Tuesday, January 12th, 2021


T Wrecks

In the least surprising plot twist of all time, (still) President Trump said his insurrection-inciting speech was totally appropriate: "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 analyzed and people thought that what I said was totally appropriate ... Everybody to a 'T' thought it was totally appropriate." No one shares that incite insight. But of course it's what Trump thinks. He enjoyed the riot. That's how psychopathy (the absolute lack of guilt, let alone understanding, regarding destruction) and sadism (the enjoyment of inflicting pain and harm on others) are expressed. "The president himself was busy enjoying the spectacle. Trump watched with interest, buoyed to see that his supporters were fighting so hard on his behalf, one close adviser said." That's just one of the sick revelations in WaPo's look at Six hours of paralysis: Inside Trump's failure to act after a mob stormed the Capitol.

+ Let's move from paralysis to analysis. Bandy X. Lee, is a forensic psychiatrist at the Yale School of Medicine and president of the World Mental Health Coalition. She explains what attracts people to Trump in Scientific American: The ‘Shared Psychosis' of Donald Trump and His Loyalists. (At least they're nice enough to share.) "I have outlined two major emotional drives: narcissistic symbiosis and shared psychosis. Narcissistic symbiosis refers to the developmental wounds that make the leader-follower relationship magnetically attractive. The leader, hungry for adulation to compensate for an inner lack of self-worth, projects grandiose omnipotence—while the followers, rendered needy by societal stress or developmental injury, yearn for a parental figure. When such wounded individuals are given positions of power, they arouse similar pathology in the population that creates a 'lock and key' relationship. 'Shared psychosis'—which is also called 'folie à millions' ['madness for millions'] when occurring at the national level or "induced delusions"—refers to the infectiousness of severe symptoms that goes beyond ordinary group psychology. When a highly symptomatic individual is placed in an influential position, the person's symptoms can spread through the population through emotional bonds, heightening existing pathologies and inducing delusions, paranoia and propensity for violence—even in previously healthy individuals. The treatment is removal of exposure." (The political version of this treatment is the removal of the president.)

+ The House is on a path to impeach the president. Here's the latest from the NYT and NBC. (Insurrection, in addition to being a major bummer, is also a major federal crime. I'd still be on the lookout for this scenario: Trump resigns in the final hours, Pence pardons him.)

+ Bill Belichick declines Presidential Medal of Freedom offer from Trump. (Ivanka, this is a Patriot.) This is part of a trend. Banks have halted business with Trump. The PGA has pulled a tournament from Trump's Bedminster course. And Marriott, Blue Cross, and Hallmark are cutting ties with Trump and others who challenged the electoral results.


Incite Unseen

Trump's refusal to take responsibility sends a clear signal to his supporters. And that's keeping the FBI busy. AP: FBI warns of plans for nationwide armed protests next week. CNN: New terror threat points to plot to surround Capitol, lawmaker says. HuffPo: House Democrats Briefed On 3 Terrifying Plots To Overthrow Government. And if this one from Military Times doesn't depress you, nothing will. National Guard inauguration deployment: twice as large as troop levels in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.

+ "Joint Chiefs of Staff preparing rare message to entire force of reassurance: reminding them the job is to support & defend Constitution and reject extremism. Its a significant step. JCS have sought to stay out of politics. Statement due to gravity of events."

+ Chad Wolf, acting head of the Dept of Homeland, has resigned. I wonder why Chad didn't want to hang?


An Inside Mob

WaPo: "Several U.S. Capitol Police officers have been suspended and more than a dozen others are under investigation for suspected involvement with or inappropriate support for the demonstration last week that turned into a deadly riot at the Capitol, according to members of Congress, police officials and staff members briefed on the developments."

+ While insurrectionists came from the outside, the coronavirus spread was an inside job by exactly who you'd expect. Three Democrats Now Have COVID After Republicans Refused To Wear Masks During The Capitol Attack. (This is a metaphor for the whole pandemic. Consider the tens of thousands of cases that resulted from this insane denialism.)


My My My My Fiona

"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." Fiona Hill: I've been studying authoritarian regimes for three decades, and I know the signs of a coup when I see them.


Vaccine and Not Heard

"Health and Human Services Alex Azar has announced two major changes. First, the government will no longer hold back required second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, practically doubling supply. Second, states should immediately start vaccinating other groups lower down the priority scale, including people age 65 and older, and younger people with certain health problems." The Trump administration has adopted some parts of the Biden vaccine plan. We need to dramatically increase our sense of urgency. Look at what the speedier variant is doing in the UK.

+ How will you actually know when it's your turn to get the COVID-19 vaccine? (You probably can't answer that because it's a state by state, city by city program, when we need a national plan. Imagine every state fighting its own war against an enemy. That's what we've got.)

+ Your city is being besieged by a virus. What are you gonna do? I'm going to Disneyland. Makes sense. It's about to become a vaccine super site.


Frenemies, a Gov Story

"Vice President Pence was in hiding from a violent mob of Trump supporters in the Capitol last Wednesday when the presidential tweet attacking him posted.
'Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!' WaPo: Inside the remarkable rift between Donald Trump and Mike Pence. Nothing can break up a friendship like one guy inciting a mob to try an kill the other guy.


Sands Through an Hourglass

"Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, one of the most prolific donors in conservative politics, died Monday night at the age of 87 due to complications from treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, according to a statement from Las Vegas Sands, the company he founded. Adelson made his fortune — a net worth of around $35 billion according to an estimate by Forbes — in the casino hotel industry. He spent much of it backing conservative politicians in the U.S. and Israel, shaping the political debate of both countries." Sheldon Adelson, Conservative Donor And Casino Titan, Dies At 87.


Pipe Dream Comes True

"Most Americans who are due for a colon cancer screening will receive a postcard or a call — or prompting during a doctor's visit — to remind them that it's time to schedule a colonoscopy. But at big health care systems like Kaiser Permanente or the federal Veterans Health Administration, the process has changed. Patients who should be screened regularly (age 50 to 75) and who are of average risk, get a letter telling them about a home test kit arriving by mail." NYT: A Colonoscopy Alternative Comes Home.


The Tide Never Turned

"At the end of a long, grueling, strange, uncomfortable season for college football, we finally got a small piece of normalcy as the final seconds ticked off the clock Monday night at Hard Rock Stadium in the College Football Playoff: Alabama, hoisting yet another national championship trophy after winning in dominant, historic fashion." This was one of the most dominant teams in college football history.


Bottom of the News

"Gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park tested positive for the novel coronavirus Monday, marking the first known case of the virus infecting any of the great apes — a group that includes gorillas, bonobos, chimps and orangutans." (Meanwhile, after getting details about the virus, the gorillas calmly agreed to social distance, wear masks, and follow health guidelines.)

+ Jake Angeli (the dude with the facepaint and horns) hasn't eaten since Friday because the detention facility won't feed him all organic food. (Maybe his mom can bring him a sack lunch...)

+ A couple in Canada have been fined for breaking Covid curfew rules after the woman was caught "walking" her husband on a leash. Come on guys, get a room.