Thursday, January 7th, 2021


At the Break of Don

First the good news from WaPo: Congress affirms Biden's presidential win following riot at U.S. Capitol. Even now, determined to hold the spotlight, Trump immediately released a statement explaining that while this "represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history" and "Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th.'" There won't be. He's not capable of it. We'll get to the story of America's devastating day and what could follow below, but first let's focus on an area far too often ignored when it comes to Trump. Psychology. Any decent psychoanalyst knows Trump is a narcissistic sociopath. He's following the exact pattern of someone with his illness. Burn it all down to avoid psychic death, which he fears more than physical death. Yesterday's behavior was predictable. So is today's and tomorrow's. He must go, now. First, because of the crime against America he committed on January 6. And second, because his symptoms present a clear danger. With some help from my friend Dr. Michael Levin, here's a way to think about what's happening psychoanalytically. Trump's entire life has been devoted to earning the regard of a monstrously tyrannical, sadistic, sociopathic father for whom the world was divided into predators and prey, 'killers' and suckers, winners and losers. We should imagine that, from his childhood perspective, sons that ‘win' or ‘kill' are accepted and valued; those that lose deserve what one well known psychoanalyst called "soul murder". He's now the most famous loser in the world. He is facing the fact that he's failed at the only task that has ever mattered to him, and he's about to be murdered, psychically, by his internal father (just like his older brother Freddy was, in his probable interpretation). Trump is literally scared out of his mind; that is, he is now delirious or psychotic, as has been leaked to the media by several insiders. He will do anything to restore his feeling of victory and save his own psychic life, internally. And he still has access to the world's largest megaphone, a cult of hypnotized followers, and the nuclear codes as external tools to pursue his internal objective. And he is being enabled. This is a truly dangerous situation. If he's not controlled, Wednesday could look like child's play—which it was in a deep way. We're at the whim of an absolutely terrified and enraged psychic child. I use that term 'child' structurally, not as an insult. The threat is severe. Don't mistake this for some show where Trump is callously pulling the levers of power for personal gain. That may have been part of the story in previous years, but he fully believes all this shit now. Yesterday, Trump banned Pence chief of staff Marc Short from the White House because he blames Short for convincing Pence not to install him as an unelected, authoritarian dictator. None of this would surprise a shrink. And, while they may use less diagnostic terms, none of it will surprise any of his enablers either. That's what makes their seditious behavior all the more sickening. So let's start with them. NYT: The 147 Republicans Who Voted To Overturn Election Results. They did this after the Capitol was terrorized. May their names be forever etched in history.

+ And may they all get the treatment seditious ringleader Josh Hawley got from his hometown paper: "No one other than President Donald Trump himself is more responsible for Wednesday's coup attempt at the U.S. Capitol than one Joshua David Hawley, the 41-year-old junior senator from Missouri, who put out a fundraising appeal while the siege was underway." The Kansas City Star: Assault on democracy: Sen. Josh Hawley has blood on his hands in Capitol coup attempt. (Not only is Hawley treasonous, he used the word irregardless on the Senate floor.)

+ "This is what you get when you have dozens of elected Republicans object to a pro forma ceremony marking the transition of power with the stated goal of overturning the election result. This is what you get when you, Josh Hawley, stick your fist in the air like some fucking Model U.N. freedom fighter who is fantasizing about leading the separatists in the installation of a dictator. These gentlemen who showed up at the Capitol today don't look like the boys you knew at Rockhurst Prep, do they? Or your chums at Yale Law? Or the wankers at LSE? Or St. Paul's school on the River Thames? This is what you get for pretending to be a revolutionary, Joshua." A must read from Tim Miller: Trump's Voters Took the Coup Literally and Seriously.


Mar a La Go Now

My take: If inciting an attack on the nation's Capitol and then failing to call in the national guard to protect those being attacked (Pence, did that, not Trump) is not reason to remove a president, what is? Does he get to return to his golf course and play a few rounds and then run for president again? He must not be allowed to soil this office for a single additional day. It probably won't succeed, but a movement to remove Trump is building, and it's now being led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi and Schumer call for Trump's immediate removal from office for ‘insurrection.'

+ They are not alone: WaPo Editorial Board: Trump caused the assault on the Capitol. He must be removed. NYT Editorial Board: "The president needs to be held accountable — through impeachment proceedings or criminal prosecution — and the same goes for his supporters who carried out the violence." The Atlantic: Remove Trump Tonight.

+ When it comes to the 25th Amendement, we could see the cabinet members depart before taking action. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is preparing to resign. Others could follow. Here's the latest from WaPo. We'll see many other departures from the administration as well. But keep this in mind: The time to resign or express outrage is when a person calls for violence, not after the violence takes place. Don't don't give people like Mick Mulvaney too much credit. He quit from a nothing job today. But on November 7th, he wrote an op-ed in the WSJ titled: If He Loses, Trump Will Concede Gracefully.


Can I See Some ID?

During the overnight Senate session, Senator Ben Sasse explained: "Our kids need to know that this isn't what America is." This is exactly wrong. Our kids need to be warned that this is what any country can become if its citizens and leaders cower. Everywhere it has ever happened, citizens were sure "it could never happen here." Democracy is not a gift. It's a job. And so is calling out the White Supremacy and racism that has always been at the heart of Trumpism, which played out again as antisemitic slogans and Confederate Flags breached the U.S. Capitol building. And Trump's flashing of the White Supremacy symbol is no mistake. The people in that movement believe they have Trump's support. Why don't we believe it? From birtherism, to very fine people, to these three images from yesterday, it's always been the same story.


If Your Insurrection Lasts More Than 4 Hours, Call 911

As much as the insurrection told the story of racism in America, the law enforcement response told it even more starkly. BLM vs Capitol protests: This was the police response when it was Black protesters on DC streets last year.

+ "The police force, which numbers about 2,000 officers and has sole jurisdiction over the Capitol's buildings and grounds, was clearly outnumbered and unprepared for the onslaught, even as it was openly organized on social media sites like Gab and Parler. It took more than two hours, and reinforcements from other law enforcement agencies, before order was restored." NYT: Capitol Breach Draws Sharp Condemnation of Law Enforcement.

+ "Black Lives Matter protesters are other to the Capitol Police. So are survivors of sexual assault or women who protest for the right to choose. But an armed mob storming the Capitol, and their Instigator-in-Chief, are, apparently, familiar enough to be dismissed as clowns. (Some of them, in their face paint and strange headgear, even seemed to embrace their identification as clowns.)" Masha Gessen in The New Yorker: The Capitol Invaders Enjoyed the Privilege of Not Being Taken Seriously.

+ Capitol Rioters Planned for Weeks in Plain Sight. The Police Weren't Ready. Shit, the president himself planned in plain sight.

+ "The movement behind today's attempted coup delivered exactly what it has promised for months on social media." Trump's Internet Is Celebrating.


Don’t Look Away From How Bad This Was

"It was an unforgettable day that many, for various reasons, may try to forget. But I will remember Trump shouting into the cold wind as the clock hit the appointed hour of 1 p.m., urging his supporters to march on the Capitol, egging them on, inciting them with his hatred and grievance. I will remember the Trump flag, not the American flag, hanging off the Capitol balcony, and the fact that the rioters wore Trump's name on their shirts and hats. And I will remember his video, as those rioters rampaged through the halls of Congress. "We love you," Trump told them. This actually happened." The New Yorker's Susan B. Glasser: Trump's Reckoning—and America's.

+ "Americans are not the ones who will suffer most from the terrible damage that Trump and his enablers have done to the power of America's example, to America's reputation, and, more important, to the reputation of democracy itself. The callow insurrectionists who thought it would be amusing to break into the debating chambers might go to jail, but they will not pay any real price; neither will the conspiracy theorists who believed the president's lies and flocked to Washington to act on them. Instead, the true cost will be borne by those other residents of Moscow, Beijing, Tehran, Caracas, Riyadh, and Minsk—the dissidents and the opponents, the would-be democrats who plan, organize, protest, and suffer, sacrificing their time and in some cases their life just because they want the right to vote, to live in a state governed by the rule of law, and to enjoy the things that Americans take for granted, and that Trump doesn't value at all." The Atlantic's Anne Applebaum: What Trump and His Mob Taught the World About America.


Platform Diving

What do you do when a child has a violent tantrum? You take away his social media. While Twitter suspended Trump's account for 12 hours, Facebook CEO (and king of the globe) Mark Zuckerberg took things one step further: Facebook Has Banned Donald Trump For At Least Two Weeks. (Phew, just in time, right?) Andrew Ross Sorkin nailed it: "So Trump has access to the nuclear codes but he can't Tweet or post to Facebook."



Leaders are not pleased. "Today's violent assault on our Capitol, an effort to subjugate American democracy by mob rule, was fomented by Mr. Trump. His use of the Presidency to destroy trust in our election and to poison our respect for fellow citizens has been enabled by pseudo political leaders whose names will live in infamy as profiles in cowardice. Our Constitution and our Republic will overcome this stain and We the People will come together again in our never-ending effort to form a more perfect Union, while Mr. Trump will deservedly be left a man without a country." James Mattis. "What happened here today was an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States." Mitt Romney. "The President bears responsibility for today's events by promoting the unfounded conspiracy theories that have led to this point." Richard Burr. "There is no question that the President formed the mob, the President incited the mob, the President addressed the mob. He lit the flame." Liz Cheney. (If only Mattis and millions of others had realized that Trump has always been a man without a country. There's only room for Trump.)

+ The outrage came from abroad as well: World watches US chaos with shock, dismay and some mockery. And from NPR: 'Disgraceful': World Leaders React To Pro-Trump Extremists Storming U.S. Capitol.


Patriot Games

"Ivanka Trump has called insurrectionists who stormed the US Capitol building 'American Patriots' while urging them to refrain from violence, before hurriedly backtracking on the comment." This is the game the Trumps have been playing for years. As her punishment, Ivanka should be sentenced to 5 minutes hanging out with the people she called patriots. She'd be begging for parole in the first 30 seconds.


In Non Coup News…

"On January 6, the day a pro-Trump mob stormed the US Capitol, America also recorded the most Covid-19 deaths in a single day so far in the pandemic. There were 3,964 Covid-19 deaths reported on Wednesday ... The US is now averaging about 2,700 deaths daily over the last seven days. In total, 361,383 Americans have died in the pandemic." It would have been nice if Trump had spent the last year fighting Covid instead of fighting America.


Bottom of the News

I can't be the only one who needs a little break from this bad news and wants to read about 8 surprising facts about John Candy or how to wear a mask without fogging up your glasses. Let's check out the 25 Most Popular Stories of 2020 from Mental Floss.