Last night I slept better than I have in a long time. For the first time in four years, I actually felt safe. I know there will be times when I disagree with what Biden does as POTUS, but at least I don’t have to worry about him blowing up the world in a fit of pique. The images are from yesterday’s inauguration ceremony.
Mark Leibovich at The Washington Post: Washington Breathes an Uneasy Sigh of Relief.
Quite a difference between two chilly Wednesdays in January: Under a crystalline Inauguration Day sky and a bunting-draped Capitol, the Marine Band welcomed the 46th president into office with a procession of fanfares — in the same spot that a mob answering the call of the 45th had ransacked the building two weeks earlier to try to stop this transfer of power.
There was no mention of Donald J. Trump, the departed and deplatformed commander in chief who flew out of town early in the morning as the first president in 152 years to refuse to attend the swearing-in of his successor.
Whether or not related to the former president’s absence, a bipartisan lightness seemed to prevail across the stage. Snow flurries gave way to sun and an aura distinctly serene. Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, and now former Vice President Mike Pence — both close allies of Mr. Trump who broke bitterly with him in his final days — were seen cracking grins, even chuckling with their counterparts in the opposing party.
Supreme Court justices greeted former presidents with elbow bumps and waved to masked members of Congress from several feet away, a literal separation of powers mandated by the pandemic. The rampage on Jan. 6 had brought on uniformed troops clustered in all directions across a Capitol complex otherwise abandoned by civilians. Still, the inauguration felt like a friendly gathering, a small step toward President Biden’s elusive promise of national unity.
After his inauguration in 2016, Trump took the weekend off. Biden got right to work signing executive orders that reversed some of Trump’s worst policies.
The New York Times: Biden’s 17 Executive Orders and Other Directives in Detail.
In 17 executive orders, memorandums and proclamations signed hours after his inauguration, President Biden moved swiftly on Wednesday to dismantle Trump administration policies his aides said have caused the “greatest damage” to the nation.
Despite an inaugural address that called for unity and compromise, Mr. Biden’s first actions as president are sharply aimed at sweeping aside former President Donald J. Trump’s pandemic response, reversing his environmental agenda, tearing down his anti-immigration policies, bolstering the teetering economic recovery and restoring federal efforts to promote diversity.
Head over to the NYT for the details. Here’s a brief list:
Biden quickly dumped some problematic Trump appointees. Slate: Biden Has Already Fired Three of Trump’s Worst Appointees.
Hours into his presidency, Biden has already ousted three of his predecessors’ most unqualified and corrupt appointees. This clean break sends a clear message that Biden will not tolerate hostile Trump holdovers in his administration, including those with time remaining in their terms.
First, Biden terminated Michael Pack, who was confirmed to head the U.S. Agency for Global Media in June. Pack sought to transform the agency, which oversees the international broadcaster Voice of America, into a propaganda outlet for Trump—despite a statutory mandate that prohibits such political interference. He purged the staff of VOA and its sister networks, replaced them with Trump loyalists, demanded pro-Trump coverage, and unconstitutionally punished remaining journalists who did actual reporting on the administration. In a perverse move, he refused to renew visas for foreign reporters who covered their home countries, subjecting them to retribution by authoritarian regimes. Pack also illegally fired the board of the Open Technology Fund, which promotes international internet freedom, and replaced them with Republican activists….
Second, Biden sacked Kathleen Kraninger, who was confirmed as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2018. Kraninger, who had no previous experience in consumer protection, immediately tried to undermine the agency’s role as a watchdog for the financial sector. She scrapped a landmark rule that restricted predatory payday lending, pressuring staff to downplay the resulting harm to consumers. And she refused to enforce a federal law that protected military personnel against a broad range of predatory lending. Her decision yanked federal support from military families who were defrauded by lenders. In the midst of the pandemic, Kraninger also approved a rule that allows debt collectors to harass Americans with limitless texts and emails demanding repayment….
Third, Biden demanded the resignation of Peter Robb, who was confirmed as the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel in 2017. The NLRB was created to enforce federal laws that guarantee workers the right to form a union and bargain collectively. Yet Robb is vehemently anti-union; during his tenure, he tried to limit employees’ free speech, give managers more leeway to engage in wage theft, hobble unions’ ability to collect dues, and prevent employers from helping workers organize. He also tried to seize near-total control of the agency by demoting every regional director and consolidating power in his office. If successful, this gambit would’ve given him unprecedented authority to bust existing unions and prevent new ones from forming.
Other personnel moves:
Meanwhile, the Senate approved Biden’s choice for DNI.
The Bidens moved quickly on Wednesday to fire White House chief usher Timothy Harleth, who was installed by the Trumps, two sources with knowledge have confirmed to CNN.
Harleth was hired by Melania Trump in 2017 to fill the important role of chief usher. Harleth came to the White House from Trump International Hotel DC, where he was rooms manager….
Harleth took the place of Angella Reid, who was hired during the Obama administration. Reid made history when she took the job in 2011 as the first woman to serve in the position. She was previously the general manager at the Ritz Carlton in Pentagon City, just outside Washington.
She was let go by the Trumps a few months after they took over the White House….
The White House usher is responsible for the management of the building and oversees residence staff. “Construction, maintenance, remodeling, food, as well as the administrative, fiscal and personnel functions” fall under the role’s responsibilities, according to the White House Historical Association.
Reid was the White House’s ninth usher and the second African American.
The chief usher and residence staff are not political positions, and it’s highly unusual for someone to leave at the beginning of a new administration.
I wonder if they can hire Reid again.
There will be plenty of bad news for the new administration to discover about the mess Trump has left them, but they have already learned that there was no plan whatsoever for getting the coronavirus vaccine to desperate Americans.
Newly sworn in President Joe Biden and his advisers are inheriting no coronavirus vaccine distribution plan to speak of from the Trump administration, sources tell CNN, posing a significant challenge for the new White House.
The Biden administration has promised to try to turn the Covid-19 pandemic around and drastically speed up the pace of vaccinating Americans against the virus. But in the immediate hours following Biden being sworn into office on Wednesday, sources with direct knowledge of the new administration’s Covid-related work told CNN one of the biggest shocks that the Biden team had to digest during the transition period was what they saw as a complete lack of a vaccine distribution strategy under former President Donald Trump, even weeks after multiple vaccines were approved for use in the United States.
“There is nothing for us to rework. We are going to have to build everything from scratch,” one source said.
Another source described the moment that it became clear the Biden administration would have to essentially start from “square one” because there simply was no plan as: “Wow, just further affirmation of complete incompetence.”
More from The Daily Beast: ‘Worse Than We Imagined’: Team Trump Left Biden a COVID Nightmare.
“What we’re inheriting from the Trump administration is so much worse than we could have imagined,” Jeff Zients, the Biden administration’s COVID-19 czar, said in a call with reporters Wednesday. “We don’t have the visibility that we would hope to have into supply and allocations.”
“I think we have to level-set expectations,” added Tom Frieden, the former director for the Centers for Disease Control in the Obama administration. “There are lots of things that an incoming administration can do on Day One, including speaking honestly about the pandemic.”
The new administration is already behind, in part because the Trump administration was unprecedentedly hostile during the transition. The question now, however, is how Biden can get a handle on a raging pandemic when his team is already so far behind.
The task at hand is enormous. More than 400,000 Americans have died of COVID-19. Every state, territory and the District of Columbia is in a state of emergency. The number of people infected with the virus who are now hospitalized is more than double the number reached during the spring and summer peaks.
It’s not just the spread of the virus that the Biden team needs to tackle. Officials will also have to confront the disinformation and misinformation about the virus that has permeated all four corners of the country—where people still believe the virus is a hoax and that public health guidelines are too great of an imposition on their personal freedom to follow. But it’s unclear what power of persuasion the Biden administration will hold and if it will be enough to convince people to take the virus more seriously.
Biden will be busy again today. CNBC: Biden to sign 10 executive orders and invoke Defense Production Act to combat Covid pandemic.
On his first full day in office, President Joe Biden released details Thursday of his sweeping plan to combat the coronavirus, announcing 10 executive orders and directing agencies to use wartime powers to require U.S. companies to make N95 masks, swabs and other equipment to fight the pandemic.
The president’s plan emphasizes ramping up testing for the coronavirus, accelerating the pace of vaccinations and providing more funding and direction to state and local officials. A key component of the plan is restoring trust with the American public. It also focuses on vaccinating more people, safely reopening schools, businesses and travel as well as slowing the spread of the virus.
“The National Strategy provides a roadmap to guide America out of the worst public health crisis in a century,” the plan says. “America has always risen to the challenge we face and we will do so now.”
Biden has taken office at a pivotal moment in the pandemic, many epidemiologists and U.S. health officials say. Nearly 3,000 Americans are dying every day of Covid-19, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, and newly discovered, more infectious strains are establishing footholds in the U.S., threatening to push the nation’s outbreak to even more deadly heights. The plan released Thursday expands on initiatives outlined last week and details how Biden plans to bring the outbreak under control and help the country recover.
So this seems like a good start. I’m beginning to feel somewhat hopeful again. It’s such a relief to know that I won’t be waking up to horrible tweets and stories about the childish man in the oval office throwing epic tantrums and demanding undying loyalty from everyone. How are you feeling today? As always, this is an open thread.
Good Day Sky Dancers!
Just five more days until Trump is tossed out of the White House. I’m so worried about the Inauguration plans I can hardly express it. The more we find out about the planned insurrection and the actual participation of MAGA Congressional Sewer Rats in aiding and abetting what could’ve been a mass murder site, the more I’m convinced it should be in a bunker or something akin to that. I’m also hoping they’ve made sure that all the remaining police and military present have been carefully checked since so many MAGA Sewer Rats have those backgrounds.
The crazy ass High School Drop Out/Gun Toting/ We don’t need no stinking metal detectors Maga Congressional Sewer Rat from Rifle, Colorado tweeted Nancy Pelosi’s whereabouts during the Trumpist Insurrection Riot. Deplorable doesn’t even begin to get close to describing her. Her name should be right up there with all the seditionists if this and more she’s suspected of is proven to be true in a court. This little MAGA sewer rat decided to apologize today. Too late you crazy little seditionist you! We will know soon!
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), a gun-rights hardliner who has vowed to carry her firearm around the Capitol, on Thursday backtracked on her accusation that Rep. Patrick Maloney (D-NY) had tied her to the deadly insurrection at the Capitol by President Donald Trump’s supporters.
In the interview, Maloney discussed a fellow Democrat’s account of seeing one lawmaker give a “tour” of the Capitol with the insurrectionists the day before the siege. Then Maloney expressed alarm over “some of our new colleagues” who “believe in conspiracy theories and who want to carry guns into the House chamber.”
“This conduct is beyond the pale and it extends to some of this interaction with the very people who attacked the Capitol,” he said.
Right before a House vote on Tuesday night, Boebert refused to hand over her bag to the Capitol police after she set off the newly installed metal detectors at the entrance of the House chamber. However, she wasn’t alone: Several of her GOP colleagues also set off the alarm or refused to go through the detector altogether and walked around it to enter the chamber.
As BB showed us yesterday, we’re just beginning to see what the folks tried to do and it still looks like they had inside help.
Secret Service officers eventually spirited Pence to a room off the Senate floor with his wife and daughter after rioters began to pour into the Capitol, many loudly denouncing the vice president as a traitor as they marched through the first floor below the Senate chamber.
About one minute after Pence was hustled out of the chamber, a group charged up the stairs to a second-floor landing in the Senate, chasing a Capitol Police officer who drew them away from the Senate.
Pence and his family had just ducked into a hideaway less than 100 feet from that landing, according to three people familiar with his whereabouts, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. If the pro-Trump mob had arrived seconds earlier, the attackers would have been in eyesight of the vice president as he was rushed across a reception hall into the office.
The proximity of the Jan. 6 mob to the vice president and the delay in evacuating him from the chamber — which have not been previously reported — raise questions about why the Secret Service did not move him earlier and underscore the jeopardy that top government leaders faced during the siege.
One man who made his way into the Senate chamber reached Pence’s chair on the Senate dais. Shirtless, wearing face paint and a furry coyote-tail hat and carrying a six-foot-long spear, Jacob A. Chansley of Arizona left a note on the vice president’s desk that read in part, “it’s only a matter of time, justice is coming,” according to court filings.
Chansley — who has been charged with two felonies, including threatening congressional officials — told investigators he was glad to reach Pence’s desk because he believes the vice president is a child-trafficking traitor, but said he did not mean the note as a threat.
At 2:13 p.m., Pence suddenly left the Senate floor and was moved to the nearby office, according to C-SPAN footage and a Post reporter on the scene.
But the rioters were not far behind. They chased Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman up a flight of stairs, arriving on the landing at 2:14 p.m., video footage shows — seconds after the vice president had been whisked inside the office.
Federal prosecutors said in a court filing on Thursday that President Donald Trump’s mob that laid siege on the U.S. Capitol last week intended “to capture and assassinate elected officials.”
Prosecutors made the assessment in a court filing that requested QAnon conspiracy theorist Jacob Chansley, an Arizona man who stormed the U.S. Capitol last week outfitted in horns, fur and face paint, be “detained pending trial” on Friday.“Strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States government,” government prosecutors wrote.The allegations, written by Justice Department lawyers in Arizona, come as the government have begun describing in more alarming terms what transpired.U.S. Attorney Michael Bailey and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristen Brook in Arizona warned in the filing first reported by Reuters, that Chansley had expressed interest in returning to Washington, D.C. for President-Elect Biden’s inauguration and “has the ability to do so if the Court releases him.”
“Strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States government,” the prosecutors wrote in an 18-page memo demanding the insurrectionist’s detention.
The filing indicates that after posing for a photo at the Senate dais last Wednesday, Chansley left a note for Vice President Mike Pence, who had been swept away to safety amid the attack, warning the vice president that “it’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”
Prosecutors suggested that the violent Capitol riot was part of an ongoing attempt to overthrow the federal government, saying, “the insurrection is still in progress” as law enforcement prepares for potential attempts at further violence ahead of Biden’s inauguration next week.
The prosecutors’ assessment comes as lawmakers on Thursday reported plans to purchase body armor and alter their routines amid death threats in the wake of the attack which left five people, including a Capitol police officer dead.
The court filing arrives as it grows increasingly clear that law enforcement and federal authorities had also failed to properly secure the Capitol complex and issue warnings amid clear threats of violence, ahead of the Jan. 6 session to reaffirm Joe Biden as the nation’s next president.
In other news, a judge has ordered that the costumed whackadoo will be fed his ‘organic’ foods diet. It didn’t stop the NY Post from labelling him a rioter so where’s your law and order president and right wing press now?
The bottom line on all of this is that the Feds are getting closer to actual charges of sedition. This can only help the impeachment trial coming to the Senate. This is from Politico.
Federal prosecutors on Thursday for the first time described last week’s assault on the U.S. Capitol as a “violent insurrection that attempted to overthrow the United States Government” — and one they consider to still be underway.
The language was included in a filing in federal district court in Arizona, intended to deny bail to Jacob Anthony Chansley, a man they describe as “an active participant in” and “the most prominent symbol of” the insurrection.
While prosecutors are recommending that Chansley be detained pending trial, the court’s pretrial services agency recommended that he be released with conditions on his movements to reduce the chance that he would pose a threat as he awaits his day in court. But the government said evidence it has uncovered made that recommendation imprudent.
“Media and FBI reports have detailed carefully-planned insurrection attempts scheduled throughout the country in the coming weeks at every state capital, including the Arizona’s capitol,” prosecutors said. “As he admitted, and as corroborated by the items in his car, Chansley expected to go there after his FBI interview (if he had not been arrested).”
The government also described releasing Chansley as particularly risky because of his association with Qanon, which it called a “dangerous anti-government conspiracy” that has treated him as a leader, helped him travel “off-the-grid” and “fundraise rapidly through unconventional means.” Prosecutors also note he is a “repeated drug user” who is “unable to appreciate reality.”
A federal magistrate judge in Phoenix is scheduled to hold a bail hearing for Chansley on Friday afternoon.
Well, FurrySex cosplayers, flag poles, and Q Anon seem to bring a deadly mix of crazy .
For many years here I am the one that provides our tribute to Dr. King on his birthday. It’s strange how on this day that he stands as someone who a lot of change while he did not need guns, seriously weird costumes and cult like slogans and hats. He never provided any messages of hate. He was arrested but never led a violent march or protest. The violence was done to him and those who joined him. The Trumpist Insurrection states as a clear opposite and I doubt they’ll change much of anything in the long run.
Here’s some thoughts in a Chicago Tribune by Eboo Patel on the legacy of Dr King in yet another horrible time of white nationalism in our country. “Commentary: What Martin Luther King Jr. taught us about embracing our enemies”.
What might we learn from how King dealt with such mobs in his own time? It is reasonable to believe that King would support holding people accountable for crimes committed, but King also held a higher hope for at least some of those who were part of the mob. Namely, that they might be changed, and then included in the beloved community of American democracy.
It was toward the end of the Montgomery bus boycott, after enduring a year of death threats, false arrests and firebombings from white mobs, that King spoke of “the glorious opportunity to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of our civilization.”
It was precisely when others had shown themselves at their worst that it was most important for righteous people to “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you.”
He continued, “This is the time for reconciliation. This is the time for redemption. This is the time to build the beloved community.”
Let us be clear about how remarkable this is. Some of the people he was advocating for had attempted to burn down King’s home, seriously endangering his wife and their new baby. And still King believed they could change, and be included in the beloved community of American democracy.
I’m not sure that some of these folks will ever join a beloved community. However, a recent poll has shown that an overwhelming number of Americans believe the Capitol Hill insurrection was wrong and violent while a majority believe Trump should be blocked from further public office and blame him for the riots. However, a majority of Republicans blame Biden of all people. Republicans are sadly out of touch with any notion of “beloved community”. This shocked me (last link via The Hill).
While 59 percent of voters who were aware of Wednesday’s events at the Capitol said they viewed them as more violent than peaceful, 58 percent of Republicans said the opposite, believing the actions of protesters were largely peaceful.
Republicans believe their own eyes lie to them evidently. The level of delusion in these folks is just incredible and any one that follows me on Facebook followed me trying to reason with one of them I knew from High School believing that the events unfolding would change some hearts and minds.
I just got the usual propaganda about the big lie than a whole lot of Clinton Derangement Syndrome. I’m still not sure we’re safe on our own streets as long as the folks stay ignorant and mean. And wow, did he throw some mean shit at me before I blocked his ass.
I don’t care what he said about me or anything else because obviously a highly disturbed individual but look at the KKK during MLK’s time and now during ours. Look at NAZI sympathizers during MLK’s life and now during ours. Have any of them ever shown an interest of becoming anything but an angry aggrieved mob of wipipo let alone a “beloved community”? They’re as mean and ugly and violent as ever.
So, I’m going to go try to get back to my actual job of teaching economics if my nerves and dancing stomach allow. There’s an ongoing Presser going on in DC with both Federal and local leadership. I placed the CNN breaking news tweet/link above but here ‘s a few more.
Well, we’re close to a lot of things including the Trump Presidency. I just hope we can get out of this without going over the edge and down. At least we still have each other. I love you all! Hang in there!
What’s on your blogging and reading list today?
Yesterday Donald Trump was impeached for the second time, and this time ten Republicans voted yea. There won’t be a trial before Joe Biden is inaugurated, but one must be held after Trump leaves office. Furthermore, despite what James Comey says, Trump must be prosecuted for his crimes.
Grant Tudor and Ian Bassin at The Atlantic: Of Course America Prosecutes Its Executive-Branch Leaders.
Against the recent spectacle of an American president and his allies inciting an insurrection, such criminal misconduct by other chief executives appears almost quotidian. Illegally lining one’s own pockets is never good, but extorting public officials to manipulate election results is more than a difference of degree. One might assume, then, at this stage of things, that accountability for lawbreaking would be uncontroversial. And yet debate over the appropriateness of prosecutions for possible wide-ranging criminal behavior at the most senior levels of government is in full swing.
Various commentators have warned that prosecutions would “set a dangerous precedent” of punishing political opponents. Others have cautioned against the risk of creating martyrs or exacerbating polarization. After January 6, some changed their minds. But many others have not, speculating that the risks are still “just not worth it.” Even President-elect Joe Biden has made clear that he hopes to avoid “divisive” investigations. Although he has committed to a Justice Department that will operate with independence, “he can set a tone about what he thinks should be done,” as one adviser put it. And the president-elect has indicated that he “wants to move on.”
This would be a mistake. It not only contradicts the available evidence on how best to guard against the recurrence of serious transgressions, but also stands in odd contrast to how our own “laboratories of democracy”—the states—deal with misconduct by powerful executive-branch officials. Indeed, federalism provides the privilege to test government actions on a smaller scale in order to base more consequential federal decisions on evidence, not speculation. And the evidence from U.S. states is clear: When the rule of law runs its course, it typically prevails, and without precipitating a crisis.
A chief reason states prosecute their most powerful public officials is that prosecutions help deter future lawbreaking. Insofar as the law is applied consistently—without regard for the profile of the person in question—prosecutions send clear signals. Beliefs about the probability of punishment operate forcefully on people’s decisions.
Criminal affirmance—the tacit condoning of dangerous behavior in the absence of prosecution—also sends a clear signal. Research shows that, especially with elite criminal behavior, not pursuing punishment works to undermine confidence in government by visibly carving out exceptions in the rule of law, and broadcasts to other powerful actors that criminality is rewarding. As Mary Ramirez, a former trial attorney with the Justice Department, observed in the aftermath of the 2009 financial crisis: “A petty thief that evades prosecution has virtually no impact on the rule of law, but a CEO that evades prosecution … is an advertisement.”
Read the rest at The Atlantic.
An example of prosecution of a former public official being prosecuted for crimes committed in office is taking place now in Michigan. AP: Ex.-Michigan Gov. Snyder charged in Flint water crisis.
Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder was charged Wednesday with willful neglect of duty after an investigation of ruinous decisions that left Flint with lead-contaminated water and a regional outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease.
The charges, revealed in an online court record, are misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The charges are groundbreaking: No governor or former governor in Michigan’s 184-year history had been charged with crimes related to their time in that office, according to the state archivist….
Besides Snyder, a Republican who was governor from 2011 through 2018, charges are expected against other people, including former officials who served as his state health director and as a senior adviser.
The alleged offense date is April 25, 2014, when a Snyder-appointed emergency manager who was running the struggling, majority Black city carried out a money-saving decision to use the Flint River for water while a regional pipeline from Lake Huron was under construction.
The corrosive water, however, was not treated properly and released lead from old plumbing into homes in one of the worst manmade environmental disasters in U.S. history.
Despite desperate pleas from residents holding jugs of discolored, skunky water, the Snyder administration took no significant action until a doctor reported elevated lead levels in children about 18 months later.
Trump cannot be allowed to escape accountability for the damage he has done to the country, no matter how long it takes. In addition, Republican Congresspeople who aided and abetted Trump in his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election should also be punished, ideally by expulsion from the House and Senate.
Did some lawmakers go further by actually helping the rioters who attacked the Capitol on January 6? The Washington Post: Democrats demand investigation of whether Republicans in Congress aided Capitol rioters.
More from Buzzfeed News: Capitol Police Officers Said They Wouldn’t Be Surprised If Members Of Congress Helped Plan The Attack.
After seeing one of their colleagues killed last Wednesday, Capitol Police officers are angry that Republican members of Congress refuse to submit to the security changes put in place since then, and say they wouldn’t even be surprised if some lawmakers helped organize the attack.
Officers told BuzzFeed News that members of Congress often see security as optional. Even after last week’s deadly attack, some Republican members refused to go through metal detectors, pushing their way past Capitol Police officers.
“Officers are fuming and there are mumbles of several walking off the job,” one officer with more than 10 years on the force told BuzzFeed News — just as Republicans took to the floor last night to rail against even basic security measures. At one point today, officers set up tables around the metal detectors in an effort to block Republicans from just walking by them.
One of the officers said it’s not unusual for members of Congress to bring dozens of people at once and insist that visitors be waved past security. Officers’ concerns were echoed by some Democrats who have been speaking out about the state of security at the Capitol, and the potential involvement of members in the planning of the insurrection….
Two of the officers who spoke to BuzzFeed News said it wouldn’t surprise them if lawmakers had been involved. “There are definitely some members who need to be held to account once an investigation shows the totality of circumstances,” one said, in a sign of how betrayed some officers feel in the aftermath of the assault on the Capitol.
Yesterday, massive numbers of National Guard troops were stationed at the Capitol and other sites in DC. The Washington Post: Security footprint grows in nation’s capital ahead of inauguration.
I’m still feeling emotionally overwhelmed by the events of last week and the subsequent day-by-day revelations that the coup attempt was so much worse than it first appeared. Furthermore, the danger of violent insurrection by Trump supporters isn’t over by any means.
At Politico, Russia expert Fiona Hill explains why what happened last week was a coup attempt: Yes, It Was a Coup. Here’s Why. What Trump tried is called a “self-coup,” and he did it in slow motion and in plain sight.
Since last Wednesday, people have been arguing what to call what happened at the U.S. Capitol — was it a riot? An uprising? An insurrection? I’ve been public in calling it a coup, but others disagree. Some have said it’s not a coup because the U.S. military and other armed groups weren’t involved, and some because Donald Trump didn’t invoke his presidential powers in support of the mob that broke into the Capitol. Others point out that no one has claimed or proved there was a secret plan directed by the president, and that Trump’s efforts to overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election could never have succeeded in the first place.
These observations are based on the idea that a coup is a sudden, violent seizure of power involving clandestine plots and military takeovers. By contrast, Trump’s goal was to keep himself in power, and his actions were taken over a period of months and in slow motion.
But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a coup attempt. Trump disguised what he was doing by operating in plain sight, talking openly about his intent. He normalized his actions so people would accept them. I’ve been studying authoritarian regimes for three decades, and I know the signs of a coup when I see them.
Technically, what Trump attempted is what’s known as a “self-coup” and Trump isn’t the first leader to try it. Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte (nephew of the first Napoleon) pulled one off in France in December 1851 to stay in power beyond his term. Then he declared himself Emperor, Napoleon III. More recently, Nicolas Maduro perpetrated a self-coup in Venezuela after losing the 2017 elections.
The storming of the Capitol building on January 6 was the culmination of a series of actions and events taken or instigated by Trump so he could retain the presidency that together amount to an attempt at a self-coup. This was not a one-off or brief episode. Trump declared “election fraud” immediately on November 4 even while the votes were still being counted. He sought to recount and rerun the election so that he, not Joe Biden, was the winner. In Turkey, in 2015, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan successfully did the same thing; he had called elections to strengthen his presidency, but his party lost its majority in the Parliament. He challenged the results in the courts, marginalized the opposition and forced what he blatantly called a “re-run election.” He tried again in the Istanbul mayoral election in 2019 but was thwarted.
Again, the latest reporting shows that the threat of violence from the Trump hoards is not over. CNN: New terror threat points to plot to surround Capitol, lawmaker says.
Thousands of armed pro-Donald Trump extremists are plotting to surround the US Capitol ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, according to a member of Congress who was among those briefed late Monday on a series of new threats against lawmakers and the Capitol itself.
“They were talking about 4,000 armed ‘patriots’ to surround the Capitol and prevent any Democrat from going in,” Rep. Conor Lamb, a Pennsylvania Democrat, told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on “New Day.” “They have published rules of engagement, meaning when you shoot and when you don’t. So this is an organized group that has a plan. They are committed to doing what they’re doing because I think in their minds, you know, they are patriots and they’re talking about 1776 and so this is now a contest of wills.”
He continued, “We are not negotiating with or reasoning with these people. They have to be prosecuted. They have to be stopped. And unfortunately, that includes the President, which is why he needs to be impeached and removed from office.”
Monday’s briefing followed an FBI bulletin warning of “armed protests” being planned at all 50 state capitols and in Washington, DC, and provides the latest sense of a heightened state of alarm among lawmakers and law enforcement officials following last week’s deadly siege at the US Capitol.
Two Democratic lawmakers who participated in the briefing told CNN that they were walked through several scenarios on a call Monday and officers were sober about the threats. An effort was made to emphasize how different security is right now, the members said.
“They are very strong when we are weak. That is when the mob psychology takes hold and they are emboldened, but when met with actual determined force, I think a lot of these fantasy world beliefs about what will happen when they come to Washington will melt away,” one of the members said.
Let’s hope so, but these people are crazy. They’ve been brainwashed by right wing media and insane conspiracy theories. They seem impervious to facts. Read more details on the briefing at HuffPost: House Democrats Briefed On 3 Terrifying Plots To Overthrow Government.
Stephen Collinson at CNN with a summary of where things stand today: Trump’s disastrous end to his shocking presidency.
President Donald Trump is leaving America in a vortex of violence, sickness and death and more internally estranged than it has been for 150 years.
The disorientating end to his shocking term has the nation reeling from a Washington insurrection. The FBI warned Monday of armed protests by pro-Trump thugs in 50 states, which raise the awful prospect of a domestic insurgency. Lawmakers have been briefed about a plot to surround the US Capitol by extremists inspired by Trump’s false and dangerous claims the election was stolen. Health officials fear 5,000 Americans could soon be dying every day from the pandemic Trump ignored. Hospitals are swamped and medical workers are shattered amid a faltering rollout of the vaccine supposed to end the crisis.
It took 200 years for the country to rack up its first two presidential impeachments. Trump’s malfeasance has led the country down that awful, divisive path twice in just more than a year. With House Democrats expected to formally impeach the President for inciting a mob assault on Congress on Wednesday, he will rely on the Republican enablers who refused to rein in his lawlessness to save him from conviction again.
Millions of Americans have bought into the delusional, poisoned fiction that an election Trump lost was stolen, and there are signs that some police and military forces have been radicalized by the grievance he stokes.
The city Trump has called home for four years is being turned into an armed camp incongruous with the mood of joy and renewal that pulsates through most inaugurations. In a symbol of a democracy under siege, the people’s buildings — the White House and the US Capitol — are caged behind ugly iron and cement barriers.
This is the legacy President-elect Joe Biden will inherit in eight days when he swears to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution — an oath that Trump trampled when inciting the Capitol attack last week from behind a bulletproof screen while buckling the cherished US chain of peaceful transfers of power.
Tim Miller writes at the Bulwark: The Attack on Democracy Is Not Over. It’s Still Happening. Right Now.
Republicans in Congress are playing a dangerous game, again, this time trying to dodge responsibility for having incited the violent mob attack on the U.S. Capitol, rather than address the ongoing threat head-on.
Their new posture is premised on the notion that what happened last Wednesday was a one-off protest that got out of hand. This is false.
That attack was merely part of—note, not “the terminus of”—an ongoing, multi-pronged assault on the foundation of our democratic system by hostile actors.
It is an assault that nearly all members of the Republican congressional caucus have taken part in; some as witting pro-insurrection cultists, and others as cowardly, cowering coddlers.
Where do we go from here?
1) An FBI bulletin reports that “Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the U.S. Capitol from 17 January through 20 January.”
2) Militia members are plotting a January 19 action in Washington, D.C.
3) TheDonald.Win forum members are calling for political executions.
4) The president who incited the insurrection is set to speak today in Alamo, Texas. This symbolism is not lost on his supporters.
5) After the insurrection, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell—who has sponsored and funded the “news outlets” that fomented the insurrection—put a video on Instagram saying that the effort to overturn the election is not over; that this is “the biggest crime in election history”; that Biden’s inauguration should be delayed if Trump does not stay in power; and that keeping Trump in power will “prevent civil war.” As of yesterday, Lindell was not backing down from his continued claims of fraud.
6) Since the insurrection many of the “news” outlets that fomented it are completely unchastened, and their propaganda is continuing to be shared by Republican elected officials.
Now consider how Republicans in government are continuing to try to derail the transfer of power:
1) The FBI, DOJ, and DHS have all been silent about the attack, avoiding any public briefing for fear of offending the president who perpetrated it. (Though it should be said that the FBI seems to be doing a fair job of tracking down and arresting suspects.)
2) Administration officials who are ostensibly in charge of homeland security are resigning rather than engaging in crisis management.
3) The Senate isn’t even in session. Mitch McConnell cited their vacation as an excuse for not holding a Trump impeachment trial. There have been no hearings about the sacking of the Capitol.
4) For the first time in the last ten transitions, the GOP Senate is not confirming Biden cabinet members prior to the inauguration. That’s right: There will be no Homeland Security secretary, attorney general, secretary of State, or secretary of Health and Human Services when Joe Biden takes office in the wake of a domestic terror attack during a pandemic which has killed nearly 400,000 Americans.
5) Republican officials continue to call for investigations into imaginary fraud in order to appease the insurrectionists.
6) Several Republican officials have threatened the possibility of more violence if Trump is held to account for his actions.
Take all of these data points together and what you have is an active, ongoing threat to our democratic system from forces both inside and outside the government.
Meanwhile, Trump is headed to the Alamo to brag about his border wall. My guess is that destination is no coincidence. He hasn’t given up on overturning the election and becoming a dictator like his idols Putin and Erdogan. On his way out of the White House, Trump made clear that he takes no responsibility for the violent attack on the Capitol.
The Guardian: ‘Totally appropriate’: Trump shows no remorse over role in Capitol attack.
An unrepentant Donald Trump has denied inciting an insurrection at the US Capitol last week, claiming his speech before the violence was “totally appropriate”.
The president spoke to reporters for the first time since a pro-Trump mob rampaged through the Capitol last Wednesday, leaving five people dead. Democrats accuse him of stoking violence and could vote to impeach him on Wednesday.
“So if you read my speech, and many people have done it, and I’ve seen it both in the papers and in the media, on television, it’s been analysed, and people thought that what I said was totally appropriate,” Trump insisted at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, ahead of a trip to Texas.
As he left the White House on Tuesday, Trump said: “The impeachment is really a continuation of the greatest witch-hunt in the history of politics. It’s ridiculous. It’s absolutely ridiculous. This impeachment is causing tremendous anger and it’s really a terrible thing that they’re doing.”
Hoping to turn impeachment into another partisan fight and rally disenchanted Republicans back to his side, Trump condemned Democrats for pursuing the charge.
“For Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to continue on this path,” he said, “I think it’s causing tremendous danger to our country and it’s causing tremendous anger.”
But he added: “I want no violence.”
There’s another blatant lie. We still have to survive eight more days of this madness. Take care everyone. Be kind to yourselves today.
Good Day Sky Dancers!
I’m a little late today. I taught all weekend and mostly on my feet so I’m a bit sore and tired and definitely feeling my age setting in. I woke up to drink some coffee and look for things to share. I wound up spending some time watching the New Orleans D.A. Jason Williams take his oath of office. He was my City Council Member and then one of the at large City Council members. He ran an ambitious campaign to be the People’s DA. The Ceremony was heart-lifting for many reasons. It had everything that makes New Orleans special on display. It also shows that peaceful transfer of power can occur.
What really brought me home was Glenn David Andrews performance of “Lift Every Voice'”. You can see it on the link up there on Facebook. Here’s another version of it from Zion Hill Baptist in the Treme. Glenn David provides some witness to his life experience and the role of his mother in his life. The song has been called “The Negro’s Anthem” and was written first as a poem by poet James Weldon Johnson. who was an essential part of the Harlem Renaissance. It was commissioned by the NAACP. The song was written by Johnson and his brother around 1900. Every choir should know this song as well as they know The Battle Hymn of the Republic. I found at a recent Funeral that I can still sing every vocal part to the Battle Hymn including a counter melody I learned in High School..
It reminds me of the last time we had to deal with Lost Causers and call for a reconstruction that actually works. The music of the the struggle continues to invigorate us and demand of us to continue the dream of a more perfect union with liberty and justice for all. I do not think I will ever get over seeing the Confederate Flag carried into Capitol Hill after I’ve lost blood relatives making sure that insurrection was put down like the evil it was.
Seeing a noose hanging from platform built on Capitol Hill’s West lawn was equally shocking. I am just beginning to hear what my black friends and neighbors felt seeing those sights. I’m pretty sure that the Georgia senate race outcomes had a lot to do with some of this imagery. It also had a lot to do with the great fear all White Southern Nationalists have which is basically all the black people in their states will vote. The biggest symbols of the Trump and Republican losses were the absolute commitment Black American Voters made to the US Democracy. The rest of us may have contributed or my have had a free ride but they clearly voted for democracy and freedom.
I called BB late last night near the end of my last few student hours and she shared some extraordinary links with me. This is one that’s a very long read but I do think you should dig through it. “The American Abyss. A historian of fascism and political atrocity on Trump, the mob and what comes next.” It’s written by Timothy Snyder who closely studies these things as a History Professor at Yale. Here is his section on Post Truth and Pre Fascism.
Post-truth is pre-fascism, and Trump has been our post-truth president. When we give up on truth, we concede power to those with the wealth and charisma to create spectacle in its place. Without agreement about some basic facts, citizens cannot form the civil society that would allow them to defend themselves. If we lose the institutions that produce facts that are pertinent to us, then we tend to wallow in attractive abstractions and fictions. Truth defends itself particularly poorly when there is not very much of it around, and the era of Trump — like the era of Vladimir Putin in Russia — is one of the decline of local news. Social media is no substitute: It supercharges the mental habits by which we seek emotional stimulation and comfort, which means losing the distinction between what feels true and what actually is true.
Post-truth wears away the rule of law and invites a regime of myth. These last four years, scholars have discussed the legitimacy and value of invoking fascism in reference to Trumpian propaganda. One comfortable position has been to label any such effort as a direct comparison and then to treat such comparisons as taboo. More productively, the philosopher Jason Stanley has treated fascism as a phenomenon, as a series of patterns that can be observed not only in interwar Europe but beyond it.
My own view is that greater knowledge of the past, fascist or otherwise, allows us to notice and conceptualize elements of the present that we might otherwise disregard and to think more broadly about future possibilities. It was clear to me in October that Trump’s behavior presaged a coup, and I said so in print; this is not because the present repeats the past, but because the past enlightens the present.
Trump is the same kind of failed tinpot dictator that countries with no real rule of law or proper governance end up with. But, the original sins of our country–genocide and theft from indigenous nations and enslaving Black Africans–will follow us down until we soundly deal with it. Trump is the result of white grievance. This is the biggest problem we need to soundly deal with is the number of white people that would enslave themselves to ensure they’re whiteness means something.
The big lie requires commitment. When Republican gamers do not exhibit enough of that, Republican breakers call them “RINOs”: Republicans in name only. This term once suggested a lack of ideological commitment. It now means an unwillingness to throw away an election. The gamers, in response, close ranks around the Constitution and speak of principles and traditions. The breakers must all know (with the possible exception of the Alabama senator Tommy Tuberville) that they are participating in a sham, but they will have an audience of tens of millions who do not.
If Trump remains present in American political life, he will surely repeat his big lie incessantly. Hawley and Cruz and the other breakers share responsibility for where this leads. Cruz and Hawley seem to be running for president. Yet what does it mean to be a candidate for office and denounce voting? If you claim that the other side has cheated, and your supporters believe you, they will expect you to cheat yourself. By defending Trump’s big lie on Jan. 6, they set a precedent: A Republican presidential candidate who loses an election should be appointed anyway by Congress. Republicans in the future, at least breaker candidates for president, will presumably have a Plan A, to win and win, and a Plan B, to lose and win. No fraud is necessary; only allegations that there are allegations of fraud. Truth is to be replaced by spectacle, facts by faith.
We need to find the lawmakers and others responsible for this and hold them to account. However, as Hillary Clinton wrote today in a WAPO opinion “But it is not enough to scrutinize — and prosecute — the domestic terrorists who attacked our Capitol. We all need to do some soul-searching of our own.” Why are so many of these folks still hanging to the idea that 90 plus courts throwing out cases because of no evidence doesn’t mean that the evidence isn’t out there?
In Isabel Wilkerson’s new book “Caste,” she cites a question from historian Taylor Branch: “If people were given the choice between democracy and whiteness, how many would choose whiteness?” Wednesday reminded us of an ugly truth: There are some Americans, more than many want to admit, who would choose whiteness.
It’s sobering that many people were unsurprised by what occurred last week, particularly people of color, for whom a violent mob waving Confederate flags and hanging nooses is a familiar sight in American history. Consider what we saw last June, when Black Lives Matter protesters peacefully demonstrating in Lafayette Square were met with federal officers and tear gas. If the first step toward healing and unity is honesty, that starts with recognizing that this is indeed part of who we are.
Removing Trump from office is essential, and I believe he should be impeached. Members of Congress who joined him in subverting our democracy should resign, and those who conspired with the domestic terrorists should be expelled immediately. But that alone won’t remove white supremacy and extremism from America. There are changes elected leaders should pursue immediately, including advocating new criminal laws at the state and federal levels that hold white supremacists accountable and tracking the activities of extremists such as those who breached the Capitol. Twitter and other companies made the right decision to stop Trump from using their platforms, but they will have to do more to stop the spread of violent speech and conspiracy theories.
The Biden administration will need to address this crisis in all its complexity and breadth, including holding technology platforms accountable, prosecuting all who broke our laws, and making public more intelligence and analysis about domestic terrorism.
I’ve seen twitters of crying white guys in airports insisting they love each and every one of of and whining about being called a ‘a fucking domestic terrorist” and that the law is “messing up his life”. What all the felonies he committed mean nothing? How do you get to a point of believing evidence that doesn’t exist per over 90 courts plus the Supreme Court with the Trumpy Appointments? How do you get to a point where you think they’re messing with your life when you join in an insurrection riot?
The real heroes of the day are folks like US Capitol Officer Eugene Goodman pictured up top and in the tweet below.
At first glance, the video is both scary and startling. A lone Black lawman momentarily facing down an angry mob of white rioters before retreating, giving ground to their fury. As we have now learned, there is a bigger story to be told.
Seeing that they were heading towards the open Senate chambers, Capitol police officer Eugene Goodman took control of the mob, giving its leader a shove to get his attention and then drawing them away in pursuit. In short, he tricked them, willingly becoming the rabbit to their wolf pack, pulling them away from the chambers where armed officers were waiting, avoiding tragedy and saving lives. Lives which include their own.
An Army veteran who spent time in Iraq, Goodman’s actions bring a measure of honor to a police force that saw some of its members acting in a questionable manner. Calls have come for him to receive national commendation for his actions, perhaps even the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Now, that’s not my call to make, but this man deserves far more than our praise and thanks. Maybe our soon to be President will award a medal to someone other than a radio talking head, sympathetic politicians, or a few golfers. And also, maybe a little pay increase.
We saw the worst of our nature on display Wednesday. Many people immediately stood up and said, “This is not who we are!” History tells us, this is exactly who we are. Running from this fact won’t change it. But at the same time, we’re also Eugene Goodman. A people who will put themselves in harm’s way to protect others. Even those that wouldn’t do the same for us. It’s a constant fight for the soul of this nation.
Here’s hoping that this example by Eugene Goodman, one of our better angels, can serve as a reminder of what we can be, and help lead us in that direction. Thank you for your service sir.
There are more of this situations coming to a State Capitol near you. ABC news reports “Armed protests being planned at all 50 state capitols, FBI bulletin says”.
Starting this week and running through at least Inauguration Day, armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols and at the U.S. Capitol, according to an internal FBI bulletin obtained by ABC News.
The FBI has also received information in recent days on a group calling for “storming” state, local and federal government courthouses and administrative buildings in the event President Donald Trump is removed from office prior to Inauguration Day. The group is also planning to “storm” government offices in every state the day President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated, regardless of whether the states certified electoral votes for Biden or Trump.
“The FBI received information about an identified armed group intending to travel to Washington, DC on 16 January,” the bulletin read. “They have warned that if Congress attempts to remove POTUS via the 25th Amendment, a huge uprising will occur.”
Federal law enforcement officials have advised police agencies to increase their security posture at statehouses around the country following the riot at the U.S. Capitol, law enforcement sources told ABC News.
One of the newest folks in Congress is Congresswoman Jayapal of Indian Descent. “I was closing my eyes and praying’: Washington’s Rep. Pramila Jayapal describes sheltering in place as mob breaks into Capitol”. BB also suggested I read her story. Can you imagine the trauma and the PSTD all of the public servants that lived through this will experience most likely throughout their entire lives? This Seattle Times article describes what was going on with many of its representatives and senators as well as Governor Inslee.
“We were there when shots began to be fired into the chamber, we saw, from where I was sitting, I could see Capitol Police with their guns drawn,” Jayapal said.
Another House member began to pray. Jayapal and others joined in. “I was closing my eyes and praying to whoever was listening that there would be peace, that there would be no violence.”
The congressmembers were asked to lie on the floor as protesters faced off with Capitol police — a feat that was difficult for Jayapal, who recently had a knee replacement and was walking with a cane.
Jayapal laid the blame for the unprecedented attack on Congress at the feet of Trump and senators and representatives who have backed his efforts to overturn the election victory of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
“There is no question in my mind that the finger should be pointed directly at the president of the United States, Donald Trump, and everybody that played along with him,” she said.
The chaos at the U.S. Capitol was mirrored, albeit at a much smaller scale, at Washington’s state capitol. In Olympia, demonstrators jumped a gate and broke into the grounds of the governor’s residence. After a standoff with the State Patrol, they backed off. Gov. Jay Inslee was kept safe at an undisclosed location, according to the patrol.
I’m pretty certain the next few weeks are not going to be easy. I’m staying at home. I will be working. I will also reflect on what I can do to make us all a more perfect union. We will be here throughout the continuing struggle. I love my Sky Dancing Community. Please stay safe!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?