The Worst President

One of the invaders of the Capitol, wandering around with a Confederate flag.
Photo: Mike Theiler/Reuters

For all but the very beginning of Donald Trump’s career as president, I’ve freely admitted that I considered him to be the worst president of my lifetime, but not the worst president of all time; that position was held by James Buchanan, who, I noted, actually broke the country. After today, however, I have to say I’ve changed my mind; Donald Trump is, without qualification, the worst president we’ve ever had.

You are free to disagree, of course, but you are wrong. James Buchanan allowed the country to fall into the Civil War because he believed (erroneously, in my opinion) the principles of the country could not stop it from happening. He was wrong, terribly wrong, but at least there was a principle behind it. Trump, it is now perfectly and unambiguously clear, would be delighted to have the country fall into a civil war, not for principle, but simply for ego. He would destroy our country and democracy because he can’t abide what he now is: a loser. He can not and does not care about the nation, nor its principles, nor any of its people, save the ones of the sort who will trash a capitol for him. James Buchanan, awful a president as he was, was better than that.

Nothing Trump can do now will stop him from being what he is: A loser, a wretched president, and a historic low point in the annals of our country. He did not get there on his own, to be sure — it was a decades-long project of the GOP to get us to this point — but his own character and weaknesses define him. He will never escape his awfulness, even as the rest of us, thankfully, start to leave him behind two weeks from now. All he can do now is what he is doing: Proving over and over again the depths of his petulance, his pettiness, and his malice. Proving over and over again that he is, definitively, the worst.

It would be lovely if we did not have to endure it for even two more weeks. It would be lovely if Trump resigned (he won’t), if Vice President Pence invoked the 25th Amendment (he won’t) or if Trump were impeached by the House (he might be!) and then convicted and removed by the Senate (he won’t be). It would be lovely, but in point of fact, it won’t happen. He will have to be endured. And we will see, in the time he has left, just how much worse he can get.

— JS

121 Comments on “The Worst President”

  1. I’ll note that in the early part of his presidency, I expected him to be pretty bad — there was never a point at which I suspected he would be a decent president. I would have been pleased to have been surprised. I was not.

    Otherwise: Political post, Mallet is out, be decent to each other. Oh, and anyone trying to defend today’s bullshit will probably be punted into the sky. Sedition ain’t defensible, friends.

  2. I’ve been fearing and dreading this for four years; his election was a horrific wake-up call for me about the level of underlying rage and hatred in this country, and he has no qualms whatsoever about using that rage as a tool for his own aggrandizement. His adherents also are tools, to him – and if blood is spilled and some of his followers are hurt of killed, then clearly they were defective tools, and of no value.

  3. I guess one difference between Trump and Buchanan is that with Buchanan, while you can certainly say that he was a terrible president, you can’t definitively say that he was also a terrible human being. With Trump, however, it’s patently obvious that he’s both a terrible president and a terrible human being.

  4. Well, you know…. If the Dems pressure Pence to declare Trump incompetent to lead and he refuses, Pence can get the same treatment!

    I mean, I’m no fan of Nancy Pelosi, either, but….

  5. I read the book “The Worst President” (at least, I think that was the title) before Trump got elected and I have felt very bad for the author of it for the last 4 years, as it came out right before Trump.

  6. I had to prevent myself from making a home-made version of Negan’s Lucille this afternoon. Some of my more noxious relatives were praising Trump’s incitement to sedition, and the actions of the mob he sent at the Capitol building. I take heart in knowing that someone made a list of the supplies that can be obtained at Home Depot to build a working, full-size replica of Monsieur Guillotine’s clever device, all for under the $600 check most of us will receive soon.

  7. As an European looking at this from afar it’s really incredible what’s happening, feels like a new Season of some Netflix show.
    Good luck to you all, stay safe.
    Even if it’s just two weeks, I fear the Popcorn stock won’t last that long but I can hope. ;)

  8. I fear that he will show how much further he will go; those tiny hands anywhere near the nuclear codes is a terrifying prospect. However, it appears that it was Pence who called requests for aid from various military sources, despite the fact that it should have been Trump, in his capacity as Commander-in-chief, doing it. I am trying to take some comfort in this: those of us on this side of the pond are seriously freaked out by this…

  9. Don’t forget that the felony murder rule will apply. Someone died during the commission of a felony, so at least these bastards can rot in prison for a very long time.

    Thanks for taking so many pictures with any masks you fools! It will make your prosecutions that much easier!

  10. About 100 Proud Boy Nazi aholes marched in my town (Kalamazoo, MI) last August. They broke several laws – including marching w/out a permit and driving around town without license plates. Law enforcement – not just the local cops but other jurisdictions, state troopers, etc. – did NOTHING. Worse than that, they aided and abetted, providing a cordon afterwards so the PB could drive off.

    They did, however, manage to arrest about a dozen COUNTER-protesters, and 1 member of the press.

    I 100% believe that if the local police in my town, and other jurisdictions (Portland, etc.) had done their effing jobs and arrested and prosecuted the PB lawbreakers, they wouldn’t have been emboldened to do what they did today.

  11. @ Elizabeth:

    One of the terrorists — they are NOT protesters — was shot and has now died. Probably shot by accident by her own fellow terrorists.

  12. That picture and the events of the day, saddens, disgusts and angers me and just makes me utterly mentally and physically exhausted. It’s been a very draining four years and this year in particular has been horrendous. Sure, he’s finally on the way out the door but the damage done had been catastrophic in my opinion.

  13. And he still has the nuclear codes. The man who tried to break America out of his own ego being unable to accept the loss still has the ability to break the world.

  14. On a somewhat brighter side, I’m pretty sure nobody around him is now going to allow him to start a war of any sort. And yeah, I’ve been on the ‘whole other ORDER of bad president for a long time’.

  15. These violent delights have violent ends. I fear we will all suffer before that end.

  16. Today was exactly what has been the fuel of my nightmares for 4 years. I have thought of a way for 45 to slink away for the next 2 weeks. Someone makes a statement in the morning that he is being taken to Walter Reed for observation due to the possibility he is having a bad reaction to the Covid meds he received in October. He might be having psychotic episodes due to the meds or Covid after effects. There are “offices” at Walter Reed. He can play at the desk and pretend to be in charge for 2 weeks. He can fake tweet. It’s almost a dignified way for it to end .. which he doesn’t deserve but we do.

  17. What are the odds that he’ll soon attempt to give the military (regulars or NG) an illegal order?

  18. “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” I’ve sworn an oath to this document six times in my life. Not that the order is critical, but “insure domestic Tranquility” is capitalized in the 18th century style for emphasis. That’s lost on too many who style themselves VIP yet, IMOH, are nothing but “confidence men,” “cons”. “Oath breakers.” To say I’m sick is an understatement. And sadly, the belief in “alternate facts” will persist, the belief that something needs to be done to make the mythical past real, will persist. What I see is the legacy of the Newt Gingrich that those not like us are the enemy to be destroyed, not fellow citizens with equal rights.

  19. I wouldn’t worry about Trump using the nuclear codes. He gets them daily, as part of a briefing, and he has to actually memorize them anew. This is well beyond his limited mental capacity.

  20. {sarcasm}
    I must respectfully disagree with something our host said that is factually inaccurate: “Nothing Trump can do now will stop him from being what he is: A loser….” But Trump himself said that the “losers” are those who gave their lives for (various flavors of) defending democracy and are now buried in overseas cemetaries that he wouldn’t visit out of deference to his hairstyling on a wet, windy day. And Trump could NEVER be one of those “losers” because he dodged the draft.

    We’ve got Proud Boy problems up here in the Pacific Northwet, too; go ahead, search “matt shea rampart report.” When they were harassing a Latino family in the grocery store parking lot the last week of October, I politely asked the group leader if he had his VA card on him. I had mine, and I made every effort NOT to do the whole commanding officer routine, but I evidently failed because he backed off and took his ruffians with him. I wonder: Never served at all… or dishonorable discharge?

  21. I wouldn’t worry about Trump using the nuclear codes. They are changed daily, and he has to memorize the correct code at his morning briefing. This is well beyond his limited mental capacity.

  22. Sheer speculation, obviously, but: Going by the way Trump vanished from sight and even from being mentioned, I’m guessing that he had such a mental breakdown that he had to be sedated. Once his 12-hour prison Twitter Jail sentence is up, he’ll probably go back to ranting and raving — especially, if as I suspect, the Congress takes care of business tonight and certifies Biden’s election. (The things he’ll say tomorrow about Pence’s “betrayal” will probably be even more terrifying than usual.)

  23. I think Trump and his maggots have shot their wad such as it was. They’ve got nothing left to show us. All rioting should be condemned in the strongest terms but invading the capitol was beyond egregious and should result in arrests and convictions. That said we have an angry population on many fronts based on the events of the past year and I don’t expect this to end just because the other party is in marginal charge. We need to find a way to work it out. Otherwise this day will become a footnote in a longer conflict.

  24. Totally in agreement with you, for those same reasons. It was always going to be a choice between Buchanan and Trump. At first I thought maybe Trump could have risen to be slightly more bearable than Hoover or Harding, but he dispelled that notion pretty quick. Buchanan fiddled while Rome burned. Trump brought the gas can and the matches.

  25. 18 U.S.C. § 2383:

    Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

    The last penalty is probably the most important!

  26. I just want to say. Democrats took GA in both races. That news may get overshadowed by the terrorism in the capital since if it bleeds it leads; but that news is HUGE (and perhaps a future Whatever topic?).

  27. What stays with me is the lone security guy who threw his body into the breach–alone–and tried to stop the mob. PBS news mentioned him. I hope he’s okay.

    I hope Congress remembers all the federal employees who risked their own lives to protect Congress and the democratic process (federal employees seized and secured the actual votes, the papers certifying the presidential vote of 2020 so the mob couldn’t seize and destroy them) the next time they decide to have some combination of pissing contest/Mexican standoff with the budget, forcing those SAME FEDERAL EMPLOYEES WHO RISKED THEIR LIVES TODAY TO WORK WITHOUT PAY.

    Just saying.

    I never liked Dubya before tonight but this may have been the smartest thing to ever come out of his mouth (and most unusually, it’s grammatically correct):
    “This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic — not our democratic republic. I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election,” Bush said in a statement. (Washington Post)

    Kind of glad that the rioters/seditionists/insurrectionists didn’t wear masks. Not only are they likely to have given each other a whopping exposure to Covid 19 but it makes them really easy to identify. Especially the asshats who broke into Congressional offices, took pictures, put their feet up on desks, went through Congressional documents, etc. 13 have already been arrested, I really hope more arrests are on the way. You have the right to congregate, shout & wave signs. You do not have the right to break into the Capitol and into private offices of elected officials. And honestly… this kind of behavior can’t go unanswered… or unprosecuted. The people who did this, who broke the law and tried to subvert the legally-recognized will of the American people and the VALID results of the 2020 presidential election? They need to face the full weight of the law. Letting this slide would be the second-worst thing to come out of today. If this behavior is not punished severely and swiftly, it sends a message that it’s no big thing… and the behavior will be repeated in the future, because the bar has been set and set low. Our democracy might not die today but if this kind of behavior continues, it will… after multiple and increasingly violent and frequent similar incidents.

    Speaking of arrests… notice how nice the cops are to WHITE seditionist and rioters? (Or in Trumpspeak, “very fine people”.) As compared to nonviolent (and nontresspassing!) BLACK protestors?

    From Coach Doc Rivers (Philadelphia 76ers):
    It’s pretty disturbing, obviously, sad. But what it’s not is — I keep hearing ‘this attack on democracy,’ it’s not. Democracy will prevail. It always does. It shows a lot though. When you saw the protests in summer, you saw the riots or more the police and the national guard and the army. And then you see this and you saw nothing. It basically proves the point about a privileged life in a lot of ways.

    I’ll say it because I don’t think a lot of people want to, could you imagine today if those were all Black people storming the Capitol and what would’ve happened? So that to me is a picture that’s worth 1,000 words for all of us to see and probably something for us to reckon with again. No police dogs turned on people, no billy clubs hitting people, people peacefully being escorted out of the Capitol. So it shows that you can disperse a crowd peacefully, I guess, would be the one thing.

    From Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE):
    “Lies have consequence,” Sasse added. “This violence was the inevitable and ugly outcome of the president’s addiction to constantly stoking division.” (Washington Post)

  28. Pence might dare to do the 25th. If they do that the Senate can ban Trump from ever holding any office in American politics.

    That would give a chance for other candidates in 2024. I know that is on Pence’s bucket list.

  29. @Liz, January 20 is specified in the 20th Amendment.

    On the broader topic, this incident and Trump’s incitement of it may have cemented his position as the worst president ever, but he sank past Buchanan long ago.

  30. W commited war crimes. Obama took the coward’s path and said W is above the law.

    Trump spent 4 years breaking so many laws they’d need binders full of indictments to prosecute them all. But how much you wanna bet Biden takes the chicken shit route and says the president is above the law and refuses to prosecute Trump…

    Hopefully New York state has some fucking cajones cause I dont expect Biden to do anything but let Trump get away with this shit.

  31. Today’s events are exactly the reason why I sobbed violently on election night 2016. If you didn’t see this coming you were either in the throes of disingenuous denial or just didn’t properly appreciate everything that Trump did to New York City, Atlantic City, his business partners, employees, and contractors.

  32. Yes, the worst.

    I’ve seen you and others opine over the past four years that Buchanan would always retain the title of the worst president. I’ve not responded because I was raised not to argue in public, but I have always felt that the current occupant of the Oval Office – who I refuse to ever name again – took the title of The Worst.

    I have feared an outcome like today’s ever since I awoke on November 9, 2016 to discover that 63 million racists had managed to put a fellow racist who is also a pathological liar and narcissist on the throne.

    I do realize that the US doesn’t have a throne as such, but I’ll betcha he’s installed something pretty damned close to one somewhere in the White House. And he is frantically, desperately clinging to it with his tiny ugly baby hands, hoping against hope that his white supremacist buddies will help him stay in it.

    I’d love to think that enough Republicans would suddenly locate their spines to implement the 25th Amendment. Or to vote to convict in another impeachment trial. But I don’t believe in fairy tales. I just hope we all survive until noon Eastern Time on January 20.

  33. One more thing… not just the WORST PRESIDENT EVER but a mass murderer and serial killer too! Thanks to the Covid 19 pandemic and the orange moron’s response–or lack thereof–this asshat is largely responsible for upwards of 350,000 American deaths, most of which could have been prevented if Agent Orange hadn’t disbanded Obama’s global pandemic response team–the people who were largely responsible for alerting the world & stomping all over SARS and MERS [in conjunction with other agencies, to be clear] before they got out of hand–and pretended that bleach and hydroxychloroquine were cures and that the pandemic would magically disappear. He is also responsible for the financial fallout, the death spiral that is our current economy that is a obvious and foreseeable consequence of a pandemic the likes of which haven’t been seen in a century.

    Well, he did say he would run the US like he ran his companies. Into the ground, into ruin, into bankruptcy.

  34. Audrey: Pace Doc Rivers (with whom I basically agree; his main point about the response to today’s events is sensible and fair)–but this was absolutely an attack on democracy. An attack on OUR democracy. If democracy prevails–and I think/hope that it will, too–that doesn’t mean it wasn’t attacked. It was.

    That people might not quite understand what happened today (no one here, or even Doc Rivers, who was focussing on something else, but some people) is one of the things that will keep me up tonight. Trump deserves to be driven out of office in ignominy for that alone. I just wish I believed he’d actually realize how disgraced he is–but he won’t, damn him. The delusion is strong in this one, and that protects him, to a certain extent; it’s the rest of us, trying to live in the real world, who suffer.

  35. Turning comments off for the night; they’ll be back on in the morning. Sleep well, folks.

    Update: Comments back on. Sorry, folks, I slept in.

  36. This is the project Newt Gingrich began back in the 80’s when he started railing to an empty chamber, and you’re right, it is entirely narcissistic. Gingrich is the key figure in transforming the Republican party from a governing party to a party entirely and solely concerned with themselves. Years ago, Slate had an article titled “Is Newt Gingrich Nuts?” It includes some images of Gingrich’s doodles and notes to himself. I can’t fathom the mind that could have created those things.

  37. @jenfullmoon:

    The book that you recall might be The Worst President-The Story of James Buchanan by Garry Boulard, published March 2015.

    Or possibly Robert Strauss’s Worst. President. Ever.: James Buchanan, the POTUS Rating Game, and the Legacy of the Least of the Lesser Presidents, published September, 2017 (this was obvioulsy after DJT was elected).

    Strange that Buchanan has been receiving biographies lately. What’s next? A Millard Fillmore revival?


    For more cheerful news (for “not-at-all cheerful), a Yougov poll done earlier today shows:

    68% of Republican registered voters think that the storming of the Capitol should NOT be considered a threat to democracy.

    45% of Republican voters support the storming of the Capitol building.

    “This is not who we are,” said Joe Biden in his address yesterday afternoon. Sorry, Joe. Violence and white supremacy are as American as mom and apple pie.

    “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”
    — Lyndon Johnson (quote verified by Snopes)

  38. Hey, Dick? Forgot the /s at the end of that. Because blaming the left for what happened yesterday is ridiculous on its face. Period. I would say I’d be interested in your views on the many years of obstructionism during Obama’s term, but nah. I’m done with the right. I don’t care.

  39. Hope you had a restful night after all those emotions ;-)

    On the positive side:
    – the difference of treatment depending on the type (color?) of the protestor could not have been more obvious and visible
    – this must have been quite an électrochoc for lawmakers – even they are at risk with this mob
    So hopefully this will be a good push for action

    More worrying:
    – the softness or even friendliness of some of the law enforcement (selfies anyone???) with those violent protestors means that it will not be that easy to correct the situation
    – … the presence of state representatives on the demonstrators side, recording their experience, sharing it on social media and cheering on. That is chilling. For some right wing nobody nut job to be over the top can be expected, but for a representative of a state to be there so proudly…

  40. Count on the staunchest and most delusional of Trump’s elected goons to employ whataboutism in the wake of an act of domestic terrorism.

    Apparently, Trump is off the hook because he, according to one of said goons (didn’t catch his name) was more explicit in his condemnation of his mob then democrats were of the mostly peaceful protests against rampant lynching.

    And of course, those of the precious, “special” and fragile variety are taking to social media to blame Antifa and BLM for the violence.

    Apparently, incuriosity killed the country.

    Also, like many, I find it very interesting that the same police force that had no qualms about shooting and gassing its way through a bunch of justifiably angry black folks and their allies because photo op was “overwhelmed” by a bunch of disgruntled, incurious and mostly white Trumpists who planned on assassinating the speaker of the house, the vice president and other politicians who stood against or were insufficiently obedient to their cult leader.

    As cliched as this is going to be, I can only observe that, had they been black…

    And I don’t believe for one second that they didn’t have notice; Trump has gone on record with his plans.

    Hell, 24 hours earlier, he told his Georgia contingent to “watch what’s going to happen!”

    What’s happening is that certain groups are beginning to understand that they don’t own the country by virtue of their ethnicity, aren’t entitled to perpetual and “absolute” power,” have to bow to democracy when their side is hoisted out of power and don’t belong to the most valuable ethnic and cultural group in the nation, let alone the world.

    Hopefully, promises of prosecution from attorneys general in these seditionists’ home states will actually proceed.

    Otherwise, they’ll be right about all but one of the realities above, and then watch out.

    As it is, we’ve more to fear from this crowd, as apparently, this is a national movement; there’ve been similar attacks in LA, Sacramento, Washington State and Salt Lake City.

    They aren’t going away, and apparently, the cops are content to let them have the run of the communities.

    And for the record, if anyone from BLM or any other social justice activist organization had done anything like what was done yesterday in the (insert marginalized community here) communities name, they’d be just as seditious and deserving of the harshest punishment the law allowed.

    Black folks in Georgia have spent decades on the wrong end of white supremacy; Stacy Abrams, in particular, was cheated out of the governorship by terrified vote suppressors.

    Funny how she got the last laugh without having to break a single law or window.

    Even funnier how her legal activity has, for the time being, secured the senate for democrats so that the democrat in the white house can forward democratic policies. 😊

  41. I watched the situation unfold in real time yesterday, while texting friends who live in the area to make sure they were safe (thankfully, everyone was fine — even the family living a few blocks from the Capitol with floor-to-ceiling windows). Obviously, we are all reeling in horror but a part of me is not sure whether or not to be surprised anymore. Aside from three hours of sleep, most of my time has weirdly been spent explaining the differences between treason and sedition to people on the internet. Everyone seems to really want SOMETHING to be done but like you, I don’t expect anything to happen even if sedition is a very commonsense thing to charge people with at this point. I’m just exhausted and demoralized, and with COVID running rampant in my area I don’t even know what to do with all the repressed anger at this point. We’re all just going to have to have ulcers in 2021, I guess.

  42. It”s really hard to choose a Worst President ever, but there are a few other serious contenders. Is Trump’s covid19 death count really bigger than the massive toll of the Bush”s middle eastern wars? There were terrible war crimes, no consequences or accountability. Those wars did a
    LOT of harm to the USA. Trump pardoned the Blackwater criminals, but he wasn’t responsible for their crimes. Bush was.

    Then there’s Andrew Jackson. Whatever evil Trump has done, and it’s a lot, he hasn’t attempted genocide that I know of.

  43. What Trump has tried to do since Election Day is to stage a coup along with his enablers in the GOP. There are a whole bunch of people who need to be charged with sedition.
    What really pissed me off was seeing the guy with a Confederate flag in our CAPITOL. Trump needs to be removed from office NOW. I want to see them challenge that whole “a sitting POTUS can not be indicted”. Send the FBI in there to arrest him and let the Courts sort it out.

  44. Gonna have to disagree with your police work there, Lou.

    The death estimates for the Iraq war are somewhere around 200,000, as far as I can tell (different sources report vastly different numbers). Recency bias is a bitch, but people have really, really memory holed just how awful W. was.

    200,000 human beings violently murdered. W. was worse.

  45. Well the only good thing about Trump that I can see is that he has given every American youth the belief and hope that they too could be President some day regardless of how obtuse they are. If this ignorant man can do it…anyone can. Unbelievable, What is even more incomprehensible is out of 350 million people he was deemed the best we have.

  46. @Margaret:

    I was with you right up until the denial of genocide.

    Sure, we’re only talking about a pandemic as opposed to swords and guns, but his response to covid (keep in mind the disproportionate impact of this pandemic on “undesirables”) has been nothing short of genocidal.

  47. As another European, I feel the same as David. Only I think that if OGH or anybody else had submitted this plot not that long ago, it would have been rejected as too far-fetched without being sf.

    @Audrey: to be fair, Trump and his government’s incompetence didn’t kill 350k people. Take Germany, a country with a reasonably competent (although not free of mistakes) response to the pandemic AND a comparable political structure, i.e. a federal republic where the central government can coordinate but the states decide and implement health policy. (Chancellor conservative party, Länder premiers a mixed bag of parties.) Germany had 38k dead (with a huge leap in the past few weeks). Multiply by four to get to the same population size, i.e. 152k. That’s how many would have died in the US with a competent response. So the incompetence/uncaring is responsible for about 200k deaths.

  48. Robert Heinlein wrote a story (a novelette I think) called Gulf that featured a villain so heinous that she decided the world would end upon her death. That’s my biggest concern… that he’ll see that as a better option rather than to be know as a loser.

  49. I don’t think Trump is the worst President ever. He’s merely the most visible symptom of the sickness at the heart of our society. A depraved society, founded on slavery and genocide, waving the banner of freedom over a mountain of corpses. Trumpism is Americanism at its purest, and anyone surprised by Trump’s 74 million votes, or by the police taking selfies with the rabid scum that attacked the Capitol last night, is utterly ignorant of history.

    Also, Trump managed to flip the White House, House and Senate blue in four short years. It hasn’t all been that bad :)

    @ Sarah Marie:

    “I find it very interesting that the same police force that had no qualms about shooting and gassing its way through a bunch of justifiably angry black folks and their allies because photo op was “overwhelmed” by a bunch of disgruntled, incurious and mostly white Trumpists who planned on assassinating the speaker of the house”

    I never expected anything less from our Brave Boys in Blue. They only shoot unarmed people when they’re sure they’ll face no consequences.

    On a more serious note, the Capitol Police are more like mall cops than actual law enforcement. The real question is why the National Guard wasn’t deployed. But that’s not a real question, because the answer is obvious.

    @ Anationofmenanationoflaws:

    “But how much you wanna bet Biden takes the chicken shit route and says the president is above the law and refuses to prosecute Trump…”

    It’s only a bet if you have a chance of losing. What you wrote is a given.


    “68% of Republican registered voters think that the storming of the Capitol should NOT be considered a threat to democracy.”

    Yep -apropos of that LBJ quote. A society built by the lowest of white men, a.k.a. the absolute dregs of Europe, can hardly be expected to do better.

  50. Few things
    1. Trump should be forced to resign or be otherwise defenestrated. Due to the gutless feckless Republicans, he of course won’t be.
    2. Capitol police – incompetent or complicit? Looks like complicit from here. Watching them stand aside to let the protesters through shows that the ones that think protecting the seat of government is a joke need to be fired. There needs to be a top to bottom review of the actions of yesterday.
    3. Can you imagine the bloodbath if the protesters had been Black? No one can look at the scene and not think that the police are sympathetic to the rioters. Thought apparently the police are capable of something other than excessive brutality, who knew? Oh wait, white people.
    4. Fortunately the seditious LARPers were a bit like the dog that catches the car – they didn’t know what to do with it once they’d taken the building. Not excusing them at all, but if they had been bent on death, we’d be out a bunch of senators and house members today. They could have burnt down the building, but settled for low level vandalism. I guess we’re fortunate that they can’t even stage a coup properly.
    5. 4 may change when we get more details on how Ashli Babbitt got shot.
    6. A 12 hour suspension from Twitter is literally the least Twitter could do. Facebook has finally banned him for good, 5 years to late. But it will still remain a cesspit of unsubstantiated lies.

  51. Not sure what to do but want to do something?

    CALL your senators and representative today! This cannot go ignored and unpunished. There’s rumors that they’ve adjourned until Jan 19th, but they CAN BE BROUGHT BACK. We can have hearings.

    Call your members of congress (<–note: may be out of date if you have a new MOC from the last election, so if you may want to google)— senators and congressperson and demand that:
    1. Trump be impeached or resign
    2. Cruz resign
    3. Hawley resign

    Also, if your congressperson is one of the 138 who voted to overturn the outcome of a free and fair election tell them that was wrong. (I got my congressperson on the phone himself this morning at 6am– he hung up on me after the 12th time he tried to convince me the debate on the floor meant anything and I asked if he was stupid or just a seditionist again. You will probably get a voicemail.)

    If you can’t call, you may be able to fax (fax zero still has free faxing for most but not all reps). If you can’t do either, you can send an email. If Ted Cruz is your senator and you can’t get through, send him a snail mail letter telling him to resign.

    Be sure to include your zipcode.

  52. Once admired and cherished as a great country, USA is now being judged by the world not just because of the fool that is President but more so because of the massive deterioration of American society and culture as a whole. The ignorance of the American people for the most part is unprecedented when it comes to their knowledge and understanding of the rest of the world. Americans need not fear Communism of any other “foe” that is different than their way of life. What American need to fear are themselves. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, guns, and plain ignorance to name only a few are going to take hold and rot the country from within. I am not sure why God would ever bless America, perhaps pity is a better word. If the culture of the American people doesn’t turn around soon and start teaching their children well and join the rest of the civilized world then i am afraid there won’t be an America to bless.

  53. @Fatman:

    You are right; they’re mall cops, but remember that these same mall cops were part of a wildly successful effort to beat back BLM protesters with gas and rubber bullets so that Donald Trump could pander to the religious right.

    You’re also right about the national guard who, if I remember correctly, was already in place to “deal” with BLM protesters when they arrived.

    From what I understand, at first, Mayor Bowser requested and was denied those particular reinforcements; can’t imagine why.

    Still, with regard to the police, yesterday’s…permissiveness is part of a national trend, one that made mostly white seditionists’ actions (this isn’t the first time a capital building has been stormed in the last 12 months) perfectly acceptable when, at the same time, BLM protesters were being injured and/or snatched off the streets and into vans to be taken who knows where.

    Even if capital police can be let off the hook for the breach, there is zero excuse for their softball approach to these thugs.

    Seditionists were out in droves when the curfew went into effect.

    Why weren’t these people, many of whom may have been a part of the assault team, swept off the streets?

    Why were they walked out of the capital building they assaulted rather than manhandled, cuffed and hauled off to the nearest cage until such time as they could be interrogated?

    I’m not advocating for police brutality against any citizen, be they peaceful anti-racists or incurious, outraged “right” fighters with whom I disagree.

    Still, the capital police should have at least pretended to want to restrain these folks.

    I’m not really buying the conspiracy theory that this was some kind of inside job, but there are questions that need to be answered.

    The best that can be said is that the powers that be need to seriously rethink the way the capital police force is armed and trained.

    Failing that, they’ll need to beef up security in a substantive way, because the next group of “patriots” will be better organized and better armed.

  54. John,

    I’m typing directly into the field now rather than copy/pasting comments.

    Are you seeing the same thing now?

  55. Couple of things I don’t see being reported in the news:

    1) Lots and lots of the terrorists storming DC were full fledged nazis, with swastika or other nazi tattoos, wearing “Camp Aushwitz” tshirts, and such. two guys with nazi websites were streaming from inside the building.

    2) DC police did nothing for hours because the terrorists were white. If that had been a BLM protest and black people were smashing windows to government property, there would have been tanks in the streets and dozens of dead black people.

    3) the number of arrests is laughably small. Whoever is in charge of DC police needs to have some serious training programs about racial bias for their entire force.

    4) anyone who says one word about how silently kneeling during the national anthem is “disrespectful” needs to wake up.

    5) I have zero faith that our government will do the right thing here. The right thing is to prosecute every single one in government who supported this insurrection. Trump should be impeached by congress in one day. Senate should confirm the next day. Any nazi organization should be declared a terrorist group and pursued most vigilantly. Spreading lies about “stolen elections” should be on par with inciting a riot. And Biden’s attorney general needs to prosecute everyone, Trump included, to the fullest extent.

    6) refusing to prosecute someone simply means that someone is above the law. saying you wont prosecute because “its a time for healing” is bullshit. You don’t prosecute, you are saying these people are above the law. And since W, we keep elevating the presidency higher and higher above the law. Enough is enough.

  56. What really concerns me is that Biden/Harris, Ossoff, Warnock, and others did not win by 20 or more percentage points, which they should have, given the histories of their opponents and by what the republican party in general has been doing. The fact that some of those races were so close indicates to me that trump’s base is still large and can still cause problems in the future. Even if they do impeach or “25” trump we haven’t seen the end of this.

  57. As long as half the people want insurrection, they’re going to get it. The fact that insurrection will not give them the wealth and power and sense of value they feel they deserve will not matter. The GOP has called gods it only partly believes in and now it has to send them back down, and it can’t. It can’t be honest, it can’t stop lying, because to do so would cost its members their power, and loss of power is worse than death for many of them. I’d like to hope fear of their opponents doing as they have and fear for their own safety would encourage them, but they’ve encouraged their followers in killing their country at the cost of their lives, so I don’t know that even self-preservation will help,

    I don’t have any room for anger, mostly fear. I don’t know what will be left of this country for my kids. I keep hoping that most people will be decent and not evil, but that hope keeps getting eroded (though I guess I’m showing my privilege in that).

  58. I downloaded a picture of the man hoisting the Confederate flag in the Capitol building to my cellphone for two reasons:

    1) I want to remember what all this is about, always. As distance increases from this event and the mealy-mouthed “Southern Strategy” finds new innuendo (newspeak) to hide its direct purpose, I want to look at the picture again to ground myself on what the actual cause be argued for is.

    2) So that I can post that picture, with the simple caption “Your Team”, on all apologists’ posts in my social media feeds. Because that’s the cause they are defending, in plain sight, clear and unmasked, photographed taking over the Capitol building. If they don’t want to be associated with that cause, they can choose not to defend its behavior.

  59. One thing that struck me when reading a statement from (I think) a R senator today is that he called the riots “unamerican”. They are certainly not: rioting is ur-American, it’s the origin story of the US, only the history books now call them revolutionaries instead of domestic terrorists because they won. Just a thought, because I am pretty sure that’s how many of the idiots in D.C. yesterday see themselves: as freedom fighters from a repressive regime.
    Always an interesting thought experiment if the US had lost the revolution. At least slavery would have been abolished earlier, if it followed still followed UK law. (It would still be ruled by an incompetent today.)

  60. Someone put it like this – you don’t want to politicize the judicial system, you don’t want to prosecute people because of their political beliefs – but that goes both ways: you don’t want to avoid investigating and possibly prosecuting people because of politics; that is also politicizing the judicial system. Putting some people above the law, as untouchables.

  61. Explanation, not excuse (because “excuse” would require, among other things, acknowledging that DC isn’t a state because it’s demographically black and Democratic — take a look at the legislative history of the 26th Amendment):

    Troops were not, and could not, be deployed in advance because:
    (a) The DC National Guard doesn’t have a Governor to direct its activation. There is, instead, an obscure mechanism within… wait for it… the Department of Defense.
    (b) Neighboring states couldn’t sent in their National Guards because activation by a Governor is limited to crises within their own legal authority; anything else (that is, deployment outside the state) requires both a formal request from the Governor of the other jurisdiction (see point a) and a formal accession to active duty by… wait for it… the Department of Defense.
    (c) All of which runs into problems with the Posse Comitatus Act. Since the nineteenth century, active-duty federal-control military personnel have been prohibited from engaging in law-enforcement activities. (You really don’t want to know what this looked like at the height of the War on Drugs. You don’t. And I’m not allowed to say anything further.) Under longstanding international law, yesterday was a law enforcement event because international law has not caught up with the 1960s phenomenon of “popular movement without an identifiable command structure” yet.

    This is NOT AN EXCUSE FOR INACTION ON 07 JANUARY 2021. It is an explanation of barriers to rapid response or anticipatory interdiction. Knowing what I do about security challenges in and around the Capitol and National Mall, this is very much a case of being careful what you wish for…

    …because the “real solution” would have been for Pence and half of the Cabinet to invoke 25h Amendment § 4 several weeks ago, as the “inability to discharge” due to obsession with counterfactual (hah!) theories of “a stolen election” became apparent. If you’re going to blame someone, blame them.

    And blame Drumpf.

  62. Chbieck: “They are certainly not: rioting is ur-American”

    Nope. Nope. Nopety nope.

    The Founders overwhelmingly held the position that rioting against democracy was treason. In fact, they put it in the constitution. They overwhelmingly condemned Shays rebellion as evil and some called for Shays to be executed. Washington put down the Whiskey Rebellion with massive overwhelming force. The Founders were not anarchists. They supported rebelion only in the case of abject tyrranny, not democracy.

    If washington was president yesterday, a few of those nazi terrorists would be hanging from a rope today.

  63. @Anationofmenanationoflaws
    I am not talking about rioting against democracy, but rioting, period, i.e. the Revoluton, Tea Party, etc. In the eyes of the British Empire at the time, the American revolutionaries were domestic terrorists. You can argue that the slavery democracy that came after the Revolutons was better than a monarchy, and it certainly was better for the Founders, but the morality of it gets murky when you consider that said democracy was built on the backs and land of people who actually lived there before the settlers came.
    Besides, on a sliding scale of democracy, the US certainly doesn’t score very well. Minority rule is institutionalized, gerrymandering common, voters disenfranchised, votes aren’t treated equally. The Senate and Electoral College aren’t exactly shiny beacons of democratic institutions, never mind sillynesses like the filibuster. The will to change this seems small to non-existent.

  64. It’s hard to rate a president while he’s in office. While I will agree Trump is one of the worst, my nominee is George “the Younger” Bush. His accomplishments included legalizing torture, leading the USA into two “forever” wars, and overseeing the collapse of the economy.

  65. There was a comment much farther up about whether or not Biden would rufuse to prosecute Trump. I have to say I’m really torn about this. On the one hand, it is eminently clear that yesterday was the direct result of two months of Trump claiming the election was stolen (not to mention the foundation of behavior over the previous four years), as well as the refusal of other Republican party leaders and associated media to refute that claim forcefully and completely, instead hiding behind “Let the legal process play out” and other bullshit. And Trump should be held responsible for that in some manner (as should other Republican leaders).

    On the other hand, the country cannot go through the process of holding him accountable unless each and every Republican member of Congress gets on board, because otherwise we wind up with the Impeachent Trial, Part II, where one side presents a ton of evidence and testimony, the other side sticks fingers in their ears and claims “persecuion” and “Trump haters”, and the country divides even further.

    Nixon was pardoned, but both Republicans and Democrats were onboard with an Impeachment. If Trump is put on trial (again), and it comes off as more persecution to his supporters, it just stokes them further. They already believe the election was stolen from him, and therefore them. Now they see him being put on trial again, and persecution of him is persecution of them.

    Actions have consequences. Trump’s actions deserve consequences. But is that best for the country, not to mention is that what the Biden Administration wants to focus its first few months on?

  66. Holy fucking shit! Who ever thought history happens to other people? If you haven’t written your congress-people already, do so. Make your voice heard. Fascism lives, and unfortunately, it lives here in the United States of America. Between the criminal President and the traitors who showed up at the Capital to disrupt our government (a Federal crime, I might point out), a second impeachment doesn’t seem too much to ask, does it? Representative Omar has already spoken out that she is writing a second impeachment, put your pebble on the scales … and be a part of history.

  67. It’s very simple. We know who the Sedition Caucus within our elected government are- their names, offices and seditious statements are on public record.

    Congress needs to expel them NOW and bar every single one of them from ever holding any public office, elected or appointed, ever again.


  68. @Marky
    I’d argue that the last point is the one were GWB has very little fault. The “greed mentality” that led to the Great Recession arguably started in the Reagan era – when I studied economics in the late 80s, “shareholder value” was nowhere to be found in textbooks yet, and deregulation was also only just starting out as the big thing. And even Krugman repeatedly states the presidents have little effect on the economy, as much as they would like to take credit for upswings.

  69. For anyone confused by the difference in treatment by police of Trump’s mob and BLM or other protesters I highly recommend “Caste.”
    A tough, intelligent and honest destructuring of the caste system in the USA.

    Police are seen as a middling white caste ( often even with browner skin color) and as upholding caste divisions in the USA,protecting white privilege.

    So when the Capitol police first are interacting with the white identified caste mob, they try talking to them or being friendly, believeing the white caste will cooperate with the authority of white identified police. In this cas, the white caste mob was not controllable.

    When a caste structure is under threat of change….BLM, MeToo, LBGT rights, the Obama presidency…….it shakes the ground and all hell breaks loose.

    The mastermind lost the plot and it has gone a step too far.
    And here we are, in the moment of change.
    So far not much movement from the “keep our caste structure in place” crowd. Just a tiny protest from the usual suspects that flap around the real issues.
    But The Times They Are A Changin’

    Read “Caste” and see if you can disagree.

  70. @ Russ:

    “the culture of the American people”

    The what?

    @ Anationofmenanationoflaws:

    “The Founders overwhelmingly held the position that rioting against democracy was treason.”

    The Founders were slavers who also disenfranchised the vast majority of free Americans. Any definition of “democracy” they may have used is problematic, to say the least. Their position was more “it used to be OK to rise against the state, but now we’re the state, so shut up”.

    @ Paul Winter:

    “otherwise we wind up with the Impeachent Trial, Part II, where one side presents a ton of evidence and testimony, the other side sticks fingers in their ears and claims “persecuion” and “Trump haters”, and the country divides even further”

    While I have no problem with the country “dividing even further” (what’s the point of pandering to rabid, seditious scum?) I agree that a second impeachment would be meaningless. As evidence mounted during Impeachment One, the Republicans’ defense evolved from “he didn’t do it”, to “he did it, but he was within his rights to do it”, finally to “yeah, he’s guilty, but suck it liberals LOL”. Repeating this would amount to nothing but political circus.

  71. Sorry, but the standard we walk past is the standard we accept.

    We cannot put seditionists and insurrectionists above the law because doing otherwise might inflame other seditionists and insurrectionists.

    By that logic, we shouldn’t prosecute Islamic terrorists lest other Islamic terrorists get angry and take revenge.

    By that same logic, we shouldn’t prosecute white supremacists lest other white supremacists revolt.

    By that same logic, all hate crimes should go un-prosecuted.

    Personally, I’m more worried about what happens if Biden sends the message that storming the capital with the intention of murdering elected officials is a terrible but forgettable footnote in America’s recent history, one that should be forgotten in the name of moving forward.

    What happens when the next president decides this is a good idea?

    What happens when anyone in this country decides that the best way to stick it to a governor, mayor, DA or judge is to storm, break and kill?

    Placating the people who did this only perpetuates the message that white men can do whatever they please; that’s not good for America, either.

  72. Andrew Jackson still gets my vote as worst president. He was directly responsible for the deaths of several thousand Cherokee Indians via the Trail of Tears.

  73. @Sarah Marie

    I gotta say I can’t argue with that. Crimes were committed, and prosecution should follow. But to work (i.e. to get a conviction), both political parties have to be completely on board. I don’t see that happening. Given the likihood of failure, and the fallout from that, is it better to try and fail than not to try at all (and deal with the fallout from that)? I don’t know.

    Personally, I would enjoy watching Trump go to actual prison at this point.

  74. What I am personally having a hard time with is that this moment was so entirely predictable and yet still so shocking when it actually happened. When I heard about the rally Trump was holding the same day as the counting of the ballots, I (and many others, I’m sure) thought “this won’t end well.” But even with that foreboding, when the moment came, it still somehow seemed unfathomable, and I still can’t get over a sense of shock, maybe in part because I don’t feel like I should have been shocked at all. I don’t think I’m qualified to say if Trump is the worst president of all time. But I think it’s undeniable that he intentionally fanned the flames of division in a way no one has ever done before. Worse, he’s left a blueprint for others to do the same.

  75. @chbieck:

    Always an interesting thought experiment if the US had lost the revolution. At least slavery would have been abolished earlier, if it followed still followed UK law.

    It has been argued that the Mansfield decision was one of the reasons that the colonials rebelled. Longer-sighted slaveowners saw that the writing was on the wall, and wanted out of the British Empire before they lost their human property.

  76. If you are Pro-Trump still, then are you a Seditionist? If you are Pro-Trump still, then are you pro-Sedition (but not a Seditionist)? If you are Pro-Trump still, then can you be anti-Sedition (but willing to overlook it)? On the spectrum, I answer the first question “yes” which is why I could not live in rural Ohio.

  77. @ Paul Winter:

    I apologize in advance for the spacing issues; this field is incompatible with JAWS, so editing for that kind of thing isn’t possible.

    We can agree that bipartisan support would be very important.

    Still, I’m leaning more toward trying and failing, as the implications of sweeping things under the rug are worse and pose a greater danger to the stability of this union than do inflaming people who are going to continue with their mission no matter what happens.

    There were similar “protests” all across the country, from California to Washington State to Utah to Ohio to Michigan.

    The same online clues leading to yesterday’s events lead to more and worse activities in the coming days and weeks.

    Also, already, BLM and their allies have gotten the message that standing against injustice is a worse crime against the nation than is launching a violent attack on its capital with the intent of doing harm to key members of the house and senate.

    Already, black and brown people across the country have seen white privilege and fragility at their worst.

    Nothing screams “lowest difficulty setting” like a bunch of angry white people and their powerful leader being slapped on the wrist for committing some of the highest crimes against the nation.

    There’s probably no coming back from that.

    We should ask ourselves what happens when leaders can induce this kind of violence with impunity?

    What do we do when the next Trumpesque president decides he or she doesn’t like losing an election?

    What happens when said president decides that one or more members of congress are obstacles to his or her “success (however they’re defining that) and need to be “dispatched”?

    I think we need to think about what such inaction would say to others, average Joes and Josephine’s,in particular, who might decide to take a similar approach to political disagreement or rage.

    We also need to consider how prioritizing one group’s feelings over another’s safety would further divide this country.

    “Mistakes were made” and “that was a terrible moment in history, but punishing the guilty party won’t unbreak the windows”approaches won’t cut it.

    Everyone who can be held accountable should be held accountable, most especially the person who lead the charge.

    I think we’re damned either way, but handwaving sedition on the part of the president would be a mistake.

    Nothing emboldens white supremacist domestic terrorism like watching a white president skate happily off into freedom after having committed the kind of crime that might have gotten Obama yanked out of power and into a jail cell.

  78. Dear Folks,

    I am terrified by what havoc Trump could raise in the next two weeks, including forcible disruption of the Inauguration… but launching nukes isn’t on the list.

    The President can’t launch a single missile. The power is vested in him to authorize a launch. That is not the same thing as “launch.” The military is well aware that President Authorization represents a single-point failure node. They’ve known that from the very beginning. They’ve had three quarters of a century to think on these problems and they run run scenarios and work out contingency plans for EVERY (un)imaginable situation. They plan for “What if a crazy person orders us to launch?” (They also plan for the Designated Survivor scenario, in case you wondered.)

    During the 1973 Mideast War, things went very pear-shaped for 48 hours and there was a real chance it was going to go nuclear. Nixon put the US on level III alert. The words of the Secretary of Defense to the staff and commanders directly under him are noteworthy. I can’t quote verbatim but it ran something like this: “We are now at Level III. If the President orders us to level I, I remind you all that under the Constitution of the United States, the President is the Commander-in-Chief. I also remind you that the chain of command… Goes. Through. Me.”

    Trump has two more weeks to wreak immense harm on the country in so many different ways. (I sincerely hope that he will be impeached or the 25th invoked, and I no longer think either of those is impossible.) But WW III is not one that I’m worried about.


    As for Biden prosecuting Trump after he leaves office… Oh, no, no, HELL NO!

    We. Don’t. Do. That!

    It’s part and parcel of the peaceful transfer of authority. Our new leaders don’t behead our deposed ones and they don’t imprison them.

    Have you forgotten how appalled we were when Trump started campaigning with, “Lock her up!” and when he kept trying to instigate investigations into Obama for crimes he (supposedly) committed?

    Some of you will want to respond, “But, yes, but that’s because he’s a Bad Guy and we are the Good Guys.”

    No, really, you are not. You’re breaking the system.

    Even if you still imagine you are, normalizing the idea of going after your ex’s is going to work out so well for everyone the next time a Trump gets the reins of power. Don’t tell me that it can’t happen again. We didn’t imagine it could happen once!

    I sincerely hope Trump is impeached and constrained from ever holding office again. Failing that, I hope the state prosecutions against him succeed. But the last thing I want to see is Biden going after Trump. It’s a horrible precedent and it badly breaks the system of authority that we have.

    - pax \ Ctein

    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]

    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. 

    — Digital Restorations. 

  79. So much “winning”… There’s nobody better at badness than Creepy Old Donald Trump.

  80. So he’ll ride off into the sunset with his ill gotten gains, free and clear and sending the message that the next president who wants to pull his trick will be shielded from the consequences.

    I am frightened for the members of whatever community into which he and his family will move.

    When presidents can move freely among citizens after having attempted to break the country, the system is already broken.

  81. Elizabeth from Tennessee is by far the most REAL image of the whining terror-babies who invaded the Capitol. So proud of storming the gates is she, and so utterly bewildered—even hurt—when she got tear-gassed for her trouble. My money is on my mind’s image of her last summer, watching and cheering the TV every time a riot patrol loosened a gas bomb or rubber bullet into the sea of peaceful black faces who were only demanding the dignity of being treated like the American citizens they are.

    In her utter bewilderment, she the unmasked face of the radical right. Like any classic bully Elizabeth is a marvel of ignorance juxtaposed against the violence of an unsupervised preschooler. She does not understand that she was, in fact, treated strictly according to white privilege. Nobody shot her. She was not blinded by a rubber bullet. She is not in jail, but if she is arrested later, she will be treated gently. Nobody is going to break into her bedroom and shoot her in her bed. Nobody is going to kneel on her neck until she suffocates. She will be read her rights and gently placed into a police car. She will be given food if she’s hungry and drink if she is thirsty. If she needs medical care or medicine, it will be found for her. An attorney will be appointed to defend her. I don’t begrudge her anything. These are the rights common to every American—but those of us who are darker-skinned often miss out on one or more of them. Too often with fatal results.

    Elizabeth thinks that all of this is correct. This is how the world is supposed to work. Her leaders told her so. Her parents and Fox News made sure she knew that she, as a lighter-skinned American SHOULD be treated better—in fact, she doesn’t understand why she should be arrested at all! Ask her and in her righteous anger she cries “It’s a revolution!” She can’t comprehend why anyone objected when she and her friends desecrated what is possibly the most sacred of our pitifully few customs. Is it her fault? Yes. And no.

    Elizabeth from Tennessee is the product of decades of Republican disinformation. She is the result of two generations of sliding education standards, alternate facts, economic deprivation, far-right rhetoric, fundamentalist psychosis, school budget cuts, and ever-dimming prospects of achieving even lower middle-class prosperity. She is angry. She is full of hate. She has neither tools nor insight to understand why. She lacks the imagination to figure out how it could be better. She is the living embodiment of a cornered rat. And now she is fueled by four years of Trump. Trump has given her permission to hate openly. It’s okay, he tells her, you SHOULD hate those people. You can be proud of it because the “brown” people are stealing your jobs. The “black” people are taking what is rightfully yours. They’re getting everything, while you get nothing. Elizabeth of Tennessee listened. It felt good. So good, that she was his, sworn for life.
    Trump has made Elizabeth’s worst instincts into a virtue and not only given her permission to act on them, he’s told her it’s her DUTY. Thanks to him she is convinced that reason, science, compassion, rationality are her most deadly enemies. He imbued her limited mind with superstition fueled by lies and told her that reality wasn’t real. Once she was filled to the brim with rage all she needed was a savior and surprise! There he was—the only one who could “fix things”. HIm. Only him. Nobody else ever could. She could talk to him directly by way of Twitter. He had ALL the answers. All he asked for was her unwavering, blind loyalty. She was ready. The only thing left was to focus her and let her go. So Trump told Elizabeth of Tennessee that all her problems were caused by something called “Antifa” and “Liberals”. It is THEY who are to blame for everything that was wrong in her life (he neglected to mention that HE, himself, was the one doing them.)
    He persuaded her—with no difficulty at all because she is a willing tool—that not only are “those people” responsible for her perceived wrongs, but that it was her OBLIGATION as a loyal American to do something about it. To help her in her new mission he armed her with lots and lots of buzzwords and slogans, things she thinks that, together with loud voices and vandalism, amount to a revolution. Lacking even a basic knowledge of history she does not know revolutions are slow to come about or that they come with hard work, deep dedication, willingness to sacrifice, and a high price in death. We can feel sorry for her, but that does not mean that we should forget who she is, what she has done, or how wrong her actions were. Ignorance has never been accepted as an excuse.

    But perhaps the saddest part of her story is that poor, pitiful, ignorant Elizabeth of Tennessee will never understand the most critical point of all; that she is NOT part of any revolution! Elizabeth of Tennessee is the status quo that the revolution opposes! Black Lives Matter is the revolution. The people of good will who support them are the revolution. The scientists and the teachers, the politicians who fight for better schools, jobs, and healthcare are the revolution. The people who come into neighborhoods and offer to drive strangers, their fellow human beings, to the polls to vote are the revolution. The doctors and nurses, the firefighters and soldiers, and the guy who risks his own health to deliver your groceries during a pandemic. THEY, and many more, are the revolution. The revolution is everyone who looks at a person who is a different color, religion, or language; and sees a fellow human being, deserving of respect and is willing to put themselves between that person and harm. THEY are the revolution.

    And Elizabeth from Tennessee? She is the Redcoat.

  82. @Ctein.
    Stop saying not to worry. Every time we’ve been told not to worry about a thing, Trump has gone and done the thing. Don’t worry about the concentration camps, don’t worry about the wall, don’t worry about the ICE purges, don’t worry about the attacking of peaceful protest groups, don’t worry about the incited attacks on the very Capitol of the United States itself. He’s gone and done them all anyway, so: Do. Not. Tell. People. Not. To. Worry.

    There is no credibility to that command whatsoever.

    I’m gonna worry about the madman with the authority to launch nukes, and other weapons of mass destruction, until he is out of office. Because his track record on doing the impossibly horrifying is pretty damn good.

  83. “So he’ll ride off into the sunset with his ill gotten gains, free and clear and sending the message that the next president who wants to pull his trick will be shielded from the consequences.”

    I think the State of NY will have him bogged down in court for the rest of his life, assuming they don’t actually put him in jail.

  84. Keeping my fingers crossed for that eventuality, though I’ve been burned before.

    Please let him finally have hit a legal wall he can’t scale or bulldoze.

    I hope he either winds up in a cage or under a bridge.

  85. @dtein

    Biden shouldn’t “go after” Trump. He also shouldn’t SHIELD him. To the extent that the Justice Department determines that there is sufficient evidence to charge Trump with any of the multiple crimes he has committed Trump should be so charged. Biden should not be involved in this decision at all and Trump’s status as the former president should be irrelevant to this decision.

  86. Dear cryptic,

    I don’t recall telling you what to do at any point. No command, except in your own mind.

    pax / Ctein

  87. The peaceful transfer of authority does not mean issuing a de facto (or actual) pardon for treason, insurrection, or any other crime.

    You know what else is Not Done? For the executive to send a mob to attack the legislature.

  88. Just to note, my comment at 7:44 pm above was meant as a reply to Ctein’s comment at 4:47 pm.

    (Apologies for the typo in the reference.)

  89. Dear Michael,

    No problem– typos are the LEAST of the worries in my life! [g]

    Anyway… maybe. But I gotta really bad feeling about this, Chewie.

    In the bigger picture, I don’t really give too much of a fuck if Trump gets punished, enjoyable as it would be to see. What I want is for him to be unable to run for office again and to be disempowered.

    The former may require impeachment and so may be beyond reach. The latter seems more possible– he’s doing a good job of burning his bridges in the major social media platforms.

    Even effin’ Zuckerberg seems to have finally figured out that maybe things have gotten just a wee bit out of hand. (Or I may be the cockeyed optimist!)

    pax / Ctein

  90. Dear Michael,



    As someone whose leanings can best be described as anarcho-communist, if you had told me a dozen years ago that in 2021 I’d be:

    1) Pushing a hard law and order line against folks standing against the gummint,

    2) Upset with the GOP for being soft on Russia,

    3) Applauding Dick Effin’ Cheney,


    4) Seconding a WSJ editorial …

    Well, I’d have thought you’d be badly in need of commitment, because you clearly had no touch with reality.

    You just made my afternoon. Thanks!

    pax / Ctein

  91. That you for writing this, John.

    I had thought I was going to spend the day listening the CSPAN in the background while I edited. Rolling my eyes and occasionally muting as the performative objects were raised. I knew the cultists would be causing trouble in the streets, but since DC said they were expecting it, I figured the most I would see is these guys getting mostly treated like the BLM protestors earlier.

    I shouldn’t have been surprised that some Capitol Police actual helped them get in and posed for selfies. I was incredibly angry at how the mob behaved with then got inside the Capitol Building. And I’m really angry at those media people who are trying to float the idea that they thought the Capitol was open, and they were just strolling through.

    They kicked in windows to get in. They kicked in doors. Many of them proudly posed for cameras with items they stole from inside the building. They knew they were not just strolling through on a public tour.

    Also, bit thanks to DannyJane for explaining their idea of privilege so well.

  92. The rioters did not get most of their information by word of mouth, nor by normal traditional media but by social media.

    “Social media kills.”

    Just as our ancestors took decades to stop saying, “It must be true or they wouldn’t have printed it” so too, I fear, it will take decades to stop believing that social media is as honest as reporting by folks with journalism ethics.

    Problem is, most folks don’t know what journalism ethics are, and don’t care. Priests are not failed saints, and everyday gossipers are not failed ladies and gentlemen. They don’t care to be ethical, so their social media is not on “Scout’s honor.”

    I realize, and sympathize, that there are emotional reasons for believing in social media. But still.

    What I can do is try to be part of the solution, by confronting people who tell me crazy stuff from social media. It ain’t easy. I guess if I can learn to confront racism then I can learn to confront my dear friends about passing on their media. At least, I hope I can.

  93. No argument from this corner about Trump being the worst president. So far.

    Twelve years ago, we could have said this about George W. Bush, and those were truly eight awful years. One of the few good things about 2020 was that, it is over, and at least among the Whatever reader set, we got the electoral outcome we wanted.

    As I like to tell Trump supporters, especially among the cretinous zombie subset that sacked the Capitol yesterday, Joe Biden might not be a perfect president but he is a great replacement [OK hand sign emoji here].

    As bad as 2020 was, a 2004-like outcome would have truly been the fatal blow to the republic. Imagine the horror of living through 9/11, having our government lie to get us into an elective war, cowing their opposition with the thought-stopping cliche of “Why do you hate America?” watching the Democrats being boxed in by that frame, seeing the electorate validate the people in charge, then having fate (Hurricane Katrina, the war going the wrong way and the Great Recession) intervene in a way that the Democrats with a coherent campaign and message could not.

    I mean, Worst President Ever did grow his base, but fortunately Biden captured more of the 25 million-plus new voters, as well as millions of Never Trump Republicans and a greater share of minor-party votes, which collapsed in many areas in 2020.

  94. A quote from Rudy Guilianni during Trump rally just before terrorists stormed the capitol:


    Because they had lost every trial in court, Guillianni was calling for literal war.

    If he isnt arrested for sedition, for inciting a riot, if he isnt disbarred for this lawless behavior, if Biden sweeps it all under the table in another chickenshit move, then there will be no end to the downward spiral this nation is in. No end until full out civil war.

    Prosecute seditionists or enable them.

  95. The response to Wednesday’s assault on the capital implies that sedition is a “white’s only” thing; let’s not hammer it home with “get away with attempting to torch the nation” cards for the ringleaders.

    I hope that Biden’s DOJ does what it should and that absolutely everyone involved with this act of domestic terrorism loses their jobs and freedom.

    In other news, Hawley is whining because Simon and Schuster pulled the plug on his book deal.

    Maybe it had something to do with not wanting to publish a seditionist?

    But of course, the “woke mob,” (Hawley) like HRC, did it.

    How dare those special snowflake SJWs suppress his right to break America over election results he doesn’t like?!

    He and his people own the country, don’t they?

    Moreover, the constitution!-

    Oh, wait…
    That’s a special brand of right-wing enwhitlement, there.

  96. I didn’t find out about this Wednesday event till Thursday, so I don’t know whether to be embarrassed by, or proud of, my news-blocking strategies.
    Also, it took me (with white privilege aplenty) till Friday to realize the rioters had all kinds of white privilege, because the peaceful BLM protests were met with weaponsgrade response well before they reached the capitol, but apparently these actual rioters were too white and special to be kept away.

  97. I like the roundup of the history since Newt Gingrich , but I am with Heather Cox Richardson the political historian who writes a daily blog about current US politics who believes this is round N of the civil war. By way of introduction if anybody doesn’t know her , i offer this podcast with Bill Moyers

    Her blog is at . History nerds wil love it

  98. @jenfullmoon — the book you’re thinking of is “Worst. President. Ever.” by Robert Strauss, which was published on Oct. 1, 2016.

    The timing seems unfortunate at first glance, but maybe not. People might read his book just to be able to make an accurate comparison. I’m doing just that, I borrowed it from the library after reading your comment. So thanks for the pointer.

    I have said that Buchanan set the stage for the Civil War, put up poster to publicize it, and sold tickets. But this glib statement is based on stuff I learned in college (a long time ago) and don’t remember in detail. So it will be good to have the details to back up that statement.

    @JReynolds — thanks also for your comments on the Buchanan books. I look forward to the Fillmore revival.

  99. John, I agree completely with your analysis and conclusions except for the last part of the following statement:

    “He can not and does not care about the nation, nor its principles, nor any of its people, save the ones of the sort who will trash a capitol for him.”

    In fact, once they’re no longer useful to him, Trump most likely wouldn’t give a shit even about the ones who trashed the Capitol for him.

  100. @rochrist, After we’ve witnessed the sacking of the Capitol this week, I think any criminal trial of Donald Trump will have to be conducted in a venue on a military base in Guam or Diego Garcia.

    Trying him on the mainland will bound to produce the same insurrection, and his supporters may even attempt a jailbreak like the drug cartel that extracted Chapo’s son from the Sinaloan capital in 2019.

    At least on an island, the airspace can be controlled. And if we remember the Trump boat parade in that Texas lake, we can expect their nautical skills to be for shit. :)

  101. @Mary Frances
    Please read the last sentence in the fifth paragraph. I was very clear on what this meant for democracy.

    The two paragraphs below “Coach Doc Rivers” are his words, as quoted in the news media. I thought they were well worth repeating.

    Soft genocide is still genocide.
    By that same logic the US government didn’t commit genocide, all of those forcibly removed Cherokees died due to a forced march on foot in the winter, for hundreds of miles, with inadequate food, clothing and shelter. The march, the weather did it, not the US military. Likewise, when the Turks forced the Armenians to march through the desert with inadequate food, water & shelter, that wasn’t genocide, even though the word genocide was created exactly to describe what was happening. I guess all those Armenian girls and women raped and crucified themselves.

    Just because genocide isn’t committed by machete and Zyklon B doesn’t mean it isn’t still genocide.

    When black and brown people die at 1.5 – 2 times the rate of white people because they work low-pay jobs that typically do not come with health benefits and their neighborhood hospitals are typically overcrowded, overworked, understaffed and under-budgeted, that is genocide. When the legislators indemnify companies from lawsuits from their workers who are deemed “essential” so wealthy white collar (and mostly white) people are not inconvenienced in any way by lack of services provided by those same workers, while refusing to provide protective equipment to those same workers, that is genocide. It’s just the kind of soft genocide that allows for plausible deniability, for people to look the other way and say “it wasn’t me”.

    I understand your math and reasoning but I disagree. Yes, Germany has approximately 25% of the US population but the German population is jammed into a country approximately 150% as big as Oregon. There isn’t a lot of room to quarantine large areas in Germany and you can cross the entire country in what, 4-6 hours? (I truly loved the Autobahn when I was there and the trains are amazing and amazingly cheap.) But most Germans–and Europeans in general–have no idea how large the US is in terms of landmass. (I have had to explain to many Germans that JFK airport is not an easy half hour drive away from the Hamptons and no, you cannot drive from Connecticut to Florida in an afternoon.) If we had a government that had gotten with the program and stopped drinking the Covid 19 Kool Aid, we could have easily isolated large sections of the US from the pandemic, which would have dropped the death rate, kept the economy alive and also provided essential goods for the rest of the country and the world. The sh*tbrindle orange moron gets to keep ALL of the dead to his name. If the WHO and the UNO (along with OXFAM & other aid agencies) could stomp a smallpox outbreak in freaking Bangladesh–Bangladesh is the epitome of hot, flat and crowded–if the pandemic response group that Obama created, the one that stomped SARS and MERS flat before they got out of hand–then Covid 19 was entirely preventable too.

    Regarding the Great Recession that occurred on Dubya’s watch, while the easily-foreseeable crash got its start in the “greed is good” Regan years, the entire thing could have been prevented if Larry Summers wasn’t bad at math and also the misogynist who pushed Brooksley Born out of government service during the Clinton administration.

    @Ian S
    No one has forgotten Abu Ghraib, the “outsourcing” of torture, Gitmo, warrantless wiretaps, the so-called Patriot Act, none of it. FWIW, before the current idiot, Dubya was my lock for Worst President Ever. But even that scion of witless wealthy white privilege never presided over a pandemic that has killed 350 K+ of his own people, will certainly kill more and provided zero aid and/or leadership to the rest of the world in the worst pandemic in a century.

  102. @Larsaf:

    One of the more hilarious bits of Mary L. Trump’s book comes when she points out that Donald Trump would never even give the time of day to his supporters outside of a ralley.

    He utterly despises these people and, like his father before him, wouldn’t spit on a single one if he or she were on fire.

    Watching them junk their lives in his name is as sad as it gets.

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