Wednesday, January 6th, 2021


It Was Inevitable

Embarrassing. Appalling. Disgusting. Seditious. Choose your adjective to describe the horrendous, suffocating, sick, sad, and pathetic stench of Trumpism that blanketed and breached America's Capitol building today. My word? Inevitable. We've been seeing authoritarianism in the White House for years. And now, we're seeing it in the streets. At the behest of a mad president enabled by callous, power-hungry, anti-American seditionists, heavily armed, fantasy-minded insurgents stormed and entered the Capitol building. In America. As they did so, causing some of the key players in the line of succession to be whisked from the chamber and locked in secure locations, the protesters' monstrous idol continued to egg them on. The Senate had to be evacuated. Tear gas had to be used inside the Capitol. Members and staff were holding gas masks. A protester made it all the way the dais in the chamber and started yelling, "Trump won the election." At least one person has been shot. A 6pm curfew was ordered in DC. All of this in defense against an insurgency led by THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. The whole world is watching what Trump and his enablers have done to American democracy. That includes our allies and enemies alike. And much of the world is probably asking, "Well, who's the shithole now?" This is a sad day. It's also a day any sane person could see coming. Everyone who downplayed the risk of Trumpism was dead wrong. Most of those who issued warnings understated the risk, but were still waved off as being hysterical, liberal snowflakes. (I'm sure, as per usual, this White Supremacy symbol Trump flashed during his pre-insurgency speech was just an an accident.) Trump not only instigated this, he failed to call on those who breached the Capitol to leave. Treachery. Even with two weeks to go, Trump must be impeached and removed from office. If he isn't held to account for this behavior, then what's the point of having laws? (Preferably, this would happen before he pardons Rudy, who, moments before the insurgency, called for trial by combat.) Here's the latest from WaPo, NYT, AP, and The Guardian.

+ Joe Biden: "At this hour, our democracy's under unprecedented assault. Unlike anything we've seen in modern times. An assault on the citadel of liberty, the Capitol itself. An assault on the people's representatives and the Capitol Hill police, sworn to protect them. And the public servants who work at the heart of our Republic... Let me be very clear. The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America. Do not represent who we are. What we're seeing are a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness. This is not dissent. It's disorder. It's chaos. It borders on sedition. And it must end now ... "The work of the moment and the work of the next four years must be the restoration of democracy – of decency, honor, respect, the rule of law. Just plain, simple decency."

+ Here are some of the stunning videos and photos from the scene.

+ Buzzfeed: Rioting Trump Supporters Stage An Attempted Coup, Breaching The Capitol And Inciting An Armed Standoff.

+ A Dark Moment for America.

+ Hours into the riot, the national guard was being called in. But how could the Capitol Police and DC authorities not be prepared for this? How can the most powerful nation on Earth be this vulnerable? There will be a big story around this. When black and brown people protest peacefully, the Capitol looks like a defended fortress. But when armed MAGA lunatics show up, they make it all the way to the dais.


The Collaborators

This is not just about Trump. Not today. And not for the last four years. He clearly suffers from severe sociopathic narcissism and his behavior since the election could have been accurately predicted by any decent psychoanalyst. Why would a guy who doesn't care about hundreds of thousands of Covid deaths care about a little broken glass at the Capitol? His craven enablers have no excuse. It's all been a political calculation that ended up with the same answer, time after time: Party and Power over Country. The Senators who forced today's reprehensible attempt to overthrow election results should forever be shunned for their choice. Tom Friedman in the NYT: Never Forget the Names of These Republicans Attempting a Coup. "The governing 'philosophy'of these unprincipled Trump-cult Republicans is unmistakably clear: 'Democracy is fine for us as long as it is a mechanism for us to be in control. If we can't hold power, then to hell with rules and to hell with the system. Power doesn't flow from the will of the people — it flows from our will and our leader's will.'"

+ Here are the (at least) 60 Republicans trying to overturn a free and fair election.


Merrick Rolled

So a Jewish guy and a Black man walk into the Senate. And the joke's on Mitch McConnell... After the Georgia run-offs that will ultimately send both Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock to victories and the senate to a 50/50 state, it's more than a little ironic that Mitch McConnell will now hold the title of "minority" leader. And David Perdue, who just went from being a part time day trader to being a full time day trader, will watch from home as the woman he demeaned as Kamalamalamala wields the power of holding the tie-breaking vote. And proving that whoever took over as America's showrunner in 2021 knows how to serve up a satisfying plot twist, on the day McConnell lost his leadership role in the Senate, Joe Biden announced that Merrick Garland would be the country's next attorney general.

+ "The other day, because this is America, the 82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else's cotton picked her youngest son to be a United States senator." Warnock makes history with Senate win as Dems near majority.

+ There is suddenly a much greater chance of a bigger stimulus package, and "ideas like boosting payments to individuals from $600 to $2000, or adding aid to local governments, could be resurrected quickly as a result." In the short term, the biggest impact will be that Dems lead the committees and Biden's appointees will likely get confirmed more quickly which means they can more immediately get to work on the business of saving pandemic lives which is, ultimately, what this moment in American history is about.

+ The devil went down to Georgia, and cost his party the race. The Atlantic: Trump Lost Everything for the Republicans. (Make no mistake, these were narrow wins in Georgia, but it is comforting that, apparently, sedition didn't sell as well in Georgia as it in DC.)


Back to the Future

AP: No charges against Wisconsin officer who shot Jacob Blake. "A Wisconsin prosecutor declined Tuesday to file charges against a white police officer who shot a Black man in the back in Kenosha, concluding he couldn't disprove the officer's contention that he acted in self-defense because he feared the man would stab him." Self defense? One shot, maybe. Two shots, OK, my finger got stuck. Three shots, I was going for a hat trick. Seven shots? In the back? Self defense? Jacob Blake must have the most dangerous back in history.


Shots in the Dark

"In case protection from a deadly virus isn't enough of an incentive, firefighters who get their shots are being offered a chance to win some tempting prizes, including an Airbnb gift card, a home security system and a bicycle." LA Times: The front-line workers turning down the vaccine. (Tax cuts don't trickle down. But crazy does.)

+ "New York's comparative slowness today may be partly due to public health departments' diminished role in vaccine distribution." Some things improve with time. Not vaccination rollouts. Why can't NYC vaccinate like it's 1947?

+ WaPo: Wealthy donors received vaccines through Florida nursing home.


Better Stop Fobbing Now

"After years of declines, car thefts appear to be surging in cities and suburbs all over the country. The spree, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic, does not appear to be the work of sophisticated crime rings, the police say. Instead, this new wave of car thefts seems to stem from a combination of simple carelessness and the same technological advancement that once made stealing cars nearly impossible: the key fob." NYT: Here's Why Car Thefts Are Soaring.


Kong Arm of the Law

"Hong Kong police arrested 53 former lawmakers and democracy proponents Wednesday for allegedly violating the new national security law by participating in unofficial election primaries for the territory's legislature last year." Hong Kong arrests 53 activists under national security law.


DeVonta Hear a Good Story?

"Crimson Tide running back Najee Harris finished fifth in the voting, making No. 1 Alabama the second team in the 85-year history of the Heisman to have three of the top five vote-getters" DeVonta Smith is the first wide receiver to win the Heisman in 29 years.


Split Hits the Fan

"As we leave behind a year of plague and solitude and hope for an age of renewal and togetherness, readers may yearn for uplifting stories about family, love and community. If you are one of those people, here is some advice: Read something else." NYT: It's Mother vs. Son in Britain's Priciest Divorce War.


Bottom of the News

"John Dillermand has an extraordinary penis. So extraordinary, in fact, that it can perform rescue operations, etch murals, hoist a flag and even steal ice-cream from children. The Danish equivalent of the BBC, DR, has a new animated series aimed at four- to eight-year-olds about John Dillermand, the man with the world's longest penis who overcomes hardships and challenges with his record-breaking genitals." (There goes the plot for my memoir.)

+ Explained: Why can't the stormtroopers in Star Wars shoot straight?