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Anatomy of a failed coup

Written By: - Date published: 8:58 am, January 8th, 2021 - 175 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, Donald Trump, making shit up, Politics, spin, us politics, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

America’s descent into chaos was almost completed yesterday.  An amazingly inept display by local police saw a takeover of Congress and a temporary disruption of the confirmation of the clearly expressed view of the majority of Americans.

Thankfully the opposition was a rabble and completely unprepared.

And people are wondering if the fuck up theory actually applies on this occasion.

From Business Insider:

  • Multiple European security officials told Insider that President Donald Trump appeared to have tacit support among US federal agencies responsible for securing the Capitol complex in Wednesday’s coup attempt.
  • Insider is reporting this information because it illustrates the serious repercussions of Wednesday’s events: Even if they are mistaken, some among America’s international military allies are now willing to give credence to the idea that Trump deliberately tried to violently overturn an election and had help from some federal law-enforcement agents.
  • “We train alongside the US federal law enforcement to handle these very matters, and it’s obvious that large parts of any successful plan were just ignored,” one source told us.

Chuck Schumer, soon to be Senate majority leader, has pledged to fire Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Mike Stenger when as soon as he has the power to do so.  And Bill Barr has accused Trump of orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress.

It is not as if Trump’s involvement has been hidden.  As just one example telling Proud Boys to “stand down” two months ago suggests that he viewed them as his own private army.

Yesterday he urged them to march on Congress and his lawyer Rudy Guliani talked about “trial by conquest”.  Over the past few weeks he has obsessed over the thought that the election has been stolen from him.  This is despite the overwhelming response from multiple states and courts that no such theft occurred.

And in Congress various Republican representatives tried to allege that the whole thing was a deep state conspiracy involving Antifa operatives, not a rabble of fascists who despite themselves almost succeeded.

The whole “movement” has been a mishmash of weird conspiracy theories and the twisting of concepts beyond breaking point.  Trump is their natural leader.

The potential violence was huge.  One protestor was pictured with ties, obviously with the intent of taking hostages.  Guns were present and two pipe bombs, one for the DNC and one for the RNC were discovered.

Social media finally shut down Trump’s social media.  This caused the most bizarre tone deaf responses from National aligned social media and  a wannabe National MP that I have ever seen.

Or how about this as an example of a totally tone deaf example of false equivalence.

Trump still has the nuclear codes.  If his cabinet has a spine they will remove him from office using the 25th amendment of the US constitution.

175 comments on “Anatomy of a failed coup ”

  1. Andre 1

    Mrs. Moscow Mitch quits. She would have been one of the more likely members of Cabinet to sign on to a 25th Amendment removal of the Fanta Fascist, so that possibility now looks somewhat more remote.

    • weka 1.1

      is she stupid, scared, or simply covering her post-Sec employment career options?

      • Sacha 1.1.1

        I'd say the latter. Well-protected already.

      • Andre 1.1.2

        I'm picking she doesn't want to get forced into taking a stand either way on the 25th. To protect hubby McTurtle's prospects of becoming Majority leader again in the mid-terms.

  2. mickysavage 2

    Yep they need to hang around so they can invoke the power.

  3. Andre 3

    That they're all anti-maskers following their leader Darth Hater makes it somewhat easier to identify them. Probably will turn out to be a superspreading event, too, which I kinda take a Darwinian view of.


  4. weka 4

    I wish that was America's descent into chaos almost completed, but I fear there is a lot more to come. Even if this current crisis is resolved in the next few weeks, so much of the US systems (legal, political, social, cultural) are now broken.

    Best case scenario is that the Biden administration takes over in a few weeks without nuclear incident, Trump is arrested along with other key players and the consequences are made very clear. Biden then has a term to set things to some kind of right (no way is this 'going back to normal') including repairing the absolutely massive damage to government departments. Not sure what he or the democrats can do about the damage at the State level. Then there is the cultural divide.

    More likely is they will get some kind of middle road version of that because so many people are still in denial about what has been happening for the past 4 years. And in that muddle the 20% of Americans who supported what happened yesterday will continue to organise. Including people in positions of power and influence.

    The real hope here comes from the solid pro-democracy, transformational work being done by people of colour across many parts of US society. It's pretty clear that shit needs to break down for something new and useful to be built and there are parts of the community I would trust with that, but while the Biden administration will do good things (and on climate alone this is a huge relief), and it's incredibly heartening to see so many PoC Americans, especially women in positions of power, I think the real work will be happening where white supremacy is being challenged and communities are being healed. I doubt that can come from government.

  5. Ad 5

    What a beautiful two weeks it is going to be for the Democrats.

    The Republicans have self-identified who can work with the Democrats. And who won't.

    Call me optimistic but all those senators and representatives who challenged the Presidential vote yesterday are an extraordinary gift to Biden.

    All the deeper as a Republican divide if Trump is not impeached or proposed to be ousted.

    It's a mistake for the Democrats to act against Trump now when it is their best chance since Goldwater to snap the Republican Party in two.

    • weka 5.1

      or, there's a bigger issue at stake, which is that acting against Trump and others supporting the insurrection/coup is critical to maintaining rule of law and civil society in the medium and long term. Maybe the short term too.

      Snapping the GOP in two won't make the people who vote for them go away.

      • Andre 5.1.1

        Snapping the GOP in two won't make the people who vote for them go away.

        Hoovering up all the middle finger voters who just want to trash government and civil society in general has allowed the Repugs to remain competitive.

        If the people that still adhere to old-skool Republican conservative values are finally disgusted enough to split off from the fuck-you mob they've accepted an alliance with, then actual progressive political progress becomes much more achievable. Because more progressive politicians can be elected when the opposing vote is divided.

        • Ad

          68% of Republican voters see the election as so illegitimate that armed intervention is acceptable. Salon has it.

          This is a powerful revival – and with over 60% of Republicans in Senate and Congress challenging the Presidential vote its already a more successful political one than Black Lives Matter.

        • weka

          that makes sense, yet I'm still wondering what happens to the people who support insurrection and have been at the point of taking up arms. Do you think they will fade into the background even if their political power is lessened?

          • Andre

            Do you think they will fade into the background even if their political power is lessened?

            Seems to have elements of being a cyclical thing. There was Oklahoma City and Ruby Ridge and Waco in the 90s, then it settled down for a while. We may be at the peak of the current cycle, so I kinda expect there to be a bit of fading into the background as they get ostracised and the authorities pay more attention and act on them a bit sooner.

            Beyond that, I find it hard to come up with anything else to do with them. They're not economically anxious, they're not suffering discrimination and oppression. They're simply outraged that their already privileged position in US society isn't being elevated to a much loftier position of privilege they think they're entitled to. Let's face it, a lot of them are just plain fucked in the head.

      • Ad 5.1.2

        Curfew is holding fine. As civil unrest its was mild – the rest is where it happened. There's no law and order problem.

        And really there's no politics either. Senate and Congress are in recess until after inauguration so there's no live politics for 13 days.

        Pelosi and Schumer cant call them back, and wouldnt have numbers to impeach anyway.

        Same with cabinet.

        Democrats should hunker down, let the Republican cracks just roll out. This is Biden's well-lit landing runway. Well lit by the MSM.

        • weka

          sure, but two weeks is a tiny fraction of the time scale here and the Capitol building is contained within a much larger set of dynamics around the cultural split in the US, including BLM, the antifa/proud boys confrontations, covid denialism, poverty, and the neonazis. Biden can mitigate a lot of that, but it's not going like the conflict is going to disappear just because he gets the reins in a few weeks.

          And, we don't know if Trump is having a major mental health episode and what he might do in the short term.

          • Red

            2 things you need to consider Weka, 70m people voted for Trump ( albeit the guy is a narcissist fool) , Trump did not create the America of today, it created him, thus going all out on Trump out of revenge or whatever ever I suggest will not alleviate the situation but simply raise the dial of his supporters. The response need be more nuance and cool heads need to prevail on why the massive divide in US society exists. I also would not get to carried away with all the hyperbole of yesterday, the US has been through numerous periods of upheaval and unrest( much worse in the past ) , it will eventually recalibrate and come back as it has done in the past.Irrespective they are interesting times that we live in

            • weka

              It's not about revenge or whatever, it's about setting boundaries around civil society and maintaining democracy. If police and state officials feel emboldened to have chosen to side with people seeking to overthrow legitimate governance, then that's a massive problem that needs addressing. Trump the man isn't the issue, it's the position of President that is and the fact that so many Republicans were siding with fundamentally altering democracy even yesterday. Republicans elected into positions of power.

              And yes, that millions of people voted for Trump is my point to Ad, Biden in power for 4 years doesn't address that.

              That the US has had civil war in the past doesn't mean that what is going on now is not that big a deal. They weren't dealing with a global pandemic, economic breakdown, social breakdown, ecological collapse and climate change, the latter of which is going to intensify over the rest of century. Individual societies have been through massive upheavals historically, this is new territory in the wider context.

              • RedLogix

                it's about setting boundaries around civil society and maintaining democracy.

                Well then the left needs to consider it's unthinking, reflexive support for radical organisations on 'it's side' as well. Can't have it both ways.

                • Red

                  Agree, culture is down steam from politics this is where many of the issues and divide exist, especially leftist, cultural / woke / climate extremism wrapped up in so called progressiveness coming out of many institutions attacking many peoples fundamental beliefs and values Also note to Weka re getting to carried away with yesterday, the civil war is but one upheaval epoch in US history, many more and yesterday is another and won’t be the last. The strength of the US is its ability to self recalibrate and reinvent itself which most nations really struggle to do(European nations as a case) , it’s fragility to a degree is it’s strength

                  • arkie

                    You've misremembered the quote;

                    The Breitbart Doctrine is the idea that "politics is downstream from culture" and that to change politics one must first change culture


                    • weka

                      lol, the irony of Red quoting that at this time. The next bit is this,

                      Chris Wylie (formerly of Cambridge Analytica) in an interview with The Guardian "The reason why he (Steve Bannon) was interested in this is because he believes in this idea of the ‘Breitbart Doctrine,’ which is that if you want to change politics you first have to change culture because politics flows from culture. If you want to change culture, you have to first understand what the units of culture are, and the people are the units of culture. So, if you want to change politics, you first have to change people to change culture.” [48]

                      Breitbart is a key player in the white supremacy movement that underpins what happened yesterday. Of course politics follows culture, in this case a strong anti-democratic, pro-fascist ideology that's been intentionally pushed from various quarters inside and outside the establishement in the past five years. For precisely this purpose of gaining political power in ways that are long lasting.

                      It's also what is happening in NZ with the Trumpian politics being used by National and Act.

                    • arkie

                      Agreed. I just wanted everyone to be aware of the source of the quote.

                    • weka

                      appreciate that arkie.

                  • RedLogix

                    You may find this an interesting read:

                    In an unpublished paper submitted for peer review, Professor Goldstone, who is a sociologist, and Peter Turchin, an expert on the mathematical modelling of historical societies, have concluded that the US is "headed for another civil war".

                    The conditions for civil violence, they say, are the worst since the 19th century — in particular the years leading up to the start of the American Civil War in 1861.

                    The reason for this are trends that began in the 1980s, "with regard to inequality, selfish elites, and polarisation that have crippled the ability of the US government to mount an effective response to the pandemic disease," they write.

                    This has also "hampered our ability to deliver an inclusive economic relief policy, and exacerbated the tensions over racial injustice."

                    The article itself notes that the USA of the 1860's is not the one of the 2020's and in particular it's a much older, in many ways more diverse society. So while I believe he's modelling the drivers correctly, the outcomes may not be the same.

                    In particular I take a view that we're at a technological cusp, one that has taken us to the limits of fossil fueled development, resulting in excessive inequality, that is the underlying driver of events as they're unfolding. The question in my mind is, do we have to go through the sociological equivalent of another 'civil war', or will we get to the next generations of non-fossil fuel development first?

                    And yes the USA is in many ways unique, not because of any moral exceptionalism, but because their geography, demography, structural continuity and security and self-sustaining resources means they will always be a prosperous, capable nation … regardless of how hard they try to fuck it up.

                    • McFlock

                      The two things against a second civil war are the lack of a centralised leadership in a coherent area (to be the "secessonists") and the urban-rural political divide.

                      So let's say dolt45 ups to a red state on Jan 20 and calls himself the true president, so the fuckwits have something and someone to coalesce around. In many of those states, the centres of production were heavily blue and not just because of their ethnic composition. That's a bigger problem than the slaveholders faced the last time.

                  • weka

                    yeah you already said that, and I pointed out that now is relatively unique for a range of reasons that haven't existed at the same time before.

                • Andre

                  I support peaceful protest that's respectful of property rights.

                  Looking at where protests have devolved into violence and property damage, there's quite a lot of evidence that a lot of it, if not almost all of it, is directly due to various groups broadly aligned with the far-right coming to the protests to act as provocateurs.

                  I don't think it's fair to blame the resulting violence and damage on the original protestors when they get disrupted by others specifically looking for violence and mayhem.

                  Similarly accelerationists hope to “demolish the state apparatus that stands between themand a white-dominated future.” And the White Supremacists here could be of a differentorientation too – organized to discredit the protestors with no clear or deliberate vision forgreater political change in mind.Bellingcat has documented the involvement in the protests of a largely white, and far-rightmovement called the Boogaloo, whose leaders “expect, even hope, that the warmer weatherwill bring armed confrontations with law enforcement, and will build momentum towardsa new civil war in the United States.” “As protests over the death of George Floyd heatedup in Minneapolis on May 26th, members of Boogaloo groups across Facebook consideredit a call to arms,” wrote Bellingcat’s Robert Evans


                  Also: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-28/antifa-boogaloo-extremists-at-us-floyd-protests/12388260

                  • RedLogix

                    Well all I can think is that if it had been a BLM 'peaceful protest' that had invaded the Capitol, and a black protestor shot dead, half of the USA would be in flames by now.

                    And most of the regulars here cheering them on.

                    • Sacha

                    • RedLogix

                      If you want to pretend that the past year in the USA has not seen a series of riots, arsons and violence from left wing movements and mobs of various ilk … go right ahead.

                      Of course there will always be differences in circumstances and how events unfold, and you can always lean on these to claim that somehow they're 'not equivalent'. But really all you are doing is justifying the idea that it's OK when left wing movements step past the boundaries of civil discourse and democratic resolution, and not when anyone else tries it on.

                    • Sacha

                      if it had been a BLM 'peaceful protest' that had invaded the Capitol

                      Nice strawman.

                      the USA has [not] seen a series of riots, arsons and violence from left wing movements and mobs of various ilk

                      You seem to be missing a power analysis.

                    • RedLogix

                      That is not a strawman, it's a 'role reversal'.

                      Yes, neo-marxism reduces everything to a 'power struggle'. Do not be surprised when your opponents do the same to you.

                    • Brigid

                      That's just silly. If the BLM had held a peaceful protest they would have had no interest in invading Capitol.

                      The BLM protested against police brutality, this moronic mob were demanding the election be invalidated because the result wasn't to their liking.

                      There's no equivalence whatsoever.

                      You may as well have said "If it had been the queen invading the Capitol, something something something"

                    • RedLogix

                      If the BLM had held a peaceful protest they would have had no interest in invading Capitol.

                      Well lets say they decide to take over a state capital city centre then.

                      Like I said, you can carp the details all you like, but the at heart the question is the same. Do you really believe your cause justifies civil disruption, arson and violence?

                      If so then you have no defense when the other guys do it.

                    • Gabby

                      There'd have been more than one protester shot dead / gassed / asphyxiated.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  I'm a bit left (politically), and my support for the BLM movement isn't unthinking – indeed, if members of the the BLM movement stormed the Capitol building in Washington DC then I would reconsider my “reflexive” support.

                  Capitol riots: A visual guide to the storming of Congress

                  What, I wonder, might it take for others to reconsider their reflexive condemnation of BLM? What if BLM renounced its Marxist 'Roots'? laugh

                  • RedLogix

                    BLM is a good example of a righteous idea (the elimination of institutional and personal racism) being exploited to promote an ideology (neo-marxism) with a far less stellar record.

                    The trick being used here is that whenever someone criticises or attacks the ideology, the charge of being against the righteous idea can be readily switched in as a defense.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Oh RL, you're a trick. Any other good examples spring to mind?

                      Could ‘BLM Scare‘ be an attempt to revive the ‘Red Scare’ – what's the root of such fears, I wonder?

                      Neo-Marxism developed as a result of social and political problems that traditional Marxist theory was unable to sufficiently address. This iteration of thinking tended toward peaceful ideological dissemination, rather than the revolutionary, and often violent, methods of the past. Economically, neo-Marxist leaders moved beyond the era of public outcry over class warfare and attempted to design viable models to solve it.

                      Toward the end of the 20th century, neo-Marxism and other Marxist theories became anathema in democratic and capitalistic Western cultures, where the term attained negative connotations during the Red Scare.

                    • RedLogix

                      I think any sane person looking at the actual track record of marxist ideas when put into practice is entitled to be at least a little scared.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      I think it's more a matter of the ideas that were lying around. Ho Chi Min used marxism as the model to resist the Colonial government, but it was substantially an anti-colonial movement. In the same way the Lange government used Rogergnomics to approach the problems of their day – they simply didn’t know any better.

                      BLM is a mass movement however, claiming the leaders are neomarxist has little or nothing to do with the murders by choking of black Americans, which is the raison d'etre for the movement.

            • Stuart Munro

              70m people voted for Trump

              Not sure that's true – there are plenty of lifelong Republican voters who either despise or have no opinion of Trump.

              • alwyn

                You say "Not sure that's true". Well the only way you can say that that remark is "not true" is that it is, if anything, an under-statement.

                From https://www.cfr.org/blog/2020-election-numbers we are told that

                "Trump won 74,222,958 votes, or 46.8 percent of the votes cast."

                It may be incomprehensible that so many people could be so silly but the statement is true.

                • Stuart Munro

                  Nonsense – people vote for all kinds of reasons. The most common is probably party loyalty or perceived self-interest, then personal appeal, single issues, and, of course, spite.

                  You can get a bit of a feel for the drivers here: https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2018/08/09/an-examination-of-the-2016-electorate-based-on-validated-voters/

                  • alwyn


                    Can you please read and think about the comment you claim to be "not sure that's true". It doesn't say why they voted for Trump. It doesn't say they like Trump. It doesn't say they support Trump.

                    All it says is that 70 million of them voted for them. And they did. The reason they did so has no relevance at all to the truth of the claim.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Now Robert is a fine fellow, and I will take your mistaking me for him as a compliment. But really there are two possible constructions of voting for Trump.

                      You have chosen the broad one, how they marked the ballot paper – I want the narrow one, those who constructively chose Trump, as opposed to those who merely support the Republican ticket or whatever.

                      The relevance comes from further claims people might wish to make from the assertion that 70 million people voted for Trump. It certainly wasn't 70 million, or the local proportion of that 70 million that stormed the Capitol. And it may well be true that Trump scared up a new chunk of supporters over and above those that would have fallen in behind another Republican candidate. That number is interesting – an active fraction of a fairly lethargic voter base, and relevant to whether Trumpism continues as a movement after the White House has a less unsavoury occupant.

    • alwyn 5.2

      "their best chance since Goldwater to snap the Republican Party in two."

      Are you sure that you want to follow this path? Goldwater was demolished in the 1964 election. Was the Republican Party badly damaged by this?

      If they were you would expect that the Republicans would have taken many years to recover, wouldn't you? Well in the 1966 mid-term elections the Republican Party gained 3 seats in the Senate and 47 seats in the House. If the same thing happens in 2022 the Republicans will take control of both the House and the Senate.

      Then in 1968 we had
      Nixon. a Republican remember, elected President. So are we to expect a change back to a Republican President in 2024?

      I think your proposal that Goldwater snapped the Republican Party in two sounds rather like a wishful attempt to rewrite history. If that was a split in the Republican Party and a major gain for the Democrats I would hate to see what you would consider would be needed for the Republicans to do well.

      • Ad 5.2.1

        Goldwater was chosen as the Republican neocon standardbearer but in 1964 was trounced by LBJ. He was supposed to rebuild the Republican Party in the face of the New Deal. The revival/split failed.

        The next election was a Republican gift because LBJ didn't stand.

        Trump's constituency will similarly have nowhere to go but further right. That leaves productive politics to Republican moderates.

        • alwyn

          "The next election was a Republican gift because LBJ didn't stand."

          There has been an enormous amount of debate about why Johnson withdrew. My own belief is that he did not believe he could win, and he was trying to salve his reputation. He had just, barely, won the New Hampshire primary against a little unknown Senator, Eugene McCarthy. That was unheard of. Polls also apparently said he would lose in Wisconsin.

          Johnson was doing very badly in the polls in the early part of 1968. The Tet offensive had wiped out belief in the American people that the war could be won.

          Thus, in March 1968 he quit. However that at least gave the Democratic Party, in the election, a chance they would not have had if Johnson had kept running. That is what I believe anyway..

          Irrespective of why Johnson quit however how do you explain the great performance by the Republicans in 1966 if Goldwater had supposedly split the party apart?

    • Sanctuary 5.3

      I have been thinking about how many hard core Trump supporters their actually are. Turnout was only 67% in the presidential election, so 80 million Americans didn't even vote. Given it takes a bit of trouble to register to vote, I think we can assume these people are also not registered.

      Now, to vote in the USA you have to be a registered voter and in all the polls I see the poll is of "registered voters" – so it follows the 74 million who voted for Trump are all registered voters. So when you see headlines that say, for example, "one in five voters" (i.e. 32 million or so voters) or 45% of Republicans (33 million voters) you end up with a number that while big in absolute terms, is only 10% of the entire US population. Of people eligible to vote, you end up with less than 15% of Americans as hard core MAGAs (defined as people who might support an attempted coup).

      Trumpists seem to number more because they are white, radicalised/motivated, reasonably well organised and have an entire far right media ecosystem to act as their megaphone, while the liberal press delights in printing copy laughing at them.

      So while these Trump are dangerous in that they are well organised, have a Fascist yearning for violence and have significantly infiltrated some organs of state repression – particularly the US police – I wouldn't over estimate their ultimate threat to the union.

      • RedLogix 5.3.1

        I have been thinking about how many hard core Trump supporters their actually are.

        Only some fraction of those who vote for him. Many vote for Trump holding their noses, knowing full well how less than ideal he is, but even more disinclined to vote for his opponent. All the American's I've worked with this past few years who voted for him could be described like this.

        That the Democrats could not put up a candidate who would have utterly crushed someone so divisive and chaotic as Trump, and put the result of the election beyond all debate, still seems to me a question the left is very reluctant to address.

        Trumpists seem to number more because they are white, radicalised/motivated, reasonably well organised and have an entire far right media ecosystem

        Actually Trump increased his vote among Hispanic and Black voters this time. There is more than just 'race' going on here; there are a number of complex interaction between multiple voter groups all shifting allegiances between the major two parties at the moment. Simplistically reducing all the nuance of US politics to Democrat = All that is sweet and progressively good vs GOP = racist white supremacist rednecks is seriously narrow.

        And your view of their media ecosystem is absolutely mirrored by the right's view that the everyone (except perhaps Fox) is biased against them. This is a debate no-one ever wins.

  6. Anne 6

    "Multiple European security officials told Insider that President Donald Trump appeared to have tacit support among US federal agencies responsible for securing the Capitol complex in Wednesday’s coup attempt."

    There are many examples of that among the myriad of videos, photos produced by the twitterati and elsewhere. But the most notable has to be the incident Macro linked to yesterday where a police officer whips open a gate to allow the 'protesters' access through to the buildings and his police mates turn their backs and stroll away as though nothing has happened:


    I don't think the police knew how to handle the situation because many of the so-called protesters represented their own kith and kin – ie. conservative, white racist ignoramuses. They are more used to kicking black protesters in the groin and bashing them over the head with their batons cos… they're black, but they couldn't bring themselves to do it to their white cousins.

    • Anne 6.1

      For some reason the comment number is not appearing.

      • Andre 6.1.1

        Are you talking about the link in your comment above to the tweet Macro put up? It's showing up for me. But it might be a repeat of the same issue going on a while back. I just got into the habit of making sure there was some text in the same line as the link to a TS comment. That seemed to always keep the comment number.

        link: https://thestandard.org.nz/us-democracy-is-under-threat/#comment-1773531

        • weka

          Yep. I fixed the link.

          Putting the link in a line is good as you say, or if you put a link in a line of its own you have to use the link tag otherwise wordpress defaults it to the post link not the comment link.

    • Macro 6.2

      I don't think the police knew how to handle the situation because many of the so-called protesters represented their own kith and kin – ie. conservative, white racist ignoramuses.

      Indeed! In fact at least one of them was a newly sworn Repugnant Rep!

      Derrick Evans
      Derrick Evans is given the oath of office 14 December 2020, at the West Virginia state capitol.

      Derrick Evans is given the oath of office 14 December 2020, at the West Virginia state capitol. Photograph: Perry Bennett/West Virginia Legislature via AP

      On 14 December, Evans, a Republican, was sworn in as a lawmaker in the West Virginia house of delegates. On Wednesday, Evans reportedly filmed himself and others storming the Capitol, shouting: “We’re in! Keep it moving, baby!” as Trump supporters flooded into the building.

      The video, which Evans posted online, has since been deleted, but USA Today reported that Evans, who was wearing a black helmet, proceeded to enter the Capitol Rotunda. As he did so, Evans shouted: “Derrick Evans is in the Capitol!”, according to the Washington Post.

      Since then, more than 26,000 people have signed a petition demanding Evans be removed from office, while Democratic party leaders in West Virginia said Evans should resign and “be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law”.


    • alwyn 6.3

      The Police you are complaining about, and they were the ones who let the protesters in, were members of the United States Capitol Police.

      The United States Capitol Police report directly to House and Senate Committees. They don't work for the Executive Branch.


      The people who would appear to be directly responsible for their actions are the Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House. Should Pelosi quit?

      • RedLogix 6.3.1

        That is a very interesting point alwyn.

      • Sacha 6.3.2

        If you can show that Pelosi instructed the police boss to soft-hand the mob, sure. Good luck with that.

        • RedLogix

          But it does speak to who would be accountable 'for letting them in' as everyone here claims.

          • Sacha

            The chiefs of that police force.

            • arkie

              Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday called for the firing of Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund and said House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving would be resigning.

              “I am calling for the resignation of the chief of the Capitol Police, Mr. Sund, and I have received notice from Mr. Irving that he will be submitting his resignation,” the California Democrat said at a news conference. Sund sent out a release on Thursday defending his department in the wake of the disruption of government, but Pelosi was not impressed. “Mr. Sund, he hasn’t even called us since this happened."


              Oversight in action

              • alwyn

                Nancy clearly doesn't follow the example of a former US President, Harry Truman. He had a plaque on his desk. It said "The Buck Stops Here".

                Nancy says, in effect.. The buck stops with one of the people who work for me. It has absolutely nothing to do with me. There was a very famous American racehorse named after Nancy though. He was the leading broodmare sire in 1983, 1984 and 1989. He was called Buckpasser. Nancy is buckpassing.

                • arkie

                  Yes, I agree, the buck does stop at the President's desk.

                • Stuart Munro

                  Nancy is buckpassing.

                  Orly? Letting the clowns in was presumably neither her instruction nor her standing policy. Her minions, given the operational control security forces prefer, let her down badly and are being deservedly fired.

                  Trying to lay blame on Pelosi is the kind of baseless epic dishonesty we’ve come to expect from Trump.

            • RedLogix

              Oh for sure those are the heads that may well roll … but who is politically accountable?

          • Gabby

            What would speak more to it would be the identity of the individual who said let 'em in.

            • RedLogix

              What? As opposed to 'gun 'em down'?

            • Descendant Of Smith

              Maybe letting them in was a good thing – like the soldiers who opened the gates that led to the downing of the Berlin Wall.

              It certainly has created at least for a short while a pause in the drift to fascism and the US to take a bit more of a harder look at themselves than would otherwise have happened.

              Killing a sacred cow sometimes is useful (referring to not having had the Capitol breached for 200 years not the actual deaths).

    • Sacha 6.4

      I don't think the police knew how to handle the situation

      Of course they did – including not putting enough people on the ground beforehand after clear public threats for weeks of what was going to happen. Quite deliberate.

  7. bwaghorn 7

    Can the president of the usa truly start a nuclear war all on his little old lonesome???

    Surely even the yanks arnt that stupid??

  8. Macro 8

    As part of military Staff Officer training, a section of the course deals with the planning of a military coup – not for the purpose of carrying it out – but for the purpose of knowing how to deal with a coup, should such an attempt take place. The central objective of any coup is the overpowering and seizure of the legislature. This is the symbolic place of power for a nation. The events in Washington DC yesterday had all the elements of an attempted coup – arms, violence, and explosive devices, and the overpowering of the legislature carrying out its due process. That the insurgents finally left does not make it any less an attempted coup.

    I think this needs to be said, and the fact of the matter acknowledged. To call this a protest is understate the seriousness of the actions carried out by the mob yesterday.

    Furthermore, the consistent enablers of Trump who have stood by while this deranged man lies and rants, while failing consistently in his duty to serve the people of America, are equally to blame. Their failure to stand up for the truth, is as much at fault, as Trump and his insurrectionists.

    • weka 8.1

      thanks for that Macro.

      Do you have a sense of whether military Staff Officers in the US are prepared to deal with a coup, given the chaos that's been created in that past 4 years?

      One of the features of rising fascism is the extent to which shock and chaos make it harder to perceive just how bad things are. I know from talking with politically aware and active friends in the US, and following many others, that the continual nature and quality of the chaos has just been wearing them down in ways that it's hard to understand outside of the situation. I expect this is true for people working in the WH and the military, police etc too. Which doesn't preclude people acting out of some dangerous and anti-democratic ideology either, but just that it's a weird mix for any human brain and heart to deal with.

      • Macro 8.1.1

        Do you have a sense of whether military Staff Officers in the US are prepared to deal with a coup, given the chaos that's been created in that past 4 years?

        I'm not sure thatI can really answer that question weka. Sure senior military officers in the US military will have all participated in Senior Staff courses and no doubt they will also have involved military planning for such events. My own thoughts on this matter are that just like NZ was unprepared for the Chch massacre by a deranged individual – so were the US intelligence unprepared for this event. Even though we now understand that social media was alive with underhand planning within the right wing groups. The US intelligence were – just like NZ's – not looking hard enough at the impending threat that was being clearly signalled. They continued to believe that white right wing activists would never stoop to insurrection.

        I know from talking with politically aware and active friends in the US, and following many others, that the continual nature and quality of the chaos has just been wearing them down in ways that it's hard to understand outside of the situation.

        Yes I have the same sense of desperation from relations in Ohio who have been in virtual isolation for almost a year now, and from the daily correspondence of a community of online friends.

        Just a final thought on the matter...

        We are not Germany in 1933. But we may be Munich, 1923. On 8 Novemberof that year, a couple of thousand Nazis staged a failed putsch to topple the Weimar Republic. Ten years later the same insurrectionists seized power in Germany – through electoral means.

  9. mac1 9

    Re the National Party meme. They quote 'peacefully occupy".

    Carrying assault rifles? Brandishing knives? With battle flags from the defeated side of a conflict 160 years old which caused 600,000 dead being carried into the very chamber of the united states which arose from that deadly conflict?

    Peaceful? With four dead?

    Peaceful with US internal airlines complaining of their rowdyism on their flights?

    Peaceful with ransacked offices and smashed windows and doors?

    Peaceful protests from people described as thugs, terrorists, unhinged, a mob.

    Peaceful when pipe bombs were found?


    • Sacha 9.1

      The zip ties were a chilling element, in light of previous threats by that mob in their state legislatures.

      • weka 9.1.1


        I've got a bit of head spin today from the people minimising what happened. The coup attempt failed, but the occupying of the Capitol building is a potent symbol nevertheless, as is having support from police and other state employees. The key players will be learning from this, reviewing footage and getting better strategies and tools for next time.

        • Sacha

          In case people missed this yesterday

  10. Adrian Thornton 10

    It all looks like a case of “The chickens coming home to roost” to me, a fact we all know and isn’t disputed is that the US government has been conducting and assisting in the disruption and destruction of other countries governments and governance for decade after decade …….Now they get to taste just a very little of their own medicine and it turns out they don’t like it..not even one little bit.

  11. Andre 11

    Chewbacca fans are outraged.


  12. mac1 12

    They were a weird mob. What got me were the people wandering around taking selfies inside the capitol building.

    The man with the camera slung around his neck like a tourist.

    People aimlessly wandering around waiting for something to happen.

    People carrying signs saying Biden was a 'pedophile' and 'Satan".

    The tall man giving a white power salute, the Qnon Psalmist with buffalo horns, the man with his feet on the desk, the knife-wielding ranter, the podium thief, the flak-jacketed, helmeted, pack-wearing police baiters.

    But especially the selfie takers.

    The woman who was shot seemed like she thought she was attending an apocalyptic event, or in a Middle Earth saga.

    Such was the order of craziness I could imagine such folk taking selfies with the fiery chariots of the Apocalypse behind them as the last trump sounds and the heavens rend………

    Except some of the crazies were dangerous, armed, and deranged, and abetted by whom?

    • Sacha 12.1

      as the last trump sounds


      • mac1 12.1.1

        Your 'parp!' is indeed a true reflection of last days of trumpism- a fart, an eruction of foul-smelling miasma that is a true sign of the times.

        My mind went to TS Eliot's "The Hollow Men" which concludes, "This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper."

        And even Trump's last whimperings have been shut down by Twitter.

    • RedLogix 12.2

      Every society has at it's margins damaged people like this. Normally they're socially isolated and held in check by the majority of normies. But a combination of an internet that enables them to congregate and share their craziness, and a political leader willing to exploit them for his own purposes resulted in what we saw yesterday.

      Even more dangerous are the even smaller minority of dangerous sociopaths who want to just burn everything down; consider ourselves fortunate this isn't really Trump's schtick. Because once these people start committing atrocities, then a society can unzip from the bottom upward with frightening speed. The events in former Yugoslavia are probably the most proximate example in recent times.

    • Descendant Of Smith 12.3

      Why does that seem odd? During the American Indian Wars there are photos of soldiers/frontiersmen with collections of scalps/ears around their necks, during the Vietnam war there are photos of soldiers holding a severed head in each hand, in Iraq there are photos of soldiers torturing prisoners …………

      Seems perfectly normal to find people doing this – even more so with increased access to photography and live streaming. I'd be more surprised if there were not.

      • mac1 12.3.1

        The activity might be 'normal' but the subject material and the motivation behind it is weird.

        Who would not find weird, except the weird, photos of displays such as you mention of war trophies, the photos of which are in themselves trophies?

        What I find weird is this form of trophy taking which involves not the dispassionate recording of events but a behaviour that includes complicity, agreement, and a desire to be recorded as being present, and the approval of others sought by that individual as being part of the recorded action.

        It's a sick version, in a way, of virtue signalling, that hated behaviour of the Right that they see in the Left.

        • Descendant Of Smith

          Wiser heads than me have looked at this issue. I've been around long enough to know that there is a wide range of behaviour that is normal – but not necessarily something I would do. Just because I wouldn't doesn't mean it is not normal. Ultimately I would neither be severing heads, torturing prisoners nor invading parliament so would have no desire to be filming that to tell my story. Personally I find taking even harmless selfies weird but I’m pretty sure it is normal.

          "Following Yar (2012), Powell (2015) argues that filming an offence is not an accidental or random thing that ‘just happens’, but a key driver of the offence. With the advent of new media and smartphones, the fact that a turn of events may conform with certain aesthetics (it may look good on film or make a ‘cool’ image) is important to understanding some forms of crime. Staging an act to be worthy of a picture and deciding to make it happen may thus be closely associated parts of the same interconnected causal complex leading to a crime.

          Carrabine (2011) suggests that the need for disturbing and horrific images is not a pathological departure from social norms; violent imagery is rather embedded in the human experience through its intrinsic narrativity. In short, images of abuse and violence are an important part of human storytelling. Narrative criminology has emphasized that ‘images both tell stories and mobilize story making on the part of the audience’ (Presser and Sandberg 2015: 296). Such a perspective can add further insights to cultural and visual criminology’s description of the complex relationship between crime and visual products (e.g. Young 2005; Brown 2009; Hayward and Presdee 2010; Carrabine 2012). The act of recording pictures or video footage of a crime may be seen as closely connected to—and fuelled by—the desire to tell a story. Stories from real life and popular culture are important parts of the archive inspiring criminal offences (Pugliese 2007). Films shot by offenders are also essentially narratives with a purpose of telling a story, and images can add a visual dimension to storytelling, or document the authenticity of stories told."

          • mac1

            Thanks for that response. I believe also that filming/photographing can give permission to the participants in the original shooting but also to people later who view the images. It is the person taking/showing the images saying that he/she agrees with what is there even by the simple act of being presetn to record it.

            Now of course our ability to broadcast such material is huge, and far reaching, which is why Trump's twittering got shut down which in itself contains a huge message.

  13. satty 13

    Who says this “failed”? We have to wait and see what comes the next years (decade) after it.

    For me there are clear parallels to the rise of Hitler: Starting with the creation of “stab in the back” myth, since the election last November. At some point the “Stab in the back” myth will be taken out of the drawers against political and other opponents.

    Yesterday was something like the failed “Beer Hall Putsch”. Okay, the rioters were not well organised like the SA storm troopers, but that is only a question of time.

    Now we have to see what happens to the Republican Party. They already have the support of the wealthy, racist, white crowd. Now they only require a very scrupulous, charismatic, competent leader, rising to the top by breaking conventions.

    This is far from over.

  14. Sacha 14

  15. RedLogix 15

    Well Trump has called an end to it.

    Chaotic and a bit demented as usual, but he's conceded.

    • Sacha 15.1

    • Anne 15.2

      That's today Redlogix, but what about tomorrow, and the next day and the next week? He changes mood with the wind. By Sunday he could be inciting further violence. Even if he remains president for the next 11 days all real power needs to be taken away from him.

      Btw, a bit demented is a bit of an under-statement. 🙂

  16. Sacha 16

  17. McFlock 17

    Anyone who thinks that this is the beginning of the end because the deplorables' kidnap and bomb attempt failed should remember that the Beerhall Putsch was also a complete clusterfuck.

    • Andre 17.1

      What kind of split between "cult of personality" and "cult of ideology" do you reckon there was in 1920s and 1930s rise of Nazism and Hitler?

      I've never much looked into that ugly part of history, so I've only got a vague impression the onerous conditions of the Treaty of Versailles did lead to genuine hardship and widespread ideological discontent just waiting to coalesce around a suitable figure.

      Whereas the current situation is much more a cult of personality that a bunch of whiny-bitch snowflakes have improbably leveraged into a takeover of an established power structure. There's a good chance that at some point soon the old-skool members of that established power structure will separate themselves from their unwanted parasites and regroup in a somewhat diminished state.

      • Sacha 17.1.1

        The unresolved colonial racism underlying the US is fuelling their dynamic, though the sense of exceptionalism and empire matches.

      • Obtrectator 17.1.2

        Things were a lot tougher for Germany in the 1920s than they've ever been in the USA. To summarise the worst aspects:

        • military occupation of the Rhineland lasting until 1930
        • further occupation of the Ruhr industrial area by France, 1923-25
        • the burden of having to pay reparations, leading to:
        • hyperinflation in the early 1920s

        None of those or anything similar pertains in the USA at present, and it’s highly improbable that could happen.

      • McFlock 17.1.3

        The thing is, when the elites historically looked like losing they started playing to the darker areas of the popular psyche to stop popular movements.

        So they choose any particular far-right group, throw funding at it, and then all the far right gravitate towards that group. In Germany the Junkers supported the nazis to counter socialists and social democrats, in Italy the aristocracy supported the fascists.

        The main difference between them and the US now is that rather than a national crisis being the cause of popular discontent, the repugs are reaping the whirlwind of accessing far-right discontent just as daily business. So they didn't support a specific group, just specific ideological talking points and didn't expect chancers, profiteers, and demigogues to fill in the rest.

        It started fully in the 1990s with things like inventing stories about the suicide of a White House aide, explicitly coordinated redistricting, then the tea party, and now here we are.

        But like the 1920s and 30s, this is beyond the repugs' control now. It's not something that reacts quickly to a handbrake – there will be a trickle of high profile stochastic terrorism from these guys for years. But also, it's more acceptable for some individual representatives to have their niche to nazi-adjacent and they'll lock in support for life.

        All because the repugs can't deal with actual democracy.

  18. Macro 18

    Pence is in hiding

    Elaine Chao and Betsy DeVos have both resigned.

    All are fleeing their responsibility.

    Repub Spineless 2

  19. Adrian 19

    Best comment yesterday on CNN was by Van Jones who stated, “ What are we looking at here, the end of something or the beginning ?.

    [Fixed typo in e-mail address]

  20. Sacha 20

    For those fond of hypotheticals..

    • Macro 20.1

      I'd kick him out, and make sure the police were informed of his involvement in the burglary.

    • Pat 20.2

      Just do a deal with your tenant whereby the tenant agrees the attempted occupation was a terrible idea, promises not to do it again before he moves out and you wont prosecute him for any misdeeds in his past (or present)…problem solved

  21. Macro 21

    OMG! No wonder they are resigning.

    Three days before supporters of President Donald Trump rioted at the Capitol, the Pentagon asked the U.S Capitol Police if it needed National Guard manpower. And as the mob descended on the building Wednesday, Justice Department leaders reached out to offer up FBI agents. The police turned them down both times, according to senior defense officials and two people familiar with the matter.

    Despite plenty of warnings of a possible insurrection and ample resources and time to prepare, the Capitol Police planned only for a free speech demonstration.

  22. Stephen D 22

    Words have meanings.

    Pablo on what the words being bandied about actually mean.


    • RedLogix 22.1

      Good write up, highly recommended.

      The left has consistently undermined it's case against Trump by 'conceptually stretching' him into a monster he isn't really. And this is pretty obvious to the many of the millions who voted for him despite their misgivings.

      Just to be clear, I've consistently stated that I believe Trump is a high functioning psychopath combined with a propensity for high stakes gambling. More than anything else he loves to win, and the higher the risk he takes to get there the more he's drawn in. This is why he's been trying to have the election result overthrown against all the odds; it would have been the ultimate 'win' if he'd pulled it off.

      But he also knows that sometimes you're going to lose, and he'll cut his loses and pull back when it looks inevitable. He's not a 'burn the house down' kind of monster, he knows you have to leave the game intact if you want to play again.

      • Sacha 22.1.1

        His casinos never went broke, after all. Oh, wait..

        • RedLogix

          Gamblers like Trump know perfectly well that losing is part of the game; if you won every time there'd be no risk, no reward. He just wanted to see how far he could play this particular hand, and once it proved a dud he ditched it.

          More than anything else I get the feeling that highly ideological people on the left always imagine Trump, their arch-foe, must also be highly ideological. I never really saw him in that light; he's never really been committed to any particular idea or coherent philosophy. Rather he's run his political life as an extension of his business life … primarily it's been about ' what can I get away with, and what's in it for me'.

          In that he was more like a chaotic version of John Key than Mussolini.

          • Sacha

            Chump is a useful frontperson like Key was. It’s misleading to focus on them without considering the whole stinking apparatus. Suits those with real power to misdirect attention like that.

            Perhaps tell us more clearly what point you are trying to make today.

            • RedLogix

              Perhaps tell us more clearly what point you are trying to make today.

              All this energy largely mis-directed on hating Trump, when there is so much more to the world than one misfit of a US President. In a few weeks time he'll be gone; is the world suddenly going to be magically a better place?

              And more importantly, will the left be in any better position to form capable and respected governments that actually make a difference?

              • Sacha

                thank you.

              • McFlock

                Dunno about a magically better place, but not having potus call them nice people would be a start of a return to the days when nazis felt less confident about being out and proud in public. That would be a definite improvement.

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                All this energy largely mis-directed on hating Trump…

                Maybe there will be some sympathy for your view, even in the US. I find it difficult to hate anyone, even Trump, but it wasn't possible for a capable and respected US government to form under the 'leadership' of one so self-interested and self-absorbed – consider for example how (and why) Trump undermined capable and respected apolitical advisors such as Fauci.

                The new US government won't be perfect, but it can only be an improvement on the current decaying divide-and-rule ‘crony administration’. I look forward to an honest analysis of how Trump came to be a one-term president, aka 'The Rise and Fall of President Trump'. He’s (scambled eggs on) toast!

                Donald Trumpty sat on a wall
                Donald Trumpty had a great fall

                All the king’s horses
                And all the king’s men
                Couldn’t put Trumpty together again.


          • Macro

            To classify Trump as a successful businessman is to give him more credit than he is due. He has probably lost more money through highly speculative business dealings than he has ever made. The one reason he so desperately wants to stay on as President is not because he wants the job of President – it is because once out of office he is vulnerable. He has debits falling due of over 900 million. His tax returns are under revue in SDNY and that is likely to be very expensive, and could also involve fraud charges and other indictments.

            But don't just take my word, here is a summary of his business dealings over the past decade before his Presidency:

            Between 1985 and 1994, the Times story says, Trump’s core businesses lost money every single year, and the accumulated losses came to more than a billion dollars. “In fact, year after year, Mr. Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer, the Times found when it compared his results with detailed information the I.R.S. compiles on an annual sampling of high-income earners,” Buettner and Craig write. “His core business losses in 1990 and 1991—more than $250 million each year—were more than double those of the nearest taxpayers in the I.R.S. information for those years.”

            The Times reporters and other journalists have already covered some of this troubled history. In September, 2016, the Times received a copy of part of Trump’s 1995 tax return, which showed that he declared a massive tax loss, of nine hundred and sixteen million dollars. Under tax laws, business owners are allowed to carry losses into subsequent years and offset them against income. Trump’s loss was so huge in 1995, the Times noted, that it “could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years.” In response to that Times scoop, Trump’s campaign released a statement that didn’t challenge the nine-hundred-and-sixteen-million-dollar loss but claimed that he “has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in property taxes, sales and excise taxes, real estate taxes, city taxes, state taxes, employee taxes and federal taxes.”


    • McFlock 22.3

      Except limiting "terrorism" to "extreme" violence is by no means a universally-agreed restriction. Nor does a coup require the cooperation of the elite's armed forces (although having them onside certainly helps the odds). And if the insurrectionists were intentionally let in by a police force modelled in pseudo-paramilitary terms, it would still be arguably with that restriction, anyway.

      Many of the participants certainly seemed to think they could overthrow the government via kidnapping the legislature. Sure, the moron white-supremacists were stupid, but the Children's Crusade is still called a "crusade"

      • Pablo 22.3.1

        If you read the Kiwipolitico post you will see that the answers to your first paragraph have been well addressed at some length.

        To be clear, again: "Extreme" in the context of terrorism means hugely disproportionate relative to the target. A small bomb in a mall food court is "extreme" in that sense. The psychological impact of such an attack transcends that of the survivors and makes a point about vulnerability that goes beyond the targeted victims. A coup (golpe, putsch) is a quarrel amongst elites. It may or may not have a military component, something that differentiates between military and so-called constitutional coups. It is not mass based, much less revolutionary.

        [lprent: added link ]

        • McFlock

          I did read it. That's how my response was relevant to it's content.

          Let me put it another way: your definitions in key points are not consistent with regular use, for example:

          Terrorism is the use of seemingly indiscriminate extreme or disproportionate violence on defenceless targets for symbolic purposes.

          This definition does not match the wikipedia page on terrorism, as I mentioned previously. Nor does it match dictionary.com:

          1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.
          2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
          3. a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.

          No "extreme" there. Merriam-webster:

          : the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion

          Nope, no "extreme" there, either. Encyclopedia Britannica:

          Terrorism, the calculated use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective.

          Collins almost comes close:

          Terrorism is the use of violence, especially murder and bombing, in order to achieve political aims or to force a government to do something.

          But then them in DC left a dead cop and two pipe bombs (but not extreme pipe bombs), so that ticks at least the bombing.

          OED is paywalled.

          I'm not going to bother doing that for the other definitions. The point is that there is no "conceptual stretching that devalues the true meaning of the words" if the "true meaning" is the common usage of the terms.

          Maybe there are more precise definitions in the current literature on regime destabilisation, but in the patois of the streets those seditious and terroristic fuckers thought their insurrection was part of a coup.

          • Pablo

            Your offer a clear example of why using things like basic dictionaries or wikipedia are a poor substitute for basing your understanding on the dedicated literature on the subject. For example, your dictionary.com definition is not only a jumbled generalisation with little analytic precision. It confuses four different types of phenomena while treating all types of violence as equal: a type of government that uses a specific type of repressive method, tactic or tool known as terrorism (known as state terrorism) or a type of resistance to government using terrorism (non-state terrorism); a state of mind caused by exposure to terrorism (the paralysing fear and dread produced by such exposure, which is an effect not a method), and the use of any type of violence to "intimidate or coerce" (i.e. bend a given subject to the will of the perpetrator), especially for political reasons. If that is the case then everything from mafia shakedowns of merchants to motorcycle gang drive bye to anarchists throwing Molotovs at cops to a dirty bomb placed in a subway or all terroristic. That is nonsense.

            As I said before, terrorism is a specific type of violence extreme or disproportionate to the context in which it is employed. It has a target, subjects (audiences) and object (effect). The physical impact is immediate but the longer term effect is psychological. Because of that, once it is established as a tactic, even its threat can serve the perpetrator's purposes.

            The Merriam Webster and Collins definitions you offer are appropriate for high school debates but not for a serious discussion, so I shall not address them.

            I understand why politicians and partisan media want to paint opponents in the worst possible light, hence their playing loose with highly emotive terms such as "terrorism" or "coup." But as someone who has lived under state terrorist regimes, witnessed several terrorist incidents and who has worked in the counter-terrorism arena for the US government on several levels and who has written academically and policy-oriented professionally about the subject for nearly four decades, I simply cannot do so. In other words, just because partisans and ignoramuses on the street stretch and deform concepts out of biased intent or ignorance, I feel that it is a disservice to lower the analytic standard to that level.

            • McFlock

              Besides the fact you still haven't provided any references to support your alternative definitions, the fact remains that if a commonly-used word has a different and extremely precise meaning amongst subject area specialists, then the latter use of the word is jargon.

              Criticising mass media and regular people for using conventional word meanings rather than jargon seems a little bit anorak-brigade, to me.

            • RedLogix

              Thanks for this; this touches on something I've found myself increasingly uncomfortable with over the past few years, the trend … especially on the left … to conceptually stretch definitions beyond their original scope.

              The usual motive is to take a specific word that's laden with a powerful negative emotion, in a usually narrow specific context (like insurrection for example) and then by widening the scope of the word to capture more and more of their opponents, they can also smear them with associated prerogative connotations as well.

              Of course when the left does it, this is considered very ideologically smart. When our opponents do it, this gets called 'inflammatory' or 'dog whistling' or the like.

              The downside is of course that most ordinary people not invested in the conflict simply become more and more cynical, and worst of all eventually all the important words lose their real meanings. Orwell and Solzhenitsyn wrote convincingly on the consequences of this.

            • Macro

              The legal use of the term "terrorism" in the US has the following meaning.

              Under federal law, “international terrorism” means activities that:

              • Involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law
              • Appear to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping
              • Occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the US, or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum

              “Domestic terrorism” means activities that:

              • Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law
              • Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping
              • Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the US

              And 18 USC § 2332b defines the term “federal crime of terrorism” as an offense that:

              • Is calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion, or to retaliate against government conduct
              • Is a violation of one of several listed statutes, including § 930(c) (relating to killing or attempted killing during an attack on a federal facility with a dangerous weapon); and § 1114 (relating to killing or attempted killing of officers and employees of the US)

              These are the kinds of criteria law enforcement organizations like the FBI and others are concerned with when making the determination of whether a specific act constitutes “terrorism.”


              The "storming"* of the Capitol involved acts that were dangerous to human life and violated federal law. There are at least 50 persons already charged with offences against federal law, and two Capitol Police Officers have died as a result of their actions and many more suffered injury.

              The action was intended to influence the government from carrying out its duty to certify the election of Biden, and to overturn the election, into the certifying Trump as President for a further term.

              And it occurred in the Capitol the most significant place of American politics.

              So the action of the Trump inspired mob tick all the boxes wrt to "domestic terrorism" as defined by Federal Law.

              * The term used by the mob.

    • arkie 22.4

  23. "Thankfully the opposition was a rabble and completely unprepared."

    Next time we may not be so lucky. Trump 2.0 will be better prepared.

  24. Grafton Gully 24

    "Failed Coup" – successful reality show more like it. The expert manipulators who trained and planted these clowns and staged a show to defuse trumpite anger before the concession speech don't fool me. I have zero evidence for this of course, but to me it looks like a setup. I'd expect a real coup attempt to be far more violent.

    • Pat 24.1

      I suspect Trump got what he wanted out of it.

      • Grafton Gully 24.1.1

        Yep and "the journey is just beginning". So many of these shitheads clutter the history books while she next door wakes at 2 am to comfort a crying child.

    • McFlock 24.2

      I’d expect a real coup attempt to be far more violent.

      This was the one where they thought it would be handed to them on a plate. Like in 1923.

      Dolt's "concession" was the reflex reaction of people looking to avoid federal jail time. It was written for him and I strongly suspect his closest people threatend to Amendment 25 his ass if he didn't do something to calm shit down.

      When he leaves office, maybe his business "empire" will turn out to be a self-ponzi scheme – individual companies showing good profits because the losses are funnelled into subsidiaries, but the entity as a whole loses money. When loans and investments get cut off, the house of cards collapses. Or maybe his brain is gruyere and he was pulling a JFK during the presidency, hopped up on massive amounts of stimulants after his covid illness (but JFK was in his 40s, dolt is in his 70s). If either of those are the case, he's not around in 2024.

      But his little nazi friends? Next time they'll have better logistics.

      • Sacha 24.2.1

        Yes, imagine what a proper leader could have done with them.

        When loans and investments get cut off, the house of cards collapses.

        Then there are the new debts..

  25. McFlock 25

    Thing is, when folks were laughing at him in the republican primaries, who imagined that a mob of his supporters would be trashing the federal legislative chambers within four years and four fifths of Republican representatives would still vote to overturn the results of the election?

    At some point we need to stop talking about a reality tv show and start talking about the reality of how bad the US has become.

    • Macro 25.1

      At some point we need to stop talking about a reality tv show and start talking about the reality of how bad the US has become.

      I agree, but the reality is that it is not just the US – although that Nation is the epitome of canker that now pervades our world. We even had our own event in Chch.

      These people don't exist in a vacuum. They surround themselves with like minded people in echo chambers where where "reality" consists of the stories they tell themselves and repeat to each other. QAnon, Proud Boys, white supremacists, "Patriots" etc all communicate and know each other well thru Infowars, 4chan, 8chan, twitter, facebook, instagram, et al. It is a growing online community which is now supported not only by the Twitter-In-Chief who embraces and relays these imbecilic notions, but also by broadcasters who, unconstrained now by any regulation with respect to fairness and truth, repeat these unfounded conjectures as reality.

      In some respects it all goes back to Regan and the demise of the Fairness Doctrine for broadcasting.

      The fairness doctrine of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), introduced in 1949, was a policy that required the holders of broadcast licenses to both present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was honest, equitable, and balanced. The FCC eliminated the policy in 1987 and removed the rule that implemented the policy from the Federal Register in August 2011.[1]

      The fairness doctrine had two basic elements: It required broadcasters to devote some of their airtime to discussing controversial matters of public interest, and to air contrasting views regarding those matters. Stations were given wide latitude as to how to provide contrasting views: It could be done through news segments, public affairs shows, or editorials. The doctrine did not require equal time for opposing views but required that contrasting viewpoints be presented. The demise of this FCC rule has been considered by some to be a contributing factor for the rising level of party polarization in the United States.[2][3]


      Unconstrained by the need to present balance, US cable and internet based media now have have licence to publish any conspiracy theory as fact.

    • weka 25.2

      when folks were laughing at him in the republican primaries, who imagined that a mob of his supporters would be trashing the federal legislative chambers within four years and four fifths of Republican representatives would still vote to overturn the results of the election?

      Um… we were talking about it in 2016.



      This is linked in one of those comments and is worth a read. Sarah Kendzior just before the 2016 election.

      In 2014, I watched militarized police gas black protesters fighting against police brutality in Ferguson. And in 2016, I watched white Donald Trump supporters and largely non-white anti-Trump protesters fight each other, to the extent that some left covered in blood, outside Trump’s rally in downtown St Louis.

      That was the day I watched a crowd become a mob – a mob that waited politely in line but screamed racial epithets when challenged by those who opposed Trump, a mob whose members spoke of forming white supremacist militias if Trump lost.


      The mirroring of the mob's issues with the press this week are also striking 🙁

      But yep, getting to grips with just how bad the US has become. Still a large amount of denial.

  26. Robert Guyton 26

    Has Mexico made any comment?

  27. Forget now 27

    With a police officer now dead (apparently after being beaten with a fire extinguisher by a rioter, though I can't find reliable link for that), the remaining coup defeated may be open to charges of Felony Murder. An easier charge to prove than treason; a dead person at scene of crime means all criminals in area associated with killer are liable. And being a government official under the direct control of congress, as well as a cop, this isn't just going to go away.


  28. Sacha 29

    Twitter's bosses finally pull the plug on the tangerine menace; Gizmodo has fun with its headline: https://gizmodo.com/jack-offs-trump-1846023346

    The decision comes after roughly 350 Twitter employees sent an internal letter this week addressed to CEO Jack Dorsey and other top company executives calling for the company to stop stalling, take a deep breath, pull the cord on the guillotine already.

    Employees demanded that Twitter’s leaders explain why they allowed Trump to habitually violate the site’s rules with utter impunity, and requested an investigation into moderation missteps they believe contributed to pro-Trump rioters’ assault on the Capitol.

  29. Sacha 30

    Liddell's agenda:

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  • Proactive Calendar Release – October 2021
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