrow the elected government and install the renegade leader DT. Once in power no need for further elections until the State is freed from chaos and Communists - the Blues - who had elected JB.

The Blues need to secure the seats of power: Pentagon, NSA and CIA. Likely that the rebels will succeed to fire bomb the Capitol in the second run. Who wrote this book of fiction?

My estimate, the swamp is too deep for rebels to succeed in the overthrow. The action must take place before 01-20-2021 12:00 in order to receive the Trump Order of Pardon.

Some quick amateur reading for rebels:

A Study: Military Strategy and War Dilemmas

Strengthening Intelligence Oversight

by Oui on Tue Jan 12th, 2021 at 06:01:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
QAnon Woke Up the Real Deep State - Nicholas Grossman
You attacked America [...] that's how the real Deep State is going to treat it. The impact of that will make everything else feel like a LARP. ...

The law enforcement-intelligence-national security bureaucracy doesn't really care about a lot of the little things people think it cares about. It's mostly focused on terrorists, serial killers, narco-traffickers, and foreign governments. Threats to the nation.

Previous QAnon activity wasn't on that scale, but the Capitol attack is. I don't think this has sunk in yet. It wasn't 9/11, but it was bigger than, for example, Benghazi.

... The Capitol attack was a unique event in American history, something they'll teach about in high school.

... Storming the Capitol, forcefully hindering the execution of U.S. law, and trying to kill top elected officials is a national security problem. What you did was on another level, and the reaction will be too.

... Prosecutions will follow. Big tech companies ... are now treating QAnon almost like how they treat ISIS. A giant federal apparatus built to fight al Qaeda will shift some capacity to fighting you, especially the white nationalist and anti-government militias in your orbit.

You cheered on lawyers who said they'd release the Kraken. But now you've poked Leviathan.



Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Tue Jan 12th, 2021 at 10:36:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Donald Trump and Mike Pence present a united front - DW
US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence had a meeting in the White House on Monday -- the first since Trump supporters invaded the Capitol building -- a senior administration official said.

The two leaders had a "good conversation" despite reports that their relationship had been under strain for the past few days.

Following the talk, a press release from the White House announced that the president had declared a state of emergency in Washington DC from January 11 to January 24 -- four days after Joe Biden's inauguration.

by Bernard on Tue Jan 12th, 2021 at 06:08:37 PM EST
A State of Emergency? To what purpose?


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jan 12th, 2021 at 07:25:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Tue Jan 12th, 2021 at 08:09:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"present" was the operative word in the above piece from DW. Back in DC, the word is a little different:

Mike Pence is done with Trump's `bulls--t'  - Politico

After four-and-a-half years of unbending loyalty, Vice President Mike Pence is ready to move on from Donald Trump. All it took was the president inciting a riot that, quite literally, put Pence's life in danger.

"Pence is done with Trump's bulls--t," said a former Pence adviser. "He's not going to give a prime time speech saying, `F you Donald Trump,' but in his own way he is going to just get to the finish line and keep his head down."

by Bernard on Wed Jan 13th, 2021 at 06:27:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bernard on Thu Jan 14th, 2021 at 05:04:49 PM EST
Quid pro Quo

As defense counsel for Mr. Trump in Senate Impeachment trial, Rudy Giuliani can perform some pay-back.

by Oui on Thu Jan 14th, 2021 at 05:21:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I laughed for a good solid 5 minutes when I heard that.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Thu Jan 14th, 2021 at 09:25:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anybody who works for Trump expecting to get paid is a fool...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jan 14th, 2021 at 10:45:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank, last Friday:
Indeed his approval ratings have rarely slipped below 40%, and currently stand at 42.4%.

Well, no longer, it seems:

Biden Begins Presidency With Positive Ratings; Trump Departs With Lowest-Ever Job Mark - Pew Research Center

Trump's job approval drops sharply, almost entirely among Republicans

Trump job approval has fallen sharply since August. Throughout most of his presidency, Trump's job rating remained more stable than those of his predecessors; it never surpassed 45% or dipped below 36%. But his job approval now stands at just 29%, down 9 percentage points since August and the lowest of his presidency. Much of the decline has come among Republicans and GOP leaners:  Currently, 60% approve of his job performance; 77% approved in August.

by Bernard on Fri Jan 15th, 2021 at 06:02:57 PM EST
The 538 weighted average of polls currently has him at 38.1% - obviously a big drop in the space of a week - and it will probably continue to head south. Rasmussen has him at 48% approval, and Pew and 29%, so you can guess who is telling porkies...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 15th, 2021 at 06:33:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Sat Jan 16th, 2021 at 03:30:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the stupidest things said by a Republican lawmaker about last week's attack on the Capitol (and there is stiff competition):

by Bernard on Sat Jan 16th, 2021 at 09:20:25 PM EST
But the US always has to find an external scapegoat to deflect from its internal problems. External aggression is the preferred mechanism for avoiding dealing with internal tensions.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jan 17th, 2021 at 02:27:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is difficult to get someone to understand something when her career depends upon her not understanding it.
(adapted from Upton Sinclair)
by Bernard on Sun Jan 17th, 2021 at 03:56:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Sun Jan 17th, 2021 at 08:44:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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