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What happens now?

Serious question, for discussion.

After the events of January 6th, I currently expect the inauguration to happen on January 20th, although there will be death threats against both the incoming president and vice-president. How seriously they're taken by the US Secret Service, FBI, and other relevant security agencies is going to be telling: we know that white supremacists have pursued a policy of entryism in police and military forces for decades now (globally, not just in the USA), and although a palace coup by the Praetorian Secret Service seems vanishingly unlikely, there may be conspiracies from within the state apparat of repression.

It's fairly obvious that the new administration will go after the rioters/putsch plotters/lynch mob. It's possible there'll be a criminal investigation of elements of the Trump administration: all those high-level resignations on the 7th suggest that something very illegal was going on, in relation to the storming of the Capitol. Possibly enough to justify the prosecution of a former president, if there is a smoking gun to be found ...

And it also looks as if the Republican party have lost their grip on the executive and congressional branches of government (but not yet on the judiciary), and are beginning to wake up to the moral hazard of farming baby alligators in their bathtub: the promise of croc-skin shoes is all very well, but when the alligator grows up and gets loose in your house, you have a problem on your hand.

Are the Trumpists going to split and form a new party? Or are the Republicans going to split, many of them deserting to the Democrat coalition, and leave the rump party to the neo-Nazis? Or something else?

1786 Comments

1:

And it also looks as if the Republican party have lost their grip on the executive and congressional branches of government

A US political party called the Republican Party will be strong in the Congress for a while. And if Biden is not careful will take control of both houses in 2 years.

A lot of people hate Trump. But many of them don't like the D's either. With Trump gone a lot will depend on how well the R's come together. I can imagine an internal civil war or a resigned "we have to hang together to keep the D's out".

2:

The obvious result is a split of some kind in what is now the Republican party, with the nazi faction in one part and the people who believe in democracy in the other.

The problem with that is that the Republicans were already unelectable: the only way they're getting elected is by voter suppression. A split means that the remaining believe-in-democracy bit is going to be very definitely unelectable: the nazis won't vote for them, and voter suppression only gets you so far, I think.

So a split results in (assuming the nazi faction don't stage a successful coup, which I think is unlikely but probably can't be ruled out) a long period of a state where there's only one electable party. That's not good, for democracy whatever you think of that party.

3:

I see that folk like Bill Barr are already appearing on the "main" news channels acting as though they had nothing to do with any of this - after all, Barr resigned a whole two weeks ago; how could he be responsible? I'll believe that something has changed when the US channels stop booking anyone who worked in the Trump administration at any point.

4:

A generalised Police coup may be possible, if it could be co-ordinated, but the US "SS" seems unlikely - like the Navy & Marines they take their Oath to the US Constitution, seriously. Not so sure about the USAF - they've had Xtian entryism problems I'm told.
It's fairly obvious that the new administration will go after the rioters/putsch plotters/lynch mob.
Including, I really hope the known Members of State legislatures who are known to have participated in the insurrection?

Are the Trumpists going to split and form a new party? Or are the Republicans going to split, many of them deserting to the Democrat coalition, and leave the rump party to the neo-Nazis? Or something else? Yes, well, that's the really important question.
A split would greatly to be desired, or at least a minimum of 4-8 years of bitter infighting.
OTOH, surely the lesson to be drawn is something I said before:
"If anything it might in the long run be really bad if it provides a wake-up call to enough people in the Republican Party that their little project is running away from them, so they need to get a competent fascist to run the show, next time eh?"

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Scurra @ 3
Ah yes, "I was forced to join the Nazi party"
OR: "I liked the Nazi party ideals, but Adolf went too far!"

5:

Someone figures the Democrats are pretty much right wing and the R's toxic and launches their coup, now knowing it's possible, from the "center"

6:

There are a lot of corrupt politicians in USA, who will go very far to not prosecute *very* corrupt politicians, fearing that the line might be drawn with a loose hand, so that is not going to happen.

I also do not expect much radicalism, or even what USA calls "liberalism", from an old white privileged man who has been in politics all his life.

So I guess the two biggest variables in USA's future are Covid-19, which have already killed enough to change the electoral landscape at the margins, and Bidens survival.

The obvious racism and facsistic tendencies of the Capitol Police is a lit fuse.

I guess the fuse is a bit longer than usual, maybe a couple of weeks, but somebody's head needs to go on a stake for that, or Biden will, as the D's usually do, the black caucus the moment power is secured.

There is a subtle game-changer in the fact that WDC could not call out the national guard on their own. That might be the last straw needed to persuade the pseudo-republican margin of democrats in the Senate, that the time for statehood for WDC has come.

But otherwise ? Nahh.

This is USA we're talking about. Half the population is racist to the bone, 40% of them are delusional with Stockholm syndrome after decades of Fox brainwashing, and all of them have been indoctrinated from childhood, that they live in "Gods Own Country".

The American empire has risen, now it's falling, as empires do.


7:

Centrist coups generally don't happen because you need worked-up radicals with fire in their belly to run a successful coup.

The nearest you get, as a rule, is a power vacuum when a dominant faction implodes, then a centrist coalition which gradually crumbles as the radical wings to either side get angry when they don't get what they want. Worked examples: the first Russian revolution of 1917 (not the Bolshevik one, the one that ended up with Kerensky in charge), and Weimar Germany (which admittedly had other problems).

8:

I guess the fuse is a bit longer than usual, maybe a couple of weeks, but somebody's head needs to go on a stake for that, or Biden will, as the D's usually do, the black caucus the moment power is secured.

The head of the Capitol police force resigned; one of their number has died of injuries sustained during the riot.

That's going to make cleaning house both easier and harder: on the one hand, virtually nobody loves a cop killer and there's an obvious scapegoat, so both the motive and opportunity slots for a purge are fulfilled. But on the other hand, substantive change requires taking the message the Defund the Police movement have been pushing seriously -- 80% of police work is better carried out by non-police social and medical services, and 80% of the remaining real police work doesn't need armoured cars and assault rifles, so why spend billions on military-grade weapons to arm fascists? Except the fascists have pensions and they will angrily defend their organizational revenue stream.

A possible solution would be to copy what Greece did after the collapse of the junta: reform and demilitarize policing and replace current officers with a whole new cadre, enforcing early retirement ... but give the retirees fat pensions (contingent on them fucking off to Florida to go fishing rather than getting a side hustle in private security or joining a militia: accepting a pension means you retired, so no more badges, hats, or guns).

9:

Trump, and fascists in general, follow the boiling frog approach (yes I know it's bad analogy). Every time they turn up the heat they test to see what the response from the rest of the state will be. If there is no response, they turn it up higher.

So the invasion of the Capitol was a test, with 14 days to go, of what happens if Trump orders a full on coup from his people. he now knows the capital police will aid the seditionists. He now knows that the DoD won't send in the national guard unless ordered to by himself or Pence (and Pence can be trivially controlled on that). He knows that Pence will not invoke the 25th amendment. He knows that even if the Democrats' motion to impeach passes, there probably isn't time to bring the mechanism into action before the 20th, and anyway that's irrelevant.

In short, Trump now knows that the fallout for trying to incite a violent revolution in the US is to lose his tweeting privileges for 12 hours and get a suspension from Facebook. He will do more, and worse, on or before Jan 20th.

10:

"A possible solution would be to copy what Greece did after the collapse of the junta:"

Sure, that is the only thing which possibly can work, which all but guarantees that it will not happen in USA.

Remember, most of USA is perfectly fine with their police, they *want* the police to come and shoot black birders, when they "threaten" white women flaunting local ordinances.

Any attempt to deal with corruption must sweep the stairs from the top, and there is no way that is going to happen in USA.

I'll even give you a litmus test: No members of congress will be sanctioned, least of all by the voters, for their role in this.

11:

The optimistic vision would be that under a Biden-Harris administration, with both houses on side, not only can some of the profound and negative changes be reversed, but real ground can be made up in the climate crisis. And to be fair to the USA Biden has directly discussed this in a way that apparently acknowledges the gravity of the situation, making him unique among Western leaders at the moment. That might not sound like an incredibly optimistic thing, but in contrast to the bleakness and despair in the last 4 years it's extremely hopeful.

But more optimism: that the US progressive majority takes strength and faith from the upcoming 2 year free hand to organise and to do so in a way that is effective against grass roots neo-Nazi groups at a grass roots level. People become Nazis because it fits in with their worldview and is an easy progression for them. All the talk of punching Nazis misses the point of it: that you have to make it cost something to go that way, something meaningful so that the boys and girls (we're really talking about teenagers, but especially immature people in their 20s and 30s count too) won't do it. Any group involvement and commitment is self-rewarding, there's oxytocin and all the in-group conditioning that the third branch of the bonobo-chimp-human tree can manage. So to counter it there needs to be a penalty for joining, and a welcoming alternative on offer with all the cookies. The penalty doesn't have to be severe, it could just be "no-one will have sex with you", though on it's own that clearly doesn't seem to work very well (cf incels). I don't know how you do this starting from where we are now, but I'd have thought the optimistic interpretation of current events at least says this is possible.

I don't really believe it of course, I still think we're stuffed. We (whether "we" just means civilisation or also means our survival as a species) might last longer if the Biden-Harris terms are effective at tackling climate, but I think it's pretty much already too late and we're strapped in for the ride. So I suppose the correct approach is as per backgammon: prepare for the worst but not in a way that prevents good things from happening, as far as possible and as long as it lasts. And I suppose enjoy some of life while it lasts, on the basis that future generations, if there are any, may take some vicarious pleasure in knowing what was possible. Of course, if we lose continuity of knowledge, we're stuffed anyway, so perhaps it's just as well.

12:

"He will do more, and worse, on or before Jan 20th."

Absolutely, he is going to burn the shop down if he can.

His speech to the facists was not because he expected they would improve anything, it was simply about wrecking havoc on the capitol and in particular on the republicans who "didnt come through for him".

I'm with Daniel Ellsberg (see Guardian): He'll bomb Iran on the way out the door.

If he can have it his way, they get nuked, while he has borded AF2 headed for Scotland, so that any return traffic is not his problem.

However, there is the distinct possibility that the 25th has been invoked, but Pence promised to not tell anybody, as long as Trumpolini behaves and reads this prepared message on TV, *now*.

13:

In short, Trump now knows that the fallout for trying to incite a violent revolution in the US is to lose his tweeting privileges for 12 hours and get a suspension from Facebook. He will do more, and worse, on or before Jan 20th.

Disagree.

A number of White House staffers and political appointees resigned in the past 48 hours. You might have missed it, but one of them was Elaine Chao Secretary for Transportation.

Why is Chao's resignation significant? Well, Chao just happens to be married to Mitch McConnell.

The overall cause of the exodus appears to be fears that they might be prosecuted as accessories to, or for complicity with, an actual conspiracy. (They certainly wouldn't be doing that if they expected to receive pardons.) I don't buy the line that they're doing it to distance themselves from Trump's administration when they hit the job market: if they don't want mud to stick, the time to do that was November (or maybe November 2016). This is about something more serious -- like the refusal to allow National Guard units through to the Capitol, or the reason the Chief of Police resigned yesterday.

Chao's resignation is more significant than that of the White House staffers because she's hooked in with the Senate Republican caucus by proxy. It telegraphs that he's completely lost McConnell's confidence, and with it the confidence of the Republicans in Congress.

So: my conclusion is he's running the White House with a demoralized skeleton crew who are mostly individually looking for a way out, and he doesn't have a party behind him in the legislature any more.

To run a coup you really need: (a) foot soldiers (he has them), (b) an executive team (oops, they're jumping overboard), and (c) a party (to pass the laws you need). In a military coup you can get along with (a) and (b) because militaries run on decrees from the top down, at least in the short term, but Trump doesn't have the military on his side.

He could try for a police coup, but on January 20th Biden gets sworn in and then he is Commander-in-Chief, and if I was a cop I would be really leery of going up against the US National Guard and the Army.

So: there may be rallies and demonstrations, but Trump blew his chances by pulling the trigger two weeks prematurely (assuming it was intentional, and not just a chaotic fuck-up).

14:

Charlie: "Are the Trumpists going to split and form a new party? Or are the Republicans going to split, many of them deserting to the Democrat coalition, and leave the rump party to the neo-Nazis? Or something else?"

There is no anti-Trump faction of the GOP. He and similarly-minded people own it now. The anti-Trump group in the GOP is a fringe, and 100% powerless within the GOP.

The only way that they might influence things is by supporting the Democrats.

And even after being driven out of the Capitol building, a majority of the House GOP members and several Senators continued to try to void a presidential election.

15:

reform and demilitarize policing and replace current officers with a whole new cadre, enforcing early retirement

That specific approach comes across as sound, but also expensive and would need to be co-ordinated across the thousands of tinpot police services in the USA. But it's in the "forgiveness and respect, but removal from power" realm that a truth and reconciliation approach would entail. That's the South African way, and I am not sure how that's really worked longer term. Likewise what happened in Ireland in the 20s. All a bit different because it's still white supremacist groups in majority white social context. There are more possible approaches though: nearly every police service since there have been any has grappled with corruption at some point, and most likely none has really eradicated it, but some have done better than others. Sure we're still in the realm of dealing with thousands of little organisations, but perhaps there already exist some federal organisations with a remit to harmonise these services.

16:

"A number of White House staffers and political appointees resigned in the past 48 hours. You might have missed it, but one of them was Elaine Chao Secretary for Transportation."

I disagree - if they've resigned, they are not available to invoke the 25th Amendment.

Second, they're resigning with a few weeks to go. Whatever they've done, they've already done; whatever they've stolen, they've already stolen.

17:

He could try for a police coup, but on January 20th Biden gets sworn in and then he is Commander-in-Chief, and if I was a cop I would be really leery of going up against the US National Guard and the Army.

Even the most overconfident would surely compare their, ahem, prowess with unorganised civilians with a situation involving actual trained armed forces. We've seen that the sort of small town departments that employ the majority across the country have very limited training, and the Trumpists are unlikely to be in positions of serious authority in city police forces (so no trained SWAT teams on their side either). And they are not an organisation so much as an amalgam of social networks around vector individuals anyway.

Real cause for concern: what happens if or when there *is* an organisation, sure forming online in existing forums, but practicing commsec and opsec, employing serious people to conduct training and planning, in contrast to what the bullshit militias and wish-fulfilment fantasy types do now. Doesn't even need to stay completely secret, the SA was pretty open in the Weimar era. Dog knows the money is there to get it going, even now, or is there a self-image that the usual suspects still want to cling to about where they live?

18:

I disagree that he was or is planning anything, and I doubt very much indeed that he will orchestrate anything more than civil unrest in the near future. He hasn't planned anything in four years, so why should be start now? The real danger is that he will order an attack on Iran or, just possibly, China (e.g. in the South China Sea).

The Praetorian guard will be shitting in their pants at the prospect of Biden being the first president assassinated during the inauguration ceremony. His fanatics will include at least some people who have sniper rifles and are capable of using them effectively. It may be held in the rotunda.

My guess is that a combination of his advancing dementia and civil suits will destroy him as a political force, but it is JUST possible he may survive those to cause chaos in 2024. The question is whether the USA politics rock back to being largely stable (if very nasty and right wing), or whether (as someone posted previously) a competent fascist takes over.

19:

Worked examples: the first Russian revolution of 1917 (not the Bolshevik one, the one that ended up with Kerensky in charge), and Weimar Germany (which admittedly had other problems).

As examples of "centrist coup", or even "centrist coalescence", these are NOT encouraging.

20:

If the people I know are a fair sample (progressive and I'm not sure how extreme they are as such things go), there is *no* *way* they will welcome converts. They will say their mistrust is warranted, I keep wondering whether they'd rather bear grudges than win.

I believe without historical evidence that if the Republican party collapses, the Democratic party will split into moderate and progressive wings.

I also believe without evidence-- the only evidence would be from alternate timelines-- that Congress is turning against Trump to the extent that it is because they were personally threatened. They don't care that much about the rest of us.

21:
Trump blew his chances by pulling the trigger two weeks prematurely (assuming it was intentional, and not just a chaotic fuck-up).

I think there's an important point here. I think it was intentional in the sense that clearly he wanted something to happen. But it was also a chaotic fuck-up. As an attempted coup (which it may well have been) it was a disaster: even though it looks like there may have been (some?) police support for it it was just dismal: if you're going to stage a coup in a country like the US you're going to have to do a lot better than this.

And I think this is because 'intentional' and 'chaotic fuck-up' are the same thing for Trump. Trump is someone who lost money running a casino, who has never been competent at anything and who now probably has Alzheimer's. His handling of CV19 has been a chaotic fuck-up: everything he has ever done has been a chaotic fuck-up.

Trump's not running some secret conspiracy to take over the US because Trump can't run anything. The very best he can arrange is a mob of people lost in some idiot conspiracy theory.

I think the notion that there's some secret conspiracy run by Trump is just, well, a conspiracy theory: it's what the QAnon people think, and those people are wrong.

That doesn't make what he has enabled less dangerous, but I think it does mean that he's not going to be the one to organise it.

22:

A number of White House staffers and political appointees resigned in the past 48 hours. You might have missed it, but one of them was Elaine Chao Secretary for Transportation.

DeVos too. However he can lose the Transport and Education secretaries with no impact on his ability to organise his base to action. And frankly my assumption is that they've resigned in order to avoid being embroiled in any attempt to invoke the 25th. If resigning from the White House was any form of effective protest against his policies and actions then we should have seen some effect from the resignations that have been happening since the start of his administration.

He could try for a police coup, but on January 20th Biden gets sworn in and then he is Commander-in-Chief, and if I was a cop I would be really leery of going up against the US National Guard and the Army.

I wonder if Trump's restructure at the top of the Pentagon in the wake of the election would have anything to do with trying to subvert a change of CiC.

And finally, remember who Trump's base is. They're heavily armed, completely divorced from hard reality, significant in number, and ready to die for him. He's been setting them up for a coup for years, and he can command them from any public channel he can reach. Yes, it may not be an effective coup, and the bloodshed among his own people will by great measure outweigh the bloodshed among the police and army, but a lot of people will die including innocents caught in the crossfire.

I have to admit Charlie, it feels strange when I'm the one who believes in a grimmer immediate future than you!

23:

When things are such a mess that it's hard to know where to even start, I think it's time to actually look at the people who decided to opt for violence on an individual basis and find out what sent them over the edge because if we don't understand this, we're not helping the situation at all. Seriously. It's easy to ascribe/project motivations and traits and think we 'know' but that's no better than the what we've been accusing these MAGA hatters of doing. We need real data not speculation in order to identify various societal problems otherwise we risk future large segments of society deciding to opt out or being pushed into opting out of society.


'No one is above the law'

There's some serious 'House' cleaning that has to be done and it has to be seen to be done fairly and thoroughly. This means that Pols and Feds need to show all the evidence that's been collected even if it's politically embarrassing. The world has already seen how divided the US is so I don't think 'saving face' and pretending nothing's going on is going to help at this point. (IMO, DT probably could have been stopped/jailed if the Mueller Report had been made public. On a related note about openness & law: Why the hell hasn't the ABA disbarred Giuliani!)

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-election-2020/trump-lawyers-giuliani-letter-b1767790.html


24:

That specific approach comes across as sound, but also expensive and would need to be co-ordinated across the thousands of tinpot police services in the USA.

Something the USA desperately needs is a national-level database of law enforcement/prison/security personnel, with criminal background checks, and for it to be a Federal felony to work in any such role that confers powers of arrest or involves armed response without passing a check on the national database. In other words: if you've been prosecuted for animal cruelty or domestic violence? No cop badge for you, sunshine, now or ever -- and no jobs in private security, either.

(I note that animal cruelty correlates with violence against humans -- it's an early sign of many serial killers -- and domestic violence also correlates with cops who go on to kill members of the public.)

(The UK has criminal record background checks for security jobs, and a government agency that tracks convictions and gives a simple-ish "yes/no" answer to "has this job applicant got any convictions that may render them ineligible for this job". It's also used for occupants like teaching or crowd control or non-police emergency services, where the worker may be in a position of responsibility for public safety. It adds an additional bureaucratic check-box to job applications, but if it works properly it prevents trouble further down the line.)

25:

The issue the Republicans have had since Trump's nomination is that Trump supporters are the RINOs. With what went down in Georgia (a very orange devil), it's clear that Trump is an active deterrent to voters. People like Mitt Romney have been saying it for a while, but after Georgia it's obvious to the whole party, even to ones like McConnell who up to now have been excusing and enabling his behaviour. There's simply no way the party will put him on the ballots for any future primaries, because they don't have a deathwish.

Assuming Trump stays out of jail for 4 years, I think the inevitable consequence will be him campaigning as an independent in 2024. The way the guy works, I can't see any way he wouldn't. That'll split the Republican vote enough to guarantee Biden's re-election. The only question then would be whether he keeps running in 2028 and beyond.

It's possible even that he might form a full-on party and have his subordinates go for seats in the Senate and Congress. I don't see that as being quite so likely, but it's possible. Again that's likely to have the same consequences, just at the state level.

Assuming Trump stays out of jail is a rather large assumption though. The various states chasing him for financial misconduct have been on ice during his presidency, but that's going to kick off in a big way as soon as he's out the door. Simply on emoluments, he's basically screwed by his administration sending people to stay in Trump hotels whilst he maintains full personal ownership of those hotels; and that's just what's in immediate public view. When the states get his actual finances (and they will; he has no defence against it now), he's going to be in a world of hurt.

It would certainly be nice if people also went after him for malfeasance, especially after the last few days. The trouble is, as we found with his impeachment proceedings, that this is very hard to prove beyond reasonable doubt. That's where finances come in, because money trails don't lie. It's how they got Al Capone behind bars, after all, and Trump is just another mobster.

26:

Charlie Stross @ 13: "(assuming it was intentional, and not just a chaotic fuck-up)."

It was a chaotic foul-up (as rear-admiral Daniel V. Gallery would have said).

It it had been really organised the organised mob would have rushed to the secure location within the Capitol complex.

27:

Oh, one more thing. Even if Trump is impeached again I actually don't want the judgement to go against him. A resignation would be better.

Why? Because a President removed from office cannot stand again. But if he resigns he could run in 2024, and knowing his narcissistic hunger for his base's adoration, he will run again in 2024. And I really want that happen because it denies the GOP access to his base and splits the right wing vote.

28:

As examples of "centrist coup", or even "centrist coalescence", these are NOT encouraging.

That was kinda my point.

Healthy polities generally tend to be centrist by default: centrists don't need to hold coups unless something has gone terribly wrong.

29:

My view
2020-22, Democrats are nominally in charge, but a determined minority leader (Hello McConn ell) can do a lot of sand in the gears. And he will.

2022...I fear the gerrymandered districts in the US will lead to Republicans taking the House AND the Senate. And so the Biden Presidency ends in futility.

2024. Republicans sweep into the White House, and its a Bourbon Restoration, be it Trump or someone in his image. And the world goes to hell.

30:

I didn't notice DeVos going. That's also significant, because it implies a rupture with the Erik Prince axis (which would be the obvious source of mercenaries if Trump was planning an, ahem, properly organized coup).

So he's lost McConnell and presumably lost the private military contractors fronted by Prince.

Niiiiice.

As for commanding his base to set the country ablaze ... he's lost Facebook and Instagram and YouTube. He's been suspended once from Twitter and you can bet that they'll pull the circuit breaker again the instant says does anything questionable. He's even lost Shopify for merchandise sales! All he's got left is the public media and he's really not on good speaking terms with CNN, MSNBC, et al -- even Fox News have gone cold on him.

So if he sets a date and hour for the Day of the Rope, or the Boogaloo, it's going to be hard for him to get the word out. And then the FBI and SS will fall on him.

31:

Trumpism will slowly disappear.

Demographically Trump's base is already a dead man walking.

Population decline and slow economic death will inevitably shrink the pool of Trump voters.

It will still be a force to worry about due to the magnifying effect of gerrymandering, the electoral college and the senate (1/3 of the American population controls 2/3 of the Senate), and a generation of conservative judges.

But time is not on their side.

32:

You may find this analysis useful:

https://eand.co/this-what-trump-always-wanted-and-theres-worse-to-come-fd402567afdd

The short version: most attempts at political violence on the national stage fail in their visible objectives.

But the strategic objective - destabilisation, the legitimisation of violence, discovering the level of support in the police and (say) Interior Ministry Troops, ethnic militias and the Army; and the consolidation by violence of a core group 'loyalists' to the cause...

All these things are successfully achieved by a 'failed' insurrection, and they pave the way to the next act of political violence, further chaos and instability, and the next act after that, in an descending spiral of disorder.

That's the road to the end of democracy and the rule of law; and it is very difficult to halt the juggernaut, if more than thirty percent of the population want it to go down that road.

Take a look at how many *more* people voted for Trump in 2020 than in 2016.

To what extent does Trump 'plan' this, or have a 'strategy'?

None. His instinct, his pathology if you will, is to lie to those who are eager to be lied to, throw things into chaos, and seize the opportunities: but that aproach to life and politics is *working*, just enough of the time, for Trump to succeed at just enough of the things he does; and there are clever and highly-effective sociopaths, who have an agenda of their own, who can make use of Trump, his talent for telling extremely effective lies, and the chaos he leaves in his wake.

So... Have an agenda:

With a little help from a skilled propagandist and a major media channel, the patriotic white citizens will eventually see the need for a firm and authoritarian ruler to bring order to their communities. And they will support everything that comes with it, if they can be convinced that the bad things only happen to people who aren't them.

That's the road, and the article in that link was written by someone who lived at the other end of it. Which is to say: he didn't live very far away, at all.

33:

Given that there were at least two people among the Capitol attackers with bundles of wrist restraints (there are photos on Twitter), I think this is a little more organised than it might first appear.
I suppose that could just be the better-prepared end of the frothy spectrum, but it at least argues that some of them were trained.

34:

I thought most of the true believers were on parler these days. It's easier for them to avoid dissent that way.

35:

I find it incredible that anyone thinks that it could have been even an incompetently planned coup. It had NONE of the characteristics of one, and all of the characteristics of a whipped-up but spontaneous mob. Even the members of the mob who HAD planned some sort of action (and there were lots of signs of that, from special T-shirts to pipe bombs) showed no signs of coordination or even the rudiments of a purpose beyond an inchoate 'to put pressure on Congress'. But I accept tfb's point that it is almost impossible to tell whether Trump intends anything, when he tweets what he is pleased to call his thoughts.

As several people have indicated, the immediate mystery is what is going on among Pence and the senior staffers in the White House (e.g. exactly why they are resigning, and what they have done but not publicised). They MAY be constraining Trump in some way, or may being merely rats to his sinking ship. This will affect what happens in the next 12 days.

36:

For those who are wondering how 45% of republicans could think the assault on Congress was a good idea, there is an historical precedent.

In 1945 the American occupation authorities in Germany conducted a secret poll of the German population. Even after utter defeat, bombed out cities and general knowledge of the holocaust, 38% of Germans still though Hitler was a great leader who just made a few mistakes.

Evil stupidity is not just an American phenomenon.

37:

A possible indication of the way the GOP will go. I can't say I'm surprised.

From a certain newspaper to which links are disallowed:

11:43 a.m. [7 Jan 2021]


Trump briefly called in to the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting Thursday morning — and received a loud and overwhelmingly enthusiastic reception when RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel put him on speakerphone, according to people in the room.

“We love you!” some in the room yelled.

38:

We have 2 years to effect significant change.

If we can get Sen Joe Mancin (democrat from deep red West Virginia) to go along, we can eliminate the filibuster.

In a perfect world, we would neuter the electoral college via the Interstate Compact, but I don't it happening.

However, we can repeal the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929, which fixed the number of Representatives at 435, and then institute the Wyoming Rule (the smallest state population - Wyoming - gets one representative and all other states get a number of representatives equal to the number of "Wyomings" that their population contains).

The total number of reps in the US House increases from 435 to 573, which also affects the Electoral College. Wyoming still stays at 1 rep while the California delegation increase from 53 to 68. Blue states in general do much better.

By matching the number of reps to actual population a lot of the unfairness of the Electoral College is mitigated. The number of EC votes needed to win the White House increases from 270 to 339 and the new EC votes are mostly in Blue States.

Simple legislation from a Blue Congress can completely change American politics. No constitutional amendment needed.

P.S. Also grant statehood to Puerto Rico and District of Columbia. Explore the possibility of reverting empty wastelands like Wyoming and the Dakotas back to territory status as having insufficient population to qualify for statehood.

(A 52 star flag would have 8 alternating rows of 7 and 6 stars)

P.P.S. Tie all federal aid to states to an elimination of gerrymandering practices. Congressional and statehouse districts to be apportioned by bi-partisan commissions.

P.P.P.S Pack the freaking courts, starting with the Supreme Court.

39:

Where is Trump at the moment? I saw something yesterday that he'd been evacuated to Camp David and the background for the "You will read this" video looks to be the generic set that exists in several places for short notice announcements. I can't find that today though. Could it be that Pence, McConnell et al are just going to try and keep him isolated as far as possible until the 20th?

40:

We have 2 years to effect significant change.

I am not a parliamentarian, but if it's possible the Democrats should have a fixed-in-stone schedule for passing whatever acts they think important. Otherwise they'll be defeated by delaying tactics and general shilly-shallying.

41:

"I find it incredible that anyone thinks that it could have been even an incompetently planned coup. It had NONE of the characteristics of one,"

100% agree.

Nobody, least of all Trump, thought that as a coup.

Trump is "merely" trying to torch as much of the place as he can, in pure mobster retaliation, and he is not finished with it, if he can do anything about it.

I also agree that the TV-performance is a clear sign that some kind of restraint is in effect, possibly a 25th amendment finding, signed, sealed and ready to use on seconds notice, or it could be already invoked, "but we promise to not tell anybody if you behave yourself."

If the restraint is insufficient, I think Daniel Ellsberg is right on the money.

Starting a war with Iran as he heads out the door will leave Biden with a major headache, and will earn Trump brownie-points in both Saudi Arabia and Russia, both major creditors og his.

And if he didn't think of that idea himself, Israel has a direct line through his favorite son-in-law to feed it to him.

42:

Trump did *not* lose money running a casino.

The fraudulent 'business' which ran Trump Casinos lost somewhere between a hundred and twenty and a hundred and forty million dollars or *other peoples money*.

People who do not matter to Trump.

Trump himself, and Trump-affiliated companies, received thirty-nine million dollars in bonuses, consultancy fees, non-competitive contracts and other payments: it's all in the published accounts.

God alone knows what's in the unpublished accounts: casinos are a business with a reputation for under-the-table cashflows associated with criminals, fraud, and money-laundering.

As for chaotic fuckups... That's how Trump works. Lie, confuse, throw everything into chaos and break things, pocket some of the pieces before the dust settles; and hope nobody notices and tries to do something about it.

It works, enough of the time, to keep him ahead of his creditors and the lawsuits.

It worked well enough to make him President of the United States, and if he had the right sort of intelligence, he really would have been the most powerful man in the World.

What he actually is, along with being weak and vain and a compulsive liar, is the World's most successful con man.

Yes, he's stupid. But the particular facet of intelligence that makes a con man smarter than you, just that one time when you believed him..?

Let's just say that Trump is Einstein, Napoleon and Michaelangelo, in that one facet of human creativity.

Oh, and he got more votes this time round in 2020, than he did in 2020.

Yes, nearly half the elecorate like what they saw in 2016, and they like what he did in office. Next to none of them has changed their mind; and enough new voters were eager to be lied to, to replace the old ones who have died since 2016.

Lying works, and Trump's lies *stick* and stay working. That's what the Republicans want from him, and from his base, and that's his legacy.

If Trumpism is going to die out, even as slowly as the mortality curve does its demographic work for good of democracy, those Republicans need to change their minds, and stop usng mass media and social media to lie as for them as effectively as they have lied for Trump; and I don't see that happening.

As for the laughable 'coup' failing: think of it as another fuckup and another dust cloud, hiding Trump *and his successors* grabbing lots of useful little pieces, and planning ways to exploit the weakening of America's democratic institutions.

43:

My prediction is that Republicans will head up a clean slate in 2024. Considering GOP and Trump was always a shotgun wedding, it was probably enough that Trump had already lost the lower house, the presidential election, and then the upper house to the Democrats. But considering Trump upped the ante to pressuring a Secretary of State to 'find' votes for him, pressuring a Vice President to scrap the count of a free and fair election (which he couldn't do, anyway) and graduated to open sedition, then I think we can say the days where Republicans would loudly scramble to describe the emperor's garments have come to a close.

44:

Charlie @ 8
The Brit & in many cases "European" model of "Peelian" policing, even though it only often gets lip-service only is alien to to the US.
It needs introducing, yesterday. The actual idea of the policeman not being a "Cop", but a semi-friendly" local, at the least needs to take root.
This is tied in to the US Prison-Industrial complex, as well, isn't it?
- @ 13
I do hope you are correct - unulsally optimistic for you!
I note that animal cruelty correlates with violence against humans -- it's an early sign of many serial killers Horrible, isn't it?
Hogarth, the painter & campaigner back in the C18th noted that one.


Jamesface @ 9
Yes - 11 days & counting. Could get messy.
- @ 21 - me too!

P H-K @ 12
Yes - scary, esp as regard s Iran

Princejvslin
NOT a Bourbon restoration ... more like either the "100 days" or Germany 1933
...
Which leads to Nile @ 31
That's the road to the end of democracy and the rule of law; and it is very difficult to halt the juggernaut, if more than thirty percent of the population want it to go down that road. That is eaxtly how "Weimar" Germany fell, isn't it?

Duffy
You really have hit the nail on the head - twice.

Racism & corruption
The best of Britain
The almost-worst of Britain - almost because they have been sacked. The worst was the S Lawrence case, where not only were the cops racist, they were on the take from the very crooks who did the killing. And more-or-less got away with it, by resigning.

45:

If we can get Sen Joe Mancin (democrat from deep red West Virginia) to go along, we can eliminate the filibuster.

Joe Manchin is the darling of the East Coast media for "the Democrat we have to get." Over the last two years, though, new Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona has had a significantly more conservative voting record than Manchin. Just-elected Democratic Sen. John Hickenlooper from Colorado has said he won't support eliminating the filibuster. In fact, of the 50 Democrats in the Senate, nine of them are from Interior West states; all of them have to go along to accomplish anything.

If I were Pelosi and Schumer gaming things out, a couple of the first things I would do is introduce some major changes to western public lands management, emphasizing fire fighting, fire risk reduction, big spending on mitigating the damage done by the big fires (eg, they screw up surface water supplies for decades), and sane federal water policies. Get those nine on side as soon as possible.

46:

The Republican Party will not split.

It will remain the party of White Supremacy, Evangelical "Christians", and anti-abortion (ie: anti-women). In short: the Authoritarian Party.

The next Republican President (whether elected in 2024, 2028 or whenever) will, if as competent as Nixon or Bush père, bring American democracy to an end. Elections will still happen, but the Republicans will always be in control.

The best way to avoid this is mentioned upthread: (1) repeal the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929, which fixed the number of Representatives at 435; (2) institute the Wyoming Rule; (3) statehood for DC and PR.

I cannot see how Fox News and its ilk can be muzzled or required to stop repeating lies. You can argue that they are shouting "fire" in a crowded theatre, but who determines what is the truth? Do you have an American пра́вда organization enforcing rules? I can't see that being in any way constitutional (or desirable).

47:

Re: ' ... an incompetently planned coup. It had NONE of the characteristics of one, and all of the characteristics of a whipped-up but spontaneous mob'

There was a large surge of people flying in to DC specifically to participate in this 'coup'. So at least a bit of planning involved. Yes, you can buy a plane ticket at the airport at the last minute but this only means that the timing might have been 'spontaneous'. Everything else though could have been planned.

Wonder if they got a group discount/deal on their tickets beyond the overall 26% price reduction since COVID-19?

48:

I am pretty sure Parler's reach by now is enough for him to get the word out to his followers, and Parler certainly won't censor him.

49:

The answer to what happens now is federalism. The Biden administration will allow federal law enforcement to prosecute individual rioters and Congress will have a commission that finds a few administrative bad actors and fires or jails them, but that will be mostly it for them.

At the state and local level is where the real action will be happening. New York State and City prosecutors cannot wait to haul Trump in for various financial crimes committed before and during his presidency, and they will Al Capone him into a jail cell upstate if he doesn't flee the country. Elected Republicans will use the attempted insurrection as an excuse to throw Trump overboard, and being banned from mainstream social media means he will quickly become irrelevant.

While that is happening in New York, all the other state legislatures controlled by Republicans (the majority of them) will engage in extreme gerrymandering (under the guise of redistricting based on 2020 census results) to shore up their seats in the house even after throwing the fascists overboard. Redistricting challenges in the courts will only gain traction in the most extreme cases, and I would handicap a GOP house majority in 2020 at even money right now. The Q and Maga folks will either de-radicalize or disengage from electoral politics, but I don't know that there are enough of them to make a huge difference in Republicans' electoral fortunes.

50:

"I find it incredible that anyone thinks that it could have been even an incompetently planned coup"

So it's a not-really-planned not-a-coup, that has succeeded in the things that failed coups do.

Trump doesn't really plan: his way in life and politics is to lie, confuse, cause chaos and break things, and pick up anything of value before the dust settles.

Trouble is, that's a very effective tactic - not a, strategy - for a con man.

And for a would-be dictator, because it weakens the institutions of democracy and sets off a spiral of increasing disorder.

I don't think that Trump himself will gain much from this; but it's a success, for someone.


Trump has created a substantial base of people who want an ethnically-pure authoritarian state, and the 'not-a-coup' has consolidated a core of violent extremists who'll be happy to do the grunt work.

Useful, for someone.

Also: Tuesday's stunt flushed-out a strong base of support in the police. If there's ever a next one, it'll probably find some more: my guess is the Border Force.

Lucky for us, that Trump himself is out of time and probably a busted flush, so he probably won't do that.

But Trump's base remains, and all it needs is a mass-media outlet 'onside' to keep them angry until someone else finds a use for them.

They will - enough of the senior Republicans want that kind of support, at the ballot-box and elsewhere - so this kind of thing is probably 'The New Normal'.


This not-a-coup has done more damage tha you realise.

51:

It will remain the party of White Supremacy, Evangelical "Christians", and anti-abortion (ie: anti-women). In short: the Authoritarian Party.

For those who are unclear: the anti-abortion aspect is more anti-birth-control, which is really about repressing womens' reproductive choice, which in turn when you do a deep dive is about controlling white womens' reproductive choice, which is based on the intersection between "quiverful" Christian fundamentalist beliefs (which overlap slightly with Catholic beliefs about sex) and also with white supremacism "extinction" narratives -- the idea that they have to breed more white people lest they be outnumbered and interbred into extinction by the "mud" people.

In other words, it's a toxic nexus of Nazi ideology and Christian patriarchy, which overlaps two of the groups propping up the Republican coalition.

Abortion is just a camel's nose inside the tent for total reproductive slavery: transphobia is a similar camel's nose wedge issue for homophobia (lest we forget, it was transwomen who first kicked off the Stonewall riots all those decades ago). And both patriarchy and homophobia are core pillars of fascism: when Margaret Atwood wrote "The Handmaid's Tale" she was actually delivering a better-aimed critique of this aspect of fascism than Orwell's 1984 (which bracketed totalitarian states in general).

52:
Centrist coups generally don't happen because you need worked-up radicals with fire in their belly to run a successful coup.

The Thermidor coup ending Robespierre’s Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. Do not underestimate the psychological effect on even Republican senators and congressmen of having their personal safety threatened.

53:

Trump is the evil twin brother of the wizard of Oz. But he won't be leaving in a balloon.

54:

A strongly, strongly recommended screencap of something brilliant that's turned up on 4chan pol
https://i.redd.it/4v40rp6m02a61.jpg

As for Trump's new party, how about The Banana Republicans?

55:

Land already in states can't be removed/changed without the consent of that state. (For example, what is now the state of Maine used to be part of Massachusetts. The Congress and Massachusetts had to both agree to remove the northern province from the existing state and form a new state from it.) This is in the US Constitution.

I agree with Uncapping the House, but I favor applying the "cube root" rule, which would increase the size of the House to about 690 members. But that's merely quibbling over the numbers; the principle that the House of Representatives needs to increase in proportion to US population doesn't change. There is already one house of Congress that gives smaller states disproportionate authority; that both houses are that way blatantly violates the original compromise of the US Constitution.

Some of the other changes some have proposed are politically impossible because they'd require small-population states to vote against their own self interest. The only other path would be a Constitutional Convention, which is probably the greater evil. While some people seem to believe that you can constrain such a convention, the only precedent that I think matters here is what they did in Philadelphia to produce the Constitution of 1787, which created the Second American Republic. A Constitutional Convention presses the reset button and attempts to create the Third Republic.

56:

Re: 'Starting a war with Iran as he heads out the door will leave Biden with a major headache, ...'

DT might want or even try to which is probably why the spate of former POTUSes, Pols, Cabinet and Defense heads publicly posting their joint condemnations of his actions. However any hostile power could still use this mess of DT's making to their advantage leaving Biden to clean up.

DT's presidency has been run as a 'family business' so all of them need to be watched and held to account - social media posts included. However, per VFair - his daughter and son-in-law appear to have crossed the line into 'toxic' and are being abandoned by their well-to-do social peers. This means they're only reliable base is the MAGA hats. [CUE: Ivanka on WH stairs 'Don't Cry For Me, ...'.]

57:

On January 3 all of the living former Defense Secretaries signed a letter warning that the military must stay out of election disputes. That's unprecedented and makes me wonder what rumblings they were reacting to, especially in light of the Capitol riot.

58:

I said clearly that there was plenty of evidence that some INDIVIDUALS had planned something for the certification (I mentioned two, and wrist restraints were also mentioned). Trump had been calling for some sort of 'action' over the certification for ages, which is why the only thing that surprised me was that the Capitol police were not expecting it. Their chief richly deserved the boot.

But there was not the SLIGHTEST evidence of central coordination, any kind of coherent plan, or anything that would be associated with a planned coup. Indeed, the evidence was strongly that those did not exist.

To Nile: no, it hasn't. Following a failed (genuine) coup attempt, the usual result is a purge of anyone involved, often descending into a witch-hunt and persecution of uninvolved political opponents. Turkey in 2016 was classic.

The reason that there is so much confusion is that heads of state inciting civil disorder without it being part of a nefarious political scheme is (almost?) unknown. Events like Kristalnacht are, regrettably, not rare, but this was not like that, not at all. A better historian than me make be able to think of another example like this one, but I can't.

59:

I don't know what will happen. But I think what *did* happen has not registered.

There was no planning. There is no mastermind, or master plan. Merely a bunch of people playing at being revolutionaries, each individually deciding to go to Washington on the 6th,

In short, Trump now knows that the fallout for trying to incite a violent revolution in the US is to lose his tweeting privileges for 12 hours and get a suspension from Facebook. He will do more, and worse, on or before Jan 20th. because they read it online and thought it would be funny. Will happen again on the 20th, perhaps more so, perhaps less.

And then, some of them deciding to storm the capitol and take selfies of themselves. As if it were a game.

We're not in a Gibson dystopia: this is more like Stand Alone Complex.

I don't know how you deprogram people living in a collective illusion. But maybe if enough of them end with real consequences, it just dissipates.

But then, we're left with the cowards and craven idiots who thought they could benefit. Will they learn something? Maybe, if enough of them face actual consequences, other than losing elections.

And then, it will go away, for a while, until we forget again that some voiced are not to be courted in a democracy. Same lesson in the UK for brexit, but the penny is still to drop (somehow).

60:

There was a large surge of people coming to DC because Trump had arranged a rally there and they were coming to the rally. Every football game or big rock concert involves a large surge of people all going to one place at one time: these things are not coups.

61:

Jamesface:9

So the invasion of the Capitol was a test, with 14 days to go, of what happens if Trump orders a full on coup from his people.

Trump doesn't have that much control over those people - he can give general hints but like any mob they are uncontrollable - they react chaotically to what is happening around them.

he now knows the capital police will aid the seditionists.

Some of them - and that assumes that in the coming weeks as evidence is gathered they remain with the police.

He now knows that the DoD won't send in the national guard unless ordered to by himself or Pence

Um, most democracies have rules regarding military involment in civilian affairs - rules that generally prohibit what you are describing.

So it is a fair assumption that the DOD can't send in the military until asked/ordered by the relevant authority.

The more interesting question is whether Pence is such an authority, and if the DOD bent the rules a bit to allow Pence authority.

(and Pence can be trivially controlled on that).

Pence has in the last several weeks made it clear he is following the rules of the office of VP, and not what Trump wants.

He knows that Pence will not invoke the 25th amendment.

I wouldn't be so sure about that - the bigger problem is Trump's Cabinet, not Pence.

He will do more, and worse, on or before Jan 20th.

Doubtful. One way or another this was a turning point against Trump, and with their eye on the calendar stalling will be the word of the month.

Jamesface:21:

And finally, remember who Trump's base is. They're heavily armed, completely divorced from hard reality, significant in number, and ready to die for him.

And also totally disorganized, with no command structure - they are all playing at being a militia because none of them want the responsibilities and acceptance of the realities of being a military style force.

Which dramatically reduces the potential threat they could pose.

Duffy:30:

Trumpism will slowly disappear.

Perhaps - but if it does it will merely be replaced by the next craziness, just as Trump replaced the Tea Party.

Demographically Trump's base is already a dead man walking.

Population decline and slow economic death will inevitably shrink the pool of Trump voters.

People have been predicting the death of the Republican Party for over 20 years now for the same reasons, and it's not dead yet.

Part of it is how they have manipulated the system, but part of it is their support isn't as small as many hope.

Justin Boden:42:

My prediction is that Republicans will head up a clean slate in 2024.

Nope. The 2024 contenders are already placing themselves, and making their overtures to the Trump base.

And given the alternative - Trump splitting the vote as an Independent in 2024 - if the Republican base want him back in 2024 they will take him back.

Considering GOP and Trump was always a shotgun wedding, it was probably enough that Trump had already lost the lower house, the presidential election, and then the upper house to the Democrats.

Parties who hold the White House traditionally lose one or both parts of Congress mid-term, so Trump losing the House isn't a mark against him.

And despite the White House/President focused media regarding US elections the 2020 elections were a definite win for the Republicans.

Yes, the lost the White House - but a lot of Biden's vote was anti-Trump, not anti-Republican and thus the Republican's still got a lot of votes on election day.

They kept the State Legislatures that the needed for gerrymandering, and combine that with gains made in November in the House and the Republicans are in good position in 2022.

And even the Republicans prior to election day were predicting major gains for the Democrats in the Senate - gains that didn't happen. And while the 50/50 tie in the Senate seems like a loss, anything really big is unlikely to get all 50 Democrats to support it - and if there hadn't been a Libertarian spoiler on the Georgia Senate ballot in November the Republicans would have had 1 of the 2 Georgia seats making it 49/51.

So as much I wish it was true that Trump messed up the Republicans, he didn't really in the ways that really matter.

62:

Putin does not give brownie points, most especially not to useful idiots; he would give Macchiavelli a run for his money in terms of unsentimentality. Yes, he would like the USA to attack Iran, because that would drive Iran into a closer alliance, and he might well get naval basing rights on the Persion Gulf out of it.

Unless the suspicions of the 25th amendment having already been at least readied are correct, and that has been promulgated to the Chiefs of Staff, I am expecting some kind of attack on Iran. The best I am hoping for is that the military drag their heels enough that it is nominal enough that it can be negotiated away later.

63:

The reason that there is so much confusion is that heads of state inciting civil disorder without it being part of a nefarious political scheme is (almost?) unknown.

Well, there's your answer: Trump isn't a political schemer! He's a political chaos monkey, breaking stuff and random and flinging shit to see what happens. Which is why there was no actual nefarious political scheme behind it.

64:

Putin does not give brownie points, most especially not to useful idiots; he would give Macchiavelli a run for his money in terms of unsentimentality.

Which is why I'm pretty certain Putin is on the way out.

Two items: firstly, the way he passed a law giving Russian presidents, current and previous (there are no previous, unless you count his mini-me Medvedev) retroactive immunity from prosecution, both in and out of office. And secondly, the rumour, rapidly denied (then disappeared from the media) that Putin had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

He's of the right age for MS (or something worse, like motor neurone disease), which might well be sufficiently debilitating that he'd be unable to continue working at short enough notice to also be unable to give himself immunity at that point in time. So the immunity thing is preparation for a sudden, unscheduled retirement. And based on previous behaviour, he wouldn't do that unless it had suddenly popped up on his personal radar.

65:

Yes, he would like the USA to attack Iran, because that would drive Iran into a closer alliance, and he might well get naval basing rights on the Persion Gulf out of it.

Oh noes! Russia would get a warm-water port at last! (Well, apart from Vladivostok and a few other places on the Pacific coast and the Sakhalins and ignoring the large and expanding fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers they're building and...) The Great Game is afoot! Kipling, thy time has come!

The problem for the Russian Navy right now is a severe shortage of naval vessels that can actually go to sea, never mind their lack of trained naval personnel. They might get a naval base in Iran but they'd not have anything to put in it without gutting their Black Sea and Northern fleets.

From what I can see the Russians are looking at controlling the Arctic Ocean and all of its lovely oil and gas reserves, declaring it as their personal fief and being able to defend it because no-one else can get to it for half the year. Having a single naval base to defend in a remote but warmer area of the world would be their Pearl Harbor if you like, but less useful.

66:

The overall cause of the exodus appears to be fears that they might be prosecuted as accessories to, or for complicity with, an actual conspiracy.

Word was coming out about a week ago that non top level staffers were being advised to avoid any meetings with Trump as being in the room will get them roped into future depositions about what was said about what to who and likely cost them $10K to $100K in legal bills just to say "We were talking about re-working the Rose Garden."

67:

Yes, you can buy a plane ticket at the airport at the last minute but this only means that the timing might have been 'spontaneous'.

Not much spontaneity need. On December 19 Trump tweeted “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!” A subsequent one appeared and was deleted on Jan 1:

@realDonaldTrump

The BIG Protest Rally in Washington, D.C., will take place at 11.00 A.M. on January 6th. Locational details to follow. StopTheSteal!

Deleted after 29 minutes at 2:52 PM on 01 Jan.

68:

Having a single naval base to defend in a remote but warmer area of the world would be their Pearl Harbor if you like, but less useful.

Never underestimate the significance of historic trauma in forming and setting in concrete ideas about military necessity long after they're obsolete. The Maginot line, for example, or British strategic reliance on Gibraltar.

In the case of a warm water port in the Gulf, the Russians are quite possibly harking back to memories of a certain naval campaign in 1905-06 which I might just happen to have based a novel on ...

69:

For those paying attention, this editorial from the National Catholic Reporter (shared by a Catholic friend of mine): Editorial: Catholics need to confess their complicity in the failed coup.

It seems that, when fascism rears its ugly head, there are Catholics on both sides of the issue. It's similar to what a President of Harvard University once said about his august institution: "“There’s a Harvard man on the wrong side of every question.” Speaking of which.

[[ fixed html link - mod ]]

70:

I disagree that he was or is planning anything, and I doubt very much indeed that he will orchestrate anything more than civil unrest in the near future. He hasn't planned anything in four years, so why should be start now?

Ah, someone from afar who has been reading past the headlines.

To me this all looks like someone who knows the roof will cave in on his personal life the minute he's not the President. So he has been pulling every trick in the book to stay President. But with a side bet of asking donors to fund vote rigging investigations with a small print disclaimer that he can do what he wants with most of the donated money. Like, say, hire some really expensive lawyers to keep him out of jail for as long as possible.

71:

One detail I have not been able to find an answer to:

"he way he passed a law giving Russian presidents [...]"

Does that law explicitly say it only applies to *russian* presidents ?

72:

I wonder if Trump's restructure at the top of the Pentagon in the wake of the election would have anything to do with trying to subvert a change of CiC.

Ah, seriously. Restructure? To me it was "you didn't kiss my butt when asked so out you go". Then "who can step in as needed". After a few rounds of this you get a re-structure but it is one without a plan. Except to put people in place who will not question what he says. But the folks in uniform will most likely slow walk any nonsense since there is less than 2 weeks to go.

73:

On a related note about openness & law: Why the hell hasn't the ABA disbarred Giuliani!

It's a state by state issue and there IS due process. As much as Trump hates such things.

74:

There's simply no way the party will put him on the ballots for any future primaries, because they don't have a deathwish.

Doesn't work that way. Which is how he got on ticket in 2016.

Parties in the US are much more of a loose association compared to what exists in the UK. Want to be on a ballot in the US with most any party. Collect some signatures and take your check to the state capital and fill out the forms. You might have to adjust your party registration.

Look at Bernie in 2010 and 2016.

75:

I fear the gerrymandered districts in the US will lead to Republicans taking the House AND the Senate.

Gerrymandering has absolutely no impact on the Senate. At all. In any way whatsoever. Unless you feel the way the state boundaries were drawn way back when is a form of Gerrymandering. The Senate issue is that the states with the fewest people tend to be R these days. (Wasn't true so much in the past.) So a few people get outsized representation in the Senate and most of it R these days.

And now toss in that only 1/3 of the Senate can turn every 2 years. And so a lot depends on who is up next. I can't remember.

76:

I find it incredible that anyone thinks that it could have been even an incompetently planned coup. It had NONE of the characteristics of one, and all of the characteristics of a whipped-up but spontaneous mob.
You are IMO correct.
Buzzfeed has been doing a few pieces on this the last couple of days.
The Rioters Who Took Over The Capitol Have Been Planning Online In The Open For Weeks - The mob that forced Congress to flee organized on both obscure and mainstream sites. (BuzzFeed, Jane Lytvynenko, Molly Hensley-Clancy, January 6, 2021)

The supporters of President Donald Trump who rioted in the US Capitol building on Wednesday had been openly planning for weeks on both mainstream social media and the pro-Trump internet. On forums like TheDonald, a niche website formed after Reddit banned the subreddit of the same name, they promised violence against lawmakers, police, and journalists if Congress did not reject the results of the 2020 election.
...
On pro-Trump social media website Parler, chat app Telegram, and other corners of the the far-right internet, people discussed the Capitol Hill rally at which Trump spoke as the catalyst for a violent insurrection. They have been using those forums to plan an uprising in plain sight, one that they executed Wednesday afternoon, forcing Congress to flee its chambers as it met to certify the results of the election.

The Capital Police were worse than incompetent. There was some complicity, and they need to be thoroughly investigated and purged, immediately.
The Capital itself needs some basics like hardened lockable doors such as what was done for passenger aircraft cockpit doors post 11 Sep 2001, perhaps plus some means of closing/locking doors remotely, to block gas and smoke and invaders, if it can be done securely. Make coup plotters work for it.
I am, as you are, quite worried that this will descend into political assassination. The US Secret Service needs to be extremely proactive here so that this doesn't become a normal. They are quite competent.
Trump would die if Biden dies (of anything other than clear natural causes), IMO. Also Israel is on very thin ice; the assassination of M. Fakhrizadeh/the timing of it can be very reasonably interpreted as a veiled threat to Mr. Biden, and so if any assassination attempts are made on Biden,/Harris, Israel will be suspected by many.

77:

I guess it depends on the state, but if you need to rely on write-ins then you're mostly out of the race. As shown by this in Wisconsin.
http://www.milwaukeeindependent.com/syndicated/state-gop-blocks-other-republican-candidates-from-appearing-on-primary-ballot-to-protect-their-king/

78:

I am pretty sure Parler's reach by now is enough for him to get the word out to his followers, and Parler certainly won't censor him.

The evangelicals on Parler are not happy with the business model. Much of the advertising is porn sites.

79:

Nojay @ 65: "From what I can see the Russians are looking at controlling the Arctic Ocean and all of its lovely oil and gas reserves, declaring it as their personal fief and being able to defend it because no-one else can get to it for half the year."

What ARE you talking about? The US, Canada and Denmark all have as much access to the Arctic Ocean as Russia, 12 months of the year.

Even the Swedes could send one of their air-independent propulsion submarines up there.

Look at a map. The US (Alaska), Canada and Denmark (Greenland) are to the left and Russia is to the right.

80:

The evangelicals on Parler are not happy with the business model. Much of the advertising is porn sites.

The evangelicals on Parler are publicly not happy - for appearances sake - privately they are likely very happy.

Because the porn sites would not be advertising to those evangelicals if they weren't clicking on the links and buying stuff...

81:

I believe without historical evidence that if the Republican party collapses, the Democratic party will split into moderate and progressive wings.

That's already happening internally. There's the big business wing of the Democratic party, currently in control, and the progressive wing of the democratic party who are getting more desperate and powerful, because they're the ones seriously working on racism and climate change.

Currently both sides work together uneasily, because compared with the Republicans we're best friends. But if the Republicans go away as a political force, then yes, the party will fission, with the labor movement in the middle as the kingmakers.

But there are two problems with this scenario:
--One is that the two parties are basically money laundering machines under the current US political system. You donate money to the party, and then the contest begins for who gets that money and what they do with it. Since we're talking about billions of less constrained campaigning dollars, this is non-trivial.

Because of this, I suspect that the fight in the Republicans won't be to stand up a successful alternative to the Republican party, it will be about who controls the political money laundering machine. Right now, a lot of more moderate Republicans are either independent (meaning they're outside the money) or have gone democratic, sometimes swinging surprisingly hard left. If the thugs get booted off the control of the money, a surprising number of democrats and currently independent conservatives may flock back to the party, especially if the Democrats don't do a sufficiently good job of dealing with white racism and sexism within their ranks. By this I mean that we democrats will fail if can't get really comfortable with the fact that Black and Latinx Women are really good politicians, and we're idiots every time we don't give them a seat at the table, whether we entirely agree with their politics or not.

The other problem is the one Scalzi alluded to in his essay but what if we don't. The agenda of the more politicized Republicans isn't precisely white nationalism, it's creating socialism for their whiter, richer members and an anarchy of the super-rich, meaning the powerful make the rules that the rest of us have to follow, to a degree inversely proportional to how wealthy and well-connected we are. We already have that system informally, but they want to make it the law of the land. No more equality under the law, there are owners and...not owned, but rented and optioned and above all controlled. This ideal is still very much in play, even as the market superiority mythology that created it disintegrates around them. And it has to stay in play, because so much of the wealth these creeps depend on is held in a spiderweb of shell companies, trusts, charities, and so forth that depend on laws in little tiny islands around the world. The US wouldn't even have to use nukes to dissolve them into chaos, and the wealthy know it. Their only hope is to capture the countries that could take them down, like the US and the UK, and they almost got both last year.

Agent Orange monkeywrenched the whole mythology of the genius billionaire, because he was so freaking incompetent, and that's not trivial. Again, the power of the superrich depends on this international web of deniable ownership and a lot of mythology. Cut the mythology, and every billionaire is basically a tax cheat with a lot of hired enablers. If they're not sufficiently useful, why support them?

January 6 also was when QAnon fielded its might, showed up barefaced in the middle of a pandemic, and lost even though they were getting coddled by the Capitol Cops. Black Lives Matter got their heads stomped on by the same force last summer and still (unsurprisingly) got a lot more done than these pale turkeys did. And they didn't spread the pandemic at their rallies. This absolutely does not mean that the problem will go away. Rather, it shows that exposing injustice still matters. When the injustice of white privilege gets shown up, whites don't get more privilege, and when the injustice of racism gets shown up, positive things tend to happen.

83:

I didn't mean write in votes. I meant signatures on a petition to be on the ballot. That's how it works on most states. But with all kinds of local windage as to how many signatures, from who, by when, etc. Plus the parties might have a convention which picks one or more to run. It is very disorganized compared to other nations.

And much of this came about after the total mess of 68. The D's worked hard to get rid of the smoke filled room picking the people on the ballot.

Fix one problem and introduce another.

84:

I like your use of language! That describes him perfectly.

85:

athough there will be death threats against both the incoming president and vice-president.

No change - much like Obama would have been a challenge for the Secret Service, Harris as a black female VP will be a constant target.

How seriously they're taken by the US Secret Service, FBI, and other relevant security agencies is going to be telling:

The FBI and others are going to be taking them very seriously - there have already been reports/rumblings in the last 3 years that the FBI was being forced by events to change their focus from arabs to the various white groups that started acting out and this will merely accelerate that process.

It could well be a very uncomfortable couple of years ahead for many of these groups.

we know that white supremacists have pursued a policy of entryism in police and military forces for decades now (globally, not just in the USA), and although a palace coup by the Praetorian Secret Service seems vanishingly unlikely, there may be conspiracies from within the state apparat of repression.

There were media stories about purges of Biden's Secret Service detail due to concerns around loyalty

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/dec/31/joe-biden-secret-service-team-trump-loyalty

It's fairly obvious that the new administration will go after the rioters/putsch plotters/lynch mob.

I think that is a bit misleading - the FBI will be pursuing them on their own initiative, not because Biden says go get them.

all those high-level resignations on the 7th suggest that something very illegal was going on, in relation to the storming of the Capitol. Possibly enough to justify the prosecution of a former president, if there is a smoking gun to be found ...

The thing is, the people resigning would already be ensnared in anything illegal so resigning at that point achieves nothing.

I think what others online are saying is closer to the truth - they don't want to be in a position to have to choose to betray Trump and invoke the 25th Amendment.


And it also looks as if the Republican party have lost their grip on the executive and congressional branches of government (but not yet on the judiciary), and are beginning to wake up to the moral hazard of farming baby alligators in their bathtub: the promise of croc-skin shoes is all very well, but when the alligator grows up and gets loose in your house, you have a problem on your hand.

The serious Republicans have been aware of this for years - the Tea Party showed them that outside forces could wreck their more thought out and stable plans.

Trump is merely an extension of the Tea Party - and his threats to mobilize his base to punish in primaries anyone who stands up to him is a real threat for now.

Are the Trumpists going to split and form a new party? Or are the Republicans going to split, many of them deserting to the Democrat coalition, and leave the rump party to the neo-Nazis? Or something else?

Are the "real" Conservatives going to split from the Boris Conservatives?

Same answer - no.

Crossing the aisle rarely works out well long term for the person doing it - particularly in a system like the US where you need to survive a primary.

And they all know, from the various examples around the world, that a party that splits the vote doesn't get into power.

86:

What ARE you talking about? The US, Canada and Denmark all have as much access to the Arctic Ocean as Russia, 12 months of the year.

It's not about access, it's about ownership and the ability to enforce ownership.

Canada, Russia, US, etc. all dispute where the boundaries are up there.

https://www.usnews.com/opinion/world-report/articles/2017-03-14/russia-is-making-a-land-and-resource-grab-in-the-arctic

Sadly, Canada isn't taking the issue seriously and building the required Naval capacity to deal with things, and the US isn't much better I suspect - only Russia is really taking it seriously.

87:

wrist restraints were also mentioned

I wouldn't take the wrist restraints by themselves as evidence of much planning. Amazon sells them and militia-wannabees might consider them cool accessories to rock.

https://www.amazon.com/ASR-Tactical-Handcuff-Restraints-Security/dp/B00USEHJ5W

88:

@JBS. Oops. Question I had was whether or not most billionaires trended Republican as asserted in the comment I think I replied to...probably should have added that for clarity. Overall, billionaire donations at least are not clearly weighted to either party. Now, that doesn't measure by number, but political influence is maybe better measured by donations. It also doesn't measure by think-tank, but I didn't find that statistic.

As for it taking anti-American bigotry to think that racism was the dominant theme in USain political discourse. Well, I'd argue that contrary views are not obviously reality-based. Sure, there are other factors (abortion, culture, urban/rural, economic), but ... The biggest predictor of voting preference is still minority status. So, the most interested voting blocs survey the two parties and find one wanting. That other party makes no particular shifts and actually finds electoral success in alienating minorities further. This is difficult to rationalize without a significant racist component to American politics.

Thing I take issue with is people making political plans without taking into account that a fair fraction (30ish percent) of the country make decisions based on a covert agenda that includes racism. They aren't brainwashed or innocent, just people who choose what to believe based on opportunities to justify themselves.

On one hand, there is a political opportunity there for unethical politicians, which Trump grasped, to some extent. The next may be better or worse, but probably more competent.

On the other hand, there is an opportunity for wasted resources in the direction of education. Those people have largely already chosen.

As a result, I'm less in favor of education and more in favor of maintenance of center-right rule (Biden) while amplifying long-term get-out-the-vote efforts. The racism component in our politics has a 20 yearish shelf life, as seen in California. Does this mean I've written off 30% of the electorate, and a mildly economically left-leaning one at that? Yes. Is that too pessimistic? Probably not.

As for that being pure anti-American bigotry? So far, it has been predictive. Albeit, adding a misogyny component, mildly stronger amongst minority voters, also helps to predict elections. (Well, with some sampling issues)

Personally, I am probably less anti-American than either anti-human or pro-despair. Or pro-efficiency.

It looks like Trumpists will.be dominant in the party, while fighting against traditional Republicans. I guess their electoral fortunes, excepting a chaos point in 2022, will be poor. My expectation is that Republicans will have finished jettisoning economic conservatism by 2035. In the immediate future, it is difficult to predict the past or future actions of idiots. I guess a coup will be unsuccessful. Is there traceable evidence of meddling with the capital police? Maybe. But simple stupidity mixed with lack of fear of 'not the other' wouldn't surprise me either. Was STBNP hoping for a lynching? Yes. Was it prevented by the protestors general wimpiness? Definitely. Were the protestors invited in to provoke a mild incident? Probably not?

89:

The GOP is now a coalition party, nearly the same one that the Democratic Party was through the first half of the 20th century. For a time the GOP was nominating and electing people from the plutocratic wing of the party, but with Trump *and others* is now nominating and electing from the white nationalist wing. The system of US government doesn't really allow third or multiple parties to take power, except rarely when an existing party entirely collapses, which has not happened recently. It's unlikely the GOP goes away. The levers of power are built on party rule.

90:

That map doesn't show the ice coverage though. With that included, you'll probably find that more of the Arctic is open to Norway than to anyone else

(I have been north of the North Cape in January, without seeing any sea ice up there. It's bloody cold, but the last remnant of the Gulf Stream is sweeping round and on to Murmansk, and that lifts the coastal temperature just a bit)

Canadian access, yes, that's pretty well iced in right now, but so is most of the Russian north coast. It's that bit between Greenland and Norway where everything can get in, all the way to Svalbard

91:

US isn't much better I suspect

US SSNs have been operating under the Arctic ice since forever. Also, Google ICEX.

92:

Nile
This part of your analysis: And for a would-be dictator, because it weakens the institutions of democracy and sets off a spiral of increasing disorder. I don't think that Trump himself will gain much from this; but it's a success, for someone. is horribly correct & forward-looking.

Charlie
Slight correction, what you should have written was:
In other words, it's a re-run of the toxic nexus of Nazi ideology and Christian patriarchy, as seen 1933-45.
- & quoting "H": t seems that, when fascism rears its ugly head, there are Catholics on both sides of the issue. - but mostly, especially at the top, backing the autocratic thugs. See also Franco's Spain or Ireland 1925-90 ( approx )

@ 54
So: - who steps into Vladimir's shoes?

EC @ 58
Napoleon III, staging a coup to become Emperor, rather than President? ( 1851 )

hmmm
Same lesson in the UK for Brexit, but the penny is still to drop (somehow).
It will drip, drip, drip, slowly, until some insignificant straw breaks the camel's back.
For James II & VII it was charging the Seven Bishops. I wonder what eventual profound stupidity or remark or arrogance will bring BoZo down?
The crash will be spectacular, though!

93:

The Republican Party is an uneasy coalition between two main groups:


  • Libertarian Constitutionalists: pragmatic enough not to go off and join the actual Libertarian party, but still promoting the virtues of small government, low taxes, free enterprise, LGTBQ+ Rights and an end to the War on Drugs. Many of them can quote the entire Bill of Rights verbatim and they don't much care either way about abortion. On racial issues they are ideologically comitted to equal rights, but tend not to notice structural and institutional racism in practice. Importantly, this is the wing that contains the Federalist Society from which "Republican" judges are selected.

  • Social Conservatives: nativist, often fundamentalist Xtian, often more or less racist. They can usually quote the 2nd Amendment verbatim. Their politics is primarily tribal. If you can get past the "Socialism BAAAD" conditioned reflex they often have quite leftist economic views. Their parents were often Democratic voters until Nixon's Southern Stratagy flipped them into the Republican camp.

Meanwhile the Democratic Party is also a coalition, this time between the Socially Woke and the Conservative Left, with similar dynamics. Much of Hispanic and Black America is also fundamentalist Xtian, wants abortion banned, and opposes LGTBQ+ rights. Their support for the drug war is lukewarm because they have seen too many of their own people imprisioned by it, but that doesn't translate to wanting to legalise anything.

Trump's base is the Social Conservatives; the Libertarian Constitutionalists despise him. So if the Trump family create a new party, as they are threatening to do, then many of the Social Conservatives will follow the Pied Piper.

Donald Trump's big failing is that he can only think in tactics, not strategy. Whether Don Jr. shares this failing remains to be seen. This matters because Don Jr. is likely to wind up as the leader of the new Trumpist party in a few years. If he can develop a strategy to peel off the Conservative Left from the Democratic Party then he might be able to put together a majority for 2024 or 2028; socially conservative, economically progressive, nationalist, and nativist. The big tension in any such coalition will be along racial lines, but if Don Jr can shift the Enemy label from blacks to foreigners and liberals then it could hold together. Even if he doesn't get an absolute majority, the Libertarian Constitutionalists in the Republican party and the Socially Woke in the Democratic party probably won't be able to form a coallition against him, so all he needs is to be the biggest of 3.

On the other hand the attempted coup is going to render the Trump brand pretty toxic to everyone except conspiracy theorists. So a more likely future is that the Trumps form a new party, lots of conspiracy theorists join, and proceed to either shoot each other in fratricidal battles or just disappear off into the mists of unreality. Trump's denouncement of his own followers seems to have been a wake-up call for many. In this scenario Trumpism fades into history, the Republicans airbrush out the ways in which they enabled him, and the current main parties carry on as if nothing had happened.

So thats 3 basic scenarios:


  • Don Jr. creates a new party from the ruins of the existing ones and rides it to the White House in 2028.

  • Trumpism fades into history and everything continues unabated. (Most likely)

  • Trumpism splits the Republican Party but not the Democratic Party, leaving the Democrats with easy victories in 2024 and 2028.

94:

"I think it's time to actually look at the people who decided to opt for violence on an individual basis and find out what sent them over the edge because if we don't understand this, we're not helping the situation at all. "

We know what sent them over the edge - white privilege and massive propaganda from known outlets (Facebook, Fox News and similar shows, the GOP, the White Evangelical churches).

IMHO, it's time to do something about this. The one constant through this stuff has been that white right-wingers don't get punished.

95:

I think in the short term (next several years) very little will change. Joe Biden will take office, but because of the way the US government works--it is much easier to obstruct action than to make things happen-- he will barely manage to get anything done. The most I hope for is a competent vaccine distribution.

Also, The Republican Party will change very little. They will continue their progress, becoming more of an antitruth party dependent on deceiving a dwindling, increasingly unhinged old white guy minority. As a party, the countermajoritian structure of US governance will allow them to continue to wield power. And they will continue to work to emphasize and increase the impact of those countermajoritarian features that favor them.

The next dictator wannabee to come to power will be much scarier than Trump, because he (yes, it will be a he) will probably not be an incompetent buffoon. That will be the really scary time. However, I don't expect it for several years. We have a short reprieve until enough folks forget how the Republicans shit the bed.

96:

I wonder what General Milley answered.

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/01/08/us/trump-biden


Ms. Pelosi also said she had spoken with Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, about “preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes.”

97:
The next dictator wannabee to come to power will be much scarier than Trump, because he (yes, it will be a he) will probably not be an incompetent buffoon.

I'm thinking someone more like BoJo, whom (from my position of relative ignorance) I regard as a sometimes moderately competent buffoon. (I don't mean that he's competent at running a nation, but only at achieving and retaining political power) Correct me if I am wrong.

98:

We have a lot of property up there but not much presence. Alert is not a big town.

See Patrick Armstrong's post "The Arctic Ocean Is A Russian Lake". As he points out Russia has enough nuclear-powered icebreakers that one, "50 Years of Victory" is used for tourist excursions to the North Pole.

Here is Russia's latest nuclear icebreaker Arktika leaving St. Petersburg on its way to Murmansk on its maiden voyage.

The Northern Sea Route has been a strategic asset for Russia and the USSR for a long time and no one has anything like the Russian capacities in the Arctic.


99:

Just a thought as people talk about splits in the Republican party, whoever gets to keep calling themselves the Republican party get a free twenty million votes. Hanging in there while trying to get the others guys to quit is still a functioning political platform.

100:

mdlve @ 86: Sadly, Canada isn't taking the issue seriously and building the required Naval capacity to deal with things, and the US isn't much better I suspect - only Russia is really taking it seriously.

Well, yes I wish they would hurry things up building the Diefenbaker ice breaker:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CCGS_John_G._Diefenbaker

On the other hand we do have (as Allen Thomson notes @ 91) regular exercices in the Arctic with our NATO partners:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICEX:_US_Navy_Mission_in_Arctic#/media/File:Ice_Camp_Sargo,_located_in_the_Arctic_Circle,_serves_as_the_main_stage_for_Ice_Exercise_(ICEX)_2016_(25182632673).jpg

And we have the northernmost airport and air base in the world at Alert:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alert_Airport

And most importantly, the RCAF is active up there since we do regular intercepts of Russian Tupolev TU-142 reconnaissance aircraft, along with our NORAD partner (The US) and very often alone.

https://thediplomat.com/2020/03/us-canadian-fighters-intercept-2-russian-t-142mz-aircraft-north-of-alaska/

But the real problem Canada has in the Arctic Ocean is not with Russia, but with our esteemed NORAD and NATO partner, the United States. The US does not recognize the Canadian claim to 200 nautical miles of sea beyond our land border or to the continental shelf extension beyond this. The US advances the theory that the portions of the Arctic Ocean between the Canadian Arctic islands are "open sea", permitting the passage of any ship without Canadian authorisation.

Many countries (such as Denmark, which has a similar claim because of Greenland) support Canada in its claim.

Here is a summary of the claim, with a nice map.

https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/063.nsf/eng/97851.html

101:

Re: 'Or something else?'

Demographics aren't changing all that much on a national basis at the entry (youth) or exit (seniors) stages making 'swing voters' the likely target in future elections. Overall increased likelihood of voting seems strongly linked to higher participation among swing voters. In turn, overall increased voter turnout usually signals a change in government. So the question becomes: Without betraying their core, which Party can fastest and most easily address at least some of these voters' most urgent concerns? Biden has been consistently speechifying about the need for re-uniting the country so he's likely pursuing this.

WaPo shows the impact of different swing/demographic voter turnouts here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/politics/voter-turnout-270-trump-biden/

Re: (94) Barry - '...white privilege and massive propaganda'

What I'd like to know is whether the current socio-economic-political backscape was more vs. less motivating than something specific that happened recently to them which finally pushed so many of them into this, i.e., their last straw. Also which types of individuals were more or less susceptible to this.

102:

As for the House, yes it is close and subject to gerrymandering, which has no effect on the Senate. But there are 20 Rep seats at risk and only 14 for the Dems. Included with the Rep seats are two where the incumbent will not be running, which should be easier to flip. And they are in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, which don't always go Rep, particularly PA. So perhaps your pessimism is a bit too...pessimistic.

103:

Out in meme-land, I see that people are picking up on the obvious, that the myth of The Stolen Presidency is certain to take its place beside and somewhat aligned with The Lost Cause. And also, I'd guess, to great and lasting effect.

104:

Oh it will live on a long time.

One of my brothers and a majority of my grandfather's decedents are all in on that. Facts be damned. They cannot just comprehend that Trump lost. Very cult like.

My other brother and I are somewhat isolated on our island of facts and evidence.

105:

Does anyone else feel that all of a sudden - since Wednesday - things seem to be happening much faster now? And more directly - more plain spoken language, less mincing of words/BS.

And speaking of faster turnaround times: Randy's got a new video out SEDITION! ('Tradition' - from Fiddler on the Roof)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wT5kafhG3Qw

106:

In addition, it's not just white protestants, but also right-wing Catholics; many of whom would love a Francoist government.

107:
What he actually is, along with being weak and vain and a compulsive liar, is the World's most successful con man.

I disagree, mostly. Famously he has made less money than he would have if he had simply stuck the money he got from his father in some kind of index-tracker (and in fact he's probably doing much worse than this: although it's impossible to really tell the evidence seems to be that he's very heavily in debt). So financially he's an unmitigated disaster: if he's a con man he's certainly not one who is doing very well to con people out of money.

You could argue that he's a political con man: he's bargaining not-very-much into enormous power. And he did OK for a bit, I guess: he got to be president. Except, well, he's just failed there too. Well, things always catch up with con men eventually, I suppose.

108:

The use of that word ("Tactical") in any other circumstance than in military history or in the education of military personnel always conjures up images of mall ninjas of the 101st Chairborne Division to me...

109:

Out in meme-land, I see that people are picking up on the obvious, that the myth of The Stolen Presidency is certain to take its place beside and somewhat aligned with The Lost Cause. And also, I'd guess, to great and lasting effect.

One thing to realize is that we're in an era of hybrid warfare, which places supremacy not so much on brute force as on information warfare and psyops. Yes, this crud is effectively someone's weapon system. What we don't know is how the counterweapons will evolve, because it's very much a red queen race between the attackers and the defenders and counterattackers.

This is fairly crucial, because if hybrid/cyberwarfare evolves to the point where networks of problem operators can be neutralized, not just in cyberspace but to some degree in people's heads, then things change radically.

I suspect it's possible, too. The Lost Cause took hold because 19th Century Republicans made the mistake of valuing reunification over cleaning up the toxic history of slavery, and looked the other way as Jim Crow took over. If we don't make that mistake again (big if, but not impossible), then...there's probably no lost cause, orange edition.

This is even more important because if you want to fight the biggest problems we've got at the moment--the super-rich--then that's a hybrid war too. We're at the point where it's becoming a war of survival for us, because of the outsize impact the super-rich have, not just on politics, not just on the welfare of most humans, but on the climate itself.

So...what would a successful (cyber)(hybrid)(psyops)war against these forces look like? That's a question worthy of near future science fiction.

110:

Let me cover a bunch of posts with this.

1. The GOP has had several civil wars - one in '12, for example, where they did a study after, ignored it, and went for racism and the 1%.
2. They are in the middle of a civil war, *now*. Perhaps a lot of you missed where the Trumpistas - the MAGAts, as a lot of us have them - have *said* "we'll destroy the GOP" after Georgia went for Biden.
3. There are a LOT of people who think of themselves as "Republican", who massively voted GOP... and split their ticket, voting for Biden. Otherwise, the Democrats would have had real control of the Senate, and not lost seats in the House.

Side note: datum: I personally know someone from the Tidewater area of VA, who still thinks of themselves as Republican... but VEHEMENTLY HATES TRUMP.

4. This was a coup. The problem was that this was a Hollywood coup, "planned" by an unreality-show star, with no help from scriptwriters and no continuity. It is my take that he *literally* expected them to take the Congress hostage, and would have been "so appalled" at some of the being killed. And thought it would all work, and he'd be declared God-King Of America, er, President.

Note, also, that it *was* planned. Of course, there was no central planning - it was planned by many idiots around the country, and was about as "organized" as the self-proclaimed militias (about who, I have been wondering, whether they have any organization at all, or whether it's "you ain't the boss of me!")

5. The GOP may well *NOT* take the House or Senate back in '22. There are a *lot* of folks, esp. young folks, who have come to the conclusion that voting, etc, DOES matter, and they're out, in force. The coup attempt will reinforce that tremendously.

6, A lot of the existing GOP still supports Trumpistas... but remember, people calling themselves GOP are a falling percentage of the voting population, and it's something like 20% who are "independents".

7. I expect Biden to have the Census *actually* completed - Trump's bid to stop it will not end in the next 12 days - and that will be bad news for the GOP.

8. By '22, a real percentage of the Covidiots will be sick for life or dead... and more will have had it, it was bad, and they may have second thoughts about what they did.

9. The real GOP-killer: I think it's about 20 years to go before "whites" are in the minority in the US population.

111:

Paul @ 93
Where do you put the "Lincoln Project" people then?
Just "Constitutionalists" maybe?

LAvery
Unfortunately almost spot on, though the incompetence almost everywhere & the persistent lying are beginning to (finally) show up.
But it will take time - at least another year of this ....

AT
Do not forget the other previous fascist myth: "the Stab in the Back"

Barry
Catholics who are not right-wing are technically "protestants" - or so the case has been historically, given the RC church's record.
See also Poland & Hungary right now, of course.

112:

The word 'tactics' has been used in a figurative sense for aspects of things like chess since before the rebellion of the American colonists. However, in this case, you have a very good point!

113:

The other week, he and the the General of the Army said that there was no place for the military, so they were already telling Trumpolini "no martial law, we will refuse".

114:

In the longer term, I think the best comparison is with Argentina after 1955 when Juan Peron was removed from office. His fanatic fan base has remained a powerful political force in the country right to this day, even though it has been decades since his death.

115:

In addition, it's not just white protestants, but also right-wing Catholics; many of whom would love a Francoist government.

I think Charlie is seeing too many headlines and not enough meat on this one.

The hard core Catholics are the leaders of the hard core totally anti birth control movement. But like all of the "all in" groups they volunteer to hold offices and help write laws and such so their effect is way more than their numbers.

As to Evangelicals (who make up most of the Christians on the right) most of them like their middle class life. And having a dozen kids doesn't work with that. So most want birth control. Just one one that does NOT dispose of a fertilized egg. And most have no idea of the science they are advocating. (Makes discussions of angels dancing on heads of pins look like a simple discussion.) Anyway they WANT birth control as long as it's preconception birth control.

But in general these two camp ally together which makes the absolutely no birth control ones look typical due to their zeal.

116:

if he's a con man he's certainly not one who is doing very well to con people out of money.

I disagree. Just think how far ahead he'd be if he wasn't so bad with the money he DID accumulate from others.

117:

Charlie Stross @ 8:

I guess the fuse is a bit longer than usual, maybe a couple of weeks, but somebody's head needs to go on a stake for that, or Biden will, as the D's usually do, the black caucus the moment power is secured.

The head of the Capitol police force resigned; one of their number has died of injuries sustained during the riot.

It's telling that the head of the Capitol Police was allowed to resign effective in 10 days (Jan 16) rather than being terminated immediately for cause.

Why wasn't he required to immediately turn in his badge & gun and be escorted off the premises with his personal effects in a cardboard box?

Note: That's a rhetorical question.

118:

Demographics aren't changing all that much on a national basis at the entry (youth) or exit (seniors) stages making 'swing voters' the likely target in future elections.
The (US) Georgia 3 Nov general election (president, senators) and 5 Jan runoff (senate) elections showed clearly that another viable path to winning elections is increasing voter turnout among partisan constituencies. The US voter turnout percentage is remarkably low, and so there is now a very strong argument that turning out those who would otherwise not have voted is more fruitful than going fighting over the genuine US swing voters. (Argument being that deep Rep Georgia flipped from Rep to Dem.)
This might apply to any country with low voter turnout percentages.

119:

Catholics who are not right-wing are technically "protestants" - or so the case has been historically, given the RC church's record.

Puh-leeze. I've got two cats who were raised by a retired nun. She was far to the left of me, and so far as I can tell, entirely loyal to the Catholic church and her order.

There are 1.2 billion Catholics in the world, and anything that size is an ecosystem, not a monolith. Just as you wouldn't slander 445 million EU citizens as being a bunch of Nazis due to the actions of a few leaders, don't do it to the Catholics. A lot of them are sitting well left of your left flank wondering when you'll get a clue.

And note that in saying this, I am very far from being a Catholic.

120:

Randy's got a new video out SEDITION!
Ah, good, was wondering when somebody would do that.

121:

Is there any chance of sufficient consensus now to shorten the transition period to something much safer and shorter?

122:

Charlie Stross @ 13:

In short, Trump now knows that the fallout for trying to incite a violent revolution in the US is to lose his tweeting privileges for 12 hours and get a suspension from Facebook. He will do more, and worse, on or before Jan 20th.

Disagree.

Why is Chao's resignation significant? Well, Chao just happens to be married to Mitch McConnell.

The overall cause of the exodus appears to be fears that they might be prosecuted as accessories to, or for complicity with, an actual conspiracy. (They certainly wouldn't be doing that if they expected to receive pardons.) I don't buy the line that they're doing it to distance themselves from Trump's administration when they hit the job market: if they don't want mud to stick, the time to do that was November (or maybe November 2016). This is about something more serious -- like the refusal to allow National Guard units through to the Capitol, or the reason the Chief of Police resigned yesterday.

With their resignations, those former Cabinet Members can also avoid having to take a stand with regard to Section 4 of the 25th Amendment. If you're NOT a cabinet member, no one can expect you to fulfill you're Constitutional responsibilities.

They're still pandering to the base.

123:

There's the big business wing of the Democratic party, currently in control, and the progressive wing of the democratic party who are getting more desperate and powerful, because they're the ones seriously working on racism and climate change.

The big business wing will flip in due course. Elon Musk's personal wealth just balooned so much he's (on paper) the world's richest man -- from EVs and photovoltaic panels, mostly; AIUI SpaceX's market cap is still within spitting distance of sanity. There's effectively a giant bubble inflating in the EV sector, and you know what that means: transport and energy infrastructure is shifting. It shifted before, from steam locomotives to gasoline automobiles, and this is a similar epochal shift.

Also of note: Google's staff in CA just unionized. Which is a whole lot harder in the USA than in other countries, and it's a sign of something big: Google are now an establishment blue-chip firm, not upstarts, the work force are unhappy about pay and conditions, and the work force has changed -- they're looking for long employment tenure, hence collective bargaining, rather than shrugging and doing the libertarian perp walk to the next whisky bar startup.

These aren't established trends, per se, but they're clear signs of something shifting. The new tech of the 90s is now mainstream and corporate, and the renewables/EV sector is moving front and centre to supplant the oil-automobile industrial complex.

Which means in the relatively near political future (only 5-20 years, which is a fraction of a US Senator's tenure) renewables/environmental corporations will come to dominate political donations.

And my conclusion is that the big money donors will go to the Democrats, until the Republicans (or their replacements) clean house and kick out the coal bums.

124:

The Russians have ports and people living year-round on their northern coast facing the Arctic Ocean. It's one reason they're best positioned to exploit oil and gas discoveries in that area while everyone else is proposing drilling rigs a thousand clicks from land and support facilities in northern Canada and Scandinavia. That's way too expensive in dollar cost terms as well as logistics, for the Russians it is just winter and for that they've got their icebreakers.

The big Russian icebreakers, planned[1] and in service are meant to be convoy leaders for cargo ships but they can also lead military convoys too. The ability to operate nuclear subs under the ice applies to both sides but the Russians can put military forces in the Arctic Ocean and sustain them there for extended periods in a way no-one else can.

[1] The new Arktika icebreaker is 33,000 tonnes or about the displacement of an America-class LHD. Its successor class "Leader" icebreakers, the first of which has been laid down will be 65,000 tonnes or the displacement of the QE-class aircraft carriers and about the same maximum propulsion power (120MW electric prop drive). The Leaders will be able to deal with sea-ice 4 metres thick.

125:

That is true, but what he says has some basis in truth. The Roman Catholic church is an authoritarian organisation, and requires its believers to accept ex cathedra statements as truth, whether they regard them as being compatible with the Gospels or not. And, under some circumstances, to accept other judgements of the ecclesiastical authorities in preference to their judgement or consciences. This was one of the causes of Protestantism.

However, as usual with his remarks about religion, he has gone so far over the top to be at risk of going round the bend.

126:

Heteromeles @ 119 "Puh-leeze. I've got two cats who were raised by a retired nun. She was far to the left of me,"

My aunt Claire (RIP) was really to the left of me but she spent years in Indian's Gujurat state, teaching as a lay missionary. They were catholics but they were set apart from The Church. When she came back she got involved with NGO agencies welcoming immigrants to Quebec and she always voted to the left of me.

But that won't sway Greg Tingey!

127:

Quote from CBS: With 12 days left in President Trump's term, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she spoke to the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman about precautions that could be taken to prevent "an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a strike."
Hmmm ....

Charles W
Ah someone has finally noticed ....

11.5 days to go .....

128:

Elderly Cynic @ 18: I disagree that he was or is planning anything, and I doubt very much indeed that he will orchestrate anything more than civil unrest in the near future. He hasn't planned anything in four years, so why should be start now? The real danger is that he will order an attack on Iran or, just possibly, China (e.g. in the South China Sea).

The UCMJ requires members of the U.S. Armed Services to resist orders to commit unlawful acts. An unprovoked attack on Iran/China would be an unlawful act. Unless Iran or China committed an egregiously blatant & stupid act of aggression against the U.S. forces in the region, the Pentagon will not accept an order to attack Iran or China (or anyone else).

But Trumpolini giving such an order might be enough to finally convince Pence he must act in the national interest to end the madness.

Pence is in a difficult position right now. If he invokes Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, the Republican base will never forgive him. If he doesn't there's a good chance there will be another coup attempt.

I don't know what he's going to do, but I note that his wife & kids were there in the House Gallery when the fascists stormed the Capitol and I've read that he is angry that they were endangered.

129:

" They are in the middle of a civil war, *now*. "

I diasagree. The Trump/Maga/Fascist wing *won*. The decent conservative faction can at best make speeches.

Note that after a mob stormed the Capitol building, the majority of House GOP members and several Senators continued trying to throw out votes.

I've been keeping an eye on the right-wing media. By Friday morning it was in full denial mode, blaming it all on a 'false flag' ANTIFA operation.

In the end, that's supporting the insurrection, but having to whitewash it a bit at first.

130:

She was far to the left of me, and so far as I can tell, entirely loyal to the Catholic church and her order.

One of my friends, a former FBI SSA, quit the Bureau, became an RN and now travels to various places around the world helping the Maryknolls(*). From her reportage, they really, truly, try to do good in a good way.

P.S.: I'm a Provisional Transcendental Materialistic Reductionist, not a Catholic.

(*)https://www.maryknoll.org/

131:

tfb @ 21:

Trump blew his chances by pulling the trigger two weeks prematurely (assuming it was intentional, and not just a chaotic fuck-up).

Trump's not running some secret conspiracy to take over the US because Trump can't run anything. The very best he can arrange is a mob of people lost in some idiot conspiracy theory.

I think the notion that there's some secret conspiracy run by Trump is just, well, a conspiracy theory: it's what the QAnon people think, and those people are wrong.

That doesn't make what he has enabled less dangerous, but I think it does mean that he's not going to be the one to organise it.

In a conspiracy all parties involved are equally culpable whether they're the ring-leader or the organizer or just on the sidelines cheering it on.

132:

RE: (assuming it was intentional, and not just a chaotic fuck-up).

IT WAS INTENTIONAL.

The chaotic fuck-up part kept it from succeeding, but the intention was there.

133:

The insurrection in the Capitol was an attempted coup, but I think largely an imaginary one. My guess is that many of the people there believed in the Qanon storm / Kraken or whatever it's called, the day when all the deep state paedophile baby eaters get taken down by Trump's Super Sekreet Army. They probably believed they were there to pave the way for the troops who would arrive to arrest the people responsible for the "steal" and had no further plans other than to be witnesses to their Day of Reckoning. When none of that happened they simply didn't know what to do and just milled about.

134:

US SSNs have been operating under the Arctic ice since forever. Also, Google ICEX.

Except what we are talking about is the ability to "fly the flag" and visibly enforce territorial claims.

That requires surface ships able to operate in the ice conditions of the Arctic, and only Russia has taken that seriously.

135:

Also of note: Google's staff in CA just unionized. Which is a whole lot harder in the USA than in other countries, and it's a sign of something big:

Need to read the stories and not the headlines.

The "union" at Google is a joke - it is not a union as most people consider a union - it has no authority nor recognition to do anything, it is merely 230 (at announcement, now around 400) employees making some inconsequential noise in a company of 253,000 staff.

https://www.theverge.com/2021/1/5/22215171/google-alphabet-union-cwa-organizers-goals-explainer

136:

Charlie @ 123
Now that is an actually hopeful sign.
About the only possibly good thing BoZo's crowd of fuckwits have done is to apparently "go green/renewable" - with the Glasgow conference later this year, C-19 permitting.
However, given their present record, they will screw that up as well.
Not a "Ministry of all the Talents" ( historical reference) but a ministry of the utterly talentless.

137:

Elderly Cynic @ 35: I find it incredible that anyone thinks that it could have been even an incompetently planned coup. It had NONE of the characteristics of one, and all of the characteristics of a whipped-up but spontaneous mob. Even the members of the mob who HAD planned some sort of action (and there were lots of signs of that, from special T-shirts to pipe bombs) showed no signs of coordination or even the rudiments of a purpose beyond an inchoate 'to put pressure on Congress'. But I accept tfb's point that it is almost impossible to tell whether Trump intends anything, when he tweets what he is pleased to call his thoughts.

That's because it was NOT an "incompetently planned coup", it was an incompetently UN-planned Act of Domestic Terrorism in furtherance of Trumpolini's on-going coup attempt.

Just in case anyone is interested:

18 USC Ch. 113B: TERRORISM
§2331. Definitions

   As used in this chapter— ...
     (5) the term "domestic terrorism" means activities that—
       (A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
       (B) appear to be intended—
          (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
          (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
          (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and

       (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States; ...

Acts dangerous to human life; violation of criminal laws of the U.S. or of any State ... check
Appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population ... check
Appear to be intended to influence government policy by intimidation or coercion ... check
Appear to be intended to affect conduct of government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping ... check

Occurred primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States ... check

138:

Yeah, I'm pretty sure my cats' old owner (who passed in July) was a Maryknoll. She was an RN who worked in a bunch of miserable places around the globe, then retired to San Diego. There she organized her friends to smuggle medical supplies to clinics in Tijuana. This was, apparently, easier than some of the other situations she'd dealt with in her life.

Obviously no one will convince Greg, but when you run into work like that, it's annoying to see someone tar the group they're members of as entirely fascist, authoritarian, or whatever.

139:

In case anyone is interested, the next Indivisible Guide is out: https://indivisible.org/democracy-guide

140:

Elderly Cynic @ 58: I said clearly that there was plenty of evidence that some INDIVIDUALS had planned something for the certification (I mentioned two, and wrist restraints were also mentioned). Trump had been calling for some sort of 'action' over the certification for ages, which is why the only thing that surprised me was that the Capitol police were not expecting it. Their chief richly deserved the boot.

But there was not the SLIGHTEST evidence of central coordination, any kind of coherent plan, or anything that would be associated with a planned coup. Indeed, the evidence was strongly that those did not exist.

To Nile: no, it hasn't. Following a failed (genuine) coup attempt, the usual result is a purge of anyone involved, often descending into a witch-hunt and persecution of uninvolved political opponents. Turkey in 2016 was classic.

The reason that there is so much confusion is that heads of state inciting civil disorder without it being part of a nefarious political scheme is (almost?) unknown. Events like Kristalnacht are, regrettably, not rare, but this was not like that, not at all. A better historian than me make be able to think of another example like this one, but I can't.

There is quite a bit of evidence for "central coordination" even if it failed to materialize directly from the White House at the critical moment on January 6.

All failed coup attempts are by definition not properly planned, but failure does not make a coup attempt any less genuine and the events following Trumps January 6 rally where he exhorted is followers to "walk down to the Capitol" and "demand that Congress do the right thing, and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated".

Donald Trump is well versed in the use of racist dog whistles for fomenting stochastic terrorism. His followers knew what was expected of them that morning.

It was a conspiracy. It was an attempted Coup d'état. And it was an "organized" terrorist attack on the Capitol.

141:

PS: The Chief of the Capitol Police DID NOT"get the boot' he so richly deserved. He was allowed to resign effective 10 days after the failed Coup d'état attempt.

142:

One of the interesting legacy problems in the US is that the FBI was formulated to hunt anarchists, whom J Edgar Hoover had a personal beef with. Switching to fighting organized crime proved hard for him and his people, because some of the most fervent anti-anarchists (let's just call them "fa") had connections with organized crime.

Ditto with the FBI fighting communists, and again having trouble with the fact that some of their right wing allies (the anti- antifa, as it were) had ties with organized crime.

Now we're 20 years post-9/11 about, and we've got the right wing problem again in law enforcement. This is an endemic problem. While we do have many in the FBI trying with all their bureaucracy-fu to do something about domestic terrorists, the guys at the top keep doing the J Edgar Thing and cozying up to the right wing.

This is one of many places where Biden pulling the bureau back to center by who he appoints at the top really matters. Ditto with the DOJ. The workers know where the problems are, but there's a cultural pro-right bias that keeps getting them killed.

143:

David L @ 75:

I fear the gerrymandered districts in the US will lead to Republicans taking the House AND the Senate.

Gerrymandering has absolutely no impact on the Senate. At all. In any way whatsoever. Unless you feel the way the state boundaries were drawn way back when is a form of Gerrymandering. The Senate issue is that the states with the fewest people tend to be R these days. (Wasn't true so much in the past.) So a few people get outsized representation in the Senate and most of it R these days.

And now toss in that only 1/3 of the Senate can turn every 2 years. And so a lot depends on who is up next. I can't remember.

Twenty-twenty-two looks slightly more favorable to Democrats than 2020 did.

Incumbency in Senate Class 3: 19 Republicans, 14 Democrats - 6 of the Republicans are in States rated R+3 or less; 4 of the Democrats are in States rated D+3 or less.

144:

The evangelicals on Parler are not happy with the business model. Much of the advertising is porn sites.

Given the rampant hypocrisy evident in many evangelicals, I suspect they are a significant market for those porn sites.

(Pun intended.)

145:
9. The real GOP-killer: I think it's about 20 years to go before "whites" are in the minority in the US population.

"Whites" will never be a minority in the US. Once upon a time, Italians, Jews and the Irish were not "White", today they are "White". In the not so far future, Hispanics/Latinos as long as they have no African ancestry will become "Whites" and Asians will become "Whites".

146:

"In other words: if you've been prosecuted for animal cruelty or domestic violence? No cop badge for you, sunshine, now or ever"

That's hilarious.

US cops are actively encouraged toward animal cruelty. The idea that they'd be banned from the job? Good luck with that one.

"Buffalo, New York, news channel investigation found that police there killed 92 dogs over three years, with one officer having killed 26 himself."

https://www.criminallegalnews.org/news/2018/jun/16/doj-police-shooting-family-dogs-has-become-epidemic/

I'm not going to link to any of the many videos of police shooting harmless restrained dogs. They're there if you want to search for them. There's even one of a police officer stopping to ask directions and then calmly executing the family dog, then getting angry when the family are too busy crying to give directions.

The police there are fucking inhuman monsters.

147:

Allen Thomson @ 87:

wrist restraints were also mentioned

I wouldn't take the wrist restraints by themselves as evidence of much planning. Amazon sells them and militia-wannabees might consider them cool accessories to rock.

https://www.amazon.com/ASR-Tactical-Handcuff-Restraints-Security/dp/B00USEHJ5W

Look down at the "Products related to this item"

The "Tourniquets, 4 Pack Emergency Outdoor Tourniquet First Aid Tactical Life Saving ..." is a much better choice. The way things are going I'd much rather have them. Flexi-cuffs are USELESS for stopping bleeding.

Allen Thomson @ 103: Out in meme-land, I see that people are picking up on the obvious, that the myth of The Stolen Presidency is certain to take its place beside and somewhat aligned with The Lost Cause. And also, I'd guess, to great and lasting effect.

NOT IF WE STOMP THAT SHIT FLAT BEFORE THEY CAN START IT UP!

148:

But if he resigns he could run in 2024, and knowing his narcissistic hunger for his base's adoration, he will run again in 2024.

I think much more likely, Ivanka will run. Or Donald Jr.

149:

Much to gravely worry any sensible human being here.

Military tells Pelosi that she and the House and Senate must block him from this; due to chain of command they cannot. And she can't either.

Quote:
"Is there anything Milley can do to prevent the president from “accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike”?

The answer is emphatically no. The president, and the president alone, possesses the sole authority to order a nuclear launch, and no one can legally stop him or her. Despite reports that Pelosi received assurances that there are safeguards in place in the event the president of the United States (POTUS) wants to launch a nuclear weapon, any such meaningful or effective safeguards would be illegal."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/01/08/there-is-no-legal-way-stop-trump-ordering-nuclear-strike-if-he-wants-expert-says/

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/08/pelosi-trump-take-away-nuclear-codes-456529

150:

Last night it occurred to me that the President-Eject's latest actions and lacks thereof might be most easily explainable in one of these two ways:

1. He might have been already 25ed by the VP and an 8-vote majority of the 15 Cabinet members on Jan. 6th. Their disempowering a President for reasons of inability under Amendment 25 Section 4 requires only that they transmit a letter to that effect to the President Pro-Tempore of the Senate (Grassley) and Speaker of the House (Pelosi). There is no requirement that the public be informed, the wider Congress be informed, or even that the President be. (But Discount Mussolini probably would be told, by this lot.)

Such a letter has the force of law for four days, upon which the neutered President can write the same Congressional principals advising that he's charged up his executive power pack again. The VP + Cabinet majority can file to contest that, sustaining objection which requires 2/3 supermajority in each chamber.

2. Or the VP might have waved an untransmitted Amendment 25 letter in his face, and said 'Starting now and until noon on the 20th, you will do and not do particular things as advised by handlers. In exchange, we'll pretend this letter doesn't exist, and forget it."

Things that incline me to think that's what happened include the wording and body-language of the video clip published to his Twitter account on 7 Jan at 4:10 pm. Not only is that entire speech totally non-Toddler-in-Chief, but there's one weird video cut in the middle, shifting to a different angle, immediately after he says that Congress has certified the results. I'm speculating that his handlers let him spew a bunch of characteristic ranting and disinformation just after mentioning the certification outcome, and then cut out that 20 seconds or so, before uploading to Twitter, and telling the Toddler to finish his two scoops of ice cream and go to his room.

151:

I'm increasingly leaning on the "I have in my hand the signed and sealed 25th declaration, behave or ELSE!" hypothesis.

45½ Pence doesn't want to send it, because that would be "unchristian", but he finally had enough, and knows better than anybody else what the chances are that Trumpolini will burn Rome on his way out if he can.

152:

David L @ 1813: [in "Submarine"]

It seems the easiest way to avoid details coming out in court cases

[Trump issuing a blanket pardon for all those who participated in the insurrection.]

There is a huge downside to a pardon. The SCOTUS has said that if you have a pardon you can't use the 5th or in general not talk when asked questions in a trial, deposition, or similar situation about whatever the pardon covers. So while you get immunity from whatever the pardon covers you must then talk if asked and go to jail if you don't talk.

Damian @ 1815: Doesn't this follow naturally from a the act of accepting a pardon being effectively an admission of guilt? It's the ultimate form of leniency for pleading guilty...

nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb;,

Doesn't have anything to do with whether you've "accepted" the pardon or pleaded guilty. Once you've been pardoned, you can't be exposed to "double jeopardy".

None of your testimony about the crime you've been pardoned for can be used to charge you again for the same crime. You technically have no 5th Amendment protection against "self incrimination" because you can't be "incriminated".

You'd still be able to invoke the 5th Amendment to avoid testifying about OTHER crimes you have not been convicted of or pardoned for.

153:

Poul-Henning Kamp @ 151: I'm increasingly leaning on the "I have in my hand the signed and sealed 25th declaration, behave or ELSE!" hypothesis.

45½ Pence doesn't want to send it, because that would be "unchristian", but he finally had enough, and knows better than anybody else what the chances are that Trumpolini will burn Rome on his way out if he can.

That's bullshit on many levels.
1. Trump will not behave, no matter what level of coercion is applied.
2.Pence might not invoke the 25th because he's afraid of what it might do to his future prospects of being the Republican nominee.
3. If he did have it in hand, he'd have to use it right away to prevent Trump's admirers from going after his family. They wouldn't be safe as long as Trump still controlled the White House. They wouldn't be safe anyway, but they'd be in greater danger if he delayed in an attempt to control the uncontrollable Trump.

154:

I've heard this before. It isn't exactly false, but is also qualitatively deceptive, in my opinion.

The GOP is better predicted by 3 groups.
1. Social conservatives - with > 60% of GOP membership falling into this category.
2. Plutocrats / corporatists - 3. Libertartian Conservatives - 4. With the remainder of the GOP largely falling into the fake LC category. These are people in the SC who use LC to justify principled opposition to, eg, the ERA while be comfortable with a surveillance state. They're significantly more common than #3.

The GOP is plutocrat-funded party, with the vast majority of the base coming from #1 and $4 using #3 as a fig leaf to justify evil. One reason they need thinktanks, and why they are successful, is that their base wants evil policies and their funders want similar evil policies and it takes a fair amount of work to gin up rationalizations.

Disagreement is incompatible with the observation that > 90% of GOP politicians fell right in line with Trump. They aren't all evil -> but they're pretty aware of the nature of their base.

So, hopes that Trumpism is likely to go away or be overpowered seem optimistic. Take away Trumpism and base turnout will fall. Couple that with an awful lot of disaffected former GOP voters in the suburbs and, meh. For the GOP, Trump-lite, heavier on xenophobia than racism, seems like the most likely way forwards.

155:

JBS @ 137
Well by that it was terrorism under (several) as you note.
Will anyone do anything about it - nope.
- @ 140
All failed coup attempts are by definition not properly planned,
- - - -
Treason never prospereth
What's the reason?
If it prospereth
None dare call it Treason
- - - -

H
I agree that here are good people working inside "christian" organisations.
But its more-or-less by accident, certainly given the record of said orgs in murdering large numbers of people, or making sure they suffer ("Mother" teresa ) or, or ....
Remember that, officially Cyril of Alexandria & Dominic & Tho More are still "Saints" - muderers, all of them.
- @ 142
You noticed, now then - how to make it work?

Foxessa
Oh shit
Only hope is the miltary refusing the order, if it comes.

Rick Moen
Your number (2) seems plausible ( See also P H-K - & the comment upsteam that Pence's family were present when the nutters broke in )
OTOH - JBS @ 153
I think my brain hurts

156:

"The work force has changed".

Hell, yes. All the libertarian-leaning suckers are older, and jobs that pay decently are hard to find, and there's too much time *between* jobs, so they're going back to the "I want a long-term job".

And COBRA for medical coverage sucks dead syphalitic Republicans. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

157:

Oh, but wait - about Pence's family in the House? It's worse than that, Jim....

There are, aparantly, recordings of the traitorous insurrectionists talking, out loud, about hanging Pence outside the building. Really. Also Pelosi and Schumer, of course.

158:

You mean like those of us of Jewish ancestry?

Or of course all them I-talians, and Spanish, and....

159:

Damn, hit submit before I was done.

Yeah... but *cultural* difference will change that.

160:

I disagree with your definition. Libertarians aren't actually conservative. They're "I'm going to be rich any minute, and so I'll act politically as though I already am".

That includes tax fraud, etc, etc. They don't think of themselves in the "conservative" mold.

161:

Seen on the Daily Kos:
Except:
Ginni (Mrs. Clarence) Thomas is on Board of Govs. of #CNP Action (lobbying arm), advisory council for Charlie Kirk’s TPUSA—which sent 80 bus loads to yesterday’s Washington Riot. #ShadowNetwork
Quote Tweet
Mark Joseph Stern
@mjs_DC
· 20h
On the morning of Jan. 6, Ginni Thomas—wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas—endorsed the protest demanding that Congress overturn the election, then sent her “LOVE” to the demonstrators, who violently overtook the Capitol several hours later. She has not posted since.
*************
This is, of course, the same Mrs. Clarence Thomas who was working for the Bush Transition team in Dec, 2000, when her HUSBAND WAS SITTING IN JUDGEMENT ON BUSH v GORE.

163:

Hi there - I live in the State of Georgia, of which I am ever so proud to have sent 2 Democratic senators to Congress for the first time in a looooong while - that is, since the white establishment was in the Democratic Party, rather than the Republican Party. i am proud of both and they will be awesome, high-integrity representatives for us for all kinds of progressive causes.

As far as the discussions about what the Republican Party will do or how it will adapt, I have some familiarity with this. I am disappointed to tell you all that it will not change - it exists in a world with "alternative facts" and that is not going to change for the foreseeable future. There is 40% or so of the population here that believes falsehoods - talking to them is akin to talking to people in a cult. (I have multiple family members in said cult). There is no persuasion, no convincing, no argument to be had. I've tried. Where this leads, I am not sure. I like to be hopeful about things - I have a vested interest, I have 2 kids - but I do not see this resolving positively in a mediated way. It seems to me that more things like what happened at the Capitol would need to occur to bring reality to bear. Sadly - I believe that there will be more pain to come prior to advancement.

In other news, I very much enjoyed the lost boys story in the Laundry Files "universe." Thank you for the escapism! (And I still say GlassHouse was one of your best novels ever and would love to see a sequel! ;)).

164:

There is no conflict between Trumpism and the GOP. Trumpism IS the GOP. He's not a cancer or an infection - he's just what the GOP is when you're dumb enough to say the quiet parts out loud.

They'd like to be rid of Trump, but Trumpism is simply the GOP.

165:

Google has banned parlour from the play store

Apple has given parlour 24 hours before they do the same

Reddit has banned the Donald trump subreddit

Tech has gotten the big sticks out (finally)

166:

Jack has belatedly realised that recent events are existential threats for Twitter.

I strongly hope this is too little, too late.

167:

Famously he has made less money than he would have if he had simply stuck the money he got from his father in some kind of index-tracker

If you can trust Mary Trump, he's after validation much more than money: having people call him rich and praise his business abilities matters more than the actual size of his bank account. Remember those stories of him calling up reporters pretending to be someone else, praising himself?

Come to that, look at the way he pretends to have won so many golf tournaments, and to be as good a player as the pros. In Reilly's Commander in Cheat there's a story of him bullying a child so he can claim a better golf score*.

It's not about the accomplishments, it's about the praise and validation.


*Oddly, his amazing genius-level golf abilities go away when there's cameras rolling. It's only when he can drive through other people's games and claim the best shot for himself that he gets goos scores.

168:

Oh shit
Only hope is the military refusing the order, if it comes.

Yeah, oh shit. A few counterpoints though that people have been discussing today, paraphrased (I'm a non-military person):
- The "Football" is said to contain a (logically; don't know the details) menu of orders that have been determined to be legal by the military
- The US military, and particularly its officers, has been drilled from day one that it is their responsibility to disobey illegal orders. I am reading from several current military people. (I'm not military; anyone here who is current please adjust this to be correct.)
A nuclear first strike is probably not a legal order.
- Trump cares about his own life. He would not personally survive if he ordered a nuclear strike.
- [there are a few other considerations, but those are the main ones being openly discussed]

169:

I think the best comparison is with Argentina after 1955 when Juan Peron was removed from office. His fanatic fan base has remained a powerful political force in the country right to this day, even though it has been decades since his death.

Or Marcos in the Philippines.

170:

Why wasn't he required to immediately turn in his badge & gun and be escorted off the premises with his personal effects in a cardboard box?

Note: That's a rhetorical question.

Do you have a non-rhetorical answer?

I'm guessing either "he's a white male", or "we really want to background-check his successor", but I know nothing about how that part of your government works, and the politics behind it.

(Serious request for explanation, not a troll.)

171:

My personal, uninformed guess as to the possibilities. One is that they trust his immediate successor even less. Another is that it's going to be an all-hands situation in two weeks, and perhaps they can't onboard a legitimate successor fast enough and have to trust that he's gotten a serious clue now.

Also, it's possible the President told him it was going to be a small, nonviolent protest that he would personally lead, and he believed the President. Even though he works for Congress, he was not in a position to say that he thinks the President is an active threat. It's entirely possible the dude's a Republican and thought he was doing the right thing.

Most likely (and again I'm greatly ignorant), after 1/6 he was given the choice of having his ass fired immediately or spending two weeks cleaning up the mess, preparing for the 19th and 20th, and cooperating fully with investigators, with a pension to keep him from deleting files or tipping off suspects. There's widespread testimony that some of his officers cooperated to some degree with the protestors, so if his greatest crime is fucking up, catching the real traitors is actually more important. As is getting the protections beefed up for the expected repeats on the 19th and 20th.

172:

Jack has belatedly realised that recent events are existential threats for Twitter.

I strongly hope this is too little, too late.

Or, far more likely, with days to go in the Trump Presidency they can now safely simply move up what they were going to do on January 20th anyway - with the added cover that all the tech giants are also finally acting (for now)

173:

Another question - does not just the actions this week, but the actions of the last 2 months, impact foreign relations between the US and it's traditional allies?

It has always been assumed that the damage Trump has done to international relations would take a while to fix - other countries would rightly be concerned about what the next populist Republican leader would do, making the job of the Democrat President following Trump difficult.

But we have seen, for various reasons, members of half the US Government pursuing anti-democratic actions since the election, with some of them obviously positioning themselves to replace Trump in 2024.

So do the former foreign allies, in the polite way of diplomacy, tell Biden that without evidence of a thorough house cleaning to go away - that while you seeem nice enough we no longer trust the US Government regardless of who is temporarily in the White House?

174:

Y'know, I did know a few real libertarians. They favored defunding the police, completely, and privatizing law enforcement. They actually succeeded in raising speed limits somewhere. And, well, were quite firmly against government support of corporations. Big supporters of Assange, et cetera. And hated Republicans. Also favored eliminating ICE. And welfare. And legalizing practically everything.

And admittedly, filthy rich. And so angry at the level of corruption and nepotism in the US that they looked up to very little. Beyond the wealth, their real disconnect was that they were just smarter, saneish, and healthy.

And wanted the US out of everywhere foreign.

But see, I thought they were wrong, but at least not liars. Whereas, most people who call themselves libertarians are basically only really irritated with laws that prevent discrimination or programs that risk helping minorities. Maybe unfair, but at least consistent with my experiences.


175:

Nice idea, but the President can appeal a 25th Amendment determination immediately, and then it's up to VP Pence to respond within four days, after which it's in Congress's court.

Do I believe they've already invoked it? Probably not, but it's not impossible. The simplest explanation for all those cabinet secretaries resigning is they didn't want to be put in the position of voting for or against removal. It's not clear whether acting secretaries can do the 25th or not, and whether it can be done for non-medical reasons. This latter is a slippery slope, because misapplied, it's an easy way to start a coup.

That said, there are leaks from the WH that Mnuchin and Pompeo have discussed it and didn't wanna, and purportedly Pence kept Pelosi on hold for 25 minutes before telling them he really didn't wanna either. So the pressure builds.

If you're into tea leaf reading, start riddling out the impeachment proceeding that will start Monday. How much of this is a done deal (meaning 25 Republican senators on board, so they're going to blast it through and get his ass out of the WH), how much of it was that it was impossible for the Congress not to try something and retain support, and how much of it was a Hail Mary play?

176:

I think much more likely, Ivanka will run. Or Donald Jr.

After that video that Don Jr shot in the tent Thursday surfaced, Ivanka's getting to be radioactive. Now that QAnon is turning on their father, I suspect their best course is to go away. We'll see.

177:

Heteromeles @175, yes, a President sidelined via the 25th can indeed countermand that advisory immediately, and I apologise for mis-summarising Section 4's details slightly. And since posting my earlier remarks, I've caught up enough on reading to infer that Pence is staying carefully out of everything, including that bit about keeping Pelosi and Schumer on hold for 25 minutes.

(I never expected leadership from Pence, but am slightly surprised to see so little backbone. If I'd been in his shoes, and knew that the Toddler had unleashed onto the building where I was at work a mob explicitly intending to hang me on a DIY noose stand outside and harm my family, I'd have adopted the opposite reaction and gone to war.)

Perhaps you saw the Vanity Fair piece about Lindsay Graham's role in encouraging the Toddler's not-quite-an-apology-tour video? Article claims Graham called his buddy on the 7th and warned the newly wary Senate now had enough votes to remove him unless he rushed out an electoral concession video and stopped try8ing to foment putsches without delay. So, I withdraw my hypothesis: It probably wasn't initiative from Pence and the eight dwarves.

I doubt the Toddler will follow Graham's advice for more than about 48 hours. Malignant narcissists on Adderall suffering social media and Nuremberg rally withdrawal problems can't.

178:

From the point of view of Congressional Democrats, impeachment proceedings are a great opportunity to put their Republican colleagues in a bind: Vote against Trump and piss off their base and risk getting primaried, or vote for Trump knowing it will be used against them to cost them the center in their next general election.

179:

“ Almost all political conflict, especially in the US, boils down to a fight between the Sane Billionaires and the Insane Billionaires. It generally follows this template:

INSANE BILLIONAIRES: Let's kill everyone and take their money!

SANE BILLIONAIRES: I like the way you think. I really do. But if we keep everyone alive, and working for us, we'll make even more money, in the long term.

INSANE BILLIONAIRES: You communist!!!

So from a progressive perspective, you always have to hope the Sane Billionaires win. Still, there's generally a huge chasm between what the Sane Billionaires want and what progressives want.”
http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/002508.html

My take is that to a rough approximation the Democrats are the party of the SBs and the Republicans the party of the IBs.

180:

White supremacy is a loot-sharing agreement.

The loot's run out.

The only path to stability is ethnogenesis so people have way to stop being white. (The 'we can just loot the citizenry' approach undertaken by Reagan/Thatcher is not at all stable, even without the climate.) This has to attend on a general increase in both prosperity and expectations.

It's possible, but you would have to run the guillotines round the clock for a year in either the US or the UK to make it stick.

It seems wildly out of character for Biden to be contemplating doing such a thing. On the other hand, I am sure he's not an idiot. So I suppose we're going to find out.

181:

I'm actually a little surprised at this argument. The classic communist argument is that racism is used as a way to fragment economic classes who would otherwise band together. The notion here is that turning poor whites against poor blacks is a way to keep the poor from banding together and overthrowing the rich.

There's an element of truth to this. The bigger problem, as demonstrated by QAnon, is that the myth-makers don't control their myths. You can start cynically using race as a reason to enslave people, then use skin color as a way to pit poor people against each other, but some of them are actually going to believe it. Then you, the amoral slaver, get stuck.

Anyway, I think in the normal course of things we'd see the dominance of a multicultural ideology where what matters isn't the color of your skin, but who you know and what you've got. Since this impoverishes a lot of white people, forcing them to realize they're actually no better than those they despise, is likely about three steps to far.

And hence, we get things like QAnon, which seems to be morphing into a millenarian movement with strong echoes of the 1,000 Year Reich and even the Ghost Dance. Problem for them is that Q is invisible/nonexistent, so they're a self-actualizing non-prophet religion who chose Trump as their god. And god is now in the process of betraying them.

182:

whitroth @ 157: Oh, but wait - about Pence's family in the House? It's worse than that, Jim....

There are, aparantly, recordings of the traitorous insurrectionists talking, out loud, about hanging Pence outside the building. Really. Also Pelosi and Schumer, of course.

Take a look at his right hip. That's a Glock baby! He is packing heat.

And those white things are called flexi-cuffs. Mil-spec grade - the kind you use to restrain a detainee's legs so they can't run away.

They were there for hostages. And to dispense summary justice.

A reporter on one of the other news platforms I've been monitoring today pointed out that not only was Pelosi in the House, but so was the Vice President and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate - 1, 2 & 3 in the line of succession..

Plus the House Majority Leader and the Senate Minority Leader ... Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders ...

One of the hallmarks of tyrannies is the way they deal with plans for succession. One of the first moves a tyrant has to make is to eliminate anyone who might be a legitimate successor; because they pose a threat to the tyrant's grip on power.

183:

Heteromeles @ 175: Nice idea, but the President can appeal a 25th Amendment determination immediately, and then it's up to VP Pence to respond within four days, after which it's in Congress's court.

Congress has 21 days to consider the matter before they have to vote on it. Pence would remain "Acting President" during that period ... or at least up until shortly after noon Eastern Time on Jan 20.

Do I believe they've already invoked it? Probably not, but it's not impossible. The simplest explanation for all those cabinet secretaries resigning is they didn't want to be put in the position of voting for or against removal. It's not clear whether acting secretaries can do the 25th or not, and whether it can be done for non-medical reasons. This latter is a slippery slope, because misapplied, it's an easy way to start a coup.

Section 4 of the 25th Amendment was purposly made more difficult to invoke than impeachment. All this moonshine about Pence having secretly invoked it & holding it over Trumps head to make him behave for the last week & a half of his term is just CRAZY. Nothing and no one can make Trump behave. Pence is a dunce, but I don't think he's quite that stupid.

And that's NOT how the 25th Amendment works.

That said, there are leaks from the WH that Mnuchin and Pompeo have discussed it and didn't wanna, and purportedly Pence kept Pelosi on hold for 25 minutes before telling them he really didn't wanna either. So the pressure builds.

If you're into tea leaf reading, start riddling out the impeachment proceeding that will start Monday. How much of this is a done deal (meaning 25 Republican senators on board, so they're going to blast it through and get his ass out of the WH), how much of it was that it was impossible for the Congress not to try something and retain support, and how much of it was a Hail Mary play?

The House will start the process on Monday, and will most likely vote the Articles of Impeachment on Wednesday. The Senate is in recess, holding only pro forma sessions until Jan 19. They cannot be called back into session before the 19th without Unanimous Consent. Moscow Mitch has already circulated a memo on how the Senate will handle the trial beginning at 1:00 pm Eastern Time on Jan 19.

I believe the current consensus is that the trial could continue after Joe Biden takes the oath. The Senate could not remove Trump at that point, but if they have 67 votes, they could convict him and bar him from ever holding Federal Office again. The GOP might actually go for that.

It eliminates Trump from contention in 2024, gets him out of their way and I'm sure they could find some way to spin it so they can blame everything on the Democrats.


184:

Updates:

1) Trump has lost his tweeting privileges permanently. He isn't taking this well. Up to about five accounts banned so far in the game of whack-a-mole.
2) The US military is enjoined to follow "any lawful order" of the President of the United States of America. However, you don't get to be the leader of an ostensibly peacetime military force without being at least 45% bureaucrat, so I have some hope. Bureaucrats are experts at delaying tactics, and mitigating tactics when they need to be - and I suspect every last one of these will be employed to check the "lawful" status of any orders given up to Wednesday week.
3) At least part of the reason all the tech giants are moving at once to de-platform Trump is the same as the reason the Murdoch media aren't as aggressively pro-Trump as they used to be - the Invisible Hand of the Marketplace. Basically, they know they can block Trump, and they might have a handful of his followers stalking out in "protest" (and signing right back up again five minutes later, because these types can never stick their dismount. They have to come back with "... And another thing...!" in order to win the argument). Meanwhile, if they don't ban Trump, they get all the people who are outraged by current events walking away, and staying away. One of these things is not good for their advertising sales figures.

Comments:

A] I think the people of the USA are really going to have to get together and hold the feet of the administration to the fire over the whole issue of "do we want these acts of sedition punished or not?" and "do we actually want to live in a democracy?" - because otherwise the Democrats are going to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory (in classic left-wing Circular Firing Squad fashion) by playing the "civility" and "forgive and forget" cards.
B] The problem with the Democrats as a party is they have far too many people in office who have never been in an abusive relationship as the abused person, and it fucking SHOWS. The problem with the Republicans is they have far too many people in office who have been in abusive relationships as the abusers, and that fucking shows, too. So you get the Republicans doing the standard unreasonable abusive authoritarian bastard things, and the Democrats trying to reason with them. As per Captain Awkward, "reasons are for reasonable people" - unreasonable people shouldn't be reasoned with. The Republicans aren't being reasonable, they haven't been reasonable since about the Nixon administration, and pretending if you treat them in a reasonable fashion, they're going to somehow change and become reasonable people even though they haven't the first fucking idea (or incentive) about how to behave like reasonable people, is not altruistic or saintly, it's outright insane.
C] Trump is not an effective fascist because he is lazy, incompetent, and narcissistic. He's lazy, so he won't put in the work to do things right. He's incompetent, so he doesn't know how to do things right in the first place. He's narcissistic, so he's not willing to either delegate things to other people who are willing to put in the work, or to hire competent people to do things for him, because he doesn't want anyone else to get the credit for anything. Even taking those factors into consideration, he still became President of the USA, and he still got associated with an insurrection attempt. I would be looking very hard at the fascist right in the USA, because what people need to be afraid of is the potential for an energetic, competent and self-effacing type to get in near the top, and be quite happy to be the power behind the throne while one of these Trump-esque failsons is positioned as a figurehead to rally the "troops".
D] Duffy @ 38, Kevin Standlee @55 - the main problem with implementing your idea is a straightforward issue of infrastructure: the current Congress seating space is not physically capable of seating any more people; this is why it was frozen at 435 representatives. You're going to have to build a new House of Congress in order to make your idea feasible, and I don't know whether you've noticed, but major building projects tend to take time and occupy space. Where in DC is there space for another, bigger, Congress hall? And are you likely to get all the paperwork done, clearances cleared, NIMBYs negated and so on to even be able to break ground (let alone build to completion) within two years?
E] Trump's base are a worry. The main saving grace we have, at present, is the strong tendency present in ALL far-right-wing noise-makers to want to be the person in charge rather than the person following the rules, which tends to lead to internal schisms over fine points of doctrine, and means most far-right organisations tend to have a natural size limit, at which point they split like amoebae, with each side attempting to re-engulf the other. However, given a sufficiently charismatic figure to rally behind (Trump, in this case), it's possible they'll all start heading in the same direction (again). So, again, what you're looking out for is both a sufficiently charismatic figure-head fronting the show, and a suitably talented organiser behind the scenes doing the opsec, commsec, planning and strategising. (My bet: husband and wife combination - and I'd bet on him as the front man, while she's the self-effacing power behind the throne; basically what the Republicans thought the Clintons were back in the 1990s).
F] Paul @93: I do like your assumption that Donald Trump Jnr is capable of competence, charisma, or even clarity. Yes, he managed a best-selling book... because Daddy's political wing bought most of the copies. The Trump offspring are not a worry, or even a blip on the radar, since none of them inherited daddy's ability as a con artist - the one who's most likely to achieve anything is Ivanka, and she's too busy permanently working to cement her role as Daddy's Favourite Girl to be able to dedicate much interest or energy toward anything else (although I'd start worrying once Donald snr drops off the twig).

185:

Too optimistic for me. That thesis assumes someone competent might be in control, rather than a nonsensical dance of emergent stupidity.

@183 Neither the 25th nor impeachment is particularly necessary. I'd prefer impeachment, but there isn't exactly time. I'll settle for later prosecution.

In practice, a leader only has power of their subordinates are still inclined to obey. Over 13 days, it isn't hard to ignore or futz up anything someone asks you to do. They can't even fire you and hope to find someone else... Trump appears to be a sufficiently gifted and trustworthy leader that I doubt he is capable of anything drastic.

186:

JBS @ 183: The only reason The Turtle says he "cannot" reconvene the US Senate without unanimous consent is that he doesn't wish to take action to reconvene into full session from the current pro-forma one. It's always within the Senate's prerogative to cancel a recess, and they've done so countless times before.

187:

Trump is not a brave man as far as anyone can tell. This little insurrection wasn't organised at any real level because he was careful to maintain enough distance that he couldn't be charged, I think. The phone call putting pressure on Raffenberger would be hard to charge over because of his expressed beliefs in that call and the requirement in relevant statutes of criminal intent. Everyone being able to see Trump's corruption isn't enough.

Seeing that (and the threat they saw with their own eyes) may be enough to stop politicians taking his calls for a while though. The limits of money to influence politics were shown recently by Bloomberg in his own push to become the Democratic presidential nominee, and anyway Trump may want to siphon the funds he's raised off for his own use rather than spend them on politics. I have hopes that the Trumpkins will dwindle away into noisy insignificance rather than make a permanent mark on American politics.

188:

mdlve @ 173 : "Another question - does not just the actions this week, but the actions of the last 2 months, impact foreign relations between the US and it's traditional allies?"

The traditional allies of the US mostly have radically different systems of government from that of the US. They have (with the exception of France) a head of government who depends on the support of a majority of the elected representatives of the people to exist. You can't have a running government if you don't control the legislature.

The US has an adversarial system where the legislature can be (and often is) in complete opposition to the head of state. The founding fathers built it this way because they didn't mind that the federal government could get in a tangle now and then. It meant that it would leave the states alone.

By now the traditional allies of the US are more or less used to this nearly perpetual mess. Having a mob storm Congress is just another aspect of the quaint U.S. system. They can live with it.

But they're probably double-checking the security systems at their Washington embassies.

189:

H
the dominance of a multicultural ideology where what matters isn't the color of your skin, but who you know and what you've got.
Which is exactly what we have in Britain - see Sunak, Patel, Khan, etc ...
"Ghost Dance" - Uh? [ The "Amerind" millenial mvement? ]

JBS
It eliminates Trump from contention in 2024, gets him out of their way and I'm sure they could find some way to spin it so they can blame everything on the Democrats.
Yes - which is why its a very bad idea.
As, said somewhere else, previously. The New Myth of "The Stolen Election" has got to be stamped on, right now, really hard, or it will haunt us all.

Megpie @ 71
[E] is the one to worry about, yes - we all knew this already.
How does one prevent it?

Erwin
I do hope you are correct - 11 days is still a long time for a major emergency to occur.
23/7/1914 -> 4/8/1914 was only 11 days, after all.
( The first date is that of the "Note" from Austria-Hungary to Serbia )

AVR
The "Trumpkins" will dwindle away, but their open encouragement of fascism, if competent, is still hanging over us.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Very perceptive historical note from "The Atlantic"

On Wednesday afternoon, as insurrectionists assaulted the Capitol, a man wearing a brown vest over a black sweatshirt walked through the halls of Congress with the Confederate battle flag hanging over his shoulder. One widely circulated photo, taken by Mike Theiler of Reuters, captured him mid-stride, part of the flag almost glowing with the light coming from the hallway to his left. Just above and behind him is a painting of Charles Sumner, the ardent abolitionist senator from Massachusetts.

On May 22, 1856, Sumner was attacked by Preston Brooks—a pro-slavery member of the House of Representatives from South Carolina—for a speech Sumner had made criticizing slaveholders, including Brooks’s cousin Andrew Butler, a senator representing South Carolina.* Brooks attacked Sumner on the Senate floor. “Mr. Sumner, I have read your speech twice over carefully. It is a libel on South Carolina, and Mr. Butler, who is a relative of mine,” he said. Before Sumner could fully respond, Brooks began beating him over the head with the golden head of his thick walking cane, trapping Sumner under his desk as he tried to escape, until two representatives were finally able to intervene and bring him out of the chamber. Sumner did not return to the Senate for three years, and would experience ongoing, debilitating pain for the rest of his life.

Also behind the man in Wednesday’s photo, partially obscured by the rebel flag, is a portrait of John C. Calhoun. A senator from South Carolina and the vice president under both John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, Calhoun wrote in 1837: “I hold that in the present state of civilization, where two races of different origin, and distinguished by color, and other physical differences, as well as intellectual, are brought together, the relation now existing in the slaveholding States between the two, is, instead of an evil, a good—a positive good.”

The fact that this photo was taken the day after voters in Georgia chose the first Black person and the first Jewish person in the history of that state to serve in the Senate; that it shows a man walking past the portrait of a vice president who urged the country to sustain human bondage and another portrait of a senator who was nearly beaten to death for standing up to the slavocracy; that it portrays a man walking with a Confederate flag while a mob of insurrectionists pushed past police, broke windows, vandalized offices, stole property, and strolled through the halls of Congress for hours, forcing senators and representatives into hiding and stopping the certification of the electoral process—it is almost difficult to believe that so much of our history, and our current moment, was reflected in a single photograph.

190:

there is *no* *way* they will welcome converts. They will say their mistrust is warranted

They probably have a point. I'm sceptical that "converts" are a serious proposition at any significant scale, given the depth of the unreality. There's no factory reset, no privileged safe mode where we can rewire all the associations that support the internal logic. I've no doubt there would be some spontaneous converts, but the real effort must go into preventing the grooming, recruitment, initiation and indoctrination in the first place. And that's making the real world more attractive and comprehensible to the susceptible, recognising how hugely challenging that really is but somehow doing it.

191:

The "Tourniquets, 4 Pack Emergency Outdoor Tourniquet First Aid Tactical Life Saving ..." is a much better choice. The way things are going I'd much rather have them. Flexi-cuffs are USELESS for stopping bleeding.
If I recall correctly, you have been trained to be the sharp end of the stick; i.e. a professional in this business. I think it was noted here the last time a bunch of domestic terrorists tried to put together a kidnapping-turned-bomb plot just how different their planning and organization was compared to successful operations like in Ireland. The successful ones think about surviving the fight and getting away first and foremost, and the actual objective gets planned around the constraints of the former priorities.

Meanwhile our crop of gaslit wannabes fit their planning to:

Step One:
- Assemble the forces*
Step Two:
- Move to the Capitol
Step Three:
- ???
Step Four:
- Restore Justice!**

*Mob
**Kill the traitors.

192:

Megpie71 @ 184: I do like your assumption that Donald Trump Jnr is capable of competence, charisma, or even clarity.

It wasn't an assumption, it was a possibility. We haven't seen Don Jr. without his father pulling the strings. I agree that he and the rest of the Trump family may be just like Don Sr, but we don't know it.

193:

On Parler carrying ads for porn sites:

I suspect its a marriage of desperation. On one hand mainstream sites who want to be "family friendly" won't carry adverts for porn, so porn sites have to advertise where they can. And on the other hand reputable companies won't advertise on Parler because they don't want to associate their brands with toxic waste, so Parler has to get income where it can.

Guardian article on Parler's censorship issues here.

194:

Twitter statement on Trump ban:

https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2020/suspension.html

Permanent suspension of @realDonaldTrump By Twitter Inc. Friday, 8 January 2021


After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.

In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action. Our public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly. It is built on a principle that the people have a right to hold power to account in the open.

However, we made it clear going back years that these accounts are not above our rules entirely and cannot use Twitter to incite violence, among other things. We will continue to be transparent around our policies and their enforcement.

The below is a comprehensive analysis of our policy enforcement approach in this case.

Overview

On January 8, 2021, President Donald J. Trump tweeted:

“The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”

Shortly thereafter, the President tweeted:

“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”

Due to the ongoing tensions in the United States, and an uptick in the global conversation in regards to the people who violently stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, these two Tweets must be read in the context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilized by different audiences, including to incite violence, as well as in the context of the pattern of behavior from this account in recent weeks.

After assessing the language in these Tweets against our Glorification of Violence policy, we have determined that these Tweets are in violation of the Glorification of Violence Policy and the user @realDonaldTrump should be immediately permanently suspended from the service.

Assessment

We assessed the two Tweets referenced above under our Glorification of Violence policy, which aims to prevent the glorification of violence that could inspire others to replicate violent acts and determined that they were highly likely to encourage and inspire people to replicate the criminal acts that took place at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

This determination is based on a number of factors, including:

President Trump’s statement that he will not be attending the Inauguration is being received by a number of his supporters as further confirmation that the election was not legitimate and is seen as him disavowing his previous claim made via two Tweets (1, 2) by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Dan Scavino, that there would be an “orderly transition” on January 20th.

The second Tweet may also serve as encouragement to those potentially considering violent acts that the Inauguration would be a “safe” target, as he will not be attending.

The use of the words “American Patriots” to describe some of his supporters is also being interpreted as support for those committing violent acts at the US Capitol.

The mention of his supporters having a “GIANT VOICE long into the future” and that “They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!” is being interpreted as further indication that President Trump does not plan to facilitate an “orderly transition” and instead that he plans to continue to support, empower, and shield those who believe he won the election.

Plans for future armed protests have already begun proliferating on and off-Twitter, including a proposed secondary attack on the US Capitol and state capitol buildings on January 17, 2021.

As such, our determination is that the two Tweets above are likely to inspire others to replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6, 2021, and that there are multiple indicators that they are being received and understood as encouragement to do so.

195:

And Trump responded Friday evening using @POTUS with these serial tweets, which Twitter soon deleted:

"As I have been saying for a long time, Twitter has gone further and further in banning free speech, and tonight, Twitter employees have coordinated with the Democrats and the Radical Left in removing my account from ...


...their platform, to silence me — and YOU, the 75,000,000 great patriots who voted for me. Twitter may be a private company, but without the government's gift of Section 230 they would not exist for long. ...

...I predicted this would happen. We have been negotiating with various other sites, and will have a big announcement soon, while we also look at the possibilities of building out our own platform in the near future. We will not be SILENCED! ...

Twitter is not about FREE SPEECH. They are all about promoting a Radical Left platform where some of the most vicious people in the world are allowed to speak freely.

"STAY TUNED!"

196:

While I believe the US military people who have said they are trained to refused illegal orders, the number of unprovoked attacks, invasions and murders of the past half-century make me believe that is honoured at least as much in the breach than the observance (*). I can believe that an order to nuke Tehran would probably be refused, but it's MUCH less clear that an order to bomb an Iranian nuclear site, missile base, air force base or naval port would be. Or even all of them :-(

A nominal attack could be sorted out by diplomacy later, though I am doubtful it would be, but a major one could not be. After the lying propaganda of the past decade or so, Biden would not be able to recompense Iran for such an attack.

(*) For the record, few empires are any better; the British and Soviet ones weren't, and countries like France and Russia aren't, either. What sticks in my gullet is the 'holier than thou' hypocrisy and utter stupidity of the USA (which charges can also be levelled against the UK).

197:

While I believe the US military people who have said they are trained to refused illegal orders, the number of unprovoked attacks, invasions and murders of the past half-century make me believe that is honoured at least as much in the breach than the observance (*). I can believe that an order to nuke Tehran would probably be refused, but it's MUCH less clear that an order to bomb an Iranian nuclear site, missile base, air force base or naval port would be. Or even all of them :-(

The difference (hopefully) at this point is that the members of the military are aware of the very much different circumstances currently - an unhinged President, in the final days of his Presidency - that make the nature of any such order radically different than any orders in the past.

198:

About the 25th Amendment...

It hasn't been invoked and it won't be.

Pence is a weak man -- a soul without a king, to borrow Leonard Cohen's phrase -- who lacks the ability to wrangle the remaining cabinet ministers. He also doesn't get anything from it; the thanks of history will not be available to Trump's VP. So he can't do it and doesn't want to do it.

Trump, though, Trump is an utter coward. And there are a couple credible reports that Pence was apocalyptically angry over the insurrection. Which means Trump would have backed down; an intersection of personal failures, rather than anything the least big systemic.

The US systems assumes an honourable president and it assumes a death-before-dishonour Congress. (The violent norms of the 18th century, in other words.) It has no structural defences and more or less can't have structural defences for a dishonourable president.

It also doesn't even have words for the large-landowner-problem's current manifestation is a small number of corporates with time-share ownership of a very significant fraction of the population's attention. You don't have to house and feed the people anymore to have the political weight of the people; you don't even need all of the people, just some percentage of their time.

large landowner problem -- why Bastard William carefully distributed his follower's land grants as scattered manors, indeed as scattered as possible. If you're the king (or the state), you want an evenly distributed and relatively egalitarian-on-its-own-terms nobility. The Duke of Burgundy is a big threat to the Duke of Paris' claim to be King of France, and the King would prefer there not be anyone like that.

In what we're seeing, Jack Dorsey owns political viability in the US, until he actually uses that power in a culpably overt way. Which means he is now utterly screwed and he knows. (How? depends on the political consensus of Biden's first term. But a lot of theory just turned into practice and the politicians aren't willing to leave him in that position.)

199:

I'm actually a little surprised at this argument. The classic communist argument is that racism is used as a way to fragment economic classes who would otherwise band together. The notion here is that turning poor whites against poor blacks is a way to keep the poor from banding together and overthrowing the rich.

I think communism is nonsensical, so I am not likely to make an argument from communism.

Just wanted to throw that out there, since a bunch of people seem to think I'm some sort of communist.

200:

I can believe that an order to nuke Tehran would probably be refused

This doesn't apply to the bomber force, obviously, but AFAIK the ICBM and SLBM personnel don't know the targets that would be attacked under the various launch orders.

201:

The brass hat to whom Trump gives the order and the officer setting up the target would.

To mdive: I hope your optimism is warranted.

202:

Re: '... AFAIK the ICBM and SLBM personnel don't know the targets that would be attacked under the various launch orders.'

Neither would the rest of the world which translates into putting every country on high alert/the defensive for acts of hostile insanity. I don't know what the US-NATO relationship is these days but I'm guessing that a heads-up might still be given to past allies. I'm grasping at red-tape straws here --- but if there's no warning then that's likely a violation of international air space which frees up everyone else to stop the attack in any way they can. Not good for anyone because the direction of the likeliest domino effect is actually a rebound.

203:

The police there are fucking inhuman monsters.

Well yes, and that's exactly why they need a background vetting system, licensing, professional ethics, and a blacklist. (Also a forced-early-retirement program to weed out the not-quite-worst cases, and murder trials for any cop who kills a civilian, ever, during which there is a presumption of guilt of, at least, second degree homicide.)

204:

I don't know what the US-NATO relationship is these days but I'm guessing that a heads-up might still be given to past allies.

Not in the Trump-goes-more-nuts scenario. The system is designed to be used if there's a bolt from the blue attack, which means that US ICBM launch has to occur within a very few minutes of the order leaving the White House.

OTOH, the order goes through the National Military Command Center in the Pentagon. I'm guessing that they would simultaneously declare DEFCON 1 for US forces worldwide, which should get the attention of other countries.

205:

The "zip tie guy" has been identified:

https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2021/01/09/insurrectionist-zip-tie-guy-identified-as-retired-air-force-lieutenant-colonel/

The Air Force Academy graduate claimed to have found the flex cuffs he was carrying on the floor. “I wish I had not picked those up,” he said. “My thought process there was I would pick them up and give them to an officer when I see one.”

207:

IQ45 is rumoured (again) to be considering pardoning himself - which I would have thought was impossible. ( See previous discussions )

Trump's a coward - so he won't start a war. Correct. But.
Trump is also a Narcissist - so other people don't matter. So, if he commits suicide, how many other "unimportant" people does he want to take with him?
Like this?

208:

SFReader @ 202: "I don't know what the US-NATO relationship is these days but I'm guessing that a heads-up might still be given to past allies."

Canada would immediately know if the US would go to DEFCON 1 for the whole globe because "The NORAD commander and deputy commander (CINCNORAD) are, respectively, a United States four-star general or equivalent and a Canadian three-star general or equivalent."

And also "There are [REDACTED] Canadian Armed Forces personnel posted to NORAD headquarters" .

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_Aerospace_Defense_Command

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/corporate/reports-publications/transition-materials/caf-operations-activities/2020/03/caf-ops-activities/norad.html

Of course, there is the possibility that Trump would choose not to go to DEFCON 1 for the whole of the globe, but only for a part of it, like Iran. That could avoid using NORAD, in theory.

But is there already a targeting plan for Iran, ready to be set off at a second's notice?

And what would Putin think if he saw a nuclear missile heading towards his part of the globe?

Russia shares a border with Iran.

Wouldn't Putin at least expect Trump to get in touch with him over the red phone and the NRRC?

Moscow–Washington hotline

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Risk_Reduction_Center

Don't forget that the NRCC:

" is online 24 hours a day and relays information regarding the arms activities of both nations so as to prevent accidental outbreak of nuclear war"

209:

Same site has another interesting story:
“Iraq issues arrest warrant for Trump over Soleimani killing”
Not *Iran*, *Iraq*
https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2021/01/08/iraq-issues-arrest-warrant-for-trump-over-soleimani-killing/
I’m in favor of honoring our alliance by extraditing him if asked.

210:

Re: ' ... for US forces worldwide,'

Again -- not good for anyone if they're forced into some rash act.

While the last sentence in the paragraph below suggests that the military might have some wiggle room it's implementation is subject to interpretation seeing as it was written up by the think-tank that's been a major personnel/staffing source for DT.

https://www.heritage.org/military-strength/assessment-us-military-power

'The Joint Force is used for a wide range of purposes, only one of which is major combat operations. Fortunately, such events have been relatively rare, averaging approximately 15 years between occurrences.23 In between (and even during) such occurrences, the military is used to support regional engagement, crisis response, strategic deterrence, and humanitarian assistance, as well as to support civil authorities and U.S. diplomacy.'


How to get a job in DT's OO:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Heritage_Foundation

'In 2014, the Heritage Foundation began building a database of approximately 3,000 conservatives who they trusted to serve in a hypothetical Republican administration for the upcoming 2016 election.[44] According to individuals involved in crafting the database, several hundred people from the Heritage database ultimately received jobs in government agencies, including Scott Pruitt, Betsy DeVos, Mick Mulvaney, Rick Perry, Jeff Sessions and others who became members of Trump's cabinet.[44] Jim DeMint, president of the Heritage Foundation from 2013 to 2017, personally intervened on behalf of Mulvaney who would go on to head the Office of Management and Budget, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and later become acting White House Chief of Staff.[44]'

211:

Trump is also a Narcissist - so other people don't matter. So, if he commits suicide, how many other "unimportant" people does he want to take with him?
People here have a generally low opinion of psychiatry but here are a few recent papers with findings and discussions which might be practically useful given the dangers. Trump has never seemed the suicidal type (to me). Bold mine:
Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Suicidal Behavior in Mood Disorders (2016 Oct 24)
From the abstract:
The relationship of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) to suicidal behavior is understudied. The modest body of existing research suggests that NPD is protective against non-fatal suicide attempts, but is associated with high lethality attempts. Mood-disordered patients (N = 657) received structured interviews including Axis I and II diagnosis and standardized clinical measures.

Suicide and Self-Regulation in Narcissistic Personality Disorder (December 2018)
paywalled, abstract says
Hypervigilance and emotion intolerance can challenge self-esteem, and readily evoke intolerable internal subjective experiences of failure and entrapment, which contribute to sudden and drastic decisions to end life. Glorification of death, dying, and afterlife, can also serve as instigation for initiating suicide. On the other hand thoughts of suicide can also serve an organizing and controlling function in people with NPD and prevent suicidal intents and actions.

TL;DR give him a possible way out and a possibility of a future. And make sure he doesn't believe in an afterlife, or at least in a pleasant one.

212:

Megpie71 @ 184: Updates:

2) The US military is enjoined to follow "any lawful order" of the President of the United States of America. However, you don't get to be the leader of an ostensibly peacetime military force without being at least 45% bureaucrat, so I have some hope. Bureaucrats are experts at delaying tactics, and mitigating tactics when they need to be - and I suspect every last one of these will be employed to check the "lawful" status of any orders given up to Wednesday week.

Beyond that the U.S. military has an affirmative duty under the UCMJ to NOT obey UNLAWFUL orders. They teach that in Basic Training. It's reinforced at every level of schooling you attend during your career. From OCS/ROTC/Academy on up it's drummed into Officers that you not only obey lawful orders and DON'T obey UNLAWFUL ones, you don't GIVE unlawful orders.

There are still idiots who never understand that, but the U.S. military does its best to weed them out.

213:

a) No. Not this time. The insurrection outraged EVERYONE. Even before that, anyone on faceplant who tried to suggest that was slammed by the rest of us, with the pics of the overweight scum wearing t-shirts reading "Trump 2016 - fuck your feelings".

And that Pelosi agreed to move on the second impeachment, *and* that she had taken it upon herself to talk to the DoD.... esp. when all the Dems know that they, personally, were under death threats.

At end, no. Trump, jr is already hated, and I would be surprised if he is not indicted for his speech to the mob. I've also been reading how Ivanka and Jared are toxic in their own social circles.

214:

Unfortunately, Charlie, States' freakin' rights. Any state, or county, doesn't have to require federal vetting.

However, there may be laws passed to make it hard to not follow such... and going to another state may, arguably, hit federal regs.

215:

I fear you have it backwards.

Fascism is a symptom.

Trump's lasting contribution to political discourse will be the knowledge that European racist political parties form a dominant, probably strongly dominant bloc in the US.

He could be blasted by lightning tomorrow and another hollow-souled Republican would pick that flag up before the ashes cooled.

My guess is that the current parties are metastable, but fairly far off from optimum voter preference. Consider Trump's rise in minority support in the 2020 elections.

216:

I was thinking Jonestown.
If it’s Trump’s family and remaining stuff and supporters I won’t shed a tear.

217:

Re: 'UNLAWFUL'

I believe you but how much room for interpretation does this allow for in what is usually described as a 'do it now!' scenario?*

Unless specifically stated as 'unlawful' the DT/Giuliani stance has been that any other action (even if the consequence is the same as the cited/quoted example of an 'unlawful' action) is 'lawful'.

Under normal circumstances when it's the 'letter of the law' vs. 'the spirit of the law', such a matter is brought before the courts. However, when the matter is considered primarily political, the courts lob the decision to the Legislators. (Pass the hot potato.)

* Your comment suggests that members of the military are required to take/pass some sort of applied ethics course/training - is this so?


218:

Fascism is an attractor of wealth-concentrating industrial societies, I think, much the same way as god-king autocracy is an attractor in aristocratic monarchies.

That is, if you want to avoid fascism, you need to use some other organising principle for your society as a whole. Otherwise fascism is inherently emergent from the axioms of daily life.

219:

Rick Moen @ 186: JBS @ 183: The only reason The Turtle says he "cannot" reconvene the US Senate without unanimous consent is that he doesn't wish to take action to reconvene into full session from the current pro-forma one. It's always within the Senate's prerogative to cancel a recess, and they've done so countless times before.

True or not, I expect the timetable I outlined is accurate. FWIW, I'm 90% convinced you're right, just not that it's the only reason.

Another reason for his reluctance may be that when the Senate does reconvene, he will no longer be Majority Leader so he can blame everything on the Democrats. I'm sure he would have a completely different excuse for why the Senate cannot take up the matter of an impeachment trial had the GOP retained control. And I'm 100% certain he will be among the GOP Senators objecting to continuing a trial past the time when Joe Biden is sworn in as President

"Leopards do not change their spots" ... and neither do turtles

220:

Graydon
Fascism is only an attractor if you have an external or better still internal "enemy" to blame for everyone's sufferings.

221:

...or spending two weeks cleaning up the mess, preparing for the 19th and 20th, and cooperating fully with investigators, with a pension to keep him from deleting files or tipping off suspects.

That would be my guess too. Unfortunately, he was probably given marching orders by the Sergeants At Arms and didn't want to disobey them, and this all has to be put on the record.

222:

I want to tell you all just how outraged, angry and devastated I am from the events of January 6th, 2021. But I can't.

Words are not enough to express the pain and anger I feel. And even if they were, I don't have the words.

It was TREASON in the general dictionary sense of the word; in the Constitutional sense and in the legal sense under the United States Code - owing allegiance to the United States, levying war against the United States and giving aid and comfort to her enemies ... "foreign and domestic" as the Enlistment Oath of the U.S. Army would have it.

And the worst part is I KNOW the traitors are going to get away with it.

I don't just mean the several thousand idiots who participated in the actual riot. The instigators and their co-conspirators both in and out of office are going to walk. A few of the "foot soldiers" may be prosecuted for lesser crimes. A few of their enablers in government may have to find new employment.

But for the most part it will be proven that Treason DOES prosper.

And that is the deepest, unkindest cut of all.

223:

You're quite correct. "Don't carry out illegal orders" is the Prime Directive of the U.S. Military.

224:

Fascism is only an attractor if you have an external or better still internal "enemy" to blame for everyone's sufferings.

No would be fascist ever had a difficulty manufacturing such "enemies".

225:

Trump condemned the rioters:

https://au.news.yahoo.com/trump-turns-on-supporters-in-new-video-014537116.html

Trumpists are already claiming it is a deepfake. And for once, they have a point -- he does sound unnatural and robotic in the video. Me, I think it is because he is reading this speech under duress. As in, "Read it or be 25th-ed"

226:

“ Unfortunately, Charlie, States' freakin' rights. Any state, or county, doesn't have to require federal vetting.”

Beyond that, it’s a systemic flaw in how employing public officials in the USA works.

The working conditions for cops are set, for each police force, as a result of negotiations at state, city and county levels.

Local (city, county, etc) officials negotiate with police unions the police contract. The officials do not have any room to move on budget in those negotiations - that is set.. So that incentivises (or requires) the negotiators to give on other things, to get the budget results they need. Pensions, employee protection, etc.

So you end up with cops in the USA usually being very, very hard to fire or discipline, with weird perks like being allowed to moonlight as private security most places (and a lot do), and usually poorly paid.

Teachers in the US are in a similar situation, but with less murdering of civilians.

227:

Paul @ 192: Megpie71 @ 184:

I do like your assumption that Donald Trump Jnr is capable of competence, charisma, or even clarity.

It wasn't an assumption, it was a possibility. We haven't seen Don Jr. without his father pulling the strings. I agree that he and the rest of the Trump family may be just like Don Sr, but we don't know it.

The rest of the family are grifters just like daddy, but I doubt any of them are really capable or competent. Daddy wouldn't tolerate possible competition from capable offspring any more than he tolerates capable subordinates in his administration.

The family infighting is as bad as it was in daddy's generation, exacerbated by the fact that daddy had three wives and there are three groupings of half-sibs out to sabotage each other. The gloves won't really come off while Daddy holds the purse strings.

228:

Turd-in-punchbowl time for Boris Johnson wrt. Scottish Independence:

A FORMER Scottish Parliament political adviser is set for a key role in incoming US president Joe Biden’s administration as National Security Council (NCS) senior director for European affairs.

She authored a report for the committee on Scotland’s implementation of EU policy initiatives.

She had similar roles in the Northern Ireland Assembly and the European Commission, and was an assistant secretary for Southern Europe and Eastern Mediterranean affairs at the State Department during Barack Obama’s administration. Her US government career also includes time as a senior adviser at the NSC and State Department and a senior staffer at the House of Representatives committee on foreign affairs.

Sloat has written widely on European politics in academic and foreign policy media and has published a book – Scotland in Europe: A Study of Multi-Level Governance.

Her PhD thesis at the University of Edinburgh was titled “Scotland’s role in the European Union: expectations of multi-level governance among political elites – an actor-centred approach.”

It does appear that Biden is about to appoint someone terrifyingly well-informed about the relationship between Scotland and the EU as the NSC director for European affairs. Oh, and then:

In another report – Divided Kingdom: how Brexit is remaking the UK’s constitutional order – Sloat suggested a constitutional route to indy might help an independent Scotland with any future bid to rejoin the EU.

Biden appears to dislike Johnson and have zero sympathy for Brexit while being pro-Irish. This move could be seen as consistent with a US position supportive of Scottish independence. (It's deniable, but highly suggestive when it would have been easier to pick someone who's an expert on, say, German reunification or Eastern Europe rather than focussing on regional independence movements in Scotland and Catalonia. Let alone the sort of grace-and-favour pick Trump or a Bush would have made -- someone who knew all the golf courses and had no idea of the politics, most likely.)

229:

Graydon @ 199:

I'm actually a little surprised at this argument. The classic communist argument is that racism is used as a way to fragment economic classes who would otherwise band together. The notion here is that turning poor whites against poor blacks is a way to keep the poor from banding together and overthrowing the rich.

I think communism is nonsensical, so I am not likely to make an argument from communism.

Just wanted to throw that out there, since a bunch of people seem to think I'm some sort of communist.

As it was "practiced" in the Soviet Union and successor states it IS nonsensical. But, of course, it wasn't actually "communism" either. It wasn't even Marxist.

They didn't overthrow the rich, they made themselves the NEW rich. How many of today's Russian Oligarchs did not start out as Party Bureaucrats? Managers and Party Officials who took advantage of the Soviet Union's collapse to enrich themselves by stealing the assets?

It's not even a communist argument. No matter how government is structured, those at the top use any tools they can get their hands on to stay on top. It's not just to keep poor whites & poor blacks (and any other block of poor people) from banding together to overthrow the rich, it's meant to keep poor people in general down so they can't even demand a fair share of society's bounty.

230:

Robert van der Heide @ 216: Ouch. Leo Ryan was my Congressman and personal acquaintance, and I occasionally visit his grave in Millbrae, CA when I go visit my grandfather's. (Oddly enough, Dan White is also buried in that armed forces graveyard. At least George Moscone is spared the indignity of being buried near him, being interred a respectful distance up the road in Colma.)

Yes, I feel that Jim Jones levels of narcissistic villainy or much worse are very possible. As I like to say, murder-suicides never seem quite competent to do it in the right order, and Trumpism as a death cult is, well, on-brand, nei?

231:

Charlie Stross @ 203:

The police there are fucking inhuman monsters.

Well yes, and that's exactly why they need a background vetting system, licensing, professional ethics, and a blacklist. (Also a forced-early-retirement program to weed out the not-quite-worst cases, and murder trials for any cop who kills a civilian, ever, during which there is a presumption of guilt of, at least, second degree homicide.)

I agree with everything you wrote except for the "presumption of guilt".

No individual, even a killer cop, should have to face trial where there's a "presumption of guilt".

The state must PROVE the defendant guilty, not the accused having to PROVE they're innocent.


232:

Even if you go completely Marxist, Marx is still prescribing nonsense. An important and capable observer, but -- like every other 19th century political philosopher still afflicting the globe -- fundamentally in error due to lack of cognitive tools with which to perform analysis.

Life and politics are subject to selection and iterate; this constrains what kind of system you can have. The concepts of selection, systems of any kind, and iterated systems weren't things Marx had available. We do have those things today and ought to apply them until such time as better tools are available to us.

Communism in particular has the mirror-problem to all the market systems; you can't get a working system with constraints alone (communism) or feedback alone (all the market systems). Marx did not know that; Marx could not have known that, because it was during the time Marx was alive outwith all human knowledge. It keeps Marx's ideas from being functional or useful.

The "alter society to keep me rich" problem is a convergence-on-a-local-maximum problem; you can't get off that maximum without going (metaphorically) down hill (only it's the rich, not you, both making the decision and going down the metaphorical hill; you're not on the maximum), and you can't avoid getting stuck to another one in short order if you don't install limiting constraints to society. (Which is why I advocate income and asset caps.)

233:

I've just been rereading the Freefall webcomic.

A surprisingly relevant discussion about ethics and US racial history between a couple of AIs starts here http://tangent128.name/depot/toys/freefall/freefall-flytable.html#1379

I think people here would enjoy it.

234:

Beyond that the U.S. military has an affirmative duty under the UCMJ to NOT obey UNLAWFUL orders. They teach that in Basic Training. It's reinforced at every level of schooling you attend during your career.

I ask because I do not know(*), but do they tell you how to distinguish between lawful and unlawful orders, preferably with actual historical examples of unlawful ones?

(*) My exposure to the US military was AFROTC, and, though I generally enjoyed it and still think it was a useful experience, they didn't have an ethics course at the time. I subsequently applied to AF OTS and graduate school at the same time, was accepted into both and chose the latter. Thus, no real military experience.

235:

ilya187 @ 205: The "zip tie guy" has been identified:

https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2021/01/09/insurrectionist-zip-tie-guy-identified-as-retired-air-force-lieutenant-colonel/

The Air Force Academy graduate claimed to have found the flex cuffs he was carrying on the floor. “I wish I had not picked those up,” he said. “My thought process there was I would pick them up and give them to an officer when I see one.”

Yeah, right! I fuckin' believe that.

The guy managed to make it to LTC (O5) and never learned the maximum effective range of an excuse? ["zero point zero meters" if you were wondering.]

Lying fuckin weasel! Figures he would be Air Farce.

PS: That's not the same guy as it is in the photo above. Different uniform, different equipment load


236:

It does my heart good to see someone refer to Adm. Gallery. I don't think there are many left who remember Fatso Giannini, Curly Cue, et al.

237:

I've just been rereading the Freefall webcomic.

Thanks for that. I have Freefall on the comics reading list, but hadn't seen those.

238:

A few of the "foot soldiers" may be prosecuted for lesser crimes.

That seems to be how the American justice system operates on things like war crimes, so I'm not surprised that things like treason are treated the same.

Also appears to be the way that treason was handled during your civil war. Low-level rebels (especially Indians) were on the dock, high-level rebels got off (or got pardoned).

239:

Allen Thomson @ 234:

Beyond that the U.S. military has an affirmative duty under the UCMJ to NOT obey UNLAWFUL orders. They teach that in Basic Training. It's reinforced at every level of schooling you attend during your career.

I ask because I do not know(*), but do they tell you how to distinguish between lawful and unlawful orders, preferably with actual historical examples of unlawful ones?

(*) My exposure to the US military was AFROTC, and, though I generally enjoyed it and still think it was a useful experience, they didn't have an ethics course at the time. I subsequently applied to AF OTS and graduate school at the same time, was accepted into both and chose the latter. Thus, no real military experience.

There were not a lot of specifics, but "Don't commit war crimes", "Don't murder prisoners" ... and "Don't obey an order to commit war crimes and/or murder prisoners". Beyond that they kind of went over how to reason with a superior to talk him out of an Unlawful Order ... so you wouldn't have to outright refuse to follow an order.

But if you couldn't talk your way out of it, you were still required to not obey an unlawful order and take your chances under the UCMJ. Better to not verbalize that refusal, just don't obey an unlawful order.

They did mention the Mỹ Lai massacre & some of the "take no prisoners" orders following the Malmedy massacre during the Battle of the Bulge during WWII.

As I moved up the ranks, the emphasis shifted more and more to Follow the lawful parts of an order and just don't do the unlawful parts" and don't allow anyone under your command (as a team leader, squad leader and platoon sergeant) to do the unlawful parts along with a greater emphasis on don't give unlawful orders.

240:

EC@58 wrote: “Events like Kristalnacht are, regrettably, not rare, but this was not like that, not at all. A better historian than me make be able to think of another example like this one, but I can't.”

Mao’s incitement of the Cultural Revolution is worth considering for historical contrast and comparison. He knew much of the Chinese public was fanatically loyal to himself personally, so he used that advantage to launch an attack against the Communist Party once it became clear they were leaning more towards economic development than his own emphasis on permanent social restructuring. Closing of high schools and colleges, and mobilization of the students into Red Guard brigades, provided shock troops to take on the power of Mao’s rivals in the government. Widespread breakdown of social order ensued, so much so that Mao finally consented to letting the national army crack down on the armed gang warfare which had broken out all over the country.

Nevertheless Mao succeeded by these tactics in removing his strategic adversaries like Lou Shaoqi and Peng Dehuai from power. The enduring legacy of the Cultural Revolution in the minds of the generation who lived through it, however, was to strengthen their commitment to economic development and social cohesion. They remember the alternative, and on balance decided they didn’t like it at all.

Likewise we can hope that Trump, by serving as a strong negative example of national destabilization in the U.S., may light the way forward for us, by the thorough torching of his own legacy in the minds of most Americans. A tough job but somebody had to do it, and if he doesn’t do it himself, then I think a few years of media scrutiny on his many court trials ahead should reveal enough shockers to make a difference, even among his 75 million voters.

None of which impacts the one really important question, how should we best act to stop most of the money from going to a tiny minority, without wrecking the economy. Everything else is a distraction.

241:

“ Lying fuckin weasel! Figures he would be Air Farce.”
I wonder if he’s a Dominionist Christian? That would be on-brand.
(Someone please check his tongue.)

242:

Lying fuckin weasel!

The absurdity of that excuse is precisely why I quotes that part of the article.

And yes, I absolutely would not be surprised if he were a Dominionist. Although he went to Air Force Academy about a decade before Dominionists really began infiltrating it.

243:

As I like to say, murder-suicides never seem quite competent to do it in the right order, and Trumpism as a death cult is, well, on-brand, nei?
We perhaps were not being clear. DJT has in his immediate vicinity the nuclear "Football". I assumed that that was what Greg was alluding to, although perhaps not. It is on my mind every day.
(A regional or global nuclear war would put a damper on humanity's global heating project, sure, but it should be avoided on ethical grounds. And it would remove the possibility that humanity would attempt to expedite removal of excess GHGs from the atmosphere.)

244:

how should we best act to stop most of the money from going to a tiny minority, without wrecking the economy

We ration agency with money.

The minimum change to meet your requirement is to limit the amount of money any one person can have (or control) to some relatively low limit; two orders of magnitude is too much, relatively low. The "control" part means we'd need to get rid of limited liability corporations to do this, but that's not a major barrier; that sheaf of organisational structures is a tool for looting more than they're tools for production.

The minimum effective change is the amount that does that and ALSO decarbonises the economy a quickly as materially achievable. I hold that we have to do the former to make the later possible.

245:

Widespread breakdown of social order ensued, so much so that Mao finally consented to letting the national army crack down on the armed gang warfare which had broken out all over the country.

One of my niece's parents survived the cultural revolution by being restricted to the army base her parents were quartered on. PLA bases were apparently nearly the only place you were safe from mobs of entitled/enabled 13-year-olds told they were more right than adults.

Semi-seriously, I gathered from her mother that a reasonable way to understand the cultural revolution (for north americans) is to imagine the kids who hate school and rebel against their parents suddenly being given the power to punish those who disagree with them.

246:

Likewise we can hope that Trump, by serving as a strong negative example of national destabilization in the U.S., may light the way forward for us, by the thorough torching of his own legacy in the minds of most Americans. A tough job but somebody had to do it, and if he doesn’t do it himself, then I think a few years of media scrutiny on his many court trials ahead should reveal enough shockers to make a difference, even among his 75 million voters.

We'll see, although I generally agree with you. His inability to flood the zone with BS via social media is going to play a huge role.

There are a number of other shoes here. One is climate change. Yes, I know the media can only focus on two things at a time (here, rebellion and Covid19), but I'm pretty sure a lot of the kids coming up are looking a trying to be "Generation Thumbs," (the Korean term), not Generation Omega (The climate catastrophe term). This means that they've got to take apart the white supremacy complex or else everything falls apart.

The new Indivisible Guide makes that pretty clear, basically saying that, unless the Senate gets fixed, nothing else will get done and everything goes to hell. Their point is that with the US urbanizing, an increasing proportion of senate seats is left to states that have less population than most cities. We could easily get to a situation where the large majority of the US population is represented by 16 senators from eight states, while the other 84 senators represent big agribusiness and dynastic families in the flyovers, and control the country. Unless Americans make it easier for democrats to win in rural states by fixing various issues, it's going to get worse than it already is. That argues for hitting very hard on the Qdiots, Agent Orange, and their enablers, and hopefully, that's the way political pressure goes. That's what the Indivisibles are already promulgating.

As for President MissileFinger...We know a few things about him:
--His tax returns did leak, and he's honestly a billionaire. Barely, but he's not bankrupt. This means he can lawyer up if anyone competent will represent him.
--Conversely, his serious crimes have all been extensively recorded, so a lot of the BS money can buy isn't available to him.
--He is a physical coward, narcissistic, and marginally competent at anything beyond grifting
--He has a record for being promiscuous and abusive, but not for being murderous.
--The reason I'm piling these up is a bit of prognostication: Missilefinger is acting like the classic abusive partner during the breakup, trashing the furniture, trying to make the breakup impossible, all that. And he did a pretty good job of distracting us all from his attempt to incite a coup, so he is more dangerous than I thought. But will he do the nuclear murder-suicide thing? My guess is probably not, because he's got a lot of resources to fight with, and he may think that QAnon will still love him when he comes knocking later on. I'd be more worried if I thought he assumed he'd die January 20 or soon thereafter, and he won't. I'm quite sure litigation doesn't scare him, because he's been through thousands of cases, and even though he lost most of them, he's still a billionaire, so why worry?

As for QAnon, they're still dangerous, but they're a cult whose god (Mr. T) and prophet (Mr. Q) have at least temporarily been silenced on Twitter. Absent a second coming, what do they do next? Worse for them, what happens when the identity of Q is disclosed, which I suspect it will be sooner rather than later (legal charges and all). My guess is that they will splinter and reform around some other white messiah, but that will take time.

I'd look at the history of millenarian cults for their future. Jesus is the exception, a millenarian leader who's still relevant after his death. The standard pattern, IIRC, is that someone starts prophesying in the wilderness, attracts a following, gets more radical and starts preaching that heaven/Pure Land/Taoist Paradise/Rolling Back the Whites/Cargo is just around the corner, if only the true believers will live right and fight against the evil oppressors. Just about always, they rise up, it turns out that the prophet has no strategic sense, they get crushed by whoever they rose up against, and often the prophet is made into a negative example and the followers are hunted like Kiwi possums. The cult then generally falls apart, rarely producing a second generation of believers. Christianity is very much the exception, and that's thanks to Paul, not the original disciples. If I had to play the odds, I'd say that's what's going to happen in the US over the next few months.

247:

ilya187 @ 224
Oh, come on ... I assumed that as a given.
The problem for the fascists is: Will the gullible be gullible enough to take the bait - or not?

Charlie @ 228
Meanwhile courtesy of the "Indy"
BoZo fucks over music at all levels lies about it & blames EU.
BoZo fucks over the City & The Corporation - lies about it & blames EU
A pattern seems to be emerging.
Like I said - James II & VII lasted 3 years - I give BoZo about the same, or possibly until Dec 2024 - but the crash & The Second Glorious Revolution could come sooner.

Rick Moen
Why do you think I'm worried?
IQ 45 could take a lot of people with him.
And - given that he is certain to be arraigned within minutes (?) of ceasing to be "president" - what has he got to lose?
[ See also Bill Arnold @ 243 ]

Heteromeles
I'd look at the history of millenarian cults for their future. Jesus is the exception, a millenarian leader who's still relevant after his death.
WRONG - you forgot the child rapist Mahmud, didn't you?

248:

I'd look at the history of millenarian cults for their future. Jesus is the exception, a millenarian leader who's still relevant after his death. WRONG - you forgot the child rapist Mahmud, didn't you?

Don't show your ignorance. Seriously. Christianity is the only major religion--in fact, the only extant religion I can think of--that started off as a millenarian cult as described above. That's what is so very odd about it.

While I'm quite happy to be corrected, the norm AFAIK is what I described: charismatic cult leader gets the idea he (rarely she) is either divine or wired to the divine, tells (notionally) oppressed people how to make the world right again, gets the idea for a violent uprising, screws up catastrophically, a lot of people die, and the whole mess goes into the history books of the winners. The British Empire has records of dozens, if not hundreds, of such events, usually labeled as charismatic witch doctor or tribal prophet inciting the natives to rise up against the colonists...

That doesn't mean that if we ignore it, QAnon will dry up and blow away. It means, unfortunately, we've been cast to play the imperial heavies against the true believer rebels who think that this time, their magical violence will cleanse the world. I hope that a fair number of them will prove capable of being renormalized, and that very few of them hive off to find another false prophet to sucker them in. But we'll see.

249:

--His tax returns did leak, and he's honestly a billionaire. Barely, but he's not bankrupt.

Not really. The tax forms don't include an asset sheet. Just the P&L. So it could be he's just good at dealing with large cash flows.

I'm still suspicious that he's mortgaged to the hilt and living off the cash flow. But it may be that the total cash flow is negative and he's in for a serious shortage soon.

250:

Definitely one of my favorite comics. I recommend it every chance I get. It's remarkably intelligent!

251:

I would definitely recommend starting at the beginning and reading the whole thing. It takes perhaps a hundred pages to get going, but it's amazing!

252:

IT could also be that he's lying to the taxman. Honestly, does anyone believe he *isn't*? He lies to everyone else!

(In particular, there are rumours of very large hidden loans to himself to allow him to claim back taxes he's not entitled to claim. That he's claimed back more taxes on these grounds than any other individual in US history tends to support this. And if he's lying to the taxman on that scale, what are the odds he's not lying to them in other ways too? In particular ways that make him seem much more successful than he is, and necessitate ridiculous get-arounds to avoid the resulting tax liability, which he can't actually pay because he's lying to the taxman and is not remotely that successful...)

253:

I'm quite sure litigation doesn't scare him, because he's been through thousands of cases, and even though he lost most of them, he's still a billionaire, so why worry?

Because his brain contains evidence of what would qualify as casus belli against the Russian state, and Vlad's inclined to be careful.

It's not like he can trust Trump, or any of Trump's offspring, and it's not like there aren't approximately a million reasons for someone to want to kill Trump, and it's not like someone in Trump's secret service detail doesn't work for Putin.

And, sure, I don't know that's true. Trump doesn't know it's false.

254:

Probably because I'm a naive realist, but I tend to think that the hold Putin has on him isn't something that would cause a war. It's money laundering. And Putin's been in the laundry industry for decades, so it's not a casus belli, just an indication that plutocracy is on the march these days.

Among other things, for decades T-Bone has been in the business of selling amazingly expensive condos to people using shell companies to buy them (https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/trumps-businesses-are-full-of-dirty-russian-money-the-scandal-is-thats-legal/2019/03/29/11b812da-5171-11e9-88a1-ed346f0ec94f_story.html).

Also, T-Bone allegedly was hemorrhaging money when he laid down $60 million to purchase Turnberry in Scotland, even though it's also losing money. Where did he get the money? Inquiring people (Nicola Sturgeon, for one) would like to know. (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/trump-scotland-green-party-money-laundering-probe-golf_n_5fadfe7ec5b6c582dacb8581)

And yes, it's possible that T-Bone's accountants' creativity is the reason he and the IRS have been fighting over them for years. Or it could be a kind of accident, like his name here.

255:

IT could also be that he's lying to the taxman. Honestly, does anyone believe he *isn't*? He lies to everyone else!

They already know he is. Assuming the tax returns are legit. He has various multi-million $$ deductions for things that when his taxes are merged with other records don't hold up. And I suspect that's what has his privates in a sweat. North of $100 million total just based on what has become public so far as best I can remember.

Which is all why I think he's going nuts trying to stay Pres. Even if the feds let him slide for the next year or so, NY state and others have him by the short hairs. With vice grip pliers.

256:

This blog has many memorable posts from very intelligent and educated people. I frequently enjoy learning from it. I've ordered books based on some of your random meanderings and, of course I'm a fan of Mr. Stross since Accelerando, which was rocketing. I think I disturbed my Dad by buying my brother a copy. I was not expecting Dad to read that. His mind might have been... err...

I get slightly disturbed by some posts from people who could desperately use a spelling checker, but that's my problem. I would have thought those were common tech by now, and one of these guys is allegedly a writer and an editor.

Ehm. Completely off-topic, I am wondering about "Latinx". There is already an ungendered word for "Latin", which is... right. "Latin". Is that now considered inappropriate to some people? "Latinx" really grates on the ears and eyes. Heteromeles is generally so much more than exactly correct. I am confused on the subject.

257:

Well, according to Wikipedia (for what it's worth), it's an American neologism for people of Latin American cultural or ethnic identity. Some people support it because it's gender-neutral (as opposed to Latino or Latina).

The Wikipedia page is interesting, including the accusations of linguistic imperialism:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latinx

If I understand Wikipedia correctly, it seems to be most prevalent in American academia, rather than in the community. Among the objects listed is that it is hard to pronounce in Spanish, that there was already a gender-neutral ending in use by Latin American activists (-e, apparently), and that it implies "that the entire grammatical system of the Spanish language is problematic, which in any other context progressives would recognize as an alienating and insensitive message".

258:

Of course it started as money laundering.

Do you think that through Trump's entire presidency, when we know for sure there were multiple times Trump talked with Putin with no US monitoring, Trump never got told to do something related to US security?

Wouldn't have been told why he was doing it, sure, but that's not going to be of much legal utility if it can be shown that he did do it.

And it's not like the security aparat doesn't need to pin that mass hacking on somebody. Or that there aren't various publicly available indications that Trump followed Putin's directions around Syria. I'm sure there's a quiet little office in a quiet little building with a detailed list.

259:

Robert has good points, and I happen to agree that latinx bugs me. I can write it, but saying it?

On the other hand, I know a couple of people of various genders who prefer it. I'm not latinx/o/e, so I defer to them. Here on the border, identity gets complicated.

Personally, I draw the line at adding "Heteromeles (him/her)" to my Zoom ID. Anyone looking at me (a frumpy, middle-aged cismale of some sort) would see the (him/her) and think I was having a midlife crisis and trying to hit on college students if I used that. For other people it's a valid identity flag*, but for me it's somewhere between pretentious and creepy, and not useful in either regard.

*And for a lot of people, I also find it pretentious and creepy, and I know darn well that it's completely necessary for still others.

260:

Dunno. Seems to be more of a design issue. (Or non-optimal optimization)

Individual control of capital has, so far, worked better than other systems. Wealth concentration is a fairly inevitable artifact of those systems and probably improves efficiency.

But, it'd be possible to set up something like a wealth tax, coupled with tariffs and use them to pay an equivalent of a nation-wide dividend. That would tend to inhibit the process of wealth concentration, particularly if the wealth tax increased well past the discount rate at certain wealth levels.

One worry is that Trump is likely to have legal issues post-presidency. He may be quite desperate. Exceptional stupidity is quite possible.

261:

Interesting. Plenty of details at the link. Basically, AWS has been complaining about violence-advocating content on Parler for weeks, and Parler has been unwilling to take strong measures to moderate. AWS will preserve their data and says that it will assist them in migration. (Also Amazon employees have been involved in the pressure on AWS.)
Amazon Is Booting Parler Off Of Its Web Hosting Service - Amazon's suspension of Parler's account means that unless it can find another host, once the ban takes effect on Sunday Parler will go offline. (John Paczkowski, Ryan Mac, BuzzFeed, January 9, 2021)
I have mixed feelings. Every time this happens it makes shutdowns of free speech easier. But AWS does have clear terms and conditions and compliance with them to AWS's (lawyer's) satisfaction would be technically possible, even if moderately expensive.

262:

Hate speech is not covered by free speech, any more than conspiracies, libel, slander, or other criminal acts are. While I agree that governments need to allow an uncomfortable level of freedom in speech, I also agree with those who say that it's okay for persons to aid in violent coups by assisting the speech of others. And I'll point to violence as one key factor. In non-violent uprisings, few if any (other than the nonviolent actors) risk their lives. That's not what's going on with Pallor now.

263:

Individual control of capital has, so far, worked better than other systems.

We're in the middle of a mass extinction event which may well include us.

I am not willing to accept this "works better" axiom as valid.

264:

We'll see. One of the problems in Washington is that there's a hard line between intelligence and law enforcement. For example, the FBI, which is the US counterintelligence service, knows quite a lot that it doesn't share with its law enforcement arm, in part because the information is illegally obtained and won't stand up in court, in part because some of the information is (arbitrarily) considered more valuable than pursuing justice.

So we've got some problems here. If some American three-letter was spying on Trump, you've got the bureaucracy spying on their boss. If they're going to daylight a transcript of what was said between Putin and Trump, it had better be worth more than the huge amount of shit it's going to cause, the diplomatic relationships it's going to fray, and so forth. Much as I dislike it, there is a need for private conversations to stay unpublicized

Was he being spied on? Given Trump's notorious lack of basic defensive measures (his twitter password has been guessed twice, for instance, and the last one was MAGA2020, IIRC), I suspect his phone is thoroughly hacked. The NSA would almost have to spy on him just to find out who else is stealing his data and perhaps to try to stop them. But that doesn't mean they'll make a court case out of what they know.

Thing is, it may not be necessary: Trump could theoretically do Buck Rogers time (multiple centuries) for something as simple as felonious criminal negligence in dealing with Covid19. That's a four year prison sentence per count if you've been convicted of a prior felony, and he's negligently contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. That's a hundred times more than the deaths Obama contributed to in his presidency. And then we add in the insurrection charge, the tax evasion charges, the election tampering charge, and pretty soon, spying for Russia may not need to appear on his docket, because he's not going to enjoy his remaining time on Earth at all.

Again, that said, the best argument for airing it isn't for the sake of justice or vengeance, but for the sake of truth and reconciliation. For example, turning QAnon's deity into a martyr to the bureaucracy won't convince them to become "sheeple" again. But giving them the space to admit how badly they messed up might help. Is that worth doing? Well, like it or not, we've got to live with these most of these creeps, since our prison system is breaking down. Probably better to rehabilitate as many as possible.

265:

Christianity is very much the exception,

Really? There are Christian theocracies bigger than Iran and Saudi Arabia? I'd argue that Rome is smaller even than Israel, making Christians third out of three as far as the major semitic religions go. Arguing that the dominant colonial power is mostly-Christian doesn't really fly - GWB got shut down when he tried a modern day crusade. Well, the forced conversion got shut down, the invade-and-destroy part still happened.

In that sense the trouble with jesus is that he was an illiterate peasant so all we "know" about him is stuff written by historians well after the fact, there's no original documents (which is used by some to argue that it's kind of funny that there's no record of his execution despite the diligence of such record-keeping). By contrast we know in some considerable detail what Muhammad thought and did, not least because he's an author as well as a prophet. But he's not really a millenialist, he's far too smart and educated for that.

Oh, and to my bemusement there were Muslim missionaries outside Blacktown station today competing with the Christian ones.

266:

Every time this happens it makes shutdowns of free speech easier

I don't see the connection. Shutting down hate speech and criminal conspiracies is well established law, and the boundary between that and legal speech is fairly well established - at least for the type of speech Parler was make to facilitate. Viz, when the platform is set up specifically to host speech that's been removed from elsewhere for legal reasons...

To me, there's much more concern about Visa and Mastercard deciding to shut down Pornhub. That's part of an ongoing campaign to make sex *work* impossible even though it's legal. The people doing that are explicitly happy that it makes sex work more dangerous, not just by killing sex workers but by making it impossible to police sex work... thus increasing trafficking and slavery. It's yet another bit of "kill them all, god will know his own" bullshit, as well as being imperialiist (they are using US law to shut down sex work in Australia)

267:

Re: 'If some American three-letter was spying on Trump, you've got the bureaucracy spying on their boss.'

IIRC - it's customary and was entirely legal for the alphabet agencies to receive and review any/all meeting transcripts between DT and foreign heads of state until the below event after which DT refused further access/co-operation. We don't know what's in the Mueller Report but it might have provided these agencies with sufficient legal evidence to eavesdrop.

https://www.businessinsider.com/impeachment-witness-alexander-vindman-escorted-out-of-the-white-house-2020-2

268:

First of all, my feelings go out to all you folks living in the USA This must be such a gut punch, I can imagine the disbelief and horror you're feeling.


Back to the original question, as we all do our daily doom scroll I'm going to make a few predictions based on nothing (or worst/best case thinking).
Worst case:
1. The coup isn't over and it didn't fail. Trump and his goon squad haven't been stopped, they just had a loudhailer taken away from them, they still have all the powers that are invested in the office and they just ran a loyalty test. Everybody is so shocked and sure that Trump has been put in his place that they haven't taken his toys away. How dumb are they?

2. The media live in the in the Marvel universe. They love their super heroes and super villains, and lone gunmen. They are currently building up the 'narrative' that Trump was the lone wolf and when he's 'put down' the problem will be 'solved' and everyone can go back to being happy little consumers. In my part of the world if this shit went down, after the arrests there would be a royal commission bipartisan legislative change and systematic changes to make sure this never happens again. And I'm sure that will happen, but...

3. The changes that must happen stamp out the crazy (which my other half described as screen mediated contagious schizophrenia) will apply limits to the billionaires who currently hold the keys to power. The billionaires also know that the coup succeeds they may be able ride the lightning (or maybe not after today)... So back to point 1, someone will blink and give Trump his loudhailer back.

Happy Case (aka fantasy):

1. The center right (aka Democrats) now have to unlearn their normal negotiating tactic, which is find a common ground and walk the other side towards it (shifting yourself right as you try and shift them left). There is no common ground because there is no shared reality. This still allows for empathy, gifts, threats etc. but tosses out rational debate and common good arguments. I expect Karmala Harris to re-enact the Mississippi Burning balls scene some time after she gets into office, showing the others how its done. The left (AOC etc.) of the party will embrace it and crack some skulls.

2. The various federal police departments will have a massive purge, it will be deep, thorough and public. Using those massive FB/TW databases they will publicly shame and sack thousands of alt-right nazi bros. This data will be shared with other countries and the purge will be international.

3. Section 230 will be revisited and the nexus of evil that is Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will be held accountable. Strong user data regulation will be created and enforced. The legislation will be nuanced enough to allow small grass roots movements to flourish and minorities to connect, but prevent the spread of global disinformation weapons. Ha!

269:

Christianity is very much the exception, Really? There are Christian theocracies bigger than Iran and Saudi Arabia? I'd argue that Rome is smaller even than Israel, making Christians third out of three as far as the major semitic religions go. Arguing that the dominant colonial power is mostly-Christian doesn't really fly - GWB got shut down when he tried a modern day crusade. Well, the forced conversion got shut down, the invade-and-destroy part still happened.

Read what I said and try again. That was pathetic. Sorry to be harsh, but it was.

What I said was that Christianity is unique among the major religions in that it started as a Millenarian cult, like QAnon but purportedly nonviolent. Jesus got crucified after one rally, his disciples did their thing, and in the normal course of things, that would have been the end of it, as it was for at least two other messiahs active in Judea around the same time. Then Paul showed up, rejiggered the story, and Christianity emerged. There's no other religion I know of that has a history that's quite so bizarre. Millenarian cults usually fall apart, often rapidly, and I expect QAnon to follow that trajectory, rather than to emerge as a new religion a la Christianity.

If you're comparing populations, there are 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world, supposedly, so they're on par with China. A tiny little cult this ain't. It also is entirely irrelevant to the argument about QAnon.

As for the other big religions, the only founders we know were literate was Muhammed and Guru Nanak (the founder of Sikhism).

Buddha was definitely illiterate, and most of his standard hagiography is suspect at best. See for instance: https://aeon.co/essays/was-the-buddha-an-awakened-prince-or-a-humble-itinerant. In early Buddhism there's a strong teaching of oral learning, and Bhikkus are mandated to compare with each other to make sure they remembered what he said the same way. Mindfulness training is very much arranged in lists composed in semi-parallel form to help you memorize them. See the 37 requisites for enlightenment, which includes the Noble Eightfold Path.

As for Shinto and Hinduism, they're nonexclusive constellations of a wide diversity of beliefs and practices (Shin To literally means way of the spirit), and there's no founding prophet in either, although Hinduism does have founders of particular schools or traditions.

Taoism also lacks a founder. Lao Tzu (translated "old master," but literally "ancient child") likely a deity rather than a human, and writings attributed to him are likely inspired as much as written. The oldest book of Taoism that probably had a named author (the Chuang Tzu) is about two centuries older than the Tao Te Ching composed by Lao Tzu, yet Lao Tzu and his teachings play a major role in the Chuang Tzu. That really should tell you something.

Anyway, getting back to the current mess in the US: one of the concerns is that QAnon is a cult that (goddes help them) has attempted to make Trump their savior against a cabal of satanic pedophiles who secretly run the world (no anti-catholicism here!). And worse for them, some at least are true believers. Are we seeing the birth of a new religion here? Yes. The point is that it's almost certainly not going to be another Christianity, because religions get created fairly regularly, and most have very short lifespans and limited influences. Most likely QAnon will schism and die in fairly short order. This is a probabilistic prediction based on priors, so it's possible I could be wrong. However, that prediction is the key thing to take away.

270:

Bill Arnold @ 243: Certainly I'm aware that the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces is empowered to order nuclear strikes a la Brig. Get. Jack D. Ripper. My point is that the office also gives him a massive number of other ways to do a Jim Jones -- and that the number of personality-trait matches with the late Rev. Jones is positively scary, in itself.

Listen to the Jonestown "death tape", sometime, and imagine it with a whiney Bronx accent.

271:

Queens, I mean. Apologies to the good citizens of the Bronx, who certainly didn't deserve that.

272:

I'm sorry I've upset you, and I'm not going to continue.

273:

H
- 248: NO
Have you ever read "The Recital"?
It's clearly a path to Uprising & Submission ( Which is what "islam" actually means ) based on bonkers (- but absolutely "standard" ) ideas of a golden future in which the true virtuous & pure rule the planet.
- 254
And Putin's been in the laundry industry for decades I think it was Philip of Macedon ( Alexander's father ) who said that he didn't need to lay siege to a city, provided he could get one old man with a donkey inside the gates, the donkey being loaded with gold.
"Inquiring people" - No, not the Wee Fishwife, but I'm sure HMRC would love to know.
- 269
Islam nearly fell apart at the deaths of the 3rd & 4th Caliphs & I'm still surprised that the Umayyads kept power, at all.

Erwin
CORRECTION
One worry is that Trump is likely towill have legal issues post-presidency. He may beis already quite desperate. Exceptional stupidity is quite possible.almost certain.
Why do you think we are worried?
10 days to go & counting ....

malware
Here ( UK ) I share your worries - and yes, the coup is not over - yet - like I just said "10 days & counting"
There is no common ground because there is no shared reality. Correct. The Drumpfists have zero contact with reality.
"Happy Case 2" - no. ALL the state & local police forces need disbanding & starting again, using Charlie's criteria.
The Feds, not quite so much.

Rick Moen
Probably
Jonestown on a massive scale, but how?
What would be the modus operandi?
Tough on the USA & its people, but the rest of us should be OK.
Nuclear codes - again - not so much.

Remember, everybody.
Trump's entire political career has been based on:
"But he can't possibly do that"" - And then he does
"But he can't possibly get away with that!" - And then he does
-------
But he can't possibly use the football!"
I am very much afraid that he is going to need physical, medical, secure restraint - and the sooner the better, before he kills millions, if not billions.
Yes, I'm scared & so should you be.

Lastly
A must-listen-to short broadcast on R4 this morning:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000qyxn - "A turning point for Democracy?"

274:

Shouldn't the international community put together a coalition of the willing to invade the USA remove its unstable and dangerous leader and disarm it of its weapons of mass destruction? Post invasion preferential access to the countries natural resources as a bonus of course.

275:

Robert Prior @ 257 : "(latinx) it implies "that the entire grammatical system of the Spanish language is problematic, which in any other context progressives would recognize as an alienating and insensitive message"."

Thank you for linking to that Wikipedia page. I have read it and I totally agree with you.

Spanish is not my mother tongue. I just studied madrilène Spanish for a year. On the other hand it was with an excellent teacher. Also, my very own mother tongue is gendered, like Spanish.

Taking the gender out of Spanish is deeply insensitive and shows a great deal of ignorance about the language and its culture, both in Spain and in North America.(Not to mention South America)

276:

Heteromeles @ 262: Hate speech is not covered by free speech, any more than conspiracies, libel, slander, or other criminal acts are.

Laws around the world on this differ, but in the USA "hate speech" is very much protected by the 1st Amendment. Only speech which specifically advocates an illegal act is prohibited. So you can say "Blond-haired people are all wicked drug dealers and deserve to die", but you can't say "I want you to go out and kill all those wicked blond-haired drug dealers".

277:

jensnail@ 274
😍

278:

Greg Tingey @ 273 : ""But he can't possibly use the football!" I am very much afraid that he is going to need physical, medical, secure restraint - and the sooner the better, before he kills millions, if not billions."

Don't be afraid.

Trump won't launch a nuclear strike. First of all, the joint chiefs of staff (or other officers representing them) would not obey such an order. Second, Trump is too much afraid for his own physical safety to try to do that kind of thing. Launching a nuclear attack leads to nuclear retaliation and Trump doesn't want to go golfing on a radioactive golf course.

On the other hand, there is nothing to stop Trump from launching murderous drone strikes at "dangerous" individuals around the globe. He's already authorized the killing of Iranian major general Qasem Soleimani a year ago.

Killing other "dangerous" individuals would make him even more popular with his admirers. As a bonus it would create monster sized diplomatic problems for Joe Biden and the Democrats.

279:

“ Every time this happens it makes shutdowns of free speech easier.”

I share your unease.

I suspect Martin Luther King’s speeches would also have violated a strict reading of the terms of service of the social media companies. Particularly as heard by those in power in the USA at the time. And there is a long history of censorship (particularly by corporations) hitting speech by the powerless much harder than the powerful.

But here where I live an internet-radicalized nutter shot up the mosque by Hagley Park and a few restrictions on hate speech might have saved a lot of lives. So passing a law banning Hate Speech has been much discussed in NZ lately.

This is not simple, the boundaries are never clear, and we’re delegating the tricky ethical questions to Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple. I am uneasy about that.

280:

How about just dropping the vowel at the end and just say "latin"? It has the advantage of also being pronounceable. As I remember Spanish, it is perfectly fine to say "una buen casa" instead of "una casa buena", though it may change the meaning.

281:

zumbs @ 280: "As I remember Spanish, it is perfectly fine to say "una buen casa" instead of "una casa buena", though it may change the meaning.

No, it's wrong.

The adjective has to be in agreement with the substantive. There are exceptions for this and they are all listed here:

https://www.spanishdict.com/guide/descriptive-adjectives-in-spanish

In the case of "bueno", it becomes buen only before masculine singular nouns.

https://www.spanishdict.com/translate/buen

And casa is feminine noun.

It's OK for you to make an error. Professor Ferland won't get mad at you!

But there's no excuse anymore for people having to deal with the Spanish language in a serious or professional manner. The Web has Spanish dictionaries galore.

282:

On "latinx" and Spanish

Pretty much every existing language has major issues with sexism because they all evolved when sexist assumptions were baked in to everyday thinking. English and Spanish are not exceptions, and for that matter neither is German.

I took a look at Esperanto back in my late teens, and even that has similar problems: in many cases the masculine or neuter is the default and the feminine is denoted by a different ending. In English an analogous construction would be doctor/doctoress, so a male doctor would be a "doctor", a female doctor would be a "doctoress", and an unspecified doctor in e.g. a job advert would also be "doctor".

For a really cringe-making demonstration of why this is a problem, try "A Person Paper on Purity in Language" by Douglas Hofstadter (alias William Satire). TL;DR he replaces sexist terms in English with racist ones, so "chairman" becomes "chairwhite", and then satirises those who object to removing sexism from English by writing an essay that objects to the removal of such racism from his invented language. The title is of course a reference to the term "white paper". I use the term "cringe-making" because it exposes just how systematically sexist our current language is.

A parallel piece is "Changes in Default Words and Images, Engendered by Rising Consciousness", which is a more considered and reflective take on the same issues, and also cites hard evidence about the way in which sexist language affects the way people think about sex roles in our society.

I read these essays back in the late 80s, and they changed my thinking on the subject. Previously I had regarded such matters as a minor issue compared to real problems of unequal pay and promotion. But this made me realise the extent to which it is all of a piece.

283:

Paul @ 282 "A Person Paper on Purity in Language" by Douglas Hofstadter

I usually find Hofstadter amusing but this time he's unpardonable. He forgot fire persons completely!

284:

Heteromeles --

Serious question: What is your definition of a Millenarian cult, and why does Mohammed not fit it?

285:

Although sentient plasma entities are a staple of science fiction I must point out that fire persons have never been observed in nature.

On another subject I notice that certain segments of the uk media are starting to remember that the tory party have spent the last 4 years kissing Trump's arse.

I doubt anything will come of it but hope springs eternal.

286:

On the declaring pronouns question, I understand where you are coming from but there is a point to declaring pronouns. I too am a cis male, and my beard and other presentation makes it obvious I identify as male, but I routinely declare my pronouns to normalise it and so make iot easier for those whose preference may not be so clear or match the assumptions people make looking at them. It takes some of the burden off the people for whom it is more difficult at no real cost to me. Hopefully my other actions/interactions make it clear I'm not creeping!

287:

Scanning the main CNN news site, the predictions are not good.
Opinion is that it's going to get worse before it gets better ( If at all )
And that between now & the 20th ( And especially on the 20th? ) there will be more violence & killings.
And that the "Lincoln Project "R" people are a minority - most of the "R" party are still crawling up DJT's bum - as dpb has noted, that's been happening here.
And it's tied to Brexshit, of course.
The small cracks are beginning to show, but it's going to take time, before the full weight of the deliberate lies & monstrous con-trick actually penetrate. I just hope that it's before the next General Election & that even if not campaigning to "Re-join", Starmer will demand a much closer alignment with the EU & re-joining the programmes our misgovernment threw away in stupidity.
All of this assumes that were all still alive on 21/1/2121, of course
And, for the next month, come to that if the Donald has kicked-off something really stupid, like a war with Iran.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Consider
Not a nuke attack, maybe, if we are lucky, but possibly, drone strikes & attacks on Iran on 18 & 19/1/2121 ...
Biden becomes President, orders it all to "stop right now" - but - will the mullahs believe him? Or will they carry on the war that DJT started?
And how long could that carry on, asymetrically?
Much easier to start a war than to stop one.

288:

I'm not who you asked, but generally millenarian cults are based on the idea that "the millenium will come", and everything will be changed as a result. The mechanism of change is highly variable; it's not just "end the world", it could be "restore a lost world", it could be "give the faithful magic powers", exactly what is not as important as "the faithful will find themselves in an altered world that was altered to be better for them".

Islam doesn't do that. The world is the world and you're expected to deal with it. (Here are some helpful rules for dealing with it!)

It's important to remember that American Evangelicalism is a millenarian cult, despite how it describes itself. And that "Christian", even if they've all heard of the Nicene Creed, isn't a single religion.

289:

Apparently someone did a poll recently in the US of people who identify as Hispanic and the majority had absolutely no interest in the term LatinX. Apparently many thought it was a bit of people who think they know better about others butting in.

290:

This is not simple, the boundaries are never clear, and we’re delegating the tricky ethical questions to Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple. I am uneasy about that.

And how is delegating such things to the current politicos in power better?

291:

Thank you for the correction!

Regarding grammatical gender of nouns, I suspect it is hard to determine the historical truth of baked in sexism of grammatical gender on the simple grounds that they (as far as I know) predate the written word, so we neither know when they appeared, why they appeared or even how society was structured at the time. (Depending on language, the nouns can and often do include sexist assumptions, and some that are hard to get rid of. Examples are abundant in many languages.)

In Danish the feminine and masculine grammatical gender ended up being merged into a common gender (during the Middle Ages) while the neuter continued. Typically the gendered refer to living creatures and things attributed some sort of agency (e.g. the Sun or a computer) while the neuter to things, even though there are exceptions, e.g. a child is neuter. Incidentally, the same process appears to have happened in English as well (possibly influenced by Danish), so grammatical gender disappeared in English, also during the Middle Ages.

292:

"In Danish the feminine and masculine grammatical gender ended up being merged into a common gender (during the Middle Ages) while the neuter continued."

Or as we explain to foreigners: "We dont care what sex you have, we care /if/ you have sex." :-)

293:

Unless pushed by Israel I'd expect Trump to hold back on the stirring up trouble abroad until it is clear that his supporters are unable to rid him of those turbulent Democrats.

294:

"the main problem with implementing your idea is a straightforward issue of infrastructure: the current Congress seating space is not physically capable of seating any more people"

Buildings can be expanded. Congress was expanded in 1850. Just get a good contractor.

295:

they are using US law to shut down sex work in Australia

Much as American Cubans are using American law to shut down food trucks in Toronto. We really need some good non-American banks/payment processors that are as widely available as the American ones…

296:

zumbs @ 291: "it is hard to determine the historical truth of baked in sexism of grammatical gender on the simple grounds that they (as far as I know) predate the written word, so we neither know when they appeared, why they appeared or even how society was structured at the time."

Yes, but that doesn't stop cognitive psychologists and linguists from making learned studies on the topic. I just did a Google search with the term "gender in indo-european" and got pages of scholarly papers on the topic.

297:

So you can say "Blond-haired people are all wicked drug dealers and deserve to die", but you can't say "I want you to go out and kill all those wicked blond-haired drug dealers".

What about "Will no one rid me of those turbulent blond-haired drug dealers"? :-)

298:

Much as American Cubans are using American law to shut down food trucks in Toronto.

Is this something like the food truck owners are recently from Cuba and have bank accounts in Cuba? Or something similar?

299:

What do Cuban-Americans have against food trucks in Toronto?

300:

the current Congress seating space is not physically capable of seating any more people; this is why it was frozen at 435 representatives

From looking at photographs of the chambers (both House and Senate), that doesn't appear to be the case.

You'd have to remodel the chamber to lesson the space between the seat, make the desks a bit smaller, etc, but it's more than doable. Look at the average university lecture hall or movie theatre, for example.

Or possibly a better example, look at the British House of Commons:
https://www.britannica.com/topic/House-of-Commons-British-government

301:

What do Cuban-Americans have against food trucks in Toronto?

Sanctions against Cuba seem to be mostly pushed by the Cuban exile community, and they include banking sanctions. If you use an online payment processor in Canada chances are it uses an American company somewhere in the cash flow, and apparently that means the American company can keep your money.

Square Canada allows customers to tap or swipe their financial cards to pay for things — in this case coffee from Toronto's Little Havana coffee stand.

\Little Havana's co owner, Monica Mustelier, said she'd been in contact with the technology company regularly since late August, after $14,000 in customer payments collected using Square never made it into her TD Canada Trust bank account.

According to Mustelier, Square Canada told her the tech company uses the U.S. bank JPMorgan Chase & Co. to process payments, and the bank cannot or will not release the funds due to potential concerns over Little Havana's Cuban coffee beans.

"I was kind of shocked and mad, because we're a Canadian company using Cuban goods bought and sold in Canada," Mustelier told CBC News Monday.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/square-canada-1.5303143

302:

Not sure I see a direct connection.

Concentration of wealth is probably an intrinsic component of capitalistic systems - part of an efficiency optimization method. But...something like a carbon tax / decarbonization credit would generate reasonable incentives. (Albeit, written poorly, probably for an ice age...)

Now, capitalism in control of the levers of power, that is a recipe for both inefficiency and disaster. And okay, that may tend to be intrinsic to the system / humanity. But then, assuming competence variation in humans along with selfishness, most systems seem failure prone.

One viable fix might be cultural. My wife (Korean) has a real reverence for government service, even if it pays less. Valuing the role of government in setting reasonable rules might help.

There are others, but they don't, broadly, involve self-government. Which is part of the attraction of autocracy. The problem being that most people fail to select me for the position... I guess that climate disaster is more a consequence of democracy than capitalism. Am I wrong?

303:

Is this something like the food truck owners are recently from Cuba and have bank accounts in Cuba? Or something similar?

Nope. Canadian citizens, Canadian bank accounts, Canadian company handling the payments.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/square-canada-1.5303143

An American bank is involved in the payment chain, but that isn't obvious when you sign up for the service (wasn't mentioned when my nonprofit did, anyway).

304:

One viable fix might be cultural. My wife (Korean) has a real reverence for government service, even if it pays less. Valuing the role of government in setting reasonable rules might help.

If you haven't read it, you would probably enjoy Jane Jacobs' book Systems of Survival.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systems_of_Survival

She argues that the moral precepts of government and commerce are both antithetical and necessary, and that problems arise when you apply the precepts of one in the sphere of the other. (Imagine what would happen by running the justice system as a profit-making entity, for example.)

Also worth reading is her final work, Dark Age Ahead. She looks at what we unknowingly lose when we dismantle social structures.


I'd also recommend John Ralston Saul's The Unconscious Civilization. (And his other books, but that's a good place to start.)

http://www.johnralstonsaul.com/non-fiction-books/the-unconscious-civilization/

305:

Question for Americans (or someone who understands American politics more than me)…

Apparently Moscow Mitch won't be ready to consider the impeachment charges against Trump until after 1PM on January 20th — which I understand in when Trump is no longer president. (True?)

If he is a former president, can he still be impeached, or is he beyond the reach of impeachment?

If he can be impeached then, does to mean that he would still keep his pension, security detail, etc even if convicted? (On the grounds that a "former president" is entitled to those things, and the law doesn't apparently limit that based on behaviour.)

Just wondering if possibly that's what prompted Trump to grudgingly agree — the threat of a swift hearing and him losing those privileges.

306:

For that matter, acknowledge that DC is for the soft lapping of waves RSN and start moving it uphill, starting with the new capitol building. (Looking at a map, I'd be swapping Virginia and Maryland existing-DC for at-least-equivalent area between Rosemont and Lovettsville.)

Yes, immense logistics issues. And yes, many other places have the same problem. Yes, arguably, you want to move the Smithsonian out first. But if you want to make it really clear climate change is real, move out of slave-built ceremonial edifices, and update the edifices to a scale appropriate to the population you've got today, it'd be a start.

307:

Concentration of wealth is probably an intrinsic component of capitalistic systems - part of an efficiency optimization method.

Any time you say "efficiency", it's important to specify what's being optimised.

Open-loop extractive capitalism to make yourself individually very rich has terrible feedback with respect to everything else; this is adopting "great wealth is the only security, and by definition, only maybe a thousand people in the whole world can be that rich and so secure" as the primary social organising principle.

So what's being optimised is the agency and security of those thousand people. The rest of us? anything we want that's contrary to that gets suppressed.

I guess that climate disaster is more a consequence of democracy than capitalism. Am I wrong?

I would say so, yes.

Climate disaster is US policy. (and as long as it's US policy it's nigh-impossible for anyone else to get serious about it, because the US is the oil empire and threats to the mechanism of control are not viewed calmly.) It's been made policy using techniques directly lifted from tobacco companies seeking to obfuscate their responsibility for the large tobacco-related corpse pile. Part of that involves making it really hard to run on a "this is a pressing public issue" platform. That's starting to crack, but "do you want to risk breaking agriculture?" has never been a popular position. More democracy (and less money-mediated democracy) would have helped, not hurt, this issue.

308:

It's not CA specific. The AWU is open to all Alphabet workers in the USA and Canada, including contractors, temps, and vendors. As pointed out by another commenter, it's a minority union. It seems very unlikely it will get >50% of the USA+Canada workers any time soon and is thus unable to engage in formal collective bargaining. It's still a significant milestone and not a joke but it's not necessarily as big as you make it sound like.

Notice also that concerns are mostly not about pay and conditions as seen in the traditional union/management negotiations. We'll see what the AWU will end up chasing (the current board has only a 6 months mandate and membership is growing a lot since it became public) but atm it is mostly talking about ethics and transparency: https://alphabetworkersunion.org/principles/mission-statement/

Your point about workforce preferring long employment tenure vs jumping ship as soon as convenient is valid but possibly overstated. There are certainly many many Alphabet workers who find that option more appealing than joining a union.

I am an Alphabet worker tangentially involved in worker organizing. The website has more info: https://alphabetworkersunion.org/

309:

So Roman Catholic priests have one sex, and Greek Orthodox ones another? :-)

I decided that Hofstadter was an unreadably pretentious prat when he took over from Gardner in the Scientific American, and every time I encounter him my opinion is confirmed. Yes, English is at least as sexist as a language with only masculine and feminine forms, but there are at least the following questions to ask, which carefully get brushed over by the politically correct:

1) How much good, if any, will changing to the use of gender-neutral uses actually do?

2) Will changing just a few politically 'hot' uses be enough, or will it be necessary to change the whole language?

3) Will the benefit outweigh the loss of accessibility of our literary heritage?

In case anyone thinks the answers are obvious, they should look deeper. As far as (1) goes, I have personal experience of the imposition of politically correct language being used both to preserve discrimination and to discriminate against vulnerable individuals. As far as (2) goes, think beyond simple uses to adjectives like laddish, words like werewolf, and uses in engineering and plumbing. As far as (3) does, try reading Shakespeare or any poetry involving love as a modern Thomas Bowdler would write it.

I will make a prediction: this linguistic revisionism will become more dominant before it fades away, but will do nothing to reduce the problems it is claimed to solve. That is because the connotations (which are the important aspect) are a symptom of the social issue, and not a cause of it.

310:

Well, there is the slight problem that the average width of members of Congress is rather larger than that of members of Parliament ....

311:

I will make a prediction: this linguistic revisionism will become more dominant before it fades away, but will do nothing to reduce the problems it is claimed to solve. That is because the connotations (which are the important aspect) are a symptom of the social issue, and not a cause of it.

How are you distinguishing between top-down patch-the-symptom linguistic change and bottom-up change-of-culture linguistic change?

I'd be hesitant to suppose it's only the former going on.

312:

Or possibly a better example, look at the British House of Commons:

Much of the official process in Congress assumes that Representatives and Senators do not have office space other than their space in the chamber. Paper copies of tons of stuff is delivered to those desks every day, and often filed by staff. Much of the interaction between members is done on the floor, and interactions between members and staff around the periphery. Short version: it's the working space for all sorts of official stuff.

Hidebound as they are, the Congress Critters are unlikely to make the process changes necessary to reduce the per-member space.

313:

Shouldn't the international community put together a coalition of the willing to invade the USA remove its unstable and dangerous leader and disarm it of its weapons of mass destruction? Post invasion preferential access to the countries natural resources as a bonus of course.

Just fix our health-care system while you're here.

314:

Trump can still be impeached after he leaves office. It's been done in the past for cabinet officers. Aside from removal from office, the penalties can include (at Congress' discretion) banning the impeached from ever holding public office (or if I read it right, ever taking a public contract) again, forfeiture of things like a pension, medical benefits, travel benefits, a diplomatic passport, bodyguards...

If I thought enough Republican congresscritters still had a functioning notochord, I'd guess that the opportunity to lock Trump out of the 2024 election would be attractive. Alas, I think too many of them are looking to take Trump's place and run the insurrection right, so that they can become dictator. Power addiction is a terrible disease. But they still might do it...

Changing the subject slightly, I suspect that one atrocity in the next week will be Trump pardoning himself for all crimes he's ever committed, state or federal, in the hope of gumming up the works still further. He may pardon everybody who attacked the capitol, too.

315:

If he is a former president, can he still be impeached, or is he beyond the reach of impeachment?

And the answer apparently is nobody knows, opinions differ, and thus it would go to the Supreme Court.

This based on an article from the Washington Post in December 2019, which asked various legal scholars about the issue after a Republican stated that Obama should be impeached.

316:

I should point out, before all the Canadians get on their high horses about climate change, that AFAIK, Canadians still burn more fossil fuel per capita than do people in the United States. Since the US is so much bigger and more industrialized, we've got a much larger collective carbon footprint, but Canadians, individually, are the sasquatches of carbon emission, surpassed only (IIRC) by the UAE.

317:

Here's a question to amuse the Scots and others in the audience.

Let us assume, for the sake of discussion only, that Trump Turnberry, which was purchased by Trump in 2014 for $60 million and which lost $13 million in 2019, was purchased using funds and/or methods that, on close inspection appear to be sufficiently illegal to warrant prosecution.

Just to make it goofy, let's assume it takes until, oh, 2023 to sort through the evidence and make this determination.

Who prosecutes?
--A newly devolved England?
--A newly independent Scotland?
--The EU?

318:

I would be hesitant to suppose it, too, but all of the evidence that I can find points strongly towards it. As far as I can see, and I have looked at this, the actual culture change has been in the direction of making such terminology less important - e.g. so what if a women is called chairman? - it's just a label!

Yes, many people mould their thinking from the words they use (a concept that I find bizarre, not being a verbal thinker), but I and most of the genuinely liberated women I knew and know regard this linguistic revisionism as at best futile, and often regard it as counter-productive and in conflict with our basic biological psychology.

319:

1. The coup isn't over and it didn't fail. Trump and his goon squad haven't been stopped, they just had a loudhailer taken away from them, they still have all the powers that are invested in the office and they just ran a loyalty test. Everybody is so shocked and sure that Trump has been put in his place that they haven't taken his toys away. How dumb are they?

Yes, the current coup is over - Trump is out of office at noon January 20th - Congress has certified the Electoral College results.

The only way for Trump to remain is for the various arms of the US government - military, Secret Service - to all violate their oaths and step in behind him and protect him - there is no indication at all that this is going to happen.

People are correct to be concerned about a future leader, but that is for another day/month.

2. The media live in the in the Marvel universe. They love their super heroes and super villains, and lone gunmen.

The media are desperately trying to merely survive, and unless they have an income independent of page views they are desperately trying to serve up what the public wants to click on.

If it is actual news that is merely a bonus.

3. The changes that must happen stamp out the crazy (which my other half described as screen mediated contagious schizophrenia) will apply limits to the billionaires who currently hold the keys to power.

Not going to happen - there is insufficient support to get anything past the various legal thresholds - and that is even assuming one could craft a law that would survive the stacked Supreme Court.

3. Section 230 will be revisited and the nexus of evil that is Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will be held accountable.

Nope, and for good reason. Section 230 creates the Internet that we all like, as well as the evil parts - there is a reason Trump has been attempting to have section 230 removed, and through his tantrum in exercising his first veto when the defence authorization bill didn't include the killing of section 230 (as well as the military base naming issue).

There are ways to deal with the problems of social media without the destruction of section 230 - one of the easiest is to start enforcing anti-trust again and stopping all of the mergers/acquisitions that create these monsters in the first place.

320:

Rbt Prior
American Cubans are using American law to shut down food trucks in Toronto W T F ??
Explain please! ( As per 288 & 289 )
Ah 301 - thanks
Surely this is "In restraint of trade"
Never mind that its fuck-all to do with the revanchist supporters of Batista!

@ 304 - (Imagine what would happen by running the justice system as a profit-making entity, for example.) As the US does, which is why it's so shit.
@ 305
AIUI, it's "moscow Mitch" being an arsehole again - he could recall the senate, but if he leaves it until 21/1/2121, then it fucks over the first weeks of Biden's presidency. Again, AIUI, once he ceases to be "president" that's it - IQ45 is now a private citizen. Open to correction. -oah "H" @ 314 has details.

graydon
Oil, Yes, well Oil giants stacking up Trump-issued permits to carry on drilling in US public lands & fucking everyone over.
Only hope is a continuing fall in the costs of "electric"

EC
@ 309
Yes, it's bollocks - just like the "Slaver ancestors" so-called debate, which carefully ignores modern present-day slavery or slavery in the past not done by pink people....

Troutwaxer
You DO NOT HAVE a "Health Care System" as understood in civilised countries

H @ 314
IQ45 pardoning himself is a sort of Möbius-loop. Also, as someone said, if legal, then Biden could declare himself President-for-life. Etc, etc ...
Doesn't mean he won't try it, though.
I am still frightened he will either, or both set off a much more serious internal revolt/insurrection &/or start a war, that Biden then has to try to stop.
The latter would be an especially effective wrecking tactic - which he is good at doing.
- @ 317 Whomever is the legal authority on the ground - probably an "Unexplained Wealth Order" - which is in both English & Scottish law.
And/or prosecution by HMRC - our Taxation authority.....

321:

AIUI, it's "moscow Mitch" being an arsehole again - he could recall the senate, but if he leaves it until 21/1/2121, then it fucks over the first weeks of Biden's presidency.

One of the Democratic leaders in the House has suggested that they will vote on the impeachment this week but not deliver the actual articles of impeachment to the Senate for a few months.

322:

Thanks. I know less about Islam than I'd like, but I'd point out a few things:

Both Islam and Christianity end with God pulling the plug on the world, resurrecting everyone, and sorting them out into a) those who go to heaven and b) those who go to hell (Islam) or cease to exist (Book of Revelations). Both say that when this happens is God's choice, not ours. This is sort of a final accounting thing. In Christianity, long contact with the GrecoRoman religious world, where the separate soul takes up immediate residence in some otherworld or other, seeped in, and that's where we get the modern Christian belief, but that's not in the Bible, or apparently, in the Quran.

Revelations is not what makes Christianity a post Millenarian religion. The stuff I'm referring to happened in the Gospels, when Jesus stopped preaching, started acting out at the head of a mob, and got arrested and crucified. That's the normal pattern for Millenarian cults.

Muhammad had to deal with the same hostility when he got booted from Mecca and later went to war with them, but he worked systematically and succeeded in conquering Mecca and Medina before he died.

I'm not an expert on millenarian cults, but I don't think there's a bright line between the majority that get someone believing they're talking with God, inspiring a bunch of people to follow them, and leading a failed revolt, and those who believe they're talking to God and spend the rest of their lives trying to make the world a more just place, with varying results. Muhammad's on the state-forming side, people like the Ghost Dancers are on the former side, and the followers of Jesus and St. Paul took off through a side door and went off this linear scale entirely.

I also agree that *some* evangelical groups are millenarian cults, in that they think the rapture is at hand and are trying to make it happen so that they can go to heaven on the other side. Most evangelicals do not fall into this category, but would rather follow Christ and save everyone from their sins. Or at least sit smugly while others go to hell for their unbelief.

I also strongly agree that Christianity is more of a branding logo than a unified movement, There are tens of thousands of churches, ranging from huge, heterogeneous ecosystems like the Roman Catholic Church down to thousands of independent street preachers and hermits who are actively talking to God right now, getting new revelations, and probably barely convincing themselves, let alone their families or their pets (in other words, it's a long-tailed distribution, with few huge and many tiny groups). Within this huge multidimensional cloud are groups that fervently consider themselves Christian but who disagree on just about everything, including especially what to believe in, preach, and practice. They all draw on a common set of symbols and terms, and get grouped as Christian for lack of a better way of grouping them.

To my knowledge, all the big religions contain analogous levels of diversity. But since each one is organized differently, they don't all schism the same way, so only some parallel comparisons among different systems are possible. Millenarian cults, though, appear in all of them, AFAIK. These are a normal response to perceived state repression.

323:

I should point out, before all the Canadians get on their high horses about climate change, that AFAIK, Canadians still burn more fossil fuel per capita than do people in the United States. Since the US is so much bigger and more industrialized, we've got a much larger collective carbon footprint, but Canadians, individually, are the sasquatches of carbon emission, surpassed only (IIRC) by the UAE.

2 words - oil sands

And also resource extraction.

This Canadian Government website gives greenhouse gas emission breakdowns by various categories, comparing 1990 to 2018.

When looking at the regional stats we see that most Provinces or Territories are about the same or lower (Ontario is down, likely a combination of the phase out of coal power and loss of some larger industry like car making).

But Alberta, and to a less extent Saskatchewan, are up by a lot.

2 biggest sectors are oil & gas (driven by oil sands - and largely exported) and transportation - where freight trucking emissions are up 3x (perhaps the move to importing so much).

https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/environmental-indicators/greenhouse-gas-emissions.html

324:

FWIW, the term for the head of a board that I've heard in common use is "the chair", which sort of solves the problem. And if you use the term frequently, it fits in with Zipf's law. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zipf%27s_law

325:

1. I don't think he's missilfinger (aka Gen.Jack D. Ripper). What I'd find *far* more likely is for them to find him "unresponsive" in the next week and a half, one morning, someone having obtained for him *good* coke, rather than the vastly overpriced and cut coke he usually snorts.

2. I think Q will fall down without him. For one, the VP of Citibank, who was one of the big pushers of it, apparently, was fired weeks ago. Without big pushers, it's going to slowly fade. Biden *will* have to do something about talk radio morons.

326:

This is definitely the case - that he's lying to all the taxmen. We *know* that at least one NYC building he was claiming value x for taxes, and value x*3 (or was it more) to Deutschebank, for loan purposes.

Ditto, btw, for Ivanka and Jared, and NY AG is NOT amused.

327:

I'll say here thanks for the discussion, and I'll keep up with "hispanic".

Pronouns? I think a post of mine was deleted on faceplant, because someone had hurt feelings.

Some are, as far as I can tell, *incredibly* hurt if someone misrefers to them.

I DON'T GIVE A SHIT IF SOMEONE REFERS TO ME AS "HIM", "HER", OR "IT". My std, if I need it, is "anything but late for dinner".

You insist on announcing your pronoun? Fine, I'll use it for *you*.

328:

Individual control of capital has NOT worked well. They had "individual control of capital" in ancient Rome, and in the slaveholder US South. They had control like that in the later 1800's and into the 1900s with company towns and the company store.

NO.

We need hard limits on individual control of capital. For example, when one business exceeds, say, 10% of an the cash flow in a town/city/country, the locality gets partial control. If it goes over 20%, the locality gets 51% control.

329:

No need to alter the building, just get an airplane designer to design new seating. Should be able to pack at least 3x the current number in there.

Until the work is complete use the food court in an abandoned mall, of which the US has many.

330:

Thank you. We're all going out of our minds - no one in close to two centuries has seen anything like this.

The neoConfederates (that *is* what the white wing really is) will cling tightly... but that percenatage has dropped, a lot. Please note all the GOP who voted for their Congresscritters and Senators... but "split their ticket", and voted against Trumpolini.

And odds are they utterly destroyed credibility with most, if not 80%, of the "independent" voters.

And the Democrats are *not* going to take this sitting down - they are *not* going to take well being literally threatened with bodily harm and/or death.

There will be a purge.

331:

2) Will changing just a few politically 'hot' uses be enough, or will it be necessary to change the whole language?

Cue old British jokes (from the 70s) about "Personchester"*…

*Which didn't really take the renaming far enough — should have been "Peroffspringchester"…

332:

I'm in favour of sending the entire cabinet
of the last four(?) Canadian governments to the Hague to be tried for genocide for approving pipelines after 2000.

And, yes, Canada has a high per-capita fossil carbon usage. We're not the global hegemon and we're not maintaining a power structure based on control of oil market mechanisms and we're militarily insignificant. So, not the domain of morals; the US (like India and China) is a decider economy on fossil carbon extraction, and the US remains pre-eminent of that group. So it's still true that it would be very, very hard for Canada to shut down fossil carbon extraction if the US wanted it to continue, and very hard for Canada to continue fossil carbon extraction if the US wanted it to stop.

333:

Well, there is the slight problem that the average width of members of Congress is rather larger than that of members of Parliament ....

That one's easy. Go with the minimum legally required width for a long-haul airline seat in the US. And Congresscritter that can't fit can do what airline passengers must do, and get elected in two districts so they are entitled to two seats :-)

Suggestion offered in the same spirit as improving the company canteen by requiring that management eat there…

334:

I disagree about Islam. IMO, Islam, like Judaism, are "tribal" religions. They have a theology... but aren't especially interested in that - rather, they're interested in how you live your life, day-to-day.

All you read about is the extremists, as the evangelical "Christian" Satanists in the US, but more folks aren't.

335:

I keep saying that the EU should do this, led by the Belgians, who can just land and start handing out Belgian chocolates, and they'll be able to waltz right in with no violence needed....

336:

It gets *very* iffy in some cases.

For example, one of the insurrectionists was wearing a shirt that read "Camp Auschwitz", and more. I don't know if I could sue his ass for hate speech, being as how I assume he was armed, and therefore threatening me, personally, by truing to overthrow the government and install a fascists one.

337:

I suspect that one atrocity in the next week will be Trump pardoning himself for all crimes he's ever committed, state or federal, in the hope of gumming up the works still further. He may pardon everybody who attacked the capitol, too.

Which might make a good opportunity to put some limits on presidential pardons.

From what I observe from outside America, your executive branch (in the person of the president) seems to be close to a monarch, able to grant pardons, order executions, arbitrarily interfere in trade, redirect government funds at a whim, etc…

We're now looking at people speculating on what attacks on foreign nations Trump might try, even though war is supposedly reserved to Congress (I think, anyway).

338:

The big danger is the "Million Maga March" on 19 Jan.

Note that it starts out probably illegally, since I doubt they have a permit.

And they're talking firearms - illegal to carry in DC.

339:

Be careful, or I'll seriously start showing my prejudice... I'll tell blonde jokes.

340:

Interesting about your wife. A *lot* of folks in the US have had decades of bs from the 1% and Faux News.

On the other hand, one of my daughters works for a county library system, and my son is a federal employee, and I spent the last ten years of work, retiring in '19, as a federal contractor.

Some of us know what government does....

341:

Never mind that its fuck-all to do with the revanchist supporters of Batista!

As I understand it, there's enough exiled Cubans for it to be a significant election issue in Florida — enough that rolling back the embargo requires using political capital.

342:

"Imagine running justice as a private company"? Why imagine... private, for-profit prisons in the US. And they keep people in longer.

343:

FWIW, the term for the head of a board that I've heard in common use is "the chair", which sort of solves the problem.

When I was on the staff for the budget committee of my state's legislature, we had to make statements and/or pose questions directly to the chair on a live mic (somewhat different situation than yours). Traditionally they were "Mr. Chairman." I was there the first session the committee was chaired by a woman. We asked how she would prefer to be addressed and she finally settled on "Madame Chairman."

344:

It's not an inherently Korean thing. My wife is also Korean, and I'm more public-spirited than she is. We're all people, we're diverse and some of us are nuts (including a certain Korean relative-in-law who voted for Trump).

That said, South Korea's doing a pretty good job battling Covid19. Despite their having to deal with a bunch of military dictatorships, the notion of working together for the common good isn't lost on most of them. It has been lost in the US as the result of decades of misuse and deliberate action, and we really need to get it back, in a more inclusive fashion.

345:

Yes, he can be impeached. There are arguments about whether removing all benefits is part of his removal, or an extra vote.

346:

What? You didn't like Godel, Escher, Bach?

347:

"Imagine running justice as a private company"? Why imagine... private, for-profit prisons in the US. And they keep people in longer.

Now imagine the police, courts, and prisons as a vertically integrated corporation…

348:

Canadians, individually, are the sasquatches of carbon emission, surpassed only (IIRC) by the UAE

Only in the sense that Sasquatches are a North American thing; though I guess the UAE isn't in North America either. Australia emits more per capita, the most of any G20 country, followed by Canada and the USA. If we count all OECD countries, or all countries, then the entire Arabian peninsula and a scattering of geographically small relative rich countries (e.g Luxembourg), or otherwise small island countries with high transport costs (e.g. Trinidad and Tobago) beat all three. Of course per-capita measures do no necessarily represent individual activitiy, since they amortise industrial emissions that are not substantially related to the local economy (for instance, Australia's coal mining has a minimal footprint locally: royalties are peanuts and the number of people employed is tiny, albeit politically coddled). So maybe less Bigfoot, more Yowie, chasing the ming ming lights around the giant glowing jellyfish hovering above Coffs Harbour.

349:

His ability to pardon himself is on *extremely* shaky legal grounds, and pardoning people who are complicit in his own crimes is even more legally shaky.

350:

Robert Prior @ 337 : " even though war is supposedly reserved to Congress (I think, anyway)."

War isn't reserved to Congress, but the president needs to get Congress to approve funding for it, otherwise there will effectively be no war. Except for nuclear retaliation with missiles, of course.

Wikipedia has a really good article on this, complete with tables detailing every war, conflict or engagement the US has ever been into.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_of_war_by_the_United_States

351:

From what I observe from outside America, your executive branch (in the person of the president) seems to be close to a monarch, able to grant pardons, order executions, arbitrarily interfere in trade, redirect government funds at a whim, etc…

Agreed. Although I think most of the US military (missile command aside) will ask Congress for confirmation before launching an attack on Trump's say-so. Unless it's against an already-declared target, like Al Qaeda or ISIL.

Here's how I see it playing out (note, that this has a ~~100% chance of being wrong in detail, if not in total):
--The House of Representatives impeaches Trump on Monday or Tuesday at the latest. That's a simple majority vote, so it's a done deal if it comes forward.
--McConnell refuses to act until the 19th, per his current statement. His wife has pulled out of the White House, so there's no particular reason for him to get involved in removing Trump.
--In the meantime (between 1/11 and 1/19), Trump pardons himself and all the insurrectionists.

What happens next?

My guess is that the Senate takes up the impeachment. Do they vote to convict? This is acid test #1 for the Republicans, whether they're still trying to pander to Trump's base or whether they want him gone from the system. My guess right now is that 16 of them want him gone, so he goes, but it's going to be close.

The next question is whether its possible to overturn his pardon. I suspect the executive and legislative branches take this to the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, there's justification (Carter pardoning the Vietnam draft dodgers) for pardoning the insurrectionists. On the other hand, if an impeached president takes action to pardon his co-conspirators for the actions that got him impeached, should the pardon stand? This is acid test #2 for the Republicans. My guess is that the Supremes will throw out Trump's self pardon, and they throw out the pardons for the insurrectionists.

The reason for the second is that Justice Roberts isn't stupid, and he does want the court to hold onto its power. Therefore, he needs the rule of law. If a president can self-pardon, we have a de facto dictatorial system with Biden in charge and a partial rebellion already in the works to unseat him and reinstall Trump. Who's demonstrably incompetent. Stopping that looks pretty straightforward, and the action also preserves the power of the courts and the rule of law

The next acid test is what to do about all those effing right wing authoritarian leaders in the Republican party. They don't want to dismantle Trump's organization, they want to own it and ride it to authoritarian power. That's the next thing that needs to be tromped on heavily after this. It's going to be harder.

Personally, I find myself hoping that the institution of the nuclear warrior imperial presidency gets kneecapped in the coming year. And I also find myself hoping that this doesn't turn out to be a bad thing.

352:

It's clear from how the tech industry has turned against Trump and his followers (Twitter and Facebook kicking them out, Apple, Google and Amazon pulling the plug on Parler) that the alliance between fiscal conservatives and social conservatives first attempted by Barry Goldwater, successfully applied by Richard Nixon and made into a permanent coalition by Ronald Reagan is over.

Next step will be the fiscal conservatives trying to shut down Trump, first by cutting off his social media, next they will make zero effort to shield him from criminal prosecution, and I imagine they're hoping the stress of all of this will cause a man with his outstanding health issues to drop dead. Once they're dead, expect a concerted effort to retake the Republican Party back.

This will of course fail because the base is too radicalized for that and even FOX News is losing its influence with the base as they drift steadily to the right. The fact is that the base is tired of folks just dog whistling to them in fear of offending potential swing voters. Trump's victory in twenty sixteen came from his realization that the base wanted someone unafraid to say horrible things. The social conservative base wants politicians who will openly endorse white nationalism.

At some point, the donor class will decide that the Republican Party is no longer useful to them. This will be due to a combination of two factors, the first is that they're so radicalized that normal swing voters won't go for the sorts of candidates who get through the Republican Primaries. The other one is that the Republican numbers will be shrinking due to old age and rural poverty hitting their numbers far harder than the Democrats. At some point, the Republicans go to permanent minority status in Congress and the White House will be a lost cause, even if independents get Democrat fatigue.

At that point all the money shifts to the Democrats. There will be a concerted campaign by FOX News and other mainstream conservative media outlets that are too big to want to be big fish in the shrinking pond that is social conservatism at that point to destigmatize joining the Democrats. All the highly paid conservatives political operatives who used to get Republicans elected are going to be focusing on primarying progressive Democrats.

The Democratic coalition will hold together only as long as the Republicans are enough of a spoiler to keep the Democrats from cracking in two. Once that happens, I expect a progressive exodus from the party to form a new more left wing party, with the corporate Democrats turning the Democratic Party into Republican Party 2.0.

353:

Erwin might be talking about Pareto Efficiency, which is often used to describe a distribution of wealth or resources where any further change would make someone worse off. There's no particular reason to regard this as an intrinsically desirable end-state; in practice that's where we stop because the ones who have the most want to keep it, and they use some of what they've got to make us. There is a cadre of believers for whom the word "efficiency" in the name for the state has all sorts of quantitative and quasi-scientific connotations (even though it definitely isn't an empirical measure), and for some that means treating it as an end in itself is valid. That's an overlap with the set who see economics as a natural science, but which somehow also makes moral prescriptions.

In contrast, for good or ill, post-enlightenment western society inherits the humanism that says, as summarised by Kant, that only people are ends in themselves and also moral agents. It's possible that this is what Erwin thinks is "democracy", which is bad for nature because it does not accord intrinsic value to non-human entities. That would be a valid point, but I'm probably overcooking it: I don't think that's the point he's making, I think he's just participating in the rich-people complaint that climate change is all the fault poor people (either for existing, or for having children or something), therefore they (the rich people) don't need to constrain their consumption. Of course he's conflating "capital" with "participation" and thinks that no-one buys things in non-capitalist arrangements, so none of the words he is using actually relate to well defined meanings for the rest of us anyway.

354:

Sorry, that should be Min Min lights... named for the town rather than the aboriginal words the town was named for, which therefore wouldn't necessarily make sense, except in a rather oblique way.

355:

David L @ 249:

--His tax returns did leak, and he's honestly a billionaire. Barely, but he's not bankrupt.

Not really. The tax forms don't include an asset sheet. Just the P&L. So it could be he's just good at dealing with large cash flows.

I'm still suspicious that he's mortgaged to the hilt and living off the cash flow. But it may be that the total cash flow is negative and he's in for a serious shortage soon.

It's not really clear that the leaked tax returns were accurate; that they truly reflect his returns or that he even submitted honest tax returns.

On the other side of the ledger regarding his solvency or lack thereof - is JaVanka's Media Consulting Company that siphoned off something like $600 million from the Trump Reelection Campaign and/or how much of the money raised for his many bogus post-election legal challenges was actually used for that, and how much of it will go to line his own pockets.

356:

Just so y'all know, I still shake with RAGE every time I think about what happened last Wednesday. And I have thought about it almost continuously since then.

I am struggling to retain a voice of reason and not just go all Red Queen, just shouting, OFF WITH THEIR HEADS, OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!!!

So I hope y'all will bear with me if some of my comments become a bit intemperate.

There are suicide prevention hotlines that are manned 24 hours, 7 days a week ... but there don't seem to be any homicide prevention hotlines to help talk you down when you want to kill a bunch of motherfuckers who so richly deserve it.

357:

I dont know about the US, but in the UK we seem to have
social liberals - we want society that is somehow fairer than now
social conservatives - we dont want any more social changes, its most unsettling
social nostalgists - we want society to be like the early 1950s
social regressives - we want society to be like the 1900s
[ maybe that last date in the US would be more 1850s ?]

358:

How does the [cancel] button work on posting.

If you hit [submit] and then see a grammatical error you want to correct can you use [cancel] to stop the submission while you correct the error, or does it cancel the comment entirely so you have to start over?

359:

Hm, I found this paper interesting:

The ancient Indo-European languages attest to a sex-based three-gender system, which includes masculine, feminine and neuter. As early as Brugmann (1891), it became clear that this system was a late development from an earlier two-gender system, commonly held to be animacy-based, which morphologically consisted of (following the terminology of the three-gender system) the masculine and the neuter, while the feminine gender was later formed through the addition of a special suffix, which Brugmann reconstructed as -*ā, and is currently noted as -*h2 (or -*(e)h2).

I have to agree a larynghal is quite more sexy than a -x.

(BTW, apparently Hittite only has two genders, but the question if it's because they became tourists in Anatolia before the third gender was developed or if thought this three -gender stuff too complicated when learning it from those fancy tourists from the Ukraine is another issue, though then, sound changes should have left some clues.)

360:

Nix @ 252: IT could also be that he's lying to the taxman. Honestly, does anyone believe he *isn't*? He lies to everyone else!

(In particular, there are rumours of very large hidden loans to himself to allow him to claim back taxes he's not entitled to claim. That he's claimed back more taxes on these grounds than any other individual in US history tends to support this. And if he's lying to the taxman on that scale, what are the odds he's not lying to them in other ways too? In particular ways that make him seem much more successful than he is, and necessitate ridiculous get-arounds to avoid the resulting tax liability, which he can't actually pay because he's lying to the taxman and is not remotely that successful...)

It is also quite probable that he submitted different fraudulent returns to the IRS than he submitted to the New York State Department of Revenue. Those differences could trip him up as well.

361:

War isn't reserved to Congress, but the president needs to get Congress to approve funding for it

Congress didn't approve the funding for a border wall, and that hasn't stopped over $11 billion being spent on it, pulled from elsewhere in the DoD budget. So as a check and balance, holding the chequebook doesn't seem to be significant…

362:

Listening to NPR earlier today, it turns out that the Acting US Attorney for Washington DC, Michael Sherwin - who will be responsible for prosecuting the insurrection - was IN THE MOB OUTSIDE THE CAPITOL BUILDING on January 6:

"it was sort of a carnival atmosphere beforehand when he was in the crowd" he says "when all of a sudden, this happened."

https://www.npr.org/2021/01/10/955314373/d-c-s-acting-u-s-attorney-calls-scope-of-capitol-investigation-unprecedented

363:

My understanding is that you need a supermajority for impeachment, and a slightly bigger supermajority for constitutional amendments. Does that imply that a successful impeachment might be able to make a one shot exception to the cruel & unusual punishment rule and bring back gibbeting?

You could argue that there isn't much that is considered "cruel and unusual" these days so it might be fine anyway.

364:

Graydon @ 253:

I'm quite sure litigation doesn't scare him, because he's been through thousands of cases, and even though he lost most of them, he's still a billionaire, so why worry?

Because his brain contains evidence of what would qualify as casus belli against the Russian state, and Vlad's inclined to be careful.

And, sure, I don't know that's true. Trump doesn't know it's false.

Putin already knows what, if anything, Trump could testify to about shady dealings. And everything Trump does know points more directly back to Trump himself than it does to Putin.

I think Putin's also inclined to not waste his time over what some has-been real-estate dealer might or might not know, and couldn't prove.

Besides which, Putin almost certainly worked through middle-men & cut outs, who are (for the most part) outside the reach of U.S. authorities. And probably no one would even notice if one of them had a fatal accident breaking a chain of evidence.


365:

whitroth
if you want blonde jokes, you should start with the late Tommy Cooper
[ Highly politically incorrect & painfully - as in your sides hurt from laughing - funny ]

H @ 351
Dems have already said that they will let the Impeachment "Lie on the Table" until a suitable point has been reached - say, the middle of March.

Mutant for hire
THAT is one area where the US & even BoZo's Britain are fundamentally different. Even our tories are ( mostly) social Liberals, always excepting complete religious nutters like Nadeen Dorries. Ah, but many "latin" male voters are swinging "R" - because they are frightened, correctly, that "their women" don't want to be good little sex slaves any more .....

JBS
You really, REALLY could not make this shit up, could you?

366:

Robert Prior @ 361: "Congress didn't approve the funding for a border wall, and that hasn't stopped over $11 billion being spent on it"

That's pocket change for the Pentagon.

They spent more than 2 trillion dollars for the war in Iraq.

They had to stop the F-22 production line in 2009 because at only 187 planes the program had cost 66 billion dollars.

A single B-2 bomber cost 2 billion dollars each, so they stopped production at 21

367:

And on the virus front, our local conservative leader is shocked that cases have spiked, after he bungled countermeasures three weeks ago:

Experts now say the holiday period accelerated what was already an alarming trajectory before Christmas. According to mobility data shared exclusively with the Star, some health units that have seen dramatic increases in post-holiday infection rates also had among the province’s highest rates of movement.

Warning people of a lockdown several days in advance is a “ghastly” way to communicate risk and gave people implicit permission to proceed with their holiday plans, said Dr. Jody Lanard, a risk communications expert who has consulted with the World Health Organization.

“The few days before the lockdown … did the most damage of all the weeks leading up to Boxing Day,” Lanard said. “It was a big mistake to say, ‘Pretty please don’t gather for Christmas, but the day after Christmas, we’re putting down the sledgehammer.’ ”

Across the GTA, only Toronto, Peel Region, York Region and Hamilton were locked down before Christmas, despite pleas from mayors like Toronto’s John Tory and Mississauga’s Bonnie Crombie, who worried about people region-hopping to do their shopping in Durham and Halton regions.

Their fears were well-placed, mobility data suggests. In the week leading up to Boxing Day, more than 101,500 people from Toronto, Peel Region and York Region flooded into just five shopping malls in Halton and Durham regions, according to mobility data — nearly enough people to fill the Rogers Centre twice over.

In Pickering Town Centre and the Halton Hills outlet, there were more last-minute Christmas shoppers from locked-down areas — 53 and 54 per cent, respectively — than shoppers from the local region. (This includes a small number of people from Hamilton, who went into lockdown four days before Christmas.)

Oshawa Centre has perhaps never seen so many Toronto shoppers as it did in the week before Christmas, when 13,409 Torontonians descended on the mall — a 155 per cent increase compared to the same week last year

At Mapleview Shopping Centre in Burlington, this year saw 140 per cent more shoppers from Peel Region compared to the period in 2019.

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2021/01/10/why-did-ontario-covid-19-rates-surge-after-christmas-new-cellphone-mobility-data-offers-some-clues.html

368:

It's laggy; it's very, very laggy. The last week reverts to the mean because StatsCan hasn't got the third-week-of-October data from the provinces yet.

But https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/71-607-x/71-607-x2020023-eng.htm does indeed track the only thing that matters -- excess deaths, and thus implicitly rate of change in excess deaths -- and it's pretty clear sending kids back to school was a one hundred percent organic fair-trade free-range mistake.

369:

Perhaps unclear. I'd tend to think of capitalism as any system where people are allowed to freely exchange value, with some sort of legal framework designed (perhaps incidentally) to ensure people optimize for some optimization criterion. Any such system is pretty much designed to pick winners and losers over time. But, I'm not sure it is intrinsically bad for the climate.

Now, democracy. My observation is that no democracy has chosen to enact sufficient changes for climate change, with France and China being somewhat close to outliers.
My impression is that France's choices were more geopolitical than otherwise.

Democracies, rather like publicly traded companies, are bad at long-term thinking, as officeholders tend to be focused on reelection. So, generally, they should have a fairly excessive discount rates. And therefore fail to adequately consider the costs of climate change. Or, I could be just wrong. I mean, some sort of incentive could be designed in, but human nature doesn't seem to remember far enough to help.

370:

Over 300,so.

https://climate.copernicus.eu/2020-warmest-year-record-europe-globally-2020-ties-2016-warmest-year-recorded

"The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) today reveals that globally 2020 was tied with the previous warmest year 2016"

This is the first organisation to call it. There should be more in the next couple of weeks. The significance of this is that 2016 was a strong El Niño year, this has equaled it in a La Niña year. That really means 2020 is showing much more heat in the system than 2016.

We've been distracted by the collapse of one country, but this is much more serious news.

371:

Robert Prior @ 367

Thanks to Ontario premier Doug Ford I've seen something usually rare in my neck of the woods: Cars with Ontatio licence plates. Their drivers "escaped" the Ontario lockdown to shop all the way over here.

372:

Or, as I've posted a few times to facepalm, I want all the insurgents in front of me... and me behind an M-50 machine gun. I will, however, compromise: 20 years in jail, and they lose the right to ever vote or own firearms ever again.

373:

Actually, your definition of capitalism is a better fit for "market economy"; I guess capitalism is more concerned with who owns the machines and who works with them and gets what.

374:

That is an interesting question: *why* was he in the crowd?

375:

"Any for where people exchange value"?

That's absurd. That's pretty much any social orangization at all. That's not capitalism.

Capitalism, by necessity, is a group of one or more people raising a significant (in context) sum of money to carry out some business plan, in the hope of making significantly more money back than they put in.

Note I said *significantly* more back.

I should probably add that they expect it to *keep* returning money, with little additional input.

376:

Not everyone in the capitol was worried. Some of them seem to have been busy: https://www.rawstory.com/lauren-boebert-twitter/

377:

I'd tend to think of capitalism as any system where people are allowed to freely exchange value, with some sort of legal framework designed (perhaps incidentally) to ensure people optimize for some optimization criterion.

"Free exchange" probably doesn't exist. (It's possible to postulate special cases involving two billionaires who lack for nothing, but they're billionaires because of a great many transactions of dubious freedom.) Humans are borderline eusocial; we are heavily specialised to co-operate in groups. The corollary is that lone humans are dead humans. "I don't want to interact with other humans" isn't a survivable option. (It is more abstract today than at any other time in our history and it's also more pervasive than at any other time in our species history.) Certainly in most nominally-capitalist systems, for the overwhelming majority of people, if you don't work, you starve; the concept of free exchange when the alternative is death is iffy at best.

Why are people supposed to optimize at all? is there supposed to be a single criterion for all of society? (I mean, today, there more or less is; profit maximization. That's pretty bad for nigh-everyone.)

No democracy has done much about climate change, correct. However, we can observe that many democracies do fine with education, on the one hand, a similarly squishy "better future" expensive thing to do, and that, on the other hand, there has been a concerted and very well funded campaign to prevent action on climate change from various business leaders who feel their business would be negatively affected. And since no democracy has figured out how to manage freedom of thought for natural persons but not corporates, that's a very large problem.

378:

It is also quite probable that he submitted different fraudulent returns to the IRS than he submitted to the New York State Department of Revenue. Those differences could trip him up as well.

It's looking more and more like Trump and minions told multiple stories to multiple institutions. Like some of the charitable donations where he still uses the property, high property valuations for loans and very different lower valuations for tax reporting. Which is fraud against someone. Then there's the casino operations where he took a total loss on his taxes but actually kept some of the bonds and used them for assets or sales later. Big no no which is a part of his long running dispute with the IRS.

Long story short, he's been telling multiple heads I win, tails you loose stories to lots of people. And there are legal consequences to be had when all of these folks merge their stories.

379:

and it's pretty clear sending kids back to school was a one hundred percent organic fair-trade free-range mistake.

So how do you explain the surge of deaths in mid-August?

And how do you justify blaming schools for any mid-September or later surge, when there are other potential causes - including cooler weather, the starting up of indoor hockey, etc.

I'm not saying schools weren't a factor, but it seems to be clear from the comments of health departments and mayors that a big issue is businesses ignoring the health requirements of Covid and becoming Covid hotspots. As summer turned to fall there were more people using public transit, and people were becoming more lax about things like face mask usage.

380:

Their lawyers dropped them:
Parler CEO Says Service Dropped By “Every Vendor” And Could End His Business (Bruce Haring, January 10, 2021)
“Every vendor from text message services to email providers to our lawyers all ditched us too on the same day,” Matze said today on Fox News.

Interesting; it seems coordinated, but might not (entirely) be.

(A lot of the action on Parler has been non-RW influence operators, at least the small sample that I've eyeballed and IMO. Saw a tweet yesterday about a network analysis suggesting a lot of overlap with older Russian influence networks as well, but haven't verified so please treat that as possibly false.)

381:

And how do you justify blaming schools for any mid-September or later surge, when there are other potential causes - including cooler weather, the starting up of indoor hockey, etc.
My take, perhaps missing some important additional dynamics:
September in the northern North America is the beginning of indoor season, when people start sharing their exhalations to a greater extent.
So any relaxations of limitations on contact are on top of that dynamic, and that includes schools, though universal masks in schools would greatly reduce the danger from schools.
Plus as you say, people got less disciplined about non-pharmaceutical interventions like masks and distancing over the summer, and those lapses in discipline moved indoors.

382:

Snopes says that the story about the insurrectionist tasing himself in the testicles and dying of a heart attack is false. (Well, half true; he did die suddenly of a heart attack.)
This story is holding up:
Pro-Trump protester who was crushed to death in Capitol riot carried "Don't tread on me" flag - Rosanne Boyland of Georgia was obsessed with pro-Trump conspiracies like QAnon (Travis Gettys, January 9, 2021)

R. Guiliani and D.J. Trump both accidentally phoned the same wrong Senator during the day. Coincidence, or coordination? :-)
As riot raged at Capitol, Trump tried to call senators to overturn election (Sunlen Serfaty, Devan Cole and Alex Rogers, CNN, January 9, 2021)
Bold mine:
President Donald Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani both mistakenly made calls to Republican Sen. Mike Lee as deadly riots were unfolding at the US Capitol earlier this week, a spokesman for the senator confirmed to CNN -- calls that were intended for another GOP senator the White House was frantically trying to convince to delay the counting of Electoral College votes.
Lee's spokesman said the calls from Trump and his attorney were intended for Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a newly elected Republican from Alabama.

383:

Weirdly, the one thing I can't get on the data table below the graph is excess deaths. Very annoying. (Also had to reload the page multiple times to get it to display something.)

384:

Where is your neck of the woods? Quebec somewhere, I think?

385:

Plus as you say, people got less disciplined about non-pharmaceutical interventions like masks and distancing over the summer, and those lapses in discipline moved indoors.

Also, we had a growing politicization of not wearing masks (here in Canada too).

386:

Coincidence, or coordination?

Both got the same (wrong) telephone number from the same source, at a guess.

387:

And how do you justify blaming schools for any mid-September or later surge, when there are other potential causes - including cooler weather, the starting up of indoor hockey, etc.

Where am I blaming schools, rather than blaming the decision to open the schools?

That decision functioned as a combination of signalling "it's really not that serious", back-to-school shopping -- critically, for clothes that have to fit so get tried on which means in-person shopping -- and a lot of flat-out-false rhetoric about how under-whatever, age-wise, aren't at risk. (there has never been any credible basis to believe children don't transmit COVID-19 and there wasn't a whole lot of basis to suppose they're less at risk from asymptomatic damage from the wild type. The fast spreader variants are pretty clearly just as able to damage kids as adults.)

Oh, and as a decision it more or less required the government of Ontario to under-emphasise aerosol transmission. Which is a culpable mistake.

It gets worse from there, but it also becomes a "don't publicly admit the schools were a bad idea" problem. One of the single strongest indicators for a bad outcome with COVID is governments waffling over imposing stronger requirements for infection control.

(Which is looking more and more like "not enforcing quarantine" in the "lock you in there" sense.)

So any relaxations of limitations on contact are on top of that dynamic, and that includes schools, though universal masks in schools would greatly reduce the danger from schools.

Basic safety rule about PPE is that if you need to use PPE, you've made a mistake. It's the last resort; how did you get yourself into this situation?

(Expecting eight year olds to be perfect with PPE all day is... questionable, too. Since it's obvious the adults can't manage.)

It's not just "inside as it gets colder"; it's the dose-dependency feedback loop. The more virus you're exposed to when infected, the more likely you are to get sick and the more likely you are to have a severe case. So as the overall number of cases climbs, the transmissibility goes up and the severity goes up. If someone is infected in your class and isn't detected for several days, you're producing optimal spread conditions by trapping exactly the same other people in there with them.

Nor is it obvious you don't have to worry about droplets to the eyes as a transmission route, nor is it even slightly obvious there's any way without either specialised forced ventilation or full medical PPE to be inside safely with a peak-infectious -- just pre-symptomatic -- person. (That Korean twenty-feet, five-minutes case.)

Plus as you say, people got less disciplined about non-pharmaceutical interventions like masks and distancing over the summer, and those lapses in discipline moved indoors.

On local observations, the compliance level with masks and distancing has always been low, including from doctors. Lots of "we don't have to worry here" attitude.

388:

Robert Prior @ 384 Where is your neck of the woods? Quebec somewhere, I think?

Yes, about an hour long ride on a Bus Rapid Transit express to the Ottawa river and the Ontario border. But it feels like farther away because of the usual absence of Ontario licence plates and diplomatic licence plates over here and because of the fact that my house is in a heavily wooded area.

389:

"full medical PPE to be inside safely with a peak-infectious"

The UK is making it crystal clear that full medical PPE doesn't protect you from extended exposure to the peak-infectious.

There was an interview with a UK based ambulance paramedic aired today on Australian TV. He was saying that he was about the only one of his colleagues that hadn't caught covid and that some of them had died. He said that they're masked up from the start of the shift and they mask all patients as the first action on all calls.

It really appears that my speculation at the beginning of this, that the only sure protection is positive pressure supplied air suit with washdown, is correct.

I'm pretty shocked that this level of health and safety (or lack thereof) is tolerated in a modern workplace. As a diver, when I worked in "contaminated" conditions that was the bare minimum. Full suit (including gloves and boots), helmet locked to the suit, double exhaust valves, full high pressure washdown before cracking the seal. That was just for diving in sewage, which is pretty harmless under normal circumstances.

It's not like this sort of equipment doesn't exist. It's absolutely standard in many industries.

390:

Re: ' ... there's any way without either specialised forced ventilation'

What types of heating systems do most Ontario and Quebec schools have? Just wondering whether they'd have vent systems that might be renovated or fitted with some specialized filtration.

Pretty sure that public schools there do not have A/C and despite the warmer than usual Fall last year, I can't imagine leaving windows open the whole day. At most teachers might be able to open all the classroom windows for a few minutes just before classes start, recess, and lunch.

Another possibility is using small 'portable' air filters - one per classroom. But from what Robert mentioned several months back, it's unlikely there's any budget for this if the province couldn't even afford to provide PPEs for staff and students.


391:

Robert Prior @ 300:

the current Congress seating space is not physically capable of seating any more people; this is why it was frozen at 435 representatives

You'd have to remodel the chamber to lesson the space between the seat, make the desks a bit smaller, etc, but it's more than doable. Look at the average university lecture hall or movie theatre, for example.

Ain't gonna happen for the same reason "Congresspersons" aren't seated in economy class when they fly home to their districts.

The freeze on the number of seats in the House is purely for the comfort of the representatives. They're sitting as close to each other as they want to get. They're not going to tolerate making the seats & desks any smaller.

The size of the chambers themselves was fixed in 1851 when construction began on a major expansion of the Capitol Building. At that time the House had 233 members.

It's 435 because in 1911 when Congress fixed the number of representatives, the House had 433 members. They allocated 1 seat each to Arizona and New Mexico in anticipation of their admission the following year, bringing the number to 435.

It actually went up to 437 in 1960 when Alaska (January 3, 1959) & Hawaii (August 21, 1959) were admitted to the Union, but after the 1960 Census & reapportionment for the 1962 election the number reverted to 435 again.

It would probably go up to 437 again until reapportionment after the 2030 census if DC and Puerto Rico become states.

392:

Robert Prior @ 305: Question for Americans (or someone who understands American politics more than me)…

Apparently Moscow Mitch won't be ready to consider the impeachment charges against Trump until after 1PM on January 20th — which I understand in when Trump is no longer president. (True?)

The Senate is in recess, holding only pro-forma sessions until January 19. According to Moscow Mitch it cannot be called back into session before that date without Unanimous Consent.

Therefore, the earliest the House can formally deliver Articles of Impeachment to the Senate is Jan 19.

If the House Articles of Impeachment on January 19 the House Impeachment Managers formally present the Articles of Impeachment at 1:00pm the following day, January 20. It's one of the steps built into the law, like the Vice President formally reading the Elector's vote certificates and announcing the results of the election.

I think the turtle-weasel is lying, hoping the House will just go away.

If he is a former president, can he still be impeached, or is he beyond the reach of impeachment?

He can still be impeached. There is precedent to impeach & try government officials after they have left office.

The House impeached William Belknap, President Grant's Secretary of War, after he had resigned in 1876. (He apparently resigned to forestall the impeachment.) The Senate held the impeachment trial, reasoning that they retained impeachment jurisdiction over former government officials. Although a majority voted to convict, it fell short of the required two thirds so Belknap was acquitted.

If he can be impeached then, does to mean that he would still keep his pension, security detail, etc even if convicted? (On the grounds that a "former president" is entitled to those things, and the law doesn't apparently limit that based on behaviour.)

Doesn't matter if he's already out of office or not, if he is impeached and convicted, he can be disqualified from holding any future position in the government and Congress can strip him of pension, security detail, etc.

Don't know if they will, but it is within their power. Secret Service protection for former Presidents is a courtesy extended by Congress, but it's not required by law or the Constitution.

Just wondering if possibly that's what prompted Trump to grudgingly agree — the threat of a swift hearing and him losing those privileges.

Grudgingly agreed to what?

393:

Charles H @ 324: FWIW, the term for the head of a board that I've heard in common use is "the chair", which sort of solves the problem. And if you use the term frequently, it fits in with Zipf's law. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zipf%27s_law

The head of a board may be a chairman, a chairwoman or a chairperson, but I don't take instructions from the fuckin' furniture.

394:

What types of heating systems do most Ontario and Quebec schools have? Just wondering whether they'd have vent systems that might be renovated or fitted with some specialized filtration.

There isn't a lot of air heating systems, a lot of older buildings with boilers and radiators.

Pretty sure that public schools there do not have A/C

Unless things have changed recently A/C is only required for any classrooms that have no windows, and that covers a lot of the schools given how few get built in any given year.

and despite the warmer than usual Fall last year, I can't imagine leaving windows open the whole day.

Why not? It's not as though the windows provide much ventilation anyway given how few of them/percentage of them actually open.

395:

whitroth @ 330: Thank you. We're all going out of our minds - no one in close to two centuries has seen anything like this.

I wish that were so, but it happened right here in my beloved North Carolina.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilmington_insurrection_of_1898

https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=93615391

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/08/wilmington-massacre/536457/

https://revealnews.org/episodes/remembering-a-white-supremacist-coup/

396:

whitroth @ 339: Be careful, or I'll seriously start showing my prejudice... I'll tell blonde jokes.

I'm a natural blonde ... or was before what little hair I have left turned grey .. so go right ahead. You may have one I haven't heard before.

But be forewarned, I got musician jokes and elephant jokes aplenty to fire back at you. And that's before I even open my Steven Wright joke book.

397:

Heh. (Comments for non-USans) I'll do you one better: I was *very* pleased when I moved to Texas, the end of '86, when I discovered Aggie jokes (Texas A&M). Every single racist, sexist, nationalistic, etc joke there ever was, was suddenly an Aggie joke.

For example, how can you tell when an Aggie's been doing word processing? (Used to be a blonde joke) White-out all over the screen.

398:

whitroth @ 346: What? You didn't like Godel, Escher, Bach?

I like PDQ Bach.

399:

Where am I blaming schools, rather than blaming the decision to open the schools?

As previously discussed, the balance of evidence was (and likely still is) in favour of opening the schools.

We know that, particularly for the younger kids, the essentially get no education from home schooling - the parents don't have the ability to work as full time teachers to force them to do the schooling.

Add in the mental effects of not interacting with other kids, and the dangers of not being observed by 3rd party adults, and there are serious concerns of keeping them home for an entire school year.

That decision functioned as a combination of signalling "it's really not that serious", back-to-school shopping -- critically, for clothes that have to fit so get tried on which means in-person shopping

Guess what - kids grow, and thus grow out of their clothes. So that shopping was going to have to happen anyway.

and a lot of flat-out-false rhetoric about how under-whatever, age-wise, aren't at risk. (there has never been any credible basis to believe children don't transmit COVID-19 and there wasn't a whole lot of basis to suppose they're less at risk from asymptomatic damage from the wild type.

I don't know that anyone said they aren't at risk, rather that they were at lower risk, which changed the risk calculations on return to school or not.

And despite all the hysteria over the issue, the teachers didn't all drop dead or even get symptomatic Covid - and at least in Ontario the school boards (and hence province) tracked known Covid testing in schools.

The reality that many don't want to admit is that kids immune systems are different that adults (which is why there is so far no approved Covid vaccine for kids - what works in an adult can't be extrapolated to kids, they need to undergo separate trials).

The fast spreader variants are pretty clearly just as able to damage kids as adults.)

The early indications are that this is true - and thus it will require a recalculation of the risk assessment given that the new variants appear to behave differently in kids.

Oh, and as a decision it more or less required the government of Ontario to under-emphasise aerosol transmission. Which is a culpable mistake.

I didn't pay close attention, but I don't think the government ever said that.

It gets worse from there, but it also becomes a "don't publicly admit the schools were a bad idea" problem. One of the single strongest indicators for a bad outcome with COVID is governments waffling over imposing stronger requirements for infection control.

I am highly critical of the Ontario Government's general handling of Covid - little was learned and implemented from the first several months, and they have been very slow (likely in part due to pressure from the local right wing press) to take necessary decisions - including the current refusal to close and/or punish workplaces that are acting at Covid spreaders - thought the City of Toronto decision to start naming businesses that have Covid outbreaks may change that situation.

But reopening schools, based on the available evidence, was not a mistake.

So any relaxations of limitations on contact are on top of that dynamic, and that includes schools, though universal masks in schools would greatly reduce the danger from schools.

What a surprise, masks are mandatory in schools (only exception is for age 4 & 5 (Kindergarten), as well as other assorted precautions.

Basic safety rule about PPE is that if you need to use PPE, you've made a mistake. It's the last resort; how did you get yourself into this situation?

(Expecting eight year olds to be perfect with PPE all day is... questionable, too. Since it's obvious the adults can't manage.)

This is the greatest irony - everyone assumed schools would be a nightmare because kids can't wear masks.

Yet they can wear masks, do wear masks, and because they aren't (generally) idiots like many adults they don't refuse to wear masks on idiotic grounds of liberty or it's all a hoax.

Seeing young kids getting off school buses and they are all wearing masks, high school kids walking home from school - wearing masks.

Kids out with parents shopping - wearing masks.

The only ones not wearing masks are some of the idiot adults.

Plus as you say, people got less disciplined about non-pharmaceutical interventions like masks and distancing over the summer, and those lapses in discipline moved indoors.

Yep, and it likely in part what has driven the increase of Covid transmission within businesses and multi-generational households.

But schools don't have this problem - because they have adults to remind/tell the kids as necessary to keep the mask on.

(and yes, it may well be more problematic with teenagers - though again the Ontario school stats indicate otherwise - but teenagers can effectively learn at home if necessary unlike primary school aged kids.).

400:

Oh, and mirroring I believe what Australia saw in their winter weather season, the flu is essentially MIA in Canada

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/flu-influenza/influenza-surveillance/weekly-influenza-reports.html

Given a typical year it and colds would be running rampant through schools, the fact that it isn't is another clear indication that the precautions that schools are taking with staff and students are working, making them a reasonably safe place for students to be.

And of course the biggest change is that schools are no longer willing to remain as daycare/baby sitters for sick kids given the inability to without testing say it isn't Covid.

401:

dpb @ 363: My understanding is that you need a supermajority for impeachment, and a slightly bigger supermajority for constitutional amendments. Does that imply that a successful impeachment might be able to make a one shot exception to the cruel & unusual punishment rule and bring back gibbeting?

You could argue that there isn't much that is considered "cruel and unusual" these days so it might be fine anyway.

Simple majority in the House to impeach; two thirds majority in the Senate to convict (and remove/disqualify); two thirds majority in the House AND Senate to propose Amendments; ratification by three-quarters of the States for proposed Amendments to become part of the Constitution.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

If an officer of the Federal Government is impeached, convicted & removed from office (or in Trump's case only disqualified from future office because he'd already be out of office) that's all that Congress can do, although they would have the power to deprive him of any benefits from that office.

The Federal DoJ could indict & try him for any criminal acts he committed while in office, and if he was convicted, punish him "according to Law". That would be somewhat complicated by the Federal Courts and eventually the Supreme Court having to decide whether a President has the power to pardon himself.

Even if they eventually decided he could, it would not apply to the States, who could still prosecute him for violations of State laws. And he would be liable for Civil Judgements. (Supreme Court already decided that in Jones v. Clinton).

I would interpret "any Office of ... Profit" to be a bar against him having government contracts, including leases on old government buildings ... such as the one that's currently a Trump Hotel in Washington, DC. And I don't think he could get around it by transferring the contract to a Corporation nominally owned by other family members.

402:

Sydney Covid update now has more cases in more places. We're winning the battle against those mask-wearing, pro-vaxx, white-coat-worshipping "smart" people. Soon herd immunity will occur (baaaa, or I suppose mooo if you prefer) and we'll all be safe.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2021/jan/11/australia-news-live-queensland-lockdown-coronavirus-nsw-victoria-testing-palaszczuk

403:

There's an M-2 .50 cal machine gun and an M-60 machine gun, but I've never heard of a M-50 machine gun.

404:

whitroth @ 374: That is an interesting question: *why* was he in the crowd?

That's what I want to know.

405:

For infected kids, last study I saw was that the R0 was about half that for adults. Given that there is a high asymptotic fraction, seems reasonable. But, infected kids will tend to serve as viral amplifiers for their parents...

For the US, given that parents pretty habitually 'tylenol and go'... (seriously, kids have limited school days - I've done it when my kids teachers started complaining about them taking too many sick days.) Opening schools seems, at first glance, to be an absolutely terrible idea. NY had quite a bit of success, admittedly, but over 75% of parents opted for virtual schooling. Still, in terms of spread, this probably depends on how much exposure parents typically have - for people able to work from home, the kids probably end up as the dominant exposure risk. For people unable to work from home, maybe not.

Besides, in a reasonably mask-compliant region, I still see teenagers playing maskless full-contact basketball in the park, so I'm skeptical about compliance.

Maybe Canadians are better?

Still, I've viewed the early studies - and they really do deserve skepticism - to the point that they were probably either deliberately deceptive, cherry-picked, or effectively cherry-picked due to confirmation biases. As time has gone by, it appears that:
1. COVID is generally milder in children.
2. Children are less infectious, but not enough less infectious to change decisions about quarantine.
3. Long-term complications from COVID are fairly likely to be similar in magnitude for children.

Educational and isolation issues are real, and maybe greater than coronavirus risks, but, overall, our kids aren't going back to in-person school until Q4 2021 at the earliest.

406:

Bill Arnold @ 380: Their lawyers dropped them:
Parler CEO Says Service Dropped By “Every Vendor” And Could End His Business (Bruce Haring, January 10, 2021)
“Every vendor from text message services to email providers to our lawyers all ditched us too on the same day,” Matze said today on Fox News.

My heart bleeds for him.

407:

Bill Arnold @ 382: Snopes says that the story about the insurrectionist tasing himself in the testicles and dying of a heart attack is false. (Well, half true; he did die suddenly of a heart attack.)

If they can believe all the lies Trumpolini spewed, I can believe one little story that deserves to be true.

409:

I'd tend to think of capitalism as any system where people are allowed to freely exchange value

This is where your tendencies lead you astray. I recognise that within a certain milieu, "capitalism" is a shorthand for all the economic organisation components that happen in Western democracies at the moment. That's a niche usage and continuing with a discussion that assumes this is what everyone understands the term to mean will lead to confusion. But it's slightly worse than that, because essentially it's claiming for the current Western social order things that are part of the general shared human experience, like "free exchange of value", which might more normally be described as "trade", though there are many forms that might not be. From there the problems spawn fractal: because you conflate trade and capitalism, you lose the ability to understand why a social order that has capitalism in it is different from one that simply has trade, you lose the ability to understand how trade worked in, e.g. the Soviet Union, Medieval France and early industrial Britain. Then it's harder to grasp what currency, debt, obligation, slavery and several other key concepts mean from a variety of contexts: you're stuck with some quite baroque versions of those defined by some specific thinkers, and not able to follow quite a bit of other work in that space, especially post-colonial and post-feminist thinking on those topics (you'll think that such analyses are missing the point, when in fact their point is simply different).

I don't mean this unkindly: it isn't a radical or lefty thing to want to understand what it is that sets societies that have capitalism apart from others, they are not necessarily all negative. Capitalism is about the use of accumulated value to generate more value; it is an system where someone with no useful skills can make a living, so long as they have sufficient capital to invest in projects that give a rate of return that equals that living. Free markets appear to be compatible with such a system, but they are not really essential to it; they are certainly *not* synonymous with it. And in fact markets are a product of governments, just as are the laws of contract (and the generally stable enough to be predictable currency) that make capitalism possible.

I think you probably mean that, ideally, there is a market for investments and the market forces determine what projects end up being funded, because the projects that yield a reliable return on investment are the ones that produce things that other people want to buy. There's a point of view that says this is the ultimate form of democracy, because consumers are the real king makers. I think the problem is when this is treated as an end in itself, that is, we think these outcomes are the correct outcomes *because* the market says so. This is a category error, we make markets, they are tools, a technology, not laws of nature or moral agents. We don't assign moral value to the way that cars work, nor do we assign moral agency to, say, gravity. But this leads me to the problem of circular arguments.

You use words like "optimisation" and "efficiency" without really sharing your understanding of what you think they mean, and that often means you're at risk of begging the question. We can't tell whether you think that an optimal outcome is something where you have an independent frame of reference in which to think about it, or it is something that you define in terms of how the market works, in terms of the outcomes of the way you see "capitalism" working. And that's the crux really.

410:

JBS @ 408
That last link implies that the "R" are seriously frightened by the "Impeach" move - why?
I suspect they know it will fail ( Because 2/3rds ) - and then the electorate will turn on them.
Yes/No?

411:

Because it forces them to make a clear statement on where they stand. If they vote for impeachment they anger the Trumpists and risk losing their next primary. If they vote against impeachment they anger everyone sane and risk losing their next general election. They’d much rather not have to make that choice.

412:

Interesting; it seems coordinated, but might not (entirely) be.

Or no one wants to be the last one on the podium defending their position. Even if the position is one arrived at by doing nothing on an active basis.

413:

Because it forces them to make a clear statement on where they stand.

Nancy Pelosi must really be enjoying her job right now; heads she wins, tails the Republicans lose.

414:

I am seeing that there are suggestions that the vote might be delayed by 100 days or so in order to give Biden a chance to get some work done.

Personally I would either do it immediately to get Trump out or delay a bit longer to put it closer to the midterm elections.

415:

How much good, if any, will changing to the use of gender-neutral uses actually do?

I will note that some languages are non-gendered: AIUI Finnish doesn't use genders at all, and Finland isn't radically different from its Scandinavian neighbours (although that may be to some extent due to population overlap -- there are Swedish speaking regions).

I will, of course, continue to write fiction using language as I see fit ... which is to say, being aware of and attempting to eliminate sexist, racist, and albeist usage except when I'm trying to make a point.

416:

Who prosecutes?

Even if we voted decisively to leave the UK later in 2021, and the UK government agreed, Scotland probably wouldn't complete the independence process much before the 2024 UK General Election.

But, if it did, the prosecution would almost certainly be up to Independent-Scotland, which would have inherited a complete legal system along with cases in progress from Scotland-in-the-UK.

The EU wouldn't get a look in: the UK is not part of the EU at present.

417:

Of course. I side with the people who break down the ridiculous gender moulds and, of course, Samuel Johnson. See also the debate about what is capitalism etc. in this thread.

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/1147-my-dear-friend-clear-your-mind-of-cant-excessive-thought

418:

Yes, the Finnish language has no gender, so doesn't have pronouns divided by that, either. (There's a different divide, though, which is somewhat complicated by use.) We're quite close to our Scandinavian neighbours, but not equal. I seem to find different studies, but I think in wages we are more non-equal than for example Sweden. The language is of course Fenno-Ugrian instead of a Germanic Indo-European one, as are the Scandinavian languages. Estonian is close to Finnish, and Hungarian a more distant cousin. Russian is a Slavic Indo-European one, so closer to Swedish or English than Finnish.

From my middle-agish white cishet male point of view, I think that the point of stating your pronouns is to make it the normal thing to do - if one group does that, it singles them out. Better in my view when everybody does it, so it's not an issue to ask or tell. This also applies to other stuff, which Finnish does have - like 'wife' or 'husband'. I'm trying to change my speech to talk about partners and spouses instead, so a non-gendered word instead of a gendered one, when it really doesn't matter.

It's kind of trying to be an ally to my LBGTQ+ friends. This is one of the concrete things that have been said to me I can do, so why not do it?

419:

Yes: it's a matter of what does the language force you to specify. There are languages with four or more genders (Dyirbal has the set that are usually represented in English as masculine, feminine, vegetable and other, though George Lakoff wrote a book named after an expansion of things that are "feminine": Women, Fire and Dangerous Things), in general we don't think we're missing something when we don't use those.

What information we are obliged specify turns out to be one of the most "living" aspects of language, so changing all the time might be the right way to think of how it should be. And if normalising certain usages is a way to avoid hurting people, I don't really understand why you wouldn't do it.

420:

There's an M-2 .50 cal machine gun and an M-60 machine gun, but I've never heard of a M-50 machine gun.

An M-50 Machine gun is one that is travelling the fastest (non-helicopter) way possible between the SAS base at the Stirling Lines Barracks in Hereford and GCHQ.

Your milage may vary..

[Get's coat.]

421:

white-coat-worshipping

Definition for some of us non locals?

422:

Mikko Parviainen @ 418 and Charlie Stross @ 415

I spent a 2 week summer vacation driving around Finland and visiting Helsinki, Turku and Tampere back in 2006. Everywhere, everyone spoke English (except for an old lady in a pastry shop in Helsinki) so I never had any kind of communication problem.

423:

Yeah, most people do speak English here. It's a nice thing for a tourist, but I hear it's annoying when trying to learn Finnish, as most people change to English immediately upon hearing accented Finnish.

My generation did not have English as a mandatory subject in school, though most people did learn it. The older people did learn some, but it was not as common. Nowadays I think all children get to learn English (and the "other domestic language", either Swedish or Finnish - about 4-5 percent of the Finnish people are Swedish-speaking). Many get a third foreign language thrown in.

424:

Japanese, too, is gender neutral, in its formal grammar. The Japanese in general use pronouns much less than European languages do. (For instance, instead of "I", one often uses ones own name.) What pronouns there are do not have masculine and feminine forms.

This observation is misleading, however, because there are many less formal gender signifiers in Japanese. For instance, a girl might address her older brother as O-ni-chan. Here "ni" means "older brother", "chan" is an affectionate form of address, and "o" honors the person referred to. A boy would more likely call his older brother ni-chan, omitting the honorific prefix. (Anime fans may remember hearing this a lot in Fullmetal Alchemist.)

425:

>>What pronouns there are do not have masculine and feminine forms.
Kare? Kanojo?

426:

So to return to the question asked, in the "I did not see that comming":

Parler got hacked, bulk downloaded, and published right before the shutdown.

As if that was enough for news, the entire operation sounds more and more like a law-enforcement honey-trap, run by the Keystone Cops.

They required photo-id for authentication.

They didn't delete things, they merely marked them "deleted" in the database.

They didn't strip exif metadata from images.

Where are my pop-corn ?

For more details see:

https://twitter.com/bitburner/status/1348558563019427842

427:

I would argue that Kare and Kanojo are not different forms of the same word, the way "he" and "she" are in English. Also, Kanojo is arguably more a noun than pronoun. Now, it is true that some pronouns are used for one gender but not the other (Kare, Boku), which is why I carefully/sneakily wrote "What pronouns there are do not have masculine and feminine forms."

428:

For the US, given that parents pretty habitually 'tylenol and go'...

That's not unique to the US - with the stay at home parent now rare keeping kids from school is a major problem for most parents in a regular year.

But this isn't a regular year, and I highly doubt any competently run school is allowing any kid that shows up with symptoms to just continue on into class as normal.

And the fact that the flu is absent is likely further proof of this.

Besides, in a reasonably mask-compliant region, I still see teenagers playing maskless full-contact basketball in the park, so I'm skeptical about compliance.

Except that's not school - and that would be happening whether the kids are in school or not, so remains a risk factor - though the outdoor nature would help to reduce the risk.

Though at least my local city took care of the issue by removing the hoops from the basketball backboards in any public areas back in March...

429:

And of course you have -san which is gender neutral. I must admit I studied the language for years before seeing much use of kare/kanojo. As for boku, I heard it was exclusively used by males, but about the only time I've ever really heard it used was by my teacher's daughter.

430:

What types of heating systems do most Ontario and Quebec schools have? Just wondering whether they'd have vent systems that might be renovated or fitted with some specialized filtration.

I believe the phrase is "dog's breakfast". My last school had five different heating and ventilation systems, corresponding to various stages of expansion. (They also had no documentation, because apparently at one of the periodic school board reorganizations someone decided to centralize all documentation so it was removed to safe storage, which now no one can locate. Pipes buried in concrete foundations that need replacing but no one knows where they are.)

Some radiative heat, some forced air. A 15°-20° difference between rooms (which made dressing in layers essential).

Air filters nowhere near HEPA standard — birds can fly through the vents and nest*. Ventilation centrally controlled (by school board not school) and turned off at night and on weekends to save money. This includes fume hoods and chemical storage cabinets storing volatiles. Some rooms with no ventilation at all (staff washrooms).

Pretty sure that public schools there do not have A/C and despite the warmer than usual Fall last year, I can't imagine leaving windows open the whole day. At most teachers might be able to open all the classroom windows for a few minutes just before classes start, recess, and lunch.

No AC in Toronto, except for school administrators, guidance counsellors, and computer labs. Some newer school in other boards have it for classrooms. Many windows don't open; indeed, many rooms don't have windows. Spring humidex in the upper forties in my physics classroom. But hey, there's no legal maximum classroom temperature** so we're all good!

Another possibility is using small 'portable' air filters - one per classroom. But from what Robert mentioned several months back, it's unlikely there's any budget for this if the province couldn't even afford to provide PPEs for staff and students.

Worse than that. The student family aid that Ford announced? It's coming from existing education funds, so there's less money for the actual school than there was in normal times. And budgets were cut before Covid.


*Happened in one classroom — I found a big pile of birdshit on the floor under the vent after a long weekend, so the caretakers cleaned it up and rigged a box under the vent to catch it until the eggs hatched and the birds left. No other health and safety actions.

**Discovered that at another school when a VP (who rarely left his air-conditioned office) refused to let me take a class outside, where it was cooler, because he "might need to reach [me] on the PA". The kids took turns at the eyewash stations, and the next day one of them brought in a kiddie pool and they sat around it with their feet in cold water.

431:

Re: 'Parler got hacked, bulk downloaded, and published right before the shutdown.'

For the non-techies, please elaborate, i.e., what does this mean?

BTW - the 'honey-trap' could have been worked by anyone not just legit law agencies.

432:

According to Moscow Mitch it cannot be called back into session before that date without Unanimous Consent.

This is the same Moscow Mitch that couldn't confirm a judge before an election, then four years later decided it was OK?

Is there any other opinions on that? Because frankly, I think taking his word on what the rules/laws say is stupid — bastard's already shown that he's willing to rewrite/ignore/invent rules as convenient to him.

433:

Unless things have changed recently A/C is only required for any classrooms that have no windows, and that covers a lot of the schools given how few get built in any given year.

My physics and ESL classrooms had no windows, no air conditioning, and not much in the way of effective ventilation.

434:

There's an M-2 .50 cal machine gun and an M-60 machine gun, but I've never heard of a M-50 machine gun.

Going off of Wikipedia, there are 6 weapon systems designated M50 (and a gas mask): M50 joint service general purpose mask, Super Sherman, M50 Reising submachine gun, M50 Ontos, Madsen M-50, Myasishchev M-50, and Obusier de 155 mm Modèle 50.

Now, we can discard the gas mask, the bomber and the howitzer, as none of them are or contain machine guns. That leaves a pair of submachine guns and a pair of armoured fighting vehicles. Of the fighting vehicles, the Super Sherman appears to have kept a feature of original Shermans that fits whitroth's desription: an AA machinegun mounted behind the commander's hatch which could be operated by an infantry hitching a ride. Having whitroth man that position would mean the he is, indeed, behind an M50's machine gun.

Now, there is a small wrinkle in that the M50 Super Sherman is an Israeli design; I'm not aware of any that have gone far beyond Israel's borders. Either getting one over the puddle and through customs or a suitably large number of MAGA insurrectionists in the right spot over there is a little difficult to plan.

That said, if one magically turned up in the suburbs around DC, that would make for quite the centerpiece for an Antifa counter-protest. (All of this is tongue firmly in cheek.)

435:

Graydon: Oh, and as a decision it more or less required the government of Ontario to under-emphasise aerosol transmission. Which is a culpable mistake.

mdlve: I didn't pay close attention, but I don't think the government ever said that.

There is a lot of emphasis on wearing a mask if you can't stay six feet away from someone, unless there is a plexiglass shield between you. That's what the rules/guidelines actually said in the spring. If they've been updated the change hasn't been very effectively propagated.

I know that this means that adults are wandering the school without masks, just keeping their distance from other people (but sometimes still congregating with friends as long as they are out of sight).

436:

"For the non-techies, please elaborate, i.e., what does this mean?"

It means that all the neonazis pictures, bragging, planning and general "conspiracy", including all the stuff they thought they had deleted, is now out in the open, tied directly to verifiable state-issued identity-papers.

In the mild end, this will enable researches and others to find out precisely how bit the US police corps neo-nazi problem is.

In the serious end, it means that law-enforcement now have identities to the entire "militia" and tons of self-incriminating evidence.

My guess is that FBI will find some silly excuse to ignore this trove, likely "failure of custody", but as Brandeis said: Sunshine is the best desinfectant.

437:

My physics and ESL classrooms had no windows, no air conditioning, and not much in the way of effective ventilation.

Must have been a really old school - my early 1970s built high school had air conditioning for the 2 classrooms without windows.

There is a lot of emphasis on wearing a mask if you can't stay six feet away from someone, unless there is a plexiglass shield between you. That's what the rules/guidelines actually said in the spring. If they've been updated the change hasn't been very effectively propagated.

I know that this means that adults are wandering the school without masks, just keeping their distance from other people

At least Peel is saying everyone except kindergarten kids needs to be masked - and that includes all staff.

https://peelschools.org/schools/reopening/safety/Pages/default.aspx#masks

(but sometimes still congregating with friends as long as they are out of sight).

Just like the provincial inspectors found with some of the hospital staff in Hamilton.

438:

Must have been a really old school - my early 1970s built high school had air conditioning for the 2 classrooms without windows.

Over 100 years old, but the latest expansion was in the 80s/90s, which is where my physics classroom was.

In the 90s (when I started teaching) the only parts of the Toronto school system that had air conditioning were school offices (for admin, not teachers), guidance offices, and central administration buildings. You know, all the places that students aren't.

Computer labs weren't air conditioned — my first lab, with south-facing windows that only opened half an inch (security, because ground floor and valuable computers inside) periodically had computers shut down when they got too hot.

439:

On efficiency in capitalism:

Economists are basically utilitarian: the objective of each individual in the economy is assumed to be to maximise their individual "utility"; the pleasure and satisfaction they get out of life. This was what the "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness" in the Declaration of Independence was getting at; it was stating that it is the responsibility of each individual to decide what makes them happy, and to pursue it themselves, rather than for someone else to decide on your behalf and tell you to take it or leave it.

In theory two economic systems or policies can be compared by examining how much utility they generate across the population. In practice there are huge problems with this, starting with how we measure "utility"; since it is an internal state within each individual it is not even clear that individual utilities are really comparable, still less how you might compare such different experiences as permanent disabililty and getting a million dollars. But on the other hand there does seem to be a rough-and-ready consensus about this, and in many cases (such as awarding a million dollars in compensation for a disabling injury) this equation is explicitly made within our society.

OK, enough background. Now for SOMETHING NEW:

Here's a thought experiment. Suppose that $1,000,000 were accidentally transferred from Elon Musk (currently the richest man in the world) to your bank account, and after all the dust settles you are allowed to keep it. How much difference will this make to 1) you and 2) Elon Musk?

To you (unless you are already a multi-millionaire) the difference is going to be massive, possibly life-changing. But Elon Musk probably won't even notice unless some accountant points it out; for him its a rounding error.

Clearly $1,000,000 provides different levels of utility depending on who gets it.

This is a big problem for economics. Much economic thinking rests on an implicit assumption that utility is best approximated by dollars, and that an extra dollar for you buys the same increase of utility that it does for Elon Musk. For instance, we rate economic performance in terms of Gross Domestic Product without considering who gets how much of that Product.

I want to propose that the relationship between dollars and utility is logarithmic rather than linear. So a doubling of your income would increase your happiness to about the same extent as a doubling of Elon Musk's income would for him, and to the same extent as, for instance, a rickshaw rider in Mumbai would experience if their income were doubled. I can't prove this because utility is not directly measurable, but a lot of aspects of economic culture would support this. Pay increases, for instance, are always discussed in percentage terms rather than absolute amounts. This also matches a lot of other perceptual matters, where such things as volume of sound and brightness of light are percieved as logarithms of the physical quantity (which is why sound levels are measured in decibels).

If this is true then it has a lot of implications. To start with, it implies that the best way of increasing utility in the short term is a redistribution of wealth so that everyone has the same amount. Of course if we actually did that then economic productivity would drop like a stone and pretty soon everyone would be equally miserable. So that would be a bad idea.

Is there a trade-off between $ of GDP and redistribution? There is a lot of argument about that, but most economists will answer the question with a lecture about the dead-weight loss of taxation. Lets suppose that its true for the moment. Then this implies an optimum level of redistribution; too little and all the money gets monopolised by a few, leading to low levels of utility overall. Too much and productivity is hit, leading to widespread unhappiness as well. Get it just right, and everyone is at least reasonably content.

This sounds an awful lot like the "Nordic model".

440:

My guess is that FBI will find some silly excuse to ignore this trove, likely "failure of custody", but as Brandeis said: Sunshine is the best desinfectant.

Oh they will look at it. For sure. But reference it in an official sense. Nope. They are DONE with being hauled in front of Congress to talk about something they can't prove the pedigree of. At least for a few years.

441:

Computer labs weren't air conditioned — my first lab, with south-facing windows that only opened half an inch (security, because ground floor and valuable computers inside) periodically had computers shut down when they got too hot.

Let's see. For me.

Age 6 to 11 school built in 54 or 56. 6 circular one story buildings with all rooms with outside walls. Windows that could tilt in. No AC that I can remember. Windows only HAD to be open a few weeks a year.

Age 12 to 13, building just built. AC was there plus vertical windows that could be opened a bit. AC was experiencing teething pains as building and systems were brand new and dumping 500 kids into it took a while to get things evened out.

Age 14 to 18, building was built in 1922. My parents did 12 years each in the older sections. No AC in that side but ground floor had 10' to 20'+ ceilings and big windows (up down) to go with it. (4 classrooms were made out of the old gym where my father played some basketball as a kid.) Newer building had a few rooms without windows (band/coral/auto) but the AC was expected to work. Mostly did.

As to systems, a varied mix of wall forced air and radiators. I can't imagine retrofitting most of it for HEPPA standards.

442:

"All the people who took our money ditched us on the same day" - when they could no longer claim to be unaware of who we are and what we do.

443:

According to this 70TB of Parler messages and private data has been hacked/leaked by "security researchers".

Vice is also carrying the story.

Pass me the popcorn!

444:

My guess is that FBI will find some silly excuse to ignore this trove, likely "failure of custody"

Even if the information can't be used as evidence in court, it can certainly be used to direct intelligence operations and plan future cases meant to develop usable evidence. The FBI has a branch that does that kind of thing:

https://www.fbi.gov/about/leadership-and-structure/intelligence-branch

445:

According to this answer in SE.Law, its perfectly legal to use information obtained by a criminal in the investigation of a third party.

So long as law enforcement did not compel the hackers to hack the data and the data was recovered by Law Enforcement through their investigation of the Hacker's breeching the server's security. Evidence of a crime committed by a third party is admissiable if it came to light during an unrelated investigation.
446:

In the UK, quite a lot of schools are basically 19th or even 18th century buildings. One of mine was built in 1220, though it was extensively rebuilt in the 19th century, and another was mostly 18th century. Inkwells for dip pens were standard throughout my schooling, though were largely replaced by fountain pens during the latter half of it. Not all of the rooms were heated.

Now, what's this air conditioning whereof you speak? :-)

447:

The presidential pardon power comes from the US constitution, and modifying that requires a 2/3 approval from both houses of congress and then approval by 3/4 of the state legislatures.

So it's not going to be altered over mere abuse.

OTOH, much of the Presidential power is due to Congress delegating powers to the President. If they wanted to reclaim them, they could. But that would be tedious. They gave up the powers because Congress is (intentionally) SLOW, and sometimes rather more rapid action is needed. Then the President delegated lots of his authority to the civil service. And so much of government is run by bureaucratic fiat, with essentially no electoral oversight.

This is because the US was designed to have a really small government, with almost all the powers retained by the states. But that's not the way it evolved.

P.S.: IMNSHO, much of the government is flagrantly in violation of the US Constitution. But the courts have "interpreted" various sections to allow the government to act "appropriately". Often, perhaps usually, these interpretations were what needed to be done, but the appropriate approach would have been to amend the constitution. However see paragraph 1.

448:

If it wasn't clear before, "I am not a gun nut". I was thinking ".50 cal machine gun", not some model, trade name, or by-the-US-manufacturer-number".

449:

Elderly Cynic @ 446

Ah yes, I remember the desks with inkwells. But we never used ink. We only had pencils. Ink was a privilege for older boys in high school. Maybe that's the reason the desks were so absurdly clean.

450:

Ah, breaking down gender molds.

Let me assure you that I *do* have issues in my writing. For example, I have a story arc of three shorts and a just-finished novelette (this will complete an entire book's-worth in the early and later in my Terran Confederation universe), and what becomes a couple, one is "he"... and the other is from a human line of genengeineered sexual dimorphs - they can change, inside of a couple hours, between male and female, or intermediate.

It is *such* fun writing "they looked that way, then he looked at them, and they looked back and smiled at him".

451:

Joke. Worshipping medical, lab-coat-wearing doctors, etc, actually any scientist wearing a lab coat.

whitroth