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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Not a single person shows up for ‘Million Militia March,’ and state-capital protests fail badly too

 Pennsylvania Avenue with the Capitol in the background is seen under heavy security in the early hours of January 18, 2021 ahead of Joe Biden's swearing-in inauguration ceremony as the 46th US president in Washington, DC on January 20th. - With war-zone-like security, no crowds and coronavirus distancing for guests, Joe Biden's swearing-in as the 46th US president will be a muted affair unlike any previous inauguration. Where Washington is normally packed with hundreds of thousands of supporters, celebrities, socialites and lobbyists, the US capital is eerily quiet ahead of Biden's big day, which promises to be a mostly televised celebration of democracy. (Photo by Eric BARADAT / AFP) (Photo by ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images)

National Guardsmen and police shut down most traffic around the U.S. Capitol on Sunday.

All of the various right-wing “Million”-themed marches that have been organized over the past several years (such as December’s “Million MAGA March”) have fallen well short of the million people they claimed to rally—usually, they number at best in the tens of thousands. But Sunday’s planned “Million Militia March” was a failure of truly epic proportions: It seems no one showed up to march. Not a soul.

Similarly, worries about marches on various states’ Capitols around the nation turned out to be groundless when only tiny smatterings of armed militiamen showed up at a few of the events that pro-Donald Trump “Patriots” said they were planning in places such as Columbus, Ohio, and Salem, Oregon. Both failures suggest that the American radical right is now in utter disarray, at least for the time being.

The plans for the Washington march, coming on the heels of the January 6 insurrection attempt at the Capitol by the same crowd of violent far-right Trump supporters, were supposed to represent a kind of “Round 2” for their attempt to overturn the results of the November election by falsely claiming the vote was riddled with fraud.

However, the organizers were surrounded in chaos and incompetence—unable to settle on a date, disagreements over the focus of the march, and claiming the state-capital protests were actually “false flags” organized by the “Deep State” as a way of urging greater attendance. Those same accusations were then laid against them by organizers of the state-level protests.

Attendance was probably also significantly dampened by the wave of arrests of key leading figures in the January 6 insurrection. Major militia groups such as the Oath Keepers and III Percenters are currently the focus of an FBI investigation. Livestreaming alt-right figure Tim “Baked Alaska” Gionet was arrested Saturday for his prominent role in the insurrection.

On Saturday, Cuoy Griffin, the New Mexico county commissioner who heads up “Cowboys for Trump,” was arrested for his role participating in the Capitol takeover. Griffin, who was retweeted by Trump in May for saying “the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat,” had also boasted that he intended to bring his guns to Biden’s inauguration.

The chaos resulted in a complete no-show Sunday, exacerbated by the extraordinary security measures now in place around the Capitol in anticipation of Wednesday’s Inauguration for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. A RawsMedia tweet Sunday showed the streets around the Capitol Mall completely empty, primarily due to security measures, with not a single peep from any far-right protesters.

The situation at most state capitals was roughly the same, despite the plans announced by angry MAGA fans during the week before:

  • In Columbus, Ohio, about a dozen militiamen showed up to march. Most of these men were affiliated with the “Boogaloo” civil-war movement, and they claimed they had nothing to do with the insurrection in Washington.
  • The scene in Lansing, Michigan, was similar: A smattering of “Patriot” protesters standing outside thoroughly guarded Capitol grounds, shouting a few slogans and utterly impotent.
  • In Salem, Oregon, protesters were outnumbered 3-to-1 by the members of the media who were there to cover them.
  • In Olympia, Washington, which had seen several protests around January 6, the grounds of the state Capitol were essentially deserted on Sunday.
  • Perhaps the most pathetic state-capital protest was in Trenton, New Jersey, where a single protester showed up with a sign that he eventually abandoned on a sidewalk.

The decidedly low energy for these events is reflective of the disarray that has descended on American radical-right circles ever since the January 6 riots. As Alexander Reid Ross described at Daily Beast, alt-right white supremacists have engaged in extensive bickering over the mess, accusing each other of being federal informants and traitors to the cause, as well as con artists.

“Eric Striker and other movement f**s want you to join a public group to grift off of you and other naïve whites,” commented one white supremacist on Telegram, “and when these naïve whites get arrested for doing stupid public shit, Striker and the other grifting movement fags kick these naïve whites to the curb without hesitation, thought, or remorse for their own actions which got these naïve whites into trouble in the first place. Think about that.”

What if he called for a riot and nobody came?  The beginning of the end?

 

The Mooch was invited to Trump's 'big' farewell event; that may mean no one's coming

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 26:  White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci speaks on a morning television show, from the north lawn of the White House on July 26, 2017 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) 
Da mooch in his halcyon White House days.

What if a seditious wannabe dictator with a patchy yam scalp and a head the size of an Igloo cooler threw a party and nobody came?

We may find out yet.

For the nontweeterers: “Anthony Scaramucci says he was invited to President Trump's farewell ceremony Wednesday, which he takes as a sign the White House is desperate to bulk up the guest list. "Trust me, that had to be a mass email if one of them got sent to me," he tells @InsideEdition.

You may recall those heady days in the summer of 2017 when Anthony Scaramucci’s White House tenure died faster than a Sea-Monkey. He hastened his exit after accusing former White House adviser Steve Bannon of trying to suck his own cock — which was ridiculous, by the way. No one has ever attempted to suck Steven Bannon’s cock, much less succeeded. I can just about guarantee it.

But that’s not the point. Scaramucci has been extremely critical of Trump since leaving his administration, and Trump has been less than complimentary of The Mooch.

Here’s the text of a representative Trump tweet from August 2020. (The original tweet is no longer available; imagine that.)

.@Scaramucci, who just made a fool of himself as he got taken apart by @SteveHiltonx, only lasted 11 days in his favorite of all time Administration, before being fired for, again, making a fool of himself. Anthony is a loser who begged to come back. I said “No Thanks”. 

So, yeah, this has to be a big mistake, right?

Inside Edition:

Anthony Scaramucci didn’t leave the White House on the best of terms. So the fact that the former communications director got an invitation to Trump’s military sendoff at Andrews Air Force Base, Scaramucci says, is a sign that “they’re looking for people” to attend.

“Trust me, that had to be a mass email if one of them got sent to me,” he told Inside Edition.

“The president wants a big send off with lots of flair,” ABC News senior congressional correspondent Mary Bruce told Inside Edition. “We've heard that he wants to be surrounded by uniformed military at Joint Base Andrews. There'll be a military band. He wants a red carpet. We're even heard that he may be flanked by troops as he boards Air Force One for the final time. And there may even be an Air Force fighter jet flyover. So Trump — going out of Washington in Trump style.”

Yeah, and I want a Nobel Prize in Sitting Around on My Bulbous Ass Eating Nachos, but we can’t get everything we want, can we?

The White House seems to be desperate for a big crowd at the event, sending out this invitation: “All guests must arrive between 6:00 AM and 7:15 AM. You may RSVP up to five guests!”

Hey, Mooch! Invite me! We can do ‘shrooms and smoke a big spliff before we go! It’ll be nuts, man!

Of course, this nightmare half-decade started with Trump giving a speech to a motley assortment of supporters that included paid actors, so I guess we’ve gone full circle. 

Now I almost want to watch this shitshow.

Nah. Come to think of it, I’ll have far better things to do.

This guy is a natural. Sometimes I laugh so hard I cry." — Bette Midler on Aldous J. Pennyfarthing, via Twitter. Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump is hot off the presses! Along with Dear F*cking Lunatic: 101 Obscenely Rude Letters to Donald Trump, Dear Pr*sident A**clown: 101 More Rude Letters to Donald Trump and Dear F*cking Moron: 101 More Letters to Donald Trump, you’ll see the Trump years from a hilarious new perspective. Click those links!

Who is coming to Trump's gala, tremendous, really big, amazing farewell event at Andrews Air Force Base?  The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Abraham Lincoln explained exactly how we should respond to the insurrection of Jan. 6

President Abraham Lincoln

Since the Jan. 6 attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol we’ve been treated to the spectacle of people like Rep.Kevin McCarthy, Sen. Ted Cruz, and others within the Republican party invoking a spirit of “unity” as they urge Democrats to temper their response to a crisis that Republicans themselves were responsible for causing.

As Sarah Churchwell, writing for the New York Review of Books, observes, these newfound calls for “unity” are from the exact same people who have constantly cast themselves as the “Party of Lincoln” at various times over the past four years:

Republican leaders enjoy flashing their badges as the “Party of Lincoln,” preening themselves on Lincoln’s moral victories and declaring themselves his rightful political heirs. “Our party, the Republican Party, was founded to defeat slavery. Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president, signed the Emancipation Proclamation,” Senator Ted Cruz declaimed at the Republican National Convention in 2016, as a prelude to endorsing for president a man whom he had once called a “sniveling coward” and “pathological liar,” a man who had insulted Cruz’s wife and accused his father of conspiring to assassinate President John F. Kennedy. Senator Marco Rubio is another who presumes to speak for “the party of Lincoln,” including the time he tweeted, in February 2016, that Donald Trump would “never be the nominee of the party of Lincoln,” as does House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who managed to recall a few familiar words from the Gettysburg Address in honor of Lincoln’s birthday last year.

But, as Churchwell illustrates, the real Abraham Lincoln had some strong opinions about the kind of treachery we witnessed on Jan. 6, one in which white supremacist seditionists perpetrated a mob-style attack on the seat of American government. And his opinions were not couched in any wishful concept of “unity.” His views, in fact, were unsparing and to the point.

Lincoln consistently likened the minoritarian efforts of the South to a mob, as it employed threats, intimidation, blackmail, political chicanery, voter fraud, and violence to coerce the majority into giving way to ever more unreasonable demands. “We must settle this question now, whether in a free government the minority have the right to break up the government whenever they choose,” he told John Hay, his private secretary. For Lincoln, as he said repeatedly, the Civil War was more than a question of the moral wrongs of slavery, as fundamental to the conflict as those were; the principles of democratic self-government and the political character of the nation were also at stake.

As applied to the events of Jan. 6, the Republicans’ vision of “unity” is one in which their party escapes blame for the horrifying spectacle of a treasonous, would-be despot inciting his rabid and deluded minions to violently desecrate our national heritage, all egged on and applauded by complicit state and federal officials within the Republican ranks.

As Churchwell suggests, not only would Lincoln have rejected any invocation of “unity” under such circumstances; he would have been appalled:

The actual party of Lincoln made the opposite decision, believing that the deep principles of preserving the Union far outweighed the superficial comity of false unity. Lincoln had been pressured on all sides to capitulate to Southern demands, including permitting the South to secede, to “let the erring sisters depart in peace!” But part of his reason for refusing to do so was, as the historian James M. McPherson put it in This Mighty Scourge: Perspectives on the Civil War (2007), the fear of setting a “fatal precedent,” one that could be “invoked by disaffected minorities in the future, perhaps by the losing side in another presidential election.” And so they made the apparently paradoxical decision to fight a civil war in an effort to achieve, not unity, but a more perfect union.

In fact what occurred on Jan. 6 was exactly what Lincoln foresaw as the ultimate test for our nation’s survival. As Churchwell points out, contrary to espousing any attempt at “unity” with such insurrectionists, Lincoln’s counsel was to bring the hammer down, hard, on attempts at insurrection by way of the mob.

In particular, Lincoln cautioned against turning a blind eye to mob violence in the futile effort to maintain a tenuous and self-devouring peace. Leaving the perpetrators of such violence “unpunished,” he held, would only embolden the mob and inevitably destroy democratic self-government, as “the lawless in spirit, are encouraged to become lawless in practice” and “absolutely unrestrained.” Without accountability, such a mob would “make a jubilee of the suspension of [the Government’s] operations; and pray for nothing so much, as its total annihilation.”

In reality, it’s not “unity” that Republicans want, but absolution. They want Americans to forget what we just witnessed and what we are now likely to witness over and over again as the delusional, poisonous racism fanned by the GOP over the last thirty years intrudes, unsolicited and unwanted, into Americans’ daily existence.

As Lincoln well understood, there can be no “unity” where our democratic traditions are under attack by an insensate, racist right-wing mob.

The Republicans are calling for unity after engineering an assault on our Capitol, but in doing so the "party of Lincoln" is doing just the opposite of how Honest Abe said mob violence needs to be dealt with - full accountability.

 

 


Sunday, January 17, 2021

In the wake of the insurgency, the best—and worst—of policing is revealed

 WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 07: Members of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia are seen in front of the U.S. Capitol a day after a pro-Trump mob broke into the  building on January 07, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress finished tallying the Electoral College votes and Joe Biden was certified as the winner of the 2020 presidential election. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Members of the Metro D.C. Police on day after a pro-Trump insurgency.

As senators sheltered in place, a violent mob burst through the doors of the Capitol and began moving directly toward the doors to the Senate Chamber. Thinking fast, Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman moved to draw the attention of the QAnon-shirted man at the front of the invasion. Goodman then taunted the group, daring them to follow him. He then led them up a flight of stairs, away from the Senate, and toward a location where additional officers could join him to help containing the group.

Goodman’s fast thinking and willingness to put himself in the middle of a dangerous situation has made him a hero of the Trumpist insurgency. In just a matter of seconds, he may have become the deciding factor between events that were merely shocking, and a bloodbath in the Senate. Goodman was not the only one. As more stories emerge from that day, it’s clear that a number of officers put themselves on the line for the nation. There were other heroes who saved lives, and possibly the nation.

But there were also police who didn’t just pose to take selfies with white supremacist invaders, they were an active part in the assault. Which could mean that, in addition to everything else, Jan. 6 becomes a critical day in determining where policing goes from here.

Perspective is everything.

Other officers also garnering praise include Daniel Hodges, who spent part of the assault on the Capitol wedged between doors, with his head and shoulder sticking out, and being beaten repeatedly by the Trump mob. “It was absolutely my pleasure to crush a white nationalist insurrection,” said Hodges. “I’m glad I was in a position to help. We’ll do it as many times as it takes.”

Even more heroes are likely to emerge as more details appear from the astounding battle that D.C. Metro Police fought in a tunnel below the building. Cut off from other groups, and unable to contact superiors, the unit that included police officer Michael Fanone were convinced that if they failed to hold a door leading into the House chamber, consequences would be unthinkable. 

“We weren’t battling 50 or 60 rioters in this tunnel,” said Fanone. “We were battling 15,000 people. It looked like a medieval battle scene.” Fanone was not even supposed to be there that day. Assigned to a task in another part of D.C., he sped to the Capitol when police on the ground began sending out desperate requests for help.

They were overthrowing the Capitol,” said Fanone, “the seat of democracy. And I fucking went.”

But while at the same time these officers represent exactly the self-sacrifice and dedication to cause that has made police an often venerated institution in America, their behavior was far from universal.

Even as the insurgency was underway, Twitter was already showing images of cooperation and comradery between the people assaulting the Capitol and those who were supposed to be protecting it. That included officers who appeared to remove barriers from insurgents’ paths, those that joked with terrorists even as they were battering their way into the building, and those who paused to take selfies with the men who were hunting congressional hostages. In the wake of that behavior, and the unbelievably poor planning that allowed the insurrection to successfully breech the Capitol in the first place, most of the force’s leadership has resigned. Several officers have been suspended, and at least a dozen more are under investigation for possibly supporting the insurgents. At least one officer was seen waving a Confederate flag inside the Capitol in celebration of the invasion. Another slipped off his police cap and replaced it with a red MAGA hat. One officer appeared to be leading a group of insurgents—and not in the sense of misdirecting them. 

Like the assault itself, this is shocking, but should not be surprising. After all, as The Boston Globe reports, Black officers in the Capitol police have been warning for years that their ranks are laced with white supremacists. And as The Guardian reports, police departments in many parts of the United States have a history of actively supporting neo-Nazi and white supremacist militias. Many of these white supremacist groups have found that police departments provide a fertile recruiting ground.

As the Brookings Institute indicates, there is a direct connection between the white supremacist culture that is allowed to pervade many police departments, and the failure to provide adequate planning for an event that was clearly designed to threaten the Capitol. The problem in policing isn’t bad apples, it’s rotten trees. Not only were some of the Capitol police willing to pitch in with the insurgents, some of those smashing into the Capitol were also police. That includes two members of a Virginia police department who were so sure their colleagues would be thrilled by their actions, they videoed their romp threw the halls of Congress and sent it back to their department. Then they bragged about how easy it had been to “take the Capitol.”

And it was easy. The insurgents didn’t need to fire a shot. Thanks to some of the assistance they received, they barely broke a sweat. And at the same time, other officers were fighting, being injured, and even dying to hold the same line that white supremacist cops were willingly surrendering. That’s not something that can be solved with sensitivity training. That’s something that demands a purge—and indictments.

There is no greater threat to the life of a police officer, white or Black, than racist police officers within their own ranks.

If you were a cop on duty at this scene, would you be a hero or a traitor?

Saturday, January 16, 2021

The last days of Trump: Abandoned, detested, and as angry as always

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 25: U.S. President Donald Trump walks to the White House residence after exiting Marine One on the South Lawn on June 25, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump traveled to Wisconsin on Thursday for a Fox News town hall event and a visit to a shipbuilding manufacturer. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

On Thursday, the major activity at the White House seemed to be staff members escaping with photographs and statues that very likely were not theirs to take. Inside, many offices are described as empty, due to all those staffers who suddenly began getting concerned that continuing to associate with a twice-impeached instigator of an insurrection might not be good for their resume.

Meanwhile, somewhere inside the maze of empty offices, Donald Trump still lurks, his fingers twitching to send out tweets forever out of reach, his fevered brow unmopped by an absent Hope Hicks, his bellows of impotent rage echoing sweetly, sweetly through the corridors. And if there is one thing that’s getting Trump extra ragey in these final days before he’s escorted from the property, it is any comparison between himself and one Richard M. Nixon. 

Especially because the thing that keeps coming up is the one thing that Nixon did right for the nation—resign.

As CNN reports, Trump is spending his days in a tweetless, rally-less, and apparently friendless circle of accusations, impeachment, and plunging poll numbers. As he gets ready to head out the door to the lowest ratings since there have been ratings, the one thing that Trump has made absolutely clear is that he’s not going to emulate the one thing that Nixon did that benefited both the nation and himself. That’s not to say the idea wasn’t discussed by staffers and Cabinet members. It was. However, Trump shot down any possibility that he might depart without being kicked out. So much so that now any mention of the the 37th president has been completely banned.

Trump probably doesn’t want to be reminded that not only did Nixon recognize a losing proposition and walk away before getting impeached, he also managed to keep his popularity high enough to grab a second term before his actions related to Watergate brought everything crashing down. Meanwhile, the same Pew poll shows that the major motivation for many voters in 2020 was the chance to get rid of Trump. A majority felt that Trump had bumbled the response to the coronavirus, and an even larger majority want Trump to simply go away and never be a major figure in U.S. politics again.

Right now, Trump can look out his window and see bunting and signs for "2021 Biden-Harris Inauguration" from stands that have been erected across from the White House. Inside the White House, his sources of comfort are few. Not only has Hicks departed, but Trump is on the outs with Rudy Giuliani and infinitely mad at wingman Mike Pence. It’s hard to find a single White House staffer who hasn’t earned Trump’s scorn over the past few weeks by slipping up and admitting the reality—he lost, and his time is almost up.

Aides have tried to cheer Trump up by asking him to give one last address to the nation, one in which he could list all those accomplishments like giving a massive tax break to billionaires, building 30 miles of wall through a national monument that disrupted irreplaceable cultural sites, killing off 400,000 Americans, and triggering the first invasion of the Capitol since 1814. But even this list of incredible achievements has failed to stir Trump into getting out his Sharpie and jotting down a few last-minute lies. 

Instead, Trump is demanding a big sendoff. However, staff are having to work hard to collect enough warm bodies to make it appear that anyone still cares. There’s also the little fact that if Trump waits until the inauguration to depart, he’ll not only be flying on a plane that is no longer Air Force One, but will have to ask Biden’s permission to borrow his jet. Trump hates all of that.

With most of Trump’s Cabinet already departed—some due to last-minute resignations—it will surprise exactly no one if Trump decides to head for Mar-a-Lago while he still doesn’t have to ask someone else for the keys to the plane.

As he walks through the door into the abyss, these final words echo: "Ok, that's it for Air Force One.  Somebody crank up the old 727 Trumpmobile."

Friday, January 15, 2021

Jared and Ivanka refused Secret Service agents access to restrooms, costing YOU $3,000 a month

 Daily UK Life 2019

WOODSTOCK, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 12: "America", a fully-working solid gold toilet, created by Maurizio Cattelan, is seen at Benheim Palace on September 12, 2019 in Woodstock, England. The artwork is still missing following what police believe to be a burglary on September 14, in which the toilet, valued by some at £4.8million, was taken. In 1996, Cattelan famously stole the entire contents of one of his own exhibitions in Amsterdam but has strongly denied any involvement with this latest theft. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images) 

What in the hell does anybody need with 6.5 bathrooms?  Guess it depends on how full of it you are.

Being born rich and vapid means that when you get older you are usually going to be rich and vapid. The needs of others are filtered through your warped life experience. If your dad is a dunderhead narcissist who isn’t particularly smart and mostly a misanthrope, your education won’t likely be particularly well-rounded.  

The Washington Post has a fun little scatological story about Donald Trump’s daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. You might remember them as the incompetent boobs who were given all kinds of wildly important positions of power in the president’s cabinet, where they seem to have mostly served themselves and tried to figure out ways to enrich their flailing empires.

The fiscally conservative Trumps, known for their garish taste and in your face displays of wealth, are also known for not being at all fiscally conservative, frequently on the brink of financial ruin, and not very bright. They are also born rich and demand that the poors and those who aren’t them act like servants. This means no using the bathroom! Find your own bathroom! 

According to the Post, the U.S. Secret Service detail assigned to the Kushner family residence in Washington, D.C., was forbidden from using the facilities there. According to the Post, the Trump-Kushner residence had at least six bathrooms. I guess rich people are so full of … they need as many bathrooms as possible available to them at all times? But there are more details to this story.

The Post reports that portable toilets were first used along with a residence of former President Barack Obama, but those two fixes did not last. The portable toilets led to angry residents demanding their removal, and “after a Secret Service supervisor from the Trump/Kushner detail left an unpleasant mess in the Obama bathroom at some point before the fall of 2017, according to a person briefed on the event. That prompted the leaders of the Obama detail to ban the agents up the street from ever returning.” The latter story seems like something vengeful, but there are no other details available about the incident.

As a result, the Secret Service finally found a residence across from the Kushner and Trump home that had a basement with a bathroom that could be accessed from the rear. The woman who owned the place rented that space to the brave men and women protecting the first family. Since September 2017, the federal government has been spending $3,000 a month — more than $100,000 to date — to rent a basement studio, with a bathroom, from a neighbor of the Kushner family.”

A spokesperson for the White House said that Jared and Ivanka never told their Secret Service that they could not use one of their six bathrooms. Who to believe?

Your excellence with Prince Jr. and Queenie.