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Inauguration Day

Written By: - Date published: 6:01 am, January 21st, 2021 - 57 comments
Categories: us politics - Tags: ,

I think of myself as reasonably politically involved, but I’ve just seen a string of Kiwis on twitter talking about getting up for the inauguration and wondering what’s the best time in New Zealand (varies from 4am – 6am). I however will be sleeping and hoping that when I awake, all will be over and well in the world. Relatively speaking.

Then we can breathe a sigh of relief, and the centre lefties can get on with pretending everything is okish and the rest of us can get on with worrying about the climate and ecological crises, housing crisis, pandemic, and geopolitical instability. The Americans can hopefully do the same with the added bonus of how to solve the massive split in the society that seems now impossible to bridge.

So here’s a post to toss around for the day. Might be nice to talk about how NZ can avoid a similar fate as the US, but I expect we’ll all be pouring over the analysis of the day and past four years. With any luck that’s all the day will be.

Timeline courtesy of the Guardian:

According to the constitution of the United States, a president’s four-year term “shall end at noon on the 20th day of January”. On Wednesday, the end of Donald Trump’s presidency will see Joe Biden assume the office in the enduring inauguration ceremony at the US Capitol.

That’s 6am NZT, by the time this post goes up Biden will be being sworn in.

57 comments on “Inauguration Day ”

  1. EE 1

    What was his name again?
    That orange man, with the funny hair.

    [Fixed typo in e-mail address]

  2. Thankfully, a peaceful transition from Trump to Joe Biden, the 46th (and last president, unless he retires and gives Kamala a go) of the Disunited States of America.

  3. Treetop 4

    I set the alarm for 6 am and I was going to set it for 5.30 am. I missed Harris and Biden being sworn in as it occurred after 5.30 am and before 6 am NZ time. At some point Aljazeera TV will probably repeat it today. I have enjoyed the coverage since 6 am and seeing the outside and inside of buildings, who attended the inauguration and the ceremony.

  4. Eco Maori 5

    Congratulations President Biden

  5. Ad 6

    Vice President Harris has been given a running start, a favourable wind and a pole vault for a Presidential run. With a near-zero margin in the Senate and 10 votes in Congress, any move beyond Presidential executive delegation is going to need all her skill to marshall deals that are agreeable to both the most conservative and most liberal ends of the Democratic Party to get stuff through.

    This very much looks to me like LBJ doing the actual grunt for J. F. Kennedy (though of course hopefully a different means of ascent). LBJ was the true master of the House.

    • Treetop 6.1

      Biden is the oldest President on inauguration day and Harris has youth. Both are cool headed and are not reactive.

    • Enough is Enough 6.2

      Every Democrat Senator now has an effective veto, so it is going to be interesting to see how Harris manages that. It won't be easy.

      • Incognito 6.2.1

        Similarly, every Republican Senator has a chance to make history and try narrowing the huge divide. Do you really think that Harris will limit herself to Democrats only? Shadows on the wall can be quite entrancing.

        • Enough is Enough

          That's also what makes it really interesting.

          How will moderate Republicans work with the Administration when Trumpism is still a very strong political movement which Republicans can't ignore.

          • Andre

            Romney isn't up for re-election until 2024, when he'll be 77 and might not be that bothered if he doesn't get another term. He's not in any way a moderate, but he does believe in good government (well, sorta kinda anyways) and in the idea that opposition doesn't mean kneejerk opposing, it means trying to shape measures so their more palatable to his constituents.

            Lisa Murkowski is up in 2022, but she really doesn't need to worry about getting primaried. Alaska has moved to a jungle primary (all candidates from all parties in the same primary), with the top four going on to the general election which has changed to ranked choice voting. In this new system, Murkowski may well find it's to her advantage to go Independent and support Dem measures she can sell as good for Alaska.

            Susan Collins isn't up again until 2026 when she'll be 74. She says moderation is her brand, so she may well rediscover it.

  6. Stuart Munro 7

    Biden starts with the lowest expectations of any president in living memory, and with a genuine crisis to address that he didn't make. The application of commonsense to Covid will make him popular by contrast with his predecessor. The various media that plumped for Trump – Fox and the Russian disinformatsia pawns – have lost clout over the occupation of the Capitol and will struggle to land attacks on him.

  7. lprent 8

    Well it has happened. Stuff has the usual photos.

    Just done a quick flick through Washington post and New York times doesn't show any disruption. Just some whining by disgruntled Trump supporters.

    Nice touch with using flags instead of people for the inauguration crowd. Now if Chump had realised that was possible then we wouldn’t have suffered 4 years of him lying about the size of his inauguration crowd.

    He could have just ordered a pandemic and not been embarrassed.

  8. Sanctuary 9

    Trump's departing comments mentioned standing up to China and no new wars. If the economy had not tanked, he would have been able to claim economic growth as well and most likely would have won the election. Remember, before Covid the median wage of African-Americans outperformed everyone else under Trump and jobs growth was the best in a long long time.

    But every American GOP voter I have spoken to (yes, I actually know some) comes back in particular to standing up to China and no more foreign wars. War weariness is a thing in the USA. People focus on the headline KIA figure but there are 60,000 WIA, many with very serious injuries, from the war on terror and hundred of thousands with PTSD issues. And the United States is a superpower, with all the pride that goes with that. Standing up to China – which Americans (justly) think has stolen US IP and used unfair business practice with impunity to damage the US economy is a big thing as well.

    The point is the hot button issues that got Trump elected are not going away. A return to supine neoliberal globalism vis-a-vis China will guarantee a return of Trumpism in 2024. Starting new wars will be extremely unpopular. Biden's administration needs to address the issues that caused people to vote for Trump, or Trumpism will rise again.

    • Treetop 9.1

      As for no new wars started under Trump he did nothing to prevent division in his own country. Civil war is still war.

      A country is better off producing their own goods as this lowers employment and the quality of goods and intellectual property rights can be better controlled.

      400,000 people have perished in the US due to Covid. Trump may not have lost if he managed the pandemic instead of blaming it for the economic downturn.

    • aom 9.2

      Trump didn't start any wars – he didn't need to as he has other tools in the kit! He just indiscriminately used sanctions, gifted land that wasn't his to give, imposed US laws universally with no international justification, actioned drone bombing war crimes, presided over various coups and of course, had no qualms about accelerating the growth and influence of the US MIC. The outcomes in human misery and death was no less than full-blown wars but without the loss of too many US troops. Was the the toll of seriously maimed vets getting too much for domestic consumption on top of the preventable Covid mess he presided over?

    • Macro 9.3

      Trump had absolutely nothing to do with an improving US economy, in fact his massive grifting to the super-rich (including himself and family) with the massive tax package of 2017, exacerbated inequality. From the graph below you can see that the unemployment peak of 2010 was being reduced way before he took office and the trend merely continued until his disastrous handling of Covid.

      Infographic: Unemployment Rate Remains Historically High | Statista


  9. Morrissey 10

    There will be some discernible differences between the administrations of the Spraytan Stalin and Uncle Joe…


    • Gabby 10.1

      And what would those be?

    • RedLogix 10.2

      At some point you should consider moving on from the 80's.

      The USA has entered a new phase of withdrawal and disengagement; troop deployments overseas are at their lowest since the 1920's and there is absolutely no appetite among the American people for any new war.

      They will of course retain the world's largest military, and they will use it to defend what they still define as their interest. Essentially this means the old Monroe doctrine – no outside colonising power in the Americas.

      But aside from this and maybe the odd special forces/terrorism targeting in the ME, and maybe indirectly defending Taiwan – the rest of the world is on it's own.

      That Trump didn't start any new wars does stand partially to his credit, but it aligns with a much more important isolationist trend among all of the American people and political classes in the past decade. Put in a nutshell, the rest of the world could sink below the waves tomorrow and the North American NAFTA grouping (US/Canada/Mexico) would scarcely notice. Fundamentally they just don't care to be the 'world policeman' anymore.

      How that works out in an era of maximum economic turbulence is going to be interesting to say the least.

      • Morrissey 10.2.1

        At some point you should consider moving on from the 80's.

        ??? Sadly, the United States is still at it four decades later.

        The USA has entered a new phase of withdrawal and disengagement…

        !!??!?? Has it "disengaged" from Iraq, the U.A.E., Japan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, or Pakistan yet? Has it ceased its provocations of China? Of Iran?

        But aside from this and maybe the odd special forces/terrorism targeting in the ME…

        The United States supports terrorists in the ME. It even came up with a ridiculous name for them: "moderate rebels."

        Fundamentally they just don't care to be the 'world policeman' anymore. …

        The term "policeman" implies at least a notional commitment to international law. Are you trying to suggest the lawless U.S. regime, which has destroyed democratic governments from Central America to Indonesia, is committed to international law?

        • RedLogix

          It's 2021 man … update.

          • Morrissey

            The U.S. has stopped the reign of terror, you're suggesting? Stopped blockading Iran, Cuba, and Venezuela? Stopped provoking China? Stopped funding and diplomatically supporting ISIL? Stopped arming Israel? That's very good news.

            2021: a year to remember!

      • KJT 10.2.2

        At some point you should consider reality. US sanctions, proxy wars, blockades of supply lines, and toppling Democratic Governments they don't like, has, if anything, ramped up considerably. If they are not directly bombing as many countries, it is because they have found more effective, and often more murderous alternatives. Such as starving Venezualans, instead of bombing them.

        • RedLogix

          It's my bet that the Biden Administration will remove all troops from the ME within a few years. The remaining large deployments in places like Germany and Japan are also going to be slowly wound back even further.

          The exact numbers are a hard to pin down at any given moment; but the table on this wiki article gives some sense of just how things have changed in the past few years:


          And even in places with active combat like Afghanistan the numbers are now around 2500.


          Of course the US military presence has not magically vanished and is not likely to; but the trend is quite apparent. Increasingly the US is no longer inclined to get involved in the 'endless wars' it unthinkingly entered in past decades.

          And right now there are about 170 – 200 independent nations on earth, (depending on how you count them) and given the vast majority operate with very little fear of being 'toppled by the USA', it can't be too hard a trick to manage.

          • Craig H

            Something to consider is that Biden can't unilaterally withdraw a lot of troops without causing treaty issues e.g. NATO, and depending on the wording of the legislation funding for the troops, may have no legal ability to do anything (that's why Gitmo never got closed, Congress kept funding it and requiring to stay open).

            • RedLogix

              Good point. There are lots of complex reasons why it's hard to pin the exact numbers down at any given instant, but the trend to disengagement is pretty clear.

              You hit on the big point, NATO accounts for by far the largest chunk of their forces overseas, yet politically it serves almost no purpose at present. I suspect that most senior people in Washington would have little appetite for 'defending' Germany at this particular point in time.

          • KJT

            More than 50 of those "independent Nations" have had their Governments forcibly changed by the USA, since 1945. And many more by more subtle means, US supported.

  10. Adrian Thornton 11

    Well I am extremely relieved that Trump has finally gone…now maybe the liberal press of the world and their many adherents can now settle down with their endless hysterical non stop Trump as boogeyman carry on and maybe actually start doing some proper news and analysis…but I won't being holding my breath.

    As far as Biden goes I will be surprised if he lasts 18 months, so IMO Harris is the one who needs some serious scrutiny….

    The poor Palestinians are as fucked as usual….

    "Joe Biden and his vice president Kamala Harris are clearly members of the Democratic Party's pro-Israel wing. We must remember that Harris was the one who led the Senate against then-U.S. President Barak Obama's choice to abstain during the UN vote on Resolution 2334 condemning Israel for its settlements in the West Bank."


    • Treetop 11.1

      See what happens in March with the Israel election. I would not want Netanyahu to be re elected.

    • Siobhan 11.2

      ..actually…the poor Americans are, as you so delicately put it "fucked as usual"..heres a link to an interesting article related to the lack of basic hospitals in America…a country where five million American workers lost their insurance this spring alone…

      "Despite some federal aid, there’s growing concern over whether these hospitals will be able to weather the crisis in the long term. Advance payments from Medicare have helped, Ms. Barton True said, but “that money will have to be paid back in a number of months, and a lot of our hospitals are very concerned about how and whether they’re going to be able to pay that money back.”


      • joe90 11.2.1

        Repug voters screwed themselves.

        More than half of all rural hospitals in Mississippi, South Carolina, Georgia and Oklahoma lost money from 2011 through 2017.

        In Kansas, the bloodletting was even more widespread.

        Two out of three rural hospitals in the state operated in the red during the seven year period. Five were forced to shut down.

        What these states also have in common is that legislators voted against expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which would have provided coverage for hundreds of thousands of uninsured residents and bolstered rural hospital bottom lines.

        Fiercely conservative and inherently distrustful of the federal government, state politicians balked at picking up 10 percent of the Medicaid expansion cost and repeatedly expressed fears that Washington bureaucrats would renege on generous Obamacare funding, leaving states to cover an ever increasing share of the healthcare burden.



  11. Reality 12

    The inauguration was impressive. Americans certainly know how to put on a show. Lady Gaga's rendition of the national anthem was very stirring. Today is hopefully a new beginning after the horrors of the last four years. I felt the tone throughout will augur well for their future even with the huge challenges facing them. We may have forgotten that there are millions of good people there who have been shut down during the trump years.

    • Anne 12.1

      We may have forgotten that there are millions of good people there who have been shut down during the trump years.

      I have spent the last 4 years constantly reminding myself of that fact. It was hard sometimes, given the huge amount of news space afforded Trump supporters. It will be good to hear intelligent and common sense reflections coming from its leaders again – even if we don't always agree with them.

  12. Andre 13

    Q-Anoners and other MAGAmorons aren't taking it well. There appear to be glimmers of dawning understanding that they've been duped. Maybe they still have some tiny feeble link to reality and reason I wasn't giving them credit for.


    • Brendan 13.1

      Reality can be a painful thing – much easier to live in deception. By creating a more crazy conspiracy.

  13. joe90 14

    Biden released the letter tRump left for him.

  14. Tricledrown 15

    Andre trumpist's sycophants realised after the ransacking of the Capitol building they could face jail time and more likely lose their jobs that it is a dumb idea to get involved in these white supremacist intimidatory protests.

    • Andre 15.1

      They're especially miffed that none of them got pardons.

      In the days leading up to Trump’s departure from office, his online followers watched with horror as his pardons that were supposed to go to allies and supporters instead went to people who were inherently swampy: white-collar criminals convicted of tax fraud, family friends, Steve Bannon, even Democrat Kwame Kirkpatrick.

      “So just to recap: Trump will pardon Lil Wayne, Kodak Black, high profile Jewish fraudsters … No pardons for middle class whites who risked their livelihoods by going to ‘war’ for Trump,” fumed a user in a white supremacist channel on Telegram, the encrypted messaging service that has gained thousands of new subscribers since the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.


  15. Brendan 16

    Nat voter here.

    Trump could have gone done as a great American President.

    Instead he has gone down as one of the worst. (Remember some US Presidents were in the slavery job and one was in the CSA).

    I feel a peace- he has now gone.

    Now for some crazy Socalaism (or should we say decent policies that most of the Nat party agree with in some form).

    • Morrissey 16.1

      Nat voter here.

      Not a promising start.

      Trump could have gone done (sic) as a great American President.

      Really? How so?

      I feel a peace- he has now gone.

      You called it, buddy! Now we can all get some sleep!

      Now for some crazy Socalaism (sic) (or should we say decent policies that most of the Nat party agree with in some form).

      What is one of the "crazy" socialist policies you are thinking of?

      • Phil 16.1.1

        Trump could have gone done (sic) as a great American President.

        Really? How so?

        Exactly the same way that I could have gone down as one of the great opening batsmen of the Blackcaps… If I had kept playing consistently beyond my teen years, and not been a shit batsman.

    • Adrian Thornton 16.2

      " Now for some crazy Socalaism" …you obviously have absolutely no idea what you are talking about..who exactly are the Socialists in this fantasy world you live in?

  16. roblogic 17

    Biden: not as bad as the last guy.

  17. roblogic 18

    #MAGAtears, so delicious

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