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The ugly finale of the Trump Presidency

Written By: - Date published: 1:02 am, January 9th, 2021 - 150 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, Donald Trump, making shit up, racism, us politics - Tags: , , , ,

Originally published on Nick Kelly’s Blog

Wednesday 6 January 2021 The US Capitol building in Washington DC was the site of armed insurrection, incited by the outgoing President Donald Trump. The last time this building was breached was in 1814 when British soldiers set fire to it during the brief war between The United States and the United Kingdom which at that time saw the building partially destroyed. The violent incident which occurred on Wednesday saw four people killed and both legislative chambers, The House of Representatives and the Senate had to suspend business and elected representatives were forced to take shelter whilst pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol.

DC police: 4 died as Trump supporters stormed Capitol
Pictures of rioters stirred up by Donald Trump clashing with police in the Capitol Building

This was never going to be an easy transition of power. Trump’s ego would never allow him to accept that he lost the election. Sadly, it was always likely that he would incite violence by stirring up his base with false allegations of voter fraud and a stolen election. My earlier blog post on the subject correctly predicted that Trump’s legal challenges to the election would likely fail. So too were the hopes that the Election Certification of Joe Biden’s victory would be overturned by the Senate and its chair, Vice President Mike Pence. Then to add salt to the wound, voters in Georgia ensured that Biden’s Party would have a majority in the Senate by narrowly voting for the two Democrat candidates in the traditionally Republican Party voting states runoff election.

As I outlined just before the 2020 election and earlier on the one-year anniversary of Trump’s inauguration there are significant problems with the US electoral system. Twice in the last twenty years, the candidate who won the most votes nationally failed to win the presidency through the electoral college system. Trump, both in 2016 and in 2020 failed to win the popular vote. Yesterday when speaking to his mob of supporters in Washington he claimed to have won in 2020 with a bigger majority than in 2016 and claimed the Democrats victories were “explosions of bullshit.” The only bullshit that has exploded is the lie that Trump ever had majority support in the US. Certainly, in the 2020 election, Trump not only lost but did so by 7,059,741 votes nationally in the popular vote and by 74 electoral college votes.

On Monday a recording was released of a call between Donald Trump and a Republican Party election official from the state of Georgia, where Trump demands that the official find the 11,780 votes needed to win the state. This attempt at corruption and electoral fraud by Trump makes the Nixon Watergate Scandal of 1973 seem like a minor misdemeanour in comparison. He then followed this up by encouraging his supporters to go down to the Capitol and cause disruption to the Election confirmation vote to confirm Joe Biden as the next US President. Trumps inability to accept defeat and instead to manipulate his supporters through lies and inciting violence will be his final legacy.

Unfortunately, there remain many who support the Trump presidency and continue to argue that journalists who are critical of this president are reporting fake news. A former work colleague of mine sent me a clip showing thousands of Trump supporters singing the national anthem, claiming that the media not showing this clip meant Trump and his supporters were victims of media bias. That the media did not report protesters singing probably had more to do with the fact that it was irrelevant, especially when compared with armed protesters storming the legislature, planting pipe bombs and generally using violence to try and stop lawmakers confirming the 2020 election result.

Much has been said about the response from Trump to this protest in contrast to the Black Lives Matter movement in response to the George Floyd killing in 2020. Contrast the two statements from Trump in the image below:

Image may contain: 1 person, text that says "January 6, 2021 In a video message about supporters who stormed D.C.: "I know your pain. know you're hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us... We love you. You're very special... know how you feel, but go home and go home in peace." July 27, 2020 In a tweet amid nationwide anti-racism protests: "Anarchists, Agitators or Protestors who vandalize or damage our Federal Courthouse in Portland, or any Federal Buildings in any of our Cities or States, will be prosecuted under our recently re-enacted Statues & Monuments Act. MINIMUM TEN YEARS IN PRISON. Don't do it!""

Eventually, Vice President Mike Pence called in the National Guard and authorities took back control of the Capitol. Despite earlier praise from Pence for those Republican Senators wishing to challenge the result (most of whom backed away from this position after what happened), Pence chaired the confirmation and agreed to uphold the election result.

The ugly finale of the Trump presidency will have long term consequences. While many Republican lawmakers now distance themselves from Trump, it took them far too long. For the last five years, they have allowed Trump to create a narrative of misinformation tapping into America’s worst prejudices and fears. Trump has successfully built a following based on these lies and in the process created a political climate of hostility and fear that will inevitably now lead to further conflict and civil unrest.

Prior to the events at the Capitol on Wednesday, my take of the Georgia senate runoff was that the Democrats will have a narrow majority in both legislatures for two years, then most likely would lose one or both to the Republicans in the mid-terms. Now things are not quite so clear. Whatever the shortcomings of Biden and the Democrats in the coming months, it will shadow in comparison with the president who incited an insurrection at the Capitol and tried to intimidate an election official in Georgia to “find votes.” The Republican Party will now split between those who continue support Trump and those who would now like the GOP to return to its pre-Trump state. Further, the many new voters who turned out in 2020 to get rid of Trump, and in Georgia to elect two Democrat senators will likely not want to see Republicans regain control of either house after Wednesday’s scenes. Whilst Biden will face opposition, the 81 million who voted for him will not wish to see the events of Wednesday repeated, meaning the usual trend of voter turnout declining in the midterms may not happen next year.

The Trump presidency has laid bare the many weaknesses and deficiencies in the US political system and shown the world that it is a country rife with prejudice and division. While the US remains economically dominant (though this too is declining), it no longer has the credibility it once had on the world stage. Wednesday’s insurrection further tarnishes America’s reputation as a credible democratic nation. Significant changes will be needed before this reputation can be restored and it is hard to be optimistic that the US political system is capable of reforming itself in the way it needs to.

The hope for the future is that those who believe in democracy, both in America and throughout the world demand change. Wednesday’s events were a low point in the history of the United States. But there is still hope for change. Through continued work on voter registration and turnout that the US has a chance of turning a corner. The work done in Georgia on voter registration has shown what is possible and if this is replicated throughout the United States things may actually get better.

150 comments on “The ugly finale of the Trump Presidency ”

  1. Sacha 1

    • Treetop 1.1

      How long into the second term would Trump or his staff have lasted were Trump re-elected?

  2. Andre 2

    It's now five dead. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick has died after being bludgeoned in the head with a fire extinguisher by the insurrectionist mob.


    This raises the stakes significantly for those involved.

    • Treetop 2.1

      No one is safe when mayhem breaks out and those responsible are answerable.

    • Ad 2.2

      Slightly harder for a new party to form.

      But still plenty of supportive base.

      Almost like Lindbergh being deserted in 41 after the anti-Jew speech (except he never got elected).

  3. Sacha 3


    • Sacha 3.1

  4. Sacha 4

    Pulling no punches on Repug complicity: https://www.teenvogue.com/story/republicans-cowards-betsy-devos-ted-cruz-empowering-trump

    It’s been two days since a fascist militia stormed the U.S. Capitol at the behest of President Donald Trump, and he is still in office. How is this possible? Easily, it seems: through the same Republican cowardice that put him there.

  5. Tricledrown 5

    Trump Guiliani (the tough on Crime nut job) trumps 2 sons all should be arrested and locked up and should be prosecuted for murder after inciting the insurrection that lead to 5 deaths 14 police officers being hit on their heads with steel bars.

    These officers should also sue Trump and sons Giuliani for damages.

    Trump has permanently damaged his brand ironically many of his most extreme far right supporters will be spending many years behind bars.

    Trump will be spending most of his time in courts after leaving office .

    [You’re still not paying attention to any replies to your comments, are you?]

  6. Ad 6

    I'm struggling to see much downside for Republican Party yet. Twitter and Facebook have just handed massive amounts of market share to 8Chan and OAN.

    I'm looking forward to a decent poll shift. So far MSM response isn't shifting them.

    Trump will rightly presume a majority of elected Republicans will stay with him, so any breakaway Lincoln party is a long way into 2021.

    Oddly I see most pressure on the Dems.

    • Stuart Munro 6.1

      just handed massive amounts of market share to 8Chan

      Isn't it 8kun now? And they may not have pre-Christchurch traffic yet, as much of their content is now monitored.

      As for downside – Republican infighting and utu over responses to the Trump defeat will have the Republicans making the Gnats look coherent.

      Mr Trump's eldest son Don Jr accused the party of being "weak". His brother Eric warned: "Our voters will never forget you if your [sic] sheep!"

      Looks a bit like Judith's double-down on vote-losing vindictiveness.

      • Ad 6.1.1

        Parler getting booted off Amazon servers today is a big deal.

        But this just means more server networks get started up in opposition to the self-regulated ones, making their actors and incitements even harder to expose and and even stronger at solidifying the Trumpian supporters.

        If President Elect Biden got a massive appeal from Senate Republicans to repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act it would be in his interests to support it very soon.

        [Fixed a different typo in user name]

  7. mpledger 7

    Elections are won by wooing the middle, those at extremes don't change their votes. This mayham may be all fun and games to those on the extreme right but the quiet middle doesn't like it one little bit.

  8. NZJester 8

    A lot of BOLO (Be On the Look Out) alerts have been put out by US law enforcement for a lot of those involved. They have not had to look far for evidence as a lot of them posted videos or photos of their crimes along with commantary as to what they did.

    According to a lot of right-wing media and commenters the attack was done by ANTIFA dressed up as Trump supporters.

    I got to hand it to them though how much dedication they put into the charade to infiltrating these right wing groups at a very early age and voting Republican to throw them off. (Heavy Sarcasm)

  9. millsy 9

    And people, are still whining about him being banned. Something free speech, something something.

    The guy literally has enough firepower to send the earth back to the stone age 100 times over, and somehow, being banned from some internet site is the worst thing ever.

    Maybe if he didnt go round calling for his opponents to be slaughtered in cold blood so he can impose theocracy, we wouldnt be in this situation. Yet here we are.

  10. JPWood 10

    On losing one or both of the Georgia Senate seats in two years: Ossoff's seat is not up for re-election until 2026.

  11. Pat 11

    A question

    If Trump is successfully impeached and convicted do his Presidential pardons stand?

    • lprent 11.1

      Economist: All the president’s pardons (my italics).

      Article II, section 2, clause 1 of the constitution affords presidents latitude in granting clemency. The only limit noted in the text is a bar on pardons in the case of impeachments. Over the years courts have leant toward an expansive reading of the power: in 1866, the Supreme Court said pardons may be offered before an individual’s conviction or even indictment, and no ruling has prohibited presidents from extending mercy to friends or family members.

      What that means is that the section says you cannot pardon an impeachment.
      Wikipedia on pardons

      Pardons and reprieves may be granted by the president, except in cases of impeachment. There is currently no universally accepted interpretation of the impeachment exception. Some argue that the president simply cannot use a pardon to stop an officeholder from being impeached, while others suggest that crimes underlying an impeachment cannot be pardoned by the president.[27]

      As ruled by the Supreme Court in United States v. Wilson (1833), the pardon could be rejected by the convict. Then, in Burdick v. United States (1915), the court specifically said, “Circumstances may be made to bring innocence under the penalties of the law. If so brought, escape by confession of guilt implied in the acceptance of a pardon may be rejected, preferring to be the victim of the law rather than its acknowledged transgressor, preferring death even to such certain infamy.”

      Commutations (reduction in prison sentence), unlike pardons (restoration of civil rights after prison sentence had been served) may not be refused. In Biddle v. Perovich 274 U.S. 480 (1927), the subject of the commutation did not want to accept life in prison but wanted the death penalty restored. The Supreme Court said, “[a] pardon in our days is not a private act of grace from an individual happening to possess power. It is a part of the Constitutional scheme. When granted it is the determination of the ultimate authority that the public welfare will be better served by inflicting less than what the judgment fixed.”[28]

      If Trump is successfully impeached and convicted do his Presidential pardons stand?

      I’d say that yes. Unless it gets overturned at the interpretation level in the supreme court – unlikely because it’d involve overriding precedence.

    • Andre 11.2

      I've never seen any suggestion that impeachment and conviction would overturn pardons unrelated to the impeachment that were granted prior to the impeachment.

  12. Graeme 12

    Another question

    If Trump is impeached and tried in the Senate, does that preclude or override, any Federal charges that my result from the Jan 6 debacle or the Georgia tape?

    • Andre 12.1

      Impeachment and conviction has no effect in law on prosecuting any federal or state crimes, except for being able to bring them a bit sooner because of removing the shield of the DoJ opinion that a sitting preznit can't be prosecuted while in office.

      Another way of looking at it is impeachment and conviction is like getting fired from a job – it's a civil matter, nothing to do with the criminal justice system.

      As a practical matter, who knows which way the wind would blow after an impeachment and conviction. Impeachment and conviction may produce a good evidentiary record that helps push things towards prosecution, or it may be that the impeachment and conviction was for something that really fits the late 1700s early 1800s meaning of "high crimes and misdemeanors". That is, behaviour that isn't against a criminal statute, but is an abuse of power that is only possible because of the high office held.

      In the case of "incitement to insurrection" which the forthcoming article of impeachment will apparently be based on, it clearly is a "high crime and misdemeanor" when done by a president or other high official in government. If done by a private citizen, it's much more arguable and First Amendment protections come into play.

      Lay in a big stock of popcorn.

      • Andre 12.1.1

        In terms of an actual criminal charge of incitement to insurrection, well, Don Drumpfeone clearly did so. But he did so in the language of a mob boss, aiming for plausible deniability. Prosecutors deal with that shit all the time.

        I'd guess that an impeachment and conviction would make a prosecution more likely. It would be a clear-cut case of prosecutors being able to argue that those entrusted with writing laws saw a clear violation of the law. On the flip side, impeachment and acquittal would provide quite a strong defense that lawmakers didn't see it as a violation.

        However, impeachment (and conviction) is a political act. Moscow Mitch McTurtle has zero interest in legalities, principles, or morals. He is only interested in how to gain and hold power. From his perspective, forcing his senators to vote yea or nay on conviction would be a lose-lose vote for them. So he'll do everything he can to stop it coming to a vote, and that should be very easy for him. So I really doubt there will be a senate vote, the clock will just get run out.

        Right now the Senate split is 51Repug to 48 Dem. Insider Trading Barbie is still a senator, and will be until Warnock is ready to be seated. That's because she was appointed to a term that ends on 3rd January 2023 or when her replacement starts. Chicken Man is not a sitting senator, his term ended at noon on the 3rd January this year.

        Neither Ossoff nor Warnock will be seated until Georgia goes through the whole certification process. That will be complete sometime between the 15th and 22nd. Given that Raffensperger is a solid Repug, I'm picking it will be more likely slow-walked to the 22nd than quick-stepped to the 15th. Nevertheless, even if it were quick-stepped to the 15th, that would make it 50-50 with Pence the deciding vote in the Senate, so Yertle is still in complete control. Until noon on the 20th, at which point a conviction on impeachment for Individual-1 becomes moot.

        • WeTheBleeple

          Not moot at all. The impeachment would stop him mooching pension, travel etc. The best thing it would stop is a lifetime of protection from the secret service.

          Leave him exposed without power. Watch the queue form.

        • lprent

          As I understand the process.

          • Trump doesn't have to be in office to be impeached.
          • It doesn't have to be done within the 116th session of Congress (the current one). It can carry through to the 117th.
          • The most important effect will be that it preclude Trump from standing for president (assuming that the cheeseburgers don't stop him first).
          • Impeachment also removes a lot of the post-presidential perks that Trump will probably try to monetise – like housing Secret Service.

          I wasn't sure that it was feasible or worth while until I looked into it a bit. But now I think it is both feasible and worth while.

          I do think that we should look at putting a border restriction on him here as well. I don’t want to help pay for him. Impeachment would make that easier

          • Andre

            As far as I know, there has never been an attempt to impeach anyone in the US after they have left office, and the laws don't say anything one way or the other. So it appears to still be an open constitutional question which would go to the Supreme Court really fast.

            I'm kinda of the view that Donnie Littlehands ostentatiously rorting the taxpayers in his post-presidency will serve a useful purpose of reminding everybody with enough neurons to form a functioning synapse of why they should never ever vote for a Repug. If it works out that way, the few hundred mil it will cost would be a bargain.

            edit: And as far as stopping him running again, I’m still kinda hopeful the State of New York providing him free lodgings and an ill-fitting orange jumpsuit will deal with that.

      • Graeme 12.1.2

        Ta, thanks for the clear explanation.

        The words 'trial' and 'conviction or acquittal' are used a lot talking about the Senate side of impeachment, which in our money implies a criminal situation.

        But if it's civil, like you say an employment situation, then popcorn is going to get scarce.

  13. mosa 13

    " America’s reputation as a credible democratic nation." Significant changes will be needed before this reputation can be restored "

    I would argue that it was never a credible democratic nation but a very corrupt one blighted by its arrogance and contradictory behaviour with the mean need to control the so called free world with its own version of democracy held up a some sort of shinning example to follow and be enforced with aggression by America interfering in other countries governments to further its own interests.

    This reputation was always a figment of the imagination peddled by western media organisations and by the USA itself.

  14. Maurice 14

    The US has never been a "democracy" but a constitutional republic with extremely arcane voting processes … witness the Electoral College.

    It is wholly structured to make mob rule as difficult as possible and place all powers in the hands of "elected" officials and a huge unelected bureaucracy

    • RedLogix 14.1

      extremely arcane voting processes … witness the Electoral College.

      Nope … it's not all that weird, it's a very old system called 'indirect elections'. It does have some merits in terms of stability and protection from populists.

      • KJT 14.1.1

        "Merits". Noting that one of the most stable and least belligerent Government s on earth, Switzerland, has "populist" democracy.
        Of course we couldn’t possibly have the “Populi” deciding their own destiny.
        That, as the US system is specifically designed for, is reserved for the “elite” who “know better”.
        One of the reasons why so many, in desperation, voted for the Nilhilist option deciding any changes are better than none.

        • Poission

          Switzerland always has a great response.

        • RedLogix

          The Electoral College was also specifically set up to ensure the less populated states would not be completely and always outvoted by larger ones. It's easy for kiwis to overlook that the the US is essentially a federation of states, in which a great deal of important political functions reside, and there is very little appetite to move away from this system.

          The most important reform the US needs to look at immediately is to find a way to restore trust and transparency to their actual voting systems. The problems with them go back long before Trump; he's merely exploited a long standing fault line.

          Also trotting out Switzerland as some sort of ideal overlooks that systems which work well in one context often fail in another. The Swiss have gradually evolved their system over generations, and the people understand it; just assuming that it can be radically transplanted anywhere else with the same results is a recipe for disappointment.

          • arkie

            there is very little appetite to move away from this system.

            A majority of Americans continue to favor replacing Electoral College with a nationwide popular vote

            A majority of U.S. adults (58%) say the Constitution should be amended so the presidential candidate who receives the most votes nationwide wins, while 40% prefer to keep the current system in which the candidate who receives the most Electoral College votes wins the election.


            • RedLogix

              Yes, well a majority of Americans live in the large states that would benefit from such a change.

              • arkie

                So then there is a majority appetite to move away from their system.

                The very basis of the concept of democracy is majority rule.

                The electoral college's distortion of democracy is one of the main objections to it, as a system.

                • RedLogix

                  Yes but your version diminishes the role and importance of the states; which may not be all that important to you, but it is to many Americans.

                  • arkie

                    Why is this about what I want? My Version? The link I cited is a study of what is important to Americans according to many Americans. So there’s a large appetite to change the system, as the data shows, and I and my supposed wishes had nothing to do with that fact.

                    • RedLogix

                      A poll that is inherently biased toward the interests of largest states is less useful to your argument than you think. You might as well have done a poll of Democrats on the same question.

                    • arkie

                      The polling study is broken down many ways including by political affiliation.

                      But feel free to peruse the study yourself as to it's biases, though that might sound suspiciously like 'homework'.

          • Andre

            "There is very little appetite to move away from this system" isn't a fair description. It's more a case of resignation to the fact that in the current political climate, Repugs gain a large advantage from it, and there's no way in hell they'll voluntarily surrender that unfair advantage. Since it would require a constitutional amendment to remove the Electoral College and replace it with the popular vote, it takes very few Congresspeople and states objecting to stop it.

            Hence the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact as an attempt to do an end-run around the Electoral College and ensure the presidency goes to the winner of the nationwide popular vote.

            • RedLogix

              Repugs gain a large advantage from it, and there's no way in hell they'll voluntarily surrender that unfair advantage.

              Only unfair from the perspective if you insist that a popular vote is the ideal expression of democracy. We're very accustomed to thinking this way, but it's not the only version that's legitimate.

              Or as a counterpoint, NZ elects MP's who in turn have indirectly elected a Leader, who in turn indirectly appoints Cabinet Ministers. If for example we were used to voting for Cabinet Ministers directly, what we actually do would seem very unfair and undemocratic.

              • Macro

                Only unfair from the perspective if you insist that a popular vote is the ideal expression of democracy. We're very accustomed to thinking this way, but it's not the only version that's legitimate.

                The popular vote may not be the ideal expression of democracy but it is certainly far more equitable that which pertains in the US. In the Senate, the voting power of a voter in Wyoming with just over 530,000 inhabitants, is around 75 times that of a voter in California with a population of 40,000,000. So for instance, in the selection of a Cabinet post, or the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice, the Wyoming voter has 75 times more say, than that of the Californian. Even though, both will be subject to the same decision that Cabinet appointment or Supreme Court Justice may make.

                I realise that this does not relate specifically to the issue wrt the Electoral College which is another – but similar issue. What I wish to point out by analogy, is that of the massive differences and advantages that are given to some States over others, and regrettably those advantages are skewed by and large, towards States which have smaller populations and are predominantly Republican.

                • RedLogix

                  Yes I understand that perfectly well; the tilting of the popular vote has become too extreme. But whether you're ever going to persuade them to abandon this part of the Constitution altogether is another matter.

                  • Macro

                    But whether you're ever going to persuade them to abandon this part of the Constitution altogether is another matter.

                    Exactly. Any attempt to amend the Constitution is a mammoth task. Take for instance the endorsement of women's rights and equal opportunities. The ERA. Yes it can be agreed by the House, Senate, and signed by the President, but then it needs to be ratified by 75% of the States. To date only 37 States have ratified the ERA, so the US lags behind 76% of countries with constitutions that guarantee equal rights for women.

                    • RedLogix

                      That's pretty much my point; the Americans are never going to abandon their state/federalist system even though it throws up anomalies like the ones we're talking about.

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            The problems with them go back long before Trump; he's merely exploited a long standing fault line.

            Trump’s “merely exploited” that “fault line” like no other president in living memory, IMHO.

            Divide-and-rule-types such as Trump are always looking for opportunities to widen and deepen political and social fault lines.

            A made-in America crisis

            OPINION: Some flesh. I’ve long had a love affair with America. I’m also lucky to have seen much of that great expanse, worked and lived there, and engaged with lots of different Americans in and outside government. I’m a 30-year fan of the San Francisco Giants.

            In saying all of that, the contradictions inherent in its history, its sectional and racial fault-lines, and entropic constitutional architecture mean that any rose-tinted affection is tempered by experience and a heavy dose of realism.


            • RedLogix

              Years back I recall a comment thread here pointing out that if a UN appointed Election Monitoring team was to report on the US elections, they'd likely condemn them as very unreliable. Increasing populisation and radicalising across the spectrum made the splitting of this fault line pretty damned inevitable.

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                Increasing populisation and radicalising across the spectrum made the splitting of this fault line pretty damned inevitable.

                Trump's the exploitative splitter par excellence – who could do it better?

                • RedLogix

                  Not all social fault lines are the same; this one could be fixed fairly easily.

                  • McFlock


                    • RedLogix

                      A Federal non-partisan commission that sets standards, methods and provides a technical oversight to the actual electoral processes rather like we do here in NZ.

                      Most countries manage to this, the USA probably could.

                    • McFlock

                      So needing an amendment to the constitution in a different direction. Telling states how to run their elections, while at the same time ensuring bipartisanship from the likes of moscow mitch.


                    • RedLogix

                      Nah, I've been around quite long enough to have watched the left bitch and moan about the reliability of election results because they didn't like the outcome for one reason or another. It's been a perennial theme of US elections.

                      Just because you like the outcome of this particular election, doesn't mean that the US doesn't have a chronic problem with trust in it's election systems that needs resolving beyond all doubt.

                    • McFlock

                      Dude, I said none of that.

                      I said a non-partisan federal commission has two obstacles: the 10th amendment meaning state administration of elections is likely not a federal issue according to SCOTUS, and the practicality of "bipartisan" when something like 3/5 repugs voted to overturn an election because they lost it.

                      If you want to compare bitching about losing an election because of actual voter disenfranchisement (including ID laws and dodgy mechines) with bitching about losing an election because valid votes were counted, I don't believe that was a discussion I was part of.

                    • RedLogix

                      Yes I realise if was easy it might have been done by now, but what baffles me is exactly why you're so opposed to the idea of ensuring the watertight integrity of their electoral system?

                      Are you so utterly tribal that even that suggestion is beyond you?

                    • McFlock

                      Your federal commission is exactly as easy as removing the electoral college. Both require constitutional amendments.

                      The integrity of the electoral system is stacked against the left. If I were all that tribal and your idea was anything other than dishwater, I'd support it.

                      Are you really so foolish to think that a federal body wouldn't be corrupted by bad faith actors? The way around them is to make presidential elections better reflect the will of the populace. That means the popular vote. The electoral college is here to stay, so that means the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

                      Yes, that will rightly piss off smaller states – they're losing their leverage, and not all of them (even the republican ones) support y'all qaeda.

                      The thing worse than the tyranny of the majority is the tyranny of the minority, especially when the minority is propped up by ethnicity-based disenfranchisement.

                    • Andre

                      It's not so much a small state vs big state thing, it's much more a rural – urban thing at the moment. Which very much correlates to the Dem-Repug split at the moment.

                      All the small solid Dem states have signed up to the NPVIC. That's Vermont (3 EC votes), Delaware (3), DC (3), Rhode Island (4) Hawaii (4), New Mexico (5), Connecticut (7).

                      But none of the swing-y states, small, large or middling, nor any solid Repug states are signed up, and only a few have even started considering the idea.

                    • RedLogix


                      Yes that's very much how I see it as well. This urban/rural split is very important and is being driven by many factors.

                      What very few people have noticed however is that COVID has reorganised the game; the big Democrat states like California, and their East Coast strongholds are facing very real economic headwinds this decade. While it's the states like Texas, New Mexico, Georgia, Alabama, and Arizona that have some very positive fundamentals.

                      They now have access to virtually free natural gas as energy and they’ve already re-tooled their huge process industries to use it as feedstock in preference to crude/naptha. Unlimited land to expand their cities, proximity to Mexico their now largest trade partner, good transport networks, and supply chains looking to relocate major industrial plant back to North America.

                      While at the same time the big Democrat strongholds are beset by numerous problems, wildly overinflated real estate, resulting homelessness, unattractively high tax rates and perceived over regulation, and in some locations a devastatingly high crime rate.

                      I'm not trying to make a complete case here, rather I want to point to the various factors driving a lot of political turbulence and change in the USA. The voter blocks that have been aligned to the two main parties are shifting, for example the Unions are showing an increasing cuddliness with the Republicans.

                      The way I look at it, the collapse of globalisation, increasing polarisation and social media driven extremism has unmoored the traditional centrist groupings from their usual loyalties, and as a result we may see Democrat and Republican parties that look very different by the end of this decade.

                    • McFlock

                      I just figured the smaller states would be pissed because the campaigning would be more focused on national population centres rather than state or regional. Wisconsin might see fewer presidential candidates having rallies there, with many more in NYC.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    The most important reform the US needs to look at immediately is to find a way to restore trust and transparency to their actual voting systems.

                    If it’s an easy fix, why didn't Trump fix it? Splitter par excellence.

                    How Trump drove the lie that the election was stolen, undermining voter trust in the outcome

                    • RedLogix

                      This is the kind of lazy 'always blame the other guy' style of thinking the left indulges in far too often. Yeah Trump pushed the 'distrust in the election' narrative as hard as he could, but he sure didn't cut it from whole cloth all by himself.

                      The raw material was lying about all along.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    Just because you like the outcome of this particular election…

                    I do like the (likely) outcome of this particular US election – do you?

                    • RedLogix

                      Frankly both major US parties are so compromised in my view (although in quite different ways) that there was no outcome of this election I would have been overjoyed about.

                      I took some pleasure in the election of Obama, but current Dem crowd leave me way less than thrilled. And the best thing about seeing the arse end of Trump will be no more tangerine humour from Andre.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    Frankly both major US parties are so compromised in my view (although in quite different ways) that there was no outcome of this election I would have been overjoyed about.

                    So you don’t have, or would rather not express a preference – all good.

                    This is the kind of lazy 'always blame the other guy' style of thinking the left indulges in far too often.

                    How very bipartisan of you wink

                    By "the other guy", do you mean Trump? Shouldn't he share at least some of the blame for the current shit show that is US politics?

                    Amanda Palmer Thinks Donald Trump Will 'Make Punk Rock Great Again' [29 Dec. 2016]
                    It’s been a really scary time in America," she related. "I don’t know how it’s felt over here [in Australia] for the past few months, but it’s a total shit show over there. Especially if you’re an artist, a woman, a minority, gay — anything but a rich white man — it’s really very scary."

                    • RedLogix

                      Of course Trump is responsible for his inflammatory language, but so what. It's what Trump does, why does anyone act outraged any more?

                      This is a left wing site, and I think we should be smart enough to focus on becoming a better version of ourselves instead of whining about things we have ZERO control over.

                  • Ad

                    A bipartisan repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act would be a great start.


                    Not only would it have bipartisan Senate support, it would have Trump's support.

                    After that, put the big internet providers under stronger and highly watchful regulation of the Federal Communications Commission.

                    And then break up Google and Facebook for simply being too powerful – like they did into the Baby Bells in 1984.

                    [Fixed typo in user name]

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    Anyone can fall into the trap of "whining about things we have ZERO control over", and it's handy to recognise such behaviour in oneself as well as others wink

                    Of course Trump is responsible for his inflammatory language, but so what. It's what Trump does, why does anyone act outraged any more?

                    Good questions – "so what"; why does anyone 'act' outraged any more?

                    Well, for starters, maybe it's not an 'act'. Maybe some people are actually (still) genuinely outraged by every new outrageous statement Trump utters. More fool them, you reckon?

                    I’ll try following your advice not to be outraged by Trump's sustained inflammatory language, and save it for the effects of such language, for example the (further) erosion of trust in the US voting process, and the storming of the Capitol building. No doubt, in the fullness of time, more than one thorough analysis of Trump’s presidential utterances and their political and social effects will be available.

                    Insurrection Day: when white supremacist terror came to the US Capitol
                    Witnesses say Trump was oblivious to the gravity of the situation as five died, Congress was violated and his vice-president faced the very real possibility of being lynched.

                    • RedLogix

                      Yeah and to be honest I'm very suspicious of this 'white supremacist/neo-nazi' thing the left immediately cooked up on this. It was a very large crowd and I'll bet that any actual neo-nazis represented a very small fraction of it.

                      Most of the keyboard activists and so called journalists making this claim were not actually there, have not interviewed anyone who was, and it's so easy to cherry pick a few pics to make smear a diverse crowd with the actions of a few.

                      Yes there were certainly some extremists present, acting under the cover of a much larger crowd, to pull off things they'd normally not be able to achieve. This is a tactic we've consistently seen all year used in the BLM/Anitfa riots, so it's not surprising to see it evolve elsewhere.

                      But this was not a very good coup really. There was no concerted effort to seize power, no coherent leadership on the ground, very few arms present (and these are presumably people who have access to them as a rule) and their ringleader told them to 'all go home' after just five hours.

                      This is not to minimise the deplorable nature of this riot, it was entirely unacceptable and has been condemned by every grown up in the room. But inflating it into something it wasn't irks me just as much.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    "Yeah and to be honest I'm very suspicious of this 'white supremacist/neo-nazi' thing the left immediately cooked up on this. It was a very large crowd and I'll bet that any actual neo-nazis represented a very small fraction of it."

                    Yeah and to be honest given that Borger's article doesn't mention "neo-nazis", it doesn't surprise me that you're the first person to use that term (twice) in either the post or the ~75 comments on this page.

                    Why might you choose to introduce this rather inflammatory term ("neo-nazis") here? Hyperbole, fabrication, or maybe having a whine? wink

                    • RedLogix

                      You linked to an article using the inflammatory phrase 'white supremacist terror' in bold letters. Care to explain how this is so very different to 'neo-nazi'?

                      And why am I not surprised you resort to splitting semantic hairs rather than addressing my point head on?

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    Care to explain how this is so very different to ‘neo-nazi’?

                    They're spelt differently laugh , and Borger (the Guardian's world affairs editor) used the term "white supremacist" in the title of his article that I linked to – he didn’t use the term “neo-nazi“; rather you did that (first) here, twice.

                    Wouldn’t once have been enough – twice seems a bit ‘whiny’.

                    I'll bet that any actual neo-nazis represented a very small fraction of it.RL

                    On that we agree – so who might have "immediately cooked up" this "neo-nazi thing", and the idea that neo-nazis represented more than a very small fraction of the 'patriots' who mobbed the Capitol? Why "the left", of course – quelle surprise.

                    • RedLogix

                      The term 'white supremacist' and 'neo-nazi' are for all practical purposes entirely adjacent to each other. Pretending otherwise is a debate fail of the first order.

                      And I don't have to go far in the media (literally this was the first thing I found this morning) to find concrete examples of the kind of inflationary language I'm talking about.

                    • McFlock

                      Ok, so only a small fraction of the people broke into the legislature with flexi-cuffs and tasers and flashbangs and camo-cosplay were ~adjacents. Good to know. /sarc

                    • RedLogix

                      And exactly the same tactics were used in the BLM/Antifa protest/riots all year … large and legitimate protest events used as cover by much smaller groups of extremists to achieve a degree of disruption otherwise beyond their reach.

                      And for the most part the broad left has failed to vigorously condemn that disruption all year (in many cases tacitly cheering them on), and now look like hopeless hypocrites when they now whine about the right doing it. Attempting to defend the charge by quibbling the relative moral legitimacy of the causes involved just doesn't work.

                      By contrast most Republican senior leaders have immediately understood that the rioters who entered the Capitol stepped over the line and have promptly condemned and/or distanced themselves from it. On this the conservative right has it's shit together on where the boundaries are, much better than the left.

                    • Andre

                      Kevin Drum explains the difference between BLM riots and insurrection. Without even needing to touch on how a lot of the violence at BLM protests was sparked by police and provocateurs rather than protesters:

                      The final paragraph nails the false equivalence:

                      It is sophistry of the first order to pretend that these two things have the slightest bit in common. The former is unfortunate but has no long-term impact at all. The latter is a direct assault on the workings of democracy by the leader of that democracy. Anyone who can’t tell them apart is either a cretin, a demagogue, or an insurrectionary. Take your pick.


                    • RedLogix

                      First of all Kevin Drum completely discredits his argument with the pointless, abusive name-calling in his final paragraph. If that's what he feels necessary to silence/shame his critics then he knows his argument is weak and flawed. And quite a few people who're demonstrably not cretins, demagogues or insurrectionists have pointed out the close equivalence here that Drum tries to pretend doesn't exist.

                      Let's not beat about the bush here, a riot is a riot, is a riot. When a mob starts looting, burning and bashing I don't care what cause or label they're carrying. What happened in the Portland city centre for weeks on end is only a degree of difference to what happened in Washington, both were 'assaults on democracy', both had real impact.

                      sparked by police and provocateurs rather than protesters:

                      Yup … exactly what I said above, small groups of extremists using the legitimate protest as cover to provoke confrontations with the police. And then selectively using the police response to justify their violence.

                      Same tactic here, just different people. Only these ones all went home after five hours.

                    • McFlock

                      And exactly the same tactics were used in the BLM/Antifa protest/riots all year … large and legitimate protest events used as cover by much smaller groups of extremists to achieve a degree of disruption otherwise beyond their reach.

                      These guys left pipe bombs.

                      BTW, name-calling doesn’t discredit an argument. It does provide an easy excuse for a biased person to ignore a valid argument, though. I guess some people think feeling sad stops their brain from working.

                    • Andre

                      These guys left pipe bombs.

                      And set up a gallows and noose with which to hang the Vice President. And went looking for him. It looks to be a genuine attempt, not just a symbolic gesture


                    • RedLogix

                      Now you're both just parsing the details of the mob violence. Of course these will differ, relying on them to erase the obvious broader equivalence is a complete fail.

                      As for 'threats to life', how far for instance would I have to look to find rock solid evidence of Antifa/BLM 'protesters' chanting slogans and painting symbols that were direct 'threats to life' on the police? And were any of the looting, burnings and bashings undertaken by BLM/Antifa-aligned activists this year really acceptable? They might be to you, but I know for certain a large fraction of ordinary Americans didn't like them one little bit.

                      Or are you going to try and argue that they were really all right wing false flag provocateurs?

                    • Andre

                      Go right ahead and show your evidence about violence initiated by proven BLM protestors. Coz every time I've gone looking, the huge majority of articles that pop up from sources that try to be neutral fact-tellers tend to be like this one:

                      President Donald Trump portrays the hundreds of people arrested nationwide in protests against racial injustice as violent urban left-wing radicals. But an Associated Press review of thousands of pages of court documents tells a different story.

                      Very few of those charged appear to be affiliated with highly organized extremist groups, and many are young suburban adults from the very neighborhoods Trump vows to protect from the violence in his reelection push to win support from the suburbs.


                      (h/t Metabunk): https://www.metabunk.org/threads/claims-that-antifa-was-responsible-for-the-capitol-riot.11534/

                    • McFlock


                      And exactly the same tactics were used in the BLM/Antifa protest/riots all year

                      [differences pointed out]

                      Now you're both just parsing the details of the mob violence. Of course these will differ, relying on them to erase the obvious broader equivalence is a complete fail.

                      Using "exactly" when you really mean "broadly similar" is a complete fail. But even then you'd have to provide evidence of prior coordination in any alleged "antifa" violent acts (most of which turned out to be bullshit).

                      These fuckers went to washington after loudly saying exactly what they were going to do weeks in advance. BLM protestors burning a police station seemed to be a much more spur of the moment event. The "equivalence" seems to be that rather than it being "antifa" at one event and insurrectionists at the other, maybe insurrectionists were indeed involved with both (according to the FBI, anyway)

                    • RedLogix

                      violence initiated by proven BLM protestors.

                      Whoops … there's the trick right there. It's now a proven tactic for small groups of extremists to use legitimate protests as cover for disruption they could not otherwise achieve.

                      Here's the problem, you cannot defend the legitimacy of BLM protesting their cause and at the same time condemn Trump for asking his supporters to do the same.

                      Let's me be clear, I'm on record as not liking BLM at all, but I'm perfectly clear on their legitimate right to protest their cause. So when Trump asks his supporters to protest, as much as I don't like Trump either, I'm compelled to acknowledge the legitimacy of this.

                      That in both cases there are small groups who will exploit the protest to step over the boundary into disruption and violence does not make the protest illegitimate in either instance.

                      There is a useful subsiduary question here; did Trump directly incite the invasion of the Capitol? He certainly used his usual inflammatory, imprecise language that can be interpreted as this. But then just a few hours later he asks they all go home? This isn't very consistent if his real intention was an actual coup is it?

                      This was perhaps the worst thing about Trump, it's his chronic inability to convey his thinking accurately, leaving far too much ambiguity and chaos in his wake. He may well not have intended for the Capitol to be invaded when he spoke, but his words arguably had that effect. Right there is the most fundamental reason why he was never fit for the office.

                    • Andre

                      I totally support BLM protestors when they are protesting against unarmed black people getting killed in outrageous acts of police brutality that went way way beyond what the situation called for.

                      I do not support any elected official lying about (non-existent) fraud causing their election loss for months with zero evidence, then whipping up a mob into violent protest about the non-existent fraud.

                      Dunno what evidence you have for your assertion about CovidCamacho being unable to clearly convey his thinking. Years of evidence points to his wanting his supporters to commit violence, and reportedly he was delighted when they did so.


                    • Andre

                      Seems to me that with all the hype whipped up about what a threat BLM and antifa are over all the months of these protests, there'd be at least a few identifiable leaders found to be instigating violence and vandalism, if those were the goals. But there's none I'm aware of.

                      In contrast, some of the current insurrectionists have been identifiably inciting shit for months, and have now been caught doing what they've threatened.

                      So your comments about BLM look just like the electoral fraud lies spouted by the cleverer Repugs – completely lacking in evidence backup, but vaguely stated to leave wriggle room when called on to provide actual evidence

                    • RedLogix

                      So your comments about BLM look just like the electoral fraud lies spouted by the cleverer Repugs – completely lacking in evidence backup,

                      What exactly are you trying to say here? That the BLM/Antifa protests this past year were not also associated with regular outbreaks of looting, arson and intimidating thuggery? That there is no evidence for these things?

                      That just because the 'leaders' of these very loose organisations (Antifa really doesn't exist as a single coherent entity, and BLM has many local chapters not all of whom get on well) are not on record as inciting violence directly, that they were not aware that the protests they organised by day were routinely degenerating into something much worse by night? And that this didn't go on for months?

                      And that the broad left was quite happy to ignore, minimise and generally deflect (as you are doing now) on the impact this had on many communities all over America?

                    • Andre

                      I am saying that you are trying to paint a really reprehensible false equivalence.

                      The BLM protests were intended to be peaceful, for a legitimate cause, that were disrupted by malicious opportunists (apparently mostly on the spectrum of Wussolini supporters) to indulge in violence and mayhem. That opportunist arseholes unconnected to the protests successfully turned legitimate protests into chaos is not the fault of the protestors, it's the fault of the arseholes.

                      The current insurrectionists have violence and mayhem as a primary means for an illegitimate goal (violent disruption of the peaceful democratic transfer of power) that have been deliberately whipped up by evidence free lies.

                      There is simply no equivalence in intent, actions of the actual protestors, goals, or reason for the protest (well, insurrection in the case of the most recent mob).

                    • RedLogix

                      The BLM protests were intended to be peaceful, for a legitimate cause, that were disrupted by malicious opportunists (apparently mostly on the spectrum of Wussolini supporters)

                      OK so this is now the line being run, that the disruption (and I use that term broadly here) associated with these 'peaceful' BLM protests was actually caused by false flag right wing provocateurs. And that the organisers of these protests which gave cover for them bear no responsibility whatsoever, despite the same events playing over and over for months.

                      This is the fatal flaw of all tribal thinking, you're going to insist that because of your moral correctness that the violence done in the name (or under the cover) of your cause is justified. Yet at the same time you remain blind to the fact that the other guys are going to do exactly the same thing with exactly the same reasoning.

                      I don't mean to be rude here, but this is how children think. And children are very prone to getting into fights.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    Isn’t that just more fabrication? I can’t remember disagreeing with the idea that “the term[s] ‘white supremacist’ and ‘neo-nazi’ are for all practical purposes entirely adjacent to each other“, whatever that means.

                    "white supremacist" (Borger) –> "'white supremacist/neo-nazi' thing" (RL) –> "actual neo-nazis" (RL)

                    RL, you introduced the term "neo-nazi" into this thread, and used it to have a whine about "the left" – that's all I'm saying. No doubt your intentions were pure – they were certainly clear enough (IMHO), given that you chose not to express a preference for Trump or Biden.

                    • RedLogix

                      And you first introduced the term 'white supremacist terror' in bold letters. And now you want to pretend this isn't in any way, shape or form related to 'neo-nazi' in the ordinary sense of these terms that most people will understand.

                      If you can't do better than silly semantic hair splitting I'm out of here.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      To be fair, “white supremacist” was in bold because it was part of the title (in bold) of the article. It would have been difficult (and IMHO dishonest) to link to Borger's article without using the term "white supremacist", as this term was in the title of the article, and in the link.


                      If I’d known in advance that using bold letters to write the title of Borger’s article would be such an issue for you, I wouldn’t have done it – the term is a bit of a ‘red rag‘ for some.

                      The choice to shift from "white supremacist" to "actual neo-nazis" was entirely yours; I'm sure you had your reasons.

                    • Forget now

                      It's telling that the first place RL went for information was the finance section of the online version of the Australian arm of Murdoch's News Corp. Hard to see how that is evidence of; the left immediately cooked up, anything.

                      Anyway, I am mostly admiring how far this comment has drifted. I did like DMK's bit upthread that got derailed into hair-splitting here:

                      "…why does anyone 'act' outraged any more?

                      Well, for starters, maybe it's not an 'act'. Maybe some people are actually (still) genuinely outraged by every new outrageous statement Trump utters."

                    • RedLogix

                      The choice to shift from "white supremacist" to "actual neo-nazis" was entirely yours; I'm sure you had your reasons.

                      Well on reflection the reason is simple; the term 'white supremacist' is one of those phrases the left has conceptually stretched beyond all usefulness. It can now mean pretty much anything you want, and these days seems to be used as a term of abuse to cover all 75m people who voted for Trump.

                      Or anyone who thinks DiAngelo is a bit unhinged for example.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    And now you want to pretend this isn't in any way, shape or form related to 'neo-nazi' in the ordinary sense of these terms that most people will understand.

                    Best hyperbolic fabrication yet RL. You are the champion laugh

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    “…the term 'white supremacist' is one of those phrases the left has conceptually stretched beyond all usefulness. It can now mean pretty much anything you want…” – RL

                    Simply extraordinary.

                    • McFlock

                      The "example" seemed oddly irrelevant, too.

                    • RedLogix

                      Nothing extraordinary at all; it's a deliberately ill-defined term that regularly gets tossed around here with very little qualification or scrutiny.

                      You for example quite cheerfully characterised this protest/riot as 'white supremacist terror' when you've not connected directly in any fashion with any of the thousands of people present. You've no real idea what any of them actually think or believe. You just relied on media pundits with an obvious agenda to tell you what to think.

                      I find that quite extraordinary.

                    • McFlock

                      You for example quite cheerfully characterised this protest/riot as 'white supremacist terror' when you've not connected directly in any fashion with any of the thousands of people present. You've no real idea what any of them actually think or believe. You just relied on media pundits with an obvious agenda to tell you what to think.

                      Oh, let's do a google for mr "lalalala can't see anything", shall we?

                      Here's some of the group branding on the day. Special mention to the confederate and "kekistan" flags, and the "Camp Auschwitz" sweatshirt. But there's a heavy sprinking of ok signs and "National socialist Club" stickers.

                      But I'm sure some of them are nice people. /sarc

                    • RedLogix


                      If there is one thing you should have learned by now, it's that images are by their very nature highly selective things. What they convey depends entirely on where the camera is pointed and when the shutter is pressed.

                      Here's a left leaning journalist who was actually there; Jeremy Lee Quinn tells a much more nuanced story than the one much of the media wants to tell you.

                    • McFlock

                      I mean it's a photographed fact that the flags and slogans were there, and the website you linked to seems to think it interviewed one of the nazis that were there, so I'm not sure what hair you're trying split at the moment (but I suspect it's the pube of one of those angels that are dancing on the head of a pin).

                    • RedLogix

                      so I'm not sure what hair you're trying split at the moment

                      It would help if you paid attention and stopped thinking in binary all the time … there being 10 types of people in the world, those who think in binary and those who don't cheeky

                      There are several lines I'm arguing here; one is that the presence of disruptive/violent extremists exploiting a legitimate protest is now a recognised tactic. This has several consequences:

                      One is that opponents will use them to delegitimise the protest and its cause. The other is that unless the leaders and supporters of a protest are quick to distance themselves and condemn the violence, they will have no defense when their opponents use the same methods themselves.

                      All your 'false equivalence' arguments are utterly futile in the face of this simple reality, as soon as anyone, anywhere, in any context, resorts to violent disruption for political purposes the entire community must stand united in opposition to them.

                      Failure to do so not only leaves the door open to charges of hypocrisy (and in this power obsessed age who cares about that), but very much runs the danger of mutual escalation. Exactly as we've seen this past week.

                      If you want to characterise this as 'hair splitting' go right ahead.

                    • McFlock

                      Normally when people accuse others of binary thinking the objective is to share a more nuanced view. Not to insist upon a categorical imperative.

                      On an abstract principle, I believe (where nonviolent efforts have failed) violent systems warrant proportionately violent disruption. Basic self defense. E.g. both BLM and the Waikeria protest.

                      What is not an example of that principle is violently protesting a system with the intention of replacing it with a more violent system.

                    • RedLogix

                      I believe (where nonviolent efforts have failed) violent systems warrant proportionately violent disruption. Basic self defense. E.g. both BLM and the Waikeria protest.

                      On this you are categorically wrong, because your opponents will use exactly the same argument themselves. In this case for instance the vast majority of the legitimate protesters on the 6th Jan sincerely believed (rightly or wrongly) that they were there to defend the Constitution. They sincerely believed that the 'election had been stolen' and they were there to prevent a coup, not to create one.

                      There is only one rule that works here; all violence for political purposes must be out of bounds. (And yes ultimately this rule must extend to between the nations as well, one day war between nations will be declared illegitimate.)

                      On this the left has been deplorably weak, failing to understand the boundary on violence must apply even-handedly. People like you seem to think that the right must be responsible to shut down fascists, neo-nazis and 'insurrectionists' advocating violence, while not being prepared to do any work to shut down the same extremists on your own side because 'self defense'. It's simply an untenable position. You want to reserve the right to violence for yourself, while denying it to others.

                      While oddly enough the conservative right gets this correct more often than not; not only did the Republican leadership rapidly distance itself from the Capitol invasion, hell even Trump himself knew enough to call it off once he realised he'd overplayed his hand.

                    • McFlock

                      Evidence for BLM protestors thinking the system is violent and in need of fundamental change: unarmed people killed by police.

                      Evidence for abysmal prison conditions at Waikeria: Ombudsman report.

                      Evidence for election fraud in favour of Biden: tweets and qanon.

                      One of these things is not like the others, one of these things is not the same…

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      @RL (2:32 pm)

                      … hell even Trump himself knew enough to call it [the Capitol invasion] off once he realised he'd overplayed his hand.

                      Maybe the President should have called off the Capitol invasion sooner. We're cycling back to Trump’s deliberate use of inflammatory language and the outrage it fuels on all 'sides'. He’s truly awful.

                      A President Without Precedent?

                      There is one respect, however, in which Trump has been troublingly different from other presidents who have been in office since the civil rights movement: his often insensitive approach to race. This can be traced back to his association with the Birther movement during Barrack Obama’s presidency, when he claimed that his predecessor in the White House had not been born in America and was not therefore a legitimate president.

                      When, a few months into his presidency, a confrontation took place in August 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia, between Black Lives Matter protesters and a group containing Nazi/Klan supporters, Trump refused to make any moral distinction between the two – saying the white nationalists included “some very fine people”.

                      Three years later, following the widespread protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer, Trump’s rhetoric inflamed what was already a white-hot situation. “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he tweeted, threatening police reprisals. Twitter felt compelled to add a notice to the tweet warning that it glorified violence. Following public outrage, Trump qualified what he had said. But that phrase was controversial as it had originally been used by a Miami police chief in 1967 in a racially inflammatory manner.

                      The assertions that Donald Trump is a president without precedent are often wide of the mark. But it’s hard to deny that, in the case of race relations, they are, sadly, right.

                    • RedLogix


                      unarmed people killed by police.

                      The number of unarmed black people killed by the US police in 2019 is still up for some debate, but it was likely less than 20. What fraction of these were either justified by circumstances, accidents, had co-morbidities involved … or were motived by a bloody minded racism I'll leave for you to determine.

                      But the idea that black Americans must all go about in fear of their lives at every moment, is not really supported by the evidence is it? But I'm certain that no evidence I produce will convince you otherwise.

                      And there is the crunch, neither will any amount of evidence you or I can produce will convince a qanon obsessed person that the election was not stolen. And the reason is simple; there is ample evidence on at the large scale that much of the wealth that their society produces is not being shared fairly. Almost every ordinary person in the USA has a sense that the elites and powerful in their country are to some degree corrupt, and that the game is rigged against them.

                      It's not hard to convince a black person that the reason why they're being cheated is systemic racism.

                      It's not hard to convince a white working class person that the reason why they're being cheated is that the election was stolen.

                      It's not hard to find some reason for any identity group, that the system is stacked against them … because it is.

                      But it's stacked against everyone, with only modest variations across the board. And because everyone has this sense they're being cheated, but they're not quite sure how, it's very easy to set one group off against another in a power struggle. This is pretty much the definition of identity politics.

                      Of course this suits the corrupt perfectly fine thank you.

                    • McFlock

                      It's not hard to convince one group of people because it's consistent with the daily discrimination and harrassment they experience (e.g. "stop and frisk", traffic stop rates, and so on).

                      It's not hard to convince the other group (including quite a few gated-community lawyer types, not just "working class") because it's consistent with their pre-existing bias and sense of entitlement.

                      But keep telling yourself that BLM and fucking nazis are the same.

                    • RedLogix

                      But keep telling yourself that BLM and fucking nazis are the same.

                      Nope they aren't. But they have used very similar tactics, or at the very least tolerated them.

                      And as I said above, if you want to reserve the use of violence for causes you believe in, but deny it to all others … don't expect anyone else to play this game with you.

                    • RedLogix


                      Maybe the President should have called off the Capitol invasion sooner.

                      For sure. I mean the whole thing was over in about 5 hours, but sooner would have been good.

                      Now how soon do you think the BLM and Antifa leaders should have 'called it off' once they realised their peaceful protests had spun out of control into violence?

                    • McFlock

                      And as I said above, if you want to reserve the use of violence for causes you believe in, but deny it to all others … don't expect anyone else to play this game with you.

                      Self defense or defense of another is generally accepted as a valid justification for violence, and often the distinction is a reasonableness test. If qanon and white supremacy were as reasonable as believing a death video where the victim is saying "I can't breathe" was the natural result of observed systemic biases, you'd have a point.

                      The only one playing games is you.

                    • RedLogix

                      OK so now you want to play the 'reasonable' game. Fair enough.

                      Now do you think on the basis of a relatively tiny handful of incidents, probably less than 20 in 2019 (and a declining trend over the prior decade) out of the literally millions of encounters with police in that year, that it's reasonable to characterise the USA as an 'irredeemably racist society' where black people go about their lives in fear because of 'white cracker cops hunting them down'.

                      Because that characterisation is utterly unreasonable. It's a cardboard cutout being used as a stand up for something else that's a lot harder to describe. A complex mix of history, black American culture and a neo-marxist inspired movement willing to leverage emotional tropes and guilt into political power would be a bit closer to the mark.

                      As we've discussed before, there is ample evidence that the USA in 2021 is probably one of the least racist places on earth, and that while differences do arise between ethnic and cultural groups, there is no strong evidence whatsoever that skin colour has anything much to do with it. Indeed there are plenty of ethnic non-white groups who have average outcomes considerably better than whites; it's actually a very poorly run white supremacy indeed.

                      The really big differences however are between the elites and the ordinary people of all classes. The plague of homelessness and drug abuse affects all categories, overly long working hours, unreasonable and precarious conditions, the lack of universal health care, the rather broken education system available to ordinary working people, the lack of a reliable social safety net, and too many dysfunctional, alienated communities at the bottom of the heap are very largely equal race opportunities.

                      Some groups scrabble harder and do a little better, but all are being cheated by a system that siphons far too much wealth and welfare out of their reach. Rather than support movements that openly pit one identity against another, it seems to me a lot more reasonable to me, to hold onto what we all have in common and work towards making all people better off.

                      Probably in the process you'd find all the fucking nazis would vanish as well.

                    • McFlock

                      No dude, we don't need to argue the reasonableness of BLM by itself. Everyone knows where you stand on that (the wrong side of history).

                      I merely wonder whether you think BLM is as unreasonable as white supremacy or qanon. Are they even more reasonable than BLM, according to the great arbiter of categorical imperatives?

                    • RedLogix


                      I outlined a detailed argument about why I think BLM is founded on a number of mistakes and misrepresentations. Much of my argument is sourced from a number of black intellectuals who find the far left, neo-marxist agenda of the organisation objectionable and themselves present in my view a far broader and more optimistic view of humanity.

                      BLM is a good example of a movement that uses a reasonable cause (the elimination of racism) as a cover for a much less stellar one. The trick is of course that when I criticise the movement for it's real agenda, you get to attack me as 'on the wrong side of history'. It's a very dull trick really, but because the racist implication is so laden with guilt you like reaching for it over and over. Trouble is now you wore it out.

                      So in short no I do not believe the BLM movement is reasonable even though it drapes itself in a legitimate cause, but that doesn't actually matter here.

                      The self-defense argument is very narrowly constrained in law to some specific conditions; the threat has to be imminent and unavoidable. The response must be in reasonable proportion to the threat itself and there must be no other reasonable courses of action available. It applies to a moment in time.

                      If you want to prove an ongoing pattern of threat and abuse that justified a homicide outside of these narrow conditions the hurdle becomes much higher, and at best you may only get a reduction in the degree of the charge.

                      There is no provision in law to extend this defense collectively. And certainly no reasonable basis for extrapolating from less than 20 deaths in a year, to claiming some sort of ongoing genocide that would justify 'self defense'.

                      There are many reasons why you might want to scrutinise the US law enforcement system, many places where you might want to implement reforms and change, but arguing that the system is riddled with white supremacist cracker cops out to hunt down and murder blacks in a cold racist animus, is on any analysis not the most reasonable place to start.

                    • McFlock

                      I repeat, simply in order for you to have another opportunity to actually read what I wrote:

                      I merely wonder whether you think BLM is as unreasonable as white supremacy or qanon. Are they even more reasonable than BLM, according to the great arbiter of categorical imperatives?

                      We all know ytou think the USA isn't particularly racist and that therefore BLM is unreasonable.

                      We all know you feel "likely less than 20" state murders a year is an acceptable loss rate that needn't be protested.

                      The question was whether you think BLM is as batshit crazy as qanon or white supremacy.

                    • RedLogix

                      The question was whether you think BLM is as batshit crazy as qanon or white supremacy.

                      I can see this is important to you so I'll go slowly and use short words here; yes BLM is in my view somewhat more reasonable than qanon or the darker corners of Parler. But only because the latter are indeed utterly barking.

                      But in this context my opinion of BLM just doesn't matter, and I explained why. 'Reasonable self-defense' is just not applicable here, no matter how 'reasonable' or not you think their cause is.

                      The ideal number of unarmed black deaths would of course be zero, but that doesn't mean that any arbitrary number above this justifies violent 'self defense' unless you can put some context and comparison on it. The cops actually kill more unarmed white people each year and it's nowhere near the number of black on black gun homicides. Yet no-one peacefully protests these realities. /sarc

                    • McFlock

                      If BLM and Qanon aren't equally batshit, then they're not fucking equivalent even if you disagree with (and some might say misrepresent) the extent of a particular group's response.

                      Also: note to all minorities: please advise redlogix when addressing issues within your own communities, otherwise apparently your responses don't exist.

                    • RedLogix

                      then they're not fucking equivalent

                      This equivalence thing is an idea you made up in your own head, nowhere have I said they're the same (and I've already confirmed this several times).

                      But you miss the crucial point repeatedly, that even if we were comparing Jesus Christ and Adolf Hitler, it still wouldn't matter, neither have any legitimate moral claim to political violence.

                      Indeed you might observe that the former quite deliberately eschewed it.

                      And yes I’m happy to believe that there are black activists quietly working away on the black on black violence issue, and these people have my 100% respect. Remarkably they seem to be getting on with this and no cities burning.

                    • McFlock

                      Indeed you might observe that the former quite deliberately eschewed it.

                      Even Jesus wasn't above whipping folks on one or two occasions.

                    • RedLogix

                      Ah yes the 'Cleansing of the Temple'. I would have thought a seasoned activist such as you could tell the difference between a performative protest and a violent insurrection.

                      After all no money traders were killed, no monies looted, no temple burned down, and everyone likely went back to business the next day. This makes no literal sense; the act can only be understood as a powerful symbolic protest against materialism. And indeed this is how we still interpret that day over 2000 years later. Pretty amazing huh!

                    • McFlock

                      Gotcha, it was physical assault such that people were "driven out" of the area and in the hubbub traders probably lost goods and money, but that was "performative".

                      So much for "as soon as anyone, anywhere, in any context, resorts to violent disruption for political purposes the entire community must stand united in opposition to them. "

                    • RedLogix

                      The very nature of a protest is to be disruptive in some degree, if only to obtain the focus of attention.

                      If Jesus's purpose here was to overthrow money trading, his actions made no sense. As I said everyone probably everyone went back to business the next day. It was a protest.

                      What didn't happen was an insurrection that led to mass violence, arson and destruction. If you cannot tell the difference (or going to pretend you can't), you really have no business partaking in this thread.

                      Incidentally the vast majority of the crowd at the Capitol on the 6th were not armed, they had come to protest not overthrow. In most cases these would be people who have access to arms, but they left them at home.

                    • McFlock

                      Copy that. If I got a whip and tore up the local farmers' market because I didn't like the materialism I feel it represents, I'd face multiple violence and property charges.

                      But if it were performative enough it would just be a protest, like Jesus. Unless I wasn't flamboyant enough while doing it, then I'd be a nasty violent insurrectionist like those horrible BLM folks.

                      Your categorical imperative is leaking.

                    • RedLogix

                      Sighs … so you're going to pretend you cannot tell the difference.


                    • McFlock

                      It's not assault if it's performative. Totally different. 🙄

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    RL, if you truly believe "white supremacist" is "a deliberately [?] ill-defined term", then why not campaign for an accurate definition? Better still, state your definition here.

                    IMO white supremacists are people who believe in white supremacy.

                    By “white supremacy” I do not mean to allude only to the self-conscious racism of white supremacist hate groups. I refer instead to a political, economic and cultural system in which whites overwhelmingly control power and material resources, conscious and unconscious ideas of white superiority and entitlement are widespread, and relations of white dominance and non-white subordination are daily reenacted across a broad array of institutions and social settings.

                    Even NZ gets a mention:

                    It really is that simple, and that's why I think these particular comments of yours are simply extraordinary.

                    • RedLogix

                      So what evidence do you have that this protesting crowd was in any way motivated primarily by 'white supremacist terror'?

                      Is it just the mere fact of them being Trump supporters?

                      Because if we go with the wiki definition you linked to:

                      White supremacy or white supremacism is the belief that white people are superior to those of other races and thus should dominate them.

                      then I'm not sure how many people really believe that anymore. It's certainly not a view I've ever heard anyone seriously express in my experience, although I'm sure some exist at the margins.

                      But what the left likes to do is conflate this with a belief that all people have, regardless of ethnicity or culture, is that their way of life is what suits them best and is superior for them. And they aren't going to be made to feel inferior or guilty for feeling that way; this after all being the very basis of human diversity.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    You for example quite cheerfully characterised this protest/riot as 'white supremacist terror'…RL

                    Did I RL; did I really? I did however find myself agreeing with some of the ‘characterisations’ and analysis presented in the linked article.

                    Insurrection Day: when white supremacist terror came to the US Capitol

                    Witnesses say Trump was oblivious to the gravity of the situation as five died, Congress was violated and his vice-president faced the very real possibility of being lynched.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    So what evidence do you have that this protesting crowd was in any way motivated primarily by 'white supremacist terror'?

                    I've made no such claim – maybe someone did, but it wasn't me.

                    So the protestors/rioters were primarily Trump supporters were they? Interesting.

                    Margins, margins – always with the “margins“. Some people can hardly believe these tiny ‘margins’ exist, while others use them as and when convenient. Will Trump reach out to some of these ‘margins’ again I wonder?

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    Now how soon do you think the BLM and Antifa leaders should have 'called it off' once they realised their peaceful protests had spun out of control into violence?

                    @RL (4:20 pm): Did Trump call for the invasion of the Capitol to be peaceful? If so then some protestors/rioters weren't listening.

                    Your commitment to the PoV that the BLM movement should not be supported does you credit, but your path is not for me.

                    'Extraordinary dichotomy' in police response to Black Lives Matter protests, Capitol chaos: DC attorney general
                    "This summer's Black Lives Matter protests were an overwhelmingly peaceful movement," she [Michelle Obama] said. "And yet, in city after city, day after day, we saw peaceful protestors met with brute force. We saw cracked skulls and mass arrests, law enforcement pepper-spraying its way through a peaceful demonstration for a presidential photo op."

                    "No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, there wouldn't have been — they would have been treated very, very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol," Biden said during an address Thursday. "We all know that's true, and it is unacceptable, totally unacceptable."

                    "I look to see the preparation that was done [Wednesday], when it was known and stated on social media what people are coming to the Capitol to do, and they were ill-equipped — that is telling," Johnson told ABC News. "It tells me that a peaceful march for the quality of life for African Americans is more threatening than the stated goal to come disrupt an orderly proceeding of Congress."

                    "Now the world gets to see the difference between these two situations, where one is us protesting to be seen, to be heard, to not be killed, right?" she said. "And then you have these other people who are just mad because they lost."

                    The president took a different tone on Wednesday than this summer, when he called overwhelmingly peaceful protesters for racial justice "thugs," "agitators" and "looters." He tweeted, "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." He threatened protesters outside the White House with "vicious dogs" and "ominous weapons."

                    But when the Capitol was stormed Wednesday, Trump told the extremists threatening to execute Democrats and target journalists and Black Lives Matter activists, "We love you. You're very special … but you have to go home." Prior to the mob storming the Capitol, he'd told the rally of his supporters to "fight like hell." By the end of the day, one person was killed by a police officer and three others had died. One police officer later died from his injuries. Two pipe bombs were found at the Democratic and Republican headquarters.

                    "We love you. You're very special … but you have to go home." versus "fight like hell." – talk about a mixed messages – I guess each of us sees what we want to.

  15. Maurice 15

    Perhaps this can illustrate the Electoral College system vs Popular Vote conundrum

    Biden 51.4% 81,283,485 – 26 States

    Trump 46.9% 74,223,744 – 25 States

    Biden popular vote majority 7,059,741

    Majority in California 5,103,821

    Majority in New York (State) 1,992,776

    Majority in Illinois 1,025,024

    Any candidate who carries these large states without the balancing of the Electoral College to allow each state a proportional stake in Presidential elections would simply negate the voices of ALL smaller States. Contra wise – of course – the Electoral College does empower "swing" States. That has to be more proportional than enabling California and New York to alone decide the Presidency?

    • Andre 15.1

      This map is a much better way of looking at presidential vote distribution in the US:


      The senate with its two senators from each state does a pretty good job of looking after the interests of smaller states. To the point where the 50 Repug senators in the session coming up will represent about 40 million fewer state inhabitants than the 50 Dem senators.

      • Gosman 15.1.1

        That is the nature of the US system. It is very deliberate. The founders of the USA did not want a pure popular democracy because it tends towards the tyranny of the majority.

        • Andre

          It was a bodged together compromise to get all thirteen original colonies to sign onto it. There were a lot of different reasons for the various bits of it, including a lot of really ugly concessions to slavery, but fear of tyranny of the majority was at best a small part of it.

          Fear of the general populace electing a totally unfit demagogue was a driving factor in a lot of the choices intended to be checks and balances, such as the longer staggered terms of the senators, and the Electoral College. But these guardrails have just been shown to be craptacularly insufficient.

          Federalist Paper 68 explains some of the thinking behind some of the arrangements.

          • RedLogix

            But these guardrails have just been shown to be craptacularly insufficient.

            Yes Trump did crash through them, and it's worth asking why. But it's my sense that the US will recover from all of this and their system will restabilise around a new balance between the two parties.

            Their system absolutely ensures that there will only ever be two major parties; and in this sense the label 'Democrat' and 'Republican' can be best thought of as brand labels for a complex, moveable, stew of voter interests that each represents. There is no rule that says the Dems will always be left of the Republicans on all issues; it may have more or less been that way in our lifetimes, but not historically.

            Trump to my mind is a symptom of a deeper re-alignment process that's underway, and once it's run it's course, more or less normal service will resume. And the usual guardrails will suffice once again, albeit maybe with some modest improvements.

            • Andre

              The choice of the states to divide up their allotments of House Representatives into single-member districts is a significant part of the strength of the two-party system.

              However, that's just a choice they've made. There's nothing in the constitution stopping the states from choosing some other system, such as statewide ranked choice voting for multiple House Reps with each representing the whole state.

              A few states have made moves towards some sort of ranked choice voting. Maine and Alaska spring to mind. But none have yet made the bigger step towards multi-member districts, which would be the bigger step to breaking the stranglehold of the two-party system.

              • RedLogix

                Yes that would be an interesting development. I'd imagine that at this point in time there is a lot of quiet unhappiness with both major parties.

                And I'd hope there might be a reformist response to this unhappiness. Exactly what shape it might take is something worth thinking about. yes

        • RedLogix

          Yes, you're absolutely correct on this Gosman. Us kiwis, accustomed to a much smaller more compact polity, don't really grasp how central the states are to the American’s view of their nation. In many contexts, such as education, health, law enforcement and so on everything important happens at the state level. The interface with the Federal level is complex, nuanced and highly contested.

          For most day to day purposes, it's best to think of the USA as a collection of 50 small nations. And each has it's own history, social mores and cultural preferences; it enables the dramatic diversity which characterises America.

          Yet in other contexts, especially defense for example, Americans are highly loyal and patriotic to the Federal USA. This is the domain in which it makes sense for the President to be elected by a popular vote, but this has to be balanced off against the role of the states. There isn't a perfect solution to this, it will always be a compromise.

        • KJT

          To ensure a "Tyranny of the (wealthy) minority" more like.

  16. Forget now 16

    Unless he is removed from office, I doubt this is the last ugliness we can expect from Trump and his various minions (of various levels of self-awareness). It may be the finale of his presidency, but if there are no consequences for armed revolt, not his regime. Very much waiting for the other shoe to drop until the 20th, and even after that; the United States is facing a civil war that only one side appears to be all too ready to fight.

    This doesn't say much new (except how difficult it is to try get even a camera crew past Capitol security on an ordinary day), but it does draw a lot of threads together (many of which I have seen stated, if not exactly verified, elsewhere):

  17. KJT 17

    "The underlying problem is that the USA, is not a democracy. It is an Oligarchy".


  18. Sacha 18

    Wasn't me

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