Monday, January 11th, 2021


Post Mortem

I always figured Donald Trump would eventually be told, "You have the right to remain silent," but I didn't expect him to have silence as his only option. That's basically the case as just about every social media platform has blocked his attempts to post and basically told the potus to stfu and gtfo. I have mixed feelings about some parts of the ban (especially the timing which would have been better before the violence), but man am I enjoying the quiet. We may not yet have our country back, but at least we got our platforms back. The bigger tech issue here is that too few companies have way too much power over our democracy. We meant to build a distributed network where everyone would have a voice, and we ended up building centralized megaplatforms with CEOs who have the power of Zeus. The tech shutdown includes everything from Stripe refusing to process payments for the Trump campaign, to the whacked out, rules free Twitter clone called, Parler losing its host (Amazon Web Services) and being unable to find a new home. Here are all the platforms that have banned or restricted Trump. I wouldn't underestimate Trump's ability to find a way to post. My friends and family have tried much more draconian interventions to get me to quit my habit, and they never work.

+ This was a headline I didn't expect to see (mostly because it's so ridiculous). NYT: Stripped of Twitter, Trump Faces a New Challenge: How to Command Attention. (When this story first went up, I counted Trump's name in 17 of the stories on the NYT homepage.)


Dropping a Deuce

It's looking like the House will roll out impeachment part two this week. The article of impeachment couldn't be more simple: Incitement of Insurrection. Will he get impeached? For sure. Will he get removed? There's probably not enough time. Here's the latest from CNN and WaPo.


The Bigly Lie

Getting Trump out of office will not solve America's current problem. To address that, we have to address The Big Lie. Every fascist movement needs one. For the terrorists who attacked the Capitol, and millions of others, the big lie—created by Trump and propagated by Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, and nearly 150 other GOP miscreant members of Congress—is that Trump really won the election. Trump is no longer the problem. The lie is. For years, we ignored the experts. We ignored the intellectuals. And, worst of all, we ignored the people who had seen the rise of authoritarianism with their own eyes and told us what we were looking at. As my dad said: "Americans left democracy's door ajar and Trump walked in." If you read nothing else today, please read Timothy Snyder's NYT Mag piece: The American Abyss. "Like historical fascist leaders, Trump has presented himself as the single source of truth. His use of the term 'fake news' echoed the Nazi smear Lügenpresse ('lying press'); like the Nazis, he referred to reporters as 'enemies of the people.' Like Adolf Hitler, he came to power at a moment when the conventional press had taken a beating; the financial crisis of 2008 did to American newspapers what the Great Depression did to German ones. The Nazis thought that they could use radio to replace the old pluralism of the newspaper; Trump tried to do the same with Twitter."

+ "It all started with lies, and lies, and lies, and intolerance." Arnold Schwarzenegger with a message worth hearing.

+ "How could the idea that the Capitol is supposed to embody be perishable this way? My stomach turned and my hands trembled in fear and disgust, as I realized my prophecy for the day had been fulfilled not by the imposition of martial law but by the possibility of a stranger in a camp auschwitz shirt taking a shit in my house." The excellent Tom Junod in The Atlantic: Everything Is Different Now.


From Bad to Worse

"Last summer, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Congress that if the U.S. didn't get the coronavirus outbreak under control, the country could see 100,000 new cases per day. Six months later, the U.S. is adding, on average, more than 271,000 new cases per day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Over the past 24 hours, 3,700 new deaths were recorded. That brings the total number of reported cases in the U.S. to more than 22 million since the start of the outbreak — with a death toll of 373,000." Numbers are rising in nearly every state.

+ How the US's Covid-19 death toll compares to that of other wealthy countries. "If the US had Canada's Covid-19 death rate, 225,000 more Americans would likely be alive today." (The enablers didn't just allow for Jan 6, they allowed for all the carnage of 2020.)

+ LA is getting hit hard as hell. And like always, some are getting hit harder than others.

+ So far, at least 6.7 million people have been vaccinated in the US.

+ BioNTech lifts 2021 COVID-19 vaccine output target to 2 billion doses.


The Gang’s All Here

"Those who made their way to the grounds of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday hail from at least 36 states, along with the District of Columbia and Canada, according to a Washington Post list of over 100 people identified as being on the scene of the Capitol. Their professions touch nearly every facet of American society: lawyers, local lawmakers, real estate agents, law enforcement officers, military veterans, construction workers, hair stylists and nurses. Among the crowd were devout Christians who highlighted Bible verses, adherents of the QAnon conspiracy theory and members of documented hate groups, including white nationalist organizations and militant right-wing organizations, such as the Proud Boys." WaPo: The Capitol mob: a raging collection of grievances and disillusionment.

+ "I sat down with one of my buddies, another Black guy, and tears just started streaming down my face. I said, ‘What the f-ck, man? Is this America? What the f-ck just happened? I'm so sick and tired of this shit ... These are racist-ass terrorists." These Black Capitol Police Officers Describe Fighting Off Racist-Ass Terrorists. (If nothing else, breaking the glass of the Capitol broke down the facade that people used to hide the truth about Trumpism. Let's review: Birtherism was about racism. Both sides was about racism. The Muslim ban was about racism. The Wall was about racism. "When the looting starts the shooting starts" was about racism. Lafayette Square was about racism. Carrying the Confederate Flag through the hallowed halls of the Capitol breach was about racism. Trumpism is Racism.)

+ "This insurrection wasn't just redneck white supremacists and QAnon kooks. The people participating in, espousing, or cheering the violence cut across the different factions of the Republican Party and those factions were working in unison." Terry Bouton who has seen many protests (and now one riot) with an interesting thread on what he saw and heard.

+ Check out Lindsey Graham being called a traitor by Trump supporters. (You can create a monster, but you can't control a monster.)

+ "Following the events of Wednesday, including sheltering with several colleagues who refused to wear masks, I decided to take a Covid test." Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman test positive for Covid.

+ NYT: Some notable arrests so far.

+ The worst may be yet to come: Armed protests being planned at all 50 state capitols, FBI bulletin says.


Oh My Josh

"Christian nationalists' acceptance of President Trump's spectacular turpitude these past four years was a good measure of just how dire they think our situation is. Even a corrupt sociopath was better, in their eyes, than the horrifying freedom that religious moderates and liberals, along with the many Americans who don't happen to be religious, offer the world." Katherine Stewart in the NYT on The Roots of Josh Hawley's Rage.


Total Burns

In 2019, Burns wrote a scathing critique of what he called the Trump administration's 'diplomatic malpractice,' saying it had badly mistreated Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador in Ukraine whose removal from her post became a central topic in the president's impeachment and Senate trial. 'I've never seen an attack on diplomacy as damaging, to both the State Department as an institution and our international influence, as the one now underway.'" NPR: Longtime Diplomat William Burns Is Biden's Pick To Lead CIA.


Omaha Stakes

"If you're working in the plants you're supposed to be here legally. So to get the vaccination you gotta be working here legally to be a part of the food-processing program, so there's not going to be a conflict here." Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts made it clear that only documented workers will get the COVID vaccine inside these meatpacking plants. (Bad for the health of the community. Good for the virus. And light-shedding when it comes to lip service we pay to the idea of essential workers.)


Hope Floats

"Surfing has cost me two wedding rings, many thousands of dollars, and a few millimeters of intervertebral space in my spine. And I'm still not that good at it." (Sounds like me and social media.) Tom Vanderbilt: How I Learned to Surf in Middle Age.

+ Peter Mel rides the wave of a lifetime at Mavericks.


Bottom of the News

Hustle does a great job with their Sunday stories. Here are the top ones of 2020. None are about politics.

+ Sex and the City Officially Revived at HBO Max.

+ How 10 Classic Toys Were Invented.