Thoughts on Coups and Sedition, 1/8/21

Senator Josh Hawley, with the words "I may have committed some light sedition."
John Scalzi

I have some additional thoughts on some of the events of the last few days, and to help me present them to you in an intelligible fashion, I’m going to employ the help of my fictional interlocutor. Say hello to the folks, F.I.

Hello, folks. And thank you, Scalzi, for letting me out of my box for the first time in months.

You’re welcome.

It’s very cramped in there.

Let’s change the subject.

Fine. First question: Was what happened on Wednesday an actual coup attempt?

What makes you think that it wasn’t?

I don’t know, I guess maybe I thought a real coup wouldn’t include a guy who looked like a Jamiroquai cosplayer at a Nazi bar karaoke night.

Just because it was a stupid coup attempt doesn’t mean it wasn’t a real coup attempt. Trump plumped for the thing to happen in his nodding and winking way on Twitter, and he incited it and encouraged it in person. The attendees came expecting to take part in one, and had planned their strategy, such as it was, on Parler and other not-exactly-savory portions of the internet. They brought weapons and zip ties. They went looking for congresspeople. They weren’t just there to hang out on the mall, wave their Trump flags, get a churro and go home. They meant business. Fortunately like all Trump business, it went belly up in record time. But that’s neither here nor there for the intent.

What do you make of the light police response?

I don’t really know what to think of it, to be honest. The most charitable take on it is that the Capitol Hill police genuinely thought these Trump dimsurrectionists were harmless, in which case this was a massive failure of intelligence and intelligence-gathering, since, again, it’s not like these folks were subtle about their plans. As people noted, these motherfuckers had merchandise made up for the event; there were people wandering about with “CIVIL WAR: JAN 6 2021” hoodies. The least charitable take is that the Capitol Hill Police, or some portion of it, at least, was in on it; I’m sure by now you’ve all seen the videos of the Capitol Hill policemen waving the coupers into the building and taking selfies with them as they trashed the place. There was also the matter of the DC National Guard not being activated as soon as the Capitol was breached; it was almost as if someone wanted the thing to succeed, or at least to let the couprists have as much time as possible to disrupt the electoral vote counting.

We will eventually discover the entire scope of the failure, but if I had to guess, I’d say it’s somewhere between, or maybe more accurately, a combination of, the two: The Capitol Hill Police didn’t understand the intent of the mob and/or was less concerned about them, because policing in the United States is racist as fuck and white people can wander around armed to invade a small country and the police won’t do shit about it; we also know Trump wasn’t exactly in a rush to send in the National Guard once the shit started going down. Incompetence and malice! Why not both!

What I do know is that Trump got exactly what he wanted out of the event. He just didn’t get all of what he wanted out of it. He absolutely pointed the mob at the Capitol. He absolutely intended to disrupt the electoral vote count. It’s my considered opinion he wouldn’t have been in the least bit upset if hostages had been taken and as such the vote count had been indefinitely postponed. In his mind, if the vote wasn’t counted, he’d still get to be President. That’s not actually how it works — his term is over on January 20 come hell or high water — but then Trump never understood any of that.

That all seems… a little dark.

I’m just getting started! If you want to go alllll the way into the woods, you can believe that the attack on Capitol and the various other right-wing protests and disruptions at state houses and other political targets were a coordinated effort to cause panic and chaos of the sort that would allow Trump to declare a military state of emergency, which he would then, of course, never undeclare. And then — wheee! — that’s the end of democracy in the US, hope you liked it, now your dictator for life is literally the stupidest and most venal man to hold the office of President.

Was this actually the plan? Maybe not on Trump’s part — I don’t think he has a plan other than “oh God oh God stop the Biden electoral vote I don’t want to go to jail” — but I’m pretty sure it was the MAGAts’ plan. The good news is that they don’t appear to have coordinated it particularly well nor did they appear to have a plan beyond trying to find parking as close to their protests as possible. Let me reiterate, this was a very shitty coup! For which we can all be thankful.

Do you think Trump will be impeached and/or sidelined via the 25th Amendment?

Maybe! But, you know, don’t get your hopes up. I think a second impeachment in the House is the most likely prospect — rumor says early next week — but whether the Senate will take it up in time, much less vote for removal is another issue entirely. Likewise, Pence has said he’s not interested in going the 25th route, so that’s unlikely. Unless, of course, Trump does something stupid, again, today or at any point over the weekend. Twitter did let him have his account back; it’s not outside the realm of possibility. But again: Don’t get your hopes up.

Which is too bad! I think at this point the GOP would be doing itself a solid removing Trump from office via the impeachment process, if only because then he is absolutely barred from holding office again. A bunch of senators want to run for president in 2024, after all — this would be a lovely way to keep him from coming back to haunt the party.

You really think Trump is going to run again in 2024? After this week?

Actually I think the reason he’s not going to run again in 2024 is because at this point there’s a better than even chance that he’s going to be in jail. But why take that chance, GOP senators? Punt his ass!

Speaking of Republican senators, I can’t help notice your picture of Josh Hawley up at the top of the entry.

Oh, that motherfucker. Yes. Him.

Would you care to share your thoughts on him?

Why yes I would! First, he’s a seditious piece of shit who thankfully chose exactly the worst possible time to yoke himself to the Trump wagon — I mean, seriously, it takes some doing to have tied yourself to the man just as he’s going over a fucking cliff, but Hawley managed it. Second, that little fist pump he gave to the mob before they went and trashed his workplace is perhaps the most spectacularly ill-timed bit of portraiture in the history of the Senate. Third, the fact that even after the House invasion Hawley still deciding that disrupting the electoral vote count was a good idea shows that his sense of political timing is epochally poor. He’s certainly paying for it, though — he lost his book contract, the major newspapers in his state have called on him to resign, and his political mentor calls him the “worst mistake” of his life. Life comes at you fast, doesn’t it, Senator Hawley.

He’s not alone in the sedition caucus — he’s joined by Ted Cruz, a fetid assemblage of moist dryer lint that dares to assert it’s a man, as well as a few other Republican senators, and more than a hundred Republican House members, including, regrettably, my own. They all should be ashamed of their votes on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, although of course they won’t be. What is shame to the shameless? It would be nice to think Hawley and Cruz, at the very least, might be bounced from the Senate for their role in abetting sedition, but, like Trump being removed before the end of his term, I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

But make no mistake: Hawley’s a piece of shit and an embarrassment to his state and our nation, as is Cruz and every other politician who participated in the farce that impeded a smooth and non-controversial reading of the electoral votes. They knew it was a farce and they did it anyway, and in doing so, by intention or otherwise gave Trump the excuse he needed to assemble his sad coup d’ego.

Maybe they’ll learn.

Lol, okay, there.

Any final thoughts?

Just that I literally never want to hear another white dude whine to me that they don’t, in fact, live on the lowest difficulty setting of American life. Motherfuckers, armed white dudes perpetrated a goddamn coup attempt at the Capitol — the seat of our national legislature — and at least some of them appear to have been invited in by the police to do so. They wandered around the place with their guns and zip-ties, took maskless selfies as they trashed the place, looted offices and climbed all over the Senate chamber like it was a playground… and then walked away, almost entirely unharmed. Any time some defensive white dude querulously mopes to me about how his life isn’t on the lowest difficulty setting, I’m going to send him that picture of Naziroquai posing at the dias of the Senate chamber, and then I’m going to tell him to shut the fuck up. Captain Furhead there walked in during the middle of an armed insurrection against the national government, struck his pose, and walked out. He is still alive and as of this writing, not even close to being arrested. That’s the lowest difficulty setting in action, friends.

(Let us acknowledge here that one person was in fact shot dead by the police during the insurrection, and others died during it or as a result of it, including one cop. Let’s also acknowledge that on the day of an actual armed insurrection against the Capitol, mostly perpetrated by white folks, a grand total of thirteen people were arrested. Compare and contrast that with, oh, any of the protests this summer. What was the difference there? Hmmm.)

Anyway, that’s where I am on all of that right now.

So we’re done?


Does this mean I have to go back into my box?

… yes.

— JS

137 Comments on “Thoughts on Coups and Sedition, 1/8/21”

  1. Personally, in the Trumpista tradition of renaming your foes, Josh and Ted’s Excellent Adventure is grounds for them being Trumps. They don’t need their old last names anymore, they are now Eric and the dumber one’s honorary brothers, and I will refer to them as Ted Trump and Josh Trump from here on out.

  2. I think the casual, selfie taking feet up on the desk attitude tells you everything you need to know about why the police response was so light.

    This is America – they knew they were under no threat from the police.

  3. I seriously think that the reason he won’t run in 2024 is that he won’t be physically able to. As @TomJChicago on Twitter has meticulously documented (though he also does get carried away sometimes), Trump does show some very distinctive and troubling signs of literal dementia. Even if that specific remote diagnosis is inaccurate, I’d be surprised if he had the energy to run. The presidency itself seems to age people tremendously. Trump has certainly been no exception, and he wasn’t in such great shape to start with.

    I’m far more worried that some other symptom of our fifty-year-long slide into fascism will run and do well enough to get more than the 74M votes that Trump did. Thanks to gerrymandering and vote suppression, which are only likely to get worse before they get better thanks to the makeup of state legislatures, that could be enough for someone even worse to capture the presidency in 2024. Yeah, I said even worse. Trump’s ego and stupidity are the things that prevented full-scale fascism this time around. He sabotaged his own cause, not least in Georgia. I don’t know who exactly could take that next step, but there are a dozen or so senators (not Cruz!) and governors and such that we should be very worried about. The wild-eyed craziness has served its purpose. The next one will be dead-eyed cold and calculating, though I suppose another clown could serve as figurehead for an eminence grise (or several).

  4. Naziroquai! Not gonna lie, I laughed out loud. Thank you for that. Shit is weird and scary and so it was good laugh.

  5. One maybe bright note: the process of investigation and arrests continues, and will continue. I am hopeful that we’ll see more over the next few weeks, and that things will ramp up considerably once we have a functional DOJ again.

    It will be vital for investigations to find the moles and saboteurs embedded in Federal agencies, as T*’s Administration is working feverishly at changing their “appointed” status to “civil service employee” status, to ensure the moles and saboteurs persist past transition to a Biden Administration.

    OTOH, I am worried about what treasonous, dangerous crap T* will come up with over the next 13 days. The GOP will still not do anything to get rid of him.

  6. “Hawley’s a piece of shit and an embarrassment to his state.” Hawley is my congressman, and you are absolutely correct.

  7. Whats amazing to us outside the USA is that the people who took part in this fully expected that they wouldn’t suffer any consequences and what’s further amazing is is that maybe they won’t.

  8. “Dimsurrectionists”, “a fetid assemblage of moist dryer lint that dares to assert it’s a man” — thank you for today’s good laugh! :D :D :D

  9. Cruz is a shit stain, but our political ecosystem in Texas is friendly to anyone who runs on Jesus, guns, Jesus, abortion, Jesus, and some more guns. It’ll take another 20 years for the demographic shift to run these assholes off.

  10. I like to think of the coup attempt as the Revolt of the Asses. . . .

    This piece was spot on. Anyone who has followed the history of the world for the last 40+ years knows that coup attempts are not always successful, well-organized, competent, or even planned.

    I am holding out for at least a censure of the Senators and Representatives who disgraced their oaths. Could happen after we get our new two from Georgia. And I really, really want to see the House move impeachment articles and then make the Republicans in the Senate have to swallow it one way or another.

  11. ” Fortunately like all Trump business, it went belly up ”
    Left the creditors, or credulous, holding the bag, too.

    I wonder if Susan Collins is still just concerned, or has she progressed to Very Concerned?

  12. I’ve been saying for a while that 2020 (which had now been extended to a thirteenth month) almost feels like we’re living in Crappy Paperback Thriller World.

    Right now I’d say there’s no “almost”, and that there are probably several more chapters to go.

  13. Dryer lint is going to sue for defamation for being compared to Rafael Cruz the Canadian.

    Tom Cotton is next Nazi up, by the way.

    Trump needs to go, but of course, won’t. Even if the House passes impeachment articles
    McConnell will slow-walk it so his bunch of spineless cowards won’t have to go on record supporting him before Congress times out.

    Trump’s hostage video last night was the least he could do. Why he is still allowed on Twitter is beyond me.

  14. It’s interesting to note that the words being tossed around are foreign loan words: coup d’etat, putsch, pronunciamento.
    Almost as if English didn’t want to be associated with such ruffianlike behaviour.

    But it’s not just local language, it’s the concept.
    And one concept/term hasn’t been used much in discussions and threads I’ve been reading is “autogolpe” or self-coup.
    Basically it is a coup d’etat, in that it uses some of the machinery and organs of the State to seize power, but the objective is not regime change – it is to keep the regime in power, when it is supposed to leave.

    This is something that is not unique to South America, but the continent furnishes some good examples: Alberto Fujimori in Peru in 1995, and recent events in Bolivia.
    I would say that what we’ve seen is a clumsily attempted autogolpe through the legislature, with a noisy messy mob attack on top of it as a threat and distraction.
    The next one won’t be such a clusterfudge.


  15. The GOP and its voters still want fascism – just not with Trump running the show. Unless they are forced to change decisively (and nothing has yet made them do it in 40+ years), the GOP will find someone else to fit the bill and go as they wish. The GOP’s voters keep on electing Trumpites, so why would they stop wanting them and encouraging them?

  16. HEY!!! Dryer lint is a useful substance for birds. They can use it to make their nests soft and fluffy. It doesn’t deserve to be defamed by comparing it to Rafael.

  17. Another Missourian here.

    There are two petitions circulating right now. One calls for Hawley to resign. The other is a recall petition. Maybe one of them will stick.

    But then, it’s Missouri.

  18. @Joe D: As I understand it, that video was from before the real mess started, in fact even before Trump spoke. Does that change anything? Probably not. It’s still disgusting that they were partying even through that part, they might well have still been partying through what followed, etc. Still, the video is not quite the slam-dunk evidence of complicity that some make it out to be.

  19. To realize that this was a coup, one has only to take the thugs who did it at their own word. They themselves spoke of violence. They themselves branded it a civil war.

    And then of course there were the guys who showed up with zip ties looking for hostages!

  20. Did this bit get rerun in the U.S.? We were flipping from CNN to CBC to BBC. Of all the surreal moments in the coverage of a surreal event, one that stands out was a guy who briefly got behind a CBC reporter, and shouted, “Black Lives Matter are Terrorists!”

    No, really.

    I hope he won’t be too disappointed to learn there’s no Coupies Award for Outstanding Achievement in Irony.

  21. The Koup Klux Klan strikes again. Ugh, these assholes.

    Absolutely right on all points, John. I think Impeachment is probably going to happen, but you never know. Pelosi can lose a grand total of FIVE votes on it before it fails in the house, and there’s a lot of uncertainty as to whether it would do any good. More than a few Republicans representatives and Senators look like they want it to succeed, but they absolutely do not want their fingerprints on it. If Pelosi comes up a couple of votes short, they’re not going to assist.

    And if there’s anything we’ve learned, Pelosi is good at counting votes. She’s not going to do this if there’s not enough support for it. She’d swap it out with some other measure, like pushing for censure and requesting an independent prosecutor to go after Trump, Cruz, Hawley and the rest of the Sedition Caucus. Not nearly as satisfying, but still a good thing.

  22. A few more local reactions on Hawley from the Kansas City Star:

    A photographer and a fist pump. The story behind the image that will haunt Josh Hawley

    ‘The biggest mistake I’ve ever made.’ Danforth rues mentoring Hawley, blames him for riot

    Assault on democracy: Sen. Josh Hawley has blood on his hands in Capitol coup attempt

    If Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley had a conscience, he’d resign. He’ll have to be removed
    (Love this bit from the last one:)

    And ultimately, it will be up to Missouri Republicans to penalize his cynical bet that anything he did, as long as he kept quoting Abraham Lincoln and genuflecting before Donald J. Trump, would without fail be rewarded by you.

    Hawley said in a statement that he would “never apologize for giving voice to the millions of Missourians and Americans who have concerns about the integrity of our elections. That’s my job, and I will keep doing it.”

    They have concerns because you and others told them lies. That you think it’s your job to keep telling them the lies that have already gotten four of them killed is inexcusable. And it’s why you don’t deserve to stay on our payroll.

  23. I have never been so pleased to be on a (relatively) inconsequential island in mid-Pacific. We didn’t, thankfully, get any of the riots the mainland saw; our protests tend to be very localized and mostly about the Thirty Meter Telescope. Yesterday I made a library card for a person who was going to be in the islands long-term. His out of state ID was from Washington, D.C. I mentioned that his timing was very good; he concurred.

  24. And in addition, I saw someone on Twitter refer to the white supremacist in redface and Viking hat as “Chewbacca Bikini”, which will be the name of my next cover band.

  25. It might be my military background speaking here, but the primary question in my mind was ‘why aren’t there bodies on the ground?’ during the stampede of morons into the Capital building.

    Maybe in this age of Trumpism we need to replace the Capital Police with Marines for a while, until the entitled morons who presumed to loot and litter the Capital building discover that playing stupid games results in stupid prizes.

    But then I’ve been accused of being a bit reactionary in the past.

    At least the morons are losing their jobs as they are identified. A little something for them to whine about until the feds show up at their doors with warrants.

  26. Guillianni at Trumps rally said the courts were against them and the trials werent going their way, so, he said, “lets have trial by combat”. And then the mob later that day stormed the capitol.

    He should be disbarred for that, at the very least, charged with inciting a riot, likely, and maybe charged with sedition.

  27. The zip-tie crew was not looking for hostages. They were looking for prisoners to execute, probably after some kind of brief and dumbass sovcit “trial”.

    The real reason Pence is finally having a snit fit is not that the political winds are blowing the other way, as with Hawley and Cruz; it’s that Pence had his family with him to observe the vote, and the traitors were literally hunting him.

  28. Who would have thought that a mere fifteen months after Matt Gaetz and a group of yahoos stormed into a closed impeachment hearing with zero consequences that a group of yahoos, with Matt Gaetz’s blessing and encouragement, would storm into the capitol building?

  29. “Anyone who has followed the history of the world for the last 40+ years knows that coup attempts are not always successful, well-organized, competent, or even planned.”

    And if they’ve followed it a bit more, they also know that unsuccessful coup attempts are often followed by successful coups. It was only 10 years between the laughably unsuccessful “Beer Hall Putsch”, after which Hitler and other Nazis were sent to jail, and their successful takeover of Germany and its conversion from democracy to fascism. (And that takeover, at least initially, didn’t require a coup as such; they did well in elections, were offered power in an attempt to shore up existing powers that be, and were both intelligent and ruthless enough to leverage that into total control in short order.)

  30. A foreigner, but I watched the attack on Congress live. While saying “What the Hell? Everyone knew they’d try this. Where are the reinforcements? They’re going to just let this lot seize the Capitol?”

    Yes, a fascist mob stormed America’s legislature. They did it at the behest of the defeated candidate in an election, to derail the due democratic process that would replace him with his victorious opponent.

    That is an attempted coup d’etat, “to seize the government by sudden, violent action”.

    People will try to play down what happened, and play upon complacency and disbelief to claim it isn’t what it is.

    Think before you dismiss, but I think this is a moment that can be can be placed alongside Pearl Harbor. An attack was made on American democracy, to subvert the legitimate will of the people by force. The culprits – both those in the building and those who exhorted them – are the enemies of America and should be treated as such,.They attacked you. Remove them from authority, prosecute them and jail them. There must be consequences for what happened, or it becomes accepted as something that can happen.

    As to how it was allowed to happen – I’ve seen lots of the videos, and the outnumbered, underequipped and unprepared Capital Police out front looked like they were trying their best but left to swing in the wind. The selfies and opening gates at the side raise questions if all the rank and file are OK, but most were. Many were hospitalised and one of their number died defending American democracy from an assault by that fascist mob. Why their leaders left them in that position needs proper investigation.

    As I said, all from a foreigner and all only based from what I can glean from TV and the internet, so pay as much heed as you like. But sincere best wishes fixing your country. I fear it’ll take time and effort.

  31. A few comments in no particular order:

    1) I, too, am unfortunately represented in Congress by a member of the sedition caucus, Bill Posey. I would say I’m disappointed in him but he’s been an idiot since he got elected 12 years ago. At this point I would be shocked if he did something intelligent.

    2) There are reports that while the rioters were actually in the Capitol, Trump was excited and then puzzled that the rest of the White Hose staff was not enthusiastic, too. Then, people (including the White House counsel) started explaining that he could be charged with inciting a riot. Apparently, he’s lost one of his few real talents – the ability to read a room.

    3) I have some hope that the rioting moons will face real consequences for their actions. First, many of them live tweeted, took selfies, and otherwise provided ready made evidence for their trials. Second, some of them beat a cop to death. No one in the FBI, Federal Marshal service, or career Justice department is going to forgive and forget that. In theory, everyone involved is now liable to a murder charge.

    4) I’m not terribly hopeful about impeachment. I will, however, say that the fact that Mitch McConnell is not out there pouring cold water on the idea as yet is a pretty big deal. He hasn’t lost his ability to read a room.

  32. 20 years ago I was a political science major. One thing remember from those classes oh so long ago is that coups, revolutions, etc. often don’t succeed on the first attempt. It’s usually the third or later attempt that finally overthrows a government.

  33. Trump is talking about granting himself (who better?) a full pardon (but if you did nothing wrong, what for?) even though that is almost surely illegal and wouldn’t hold up. Alternatively, he could resign and have Pence pardon him. But then, what if Pence reneges (he-he)? So we’re hoping he pardons himself, then finds the court says “You lose again, moron” and he is really f#cked.

    One more special vote of appreciation for Naziroquai. Brilliant.

  34. I know it’s fun to come up with clever names for these insurrectionists but I can’t help but think it minimizes the seriousness of their actions. Fur hat or not, dumb or not, who can doubt that they would’ve at least detained, probably injured, and possibly killed members of congress and their staff.

    We don’t minimize John Wayne Gacy’s crimes because he used a clown costume. If anything, it makes them more horrifying. Same goes here.

  35. Comparisons have been made to the Beer Hall Putsch. That might seem alarmist, but there are similarities. And none of the systemic issues that led to this have magically gone away.

  36. What gets me, is that DC has some if the stricter laws on carrying guns in the country, and yet that mob was allowed to take them to a presidential rally and then walk all the way to the Capitol without being stopped and searched by any of the myriad law enforcement agencies that have overlapping jurisdiction in DC.

    The 2nd amendment is really out of date!

  37. Minor correction: You said the guys with zip ties “weren’t just there to hang out on the mall…” They in fact erected a gallows, so you’re missing a comma. “They weren’t just there to hang, out on the mall…” Otherwise—good job as usual.

  38. Dear clell65619,

    Well, because the US military has repeatedly said it is NOT going to get into the business of internally enforcing US law, that they think this is an exceedingly bad idea. And every former Secretary of Defense — led by effin’ Dick Cheney, of all people! — published a statement to that effect.


    Dear John,

    I don’t think being in jail would prevent Trump from running in 2024. Sure, there’s the federal law against felons in federal office, but the Constitution lays out the requirements for President and it doesn’t say anything about that.

    In past cases, this has been interpreted as expansive, to mean that there are no further restrictions on who can run for President.

    It’d wind up in the Supreme Court, fer shure, but I’d bet reasonable odds they’d decide Constitutional requirements trumps (ahem) statute.

    The best effect of Trump being in jail is that the Court has consistently given the penal system huge latitude to restrict the speech rights of prisoners. Trump could run… probably… but getting his message out there would be another matter.

    pax / Ctein

  39. I agree with you that the perpetrators were, for the most part, thankfully incompetent, and some were probably even fairly clueless (watching some of the interviews of the people who were pumped up about taking part was like watching spring break videos…wide-eyed and breathless revelers looking for their next high). But, I also agree that something much larger (larger even than many of the participants realized) was going on, and it’s best summed up in today’s article on fivethirtyeight, which is that this was an effort to maintain white power in America…even at the cost of democracy. As the article states, if some aggrieved whites feel that democracy is now serving people other than themselves, then democracy, for all their rhetoric, is no longer what they’re fighting for. Through that lens, the mob wasn’t so much attempting a coup for this president, but trying to maintain the power they feel threatened to lose themselves. It amounts to the same sh*tshow, but also really points out just how challenging a job we have to try to move forward.

  40. The newest senator from my own state, who is known to be a bootlicker (at best) himself, is also on the list of seditionists who were going to “protest” the electoral vote count. Only after the coup d’idiots did he walk back and have harsh things to say about them, but he still held onto this objection vote for at least AZ. In fact, the entire congressional detachment for my state (house and senate), except for the lone Dem, had originally signed on for the objection votes. I didn’t bother checking so see who still hung onto that after the invasion. It’s so awesome living in a red state. There’s a whole lotta criminally stupid going around.

  41. Excellent post, and I agree with it.

    I’d just like to add that my wife and I went to the election riots in Mexico City in 2006 and we did, in fact, get some excellent churros while we were in the crowd. And I got to take my picture with an eagle.

  42. Just to be pedantic about an attempted coup, but it appears that the woman who was killed was shot by a member of Pence’s Secret Service detachment as she (accompanied by a crowd that apparently included police officers) prepared to break into a restricted area. The Capitol Police force appears to need some thorough investigating by someone with no connections to the present police forces.
    I’m betting that won’t happen. What will happen is a pro forma lookover, a firing of the designated scapegoats (probably including any officers who took their jobs seriously) and the result being an even less trustworthy bunch so that the next, more carefully-planned, operation goes a bit more smoothly.
    The GOP has been working at this ever since Nixon’s Downfall, and every step that goes unpunished has led to the next, more dangerous, step. You might think that the people who have been driving this (those who haven’t died of old age, anyway) could hardly believe their luck that they’ve been able to get this far. I suspect, though, that they’re so convinced of their wealthy white superiority that it is assumed that their success was fore-ordained despite periodic setbacks.

  43. John, you truly have an art for capturing the essence of Ted Cruz. “A fetid assemblage of moist dryer lint that dares to assert it’s a man”? [Chef’s kiss gif]

    It’s right up there with “oleaginous lump of hungering self-interest.”

    I see a good future in which you can modernize the lyrics to “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and substitute Ted Cruz.

    Dishonorable mention for congressional misconduct also goes to freshman Illinois Rep. Mary Miller, who begins her tenure with a Jan. 4 rally that is forever known as … I shit you not … the “Hitler was right on one thing” speech. I’ll point out that she’s been apologizing, but her apologies are cringey to say the least.

  44. Ctein:

    True enough that the DOD and former Secretaries of Defense are against the military being involved in Law Enforcement, and rightly so. Active Duty military make for lousy cops.

    That, however was not what I was suggesting. Marines currently stand guard at the White House… and have been known to be somewhat military in their response to people attempting to go where they aren’t supposed to be. Why shouldn’t they do the same over the Capital Building?

    By all means, the arrest of any persons out of bounds in Federal buildings should be performed by police. And the ability to pick and choose which Maga types they want to arrest from what the Marine guards leave behind would be substantially easier.

  45. Dear clell…,

    Oh, yes, you’re right! I forgot about the “Palace Guards.”

    Are “warning shots” an actual useful thing in real life, or just a dumb movie trope?

    Not entirely aside, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much the various national news services have commented (unfavorably) on the “easiest level of play” treatment the insurrectionists received. It seems it’s not just a “woke” thing. Praise be.

    Sure, lip service. But a step up from none.

    pax / Ctein

  46. The second I saw that picture of Hawley I predicted it would be the epitaph for his career. He’ll carry that around to his grave.

  47. During the earlier part of the day (of the insurrection) I was starting to relax a little bit~!~

    The votes in Georgia appeared to rescue the Senate from McConnell’s misrule, the electors’ votes were about to be counted, even if some Fascists and their sympathizers were going to make asses of themselves.

    Then the Trumpian Fascists showed their hands, and the Capitol Police revealed that they were partly complicit and partly betrayed by our own government!!

    Now I’m both angry and saddened. Many more coup participants should have been taken into custody as the coup fell apart. I do not regret the death of the single woman shot in self-defense by the police officer — I hope he gets a medal for his work to save his protectees, the members of congress he was defending.

    And obviously there were people in that crowd who had planned to “execute” members of congress and loyal government workers, and they would have been equally happy to kill people on either side of the aisle, not knowing who was who at all.

    I understand (wife was a national news agency correspondent and knows people invited to that office) that Madam Speaker Pelosi’s office is obscure and difficult to find if you don’t already know exactly how to get there — so obviously part of this coup plot involved insiders willing to kill their coworkers and fellow congress members.

    People willing to “storm the capitol” and “execute” members of congress are serious felons. I’m usually not in favor of executions even when judicially ordered after a long investigatory and criminal trial process, but I’m willing to make an exception here. Otherwise, all of these folks need to be in an obscure, remote, very serious prison, for so long we forget their names.

    Florence Prison near Canyon City CO at least, if not Gitmo, where if they escape there’s no where to run but a tropical swamp. Anyone who participated, helped, gave aid or comfort to them, knew about it personally ahead of time… all of those people need to be accused of murder. If you know the whereabouts of one of these criminals, you are legally obligated, required, to call the FBI and tell them who, where they currently are, what they did, when the went to DC and when they returned.

    I want to know who paid for those buses and airline tickets, whose credit cards were swiped at the local DC hotels, because in your credit card was used, you should be investigated, indicted, tried, and put away for decades.

    Sorry this is so long… I swore an oath regarding our Constitution when I enlisted 50 years ago, and I’ve lived up to it my whole life — these traitors [members of Trump’s administration and Republican fascists in congress] swore the same oath, or dammed near to it, and most of them are all now forsworn criminals.

  48. It was fascinating watching and listening to the senators speaking after the mob insurrection was cleared out of the Capitol and given the all clear to resume the debate and vote on the Arizona Electoral Challenge. But when it got to Republican Senator Josh Hawley and listening to his monologue, I started yelling obscenities at the TV screen like a crazy person. I couldn’t help myself.

    While browsing FB one of the best descriptions I read of many of mob hooligans was that they looked like characters from Duck Dynasty. Absolutely whacky!

    Living in Texas I’m not a fan of Ted Cruz and I’m outraged that he was part of that coup attempt. Voted for Beto O’Rourke in 2018. From what I gather Ted will be running for US President again in 2024, I’ll be voting for the Democratic nominees in all categories.

  49. Two questions:

    What happens if Trump blanket-pardons the rioters?

    In a lot of American jurisdictions, if you’re part of a criminal act that results in death, you can be charged, convicted, and sentenced for murder. Are all of those yahoos prosecutable for murder because a rioter and a cop were killed?

  50. I would like to accept “naziroquai” and offer “coup d’twats” in exchange, if it please the court.

    Humor is so greatly appreciated right now. Carry on.

  51. Ctein:”Are “warning shots” an actual useful thing in real life”

    Police in my state are prohibited from firing warning shots. They are considered “first blood” so to speak.

  52. Love it! Hey, do you remember a cartoon on Saturday mornings about 1967 called “The Mighty Mightor?” About a prehistoric superhero? He dressed like that guy with the horns.

  53. And they’re threatening to come back on January 20, when Biden is sworn in, with rifles this time. It’s like Wednesday was a dry run or something. Let’s see how many get arrested before then, but I’m thinking a lot of those coming with rifles were not in the mob two days ago.

  54. I preferred your phlegm description of Cruz over moist dryer lint. It was both more accurate and more entertaining. You should bring that one back. The kidz may not have heard it.

  55. So much rot in the Republican Party. Ginny Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Thomas, was active in ginning up this insurrection.

  56. I believe there are exactly 4 US Marines who are on detail to guard the president. Increasing that to numbers that would replace the DC cops would likely run into issues with the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.

    these knuckleheads in the capitol building remind me of how easy it was for the 9/11 hijackers to get into the cockpits. People were calling for armed pilots and armed guards on planes, but what it came down to was putting locks on the doors. I’m actually a bit surprised this never occurred to the security folks of the various federal buildings.

    Obviously, the doors can be open during normal operations, but during a protest, a single guard should be able to close the door behind him rather than be chased by an angry mob straight into the main hall. like this poor bastard:

    also, lexan windows probably from now on….

  57. I’ll limit myself to 3 comments. sorry if I rant too much.

    1) Ohio NPR station WCPN interviewed a bunch of Ohio Republicans about the attacks. One supporter of Trump said this: “They were there to get their questions answered and their doubts answered,” Layton said. “It’s been 90 days, more than three months since the election, and nobody’s explained to us.” All I could think of was “What election was he talking about?” Is there any way to make oneself appear more stupid than this?

    2) Re lowest difficulty setting point, a related point is the sheer number of people, both politicians and commentators, who on Wednesday and yesterday said “This isn’t who Americans are!” I ended up screaming “Yes it fucking well is!” Anyone who truly believes that most likely isn’t Black or LGBT, and certainly hasn’t seriously studied American History since the third grade. It’s absolutely who we are.

    3) Finally, I note the pathetic irony of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy saying today that he hoped the House wouldn’t impeach Trump because it would “divide our country more” and that we needed to “lower the temperature and unite the country.” Of course, he said that less than 48 hours after he and all of his colleagues were forced to hide from a potentially murderous mob directed at them by the current President. Oh, and only about 36 hours after McCarthy himself had objected on the House floor to the acceptance of the Georgia electoral votes awarded to Joe Biden.

  58. John, the placement of your photo so near Hawley’s, below & to the right, sort of makes you look like a wannabe! Hehe, I know you didn’t mean it.

    Here more similar (if left field) observations. Trump didn’t go with the crowd as he suggested he would, but when quizzed on this by reporters, some of the future rioters said with intimacy that “he’s with us” … as if Trump’s spirit/soul was inside of them??? And how about the bizarre actions of the police – opening barriers, giving selfies? – all this suggests to me a complete break from reality (at least as to job duties) that I can’t help but wonder if LSD was in the air. And the the laziness or lack of self-concern of the rioters, as to their self-harm?? While I was watching it almost seemed like another LSD moment was with them! Kind of reminded me of things I saw or learned about during the breaking of the Berlin Wall – a zeitgeist or something seemed to making things go certain ways, regardless of normal ways things go. Few things seemed sensible to me or pragmatically understandable, and nobody there seemed to notice. I got queasy watching.

    Normally I just lurk about here, reading offerings with great interest. But didn’t at least some of you folks think things were happening a bit weirder than they should?

  59. Mo Brooks, my representative, was one of the asses whipping the mob up – he told them to ‘kick ass’. He was also one of the first house reps to promote objecting to the formal electoral count. He’s been a PITA since he’s been in office, and I hope he’s prosecuted and convicted.

  60. Ctein:

    Police may do ‘warning shots’, (I doubt they do) but the military does not.

    I recall a time on the range when one of the young nuggets asked the Range Master about ‘warning shots’. The instruction went out to the class that ‘warning shots’ go into the bad guy’s chest.

    This also sufficed for ‘shoot to wound’ because a sucking chest wound focuses the mind quite effectively.

    To be clear, police are (supposed to be) public servants and help people. The Military kills people and breaks their things. This is why military units don’t make good substitutes for cops.

  61. How about “coup d’twit”? That seems appropriate on a couple of different punny levels . . .

  62. I’ve been screaming about the possibility of this development for damn near forty years. And even at that, as a writer, January 6th sent me over to my books because I do write about regime change and the like, even in my fantasy. To what degree am I contributing to the romanticizing of revolution?

    Then, of course, I wrote about it. No idea if it’s as well thought out as it should be, because a lot of it was composed late last night when my brain finally stopped being reactive. Um. It probably was still a bit reactive then.

    Anyway. Here’s a link to Writing the Revolution: A Call to Creatives in the Wake of January 6th, 2021. Because I think those of us who are creatives do need to be thinking about this (you’re pretty decent, John, but from what I see trawling across my feeds….)

  63. When putsch comes to shove…

    I’m lucky enough to live someplace with a large Latinx (however the hell you’re supposed to pronounce that) population, so–despite their being essentially squeezes of carbs deep-fried in lard–I’m going out right now to find some churros. And I’ll never be able to eat one again without thinking of the last couple of days.

    Hafte start somewhere, I guess…

  64. On the timing of impeachment: if you have the necessary 66 Senate votes to remove (reduced by 1 because there are only 99 Senators at the moment), then yes, do it ASAP. But if you don’t, it seems like it only takes a simple majority in the Senate to disqualify him from holding future office. In which case you might want the impeachment case to hit the Senate after the 20th. (See .)

    Once Warner, Ossoff, and Harris’s replacement are sworn in, and Harris takes the oath as VP, Democrats will be able to impose a real consequence for impeachment, rather than just political theater. So the proper timing all depends on what their vote counts are showing.

  65. I saw someone on twitter refer to it as Coup De_twat” so I think I’m going with that

  66. At least the number of arrests is going up. As of this writing, the L.A. Times says 82 people have been arrested.

  67. @flatrate I’m not sure posse comitatus applies. First, it includes numerous exceptions including acts of congress. Second, the insurrection act supersedes and creates another exception clearly applicable to the current situation (hint: it’s in the name). The problem for that one is that it specifically requires presidential action, which is precisely why we need to get that ****er out of there. In general I’m strongly opposed to the idea of using the military domestically, but I hadn’t considered the case of actual insurrection until quite recently. If people are actively planning to descend on DC with guns then I might not be opposed to having a whole lot of people with even bigger guns standing in their way. At some point it stops being a law-enforcement issue and becomes a military one.

  68. A comment for clell65619:

    Former military here – I thoroughly enjoyed your comments. Was reminded of my own training about “warning shots” & of my son’s current training as a Marine.

    Thanks for your service.

  69. Hawley comments:
    Absent his other actions, His pitiful self-serving speech as he opposed PA’s electoral votes proved he’s a tool at best.
    Thank’s to his little fist wave, he’s no Josh “Raised my fist in support of a mob that beat a cop to deal” Hawley.

    Anyone got the links to the petitions asking him to resign and attempting to recall him?

    in addition to the book deal, and condemnation by Jack Danforth, he also lost one of his major donors from 2018 (

    Sadly, even if he does leave office before 2024 he’ll just be replaced by either more of the same, or someone like Roy “Literally in bed with Lobbyists” Blunt.

  70. I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of analysis, but to answer the question “why weren’t more people dead”, it’s because the mob had more guns than the cops, and the cops knew it. They were working to deescalate since they didn’t have the numbers to try anything else.

    Now the reasons why things got to that point are more important and well worth investigating, but when the options are either “delay and deescalate while we evacuate the VP” or “turn this into a massacre where lots of people are getting shot (including the police)” you’ve already lost at this point.

  71. The suggestion I made in a couple of forums for dealing with the dimsurrectionists is that NPS should hand Alcatraz back to DOJ to be reopened as a prison for those rioters who get arrested and convicted. In addition to whatever sentence they get, they get to serve it while looking out at Nancy Pelosi’s hometown. Now that’s justice!

  72. my dog is named hannah:

    They only call for forgiveness and lament division when they’re the ones otherwise facing consequences.

    I sense a line to this from “it’s too soon after this senseless and utterly unpredictable mass-shooting tragedy to talk about gun control”, but I’m too soul-bruised to work it out.

  73. @Peter, it’s pronounced unimaginatively — “Latin ehcks”. It’s not the Spanish “x,” which is pronounced like the English “h”.

    Latinx is still largely an American peculiarity. The Associated Press stylebook guidance is that it’s still unfamiliar to most US audiences and should be used in quotations and explained that the x replaces the gendered o/a suffix. The project to transform Spanish into a gender-neutral language has not yet advanced in Spanish-speaking societies the way it has in the US.

  74. Stupid Coup d’Etat was the inevitable sequel to Stupid Watergate.

    BTW, as Eugene Debs showed, you can run for president from prison. The reason Trump won’t run in 2024 is because he has created a comfortable fiction about how the landslide was stolen from him, and he will never run the least risk of puncturing that fantasy and having to deal once again with being a loser.

  75. Reposted from my Goodreads review of The Collapsing Empire, which I finally got around to reading despite the fact that I obtained a copy with your signature during your book tour when it came out…

    I don’t have much of a review of this book itself other than to say I heartily enjoyed it. I was struck by a paragraph in the acknowledgements at the end of the novel:

    “As a second side note, I will also note that the title of this book—The Collapsing Empire—was not intended as a commentary on the current state of the United States, the UK, or of Western Civilization in general. I thought it up years ago. It just happened to look like commentary because, let’s face it, 2016 was a historically fucked-up year, and I can only hope 2017 is going to be better. Because if it’s not, it really is time to head to the bunkers with our barrels of beans and rice.”

    If only he knew…

    As I write this, we’re in month ten of a global pandemic where we need to avoid seeing other people unless absolutely necessary. An armed insurrection disrupted a joint session of Congress the other day. I am sitting in the home office area that I carved out of a corner of my basement this summer because I needed a relatively quiet place at home to get some work done. I ate my lunch while reading the last bit of Scalzi’s novel. The meal consisted of rice, beans, and canned tuna. Bunker life is here.

  76. Nik 9:23 is totally right. By the time the mob is on the steps and at the doors, it’s way too late for the officers to control. I feel like the gate video may have been part of a safety withdrawal.

    The officers did not deserve to be placed in such a bad position, and whether it was simple racism by assuming white boys weren’t dangerous or deliberate sabotage is something we won’t know for a while probably. (My vote is for deliberate.).

  77. Dear Dave,

    Holy F***! This gets more and more bizarre.


    Having just spent the better part of an hour reading through the various Senate impeachment rules documents, it seems to me that the Guardian is, in significant part, wrong.

    The rules, when one digs deeply enough (e.g., Senate report 99-401) state clearly that the prohibition of holding office in the future is an additional punishment the Senate may levy after conviction, which still has to be by a two-thirds vote. The Senate rules say that the additional punishment only needs a majority vote, but you have to convict to get to that point.

    On the other hand… the rules of impeachment and of how the Senate conducts business state that the only way the Senate trial can proceed before 1 PM on January 20 is by unanimous consent of all senators. Which, of course, is not going to happen!

    Consequently, any Senate trial would occur after the new Democratic-controlled Senate is installed and after Trump is no longer in office.

    This is novel territory and raises many interesting questions (the least of which is whether Chief Justice Roberts would be required to preside). My guess would be that it will be up to the (new) Senate to decide how things will proceed… if they proceed. While these are in theory questions that could be taken to the Supreme Court, the Court has made it abundantly clear that they consider impeachment a POLITICAL activity that they want to stay as far away from as they possibly can.

    In other words, it’s going to be popcorn time for at least 12 more days.

    - pax \ Ctein

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

  78. “And if they’ve followed it a bit more, they also know that unsuccessful coup attempts are often followed by successful coups. It was only 10 years between the laughably unsuccessful “Beer Hall Putsch”, after which Hitler and other Nazis were sent to jail, and their successful takeover of Germany and its conversion from democracy to fascism.”

    This is one reason i’m still concerned about Hawley and his less notorious colleagues. They may face some consequences now, but there’s no guarantee those consequences will stick for another decade or so.

  79. This was an entertaining read.

    I remember being severely spooked by the cannibal scenes in the movie The Road with Viggo Mortensen. The last 4 years as I was worried the world really may go off the rails, I always projected that the avid Trump supporters would be the first people to resort to those tendencies based on the way they respond to his rallies.

    I really hope the GOP after this finds a way to walk back their acceptance of vile behavior toward other human beings even if it costs them some votes in futures elections.

  80. Two things: let us always refer to Jan. 7th and this event as the Trump stain. And two, perhaps leave the broken out widow panel in the door to the Senate forever un repaired as a note to what might have happened…

  81. VP Pence must be feeling like the only normal human in the room when all the other occupants take off their human masks. His president’s followers broke into government buildings in order to kill him; they were told to break in by his president, with the approval, nay exuberant joy, of his closest cronies/family.

    And I have no sympathy whatsoever. He is despised on both sides of the aisle, for good reason.

    Interestingly, if Rep. Pelosi gets her way, he will become President, about the same way that Adm Donitz became Fuhrer, but for even less time.

  82. I just wanted to take a moment to recognize the aides that had the presence of mind to remove the envelopes with the electoral votes from the various states.from the House chambers as it was being overrun. If the putsch-kins had found those, who knows where we would be now. I’d like to think that each state has duplicate originals that are readily available, but I really don’t know.

    One additional thought – President elect Biden will be starting his term without any of his Cabinet Secretaries in place. If everything stops for the impeachment process, getting the required Senate approvals will be delayed and could be contentiously drawn out. At the same time, no additional stimulus legislation advances. Let the state of New York and the District of Columbia pursue their potential cases and let the People’s work continue in Congress.

    Wait, you say – what if the Dumpster Fire pardons himself, the DC cases become moot. I say great – let the “originalists” on the Supreme Court sort it out.

    Not an optimal approach but there are a lot of people in this country who need something much more from Congress than the satisfaction of Trump being impeached.

  83. Those images of the base of the Capitol dome glowing orange brought to mind the Reichstag fire that ushered in the Hitler era.

    I wonder if the sight of the building in flames wouldn’t have given a more effective jolt to all those Republicans who don’t realise just how far-gone they are. Photos of putschist numbskulls clowning about inside don’t adequately convey the seriousness of the situation facing the USA. Most Republicans are way past the flirting-with-fascism stage – but too pigshit-thick to know it.

  84. Thoughts concerning the Capitol riot:

    Many of these thoughts have been noted previously by other commenters. Thank you for saying them.

    The rioters.
    Most of the people in the riot were chowderheads like Naziroquoi. They believed the President, were there to protest, wreak havoc, and have fun. They became violent and beat a cop to death because that’s what mobs DO. Mobs override the rules of decent human behavior.
    There were other groups in the protest, groups who had evil plans. They are the ones who brought Flexi-Cuffs (of heavy duty zip ties, doesn’t matter). They came prepared and planned, if given the chance, to capture and kill. I don’t know how much coordination they had with each other, other groups, instigators. My hope is that they were the same as the guys who tried to murder Gov. Whitmer this summer. Because the alternative is much worse.
    I suspect there were more. What would have happened if the boxes with the electoral votes hadn’t been whisked away in time? I suspect that there were people in the riot who realized that if the ballots were destroyed, the election would fall to pieces, people who preferred a Trumpian oligarchy (with themselves minor oligarchs) to a Democratic republic. They would have destroyed those ballots in a heartbeat if they got their hands on them.
    These are all the domestic rioters. If I were running intelligence for a foreign nation, say one that doesn’t use the Latin alphabet, I’d have operatives in that crowd JUST IN CASE. It might be a mess is they were arrested, but this was the chance of a lifetime to plant listening devices. Fumigate the Capitol. Twice.

    The defense
    Yes. The Capitol’s defenses were a joke. I saw the video of the bicycle cops trying to hold the temporary barricade in place. Rioters broke into the Capitol building. That failure is why the Chief of Capitol Police and both Seargeants-At-Arms lost their jobs.
    I’m actually kind of happy with what happened next. Once the perimeter was broken, “defend the perimeter” was no longer the goal. Instead it became in order (and I’m skipping steps here) “Get the VIPs out safely”, “Get potential hostages out safely”, “Protect what needs protecting”, “Minimize fatalities.” “Don’t let them take selfies” isn’t even the bottom of the list. Think of it this way. A violent mob stormed the Capitol, No VIPs were injured. Business resumed later that same day. Fatalies were in single digits. Falling back and letting the chowderheads wander aimlessly meant that we didn’t see pictures of bodies lining the hallways. (I’d have rather that they were all arrested and processed upon leaving, but beggars can’t be choosers)
    I also want to go out of my way and applaud those plainclothes officers who waited, guns at the ready, defending the chamber. I’m confident they would have killed anyone who came through that door and happy that they didn’t have to.

    The images.
    This is my wishlist of the images I want seared into the memory of anyone who would ever doubt that it could happen here.
    Bicycle cops defending the barricades. See kids, this is what piss-poor prior planning produces.
    The armed defense of the chamber. Lest one forget what was as stake here.
    Any picture of a rioter carrying the confederate battle flag, the flag of those former Americans who WAGED WAR AGAINST MY COUNTRY. People are shocked that this happened. I want them to be enraged that we LET this happen.
    Rep. Kim kneeling to pick up trash. We teach our children to pick up litter, right? Here’s a great example of actions matching words. This was a simple thing and he probably didn’t spend much time doing it, I don’t know. But, by my count, 537 legislators weren’t photographed helping clean up the mess.

  85. I would totally buy a John Scalzi book consisting of nothing but Scalzi’s descriptions of Ted Cruz.

  86. For those of you (us) wondering if this was the Beer Hall Putsch, with the successful coup coming ten years down the road . . . maybe. Let’s be ready. But I am currently taking a certain amount of comfort in the fact that Trump is well into his seventies, while Hitler was 23 in 1923 and 33 in 1933. One of the problems with a cult of personality is that if you lose the “personality,” the cult is at least badly damaged–and there is no way a man in his eighties is going to be able to lead a coup. I hope.

    Of course, it might not be ten years exactly; he’s still got a year or two to try. And there are still the Trump wannabes and successors, but it’s more difficult to take over from an adored leader than many people realize. It can be/has been done, I know, and if there is an attempt, the people I’m watching are Trump’s kids, especially DJTJ, but it’s tricky.

    David Brigden: I appreciate your balanced overview of the cops’ actions during the riot–it makes sense. Yeah, I’d say that once people got into the building, it’s defenders were down to some pretty bleak choices. And their leadership absolutely let them down, but at least the immediate leaders of the Capitol Police seem to be paying for their errors. I just wish I believed that the larger screw-ups would also face consequences, like whoever it was who decided or “didn’t realize” that the Capitol Police didn’t NEED reinforcements ahead of time . . . and I also agree: good for Rep. Kim, even if he only helped for a few minutes.

  87. For your amusement: apparently one of the fatalities was a self-inflicted heart attack. On this putz putscher’s social media feed there’s a photo of him holding two assault rifles with a caption along the lines of “Let’s do it!”

    Well, it would seem that Braniac was trying to steal a painting off the wall and he needed both hands. One of his pieces of equipment was a taser or stun gun, and he had nowhere to put it, so he shoved it down his pants. While wrestling with the painting, said device discharged into his testicles.

    Well, we can’t say that he didn’t have balls. And apparently balls are very good conductors of electricity.

  88. @waynezombie:

    You owe me a new keyboard!

    I know this is the part where I’m supposed to say something mature and empathetic about this man’s death, but…

  89. I agree with everything you said. Leaving aside the obvious racism and blithe assistance provided to the criminals by law enforcement agents, the absurd and somewhat willful blindness of law enforcement is inexcusable. Here’s what I mean. In a Washington Post article dated Jan. 7, 2021, “There was no intelligence that suggested there would be a breach of the U.S. Capitol,” [D.C. Police Chief Robert] Contee said Thursday.

    Really? Really? I knew that violence was the plan for the day long ago, you know, right about the time that it was clear that Mr. Biden was the president-elect. The current president has called for violence many times in his time of office, and he called it for again on several occasions in more recent days. The evidence is clear that his calls for violence have always been enthusiastically received and enacted by the horrible people who support him.

    How did I know it? I have nothing to do with right-wing groups and I certainly do not read any of their ignorance-mongering. Just by viewing Facebook (and, again, I don’t tolerate any haters among my “friends”) and reading the Washington Post from time to time. It didn’t take any penetrating powers of observant to see clearly that a violent attack was on the way. I’m sad to say that it is very possible that something terrible will be done by the same kinds of criminals on inauguration day, and again the defensive response will be criminally inept.

  90. Is he actually an Iroquois? If not, it feels kind of appropriative. I am not Native American and don’t really have a say, but the term does make me cringe. He’s definitely a Nazi though.

  91. Either crimminally inept or complicit, one of the two.

    I’m almost 100 percent convinced that those bastards had some kind of help, the same kind of help that should mean some serious reimagining where inauguration plans are concerned.

    I’m assuming several key targets (speaker of the house, incoming and out going senate majority leaders, president and vice president elect and families etc) will be in attendance; they’ll need to tighten or seriously rework whatever security measures they had in place.

    Even if they can identify, fire, arrest and successfully prosecute everyone they suspect of having aided the “protesters,” is there such thing as a fool proof way of preventing future Trump and Trumpist sympathizers from joining the capital police force or secret service?

    Another, unrelated question is, is there some mechanism for preventing the terrorists from accessing the information on the devices they stole?

  92. @Mary Frances, as far as Beer Hall Pustch analogies go, it might be better to consider Trump as the Ludendorff of the movement rather than the Hitler. He is the useful tool who the real Nazis are using to mask themselves with at the moment.

  93. nicoleandmaggie: The term is a play on the band “Jamiroquai” and its vocalist, Jay Kay — who has been quoted in something called “Page Six” as saying he wasn’t the one at the riots. Which is to say … Scalzi isn’t the only one to notice the vague similarity of costuming.

    (A quick skim of Wikipedia suggests that Kay did appropriate the terminology and look, but that’s a separate matter.)

  94. Whatever happens in terms of congressional investigations (which if there’s any justice will make the Benghazi hearings seem brief), if this hadn’t happened, people would be less alert to the possibilities on January 20. Joe Biden was asked yesterday at a press conference, part of which was devoted to a few new Cabinet nominees, whether Wednesday and its aftermath would make things easier or more difficult for the start of his administration, and he (rightly, I think) went with “easier”.

    I think I’m trying to look on the bright side because I live just outside of DC.

    [A few hours ago a commenter wrote that Hitler was 23 in 1923 and 33 in 1933. Actually he turned 34 in 1929 and 44 in 1933.]

  95. I’m watching/listening (blind, you know( to C Span’s coverage of the “debates”/vote counting on Jan 6.

    If you haven’t seenor heard it, fast forward to about 1:30 or so.

    I swear I heard a “parent” pointing out “history” to her kid as she stormed her way through the senate chamber.

    See, little Timmy?

    Look what mommy is doing!

    This is how we do sedition!

    What kind of parents bring their children into the middle of something like this?

    I’m no fan of the fostercare system, but if there aren’t serious consequences for the abusive, child-endangering excuses for human beings who dragged their kids to a crime against their country, there is something very, very wrong.

  96. Cut to about 3:30 or so, and Gretta from C Span is taking calls from citizens.

    You should hear the Trumpists praising the violence, blaming Antifa and projectile vomiting conspiracy theories all over the broadcast.

    They’re a cross between crazy Ralph from Friday the 13th and the…characters who sport tin hats, shout at you from freeway underpasses or scream at you from atop dinted milk crates.

    My personal favorite is Katie from Kentucky who doesn’t condone violence but believes that communists have taken over the US government and that representatives should be dragged out of the capital and thrown down the stairs.

    Trump supporters aren’t violent like Antifa is, she declares.

    10 bucks say her definition of communism has something to do with taxation and the social safety net.

    Jim in Texas has a sad because conservatives “don’t have a voice” in this country anymore.

    He laments the fact that HRC never spent a single day in jail and opines that the FBI and DOJ have no credibility because they wouldn’t do Trump’s bidding.

    He called the FBI and DOJ and asked who the “big boss” was (maybe Google is a novel concept for ole Jim) and hung up convinced that something was off because no one could tell him who the “big boss” was.

    His “research” tells him that the DOJ is in control of the FBI (yet the identity of the “big boss” sscapes him) and that the FBI’s refusal to release documents comes down to the crooked DOJ.

    His solid, well supported argument that the election was stolen comes down to faulty voting machines switching votes and bad actors in Frankford Germany.

    Oh, and ole Jim wants us all to know that “the court system has been blocked by the justice department!”

    Gretta cuts him off mid-sentence.

    Poor Jim from Texas.

    Bottom line, these are the supposedly “safe” ones.

    They can’t be reasoned with and are offended by facts that don’t come from “trusted” sources.

    They’re not going to do the shooting but they’ll drive the cars, pack the lunches and hide the shooters.

    This is not going to end well.

  97. I have only seen one video of a street barricade opening up, a cell phone video where the actual opening is blocked from direct view, but it appears to me after a few viewings that it was a Trumpie that did the actual opening, with everyone then walking on in a relaxed fashion.

    And I’ve only seen one photo of a selfie with cop being take, and the cop looks extremely grim and unamused and not exactly encouraging.

    I haven’t been searching for these images, but I find it very plausible that the amount of alleged collusion by the cops is greatly exaggerated. They were undermanned and for all they knew, undergunned.

  98. The 14th amendment, section 3, seems very germane. What is the need to wait for impeachment and questionable trial? As a bonus, perhaps it can be used to remove Hawley and Cruz.

  99. I don’t know if the police (or some police) colluded with the insurrectionists, but their response was very different than in other contexts.. If it had been a BLM invasion of the Capitol, do you think anyone would have managed to walk out of that building alive? In any case, the ones who did walk out weren’t arrested, or apparently, even accosted by the police. As noted, when the Capitol steps were invaded by Cavanaugh protestors, every single one was arrested, That did not happen on 1/6. In addition, the lack of firepower doesn’t exactly argue against collusion – I mean, they’re only counting the electoral votes in a highly contested election with a President who asked for violent support from his people during the election. What could possibly happen? (As noted, the Capitol police force has 2300 police officers, and was reported to have refused further help.) It also contrasts to the riots during the summer, when violent responses to protests (which did cause property damage and violence but were without insurrection) were not uncommon.

    My paranoid fear is that Trump grabs a whole bunch of documents and runs for exile in Russia. Even mentally diminished, he probably knows enough general pieces of strategy and structure to be valuable for Putin. Putin shelters him for a little while and then (once he’s gotten what he can get) gives Trump a 9 mm retirement plan; given a national intelligence apparatus, he could easily frame liberals here for whacking the rotten apple of their eye. The information would cause significant intelligence damage to the US, and Trump’s death would further engender anger between Republicans and Democrats, making governing difficult and possibly foster a civil war.

  100. Well, there were also reports of police giving directions to terrorists, but, yes…in the aftermath, it seems a lot of this was a tactical decision…as in, vastly outnumbered, with little backup, so they did what they could to minimize the damage.

    But whoever put them in that position…AND….whoever blocked properly equipped backup….I can condemn those folks whole heartedly.

  101. gottacook: That was me getting Hitler’s age wrong. Oops! Thanks for the correction.

    crypticmirror: Yeah, I can see casting Trump as Ludendorff, unfortunately. But Hitler was the “charismatic leader,” wasn’t he? So . . . I can hope at least that the parallel won’t hold, but I’m going to be keeping a close eye on everyone around Trump anyway. Especially his children. Just in case.

    Trump took took too many people by surprise in 2016. This time, let’s all pay attention, shall we?

  102. Dear William,

    “What is the need to wait for impeachment and questionable trial?”

    Because that is the legal mechanism by which a President is removed from office! Even if you are right about the 14th, sec 3 applying, how is that to be implemented otherwise? Wave a magic wand???

    If you want to suggest to your Congressperson that this be one of the impeachment charges brought up in the House, by all means!

    pax / Ctein

  103. gottacook: Not possible to turn 34 in 1929 and be ten years older in five years. Adolf Hitler was born in April 1889, and the rest is simple arithmetic: 34 at the Beer Hall Putsch in November 1923, and 43 when he became Reichskänzler in January 1933.

    Mat C: Funny you should mention cannibalism. I was predicting an outbreak of same at the GOP Convention in Cleveland four years ago, since that seemed to be the direction the MAGA Morlocks were headed. I’ve had to postpone that prediction several times, but it looks as if we’ve finally arrived.

    As for the participants in this act of war: Hot lead and cold steel, administered by the hands of millions of patriotic doctors.

  104. A couple of points from a horrified northern neighbour, who normally doesn’t watch much CNN, but can’t look away:

    Saw an interview (yesterday evening, I think) with a less terrifying explanation for the guy photographed with the zip ties. CNN interviewed a friend of a photojournalist who was there, maybe even the one who took the shot, and that photojournalist witnessed the guy breaking into the security office and stealing those zip ties. Does CNN continue to show that photo and talk about the premeditation it implies because the report is hearsay? Or do they have another reason?
    Hoping there’s video or still footage of whoever constructed the gallows. Now that’s truly horrifying!

  105. Thanks JS for expressing the righteous pissed offness I feel….a red mist is hanging in the back of my brqin trying to take over. Deep breaths. Focus on my puppy.

    A. Yes! There indeed copies of the electoral ballots in each state and a photo copy in the National Archives. The symbolic destruction of the originals could prop up more conspiracy theories of fraud.

    B. The guy with giant zip ties said they were “ on the floor and I picked them up….” which is kinda strange,plus SOMEONE broght them and I don’t think it was a congressperson. Also, there are cameras….soooooooo we will see.

    C. The takeover of Malhuer National Wildlife Refuge in Eastern Oregon…A long way from Portland, where there are more cows than people…by the Bundy family and friends was a preview of this. They even bragged it was a preview of things to come.

    The feds were tiptoeing around for a month because there were already groups communicating and organizing who thought the “government” was interfering.

    Though one man died, they got off pretty lightly..and we knew there would be more attempts…..
    But the Capitol!
    Only with collusion from major polliticians and mad would be kings is this possible.

  106. Eileen O: Possibly there is a slightly less terrifying source for the zip ties than “I brought them with me to use on hostages,” but there were evidently at least two men photographing carrying zip ties. One says he “found them on the floor” and only picked them up to give to the cops, but. Still.

    Here’s a link to the Snopes fact check (no guarantees I can get it to work; I miss Preview): Do Photos Show Rioters with Zip Cuff

  107. Dear William,

    “And I’ve only seen one photo of a selfie with cop being take, and the cop looks extremely grim and unamused and not exactly encouraging.”

    A little Google-fu will discredit this notion that the cops were all unsupportive. Check out Snopes, in particular, which has delved into this with considerable detail.

    pax / Ctein

  108. There’s a rather telling moment in a video when a reporter asks a policeman about a room that the seditionists are marching into, unimpeded. Can’t go there, says the officer. Nobody goes in there.

    Before, during, and after, the rioters just keep strolling on in, waved in by police.


  109. My reading is limited, but I’m surprised I haven’t heard more people point out that the Capitol Police were thrust into an unwinnable war, so to speak–a concept that a lot of our Gops affected to care about a great deal a couple of decades ago.

  110. @Mark
    “I’d like to think that each state has duplicate originals that are readily available, but I really don’t know.”

    When each governor certifies the election, they prepare and sign six “duplicate originals” which are distributed as required by law. One goes to Congress, one goes to the official Archivist of the United states, some are kept on file in the state, and so on.

    So yes, there are official duplicates that are required to be readily available. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t important – or courageous – of those people to snag them as they were evacuating, because getting those duplicates would have meant a further delay, and likely, all sorts of new conspiracy theories.

  111. @Lymis

    Thanks for filling in the blanks for me.

    You are also spot on wrt my concern that a whole host of conspiracy theories would blossom.

  112. I think it says something about our collective shock and (entirely understandable) desire for normalcy that we are giving the slightest credence to “Oh, THOSE zip ties? Uh, I just, like, you know, found them! I was carrying them cuz I was totally going to give them to the authorities!”

    That’s the kind of excuse a twelve-year-old offers when Mom is cleaning his room and finds a bag of weed.

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