The Capitol Police have a $460 million budget and 2,300 personnel to guard the U.S. Capitol complex. For comparison, that is twice the size of the budget of my own city’s police department, which is used to secure an entire metropolis. Somehow, this army of Capitol security forces was unable — or unwilling — to stop insurrectionists from breaching the building and taking over the floor of the U.S. Senate. And it’s not like they were caught by surprise — they had advance warning of the potential for unrest. So it’s almost as if they weren’t trying to stop the mayhem.... David Sirota
Coup, Schmoo. Welcome to the New Year. We were so waiting for 2020 to end and a calm 2021 to begin. Did I oversleep and miss something? I'm packing my bags and heading to a real democracy, my mom's native country, Belarus.
This didn't quite make it to the Reichstag fire level.
Is there anyone who questions that Trump made sure not to call out the national guard for hours while the mob ransacked Congress. They were doing what he wanted - to stop the Biden certification. If they destroyed the place maybe Biden would never get that final vote by Jan. 20 and he could remain president. Pence had to actually intervene.
I'm reading Ruth Ben-Ghiat's new book "Strongmen" and also a recent Hitler bio and what happened today is in the playbook. They had the wherewithal to burn the place down today - it didn't happen this time but there's will be a time.
Mike Pence may end up being a big winner today as he survived being between a rock and a hard place. The rejection of Trump is in full swing and now the Ted Cruz types have to march in a zig zag direction. So Pence may look good to some Trumpers who are finally repulsed.
You probably won't believe me but I saw something like this coming. That Trump would get a mob to try to disrupt the final reckoning today by sending a mob to the Capitol. What I didn't expect was that there would not be enough security to defend the Capitol. We know that most police are Trump supporters, but some video of Capitol police taking selfies and opening barriers and even schmoozing surprised even a dystopian like me. Maybe there were afraid themselves and felt that schmoozing was a way to protect themselves.
Imagine if Black Lives Matter did this. Slaughter on 10 Avenue.
There is some serious talk of impeaching Trump or removing him with the 25th Amendment coming from heavy Republican areas, people who think Trump has gone beyond over the edge and is now more dangerous than ever. I lean toward impeachment which I believe can be accomplished quickly. Starting tomorrow. A quick trial in the House and a vote in the Senate. All we need is a few more than Romney but we may not even need much more when the Georians are seated. And it would tie Trump up a bit. Even removing him Jan, 19 would make sense. I think he would be barred from running for federal office again. That would make all the Republicans salivating for 2024 very happy.
Jonathan is one of the first of my fave bloggers to touch on today's events.
It seems, as I think about coups over the last 75 years, an awful lot of them were instigated, or even orchestrated, in Washington DC. But I none of them took place there. And I thought none ever would. Until today.
I'm sure there will be loads to read but I wan to imclude this from David Sirota, who I recently bought a paid sub with, who also saw this coming.
The Insurrection Was Predictable
Today’s events were the expression of a dangerous authoritarian movement that has been long in the making.
Two months ago, The Daily Poster published a series of reports on the growing threat of a coup attempt, wondering why it wasn’t being taken more seriously by Democrats and the media. We were scoffed at and eye-rolled, as if such things could never happen in America.
Nobody is scoffing or eye-rolling anymore after today’s events at the U.S. Capitol. There, insurrectionists stormed the building and halted the certification of the national election, as security forces allowed them to breach the Senate chamber and shut down the proceedings. There was a notable difference in the way federal security forces met last year’s Black Lives Matter protests with a show of force, and the way they allowed the Capitol to be overrun by right-wing authoritarians that they knew were coming.
About a decade ago, I wrote a book called “The Uprising,” which described how we were entering an era of chaos where right-wing groups would try to seize power under the guise of populism. Clearly, that has been happening — we saw it speed up during the Tea Party backlash and it was further accelerated by Donald Trump, who is a unique president in his willingness to use the White House megaphone to foment and destabilize.
Today’s events were the result of all that incitement. It was a culmination that happened inside a culture of total impunity — and it is worth considering five points of context to understand what we’re really dealing with here, because it will likely continue after Trump leaves the White House.
1. We have long known that the far-right — and specifically many Trump supporters — are hostile to democracy. 2019 polling data from Monmouth University found about a third of the strongest supporters of Trump scored in the highest ratings for authoritarian tendencies. In all, Democracy Fund data show that roughly a third of Americans “say that an authoritarian alternative to democracy would be favorable.” That’s what was on display today.
2. While Trump has tried to blame violence on the left, his administration has been trying to downplay the threat of right-wing authoritarianism and white supremacy. In a whistleblower complaint, a former top Homeland Security official alleged that Trump officials ordered him to modify an agency report’s section “on white supremacy in a manner that made the threat appear less severe.” Politico reported earlier this year that Homeland Security officials have “waged a yearslong internal struggle to get the White House to pay attention to the threat of violent domestic extremists” — but they gave up because Trump wasn’t interested. Instead, federal security forces were focusing on deporting immigrants and investigating environmental activists.
3. The Capitol Police have a $460 million budget and 2,300 personnel to guard the U.S. Capitol complex. For comparison, that is twice the size of the budget of my own city’s police department, which is used to secure an entire metropolis. Somehow, this army of Capitol security forces was unable — or unwilling — to stop insurrectionists from breaching the building and taking over the floor of the U.S. Senate. And it’s not like they were caught by surprise — they had advance warning of the potential for unrest. So it’s almost as if they weren’t trying to stop the mayhem.
4. Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser’s request to send National Guard reinforcements to the Capitol was initially rejected by the Defense Department — the same department whose leadership was recently purged and then replaced with Trump loyalists. That doesn’t seem like a coincidence, considering Trump initially refused to call for the insurrectionists to disperse.
5. The insurrection clearly fed off months of misinformation by Republican Party officials who continued to push the lie that the national election was plagued by fraud. Those lies spread: A survey last month found that three quarters of Republican voters believe the election was fraudulent. Even though nobody has produced evidence of systemic fraud, Republican lawmakers in Washington continued to fuel the conspiracy theories, ultimately pressing Congress to overturn the national election. One photo caught Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley raising a fist to the oncoming insurrectionists as he headed to the Capitol to try to halt the certification of the election.From our Francis Chung, Sen. Josh Hawley greeting protesters in the east side of the Capitol before riots began.
As I wrote earlier this week, the Republican Party officials who fueled and abetted this insurrection did so because they assume they will feel no political, social or legal consequences for their behavior. On the contrary, they will likely be rewarded with higher approval ratings and support from many Republican voters. And if the Look Forward Not Backward™ crowd gets its way and makes sure there are no legal consequences for any of Trump’s many crimes, then these Republicans will know they have a lifetime get-out-of-jail-free card for their own extremist behavior.
After all of this, if nothing changes, then I tend to agree with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s aide Dan Riffle, who today said that “it always — even in moments like this — can get worse. If recent history is any guide, it almost certainly will.”
But things can still change — and they must.
In “The Uprising,” I argued that the best way to counter the rise of right-wing populism and to prevent it from proliferating is for an opposition movement and party to not just issue vague paeans to democracy and the soul of the nation. The opposition must also deliver tangible, material gains for working people — rather than continuing to be an elite and effete caretaker of a let-them-eat-cake establishment that right-wing provocateurs can forever burn in effigy.
The New Deal delivering such gains to the working class helped tamp down the outbreak of right-wing fascism in America. Nearly a century later, the Georgia elections this week proved the same point. There, two right-wing Republican authoritarians were defeated by the Black reverend who runs Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s church and by a Jewish guy — and the Democratic duo won by relentlessly campaigning on a simple promise to deliver $2,000 checks to millions of people in their state facing eviction, starvation and bankruptcy.
Of course, no matter what Democrats might deliver — survival checks, a higher minimum wage, guaranteed medical care, massive investments in job creation, a crackdown on abusive corporations, etc. — there will always be a right-wing authoritarian movement in America willing to weaponize racism and illiberalism for its cause.
So it’s not simple: there is not a straightforward 1-to-1 relationship between enacting policies that improve people’s lives and instantly snuffing out the kind of fascism that reared its head at the Capitol today. But delivering for millions of people who’ve been economically pulverized for generations is the best and probably only way to try to halt fascism’s wider spread to more of the general population over the long haul.
That work must begin now.
Not tomorrow. Not in a few months.
Photo credit: Doug Mills-Pool / Getty Images
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